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Posts with tag earthen-ring

Know Your Lore: The rise of the Dark Shaman

Know Your Lore The rise of the dark shaman
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.

We had warning that this was coming. When Ragefire Chasm was given an overhaul in Mists of Pandaria, the changes didn't escape the notice of players -- but nobody really knew the extent of what was going on. Remnants of the Twilight Cult from Cataclysm could be found in the depths of Ragefire, carrying insignias that noted they were part of a new order -- not Twilight Cult, but something quite possibly far darker, called the Dark Shaman.

These shaman were highlighted briefly in the novel Tides of War, as part of Garrosh's assault forces on Northwatch Hold. While the question of how they came to be seems to be fairly self-explanatory, there's a little more to the story than previously thought. It stretches all the way back to the days of Wrath of the Lich King, and the discovery of a different, new, hardy race of warriors and shaman that were far more used to doing what was necessary to survive, than what may or may not have been right.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Deepholm

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape.

The Earthen Plane. Therazane's domain. The place where primordial rock and earth and stone were banished after the Titans subdued the elemental lords and their Old God masters. Deepholm is where Deathwing laid his broken body and waited, watched, heaved, and went mad. In the center of the mighty plane of earth stood the World Pillar, the only support keeping Deepholm from crashing into Azeroth itself. When Deathwing unleashed himself upon the world, the World Pillar shattered. Only through the tireless and diligent efforts of the Earthen Ring, shaman from all walks of life and races, could the tear in the Maelstrom be contained. Now flooded by members of the Twilight's Hammer cult, a raging war between earthen and trogg, and the harshness of the Stonemother herself, the Horde and the Alliance must find a way to restore the World Pillar and save Azeroth from the very plane of earth it rests upon.

Deepholm was the first bottleneck zone after the two opening Cataclysm leveling experiences, Hyjal and Vashj'ir. Everyone passed through Deepholm on the way to 85, getting to experience one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring zones ever created for World of Warcraft. From the rocks that hung eerily in the air to the various factions and allegiances, Deepholm provided one of the most unique leveling experiences in World of Warcraft to date.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Cataclysm Dungeon Guide: The Stonecore

Adventurers will find the site of the Stonecore in Deepholm, wedged on the west side of the Temple of the Earth. A flying mount (or a crafty summon) will be needed to discover the entrance. Earthen Ring Shaman are attempting to maintain the World Pillar and prevent it from sustaining any further damage. This is the same instance where Deathwing acquired some armor upgrades. You can read more about the Stonecore from the official preview. For an idea of what to expect and strategies to employ, keep on reading.

At a glance, here's the gist of the instance.
  • four boss encounters
  • levels 82-84
  • average item level 272 recommended (according to dungeon finder)

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Manga Review: World of Warcraft: Shaman

I have to say I was a little leery, to say the very least, about picking up the latest in the Warcraft class manga series from TOKYOPOP, largely because their last offering was a pretty lackluster affair. However, I am really, really glad I picked this one up, because Warcraft: Shaman is an excellent piece of work. The book marks the return of artist Rocio Zucchi, whose artwork graced the Warcraft: Death Knight manga. Penning the story for this volume is Paul Benjamin, whose other works include the StarCraft: Frontline series as well as work on Marvel Adventures. So right away, we've got an artist whose work I like and an author who knows the ins and outs of writing comics. Good combination from the start!

The story follows the shaman group the Earthen Ring as they try to come to terms with the elements' sudden refusal to cooperate and the appearance of a shaman thought lost to them over 250 years before who has some surprising things to say -- and new shamanistic techniques that border on heresy to the ages-old organization. Warcraft: Shaman covers what exactly it is to be a shaman, what it's like to work with the elements, and what happens when one is torn between the old ways and the new.

Please note: This review may contain some small spoilers for The Shattering as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you'd like to remain unspoiled, turn back now!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

15 Minutes of Fame: Herding roleplayers with a feather

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

The popular saying about leading a raiding guild is that it's somewhat like herding cats with a feather. Imagine then, if you will, tickling players through day-to-day game life amidst the friction of potentially volatile in-character roleplaying. Arialynn, the GM of <Templars of the Rose> on Earthen Ring (US-RP), leads an established troupe of roleplayers that's spent the Wrath era not besieging Arthas but running medieval-style market days in Dustwallow Marsh. Headquartered in Theramore Harbor, the Templars most assuredly exemplify the road less traveled, both literally and figuratively.

What's it like to lead a guild that spends more time tossing back stiff ones in the inn than it does wrestling with Defile before the Frozen Throne?

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Patch 3.3.5 PTR: Unfinished Doomsday quest line removed

Sure, Patch 3.3.5 is shaping up to be interesting with the implementation of the Battle.net Real ID system, and new Ruby Sanctum raid dungeon -- but early players on the PTR got a sneak peek at a quest line that has since disappeared from the PTR servers. This quest chain was originally datamined back in the Patch 3.3.3 PTR along with various Cataclysm doodads and items, but the quests hadn't surfaced until now. Its removal suggests that it wasn't meant to be implemented in the first place -- luckily, we've got screenshots of the entire chain. These are spoilers for pre-Cataclysm content, so if you don't want to be spoiled, don't check out the gallery. More info on the chain after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Lore, Cataclysm

World of Warcraft: Shaman manga preview

Do you like World of Warcraft? Do you like comics and/or manga? If you answered yes to either question, then I highly recommend you check out the newest upcoming WoW manga by Tokyopop titled World of Warcraft: Shaman. Written by Paul Benjamin (Starcraft: Frontline) and drawn/inked by the ever-talented Roccio Zucchi (World of Warcraft: Death Knight), this will be the next installment of the WoW class-themed comics.

World of Warcraft: Shaman follows the epic tale of one Muln Earthfury, leader of the shamanistic group known as the Earthen Ring. Muln and his fellow shaman become concerned over time, as the elements they worked so closely with start becoming unresponsive and exceedingly violent. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, in comes Shotoa -- a mysterious tauren shaman who doesn't just work with the elements, but brutally forces them to do his bidding. Shotoa promises power and grandeur for the ancient organization, claiming that Muln has lost his power. He vows to lead his followers into a grand new era of shamanism, but Muln and his people must decide if Shotoa is honoring their traditions, or desecrating them.

I like the way this manga has a nice tie-in to the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If Deathwing's arrival is going to force open several elemental planes, it makes a lot of sense that the resident spirits of Azeroth are going to be in upheaval. There is also very little known about Muln himself. All we know is that he leads the Earthen Ring. Other than that, he's kept a pretty low profile. We'll also get to meet Kettara Bloodthirst, his spunky-looking orc apprentice. Once again, Blizzard is using the idea of trans-media to their advantage and exploring major lore characters that otherwise would be overlooked in-game.

World of Warcraft: Shaman will be available in October 2010.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Comics

All the World's a Stage: So you still want to be a Shaman

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the twenty-first in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

There's something about shamans that gets us thinking and talking. Whether it's something as simple as the proper pronunciation of "shamanism," or something as profound as a shaman's humility in relation to the source of his or her power, the lore and ideology of the shaman class often resonates with players more than many others in the World of Warcraft.

One reason for this is that shamans have been such a pivotal force in the lore, possibly more than any other class in the game (depending on your point of view). Other classes, such as warriors, or paladins, come as a sort of pre-defined archetype in fantasy games that don't seem all that different from their original forms in other fantasy settings. The actual beliefs of a priest, for instance, don't seem to matter so much to many players, so long as the class can heal like we expect them to. Even the druids, with their central place in night elf society, sometimes seem more like nature-based magic users rather than true philosophers in their own right.

Shamans, however, have a major burden to bear in one of the central plot shifts of the Warcraft storyline -- namely that the orcs, who entered the Warcraft stage in the Warcraft 1: Orcs and Humans computer game as rampaging demonic evildoers bent on destruction, and actually turned out to be a peaceful race that just got tricked into being evil. Shamanism had to be much much more than just an archetype with some special powers -- it had to be a way of thinking, a system of belief that could be taken over by demonic corruption and yet at the same time act as a beacon of truth and goodness once that the demonic taint had been defeated. Shamanism has got to be complex and profound, or else the story wouldn't make sense.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Shaman, Draenei, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

A walking tour around the Roleplaying realms


Someone named wowgossip on livejournal (though I think her character -- I'm assuming she's a woman, though that might be wrong -- is named Mary Sue, like the lead of so much bad fan fiction) is conducting a pretty exhaustive tour of roleplaying on the servers, both good and bad. As is clearly stated, this is not a review -- it's more of a "state of the game" of Warcraft roleplaying, so the good, the bad, and even the ugly are included. She's already stopped by Argent Dawn, Blackwater Raiders, Earthen Ring, and Moon Guard, and Sisters of Elune.

The sights range from the disgusting (you get offered to cyber by just being a lowbie and hanging around Elwynn, apparently), to the boring (there is some really, really bad vampire RP), to the fascinating (some of the character descriptions are very well written, and use some commonplace ingame gear to portray a character's backstory very well). There's no judging involved -- it's basically a (pretty) objective survey of what RP players are doing on RP servers lately. Even if you're not an RPer, it's an interesting read (though some of the images and situations are NSFW, depending on where you work).

There's more info in a Q&A on the journal, including a plan to possibly do some group RPing, but just the idea of surveying what's out there is cool. There is so much happening on the realms (in terms of RPing and grouping and PvPing), and even here at WoW insider we can only document so much of it. Definitely cool to get another look inside what players are coming up with (no matter how weird or boring or wild) on the realms.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

Lord Ahune strategy and walkthrough


The Lord Ahune encounter is very easily one of the most enjoyable 5-man encounters we've seen in a very long time. The Burning Crusade added some elements we had never seen in the pre-expansion days, and I feel that this boss takes it much further than that.

Ahune is found within the Slave Pens, and while he's fairly close to the beginning of the instance, you'll need to do a little bit of clearing before you fight him. Since Slave Pens is one of the easier dungeons in The Burning Crusade (both Normal and Heroic versions), you shouldn't have much trouble with this step. Once you've reached the area where you summon Lord Ahune (and you will know when you get there), buff up, drink up, and make sure your party is ready. While not the most difficult encounter in the world, this alternating two phase boss fight can drag on a really long time if you're not ready.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Walkthroughs, Guides

Midsummer Fun: Unusual Activity

Not all is fun and games at the Midsummer Fire Festival this year. A number of concerned members of the Earthen Ring are looking to the Horde and the Alliance to look into some suspicious activity. It seems that the Twilight's Hammer have moved into a new location in the Zoram Strand of Ashenvale, and considering the Festival's origin lies with the Old Gods, the very beings the Hammer serves... well, it's worth looking into, isn't it?

The first step of the quest is very basic. Go to the Zoram Strand, stab members of the cult until they drop something noteworthy. It seems to have a rather high droprate, so don't worry too much. Once you've read the note (and I'll trust you read it so you don't need to reread it here) dig in your bags for the Totemic Beacon you were supplied with, and put it to good use. The neighborhood puppy will run up to have a chat, he'll hand over some Burning Blossoms and we move on to the next step.

In my opinion, this next step is one of the coolest things we've seen in a quest recently. Not only do you get an awesome disguise, but you're also in for a pretty sweet resolution to a loose storyline in The Burning Crusade. Before we get ahead of ourselves, head north. You don't need to use that Orb of the Crawler you were just give yet, but you can. If you're a high enough level to have a mount, you can ride toward the northern camp much faster and use the orb when you're there. However, you only get this thing for so long, so I crabbed it up the whole way up the shoreline.

The camp you're looking for is at the very edge of the northern beach, where the Strand bends toward the ocean. By the time you see it, you'll nearly be in Darkshore. Refresh the duration on your crab disguise, and approach Ice Caller Briatha and the Naga up ahead. Yes, you saw that right. Naga! Naga Heretics at that. What's the significance of that, you ask? If you have a level 70, you probably understand the conversation between the Naga and the Cultist pretty well. This is the conclusion of Skar'this the Heretic's story, and we finally learn his purpose. They're preparing to summon Ahune the Frost Lord, servant of Neptulon, in the Coilfang Reservoir. From there, they'll usher him into Azeroth to battle Ragnaros and bring about an elemental apocalypse. I thought we killed Ragnaros a few years ago, but hey, what do I know?

After returning to your capital city of choice and talking to the Earth Ring Elder, two new opportunities open up for you. The first is a quest called Striking Back. Wowhead lists multiple versions of this quest for various level ranges, but I've so far only been able to access the level 67+ version. All of them look roughly the same, so the strategy I am about to supply you with probably applies to them all.

Travel to your destination. In our case, it's Hellfire Peninsula. When you're looking at the Dark Portal, the Twilight's Hammer camp is directly to the left, behind the Legion forces. Walk up to one of the bright blue obelisks, click, and summon one of Ahune's minions. The strategy is thusly: HIt it until it dies, then turn in your quest. It is very, very weak for a giant elemental. This becomes a Daily Quest once you've completed it the first time, and the reward is 10 Burning Blossoms and 7 gold, 83 silver.

Your other newly available quest, Ahune, the Frost Lord, is fairly straightforward as to what you need to do until you meet Ahune himself. Go to the Slave Pens, talk to who you need to talk to, and follow the instructions. The strategy for Lord Ahune is quite a bit more involved than that of his underlings. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until another time. Until then, goodbye and good luck!

Filed under: Events, Walkthroughs, Quests, Guides

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