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Posts with tag stratholme

Know Your Lore: The paladin's charger

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 steed of a paladin isn't your typical mount. Unlike the early mounts of vanilla, it never existed as a physical object -- it was a spell cast by the paladin that summoned the steed from nowhere. In later years, it has since joined the rest of Warcraft's steeds on the mount tab, but for the longest time, the charger could only be found in the paladin's spellbook. This was no ordinary mount -- and its origins were also far from ordinary. While blood elves, draenei, and tauren were later introduced and given unique mounts of their own, in the original game the paladin class and its unique steed were only available to humans and dwarves.

Unfortunately, the days of tracking down and compiling the elusive materials needed to harness a charger have disappeared since the release of Cataclysm, which saw both the quest chain for the Alliance, as well as the chain introduced for the Horde, removed in patch 4.0.1. But although the paladin's charger can now simply be learned at the appropriate level, there was a time where obtaining that steed was a much more difficult task, one with a unique and interesting tale behind it. As is only appropriate for a paladin, it's a tale of Light lost, a tale of redemption and hope.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5 and the birth of modern dungeons

Bokk
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?

For a long time in classic WoW, nonraiders felt neglected. Dungeons were the only endgame PvE option for nonraiders. Back then, dungeons didn't have a 5-player limit. They could be "raided," even though they weren't considered raids. Blizzard added new raiding content on a regular basis, but the developers didn't release new dungeons after adding Dire Maul in patch 1.3, four months after the game's release.

Until the launch of The Burning Crusade in early 2007, nonraiders ran the same dungeons for almost two years.

Amidst a storm of complaints, Blizzard said they wanted to offer additional content for nonraiders. In patch 1.10, Blizzard delivered a new endgame quest line using existing dungeons. Comprised of 29 steps in all, this was one of the game's most elaborate -- and most punishing -- quest lines ever.

Blizzard called it the "high-level armor set" quest line. Players called it Tier 0.5. To create it, Blizzard had to reimagine what WoW's dungeons should be.

This quest line was removed, like many others, when Deathwing brought the Cataclysm. Let's walk through what once was, and explore how it gave rise to the modern dungeons we tackle today.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 1 - Classic WoW

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.

A while back I did a history of the Pandaren Campaign that just gave a bare bones overview of what exactly happened between patch 5.0 and 5.4 in terms of the story. I understand that nine years of World of Warcraft can't be easily summed up. I don't expect I'll be able to do more than a cursory retelling of the major events, and I'll probably miss and leave out quite a few. So why do it at all?

I have a few reasons. The first is that some of this stuff is gone in game - it happened, but you can't go back and experience it any more. That makes it a part of the game that needs reminders from time to time, in my opinion. The second reason is because all of this lore shapes the game as it evolves - everything that has happened - it helps place things into context. And the third reason is because this stuff is all pretty awesome. It deserves to be retold.

We're going to try and do the game at launch this week, and come back to it on a regular basis.

So let us retell it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Leveling a time capsule

Leveling a time capsule
I still remember the first day I played this game on live servers, even though it's been nearly nine years since I looked at the login screen and tried to muddle out what to pick. Friends of mine had already made an Alliance guild and encouraged me to join them. When I mentioned I wanted to play a rogue, I was told that they really needed healers, not rogues. However, my friend suggested I roll a druid, as they could not only heal, but they could turn into a cat and stealth around like a rogue does. That seemed suitable to me, so I rolled a night elf druid, logged in and began to play.

Several months and sixty levels later, that experience remains full of fond memories of endless frustration with the class and how it played. It absolutely did not help that giant improvements for that class were rolled out in a patch shortly after I hit 60. I rolled Horde, and the rest is history ... or it was, anyway. The druid remained at level 60, years after I hit 70, 80, 85 and 90, frozen in a distinct period of time. Several months ago, while idly looking at the login screen and pondering what to play, I decided to actually level the druid and get it caught up. Furthermore, I decided to make the trip without heirloom gear -- after all, it didn't exist when I originally played the character.

This is the story of a peculiar alt that used to be a main, and what happens when you crack open a time capsule from 2005.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion

WoW Archivist: Strat 45 -- the original challenge mode

The streets of Stratholme
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?

Mists of Pandaria will introduce a new feature to WoW called challenge modes. Challenge modes are timed heroic dungeon runs offering rewards based on how fast you complete them.

What newer players may not know is that vanilla WoW also had a timed dungeon run. It was known as the 45-minute Baron, Strat 45, or sometimes simply Baron run. This "challenge mode" was actually just a quest (called Dead Man's Plea) to engage Baron Rivendare within 45 minutes and then kill him, or he would execute his prisoner and you'd fail. Why 45 minutes? That's just how Rivendare rolls.

The timed run was perhaps the most infamous step in the quest line to upgrade vanilla's rare-quality Dungeon 1 set into a mix of upgraded rares and epics known as Dungeon 2 or "tier 0.5." The quest line was added in patch 1.10, but it was removed entirely with Cataclysm's Shattering.

Because it was a part of that quest line (occurring roughly a third of the way into it), everyone wanted to complete a successful Strat 45 run. Trade chat in cities was full of "LFM 45Baron must know pulls!" However, very few PUGs in that era ever finished the run on time. It really was that difficult.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

And the dungeons keep on shrinking

I've run the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons on the beta several times now. They're fun, well-designed, interesting dungeons. They are a bit jarring if you're familiar with the current Scarlet Monastery, however. The current four dungeons have been cut down to two, and it's been achieved by removing a lot of the long hallways full of trash pulls we're familiar with now. The Armory section of the new dungeon almost feels abrupt if you (like me) ran SM over and over again in the olden days of WoW.

It's not that the new dungeons are bad. They're objectively good, even great at places, with a good sense of the history of the place and call-backs to the classic dungeon.

They just feel kind of short to me. Smaller. Actually smaller, not in terms of the size of the hallways or anything but in terms of how much real estate they cover. And while I often rail against nostalgia, lately that sense of scale has been driving me to run older content not even to gather loot for transmog but just to see it, to look around at the scope and scale of the older dungeons.

Now, I don't want to pretend that these dungeons weren't often hideously irritating to run at the time. Getting a 5-man group all the way through Stratholme back when it was all one big, interconnected burning city full of undead and no one ever wanted to clear both sides wasn't anything but an exercise in learning colorful new metaphors as they spewed from your own mouth. You'd end up amazed you even knew the Basque term for that particular deviancy.

Still, there is something to be said for the epic scale of some of the older 5-man dungeons.

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

Weapons of Lore: Benediction

Image
For a priest, it represented the ultimate in weapons, a staff designed to assist with the greatest of healers or the darkest of shadowy specters. For others, the staff was a signal that the healer they'd just run into was one of the few and highly skilled, capable of keeping them alive in the darkest of situations. Though epic in quality, the staff Benediction was akin to a legendary in stats and appearance. Clicking on Benediction wouldn't give you wings or turn you into a mount; instead, the staff transformed into Anathema, a completely different staff with a completely different set of stats.

There has never been another weapon released with Benediction's glimmering golden model or with Anathema's dangerous silver spines. Benediction is no longer obtainable in game; it was removed when Cataclysm was introduced. But for players in vanilla WoW lucky enough to get the appropriate quest drops, Benediction represented the best of the best in healing staves for the majority of the original iteration of the game. Others looked at the weapon with awe, but the lucky priest who wielded it knew there was more to the staff than a set of killer stats.

Benediction may have been a brilliant weapon, but its origins were stained with the blood of thousands of innocents.

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Filed under: Lore

The OverAchiever: Mountain O' Mounts in 5-man dungeons

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we continue our Mountain o' Mounts grind by beating the crap out of various bosses in the hopes that they'll barf up some transportation.

This week's article addresses the mounts you can find in 5-man content, of which there are quite a few. However, please note that I haven't included special holiday mounts like the Headless Horseman's mount or the Big Love Rocket. Even though they technically drop from 5-man content, they're only available under special circumstances, so they'll pop up in a later guide.

As a note to anyone following the Mountain o' Mounts series, I'll be preempting it for two weeks to run full guides on the Noblegarden and Children's Week 2011 holidays, which begin on April 24 and May 1 respectively. We'll return to Mountain o' Mounts on May 5.

Also read: Combining The Ambassador and Mountain O' Mounts, Mountain O' Mounts in Outland, and Mountain O' Mounts in Northrend.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Gold Capped: The market for enchanting mats for BoA gear

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

A long-running, profitable business is selling enchanting scrolls that can be put on BoA gear. These all have no minimum level, since BoA gear is considered level 1, which means they typically take lower-level enchanting mats. Some good examples of these mats are Large Brilliant Shards and Greater Eternal Essences, which are used for a bunch of enchants like Crusader and Spellpower.

The price for these mats have gone up quite a bit on most realms since Cataclysm, and the reason is clear: The ilevels of the drops in Stratholme were reduced in patch 4.0.1, and the drops in there no longer disenchant into the same mats.

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Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

Know Your Lore: Jaina Proudmoore


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.

Duty first. Grief second. Self-pity? Never.

Daughter of a Grand Admiral, once intended of a prince, and one of the greatest mages in the history of Azeroth -- it's a hell of a reputation to live up to, but Jaina Proudmoore is nothing if not conscious of the example she sets to others. While other leaders have suffered greatly and bear the scars of their past as a badge of honor to further their pursuits, Jaina has had her own share of grief. Yet unlike the other leaders of her time, she bears her sorrow quietly, burying it under responsibility and an unwavering dedication to the greater good of the world.

Jaina Proudmoore was the youngest of Grand Admiral Daelin Proudmoore's children. The only girl born to the family, Jaina had a lot to live up to -- and she was determined not to spend her life as one of other ladies of the noble court. From a young age, Jaina showed a remarkable aptitude for the magical arts. Around age 11, she was sent to Dalaran to study among the mages of the Kirin Tor -- something that may have been a daunting task for other children her age, but not Jaina. She'd spent her childhood reading tales of Aegwynn, one of the greatest Guardians the world had known. The tales of how Aegwynn had overcome the stigma of being a female wizard and achieved far greater success with her position than any man in the Guardian line only served to fuel Jaina's ambitions, even though she was but a child at the time.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: The one where Fox tells you about all the [REDACTED]

Welcome to your daily dose of The Queue. With your usual hosts suffering from post-BlizzCon fatigue, The Queue was left unguarded and once again captured by Fox Van Allen. All members of the Van Allen faction shall enjoy a 5 percent buff to damage and experience for the 24-hour duration, and Spirit Shards may now be collected.

The powers than be here at WoW Insider are still licking their BlizzCon-inflicted wounds, so they requested I once again write The Queue. And since Holisky, Sacco, et al. probably won't even have the energy to edit this, I'm spilling the beans on what happened at BlizzCon 2010. Not the boring stuff. The awesome, seedy stuff that could get everyone fired.

First of all, I cannot believe what happened after [REDACTED] ended. [REDACTED] stayed a little bit after, and once we all got a few photos, all of us took turns [REDACTED]ing in the [REDACTED]. You know how [REDACTED] seemed awful friendly during the [REDACTED]? Yeah, you guessed it, he was totally [REDACTED]. Like, really [REDACTED].

On a somewhat related note, I'd really appreciate it if those of you who were taking the pictures of me when I was [REDACTED]ing [REDACTED] would stop uploading them to Facebook. Or at least stop tagging me in them. I mean, my grandmother can see that stuff. Come on.

Oh, and P.S.: [REDACTED]'s hair smelled exactly the way you'd have expected it to -- like [REDACTED].

[Nice try, Fox. – Ed.]

Dark Finch asked:


Does WoW Insider plan to redo the "(Place Spec Here) 101" articles to match the current talent trees and abilities? If so, will you do this before or after
Cataclysm launches?

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Filed under: BlizzCon, The Queue

Collecting Armor Sets: Dungeon set 2

For the longest time in vanilla World of Warcraft, players were content with collecting the dungeon set 1 pieces from Stratholme, Scholomance and Blackrock Spire. A purple item was a incredibly rare thing to see in the early days of WoW. It was a status symbol, a badge of pride for raiders who managed to band together to defeat Onyxia or brave the depths of Molten Core. With epic items soon came epic discontent, largely from casual players who either didn't have the time or the inclination to raid. As time went on and more raid dungeons were released, the complaining continued; players who were unable to dedicate the time needed to successfully complete a 40-man raid dungeon felt it was unfair that they could not obtain epic gear.

It was a valid complaint, but it took well over two years before Blizzard finally did something about it. About four months after the release of Ahn'Quiraj, Blizzard implemented Patch 1.10, "Storms of Azeroth." Among the fun changes like the introduction of weather in Azeroth and quest-experience-to-gold conversion at level 60, casual players finally received what they'd been asking for: a quest line that didn't require raiding and would allow them to upgrade their dungeon sets one into new ones that included epic gear. This set is called, appropriately enough, dungeon set 2.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP

Armor Set Collecting: Dungeon Set One

Set collecting is one of those things that you either love or hate -- either the thought of running around in old gear is curiously nostalgic, or you simply don't care to fill your bank with a lot of useless junk. With the introduction of Cataclysm, a lot of these old dungeon sets appear to be changing or disappearing entirely, making them a hot commodity for set collectors. Since a lot of players these days picked up the game in the BC or Wrath eras, not everyone knows where these pieces come from and how to get them.

The first of these sets is the Dungeon Set One. Obtained through various level 60 instances, these blue armor sets were the top of the top before the days of Molten Core and purples everywhere. Originally, these sets had very boring graphics, until a patch was implemented in which all sets got a shiny new graphics update. In the early days of vanilla, these sets were pretty much all players needed to farm for, and the +8 to all resistances that served as a set bonus for each was handy in places like Molten Core, which was nothing but a fun fire factory in which you wanted to stack as much fire resistance as possible. There are nine sets to collect, and each set is class-specific. All set pieces can be found in Stratholme, Scholomance and Blackrock Spire (both lower and upper).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP

Western Plaguelands not so plagued anymore in Cataclysm

We addressed the implication that the Alliance might be retaking some lost lands in Cataclysm thanks to some mutterings by blues on the official forums. Now we've got confirmation from the latest Twitter dev chat that while Eastern Plaguelands will still be a hellhole, Western Plaguelands will be free of the plague when the expansion hits.

Twitter developer chat
Q. With the Lich King defeated, in Cataclysm, will the Plaguelands be green and beautiful again?

A. Western Plaguelands will finally be free of the plague in Cataclysm. It's hard for the Scourge to survive without their beloved Lich King. I guess this means we need to rename the zone?


Just awesome. This is the kind of change I was hoping for in Cataclysm, to be honest -- not just earthquakes and floods, but actual passage of time and logical storyline progression post-defeat of Lordaeron's traitor prince. Wonder what this means for Scholomance or Andorhal!

But, also, what does it mean for the name? I guess Eastern Plaguelands will likely become just The Plaguelands, but what will WPL become? East Lordaeron? New Lordaeron? Or, given the zone's proximity to the zone that's basically Azeroth's armpit, they could just go with the one that makes the most sense: Pennsylvania.

Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: Cull Stratholme faster than ever before

The dungeon finder has really changed what players get excited about the most in the World of Warcraft. It's a strange world when one of the most anticipated updates to the game is the ability to tell Arthas to shut his yap. No, we don't mean kill him in Icecrown, we really do mean telling him to shut the hell up. Just in case you missed it in the patch notes we posted a little while ago, there's this waiting for us in patch 3.3.3:
  • Culling of Stratholme: Players may now skip the initial introduction dialog to this dungeon once they have completed it at least once.
The pre-Culling of Stratholme dialogue is really cool to experience the first few times, but after that it just starts to feel like a waste of time. The dungeon finder made it even worse, because as awesome as it is, it eliminated some of the social stigma of ditching a group early. Oculus and Culling of Stratholme are the two instances I can always expect some dip to drop from. Hopefully this change and the deserter debuff becoming 30 minutes will discourage that sort of behavior.

Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King

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