Flying, Garrisons & WoD News. 13 March 2014.

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Today marks the release of more information via social media, that Warlords of Draenor will NOT be using flight throughout the world of Draenor at launch, and has not been confirmed to be used at level 100, despite the likelihood obviously that it would be. Alex Afrasiabi, lead world designer for World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment go’s on to say that perhaps players would perhaps learn to enjoy the world without flying, and that they are waiting to see how players react to this limitation.

Personally I would say that I’d have to agree with the idea that the world we play in each expansion would benefit more from players having to explore more, allowing for much of the hard work that go’s unseen in the world more noticeable. If you look at fellow writer; Samkos recent post about Easter eggs in World of Warcraft, it could be argued that many of those aspects of the game would be more seen if flying did not exist in Azeroth. That being said, I would have to then counter that by saying flying is purely a convenience tool, and allows for players who have their daily routines in game to do that content easier and less laborious than it would be without. Either way, it’s interesting to see the approach to flying they are taking with Warlords of Draenor, and I share the curiosity of Mr Afrasiabi on how people will react.

Other information today, also through social media was that the starting event leading up to Warlords of Draenor’s release will be set in and around the Dark Portal in Blasted Lands. It has been said that the initial quests and events will take 40-45 minutes and will feature the player defending the world from invading Iron Horde through the Dark Portal. The event will see players attempt to shut down the portal itself, presumably leading to the events where Garrosh steps through the portal. Alex Afrasiabi is keen to emphasise the realisation of how bad the Iron Horde are, and mentions that we will see how important it is for us to address the problem immediately, or encounter a full invasion comparable to the first war.

Yesterday saw the launch of Hearthstone, and indeed the Hearthsteed mount (which you can read the article further to learn how to get your own). Speculation on what came to the original red version of the same mount was answered by Blizzard Employee; Corey Stockton, who confirmed that the model will infact be used in the future and that they have plans for it’s implementation. This comes as players wondered if the original designs were faction specific colour variants, only now it seems that this could be a future reward for WoW from Hearthstone. The release of Hearthstone itself did not avoid the usual issues with a new launch release, and some players reported difficulty redeeming their mounts in game. Blizzard addressed this by asking players to log out of their accounts and back in, which seems to be a fix for the issue.

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Finally we got more information, or rather confirmation on the possible scale of Garrisons; the player housing / instanced area in Warlords of Draenor from Jeremy Feasel, an employee of Blizzard who works on Garrisons, pet battles, the Timeless Isle and more features of the game. Upon joining he shared this screenshot, which features the Alliance player buildings present in the Garrison feature. The screenshot itself supplies the realisation on both scale and progressive features unlocked through achievements and progress in the game. The fountain in the centre for example, that would be built over time and presumably from a reward, achievement, or time related unlock process. What can be said is that personally I think the whole thing looks fantastic. The implementation of this feature alone to World of Warcraft will bring more addictive and enjoyable elements for players to be involved with outside of raiding or pvp. The original scale of the buildings I saw at an early stage of last years Blizzcon were tiny in comparison to what can only be a more progressed and advanced Garrison. This is fundamentally one of the most anticipated implementation for WoW, and with many other games doing it arguably less well planned than they could of, it will be interesting to see how this affects daily WoW life.

With WoD just around the corner now, and Beta invites expected very shortly, be sure to bookmark WoW.Stratics today, the only place you need to be for everything

CCP erects monument for gamers

EVE Player Monument

Source: CCP

While the monument was already announced on Fanfest 2013, come april 30th 2014 (just one day before Fanfest 2014) – Iceland will have a new monument.

If you’re considering getting involved in the final stages of this piece of art, all you have to do is to hold a subscribtion on March 1st, 2014 and your name will be etched into the metal plate of the concrete base, or you can die honorably trying.

No, literally. CCP will in fact also honour players that deceased while holding an active subscribtion.

 

Should the monument become, less erect at some point in time –  it will reveal a time capsule containing a laptop with greetings and salutations from the creators of EVE Online (ie. game developers and players alike).

“Our intention is to immortalize the contributions of the millions of people of the EVE universe in a way that extends beyond their immortality in our games“, said Hilmar Veigar Petursson, CEO of CCP.  “Honoring them as part of a timeless monument shows how virtual lives and adventures have reached a new level of meaning and impact that weaves into and enhances those that happen in this world. We are humbled by all those that have joined us on the journey so far, and it’s our hope that this physical piece will continue to gather energy and relevance into decades to come, becoming like EVE Online and outliving us all. “

 

The monument is an a outdoor sculpture by the artist Sigurður Guðmundsson with help and input from EVE Online‘s own art directors Börkur Eiríksson and Ásgeir Jón Ásgeirsson. “Worlds Within a World” will stand over five meters tall and consist of two main elements facing each other through a highly polished stainless steel surface that reflects and mirrors the elements and the landscape. On the left side of the model stands a dark aluminum structure with a quote from the EVE Universe and on the right a dark granite facial figure representing the game’s players.

In 2013, EVE Online was honored by The Museum of Modern Art in New York in the “Applied Design“ exhibition of the Museum‘s Philip Johnson Galleries and formally inducted into the permanent collection in the inaugural group of video games alongside thirteen others such as Tetris, Pac-Man, and The Sims. This monument extends CCP’s efforts to create a truly unique universe, in this case through a landmark that bridges the gap between the real world and the virtual.

 

Read more thoughts on the monument from CCP’s CEO, players and the artist at the monument website

More about the artist

Joining EVE Online

Azeroth; Mapping a World

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Maps are bloody Amazing things, allowing everybody from your first explorers who first mapped the worlds continents, to your everyday Joe’s use of a GPS device to map a way to the nearest coffee shop, but what if the map was wrong and in someway completely missed out the large crater in front of you?

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Well that sounds ridiculous in the real world, but nonetheless the general map of the world doesn’t change, more likely than not a new road is built to the coffee shop and the crater is a building site where the old one used to be.

In World of Warcraft, mapping the world of Azeroth is something that was present in the minds of the artists at Blizzard from the offset, with images cropping up in all sorts of art in the ‘Vanilla’ game. From Dwarves and their wooden globes over in Ironforge’s Hall of Explorers, wowscrnshot053010195221to the very logo for World of Warcraft itself featuring a spinning globe of Azeroth. Much later, in the time of the Ulduar patch introduced half way through the Wrath of The Lich King expansion, other globes re-appeared in game.

Featuring as set pieces to the Titan legend and mythology around the curse of flesh that created mortal life on Azeroth, the globe set pieces were used in both the Halls of Lightning dungeon and inside the Ulduar raid instance itself, just before the junction between Kologarn, Iron Council and Algalon the Observer.

Ulduar-Antechamber-hall-to-Planetarium-Azeroth-MaelstromWhy is this a problem you may ask? Why is it that globes introduced that supposedly show the mapping of the world before the curse of flesh would be a bad idea?

Simple. The crater before the coffee shop, or rather the giant series of mistakes in their own timeline as well as obvious flaws for future content, that’s the main reason putting a map you cannot easily change into the game is generally a bad idea.

A foresight that would prevent Blizzard from including Pandaria on the globe for example, which I’m actually fine with, because I don’t think Pandaria was a confirmed decision for a future expansion at that point, and putting it on there would obviously cause hints at what future places there actually could be in the game.

The only confusion I have with the globe just before Algalon’s room is that it doesn’t keep true to the story of how the world was when the Titan’s were last here. Ulduar itself is a Titan built prison to lock away Yog Sarron, one of the planets former inhabitants, way before the Pantheon sent forces to Azeroth, and way before the curse of flesh.

If that IS the case, then why would the globe show a divided world into separate continents? Would it not be correct to assume that the sundering during the War of The Ancients which separated the world into continents (See ‘War of The Ancients’ book by Richard A. Knaak), would actually be hundreds, maybe thousands of years past Ulduar even being built on Azeroth, and way past the Titans departure from the planet after their re-origination, and leaving Ulduar a ruin of it’s former self, and thus allowing for Yog Sarron’s reach to break free of the Titan-made bonds that imprisoned him, allowing him to reach to those around the Storm Peaks such as Thorim, etc who serve him, possessed by his powerful mental control.

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At this point I’ll be honest, my lore is somewhat rusty in places, im sure I’ve made a mistake here or there, a feature of such an immersive array of content which I’m sure you can all forgive, but the real point comes down to mapmaking. I think you’re going to expect me to say it’s bad, or that I don’t like it because of the flaws it uncovers, well actually you’d be wrong in thinking that.

I really appreciate the art that go’s into this game. I feel that it is something that isn’t present, like many things in the other games of the MMORPG genre out there. It’s the mistakes and potential flaws in games, or any fiction that make a world more immersive to play in.

The books bring up fantastic ideas and write them into canon before even thinking about how it would affect the game world, but that is down to creative instincts. Imagine if you sat down and watched the Lord of The Rings films and compared them to the books. I’m pretty sure that your list of differences, albeit present in the exact same story and exact same world, would be completely different and make the list unfathomably large.

I for one love the imperfections in minor details, it allows people like me, who love every single crevice of lore in a topic to go nuts and write articles, make machinima, and draw amazing pieces of artwork. Such amazing works of fan-art and community integration come from World of Warcraft, would it be the same if the story was perfect, and predictable?

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In many ways what I’m trying to say is this; the game world is so immersive, so vast that even those who forge new content for it get confused sometimes. If that’s not a good example of how much time, energy and effort go’s on behind the scenes, then im not sure what would be. The idea that whatever they develop next for the game is completely up in the air, brings excitement and allows people to think and try and guess what’s coming next off of silly things like art assets of globes in old content, and statues of celestial dragons on the walls (Elegon in Ulduar), etc.

 

Warlord’s of Draenor is the next expansion, coming later this year. The expansion focuses on lore that is written in books, present in quest lines, hinted at in main storylines of expansions, but it’s very unlikely it will be anything like is mentioned in those stories. It’s essentially a ‘what-if’ expansion, following the exploits of time travel and Garrosh Hellscream. A simple change here and there makes the timeline different, but only in this now-separate parallel universe. The events that happen cannot, and I repeat that, cannot and will not affect the timeline of the Azeroth and Outland we know in the normal timeline. (This was confirmed on the Q&A section of the Lore panel at Blizzcon 2013)

maxresdefault So, what can we expect? Is there a mythical globe somewhere? Well no, the footage we were shown at Blizzcon 2013 showed off the majority of the areas in Draenor and the over world map, which fits in line with what Draenor looked like before Ner’zhul’s portal devastation during the time of the first War on Azeroth.

The map design fits perfectly with where you would expect the zones to be, many of which similar to how they are in Outland, yet jungle where there is dessert in the future, water where there would be the Twisting Nether, things like that.

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I cannot wait to see which stories and lore the Blizzard team focuses on in each area of the expansion, and for one won’t be disappointed if it’s completely different to how I’ve read or speculated based on in game assets. As long as it’s as compelling and immersive as their past work, which is almost impossible not to achieve with the new technologies and work they are putting in, then I’m pretty sure I will be spending more time logged in and exploring than I will be trying to find a coffee shop in the real world!

 

Thank you kindly for reading my article, if you feel you have anything to add to this discussion, please head over to the forums where we are continuing this and many more topics we write about with you guys.

 

Thursday Interview: Pre-Inferno Interview with CCP Developers

Welcome to another Thursday Interview! If you’ve read any of our prior Thursday interviews, you’ll know that Thursday Interviews are never released on Thursdays ;-)

Before Inferno was launched, we approached the playerbase to get some feedback on the pre-inferno patch.  We asked you, what you would ask CCP. We compiled some of those questions and worked with CCP to get them answered. What lead to that was a coorporation with CCP and the result of that coorporation you’ll find in this interview (and you can find the “put questions inside”  thread on the official forums!)

Since E3 was on the plate though, everything got delayed.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RblUvkziO4A]

I had hoped that we’d be able to release the information as the first source. That wasn’t meant to be. But we got something else though … Read More…

Thursday Interview: Pre-Inferno Interview with CCP Developers

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Welcome to another Thursday Interview! If you’ve read any of our prior Thursday interviews, you’ll know that Thursday Interviews are never released on Thursdays ;-)

Before Inferno was launched, we approached the playerbase to get some feedback on the pre-inferno patch. We asked you, what you would ask CCP. We compiled some of those questions and worked with CCP to get them answered. What lead to that was a coorporation with CCP and the result of that coorporation you’ll find in this interview (and you can find the “put questions inside” thread on the official forums!)

Since E3 was on the plate though, everything got delayed.

[youtube RblUvkziO4A]

I had hoped that we’d be able to release the information as the first source. That wasn’t meant to be. We got something else though … Read More…