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Posts with tag warlords-of-draenor

Know Your Lore: Yrel, Draenor's Light

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.

At the moment, we've only got two full zones open in the Warlords of Draenor beta -- Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley. Also open is the introductory lead-in to Draenor through the Tanaan Jungle. It's there that we first meet her, fairly unassuming and not exactly remarkable in any way. Yrel was first mentioned at BlizzCon during the story and lore panel -- a draenei whose story was going to be a major part of the Warlords expansion, the comparison made that she is a Joan of Arc-like figure.

We've only seen the first few steps of Yrel's journey so far in the beta, so the accuracy of that comparison remains to be seen. But Yrel, unassuming as she may seem, already appears to hold a bright spot in the canvas of Draenor's future. So just who is this draenei, and what makes her a lore figure to watch for?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoiler content, turn away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Warlords of Draenor: Tanaan Jungle introduction

Warlords of Draenor begins in a different kind of way than any expansion prior. All players, including newly-boosted level 90's, play through the same short introductory experience. This sequence serves a few different purposes -- partially to ease newly boosted 90's into their abilities, partially to purposefully get players from Azeroth to Draenor, and partially to introduce some of the key players we'll be seeing on Draenor itself, as the expansion progresses.

While I'm not about to spoil everything under the sun in regards to this experience, I did want to review Tanaan as it stands so far on the beta. The latest beta build has fixed many missing textures, as well as adding some new ones -- but the story has by and large stayed exactly the same. So what's it like, playing through this experience? Read on to find out -- and if you'd just like some idea of what the Tanaan experience looks like, check out the included gallery.

Please note: Both the gallery and the following post will contain some spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you're avoiding spoilers, don't click!

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Forget looting the hounds, we can ride them

The latest beta build of Warlords brought with it several new Battle Pets as well as the mount pictured above. Yes, that is a Core Hound, and yes, you will be able to ride it by obtaining the Core Hound Chain. Although it's not directly stated where this mount will be obtained on the mount tab, it's safe to say we'll likely see it dropping in the newly-revamped Upper Blackrock Spire. After all, what's Blackrock Spire without The Beast?

In addition to the Core Hound mount, several Ravager Wasp battle pets were added, along with a Runtish Gronnling, and a pet named Sky-bo that appears to be a miniature version of the Sky Golem mount. At the moment, there's no indication whether Sky-bo is an engineer crafted pet. To check out 3D models of the new Core Hound mount, as well as other new items added to the beta, head over to Wowhead.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft previews the male draenei model


It's no secret that I love the draenei -- with getting a chance to play through Shadowmoon Valley on the Beta, they've leapt into the lead and are now my favorite race. Now, thanks to Blizzard's official Artcraft previews, we get a chance to look at the new draenei male. Having experienced it on the beta (as a work in progress, mind you) I already felt like it was a vast improvement. The proportions, the expressions, even the way the facial tendrils move is much, much better.

Head on over to the official site and take a look for yourself.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New Ashran achievements

Wowhead has datamined a whole bunch of new achievements, and the ones for Ashran interested me greatly - since I did some level 100 PvP recently (I didn't do very well at it, but I think at least part of that is my sheer unfamiliarity with it at this point) I'm definitely interested in how Ashran turns out.

I assume one of those two Take Them Out achievements will eventually be switched to Alliance, and hopefully captain will be spelled correctly. (The achievements have different ID's.) It seems the Alliance gets to summon something called Fangraal (presumably this fellow), and there's something called The Everbloom where Kirin-Tor Battle Mages can die while fighting something called Yalnu (since there's an achievement for them not dying, I assume it's fairly easy for that to happen) - these are pretty tantalizing hints for what we're going to see once we get in there. I'm wondering if there's a Horde equivalent to Fangraal - possibly this Lifeless Ancient Protector, or this Ancient Protector (both are relatively close in ID and come up on a search for 'Horde Guardian')? Time will tell.
  • Ashran Victory: Kill the opposing faction Commander while controlling all points on the Road of Glory.
  • Bounty Hunter: Loot all the following off Alliance player corpses:
  • Bounty Hunter: Loot all the following off Horde player corpses:
  • Tour Of Duty: Complete each Event at the following areas listed below.
  • Just For Me: Activate a Class Specific Book Epic Item found within Ashran.
  • High-value Targets: Defeat all of the creatures within Ashran listed below.
  • Opperation Counterattack: Defeat Fangraal within 5 minutes of it being summoned by the Alliance.
  • Grand Theft, 1st Degree: Loot 100 Artifact Fragments from an enemy Player, and turn them in
  • Grand Theft, 2nd Degree: Loot 500 Artifact Fragments from an enemy Player, and turn them in
  • Grand Theft, 3rd Degree: Loot 1000 Artifact Fragments from an enemy Player, and turn them in
  • Divide And Conquer: Kill 5000 enemy Players anywhere outside the Road of Glory within Ashran.
  • Weed Wacker: Defeat Yalnu without any Kirin Tor Battle-Mages dying in The Everbloom on Heroic Difficulty.
  • Take Them Out: Defeat all of the Horde Captians within The Road of Glory listed below.
  • Take Them Out: Defeat all of the Horde Captians within The Road of Glory listed below.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Achievements, Warlords of Draenor

Why Testing Matters 2: The Beta Tank Bug

I did a post a while back on why beta testing matters. The point was, no matter how we might wish that the game could be finished and rushed out, you have to test this stuff in a controlled environment first. And this particular bug is a perfect example of why that is. Because on the beta servers, tank specs were unkillable gods.

We discovered a teeny tiny little issue with the Battle Fatigue debuff. Turns out, it was set to increase tank damage taken by -25%. Yes, that's an increase of negative 25%... which means that Battle Fatigue was actually reducing the damage tank-specced characters were taking.

This should now be fixed on Beta servers, which should make quite a difference. Let us know how things feel now.

That kind of error is exactly why the beta process is necessary and important, but moreover it's why it's kind of awesome - you see, stuff like this is terrible for game balance, but it's also astonishingly fun to discover and experience a few times. Yes, as a tester you should absolutely report it as soon as possible. But in order to report it reliably (it's hard to know for sure what's actually happening, after all, your combat log doesn't report that you're taking less damage) you need to repeat it. And that's really pretty awesome.

It's better -- far better, in fact -- that we get this stuff found out before it goes live. Even though I'm sure all of us with a tank spec kind of secretly wish it didn't. The feeling of being overpowered wouldn't keep us from the crushing disappointment when they found and fixed it.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Warlords of Draenor

Mike Morhaime apologizes for lack of diversity in Blizzard games

It's been a bad year or so for women in Blizzard games, for a lot of reasons. At BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor was described as a "boy's trip" that Aggra wasn't invited to -- which fits with the Warlords marketing material that shows almost exclusively male characters (a few women appear in the trailer and one in the art, but they're unnamed). But Warlords isn't the only concern: the company's April Fool's joke came off as tone-deaf to many, Heroes of the Storm uses female characters as eye candy (which game director Dustin Browder argued didn't send a message), and, recently, Rob Pardo stated in a talk at MIT that diversity wasn't really a value for the company.

Though Warlords has come a long way since BlizzCon and both Browder and Pardo apologized, the fact that any of these things were an issue in the first place is off-putting -- at best -- to female gamers. Even long-term Blizzard fans have started to wonder why they're continuing to play in a gaming world that didn't accept women amongst the cast of heroes. It's from this place of disappointment that Starcunning wrote to Mike Morhaime, explaining why she's walked away from Blizzard's games. The surprise, however, is that Mike Morhaime responded stressing Blizzard's commitment to listening to the playerbase and building games that are fun for everyone.
Mike Morhaime
We are very conscious of the issues you raise and are discussing them more than ever, at every level of the company, in an effort to make sure our games and stories are as epic and inclusive as possible. Blizzard's employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players. And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content. We are also actively looking at our story development and other processes to ensure that our values are fully represented. We've always believed that positive, lasting change comes from examination, discussion, and iteration, and this applies as much to story as to gameplay. There is no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Know Your Lore: Resurgence of the Infinite Dragonflight

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.

Long ago, the Titans empowered five dragons with unique abilities and powers, entrusting to them the protection of Azeroth itself. While each had their own specialization with its own odd foibles, none were as strange as the task set to Nozdormu. Aman'Thul, Highfather of the Pantheon, entrusted Nozdormu with the task of watching over time -- to guard the myriad paths of time and keep them pure. A strange task, to be certain, and one with a heck of a lot of power involved. To keep Nozdormu from abusing that power or thinking that he answered to no one, he was given the knowledge of the exact moment of his demise.

Yet somewhere in one of those myriad timelines, this apparently wasn't enough. Somewhere, somewhen, Deathwing prevailed and brought about the Hour of Twilight, leaving Nozdormu a haunted, twisted version of his former self -- a version that cared little for the restrictions or rules bestowed by the Titans, and cared much more for preserving his own skin and preventing his own death. The twisted version called himself Murozond, first of the Infinite Dragonflight, intent on bending time and changing events solely for the purpose of evading his inevitable demise. We defeated Murozond in End Time, and prevented the Hour of Twilight from taking place. But have we actually saved Nozdormu? Have we secured time itself?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Random quest item upgrades

One of the most interesting changes to quest gearing in Warlords of Draenor is that you have a chance for any item you get as a quest reward to end up upgrading from a quest green to a blue (rare) quality drop, and even an epic (purple) on rare occasions. For example, the Karabor Honor Guard Legguards are a green quest reward usually. As you can see, they're not a green for me here, because I got lucky. They're not an earth-shattering upgrade, mind you (although with the stat squish, a few points is a lot bigger than it used to be) but it's still a nice little bump.

You don't have to do anything for this to happen - it's completely out of your hands. It may happen, it may not. Purely from my own experience it's not that uncommon for greens to end up as blues (I've had it happen four or five times) but these are the first epic I've seen on my second playthrough in SMV. Your own rates will vary, of course.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New model adjustments in the works

There have been quite a few rumblings online about the new character models, pointing out that the models themselves all appear to have the same facial expressions with little of the variation we're seeing on live servers. Senior Art Director Chris G. Robinson hopped on Twitter yesterday to address the concerns, pointing out that the new models on the beta are by no means final, and of course still subject to change. In the case of the human female model, base animations are still undergoing adjustments to bring them closer to matching the original base structure and expressed emotion.



The base animation is the default expression on a model's face when they are not in any kind of active motion. It's the expression your character has when they are simply standing around in town, or on the character creation screen. Currently, the human female models in the beta are all wearing the same expression while they're standing around. With updates to the base animation, and the tweaks to eyebrows and other facial features as tweeted by Robinson, the models should once again appear just as diverse as they do on live servers.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Mount Tab description updates

The latest Warlords of Draenor beta build expanded the descriptions listed in the re-designed mount tab. Nearly every mount in the game now has an entry with a little piece of trivia. There are actually some interesting little flavor bits of lore contained in the new entries, including slightly more in-depth information as to the mount's origins, interesting quotes or beliefs about the creatures, and of course where it can be built or obtained. At the moment, not every mount has a listing for where you can find it -- but given that there are already entries that do mention things in detail, it seems like we'll see that added in a later beta build.

Of course, it's the humorous entries that really stick out in the new listing. How can you seriously describe a giant rooster? You can't. Check out the gallery below for some of the best selections from the newly added flavor text.




Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Changes coming for DPS warriors

Count nothing in the beta done until the beta is itself done. It's the modern equivalent of 'count no man happy before he is dead' (at least it when it comes to betas) and it's especially true for warriors this time around. Arms has seen huge changes, fury has seen a backlash over the loss of Heroic Strike, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Now we get to see what the intended direction for warriors is, thanks to a forum post from Celestalon.

So what's the haps? I'm glad you asked. The usual caveats (it's all still subject to change, it's the beta, don't get too worked up) apply, of course.

Celestalon - Fury Feedback
So, we don't often share our thoughts on upcoming changes this early, as plans can change very rapidly. Please keep in mind that none of the following is set in stone – it hasn't even been developed yet – and there's any number of issues that could cause us to decide to take a different approach. That said, we definitely agree that Arms feels a bit empty at the moment, and want to fill it out a bit more, and we want to add some talent choices to both Arms and Fury that provide options for more involved gameplay. Here's what we're thinking:
  • Rage generation increased by 25% for Arms.
  • Rend returns for Arms. Costs 10 Rage, deals damage over 18sec, with a burst of bleed damage at the end. Total damage is similar to a Mortal Strike.
  • Thunder Clap is usable in any stance. AoE damage and snares, 6sec cooldown. 30 Rage cost for Arms, free for Protection.
  • We're replace the level 45 talent row (Staggering Shout / Piercing Howl / Disrupting Shout) with:
  • Varies by spec:Arms –
    • Taste for Blood: Passive. Rend ticks grant 3 Rage.
    • Fury – Furious Strikes: Passive. Reduces the cost of Wild Strike by 10 Rage
    • Protection – Heavy Repercussions: Passive. Shield Slam deals 50% additional damage while Shield Block is active.
  • Sudden Death: Passive. Auto attacks have a chance to trigger Sudden Death, making your next Execute free and usable on targets above 20% health.
  • Varies by spec:
    • Arms – Slam: Active ability. Costs 10 Rage. Deals 100% weapon damage. Each consecutive use increases Slam's damage by 50% and Rage cost by 100%, stacking up to 5 times.
    • Fury – Unquenchable Thirst: Passive. Bloodthirst has no cooldown.
    • Protection – Unyielding Strikes: Passive. Devastate reduces the Rage cost of Heroic Strike by 6, stacking up to 5 times. Lasts 10 sec. No longer refreshes while at 5 stacks.

Again, this is all very much in the formative stages. Any or all of the above could end up changing in any number of ways. But we are listening, and are doing our best to make Warrior gameplay awesome in Warlords.


Some of this I don't expect to see last very long - Unquenchable Thirst in particular strikes me as an ability that will become wholly abused if it goes live. No cooldown on Bloodthirst? So, what, you just hit Bloodthirst constantly in-between Colossus Smashes? Now, I personally like that kind of rage generation option - it's very Barbarian from Diablo III really, constantly filling up the rage bar. But I don't expect to see it actually get implemented. Still, it's very interesting to see Slam as a talent (even if it is an Arms only talent - frankly I'd like to see fury get a bite of that apple).

Still, arms really is desperately in need of some more attacks, so overall I'm curious and interested.


Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Frostfire Ridge preview

Frostfire Ridge
So far we've had official previews of Shadowmoon Valley and the Tanaan Jungle, and today Frostfire Ridge joins that cohort. Game Designer Ryan Shwayder and Associate Game Designer Zachariah Owens are the interviewees leading us through this glimpse of the zone and giving us an idea of what we can expect when we arrive there. If you had access to the Warlords alpha, you're likely already somewhat familiar with Frostfire Ridge--it's the Horde's starting zone, the zone where Horde players will build their garrisons, and was the first zone available for alpha testing. In Frostfire Ridge, the Frostwolf clan stages the defense of their ancestral homeland against the other orc clans who have thrown their lot in with the Iron Horde. The overarching story of the zone, as summarized by Zachariah Owens, is thus: survive.

The choice to put pieces of zone music at the beginning of these previews is one of my favorite things about them, and Frostfire Ridge is no exception. The zone music, titled "Magnificent Desolation," is haunting and, well, magnificent. It really does capture the scale and harshness of the zone--cold, snowy mountain peaks, frozen lakes, and constant struggle. In Frostfire Ridge, players will find the Thunderlord clan, Iron Horde loyalists who seek to prove themselves by wiping the Frostwolf off the face of the planet. In addition, two groups of ogres: the Bloodmaul and the Bladespire, cling to the remnants of power that the ogres once possessed in Draenor by any means necessary. In the eastern part of the zone, the masters of the gronn, the magnaron, plot and scheme to their own ends.

I didn't expect to be all that interested in Frostfire Ridge--I play Alliance-side, after all--but this preview, plus the music, kind of has me sold! Head on over to the official site to see what Zachariah Owens and Ryan Shwayder have to say about this hostile, fascinating zone.

Filed under: News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: 5 ways to prepare for Warlords of Draenor

If you aren't in the Warlords beta, you're stuck killing time until the expansion comes out later this year... which at this point is a bit yawntastic. However, there are some things you can do to get ready for Warlords of Draenor, and Doronsmovies has some tips. Sure, it's killing time, but what else is a WoW-player to do right now?

If you'd rather check out beta footage, Doronsmovies has also done a Frostfire Ridge montage to give you a tour of the new horde zone. Though while the video embedded above has no expansion spoilers, the Frostfire Ridge video does show off new game content, so don't watch it if you're avoiding expansion info.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Editorial: Change is hard, but not changing is even harder


Warcraft isn't what it used to be. There's been a lot of changes to everything over the past decade. While the base of the game is there in some regards, it's hard to say that the experience of WoW is anything like it was when some of us first picked it up. In 2004 the game was, quite literally, your second life. Now? It can be a casual companion, one that you can come and go from with ease.

This fundamental change doesn't sit well with some people, but with others its something that's allowed the game to keep with their lives after all these years. I fall into that category -- there's no way I'd be able to enjoy the WoW of 2004. I can't farm mats forever, and I can't spend five hours every night raiding. Some days I can only log in and play for 30 minutes, others I can binge for hours and hours. WoW has evolved as my life has evolved, and I love it for that.

Lately there has been a lot of unhappiness in the community. Changes that people don't agree with, things that have happened that make little sense to a lot of people. I'm in that group too -- I don't like everything I've heard out of Blizzard lately. I don't get the change of the capital locations. I don't understand the mass removal of abilities. And even though I'm happy about something like the auction house combination, I don't feel like we have all the answers and it leaves me wanting more details.

But, all that is secondary and needs to be put into some context -- and this context is something that the community needs to come to terms with quickly.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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