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Posts with tag factions

New faction short story: The Jade Hunters

While the August Celestials weren't my favorite reputation grind in Pandaria -- not by a long shot -- I spent most of the expansion fascinated by the Celestials themselves. Where did they come from? What was their purpose in Pandaria? What was up with that statue of the Jade Serpent in the Jade Forest, why was Yu'lon's life bound to it, and were the other Celestials similarly bound?

Blizzard's latest and last offering in the faction short story releases we've seen all expansion is the one I was looking forward to most of all, because of those questions. The Jade Hunters by Matt Burns touches on the story of the August Celestials -- not the creatures themselves, but the organization, and how it came to be. But that's all a backdrop to the far larger story being told, one that finally highlights and talks about the three dwarf clans brought together in Cataclysm.

Oh, and it also talks about that statue that we completely destroyed in the Jade Forest.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Warlords of Draenor: New flavor items, weapons, and armor

For the Alliance!
Our fellows over at Wowhead have posted the datamined details of Warlords of Draenor's latest build, including a number of intriguing items from Ashran, WoD's new world PvP zone. The quest items, doubtlessly linked to killing members of the opposite faction, are particularly fun. Thanks to the Tauren Hoof, you can enjoy your favorite gelatin-based chewy candies, or collect and grind Draenei Tails to help spice up your love life. You know, if you don't mind some mindless slaughter (and this is Warcraft, so of course we don't!). Other new faction quest items include the Severed Night Elf Head, Worgen Snout, and Forsaken Brains.

Even more interesting than these are the epic-quality PvP weapons pulled from the latest build. Not many are listed so far; just a priest staff (Nozaro, Staff of the Heavens), and a paladin mace (Rowyn, the Jailer's Gavel). Both weapons are only usable in Ashran, and will disappear upon leaving the isle. Both of them also have really cool abilities. The priest staff will levitate you high in the air for 30 seconds, out of enemy range, and the paladin mace will teleport an enemy player to your faction's prison. How neat is that? These can't possibly be the only Ashran weapons; certainly there will be at least one for each class. I wonder--what kind of effects will they all have?

As if the weapons weren't enough, a single piece of armor pulled from the patch invites rampant speculation about the nature of gear we might see in Warlords. That would be the mail hunter boots, the Simplyswift Treads, which removes the cooldown from Disengage. If this effect makes it to live, it could mean huge things for class gear in the upcoming expansion. What other abilities may we see modified in such a way? If you were designing a piece of gear like this for your own class, what would it be? There are so many possibilities!

Filed under: News items, PvP, Warlords of Draenor

New faction short story: The Untamed Valley

I have a soft spot for the Tillers. I think they're one of my favorite factions from Pandaria. It wasn't just the fact that I got my own farm, it was the fact that each character involved in the Tillers' quests was so fleshed out, so well written, and so engaging that you really couldn't help but be enchanted by Halfhill and the surrounding farms. Of all the pandaren we've met in Mists, I think I'm going to miss the gang in Halfhill the most.

That said, the absolute last person I ever expected to show up in a short story surrounding the Tillers was Vindicator Maraad. Yet there he is, accompanied by Sentinel Commander Lyalia, another Alliance face we haven't seen for quite some time. The thought of a towering blue-skinned alien from another world interacting with the jovial and decidedly down-to-earth farmers of Halfhill seems like a really strange idea for a story. And yet in Blizzard's latest short story offering, The Untamed Valley, it works. It really, really works, in the most unexpected way.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

I'm so bored with the Horde

This isn't a rant about how the Horde is bad, or how you should feel bad for playing them, or anything. If you like playing Horde, I'm not arguing that you're wrong to do so. I know that's a subjective thing, and some folks just plain like specific Horde races better. This is more about how, after Mists of Pandaria, I'm completely exhausted as a player with Horde stories and the Horde/Alliance conflict. I'm not inherently opposed to Horde/Alliance conflict. In fact, I think it made Mists of Pandaria a very strong expansion, with a strong and interesting story. I especially liked patch 5.1, and played both the Horde and Alliance storylines.

And frankly, that was the last time any of my Horde characters got any serious play.

Since 5.1 I've felt myself shifting away from the Horde. Part of that was going back to raiding on my draenei warrior, of course. But a bigger part of it was simple ennui, and a general culture shift in the Horde that left me feeling totally unable to connect to it. When I rolled my first Horde characters (an orc shaman and tauren warrior back in vanilla days) there was a real, concrete tone shift when I played them vs, when I played my Alliance characters. A sense of desperate odds, of outcasts banding together to stand against a hostile world, facing off against a monolithic power.

That's gone. It's probably gone forever. Even after the events of Mists of Pandaria, it's impossible to view the faction that banded together from the events of Warcraft III as the same entity anymore - over the course of two expansions, the Horde went from underdogs to aggressors. And while I've heard many players say things like "the orcs are not the whole Horde" to attempt to distance ourselves, fact is, my tauren did the quests in Twilight Highlands. My blood elf led the charge onto Pandaria's shores, and he stole the Divine Bell so that Garrosh could make use of it. Up until patch 5.3, if you played Horde, there was no real way to not aid Garrosh's cause - you were complicit in everything that helped make the Warchief's plan work. The orcs may not be the whole Horde, but what excuse does that give your pandaren or forsaken, when they're the ones who delivered the keys to the kingdom into Garrosh's hands?

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

Faction short story Over Water now available

New Faction Short Story Over Water
It's only appropriate that the faction short story for the Anglers involve one of the biggest fish tales ever. Just released on the official site, Over Water by Ryan Quinn isn't quite as Anglers-centric as one would initially think. In fact, the faction isn't even mentioned by name. But, as it's becoming clear with these faction stories, the tales universally have less to do with the factions, and more to do with the characters in the stories learning lessons about themselves. Over Water illustrates this in a big way.

Tarlo Mondan is not a happy man. A member of the Alliance, he looks at the outcome of the war -- the Siege of Orgrimmar and new Warchief firmly included -- with bitter disdain. Oddly enough, he seems to share a lot in common with many Alliance players, dissatisfied with conclusion of the Pandaren campaign and wondering exactly what he'd gotten out of the whole mess while traveling home by sea. Unfortunately, a heavy storm knocks Tarlo overboard, and the ship sails off without him -- which is really where the story begins.

Left adrift, Tarlo is rescued by a trio of pandaren fisherman with a tale unlike any other -- and hidden within that tale, and the journey, is a lesson for Tarlo to learn. Taking place after Garrosh's defeat, Over Water feels a lot more introspective and subtle than prior short stories. It offers a glimpse into the heart of the Alliance through the eyes of a lone soldier, something we really haven't seen much of lately. I don't know exactly what I expected out of an Anglers story, but Over Water left me pleasantly surprised -- it's an incredibly well-written tale. You can read Over Water over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: How did you choose your faction?

Most WoW players take their faction choice very seriously (some even outright reject it) -- and they have a real sense of faction pride, both in and out of the game. You'll see shouts of For the Horde! or For the Alliance! in-game and t-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers out in the real world expressing faction pride. But just how do we go about choosing our virtual compatriots?

In my case, it's always been about where my friends were playing. When I had friends playing Horde, I played Horde alongside them. But since I have friends on the Alliance side, too, sometimes I venture off to play with them... though I know to some eyes that probably makes me disloyal to both factions. But what's your story, WoW Insider readers? How did you come to play the faction you're playing? And have you faction-swapped?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Faction short story The Strength of Steel now available

Faction short story The Strength of Steel now available
The Order of the Cloud Serpent is one of those factions that while pretty long, is a satisfying grind in its own way -- the promise of a mount at the end of the quests and dailies is pretty compelling. But the one thing that really made the faction worth it to me, was the resemblance to the Netherwing quests of old. With the Netherwing, you were helping a beleaguered race of subjugated dragons regain their freedom. With the Order of the Cloud Serpent, you were raising a hatchling of your own, caring for it, watching it grow larger, and waiting for the day when at last it was strong enough to carry you into the skies.

It was touching because there was a distinct sense of heart surrounding the faction -- and the latest faction short story, The Strength of Steel by Raphael Ahad, illustrates that journey in a completely different way. One of the new allies of Garrosh Hellscream's Horde are the Dragonmaw -- a clan of orcs bent on subjugating dragonkind, forcing the beasts to obey and act as steeds of war. So what happens when a Dragonmaw, living with the ideals of the Dragonmaw firmly ingrained in his mind, comes across a cloud serpent hatchling of his own?

It's an oddly touching, beautiful little story that highlights the difference between pandaren and orc, between trust and control. As Koak struggles to raise his hatchling, there's also that internal struggle between what it means to be a Dragonmaw, what it means to be Horde, and where Koak stands in between it all. I have to admit, I didn't expect much out of a story surrounding the Order of the Cloud Serpent, but Raphael Ahad really hit a home run with this one, penning a heartfelt tale that in the end, was well worth the read. You can read The Strength of Steel over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story Death From Above now available

Faction short story Death From Above now available
How many were paying attention as they leveled through the Dread Wastes and into a path of discovering the Klaxxi and their long lost Paragons? Were you paying attention as the final truths of the mantid were revealed at the end of the Klaxxi reputation grind? That's all well and good ... but those weren't the final truths to be learned. The latest in the faction short story series, Death From Above, is a look at the Klaxxi thousands of years before the events of today -- in fact, years before the pandaren had even begun their rebellion against the mogu.

Written by Robert Brooks, Death From Above tells the tale of Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver and how he came to be a Paragon, cleverly winding in the story of Warlord Gurthan and his final resting place on the Terrace of Gurthan in the middle of it all. It's a story of the mantid swarm, the Empress, and the cycle -- but it's also a story of the Klaxxi, their place in mantid society, and the unique origins of the Paragons who are laid to rest around the Dread Wastes, their locations kept secret until we uncover them.

And, in a way, it's a story about you -- the Wakener, the one who has opened the amber shells of the Paragon. It's the story of a Wakener from long ago, and what he learned in the process -- the relationship between Paragon and Wakener is explored, as well as the odd attributes of the Paragons and how they came to be. Perhaps most importantly, it's a tale of the mantid, who are one of the coolest races to be introduced in Mists of Pandaria, and completely deserved a story of their own. Robert Brooks did an amazing job with the tale, right down to the chilly and entirely unsettling ending. You can read Death from Above over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available
A new short story, The Blank Scroll, is now available on the official site. The next in the series of faction short stories, The Blank Scroll, by Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, takes a look at the Lorewalkers against a most unlikely backdrop. A goblin team has been delving into the secrets of what Pandaria has to offer, but their efforts are stymied by the mysterious appearance of a terrible monster, and a pandaren Lorewalker who seems to know far more than she's telling.

Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie was also the author of Gallywix: Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince, so he's already got the knack of writing goblin characters down pat. But what's surprising here is that the focus of the story is the story itself, in a weird chain reaction of events that eventually play out to a mostly happy ending. I like clever tales. The Blank Scroll is exceedingly clever. Not only do we get a closer look at a Lorewalker in action, we get a better look at goblins, their relationship with the Horde, and even Gallywix himself, oddly enough.

I have to say, while I've been enjoying these short stories immensely, I do wish they were released with more frequency. I'd like to see what the other factions of Pandaria have to offer. However, The Blank Scoll is an excellent, somewhat cheeky addition to Mists of Pandaria's collection of faction short stories, a breath of fresh air after the somewhat darker nature of Trial of the Red Blossoms and Bleeding Sun. You can read the full story for free on the official site.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story Bleeding Sun now available

Faction short story Bleeding Sun now available
A new short story is available on the official Blizzard website for lore fans. Bleeding Sun, written by Matt Burns, sheds some light on the Golden Lotus and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Although there have been small bits of story about the Vale and its guardians, there wasn't a lot of clarification on the process itself. We knew that the Vale had guardians, that those guardians had been there before the August Celestials chose to open the gate, but how those guardians were chosen, or what that choice entailed was still a mystery.

Matt Burns, also the author of Charge of the Aspects from last year, tackles this subject with flair -- but it's a dark flair, one that was entirely unexpected. I'd mentioned before that Trial of the Red Blossoms, Blizzard's first foray into Pandaria's many factions, was a little dark. Bleeding Sun beats it, hands down -- and all by using a character who is entirely devoted to the Light of An'she's sun. Sunwalker Dezco makes a unexpected return in Bleeding Sun, along with his twin sons, now named Redhorn and Cloudhoof. Dezco has been trying to to come to terms with the death of his wife Leza and the result of their grand journey across Pandaria. He and his followers found the Vale ... but what now?

And that's where it gets really grim.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

What reputation is, how to get it, and why you should care

What reputation is, how to get it, and why you should care
If you've played for any length of time at all, you've noticed reputation being mentioned. Perhaps you've seen a message pop up when you killed a monster or completed a quest saying you'd gained reputation with this faction or that. But do you know what reputation is -- or what it can do for you? To get started, you'll want to click "U" on your keyboard to bring up the reputation panel. The list of names that comes up are factions you've interacted with, alongside your standing with each.

Most groups -- or factions -- in the game have their own reputation, which ranges from hated to exalted. At hated, hostile, and unfriendly, members of the faction will be indicated by red text. At hated or hostile level, faction members will attack you on sight, but once you reach unfriendly they'll no longer attack -- though you still can't interact with them. At neutral, members of the faction will be indicated by yellow text meaning you can interact with them freely: talk to them, trade with them, or accept quests from them. At friendly, honored, revered, or exalted level, faction members will be indicated by green text.

The trip from hated -- or even friendly -- to exalted is a long one, but almost always worthwhile, because as you gain standing with a faction you also gain rewards.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Blood Pact: Reputable sources of warlock loot in patch 5.2

Blood Pact Reputable sources of warlock loot in patch 52 MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill splits the warlock loot over two weeks to keep things light.

Various people have been referring to Throne of Thunder as Thund'uar, a name I fully intend to steal and use. It's just a perfect blend of the new raid and its supposed raid model, Ulduar, with the expected troll-like apostrophe thrown in for good measure.

But this week I won't be listing out the Thund'uar loot drops; I'll just drop in with a lighter piece covering gear miscellany and the new faction offerings. Next week, we can discuss how the PTR patch buffs and nerfs fit in with the expected performance of warlocks in Tier 15 while listing out the loot, instead of dropping a lump of lists in your lap.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

New short story, The Trial of the Red Blossoms, now available

New short story, The Trial of the Red Blossoms, now available
It appears that Blizzard is far from done with short stories on the official website -- and that seems to be a pretty good thing. The Trial of the Red Blossoms, written by Cameron Dayton, is the latest offering to hit the official website. And for those wondering, there isn't a Li Li in sight in this tale. Instead, we get a tale highlighting just what it takes to become one of the Shado-pan, woven through the eyes of a young, scrawny pandaren thief simply named Ten.

If you thought that Pandaria and its residents were all about good cheer, food and drink, it's time to think again. The Shado-pan are among the least sociable of the pandaren, and are quite vividly illustrated as a group of warriors that you really, really don't want to mess with. It's a dark, grim tale about some of Pandaria's darkest, grimmest citizens -- and it absolutely shines. Ten is nothing like the sometimes too-precocious to handle Li Li, and his past and future hang in the balance of the Shado-pan. Whether or not he can rise to the occasion is entirely up to him.

The Trial of the Red Blossoms appears to be the first of what may be the next collection of short stories. Cataclysm saw the Leader Short Story series, and Trial is filed under Faction Stories on the Expanded Universe page, suggesting there are more tales of other factions to come. If they are even half as good as Trial, I suspect we're in for a treat this expansion. And frankly, I can't wait to see if we're finally going to get some dirt on the August Celestials.

You can read The Trial of the Red Blossoms on the official website, in the Destination: Pandaria section of the Expanded Universe guide. And as an added bonus this time around, the story is available for download in multiple formats -- choose from PDF format, ePUB format for the smartphone, tablet or Nook, or mobi format for the Amazon Kindle.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Ol' Grumpy and the Mists of Pandaria

Ol' Grumpy's five faults with Mists of Pandaria
First off, howdy. You may remember me from such posts as this Firelands one, or this post decrying pointless elitism, or this one calling for the return of class based quests. As the loveable old codger that I am, I'm here to hike up my waist (note the kicky plate skirt I have on for the purpose) and gripe about things in World of Warcraft that I think could be improved. In some cases these things really bother me. Some of this stuff is on Blizzard, but some of it is based on player behavior, which means we have to fix it.

Before I do, though, I wanted to mention a couple of places where they did improve things. Cooking and archaeology, two of my least favorite things to do in the game are much less painful, and so kudos to that. I'm told fishing is better as well, but since I'll never ever fish, I'll just have to take your word for that. And now, onto the firestorm of complaints!

1 - Daily Quest Randomization

As much as I personally hate daily quests (it rhymes with 'Pike Ire') I will admit that the implementation on most of the new daily questing for factions in Mists of Pandaria is probably about as well implemented as it could possibly be, and as such I've chosen to focus on an aspect of the implementation that I think is more hit or miss than the rest. That is to say, the way it's determined which dailies you get in a specific day.

This is something I notice with every faction but I'm going to pick on the August Celestials because they're the worst about this. I have two level 90 characters working on rep. I have now defended the Temple of the Jade Serpent for four days. I don't want to defend them anymore. Please, for the love of Zod, put in something that checks to see what quests you've done over the past five days and doesn't give the exact same ones to you again, I'm begging you here. How about Niuzao Temple? I'd happily go defend that for a change of pace.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.1 PTR: Grand Commendations Boost Alt Reputation

Patch 51 PTR Grand Commendations Boost Alt Reputation
WoW Insider posted in early October, detailing Blizzard's announcement of the upcoming changes to reputation gain. Blizzard had recognized that the heavy demands placed on players to grind out seemingly endless daily quests to gain reputation with a faction were altogether too onerous, particularly for those with a substantial stable of alts.

Therefore, a system was announced whereby, once one character had attained revered reputation with a faction, every other character on that account would receive doubled reputation gains. Now, wowhead's dataminers have uncovered the method used by Blizzard to implement their new system: Grand Commendations.

These bind on pickup items, such as the Grand Commendation of the Golden Lotus "Unlock 100% bonus reputation gain with the Golden Lotus for all characters on this account". They are available for all the existing Pandaria factions, as well as the new factions appearing in 5.1: Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive. There is no pricing data yet, but it seems likely that these will be purchaseable from the faction quartermasters. If you're struggling to locate the faction quartermasters, Matt Rossi wrote a guide detailing their locations.

It will be interesting to see if any such steps are taken retroactively, or whether it is considered unnecessary. Are there any pre-Mists factions for which such a system would be applicable, or even useful?

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.

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