Probably the most challenging aspect of creating a “top 32” list of the best World of Warcraft music isn’t coming up with a track list. Heck, that’s the easy part, considering how many great tunes Blizzard’s composers have added to this MMO over the years. No, the difficult job is taking those 32 tracks and then ranking them as part of a countdown.
What makes one track better than another? Do I go by perceived popularity or by my own preferences (hint: I went with the latter while remaining influenced by the former). Is it a slight to put tracks further down on the list? What happens when we count down to the number one spot… and still haven’t included a track that a fan considers essential to such a list?
I’ll have to get over these worries and fears. That’s on me. For your part, all you need to do is enjoy the next batch of World of Warcraft’s best tunes as we travel through the 20s!
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.
It was sort of a smack in the face to go to old raids in World of Warcraft yesterday. Not in the slap-in-the-face disrespectful sense, but in the sense of just being extremely surprising. Every raid boss was suddenly sporting way too much health, and some more recent raids were suddenly impossible to beat at level 110 with decent gear. What the heck? Were we never meant to do Mists of Pandaria raids solo, even when they got patched to make it easier to solo some of them?
The answer is that it’s not you; it was an error. Due to the changes made to health calculation with the patch, raid bosses wound up with far more health than they were meant to have, and the team is looking into how to fix the issue, especially for raids in Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor. So you might have to wait a little longer for your transmog farming runs, but it’s a known issue that is getting addressed and fixed.
Since the ability to fly was added in the first expansion to World of Warcraft, there’s always been the question among players about when we get to fly in every new zone. For several years, the answer was simply “when you’re high-enough level to purchase the flying skill.” Want to fly in Northrend? There’s a skill for that. Pandaria? Ditto. But the advent of zone scaling means that these skills and the associated hassle have vanished. Now, when you learn how to fly, you can just… fly. No Cold-Weather Flying or the like to worry about!
These changes only apply to areas that had specific trained skills needed to unlock flight; you still need to clear the Pathfinder achievements for Draenor and the Broken Isles. (Those achievements are account-wide, however, so only one character needs to clear them.) Still, it should make it much easier to just level and fly about without needing to stop and buy a new expansion-specific flight skill, especially when the expansions aren’t gated by levels in the same manner they used to be.
The “when will Battle for Azeroth” speculation train is rolling once again because it looks like patch 7.3.5 is just around the corner. We haven’t actually been told when that’s landing yet, of course, but the World of Warcraft community continues to push forward with the sort of boundless optimism that it’s so well known for. “This time is going to be different!”
Here’s a spoiler for the future: It’s not. This time is going to be exactly the same, just like how previous times have been exactly the same, just like each time we’ve talked about this have been exactly the same. Betting on anything before October is optimistic, betting before September is wildly unrealistic. Similarly, betting on 2019 is pessimistic, and later than January is wildly unrealistic just as surely.
Antorus is out now, and if you want to see the cinematic that ends the very long-running story about the Burning Legion and Sargeras, well, that’s easy to do. It’s kind of spoiler-filled, though, so I’m not going to be talking about it here in any detail beyond mentioning that Azeroth does not exactly end things without a major impact. And needless to say, people have already started asking “why is it that World of Warcraft’s next expansion is going back to factional squabbles when this just happened?”
It’s a question with lots of good answers. So I want to dive into exactly those. In fact, you can neatly divide the answers up into three categories: The anthropic principle, real-life parallels, and the change of flavors. And it’s not that one or the other is the “real” answer or the “right” one; it’s that all three of them combine perfectly to make factional squabbles a perfectly reasonable next destination after the cosmic invasion of the last expansion.
Whether you play it now or not, chances are that your paths have crossed with World of Warcraft in the past. This is true of pretty much every MMO blogger I know, and as such, all of them have emerged over the weekend to offer their thoughts on BlizzCon’s classic server and Battle for Azeroth announcements. So what do they have to say?
On World of Warcraft Classic:
“Meanwhile, a lot of what Blizz said about WoW Classic was set in the future tense. It sounds like they had a small group do some research and found a viable path forward. Everything else, however, seemed to couched in ‘we will,’ ‘we’re going to,’ and ‘we want to.'” (The Ancient Gaming Noob)
The last time I saw this many people asking “why?” about a new World of Warcraft expansion was at the announcement of Mists of Pandaria. I agreed then, too; the idea of bringing in the Pandaren to the game seemed to be slipping into territory that just didn’t feel appealing to me. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea, a fact which is not helped at all by the fact that the very next expansion was so creatively bankrupt the team seems to have thrown every good idea at once into Legion.
Really, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes of Warlords of Draenor development, but that seems like a plausible theory.
So, yes, Battle for Azeroth. That is the actual title of the next expansion, one which feels almost as if it was cobbled together by drawing a few random words that usually get used with the game and hoping they assembled a coherent sentence. It seems, at face value, like a really dumb idea, especially since the very basic premise is one that you know is absolutely not going to be resolved by the end of the expansion.
It may be a ways away, but World of Warcraft Classic is on the road to becoming a reality. Blizzard posted at least two job openings for project team members as part of the effort to create the legacy version of the game.
While not revealing any specifics about the older version of the MMO, Blizzard’s listing is still a thrill to read: “Travel back in time to a World of Warcraft before the Mists of Pandaria parted, and before Deathwing broke the world. When Blackrock Mountain, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and the floating citadel of Naxxramas were the most difficult challenges in Azeroth. The World of Warcraft team is working on bringing that world back to our players with Classic WoW, and we need engineers to help us bring the past into the present.”
Blizzard told fans at BlizzCon that WoW Classic would be a massive effort and that the studio was committed to making it happen and keeping it running as long as the main MMO operates.
Tomorrowday, BlizzCon will be upon us, and this year we’re expecting a full reveal of the new expansion for World of Warcraft, still the most lucrative MMORPG in the world. It’s always a fun angle for our team to cover WoW, since to us, it’s just another MMO among hundreds, albeit an outsized one. Indeed, we have writers who strongly dislike everything about it and consider it directly or indirectly responsible many of the genre’s woes. Even so, there’s no denying that whatever WoW does next is a big deal for the MMO genre, even if you’re not a fan.
For this edition of Massively Overthinking – a bit of a special one for the site, as today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Massively-that-was – I’ve asked the staff to outline their hopes and fears for BlizzCon, for WoW and the studio’s other games, and especially what they want to see in the expansion itself!
It’s really, really weird to me to think that we’re getting an announcement about a new World of Warcraft expansion next week. Admittedly, we haven’t been told the details yet, but let’s be real here: The only conclusion if we don’t get an expansion announcement is that the game is shutting down. Everything has been set up to pull that trigger, everyone’s expecting it, we all know it. And we’ve even seen rumors, datamining, and hoaxes flying about faster than you can say “someone photoshop up a Murloc in Tier 2 Warrior gear.”
Some of the speculation is, of course, complete hogwash. “The next expansion will bring back talent trees!” “The next expansion is about Jaina as a dreadlord!” “The next expansion will have Blue Mage!” But some of it is, at least, stuff that’s been hinted at. So with a week or so to go, let’s take a look at what we know is on the table as being possible, being plausible, and being reasonable.
Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.
One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.
To keep things interesting in World of Warcraft’s PvP battlegrounds, the team recently implemented bi-weekly events that add interesting new twists in these familiar places.
From now through May 23rd, the Deepwind Dunk turns Pandaria’s battleground into a basketball-style contest. Grab the ball and go in for a dunk back at your home base to win it for your team. After that, the Tarren Mill vs. Southshore event is returning on May 30th, followed by a crazy 15v15 arena battle event on June 13th.
Looking ahead to Patch 7.2.5, a new solo challenge will task players with guarding the time-traveling dragon Chromie from being assassinated. Do so well, and all sorts of transmogs will be yours! Check out what the instance looks like after the break.