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Posts with tag harrison-jones

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Uldum

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape.

On the southern end of Kalimdor, a forgotten civilization hides behind otherworldly technology, forged by the Titans to protect the great machinery of Reorigination. The tol'vir, great protectors of the ancient machinery, stand stalwart against the corruption and fighting. Some tol'vir have succumbed to the aqir long ago, but the civilization remained unknown to the whole of Azeroth. After Deathwing's violent breach from the Maelstrom changed the world forever, the resulting chaos broke the shield that hid Uldum and revealed its sands. Now, Deathwing and his allies fight to corrupt the tol'vir and bring chaos to Uldum and beyond.

Uldum continued the Cataclysm zone progression by moving you from the rocky, subterranean world of Deepholm into an open-air desert, a welcome change for the claustrophobic adventurer. Giant pyramids, monumental statues, and an Egyptian motif made Uldum one of the most beautiful and well-realized zones in Cataclysm. As players embarked on two very distinct quest lines, the story of Uldum unfolded as the forces of the wind broke the Skywall through the desert sky and into Azeroth's realm. On the other side of the zone, players were sent on a sprawling adventure with fan favorite Harrison Jones on a bumbling expedition to figure out the purpose of the Obelisks of Uldum and get into some wacky trouble.

This is going to be the most controversial of the Cataclysm post-mortems. I can feel it. Uldum was a zone that people either loved or hated during the content push to 85. We are going to try to keep it civil.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: NPC evolution from TBC to Wrath of the Lich King

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.

Last week, we talked about the evolution of NPCs from classic WoW to The Burning Crusade. It was a quiet beginning to the evolution, starting with just a few NPCs in classic WoW that spawned world-altering events like The Great Masquerade. But in The Burning Crusade, we not only saw major movements from major-name players like Thrall, who actually got off the throne in Orgrimmar and traveled all the way to Nagrand to visit his long-lost relatives, but also minor players. These seemingly minor players gradually won the hearts of the playerbase through storylines that progressed with each patch in the expansion.

Characters like Cro, Jadaar, Asric and even the shifty Griftah weren't just NPCs. They were subtle reminders that those characters we barely interacted with had lives of their own, and it breathed a new energy into the game. Suddenly, the world wasn't just about you and whatever quest you happened to be on. It was also about Griftah's "unfair" persecution, or Cro's struggle to get that blasted fruit cart out of the way -- mundane, ordinary, everyday events, the sort of events we witness on a daily basis in the real world. Bringing the mundane to the game made Outland feel just a little more real, too.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: What pop figures deserve an Easter egg in WoW?

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

Just this past year, I've fallen in love with a television show called Dr. Who. For all of you who do not know what the show is about, it first aired in the 1960s, and it is about an alien who can change his face and goes traveling through time and space with a human girl in a spaceship that looks like a blue box that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. If that turns you off based the level of geekiness from that last sentence, don't worry -- it gets a lot worse.

But as I learned more about the history of the show, I always ended up asking myself, "Where is my Time Lord in WoW?" We are all aware of the fact that Blizzard is not afraid to put popular references in WoW, with Lady LaLa and Haris Pilton -- but why not put in a well-respected science fiction character? The thing that kills me is that there is an excellent place to put the Good Doctor into WoW that makes it seem natural: the Caverns of Time. It would seem like a great fit, a place where heroes can witness significant events and fight to correct them.

What about you guys -- who think should get a nod from Blizzard? Do you stop and ask why there are not five teenaged NPCs running around fighting monsters in five different-colored outfits? Or do you think that adding more and more of these fourth wall-breaking nods ruins the game, similar to what people say that Harrison Jones did to Uldum?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Cataclysm 101: What to do first in Cataclysm

Cataclysm has already gone live in Europe, and it's only hours away now for those of us in North America. Are you prepared for it? Do you know what you need to know to hit the ground running when Cataclysm content becomes active on live realms? If you don't, we're here to help. Below are answers to some of the most common questions that have been asked about starting the Cataclysm experience.

How do I learn to fly in old Azeroth?

You can get your Flight Master's License in Outland or Northrend, but the much better options are Stormwind for the Alliance and Orgrimmar for the Horde. Horde players want to talk to Maztha and Alliance players want to talk to Bralla Cloudwing. Wowhead has excellent maps for finding both of them.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Archaeology

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