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Posts with tag patch-5.1

Know Your Lore: Hands drenched in blood

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.

The Sin'dorei have been a presence in WoW since The Burning Crusade -- and surprisingly enough, as members of the Horde rather than members of the Alliance. This turnaround in events was largely due to the treatment of the blood elves by the Alliance during Warcraft III. Kael'thas Sunstrider watched as his people were slaughtered by the Scourge, and set out to lend a helping hand to his supposed allies, hoping that they would lend a hand in return. However, he was sent to help Garithos, a man who was -- let's face it -- incredibly racist.

And in the face of that not-quite-blatant racism, Kael'thas turned to the only people offering any sort of real alliance; the naga. While Vashj and company helped Kael'thas far more than any of his supposed Alliance allies, Garithos was happy to find an excuse to condemn the leader of the sin'dorei, and had him imprisoned in Dalaran for his supposed treasonous actions. It was this waterfall effect that eventually led to the sin'dorei's withdrawal from the Alliance, and into the arms of the Horde.

Which makes the events of patch 5.1 all the more ironically interesting ... because it's happening all over again, but wearing a slightly different face.

Please note: This Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Tides of War as well as patch 5.1 content from both Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive. If you have yet to complete these stories, you may want to veer away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Playing with grey morality

Playing with grey morality
One of the reasons I went with an orc for my main this expansion was that I wanted to play someone I could believe would do some of the quests I was being asked to do, but upon reflection I started to wonder if I'd shortened myself out of some interesting experiences. Sure, it's fairly easy for me to believe an orc warrior would follow Garrosh's lead, but when I play my tauren I start to consider all he's seen in his time in the game -- he's been an active part of the Horde since Thrall first sent people into Blackrock Mountain to take out Dagan Thaurissan. He's fought across alien landscapes, taken on the burden of fighting the walking dead in Northrend, and stood up to the Twilight's Hammer and the end of the world. In essence, his relationship with his duties and responsibilities is more interesting than my orc, because unlike his current faction leader Baine Bloodhoof, my tauren has seen the Horde war machine in action. He's been that war machine, the very tip of Garrosh's spear, in the Twilight Highlands.

When looking at the quests I've done since arriving in Pandaria, one of the things that interested me is the idea of stewardship, of responsibility to the land. The pandaren are a noble people in many ways, but I could easily imagine a tauren finding their stewardship of the land wanting. Save for the Shado-Pan none of them really seem invested in the land's welfare or its defense. Keeping in mind that tauren are the survivors of a generational war with the centaur, who stole their lands and murdered them wholesale, I looked at the lands of Pandaria with his eyes and I saw the yaungol invading and I shuddered. Here we have a clear cousin people to my own, and here they are, invading and destroying, tauren become centaur, and suddenly it was all too easy to justify following Garrosh and his orders. The pandaren clearly can't hold this land, can't defend it, and whatever else the Horde might be it cannot be said that it isn't strong. The rise of the Thunder King in patch 5.2 only serves as confirmation that it falls to the Horde to defend Pandaria.

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

Raid Finder drop rate will increase in patch 5.2

50 Raid Finder drop rate will increase in 52
Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street tweeted today regarding raid finder loot drops.


As the OP opined, this will be welcome news indeed for players worried about gearing alts after the appearance of patch 5.2. The introduction of the new raid tier so soon after the current tier likely leaves many players worried about the time investment required to catch up to a relevant gear level.

Given Blizzard's desire not to introduce new 5-man content at this stage in the gearing curve, the main gear progression will continue to be via raid finder, requiring players leveling alts for 5.2 raiding to gear up through 5.0's raid finder. The increased drop rate will, therefore, surely be welcomed. Nonetheless, it seems likely that a new 90 will have to work their way through gearing via the three current raids before being able to progress too quickly into the 5.2 tier. This seems a fairly high demand, given how easily players were able to gear alts in Cataclysm. Is the contrast between this expansion and the last too great?

With 5.2, Blizzard have certainly hinted that alt catch-up will be on the table. What else could the be doing to help players progress several characters without spoiling the fun of those who only want a main?

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Bloody-handed in Dalaran

Bloodyhanded in Dalaran
Spoilers for Operation: Shieldwall quests to follow

I wrote how a race change changed the way I viewed the Horde, especially the Dominance Offensive questing. Well, turnabout is fair play, and so I went and got my worgen through the Operation: Shieldwall quests up to the events in Dalaran. And it's funny, because I expected it to feel different, and it did. But not quite the way I'd expected.

At the end of today's questing, I had many conflicting feelings. As Matthew Rossi, the guy who writes these posts, I was deeply troubled by what I did in Dalaran. This was not a case of a rational, cool-thinking commander giving good orders, this was a case of someone pushed too far finally snapping. The actions I took at the behest of two deeply aggrieved leaders left me with a sour taste in my mouth, when I stopped to reflect upon them.

But while I was playing? My worgen had absolutely no compunctions. Never before have I done things that, as a player I felt were wrong, but as a character I felt were absolutely right. An eye for an eye may leave the whole world blind, but doing nothing just leaves me with a missing eye.

Behind the cut I'm going into details, and those details will be chock full of spoilers. You've been warned.

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

Hellscream is not my Warchief

Hellscream is not my warchief ANY
Sometimes, it's not just about the race you choose to play -- it's about how the story behind it is handled. Matthew Rossi wrote an interesting piece about how the race one plays has a direct effect on how one approaches the story in the game. Playing an orc and keeping in mind what it is to be an orc makes Garrosh and his plans look infinitely more appealing than one would consider straight off the bat.

But on the other end of the equation, there are lots of Horde players who don't play an orc. Take me, for example -- while I started out as a Forsaken priest, I've now played a blood elf rogue for far longer. To me, Hellscream's actions are questionable at best, horrific beyond imagining at worst. Yet here I am, still playing Horde and carrying out the orders of Hellscream. The why of it all is the part that is an incredibly clever design move on the part of the story development team.

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

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2012, part 2

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 part one of our look back at 2012's best lore developments, we looked at the various aspects introduced to better introduce lore to those that had only a passing interest in it. While the Lorewalkers, print media and instance developments were also tremendously appealing to those that already have a handle on Warcraft lore, they also served as a method of getting the lore out to those that weren't really interested in the minutiae of mogu and mantid.

And that's honestly pretty important. There are plenty of players that play the game simply to play it, not paying attention to why they are playing at all. By implementing subtle elements that introduce the lore in an unobtrusive fashion, the developers have quietly found a way to make sure that regardless of how or why you play the game, you still have some sort of basic understanding of what is going on. Cataclysm had a story, but it was so complex that it was difficult even for those with a strong grasp of lore to puzzle out exactly what was going on and why we were doing what we were doing.

But the fun doesn't stop there -- and today's picks are those that are slightly less unobtrusive in regards to lore and story.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

How WoW's content offerings progressed in 2012

What did we learn
2012 is nearly over. If you were playing WoW on this date in 2011, you were playing a significantly different game, raiding the ultimate raid of Cataclysm with the Dragon Soul, or... probably not doing much else. One of the biggest changes between then and now is one that's often commented on, namely that there's a much wider variety of content in Mists of Pandaria at the endgame level. Level 90 players can choose to run scenarios, heroic dungeons, use the Looking for Raid tool, engage in pet battles, pursue one of a wide variety of daily quests which allow for the gaining of reputation with various factions, run challenge mode dungeons, or get involved in 10/25 man raiding. One can even step into older raid content with or without a group for the purposes of collecting gear for transmogrification or simply for fun.

I've said before and will say again that quests like Welcome to the Machine demonstrated real mastery on the part of the development team behind Cataclysm. To my mind, the real lesson of the Cataclysm to Mists transition is threefold. Cataclysm was extremely well designed, but the majority of its best content is in those revamped 1 to 60 jones, or to coin a term, is in vertical content, a pillar of content that players ascend. Mists content is horizontal -- while there are several zones to level from 85 to 90 in, the true flowering of the vast majority of Mists content is a plateau, an expanse that blossoms outward. Once you ascend those five levels, you get more to do, not less. However, it must be said that this isn't a trend that Mists invented. Pretty much every innovation in Mists of Pandaria's content delivery is built on the edifice of Cataclysm, which itself built on previous expansions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Murdering animals for 5.1 reputation

Murdering animals for 51 reputation
The patch 5.1 daily system seems fairly straightforward for the most part -- you either get your dailies directly at the base camp for your respective faction, or you get a quest that will send you to a daily hub in Krasarang Wilds. Once your dailies are completed, you can then turn them in for reputation. But there's another daily quest out there, one that's hidden behind a purchasable item.

This daily quest not only grants you a chunk of reputation, it'll give you a useful buff as well. But how you go about the process of getting that quest, and the limitations to the quest, seem to be a mystery to many players. And if you ask Jorn Skyseer or his Alliance counterpart Huntsman Blake, they have pretty much nothing to say on the matter. So how do you go about getting this useful bit of extra rep?

Well, there are two parts to the process.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Reputation in review: The Dominance Offensive

It took until patch 5.1, but we got it. The most perfect reputation grind in the game to date. I don't say these words lightly, because let's face it, I have pretty high standards for what I like and what I don't like with daily quests. But the Dominance Offensive appears to have taken the best out of all previous reputation grinds and wrapped it all together in a delightful ball of compelling story and quests that barely feels like a grind at all.

Please note that this is a review for the Dominance Offensive, which is the Horde side of the 5.1 reputation. At this point in time, I don't have an Alliance character at level 90, so I'm unable to play through the Operation Shieldwall quests. However, I have been assured that not only are the Operation Shieldwall quests just as good, in some ways they are even better than the Dominance Offensive material. I'm not even sure how this is possible, because these dailies are just that good.

But enough gushing. Let's get into the nuts and bolts of what makes this reputation grind so different from everything before it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

25-man raids have harder challenges and better rewards on Asian realms

Difficulty level Asian

The European raiding team Method had a chance to interview Ion Hazzikostas, World of Warcraft's Lead Encounter Designer. Most of the discussion centered around the recently released item upgrade system that came in patch 5.1. One of the more interesting tidbits is how item rewards and raids are slightly different in Asia compared to the European and North American regions.

Ion Hazzikostas

How does the upgrading system work on the Asian servers? From what I have seen their items are upgradable not 2, but 4 times. Won't this result in a problem while tuning the bosses of the next content?

Ion: The way it works in Asia, we actually use the upgrade system to create the distinction between 10 player and 25 player that we previously announced for 5.1. So in Korea, Taiwan and China, when you kill a boss in 25 player mode, it drops an item that is already 2/4. So instead of 496, it drops as 504 but can be upgraded 2 more times, so effectively they are 8 ilvls higher but you are still only upgrading any item twice. The other thing that is changed in 5.1, is actually that all 25 player bosses have 8% more health and do 8% more damage, than they do in the US or Europe. It is a bit more like the Wrath of the Lich King system, where 25man is just harder and drops higher item level loot but in theory doing 25 player with 25 player loot in Asia should be the same as doing 25 with 25 loot in Europe/US.

Items that drop in 10-man raids have 0/2 upgrades. Items that drop in 25 man raids have 2/4 upgrades. This is similar to the Wrath of the Lich King model of rewards. Blizzard has already stressed that Asian realms aren't used as "experimental realms" for possible system changes in other regions around the world. In other words, it isn't likely that we'll see these types of reward systems in place anytime soon. But it's an interesting solution to the whole 10 man vs 25 man raiding issue and logistics incentives.

The interview dove into other topics such as:

  • Brawler's Guild
  • Dominance Offensive
  • Current raiding discussion

To those of you who play on Asian realms, we'd love to hear from you regarding your raiding experiences and this reward structure. 25-man raids seems to be the dominant raiding format compared to 10-man raids in that region.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items

Are rogues a dying class?

Warcraft population data indicates Rogue decline
If you remember, last year Cynwise launched on a study of Warcraft's class popularity that led to his producing a book, The Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm. We talked about some of the conclusions he drew here. Now he's back looking at class population vs. popularity in Mists of Pandaria, and some of the numbers he's compiled from Worldofwargraphs and realmpop are extremely interesting. One of the most shocking pieces of information to come out of all of this is this stark graphic above, where you can see the rogue population plummet.

Rogues went from 7.67% of max level at patch 5.0.4, the pre-Mists of Pandaria patch, to 5.51% of max level as of patch 5.1, a drop of over 2%. This is at a time when most other classes either held steady (Paladins, Druids, DK's and Hunters all held at about even with their Cataclysm and patch 5.0.4 numbers), went up (Warriors saw a jump from 9.25% at max level to 10.14% between 5.0.4 and 5.1, while Warlocks went up from 6.7% to 7%) or saw slight declines (Shamans, Priests and Mages all saw slight declines). By comparison, the rogue decline becomes stark.

So, where have all the rogues gone? Monks have taken a slim 4.9% of the total playerbase, which means that they're hardly the dominant juggernauts that Death Knights became in Wrath of the Lich King, so can they explain the rogue decline?

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Talking patch 5.1 with Dave Kosak & Cory Stockton

Patch 51 interview with Dave Kosak and Cory Stockton
Patch 5.1 introduced a lot of new content, and a lot of new lore -- and who better to explain it all than Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton, and Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak? We sat down with both, along with Community Manager Zarhym to talk about some of the new features found in patch 5.1. Along with questions about the Brawler's Guild, both Kosak and Stockton addressed scenarios, daily quests, tweaking old content, that pesky matter of player housing, and what's to come in patch 5.2.

Patch 5.1 was an incredibly fast patch. Is this going to be a trend with Mists?

Cory Stockton: Yeah, for sure -- this has been our goal for a long time. We can't promise that we're going to have the exact same amount of content in the exact same amount of time, but it's definitely our intention to deliver patches in a time frame similar to this with a similar or larger amount of content. It just all comes down to each individual patch and the details of what we can do, but it's definitely our goal.

Dave Kosak: We'll alternate between patches that have raid content and patches that don't have raid content as sort of required by what players are doing in the game and try and space it out. But our objective has always been faster content delivery, and we're hoping that players are seeing that we're trying to live up to that.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Monk changes in patch 5.1

Monk changes in Patch 51 and associated hotfixes
While I've taken a brief hiatus from writing recently, the many, many changes to monks in the 5.1 patch and the immediately following hotfixes have lit the ol' theorycrafter spark. I'll go spec by spec and list the changes, along with some analysis.

Spoiler alert: Mistweavers aren't gonna be happy.

General changes This is nice, though it's not something that I particularly thought was necessary. With proper use of Roll (and Flying Serpent Kick for windwalkers), movement generally wasn't much of a problem for monks. The energy reduction for the buffs is nice for a quick rebuff after dying.

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Filed under: Monk

Patch 5.1, old raids and soloing

Patch 51, old raids and soloing
So, since Patch 5.1 dropped, I've been gleefully running old raids with the group of me, myself and I, seeing how far I could get solo. I've found myself able to solo up to Gunship in ICC 10, which has been great for me from a purely transmog perspective as I eagerly love the WoW equivalent of clothes shopping. Now, I know a lot of people are interested in this as well, in part because of the pets that drop from the original four classic WoW raids. So I was interested to see this post on the forums and community manager Brennvin's response on the matter. Are all old bosses intended to be soloable by all classes and specs? The answer seems to be no.

5.1 Thought we could solo old content now?
We believe there was a lot of confusion when we originally announced this change and we're certainly at fault for said confusion. The original patch note was very vague to the point of being misleading. It was never our intent to weaken old raid boss encounters to allow anyone to have a chance to solo them, regardless of class, spec, or skill.

What we did change were encounters that were mechanically impossible for one person to accomplish, solely for the purpose of ensuring players have easier access to the hunt for the new rare companion pets -- the drop rates of which are actually set to account for a group of three players, not one.

Moving forward, though, we do not plan to adjust encounters for tougher raid bosses to be solo'able by all classes and specs.


So while you can zone in to any pre-Mists raid now (and I have been) you still can't solo Vicidus if you have no frost attacks (and I don't). However, the Twin Emps I did solo. It's possible at level 90 to simply overpower the healing they do. What's harder is to get kill credit for both, since I have no attacks that can damage Vek'lor. Every time I kill Vek'nilash, his brother simply despawns.

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

How to see if your Grand Commendation is active

How to see if your Grand Commendation is active
Both Rygarius and Bashiok have posted on a forum thread regarding the absence of an in-game interface to see if your Grand Commendation is active on your account. As you likely already know, Grand Commendations are items purchasable from every faction at revered, which boost the reputation gains of every character on your battle.net account, regardless of faction or server. However, there's not any in-game indication saying that your gain is increased, there's not even, as the thread's OP said, any red text stating that the item has already been purchased.

Once the item has been used, every character, including the one purchasing the commendation, has their reputation gain increased by 100%, so a fail-safe way to see if your account has a certain faction's Grand Commendation running already is to do a daily quest. Having made your way to revered, it's possible that you're fairly aware of the amount of reputation usually awarded by a certain daily quest.

If you're not sure exactly how much reputation a quest usually awards, there are resources available to help, such as wowhead's database, which can be used to check the reputation reward of any daily quest. There are also addons like Factionizer which can help in-game with reputation rewards.

Once you've established the reputation reward usually given by a daily quest, it's easy to see if your account has had a 100% increase in reputation applied, the reward will simply be doubled. And don't worry, as Bashiok says, Community Manager Rygarius is working on this with the development team.

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

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