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.
It’s a new year and a new you! Well, probably the old you a few days past the expiration date, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely useless. For example, you probably have enough mental cognition and digital dexterity to log into an MMORPG and create a new character before you dissolve into an unslightly mess of bones and goo.
To celebrate the debut of 2018, the Massively OP legion is out in force to create new characters with all sorts of crazy resolutions!
First up is CapnLan: “My first character creation for the new year is technically an old one. I recovered my old FFXIV character from 1.0 but they had me run him through the new character creator when I logged in for the first time. I touched him up a bit with some new options and went for a stroll around Ul’dah. Here’s a quick shot I took of him with all his hilariously outdated 1.0 gear in front of the New Year decorations on the main street.”
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.
We still do not know exactly when World of Warcraft will make allied races playable. What we do know is that it sure as heck looks like it’s going to happen before the next expansion is out; that’s not announced, no, but there is an awful lot of material about them already on the test server. Everything points to them being a pre-launch thing, most likely along the lines of Demon Hunters with Legion. All well and good. And we also know the preliminary requirements for these various races, which is… more contentious.
There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know yet, of course; while achievement tracking is account-wide, it’s not yet clear if you need to have the reputation and achievements on multiple characters or just on one. (It’s plausible, for example, that you might need to have the reputation on the character but can get the achievements on another.) But there’s already some debate about whether or not these requirements are too steep, and I think it’s an interesting thing to discuss and analyze, even while I’m of the mind that it seems pretty reasonable thus far.
Have a few extra bucks that Santa and his corporate elves haven’t pried from your wallet this month? Blizzard would like to tempt you to pick up one of its titles that are on sale from now through the beginning of January.
World of Warcraft’s base game is just $10, Legion is down to $25, and many of the MMO’s cash shop items are marked down. You can get Overwatch for $20 or the Game of the Year edition for ten bucks more. StarCraft II’s campaign collection is $30, and StarCraft: Remastered is $10.
Over in happy Diablo land, the base game and expansion are going for $20, while its Rise of the Necromancer DLC is down to $10. Finally, Heroes of the Storm’s Foundation bundle is being offered for 2,000 gems.
Source: Press release
Let’s talk about value. A couple of weeks back, I did an article on the healthiest games at the end of the year; today, I’m talking about the best value for the money. Isn’t that the same thing?
No, it isn’t. Because health is about “what games have the most robust community and are most likely to be around next year,” but value is about “where can you get the most for the least money on a reliable basis.” And while there is a fair amount of overlap, it isn’t a one-for-one comparison.
You may recall we did this last year as well. This year, there have been some pretty significant shakeups, due in no small part to the fact that the value-for-your-money in some titles has gone down, and at least one title from last year’s list has outright closed. So let’s take a fresh look at the games giving you solid value for your dollars. Let’s even say ten of them, arranged in list format.
Abominable Greenches, kissing under the mistletoe, fruitcake, and snowball fights: Winter Veil must be here.
World of Warcraft has been building up its holiday festival for years and years now, so there is more than enough to do if you are chasing achievements, decorating your garrison, or looking for a break in the gear grind. This year there are a few small additions, such as snow globes to float around in, wooden toy weapons, and the addition of the holiday hat to a few Legion dungeon boss drop tables.
Both Icy Veins and Wowhead have guides to help you navigate this holiday, but no matter what, make sure you log in between December 25th and January 2nd to pick up your free presents underneath the Christmas tree!
Were you there?
Many of us were. Many weren’t. Either way, November 23rd, 2004 was a watershed date for the MMORPG industry and one watched and experienced by millions of gamers. It was on this day 13 years ago that Blizzard finally transitioned World of Warcraft from beta testing to live operation, ushering in an age of Azeroth, DKP minus, murlocs, and Leeroy Jenkins.
I was there, both at the end of beta and the start of launch. As time had made a mockery of my memories, I can only remember brief bits: The server downtime, the rise of the phenomenon, making footprints in Coldridge Valley with my Dwarf Hunter, and pretty much shoving every other game to the background for the next year or so.
I thought it might be worth the effort of dusting off the cobwebs of my — and your — memories by revisiting the first three months of World of Warcraft’s live operation, taking us from November 2004 through January 2005. What happened during this time? How did Blizzard respond to the floodgates of players pouring into this game? How different was it from what we play now? Let’s reminisce together!
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?
There’s a lot of information coming out about patch 7.3.5 at this point. Not everything, of course, and a lot of it is based more on datamining than actual stuff that has been announced. But it seems fair to say that World of Warcraft’s immediate future for the next lengthy expansion gap is on the test servers right now, and some of it is obvious while some pieces are… less so. And, if I might be so bold, it even gives us a pretty clear picture of the next few months right out of the gate.
Right now the live game is, obviously, focused on Antorus. That’s the focus for the actual gameplay, and the slow trickle of wings into the group finder are the big thing to do and look forward to until the whole of the content is available by January. For that matter, I think that part of the goal of the next month or so is to give people all the reason in the world to run and explore Antorus and see the story for themselves if they’re interested in having a personal stake in what happens next.
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.
So the latest raid for World of Warcraft is out now, but perhaps you don’t have a regular raid group. What will you do while waiting for the content to be available? Perhaps you’ll try out the new test realm, which is rolling out the promised worldwide level scaling for leveling characters. The scaling will ensure that you can enjoy zones in their entirety before outleveling them, along with level-appropriate rewards along the way.
Future updates to the PTR will include new Silithus changes, new Ulduar timewalking, and more post-Antorus content. But that’s not there yet.
Or you might find other things to do with your time, instead. For example, the sixth season of Legion’s ongoing PvP challenges has started, so maybe you don’t care much about Antorus but do care about beating the living snot out of fellow players. Heck, the bright side about Antorus is that there will be ongoing tuning and new Legendary upgrade items coming even from Mythic keystone runs, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to work your way up and get things done regardless.
Is it too early to open your presents? TERA
says it’s OK, so if Santa gets upset, we’re totally pointing fingers.
The action MMO pushed out its Miniguns update today, which turns out to be more promotions than content. Still, free stuff is always good, right? All players can log in from now through January 2nd to get a free Elin Gunner bundle that includes pink gear to speed level a character up to the cap.
All players will also enjoy a free additional character slot per account as long as they log in through December 8th. And all during next month, every weekend the game will pay out free boom boxes for every player that puts in at least three hours each weekend.
The update does contain one scrap of new in-game content, which is the hard mode for the RK-9 Kennel. New fight mechanics and a tougher doggy await a legion of pink-clad characters.