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Posts with tag gm-island

Secret Areas of Warcraft: Where developers go to play

The Dragon Isles

Many of you are no doubt familiar with GM Island (read our 2010 writeup of the place), a restricted part of the map accessible only to GMs. It used to also be accessible to players, if you were ridiculously determined to get there and didn't mind risking a ban. Well, GM Island is not the only invisible zone that exists in the World of Warcraft, and no, we're not talking about Pandaria pre-Cataclsym. There are a myriad of "test zones," places where developers can try out things like textures and mechanics inside the actual game without affecting the places that players inhabit.

The Royal IdP Essploring Fundation (yes, actual name) is a collection of French players dedicated to finding and elucidating unknown areas of Azeroth. What is "Essploration," you ask? Here's a quick translation from their about page for your reading pleasure:

Essploration is the attempt to reach all the hidden zones of Azeroth believed to be inaccessible to normal players. The World of Warcraft is full of places unknown and invisible to the majority of players, sometimes magnificent, often very ugly, and which will never be officially accessible!

If you can understand French I highly recommend reading through the entirety of their about page, as it's very interesting! If not, however, you're still pretty well-off sticking to the English translations of their write-ups.

Redditor Piprap, in particular, called out the RIdPEF's Aléquia Moowisle for this documentation, including screenshot tour and history, of one such restricted zone, known simply as "Development." Development has been in place since before WoW's official release, and has evolved and changed along with the game itself. Aléquia explains that, before Wrath of the Lich King, Development was known from two smaller zones: Designer's Island and Programmer's Island.

More after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard

A look at GM Island and the Player Jail

It's hard to judge exactly how many players know about GM Island. Some of the older players will remember the flood of trade chat and guild chats whenever a GM was online and visible in GM Island, and those folks who like to mess around with private servers and unexplored places will have at least heard of its existence. However today, with the island being so cordoned off, many players probably are not familiar with the mythical island of the game masters.

GM Island is a piece of land that used to exist in the very upper left hand coordinates of Azeroth, far beyond the reach of players. It exists as an in-game entrance point for Blizzard GMs, and is a relatively mundane place. It has a small keep and a dock, a few trees and bushes, and that's it.

There was a time when players were able to swim out to the island, and that swim took around an hour of hard work. It involved using a level one character constantly casting renew and other healing spells; and the player had to know exactly where to point themselves or risk being hopelessly lost in the vast oceans of Azeroth. The trick used to get there was similar to the one that allowed players to get to the Isle of Quel'Danas on the patch 2.4 PTR back in 2008. It was also possible to water-walk out there, but not much is known anymore about that method, at least publicly.

After the break we'll take a look at a few of the features and lore surrounding GM Island, as well as look at some videos. However, please be forewarned that some of the images and videos in this post are from private servers. Enough legitimate in-game footage simply doesn't exist.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats

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