Do you ever get the feeling that Blizzard might put things on the PTR just to have some fun with fansites? To toy with the dataminers? It wouldn't be the first time they'd done something like that, and it will likely not be the last. The phase titled "Karazhan Restoration" first cropped up a few builds back, to great acclaim and wild speculation about what is most of the community's favorite raid, until it was renamed in the next build to Medivh's Big Birthday Bash.
Still some speculation, after all, Medivh's part of Kara, but then, as Wowhead reports, the most recent build throws yet another rename into the works: Karazhan 2: Eclectic Boogaloo. They're playing with us now, for sure. And Blizzard Senior Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft has even unmasked the prankster:
Players may recall datamined spoiler images and videos from earlier this month, indicating a particularly disturbing fate was in store for the Stormwind Harbor in patch 5.4. The datamined information suggested that the Harbor and possibly more of Stormwind would be under direct attack from Horde forces and possibly ruined -- a low blow to the Alliance that are still diligently working on repairing the damage from Deathwing's attack in Cataclysm. But it's okay. You can breath a sigh of relief courtesy of Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, who clarified this information on Twitter earlier today.
Dataminer alert! (Spoiler?) Misleading to see Stormwind Harbor trashed out of context. That's just a vision from Garrosh's head. - Dave Kosak (@DaveKosak) August 15, 2013
Don't worry, citizens of Stormwind -- your city appears to be safe and sound. You're just looking at the optimistic visions of an overly enthusiastic megalomanical warlord bent on global domination and the onset of racial supremacy. That's ... comforting, right? Either way, you can look forward to punching Garrosh in the face in patch 5.4, ruining any and all plans, or dream boards, that Warchief Hellscream was constructing.
Okay, we admit: there aren't any spoilers in this post, but we are talking about spoilers, so perhaps some caution is called for. With data files yesterday perhaps hinting at a future expansion (and, yes, there are potential spoilers on the other side of that link), we've been thinking about the weight we put on datamined files. Digging through patch files for new or hidden info sometimes gives us access to a treasure-trove of new information about our favorite game. But datamined files inevitably give us an incomplete picture: we're looking at features that Blizzard is still working on, that may change or be scrapped before they ever see the light of a live realm. And yet, eager to learn what's coming next, we often clamor to see what new secrets each patch file might hold.
But what do you think about dataming, readers? Can you just not wait for the next game update? Do you ignore datamined spoilers? Wait to see the final version of things in game before making a judgement call? (If you do, you're a better person than we, who can't resist peeking, are!)
Datamining must always, always, always be taken with a pinch of salt, and in this instance we'd actually recommend a whole bag of salt. But nonetheless, it is fun to speculate, and this sort of thing has happened in the past and actually turned out to lead somewhere. Back in 2007, WoW Insider's Eliah Hecht reported on a section of the PTR client called "Howling Fjord", and wondered whether this might link to some future expansion taking place in Northrend. Guess what happened?
And now we have word that there is a new item under expansion05 on the PTR client. For clarity, as far as we know, we are currently on expansion number four. Again it's worth taking all of this with a very large pinch of salt, but while the file itself is simply a bit of grey stuff, the name of the folder it's in is "Iron Horde", and its name is nex_envmap01t.
But the only Greatfather we know of at the moment is a jolly guy who hands out gifts once a year during the Feast of Winter Veil. Winter Veil received a revamp in 2011 when the Abominable Greench was changed to a world boss of sorts that required multiple players to kill, and several quests were added and changed. But the essential part of Winter Veil has always been the presents under the tree, and each Winter Veil has always introduced a new item and a new achievement to go along with it.
However, the addition of satchels and boxes, as well as a mount, sounds much more like the other traditional holiday bosses that have required queuing for a dungeon to complete. Do we have a Winter Veil revamp in the works here? We won't really know until December, but it's certainly interesting to think about -- and if this is the case, will we see any other holidays get a makeover as well?
MMO-Champion have been very busy datamining, as is their way, and have happened upon some files that indicate that a new launcher may well be appearing before too long. What they have found indicates that there is a battle.net launcher coming that will shift away from separate game-by-game launchers, towards an integrated launcher for all Blizzard games. Looking at the background files which have been datamined, it looks like WoW, Diablo, and Starcraft will be included, but also the older Warcraft RTS games.
Each major game group appears to have its own section, which itself includes breaking news, general information, and links to things like patch notes, guides, account management, help and support and more. There is also a news section which encompasses the news across all the games you have installed.
It is important to note that this currently appears to be datamined information and should be treated appropriately. It is always best not to pass judgement on such things until an official position on the veracity of early reports is released. But, that being said, whatever this turns out to be looks great.
Spoiler Alert: Adriacraft has been back with more of their datamined audio files, and wow, these ones have some spoilers in them. If you don't want to have spoilers about Wrathion's questline, or anything else for that matter, definitely don't watch the video, or hit the break to read any more of this post.
Final Warning: Spoilers after the break. Really big spoilers. Do not hit the link below if you don't want to know.
Adriacraft have been at it again, datamining what is believed to be the containing zone for an element of the warlock-specific "green fire quest" area. On first look, the zone itself, though not the map, appears to bear a striking visual resemblance to the zone in which the Obsidian Sanctum raid takes place, but with additional items added.
It seems from a brief glance at Wowhead's warlock-specific quests that the majority of the currently known quests refer, as expected, to the Black Temple, without mentioning another zone. Could this "island" be an instanced area accessed from within the Black Temple? It looks far too fiery for that to me at least, but with the little we know about the Council of the Black Harvest, also known as the Council of Six Daggers, and their ties to other, older zones, it could be that this is some area associated with that group.
What do you think? I know I'm really pleased I leveled my warlock, these quests look really exciting, even with our very limited knowledge of how it will all unfurl. Do note, as ever, that this is datamined information, and place an according amount of weight upon it. Let's hope this leads to more class-specific quests in future! 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.
One of the most unintentionally hilarious bugs to hit with patch 5.0.4 introduced the phenomenon of stag stacking. This bug allowed druids in travel form with the Glyph of the Stag to ... well, stack on top of each other. Towers of stags took Azeroth by storm, and a flurry of screenshots littered sites like Reddit until the bug was quite sadly hotfixed, and stags were left solo and inconsolable.
Apparently Blizzard liked this bug, even if it wasn't really appropriate for player use. MMO-Champion datamined a new item called a Stackable Stag from the patch 5.1 PTR. Using the item will summon a stackable stag at a target location, and if there is another Stackable Stag present, it will stack on top of it. It's not quite as laughably horrifying as a giant stack of stags trundling through the streets of Orgrimmar, but I'll take it.
Jaina has changed her appearance before. Back in patch 3.3, she went from looking like a random human to getting her own model -- a much-needed change, but no in-game event was the basis for the update. In Mists of Pandaria, however, the events at Theramore seem to have put Jaina through enough to make her look rather battleworn.
The Battle of Theramore isn't officially implemented on beta servers yet. Sapperwix says there will be no new content with today's beta build, only the temporary removal of the Jade Forest, so it will be some time before we see this new Jaina in action.
What do you think of Jaina's new look? It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!
Some time last month, I was chatting with a friend about various story bits in WoW when we wandered onto the subject of the blood elves and what they're up to in the story. I pointed out the short story In the Shadow of the Sun for more recent sin'dorei lore, adding that of course the story took place prior to Wrath in the time line, so it really wasn't the most up-to-date bit of lore, although it was a wonderful read. My friend asked if I thought we'd see anything with the blood elves in Mists, and I replied that I didn't think so, but then we didn't really know that much about storylines in Pandaria yet.
"Well, yeah," they replied. "But what about Rommath? I mean, he's part of the Twilight Cult and all." I paused for a moment, confused, and then realized what they were referring to. "That was a set of datamined voice files that never made it to game," I clarified. "Well yeah, but he's evil," they insisted. "No, he's not -- as far as the game and the lore is concerned, that conversation never happened, and Rommath is still the same old Rommath. A little cranky and snooty, but definitely not evil. Until proven otherwise." They pondered this, and the conversation moved on from there.
I've had this conversation again and again -- in game, on Twitter. And this, my friends, is just one example of the many dangers of datamining.
One of my favorite WoW information sites, Armory Data Mining and its related blog, has now been updated for patch 3.3.3. We've profiled the site here before, but if you're not familiar with it, it's run by a fellow named Zardoz who trawls the armory assembling statistics on race, class and spec popularity. He also gathers information on class battleground performance and professions.
From what I've seen, there haven't been any giant changes between the patch 3.3 and patch 3.3.3 data (you can find the former at the profile link above). Paladins are still the most popular class, followed by death knights, druids, priests and warriors. It's well worth a look if you're interested in seeing what WoW's statistics look like right now.
Posters on MMO-Champion's boards have gotten into the Cataclysm alpha and started datamining female worgen models and animations. While the models don't have textures yet (i.e. you're only going to see a bunch of black and not their faces or anything) and some of the animations are placeholders borrowed from existing models (mostly female draenei), this is the first look we're getting at one of Cataclysm's most hotly anticipated features.
WARNING: This post is stuffed full of spoilers. It is a spoiled piece of concentrated awesome wrapped in spoiled paper boxed and shipped to Spoilertopia courtesy of Spoiler Express. Don't click below if you don't want anything to do with unofficial information.
The Twilight's Hammer has already been confirmed to be working with Deathwing in Cataclysm, and since they're an elemental doomsday cult dedicated to bringing about the return of the Old Gods, busting Deathwing out of prison is right up their alley. We should probably expect to see these models in game relatively soon, and probably as part of a plot by the Twilight's Hammer to summon Deathwing back into the world -- a plot which will, of course, eventually succeed.
Stayed tuned for more coverage of Patch 3.3.3 and the Cataclysm opening event as it develops!
Zardoz posted his newest collection of statistics this past Wednesday, all of them updated to reflect the patch 3.3 game world. Perhaps most interesting is that paladins have knocked death knights out of the #1 spot, with retribution being the most popular spec (and, as a druid player, I think I'm seeing a bit of decline in balance popularity here as well). If you're at all interested in in-game demographics as of patch 3.3, I highly recommend a trip over to both sites.