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Posts with tag zone

Wowhead previews Townlong Steppes

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Townlong Steppes opened up in one of the recent builds of the Mists of Pandaria beta. Normally, the Great Wall of Pandaria separates this zone from the rest of the continent, but the pandaren are investigating what's on the other side due to the attacks from the Mantids. The opposition in Townlong Steppes consists of mobs and quests for players who are 88+.

Adventurers won't find any shortage of activities in this zone.
  • Assist the Shado-Pan, who are checking out strange, jeweled camps near their garrison.
  • Fend off the mogu, who are commandeering cloud serpents in the islands north of the Temple of Niuzao.
  • Engage the yaungol and mantid alongside your pandaren allies in the Shallowstep Pass.
Head on over to Wowhead to preview the screenshots and backstory of all the different areas.

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: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Uldum

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape.

On the southern end of Kalimdor, a forgotten civilization hides behind otherworldly technology, forged by the Titans to protect the great machinery of Reorigination. The tol'vir, great protectors of the ancient machinery, stand stalwart against the corruption and fighting. Some tol'vir have succumbed to the aqir long ago, but the civilization remained unknown to the whole of Azeroth. After Deathwing's violent breach from the Maelstrom changed the world forever, the resulting chaos broke the shield that hid Uldum and revealed its sands. Now, Deathwing and his allies fight to corrupt the tol'vir and bring chaos to Uldum and beyond.

Uldum continued the Cataclysm zone progression by moving you from the rocky, subterranean world of Deepholm into an open-air desert, a welcome change for the claustrophobic adventurer. Giant pyramids, monumental statues, and an Egyptian motif made Uldum one of the most beautiful and well-realized zones in Cataclysm. As players embarked on two very distinct quest lines, the story of Uldum unfolded as the forces of the wind broke the Skywall through the desert sky and into Azeroth's realm. On the other side of the zone, players were sent on a sprawling adventure with fan favorite Harrison Jones on a bumbling expedition to figure out the purpose of the Obelisks of Uldum and get into some wacky trouble.

This is going to be the most controversial of the Cataclysm post-mortems. I can feel it. Uldum was a zone that people either loved or hated during the content push to 85. We are going to try to keep it civil.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Deepholm

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape.

The Earthen Plane. Therazane's domain. The place where primordial rock and earth and stone were banished after the Titans subdued the elemental lords and their Old God masters. Deepholm is where Deathwing laid his broken body and waited, watched, heaved, and went mad. In the center of the mighty plane of earth stood the World Pillar, the only support keeping Deepholm from crashing into Azeroth itself. When Deathwing unleashed himself upon the world, the World Pillar shattered. Only through the tireless and diligent efforts of the Earthen Ring, shaman from all walks of life and races, could the tear in the Maelstrom be contained. Now flooded by members of the Twilight's Hammer cult, a raging war between earthen and trogg, and the harshness of the Stonemother herself, the Horde and the Alliance must find a way to restore the World Pillar and save Azeroth from the very plane of earth it rests upon.

Deepholm was the first bottleneck zone after the two opening Cataclysm leveling experiences, Hyjal and Vashj'ir. Everyone passed through Deepholm on the way to 85, getting to experience one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring zones ever created for World of Warcraft. From the rocks that hung eerily in the air to the various factions and allegiances, Deepholm provided one of the most unique leveling experiences in World of Warcraft to date.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Hyjal

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine (in our own opinions and words) what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape. Join us for a discussion about Cataclysm's new level 80 to 85 content and what made the cut as the most compelling experiences.

Hyjal is home to the majestic world tree Nordrassil, once under siege by the Burning Legion and Archimonde, an eredar leader and lieutenant of Sargeras. In Warcraft III, we vanquished Archimonde at Nordrassil and subsequently went back and ended his campaign in Hyjal through the Caverns of Time. Now, Ragnaros the Firelord has returned to Azeroth with the help of Deathwing and has invaded the sacred mountain with one goal -- destroy the wardens of Hyjal and burn their tree to the ground.

Hyjal's story

Mathew: I had an odd experience with the story at Hyjal, mostly because at first, I couldn't have given a damn about the druids and the Emerald Dream and all of that. The first time I went through Hyjal, it was a sprint, and I never stopped to smell the roses, since we were racing to 85.

It was only after I did Hyjal a second or third time that I truly dug in and found the wonderful story of the zone. Now, I am 100% involved in the Hyjal story and am really excited to see where it's going. Now, the druids are my best friends, and there is nothing I want to do more than help ancients punch fire elementals in their fiery faces.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Cataclysm Beta: Welcome to New Tinkertown

Fresh off the heels of Operation: Gnomeregan, Blizzard has published a web reveal of New Tinkertown. High Tinker Mekkatorque and the gnomish forces have seized control of an area on the surface just outside of Gnomeregan and have started efforts in retaking their city. Mekkatorque will ask you to complete new missions like rescuing gnomes and routing troggs, with the main goal of stopping Razlo Crushcog. New Tinkertown is the new level 1-5 leveling zone for gnomes. While the quests and the content have been on beta for a while now, you can read more about the official details after the jump.

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Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Cataclysm Beta: New maps

Jolesole of raevyn.net (coincidentally a great source for Cataclysm info) has been datamining the latest beta patch, and he's found a whole bunch of new or changed maps for zones in the new expansion. Zones include Redridge Mountains, Westfall, Vashj'ir, and more. You can check them out in our gallery below.

Filed under: Cataclysm

Worgen starting zone preview from Scrolls of Lore

In lieu of providing any new information on Cataclysm in the wake of BlizzCon, Blizzard's been showing the goblin and worgen starting zones at a lot of major gaming conventions, which means a good handful of players have had the chance to try them out. Nostra from popular lorecrafting site Scrolls of Lore is one of those handfuls, and they've written up a fantastic walkthrough of the worgen starting zone, starting from your character's royal connections and subsequent infection and culminating in Deathwing's cataclysm.

What's not explained (so far, likely because no one's able to get that far yet) are how the night elves play into the whole worgen "thing" as shown in the Cataclysm trailer, but there's still a lot of new information on phasing, quests, and scenery in Gilneas besides what we've already covered, as well as accompanying photos. It's definitely worth a read.

Hopefully Blizzard will continue to fill in more blanks in the worgen storyline as we get closer to the expansion's release, or maybe even update the Cataclysm site more than once every four months. In the meantime we can rely on sites like Scrolls of Lore to give us exhaustive previews of public demos like this one.

Thanks, Nostra!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Expansions, Cataclysm, Worgen

Roadmap to Cataclysm zone overhauls

Okay, how did we miss this?

We've been wondering about the level of change in each old-world zone for Cataclysm for months now, and the answer has actually been under our noses since BlizzCon. During the Art Panel, the above planning map was shown, along with some information to either side of it. We can't make out everything in it, but there's a lot of information if you know what you're looking at.

The zone colors, from what we can infer, indicate the level of overhaul each zone is receiving. Red is a heavy overhaul, yellow is moderate, green is light, and blue means a brand-new zone. The yellow stars indicate a dungeon, and the red stars indicate a raid. The white tabs each have a letter on them, indicating what in the zone was being changed at that particular point -- L for level, Q for quests, etc.

Astute readers will see some things jump out at them immediately, like Thousand Needles having two stars on it.

The full list of visible zone changes after the break, along with other pertinent info.

Disclaimer: While this image was captured during the BlizzCon 2009 Art Panel, the capture displays a photo taken by Blizzard staff, which is undated. We don't know if it was a day before BlizzCon 2009 or six months before. Things could have changed between when this picture was taken and when this article was published.

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Filed under: News items, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Will you miss the Old World?

So when I first heard about the Cataclysm, I actually sort of figured Blizzard would use a sort of phasing system on the old world: You'd start in the current old world, and at some point, you'd do a quest series that would phase you into the new, Deathwinged Azeroth similar to the way one progresses into Icecrown in Northrend. However, the word has come down: When Azeroth burns, it'll be changed for good. There's no going back. Even those who don't buy the expansion will still find themselves in Deathwing's new world.

While we're told some zones will remain relatively unscathed, almost every zone will be touched in some way, whether it be simple storyline changes or more massive shakeups from rivers of lava or shrunken coastlines or war, or even more greenery thanks to shifting water sources.

So here's my simple question: Will you miss it? Will you be nostalgic for a desolate Desolace or the massive Barrens? Will you mourn for fallen Astranaar and Auberdine? I'm sure some things will be missed more than others, but then again, change can be good. Being able to move on to new challenges and new excitements has me pretty psyched all told. But then again, what if they get rid of Lakeshire Bridge? I have been waiting a long time to see that done. When the Cataclysm comes, what will you miss? What will you be glad to be rid of?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Lore, Cataclysm

The best zone of Wrath


Spinksville, following up to an earlier post concerning a great lore moment in Vengeance Landing, concludes that as a Horde player, Howling Fjord has emerged as the single best overall zone in Wrath. The more I consider it, the more I'm inclined to agree with her. The Fjord has a mostly unified questline that slowly splits off into sub-plots concerning the Kalu'ak and Taunka, and the farther you get, the more you realize the impact your previous actions have had on that little slice of the world (and most of it's not good). As Spinks observes, it's a very immersive experience that does a great job of conveying both the moral ambiguity of the Forsaken's position, and the fact that Northrend's a continent without a lot of good options. "Forced to choose between the lesser evil and the greater evil," she writes, "... you had better hope that the greater evil is very bad indeed because it is the only way to justify the things you have had to do."

That said, I have to admit that Icecrown is also pretty tough to beat lore-wise (with the Matthias Lehner quests being a particularly good touch, and please don't click that link if you haven't run into him yet). I haven't yet played an Alliance toon through Northrend, and Spinks is also a Horde player, so I'd like to get some input from Alliance-side players too. Is the Fjord as good for Alliance as it is for Horde, or are your best questlines elsewhere? If you're Horde, do you agree that the Fjord was your best questing experience?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Wintergrasp disabled

We noted an error earlier this evening which was causing the Lake Wintergrasp PvP zone to be reset prematurely. Since ending epic battles early is a bad thing, Blizzard has gone ahead and "shut off Wintergrasp" completely for the time being.

This change is affecting all realms.

There is no word when a fix will come through, but we're hopeful it will happen sometime soon. Disabling an entire part of the game is a big thing, and an error that usually is corrected quickly.

Some speculation points to the change in daily (now weekly) quests that just went in, however there is no evidence to support this.

Filed under: Bugs, News items

Breakfast Topic: What Northrend zone did you begin in and why?


After the Midnight Launch, I rushed home with my precious Collector's Edition, installed, patched and made a Death Knight. I'm not ready to play my DK yet, but I wanted to reserve the name and get her resting. Then I put my druid on a zeppelin and went to Northrend.

I didn't research the best starting zone for my class. I didn't even think about where the zeppelin might be taking me. I just randomly chose the Undercity portal from Shattrath and went from there. So here I am in the Howling Fjord. From a Tauren perspective, I'm not sure how I feel about doing chores for the Forsaken. Ah well, we're all in this together, right?

Where did you begin your Northrend questing? Did you research your decision, choose randomly or follow the pack?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

The Eye of Sauron makes an appearance in Wrath of the Lich King


The ultimate evil in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is represented by a large eye sitting atop a gigantic tower in a desolate and war torn land. It is one of the most iconic images in not only fantasy literature, but also in recent cinematography. Just about anyone who has paid attention to movies in the past eight years would be able to pick the Eye of Sauron out immediately, and I would have to imagine just about everyone playing WoW would be able to as well.

The Eye of Sauron makes an appearance in Wrath of the Lich King in the Death Knight starting zone. It goes under the name of the Eye of Acherus. In the image at the top of the article you can see the two side-by-side – the Eye of Sauron on the left, and the Eye of Acherus on the right. Arthas himself directs you to control it and use it to gather data from New Avalon, a nearby Scarlet Crusade fortification.

Take a look at the gallery below for images of the quest, what you do during it, and how everything appears.

Filed under: Walkthroughs, Quests, Galleries, Wrath of the Lich King

Choosing your first pet

Another new service provided by Mania's Arcania is a series of in-depth articles about how to choose your first pet when you're just starting out leveling your hunter for the first time. She covers the starting zones for each race, and highlights the pros and cons of all the best pet choices in each zone. So far she's covered the orcish, night-elven, and tauren starting areas, and more are sure to come.

If anyone is starting out with a hunter character for the first time, her guide is the best I've seen on this topic, especially if you really care about the details. Most beginning hunters just choose what seems nice to them at the moment, of course, (or whatever their friends recommend to them), but it's nice to have a special recourse for those who like to do all the right research and make such choices wisely.

Filed under: Hunter, Leveling, Guides

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