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Posts with tag dragon-soul

Dragon Soul LFR changes possible in 6.0

Transmog addicts may have some good news for patch 6.0. When LFR was introduced with Dragon Soul, the last raid in Cataclysm, players flocked to the content and gathered armor and items that had their own unique color schemes. After Mists of Pandaria was introduced, players leveled to 90 -- and the ability to run Dragon Soul on LFR difficulty disappeared. While players can still farm the raid on Normal and Heroic difficulties, the unique color sets released specifically for LFR were no longer available to those max level characters.

This was in part due to the nature of LFR. The only way to raid LFR level content is to queue for it through the raid finder interface -- you can't simply change the dropdown difficulty on a per-character basis, as you can with Normal and Heroic difficulties. Once you've passed the level threshold for Cataclysm content, the option to raid Dragon Soul LFR simply disappears from the raid finder interface. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem -- but transmogrification addicts everywhere have been looking for a solution to obtaining those older, uniquely colored items, and Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas just tweeted that a solution may be on the way in patch 6.0.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Tanking mechanics that aren't taunt on X stacks

Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has been putting his new Twitter account to good use, keeping players informed of design intent, limits, ideas and more. One recent tweet particularly caught my eye, related as it is to my now-ex main, and a role I miss terribly.

The story behind this is that the taunt at X stacks model, that was so prevalent in Dragon Soul, in Normal Mode difficulty and some heroics, was the thing that made me switch from tank to healer. I even wrote about it, to express my frustration. Commenters at the time thought it was an attempt by Blizzard to make tanking more accessible, and to increase the tanking population. But, for me at least, easy-mode tanking drove me away.

And the "taunt on X stacks" model has far from disappeared as we've moved through Mists. While there have been fights like Will of the Emperor that really demanded a lot from tanks, many others didn't. Stone Guard, while it was another taunt-swap, at least required some more engagement. But there's still far too much of the taunting on X stacks. Writing the Bosses in 5 Seconds guides, I just have to figure out which debuff, and how many stacks for many of the bosses.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Twists in time

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition Twists in time
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.

Two weeks ago, we looked briefly at the Timewalkers and the strange goings-on on the Timeless Isle. Since then, players that have been dutifully completing Kairoz's weekly quests have reached the end of the mysterious visions Kairoz has been trying to pinpoint -- with some disturbing results and implications. In fact, the whole mad journey has been a steady trickle of unanswered questions and dizzying scenarios that might or might not be true. Or perhaps they're all true, just in different versions of reality.

And that's the bronze dragonflight in a nutshell. It's a headache-inducing puzzle of events that might have been, have been, never been, and may have meant to be but hadn't, that can't quite be untangled. Led by Nozdormu, the bronze dragonflight's missive has always been to protect and observe the pathways of time. The Titans gifted Nozdormu with the knowledge of when and how he would die as a warning, a lesson -- that no matter how powerful Nozdormu might think he was, he, just like any mortal, would have to answer to time eventually. This was meant to keep the Timeless One in check, an effective plan.

But did it really work?

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 how it happened. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for events on the Timeless Isle.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Dawn of the Aspects paperback available for preorder

Dawn of the Aspects coming in paperback in November
Dawn of the Aspects, the five part ebook-only novel by Richard Knaak, is now slated to be released in paperback for book enthusiasts this November. The novel is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But for those simply expecting a print version of Knaak's tale, you might be in for a surprise -- also included in the edition is a print version of the short story Charge of the Aspects, released on Blizzard's website at the tale end of Cataclysm.

Dawn of the Aspects tells two distinct tales -- the tale of Kalecgos and his struggle with the resolution to Cataclysm that saw all of the Aspects drained of their powers, and the dragonflights with out a purpose, and a much, much older tale of just how the Aspects and dragonflights came to be. It's a really good, if confusing at times, story in which Kalecgos desperately tries to find a new purpose for dragonkind, while simultaneously taking a journey to the past and seeing the story of Galakrond, supposed progenitor of all dragonkind.

As for Charge of the Aspects, the short story by Matt Burns takes place on the eve of Deathwing's downfall, and features the four Aspects, together with Thrall, trying to figure out just how to kill Deathwing once and for all. It's available for free on the official website, but this is the first time the story has been available in print -- and it honestly provides a pretty good framing point for Dawn of the Aspects as well. If you're interested in a physical copy of both of these tales, preorders are now open on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. The book is $12.50, and is slated to be released November 19, according to both websites.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects

Review of Dawn of the Aspects
On Monday, the fifth and final installment of Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, will be available for purchase. For those that have been waiting to download and nab the entire publication in one go, your wait is just about over. For those of us that have been reading since the beginning, it marks the end of what has been, honestly, one of the strangest tales to come out of the Warcraft stable in quite some time.

While I could simply review part five of the book, talk about my impressions and what the installment was like, to me it makes far more sense to talk about the book as a whole, now that I've finished the whole thing. After all, this was a different kind of experiment -- an entirely digital publication doled out in monthly installments for a small fee. Was the experiment worth it? Did the story hold water in the end? And perhaps most importantly -- was the story any good?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available
It's been a long journey, but it seems that the latest Warcraft fiction offering is now wrapping up and coming to an end. An excerpt from the fifth and final chapter of Dawn of the Aspects is now available for reading on the official website. Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, details the origins of the Aspects and the five dragonflights. The five-part miniseries has been released in installments over the last several months, and the fifth chapter ought to wrap up the tale and establish exactly what Kalecgos has learned from the mysterious artifact he's found.

As for the blue dragon's mysterious dive into the past, it seems that the events of long ago are finally reaching their climax -- Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Neltharion and Malygos are preparing for the final battle with Galakrond, a battle that will change the course of their race forever. Will Kalecgos discover the true purpose of the artifact? Will he break free of its mysterious hold, or will he remain stuck in Malygos' memories for eternity? And will Malygos and the not-quite-Aspects prevail, or will history itself unravel? Good question! While the excerpt doesn't provide any answers, it does offer a good glimpse at the final chapter. You can read the excerpt in full on the official website.

Dawn of the Aspects part five will be available for purchase in several different ebook formats for a wonderfully low $1.99 on June 17. Head to Simon & Schuster to purchase the installment in ebook format -- and if you're looking for a different format for your e-reader, the website has links to several different retailers on their listing page. Hopefully the release of the final chapter will encourage Blizzard to release a print edition of the novel in full, too -- I have an empty spot waiting on my bookshelf!

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four
It is absolutely official, now -- I have no idea how the Aspects actually came to be Aspects. For that matter, Tyr's purpose seems to be just as mysteriously vague. However, there was far more light shed on both questions in part four of Dawn of the Aspects, now available for a variety of e-readers. Despite the muddied waters of draconic origins, it is apparent that more of these mysteries will be answered in full by the time the fifth and final installment rolls around.

What did we know, to date? We knew that the Aspects were empowered by various Titans and charged with watching over the world. But that's about it -- the process of how that empowering came about is by and large a giant unknown and has been for years. What surprises me is just how willing I was to let the origin of the dragonflights slide as something that wasn't terribly important, in the long run. But when one considers that their origin appears to be tied to the fate of Tyr, it suddenly bears far more interesting implications.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
The action in Dawn of the Aspects heated up exponentially in part two of the series by Richard A. Knaak -- and part three only continues to both clarify and confuse in the most brain-bending, delightful way.

The third installment of Dawn of the Aspects, released Monday, continues to explore the purpose of the mysterious artifact Kalegos uncovered back in part one. It seems as though the visions Kalec has been experiencing are growing far more intense, enough to make the former Aspect question the reality of the future we're currently living in. More importantly, there are some important and thoroughly bizarre revelations that may actually shed some light on the Aspects as they turned out in present day.

Although the installments continue to be slightly confusing, we're beginning to get a grasp on just what this story is all about. And as mentioned in our last review, it's becoming far more clear that what happened in the past is apparently not only relevant, but incredibly important to the events of present day. Dawn of the Aspects is, so far, proving to be a delightful mystery of a book, not quite like anything we've seen come before.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Why aren't more healers queueing for the Raid Finder?

Why don't healers queue for the Raid Finder
While writing the Azeroth Ethicist article on whether it's ethical to "cheat" the Raid Finder's loot distribution system, I linked a post from The Grumpy Elf about the lack of healers in the LFR queue and the effect it's having on queue times. There was an observation there about how LFR healing may actually be more stressful than its normal counterpart:

No matter what, you name it, everything in the LFR when done wrong screams "the healers will fix it". Dropping the bad where it should not be, no worries, the healers will fix it. Not using your defensive cooldowns, no worries, the healers will fix it ... even in the LFR if you do not follow mechanics it hurts and puts all the pressure on the healers.

There are a lot of reasons why the LFR queue is so long these days for the average player -- ilevel requirements (though Blizzard's made it easier to get gear from older raids to address this), the sheer popularity of new content, and, as Ghostcrawler pointed out, tanks and healers who queue with their guildies -- but I think Grumpy Elf has a point.

While I've mostly tanked in Mists of Pandaria, I healed my way through the Raid Finder in Dragon Soul, and the number of players who took unnecessary or avoidable damage was depressingly high. You expect that with anyone who might be new to the instance, but it wasn't fun seeing a raid with lots of people in normal or even heroic tier 13 ignoring, say, the players trapped in Hagara's Ice Tombs.

So for the healers out there, here's a question: Are you queuing for Raid Finder raids? If you are, is the job noticeably more difficult or stressful than it is with your guildies? If you aren't queuing, why not?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
Things have just gotten incredibly weird.

The second installment of Dawn of the Aspects has just been released to an assortment of retailers, ready to be downloaded to the e-reader of your choice. The novel, written by Richard Knaak, continues to explore the events at the dawn of time, before the Age of Dragons began. As Kalecgos continues his descent into the mad visions bestowed upon him by an ancient artifact, he begins to discover more and more unsettling facts about the formation of dragonkind. But will Kalecgos be able to divine what these visions are trying to teach, or will he be swallowed into the past for good?

In our review of part one, we touched on the somewhat convoluted nature of the story, with the hopes that part two would begin to make things slightly more clear. Yet that question of the purpose of dragons on Azeroth, their origin, and what they should do now that the Age of Mortals has begun is still left unanswered. And despite the novel's focus on events long past, it's beginning to become more clear that Kalecgos' visions, mad as they are, definitely have more than a little relevance to present-day.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A Knaak
Everything we know about the formation of the Aspects is wrong. Well, not wrong -- but so far from what is truth that the reality of the situation is a dizzying puzzle that has only begun to be addressed. Dawn of the Aspects is a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle, and part one of the tale has only just begun to unravel these pieces into what will hopefully be a coherent whole by the end of the story.

While we've had hints and suggestions as to how the Aspects and the varying dragonflights came to be, it's never been truly defined. And when we made our trip to Northrend in Wrath of the Lich King, the proto-drakes found roaming the peaks and valleys of the continent were an intriguing puzzle. How did dragonkind make that leap from proto-drake to dragon? Who was Galakrond, and how did his existence tie into the existing dragonflights? Was he the father of all dragonkind in a literal sense, or in a far more figurative fashion?

Perhaps most importantly, at the dawn of the Age of Mortals, does any of this information really matter at all? If you're at all interested in the history of Azeroth, the answer is a resounding yes.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Are rogues a dying class?

Warcraft population data indicates Rogue decline
If you remember, last year Cynwise launched on a study of Warcraft's class popularity that led to his producing a book, The Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm. We talked about some of the conclusions he drew here. Now he's back looking at class population vs. popularity in Mists of Pandaria, and some of the numbers he's compiled from Worldofwargraphs and realmpop are extremely interesting. One of the most shocking pieces of information to come out of all of this is this stark graphic above, where you can see the rogue population plummet.

Rogues went from 7.67% of max level at patch 5.0.4, the pre-Mists of Pandaria patch, to 5.51% of max level as of patch 5.1, a drop of over 2%. This is at a time when most other classes either held steady (Paladins, Druids, DK's and Hunters all held at about even with their Cataclysm and patch 5.0.4 numbers), went up (Warriors saw a jump from 9.25% at max level to 10.14% between 5.0.4 and 5.1, while Warlocks went up from 6.7% to 7%) or saw slight declines (Shamans, Priests and Mages all saw slight declines). By comparison, the rogue decline becomes stark.

So, where have all the rogues gone? Monks have taken a slim 4.9% of the total playerbase, which means that they're hardly the dominant juggernauts that Death Knights became in Wrath of the Lich King, so can they explain the rogue decline?

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The seventh Sha

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The seventh Sha
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 Jade Serpent circled the Vale, and spoke to the beleaguered Emperor. "Pandaria is more than just the Pandaren Empire," she told Shaohao. "Your enemies to the west are as much a part of this land as your empire behind the wall." Seeing that all things were connected in an eternal whole, and that his beloved land was more than just the Pandaren Empire, Shaohao at least understood.
We know from the writings in The Emperor's Burdern that all of Pandaria is connected. But is it just Pandaria, or all of Azeroth? This week's Tinfoil Hat Edition leaps off of the theories presented by Matthew Rossi in Wednesday's Know Your Lore. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do so, because conspiracy theories abound in today's edition of Know Your Lore.

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

Is the new LFR loot system working for you?

Is the new LFR loot system working for you
I'm not, by and large, a huge fan of LFR. Most of this isn't really due to the raids themselves, but to the fact that as a DPS I generally feel like I have to wait an eternity for that queue to fill up, especially if I wait until the end of the week to run the thing. But I like seeing the fights, and I like beating things up. I like getting loot.

Unfortunately, that last statement doesn't really happen very often. I've gotten a bare handful of pieces out of LFR, but most of the time my reward is simply gold, and the valor I get at the end of the run. That seems to be the case for most players -- after each boss kill is a litany of "Oh no, not gold again, I never get anything from here." But then I started thinking about it, and what exactly that new loot system has done for LFR raiding.

Oddly enough, it's changed it in a significant manner.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: The fascinating implications of the WoW TCG

Know Your Lore The fascinating implications of the WoW TCG 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.

The Cataclysm expansion set out to do what prior expansions tried to do, and improve upon it in a significant way -- significantly inject lore into gameplay. And to some degree it worked; players found themselves working their way through zones both new and old by taking part in an interactive story. In between, we had short stories and novels that tied directly into that gameplay, weaving each part of the Warcraft franchise together into a solid storytelling tool.

But it also had its flaws. Storytelling in zones was fantastic upon first playthrough, repetitive upon repeated play. The story of Cataclysm was so widespread that it didn't seem to have the kind of dramatic impact it was intended to have. And Cataclysm introduced so many loose threads of story that trying to pick a clear resolution out of the tale was difficult, to say the very least. And then we have the ending, signifying the dawning of the "Age of Mortals" with no clear definition as to what that really meant.

We've got a little more definition now, and it's from an incredibly unlikely source, the last part of the franchise that didn't seem to have any significant lore tie-ins at all: the WoW Trading Card Game.

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore contains some minor spoilers for Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War. If you're looking to avoid all spoilers, you may want to come back when you're done with the book!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, WoW TCG

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