WoW Wednesday: The Unmitigated Warcraft 3 Disaster

Last week we talked extensively about Warcraft 3: Reforged, the “complete re-imagining of a real-time strategy classic,” as quoted by the game’s splash-page. At length we discussed the very critical problem throughout Warcraft 3: Reforged’s development cycle, as well as other impactful events throughout Activision-Blizzard that could have potentially negatively impacted the final product. At the time of publishing Reforged had been out for less than a day, and as such all of its issues were not yet brought to light. While writing we here at were only aware of many of its critical game-breaking bugs and a few missing features.

Last week was much more positive in hindsight, wasn’t it?

In the span of a week Blizzard Entertainment and Activision-Blizzard have come under fire what is, in no small terms, an unmitigated launch disaster for Warcraft 3: Reforged. On top of the release day bugs that saw players fundamentally unable to play the game, the entire game was rife with quality of life issues. One friend of mine, humorously, had a glitch during the Night Elf campaign where voice lines from any Hero Class character could be prompted immediately without cancelling the prior. As the units speak each time they engage movement he managed to accidentally have Malfurion become locked into the first syllable of every single voice line for the entirety of the mission.

Pushing aside the nature of humorous bugs, we now have many more serious things to discuss and address. Warcraft 3: Reforged is missing a large host of promised features, many that were originally in the original Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos. Thankfully WoWhead has put together the short list of missing things, which includes some fundamental aspects. Online Multiplayer content, both competitive and social, are to be included in an upcoming Reforged patch. Other systems, like player profiles and custom campaigns, remain balefully absent.

With the release of Reforged the original Warcraft 3 has been removed from the Blizzard launcher, and now uses Reforged as its base programming. As such, if you are using Reforged to play the Classic version, issues in the newer updated version pass on to the original. Such graphics issues include standard definition models having massive color, shadow and particle effects missing throughout. However most egregious is the overwriting of Reign of Chaos’ AI difficulty and stat balancing. As its expansion, The Frozen Throne, is now tied to the base product the unit balance is retained for the original campaign. Some missions in both versions of Warcraft 3 are now vastly different than before in terms of mathematics, with difficulty swinging rapidly between later campaigns.

Then we have the expected missing Reforged aspect of the game. The “complete re-imagining,” was publicly cut during Blizzcon 2019. This included the Campaign Overhaul to soft-retcon the game and bring it more in line with the “Chronicle” books, the Improved Cinematic cutscenes and the player choice to play either the original Warcraft 3 or the Reforged game. We discussed this previously as being cancelled due to fan outcry, however in further research we have been largely unable to find any public backlash against the notion with the coupling of ‘player choice.’ This has not stopped Activision-Blizzard and Blizzard Entertainment from using the 2018 ‘Cinematic Cutscene’ for the Culling of Stratholme heavily in the game’s marketing and splash page, despite it not appearing anywhere in game.

As with any online game release, Blizzard updated its terms of use and rules for Reforged. In the End User Licence Agreement for the game’s modding software, the World Editor, Blizzard fundamentally changed the rules for ownership for any custom games.

“1. Ownership Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games. If for any reason you are prevented or restricted from assigning any rights in the Custom Games to Blizzard, you grant to Blizzard an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, unconditional, royalty free, irrevocable liscense enabling Blizzard to fully exploit the Custom Games (or any component thereof) for any purpose in any manner whatsoever…

3. Use of Third Party Content in Custom Games. You represent and warrant that neither the content you use to create or incorporate into any Custom Games, nor the compilation, arrangement or display of such content (collectively, the “User Content”), infringes or will infringe any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or other intellectual property right of any third party…”

This is fairly boiler plate and expected. To put it plainly, Blizzard owns every and any aspect of whatever custom content you make in Warcraft 3: Reforged. It stops you from making money off of their content (such as Patreon-Only or ‘Early Access’) maps, and forbids you from making ‘Lord of the Rings’ maps. This, after the creation of both DotA and the entire genre of Tower Defense during the original Warcraft 3, is expected given their original lawsuit with Valve that saw the Steam developer gaining the sole rights to DotA. This sudden turn, however, has caught the community off-guard particularly with the relaxed nature of the original EULA:

“The EULA prohibits the use of Warcraft 3 or the World Editor for any commercial purpose without Blizzard’s prior written consent. In addition, the EULA restricts any distribution of “New Materials [defined as modifications of Warcraft 3 created using the World Editor] on a stand-alone basis… through any and all distribution channels, including, but not limited to, retail sales and on-line electronic distribution without the express written consent of Blizzard.”

For obvious reasons, this has set the entire community in full-tilt upheaval. Metacritic currently has Warcraft 3: Reforged sitting at a user score of 0.5, which indicates a potential review bombing of discontent by the player base. Reviews have been, socially speaking, at an all time high for Blizzard Entertainment with Reforged. Players have cited dozens of reasons from the game’s seemingly endless bugs, to fraudulent marketing with its Culling of Stratholme trailer which could be a legitimate complaint in countries such as Canada and Australia. Warcraft 3: Reforged refunds have since become automated through the Blizzard Help page.

Very clearly, this has not been a positive week. Blizzard Entertainment decided to make it worse.

Warcraft III: Reforged
In what could only be described as the most tone-deaf post in history (potentially thanks to their mass PR layoffs last year), Blizzard Entertainment posted their thoughts on the first week of Reforged on the game’s forums. Posted by Kaivax, one of the team’s community managers, the letter is signed by the entire team. While the post started well, addressing issues with well-known bugs and the promise of fixes, the letter began to derail nearly halfway through. While concerns were addressed such as the ‘missing’ cutscenes and the missing tournament mode, nearly nothing was addressed about the game’s currently revolving controversies.

The EULA was not discussed. The launch day disasters were brushed over. Missing features were promised in a future ‘major Reforged patch.’ Tournaments, despite the fact they were largely buggy and broken in later versions of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos were not fixed and instead removed. Concerns about game quality to portions outsourced to a third-party developer.

Simply scrolling through the open letter thread gives you the large idea of where the community sits.

Warcraft 3: Reforged is a complete, utter, absolute, disgusting total disaster. There is no beating around the digital bush in saying that. Reforged is fundamentally and completely unfinished in many regards if we are describing this as the “complete re-imagining” of what was originally initial in the base game up until seven days ago. It hardly even qualifies as a remaster, as the remastered portions of the game do not compare to the original and are filled with flaws. The state of Reforged performs the cardinal sin of remastering any game; it makes one consider if the original was really all that good to begin with. The most advisable notion, at this point in the controversy, would be to remove its branding of Reforged. Label the game as a remaster, reduce its suggested retail pricing and let it rest.

Even now, a week into this disaster of a game, players will only remember one thing. It was not Blizzard Entertainment that released a truly upscaled wonderful re-imagining of their childhood. Instead, it was Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company that released a rushed, poorly cobbled together and incomplete mess. Its sad to think that with what we’ve seen over the last week this is what Blizzard’s mission statement contains on its company website:

“Blizzard polish” doesn’t just refer to our gameplay experiences, but to every aspect of our jobs. We approach each task carefully and seriously. We seek honest feedback and use it to improve the quality of our work. At the end of the day, most players won’t remember whether the game was late – only whether it was great.”

The post WoW Wednesday: The Unmitigated Warcraft 3 Disaster appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: The Rewards of Korrak’s Revenge!

World of Warcraft’s 15th anniversary is now in full swing, with events aplenty for players to dig into. On top of the LFR-styled ‘Memory’ Raids, which cover famous bosses from Warcraft’s first three expansions, Alterac Valley has returned! Based on the original build of the famous Epic 40-Man Battleground, Korrak’s Revenge is a seasonal brawl available through January 7th 2019. With no reinforcements, evolving NPC assaults and a ton of rewards scattered throughout, this is a densely packed holiday event. This week we’ll be peeling apart the particulars and set out a path to maximize your rewards!

The Alterac Valley of olde is infamous amongst Vanilla Purists and regular community goers for how long its matches were. Some took several days due to the deadlocks players would face on the battleground. Due to the variety of scaling in Korrak’s Revenge, however, most matches take roughly as much time as a regular Alterac Valley; up towards several hours long. Accessible from level 60, Korrak’s Revenge is a fantastic way to power level your characters with the anniversary experience buff.

The main draw, however, is the two limited time mounts. Featuring updated versions of the classic Alterac Valley faction mounts, the Frostwolf Snarler and the Stormpike Battle are completely remastered mounts. Featuring higher resolution textures and updated rigging based on newer model skeletons, these are two VERY excellent mounts. Rewarded from the achievement ‘Alterac Valley of Olde’ you’ll need to earn 200 Timewarped Badges while playing in Korrak’s Revenge. This currency can be used elsewhere in conjunction with Timewalking events, and this provides the best opportunity to grind quite a bit for rep tokens, mounts or toys.

“Raised in the Alterac Mountains and trained to bite dwarves.”

At first glance, Alterac Valley of Olde may seem easy to complete. Most players will pick up the breadcrumb quest, “Soldier of Time,” which rewards 400 Timewarped Badges for gaining 500 honor inside the Battleground. While this is an easy, and recommended, quest to complete none of these badges will contribute to your total. Instead, you’ll need to rely on the quests in Korrak’s Revenge.

The biggest thing to regularly perform will be COMPLETING the battleground itself. Currently, in the EU, zerging towers and the Alterac Generals has fallen back into the popular meta-strategy. Thankfully, this results in quicker games more often, and simply falls to whichever team can complete strategies quicker. In order to kill Drek’thar or Vandarr Stormpike, you’ll need to burn down every bunker and tower on your way to the enemy team’s base. Each has a nearly 3 minute cap timer, in which you’ll need to defend your claim until it is destroyed. Capturing graveyards along the way is essential to your team’s reinforcement and rewspawning. Winning a match in Korrak’s Revenge will net you 20 Timewarped Badges, while a loss will net you 10.

While most matches may go quickly there are still an incredible host of quests to perform, most of which are daily. A number are not, however, and work as breadcrumb or introductory quests. Korrak the Bloodrager and The Legend of Korrak will see players facing off against the chieftain of the Winterax Trolls. In an effort to control the Field of Strife, the Alliance and Horde will send players to slay this Champion and claim his territory for the respective faction.

Other one-time quests will see you assisting third parties in the Valley. Master Ryson’s All Seeing Eye is given to players by members of the Syndacite, the criminal survivors of the fallen Human Kingdom. Stolen by the Winterax trolls, the object of the same name has been taken deep into their territory. It will require players to group up to fight the elite creatures and push through to the Orb itself. The first faction to push into the caves and save Master Engineer Zinfizzlex will unlock his quest. Zinfizzlex’s Portable Shredder Unit will reward a portable killing vehicle for use in the Valley during the event, and all he requires are some (legally) acquired materials. Each quest will reward 10 Timewarped badges.

There are also a multitude of repeatable daily quests. Each will give 10 Timewarped Badges for your first turn-in every day, while some which include resource deposits will give an additional 2 badges every turn in. Most of the daily quests will involve capturing objectives, such as personally claiming a graveyard, capturing a tower or claiming a mine for a faction. Resources, such as armor scraps or crystals, can be collected off of the bodies of slain enemies and turned into NPCs at your home base. Once daily you can also collect resources from each mine and turn them in for 10 Timewarped Badges.

Not popularly mentioned is a quest that is given at your faction’s stable master. Awarding 2 Badges for each turn in, you must capture an Alterac Ram or Frost Wolf for your respective faction. This is a repeatable quest up until the stables are full, which takes some 20-30 turn-ins. If you join a match late, and your team is already zerging to the enemy base, this can be a great way to quickly collect a few extra badges. Just beware of preying Druids and Rogues!

“I seem to be a little out of sorts today…”

Once you are done waging war inside the Valley, there are still more rewards OUTSIDE. At the world queuing locatins for Alterac Valley, some of the older vendors have crossed into an odd aspect of time. At each entrance in the Alterac Mountains, Jorek Ironside and Thanthaldis Snowgleam have both become displaced in the time ways and are offering unique and old items. Costing both Marks of Honor and Timewarped badges, these two vendors will not only be offering some of the regular fare, but also several removed appearances that have not been seen in-game since before Cataclysm. Some are unique to specific armor types, such as mail and cloth, and must be purchased on characters of that armor class to unlock and save the appearance. Others will require you to kill Korrak before they can be unlocked for purchase. These removed items will only be available while Korrak’s Revenge is ongoing, and on January 7th they’ll be once more gone forever!

The post WoW Wednesday: The Rewards of Korrak’s Revenge! appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: Pilgrim’s Bounty 2019!

The fall turns again in the World of Warcraft, and Pilgrim’s Bounty has arrived for the adventurers and claimers of the continents of Azeroth. Breaking bread with friends of all kinds, holiday goers can enjoy the wonderful food in every major city and brush up their own skills to provide the greatest feast for revelers throughout the land. From November 25th through December 2nd players can partake in Pilgrim’s Bounty and garner the rewards found therein. This week I’ll be your guiding hand to getting the most out of the holiday and how to fill out your achievements for the Pilgrim title and Plump Turkey Pet.

Most of the holiday festivities take place at the Bountiful Tables across Azeroth. These are located in each of the faction’s major cities and every minor town with an innkeeper, as well as Light’s Hope Chapel and the Ruins of Thaurissan. At any of these locations you’ll find that the tables have been stacked high with food which you can sit and eat at, even the enemy factions! Major city tables also have vendors selling seasonal goods such as toys, transmog, and recipes for the season. Eating five helpings of each available food will give players The Spirit of Sharing buff, which increases reputation gains by 10% for an hour, a vital addition for anyone grinding reputations through Timewalking or world content! This year, with the event overlapping with the 15th Anniversary now is a GREAT time to stack both reputation buffs from the holiday (along with Darkmoon Faire on Sunday) to DESTROY any remaining reputations you might be grinding!

Best known for its aid in leveling the profession, Pilgrim’s Bounty has a host of recipes that can quickly level players’ cooking skills. Gathering these is the easiest and fastest method of leveling the Classic tier of the profession, as the vendors selling the recipes also sell most of the ingredients as well. Mixed into these are also static seasonal quests and the ongoing daily quests, rewarding the Pilgrim’s Bounty satchel which contains the Turkey Shooter as well as potentially the Silver-Plated Turkey Shooter, Fine Pilgrim’s Hat or the Frightened Bush Chicken.

Two of the Pilgrim’s Bounty vendors, still celebrating amidst the war effort.

Of course, Pilgrim’s Bounty’s main draw is the nine unique achievements that can be earned towards the Pilgrim meta-achievement. It is worth noting that Pilgrim is not required for What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, the World Event meta-achievement that requires a solid year of meeting every other holiday achievement (aside from the Day of the Dead, Pirate’s Day and other micro-holidays). All in all, you’ll need the following achievements to complete Pilgrim and claim your Plump Turkey:

For this achievement, you’ll need to find a free seat at one of the Bountiful Tables in the world, and share food with a fellow reveler until you, “miss,” and bounce the food off of a player’s head! This will happen when the player the food is getting passed to already has the maximum amount of food, so just simply sit at a chair and pass the dishes until you’ve earned this achievement.

Sharing is Caring
In line with the premise of “FOOD FIGHT!” this achievement simply requires you to sit in each of the chairs at a Bountiful Table and pass the food to another seated player. Sit at each of the five chairs and pass a dish to earn the achievement, something you’ll more than likely do on your way to claiming the previous (and for more mischievous) entry.

One of the many Bountiful Tables located outside the major cities of the world.

Now We’re Cookin’

For this achievement, you must cook one of your faction’s specific Pilgrim’s Bounty Dishes. These recipes can be learned from Miles Standish for the Horde, or Gregory Tabor for the Alliance. Nearby holiday vendors will sell all the reagents you’ll need to cook these recipes and you’ll need at least 280 in your Classic Cooking to learn all of them.

Pilgrim’s Paunch
For this achievement, you must have a complete meal and earn The Spirit of Sharing at each Bountiful Table in your faction’s major cities. Simply travel to each major city and get five healthy helpings of each of the foods to complete this achievement!

Pilgrim’s Peril
This particular achievement requires you to put a little bit of risk and reward in. First, you’ll need to obtain an article of Pilgrim’s clothing, either the Pilgrim’s Dress, Pilgrim’s Robe or Pilgrim’s Attire which are awarded from one of the daily cooking quests. After you’re garbed in the universal attire of peace, you must then seat yourself at the Bountiful Tables in the enemy factions’ major cities. With the introduction of War Mode with the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, this achievement has become far easier to complete by simply toggling it off.

Pilgrim’s Progress
This achievement is one of the easier on the list, merely requiring you to complete each of the Pilgrim’s Bounty daily quests. You can get each quest from the quest givers outside of your faction’s classic major cities, and all five are available every day. Keep in mind that you don’t need to cook for these dailies, all you have to do is turn in the food!

One of the Wild Turkeys currently plaguing both Elwynn Forest and the Tirisifal Glades.

Terokkar Turkey Time
For this achievement, you will need to first collect a Pilgrim’s Hat and one of the seasonal chest pieces from the Pilgrim’s Bounty dailies. Afterwards, you must then travel to Terokkar Forest and the Sethekk Halls wing of Auchindoun. While there, simply defeat Talon King Ikiss while wearing your seasonal attire on either Normal or Heroic! This is an easy one to incorporate into your daily mount-runs, but can only be completed by players who are of level to zone into Sethekk Halls (level 63).

The Turkinator
This achievement can be one of the trickier ones on the list, simply for the level of players often trying to complete it. The Turkinator requires you to be back, and kill 40 Wild Turkey critters, with no more than 30 seconds apart per kill until you have obtained the Turkey Triumph! buff. Wild Turkey can be found in both Tirisfal Glades and Elwynn Forest, and you can choose to kill them in either zone. Using items such as Tracker Snacks or class abilities like Track Beasts can help track the turkeys and chain your combo killing spree together.

Turkey Lurkey
This achievement is no doubt the hardest on this list, requiring you to use your trusty Turkey Shooter on a Rogue player of each race (aside from Pandaren and the Allied Races), transforming the poor stealthies into a turkey! A Turkey Shooter can be obtained from the Daily Quests, but it’s consumed after a single use, meaning you’ll need to do at least 2 days worth of dailies to earn enough and complete the achievement. Be careful, if you shoot a player who has the buff and is in a vehicle (such as the Bountiful Tables) you will get an error message and be unable to earn credit towards the achievement.

The post WoW Wednesday: Pilgrim’s Bounty 2019! appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: Your Guide to Blizzcon 2019

The best weekend of the year now dawns upon us! Blizzcon 2019 has finally arrived and with it comes a smattering of panels, showings, demos our loot this year begins with a wide spread of content from World of Warcraft cosmetic armor to unique Overwatch skins. This week we’ll be giving you the best tips and directions to make the most out of your Warcraft experience at Blizzcon this year!

Like last year, virtual ticket holders already have a wide host of content prior to the launch of the convention on Friday, including content released last year. Starting on October 31st we’ll have the beginnings of the Overwatch World Cup to begin parsing through, lasting over 12 hours! This will be where the online preliminaries begin for the fabled e-sports tournament and will feature competitors from all about the world.

Blizzcon opens up live on Friday, November 1st, with the Opening Ceremony being streamed from all available stages at 2 PM EST! This will feature planned action from all of this year’s competitions as well as several previews of what’s to come that day on each stage. Immediately afterwards the major world tournaments will begin in Halls A, B, C, and the main Arena. Viewers can grab access to the continuation of the OWCs in Hall A, as well as the lower brackets for the Mythic Dungeon Invitational in Hall C. The Hearthstone Global Finals begin in Hall B, while the Starcraft 2 Global Finals begin with the Quarterfinal in the Arena. These events will continue throughout the weekend until the final brackets of the Overwatch World Cup on Sunday morning.

Some of the leaked “exclusive prints” from the Blizzard Website, featuring “Warcraft: Shadowlands.”

On the Mythic Stage in Hall D, where major announcements were hosted last year, are a set of secret panels. Featuring 4 panels over the course of the Friday, there’s enough for each of Blizzard’s main development games, with side-panels for Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone being hosted later in the day. With rumours of a potential new World of Warcraft expansion, featuring Bolvar Fordragon the Lich King, as well as the potential leaks of an Overwatch and Diablo sequel this will be the stage to watch all day Friday.

The first major Warcraft panel begins at 3:30 PM EDT. Quarter Century of Warcraft Audio hallmarks the anniversary of the titular game and brings the Sound Team to the stage to discuss developments throughout the series’ life cycle. Discussing not just sound effect development, but composition and scoring of tracks, the team will discuss this avidly and openly in the North Hall.

Starting up on the North Hall on the Epic Stage, players will get to enjoy a Heroes of the Storm update at 6:15 PM, one that is sorely needed after the fallout from the close of the Heroes e-sports scene this year. Blizzard Animation: The Art of Setting the Scene will follow at 7:15 PM, featuring members of the Story and Franchise Development team and how they created the Overwatch cutscenes that have earned the company critical acclaim. Hearthstone will have its own update at 8:15 PM after the Mythic Stage closes for the Cosplay Exhibition. Here, it’s been teased that the company will launch a new Expansion for the collectible card game, with advertisements across the internet pointing towards the date specifically.

Beginning Saturday at 12:30 pm, the 2019 Hearthstone Global Finals will take off in Hall B, beginning with the quarter finals decider’s matchups. The tournament will run throughout the day up until the finals at 6 PM on the stage. The World of Warcraft Arena World Championships will launch alongside it, beginning with their lower quarterfinals and ramping up to the Grand Final beginning at 9:45 PM.

The rest of the day is largely filled with a foray of very interesting developer driven panels largely centering around Diablo and Warcraft. At 1 PM begins the Voices of Azeroth: A Hero’s Journey, involving several voices behind the heroes of Azeroth. Joined by members of the developer team, they’ll discuss vital narrative moments over the years and how they were created.

Running simultaneously alongside the panel is the Watchpoint Season Preview for the 2020 Overwatch League, as well as the Artists at Work series for Diablo. This particular panel will focus about environment design, bringing the world of Sanctuary to life! An additional Art of Diablo panel will go on later during the day at 7:15 PM, featuring other members of the team.

At 2:15 PM Blizzard will begin their Update panel for World of Warcraft. Here is where, undoubtedly, we’ll see two certain things. With the announcement of a new expansion coming the day before attendees will more-than-likely be hearing details about Patch 8.3, ‘Visions of Ny’Alotha.’ Projections have 8.3 launching in early to mid-January of 2020, with a potential expansion launch perhaps a year and a half later.

In a surprising move, there are quite a multitude of Blizzard life panels throughout the weekend, featuring discussions about working on campus at Anaheim. Beginning at 6:15 PM, Artists at Work: World of Warcraft will run alongside the Warcraft 3: Reforged panel, discussing the process of art development from demonstrations and prototypes to a final finished product. The development team also takes the stage to discuss their personal stories during World of Warcraft: Developer’s Tales at 7:15 PM. New to the convention this year is CodeCraft: Exploring Blizzard Engineering. This panel, kicking off at 8:15 PM, features members of the company’s engineering team on how games and systems are coded for consumption.

On top of additional update panels and The Writers Room: Building the Worlds of Blizzard, the convention as always is set to go out with a bang. Beginning with some remarks at 9:45, every stage will come to life with the always titanic Closing Ceremonies. Featuring leagues of performers taking to the stage, this year the entertainment has been kept tightly under wraps. Even on their website, nothing has yet been announced to close out the company showcase.

Blizzard Entertainment opens its doors to the world in Anaheim this weekend, from November 1st to the 2nd.

The post WoW Wednesday: Your Guide to Blizzcon 2019 appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: Blizzard’s Proposed ‘Level Squish’

The World of Warcraft is a very old game. Celebrating its 15th anniversary later this year the wide world of Azeroth has seen quite a bit of change over the years. Despite adding more and more to its end-game content, however, there has been a clear and deprecating problem to the overall experience. This experience, alongside Battle for Azeroth’s many other issues, continues to degrade the overall quality of the game and can be the biggest turn off for new players. I speak of course about Warcraft’s leveling experience.

We’ve talked about this before on WoW Wednesday in an article several months ago. There we discussed the controversial Draught of Ten Lands ban and why players seek to exploit their way to the end-game. Venturing through Azeroth’s old, and sometimes primitive content, can be utterly painful. While long strides were taken to revamp older content in Cataclysm, both Outland and Northrend still feature obsolete systems that stall the leveling process. Changes during 7.3 to experience gains also drastically elongated the process. Simply speaking, to level a character isn’t fun.

As such, Blizzard is now looking to reduce levels in World of Warcraft by squishing them to what they call a ‘dramatically lower’ number. An internal survey sent to multiple Blizzard departments (featured below) as well as players doing Customer Service surveys shows that the idea is a near certainty. While teased and suggested before in the past, such a thing has never been considered before. In the past it has seen several stat squishes with both Warlords of Draenor and Battle for Azeroth. These reduced overall numbers which by their previous expansion’s end had fallen into the several million range. We’ve also seen a sizable reduction in abilities for classes during the great ‘pruning’ at the start of Warlords.

A level squish, in my opinion, is neither a desirable solution nor the correct one.

Frankly its hard to know what exactly Blizzard is planning to do with this as press inquires from multiple outlets have simple received a, ‘no comment,’ response. Hypothetically, what would a level squish look like?

Frankly we could see a squish drop down to as much as level 60 reasonably. The first twenty levels could take place in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. The next ten could feature Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King content. 40 and onward could take place over Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. 50-60 could culminate in the latest three expansions, with the last few levels covering all of Battle for Azeroth.

The problem isn’t that level numbers have gotten too ridiculous. It’s simply that leveling has gotten ridiculous and there has been no attempt to fix it. While true, there have been adjustments to  gains and experience over the last few years, these have done two things. The first, as we’ve already surmised, is lengthening overall leveling time after level 60. The second has been more of a patchwork fix to try and allow people to choose what content they can undergo, giving certain brackets a choice where they’d like to tackle their grind.

Here’s the greater issue. No matter where you go, leveling simply isn’t fun. Whether its your first time or your twenty-first time, leveling is not an enjoyable experience. Gameplay is not engaging; there are no rewards to questing over the easy grinding that dungeons can garner (unless you enjoy titles). Unlike later expansions, which have made an attempt to be narratively engaging, there are no attempts in any of the first four that do not otherwise tie directly into end-game content. These storylines then become obsolete when players cross the level threshold and are forced (by breadcrumb quests designed to do so) into the next legacy expansion’s content. That cycle then repeats itself and gets incredibly boring INCREDIBLY quickly.

Meanwhile, especially for newer players, leveling time is impossibly long. As a player at max level, pushing through an alt, you can realistically level a character to 120 in a week if you played for five hours a day. That’s with full heirloom gear, all three different experience buff potions, with a monk, doing nothing but dungeons.

A newer player could spend at least three times that long, and only if they knew exactly where to go.

Let’s be honest, who wants to spend 160 hours on a game that frankly sucks to play?

world of warcraft raiding

There are two methods to go about fixing this. One is, of course, completely overhauling leveling. This would be an incredible amount of work to go about and re-do the entire game up until Battle for Azeroth, retooling quests and making the whole world more engaging. This is frankly straight up impossible and unfeasible not just from a game development standpoint but a business standpoint. As we’ve seen in Battle when content is dreadful, like Patch 8.1, it is in Blizzard’s best interest to redouble efforts on the next end-game patch and push forward to better content. Most of its player base is full of end-game content players.

However, in doing that they ignore newer players unwilling to make that grind and thus lose more of a potential player base.

The other solution is to introduce new systems into leveling to make it more enjoyable.

This can be done in many ways, but the easiest to perform would be introducing new intrinsic reward systems. In game development there are two methods of doing so. The first, an extrinsic reward system, would be introducing new elements outside of normal gameplay process. Comparable extrinsic systems we’ve seen are akin to the Artifact Skin system in Legion; it wasn’t something that was used in the natural flow of the game. These were simply additional bits to bolt on to existing gameplay.

The other, intrinsic, are systems that tie directly into the gameplay and can be seen as inseparable. It’s easy to introduce extrinsic systems, such as the Heart of Azeroth’s new Essences in Patch 8.2, to bolster old ones. Intrinsic systems must be carefully crafted, however, in order to be successful.

Take the old talent systems. Players from Warcraft’s Classic era may remember the three branching talent trees. Unlike the current 6 tier, 18 selection system, the older talent system featured roughly 49 talent points which could be spent on an expanding tree. This system was later introduced most effectively in the Borderlands franchise, where it remains as a great example of Classic’s old design philosophy. Whereas the current system focuses on large-scale changes immediately, the older system focused on progressive change over time.

There are perks to both systems. Now, talents are very versatile and can be changed for a variety of situations. In Classic this was not the case, where there were often singular optimized builds to collect specific necessary stats and abilities due to severe class underdevelopment and imbalance. However, you got a talent point for every level after 10 in Classic, meaning that every level you had something to look forward to. Now, you get one point every fifteen levels. Perhaps you get one ability every four or five. Instead of small development you have a wide array of control over, you now have BIG developments that quickly feel like extrinsic additions that your class doesn’t require.

Even crunching the required levels in half for leveling, that won’t change the time required to go to the NEXT major development. It will still realistically take the same time, just now you’ll have less of the pretty colors and nice sounds to enjoy.

So what is a realistic fix for this? Simply make leveling more rewarding.

Despite my opinions on most of Classic being poor gameplay, it knew how to reward players. While the talent system is primitive (and perhaps incompatible for current Warcraft), it intrinsically rewarded players consistently. It was exciting to plan out your progression and try new things. Even in terms of individual class identity every single class had a new quest to unlock abilities or unique weapons every ten to twenty levels. Most famously are the Warlock and Paladin Mount questlines, but Shaman also had several involved adventures to procure their next elemental totems. Warriors got incredible weapons and their new stances through questing as well.

This is partly why Legion was so celebrated. It felt GOOD to not only perform duties as the paragon of you Class, but to do MORE as a member of your class. While Warcraft is an MMORPG, the RPG part of that experience has been missing for an incredibly long time. Introducing more class-based elements as players progress, even as simple as new story-based quests, is a good way to start.

YouTuber Bellular has one of the better suggestions in an additional ‘latent power’ talent system. This system would introduce a new branching tree that would unlock as you progress. Unlike talents, which are variable, these would become passive abilities to engage in throughout world content. As they would be turned off during instanced content, there would be no need to balance them, allowing players to grow in power more and more over time.

Additionally, introducing new milestone rewards over time may be another concept. We have such a system now in both the new Heritage Armor transmogs. Every ten levels simply unlock a new transmogrification outfit for your class based on the zone you’ve been leveling in. Not only would this encourage players to level to that next major milestone (often offset from talents), it would also encourage playing on every continent. This would elongate playtime, something that Blizzard currently seems to want.

All of these are extrinsic systems. These are additions that are not going to fix the main problem of Warcraft. They don’t make leveling fun; they simply make it more REWARDING to perform. The fun comes from getting more flashy bits to enjoy, less so from the experience of leveling. The intrinsic problem Blizzard has will require an intrinsic solution. For now the best we can hope for is an addition to the problem that makes the suffering a little more enjoyable.

The post WoW Wednesday: Blizzard’s Proposed ‘Level Squish’ appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: The Noble Garden!

The great feast of Noblegarden has long been celebrated by the races of the Alliance, and in more recent years has been adopted by the races of the Horde. During this joyous celebration it is customary for the nobles and lords from each race to hide coins, candy and the occasional treasures within special eggs painted to look like wildflowers throughout Azeroth. Based in the long druidic festivals of old, Noblegarden as the denizens of Azeroth now know it is a blend of ancient Kaldorei history and modern youthful vigor.

During the celebration of Noblegarden, the World of Warcraft takes a different tone, even far more relaxed in comparison to other World Events dotted throughout the year. During the Feast of Noblegarden the towns of Azeroth are sprinkled with treats and surprises hidden inside the simple Noblegarden Egg. This week we’ll be taking a look at the holiday and giving you the steps needed to become a noble yourself!

Unlike other major holidays there is no large event associated with Noblegarden. Everything tied to the holiday can be completed by picking up Brightly Colored Eggs around the towns of the Alliance (Goldshire, Kharanos, Dolanaar and Azure Watch), the Horde (Brill, Razor Hill, Bloodhoof Village and Falconwing Square) and Shattrath. These eggs will often drop Noblegarden Chocolates which isn’t just a delicious sweet treat, but also serves as the currency for the season to purchase vanity items. Players may also find cosmetic equipment in their eggs, such as bunny ears, entire dresses or a small fluffy friend to call your own.

An Adventurer and his fluffy friend!

As such, both your desire to collect items throughout the event and completion of the Noble Gardener meta-achievement are entirely tied to your want to collect eggs. As such, we recommend you look at hunting eggs during VERY off-peak hours for your server, lest you find more competition than you’d like. Its also recommended you go searching in either Brill for the Horde, or Dolanaar for the Alliance with the recent world changes in Battle for Azeroth. Simply speak to Zidormi and you’ll be transported to a point in time where you can collect these delicious treats.

The meta-achievement for Noblegarden is the Noble Gardener, which is a requirement for the holiday meta What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been and will award the title <the Noble>. The list is actually much shorter than most other World Events and can easily be completed in an evening if you find yourself lucky or without much competition. All in all, you’ll need roughly 305 Noblegarden Chocolates to complete your meta-achievement, though each clothing item you’ll require can also drop from your egg-finding. It’s recommended that you don’t spend a single egg until you’ve found all the ones you’ll need.

I Found One! is the easiest to complete by far. Simply loot your first Brightly Colored Egg!

Chocolate Lover and Chocoholic are two achievements tied to the same meta-chain. All you have to do is go searching for one hundred Brightly Colored Eggs and eat the delicious Noblegarden Chocolate found within! And don’t worry, unlike Hallow’s End you won’t get an upset stomach from eating too many sweets.

Desert Rose is the first of the several outfit related achievements. First you must collect the Spring Robes by either purchasing them from the holiday vendors for 50 Noblegarden Chocolates or finding them inside a Brightly Colored Egg. Equipping the robes will enable you to activate its Use ability, which plants a flower at your feet. Once you’ve got them on simply travel to each of the five zones listed and plant a flower anywhere within them.

Blushing Bride requires you to kiss someone wearing an Elegant Dress while you are wearing a White Tuxedo Shirt and Black Tuxedo Pants. These clothes also have a chance to drop from Brightly Colored Eggs, reducing the chocolates needed to complete your meta. Completion for this achievement will only be rewarded to those using the Spring Tuxedo two-piece set, and not the tuxedo set that tailors can craft. As these items are not bind on pickup, however, you can also purchase them on the auction house or swap clothes with a friend (if you’re feeling adventurous).

Hard Boiled is perhaps the most complicated achievement on this list sheerly due to logistics. After being polymorphed into a bunny, either by opening Brightly Colored Eggs or being transformed by a Blossoming Branch, you must travel to the Golakka Hot Springs in Un’Goro Crater and lay an egg. As most of the egg-collecting towns are either too far north of Kalimdor, and mounting up will dispel the polymorph, either you must run to Un’goro on foot (taking care not to enter combat or get hit along the way) or have a friend transform you in the Hot Springs.

Once there simply simply sit anywhere at the Hot Springs for a few moments until you lay an egg!

Spring Fling requires you to go to your Faction’s four towns celebrating Noblegarden and find your pet Spring Rabbit someone to mate with. The Spring Rabbit Battle Pet is one of several items that has the opportunity to come from the Brightly Colored Eggs. With your pet in hand you can head out to each of the four towns and find another player with a Spring Rabbit pet. After a few moments of the rabbits noticing each other, the magic will happen. Yes, its exactly what you think it means.

Noble Garden requires players to hide an egg in their respective city of nobles. These eggs can be purchased from the Vendors and can be looted once you’ve set them down for a Noblegarden Chocolate and perhaps another item. Horde players will need to hide their eggs in Silvermoon City, while Alliance players have to hide them in Stormwind.

Shake Your Bunny-Maker is the last achievement for Noble Gardener and is the most difficult on the list to complete. Players must first collect their Spring Flowers from the local vendor or a Brightly Colored Egg before going out to hunt their would-be victims. With your flowers in hand players must now seek out other players of at least 18th level, placing rabbit ears on their head. Yes, it’s exactly what you think it means.

The post WoW Wednesday: The Noble Garden! appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: The Infinite Theory

The World of Warcraft has a vast array of diverse enemies and factions that seek to undo the lands of Azeroth and its denizens. While we have seen many world-threatening villains fall at the hands of the defenders of Azeroth, from the Lich King to the Aspect of Death itself. However, there several major villains that have vanished into the folds of the game that simply haven’t re-emerged. One long standing set of villains continue to threaten Azeroth yet to this day and possess the power to tear the very fabric of reality asunder. Some once knew them as the custodians of time, but most now know them as the Infinite Dragonflight.

For many players that have joined Warcraft over the last few expansions the Infinite Dragonflight may be a mystery. Originally appearing in the game’s second expansion, The Burning Crusade, the Infinite Flight emerged to threaten the timeways of Azeroth itself. Charged by the Titans, creators and shapers of worlds including Azeroth, the Bronze Dragonflight and its leader Nozdormu were given power to guard the one true timeline. This timeline, while still being written to the mortals who perceived the present, was the only timeline that could or should exist. From it Azeroth would grow from a dormant planet into the powerful titan its brethren foresaw, great enough to oppose evil growing throughout the universe.

Thus the Bronze Dragonflight set to their task in defending the timeways from those that would seek to rewrite the past or change the future. In an effort to gird the Bronze from corruption, the Titans showed Nozdormu and many of his kin the nature of their individual deaths. In the distant future a tormented Aspect of Time was tricked by the sleeping Old Gods beneath Azeroth into trying to subvert his own mortality. Seeing how timelines bled off from the Prime Line, Nozdormu realized he could subvert his future by recruiting the dragons from each of these timelines into his own force. Intent on this new path, the dragon now known as Murozond sought to stop the depowering of his flight and thus the Infinite Dragonflight was born.

Manipulating the Infinite flight as their mighty and never-ending army, the Old Gods attempted to set them upon the timeways of Azeroth to change history. Inspired by an adventure that saw vital pieces of the War of the Ancients altered, N’zoth tasked the Infinite flight to ensure that Thrall could not fulfill his destiny. If he were never to come to age on Azeroth, he could not prevent the Hour of Twilight and the release of the Old Gods from their prison.

Thus the Infinite Crusade began in the timeways as operatives of the Infinite Dragonflight sought to undo the fidelity of past events. Attacking vital points throughout history, the Infinite Flight sought to ensure the release of the Old Gods, until adventurers managed to kill Murozond and leave the Infinite Dragonflight leaderless. Nozdormu revealed, in passing, that the Infinite would once more emerge, and that he himself would head it again in the future:

“At last it has come to pass. The moment of my demise. The loop is closed. My future self will cause no more harm. Still, in the future, I will… fall to madness. And you, heroes… will vanquish me. The cycle will repeat. So it goes… All that matters…is this moment.” 

The Infinite Dragonflight would not again resurge until Warlords of Draenor, where the dragon researcher Kairozdormu liberated Garrosh Hellscream from his imprisonment and crushed a powerful relic. Using the Vision of Time he transported himself and Hellscream to an alternate timeline, to a Draenor thirty years before the invasion of Azeroth. There he was slain, and the Infinite’s only potential leadership was once more thrown into disarray.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the Infinite Dragonflight has gone quiet. Instead, many players believe the shadowy flight is merely biding its time, waiting to exploit vital points in time to make their next move. This theory, dubbed the, ‘Infinite Dragonflight Theory,’ foretells of the resurgence of an enemy with a sinister plan. With the rise of several other prominent Old God related forces in the upcoming Patch 8.2, it is certainly a theory worth discussing in the future, as Nozdormu himself has said that they will once again return.

Since the fall of Murozond, the Infinite flight has certainly made a few subtle moves in Azeroth. Making a brief appearance in the fight against Grand Magistrix Elisande in Legion, the Infinite Flight was expelled from the timeways while she weaponized her chronomancy against heroes of the Horde and Alliance. One of the Bronze Dragonflights more active members, Chromie (or Chronormu if you prefer) came under attack through a most curious means while heroes battled the Legion on the Broken Shore. Attacked both in the present and in various vital points in her history, someone with a powerful grasp of time-related magic attempted to assassinate the Dragon nearly eight times over. While removed for launch, Chromie expressed her concern to her savior about the nature of their attacker during the PTR release of the Death of Chromie scenario;

“Everything seems… back to normal. The Timelines are clearer. I don’t see myself dying anymore… There ARE a few things still bothering me, though. A whole lot of people seemed very intent on killing me. Demons, elements, undead, void lords… even the Horde and the Alliance! Why’s everybody so mad at me?”

Indeed the Infinite Flight has continued to make their appearance in Battle for Azeroth as well. Most players will now be familiar with the Timewalking holiday, where heroes are sent back through time to complete old dungeon content. In both The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King Timewalking events, players are requested by Vormu to infiltrate pivotal moments of history that have very recently been changed. These moments, under threat from outside forces, are in danger of being irrevocably altered to a disturbing degree.

In the Black Temple a vital piece of Illidain Stormrage’s plan has been altered, resulting in a cascading disaster throughout the timelines. Players travel inside to besiege the darkened halls once more, and when successful discover that indeed something has been changed. In examining the plans for the Illidari’s raid on the planet of Mardum, the plans have been drastically improved! Such a change would mean that the Illidari forces had returned to the Black Temple far sooner than originally intended. This act resulted in the entire Demon Hunter forces being captured wholesale, depriving the world of a powerful military force.

Sending players to Ulduar, Vormu made a second and incredibly far more concerning discovery. After ensuring the defeat of the Old God Yogg-Saron, the bindings holding the void-aberration were examined by the Bronze Drake. Under her expert gaze it was discovered that the locks holding the God’s influence at bay had been artificially aged by nearly forty thousand years. Thus, the corruption of Ulduar’s guardians and the fallout of Yogg-Saron’s release had been accelerated, nearly resulting in the Lich King or the Old God’s victory and their freedom in Northrend.

At the end of Cataclysm and the foiling of the Hour of Twilight, the Aspects and Dragonflights surrendered their power, their task apparently having been completed. However, time in the World of Warcraft is not a linear force; it is pliable, and only its enforcers stop it from being altered. The Bronze Dragons still maintain the ability to move within the timeways, though their ability to manipulate them has been reduced. With the subversive nature of the Infinite Flight, it is certainly possible that they are in battle with the Bronze not just in another where, but another when.

A looked over event in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion was the battle for the Bronze Dragonshrine. Being a sacred burial site for the Bronze Dragonflight, the land is steeped in a, ‘time storm,’ and features an ongoing battle between the combatants of time. This location later becomes the staging ground for Murozond’s final stand against Thrall and the Dragonflights in the End Time, as he works to ensure the Hour of Twilight comes. It also makes a return appearance in a Tools of the Trade questline. Most recently in Battle for Azeroth, tailors join with Timeweaver Delormi, one of the Syncronous Tailors working to mend and maintain the fabric of time. Joining her in traveling through her own possible futures, it is discovered an Infinite version of herself is assassinating her possible futures to find her! Fighting her, the agent destroys her ability to mend the fabric of time, thus depriving the Bronze of a vital enforcer, as the two Dragonflights do battle above them.

There is certainly a lot to dissect here, but one thing is utterly undeniable. Whether or not the Infinite Dragonflight has returned to subvert the Bronze Dragonflight, something or someone is purposefully engaging time’s guardians throughout Azeroth’s history. While the original progenitor of this attack has been thwarted and is currently leaderless, Nozdormu himself has confessed that he will eventually fall again. The Infinites, while unconfirmed to be attached to the attempted assassination of Chromie and the altering of vital parts of history, continue to persist in areas where time is being purposefully manipulated.

All of this is occurring while other aspects of the Old God N’zoth’s plan begin to come to fruition; the rising of Xal’atah, the return of Azshara’s Empire and seeding of the Emerald Dream have occurred exactly to his design. Now with the corruption of the Tidesages and House Stormsong, N’zoth has agents once more upon the shores of Azeroth that listen to his whispers alone. The seven-eyed goat of prophecy has made his appearance, watching Azeroth from outside its time. Even now whispers of the mythical empire of Ny’alotha emerge in Battle for Azeroth’s storytelling. Something is preparing to release an Old God from its prison, an act so far unseen in the history of Azeroth, and something that players may not be able to truly fight. Even with C’thun and Yogg-Saron still vastly imprisoned beneath Azeroth it took concentrated siege efforts to pierce their hides and render them defeated. The very heart of Y’shaarj plagued Pandaria with a dark curse for ten thousand years with its dying breath.

An Old God unleashed is N’zoth’s final goal, and someone, Infinite or otherwise, is putting the pieces in motion to make that play.

The post WoW Wednesday: The Infinite Theory appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: Identifying Class Identity

World of Warcraft and its latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, are perhaps one of the greatest representations of the high-fantasy genre in popular gaming culture. While others have done it first, and some might argue better, the wide world of Azeroth has taken us on wide-reaching journeys in its twenty-five year history. Coming off of a gigantic demon invasion and with a Lovecraftian foe not far off on the horizon, Warcraft is certainly not short of its diversity when it comes to the fantasy genre. However, whereas the denizens of Azeroth have a flourishing world to inhabit and survive in, the players sadly do not.

Fantasy has always been a vital part of any RPG game, let alone the MMO genre. Warcraft, however, suffers from missing any sort of fantasy or lore in its most vital areas: the character classes.

Class Fantasy is a very broad topic to touch on, especially for a weekly column. The idea of Class Fantasy is every effect and piece of world-related lore that helps build out the concept and identity of your player-class. Some concepts are easier to build out than others; Warriors are fighters of martial prowess and weapon skills. Priests are typically healers of faith who use religious powers to support their comrades in battle. Not all classes are built on so simple a concept, nor are their roots so cut and dry; Shamanism in the world has seen many things from ritual sacrifices to communing with ancestors, Pagan Druidism contains more concepts of religiosity in line with a typical Priesthood.

This is where we stumble upon the need for Class Fantasy and history in RPGs. These ideas and concepts flesh out not just the lore of a class but its very identity to the playerbase. A lot of it can be built up through flavor text and ability animations but Warcraft has issues with its class fantasy due to how it conveys its main point of storytelling.

Take for example Star Wars: The Old Republic, the MMORPG developed by Bioware Houston. As the player-character progresses through the game’s main storylines they are also driven by a personal class storyline. This storyline is tailored directly to the idea and fantasy of that player’s class and is built around the core design concepts during development.

World of Warcraft has no such thing for its player classes. Older players may remember systems in Classic that helped to convey these ideas. While many classes had particular quests to unlock major spells or ability upgrades, some like the Rogue Class had entire professions dedicated to vital performance enhancing abilities like poisons. Each player class filled its own niche uniquely, some to the controversy of others in comparison to Paladin and Shaman buffs. This idea of unique systems continued to stretch forward even into Wrath of the Lich King, with Death Knights inheriting their Runeforging system to enchant their blades with class-specific buffs.

An extensive amount of these quests and systems have been removed over the years, the only remaining artifacts being old cooking recipes some classes used. Due to very legitimate complaints of class stacking in some end-game instances we have seen those niches widened to accommodate multiple classes. Some of this has been completely unintentional simply due to the fact that not every class specialization in Classic was viable; Discipline Priests and Enhancement Shaman had at one point intended to be tanks, but the specs were simply incomplete.

This idea of, “class homogenization,” has become more prevalent over the years as specializations begin to share some of the design and gameplay concepts of others. More and more we see the Rogue Combo-Point system spread into Monk, Warlock and other caster designs. We see Warrior Rage mechanics pushed into newer and creative avenues in the Shadow Priest. Core concepts and niches can realistically be filled by almost any particular class or specialization.

So now we come to a very important question, “What makes any class different from the other?” Certainly, Mages are not Demon Hunters, as they play completely differently. But what separates Demon Hunters from Rogues? What is the difference between Warlocks and Mages, realistically?

Legion answered the question masterfully with its Class Order Halls. Tied into the main storyline of the expansion, players took a vital role in banding together famous paragons of their classes into Orders to fend of the demonic Burning Legion. While panned for being not as widely utilized as many hoped, the Order Halls injected an incredible amount of lore and storytelling into a field that players had been craving for years. Some of the Order Halls feature my personal favorite storylines to date, with the Rogue and Death Knight campaigns being some of my most vivid experiences in Legion. Many introduced brand new possibilities and characters, while others saw the changing of an old-guard in pushing new characters to the forefront.

For new players to Azeroth, this is the only sort of building out class identity receives. There is realistically almost ten full hours of adventuring throughout the wide World of Warcraft before players experience any sort of building out of their class. While we touched on the issue of the new player experience last week, this issue radiates beyond just that. In Battle for Azeroth there is no semblance remaining of the Order Halls, instead abandoned for a rather stilted faction war. With the abandonment of tiered raid sets for armor-type designs it really feels that there is no intent to illustrate the cultural ideas of each class anytime soon.

So what makes any class different from the other? While a Druid casts Nature magic and a Paladin throws about hammers of Light both heal their allies adequately enough. A Warrior tanks damage just as effectively as a Death Knight. What separates each class aside from ability flavor in Azeroth? What makes each player class realistically stand out from its peers in their fields aside from a nameplate and a class color? The answer that I come to again and again is nothing. After an expansion that put the ideas of its classes to the forefront, after looking at other MMOs that put that emphasis on individual designs of its unique heroes, it simply makes the World of Warcraft look a little flatter and darker in comparison.

The post WoW Wednesday: Identifying Class Identity appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: How To Quickly Gear Your Alts

With new Allied Races on the horizon for Battle for Azeroth, there are certainly more than enough excuses to work on alternate characters or alts. Some players like a break in their current gameplay style, others may want to see how another class fits their raid composition. Perhaps you would like to see how a newer melee class holds up with your Arena team? The main hurdle for every player in World of Warcraft’s end-game, no matter the class, is of course gear. End game performance isn’t entirely about skill (or how hard your Paladin friend can hit the buttons with their face) but instead how your stats are affected by your equipable gear. This week we will be diving into some of the fastest methods to gear your alts and get them ready for raiding.

With a freshly level-capped 120 character, your gear may be relatively hit-or-miss in terms of its quality. Most players who quest through Kul Tiras and Zandalar will be outfitted in questing greens and blues, barely breaching item-level 300. The first step for freshly dinged players is to begin hitting Normal and Heroic level dungeons and scoring some loot off of the bosses contained within. Most players may find themselves easily falling into Normals, as Heroic not only has a higher item-level requirement for entry but a much higher difficulty with the launch of Season 2 in Battle for Azeroth. This is perhaps the best method to begin arming your hero of Azeroth, but one can quickly accelerate their growth with the newest gameplay introduced into WoW.

At item-level 320, your character will unlock access to Warfronts. Locked to a rotating cycle for each faction, Warfronts feature dynamic battlefields besieged by both the Horde and the Alliance in a struggle for dominance. Each Warfront cycles through different phases, working through four separate steps that are vital to leveling your character.

The first, the Contribution Phase, is locked to your specific region (ie. only US players contribute to the US Horde War Effort in Darkshore). Each day three daily quests will be open that will require profession turn-ins which reward a large amount of Azerite. These quests are vital for leveling up your Heart of Azeroth, which will, in turn, unlock more traits in your Azerite Gear. This means that as your Heart’s item level increases, so will your gear as you unlock their central Azerite Traits. This contribution phase lasts for anywhere from three to five days.

After the Contribution Phase is the Assault Phase. This is the most vital part of gearing up your character, as every successful Warfront will reward higher item-level gear, as well as a Heroic-Raid Tier quality item once per Warfront Cycle. For the Battle for Stromgarde, players with item-level 320 gear can enter the warfront and receive 350 gear for winning. At ilvl 335, players can enter the Battle for Darkshore and receive item-level 375 gear. Both warfronts are repeatable and share separate cycles, meaning that shortly after completing Stromgarde several times, you’ll quickly be ready to step into Darkshore.

It’s also heavily recommended you start hitting Heroic Level Island Expeditions. Each week your Artifact Knowledge for the Heart of Azeroth grows, reducing how much Azerite you need to level it up. Heroic Expeditions not only give a sizable chunk of Azerite and contribute to the weekly quest for 2500 Azerite but also have a higher chance to drop Azerite-rewarding Quest Items.

With a large collection of Darkshore gear in your pockets and your Heart well on its way to healing Azeroth, you’ll finally be ready to step into higher-level content in the end-game. There are two feasible options for quickly amassing gear on top of regularly raiding; Mythic+ Dungeons and Rated PvP.

Mythic+ Dungeons are the most active end-game content in Battle For Azeroth. Due to their importance, they’re almost mandatory to complete at least one every week in order to maximize your gearing curve. Using a Mythic Keystone, players can enter increasingly difficult Battle for Azeroth dungeons in a time-attack mode. Completing dungeons with progressively higher keystones will result in greater rewards not only at the dungeon’s end but also in your Challenger’s Cache at the end of the week.

The biggest reward from the cache is Titan Residuum, a new currency introduced in Season 2. This Residuum can be turned into Ethereal vendors in Dazar’alor and Boralus for high-level gear, including specific ilvl 415 pieces to kit out your character. While you can also scrap Azerite Gear to earn Titan Residuum, it’s simply far more efficient to hit increasingly higher level Mythic+ dungeons. We detailed the progressive rewards and more about Mythic+ dungeons several weeks back.

Conversely, Rated Player vs. Player content also offers higher item level gear that, for some players, can quickly result in incredibly powerful rewards. While players can earn lower item level gear after winning Random Battlegrounds or Arena Skirmishes, Rated content offers higher-tier rewards more regularly. Winning in Arenas or Rated Battlegrounds can reward you with item level 380 gear in Season 2 well below titled ratings. Increasing your rating to 1400 can allow you to earn ilvl 390 gear after each match.

Winning organized PvP of any kind, whether it be Skirmishes, Random Battlegrounds or Rated Content will reward you with Conquest. Each week players can farm for a set piece of gear by gaining Conquest, scaling in power for each time you fill your Conquest bar. While this loot is preset, you know what you’re getting each week and can target specific pieces for a slow but gradual gain. Players who haven’t completed any of their Conquest Bar over the Season can fill it up multiple times each week, using it as a catch-up tool to gear their characters. After filling their Conquest Bar (or earning 500 Conquest) players will also unlock a weekly chest at your War Headquarters. You can check out our guide on Rated PvP to get an idea of how item levels scaled in Season One and how they work in Season Two.

Last, but certainly not least, there is, of course, the Raiding Scene. With the release of the Battle for Dazar’alor, both Heroic and Mythic Uldir are now far easier to do with a pick-up group due to overgearing. Heroic Uldir still rewards item-level 370 gear and can be used as a stepping stone if you find your luck lacking between Mythic+ and Rated PvP. Of course, once you’ve hit the big-time, you can also step into the siege on Zandalar’s shores and pillage its bosses for item level 400 gear in Heroic BFDA.

But these are just our suggestions. How do you gear up your alts, or even your first main character, in Battle for Azeroth? Let us know down below!

The post WoW Wednesday: How To Quickly Gear Your Alts appeared first on

WoW Wednesday: Love Is In The Air!

Love is in the Air once more in the World of Warcraft, and the townsfolk of the world are now spending their days giving and receiving gifts to other amorous citizens. While the war is reaching a fever pitch in the seas, love (and the dastardly actions of the Crown Chemical Co.) are always in the air during this holiday. This week we’ll be giving you the best look at this yearly holiday event, from how to get the most of your achievements to grinding the top toys.

This particular holiday (much like its real-world equivalent) is one that has been created by one of Azeroth’s most dastardly and insidious corporations. The Crown Chemical Co., made up of ejected Forsaken Apothecaries and potentially employed by the Venture Company, work on developing a newer, more horrific plague than anything the Undercity could ever unleash, funding their research through the gift-giving holiday. The Steamwheedle Cartel, concerned about how deeply this new company is cutting into their profits, works from afar to undo Crown Chemical’s efforts. Hiring private investigators, the Cartel works on recruiting heroes throughout the major cities to thwart the Apothecary’s work.

Kwee Q. Peddlefeet and the Crown Chemical Co., ready to spread the love in Orgrimmar.

The biggest draw for players is the elusive Big Love Rocket mount, the rarest holiday mount across any of the events in Warcraft. This can be earned through taking on the terrible triumvirate running the Crown Chemical Co., who have made their residence in the now defunct Shadowfang Keep. Players can queue up for the encounter at any level and defeating the trio will earn players a Heart-Shaped Box daily. This packet can drop toys, cosmetics, the Love Rocket, as well as several pets and accessories. However, only players level 110 and higher can earn the Big Love Rocket.

While several toys are exclusive drops to the Crown Chemical Co. leaders, most can be earned from the seasonal vendors through Love Tokens, which can be earned through daily quests, several holiday-related packages, and by turning in Lovely Charm Bracelets. These items can be collected by slaying level appropriate enemies and collecting Lovely Charms, combining ten of them for a bracelet. These Charms are farmable by the entrepreneurial player, meaning that one could feasibly farm enough for every single toy, cosmetic and mount available through the vendors. This year some of the better locations to farm are the Eye of Azshara dungeon or the Blood Gate in Zuldazar.

On of the main attractions to Love is in the Air is of course the holiday’s meta-achievement, Fool For Love. This achievement is a requirement to the World Event meta What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. Each achievement for the Fool for Love requires a bit of a time investment and may take some time to complete; getting a head-start on completing your meta-achievement is highly recommended for most players.

Be Mine requires players to eat the eight separate heart candies that can be found in the Bag of Heart Candies. This item has ten charges, and can be purchased from a seasonal Lovely Merchant for two love tokens.

Charming requires players to craft twelve Lovely Charm Bracelets, made from 120 separate Lovely Charms. In order to do so you must first acquire a Lovely Charm Collector’s Kit from Kwee Q. Peddlefeet, located at the seasonal vendors outside of each faction’s major city auction houses.

Nation of Adoration requires players to use up some of those Lovely Charm Bracelets, and participate in the daily quest series ‘A Gift for the…’ for your faction. Turning in one bracelet to each of your leaders will net you the achievement, as well as a few of their personal opinions on the holidays.

“This is a disgrace! What kind of Orc do you take me for?!”

Dangerous Love requires players to join the Detectives hired by the Steamwheedle cartel and thwart the actions of the Crown Chemical Co. Completing the primary quest-line and then one of the Crushing the Crown daily quests will net this achievement for you.

A Fistful of Love will require you to do a little bit of hunting across Azeroth for certain players. You must use a Handful of Rose Petals on several race/class combinations across both factions. These petals come in groups of five, and can be purchased with five Love Tokens from a Lovely Merchant.

Flirt With Disaster is a faction-specific achievement, requiring players of the Horde and the Alliance to get a little free with some of the faction’s more off-putting members. Players must get absolutely drunk, use one of the seasonal perfumes or colognes, throw a Handful of Rose Petals onto either Jeremiah Payson (in Orgrimmar) or Sraaz (in Ironforge) and then kiss them! Make sure to make it count!

I Pitied the Fool is another involved travelling quest and can be quite an investment. Either you or another player must use a Love Fool in each of the five zones, and then /pity the fool that spawns. Be certain to be inside the zone listed, meaning that Naxxramas must be done inside the instance. Players cannot use the Sturdy love Fool toy for the achievement.

Sweet Tooth will require players to consume each of the four candies found within a Box of Chocolates. These candies are the Dark Desire, Very Berry Cream, Sweet Surprise and the Buttermilk Delight. Each box costs ten Love Tokens.

Lonely will see players enjoying a Buttermilk Delight with a friend in Dalaran using their Romantic Picnic Basket toy. Once you have the Romantic Picnic buff, you can dine on your candy which can be gathered from a Box of Chocolates.

A romantic picnic, for your and your beloved. Or just some stranger you meet on the street.

My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose can is earned by obtaining either a Bouqet of Red or Ebon Roses during the celebration. Both roses drop off of select Cataclysm and Wrath of the Lich King dungeon bosses.

Shafted will require you to use a Silver Shafted Arrow on ten players who do not have non-combat pets out, burdening them with Kwee Q. Peddlefeet. A stack of ten arrows cost ten Love Tokens.

Last, but certainly not least, The Rocket’s Pink Glare requires players to set off ten Love Rockets in twenty seconds (or less!). This is easy enough to simply hotkey the rockets and spam them away to your achievement. Ten rockets can be purchased from the Lovely Merchants for 10 love tokens.

The post WoW Wednesday: Love Is In The Air! appeared first on