Category Archives: Lore

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.

Inhabitants of Azeroth

This is part of a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic.

Azeroth (and Outland) is a very diverse place. Within its realms lie many different people, races, classes, professions, and landscapes. The world itself is amazing, sometimes making me want to break into song. This article will focus one just one part, which will be the races that make up the world, and those which are my favourites.

There are many races in World of Warcraft, some of which are playable and many of which are not. Some can be seen as virtuous, evil, neutral, or just plain weird. Among the playable races, people sometimes think that the Alliance is the “good” side, and the Horde are the “villains”. One thing I like about the game is that within each race lies examples of both sides of the spectrum. Whereas some races could have fewer examples, and like in real life, we can’t paint a whole race by a few bad (or good) apples.

Horde – Tauren

Tauren MaleThe Tauren have always been a favourite race of mine, since I played Warcraft III. There was something about them that always appealed to me, and to this day I’m not entirely sure what. In part, it’s because out of the Horde, they’re the race that is the most on the “good” side. Plus, they’re cows that can carry huge stumps of wood and use them as weapons. How is that not awesome?

This race has a splinter group which is finally being expanded upon in Cataclysm, the Grimtotem. I never understood why Magatha was offered a spot in Thunder Bluff when she never agreed with Cairne Bloodhoof and wanted to see him dead. Unfortunately, she was ultimately successful in her quest to kill the Tauren leader, and almost succeeded in a coup of the capital city. Thankfully, Cairne’s son Baine is as much a warrior and level-headed as his father, and was able to get support to drive them out and retake his rightful position as the new leader of the Tauren.

I have not yet played through the quests in Thousand Needles, but my wife tells me that there’s some not-so-subtle hints that we’ll be seeing Magatha another time. Hopefully, it will be to make sure she doesn’t pose any threat to this peaceful nation ever again.

The runner-up race for the Horde are the Orcs. If you haven’t yet, read through “Rise of the Horde” by Christie Golden, and you’ll get a great history lesson of how the race has changed over time. I highly recommend this book.

Alliance – Draenei

Draenei FemaleThere’s something about the blue-skinned space goats that pique my interest. Their story is a very long one which started with the corruption of some of the original Eredar leaders of Archimonde and Kil’jaeden, and ended with the Draenei we know today being the splinter group from the original people. A majority of the Eredar are now used by the Burning Legion as their troops, helping Sargeras accomplish his goals of wiping out life in the universe.

On Azeroth (and Outland) there aren’t any specific splinter groups off of the landed Draenei, just a few places here and there that have Draenei among their ranks. The main part where they’re evident is wherever there are groups of the Burning Legion, there’s bound to be an Eredar hanging out. Or to spice things up, there’s Prince Malchezaar hanging out at the top of Karazhan.

For more history regarding the Draenei, once again the book “Rise of the Horde” by Christie Golden covers parts of it.

Runners-up for the Alliance would have to be the Night Elves. As much as I may hate to admit it, I like the story behind the race and everything they’ve gone through to become the race they are today. With a few

Non-Player Characters – Dragons

Dragons are awesome. In World of Warcraft, they’ve become even more awesome than most other series or games that are out there. Not only are they dragons, but the idea of being separated into the aspects and each aspect having dominion over a certain part of the world is a great idea. Many series have dragons as being the “bad guys”, with some certain ones breaking away from that – which is what I like. They’re freaking DRAGONS.

Runners-up for the NPC races are a tie for me: the Naga – again, I really like their history and what happened to them after the Sundering; and the Murlocs – say what you will, they’re still entertaining.

Conclusion

I truly could go on about the different races and what I like and dislike about each of them. Thankfully, Blizzard gives us many options and stories to choose from. It will be interesting to see what future expansions hold.

Cataclysmic Beginnings, Part 2: Horde

In my continuing coverage of the new starting areas for the changed Azeroth, we come to the Horde. My preferred faction, the one that I’ve played a majority of my World of Warcraft career with. I’ve rolled alts galore before the changes, and I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one who has. After a while, the mind just goes numb and the starting zones became a blur until you just plow through it and get it over and done with.

Pre-Cataclysm, I know that all of my characters went over to Eversong Forest and Ghostlands as soon as possible. The rewards were better than any given in the other areas, and the flow was much smoother than doing the other ones. It’s a little bit sad that it’s now the opposite – any Blood Elf will likely try to go to Tirisfal Glades and Silverpine Forest as fast as they can, and with good reason.

One great thing that has been changed for all starting zones that is extremely useful is that there are flight paths in the starting towns, like Razor Hill or Bloodhoof Village. Less travel time is always appreciated.

Each of the remaining Horde races will be covered here: Orcs and Trolls in Durotar, Tauren in Mulgore, Blood Elves in Eversong Forest, and Forsaken in Tirisfal Glades. There will be spoilers ahead.

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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.

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Altaholic-ness, Redux

A while back, I mentioned how much I enjoy leveling alts. To this day the trend continues, and unfortunately Cataclysm has made it even easier to enjoy this hobby. The addition of new races, new race/class combinations, and the complete redesign of the level 1-60 leveling process was just a bit of encouragement. Then I go and splurge on all three heirloom cloaks from guild rep, making it that much easier.

My habit has continued, and it has flourished.

One big thing that I’m a bit surprised about is that two classes that I enjoyed quite a bit before have not interested me as much now. The Warlock, my very first class that I got to the level cap with on the Horde side in Vanilla, has no presence on my character list at all. I tried rolling one a few times, but it’s just not doing it for me right now. Perhaps later. The Death Knight, a class that I thoroughly enjoyed back in WotLK, is now my bank alt. I have one that I’m trying to level through Outland right now, but I think it might be more of that continent’s fault than the DK class itself.

My Shaman just recently hit 65 after simmering on the backburner for a while. I wanted to get geared up and ready for heroics and raids before I focused too much on any alt for a little bit. Now that I’m raiding again (woot!), I’ve been slowly working him through Outland. As I mentioned before, it really is a chore to get through the BC content. I remember trying to rush as fast as possible to 58 so we could get away from the junk of Vanilla content – oh, how times have changed.

There’s the hunter who’s in the late thirties. I was going pretty steady with it for a while, but I’ve lost interest in it for the moment. These phases come and go quite quickly with various classes and how I feel with it. On our old server, I was leveling a rogue with my wife and was having a blast. I tried rolling a rogue a few times already, and it’s just not doing anything for me right now. More than likely, it’s too close to the cat druid that I work on mostly right now.

One character that I was looking forward to rolling at Cataclysm was my goblin priest, and she’s been quite a bit of fun. Checking out the talent trees previously, Discipline looked like a great spec to try out for leveling as it had a good mixture of damage and healing abilities. So far I’ve leveled exclusively through the dungeon finder from level 15 on, just to work on my skills so when I hit a higher level I’m not completely out of it. I’m only level 29, so it’s not really too big of a challenge, but it’s been a good experience so far.

Lastly, I have lowbies of the rest of them: paladin, mage, and warrior. I’ve played a paladin and mage to level cap previously and enjoyed it, and the highest I’ve ever gotten a warrior was to the mid twenties. Some of the higher levels that I have right now are going to be DPS and healing, so I’m thinking a tanking warrior would be fun. Heirloom shield please?

I enjoy the different experiences that I have on each character when I play them. Each has their own different feel, their own nuances that I have to figure out – it’s nice to have such flexibility within the game. Plus, this is all on the Horde side. If I wanted something completely new, I’d work on my Alliance characters… maybe.

First impressions of Cataclysm

I listen to the WoW Insider Podcast a fair amount, and one constant that comes up quite a bit is how awesome Cataclysm is.  After finally having a couple days to try things out, I too would like to add my voice to this.  Cataclysm is freaking awesome.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to fight a raid boss every night before I can do anything else: the dreaded login queue fight.  Remember when I was talking about our guild transferring to a new server?  At the time it was high population, and with the launch of Cataclysm and more people returning to play the game, there’s been a bit of a queue each night so far during prime time.  There are times when it isn’t too bad, but there are times when it’s 30+ minutes of waiting to be able to log in.

Thankfully there were free character transfers opened up, so if we’re lucky the queue boss will be defeated sooner rather than later.  The first server I played on was Doomhammer, and there were nightly queues for about the month or so after the game launched.  I can live with a little bit of one right now.

Complaining aside, Cataclysm is awesome.  So far I’ve been able to get to the beginning parts of level 81 on Korath in Vashj’ir and started up my Goblin Priest as I had wanted to.  Vashj’ir is visually stunning as well as very well designed: at first I wasn’t sure what it would be like, since it’s Blizzard’s first attempt at a fully 3D zone where you have to look for things all around you rather than on the floor.  One thing that came to my mind was the battle in Star Trek II where Khan forgets that he’s in space, and that he could be above him rather than just in front.

Kezan and the Lost Isles are lots of fun.  It’s extremely campy and not intended to be very serious, but at the same time it has a fair bit of serious meaning to it.  After the volcano starts to erupt and you want to leave, Gallywix decides to take everyone as captives to be sold into slavery – this is not a very funny situation.  My wife finished the Lost Isles, and I’m still working on it, but what I’ve seen is a very sleek progression and lots of quests that are both fun and can be challenging.

Before Cataclysm launched, I was able to finish up exploring the existing world and get all the new flight paths.  Along the way I was still stunned by how beautiful everything looks.  It’s quite fantastic.  My suggestion to you is that if you get frustrated at something, find a place in Azeroth that helps you calm down and just chill.  The Sundering in Stranglethorn Vale is one of those places for me.

As I write this, I fight the queue monster, and hopefully I’ll be able to get going with Korath’s progression.  There’s a fair amount of people in the guild who are already at 85, and I don’t want to be left too far behind.  That happened to me in past expansions, I don’t want it to happen again.

Happy hunting all!

First Impressions of a New Azeroth

Unfortunately, just as one of the biggest events in World of Warcraft’s history happens, my real life schedule starts to make me busy. Never fails! However, I’ve finally had a bit of time to try out and explore some of the new areas and I’m incredibly happy. Blizzard did an amazing job at 4.0.3a, as it is literally a brand new world (with a few exceptions, of course).

Initially, I went on my Druid and started to explore Kalimdor. I started out in Thunder Bluff, then went on a bit of a trip around to different places getting the new flight paths and seeing the sights. I knew that they said that the Barrens and Stonetalon Mountains would get some of the biggest changes, but I wasn’t prepared for exactly how much different it was. I think I’ll be using the word “amazing” quite often in this post.

Thousand Needles is awe-inspiring. When you went through it before, you were on the bottom looking up to the very high “needles”, working around them or on top of them. The whole zone is flooded now, which gives it a whole new feel. Where there once was the Shimmering Flats now has the Shimmering Deeps, with the goblin/gnome project of a big speedboat. Through a small but incredibly fun questline, you can get your own boat that is usable only in Thousand Needles, with one part that sends you to the bottom of the sea floor to collect debris from the old raceway.

Next, my wife and I made new Taurens to check out the new starting zone there. I was wanting to make a Paladin, and my wife made a Priest. Apart from the fact that there were close to one million new characters starting all at the same time, it went well. I always had a problem with Mulgore because it was quite boring and involved lots of running around – now the quest hubs are consolidated into managable areas which involve objectives close to where you started out. We just started Northern Barrens, which I’m quite looking forward to. I never thought I’d ever say that about the Barrens.

Recently I made a new Forsaken Hunter, since I wanted to have one and I heard that the new Undead zones are (once again) amazing. So far I have not been disappointed in the least. There are so many new features and quests, and also a fair amount which are the same or similar – it’s a good combination of brand new while still keeping things close to what it was before. One thing that is entertaining is that there’s a flight path in Brill, so if you wanted to be extra lazy you could fly to Undercity.

I just moved into Silverpine Forest, and it is incredible. I’ve only just done the quests up to The Sepulcher, but up to now it’s been playing out like a great book or movie. There are a few points when it goes into “movie mode”, basically a mini cutscene that advances the story – it’s happened when the Worgen story is advanced, as well as when you ride to the Sepulcher from Forsaken High Command alongside Sylvanas. I truly can’t say enough about how awesome this zone is turning out to be.

My only suggestion is to NOT wear heirloom shoulders and chest, since you’ll outlevel the zone before you’re done with it. The stories are too great to miss, and I can’t wait to experience more of it.

The Shattering

If you have ominous music, now would be the time to play it.  Well, I suppose it would have been more fitting on the 23rd…

The Shattering has finally  happened, and I have never been more excited to log in to Azeroth.  Not since I first started WoW has the world seemed so foreign, but so exciting at the same time.  The large majority of my time has been spent going through the changed world and grabbing all the new flight paths, along with seeing what new changes have been made.

This is a great time to play WoW – Blizzard did an amazing job on this.  I’d write more, but I need more time to explore!  More time to see the new starting areas!  Fun stuff!

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