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Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying

Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
Whew, we got the snark over with right up front in the headline -- because now it's time to get down to business. Sin'dorei-exclusive guild Selama Ashalanore spins Azerothian lore as tautly as any of the most stringent of the racial guilds we've profiled in recent weeks. "Out of character, Selama Ashalanore is a 'safe place' for lore-compliant blood elf roleplay," notes GM Tholmai Lightbreaker. "In many, many roleplay communities, blood elves are traditionally seen in a very negative light. In our guild, we are working hard to undo that image."

In character, members act out the lives of a group of like-minded blood elves devoted to the restoration of their people since their near extinction during the Third War. "Following the Third War, the blood elves have been caught up in Horde affairs in Outland, the Northrend campaign, the cataclysm, and, most recently, the events in Pandaria," Tholmai explains. "They've barely had a chance to recover. Our group acknowledges this and works round the clock for the Horde agenda, as well as to restore glory to their ancient people."

Can Selama Ashalanore members manage to maintain a sense of levity about the notorious reputation of their race while remaining focused on their compelling racial lore? Oh yes, they can -- and then some.
Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
Main character Tholmai Lightbreaker, blood elf protection paladin
Guild Selama Ashalanore
Realm Wyrmrest Accord (US-Horde)

WoW Insider: Blood elf guilds certainly seem to plentiful, yet not many of them are as progressed or active as yours, and quite a few of them are somewhat less than serious in their approach. Selama Ashal'anore takes a hard stance on game lore and characterization. Can you tell us a little more about your policy of lore compliance?

Tholmai: We very rarely deviate from the story and lore Blizzard has brought to us in Warcraft. There are a lot of blood elf-dominant guilds out there that incorporate vampires/san'layn, high elves, dragons (in blood elf form), half breeds (half elf, half draenei seems to be popular), and a plethora of other odd combinations, many of which wouldn't be permitted in Garrosh's Horde.

Our blood elves are just blood elves (or dead blood elves) and use what is provided in the Warcraft story to create their own. The death knight backstories are usually some of the most interesting, in my opinion. Not that being one of only a couple dozen survivors of the Defiler's invasion isn't appealing; those lot are pretty resilient.

Does the guild accept non-blood elf members? What about alts?

We don't! Sin'dorei only, please! Many of us have alts of different races, and to give them a home, we turn to our sister guilds. These guilds are only separate for game mechanics; however, we are all very close.
Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
So. many. blood. elf. guilds. everywhere. Why do you think there are so many blood elf guilds across WoW? Why do so many peter out?

Hah, yes, there are many, many Belf guilds *everywhere*. They're the pretty race in the superior faction!

Honestly, I believe it's a combination of "pretty" and "identifiable." I personally rolled my paladin back in BC because ... "Paladins? In the Horde? What?" But I have come to appreciate the way gear sits on their model. All of the other races distort armor in one way or another.

Their backstory as a race is pretty interesting to me. Few other races in the Horde have suffered like they have (Forsaken share that boat with them), and yet they just keep kicking.

What's kept Selama Ashal'anore going strong so long?

Any time anyone has wanted a safe place for blood elf roleplay, they come to us. The major bulk of recruitment comes from sister guilds looking for a place for their Belves to RP, and they wind up liking the way we operate and spread the word. It is hard to recruit on a server that sees all blood elf roleplay in a negative light, but we manage pretty well. We've won over more than our fair share of former haters.
Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
Does the guild hold to any particular blood elf traditions?

We tend to look to the storyline to guide where our Belves live when not doing guild business. We've had people spend a lot of their time in the Dominance Offensive areas with the Reliquary, for example, and recently we had a guild meeting at Sunreaver Command in Crystalsong.

Out of character, we do have a good number of members that attend Club Trix as often as possible. Dancing and partying, those are blood elf things, right?

Does your racial composition affect members' PvE game? Is there content you don't do or that you set other restrictions on based on roleplay lore?

The only classes we don't have in our roster are shaman and druids. One day we will have blood elf druids. (I want my parakeet flight form, dammit.)

We find a lot of guild PvE activities to be easier than other race specific guilds, actually. We have access to tanks with paladins, death knights, warriors, and monks and healers with paladins, priests, and monks, and if we do need something else, we have our sister guilds to pull from.

We don't really restrict our members from doing content. All of us have a pretty good head about what to do in character and out of character. One of our favorite events is to run older raids in character, as a sort of "what if" scenario. We bend rules to make these happen but leave the outcome at the door. We all kill the Lich King in character, but afterward we don't claim to be the lot that did the deed, for example.

We do LFR as a group every now and then. There are just so many wings to do and pick from, we try to do them sparingly. Burnout rears its ugly head!

One thing we do love to do is older content for transmog gear and meta achievements. This last Saturday, we did ICC-25, and in previous weekends we visited the Firelands and the launch raids of Cataclysm.
Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
Do you and other guild members do any roleplaying out of the game -- for instance, on the guild or official forums?

The closest equivalent to forum RP we have are monthly writing contests. I pick a topic and have people write a short story from a character of their choice's perspective about that topic. The winner gets fabulous prizes, of course.

We also have a number of very talented writers that write stories about their characters. My personal favorites are the ones our guild officer, Siderite, writes about her death knight.

Tell us about your sister guilds.

The Scythe of Sylvanas is our Forsaken-only sister guild. Currently led by Hedva Deathborne, they've been around for many years and are fairly well known in many roleplaying circles. The guild was founded by Bunny Bennett (lead singer of Steampowered Giraffe, and artist for the guild website) in 2008 and has spawned two sister guilds since then.

The Kalimdor Mercenaries is the other sister guild. Their lot is a Garrosh-loyal mercenary group, currently led by Grazzug, son of Togrum. They allow all Horde races into their ranks, minus Forsaken and Sin'dorei, and spend most of their time selling their swords and thwarting Alliance activities.

Between the three guilds, we collaborate together for many out-of-character events, as well as in-character ones. Thanks to the current storyline, we have a lot of fun things to do in character. But, we will see how strong our bonds are as separate guilds when we finally recruit ethereals into the Horde. Logically, they belong with the sin'dorei in Selama Ashalanore. *cough*
Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
So lots of close ties with other guilds, then. How does your recruiting process address the fact that potential members are applying not only for a WoW guild but for a gaming clan that extends into other games?

On each of the guild web pages, we make it known that we are a gaming guild that plays many different games together. When applying to each of these guilds, you're not just applying to the Warcraft component; you're consenting to being blown up by Creepers, be annoyed by Imperial Intelligence, get eaten by Ocram, and slay the spawn of Cthulu with a group of close friends.

If this point isn't made on the websites, new members will learn soon enough. We rarely have people leave our group once entering it.

What activities might be included in a typical week for Selama Ashal'anore?

Weekly, you'll find us RPing with each other and cross guilds, doing scenarios, old raids, dailies, and sometimes sucking it up and stepping through the fire and flames of LFR.

Something else we do, it does seem like a weekly occurrence, are our "tiny mount parades." Our other guild officer, Arariel, has a fondness of Noggenfogger Elixir, and she'll host events frequently to parade around Orgrimmar on tiny mounts. It's quite amusing.
Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
And what about special events? Can you describe a recent one?

We gathered all three guilds on Fray Island, being out of the way and far from eavesdropping, to discuss what the Warchief was doing to the sin'dorei in Pandaria. This was following the Dominance Offensive patch. The blood elves and the Kalimdor Mercenaries got very passionate and drew weapons, and the Forsaken were content to watch... until Hedva made them do otherwise.

We planned for one of our people to come in and pretend to be a grumpy bronze dragon (on a bronze drake the entire time) who was napping nearby and got woken up by our arguing, at which point he decided to send us *baaack innnn tiiiiime* to participate in the Argent Tournament, when the Horde was tightly knit and only cared about ending the Lich King's reign. We did TOC-25 man in character, and it became one of the most entertaining cross-guild meetings we've had.

Other ones we've had have been largely between the Scythe and SA, due to the hostility of the previous meeting with all three guilds. There is a quest in the Tirisfal Glades that allows Horde members to see worgen spies skulking around Brill. We used that to fuel an IC assumption that the worgen are scouting the territory to gauge our strength and make attacks on the area. Selama Ashalanore pledged to dedicate their manpower to the Scythe to defend the territory, as the Forsaken did with Tranquillen way back when.

We have had a series of "guard this spot" sessions with both guilds.

Having some of the more classic Forsaken personalities forced to be in close proximity to sin'dorei for periods of time is quite entertaining.
Inside the fabulous world of blood elf roleplaying
Okay, wrap-up time: Blood elf joke or trope that still amuses?

Pregnant half-dragon Belf death knight children of Thrall and Arthas.

Blood elf joke or trope that you wish would die in a fire?

Pregnant half-dragon Belf death knight children of Thrall and Arthas.

Visit Selama Ashalanore online.

Read more in our series on class- and race-exclusive guilds:

Death knights squeeze WoW in ice-fisted death grip
Druids shred raid content by tooth and claw
Dwarves indulge in rollicking good world PvP
Gnomes ratchet to guild level 25 on steam-drive gnomish power
Goblin roleplay campaign inspires goblin NPC
Hunters take aim across Azeroth
Rogues stealth and stab their way into friendly player antagonism
Tauren guild stampedes beyond roleplaying
Trolls savagely roleplay the revenge of the Zandalari
Worgen run wild across Azeroth
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) ... a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular ... and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to lisa@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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