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Posts with tag jade-forest

The Mists of Pandaria that never was

The Mists of Pandaria that never was
It wasn't until after a few weeks of raiding Siege of Orgrimmar that it really hit me: Mists of Pandaria is winding down. Unless Blizzard has a fast one up its sleeve, this is the last tier of raiding before the new expansion, whatever that happens to be. It seems almost too fast, seeing as how we've just hit the one-year anniversary for Mists, but at the same time the faster pace has left me very little time to be bored. Between patches with raid content and patches with quest content, there has always been something to do -- and in patch 5.4, we get not only a new raid, but a delightful island on which to while away the hours.

And I was flying to the Timeless Isle to go farm a rare mob or two when I started thinking about the expansion as it comes to its end. More specifically, the Jade Forest. A lush, tropical paradise the likes of which we hadn't really seen in such scale, the gorgeous scenery and introductory quests ushered players through what ended up being an emotional, gripping, and overall entertaining roller coaster of an expansion. But there's a catch to that. Once upon a time, the Jade Forest wore a very different face -- and had it gone live, Pandaria itself may have looked very, very different to players.

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

Know Your Lore: The mysterious disappearance of Varian Wrynn

Know Your Lore The mysterious disappearance of Varian Wrynn
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.

As a leader of the kingdom of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn's track record leaves much to be desired. Swayed by tragedy and the sneaky, manipulative claws of a particularly clever black dragon, Varian was completely out of the picture in vanilla, at which point the surrounding human territories began a decline from which they have yet to fully recover. Varian returned in Wrath, and promptly began the campaign to wipe out the Lich King, sending his best soldiers north.

While the campaign in Northrend was successful, we also saw the beginnings of the clashes between Varian and the Horde -- clashes that would continue in Cataclysm, and ramp up with alarming speed in Mists of Pandaria. Or ... that's what we thought we'd see. In truth, Varian's spent much more of this expansion absent than he has being a driving force for the Alliance. Where has Varian been, and what has he been doing?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Possible hint to the next patch?

Possible hint to the next patch
Mists of Pandaria has brought about a ton of visual changes, and not just to Pandaria -- Orgrimmar has seen a lot of evolution over the course of the expansion, what with the abrupt shut down of the Valley of Spirits and the wild Gamon chase all throughout the city. However, it looks like the Siege of Orgrimmar might not be the last patch we'll see in Mists of Pandaria after all -- Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak made an interesting comment on Twitter regarding the future of Orgrimmar.


Whether this is pointing to the usual lead-in patch for the next expansion, or a patch 5.5 in the works is, of course, completely up in the air. But it's nice to see that Orgrimmar won't be in a state of perpetual lockdown for good. It would be even nicer, however, to see the Vale restored at least a little bit in some sort of resolution -- after all, its appearance in 5.4 is kind of a shock. And if we're dead set on cleaning up Pandaria, wouldn't it be lovely to see some kind of evidence that we're serious about it? For that matter, seeing the Jade Forest cleaned up would be nice, too. Sure, it might take another hundred years to build another statue for the Jade Serpent, but I miss the orange trees.


Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The top 10 most beautiful spots in WoW

http://www.blogcdn.com/wow.joystiq.com/media/2013/03/map-header.jpg
World of Warcraft sometimes gets panned for its graphics, which have never been on the bleeding edge of virtual reality. This, however, was a deliberate choice on Blizzard's part, and I think it's a good one. It allows for people who are behind the hardware curve (such as myself) to enjoy the game, and the graphics' intentional cartoonishness holds up better over time than hyper-realistic renderings, which often seem horribly dated within months. More importantly, WoW's beauty hasn't suffered for it. Azeroth is stunning.

I've compiled a list of the ten spots I personally find to be most beautiful, and by spots, I truly mean spots, not entire zones. I expect many of you will have wildly differing opinions, and I look forward to reading about them. The ten locations are listed in alphabetical order by zone; there's no way I could actually order them - I would never be able to decide!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Archivist: 11 moments from WoW's history that should become scenarios

The Qiraji invasion
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Next year is WoW's tenth anniversary. It's hard to believe, but it's true! If the typical timeline holds, the next expansion will release a few months prior to that anniversary. You have to believe Blizzard wants to pull out all the stops for this milestone.

What better way to celebrate ten years of WoW than by crafting scenarios to relive the best moments? It's possible that Blizzard is planning a time-based expansion centered around the Bronze Dragonflight. The Keepers of Time could send us on missions, much like the Caverns of Time dungeons of expansions past. Only instead of lore moments from the distant past, they could be moments from WoW's own history, including events driven by the community and removed content that players may not have been able to experience.

Here are 11 examples that I would love to see.

1. The Blood Plague
What: The Alliance seizes a rare opportunity
Where: Original Orgrimmar
When: Patch 1.7

As WoW Archivist previously covered, the Corrupted Blood plague began when players used "creative game mechanics" to export a boss ability into the general population. The unstoppable and highly contagious plague debuff devastated cities around the world as thousands of players and NPCs alike succumbed to it. The resulting chaos became an excellent model for how real-world diseases could spread.

This scenario would take place at the height of the plague and have different versions for Alliance and Horde. Alliance players would accompany NPCs on a strike into Orgrimmar. They would take advantage of the deadly outbreak to make an attempt on Thrall's life. Horde players would defend the city and their Warchief while trying to contain the plague.

Why Orgrimmar? Due to the time frame, Blizzard could reintroduce the original version of the city.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Frolicking merrily with Martar the Not-So-Smart

Frolicking merrily with Martar the NotSoSmart
Have you ever wondered, while you were wandering the lush forest of Pandaria, what it would be like to have a constant companion at your side? A friend to share the scenery with, someone to reassure you that in the end, everything will be all right? Someone who looks up to you as the triumphant hero that you are, impressed by your various exploits across Azeroth and beyond? Someone to snuggle with on those particularly cold nights at the heights of Kun-Lai Summit?

I'm terribly sorry, but you're out of luck. But we do have a different sort of companion for you -- the kind that interjects with silly catchphrases while he's merrily pulling half the hostile wildlife to your side. The kind that stares down the face of danger without fear, only the empty eyes of one who has taken one too many blows to the head, tongue dangling wildly from the corner of his mouth as a gobbet of drool lazily grazes his cheek.

His name is Martar. He's not-so-smart. But he'll tag along with you if you know where to find him.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Anduin Wrynn broke my heart

Anduin Wrynn broke my heart
"That was a close one! I can't believe you stood your ground against so many at once."

Oh, well, it was nothing really.

"You really have a way with people, Dawn. They fear and respect you."

You think so? I mean, I do try to be -- respectable, that is. You don't think I'm too intimidating though, do you? You really have to be firm with some of these people, you know, or else they don't take you seriously. Still, I've been thinking if I wore my hair down I might look less fierce. What do you think?

"Dawn, you did it. It looks like they're fleeing."

Of course they are. No one's going to mess with a two priest team! Say, if you're not busy after this, I know this great little place in Old Town. Maybe we could get something to eat before we head back to the castle?

Anduin Wrynn. You were gentle, but tenacious ... Also patient, and so wise for your years. You were nothing like I thought you'd be -- nothing like your father. Except for maybe your force of will. Yes, you definitely got that from your father.

When we first met I thought we'd become fast friends. I can't deny you were personable, but it was your earnestness that really struck me. The night after our meeting I remember feeling a hope that I hadn't felt in years. With you, Anduin, I knew the Alliance had a future.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

People live in Pandaria; or, our house in the middle of the sea

"And that night, her mom said that the two of them and the now-dead guy were the only 3 people who ever lived in Las Vegas. Everybody else just arrived, ate their complimentary shrimp cocktails, and left."

Blizzard's focus is, as they've repeatedly professed, "to create the most epic gaming experiences ever." But for all the world-ending threats we've encountered in the last few WoW expansions, Azeroth just isn't that big. The entire Eastern Kingdoms are about the size of the island of Manhattan. We're made to believe that hundreds of thousands to millions of people of various races inhabit the planet, but examining the amount of residential space in each zone shows us room for far, far fewer.

Now, yes, the Azeroth we see could simply be an abstraction of some other, larger, "real" Azeroth that doesn't tangibly exist. But this one is the one we get, and it seems sillier and sillier each time when you ponder things like where exactly King Wrynn managed to find a hundred thousand troops to send to Northrend, or where night elves have lived for the past ten thousand years. The same goes for Azeroth's endless supply of doomsday villains and the cultists they inevitably find to do their bidding. They had to come from somewhere. And they definitely don't live in Stormwind.

But the problem isn't even really where they live. It's how they live. It's where they come from. Outland presented a unique opportunity to show us the how and why of the many strange alien races on an entirely new planet, but we learned more about how they died than how they lived -- the fate of most non-player races in World of Warcraft. Their homelands were a theme park, a casino, and we run through pulling levers, grabbing drinks, buying t-shirts. Nobody lived there.

Pandaria, though? People live there. The continent feels more like a brand new planet than even Outland ever did.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Insider interviews Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak

Dave Kosak talks Theramore, dailies and more
Mists of Pandaria is a gigantic undertaking of an expansion that has subtly reworked everything that was painful about Cataclysm and turned it into a fun and interactive work of art. Responsible for much of that is Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, who graciously sat down to chat with us about the changes, and what went on behind Mists' development to make it the expansion we've all been waiting for.

What makes Mists so fun? The substantial revamp to endgame, and the crazy number of quests and content to complete. The key to Mists is the sheer amount of quests and content to play through, presented in an interactive and entertaining environment designed and executed by Kosak and crew. Read on if you're wondering where that that world event we were expecting went to, what exactly happened to the Jade Forest, or how dailies are going to be less grind and more fun.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard previews the Jade Forest

Blizzard previews the Jade Forest
We're all going to have the chance to step into the Jade Forest in two weeks, and Blizzard is preparing us all with this preview of the zone. It's packed with screenshots and has a Q&A with quest designer Helen Cheng giving us a tour of the zone's highlights, explaining who the factions are and what locations we'll be seeing when we explore. It also places the Horde and Alliance conflict into the beginning context. So go ahead and check out Blizzard's official zone preview of the Jade Forest now.


It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: Burned by Hellfire Peninsula

The Path of Glory in Hellfire Peninsula
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

When Mists of Pandaria goes live later this month, players will all begin leveling in the same zone for the first time since 2006. In Cataclysm and Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard gave us two zones to choose from at the beginning of our adventures. Wrath split players up on either side of Northrend with Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord. Cataclysm's starting zones put players on different sides of the planet with Mount Hyjal and the less popular but unique underwater saga of Vashj'ir.

In contrast, The Burning Crusade's Hellfire Peninsula put us all on opposite sides of the street. That is not a joke. It is literally true -- see the image above! As you can guess, this led to problems. Let's look back at the Hellfire experience and try to gauge what we're in for when we arrive at the Jade Forest shortly after midnight on September 25.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Mists of Pandaria: Jade Forest cinematics and more

If you've been waiting, wait no longer: MMO-Champion now has the Alliance and Horde introductory cinematics. Additionally, MMO-Champion has one from the pandaren racial starting zone plus a pivotal cinematic from the Jade Forest quests. It goes without saying that there are spoilers for Mists of Pandaria in each and every one of these cinematics. But if you want to see them, here they are.

These are all reminiscent of the Wrathgate cinematic from Wrath of the Lich King in terms of their pacing and art direction, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I loved the Wrathgate cinematic, and I really think the Battle at the Serpent's Heart cinematic goes a very long way toward showing you exactly what's happening in Pandaria and how the Alliance and Horde are stirring up trouble. They're all very well done.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

What is your favorite Mists of Pandaria beta zone?

What is your favorite Mists of Pandaria beta zone
Over on the US Mists of Pandaria beta forums, Crithto has posted a poll asking which new zone is users' favorite and why. As of this writing, Kun-Lai Summit has taken a narrow lead over Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds. That doesn't really surprise me; all of those zones have some really cool elements that I'm looking forward to playing through in the live game.

What's a little more interesting, though, is that very few people seem to like Krasarang Wilds or Townlong Steppes. Those have only reached 4% in the poll. I didn't find either of those zones too terrible, though I confess they didn't seem very memorable either (which might be the point).

The poll remains open until the 15th, if you'd like to vote! Full post below.

Crithto
You've tested, you've explored, and you've done a great job sharing feedback. Now let's sit back, take a breather for a moment, and chat about the beautiful zones in Pandaria. There are seven primary new locations to adventure in, and we want to know which one has been your favorite and why.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: News items

Mists of Pandaria: A new Alliance in the Jade Forest

Mists of Pandaria A new Alliance in the Jade Forest
Spoiler Alert: I am about to talk about the Alliance, especially its new leadership, in the Jade Forest on the Mists of Pandaria beta. If you don't want spoilers, read no further.

Sky Admiral Rogers hates the Horde more than any character I have ever seen. She makes Joanna Blueheart look like a Horde sympathizer. That first part isn't a spoiler because it's pretty much all there is to Admiral Rogers, and I am fine with it. Admiral Rogers is seething with hatred for the Horde and everyone within it. This woman has one thing on her mind, and it isn't having a civil discussion to air grievances -- it's shooting Horde.

For the first time since Cataclysm launched, I have just done quests that made me feel like the Alliance is accomplishing something. Granted, what it's accomplishing isn't always good, in a moral sense. But I've taken out two Horde warships, cleared the beach of Horde troops, driven an orc warlock to retreat, and then defeated the sha and orc slavers. All in all, the Alliance introduction to the zone feels like this is a faction that finally has had enough.

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

Mists of Pandaria Beta: The Jade Forest revamped and reopened

Mists of Pandaria Beta The Jade Forest revamped and reopened
The Jade Forest has been reopened on the Mists of Pandaria beta servers, and it's had quite the face-lift in a few key areas. Two new giant mogu temples are now at either end of the zone, and the Alliance and Horde have claimed them in the names of their respective factions. As a result, the starting quests for each faction have changed significantly from what they were before the Jade Forest was closed for its renovations.

Because of this, beta testers who were well past the zone when it was closed may want to copy another character over to the beta and give the new version a play-through. It seems that both Alliance and Horde have received significant changes in the opening portions of the zone; however, later quests outside of the starting areas seem to be unchanged. In addition, there were several model updates with the current patch. Pandaria's wildlife now seems to be suitably diverse from the rest of Azeroth's creatures.

So what's changed? Well, quite a bit, actually. Take a look at the before and after in our galleries for a peek at the changes, and follow after the break for some impressions from the new Mists starting experience.



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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

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