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Posts with tag world

The World as Story: Emergent storytelling in World of Warcraft

How does storytelling function in World of Warcraft? What are its limits? Does it have to unfold solely via quest text, or can it be told via other means? I ask this in part due to a developing discussion on the scale and scope of how the world we interact with as we play reveals the story elements. Back when I first started playing WoW, game story was almost exclusively revealed via quest text. When it wasn't, it was often revealed via in-game books. I remembered being floored with the pre-fight scene between Majordomo Executus and Ragnaros because it was a bit of story happening entirely in front of my eyes via dialogue and scene.

Over the years World of Warcraft has added a host of tools to its story delivery options - cutscenes, scenarios, events like Battle for Undercity, open-ended exploration, and quest integration with each of these kinds of vectors for story. It's not all just text anymore - we have in-game cinematics, cut-scenes rendered and played through using totally in game scenes, dialogue (the end of the Isle of Thunder, when Jaina and Lor'themar confronted one another was entirely realized through in-game dialogue), scenarios like A Little Patience and Dagger in the Dark, and even more complex combinations of all of them. The Dominance Offensive/Operation Shieldwall story in particular was unveiled through all of these techniques, using every arrow in the quiver to drive the story points home.

I'm bringing this up because of the recent revelation that not all secondary objectives in Warlords of Draenor will have quest text. The discussion led to a series of tweets from Dave Kosak that I think definitely are worth discussing. How do we get story in an MMO? Can the world we encounter be the story itself? As we move through it, how can it be best presented to us?

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

Total war and Mists of Pandaria

If you've ever seen Joyeux Noel, you're familiar with the concept of a temporary armistice -- not like the AQ-40 events where Alliance and Horde fought together against a greater threat, but instead a simple cease-fire for various reasons. I recently mentioned the idea of Cross-Faction Real ID raiding, but this isn't that. Instead, I'm finding myself wondering about how the war in warcraft is presented in World of Warcraft and how it could be presented.

Warfare often has twists and turns that when viewed later through the lens of history seem absurd. In our own history (a history devoid of things like magic), we've seen bat bombs, fire balloons, and even British Secret Service agents playing pranks on Nazi sympathizers in South America. War is often terrible, yes, but it's also ludicrous and insane. How much more bizarre, incomprehensible and deranged could war become in a world where orcs throw demon fire at humans who pull the raw power of Light down through themselves?

This leads me to wonder how total war between the factions in World of Warcraft will be presented.

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

Shifting Perspectives: The new face of balance druid PVP

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or something you'd like to see to tyler@wowinsider.com.

It is fairly common knowledge that I am not an avid PVPer. It isn't so much that the balance spec is weak in PVP (even if it is); nor is it a matter that I find the system frustrating. It more has to deal with my having to be exceptional at what I do, or I won't do at all. Sure, I may not be an instant superstar at everything, but normally I feel I can learn, improve. The PVP learning curve is steep, further complicated by playing a very difficult spec in that environment -- so for me, I avoid it.

That being said, I do throughly enjoy watching PVP, theorizing on the balance of PVP, and keeping up with the scene in general. This week, I want to bring my newest PVP observations to you in hopes that I can help those out there who want to give balance PVP the shot it deserves. We aren't as terrible as people would lead you to think!

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Race to World First documentary releasing soon

Looking for Group Productions has been hard at work on its documentary Race to World First for a good long while now, capturing many top-tier World of Warcraft guilds' attempts at claiming coveted world firsts in the raiding game as well as following Blood Legion's race to a top spot. Set to release in a few weeks, Race to World First looks like it's going to be an introspective look at the time and energy that many of these guilds put into the raiding game, as well as an examination of the multicultural nature of the game and the general excitement that goes along with MMO accomplishments.

Each week, Race to World First looks at clips from players in guilds that have been fighting for or actually achieved world firsts. Looking back a bit, this clip with Narilka of Ensidia chronicles her time spent with the guild downing Kil'jaeden at the end of The Burning Crusade when she was still just 16 years old.

We loved having the Race to World First production team at the WoW Insider reader meetup at BlizzCon in 2010 -- they were some of the nicest guys and had a blast talking to real players and real fans. I am excited to see this documentary. Check out the trailer -- you might even see some familiar faces!

Filed under: Raiding

Cryptozoic previews new goblin and worgen allies for WoW TCG Worldbreaker set

Cryptozoics' posterous blog has been nothing short of an amazing wealth of information about Worldbreaker, the newest expansion for the WoW Trading Card Game. Loads of new abilities, cards, allies, heroes and more are being shown off, and for TCG fans, all of this new stuff looks to be pretty dang fun.

In addition, worgen and goblin allies have been introduced! Each new race has a cool new ability associated with it: worgen allies with the Aberration keyword cannot be dealt non-combat damage, and goblins allies with the Time is Money keyword can use exhaust abilities as soon as they enter play. These new allies, as well as all of the revealed information, are bringing some fascinating new play mechanics to the trading card game.

Check out the new worgen ally Rolan Phoenix, along with a new version of Magni Bronzebeard, here. The new goblin ally Exxi the Windshaper, along with orc mage Ceraka and Cairne, Earthmother's Chosen, can be previewed here.

Filed under: WoW TCG, Worgen, Goblin

Pre-Cataclysm world events live on the PTR

As we speak, fires rage in Orgrimmar, the Alliance leaders have called an emergency meeting, and new enemies have been revealed all across Azeroth. The cataclysm is on our very doorsteps! The pre-expansion events are now live on the public test realms.

So far, here are some cool things we are hearing about:
  • New bosses are in some 5-man dungeons, including quests for Grand Ambassador Flamelash in Blackrock Depths, Crown Prince Theradras in Maraudon, Prince Sarasun in the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, and Kai'ju Gahz'rilla in Zul'Farrak.
  • These instances are much like the holiday bosses -- queueing for them takes you to a special version of the instance, where you fight alongside a faction leader. These instance bosses are dropping ilevel 251 necks and rings for brave adventurers.
  • Horde and Alliance towns are being attacked by waves and waves of elemental adversaries.
  • The Twilight Cultist quest lines are active.
  • Orgrimmar is on fire. Like, all of it.
  • Magni Bronzebeard has called for an emergency meeting of the Alliance leaders to discuss what he believes is a horrible event that's about to occur -- in his words, dwarves are "close to the ground" and can feel that something's going to happen. But what can they do? Maybe these tablets Brann found in Ulduar could help ...
  • And much, much more!
We will continue to update the site with more information as it becomes available. Also, check out our write-up of the Tablets of Fire quest line, and the Twilight Cultist event gallery below. Get excited, folks. The reckoning is almost upon us.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Typhoon Struggle claims world first strict 10-man heroic Lich King kill

Big congratulations are in order for <Typhoon Struggle> of the Defias Brotherhood (EU) server, the first guild in the strict 10-man GuildOx rankings to kill the Lich King on heroic. GuildOx interviewed Sheeana, Typhoon Struggle's guild master, who shared some of the trials and tribulations of the kill, especially the brutal first phase of the encounter.

What are the 10-man strict rankings, you ask? GuildOx ranks the progression of guilds all across the different realms. The strict 10-man rankings are, essentially, 10-man raid groups that never have access to the 25-man versions of the instance. This means that a strict 10-man raiding group will never have gear or drops obtained through 25-man raiding.

To be considered and ranked on the GuildOx strict 10-man rankings, members of the 10-man raiding group can never earn an ICC-25 or ToGC-25 kill. Even though ICC-25 drops the same iLevel gear as ICC-10 heroic, GuildOx discourages the practice, as this allows strict 10-man raiding groups to gear up twice as fast. "Strict" means "strict." In addition, strict 10-man guilds usually only have a limited roster of between 10 to 12 people, since most others go on to the 25-man versions of the encounters.

According to Sheeana, the toughest phase was the first, as the Lich King's minions on heroic scale in power exponentially. These are raiders using, at the most, iLevel 264 gear.

For the full interview and announcement, including the criteria for the strict 10-man rankings, visit GuildOx. You can learn more about the criteria surrounding the strict 10-man rules here. Again, big congratulations to Typhoon Struggle!

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Keep Azeroth clean

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

Is it just me, or is the air a bit dirtier than it used to be? Turbo-Charged Flying Machines, Mekgineer's Choppers, the new Refer-A-Friend X-53 Touring Rocket and not to mention all of the vehicles in Ulduar and Wintergrasp. Soon goblins will be driving their very own cars! Yes, it seems the once fresh, clean atmosphere of Azeroth is destined to become more polluted than trade chat.

At first I thought the whole Ice Stone melting incident was a farce .. just a part of our natural, cyclical climate change. But what if all of this engineering exhaust is causing irreparable damage? Perhaps it's the pollution itself that causes "Cataclysm" and not the return of Deathwing, like we've been told. It seems we are amidst the industrial revolution of Azeroth, and the progression of technology cannot be stifled any longer. As an engineer myself, I have to wonder about the effects I have personally had on WoW's environment -- crafting machines, bombs and even extracting motes and eternals on a daily basis. For shame.

Have you contributed to polluting Azeroth? If so what can we do to improve the air quality or prevent the situation from getting out of control?

Have you ever wanted to write for WoW.com? Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions for articles via Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com. The next byline you see here may be yours!



Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Paragon scores world-first legitimate 25-man Lich King kill

GuildOx reports that Paragon, from the European Lightning's Blade realm, has defeated the Lich King and acquired the Frozen Throne achievement. While well-known guild Ensidia had defeated him yesterday on 25-man difficulty, they also employed some dubious techniques to win and later paid the price for it by having their loot and achievements removed.

Paragon, on the other hand, appears to have completed the encounter in an exploit-free manner and, according to MMO-Champion's Boubouille, did it on their first try. Congratulations go out to Paragon on their clean kill. Now let's see some of those heroic achievements!

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Fast travel, and why it's hard to find in MMO games

Rock Paper Shotgun has an interesting piece up looking at travel in massively multiplayer games, and while the analysis is really about travel in all MMOs, of course World of Warcraft gets placed front and center -- with the notable exceptions of Mages and Warlock summons, it's a game that squarely places you in its vast world, and asks you to make some solid decisions about where you want to be. While travel has certainly gotten easier (and will continue to do so), it's still an important part of the world -- sometimes, when you're in a backwater zone and your hearthstone is down and there's no summons available to you, you've just got to get on a griffon and put the time in to fly around.

Why is that? Why can't we just teleport around at will to places we've been before (a la Fallout 3 or Fable 2, if you've ever played those games)? Why does Blizzard make us traverse the wide world? RPS lands on two solutions: either they just want you to play the game more (certainly possible, especially since big worlds with long travel times and subscription fees are a trademark of the MMO genre), or they're just being jerks about it. But their panelists, and Blizzard, have offered one more suggestion: they want this world to feel vast, and one way to do that is to make you move around it rather than warp anywhere you want at a moment's notice.

Then again, that's some deep psychology, and sometimes you just want to get in an instance with your friends and fight (hence the recent changes to summoning anywhere, queueing from anywhere, and so on). Travel definitely serves a purpose in MMOs, but the genre has shown in the past few years that while instant travel all the time might shrink the world a little too much, sometimes you just need to get to where you want to be.

[via Slashdot]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Mounts

Electronic Sports League's Intel Extreme Masters going on this weekend


We haven't been paying much attention to the big Electronic Sports League WoW Arena tournament going on over in Europe this week, but World of Ming has been doing a great job covering the event and what's been happening over there. He's got predictions of the matches to come (ESL's site has all of the fights set up for this weekend), and a translated interview with a player from SK Gaming's Korean team.

All in all, the old RMP (Rogue-Mage-Priest) combination still seems to be the team to beat, as Ming has most of his predictions headed that way. But we'll see how it all pans out -- you can watch live results from the tournament come in on ESL's website all weekend, and we'll try to have a wrapup for you here when all is said and done.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, PvP, Arena

UPDATED: Brew of the Year removed from Brewmaster achievement on PTR

EDIT: Bornakk says that the achievement will be replaced in the meta achievement with one that requires you to simply sign up for the Brew of the Month Club. And for those who doubted my psychic powers: Noblegarden achievements are being added to Long, Strange Trip.

Following the pattern of removing achievements that take a while to complete from the holiday meta-achievements, Blizzard yanked Brew of the Year from Brewmaster on the current 3.1 PTR. This means that anyone who was missing it now has yet another fair shake at getting their Violet Proto-Drake for completing all of the other holiday achievements for What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been.

I'm pleased that players who missed that one achievement can still have a shot at the big prize, but man, there seems to be an awful lot of meta-achievement caving lately. It just creates the impression that complaining about something will get it changed, and I don't think that's what Blizzard wants players to believe.

To be fair, it was physically impossible for Death Knights to get this achievement until sometime in 2010. This is a good change for them and I'm okay with that. And no, I'm not against Blizzard removing unfair achievements from reward-bearing metas. This was also the only achievement which was impossible to complete during the event itself.

We'll see if the pattern holds after people miss another impossible-to-miss achievement in the Noblegarden set.

Grats to those for whom this achievement change will make a difference, and early props for your purple dragon.

Finding unfinished quests

Alan on LJ is having a problem I've been thinking a lot about lately -- like me, he wants to go back and finish the Loremaster achievement, which asks you to clean up all of the quests in the old continents. But like me, he's wondering just how he'll find all of those old quests -- unfortunately, there's no way to know which quests have and haven't been done, and while of course, there's a "low level quest" tracking option, that still requires you to run around to all of the different quest locations to find them.

A forum thread like this one is a huge help, but still, there's no way in the game to really go back and easily find which ones we've missed. Even with a list like that, you might spend twenty minutes trying for a drop before realizing you've already done that quest. Blizzard promised us a little while back that they'd be changing the "discovery" mechanic (so that we'd be able to see on the map which areas we hadn't discovered for the achivements yet), and an option like that might be helpful for cleaning up old quest -- say that low level quest tracking might work over the entire map, or there might be a magic box in Dalaran that would have whatever quest items we might need.

The good news here is that Blizzard has built a fair amount of leeway into the quest achievements -- you won't need every single one to get the points, so the more obscure drop-based quests can probably go undone without worry. But just like the World Exploration achievements, a little more help finding the quests we might have missed would go a long way.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, NPCs, Achievements

Burning Crusade content offline [Updated]

According to numerous reports and several personal experiences, much of the Burning Crusade content is offline on several servers, both in the U.S. and the E.U.. When attempting to access a character in any of these locations you will be presented with an error that says "World Server Down."

This is no doubt from the mass of people who have flocked to the Isle of Quel'Danas in order to see the new content. While the realms and content are being bumpy tonight, checkout our extensive collection of patch 2.4 information.

I'll update this post as the night goes on with the latest realm announcements. Stay tuned!

Update: Realms are all online, although a tad bumpy.

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, News items

Do records even matter?

There have been a few records set recently. Some are people claiming to have leveled to 70 the fastest, some are groups of players downing a boss on the PTR before anyone else in the world, while others are PvP records yet to be made. Everyone likes to say "we broke a record." It makes them feel good, gives them a sense of purpose and measurable accomplishment, and generally will put a smile on their face. Even I've done that here at WoW Insider occasionally: "Hey, we had a record number of hits that day, cool!" (No, I'm not going to say when that was, I'll leave it up for you all to comment on and guess.)

With all these record breaking accomplishments, it begs the question: do they really mean anything? Does it matter if you've leveled up to 70 in the time that most people are still working on getting the Deadmines quests done? Let's take a look at what records do and do not provide.

One thing that they do provide is competition amongst a small group of players. To borrow a phrase from marketing, we'll call these players "alpha players." They are the ones that will always be the first to jump on new content, the first to let everyone know how to do it, the first to complain, and the first to get the benefits of completing the content. These alpha players are pretty hard core, and use world firsts and records to challenge each other. There is literally a whole 'nother side to the game that many of us don't ever see – hard core time based competition.

Read on for more and vote in our poll, after the jump!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Leveling, Arena

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