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Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria-beta

WoW Archivist: More beta surprises

Sylvanas models through the years
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?

As the Warlords of Draenor beta rolls onward, Blizzard keeps managing to surprise us. Recently we've learned about a huge overhaul to guild systems, random upgrades for quest rewards, and an extra-awesome core hound mount.

In the last WoW Archivist column, we looked at the surprises from the original beta and the betas of The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions. This time, we continue with Wrath and also look at the surprises during the Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria betas.

(As before, I won't go into storyline surprises here. And I won't cover surprises announced at BlizzCon outside of a beta. BlizzCon already has its own feature for controversial surprises.)

Beta of the Lich King (continued)

Goodbye, night elf Sylvanas. Through vanilla and TBC, the Sylvanas model looked like a night elf rather than an undead high elf. With Sylvanas poised to play a big role in Northrend, Blizzard clearly needed to revamp her model. Players worried that they would have to look at the old night elf model through all her lore moments in Wrath.

A build in August 2008 gave her an initial makeover (middle image above) and lore-focused players breathed a sigh of relief. Clearly she still needed some work, but at least she wasn't a night elf anymore.

A later build in September gave her the fantastic model we see today. The same build also updated the models for Varian Wrynn and Alexstraza.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore: What we know of Warlords of Draenor

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's been a lot of discussion about Warlords of Draenor ever since the expansion was announced at BlizzCon last year. The new content focuses around the world of Draenor -- an alternate version of the world we explored in Burning Crusade, one in which the Burning Legion never sank its claws into the orcish race and instead, the Iron Horde rose to take the world by force, then move in on Azeroth. It's a different kind of concept, one that might seem a little far-fetched even, until you realize we're playing in a universe where dragons, goblins, and the even the walking dead exist -- not to mention the giant humanoid talking cows.

But what seems to be concerning people the most is that the story of Warlords, despite being described as "the Alliance's finest hour," seems to be focused almost entirely on orcs. Orc warlords, orc clans, orc attacks, with little left to interest the player other than the potential of Garrisons, which aren't a story element so much as an active part of gameplay. So what gives? Are we jumping the gun on judging the expansion's lore? What do we really know about what's coming in Warlords, story-wise?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

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

Arcane Brilliance: Tips for leveling your mage from 85 to 90

Mage casting Alter Time in Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we take a break from pet battling to actually level our mages. Seriously. Put down that Armadillo Pup for a second and let's get to level 90. I'm talking to myself as much as you. I want you to know that.

I imagine I'm not the only slow-poke out there who's taking their sweet time getting to level 90. My playtime since the expansion hit has been almost non-existent until recently, and in fact I only just dinged max level this week. Still, even though time-constraints kept me from playing as much as I wanted to, it still felt like I was getting to 90 slower than I should have been. What can I say? I like to read the quest text, watch the cutscenes, listen to all the dialogue, explore the countryside. Oh, and I may have indulged in the occasional pet battle. We all have our vices. Though in this case, I'd hazard to say we all have the same vice.

But I did eventually get there, late or not. And for those of you who are still enjoying the journey rather than the destination, I've compiled a few of the thoughts and observations I had along the way into this week's column. For those of you for whom this advice comes too late, I'll start hitting the post-90 content next week. Pinkie swear.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Mists of Pandaria

Convert to Raid talks to Ion Hazzikostas: Theramore, Raiding, and more

Convert to Raid talk to Ion Hazzikostas about Theramore, Raiding, and the LoreAction balance

This Sunday, September 23, raiding podcast Convert to Raid will be broadcasting an interview with Blizzard Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, a.k.a. Blizzard Blue Watcher. Convert to Raid's host, Pat Krane, a.k.a. Zhug, was good enough to give WoW Insider a sneak preview of this weekend's broadcast so we could give you some snippets to whet your appetite!

You guys just released the Theramore scenario, and I wanted to check how the feedback was from the players?

I think we're learning a lot from player reactions to the Theramore scenario. A lot of it is what player expectations were going into it, it was never really designed to be the epic world event prior to the expansion, things like the zombie plague come to mind. It was a story-driven little sneak preview of what the scenario system had to offer, and showing players a glimpse of one of the key events that's going to lead to greater conflict between the Alliance and the Horde... Something we've learned from repeatable content is that players don't always want very lengthy dialogue or cutscenes or cinematics...

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Dungeon Mastery: Gate of the Setting Sun

Dungeon Mastery Gate of the Setting Sun
Pandaria is under siege by the pesky, bug-like mantid. It reminds me of an alternate universe Starship Troopers. The Serpent's Spine, a massive fortified wall, has kept them out but the mantid have already started laying siege to the main gate. The pandaren could sure use your help. Is there a vulnerability? The Gate of the Setting Sun seems to be where mantid forces are concentrated and that's where you'll be needed. This instance is only accessible at max level on heroic difficulty.

As you make your way across the battlements of the gate, you'll notice timed charges being dropped on the wall. In addition to clearing out pesky bug mobs that get in your way, you'll need to dodge these Bomberman style explosives. Seriously, they'll detonate and their explosions don't explode outward. They explode in four cardinal directions. In other words, stand diagonally to avoid getting fried.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Challenge Mode for Stormstout Brewery enabled in beta

Challenge Mode for Stormstout Brewery enabled in beta
Blizzard Blue Watcher, a.k.a. Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas has been back on the forums with his challenge-mode-master hat on. He's delivered the exciting news that the first of the leveling dungeons, Stormstout Brewery, has been enabled on the beta in challenge mode.

Now, you can't just walk into Mordor, and the same applies for challenge modes. You have to be level 90, and you have to have completed Stormstout Brewery at least once on heroic mode. Now, having run Stormstout Brewery a lot of times on normal mode, and a few times on heroic mode, as a healer, I haven't really noticed any big differences. Mostly, the heroic mode tuning seems to be that things which really hurt in normal mode really hurt in heroic mode.

Of course, since I last did the dungeon, it's entirely possible that things could have been changed or added. In the meantime, do check out our walkthrough, 5 things you need to know, and bosses in 5 seconds guides on the Stormstout Brewery if you're planning to check out the challenge mode.

And if you're planning to head straight into the beta with four of your friends after you've read this article, you should know that the barrels are currently bugged. Blizzard are working on a hotfix.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

No nerfs, no lockouts, no consumable restrictions for Challenge Mode dungeons

No nerfs for Challenge Mode dungeons

Blizzard's Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, a.k.a. Watcher, has taken to the forums a few times lately, along with Community Manager Zarhym, to provide clarification on Challenge Modes.

With all the bad air swirling around Blizzard from certain minority groups within the WoW community about catering to casuals, challenge modes are something they seem very keen to stand firm on. When asked if challenge modes would ever be nerfed, Ion replied as follows:


Watcher
If at all feasible, we're not going to be adjusting the content itself. Persistent leaderboards are the backbone of the system, and if we make the dungeon easier, then your 14:13 time last week might actually be more impressive than my 14:05 clear today, but there would be no way of knowing that. It's conceivable that we might adjust the actual Gold/Silver/Bronze cutoff times slightly if it turns out we were badly off the mark with the tuning, but we're pretty confident in our numbers.


Zarhym also weighed in with his own input on the nerf question.

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Mists of Pandaria beta: Who needs Frostmourne when you've got Lobstmourne?

Mists of Pandaria beta Who needs Frostmourne when you've got Lobstmourne ANY
The Mists of Pandaria beta has had some bizarre moments, but the last thing I was expecting was an epic lobster chase across the lost continent. While exploring off the coast of Krasarang Wilds, I stumbled across Damlak, a level 90 elite makrura who was strolling just off the shore of a small island to the south. After gleefully murdering the lobster, I was rewarded with a book and an item called Damlak's Clamshell. The Clamshell may vendor for a gold, but its use effect is far too fascinating to pass up.

It was the book that was even more interesting, however. Titled Troubles From Without, the book detailed the locations of several different elite makrura scattered all over Pandaria, with a basic rundown of their abilities. And so off I went to murder a fleet of elite lobster, collecting shells from each. After collecting all six shells, the book then advises you to head to another small island off the south coast of Krasarang Wilds to summon Clawlord Kril'mandar, The Pinch King.

Yes, you read that title right.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Reputation changes: Tillers don't hate you

Reputation changes Tillers don't hate you NOT SURE IF NEWS
Regular reader Drakkenfyre tipped us off this morning about a change to reputation levels in Mists, which has just been implemented on the Armory. If you head over to your character's armory entry, and have a look at the Mists Tiller reputations, you'll notice that you're no longer hated.

Instead, you're a stranger. So, for my shaman, all the Tillers factions, or all the Tillers themselves, consider me a stranger, despite the fact that the red bar shows 0/8,400 and the reputation level is in red.

I think this is rather sweet, and reflective of the kind nature of the pandaren -- they haven't met me yet, but they have no reason to hate me, I'm just a stranger! I don't yet know whether the reputation required to move from stranger to best friend is any different to the reputation required to turn a hated reputation on its head, but it makes sense that it might be.

But don't worry, the Netherwing, Kurenai and Sporeggar still hate me. They haven't come over all fluffy.

[Thanks for the tip, Drakkenfyre!]


Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Rage tanks get angrier

Rage tanks get angrier and harder to hurt

Rage tanking is in a weird place right now. Both as a tank and as a DPS in runs I've noticed a certain amount of squishiness that wasn't there before, both due to certain abilities being fairly hard to use (Both Shield Block and a full Shield Barrier are expensive, costing 60 rage) and the loss of a lot of passive mitigation we were all accustomed to. Apparently the devs have noticed it too: Ghostcrawler posted these changes coming for rage warriors on live and the beta fairly soon.

Ghostcrawler - Beta Class Balance Analysis
Tank Time
I mentioned previously (though it very well could have been in another thread) that we have been looking a lot at tank balance. We think tanks surviving short windows of spike damage has been fairly balanced in beta for some time, and indeed we are seeing all tank classes used effectively in beta Challenge Modes and Heroic raid testing.

We have made a few changes to longer-term tank healing required, which will show up both on beta and live very soon. I mentioned that we were initially going to nerf monk and DK, but we now think they and paladins are fine. Instead, the rage tanks required too much healing, so we are causing them to take less damage and have more rage for active mitigation.

Druid
-- Auto attack rage generation increased by 75%.
-- Thick Hide now provides 12% physical damage reduction.

Warrior
-- Rage generation from Revenge increased from 10 to 15.
-- Rage generation from Shield Slam increased from 15 to 20. (Sword and Board continues to give 5 extra, so 25 now).
-- Reduced internal cooldown on Critical Block from Enrage from 5 sec to 3 sec.
-- Increased damage reduction from Defensive Stance from 15% to 25%.
-- Increased armor from Unwavering Sentinel from 10% to 25%.



The rage changes are nice (druids will now get 10.85 rage from an auto attack) because they'll allow for rage tanks to be more often using their active mitigation. Honestly, high incoming rage really isn't an issue for tanks, since we don't use rage abilities for threat anymore (with the exception of rage bleeds like Heroic Strike or Maul) as much as we do for survival.

What impressed me was the change to Thick Hide and the Defensive Stance/Unwavering Sentinel changes. Were they warranted? Absolutely. Warriors in particular have been the squishiest tanks since the patch, with druids not far behind, and this change will help even out some of that sustained damage that erodes healer mana and thus, our lives. This is me, being happy over here.


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: Druid, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

Arcane Brilliance: Your mage's new spell rotations in Mists of Pandaria

Troll female mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we realize that everything we know is wrong, and learn how to make it right again.

Last time we had an expansion release, it was all about an actual Cataclysm, and when we made jokes about the end of the world and chaos descending and the impending apocalypse, those jokes were appropriate. This time around, we've got cuddly pandas and fun pet battles and ... I don't know ... Eastern philosophy? Jokes about impending apocalypses aren't as apt this time around.

Still, if any expansion has the potential to usher in mass chaos and confusion, Mists of Pandaria may be the one. Never before at any one time have our spellbooks and talent trees undergone such sweeping change. On Tuesday, the servers will go down, and when they come back up, the pre-expansion patch 5.0.4 will be in place (barring unforeseen maintenance mishaps), and everything we know about how to effectively wield magic will be completely different. Our current spell rotations will be gone, and we will need to go about the tricky business of learning our new spell rotations.

Which brings us to the reason I called you all together today. There's magical cake in the back of the room, and later on we'll be doing trust falls with warlocks where they fall and we hit them in the face with an Arcane Barrage. But for right now, our agenda has only one item on it: our new spell rotations. It's time we learned them.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Mists of Pandaria

Challenge mode testing now open on the Mists of Pandaria beta

Challenge mode testing now open on the Mists of Pandaria beta
Game Designer Watcher, gadabout eye of wealth and taste, announced that the Scholomance and Gate of the Setting Sun challenge modes are now available for testing. He also provided some more details about how challenge modes are going to work.

Watcher - Challenge Mode Testing
Yes, just those two dungeons for now.

A few relevant testing notes:
  • You must have completed the Heroic version of the dungeon once in order to attempt the challenge mode.
  • Item level will be normalized to 463.
  • There is no queue system for challenge modes; groups must be formed manually and you must zone in from the outside world.
  • While the challenge is active, the group leader may Reset the dungeon at any time via a drop-down accessible by right-clicking your unit frame.

He then clarified in two additional posts that item level on live will only be normalized down to 463, and not up to 463 from a lower ilevel. Also, challenge modes grant no loot at all, only valor points for completion, and using the challenge mode reset feature does not count against the dungeon reset lockout limit currently in place. So if you're planning on spending a lot of time running challenge modes, these are all details of interest to you.

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: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Brewmoon Festival

Mists of Pandaria Beta Brewmoon Festival
Those pandaren sure know how to party. One of the scenarios available for previewing and testing on the beta realms is the Brewmoon Festival. This party is hosted up in Kun-Lai Summit. Right away, you'll run into Brewmaster Boof. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to host a large celebration, and the Brewmaster has dispatched his assistants to gather ingredients for the famous Kun-Lai Kicker. Naturally, good help is hard to find, and the assistants have not checked in lately. You'll be asked to track them down and retrieve their precious cargo.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

What to expect from patch 5.0.4

What to expect from patch 504 ANY
Patch 5.0.4 will be here on Tuesday, Aug. 28. As with other pre-expansion patches, 5.0.4 will include some important changes that will reflect gameplay in Mists of Pandaria. To be perfectly clear, while this is a pre-patch for Mists, it is not Mists itself and shouldn't be confused with the game we'll all be nabbing on Sept. 25.

While there are some features from the beta that we'll see go live with this patch, others will not be released until the new expansion goes live in September. This is a confusing time for some players, because they're not quite sure what to expect when it comes to the pre-expansion patch. Will new features be rolled out? Will we see new instances or profession changes or playable pandaren?

To avoid confusion, here's a short primer on what you will and will not see in patch 5.0.4.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

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