Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria
We've had plenty of developer interviews leading up to patch 5.4, but Blizzard was kind enough to give us an interview of a different sort. 3D artist Fanny Vergne-Vicente is one of the many artists at Blizzard that helped put together the Siege of Orgrimmar raid from the ground up, designing textures for everything you'll see while you're merrily murdering Garrosh -- the walls, floors, spikes, and everything else that makes the encounter come to life. We had a brief chat with Fanny about just what a 3D artist at Blizzard does, and what it was like bringing the Siege of Orgrimmar to life.
Filed under: News items
This column had a different subject earlier today. I was going to talk about the Warchief situation leading into patch 5.4, as we'll be playing through that content on Tuesday. But as I was gathering screenshots of relevant questlines and information on my Alliance alt, I flew absently into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and happened upon the above scene, coming to a full stop and simply sitting there as I took it all in. Refugees. Hundreds of them, happily filing into the Vale just after the gates were opened and talking excitedly about the golden valley that was certain to be a verdant new homeland for those that had suffered at the hands of the yaungol and Zandalari in Kun-Lai.
And it hit me like a particularly vicious kick to the gut. It's been so long since I unlocked the Vale and leveled through that content last year that I'd forgotten this idyllic little scene, before all the chaos erupts. You, the player, are the hero of all of these pandaren -- you are the one who fought back the yaungol, the Zandalari, and offered these people a glimmer of hope. You're the person that single-handedly convinced the August Celestials to open the gates of the Vale and offer refuge to those that had lost their homes in Kun-Lai.
And you're the one that allowed what's going to happen in patch 5.4.
Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on how it happened. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore. Please note: There are some spoilers for patch 5.4 content in this post.
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?
Zarhym decided to chime in and comment not only on this topic, but on the topic of interviews in general, and how hard the story development team works on the story behind the game we love to play. Given that we've done several interviews with various developers over the course of Mists of Pandaria, it was nice to see Zarhym's thoughts on the matter. Read on for his post in full.
Because of the way raids were structured back then it's a little misleading to compare classic's raid release schedule with our modern one. Raids were something a very few players overall did - there was no parity between smaller and larger raid sizes, no LFR, no flex (although by the time Naxxramas came out, some guilds were running MC, Onyxia and even BWL/AQ with smaller raids to maximize gear acquisition before heading into Naxx) and the only way to gear up for raids was either to be carried through said raids by geared groups and handed all the stuff they didn't want or need anymore, or to start on the ground floor and run the level 60 dungeons. The design wasn't structured around raiding being accessible or allowing a larger group of players to see these fights - raiders got to see them, and if that was 10% of the people playing the game, that's what it was.
It's interesting to look at how players react to raid content now. A commonly expressed sentiment is that Throne of Thunder, a raid first released on March 5th, 2013, has been around too long and players are eager for new content. This is a raid that has been around for six month, and will be superseded around the time it enters it's seventh. While hardly the shortest time a raid has ever had to be run through, it's not much longer than the initial tier of Mists raid content, either. Mists of Pandaria released on September 25th, 2012, meaning that from October 2012 to March 5th 2013 we only had MSV, HoF and ToES - a time of about five months. What makes five months acceptable and seven months unacceptable? Are two months that much longer to raid a zone?
We sat down with Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson and the director of Shaohao, Doug Gregory to discuss the piece and how exactly it all came to be. While we were originally supposed to have lead editor Lucas Merino on board as well, he was unable to attend the interview as he and his wife received a special gift shortly after the release of Shaohao -- a healthy baby boy! Despite Lucas' absence, we had a delightful time discussing the film, its development, and the possibility of future projects in the unique style of Shaohao.
What about the ongoing legendary questline with Wrathion? Wrathion has been referencing the return of the Burning Legion in much of his quest text. Does that mean demons will be descending upon Azeroth in the next expansion? Will we finally get to see Sargeras?
Also, you wouldn't want to forget Queen Azshara. You would think we'd have seen her and the city Nazjatar in the Cataclysm expansion, but so far she's only made minor or indirect appearances. Azshara is the perfect accompaniment to some recent fan speculation about the naga being the next possible playable race. Unfortunately, Ghostcrawler pretty much shot that down by pointing out the naga's lack of legs would make it difficult to design armor for them.
And, of course, there's always ... Trolls? Wait, really? More trolls? You wouldn't think it, but in the same interview where Ghostcrawler killed our naga dreams, he said that trolls were an option the game lore could still explore in future content. Huh ... Go figure.
So, what do you think the next WoW expansion will be?
Filed under: Breakfast Topics
It was touching because there was a distinct sense of heart surrounding the faction -- and the latest faction short story, The Strength of Steel by Raphael Ahad, illustrates that journey in a completely different way. One of the new allies of Garrosh Hellscream's Horde are the Dragonmaw -- a clan of orcs bent on subjugating dragonkind, forcing the beasts to obey and act as steeds of war. So what happens when a Dragonmaw, living with the ideals of the Dragonmaw firmly ingrained in his mind, comes across a cloud serpent hatchling of his own?
It's an oddly touching, beautiful little story that highlights the difference between pandaren and orc, between trust and control. As Koak struggles to raise his hatchling, there's also that internal struggle between what it means to be a Dragonmaw, what it means to be Horde, and where Koak stands in between it all. I have to admit, I didn't expect much out of a story surrounding the Order of the Cloud Serpent, but Raphael Ahad really hit a home run with this one, penning a heartfelt tale that in the end, was well worth the read. You can read The Strength of Steel over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.
Wrathion made his debut in the Cataclysm expansion -- not as a raid boss, but as a clever ally to rogues looking for legendary weapons. His words seemed genuine and sincere, although his actions revealed a vicious streak that players would be wise to avoid. Yet his origins go back even further, to a small quest chain in the Badlands in which Wrathion is born to a mother who is captive of the red dragonflight, his egg later tampered with and then hidden for safe-keeping.
He's only two years old, give or take a few months. Yet Wrathion is far, far more clever than one would expect for someone of his young age. And given his actions in Cataclysm, and later in Mists of Pandaria, one thing remains perfectly clear: This is not your typical dragon. But what exactly is Wrathion after? What, exactly, is the purpose of his scheming, and perhaps most importantly -- should we be worried?
Please note: There are some small spoilers for patch 5.4 content in this post.
@Leviathonlx Most of Orgrimmar permanent changes will happen in a future patch, but before next expansion. - Dave Kosak (@DaveKosak) July 17, 2013
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
As for the Stormcrow, Adriacraft has a video of this impressive steed in motion. It bears a resemblance to the Reins of the Raven Lord, but unlike poor Anzu, this bird can fly -- and it's got crackling lightning aura to boot. While there is no news at all yet on where this unique mount will be obtained, it doesn't seem to be related to the Siege of Orgrimmar at all. Perhaps a lost relic on the Timeless Isle? A new pet store mount? Only time will tell.
Filed under: News items
Written by Robert Brooks, Death From Above tells the tale of Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver and how he came to be a Paragon, cleverly winding in the story of Warlord Gurthan and his final resting place on the Terrace of Gurthan in the middle of it all. It's a story of the mantid swarm, the Empress, and the cycle -- but it's also a story of the Klaxxi, their place in mantid society, and the unique origins of the Paragons who are laid to rest around the Dread Wastes, their locations kept secret until we uncover them.
And, in a way, it's a story about you -- the Wakener, the one who has opened the amber shells of the Paragon. It's the story of a Wakener from long ago, and what he learned in the process -- the relationship between Paragon and Wakener is explored, as well as the odd attributes of the Paragons and how they came to be. Perhaps most importantly, it's a tale of the mantid, who are one of the coolest races to be introduced in Mists of Pandaria, and completely deserved a story of their own. Robert Brooks did an amazing job with the tale, right down to the chilly and entirely unsettling ending. You can read Death from Above over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.
Lest you think this is a walk in the park, it should be noted that all ingredients for these new recipes currently have a freshness timer of two hours. In other words, no stockpiling these ingredients. Along with the fresh ingredients that can simply be gathered, there are three different types of aged ingredients as well. While the aged ingredients don't spoil -- they are aged, after all -- at present time it seems as though they drop from rares in the Vale, specifically the rares once required for the One Many Army achievement.
The origins of these recipes don't appear to have been uncovered at this point, although they all appear to be drops rather than a recipe learned at a trainer. As far as the Noodle Carts discovered quite some time ago, it appears they are tied to a new quest chain for aspiring chefs. I don't know about you, but having more than one method of creating 300 stat food sounds like a wonderful idea to me -- and it's nice to see that the Vale and its rares will continue to be useful as the expansion moves on. For more information about the recipes, check out Wowhead's excellent roundup of what they've found so far.