The latest build for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s ongoing alpha test is available, and to the surprise of absolutely no one who has been watching the datamining community there’s already stuff that’s been dug out of the files. Want to see more followers from the as-yet-undisclosed mission system? Here you go, those are in there. Want to see some new models for weapons and such, or male orcs without terminal posture problems? Obviously, those are both in there.
There are also a new selection of Azerite traits, both in a general pool and for the three plate-wearing classes… and for Priests, just because Priests need love too. The dataminers have also uncovered new broadcast text added with this particular patch, but you might want to avoid that if you’re trying to minimize your spoilers before the expansion is actually released. There’s plenty of stuff to look into and speculate about anyway.
Watching as speculation and mining swirls around the Mag’har as a future allied race, I can’t help but start thinking about the bigger picture in World of Warcraft. Because soon we’ll be able to make another couple of allied races, and we’ll have more on top of that, and it brings up a pretty good question: what, exactly is the Alliance at this point?
You might think that’s a silly question, but both the Alliance and the Horde are kind of nebulous political groupings, and their extant members are a pretty big deal when you’re speculating about who’s going to be next to sign on board. Plus, I think it helps a bit to consider what could be coming in the future, both for future customization options and further development.
So, then, let’s start with the Alliance, because it’s first alphabetically and a bit simpler to put together. What actually comprises the Alliance?
If you’ve already done all there is to do in the most recent Final Fantasy XIV
patch, you won’t be able to say that for much longer. Patch 4.25 releases on March 13th
, and it brings with it more content for players to explore, starting with the new forbidden land of Eureka. Deep in the Glass Ocean, an island is there that is found on no charts and has never been explored… and also contains ancient Allagan technology and ferocious beasts.
So, naturally, you’re going there to explore and set up a trading post because that’s what you do.
After you’re done with the mysterious island, you can hop back over to the continuation of the Hildibrand quests, which continue Nashu’s misadventures in Kugane with new faces, new complications, and presumably a new series of sight gags. You can check out the preview for a little more information, or you can just wait the short span of time until you can explore the content for yourself less than two weeks.
So, who’s the next hero for Overwatch? We don’t know yet, but there’s plenty of room for speculation… and there’s a little more food for that speculation with the latest lore release. Of course, it doesn’t outright say who the next hero is, but it seems like it might be relevant as we look at a letter from Torbjorn to his wife following his rescue by Reinhardt, right before the birth of his daughter.
This all lines up nicely with speculation that Torbjorn’s daughter Brigitte, whom we’ve seen in Reinhardt’s recent video; it turns out that she’s also Reinhardt’s goddaughter, thus further linking her to what happens next. Obviously, this is speculation, and it could be something completely different… but it does seem to be where the lore is pointing at the moment. As much as it’s pointing to anything. It could always be Torbjorn’s lost arm as the next character, really.
Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? Well, because Neverwinter
is currently lousy with snakes, that’s why. Specifically, the Yuan-ti have a center of power by the old Royal Palace of Omu
, and they guard the entrance zealously to keep out the sort of people who would stab the lot of them and take their stuff. You, being a player character, will have to stab lots of them to get in there, then commence the snake-stabbing.
Also you might be able to dismantle their power base in the area by doing so, but let’s be honest, the loot alone would serve as a motivator.
Of course, the snakes aren’t going to make it easy on you; you’ll have to fight your way to the entrance and the path to the main temple, then contend with the high priests of the snake god Dendar. It’s not going to be easy, but player will have ample reason to head in there, assuming you can get over any lingering apprehension about the sheer number of snakes.
The Atropal boss in Neverwinter
is not something you want to run into in a dark alley. Heck, it’s probably not something you want to run into anywhere, for any reason, at any point in time. It is a pretty disturbing-looking monstrosity, that’s the point here. And there’s a whole development blog available now about how the boss was designed
, so if you’re wondering how a boss gets from its concept art (which may have just been a used tissue) to a finished model, it’s well worth a read.
You’ll also learn something about how skeletons and rigs work in the game, as the Atropal is based off of a heavily modified human male skeleton. Yes, it’s very different, but all of the fundamental parts work, so it’s just a matter of tweaking limb size appropriately and giving it a truly disgusting appearance. If you like reading up on how bosses get put together, it’s well worth an examination.
Amazon’s New World
is a game that’s captured quite a bit of rumor and speculation lately, and here’s a fresh video to throw more wood on the rumor pile
! It’s difficult to impossible to tell how legit it is, but it certainly does seem to match up with the first promo we saw for the game, so if it’s a hoax, it’s at least a consistent one. And if it’s legit, it’s still not clear whether it’s a leak or a deliberate tease.
The video on Reddit hints at what amounts to an alternate version of colonial America, as filled with superstitions and magic as it is with actual settlers trying to not starve to death and all of that. Hopefully this particular rumor doesn’t end with the game’s page getting yanked and prompting another string of furious concern and anxiety, but there’s no way to be certain of it right now. If you’d like to see what may or may not be a reveal, check out the leak.
If you’re looking forward to Ascent: Infinite Realm when it arrives on these shores, you’re probably also looking forward to learning about the world beyond “there are airships and steampunk robots.” You don’t need to know more, because who wouldn’t be sold from those concepts alone? But just so that you can actually know more all the same, you can check out the English-dubbed trailer for the game just below.
The trailer serves as a top-level overview of the concepts going on in the game. Short version? The surface of the planet got destroyed, two of the three kingdoms were blown to heck, and the king of the third kingdom had the bright idea of taking the souls of the two destroyed kingdoms, wiping their memories, and using them as a cheap force to help rebuild that third kingdom on a floating island. Presumably, that’s where the player characters come from; you can get slightly more details in the cinematic itself.
For a long time, Elite: Dangerous players felt… well, not exactly safe around the Thargoids, but at least safe enough to poke or ignore the aliens as individual whims dictated. Now that the aliens are actually attacking, that safety is gone. That’s the bad news. The good news is that players are already working to rebuild the locations under attack by the aliens; civilians were evacuated and the operations are being restored now.
Players are also able to take part in new community goals to start some pre-emptive evacuations ahead of what is the expected trajectory of the Thargoid attacks, providing supplies to craft a large evacuation ship. Of course, none of that necessarily means that the Thargoid attacks are going to work the way players expect; thus far, they’ve been anything but predictable. So it’s good to see players rebuilding, but we would still advise against taunting them.
Back before the winter break, I took a look at how the various class orders are going to handle the increased conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. The short version is “in a variety of ways.” Some of them are going to care a lot and it’s going to make a big difference; some of them are just going to continue on or split up. Or, at least, they would if the developers felt like giving them a proper send-off.
They definitely deserve one, mind. The question remains whether or not they will get one.
But regarldess of that, there are still a half-dozen class orders that I didn’t cover before, and they’re just as important as the first batch. So let’s finish up the second part of this particular series looking at the other half of the class order halls, starting with one that really seems like it ought to be renting office space in Dalaran most of the time anyhow.
Ready to help rebuild Doma in Final Fantasy XIV? The preview site for the next major patch has gone live
, and it makes it unambiguous that the story of the next patch will be all about seeing to the reconstruction efforts within Doma, a land facing a very different post-freedom struggle than Ala Mhigo, but one that’s no less fraught with troubles.
Players will also be tasked with the first of a new set of Primal fights, with the backstory centered around the legend of the samurai Tenzen and the Four Lords he called upon for aid. It’s a familiar mythological basis that’s been used in many Eastern-themed games, so you can probably guess where it’s going… but then, you could probably guess that once you knew Byakko was the next Primal to be fought.
The studio has also announced that housing demolition timers will be implemented once again when patch 4.2 rolls around, after having turned them off in the wake of numerous hurricanes. You can check out some images for the next patch just below.
In the lull between expansions, I’ve been hard at work bringing my alts up to the level cap, unlocking all of the class mounts, picking up the occasional appearance that I really want from the Mage Tower challenge… you know, the usual stuff. And the result is that I find myself asking a question that surprises me a wee bit in the context of World of Warcraft: What is going to happen to all of the class orders?
I neither had an answer nor cared about one when it came to garrisons. Presumably, they’d continue to sit there, a testament to what happens when designers try to make housing that isn’t housing and don’t understand why people like housing in the first place. But the order halls are different. They’re cross-factional, they’re important, and perhaps most importantly, they represent something that makes different use of the resources of the world.
So what’s happening to these orders? How are they changing? How does this play into the war between the Horde and the Alliance becoming properly hot? And might we get some extra lore about these things?
Back in the day, the only way we’d learn about the many jokes and flirt lines for races in World of Warcraft was by actually playing those races… and then spamming /silly and /flirt until we were pretty sure we’d heard all of them. Luckily, the first four allied races have already had their lines mined out by the intrepid crew over at Wowhead, so you can enjoy all eight sets of jokes and flirtations right now.
Some of the flirts, to the surprise of absolutely no one, are a bit on the racy side. Of course, depending on your personal fascinations, the female void elf promise to turn into an eyeball or sprout tentacles might also be on the racy side. And yes, the Nightborne reference illusions and what you are or are not hiding.