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Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria

Shado-Pan transmog and player-created games

The coolest things to come out of Pandaria's multitude of reputation grinds were the rewards that players could reap at the end of what was sometimes an excruciatingly long journey. It was your treat for weeks, sometimes months of endless dailies. The rewards are fairly extensive -- mounts, new pets, items for your farm, trinkets and toys -- but none were quite as well received as one lone item from the Shado-Pan: the hat. A transmog-only stat-less item, the Replica Shado-Pan Helmet was created specifically for use with transmogrification.

There was one minor problem with that, however. Shado-Pan armor was most definitely not included. This left players with the task of building outfits to go along with the sets. And due to this, players got ridiculously creative with solutions to the problem, sorting out which color schemes would look best with that unique red bandana and hunting down the various pieces, one by one.

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Filed under: Transmogrification, Mists of Pandaria

What we leave behind

I'm really concerned about Dog. Dog is the dog that I rescued from near starvation in the Heartland over in the Valley of the Four Winds. I was so excited to find and rescue this poor little guy that I even wrote a brief article about him at the time. Since then, Dog has been happily living the life of a king on my farm, and despite the fact that I was never able to name him, he seems to be happy enough to just respond to the name Dog, not to mention a few choice emotes. If you haven't already done so, try using /love, /pet, /bark, or /kiss on your puppy, because the result is adorable.

Actually, I kind of love everything on my farm. Shaggy the yak from Farmer Fung, the sheep from Chee Chee, the piggies sent courtesy of Fish Fellreed (who is still my favorite), and of course Luna the cat from Ella. Even the chickens, although they have a disturbing tendency to flop over dead due to phasing. I spent a lot of time building up the farm and making it the nicest little place to hang out, even when I'm not currently farming crops. It's a good farm. I had fun building it.

But I'm super concerned about Dog, because I know I'll be leaving soon.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

What was the best of Mists of Pandaria?

Thinking back, way back to the Mists of Pandaria beta, when I started taking these pandaren lady screenshots, we were excited about the upcoming expansion and everything it might bring. With patch 5.4.2 on the horizon, and it likely being Pandaria's last patch, let's take a look back at what's changed, both for the better and for the worse.

Cross-realm capabilities

This is perhaps one of the elements of Mists that best qualifies for both best thing and worst thing. A cursory glance at the title of this piece will inform the reader that we are examining the positives today, so let's look at that side for now.

The introduction of cross-realm zones with 5.0.4 was controversial to say the least. But it's paved the way for much greater things. Cross-realm rated battlegrounds have been around for a little while, and more recently, cross-realm arenas, and, of course, flex raiding. Naturally, cross-realm technology pre-dates Mists, but it's in this expansion that it's really taken off.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: What's on your Mists of Pandaria bucket list?

Brawler's Guild
Siege of Orgrimmar has been out for 3 months, Warlords of Draenor has been announced, and everything feels like it's starting to wind down as we make ourselves comfortable for the long wait until the next expansion. Some people choose to temporarily quit the game during these lulls, others roll alts, and then there's the good old bucket list. These are the things you never got around to doing, and now it seems like it may be the perfect time to start checking things off that list.

The largest thing on my bucket list is pet battles. I've only dabbled with them, and it's not due to lack of interest (I was collecting pets well before pet battles were introduced), it's just something I never got around to taking seriously. The brawler's guild is also on the list. I started it pretty early on, but got side-tracked by more important things like raiding. I'd also like to finish leveling up my other hunter because I'm really excited to toss her the Garrosh heirloom weapon when she dings 90. What's on your bucket list for the pre-expansion slump?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Clarifications on Cross-Realm raiding and Warlords' Group Finder

Community Manager Lore has released some additional clarifications on the differences between the cross-realm functionality being added to the Raid Browser in patch 5.4.2, and the new Group Finder being introduced with the new expansion in patch 6.0. These two features are entirely different things -- the Group Finder is an all new feature being built from scratch. This new Group Finder will allow players to find and create groups for any content at any level.

The cross-realm functionality in 5.4.2, however, is just that -- cross-realm functionality. Currently, the Raid Browser only allows players to see other players from their own realm. In patch 5.4.2, players will be able to see cross-realm players as well -- something that is similar to what the popular addon oQueue already accomplishes via the BattleTag system. Follow after the break for the full post from Lore.

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Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4.2 PTR Patch notes

Patch notes for patch 5.4.2 have finally been released, confirming at least some of the new features we can expect to see in the next Mists patch. Keep in mind that 5.4.2 is not a content patch -- there will be no new content to play through, no new raids, scenarios or dungeons added. However, 5.4.2 is adding several new features that players have been clamoring for for quite some time.
  • The Cross-realm raid browser now has new categories for Mists of Pandaria world bosses -- the Celestials and Ordos, as well as Flexible raid difficulty for the Siege of Orgrimmar.
  • Players will finally be able to mail account-bound items to characters on different realms.
At the moment, the official list of patch notes is pretty short. Follow after the break for the list, which will likely get more updates as the patch nears completion.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Feedback and what it does and doesn't do

For as long as I've been playing World of Warcraft (which is as long as it's been around) one thing I've seen over and over again is the constant debate between players about the forums and what they're for. Blizzard has stated repeatedly that they listen to player concerns and take feedback very seriously, but they've also stated that they don't design by committee. Still, we've seen design choices made with the player base and its reactions in place - Mists of Pandaria had a far more engaging and active endgame than did Cataclysm, and it evolved over the course of the expansion in response to player reaction. Similarly, many credit (or blame) the steep increase in difficulty in heroic dungeons between the end of Wrath of the Lich King and the neginning of Cataclysm on fanbase complaints.

One question that seems to get asked a lot is does anyone at Blizzard care about the forums, which to my mind is a strange question to ask given the evidence I just cited. Clearly, player feedback (and not just from the forums, either) is something that Blizzard pays a lot of attention to. CM Takralus gave a brief on what, exactly, the CM's do with player feedback on the forums and how it is brought to the devs' attention.

Let's talk a bit about feedback. When is it useful and when isn't it useful?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

August Celestials hotfixed to accomodate smaller groups

Just one hotfix was released last night, but it was a doozy for those looking to complete their legendary cloaks. All four Celestials on the Timeless Isle have had their health reduced to 25% of their original giant-raid-worthy health pool. If more than 10 players from the same faction engage with a Celestial, its health will scale up to compensate. The scaling will stop at 100% of their original health once 40 players are engaged in the encounter.

The last step of Wrathion's expansion-long chain to obtain legendary cloaks was easy enough when patch 5.4 went live, but these days fewer players are killing the Celestials each week. I know my server usually sees a lot of Celestial kills on Tuesday, but that number drops rapidly as the week wanes on, making it far more difficult for players that are trying to catch up and get their cloak. This change should hopefully make it a little more feasible for players to complete the quest.

While it's nice to see this change applied to the Celestials, I wish we'd see the same technology applied to the rest of Pandaria's world raid bosses as well. The Sha of Fear, Galleon, Oondasta, and Nalak all drop mounts, but it's difficult to find a raid group to take these bosses on so late in the expansion. As the expansion's end draws near, it would be nice to see that technology put in place for older content as well as the new. What do you guys think?

Filed under: Hotfixes, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria discounted to $7.99 at Amazon

Tis the season for holiday sales! Though Blizzard's Winter Sale offers some great prices, right now Amazon is offering a slightly better bargain for dealhunters looking to pick up Mists of Pandaria for their holiday wishlist. The online megaretailer is offering Mists for $7.99 -- compared to Blizzard's current price of $9.99 -- and is matching Blizzard's $4.99 pricing for World of Warcraft proper, which includes all other expansions. These are boxed versions -- Blizzard's sales are for digital downloads -- so if you want a game box to wrap under the tree, this is an ideal option... but bear in mind that it means you will have to pay shipping costs, which could prevent this buy from being as much of a bargain as it appears.

Of course, Amazon's prices could change at any time, so if you were considering picking up Mists for the holidays, get it before these holiday prices are gone!

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Pandaria's mark on Warcraft lore

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.

A little over two years ago, Mists of Pandaria was officially announced as the next expansion at BlizzCon to the puzzlement of many players. The idea of an expansion built around the pandaren race was a polarizing one -- some people loved the idea, and some were less than enthused. Although the pandaren were included in game lore as early as Warcraft III, there were those that scoffed at the idea of an expansion built around a race of giant talking bears, saying that they had no place in Warcraft at all. A year later, Mists was officially launched, and a little over a year after that, the events of Mists of Pandaria are wrapping up in a suitably dramatic conclusion.

And to the delight of many, myself included, this expansion has been anything but lighthearted and silly. Mists of Pandaria wasn't just a random expansion about giant talking bears, it was a revolution in the way that story and gameplay intertwine. While it may have had its faltering moments -- the inclusion of enough daily quests to make players dizzy among them -- the story took a life of its own, and the tale it told has definitely left its mark on future lore to come. Let's be clear, here: For a continent left cloaked in Mists for thousands of years, Pandaria has managed to work its way into the face of Warcraft lore in a manner that won't be forgotten, and has given us enough material to spur the story of the game for quite some time.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Warlords of Draenor and the absence of Aggra

Let me tell you a little about my sister. My sister is married, in her thirties, and has four children -- all boys -- ranging from four to sixteen. Her house is a wild cacophony of boys being boys and the calls of various animals that she's acquired. It's a mini-farm, if you will, full of chickens, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, a couple of snakes, and possibly a species or two that I've missed. In addition to raising four boys with her husband, she also owns her own business. She runs her own grooming company here in town, and is both the sole employee and owner, successful enough that she's usually booked for at least a month out, if not more.

In addition to that, she runs two Renaissance festivals a year, hauls her family to regular camp-outs with the faire crew, regularly plays D&D with the gang, and knows how to shoot a longbow and a black powder rifle (and is a pretty good shot with both of them), along with cannons and trebuchets. She's a dab hand at cooking at home and over a campfire out in the wild, knows how to kill, gut and butcher just about anything, and how to tan and stretch a hide. On top of all that, I've heard she's a marvel at breaking up fights, reading bedtime stories, wiping tears from faces, kissing boo-boo's away, and snuggling in the mornings when little ones are sleepy and grumpy about getting up for school.

And god help anyone that comes between her and her family.

I'm telling you this story not to brag about my sister, although I love her very dearly, but to make a point that seems to have been sorely missed somewhere in the story of Warcraft. My sister isn't just a wife and mother. She's a warrior. She's a fighter. She's a spark of ferocity that will not be quenched. Where is her counterpart in Warcraft? That's a really good question.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon

A history of BlizzCon WoW reveals

It all started at BlizzCon 2005 with the above video revealing The Burning Crusade expansion. Some of you may only remember the cinematic trailers, but there has always been an announcement trailer comprised entirely of in-game footage. When Blizzard announced The Burning Crusade, they only revealed the new Horde race of Blood Elves. The Draenei were not revealed until about 6 months later.

Flying mounts, socketed items, a new race, and a new continent. It was an exciting time to be a WoW player. There were just 8,000 attendees that first year, which makes the Murky pet everyone received extremely rare. On the rare occasion when an unscratched card appears on the market, it can go for thousands of dollars. Also interesting to note that the canceled Starcraft: Ghosts game for PS2 and XBOX was playable on the convention floor that year. The Offspring performed in concert at the closing ceremony. The following year was one of the only two years since then to not have a convention, but BlizzCon returned in 2007 and was set to announce the most popular expansion yet.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

Faction short story Over Water now available

New Faction Short Story Over Water
It's only appropriate that the faction short story for the Anglers involve one of the biggest fish tales ever. Just released on the official site, Over Water by Ryan Quinn isn't quite as Anglers-centric as one would initially think. In fact, the faction isn't even mentioned by name. But, as it's becoming clear with these faction stories, the tales universally have less to do with the factions, and more to do with the characters in the stories learning lessons about themselves. Over Water illustrates this in a big way.

Tarlo Mondan is not a happy man. A member of the Alliance, he looks at the outcome of the war -- the Siege of Orgrimmar and new Warchief firmly included -- with bitter disdain. Oddly enough, he seems to share a lot in common with many Alliance players, dissatisfied with conclusion of the Pandaren campaign and wondering exactly what he'd gotten out of the whole mess while traveling home by sea. Unfortunately, a heavy storm knocks Tarlo overboard, and the ship sails off without him -- which is really where the story begins.

Left adrift, Tarlo is rescued by a trio of pandaren fisherman with a tale unlike any other -- and hidden within that tale, and the journey, is a lesson for Tarlo to learn. Taking place after Garrosh's defeat, Over Water feels a lot more introspective and subtle than prior short stories. It offers a glimpse into the heart of the Alliance through the eyes of a lone soldier, something we really haven't seen much of lately. I don't know exactly what I expected out of an Anglers story, but Over Water left me pleasantly surprised -- it's an incredibly well-written tale. You can read Over Water over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Do you want another 'people's legendary'?

Wrathion
The legendary cloak, often dubbed as the people's legendary, is a drastic departure from the legendary items of the past. As long as you put in the time there is literally no barrier to entry. It's the most powerful item you will equip this expansion -- sometimes the proc alone is over 10% of my damage on a boss fight, and that's not counting its enormous stat budget or the metagem.

I've had some friends express frustration with the quest chain because they're the type of player who takes frequent breaks from the game. If you sit out for a few months it's very easy to fall behind, and then you're stuck running old content to play catch up. Quest item RNG was a cruel mistress to some as well. I was lucky to get 10 of each sigil at roughly the same time, but I know guildies who had 50+ of one type before getting 10 of the other. There was also the PvP portion of the quest which was not popular. I'm afraid to admit how many attempts it took me to get that Silvershard Mines win.

I enjoyed the cookies along the way: the sha-touched gem, the weapon socket, the metagem, the epic cloak, and then finally the legendary. It was definitely worth the time investment for me. What about you?
Do you want another 'people's legendary'?
Yes, I'm happy with Wrathion's quest.3303 (61.6%)
I didn't like the quest, but I would still do it again for the legendary item.840 (15.7%)
No.1222 (22.8%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Casual content convenience

As someone who writes about World of Warcraft for a living, something I do a lot is read the Blue Trackers. These systems watch every blue post, and collect them all into one place for your convenience. Just occasionally, there'll be funny ones that catch my eye, like this one from Senior Community Rep Jonathan "Zarhym" Brown:

Zarhym
I disagree with everything you didn't say.

And on this occasion, the thread he was responding to actually got me thinking. You see, the OP was jokingly taking one of the arguments that people make, the predictable ones about how everything was better back in the day, and isolating a key component of that argument: convenience and time spent.

The TL;DR on the post is that the game is now too easy, because everything's too convenient. It's worth noting, again, that the OP is entirely joking. He specifically spells out that one "issue" with the game as it stands is that you no longer need to sit in Trade for 30 minutes to an hour or more to get tanks and healers for your dungeon runs. You can now sit in capital cities, or even quest, while you wait for the LFG tool to do all the work for you. Terrible, right?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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