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Filed under: Trolls

Back to the Horde


Six months ago I wrote this post, detailing why I prefered the Alliance to the Horde.

Now I'm here writing about how I've gone back to the Horde.

While I do still find the lore of certain Horde races perplexing and confusing, and I do still maintain that much of the Horde/Alliance hostility is due to the legacy of the Old Horde that the New Horde simply hasn't dealt with (Varian Wrynn being a standout example of a guy who hates the New Horde almost entirely because of things the Old Horde did, like burn his city and kill his father) I also can't deny that given the opportunity to go back, I took it with very little hesitation. A solid 50% of that is the excellent folks I know who play Horde side, but the other 50% is the inherent coolness factor of the Horde. And I'm not just talking about blood and glory histrionics here, either.

Although yeah, that's fun too. But for me, it's the constant struggle to make the future out of the horror of the past that defines what I admire and enjoy about playing Horde.

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

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)

Priests: 2008 the year of change

That year flew by really quick, didn't it? Last year, I remember I was working my way through Tempest Keep (Kael'Thas even). 2008 brought in a complete set of additions and changes for the Priest class across all 3 specs.

So, shall we get down to Priest class changes? Ranked in no particular order, we'll go over a few of the changes and the impact they had on the current game.

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Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Undead, Trolls, Priest, Draenei, Blood Elves

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the seventeenth 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.

Priests in the World of Warcraft are a single class that incorporates a wide variety of characters. They are best known for casting spells that call forth the power of the Holy Light, but the priest using these spells in the game mechanics doesn't necessarily have much connection to the Light as such -- rather they have a connection with their own religion which grants them similar effects to those of the Light.

When WoW was being developed, Blizzard realized that night elves and trolls, for instance, would not follow the Light in the same way humans and dwarves do, so they tried to represent a bit of this diversity through race-specific spells. It didn't work out, though -- some were too powerful, while others weren't worth reading about, much less putting on one's action bar. The end result was that they made some of these spells universally available to all priests, and completely removed the rest. Here the lore had to surrender to the game mechanics in order to provide the best game balance.

In roleplaying, however, there is a lot of room for players of different races to behave differently, and draw their powers from totally different sources. Greater Heal, for instance, could come either from the Light or the power of Elune. A Shadowfiend could either be a spawn of the Forgotten Shadow, or a dark trollish voodoo spirit. If you are roleplaying a priest, the only thing that really matters is that your character have some sort of faith or profound belief, which could serve as the source of their divine magical power. A priest's magic revolves around his or her strong beliefs and ideas -- but what those beliefs are is entirely up to you.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Undead, Trolls, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Draenei, 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 Mage

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the sixteenth 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. It's also the first installment with a title that rhymes!

The Mage is the foremost master of magic in the Warcraft universe. Although all the other classes excluding the Warrior and the Rogue use magic of one sort or another with equally wonderful effects, the Mage is the class that's named after the stuff.

But what is magic? What does it feel like to harness it? Does the mage have to do a strange ritual or utter incomprehensible words in an ancient language in order to cast her spells? Other fantasy settings often have one or more of these elements together, but as far as I can tell, Warcraft lacks them.

Arcane magic in the World of Warcraft is an ever-present energy field surrounding the whole world. Mages access it by concentrating in the magic energy within themselves, feeling it rush through their body, and directing it as they please. Those spells that require reagents need an extra focusing item with magical properties of its own in order to bring about the desired effect, but for the most part, fireballs, frostbolts and arcane explosions can be created through the mere act of will on the part of a properly educated mind.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Gnomes, Undead, Trolls, Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Draenei, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, 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)

Spiritual Guidance: Level 5 to 20

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. For the next few weeks (unless it's something game breaking), Matt will do his best to guide you through the Priest leveling process!

Wrath is almost upon us. As a result, you may have decided that you have nothing better to do then to roll a Priest! A quick glance at the WI leveling guides shows completed class guides for every almost every other class but Priests!

This must be changed. The countdown has begun.

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Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Undead, Trolls, Priest, How-tos, Draenei, Leveling, Talents, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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

Making the Racial traits more individual

Hot on the heels of word about all the new changes to racial abilities in Wrath, reader Mike sent us a suggestion he thought up to give a little twist to racial abilities in game: Blizzard could unlock some of them from a few races, and instead give players the ability to choose a few on a peronal basis -- they could pick and choose certain abilities for their characters to have from the beginning. As in, each ability would get put into a budget, and instead of merely choosing a race, players could then choose one or two skills from the budget to give to their characters. You could end up having a Troll with Escape Artist and Diplomacy, or a Human with Hardiness and Magic resistance.

Of course, some abilities are pretty strictly defined by the races themselves, so not everything could be pick and choose -- Gift of the Naaru and Will of the Forsaken would have to stick with Draenei and Undead, respectively (they'd have to stay Racial traits, not personal ones). But abilities like Endurance and Quickness are so insignificant in the bigger picture of things that it would be nice to customize your character a little bit more -- match it up to your style of play rather than just want race you'd like to be. Character creation is quickly becoming the one thing in the game that's stayed exactly the same since launch, and for many reasons, from RP to theorycrafting, players would really get a kick out of customizing their characters that little bit more.

As Mike told us, each character has their own personal background and insights, so why shouldn't each individual character have their own personal traits to shine in? It's a little late for Wrath, of course, but it's something to think about in the future -- if Pets get their own choices about their strengths, why shouldn't the different ingame races?

Filed under: Human, Gnomes, Trolls, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Expansions, Buffs, 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

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the third 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.

Trolls are based on the "wild savages" you've seen in the movies or on TV, from King Kong to Discovery channel. If you've seen people hunting with spears, walking around in the forest without many clothes on, or dancing around in costumes and face paint in some kind of ritual you've never heard of, you've seen the apparent inspiration for trolls in World of Warcraft. The culture of Warcraft trolls are a mishmash of all the different myths and rumors that have grown up about some of the earth's indigenous peoples that live outside modern society: Strange voodoo beliefs and rituals? Check. Bloodthirsty headhunters with a taste for cannibalism? Check. Witch doctors, shrunken heads, human sacrifice, and rampant superstition? Check on all counts.

It's important to note here that troll culture is based on the myths about some indigenous people, not on their reality. Cannibalism, for instance, has been rare among human societies, nearly always viewed as anathema, but among the trolls of Azeroth, it appears to be the rule rather than the exception. Unbiased study of the world's primal religions has shown them to be far more sophisticated than early (and prejudiced) Western explorers ever imagined. Don't listen to the Jamaican accent trolls have in the game and assume that trolls are based on real life Jamaicans. There is nowhere near the correlation here that we might find with the dwarves and the Scots, or even the draenei and the eastern Europeans that they sound like. Indeed, one could argue that the choice of a Jamaican accent to represent the trolls and their culture reveals a great deal of ignorance we Americans have regarding Caribbean islanders -- but that's a discussion I'll not go into today.

Suffice it to say that as a member of the Darkspear tribe, the only tribe of trolls to join the Horde, your character living in a time of great change for your people. Your tribe is the first to embrace the more modern values promoted by Thrall, to take up the spiritual practices of shamanism, and to integrate itself with other races. Although the Darkspears have officially given up human sacrifice, cannibalism, and now tell you to "stay away from the voodoo," these practices are all elements of religion and superstition that your character would have grown up with, and may find it hard to let go of completely.

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

Barrens Chat: Encore


I don't get to play World of Warcraft very often anymore. Real life comes up and gets in the way all the time, and then you have to sit back and listen to your friends talk about how much fun they've had in the past few weeks you've been away. So you sit, and you wait, and eventually you get time to log on again, run around, and have a jolly old time. Especially when you get to hang out with good people.

I've never had Ventrilo or any other sort of microphone attachment that would broadcast my voice across the Internet. For one point, I'd have to break down and buy a headset of some sort. Knowing me I'd likely break it within a week, so I'd actually need to buy two, but that's alright. The other reason is, I'm not entirely sure I want the ability to hear other absent minded people like me babbling to themselves, forgetting the rest of the world can hear them.

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Trolls, Blood Elves, Comics, Barrens Chat

Azerothian Spore creatures continue to crawl in

That Murloc was just the beginning -- since the Spore creature creator demo dropped officially yesterday, and along with this cute little C'thun (thanks, Andrew!), there are a whole crowd of Warcraft-related creatures showing up on the Sporepedia. We've collected our favorites so far in a gallery below -- while you'll need to actually put the creatures in game to see them shuffle, saunter, and dance around in Spore, you can get a pretty good idea of just how versatile Will Wright's little creator is. I've said it before and I'll say it again: while everyone is expecting Warhammer to give WoW a run for its money, the PC game that Blizzard should really be worried about this year is Spore.

If you see any other great Warcraft-related creature creations in Spore, feel free to send them along and you just might see them here. And in the meantime, our sister site BigDownload (who are also hosting the demo) is holding a creature creator contest -- send them your best creature and you could win a EVGA NVIDIA e-GeForce 8800GT, EVGA NVIDIA e-GeForce 9600GT or a free upgrade to the full version of the creature creator game. It's Sporelicious!

Seriously, look at the C'thun. We haven't seen a tentacled, ancient monster this cute since, well, Hello Cthulu.

Filed under: Tauren, Trolls, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, Bosses, NPCs, Galleries

Giving players some more race variants

I have to agree with Michael on WoW LJ: it would be nice to have a little more variance in the types of races that we choose at character creation. Of course, due to lore reasons, all the trolls we create are Darkspear Trolls, and likewise, all of our Taurens are of the Bloodhoof variety. But it would be nice to have a few more options, especially since we now know that some of the "foreign" tribes and clans might have a member or two interested in joining the Horde.

None of Michael's suggestions would really work -- the Taunka are almost a completely different race, the Forest Trolls can't be very happy that we've killed their leader, and neither the Dark Iron Dwarves or the Iron Dwarves are very friendly to either Horde or Alliance. But there are possible variants out there -- the Zanadalar tribe might have some members interested in joining the Horde, and certainly the Mag'har Orcs are friendly to players. Alliance doesn't have as many options come to mind, though all players are Bronzebeards, I believe, and surely the Stormpikes are Friendly by now.

We've got new hairstyles coming in the next expansion, of course, but it would be nice to vary up the races a little bit, and have even different backgrounds within the race choices. RPers would love it for sure, and even for other players, it would give a little more meaning and power to playing through the various racial areas in the game.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Dwarves, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Expansions, Lore, Factions

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