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Filed under: Orcs

All the World's a Stage: So you still want to be a Shaman

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the twenty-first in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

There's something about shamans that gets us thinking and talking. Whether it's something as simple as the proper pronunciation of "shamanism," or something as profound as a shaman's humility in relation to the source of his or her power, the lore and ideology of the shaman class often resonates with players more than many others in the World of Warcraft.

One reason for this is that shamans have been such a pivotal force in the lore, possibly more than any other class in the game (depending on your point of view). Other classes, such as warriors, or paladins, come as a sort of pre-defined archetype in fantasy games that don't seem all that different from their original forms in other fantasy settings. The actual beliefs of a priest, for instance, don't seem to matter so much to many players, so long as the class can heal like we expect them to. Even the druids, with their central place in night elf society, sometimes seem more like nature-based magic users rather than true philosophers in their own right.

Shamans, however, have a major burden to bear in one of the central plot shifts of the Warcraft storyline -- namely that the orcs, who entered the Warcraft stage in the Warcraft 1: Orcs and Humans computer game as rampaging demonic evildoers bent on destruction, and actually turned out to be a peaceful race that just got tricked into being evil. Shamanism had to be much much more than just an archetype with some special powers -- it had to be a way of thinking, a system of belief that could be taken over by demonic corruption and yet at the same time act as a beacon of truth and goodness once that the demonic taint had been defeated. Shamanism has got to be complex and profound, or else the story wouldn't make sense.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Shaman, Draenei, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the twentieth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

Long long ago, human beings all around the world (of Earth, not Warcraft) investigated different ways of describing how the world around them worked. Many different cultures found that the materials they encountered seemed divided into four or five separate elements, each with its own properties: earth, fire, water, and air. Space, "void," or "aether" was often noted as the fifth element, or, as in the case of China, the understanding of these elements looked a lot different but in the end produced a similar sort of system.

In Azeroth, however, these ideas about the elements never got swallowed up by modern science and the periodic table of elements. They turned out to be real forces in the world, each with its own set of elemental spirits, which people could communicate and cooperate with.

Shamans are the masters of this magical task, charged with helping to maintain the balance of nature in a very different way from druids. While druids are focused more on nature as a system of energy, life, and growth, shamans focus more on the spirits of the land, flames, waters and skies as they all interact with one another. They gain great wisdom by learning of the different characteristics of these elements, and in turn bring this wisdom to the people they serve.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Shaman, Draenei, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Tattooed for the Horde

I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of tattoos out there, but that is a nice tattoo -- xstitchfla's son Christopher got it on his arm just recently, and clearly he's flying the Horde flag proudly. It took about five hours to put on there, which seems like it would hurt a lot, but then again, Hordies can take it, right?

Christopher is also headed off to Iraq next year, too, so we wish him the best of luck and hope that he stays safe.

And while we're at it, just what is it with the Horde and WoW tattoos? Seems like every picture we see is of the Orc/Tauren/Troll/Blood Elf/Forsaken variety. Aren't there any Humans, Gnomes or Dwarves out there getting inked up?

Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Wrath of the Lich King, Fan art

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the fifteenth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The Warlock is the ideological counterpart to the Paladin. Where paladins strive to wipe out evil wherever they see it, warlocks enslave those evils and use them for their own purposes. Being a warlock is all about harnessing the most wicked, corrupting, and evil forces in the universe.

Why are these forces evil, you ask? Aren't magical powers neutral in themselves depending on how you use them? Isn't killing with one weapon more or less the same as killing with another? Well, if you consider that a warrior basically cuts or bashes things, and a paladin cuts or bashes and brings down the righteous energy of justice. But a warlock uses curses and spells, which, like horrifying biological weapons of modern days, destroy his enemies' minds and eat away their bodies from the inside; wreaks massive havoc with great explosions and persisting fire; and sucks the souls out of people and creatures and uses them to power even more horrifying abilities, such as summoning demonic creatures who would just as soon pluck out your eyeballs as look at you.

To suffer at the hands of a warlock is significantly more excruciating than the attacks of any other class -- a slow, painful, torturous, agonizing death. If warlocks existed in modern earth, their abilities would be against all international agreements on human rights and rules of warfare; they would be squarely in the evil company of terrorism, drug-trafficking, slavery, and biological germ warfare development.

And yet if your warlock works for the Alliance or the Horde, he or she claims to do all of these things all for the greater good.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Gnomes, Orcs, Undead, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Blood Elves, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Horde Warrior

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirteenth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The Warrior is not merely a well-trained fighter who loves his weapons and armor and takes great care to wield them well -- inside each one is a boiling cauldron of rage and passion. By and large, warriors feel at home on the battlefield because it is the one place where they can express themselves, where they can finally let go of all the restraint society imposes on them and unleash all their emotions. Without his raging passion, a person would be much better suited to some calmer form of work -- it is this unquenchable fire which sustains a warrior, driving him into action in the midst of mortal peril.

Alliance warriors tend to focus more on training and weapon mastery, sometimes downplaying their rage so much that you hardly even see it. Some warriors like this (even in the Horde sometimes) may be so stoic that even they do not believe that they have any emotions whatsoever, although I doubt anyone who watched them fight could really agree. Something's got to make you willing to put on all that armor and risk death every day.

But Horde warriors are more likely to display their rage, bloodlust, and other aggressive emotions much more freely. Of course, it's possible that a Horde warrior could have a collection of stuffed animals, write poetry, and even play hopscotch with children, but their rage lurks deep within, and the essence of their profession is to let it loose.

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Warrior, Blood Elves, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Bartle, gender, and the demographics of WoW's classes

A little while back the gamerDNA blog did a nice breakdown of how WAR classes correlate with how gamers do on the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, a widely used test that can break down exactly what type of player you are (Achiever, Explorer, Socializer, or Killer). It was such an interesting writeup that I hoped they'd do it with WoW classes, and apparently I wasn't the only one -- they've got a new post up now examining which classes in Azeroth align with which types of players.

They throw gender into the mix as well -- turns out that while the classes have generally the same percentage of players (not surprising, given that gameplay dictates the classes should be fairly balanced), things start to break up when you add gender to the mix. Priests and Warriors seem to have the biggest separation: according to their data (obtained via the profiles on their site), most Priests are played by females, and most Warriors are played by men. Paladins as well tend to be male, though not as much as Warriors, and Druids tend to be female, though not as much as Priests. Women also tend to prefer the elven races (Blood and Night), while guys apparently prefer Orcs and Dwarves (which helps my -- sexist, I admit -- theory from way back on the WoW Insider Show that the Dwarven starting area appeals to guys more than women).

The Bartle breakdown is interesting, too -- Killers prefer Rogues (duh), Warriors tend to be Achievers, and Hunters have the slight Explorer edge, but in general, the classes have a fairly even distribution across the board. All of the different roles can be filled by all the classes, which speaks to the way Blizzard has built the classes -- you can really solo, PvP, or group up with any of them. WAR's differences were distinct, but in WoW, Blizzard has done their best to make it so that whatever Bartle type you are, you can log in with any class and do what you want. gamerDNA promises more research here (including a Horde and Alliance breakdown), and we can't wait to see it.

Filed under: Night Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blood Elves, Classes

WoW Moviewatch: Unbroken - Prelude


Holy moly, Firebolt Productions just keeps coming at us with high quality films! We only recently just saw them win fourth place in the WeGame contest and now they've already got a teaser out for another film. Johan Vagstedt says that Firebolt is apparently in the process of making a "huge machinima project" called Unbroken and today's feature, called Unbroken - Prelude, is the teaser for it which they've entered into the BlizzCon movie contest.

This film follows a council of Orcs led by the "very special" Gul'dan, set a short time after after the Dark Portal was opened by Ner'zhul, trying to decide if they will join the Burning Legion. Later in the film, we also see a glimpse of the Draenei side of the story.

This film is, quite frankly, one of the most highly-polished pieces of machinima I've ever seen -- from the lighting to the camera angles to even the facial expressions. I highly, HIGHLY recommend -- no, I demand -- that you download the full version of this movie from Filefront -- it's simply incredible. I can't wait for the full version!

[Via WarcraftMovies]

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...


Filed under: Orcs, Machinima, Draenei, WoW Moviewatch

Barrens Chat: Spoiled Rotten


So, this is somewhat of a spoiler strip. It is something that has been mentioned and posted in previous articles, but just in case you skipped those for obvious reasons, you probably should skip this, also.

That being said, I noticed while drawing this out and looking at a screen shot of Thrall that he looks like a green, balding version of the Geico cavemen. With big teeth, of course. Maybe it's just me.

I know I've started doing them on the computer entirely again, but I uh... misplaced my drawing paper. When I get paid this Friday maybe I'll go pick up more, but that's a really long drive to the nearest art store.

Possible alternate text for a couple of the panels after the jump!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Humor, Comics, Barrens Chat

Breakfast Topic: If you could choose your racials

If you haven't already checked out the list of updated racial abilities, you should. Some have been nerfed, others were buffed, and new ones, like the "Voodoo Shuffle" were added.

While racials are a nice bonus, they can weigh heavily on your racial decision when rolling a given class. For example, many Horde warriors roll Tauren because of the 5% health increase. This conflicts with rolling the race that you'd prefer combined with the class you desire.

There has been much speculation about what it would be like to be able to choose your own racials, and reader Mike even came up with a talent tree method for doing just that.

If you were given the power to choose, which three or four would you choose, and why? Keep in mind the overall balance which generally includes a passive ability, an active one, and one or two minor buffs to stats such as resistances, health, or professions.

Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Draenei, Blood Elves, Alts, Wrath of the Lich King

New racial abilities for Wrath


It looks like Blizzard isn't done tinkering with everything for Wrath of the Lich King. This time, they've turned their attention to racial abilities, which many have pointed out to be imbalanced. Kalgan dropped by the forums to answer a good question regarding the Orc racial Hardiness, which grants a passive 15% resistance to stuns. It's been nerfed a long way from its original 25% resistance, but the poster made a good point about the game's direction towards reduced durations instead of resistances.

Kalgan responds by saying that Hardiness was being changed into exactly that -- an effect duration reduction of 15%. He also goes over all the other racials, some of which were changed, others of which were buffed, and yet a few others of which were inevitably nerfed. The changes should make it into the next Beta push. Check after the break to see the complete list. [CLARIFICATION: This isn't the complete list of racial abilities. Abilities not listed here are unchanged or, if they will be changed, will be mentioned in the future.]

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Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Draenei, Blood Elves, Wrath of the Lich King

Widget shows character name statistics


If you've ever been fascinated by the MMORPG statistics provided at sites like the Daedalus Project, here's something right up your alley; the WoW Armory Character Distribution widget, programmed to comb both the U.S. and E.U. Armories and capture data on the popularity of character names across race, class, faction, and sex.

The project is still in the testing stage, and it's a bit finicky about how you enter character names. Make sure you're always hitting the submit button and not using your enter key, as otherwise the widget will keep searching for the last name you looked for instead of your new query. Its creator, Emilis, also wrote to warn that it uses live information from both armories and will occasionally be slow as a result. I imagine it might also be inaccurate if either Armory is having problems.

The widget is tremendously fun to play with and has yielded some rather interesting results even with the completely random names I keep trying. "John" and "Mary," as you might expect, are overwhelmingly Human toons, whereas the greater share of people playing a "Sergei" and "Yekaterina" are Draenei. 3 people with a "Brutus" are actually playing female characters, and 1 person with a "Laura" is playing a male character (Emilis notes that gender-bending names are surprisingly common, although from what I can tell so far this seems to be a lot more true of male names for female toons than the other way around). Most people with a "Killer" are playing a Hunter, Rogue, or Warrior. Characters named "Bank" are mostly Human Warriors, but "Banktoon(s)" are mostly Orcs. And, yes, most of the people playing a toon named Legolas are Night Elf Hunters. Are you really that surprised?

Thanks to Emilis for writing in!

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Orcs, Hunter, Rogue, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Draenei

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the second in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

If you've seen Lord of the Rings, or read any other fantasy story in which orcs are portrayed, you probably think orcs are hideous humanoid monsters charging mindlessly forward to slaughter helpless innocents. Azerothian orcs are significantly different, however, with a shamanistic culture that prides honor above all other virtues.

But unless you've played World of Warcraft or Warcraft 3, you probably wouldn't know that. The orcs of Warcraft 1 and 2 were pretty squarely in "bad guy" territory, and it is only with the story of Thrall's rise to power and return to shamanism that we find out what the orcs' true history is.

Ironically, the story of the orcs is a bit like that of the horrors of modern Nazis and the lore of the ancient Jews mixed together. Imagine that the vast majority of your species came under the sway of a terrible and evil leader, utterly determined to commit genocide against your peaceful neighbors. After carrying out this deplorable task, your people sought a new enemy, and found a new world to destroy. In the midst of this conquest, however, your people's political leadership failed, the way back home was cut off, and you all ended up as slaves in exile, lethargic and utterly without hope. Suddenly, a hero appeared to unite your people, overcome your former masters, restore your ancient faith, reclaim your dignity, and establish a new homeland.

What follows is a brief account of the events most orcs know about or lived through, and a glimpse of the effects they would have had on your character.

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Know Your Lore: Living Relics of the Barrens


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!

Most of us probably know the Barrens as the far, far too big and empty zone that we all spent too long running through. I know I do. You whippersnappers these days and your three flight paths. In my day, we had one and we ran to Ratchet on foot every single time. You kids nowadays have it easy. All of that aside, though, did you know it was originally a lush forest, some of which was part of the ancient Kaldorei territory?

It used to be a much more peaceful (and tolerable) place than it is now. Of course, we're talking ten thousand years ago. That place totally sucks now. Don't get all sentimental on me and pretend it's deep and meaningful and spiritual to quest there or something. It's horrible. Let's learn about it anyway, because learning is fun! ...Right?

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Filed under: Horde, Dwarves, Orcs, Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Warcraft Orc art on European ghost train ride


Paul sent us this picture (thanks!) he saw on a ride at a traveling fair -- he doesn't say where he's from, but he does play on the EU realms, so we imagine this to be somewhere in the gypsy country of France (France has some gypsy country, right?), in among the carnies and popcorn. As you can see, it's everyone's favorite Warcraft image, "repurposed" into a scary ghost train ride. And if you click to embiggen the photo, you can see that it's not just Thrall on the sign. Apparently ghost train ride artists aren't scared by a little thing like copyright law.

Of course, while non-Warcraft players would probably see a sign like that and think it's gross or scary, we know the truth: Thrall's a loveable badass. He's the guy you elected the supreme leader of Azeroth by a huge margin, so using him on a ride that's supposed to be scary kind of defeats the purpose. While most might leave that ride screaming in fear, we'll probably just leave it screaming, "For the Horde!"

Update: I'm told that the art is not of Thrall but is instead Grom, something that has shaken me to the very foundations of the day I first bought Warcraft III. I always thought it was Thrall on the box cover. Oh well.

Also, I apologize to Paul, our French readers, and the gypsies of the European continent. Paul didn't say where he saw this ride, and my overactive imagination pushed me to envision a traveling gypsy camp somewhere in the wilds of France. I meant no offense -- in fact, even though I'm a lifelong American (Midwestern, even), I feel a kinship with the traveling gypsies of the old country. That's probably why I thought it was them.

Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Bosses, NPCs

Barrens Chat: Unwanted


Now, I know last week I said in a comment that I am trying something entirely new this week. However, that plan sort of backfired when I found out my scanner is no longer in the realm of the living, and those Spirit Healers apparently don't speak binary.

I've Wanted to put this comic up since I saw the movie. If you have not seen it, you might not get this unless you watched the movie previews, or have someone explain it.

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Hunter, Comics, Barrens Chat

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