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World of Warcraft

WoW Archivist: Beta surprises from World of Warcraft's history

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, WoW Archivist

Death knights bomb the plaguelands
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who 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? It first appeared on our sister site on July 2nd and is included here by permission.

Last week, we launched into the newest beta in WoW's history -- its sixth! -- for Warlords of Draenor. It's an exciting time for the game. Every beta has its surprises, good and bad. New things that were never announced. Prior announcements that changed unexpectedly. We've already had a number of surprises in the Warlords beta: the faction hub shift to Ashran, cross-faction auctions, and the removal of guild leveling.

Beta is just ramping up. We are sure to encounter more than one surprise over the next few months as we test the Draenor experience and gear up for the expansion's launch. Let's take a look back at the previous five betas and examine some of the twists that greeted testers -- and often shocked the WoW community. Caveat: I'm excluding storyline surprises.

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Warlords of Draenor previews Frostfire Ridge

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Lore, Previews, Subscription

As the closed beta for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor rages on, Blizzard has a pair of previews up for one of the expansion's zones: Frostfire Ridge.

Frostfire Ridge's biome features a fun combination of snow-covered wastes and towering volcanoes, so whether your tastes run hot or cold, this place will have you covered. The zone is what will eventually become the Blade's Edge Mountains in Burning Crusade's version of the zone, and here players will be helping Thrall's daddy survive among a closing net of enemies.

Even among such hostile environs, players will find a fortress of solitude. The Horde garrison will be established in this zone, offering a base from which to build a sanctuary and an army.

One Shots: Regrets, I've had a few

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Anarchy Online, Culture, Warhammer Online, One Shots, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

Staring at a sunset is a perfectly legitimate time to look back at one's day (and one's life) to muse upon victories won and defeats suffered. The regrets are then cast upon the sinking sun to be taken into the void of yesterday. Tomorrow? Tomorrow is a clean slate of possibilities.

Reader Dynatos submitted this warm and fuzzy Final Fantasy XIV picture. "Here's another sunset, this time in Thanalan with my tanky Carbuncle. I kinda miss him after he was replaced."

Regrets? We've all had a few. And if you don't read the rest of this column, you will regret it. That's friendly advice, not a threat.

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Blizzard dispatches Warlords of Draenor closed beta invites

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), News Items, Subscription

Blizzard has begun sending out the first wave of closed beta invitations for World of Warcraft's upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion. Overnight, WoW Community Manager Bashiok tweeted,
First #Warlords beta invite wave on its way! Check your account for flagging. Targeting first wave toward WoW veterans. (Realms up tomorrow)
Players can check their Battle.net accounts to see whether their accounts have been flagged prior to the arrival of the emails. Bashiok further reminded followers that additional waves of invites are coming; this first round targeted "accounts that have been playing recently, with a long history of active subscription."

The closed beta itself begins today at 5 p.m. EDT.

WoW reveals new human and Draenei male models

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Previews, Subscription

World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft character models are on their way to enjoying an eventual facelift, and the latest reveal shows off two new models as they'll appear in the next expansion, Warlords of Draenor.

The human and Draenei male character models look to be more detailed and "realistic" as we saw with the female Draenei reveal (that was first done as a not-so-popular April Fools' joke).

You can check out more details on the model revamps at the official site.

Blizzard sale slashes prices on WoW and Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, News Items, Promotions, Subscription

We're sure this has nothing to do with recent themepark releases and impending updates, but here it is anyway: World of Warcraft's summer sale has dropped the prices of the game everyone loves to pretend to hate. The WoW bundle and separate Mists of Pandaria expansion can be had for 10 bucks apiece until July 1st. Our sister site WoW Insider notes that European gamers are looking at €7.50 for WoW and €10.00 for Mists.

Sorry, sale fiends; there's no way to rig this one.

World of Warcraft previews the Tanaan Jungle

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, News Items, Subscription

You'd better run through it.
The first two zone previews for World of Warcraft's next expansion focused on the areas that will lie at the heart of each faction, but Warlords of Draenor doesn't start in either of those areas. No, players will begin by setting foot (or hoof) into the Tanaan Jungle, a lush land filled with warriors of the Iron Horde as well as no shortage of vicious beasts. Yes, it's dangerous even without the orcs, that's kind of a running theme here.

Players using characters boosted to level 90 will be learning their classes for the first time in the jungle, meeting orc luminaries such as Grom Hellscream and Khadgar Bladefist. (They're with the Iron Horde; they won't be happy to see you.) Players are also teased that they might need to make a deal with the warlock Gul'dan to get out in one piece, which is an activity that has never worked out well for anyone. Check out the full preview and all the lore it implies on the official site.

World of Warcraft player hits 90 without leaving Pandaren starting zone

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Subscription

World of Warcraft
The curious saga of World of Warcraft player Doubleagent has hit its pinnacle (for now) as the faction-neutral Pandaren character has maxed out his level at 90 this weekend. But why is this such a big deal, you ask? He did it without picking a faction, staying in the Pandaren starting zone, and mostly by picking herbs at 20-30 XP a pop.

You can read more about Doubleagent's journey to 90 in this unique way over at the official forums, and be sure to check out WoW Insider's interview with him from earlier this year.

WoW Archivist: Expansion gaps

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Patches, Opinion, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Gap in the bridge on the Timeless Isle
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who 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? It first appeared on our sister site on June 20th and is included here by permission.

Expansion gaps are the most reviled of all content gaps. It's not just because they are the longest; it's because at the other end of the gap lies so much to look forward to. Expansions change WoW from top to bottom. They usher in brand new worlds to explore and bring us new ways to play the game. That's part of why it takes Blizzard so long to release them.

In the meantime, we wait, mired in the old, but excited about the new.

We are experiencing what is likely to be the longest expansion gap so far in WoW's 10-year history. But what about the expansion gaps of the past? How do they stack up? What did Blizzard offer and what were players' reactions to them?

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World of Warcraft previews Warlords of Draenor's Shadowmoon Valley

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Previews, News Items, Dev Diaries, Subscription

Blizzard's official World of Warcraft blog updated this week with a preview of Shadowmoon Valley. No, not Outland's Shadowmoon Valley from The Burning Crusade; this is the version of Shadowmoon Valley you'll be time-traveling to in Warlords of Draenor, or rather, you will if you're playing Alliance, since it's that faction's entry point for the expansion lands.

Senior Designer Helen Cheng explains the zone's setting as "one of the most beautiful places on Draenor." She writes, "The valley is tranquil and serene. Rolling green hills give way to lush, violet forests. Draenei temples stand proudly beneath a star-studded sky. Here, the draenei have built wonders of their civilization-the town of Elodor with its majestic Altar of Sha'tar serves as the proud home of the great Exarchs, while the shining Temple of Karabor acts as the font of all holy learning. Under Prophet Velen and Exarch Akama's watch, all is well."

Read more about the zone's backstory on the official site.

Symantec's COO credits his WoW credentials with boosting his resume

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Real-Life, Culture

Stephen Gillett
Symantec COO Stephen Gillett is proud of his past accomplishments, including high-ranking positions at Starbucks, CNET, and Best Buy. But it may be his level 70 Paladin and Priest in World of Warcraft that got him in the door and up that ladder.

Gillett believes that adding his World of Warcraft guild leadership stats to his resume has helped him land these tops jobs. "Here's my guild. Here's my ranking. Here's my biggest online achievement," Gillett said in a CNN interview. "Some people look at it and say, 'What the hell is this?' And others will be like, 'That's exactly what I'm looking for.'"

"I think gamification and the way of thinking about it is applicable to any industry," Gillett continued. "Right now we get really good information on malware -- what it does, how it acts. But we have no telemetry on the human part of it -- what people were doing, thinking and believing when they encountered that particular threat."

Perfect Ten: The MMOs that influenced me greatly

World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Fallen Earth, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Every one of us has an "MMO resume": a list of titles that we've played, whether briefly or extensively. Some of those are just games, casual flings that meant nothing. But others can take a more meaningful role in our lives, influencing how we experience and view MMOs.

I would scarcely say that my resume is one of the most robust you'll ever see; I'm sure plenty of you have played more than I. However, I like to think that I've had a journey over the course of a decade or so that's shaped who I am as a gamer. Since it's my birthday today, I'm going to share 10 of those influential MMOs with you and what they've done for me. You're going to get me cake.

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World of Warcraft starts previewing Garrisons

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, News Items, Housing, Subscription

Don't tell us we don't want to play the Sims in World of Warcraft.
Garrisons are one of the big defining features for World of Warcraft's next expansion, but we haven't heard a whole lot about them. That's all changing with the start of a new four-part series explaining how the system works and how players can unlock and improve their Garrison, starting with the absolute basics. The first part is available now, outlining the overall scope of the fortifications and what players will be able to do with them.

The short version is that Garrisons will be centrally located for both the Horde and Alliance, but you'll have access to satellite locations in each of the various zones through the expansion. You'll also have choices about which buildings to construct as you move through Draenor, which will affect both the central location and the satellite region -- building a Lumber Mill, for instance, will mean unlocking one back at your main Garrison as well as offering unique buffs while in the zone with the Mill. Check out all the details in the official posting.

Filming wraps on the WoW movie

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items

Director Duncan Jones says that's a wrap on his World of Warcraft film adaptation. "Final day on Warcraft now officially... wrapped," he tweeted. "Off to bed for three hours before a meeting in the AM. Good night/ good morning Twitter!"

The movie is expected in March of 2016. Its cast includes Vikings' Travis Fimmel and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol's Paula Patton.

WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5, the epic conclusion

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Dungeons, WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who 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? It first appeared on our sister site on May 21st and is included here by permission.

Last time on WoW Archivist, we reviewed the first half of the Tier 0.5 quest line, including the controversial 45-minute Baron run in Stratholme. As we left off, the ghost of Anthion Harmon had asked us to assemble the pieces of Valthalak's medallion. He sent you into Blackrock Depths with an enchanted banner to challenge the gladiator Theldren.

Laying down the law

The next step required a 5-player group to enter the Ring of Law inside Blackrock Depths. As you were being sentenced, you summoned the Banner of Provocation. Theldren and his team stepped in instead of the usual BRD bosses. Now you were in for a scrap, and it was a wildly different fight that any other in classic WoW.

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