cataclysm

Official Site: Cataclysm
Relevance: The third World of Warcraft expansion.
Launch Date: December 7, 2010

See: World of Warcraft

Jukebox Heroes: World of Warcraft’s main music themes

Inspired by a news post that a dashing Massively OP writer penned a few weeks back, I thought that it might be an interesting exercise in nostalgia to revisit all of the main themes for World of Warcraft from 2004 through 2016. After all, the expansion is launching this month, so what better time for such a journey!

Music has a funny way of unlocking all sorts of long-buried memories, especially when you associate the tune with an experience. After all, millions of players over the last decade-plus heard these login themes, sometimes for years at a stretch, and so it’s not crazy to admit that they’re burned into our subconscious.

Let’s revisit the seven WoW themes and calmly discuss with hatchets in the comments which one was the best!

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Get a look at World of Warcraft’s new Stormwind park

Has the creation of a park in an MMORPG ever caused such excitement?

When World of Warcraft: Legion arrives at the end of August, it won’t just bring new lands to explore and the Demon Hunter class, but it will rock all of our worlds by rebuilding the ruins of Stormwind’s old park. The park, which was destroyed in Cataclysm, is slated to be transformed into a fitting monument for a certain fallen hero.

Which hero? We’re not saying — that would spoil the story going into Legion. But if you’re the type who doesn’t care about spoilers or are insatiably curious what the new Stormwind park will look like, Blizzard Watch has returned from the future with a full gallery of pictures of the area. Did we mention spoilers? You’ve been warned!

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Stormwind Park will (finally) be rebuilt in World of Warcraft: Legion

For the past six years, World of Warcraft’s Stormwind Park has been a smoking crater in the otherwise beautiful city thanks to Deathwing. Players have wondered for a while now when the area would be rebuilt following the events of Cataclysm, and now they have an answer: when Legion drops.

Blizzard confirmed that the park would be coming back in the expansion pack (heavy spoilers at that link) to be the resting place of a fallen hero: “The hard-working citizens of Stormwind have been hard at work rebuilding the remaining destroyed section of the city. It is there that a monument of such significance will go.”

Anyone up for a Massively OP picnic and BBQ later this summer?

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World of Warcraft patch 6.2.3 is bringing Valor back

Between the Timewalking token system and Apexis Crystals, World of Warcraft has been providing players with a variety of currencies to purchase rewards after specifically removing those currencies at the start of the current expansion. Patch 6.2.3 makes the most decisive move in that direction by simply bringing Valor back as a currency, albeit just used for upgrading equipment by up to 10 item levels. Players can earn Valor by Heroic and Mythic dungeon runs as well as bonus events and the first Raid Finder of a given week.

This patch will also introduce a new set of Timewalking dungeons via a Cataclysm dungeon rotation, as well as adding Pit of Saron to Wrath of the Lich King rotations and Magister’s Terrace to The Burning Crusade rotation. On top of all of that, the patch will add new gear upgrades and new Heirloom trinkets to Mythic dungeons, giving players more rewards for various forms of content. The patch is expected to hit the game’s test servers at some point in the near future.

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WoW Factor: A wishlist for World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion

We’re going to find out a lot about World of Warcraft: Legion in November. Not just because I expect that’ll be around the time we get our beta announcement and date, which may even be as soon as BlizzCon ends; we’ll just be told a lot while we’re there. We’re going to just be learning a lot of design goals and ideas from the panels and what-not whilst we’re there. And that, I think, is a good thing. It’s so something we already need, but you know, I already wrote that column.

So I have a little more than a month before I find out all of the things I want that I’m not getting. And while I’ve spent the past several weeks listing some of the things that I’m looking forward to seeing from the game’s next expansion as examinations of larger topics, let’s talk a little bit about the stuff that I’d really like to see from the expansion that I’m also not expecting to actually see happen.

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WoW Factor: Wild guessing about Demon Hunters

So what’s the deal with World of Warcraft’s Demon Hunter? We just don’t know yet. But the space to speculate is pretty awesome.

I mentioned in my last column that in some ways, Legion feels like an expansion that should have been launched back in the post-Wrath of the Lich King space. Certainly the design elements seem a little odd, bringing in a lot of bits and pieces that had all but vanished from the game since that much-loved expansion was done with. There’s speculation to be done there, but the more immediate speculation is about the game’s second Hero Class and what it means for the game as a whole.

We don’t know yet how the class will play in any detail; we know a handful of abilities, we have some idea of the class resource (but not its real mechanics), and we know that in all likelihood they’re going to just be carting around a specialized weapon for the whole expansion because of the Artifact system. But we can still make some guesses based on that.

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WoW Factor: Speculating on WoW’s next expansion

On August 6th, we now know, we’ll be hearing the name and some details on the next World of Warcraft expansion. What we don’t know is what that expansion will actually contain. The space after this expansion is a blanker space than usual, with lots of possible directions and an absolute dearth of information indicating what direction the story will go in from here.

More to the point, the next expansion is going to be judged pretty harshly simply by virtue of coming immediately after an expansion best described as “maybe worse than Cataclysm.” It’s an uphill battle all around. Now that we know for certain that we will be hearing about the next expansion in a little over a week, let’s look a little bit at what we might be exploring in the next expansion in both story and mechanical terms.

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World of Warcraft offers a slew of activities in July

With summer in full swing and plenty of people out of school and enjoying vacations, World of Warcraft figures that it had better darn well entertain those who will be playing the game in July.

The fantasy title put up a list of its July events, including the return of the Midsummer Fire Festival and Darkmoon Faire, the July 4th fireworks, and the start of Warlords PvP Season 2, which not coincidentally is today. Every weekend will continue to feature post-Patch 6.3 bonus events, such as the Wrath of the Lich King timewalking dungeons from July 17th through the 20th.

Speaking of timewalking, Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas spent part of a new interview talking about how the team is planning to add Cataclysm dungeons to the event rotation. He also discussed the new Hellfire Citadel raid and mentioned that there are indeed legendary rings that can be obtained by beating end boss Archimonde.

You can watch Hazzikostas’ full interview after the jump.

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WoW Factor: What the flight changes portend for WoW’s future

Did anyone else get flashbacks to the Xbox One launch with World of Warcraft‘s flying announcement? I pictured a lot of arm-folding and sulking as it was being delivered. “All right, I guess we’ll do what you guys say you want, but we were still totally right to say you didn’t want it.” Maybe it’s just me. The point is that players have finally sort of been listened to about an issue that’s been getting serious blowback since the expansion launch.

Pretty much everyone expects that this year’s BlizzCon will feature another expansion announcement for the game, of course, which makes the development team’s attitude particularly relevant. I can tell a convincing story in which this year’s expansion is an actual return to form; I can also tell a story in which it’s a pretty major misstep again. So let’s look at what could come next for the game, from the really good to the really, really bad.

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The Soapbox: The misguided quest for MMO stickiness

This guest Soapbox was commissioned through Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign and is authored by Tyler F.M. Edwards, who blogs at www.superior-realities.com. The opinions here represent the views of our guest author and not necessarily Massively OP itself. Enjoy!

The concept of “stickiness” is always a hot topic in the MMO community — stickiness being the sum of those game qualities that ensure player retention and keep people coming back. Fans and journalists talk about it often, and I don’t doubt that MMO developers devote an enormous amount of time and money to making their games sufficiently sticky.

But this obsession with stickiness can do more harm than good, and when developers focus on retention, they risk losing sight of what really matters: making games that are fun to play.

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WoW Factor: The Iron Docks and the bare level cap

I really didn’t want Massively Overpowered’s inaugural column about World of Warcraft to focus on the negatives. But I can’t in good conscience ignore the fact that patch 6.1 for Warlords of Draenor is not getting the Iron Docks that many players were expecting. It’s not that I think it’s a grand betrayal of player trust; it’s not. Things get shifted around in development. Stuff gets held back for the next patch. It happens. This feature was never promised for Tuesday, and it isn’t coming out then. Seems fair.

No, the problem here comes down to one of perception, presentation, and the simple fact that there’s plenty to do at level cap in Warlords of Draenor… but also absolutely nothing to do.

It seems ironic that an expansion that led to an enormous subscriber surge is also seemingly tone-deaf on a number of points, but it also seemed ironic when Cataclysm followed Wrath of the Lich King by undoing a good portion of what made the prior expansion so popular. So why is there so much negativity, even from people who do like the game? How can a game be replete in things to do while at the same time have nothing to do?

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