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Posts with tag world-of-warcraft-expansion

BlizzCon and the expansion after Warlords

The Queue has received a number of questions about expansion timing, and while we have no answers, it is a situation we find interesting. Warlords of Draenor launches the week after BlizzCon 2014. In recent months, Blizzard has been reiterating their goal of releasing the next expansion more quickly. More specifically, Tom Chilton has mentioned in recent interviews that Warlords of Draenor may have only two total raid tiers, with the next expansion landing a year or a year-and-a-half after Warlords. For the sake of discussion, let's assume Blizzard will actually accomplish their timeline goals in this development cycle.

If Warlords does have two raid tiers that last six months each, the next expansion releasing one year after Warlords, could we be in for a surprise at this year's BlizzCon? Announcing the expansion to follow Warlords before it has even launched doesn't make much sense -- marketing wouldn't want to undercut themselves. It simply wouldn't make sense to hype the next-next big thing before the next big thing has even hit the shelves. If BlizzCon 2014 did not announce an expansion on this timeline, however, when would it be announced?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon

Mists of Pandaria is our Emerald Dream expansion

Back in the days of vanilla, life was very much about exploration. Even though the world of Azeroth was admittedly massive, there were still areas players couldn't get to -- tantalizing areas that were made inaccessible either by steep mountain faces, or simply being someplace under the world map where no one could get to. One of these areas was the Emerald Dream, shown above. Despite not being in the game as playable content, the zones still existed.

This led to all kinds of speculation about an upcoming Emerald Dream expansion. Players assumed that these files meant that we were eventually headed for the lush green lands of Ysera and her amazing druid friends. Yet despite the presence of the maps, it never happened. Ysera is now devoid of her powers as of the end of Cataclysm, whatever that implies towards her relationship with the Emerald Dream. By Cataclysm, it became apparent that whatever mysteries those old maps held, the Emerald Dream was just an idea lost in time.

Or was it? Maybe we're playing through the Emerald Dream right now.

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

Mists of Pandaria beta: Gurgthock's return

Proving that no vast, unexplored vista is too remote for a good bout of brawling for profit, Gurgthock has made a return in Mists of Pandaria, along with Wodin the Troll-Servant and Zena, Wodin's warrior kitten. If these names sound familiar to you, they absolutely should -- Gurgthock and his arenas have been a fixture in every expansion to date. Featuring battles to the death against various opponents from each unique expansion, Gurgthock's arenas are a staple of WoW expansion leveling, usually featuring some pretty amazing loot as rewards.

Currently, my character on the beta is at level 87, and Gurgthock's quest is grayed out. The quest, featuring a brand new slug-fest called the Arena of Annihilation, is likely meant for characters at level 88 or 89. However, judging from the rumors at the Temple of the White Tiger, none of these opponents are going to be a particular pushover. In fact, there's rumors of one fighter simply called The Wrestler who can wipe the floor with any opponent he faces.

The Wrestler? That sounds kind of familiar ...

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Has the beta changed your mind about Pandaria?

I can't really deny that I've been excited about and looking forward to Mists since I first heard the announcement for it. To me, the idea of a new continent to explore reminded me of the days trekking around Outland, and I've missed that feeling. Sure, Wrath of the Lich King was great, but it was Northrend -- it didn't really have that alien feel of landscape I'd never seen before, even though some areas were pretty breathtaking. But for a little while there, I felt like I was in the minority.

The reaction to the Mists of Pandaria announcement was mixed, which had me fairly confused. Much of the gripe seemed to be coming from the fact that pandaren were going to become a playable race. I found this a little odd, especially given that a Know Your Lore I'd written a little over a year before had plenty of people pondering the idea of pandaren in game with delight -- maybe not as playable, but it certainly seemed like people wanted to see them. So ... what gives?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

How to prepare your character to copy over to the MoP beta

Beta keys are being unleashed left and right for Mists of Pandaria. While anyone with beta access can create a pandaren and try out the starting zone, that zone is a little clogged right now. Taking a stroll through the Jade Forest might be more up your alley -- it's the first zone we'll encounter as we level from 85 to 90. All you need is a level 85 character, and you can teleport right over to the Jade Forest and begin your journey.

While there are options for premade characters on the beta servers, it may not be the right option for you. After all, most players are far more comfortable with their own characters than they are with a random level 85. Plus you get the added insight of just how far your current gear, enchants and gems will take you when the game goes live. Blizzard has a feature that allows you to copy your characters over to the beta servers for just that purpose -- but before you do it, there are some things you should prepare for.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria beta: A guide to pandaren pronunciation

Mists of Pandaria brings us an all-new continent with a ton of brand-new races, quests, storylines, and characters. Along with those characters comes a whole host of names that look a lot easier to pronounce than they actually are. With names commonly found in the troll race, it's a simple matter of navigating your way around all of the apostrophes. Old Gods, for the most part, sound just like they are spelled. But with the names you find in Mists, there's an actual precedent for pronunciation, and most words definitely don't sound like they look.

Simon, one of our readers who also happens to be fluent in Chinese, took some time out of his busy day to drop an email in my inbox detailing just a few of the Chinese words, their meaning, and their actual pronunciations. According to Simon, many of the names you'll encounter in Mists are actually written using the standard PinYin system, which, when accurate, is usually pronounced differently than how it looks.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

A spoiler-free look at the Mists of Pandaria beta

Are you in the beta for Mists of Pandaria yet? Are you fastidiously avoiding spoilers about all beta-related content? As a site that covers Warcraft news, you'll find more often than not that we have a lot of content up on the site that could be considered spoilers. And if you're someone who's avoiding all that spoiler content, it can get a little frustrating to have to keep scrolling past all that information -- or even more frustrating, dealing with the temptation that all of the spoiler information you could ever want to indulge, just behind that click.

Well, that's not what this article is about. It's about the beta, but it's a spoiler-free look at the beta. You'll see some screenshots, but mostly what you'll be reading is what the beta is like. No spoilers of cool story information or anything of that nature here -- just information on Mists, how it looks, how it's shaping up, and what to expect in the event that you do get a beta invite and would like to indulge.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Temple of the Jade Serpent overview

The Temple of the Jade Serpent is the first of many dungeons we'll be encountering in Mists of Pandaria, and it's currently the only one open and available on the beta servers. The dungeon is fine at level 85, and if you've managed to level through the Jade Forest and hit level 86, there's a wonderful guy at the front entrance (pictured above) who will sell you a variety of items. These include higher-level bandages, any glyphs you might be missing, and Tome of the Clear Mind, Mists of Pandaria's version of Dust of Disappearance for those level 86 or higher.

If nothing else, I'd recommend popping in here just to visit Flaskataur, say hello, and purchase a few things. But that wouldn't be anywhere near as fun as running this starter dungeon. Fast, precise, and to the point, Temple of the Jade Serpent is nothing like the sheer length of Zul'Gurub, and much more like the shortened length of dungeons like Vortex Pinnacle, minus the travel time. In short, it's perfectly ... well, short!

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: How do you feel about Mists of Pandaria spoilers?

What with Mists of Pandaria news and coverage of the beta all over the place, spoilers can be really, really hard to avoid. While I generally try to keep spoiler content out of Know Your Lore (and clearly label it as such if something might be a spoiler), I've still been just as busy posting beta news and information about zones, quests, features and more. Now thankfully, WoW Insider clearly labels all Mists of Pandaria info as such, so you can easily scroll right on by if you don't want to read anything ... but that doesn't mean that the temptation isn't there.

You know what I mean. Even if you've sworn to yourself you don't want to know, you won't look for anything, and that you want to go into Mists completely unspoiled, the temptation to look is there. Do you push the button and read the news, or do you firmly keep yourself spoiler-free? And what counts as a spoiler? Is news posted on the official WoW site, like the information from the press event, hands-off? Or does that count as fine to look at, but beta info is forbidden?

Do you care about spoilers? Do you avoid every bit of Mists info you can and try not to read anything at all? Are you tempted by the glut of information out there to indulge yourself as much as possible? Or do you just read everything that's available and shrug off spoilers as something you don't really worry about?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Mists of Pandaria Beta: New icons make questing a breeze

Do you remember the times you had a quest in your log that asked you to go speak to someone in particular? Or the quests that required you to speak to or deliver something to several different people? It was almost impossible to track where those people were, since they weren't marked with a yellow exclamation point, and they didn't glitter like most quest objectives.

Well, that issue has suddenly evaporated in Mists of Pandaria with the introduction of a new quest icon. In much the same fashion as the usual exclamation points in blue and yellow (and question marks of the same color), all of those pesky people you have to talk to are now marked by a simple yellow word balloon over their head. But the improvements go further than just that -- quest targets are also marked on your minimap for you with a white word balloon icon, as well.

And if that's not enough for you, there's also a new icon for interactive objects -- a floating yellow set of gears. This seems to be for quests that involve searching for clues or items you need to examine; the gears float over the various quest objectives. Both new icons are bright and easy to see, clear indicators that whatever they're floating over is part of a quest you have in your logs.

Both of these situations are something I'd chalked up to one of those little annoyances that I rarely thought about. But now that I've seen the solution in action, it's elegantly done and makes the entire questing experience much smoother. These improvements are both small additions, but they add so much to the overall experience that you start to wonder how you lived without them. The Mists leveling experience is pleasant so far, but it's the little additions like these that make all the difference.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Wandering Isle image gallery

Mists of Pandaria is absolutely beautiful. Though beta players cannot access Pandaria at this time, they can still visit the pandaren starting zone and level through the experience. The Wandering Isle is home to the descendants of Pandaria who chose to leave the main island generations ago, instead wandering Azeroth on the back of a giant turtle.

If Pandaria is anywhere near as visually stunning as the starter zone, we're in for a treat. Check out the gallery below for shots from The Wandering Isle as you play through from beginning to end. It's a breathtaking bunch of scenery and a uniquely beautiful zone, the likes of which we've never seen before.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria: Female pandaren emotes and animation

Wondering what the pandaren female models look like in action? Here's a video of the emotes available so far, as well as some of the female pandaren animations. It's tough to imagine how the female pandaren move just by looking at a still image, but the video should give you a better idea of just how polished and fluid this model is.

Mists is still in beta, and not all emotes are available at this time. Some of the female vocals and customization options aren't in place yet, either. Both of these should come with time. For now, despite missing a few emotes, the model is looking pretty finished overall, and I have to say I'm impressed with how amazing they look and act.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

WoW Insider's Mists of Pandaria coverage

The NDA has lifted for the March 15 Mists of Pandaria press event! We're happy to present you with the following posts. Enjoy!
We will have more content, including our interviews with Dave Kosak and Ray Cobo, coming a little later today.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

How do you keep your guild busy during the pre-expansion lull?

It's become something of a cycle over the years: An expansion is released, servers are glutted with players eagerly devouring content. As the expansion goes on, patches are released with more new content to play. But eventually, all good things must come to an end -- and when the last patch of an expansion is released, guild leaders have to contend with players who get ... well, flat-out bored, really. With nothing left to look forward to until the next expansion is released, it's hard to keep a guild entertained.

As far as my guild goes, we keep ourselves amused by going back and completing old achievements or clearing old content. Any raid mounts that we may have missed along the way are picked up for all. In between that, people run old-world raids on off nights for transmogrification gear and other achievements. But in every guild I've been in, there's always a lull at the end of expansions. Once you've beaten that final boss and dinged that last achievement, what do you do to keep your guild entertained when the expansion is drawing to a close?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds

World of Warcraft no longer compatible with Windows 2000 in Mists of Pandaria

Community Manager Bashiok made an interesting announcement this morning -- as of the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion, World of Warcraft will no longer run on machines using Windows 2000 as an operating system. Microsoft itself ceased supporting this version in 2010. Those who are currently using Windows 2000 should upgrade before Mists is released, if you'd like to continue playing WoW.

One of the big benefits to playing World of Warcraft has always been that it can be played on a variety of systems, from the exceptionally small and outdated to the current, top-of-the-line models. I always found that a fascinating phenomenon, and it made good sense -- after all, if you want the max number of players able to play your game, you want to make it available with the widest software and technology possible. Yet there's a drawback to this; if you want to continually make that content available for older systems, there's only so far you can go updating content.

As a game that just celebrated its seven-year anniversary, WoW absolutely needs to keep updating in order to remain competitive. With new MMOs coming out all the time, a game that is seven years old starts to lose its shine. Continuous updates make sure that it stays just as fresh as it did in 2004. You can't keep those updates rolling if you're trying to support an operating system that is now 12 years old. I think, however, we're safely in the territory where most people have moved beyond Windows 2000, so this shouldn't affect a huge majority of players, particularly when Microsoft itself has already phased out support for the operating system. What this does do, however, is make me look forward to Mists of Pandaria and what it has in store.

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Filed under: News items, Hardware, Mists of Pandaria

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