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Posts with tag wow-history

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.3 -- Azeroth iterated

Patch 2.3: The Gods of Zul'Aman
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 likes to talk about their "iterative" process, meaning they make many small improvements over time to produce the best possible result. In the case of the lackluster patch 2.2, players were disappointed that more was not done. With the game's subscriptions still skyrocketing, Blizzard felt pressure to deliver a major dose of new content and improvements.

In November 2007, Blizzard answered the bell and unleashed an iteration that reshaped the game from top to bottom. Players of every level experienced sweeping changes to their play experience -- many of which are so integral now that it's hard to believe we played without them for so long. If you ask players about patch 2.3, they'll call it the "ZA patch." Zul'Aman was a great raid, but 2.3 offered so much more than that.

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WoW Archivist: Launch classes' 9 biggest aggravations, part 2

PallyPower
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?

Vanilla WoW is properly considered the golden age of this beloved MMO. The evolutionary ideas behind the game were exciting, the art style was fresh, and the world was full of mysteries. Some yearn for a return to that time. But many forget that classes at launch suffered from some truly aggravating designs. Last time on Archivist, we looked at priest racials, hunter mana, warlock shard farming, and shaman weapon skill resets. This week, we review the most aggravating aspects of warriors, mages, druids, rogues, and paladins.

Warriors: The leather conundrum

Let's be fair: warriors, for the most part, had it pretty good in vanilla. Back then, they were the only class that could viably tank and their DPS was better than most hybrids. Rage had its share of problems early on, it's true, but the mechanic worked -- warriors just needed more of it. Stance dancing was annoying to some but the mark of a pro to others. Warriors also had a crippling bug at launch that would register all enemy dodges and parries as misses, preventing skills like Overpower from ever proc'ing. The bug made early leveling painful, but it was solved a few months after launch.

The biggest aggravation for warriors throughout vanilla -- and beyond -- was leather.

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WoW Archivist: Launch classes' 9 biggest aggravations

WoW Archivist Launch classes' 8 biggest aggravations FRIDAY
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?

The launch of WoW was a magical time -- everyone who played the game back then would agree. The concept of questing rather than grinding was fresh and exciting. The world felt immense, full of secrets and adventures.

Classes, on the other hand, were very raw compared to today. While many players yearn to play on vanilla-only servers, I doubt that most of those players would prefer their class to return to its vanilla version. Though some were better than others, every class had its problems. In this column, I'd like to highlight the biggest aggravation, as I see it, with each of the original eight classes -- and how Blizzard has since fixed every one of those issues.

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WoW Archivist: Emo Garrosh and the Hero of the Mag'har

Thrall meets his grandmother
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?

Mists of Pandaria has many great story lines: the emergence of the Sha, the Mantid war, the history of the Mogu, the Thunder King and the Zandarlari, etc. The overarching story of this expansion has been the ongoing aggression between the Alliance and the Horde, and the central figure of that conflict is Garrosh.

Patch 5.3 will bring us the beginning of the Horde's revolt against its current warchief, and presumably we will depose him with extreme prejudice in 5.4.

Garrosh's story did not begin in Mists, however, or even in Wrath of the Lich King when he led the Horde's assault on Northrend. Way back in The Burning Crusade, an outstanding quest line called Hero of the Mag'har introduced us to a very different Garrosh: a troubled young orc, helpless, hopeless, wishing for death.

If you've only ever played as Alliance, you never got to experience this chain of quests and its many great moments. For Horde players, it's well worth revisiting.

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WoW Archivist: Players who went too far

Banned notice
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 a community of millions around the world, Blizzard has no easy job trying to keep botters, gold sellers, cheaters, and other hooligans in check. Blizzard has enacted many rounds of mass bannings over bots and hacks. As Archivist noted last summer, several guilds have been banned or suspended for abusing exploits in raids. Among the countless players and guilds who have earned Blizzard's ire over the years, a few stand out as worthy of revisiting. Here are their stories.

Still just roleplaying?

In an online environment owned and operated by a company, "freedom of speech" does not extend quite as far as it otherwise might. That, at least, is what members of Abhorrent Taboo found out in the fall of 2007. The Horde-side Ravenholdt roleplaying guild boldly proclaimed their identity as an "extreme erotic RP guild."

The guild's welcome message laid out their philosophy:

Role-playing is legal. Even if you are role-playing something that would be considered deplorable and highly illegal IRL, it's still just role-playing and isn't subject to any form of disciplinary action. Negative publicity is still publicity. Make a Digg or website about how sick we are. Report us to PervertedJustice. All it does is bring in more members. In fact, the Digg the guy on Ravenholdt made about us was so effective, several people signed up for WoW just to be in our guild. The bottom line is: We're allowed to do what we do on any server we please and no one can do anything about it.

As it turned out, that last sentence was not 100% accurate.

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WoW Archivist: Blizzard's April Fool's jokes are more real than you think

The EPEEN system
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?

It all began in 2003, when Blizzard announced pandaren as a playable race -- for Warcraft III. This never happened, of course. The announcement was an April Fool's joke. But you know that someone at Blizzard back then really wanted to play as a panda. Nine years later, with the Mists of Pandaria expansion, we can all be pandaren now.

When Mists was first revealed, the outcry from some in the community was fierce. Much of it centered around how "pandaren were just an April Fool's joke." Most of us, I would hazard to guess, have been won over by them in this expansion. With their incredibly deep history, love of life/beer, and gorgeous architecture, not to mention the amazing voice acting and animations that bring them to life, the pandaren have been a bigger hit for WoW than many ever imagined they could be.

In 2004, a playable goblin tinker for Warcraft III was another April Fool's joke. An overwhelmingly enthused response for playable tinkers led to Blizzard adding them to the game.

Given the origins of the pandaren and goblin tinkers, it's safe to say that any April Fool's joke that Blizzard has done over the years could one day spawn a tangible addition to the game, or perhaps a spinoff under the WoW brand. Let's look back at Blizzard's WoW-related April Fool's jokes to see which ones could be the next to become real -- and which ones already have.

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WoW Archivist: 11 moments from WoW's history that should become scenarios

The Qiraji invasion
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?

Next year is WoW's tenth anniversary. It's hard to believe, but it's true! If the typical timeline holds, the next expansion will release a few months prior to that anniversary. You have to believe Blizzard wants to pull out all the stops for this milestone.

What better way to celebrate ten years of WoW than by crafting scenarios to relive the best moments? It's possible that Blizzard is planning a time-based expansion centered around the Bronze Dragonflight. The Keepers of Time could send us on missions, much like the Caverns of Time dungeons of expansions past. Only instead of lore moments from the distant past, they could be moments from WoW's own history, including events driven by the community and removed content that players may not have been able to experience.

Here are 11 examples that I would love to see.

1. The Blood Plague
What: The Alliance seizes a rare opportunity
Where: Original Orgrimmar
When: Patch 1.7

As WoW Archivist previously covered, the Corrupted Blood plague began when players used "creative game mechanics" to export a boss ability into the general population. The unstoppable and highly contagious plague debuff devastated cities around the world as thousands of players and NPCs alike succumbed to it. The resulting chaos became an excellent model for how real-world diseases could spread.

This scenario would take place at the height of the plague and have different versions for Alliance and Horde. Alliance players would accompany NPCs on a strike into Orgrimmar. They would take advantage of the deadly outbreak to make an attempt on Thrall's life. Horde players would defend the city and their Warchief while trying to contain the plague.

Why Orgrimmar? Due to the time frame, Blizzard could reintroduce the original version of the city.

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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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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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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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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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