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Posts with tag death-knight-starting-experience

WoW Archivist: Bottlenecks

Gyrocopter jam
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?

Wherever thousands of players try to complete on-rails content, bottlenecks are inevitable. For Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard is trying to be proactive about eliminating them. Back in July, CM Zorbrix posted a "targeted feedback request" about bottlenecks in the beta. Given that the introductory experience is completely on rails before the expansion unleashes players into its less structured zones, this is a real concern.

WoW hasn't had the best track record when it comes to bottlenecks. As we help Blizzard loosen the bottlenecks of the future, let's revisit those of the past.

The great gyrocopter jam of 2012

Blizzard's server tech has come a long way since the game's launch. Lag and crashes are no longer rampant during expansion launches. But sometimes, other problems can prohibit players from progressing on Day 1. If we're talking bottlenecks, we have to start with the most infamous one in all of WoW, which also happens to be one of the most recent.

This was a problem that people saw coming. I found a thread on MMO Champion from September 2012 where a poster writes, "On Beta - everyone had to funnel through a single vehicle quest to proceed on the Jade Forest quest line. I'm a touch concerned that this is going to be way worse than any other expansion..."

And this guy was totally right. OK, maybe Mists wasn't as bad as The Burning Crusade overall, but the ironically named Unleash Hell was still the biggest -- and most dramatic -- bottleneck ever caused by a single quest.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Breakfast Topic: The joy of phasing


Rayless on the General Forums asks a question that I've always wondered about but never poked into; how exactly does phasing work? If you've leveled through the Death Knight starting area, done the Wrath Gate questline, or quested in Icecrown (and you should really do all three), you've had the opportunity to see Blizzard's most intricate phasing in action. However, Zarhym and Crygil are pretty cryptic on how it's done, and it's up to players to fill in the details.

In a nutshell, phasing is all about the information that's sent (or not sent) to your computer by the game server; Blizzard can toy with anything that's not client-side, affecting which buildings and NPCs you can "see" but not affecting the game's basic geography. I was surprised to discover that phasing has technically been in the game since launch -- ghosts and stealth are a form of phasing, as are (I would assume) the ghosts of Caer Darrow -- but the hugely elaborate set pieces of Wrath are simply a more complicated evolution of the same mechanic.

Given the success of phasing, players have been kicking around suggestions for instances or zones that could do with a touch of it, and Gnomeregan seems to be a pretty consistent pick. I'd have to agree, but I'd also add the Echo Isles (the Gnomes and Trolls have overcome their low-level foes by now, surely?) and perhaps Duskwood for starters. Is there any other zone or instance that you think would benefit from a little reality-bending?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Quests, Expansions

The Light and How to Swing It: Five things every Paladin must do. Period.


After a unintended long hiatus, The Light and How to Swing It is back with a message from the Light. Inspired by a recent post by our very funny Christian Belt who writes the Mage column, we'll go and pick up his great idea and twist it a little bit, just like how Blood Elves used to siphon power off M'uru and twist it around. For today we'll go over all the things you have to do in the game in order to get the best experience out of your Paladin.

Now, I'll preface the column to disclaim that I'm nowhere near as funny as Mr. Belt (regular readers rub that in among all our other writers with the exception of Allison Robert) - I'm actually quite humorless - and that obviously this list isn't going to be the definitive guide to playing a Paladin. It's just that for this exercise, I'm going to pick out several things in the World of Warcraft that should make your Paladin more, ah, complete.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Breakfast Topic: Death Knights and you


It's over a month after the release of Wrath of the Lich King and the World of Warcraft's first new class since its release. And though I'm guessing you all know exactly what I'm talking about, for the sake of clarity, I'll spell it out: we're talking about Death Knights. When everyone had an expansion box in their hot little hands, the first thing most of them seemed to do was hop off to roll a shiny new Death Knight. (Note: calling a Death Knight "shiny" to their face may or may not wind up duels to the death, but personally, I wouldn't risk it.) The starting zones were crowded and no one could have wanted for companionship while leveling up towards Northrend (unless they needed a healer, anyway). But after a month and a half? The rush is over and the crowd has died down. Have you rolled your Death Knight? Were you waiting on getting a main (or a main and an alt or two) to 80 first? Is anyone out there still rolling Death Knights?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Leveling, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Death Knight galleries to tide you over until tomorrow night


While the Blizzard team goes postal trying to find your missing in-game mail (see what I did there?), WoW Insider has you covered with an overview of Death Knights in pictures. You can decide on your race, get a look at Rune Forging or explore the Death Knight starting experience.

In the mean time, we're going to check out more 7-11s for Wrath boxes. At the very least, we may come back with a Mountain Dew Slushie.



Filed under: Galleries, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Phasing is the new instancing

In an interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard's J. Allen Brack revealed just a little more about the advancements developers have made with Wrath of the Lich King. As I raved about in my post about the Death Knight starting experience, I effused about how the entire experience was instanced, creating a feel of progression through the world. It turns out I was wrong. The Death Knight starting experience isn't instanced at all. It uses what Blizzard calls "phasing technology".

In my defense, even Tom Chilton made the same mistake in the interview, saying "(the Death Knight starting area uses) instancing quite a lot more... the world changes dynamically as you move through the story." This prompted Brack to interject a correction, "It's actually not instances. What we do is we have different world states, and depending on what quests you've completed, it changes what world state you're seeing." He also mentions that the new phasing technology is used in other parts and other quests all over Northrend.

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

The Death Knight starting experience


A couple of days ago, it was with a little good fortune and a lot of soul-selling by WoW Insider lead Elizabeth Harper that I finally got my grubby little hands on a precious Beta key. Over 2 Gigabytes worth of installer and patches later, I found myself creating a Death Knight. It is a fair certainty that every player who upgrades to the Wrath of the Lich King will create one. In fact, after playing the class for just a short time, I have to say that every single player should. The Death Knight starting experience is the single most immersive role-playing experience in the game.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not too big on role-playing. I mostly skip quest flavor text and go directly to the objectives. But the Death Knight starting experience -- it's really called that -- is just game design at its finest. Blizzard mentioned that one design flaw in The Burning Crusade was not making Illidan's presence felt early on in the Outlands. In fact, aside from the raiders who managed to set foot in the 25-man raids, a large number of the player base never got to see the bad guys driving the story of The Burning Crusade. Well... when you play a Death Knight, you won't just feel the lore, it punches you in the face and knocks you off your feet the moment you log into the game for the first time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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