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Posts with tag burning-crusade

A spoiler-free look at the Mists of Pandaria beta

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Are you in the beta for Mists of Pandaria yet? Are you fastidiously avoiding spoilers about all beta-related content? As a site that covers Warcraft news, you'll find more often than not that we have a lot of content up on the site that could be considered spoilers. And if you're someone who's avoiding all that spoiler content, it can get a little frustrating to have to keep scrolling past all that information -- or even more frustrating, dealing with the temptation that all of the spoiler information you could ever want to indulge, just behind that click.

Well, that's not what this article is about. It's about the beta, but it's a spoiler-free look at the beta. You'll see some screenshots, but mostly what you'll be reading is what the beta is like. No spoilers of cool story information or anything of that nature here -- just information on Mists, how it looks, how it's shaping up, and what to expect in the event that you do get a beta invite and would like to indulge.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Does Garrosh Hellscream deserve to die?

Likely one of the most contentious things to come out of the Mists of Pandaria press event was the news that we do indeed have a final boss for the expansion -- and it's the current leader of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream. Garrosh has been a figure in lore since The Burning Crusade led Horde players to Nagrand and introduced the younger Hellscream, an orc who had been raised thinking his father was the reason the orc race had been through so much suffering. This depressed him to the point that we players actually stepped up and took care of many of the problems surrounding the Mag'har village in an attempt to cheer him up.

But his true salvation came in the form of Warchief Thrall, who was not only gratified to find his grandmother alive and the name his mother and father intended for him, but happy to find the living descendant of one of his closest friends as well. It was Thrall's words that finally broke the stupor of shame and depression that Garrosh had been living with for his entire life. And it was Thrall who took Hellscream under his wing, away from Garadar and to a land he'd never before set eyes upon: Azeroth.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Transmogrification, the hottest new game of dress-up

If you're anywhere near as addicted to transmogrification as I am, you've likely been collecting gear and creating multiple sets ever since the feature was introduced. Likely, your bank is full of sets, and your void storage may very well be full of sets too. In the last post of the Cataclysm post-mortem series, Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer Greg Street) talked about what worked with the expansion as well as what didn't -- and transmogrification was firmly on the amazing feature list. According to Ghostcrawler, it opened an entirely new avenue of gameplay, and more and more players are jumping into old dungeons and raids looking for the perfect look for their characters.

But what transmogrification has really accomplished is that it's given us a way to customize our characters in a unique and profound way. Let's face it -- the character creation screen in WoW doesn't exactly have a ton of options to choose from. No matter how unique you think your character looks, in a game with millions of people playing, there are likely millions of players out there with exactly the same hairstyle and face choices. And with tier sets becoming so prevalent, particularly in Cataclysm, all the characters had started looking like carbon copies of each other.

Transmogrification allows players to get that thing that they've been after since the early days of WoW -- a distinct and unique look for their characters.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Transmogrification

Are pure DPS classes really just another form of hybrid in disguise?

Once upon a time, my guild was trying its hardest to down 25-man heroic mode Lich King. It was the very end of Wrath, and we were running out of time to put an end to the boss before the inevitable launch of Cataclysm. I had been playing an assassination spec since some point between Ulduar and ToC, having given up on ever obtaining a really good combat weapon (I was partial to fist weapons; something about punching people in the face with knives appealed to me), and I was really good at it. I spent forever poring over stat caps and best-in-slot items and had just gotten the perfect set of items that capped every stat that needed to be capped.

And then it happened -- the prep patch for Cataclysm. Do you know what the best stat is for an assassination rogue in Cataclysm (other than hit, of course)? Mastery. Do you know what wasn't present on any Wrath gear? Mastery. My DPS went down, and due to sup-par burst DPS, I was sat for the realm-first 25-man heroic mode Lich King kill. I watched all my guildies ding the achievement and get the one title I was really excited about. And later, one of the officers, a druid, asked me flat out -- why didn't I have a backup combat spec?

Oh ... if only he knew.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The last gasp of 25-man raiding

Imagine you have been placed in front of two hedge mazes, both leading to the same wonderful prize at the end. It could be a car, money, a trip to an exotic location -- whatever you really want, for the purpose of this imaginary exercise, OK? So there are two mazes, each leading to the awesome prize, but as you look at those mazes, you realize one of them is twistier, longer, and has potentially more hazards in it. The other is difficult, to be sure -- but side by side, it's slightly less hazardous than the other. And they both lead to the exact same thing.

So which maze do you take?

Most people would much rather take that shorter, slightly less hazardous maze. I mean, if you've got two choices that get you to the same fabulous prize, you'd be out of your mind to take the difficult path, wouldn't you? Welcome to the debate of 10-man vs. 25-man raiding -- and the main reason why 25-man raids are slowly dying out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

5 reasons you should love Cataclysm

Oh, Cataclysm. You've gotten such a bad rap. Despite popular opinion, what we got from the Cataclysm expansion was nothing short of a miracle -- one that was desperately needed after the prior two expansions' worth of content. But it's undeniably difficult to look at the current expansion with anything other than an overly critical eye, considering the fact that we're playing through all that content right now.

In hindsight, it's likely the current expansion will grow on us, and some time in the distant future we'll be looking back on it with rose-colored glasses just like we do the others before it. Don't get me wrong -- while classic, The Burning Crusade, and Wrath all had absolutely fantastic reasons to love them, things didn't seem so rosy and wonderful when we were all playing through that content, and there was just as much grumbling in each of those expansions as there is about Cataclysm now. But hey -- there's still plenty of reasons to love Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

World of Warcraft profits on the rise in China

Sister site Massively reported earlier today that World of Warcraft isn't just doing fine in China, it's doing extremely well. According to Gamasutra, the Chinese WoW operator NetEase just posted its Q3 revenue for the year, and the profits are doing nothing but rising. This is a little surprising given the information from the Activision Blizzard investor call earlier this month, which reported a loss of subscribers, mainly in the east.

Regardless, NetEase posted revenues of 2.0 billion Chinese yuan, up 39.8% -- a substantial number. In China, it seems that World of Warcraft is still a force to be reckoned with, dropping subscriber numbers or not.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

5 reasons you should love Wrath of the Lich King

The Burning Crusade was just the first expansion in WoW's history, and though it brought many things to love, as always, there were tweaks to be made. So how do you follow up a well-put-together expansion featuring a host of memorable villains from Warcraft III? Oh, that's easy enough. To top Illidan's appearance, you bring in the villain he couldn't defeat -- you bring in the Lich King.

Ever since the final scene of The Frozen Throne, Warcraft fans wondered just what happened to Arthas after he placed the Lich King's helm on his head and took an icy seat. In Wrath of the Lich King, they were about to find out. Featuring an all-new continent with new zones to play through, Wrath also introduced the first new hero class to the game, the death knight. In the wake of The Burning Crusade, Wrath had a lot to live up to. It did that and more, paving the way for more accessibility to raids, more endgame content and new lore, to boot. Many of the players in Cataclysm today got their start in Wrath of the Lich King, and there's plenty of things to love about it -- far too many points to list. But we'll give you five of them!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Archivist: How each WoW expansion set the tone, part 2

The 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.

Previously on WoW Archivist, I discussed how the tone of Warcraft and its associated world changed drastically as time went on and the first expansion pack, The Burning Crusade, was released. Each time World of Warcraft changes its setting, the tone of the game (from the way the environments make the player feel to the actual mechanical development of the product) changes significantly. The tonal change makes WoW a unique specimen in the MMO sphere, allowing it to grow, adapt, and target a vast array of audiences opposed to growing stagnant over time. Incorporating each new tone and focus with each new expansion lets World of Warcraft move forward despite its age.

For a long time, we jokingly referred to Wrath of the Lich King as "The Frozen Crusade" because Blizzard took the best parts of The Burning Crusade and began to build the next expansion. It was hard to understand the tone of the newest expansion before you actually played it. In the beginning all we saw was two new ores, 75 more profession skill points, and greens that were going to replace our purples again. For me, the tone looked like it was going to be "here we go again" -- that is, until I first stepped into Northrend.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

5 reasons you should love The Burning Crusade

The Burning Crusade marked WoW's first foray into expansions, and it took a while to arrive -- a little over two years, actually, but Blizzard made sure the expansion was well worth waiting for. Offering two new races, more talent choices, and an entirely new world to explore, The Burning Crusade gave players plenty of reasons to eagerly anticipate its release.

But it wasn't just the world that was different. The Burning Crusade took the game we'd been playing for a little over two years and tweaked it with small improvements that affect the way we play the game even today. It pioneered the definition of what an expansion was, in the WoW universe, and paved the way for the expansions to follow. The Burning Crusade still ranks high on many players' favorite expansion lists, including my own. Finding five reasons to love it? That's a complete walk in the park. Picking just five to show you ... that's a little harder!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Archivist: How each WoW expansion set the tone, part one

The 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?

Before we learned about Mists of Pandaria and where we stalwart adventurers would be exploring in the coming months, I wrote a post discussing how an expansion about Pandaria, specifically its title, would change the tone of World of Warcraft. Mists of Pandaria would be the first expansion that does not directly reference or reveal the main villain of the expansion's storyline. Blizzard and the WoW development team has been incredible stewards of tone, from the early days of Warcraft to Cataclysm's world-breaking motif. Tone is one of the most important aspects of the MMO because your game world needs to be compelling enough to call back players at any point. Good MMOs set good tone.

Tone has evolved in WoW after each expansion pack, changing considerably each time we swap settings and install the latest content. Alex asked me to write an article that spanned the history of World of Warcraft, and I could think of nothing more dynamic than the tone of the story and how masterfully Blizzard has handled it.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

5 reasons you should love Mists of Pandaria

BlizzCon's over, so let's recap. We get playable Pandaren, neutral characters that can choose either Alliance or Horde at the end of the starting experience. On top of that, we get the monk class that plenty of people have been excited about seeing implemented in game. And then we get entirely revamped talent trees that aren't trees at all -- they are a completely gutted and entirely new system for people to play with. Plus, we get something to do with all those pets we've collected over the last several years.

Yet a lot of what I've been reading here and there has been a general reaction of "That's it?" rather than excitement, and it seems a little odd to me. After trying to puzzle out why exactly it was odd to me that people would feel this way, I decided it really didn't have anything to do with them; it had plenty to do with me. Out of all the posts I write, you guys seem to love the tinfoil hat theories the best -- and the way I create those posts is due to the way that I look at stories and situations.

That said, there is a reason you guys should be excited about this expansion. Actually, there are several of them, but I'm only going to hit five of them. And I'm going to blow your mind with what is the biggest reason you should absolutely love what's coming up in World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.0.1, Before the Storm

The 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?

Patch 2.0.1 was, according to a large chunk of players, quite possibly one of the best patches to come out of vanilla WoW. It had nothing to do with the introduction of the new talent trees in preparation for The Burning Crusade's looming launch. It had nothing to do with the new, bulky, and rarely used first iteration of the looking for group tool. There were no launch events with this patch, just a heck of a lot of data that needed to be implemented in preparation for the launch of the first expansion.

But what had players either cheering fervently or cursing forever had nothing to do with the imminent approach of The Burning Crusade. It had everything to do with PVP and the removal of the honor system as we knew it in vanilla. What's so special about that, you ask? Let's take a journey back in time and look at the good and bad of the old honor system. If you think today's Arena grinds are difficult, well ... you're in for one heck of an eye-opener.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore: NPC evolution from TBC to Wrath of the Lich King

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.

Last week, we talked about the evolution of NPCs from classic WoW to The Burning Crusade. It was a quiet beginning to the evolution, starting with just a few NPCs in classic WoW that spawned world-altering events like The Great Masquerade. But in The Burning Crusade, we not only saw major movements from major-name players like Thrall, who actually got off the throne in Orgrimmar and traveled all the way to Nagrand to visit his long-lost relatives, but also minor players. These seemingly minor players gradually won the hearts of the playerbase through storylines that progressed with each patch in the expansion.

Characters like Cro, Jadaar, Asric and even the shifty Griftah weren't just NPCs. They were subtle reminders that those characters we barely interacted with had lives of their own, and it breathed a new energy into the game. Suddenly, the world wasn't just about you and whatever quest you happened to be on. It was also about Griftah's "unfair" persecution, or Cro's struggle to get that blasted fruit cart out of the way -- mundane, ordinary, everyday events, the sort of events we witness on a daily basis in the real world. Bringing the mundane to the game made Outland feel just a little more real, too.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW and Burning Crusade on sale at EU store for 4.99€ each

World of Warcraft Classic and The Burning Crusade are currently on sale at the Blizzard Europe store for 4.99€ (£4.99) each. This sale will last until June 20, 2011. Now is a great time to buy the game as a gift or start up that second account for some sweet recruit-a-friend rocket mount action.

We do not have any information yet if the sale will be extended to the US store, but in the past these sales have been paralleled in both regions. For now, check these links for the EU store downloads and retail version links:
REMINDER -- These copies of WoW are for the European realms ONLY. If you are a US realm customer, wait until we have confirmation about a US-specific sale on these games.

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Filed under: Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

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