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Posts with tag background

Patch 4.3: Background downloader now available

Multiple sources are confirming that the Blizzard background downloader is now beginning to download patch data for the upcoming patch 4.3, Hour of Twilight. We have been hypothesizing a release date of the next and final Cataclysm content patch around the late November/early December mark. Having the background downloader active now means that a good portion of the content for the patch has been finalized and is loading into our games as we speak. Now it is up to Blizzard to tweak numbers and encounter design rather than add new objects, art, and so forth to the patch.

As we learn more about the patch and its release date, we will be sure to let you know.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Cataclysm

The early days of the World of Warcraft

It's been five years since this game launched, and it's changed so much that you might have forgotten what life was like back then. But thanks to the magic of the Internet, those times are saved in clear HTML. Let's dig up some memories of the early game.

It's interesting to think what Blizzard was like before World of Warcraft. Today, the two are almost synonymous -- while they have two other major franchises (and one secret IP hiding in the works), it's almost impossible for anyone to think of Blizzard without thinking of WoW, and vice versa. The company has become almost solely defined by what they've done with this game. But of course, before the release, that wasn't the case.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling

Background downloader enabled

According to Eyonix, the background downloader for patch 3.3 will begin its work soon. There were some reports that it was turned on yesterday for a short time, when it began to deliver a roughly 450mb pre-patch file. However this time, Blizzard is turning it on for good.

Eyonix points out that the background downloader should provide a faster download than normal. Go into the preferences of the downloader and check "Don't throttle background download" to see the new speed in action. However, this option has often been known to interfere with WoW and other applications accessing the intertubes, so I recommend you only turn it on when you're not going to be doing a lot of online activity.

This does point to patch 3.3 coming soon. Whether or not that soon is next week is too early to tell, but usually Blizzard runs the background downloader for a couple of weeks before rolling out a patch. But who knows -- we haven't heard anything yet on (or off) the record.

Update: Many readers are reporting that the downloader is now active.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas.'s Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, News items

Gary Whitta worked on a Warcraft screenplay

You'll notice that I surreptitiously left the question of "screenwriter" out of the other day's Breakfast Topic. That's because, quite frankly, I have no idea who I want writing the Warcraft movie. The folks I really like in Hollywood are probably too quirky to write an epic movie like this, and the folks who usually write these epic movies are too lame to handle a world like Warcraft. In my mind, only someone like Metzen should wield the pen for this one, and even then, his strengths lie in creating universes, not dialog. So I have no idea.

But apparently there's already a screenplay being worked on: with the news that Sam Raimi is taking the helm, screenwriter Gary Whitta (who's written both for games and movies) says he'd been working with both Legendary and Blizzard on crafting a screenplay that included both the sprawling world and a story that would resonate with non-players. But he says that since Raimi took over, it's likely the whole thing will go in another direction, as "his own pretty specific vision of what he wanted to do story-wise." Whitta does say, however, that, from what he's heard, "Raimi is the best possible director for this." Sounds good to us.

It'll be quite a tightrope to walk: depending on what Legendary actually wants out of the film, they've got to make the story interesting and pressing enough that even non-WoW players will get into it without ruining and/or ignoring the reason why there are so many players in the first place: the lush and intriguing universe we've all enjoyed playing in. Anyone tasked with putting together a script that uses all of those blocks to build something great will have quite a job ahead of them.

[via Blue's News]

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Lore, NPCs

GC on the Deterrence change and the future of Hunter melee

When the Hunter changes dropped earlier this week, I understood the Volley change, and I even got the Kill Shot cooldown drop, but the one I really didn't understand was the Deterrence change. Like BRK said, it seemed pretty useless: sure, becoming immune to damage for five seconds helps survivability in the Arenas, but what's to stop people from just continuing the kill after that. And the directional effect was just perplexing as well.

Now, Ghostcrawler has provided some background on the change, and while it still doesn't make much sense, at least we have an idea of where Blizzard is coming from. First things last, the directional ability is still being tested and may not make it to the live game. But the ability itself is designed specifically for Arena, as we'd guessed. And even more strangely, he says the reason they wanted to change the spell was to make it different visually -- letting the Hunter see themselves parrying every single attack while their backup helps them out. That argument may not find much ground in the numbers-driven Arena crowd, but GC says lots of times, a strong visual can give what seems like a useless spell a lot of use. Interesting look into Blizzard's design philosophy -- they don't program the numbers, they program how it plays.

Finally, he says that Hunter melee damage is being looked at -- they are primarily a ranged class, but the problem now is that it's all or nothing. Either you're in a Hunter's barrage or you've closed to melee and they're not a threat. If they can put the sting back in melee, GC says (within a few patches -- this is long term), then they'll give them more viability "to flee or stand and fight." We'll have to see what Hunter's think about that one when we get more specifics.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Background downloader working as planned

Lots of people have been pointing out the activity of their background downloader. Yesterday Zarhym announced that the download would startup soon, delivering the first part of the 3.0.1 content patch.

The downloader is running along for many of us – both the North American and European versions. The patch files it is downloading are between 821 and 992 megs. Be sure to let it run only overnight if you don't want any problems while you run your groups or raids.

To exit the downloader, Windows users can click the Blizzard icon near the clock on the taskbar and choose "Cancel" when the window appears. Macintosh users can go to the file menu and choose "Quit" when the downloader application is in the foreground. The download will restart the next time you launch WoW.

Patch 3.0.1 will bring about a ton of changes in preparation for Wrath of the Lich King. There is no announced release date yet for WotLK, nor is there a date for when 3.0.1 will go onto the live realms. However most people expect 3.0.1 to hit the live realms in a month or so, and Wrath to be released in early November. Some of the major highlights of 3.0.1 include:

Filed under: Patches, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

All the World's a Stage: Background story

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Your character is like an arrow. He was launched from the birthplace of your imagination with the aim of creating spontaneous stories with other creative people. Your character's personality is the particular direction he travels in, and his background story is the bow which set him on his way.

The bow-string tension that gives a good backstory its momentum is its lack of resolution. The desire to find resolution propels your character forward into the game, but it doesn't predict with certainty where your he or she will end up. Realizing this can free you of a great burden: your story doesn't have to make the New York Times Bestseller List. In fact, the whole idea here is to purposely leave your backstory unfinished, ready to be resolved through roleplaying. Too much emphasis on a dramatic background leaves you with not enough room for an interesting foreground, and little else to contribute other than the saga of your epic past.

Obviously, people aren't logging into WoW to read your miniature novel. They generally won't want to hear your backstory unless they specifically ask you about it (which they might!), but even then they'll care less for its narrative value and more for its ultimate impact on your character as a person. It's best to think of it less as a story in itself (e.g. "How I got to be this way"), and more as a prologue to the story you want to roleplay (e.g. "How do I get out of this mess?"). Its purpose is to set up challenges for your character to overcome with other people, and it should establish a direct line to your character's desires and aspirations.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Lore, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Forum Post of the Day: How did your undead die?

Yeah yeah, lolRP, but even though I'd never seriously do an emote with my character (though I do enjoy /coughing at inappropriate times), I do kind of enjoy thinking of what my characters did before I started playing them in the game. As I've said before, my Orc Shaman was actually a prisoner in Durnholde Keep along with Thrall (and though I've tried to find him among the Orcs down there, I don't look too hard -- wouldn't want to cause a paradox).

But for my Undead Rogue, I've never thought about this questions: What did he die of? Whether it was choking on a gnome, one too many enchantments (never knew those could kill you), or the old standby of, y'know, cancer, every Undead character out there used to have a life (and now they just play WoW, ha!). So how'd your Undead lose theirs?

I'd like to think mine was something poetic, like his family was murdered by roving noblemen, and he arose from the afterlife and became a backstabbing rogue to avenge his lost ones. But it's probably more pathetic: like most of the Forsaken, he probably just got trampled underneath the onset of the Scourge. Of course, that'll make an appointment with Arthas more interesting...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Humor, Lore, RP, Forums

All the World's a Stage: It's not about saving the world

All the World's a Stage is brought to you by David Bowers every Sunday evening, investigating the mysterious art of roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

All those people who say "Roleplaying is dead" simply misunderstand what RP in WoW is all about. It's not at all about stepping into your favorite fantasy novel and acting out an epic story in which you are the great hero, sacrificing everything to save Azeroth from the legions of evil. For that sort of storytelling, there are pen-and-paper role playing games, which allow for a great deal more flexibility than any computer system can. While the majority of fantasy literature uses this "save the world" motif, it doesn't work at all for roleplaying in WoW because things happen in the game that couldn't possibly happen in a story.

But that's okay, because when we roleplay in WoW, our focus should not be so grand and epic in scope. Instead it should be more personal and down-to-earth, about our own characters, their hopes and failings, and their relationships with others. For all the game's outward appearances of epic battles and the fight against evil, WoW roleplaying is really all about character development, relationships, and the expression of who you are. Think less of the latest Oscar-award-winning fantasy epic, and more of your favorite sitcoms or drama series.

Your character is a savior of the world and a regular nobody -- both at the same time. All of us do exciting, heroic things in the game, but, while Blizzard has put a lot of story elements in there, none of it is actual storytelling. For a roleplayer, most PvE is just background to the storytelling, something your characters do offstage -- kind of like food, paperwork, bathroom breaks, and sleep in the movies or novels you enjoy. Of course any event in life can be an important moment for your character, but in roleplaying, you have to let all the repetitive hero stuff fade into the background while your characters interact with one another.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Lore, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Another way to get started with roleplaying

In last Sunday's All the World's a Stage column, we talked about one way to get started with roleplaying, using mainly a character description made of two simple words that highlight the essential qualities of your character, without too much concern for background and details just yet. The idea here is that you can start with a basic character idea, and fill in the details later on as you get involved with other roleplayers.

Over at WoWBlues, however, Nairuil has a different way of getting started. She has a list of questions for you to answer that are designed to help you think of your character's background, as well as give you some helpful tips for what sorts of backgrounds would be inappropriate for WoW (such as the cliche "vampire" idea), all before you actually get started roleplaying in game.

Which approach do you find more useful to you personally, and why?

Filed under: RP

The claiming of Frostmourne

Blizzard has posted Chapter 2 of their little "Rise of the Lich King" series on the official Wrath of the Lich King website. It's called "The Claiming of Frostmourne," and it covers Arthas' descent into corruption, the razing of Stratholme (remember that place?), and the finding of the sword Frostmourne in Northrend.

If you've played Warcraft III, of course, this is all old news, as all these events are actually shown in that game. But if you haven't played Warcraft III (and its expansion, the Frozen Throne), now might be a good time to do so. While the Burning Crusade reflected more old school lore, including the creation of the Orcs and the opening of the Dark Portal, Wrath of the Lich King's history is pretty recent. Yes, Illidan appeared in the expansion, and others in Outland did as well. But since the beginning of Warcraft III, the story has been all about Arthas, and how bad things are done in the name of believed-to-be-good intentions.

With the next expansion, it'll be great to finally return to that story. Of course, my favorite part of Arthas' story is actually the scene that comes after "The Claiming of Frostmourne"-- what Arthas does after he obtains Frostmourne and is corrupted by the Lich King. Echoes of that are still heard (literally) in the world of Azeroth today.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

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