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Posts with tag cataclysm

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Twists in time

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition Twists in time
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.

Two weeks ago, we looked briefly at the Timewalkers and the strange goings-on on the Timeless Isle. Since then, players that have been dutifully completing Kairoz's weekly quests have reached the end of the mysterious visions Kairoz has been trying to pinpoint -- with some disturbing results and implications. In fact, the whole mad journey has been a steady trickle of unanswered questions and dizzying scenarios that might or might not be true. Or perhaps they're all true, just in different versions of reality.

And that's the bronze dragonflight in a nutshell. It's a headache-inducing puzzle of events that might have been, have been, never been, and may have meant to be but hadn't, that can't quite be untangled. Led by Nozdormu, the bronze dragonflight's missive has always been to protect and observe the pathways of time. The Titans gifted Nozdormu with the knowledge of when and how he would die as a warning, a lesson -- that no matter how powerful Nozdormu might think he was, he, just like any mortal, would have to answer to time eventually. This was meant to keep the Timeless One in check, an effective plan.

But did it really work?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on how it happened. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for events on the Timeless Isle.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Mists of Pandaria on sale for $19.99 at Amazon, Gamestop

Get Mists of Pandaria on sale for $1999
Could you use a second copy of Mists of Pandaria? Do you know a friend who can? Right now, the latest World of Warcraft expansion is on sale at both Amazon and Gamestop for $19.99 -- not a bad price at all for the newest iteration of the game. And if you pick up the latest version of World of Warcraft on the Blizzard Store, the $20 program now includes the Cataclysm expansion. That nets you all expansions for $40, which is a pretty good deal as far as holiday gifts for gamer friends go.

Speaking of which, this is also a really opportune and inexpensive way to get yourself set up for the newly revamped Recruit-A-Friend program that should be starting at some point hopefully in the near future. Remember, the new system will be rewarding tokens that can be traded in for a variety of different rewards, so it might just be worth snapping up the game now while it's still on sale. You can head to either Amazon or Gamestop to pick up your copy.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft's base package now includes Cataclysm

World of Warcraft now includes all expansions up to Cataclysm
The game package formerly known as the World of Warcraft Battle Chest is now simply called World of Warcraft and has added Cataclysm to its base offering. All current players who do not already own Cataclysm will be automatically upgraded. The new box as seen above will be available in retail stores soon, with the digital download version already available on the US store.

This change should coincide quite nicely with the upcoming Recruit-A-Friend revamp and make the cost of entry more manageable for new players or those wanting to set up a secondary account.

Filed under: Blizzard

Enter to win World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn

Enter to win World of Warcraft Bloodsworn
Patch days full of new content to play are always good, but why don't we make this patch day just a little bit better? We've got not one, but two copies of World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn to give away, and today seems like the best day to do it! This brand-new graphic novel from DC Comics follows the adventures of a motley group of individuals brought together under the banner of the Horde. Written by Doug Wagner and featuring artwork by Jheremy Raapack, the book clocks in at a solid 152 pages jammed full of action.

Thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, we've got a couple of these graphic novels to give away. Take a look at our spoiler-free review if you'd like more information on the graphic novel -- while the events in the story take place shortly after Cataclysm, the book is very much worth the read and an even better addition to your bookshelf.

Interested? To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. ET, Tuesday, September 17, 2013. You must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec). You can only enter once. Two winners will be chosen at random and we will contact you via whatever method you've used to comment. Official rules here.


Filed under: Blizzard, Contests

Leveling a time capsule

Leveling a time capsule
I still remember the first day I played this game on live servers, even though it's been nearly nine years since I looked at the login screen and tried to muddle out what to pick. Friends of mine had already made an Alliance guild and encouraged me to join them. When I mentioned I wanted to play a rogue, I was told that they really needed healers, not rogues. However, my friend suggested I roll a druid, as they could not only heal, but they could turn into a cat and stealth around like a rogue does. That seemed suitable to me, so I rolled a night elf druid, logged in and began to play.

Several months and sixty levels later, that experience remains full of fond memories of endless frustration with the class and how it played. It absolutely did not help that giant improvements for that class were rolled out in a patch shortly after I hit 60. I rolled Horde, and the rest is history ... or it was, anyway. The druid remained at level 60, years after I hit 70, 80, 85 and 90, frozen in a distinct period of time. Several months ago, while idly looking at the login screen and pondering what to play, I decided to actually level the druid and get it caught up. Furthermore, I decided to make the trip without heirloom gear -- after all, it didn't exist when I originally played the character.

This is the story of a peculiar alt that used to be a main, and what happens when you crack open a time capsule from 2005.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion

Bloodsworn graphic novel now available

Bloodsworn
Lore fans will likely be happy to hear that Bloodsworn, the companion graphic novel to Dark Riders, is now available. While Dark Riders, released earlier this year, told the story of the eponymous Dark Riders we met through quests in Darkshire, Bloodsworn is the tale of a small band of disparate Horde warriors determined to prove their worth to their new warchief: Garrosh Hellscream.

Yes, the graphic novel requires going back in time just a tad; it's set shortly after the start of Cataclysm, and as our own Anne Stickney pointed out in her review it invites a bit of wistful nostalgia as a result. Depending on your perspective you may or may not enjoy that aspect of it. Nonetheless, if you're a fan of Blizzard's ancillary products, it's certainly worth checking out. You can grab it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Blizzard Store.

Filed under: News items, Lore

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

Review of World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn

Review of World of Warcraft Bloodsworn
Much like its counterpart Dark Riders, World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn is long, long overdue. Luckily, those that have been waiting for the new graphic novel from writer Doug Wagner don't have long to wait -- Bloodsworn will be released next Tuesday, August 27. While Dark Riders tackled some of the Alliance characters introduced in the 2009 special issue of the Warcraft comic series, Bloodsworn tackles the Horde characters introduced in the final edition.

Although Dark Riders dove headfirst into familiar waters for those that follow Warcraft lore, Bloodsworn takes a different road entirely, giving us a behind the scenes glimpse of Garrosh's Horde. Taking place shortly after Cataclysm, Bloodsworn follows the tale of several different Horde characters, brought together and united to investigate and uncover the motives and actions of a seemingly new breed of centaur that are intent on wiping the Horde from the face of Azeroth.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Is gearing the game, or does it get in the way?

Is gearing the game, or does it get in the way
I've spent a lot of time thinking about gear lately. PvP gear, specifically, how it's changed, and how it compares to PvE gear. I've also been thinking about my fairly awful gear-related luck, in both my guild's raids and the raid finder, and looking back to earlier tiers when, thanks in part to not being quite so busy, I've been far higher in the gear curve far earlier in the tier.

As part of my post-grad studies, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time looking at the psychology of gaming. One of the theories on how games like WoW keep people interested, and a good theory at that, was one revolving around breadcrumbs. Like a trail of breadcrumbs, WoW offers the player lots of small, reachable rewards. Nothing so big that you feel like you're done, but lots of small things that aren't too hard to get to. Perhaps those things are in pursuit of something bigger, but they happen fairly regularly. Think of valor points, for example. A little additional reward for completing straightforward tasks. Reputation is another good example. Or leveling, be it a character or a profession.

Gear is much the same, it is the carrot that remains only slightly out of reach, pushing you to play just a little longer. In a PvE context, for an average player at least, you're never really done. Think of Thunderforged gear, this is an additional breadcrumb for those players who are at the top of the ladder already.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Moviewatch: An Inconvenient Expansion

Today's machinima from Lagspike Films is one you've probably seen before. Released just a few weeks before the launch of Cataclysm, An Inconvenient Expansion brings the climate change discussion to Azeroth in a humorous way.

I remember when this machinima was first released, I was suspicious that I might be watching something I would hate. I've found discussing real world issues with WoW players often ends in disaster so I was wary when I saw a character, named Al Boar, correlating the rise in global temperature to the rise in vanity pets. To my pleasant surprise though, the whole machinima never really gets too serious and the script is quite funny.

Beyond that, I love the animation in this video. When things really get started I found myself impressed with a lot of little things ... From the way the grounds splits open, to the way Deathwing's silhouette perches atop a mountain. It looks great without a lot of attention being directed toward it.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Celestials, Ancients and Aspects

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition Celestials, Ancients and Aspects
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 took a tinfoil-hat look at the Curse of Flesh and why, exactly, that strange curse came to be. We also took a look at theories behind why the Titans didn't simply wipe the Old Gods out of existence -- and in what order Azeroth's creation took place. If you haven't read last week's offering, I'd suggest doing so now, because the theories I'm going to present today tie into that material. While the Old Gods have been pointed out time and again as being on Azeroth since the dawn of time, there are other creatures with just as lengthy a history.

The Ancients are, as their name suggests, ancient -- and the Celestials of Pandaria seem to be just as ancient and wise. These creatures are all there to supposedly help the mortals of Azeroth and protect the world from harm. In the War of the Ancients, many of these odd demigods helped the kaldorei fight off the Burning Legion, and with a great deal of success. In Pandaria, the Celestials have their own curious methods of helping out the world -- after all, it was the Jade Serpent who told Emperor Shaohao of the sha, albeit indirectly.

So who are the Celestials? Who are the Ancients? And how do they tie into that weird mystery that is Azeroth?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The false memory of WoW's difficult past

The false memory of WoW past
Vanilla raiding was not mechanically more difficult than current raiding. In fact, in terms of encounter difficulty, raiding in World of Warcraft has never been as challenging to remember and execute as it is right now. Fights like Lei Shen, Twin Consorts, Iron Qon, and Durumu ask players to learn mechanics and execute awareness at a level rivaled only by fights like Mimiron's Firefighter mode. And I'm not even talking heroic difficulty for those fights. Yes, it was often harder to get 40 people together, I'm not disputing that. But that's not design difficulty, that's social difficulty. The argument that WoW was objectively harder back then is beyond absurd.

I was there for all of those raids. I've raided in vanilla, in BC, in Wrath, and in Cataclysm. I've done hard modes and heroic modes since they were introduced. I'm neither the cutting edge progression raider nor someone who raids occasionally for fun -- I've been everywhere from a raider pushing for realm firsts to one leading a semi-casual 10-man while tanking. One thing I can and will say with absolute certainty is this: every single expansion to World of Warcraft has increased the complexity of the raid design.

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

Ghostcrawler on the lessons learned in Mists

Ghostcrawler on the lessons learned in Mists
Long-term WoW Insider readers will likely remember the post-Cataclysm dissection where the developers discussed the mistakes they had made and how they planned to rectify them for future expansions. Well, a twitter user has asked Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street the same question, for Mists of Pandaria, and Ghostcrawler had the following to say in reply:

Firstly, one of the great things about Ghostcrawler is how readily he owns up to the team's mistakes here. There's no shame in getting things wrong, but maintaining that you're infallible is both irritating and generally untrue.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt?

Know Your Lore Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt
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.

As the expansion rolls on, we are lurching towards something that we've known was coming since the beta for Mists of Pandaria -- Garrosh Hellscream's downfall and the Siege of Orgrimmar. Yet what we didn't know that day that were were informed of the expansions focus, is just how the new Warchief's reign would end. And as the patches have continued to roll out, we have more of an idea and a solid picture of both the Alliance and the Horde's place in this conflict. Make no mistake, Hellscream has made far too many enemies in his short reign, both within and without.

Yet there are those who point out Garrosh's actions and the possibility that his actions may not be under his control. That perhaps he's been corrupted by the Sha while searching for power in Pandaria. Or perhaps the bones of Mannoroth that Garrosh uses as his throne still have some vestige of darkness that lingers within. Or that perhaps the Old Gods have been slowly leeching their influence into Garrosh. Regardless of the methods behind it, there are plenty of people all wondering the same thing -- is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt? Are we going to fight the Warchief, only to discover a far greater horror waiting for us?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

What's the purpose of a heroic dungeon?

What is the purpose of a heroic dungeon
One of the more volatile announcements that we've heard so far from Blizzard regarding Mists of Pandaria is the fact that Mists will not include any more 5-man dungeons. In an expansion where new content seems to be rolling out on a much faster, tighter basis than any expansion prior this seems a little bizarre to players, particularly those that enjoy dungeon-based content. Yet one of the things Mists has been doing consistently throughout the expansion is delivering a wider array of things to do. In fact, there's such a variety in endgame content that players sometimes feel legitimately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it.

But just because we aren't getting any new dungeons doesn't mean we aren't getting alternate ways to obtain all that sweet, sweet gear we know and love. Patch 5.3 will see the introduction of heroic scenarios, slightly tougher versions of the scenarios we've already seen this expansion. In addition to valor, the heroic scenarios will offer raid-finder level rewards for players that choose to participate in them -- better than any gear you'll find in a heroic dungeon at this point.

While this may seem pretty cool for some people, it does make one wonder -- what's the purpose of heroic dungeons?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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