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Posts with tag ulduar

Watcher on changes to raid soloing in patch 6.0

If you're like me, you do a lot of older instances for transmog gear, and as such fights like Thorim are exceedingly irksome because they can only be soloed with certain classes or professions (a death knight or hunter using a pet, an engineer with a target dummy, and some good luck on getting through the gauntlet fast) due to mechanics that you can't really outgear. Now Watcher comes with news about not just the annoying Thorim fight, but this tweet about Valithria Dreamwalker as well.

As a warrior who put together my Shadowmourne via running ICC 25 this past year, I hated Dreamwalker, the fight I had no chance of soloing and no way to get around. Making it skippable would at least allow me to kill Arthas for transmog loot and not force me to stop after clearing two wings. It's an excellent change and one I hope they get in.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 4 - Wrath of the Lich King continued


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.

Last week's coverage of the lore of Wrath of the Lich King got to the thematic middle point of the expansion - the Wrathgate event. It changed the nature of Horde/Alliance relations, breaking any possibility for faction cooperation. It also capped off the Dragonblight storyline - Horde players had to deal with the realization that the very plague used on Horde troops by Putress was created by their efforts questing in the zone, while Alliance players saw the loss of one of the more beloved lore figures on their side, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon. (The last name Fordragon means "He who cleaves on Dragons' in old Arathi. Okay, no it doesn't. But Bolvar absolutely did that.) Combined with the way Bolvar's previous encounters with players had been worked into the quests, it was a gut punch to lose him.

It was far from the end of the story, however. We had miles to go before we reached the foot of Icecrown Citadel. I mentioned, briefly, the Arugal storyline in the Grizzly Hills, but there was also the story of the Furbolg in the region - a story that touched upon earlier zones such as the Howling Fjord and the Whisper Gulch. These stories would be shown to be of vast importance, and connected to that of an entity named Loken, who was directing the plunder of ancient Titan sites across Northrend by a force of strange Iron Dwarves.

The story of Loken would, in a way, eclipse that of Arthas Menethil without displacing him - for while the Lich King was a clear and present danger and the reason the Alliance and Horde had come to Northend, Loken would prove to endanger Azeroth far more directly. If the Lich King succeeded, the Scourge would rule a world dominated by the undead. If Loken had his way, there would be no Azeroth at all.

The machinations of these two forces both involved a strange material called Saronite - the Scourge forces seemed determined to mine this unusual metal from specific dark corners of the land beneath Northrend's surface. Whisper Gulch, too, teemed with it. But what was Saronite, and why did the Scourge seemingly loathe and fear the name Yogg-Saron while still using the stuff?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore: The life and legacy of Lei Shen

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.

Once upon a time, somewhere in the dawn of Azeroth's history, before the Sundering split the world in two, there was a race of warlords called the mogu. Violent and cruel, the mogu fought relentlessly against everything -- including each other. That is, until one day when one mogu sought out the history and secrets of his people's past, discovering that they were creatures of far more potential, far more purpose than any had realized. It was a secret long forgotten, and the mighty Lei Shen not only uncovered it, but brought that secret back to his people.

For untold years after Lei Shen emerged from the depths of the Isle of Thunder, the mogu reigned supreme on Pandaria. They captured and enslaved the weaker races, forcing them into servitude. It was not until after the death of Lei Shen that the pandaren race finally rose up with the hozen, the jinyu, and even the grummles to disrupt and reduce the armies of the mogu to rubble, taking the continent of Pandaria back as their own and ruling in peace.

In the waning hours of Lei Shen's inevitable downfall at the hands of Azeroth's heroes, we'll soon be leaving these relics of ages past behind, and instead focusing on the future of our world. But the history of the mogu, the history of Lei Shen is not a tale we should soon forget.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

What If: Cult of the Mechanical

You guys remember the What If game, right, where Anne Stickney and I go back and forth on concocting a scenario for an expansion built around specific lore figures? Last time, Anne gave us Garona Halforcen, and ended up lobbing me Gelbin Mekkatorque. On the surface, Gelbin Mekkatorque is perhaps the most absurd choice for an expansion-defining villain yet. People like Velen, Shandris Feathermoon, or Alexstrasza may be unlikely, but they're at least active. Gelbin hasn't taken any significant action since the abortive reclamation of Gnomeregan. It's easy to forget just how astonishingly brilliant Gelbin actually is. This is the mind that invented the mechanostrider, that designed the Deeprun Tram, that built the first prototype of the now-infamous Dwarven Siege Engine.

Yet, despite his intelligence and the love the gnomes bear him (for his is an elected position, and the fact that Gelbin has held it despite his people's exile from their home city is evidence of their regard for him) Gelbin suffers greatly from his failures. His failure to protect Gnomeregan from the troggs, his failure to understand what his friend Sicco Thermaplugg was really up to and thus prevent the loss of his people's great city, and his failure to reclaim the city from Thermaplug over the past years since the Third War have all weighed heavily upon him.

Let us look now upon the slow transformation of gnomish society and consider that it might be too slow for the gnome who invented the fastest tram in the world.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

The best fight from Wrath of the Lich King

Mimiron
Last week there were a lot of calls in my "Best fight from Burning Crusade" article for Mimiron, Yogg-Saron, or Arthas himself to be the subject of this article. I had to smile at them because, well, they guessed it. I'll admit that, as a healer, I was tempted to pick Valythria, but I don't think I could really do that in good conscience. Valythria might have been one of my favorite fights, but the best? No, not really. My choice for the best fight from Wrath of the Lich King? Mimiron.

Mimiron is a four-phase tier eight fight with some complex mechanics and a good deal of entertaining humor to it. In my opinion, the Ulduar raid was the crown jewel of Wrath of the Lich King, and Mimiron was one of the most fun and challenging bosses in it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

My most memorable experience in-game

hyppogriff flight
You know, I thought this question would be a lot easier to answer than it turned out. After six years of playing this game, I thought surely there would be an obvious stand-out moment, but as I sat down to write this post, I realized that wasn't exactly true. Lest you think I'm implying that I've experienced nothing memorable in WoW, rest assured, that isn't the case. It's more that I have the opposite problem: I've experienced too much that is memorable. I've had some really great times in this game, and it's turned out to be nigh impossible to point to one and say, "That's it, that was my most memorable moment." Instead, I've come up with a list of things that keep coming to mind whenever I think about the topic. They are in no particular order:

1. Killing Nathanos Blightcaller

Nathanos Blightcaller was, in ye olden days, a (potentially) 40-person outdoor raid boss for the Alliance. He was also a quest giver NPC for Horde, so attacking him flagged you for PvP. Considering both of these things, you can imagine how difficult it could be for Alliance raids to actually down him, especially on high-population servers.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: Titan facilities of Azeroth

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.

Let's just be up front about this now -- the Titans left stuff everywhere. It would be hard to disbelieve in them, frankly. They left bases, research stations, fortresses, labs and more. We don't even know what everything they left behind originally did or why it was there in many cases. Some places have somewhat clear reasons for existing (Ulduar, for instance, was tasked with holding the Old God Yogg Saron prisoner, but the Halls of Stone and Lightning point to other goals for the complex) but others, such as the ruined complex now known as Ahn'Qiraj was simply a 'research facility', and we have no idea what it was researching or why such a complex was needed so close to Uldum.

At any rate, there are a lot of Titan complexes currently known of on Azeroth.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The history and origins of the mogu

Know Your Lore The history and origins of the mogu
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.

Of all the creatures in Pandaria, none have been quite so mysterious as the mogu. From day one they were presented as one of the villains in the saga of Pandarian history -- and although the days of the mogu empires were long over, their legacy lived on. Mogu architecture, mogu statues, mogu ruins, they all littered the landscapes of where we leveled. To the pandaren, the mogu were a threat, but one that had long since died out, leaving the race as little more than scary tales to tell the children at night.

Until Mists of Pandaria, and the arrival of the Alliance and Horde. With the sudden uprising of the mantid, the release of the sha, and the frightened movement of the yaungol, the pandaren had more than enough to contend with. The sudden explosion of mogu activity was just another addition to the pile -- and the appearance of the Zandalari as allies made the reappearance of this ancient threat even more dire.

But who are the mogu? Until patch 5.2, that mystery hadn't been fully defined. And it still may not be fully defined, but at least we have a slightly clearer picture.

Please note that today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.2 Lorewalkers content.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Ra-den encounter features a return of limited attempts

Raden encounter features a return of limited attempts
The Throne of Thunder has been compared to Ulduar in more ways than one -- the size and scope of the dungeon, the multitude of boss encounters, and even the thematic elements of the dungeon itself. But it looks like there is one more comparison to add to the pile. Ra-den, the bonus boss unlocked only upon defeating Lei-Shen on heroic mode, has a mechanic to limit the number of times he can be engaged in any given week.

Those that remember Algalon remember the one hour limit on attempting the boss. One careless pull, one wipe, one disconnect could potentially ruin a guild's chances for downing the boss in a lockout period. But Ra-den isn't limited by a time clock; instead, he's simply limited by the number of attempts a guild can make. Screenshots have shown that number to be 30, however keep in mind that the number of attempts, and even the limited nature of the encounter, can be changed at any time. Patch 5.2 is still on the PTR, after all.

Blue poster and Game Designer Watcher had some words of wisdom to share following the unplanned discovery of Ra-den's limited attempts on the PTR.

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Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: The triumph and tragedy of Ulduar

Windows in Ulduar
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?

With patch 5.2 on the PTR, everyone is talking about Mists' next tier of raiding content. If the buzz seems more intense than usual, it might be because of the hints that Ghostcrawler and others at Blizzard have dropped comparing the Throne of Thunder to Wrath's Ulduar raid.

Perhaps it's too soon to revisit Ulduar in an Archivist column. After all, the raid went live less than four years ago. I don't care. I want to talk about how amazing this place was, how Blizzard still managed to screw up such a good thing, and why we should all be excited for an Ulduar-style raid in 5.2.

Put the rose-colored glasses away here, folks. You don't need them -- Ulduar really was that fantastic.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: The keys to content

Karazhan entrance
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?

Keys in WoW have come in many forms. Some hang around our neck. Some hide in belts. Others open aircraft hangars or other, very special places. Some let us pretend to be rogues. Some never made it to the live game. Some we eat or play with. Some help us get the mail or reach new heights. We find some in unexpected places. A few are just trash.

This column is not about those keys. This is about the keys that used to be a Big Deal. The keys that people went to extraordinary lengths to obtain. The keys that put you on everyone's friends list. The keys to content.

Literal gates

Today, content is rarely locked. Players take it for granted that when a new dungeon or raid goes live, they will have immediate access. For the first half of WoW's history, however, this was not the case at all.

Vanilla WoW locked away virtually all of its end-game content. Raids required attunement, which means that every single person in your raid had to complete a certain quest line.

Keys worked differently. Content that required a key wasn't gated according to some arbitrary release schedule, such as the Heart of Fear -- but by actual gates.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: The dark secrets of the mogu

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition The dark secrets of the mogu SUN
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.

They were once rulers of an empire that rivaled the Zandalar in size and scope, but they possessed powers far greater than the trolls could ever dream of. They used their power to shape the grummels and saurok from the lesser races of Pandaria. They enslaved the pandaren race as a whole, using them to build structures and gather supplies all under threat of their iron fists. Their great empires trace back to thousands of years ago, before even the War of the Ancients, and possibly before the rise of the kaldorei race.

The mogu are one of the clear villains of this expansion, and our arrival denotes the sudden uprising of this strange, curious, violent race. While the mogu may have been relatively quiet for centuries, they are certainly far from it now. And as we make our way through Pandaria we see more and more evidence that these violent beings are on the move -- something that disturbs the gentle pandaren greatly. The mogu hide secrets, and over the course of raiding, we uncover a few.

But their greatest secret may just be something so unfathomable, so bizarre, that it shakes the roots of everything we currently know and believe.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on why and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This post contains some content spoilers from Mists of Pandaria.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: What characterizes WoW's best raids?

Breakfast Topic What characterizes WoW's best raids
People disagree a lot as to what WoW's best raids have been, not least because it's tough to evaluate how "good" a raid was until after some time has passed. For example, an MMO Champion forum poll a few months ago selected Icecrown Citadel as the game's best "final raid," and yet, I remember lots of players complaining that it hadn't been anywhere near as good as Black Temple a the time. You also have to wonder about the extent to which accessibility plays a role. Most people who saw Sunwell at level 70 loved it, but that wasn't a lot of people.

Anyway, three of the most frequently cited "best raids" of WoW are Karazhan, Black Temple, and Ulduar. I thought it might be worthwhile to ask -- what made them so good?
  • Iconic drops or rewards Many of the drops from these places are instantly recognizable. Everybody wanted the "squid staff" off Illhoof and the Nightbane shield, and you can't swing a dead cat in trade chat without hitting another Black Temple transmog run. Even Ulduar, in the age of gear consolidation, had memorable drops.
  • Atmosphere Karazhan was essentially an overgrown haunted house. Black Temple was a fortress full of Broken that would be hostile until you set Akama's soul free, with the brooding Illidan perched on top. Ulduar was an exceptionally beautiful fortress concealing its true purpose as a prison.
  • At least one unexpected encounter You couldn't beat Kara without besting Medivh's ghost at chess, Illidan was one of WoW's most inventive fights, and, as nightmarishly difficult as it was, I still cherish my guild's first Yogg-0 kill.
What made something WoW's "best raid" for you? What mechanics or features would you most like to see repeated in a future raid?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Raiding

Know Your Lore: Algalon the Observer

Image
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.
I have seen worlds bathed in the Makers' flames. Their denizens fading without so much as a whimper. Entire planetary systems born and razed in the time that it takes your mortal hearts to beat once.
The Titans are creatures of myth and mystery to the mortals of Azeroth. While some Azerothians (most notably Brann Bronzebeard) seek to unravel their secrets, most remain blissfully unaware and uncaring of the origins of the world. But the mysteries Brann works so hard to uncover more often than not raise far more questions than they answer, and in some cases, create havoc that could reduce our world to ashes in the blink of an eye.

In Ulduar, Brann sought to uncover the further secrets of the origin of the dwarves, something that the Explorer's League has been working on since the early days of WoW and the first player steps into the Titan stronghold of Uldaman. But what Brann uncovered was a massive facility that wasn't just for the storage of information from times long past. The facility of Ulduar and its corrupt Titans weren't anywhere near as much of a threat to the world as what came after Loken's defeat in the Halls of Lightning. For it was the moment of his defeat that the failsafe was tripped and the signal was sent.

And it was Loken's death that heralded the arrival of Algalon the Observer and the end of the world.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Transmogrify your blood elf into the druid of your dreams

OK, look. We know according to current lore, blood elves cannot be druids. The quel'dorei left behind Nordrassil and any tree-hugging ways they might have had when they were banished after the War of the Ancients, thousands and thousands of years ago. Blood elves are all about the arcane, not about nature magic. But apparently, there's a huge contingent of people out there that would still like to be able to play them in game.

It's doubtful we will ever see that particular race and class combination come into play. However, the magic of transmogrification can at least give you the look you're going for. There's no shape-shifting or nature spells with this look, and you'll need a leather-wearing class to pull it off -- for blood elves, that pretty much means a rogue. But if you're dead set on blood elf druids and you'd still like the look of one, even if you can't play the class ... well, this combination ought to do the trick!

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Filed under: Transmogrification

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