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Posts with tag wow-history

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.2, the patch without content

Empty WoW logo
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?

New content comes in patches. That's how it has always worked in WoW. Some patches with a multiple decimals, like patch 1.8.2, are just for bug fixes, emergency boss tuning, and the like. They don't really count (although to be fair, some have given us small amounts of new stuff, such as Onyxia's return in patch 3.2.2). A patch with two numbers, like patch 5.2 hitting very soon, is supposed to have shiny new pixels for all of us to enjoy.

Patch 2.2, released in September 2007, didn't have any. It was the only time in WoW's history that a major patch did not introduce any new content to the game world. No raids. No dungeons. No battlegrounds or arenas. No daily quests. Not even new items.

Instead, patch 2.2 gave us something we didn't particularly want. Something players immediately hated and decried as useless. Something we have never embraced, though most of us haven't thought about it in a long, long time. Most players probably don't even know it exists.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: Life and death

Phoenix mount
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?

World of Warcraft is without a doubt a massive cultural phenomenon unlike any other online game to date. It has given us countless hours of entertainment, introduced friends and couples to one another, and touched the lives of millions. For some, the game has made a bad situation better, or even -- in at least one case -- possibly saved their lives. For others, it has cost them everything.

Fair warning: This column describes some intense and tragic events.

Hans and the moose

In 2007, twelve-year-old Hans Jørgen Olsen of Norway and his sister (ten) decided to take a shortcut through a garden on their way to school. The choice would prove fateful. A moose had wandered into the area and promptly took a dislike to the children.

"It ran straight towards us when it saw us," Hans told Norwegian news station Nettavisen. "I screamed at it to scare the moose, but I soon realized that it was not going to stop. Then I turned and ran and ran until I couldn't run faster."

The charging moose caught up to Hans and slammed into him. His backpack cushioned the blow, but the impact knocked Hans to the ground.

Unsatisfied, the moose remained. "We held eye contact for a while," Hans said, "and then it suddenly struck me."

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: It's a secret to everybody -- the Linken quest line

Linken riding a horse
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?

In the original version of Un'goro Crater, players with a penchant for exploration and a keen eye could find a mysterious quest near a small pond. The first players to find it had no idea that they were embarking on one of vanilla's most epic and celebrated quest lines, and one of Blizzard's most elaborate easter eggs. The chain was a tribute to many of the key moments and tropes in the beloved Legend of Zelda series. It took you up and down Kalimdor multiple times to solve puzzles, forge magical weapons, face deadly enemies, and ultimately find the legendary Triforce Golden Flame.

Sadly, the Cataclysm erased the Linken quest line and it can no longer be completed. Let's relive the glory that was.

Wreck it, raft

Finding this quest early in vanilla was not simple. No quest took you to this area. No floating exclamation point marked it back then, either. To begin the quest line, you had to spot a clickable object called A Wrecked Raft.

The raft gave you the quest It's a Secret to Everybody. The quest name referenced the original Legend of Zelda game. An enemy moblin would sometimes offer you rupees, presumably in exchange for keeping their help a secret (to everybody).

Once you found the hidden quest from the raft, you were faced with another mystery. The quest text read,

A destroyed raft rests along the shoreline. Considering this is only a small pond, it is not clear as to how it ended up here, although looking at the trees tells you that the water level may not be constant.

Perhaps a little exploration in the area might uncover more clues...

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: Many memes, handle it

Unmistakable directions to Mankrik's wife
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?

Last week, Archivist celebrated the Ulduar raid, including Thorim's famous IN THE MOUNTAINS speech -- one of Wrath's most memorable memes. In its eight years, World of Warcraft and its players have spawned dozens of memes. Today, Archivist remembers some of the best and most enduring. If you've ever wondered where some of these memes come from, read on!

The earliest memes

WoW memes began almost instantly after the game's release. One of the first was Mankrik's wife. For an early Horde quest in the Barrens, the orc Mankrik sent you to locate her. His directions were rather vague, so many players had trouble locating her. It didn't help that she wasn't an upright and alive NPC, but rather a dead body laying on the ground -- killed by marauding quilboars.

Confused players asked where they could find her in the zone's chat. Many, many players. Because the massive zone spanned 15 levels, everyone leveling through it saw that same question asked over and over again. It got to the point where people would ask just to troll the chat channel.

The quest is no longer in the game, but players can now visit her grave near Grol'dom Farm.

Trolling Barrens chat became something of a hobby for early players. Many in the Horde didn't know about the other leveling zones across the ocean. Some who did ran up against the ongoing Tarren Mill/Southshore lagfest wars and took the first boat back to Kalimdor. The combination of a captive audience and a high saturation of new players made the Barrens the perfect zone to troll. In time, Barrens chat became its own meme, even inspiring T shirts.

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WoW Archivist: The triumph and tragedy of Ulduar

Windows in Ulduar
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?

With patch 5.2 on the PTR, everyone is talking about Mists' next tier of raiding content. If the buzz seems more intense than usual, it might be because of the hints that Ghostcrawler and others at Blizzard have dropped comparing the Throne of Thunder to Wrath's Ulduar raid.

Perhaps it's too soon to revisit Ulduar in an Archivist column. After all, the raid went live less than four years ago. I don't care. I want to talk about how amazing this place was, how Blizzard still managed to screw up such a good thing, and why we should all be excited for an Ulduar-style raid in 5.2.

Put the rose-colored glasses away here, folks. You don't need them -- Ulduar really was that fantastic.

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WoW Archivist: WoW's zaniest merchandise

DPS necklace
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?

With only five shopping days left until the Feast of Winter Veil, it is officially holiday crunch time. To inspire you in your shopping goals or maybe point out the perfect gift for that special raider in your life, WoW Archivist presents the zaniest WoW-themed real-world merchandise of all time.

Strange swag

Every BlizzCon has its swag bag, but 2008's edition, celebrating the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, has to be the zaniest ever. In addition to Diablo III "sinamints," a can of "zerg creep" goop, and a pandaren beer cozy, the bag included an inflatable Frostmourne or an inflatable "Bubble Hearth Beach Ball." The latter is a Divinely Shielded dwarf using an uninterruptable hearthstone -- in beach ball form.

The bag also included a package of tissues labeled "QQ noob," masks of Azeroth's races (reminiscent of the Hallow's End in-game versions), and a Frostmourne keychain. The keychain is notable for its several outward-facing spikes. It takes falling on your keys to a whole new level of pain. The full-size Frostmourne replica is more dangerous, but you're also not carrying it around in your pocket mere centimeters from your genitals.

Or are you?

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A Trip Down Memory Lane: Maps, guides and forums

A trip down memory lane maps, guides and forums
Blizzard Community Manager Bashiok commented today on a thread talking about some features of Azeroth (and Outland) past. Unlike other recent discussions on the forums, though, this doesn't relate to players bemoaning some removed aspect of a long-passed expansion. No, this relates to the World of Warcraft website, and its manifold features. The thread begins with a reference to the above map, which was part of the main site, and can still be found online. It's a pretty interactive map of what was, then, the world, allowing players to see various bits of information about the world, such as profession trainers, dungeon entrances, zone levels and the like. Why doesn't the same exist now?

Bashiok
Yeah! That map was cool. I don't think it got much traffic though. Having an updated map is one of those wishlist items, but the info is already out there on fansites and such, and even a lot of that info is in-game now compared to back then, not to mention quest flow and getting around is far more intuitive, so it's not a particularly high priority.

Would you like to see more maps and other items such as this? Or do fan sites and addons pretty much have it covered?

While we're here on the old WoW site, there are a couple more pages highlighted in the same thread that are worth a look. The world dungeons, for example, had a page which gave a brief insight into the zone and the lore, and a map location. Note the limit on player numbers!
And lastly, there's the old forums. The links don't work, it seems, but there is one fun thread title. The poster was obviously a seer of some sort...
A trip down memory lane maps, guides and forums

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: The keys to content

Karazhan entrance
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?

Keys in WoW have come in many forms. Some hang around our neck. Some hide in belts. Others open aircraft hangars or other, very special places. Some let us pretend to be rogues. Some never made it to the live game. Some we eat or play with. Some help us get the mail or reach new heights. We find some in unexpected places. A few are just trash.

This column is not about those keys. This is about the keys that used to be a Big Deal. The keys that people went to extraordinary lengths to obtain. The keys that put you on everyone's friends list. The keys to content.

Literal gates

Today, content is rarely locked. Players take it for granted that when a new dungeon or raid goes live, they will have immediate access. For the first half of WoW's history, however, this was not the case at all.

Vanilla WoW locked away virtually all of its end-game content. Raids required attunement, which means that every single person in your raid had to complete a certain quest line.

Keys worked differently. Content that required a key wasn't gated according to some arbitrary release schedule, such as the Heart of Fear -- but by actual gates.

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WoW Archivist: Patch 2.1, The Black Temple

Illidan
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?

Blizzard ruined my intro. I was going to talk about how appropriate it was that patch 5.1 included a scenario for warlocks that took them to the Black Temple. Then they pushed it to 5.2. So fine. I'll just fall back to something generic.

In terms of sheer content and changes, patch 2.1 was truly massive -- one of WoW's biggest patches of all time. It arrived in May 2007, five months into The Burning Crusade. Let's dive in!

Illidan shouts at us in person

We were ready, if not perhaps entirely prepared. After an ad campaign and a trailer that prominently featured Illidan, many players expressed disappointment that WoW's first expansion didn't launch with the Black Temple raid. In retrospect, those concerns seem silly today. If anything, the Black Temple released too early in the expansion, forcing Blizzard to add the ultradifficult Sunwell Plateau raid to fill the gap between expansions.

The Black Temple was an enormous raid, and one of the game's most beloved. No matter where you went, everything was big and scary. In some areas, even clearing the trash felt epic. Nine bosses populated a vast indoor/outdoor instance. Many of them are still remembered fondly. Supremus and Reliquary of Souls were highly memorable encounters, the latter partly due its unforgiving awareness checks. Teron Gorefiend and Illidan were major lore figures able to be vanquished in WoW for the first time.

BT wasn't the only raid that 2.1 introduced, however.

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WoW Archivist: The pointy end of weapon skills

WoW Archivist
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?

Have you ever picked up a real-life sword, axe, or powder rifle and said to yourself, "Yeah, I know exactly how to kill people with this?" Me too -- all the time. I mean, there's only one thing you need to know, right? But in actual reality and not the reality in our heads, we don't have the first clue. Most of our ideas probably come from movies or TV, where the fights are choreographed to be exciting rather than true to historic fighting methods.

Why do I bring this up? In vanilla WoW, and for quite a long time afterward, your character couldn't just pick up a new weapon and instantly know how to murder dragons with it. Your character had to learn. Slowly, painfully learn.

Let's look back at weapon skills.

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WoW Archivist: How forum trolls broke a CM

A Tseric post from 2006
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?

Last week, I included some passionate but mostly reasonable discussion of debuffs on the official forums from the earliest days of WoW and beyond. The official forums have always been a rough and tumble part of the game -- an area that Blizzard has always wanted to improve.

Trolls invade

One can speculate about a dozen different reasons for why WoW's official forums have been so full of jerks. Is it because there are just so many players and thus so many people with forum access, raising the statistical jerk demographic? Does the game's immense popularity encourage people to demand more of the company that makes it than any other in gaming? Does the ongoing passion for WoW simply make the forums the best place to troll on the Internet?

The forums have become gradually better over time, but the vanilla and Burning Crusade eras were completely out of control. Caught off-guard by the game's explosive early popularity, Blizzard's first team of community managers found themselves overwhelmingly outnumbered in their own forums. They couldn't possibly hope to keep up with the sheer volume of threads being generated. The CMs did what they could, but it was a losing battle from the start. The trolls took the forums by storm, and Blizzard never fully ousted them.

Then, in May 2007, one community manager simply couldn't take it any more.

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WoW Archivist: The long fight for debuff rights

Warlock casting corruption
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?

Debuffs help us beat bosses, but not all debuffs are created equal. Over WoW's eight years, debuffs have dealt extra damage, prevented damage, healed us, given us mana, slowed boss attacks, sped up our own, and helped us to hit harder.

Some are more powerful than others, but today those concerns are meaningless. Applying every possible debuff and keeping it active is a critical component to success.

Believe it or not, however, there was a time when your raid leader would yell at you for doing exactly that. Your weaker debuffs weren't just considered useless -- using them was a dire liability.

Eight is not enough

Vanilla WoW had an interesting, longstanding, and highly criticized technical limitation. A raid of any size could only apply a maximum of eight debuffs to a boss. As you can imagine, forty-player raids had many, many debuffs at their disposal, but only eight could ever be active at one time.

To make things worse, the game didn't differentiate between debuffs. The latest one that was applied would knock off the oldest one, regardless of type or power. It's not difficult to figure out how this could become a huge problem.

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Officers' Quarters: Gnome and punishment

Wanted poster
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

Like any group that runs an organized activity, raiding guilds need rules. Rules define expectations, set boundaries for behavior that might cause problems, and establish consequences when a member hurts the team. The latter part is often tricky. The week's email asks, What do you do when someone breaks the rules?

Hello,

I have a question about guild management.

Coming into MoP raiding we have afew new people and we've written up our rules on the forums such as being on time, gemmed/enchanted/flasked, etc to make it clear to everyone what we expect from our raiders. One challenge that we currently have is coming up with consequences for breaking these rules. Our guild roster isn't large enough to always bench someone from coming to raid and while we're all gearing up denying someone gear seems to just make things harder for everyone else overall. If occurrences are excessive we will recruit to replace the person, but otherwise we need some good consequences for rule infractions.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

WoW Archivist: Blizzard's hot and cold attitude toward weather

The WoW five-day forecast
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?

Weather has been kind of a big deal this week, at least if you live in the eastern U.S. Though it's an essential part of the planet, weather can be devastating.

Azeroth, like Earth, has dynamic weather. It's a feature that makes the game world feel more alive, and one of the few that players love almost universally. Even so, Blizzard's commitment to the immersion of dynamic weather has been up and down over the years.

A static start

Eight years ago, WoW launched without any weather at all. The game had a day/night cycle, but no other changing conditions. Hillsbrad was always sunny, with no rain to dampen the constant Southshore/Tarren Mill PvP battles. It never snowed in Winterspring, despite the heavy snowfall in evidence.

Blizzard was working on weather. Like many aspects of WoW, however, it would take a long time for them to deliver it.

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WoW Archivist: WoW's most terrifying secrets

The Nagrand orphanage
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?

Last year, Alex gave us a thorough look at the hidden Karazhan Crypts area, with its massive pile of bones where hundreds of people were thrown down a well, and humans drowned by chaining them upside-down underwater. The crypts were never meant to be explored by players, but WoW has had plenty of other terrifying secrets through the years that are just waiting for us to discover them.

The C'thun Kids Club

Above the leatherworking shop in Goldshire, something is amiss. If you venture there, you will sometimes discover six children, arrayed in a strange pattern. They stand there, silently facing each other. The light music of Elwynn changes to an ominous low rumble or a creepy hum. Every so often you will hear ghostly noises, or even the voice of C'thun himself. Outside of the house, two tiny children's skulls are hidden in the grass.

They have been called the "creepy children," the "demon children," and the "evil children." They also run around Elwynn to Stormwind and back, always in formation. Sometimes they will stop and stare at each other again, or all look in one direction for no apparent reason. Presumably this is just to creep us out even more.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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