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

The last gasp of 25-man raiding

Imagine you have been placed in front of two hedge mazes, both leading to the same wonderful prize at the end. It could be a car, money, a trip to an exotic location -- whatever you really want, for the purpose of this imaginary exercise, OK? So there are two mazes, each leading to the awesome prize, but as you look at those mazes, you realize one of them is twistier, longer, and has potentially more hazards in it. The other is difficult, to be sure -- but side by side, it's slightly less hazardous than the other. And they both lead to the exact same thing.

So which maze do you take?

Most people would much rather take that shorter, slightly less hazardous maze. I mean, if you've got two choices that get you to the same fabulous prize, you'd be out of your mind to take the difficult path, wouldn't you? Welcome to the debate of 10-man vs. 25-man raiding -- and the main reason why 25-man raids are slowly dying out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Lor'themar Theron: In the Shadow of the Sun chronicles blood elven leader's troubles

While it's not a brand new leader short story, Lor'themar Theron, Regent Lord of Quel'thalas, gets the new-to-you treatment with Sarah Pine's wonderful story, In the Shadow of the Sun. In the Shadow of the Sun was the 2008 winner in the Blizzard Global Creative Writing Contest and chronicles the leadership of Lor'themar after The Burning Crusade, the rejuvenation of the Sunwell, and the preparations for war against Arthas in Northrend. After fighting a devastating battle at the Sunwell Plateau, Lor'themar must meet the challenges of peace time and war, leading his people immediately after their great leader has been corrupted and lost.

Check out the full story over at the Blizzard community website. If you haven't yet read this one, it's definitely one of the best.

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World of Warcraft holiday sale is crazy

If you thought $50 for the entirety of World of Warcraft during GameStop's Black Friday sale was good, Blizzard is about to do you one better. From now until Dec. 19, the entirety of World of Warcraft is on sale for a grand total of $35 on the Blizzard store. In addition, the Celestial Steed (aka Sparkle Pony aka Glitter Stallion) and the Pandaren Monk pet are on sale, too. This is how the prices break down:
  • WoW: Battle Chest for $5 (reg. $19.99)
  • Wrath of the Lich King for $10 (reg. $39.99)
  • Cataclysm for $20 (reg. $39.99)
  • Celestial Steed for $10 (reg. $25)
  • Pandaren Monk for $5 (reg. $10)
If you planned on pulling any friends into Azeroth this holiday season, there really is no better time to do it. If you don't want to go all-in, you can introduce friends and family to the base game for just $5 -- and if you want to dangle a carrot on the end of that stick, buy them a Celestial Steed to work toward. A $15 dollar investment, all told. Also? You should totally tell them about WoW Insider. A little birdie told me that due to popular demand, we're currently revamping our leveling guides. Talk about timing.

Filed under: News items

5 reasons you should love Cataclysm

Oh, Cataclysm. You've gotten such a bad rap. Despite popular opinion, what we got from the Cataclysm expansion was nothing short of a miracle -- one that was desperately needed after the prior two expansions' worth of content. But it's undeniably difficult to look at the current expansion with anything other than an overly critical eye, considering the fact that we're playing through all that content right now.

In hindsight, it's likely the current expansion will grow on us, and some time in the distant future we'll be looking back on it with rose-colored glasses just like we do the others before it. Don't get me wrong -- while classic, The Burning Crusade, and Wrath all had absolutely fantastic reasons to love them, things didn't seem so rosy and wonderful when we were all playing through that content, and there was just as much grumbling in each of those expansions as there is about Cataclysm now. But hey -- there's still plenty of reasons to love Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

World of Warcraft profits on the rise in China

Sister site Massively reported earlier today that World of Warcraft isn't just doing fine in China, it's doing extremely well. According to Gamasutra, the Chinese WoW operator NetEase just posted its Q3 revenue for the year, and the profits are doing nothing but rising. This is a little surprising given the information from the Activision Blizzard investor call earlier this month, which reported a loss of subscribers, mainly in the east.

Regardless, NetEase posted revenues of 2.0 billion Chinese yuan, up 39.8% -- a substantial number. In China, it seems that World of Warcraft is still a force to be reckoned with, dropping subscriber numbers or not.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

5 reasons you should love Wrath of the Lich King

The Burning Crusade was just the first expansion in WoW's history, and though it brought many things to love, as always, there were tweaks to be made. So how do you follow up a well-put-together expansion featuring a host of memorable villains from Warcraft III? Oh, that's easy enough. To top Illidan's appearance, you bring in the villain he couldn't defeat -- you bring in the Lich King.

Ever since the final scene of The Frozen Throne, Warcraft fans wondered just what happened to Arthas after he placed the Lich King's helm on his head and took an icy seat. In Wrath of the Lich King, they were about to find out. Featuring an all-new continent with new zones to play through, Wrath also introduced the first new hero class to the game, the death knight. In the wake of The Burning Crusade, Wrath had a lot to live up to. It did that and more, paving the way for more accessibility to raids, more endgame content and new lore, to boot. Many of the players in Cataclysm today got their start in Wrath of the Lich King, and there's plenty of things to love about it -- far too many points to list. But we'll give you five of them!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Archivist: How each WoW expansion set the tone, part 2

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.

Previously on WoW Archivist, I discussed how the tone of Warcraft and its associated world changed drastically as time went on and the first expansion pack, The Burning Crusade, was released. Each time World of Warcraft changes its setting, the tone of the game (from the way the environments make the player feel to the actual mechanical development of the product) changes significantly. The tonal change makes WoW a unique specimen in the MMO sphere, allowing it to grow, adapt, and target a vast array of audiences opposed to growing stagnant over time. Incorporating each new tone and focus with each new expansion lets World of Warcraft move forward despite its age.

For a long time, we jokingly referred to Wrath of the Lich King as "The Frozen Crusade" because Blizzard took the best parts of The Burning Crusade and began to build the next expansion. It was hard to understand the tone of the newest expansion before you actually played it. In the beginning all we saw was two new ores, 75 more profession skill points, and greens that were going to replace our purples again. For me, the tone looked like it was going to be "here we go again" -- that is, until I first stepped into Northrend.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

GameStop offering Black Friday deal on WoW Battle Chest and expansions

Retail gaming store GameStop is offering a huge deal on Black Friday for those who want to pick up World of Warcraft. The WoW Battle Chest, which includes both WoW and The Burning Crusade expansion, can be snapped up for $9.99, and both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm will be available for $19.99 each. This means that players looking to get started with WoW can pick up the whole collection for $50 total, which is a great deal no matter how you look at it.

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and falls on Friday, Nov. 25 this year. So if you're looking to pick up the game for a friend (can we say Recruit-A-Friend, anyone?) or to open a second account for yourself, this would be an ideal time to do it for an ideal price.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

5 reasons you should love Mists of Pandaria

BlizzCon's over, so let's recap. We get playable Pandaren, neutral characters that can choose either Alliance or Horde at the end of the starting experience. On top of that, we get the monk class that plenty of people have been excited about seeing implemented in game. And then we get entirely revamped talent trees that aren't trees at all -- they are a completely gutted and entirely new system for people to play with. Plus, we get something to do with all those pets we've collected over the last several years.

Yet a lot of what I've been reading here and there has been a general reaction of "That's it?" rather than excitement, and it seems a little odd to me. After trying to puzzle out why exactly it was odd to me that people would feel this way, I decided it really didn't have anything to do with them; it had plenty to do with me. Out of all the posts I write, you guys seem to love the tinfoil hat theories the best -- and the way I create those posts is due to the way that I look at stories and situations.

That said, there is a reason you guys should be excited about this expansion. Actually, there are several of them, but I'm only going to hit five of them. And I'm going to blow your mind with what is the biggest reason you should absolutely love what's coming up in World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The Story of Us -- Quests in WoW, part 3

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.

The full questing experience in Wrath of the Lich King was vast. Levels 70 to 80, with quests for every zone, instance, and even raid instance, was quite possibly the most complicated total questing experience ever designed for World of Warcraft. Add in the death knight starting experience and the patches that each brought in new content, and you're looking at a real achievement in quest design. Wrath of the Lich King was indisputably the crucible in which Cataclysm's 1-to-60 quest redesign was forged, and it absolutely gave the lie to the misguided idea that the quest design team was somehow coasting on the achievements of the game's original launch.

We talked last week about how questing in Wrath worked up to the "first act" of the Wrathgate and Battle for Undercity, and then we looked at Ulduar and how it managed to integrate a very divergent lore element into the expansion. This week, we'll discuss the Lich King in more detail and how he functioned as a device to get the players involved.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

All the World's a Stage: Plot points for Argent Crusaders

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Once upon a time in classic World of Warcraft, there was an organization called the Argent Dawn. This organization made its home in the heart of the Plaguelands ruined by the Scourge during Warcraft 3 and sought to fight back and cure the land of the plague that ailed it. But the Argent Dawn could not do it alone, which is where players both Alliance and Horde came into the picture. In the Plaguelands, both factions worked for the same cause, and the Argent Dawn oversaw it all.

Later, the Argent Dawn evolved into the Argent Crusade, setting its sights on Northrend and the Lich King's throne. Those loyal to the Argent Dawn readily joined the Argent Crusade and traveled to the chilly peaks of Icecrown in the hopes of putting an end to the Lich King. After a long war, the mission was a success, and the Argent Crusade returned home -- but what of those who belong to the Argent Crusade? What does an Argent Crusader have to do these days?

For roleplayers with characters who belong to this organization, there may be a little less to work with than there was in Wrath of the Lich King; the Argent Crusade isn't really a highlight of Cataclysm. But that doesn't mean there aren't points to consider when playing your courageous hero.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Know Your Lore: The Story of Us -- Quests in WoW, part 2

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.

Wrath of the Lich King is where the current paradigm for quests in World of Warcraft took full shape. Whether you played Horde or Alliance, you got to experience the events of Wrath from an entirely new perspective than questing had ever managed before. Even though there were still (and always probably will be) quests asking players to gather random amounts of (as an example) meat for stews or cannonballs, these quests were supplementary in nature.

The big-draw quests were elaborate chains that revealed lore about the world and the threat that it was now under. The Lich King's attacks on Orgrimmar and Stormwind during the events leading up to the expansion were bait in a subtle trap aimed at bringing players to Northrend. That's right: The Lich King attacked your cities entirely to get you sent to him. You. The player characters were the front and center reasons for everything. The Lich King desired nothing less than the finest heroes the Horde and Alliance had to offer, and that's exactly who they sent.

How did questing reflect this?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore: NPC evolution from Wrath to Cataclysm and beyond

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.

Wrath of the Lich King saw the introduction of several elements that furthered the incorporation of lore into the game. Phased quest chains allowed players to actually see their effect on the zones. Cinematic cutscenes made it feel like you were playing through a movie. The faction leaders of the world were suddenly far more active than they'd ever been before. But those were the major, blowout moments that made the storytelling work. What most didn't quite recognize were the subtle efforts of the lowly NPC.

In classic WoW, players literally had to walk up to NPCs and speak to them to engage them in conversation. In The Burning Crusade, that changed slightly -- NPCs now recognized players as they walked by, according to their reputation. In Wrath, suddenly NPCs were not only recognizing players, but they were whispering players, recognizing players. Prior efforts by a player were acknowledged, even if it was just a simple "I remember you."

What Wrath of the Lich King began was a revolution in WoW gameplay that would spin into full-out overdrive with the launch of Cataclysm. The lowly NPC was no longer an unimportant figure; he was a comrade in arms, a fellow hero, or a taskmaster -- and he made certain to let you know it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: NPC evolution from TBC to Wrath of the Lich King

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.

Last week, we talked about the evolution of NPCs from classic WoW to The Burning Crusade. It was a quiet beginning to the evolution, starting with just a few NPCs in classic WoW that spawned world-altering events like The Great Masquerade. But in The Burning Crusade, we not only saw major movements from major-name players like Thrall, who actually got off the throne in Orgrimmar and traveled all the way to Nagrand to visit his long-lost relatives, but also minor players. These seemingly minor players gradually won the hearts of the playerbase through storylines that progressed with each patch in the expansion.

Characters like Cro, Jadaar, Asric and even the shifty Griftah weren't just NPCs. They were subtle reminders that those characters we barely interacted with had lives of their own, and it breathed a new energy into the game. Suddenly, the world wasn't just about you and whatever quest you happened to be on. It was also about Griftah's "unfair" persecution, or Cro's struggle to get that blasted fruit cart out of the way -- mundane, ordinary, everyday events, the sort of events we witness on a daily basis in the real world. Bringing the mundane to the game made Outland feel just a little more real, too.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The mysterious connection between spirit healers and the Val'kyr

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.

They are about the only thing you're happy to see when you're dead. Beings of ghostly blue, these winged saviors of Azeroth's adventuring masses have been there since the very beginning of WoW, and are the closest thing Azeroth has to angels. They possess the power to bring the dead back to life, when said adventuring masses have had their adventuring cut abruptly short by accidentally pulling one or two more murlocs than they could handle. Gracious and kind, it seems that these beings only exist to help Azeroth's lost find their way back to the world of the living.

You only see the true scope of their power when you're dead, and it's safe to say if you're coherent at the time, you're probably not prepared or happy for what comes next. From quietly resting beneath the earth to a shambling mass of undead material, these ghostly creatures exist to pull the dead back to life -- at a cost. Where once was a whole and complete adventurer, now there is only forsaken; a living corpse with free will, although it's questionable as to how much of that will is actually free.

One brings players back to life; the other curses them with a life of undeath. Is there a connection between the benevolent spirit healers of Azeroth, and their dark doppelgangers, the Val'kyr? It's a question that's been posed to me on more than one occasion, and since we've slogged our way through the order of the Warcraft cosmos, it's one we can take a look at now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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