Pre-Cataclysm Worgen Review

December 5, 2010

The hour is almost upon us. Worgen will go live in less than 72 hours. The Beta has been closed down, the news releases have come and gone, level 80′s have their Justice points all stocked up . . . so what’s left? A quick review before the plunge, of course.

We also have some pre-Cataclysm worgen fan art on WoW’s new site:

The Worgen Are Doomed!

November 20, 2010

No, I have not been listening to my local doomsday cult too much. However, Blizzard’s recent devchat with Bestbuy gave us some more ‘official’ lore teasers that cannot be ignored. The implication is Darnassus (specifically, the Worgen District) is, at minimum, going to be receiving a big visit from Deathwing at some point in the near future. No, the city cannot get the ‘Stood In The Fire’ achievement, it doesn’t want one of those. But it will likely get one nonetheless. First up, let’s see some of the transcript, shall we? (pardon, these were cut and paste with no editing)

Will darnasus be re built to be a real tree or will it always look like a dead stump with trees at the top.
- …but now that Deathwing is doing his thing it makes much more sense than it used to! ;]
– Deathwing hates trees.

What happened with the Worgen district in Stormwind?
We decided it didn’t really fit very well, it was looking kind of awkwardly forced into the city. Plus deathwing would have destroyed it anwyays.

Okay, let’s let that sink in for a moment.  ‘Deathwing hates trees.’ and ‘Plus deathwing would have destroyed it anwyays.’ Now, from those two sentences, one cannot be blamed for being under the impression that Deathwing might just have it out for the Worgen race. Or Darnassus. Or both. Likely both. Blizzard is giving us a giant goblin signal flare that, yes, worgen are going to take it on the chin from the Big Bad Piano-playing Dragon. Will Deathwing play ‘em off? I certainly hope not, but it looks that way. Azeroth is going to get a major can of woopass anyway, so this could be a part of his entrance. But it could also mean more. We don’t know. And with the Worgen Doggy Tree setup in Delf Town, and the ‘Deathwing hates trees’ quip, I dunno. Blizzard is pointing to Darnassus and saying ‘bring some marshmellows, things are gonna get hot’. You tell me.

Druid
Is the Moonkin form for troll and worgen on the beta and ptr the final form or is it just a placeholder?
Final!

What. A. Bummer. The art department ran out of time to get Moonkin done in time for release. Not a shocker, I hate to say. Hopefully, we’ll see it later on in the expansion. With the new Moonkin pet and revised Drood forms, I believe we will. Eventually. You don’t redo Drood’s Tree form (with a shiny new COOLDOWN, ahem) and then NOT redo Moonkin. You just DO NOT do that to Droods, Blizz. I also hope the entire ‘cooldown’ thing stays with Tree of Life and DOES NOT spread like an evil alien virus to the other forms. NO. DO NOT WANT. Not cool. I get it that Blizz wants to give Resto Droods the chance to actually see themselves (and their Tier armor), and let others see them as well. But it SHOULD NOT BE for all forms. I’ll just put that out there for all worgen droods and hope we see some solidarity. DYSLEXIC NORGEW UNTIE! Hoo-ah!

Yes, this self-titled post is what it says it is. Pure awesome. Multiple videos are up from multiple sources, like WoWInsider, so we’re going direct to Youtube. Take it away, Sam:

Very, very nice, isn’t it? With this little release, we now know Blizz has a MASSIVE number of model revamps on the way, especially for droods. I figure we’ll see a revised aquatic form as well, what with all the underwater areas we’ll be going into (and underwater mounts like Abyssal Seahorses to boot). Worgen aquatic forms might look particularly dangerous (even though we can’t attack in said form), so I’m anxious to see what we get. This reveal also brings up other questions:

  • Will Blizzard do away with Drood travel form? Or will we get new models for those too?
  • What will the new Moonkin models look like? YEE! (yes, I said ‘YEE!)
  • Has anyone seen our regular flightform? We now have our epicz, but standard would be nice to see, too.

As always, keep your eyes peeled. We’re a month away from Cataclysm (if there are no delays) so expect more worgen news as we count down the clock.

I nominate this post for best subject line EVAR. Welcome, cats and kittens, to the news we’ve been waiting months for (well, some of us anyway) . . .the female worgen dance! And emotes! And transformation! And RUNNING WILD! (reveal: the female worgen dance is Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’)

Female Dance, emotes, casting animations

Female Transformation, Running Wild worgen mount

MALE Running Wild

I absolutely LOVE what the art department has done for Running Wild for both male and female worgen. Lemme quote Chris Metzen: You know it’s gonna be awesome!

My one and only gripe, and this is non-negotiable, Blizzard . . .  fix the snorting. No, claims to the contrary, that’s not sniffing, that’s snorting. We don’t sound like wolves, wolfmen, wolverines, or anything even remotely wolfish. Think pecary, piggish, ham, BACON. Yes, we sound like bacon on 4 legs. There, I said it. PLEASE FIX IT! It is one IRRITATING sound file, please don’t make us mute the entire game for it. I’m almost convinced someone put it in there as a joke, just to hear our QQ.

There is also some issues with the female running wild animation (spare arms and such), but that’s natural at this stage in the beta. I didn’t bother showing a recent youtube by the Cynical Brit with a very broken male worgen running wild animation. It wasn’t even textured right, you knew it was broken. So I waited until we had something working to show TODAY. Awesome, awesome, awesome! There are already comments on WoWInsider to the effect that some worgen players may never use another mount again. Yes, Running Wild is just that awesome. Now to figure out how to modify game sound files in case Blizzard gets lazy . . .

Many people are breathing a sigh of relief now that new updates are landing on the PTR for female worgen. It seems hair and ear style choices have arrived. Her eyebrows have also been changed so she doesn’t look so ‘chi-wow-ua’, as one commentator put it. It appears Blizzard is sampling reaction from the public on this before they release it. I like this process. Hairstyles are definitely riffing on the 80′s, with Tina Turner Thunderdome ferocity. Ear choices also vary widely too. If you don’t want bat ears, you’re good. If you want drooping ears, small ears, or fox ears, you’re set. If you want wide-angle, satellite receivers, you got ‘em. Having epic gear in the video doesn’t hurt either. Hair color does not appear to be in yet, but facial color is. There’s plenty of tribal looks, but something tells me we haven’t gotten a final pass here yet.

More as we get it, female fans. Enjoy your new eyebrows!

Listen to the soothing, chillaxin’, funken-groovin tune while the showcase introduces the current Moonkin forms currently on the PTR (worgens are shown last). This will likely be how worgen balance droods roll when Cataclysm drops . . . but you can bet they will get an model update eventually. First all the feral forms, then Tree of Life (which is now a freaking cool down, no less), so you know new Moonkin models are on the way. It is a question of when, not if. In the meantime, take a gander at the ‘placeholder’ forms for the time being. This is what we have right this second on the PTR, so it helps to know. Also, not much has happened since female worgen models dropped (again). Keep an eye out, because that is likely to change the closer we get to Blizzcon.

There it is on the PTR, folks. Thanks go to Feral In Charge, who posted this up a mere 10 minutes after it hit the PTR. Just a few pointers:

  1. This is on the PTR only right now.
  2. The real animations are not added, so you don’t go to all fours yet.
  3. The cameraman takes the time to compare it to Darkflight at around 1:20
  4. KMFDM’s rendition of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ is the creepiest version of the song I have ever heard.

Enjoy and keep an eye out. The animations ought to be added soon enough.

Worgen Female Models Revealed!

September 19, 2010

MMO-Champion keeps releasing more and more info on the latest beta build 12984 (codename Puppy), and it is a monster. First came the bombshell that worgen will be their own racial mount, and now this. Female worgen have had their models revamped in much the same way that male worgen underwent the knife. I was a bit concerned about the original worgen female model. Yes, it was vixenish, but the females came across more foxy than wolfish. No more! As you can see, worgen females look just as dangerous and epic as female orcs, if not more so. In fact, I think the art department accidently spilled an oversized bottle of Epic Sauze on her and said ‘hmm, looks good! Keep it.’ I cannot complain one bit. Again, well played, Blizzard.

WoWInsider honestly has the most extensive gallery I can find on them, at the moment. Take a peek, savor it, and be on the look out for more. Blizzard dumped a TON of awesome epicness this week in the latest build. That’s just on worgen, there’s more for everyone! If you are Horde, feeling left out? Don’t be! The Horde get, without a doubt, one of the coolest mounts to ever appear in the game, the Kron’Kar Annihilator. Personally, I am now torn. I will certainly be leveling a worgen, but I may race change one of my mains over to Horde, just to get this mount. Yes, it is that unbelievably epic.

I’m still trying to stop a wolfish grin (sorry) after hearing the news. It appears that the worgen ‘racial mount’ may have finally revealed itself. But not as a 3D model, no sirree. It seems WE might be our own racial mount. From MMO-Champion:

Someone very smart pointed out something very disturbing. Worgens already had Darkflight, a temporary speed spell applying a Mod Speed to the character. So, why did Blizzard add that spell in this build?

  • Running Wild – Drop to all fours to run as fast as a wild animal.

This spell doesn’t apply a mod speed, and applies a “Mounted” aura to the player. It’s a racial, and it’s apparently a Level 20 spell. It also has a 1.5 sec cast time, like all the mounts spells. I don’t want to say it yet, but that would explain why we never saw a model for the Worgen Mount.

Well played, Blizzard, well played! Many of us wanted to run on all fours like our NPC counterpart, and it like we finally can! If you are an old salt at WoW, you may remember the Plainstrider racial skill. Tauren at the time did not have mounts, they just ran faster by engaging their racial ability. This is why the word ‘plainstrider’ still appears to have a little more meaning among some old Tauren NPC’s and such (not to mention the bird). It obviously got nixed for kodos, but the idea was still intriguing. Fast forward to today: Running Wild. I was a bit disappointed that we weren’t seeing worgen have ANY ability to get on all fours, like our namesake NPC’s do when they chase after prey. After all, what’s the point of being a werewolf if you can’t run on all fours? This spell pops up at level 20, it is an aura, and has a 1.5 second cast time. This will make it fairly easy to switch to combat, much like a drood shapeshifts. I’m hoping there might be a glyph or a buff somewhere down the line which decreases our cast time for this. One can hope.

Combine this with our Darkflight racial and worgen can become very fast hunter-killers. I shudder to think about worgen rogues in PVP. And don’t get me started on worgen kitty droods. Some might complain that Blizzard made this decision because of crunchtime, that it got shoved down the schedule and we lost out on a true racial mount. BAH! BAH, I say! This is a win-win. If it bought the art dept some time AND we get to run on all fours, awesome. That’s a win-win. There are a TON of new mounts already appearing in Cataclysm alone. Camels, drakes, underwater mounts (like seahorses), mechanized mounts, on and on. We can pick and choose what else we want and we STILL get to run on all fours! WOOT!

At any rate, HUZZAH! THANK YOU BLIZZARD!

[EDIT: WoWInsider is confirming through Zarhym that yes, this is our racial mount! AwesomeBBQsauceponyride! Zarhym explains: Ultimately, we feel Running Wild fits very well with the nature of the worgen race. Rather than getting a physical mount, they get down and sprint on all fours. When you’re playing a worgen, it just feels awesome. :) I can’t say it enough, THANK YOU BLIZZARD! ]>)

New Worgen Creation Screen

August 21, 2010

Here’s a pleasant surprise: a new creation screen! What is different, you may ask? Why your human form, courtesy of MMO-Champion, of course:

Now isn’t that nice? The changes you make to your worgen are reflected in your human form on screen now. This way there’s no guess work to it! If Blizzard is doing this for worgen, I wonder if they will do it for droods . . . likely not, but they can hope. At any rate, it is a small but very welcome touch to our creation process.

It seems there is a new WoW comic on the scene featuring . . . you guessed it. Our furry friends go all Sherlock Holmes on you with ‘Curse of the Worgen’, a 40 page graphic novel set in Gilneas, which debuts November 17th. Blizzplanet broke the story on this 5 part series featuring the writing team of Micky Neilson and James Waugh while the art is handled by Ludo Lullabi and Tony Washington. It looks like each part of the series will cost $4.99 each.

Per Blizzplanet:

A series of grisly, animalistic murders have rocked the walled town of Gilneas. A famous detective sets out to discover the perpetrators and finds far more than he bargained for. To find the truth, he must delve through years of twisted history – both the history of his family and Gilneas itself. This pivotal 5-issue miniseries explores the in-depth lore of the Worgen!

Okay, I may pick this up. I’m not HYOOGE comics, er, graphic novel fan myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some decent writing. Also, the lore will likely be delved into a great deal, which should help connect the dots in game, right? No shock, Sherlock (turn on the electricity Watson!) Everyone is fawning over the creative team in WoW.com’s comments, so it should be on our radar. Frankly, Ludo Lullabi’s artwork alone will be worth the price of admission, go check out his stuff to see what I mean!

Fel Comes To Worgen Town

August 18, 2010

It seems more worgen info is dropping from the Beta. More screenshots from our sources at ScrollsofLore.com:

It seems there is a worgen outpost with the same type of Tree model in Darnassus, complete with Gilnean flag. I don’t know WHERE in Felwood this is located (well, what part of poison waterfalls do we not understand here?)), but my guess would place it close to Bloodvenom Falls or Shatter Scar Vale. Not being in the Beta, ahem, I can’t tell. No, I’m not bitter. :) Just like the Howling Oak, there are no NPC’s, no quest givers, no trace of activity . . . yet. Crunchtime indeed, Blizzard. There are 4 more screenshots, courtesy of Insane Guy of Doom.

Thanks to tufy on ScrollsofLore.com’s forums, we now have some in game shots of the Howling Oak! According to tufy, “There’s no flags right now, no NPCs, just a tree.” Also thanks to WoW.com’s Matt Rossi, who also noted in our comments there are no NPC’s, no quests . . . but perhaps we should check out the starter area quests a bit more. Thanks again, Matt!

Also, check out the forum post HERE for 7 more screenshots. This is our first glimpse at the new ‘worgen quarter’. Although it is bereft of worgen (or anyone, for that matter), this jives with the tree seen in the Gilnean starter zone. Between the current state of the race cinematic and our home quarter, this provides a snapshot of where Blizzard is at in Cataclysm’s Beta development.

I also encourage everyone who has any WoW lore interest to check out scrollsoflore.com. You do NOT simply walk in and post like an idjit, though. Read their posting rules (for the love of Thrall, do not double post!) and have fun. You can learn much about WHY we have things like space goats, why the worgen quarter is in Darnassus (not Stormwind), and where do sand gnomes come from? (Ghostcrawler was feeling bored) . . . (kidding).

I’ve been keeping a keen eye on any Darnassian info from the Beta. Why? Because waaaaay back in 2009, Blizzard quietly announced, oh yeah, the Worgen Quarter of Stormwind was wrong, it will actually be the Worgen Quarter of Darnassus. Yep folks, seems Velinde Starsong pulled some strings and our home away from home is actually with the Night Elves. Big shock at the time, forgotten info for most people. Aside from mounts, female worgen, etc, etc, we’ve also been looking for ANYTHING on what worgen will be getting in Darnassus. So far, Youtube videos of Darnassus are . . . barren. Nothing had changed much. Oh sure, the city has been revamped into flyover country, but no new buildings to be seen. Until MMO-Champion drops a map bombshell on us today:

We now know what to keep an eye open for once Darnassus is updated in the Beta. According to the city map, it is the ONLY new addition to Darnassus (that we can see so far). Hopefully, we’ll get more info/screenshots on this soon.

It has no narration, but we have the first look at the Worgen race cinematic. Despite a pronounced lack of a narrator, the ambient sound DOES play. This is possibly the background noise you will hear in many zones in the country of Gilneas. Personally, I find it very appropriate and spot on, as most of WoW’s ambient noise tends to be. A key point to be made here: Cataclysm has a long way to go to completion, and worgen are bringing up the rear. The game industry has a term for the last part of the game making process: crunch time. Different companies deal with it in different ways. One might call it the final rush to completing the game project. Other companies might call it business as usual (like Electronic Arts used to). Blizzard should already be in crunch mode, if not close to it. When there are complete sections of the game missing from the Beta (female worgen, worgen mounts, worgen-anything-in-Darnassus, etc) you know Blizzard is FAR behind. Crunch time for art department is likely to be very painful.

If Blizzard doesn’t pick up the pace, we could see Cataclysm slip into 2011. Yes, you read that right. I don’t want to contemplate it, but it is VERY possible when you see the complete lack of content getting made for one of the titular races in the expansion. Goblins are on course. Gobbies have mounts, a homeland starter zone, male and female gobbie models/textures, quests, etc. Worgen seem to be getting the short end of the stick. The worgen starter zone is woefully  incomplete. Male worgen have SOME of their models/textures done, but that seems to be the only thing someone has worked on. Something tells me there are major issues going on in the art department for worgen to drop this far behind. Of course, not seeing ANYTHING drop from post-Blizzcon 2009 until the summer of 2010 should be a clue why. I have no fear the job will get done. It is merely a question of WHEN.

In the meantime, check out that cinematic! SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS: hit play, THEN change up to 720p. It starts in 360p by default, but I advise changing it up to 720p, as well as the volume. The ambient sound is VERY low, but can be heard once cranked. You get a close look at the Gates, the Gilnean flag, the surrounding countryside, and much of Gilneas City before the fall. Worgen are jumping from the rooftops as you zoom in to the starter location.

Another quick Youtube video of the Cataclysm Beta, this time featuring worgen male class animations. Ironically, the one class I do NOT want to play (Rogue, due to leveling one in a former WoW career) features the fiercest pose. Also heavy on the irony meter is the Druid, which seems almost calm and serene casting the default green leaf healing spell. What is not ironic is the Death Knight. In fact, if there was a race that seems to kick up the ‘metal god of rock’ trope even higher, if that’s possible, it is a Worgen Death Knight. You will learn to loathe him once 100,000 clones made in his image stomp across Outland in the first days of Cataclysm.

Think about it. No race changes to worgen (or gobbies) for quite a long time. All worgen will have to be made from the ground up, forcing you to level from the loneliest number you will ever do. So what is the alternative? That’s right, you take the one, ahem, default level jump Blizzard gives us . . . the Death Knight. Boom, instant level 55 wolfman of undeath, controlling zombies, marching around in black robes, plate armor, and glowing eyes, et cetera, et cetera . So, without further ado, here’s the male worgen class animations.

Gilnean Mastiffs. Boy, are those things not what I expected. Instead of something all toothy, muscular, and covered in blood . . . we get aristocratic hound. The face reminds me of an 1800′s British Parliament stereotype. The body is like a bulldog, except longer legs and nearly porcine feet. Of course, we do get some righteous sentinel type eyes to top it off. Meh, mixed bag, personally. It’ll do as a pet, but do you really want a bull dog on stilts?

New Worgen Male Models!

July 24, 2010

FINALLY! FINALLY worgen start seeing some love in this pre-expansion news fest. There has been so little worgen news this year, I’ve started to have my feelings hurt as a fan. This was supposed to be our big show, right? Well, have no fear, we just got a major dose of feral rabidity thanks to the Art Department. I suspect Blizzard’s art team is in the middle of crunch time after changes like this. Take a gander at the following videos to see what I mean. The male worgen’s look just got 100% MEANER (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty):

AND!

Those are some big changes to our male worgen model, even if the body is the same. We now have some actual ‘I WILL CONSUME YOUR FLESH’ looks, at long last. And the worgen death knight is . . . wow, all ‘I WILL CONSUME YOUR SOUL’, too. About time. There are still several gaping holes (literally) in the model, meaning some faces are just plain missing. The death knight model has one look only. Hairstyle is apparently limited to one as well, for now. If we’re seeing changes like this, well, I’d say that the art department has had other priorities until recently. At last, I can say unequivocally that I do not merely like these looks . . . I LOVE them. FINALLY, we have something that looks like a worgen SHOULD. No offense to the last artist(s) who gave us our basic model, but frankly I’m relieved and overjoyed with the new look!

I can’t heap enough praise on the new model so far. We don’t even have new hair styles yet, and several faces are still missing. Yet, I’m already more eager to roll a worgen now, if that were possible. Since Blizzard has, ahem, released the hounds on the art all of a sudden, let us offer some constructive critique on what we fans would like to see:

  1. Revamp the male run/walk animation: We need the feral, beastly, 4-legged rolling gait we’ve longed to have for over 5 years. Right now, we have ‘saturday morning cartoon stomp’, which is as fierce as it sounds.  Please fix this. I also think some of the upright animations from the recent Wolfman movie may be very helpful here. Blizzard may not revise it, but hey, I can ask, right?
  2. Enlarge the claws/hands: It may seem cartoony until you go back and see the original worgen NPC model. The claws need to be a bit larger than they are now. We’ve got the faces (or some of them anyway), now give us our claws! They don’t need to be the gigantic size of the old NPC models, but the current player models ought to have their existing hands enlarged.
  3. Change that dance: Fred Astaire? SERIOUSLY? I will NEVER use /dance on a worgen character if we keep this dance. Dead serious. I’m thinking it is a placeholder animation, but I’m stymied. Gimme the Monster Mash, the Transylvania Twist, anything, just not that. Everyone still wants Thriller, but honestly, is it affordable now that Michael Jackson is dead, and his creditors/estate are selling everything to make a buck? Likely not cheap to get the rights to that, I think. I’m still thinking on this one.

And that’s it. Not much of a list, is it? :) Mercifully, worgen are well developed so far in the Beta. Sure, we’re still missing quite a few things, but it is VERY encouraging to see we’re getting this kind of attention. Blizzard is listening to the fans, it seems. If you have any ideas or constructive criticism on worgen, leave some comments! You’d be shocked who sometimes pays us a visit (sometimes months after the post appears!).

Druid Forms Confirmed

July 1, 2010

So as you can see, our initial pre-NDA breaking Youtubage was correct. These are our worgen druid forms! The bear forms, as I mentioned before, are awesomesauce. Although the cat forms don’t rock me, they are still lightyears better than the Night Elf form. I mean, would YOU go worgen drood if you had to run around as Hello Kitty? Didn’t think so. Meanwhile, worgen bear forms could arguably be the best looking of all races. We look downright EBIL-EBIL-EBIL! Glowing eyes, righteous body armor, and cool haircuts. What’s not to like?

I should also note, the troll droods are getting massive attention from the Blizzard art dept. It is not simply the wild day glo colors, Blizzard made sure that troll drood forms LOOK like troll drood forms. They are RIGHT ON. Really, Blizzard *needed* to do this. Trolls already are one of the least played Horde races, and worgen are honestly stealing some monster thunder here. I was concerned troll droods would get left behind while worgens and gobbies stole all the fun. Not so. The trolls needed some extra art love, and they got it in spades. Troll cat form is freakin’ amazing. Troll bear form is still good, but you have to get used to TrollBearPig.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy looking AT these as much I did looking FOR them. I still hate NDA’s, but the search was worth it..

I’m on the run this morning, so I’ll keep this short. Just as the title says, the gates are now open, the NDA is lifted. WoW.com has some of the female worgen flirt voiceovers on Youtube.  There is a flood of Cataclysm info to sift through here, folks. Zone maps, zone screen shots, class changes, talent trees, on and on and on. Our problem is not enough info, but too much! We have to wade through all the non-worgen stuffage just to find out what we want to know.

In the meantime, expect some more ‘tactical’ tidbits tonight, such as female worgen voiceovers, ect. I am looking for bigger fish to fry, though. We still need to see worgen mounts, confirm our druid forms, and just where the frack is our presence in Darnassus? Although we have some video on Rut’theran Village, and some Youtube footage of ‘Darnassus’ on a private server, it appears Blizzard is keeping that one under wraps.

Why is Darnassus interesting? Well, in case it slipped below your radar, the worgen are relocating to Darnassus, not Stormwind. Blizzard announced that one waaaaay back in 2009. It might be possible there is no worgen ‘quarter’ in the city and they simply blend in. Also, Fandral Staghelm might want to use them as frontline troops. Or perhaps he is so xenophobic he wants them out of the city. Who knows? One thing I do know: if the worgen are setting up shop in Darnassus, then they will cause some VERY interesting changes.

More info is forthcoming within the next 24 hours!

Patch 3.3.5 is going to drop very soon, likely on Tuesday the 22nd. This is the last content patch of the Wrath of the Liche King expansion, which means we will get more pre-Cataclysm world events. Which ALSO means more possible worgen info as we head towards Cat, in more ways than one. Don’t go thinking you’ll be hitting the Ruby Sanctum yet, though. Blizzard has announced the content will not actually be available until ALL world regions are ready to patch. So there will be a delay until Taiwan, the EU, etc are brought up to speed patch-wise, then boom: ‘you can has Ruby Sanctum’.

Much more important for worgen fans, we also have the Closed Beta coming soon (possibly this week!), which will lift the Alpha NDA. All of the sites sitting on info goldmines will unleash the hounds, so to speak. MMO Champion, MMOwned, ScrollsofLore, and more all have known nuggets of worgen info that we cannot see (let alone link), but that I do know of. Rest assured, there is more info, more screenshots, and more video archived away, ready to see the light. We know it’s there, we just don’t know what it is.

Once that NDA comes off, all hell breaks loose for news. Again. In the meantime, definitely stay tuned over the next week. Hopefully we’ll see the worgen racial mount before long, too.

As always, we here at Dude! have no qualms about showing Alpha leaks since we will never be visiting Blizzard HQ. Ever. We have disgraced ourselves before the gods of Blizzdom, banished to forever wander away from the Wolf Rider statue on pain of unedurable agony. And then death by pointy sticks. In the meantime, I’ve been holding back on you all, and for very good reason. These images have actually been floating out on the Interwebs for 3-4 weeks. Why didn’t I post them NOW!NOW!NOW! you ask? Simply, I could not even begin to confirm they are legit. I still can’t. However, since these apparently are coming from the latest Alpha builds, and multiple Youtube sources are showing them, I feel safe showing these. For now. SO! Let’s get started, shall we?

Worgen Druid Forms

Prepare thyselves. You will either love or hate these forms. There is so little room for anything else. Up first worgen and troll druid forms:

Next, snashots of druid forms with plenty of extra thrown in (Onyxia, Deathwing, Faceless Ones, Gobbies, and . . . facepalm:

Personal take: mixed reaction. The Tauren cat form is like a lion, so it makes much sense that the Alliance ‘monster’ race sorta-kinda matches. The Worgen cat form is much the same, like a lion, but subdued. It isn’t overwhelming me, which is disappointing. It is not BAD, which is a relief. The whole reason vanilla players loved the original worgen was because they were so FERAL. They oozed animosity just with their look, let alone their animations. What we have is far too toned down. At least give him saber teeth or something! (HINT: look at the original worgen model’s toothy grin for inspiration)

Frankly, I’m also disappointed with the other toned down cat forms Blizzard has been putting out (and I know I’m not alone). The current Night Elf cat form is downright female, which is fine for feminine people . . . which most WoW players are not. Hence my problem. We got Hello Kitty meets Night Elf. Likewise, Worgen should be ferocious, with blood-dripping claws, and literally screaming primal power. Or at least dark death with claws. Wow me, Blizzard! SPICE UP the worgen cat form before it is too late!  DO EET! DO EET NAO!

On the flip side, the Worgen bear form is downright frightening. Or unsettling if you see it in broad daylight. The glowing eyes, the armor, superior textures . . . in short, awesome, awesome work! Now THAT is what a worgen bear should look like. Troll cat druids should also be thrilled. They got the wirey, toothy appearance down pat. I expect a troll cat to look like that. But Trolls should not have the most menacing cat form! Again, Blizzard art dept, add some more masculinity to these other cat forms! I’ve got female artists drawing more menacing (awesomer?) worgen than you guys! (props to sebchyu, whose gender we will now correct on our Fan Art page). Next, I figure we’ll be seeing racial mounts before too long. Hopefully, worgen mounts will be equally as cool as the gobbies’ go-cart.

This is NOT the starter subzone map we saw in Blizzcon 2009, no sir. This is the full monty, or at least a pixelated python.  Yes, it is large, ahem. The full-size map is pixelated due to being screen captured from a Youtube video that was, ironically enough, simply showing Cataclysm Alpha gameplay. The person in question flipped up the map for a second and wallah – full zone map sitting there staring you in the face. This isn’t anything you haven’t seen already if you are playing the Alpha. For the rest of us, this is where you begin your career as a level 1 worgen. You can see how far we’ve come since August 2009 when you compare what was shown at Blizzcon to the official map we have now. Click the pics to compare the maps:

Blizzcon Map

Alpha Map

From the geography, it appears this is Gilneas before the starter area near Duskhaven is flooded. This, apparently, is the true starter map texture. Again, this is an Alpha map, things are not set in stone and could very well change. However, since we’ve gone from the old Blizzcon map to this, I think we can deduce this is the final product we’ll see. Here is a zone list:

  • Aderic’s Repose
  • Emberstone Mine
  • Gilneas City
  • Greymane Manor
  • Keel Harbor
  • The Blackwald
  • The Headlands
  • Northern Headlands
  • Northgate Woods
  • Stormglen Village
  • Tempest Reach

Some of the more interesting locations are 2 lighthouses or towers on opposite sides of the peninsula, north and south. There are also more lighthouses elsewhere, but apparently not as large as these 2 towers. There are cliffs all along the shoreline, which make approaching Gilneas from the sea quite difficult. It is obvious why the Forsaken would invade Duskhaven, it is just about the only place to land an army! From a speculative standpoint, if Duskhaven is flooded from the Cataclysm, the Blackwald might also suffer the same fate. Gilneas City has 3 quarters according to this map. Curiously the northwestern quadrant is free of architecture. This blank area may be the Gilneas City PVP area, or an old warzone from the fight between the humans and worgen. The entire city might be a PVP zone, but we don’t have official confirmation yet. The city is surrounded by a moat or channel system with a flightpoint supposedly located near the southwestern bridge. It is almost as if the artists took the shoreline of the river Thames by the British Parliament in London and wrapped it into a neat circle. Amazingly, the Greymane Wall seems to stand alone, at least from the map.

NOTE: As a heads up, it is fairly obvious that this video is of a private server loaded with the Alpha client info. Nothing in the video, aside from the map texture, should be taken as official gameplay. The racials and talents are definitely not stock. Worgen do not get the Tauren war stomp racial, for example. At any rate, the map texture is the important thing. Welcome to Gilneas!

Holy crap. How can a week go by and we not notice THIS?!?! BigRedKitty is sorta-kinda-mebbe playing WoW again? HE REVIVED THE BLOG?!?! Great Moon In The Sky!! Better yet, he even did a guest spot on a podcast at the Huntingpartypodcast.com. This is a WoW MUST-LISTEN. You came here for worgen info? Good, because BRK discusses the Cataclysm Alpha, and what we can expect after the bomb drops. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s recap:

-BRK was invited by Blizzard to play the Cataclysm Alpha. He accepted.

-He is NOT reactivating his podcast full time, and has NOT made a decision to come back to WoW full time. He is doing the Alpha only, so far. Once Cataclysm officially debuts, we will see if he stays.

-BRK did a guest spot on the Huntingpartypodcast.com. MUST LISTEN. He describes why he came back, and what he is doing in the Alpha. He is helping rebuild the class for Blizzard from the bottom up. He is starting characters at Level 1 to improve the newbie hunter experience. That makes sense since most players stop playing WoW by level 10. His main WoW account is still not active. He is starting from LEVEL 1 to start on the Hunter’s foundation for Cataclysm. He says, I quote, “I’m doing work.

-BRK is not coming back full throttle yet. He HAS wiped his website’s database clean, and is starting a new role – helping to reconstruct the hunter class from the ground floor. Hunters are losing Mana and having it replaced with Focus, so BRK is helping mold what Blizzard does with it. Even the pet system is being re-examined by BRK. He is not reviving his original podcast at this point.

-BRK WILL be doing a pre-Cataclysm tourguide.

-Experienced hunters might remember BRK showing us turtleshell and gorilladins in the Wrath Beta. He wants to do the same thing now for Cataclysm.

-Due to Starbucks changing Raspberry Latte’s syrup, the new official BRK drink of the Alpha is double-tall black cherry mocha with mocha drizzle. Geez, is that flying bacon? The world is truly coming to an end if BRK can’t drink raspberry lattes.

-Heavy rumor at the Blizzard HQ is . .  why don’t hunters have duel pistols?

And that should sum up the BRK situation. Worgen hunters are REQUIRED to look this guy up. When someone has an actual weapon in the game named after them, yeah, pay attention.

If you haven’t seen it at WoW.com yet, The Escapist has gotten official pics of female worgen. Now, why Blizzard chose to release the info this way, I dunno. The company has made some rather unconventional decisions on releasing ‘official’ versus ‘unofficial’ leaks (see the term ‘cease and desist’). Since Blizzcon 2009 we have had very little to work with. All of the viral hoopla Blizzard created the previous year seems so wasted. That suggests either little was made in that time frame and the employees are seeing some major crunch time, or Blizzard has been VERY good at stopping leaks. I think it may be more of the former and less of the latter.

At any rate, the pics are top notch, as expected. Kudos, as always, to Blizzard’s texture artists. I wish I could say we finally have a grasp on Cataclysm’s look, but we’ll have to make due with some standard Wrath of the Liche King gear on our femme fatales. I’d say they have much in common with female orcs, except less toothy, more claws, and more speed.

First, civilian/clothie female worgen:

Next, leather rogue female worgen:

Next, chainmail female worgen:

And finally . . . plate:

For an Alliance character, female worgen certainly look the vixenish part. I can easily see possibilities for female rogues, casters, droods, death knights, the whole shebang (ahem). Roleplayers will have a field day with this. Personally, I will be sticking with a male worgen, though I have yet to determine a final class. I’m a classic DPSer, so either rogue, hunter, or DK for me. Previous comments, as well as people I know, have voiced all kinds of preferences. It is the weird thing with the next expansion; whereas WotLK was all about the Death Knight, in Cataclysm any class seems possible for worgen and gobbies.

Next up: mounts!

That’s right, plural. As in, multiple, more than 1, many, several. We have some significant video leakage of Worgen females! If you need to see this, watch it while you can. I have NO idea how long this will stay on Youtube before Blizzard Legal drags them screaming back to hell. WATCH IT! WATCH IT NAO!

Character Creation (shows hair, faces, class animations)

In-game (walking, jumping, sitting)

Alpha Animation Datamine

Druid Casting Animations

EXTRA – Orgrimmar

Now, the thing to remember here this is direct from the Cataclysm Alpha client data. Most of these textures are from the male models, for example. The models and animations are the real deal, though. The NDA period is ongoing, so any leaks are sure to be nailed eventually by Blizzard’s legal department. MMO-Champion, WoW.com, ScrollsofLore, and many more have suddenly been shut down by Blizzard legal, all timed of course. SoL isn’t even an official fan site, yet they hid all of their pictures from their recent visit to Blizzard HQ just to stay in Blizz’s good graces. But Youtube apparently is fair game! The NDA doesn’t expire for several months, so drink in all that video goodness while you can.

Here it comes, folks. The first tsunami of news we’ve been waiting for with the Friends And Family Alpha . . . has finally arrived. MMO-Champion has gotten into the Alpha and we now have screenshots galore. Just how many screenshots, Huzzah? Let me show the list for Gilneas. And just Gilneas.

Let me put it this way . . . there are 27 sets of pics. 27 zones’ worth of Alpha screenshots. Whoever took this was prepared and organized. Be prepared to see the new face of Azeroth if you go here. You have been warned. Just seeing these thumbnails might be a spoiler, so be prepared. Aw heck, who are we kidding, we’ve been waiting on this since August of ’09. Better yet, Boubouille, proprietor and Admin of MMO-Champion, has also added an Alpha skill calculator and a screenshot section of new mobs. Lots and lots of mobs. Here’s the rub: aside from the Gilneas pics, there is only *1* worgen screenshot. Got that? A single pic. Here it is:

Granted, we’ve been waiting since Blizzcon for more worgen anything, so we can afford to wait a little longer. This isn’t much we haven’t seen for worgen before. Our next major reveals are female worgen and racial mounts. I can’t stress enough I want to see them done right instead of riding an awful mount for 6+ months. I don’t think we’ll have that problem, but only as long as Blizzard continues working as hard as they have. You can see the effort put into these. Take a gander at the new deepsea murlocs to see what I mean:

Speaking of mounts, here’s the goblin mount to give us an idea of what quality we’ll see for ourselves:

It’s all Big Daddy Roth meets a go-cart. Awesome stuff, Blizzard! The goblin mount is even better than I imagined. My own personal touch would have added more axes and pointy sticks, but this is just to get from boss A to boss B. It is not a combat vehicle (unfortunately). Likewise, our racial mount will be in the same vein. Keep your ears pinned back, we should see more within the week. I am JUMPING UP AND DOWN to see our new mounts!

No, not really. But yes really. Zarhym has announced that there IS a Friends And Family Alpha, and it has already begun. WOOT!

Per the WoW Forums:

Yes, we can confirm that the Family & Friends phase of the testing process for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has begun. The closed beta test phase has not yet started, but we will provide updated information when it does.

Why is this even remotely important to worgen fans? It means that some people will FINALLY be seeing worgen content. And due to the nature of the Intarwebs, said content should leak out eventually for us to see. Keep your ears pinned back, we should be getting some actual info soon. FYI, if you happen to be in the F&F Alpha, it would be behoove you to forward us any info and/or screenshots that might come across your possession. Hint-hint, nudge-nudge.

Thank you Zarhym on the WoW Forums for breaking our news drought. There have been Cataclysm tidbits, but nothing specifically worgenish for MONTHS. As I promised, Blizzard news dictates our posting here at Dude! One would have expected more worgen specific news since Blizzcon 2009, but Blizzard hasn’t seen it that way. In short – worgen and troll druids will be getting their own cat and bear druid forms. Think about the art implications of that for a minute. Orcs and humans still have cinder blocks for hands. Shaman didn’t get race-specific totems for YEARS. Although WoW’s artwork still holds up, there are parts of it that LOOK 5+ years old. Suddenly, all druids will have race-specific cat and bear forms. Awesome. It’s about time.

At least they won’t look like this pic from a MMO-Champion post that’s been read over 44,000 times (and counting):

P.S – We have more news incoming. It is unconfirmed, so we won’t broadcast to the Interwebs just yet. Keep an unblinking eye open (or just set an Eye of Kilrogg).

In a move completely in-line with the times, WoW.com is letting slip Cataclysm is going straight to Beta, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Alpha? What Alpha? Closed Beta? Nevahoiduvit. Open Beta is just fine for all you lower mortals, mm-kay? Why is this unusual, you may ask? Previous years have seen WoW ALWAYS have a Friends and Family Alpha as well as closed Beta event. We haven’t heard hide nor hair of either. Not a peep.

BUT WAIT! Maybe all those Alpha/Beta testers kept the secret? Maybe Blizzard’s thugs and threats really kept a lid on it! In an age where people Twitter about how their dog went to the bathroom, and post about their drunken escapades on Facebook, do you really think the Interwebs can keep a secret? Really? (TM) Naw, we just saw Blizzard dispense with all that testing crap and go straight to open press Beta, followed closely by public Beta. You and I will be playing Cat Beta within 2 months. Think about that folks.

I’m incredibly nervous now. Why? I think we’re looking at an expansion that will debut with sparse content. Sure, we’ll see some good stuff at first, but after watching how the content patches have rolled out for a year, I think Blizzard is going to give us drips and drabs, not a constant tsunami. Our next expansion is a mere revamp of old Azeroth, after all. We’ll be able to fly in it, we’ll see some new changes of course, and don’t even mention the class changes. But talk about the ultimate in recycled content. Holiday bosses? Vanilla raid revamps? Yeah, expect more of the same there. Oh, I’ll be there for it. But the past six months since Blizzcon and barely any news? Yeah, keep getting used to that as we roll with the patches. Don’t give up augmenting your WoW playtime with other games. The dedicated era of all WoW, all the time may be a thing of the past for many players.

Meanwhile, we’re going to go over some class changes soon. There are several classes that suit worgen VERY well, and Blizzard is opting to ramp them up in the expansion (rogues, anyone?). It might be a good thing to get prepared while the getting is good.

RAWR!!!

April 7, 2010

Did we scare you? It felt like we would be in suspended animation until the next Blizzcon, at the rate things were going. It sure took Blizzard long enough, but we finally have some news. Oh, new worgen info? Sorry to psyche you out, it is only Cataclysm info, but it IS worgen related! Kinda. Sorta. Before you rip our throats out in pained anguish, take heed: though still not confident of anything new for worgen, we are finally seeing class and mechanics updates galore. Warriors will have the way they generate Rage revamped. Dispels are being revamped (i.e. resto shaman dispels get nerfed into the Earth’s mantle) for all casters. On and on, the bombshells keep dropping left and right. Oh, I can’t forget Death Knights. Yes, DK tanking . . . how shall I put this? It is being nerfed AND buffed.

Now how can that happen, you ask? How about yanking all the tanking talents from Unholy and Frost and . . . . wait for it . . . . making Blood the dedicated tanking tree, much like Protection for Pallies, etc. I can hear the yowls of protest and QQ coming now, but I think Blizz was wise to drop this now before they release the DK changes instead of letting players wail later. Many players were being frustrated by ALL 3 TREES being watered down and constantly tweakified, causing them to be less powerful in many roles than their other class counterparts. The devs were dedicating so much time to tweaking one class to make all 3 trees viable for 2 roles that older classes were being shafted for dev attention. It could be done for heroics, of course, but raiding? It was about to become impossible to do (some might already say ‘too late!’). That said, it seems this might be a harbinger for other classes too. Make one tree tank, one DPS, and another PVP. It would totally destroy the existing class flexibility, but it would codify class tree roles. I can already hear the gnashing of teeth about dumbing down the classes, but honestly, most are ‘dumbed down’ already. Blizz has to make it reasonable for new players to jump in, and with all kinds of new MMO competition appearing every year, they have to revamp Azeroth a bit. It is just par for the course.

In the meantime, change of subject. You can tell how enduring worgen news is by our hits. I decided not to post a single thing until we actually got some real news from Blizzard. I couldn’t justify ‘creating’ news that wasn’t there if NOTHING official was being released for months on end. Lo and behold, our articles maintained their popularity! When Dude! gets 80-100 consistent readers a day, every day, with no worgen news in over 3 months. . . you know people are starving for fresh meat. But you didn’t think I’d pipe up without SOMETHING worgenish for everyone, did you? Thanks go to pitrelli of Kill That Cheerleader for pointing out the new DC worgen figure coming soon! Woot!

I admit, I stopped paying attention to DC’s figure series somewhere around series 3. They look good, but I’m not that kind of geek. But along comes series 7 and wow; Worgen Spy Garm Whitefang. Now I’ll have to reconsider. He stands 9.75″ tall, which is among the tallest figures in the series (and he doesn’t even come with a weapon!) If the actual figure keeps most of that detail, I might bite. Meanwhile, again, keep your eyes open this week for the class news. Worgen are especially suited to particular classes (rogues, hunters, etc) so we’ll see if we can find anything useful for you.

STOP! Don’t do yourself a disservice and ignore the first good flick of 2010. I know, I know, I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Del Toro either (he’s bullish, not wolfish), but I know a good movie when I see it. Besides, you know Blizzard is going to borrow liberally from the film’s atmosphere (a good thing) for Gilneas. I’m speaking of Del Toro’s Wolfman remake, debuting on February 12th.

The Wolfman is a tortured production born of an exceptional Hollywood pedigree. The film has been pushed back 5 times, switched directors in pre-production, and created over a thousand pieces of concept art for the titular character alone (thank you Rick Baker for sticking to your guns). Not exactly a sterling production schedule for a well-written picture. However, it is those notable, controversial decisions that make this an interesting film (wolf references aside). Benicio Del Toro and special F/X guru Rick Baker have stuck through this thing to the end, which is the most encouraging sign of all.

First up, a tale of golden era Hollywood, complete with a real life underdog story (pun intended). The original 1941 version of the Wolf Man starred Lon Chaney Jr in his breakout role. This movie finally allowed him to step out from under the shadow of his father, Lon Chaney Sr, the original Phantom of the Opera. Yes, THAT Phantom. It turns out Lon Chaney Sr’s first marriage had issues, which caused all involved no end of pain. Chaney Sr’s first wife (and Jr’s mother), Frances Cleveland Creighton Chaney (don’t say that 3 times fast) attempted an unsuccessful PUBLIC suicide at the Majestic Theater, L.A., where Chaney Sr was working in 1913. Their scandalized divorce drove Chaney Sr from stage acting and into film.

His son, Chaney Jr, was sent to boarding schools and foster homes until his father’s career stabilized in 1916. While he was alive, Lon Chaney Sr actively discouraged Jr from show business. At his low-point, Chaney Jr became a secretary at his wife’s father’s firm, General Water Heater Co. It was not until Chaney Sr died in 1930 that Lon Chaney Jr went back to Hollywood to start his acting career. Side note: according to numerous biographies, Lon Chaney Jr was told his birth mother was dead during the original divorce, when in fact she was still alive. He discovered the truth the same year his father died, in 1930. Nice family, huh?

Lon Chaney Jr was the go-to actor for Universal’s monster mash, alongside Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Moreover, he is the only actor to have a starring role in all of the big 4 Universal monster film franchises: Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the vampire son of Dracula. No one else carried the Wolf Man mantle besides Lon Chaney Jr, unlike Dracula or Frankenstein (whom Chaney also starred as).

This leads us to Del Toro and Rick Baker’s production. Both men have some big paws to fill. The Wolf Man is one of the films that inspired Rick to get into Hollywood special effects in the first place. It doesn’t hurt that Baker is also the man directly responsible for the creation of the Academy Award For Makeup in 1981 (which he won with An American Werewolf In London). It also helps that Del Toro is as hairy as a wolf already, though Baker says it actually hinders the makeup design process. Del Toro collects Wolf Man memorabilia, Baker makes werewolves, both geek out about the original film. It helped get them in the business. These guys are in it because they love it, if their PR is to be believed.

At any rate, this Wolf Man is reasonably faithful to the original story, as much as modern Hollywood will let us. You have the original characters: Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro), Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), and the gypsy Maleva (Geraldine Chaplin). You have the skeleton of the original story, as well as the original Wolf Man design. You get Lawrence’s silver wolf cane, which played a key part in the original’s story. What was missing in the original, however, was true gore. Oh yes, this movie is rated R due to bloody horror, violence, and gore effects. What else do you expect with FREAKING RICK BAKER? Rumor has it that the studio wanted a tamer PG-13 version to expand the audience, but the current director wouldn’t have it. Also, Gene Simmons has a howl in the Wolf Man. True story.

At any rate, the new Wolf Man is going to have a significant impact on World of Warcraft, regardless if it is good or not. Much as Lord of the Rings influenced many visual design elements in Wrath of the Liche King (aka – Mordor at the North Pole), I expect the Wolf Man’s mise en scene to dominate Gilneas, Stormwind’s worgen quarter, as well as other parts of Cataclysm. We will get our first glimpse in a few weeks once the Wolf Man debuts on February 12th.

mise en scène

Denial Is A River In Egypt

January 15, 2010

MMO Champion declared the F&F Alpha rumors as bogus (1:15 am, Jan 13th) a mere 6 hours before wowleak’s confession (7:49 am Jan 13th). Good one, Boubouille!

First of all, the Alpha test of the expansion will not start this week and probably won’t start before some time. At this point I’m not even sure if there will be a Friend and Family Alpha test, this phase of testing doesn’t seem to be very important and the amount of players on the server isn’t high enough to get things really tested. After a few weeks of testing you can usually connect to the server in the morning, type /who 1-80, and realize that you’re the only one connected.

As far as I know the latest update in the testing of Cataclysm was the introduction of a few computers with the expansion installed in the european HQ to let the employees here try the expansion, and the version they have access to is very similar to the one people played at Blizzcon.

However, one correction. There WILL be an F&F Alpha, and I do not have to have an inside source to confirm that. No question. Blizzard has done F&F for the past 2 expansions of WoW. Until a Blizzard employee steps forward and says ‘we’re doing away with F&F entirely’, we know it will be happening. Why? Friends and Family is a perk for ‘friends and family,’ as well as a testing phase for the devs. How useful it is only Blizzard can answer, but regardless, they WILL run it for Cataclysm. It has existed for YEARS as an official program . . . unless Bobby Kotick nerfs it for being fun.

Now WHEN it will arrive, and will a blue actually announce it, is the $64 million question. Obviously, wowleak has exposed much of the anticipation, and frustration, of the player community concerning Cataclysm info. Wrath’s ending is becoming a bit of a disappointment in the lore department. The new Dungeon Finder is pure win, which helps elevate patch 3.3 onto solid footing again. But the lore . . . whew. This ups the ante for player expectation on Cataclysm. The B Team is starting to feel the heat, I expect. With no new info since Blizzcon, everyone is looking for other sources of entertainment. So we are back to square one, so to speak, on the F&F Alpha release. Again, keep an eye out once it does arrive. We should start seeing some interesting things on the intarwebs once it does.

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

January 10, 2010

According to numerous anonymous sources of WoW.com, the Friends and Family Alpha is about to begin for Cataclysm. Wow.com’s twitter feed is also firing off several goblin signal flares on the same topic in the last 48 hours. The unconfirmed rumor is the Alpha will begin on Tuesday, January 12th. Said Alpha will also be sent out as a disc, no digital download. What does this mean for us worgen fans?

First, the Alpha is just that, a work in progress that Blizzard works with to develop the expansion. Once Blizzard initially completes an area, it is tossed up on the Alpha to run for bugs and design flaws. We should also see a beta fairly soon after. This means tasty leaks about Cat and Worgen will likely soon be upon us, from sources outside of Blizzard, within the next month or so. Although we aren’t getting a freakin’ thing from Blizzard right now (and despite the NDA everyone signs with the Alpha) we WILL hear and see something new about worgen soon. Whether it is new gameplay footage, mounts, areas, mobs, female worgen, etc, something will eventually hit the testers. And in today’s age of digital anonymity, something will reach the intarwebs soon after.

I’ve been waiting for the F&F Alpha to hit for a while. Unlike Blizzcon, where the devs get to show off their stuff to a captive audience, the Alpha is the nuts and bolts of Blizzard’s game development. This is the actual testing phase of the game as it is completed. It means the art work and game design is in a reasonable phase of completion. It also gives us an idea of how close Blizzard is to finishing the expansion. Let us examine past precedent briefly:

Burning Crusade
-entered F&F Alpha on August 2006, officially released January 2007.

Wrath of the Liche King
-entered F&F Alpha on April 2008, officially released November 2008.

That’s 4-5 months for BC and 6-7 months for Wrath. So if we guestimate an average of 6 months, we could see Cat released in May-July. The current content with Wrath will take us to, oh, I’d say March-April. At most.  With a world event patch between Icecrown and Cataclysm, May would be about right.

In the meantime, the Alpha should give us more info within the next month. How much? Look at Wrath’s state after 1 month in the F&F Alpha:

Welcome to the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Friends and Family Alpha. The list below contains information on the current available content available for testing and general information. This information is subject to change.

General
- The continent of Northrend is now available! To travel there, visit one of four transportation masters in either Orgrimmar, Undercity, Theramore,or Menethil Harbor.
- Transportation between Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra can be found at the Tuskarr villages in those zones.
- NPC Transportation Locations
Horde:
Undercity to Vengeance Landing (Howling Fjord)
Orgrimmar to Warsong Hold (Borean Tundra)
Alliance:
Menethil Harbor to Valgarde (Holwing Fjord)
Theramore Valiance Keep (Borean Tundra)

World Environment Zones
- The following zones are available for testing: Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, and Grizzly Hills

Dungeons
- The following dungeons are available for testing:
Howling Fjord: Utgarde Keep (70-72)
Howling Fjord: Utgarde Pinnacle (80)
Borean Tundra: The Nexus (70-72)
Grizzly Hills: Drak’Tharon Keep (74-76)

Classes
- All Classes are available for play. Spells and talents will be available for testing past 70 for the following classes: Druid, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior
- The Death Knight Hero class is now available for play.
Creating a new Death Knight will start you at level 55 in Eastern Plaguelands.
No starting quests are implemented though Death Knight abilities will be available for testing.
Several Death Knight talents, although they will appear on the talent pane, are not yet implemented.

Professions
- The following tradeskills are available to train up to 450: First Aid, Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning.

That is a LOT of stuff for 1 month. Now remember Cataclysm is essentially Azeroth reborn. Flying through all areas, upgraded textures, new areas, new questlines replacing the original content, new instances from 1-60. We are not getting a typical expansion. Blizzard will be reusing many models and areas in ways we haven’t seen before. I expect we’ll see much of the new race starter areas, as well as surrounding zones, hit the F&F Alpha by February (if Wrath is anything to go by). Blizzard stated they began working on Cataclysm right after Wrath was finished. That means we’ve already seen much of what they had done, or else they’ve saved it all up for the Alpha. I expect we’ll know shortly.

We’re Waiting!

December 28, 2009

[Insert tapping of foot here]

Okay Blizzard, we give. You can stop kidding now. Seriously, you don’t have to wait anymore to release new worgen info. Hello? Is this thing on? As you can tell, news has been so slow that . . . okay, we haven’t had *any* news since Blizzcon. NONE. Everything we’ve seen or heard since either leaked late or are pure works of fan fiction. Blizzard is dropping the viral marketing ball, as far as Cataclysm is concerned. This isn’t double dribble, traveling, or even delay of game. We’re talking straight up ‘screw you guys, I’m goin’ home.’

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the wizzes at Blizz working instead of bragging. But there is a marked difference between all the leaked info we got as far back as February and the current post-Blizzcon nothingness. We didn’t even get worgen masks for Halloween. THAT is a sure sign something at Blizzard is amiss. You don’t tease fans with worgen masks that have better textures than what’s currently in-game, and then NOT INCLUDE THE MASKS IN THE REAL HOLIDAY. Left hand, meet right hand.  Glad ta meetcha. In fact, outside of a small string of single class quests and subtle changes in the noob zones, there has been not a single in-game hint of Cataclysm, let alone worgen.

Heck, we’ve gotten night elf mohawks, revamped vanilla raids, a plethora of vanity pets, but not a single shred of anything. In fact, had it not been for Blizzcon and all the Youtube footage online, I’d start to make bets if Cataclysm was real or not. It has now been *4 months* since we first got confirmation that worgen would be in the next expansion. Yet, to date, we have heard NOTHING since then. Worse, there’s something wrong in the world (of Warcraft).

The Decline Of The World Of Warcraft 2.0

Towards the end of the last expansion, there was a decline in WoW’s subscription numbers. There was also a hubbub about said decline in the WoW community and the gaming press in general. In fact, many WoW subscribers and investors were becoming worried with how long Wrath was taking to get here. Would Blizzard be able to get the expansion out in time to keep WoW on top of the MMO market? At the time, it was a legitimate question.

And then Wrath arrived ™. Everyone jumped on board the new expansion like it was the Polar Express. We all hit 80, flew through Naxx, got our first Tier 7 pieces, and there was much rejoicing. And then the waiting began. It wasn’t until people began pining for the fjords, er, Ulduar that everyone realized Wrath (and Blizzard) had a problem. The players were chewing through the new raid content far faster than Blizzard could make it. Even casual raiding guilds were chewing through content patches in weeks, not months.

This inspite of Blizzard reusing a TON of old models, textures, and an entire raid instance from classic WoW. This would not have been a problem if Blizzard wasn’t funneling EVERYONE through Naxx (and raids). The death of ARENA PVP in 2009 did not help the situation. That left rerunning Northrend’s dungeons until you were blue in the face, or running the older BC and vanilla content for funsies, or you PVP’d on the side . . . or you stopped playing. This trend continues to this day.

But Wait, There’s More!

I’m not even mentioning all the other indirect problems currently afflicting WoW (and Blizzard). WoW is bleeding subscribers slowly but surely again. One cannot officially confirm it, outside of indirect evidence, but it is becoming fairly obvious.  Or possibly faster than anyone outside of Blizzard knows about. Blizzard is also reusing content like it is going out of fashion (probably because it is). The revamp of Onyxia, as well dropping ilevel 200 loot from Brewfest bosses was a last ditch effort to tide fans over until Patch 3.3. Now that Icecrown has dropped . . . it is more difficult for fans to keep going. It will take 28 days from the introduction of Patch 3.3 until the next wing of Icecrown even opens. At that rate, it will be March, possibly April before we crawl to Arthas and finish him off. I sense there is going to be a precipitous drop off of interest by then.

Blizzard is also experimenting with a vanity pet store as well as other expensive paid services (server transfers, race changes, name changes, etc) in an obvious nod to rival free MMO’s. We’re also being bribed (yes bribed) with vanity pets. I have never seen so many ‘special’ free vanity pets drop in  my lap in the past 6 months for one reason or another. An Onyxia whelp. A penguin. A corehound pup. A freebie gorlock or wolvar. Raptor chicks. That doesn’t even begin to touch the surface of how many of these things are being shoveled at us. If Blizzard spent half the time creating actual raid content instead of vanity pets, players would end up much happier.

The community is also bleeding top tier bloggers like a vampire running in a razor factory. At this point, I’ve lost count. Mike Schramm, Turpster, David Bowers, and more. The paid cats at WoW.com are jumping ship to better pastures at nearly 1 a week. That also doesn’t take into account the megashroom cloud that appeared recently on the official game forums, and the side fallout at WoW.com itself. Others have been steadily dropping as the expansion wore on. And don’t get me started on the well-known losses of the likes of Phaelia and Big Red Kitty. It is very difficult to replace those types of fans. A large portion of fans are READY to jump ship from this game right now. If the new Star Wars MMO is equal to WoW’s polish, there might be trouble. The new expansion may come too late to save Blizzard’s headlock on the MMO market.

How Can It Get Any Worse?!

First, Cataclysm has not arrived yet. Even if half of WoW’s player population drops off the face of the earth before then, the game will certainly still be running. Worgen will still arrive and be playable for every class outside of shaman and paladins. WoW will NOT shut down in 6 months’ time even in worst case scenarios (except nuclear war. And even then.). Also, precedent is still in play. We SHOULD be seeing a decline in WoW’s subscriber base right now. The question is  . . . is the decline worse than it ought to be?

Also, consider that Kalgan and the B Team are in charge. These are 2nd stringers at Blizzard. They are the live team that has been running the game since February of 2009. That’s right, these guys have been running class balancing for the first time. Can you tell? What, the changes coming at you every few WEEKS wasn’t a tip off? Wrath has been their training ground. I expect we’ll see larger but fewer class changes in Cataclysm due to consolidating stats, as well as fewer visible stats. This should make the game easier for everyone to play, as well as lighten the class balancing load for the B team.

Also, if you didn’t want to ramp up a worgen from 1-85  because it would take forever, fear not. Leveling will be increased, as well the added bonus of Heirloom gear giving a 10% experience bonus each. Currently, there are 2 pieces you can wear, so an extra 20% XP bonus that stacks on top of the rested bonus is pure win. Despite how fast people are running through Northrend, Azeroth is getting revamped. You will be able to FLY in the old world. You will have a new quest path until 60 to run through. And you will have even more raid instances than Wrath had. Whew.

So, we just need some news then, right? Hopefully, the B Team will take some time off to drop us some news, eh? Some screenshots of our racial mount would be nice, for starters. I apologize for the wall of text, but hopefully it should tide everyone over until SOMETHING legit drops from Blizz.

From Russia With Love

November 23, 2009

I’ll be honest, I’m loathe to post youtube footage from IgroMir 2009. What’s that, you ask? Well, in case you haven’t read it at WoW.com already, IgroMir 2009 is Russia’s version of E3. Blizzard decided to take the Blizzcon Cataclysm Show on the road, game panels and all. Footage leaked online shows our friendly, neighborhood worgen doing some new tactile moves (emotes, swimming, idle animations). I love the way worgen move. Blizzard’s artists are still top knotch at what they do, and have outdone themselves this time.

However, news has been hard to come by since August. This is the only tidbit of worgen news we’ve had since October. In fact, we’ve been living off of Blizzcon leftovers for over 3 months now. Many of us having been sitting idle, waiting on Patch 3.3 and beyond. But take heart, worgen fans! The Friends and Family Alpha should be just around the corner. When that begins we should finally start getting more official (and unofficial) info. In the meantime, keep busy. Measure your game time. Don’t burn yourself out. I myself am taking an extended break from WoW until Patch 3.3. Even then, I plan on budgeting my time. Why? Because raiding the same content over and over for months on end is a great way to quickly find yourself sick of WoW, let alone worgen.


Gratuitous violence happens outside WoW, too.

For now, I spend my time (aside from keeping up on worgen) doing something COMPLETELY outside of WoW to gather my raiding reserves. All my WoW 80 toons are on standby. I currently reserve my time playing Borderlands, Gratuitous Space Battles, and making my OWN 2D game. Speaking of which, reminder #3,287, time to finish game website before said game is finished. If you exclusively play WoW, I can recommend you get a little something on the side going. Take it from a veteran vanilla raider: don’t put all your eggs in one basket with WoW. When you get sick of raiding (and you will), it helps speed your recovery. For those of you already doing this, what do you spend time on away from WoW?

[NOTE: I've already been doing this since September, so don't get antsy if you think this site is going anywhere. Worgen updates are dictated by Blizzard releasing news, officially or unofficially. This here is the doldrums before the alpha, so expect slow news to continue until some more worgen sources open up.]

aargh

I’ve been cursed to wait for worgen!!!!! GIMME WORGEN NAO!!! Oh wait, it’s just the swine flu. Nevermind. Still, doesn’t it seem like this is taking forever? Hallow’s End is upon us at last and we didn’t even get worgen masks, for crying out loud. But you already know this post is about more than a mere holiday we see every year. We are finally seeing the first roots of a new Cataclysmic event on the 3.3 PTR. Something is brewing in Northshire, the human noob zone.

Preface To Disaster

As long time WoW players might remember, Blizzard released a pre-Wrath of the Liche King zombie event for Hallow’s End 2008 that rocked Azeroth. Diseased crates appeared all over the place that gave you a disease if you clicked on them. This disease turned you into a zombie if you didn’t get it dispelled. Each week, the timer got reduced, until you were turning into a zombie nearly on contact. Zombie players were overwhelming cities to the point that banks, auction houses, inns, everything was reduced to a gnawed skeletal heap. It was incredibly fun. However, Blizz had to end it early due to the event disrupting entire servers. Nobody could get anything done, unless being a zombie was your life-long goal.

Skip to 2009. On the 3.3 PTR, we are now seeing old noob mobs that haven’t changed since vanilla WoW becoming young diseased wolves in Northshire, a noob zone of all places. They apparently don’t do anything other than run around diseased at this point. Eagan Peltskinner wants you to bring him diseased wolf pelts instead of wolf meat now. This is a perfect hook for a Cataclysm event. I can’t exactly say we’ll see it in time for Hallow’s End, of course. But with Blizzard’s anniversary around the corner, Patch 3.3 will drop somewhat soon. And with it will come a pre-Cataclysm event, possibly in time for Christmas, maybe even Thanksgiving.

Is this a revised noob quest and nothing more? Involving wolves? That are diseased? About as likely as me winning the New York Lottery Sweet Million. Keep your eyes open and your ears turned up. We should begin seeing Pre-Cataclysm clues dropping more often now. Like more than a month at a time. (Psst, Blizzard, hurry it up awready!)

Site Update And Blogroll

October 9, 2009

(Click to enlarge)

GilneasRevised

The map above is our current known view of Gilneas put together by Hidden over at Scrolls of Lore. I can’t recommend SoL’s forums enough, and not just for worgen research and discussion. I’ve included this map as part of Dude’s Gilneas section. I’ve also revamped our speculation section into Official Info. I figure the official Cataclysm site can keep everyone well fed as far as official media (screenshots, concept art) is concerned. However, knowing which classes, which starting stats, mounts, etc is something we need. Oddly enough, OI is rather spartan at the moment mostly because we do not know very much.

We know starting stats, classes, starting location, even some of the starter area phasing. However, we are still guessing at major amounts of lore, mount models, female models, Stormwind’s worgen quarter, on and on. We will update it as we get it. In the meantime, check out our blogroll waaaaaay at the bottom. Yep, our theme doesn’t allow for much of one. However, keep an eye on it for some reciprocal link love.

[NOTE: Zul’dare is TINY! I hope Kul Tiras doesn’t eventually suffer a likewise fate. Blizzard take note!]

Three Worgen Wah?!

October 7, 2009

3worgenmoon

I was going to post a site update tonight, until this arrived unheralded on WoW.com. It FORCED me to alert our readers to the shock and awe (mostly shock) of the phenomenon known as the Three Worgen Moon. In case you missed the Internet Meme That Never Was, check out our old post on the Original. In the meantime, I shall quote from Jinx’s website:

I slipped into my Three Worgen Moon T-Shirt and stepped confidently out of the Dalaran sewer. Blood elves immediately swarmed around me and started giggling uncontrollably. I couldn’t tell if they were male or female (who can?) but they were obviously attracted to me. I strode confidently into the Violet Citadel and told Rhonin I was going to kill the Lich King. He said “You need help.” I responded, “Three Worgen Moon is all the help I need.” Rhonin shook his head, apologetically. I expected a wise mage to know more about the power of Three Worgen Moon.

Prices start at $19.99 for small, and increase with each year you’ve lived in your parents’ basement.

Patch 3.3 PTR Drops

October 3, 2009

ptr-character-copy

Don’t look now, but the next batch of PTR files just dropped. Why is this important, you may ask? Easy. Remember the Halloween masks? Yup, they were datamined from Public Test Realm files. Datamining the PTR is a nice way to get a sneak preview on what is coming our way. If we are going to get anything else for Halloween (or for Blizzard’s 5 year anniversary), MMO Champion and Co will find it on the PTR. And it is huge, ladies and gentlemen. The current version is 1.4 gigs.

Think about that a minute. What do you want to bet something more than a worgen mask is buried in there? Be watching sites like MMO Champions (and Dude, of course) for updates. We’re already seeing new individual totem models for shamen, new tauren skin textures, etc. We might not see a thing for worgen, but considering this patch lays the groundwork for Cataclysm, we should see SOMETHING. Also, we now know there will be a world event between Patch 3.3 and Cataclysm (thank you, Kisirani), so cross your fingers.

Finally! It took over a month, but Blizzard is finally releasing Cataclysm info again. Or else PC Gamer UK has spilled the beans on something they weren’t supposed to. Scrolls of Lore first spotted it, then WoW.com plastered it up 2 hours ago. We now have a summary of the worgen starting area levels 1-5. You know the drill – this is a worgen site, giving you worgen rumors, confirmed news, blah blah blah. If you are here, you WANT spoilers. If you don’t, you better scram while the gettin’s good. I’ll even be nice and give you a graphic break to skedaddle with.

Gather ’round folks, this is good!

worgentrailer

[Summary from Scrolls of Lore about the PC Gamer podcast]

“The story of the zone begins in the past, in Gilneas itself – with you working with and for descendants of the King. The Gilneans’ look is distinct from the Stormwind faction: they favor top hat, waistcoat and tails, an almost Victorian appearance. Rumours of a plague have begun to spread, and you’re to prepare the defences. You meet a dissenter Crawley, who’s been sent to the castle stockades for causing trouble. Crawley believes that the Gilnean appetite for isolation is a mistake – that they’d be better joining the Alliance in the fight against the Forsaken.

The Worgen curse, when it does arrive, is devastating, You and Crawley organize a fighting retreat, taking up a last stand in the Gilneas cathedral. As you fight and quest, the city is taken over by feral Worgen. Safe districts turn to fire thanks to Blizzard’s phasing tech. As you realise the horrifying truth – that the Worgen you’re fighting are your former friends – you turn into one yourself.

The game cuts to years later. You’ve been wandering feral in the woods, when you are captured by Crawley. He puts you in the stocks, and feeds you a potion brewed to give you control over the plague. It works. If you enter combat you’ll automatically shift. But you can still wander the cities in human form. It’s under control.

You set about rebuilding and regrouping. But it’s all too late, again Lady Sylvanas, the Forsaken leader, has decided that Gilneas and the surrounding area is to be a Horde port. She sends a vast fleet. By level six you’re fending off Forsaken soilders, and preparing a fresh evacuation.
That’s when the Cataclysm hits. In one almighty tsunami, the Forsaken fleet is wiped out and the Gilneans are saved. But in an impressive demonstration of Blizzard’s phasing tech, half of Gilneas shore is flooded in the process. The Worgen have no choice – they must decamp, and join the Alliance at Stormwind.”

Wow. This means that Gilneas is abandoned due to the Cataclysm. Worgen of Stormwind, indeed! Rumor has it that the Gilnean capital city will become a PVP battleground, but we do not have that confirmed yet. You can listen to the entire PC Gamer podcast in it’s entirety HERE. Warning: it is very long.

It Came From Blizzcon!

September 24, 2009

I’ll be upfront, I HATE leftovers. Except pizza, which is a universe unto itself (and a non-worgen post to boot). And lo and behold, here we are with leftover news from Blizzcon. Think of these as leftovers from the Mellow Mushroom, because they are definitely tasty. Just imagine we slammed through a sampler pizza and you’ll be good. We’re emptying the Blizzcon fridge, expect a wide variety. Here we go!

First, a slice of the House Special. We can now add worgen to the rogues’ gallery (thank you, worgen.info!):

rogue1

Next, a slice of Mega Veggie, some femme fatale worgen concept art, courtesy of Blizzcon:

femworgen

And a side sampling of Bruschetta, our starting worgen stats (per wowwiki.com):

worgen_base_stats

And finally, the last slice of good ol’ fashioned cheese. Otherwise known as more worgen warrior concept art:

worgen_warrior

That’s pretty much it for Blizzcon. Wow, the microwave seems so empty now. We’ve got worgen gameplay footage, concept art, transformation sequence, starting area, stats, classes, racials . . . I think we’re just missing the official ground mounts and female worgen model. Otherwise, we’re set until we can officially play worgen, which can’t get here soon enough. More on that later since the latest patch has gotten me thinking.

Beware of Benicio!

September 20, 2009

wolfman

The toothy mug above is courtesy of Rick Baker for the new Wolfman movie coming in 2010. Yes, that, that, and THAT Rick Baker. You can view his entire f/x bio here. This is a publicity shot of the new movie starring Benicio Del Toro as the protagonist. Like Blizzard’s Cataclysm, we’ll have to wait to see the film in the not-too-distant future, assuming it doesn’t get pushed back beyond February 2010. Either way, it is in decent proximity to Cataclysm’s worgen, both in timing and theme.

The Golden Age of Werewolves

Many of us need distractions until Cataclysm arrives, whenever it arrives. And what better way than to look back on werewolf lore in movies? After all, that is the main source of inspiration worgen really come from. Movies bring these characters to life more than any other source (aside from WoW of course).

Let’s start with the one verse that will get drilled into everyone’s skulls by the time we can actually play a worgen. And it should be, since it comes from the original movie at the heart of werewolf mythology.

Even a man who is pure in heart,
and says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
and the Autumn moon is bright.

That verse comes from Universal’s original Wolf Man, 1941, starring Lon Chaney Jr. Laurence Talbot is a sympathetic character played so well by Chaney Jr that it became his signature part. Universal’s monster movies (Frankenstein, Dracula) were based on pieces of literature, but not this one. The Wolf Man script was created entirely from scratch, with no Shelley, Webling, or Stoker to guide the studio hacks. If you watch some of the truly horrible B flicks of the 30′s and 40′s, you’ll understand what an accomplishment that is.

This leads to another reason to examine the Wolf Man movie (new and old). Rick Baker. His love of werewolves makes my feeble attempt at worgen fandom look like puppy love (pun intended). The original Wolf Man helped inspire Baker to get into Hollywood make up and effects. It also directly informed An American Werewolf In London, which won the very first Oscar for Make Up. He also created or consulted on the effects for the Howling, Wolf, Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, and far too many more to count. NO ONE currently has such an exclusive grip on werewolf movie effects and design than Rick Baker.

Of course, it was a no brainer to sick him on the current Wolf Man design. His influence, and the original’s influence, will likewise feed into worgen lore. For example, you can see a touch of it in the worgen’s stompy run animation from Blizzcon, and the old gothic horror design of Gilneas.

In the meantime, go find the original and get inspired on creating a worgen. We’ll feature more movies in the coming weeks. The Wolf Man is only a foundation for werewolf movies, not the complete lore.

NOTE:
There are 5 major flicks featuring Universal’s Wolf Man:

The Wolf Man
Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man
House of Frankenstein
House of Dracula
Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein

[NOTE: Why include that last one? Quentin Tarantino in 2006 said "when it was supposed to be funny, it was really funny, and when it was supposed to be scary, it was really scary." The Wolf Man gets many of the scariest parts.]

Weekly Worgen Roundup

September 15, 2009

WoW, eh? takes a look at the lore behind the worgen druid.

woweh

Elias tackles Papercraft worgen (note, try Babelfish for translation)

paperworgen

And a special doggie treat, Dog Soldiers (video here). This is a 2002 werewolf flick with a bit of a cult following. Very gory, very funny, and not to be taken too seriously. It is what it is, soldiers fighting werewolves. To sum up, a routine military exercise turns into a nightmare in the Scotland wilderness. Spoon, the guy holding up his dukes, is absolutely hilarious throughout. I can’t say it is a GOOD movie, per se, but it certainly makes it’s mark. And hey, it is a free werewolf movie on Youtube. [EDIT: Dog Soldiers is NSFW - Not Safe For Work, watch at your own risk.]

dog-soldiers-spoon-31
“Well come on, you beauties!”

Site Update Incoming!

September 11, 2009

Just a heads up, Dude, Where’s My Worgen? is going to go through a site revison soon. There is a lot of Blizzcon info we’re still combing through (and needs to be added). We have much of it in news articles, but not in a dedicated section like it deserves. We can survive on Blizzcon leaks for a while, but leftovers get old very fast. Please surprise us, Blizzard!

There is also more stuff lurking on the PTR. Patch 3.2.2 and beyond should have some more tidbits to find. And then there is Halloween. Blizzard will NOT let that holiday pass without a worgen related event. No, masks do not count. But DO count on big things for worgen in October.

In the meantime, our info sections will consolidate now that we have more solid worgen news. We will also create an official Blizzard art and images section for worgen. Hopefully, WordPress’ themes will accomodate our future growth. Keep an eye open despite a sleepy post-Blizzcon September.

My Main Squeeze

September 5, 2009

mohawk

So you have a level 80 nightelf mohawk that bores you to death. And you want a worgen so bad you’d eat kibble for a week. But you WOULD eat kibble for a week to avoid leveling another character from 1 to 80. What can you do? There is a new option available, with a few more on the way. The first is the newly announced faction switching service that went online last week. This allows any Hordie to switch over to a worgen (when they go live), as long as the character classes match. Dude, there’s your worgen.

What this also means is Shammies and Pallies need not apply. Sorry, this option isn’t enough for you guys because worgen don’t have those 2 classes. So NOW what to do? Pallies and Shammies just cannot win, right? We are now aware of a new race switching service coming soon too. This isn’t live yet, but it might just be the vaunted ‘ultimate reroll’ everyone has dreamed of. Nothing is 100% certain, but it would be the best hope for shamans and paladins.

Now let us talk worst case doomsday scenario for you hybrid healers. Imagine the race change feature is the same as faction switching: classes must match. Blizzard has sentenced you to the Bataan Deathmarch known as the 85 Level Grind. Or have they?

Cataclysm is revamping Azeroth. It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine). First, all the quests will be redesigned to rid us of all those loooooooong runs in the starter areas. Greenhills of Stranglethorn questline: gone. Barrens quests: gone. Desolace: ALL gone. All vanilla quest areas will turn into the magic happy funtime of Azuremyst Isles and Ghostlands. Concentrated quest givers, short quest runs, logical quests, no more 19 items for 1 QUEST, WHEW.

The second benefit we will see is heirlooms using an existing main toon. You can purchase chest and shoulder pieces with awesome stats that scale as your worgen levels, as well as providing 10% extra experience EACH. That’s right, the bonuses stack.

So there you have it, Pallies, Shammies, and altaholics. If you have to level a worgen from scratch, you will not have to suffer through the old vanilla content (as we know it now anyways). You can buff your xp by 20% with heirlooms (on top of the rested bonus!). The world will be new, filled with new quests, with an easier load to carry. Not bad.

So prepare yourselves! We could possibly see Cataclysm between Christmas ’09 and summer of ’10. You can wolf it down sooner than you think.

Gilneas Map Quest

September 2, 2009

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

zona_inicio_worgen_thumb

That, my friends, is the map of Gilneas at Blizzcon (thank you WoW.com). I recommend you save that picture for any private files. Why? Blizzard has been nailing many videos of worgen and Cataclysm posted on Youtube (see many Blizzcon posts below). Where did this pic come from? Right, a video. So take it as you will. I think this is legal at this point . . . but you never know until the Blizzard legal dept. comes calling.

This may or may not be the map we see live in game. I think it is what Gilneas looks like right before the Cataclysm arrives, however. There is a significant portion of land near the shore demarcated by a river or border of some sort. I speculate this is the portion of Gilneas that falls into the ocean, refered to in the quest descriptions by World of Raids:

After your next quest — which is to kill the leader of the forsaken assault by calling in a pack of gilneas mastiffs — you first experience the new terrain phasing feature. As you turn in the quest a massive earthquake strikes the region and you leave the wine cellar to discover that a large mass of land has broken free and fallen into the ocean. What was once an area you were completing quests on is now completely flooded by the sea.

We have pointers to the destruction of a large swath of Gilneas. It is also possible that the worgen lose their entire nation due to the Cataclysm and the Forsaken invasion. The quest descriptions point to an evacuation, but we do not know where to. Another part of Gilneas? To Stormwind? We will keep a lookout for more info. Also, if anyone spots more info on this, feel free to leave a comment. Any news is welcome!

Blizzcon Video Bash

August 30, 2009

If you are like me (and 11 million others) and did NOT go to Blizzcon, this post is for you. What was the character creation screen like? What do the starter areas look like? What about the quests? Thankfully, some attendees were able to sneak some cameras in, and have released their findings on Youtube. Others have documented what they saw on official gaming sites. First, let us see the character creation screen and some of the worgen visual options available at Blizzcon.

Character Creation

Starting Area

Darkflight Racial and 2-Handed Sword Combat

Some notes on the starting area. According to multiple sources, all characters started at level 6, not level 1. Kotaku reveals something interesting. Levels 1-5 are not finished:

During my interview with lead developer Tom Chilton, he explained that this was simply because the 1-5 areas weren’t quite finished, and they felt the 6 and up areas offered a more complete grasp of what they were trying to do.

Also, this is a heavily phased area. You start in Gilneas chained up in stocks. You are then freed to gather a potion to tame your ‘wild’ side. You then must repel the Forsaken trying to invade the area. Once done with this quest series, things get interesting. Per The Escapist, a huge portion of the coastline had vanished below the waves thanks to an earthquake – the first harbinger of the Cataclysm, one would assume. From there, the story turned to less of a “repel the Forsaken invasion,” and more of a “We need to get out of here, now.”

INVASION!

World of Raids goes into some detail on the starting area quests:

Your first two quests are to fight off forsaken attackers, and also blow up abominations by tossing gun powder barrels on their heads. These quests are your fairly basic World of Warcraft quests everyone has come to know from Wrath of the Lich King. Next up you’re given three quests; one is to kill more forsaken who are pushing into the farms of the area, another to locate 3 children and get them into a wine cellar, and another to use forsaken catapults to launch yourself onto nearby ships where you’re tasked with killing the captains.

After your next quest — which is to kill the leader of the forsaken assault by calling in a pack of gilneas mastiffs — you first experience the new terrain phasing feature. As you turn in the quest a massive earthquake strikes the region and you leave the wine cellar to discover that a large mass of land has broken free and fallen into the ocean. What was once an area you were completing quests on is now completely flooded by the sea.

EVACUATION!

From here everyone knows the situation is dire, and thus you’re given the task of making sure as many people evacuate as possible. Your three quests are to visit an orchard, the fishery, and a cottage and ensure they’re told to evacuate. Throughout this each NPC gives you quests before they’re willing to leave. At the orchard you must round up horses so that the townsfolk are able to escape easily. At the fishery, you’re asked to help collect tools to use on a boat that will be the escape route for a set of brothers whose love is the sea and nothing else. At the cottage you must rescue Grandma Wahl’s cat, gather her journal, and retrieve a proper, clean dress for hear to wear.

It is still unknown if the town alone is evacuated, or if the entire country had to be saved. Either is possible. Neither is confirmed. Considering worgen get a district in Stormwind (and the Horde reportedly are overtaking Southshore) it is possible that they evacuated Gilneas proper. Interesting news, indeed!

Riders On The Storm

August 26, 2009

Riders On the Storm, what a great song. Which alludes to our current topic: worgen mounts. The racial mounts were still not announced at Blizzcon. What will we ride? Some enterprising photoshoppers managed to catch this pic from the Cataclysm panel at Blizzcon 2009. I brightened it up so it was a bit easier to see.
worgenride
Look at the overbite on that thing!

It looks like a battle boar with some dental issues. Personally, it takes getting used to. They need to file the log chin, it is irritating. Or make it a blade like the spiny raptor art. I think worgen ought to have something more appropriate. The problem is all the existing mounts in the game limit our choices. You could use a wolf, but orcs have ‘em. You could try a dinosaur, but trolls have those. A horse? You get my point.

Obviously, we need something original here. WoW could use a battleboar, I admit, but we need more art here. This is an area wide open for more artistic expression. For a start, here are the existing mobs in Silverpine Forest:

The Warcraft RPG also lists some notable excerpts:

  • Albadian Battle Dog
  • Bane Spider
  • Blade Beast
  • Dragonspawn
  • Elk
  • Salamander

Now obviously, this area is still not nailed down (that we know of). We could be riding mechanostriders, for all we know. I do suspect some Blizzard employees have been lurking on worgen sites (including ours) so feel free to post additional idea in the comments. You never know . . .

cataclysmlogo

That is the $64 million dollar question, isn’t it? WoW.com has a bit of a direction for us here – very, very soon. Let me quote liberally from the article:

Blizzard’s Lead Level Designer on World of Warcraft, Cory Stockton, has stated that Cataclysm‘s development began before Wrath shipped (there’s a surprise …) but it’s obviously futher along than many might have thought and then Mike Morhaime hesitantly confirmed the game was slated to be released in 2010 along with StarCraft II.

SCII is slated to be released sometime in the Spring of 2010. My gestimate is we will see the new Xpac around March of 2010. This thing is READY. The goblin and worgen starter areas were playable YESTERDAY on the Blizzcon showfloor (visit the last post for Youtube video of Gilneas and worgen transformation). We have in-game video of most of the changed areas of Azeroth (Barrens, Orgrimmar, Ashenvale, Desolace, etc). We weren’t shown concept art for these areas in the trailer – we got to see before and after in-game shots. It appears Blizzard set their staff to work on Wrath and Cataclysm back to back. Eeeeeeeeeexcellent, smithers.

Blizzard is obviously being pushed by something. It took years, plural, for Burning Crusade to come about. Wrath was announced at Blizzcon 2007 (also in August) and was not in playable form until July 2008. That is nearly a year, folks. Cataclysm was announced on Friday AND IT IS ALREADY PLAYABLE. I’d ask for a pony, but it might already be too late (in a future patch, Ghostcrawler, sir?).

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