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Posts with tag vashjir

WoW Archivist: Bottlenecks

Gyrocopter jam
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?

Wherever thousands of players try to complete on-rails content, bottlenecks are inevitable. For Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard is trying to be proactive about eliminating them. Back in July, CM Zorbrix posted a "targeted feedback request" about bottlenecks in the beta. Given that the introductory experience is completely on rails before the expansion unleashes players into its less structured zones, this is a real concern.

WoW hasn't had the best track record when it comes to bottlenecks. As we help Blizzard loosen the bottlenecks of the future, let's revisit those of the past.

The great gyrocopter jam of 2012

Blizzard's server tech has come a long way since the game's launch. Lag and crashes are no longer rampant during expansion launches. But sometimes, other problems can prohibit players from progressing on Day 1. If we're talking bottlenecks, we have to start with the most infamous one in all of WoW, which also happens to be one of the most recent.

This was a problem that people saw coming. I found a thread on MMO Champion from September 2012 where a poster writes, "On Beta - everyone had to funnel through a single vehicle quest to proceed on the Jade Forest quest line. I'm a touch concerned that this is going to be way worse than any other expansion..."

And this guy was totally right. OK, maybe Mists wasn't as bad as The Burning Crusade overall, but the ironically named Unleash Hell was still the biggest -- and most dramatic -- bottleneck ever caused by a single quest.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore: General Nazgrim

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 war between Alliance and Horde has been the thematic highlight of Mists of Pandaria. Certainly Pandaria itself has held its share of mysteries, but those mysteries have been repeatedly plundered, the continent's horrors unleashed, all in the name of war. It's a war that's been a long time coming -- tensions between the Alliance and Horde have been slowly rising ever since the wintery days of Northrend, the frozen peaks of Icecrown.

And it was in the chill air of Northrend that we first met a character who would become one of the more important players of the Mists expansion. Nazgrim had an innocent enough start in the Horde storyline, simply one of many questgivers up in Northrend. But as the expansions continued to roll out, Nazgrim's role grew substantially, until, at last, he was found fighting for the wrong side, defending Garrosh Hellscream's citadel to his last inevitable breath.

But who was Nazgrim, really? Were there any merits to his choices, given that they ultimately brought about his demise? Was Nazgrim's life, his career, a vain exercise in futility?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Archivist: WoW's most terrifying monsters

WoW Archivist WoW's most terrifying monsters FRIDAY
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?

Hallow's End is once more upon us. Last year, the Archivist uncovered WoW's most terrifying secrets. But much of what's terrifying in WoW is right in your face, trying to eat you, or stomp you, or shatter your mind with madness. Let's take a look at the scariest bad guys from every era.

Mrrglrlrlrmgrrr: Monsters of classic WoW

Murlocs

To some, they're adorable, misunderstood frog people. To others, they are the amphibious stuff of nightmares. In vanilla WoW, it was nearly impossible to fight a lone murloc. Their tight-knit societies and tendency to flee meant fighting one murloc often evolved into fighting two -- or twenty. A good many early players found themselves torn to pieces by slobbering murloc hordes. Some still shudder when they hear that distinctive battle-cry.

Sons of Arugal

I'm not sure how Arugal managed to father so many sons while tucked away in the tower of Shadowfang Keep, but the guy certainly got around. Horde players questing in Silverpine Forest lived in dread of these elite worgen, who always seemed to aggro at the worst possible time.

That damn Lurker in the water leading up to the Wailing Caverns entrance

For me, this one is personal. In vanilla, fighting your way to the Wailing Caverns entrance was like a mini dungeon run all by itself. One of the caves had a small but deceptively deep pool of water. During my first trip there, I decided the water was a safe place to fire from while our tank scooped up the locals. (It was a habit I picked up.) Then something large and unknown rose up from the darkness and bit me. I've never gone for a swim there since.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The top 10 most beautiful spots in WoW

http://www.blogcdn.com/wow.joystiq.com/media/2013/03/map-header.jpg
World of Warcraft sometimes gets panned for its graphics, which have never been on the bleeding edge of virtual reality. This, however, was a deliberate choice on Blizzard's part, and I think it's a good one. It allows for people who are behind the hardware curve (such as myself) to enjoy the game, and the graphics' intentional cartoonishness holds up better over time than hyper-realistic renderings, which often seem horribly dated within months. More importantly, WoW's beauty hasn't suffered for it. Azeroth is stunning.

I've compiled a list of the ten spots I personally find to be most beautiful, and by spots, I truly mean spots, not entire zones. I expect many of you will have wildly differing opinions, and I look forward to reading about them. The ten locations are listed in alphabetical order by zone; there's no way I could actually order them - I would never be able to decide!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Saying goodbye to Cataclysm

I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Cataclysm. I will cheerfully admit I totally flipped out over it, largely because I was so excited to see Deathwing make a return. I've always been fond of the Dragon Aspects, and I was looking forward to an expansion that featured them in a way they'd never been featured before. We'd seen Alexstrasza and Ysera, of course, but with Malygos dead and Nozdormu missing, I knew something interesting had to happen on both of those fronts.

The expansion itself was different than I'd expected, to be perfectly honest. Cataclysm wasn't exactly a bad expansion, really, and the old world quest revamp as well as flight being added were both welcome additions. But Cataclysm lacked the spark previous expansions had, and I can't quite put my finger on why, exactly. Despite the fact that it didn't knock The Burning Crusade out of first place on my list of favorite expansions, there's still something I'm going to miss about Cataclysm once we're wandering Pandaria.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: NPC evolution from Wrath to Cataclysm and beyond

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.

Wrath of the Lich King saw the introduction of several elements that furthered the incorporation of lore into the game. Phased quest chains allowed players to actually see their effect on the zones. Cinematic cutscenes made it feel like you were playing through a movie. The faction leaders of the world were suddenly far more active than they'd ever been before. But those were the major, blowout moments that made the storytelling work. What most didn't quite recognize were the subtle efforts of the lowly NPC.

In classic WoW, players literally had to walk up to NPCs and speak to them to engage them in conversation. In The Burning Crusade, that changed slightly -- NPCs now recognized players as they walked by, according to their reputation. In Wrath, suddenly NPCs were not only recognizing players, but they were whispering players, recognizing players. Prior efforts by a player were acknowledged, even if it was just a simple "I remember you."

What Wrath of the Lich King began was a revolution in WoW gameplay that would spin into full-out overdrive with the launch of Cataclysm. The lowly NPC was no longer an unimportant figure; he was a comrade in arms, a fellow hero, or a taskmaster -- and he made certain to let you know it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Vashj'ir

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine (in our own opinions and words) what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape. Join us for a discussion about Cataclysm's new level 80 to 85 content and what made the cut as the most compelling experiences.

The Sunken City of Vashj'ir lies off the coast of Stormwind, with pieces of the forgotten land rising up from the waves after the devastation of the cataclysm and Deathwing's sundering of Azeroth. The Alliance scrambles to secure this territory so close to their shores to prevent any malicious entities from causing more havoc on their shores. The Horde, seeing a golden opportunity for a land grab so close to the human capital, has sent its navy in full force to take the now surfaced islands of Vashj'ir. Little does either faction know that a war rages in the very heart of the sunken city between the Lady Naz'jar and her army of naga aided by the Old Gods and the kvaldir. Lady Naz'jar's ultimate goal -- enter the Abyssal Maw, home of the water elemental lord Neptulon, and seize his power for her naga army.

Vashj'ir's story

Mathew: Before we begin, I have a confession to make. I finally finished Vashj'ir, from start to finish, only recently for this article. Zones that are built in such a way, as to emphasize the 3D space of the water, etc, are one of those things that occasionally bugs me. It's not that I didn't want to participate in Vashj'ir -- quite the contrary. I just had no reason to go here since Hyjal was so straightforward and had my flying mount ready to go from the get-go. Also, Vashj'ir was notably bottle-necked in beta, as many players streamed in and getting out of that initial sunken ship was a rough ride. Now that I had the zone to myself, it was a much better experience.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Zone location determines Living Elements transmute results

Once a day, resetting at midnight, alchemists at skill level 485 or above are able to transmute Volatile Life into a random other volatile. A little-known fact not documented in the tooltip is that if you perform this transmute in a specific zone, the result will not be random. For example, doing it in Uldum will always yield Volatile Air.

This transmute, even when performed in a city, is likely the best use of the shared alchemy cooldown. For a lot of realms, none of the other cooldown-linked transmutes (Truegold, Pyrium Bar, and the pre-Cataclysm stuff) are nearly as profitable as the Living Elements transmute, simply because as a general rule, Volatile Life is always among the cheapest of the volatiles. Transmuting it to just about anything is profitable, or at least not a loss. Now that we can force it, it's going to increase drastically in profitability.

Here's the list of locations and what they proc, taken from a blue post about a hotfix:
Transmute-specced alchemists also enjoy the chance of a double proc; however, the additional volatiles are completely random. You can force the primary proc but not the secondary bonus. Based on the fairly low drop rate from the Electrostatic Condenser, air will be the way to go for a while.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, 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.

New hints of Old Gods in Vashj'ir

Note: This post contains spoilers. If you read this post, you may be mildly spoiled.

The Old Gods are legendary parts of WoW. You've got C'Thun hanging out in southern Azeroth, whose unblinking eye stares balefully across the world. Those of us who were part of the Northrend expedition certainly encountered Yogg-Saron. Heck, many of us got so familiar with Yogg-Saron that we made armor out of his blood and danced around Icecrown Citadel in our favorite made-from-death-god prom outfits.

The Old Gods are a defining part of the World of Warcraft experience. They are unmistakeably influenced by the Lovecraft mythos, wherein ancient gods from the stars balefully disregard the lives of humans. (Remind you of a certain heavenly-bodied heroic boss fight?) An equally important part of the mythos, however, is the unknowable, abyssal fathoms of the ocean's deeps. This is a world where humans can not tread, where light does not shine, and where we can not know what exists.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

WoW Rookie: Top 5 tricks for grouping in Vashj'ir

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide. WoW Rookie is about more than just being new to the game; it's about checking new areas, new styles, and new zones. This week, it's also about playing with the people you love.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm incredibly fortunate to play WoW with my wife? It's a subtle, wonderful thing. And because I worship this wonderful creature, all of my journey to level 85 on my paladin is being spent in a group with her. Our first foray into Cataclysm's new content was the underwater realm of Vashj'ir. It seemed like a romantic way to spend time: dodging sharks, making appropriate crab jokes, and exploring new content.

The thing you need to know is that Vashj'ir is a three-dimensional zone. You don't only run around on the ground; you can also swim up and down. That's not a terribly complicated issue for instances like the Oculus, but those three dimensions turn into pains in the neck when you're trying to do a hundred quests as a pair. If you're leveling in a group with more than one person, it gets even more confusing. It's easy to lose track of where groupmates are hiding out and where quest mobs are swimming. And many areas of Vashj'ir have an "upper" and a "lower" level. If you're doing all this as a group, you'll need coordination.

Here are our top 5 tricks for working as a group in Vashj'ir.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Cataclysm 101: Zone and instance progression

If you're sitting there at your keyboard right now violently coveting your upcoming Cataclysm experience and daydreaming of all the places you'll go, we here at WoW Insider would like nothing better than to aid and abet you in your wacky escapades. And since Cataclysm is launching on International Matthew Rossi's Birthday, who better to help you figure out where you intend to stream like an unstoppable torrent of locusts? Well, there may be lots of better options, but I'm doing it anyway.

Cataclysm has several new zones to experience and quite a few new dungeons to crawl through. Let's take a look, shall we?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Cataclysm 101: What to do first in Cataclysm

Cataclysm has already gone live in Europe, and it's only hours away now for those of us in North America. Are you prepared for it? Do you know what you need to know to hit the ground running when Cataclysm content becomes active on live realms? If you don't, we're here to help. Below are answers to some of the most common questions that have been asked about starting the Cataclysm experience.

How do I learn to fly in old Azeroth?

You can get your Flight Master's License in Outland or Northrend, but the much better options are Stormwind for the Alliance and Orgrimmar for the Horde. Horde players want to talk to Maztha and Alliance players want to talk to Bralla Cloudwing. Wowhead has excellent maps for finding both of them.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Archaeology

Spiritual Guidance: Levels 80 to 85 as a priest, plus recent beta changes


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers healing for discipline and holy priests and makes the occasional StarCraft 2 reference. If you ask her, she'll tell you disc priests are like sentries and holy priests are medevacs.

There is a lot to cover in Spiritual Guidance this week, so I'll be diving right in to the content. I was going to outsource my creative introduction to Mr. Fox Van Allen, but he wanted to be paid entirely in red M&Ms, so we'll just have to do without.

We'll be covering two topics today. The first will be to cover the latest build released on the Cataclysm beta earlier this week. There were some large changes made to AoE healing that affect both holy and discipline priests in different ways. Second, I've written up my advice on leveling from 80 to 85 as a healing priest.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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

Know Your Lore: Look to the seas -- the mists of the Kvaldir


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 come from the depths of the oceans, bringing with them a mysterious mist that clouds the senses. And when they die, they don't perish so much as dissolve into sand, making one wonder what exactly holds these creatures together. What is it about them that brings the ethereal fog? Are the Kvaldir the bringers of the mist, or are they merely slaves to it, cursed to emerge from the sea only when the mist is present?

Not much is known about the Kvaldir other than their appearance in Wrath of the Lich King and their upcoming appearance in Cataclysm. What we do know is that they are somehow related to the vrykul, and they seem to hold no love for any of the races above the sea. In Cataclysm, it is made absolutely clear that they hold no love for anything below the ocean waters, either. They are the apparent enemy of all they encounter ... but who is it that they serve? What exactly is the motive of the Kvaldir?

WARNING: The following post contains spoilers for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you wish to remain spoiler-free, do not continue.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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