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Posts with tag dalaran

WoW Archivist: Patch 3.0 -- Echoes of Doom

Patch 3.0.2 official poster
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 6.0 is finally upon us. Like all pre-expansion patches, it has been both invigorating and chaotic. Almost exactly six years ago, a similar patch went live to begin a new era in WoW. Blizzard called Wrath of the Lich King's pre-expansion patch "Echoes of Doom." On October 14, 2008, this third version of the game gave us the brand-new achievement system, inscription and glyphs, 51-point talent trees, the zombie plague event, and TO THE GROUND, BABY. Read on to see what WoW was like for those turbulent few weeks before Wrath of the Lich King's launch.

Dalaran, where art thou?

Through all of classic and The Burning Crusade, Dalaran sat in northern Hillsbrad, but players couldn't see it. An opaque purple dome walled off the Kirin Tor from the world at large. At the time, the enormous structure was one of the most striking landmarks in Azeroth. Although a few quests hinted at what lay beneath it, players new to the WoW universe had no idea what was there.

And then it was gone.

All that remained was a city-sized crater. I remember making a pilgrimage to this site during the 3.0 prepatch just to see it for myself. We couldn't go to Northrend yet to see the city first-hand. We had to wait for the launch of Wrath to do that. But looking at that crater certainly fired the imagination. I couldn't wait to find out what had been lurking under that dome for the first four years of the game.

I have to say, the city lived up to my high expectations.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Cory Stockton's first draft of Dalaran

We've seen quite a few of these behind the scenes peeks at Blizzard's design process, from Alex Afrasiabi's pictures of his Benediction design and the Rhok'delar pages, to these pages from Cory Stockton and Jonathan LeCraft including Death Knight and class designs.

Now Cory Stockton's back with this, an early look at how Dalaran's layout was designed.

It's striking in how familiar it is, and yet places like the Dragon Embassy (later relocated to Wyrmrest Temple), the lack of clearly demarcated Horde and Alliance sections, and the presence of the Violet Citadel as a separate instance definitely set it apart from the Dalaran we ended up with. As always, interesting to see the game that might have been.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Blizzard, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Alternate Azeroth

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.

Warlords of Draenor takes place in an alternate, splinter reality in which Garrosh Hellscream has gone back in time and prevented the leaders of the old orc clans from drinking the Blood of Mannoroth. In this version of reality, several events have changed dramatically -- leading players to ask many, many questions about alternate Azeroth, how its history has been altered, and how that changes the Azeroth we know and love today. The answer is very simple: it doesn't. Not in the slightest. That alternate Azeroth, and whatever future it may hold, has no bearing on Warlords of Draenor at all. We won't be exploring that world, and our Azeroth remains unchanged.

However, people still continue to ask. So we're going to take a little trip into that alternate reality and explore what that version of Azeroth would theoretically look like without the Dark Portal. We're going to explore this alternate world, take a look at what likely never came to pass, and what happened as a result. And then we're going to quietly put all of that away, because this is all information and events that we are not going to see in Warlords of Draenor. But it'll be nice to get it out of our systems, won't it?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation and history based on known 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

Know Your Lore: The future of the Alliance

Know Your Lore The future of the Alliance
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.

The Siege of Orgrimmar is almost upon us, and the Alliance stands strong, ready to dive in and put an end to Warchief Hellscream's reign. Along the way, they've picked up some entirely unconventional allies in Vol'jin's group of rebels, who are also insistent upon getting Garrosh out. But when the dust settles and all is said and done, if and when the Alliance prove their military superiority, take out Hellscream, and are declared the ultimate victor of what has been a very messy, bloody war, what happens next?

Does the Alliance simply go home and wait for the world to rise up with yet another threat? Do they at last attempt some kind of tentative peace treaty with Vol'jin and his group of rebels? Will Varian Wrynn take a moment of clear victory and use it to crush what remains of the Horde? Will the Alliance leave a military presence in Orgrimmar, to carefully watch and make certain events like this don't come to pass again?

What does the future for the Alliance hold, once Orgrimmar has been taken down?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

RP Inside the Kirin Tor: 'There are specialists for everything, I suppose'

Magebased guild 'There are specialists for everything, I suppose'
Dalaran remains one of the shining jewels of Azeroth. Many players make their homes in this glittering city in the sky. Horde and Alliance players alike have traditionally enjoyed the hospitality of the historically neutral Kirin Tor, who were content to cloister themselves to focus on matters of magic and learning.

But Jaina Proudmoore's politics have pulled the Kirin Tor into alignment with the Alliance. The peaceful face of Dalaran is no more. The Kirin Tor have ejected the Sunreavers from its ranks and the city itself, throwing them into the Violet Hold or killing them outright (though some managed to escaped to Silvermoon).

Roleplaying behind this volatile facade is one of WoW's most unique concept guilds, Moon Guard's Magus Senate of Dalaran. Comprised almost entirely of mages and other magic users, the guild turns magic to reflect upon arcane politics and the fireworks of world battle.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

The top 10 most beautiful spots in WoW

http://www.blogcdn.com/wow.joystiq.com/media/2013/03/map-header.jpg
World of Warcraft sometimes gets panned for its graphics, which have never been on the bleeding edge of virtual reality. This, however, was a deliberate choice on Blizzard's part, and I think it's a good one. It allows for people who are behind the hardware curve (such as myself) to enjoy the game, and the graphics' intentional cartoonishness holds up better over time than hyper-realistic renderings, which often seem horribly dated within months. More importantly, WoW's beauty hasn't suffered for it. Azeroth is stunning.

I've compiled a list of the ten spots I personally find to be most beautiful, and by spots, I truly mean spots, not entire zones. I expect many of you will have wildly differing opinions, and I look forward to reading about them. The ten locations are listed in alphabetical order by zone; there's no way I could actually order them - I would never be able to decide!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: Jaina Proudmoore and the Kirin Tor

Know Your Lore Jaina Proudmoore and the Kirin Tor SUN
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.

For most players, the Kirin Tor are simply one of many factions available during Wrath of the Lich King. They ran the city of Dalaran, once located just north of the Hillsbrad Foothills, then later relocated to Northrend. In Wrath, players both Alliance and Horde could earn reputation with the Kirin Tor -- the Kirin Tor didn't have a faction bias. They were quite happily a neutral organization, far more interested in matters of magic and learning than any political matters.

But there is far more to the story of the Kirin Tor, and to the city-state of Dalaran. And now that the Kirin Tor has a new leader, it's taking those first few steps away from neutrality and into alignment. Because of this, the Kirin Tor has stepped into a dangerous new light, one with some ethical questions that are far, far more political than one would expect from a collection of mages and intellectuals united under one banner.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Hands drenched in blood

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.

The Sin'dorei have been a presence in WoW since The Burning Crusade -- and surprisingly enough, as members of the Horde rather than members of the Alliance. This turnaround in events was largely due to the treatment of the blood elves by the Alliance during Warcraft III. Kael'thas Sunstrider watched as his people were slaughtered by the Scourge, and set out to lend a helping hand to his supposed allies, hoping that they would lend a hand in return. However, he was sent to help Garithos, a man who was -- let's face it -- incredibly racist.

And in the face of that not-quite-blatant racism, Kael'thas turned to the only people offering any sort of real alliance; the naga. While Vashj and company helped Kael'thas far more than any of his supposed Alliance allies, Garithos was happy to find an excuse to condemn the leader of the sin'dorei, and had him imprisoned in Dalaran for his supposed treasonous actions. It was this waterfall effect that eventually led to the sin'dorei's withdrawal from the Alliance, and into the arms of the Horde.

Which makes the events of patch 5.1 all the more ironically interesting ... because it's happening all over again, but wearing a slightly different face.

Please note: This Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Tides of War as well as patch 5.1 content from both Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive. If you have yet to complete these stories, you may want to veer away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Bloody-handed in Dalaran

Bloodyhanded in Dalaran
Spoilers for Operation: Shieldwall quests to follow

I wrote how a race change changed the way I viewed the Horde, especially the Dominance Offensive questing. Well, turnabout is fair play, and so I went and got my worgen through the Operation: Shieldwall quests up to the events in Dalaran. And it's funny, because I expected it to feel different, and it did. But not quite the way I'd expected.

At the end of today's questing, I had many conflicting feelings. As Matthew Rossi, the guy who writes these posts, I was deeply troubled by what I did in Dalaran. This was not a case of a rational, cool-thinking commander giving good orders, this was a case of someone pushed too far finally snapping. The actions I took at the behest of two deeply aggrieved leaders left me with a sour taste in my mouth, when I stopped to reflect upon them.

But while I was playing? My worgen had absolutely no compunctions. Never before have I done things that, as a player I felt were wrong, but as a character I felt were absolutely right. An eye for an eye may leave the whole world blind, but doing nothing just leaves me with a missing eye.

Behind the cut I'm going into details, and those details will be chock full of spoilers. You've been warned.

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

What do you think deserves an update?

What do you think deserves an update ANY
The story is always the same: I find a particularly intriguing piece of transmogrification gear, one that will totally make that midnight blue set I've been working on piecing together. And the piece is pretty easy to get, relatively speaking; it's a drop off of a boss in one of those old Burning Crusade-era heroics. Easy enough to solo at level 85, so it should be a snap to get, right?

Well ... not quite. Because for some reason, all of these old heroics still have their old lockouts in place. Despite the fact that you really don't get anything of consequence from these dungeons and you haven't been able to for years, you still can't repeatedly head into these dungeons. Now I realize there is a five-dungeon-per-hour limit to keep people from excessively farming, and I get that. I really do. But when you introduce a game feature that encourages farming old content, it seems silly that you not only have to cross your fingers that the item drops, but you can only attempt to get it once a day.

And really? That's not the only thing that could use an update in today's World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Are neutral cities better for server communities?

Image
I ran into an old friend from the Burning Crusade days recently, and we found ourselves reminiscing about the things we missed from that expansion. While we both agreed that the quality of the play experience is way better these days, there was one thing that we both missed: Shattrath.

As any BC-era player could tell you, Shattrath was a busy place, with players getting their tailoring and blacksmithing done in Lower City, loitering around the Scryer and Aldor bank ledges, playing chicken with the elevators, and riffing on Cro Threadstrong's threats to the nearby fruit vendor. Because the Alliance and Horde were both headquartered in the city and there were no faction restrictions on which of the two banks and inns you used, it was pretty common to encounter both friends and enemies as you went about your business (or, just as commonly, sat somewhere and gossiped in guild chat). While we were chatting about this, my friend said something that stuck with me: "It felt like you cared more about players from the opposite faction because you saw them all the time."

The more I thought about it, the more I felt he was right. I knew if my counterparts in Alliance raiding guilds had upgraded their gear, /waved at them a lot, and /pointed and /cheered to the telltale flames in the central part of the city to congratulate them on their Kael kill. In Cataclysm, we find ourselves largely on opposite sides of the world and encounter each other but rarely outside of the entrances to raids or while farming in higher-level zones.

Now obviously, there are technical issues with sticking players of both factions into the same city (Dalaran was famously laggy for most of Wrath of the Lich King), and given the Mists of Pandaria storyline, it doesn't make much sense to encourage interfaction closeness. But still I wonder, would the sense of server community (otherwise hurt by the success of the Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder) benefit from the reintroduction of a popular neutral city?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Weapons of Lore: Atiesh and Andonisus, Reaper of Souls

It was the first caster legendary available to players, but the amount of time and devotion it took to get almost guaranteed that only a tiny piece of the player population actually obtained it. Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian wasn't a particularly fancy weapon by today's standards. It was simple, smooth staff topped with the carving of a raven and quietly adorned with a bit of ribbon. But to those that followed Warcraft's lore, the simple design was easily recognized as the staff of one of the most powerful casters of all time.

Atiesh was the epitome of everything a caster desired, largely because of its roots within the history of Warcraft. This wasn't just a simple staff; this was the weapon of choice for the last known Guardian of Azeroth, the wizard Medivh. Medivh was featured heavily in the original Warcraft RTS games but hasn't been seen since the end of Warcraft III. Atiesh, on the other hand, was seen by many -- and craved by many more. And the fate of this unusual staff ties in with another legendary weapon most never encountered: Andonisus, Reaper of Souls.

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Filed under: Lore

Wherefore art thou, Steamy Romance Novel?

There's nothing quite like curling up with a good book, except perhaps curling up with a good book in game. WoW's got plenty of books to offer and even has achievements surrounding the various books in the world. There's Well Read and the far more difficult Higher Learning, which relies on luck and being in the right place at the right time in Dalaran. You can find all kinds of books lying around Azeroth, waiting to be clicked and read -- everything from historical texts to The Fluffy Bunny, a gripping tale of a bunny named Fluffy and his friend Wuffy.

There are plenty of players who don't bother reading the books you find around the world, and those players are totally missing out. Sure, there's a lot of what could be called dry lore material, but there are also books filled with jokes, fake news, and romance. Yes, romance -- the steamy kind. The authors of Azeroth don't limit themselves to boring historical recounts; a select few write the kind of bodice-ripping romance novels that usually feature Fabio on the cover and enough flowery language to seem at least somewhat respectable.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Pandaria to eschew capital cities for scattered vendors, separate faction hubs

In today's Mists of Pandaria Live Developer QA, a player asked whether we'd see a Dalaran-like capital city on the new continent of Pandaria. Cory Stockton's answer reveals a surprising amount about the new Pandaria paradigm of exploration.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

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

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