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Patch 5.1: Thrall's back, and he's brought Spoilers


SPOILER ALERT! This video contains spoilers about 5.1, Thrall, Vol'Jin, you name it, if it's Horde lore, there's spoilers in this video. Watch at your own risk.

That aside, it's pretty interesting stuff. There are definite plot advancements taking place, and it's all very interesting if temporally rather troubling!

The return of Thrall, as incumbent Warchief, has to be a worry for Garrosh and his cronies. The footage is taken from one of the quest lines for the new Dominance Offensive faction. The new faction, and its Alliance sister, Operation: Shieldwall, are the result of the eventual arrival of Horde and Alliance ships dispatched by the relevant leaders from the relevant faction capitals. As the story goes, the Horde ships landed at the Alliance end of Pandaria, while the Alliance ships made an equal, yet opposite, error. Both factions wish to secure Pandaria as their own, and by carrying out quests for the two factions players can aid Garrosh and Varian in their quests to paint the new continent red or blue.

More spoilers after the break!

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Filed under: News items

Quest for Pandaria concludes with part 4

Quest for Pandaria concludes with part 4
The fourth and final installment of Sarah Pine's novella Quest for Pandaria was released yesterday on the official site. Part four of Chen and Li Li's journey takes them to the open seas, where they encounter a massive storm, and a tense face off between two ships, one Alliance and one Horde. While this is Chen and Li Li's adventure, the fourth part of this tale does a lot to highlight the feelings and tensions between the two factions in a meaningful way.

And it also does a lot to clear up timelines. At the end of the tale, Chen and Li Li have witnessed the clearing of the mists surrounding the continent of Pandaria. This places the mist-clearing event somewhere just before the attack on Theramore Isle depicted in both scenario and the novel Tides of War. Unfortunately, the tale did little to clarify what exactly made the mists part in the first place ... which means this may be one of those important plot points we'll explore later in the expansion.

Quest for Pandaria served as a an excellent introduction to Mists of Pandaria, and a wonderful bridge between the graphic novel Pearl of Pandaria and the new expansion. Part four is full of emotional moments and characters that you really don't want to miss. You can read part four, or the story in its entirety, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Quest for Pandaria part 3 now available

Quest for Pandaria part 3 now available
You know, of all the things I mourned about Cataclysm, I think highest on the list would have to be the fate of the tol'vir. Despite being a fascinating race in their own right, one that was absolutely ripe for potential, their story was overshadowed by yet another jaunt with Harrison Jones. It was disappointing, particularly because the end of the tol'vir story arc was so open-ended. What happened after the war was completed? What of the tol'vir now?

Quest for Pandaria attempts to answer a few of those questions in its latest installment as Chen Stormstout and his niece Li Li continue their search for the lost continent. Upon heading to the sandy deserts of Uldum, both Chen and Li Li come face to face with the aftermath of the tol'vir war -- and deal with the consequences of the fallout in their own way. It's another small glimpse of the elusive tol'vir race, this time illustrated through the eyes of complete strangers to tol'vir society.

And it's also another well placed step towards rounding out Chen's character. I love Chen Stormstout, and I love the direction they're taking him. This is the third chapter to the four-part story written by Sarah Pine, and I think it's my favorite so far. You can take a look at the chapter in its entirety in the Expanded Universe section of Blizzard's official website.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard short story Quest for Pandaria now available

Quest for Pandaria now live
Part one of Quest for Pandaria, the newest addition to Blizzard's online collection of short stories, has been released on the official website. The events in Quests for Pandaria take place directly after the graphic novel Pearl of Pandaria. While Pearl of Pandaria's release date is still slated for the 25 of this month according to Amazon, some have been reporting that the graphic novel is already available in bookstores.

As for Quest for Pandaria, the story continues where Pearl left off with Li Li Stormstout and her Uncle Chen safely home on Shen-zin Su. But while Uncle Chen seems to be happy and even content with his return to the island, Li Li finds herself growing more and more restless and discontent. Will her thirst for adventure lead to lands long thought lost? Or will she find herself dragged back home against her wishes?

Today's release was just the first section of the four-part story, so some answers will have to wait. But it's a compelling tale that's beautifully written by Sarah Pine, author of Garrosh Hellscream: Heart of War, and the 2008 Global Writing Contest winner In the Shadow of the Sun. Please note that Quest for Pandaria does contain plot elements from Pearl of Pandaria. If you're planning on picking up the graphic novel, you may want to hold off on this short story until you've read the book.

You can find Quest for Pandaria, along with all of Blizzard's other short stories, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

The Queue: Is Fox leaving forever?

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Fox Van Allen (@foxvanallen) will be your host today.

Hey everyone! Gather the kids, because it's one of those "special event" things. Fox Van Allen is doing The Queue today and that's pretty darn exciting. OK, sure, it's not "hit the jackpot" exciting. It's a more gentle kind of exciting. Like the kind where if for a day Pat Sajak hosted Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek hosted Wheel of Fortune.

Anyway. Because I'm an egotistical jerk who has only been made even more insufferable by the blazing Los Angeles sun, I'm going to start this Queue off by answering a question about myself.

@thebmatt asked:

I just saw on @WoWInsider you [Fox] won't be writing the Shadow priest column anymore. True?

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Filed under: The Queue

WRUP: Let's get physical

Every week, just at the start of the weekend, we catch up with the WoW Insider staff and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" -- otherwise known as: WRUP. Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game, and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!

Those of you who have been following my personal life know that I just moved to Southern California a month or two ago. There's been quite a bit of culture shock -- everything in LA is so pretty (minus the architecture) that even I, a relatively good-looking dude, felt a little insecure.

But did I wallow in despair? No, I did not, my friend -- I did something about it. I got a gym membership and a personal trainer. I went out and I got physical. I wanted to let them hear my body talk, my body talk.

I mean, I've been patient, I've been good, tried to keep my hands on the table. It's gettin' hard this holdin' back, you know what I mean? I'm sure you'll understand my point of view, we know each other mentally. You gotta know that you're bringin' out the animal in me.

So strap on your finest leg warmers, and envision this page covered with bright neon colors, unusual moving shapes, and the occasional '80s-style squiggle. After all, it's time to get physical with this week's WRUP!

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business

WoW Insider's Weekly Recap

Welcome back to our weekly recap. You might notice Niko looks pretty different this week. It's really amazing what a solid week or two of P90X can do to a person. (Or it might just be the return of Panser of TradeChat. You know, whichever.) We look back at the hottest news from the past week and whatever other kickin' rad things may have come our way. This week's topics include: If you enjoyed the show, make sure to subscribe to TradeChat, leave a comment, and come back next week for the next episode!

Filed under: News items

How World of Warcraft could save your business

I don't know about you, but I sure am feeling validated after watching John Seely Brown explain why he'd rather hire a WoW leader over a generic MBA. While his bold claim might sound cheesy to those of us in the know, his logic presents the same, sound argument we've been making for ages.

Essentially, everything about building a guild, succeeding in WoW, and accomplishing anything in the game mirrors corporate challenges. Build a group structure, measure, adjust, and incorporate thousands of new ideas every day. Brown even quotes a favorite gamer line: "If I ain't learning, it ain't fun."

While this is probably an old argument for most of us around here, this will be a favorite video to bust out for new job interviews in the future.

Filed under: News items

When WoW friendships become real friendships

When WoW friendships become 'real' friendships
Internet friends are weird and creepy. If that person you're talking to online isn't a pedophile out of central casting, then they're probably a murderer instead. That was pretty much the general take on the internet as offered up by 1999 news coverage -- news coverage that's probably best remembered in grainy black-and-white, with Chris Hansen and skulls and crossbones edited in.

Of course, that's just how the media works. There are a bunch of set narratives that people seem to love (like "OMG Becky did U hear a murderer played WoW and it probably drove him to murder 'n' junk?"), and the news media is thrilled to reinforce them whenever possible. But here in the real world, the people you meet online through World of Warcraft are pretty much the exact opposite of bloodthirsty murderers and rapists. Crazy, right?

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Blizzard issues account security alert after Riot Games breach

Blizzard issues Account Security Alert after Riot Games hack
Not the first time we've seen something like this: Nakatoir of the EU community team posted this account security alert after Riot Games' EU branch warned its users that hackers "gained access to certain personal player data contained in certain EU West and EU Nordic & East databases." This information included email addresses and encrypted account passwords, and more than half of the passwords were considered simple and at risk of being cracked.

Blizzard issues its security alert because many players who play various Blizzard games like WoW and Diablo III or StarCraft II also play League of Legends; therefore, if they use the same email address for Battle.net as League of Legends or the same passwords, those Battle.net accounts may also be at risk.

This is not an announcement that Blizzard itself has been hacked, mind you. It's simply a precaution based on the habits of players of many games to use the same passwords and login information for multiple accounts. If you're not a League of Legends player in the affected EU regions, there's no way for this to affect you.

The full announcement is after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Account Security

Gold Capped: Unlimited long-term storage

tradeskillmaster mailing addon
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen and Fox Van Allen aim to show you how to make money on the Auction House. Check out Fox and Basil's reboot of Call To Auction, and email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

Ever see anyone trying to buy or sell a guild with bank tabs? There are people who will stop at nothing to store more stuff, especially those of us who play the gold-making game. One of the biggest challenges of making gold is, in fact, storing stuff. Bags are expensive, guild tabs are even more expensive, and there is a hard limit of 10 (for now) characters per realm. Each character has four bag slots and eight bank slots, as well as some built-in backpack and bank slots. This may seem like a lot, but what if you wanted to, for example, stockpile 10,000g worth of Hypnotic Dust, expecting it to sell for 70,000g in Mists of Pandaria? That could be over 700 stacks.

Luckily, there's a simple and virtually free way to store unlimited amounts of stuff and save all your expensive inventory slots.

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Filed under: Gold Capped

5 monk abilities that should have you excited for Mists of Pandaria

A human monk using Flying Serpent Kick
When I was younger, Easter was a time of good food and great gaming. While my parents and relatives discussed boring adult stuff in my aunt's living room, my brothers and I would flee with our cousin to their basement, where we'd play Mortal Kombat II on SNES all night. I was always Liu Kang, my younger brother was normally Reptile, and I'd always win the first few matches by backing him into a corner and repeatedly bicycle kicking him until he died. Or blocked. Once he became a preteen, it was usually the latter, and I haven't beaten him in a fighting game since.

The long-distance flying Martial Arts kick has been a staple in video games ever since video games became a Thing, and I'm particularly pleased to announce that Blizzard has done it due justice in Mists of Pandaria with Flying Serpent Kick. It won't allow you to abuse dated wall mechanics or give you a false sense of pride, but it's one of a number of awesome monk abilities that fit in well with the monk archetype in gaming in general while staying true to WoW's form. Hopefully, these five monk abilities will have you excited for WoW's next expansion.

1. Expel Harm Normally, heals aren't something that I typically call exciting or cool, unless they're the total awesomeness that is Healing Rain. This is especially true given the relative homogenization of healer classes in Cataclysm and the existence of the healing holy trinity. Expel Harm isn't your normal heal. Instead, what Expel Harm does is heal you (or, if glyphed, your target) for a small amount, and then it does 100% of the healing done to the closest enemy target as damage.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Why is Blizzard still OK with gender inequality in World of Warcraft?

Editor's Note: Comments on this post have now been disabled. It's getting late and we'd like to let our comment moderators get some sleep tonight.

In most games I play, from World of Warcraft to Star Wars: The Old Republic, I make an effort to play mainly female characters. Unlike other males who play female characters, this isn't for cosmetic reasons; I'm not one of those dudes who can't bear to stare at his male character's butt for multiple hours a day. (How this is ever an argument that makes sense to people, I don't know.) This was a conscious decision on my part a few years ago, when I started to become aware of the discrimination faced by female characters.

See, when you make the decision to make a female character, you're intentionally and unintentionally signing up for a number of things. First, you are intentionally signing up to play a female character. This could be because you identify as female, because you prefer the look of female characters, or any number of other reasons (including the butt one). What you're unintentionally signing up for goes further.

You're unintentionally signing up for jokes made at your expense in a raid, like when my priest hit 85 and did BH in leveling gear, and my low HPS was mocked because I was a girl playing WoW. You're unintentionally signing up for harassment, for the catcalls and people begging you to talk in Vent, like you're a rare species of bird they'll only be able to hear once. You're unintentionally signing up to be victimized by other players because you dared roll something other than male at level 1, and you didn't know there'd be consequences for that choice.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

This is the most bizarre and entertaining Dave Kosak interview ever

Imagine this: You run a fairly influential Asian fan site. You're offered the chance to interview WoW's Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, but there's a catch -- Kosak speaks English, and you really don't. An in-depth conversation is out. What's a fan site to do?

Well, the folks at Player's Cut TV came up with a pretty interesting and entertaining solution: Ask Kosak a series of rapid fire, yes-or-no questions about Mists of Pandaria. They even gave Kosak a pair of discs to hold up: a circle for yes, and a red X for no. It's like watching the dude play through some kind of game show bonus round.

A lot of the questions asked in the video have been already asked elsewhere, so you might not get a whole lot of new information out of the video. But it's damn fun to watch.
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: New archaeology items

Players with the archaeology profession will get to experience some joy come Mists of Pandaria, according to a new post at MMO-Champion. All of the datamined items are directly related to Pandaria itself and allow us to start piecing together the history of the continent. Pandaria currently is such a new land to all of us that Matt Rossi and Anne Stickney have managed to condense all of the lore we currently know about it into a single post, which is truly an epic feat. The new items introduced through archaeology will help us paint more of a picture of what Pandaria's history was and who the major players were.

Items such as the Manacles of Rebellion, Cracked Mogu Runestone, and Petrified Bone Whip are relics of the depraved Mogu Empire, focusing on their love of torture and slavery. The Spear of Xuen and the Standard of Nuzao show us that the pandaren aren't the naive, comic race that some people are assuming; they've fought in and won their own wars. And in classic pandaren fashion, the Empty Keg of Bewmaster Xin Wo Yin and the Twin Steins of Brewfather Quan Tou Kuo highlight the race's love of beer.

As it's still beta; things are still subject to change. For one, I'm hoping Blizzard adds in more pandaren lore items. Beyond that, I'd like to see some new on-use vanity items like the Last Relic of Argus, as these datamined items all lack any on-use effects. Finally, I think Blizzard may want to revisit the rarity of some items; the Edicts of the Thunder King make very little sense as a common item when you realize they're essentially the same as finding the stone that holds Hammurabi's Code or the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Archaeology, Mists of Pandaria

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