The best three articles submitted for the “Journalist for a Day” Warlords of Draenor beta key contest have been chosen. Congratulations to:
Each of them wrote an article based on one of the following Blizzard zone previews:
Old is New Again
When you ask a WoW veteran about their most cherished memories from the early days of the game, the chances are that Alterac Valley will be mentioned. Its perfect mix of PvP combat with PvE objectives consumed many hours of my own life. During the course of Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard hinted that they are very keen on bringing the old Alterac Valley experience back in some form for the next expansion and their latest attempt is Ashran.
While Ashran might be at the centre of controversy surrounding capital cities in Warlords of Draenor, we must not dismiss the promise of world PvP it brings back to the game. Throughout Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard tested different kinds of endgame content and applied all the lessons learned from it to this new PvP zone. Timeless Isle was truly something unique to WoW at the time of its release and Blizzard is looking to expand and refine the concept here. You will pursue your personal goals in this zone, killing and looting creatures and collecting rare items, if you are lucky (or unlucky) the PvP will organically happen around you. There is no big overarching PvP goal in this zone, instead it is an eternal tug of war in the battle to control the island and have access to areas and mobs. To spice up the experience developers added a number of very powerful items, unique to this zone, which you will use against other players.
My favourite part of Timeless Isle were random events player could complete for currency and rare items. These events will be present in Ashran, spread over points of interest around the edges of the zone. You will be able to collect currency both from killing players of another faction and enemy npcs. The currency is useful not only for collecting epic loot but also to help out your faction. One of the examples Blizzard gave is summoning an epic npc to fight for your faction.
Another aspect of Ashran that is sure to make players happy is the sheer scale of battles Blizzard is going for. The aim currently is to have 100 vs 100 players on release and it will be achieved by seamlessly merging and splitting realm populations throughout regions to maintain the balance. While the merging is something we have already seen with the introduction of cross-realm zones, splitting is a feature introduced along with merging during the release of Pandaria but never used before Ashran.
Of course, there are dangers and reservations regarding the success of Ashran. Won’t it get boring? What is the point of fighting other faction? Am I being forced to PvP? I have to admit they are all valid and admittedly Timeless Isle did get tiring after a while but Blizzard seems to be fully behind this zone for Warlords and promises to expand on it with future content patches. If you are a fan of Alterac Valley or long for good old days of world PvP, Ashran looks like an unmissable experience and a perfect opportunity to jump back into WoW. I am certainly excited and will be going through the Dark Portal again on release.
Ashran the Eternal Tug-Of-War
Ashran, built upon rubble, is an intriguing place that sparks to life memories of a time when world PvP was beyond grand and unscripted. Without the troubling nuisance of queue times and short spanned honor grabs, people can enjoy hours of clashing, slaying, and looting treasures from your recently vanquished foes. Ashran has need of every kind of hero. From the PvE players gathering materials to unleash commanders upon the battlefield to the frontline PvP players winning the ever important, albeit temporary, Ogre King to fight at your side. Ashran’s beauty lies in more than just the art that has blessed this zone but in its simulation of real war as well…
The description of Ashran brings back one memory above all the rest and that is the truly epic struggle that was Alterac Valley when all of the quest turn-ins and objectives mattered. The gaining and losing of resources and the spawning of epic creatures to fight at your side was what made those warfare battlegrounds last for days on end. This of course was not viable in an instanced battleground when people had lives to live outside of an Alterac Valley that lasted 4 hours to 7 days. But with Ashran, it seems Blizzard will harness this lasting struggle into the fun generating PvP/PvE engine that many have yet to experience and that many will learn to love.
Gorgond gives a unique impression that enables you to feel both at home in a beautiful and eternal nature, as well as keeping you on your toes with regards to the Blackrock Clan.
The zone is also clearly enriched with the fundamental nature of merciless creatures that roam these grounds. The contrast between a lush and untouched environment and a hard, overexploited dry wasteland has Blizzard written all over it. Whereas, allowing two different environments to be mashed together will make the overall area feel more vast but also bring forth a clear understanding of the power of the Blackrock Orcs.
The most interesting about Gorgond is the story, how one may quest, act and explore a new and beautiful environment and the overall choices will impact the way the adventure pans out. The excitement of knowing that your choice will determine the actual fate of the inhabitants is a wonderful addition to this area.
The music really captures the overall feeling as to lead us into a lush environment, but also adds a teaspoon of mystery. It also brings forth the struggles to come. In my opinion the music in Gorgond have shown us the soul behind the creation of this zone. The addition of wonder, innocence and mystery clearly makes me as an adventurer want to explore this idyllic landscape.