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Around Azeroth: There can only be two

"I've been making headway against the Iron Horde, but it seemed for every step forward, I'd take two back," writes submitter Dimmak of Gilneas (US-A). "I turned to my adviser Khadgar looking for help. He just shrugged off my worries though, making a joke about keeping my cool. Then he pulled out an iCrystal. 'Vargi? Yeah it's Kargi. Could you pop over to Draenor for a bit? No, my Draenor not yours. 'Kay, thanks, you're the best, buh-bye.' He tucked his iCrystal away and before he could finish saying 'Help is on the way,' poof, there he was. You know things are getting savagely dangerous when one Archmage is just not enough."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Breakfast Topic: Your favorite Draenor characters

With Warlords of Draenor, we have a whole new cast of characters in WoW... as well as the return of some classic characters of Warcraft lore. And while we haven't had quite enough time with the expansion to play through every quest and turn over every rock, we've probably played long enough to have decided on some favorites amongst the cast.

So this morning, let's talk characters. Who's your favorite member of the cast of Warlords? For my part -- and the part, no doubt, of many alliance players -- I've got to nominate Yrel, who is going to push me over the edge into making a draenei paladin so I can help bring the Light to the Iron Horde. (In 90 levels, anyway.) But what about you, readers? Do you have a favorite of the new characters Warlords has brought to the game? Or are you enjoying an old character that particularly shines?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Exploration, garrison resources, and more

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

After the long drought, we now have a deluge of Warlords of Draenor questions. And I couldn't be happier.

ArthurN asked:

Is there supposed to be an easy way for Horde to get into Shadowmoon Valley? I had a Garrison quest to tame an animal in Shadowmoon Valley. I made it in, even picked up a flight path with the Shadowmoon Exiles (they were yellow to me instead of red like everyone else in the zone). But I had to run around the coastline a bit to find some passable beach. The only way in by land that I found was guarded by Alliance. Am I missing something? And is it similarly tricky for Alliance to get into Frostfire Ridge?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth: The most popular garrison in town

"I guess these are the new Community Garrisons we heard rumors about," writes submitter Eulidia of Sentinel on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). "Budget cuts affect everyone, even dangerous near-suicide missions into another world (maybe especially those), but I still didn't expect to come back to my home away from home after another rocky server ride to find myself sharing it with several dozen other brave heroes of the Alliance. Good thing I just learned the Joy of Draenor Cooking, since someone's gonna have to feed this crowd. Now, who's up for charades?"

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Know Your Lore: The Pale

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.

When the draenei first came to Azeroth, they landed in spectacular fashion, tearing up an island off the coast of Kalimdor. New draenei players are taken on a journey through the wreckage and the mess, picking up the pieces and dealing with the unique effects the crash had on both flora and fauna. Several years later, and it seems the draenei are still doing clean-up work -- although that may be more due to Azuremyst being perpetually stuck in the past for mechanics purposes, rather than story content.

Why bring this up? Because it's not the first time the draenei have shattered a world. On Draenor, the new inhabitants of the planet landed in similar fashion, tearing up a great chunk of Draenor's landscape in Nagrand. Both times, the incidents were due to faulty ships -- and both times, the surrounding region was affected. But while Azeroth's torn landscape and blood-tinged skies were obvious demarcations of narrowly-avoided disaster, the landing of the Genedar was viewed as something different entirely to the natives of the world. To the orcs, it was unknown -- and then thought, perhaps, to be a gift from the ancestors.

They couldn't be further from the truth.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoilers while you are leveling, come back when you've finished Nagrand.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Ode to the Frostwall Woodcutter

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

Oh Frostwall Woodcutter, I know not who put you in this game, nor do I understand why you and your brothers are content to do endless rounds of squats rather than toting your lumber to the appropriate building. But I am certain, dear Frostwall Woodcutter, that perhaps you would be more comfortable with a shirt. I mean come on. There's snow on the ground here.

Although I do kind of like that whole burly lumberjack thing you've got going on. Zug zug.

DavidBaldock asked:

Not that I'm concerned about getting to 100, but in a non rushed approach, if I start on Monday and put in say 3 hours a night every night, when should I expect to hit max level? Friday? The following Monday? Just curious.

If it's three solid hours of questing and dungeons, I'd say maybe a week to ten days or so, two weeks at most -- and that's mostly if you spend a lot of time fiddling around. Leveling really doesn't feel like an arduous chore this time around. It's fun, and seems to be pretty well-paced. Make sure you park it in your garrison or an inn to get rested XP when you aren't playing, and the process should be pretty smooth and painless. No rushing necessary.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: Great cogs!

Gratz Solace
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Giant window of death. A farce. A boop. Queues. Plus: Start packing!

In comic news, we have a lot of pre-expansion comic content happening this week, as many of the comics were done up before the expansion landed. By next week, some of the comics that tend to stick to current topics will be showing some of the new content. Or, you know, lags, queues, and disconnects-related gags?

Guilded Age has some new fan art, but didn't quite manage to feature as many pages as usual, due to technical difficulties that will hopefully be resolved in time for next week's listing.

If you haven't yet checked out the returned and altered Surviving Azeroth, you should definitely give it a go this week! It's a great entry point to the new style, and timely too.

Last week, I noted that two of our comic creators have been ill. Luckily, Jenn of Best in Slot is feeling much better, and there's a new comic up. Unfortunately, Russell is still not feeling well, although he did manage to post one Experience Boost, because he rocks. Feel better, Russell!

However, there is some excellent news: Kibble & Bit has posted seven updates. Seven. Go read them!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

Breakfast Topic: Are you a returning player?

There are a lot of people wanting to play Warlords of Draenor. A lot of people. So many, in fact, that it has been brought up by more than one CM on Twitter. Considering how much of the past expansion has been spent connecting realms and smoothing out the population, it feels a little odd that we're seeing this kind of feedback from Blizzard -- maybe odd is the wrong word. To be perfectly honest, it feels kind of like the original launch, where new servers were being rapidly thrown up because the sheer number of people that wanted to log on and play far exceeded what Blizzard had anticipated.

Which makes me wonder about the numbers for Warlords, of course -- but we haven't seen those numbers yet, and until we do, it's almost not worth speculating about it. However, the feedback from those that have been able to play has been incredibly positive -- people love this expansion. They love it so much they really want to keep playing it, and not being able to do so is making them understandably cranky. Which, again, reminds me of vanilla, and the original launch. What Warlords has going for it is remarkably similar to the original release of WoW.

It's got the appeal of the characters first introduced in the original RTS games, it's got new, stylized character models that are a far cry from most anything else on the market, an engaging, at least partially familiar story to those that are familiar with early iterations of the original game. It's got the kind of mass appeal that vanilla did, ten years ago. Which makes me wonder -- how many people are making a return trip to the game for Warlords of Draenor? Obviously there are plenty of people that took breaks in Mists, but I'm wondering how many have returned from lengthier absences. Until we get real numbers, we won't really have a full idea of what's going on -- but I'm curious, how many of you are returning players? What brought you back? And are you liking what you see, when you can see it?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Warlords of Draenor 8 Bit

Okay, so it's not 8 bit exactly, but I really don't care. Warlords of Draenor 8 Bit is Ian Beckman's attempt at turning the Warlords of Draenor trailer into something incredibly old-school, and I think he manages to successfully do that -- it might not be NES, but it's a least late SNES/Sega Genesis, or early PS1. And beyond that, it's a nostalgia laden reminder of an era in which we all thought these kinds of graphics were astonishingly cool.

And they totally were, back then. I'm not sure what Warlords of Draenor would've played like if it weren't an MMO -- certainly the old consoles weren't capable of anything like what we've got today. Maybe something more akin to those old school point and click adventure games, like the ill-fated Warcraft Adventures that never saw the light of day. I got a good laugh out of this piece though, it was really well done. If you like what you see, be sure to check out Ian Beckman's Youtube channel for more machinima shorts.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: Let's do the time warp again

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I spent way too much time yesterday looking at the screen pictured above -- let's hope that won't be the case today, shall we? More importantly, let's answer some Warcraft questions.

msphoenyxx asked:

Follow up question on the portal thing. Khadgar (and all the mages in Stormshield) can open it from alternate Draenor to our Azeroth in present day. As alternate Draenor is not present day time, how does this work? I'm not familiar with mages having the powers to access time ways. That sounds like a bronze dragon thing.

Mages can handle time magic a bit -- Time Warp, after all. It's definitely not just a bronze dragon thing -- although from a speculative standpoint, I think it has less to do with time manipulation and more to do with the fact that they are basically creating a portal home -- making a portal to a place they've never been would likely be pretty difficult. Making one to home? Little easier. But only a little. Khadgar has a tough time with it, at first -- he says as much in the quests.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: All around me are familiar faces

Let's face it: This has not been the smoothest launch we've ever seen. By now, server maintenance should be well underway to address issues that have been plaguing everyone since the expansion's release. Hopefully, once the servers are back up and running again, they'll be running pretty smoothly. I've definitely done far more waiting than playing over the past couple of days, and it's pretty frustrating.

But oh, those few glorious hours I was able to get on and play. Draenor is amazing. It's beautiful. The music is fantastic. Garrisons are ridiculously fun. And I think what's been the most fun have been the random encounters with familiar names from our version of the universe -- not necessarily the big guys like Akama, shown above, but the little guys. The ones who were minor players, the ones who had smaller, more supporting roles in prior expansions, and have decided to just show up and help out.

It's like a highlight reel of every NPC I ever helped out and liked, suddenly popping in to pay me back for all those favors I did way back when. So far, my favorites have been fond friends like Fiona and Mulverick, but I know I'll run into many more as I continue leveling -- hopefully without the long wait times to get in. What about you guys? Is there anyone in particular you've been overjoyed to see?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth: You make me feel like a natural woman

Submitter Pinkbunnie of Azeroth Alliance Raiders on Ghostlands (EU-A) wasted no time plunging into Draenor. But she understands that it can be dangerous for a tiny, cloth-wearing gnome to adventure alone in uncharted territory. Thankfully, she's found this field to camouflage herself in if she needs to go AFK for a bit. There's finally a use for that bright pink gnome hairdo!

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

The Queue: Hipster Grom had Gorehowl when it was cool

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Seriously. That's what, a level 12 green? What happened there? Did Grom see all the people transmogging to Gorehowl and decide it wasn't cool anymore? "Oh, a Gorehowl. Yeah, I had a Gorehowl once. But then it sold out."

TheGreatJacob asks:
Q4tQ: Followers question: My husband and I were merrily garrisoning today congratulating each other on our various rare/epic followers when a question came to mind. Are we stuck with what we roll for a follower forever? Say my main gets crap rolls for followers, and my alt gets all epic followers. Are those followers set for the rest of the expansion?

I included this question because while I know that your followers level up as you go, getting better at various missions, I honestly don't know if there's a system in place for getting a green follower to go to rare or epic. So I figured this being the Queue, someone will come along and point to a post somewhere that I missed saying exactly that. Then I read the person who responded to you, and they posted a link that in fact answers this question. So thanks, jmlafave85.

I was worried my current collection of homicidal axe-wielding lady followers would end up somewhat weak at level 100, but no, they're all going to be epic eventually.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Gigantic Bummer

We all know by now that the Warlords of Draenor launch was marred by a big surge of DDoS attacks, because some people are jerks. For me, this basically meant not getting to play at all Thursday - by the time the servers were stable enough, I had to get some sleep. I logged on briefly this morning, saw that everybody was level 96 or 97 while I was still 92, and felt vaguely unhappy like a kid who'd missed Christmas because he'd been sick.

I don't blame Blizzard, and I don't blame my friends for getting to play the game, but there's this vague sense of being left behind in situations like this. I have friends who haven't even tried to log on yet, but my goal was to try and get at least to 95 today, and I haven't met it. Sure, it's because of circumstances out of everyone's control, a combination of bad luck and a simple biological need, but it's a bit of a bummer for me.

Here's where you get to commiserate or berate me in the comments.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Everything I do is a distraction right now

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Writing this Queue? A distraction. Showering, eating, experiencing the joys of nature? All distractions. My soul longs to be drowned in Draenor. Yet here I am writing this Queue. For love of you, dear WoW Insider readers who are likely currently playing in Draenor instead of reading it. Fie! A pox upon the frailties of my human body, my human brain, that cannot simply be submerged forever into the deep, deep digital waters of Warlords.

Anyway, the Queue. I believe in the before times we answered questions here. It shall be so again.

Merkavar asks:
How many hours from 90-100 you think. I'm not an energy drinking nutter with a 20 step plan for most efficient leveling. My plan is to go fast to 100 the first time then go back for the story etc on my many alts

Matt "Matticus" Low is already level 98. So it's reasonable to estimate 10 to 12 hours.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

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