The Rage of the Firelands World of Warcraft PTR is officially up and, as usual, it’s secrets are flowing onto the internet, if you know the right sites to read. But this is not another datamining rant, rather the opposite.

When Blizzard began releasing the info, which includes details on the Firelands raid, the regrowth of Hyjal, the new legendary staff storyline and Thrall’s continuing role as Azeroth’s poster-orc, I was delighted. Rather than getting it all second hand, the info was, for the first time in ages, coming direct from the source. Blizzard is effectively reclaiming ownership of their own game from the habitual dataminers and leakers and beating them to the post, revealing key plot info on their terms. Kudos to them!

Yes, if you want the specific conversation that reveals the identity of Thrall’s attacker then you can still go to the usual suspects but if you want actual info, from the source, then you’ll really want to keep an eye on Blizzard. I can easily imagine their frustrations when that picture of Ragnaros with legs was leaked along with the new legendary staff and how you go about getting it. So much so, they ended up changing the look of Ragnaros and made the staff look even more epic. It must drive them nuts to spend so long on crafting a quest-line, raid, and gorgeous loot only for people to hunt down the info in the patch files and leak it.


Blizzard has been refreshingly open about upcoming storylines.

Blizzard might not be actively - or at least not publicly - pursuing the repeat offenders but they are going one better. Why get educated guesses when you can get official info from the source. Yes, in some ways, datamining is forcing Blizzard to be more open, to divulge storylines officially rather than leaving it to fansites and leakers to steal their thunder. The only reason we got that glut of Rage of the Firelands info was to beat the dataminers, revealing it prior to the PTRs going up was their way of giving the finger to any sites which might decide to tear the patch apart and also remind the community whose game this is in the first place.

The decision to reveal information themselves ahead of the hordes of dataminers is awesome but it's also just a start. While many lore fiends - myself included - are on tenterhooks at the mention of dragons, Thrall, and Hyjal, the majority of the playerbase don't give a fig. They want to know about the raid and its bosses, the armor and the loot. In that order. Gear reveals have traditionally been the province of dataminers but, again, Blizzard beat them to the post by revealing the T12 armor for around half the classes. For this information to come from the horse's mouth, well that gained Blizzard a hell of a lot of followers but they do need to keep this up. That means more posts, more videos and more previews.

From my perspective, as both a player and a writer here at Ten Ton Hammer, I love official sources, preferring to get my news first-hand rather than via the seedy underbelly of sites which datamine and guess. It’s like that old story about three blind men and an elephant; unless you’re seeing the whole, you can often be so wrong it’s almost funny. So, I applaud Blizzard for taking back what’s rightfully theirs, for revealing Rage of the Firelands on their terms and beating the unofficial sources too it. Keep up the good work!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016