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Posts with tag wow-secrets

Secret Areas of Warcraft: Where developers go to play

The Dragon Isles

Many of you are no doubt familiar with GM Island (read our 2010 writeup of the place), a restricted part of the map accessible only to GMs. It used to also be accessible to players, if you were ridiculously determined to get there and didn't mind risking a ban. Well, GM Island is not the only invisible zone that exists in the World of Warcraft, and no, we're not talking about Pandaria pre-Cataclsym. There are a myriad of "test zones," places where developers can try out things like textures and mechanics inside the actual game without affecting the places that players inhabit.

The Royal IdP Essploring Fundation (yes, actual name) is a collection of French players dedicated to finding and elucidating unknown areas of Azeroth. What is "Essploration," you ask? Here's a quick translation from their about page for your reading pleasure:

Essploration is the attempt to reach all the hidden zones of Azeroth believed to be inaccessible to normal players. The World of Warcraft is full of places unknown and invisible to the majority of players, sometimes magnificent, often very ugly, and which will never be officially accessible!

If you can understand French I highly recommend reading through the entirety of their about page, as it's very interesting! If not, however, you're still pretty well-off sticking to the English translations of their write-ups.


Redditor Piprap, in particular, called out the RIdPEF's Aléquia Moowisle for this documentation, including screenshot tour and history, of one such restricted zone, known simply as "Development." Development has been in place since before WoW's official release, and has evolved and changed along with the game itself. Aléquia explains that, before Wrath of the Lich King, Development was known from two smaller zones: Designer's Island and Programmer's Island.

More after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard

World of Warcraft and personal revelations

World of Warcraft and personal revelations
I wanted to sit down and write something that wasn't about death or killing (as Alex Ziebart, the editor-in-chief of WoW Insider, has pointed out I do a lot). Not even about killing off a role or an aspect of the game, something I've done my fair share of over the years. That's when I stumbled upon this post over at MMO Melting Pot about WoW bloggers stepping out from behind their in-game personae and talking about themselves.

I thought about doing the same and then realized that since I not only write using my real name but I once posted an About the Bloggers that featured a picture of me without a shirt on, there wasn't a whole lot of mystery left to reveal about me. Heck, if you follow my Twitter, you know that I pretty much blather about myself constantly and, if anything, I am probably the Ah Pook of Too Much Information. Even I don't want to know some of the things I say about me.

But it hit me: I don't really talk about my characters all that much. Part of that is a paradoxical desire for privacy, especially while playing the game. But in the spirit of participation, I feel like I want to reveal a few things about my time playing WoW and my characters that I generally haven't discussed. Consider these like Shatner Secrets, only involving World of Warcraft and a lot less cool.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Archivist: The Emerald Dream, Outland, and other Z-axis secrets

The 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?

This week's edition of the Archivist will be a little different than what you may be used to seeing. Rather than exploring a specific event in World of Warcraft's history, we're going to look at a bit of antiquated game design. Specifically, we will be looking at one of Blizzard's old development practices: trying to hide content development in progress on live realms.

Before I begin, I want to note that to my knowledge, none of the hidden locations outlined in this article are accessible anymore. If there are still ways of accessing them on live realms, I want to request that none of you discuss the methods of entering these places on our site. Blizzard hid these places for a reason, even if it didn't do it very well.

Follow along for a look at the Emerald Dream, an early Outland testing ground, and other Z-axis shortcuts and secrets.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Archivist

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