Bored? Try Lore!

We’ve still got a pain-stakingly long two weeks (roughly) until Cataclysm drops. 4.0.3a will bring a wealth of opportunities to see the new zones and play with the race/combo changes, but how else is your time being spent?  Here’s what I’ve seen a lot of in Trade Chat:

Player1: What’s going on in SW?

Player2: Pre-Cata Event

Player1: What do you do for it?

Player3: It’s 5 quests and that’s it.

Player1: What do you get for it?

Player4: Nothing.

Player1: Lame.

Now that the new Elemental Invasion is underway, I saw a lot of this:

Player1: What’s going on in IF?

Player2: Elemental Invasion for Pre-Cata

Player1: Grr… I can’t do anything here right now.

Player3: You have to kill the elementals and rescue civilians.

Player1: What do I get for it?

Player4: ilevel 251 epics from some dungeons.

Player1: Awesome!

I gotta say, this makes me sad. I’m well aware of the addictive nature of seeing a shiny new purple epic show up in your inventory, but the complete shunning of anything potentially entertaining in the game baffles me. Of course, not everyone is going to like every little nuance in the game. Blizzard has tried to do a thorough job of making the game diverse enough for everyone. In the 4 years I’ve been playing WoW, I think they’ve done a bang-up job, too.

Give your eyes some exercise!

I’ll be the first to admit that throughout most of my WoW career I read only the objectives, then looked to QuestHelper (or the new WoW version) to guide me on my way. I paid no attention to the text or lore of the quests.

Wrath of the Lich King changed that for me. In Burning Crusade, I didn’t have any passion to see Illidan dead. Yeah, I knew he was the last boss, but I didn’t harbour a pure hatred for him. Arthas was a different story. The way we saw Arthas throughout this latest expansion instilled a desire to annihilate him when Icecrown Citadel was opened. We got to play as him, we were taunted by him, and we were at times aligned with him. In short, we became invested in the story and its outcome.

When Cataclysm was announced, I immediately started to thirst for knowledge. Who was Deathwing? How did he get to be so horrible? Why is he so mad? What other forces might we fight against? My first homework was to check out WoWpedia for an overview. It gave me a decent amount, but not enough. I then decided to go to the books. Christie Golden’s The Shattering is a quick and easy read. I tore through it in a day. There are other books that give you more history on Deathwing and the Dragon/Demon Soul, and it’s on my nightstand as I write this.

Also, I took the time to read the quests in the pre-Cataclysm event. Following the Doomsayers, visiting the Twilight Hammer’s camp, seeing the image of Cho’gall, all driving me further towards my passion of seeing Deathwing dead. Not for “epic lewtz”, but just to see the antagonist dead.

What can I do to get involved?

  • Take time to read the quests. They’re 2 paragraphs at most, and take no more than 30 seconds to read.
  • Check out WoWpedia. Search for Deathwing and get “click-happy”. I found myself on so many different wikis learning about the characters we’re spending the next ~2 years with. (The combination of Thrall and Magni Bronzebeard made me decide to race change my Shaman to Dwarf)
  • Read some of the novels! Across the board, people have recommended Lord of the Clans as a great place to start. From there, if you’re gearing up for Cataclysm, read The Shattering right after. Both are quick reads and really enjoyable (though I have issues with some of Golden’s writing choices).

Think of it this way: Why do people get so involved in movies and TV shows? It’s because we get invested in them. We learn to love the protagonists and hate that antagonists. Maybe it’s the other way around! Either way, you become attached to the characters in the story. The same exists with video games. Some of the best video games out there have compelling storylines with deep characters. WoW, in my opinion, is no different. I look at my playtime as “living through a story.”

I know that in Cataclysm, I’ll be trying to get my main up as fast as possible, while using an alt to actually read the quests along the way. I want Deathwing’s head on a platter, including his metal chinny-CHIN-CHIN!!

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

Another year has come and gone and still you can feel that Love is in the air! It is around this time I receive a plethora of mail asking for my Shamanic advice and so I present to you this year’s Dear Lodur!

Dear Lodur,

I have been studying the Draenei for months and have come to no clear conclusion, so I turn to you for help.

We of the Shieldwall family of Gnomes have been attempting to quantify the relationship between Draenei tails and bizarre behaviour of members of various races when exposed to these otherwise innocent-looking appendages. We have yet to be able to get our hands on one for proper diagnosis, but have come to the following hypothesi:

1. Draenei tails emit radiation that renders observers helpless and causes them to drool.

2. Draenei are really robots bent on brainwashing and enslaving the races of Azeroth (and only Gnomes are immune and can stop them). The tail is their most fearsome weapon.

3. Draenei themselves are radioactive and the reaction to their tails is simply a warning sign of radiation poisoning in the observer, thus, Draenei could be very useful in warfare against the enemies of Gnomekind.

4. Draenei emit radio frequencies at such a pitch that only Night Elves, Humans and the occasional Dwarf and Troll can hear.

I thank you for your insight, it is truly valuable to all of Gnomekind.

Scientifically Yours,

Studious in Ironforge

Dear Studious,

I… well…hmm. I can assure you we are not robots bent on brainwashing and enslaving the races of Azeroth and I’m pretty sure we’re not radioactive. I’ve seen Gnomeregan and we are most certainly not glowing green! I have however observed the same behavior though and have come to the conclusion that it is a hypnotic effect caused by the rhythmic swaying of our tails. We can’t help it we just like to shake the junk in our trunk as we walk!  I hope that answers your question!

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

Lately I have been feeling a bit down, looks like my guild is slowly but surely falling apart. I raid late, so it is difficult at best to find a guild to call home. This has given me a surplus of time to do some soul searching, and get back to who and what I am. Lately I have begun to think that being a blue space goat shaman is not all its cracked up to be, and I have heard about this new procedure that has been tested, where a blue space goat shaman can undergo an operation to become a dwarven shaman. I have always felt like I have an inner dwarf, and it is time to set my inner dwarf free, but I wanted to see what a highly respected shaman like yourself thinks about this idea.

As a Shaman, what are the risks of losing contact with the elements by undergoing such a transformation? Will I still be able to heal just as effectively, and occasionally hurl lightning bolts at any whim?

Since space goats are so much bigger than dwarves, what happens with all that extra “left over” material after the transformation?

Since as a blue space goat I already enjoy my fair share of dwarven stout, and teasing the serving wenches, how much worse could this get after freeing my inner dwarf?

Respectfully,

“Touching my Inner Dwarf, in Dalaran”

Dear Inner Dwarf,

I understand your plight all too well my friend! There is actually a support group that meets weekly in Ironforge’s Mystic District. We discuss our desire to live among and be accepted by the hearty mountain folk. During this time we encourage members to participate in Dwarf customs and holidays as well as participate in their daily lives. To see if it is the life you really want! The procedure is painful, but it does leave you able to communicate with the spirits. Healing waves and Lightning will flow from your fingers just like before! I’ve heard stories though of some who have undergone the transformation being dubbed too rowdy for the ale houses! It’s not widely available and still highly experimental but those that have undergone the change speak fondly of the end results.

As far as what happens with all the left over bits… Have you heard of the Paper Street Soap company in Stormwind? They’ve expressed a lot of interest in disposing of our… leftovers.

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

I have been seeing my girlfriend  for a little more than a year. We’ve both just hit 80 and have started gathering gear and badges from heroics with the intention of casual raiding. The problem is we are both in different guilds.

We’ve been having problems because I’m not willing to join her guild to raid. I’ve told her that I’m concerned about getting lost in the shuffle of her guild’s focus on raiding. I’ve seen many friends of mine leave guilds to join with their significant other only to be separated by different goals. Conversely she has friends who joined guilds together and raid happily ever after.

I admit, I’d like to take things slow (call me old-fashioned), but she doesn’t know if she can wait until I feel ready to take this step.

We acknowledge that we love each other. Our guilds are not exactly rooting for us, so we’re taking another break from things. I suggested that we both find our own places for the time being. Hillary has never raided by herself. We don’t know what to do, and I’d like some advice from someone who doesn’t have a stake in this

Forever in your debt,

Reluctant Raider

Dear RR,

This is a very sticky situation to be in for sure. The best answer I can give you is this. Sit and talk to her. Find out what you both want and try to reach a mutual understanding. There are guilds where couples are part of and one will go of to foray into the halls of death itself while the other part maintains the hearth flames. Guilds do exist that will take both partners and allow them to thrive. See if this is something you both might like, maybe find another guild entirely to join together that will suit both of your needs. Again I urge you to talk to her about it, while it may not sound great with losing the friends you have now in your respective guilds, it might be best in the long run. Your real friends will keep in touch! I hope that helps!

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

I am in desperate need of advice. I think my boyfriend has been cheating on me! You see, he’s always trying to “raid” Silvermoon city. Every other night he shifts into cat form and prowls off. The other night while we were in Arathi Basin, I swear I saw him sneak off behind the blacksmith with some Blood Elf hussy! He came back and I swear I saw lip marks on his collar. He told me it was nothing just smudges from battle! Lodur, how can I confront him on this? How can I bring it up to him?  What if I’m wrong and it’s nothing? I love him so much but enough is enough, I need to know! PLEASE HELP!

Sincerely,

Distressed in Dragonblight.

Dear Distressed,

There is no easy way to go about this. It’s a tricky situation to be sure. My suggestion is to be completely upfront about it, confront the problem head on. Tell him what you suspect and tell him you’ve had enough. Let him know your limits and set those limits in stone! The only way you can survive this is to try and communicate. It’s better to know now than thirty levels down the line that you are with someone who betrayed you so much, if he did even betray you. If he tells you he did cheat on you, leave. You’ll find someone else I hear there is 11.8 million people in the world out there to choose from.

Sincerely,

Lodur

 

That’s it for this years Valentines edition of Dear Lodur. Hope everyone enjoys the day!

Until next time!

 

Winter Veil Poetry!

Winter Veil Poetry!

Here’s some inspired Poetry for your Winter Veil holiday!

Stormwind’s Bells

Adapted from Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

I heard the bells on Winter Veil Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on Azeroth, good-will to all!

 

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Light’s Chapels

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on Azeroth, good-will to all!

 

Till, ringing, singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on Azeroth, good-will to all!

 

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the North,

And with the sound

The Carols drowned

Of peace on Azeroth, good-will to all!

 

And in despair I bowed my head;

‘There is no peace on Azeroth,’ I said;

‘For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on Azeroth, good-will to all!’

 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

‘The Light is not dead; nor doth it sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on Azeroth, good-will to all!’

Let us not forget or Horde brothers and sisters

It Came From Within Orgrimmar Clear

Adapted from It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Edmund Sears

 

It Came from within Orgrimmar  clear,

That glorious song of old,

From ancestors bending near the earth,

To touch their helms of gold:

“Peace on the azeroth, goodwill to all,

From the Warchiefs past.”

The world in solemn stillness lay,

To hear the ancestor’s sing.

 

Still through the cloven skies they come,

With peaceful wings unfurled,

And still their peaceful music floats

O’er all the weary world;

Above Mulgore and it’s plains,

They bend on hovering wing,

And ever o’er its Thunderbluff sounds,

The glorious ancestors sing.

 

Yet with the woes of sin and strife

The world has suffered long;

Beneath the ancestor-strain have rolled

Too many years of wrong;

And Orc, at war with man, hears not

The love-song which they bring;

O hush the noise, ye men of strife,

And hear the ancestors sing.

 

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,

Whose forms are bending low,

Who toil along the climbing way

With painful steps and slow,

Look now! for glad and golden hours

come swiftly on the wing.

O rest beside the weary road,

And hear the ancestors sing!

 

For lo!, the days are hastening on,

By all the Shamans foretold,

When with the ever-circling years

Comes round the age of gold

When peace shall over all of Azeroth

Its ancient splendors fling,

And the whole world give back the song

Which now the ancestors sing.

 

Happy holidays to all of Azeroth from your friendly neighborhood Shaman!

Can It Be!? A Dwarf Shaman!?

Can It Be!? A Dwarf Shaman!?

dwarfshambanner

So as I’m sure many of you know, I’m waiting not so patiently to turn my blueberry into a Dwarf Shaman. To this effect I’ve recently commissioned a wonderful artist by the name of Ginny to draw me one! Who’s Ginny you ask? Well let me tell you. I met Ginny through my podcast (For The Lore), she’s a wonderful artist who has done a lot of the work for our podcast’s episodic icons. She has a great eye for composition and pays a lot of attention to detail. I went  to Ginny for a commission work, I wanted to pay her to draw me up a Dwarf Shaman! I just couldn’t wait anymore and I had to have something to hold me over until Lodur can be reborn with a beard and a penchant for ale! When I approached Ginny I didn’t have anything specific in mind and honestly in retrospect didn’t give her much to work with. My conditions were a Dwarf Shaman, from the Wildhammer clan, Wearing Tier 10 armor (because honestly I’m a fan boy of the T10 art). Originally I had asked only for a Black and White drawing with shading, but instead I was surprised to watch as Ginny proceeded to color him in and did so very very well. I was so pleased with how it came out that I had to share it with all of you here. So without further ado, here’s Ginny’s rendition of a Lodur as a Dwarf Shaman!

dwarfshaman

See how the armor is frosted over (and just a little bit on the beard too) and Lodur seems a bit angry at the fact his Tankards are empty! Notice the Facial Tattoos that are common to the Wildhammer Dwarf clans and the lightning coming from Lodur’s eyes! To be perfectly honest I am in LOVE with this picture. I’ve already set it as my computer’s background and the background of my phone! This picture will indeed be how I envision my Shaman from now on and it makes me want even more so to be logging into the game to see the diminutive figure throwing chain heals and getting surly when the ale runs dry! I figured also I’d take an opportunity to share with you the images of some of Ginny’s other commission work. Heres a few more examples of this amazing artist’s work.

Taldraion

taldraioncommissionink

Kraint

kraintcommissionfin

Shizu

shizucommission2

This talented artist is also a wow player and plays a toon named Tsunomi on the Earthen Ring server. So I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Lodur! How can I get Ginny to Draw me something so fantastic like that!?”

Well Ginny does accept all commission work and works for very reasonable rates for the quality of art she does. I mean just look at the ones above! Well if you’re interested in seeing the above pictures at full size or are interested in commissioning Ginny into drawing art for you, you can head over to her Gallery over at Deviant art or Newground and soon enough you can visit http://magicalmelonball.com and you can even find her on her Twitter immamoonkin. She accepts all commission work and she takes care with each piece. She pays great attention to detail and as you can see does a fantastic job. I know personally I’ll be going to Ginny for all of my commission artwork as I know from first hand experience the talent she has and the care she gives each of her projects. Now obviously commission work is paid work as she is an independent artist, but I think that she is worth every penny! She’s having a sale now until the end of January and the prices are as follows:

Black and white (screentoned/one character) – $15

*Additional characters – $8 each

Color (less detail/one character) – $25
*Additional characters – $5 each

Color (more detail/one character) – $40
*Additional characters – $10 each

Sketches (one character) – $5
*Additional character – $3 each

BACKGROUNDS ONLY $10 EXTRA!

So if you’re looking to give your character a little extra love this year, stop on by and give Ginny a message. Oh, and expect to see that Dwarf Shaman picture randomly =D

Until next time,

sig3

Putting The RP in MMORPG

Putting The RP in MMORPG

dice_phixr

So, recently I’ve been talking more and more about the story and lore of gaming. The games that create a rich background and intricate story for you to be a part of. As such I’ve been talking with a lot of RPers lately. I’ve been reading very interesting RP posts, and fan fiction stories, and have even begun writing my own for Lodur’s background. It can be a lot of fun to think about where your character has been and where they are going and how they might interact with their fellow raiders. This side of the game does appeal to me as I’m an old school D&D Role playing geek. It is however something I haven’t fully explored in game yet.

Blizzard has set aside entire servers for people to Role Play with each other, and no I’m not talking about the seedy dirty stuff, but honest interaction between players acting out their characters. There are a few different types of Role Playing you’ll come across in the game.

Spontaneous RP

This is a spontaneous act between two or more players who play out a short scenario on the spot. These players typically do not have background stories that cross paths and have a low likelihood of interacting again in a role-playing context. This is coming across someone randomly while questing or bump into in one of the major cities. These RP sessions can sometimes lead to further contact later on and might develop into character friendships later one.

Deliberate / Planned RP

Some role players will set aside specific times to be online to interact with others. This can be in a raid, a group that quests together as a party or simply a meeting in the local inn to throw back a pint or twelve. Many interesting interactions happen here. Friendships are made and lost, sometimes characters pair off in the way of couples, and sometimes they break up and throw bottles at each other. I have a group of friends I talk to on a regular basis that do set aside specific time to role play during the week, and I always enjoy hearing about what happened afterward.
Out of Game RP

Probably one of the more important things to mention here. Out of game RP happens in emails, forums and blog posts. This exists between spontaneous and deliberate RP events and honestly has no true end point. These can serve to flesh out backgrounds for your character, can help turn spontaneous RP encounters into full on character relationships and can really give some creative license to tell a very intricate story. I’ve seen posts that filled in the gaps of a raid, and some rather humorous explanations for why the group wiped on a particular boss fight. The forum posts I’ve run across or have been linked to are often the result of people working together in emails to get the story together before it’s posted. People have even created twitter accounts for their toons so they can RP with other characters through that media as well. The results are almost always a very very fun story to read. It’s like being an actor in a movie and really getting into your role, or playing out a scene in your favorite books. You get to be a part of a story of your making.

The community surrounding MMO’s has always interested me, it’s one of the most important reasons I got into MMOs in the first place. We make friends as we play the game (or enemies) and we get to share our triumphs and defeats. There’s something very gratifying about working with 24 friends and downing a big nasty boss. The community that has sprung up from the Role Playing elements of Warcraft is very strong as well. The people that RP have most definitely set up a community for themselves (and their characters) within the game. You can sit on twitter and see just how deep the interactions go. To them there is more to the game then the grinding of levels or the end game content. Now it’s not to say that all they do is interact in character, many times the OOC (Out Of Character) chat channels are hillarious with the Real Life interactions. It’s refreshing sometimes to take a step back and look at the other side of the fence.

Does this mean you’ll see posts here about role playing in game? Possibly, depends on how deep down the rabbit hole I go. (or how far @justanna from toomanyannas.com can drag me =P)

So, what about you? Have you tried RPing? Have you ever written a fan fiction about your character? Have you thought about it? What would your characters background be?

That’s it for now, I’ll have more for you later this week. Until then, Happy healing!

Sig

Image courtesy of madbrewlabs.com