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Posts with tag wrath-of-the-lich-king

Know Your Lore: Pandaria's mark on Warcraft lore

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

A little over two years ago, Mists of Pandaria was officially announced as the next expansion at BlizzCon to the puzzlement of many players. The idea of an expansion built around the pandaren race was a polarizing one -- some people loved the idea, and some were less than enthused. Although the pandaren were included in game lore as early as Warcraft III, there were those that scoffed at the idea of an expansion built around a race of giant talking bears, saying that they had no place in Warcraft at all. A year later, Mists was officially launched, and a little over a year after that, the events of Mists of Pandaria are wrapping up in a suitably dramatic conclusion.

And to the delight of many, myself included, this expansion has been anything but lighthearted and silly. Mists of Pandaria wasn't just a random expansion about giant talking bears, it was a revolution in the way that story and gameplay intertwine. While it may have had its faltering moments -- the inclusion of enough daily quests to make players dizzy among them -- the story took a life of its own, and the tale it told has definitely left its mark on future lore to come. Let's be clear, here: For a continent left cloaked in Mists for thousands of years, Pandaria has managed to work its way into the face of Warcraft lore in a manner that won't be forgotten, and has given us enough material to spur the story of the game for quite some time.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

A history of BlizzCon WoW reveals

It all started at BlizzCon 2005 with the above video revealing The Burning Crusade expansion. Some of you may only remember the cinematic trailers, but there has always been an announcement trailer comprised entirely of in-game footage. When Blizzard announced The Burning Crusade, they only revealed the new Horde race of Blood Elves. The Draenei were not revealed until about 6 months later.

Flying mounts, socketed items, a new race, and a new continent. It was an exciting time to be a WoW player. There were just 8,000 attendees that first year, which makes the Murky pet everyone received extremely rare. On the rare occasion when an unscratched card appears on the market, it can go for thousands of dollars. Also interesting to note that the canceled Starcraft: Ghosts game for PS2 and XBOX was playable on the convention floor that year. The Offspring performed in concert at the closing ceremony. The following year was one of the only two years since then to not have a convention, but BlizzCon returned in 2007 and was set to announce the most popular expansion yet.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

Mists of Pandaria on sale for $19.99 at Amazon, Gamestop

Get Mists of Pandaria on sale for $1999
Could you use a second copy of Mists of Pandaria? Do you know a friend who can? Right now, the latest World of Warcraft expansion is on sale at both Amazon and Gamestop for $19.99 -- not a bad price at all for the newest iteration of the game. And if you pick up the latest version of World of Warcraft on the Blizzard Store, the $20 program now includes the Cataclysm expansion. That nets you all expansions for $40, which is a pretty good deal as far as holiday gifts for gamer friends go.

Speaking of which, this is also a really opportune and inexpensive way to get yourself set up for the newly revamped Recruit-A-Friend program that should be starting at some point hopefully in the near future. Remember, the new system will be rewarding tokens that can be traded in for a variety of different rewards, so it might just be worth snapping up the game now while it's still on sale. You can head to either Amazon or Gamestop to pick up your copy.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

How long is too long for a raid?

How long is too long for a raid
I remember the year I spent in Icecrown Citadel. I'm not really exaggerating - it was from December to December, so about a year total. It was about the longest time I spent on a raid, including the days of Molten Core - for comparison, Molten Core was the only real endgame raid besides Onyxia's Lair from November of 2004, WoW's release date, until July of 2005, so roughly eight months. Interestingly, the Shadow of the Necropolis patch (patch 1.11) came out in June of 2006, so in the year between the first and last raids of classic WoW we saw MC, Onyxia, BWL, Zul Gurub, Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, Temple of Ahn'Qiraj and finally Naxxramas. All of these raids released between July of 2005 and June 2006. Not all of these raids were replacements for previous ones - Blackwing Lair and AQ 40 were considered 'sidegrades' from each other, at least until one killed C'thun, who until the release of Naxxramas had the best gear in the game. The two 20 man raids, ZG and AQ20, did not replace BWL or evn MC gear, they just provided another place to go.

Because of the way raids were structured back then it's a little misleading to compare classic's raid release schedule with our modern one. Raids were something a very few players overall did - there was no parity between smaller and larger raid sizes, no LFR, no flex (although by the time Naxxramas came out, some guilds were running MC, Onyxia and even BWL/AQ with smaller raids to maximize gear acquisition before heading into Naxx) and the only way to gear up for raids was either to be carried through said raids by geared groups and handed all the stuff they didn't want or need anymore, or to start on the ground floor and run the level 60 dungeons. The design wasn't structured around raiding being accessible or allowing a larger group of players to see these fights - raiders got to see them, and if that was 10% of the people playing the game, that's what it was.

It's interesting to look at how players react to raid content now. A commonly expressed sentiment is that Throne of Thunder, a raid first released on March 5th, 2013, has been around too long and players are eager for new content. This is a raid that has been around for six month, and will be superseded around the time it enters it's seventh. While hardly the shortest time a raid has ever had to be run through, it's not much longer than the initial tier of Mists raid content, either. Mists of Pandaria released on September 25th, 2012, meaning that from October 2012 to March 5th 2013 we only had MSV, HoF and ToES - a time of about five months. What makes five months acceptable and seven months unacceptable? Are two months that much longer to raid a zone?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

The false memory of WoW's difficult past

The false memory of WoW past
Vanilla raiding was not mechanically more difficult than current raiding. In fact, in terms of encounter difficulty, raiding in World of Warcraft has never been as challenging to remember and execute as it is right now. Fights like Lei Shen, Twin Consorts, Iron Qon, and Durumu ask players to learn mechanics and execute awareness at a level rivaled only by fights like Mimiron's Firefighter mode. And I'm not even talking heroic difficulty for those fights. Yes, it was often harder to get 40 people together, I'm not disputing that. But that's not design difficulty, that's social difficulty. The argument that WoW was objectively harder back then is beyond absurd.

I was there for all of those raids. I've raided in vanilla, in BC, in Wrath, and in Cataclysm. I've done hard modes and heroic modes since they were introduced. I'm neither the cutting edge progression raider nor someone who raids occasionally for fun -- I've been everywhere from a raider pushing for realm firsts to one leading a semi-casual 10-man while tanking. One thing I can and will say with absolute certainty is this: every single expansion to World of Warcraft has increased the complexity of the raid design.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt?

Know Your Lore Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

As the expansion rolls on, we are lurching towards something that we've known was coming since the beta for Mists of Pandaria -- Garrosh Hellscream's downfall and the Siege of Orgrimmar. Yet what we didn't know that day that were were informed of the expansions focus, is just how the new Warchief's reign would end. And as the patches have continued to roll out, we have more of an idea and a solid picture of both the Alliance and the Horde's place in this conflict. Make no mistake, Hellscream has made far too many enemies in his short reign, both within and without.

Yet there are those who point out Garrosh's actions and the possibility that his actions may not be under his control. That perhaps he's been corrupted by the Sha while searching for power in Pandaria. Or perhaps the bones of Mannoroth that Garrosh uses as his throne still have some vestige of darkness that lingers within. Or that perhaps the Old Gods have been slowly leeching their influence into Garrosh. Regardless of the methods behind it, there are plenty of people all wondering the same thing -- is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt? Are we going to fight the Warchief, only to discover a far greater horror waiting for us?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

What's the purpose of a heroic dungeon?

What is the purpose of a heroic dungeon
One of the more volatile announcements that we've heard so far from Blizzard regarding Mists of Pandaria is the fact that Mists will not include any more 5-man dungeons. In an expansion where new content seems to be rolling out on a much faster, tighter basis than any expansion prior this seems a little bizarre to players, particularly those that enjoy dungeon-based content. Yet one of the things Mists has been doing consistently throughout the expansion is delivering a wider array of things to do. In fact, there's such a variety in endgame content that players sometimes feel legitimately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it.

But just because we aren't getting any new dungeons doesn't mean we aren't getting alternate ways to obtain all that sweet, sweet gear we know and love. Patch 5.3 will see the introduction of heroic scenarios, slightly tougher versions of the scenarios we've already seen this expansion. In addition to valor, the heroic scenarios will offer raid-finder level rewards for players that choose to participate in them -- better than any gear you'll find in a heroic dungeon at this point.

While this may seem pretty cool for some people, it does make one wonder -- what's the purpose of heroic dungeons?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Breakfast Topic: Does anything in WoW bother you?

Breakfast Topic Does anything in WoW bother you
During Wrath of the Lich King, I used to hate the log in screen with a passion. It all started when I loaded up the client for the first time and was tricked into turning up the volume when I heard a soft, mysterious tune whispering in my ear. A second later I was ripping my headphones off as a massive, skeletal dragon deafened me with her landing and roars. Curse you, Sindragosa!

My dislike for the log in screen peaked one evening after a long raid night in Ulduar. I remember sitting on vent with friends when I was suddenly disconnected. It was just a random connection hiccup but as I sat there waiting to reconnect I realized something ... Why are there chain guard rails in Icecrown? Seriously, what would prompt the Scourge to implement safety measures into their architecture? They're undead, it's not like they need OSHA standards.

Fast forward to Mists of Pandaria and there's still little things like that which bug me. Take, for example, Farmer Yoon. When you first meet him, he is mocked by Haohan Mudclaw for being a "citypaw." But where are there even cities in Pandaria? The biggest settlements in Pandaria are still just rural villages. Nonsense, I say!

Does anything in the game bother you like that?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

We don't need daily quests anymore

We don't need daily quests anymore
I think I've firmly established that I really love doing quests, and that I'm fine with daily quests as a whole. Sure, some of them may have had their moments of extreme frustration, but by and large the daily quest system in Mists of Pandaria is pretty entertaining. But while it's entertaining to me, and it's fine with some players, there are others who cannot stand the system. They hate daily quests. The sight of a blue exclamation point is a source of constant irritation.

And it doesn't really matter how you wrap up that package, it's still going to be annoying content that players feel they must complete in order to be competitive. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to matter what is tied to the system, or if it offers rewards of value, like Lesser Charms or valor points. Adding the value to the daily quest system doesn't make completing the quests any more compelling, it just makes them another chore that must be completed.

Which is why daily quests need to go away.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Blizzard's tribute to 8 years of World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is eight years old. Coincidentally, that's also the same age as one of my nephews, and it's really odd to think that when the kid was just a baby, I was taking my first baby steps in Azeroth. Eight years is an incredible amount of time, and Blizzard has put together the tribute video shown above as a thank you to all the players both past and present for the years of devotion.

It's a really well put together video that honestly sweeps me right back to day one of the game, when I stumbled through the night elf starting experience and delighted in the fact that my night elf sometimes flipped when she jumped. This led to years of compulsive jumping and several keyboards worth of play, all of which were totally worth it. And although I'm Horde now, I still remember those first months of frolicking as Alliance fondly.

Take a look at the video, and be sure to crank the music up -- the sweeping blend of soundtracks from vanilla to now is always worth a listen. And while you're at it, why don't you leave us a comment with your favorite or earliest memory?


Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Know Your Lore: Dailies and story development

Know Your Lore Dailies and story development SUN
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

I have to admit that I've spent a lengthy amount of time this week trying to understand why people hate daily quests with such unbridled passion. Leveling a character through zones and completing various quests has to be one of my favorite parts of the game -- but once you reach max level, you've done all there is, from a questing perspective. In vanilla, this resulted in an absolute drought of things to do once you'd hit level 60. When daily quests were introduced in Burning Crusade, they were lauded as an excellent way for players to make gold after they'd reached max level.

But the focus of daily quests has shifted since their introduction in the first expansion. No longer just a way to make gold after the well of quests to do has run dry, daily quests have morphed into a resource to gain both reputation and unique rewards. And oddly enough, daily quests have also evolved into what is slowly starting to look like an effective storytelling tool as well. But why do some dailies work, and others falter? What makes dailies palatable?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Digital Battle Chest now includes Wrath of the Lich King

Digital Battle Chest now includes Wrath of the Lich King
As time marches forward, so too does the digital edition of the WoW Battle Chest. Not only are new purchasers able to get all the content from World of Warcraft and its first two expansions in one easy purchase, but in addition, all current World of Warcraft subscribers, even those that have never bought either Wrath of the Lich King or The Burning Crusade, will have access to all the content available in both expansions.

This is an extremely positive change for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) those of you who want to use Refer a Friend on a second account for the Obsidian Nightwing, or giving the game as a gift to a friend or loved one to check it out. With so many expansions under the bridge (we're up to four as of next week) it's good to give players a leg up on the content.


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: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Mists of Pandaria beta: Who needs Frostmourne when you've got Lobstmourne?

Mists of Pandaria beta Who needs Frostmourne when you've got Lobstmourne ANY
The Mists of Pandaria beta has had some bizarre moments, but the last thing I was expecting was an epic lobster chase across the lost continent. While exploring off the coast of Krasarang Wilds, I stumbled across Damlak, a level 90 elite makrura who was strolling just off the shore of a small island to the south. After gleefully murdering the lobster, I was rewarded with a book and an item called Damlak's Clamshell. The Clamshell may vendor for a gold, but its use effect is far too fascinating to pass up.

It was the book that was even more interesting, however. Titled Troubles From Without, the book detailed the locations of several different elite makrura scattered all over Pandaria, with a basic rundown of their abilities. And so off I went to murder a fleet of elite lobster, collecting shells from each. After collecting all six shells, the book then advises you to head to another small island off the south coast of Krasarang Wilds to summon Clawlord Kril'mandar, The Pinch King.

Yes, you read that title right.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

WoW Insider reviews Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson & Sean Galloway

WoW Insider reviews Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson
I have to admit it. When I first heard word of Pearl of Pandaria at BlizzCon, I was not expecting it to be anything extraordinary. The artwork was awesome, the panel previews looked top-notch, and I've been a Galloway fan for years. The news that Micky Neilson was writing the title was definitely good news. But I didn't expect the graphic novel to really hold much weight, particularly since it was mentioned that the novel takes place before Cataclysm. It actually takes place somewhere at the beginning of the war in Northrend.

Because of this, I figured it would simply be a standalone piece. It'd be a well-written, fun little tale that would explain where the heck Chen was has been all these years. But when I started playing the Mists beta, I fell in love with Li Li, Chen's precocious niece with a penchant for acrid sarcasm. After meeting Li Li, I was a bit more excited to read the book, because I figured more Li Li would be a good thing. And then I got Pearl of Pandaria and sat down to give it a read, fully expecting a simple lighthearted and fun little piece of work.

I don't think I've ever been quite so delighted to be utterly wrong.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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