New Mage Spell Graphics – WoD Alpha

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Recently I had the fortune to check out some of the new Mage talents and abilities on the Warlords of Draenor Alpha, and whilst not actively playing a mage as a progressional character, I did find the changes to be obvious from the outset, regardless of my play style and previously stated distance from the class itself. Filling my screen with fire and ice is something I will never complain about, so let the lag-inducing experience begin!

The graphical fidelity of World of Warcraft has been somewhat of a backseat in recent years some could argue, with many graphical changes in recent expansions being more akin to literal patches applied on an old leather coat, rather than a new coat entirely. This is not a bad thing, as much of what makes that coat unique and interesting is shared with World of Warcraft for me personally. With many changes, including those to the actual races and characters we play comes wonderful revamps and opportunities to implement visually stunning effects for various abilities. Mages are considerably livelier than most classes with their abilities, often filling the screen with fire or frost based explosions, so it makes sense to up the graphical quality of those effects primarily as to not make other changes look alien in a relatively old game. The character models themselves are owed this attention to detail, especially after how ridiculously good they look in comparison to the older models, on that im sure we can all agree.

The first Mage ability I looked at was called Supernova; an interesting talented replacement for the spell Frost Nova. Specifically for mages of an Arcane disposition, Supernova allows the caster to place a pulse of energy around either another player or the enemy, which then pulses for 112% of the casters spell power as arcane damage to all enemies within 8 yards of the target. This ability also causes the target to be knocked upwards, if the target is an enemy that you originally placed the ability on, then that enemy will take 100% extra damage whilst the effect is in place. The ability itself seems rather useful and adds extra utility to the level 75 talent choice. Im not a mage on the live game servers, as I have mentioned before, however I would feel that this seems to be a rather exciting and powerful choice that will likely be extremely useful in both PvP and the PvE situations with a large amount of additional creatures. Graphically the spell does exactly what you would expect, as it says on the tin. A large purple explosion of energy protrudes from the targets I placed it on, circling out in waves of pink tipped fire. Nothing short of extraordinary and certainly a pleasant selection of colours from what I would say usually remains, in my opinion very samey for many mage abilities.

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Secondly I looked at ‘Evanesce’, despite my first time reading the ability as ‘Evanescence’ and unfortunately expecting Amy Lee to pop out and serenade me to sleep; I was still pleasantly surprised when presented with another visually appealing, if not slightly ‘over-pink’ palette. I shrugged this off as possibly a theme suited to mages and read that it replaces ‘Ice Block’, immunity ability, which is extremely useful in PvE and PvP. What this talent choice (available at level 15 on the first tier of talents) does then is actually replace it with a shorter duration immunity lasting 3 seconds, only this allows the mage to actually continue moving AND can be used as an immunity WHILST casting other spells. Situational events where a full duration immunity do exist, however I still feel that the majority of the time, at least in PvE the choice may remain fundamentally towards Ice Block, rather than a heavily time sensitive replacement.

Thirdly, and lastly I got my hands on the level 75 talent choice, this time for Frost Mages only. Again replacing Frost Nova, this ability, dubbed ‘Ice Nova’ places a whirl of ice and snow around the targeted friendly / non friendly player or enemy monster and deals 95% of the mages spell power as frost damage, again if the primary target is an enemy, then that enemy takes 100% additional damage whilst the effect is in place. As stated before, I know little to practically nothing about mages anymore; however it seems like a particularly strong choice for the level 75 tier talent and actually looks the best out of the spell effects ive seen thus far. Unfortunately the place I tested this ability out in the video you will see below was predominantly the same colours of the actual spell, i.e. ice, however rest assured the visual fidelity and quality of the effect is sublime.

As much as the abilities which I have talked about today are interesting, it would seem there are even more mage abilities available only to level 100 mages which I hear are sublime and put these three to shame. I wait with baited breath then to be able to test out those potentially lag-inducing morsels of entertainment. I honestly want to see Blizzard address more spells for more classes, especially other magic users, as I find that if you increase quality in one place and not all, sometimes you can end up with obvious old versus new side by side comparisons. Warlocks are set to possibly get the same treatment, and my mind can only dream of what explosive options Blizz has up their sleeves.

Until then enjoy the various other changes to World of Warcraft, that honestly are making Warlords of Draenor look to be the most promising advancement the game has ever undertaken, a worthwhile leap forward in a sea of competitors, which are honestly put to shame by this aging, yet beautifully designed and evolving videogame. We intend to cover as much as possible over here on WoW.Stratics and personally in video form over on www.youtube.com/acegamestv.

If you have enjoyed my article, please feel free to continue the discussion over on our forums or leave a comment below. What are your favourite changes so far? What do you want to see from our Alpha coverage? Let us know!

 

Rhonin : Lore, Warcraft & You!

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Welcome to another Lore, Warcraft, & You! The series of articles where we look at prominent figures in Warcraft lore, and where they affect you in-game in World of Warcraft, how they play an integral role in the storyline and where you can find them.
Today we look into famous red-haired super-mage; Rhonin.

Rhonin_Ulduar_Trailer

Rhonin was a human mage, formerly entrusted with the leadership of the Kirin Tor during the time of the Wrath of The Lech King expansion. (The Kirin Tor being the ancient Magus Senate of Dalaran)
He did not gain this position easily as many of his exploits in his youth even made his place as a mage of Dalaran even questionable. Rhonin has been a key figure in various world-ending scenarios where he has either single handily taken on danger instead of assessing a situation or teamed alongside some of Azeroth’s more powerful heroes.
Curiously no surname has ever been given to Rhonin, yet he has had several nicknames and is sometimes referred to as Rhonin Redhair for his flame-like hair, and the accompanying hot-headed temperament in battle.
The book Night of The Dragon also refers to Rhonin as ‘Rhonin Draig’cyfail’ or in the human tongue; ‘Dragonheart’. Call him what you will, Rhonin is an extremely powerful, yet reserved, intelligent mage. Well skilled in the use of a blade due to his actions in the Scourge invasion add to the diversity and flexibility of his combat style. It’s this ability to work in dire situations and intuition lead decisions that has allowed him to be successful and resourceful in so many situations and stories over the course of Warcraft history.

Reply Code Alpha

Reply Code Alpha

Fundamentally Rhonin is best known in-game for his involvement as a quest npc in Dalaran, awarding the player with a piece of loot once they return from the depths of the Ulduar raid with the Titan Reply Code object from defeating Algalon the Observer. The reply code once the player explains to Rhonin the events that took place in Ulduar is then noted to be a pre-defined message of a possible two that Algalon should of sent back to the Titans in the discovery of either a positive or negative assessment of live on Azeroth. The curse of flesh, which ultimately resulted in humanoid life on the planet, is a deviation from the Titans original plan for the world upon their involvement in essentially conquering azeroth millions of years ago.
The Titans captured thousands of worlds like Azeroth, with the intent to govern life the way they saw fit on each world, seeing order in the universe the ultimate goal.
The Alpha reply code was to be sent back to the titans by Algalon if Azeroth was still a vision of this order and perfection, otherwise if any malignant alterations had taken place, another reply code would be given, initialising the order for planetary re-origination, which presumably would involve the complete terraforming of Azeroth and the death of all life on the planet to reset it to a point where they could start over.

Rhonin Is a key character in this expansion, yet doesn’t take an active role outside of a cutscene introducing the Ulduar raid and the quests after its defeat, however he is incredibly popular as the main protagonist of many books such as Day of The Dragon, by Richard A Knaak.

These books are canon to the story and tell a story of Rhonin that isn’t as noticeable in the mmo.
During the events of the Second war, Rhonin was seen as a dangerous, unpredictable mage, due to an event where he used his powers recklessly in battle, ending the lives of all his comrades.
This disgrace and the remorse he felt ultimately resulted in his involvement in the events of the Second war with the Orcs. Krasus, a mage and secretly a consort of the red dragonflight convinced Rhonin to reclaim his honour by selflessly volunteering for a dangerous mission to Khaz Modan, where he helped break the power of the orcs and freed Alexstrasa the life binder, whom at the time was captured by Nekros Skullcrusher.
Alongside Rhonin, a young elven ranger named Vareesa Windrunner, Krasus the dragon mage, and Falstad Wildhammer. Vereesa was weary of Rhonin and had heard of his disastrous failings in the line of duty that had caused the death of all his kin, but ultimately throughout the journey she became to respect him and in good time fell in love with the mage.
Rhonin was successful in destroying the demon soul which was used by Deathwing to capture Alexstrasa and gained the respect of his fellow comrades in the selfless and painful pursuit. The book is a masterpiece honestly, I would definitely recommend picking up Day of the Dragon if you only ever read one of the books.

Vereesa Windrunner

Vereesa Windrunner

The aforementioned love between Vereesa and Rhonin blossomed after the events of Day of the Dragon and they got married, Vareesa even became pregnant with his to be Twin- offspring.
During Vereesa’s pregnancy Rhonin was once again called into duty despite wanting to spend time with his wife and be at her side during this time.
The events to follow involved Krasus asking him for help in sealing a rift in time that had appeared, leading to an event in the past, 10,000 years ago.
They entered the rift as well as the inquisitive Orc, Broxigar who also found the rift.
This was covered in the book trilogy, The War of The Ancients.

During his time in the past, Rhonin got involved directly into the events of this time period after trying not to get involved in things that could change history forever. Unfortunately he met and became friends with many of Azeroth’s strongest lore figures, such as; Malorne, Cenarius, Aviana, Shadowsong, Tyrande Whisperwind, and of course Illidan Stormrage, whom he became direct mentor of in an attempt to harness the wild magic’s and power dwelling within him.
Unfortunately he was unsuccessful in changing anything with Illidan, and ended up changing and trying to fix mistakes Illidan had made along the way prior to Illidan’s destined defection.
It would be less useful to explain the events that took place in their entirety here in this article, so I will likely make a separate post about the War of The Ancients due to the events size and complexity.
As a reward for all he had done in the past, Nozdormu thanked Rhonin for sealing the rift and being as careful as he could to not directly impact the timeline and allowed him to teleport to Vereesa to the point of her labour so he would not miss the birth of his own twin sons; Giramar and Galadin. Along with this gift, Nozdormu also gave the twins the respect of the Bronze dragonflight if they would even need their own help with matters in the future.

Rhonin has no living family members, due to the events involving the Scourge plague taking many of his own loved ones and his own father, who was killed during the fall of Andorhil. Rhonin made the decision to make his own family, and as a part of that, when he was approached by the council of Dalaran for help, responsibility overweighed his personal life, and so accepted the leadership position of Archmage of the Kirin Tor. To defend his family and his people in uncertain times, was effectively the same goal, and his loyalty for his past mistakes still dwelled heavily on his decisions.

Theramore After Mana BombSadly in present day, Rhonin is no longer with us, and many people didn’t expect the popular main character of so many of Blizzard’s stories to die anytime soon.
Rhonin was killed trying to dampen the mana bomb that destroyed Theramore in the Tides of War book and in-game scenario events, he managed to save Vereesa, General Shandris Feathermoon and Jaina Proudmore, whom he named as his successor as leader of the Kirin Tor.
His sacrifice in the end was not for the hatred of the Horde, but for the loyalty to his people. He never saw the Horde as an evil force as many of the other Alliance members did, and did his best to remain neutral, even in dire times.
This cannot be said for Jaina Proudmore, whom hates the Horde for what has happened and swore vengeance for Theramore.

And so ends another chapter on a lore figure who changed the World of Warcraft we know and love. If you have enjoyed my article, please leave me some feedback below. Thank you kindly for reading, I’ll see you all next time!