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Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria

Possible hint to the next patch?

Possible hint to the next patch
Mists of Pandaria has brought about a ton of visual changes, and not just to Pandaria -- Orgrimmar has seen a lot of evolution over the course of the expansion, what with the abrupt shut down of the Valley of Spirits and the wild Gamon chase all throughout the city. However, it looks like the Siege of Orgrimmar might not be the last patch we'll see in Mists of Pandaria after all -- Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak made an interesting comment on Twitter regarding the future of Orgrimmar.


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

Patch 5.4 PTR: New PvP cloud serpent models

Patch 54 PTR New PvP cloud serpent models
The intrepid folks over at Wowhead have continued to dig up tons of pretty cool new files and models from the patch 5.4 PTR. New mounts have been added to the files -- three new armored cloud serpent models, presumably for PvP participants, and the Stormcrow mount. Along with the now-familiar red and gold varieties of cloud serpents shrouded in intimidating armor, there's also the gorgeous onyx variety pictured above. While there aren't any details yet on how these serpents will be obtained, it's safe to assume that they're PvP related, as pretty much all of the PvP reward mounts have been armored versions of current expansion models.

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

Faction short story Death From Above now available

Faction short story Death From Above now available
How many were paying attention as they leveled through the Dread Wastes and into a path of discovering the Klaxxi and their long lost Paragons? Were you paying attention as the final truths of the mantid were revealed at the end of the Klaxxi reputation grind? That's all well and good ... but those weren't the final truths to be learned. The latest in the faction short story series, Death From Above, is a look at the Klaxxi thousands of years before the events of today -- in fact, years before the pandaren had even begun their rebellion against the mogu.

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.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 PTR: New recipes for 300 stat food and more

Patch 54 PTR New recipes for 300 stat food and more
The Vale of Eternal Blossoms may see some rough times in patch 5.4, but that doesn't mean that all the secrets it holds have been discovered ... yet. Perculia over at Wowhead has dug up a variety of new recipes from the PTR server that grant 300 of a particular stat. The excellent part of this? The recipes take a bare handful of ingredients compared to the 300 stat food that exists right now. And the peculiar twist to this is that all recipes use ingredients found in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

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.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The point of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The point of Pandaria
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.
"It's just possible that the curious race we're going to meet in this mystic land, may just teach us a thing or two about who we are, and why we fight." -- Chris Metzen, BlizzCon 2011
When Mists of Pandaria was introduced, there were plenty of people that were skeptical about the expansion -- many questioned the introduction of the pandaren as a playable race, questioning whether or not an expansion featuring fuzzy talking pandas could ever be taken seriously. Yet although the pandaren can be quite friendly and agreeable, the overall theme of Mists has been remarkably dark. I'd almost consider it darker than any prior, if only for one reason: the message in this expansion hits far closer to home than any other.

While Burning Crusade, Wrath, and Cataclysm all highlighted major enemies that sought to end the world, each through their own means, Mists took a step back from the grand bellowing villains and their evil schemes. And instead, it chose to shift the focus to us -- Alliance and Horde, players and NPCs alike. Yet on the brink of patch 5.4, presumably the last raid of this expansion, what lessons can we take away from Pandaria? What has it taught us, that couldn't be taught by fighting another world-threatening NPC? What was the point of Pandaria?

Please note that today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.4 content. If you're avoiding spoilers, turning away now would be advised!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available
A new short story, The Blank Scroll, is now available on the official site. The next in the series of faction short stories, The Blank Scroll, by Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, takes a look at the Lorewalkers against a most unlikely backdrop. A goblin team has been delving into the secrets of what Pandaria has to offer, but their efforts are stymied by the mysterious appearance of a terrible monster, and a pandaren Lorewalker who seems to know far more than she's telling.

Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie was also the author of Gallywix: Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince, so he's already got the knack of writing goblin characters down pat. But what's surprising here is that the focus of the story is the story itself, in a weird chain reaction of events that eventually play out to a mostly happy ending. I like clever tales. The Blank Scroll is exceedingly clever. Not only do we get a closer look at a Lorewalker in action, we get a better look at goblins, their relationship with the Horde, and even Gallywix himself, oddly enough.

I have to say, while I've been enjoying these short stories immensely, I do wish they were released with more frequency. I'd like to see what the other factions of Pandaria have to offer. However, The Blank Scoll is an excellent, somewhat cheeky addition to Mists of Pandaria's collection of faction short stories, a breath of fresh air after the somewhat darker nature of Trial of the Red Blossoms and Bleeding Sun. You can read the full story for free on the official site.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 PTR: The Rise of Riposte and other tank changes

Patch 54 PTR The Rise of Riposte and other tank changes
Okay, before we get into it, always remember this is datamined information from the next PTR and none of it is guaranteed to make it live. That being said, there are some interesting changes in the pipeline for tanks in patch 5.4, not the least of which is the creation of Riposte, an ability for warriors and death knights. The reason Riposte is interesting is because it seems to be a means to convert parry and dodge into critical strike, which means several things. First, you'll be less likely to stack critical strike as a tank (warriors were at least thinking about it with the change to Enrage, including Shield Slam and Devastate) and secondly, it makes those purely defensive stats work as threat generators, increased the low tank DPS of the warrior tank (and perhaps the DK tank as well, although I'd not heard any complaints about low DK tank DPS) and it must be noted, is not an ability that druid, paladin or monk tanks will be getting.

I find this very interesting, especially combined with the changes to Dark Command, Reckoning, Growl and Taunt. All of these abilities will now not only force a target to attack the tank in question, but will also increase her threat by 200% for 3 seconds. This means that, even if you are tanking a boss or mob that you already have threat on, these four abilities will still increase your threat overall when used, meaning that if you hit a taunt while tanking it will still have a positive effect on your threat. It's worth noting that hunter pet Growl works exactly the same - hunter pets will also get the extra 200% threat over the three seconds.

We're clearly not even remotely done with tweaks and fixes in patch 5.4, but by themselves these changes suggest that tanking is definitely going to see its fair share. The change to taunts is the biggest change to how taunting works that has ever happened, and the inclusion of Riposte goes one step further towards making avoidance also provide threat.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Are we drowning in patches?

Are we drowning in patches
One of the questions I see asked often is "Are patches coming too fast" and I'm not sure that they really are. Considering that the Dragon Soul patch (4.3) came out almost exactly a year after the pre-Cataclysm patch The Shattering (Patch 4.0) then we're on pace for Patch 5.4 to come out roughly a year after patch 5.0. If we get patch 5.4 in three to four months, which would fit what we've seen with other patch releases this expansion, then we're looking at one more patch per cycle this expansion than last, and both patch 5.1 and 5.3 brought content outside of new raids. So yes, the patch cycle is slightly faster now, but those patches tend to vary between large patches with lots of raid content and smaller patches with quest hubs or PvP changes.

Looking at previous expansions, I was struck by how little the cycle has changed between Cataclysm and the current expansion. The only real difference is that Cataclysm had one patch (patch 4.1) that was a smaller patch with dungeons and world changes, whereas Mists of Pandaria has had two, patch 5.1 and 5.3. (I say smaller, but that's not really an accurate term - it's simply more convenient than typing 'focused on non raid content' over and over again.) So when we talk about the rapid patch cycle of Mists, we're basically talking about one patch.

So, therefore I wondered to myself - why does it feel like we're getting patches fast and furiously? Why do I hear and see people discussing patch burnout and talk myself about feeling totally overwhelmed by patch changes? If, as we've demonstrated, Mists of Pandaria is in fact more or less on par with or at best slightly ahead of previous expansions in terms of patch frequency (to go back to Wrath of the Lich King, patch 3.3 came out roughly a year after patch 3.0, although we then had a full year before Cataclysm) then why does it feel so much faster?

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

Patch 5.4 PTR: Jard and his amazing engineering journal

Patch 54 PTR Jard and his amazing engineering journal
For those of us who have picked the best profession (that would be engineering), we've finally got some new schematics in patch 5.4 to mess around with! Fortunately, there are no reputations to grind, no insane amount of gold or obscure items we have to pay to obtain these new schematics. In fact, in a departure from the usual, all engineers have to obtain is one item to learn all new schematics for patch 5.4: Chief Engineer Jard's Journal. At the present time, the journal drops from any mob in the Vale -- I got mine from the first sha I killed.

Reading the journal will teach you Jard's secrets. Apparently, he really wasn't into explosives at all. Patch 54 PTR Jard and his amazing engineering journal You'll get the schematics for Pierre, the Rascal Bot, the Advanced Refrigeration Unit, and the Sky Claw when you learn the journal, as well as the item you'll need to make all of them -- Jard's Peculiar Energy Source. And this is where it gets a little frustrating, to say the least. Creating the energy source is easy, you only need 10 Ghost Iron Bars. What's frustrating is the cooldown -- you can only make one energy source per day. It's very much like the cooldown for Imperial Silk, except that there isn't an option to use Spirits of Harmony to bypass the cooldown at the present time.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 PTR: Proving Grounds

Patch 5.4 already? When they said patches would be coming more frequently they were not kidding - we've only been in patch 5.3 for a month or so and patch 5.4 is already on the PTR. And it is packed with new features, some of which we've been waiting for all expansion, like the long discussed proving grounds.
Rygarius - Patch 5.4 Coming Soon!
New Feature: Proving Grounds
  • Proving Grounds is a new feature for individual players to test and improve their combat skills.
  • At the Proving Grounds, players may undertake trials, designed for Damage, Tank, or Healer roles.
  • It provides a great opportunity to learn how to Tank or Heal, without the need of a group.
  • Each trial is available in four separate difficulties: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Endless. Harder difficulties include more difficult and varied enemies.
  • Endless mode allows you to test your mettle against increasingly difficult enemies. Compare your best scores to friends and guildmates!
  • [PTR]: Access to the Proving Grounds and more information is coming soon.


While we still don't know quite a lot (like what form these will take, whether they'll be in their own location like Brawler's Guild or queued for like scenarios) we do know they're currently planned for 5.4, they'll allow for DPS, tanks or healers to face solo challenges to improve in their chosen role and they'll have multiple difficulty levels. This has been a feature long anticipated and requested, so I for one can't wait to see how it is implemented.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Mists of Pandaria

On raid lockouts, flexible raiding, and choice

On raid lockouts, flexible raiding, and choice
With the introduction of flexible raiding a certain conversation is cropping up again. It's a conversation about raid lockouts. Back when LFR was first introduced during Dragon Soul, quite a few players began to argue that they felt forced to run LFR in addition to the raid itself. Then, as we moved into Mists of Pandaria raiding, this discussion intensified. I had my own opinion on the issue, which was basically that no, raid finder should not share a lockout with normal mode raiding. Luckily, Blizzard didn't do that, coming up with other ways to reduce LFR's desirability for people who run normal/heroic raids.

Now, with flexible raiding, the argument that it should share a lockout with normal/heroic raids is being resurrected because again players are afraid they will be forced to run it. I'm opposed to this idea for a variety of reasons.
  1. Sharing the lockout between flexible raiding and normal/heroic raiding means that if you choose to step down to flex for a night because you were short people, you'll either be locked into flex or you'll need to be able to switch back and forth between them. Either players will be punished for going flex, or they'll be using it to bypass encounters that are 'too hard' on normal. This isn't meant to be a means to game raid difficulty.
  2. Sharing the lockout between 10 and 25 man raiding nearly killed 25 man raiding. A shared lockout between flexible raiding and normal raids would probably be enough to finish the job, because as 25 man guilds lost members and made use of the flexible raid to keep running, there would be very little incentive to recruit and less incentive for new players to join.
  3. Flex raiding is being rolled out to test the waters - we have no idea how the final implementation will shake out. Burdening it with a shared lockout adds a further complication which isn't needed at this time. For all we know, flexible raiding will be how all raids work in the next expansion. Even if it isn't, we need to give it time before we make it jump through more hoops.
  4. People need to stop begging Blizzard to keep them from playing the game.
Number five is probably the most controversial point, and it's also the most important to my eyes. I don't know where certain players came up with this idea that Blizzard needs to save them from doing things but it needs to stop. If you're not in a guild that's pushing content in the first week or two of its existence, you will not need to run flexible raids for gear to push that content faster any more than you need to run LFR for that.

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

Are you happy with Patch 5.3's story progression?

Are you happy with Patch 53's story progression
Frankly, as a solidly Alliance player right now, I find patch 5.3 satisfying. I get why some players don't, but frankly I don't mind spending some time exploring the Horde from an Alliance perspective, without having to faction switch or roll a new character. In fact, I hope it's something they hold onto for future content - I'd love to see a storyline where a group of Horde had to infiltrate Ironforge and work alongside some Dark Irons, or even a story that pit blood elf agents against their forsaken allies by using the worgen as catspaws. My point is, getting to directly interact with Vol'jin was pretty fun, getting to bring the war to the Horde itself while setting up the Darkspear to do the heavy lifting made sense to me, and in general I enjoyed all of the scenarios and quests I've done this patch.

But just because I like something it doesn't follow that you all feel the same way. This patch's story is unfolding in interesting new ways - there's no reputation faction to unlock via daily quests, there are scenarios but no dungeons, and quests that don't repeat. It's quite possible to see much, if not all, of the storyline in one day. It's definitely a departure from what we've seen in previous Mists of Pandaria patches.

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

Patch 5.3 PTR: Battle on the High Seas overview

Patch 53 PTR Battle on the High Seas overview
One of my favorite scenarios to this day is Unga Ingoo. It's not because it has any major lore significance, some major story reveal that was shocking or inspired. It's not because it had any kind of meaningful impact on what we're doing right now, or on the leveling experience itself. No, the reason I love Unga Ingoo is because ships, ropes, and beating up pirates are all ridiculously fun things. Even more so when the pirates are monkey pirates.

In patch 5.3, we're getting four new scenarios -- three of which are interesting from a lore perspective, and one of which, Battle on the High Seas, is just a rollicking good time. There aren't any lore reveals. There's nothing in the scenario to further the story of patch 5.3, or lead into patch 5.4. The only thing Battle on the High Seas offers is the opportunity to smack the heck out of the opposite fashion in true swashbuckling style ... and honestly, that's more than enough reason to do it as far as I'm concerned!

Please note that this is being written from the Horde perspective of the scenario. I'm assuming that the Alliance side is much the same, just with a role-reversal involved.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for patch 5.3 content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.3 PTR: The Secrets of Ragefire overview

Patch 53 PTR The Secrets of Ragefire overview
I remember Ragefire Chasm in vanilla, but only vaguely. It was usually completed once, at a very low level, and then never looked at again -- it never had any really compelling loot, and the story was only so-so. It has since received an update to both loot and story, and in a profound kind of way. In fact, if you haven't done the updated Ragefire Chasm, I suggest this would be an excellent time to do so. What happens down there is just the tip of the iceberg, it seems.

In patch 5.3, we're going to get a look at a section of Ragefire Chasm we haven't seen before, in one of four new scenarios introduced with the patch. It turns out not everything is as it seems in Orgrimmar ... and Garrosh's plans have never looked quite this grim. You'll be accompanying the Gob Squad on a mission to figure out just what kind of secrets Ragefire holds, and what the Horde can expect from their Warchief.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for patch 5.3 content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Things that were harder before

Things that were harder before
I did a post this week about raiding in previous expansions and in vanilla WoW, and how people often say those raids were harder and my opinion that it is easily demonstrable that current raids are if anything more complicated than they have ever been. I frankly believe there is almost no room for comparison between the game at 60 and today in terms of raid complexity and difficulty. Part of this stems from the many different variations on what the word hard means in this context. Something can be harder because it is conceptually or executionally more complex (the difficulty can stem from how much is required to successfully complete its mechanics) or it can be hard because it is laborious and/or time consuming. Was raiding with 40 people in classic WoW more laborious? Absolutely it was. It wasn't mechanically harder, but it was more time consuming and took a great deal of effort to organize and plan. It's the difference between working out a complex multi-stage math problem and carrying five thousand pounds of rocks from point A to point B.

But there were some points worth addressing. It absolutely has never been easier to level, even without heirlooms, than it is right now. Vanilla leveling to 60 took more time and effort than leveling to 90 does today. Even without heirlooms, one can easily and without much stress reach level 20 in a few hours, level 40 in less than two days, and be level 60 within a day of that, and this isn't spending all day staring at the screen either. This is a fairly casual leveling pace. I leveled a blood elf warrior to 35 in two days of rather casual play, an hour on followed by a half hour reading websites or having a snack or even going for a long walk.

It's also far easier to do the following things:
  1. Get a dungeon group. You can queue for dungeons at level 15, and from that point on, all you ever have to do to run a dungeon is hit that queue. If you're playing in the tank or healing role you can effectively chain dungeons all day, and even leveling as DPS there are stretches where you don't even need to quest or do anything but dungeon.
  2. Run a battleground. While you could argue that doing well at BG running as you level up and at max level takes some time and effort, if you want to risk queueing in whatever gear you have, it's simplicity itself.
  3. Getting ready to raid at max level. The game now has catchup mechanisms in place for players who start later. If you just got your alt to 90 and are switching to it for raiding, deciding to give raiding a try for the first time, or what have you it's not the case that your raid group is compelled to run you through previous raids for attunements and keys, much less gearing you through older raids to get ready for the current content.
  4. Find something to do. You could even argue that there's too much to do, or that it feels too mandatory. But you can't argue you don't have options - if you don't want to run dungeons, raid, or PvP there are pet battles, daily quests and scenarios you can do.
So the question then becomes this: is it better or worse for the game that these things are easier? For that matter, are they easy enough?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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