Author Archive

Lugia

French Editor working for the World of Warcraft section of Blizzplanet since March 2014.

Free Faction Change for Select Realms

Starting from tomorrow, and for the followings 2 weeks, Horde’s players from Bloodscalp, Firetree, and Frostmane will be able to change their faction to the Alliance. A great opportunity to leave that filthy Horde and join the proud Alliance !

Faction
We consistently watch queue times for all areas of the game to try to identify problem areas where we can step in and make an improvement. Battleground queue times specifically tend to be a direct result of how many people are entering the queue at any given time from both the Horde and the Alliance within an entire region. While a number of factors can lead to longer queue times, faction interest in queuing for PvP tends to be the primary one. For that reason, for a limited time and only for select realms, we’ll be allowing Horde characters to changed their faction to the Alliance for free.

These faction changes will be provided on a limited basis to players on realms where we see the greatest potential for making an impact. Guild leaders who want to faction-change their guild for free will first need to pay for the initial transaction, but will be granted a refund* if they change to the eligible faction within the free-faction-change time frame.

Free faction changes will be made available to Horde players on Bloodscalp, Firetree, and Frostmane. Eligible characters will be able to transfer from Horde to Alliance for approximately** two weeks beginning on June 24. If you’re looking to transfer—and especially if you’re a guild leader looking to initiate a guild faction change—we highly recommend taking advantage of this offer as soon as possible to avoid leaving anyone behind. For more information on faction change eligibility and limitations, please visit the support site here.

Players who wish to take advantage of the faction change will need to log in to the game to initiate the change.

We’ll be providing updates on availability—as well as if this offer is extended to additional realms—here on the front page, so keep checking back. We look forward to your feedback, and we’ll continue to work to help ensure you spend less time in a queue and more time slaughtering your enemies in glorious team combat.

* Eligible Guild Faction Change refunds will be automatically processed within 72 hours.

**Faction Change availability may either be shortened or extended depending on ongoing evaluation during the transfer period.

 

New World of Warcraft Short Story: The Jade Hunters

The final WoW Faction story for Mists of Pandaria , Jade Hunters, by Matt Burns has just been published on the official website. You can now read it entirely there.

New World of Warcraft Short Story: The Jade Hunters

Fenella Darkvire is an architect skilled in the art of golem-assisted mining. She’s also a Dark Iron dwarf, and a living legacy of her clan’s treachery, but she’s finally earned a chance to prove herself.

Moira, Queen-Regent of the Dark Iron clan, has selected Fenella to lead a varied band of masons on a “diplomatic endeavor.” Their mission: travel to far-off Pandaria, and rebuild a landmark of great mystical import. It should be a simple assignment for a rock-worker of Fenella’s caliber – except for her “team.”

Carrick, a gruff Wildhammer blacksmith with an affinity for the elements, and Fendrig, a legendary Bronzebeard miner nicknamed the “Hand of Khaz,” don’t exactly get along with each other, and they like working for a Dark Iron even less. Fenella’s motley crew is a powder keg… and it just might ignite when they’re forced to take part in an ancient pandaren competition: the Great Jade Hunt.

Can they unearth their quarry among the hazardous mines of the Jade Forest, or will the ages-old animosity of the dwarven clans bury them?

Read and download “The Jade Hunters” by Matt Burns – the final Destination: Pandaria story – right now!

 

Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Shadowmoon Valley

Today, Nethaera gives us a sneak preview of the starting zone of the Alliance in Warlords of Draenor : The Shadowmoon Valley.

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Hidden under a shroud of perpetual night broken only by bright starlight, the lush idyllic forests of Shadowmoon Valley are home to a majestic draenei tomb and sanctuary: Karabor. While many of Shadowmoon’s denizens study prophecy among Karabor’s ancient stone circles, plotters with darker ambitions lurk in the valley’s vast underground cave network, gazing greedily at the sacred temple.

Zone Music Piece: Eternal Night

In Warlords of Draenor, Shadowmoon Valley serves as the starting zone for Alliance players once they’ve endured the initial rigors of Tanaan Jungle and survived their first encounter with the Iron Horde. To take you on a journey through Shadowmoon’s forests, temples, and secrets, we’ve tapped one of the creative minds behind the zone, Senior Designer Helen Cheng.

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What’s the story in Shadowmoon Valley?

Helen Cheng: After a daring escape from the Iron Horde in Tanaan Jungle, Alliance players crash land on the northern shores of Shadowmoon Valley.

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.

But times are changing. The Iron Horde have called the native orc clans to join their ranks. The Shadowmoon Clan, led by Warlord Ner’zhul, yearns to prove itself worthy to Grommash Hellscream. Beneath the valley’s bright moon, a dark star hangs in the sky. For centuries, the Shadowmoon have been forbidden to tap its void-touched energy . . . until now. Will Warlord Ner’zhul succeed in harnessing the star’s power to destroy the draenei and the Temple of Karabor? Or will Prophet Velen, aided by his disciple Yrel—and a few fearless heroes—be able to stop him?

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Meanwhile, trouble brews amongst the Exarchs, the most powerful and influential draenei heroes. Even as they debate the future of the draenei on their adopted homeworld, there is growing evidence of a traitor among their ranks. Who can be trusted?

The night elf Wardens sense a demonic presence in the northern woods of Shadowmoon Valley. As they hunt for the source of the fel energy, a sinister truth is revealed: Gul’dan, the Destroyer of Dreams, has returned.

Most importantly, as a proven champion of the Alliance, you are charged with establishing the Alliance foothold on Draenor. The land is harsh and unforgiving, and the Iron Horde has amassed an enormous army without equal. Before you can hope to defeat them, you must build a stronghold—your Garrison—from the ground up and gather allies to face this indomitable foe.

 What are some of your favorite places within the zone?

Helen Cheng: Shadowmoon Valley is one of the most beautiful places on Draenor, with a breathtaking variety of stunning areas. I would say that the two most striking aspects of Shadowmoon Valley are the draenei and Shadowmoon orc areas.

The draenei architecture in Shadowmoon is really impressive. You get everything from a merchant town in Embaari Village to the valorous training grounds of the Exarchs in the north to the crystalline dome that is Teluuna Observatory. The draenei are cultured and sophisticated. Theirs is the pinnacle of an advanced society, and their towns and cities reflect a perfect balance of beauty and function. I really love all of the draenei locations—and there are more in other zones—but the Temple of Karabor has to be one of my favorites. The sheer size and scale of the place is incredible, and it’s remarkable to see it in its glory before the events of The Burning Crusade, which turned it into the Black Temple under Illidan’s control.

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The Shadowmoon clan structures are impressive as well. The Shadowmoon were once a wise people, with a deep respect for the elements and a natural curiosity about the stars. They are natural-born leaders with a strong affinity for magic. However, since they joined the Iron Horde, Ner’zhul has strayed from the ancient ways. You can see this gradual decay reflected in their way of life. The Burial Fields is a place where the Shadowmoon traditionally bury and honor their dead. That place has become defiled and corrupted with void magic. Their ancestors, whom they once revered, are now being brutally tormented. Ner’zhul’s stronghold, Anguish Fortress, is an open-air ziggurat with a sacrificial pit in its center. In a nearby dungeon, players will see that there are more dark secrets hidden beneath this compound.

Tell us more about the Alliance garrison!

Helen Cheng: Nestled near the northern shores and with a commanding view of the main road, the Alliance Garrison location is of immense strategic importance. Prophet Velen will give the land to players as a thank-you for their deeds in the jungles of Tanaan, the intro zone. But there isn’t much time to rest—as great as the Prophet is, he needs your help. Your Garrison is awfully close to Shadowmoon territory, so be prepared to defend it.

Your Garrison will start as little more than an outpost, and your laborers will quickly run into trouble as they discover that even the forests of Draenor can be their enemy. But before long, you should have a comfortable Town Hall to call home and a Barracks that you can use to train new recruits. One of the perks of having your home base here is the ability to sound a “call to arms” anywhere in Shadowmoon, and Alliance troops will rush to your aid.

Kick your feet up – after all, the Garrison is all yours.

Could you name three of your favorite locations players should check out on their journey through the zone?

Helen Cheng: Once you’ve settled in, you should take a quick jaunt over to the town of Elodor, home of the revered Altar of Sha’tar with its stunning view of Karabor and the surrounding ocean. There you can meet the five Exarchs who act as the hand of the Prophet, guiding draenei society, and you can witness their own internal conflicts as they argue about their place in this savage land. Don’t miss the nearby Rangari Enclave, where the elite scouts of the draenei train—you won’t see mushrooms that size for another 30 years!

If you’re the adventurous type, try spelunking in Bloodthorn Cave. Don’t mind the flesh-eating pale orcs—they only kill you when provoked. Also, don’t eat the local mushrooms. They can be rather . . . potent.

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We’ve heard mixed reviews about Gloomshade Grove. Some folks rave about the pristine beaches, while others are just never heard from again. If you see anything that looks like a flower, makes a sound like “mawarwaawa,” and has very sharp teeth, run away! Though it’s probably too late for you, so oh well. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

You’re probably wondering if there are any creatures on Draenor that won’t bite your head off. Try heading over to the Shimmering Mor. This enchanted forest glade is home to wild faerie dragons. Awww, they’re just so cute! No, you can’t take one home . . . oh, who are we kidding? You’ll probably find an egg or some-such to raise eventually.

Finally, don’t forget to stop by Embaari Village. This draenei merchant town is known for its delicious food and exotic wares. No trip to Shadowmoon is complete without a tasty meal and a mug of honey mead.

As with all places on Draenor, Shadowmoon Valley is filled with sights to see, adventures to be had, and savage enemies to destroy. Enjoy your journey!

 

Next, our voyage will take us north into the Horde starting zone of Frostfire Ridge. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

The Gaze of the Black Prince Be Upon You

Some weeks ago, there was a Valor’s buff of 100% from tomorrow, there will be a buff of the Black Prince’s reputation and an increase of receiving every items necessary for the completion of the legendary quest.

The Gaze of the Black Prince Be Upon You

The gaze of the Black Prince had been both blessing and curse to her once upon a time. Her journey long and arduous, the blood of the enemy stained her boots. Now she stood on the corpse of the vanquished Fire God – Ordos – her cloak whipping about her frame and victory beating within her heart. Her journey was at an end. But as with any end, there is always another beginning ‘round the bend.

To be legendary, one must obtain– a truly legendary cloak. What hero is hero without one? To help you on your danger fraught quest, the infamous Black Prince would grant you a boon to help make the journey toward adorning your own cloak a little easier. Will you follow in the footsteps of heroes that have come before and brave the challenge?

Beginning Tuesday, June 17 at 9:00 a.m. PDT, through Monday, June 30 at 9:00 a.m. PDT, we’ll be applying the Gaze of the Black Prince buff which will increase the reputation gained with the Black Prince by 100%. It will also increase the chance of obtaining items from his foes needed as a part of the Legendary Cloak quest line including: the Secrets of the Empire, Sigil of Wisdom, Sigil of Power, or Titan Runestones.

To learn more about the Legendary Cloak quest line, check out our previous blog posts: I am Legendary andThe Time Has Come: Legendary Quest Line. Or, for a complete walkthrough check out Wowhead’s guide here.

 

Dev Watercooler – Stat Updates for Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard just released a new blog about the update of the new stats and how they will work for Warlords of Draenor.

Dev Watercooler – Stat Updates for Warlords of Draenor

In this Dev Watercooler, we’d like to give an update on secondary and minor stats in Warlords of Draenor. A lot has changed since we first revealed our plans at BlizzCon, so this blog will not only cover the latest developments related to what we’ve already discussed, but also go into detail on some new changes we’ve got in the pipe.

Secondary Stats

Existing Secondary Stats: Hit, Expertise, Dodge, Parry, Crit, Mastery, Haste, Spirit

As we announced at BlizzCon, we’re retiring Hit, Expertise, Dodge, and Parry. Hit and Expertise weren’t really providing very interesting gameplay, and Dodge and Parry are being replaced with Bonus Armor. Check out thePatch Notes for further discussion on why we removed these stats.

The other secondary stats—Crit, Mastery, Haste, and Spirit—work well and will be sticking around. One important note is that Spirit will only appear on items for specific slots (fingers, neck, back, and trinkets) and will give a much stronger benefit than it does today. Healers will prefer items with Spirit for those slots, but otherwise will use similar gear to everyone else.

New Stat: Multistrike
A new stat in Warlords of Draenor, Multistrike grants your spells, abilities, and auto-attacks additional chances to activate. If you’ve been following along since BlizzCon, you may remember that in our early plans, your Multistrike chance would split between two rolls and effectively have a 200% cap. We’ve since changed that to make it more clear and intuitive: the full chance is given to both rolls, with a 100% cap.

Now Multistrike grants your spells, abilities, and auto-attacks the chance to activate up to two extra times at 30% of normal effectiveness. For example, if you have 55% Multistrike and cast a Fireball that does 1000–1100 damage, you’ll have two separate 55% chances to automatically follow with another smaller Fireball that does 300–330 damage. That means every time you cast Fireball, you have a chance to see one big-damage Fireball, and then two smaller-damage Fireballs leave your hands in quick succession.

New Stat: Bonus Armor
Throughout the game’s history, some items have had bonus armor on them, which made them more attractive to tanks. After we removed Dodge and Parry, we wanted to replace these stats with a new tank-specific stat, and Bonus Armor fit the bill nicely. As with Spirit, it’ll only show up on rings, necklaces, cloaks, and trinkets. It’s clearly valuable to all tanks, and will be tuned to be much stronger than other secondary stats. Tanks will want to use items with Bonus Armor for those slots.

Retiring Stat: Amplify

We tried out Amplify on trinkets in Siege of Orgrimmar, and at BlizzCon we announced that it’d be a stat in Warlords of Draenor. The intent of Amplify was to multiply the effects of your other secondary stats. However, as we continued development, we found that Amplify had some design problems. In particular, we determined that it would quickly become the absolute best stat for everyone. On top of that, even if we were to apply heavy diminishing returns, the stat still wouldn’t have an interesting effect on your gameplay. For those reasons, it’s no longer going to be a stat in Warlords of Draenor.

Retiring Stat: Readiness

Readiness was another stat that we tried out on Siege of Orgrimmar trinkets. This one looked solid at first. Cooldown reduction is a great concept, the idea was well received, and although there were some balance issues, they seemed solvable. However, as we continued development, we hit a snag. Readiness works great in small quantities on the scale of a trinket or two, like in Siege of Orgrimmar. However, when we expand that to a point where you could potentially have Readiness on all of your character’s gear, problems arise.

Using a damage-dealing (DPS) class as an example, most of the stat’s value comes in letting you use your temporary burst-damage cooldowns (Arcane Power, Vendetta, Recklessness, Dark Soul, etc.) more often. Most of those cooldowns increase damage by 20%–30% while active, which is substantial for a temporary burst ability, but doesn’t compare well against secondary stats. If you stack a lot of Crit and can reach 30% Crit from gear, that’s more or less a 30% passive increase to damage. If secondary stats are equal, you should be able to stack Readiness instead, and get a damage increase that’s similar (or at least close). But how do we give you a 30% damage increase from letting you use a +20% damage cooldown more often? And once you get to 100% uptime, then what?

We experimented with many potential design changes but never found a version of Readiness that really felt good, so we’re going to shelve it for now, at least as a common secondary stat. You may still see it pop up occasionally in small quantities, such as on a trinket.

New Stat: Versatility

The removal of Readiness left some space in our itemization plans and room for another stat to take its place. It’s important to offer players plenty of different secondary stats so that you have a wide variety of interesting and compelling gear to choose from. To that end, we’ve been working on a new secondary stat called Versatility. Versatility is pretty simple: 1% Versatility grants a 1% increase to your damage, healing, and absorbs, and reduces the damage you take by 0.5%. It’s a straightforward, obvious upgrade to your primary role’s performance, but also gives significant boosts to secondary role performance and survivability. The healing increase it provides does work on self-heals, such as Recuperate, for example. We won’t be tuning it to be anyone’s highest throughput secondary stat, but it’ll be close, and it’ll give you a nice boost to how versatile your character is in the process. It’ll be especially attractive to hybrids who want to feel more “hybridy.”

Minor Stats

Most gear that drops in Warlords of Draenor has a chance to have a random bonus in addition to its normal stats. We call these “minor stats,” and they provide a small but useful bonus to your character.

New Minor Stat: Movement Speed
The first of our minor stats is Movement Speed, which, as you can probably guess, increases the speed that you move by a small amount. Previously, movement speed increases came from enchants and various class abilities, but otherwise never directly came from gear. The Movement Speed minor stat will stack with all other sources of movement speed, but we’ll be keeping the maximum benefit you can get from it fairly low—we want it to feel like a fun bonus when you get it, but not a large increase to character power.

New Minor Stat: Avoidance
Another minor stat, Avoidance, has previously only ever been used for a few prominent class pets. It reduces the damage you take from area-of-effect (AoE) attacks, though compared to the pet version, the Avoidance minor stat will come in much smaller quantities. The goal is to soften the blow of AoE attacks a bit, but not allow you to just stand in the fire.

New Minor Stat: Indestructible (previously Sturdiness)
We called this one Sturdiness when we announced it at BlizzCon, and its original effect reduced durability damage that you take by a small amount across your whole character. Since then, we’ve renamed it Indestructible, and changed it to cause that specific item to not take any durability damage. We think the change will make the stat more intuitive while providing a similar overall benefit.

New Minor Stat: Leech (previously Lifesteel)
Lifesteal is another minor stat that has been renamed and slightly redesigned since BlizzCon. Our original plan was for it to convert a percentage of your damage done to self-healing. We’ve extended it to work for healers as well, causing an extra percentage of all of the healing you do to heal you as well. With that change, the name was no longer fitting, so we’re renaming it Leech.

Proposed Minor Stat: Cleave
We announced Cleave as a minor stat at BlizzCon, but have since run into some problems with it. Most importantly, it was of situational value to DPS classes, always valuable to healers, and had very little value to tanks. As a result, we were concerned it would cause items that would otherwise be equally appropriate for a healer and a DPS class to be viewed as “healer gear,” which isn’t our intent. We’ve shelved it for now, though we have some ideas about how it might show up occasionally in specific cases.The Complete List
In summary, here’s a complete list of our planned secondary and minor stats in Warlords of Draenor:

  • Secondary Stats
    • Haste: (Unchanged) Increases attack speed, spell casting speed, and some resource generation
    • Critical Strike: (Unchanged) Increases your chance to critically strike, dealing double damage
    • Mastery: (Unchanged) Increases the effectiveness of your specialization-specific Mastery
    • Multistrike: (New) Grants two chances for your damage and healing effects to fire an additional time, each at 30% effectiveness
    • Versatility: (New) Increases damage and healing, and reduces damage taken
    • Spirit: (Unchanged, healer-only) Increases mana regeneration rate
    • Bonus Armor: (New, tank-only) Increases your armor
  • Minor Stats
    • Movement Speed: (New) Increases your movement speed
    • Indestructible: (New) Causes the item to not take durability damage
    • Leech: (New) Causes you to be healed for a portion of all damage and healing done
    • Avoidance: (New) Reduces your damage taken from area-of-effect attacks.

As you can see, we have a lot of exciting changes and additions in the works designed to give you a variety of intuitive and interesting gearing options. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how these are playing out in our alpha and beta testing, and we’ll continue to refine and adjust as needed. As always, we look forward to hearing your constructive feedback!

 

Heart of the Valorous Buff : +100% Valor points

With the recent possibility to upgrade items from the Siege of Orgrimmar you might need some valor points, well for a limited time, until June 10 you can double the gain of your valor points!

Heart of the Valorous Buff

A heroes’ journey is long and fraught with danger, but our goblin engineers have managed to cobble a little something special together for you to help make the path to power just a little bit easier.

 

Beginning Friday, May 30 at 9:00 a.m. realm-time, through Tuesday, June 10 at 9:00 a.m. realm-time, we’ll be applying the Heart of the Valorous buff which will increase the rate of Valor Point gains an additional 100%. Don’t wait to get in on the action!

 

Character Viewer Updated: Female Gnome & Male Tauren!

The Warlords of Draenor’s website has received an update. The Gnone female and the Tauren male  have been added, you can have a 3D look of them there.

Character Viewer Updated: Female Gnome & Male Tauren!

We’ve updated the viewer on our website with two of the revised character models you’ll see in Azeroth and beyond with Warlords of Draenor. Meet the new and improved Tauren Male and Gnome Female!

Our character artists strived to recapture the charm of the classic models while taking advantage of the expressiveness of their fluid new animations to bring new life to these beloved characters. We hope you like the new looks as much as we enjoyed making them.

We’ll continue to unearth more of Draenor and the shiny visuals coming to World of Warcraft around the release of Warlords. Keep your magnifiers and spectacles ready!

 

Azeroth Choppers Episode 7—Vote Now!

 

Garrison Preview Part 1—Your Base on Draenor

It has been a while, since the last blog about the Garrisons, but the wait is over thanks to Zharym who published a new blog on Garrisons. This one is more specifically on the beginning of your adventure on Draenor.


At BlizzCon 2013, we shared a lot of our ideas for Warlords of Draenor’s Garrisons. We knew early on in development that this feature would strike a chord with long-time Warcraft players going back to the RTS days, as well as set the tone for the conflict with the Iron Horde. Since BlizzCon, we’ve been experimenting and iterating on Garrison concepts in our design laboratories, and we wanted to give you an updated preview of what’s to come.

In this 4-part series, we’ll be giving you a much closer look at how Garrisons are shaping up and how you can expect to interact with them in Warlords of Draenor. For this first installment, we’re going to start off by painting a picture of Garrisons in relatively broad strokes, setting the stage to delve into the functional depth over the coming weeks in parts 2 through 4.

Establish Your Garrison While You Level

We want the process of staking your claim on Draenor to fundamentally shape your gameplay experience. Over the course of building your Garrison, we want you to face exciting decisions that will meaningfully impact how you interact with the world around you, fulfilling that fantasy of building and operating your own Warcraft base.

The story you weave in Draenor is one of personal heroism, but your actions have a wider impact—part of your mission is to raise an army capable of toppling the Iron Horde, and the Garrison is integral to that experience. In terms of gameplay, that means you’ll be creating and strengthening your Garrison as you journey to level 100. While questing through Draenor, you’ll encounter opportunities to choose between different types of buildings to add to your Garrison. Each choice will have an impact on your leveling experience, influencing the quests you’ll have available and the zone-specific benefits you’ll unlock upon completion of your chosen structure.

As an example, you can choose either the Lumber Mill or the Sparring Arena while questing in Gorgrond. Not only does this choice unlock the design blueprints that allow you to add the building to your Garrison, it also lets you construct a military outpost centered around that building in Gorgrond. This plays an integral role in how you experience the zone, as you’ll be sent on quests specific to the building you’ve chosen and will receive a permanent benefit whenever you’re in Gorgrond.

When you’ve completed constructing a building in a zone—and subsequently unlocked it for your Garrison—we want you to feel duly rewarded for helping to strengthen the forces in the area against the Iron Horde. To give you more of a feeling for the ideas we have for zone benefits, imagine summoning a brutish ogre bodyguard from your Sparring Arena when in Gorgrond, or calling down artillery strikes from your Armory while in Talador. Our goal is for each zone to offer equally compelling alternatives from which to choose, and to provide you with plenty of powerful creatures to vanquish with your newfound powers.

Enlist Followers to Join Your Garrison

Your Garrison wouldn’t be much of a base without some citizens to populate it—we call these brave souls Followers. You’ll be able to recruit Followers through a wide variety of methods—you can think of it sort of like collecting mounts or battle pets. And, like battle pets, different Followers will have varying skill sets, including their own strengths and weaknesses. Some Followers are unique and might even have names already familiar to you, while others will make for fine grunts to operate the saws of your Lumber Mill, brew potions in your Alchemy Lab, or craft magical components in your Enchanter’s Study. You can maximize the productivity of your Garrison by assigning specific Followers to the posts where which they’re most proficient, such as Johnny Blacksmith, who will increase the output of materials from—you guessed it—your Blacksmith when assigned to work it. Similarly, Followers more suited to combat would be ideal to send on missions, from which you can acquire an assortment of useful bounty.

Missions will have variable difficulties, durations, and group size requirements, and some will play better to the strengths of particular Followers over others. A wise commander will create the ideal team for a mission and send them off to reap the maximum rewards. Complete enough missions and your Followers will level up, and once they’ve reached level 100, they can continue to improve their item levels, abilities, and traits. After you’ve sent a group on a mission, progress will continue whether you’re hanging out in your Garrison, battling through Blackrock Foundry, or even sleeping soundly logged out of the game.

The buildings you create, NPCs you meet, and Followers you recruit will ultimately determine who inhabits your Garrison, and you’ll see them going about their business each time you visit. You’re in charge of your own base and citizens, and you’ll even host leaders and other notable heroes from your faction to talk war strategy—among other things.

We’ve also improved NPC AI (artificial intelligence) to further reinforce that “bustling town” feeling as you expand your Garrison. While Azeroth’s NPCs have traditionally been manually scripted to move along set paths for predetermined amounts of time, stopping at certain locations and then heading in new directions only as commanded, this behavior wouldn’t have sufficed for Followers. A particular Follower might need to know on which plot within your Garrison you’ve built your Trading Post, for example, so he or she can make the trek to and from that specific location while doing your bidding. This improved AI also allows us to create more dynamic behavior, where NPCs can react to your commands or other situations happening around them. Want to have your subjects join you in a conga line around town? Thanks to improved AI and a new player emote, you can . . . and they will!

Fortify Your Fortress

Questing during the leveling process on Draenor will be the primary means by which you establish and grow your base, but the blueprints that allow you to construct different buildings can be obtained in a variety of ways. For example, you can find Followers who will teach you blueprints, obtain them via drops from creatures out in the world or in dungeons, or earn them via faction reputation. At level 100, you can also purchase blueprints from a vendor for the buildings from each zone you originally didn’t choose. So, if you decide to build a Mage Tower instead of an Armory in Talador, you’ll still be able to purchase the blueprints that allow you to build an Armory in your Garrison later on. From there you may decide you want an Armory instead of a Mage Tower in your Garrison—or maybe you’ll find room for both!

You’ll have access to 21 unique building types in all, each of which can be upgraded through 3 levels and then assigned specializations to maximize their effectiveness, and your Garrison can be expanded from its initial 4 building plots to a maximum of 10. If this sounds like too many big choices to make as you go along, don’t fret! You’ll be able to alter your building choices to suit your needs—and the needs of the war effort.

The Garrison also grants you other powerful benefits. It will play an integral role in your professions on Draenor, giving your character access to more than just the normal two primary professions (we’ll cover that in more depth in part 2 of this preview series). In addition, amassing a powerful army of Followers will maximize your chances of earning mission rewards like dungeon and entry-level raid loot for your character—but these will be tuned to feel more like bonuses rather than eclipsing your character’s direct accomplishments. We want there to be a ton of depth to the gameplay and customization of the Garrison, but we also don’t want to make players feel like they’re required to spend more time than they’d like laboring away on it after they’ve reached level 100. We recognize that there’s a fine line between introducing a system that provides cool bonuses and adding “chores” that feel necessary for cutting-edge endgame progression. To this end, players who prefer to level up mostly through dungeons or Battlegrounds will still be able to purchase the building blueprints that would otherwise be obtained through questing on Draenor.

The Last Line of Defense

Draenor is a savage and dangerous land. From the moment you set foot onto its soil, you will be hounded at every turn by the united clans of the Iron Horde. With few allies at your side, establishing a well-defended base will be one of the first orders of business. As the story unfolds, you’ll find that Garrisons are intimately integrated into every zone—whether you choose to follow the main quest path or just head off into the hills to explore, you will meet allies (and enemies) in every corner of the world. While your main fortress will always be in Shadowmoon Valley (Alliance) or Frostfire Ridge (Horde), you will establish Garrison outposts in Gorgrond, Talador, Nagrand, and Spires of Arak, all customized based on your building choices. Eventually, your forces will span the continent, and you will have an army capable of assaulting the fortified Iron Horde Foundry. Will your troops succeed? That’s entirely up to you, commander.

More to Come!

Thank you for joining us on this quick tour of your Garrison, and we hope you’ll come back for the rest—we’ve only just scratched the surface of this exciting new feature. In Part 2, we’ll take a much closer look at the buildings, including all 21 unique building types and their perks and specializations, as well as how professions are integrated. Stay tuned!

 

Artcraft—Concept: Class Accessories

Today, a new Artcraft was published on the official french community website only before being removed, until now we have the english version. That Artcraft is dealing with accessories, before Cataclysm, items like Librams, Relics and other tokens were possible to be worn as relics even if they were not visible on the players. For Warlords of Draenor however, Blizzard is thinking of adding visuals for quivers, librams and other classes related items.

As a Paladin on my main for over nine years now, this is one of my delicious dream that will be accomplished. Back in Warcraft III, I just loved playing Arthas or Uther just because they were holding their Librams. As Blizzard said, for the start only an Alliance model will be available on the players, but I hope for the future more specific customization, like for instance an Argent Crusade Libram, a Hyjal’s Quiver. Again Blizzard, bravo.

Artcraft—Concept: Class Accessories

Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and welcome to a special edition of Artcraft focused on an idea that’s still quite early in the inception phase: class accessories. For a long time now, we’ve felt that our character classes could use some more visual customization options, and we’ve heard you might be thinking the same thing. When I play WoW, I see Hunters pulling arrows from thin air, firing shot after shot with no visible clue as to where that ammo is coming from. I’ve heard Druids speak fondly of mystical objects called Idols, and listened to Shamans talk of Totems. And my Paladin seems to have developed a strange hitch in his gait due to the lack of a Libram at his side.

While some of those items once existed in-game as gear for the now-retired “Relic” slot, you’ve never been able to actually see those items on your character. We’ve been cooking up some concepts for how we might be able to bring that sort of class-specific visual customization back in the form of purely cosmetic class accessories—and while we’re not here to herald their imminent arrival, we thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek at what we’re conceptualizing from an art perspective, and have our item-design guru Owen Landgren give you some insight into how they might work.

Before we show you the goods, keep in mind these are still way early in the design process, and getting them into the game will likely need to wait until after you’ve faced off against the Iron Horde. But this is something that’s been requested so frequently, we thought you might appreciate knowing we’re working to make it happen (eventually). So without further delay, here are a few concepts for you to take a look at!

Artcraft_AC_AmmoPouch.jpg

As you can see, these concepts are all somewhat Alliance focused, at least for now. We’re thinking we’ll have Horde and Alliance color schemes for accessories whenever it makes sense. And while we’re planning on creating the “obvious” accessories for the classes that once had Relics, we have a lot of ideas for accessories we think would be awesome for all of the classes. Don’t let that stop you from sharing your own ideas with us, though!

Artcraft_AC_Quiver.jpg

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse at what we’re working on in the art realm, here’s Owen to explain the designers’ early thinking on how these might be worked into the game:

“Back in ye olden days of Cataclysm and earlier, the Relic gear slot provided some classes with an additional item that would impart character stat bonuses. We always thought it would have been cool to show these Relics on your character, but aside from the generic quiver for Hunters wielding a bow, the artists just didn’t have time to do the concept justice. We were also faced with some unique design challenges, including questions about how much additional unique artwork would have been required for each new tier of raid and PvP gear. However, once the Relic slot was retired and the visuals could be divorced from gearing mechanics, the idea of bringing these back as a character customization feature became something we talked about more and more.

Our goal with these class accessories is to offer players a whole new path to customizing the look of their character. While you might decide to wear the same armor as your friend, choosing different accessories allows you to communicate something extra about your character. As a Rogue, are you the swashbuckling buccaneer with daggers on a bandolier and stashed up every sleeve? Or are you the poisoner, carrying bubbling, smoking vials filled with terrible concoctions? Perhaps you’re the shadowy figure that lurks in the dark, replete with darts and throwing stars to fell your enemies from a distance? As you obtain new looks, you’ll be able to mix and match thematically—if a particular Hunter gear set looks better with a longbow and quiver than a blunderbuss and ammo pouch, the option is yours. Mix in Transmogrification, and the visual combinations are nearly endless.

Artcraft_AC_Libram.jpg

“We envision that class accessories will be rewarded from a variety of accomplishments in World of Warcraft. These could be as simple as attaining a new level, or as monumental as conquering a vicious raid boss. We want each player to have access to multiple accessories, but have some rarer accessories that take more effort to obtain.”

—Owen Landgren, Game Designer

Hey there—Chris again. As we mentioned, these are still just some early ideas and concepts, and we hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse behind the scenes. We know a lot of you are excited about the idea of having new ways to customize the look of your characters, and we look forward to sharing more as we continue to make progress. Thanks for reading!

 

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