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Posts with tag starting-zone

Officers' Quarters: 5 tips for casual raiding in Mists

Officers' Quarters 5 tips for casual raiding in Mists MONDAY
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

A few weeks ago I had a great chat with Mick from The Starting Zone podcast about casual raiding in Mists of Pandaria. We both agree that normal mode raids have become more difficult than in the last two expansions. The existence of LFR has emboldened Blizzard to tune normal more tightly than they have in recent years.

If you're in a casual raiding guild that is having trouble in normal mode, here are five tips on how to improve progression and morale without pushing your raiders to the breaking point.

1. Talk about your lack of progression. For an officer, silence is deadly to morale, both during raids and after. In that silence, you know that people are whispering to each other about what's going wrong, or griping about other players. Maybe they are just sitting there stunned and disappointed, unable to muster a coherent thought. In any case, it's bad.

It's up to the guild's leadership to break the silence. During the raid, talk about what's going wrong in a constructive way. Don't forget to talk about what's going right, too. Afterward, create a thread on your forums to debrief. Solicit suggestions and strategies. Encourage a dialogue. Let people vent a bit, if they have to. It helps relieve the pressure -- just be sure to moderate and make sure the discussion stays civil.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

WoW Archivist: Burned by Hellfire Peninsula

The Path of Glory in Hellfire Peninsula
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

When Mists of Pandaria goes live later this month, players will all begin leveling in the same zone for the first time since 2006. In Cataclysm and Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard gave us two zones to choose from at the beginning of our adventures. Wrath split players up on either side of Northrend with Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord. Cataclysm's starting zones put players on different sides of the planet with Mount Hyjal and the less popular but unique underwater saga of Vashj'ir.

In contrast, The Burning Crusade's Hellfire Peninsula put us all on opposite sides of the street. That is not a joke. It is literally true -- see the image above! As you can guess, this led to problems. Let's look back at the Hellfire experience and try to gauge what we're in for when we arrive at the Jade Forest shortly after midnight on September 25.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Pandaren introduction video

In what seems to be an update to the latest beta patch, the full video and audio files for pandaren just starting out on the Wandering Isle have been added. Like other starting zone videos, this one features a sweep over the Wandering Isle's gorgeous landscape, offering a small taste of what's to come. The voiceover feels like a marked departure from the other starting zones; there's a different flavor to the audio and music that feels entirely different from anything we've seen before.

Of course, there's still one question that everyone is waiting to find out: Now that the official introduction has been added, how long will it be before we see Mists hit live servers? It's going to take a release date before we know that one for certain. However, the fact that the 5.0.4 PTR is now live seems to suggest sooner, rather than later.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Pandaren starting zone walk-through, part 1

Pandaren starting zone walkthrough, part 1
In our narrative walkthrough of the pandaren starting zone, we chose to play a pandaren monk because that's kind of a huge point of the expansion. You will see mild differences if you play a not-monk. Other classes begin in Shang Xi's Training Ground, so it's not entirely a separate experience.

Like any good character, you don't begin life as a pandaren as a blank slate. No, your very first login greets you with a quest warning you of an unassailable truth: You have Much to Learn. Thankfully, it doesn't take a great deal of heroic effort to complete the quest. Just trot down the hill and speak to Master Shang Xi.

Master Shang Xi, a monk, wastes no time in warning you that your life won't be filled with bare-fisted shenanigans, despite what movies may have said about martial artists. You must learn The Lesson of the Iron Bough. Run down the hill and grab a training staff from the (many) weapon racks. Equip it, and return to Master Shang Xi.

Master Shang Xi congratulates you for your mastery of the "hold a stick" technique and sends you off to beat up some training dummies. Despite the presence of a big, honking stick, this training time is called The Lesson of the Sandy Fist. Don't worry about the Training Targets attacking back; despite many hours drunkenly threatening them with my stick, they never killed me. It was close a couple of times, but since the targets never actually attack, I was safe.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Which race has the best starting zone?

I like draenei, I really do. I like how kooky they look, with their glowy eyes and their horns and hooves. Their racials are, well, just OK really compared to some of the other ones available on the Alliance side, but they look brilliant.

But, my God, I dislike their starting zone. It really is dreadful, in my book. I don't know if it's because I've played through it a few times, but I didn't like it on the first try, and I sure don't like it now. I regularly pay to race change characters into draenei once they've made it through their own starting zone; for example, my most recent 85 is a priest who began life as a gnome and race changed to draenei later on, just to avoid those pesky islands.

Maybe it's just the novelty of playing new content, but I really enjoyed the gnome starting zone. I have to say, though, the start zone that takes the cake for me is the undead one. I didn't play through it before Cataclysm, but I have done since ol' Deathwing did his thing -- and wow, it's amazing. I reckon it's the best one in the game so far, and haven't found any that even come close to comparing.

What's your favorite starting zone? Which do you consider the worst starting zone? And, of course, why?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

BlizzCon 2011 World of Warcraft Art Panel

I know that the World of Warcraft preview and question-and-answer sessions always tend to attract the most commentary at any given BlizzCon, but for my money, the most interesting ones in the long run tend to be those concerned with the game's artistic and technical sides. Seeing how developers got the game to look the way it does, and the reasoning behind the design of different races, zones, and items gives you a much better appreciation of the game while you're in it. The gorgeous Uldum sky didn't get there by accident.

As you'd expect, the art panel contained a number of previews of the characters, locations, dungeons, and props we'll be seeing in Mists of Pandaria. If you're only interested in a peek at the male pandaren's model and animations, well, you can get that here, but there were a number of interesting observations made. Two of the things that really jumped out at me:
  • They're experimenting with tier and item set models. Rather than pasting a design onto the standard-issue flat chest and leg pieces, for example, we may see swinging chains, ribbons, and other three-dimensional objects on more gear in the future.
  • Technical advances in very recent months have made it easier and faster to add more detail to the environment. New texture tools have made it possible to add snow or lava between cracks in a road, or pooled in the nook of a hill, much more quickly than they could earlier.
We'll have a full gallery of the panel up later!

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

Filed under: BlizzCon

Cataclysm: Guards in starting zones buffed to level 90

Planning on kicking off Cataclysm by killing all the quest givers in newbie zones? Think again: Blizzard has increased the level of starting zone guards in areas like Coldridge Pass and Deathknell to 90. These guards are currently level 65 on the live servers.

The change, which guarantees you'll be at least five levels lower than the guards, takes advantage of existing game mechanics to protect lower-level players from mischief. NPCs that are five levels higher than you are exceedingly difficult to hit (spell casters will suffer a 39 percent chance to miss) and frequently wallop you for higher-damage-causing crushing blows far more often. The guards will also have higher health pools as well. This contrasts vividly with guards on the live server, who are prone to dying if a level 80 character accidentally sneezes on them.

Level 90 guards are better suited to protecting newbie players from max-level griefers. Note that only starting areas will see these high-level guards. The guards in major cities are now level 85 -- dangerous, but soloable.

Players who are upset by this change are encouraged to stop being jerks who grief newbies.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Worgen starting zone preview from Scrolls of Lore

In lieu of providing any new information on Cataclysm in the wake of BlizzCon, Blizzard's been showing the goblin and worgen starting zones at a lot of major gaming conventions, which means a good handful of players have had the chance to try them out. Nostra from popular lorecrafting site Scrolls of Lore is one of those handfuls, and they've written up a fantastic walkthrough of the worgen starting zone, starting from your character's royal connections and subsequent infection and culminating in Deathwing's cataclysm.

What's not explained (so far, likely because no one's able to get that far yet) are how the night elves play into the whole worgen "thing" as shown in the Cataclysm trailer, but there's still a lot of new information on phasing, quests, and scenery in Gilneas besides what we've already covered, as well as accompanying photos. It's definitely worth a read.

Hopefully Blizzard will continue to fill in more blanks in the worgen storyline as we get closer to the expansion's release, or maybe even update the Cataclysm site more than once every four months. In the meantime we can rely on sites like Scrolls of Lore to give us exhaustive previews of public demos like this one.

Thanks, Nostra!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Expansions, Cataclysm, Worgen

BlizzCon 2009: Worgen and Goblin starting areas with the Props team

The Props team at BlizzCon showed a video on what they do, and also displayed a lot of the characterization and mood setting of the new Goblin and Worgen starting areas. The Lost Isles for the Goblins are just beautiful and quirky and funny, abounding in tropical drinks, a breakfast machine, and a "rocket-catapult-turtle-powered-machine" (and did they actually build a railroad out of bamboo?), although I have to say that the Dickensian/Victorian feel of Gilneas is just...words fail me. It's lovely. This is perhaps the loveliest, most haunting, spooky and creepy zone Blizzard's ever done,'s going to be an almighty lagfest when Cataclysm hits. Oh well. Truthfully, I had no idea just how much of what we think of as the "landscape" is in fact the Props team at work.

As an FYI for readers who have observed this on previous video, yes, there are gold-sellers' ads popping up on Viddler, and no, we're not happy about it, and we certainly didn't put them there.

BlizzCon 2009 is here! has continuing coverage, bringing you the latest in Cataclysm news, live blogs, galleries, and reports right from the convention floor. Check out's Guide to BlizzCon for the latest!

Filed under: Machinima, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, Expansions, BlizzCon, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

BlizzCon 2009: Live blogging the Cataclysm new starter zones

Live from the BlizzCon press room it's character creation for Worgen and Goblins. We're going to write up our experiences live, so keep your eyes on this post.

Be warned, below there be spoilers!

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

The Eye of Sauron makes an appearance in Wrath of the Lich King

The ultimate evil in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is represented by a large eye sitting atop a gigantic tower in a desolate and war torn land. It is one of the most iconic images in not only fantasy literature, but also in recent cinematography. Just about anyone who has paid attention to movies in the past eight years would be able to pick the Eye of Sauron out immediately, and I would have to imagine just about everyone playing WoW would be able to as well.

The Eye of Sauron makes an appearance in Wrath of the Lich King in the Death Knight starting zone. It goes under the name of the Eye of Acherus. In the image at the top of the article you can see the two side-by-side – the Eye of Sauron on the left, and the Eye of Acherus on the right. Arthas himself directs you to control it and use it to gather data from New Avalon, a nearby Scarlet Crusade fortification.

Take a look at the gallery below for images of the quest, what you do during it, and how everything appears.

Filed under: Walkthroughs, Quests, Galleries, Wrath of the Lich King

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