WoW Wednesday: Content Cut From Vanilla

Have you ever wondered if Vanilla WoW was everything Blizzard planned for it to be? Apparently, there was so much more content that was planned for Vanilla but was completely cut out. Some of that content did end up being implemented at a later time, but other content has still never been seen. For this WoW Wednesday, we will go through a list of content cut from Vanilla WoW that didn’t make it in.

Karazhan Raid

Content Cut From Vanilla

Karazhan is a massive lore piece in World of Warcraft. Home to Medivh, the Guardian of Tirisfal, once owner of the legendary staff Atiesh, which was an actual item you could obtain in Vanilla. Atiesh had an on use effect: “Creates a portal, teleporting group members that use it to Karazhan.” Players could obtain this legendary by doing different tasks in Vanilla raids, one of the tasks involved killing Kel’Thuzad, the last boss of the original Naxxramas raid. To emphasize how hard it was to get Atiesh, it is believed that only 1% of the player base in Vanilla ever killed Kel’Thuzad.

It never made sense to me as to why Atiesh had this on use effect, but now after finding out that Blizzard wanted Karazhan to be a raid in Vanilla, it makes a lot more sense.

Hellfire Peninsula

Content Cut From Vanilla

Yes, the very same Hellfire Peninsula that is in the game today… well, kind of. Hellfire Peninsula was planned to be a part of Vanilla but as we all know, it didn’t show up until the Burning Crusade. The Hellfire Peninsula that was meant for Vanilla even had a different map layout that was built more like the Warcraft 3 Hellfire Peninsula than the one we have on live servers today.

Black Temple

The Black Temple Timewalking

Black Temple was also meant to be a raid in the original Vanilla game. It seems like Blizzard wanted to put everything that was in Warcraft 3 into Vanilla. Though it makes you wonder, what if Blizzard decided to put Hellfire Peninsula and Black Temple into Vanilla? We wouldn’t have gotten the six other zones that we received in the Burning Crusade. What would the storyline of Illidan have been like? Would we have only heard of Illidan in Hellfire Peninsula then gone off to kill him in the Black Temple?

Many players would have been furious if their favorite Warcraft character got a short story to only die shortly after. Thankfully Blizzard held off for the Burning Crusade, making what many call the best expansion in the history of the game.

Mount Hyjal

Content Cut From Vanilla

Yes, even Mount Hyjal itself was supposed to be in Vanilla. I have always wondered why this zone was never released until Cataclysm. Back in Vanilla, Mount Hyjal was a fairly big zone. It was, of course, unfinished with some areas blocked off with “In construction” signs, but it looked close to being finished. Exploring this zone was made possible like most places in Vanilla with the invisible wall jumps, or by going onto a private server and just porting to the zone itself.

Mount Hyjal was the site of the final battle at the end of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos where Archimonde was defeated. The Mount Hyjal that was meant for Vanilla even had the corpse of Archimonde still in the base of the tree where he was originally defeated. Players finally got to see this Mount Hyjal in raid form in the Burning Crusade where players got to reenact the Warcraft 3 battle. Sadly, the raid was absolutely horrible with wave-based fights that just didn’t work out too well.

Players got to see Mount Hyjal released once and for all in Cataclysm. Though the zone was called Mount Hyjal it wasn’t really the same, with the zone looking completely different and having a completely different story based on Ragnaros the Firelord.

Emerald Dream

Content Cut From Vanilla

The Emerald Dream is what Azeroth would be if intelligent beings had not altered it. The Emerald Dream was something that players had expected since Vanilla and it was a surprise that we didn’t see it until recently in Legion. It’s interesting to hear and read that the Emerald Dream has been in multiple stages of development since Vanilla. With multiple differently styled maps and how often Blizzard stated how cool their internal testing of the Emerald Dream was, players always expected for it to be the next big expansion.

The idea of being able to explore Azeroth, before the sundering that completely reshaped the world, blasting the one massive continent into smaller continents that we now know today, sounds so interesting. Though Chris Metzen told an interviewer in 2013; “We talked about many times making it into a formal expansion, but it doesn’t really lend itself to multiple visions. It’s kind of like, okay, one more green zone.” Which is true, I’m not sure how many players would have been interested to have an all green foresty expansion without at least one zone being somewhat different.

I personally would still like to be able to explore a fully finished Emerald Dream but sadly, the most we will probably get is what we currently have in Legion with Val’sharah, the bits of the Emerald Nightmare, and the Druid Emerald Dreamway.

Much More Content

Blizzard had much, much more content planned for Vanilla, but these are the few that stood out the most to me personally. A few others I didn’t manage to fit in are the Azshara Crater which was supposed to be a battleground in Vanilla, the Caverns of Time was going to be a dungeon, max level was meant to be 70 not 60, and even Northrend was intended to be released in Vanilla. Blizzard sure did try to cram everything into Vanilla but thankfully, they took a step back and waited.

If you enjoyed taking this look back in time exploring content cut from Vanilla World of Warcraft, let us know in the comments down below. If you’d like me to talk about the other content not mentioned here in more detail, or about other cut content from other expansions, let us know.

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Biggest MMO News Stories of 2017

It has been a busy year for the online gaming industry! We had some good things happen and some not so good things right beside them. The good news was great and the bad news was amazingly bad. So as we come to the end of the year, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been. It’s time to take a look at the biggest MMO news stories of 2017.


Ashes of Creation has Largest Kickstarter for an MMORPG Ever

It may feel like forever ago but in June, Ashes of Creation saw massive Kickstarter success, becoming the largest Kickstarter for an MMORPG ever. They raised $3.2 million from more than 19,000 backers. But it wasn’t without controversy. Ashes of Creation offered a referral program to backers, something which violated Kickstarter’s rules. After a bit of back and forth between Intrepid Studios and Kickstarter, it was declared just a misunderstanding and Ashes of Creation has gone on to have an incredibly vocal and successful year.


Mobile Game Boom

We’ve been seeing mobile gaming becoming more and more popular every year, but 2017 saw an absolute boom for the industry. In a report from Superdata in August, revenue from mobile gaming was expected to increase by $6.7 billion this year. In comparison, PC and console combined were expected to increase by only $1 billion. If you look back at the news over the last year, you can see the growth in action. You’ve got titles like TERA M and BDO M, mobile ports of popular MMORPGs and not the only ones either. In September it became apparent that Blizzard is getting in on the mobile scene as well with the discovery of a job posting for a mobile MMORTS. Next year looks like it will be even bigger for mobile gaming with just about every major studio at G-Star having at least one mobile game to show off. Superdata estimates a growth in the mobile gaming industry of $8.1 billion next year.


Secret World Legends Rebrand Success

In March the online gaming community was stunned to learn that Funcom would be rebranding and relaunching The Secret World. Those who follow the financial reports for Funcom would have known it was coming as the relaunch was outlined in the Q4 report at the end of February. It wasn’t until the end of March, however, that we knew exactly how big it was going to be. Complete with changes to combat and much more, The Secret World became Secret World Legends and officially launched in June. In August, it was revealed that there will be a Secret World television show, being worked on by Johnny Depp’s publishing company. Funcom’s Q3 report showed the most profitable YTD 3Q in the company’s history. So, it’s safe to say that Secret World Legends has been a smashing success. We couldn’t be happier for them.


Final Fantasy XIV Trial Expands

There were some big changes to the Final Fantasy XIV trial period this year. Previously they had offered 14 days of game time for free, something that used to be quite common in the industry before F2P became the norm. But many games change up that model as time goes on, and that’s exactly what FFXIV did this year. Now players can trial the game until they reach level 35 without any restriction on how long it may take. Was it a success? Well, in August’s quarterly report it was clear that FFXIV saw an all-new high in player numbers with 10 million cumulative players. Did the new trial have a part to play in this growth, though? Or was it all down to the release of Stormblood? The world may never know.


PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ Runaway Success

It isn’t often that we see a game have massive success before it has even launched, but that is certainly what happened with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds this year. 20 million copies of the game have been sold and it has set seven Guinness World Records! The game has also spent much of the year in the top 10 grossing PC titles, passing heavyweight World of Warcraft in the charts back in August. The most recent report from SuperData puts it at the second highest grossing PC title.


Ascent: Infinite Realm Brings Hope to the Future of MMORPGs

Ascent: Infinite Realm

Project W, or as it’s now known, Ascent: Infinite Realm managed to bring a dash of hope to those looking for the next AAA MMORPG experience. As so many studios move away from the genre, Bluehole and Kakao show they’re as dedicated as ever with an all-new title. Ascent: Infinite Realm was officially revealed during G-Star 2017 as a steampunk fantasy MMORPG. It is expected to begin beta testing sometime in the first half of 2018 for English players. In Korea, the testing is already underway.


EVE Online Players Destroy Ship worth $6,000

Back in May a group of EVE players successfully brought down a Vanquisher Titan worth over 400 billion ISK, that’s $6,000USD. The event is just one in a long tradition of EVE players tackling amazing feats and winning. This year CCP also celebrated their 20th anniversary as a company and EVE Online reached its 14th anniversary! It’s wonderful to see that even after all this time, EVE can still wow us.


Marvel Heroes’ Rocky Send-Off

marvel heroes omega open beta

Sadly, not all news can be good news and some of this year’s biggest stories weren’t good news at all. Perhaps one of the biggest and strangest was the oddity behind the shutdown of Marvel Heroes and their creator Gazillion Entertainment. It all started in October when Gazillion missed launching their Halloween event and did nothing for the release of Thor: Ragnarok. They were also completely silent on social media for weeks. By mid-November, Disney announced that Marvel Heroes was being shut down and that their business partnership with Gazillion was dead. While it had originally been announced that Marvel Heroes would sunset after a period of time, which is traditionally the case, it became clear that it would be much sooner than expected. A credible tip from a former Gazillion employee revealed on Wednesday, November 22nd that the game would shut down on Friday, November 24th. The game actually stayed online over the weekend and was turned off on Monday, November 27th. Gazillion employees found out that they were out of a job just before Thanksgiving and the studio quickly shut down. It may be one of the messiest and ugliest game sunsets there has ever been.


Vanilla World of Warcraft Coming at Last

For years, a certain subsection of World of Warcraft players have been itching for an official vanilla WoW server and now they’re going to get it. The Warcraft Classic server was just one of the amazing announcements made during Blizzcon this year. The announcement itself was incredibly light on details which unlocked the floodgates on questions. Since the announcement, we’ve not heard anything else about it and we don’t expect to for some time.


Everyone’s Talking Lockboxes

2017 will be known as the year that the stand against lockboxes and a lot of the blame goes to America’s least favorite company, EA. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, hello, and congratulations on coming out of your coma. It’s a story that has had government officials chiming in and resulted in the most downvoted Reddit comment ever. Because of the fiasco around Star Wars Battlefront II, EA lost $3 Billion in stock value. The saga doesn’t seem to be over yet either, EA seems determined to go ahead with their plan, City of Titans has vowed not to use lockboxes, and there are of course the various governments who are trying to get something done. In the meantime, every time a game does something that includes a lockbox there is a little bit of controversy. No one can know for sure what will happen next year, but we do know that this topic won’t go away quietly.

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WoW Wednesday: Classic Servers

It has finally been confirmed, World of Warcraft Classic servers are finally happening. Blizzard has at last answered the long-awaited question of “Will we get legacy servers?” This is something that a wide section of the community has been asking about for quite a long time. With a lot of drama surrounding popular vanilla private servers recently, this is going to be huge news for many players. Though development doesn’t seem to be anywhere near completion yet, it just seems like they wanted to let players know it’s something they are working on. While there is excitement from many players, there are a few questions that come to mind.

Classic Servers

Which Version of Classic Will We Get?

Obviously classic servers mean Vanilla WoW, but will Blizzard try to cater to the more casual player base and make changes to the original game? Or will they stick to the original Vanilla experience? Shortly after the announcement of the classic servers, the forums blew up with what Blizzard could add to “improve” Vanilla. But most would argue that if Blizzard were to make any changes, it would no longer be considered classic. Those who played Vanilla will go into classic servers already knowing what to expect from the game, but players that never touched Vanilla are in for a rude awakening.

Most players don’t understand that a lot of the specs that they currently play on live servers weren’t even viable in classic. If you want to be a tank on the classic servers, you better play a Warrior. If you’re a Paladin, expect to be healing and nothing else, same goes for Shaman and Druid. Yes, there were times where some specs had their moments and could be viable, but it was rare. I honestly believe that there is going to be a lot of issues that the playerbase that hasn’t ever played Vanilla is going to have a hard time accepting.

From long flight paths, running to dungeons, hours-long grinds for mats just to be able to raid, to not using the highest ranked spell you learned because it’s more mana efficient to use the lower rank. The list can go on and on, but don’t get me wrong, I played Vanilla and I loved it but players who didn’t are used to how it’s played currently. After a short period of time, I can see the uproar of wanting transmog back, class balancing, or even to add LFD, and my fear is Blizzard giving in and starting to update classic, but then would it really be considered classic anymore?

How Long Will it Last?

Next question to ask for WoW’s classic servers is “How long will it last?” Does Blizzard start us off with the game as it was at the day 1 launch and slowly progress all the way up to Naxx, or do they just give us the whole game right off the bat? In my own opinion, I think they should just give us the game how it was the day Vanilla ended. Blizzard already said they want to fix any major bugs or server issues, but other than that I don’t want them to change anything else for the classic servers.

With how good players are now and how hard mythic raiding has become, how long will it truly take players to clear the classic server content? I remember the raids being hard and taking forever to clear, but was that only because we didn’t have the guides we have now? Maybe we were just worse players back then. I believe with how good players are now, the only time sink for clearing raids are the pre-raid gearing and finding 39 other players to raid with. Trying to gather all of that resistance gear for 40 people and getting those same 40 to consistently log on for raid nights is going to be tough, probably tougher than the raid bosses themselves. Before you say it, because I know you’re thinking it, no I didn’t raid Naxx. I understand Naxxramas was extremely hard, but I stand by what I said earlier. I believe players are a lot better now than they were in the past and I believe the above average players will clear classic raids rather quickly, leaving them to ask “what’s next?”

Classic Servers

What’s Next?

Blizzard doesn’t know exactly when they will be releasing classic servers. The majority hopes they will be released during a content drought on the current live servers so that it will keep players around and give them something to do. But what a lot are wondering are will there be other legacy servers? Will it end at Vanilla, or will Blizzard continue into The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and so on until we’re getting Warlords of Draenor servers? Browsing the WoW subreddit and some other forums, many players are already asking why they aren’t getting other legacy servers, how they don’t want Vanilla, they want their expansion’s server. The easiest answer is: if Vanilla classic servers do well, I’m sure they will do others, but no one except Blizzard can answer that for sure.

Personal Thoughts

Personally, I’ll check out the classic servers when there is downtime on the current content, other than that I’m not that excited about them. I loved Vanilla, but that was 12 years ago and I’m enjoying how the current game is at the moment. I’m happy for those players that have been asking for classic servers for a long time to finally get what they wanted, but I hope Blizzard doesn’t give in and cater to the players that want to change Vanilla to make it more convenient for them. Players asked for Vanilla servers and that’s what they should get, bugs, class imbalances, and all. I know it sucks to be playing a class and spec that you love on live servers and then find out you can’t get into any groups because you’re trying to play a Protection Paladin, but that’s how Vanilla was and I hope it stays that way.

Thank you for reading today’s WoW Wednesday. Make sure to let us know what your thoughts are on classic servers and if you’re going to be playing them. Why or why not?

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Blizzcon 2017: World of Warcraft Reveals New Expansion and Classic Server

The opening ceremony of Blizzcon 2017 was full of reveals, but easily one of the most anticipated was the World of Warcraft expansion reveal and the game did not disappoint. Not only was a brand new WoW expansion unveiled, but plans to have a vanilla Warcraft server were also revealed.

world of warcraft expansion reveal

J. Allen Brack took to the stage to first talk about…ice cream. Which, of course, led itself to talking about the flavor vanilla. World of Warcraft Classic was described by Brack as “a larger endeavor than you might imagine” but also promised to have the classic WoW launch experience without all of the classic WoW launch problems. Dates on when this classic server would go live were not revealed, but it appears to be a long way off as Brack said “it’s gonna take some time” in his presentation.

Naturally, things for World of Warcraft had to move forward from there, which leads right back to the new World of Warcraft expansion: Battle for Azeroth. As its name implies, this expansion will see hostilities between the Horde and the Alliance renewed as both sides appear to be at each other’s throats once more.

Battle for Azeroth will feature a new continent for each faction: Kul Tiras and Zandalar. Players will also see a level cap raise of 120, new dungeons and raids, new uncharted islands for players to explore, the addition of four new Allied Races, and a 20-player co-op PvP mode known as Warfronts.

Release information on World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth was not available, but players can opt-in for the expansion’s beta as well as find out more details on the Battle for Azeroth website. The opening cinematic for the expansion can also be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Wow! Or perhaps more appropriately, WoW! The reveals from Warcraft at this year’s Blizzcon absolutely blew away all expectations. While we certainly were ready (more or less) for a new expansion reveal, we were most definitely not expecting a Classic server announcement! Just…wow!

Sources: Twitch, official site

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