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Posts with tag Earth

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Deepholm

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape.

The Earthen Plane. Therazane's domain. The place where primordial rock and earth and stone were banished after the Titans subdued the elemental lords and their Old God masters. Deepholm is where Deathwing laid his broken body and waited, watched, heaved, and went mad. In the center of the mighty plane of earth stood the World Pillar, the only support keeping Deepholm from crashing into Azeroth itself. When Deathwing unleashed himself upon the world, the World Pillar shattered. Only through the tireless and diligent efforts of the Earthen Ring, shaman from all walks of life and races, could the tear in the Maelstrom be contained. Now flooded by members of the Twilight's Hammer cult, a raging war between earthen and trogg, and the harshness of the Stonemother herself, the Horde and the Alliance must find a way to restore the World Pillar and save Azeroth from the very plane of earth it rests upon.

Deepholm was the first bottleneck zone after the two opening Cataclysm leveling experiences, Hyjal and Vashj'ir. Everyone passed through Deepholm on the way to 85, getting to experience one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring zones ever created for World of Warcraft. From the rocks that hung eerily in the air to the various factions and allegiances, Deepholm provided one of the most unique leveling experiences in World of Warcraft to date.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Children of the Stonemother -- The elements, part three


The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how, but do you know the why? Each week Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

We've talked about the elemental spirits in general and about those of fire in more depth. This week, we take a look at Therazane the Stonemother and the elementals of earth. Unlike the more active fire elementals, the more erosive water or the quicksilver air elementals, those of earth reflect the solidity of their element. In general, the elemetals of earth tend to be slower to anger and play the middle ground for the other, more energetic elementals. It would be a mistake to assume this makes them placid or unwilling to resort to violence, however. Earth elementals were among the prized soldiers of the Old Gods during their war with the Titans, and to this day, some of their strongest still reside in Azeroth.

The earth elementals owe allegiance to Therazane (we can see her name in game on a belt dropped by Nefarian and an off-hand available through old AV purchases). Her daughter, Theradras, seduced Zaetar (the son of Cenarius) and produced the centaur races of Azeroth. She can be found in Maraudon, which is holy ground to the centaur tribes of Desolace. While Therazane is often said to be the most peaceful and loving of the elemental lords, this doesn't mean members of her elemental court don't make trouble in Azeroth from time to time.

However, given Therazane's connection to the earth, it's interesting to consider just what her role might actually be in the history of Azeroth. It's often said that Therazane feels pain when the earth and stones are disturbed and that she hates Deathwing for his destructive rampages (and, presumably, out of a rivalry with him, since he is the Titan appointed Aspect of Earth, while she is the Old God summoned Stonemother). This begs the question of Therazane's identity. Is the Stonemother the same entity the tauren refer to as the Earthmother?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm

WoW zones in real life


Aurdon over at I Sheep Things spotted this great collection of comparisons between real-life environs and the in-game places that they inspired. Not all of the comparisons are pitch-perfect, obviously (there are no Nagrand-esque floating islands in the real world, and the Crystalsong Forest picture shows trees covered in ice rather than the mystical wood that grows in-game), but lots of the pictures are really dead-on, and they show you really well how Blizzard uses a kind of hyper-realized version of Earth to create what seems like a very real Azeroth.

We've posted before how the architecture of WoW mirrors real-world places and culture, but even the natural world of Azeroth uses lots of Earth's real-life elements. And it would be cool to know where these pictures actually come from -- some of them are recognizable (obviously, Stranglethorn Vale is based on parts of the Amazon, and The Barrens represents Africa's savannahs), but even Icecrown and Zangarmarsh are represented (in slightly less mythical form) on Earth. It would be interesting to know exactly where.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Screenshots, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Lore Nerd: It's the end of the world as we know it

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Good morning, everyone! My apologies for missing last week's Ask a Lore Nerd, I am apparently very, very bad at time management and I lost track of things while trying to finish furnishing my apartment. We're back in action this week though, so it's all good!

Before we get started, I also wanted to remind people that Tokyopop is letting us read Warcraft: Legends for free until the 17th. I know Daniel mentioned it already this morning, but seeing as this is the lore column of the day, I just wanted to mention it again. Just imagine me as the hammer trying to drive this nail into your head. You can read it for free. And now we get the show on the road!

naixdra asked...


Why do the Orcs call Draenor, Draenor? Didn't the Draenei show up out of nowhere and call it that, so why would the native Orcs adopt the name given to it by outsiders (and still refer to it after their attempted annihilation of said outsiders)?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Ask a Lore Nerd

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)

Blizzard HQ temporarily evacuated due to earthquake


Blizzard headquarters in Irvine, California were temporarily evacuated today when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Chino Hills area in southern California. Chino Hills is about 30 miles from Irvine.

According to the information on the login screen, in-game and phone support were momentarily unavailable, however everything is now back to business as usual. No servers or other game services have been affected by the earthquake. All the technology is operating smoothly.

Our own Dan O'Halloran was in private chat with us all when the earthquake struck. He reported that while it was a good shaking, it was "nothing to go home about." Perhaps if we're lucky the earthquake shook a few more Beta keys out of Blizzard. We can only hope.

Take a look after the break for the full in-game news released by Blizzard.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

A look at the geography of WoW from Interesting '08


This is just beautiful, from the title ("Brave Noob World") to the idea -- a geographical survey of Azeroth. James Wallis, the director of Hogshead Publishing, gave this presentation at an "unconference" called Interesting '08, in which he tried to do a survey of Azeroth, in the same way that Tobold did -- by walking from one end to the other. And he discovers that Azeroth is pretty small and pretty dense -- it's about 12km across, according to him (I really like his comparison image of the Death Star), and using a Female Tauren, he even comes up with the force of gravity, which is about equal to Earth -- about 1g. Which makes sense; Blizzard would want the virtual world to feel the same as our world, no matter how big it is.

There's a problem with that, though -- if you have a small planet with the same gravity as a much larger planet, the only answer is that the mass of the planet is much more dense. And when you get a really small, densely packed mass, you start to mess around with the flow of time. So Wallis actually ends up explaining one of the more annoying features of Azeroth with actual science. Very nice.

It's definitely a fun example of looking for more in this MMO than Blizzard probably put there, but Wallis covers it with enough zest and logic that it works, strangely. Now if he could only explain the weather...

[via Massively]

Update: Looks like the video got pulled. It's been stowed after the break, just in case it comes back.

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Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Azerothians vs. Earthlings: Oh the Humanity!


Newcomers to Azeroth are met with a choice as to which race they should choose. Undoubtedly, the most immediately recognizable and familiar choice is that of the humans. But are the humans of Azeroth really just Azerothian versions of us Earthlings, or are they better understood as a distinct species of their own?

The most obvious difference at first glance is that in Azeroth, all men are blocky and all women are curvy. Aside from various facial traits, hair and skin color, humans don't vary from this standard mold. Even in advanced age, Azerothian women's breasts do not sag, nor do men's muscles lose their beefy bulkiness. Some Earthlings have disparagingly compared Azerothian men to gorillas for their tree-trunk arms and their "smashed-with-a-shovel" faces, but others point out that Azerothian humans have been hardened through great suffering. Wars with orcs, demons and undead have reduced their population from millions to mere hundreds of thousands, and so the weak humans of Azeroth have possibly been weeded out. So, while many Earthling humans may enjoy the comforts of working at a desk all day, then coming home to play at a desk too (i.e. via computer game), Azerothians, even old ones, have to keep themselves fit to fight off the various enemies encroaching on their lands, such as murloc flesheaters and forsaken undead. While this may explain the over-muscled arms of Azerothian males, it leaves the question of youthfully curved elderly women quite unanswered.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Humor

Breakfast Topic: WoW vs. Real Life


Sometimes it happens: you get online and meet up with some of your Azerothian friends, and they invite you to go do something interesting when suddenly your phone rings, and one of your Earthling friends invites you to go do something interesting in real life! You're faced with a choice of staying in Azeroth or returning to Earth.

For my part, I mostly made one of those unconscious choices a long time ago, that if this sort of thing happened, I would usually choose to leave Azeroth and go experience real life. I had realized that it's too easy to lose oneself in the imaginary world and then come back to real life with a sense of emptiness. But with the right kind of moderation, I feel like both my time on Earth and my time in Azeroth are full and enjoyable.

What do you do when someone says "do you want to go hang out with us?" when you had planned to play WoW? Do you usually choose one or the other, or does it totally depend on the situation?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

World of motecrafting post 2.1

A couple of interesting Mote related changes have popped up in the patch. I was well aware of the Mote of Shadow change-- those babies are now dropping not off of demons, but only off of void creatures (you can find tons of them in the southern part of Hellfire Peninsula, and in small pockets in many instances). Which makes sense, but makes you wonder why they dropped off of demons in the first place-- or why it matters which one they drop off of at all.

The other change was a little more hidden in the patch notes, and most players didn't realize it would be happening until they saw the drops: Essences are now dropping in Outland in the same place that Motes are dropping. You remember Essences-- they're the elemental components of many recipes found on the Azeroth side of the Dark Portal. A few players were unhappy that Essences were dropping instead of Motes, until Drysc confirmed that Essences are actually dropping in addition to Motes-- it's not a matter of either/or at all. Essences are completely extra.

And of course that'll have an effect on the economy. Right now, Essences are selling for up to 1g a pop on most AHs (Update: and even higher on other servers, sometimes up to 15g apiece), but they still only vendor for 4s, which is pennies compared to even most gray drops in Outland. And that price will probably drop anyway, considering the market is about to be flooded with them. One solution is to raise the vendor price. And another solution, say a few enterprising players, would be to give Alchemists a Transmute Essence to Mote spell, either at a 2-to-1 exchange rate, or a long-ish cooldown, that would set the economy on these little things right. Clearly there's a need for having Essences around (how else could you enchant firey weapon, right?), but it looks like Blizzard could have put a little more thought into their effect on the economy.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Making money

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