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Posts with tag npcs

Tuskarr page stealth-edited

Although it only went live a few days ago, Blizzard's Tuskarr page on their Wrath of the Lich King site has already been subtly updated. I don't have a copy of the old page, but it used to say something about being beset by Taunka and Murlocs. Here's what it says now:

...they are constantly beset by the Kvaldir and an arctic race of murloc-like creatures known as the Gorloc.

As Blizzplanet speculates, it's possible that the Kvaldir are just a specific faction of Taunka, but their name looks more Vrykul-ish, and in fact seems to be derived from an Icelandic word meaning "to afflict torment" (credit for this theory goes to Drakhzor, of Deathwing-EU). It's also interesting that the Gorloc are listed as "murloc-like;" hopefully this means they won't be quite so annoying. Do they say "mrgllrgll" in a Northern accent?

Filed under: Factions, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

Silver tabbies as far as the eye can see

Thanks to tipster Enaress, we have a short video of an amusing (albeit potentially annoying) exploit ingame that allows you to summon an unlimited number of noncombat pets. From the date on the video, it looks as if this has been live since at least patch 2.3.0,and a few of the commenters have successfully tried it for themselves. A note of warning: be careful if you do this, as dropping out of sync with Blizzard's servers can definitely be considered an exploit, and, at Blizzard's discretion, could get you banned from the game. Odds are a fix is already en route.

I have to admit, I was amused at the prospect of having my small army of pets out and about, but from what Enaress has observed, doing this does have a tendency to contribute to the lag in Shattrath (which seems to be especially noticeable with complicated pets like Lil' Smoky). I don't think I'd try it for myself; Shatt can be bad enough during server high time. But there's something about the notion of my Druid as a dedicated cat-herder or, say, an Undead being followed by a swarm of cockroaches, that just made me laugh.

One more thing; would the Disgusting Oozeling's aura stack, you think?

Filed under: Items, Tricks, Bugs, Humor, NPCs

Tuskarr info on official site


Slowly and steadily, the official Wrath of the Lich King site is getting fleshed out with some actual information. Today, they added a page about the walrus-inspired Tuskarr, a new neutral race in Northrend. The Tuskarr are nomadic and peaceful, with tribal affiliations inscribed on their tusks. Despite their pacifistic nature, they are frequently attacked by taunka and those pesky murlocs. They are excellent fishers, and catch whales, giant squid, and "unnamed leviathans."

Although the info box at the right says "both" under "Horde/Alliance," the body of the text says "with the Horde's recent arrival they have found a new ally in the ongoing struggle against the hostile forces of Northrend." Not quite sure how to interpret that. Nethaera clarifies by calling them neutral in this forum post. Their faction name is "The Kalu'ak" (what is it with Blizz and apostrophes?), and their main settlement is called Kaskalka, in the Borean Tundra, with outposts at Kamagua in the Howling Fjord and Moa'ki Harbor in Dragonblight. Aside from a few bits of art and screenshots, that's all the new page contains; you can check it out here. More information on the Tuskarr is also available at Wowwiki.

Filed under: Factions, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

A lack of left-handed WoW

Kaalis has a post on the forums about something that seems small, and yet is something I have never, ever, in all my years of playing this game, noticed before. Everyone (and I mean everyone) in Azeroth is right-handed. From the lowliest guard in Stormwind to the meanest boss in the Black Temple (probably not Illidan-- maybe Gorefiend), everyone who wields a weapon is right-handed. Even the Shivarra (those female demons with the six arms) wield their weapons in their top right hands. How incredibly strange.

I should correct that: apparently Blizzard noticed this before they did Zul'Aman, and so there is one NPC in all of Azeroth (actually one character, because all players are right handed, too) that is left handed: Nalorakk, the bear boss. And you have to assume that after this, we'll see other bosses and NPCs that might mix things up a bit.

But for players and old NPCs, Bornakk says not to hold your breath. Blizzard is working hard on new customization options for Wrath of the Lich King, but turning players southpaw isn't one of them.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Humor, Bosses, NPCs

Boat vendors MIA

One of my favorite little additions in patch 2.3 was the boat/zeppelin vendors. Sure, there's a whole crew there, but after talking to them once to see what gossip they had, the vendors were the only ones I went back to. Since Blizzard refuses to take me up on my suggestion to allow fishing from moving boats, it gives me the one more thing to do while waiting for that zone-in screen, aside from chatting and making bandages. Being able to sell trash, stock up on reagents, and sometimes repair during this downtime is really nice.

Unfortunately, the boat vendors have been disabled in a hotfix to the live realms, for vague reasons. Nethaera clarifies that there are "propulsion issues" that necessitate the vendors being out for the time being, but that they'll be "back on duty" as soon as the issues are fixed. Possibly related is a note that the entire boat crew is gone on the 2.3.2 PTR, "for testing purposes." Hopefully the vendors will be back soon; until then, my boat rides will be (even more) boring.

Filed under: Patches, News items, NPCs

To WoW, perchance to dream


Last night I dreamt of Mudsprocket. I was questing with one of my alts -- I assume my shadow priest, but I can't be certain because I was seeing the perspective from her eyes -- and I came across a new NPC standing next to the flight master. She was a female orc named Robin Torres, and I realized she was named after our Robin of WoW Insider fame.

The dream switches to me having a discussion at a party with a friend of mine. Over drinks I mention what I found in the game and she doesn't seem the least bit surprised. "Well, Azeroth Interrupted was incredibly popular" she tells me.

Now this isn't the first time I've dreamt about the game. I do so pretty much all the time. Since I play so much my unconscious mind feeds on what is on my mind at the time. What intrigued me looking back on it was my creation of my own NPC to place into the game. So I wondered what other NPCs players might like to see referenced in WoW. I know the game is riddled with references, from Caretaker Ophera Windfury to Eyonix himself. I'm interested to see what the readers would select for new NPCs to add to the game. Who would you like to meet lounging at the bar in a tavern in Howling Fjord or standing guard at the Sunwell?

Filed under: Patches, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

The Art of War(craft): Alterac Valley, Part I - Evolution


When Battlegrounds were introduced in Patch 1.5, it changed the entire PvP landscape. With the introduction of the Honor System in the patch before it, which included the now-obsolete ranks and PvP gear, there was suddenly purpose to PvP. In my previous column, I expressed how I preferred my PvP to have some sort of objective or reason. The Battlegrounds made PvP somewhat more meaningful, with thematic goals situated in instanced areas that gave popular war zones such as Hillsbrad and the Barrens relative peace. The first Battlegrounds came in two flavors: Warsong Gulch, which was designed to cater to short skirmishes because of its size and scope; and Alterac Valley, which was designed to be more epic, with a large zone that had numerous geographical features, multiple objectives, and -- unique to this Battleground up to the present -- faction NPCs. Warsong Gulch, although designed to be short, succumbed to a small design flaw that left it prone to unnecessarily lengthy games. I'll discuss WSG at length in a future article but will, for this week and next, focus on the grandeur of Alterac Valley.

Of all the Battlegrounds, AV has gone through the most changes, having received fixes and modifications with most of the patches subsequent to its release. Alterac Valley was an extremely ambitious project for the folks at Blizzard, and it was clear from the beginning that they had very high hopes for it. It was supposed to be epic, with the feel of a great war. The size of the zone, complemented by the faction structures and NPCs, certainly added to that ambiance. In terms of gameplay, however, Alterac Valley was flawed on many levels. In the earliest iteration of AV, there was a giant troll named Korrak the Bloodrager in the Field of Strife in the center of the map. The presence of a hostile boss where players would clash proved to be a nightmare. Players spent too much time trying to kite, kill, or flee from Korrak instead of engaging each other. Most of the other NPCs created the same problem, slowing down the game considerably. Subsequent patches saw Korrak moving to Snowfall Graveyard and eventually packing his bags for greener pastures. Blizzard later removed and weakened many of the NPCs, as well, facilitating faster forward movement towards the end goal.

In the latest patch, Alterac Valley received its biggest overhaul yet. The latest changes are the most drastic in terms of gameplay because it now gives another means of winning the game, making it the only Battleground with an alternative victory condition. There is now a new mechanic called Reinforcements, with each side receiving a count of 600 at the start of the game. Killing opposing players will reduce their team's Reinforcements on a 1:1 ratio while destroying a pair of towers or killing enemy Captains (Balinda and Galvangar) will reduce it by 100. Killing the enemy General will reduce the opposing team's reinforcements to 0, winning the game. Conversely, reducing an opposing team's reinforcements to 0 will result in the enemy General's death. The changes make Alterac Valley feel like an entirely new game, forcing a shift in strategy and encouraging more player combat. What used to work in previous iterations of AV no longer work so well in AV 2.3. The zerg rush that used to typify AV races have given way to a new kind of thinking: defend, push forward, kill everything in sight. It would seem, at last, that PvP has come to the Valley.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

Inside the accounting files of NPCs

I've already said a few times that I'd love to see Blizzard's population figures, but a query (from an MVP, strangely enough) brings up another set of figures that I wouldn't mind a look at: NPC vendor sales numbers. Crepe wants to know how many items Griftah has sold (and how many hula dolls he sells post 2.3), but unfortunately, Nethaera deflects the question and leaves us with nothing. Additionally, I'd like to know how many heroic badges G'eras is going through on any given night-- maybe the fact that he's not selling many of his Heroic items is the reason why Blizzard is going to start dropping Badges in both Karazhan and Zul'Aman next week.

Blizzard has given us peeks at a few numbers behind the game, but they haven't updated that page since it went up (and with all the exceptions on those lists, it's not much help anyway). There is a whole new world of statistics to be had in Outland, and it'd be nice for Blizzard to let us at just a few of the most interesting ones.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, NPCs

Mysterious Mysteries: What's that NPC about?

Recently on an research mission in Dun Morogh (read starting yet another alt) I came across Father Gavin, an elderly gentleman standing in the Dwarven starting area with a pleasant enough expression on his mustachioed face. What makes Father Gavin so very intriguing is not what we know about him -- he wears the tabard of the Argent Dawn, and I must assume is the Dwarves first introduction to the human race in Azeroth -- but what we don't know about him, which is just about everything else. Looking this fellow up on WoW Wiki yeilds little more than a description of his location, because, really well, there's no quest line connected to him.

There are a couple NPCs out there who seem to be disconnected from society in a way Tabatha the recluse could never hope to be. How about my favorite Wetlands cipher Terl Arakor? According to WoW Head he was supposed to be a vendor, but his only use these days appears to be keeping his wagon from rolling away and providing the Horde with an easy source of wool cloth. Was he once a sheep perhaps?

There are stories out there for these people, but we can't seem to find them. What exactly is the story behind Jane and Nova (besides the obvious Final Fantasy 7 reference) trying to wake their father on the shores of Eversong Woods? Perhaps he was on a bender, and will wake up with a Thrall-sized headache just about the time the Sunwell raid instance opens. Have you seen any NPCs that seemed to have a name, seemed to have been meant to be linked to quests that no one is able to get?

Filed under: Odds and ends, NPCs

Gallery: Fun with Brewfest goggles


These images just keep making me laugh. Over the weekend, we posted pictures of people having fun with the Beerfest goggles around famous Azerothian NPCs, and although my original request of Illidan never panned out (he's not a humanoid, apparently, and thus not susceptible to the effects of beer goggles), you readers responded with tons of funny pictures featuring our fearless leaders as Gnomes and female Orcs.

So here they are all collected into a gallery, and if you have any more, feel free to drop us a note with links to them, and I'll add them in. Thanks to all the commenters who posted links for these pics: Nate S., myrlin, Haaken, erin, and s02.

Filed under: Items, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, NPCs

Considering a real simulated reality

Those of you who are regular readers might have figured out by now that I'm very interested in the relationship between the real and the virtual world, but the latest post at Terra Nova goes far beyond any simple reasoning I've ever done. Basically, they sum up some speculation being performed by academics that says that just like we Earthlings have created our own virtual worlds (in Azeroth and elsewhere), it's somewhat, maybe possible that we ourselves actually live in someone else's virtual world.

Wow. To me, that's so far off the beaten path that who knows where to begin with it-- you've got religion in there somewhere, as well as the old question of our existence itself. But supposing that were true (and it's almost too big a jump for even me to make, except for the fact that even if it is true, we'll likely never know it), what would you do if you were living in a virtual world? Would you act differently? Would you be a griefer? Or would you play the game, play by the rules, and help yourself and others not only "win," but have fun too? It seems a little loony (because who wants to admit that their world is someone else's toy?), but it's a fascinating thought experiment that should help you examine both how you're living your life and how you want to live it-- what would you do if you were an NPC in a virtual world?

Of course, things get even stranger, because we don't just create virtual worlds-- we play in them. Azeroth isn't just full of NPCs-- it's full of us, walking around, killing things, and generally taking (and taking over) whatever we want. If our world really is someone else's, does that mean they're here too?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

The Draw Your Favorite NPC Contest


I don't think I've ever seen a forum thread that has promised so much, and yet delivered so little-- so far. Then again, if ths above image of Hogger is all that ever comes out of this thread, it'll all be worth it.

Caela on Earthen Ring has kicked off a "Draw Your Favorite NPC" contest, and it has the potential to be legendary. So far, there are only two pictures submitted-- the one above is amazing, and it's by Arity of ER. The other one is of Cookie McWeaksauce, and it's drawn by Umilluer, also of ER.

Now, the contest (though, as Caela says, it's really more of an exercise) doesn't end until Saturday the 21st, so I'd expect that people might still be working on their pictures-- hopefully we'll see a lot more of these. In the meantime, if you've got pictures for the contest, throw them in the comments below, or put them on that forum post. It'll be tough to beat that Hogger picture, I know, but if you've got any interest in drawing your favorite NPC (I'd draw High Overlord Saurfang if I had any artistic skillz whatsoever), please, please do so.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, NPCs

Gallery: What's in a name?


From NPCs to player names to guild names and locations, I often find myself having a chuckle over Blizzard's and players' creative naming decisions. We've started a gallery to showcase some of the funnier names around Azeroth and Outland, and we need your help filling it in. If you see a funny NPC, player, guild, or place name in your travels that isn't already in our gallery, take a screenshot and send it in. We're happy to credit you by name and a link to your blog, guild website, etc. We'll keep updating the gallery and post periodic reminders as long as it keeps growing. Make sure your image is less than 10MB in size and send it to funnynames AT wowinsider DOT com. And of course, check out the gallery so far. Thanks in advance for your submissions!

Filed under: Humor, Screenshots, NPCs, Galleries

Know Your Lore: Illidan

It has come to our attention that there are quite a few people out there who don't know anything about the Warcraft universe. Considering that the Burning Crusade expansion is chock-full of major lore characters, this is somewhat disturbing. While it's definitely not necessary to play the previous Warcraft games to enjoy WoW, this is an online roleplaying game set in a particular universe, and understanding a little bit of the history behind the game can make your time in Azeroth more enjoyable. Sure, it's not exactly The Wheel Of Time in complexity, but there's some cool stuff going on in the world that you can only "get" if you know who's who.

With that in mind, the new Know Your Lore feature will present quick and dirty biographies of some of the most famous names in Azeroth. Our inaugural article showcases someone you've definitely heard of, and will be hearing much more from in the near future -- Illidan Stormrage, the ultimate boss of the Burning Crusade expansion.

Read more →

Filed under: Features, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore

AddOn Spotlight: AutoSelect

I like efficiency. If it lets me skip a click, I say, it's worth a download. And AutoSelect lets you skip many, many clicks. What it does is jump past the "gossip" screen at NPCs that offer one, going straight to the vendor interface/flight path map/whatever it is that NPC is actually for. And if you really feel the need to see Innkeeper Firebrew say "Fill your tankard and pull up a chair" one more time, just hold down control when you right-click the NPC -- that disables AutoSelect.

The author has quit developing the mod in dissatisfaction over WoW 2's restrictiveness, but not before updating it to work with 2.0.1. Hopefully someone will take it over when it needs changes; for now, it works perfectly.

Download at ui.worldofwar.net

Previously on the Spotlight

Have a favorite mod? Drop us a line, or post a comment.

Filed under: Add-Ons, Features, AddOn Spotlight

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