A new Pandaria faction story has been uploaded the official World of Warcraft site, this time focusing on everyone’s favorite farming, Harvest Moon-esque pandaren, the Tillers!
“The Untamed Valley” was written by Robert Brooks, who has also authored “Death from Above”, and the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls story “The End of her Journey”. Writing about simple farmers may appear a far cry from Brooks’ earlier focus on giant Old God worshiping insects and demon-slaying, light-blessed warriors, but to bring out a cliche, appearances can be deceiving.
Montoya here, sharing some speculation I’ve been making concerning the new WoW expansion, which we will learn about soon.
After reflecting on Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, I realized there was quite a foundation being laid for Demon Hunters as a future playable class :
1. There is an achievement for finding a Demon Hunter in Darkshore “Ghosts in the Dark”.
2. There is a long quest chain with a Blood Mage that has us bring a Demon Hunter back from the dead, who nobly makes a big sacrifice right afterwards.
3. In Felwood, a Demon Hunter named Feronas Sindweller is a kill target for a quest. We soon find that he has been killing demons rather than druids, as he had been accused. He then proceeds to show us what most NPCs, and all of BC, seem to ignore: Illidan sought power, not to conquer or lord over others, but rather, to help his people and prove himself to Night Elves, particularly Tyrande. He did these things, however, with a reckless attitude (poor Lord Blackforest).
All of these were added in Cataclysm, which makes me wonder about the possibility of a Demon Hunter class in the next expansion. However, I find that there are a few things in the way:
1. Demonology Warlocks have become more and more like Warcraft III Metamorphosis Demon Hunters over time. A book in Stormwind explains that a human warlock, Kanrethad Ebonlocke, has learned and taught the secrets to Illidan’s transformation.
2. The Warlock challenge set in Mists of Pandaria is clearly Illidan themed, which, combined with the Demonology Warlock changes, makes me wonder if Blizzard is folding Illidan and Demon Hunters into the Warlock class. This would be an alternative to Demon Hunters having their own theme and class (with the obvious exception of not using warglaives).
3. In patch 5.2, the Warlock Green Fire quest was introduced, in which the Warlock visits Black Temple in present day and witnesses a conversation between two members of the Black Harvest, Ebonlocke and Jubeka. They discuss witnessing Illidan’s end; however, before Ebonlocke divulges information about it, the conversation conveniently shifts to something else in the middle of his thought.
4. Cheng, a Pandaren monk, makes a comment that can be taken multiple ways. He says “Yes, I am a monk, though I always dreamed of being a demon hunter.” What was the intent behind this flavor text?
While Demon Hunters could be folded into Warlocks, their combat and flavor could also be made distinct from one another. Unlike Warlocks, Demon Hunters exist to destroy the Legion. They use the Legion’s power against itself. Warlocks do not seem to have this focus at all; rather, they just utilize whatever powers are available to augment themselves. Demon Hunters blind themselves, receive tattoos in order to see Demonic magics and utilize the tattoo patterns Sargeras introduced to empower Illidan. As far as making 3 specs, tanking or healing could easily be achieved with some creative Fel magic and weapon mechanics.
So what does this evidence point to? Illidan is likely coming back. Chris Metzen recently tweeted, ”No. I think there’s a spark of him out there somewhere… Muahaha…” in response to someone asking if Illidan’s return referred to his appearance in the 4.3 dungeons. With, or prior to Illidan’s return, will Demon Hunters be a new class? Or will their theme be absorbed into Warlocks? What was the purpose of laying all this foundation in Cataclysm and dropping hints in Mists of Pandaria? While this is all speculation based on hints dropped in-game the last couple of years, we may find out in a few weeks with the upcoming expansion reveal at Blizzcon. Perhaps “The Dark Below” will be revealed, giving us further details.
THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS HEAVY SPOILERS AND ME LORE-NERD-ING ABOUT THEM. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
First of all, I must give credit to Availed on Anvilmar-US for the world first Garrosh defeat, Apophasis for the first horde Garrosh defeat, and Silencer for uploading the following videos.
Now, in a first for Blizzard, upon defeating Garrosh, the raid receives a different cinematic depending on their faction. Each version has a scene unique to the Horde/Alliance showing their perspective on what should happen after Garrosh’s defeat.
Hi readers and welcome to my first editorial type article. With the release of Patch 5.4′s trailer (see it here if you haven’t already), the debate on whether or not Blizzard is biased towards the Horde in content development has risen again. Its a subject that really came to a head with the release of Cataclysm, enough so that Blizzard actually had Dave Kosak make a blog post, “Dev Watercooler: Faction Favoritism“. It was very negatively received, and in fact was seen by many as further proof there was faction bias favoring the Horde enough to be detrimental to the Alliance among Blizzard’s developers. So, does this faction favoritism really exist? Is Blizzard ignoring half their playerbase because they can’t muster the effort to to create content for a faction they don’t like? Or is this all overblown outcry from WoW’s notoriously unpleaseable fanbase?
Blizzard has just released the trailer for Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar and it is amazing! Probably my favorite patch trailer they’ve ever done. We see exactly how the Vale of Eternal Blossoms became corrupted, and a showdown between Taran Zhu and Garrosh that’s been a long time coming. Let’s just say it doesn’t end too well for one of them.
Now that you’ve watched it, lets discuss something I found interesting about this trailer: Garrosh’s reason for destroying the Vale. He claims “the heart thirsts”, and this along with several quotes datamined from the actual Garrosh fight allows us to draw the conclusion that the heart of Y’Shaarj is directly telling Garrosh what to do. This of course opens a can of worms in regards to what is really going on here, and who exactly is in charge. Dave Kosak has been adamant that Garrosh is not corrupted, he is fully in control of his actions here, and yet the heart is giving him directions.
What can we take from this? There is of course the idea that yes, Garrosh is corrupted if he’s taking instructions from an old god, but there’s another, perhaps more chilling idea. Could Garrosh be listening to Y’Shaarj and fulfilling the hearts will for his own gain, of his own free will? In other words, is he the one controlling Y’Shaarj? Y’Shaarj is in a state of existence we haven’t seen any old gods in before, a “dead dead” state according to Blizzard. Perhaps he is weaker, unable to corrupt someone as strong-willed as Garrosh, allowing the Warchief to use an old god as a tool. The idea of a mere mortal controlling an old god is a tantalizing one, and assuming this is what Blizzard was going for, I’d love to see it explored further.
Blizzplanet and several fansites had the opportunity to interview the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria developers. In our case, I interviewed lead content designer Cory Stockton to talk about the Siege of Orgrimmar, and the Timeless Isle.
Some of the questions came from members of the Scrolls of Lore forums, including The RedShirtGuy (known as Insane Guy of Doom).
Note: Uploading video # 1 of 2 in about an hour from now.
Interview – Part 1
I added subtitle captions directly into the YouTube video. Click the (cc) icon in the embeded video to enable it. Transcript can be found below after the video. There are potential spoilers in the video (gameplay and a couple quests in the Timeless Isle), thus watch at your own discretion. Otherwise, the transcript is available.
Hi everyone! I am Tomas Hernandez also known as Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet.com
Today I have the honor to interview Cory Stockton, the lead content designer for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
Hi Cory, welcome to Blizzplanet!
Cory: Hi, How are you doing?
Fine. My first question will likely make you sweat a little bit.
I’m beginning with two questions submited by the Red Shirt Guy. Uh-oh! (laughs)
So here we go. In Patch 5.2 there was a ton of build up for the Throne of Thunder outside the raid dungeon itself. There was a server effort going from Stage 1 to Stage 5. What was the reason behind this direction of not building up toward the Siege of Orgrimmar in Patch 5.4?
Cory: We’ve been planning Throne of Thunder and Lie Shen and that concept for a long time and we really felt like there was a ton of value in explaining the background story behind the mogu.
The mogu were one of the key enemies that we’ve created for Pandaria. We just felt like there is a ton to exploit there a lot of great opportunity to do unique boss fights that really fit with the kit that we were shooting for.
And I think in general it all played in to the concept that of what Garrosh was trying to do with the Horde, with him trying to gain control — essentially he was trying to gain control of the mogu as well, to use them. He didn’t succeed, obviously, but I think — be able to explain these concepts behind that was all valuable stuff to us. We really feel like it was one of the greatest raids that we’ve made along with — you know — the island and everything that went along with it.
We learned a ton … from the questing and the style of stuff that we did there — but we really felt like that was, at that time, that was the direction we really thought like that was the right way to go.
I don’t think we have any regrets about choosing to focus on the Thunder King.
Why aren’t the worgen nor the draenei involved in the Siege of Orgrimmar? Both have involved in the Siege of Orgrimmar? Both have their own reasons to drop the hammer on Garrosh.
Cory: I mean, in theory, everyone have their own reasons why they want to take out Garrosh. If he’s able to complete the plans that he is, as you has seen, what he is building up to do … Basically, Garrosh could destroy all of Azeroth if he’s got the power that he’s trying to get.
So I think that’s generally what we’re trying to get across. Obviously, some people have more personal vendettas against him (what he is doing), but in general all the races of Azeroth really should feel like he’s a giant threat that they need to take him out.
And, hopefully, we made that clear through the patch cycle leading up to this.
Is the Mogu Rune of Fate going to work on Siege of Orgrimmar, or will players use a new type of token for free loot roll? Actually, I found Mogu Runes of Fate in the Timeless Isle in the PTR.
Cory: I believe the current plan is to keep Mogu Runes of Fate. I don’t think that’s changing. We can confirm that, but I’m pretty sure that’s not changing them that’s why you are seeing them drop on the Timeless Isle.
Last minute changes: Mogu Runes of Fate can be found on the Timeless Isle, but Warforged Seals will be the new currency for bonus rolls in Siege of Orgrimmar. As with previous tiers, Lesser Charms of Good Fortune will be used to obtain Warforged Seals from the weekly quest NPC. For players still running Throne of Thunder for loot in patch 5.4, we’ve added several new ways to obtain Mogu Runes of Fate for bonus rolls, including throughout the Timeless Isle.
Are we going to see new recipe loot for professions in Siege of Orgrimmar? Like a new shield from Blacksmiths, new inscriptions — or something like that?
Cory: Yea, there is new recipes all across the patch and lots of different areas. There are stuff that drops from the raid.
There’s stuff that you can find as outdoor world drops. There’s things that you can buy. There’s a pretty massive selection of new stuff that is coming in 5.4; and spread across a lot of places, but yea, you’ll definitely get some out of the raid.
Currently in the PTR, Vereesa and Aethas Sunreaver seem to have placeholder armor. Are they getting a new model or new armor for the Siege of Orgrimmar?
Cory: At this point, I do not think, most of the art that is in for patch 5.4 is in at this point. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any — there might be some late updates that are coming but mostly what you see now should be what the final art is going to be.
What’s the reasoning for the developers to go with Gamon as part of Siege of Orgrimmar, and not have Alliance NPCs for Alliance players, specificly like Admiral Taylor vs Nazgrim, or Varian and players versus Garrosh.
Cory: I mean, I don’t think we’ve a specific reason necessarily other than the fact that we thought that character really fit as far as like what we were trying to get across for players for what they are doing.
I don’t think we have any sort of agenda that we’re trying to say, we are trying to say, you know, we’re building something specificly for Horde, or specificly for Alliance. We try to make sure that our content is appealing
to both factions.
Obviously, we’re raiding Orgrimmar here so there’s going to be some stuff that’s more unique to that, but in general — you know — we try to take these things into account to make sure that we’ve things that players from both factions can enjoy and feel that they fit into the game for them.
Each raid usually has a brand-new boss mechanics. Something new that you consider exciting in this patch?
Cory: There’s way too many brand-new raid mechanics to even pick. One unique fight – I mean there are a massive amount of bosses in this raid and a ton of new artwork.
Gameplay-wise, we are doing a lot of new stuff here but that’s going to be for players to figure out when they get in there and actually fight the fights.
Are there any drastic permanent changes to happen to Orgrimmar after the Siege — considering Theramore is a crater? Or even a new Horde capital to replace Orgrimmar?
Cory: You are not going to see anything dramaticly right away. We might end up doing some changes to Orgrimmar over time.
As things move forward and the story develops. There’s still a lot of things to be figured out when 5.4 comes out, and the story plays out for players.
I think then we’ll have a better sense of what we want to do; but there isn’t going to be any dramatic changes to Orgrimmar right away.
There is no particular daily quest hubs in the Timeless Isle. Some are found through exploration. What purpose the development team has for the Timeless Isle from its early concept to its current state?
Cory: The reason why you’re seeing that is because our big concept there is “discovery.” And allowing players to discover and find things on their own on the Timeless Isle that’s why there’s so many rares, there’s unique treasure chests, there’s tons of stuff all over the island for players to find and we very intentionally did not direct players to these things by daily quests and stuff like that, because we wanted to really explore the option of doing things that are much more exploration for the players.
It feels like a sense of discovery we do have a few simple quests there to kinda introduce people to the island, and guide them around and encourage them to check out the new places. But those are just single one time quests. We don’t have a daily quest chain. That’s very much specificly on purpose to try this new kind of style out.
Should fans bother exploring under the water?
Cory: There is some stuff … I mean, the majority of the content is on the island proper, but there are definitely things to be found off the shore around the island.
I found some stuff underneath the water, near boats. So it was cool.
Cory: Yea, I know. There are definitely some stuff in the water; but we know that water doesn’t always provides the best gameplay experience for WoW.
But in some cases, we just love the fact that it changes the environment up a little bit, and it let us ### that we can’t do elsewhere like for example the sunken ships
Is the Timeless Isle content aimed as an intro to patch 5.5? Or even the next expansion?
Cory: No. I mean, the Timeless Isle is really its own unique piece of content. Obviously, we’re offering the raid for our raiding players while in the Timeless Isle is single-player all the way up to raid content.
There’s tons of things you can solo in the island; but there’s also things that require a group, that require all the way up to like huge world bosses that require tons and tons of people. So really that’s kind of like we see it as the plate of content. We’ve got stuff for our raiding more hardcore of players, and then we’ve got stuff for solo players as well.
I really like what I have seen so far. There’s an exciting, and random way to gear up alt level 90 characters in the Timeless Isle. What motivated you to include these gear in randomly spawned chests rather than using Justice Points or other currency?
Cory: I think it just goes on with our idea where we are trying to try new things on the island and really get a vibe for something that doesn’t feel so grindy, necessarily and can feel like — “oh man, I just found this, this is a super-exciting moment. I found a chest, I don’t know what’s in it. I’m going to open it. It could have something awesome.”
Versus the idea of kind of like looong … sloooww … slug — that you know will end, and it’s a great item for you to get, but the process of going to do that might not be as fun.
It was kinda fun, because I was killing some frogs; and suddenly, I saw this chest and I clicked it and “Wow! I have an account-bound gear to send to my alt.” I was like: “Oh, my gah!”
Cory: Yea. It’s a cool feeling. We want to make sure that people get a chance to find — I think WoW over the years has developed to place that is not as much of that sense of awesome discovery, and I know I keep repeating that, but It’s like we’ve lost some of that. There’s always something in the map that tells you where to go.
There’s always a quest that tells you what to do.
It’s not really a cave anymore that you can go and actually think that you are gonna find something cool in there, that is hidden. And I think that’s really the key; and the point of the Timeless Isle is for people to get out there and just explore it. Find out what’s there.
Check it out, and you never know what you are going to find.
Interview – Part 2
The second part of the interview deals with Flexible Raid, Connected Realms, PvP and Pet Battles Tournament. Nice description of Pet Battles. Every week random rotation of bosses.
The Proving Grounds is a new feature Blizzard Entertainment is introducing in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.4.
The Proving Grounds allow players at level 90 to test their mettle as either Tank, DPS or Healer.
There are three types of Proving Grounds: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each type increases the difficulty level and each one reduces the countdown time.
Some of these tests are truly insane and require a lot of concentration, skills, and swiftness. Overall, a lot of patience too as you might have to start all over again if you fail.
To start go to the Golden Terrace (Shrine of the Two Moons|Horde) or to the Summer Terrace (Shrine of the Seven Stars|Alliance) in the Vale of Eternal Bloosoms, and look out for Trial Master Rotun. It’s the same NPC on both factions. Horde and Alliance players may queue with this NPC to enter the Proving Grounds scenario.
Proving Grounds Instructor
Trial Master Rotun: Are you ready to begin the trials?
Bubble option: (Enter the Proving Grounds)
Note: Clicking this option queues the player to enter the Proving Grounds scenario. It is a round room, and mobs are static, standing still on the same spot — there is an exception at Gold trials.
The player is teleported into the Proving Grounds scenario where Trial Master Rotun can begin the trial once the player is ready to start the event.
TIP: Before you start the Proving Grounds trial, take a look near Trial Master Rotun. You will see Nadaga Soulweaver. Click the fountain next to her to loot a Healthstone. Near her is Mystic Quillstar – a grummle who provides Arcane Reforger services. Finally, players will find Furnisher Echoroot – a grummle who provides Training Supplies. Among these supplies are Tome of the Clear Mind which is used to reset specific talent tree’s talents. He also sells water and food. Some of these with buff properties.
Blizzard Entertainment released an interesting oriental-art-styled animation by Blizzard concept artist Laurel Austin featuring the moment the last emperor of Pandaria, Shaohao, consulted the Great Waterspeaker elder about his future as emperor.
The waterspeeker peered into the future and saw the arrival of the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients — 10 milennia ago.
Blizzard mentioned this is but the first of a series of six dramatic shorts we will see in YouTube. Read below my personal speculation.
The Burdens of Shaohao – Prelude: The Vision
In a new series of six dramatic shorts, we travel back to the time of the last pandaren emperor, a golden age before the land was enveloped by mist.
Ten thousand years ago in the ancient empire of Pandaria, Emperor Shaohao asked the Great Waterspeaker to peer into his future. What did the rippling waters foretell? Journey into Pandaria’s history in “The Burdens of Shaohao Prelude: The Vision.”
“Six dramatic shorts” … Now that’s certainly a curious thing. I will tell you why. Players who delved into the Lorewalkers faction’s reputation scavenger hunt for scrolls of lore know [the story] of the Emperor of Shaohao — follow the link to read Blizzplanet’s compendium.
One might argue Blizzard is going to showcase that entire story in this six-part dramatic shorts. It is certainly a possibility. It’s official each short will be posted once a day for the next five days.
Patch 5.4 is in PTR right now, and might hit live servers in September. Patch 5.4 Siege of Orgrimmar features the Timeless Isle — off the southeastern coast of the Jade Forest.
The Bronze Dragonflight are bunching up at the Timeless Isle because it is an enigma to them. A dangerous one. Prince Anduin and Wrathion are there too. I recently [posted] video and a transcript of the dialogues.
According to Timekeeper Kairoz the Timeless Isle might be a byproduct of the first invasion of the Burning Legion upon Azeroth:
Time Keeper Kairoz: Time is frozen in perpetuity. Cause and effect – rendered all but meaningless.
Prince Anduin: What could create such a thing?
Time Keeper Kairoz: I should like to find out! Perhaps it is related to the mists? Or the power that was unleashed in the sundering ten thousand years ago? We must investigate!”
To me the Timeless Isle sounds like the trigger for the next expansion. Usually there is a world event a week or two prior to the next expansion. We are still at least a year away from that, but the Timeless Isle seems to be the prelude to the return of the Burning Legion.
Even more intriguing is the fact that Emperor Shaohao is at the Timeless Isle too. Those who missed the return of Emperor Shaohao, he appears in an achievement quest introduced in Patch 5.3 Escalation. Check out Blizzplanet’s Patch 5.3 Escalation compendium for the quest The Old Seer.
Why is Emperor Shaohao at the Timeless Isle?
It is unknown at the moment, but maybe listening to his last words in Patch 5.3 Escalation might shed some light.
Shaohao: Beware of Pride! Be humble! The world is plunging into chaos. Old enemies must work together. Proud races must admit they need help. Things are going to get worse before they get better. Only by working together can we overcome the darkness. All that stands in our way… is pride.
Blizzard Entertainment doesn’t spend time and resources on a short animation for giggles. The previous short was Diablo III: Wrath (May 8, 2012) released 7 days before the launch of Diablo III.
Thus, it is possible this shaohao six-part short is leading up to something in the near future as a sort of countdown to something Blizzard Entertainment wishes to reveal.
The Timeless Isle is obviously involved somehow with the Burning Legion. To put it simple, the Timeless Isle is stuck in time exactly as it was ten thousand years ago. Some demons might be in the Timeless Isle, or maybe the Timeless Isle might become as a bridge between the present and the past — which is a no good thing. Something might happen there that might lead up to the world event before the next expansion.
It is no longer a secret the next expansion deals with the return of the Burning Legion. Wrathion has openly announced his vision in the Legendary Questline – “A Legend in the Making”. Watch the video showing his vision of the future.
We have got official data from Blizzard Entertainment concerning the new Patch 5.4 RPPM changes made to several Throne of Thunder iLevel 528 quality items, Legendary Crown of Heaven Meta Gems, Trinkets, Wrathion’s Legendary Questline Cloaks, and these RPPM changes even affect (permanent) Enchanting proc/stats for weapons.
The list below shows the RPPM changes. “Budget” in this list is definted as accounting for the item budget difference between a standard ilevel and the ilevel of the item in question. The standard ilevel for Throne of Thunder trinket is 528. The standard ilevel for the legendary cloak is 600.
Watcher Alundra: You have found your way to the Timeless Isle, (class). The Bronze Dragonflight is keen to investigate the mysteries of this place, but the island is dangerous, and we will need your help.
Mid-way down this beach, you will find a paved path to the east.
It will lead you to the ancient Celestial Court. You will find Kairoz there, one of the Keepers of Time that we are working with.
Kairoz will answer any questions you might have. Be careful: The way may not be safe.
Speak with Kairoz on the Timeless Isle.
Time Keeper Kairoz: Ah! Well met, (name)!
I was told you would be coming, but had not expected you so soon.
… or has it been a long while? It is difficult to tell, here.
So! Shall we begin?
Prince Anduin: What IS this place?
Time Keeper Kairoz: A pandaren enigma, my young prince! A mystery in the mists.
Prince Anduin: I’ve been here for hours and the sun hasn’t moved…
Time Keeper Kairoz: Exactly. Time is frozen in perpetuity. Cause and effect – rendered all but meaningless.
Prince Anduin: What could create such a thing?
Time Keeper Kairoz: I should like to find out! Perhaps it is related to the mists? Or the power that was unleashed in the sundering ten thousand years ago? We must investigate!
Prince Anduin: Is it dangerous?
Time Keeper Kairoz: Indeed. This place overturns our very notion of time, and how it shapes the universe. Stranded on this island you will find the most dangerous creatures in all of Pandaria. Explore if you must, Prince Anduin. But be cautious.