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Posts with tag icecrown

The dilemma of Darrowshire and Warcraft's creep factor

I remember my first encounter with Pamela vividly. It was vanilla, years and years ago, and I discovered a quest in Winterspring offered by a woman named Jessica Redpath, who had very little else to say. In between all the usual round of Winterspring quests was this woman, who asked that I go check on the town she grew up in called Darrowshire. It was all the way in the Eastern Plaguelands, but I figured for a change of pace from all the snow and desolation I'd go check it out.

Not only were the Eastern Plaguelands exceptionally creepy and bizarre in terms of architecture, especially compared to anything on Kalimdor, but the sounds and music for the zone were incredibly eerie as well. And when I finally found Darrowshire, I found a deserted collection of dilapidated buildings, and one lone question mark off in a corner -- belonging to the ghost of a very dead little girl.

And every hair on the back of my neck simultaneously stood up.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore: Never to rise again

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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.

There will be spoilers for the revamped Scholomance Mists of Pandaria heroic in this post.

Arthas Menethil is dead.

He's not just dead; he's really, most sincerely dead. He is no more. He has ceased to be. Bereft of life, yes, but as Sylvanas Windrunner saw during her own recent experience in Northrend, he does not rest in peace. The Lich King lives on in the form of Bolvar Fordragon, but Arthas? Arthas is dead. No king rules forever.

And yet Arthas' hand reached far across the world before he died. Even before he became a Lich King, Arthas forever warped the world of Azeroth. Even before his soul was blasted and rent asunder by Frostmourne and he became a servant of the then-Lich King, the former Ner'zhul, Arthas destroyed a city by his own hand and his own will. What Arthas did can never be truly undone. As much as they hate him, the Forsaken of Undercity owe their freedom from the Burning Legion to Arthas' move against the Dreadlords following the Battle for Mount Hyjal. As much as she hates him, Sylvanas owes not only her current existence but the val'kyr that have twice raised her from death to Arthas.

Unlike Tinfoil Hat KYLs, this particular post is speculation and rumination without a theory to support or prove. It's musing on the nature of undeath, the role of the Lich King, the discordant notes and unreliable narrators of this particular part of the story. It asks several questions and does not have any answers to them.

Does Bolvar Fordragon sit alone atop the Frozen Throne? Does Sylvanas Windrunner rule herself? Can we trust the val'kyr's word? And if Arthas Menethil still existed within the Lich King, holding the Scourge in check, then what did Tirion Fordring destroy in the Cathedral of Darkness? What of Matthias Lenher?

I have no answers but many questions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW TCG Assault on Icecrown Citadel 4-player game now available

Grab three friends and roll the dice to see who gets to be the Lich King -- Cryptozoic Entertainment just released the Assault on Icecrown Citadel four-player game! The game is built on the WoW Trading Card Game, but rather than having to build and use your own deck, you take control of decks themed around Icecrown's biggest heroes: Tirion Fordring, Sylvanas Windrunner, and Jaina Proudmoore. Each hero plays differently, and you'll need all of their unique abilities and weapons to defeat the Lich King, also controlled by a player. To top it off, it's packaged with a special Treasure Pack containing cards unique to the set and Worldbreaker loot cards.

I was lucky enough to get to play the game before its release, and I can vouch for its fun factor. Being able to play as a lore hero instead of an average Joe gives the game a really epic feeling.

The Assault on Icecrown Citadel game retails for $39.99 and is available at retailers now.

Filed under: WoW TCG

"The Raid" movie documentary examines WoW raiding

If there's anything I've learned over the years as a gamer, it's to approach films and TV shows about games or gaming with extreme caution. Be it cinematic game-to-film monstrosities like the Street Fighter movie or sensationalist "documentary" garbage like the fifth estate's Top Gun, there always seems to be a disconnect between the people operating the camera and the subjects they're trying to portray. World of Warcraft in particular has received plenty of positive and negative attention, but in recent years, there has been an increasing movement among geeky creatives to try their hand at explaining the game and the phenomenon of its popularity through all sorts of projects. The Raid is one of those projects.

The Raid is a short, 20-minute documentary that sets out to understand not World of Warcraft itself but raiding in the game. What raiding is, how it's different than in other single- or multi-player games, and what makes it so compelling are all touched on by the documentary. Some of the topics might seem rudimentary to actual raiders, but that's because the target audience of the film isn't raiders but rather their friends, family, and any other outsiders who struggle to understand what it is that we're doing within the game. That doesn't mean actual players won't have a reason to watch the documentary, though; raiders will easily be able to connect with the narrative of the film and the players featured in it.

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Filed under: News items, Raiding, Interviews

WoW Insider reviews the WoW TCG Icecrown Epic Collection

Having recently released Icecrown, the third and final set in the WoW Trading Card Game's Scourgewar arc, Cryptozoic Entertainment is ramping up for the upcoming Worldbreaker set. But taking the reins from Upper Deck means more than just continuing to release expansions for the TCG -- it also means community-building, drawing in new players and supporting players who stuck with the game through the license-holder switchover. That's the goal of the Icecrown Epic Collection.

So what's in this plus-size box?
  • 6 Icecrown booster packs (19 cards each)
  • playmat with rubberized bottom
  • 15 dividers
  • deck box with sidebar divider
  • 1 common loot card
  • 5 foil hero cards
But is it worth the money? Let's take a look.

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Filed under: WoW TCG

Breakfast Topic: I am the lucid dream

Recently, I was talking to Matticus and Kinaesthesia on one of our podcasts about Ruby Sanctum. Toward the end of the discussion, Kina mentioned how much he loved Halion's voice actor, Matthew Mercer (granted, we didn't know that was his name at the time.) We agreed his voice acting was excellent, and Kina suggested Blizzard ought to keep bringing him back for more parts. To date, Mercer also has done the voice of General Vezax in Ulduar and Overthane Balargarde in Icecrown.

Anyway, some days later while we priests were tossing the PoM around, the subject came up again, and Kina quoted the line Halion says when you enter phase 2: "You will find only suffering in the realm of twilight. Enter if you dare." He gushed at the inflection on the word "suffering," while I stated my preference for the way he taunts you with, "Enter if you dare."

Our talk led to other memorable lines from Wrath. I immediately brought up Sara from Ulduar and quoted her haunting, "I am the lucid dream." Plus, who could forget a first visit to Ulduar? I remember my sleepy raid's wandering into the Antechamber around 1 a.m. the first night that patch 3.1 went live. After accidentally completing Crazy Cat Lady and distributing loot, we stood around deciding where to go next. Vent had gone quiet while we all tabbed out to read up on Hodir until a deafening scream cut through the silence of the Observation Ring. Everyone on Vent promptly freaked out: "What the hell was that!?!"

I loved it.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

The OverAchiever: The 25 most entertaining achievements, part 2

Every so often I get tired of the self-seriousness that infests some of (OK, most of) the other work I do here and get the urge to write something purely for fun. After our series on evil achievements and the relentless misery of School of Hard Knocks, I'd like to spend some time on achievements that are nothing but an absolute joy from beginning to end.

This week we continue our series on World of Warcraft's most entertaining achievements. Again, this isn't really a list of WoW's "best" achievements -- I think the term's too vague to be of any real use -- but I wanted to spotlight some of Blizzard's funniest, most compelling and most thought-provoking work. This is what we've done so far:

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Icecrown raid buff now at 30%

Good news, everyone! Your faction specific Icecrown Citadel buff is now 30%, meaning things just got a little more lenient in ICC. Now's your chance to capitalize on the content in there to get alts ready for Cataclysm, finish off those drakes you've been lusting after, or just proudly wear that Kingslayer title.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: Cooldown management in the Lower Spire


Axes, maces, lightning, fire, frost, wolves, and best of all, Windfury. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance at Big Hit Box, pens the enhance side of Totem Talk, and leads the guild/reality-show Big Crits as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby. (pic: grats Saltycracker on Big Crits' first Shadowmourne!)

This article originally started as an enhancement shaman's guide to cooldown usage in ICC but given that cooldown management is universal to all damage dealers I've expanded the scope of the article. Actually, "expanded the scope" is a bit grandiose; it's more accurate to say I just changed the wording from enhance-specific spells to using the generic 3-min, 2-min and 1-min cooldowns.

In some cases I kept the enhancement abilities because they bring other abilities in addition to just straight damage. Here's a quick rundown of our major cooldowns for the unenhanced:
  • 10 min – Bloodlust/Heroism – you know it and love it
  • 10 min – Fire Ele (5 min with glyph) – yeah he's dumb but what do you expect, his brains are on fire
  • 3 min – Berserk & Bloodfury – Troll & Orc racials, respectively
  • 3 min – Feral Spirit – two wolves who do damage and heal you simultaneously. Rad.
  • 2 min – on-use Trinkets – Currently my trinkets are not on-use but I take them into account in case yours are
  • 1 min – Shamanistic Rage with t10 2pc – normally this is a mana-regeneration and damage-reduction spell but with 2pc t10 it increases damage.
I still talk about using Bloodlust/Heroism, Fire Ele, and Shammy Rage because they have their own unique aspects to deal with in raid. Namely, BL/Hero helps everyone, the Fire Ele is dumb as hell, and Shammy Rage mitigates damage.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Wrath Retrospective: Lore and the art of storytelling


With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in WotLK Retrospective.

Wrath of the Lich King wasn't just an expansion -- it was an experiment in progressive storytelling featuring story lines and lore that we haven't seen since Warcraft III. While Burning Crusade tackled new issues and races, it did little to further any of the Azeroth stories we'd seen in the earlier Warcraft games; Wrath took a step backwards to move the prior stories forward. Along with this change in direction, we saw the introduction of a few things that hadn't been seen in Warcraft before that made a large change to the way we view stories and quests in World of Warcraft, and a re-introduction of many of the heroes and prominent figures that we'd only caught glimpses of in vanilla. Today, we're going to look at Wrath lore: what worked, what knocked it out of the park and what failed to impress.

Phasing

Quite possibly the biggest technical advancement in storytelling was the introduction of the phasing mechanic. This allowed players to play through quests, and as the stories progressed, so did the world around the players, giving a new and unique feel to story line progression. Suddenly, instead of playing through a zone with no indication that you'd made any changes to the status quo, the world changed around you -- the chain of events in Conquest Hold in Grizzly Hills and Frosthold in the Storm Peaks both actually ended with NPCs being replaced as a direct result of player interaction. In the quest chain of The Battle for the Undercity, both Alliance and Horde players are teleported into a phased version of Orgrimmar, designed as a vehicle to further the story line -- and as a way for Alliance players to interact with Thrall without being attacked.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Breakfast Topic: Fear ... so exhilarating

I'm going to come right out and say it -- I'm a big, fat scaredy-cat. I am (woefully) an easy scare. There is very little effort required in getting me to shriek at the top of my lungs from a sudden noise or make me feel just ... spooked.

Enter WoW.

Now, I realize it's just a game, but keep in mind that I'm the person who nearly cried the first time I saw The Grudge because I was so terrified. There have been more than a few instances where I've been creeped out (gigantic spiders, anyone?), but the one part of the game that actually made me uncomfortably frightened is going into Hrothgar's Landing, due north of the Argent Tournament Grounds. It's got everything I hate: lessened visibility, the feeling of claustrophobia (from the mists) and very deep and dark waters. It actually got to a point where I would abandon those dailies unless someone was with me, as I would just get too nervous to do them.

Have there been any times when you have been genuinely scared in game? Does the Scourge make your skin crawl? Do Nerubians make your blood run cold? Or are you just afraid of the dark?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Icecrown Citadel raid buff to 20%

The Icecrown Citadel raid buffs, Hellscream's Warsong and Strength of Wrynn, just went from 15% to 20% with today's maintenance. As always, this means a bunch of raid groups will be able to progress a lot farther in Icecrown Citadel, and we're two thirds of the way to the final 30%. Assuming the schedule remains constant, the last Tuesday in June, the 29th, is when we can expect to see the next 5%.
Adam Holisky: I'm doing 10k single target dps right now on my huntard in ICC. today I'll magically do 10.5k. that just doesn't seem right.

Basil Berntsen: It's better than suddenly reducing the health of the bosses by 30% like they did in BC
While this might cheapen raiding rewards for many hard core players, I'll take a slowly increasing, optional buff against a flat out 30% HP reduction any day. Also, I suspect we might see some new achievements or rewards for players choosing to not use the buff once it finishes hitting 30%.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: Restoration in The Frostwing Halls

Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration will show you how, brought to you by Joe Perez, otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and the For The Lore podcast.

You have broken down the front door, taken out the Lich King's chief physician and beaten down his vampire cadre into a sparkling pulp. Now it is time to take out the Lich King's aerial core by heading into The Frostwing Halls and taking out some Frost Wyrms.

You've seen them everywhere in this expansion and with good reason. The Lich King has been raising an army of these former dragons to do his bidding. They range everywhere from Icecrown, as you would expect, but are also everywhere from the Howling Fjord to Sholozar Basin. These creatures are raised from the bodies of dragons from both the Blue Dragonflight that have been defeated by the scourge as well as any dragon remains found in the Dragonblight.

These twisted forms have no memories of their previous lives nor of the world beyond death. They are intelligent beings capable of strategy, tactics and deception, but their lack of memories of their former life, combined with their unwavering desire to serve their dark master with all the power available to them, makes them very difficult opponents. The goal here is to take out their queen and the last obstacle between you and the leader of the scourge.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Restoration entering Icecrown Citadel


Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration will show you how, brought to you by Joe Perez, otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and the For The Lore podcast.

I think we can safely say that it has been an interesting week. We have received a lot of news about what is to come in the near future, and man was it a lot! I know I talked about them a lot, but the changes are really almost everything we could possibly ask for. OK, I'll stop gushing about them for now.

Last week we talked about addons and macros and I'm happy to say there was a lot of good feedback in the comments. Thank you to everyone who responded and contributed. Today I'd like to focus on the current content again and begin talking about making your way through ICC as a restoration shaman. This will not be an all-out strategy guide, as there are many of those already around. Instead this is going to be specific tips and tricks for the encounters you will face and each unique challenge ahead of you and your raid. This will not just focus on 25 man content, but will be things you can use for both 10 and 25 man content. Heroic will be it's own animal for another time.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Icecrown Citadel raid buff has been buffed to 10%


Raiders rejoice (or despair depending on how you feel about it)! The Icecrown raid wide buff has been increased by an additional 5% to 10%. Anyway, if your raid has been on the brink of taking down some bosses but could not muster enough firepower, then the improved Strength of Wrynn or Hellscream's Warsong could be that extra push you need!

For more information and resources, check out WoW.com's Icecrown Citadel raid strategy and information page!

Filed under: News items, Raiding

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