Archive for the ‘Quests’ Category

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A

Over at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community, eminent news source tchernobyl was kind enough to post the results of the latest Blizzard developer Q&A session, hosted over at the new official forums.

The whole post at LJ is here, but I’ve cut a few snippets I felt were particularly interesting:

Q: Are there any plans to update Outland and TBC zones to facilitate better level flow? – Atreydes (Latin America)

A: We think the flow of the zones works out well. It is true that you can finish the continents before hitting every zone because of the accelerated quest experience (further enhanced by mechanics such as heirlooms) but most players going back through the content on new characters seem perfectly happy to get through it faster than they did with their original character. What we don’t like is the strange way you go back in time when you go to Outland and Northrend and then back to the future (heh) when you go to the level 80-85 zones. That is definitely something we want to fix.

A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Russian players:

Q: Will the Outland and Northrend be “renewed”? Will there be new quests? – Мандрэйк (Europe [Russian])

A: Because we did those areas more recently than Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, we don’t feel the same urgency to go update them. They just don’t have the level design and quest flow problems to the same extent as the original content. We recognize though that some players are getting awfully tired of Hellfire Peninsula, and we’d like to come up with a good solution there.

This one is of particular interest to me. While I agree that the biggest issue with Outland and Northrend is that the player feels like they’re going back in time when they’ve leveled and then move into those zones to continue leveling but somehow the events of the Cataclysm haven’t happened there yet, I’m just as concerned with level tuning and story that players are missing when they push through all of those zones just for the sake of racking up dings.

I think the content of TBC and WoTLK deserve more than just a slight tweak to get the characters to give a nod to the fact that old world Azeroth isn’t the same as it used to be: I’m not saying they need to be directly affected by the Cataclysm, and I’m not saying that quests need to be reworked or zones completely changed, but I do think that when you go into outlands you should see the fruits of the past several years battle against the Burning Legion, and when you go into Northrend now you should see at least a little progress from the results at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, even if it’s only to note that the war is still open on that front and there’s still work to be done.

Q: What is your favorite escape/distraction when you arent working on WoW? – Danksz (North America/ANZ)

A: We polled the entire World of Warcraft development team and included the most interesting, unusual, and potentially terrifying responses. They included: roasting my own coffee; hiking all over SoCal; gardening with yuccas and bamboo; building my own 3D printer; attempting to turn my living room into a live action scene from Tron using blacklights, stencils and a helluva lot of paint; autocross racing my sweet ride; board games (I have over 450 of them); being spinal tapped to Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan; mastering cooking (duck confit, breads, pastas, more breads); building Star Wars Lego sets; trying to control my computer using brainwaves and an EEG reader; plein air/outdoor watercolor painting; geocaching; hockey; painting miniatures; swing dancing; crafting old-time cocktails; running 5 / 10 Ks / mud runs; motorcycling; go; blending smoothies; skydiving; work on my Jaina/Varian fanfic; baking bread; playing drums; reading sci-fi; comics; playing WoW.

Sounds like a fun place to work! Or at the very least fun people to work with.

Q: Will the devs consider giving us reason to interact in the new world of cataclysm? We sit in cities waiting on queues. Theres little reason to leave the city gates outside of farming and archeology. The *main* cities feel alive, the world however feels quite dead. – Odiem (North America/ANZ)

A: While you’re leveling up your character and gathering professions, you’re more than likely interacting with the world plenty. World of Warcraft’s endgame has centered on dungeons, raids, Battlegrounds and Arenas for some time, so it’s natural that you spend more time in cities organizing and preparing for those group-based events. We do think there is more that we can do to promote compelling solo gameplay for max level characters, though. The 4.2 patch has a pretty epic questing experience involving the Firelands and we’re really excited to see how players respond to it.

A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Korean players.

Q: PvP realms are getting indistinctive from the PvE realm as players are not engaging into PvP contents, since they are not finding it attractive. The only difference from the PvE realm is that it’s possible to attack opponent around zones in Conflict. Is there any plan to strengthen the difference between PvP and PvE realms? – Soulcube (Korea)

A: We don’t think it’s that world PvP is unattractive, we just think it’s just the cumulative effect of a lot of changes we made to the game to meet other goals. For example, flying mounts are really cool and convenient, but they mean you are much less likely to stumble upon someone from the opposite faction while travelling. We considered teleportation a mandatory feature for Dungeon Finder to succeed, but then you are less likely to bump into an enemy outside of a dungeon. To get world PvP back in some form, we’d have to develop something like the Isle of Quel’danas: a non-flight zone that is not a sanctuary where players congregate to finish quests or earn rewards. We’ll think about ways to do something like that again in the future.

I can’t say I’m satisfied with the devs’ answer on this one. While I agree that there’s plenty of world interaction when you’re out and about and questing and gathering and boosting your professions, I think that the concern of PVP players is probably more serious for them than the devs are really picking up.

Back in the vanilla days, when mounts were both expensive and far off, and when beginner mounts were slow enough that you could still be ambushed on one successfully, it was pretty hazardous playing on a PVP server during those early levels. I remember trying to just quest as a poor level 25 Tauren Druid and getting repeatedly ganked in Stonetalon by level 60 Night Elves coming through the pass.

Admittedly, I moved on to play on PvE servers after that, but I understand how global combat is a core component of playing on a PVP server, and between flying in old world and earlier/faster mounts, it’s become all but a moot point.

Q: I think a lot of people would like to see some more options for inventory storage are there plans for any of the following? Bank slots/Equipment manager storage/Upgrade backpack/storage for costume, cosmetic, toys/tabard storage. – Shinysparkle (North America/ANZ)

A: We do have some storage solutions in the works. We’d like to convert tabards in particular to something like the current UI to manage titles. We don’t want to just keep giving players larger and larger bags in which to lose items. We’re focusing more on better ways to organize items.

Finally! A fix is coming for my tabard addiction!

Q: During the expansions released since vanilla, the specialities of the different classes were watered down more and more. By now, many classes can do almost everything and almost none is still special. Are there any steps planned to give the classes more “charisma”, so that they are more distinguished from each other and regain their special flair? – Blades (Europe [German])

A: Sometimes when players say “special flair” what they really mean is “something so awesome that everyone will have to take me.” We really don’t want to go back to that model, which just isn’t tenable in a game with 10-player raids and 30 different talent trees. We have no problem spreading around buffs and utility that we consider more-or-less mandatory, such as the battle rezes and raid buffs. At the same time, we think there are enough unique abilities out there to make the various talent trees shine. Shaman have a great interrupt with Wind Shear. Warlocks can get out of danger with Demonic Portal. Discipline priests can mitigate a lot of damage with Power Word: Barrier, but Unholy death knights have their own version in Anti-Magic Zone. We struggle a lot with how much homogenization is good for the game, largely so that you can play with your friends, and how much is bad for the game, because then your character feels less special. It’s something we’ll continue to work on in an attempt to strike that perfect balance.

I really REALLY like the answer to this question. A lot of players who have been around for a long time miss the days when people formed their raid or dungeon groups because specific classes had “ubertalents” that were so good in the situations the raid would put you in that you absolutely wanted to have them – and it made the people who played that class feel uber as well.

In reality, that’s indicative of a lack of balance, and I’m glad that Blizzard is trying to strike a line between giving people talents that feel epic and important without being essential to specific – or every – encounters.

So what do you think? Blizzard developers took this one in stride, I think – and there were some great questions. I don’t think this will be the last dev Q&A that the developers do, so stay tuned for more in the future. What would you ask Blizzard developers if you had the chance? Sound off in the comments.

Cataclysm World Map in Annotated Video

If you’re having a hard enough time getting used to all of the changes now that the shattering has taken place, and you’re looking out over a new Azeroth and wondering what the new zones have in store for you, this amazing annotated world map in YouTube form will help you explore the new world as it looks today.

The project is the baby of Jesse Cox and Pride, and together they walk you through the changed old world zones and show you how they look now, what you can expect to encounter when you head back to those zones, and what the leveling experience is like for you now.

To use it, just play the video above and click the continent you want to visit. Then click the annotation for the zone you can to see, and you’ll see a video walking you through that zone. It’s truly a master work, my hat is off to them. You can also head over to YouTube here to play the videos larger in their native habitat.

Peacebloom vs. Ghouls – Plants vs. Zombies comes to Cataclysm!

If you haven’t seen or heard the news yet, an entertaining new minigame has made an appearance in the Cataclysm beta called “Peacebloom vs. Ghouls,” which looks and plays an awful lot like the fabulous tower-defense-style game, Plants vs. Zombies. The video above, from the venerable TotalBiscuit, shows the minigame in all of its glory, and the best thing about the minigame is that when it’s all over, you get a special in-game companion, the Singing Sunflower!

What’s even better about the minigame is that when you do complete it and get your companion, you’ll find that your Singing Sunflower is voiced by none other than Laura Shigihara, the original composer of the Plants vs. Zombies game, and the delightful voice you hear in the promo trailer singing “There’s a zombie on your lawn!”

Shigihara confirmed the news on her blog yesterday, where she said:

Besides being fun and kind of novel if you’re into PvZ, you get a pretty cool reward for finishing the quest: a “singing sunflower” pet! I actually had no idea this information was public until Hashimoto linked me to TotalHalibut’s video earlier tonight… incidentally, I was right in the middle of recording the sunflower’s voice when I watched it. ^_^ I am so excited about voicing a WoW-pet because what can I say … I’m a big nerd.

Yeah, color me excited for this when Cataclysm comes out. I’m not even normally a big tower-defense person, but this game has a special place in my heart.

Blizzard Unveils Preview of Zalazane’s Fall

The Gnomes aren’t the only ones on a quest to retake their homeland come Cataclysm – the Trolls want the Echo Isles back as well, and they’re ready to bring down Zalazane to do it. Vol’jin wants to rally the troops and take back the Trolls’ homeland, and they’re looking for your help to do it:

Embedded on the coast of Durotar, the tiny troll Village of Sen’jin is bursting with recent activity. In what some claim is a retort to the overblown assertions of the vertically-challenged High Tinker Mekkatorque, Troll Chieftain Vol’jin has announced his intention to “honor de ancestors ‘n’ take back da ‘omeland, mon.” The call has been given, and the scattered Darkspear tribe has begun to gather at the once-sleepy location. Now the primal rhythm of beating drums and strange clouds of acrid smoke drift aloft deep into the night, arguably a sign of celebration and preparation for an impending offensive.

With the full support of Thrall and his war council, Vol’jin is calling upon all factions of the Horde to prepare for an assault on the Echo Isles and the twisted witch doctor Zalazane. He will pay for his crimes against the Darkspears and the land that Thrall bestowed upon them! As explained by Vol’jin in the demand for Zalazane’s fall today, honorable members of the Horde passing through the village proper — whether they’ve never slain a boar in their lives or are the subject of every dragon’s nightmare — will be given a chance to help their upstanding troll brothers in what will surely be a brutal attack. But first there must be preparation. With the Echo Isles on the line, no detail is too small, no spoken word too trivial. And for that reason the noted troll shaman, Vanira, will get adventurers started on the monumental tasks ahead.

Hordies, you’ll have plenty to do in very short order!

T for Thunderfury: One Pally’s Quest for the Ultimate Weapon


Okay, it may not be the ultimate weapon, but if there’s a weapon in the game that I’ve always wanted for at least one of my characters, it’s Thunderfury: Blessed Blade of the Windseeker.

And one brave Blood Elf Paladin made it his quest to obtain the legendary weapon, and he invited people from his guild, his server, and across the net to watch his triumphant achievement. And party afterwards, of course!

(much love to for the video!)

Kalecgos is Back!


Spoilers be damned, full speed ahead!

The screenshot above was taken by Livejournal user PredictiveMemo and posted both at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community and her blog, ALT:ernative in a post here.

It comes from the PTRs, currently running 3.3, and indicate that we’ll see good old Kalecgos return as part of the upcoming Qule’Delar questline. Looks like Kalec has some doubts as to whether we can handle it, and some are predicting that maybe now with Malygos’s demise at our hands in The Eye of Eternity, Kalec may rise to become the next aspect of the Blue Dragonflight. How he’ll do that without the Titan-blessed power that Malygos had is another quesiton, but it’s speculation at best.

Anyone else on the PTRs that have seen this or been through this questline? Shout it out in the comments!

Holy Cow: It’s a Tauren Paladin!


Cadistra, artist and author of WoW, Eh? and all around awesome person, put together her interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin might look like once Cataclysm comes out and we have a whole slew of additional race/class combinations to choose from. One of the more interesting race/class combos we’ll get is the Tauren Paladin – which might immediately seem contradictory to the lore but apparently already has the framework laid in quests on the PTRs – one called An Injured Colleague.

The story is essentially that the Tauren see the druidic teachings of the Night Elves as only part of the picture – not that it’s bad in any way, but the Tauren revere the Earthmother, and the moon is only one of her two eyes (well established in the lore). The other eye of the Earthmother is the Sun, and the Tauren, being a people who strive for balance in all things, have at least a few who seek to walk the path of the Sun (and in turn, of the light) as opposed to the druidic path of the moon (as in, with the Night Elves and the druids of Moonglade and the Cenarion Circle).

In An Injured Colleague, we speak to a Tauren Warrior and a Tauren Druid who share their doubts about the path they’re both on – presumably two characters we may see become the first Tauren Paladin and the first Tauren Priest, and a blue post seemed to hint that the name of the new light-following Tauren would be “Sunwalkers.”

There is a similar Alliance quest that re-introduces the Highborne to the Night Elves, thus paving the way for Night Elf mages. The quest is called “A Cautious Return,” and there are screenshots of it on the PTR in the link to “An Injured Colleague” above.

In any event though, if Cadistra’s interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin will look like is near the mark, I’m looking forward to rolling one when Cataclysm is released. And even if it’s not near the mark, I still love it: Cadistra’s work is always impressive. Check out her DeviantArt account for a larger version of this image!

The Ballad of Mankrik’s Wife


Courtesy of one of my favorite World of Warcraft blogs, Need More Rage, I now have this song in my head. With the modified lyrics.

See, my first character post-beta was a Tauren druid; and even though I play alliance mostly now, I’m more than familiar with the experience, with Barrens chat (back when it was REALLY bad), more than familiar with the old days and the Alliance’s endless raids on Crossroads (to the point where it was all but impossible to quest there), and of course, with the quest to find Mankrik’s wife.

So of course, what does Ratshag, main writer at Need More Rage, do for us? Recounts Ozzy’s special WoW-themed version of Iron Man. He says Ozzy performed it at Blizzcon. I don’t know if I believe him or think this came entirely out of his own twisted mind, but in any event, it’s fabulous. Remember, sing the lyrics out loud to the tune of Iron Man:

Where is Mankrik’s Wife?
Is she still fighting for her life?
Can she walk at all
Or is she nailed to a wall?
Is she live or dead?
Has she thoughts within her head?
We’ll cry on slash two
“What am I s’pposed to do?”

She was left behind
Somewhere near that archeologic find
When big orc Mankrik
Ran away like a dick

No one can find her
She just stares at the world
Maybe she still lives
Prisoner of the Quillboar

Check the original post and pay your respects to Ratshag for this bit of genius; and make sure to check out the rest of the blog – it’s fabulous.

The Bugged Crusade and Customer Service

In the space of twelve hours this weekend, I ran into four bugged and impossible quests. if it had been one or even two I may not have minded much. But four seemed like a lot, especially considering they were all group quests and one of them was necessary to complete a larger chain.

On Friday night I ran the crypts of Auchindoun with my guild, the Forgotten Legion. It was a solid run with only one wipe at the very last boss when a shadow-clone got a lucky hit on our healer. I had two quests for the crypts: “Auchindoun . . . ” and “Everything Will Be Alright“. After the boss died, someone in my guild started talking about a giant crystal face floating above me. I thought he was joking. I looked all around and saw nothing. My guild mates targetted the giant face, D’Ore, but when I targetted them I couldn’t see it. I filed a ticket with a GM. This quest was the next step in a massive chain in Nagrand where you free the spirits of the orcs of Garadar, so i really wanted to complete it.

At the entrance to the dungeon there should’ve been the spirit of a grandfather to accept the quest “Everything Will Be Alright”. I couldn’t see him either. I amended the GM ticket and was alternately consoled and mocked by my fellow questers.

I stayed online for a few hours, hoping I could get a GM response. I also emailed the GM group at Blizzard. I went and quested some more and then logged off. One of the absolute worst features of the GM system at Blizzard is that the moment you log off–or in some cases disconnect–your GM ticket goes away. You get an email saying it’s being looked into, which I don’t believe for a second.

On Saturday morning I logged in to quest again. I hit the Blade’s Edge mountains and teamed up with a group to do missions for Rexxar, Hero of the Horde. It seems there were some ogres that needed poisoning and killing and a wyvern to rescue. This lead to the now infamous “Showdown” quest, which is notoriously bugged. When we finally got to that part after dealing with the insane respawn rate of the elite ogres we found that the giant mob we were there to summon was already there, chilling out, watching us kill his minions. He didn’t seem to mind and was very nimble as he evaded every attack I threw his way. I filed a new GM ticket and was disgusted with Blade’s Edge, so I moved on to Netherstorm and the quests of Area 52.

Near Area 52 I happened upon a downed Fel Reaver and a goblin who wanted his heart. i teamed up with a druid and rogue who were in the area and we started the quest, only to find that the heart was spawning deep underground and unreachable. I amended my GM ticket, again. Later, while questing, I noticed that the ticket had disappeared without a GM so much as contacting me. So I posted on the Customer Service forum.

Four bugged group quests. Two GM tickets that were never answered even after waiting over four hours. All of my emails to the GM department were returned with automatic responses telling me first that the quests were working as intended and that I needed to read the quest log closer, then that it was a known issue, then that my information was useful to Blizzard and they would add it to their own and then, this morning, a note saying that I should address my queries to the accounts billing department. Because apparently the billing department now handles bugged quests.

The bugged quests are annoying but the utter lack of customer service is appalling.

Favorite Outland Quests: Digging Through Bones

arthas_cousin.jpeg There are many quests in the Outlands that are vast improvements on their terrestial counterparts. The dialogue is snappier. The show is flashier. The bombing runs are . . . well, there are bombing runs. One of the funniest quests yet is “Digging Through Bones” and can be found at the Sha’Tari Outpost in Terokkar Forest. A group of Dwarven archaeologists led by Chief Archaelogist Letoll need escorting and protection on their way to a dig site.

Yes, it’s an escort quest. But the dwarves are badass and dont really need much protection. The quest is listed as Group, but it is very easy to solo.

You escort them across the wastes, past two scorpions, and to the dig site. They begin digging and then they begin talking, and that is when things get interesting:

Chief Archaeologist Letoll says: We’re here! Start diggin’!

Chief Archaeologist Letoll says: I think there’s somethin’ buried here, beneath the sand!

Chief Archaeologist Letoll says: By Brann’s brittle bananas! What is it!? It.. It looks like a drum.

Explorers’ League Researcher says:
Wow… a drum.

Explorers’ League Researcher says: This discovery will surely rock the foundation of modern archaeology.

Explorers’ League Researcher says: Yeah, great. can we leave now? this desert is giving me hives.

Chief Archaeologist Letoll says: Have ye gone mad? you expect me to leave behind a drum without first beatin’ on it? not this son of ironforge! No sir!

Explorers’ League Researcher says:
This reminds me of that one time where you made us search silithus for evidence of sand gnomes.

Explorers’ League Researcher says: Or that time when you told us that you’d discovered the cure for the plague of the 20th century. What is that even? 20th century?

Explorers’ League Researcher says: I don’t think it can top the one time where he told us that he’d heard that Arthas’s “cousin’s” skeleton was frozen beneath a glacier in Winterspring. I’ll never forgive you for that one, Letoll. I mean honestly… Arthas’s Cousin?

Explorers’ League Researcher says: I dunno. It can’t possibly beat the time he tried to convince us all that we’re actually a figment of some being’s imagination and that they only use us for their own personal amusement. That went over well during dinner with the family.

Chief Archaeologist Letoll says: Shut yer yaps! I’m gonna bang on this drum and that’s that!

Explorers’ League Researcher says: Say, do you guys hear that?

Chief Archaeologist Letoll says: IN YOUR FACE! I told you there was somethin’ here!

And then . . . well, I won’t spoil that, too.

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