Archive for the ‘Instances’ Category

Video: Welcome to the Deadmines


If you haven’t heard by now, Cataclysm will bring a new, retooled, and upgraded Deadmines, along with a heroic version for your high-end dungeon fun. What’s what you say? You’ve never actually BEEN in the Deadmines?

Well then, thanks to this video from xcrosspictures, which also happened to be the winner of the World of Warcraft Movie Contest: Rise to Power in the EU, takes us back into the Deadmines for a musical tour with Edwin VanCleef and all of his minions so you can see exactly what we’re getting into.

Seriously, my favorite was Mr. Smite. See the video over at YouTube here!

Blizzard Releases Official Gnomeregan and Echo Isles Information

Last week, Blizzard announced tons of new information about the upcoming Gnomeregan and Echo Isles instances that we expect to see in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next major expansion pack to the game. Among them are the fact that the gnomes and the trolls will both have an opportunity in the coming expansion to take their respective homelands back. Nethaera said on the official forums:

High Tinker Mekkatorque, betrayed by Mekgineer Thermaplugg and forced to flee the irradiated city of Gnomeregan with the few of his fellow gnomes who managed to survive, is preparing to reclaim his once glorious city. Meanwhile, in distant Durotar, Vol’jin of the Darkspear trolls is determined to exact revenge upon the witch doctor Zalazane for dividing the Darkspears and seizing the land bestowed to them by Thrall: the Echo Isles. Read more about the ongoing struggles of the gnomes and the trolls… and their plans to seek redemption.


There are already a number of spoilers floating around out there since a lot of the audio data and text have already started to appear in existing data packs and folks who are familiar with sites that do a lot of data mining may already have seen the content of the events and encounters.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the opportunity to hand Thermaplugg and Zalazane their marching orders and tell them to get the heck out of your character’s homeland? It’s been said that everything is going to change in Cataclysm, and this certainly looks like the beginning of that.

Thanks to for the scoop!

Is Blizzard Watching the Dungeon Finder?

According to the patch 3.3.3 notes on the PTR, there are some interesting new statistics that Blizzard is going to start recording about our collective participation in the dungeon finder, including the number of times you’ve been kicked from a dungeon that was started using the finder, the number of times you voted to kick someone but didn’t initiate the kick-vote, the number of times you initiated the kick-vote, the number of times you abandoned an LFG dungeon, and the number of completed LFG dungeons you’ve been in.

Now don’t get me wrong, this could very well be all about some new achievements, especially the number of times you’ve completed an LFG dungeon, but the rest of the stats may be the beginnings of Blizzard responding to some of the complaints about people abusing the dungeon finder and generally being nuisances when using it. I don’t know what Blizzard may do about any systemic abuses of the system, but it’s encouraging that they’re at least looking.

What do you think Blizzard is going to do with the data? Let us know in the comments!

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Warcraft 2009 Year in Review


2009 was quite a year for the World of Warcraft – the launch of Wrath of the Lich King was late 2008, and most of us spent the holidays and wee months of 2009 exploring Northrend, the announcement of the next expansion, Cataclysm, a host of incredible changes to the game, from the Dungeon Finder most recently to the ability to change your character’s race to the announcement of a Warcraft movie (and it’s director).

Over at Blog Azeroth, an interesting shared topic came up for this week: to do a common retrospective against the previous year and some of our personal highlights. The questions are really thought provoking, so let’s give them a whirl:

  • What did you do in the World of Warcraft in 2009 that you’d never done before?
    * Leveled a second 80! This may surprise a lot of you, but I’m pretty casual. I love to run dungeons and raid, but I’m not on every night, and I’m not on for hours every time I’m on. The weekends I can find myself playing for hours on end, but I had only had one character at level cap since vanilla. I changed that this year by leveling my ret pally to 80. I still don’t play her as much as my main, but she’s there if I need her.
  • What was your favorite new place that you visited?
    * This is a toughy. I suppose I would have to say it was Howling Fjord – up until then I had pushed all of my characters through Borean Tundra, since that’s the zone I played in beta and I really liked it. Howling Fjord didn’t disappoint, either. A lot of the zones in Wrath are gorgeous and I’m glad I visited them – places like Grizzly Hills (which I really really like even though a lot of people seem to hate it), but Howling Fjord was probably my favorite new place.
  • What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
    * More raiding time! I’ve been so busy lately that even if I had an easy way to raid, I wouldn’t be able to. I don’t mean to imply that I want to join a hardcore raiding guild – I like the casual and laid-back attitude of my current guild and I don’t want to turn WoW into a second job, but I would like to experience a little more of the endgame. I’d also like to level some more classes and alts. Are those contradictory?
  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    * Completing the Argent Tournament, repping all cities, and earning not just Champion of the Alliance, but Exalted Champion of the Alliance and Exalted Argent Champion of the Alliance, complete with all of the titles and reps and everything. A close 2nd is my World Explorer title and achievement.
  • What was your biggest failure?
    * I really regret not finishing What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been. Stupid Children’s Week came at the worst possible time and I didn’t finish it. Now that Winter Veil is over, it’s literally the only thing between me and a Violet Proto-Drake.
  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    * Cataclysm, easily. In fact, I’m still excited about it. More so than Icecrown Citadel, more so than the Argent Tournament. I’m incredibly eager for it, for the new races, and everything about it sounds amazing and interesting.
  • What do you wish you’d done less of?
    * I wish I’d done less waiting around for things to happen. My guild, as I’ve mentioned previously, is super-casual, so I tended to just sit and wait for things to happen to me, for runs to form or people to take leadership roles. The dungeon finder changed all of that, but I was already on the path of making new friends, leveling more characters in different places, and positioning myself to get more out of the game than I felt I was, all without leaving my beloved friends in my current guild behind.
  • What was your favorite WoW blog or podcast?
    * The Azeroth Metblogs, of course! Okay, okay – when I’m not writing here, I’m usually reading or Aspect of the Hare. When it comes to podcasts, I loathe to miss an episode of the WoW Insider Show (the podcast of or RawrCast – since they’re back to back I tend to catch them live.
  • Tell us a valuable WoW lesson you learned in 2009.
    * I learned that the World of Warcraft is full -literally full- of players of all different types and personalities. There’s absolutely no excuse to stay in a situation you dislike, or play with people you hate, or be lonely in this game. There are guilds galore, all of them recruiting and all of them taking new players, and regardless of how you feel about the game, there’s bound to be a community somewhere, either in-game or out-of-game, that’s likeminded as you. WoW is a social game, so go make the best of the whole Massively Multiplayer part of MMO and meet people! I learned to!

There you have it! The week is winding down, so there are plenty of similar responses from elsewhere in the World of Warcraft blog community! Check out some of them here at Twisted Nether’s Shared Topic: Year in Review!

So what about you? What did you accomplish in 2009 that you’re really proud of? What are you looking forward to in 2010?

Blizzard Sweetens the Oculus Pot

Oculus Loading Screen

If you’ve been using the Dungeon Finder lately, you’re more than aware of people just dropping group as soon as an instance they don’t feel like running loads up – and no instance is more susceptible to this than The Oculus. If you see the loading screen and see that you’re headed there, you’re almost guaranteed that at least one member of your group will simply drop as soon as the instance loads without saying anything.

Personally I think it’s terrible behavior – if you want to queue for specific dungeons you should queue for those dungeons only: don’t join the random queue if you’re not okay with random. I’m starting to see more people do this with Halls of Stone as well, but it’s particularly epidemic with Oculus, even though the instance has been so heavily nerfed that you could sleep through it – and apparently Blizzard has noticed. Now, when you finish the instance and open the cache, you’ll find a custom loot bag inside complete with extra emblems, gems, and a chance to pick up a new mount, the Reins of the Blue Drake. Zarhym says:

To encourage players not to shy away from the many invigorating adventures to be had in The Oculus, we have applied a change to enhance the rewards players are provided when selected for this dungeon via the Random Heroic option in the Dungeon Finder. Once Ley-Guardian Eregos is defeated, one loot bag per character will be provided in his chest in addition to the current rewards. Each loot bag will offer players rare gems, two additional Emblems of Triumph, and a chance of being rewarded the Reins of the Blue Drake. These fine treasures could be yours should you honor your fellow party members by besting the challenges contained within The Oculus! Keep in mind, however, that these extra loot bags will only be awarded to each party member if Oculus is selected by the Dungeon Finder when players choose the Random Heroic option.

In light of this change, the Reins of the Azure Drake will now have a chance of dropping in both 10- and 25-player versions of The Eye of Eternity.

Here’s hoping that’ll put a stop to it, at least for a while. I’ve found that the more I run Oculus the more I like it, so I don’t mind sticking through it if it comes up in random – the only thing I hate about it is having to wait for an AFK player who refuses to zone in’s dungeon timer to run out so we can vote-kick him, or having to wait for more people to join the group when half of it leaves just after the loading screen.

Do You Have Your Perky Pug Yet?


The pug is finally mine (as you can see above, that’s my screen cap), but I have to admit, that hundred random people came and went pretty quickly. Before the patch came out, I thought it would be pretty difficult to group with a hundred random people and get the Perky Pug, but once I got started using the Dungeon Finder, it was all downhill from there.

The same has been true across the realms too, I’ve seen more and more people flying the title “The Patient,” which comes with the achievement for grouping with 50 random people, called Looking for Many, and some people running about with their new pug pets after having completed Looking for Multitudes.

I’ve seen praises and horror stories about the Dungeon Finder so far, especially over at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community, where both the hate and the love is running wild and rampant.

If you’ve been running instances using the dungeon finder, whether you love it or you hate it, how are you coming towards your title or your Perky Pug? Are you running for badges and gear upgrades, or are you running for lack of anything better to do? Maybe you have your pug already? Let me know in the comments!

Rawr Helps You Plan Your Gear Upgrades


Back in the BC days it was easier to plan your gear upgrades – there were certain well agreed-upon items that were clearly best-in-slot, and just about every class knew which instance they should head to in order to get specific upgrades. With the flurry of 5-man instances, the addition of a couple of 10-man instances, and new hard-modes and heroics where the gear that drops from the same instance is of higher quality, it’s a little more difficult these days to really plan out your upgrades, especially if you’re looking at getting the gear required to get into some of those 25-man hard-modes.

Thankfully there’s Rawr, a tiny little portable app that you can use to test out upgrades, various enchants and gems, and to see how your stats will be affected if you choose one piece of gear over another potential one. Since Rawr is completely portable, once you download it you can drop it on a USB flash drive and carry it around with you. You may need to do the extensive Armory or WoWhead update once to make sure you have all of the source information for all of the items correct, but once you’ve done it, you can load your character from the Armory and see what items make the most sense for your character.

The video above is pretty long, but it’s an incredibly detailed tour of the application and all of the things you can do with it. Now that getting badges and getting geared up is as simple as running a few random dungeons using the Dungeon Finder, it’s more important than ever to know whether or not you want something when it drops from a boss, and to know what you should get when you have a bag full of badges and no idea what to spend them on. Download the app and give it a try!

Is the Dungeon Finder an Omen of Things to Come?


So along with the release of patch 3.3, and some of my initial thoughts (and yours!) about it, I’ve been hearing a lot of similar thoughts about what the dungeon finder means not just for World of Warcraft but for other games as well. The success of the dungeon finder is surely something that Blizzard will be uniquely interested in for other games.

That being said, the dungeon finder reminds me a ton (and it’s not just the moving eye icon) of the old matching system from games like Starcraft and Warcraft III, but its application to World of Warcraft is unique. It all but eliminates the need to look hard for a group for just about any five-man dungeon, and even the raid finder makes it simpler to find 10 or more to do something bigger. If you’re stuck with group quests that force you to go into a dungeon at a specific level, you have no excuse not to do it; we’re all too used to just dropping them and moving on to the next zone, as if the instance quests are a sign that we’re done there. The dungeon finder has changed all of this.

But at the same time, the sword cuts several ways. A more instance-savvy playing population can have a couple of different effects – more well-geared players fresh at 80, more instance-experienced players who understand roles and responsibilities in a raid or a dungeon all around, more savvy and group-friendly players, and fewer players who think that the game is essentially a solo grind up to the level cap are all some potential positive benefits that I’ve heard, agree with, and hope to see pretty quickly: the dungeon finder will result in a number of players, especially on their alts, finding it easier to gear those alts up, pick up gear for offspecs, and learn from others how to play their classes.

On the other hand, I’ve heard that the dungeon finder will saturate the market of skilled, level-capped, and geared players for guilds looking to recruit; will dilute the market of quality players since everyone will have at least some decent gear (even purples that drop in heroics) and make it more difficult to pick out a good player from a simply well geared one. Personally, I think that’s a great problem to have, but I can see why some people would be a little concerned.

The dungeon finder was released to rave reviews, and it’s clear that it’s not just here to stay, but it’s one of the best features to be added to the game since launch. But what does it mean for the future of the World of Warcraft, and the future of dungeons and raiding in general? Will the raid finder eventually look like the dungeon finder, and make use of in-game voicechat? Will we eventually see cross-server guilds? Only time will tell, but the possibilities are certainly out there.

New Looking for Group System Coming in 3.3


The way you look for an available group in World of Warcraft now is clunky at best, and still relies on people having back-channel discussions outside of the LFG system in order to find other players to run dungeons with them. It essentially relies on people queuing up for dungeons and sitting there until someone speaks up.

Right now on the PTR Blizzard is testing a new system, one that allows you to drop yourself or your group into a Looking for Group/Dungeon/Raid system that will automatically match you up with other people to round out your party. The beauty of the new system is that it’s far more passive, and allows you to essentially make yourself available and the game will find someone to match up with you – you can even drop yourself in alone, choose your role, and the system will find a group for you if you’re by yourself and looking to PUG something.

On the up side, that means that it’ll be even easier for people to find PUGs and for casual players to dip their feet into deeper waters than their guilds may currently be swimming in, but on the down-side the lack of that back-channel discussion may lead to this tool forming groups that instantly fall apart as soon as someone deemed undesirable joins the group, or PUGs that fall apart quickly because of an undesirable deviate or a loot ninja.

Over at they have an excellent discussion thread about this, and point out that some of the other enhancements to the system involve the limitation of certain classes to roll on certain items (for example, melee characters can’t roll on spellpower gear) and the ability to disenchant an item straight from the need/greed roll screen if everyone passes on it.

Add to this the fact that the new LFG tool will automatically teleport you to the instance you’re queued up for when your group is assembled and you have what looks to be an exciting addition to the game, and one that will make it even easier to find and assemble a PUG for just about anything. But is it necessarily a good idea? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Should We Kill Arthas?


If you’ve been reading closely, you’ll notice that there’s something special about that Icecrown Citadel preview that Blizzard posted: that at the end, even in the 5-man, players will ascend to the Frozen Throne and stand toe-to-toe with Arthas himself.

This has sparked a pretty big discussion that I’ve heard on a couple of sites and perhaps most notably on the podcast, the WoW Insider Show, about whether or not Arthas should die when we face him. Do we smite him down like we did with Illidan, or do we redeem him somehow? Does he flee to return later somehow? What should happen when we face him?

There are a lot of mixed feelings about this, actually – some people feel very strongly that there isn’t anything left in Arthas to redeem, and that he should pay for his immeasurable crimes against Azeroth. They also point out, rightly, that Arthas has voluntarily allowed himself to be partially posessed by Ner’zhul, who was inside of Frostmourne before Arthas took posession of it, and that Ner’zhul the Lich also needs to pay for his crimes.

Finally, the other evidence that Arthas may not be able to be redeemed is the Icecrown quest line where the player finds Arthas’ human heart deep, deep, deep under Icecrown Citadel where Arthas discarded it long ago – and the fact that at the end of the quest chain Arthas’ heart is destroyed even though the player and Tirion Fordring had initially planned to use it to redeem him in the first place.

However, all of those events may not mean the end of Arthas, and it may not mean that players who face him won’t be able to redeem him somehow. The going theory is that in the 5-man, Arthas will battle the players and then retreat somewhere else that can only be accessed via the 25-man heroic version, and that’s where we’ll really see some action. He’s done it in a number of cases; he did it at the Wrathgate, where it was clear he was at least injured by the new plague that Putress and his ilk launched against everyone assembled to do battle there. We may even see more from the Forsaken faction that betrayed Sylvanas in the end, we just don’t know.

In any event, there are just as many arguments on the other side – that if Arthas can be redeemed that it could put an end to the scourge right then and there, and that a redeemed Arthas could be a valuable ally in the future, lore figure going forward, and even a major player in Cataclysm.

What do you guys think? Should we kill Arthas where he stands when we enter Icecrown Citadel, or should we find some way to return his humanity to him? Shout it out in the comments!

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.