Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Diplomacy - The Alliance, the Horde, or The Good, The Bad, and The Butt-Ugly

"Respect is the first rule of diplomacy." - Hamuul Runetotem, from my stories.

So yeah, I've already commented about this in the past in a few different ways in passing, but today, I'm gonna get down to honesty - the Alliance is a hypocrisy and the Horde is giving it the excuse to be as such. This is what I see when I look at things between the Alliance and the Horde at first glance. Mind you, I started in on the Warcraft universe when Warcraft 3 was semi-new. I've learned a lot about the lore since then, and while I still don't know everything without the help of Wowwiki and such like that at times, I know enough off the top of my head to form a decently biased opinion.

And I warn you, this may make you tl;dr, but eh.

Simply put, at first glance, the Alliance, especially Varian Wrynn, holds a grudge against the Horde based on what happened while the Horde of old was corrupted and evil. What the old Horde did was bad, yes, I know that, and you can blame monsters like Gul'dan for this. What Varian believes is... Horde is Horde. It doesn't matter how much they redeem themselves, and it never will. If you are Horde, you will be deemed evil. Thrall has tried to be respectful and diplomatic in the past, and by hook or by crook, one of two things has sabotaged this - Varian's skewed perspective. In the comics, there's a meeting between Varian, Magni, Thrall, and Garrosh in Theramore. Thrall is respectful and considerate, Garrosh is hothead Garrosh, Varian is passive-aggressive, and if I recall right Magni simply backs Varian's opinion, whatever it may be. At one point, Varian is actually starting to rethink his opinions and maybe try to lessen the tensions and be a bit more friendly. Naturally though, something comes along and ruins it all, and in this case, it's Garona, the murderer of King Llane, which was witnessed by none other than our good King Varian. Note, Garona was not in her own mind in Theramore, but she was being controlled by Cho'gall. This was later found out, but of course, the damage had already been done. Varian believed it to be a Horde-orchestrated assassination attempt and threw out all attempts to listen to reason and be diplomatic.

And for all it's worth, I'm sure there's plenty who know what happened at the Wrathgate, and who know how things went down in The Undercity.

And now we come to the events which have been taking place in Cataclysm.

I want to touch on 4 key points which I see as being factors in what will shape things to come, or have already done so and galvanized opinions one way or another, for better or worse. I'm gonna try and not give too much away because there are some events that really need to be experienced personally.

1. Stonetalon Mountains - this is the main one I don't want to give away, but I will say this... the Horde war machine veers into some real badness, and innocents do suffer in the process, but while the ending is positive, it will still leave you feeling apprehensive, and a bit angry. If Varian is predictable, he WILL latch onto this, and unfortunately, so will the Night Elves.

2. Southshore - anyone who's seen my writing and knows me well enough knows I will not and do not have any interest in Forsaken affairs, and I see them, in general, turning down an evil path. I don't condone what has happened in Hillsbrad. I haven't seen Southshore yet, and I honestly haven't done any questing for the Forsaken besides one simple set of quests in the Barrens and the meeting between Garrosh and Sylvanas. The last quest made me look like *I* was being a bad guy, and that alone put my bias against the Undead, right at the start. Garrosh and Sylvanas put a cap on it. I truly believe that if he were still leading, Thrall would have had something to say about this, but because we're talking about Garrosh and his loosened views on battle, on the war, it'll slide. Tied into this thought is...

3. Taurajo - and anyone who knows me even reasonably knows this puts me into a righteous rage. I haven't gone reading into why the heck the Alliance, namely the humans, have gone attacking a peaceful Tauren settlement and then prepped themselves to attack Mulgore. Of all the races least likely or deserving to be attacked, they attack and slaughter innocent Tauren. If they had any motivation to do so based on Southshore's destruction, why not attack the Forsaken, the ones responsible for the atrocity in the first place? I wholeheartedly support that. What I don't agree with is the attack on Honor's Stand and the attack on Taurajo. It's dishonorable to kick someone when they're down, and this was simply a vicious attack taking advantage of staging point that already has plenty of hardships around it - The Overgrowth, the chasm that splits the Barrens in half, the Quillboar, and the recovery efforts in Mulgore after the loss of their leader and the Grimtotem's treachery. It was a cheap shot. Throw in the fighting in Thousand Needles to the south, and it's really just an area that exemplifies the simple phrase I've used plenty of times, "Nothing is sacred anymore." I know it's asking too much, but if some Alliance actually spoke up and apologized on behalf of their faction, I might have a sliver of respect. This will not happen though, and because of this, I have no desire to play the Alliance.

4. Garrosh - frankly, this is the one that gives me the most doubt that the Alliance and Horde tensions will ever truly be resolved. Yes, he has intense charisma, yes, he is a smart player in the strategies of war, but when it comes to that key focus I made - diplomacy - he's a bull in a china shop(moo). In The Shattering, he makes a brazen move based on a key point in the tenuous treaty made between the Alliance and the Horde at that time, not long after Arthas' defeat. In truth, yes he had the right to do so, but it was not a move made on wisdom and mercy, but rather made with the intent to instill fear and respect based on that fear, and it was actually a cruel move because of the circumstances. In the Twilight Highlands' initial fly-in, he makes another one of these decisions. All it does is cause more tension, and probably makes everyone's jobs that much harder. There is one other surprise to be had in that little scene, but I'll keep that to myself. In any case, Garrosh, for all intents and purposes, represents something that is both rallying and dangerous - The Old Horde's ferocity with the New Horde's unity, which, to be frank, is its own sort of tenuous. Relations between Garrosh and Baine and Vol'jin are tolerant to amicable at best, leaving Sylvanas to shoot herself in the foot with her own devious choices. The Goblins... well, they know how to scheme their way into things, make their money, and make things go boom. Garrosh will favor them because of the simple fact that they will get him the supplies and weapons he needs to wage war with the Alliance. Both he and Varian have a score to settle, and Varian's split persona as Lo'Gosh + Garrosh's pride as a warrior and the son of Grom(not to mention an unhealthy desire to prove himself worthy of more than his father's shadow) will make for lots of big, angry fireworks, guaranteed.

One thing I wanted to touch on as well, as it came to mind... Silverwind Refuge. Yes, it was attacked by the Orcs, and yes, Night Elves died. The Night Elves have also attacked Splintertree Post and the logging camps in and around Ashenvale. Frankly, this is a contained fight and I feel the back and forth is honorable. I haven't finished the parts that involve Astranaar, assuming there are as such, BUT... losses on both sides dictate fairness. Do I find them acceptable? No, war is never truly acceptable. It just is what it will be - cruel, unforgiving, and a necessary evil. That said, I will give Garrosh this - he's also acting based on the desire to see his people survive and flourish. Varian doesn't want to see this happen because of his past prejudices, and therefore, Garrosh will respond accordingly and then some. Issac Newton's laws of motion apply here.

At this moment, there is an immense amount of chaos going on in Azeroth, and the vision of good and evil is blurred. Baine's quote really does fit in this case. If anything, I would like to see the good races in the world get together and make a stand between the two angry tyrants - Tauren, Trolls, Draenei, and... heh, MAYBE Gnomes(really?) should get together and try to be the voice of reason. They all have their reasons to be on the side of neutral. Less likely but also possibly Blood Elves and Dwarves should be in this mix. Why all these races? Shamanistic roots and traits, all have a side of honor to them even with the struggles they've faced and their own personal demons(Draenei + Eredar, Trolls with their savagery, Kael'thas and his twisted mind, Dwarves being forced to 'allow' the Dark Irons a voice, the Grimtotem, uhm... Thermaplugg(!?) going wacko...).

Heh, I started on this almost two hours ago. I guess I had a LOT to say about all this that's been building up. If you made it this far, you deserve a gold star. Now close your eyes for 5 minutes and just give 'em a break.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Just a quick note...

Happy holidays and hope your Christmas, Winter's Veil, or whatever it is you celebrate is a fun and fulfilling time, and hopefully you got some awesome swag.

*Pulls out a remote control, thankfully built to be held by Tauren mitts, and he flies his lil' remote control zep around random folks with one of those grins you see on a mischievous calf*

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Favorite Characters and Characterized Motivations

This morning, I left a comment on that I know will probably never be read, as the article is a couple of weeks old and the newest comment besides mine is from the 17th. For brevity, I'm posting it here to share, and admittedly, it touches on a topic I've got an itch to dig in about - Taurajo, and Alliance loyalty after the fact. I'll probably do that later after I get back home from some stuff to do around town. But anyway, on with the comment.

From - Who is Your Favorite Character?

"I almost went into an off-topic gripe about a lot of things about Cata in general right now, particularly the state of The Barrens, Alliance there, Camp Taurajo, and so on, but if you read the Shattering and you've played for enough time, you'll understand in this one statement, with the first part being a simple truth.

Cairne's unquestionably my favorite, and I miss the guy.

I know Magatha *spit* is to blame, but so is Garrosh *spit* for being such a hotheaded jerk most times and making himself an easy target for people to blame, not to mention easily manipulated. Anduin's about the only respectable Alliance guy these days, aside from Jaina. Screw Wrynn. Sylvanas is turning into a creep too. Good on Vol'jin for sticking to his feelings and choosing to not be around the arseface. And then there's Thrall. I see him as the everyman, really. He's a smart orc. He's not driven simply by instinct, he's down to Earth(no pun intended), and he's honorable. I never kept an orc because the starting area stuff felt boring and lame to me. Now they've redone stuff, now I won't make an orc because of Garrosh *spit*. I frankly can't wait to see what Baine becomes in the years to come. He's his father's son, and he has my unquestioned loyalty. He wants Tauren to be the shining example of the good of the Horde, and I'm with him all the way. I don't like the way the Horde has swerved in a way, but I certainly won't touch the Alliance. Not anymore. I have a Draenei hunter sitting on Moon Guard, and I have no interest in him anymore. Why? Taurajo. I'll even state this challenge - play a Tauren, play the new zones, particularly Stonetalon and the Southern Barrens. If you don't feel your loyalties challenged when you deal with Taurajo, well... *Headshake*

Anyway, yeah, still turned into a ramble and a fanrant, but for what it's worth, Cataclysm's brought back the lore fire in a big way.

So yeah, long story short, Cairne, Baine, Thrall, Anduin. Those are the characters I'm going to favor, and with the exception of our dearly departed High Chieftan, I'm gonna be watching to see what happens in the days ahead."


"For honor!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Off-topic - Phone Geekery!

So, taking a moment from our Tauren lore-fanism a moment, I have this itch to talk about something that I use in my everyday life just about as much as WoW - my cellphone. It's no secret I've a thing for Twitter, I have a couple of WoW apps, and then there's Pandora, Angry Birds... yeah. This is not exactly the place to talk about it, but I figure it's better than Twitterspam, so hey.

Friends know that about 3 months ago I picked up the Samsung Intercept from Sprint, and while's it's been a nice piece more than not, it's had a few hiccups that made me take back one and swap it for another in the first few weeks. The replacement has been much better than the first, though it's acted cranky a time or two, plus the sound had had a habit of going out for whatever reason, thanks to software.

One of the reasons I got it was because it was going to have lots of good support for awhile, unlike the HTC Hero and the Samsung Moment, which are older models. Since I bought it, there's been talk of the updated Android OS, Froyo, coming to the Intercept. It kept getting pushed back though(the latest I'd heard being Q1 of 2011), and as time went on, I was kinda getting annoyed, especially because I wanted to see if it would make my phone work much better, particularly the haptic buttons and the sound issue. A few days ago, Froyo hit. So far, no sound problems, and the haptic buttons have been responsive, my two big issues. Battery life seems a bit more limited to around 12 hours, which doesn't bother me much considering how much I use it. On top of the performance issues being resolved, there's a new UI layout, one I'm familiar with from using ADW.Launcher, works rather well. Browser and phone buttons flank a new app button that replaces the pullout tab, and there are 5 screens instead of 3. There's even a new Task Manager.

So, long story short, my good phone just got turned into a great phone, and whereas I couldn't completely recommend it before, I can now.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled MOO.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Tauren Mentality....

So, a friend sent me a copy of The Shattering after he was done with it. I read it in a day's time, mostly while I was staying awake in attempt to fix my sleep schedule. I won't go into details about the story, but there is one thing I know for a fact - in the face of adversity, you see one's true character. Tauren, by and large, are the most sane race in Azeroth. Deeply spiritual, gentle and considerate, thinking before acting, determined to see things through to the end, fiercely loyal to those they value...

Of any race I could trust in Azeroth, they are without a doubt the only one that I could simply not feel any concern about. One could argue for the case of the Alliance races, and one could argue against the Horde races for the same reasons I don't consider the Alliance. Of course, those who know me know I have other factors to consider in my choice, but coming from my own personal viewpoint of the lore standard, Tauren are the only race I can see in Azeroth that truly know the meaning of the words mercy and compassion. Garrosh, Magatha... had it been any other race to deal with either of them, much less both, and the things that happened, the results would have been much different. Why am I proud to be a Tauren? Because unlike any other races at this moment, I see the Tauren with no ulterior motive, and no willingness to encourage the negative tendencies surrounding the other races. They are who they are. And as strange as it might sound, every one of them is extended family. There's a deep connection for each and every one of them, and losing one is a great loss. I look at each one, hear what they say, and I wonder who could truly hate a Tauren? If someone did, truly, I'd pity them.

I know this is a rambler from me, but I see what they've went through, I know how it makes me feel personally, and quite frankly, it gives me pride to know I'm on the right team.

"Much has changed outside of Mulgore. The world is torn, and our Horde allies have turned down dark paths. We must guide them. Even in the darkest hour, we will bravely hold our heads high, and honor the Earth Mother in all we do." - Baine Bloodhoof

The word I was searching for that says it all? Integrity.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Cataclysm, after the first week.

Yes, I know the world changed before the expansion came out. Shush. *Grin*

Ahem... anyway. So the last time I wrote in here, I was waiting for things to install and then for the switch to flip so I could get into this new World and see what was waiting for me. 20 minutes after 2 central, the login servers stopped being stupid and I got in. After a couple of character hops, I finally got to work using my Death Knight, and my first stop was Hyjal.

Oh. My God. The crowds. Alliance was flagging and camping on the NPCs, lots of kill stealing, and mass confusion, All the hallmarks of a release party, wouldn't you agree? The mass craziness honestly made things disjointed and disconnected for me, and I didn't get to really enjoy that first hour or so. It wasn't til I got to the Shrine of Goldrinn that I had my first real thrill. Lo'Gosh statue, so awesome. Heh heh.

Since then, I've managed to finally get to 85 with him, and his gear's progressing... not as smoothly as I'd hoped, but that's just because I haven't chain ran instances, and I haven't gotten any significant upgrades 'til yesterday and the day before(I'm a dual wielder at heart, and I was stuck with a 2h because it was better). I'm STILL using some tank greens because they were better than what I'd had, and of course I repurposed stats like Parry for things I need like Hit, thank you reforger man.

Considering I haven't signed into the game yet, today, I'm gonna cut this short and give a better zone comment later on, but this is what I have to say, in short.

Hyjal - Lorefest, slow to start, but when it gets interesting, it really hooks you. Lots of familiar names here, and really, though I'm not always a fan of Night Elves, the Guardians of Hyjal, Cenarion, and so on... they are THE shining example what happens when Alliance and Horde races set aside their factions and work together. Druid co-existence goes above and beyond faction leaders, and if anyone smart took a look at them for two seconds, they might stop being so hard against the other factions, in ways. I would rather not hate the Alliance, but they make it pretty difficult.

Vashj'ir - beautiful zone, lots of madness to the left and right, and definitely more action-oriented. I'm sorry to say though, it's confusing sometimes, and what's worse, it's buggy. I keep hearing people say Defending the Rift is a bugged quest, but I'm still stuck at Full Circle. Still, the Earthen Ring is another good example of co-existence. Oh and phasing is used, extensively, partly why it might be buggy, but when they iron it all out, it'll be amazing, more than it already is.

Deepholm - graphically amazing, lots to keep you busy, lots of work to unlock Therazine, and a miner's paradise. Before they nerfed the amount of ore you could farm there, it was insane. I leveled my mining in no time. It was shocking, and I'm still saving up elementium for my Paladin when I get to work on his Blacksmithing, and it's only gonna stay that way when I get my JC and engineering done on my priest. Sooooo yeah. Oh and... keep eyebleach handy when you meet the Queen. Strategically-placed purple locks, that is all.

Uldum - I've only done about half the zone at this point, haven't touched Harrison Jones, but the world behind the doors, behind the Tanaris mountains...? Oh God. And I'll just say this - there will have already been a few cutscenes you've dealt with in Vashj'ir and Hyjal at this point, but you haven't seen anything 'til you get into Uldum. It starts with a cutscene that sets the tone for everything else. Oh yeah, the Tol'vir are <3. They did a really good job of the Egyptian theme here, and things really don't disappoint. The only time I got annoyed was being killed by a mob underwater, and trying to get back to my body, only to get disconnected the moment I ghosted underwater. Hopefully that's been hotfixed since then.

Twilight Highlands - Another zone I've only done about halfway so far, but the drama factor's high here right at the start. It slows down later on, but it's still a really well-done area, and I'm looking forward to keep working on it. There are plenty of familiar faces here, including but not limited to Gurgthok and Wodin the Troll-Servant, which can only mean one thing - deathmatch! This time, it's the Crucible of Carnage. Frankly, this one is a little buggy too. People can tap your targets, there can be two bosses up at once... in my case, I got feared a step too far out of the door and was failed on the first boss, so I had to redo him. Ugh. In the end, there wasn't an immediate upgrade off this one, but I did take the 2h sword just in case.

The only annoyance I can state about dungeons right now is the fact you have to find each one before you can queue for them. Blackrock's a given, Throne of Tides is a shade of impossible(get summoned, believe me), Vortex Pinnacle isn't horrible, Stonecore is sneaky,  Lost City of the Tol'vir is another gimme, Grim Batol isn't horrible, and Halls of Origination isn't tough if yer paying attention, unlike me.

20 minutes later, I finally finish once I say one simple fact - Blizzard took their knowledge from Wrath, and then set the bar a few stories higher. Say what you will, Cataclysm IS a whole new world. There will always be a foible here and there, but as a whole, there is always a new element to find to things in the next quest you do. If they can outdo this feat of gaming, I won't stop being impressed. I have high expectations for even the next patch, nevermind the next expansion(update the dang models!), and knowing Blizzard, they're gonna keep their money machine rollin' right on.

And now, if you'll excuse me...


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A snippet - Betrayal and the Path to Redemption, part two

As I think back on it, I wonder what I could have done different, what I should have done different, and if things would have turned out much differently if I hadn't slept a little longer, or if I hadn't have waited to talk to Cairne.

When I got to Bloodhoof, Baine wasn't around, and the village was quiet. I thought it was early morning and there might be something going on in Thunder Bluff. I headed on, only to find Thunder Bluff was bustling, a lot of gossip, a lot of alarmed faces. I saw Skorn in the crowd, and I waved him down. "What's going on?"

"Cairne's gone to Orgrimmar, along with Baine and Magatha. Hamuul's in Splintertree Post, barely alive and recovering. They were ambushed... they..." his face twisted, and then he saw what I imagine to be my eyes flaring.

The air went cold. I remember telling him to take care of my Mammoth, and I ran up the tower to the Flight Master. Tal gave me his best rider, and I flew.

Why? Why didn't I tell him? Why did I have to be so afraid? Somewhere deep inside, I felt two sensations that I had not felt in a long time. My heart was racing, and of all things, a chill went up my spine. Pretty strange thing, feeling a chill when you're a Death Knight that specialized himself in all things cold.

I jumped off the wyvern, and found no one around except a few guards. Then I heard a cheer. "What's going on?" I asked one of them. "Go to the Valley of Honor. There's a Mak'gora going on. Cairne's challenged Garrosh for leadership of the Horde, and from what I hear, it's a deathmatch."

"WHAT!?" I pushed that guard out of my way in a mad rush, and made my way to the stadium. The cheers were getting louder, louder... I wanted to stop what was going on in there, I didn't care about honor or dishonor. I didn't care about the Horde. I just wanted Cairne alive, and if I had to kill Hellscream to make sure he stayed that way, I would do it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A snippet - Betrayal and the Path to Redemption

Thunder Bluff came into view in the distance, and as I crossed the rocky mountainside, I was hit by a blinding storm. It was a torrential downpour. The winds whipped. The wyvern was exhausted. I patted its head in comfort and silently reassured it, that it could make the last mile.

I saw the flight tower. I saw the portal they had for evacuees. I saw a young female struggling to cross the bridge.

"Go! Save her!" I yelled out, and then looked down to see the Third Rise covered in wind and water elementals. I looked to see where Cairne was, and saw him in the thick of the fight. I brought both my biggest sword, a trophy from a fight with the guard of Icecrown's first level, Lord Marrowgar, and I knew I would need it. Just as I drew it, I saw an elemental getting ready to attack. Instinct took over. I leapt from the wyvern(who I found out flew and caught the young female before she fell to her death), and yelled out, "ChieftaaAAAAAAN!" to warn him of what was going to happen. He turned in surprise, and saw the elemental swing. He barely dodged, and saw my sword sink right into the watery creature. Ice began to form. I was freezing it from the inside out.

"Quick! Attack it now!"

He drew his Runespear, and swung, the frozen elemental shattering to pieces. There was a moment of deep breathing as the elementals scattered, a group of adventurers running in and taking up the fight, just after hearing Hamuul's voice declare the Elder Rise was safe. I tossed him a small vial, a potion, and said, "Be strong, High Chief," before downing one of my own. He looked at me, and I heard him ask, "Do I know you...?" before he tackled me and saved me from an air elemental almost obliterating me, just before the mob overtook it. We rolled a few feet, and when we stopped, he looked at me with those eyes.

"Tell me who..."

I placed a finger to his lips and shook my head, "Not right now. Later. We have a sanctuary to protect."

The End of The Lich King

Here I am, thinking again, heh.

18 hours.

18 hours away from waiting for a game to install on my system, and with it, the end of the Lich King expansion. I wonder to myself, is there anything I didn't do? Anything I should have done? Anything I'll regret not doing in this expansion while it was here?

In the end, it doesn't matter. Things have changed, there's no turning back now. I have this odd, lonesome, empty feeling inside of me, and I don't know exactly why. I imagine it's mostly because I'm a sentimental fool.

It's been a long two years though. Change isn't so bad.

So let's see... personal most annoying bosses? Thaddius, Auriaya, Faction Champs, and Rotface, with Sindragosa coming in second for Icecrown. Gear I wish I had but won't be getting? Corpse-Impaling Spike, Crushing Coldwraith Belt, and ooooh mah God, the Bloodvenom Blade x2. Fraggin'... augh.

I still say, part of me WILL be sad to leave Northrend behind, but it's all been conquered.

Another thing on my mind tonight is when ti leave ET. I have to do it today. Part of me hates to, but things have changed, just like in Azeroth. So... time to get on with it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Island of Magic

(Written in the mindset of my Mage, and while listening to this, the music of Ferelas while feeling thoughtful, if a bit lonesome.)

2 years ago, we came streaming in from across Azeroth to this little island. The Mages of Dalaran, my brethren, finally decided to come out of hiding, hidden from the world after Arthas rampaged through the Eastern Kingdoms. He came here to retrieve items that would help Kel'thuzad bring Archimonde to our world, and thus the Third War began. While we Sin'Dorei were recovering and doing our best to rebuild and recover without the Sunwell, to recover enough that we would survive, the races of the world came together to save Azeroth.

Now, Arthas is dead, the Sunwell has been restored with the help of M'uru and the Prophet Velen, but the world continues to go through great tragedy. It is said we, Horde, Alliance, and all our allies alike, are going to have to get involved in this rapidly-changing world to save it, and at that, establish who is the more dominant faction. In a few days, most of us will have to uproot ourselves once more and re-establish ourselves in our own homes. Dalaran will stay here in Northrend to help new adventurers learn and grow, and to keep watch over the remnants of the Scourge. This land has much rebuilding and recovering of its own to make. Zul'drak, Icerown.. lush lands like Sholazar Basin to the harsh, barren Borean Tundra... so much has been touched by the withering hands of undeath.

And for those of us strong enough to survive all that, we now face a new task - surviving the elements, hunting down those who would rather see this world destroyed, and at the same time, fight against old foes - the Alliance, pride, ego, greed...

If it were up to me, I would stay in this city and never fight again... but I have a duty to fulfill. My kind have to live in this world, and the last thing I'll do is abandon my race. I may not wish the battle, but I will fight, if for no other reason than to survive and be able to come back and call this island home once more.

So it is not a farewell, fair Dalaran, but only an until I see you again. Ano' belore'alah. May Antonidas always watch you and may he give Rhonin the wisdom to lead, and not let that woman corrupt his mind with her... views on the Horde, or her sister-turn-banshee Sylvanas.

~Spiritwing Leywalker

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Music of Cataclysm - Mulgore

A friend shared this earlier today on Twitter, and I had to share it. If you want to know everything about the Tauren's current state of affairs, just listen. This is the one piece that has hit me, every time I hear it. And for the love of God, turn up the quality. 240p doesn't do it justice.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Old vs New

I plan to make a post about my first impressions in a couple of days at some point, about the quests, the layouts of things, and how they feel to me so far, but something popped up in my head tonight that I have to get down in words before I lose it somewhere in my mental toybox.

Ask yourself two questions. First... how long have you played this game? Secondly, how does this new world affect you, as a player and as a person? How has The Shattering, how has this Cataclysm changed your outlook on the World of Warcraft, of Azeroth, of everything you thought you knew?

It's no secret that Blizzard wanted to bring back the old players to a new world and rekindle their care about it.

I got to thinking about the new players... the ones who've been drawn in to this new world without ever experiencing the old one, the first one. I also got to thinking about the casuals, the ones who've never been completely enwrapt in the game because of real life, not ever finding their niche, or what have you. I even thought about the ones who just play for the sake of it, who don't care about the story or anything... who just play and don't give a good crap about things like the lore.

How does someone like me express to them how much my World of Warcraft has changed? Would they understand it?

For all the videos on Youtube, for all the Wiki stories, for all the screenshots posted on a Photobucket account... there'll always be a disconnect, in a way - a missing element. Some people will understand to a degree, some people will not.

A perfect example of all of this came from my Twitter. A friend of mine has played for as long as I remember, though he doesn't play often and plays on different servers. He's said his highest level is a 65. He's never leveled through Northrend, he's never gone on an at-level raid. He plays with his son more times than not, kind of a nice perk I wish I had myself. He plays Tauren mostly, if not completely, as far as I know. He commented on Twitter about my previous post. "You're making me want to start a Tauren from scratch again." In all truth, that makes me feel good. The interest and the fire that's been rekindled in me from all the changes is spreading. I believe each race, with the exception of the Blood Elves and the Draenei(as their worlds were not as affected, personally), owes it to themselves to go through the motions one more time, and reaffirm themselves of their choices, to be truly sure they're resolute in their faction and their nation.

And finally, for tonight's update on the leveling progress... level 45, 5 levels gained, mining is at 275, had been doing smelting while writing this. Time to do some hammer bangin'. Me and the warrior partner went through Thousand Needles. I won't give away any spoilers, but I will say this. There was one point where I finally got annoyed at a line of quests. It was bound to happen, and it did, but they're over and done with now. In truth, this is another crucial zone, and like I said, no spoilers, but the Tauren at heart will feel frustrated, they will feel a twinge of guilt, and they will feel powerless, but when you do what you have to, all you can do is resolve to make up for it later on. I know, at least, this is what I feel to be true.

Ish-ne-alo por-ah, may the Earthmother smile upon you, always.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two Honest Opinions... Okay, Three

Pulling myself back out of my idle and finding myself with a moment to spare, I decided to touch on two things that I've come to realize in the last week and a half of play in this new, angry world that's come about.

First, honestly... I'm going to miss Dalaran. Yes, it was laggy with all the people running around, and yes, it was annoying not being able to use flight mounts in-city, but for all it's worth, it's an awesome city, a great layout, and it's... inspiring. I've shared this with a few folks, but the first day I got to Dalaran, the first thing I checked out was the Blacksmithing area, and a gem caught my eye - The Forge of Fate. Small nook with smelting pools and hammers hanging from the ceiling. Instantly, my mind took off. "I can't wait to see what treasures I'll be able to make in this place," my Paladin said out loud. Unfortunately, I didn't keep playing my Paladin for too long after that, and in the middle of the Ulduar patch, I ended up switching to my Mage to shore up some DPS gaps. That and the fact Bloodhoof isn't an RP server, well... my RP urges would be stifled. I can understand the removal of the portals and the addition of all the trainers, even the Auctioneer-bots(nice to see we got Reginald as ours), but it's a shame because it's such an awesome city. Oh well, it happens.

The second opinion, and this is one I plan to actually write about in the near future, is the Southern Barrens. Without giving too many spoilers, I have to be honest - Taurajo sickened me. Recently I'd fiddled with my Draenei Hunter and had a little fun with him... now I hardly even want to touch him again 'cause of the hatred I have for the Alliance over it. And I'll make a comparison - Silverwind Refuge in Ashenvale could probably be a good counter-argument for the Alliance hating the Horde, but let's face it - Night Elves aren't as easygoing as Tauren, and the fact Night Elves have been staging attacks on the lumber camps and Splintertree Post make them more of a target than a Tauren camp filled with trainers, innocent bystanders, and, of all things, CHILDREN. If you go through the Southern Barrens, you will see Tauren babies for the first time. Taurajo itself has two things - 4 dead NPCs who died protecting the evacuees, and lots of looters who talk of rifling the bodies for stuff to sell and other such things. Out of all the races in the Horde population, why stage an attack on the race least likely to hunt you down unless provoked? And if you're a Tauren, you WILL be provoked. Go ask Gann Stonespire.

Finally, so far, I can honestly say the Tauren's leveling path is the most engaging storyline I've seen in the game, period. The only other one I could see myself being interested in is the Troll stuff, and that's because Vol'jin's awesome. Rolled enough Belfs, won't roll an Orc, certainly won't roll a freaking Forsaken(Sylvanas is another topic for another day), and Goblins don't interest me. Stonetalon is mostly orc stuff, though there's a significant part the Tauren play in it, and though I'm still not a Garrosh fan, he does have a few more rep points with my personal faction. The Southern Barrens is a must if you roll a Tauren, Ferelas and Thousand Needles as well if my stroll-throughs are on the money. Seeing Thousand Needles under water is... sad. Seeing the Great Lift in shambles is frustrating, while the Grimtotem... well, let's just say Hell Hath No Fury Like a Tauren Enraged.

May your ancestors forever guard your path.

~RJ Metal to fuel your killing spree.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First post filler, or He Who Has No Life.

So yeah, hi there. I guess for a proper first post, I should say where I've been and what I've done. Be warned, this may make you tl;dr, I don't care. *Grin*

As a WoW player, I've been an Azerothian for almost 5 years now. I started playing around April of '06. I remember all of the repeatable turn-ins lining the Valley of Spirits in Orgrimmar, all in place for the Ahn'Qiraj events. My first-ever character was a shammy named Aleric. I pulled it out of thin air and went with it. I played him a short while, and then I parked him at the Crossroads Inn, at level 10, where he stayed 'til earlier this year. I couldn't help needing something new to do for one simple reason - I had done a lot, and I needed to do something different. Between that time, I made a hunter on Runetotem, Tremorwolf, leveled to 60 about mid-summer, and got my first look at raiding. ZG was my first and only raid instance in Vanilla WoW, Upper Blackrock aside. My first hunter, himself has sat since the beginning of BC, more or less, and I know it's only a matter of time before I get back to him.

But anyway, getting back to the story... Burning Crusade was released, and I missed the opening days of it because I was out in California. When I came back, the first thing I did was I bought the first ever expansion, and I started the process of leveling a new character, another hunter, on Bloodhoof, which has been my home ever since then. Save for a few alts on a few servers, that has been my home server. For all its trade trolls and the glut of Alliance who outnumber the Horde 2 to 1, I have plenty of fond memories, and I know there are plenty of memories to come. Since leveling my hunter there, I have leveled a Paladin, who was a tank near the end of Burning Crusade. I got to enjoy tanking in Serpentshrine, Mr. Hyjal, and post-nerf Black Temple just a bit as a Paladin. Yes I was one of the many crazy folks that, in a moment of sheer madness, made a Blood Elf. I've got a few hanging around, I'm ashamed to say, but what is diversity, but learning the differences in the world? Before the end of BC, I also made a Druid who started out as a bank character, and then when I was visiting a friend and gaming with him on WoW, I ended up running Shadow Labyrinth, walking away with two caster blues in the process. This prompted me to make another character - a Mage, my second Blood Elf. Before BC was through, I made a Priest, and that's about all there is to say there as BC came to a close.

Wrath of the Lich King came about, and it saw me leveling my Paladin first. I leveled Retribution because things had changed on the tanking front, and I wasn't sure how I'd fare. Naxx came, and it was fun, but I was falling behind on those almighty DPS charts and such, which frustrated me greatly. Soldiered on to Ulduar, and in the process, I finished leveling my Mage, decided to switch mains. We were weak at that position, so I decided I could contribute better there.

In the midst of all this, I created the newest sensation to give Belfery a run for its money - a Death Knight. A Tauren Death Knight. Starfallen came around, and it was a blast. I enjoyed playing him despite feeling a little lost on things such as rotations, diseases, and so on. I bounced around in a couple of guilds friends had already been in, and then finally settled him in the NERVous Horde. Between Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel, plus my lack of a social life while I had a job, and even less when I failed to make a very important change in my life that involved quitting said job, I leveled my Priest, my Druid, my Hunter, and even had time to create a Warrior.

Then about two months ago, that Shaman I mentioned, my first ever? I had toyed with him a little once or twice, and gotten him into the upper 20s. After a night which saw me frustrated with the raiding situation in my original guild, not NERV, I played him. I leveled him. In a month and a half's time, I had him at 80 and ready to tackle all the nasty PuG raiding he could handle. Remarkably. I had done something with him that I never did with anything else in the years of my playtime - I leveled him as a healer, almost completely. The only times I went Elemental were simply to skin or to quest grind. Until my Shammy, I was afraid to try healing. I'd seen bad healers. I know I'm the type to make mistakes when I get into a panic, something that'd been reinforced the one time I tried healing on my Pally(and failed, miserably). But I did it. It did something to me in turn, 'cause in the last few weeks since 4.0.1 came out, I've been healing on my Priest as well. It's a lot different than what I'd expected, needless to say. I enjoy healing. It's a whole new aspect of gameplay, especially since I'd figured I'd seen it all.

And now, this week, we're living in a new Azeroth. Deathwing has come, and the world is scarred, broken, battered, bruised. Things will never be the same again. So where do we go from here? One step forward at a time. We pick up the pieces left from The Shattering.

So what is my point? Why did I start this blog, this journal? Because in this new world, I find myself all the more connected to the Tauren than I ever have. I'm going to write about things I see in the world, I'm going to write about the feelings that run through my mind when I see something I enjoy, or something I despise. I'm going to write my opinions as I see fit, because they are my opinions. I plan to make no apologies. I may say I'm sorry, but I won't say I've changed my mind. Whether I stick with this or whether I simply vanish away, there's only one way to find out.

Welcome to my World in Warcraft.