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Posts with tag karabor

Warlords of Draenor: Shadowmoon Valley

Of all the new zones introduced in Warlords of Draenor, the one I was looking forward to the most was Shadowmoon Valley. The scarred, desolate landscape in Burning Crusade told nothing of just how gorgeous the land once was -- but it was home to the draenei once upon a time, untouched by the Burning Legion or the orcs, and I really wanted to see it. And I have to say, Blizzard did not let me down the slightest with this zone. Everything from the trees to the sky to the individual blades of grass that sway with movement as your character walks through them is a sublimely crafted work of art.

Although home to the draenei, Shadowmoon Valley is also home to the Shadowmoon clan of orcs, as well as a variety of other denizens, some friendly, some ... not so much. But it's the draenei architecture and scenery that really stands out in this zone. I can't really put in words how ridiculously detailed the environmental art is in Shadowmoon, but I put together a gallery of assorted screenshots so it can be shown. Be warned, there are a few spoilers along the way, so those that are wanting to see everything for the first time when you log in on day one should avoid it.

But enough about the scenery. How does the zone play?

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: How creepy

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Those cyclops critters always freak me out a little bit. They look so happy. Therefore, I find being happy creepy, I guess?

@AeroCross asked:

Do you think there's going to be a WoD version of the Timeless (aka Loot) Isle sometime in the future? How would that work?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Is BlizzCon bad for World of Warcraft?

Okay, I'm sure with a headline like "Is BlizzCon bad for World of Warcraft?" you're already thinking this is it. Rossi has finally snapped. But hear me out for a second. We've had BlizzCons since 2005, before The Burning Crusade was even released. While they haven't happened every year (there was no BlizzCon 2006 and no BlizzCon 2012) it's been fairly regular since its introduction. Last year, Warlords of Draenor was previewed at BlizzCon 2013 - for many of us it's the source of pretty much every opinion we have on the expansion.

That, in fact, is exactly what got me thinking that it's possible that BlizzCon itself is bad for the game, for the game community at large, and for the future of the franchise. BlizzCon, by its very nature, is a hype machine. It's where we learn details about the expansion - its name, its features, its setting and goals - before they are even close to being ready for players. People play demos. Developers give talks about the games. In many ways it's very exciting. I've never been myself, but most of my coworkers and a lot of my in-game friends have. So my argument isn't that BlizzCon itself is bad.

But looking over the past year or so, in terms of Warlords of Draenor and player interaction with it, I start to wonder if having the big reveal at the convention does more harm than good, overall. Expectations are set at the convention - looking at the recent player reaction to the news that Karabor and Bladespire wouldn't be capital cities in Draenor, the issue can in part be traced back to the fact that we were told they would be at BlizzCon. Players (like myself) had months to get excited about the idea of Karabor as a capital city. Then, suddenly, we were told (almost as an afterthought) that no, the capitals were moved to Ashran.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Yrel, Draenor's Light

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.

At the moment, we've only got two full zones open in the Warlords of Draenor beta -- Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley. Also open is the introductory lead-in to Draenor through the Tanaan Jungle. It's there that we first meet her, fairly unassuming and not exactly remarkable in any way. Yrel was first mentioned at BlizzCon during the story and lore panel -- a draenei whose story was going to be a major part of the Warlords expansion, the comparison made that she is a Joan of Arc-like figure.

We've only seen the first few steps of Yrel's journey so far in the beta, so the accuracy of that comparison remains to be seen. But Yrel, unassuming as she may seem, already appears to hold a bright spot in the canvas of Draenor's future. So just who is this draenei, and what makes her a lore figure to watch for?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoiler content, turn away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Blizzard's vision and player choice

Temple of Karabor assaulted
This past Thursday, Cory Stockton (aka Mumper) answered a simple question on Twitter. He told players that the faction hubs would no longer be located in the Temple of Karabor and Bladespire Fortress, but on the island of Ashran.

The firestorm of controversy that followed seemed to take Blizzard by surprise. Lore took to the forums to explain the change. He gave Blizzard's reasoning, including the lore explanation for the new hubs. Far from mollifying the player base, it only served to inflame those who disagreed with the shift in locale.

My response is this: Why not both? Why must one city or the other be the One Hub to Rule Them All? Why can't we, the players, choose which city to bind our hearthstone to -- without being punished for it? Why does there have to be one "right" answer on such a basic quality of life issue? Let us choose and use phasing so we only see our own choice as a hub.

Although I don't condone the extremely negative way that some reacted to the announcement, the anger didn't surprise me at all. It points to a problem that has loomed over WoW for a long time: lack of player options and personalization.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Where did you want your home city on Draenor?

Yesterday, we found out that our faction hubs will not, as previously thought, be placed in Shadowmoon Valley and Frostfire Ridge. Instead they'll be nestled in the zone of Ashran, also home and hub of a world PvP wonderland. That said, Karabor and Bladespire will still remain cities for the draenei and the Frostwolf respectively -- they simply won't be homes for us, the players who arrived on this alternate universe world and promptly attempted to tear a chunk into the Iron Horde.

I have to say I find myself a little disappointed in that decision, but only from the perspective of my Alliance character. While Bladespire was pretty cool, it was nowhere near as jaw-dropping as Karabor. Shadowmoon Valley is utterly breathtaking and beautiful in every way, and I can't wait to plop down a garrison on live when the expansion is released, and will probably spend the majority of my time there. From the perspective of my Horde character, I'm hoping that Ashran isn't a snowy wasteland, because I'd like some gorgeous scenery to look at. Sure, some people might find snowscapes beautiful -- I'm not one of those people.

Obviously we now know exactly where our hubs are going to be. And so far, we've only seen a few of the zones Draenor has to offer. We still haven't gotten a really good look at Nagrand, or the Spires of Arak, or any of the other zones available to explore. But just for the sake of asking -- if you could have your faction hub anywhere on Draenor, where would you want it to be?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: More details on the Ashran faction hubs

So in case you didn't hear, this morning we learned that in Warlords of Draenor, the faction hubs will be moving from Karabor and Bladespire Fortress to Ashran. Now CM Lore has posted to the official forums with a more detailed post explaining exactly what's entailed in the change and why it was made.
Lore - Hubs no longer Karabor/Bladespire
Okay, there's a LOT of misunderstandings and misinformation floating around, so let me try to clarify what I can.

Warlords of Draenor's story is about the people of Azeroth (namely, the Alliance and the Horde) venturing into an unknown world and building up a force strong enough to take out an enemy stronger than anything they've encountered before, on that enemy's own turf. While there are certainly some alliances to be made along the way, and those are definitely major parts of the story, the core theme is about you and your faction fighting for survival.

So, as development continued, we came to the realization that it just doesn't make sense for the Horde and Alliance to spend so much energy and resources building up a stronghold on Draenor, only to base their efforts out of someone else's city. We're not helping the Draenei or Frostwolves fight off the Iron Horde – they're helping us. The Alliance and Horde both have major bases of operation on Draenor. That should be where they're working from.

That, along with the continued development of Garrisons into the overall quest and story flow of the expansion, led us to the decision to develop the Horde and Alliance bases on Ashran into the major faction hubs instead of Bladespire and Karabor. Promoting the world PvP area on Ashran is a nice perk, but it wasn't a factor in making that decision.

That said, the Temple of Karabor and Bladespire Fortress are still there. We haven't removed them or anything like that. You won't be able to use your bank or check your auctions there, but they're still fully built home cities for the Karabor Draenei and Frostwolf Orcs, respectively. You'll still be able to explore them in their full glory.

As to the Alliance and Horde staging areas on Ashran, allow me to lay out a few key facts to hopefully allay some concerns:
  • They're located on Ashran as a geographical location on the map, but they're not part of the Ashran world PvP zone. They won't be subjected to the realm coalescing we're using to keep Ashran's PvP area populated, and they won't flag you for PvP on non-PvP realms.
  • We've also made some major improvements to the way PvP flagging works on non-PvP realms that removes "accidental flagging" from mistargeted abilities or ground effects. Unless you manually flag yourself by typing /pvp, you will simply not be able to attack enemy players, or heal friendly players who have flagged themselves.
  • They're populated with guards, and the only land-based entrance is directly through the Ashran world PvP zone (including a major fortress). It's certainly possible for someone from another faction to attack it, but it's not any easier to do so than it is to attack the enemy faction's shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
  • There will be a fast travel option between the staging areas and your Garrison. You can pop over there quickly, conduct your business, and leave again if you like.

This isn't a question of whether or not Bladespire and Karabor are cities. They are. It's just a question of whether the portals to Orgrimmar or Stormwind are there or somewhere else. You'll still be able to explore them, they'll still be fully populated, and they're still going to be every bit as beautiful as they would have been with a Transmog NPC. We're looking forward to them ourselves!


This is a well thought out and cogent explanation of the process behind the decision. However, as a player, it's not a decision I personally like -- one of the real draws for me as a player was the idea of getting to have Karabor as my home city, with the portals and vendors mentioned above. I want the freedom to never see Ashran, if that's what I decide to do. I understand the reasoning, I simply don't agree with it, and I hope it's rolled back.

For now, though, Ashran is where the Horde and Alliance home cities will be located in Warlords of Draenor.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Shadowmoon Valley preview

I love draenei. I've made this clear time and again. So you can imagine the throaty, masculine squeal of delight that I let loose when I saw the new zone preview for Shadowmoon Valley up on the official site. I'm very hopeful that we'll get to explore it soon on the alpha (a hope fed by specific tweets) and getting to read about what's going on in the zone made me very, very excited. Okay, so it made me giddy with delight. Exarch Akama! The Temple of Karabor! Gul'dan up to no good! If I were any more excited this entire paragraph would be in italics.

So head over to the official site and read what Senior Designer Helen Cheng has to say about Shadowmoon Valley, the Alliance's first stop on Draenor. I am so freaking excited right now. We're going to get to see intact draenei architecture and their greatest heroes and... I gotta go lie down now, guys. Discuss among yourselves.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Character boost and Shadowmoon Valley gameplay footage

What we have here is video from today's Korean press event, showing footage of an orc warrior playing both on the Timeless Isle in the starter gear you get when boosting to level 90, followed at the four minute mark by a dwarf warrior running around Shadowmoon Valley on Warlords of Draenor's Draenor. We get to see the maps for several zones (most appear to be unfinished) as well as Draenor's position on the map next to Outland and Azeroth. We get to see several mobs, including a nether ray style mob, and the local draenei at the Temple of Karabor. Even better, we get extremely brief glimpses of new level 100 warrior talents!

All in all it's pretty tantalizing, and perhaps they're further along than I would have thought - it seems more likely to me now that a beta is a month or two away than it did before I saw the video.

Edited to add - The folks at MMO-Champion posted two more videos from the same source, Korean webzine Inven. You can watch them here and here.

Thanks to Mintie for the tip.


Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Draenor, as the draenei saw


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.

The draenei were barely a part of Draenor - despite naming it, they lived there barely a few hundred years before (in our history) the rise of the Horde ended their respite from thousands of years of fear and endless retreat across the universe. Draenor (Exile's Refuge, in the language of the draenei) ended up as a cruel, mocking joke of a name, for there was no refuge to be found there. In our history, barely a tenth of their people survived the orcs to escape to Azeroth.

Now a new history unfolds, a new day dawns, and we can follow where it leads. A new Draenor, one where the battle between orc and draenei has yet to be decided. But what do we know of the draenei on Draenor? Where did they live, how did they live? What were their settlements, what was their culture like? What, in other words, are we being given the chance to save? We can look at what we know from our trip to Outland and what we've been told.

We don't know the name for every old draenei settlement that existed on Draenor. There were quite a few of them, many of which only endured in the time of Outland's appearance in The Burning Crusade as ruins, and sometimes these ruins were renamed by their occupiers. Sites such as Eclipse Point in Shadowmoon Valley were once thriving draenei settlements - now even their names are lost. Until we make the trip through to the Draenor of Warlords, however, all we can do is examine what's left, and surmise based on it.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

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