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Posts with tag sunwell

Know Your Lore: The Prophet Velen, the light and the darkness


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.

There will be spoilers for Cataclysm in this post.

The Prophet Velen plays a long game. He thinks ahead and considers not only the past and the present but the future, which befits one who has lived for over 25,000 years and can see into the future (however malleable that future might become). To the Prophet, racial grudges, territorial acquisition, even revenge for injuries done to his people -- none of it matters. Even the great Cataclysm is unimportant. Because Velen has seen that all the battles we've fought are merely harbingers and the greatest conflict in the universe is approaching. And every son and daughter of the Light, no matter how tenuous his or her connection, no matter what forces he or she has chosen to consort with (be they divine, elemental, arcane or even fel), will have to make a choice and pick a side.

The final battle approaches. The world of Azeroth has been chosen. Good versus evil, light against darkness, life opposing death. What side will you choose?

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

Know Your Lore: Current Alliance politics -- the Draenei

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.

Well, after last weeks extensive look into dwarven politics we're closing in on finishing off the Alliance. So far we've seen the night elves, the gnomes, and the dwarves – today we'll take a brief look at the Alliance race that hasn't had much to say since Burning Crusade: the Draenei.

Luckily Matthew Rossi has already written up an excellent post on the history of the draenei and their otherworldly origins. This post explains the corruption of the eredar at the hands of Sargeras, and the lone faction of eredar that escaped to become what we know as the draenei today. It's only been a couple of years at best from a timeline standpoint since the blue-skinned aliens made a smashing debut on Azeroth, yet they've been largely absent from the war efforts in Northrend -- what's left for the draenei, and what does their future with the Alliance hold?

The draenei race is quite possibly the most peaceful race the Alliance has on their side. While the other races of the Alliance are prone to conflicts and struggles over petty disagreements, the draenei only seem to strike out in defense. Their arrival on Azeroth wasn't pretty -- they ended up tearing up the landscape over on Azuremyst and Bloodmyst isles. While they were of course concerned about their fellow survivors, they were just as concerned with what they'd done to the land and the creatures on it -- as a society concerned with not only the Light of the naaru, but the elements of shamanism, the last thing they wanted to do was wreak havoc on a new world, especially since they'd just left a dying world behind.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Current Horde politics -- the Forsaken

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.

While the politics of Horde races such as the orcs, blood elves, tauren and trolls span literally thousands of years, and feelings and current beliefs held by both races are deep-seated within that history, not all of the Horde races have such an extensive past. In the case of the Forsaken, the history goes back not thousands of years but approximately six or seven by Blizzard's timeline. A relatively new race, the Forsaken were introduced in World of Warcraft as playable members of the Horde faction, a move which confused some of the player base as the Forsaken were most definitely up to no good. Why would Thrall, who has been presented as a good character, agree to ally with a group that were presented as primarily evil?

This was never directly addressed other than being waved off as an alliance of convenience, but most of the Horde seemed to either distrust or share outright loathing for the Forsaken. While other races started out on good terms with the rest of their Horde brethren, players rolling Forsaken found themselves at neutral standing with all three of the other Horde races available. There are exceptions, however. The Tauren -- particularly Magatha Grimtotem -- seem interested in working with the Forsaken and possibly developing a "cure" for their undead state and aren't quite as unforgiving when it comes to dealing with their undead comrades.

While the relative time of the Forsaken on Azeroth has been short, in the few years of their existence they've managed to accomplish much -- largely due to the efforts of their leader, Lady Sylvanas Windrunner. Sylvanas had quite a history of her own prior to becoming the banshee queen, and it is doubtful that the race would have accomplished anything, much less banded together, without her leadership. I've covered some of the history of the high elves in last week's post, but this week I'm going to look at Sylvanas in a little more detail as the leader and the driving force behind the Forsaken.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The OverAchiever: 5 of the best lore-related achievements

Let's be honest; the best lore-related achievement is without question Loremaster, which requires you to do the vast majority of the game's quests. But that's pretty self-evident -- "To get the best lore experience in-game, do the quests, which contain virtually all of the actual lore!" -- and thus kind of a cop-out from my perspective. So what I'm going to do with this edition of OverAchiever is pointedly ignore the fact that Loremaster is the most important thing you should do as a dedicated lore junkie, and turn to some other options that tend to be overlooked.

As with our article on Twenty-Five Tabards, this is not an exhaustive guide on how to do each achievement, but simply a starting point if you're either interested in Azeroth's history, or interested in your character becoming more deeply involved in the developing story. As an early warning, 1 of the following 5 achievements is no longer doable, but I've decided to include it as I think the inability to do it at this point in time could be considered part of Azerothian history.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Lore, The Overachiever

The Queue: Blood and glory


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's (almost) daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

I was going to kick off today's edition of The Queue by embedding Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling (slightly NSFW) since I mentioned it was a guilty pleasure of mine on yesterday's Moviewatch. Unfortunately, the official Black Eyed Peas Youtube channel disabled embedding and I'm not going to be a jerk and hijack it from somebody else's channel. So you get a Dragon Age screenshot instead. Hooray! Blood!

No, we're not getting paid to plug this game constantly. We're just nerds. Nerd gamers. This is what we do.

Ilmyrn asked...

"Any word on whether we'll ever see a non-Arena frost wyrm mount?"


Well, there's a frost wyrm model in patch 3.3, but I assume that's to go with the latest arena season. So I'm going to say... no. The Gladiators get Frost Wyrms, the PvE players get Invincible.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Inscription, The Queue, Cataclysm

Patch 3.3 PTR: Behold Quel'Delar


If you remember back to our Quel'Delar post (I know it was a different world back then) here's the sword itself, according to World of Raids. The sword definitely appears to bear a certain kinship to Quel'Serrar in terms of its appearance. We've also had reports in the comments that the Quel'Delar quest chain involves the Sunwell in some way - picking up where patch 2.4 left off, perhaps? The more we learn about this sword, the more interesting it becomes. Is it a trick of the Lich King? The famous Runeblade left behind by the Sunstrider dynasty? As of yet, all we have are tantalizing glimpses. I personally hope to get to see more soon.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Raid Rx: Raid bosses that brought healers to their knees - Part 3 & 4


Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related. Ever wondered what were the hardest fights to heal in the game? Based solely on my opinion and experience, here's a list counting down from number 5 to number 1, along with everyone's favourite "Honorable Mentions" list to follow!

Before continuing with reading the list, I'd strongly suggest you check out part 1 and part 2. Healers have a unique role they play. Almost none of their time is spent with bosses in their crosshairs or target frames. Us healers are busy making sure everyone is alive so they can kill the boss while the rest of us hold down the fort.

Enough with the preamble. Let's find out what the biggest pain in the ass bosses were from number 5 to number 1 are.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Speeding up Trial of the Champion


Trial of the Champion, the latest dungeon, has quickly become a popular daily destination. It's no wonder why; in under half an hour, with little difficulty, you can begin outfitting your character(s) with epics of Ulduar quality!

At first, I wasn't sure if I agreed with Blizzard's decision to start handing out welfare epics again. Surely we can't be that close to the next expansion, Cataclysm!

Then I realized how easily I could now gear one of my alts, which was something previously impossible to me. Being a main healer, I knew I would never have the opportunity to bring an alt to a raid, so my favorites have not even hit 80 yet. Now that I know I could get them Ulduar-ready in such a short time, I have renewed interest in leveling them.

I can also see why Blizzard would want to help players gear up at this point in time. In Burning Crusade, so few people got to see Sunwell and experience what the expansion was all about, that this time around, they seem to be gunning for the general raiding population to reach Arthas (Icecrown Citadel).

Having accepted this acceleration in "progress," I was left with one major qualm.

The introduction to Trial of the Champion, which must be endured each run, is way too long. Unbearably long. Go and make a triple-decker sandwich long.

Then a few guildmates and I discovered that there is indeed a way to hasten the process.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Alts

Breakfast Topic: How phasing could be used in-game

Phasing seems to be Blizzard's new favorite toy. It's being used be more and more as we progress through Wrath. From the Wrathgate to those annoying out of body/spirit quests in Zul'Drak, phasing is changing how we see Azeroth itself. But it strikes me there's once area where phasing should sometimes be used and isn't: bosses. Specifically I mean the big guys ... Kil'Jaeden, Illidan, Loken, Yoggy, Algalon and, of course, Arthas himself.

The logic here is simple, these are bosses key to game lore and killing them not only takes an enormous amount of effort (or in the case of Kil'Jaeden, banishing him back to where ever he came from) but it also has an effect on the world itself. Think of the impacts the events of the Sunwell had - phasing was never implemented there, and definitely should have been once Wrath was released.

Now I know you will be thinking: "Why should we only kill a boss once?" I'm not suggesting that once you kill the Lich King, for example, you are locked out of killing him again. Rather that his death triggers a change in Azeroth - which is where the phasing comes in. Icecrown Citadel could collapse or be recycled by other NPCs, such as the Ebon Blade. Once this happens, you could then walk in, click on an NPC and 'relive' the fight in the form of a new raid. The same thing could be done with the Sunwell, for example, and it could open up a new quest chain and further the game's lore in new and fantastic ways.

We've already seen how phasing can change Northrend, just look at how it's used post-Wrathgate. How do you think it could be used (particularly considering that the new expansion is called Cataclysm) to change how we play, the bosses we kill, and how we raid?

Filed under: Patches, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Lore, NPCs, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Loot, rationality, and the Sunwell effect


Here at WoW Insider we don't always agree with each other. Whether it's debating the merits of various tanks on different encounters, the damage difference between pure and hybrid DPS classes, the ideal function of a particular healing class in raids, or the superiority of cake over pie, our back-channel discussion tends to be pretty interesting.

Eliah Hecht's article "25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear" sparked a lot of great discussion with our readers and, I think, some illuminating poll results as well. The majority of responders believed that giving 10-man and 25-man raids the same loot table would result in a significant drop in popularity for 25-man raiding. Overall, I tend to agree with this, but I also think that Eliah touched on something that speaks to Blizzard's evolving sense of game design, much of which is evident in the transition between late Burning Crusade and Wrath.

I would like to call this the Sunwell effect, or "ingame rationality." To wit: don't incentivize players to behave in a manner contrary to your actual design interests. I believe this played a huge role in the differences between BC and Wrath raiding, and that it underlies why the 25-man loot table has to remain superior to its 10-man counterpart.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Raiding

More teasing from the Blues, this time about phasing

Oh Blizzard why do you torture us so? Last time it was all about Gilneas, and this time, Wyrxian winks at a player suggestion that phasing gets used more in the old world. Take this all as you will -- Blizzard is just pulling our chain on this stuff, and whatever they have in mind, they're not giving away quite yet.

But, let's speculate a little, shall we? We already know that there's one more Lich King mystery content patch: Ulduar is coming first in patch 3.1, and Icecrown will likely be the final raid of the expansion, but there's one more raid that they haven't told us about yet. So we could guess that we'll finally see what's been going on in Gilneas all these years, and that it'll be a phased experience, much like what we saw in the Sunwell patch before the expansion. Plus, the announcement for that patch could be right around now -- with 3.1 set to go live any day now, Blizzard could release that patch and then throw out a preview for the next release right away.

That's all guessing, of course. And we have no idea whether the phasing reference and Gilneas are even in the same patch -- I speculated long ago that the Emerald Dream expansion could be an entirely phased version of old Azeroth, which could completely revamp the 1-60 experience. So who knows? But Blizzard, as they always do, know something, and while they might let on soon, they're not telling right now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Ghostcrawler on the success of "bring the player not the class"

You have heard Blizzard's motto for raiding in Wrath of the Lich King, "bring the player not the class." The intent is to steer away from strict raid composition and shake things up.

Encounters are being designed so that no one single class is necessary, although the 25-man Razuvious fight currently requires at least one priest, preferably two or three, with at least one specced shadow.

Classes are being designed so that many necessary buffs, such as Replenishment, can be acquired through a variety of classes, rather than just one.

The rigidity that came with Sunwell is one of the reasons that development has taken this direction. The motto sparked high hopes, and not all players are convinced that the implementation has been successful.

In response, Ghostcrawler points out that just like everything in WoW, it is a process. It's not going to be perfect, because things are always changing.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Breakfast Topic: Nostalgia vs. reality -- fight!

There's an interesting post on the forums that's become a catalogue of what old-time players miss most about classic WoW. While it's become a pretty thorough compilation of iconic moments, there are admissions that, well, maybe some of the stuff that's fun to look back on wasn't actually that much fun at the time. The examples include trying to get past a 40-man raid of the opposite faction into Molten Core, the boredom of raiding as little more than a glorified Decurse-bot, the countless guilds who broke up on Vael, and the fun of Tarren Mill/Southshore PvP that had the ancillary effect of making leveling in Hillsbrad such a nightmarish experience.

I'm seeing the first glimmers of such nostalgia for BC content start to emerge, and hearing a Sunwell PuG advertised as a "fun run" the other day left me speechless for a moment. It's equal parts compelling and unnerving; part of me misses the struggle to down bosses in Tiers 4, 5, and 6, but I also remember ugly M'uru wipefests. Everyone likes looking back on the first boss kill, nobody likes remembering the 45-minute trash respawn timer in SSC, and I like to think that as the game has "grown up," it has also gone resolutely forward.

But then, I'm not an old-school WoW player on the level of these forum posters, and I'm also not sure that the nostalgia for BC content will ever approach that for classic content. Is, say, Black Temple going to be looked upon as fondly as its classic counterparts like AQ40 someday, or is the classic "classic" and irretrievable for a reason?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Breakfast Topics, Raiding, Forums

WoW Insider's predictions for 2009

Another year has come and gone, and we're on the verge of WoW's fifth year of existence. So it's time once again to look into the crystal ball, and pull out some predictions. Some of these are surefire (we're definitely going to hear more about the content patches for Wrath this year), some are tossups depending on who you ask (will we see another expansion in the works?), and some are just random guesses. But we're guaranteed one thing: 2009 is going to be a wild year, so if you want our very first insight on what might happen, here you go.

These are compiled from the WoW Insider staff -- we differed in a few places, and where we did, I've pointed out who thought what. Keep in mind that no one can predict the future, of course, so these are predictions, and that's all. By now we should all know that Blizzard will do all they can to keep us guessing. And feel free to put your own predictions (or just respond to ours in the comments below. Happy New Year -- here's to a great 2009!

Update: Also be sure to check out Big Download's PC predictions for 2009 -- they've got something to say about Blizzard's next expansion, too.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Classes, BlizzCon, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: The Druid of 2008


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author is completely spaced out on cold medication, and is somewhat concerned that her raid performance has improved under the circumstances.

The time has come (the Allie said)
To talk of many things.
Of Roots and Bash and Travel Form,
And Strength (which scales with Kings).
Why Tauren cat form sucks so hard,
And whether trees have wings!

And, yes, before anyone asks, I'm tripping on too much cough syrup and ibuprofen after receiving a belated viral Christmas gift from a relative. So I'll just put this out there right now; this column's probably on the weird side. I took a long look at all three Druid specs over 2008 and saw a few sad things, a few happy things, a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants, and now I'm channeling the famous Mary Tyler Moore episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust," and that has to stop because I do not believe Mary Tyler Moore ever played a Druid.

If you're completely uninterested in reading an account of any spec that's not your own -- although that would make me weep into my little cup of generic label cough syrup -- here's a set of quick links to each:

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, The Burning Crusade, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

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