Five Predictions for World of WarCraft: Legion

wow-legion-box-art-2Yesterday, World of WarCraft: Legion was announced at Gamescom, and I am hyped! I’m much more cautious than I’ve been with any other expansion announcement, after what happened with Warlords of Draenor. Yet I still can’t help but be really excited. With only two announcement trailers and a single panel, we don’t have too much to go on about Legion‘s storyline and overall path so far. In this absence of information, I’ve taken what we do know to make five predictions on what will happen in the expansion, and where it will lead us to in the future. Find out what these predictions are behind the read-more!

[SPOILERS and SPECULATION] Who is Cho’gall’s Master, and what does it bode for Draenor?

He comes…

A burning question has resonated in the minds of many, especially myself, since Warlords of Draenor’s unveiling: how will the expansion’s story progress and conclude?

The prospect of how Warlords of Draenor storyline comes to a close is still a mystery. By all accounts, all that we know for sure pertaining to WoD’s conclusion and final raid tier is the following: Grommash Hellscream will be involved with the final encounter, and it will be heavily Legion themed. Aside from this tidbit shared by Tom Chilton, what happens upon Draenor post-6.0 is a complete mystery. The single plausible route to formulating what will play out next in WoD is speculation, and the recent slaying of Mythic Imperator Mar’gok surprised many with a new development in the lore.

Before jumping into any speculation, let’s review every significant lore event that’s occurred so far in WoD:

The Hunt for Alleria Windrunner (Warlords of Draenor Beta)

If one builds a Lunarfall Inn (Alliance) or Frostwall Tavern (Horde) in their garrison, they gain access to unique quests given by various figures in WoW lore such as Darion Mograine, Lorewalker Cho, and Aviana. These quests have some interesting background lore; for example Darion is researching the Shadowmoon clan to better understand the Lich King’s origins, and Cho believes there are Titan artifacts hidden in the Everbloom. However there is one quest which has far bigger and more immediate implications. It comes from an unlikely source, a masked night elf simply referred to as “Cowled Ranger,” and she gives a quest titled “The Huntresses.”

More Warlords of Draenor Revamps: Razorfen Kraul and Razorfen Downs

Following on the heels of Blackfathom Deeps’ unexpected return, it appears Razorfen Kraul and Razorfen Downs have been given similar treatments. New npcs, new mechanics (such as traps you must disable in Kraul, or a deadly plague mist covering portions of Downs) and new stories. In Razorfen Kraul, they quillboar are harnessing the powers of strange crystals that may be related to the Twilight’s Hammer, while in Razorfen Downs the scourge works to ressurect the lich Ammenar the Coldbringer.

Unfortunately both instances are heavily glitched. Upon entering the second boss’s room in Razorfen Kraul, the alpha crases. In Razorfen Downs, the first boss cannot be defeated properly, instead respawning after several minutes and preventing you from moving further in due to a wall that’s supposed to go away when the boss dies.

These videos show their dungeon journals (not nearly as complete as Blackfathom’s, Razorfen Downs does not even have model viewing yet) and what portions of the instances I was able to access.

Blackfathom Deeps being Revamped in Warlords of Draenor, the Red Shirt Guy Explores

While exploring the Warlords of Draenor alpha, I found that besides the announced content such as Frostfire Ridge and the new models, there was another very shocking addition. The classic five-man Blackfathom Deeps has been completely revamped. All of the bosses have been replaced (with the exception of Aku’mai and Ghamoo-ra, who both have new models and abilities), along with new npcs, a new story and a strange new scenario-like quest feature.

First we’ll look at the new dungeon journal, then behind the cut, a sixteen minute long run-through of the entire instance. This was filmed in the also to be revamped, but as a level 100 heroic, Upper Blackrock Spire to give you a sneak preview of that as well. There is no indication that Blackfathom Deeps will have any heroic equivalent.

Current state of raiding, and raiding in Warlords of Draenor

The current state of raiding is excellent according to many raiders i’ve chatted with. During MoP we’ve received some nice raids, Art, and encounter wise, Such as Mogu’shan vaults, Heart of Fear, Throne of Thunder, and of course the beautiful Siege of Orgrimmar.

These raids are the perfect amount of hard, and easy.  I Think Warlords of Draenor will bring raiding to the next level with the new flex raiding, and mythic raiding that we’ll be able to do, and on seperate lockouts!

I look forward to seeing what blizzard will bring to the table during Warlords of Draenor. We’ll see you guys there.

Siege of Orgrimmar Ending Cinematics Revealed

Thrall n Varian

THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS HEAVY SPOILERS AND ME LORE-NERD-ING ABOUT THEM. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

First of all, I must give credit to Availed on Anvilmar-US for the world first Garrosh defeat, Apophasis for the first horde Garrosh defeat, and Silencer for uploading the following videos.

Now, in a first for Blizzard, upon defeating Garrosh, the raid receives a different cinematic depending on their faction. Each version has a scene unique to the Horde/Alliance showing their perspective on what should happen after Garrosh’s defeat.

Share the Love Achievement Strategy

Share The Love is one of the Glory of the Hero achievements required for a Red Proto-Drake flying mount.  You need to defeat Gal’darah in Gundrak on Heroic Difficulty and have 5 unique party members get impaled throughout the fight.  Easy right? Wrong. It takes a lot of trial and error until you get the right strategy.

In a PUG it is nearly impossible to get this done, without a proper party class setup.  Not everyone is Tier 7.5, some don’t even reach a full Tier 7.0.  I spent so many hours in Gundrak trying to get this done.  About five times a player would quit and I had to invite new people. Yea, PUG sucks.  Here I am with full Naxx gear, and some from Heroic Malygos, maybe one from Sartharion.  Unable to progress and get it done.  Finally got a strategy that gave us the chance to complete this achievement.

The final party setup we had after so many people left in separate times, was two holy healers, one fury warrior, one prot paladin and one death knight.  The issue was not so much DPS, it was a matter of survival.  Players would usually tank him where he stands, in that general area.  That is a mistake.  The factor here is the knockback.  At some point Gal’darah emotes and a rhino comes out of nowhere and hits a random player knocking him back—if this is the healer or someone that is low in health that is a guaranteed death or a wipe in some cases.

A big factor that played in our failure to complete the achievement was that the tank would never get impaled, thus only four of the party members would get impaled and never get the fifth member: the tank, impaled.

Strategy

If you look at the mini-map the area looks like a “Y” letter.  The tank must pull Gal’darah to any of the upper dead-ends.  Stay there at all costs.  The healer must remain with his back on the opposite wall.  Everyone else with their back facing a wall.  The boss must be pulled to a corner, then move forward across the boss so the boss remains in the corner.  He will start doing whirlwind.  Everyone should move away from the boss.  He will whirlwind and chase the tank.

Eventually Gal’darah will transform into a Rhino, and he will charge a random player.  If this player is an off-tank,  that off-tank getting impaled must taunt Gal’darah.  One of the two healers could be a holy paladin, but if any of the two healers isn’t a holy paladin then the prot paladin could do the trick.  The tank needs to be bubbled and Hand of Salvation.  The trick here is to have the original tank lose aggro entirely.  Now he will become a target of impale at some point.  If one of the players who is not tank, off-tank or a healer is impaled, that player should move on the opposite dead-end across the room, and hide—causing Line of Sight (LOS).  That way there are more chances of the original tank to get impaled.

A good healer could take care of this run, but if you want to be extremely safe to get this achievement done, a second healer would do wonders.  When a healer is impaled, usually any player who has a bleed effect will probably die. That’s where a second healer or even a retribution paladin or elemental shaman could serve as off-healer when the main healer is impaled until he is able to return to his duty.

The achievement was completed with this group setup with no problems once the boss was tanked in the corner and kept there.  Knockbacks didn’t get the healers and the tank out of range thanks to the walls surrounding us.  And that was a big win-win factor.  The second issue was resolved too which was the Tank never getting impaled.  A shield and a hand of salvation took care of that, while the off-tank gained threat with a taunt.

PTR 3.1 Ulduar Exploration Video

On Thursday, US players attempted to test Hodir in the middle of crashes outside dungeons, and 3200 Queues to even login. In my case, half of our 10-man couldn’t zone in. And we couldn’t zone out. Since we couldn’t even get to start a single fight with Hodir, I decided to explore Ulduar. Not all of it, only the first floor.

The dungeon is simply awesome to behold with a lot of care to details in its interior architecture. It takes over 20 minutes to explore every corner of the place. As said earlier, Ulduar seems to be the prison of Yogg-Saron. That’s what I speculate based on visuals. The dome at the center of Ulduar is broken with pieces of crystal floating in a swirl of magic residual. Within the dome is a huge crater in the icy floor and a few broken chains hanging from the walls. What makes me think that Loken somehow broke the dome once he fell to the whispers of the old god. Hopefully we get to read some lore in the quests to confirm or debunk this.

Update: Confirmed. The big chamber with chains at the center of the dungeon is named: The Prison of Yogg-Saron.

In this video you will see the Ulduar tram. If you get to fall off the tram, just walk back to where the tram was and climb the stairs. There are ramps to get you back above. Watch the lengthy video. If you are on a slow connection, start the video and press pause to allow it to download while you browse other pages or websites. (20 minutes video)

View our 38 screenshots

Ulduar on PTR Soon

Vaneras has revealed a few details about the upcoming new 25-man raid dungeon: Ulduar It will be partially available on PTR at some point in upcoming weeks with various hard-modes to tackle.  Blizzard is satisfied with how the Sartharion dungeon was designed and plan to create new dungeons with many hard-modes.  Ulduar will not be just for everyone. Even in normal mode it will be challenging. It is developed for those guilds that have geared up through Malygos, Naxxramas and Sartharion, yet those will find Ulduar a hard experience..

Blizzard Quote:
Ulduar will be available on PTR in the future, however we are planning on having several limitations in place so that we can control what can be tested at any given time. Ulduar will also not be available permanently like Naxxramas was in the WotLK Beta.

All this basically means that if there is something we want to test, then we will enable the zone and encounter so that it is available. If at some point there is something that we no longer want to test, then the zone will be disabled so that it is no longer available.

Keep in mind though, that there will be quite a few encounters to test in both the 10 and the 25 man versions, and there will also be a whole lot of “hard modes” and achievements to test.

We are quite pleased with how Sartharion and his drakes worked, so we would like to expand on that idea quite a bit in Ulduar and future raids. We are currently planning for most of the encounters to have “hard modes” that will allow for raids to increase the difficulty. Increasing the challenge will of course also mean an increase of reward level if successful.

Ulduar will be on PTR in the future, but we’re going to have tight controls in place on what can be tested at any given time. Ulduar will also not be up permanently like Naxxramas was in the WotLK Beta. If we have something to test, we’ll make the zone and encounter available. If we don’t, we’ll disable the zone.

That being said, there’s going to be a LOT of encounters to test in both 10 and 25 player modes. There will also be a whole lot of “hard modes” and achievements to test. We’re shooting for most all of the encounters to have “hard modes” that allow raids to increase the challenge and reward level if they’re up to it. We’re pretty pleased with how Sartharion and his drakes worked, and we’re going to expand on that idea extensively in Ulduar and future raids.

The reward for completing the hard modes are not going to be just achievement points, titles, or mounts, but improved, additional item rewards.

I think it’s safe to say that Ulduar will be a bit more difficult overall than Naxxramas, even without the hard modes. We’re still going to tune the zone for accessibility(*), but a raid group that’s done Naxxramas, Malygos, and Sartharion and obtained the gear from those encounters should be well prepared for Ulduar. Not only is the raid’s gear better, but players should now have some raiding experience under their belts. We also have a much more accurate picture of what guilds are capable of from a healing, damage, and tanking perspective then when WotLK first went live. If Naxxramas was the introduction to raiding 101 class for players who have never raided before, think of Ulduar as the second year class.

* There will be one optional encounter that is only tuned as a “hard mode” encounter.

I don’t think you have to worry about spoilers from Achievements, to be honest. Seeing achievement text before you fight a boss is like seeing a single piece of a large jigsaw puzzle. Sure, it’s something, but it’s nothing really without seeing the context of the encounter as a whole. I also expect achievements to be something tested late in the PTR process. Implementing them is one of the last parts of the development pipeline.