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Posts with tag cataclysm

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 This is a raid that has been around for six month, and will be superseded around the time it enters it's seventh.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

The Queue: Oh no, look what you've done

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

There's a bit of a rant at the end of today's Queue. Enjoy?

SkarnWoW asked:

Are there new crafting patterns in 5.2? If so, what materials do they use? Will Blood Spirits still be useful for progression or only for catching up alts and new/returning players?

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Filed under: The Queue

WoW goes on sale in the EU and the US

WoW goes on sale in the EU, US sure to follow
As of today, in preparation for patch 5.2, all of WoW has gone on sale! The world's gamers can pick up the entire game at a huge discount, as posted today.

Blizzard
The Thunder King's return looms on the horizon, and to prepare for the storm, Blizzard has just slashed prices on all World of Warcraft games by up to 70%! Now is the time to recruit your friends to begin their epic quest in Azeroth. But hurry-this deal ends February 25.

Price in pound sterling is £4 for Battle Chest, £6 for Cataclysm and £15 for Mists of Pandaria.


Do note that these prices are correct for the digital versions, as physical products are currently unavailable from the EU Blizzard Store. If it's physical versions you're after, and you're in the EU, then the US Blizzard Store with the associated delivery charges and potential for import duty is your only option. But exercise caution, and ensure that any game purchased can be played in your region.

The US sale offers the Battle Chest for $5, Cataclysm for $10, and Mists of Pandaria for $20. US players can get either the boxed version or the digital version for this price.

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard releases excerpt from upcoming Dawn of the Aspects

Blizzard releases excerpt from upcoming Dawn of the Aspects
If you're curious about the upcoming novel Dawn of the Aspects, Blizzard has just released an excerpt on its official site. The book, which will release part 1 on February 19, follows Kalegos on a journey to the past -- specifically, to the days before the Aspects were Aspects, and Galakrond still flew the skies of Northrend. It's a tale about the creation of the Aspects, and the history of dragonkind.

More importantly, while Kalecgos is observing events of the past, he's doing so from the standpoint of the future -- the days after Deathwing's defeat. While the ending of Dragon Soul was definitely interesting, it raised far more questions than it answered. What happens to the dragonflights, not that they've lost their powers? What purpose do they serve in the world, and how can they continue to make a difference in this so-called Age of Mortals?

Richard Knaak is an excellent choice for the novel, especially given his history with writing nearly every prior tale involving the Aspects and their history. The excerpt shown on Blizzard's official site is interesting, and even the small piece that we're shown holds valuable information regarding Galakrond, his history, and how it compares to the history we've been told so far. Suffice it to say, not everything is exactly as it has seemed, and the miniseries may clear up a giant chunk of Azeroth's history that to date has been left unexplained.

Head to the official site to read the excerpt, and don't forget to get your copy of the ebook when it releases on February 19.


Filed under: News items, Lore

We don't need daily quests anymore

We don't need daily quests anymore
I think I've firmly established that I really love doing quests, and that I'm fine with daily quests as a whole. Sure, some of them may have had their moments of extreme frustration, but by and large the daily quest system in Mists of Pandaria is pretty entertaining. But while it's entertaining to me, and it's fine with some players, there are others who cannot stand the system. They hate daily quests. The sight of a blue exclamation point is a source of constant irritation.

And it doesn't really matter how you wrap up that package, it's still going to be annoying content that players feel they must complete in order to be competitive. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to matter what is tied to the system, or if it offers rewards of value, like Lesser Charms or valor points. Adding the value to the daily quest system doesn't make completing the quests any more compelling, it just makes them another chore that must be completed.

Which is why daily quests need to go away.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Are our Cataclysm attitudes ruining Mists?

Are our Cataclysm attitudes ruining Mists
Back in Cataclysm, the world was a very different place. While the journey from 80 to 85 was certainly a little tiresome, with the obligatory travel through Deepholm bringing many a draenei to their oddly-shaped knees, once that achievement flashed across your screen you were home and dry.

Gearing a character for raiding was a predictable and straightforward task. Get a few bits and jump into the latest 5-mans, which were very easy and certainly achievable with PvP gear, as long as you were one of the classes that didn't do too badly from it. Preferably not a plate tank, then!

If you were adamant that cheaty PvP-based gearing wasn't for you, you could just run a few of the normals and earlier heroics, such as the Zul'roics or even the ones before, to get yourself geared to an acceptable level for the 4.3 heroics. What's more, your main could send your alts decent, current gear with their inevitable glut of valor points, and your justice points bought you the previous tier's gear.

Why the Cataclysm retrospective? As a reminder of how easy it was, in Cataclysm's twilight hours, to level and gear alts to a raid-ready level, or, for that matter, to a competitive PvP level. Quite apart from the ease, it was really the only thing left to do, after months upon months of Dragon Soul.

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

Dawn of the Aspects Part 1 to release February 2013

Dawn of the Aspects Part 1 to release February 2013
Part one of World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects will see its release a little later than previous reported at NYCC last year. Simon & Schuster currently has the release date set for February 19, 2013. Unlike previous Warcraft novels, Dawn of the Aspects will be released in parts as an ebook rather than a print novel. Part one will be available for $1.99, with four more parts to follow over the coming year. And for those that can't wait, we've got an exclusive look at the full cover for the upcoming novel after the break.

Penned by Richard Knaak, Dawn of the Aspects explores the relationship between the proto-drakes of Northrend and the Aspects of here and now. Even though Deathwing has been taken care of and the Hour of Twilight has been halted, the question of what comes next for the Dragon Aspects is still unanswered. With their powers expended, how can any of the Aspects, or even dragonkind for that matter, hope to still make a difference in the world?

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Filed under: News items, Lore

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