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Filed under: Horde

Feitan offers up even more WoW icons for your enjoyment

Feitan has posted another terrific set of WoW-related icons over on WoW LJ. Combine all of those with the first set, and throw in all of the other ones we've collected for you in the past, and you've got a really nice set of perfectly-sized choices from World of Warcraft to use as your icon on whatever service needs an avatar.

Like, for example, our own comments. While the cartoon Ogre we've got as the default is quite cute, you might want to make yours a little more personal -- all you've got to do is click your name after commenting, and you'll be taken to a page where you can log in and edit your profile, see your comments so far, and yes, update a new profile picture. If you're still using the default commenter icon with our brand new commenting system, now is definitely the time to make the upgrade.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Screenshots, Fan art

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be an Engineer

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-fifth in a series of roleplaying guides about how to roleplay various aspects of the lore and gaming elements of WoW.

Engineering has been my favorite profession in WoW, both in terms of its usefulness in the game, as well as its status as an awesome profession for roleplaying. Maybe it's just because I'm a huge fan of steampunk, but I find that those gadgets and funny things you can make with engineering have a certain style that goes beyond simple utility -- You just look at an engineer with his goggles, his mechanical mount, and maybe even some sort of robot or machine trailing along after him, and you immediately get the feeling that this is a character with character. No other profession can give you such a distinct characterization: you're not just a rogue, for example -- you're a scientist rogue!

In addition to that, most other professions feel like "crafting" jobs added on to the regular game, which they are -- they may give you better stats in one area or another but otherwise don't add many new abilities. Engineering, on the other hand, gives you a lot of special abilities and buttons to push, all of which can start to feel like a special sub-class for your character, underneath whatever class he or she already has.

In fact, as roleplayers, many of us play up our status as engineers as much or even more than our status as a hunter, warlock, rogue, or whatever. That engineering style is so persistent that it can define our characters more than anything else -- our own Palehoof practically defined this style in the column devoted to engineering that he used to write every week, before he lost his horns and his hooves in a bizzare scientific experiment (and decided thereafter to spend more time with his family). His commentaries on practical and theoretical engineering serve as excellent inspiration for all roleplayers who would call their characters engineers.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Gnomes, Hunter, Engineering, Virtual selves, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Patch 3.2 bringing Strand of the Ancients coin toss

We mentioned this issue a while back -- since it was introduced to the game, Strand of the Ancients has started Alliance on attack first, and that's caused problems. Due to the way the map is set up (a back-and-forth attack and defend map), the team that starts attacking has an advantage in terms of farming honor -- they only have to play until the other team loses rather than having to keep up a defense the whole time. That means shorter battlegrounds for the Alliance, which means more honor overall for them.

The problem was that Blizzard couldn't just flip a switch to randomize the battleground's spawn points: they were hard-coded into the moving ships that players appear on, so it took much more coding to use a coin-flip start. However Zarhym now confirms that the coin flip is coming to SotA. And though he didn't say when in the original post, the Patch 3.2 notes tell us that it's coming in that patch.

Hopefully Blizzard will have learned their lesson for the Isle of Conquest -- although since it's closer to Alterac Valley from what we've heard, we probably won't have that asymmetrical issue, and both sides will be able to start with just as many advantages and disadvantages as the other.

Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Battlegrounds

The limits and possibilities of Bind to Account

Aeuis brings up an interesting point over on the forums: even though some of the items we get are called "Bind on Account" (or, more properly, Bind to Account, even though most people use BoA as shorthand) they're really not that, because you can't actually send them across factions or realms. Of course, that's pretty obvious to people who've been playing the game for a while -- Blizzard has never really encouraged cross-faction interaction at all (you can "send" items through the neutral AH, though even that is a bit of a hack, not really the intended purpose). So BoA items are actually bound to account, server, and faction.

But Wyrxian is surprisingly open about "future possibility:" he does say that while Blizzard could allow us to send items between factions if they wanted us to, they also wanted to leave things open just in case the functionality came into view in the future. That doesn't mean we can expect a change in the next patch, but it does seem to mean that Blizzard is still open to the "possibility." You'd think it be tough technically (character inventories are all over the place, especially cross-server), but considering that we can now have cross-server battlegrounds, all it would probably take is a tweak to the in-game mail system. One character sends an item, another character receives it.

And really, the only possibility that might come open is just ease-of-use -- that's why BoA and Heirloom items are in the game already, and if Blizzard determines that it would be easier to have you share items between your characters' factions and servers (perhaps if they upgrade the character re-customization feature to include a faction change?), then it will likely happen sooner or later.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard

More cakes, plates, and tats in our galleries

Yes, that's Arthas admiring his own title on a license plate -- Kallis of Silver Hand sent us this shot, presumably before his head was chopped off by Frostmourne. Trust us, if you think celebrities are angry when the paparazzi come by, you don't want to see what the Lich King does.

This picture and quite a few others are all new in our WoW-related license plate gallery, and we've gotten a few other new pictures of cakes and tattoos to share with you as well. Browse through all of the pictures from readers in the galleries below, and if you've gotten a new WoW-related license plate, someone's baked you a WoW-related cake, or you've picked up some new WoW-themed ink, feel free to send us a picture so we can share it here on the site.

Gallery: WoW Tattoos

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Humor, Galleries

Gentlemens Club achieves Herald of the Titans world first (Edited)

Via Guildox, we've just gotten word that Gentlemens Club of Korgath-US, Hordeside, has just become the world-first achievers of Herald of the Titans. This achievement requires that you defeat Algalon on 10-man difficult with no gear above iLevel 226. In other words, they were not wearing a single piece of Hard-mode Ulduar 25-man gear (While we haven't looked closely at their armory, the achievement would allow for normal mode 25-man gear, though even normal mode 25-man weapons would be off limits). [EDIT: iLevel 226 is actually the item level of gear from Normal mode 25-man Ulduar, not Hard mode as previously stated. It is also the item level of gear that drops from Heroic or 25-man Malygos, Kel'thuzad, and Sartharion with at least 2 drakes up. Hard mode 10-man Ulduar also drop iLevel 226 items, which indicates that the Achievement is intended mostly for 10-man progression.]

While 10-man and 25-man raids were technically meant to be seperate tiers of progression, it seems like many raiders freely mix the two, and while that's certainly to be expected, and there's nothing wrong with it, it's cool to see at least a few guilds focus on mastering that path of progression and arguably challenging themselves to at least the 10-man Algalon fight as Blizzard meant it to be fought.

In short, they've managed to proclaim themselves Kings of the 10-man game in Patch 3.1, even if other guilds technically beat them to 10-man Algalon kill itself. Congratulations to everyone involved in the raid!

Filed under: Horde, Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Achievements

Old Azeroth through rose-colored glasses

Sometimes denial works for you, and I think that's why I like this forum thread so much. It's full of nostalgia for a simpler time, when PvP meant going to Southshore and murdering some Alliance, when the encounters in Molten Core were the most epic thing in the game, and speaking of epics, when seeing a player outfitted with all purples meant that they'd be raiding for weeks with 39 other people. This thread willingly looks back and sees things not as they were, but as we remember them: super fun, refreshing, and completely empty of the problems and quibbles we have to deal with today.

Of course, Azeroth's past wasn't really like that. It was hell organizing 40 people to do one boss, much less a whole night of raiding, and if the organization didn't get you, the server lag and disconnects would. Southshore and Crossroads PvP made for great stories, but in actuality, it was really just a zerg fest, and no one actually won, it was really just everyone throwing away their nights because there was nothing better to do. And epics -- well, it was actually pretty cool when epic gear meant something. But boy was it disappointing when you went whole weeks of raiding without getting any loot at all, without even a Badge of Justice for your efforts. Or when you had to disenchant a tier piece because the Paladin set dropped yet again.

Do we want to go back to those days? Probably not -- while there are definitely some good things about them, there were all kinds of issues that have since been solved (and that many of the nostalgists tend to forget about). But every once in a while, it's nice to look back through rose-colored glasses and remember when.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Zeppelin on its way to Thunderbluff?

That's right, when a player suggests that maybe a zeppelin should be flying around the Tauren city of Thunderbluff, Kisirani says only, "Okay." So, a zeppelin is coming to Thunderbluff? Certainly seems that way.

Makes a lot of sense -- Tauren originally had Plainsrunning, and if you've ever made that jaunt through their starting area, you'll know just how many plains you have to run across (of course, they didn't actually get it until level 40, so it wouldn't have helped them much there anyway, but still -- it's a run). And while you can pretty quickly fly into TB from Orgrimmar, it wouldn't hurt to have another point of departure. Kisirani doesn't say where the zepp will go, but maybe a flght up to Northrend wouldn't be out of the question either.

Wow, we got all that from "Okay." Behold the power of Kisirani! Maybe it doesn't mean there's a zepp on the way, but if that's the case we'd be happy with just a cow-tapult.

Filed under: Horde, Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

The disappearance (maybe) of faction pride

Kinka of Spinebreaker posts a question that I haven't seen anyone ask for a while; does the Horde really have more faction pride? Various reasons are this feeling are offered, from the lack of a strong Alliance-side leader (with Varian Wrynn feeling like a shoehorned, and controversial claimant to that position), to the less unified Alliance leveling experience, to more philosophical assertions from Filara of Terenas concerning early Horde differences continuing to exercise an influence to this day. In classic WoW, Filara observes, the Horde population on each server was typically small and outgunned. People knew each other, could network easily, banded together againt superior Alliance numbers in world PvP, and -- when battlegrounds became available -- could typically get games significantly faster than their Alliance counterparts. Add the numbers up and it's easy to see how faction difference became part of WoW's conventional wisdom.

What interests me more is how rarely we see this question come up nowadays. During and shortly after classic WoW, comparison of the two factions was both inevitable and the source of major fights on the forums. Despite being outnumbered on the vast majority of servers, Horde routinely encountered more battleground success -- or so went the popular theory. As BC went on and the Alliance slowly lost a bit (though by no means all) of its population advantage thanks (let's be perfectly honest here) to the influx of Blood Elves to the Horde, it's possible that some of both factions' finer "cultural" distinctions have been somewhat eroded, if they ever existed at all.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Forums, Battlegrounds

Randomizing the Strand of the Ancients spawn points

Strand of the Ancients is a battleground that's gotten relatively short shrift lately -- it came along into the game with the crown jewel of Wrath PvP so far, Wintergrasp, and while it's still frequented on honor weekends (it's one of the best ways to farm honor, actually) and for achievements, lots of players, specifically those on the Horde, aren't happy with it. Why? Because right now, Alliance always starts the battle on offense first. The battle is a regular attack-and-defend map, and Alliance reportedly has a "significant advantage" by beginning on the attack side: they only have to play offense for a few minutes, and then defend for the same amount of time, while Horde have to defend the whole first round and then attack if they want to win. Plus, the battleground doesn't always start full, which means whoever attacks first usually is fighting fewer defenders.

So how hard would it be to throw a coin flip in there and randomize who starts first? The good news is that Blizzard is working on it, but the bad news is that it's taking longer than they thought. It's not as simple, unfortunately, as choosing a faction randomly -- there are apparently mechanics in the spawn points that make it difficult for them to randomize who shows up on the moving ships. Go figure? We've never understood how Blizzard's code works, and we're not starting now.

But again: Zarhym says a fix is incoming in a future patch. So if you're Alliance and you want to do some honor farming, better start now.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Battlegrounds

Varian Wrynn is Right

Warning: This article contains spoilers of varying intensity for the Wrathgate world event, the new Arthas Novel , and the Warcraft Comic Series. It is also 3 pages long. Be sure to click the links at the bottom to head to the next part!

Among WoW players these days, it seems to be a popular opinion that King Varian Wrynn is a narrow minded short-sighted bigot who will lead the Alliance to ruin. This is an easy opinion to have, since he does show a considerable amount of anger at times when dealing with the Horde, and it's long been the general opinion that "no-one is truly evil" in the Horde and Alliance conflict. This is even the opinion of some of my fellow writers.

Here's my problem with this: The underlying causes of Varian Wrynn's anger are all unconditionally justified. Varian Wrynn is not angry at the Horde because of a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. He's been witness to or victim of multiple wrongdoings and atrocities perpetuated by the Horde time and time again, both the new Horde and the Old. Most, if not all of these times, the wrongdoings have been the result of outright maliciousness on the part of the Horde or its members, and in the case the so-called "peaceful" New Horde, there's been no sign whatsoever that Thrall is punishing or disciplining the perpetrators of these acts, and at the least, it is clear that he is not properly dealing with the consequences.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, NPCs

Varian Wrynn is Right, Part II

On the continuing activity of the New Horde: The Warsong

Now some would argue that the Horde needs their symbols, and as long as they are peaceful, they should be allowed to use them, But even if you buy that argument (and I don't), the Horde has hardly been peaceful. In fact, they have very clearly been instigators in multiple conflicts. One of the prime hot spots is in Ashenvale.

The main argument for the Warsong Clan's presence there is that the Horde legitimately needs the Lumber. There's two problems with this argument. Firstly, the actions of the Warsong Clan in Ashenvale really can't be justified even if they "need" something there, and secondly, no-one involved even pretends this is about the lumber anymore.

The Warsong Clan first got entangled in Ashenvale by marching into it armed for war, with no idea of who was there or whether anyone else had prior claim to the lumber or the land. Horde apologists will argue that they didn't know it was taken, but this is hardly a legitimate claim. European settlers came to the Americas centuries ago, ostensibly to settle, and for that they needed resources. However, it is very nearly universally agreed that the resulting genocide against the native tribes is one of the darkest chapters of human history. In this case, the natives, the Night Elves, had the ability to fight back with much higher effectiveness than the Native Americans did against the Europeans. This in no way justifies Grom's response. Instead of falling back and waiting for further instructions from Thrall, he attacked the Night Elves with gusto, taking demonic blood to do so.

As soon as the Warsong knew the lumber and land was spoken for, they should have properly withdrawn, or sent emissaries. Since they did not, they very clearly became the unlawful aggressors. To compound this trouble, they no longer even pretend this is about Lumber. Warsong Generals and Tauren Hunters alike call Ashenvale, the ancestral land of the Night Elves, an "untamed wilderness" that rightfully belongs to the Horde invaders, and they now openly leave the lumber they cut out to rot, the very act of cutting down the trees now a sign of dominance and insult to nature and the Night Elves. This is eerily like the "manifest destiny" philosophy the US Army and west-bound settlers used to wipe out or displace the Native tribes they encountered.

In addition, Varian has seen this first hand. After he escaped from slavery, he came to Ashenvale and joined the Night Elves in fighting against the Horde, and saw them summon a massive Fire Elemental to burn the forest. In other words, he was witness to another act of malicious aggression by the supposed peaceful "new" Horde, and had one more reason to suspect that the Orcs were hardly being peaceable, but were clashing with the Alliance at every opportunity.

On the continuing activity of the New Horde
: The RAS, the Wrathgate, and the Battle for Undercity

The RAS is one of the other major problem spots in the Horde. At the Wrathgate, their lethality and intent was unleashed, killing many Alliance soldiers, and once again, one of the greatest Generals of the Alliance. This time, it was Bolvar Fordragon, a general as close to Varian as a brother, and acting father figure to Anduin Wrynn in Varian's absence. This is the third time that the Horde has directly and maliciously taken a person close to Varian.

Horde Apologists will argue that the RAS at the Wrathgate were a rebellious splinter faction that should not be lumped in with the rest of the Horde, or even the rest of the Forsaken. Again, there is a problem with that. The RAS was doing exactly what they were founded to do at Wrathgate. Putress' mistake was not destroying the living. It was doing it for the wrong master.

The RAS, from the beginning, has planned to kill humanity. From the first moment that a newly minted Forsaken comes to Brill, he is put to work, not poisoning Scourge, but rather poisoning the living. At one point, Apothecary Johann has you concoct a disease to kill an Alliance citizen, a Dwarf. When he gives you the instructions, he tells you that "this is a subtle hint of what The Dark Lady has planned for the rest of Azeroth." Not "The Scourge." All of Azeroth. And note that he does not say "the RAS," he says "The Dark Lady." From the beginning levels, it is made very clear that Sylvanas is completely on board with the "Death to the Living" part of the RAS' philosophy.

Compounding this is the Forsaken's actions against the legitimate Alliance communities of Southshore and Hillsbrad fields. The army of the Undercity shows themselves dedicated to completely wiping out an innocent farming community in the most bloody way possible, and releases a vengeful Lich on Southshore itself. Mind you, there is every indication that the Forsaken started these engagements. At the very least, Hillsbrad is clearly a peaceful farming community.

Apothecary Lydon makes it very clear that the RAS wants to see everyone dead, and has you use his poisons on innocent Alliance farmers. When you report his findings to Faranell, Faranell is completely delighted in the work and sends you out to gather more reagents for Lydon. It is made abundantly clear that Lydon is not an aberration or part of a splinter group. The entirety of the RAS is as dedicated to killing the living as they are the dead.

If all of this was not enough to incriminate the RAS, the new Arthas novel quite definitely confirms that the RAS is looking to kill the living, and that Sylvanas is in on the deal. A scene set just before the start of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion places Sylvanas in the RAS's chambers, watching as Faranell administers a new plague strain to a young human girl and a stoic Forsaken man (Faranell insists the man is a criminal, but Sylvanas' internal dialogue implies that she doubts he really is but does not care either way). When both die retch and die horribly, she commends Faranell for his work and returns to her chambers, exulting that she may finally be able to kill both the Scourge and the Living with this new strain.

That's right, The Dark Lady is most definitely 100% on board with the killing.

With this in mind, it becomes clear that Putress' crime in the eyes of the Undercity and of Sylvanas was not aiming his Plague Barrels at the living, but doing it at an inopportune moment and for Varimathras rather than Sylvanas. Sylvanas herself is a Banshee, an undead being known for using deceit and charm, and was able to use her refugee caravan to move Thrall's sympathy to her. By all indications, neither Sylvanas nor Thrall has launched an investigation into the RAS' aims and how much Putress got away with and why.

Again, Varian himself has a front row seat to these atrocities. Leading the charge into Undercity, he sees the RAS' inner laboratories, and the horrendous machinery and experiments going on there, experiments that Putress carried out openly, and would have been seen as part of the RAS' stated mission apart from his secret allegiance to Varimathras. Thus, Varian sees that the treachery and maliciousness of the Horde extends not only to the Orcs, but possibly to the other member nations. And either way, he sees the Alliance suffering and dying. Whether this is ultimately because of Horde maliciousness or incompetence doesn't really matter. Either way, it has to be stopped.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Varian Wrynn is Right, Part III

On Varian's temper and restraint

Varian is often said to be "emo," or to have a lack of restraint or a violent temper. First of all, given all of the events outlined in the previous parts of this article, it's hard to call him unjustified. Secondly, he has in actuality, shown a great amount of restraint, civility, and wisdom in his dealings with the Horde until recently.

Varian has actually tried, in good faith, to participate in Peace talks with the Horde. When he was first captured and enslaved by Rethgar Earthfury, one of Thrall's most trusted advisers, he was on his way to a peace conference. When he regained his throne, he agreed to attend that same peace conference (This is depicted in the Warcraft comic series).

Thrall walked into that Peace conference wielding the symbols of Office of Orgrim Doomhammer, the man who killed Anduin Lothar, and Varian abode. Thrall walked into that Peace conference alongside Rethgar Earthfury, an Orc who participated in a massive slave ring that enslaved Alliance citizens and forced them to fight to the Death, an Orc who had enslaved Varian himself in this manner, and Varian abode. Despite the injustices heaped on him, Varian was willing to talk peace after all.

What broke the camel's back was a scenario that was tailor made to evoke his first encounter with the Horde. Garona, the same assassin who killed his father under the auspices of the Horde, came to finish the job. Given the setup, it was hardly a massive leap of logic for Varian to assume the Horde was behind it again. He may have been wrong in this case, but the circumstantial evidence for it was not insignificant. If the Horde used Garona to kill his father, it's not much of a leap to think the same Horde might be looking to kill him as well.

Again during the Ulduar Cinematic, while Varian did not appreciate Thrall's presence, he did not immediately teleport away. It was Garrosh who escalated, insulting Varian and his people to his face. Even then, when Varian challenged him, he did not take the first strike. That was Garrosh. Varian, despite all the injustices heaped upon him and his people, did not completely rule out dealing with the Horde until Garrosh attacked him viciously while Thrall stood by impotently.

Far from having an uncontrollable temper, Varian Wrynn has acted with relative restraint and calm. He has simply finally been pushed too far by a Horde that has rebuffed his every attempt to understand them.

On the "Yes, But..." Arguments

There are many Horde Apologists who will, upon hearing some of the above arguments, admit that the Horde may not be the best of neighbors to the Alliance at times. However, many of them then follow this admittance up with a "But."

There are two major "Buts." The first is that Thrall is working for peace even if the Horde is sometimes rowdy. The second is that the Horde and the Alliance must unite to face larger enemies, or everyone will die, and any Horde or Alliance wars should be put off until then.

Again, events suggest that neither excuse really stands up. Thrall has talked, but has taken very little legitimate action to stop the onslaught of the Horde. He has not attempted to withdraw the Warsong Clan from Ashenvale, nor did he monitor his allies, not balking at the torture and imprisonment of Mu'ru (whether that was destined or not, it was still morally reprehensible for the Blood Elves to have done it) or the actions of the Forsaken in Northern Lordaeron and Ashenvale, where they killed and enslaved the spirits of innocent sleeping Druids.

He has also apparently not done anything significant to stop the spread of Slavery in the Horde, and the organization that enslaved Varian has a base in Orgrimmar where they even keep stolen Alliance artifacts such as the belt of Lothar. In fact, one of the greatest patrons of the organization, Rethgar Earthfury, is now one of Thrall's most trusted advisers. Contrast this to the Alliance's now-defunct gladiator system as depicted in Arthas: Blackmoore was kept under careful watch and was not trusted by Tereneas or Arthas, and Thrall was revealed to be the only slave gladiator, the others all voluntarily fighting for fame and glory, and only rarely to the death if at all.

Thrall is ostensibly trying to teach his people to have pride in themselves and their heritage, but the heritage he is offering is still stained in the trappings of the old genocidal Horde, such as their honoring of bloodlust and war criminals such as Grom and Orgrim (Whom Thrall even evokes at the end of the Battle of the Undercity. When Thrall asks how Grom and Orgrim would react at these events, all I can think is that they'd join Garrosh in calling for all out battle on the Alliance, if their past actions are any indication).

When his people take these ideals too far, which is very easy to do and happens very often, Thrall is silent. For example, He has done nothing to reign in Garrosh aside from one aborted duel that Garrosh was close to winning. Garrosh has sabotaged peace with the Alliance at every possible opportunity, even before the events of the Wrathgate, and afterwards, has continued to prod and provoke. Saurfang is forced to counter what he can of Garrosh's recklessness in secret. In short, Thrall is silent on the crimes of his people. The Alliance and Varian have every right to see him as a Hypocrite.

"Yes, But" and Putting Aside Differences

The other "Yes, But" argument is that the Horde and the Alliance should put aside their differences to fight the larger challenges. The problem with that is that asking the Alliance to ally with the Horde is, at the moment, essentially identical to asking them to ally with the Twilight's Hammer, the Scarlet Crusade, or the Blackrock Orcs. The Horde has dedicated themselves to fighting and wiping out the Alliance in nearly every corner of Azeroth once again. Even when the Alliance tries to focus their attacks on the "real" threats, the Horde stabs them in the back, such as at the Broken Front, where the Horde Warriors proudly boast of ambushing and killing the Alliance as they fought the Scourge.

In Northern Lordaeron, in Northrend, and in Ashenvale, the RAS is clearly dedicated to destroying the Alliance, killing them by poisoning. Their stated intent is the wiping out of all life. The Warsong clan is dedicated to "taming" Ashenvale, and will kill as many Night Elves as they need to to do it. These are no longer minor skirmishes or disagreements, if they ever were. The Alliance body count in skirmishes with the Horde rises by the day, and most of these skirmishes are Horde-instigated, and happened before the Wrathgate.

To say the Alliance should simply let bygones be bygones does not work, especially after the Broken Front. The Horde have proven that they will strike at any time, and will do their best to destroy the Alliance. The Scourge or the Burning Legion or Malygos may destroy Azeroth, but the Horde will destroy the Alliance. Either way the end result for the members of the Alliance is the same - they have died painfully and gone extinct as a race. There is very little incentive for the Alliance to declare peace anymore, and I have yet to hear Rhonin, Jaina, or anyone else in favor of "peace" give a solid enough answer that Varian should be expected to listen to.

On the Future

In short, painting Varian as an "emo" or an irrational grudge holder is a very simplistic view that ignores the repeated and unwarranted aggression the Horde, both the "Old" and "New" versions, have shown to the Alliance. At this point, it is obvious to me that Varian is not declaring a new war against the Horde as much as he is finally committing the Alliance to the one that is already there, fighting back against the Horde in a way no other Alliance leader has so far.

I do not believe that Blizzard's Lore team is ignorant of the things I have outlined above, nor do I believe Varian is headed to a career as an unforgivable Villain, at least not because of the current Horde-Alliance conflict. This one is actually pretty well justified.

But here is what I believe needs to happen:

Thrall either needs to find his backbone, or step aside. Garrosh will continue to flex his power, and he will continue to attract followers who believe in the Bloody, Proud, arrogant Horde that Thrall has inadvertently fostered through misplaced hero worship of the War criminals and symbols of the Old Horde. Saurfang, who speaks out against arrogance and has repeatedly expressed his regret for the crimes his people committed in the first and second wars, but still carries an air of nobility and fierceness, should be the true new model for the Horde.

In fact, Saurfang should be the leader of the New Horde if Thrall doesn't clean up his act, and fast. If Thrall does clean up his act and depose Garrosh, insist Sylvanas disband the RAS and stop any biological warfare programs, and pull out of Ashenvale, he should still use Saurfang's attitude as the new target for the Orcish outlook on life.

Varian himself will continue to lead the Alliance successfully, and will gain some solid victories against the Horde. He will perhaps see some examples of noble Horde who properly understand the tragic history of the Orcs, and learn to respect them. Perhaps the Orc will be Saurfang himself.

At this point, Thrall should hopefully be ready to repent. If Thrall genuinely comes in peace and offers legitimate concessions to the Alliance, I believe Varian will be able to talk peace legitimately. But at this point, the Horde has committed far too many crimes for them to demand anything approaching equal terms or status quo antebellum. If nothing else, it will teach the Horde a valuable lesson in humility.

Of course, Blizzard's Lore Team generally manages to surprise, sometimes pleasantly, sometimes not so pleasantly. But at this point, I do think the Horde and Alliance conflict is playing out this way for a reason, and in the end, I believe Varian will be a legitimate hero of the Alliance, and a legitimate "Good Guy." His reputation in the current conflict among much of the player base is far from deserved, and I encourage everyone to think about it and understand that he has a very solid outlay of reasons to be fed up with the Horde, and he's given them more than a fair shake all told.

Varian Wrynn is right, and unless Thrall grows a backbone soon, the Horde is headed right back into their old ways.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, NPCs

Breakfast Topic: What do you want to see in the Argent Tournament?

So here's the deal. We've been told we have more Argent Tournament content coming, that's a given. As late as a couple days ago, Blues were telling us, for example, that we'll definitely see more ways to earn Champion's Seals.

In short, come 3.2, it seems more than likely that we can expect the Goblins to be done building that coliseum, and the next phase of the tourney to be underway. So the question is, what exactly will we see?

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Breakfast Topics, Quests, Lore, Factions, RP

More tasty WoW cakes

We got quite a few new cakes come across the tipline since we posted that caketop the other day, including this scary little bit of confectionary groomicide, thanks to another WoW-playing laptop. Lumpey of Arathor sent this one in, and says his mom made it for his wife's bridal shower, after he joked about bringing his laptop on the honeymoon so he could play WoW. We just want to know: mother or mother-in-law? The two messages might be very different, depending. But it does look like a great cake!

We've added this one to the gallery, along with two others we were sent. One is from Bubber, who put an edible guild picture on a regular cake he picked up (but it still looks pretty good), and the other is from Patrick S., whose wife made him another cake laptop for his birthday last year. That one actually has edible ricepaper TCG cards on it, and a great little World of Warcraft logo on the bottom. Very awesome, everybody, thanks for sending those in.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Cooking, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, Galleries

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