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Enter to win World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn

Enter to win World of Warcraft Bloodsworn
Patch days full of new content to play are always good, but why don't we make this patch day just a little bit better? We've got not one, but two copies of World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn to give away, and today seems like the best day to do it! This brand-new graphic novel from DC Comics follows the adventures of a motley group of individuals brought together under the banner of the Horde. Written by Doug Wagner and featuring artwork by Jheremy Raapack, the book clocks in at a solid 152 pages jammed full of action.

Thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, we've got a couple of these graphic novels to give away. Take a look at our spoiler-free review if you'd like more information on the graphic novel -- while the events in the story take place shortly after Cataclysm, the book is very much worth the read and an even better addition to your bookshelf.

Interested? To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. ET, Tuesday, September 17, 2013. You must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec). You can only enter once. Two winners will be chosen at random and we will contact you via whatever method you've used to comment. Official rules here.


Filed under: Blizzard, Contests

Review of World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn

Review of World of Warcraft Bloodsworn
Much like its counterpart Dark Riders, World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn is long, long overdue. Luckily, those that have been waiting for the new graphic novel from writer Doug Wagner don't have long to wait -- Bloodsworn will be released next Tuesday, August 27. While Dark Riders tackled some of the Alliance characters introduced in the 2009 special issue of the Warcraft comic series, Bloodsworn tackles the Horde characters introduced in the final edition.

Although Dark Riders dove headfirst into familiar waters for those that follow Warcraft lore, Bloodsworn takes a different road entirely, giving us a behind the scenes glimpse of Garrosh's Horde. Taking place shortly after Cataclysm, Bloodsworn follows the tale of several different Horde characters, brought together and united to investigate and uncover the motives and actions of a seemingly new breed of centaur that are intent on wiping the Horde from the face of Azeroth.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Back in my day, it was all about patch 1.2

Patch 5.2 this, patch 5.2 that! Back in my day, we had real patches. Or rather, we had the very first content patch for the game -- patch 1.2. Daily quest hubs? Dailies didn't even exist back then. No, you got a dungeon -- a single dungeon -- and you liked it. And there was none of this silly heroic nonsense, either. All we needed was someplace to run in and smash a few centaur and we were perfectly happy.

But seriously, it's actually kind of odd to think about, because I remember that very first patch with utter clarity. It was still 2004, less than a month after the game itself had been released -- and I had just gotten the hang of playing a druid, more or less. Well, I figured out what talent points were for, anyway. Hint: It wasn't just the game congratulating me for leveling up.

I was such a noob back then.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

And the dungeons keep on shrinking

I've run the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons on the beta several times now. They're fun, well-designed, interesting dungeons. They are a bit jarring if you're familiar with the current Scarlet Monastery, however. The current four dungeons have been cut down to two, and it's been achieved by removing a lot of the long hallways full of trash pulls we're familiar with now. The Armory section of the new dungeon almost feels abrupt if you (like me) ran SM over and over again in the olden days of WoW.

It's not that the new dungeons are bad. They're objectively good, even great at places, with a good sense of the history of the place and call-backs to the classic dungeon.

They just feel kind of short to me. Smaller. Actually smaller, not in terms of the size of the hallways or anything but in terms of how much real estate they cover. And while I often rail against nostalgia, lately that sense of scale has been driving me to run older content not even to gather loot for transmog but just to see it, to look around at the scope and scale of the older dungeons.

Now, I don't want to pretend that these dungeons weren't often hideously irritating to run at the time. Getting a 5-man group all the way through Stratholme back when it was all one big, interconnected burning city full of undead and no one ever wanted to clear both sides wasn't anything but an exercise in learning colorful new metaphors as they spewed from your own mouth. You'd end up amazed you even knew the Basque term for that particular deviancy.

Still, there is something to be said for the epic scale of some of the older 5-man dungeons.

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

Does Cataclysm have too much potential content?

I was running around Uldum recently, doing the Ramkahen quests on yet another new 85, when it occurred to me that Uldum itself feels like the story has barely been told. Sure, we run around doing odd jobs for Harrison Jones, then we infiltrate the Halls of Origination and turn off the big doomsday device Algalon was going to use on us. And sure, we eventually crash into the Vortex Pinnacle and Throne of the Four Winds to stop Al'Akir and his minions. But what about the connection between Silithus and Uldum?

We know that Ahn'Qiraj was a lost titan city and that the Tol'vir were assigned to it, that entities like Ossirian were once watchers like Setesh. (Setesh's model is nearly identical to the Anubisath that patrol AQ today.) It just feels like, with C'thun obviously driving Cho'gall around even after his "death," that there's room for a whole raid just dealing with the lost connections between AQ and Uldum. The lost passages of the titan research facility that the Qiraji took over? (We know from Uldaman and Ulduar that titan constructions tend to go on for miles and miles.)

And that's hardly even the top of the list of raid instances we could see. A lot of us hoped for and expected an Abyssal Maw raid of some kind. There's a lot of talk about another Caverns of Time instance or raid with Nozdorumu's return. And I can't be the only one who keeps thinking that Grim Batol has entire layers we haven't seen yet. Heck, there are whole terraces in Deepholm we visit once and never go back to, and that whole zone is massive and cries out for more.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

WoW Archivist: World of Warcraft patch 1.2

The WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? What secrets does the game still hold? If you enjoyed Patches of Yesteryear, you're going to love this.

Patch 1.2 was World of Warcraft's very first post-release content patch, way back in December of 2004. It was officially released on Dec. 18, less than a month after the release of the game. Patch 1.2's crown jewel was Maraudon, the first instance ever added to the game after its launch. You may all hate Maraudon now, but back in 2004, that twisty hellhole was the cat's pajamas.

Patch 1.2 also included:
  • Winter Veil
  • The ability to turn off your helm and cloak
  • A nerf to Daze
  • The Great Kodo Nerf of '04
Let's dust off the patch 1.2 tome together, shall we?

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore: Theradras, Zaetar and the centaur


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.

They nearly wiped out the tauren. What they lack in brains, hygiene or manners they make up for with raw, bestial aggression, riding in herd-like tribes to try and dominate the land they themselves metaphorically descend from. Born from the union of earth elemental and spirit of nature, they descend from Therazane and Cenarius, and yet it is fair to say that at best, the apple has fallen from the tree and rolled some distance from these ancestors. Their presence in Azeroth often befouls, as they seem to see no need to take care of the land they themselves descend from, for they are not grateful children. Their father Zaetar died at their hands.

They are the centaur. Before the coming of the Horde, they were the most likely to rule The Barrens, what is now Durotar, even Desolace. The past 10 years have seen their numbers fall, their power fade, pushed aside by the tauren and their new allies, but they have not faded away yet. From their fortress of Maraudon, they paradoxically guard and watch over the site of their father's grave, the crystal caverns of Terramok where their mother, Princess Theradras, was sealed away by the Titans.

Born of a forbidden union, cursed by patricide, the centaur abide.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Children of the Stonemother -- The elements, part three


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.

We've talked about the elemental spirits in general and about those of fire in more depth. This week, we take a look at Therazane the Stonemother and the elementals of earth. Unlike the more active fire elementals, the more erosive water or the quicksilver air elementals, those of earth reflect the solidity of their element. In general, the elemetals of earth tend to be slower to anger and play the middle ground for the other, more energetic elementals. It would be a mistake to assume this makes them placid or unwilling to resort to violence, however. Earth elementals were among the prized soldiers of the Old Gods during their war with the Titans, and to this day, some of their strongest still reside in Azeroth.

The earth elementals owe allegiance to Therazane (we can see her name in game on a belt dropped by Nefarian and an off-hand available through old AV purchases). Her daughter, Theradras, seduced Zaetar (the son of Cenarius) and produced the centaur races of Azeroth. She can be found in Maraudon, which is holy ground to the centaur tribes of Desolace. While Therazane is often said to be the most peaceful and loving of the elemental lords, this doesn't mean members of her elemental court don't make trouble in Azeroth from time to time.

However, given Therazane's connection to the earth, it's interesting to consider just what her role might actually be in the history of Azeroth. It's often said that Therazane feels pain when the earth and stones are disturbed and that she hates Deathwing for his destructive rampages (and, presumably, out of a rivalry with him, since he is the Titan appointed Aspect of Earth, while she is the Old God summoned Stonemother). This begs the question of Therazane's identity. Is the Stonemother the same entity the tauren refer to as the Earthmother?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: We're doing what now?

Some instances and raids, you understand why you're there. Icecrown, for instance, makes a lot of sense to me. I get why we're running the five mans (trying to sneak into the Citadel while the Scourge is focused on the front door) and the raid (that didn't work out so hot so brute force it is!) I always enjoyed Scarlet Monastery and had no difficulty with why I was running the place either as Alliance or Horde. Alliance, you were cleaning out a nasty pack of gibbering mouth-breather sociopathic xenophobes who were totally freaking insane, and Horde... same deal, plus they were killing people you actually knew.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Instances, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

How Blizzard used the dungeon system to change Oculus

Zarhym has shared a little more insight into Blizzard's latest thinking about the dungeon group system going into the game and how they're using it to monitor 5-man action. When a player suggests that they buff Oculus' loot rather than tweak the mechanics of the dungeon, Zarhym replies that that's not the way it's done -- they provide more rewards for higher challenges, not just to direct players around. But he does say that Blizzard noticed Oculus was being singled out as a dungeon that players on the PTR didn't want to run, and that's why they went in and took a look at how it all worked.

That's very interesting, and it tells that (at least on the PTR if not on the actual live realms) Blizzard can more easily get information from the new dungeon system about which instances players are running. That could have all kinds of ramifications -- if they see a lot of Scarlet Monastery runs coming through, or see that no one at all is visiting Maraudon, we may see even more updates coming to those kind of places. And they can use that feedback for future dungeons as well. It'll be interesting to see what kinds of patterns for instance running arise on the live realms -- obviously there's a lot of interest in the "random" dungeon function (that rewards you for running random instances), but that's still weighted towards what instances you've already done. We may see more changes coming to current dungeons depending on what kinds of information Blizzard gets after the patch 3.3 release.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Instances, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard opens up old instances to soloers, changes quest items

Blue poster Daelo has good news for people aiming to solo old instances -- Blizzard has made a few changes to the way keys and unlocks work in the old dungeons, so that you no longer need keys or multiple people to get to the good stuff. The rituals in Blackrock Spire and Uldaman only require one click now, and quintessence (in Molten Core to summon Executus before the Ragnaros fight), the Scepter of Celebras (in Maraudon), and the Mallet of Zul'Farrak (in the ZF, obviously) are no longer needed to do their jobs. Additionally, Nightbane will be accessible in Karazhan without the Blackened Urn.

Some may be disappointed that items we worked so hard for are now pretty much useless, but as you probably know by now, that's the way of things when an expansion hits. The good news, obviously, is that people running through instances solo or with just a few people will be able to hit all the content they couldn't get to before. And if you happen to be running the content, you won't need to worry about whether you left the Mallet in the bank or forgot the Scepter on a Princess run.

And unfortunately, collectors will be left out as well -- most of the items will actually change form into weapons or other useless objects, so even if you have the old items, they won't be usable in the same way. Sure, the Mallet was a pain to get, but it'll be a little sad to see it disappear in the way we know it forever.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions

Phat Loot Phriday: Blade of Eternal Darkness

Wait, there's an actual reason to go to Mauradon and do a Princess run?

Name: Blade of Eternal Darkness (Wowhead, Thottbot, Goblin Workshop)
Type: Epic One-hand Dagger
Damage/Speed: 33-70/1.50 (34.3 DPS)
Abilities:
  • It's only got one: landing a direct damage spell has a chance to deal 100 Shadow damage and restore 100 mana to you. So basically every time you hit with a DD spell (not a DoT), you have a chance to do damage and restore mana. Pretty awesome.
  • There's no apparent cooldown on the proc. As mentioned, it doesn't work on DoT tics, but it sometimes does work on AoE, and it does work with spells like Lightning Shield (though it doesn't work with totems). So depending on your situation, the dagger might be worth keeping around even into the higher levels. Until downranking is killed off, it might be a way to build back up some mana.
  • Oh, and the minimum level is 49, which makes this definitely a twink item -- while it's great for leveling, it's most likely twinks who are going to be asking for Princess runs to grab this one.
  • Trivia: For a long time, this was the first non-World epic item in the game. As of 2.3.0, Blizzard redid the loot for a lot of lower level instances, and now it's a ring in Scarlet Monastery. But this is the original Epic drop, baby!
How to Get It: Yes, you've got to go in and kill the Princess in Maraudon (which is probably my favorite, pre-BC instance, though Dire Maul is a good one, too). As you probably know, there are really three parts of Mara -- there are two paths that go through the instance (one full of orange crystals and one purple), and then they meet up in the middle for a third section that leads to the main boss of the instance, the extremely ugly Princess Theradras. If you've done the quest for both sides of the instance, you can get the scepter that will let you use the portal at the beginning of the instance to warp right to the last part. Doing just the last part is called a Princess Run, and that's what you'll need to do to get this item.

It drops from the lovely lady at a rate of about 2%, so it's definitely a rare drop to come by. But twinks have proved that it's farmable, so if you really, really want it, you can get a higher level to run you up to the Princess and drop her a few dozen times, and you'll probably see it. If not, keep farming -- a coin has to fall tails sometime, right?

Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 4g 67s 96c (which isn't a lot at 70, but is a whole lot of money at level 49). Disenchants into a Small Brilliant Shard.

Filed under: Mage, Items, Blizzard, Instances, Phat Loot Phriday, Guides, NPCs

Ask a Lore Nerd: Now now, there's enough Light for everybody


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below, ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment!

Aydinn of Cenarion Circle
wrote in to ask...

My question is (which may seem obvious to some), who is the goblin statue at Booty Bay? Why does he deserve a statue?

Answer: Thanks for writing in! Good to hear from people from my home server. That statue on Janeiro Isle might be of Baron Revilgaz, the overseer and top dog of Booty Bay. He deserves a statue because... he wanted a statue, and he's freaking Baron Revilgaz. He runs the show. Really, though, it's kind of a generic Goblinoid figure so it could be nobody at all.

At one time, it was a statue of a Human Priest. It's a nod to a really cool landmark here in the real world. It's based on Christ the Redeemer, a statue found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You may recognize it from an episode of Lupin III. Eh? No? ...oh. Oh well. It's a pretty awesome sight to see in real life regardless of whether you put faith in what it represents or not. The in-game model was likely changed from a Human to a Goblin to back away from the religious overtones while keeping the reference, and Goblins fit the area better anyway.

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Filed under: Undead, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

[1.Local]: Readers dig into this week's stories


[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Nostalgia threads are among our reader favorites, so quite a few commenters this week chimed in on what Old World instances they'd most like to see made heroic (if such a thing were ever to happen). Readers chimed in on not one but two posts examining whether players should be embarrassed (or even ashamed) of their WoW playing. We chatted about whether or not the story behind WoW really matters and about cool things to do while we're fishing.

This was also a week about preparations. We discussed shaping up smaller guilds for 10-man raiding in Wrath, and we talked about gearing up for PvP from scratch in the face of Season 4's debut. And finally, we had a rather hilarious take on hunter strategy – fuzzy logic, or no?

Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts – unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Interviews, [1.Local]

Things left undone


I've been farming a lot of ghost mushrooms and gromsblood lately in order to make Demonslaying Elixirs. My guild's farming trash in Sunwell Plateau at the moment and has taken a few half-hearted swings at Kalecgos, all of which ended in much hollering and arguing and waving of hands in the air. But despite the fact that Big Blue is likely to ride our collective ass for weeks, I like to think of myself as a long-term planner with a gimlet eye on Brutallus. So, a-farming I go.

The materials for the elixir are fairly irritating to farm in quantity, and I find myself in a lot of areas I never even leveled extensively in when I was raising my Druid main. Desolace? Paid it a visit to get some fishing done. Blasted Lands? Uh...passed through it on my way to Outland. Maraudon? Did I do that? I want to say I did, but was brought up short at learning of the existence of a scepter that allows you to bypass two-thirds of the instance. I know for sure I've never set foot in Dire Maul North, much less a Tribute Run, I'd never seen the live side of Stratholme, and I hadn't so much as clapped eyes on the Emperor in Blackrock Depths.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Lore, Bosses, Leveling

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