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Around Azeroth, Beta Edition: I want to put on my boogie shoes

"As a devoted follower of Vol'jin, I be determined to crush the Iron Horde underfoot," writes beta tester Feathery. "I even convinced a bored peon in Wor'var to help me wit' my aim. That don't be such a great idea, though, because he kept licking my foot. Please, can trolls get some shoes? Ya don't really want to see a grown troll resort to making puppy dog eyes, do ya, mon?" Well, it'd be less scary than those crazy female gnome eyes, that's for sure.

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: How Many Dungeons? All.

I raided back in Cataclysm. But for me, the most fun was five player dungeons. I've always preferred the five player dungeon to any other form of content - I like them more than scenarios, more than raids, more than PvP. There's just something so perfect about the five player experience. Sure, it's not always good - I have had plenty of bad PuG's in my time - but to me the dungeon is like pizza. Even when it's bad, I'll eat it. Actually, that might go for most kinds of food. Hmm. I may have a problem.

Anyway, reading Zarhym's forum posts today (as I do) one of the things that really grabbed my attention was that the folks at Blizzard are aware that we wanted more five mans and didn't get them for Mists. This is a good thing, this awareness, but only if it translates to a renewed focus on incoming five man content. Especially with Challenge Modes so much a part of the game today, more five mans means more Challenge Modes to do. I didn't like any of the Challenge Mode rewards in Mists, but the ones coming in Warlords interest me greatly, and I'm looking forward to them.

So here we are, me praising dungeons. Five player ones. How do you feel about the humble five person experience? Yay or nay?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Ulduar Abridged

Whether you've never been to Ulduar but want the Ulduar experience or you have fond memories of raiding the place during Wrath, Ulduar Abridged is your machinima fix. It's not just a rundown off bosses, but a rundown of the conversations you would have had on Vent if you were running Ulduar when it was new. Brought to us by the fine individuals of Slightly Impressive, it's the latest in a series of similar raid videos, including Icecrown Citadel and Siege of Orgrimmar.

So what are you waiting for? Let's get this nostalgia train on the road!
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: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: In Name Only

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.

Questions will be answered! Misconceptions shall be splintered! A Queue day, a red day, ere the sun rises!

JodySchaeffer asks:
Since this is a different timeline with no impact on our own history, I'm wondering why our characters should even care, story-wise, about these people who are historical characters in name only. That isn't Grom, that isn't Gul'dan, it isn't even really Draenor.

The only redeeming thing I can think of is a Legion invasion at the end of WoD that destroys the fragmented timeline and sets up the next expansion. Have it so we can visit our Garrisons through the Timewalkers so they weren't for nothing.

But yeah. Since they're so big on stressing these AREN'T famous characters from lore, why does it matter who they are at all?

Well, there's several reasons. The first is pragmatic. The Iron Horde is coming through into our world, blowing up our settlements, and making war on us. So we should care about these people because these people are literally trying to murder us. I don't know about you, but I tend to be concerned when people want to kill me.

From another perspective, it's like this - yes, that Grom isn't the Grom who died fighting Mannoroth to lift the blood curse. But he is Grom. He shares many life experiences in common with the Grom we know - he has as much right to be called Grom Hellscream as the other one did. Saying that's not really Gul'dan is foolishness. It is Gul'dan. It's not the Gul'dan whose skull ended up in Felwood, allowing Illidan to consume its power and become a demon. But it is Gul'dan. And the reason we shouldn't just ignore that fact is simple - even though his life has taken a different path than our Gul'dan did, he's still the same evil power hungry maniac, just as the Grom we'll meet in Draenor is still the bloodthirst orc whose howl drove fear into the hearts of others. They're not identical to the people we know, but they are similar, and that's a source of knowledge about them. We'd be fools to not use that knowledge to our own advantage.

Up to you if your character is a fool, of course.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Garrison basics

If you're venturing into Draenor for the first time, there's no avoiding the new garrison feature: it's at the heart of all of your adventuring into this new world. But before it can become a hub for questing, professions, and missions (more on that later), you'll have to build it.

Fortunately, it's not very hard: as soon as you make your way through Tanaan Jungle, your first task will be establishing a garrison in Shadowmoon Valley (alliance) or Frostfire Ridge (horde).

If you want to know more, we're about to cover the basics of Warlords of Draenor's garrison system. Though no story spoilers follow, if you want to head to Draenor without knowing what comes next, you'll probably want to skip this post.

Now, onward, to Draenor!

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Around Azeroth: Give us dirty laundry

"While running some guild members through heroic Culling of Stratholme to get the Zombiefest achievement, I noticed this tucked off in a corner," writes submitter Epicurian of Spectacular Death on Llane (US-A). "I realized this is something you don't see in the towns and villages in Azeroth. Do they all have electricity so they all have dryers? Or are they keeping the local economy going by tossing out all their dirty clothing and buying new? Come to think of it, we don't even clean our clothes. Day after day, week after week, month after month, stuck in the same suit of armor. It's kind of interesting that the one place where people are doing their laundry is where they are all about to become zombies."

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: Forums vs. Social Media

Recently, Celestalon has been hitting the forums to talk about various classes and specs, from arms and fury warriors to discipline priests and death knights and elemental shamans. What's interesting to me about this is how it illustrates the strengths of forum posts over social media like twitter, and also, how much work it can be to make detailed forum posts like these.

What social media does very well is provide an instant dialogue between developers and the player base. What it is pretty bad at is allowing for in depth responses. I find the idea of getting back to the forums for feedback like this something I want to encourage. I don't want Blizzard or other game companies and their developers to abandon twitter - far from it - but as time consuming as doing forum responses like these can be, it's an ultimate good in my opinion to get more detailed information out in front of the players.

But since this is a Breakfast Topic, let's find out what you think about this. Which do you prefer? What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of each method of communication between game designers and players?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Around Azeroth: Mutant turtles that are neither teenage nor ninja

"So I was flying the far-flung reaches of Pandaria and Kun Lai when something passed me," writes submitter Arugadh of The Brotherhood of Iron on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). "I halted, stared, stared again ... and then dove for the screen-cap command. A flying turtle. No, seriously, a FLYING TURTLE. And no, I hadn't had too much of the Stormstout Ale. Meet Lon'Li Guju, a lonesome, sad angel of a turtle named for Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island tortoise (a species now extinct, as George died in 2012). If you emote at him, even from quite a distance away, he'll do a 180 degree turn, come flying up to you, and follow you around like a puppy."

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: What would you change about Warcraft's past?

We know that Warlords of Draenor takes place in an alternate version of the game world we know. And, as the trailer showed, in this world, Grommash doesn't drink the demon blood that enslaved the orcs to the Burning Legion... though it apparently doesn't stop them from being conquerors.

But now that the door to crazy alternate Warcraft universes has been open, let's make use of it! Looking back on the history of Warcraft, what would you go back and change if you could? In my case, I think I'd go back to that Nagrand quest chain where we helped convince Garrosh that he was leadership material. Why did we ever do that?! (Answer: to get the quest achievement. But it wasn't worth it!)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore: Warlord Grommash Hellscream

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.

Strength personified. That might be the best way to describe Grommash Hellscream, leader of the Warsong clan, trusted friend of Thrall, father of Garrosh Hellscream, and the orc who killed Mannoroth and released the orcish race from their servitude to the Burning Legion. Certainly all of those accomplishments under his belt might make Grommash sound like a shining example of exemplary heroism to some ... but in truth, that's only part of the story.

Still, the tales of his father's heroic death were more than enough to spur Garrosh Hellscream from listless would-be leader of Garadar to Azeroth. They were enough to light a fire that fueled his leadership of the campaign against the Lich King in Northrend. They were more than enough to fill Garrosh's heart with pride at the thought of a Horde war machine, one that he led with steadfast dedication as Warchief. But Garrosh's heart is the heart of a Hellscream, and another look at Grommash Hellscream's past shows that Hellscream's son is very much cut from the same cloth as his father.

Read more →

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

WoW Moviewatch: War of the Ancients - The Well of Eternity

I am pretty sure that War of the Ancients - The Well of Eternity is going to forever hold the record for the longest machinima we've ever featured on the site. I'm also pretty sure it's going to hold the record for one of the most extraordinary projects we've seen. Youtube user and machinima wizard Bloodlord001 is responsible for this epic saga, a retelling of the first novel in Richard Knaak's War of the Ancients trilogy. Clocking in at a little under two hours of story, this is definitely one of those films you want to sit down and watch -- but it's worth every moment, if you want to see Knaak's novel come to life.

And really, while this is an adaptation of Knaak's story and a good summary of how the first book played out, it's the machinima work that shines above everything else. Zin'Azshari is brought to life in stunning detail, each piece of kaldorei armor and weapons utterly astonishing in their complexity. Every demon, every character from the book is uniquely presented, with plenty of models that look as though they were built from scratch. The list of voice actors for the film should be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in machinima, and they do a wonderful job here.

The only minor complaint -- and it's really minor -- is that the subtitles could have used a pass from an editor. Still, it does very little to detract from what is obviously far more than a project, more like a four year labor of love. I do hope we see a continuation of the story, and the other two novels adapted as well -- hopefully with one monstrous production under his belt, Bloodlord can get the second one out a little faster. Grab some popcorn for this one.

Editor's note: Embedding appears to be malfunctioning at the moment -- click the header image to watch the video in full.


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: Gnomelords of Draenor

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.

You guys can blame ScottLeyes for this one. It's all his fault.

Bruin asked:

Does Garrosh's Jaw look a little like Deathwing's jaw in the Cinematic? I assume that's the remnants of Y'shaarj?

Nope! The tattoos are a Warsong thing -- his father had them as well. Garrosh had his done in the novel The Shattering, after Thrall appointed him Warchief and left Orgrimmar, just before Cairne confronted him and challenged him to the mak'gora that ended his life. Fun fact: When Cairne threw down and demanded the duel, he punctuated it with a full-out backhand across Garrosh's freshly-tattooed face. Ouch.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: Brood more

Experience Boost
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: The importance of being adequately armed. A messy mix-up. A new rocket design sparks a duel. Plus: A slizard!

Last week, Contested Territory celebrated its second-year anniversary! Congratulations, and thanks for everything, Maiu!

Also last week, Gratz: Adventure wrapped up, leaving us wondering what was next. This week, the new book has been revealed! It's called Solace, and the three pages up so far are openers. I can't wait to see how this takes shape!

In other news? Richard is helpless and under attack. The characters of Away From Reality are prepping for Draenor. Someone's gullibility is showing. Plus, we learn about ogre culture and some of Four's background.

Onward to the list:

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

Breakfast Topic: Do you want the Alliance and Horde to work together again?

I've never really been into the Alliance vs. Horde thing. I've played -- and have friends that play -- on both sides of the fence and I have fond memories of time as both Alliance and Horde. So why do the Alliance and Horde never seem to get along? As the game's storyline has pushed the Horde into the role of defacto villains, with Garrosh leading the charge to bomb Theramore, attack Ashenvale, and destroy the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, the rivalry's made a lot sense ... but it's also made me a lot less interested in playing Horde characters. (And I say this as someone who once had a blood elf main. Sure, blood elves weren't always good guys, but even my naaru-enslaving blood elf paladin had to look at Garrosh and say, "Hey, man, that's a step too far.")

But the expansions I've enjoyed the most have always been the ones where the Alliance and the Horde have faced a common enemy, pushing them together as at least impromptu allies. Even if we didn't always like each other, none of us liked Illidan or Arthas. The Garrosh-caused conflict in Mists always felt forced, like my character was being pushed in a direction I didn't approve of (having anything to do with Garrosh) without leaving me any options to decide what I wanted to do... it was go along with everything Garrosh wanted, or play Alliance. (Spoiler alert: these days, I play Alliance.)

So I'm actually kind of excited about Warlords of Draenor, since it looks like the entire game once again has a common enemy... even if it is still (sort of) Garrosh.

So what about you, readers? Do you want more war in your Warcraft? Or do you prefer it when we all work together? Do you think the factions will have to band together to defeat the Iron Horde?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Garrison stables are no joke

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.

Sometimes I think about how weird it must be to have hooves and ride around on an animal that also has hooves. Imagine if horses had feet like us, only four of them. Wouldn't that weird you out just a little?

Welcome to Saturday. Let's get to the questions.

Jalamenos asked:

If you could choose one minor character currently in WoW to be used in a future patch or expansion and be fully voice cast, who would it be and who would you like to voice him/her?

Lorna Crowley. Bring in Billie Piper and make her a sass monster.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

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