The QueueDec 8, 2015 11:00 am CT

The Queue: At least we’ll both be numb

Yes, occasionally I like a nice pop song. I started writing this Queue on my birthday, but it’ll go live the day after, so you don’t have to get me a present. Of course, if you chose to do me a solid anyway, I wouldn’t say no.

Let’s talk about those Blizzard games, shall we? As always, we’ll likely end up talking about Legion so there will be spoilers. I’ll try to keep that to a minimum, but it is a site covering Blizzard games and we have to talk about it somewhat.


PHILSTER

Just did the intro quests to Twilight Highlands for Alliance again for the heck of it, and after defeating the Black Bishop under the Cathedral of Light, I couldn’t help but think about the new background of shadow priests.  Babbling cultists and crazy bishops are going to be more of a recurrence at churches now…!??

“Who are these weird people in the basement, father?”
“Ah… don’t mind them, they are our fellow brothers… they’re just a little different from us…”

There are lots of ways to be insane.

To be completely honest, as someone with a few mental health issues, I’m a little uncomfortable with insanity as a game mechanic. I don’t have a problem with Shadow Priests being tied to the Old Gods in this fashion, because the Void isn’t something the Old Gods made or control, it’s just something they use, in the same way that they have minions that are comfortable in the deepest recesses of the ocean — but there’s always a bit of unease for me when I hear about insanity generating power. Not that I’m particularly offended, just a little uncomfortable.

But I don’t play a Shadow Priest, and I never have, so mine is not the most important of opinions.


PYREPHOENIX

The question pops up every so often, “what’s the creepiest thing in WoW for you?” and I finally have an answer: the spiny bug… things poking out of the ground in southern Kalimdor (Tanaris/Un’Goro/Silithus). They’ve always bothered me, ever since I first saw them. The… twitching. /shudder

ed: on the bright side, running AQ last night for a side project, discovered my main now has no more trouble in there than she does in Elwynn. That’s a pretty heady feeling.

Here’s three things:

The room of upside-down sinners in the old Karazhan undercrypts.

The entry hall of Lordaeron/Undercity with the whispering that, if you stand in just the right spot, turns out to be King Terenas talking to Arthas just before Arthas kills him.

Human children in game. Seriously, wtf is up with their eyes?


GRAYCLAW

So Q4tQ:What should Blizzard do to make the Legion story feel like it matters to us, the players (not picking sides here)?One of the complaints in WoD was that the Iron Horde didn’t feel like much of a threat, since we defeated them relatively easily and quickly.If we are going to feel threatened, what should Blizzard do, other than just killing off characters, to make that happen in Legion?

Honestly, some of it is actually happening: a few of the character deaths in Legion felt meaningful, and there were even moments that weren’t character deaths that made me go woah. The Frost DK Artifact quest, for instance. The climactic fight to get your Artifact is not only pretty challenging, but it also stars two guys that as soon as I saw them I said yep, that’s who should be here, and the overall outcome of the story makes perfect sense. It’s time for that guy to take a hand.

Similarly, there aren’t any major lore deaths in the Fury Warrior start quest, except, well, yours.
It’s a pretty big deal and it moves the story forward and introduces you to a position that’s worthy of your talents. Frankly, at this point, I should be that.

So far I’m cautiously optimistic that yes, the Legion feels like a serious threat.


CHRTH

Questing in Grizzly Hills at Dun Argol, and I noticed that the Iron Dwarf symbol is remarkably similar to the symbol for Ironforge (see screenshot). But I thought the Iron Dwarfs were created by Loken. Is there a connection?

The Iron Dwarves were indeed created by Loken after he’d used the chaos of the war he’d stirred up to put most of the original Earthen and Vrykul (the ones susceptible to the Curse of Flesh) in stasis. This would include the ancestors of the Ironforge Dwarves, the Earthen.

However, Loken used the exact same Creation Forge, the one in Ulduar, to create his new Iron Dwarves. So there is a connection — they’re essentially products of the same process. Furthermore, Ironforge Dwarves may have some connection to the Titanic Watchers Tyr and Archaedas who fled Northrend and came to settle first in Tirisfal and later in Uldaman. As we know, Uldaman (the place where Archaedas hid from Loken until we came along and killed him a few years back) was also the home of the Earthen who eventually became both Dwarves and Troggs. It’s entirely possible that those Earthen came to Uldaman with Archaedas, and if so, they would have come from Northrend.

In essence, there’s no reason to assume that the Iron Dwarves built anything in Northrend. Those symbols may in fact have been the Earthen’s before the Iron Forge took their place as Loken’s servants.


HELLIONING

Honestly, I think the Horde counterpart to ‘alliance heroes dying’ isn’t ‘horde heroes dying.’

It’s ‘horde heroes turning evil.’

That started, at least, back in BC. I’m still not sure why we’re fighting Illidan in the first place (apparently he went power mad conqueror since Frozen Throne.  because that’s in character.) but Kael’Thas was the real loser. He goes full burning legion, because…I don’t know.

We had a full on civil war in Wrath, though Putress barely counted as a character before that.

Cata had Sylvanas’ start of darkness (for no reason) and Mists had Garrosh.

We did, at least, get out of WoD without a major horde character turning evil (unless you can’t Doomhammer, and honestly, that doesn’t count, that was terribly written.)

In comparison, the alliance had…what, Fandral and Benedictus? Everyone hated Fandral and I didn’t even know Benedictus was a character until he was a boss.

So I see Alex’s point, and yes, the alliance lost more then their fair share of cities and such. I just wish that I could get into a horde character that isn’t  Thrall and not have to worry about them going insane.

For starters, Sylvanas was always a dark, sadistic and outright cruel character. She is evil, and I’m not sure how she could possibly not be evil — she’s willing and able to kill people she doesn’t have any reason to aside from the fact that they’re in her way and turn them into the same kind of walking undead abominations she herself constantly bemoans being (what are we if not slaves to this torment) just for a momentary political advantage. She set up cages full of Alliance prisoners that she tested the Plague on back in vanilla — they were hanging in cages in the Undercity, I walked by them plenty of times on my Horde toons on the way to a quest. This isn’t new — it’s always been her character.

I can see Horde players feeling frustrated with Garrosh’s fall because I know full well that a lot of Horde players liked Garrosh before his Mists heel turn. I remember raiding as Horde in Cataclysm and a lot of my fellow raiders liked him, liked that he was different from and far more confrontational than Thrall, liked that he ratcheted up the conflict between Horde and Alliance. Not everyone felt that way, of course, but there were a lot of people who did.

As for Kael’thas, can we be honest here? He was always a dick. He creeped on a girl who not only already had a boyfriend, but who was also much younger than he was, and his idea of how to help his people heal from the wounds of a devastating calamity was to rename them all Blood Elves and then almost immediately traipse off to another freaking dimension, leaving them to rebuild as best they could and sending back a windchime for them to suck the magic out of. I have no problem believing he’d ally with the Legion once he decided Illidan wasn’t going to magically fix all his people’s problems, considering that his alliance with Illidan was just as big a WTF moment, really. Kael’s response to big problems (the deaths of his people, Garithos’ racism, Illidan’s slow pace in helping his people) is always to look for a quick fix from someone else.

I’m not arguing that the Horde hasn’t had its share of questionable characters (although Kael is borderline as a ‘Horde’ figure — he didn’t approve the Blood Elves joining the Horde, and if he’d been asked he likely wouldn’t have) but I don’t think it’s as simple as any of them ‘turning evil’ — Garrosh certainly wouldn’t have seen himself as such, Sylvanas likely doesn’t care, and Kael would almost always have believed he was doing his best for his people.

If you want a Horde character who isn’t Thrall and isn’t going to betray the Horde, well, have you met Baine Bloodhoof? I suggest you check that dude out. Or Aponi Brightmane, or Sunwalker Dezco, or Jevan “Stormsong” Grimtotem, who chose the Horde over his own tribe?

What I’m saying here is reroll Tauren. That’s really my message for you at this time. Failing that, there’s always Saurfang.


JOHNMYNARD

It all started with Marshall Reginald Windsor.

Orcs, and by extension, the Horde, has a culture and philosophy of conquest and violence.  You can say what you want about Thrall et al, but it’s there, under the coat of paint Blizzard seems to want to slap on them.

Humans(largely), and by extension the Alliance, have a culture and philosophy of service and sacrifice.  It’s how the Holy Light works.

An orc will stand and fight a losing battle it’s what his culture says he has to do to be a good orc.  A human will stand and fight because if he(or she) doesn’t perform that service and make that sacrifice, others will suffer.

So, simply on a cultural basis, you will have more Alliance bigwigs willing to make the big sacrifice to make sure the big bad doesn’t get their way.

The first time this really struck me was when Reginald Windsor did his epic walk through Stormwind and revealed Onyxia’s treachery.  Everyone remember’s Bolvar killing TWELVE dragons(this was a big deal at the time) almost by himself. But no one remembers Reginald Windsor and his knowing sacrifice to stop Onyxia from destroying the Alliance from within.  There should be a statue of him somewhere.

Those elements are there, certainly. But humans also have a culture of conquest in Warcraft. It was the Humans who pushed the Trolls back to Zul’Aman during the Troll wars and crushed their attempt to move out of STV, carving seven kingdoms out of what was once Troll land in the process. All of Lordaeron, Gilneas, Arathor/Strom, Alterac, Kul’Tiras, Dalaran and the entire Kingdom of Stormwind (including Redridge, Elwynn, Darkshire and Westfall) were once Troll land.

Similarly, while Orc culture absolutely places a premium on violent conflict as a means to establish and resolve Honor and status, and certainly we can point to the Old Horde as an example of that impulse gone horribly wrong, we need look no further than Dranosh Saurfang to see an Orc who lay down his life for his people and the world entire.

I’m not in any way trying to take away from how badass Reginald Windsor was. One of the defining traits of Humanity in the Warcraft setting is perseverance against seemingly hopeless odds. Stormwind gets burned to the ground, they retreat but keep fighting, and in the end it was the Orcs who ended up beaten despite their warrior culture and philosophy of conflict. Similarly, Humanity has weathered the fall of Lordaeron, the return of the Lich King, Deathwing, the battle in Orgrimmar and is now facing the Legion. They didn’t do any of this alone, of course — one of Humanity’s gifts is the ability to forge alliances, from the High Elves during the Troll Wars to their current Alliance. Reginald embodied these traits, getting people to listen to him despite the voice of authority ordering otherwise and striding forth knowing what it would cost him to free his people.

I’m just saying, don’t assume those traits are exclusive to one faction over another. I often wish that Horde players could see the Alliance version of the Deathbringer Saurfang fight, and vice versa, because that moment between Varian and Varok Saurfang really sets up the idea that, underneath it all, we’re not so different. We could work together. And perhaps someday we will.


ASGARDTM

Hard to follow up on class hall complaints after the Rogue deal but as a Horde Druid I feel pretty disappointed. Druidism is always going to be pretty heavy on the Night Elf front (a few thousand years of practising before another race appears) but the Dreamgrove could quite easily be a Night Elf town and you’d not be able to tell the difference.

I appreciate that 1) It’s early Alpha ¦  2) They’ve got a few areas for the specs (Cat Statue in a barrow, Tree of Life in one room)  ¦  and 3) It’s a Night Elf zone. BUT the Trolls, Worgen and Tauren are just casually thrown in there, much like we have in Moonglade for the past 10 years.

Thoughts on what Blizz could add to make it so the other races don’t feel like total outcasts?

Iunno. It’s the birthplace of Druidism on Azeroth, right? And that means it’s pretty heavily Nelfy, since they’re the ones who came up with the whole deal, pretty much. I know the Highmountain clan is a zone away, but I’m not sure how to justify putting more Tauren stuff in, and Trolls and Worgen are essentially brand new to the whole Druid game.

Well, one way to do Worgen would be to show some old school Druids who never abandoned the Pack Form, who pre-date the Scythe of Elune and the Sundering entirely. Imagine a Worgen who changes back to his normal form and is a Night Elf instead of a Human? That could be cool.

For Tauren, maybe add a few Highmountain style lodges and elders?

For Trolls… I got nothing. Maybe Gonk is there. Have Gonk be there annoying everyone.

Okay, that’s The Queue for today. Happy day after my birthday to me. Have a great day and I’ll see you Friday.

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Filed Under: Alliance, Horde, Human, Orc, Tauren

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