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Posts with tag caverns-of-time

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Timelines, timeways, and Karazhan

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.

What is time, in Warcraft? Is it a straightforward line, or a tapestry of events that can be changed or altered with a simple pluck of a thread? While the bronze dragonflight may be masters of the various pathways of time, we mortal players are most definitely not. We've been sent through the pathways of the Caverns of Time on more than one occasion, but always at the behest of the bronze flight, to complete the tasks they have set and keep the timelines pristine.

But this mysterious maze of time wasn't left unexplored prior to our travels through Tanaris. Obviously the bronze dragonflight has been up to a great deal over the thousands of years that it has existed -- Nozdormu's long absence predated even our first journeys through the Caverns of Time. And for one player in the next expansion, time had absolutely nothing to do with the dragonflights, and much more to do with the mysterious home of his enigmatic master, Medivh. So how does it all weave together?

More importantly, when is time travel not really time travel at all, as the developers seemed to be so insistent on saying at BlizzCon?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains a small amount of speculation on datamined material. 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

What If: Shadows of the Assassin

What If Shadows of the Assassin
When we last left off with the what-if challenges, Rossi wrote up a perfectly delightful idea for the premise of Shandris Feathermoon being a main antagonist for an expansion, then left me with the notorious half-orc assassin Garona Halforcen for my next challenge. One would think it'd be easy enough to build an expansion around someone who makes a habit of stabbing people, but Garona has essentially been a non-entity since we last saw her, briefly, in the Twilight Highlands.

Her absence from the final fight with Cho'gall was noticeable. One would think that she'd be more than happy to pitch in and help defeat the creature that had been controlling her the majority of her life, forcing her to do things that colored her fate in such a way that she's been forced into hiding. Yet ... Garona wasn't there. In fact, she's all but disappeared. Which makes one wonder ... how much of Garona is, in fact, Garona -- and what would she do if given the unique opportunity to change her fate?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Things I wish would return to World of Warcraft

It's inevitable that as the game progresses, some elements are lost. Story elements work to a conclusion, gameplay elements are left by the wayside. The game changes. We can't and shouldn't constantly strive for the game to return to yesterday, but there are some elements of the past that deserve re-examination and perhaps a return to the game. Especially if they can be returned without disrupting what we already have.

So to prove that even I have a nostalgia core here is my contribution to the discussion, a list of things I would like to see make some form of return to World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

A wish list for features in 5.2 or beyond

A wish list for features in 52 or beyond
I'm greedy. Oh, not in a monetary sense - I'm notoriously bad at even pretending to care about money - but whenever Blizzard puts out a cool new feature it immediately gets me thinking about other cool new features I'd like to see added to the game. I know, I know, I should be happy with what I have. But since I'm not, here comes a list of features I wish they'd add to World of Warcraft, be it in patch 5.2 or in some future patch.

All of these are based purely on my selfish desires, and are in now way promised or even hinted at by Blizzard, so please don't start asking Blizzard why they haven't delivered on any of them. That would be like going to McDonald's and demanding that Bacon Sausage Egg McMuffin (with Canadian Bacon) that I dreamed up when I was 20. Seriously, how has that never actually been a thing? My cardiovascular health dodged a bullet there.

The Revenge for Southshore battleground/World PvP hub

Seriously, how is it this hasn't happened yet? It seems like a natural to me. While the World PvP might be a bit too disruptive to leveling characters (relatively easily fixed with a phasing change, but it might be better to just make it a battleground up front) the actual idea seems simple enough - Alliance landing craft disgorge a massive force on the beaches south of the ruined Southshore and begin their push north. As players, we either defend Tarren Mill, or take part in the drive for revenge northward. Victory is achieved by claiming a series of important strategic points and then taking the other faction's starting zone and successfully destroying it. Perhaps it's just nostalgia for all the times we ran into Tarren Mill back in the day only to discover we couldn't really do anything, but I'd love to finally set it on fire.

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

Patch 4.3 PTR: New achievements uncovered

Darkmoon Faire
Our friends over at Wowhead have uncovered the first batch of new patch 4.3 achievements, and there are some pretty awesome ones. Most of them refer to either new holiday content (primarily Winter Veil and Midsummer Fire Festival) or the new Darkmoon Faire, although there are a few achievements from the new dungeons.

Be warned that the titles and descriptions of these achievements may contain spoilers. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • That's Not Canon! comes from defeating a certain boss in the Caverns of Time in a certain manner. A bit of a thumbed nose at people who don't like all this time travel? Maybe, but the title's hilarious enough that I can't stop chuckling.
  • A-Caroling We Will Go Now this is how you spread Winter Veil cheer. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to don my gaudiest sweater and break some Orcish eardrums.
  • I Was Promised a Pony Looks like our good friend Ghostcrawler got some achievement naming duties this time around. You can't deny it forever, Greg. It's true, and you know it. We are still waiting.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: News items, Achievements

Patch 4.3: Blizzard's official preview of the End Time heroic dungeon

After the round of interviews about Patch 4.3 last night, Blizzard has released a preview of the first in the upcoming linked, thematic Caverns of Time dungeons that we'll be exploring in our efforts to defeat Deathwing once and for all: End Time. It's a doozy.

Unlike previous CoT instances, this one sends the players into the future after Deathwing wins, to help Nozdormu find the reason he's blocked from accessing the past -- specifically, to the time before the Demon Soul was hidden by Malfurion. Along the way, you're forced to battle various former Horde and Alliance leaders, now reduced to echoes of their former sanity, and then the mysterious, malefic maestro of madness Murozond, an anomaly in the timestream not even Nozdormu can unravel.

Check out all the screenshots and get a preview of the experience at the official site, already. Not even a Volkswagen Beetle van full of heavily armed people could stop me now.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Lore, Cataclysm

Patch 4.3: Epic gems and more on the Deathwing encounter from Ghostcrawler

Plaintively waiting for epic gems? They're on the way in patch 4.3 -- and the mechanic to obtain them is a little different this time around, according to Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, aka Ghostcrawler. In an interview with Tankspot, Ghostcrawler clarified how those epic gems are going to work.

"The way we're hoping to set it up, and we kind of have this working but things could change before we go live, is when you kill a boss on normal or heroic mode, each player gets a geode, and when they open the geode there's a chance they may find an epic gem inside. If not, it'll have blue gems or something like that," he said. Along with the scoop on epic gems, Ghostcrawler talked a bit about the upcoming legendary daggers and how they will work, as well as the Deathwing encounter.

For those wondering if the Deathwing encounter will be challenging, it certainly appears so -- and Deathwing himself will change from how we've seen him so far in game. Rather than the plate-wearing, mammoth-chinned beast we're accustomed to seeing, Deathwing will be hurt and resemble something Ghostcrawler calls "Cthulhu Deathwing." The entry for the Deathwing raid will be in the Caverns of Time, along with all other 4.3 instances.

For more on the Deathwing encounter, epic gems, tank threat and other 4.3 information, check out Tankspot's full interview.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Patch 4.1 PTR: The story moves forward

Patch 4.1 offers us more than the return of a couple of awesome old raids as new 5-man instances, we also have a host of new phased content to consider. Over at MMO-Champion, there are some interesting tidbits that have been datamined for our consideration. What are they, you ask? I'm glad you did.

In addition to various clues about the new instances and what they might contain, we're also treated to a list of various phased events. Someone named Tarecgosa will be involved in events at Coldarra (we have some sort of intro hinted at twice), which could mean the Blue Flight is finally getting ready to pick a new leader. Meanwhile, the Firelands opens up with new dailies, and Anachronos finally decides it is his time to return to the Caverns of Time, perhaps opening up the War of the Ancients raid we've been teased about.

It definitely looks like the Cataclysm is kicking it up a notch in patch 4.1, but much remains to be answered. Why are ZG and ZA making a return now? Are we finally going to find out what Hakkar the Soulflayer has to do with Hakkar the Houndmaster? (I ask this because if ZG is back at the same time that we're being sent back to the War of the Ancients; that's a big coincidence.) Will we finally get to see Neltharion's fall into madness and transformation into Deathwing? This should all be very interesting.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Cataclysm

New Caverns of Time instance coming in Cataclysm

The recent Twitter dev chat confirmed what is fast becoming a tradition: We will be getting a new Caverns of Time instance with the upcoming expansion. It's certainly not something I have much trouble with. The Caverns of Time are an excellent tool for looking back and understanding old pieces of the story that brought us to the current world as it is. Unfortunately, the devs were not willing to drop any hints as to the exact nature of the new instance, but we can, of course, make our own guesses.

The original questioner suggests War of the Ancients as a possible destination. In a way, that might be an interesting battle. It would, if nothing else, give us some insight into the character of Malfurion Stormrage, who promises to be a key figure in the expansion. That said, Rhonin, Broxigar, and Krasus have already traveled back in time to deal with the War of the Ancients, and you'd have to think that if you keep shoveling more time travelers back there, something's bound to give.

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Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: Cull Stratholme faster than ever before

The dungeon finder has really changed what players get excited about the most in the World of Warcraft. It's a strange world when one of the most anticipated updates to the game is the ability to tell Arthas to shut his yap. No, we don't mean kill him in Icecrown, we really do mean telling him to shut the hell up. Just in case you missed it in the patch notes we posted a little while ago, there's this waiting for us in patch 3.3.3:
  • Culling of Stratholme: Players may now skip the initial introduction dialog to this dungeon once they have completed it at least once.
The pre-Culling of Stratholme dialogue is really cool to experience the first few times, but after that it just starts to feel like a waste of time. The dungeon finder made it even worse, because as awesome as it is, it eliminated some of the social stigma of ditching a group early. Oculus and Culling of Stratholme are the two instances I can always expect some dip to drop from. Hopefully this change and the deserter debuff becoming 30 minutes will discourage that sort of behavior.

Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Fun with time travel

I was inspired by the time travel talk from last Friday's The Queue. If you were able to kill Arthas while doing the Culling of Stratholme; you would prevent him from becoming The Lich King, but would cause a much faster spread of the plague. It reminded me of this great piece of short fiction, where going back in time to kill Hitler prevents time travel from becoming possible and is therefore strictly forbidden.

I'd like to go back in time and help Mankrik's Wife escape her violent and lonely death. Do we really need another reason to slaughter those nasty boar humanoids? Besides, I bet she had some really great quests that we missed out on.

If you could go back in WoW time and change something, what would it be? What do you think the ramifications of your change would be?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Catnap


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco be your host today.

I am tired, folks. Here is your Queue.


D-Back asked...

"What happened to AAFL? Is Sacco slacking off now due to his new Editor title and new shammy column? I enjoyed the AAFL articles."

Ask a Faction Leader is, for serious, coming back this Tuesday. Vol'Jin will be the titular faction leader. Email your questions to sacco@wow.com, subject line "AAFL".

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Filed under: The Queue

"Zero lore. Maximum fun." with Onxyia back in town

When the news first broke yesterday about Onyxia returning to her status as a raid boss, I, probably like many of you, went into lore-generation overdrive. She's dead in the comic (Varian Wrynn decided her head didn't so much belong with her body any more), so how was she going to be a raid boss? I stabbed at ideas: she's in the Caverns of Time! Arthas could resurrect her as a Frostwyrm of some kind!

Fortunately, cooler lore-heads (Ziebart and Sacco) prevailed: they pointed out to me this comment by Maxim in the original post: "Zero lore. Maximum fun. HOORAY!" That perfectly sums up why Blizzard is doing this: there's no lore reason or explanation behind it, it's just a straight up fun thing for us to do to celebrate the five-year anniversary. Bornakk makes it official: Ony is still dead, and she's not coming back. This is a one-time thing on the 5th anniversary.

While, unfortunately, that may destroy some dreams about seeing similar old-world content come back to life (at least until the 10th anniversary, when we'll probably see Molten Core updated for the level 100 15-man raiding scheme -- drool), it means that there's no thinking involved about why Onyxia's back. She's back, we get to raid the original raid and pick up some great loot while doing it. Zero lore. Maximum fun.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Lore, NPCs

The (lack of) reality in the Caverns of Time

I've always considered the Caverns of Time to be like the theme park of Azeroth -- as we've discussed before, there aren't really any reasons to go to some of those instances in the first place, and the whole thing seems just so ludicrous. If we wipe, or we don't go in there, and Thrall isn't able to escape Durnholde or Arthas isn't able to murder Stratholme or any of the other premises they have set up, then wouldn't the world as we know it change? It seems like fan service -- Blizzard wants us to visit these great parts of lore, and it just seems to me like they've cooked up a weak story around getting us there.

Which is why I was surprised to read this post over on Mystic Chicanery. They argue that the Caverns of Time are actually the most "real" of all the instances in the game. If we go into Utgarde Pinnacle, for example, and murder King Ymiron, there's no reason why he should be in there again the next time we head in. And yet he is -- we can go in and murder him time and time again, doing the same thing, and getting loot every single time. But in CoT, there's a logical explanation for why the instances are always the same: to the people we're encountering in the instances, it's the first time we've met them. From the outside world, the CoT instances may seem strange (the first time I was in Durnholde, we wiped with Thrall, and I jokingly checked with my guild to see if Thrall was still standing in Orgrimmar, alive and well -- he was), but inside the continuity of those instances, they work.

Of course, we do still get different loot from it every time, as the MC post notices. But it is quite a thought: even though the Caverns of Time instances are the ones in the game that seem to least need us messing around in there, they also might just be the most logical.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Lore, Bosses

Wrath of the Who?

I love this comic from the very talented miggy over at WoW Ladies, not only because it's funny, but because she's got a point. Back when the Battle for Mount Hyjal instance in the Caverns of Time appeared in game, we all wondered why we were going there in the first place -- unlike the other CoT instances, there were no dragons to fight or strange factions messing with the continuum. All that could happen in there is that we'd screw everything up and ruin time as we know it (and given all the wipes that went on in there, we probably did). But with the Argent Tournament, Blizzard seems to have gone even further: not only is there no clear reason for us to do it, but we're actually ignoring the threat at hand.

As you know if you've read Sacco's excellent (and completely spoilerrific) guides to the Coliseum raid and the Tournament 5-man, there is a tacked-on reason we're doing all of this stuff, and it's that the Horde and Alliance want to send their strongest people to go after Arthas, and the Tournament is a way of sussing out who's most worthy. But though that makes for some great lore cutscenes, doesn't it still undermine Arthas' strength? How powerful can the guy be if there are so many people lining up to kill him we have to fight over it?

Don't get me wrong, we're definitely looking forward to the Coliseum, and it's definitely brought some interesting things and rewards to the game. Just like CoT, in the light of the lore and the MMO genre at large, it's a great addition. But it is funny that the great Lich King's main tactic seems to be to have us fight it out between ourselves way before we ever bother taking a shot at him.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Lore, Bosses, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

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