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Jukebox Heroes: World of Warcraft’s best music, part 4

We are getting right down to it in our look at the top 32 best World of Warcraft tracks. In today’s column, we’ll be breaking into the top 10 with some of my absolute favorite pieces that have been added to this long-running (and extensively scored) MMO.

If you’ve been going on this journey with me this far, I want to thank you for your patience and interest! For me, it has been a great reminder of the game’s musical journey so far and has also served to whet my desire for Battle for Azeroth’s score.

Let’s get going!

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WoW Factor: Examining the composition of the Horde

Last week, we looked at the composition of the Alliance in World of Warcraft. This week, we’re looking at the Horde. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you missed the prior column, catch up and get back to us here.

One of the things that’s always been true about the Horde in World of Warcraft is that it is, by and large, a more heterogeneous collective of races and nations. This is partly by design, and partly because the Horde just seems to have a different way of handling its membership and its populace. If the Alliance needs a group of skilled trackers in a new landscape, it’ll find its best scouts and train them; the Horde, meanwhile, will just befriend a local group of existing trackers and welcome them into the Horde.

Does that sound a bit off the mark? Well, let’s take a look.

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WoW Factor: Examining the composition of the Alliance

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?

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Jukebox Heroes: World of Warcraft’s best music, part 3

In our third part of this five-part countdown of World of Warcraft’s best music (at least, you know, in my opinion), we’ll be heading into the teens and some of the most iconic music of the MMORPG to date.

I think we’re getting a bit of everything in today’s list, from vintage Vanilla WoW to the Legion era, from silly to serious. One of the more difficult aspects of putting together this countdown is considering the “old” and “new” versions of songs, especially when Blizzard has remade or revisited areas, characters, and themes. I find that some people are heavily biased depending on which era they played the most, and thus that music means more to them than the others.

I’d like to hold myself up above that bias horizon, but alas, none of us can escape it. So I’ll endeavor instead to be as fair-handed as is gnomingly possible.

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WoW Factor: Why can’t Blizzard stop messing with everything?

It’s funny to me that people had such an aggressive reaction to the changes coming to Hunter pets and damage formulas in Battle for Azeroth. The latter in particular should be both invisible and completely immaterial for actual play; the only real change is that they now use weapon damage on abilities which were previously disconnected from weapon damage, but these formulas have always taken into account, say, the difference between two-handers and dual-wielding options. The former is, at its core, an opportunity to make pet families relevant again after most of the pets of Legion were more or less difference in appearance only, which is a far cry from the days when your choice of pet was significant.

To make it clear if it’s remotely ambiguous: Yes, these are changes I support and ones I think are good for the game on a whole.

And yet all of this does prompt a pretty salient question about World of Warcraft because even if these are intelligent choices, the weapon damage issue has existed for ages now. The time for fussing about with Hunter pets was also ages ago. It’s a big change to functionality being tossed into the mix more or less out of the blue with no other prompting, and that raises the question that’s been relevant ever since Cataclysm rolled around: Why is it that Blizzard can’t stop messing with everything?

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth jacks up its system requirements from Legion

The old joke that World of Warcraft can run on just about anything including your toaster is no longer true. Let’s just say that if your toaster is planning to install Battle for Azeroth later this year, it had best be one of those super-advanced internet toasters with wifi and bagel convection technology.

This is a long-winded way of saying that the system requirements for the upcoming expansion are a significant step up from Legion, so you might want to check your machine to make sure you’re good to run it when it arrives.

The biggest changes is the requirement of a 64-bit OS, 4GB minimum for RAM, 70GB of hard drive space, and a step or two up in graphics cards. Blizzard Watch makes the good suggestion of running Dxdiag on your system to make sure that you meet at least the minimum requirements for the future.


World of Warcraft hasn’t told us how it’s going to handle Battle for Azeroth retail CE upgrades

This past week has been a flurry of activity among World of Warcraft fans as they raced to pre-order the Battle for Azeroth expansion and unlock all of those new allied races. But one pressing question has been left dangling by Blizzard in this whole pre-order frenzy: How will the studio handle any player who wants to upgrade a digital pre-order to a physical collector’s edition?

So far, Blizzard isn’t saying other than that information on this will come out. You know. Eventually. This has worried some players who are getting flashbacks to the mess that was Legion’s pre-order. Back then, there were some who had to buy the pre-order for the bonuses, then make a separate purchase for the physical CE, and then petition Blizzard for a refund. Blizzard wouldn’t grant straight-up refunds but instead allowed these players to gift their second copy to a friend.

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WoW Factor: So Battle for Azeroth is out for pre-order

Well, folks, I hope you’ve made your pre-purchases of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth and started playing your allied races. I found out about the opening of pre-purchases when I was busy being out of the house and unable to buy anything, so I admittedly managed to get a bit of schadenfreude out of the fact that everyone else was equally unable to buy the expansion in the interim. When I actually got home I decided to give it a shot mostly for a lark, at which point it went through without a hitch.

The lesson here is that very mild patience is rewarded, and if that patience is a result of not having any alternatives that’s close enough, I guess.

The opening of pre-purchase brings along with it plenty of fun stuff to discuss, ranging from the actual unlock quests and scenarios to how the release date compares with predictions and existing data. So let’s all put down our moose-cows for a little bit to think about thing in a larger context, and then we can collectively get back to tearing up low-level zones with our allied race alts.

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Perfect Ten: Ten more World of Warcraft races fans would like to play

Sometimes, you write a column more or less as a mental exercise, and then World of Warcraft drops an expansion pre-purchase that makes it all feel highly relevant.

The world of Azeroth is a world of astonishing variety. On Earth, we have exactly one form of intelligent bipedal life, but when it comes to species native to Azeroth that are gifted with speech and cognition, the plethora of playable races available barely even scratches the surface. And that’s without even getting into the various races available on Draenor and Argus, although at least the latter seems to be mostly limited to various flavors of demons and more subraces of Draenei.

The point is that even with a grand total of 19 different playable races, it’s easy to come up with other playable races that would be a fun time. And now that we’ve got allied races on the docket, that’s pretty viable as an option. So let’s look at a sampling (based on personal preference) of the races we can’t yet play but would still be pretty fun. Blizzard, take notice.

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World of Warcraft hosts a massive roleplaying event to celebrate the defeat of the Legion

If you think about World of Warcraft’s Moon Guard server, you probably make some jokes about ERP in Goldshire and move on with your life. But there’s a lot more to the server than that, as demonstrated by the massive RP event hosted on the server recently. What was the theme? Celebrating the defeat of the Burning Legion by the forces of the Alliance.

That is, you might acquiesce, a pretty good reason for a celebration. And you can even check out a gallery of shots for precisely the event just below.

Players marched through Redridge Mountains as part of a parade for all those who fought against the demons, followed by speeches and celebration in Lakeshire. It’s a pretty cool large-scale event, and it’s well worth taking a look at both the gallery and the memories of players who took part in the event. If you’re jealous, you could always try to host one for your own server, to boot.

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Interview: Trion Worlds goes in depth on RIFT Prime

Following the initial announcement of RIFT Prime and the ensuing details that started to come out of Trion Worlds on the progression server, we had many of the same questions, confusion, and concerns that some of you have expressed. So we reached out to Trion Worlds for further clarification on the concept and progress of the Prime server ruleset, and Producer Amanda Fry came back at us with responses to explain just what’s going on behind the scenes.

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World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth collectors editions, game datamining

When can we start playing allied races in World of Warcraft? Probably as soon as we can pre-purchase Battle for Azeroth, based on current expectation. And when will that be? We just don’t know. What we do know is what the collector’s edition appears to be packing. Yes, it’s mounts and a pet, that’s always what we get, but it looks like it’s going to be two mounts based on faction and the previously spied Tortollan pet!

It looks like Alliance players will be getting an armored Seabraid Stallion (there seem to be new horse models out there) while Horde players get an armored raptor (representing the Zandalari Trolls). Obviously, nothing has been confirmed yet, but that’s what everything is pointing toward… and if that’s showing up in datamining, it might not be that far off.

As far as the actual game rather than the box for the game? Yep, WoWhead is datamining the heck out of that too – check out the mounts and beasties, music, pets, maps, and talents for just a taste of what’s available. Or don’t spoil yourself. You choose.

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WoW Factor: The debate over World of Warcraft’s refer-a-friend nerf

Ah, another day and another thing to enrage people in World of Warcraft. Last time, it was that the Allied Race unlocks might (will) require you to actually play the endgame a bit. This time, it’s that the refer-a-friend service no longer allows you to gain huge chunks of experience just for turning in a breadcrumb quest to arrive at a new zone. Or, alternatively, it’s that Blizzard has just noticed that a decade-old service could be used for some unscrupulously fast leveling roundabouts, and now that it’s sort of proud of the 1-100 leveling experience again, we can’t have that.

Much like the bit ages ago with Star Wars: The Old Republic and the pointless controversy over a cash shop lightsaber, this is one of those situations where everyone involved is being either willfully or unintentionally dim. It’s not that the players grousing about this are right, and it’s not that it was the right decision to make. So, just as I did for that, it’s time to sit both sides down and explain why this is dumb across the board.

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