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Posts with tag southern-barrens

Breakfast Topic: Who are the most robust characters of the expansion?

We're many months out after the launch of Cataclysm, and the changes to the world have finally become the norm for me. Orgrimmar's refit is finally Orgrimmar for me. Stormwind's high-res streets do not surprise me as much as they used to. One of the greatest achievements that Cataclysm earned for itself was the robustness of its characters and pumping up the old vanilla world.

Character robustness is something that Blizzard has been honing for a long while. It's a tough deal sometimes, when you're creating a host of citizens and military personnel who exist at some podunk outpost handing out quests to player characters. The changes to the questing paradigms, as well as the new emphasis on the environments of Cataclysm telling the story just as much as the quest text, have placed a new burden on NPCs that might be in the spotlight for moments. There's an expectation that these characters, however minor, are required to have a modicum of depth.

The Southern Barrens takes this expectation to heart and delivers. Both the Horde and the Alliance have de facto leaders, infantrymen, conflicts, and battles that all make sense, given the environment and characters with interesting and robust personalities. General Hawthorne is either a sinner or a saint, depending on your questing experience, as are the hunters of Taurajo that have fled to the hills and are engaging in guerrilla warfare, with a questing hub that geographically defines their fight as well as characters who succinctly give players a glimpse into the conflict. Alliance players are sent straight through Horde territory, over a blockade and behind enemy lines to the Northwatch advance. The story is robust, and the characters are multifaceted.

Cataclysm has given bit players their time in the sun by fleshing out their stories, giving them tasks and information, and using the environment to make even the smallest NPC a robust member of the Alliance or the Horde. Which characters and places in Cataclysm do you think got the robust treatment, and which are your new favorite stories?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore: The struggle for Southern Barrens

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.

All they needed was a supply route. With the abdication of Warchief Thrall and the rise of the new Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream, suddenly the Alliance discovered what it meant to have a true orc at the helm of the Horde -- a merciless killer who held no particular love or wish for understanding and peace. Suddenly, the days of mild skirmishes were over, and the attacks in Ashenvale and Stonetalon had begun in earnest as the Horde moved from quietly settling the land and using its resources to taking it by force.

The night elves struggled to fight back, but the remote location, so far away from the human settlements of Northwatch Hold and Theramore, left only one route for the Theramore forces to take in order to get those supplies delivered. It was one that took them straight through the heart of Horde territory -- the harsh, expansive desert of The Barrens. And so the Alliance came up with a plan: A road was to be constructed. With a road, the Alliance could easily transport caravans and troops to defend those caravans and help their allies defend against the crippling attacks.

It was just a simple road.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The sorrow of Southern Barrens

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.

Cataclysm brought with it a lot of changes -- the face of Azeroth was forever changed as the landscape altered when Deathwing burst forth onto the scene. But along with the physical changes, there were plenty of political changes as well. For the Horde, Cataclysm saw the rise of a new Warchief in Garrosh Hellscream, as Thrall took his place beside the Earthen Ring and tried to repair the tattered land. The Alliance saw the rise of the Council of Three Hammers in Ironforge, as Magni Bronzebeard's sudden demise left a hole in the heart of the Bronzebeard dwarves.

It was the shattering of the land that saw both Alliance and Horde forces immediately move to reconfigure their borders and take whatever land and resources they could possibly get. Though the war rages on, some places are no longer war-torn and filled with the sounds of combat. Instead, these once-populated areas are filled with the silence of lives lost, of the cautious footsteps of looters looking to take whatever spoils of war they can carry.

Perhaps the most saddening of these is the once-peaceful settlement of Camp Taurajo -- now a charred version of its former self, left to wither back into the harsh lands of the Southern Barrens.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Blizzard posts interview with designers of Southern Barrens

Today, Blizzard released an interview with Dave Kosak and Roman Marotte, two of Blizzard's game designers, about their work in the cleft-in-twain Barrens of Cataclysm. Specifically, this interview deals with the Southern Barrens, which is almost completely redesigned from its vanilla counterpart. Taking place in the level 35 to 40 block in Kalimdor leveling, Southern Barrens should give both Alliance and Horde players plenty to talk about, according to Kosak and Marotte.

Cataclysm Preview - Southern Barrens
Q. What was the original concept for the zone?
A. The Barrens is one of the areas of Kalimdor hardest-hit by the Cataclysm. It has literally been ripped in two! The Northern Barrens retains much of the feel of the original zone and fulfills a similar gameplay purpose: it's primarily a training ground for low-level Horde characters. That gave us enormous freedom to create a whole new gameplay experience for the Southern Barrens. In the wake of the Cataclysm, the Alliance has been aggressively expanding into the heart of the continent from the east coast. As players enter the zone, they'll find that the Horde is really up against the ropes. The escalating conflict between the two rival factions is front and center here, providing a backdrop for much of the area's quests.

Those wanting more details about this new/old Cataclysm zone can check out the full interview here.

Filed under: Cataclysm

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