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Posts with tag blackrock-spire

WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5 and the birth of modern dungeons

Bokk
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

For a long time in classic WoW, nonraiders felt neglected. Dungeons were the only endgame PvE option for nonraiders. Back then, dungeons didn't have a 5-player limit. They could be "raided," even though they weren't considered raids. Blizzard added new raiding content on a regular basis, but the developers didn't release new dungeons after adding Dire Maul in patch 1.3, four months after the game's release.

Until the launch of The Burning Crusade in early 2007, nonraiders ran the same dungeons for almost two years.

Amidst a storm of complaints, Blizzard said they wanted to offer additional content for nonraiders. In patch 1.10, Blizzard delivered a new endgame quest line using existing dungeons. Comprised of 29 steps in all, this was one of the game's most elaborate -- and most punishing -- quest lines ever.

Blizzard called it the "high-level armor set" quest line. Players called it Tier 0.5. To create it, Blizzard had to reimagine what WoW's dungeons should be.

This quest line was removed, like many others, when Deathwing brought the Cataclysm. Let's walk through what once was, and explore how it gave rise to the modern dungeons we tackle today.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore: WoW for Dummies, Act I: Horde

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The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Once upon a time in vanilla WoW, there was a very different view regarding the ongoing Alliance vs. Horde debate. To Horde players, the Alliance storylines were interesting, complex, and contained epic moments that had to be seen to be believed, like the original reveal of Katrana Prestor's true identity in Stormwind. The Horde had no equivalent to this, and thus it was assumed that there was undue Alliance favoritism going on.

It sounds weird given today's somewhat more balanced treatment of both Alliance and Horde stories, but there it was. And when you look back at the original release of WoW and the story behind it, you'll see where that viewpoint came from. Even though the Horde had their own storylines, those stories were basically branching off from the far more epic (in the opinion of some players) Alliance versions.

What was the Horde all about in vanilla WoW? ... oddly enough, the Alliance.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

And the dungeons keep on shrinking

I've run the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons on the beta several times now. They're fun, well-designed, interesting dungeons. They are a bit jarring if you're familiar with the current Scarlet Monastery, however. The current four dungeons have been cut down to two, and it's been achieved by removing a lot of the long hallways full of trash pulls we're familiar with now. The Armory section of the new dungeon almost feels abrupt if you (like me) ran SM over and over again in the olden days of WoW.

It's not that the new dungeons are bad. They're objectively good, even great at places, with a good sense of the history of the place and call-backs to the classic dungeon.

They just feel kind of short to me. Smaller. Actually smaller, not in terms of the size of the hallways or anything but in terms of how much real estate they cover. And while I often rail against nostalgia, lately that sense of scale has been driving me to run older content not even to gather loot for transmog but just to see it, to look around at the scope and scale of the older dungeons.

Now, I don't want to pretend that these dungeons weren't often hideously irritating to run at the time. Getting a 5-man group all the way through Stratholme back when it was all one big, interconnected burning city full of undead and no one ever wanted to clear both sides wasn't anything but an exercise in learning colorful new metaphors as they spewed from your own mouth. You'd end up amazed you even knew the Basque term for that particular deviancy.

Still, there is something to be said for the epic scale of some of the older 5-man dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Gold Capped: The market for enchanting mats for BoA gear

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

A long-running, profitable business is selling enchanting scrolls that can be put on BoA gear. These all have no minimum level, since BoA gear is considered level 1, which means they typically take lower-level enchanting mats. Some good examples of these mats are Large Brilliant Shards and Greater Eternal Essences, which are used for a bunch of enchants like Crusader and Spellpower.

The price for these mats have gone up quite a bit on most realms since Cataclysm, and the reason is clear: The ilevels of the drops in Stratholme were reduced in patch 4.0.1, and the drops in there no longer disenchant into the same mats.

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Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

Armor Set Collecting: Dungeon Set One

Set collecting is one of those things that you either love or hate -- either the thought of running around in old gear is curiously nostalgic, or you simply don't care to fill your bank with a lot of useless junk. With the introduction of Cataclysm, a lot of these old dungeon sets appear to be changing or disappearing entirely, making them a hot commodity for set collectors. Since a lot of players these days picked up the game in the BC or Wrath eras, not everyone knows where these pieces come from and how to get them.

The first of these sets is the Dungeon Set One. Obtained through various level 60 instances, these blue armor sets were the top of the top before the days of Molten Core and purples everywhere. Originally, these sets had very boring graphics, until a patch was implemented in which all sets got a shiny new graphics update. In the early days of vanilla, these sets were pretty much all players needed to farm for, and the +8 to all resistances that served as a set bonus for each was handy in places like Molten Core, which was nothing but a fun fire factory in which you wanted to stack as much fire resistance as possible. There are nine sets to collect, and each set is class-specific. All set pieces can be found in Stratholme, Scholomance and Blackrock Spire (both lower and upper).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP

Know Your Lore: The Plagued Dragonflight

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how, but do you know the why? Each week Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

We've covered almost all of the dragonflights here on Know Your Lore; check out the articles on the Red, Black, Green, Blue, Bronze, Netherwing and Twilight flights for more information on each respective flight. The dragonflights of Azeroth are all intricately tied together as you can see from the articles -- what one flight does tends to directly affect or somehow involve the others. Today we're going to look at the one exception to that general rule: the Plagued Dragonflight.

What? Plagued? There's a plagued dragonflight? Why yes, there is -- small in numbers, mostly died out, but it exists and can count as a flight of its own. Where can we find these dragons, and where did they originate? To answer that question, we have to go back to the opening days of the Third War and visit with a charming group of individuals called the Cult of the Damned.

Once upon a time, there was an entity known as the Lich King, formed out of the spirit of a former orc leader as a servant for the Burning Legion. At this point, the Lich King still lacked a body, imprisoned within the Frozen Throne, so he commanded his forces telepathically. After gaining a foothold in Northrend, the Lich King used these powers to search telepathically for individuals around the world who would make suitable minions to help spread the plague across Azeroth.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Blizzard opens up old instances to soloers, changes quest items

Blue poster Daelo has good news for people aiming to solo old instances -- Blizzard has made a few changes to the way keys and unlocks work in the old dungeons, so that you no longer need keys or multiple people to get to the good stuff. The rituals in Blackrock Spire and Uldaman only require one click now, and quintessence (in Molten Core to summon Executus before the Ragnaros fight), the Scepter of Celebras (in Maraudon), and the Mallet of Zul'Farrak (in the ZF, obviously) are no longer needed to do their jobs. Additionally, Nightbane will be accessible in Karazhan without the Blackened Urn.

Some may be disappointed that items we worked so hard for are now pretty much useless, but as you probably know by now, that's the way of things when an expansion hits. The good news, obviously, is that people running through instances solo or with just a few people will be able to hit all the content they couldn't get to before. And if you happen to be running the content, you won't need to worry about whether you left the Mallet in the bank or forgot the Scepter on a Princess run.

And unfortunately, collectors will be left out as well -- most of the items will actually change form into weapons or other useless objects, so even if you have the old items, they won't be usable in the same way. Sure, the Mallet was a pain to get, but it'll be a little sad to see it disappear in the way we know it forever.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions

Know Your Lore: The Ashbringer


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!

There are very few things through all of Warcraft, in-game and out, that almost every WoW player would recognize upon hearing its name. Even if you don't know its story or origins, the name holds some weight. This is one of those things.

The Ashbringer...

The Ashbringer is (supposedly) going to play a pretty large role in Wrath of the Lich King, and what we've seen so far supports that. In addition, in mid-September Blizzard will be releasing a comic to fill in some of the gaps in the story of the Ashbringer. In preparation of all of that, we're going to do a rundown of all we know.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

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