Sunday, September 25, 2011

Emerald Dream and The Life Aquatic

It's been staring us in the face and we simply hadn't recognized it.  There may be a major aquatic component coming in the next expansion.

[Update 9/28/11:  Since the release of this article, we've learned from our readers that the Emerald Dream and an aquatic theme could potentially coexist in a single expansion with the introduction of N'Zoth, an Old God responsible for the "spark" that created the Emerald Nightmare.  He is also the being that is largely responsible for Deathwing's corruption and current state.  The speculation is that he is somewhere beneath Azeroth's oceans, perhaps in a sunken city.]


On the 24th we released a 90 second video to You Tube offering a brief view into the rationale behind our hypothesis that the next expansion in the World of Warcraft would be the Emerald Dream.  The minute we released it, though, something didn't feel quite right about it.  Within 30 minutes of posting it to You Tube, we were already second-guessing ourselves and posting more rationale in the comments.  I personally felt it was rushed, and it's been nagging at me since we posted it and I hadn't been able to figure out why.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two-Handed Axes: Stuck In the Middle With You

Welcome back to Disenchanting Azeroth!

Thanks again to our readers who participated in our previous article poll, from which we determined Two-Handed Axes was next in line.  We've seen a lot of sustained interest in our polls for Daggers, Polearms and Bows, but it appears our voters are heavy on 2H melee.  As such, we're going to forgo a poll for our next article and jump right to our review of Daggers, giving an editors' bump to the near-winning effort the voters put in on the previous poll.  In the meantime, though it's time for a showdown to see if the Hunters want to see their bows or if they're willing to give way to the rest of our Polearm-wielding audience.  It's Polearms vs. Bows, cast your votes now. And with that said, onward to today's article:  Two-Handed Axes.

The goal of our evaluations is to determine just how much visual parity there is among weaponry in the World of Warcraft, and where the niches lie that players can leverage as a means to visually differentiate themselves from their peers with Transmogrification in 4.3.

The chart you see to the left (click for larger image) represents every Epic, Rare and Uncommon Two-Handed Axe model currently available in-game that can be transmogrified.

Monday, September 19, 2011

#choosewisely: Transmogrification and the Future of Questing

When the Transmogrification feature was announced as part of patch 4.3, most of us initially felt the pain of having sold off or destroyed gear and weapons from previous tiers and seasons of PvP.  If you look deeper, you'll see that Transmogrification will actually forever change key aspects of the game, including how players manage Quests and Quest Rewards in the future.

You have chosen wisely. The De-Raged Waraxe is one-of-a-kind.


During our ongoing evaluations here, we've uncovered a number of weapons and shields that are extremely rare, even one-of-a-kind models that are only attainable upon completion of certain Quests.  We've already heard from a few players that some of the items we've selected in our editors' picks, such as the King's Bulwark and Revilgaz's Cutlass are long lost for them because they've already completed the Quest lines and have sold/destroyed the items.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One-Handed Maces: Avoiding the Central Mass

Welcome back to Disenchanting Azeroth!

First off, thanks to those of you who participated in our previous poll.  We had over 350 participants and it was a close race up until the last day, where it was One-Handed Maces that made its final surge towards the finish line.  A great finish, which leads us into our next evaluation in our progression towards patch 4.3 and Transmogrification:  One-Handed Maces:

Differentiation Analysis:  One-Handed Maces (v1.0)
The goal of our evaluations is to determine just how much visual parity there is among weaponry in the World of Warcraft, and where the niches lie that players can leverage as a means to visually differentiate themselves from their peers with Transmogrification in 4.3.

The chart you see to the left (click for larger image) represents every Epic, Rare and Uncommon One-Handed Mace model currently available in-game that can be transmogrified.

We have already removed a few items that Blizzard has deemed ineligible, so if you're looking for the Spider Splatter Mace, which is a great-looking frying pan complete with eggs, unfortunately Blizzard isn't going to let you humiliate Deathwing with it.  Nor will they enable you to PvP with models of fish, such as the Rockhide Strongfish.  In addition, some models may be categorized as being more "unique" than you believe they are.  This is likely due to the fact that some of the recycled skins don't actually have any stats.  And from what we gather, an item must have stats on it in order to be eligible for transmogrification.

Read on for our initial conclusions, our visual positioning analysis, the editors' picks and our map key to identify and link to the items reviewed here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two-Handed Swords: A Challenging Landscape

Our readers have spoken, and so we humbly present our next visual analysis in our progression to patch 4.3 and Transmogrification:  Two-Handed Swords. The chart you see below maps every Epic, Rare and Uncommon model currently attainable in-game (click for larger image).  And if you've had the Corrupted Ashbringer locked away in your vault for safekeeping, it's time to dust it off.  Scroll down to the base of this article to see where your unattainable prize ranks in our visual positioning.

Differentiation Analysis:  Two-Handed Swords
For the rest of our analysis, our visual positioning exercise and links to the actual models, read on after the jump. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One-Handed Swords: Avoiding the Red Ocean

Our next visual analysis in our progression to patch 4.3 and Transmogrification is on One-Handed Swords. The chart you see below maps every Epic, Rare and Uncommon model currently attainable in-game (click for larger image).
For the purposes of this visual analysis, we've arranged the models horizontally by expansion and vertically by how often the model is recycled for entirely different weapons.  The goal of our entire analysis is to determine just how much visual parity there is among weaponry in the World of Warcraft, and where the niches lie that players can leverage as a means to stand out among their peers.

Since this is a review of design language and form, the recycled models with varying differences in color and texture have been removed.  The grayscale map key at the end of the article will enable you to link the images you see here with an actual root model on WoWhead. From there you can determine which skin of the model you prefer and where you will need to go hunting in order to attain it.  For the rest of our analysis, our visual positioning exercise and links to the actual models, read on after the jump.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Staves: What Not To Wear in 4.3


Welcome to Part 2 of 2 for our analysis on Staves for 4.3.  

If you recall, in our previous post, Part 1 of 2 discussed staves from purely a wireframe model standpoint, accounting for how many other staves share the same model in-game, and giving a visual representation of the results. 

So is the chart we posted in our last article enough to determine what you should be using for a staff to stand out among your peers? The short answer is 'no'.

Data mining and determining how many items are truly unique is easy enough. But to really put these models to the test, you have to cross reference them with a qualitative, aesthetic analysis. Which brings us to our next exercise and more, after the jump.

For the rest of our analysis, our editor's picks and our review of Anathema/Benediction, read on after the jump below.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Staves: Purity vs Parity in 4.3

Our next visual analysis in our progression to patch 4.3 and Transmogrification is on Staves.  We're going to be splitting each category's Differentiation analysis from its Visual Positioning analysis going forward as a means to lighten the load on our readers, so stay tuned for the secondary analysis on Staves due out this weekend. So this will be Part 1 of 2.

The chart you see below (click for larger image) maps every possible Staff model currently attainable in-game (Epic, Rare, Uncommon).  Read on after the jump for further analysis and a grayscale map key identifying links to every model shown here.

For the rest of our analysis and links to the actual models, read on after the jump.