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Posts with tag world-of-warcraft-interviews

Warlords of Draenor: Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas on healing in dungeons

Dungeons can be tricky to balance. Too easy, and everything turns into a 'go go go' zergdown. Too hard, and no one wants to run them. This is of course subject to change as gear and skill and familiarity all increase, of course. But it's a topic that Ion Hazzikostas recently took up on the forums. One of the things people have been concerned about is the change to how healing works, and Ion discussed it and why they made the changes. Basically, it came down to the idea that with mana regen effectively not a factor in Mists, the only way to kill players in raids was with massive spikes of damage that required immediate reaction from healers to survive.
Our goal is not to make healing more difficult. Note that nowhere in the above did I say that a problem with Mists healing is that it was too "easy." We want to slow down the pace a bit, and for the challenge in healing to lie more in making decisions about spell usage and targeting, and less in twitch-reaction and sustaining a DPS-style rotation. This also means that the cost of a mistake is not a dead player, but rather a more injured one, giving you a chance to fix your error.
So what does this have to do with dungeon tuning? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Dungeons are being tested on the beta now (I've recently gotten to run Auchindoun and Shadowmoon Burial Grounds) and when they're tested, your level is adjusted to the bare minimum necessary to run said dungeons. This of course means that players are testing the content at its lowest possible threshold, because it has to function for players in the minimum gear to get into the door. And this leads to issues with healing, because the dungeons aren't final yet. It's an interesting job, beta testing. Often, stuff doesn't work - that's why you test it.

We've reproduced Watcher's post in full after the cut. For the most part, I'm interested to see if Blizzard actually succeeds with their goal of slowing down healing.

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

Know Your Lore: The Ashbringer, Alexandros Mograine

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.

Unlike other KYL's we've written here, this one's actually about two things - a person, and a weapon. The weapon is one of the most powerful ever forged, crafted by the hand of a dwarven king mourning a brother he believed slain, made with a chunk of crystal from another world. The man was a tireless crusader for his people, who stood against the forces of the Scourge - and when he did, whole armies of the undead were as ash.

We speak of both, for both were the Ashbringer. But to speak of the blade, first we have to speak of the man - for it was by the actions of Alexandros Mograine that the blade came into existence.

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

WoW Moviewatch: Peaches

Spring is finally here for real. Sure, the nights are cold, but the days are getting longer and the temperature is finally climbing a little bit. It's a good time to get outside and enjoy some fair reminders of the warmer days to come. And no song celebrates the fruit of the season quite like Peaches.

Bonkey's WoW-rendition of this classic song is probably still my favorite. With an all-star cast of machinima legends, Peaches is the ultimate celebration of fun, community, and thank-the-Light-for-the-weather.
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

Bashiok on choice and complexity

It's not a secret that a lot of change is coming to Warlords of Draenor and WoW, and not all of us are sanguine about all of it. Enter Bashiok, the man, the demonic evil tree avatar, with a forum post about the nature of choice and how it informs complexity in our gaming.

Bashiok's point about interesting choices vs. choices for the sake of having more choices is one that is worth discussing. There's complexity that comes from the interaction of options, and complexity that descends from an overwhelming variety of options. In the past, Blizzard has always tried to err on the side of lesser, more interesting choices as opposed to more choices that aren't necessarily choices at all. One need look no further than the change in Mists of Pandaria to our talent system. We lost talents that added things like 1/2/3% crit and gained decisions. Not everyone liked that change, but it's worthwhile to keep in mind when looking at future changes that happen.

There's a lot of complexity in modern WoW that evolved over time as new systems were introduced, but not all of this complexity is based on meaningful options and gameplay. As we get closer to Warlords of Draenor, we're going to lose some of this evolved complexity, in order to clear out some room for more choices that matter.

For the full text of Bashiok's post, click on through to the other side.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

15 Minutes of Fame: Actor Jake Stormoen lives the fantasy life on set and in Azeroth

Photo: Arrowstorm Entertainment
I actually made myself practice saying the first name of actor Jake Stormoen before our recent phone interview: "Jayyyyyyyke," I intoned over and over, trying to banish the memory of the chewy Irish "Jehk" I'd heard so many times in tale after tale of Azerothian camaraderie from long-time gaming buddy Kristian Nairn ("Hodor" in HBO's Game of Thrones). It's impossible to get very far talking with either actor without running into a reference to the other; the two have formed one of those crazy gaming bonds that -- well, you know how it is with a bromance forged in the ice and fire of Azeroth.

I caught up with the smaller half of the inseparable WoW-playing duo by phone during a break from the frigid set of multi-part fantasy epic Mythica, now filming on location in Utah in temperatures as low as 10 below zero. Young actor with a cool fantasy role? This guy's most definitely got it going on. We explored WoW friendships, mused over the pressures of tanking, laughed about blowing off steam in Azeroth after a long day on the set -- oh, and paused the whole interview mid-stream to deadpan and snort our way through a phone call from the Hodor-sized half of the Nairn/Stormoen duo.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

A legendary chat with Wrathion VA Aaron Phillips

One of the more intriguing new characters to come out of Cataclysm was Wrathion, who took a curious journey through the Badlands as an egg and emerged with dubious intentions during the rogue legendary quest chain. Since then, Wrathion has led many a player of every class on a merry chase across the wilds of Pandaria in a legendary quest meant not just for rogues, but for all. Wrathion's motives have always been a little unclear, and whether he's working on the side of good, or with slightly more evil intentions, has been up for debate since his first appearance.

But Wrathion simply wouldn't be Wrathion without the voice that brought him to life as a sometimes petulant, sometimes angry, and sometimes touchingly desperate whelp with an apparent plan to save the world. Whether casually ordering Fahrad to break a pair of legs, pleading with Chi-Ji, or throwing the temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums in his temporary home, the voice of Wrathion has been just as distinctive as the character itself. So how does one bring life to such a strange character? We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Wrathion's voice actor himself. Aaron Phillips may be immediately recognizable for Wrathion, but his works far exceed the vocal stylings of one angsty dragon -- and you may be surprised to note that you've likely heard him in a variety of places.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

The WoW Insider Show Episode 326

The WoW Insider Show Episode 247 In which we say hello to Anne
Every week, join us as we present you with The WoW Insider Show podcast -- an hour's worth of WoW community discussion covering everything from the week's top stories here on WoW Insider to emails from our readers and what's been going on with our particular characters in Azeroth.

Want to have your question answered on the air? Email theshow@wowinsider.com! And don't forget to join us for the live show again next Monday at 8:00 p.m. PDT!

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Filed under: Podcasts, Podcasting, WoW Insider Show

Voiceover actor Matt Mercer on working in games and comics, plus the "Vezax voice"

Cartoon Voices I- Room 6BCF - 1:00-2:00 at San Diego Comic Con 2012
Halion the Twilight Destroyer. General Vezax. Ka'roz the Locust. You know Matt Mercer already -- he's the voice booming in your head in Ulduar, during the Siege Orgrimmar, in the nooks and crannies of Azeroth. The phenomenally popular video game and anime voiceover actor is known for -- well, let me just slide you a link to his Wikipedia page and let you delight in discovering his stamp on one of your own favorite comics, anime or video games from Sinbad to Resident Evil 6.

Behind that panoply of voices is a WoW player and fan whose GM, actress Michele Morrow, describes as a wonderfully down-to-earth and nice guy. "Every now and then, we'll have his boss [that he voiced in game] come along, and so we yell at him ... to do the voices," she recounted last week here at WoW Insider. "He's fantastic; you'll love him."

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoW-Playing Actress Michele Morrow: Less Sylvanas, more chaotically awesome

When we first met actress Michele Morrow in 2010, she was inching her way across the shallow field comprising the Hollywood crowd that plays World of Warcraft. It appeared to be a successful combination for Michele; in fact, for a while it seemed the horror flick star might actually be becoming best known as "that actress who wants to play Lady Sylvanas in a WoW movie," courtesy of a vocal Facebook page created by an enthusiastic fan.

While Sylvanas doesn't now appear to be spawning in the upcoming WoW movie, Michele's been popping up not only in Azeroth itself (with a commemorative NPC on Wandering Isle) but on gamer and nerd websites across the internet and in gaming-related film projects slated to begin hitting in 2014. Reconnecting with Michele at BlizzCon 2013 unspooled a reel of geekery worth investigating anew, as well as relatable tales of the sort of down-to-earth, casual raiding and in-game friendships that so many players enjoy as the WoW experience today.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

How the Sha of Happiness conquered BlizzCon 2013

It stands to reason that if someone known as Angryorc turns out to be Mr. Nice Guy in person, someone named the Sha of Happiness could turn out to be a real stinker. Fortunately for all of us, the Sha of Happiness took BlizzCon 2013 by storm in the sunniest of ways. Her relentless positivity illuminated the dark convention hall in Anaheim, and players discovered to their delight that the character they've embraced on Twitter is as welcoming and personable in the flesh. Whenever the Sha was about, BlizzCon's Meeting Stone and Community Corner positively glowed as welcoming destinations that other players found themselves returning to again and again.

Inspired by Angryorc and other WoW-themed roleplay characters such as @Arakkoa on Twitter, Shappi (as she's popularly known) created the Sha of Happiness character to shine a little light into the WoW community at large. "I've been posting on the EU/NA Warcraft/D3 general forums and more for about five years now, and I've been disheartened at the farewell posts and them stating that it didn't feel like a home for them anymore," she explains. "Whether it be Sanctuary or Azeroth, everyone should have a safe space. I strive to provide something like that for people on Twitter."

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Angryorc smashes into WoW community's affections

Before November and BlizzCon 2013, the man behind the runaway Twitter hit @Angryorc1 was a little hesitant about unmasking his identity. BlizzCon-bound, he seemed uncertain how to meet fans without compromising his own privacy or popping the illusion when people met a very real, very down-to-Earth dude named Gregg. "Up till now, all my interview requests have been for podcasts, which I have avoided doing," he wrote nervously in October. "I feel the character will lose something if I put my voice out there, plus I sound like Aaron Neville."

But then came BlizzCon. Angryorc charged the convention head on, fully open with his identity, and fans adored him. "I signed autographs, Lisa," he marveled. "Many. How crazy is that? Totally floored by all the support. People telling you they use Twitter specifically to read your stuff or that your jokes have inspired them to come back to play WoW is very, very humbling. It's lit a fire in me to go even harder, to be funnier -- how the hell do I do that?"

With more than 12,000 Twitter followers, he seems to be managing quite well. Here's our interview of the man behind the orc -- and a short interview with the orc himself, as well.

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Filed under: Humor, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: BlizzCon meetup balloons into mega-podcast event

It was early spring when a few BlizzCon-bound WoW players who were looking to connect and make friends in Anaheim started gathering forces on Twitter.


"I will say as the list has grown, more and more folks have asked me if there was going to be something beyond just the Twitter list," mused Ceraphus, co-host of The Sundering and Azeroth Pirate Radio podcasts and sparkplug for the growing list, back in April. "So right now I am really just in a brainstorming phase and seeing who may be interested in assisting on any potential event."

That must have been some pretty good brainstorming. What started out as a Twitter list of enthusiastic BlizzCon-goers turned into a full-bore pre-BlizzCon mega-podcast event called World of Podcasts. With representation from 23 podcasts across six panels, the event attracted so many fans that the venue location had to be expanded at the last moment. Ceraphus explains how the fan event unfolded across Twitter to explode onto the BlizzCon scene and teases us with a glimpse of what may be in store for future World of Podcasts events.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: The friendliest cosplayer at BlizzCon 2013

It's only a very few cosplayers who make it to the top of the pyramid at Blizzard's official BlizzCon costume contests. Officially, pandaren monk cosplayer Amanda Wisley may not have among those finalists this year -- but unofficially, the bubbly redhead earned a reputation for her bright, engaging cosplay with attendees delighted to find themselves in animated conversation with a fully suited pandaren.

Amanda's experience as a professional children's entertainer specializing in mascots laid the foundation for some truly magical moments. Stop to observe for a moment, and you can literally watch her audience melt. A companionable wave, a welcome with arms flung wide, or a little jig of excitement demonstrate that this is one friendly pandaren who's eager to make an in-character connection. It's a reminder that Disneyland lies just across the street, and the effect is downright irresistible.

After first meeting Amanda cosplaying a paladin at BlizzCon 2010, we decided to follow her cosplay journey to BlizzCon 2013. We explored her preliminary plans, then caught up with her again just before the con. When we last left Amanda, she was agonizing over her position on the contest registration wait list, wondering if after committing to the expense, hotel and air reservations, ticket money, and preparations, she would even gain a chance to participate in the official contest. Did Amanda get her chance to walk across the stage at BlizzCon 2013?

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

BlizzCon 2013 Impressions: CCed in the BlizzCon experience

The woman who approached our lunch table seemed friendly but slightly uncomfortable. "Excuse me, but do you work for Blizzard?" she asked with a tentative smile. Her brother, she went on to explain, had once known somebody who supposedly went on to the work there, but she didn't know the first thing about the game and had no idea if that was true or what he did there. We exchanged a quick glance -– incoming story about someone who once tested a Blizzard game, am I right? -– and continued to munch on our salads while nodding and making polite noises.

"So what's your friend's name?" inquired the ever-personable Michael Gray. "Chris Metzen," she replied almost apologetically. "Is he ... somebody?"

Our friendly local storyteller (who preferred to remain anonymous –- but my report here on the BlizzCon experience wouldn't be complete if I didn't share her story with you) went on to share a tale of growing up across the street from the Metzen family here in Southern California, where her brother played T-ball with the pint-sized future rock star of Blizzard. The thing she remembered most about "little Chris," as she called him, was the game in which he executed his task as catcher so enthusiastically that he found himself caught in the netting behind the plate -– CCed so completely, in fact, that the team's parents had to come cut him out with scissors.

Everybody all together now: Awwww ... (/grin)

All these years later, we find ourselves happily CCed in the net cast by Little Chris himself, the World of Warcraft of his imagination. And back at BlizzCon, our lunchtime encounter with a friendly SoCal native encapsulates the spirit of the BlizzCon weekend -- people brought together by Blizzard's games. You won't find any reveals about the expansion in this BlizzCon roundup, but if you're interested in some of the faces and places seen around the convention all weekend, read on!

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Filed under: BlizzCon

15 Minutes of Fame: Road to BlizzCon cosplay -- the grind to perfection

There's simply something about Amanda. When we first spied her making the rounds with her stunning green-eyed paladin at BlizzCon 2010, we found ourselves captivated. Yet Amanda wasn't a finalist in 2010. She didn't draw crowds by displaying huge swaths of bare skin, parading up and down the promenade in front of the convention center. Not a seamstress, she doesn't even craft all of her costumes' parts and pieces personally by hand.

What Amanda Wisley does is cosplay with heart. The die-hard fan outsources her imagination to create costumes that exemplify the spirit she sees in the game she loves. This WoW lover loves to bring her visions to life, sharing them over long hours walking the convention floor and grounds to visit with other fans. But while this year's BlizzCon will see her buried inside a full fur suit as a pandaren monk, will her hopes of participating in Blizzard's official costume contest get buried as well?

In an upsetting discovery made long after tickets had been purchased and her costume was in progress, Amanda learned early last month that she'd not been lucky enough to snag one of the coveted sign-ups for the costume contest. She's been assured that she's high on the waiting list -- but after months of preparation, a successful race for BlizzCon tickets, booking air travel and accommodations, and of course all the expenses of creating her costume itself, will she get her shot at walking across the BlizzCon stage?

Take a look at the emotional highs and lows of this determined cosplayer's road to BlizzCon 2013 as her costume and itinerary laboriously come together.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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