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Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria

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

Looking for Raid must not be destroyed

Every so often, a new forum thread comes up saying that LFR is awful and should be removed from the game. This is one, but it's hardly new or unique (as the post closing the thread makes clear, there are already several forum posts on the topic) - the argument has existed in one form or another since LFR debuted at the end of Cataclysm.

It's no secret that I neither like LFR nor run it at all anymore. I am not the audience for LFR. And yet, I not only do not believe it should be removed, I believe it must not be removed. Why do I believe this? Well, multiple reasons.
  • LFR is the friendliest raiding option available to people with limited schedules or who are unable/unwilling to commit to overly structured play time.
  • LFR allows for access to content that would otherwise be unavailable for the majority of the player base.
  • LFR fills a niche - it is neither necessary nor forced upon players who have the time or ability to progress in flex, normal or heroic raiding.
One of the things I argued at the beginning of Mists of Pandaria was that content that wasn't necessarily content I personally cared about (pet battles, the Tillers, scenarios) was still good for the game. Options are good - it's better to have more of them, even if they don't suit everyone's playstyles. In many cases, I've only grown to believe this more strongly as LFR has moved from 'content I occasionally run' to 'content I never run' - my ability to completely disregard LFR as unimportant to my game only means that it proves that the developers have successfully balanced raiding.

I'm not blind to some of the problems that have hit LFR in the process, however. I've watched my wife (an excellent player hampered by the fact that her day job doesn't allow the kind of time we used to spend raiding together) struggle with bad LFR groups, and I do think there have been some changes to LFR that need to be addressed. Gutting the entire feature, however, is absolutely not the way to go.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Which side is Wrathion on, anyway?

Know Your Lore Which side is Wrathion on, anyway
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.

Once upon a time, an egg from a corrupted flight of dragons was purified. Even before he hatched, the dragon in that egg began to plot and plan. His first step was freedom -- both from those who sought to contain him, and those who sought to kill him. The second, far larger step was born of a vision ... a terrifying vision of a precious, fragile world abruptly coming to a devastating end. Wrathion is one of the stranger characters to have been introduced in Warcraft. While his plans in Cataclysm were fairly straight forward, Mists has proven to be a far more complicated gambit.

And through all of the quests and all of the plans, Wrathion has remained as enigmatic as he was the first time rogues set eyes on him. He can be cruel, he can be downright merciless if the need calls for it. Yet at the same time, he seems to possess an altruistic capacity that we've simply never seen before from a black dragon. He'll promise the world to you, and then turn around and promise the same to your enemy. Is he bad? Is he good? Is he siding with the Alliance or Horde? What makes Wrathion tick, and just whose side is he on?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Mists of Pandaria on sale for $19.99 at Amazon, Gamestop

Get Mists of Pandaria on sale for $1999
Could you use a second copy of Mists of Pandaria? Do you know a friend who can? Right now, the latest World of Warcraft expansion is on sale at both Amazon and Gamestop for $19.99 -- not a bad price at all for the newest iteration of the game. And if you pick up the latest version of World of Warcraft on the Blizzard Store, the $20 program now includes the Cataclysm expansion. That nets you all expansions for $40, which is a pretty good deal as far as holiday gifts for gamer friends go.

Speaking of which, this is also a really opportune and inexpensive way to get yourself set up for the newly revamped Recruit-A-Friend program that should be starting at some point hopefully in the near future. Remember, the new system will be rewarding tokens that can be traded in for a variety of different rewards, so it might just be worth snapping up the game now while it's still on sale. You can head to either Amazon or Gamestop to pick up your copy.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Drowning in Timeless Coins

Drowning in Timeless Coins
I've been happily completing the daily over on the Timeless Isle every day -- it's an easy 50 valor points, after all. And while farming the 20 elite mobs needed for the quest, of course I've been hopping from rare mob to rare mob in search of pets or interesting toys. In the meantime, I've piled up a lot of Timeless Coins. I mean, a ridiculous number. I'd noticed people complaining that they had all these Timeless Coins, but I didn't really understand the problem. I mean, they aren't sitting in your bags taking up space in your inventory, they're just ... there. Incorporeal currency.

But it's slowly begun to sink in that there's a legitimate problem with the Timeless Isle and its bizarre form of currency -- namely that the only place you can spend that currency is on the Timeless Isle itself. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy buying trinkets and unusual things, but at the same time, if all those Timeless Coins pictured above were actually gold in my bank, I'd be ecstatic. Instead, I'm slightly nonplussed and wondering what the heck to do with all these incorporeal things I've gathered.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Recruit-A-Friend updates on the way

RecruitAFriend updates on the way
Updates to the Recruit-A-Friend system are coming at some point in the future, and perhaps sooner than we'd expected. According to an announcement on the official blog, as of today the Recruit-A-Friend program has been temporarily shut down while Blizzard works on updating the program with new features and new rewards. At this point in time, there's no time frame for when the program will return other than somewhere in the future.

Those players that are currently linked via the Recruit-A-Friend system can rest easy -- although the ability to sign up for the program is temporarily unavailable, players that are currently using the program will be unaffected, and any rewards that have not been claimed will still be available when Recruit-A-Friend goes live again. As an additional note, the official announcement suggested that players participating in the upcoming program will have more rewards available to them.

The exact details on this tantalizing bit of information have yet to be released, but this is likely referencing the points made in the patch 5.4 Developer Round Table released last week. Along with multiple rewards, the new system will be accessible via in game interface, and reward a token instead of a mount. The token can then be redeemed for a variety of different rewards, and those reward might possibly include retired Recruit-A-Friend mounts as well, although that hasn't yet been confirmed. For now, we'll have to wait and see what the new system entails, and exactly when implementation will take place.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Reputation in review: Pandaria

Reputation in review Pandaria
Mists of Pandaria represents a dynamic change to how we look at reputation in World of Warcraft. While Cataclysm's reputations were all by and large flat dungeon grinds aided by the use of reputation tabards, reputation in Mists took a much different approach. In fact, it took many, many different approaches -- each reputation grind in Mists of Pandaria was slightly different from the next, with no two taking the exact same process to get to the end of the climb.

On the WoW Insider show, we've talked before about how this is likely a grand experiment on Blizzard's part -- one to see which aspects of grinding reputation players tend to take really well, and which could be happily left behind. I've reviewed quite a few of the reputation grinds in Pandaria myself over the course of the expansion, largely because I'm obsessed with filling all those green bars. But what about the big picture? What really worked with reputation grinding in Mists, and what deserves to be left in the dust?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The fate of Garrosh Hellscream

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.

In a recent edition of The Queue, one of our readers asked a question regarding the fate of Garrosh Hellscream in patch 5.4. It was a question that many players have actually been asking ever since Garrosh's fate was revealed. In the interests of avoiding spoilers, I won't mention that fate here, but be forewarned that this edition of Know Your Lore is chock full of spoilers for patch 5.4 that discuss the situation in full.

Garrosh Hellscream's journey began as leader-in-training for a remote, tiny village in Outland. Clouded with shame over his father's misdeeds, Garrosh was listless, depressed, and convinced that he was destined to lead his people down the same dark path that his father had. In the years following his introduction, Garrosh has discovered his father's heroic sacrifice, strove to live up to his name, eagerly sought to strengthen the Horde, and then promptly fulfilled his own sad vision of the future, leading his "True Horde" down a path of darkness that eerily echoed the familiar refrain of the Old Horde from so long ago.

Please note: There are spoilers for patch 5.4 immediately following the break. If you are avoiding spoiler content for the Siege of Orgrimmar, run away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: Bringing back the night

Stormwind at night
Have you ever thought it odd that when night falls in Azeroth, the stars appear, the sky darkens, but the landscape itself remains as bright as it was in broad daylight? Once upon a time, the nights in WoW looked something like the above screenshot. I can't pinpoint the source since it was so many years ago, but the original reasoning was it changed so people who could only play during the night wouldn't have to always play in the dark. The current official line is that it was purely an art decision.

There have been innumerable threads on the official forums pleading for the return of dark nights. Blizzard has been listening and in patch 5.4 they added a "test case" for darker nights, but only in Stormwind, Orgrimmar, and Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The difference is there, but you need to compare before and after screenshots to really notice it. It still doesn't scream "night has fallen."

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

BlizzCon Online Sale is now live

The 2013 BlizzCon Online Sale is now live
If you're a BlizzCon attendee or Virtual Ticket holder, you can now start buying all the Blizzard goodies at the 2013 BlizzCon Sale. If you don't have a ticket, you will have to wait until November 9th for access to new merchandise such as the adorable Lil' Chen Plush (pictured above), or the $250 limited edition World of Warcraft Mahjong Set.

Unlike previous BlizzCon sales, all orders are shipped upon receipt. You won't be picking up your merchandise at BlizzCon. Blizzard promises additional surprises as the sale continues.

Filed under: BlizzCon

Scattered Shots: Hello, old friend

Marksman Hunter
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing the black sheep of the hunter family.

To the hunter pariahs who still religiously play marksmanship, all four of you, I salute your dedication to our forgotten specialization. You've kept the spark of hope alive in our hunter hearts. The hope that someday marksmanship will make its triumphant return to the top of the damage meters, just as it was in the armor penetration glory days of Icecrown Citadel.

Perhaps I'm being a teensy bit dramatic, but as a 8-year (soon to be 9-year) hunter, I do have a soft spot for marksmanship. That's why I was happy to hear about the recent hotfix to boost Chimera Shot's damage by a whopping 50%. I wondered if this was enough to make marksmanship competitive, so I decided to shun my traditional beast mastery and survival specs for a week to give marksmanship its fair chance.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Know Your Lore: A brief summary of the Pandaria campaign

Know Your Lore A brief summary of the Pandaria campaign
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 will be spoilers for every patch of Mists of Pandaria, including 5.4 and the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, in this post

Leaving aside blame for a moment, let's just look at the results of the past year or so in terms of what actually happened. To heavily summarize events:

Horde and Alliance forces discovered Pandaria, landing in the Jade Forest.

Both factions mobilized local allies (the Horde made pacts with the Hozen, the Alliance joined forces with the Pearlfin Jinyu) and waged a proxy battle through these cat's paws. The result was the desrtuction of the Jade Serpent's next incarnation and the release of the Sha of Doubt, leading to the Sha infestation of the Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Both factions pushed onward into Kun-Lai Summit, where they fought the yaungol and set up base camps, converting local pandaren to their cause. They did not actually join in battle at this time.

Scouts and agents of the Horde and Alliance penetrated deeper into the continent, in time exploring the Townlong Steppes and Dread Wastes. In time these advance forces even managed to convince the August Celestials to allow both the Horde and Alliance to set up bases within the sacred Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

Both the Horde and Alliance made large-scale military bases in the Krasarang Wilds and began using these to wage resource war against one another, fighting over territory and raw materials as well as ancient mogu artifacts buried below the surface of the wilds.

This period of hostilities led to a culmination wherein Warchief Garrosh Hellscream attempted to use a mogu artifact, the Divine Bell, to infuse his own soldiers with the power of the Sha. The fallout from this action caused the neutral Kirin Tor to eject the Sunreaver pro-Horde faction from Dalaran and declare themselves for the Alliance under their leader, Lady Jaina Proudmoore. Prince Anduin Wrynn nearly died in the attempt to destroy the Divine Bell, which succeeded. Garrosh Hellscream, however, was not balked from his goal of finding a new weapon.

There's more, of course. Things had only begun to heat up at this point.

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

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

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