The leader short stories continue with Sylvanas' own tale of vengeance, loss, and coming to terms with the death of Arthas in Edge of Night. Finally, we get to see Sylvanas ascend the Frozen Throne and come face to face with the broken and empty armor of the former Lich King, her pact with the Val'kyr, and the war front in Gilneas. There are lots of unexpected twists and turns, especially involving Sylvanas' pact with the Val'kyr, that may not be exactly how we imagined things had actually commenced between the former allies of the Lich King and the leader of the Forsaken.
Personally, I think this is one of the strongest leader short stories, delving into answerable questions and giving us real, solid lore to fill in the holes in the story. Seeing Sylvanas' grief and lack of focus after Arthas' death was something I had hoped would be addressed, as well as the Val'kyr, both of which were discussed and explained. Check out the story, written by non other than Dave "Fargo" Kosak, and marvel at a new chapter in the Dark Lady's story.
Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: newitem storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!
The tauren have witnessed great change within their own society and culture with the coming of the cataclysm, from political upheaval and great sadness to unbearable loss. With the death of Cairne Bloodhoof, the tauren people turned to his son, Baine, with reverence and hope that he would lead in his father's footsteps and be as great a high chieftain. With the ascension of Garrosh Hellscream to warchief and the bonds that held the orcs and the tauren together stretching thinner, Baine must work through his troubles and the troubles of the tauren people and help hold the Horde together.
Baine Bloodhoof: As Our Fathers Before Us by Stevie Nix (not Stevie Nicks) begins with Durotar in dire straights. The goblins, now fully members of the Horde, have gummed up the Southfury river and made the water undrinkable. Garrosh has come to Mulgore to work with the tauren to begin water shipments to Durotar of fresh, clean water. Attacks on these water caravans, now frequent, pose a huge threat to the survivability of Orgrimmar. Hamuul Runetotem does not let his emotions get in the way as he confides in Baine that his love for Garrosh is lax. Baine insists that despite Garrosh's foolishness, the tauren are to remain as members of the Horde, just as his father had wanted.
Check out the full story, Baine Bloodhoof: As Our Fathers Before Us, for some intriguing and action-packed new lore about our favorite tauren's son and his rise to chieftain.
Patch 4.1 is all trolls, trolls, trolls. You know what? I love the trolls. With the emergence of the Zandalari trolls as stewards of a new troll empire, the rearming of the Gurubashi and Amani tribes, and Vol'jin's staunch opposition to the direction of the troll peoples of Azeroth, we've got a lot on our plate in terms of lore.
Blizzard's leader short story series continues with "The Judgment," written by Brian Kindregan, which chronicles Vol'jin from his years as a young, would-be shadow hunter to his exodus with the orcs across the sea. The series has been a success with WoW lore buffs, adding to the various faction leaders' histories and canon. Hit the jump for a spoiler-filled summary, and be sure to read the whole ordeal.
Our very own Michael Sacco actually got his hands on a copy of that PC Gamer full of Cataclysm details, and there was apparently one that we missed: Gnomes may be coming back to Gnomeregan. The little tidbit above is frustratingly vague, but it appears that as long rumored (and long hoped by the shorter denizens of Azeroth), Deathwing's return may break the whole war for the Gnomish capital wide open, and they might finally reclaim their mechanical homeland.
We say "might," because, according to this blurb, it could be anything at this point -- a questline that begins a takeover, a questline that represents a failed takeover, a new phased experience that leads to a takeover, or some kind of questline that brings Gnomeregan up to Heroic status (we know Shadowfang and Deadmines are already getting that treatment, so it wouldn't be too far off to expect other old instances to come around in future content patches).
Then again, let's not kill hope: maybe the Gnomes are finally heading back to Gnomeregan to have a capital city of their own, in all of its Gnomish engineering glory. We can dream, right?
Reader Encifer sent us a link to this excellent fan-directed documentary short about BlizzCon. Just a few days ago, I kind of panned the LA Times for treating BlizzCon as such an alien thing, but this video kind of takes a different look at the same event -- instead of coming at it from an outsider perspective and treating it as if it's something 20,000 crazy people do over a weekend, it's much more about how exciting it is to be a part of an event this big. I don't know, maybe the difference is just something I see, but this fan documentary, I think, does a really great job of showing just why BlizzCon is so great, while the LA Times piece, in my view, kind of dismissed its subjects even as it was portraying them.
At any rate, Chris Nguyen did a terrific job on this -- he says that he created the short film to prepare for a few doc film classes he's going to be taking, as well as challenge his doc-making skills, and it seems like he did just that. He interviewed two of his former guildies, as well as the winner of this year's costume contest, as you can see in the video. And he says the whole thing was shot over the two days at BlizzCon and then took about eight more days to edit. Definitely a fun little film to watch, and if you've never been to BlizzCon before, it'll give you a nice look at just what it's like to show up in a hall with thousands of people who play the same games that you do every day.
Jeff Kaplan, the lead game designer, posted in the forums under his username Tigole that Blizzard will be speeding up leveling in the 60 to 70 bracket just as they sped up the 20 to 60 bracket. This has long been rumored and it's great to see this get implemented.
Initial reports tell us the amount of experience points necessary to progress to each level has been decreased by 30% (for the 60 to 70 range only). Additional posters are reporting that mobs which give 500xp on the live server are now giving 600xp on the beta server. There doesn't seem to be any increase in the XP rewarded by quests yet, but this might be a future change.
Kaplan asks everyone to provide feedback on the change (if you're in the beta), and it looks like they've got his ear for the time being. So if you're in the beta and want to weigh in on the subject, now's the time.
Many thanks to the various users who submitted this news tip.