Saturday, November 4, 2017

WoW lore for Jaina and Sylvanas in preparation for Battle for Azeroth

(Here's a quick post I've put together for reference)

Best resource for all the WoW lore in chronological order:
I've put this list together from the BlizzardWatch post.
If there's new lore added outside of the main game, their list will be the best reference to check out - they make sure to keep it updated.

Both Jaina and Sylvanas lore starts during the Third War (aka Warcraft III).

JAINA lore

  • Warcraft III - the game. If you just want the story, check out this YT video ( If you want full understanding, I recommend watching the entire thing. For Jaina-specific bits, check out the Human Campaign (from 10:24 to 35:25) the Orc Campaign (from 1:32:32 to 2:12:32) and the Founding of Orgrimmar (starts at 3:59:27). That last bit of story will be critical backstory for Battle for Azeroth.
  • Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden (novel). A few in-depth chapters of Jaina's relationship with him.
  • Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido (novel). A lot of Jaina story.
  • World of Warcraft: The Comic (comic). Jaina appears in a few story moments and "fixes" the Varians. It's TLDR'ed in later novels - can be skipped.
  • The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm by Christie Golden (novel). She has bits throughout the novel.
  • Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War by Christie Golden (novel). Crucial story to understand her change from peacemaker to wanting the Horde dead.
  • Dawn of the Aspects, parts 1-5 by Richard A. Knaak (novel). Appears in little moments because of "boyfriend issues".
  • War Crimes by Christie Golden (novel). A direct continuation of her story from Tides of War.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Legion quick leveling tips

Leveling in the Legion expansion is not complicated as long as you keep focus on what gives you the most experience points.
You get yourself started correctly and you'll fall into a groove that's easy to follow and getting to level 110 will be done in no time.
So here's a bunch of tips!
  • When you get to your class hall, your first dilemma is choosing your questing zones.
    Pick Azsuna and Val'sharrah first and foremost.
    They are the shortest zones, you move a lot, and unlocking the Tear of Elune in Val'sharrah is a requirement for a quest chain at level 110 (text) and to unlock an artifact appearance.
    After that, you can pick Highmountain or Stormheim at your leisure.
  • Towards the end of each questing zone you'll pick up the breadcrumb quest to send you into a 5-man dungeon of the area. That quest gives you a ginormous amount of experience, so queue for it as soon as you get it.
  • Once you complete enough of your order hall chain, Khadgar gives you the A Falling Star quest chain – do it. It unlocks a quest chain at max level, you get a lot of XP from doing this, and you get to hang out with Velen, which doesn't happen often in this game.
  • At level 101, you get a class hall quest chain that ends up in unlocking your first 2 followers.
    As soon as you unlock followers, choose one to be your bodyguard.
    They help you beat stuff, they give you buffs or an extra ability.
  • As a general rule of thumb, every time you get a level in Legion content, it's best to go do a little check-up of Dalaran and your class hall in case some new quests are available.
    In the case of your class hall, the quests are either going to be to unlock a new follower or to acquire a new artifact weapon, which are both equally important to unlock your full class hall storyline. They give good experience, so might as well do them.
  • If you have crafting professions, you're going to have quests in Dalaran.
    If you have gathering professions, just pick stuff up in whatever zone you are and you'll eventually end up looting some quest items that will start quest chains.
    Whichever quests they are, they give good experience and more rewards, so get them done.
    Secondary profession quests for cooking and first aid will find their way to you normally, don't go out of your way looking for them. (Archaeology quests are only found at max level)
  • If there's a Legion Invasion happening on the Broken Isles (look at your map of the Broken Isles and check if there's a green swirly icon over a zone), get yourself over there ASAP and complete those world quests.
    They give a ridiculous amount of experience that boost your character faster than anything else.
  • And finally, if you're ever in an area with a Bonus Objective to complete, take the time to complete that – it's easy experience to compliment the quests you're doing.

So here's your leveling priority list:
  1. Legion Invasions
  2. Class Hall quests
  3. A Falling Star quest chain
  4. Legion dungeon quests
  5. Profession quests
  6. Regular Broken Isles zone questing

If you keep your focus on these priorities, you'll never run out of things to do, leveling will be a breeze and you'll reach level 110 really quickly.

At which point you'll be able to unlock Broken Isles world quests, the breadcrumb quest to unlock Suramar (text), the Broken Shore (text) (which can be skipped through a dialogue option with Khadgar) and then Argus (text).

Also, bonus points for you if you're offline or at work and you use Blizzard's Legion app so you can send your followers on missions that can give you extra experience.

And don't forget that the perfect time to level a character is during Darkmoon Faire week at the beginning of the month (check your in-game calendar) where you can grab your 60 minute 10% experience buff (WHEE!) from the carousel.

Have fun and enjoy Legion!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Blizzcon 2015 Charity Dinner

Blizzcon 2015 was my:
  • first trip alone
  • first trip outside of Canada since I was 16 years old
  • first airplane trip
  • first Blizzcon
That was a lot of firsts, but I did it and survived!

The whole experience was fascinating in many ways and I won't go into detail about it here because that would be boring.
So here's a few highlights:
  • Met a bunch of people I had only talked to on Twitter and made new online friends.
  • Met for the first time a guildie and friend that I met back in Vanilla.
  • Got to personally thank Dave Kosak for Mists of Pandaria.
  • Got a hug from Anne Stickney.
  • Got to talk to a bunch of developers (and had a bunch of opinions vindicated).
  • Got to make crowd voices for the upcoming Arena mode for Heroes of the Storm.
  • Was in the crowd for the Opening Ceremony.
  • Stuffed a delicious large wiener in my mouth, thanks to The Viking food truck.
What made the trip extra special is that after missing out on the regular admission tickets, I decided I had to go to Blizzcon that year by all means necessary, and that meant purchasing the expensive Charity dinner ticket.
Which I did because I had put money on the side in case that situation came to happen.

The Charity dinner

The main reason I'm writing this post is because I didn't find much information online about the Charity dinner event, so I didn't know what exactly I should expect and how to prepare myself accordingly.
So here's how it went.

(Keep in mind - this is what it was like for me at Blizzcon 2016 and I was told it was pretty much the same as the previous years, so they might pull a switcheroo in the future to refresh the formula.)

The setup

The reception was at one of the Hilton reception rooms, the typical big rectangular reception room you expect to see there.
Before entering, you had to be registered and get your Blizzcon badge manually verified at the entrance - just like most con-goers got checked during the day at the convention center.
And inside the room, you had lively music happening, the lighting was in hues of blue, and the place got pretty crowded in the first couple of hours.
You had a setup of little round tables with chairs spread around the edges of the room, and an open bar on 2 opposing sides.
And in the middle and the back of the room you had several tables with cold and warm good tasty foods. (Keep in mind that it's a charity event, so don't expect the cheap tasteless sandwiches.)
So it's a standing room kind of deal, with optional chairs here and there.

The crowd

As for the people - you have 3 types that show up there: the charity people, the devs and the players.
You'll spot the charity people very quickly as they overly dressed up as if it were a gala and feel a bit out of place from the thousands of con-goers that are crawling in the Hilton.
The devs are easy to identify as they either wear their special Blizzard-only shirts and/or wear a name tag.
Which leaves the rest of the people as players, and you have the usual representation of gamers - from regular people of all ages to the extremely stereotypical (there's not too many of them though).

I'm mentioning this because the question I frequently see online and don't see many answers for is: Is there a dress code?
The answer is there is no dress code.
But given the quick description of the peoples you'll find there, you can guesstimate that "not too casual wear" is what I saw people wear.
The stereotypical gamer dudes were wearing their worn-out black-turning-grey-from-over-washing gaming t-shirts, and the ones I was close to had elected to not shower that particular day.
Some people came really dressed up as if it was a gala.
Most people were casual chic.

The event

An hour after the event had started and all the people that had lined up were inside, the speeches happened, to thank everyone for being there, to remind everyone that their monetary contribution is going to an actual good cause, and to enjoy the evening. (With a special note to the introverted / not outgoing people not to hesitate to talk to any of the Blizzard people in the room. It may not seem like something important to note, but for socially awkward Me it was the gentle nudge that I needed.)

And that's the occasion to meet any of the Blizzard people you want to talk to.
You want to ask a question to a dev?
Don't want to feel the social pressure of managing to ask a question at a public and recorded Q&A?
Just... keep the forum-type questions in the forums - the guys there don't feel the need to be harassed about whiny complaints. (Or just turn your complaint into a "Can you explain why you...?" and there's more chance you'll get a genuine good response to that. It's communication basics to not be aggressive to the person who you're trying to get an answer from.)

I talked with Jason Huck, the campaign designer for Starcraft 2, and with Legacy of the Void coming the following week, it was the perfect guy to talk to.
He confirmed a bunch of information that I already knew, but I wanted an update on how things were working internally: how stories were created in Blizzard in general, how Starcraft stories were shaped and broken down into chapters, the difficulty of making interesting campaign scenarios, the value of multiplayer versus single-player campaign, etc.
I chatted for a while with Dustin Browder, lead designer on Heroes of the Storm, and found out we had a similar background in theater!
I also discovered that he's actually really cool and not at aaaaalllll like the person you see on stage at Blizzcons as it's the old theater reflexes coming in where you want to project your voice as much as you can if you're in front of a huge crowd (I can relate).
Had a quick chat with Josh Mosqueira, the then-lead designer for Diablo III, found out he worked in my town for 4 years and I geeked out a bit about the new Season 4 stuff (and made him really happy about a few points I brought up about the system).
I asked a bunch of tiny systems questions to Ben Brode and Jason Chayes (about the difficulty of the Blackrock Mountain adventure, and me asking about an in-game achievement system) and Yong Woo (about their automated testing systems, the possible pitfalls, and what happens when they encounter Turn 2 or 3 opponent-crushing combos).
I said hi to Nethaera, saw Ion Hazzikostas and Mike Morhaime but couldn't talk to either of them because a swarm of people were surrounding them constantly, and had a quick glimpse of the elusive Chris Metzen who showed up for 5 mins just 20 feet away from me and then disappeared from my view before I could end the conversation I was in.
There were a bunch of other devs that were walking around but I didn't get the opportunity or time to talk to them, but I've spent 4 hours there and most of it was spent in conversation with someone working at Blizzard.
It was worth all the Canadian money I've put into that ticket.

Here's another tip: if you see someone you want to talk to - go to them, because you never know if you'll spot them ever again in the evening or during Blizzcon.
The crazy thing about the Charity event is that is also happens typically the day before Blizzcon begins, which is also the day where all the big parties happen.
We had at the same time the Wowhead party, the Con Before the Storm party, the Blizzard Influencers party, and a couple of other significant ones that I don't remember.
So it'll naturally happen for someone to get bored of one party and naturally go to another where they have people they want to see or people that want to see them, etc.

And when you felt like leaving the event, you could grab your goody bag and print that were on a set of tables in one corner of the room where they were all piled up.

That's all I had to say about this!
Hope this is going to be something handy for anyone wondering what the Charity dinner is like.
If you've got the money to do it, it's totally worth it!