Friday, March 31, 2017

Velen the Prophet

This week with the launch of 7.2, Velen came to mind. This is unusual for me because although he's been in game a very long time, he hasn't done much of anything but stand in the Exodar.

And that is my problem.

He is, so we are told over and over, incredibly old, vastly wise and powerful, except that you rarely see it.

Velen came to Warcraft in Burning Crusade's launch by crashing the Exodar starship and contaminating the islands with radiation to the extent that flying remains impossible a decade later.

Rumors of the Dranei preceded the race however, in the form of a book where his people were described as galaxy conquering, evil destroyers. Who wrote the book or how it got to a tabletop on Azeroth we likely will never know, but now know it refers to the corrupted majority of his race who joined the Burning Legion.

Born to a highly adept and long lived race, Velen's first known vision was of a dying red skinned dranei during the birth of his son, which he prompt ignored and forgot about until it occurred,  much too late to stop it.

His second known, and most famous, prophecy is actually a vision sent to him by a naaru, not a prophecy at all, where he sees what his life will be if he accepts the offer of Sargeras to become a General of the Burning Legion with his fellow Triumvirate members, Kil'Jaedan and Archimonde.

He declines and taking a small group of his people, he abandons his wife and child to flee Argus and roam the galaxy for the next 20,000 years or so, settling on planets and abandoning them at the first sign of his fellow dranei, now corrupted into Eredar, finding them.

Establishing another home on Draenor, he failed to notice the local race of nomadic orcs forging armies until those armies began decimating his cities and culling any dranei present, or capturing them for use by the orcish warlocks to power a vast gateway.

After months and tremendous losses, ever retreating, Velen abandoned Draenor and set sail yet again, to land thirty years later on Azeroth.

The ship shattered upon impact, pieces scattering far and wide across the two islands and contaminating areas with radiation or escaped ravagers.

The local night elves established a ferry to the islands nearby and presumably introduced Velen to the Alliance, where his people were accepted into the assault that had just begun against old enemies, strangely enough, on Draenor.

While Velen's people traveled through space, the orcs and their Eredar masters had sacrificed captured dranei to open the Dark Portal to Azeroth and launch an invasion that eventually led to the internment of the captured orcs and loss of the King and heir to the human kingdom of Arathor.

The Dark Portal was reopened however, allowing contact with the forces trapped on Draenor to be re-established and also with the dranei left behind who had survived the orcs, now allied with the war criminal Illidan.

Velen's second  ( or third however you count it ) prophecy concerned these Dranei, now known as the Broken.

Velen himself played no part in the campaign, or in world affairs over the years that followed. Any prophecies or visions concerning the rise of the Lich King, the devastation wrought by DeathWing and by Garrosh Hellscream, kept to himself though he did teach Prince Anduin something of the Light when Anduin decided to become a priest, and Velen made some attempts to enlighten the worshippers of Elune on the Light.

With the death of the Aspect of Time Nozdormu, and the Bronze Dragonflight no longer maintaining time as one single pathway, any effect upon Velen as a Prophet is also unknown but when a rogue bronze dragon began altering time by meddling in the past in Draenor, Velen either failed to notice or did not care, leaving it to others to brief Leaders on the orcs and ogres as they had been during his time there.

Velen's interest was seemingly roused upon the next Burning Legion invasion, although no prophecy seemed to be forthcoming, when the demonic forces invaded the Exodar and began slaughtering his people and the naaru at the heart of the Exodar.

Unaware of that, he maintained a protective dome that protected a few dozen dranei for over a day before adventurers randomly stopped by to consult his mystical knowledge and joined the defense.

Remembering the defenceless naaru, Velen went to its defense, watching helplessly as it's final life force was extinguished while he stood on the sidelines watching.

In the ensuing battle between the adventurers and the General leading the slaughter of the Exodar's people, Velen continued doing nothing, until turning on the adventurers and attempting to kill them, as he realized the Eredar General was in fact his long abandoned son.

Failing to save his son, and to kill the adventurers who had just saved the remnants of his race, he refused even to help them despite the importance of their errand.

After they had gone, he ordered the Exodar be mended, after a decade sitting broken and remains still in the Exodar, taking no part in the war against the Burning Legion except when summoned, where he vents his anger but offers nothing of use to the war effort.

( Note: I have not read every book Velen may be in, just two of them, but am a Loremaster and dranei player )

Anne Stickney rose to his defense on this week's BlizzardWatch podcast and pointed out his recent single handed bubble defense of the Exodar and his purging of a corrupted Naaru in Warlords which I admit I had forgotten. And she pointed out many other appearances, in books, over the years. Thank you Anne!

But those incidents almost make things worse and I still question the Wise part, but first the Prophet.

His prophecies aren't very useful and he doesn't seem to share them with others much.

As for being wise, he did get off of Argus, literally being chased up the hill to the ship by a howling mob out to kill the escaping dranei but didn't notice his closest friends or wife and child were already corrupted.

He led the dranei remnants on their Exodus for thousands of yesrs, and never seems to have made alliances with the native races or warned them of the Burning Legion, or helped them form an Alliance, or gear up to defend themselves, nor even try to teach them of The Light, that we know of.

Or rescue any of them when he inevitably fled again to the next world.

Or research whatever technology they might possess, or seek out whatever Titan technology might have been left behind.

Or build or find more starships.

Or actually hide their presence when they came to a new world.

Accidentally or on purpose, he managed to lead his people to the most demon invaded planet in the universe, and crashed on it.

And then didn't attempt to fix his one and only ship for over ten years. Nor help the natives in their various trials, nor offer any wise advice beyond Kil'Jaedan is a bad person.

We know. Thanks.

The problem with Velen, and with most racial leaders in World of Warcraft, is that very few do very much in game, which is very odd if you think about it.

A small quest line somewhere each expansion couldn't hurt?

Most development occurs in the many novels or short stories instead.

I'm very hard on Velen, because if he is as powerful as we are assured that he is, I wish he would show it, or be a better leader for the remainder of his people, and the universe in general.

He has great potential both as an arcane practitioner ( can dranei be mages? ), as the emissary of the Light and as one of the few who can deal with the nature of time outside of the bronze dragonflight,  and after he beat me up pretty thoroughly with his bare hands, I'm not buying the weak old frail man Defence.

Velen, I hope we see more of you soon.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kil'Jaedan Speculation


We know Kil'Jaedan is the Deceiver.

Might he be deceiving Sargeras?

He gave up Argus, according to the books, to conquer and rule worlds, not be Sargeras' whipping boy for eternity.

If he hopes to steal Sargeras power, his only competition,  Archimonde,  is dead and he has had thousands of years to master Warlock skills like draining souls and learn how Sargeras originally defeated the demons.

We don't know if he knows what Sargeras is, or how much he knows about Titans, who were destroyed before he joined Sargeras.

He would need both information and allies to distract or weaken Sargeras enough to destroy or drain him, allies like the Old Gods perhaps?  The race of whatever Elune is?

(( The not serious speculation just for fun ))

It has always been assumed that it was the Old Gods who whispered to Azshara and offered her life, but Kil'Jaedan certainly knew about her, and had the ability to transform her. She is entwined with Illidan who is an enemy of Sargeras and a useful tool but not one that can be weilded directly by Kil'Jaedan.

It was never explained in Warlords how Khadgar knew things he shouldn't have, so Kil'Jaedan could have been that answer though there is zero evidence either way.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

An Irreverent History of Hunters


From Alisaunder

In the beginning there were no hunters, because everyone was an elemental, battling across the young Azeroth. Then came the Old Gods, and trolls, who did use spears so close enough.

The Titans ( not a hunter ) came upon the planet and did see the Old God infestation and it was bad. Very bad, and did banish the elementals and create a plan to save The Chosen One by ripping the largest of the Old Gods, Y'Shaarj , right out of the ground. Clearly not a hunter.

Y'Shaarj died, sort of, ( clearly feigning death so maybe a hunter )  his parts scattered across the world and his beating heart ending up in Pandaria. But the wound left behind became known as the Well of Eternity.

Uncertain how to deal with the problem without killing the Azeroth, the Titans locked the Old Gods up and set up machines and constructs to police them, all across the world as well as subdue the minion armies of the Old Gods ( should have been hunters, I'm telling you ) . Who were still not hunters even though the races of Azeroth now included elves and Tauren , depicted with bows in the statues of Ulduar.

The Titans created a save file of Azeroth called the Emerald Dream, in case they needed to uproot any more Old Gods and departed.

Elune ( not a hunter but would totally be cool if we had a heal spec am I right? )  the mysterious goddess of the Moon found the planet and guided a tribe of trolls towards the Well of Eternity down the hill from Odyn ( not a hunter, probably some whiny millennial * ), chief minion of the Titans, where they were transformed into elves.

One of which, born with golden eyes to a great destiny, no the other one, became Queen Azshara and in her search for a husband invited Sargeras the corrupted Titan to Azeroth.

Unaware that her man had put on a few pounds and couldn't fit through the door, she invited the Burning Legion to attend the wedding while her mages tried to Summon Sargeras using the Well of Eternity.

Someone refused to click on the Summons though, and a group of rebel elves led by Illidan, Tyrande and Malfurion attacked the wedding guests and destroyed the Well.

The dps was so great it caused the continent to shatter into several pieces. Sadly, not hunter dps. Fricken OP fire mages.

Elune came to help her worshipers, the elves that survived. Malfurion, Arch Druid of the Druids ( NOT a hunter, thank Elune ) and the male night elves all went into the Emerald Dream to safeguard it, so they said, and did a pretty poor job of it I'm thinking ( Druids, why can we not tame you! ) and left all the women behind to become hunters. Except the priestesses. And the Wardens. ( Survival spec? Really? Fine whatever. )

The exceptionally good looking elves continued practicing magic however, and were banished rather than stop or, you know, become hunters ( Look I'm just saying! ).

In the new exiled Kingdom, the Windrunner family came to prominence, Sylvanas becoming Ranger-General (A real hunter! ) of Silvermoon .

The End.



*  "Whiny Millenials" is a teasing Joke with The Summoning Stone Podcast hosts. 



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mainstream

From Alisaunder

It is a fact that in my office of 80 people, I'm the only gamer. The few who were, played Shooters, got married, had kids, and gave it up.

I've seen many gamers fall away when the wife had it in for childish video games taking time away from her or the family time so there is that problem.

Yes there are girl gamers and some do play "boys games" but a lot more play things like Stardew Valley or dont game at all. Not yet.

And the types of games "girls might like" might not be Esports friendly, IE shooters vs RPGs.

Secondly, turning on a tv is easy and these days screens are huge, perfect for the family couch.

Esports isn't as convenient, between booting up, loading programs and sites. Nor is it something you do from the couch or with a remote.

I, a girl, can and do watch tons of Esports every night on my PC but a family can't huddle around that screen.

I do think, hope, that one day Esports will be a huge thing and completely normal, but not while 51% of the potential audience isn't on board.

Michelle Morrow being awesome, IS on board so please write in as well to the show Michelle!

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Class Based Guilds

From Alisaunder

Hello Girls and Guest!

You asked how servers react to class themed guilds.

For our all hunter guild, Icecrown didn't know what hit them.

Most had no alts on server so took up herbalism and mining. The copper and peacebloom markets took months to recover and we quickly created the Dead Hunters Union Guild of Death Knights, so the baby hunters would have the 10 gold to level lock and afford things.

We were very All For One Everything For Everyone,  and set up 7 more alt guilds to handle alts being server transferred in and profession materials, and especially bag making to supply the hundreds of hunters in the WHU.

We crashed the server twice on our first event, rocking up from Kharanos to Ironforge, with everyone's pet out and often a battle pet rolling in to catch the tram to Stormwind.

After that we made strenuous attempts to warn Blizzard when an event was coming up, and our projected route but still crashed Stormwind at least once, and Thunderbluff when we tried for the Horde Leaders achievement.

We got all of them except Sylvanas. It was an honor to fail to kill such an exalted huntress as the former Ranger-General.

In a way, having an all hunter guild was easy because we were all Hunters so the gear we needed was obvious. Engineering guns and scopes, leather then mail. Hunter glyphs.

We got very familiar with Wailing Caverns which is all hunter gear heaven, if you don't mind tight purple pants.

And of course, Pets. Petopia was our Bible and our Horde alt guild maintained Echeeyoki the white quested lion for the hunters to tame.

One of my fondest memory of WoW is escorting baby hunters through the dangers of Ashenvale to get a specific color pet that they had their heart set on.

Being in a class guild is different from other guilds in that we all had a passion for being a hunter. We could all help answer questions, we all knew the same jokes , we all knew the best pet for the DPS.

We were all great people, and I'm sure that other classes have nice people too, but we were worried about, you know, problem people, and we never had any.

Blizzard is big on class pride this expansion, and the pride was real.

You should start one and try it sometime.


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Everquest

From Alisaunder,

Heya Cinder. :)

Youre thinking of Everquest II. the "improved" Everquest so good it killed both EQ 1 and 2. :P

In EQ1, you had the Good races (humans, halflings, elves, gnomes) and the Evil races (trolls, ogres, dark elves) and there was no changing. The closest you could get was to be a human necromancer or Shadowknight and go feed the Librarian as much red wine as you could carry. Youd be tolerated at best by most factions, but liked by none, either, and the 'Animal' faction was just going to attack you on sight.

Yes, there was a faction for random animals and it sucked a lot to try to meditate to get your health and mana back, and some bear or snake out of nowhere would bite you in the ass.

So there was some Rep change possible but not really and the only reward was that at least that group wouldnt try to kill you. There is a famous phrase, "You've ruined your lands but you wont ruin mine!" Thats Everquest I.

EQ2, the dark elves had taken over a formerly human town Qeynos (Kway Noss) and made it an evil city whereas Freeport, the original human city, was Good aligned.

There was later on a quest implemented to allow you to become a traitor to whichever you had started in, and be KOS to both, until eventually after a long slog you gained enough Rep with the other city.

I never did it so cant tell you more about it.



Everything in Everquest was haaaaaarrrrrdddd. Night was so dark that humans literally couldnt see without a torch and it only radiated maybe 10 feet. Terrifying let me tell you.

The Fel Reaver in Hellfire Peninsula was in Everquest I called Sgt Slade. A human paladin that walked around East Commonlands zone picking off any evil race that left the keyboard for just two seconds. The man was diabolical. Especially since the only way out of the dark elf city was through a newbie area, then into East Commonlands.

Levelling up your weapons came from Everquest.

The first raids were Lady Vox, a white dragon (priest class) living in an ice cavern labyrinth and Lord Nagafen, a red dragon that lived in a volcano. 

Vox had "weak spots" in the ice floor and every single raid at least two people (or more) would fall in and then instead of dying, would run out of the pit of monsters and drag all of them up the ramp, into the dragon fight room. Vox was fought by all the priests sitting just outside the main cave, around the corner and when you got low on health you ran back to them, hopefully NOT carrying aggro, to get healed and run back in. It as a never ending chain of in and out, but if the priests got aggro, she started Summoning them to her, in the main room and insta kill them. There was always one priest logged out in case of a wipe, to log back in and start rezzing, one person at a time.

Nagafen was a true joy as well. Again you had the Priests room, down a ramp and around the corner to run to. Nagafen was on a ring platform suspended over lava with a single bridge to get to him, and he cast Fear as well as fire and the usual smiting.

Plane of Fear was not quite so bad, but Plane of Hate was truly sadistic.

The Plane of Hate could only be gotten to by a wizard casting a planar travel spell on her group of 6. Raids required 30 people minimum to succeed, so you needed 6 masochistic or well paid wizards or 1 wizard that ported each group in turn using an expensive gem that could only be bought in the depths of the dark elven city (by an evil aligned human in the case of Good) and it evaporated upon use.

Once on the Plane of Hate, there was a ten minute patrol that would come into the tiny room you arrived in, look around, then leave, so everyone absolutely had to be invisible until everyone was up and buffed. Everyone was required to carry invis potions, and usually a druid or wizard would cast invis on each party member, and also bards could sing an Invisibilty spell (very quietly I guess) on a lute that so long as they kept playing (hitting buttons) would cover their group if they stayed in range of the bard.

The wizard doing the Portal spell was unable to be invisible, so someone else would invis them after they started casting, or a bard would play, but a bard could leave a gap in coverage if the travel took too long.

So One group would portal up and a priest would immediately log out in the tiny room, and a rogue would stealth, and they would watch for the patrol. If the patrol arrived, noone came up until after they had left, and those in the room had to hope their invisibility didnt fail (as it was bound to do always at the worst time). If it did fail, theyd kill you instantly, and if the raiders were smart, nobody tried to help. And if they were lucky, the combat aggro would wear off after a few minutes before someone elses invis failed, and reAggro the patrol. And if they were really unlucky, that first group would arrive right into the patrol, killing the wizard and the priest, and possibly the rogue too.

Then someone would have to time the patrol and someone get another portal stone, and so on. And in Everquest, corpses decayed in an hour or two. With everything they had on them, and so everyone had a backup set of armor in the bank, for Corpse Retrieval, and some had a third set, because you HAD to get that body back and rezzed. You lost nearly 3/4s of a level of xp as well, in a game where xp gain was so slow they had to add a second xp bar so that you could see some progress after a night of playing.

Also, in that tiny room in the Plane of Hate, the walls had an aggro bug where anyone touching the walls, the patrol would instantly run there and kill that person. Did I mention the room was tiny and raids were 30-50 people?

Once everyone was finally up there, buffed and ready, you pulled as normal, moving through the city streets and the raid was fairly standard, all trash but hard trash requiring 30 people, and Lieutenants , till you get to the Boss who was magnificent, a music  connoiseur, and tried really hard not to die because a wipe would mean the logged out priest would have to log in, and the dead players would have to give rogues permission to drag their bodies and hope the rogue wasnt a practical joker who could drag it who knew where, to be rezzed. It had to be rogues because the respawn was up by then, which meant so was the patrol. Which meant the entire rezzing process could be interrupted and everyone killed, and the naked wizards need more portal stones to bring people back up. And it all had to be done before the decay timer.

I played a wizard so there were times when Corpse re-re-re-retrieval lasted up to 4 hours as people got corpses and died again.

It was expected that you would stay, if only for moral support even if you couldnt do anything to help and especially if you were the raid leader, but of course people might have work, or been there 6 hours already, or just not care, and youd lose people and once or twice I remember that we did lose corpses.

But for the most part, people did stay because it was us against the game. And people knew who left and who stayed.

I stayed till the bitter end always because I was the only way to get there, but I always got my corpse and the best rez , 96% quality, as a thank you.

More than you ever wanted to know, Im sure, but Everquest 1 was a truly magnificent game. I have such amazing memories of it to this day.

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Is Sargeras The Titan Of Argus?

From Alisaunder

Hello Watchers!

It occurred to me that Argus might be the former Egg of Sargeras. He thinks very highly of himself, and thought enough of the Dranei to not only notice they existed but choose them to lead his Legions rather than destroy their world as was his usual method.

Not much to go on, I know, but if true we don't need to worry about Azeroth waking up and destroying the planet at least.

Have a great week.!!!

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A Defense Of Warlords, Gone Awry

From Alisaunder

Good morning Girls and Guest

I think that Warlords content, what there was,  was actually very well done for the most part.

The Big Bad went down a bit too easily true, but I accomplished all my goals in Warlords. I LFR raided quite often and enjoyed Highmaul and Foundry, enjoyed my lovely garrison and collecting minions to suit my desire rather than ones foisted on me.

I pet battled a lot which I enjoy, and my friends and I went off to struggle through those missions together every week.

I made money, too, and achieved my legendary Ring which I had never done before. On several characters.

Story wise we had Yrel and that marvelous intro.

I will never be able to complete Legion, which chafes a bit, if content keeps coming at this rate. No time for pet battles or farming herbs and ore for money, or gear to get into LFR, or unlocking all those weapon appearances unless I knuckle down and work at it, which I don't want to do for a game.

I know I'm in the minority here, and people will say I don't deserve a reward I didn't earn. I don't deny that, but that was the beauty of LFR and being able to out level content. When I did the work of levelling, I out levelled zones.

In Legion I need to do all that, and then months of artifact power farming.

On every alt.

I think this is poor design keeping me from playing the actual game.

I do enjoy World Quests and hope they stay, but become a little more optional in the future instead of an endless ladder.

I'm enjoying Legion, don't get me wrong, but I want to get back to enjoying Legion rather than spending my nights rotating through World Quests on my 4 level 110 characters.

My AP meter is slowly increasing but I'm reminded of Everquest, where a second xp bar was needed to be able to see daily progress.

Maybe I would have been happier with just the one character, but I'm so excited and interested by the stories in Legion that I just can't imagine not levelling one of everything.

Have a nice week and happy birthday!

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Mardi Gras

From Alisaunder

A Mardi Gras mini holiday would involve kissing npcs for one of three necklaces that when combined become a toy that gives you a new dance when worn. Zydeco maybe?

Other activities include a profession daily quest chain to build and decorate the best parade float, gathering flowers or bunting, mixing paint, whatever themes with that profession.

The float with the most completed quests wins.

A side quest line might involve spying on the stone mason guild for the "cheese makers guild" to uncover a Defias plot.

And, an achievement for dancing on a mailbox dressed only in your tabard.

Obviously.


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Teams


From Alisaunder

Heya Guys.

Now and then we talk about the problems in growing Esports into the Next Big Thing. Nothing new to add to that except that after the Starcraft was over at IEM Katovice, I stayed around to see what was up in the Heroes and CSGO instead of leaving.

There was a time when I knew the big teams in Heroes, and who was on each team and I had my favorites because that team had done XYZ or chosen a really punny name...

But theyre all changed, rearranged, name changed...

Its ok in Starcraft to root for one guy, because its a single player game but it doesn't work in Heroes to cheer for one team because of one guy. Not for me anyway. If anything it feels the opposite, to wonder if he split off thinking he could do better and abandoned them.

Just a thought.

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Add Ons

From Alisaunder

I use way too many addons and I'd kind of like to cut down, but they have a use that does improve the game.

Most I could live without, DBM for instance could be replaced by a raid leader calling orders, which I prefer actually over the dead silence of a raid.

Addons pointing out what transmog, rep, pets or mounts come from where are handy and should be default in the game. Ditto quest addons like Loremaster to FIND all the dang quests.

But I have no raid awareness so GTFO is one I do "need" though could live without by  dying more.

The one I cannot live without though is Altoholic. If I had to go through every alt to find 30 tin ore I'm sure I mined a few weeks back so I can make some bronze transmog boots today, I would go nuts.

Even using guild bank alts who's job it is to store all my crafting crap and BoE transmog are useless if my tin ore is on an alt on a non sister server or the wrong faction.

Blizzard should have implemented much of this stuff years ago rather than telling us to go to WoWhead.

We might be the only game left that doesn't allow customization of body and face, but that's another topic.

The fact is, Blizzard has no competition so they don't feel much need to improve the game interface and stealing cool new things from other games is just plastering new yummy icing onto a stale cake.

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