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Posts with tag features

Breakfast Topic: Old school questing

Mankrik's Wife
In the WoD beta, if you choose to put a Barn on the first available medium plot in your Garrison, as I did circa level 92, you immediately receive a quest from the NPCs there to head to Nagrand and trap an animal. So off I went, west out of Shadowmoon Valley, through Taladar and toward Nagrand, seeking my quarry. This was a mistake. All roads in Taladar lead to Shattrath, and Shattrath is under siege by both level 100 Iron Horde soldiers and demons of the Shadow Council. If you try to run south around Shattrath, you'll end up in Auchindoun, also overrun by Shadow Council demons and a load of other nasties who are way above level 92. Once you've finally made it into Nagrand, you'll discover that it's a level 98-100 zone. Oops.

After many deaths in Nagrand, I finally managed to successfully trap a clefthoof and returned, bruised, battered, but at least triumphant, to my Garrison, where I vowed never to set foot in Nagrand again for at least another five levels, Barn resources be damned. Upon reciting my tale of woe to sympathetic colleague Liz Harper--who went through the same thing when she too chose to put a Barn in her Garrison--I realized that I felt almost like I was picking up my swim form quest in Moonglade as a level 16 night elf druid, only to find that half of the amulet I needed was off the coast of Westfall. I had the same sense of apprehension about the unknown zones I had to head through, frustration when I found I wasn't quite up to the task, and eventual elation as I managed to finish the quest anyway. I thought, "Would I want this kind of questing experience to be a regular WoW feature again?" Is the fist-pumping moment of triumph worth the reckless blundering through two zones full of red-leveled, hostile mobs? Honestly, I'm not sure. What about you? Would you be eager to rise to the challenge, or frustrated to be handed a task so far beyond your current means? How old-school do you want to go?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: No two birds are not on fire

Flaming Gryhopns
The above screenshot stands, to me, as the funniest one I have ever taken. Eagle-eyed readers might recognize the location as the flight tower in Nethergarde Keep, with some colorful flames added to make the Blasted Lands extra unappealing. Without spoiling things too much, the flaming flight tower is part of a series of introductory quests in Warlords of Draenor. Apparently those poor gryphons still haven't got the memo that they are literally on fire. They're just hanging out in their straw beds, cool as cucumbers, while they presumably burn to death in the onslaught. What's the use in having the power of flight if you won't even use it to not be on fire?

I have seen many odd and interesting things in my time in the World of Warcraft, but I think that this one right here takes the cake--so far at least. I mean, who knows what Warlords of Draenor has in store? What are your best, most bizarre moments in WoW, and what would it take to top them?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Westfall Pumpkins

Westfall Pumpkins is a tale of not-so-friendly competition between two determined farmers entering into a pumpkin-growing contest. Like any good rivalry, the pair are in no way content to let the other do their thing, and just can't bear to be outdone. In Azeroth, though, we know that nobody is content to let nature simply take its course, and so alchemy, magic, and an impressive judging panel rule the day in this entertaining tale of gardening gone wrong. Whose pumpkin will take home the blue ribbon? You'll have to watch to find out.
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 rise and fall of features in World of Warcraft

I've been playing World of Warcraft since its inception. As a result, I'm as likely to view the game through the lens of my experiences as any player. One of the reasons I'm so thoroughly anti-nostalgia is because I'm actually incredibly nostalgic. If I don't stop myself, if I don't actively make an effort not to, I'll drown in falling down the well of this is how it was and just spend hours annoying the crap out of people who started playing after me. In one guild, I remember doing exactly this - I would spend all raid reminiscing with the other old hands (there were like four of us) and driving the newer raiders crazy comparing fights to raids from BWL to Blackwing Descent. Remember - every fight can be compared to Omnotron. Every fight.

One of the ways this shows up is when any new feature is introduced to the game. As a writer for the site, I always try and stay objective about a new feature, and often, I come to love them - I'm a huge fan of transmogrification, for example, and when they announced reforging a few years back I knew immediately it was going to become a mandatory and huge part of gear strategy. But the fact is this - on an emotional level I hate every single new feature as soon as I hear about it, because they're not my World of Warcraft - it takes an effort on my part to be open minded and I don't often succeed.

As an example - I've written multiple posts essentially defending the decision to remove flight for a while in Warlords' 90 to 100 zones and leave it out. But the fact is, flight was introduced back in The Burning Crusade and I've gotten used to it. I understand and I support the decision from a design perspective. But emotionally? Emotionally I have flying mounts and I want to fly on them. I just plain like being able to shortcut all the things on the ground, even while I get why the design doesn't support it. This divide between what's new and most probably better for the game and my own desires while playing the game isn't limited to wanting flight, either.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

My Warlords of Draenor Wish List

It should be noted that these are not features that have been announced, nor even speculated about or teased to my knowledge - if they have, I missed them somehow. It's possible. I'm human, I miss things. But I was thinking about the features announced for Warlords of Draenor (including recent announcements that blood elves and draenei will be among the races who get new models) and I realized that there's all sorts of things I'd like to see that haven't even been mentioned yet, and while I don't expect they'll happen, I might as well share them with you in the hopes that they may end up arriving at some point down the road. After all, transmog and LFR happened in the middle of an expansion, and they both worked out pretty well.

So here we go.

Level scaling

This is one I've wanted for a while. With flexible raiding now a reality, I'm drawn back to the idea of being able to scale your level down to run older content with friends, something the late, lamented City of Heroes had (called mentoring/sidekicking in that game). We've been teased with this potentially existing as recently as October of 2013 and whether or not it was a hoax then (I personally have no idea) it's something I've wanted for years. Sure, it's fun to bring your level 90 to an old dungeon and blow it up sometimes, but I want the option to step myself down and run it at an appropriate level in appropriate gear if I so choose. I'd also like to be able to boost a friend up to my level so that we can run stuff together, although I suspect the free level 90 boost is aimed at handling this same problem. Basically, anything that lets friends do more stuff together, I'm down for.

And speaking of that...

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Filed under: PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Features that have changed the World of Warcraft

Features that have changed the World of Warcraft
Time to be blunt. World of Warcraft is way better now than it was in vanilla.

Before you gasp and get a case of the vapors, let's get real here. I'm me, it's true, you know it's true. The talent system? Leaps and bounds better than the last minute Diablo II clone we got in classic. Raiding? Raids today are more accessible, better designed, and far more varied then the resistapaloozas we got back in the day. I say this as a dude who farmed UBRS for the Draconian Deflector and who tanked Princess Huhuran in cloth freaking booties because they had nature resistance on them. Throughout its near-decade long run, World of Warcraft has constantly changed, iterated and improved on the experience it provides. Every patch, every expansion has made adjustments and tweaks, and while nothing is perfect and not all changes were good (We all know that any change to warriors that didn't make them invincible supergods wasn't a good one, am I right? Why are there so many crickets here?) the game has moved forward with new systems and features.

For me, it's interesting to look back over the history of the game at those changes that really improved the player experience or changed it in a fundamental way, that altered how we play. And so, now I'll do exactly that. With Flex Raids on the horizon for patch 5.4, what else can we look back on?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Taking scaling and flexing further

Taking scaling and flexing further
Patch 5.4 has several new features I find interesting, namely virtual realms, flexible raiding and proving grounds. What interests me most about these features, and features from previous patches and expansions like scenarios, LFR, and challenge modes are what they suggest for other possible features utilizing the same or similar technology. We saw this with the introduction of the dungeon finder for five man groups - that technology was applied to holiday bosses, then expanded for LFR, which is itself being altered and expanded for use in flex raiding.

This leads me to contemplate ways to expand this, and give us even more new features making use of elements we've seen before. It's all speculation, of course, but we all do it from time to time. What do you want to see for the future of World of Warcraft?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Community Blog Topic Results: Features we wish WoW had

Community Blog Topic Results Features we wish WoW had
Last week, we asked, "What 3 features do you wish WoW had?" Quite a few people answered, many with more than three features. For myself, I suggested cross-realm mail, one free server transfer a month, and story questlines for each class. Here's the breakdown of the responses.

Level scaling

Since reading everyone else's ideas, I'd like to boot cross-realm mail out of my top three list and instead replace it with level scaling so that players of disparate levels can play together. Jojo over at Admiring Azeroth would also like to see level scaling be used so that players could return to lower level zones and complete the content with an appropriate amount of challenge. Feckless Leader's Ross has this to say about what scaling down would have to offer the max-level player:
Quest rewards can always contain gold, and perhaps scaled-down players would also earn the currency of the day, or be able to champion faction rep will questing with your friend. Of course this would work for low-level dungeons, too.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

How feedback works and why it matters

How feedback works and why it matters
Lately I've seen some forum posts that confuse me. Perhaps it's because these posts themselves seem confused. Posts like this one, where Librily the worgen mage accuses Blizzard and World of Warcraft's development team of soliciting feedback that they don't actually look at. I find this especially odd on a forum where community managers regularly engage with posters, and I wanted to address what feedback is, how it works, and why it matters now and going forward.

Frankly, it is impossible to look at the design of Mists of Pandaria and not see how much player feedback has influenced the design of the expansion. The 85 to 90 game is everything Cataclysm was not -- it all takes place in a seamless new land, it removed flying in order to provide player immersion, it works the Horde/Alliance conflict into the storyline. It is in every way the result of player feedback being constructively weighted and utilized responsibly. By that, I mean that the game's developers clearly looked at what players were saying they liked and disliked and worked to find ways to address player concerns.

What they didn't do -- what they have never done and cannot ever do -- is simply go to the forums, see who yelled loudest, and give them everything they wanted. That would be absurd design by mob, it would produce an unplayable game full of broken classes and most importantly of all, it would not be fun to play. Games require a ton of work to produce, especially a game like World of Warcraft, and the amount of effort behind the scenes to bring what we get to see and experience does not allow for that kind of design even if it were desirable, which it is not. Game design is not about giving the players everything they say they want, nor is it about doing everything they say as soon as they say it.

Let's talk about how good feedback works, the difference between opinion and fact, and why taking the time to make a well constructed argument is worthwhile even if you don't see any signs of it changing anything.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Five features I wish World of Warcraft had

Five features I wish World of Warcraft had
The game is eternally evolving. Sometimes that means things get added, and sometimes that means they get taken away (Oh, Have Group Will Travel, I miss you every day). This means the game is in a constant state of evolution and therefore that there's always room for improvement. With Mists of Pandaria changing the game and adding features like Scenarios, Challenge Modes and Pet Battles, and Cataclysm having already added void storage and transmogrification, the mind moves to what we could potentially see in the future. What features do we all want to see?

I have no idea. Seriously, how could I possibly know what you want to see? I mean, you might tell me in the comments, but that's in the future. There's no way I can have read the comments on this post before I finish writing it. However, I'm fairly in touch with what I want to see. And so, here's five features I wish WoW had. (Note - I didn't say more bank space or void storage tabs, but man, I want those too.)

1. Mentoring

One of the features the lamented MMO City of Heroes had that I always enjoyed was its Mentoring system. Now, this isn't something WoW's developer's are unaware of - it's a fantastic system which allows higher level characters to play with their lower level friends, either by raising the lower level character temporarily in order to be able to survive higher level content, or by lowering the higher level character to the lower level. The current system that can raise or lower gear levels for beta testing and which will normalize gear for challenge modes could be used in such a fashion, and I think it's an idea long overdue for WoW to blatantly pilfer and run with it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: What post-launch game features do you most appreciate?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

World of Warcraft has been up and running for six years now, and to anyone who played in the early days, the game is barely recognizable. I'm not talking about the Shattering; I'm talking about the meat of the game, the interface and UI and mechanics that allow us to interact with Azeroth. Blizzard is a great innovator, and over the years we've gained such features as battlegrounds, linked auction houses, meeting stones, heroic dungeons, arenas, the dungeon finder, heirlooms, and the in-game calendar. None of these were present at launch, but they all affect our playstyles today.

These are all great, but that doesn't mean I stop daydreaming about what else Blizzard could do. I love the armory calendar view, but I'd be thrilled if the Blizzard calendar integrated with my Google calendar so I could see raids and guild events alongside my real-life schedule. I also yearn for variable speed scrolling quest text. Instant text encourages me to skip to the end, but the scrolling option is vastly slower than my reading speed, and I just can't handle it.

Which feature added after launch do you think was the biggest game-changer and why? What new innovations would you like to see? Which new Cataclysm features do you think will have the greatest impact on the way we play?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Armory gets updated with a model viewer

The World of Warcraft armory page has just been updated with new features and tools!

As stated on their updates page:

Every character profile now has a 3D model viewer that displays the character in his or her currently equipped gear, and accurately displays the character's physical features, hairstyle, and helm/cloak display as they appear in-game. Mousing over the character model window brings up a control panel with the following controls
  • Camera controls: To rotate the camera around a character, click and hold the left mouse button while moving the mouse left and right, or click the arrow buttons in the top left of the window. To zoom in and out, use the mouse wheel while hovering over the character window, or click the zoom buttons in the top left of the window. To move the character within the frame, right-click and drag the character in the window (or on the small square in the bottom left corner of the window).
  • Animations: Each character has a selection of animations that they can perform. Use the arrows next to the animation's name to cycle through them. The available animations are determined by the character's class and currently equipped weapons.
  • Capture pose: If you are logged in, you can set the default pose of any character on your account. Use the camera and animation controls to create a pose, then click the save icon to set it as the default. All visitors to the character's profile will then see the character in that pose.
  • Play controls: The rewind, pause, and fast forward buttons allow you to fine-tune a pose for a character.
  • Fullscreen mode: You can view the character in a fullscreen display against a selection of backgrounds. All controls will continue to function in fullscreen mode.
  • Embed: You can embed a standalone, interactive version of the character's model viewer in a compatible website, such as a social networking site, guild website, or forum.
  • Options: Extra options include selecting a background in fullscreen mode and toggling the display of a character's helm, cloak, or tabard.
That's freakin' cool! I like the ability to embed the model viewer and the ability to stick a preset pose for people looking up your character is a plus.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Spiritual Guidance: How to be the perfect pickup group priest



Every week (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW.
Too bad he was too busy running heroics to come to the aid of the King!

With the new dungeon finder tool released, I felt it was a good idea to write up how a priest should handle themselves in instances with a group of players they don't know. Once I started using the system, I became exposed to a large variety of different personalities, skill levels and gear levels. Quite the experience grouping with players packing gear ranging from Trial of the Grand Crusader to the random hunter wielding the grey bow of death.

My approach to pugging has not been that different since the pre-dungeon tool era when players would randomly form up in groups for whatever the heroic daily was. After a while, I stopped doing heroics because I didn't need the emblems anymore. In the end, I had to re-learn and remember some of the core philosophies I held onto when I dived back into the world of running heroic dungeons again.

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Filed under: (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

World of Warcraft: The Magazine still coming later this year

A few readers have sent us notes asking what happened to their World of Warcraft: The Magazine subscription, and so here's a quick followup to the magazine you might not have heard about since BlizzCon. As far as we know, it's still on track for release in "late 2009" -- the website went live a while back, and they're updating on Twitter. The first issue should almost be done, and it's supposed to have a feature on the WoW TCG, something about Inscription, and memories of the game for the 5th anniversary, as well as lots of other stuff, we're sure.

Additionally, even if you haven't ordered a subscription yet (I haven't, actually, but I meant to), there will be previews of the issue online at some point. Or, on the other hand, if you're tired of waiting, you can contact them with support help and questions via email as well. But as far as we've heard, it's still coming before the end of the year, so keep an eye on your mailbox. It'll be a little different from some of the news you've seen online (it's completely official, which means everything in there is approved by Blizzard before it goes out, not to mention that they'll have some nice access in terms of news about upcoming content), but it definitely seems like it'll be an interesting read.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide 31-40

Welcome to the latest Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is your absolute best source for all things mage. Leveling guides? Talent spec guides? Loot guides? PvP guides? Profession guides? Random, vindictive, mean-spirited, and wholly superfluous warlock-bashing? Check, check, check, check, check, and CHECK. Arcane Brilliance has all your mage needs covered.

And the leveling parade continues! Your mage is level 30 and you've grown in your mastery of the magical arts. Your Fireballs are now significantly more likely to set your enemies aflame than they are to go off in your face, you now arrive at your teleport destinations with your extremities more or less intact, and small children no longer cry at the sight of the pastries you conjure.

In celebration of our new-found competence, we'll be changing the content of these leveling columns a bit. We'll no longer be giving each two-level gap its own blurb. Instead, we'll be covering each new spell as it comes, and every major milestone at the appropriate point. If that means that more than two levels go by without a specific shout-out in the text, so be it. Enough preamble. Read on and we'll see how it goes. If it's terrible, we all know I'll just blame warlocks.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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