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Posts with tag burningcrusade

WoW Archivist: The curse of Karazhan

Karazhan Tower
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?

Something has been afoot in Karazhan of late. First, dataminers noticed that Karazhan had been renamed Medivh's Big Birthday Bash on the PTR. In the rechristened raid, objects such as cobwebs and skeletons had disappeared. Then a later build renamed it Karazhan 2: Eclectic Boogaloo. Senior game designer Jonathan Craft tweeted that fellow designer Dave Maldonado was responsible. Maldonado later said that nothing is happening. It turned out to be a test to see if a phased quest could be set there, but sadly it didn't work.

Many players would be excited to return to Karazhan, and it would make sense to do this in Warlords of Draenor. After all, Karazhan is from the same expansion that took us to the shattered remnants of Draenor back in 2007. Hopefully Blizzard will find a way to feature some Karazhan-based content during the next expansion.

Karazhan remains one of Blizzard's most popular raid zones, and for good reason. But did it succeed too well for WoW's own good? Let's look back at what Karazhan offered us in its prime and how it impacted raid design in future expansions.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

How long is too long for a raid?

How long is too long for a raid
I remember the year I spent in Icecrown Citadel. I'm not really exaggerating - it was from December to December, so about a year total. It was about the longest time I spent on a raid, including the days of Molten Core - for comparison, Molten Core was the only real endgame raid besides Onyxia's Lair from November of 2004, WoW's release date, until July of 2005, so roughly eight months. Interestingly, the Shadow of the Necropolis patch (patch 1.11) came out in June of 2006, so in the year between the first and last raids of classic WoW we saw MC, Onyxia, BWL, Zul Gurub, Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, Temple of Ahn'Qiraj and finally Naxxramas. All of these raids released between July of 2005 and June 2006. Not all of these raids were replacements for previous ones - Blackwing Lair and AQ 40 were considered 'sidegrades' from each other, at least until one killed C'thun, who until the release of Naxxramas had the best gear in the game. The two 20 man raids, ZG and AQ20, did not replace BWL or evn MC gear, they just provided another place to go.

Because of the way raids were structured back then it's a little misleading to compare classic's raid release schedule with our modern one. Raids were something a very few players overall did - there was no parity between smaller and larger raid sizes, no LFR, no flex (although by the time Naxxramas came out, some guilds were running MC, Onyxia and even BWL/AQ with smaller raids to maximize gear acquisition before heading into Naxx) and the only way to gear up for raids was either to be carried through said raids by geared groups and handed all the stuff they didn't want or need anymore, or to start on the ground floor and run the level 60 dungeons. The design wasn't structured around raiding being accessible or allowing a larger group of players to see these fights - raiders got to see them, and if that was 10% of the people playing the game, that's what it was.

It's interesting to look at how players react to raid content now. A commonly expressed sentiment is that Throne of Thunder, a raid first released on March 5th, 2013, has been around too long and players are eager for new content. This is a raid that has been around for six month, and will be superseded around the time it enters it's seventh. While hardly the shortest time a raid has ever had to be run through, it's not much longer than the initial tier of Mists raid content, either. Mists of Pandaria released on September 25th, 2012, meaning that from October 2012 to March 5th 2013 we only had MSV, HoF and ToES - a time of about five months. What makes five months acceptable and seven months unacceptable? Are two months that much longer to raid a zone?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: Emo Garrosh and the Hero of the Mag'har

Thrall meets his grandmother
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?

Mists of Pandaria has many great story lines: the emergence of the Sha, the Mantid war, the history of the Mogu, the Thunder King and the Zandarlari, etc. The overarching story of this expansion has been the ongoing aggression between the Alliance and the Horde, and the central figure of that conflict is Garrosh.

Patch 5.3 will bring us the beginning of the Horde's revolt against its current warchief, and presumably we will depose him with extreme prejudice in 5.4.

Garrosh's story did not begin in Mists, however, or even in Wrath of the Lich King when he led the Horde's assault on Northrend. Way back in The Burning Crusade, an outstanding quest line called Hero of the Mag'har introduced us to a very different Garrosh: a troubled young orc, helpless, hopeless, wishing for death.

If you've only ever played as Alliance, you never got to experience this chain of quests and its many great moments. For Horde players, it's well worth revisiting.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.0.3 -- The first pre-expansion event

Players zerg the Dark Portal
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?

Released on Jan. 7, 2007, patch 2.0.3 set the stage for WoW's very first expansion. One week later, The Burning Crusade officially went live. During that week, Blizzard unveiled the game's first pre-expansion event, known as The Dark Portal Opens (or Highlord Kruul Unleashed in Europe).

While perhaps not as ambitious as later in-game events, the Dark Portal offered some memorable moments -- and some valuable lessons for the game's developers. Let's take a look back!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The Queue: Good girls go bad!

The Queue Good girls go bad! THURSDAY
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Elizabeth Wachowski will be your host today.

Since we'll be discussing female villains, I figured that Betty Draper, the most hated woman on basic cable other than Lori from The Walking Dead, would be an appropriate illustration. I used to think that Betty was the absolute worst, but a few conversations with coworkers made me realize that she's really no worse of a human being than Don. So she's cold and manipulative? Well, she's an isolated housewife married to a philandering, lying workaholic. Do we tend to forgive Don more than Betty because he's the hero of Mad Men? Or does Don Draper's handsomeness erase all sins for many fans? Yes, Mom, I'm talking to you.

sergel92 asked:

What major female baddies are there in WoW? There's Azshara, obviously, and Onyxia too, I guess. But who else could be major enough to get her own expansion, or at least her own patch?

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Pre-Black Friday: Amazon offers The Burning Crusade free with WoW purchase

As part of its Prelude to Black Friday Deals Week, Amazon.com is offering The Burning Crusade for free to people who purchase World of Warcraft through the website. Right now, The Burning Crusade is retailing for $29.82 at Amazon, so if you're looking to get that for free, pick up a $19.75 copy of WoW. That's a pretty damn good deal, especially for people getting into the new Cataclysm leveling experience that will be free for all vanilla WoW players.

Check out Amazon's Prelude to Black Friday deal here.

Filed under: News items, The Burning Crusade

Buff(ing) for BlizzCon: It begins

This is a guest post written by ShrinkGeek contributor Rafe Brox. Get in shape in time for BlizzCon along with the WoW.com crew!

If there's one thing that Blizzard does well, it's build anticipation for upcoming events. And, other than the release of upcoming expansions, nothing gets players going like BlizzCon itself. With it being six months away, it's certainly not too early to begin thinking about going, but that brings with it logistical and social considerations. I'll leave the logistics to someone in the hospitality or travel industry; however, for anyone who wants to make a killer impression on their fellow gamers, this column is for you.

Welcome to Buff(ing) for BlizzCon, a bi-weekly guide to getting in shape, brought to you by the fitness freaks at ShrinkGeek. To quote Hanz and Franz, "Vee ahr goink to pahmp joo ahp!"

Keen observers of this space may be saying to themselves, "Hey, wait a minute... that sounds a little familiar." You would be absolutely correct.

That said, (re-)introductions are probably in order.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Guest Posts

Spiritual Guidance: A new look

Every Sunday, Spiritual Guidance reverts to "lovey-dovey" heal mode by the hands of priestess Dawn Moore. This week she has set aside her differences with Fox Van Allen, her dark counterpart, so that she can peacefully enjoy dumplings and fair weather. She hopes that he enjoys the fruit basket she sent him. The cyanide in the apples shouldn't be a problem for a master of darkness such as himself to digest. Right?

As I alluded to in my analysis of the Cataclysm priest preview last week, I will be taking a departure from my typical column this week on Spiritual Guidance. Instead of a guide or current event, I'd like to take some time to examine the priest class with a wider perspective. My analysis from Thursday was a response to the pinpoints of Blizzard's preview; this article, on the other hand, will examine the class from a broad design perspective. My hope in doing this is to get readers thinking about our class and the game differently and, in turn, start an ongoing discussion of where it could go.

Why do this? Because Cataclysm is approaching, and now is the time, if there ever was one, to suggest things we would like to see change. Blizzard is most likely to listen to strong and constructive ideas we put forth now, and I think it's valuable to get you guys in on the discussion. Now is the time to speak up!

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Know Your Lore: Current Horde politics - the Orcs

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.

Now that we're done with the dragonflights coverage, it's time to move on to other, more... explosive topics of conversation. Yes, that was a thinly veiled attempt at a Cataclysm reference. With the events of Cataclysm, both the Alliance and the Horde are due for some shake-ups, but it's the Horde that stands in a particularly shaky position, politically speaking. Cataclysm promises to shake up not just the physical world, but the political world of the Horde as we currently know it -- so I'll be taking a look at each of the Horde races, what they've been up to in the World of Warcraft, and why Cataclysm may do much more than simply set the Alliance and the Horde at odds.

Today's topic, the orcs -- the green-skinned Draenor natives that have established a foothold and a home on Azeroth, for better or for worse, and founded the current Horde as we know it today. While rumors are just that, rumors for now, they're well founded in current events and lore regarding the orcs and quite frankly, the rumors do not surprise me in the least. To begin, let's go back to the beginning of the current Horde and talk a little bit about their leader, their savior, the orc behind all the current stress the Horde is experiencing -- Thrall.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

NetEase loses WoW director, Li Riqiang



World of Warcraft
in China continues to walk a rocky path. NetEase, the company currently licensed to operate WoW's The Burning Crusade expansion in China, lost Li Riqiang, a senior director for the WoW business unit on the 24th of February, 2010. There is no word on why he left, and the company is keeping mum on details about the departure and his replacement.

This comes on the heels of a 62% jump in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2009 generated since NetEase was able to light up the TBC servers after resolving their disputes with the government, which had prevented them from launching the service in China until September 2009. That revenue increase was accompanied by lower profit margins, however, as NetEase must pay hefty licensing fees to Activision Blizzard.

The fact that there are still Chinese players who are willing to play an obsolete and no longer maintained version of the game is a little strange to me-- many Chinese players simply started over on Taiwanese servers. Judging by the amount of red tape that's being wrapped around anything to do with Blizzard, I suspect we'll see Cataclysm released before Chinese players can play Wrath of the Lich King without connecting to a server in Taiwan.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, The Burning Crusade

Breakfast Topic: What did you miss?


I've been playing WoW for almost the entire length of its existence at this point. As a result, I often take some things for granted. So last night, when a friend asked me if I wanted to try and 2 man some BC raid content, I decided to go along on my DK, who (of course) has never really gotten to see any of it. The instance we chose ended up being Zul'Aman, an instance we raided frequently from the moment it was released until it was no longer relevant with the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. We remember some of the fights being insanely difficult for a group of 10 raiders in Kara gear and the slow feeling of progress as we geared up in ZA itself, SSC, TK and then moved on to BT and Hyjal.

What we didn't really expect is how much different the place would feel 10 levels later, both of us geared in Ulduar/ToTC 10/25 gear, and playing possibly the strongest tank and healer combination possible. To say we destroyed the place would not be inaccurate: only Hex Lord Malacrass was a significant challenge due to his ability to use Soul Siphon to acquire healing abilities that a DK/Druid combo just couldn't purge off of him. (Trust me, Hex Lord with Mark of Blood? Extremely nasty. Follow that up with him spamming Rejuvenation on himself and he can get to full health from almost dead. It took us 10 minutes to kill him.)

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Expansions

Loot, rationality, and the Sunwell effect


Here at WoW Insider we don't always agree with each other. Whether it's debating the merits of various tanks on different encounters, the damage difference between pure and hybrid DPS classes, the ideal function of a particular healing class in raids, or the superiority of cake over pie, our back-channel discussion tends to be pretty interesting.

Eliah Hecht's article "25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear" sparked a lot of great discussion with our readers and, I think, some illuminating poll results as well. The majority of responders believed that giving 10-man and 25-man raids the same loot table would result in a significant drop in popularity for 25-man raiding. Overall, I tend to agree with this, but I also think that Eliah touched on something that speaks to Blizzard's evolving sense of game design, much of which is evident in the transition between late Burning Crusade and Wrath.

I would like to call this the Sunwell effect, or "ingame rationality." To wit: don't incentivize players to behave in a manner contrary to your actual design interests. I believe this played a huge role in the differences between BC and Wrath raiding, and that it underlies why the 25-man loot table has to remain superior to its 10-man counterpart.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Raiding

Waging the war against "lorelol"


So, as you might guess, knowing my previous background, I read WoW-related forums a lot. Old habits die hard, strapping young talbuks need to read a lot, and given that my career path is in Community at game companies, it pays to know what game communities (all of them) are saying. I obviously tend to gravitate toward games and topics that hold my interest (game design, indie games) or games for which I have a particular fondness (sup Aquaria, luv u baby gurl; yo Cave Story, holla back), but I'll read pretty much anything about a game as long as I can follow it.

And I'm gonna be straight with you, WoW community. You guys are incredibly fickle when it comes to lore, and it breaks my two-sizes-too-big heart to read your ramblings about how Blizzard "doesn't care" about it.

I examined the sitch in detail and I'm ready for you to apologize and mend the error of your ways once you've perused my summary of why you mean well, wrong though you are, when you use the phrase "lorelol". I've made charts and graphs that should finally make it clear--I've prepared a lecture.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, RP, Wrath of the Lich King

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The Year 2008


At this time last year, I wrote about the launch of The Burning Crusade and rage normalization as the big, defining change in the warrior class. Let there be no mistake. Even two years later I am still furious at rage normalization. I was so angry then that I picked normalization over expertise as the big change to the class, which in a way was fair, as it wasn't clear yet just how important expertise would be for both DPS and tanking warriors. At this point last year, I was a tanking warrior finishing up 10 man content and moving into 25 mans: I had just completed my first full ZA clear the week before, if I remember correctly.

Fast forward a year: I've gained 10 levels, I'm DPS, we've cleared all 10 and 25 man content and are waiting for Ulduar. The game has changed and I've changed substantially with it, my role, my play time, even my guild is different than it was a year ago. Rather than do what I did last year and focus on one change, let's take some time to look at 8 changes (yes, in honor of the year) that have really changed the warrior class. None of these changes is meant to be any more or less important. The first one I list isn't the ultimate change and neither is the last (well, technically yes, the last is the ultimate because that's what ultimate means, last, but you understand the colloquial meaning of the word) these are just eight very important (to my eyes, at least) changes to warriors that took place in the past year.

Now that we've stomped that explanation into the ground, let us discuss warriors in 2008.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, The Burning Crusade, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King

Guildwatch: The calm before the Storm Peaks


We've come upon the time we most dreaded here at GW: when guilds are done with the old endgame, and not quite yet into the new endgame. The drought will be over in a week or two (and actually, we've still got lots of news after the break anyway), but in the meantime, if you're one of the few guilds breaking into the new endgame (or especially know about some good post-BC drama), please do drop us an email at wowguildwatch@gmail.com. We have a feeling that thanks to the expansion and the holidays, it's going to get slow, so the more news you've got for us, the better.

Meanwhile, find this week's downed, drama, and recruiting (lots of recruiting news this week) news from around the realms all over the break. And have a great Turkey day from all of us at GW!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

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