Showing posts with label PreLichKing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PreLichKing. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Lich King and the Alpha Map

Last week I posted pictures of each of the world maps showing the changes with each expansion. (By the way, the source for the Wrath of the Lich King Map is the Artwork on the Official Expansion Website.)

Then keen eyes at WoWInsider noticed changes to the continents. (Check out their post to see the outlined comparison.) Next, a few other sites around the world picked up the link and little ol' CasualWoW was visited by thousands of readers who wanted to see the map comparison.

But some astute responses to those links recognized that the differences resembled the old Alpha Map of WoW. (Examples in the Insider comments.)

So, let's see how those maps compare (please ignore the color change in the Burning Crusade iteration, that's due to my system):

The Eastern Kingdoms:


The end result indicates that those readers were right. The Wrath of the Lich King map is a modification of the Alpha map and not the Burning Crusade map. (I would particularly note the penciled in mountain ridges.)

So is it just the result of sloppy map making... the old copy/paste mistake? Or could it actually be insight into future content? I think it's a both. Here's why:

It's a mistake:
  • I haven't read a single Wrath of the Lich King Preview that mentions any new areas except within Northrend.
  • If it's related to new content, all the edits should be adds. However, there are two Kalimdor bumps that are missing (~Silithus & ~Stonetalon areas).
  • One commenter on the WoW Insider post identified the two islands by Stranglethorn Vale as joke islands - one named "Gillijim's Isle."
  • Blizzard does not give a lot of attention to keeping maps up to date.
    Even today if you visit the official World of Warcraft website to see map information you'll see the old map.

  • And I mean the old old map. It's the Alpha Map the commenters pointed out in the WoW Insider post comments.... still on the official website. Take a look:

    Similarly, 7 months after the release of the Burning Crusade expansion, the official flash map site still says, "This map hasn't been updated for the Burning Crusade. We hope to update it soon."
    So I feel confident in saying that keeping-up-to-date-maps has not been a Blizzard priority.

    "Hey, intern-in-charge-of-map-making..."
    "Yes, sir, Mr. senior Blizzard employee?"
    "After you make the Lich King map just go ahead and load that baby onto the website."
    "Don't you want to check it first? I mean it's the same map they're going to use at Blizzcon?"
    "No, no, young intern, I'm sure it's fine as long as it has the new areas from the Burning Crusade and the Lich King expansions. No quality checking needed. If anybody has a problem, we'll just call it an 'artist's rendition.'"

    Copy/Paste issue aside, it may still relate to unreleased content:
    ... just much later than Lich King.

    If this were Lich King content the conversation would have gone like this:

    "Hey intern-in-charge-of-map-making..."
    "Yes, sir, Mr. senior Blizzard employee?"
    "When you make the Lich King map, save yourself some time by updating the Alpha map instead of the Burning Crusade map. Then you won't have to add back in all those pesky new islands and shorelines, which we totally intend on releasing on or before the Lich King expansion."

    Unlikely, but some of those Alpha Map features do look like they're part of the lore, particularly the islands.

    Blizzplanet discusses the Islands on the map using information they learned from Warcraft Role Playing books like Warcraft Lands Of Mystery.

    Another BlizzPlanet post has a screencaptured map from the behind the scenes DVD:

    The World of Warcraft Collector's Edition Behind the Scenes DVD shows within the Art and Design section, a series of slideshows while the Developers talked about their work.

    And in one screen shot?.... a map. Check out their post to see it. Note - There are significant areas in their map (aka Undermine) that will likely show up in much later expansions. However, you do see some less significant areas, such as the small islands off of Stranglethorn Vale that might show up in future content, as Northrend apparently will.

    For a map that shows these smaller islands in more detail check out wowwiki's South Seas map; just make sure you compare it to the the map of the joke islands.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    Proposed Vendor Changes from Blizzcon

    I do not like it, Sam I am,
    I do not like this new Vendor Plan...

    The Proposed Change:
    In a quote at IGN:

    Another will be made to items available from vendors, helping add to the overall game. Blizzard doesn't really enjoy the current system in place, where players can buy a batch of items and wait for the respawn to occur at a predetermined time and buy some more. What they're aiming to do is tweak things to where blue and purple recipes show up with a given vendor to add a surprise when the given item pops up. This is system is shooting to be totally random, so players cant really hang around the vendor or show up at a given time to buy a recipe, making it that much more difficult to camp and be the first to buy the item, but it's sounding like that there's a lot of potential for players to turn these rare items into a monopoly on the auction house, so we'll have to wait and see how Blizzard pulls this initiative off.

    From WoW Insider's Professions and Items Live Blog:

    Vendors: camping vendors for limited quantity items isn't fun. We're not going to really do that anymore.
    Vendors are going to have this new awesome list of loot: blue loot, purple loot -- it will show up rarely but it is shared across all of them. So when you go to a vendor, there could just be some awesome item on there, just waiting to be bought.
    It will be random enough so that you won't be able to guess. (applause)

    The Vendor Game:
    So why don't I like this change? For reasons such as these Commercial Breaks:

    (* That joke still cracks me up.)

    You see, I enjoyed conquering this part of the game through a different kind of skill: research. I would find special NPCs through something like Thottbot like this:

    Select a Zone then click to find the "Vendors:"

    Then one by one, check out each vendor to see if he/she had a "limited supply" of a good recipe and then, if it was a vendor I could get to safely (Frost Oil was always a pain), buy it for self or for resale:

    There was already a certain degree of randomness to it because of the respawn time. (i.e. Once something with a limited supply ran out, you had to wait for it to respawn which could be hours or days, I never knew. The comments on Thottbot are filled with players who felt cheated when they got to the vendor and found he's out of stock.)

    This Player's Experience:
    I had a good time with this mini-game. Yes, I sold either the recipe or its progeny for a reasonable profit - that was the fun. I never really ran into players' camping a vendor, but then I wasn't really after much of the really hard to get stuff. So perhaps my experience wasn't representative. But I will still mourn a bit for this fond little part of the game if/when it goes.

    Note to self - Next MMO - find a game where I can participate more in the economy.

    Related Posts:

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    Inscription Quote Compilation

    Note - For the more recent October 2008 Inscription post click here. Otherwise - the rest of this post will tell you what we knew about Inscription BEFORE it was released.

    The following are a collection of quotes I've been able to collect regarding the new World of Warcraft Inscription Profession:

    From the Expansion Press Release:

    "Inscription" Profession: Learn this exciting new profession and gain unique ways to permanently enhance spells and abilities in the game.

    From the Expansion FAQ:

    What can you reveal about the new profession coming with the expansion?
    The Inscription profession will allow players to permanently enhance their own spells and abilities and those of other players. You can think of it as enchanting for your spells and abilities. We'll provide more specific details on the mechanics of this new profession in the months ahead.

    From the WoW Insider Liveblogging Post on Professions and Items:

    Q: Will Inscriptions be like enchanting or have items for Ah? same with dying armor?
    A: No plans to dying armor. Inscriptions will be items.

    Q. Inscription system -- will switching to it mean having to do noob things to level up?
    A: Inscription - haven't determined how it will work out. Been brainstorming how to make all professions easier to switch to for higher levels.

    From the WoW Insider Liveblogging Post on The Wrath of the Lich King Demo:

    Inscription example: modify existing spells and abilities. Fireball, for instance, can inscribe it to perhaps have knockback or further damage.

    From Kotaku's "More Details" Article:

    Wrath of the Lich King will introduce a new profession called Inscription that will let players customize individual spells and abilities in their spell book -- to change the cooldown timer on a Fireball, for example, or alter the crit rate of a healing spell.

    Update 8/7/07:
    With the announcement of the Inscription profession, there's still a lot of information left to be conveyed, so Blizzard shared a few tidbits with the audience. This new profession will allow for people to imbue a characters spells and abilities with an extra zing, almost acting as a single talent point for each of your abilities. Whether it's sinister strike, multishot or a frostbolt, you'll be able to tweak every last ability. Inscribers will also have a new ability that hasn't really been talked about before, allowing them to create completely new items. Though the panelists couldn't talk about it just yet, there will be a whole other side to inscription rather than just altering your spells and abilities. When it comes to inscribing abilities for other people, the inscriptions themselves will be scroll based, so players can put up an inscription scroll on the auction house, allowing others to buy and upgrade their arsenal at their leisure.

    Update 9/28/07:
    From: Page 3 of Games for Windows Wrath of the Lich King Article

    New Profession: Inscription
    Burning Crusade introduced Jewelcrafting, which allowed players to customize their gear; Wrath's new profession, Inscription, lets you customize the abilities and skills in your spellbook. "You're permanently changing your spell kit," says lead game designer Tom Chilton. "You might find a couple different recipes to inscribe your Fireball with increased crit chance, or increased damage, or faster cast time, or lower mana cost -- so it's almost like a talent system within the profession system. Only it's more based around choices you make for an individual spell rather than affecting your character as a whole." Unlike Enchanters, Inscribers will be able to sell physical product (creating tradeable "scrolls," for example, from ink, paper, and other reagents). Only a handful of core spells will be customizable in this fashion. Don't expect to extend the range of your Priest's Mind Vision; do expect to extend the duration of your Hunter's Freezing Trap.

    Update 12/25/2007:
    From WoWBlues - A response like many when forum posters ask for more information on inscription

    I know a lot of people are looking forward to hearing about this new profession, but we have no details to share right now. Building a whole profession from the group up takes a lot of work, especially so since this affects players' spells. A lot of changes and updates would need to occur for us to get it where we want it so until we have reached a point like that, we don't have anything else beyond the small amount of information we've shared so far.

    Please continue to be patient and we will discuss information on this when they are ready.

    Update 2/8/2008:
    From WoWInsider

    "The idea behind it is to give players even more specialisation options beyond the talent trees," explains Kaplan in a manner that would bamboozle the WOW-phobic to death." As a possible example, a mage could have their Frost Nova enhanced for either greater range or longer snare duration - our intention is to provide viable options rather than one 'best' Inscription for each modifiable spell or ability."

    Keep these links in mind for future updated information:

  • WoWInsider's Posts labeled "Inscription"
  • The Official Wrath of the Lich King Home Page
  • Check out what Blue Posts in the forum use the word "inscription" at WoWBlues
  • Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Northrend "Easter" Egg

    Personally I think Blizzard wanted us to find this little homage because the Artwork Page led me right to it.

    Given the artwork of the Walrus creature and the Moai-like Statues they really led us to this mental image:

    Then all it took was one jump to the Wikipedia Page on the Moai Statues to see this resemblance in the shape of the new continent in the Wrath of the Lich King Map to The Island of Rapa Nui, aka "Easter Island."

    How Could I Not

    Given the Lich King artwork included This Snowy Landscape...
    ... and quotes like:

    Our goal is to not have an entire expansion that takes place in the snow.
    Source: WoWInsider

    ... how could I not do this kind of Photoshopping:

    'Cause darnit, I would play on Hoth!

    Friday, August 03, 2007

    Wrath of the Lich King Resources

    Today at Blizzcon, Blizzard announced the Next World of Warcraft Expansion: "The Wrath of the Lich King."

    The 10 second lowdown is as follows:

    • No Release Date or Pricing Set
    • No New Races
    • Level Cap will be 80
    • New Death Knight Hero Class
    • New "Inscription" Profession
    • New Northrend Continent

    A little more info via an excerpt from Blizzard's Press Release:
    • Death Knight Hero Class: Create a high-level Death Knight character -- the game's first hero class -- once certain challenges have been met.
    • Increased Level Cap: Advance to level 80 and gain potent new talents and abilities along the way.
    • Northrend: Explore the harsh new continent of Northrend, packed with new zones, quests, dungeons, monsters, and items -- and do battle with the undead armies of the Lich King.
    • "Inscription" Profession: Learn this exciting new profession and gain unique ways to permanently enhance spells and abilities in the game.
    • Siege Weapons and Destructible Buildings: Take the battle to another level with new player-vs.-player game mechanics and new battlefields to wage war on.
    • New Character Customization: Change how characters look and express themselves, with different hairstyles and dance animations.

    For more information you may want to visit the following links:
  • Official Wrath of the Lich King Website including the FAQ (some parts under construction)
  • WoWInsider's Wrath of the Lich King Posts (continuously being updated)
  • Very Nice Bulleted Summary from MMO-Champion
  • WoWWiki's Expansion Page
  • World of Warcraft Maps

    The Original World of Warcraft Map:

    The World of Warcraft Map after the Burning Crusade Expansion:

    The World of Warcraft Map after the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion: