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Job Application: Warchief of the Horde

I was thinking the other day about the leaders of the Horde, and our current Warchief.  After looking them all over, each has their own reasons for wanting to be in power and has the experience to warrant it.  So I thought I’d put down a brief job application for each of the six leaders and what they would have said to Thrall if they had applied for the job of Warchief.

Enjoy this humourous representation of what I think the different people would say.

Applicant: Garrosh Hellscream

Gender: MANLY ORC!

Race: DID YOU NOT SEE MANLY ORC?

Previous Employer: Mopey emo-Orc based out of Garadar

References: Greatmother Geyah. Don’t talk to Mor’ghor. My Dad was Grom Hellscream! That counts for something, right? Hey, how did Magatha’s name get on here?!

Experience: Running Warsong Hold with the “help” of Saurfang. Smashing things with Gorehowl. Cleaving things with Gorehowl. Beating more things with Gorehowl. Oh, is that a basic campfire? So pretty… er, um, I like beating things. Good history of arguing for the sake of arguing. Lack of foresight. Dueling.

Applicant: Baine Bloodhoof

Gender: Bull

Race: Tauren

Previous Employer: Chief of Bloodhoof Village

References: My father’s legacy, and I’m sure Magatha will attest to my battle prowess.

Experience: Not being Garrosh Hellscream.  Having honour. Running Bloodhoof Village for many years while my father was leading our people. Battle experience notably includes taking back Thunder Bluff from traitors. Do you want to see the dents in my totem from those pummeled by it?

Applicant: Sylvanas

Gender: Female

Race: Previously High Elf, currently a banshee inhabiting the dead body

Previous Employer: Arthas (*spits*), Quel’Thalas Rangers

References: There’s a few Val’kyr here who will be willing to say how awesome I am.  Oh, and an entire nation of followers.

Experience: Leading formerly enthralled minions of the Lich King under one banner to oppose him. Helping kill Arthas through the various parts of Icecrown Citadel. Destroying many enemies while in the Rangers. Not making plague (*coughs*).

Applicant: Vol’jin

Gender: Male

Race: Troll

Previous Employer: Masta’ o’ da Darkspear Trolls

References: Afta’ Bwonsamdi blessed de Darkspears, I be sure he happy wit’ me. Thrall be me brudda in arms.

Experience: Leading da Trolls away from massacre of da Gurubashi. Kickin’ heathen Trolls out of Zul’Aman. Emissary to other Troll tribes. Loyal member o’ da Horde since we came to Kalimdor. Lay down a beat, and I be de masta’ dancah!

Applicant: Lor’themar Theron

Gender: Male, right?

Race: Blood Elf

Previous Employer: Prince Kael’thas

References: Nobody knows who I am…

Experience: Looking good while doing anything, or nothing. Standing around in Silvermoon for the past few years. I look amazing. My hair looks fabulous.

 

Applicant: Trade-Prince Gallywix

 

Gender: Male

Race: Goblin

Previous Employer: ME!

References: Ask any Goblin, they’ll know what to say. YOU KNOW WHAT TO SAY OR YOU’LL PAY!

Experience: Swindling the life savings out of a brazen young upstart who wants my job. Hostile takeovers. Insulting others, especially people who want my job or Gnomes. Being the best at everything… except sailing, I guess.

Protagonist Development

I don’t envy Blizzard’s creative development department. Not one bit. I do, however, have a huge amount of respect for Chris Metzen and his crew of awesomeness, as they have an extremely hard job – keeping things straight, and making the lore of the game make sense.

To begin with, creating anything new and original is really difficult. While the human/elf/dwarf/etc universe was not created by Blizzard, they took something that people could recognize and put their own spin on it. A few examples of their original thinking: dragons being the protectors of the world and having dominion over a certain part of it; the Emerald Dream concept, having a complete copy of the unadultered world exist in dream form; the Titans, Sargeras, and the Burning Legion.

Along with this is taking the characters that are created and making them believable. Nobody likes the perfect character who has absolutely no faults (/cough Rhonin and his raptor army), because there’s not a human in real life who is perfect. Take any good novel or movie and see the characters that people relate to the most, and look at who wrote their stories. It’s those people who you want to thank.

When a protagonist is established, it must be incredibly hard to balance the good and bad. They may have some great things about them, but there can’t be any downsides – once again, that are believable. Something simple such as being clumsy isn’t a character flaw, it’s a fact of life. Not trusting anyone because you were sold into slavery as a child is a character flaw, as it’s a huge obstacle that that person must overcome.

There will be spoilers for the Elemental Bonds questline of 4.2 following.

There are a number of major characters in World of Warcraft, built up over the years by the games or novels. Currently in Cataclysm, and particularly in a certain quest line in 4.2, Thrall is undoubtedly at the middle of everything. The leader of the Earthen Ring and the most powerful Shaman on Azeroth is a big thing to balance out as a believable character.

The quest line that I mentioned starts just outside of Nordrassil (after breadcrumbs from either capital) with a convocation of the four remaining Dragon Aspects, the Archdruids, and the leaders of the Earthen Ring (including Thrall and Aggra). Mending the World Tree in Hyjal was the plan, but unfortunately a certain fallen Archdruid had other plans from his “master”. Fandral explains that his master has sensed that Thrall is the single biggest threat to his master’s plans, and he needs to be taken care of.

Rather than simply killing Thrall, Fandral splits the shaman’s spirit into the four elements and sends them to the four elemental planes of the Skywall, Abyssal Maw, Deepholm, and Firelands. The Aspects seem unable to help him, so Aggra decides to take matters into her own hands and task the player to go with her and help restore him to one piece.

This is when we see the different sides of Thrall, and the emotions that he has been trying to keep together for years. Doubt, desire, patience, and fury are all expressed during the different parts. There have been times where he has shown certain parts of this through the game, but never have they been out of control. The elemental planes have enhanced these senses, so you and Aggra have to restore him to as close to normal as possible.

There have been some good conversations on Twitter that I’ve seen, mainly between WoW Insider staffers, arguing about what this quest line does. Does it establish Thrall as more of a fleshed out character, or does it make Aggra a major character with Thrall as the sidekick?

Personally, my thought is that it’s a bit of both. Thrall is given more depth as a character, but the problem that I see is the fact that he’s being set up as an uber-character, and very close to the Mary Sue problem of Rhonin. He’s going through this whole ordeal to basically “cure” his major character flaws – the fact that he has had the problem of controlling his emotions. After this, what else is there to make him realistic?

I have really enjoyed the progression of Aggra’s character. She was annoying at first in The Shattering novel by Christie Golden, but by the end of the book I had grown to like her. After having a small role in the Lost Isles part of the Goblin starting experience, we don’t see her again until she ferries the character into Deepholm. This quest line makes her much more believable and has more of a personality, especially during the Deepholm parts where she gets mad at Thrall for being so stubborn.

Nothing will be perfectly written. In all of the stories written, people can nitpick parts of a character for parts that they don’t like. However, getting as realistic as possible is the ideal dream of an author. With these characters being in a persistent world that is constantly being written, there’s more of a chance for them to have more development in the future.

My concluding thoughts is that the characters are written well, but I believe that Aggra shines more than Thrall in this part. I really like both characters, and having most of my history being a Horde player I’ve had a man-crush on Thrall at times for being awesome. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Metzen and the creative development team takes the story forward.

Screenshot of the Week – April 2

Click for full size

Today’s screenshot of the week comes from the Maelstrom, in a way.  Actually, this is part of a quest chain in Twilight Highlands where you go inside the beast Iso’rath and try to destroy it.  At first, it makes you go a little insane and think that Deathwing is at the Maelstrom killing Thrall and his Earthen Ring buddies.  Thankfully, it was all a dream… or was it?

Cataclysmic Beginnings, Part 1

Having gone through both of the new races’ starting zones, I thought I’d give my opinions on how they turned out. They were both well done, but in different ways. The Goblin starting zone was very goblin-esque: it was fun, campy, had some entertaining moments. The Worgen starting zone was very sober: it was like you were in an industrial revolution time period, and you’re fighting for your survival.

This is going to be part one in a series of going through the changed starting zones of all the races, finishing up their respective starting areas – Durotar, Tirisfal, and so on.

My biggest disappointment was what happens to the Worgen after the starting zone is done, but we’ll get to that part later.

There will be lots of spoilers forthcoming.  Follow along after the break to go through my thoughts about these two great areas.

Read the rest of this entry

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