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Posts with tag Philosophy

The Daily Quest: Idle thoughts

Here at, we're on a Daily Quest (which we try to do every day, honest) to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

Vol'jin is obviously thinking about something very important. Maybe he's just analyzing plans for the upcoming liberation of the Echo Isles. Or maybe he's thinking about the sheer joy of punching Garrosh in the snoot. Or maybe he's just pondering which is better, cake or pie. Deep thoughts there, Vol'jin -- let's take a look around and see what everyone else is thinking about:

Is there a story out there we ought to link or a blog we should be following? Just leave us a comment, and you may see it here tomorrow! Be sure to check out our WoW Resources Guide for more WoW-related sites.

Filed under: The Daily Quest

Trinkets: Hard to get, and Blizzard likes it that way

Any caster worth their salt can remember the frustration involved in trying to nab the elusive Illustration of the Dragon Soul trinket from Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctum. We tried everything we could to get it, from creating our own melee-heavy raid groups, to participating only in "3D zerg" runs hoping that participants would be too over-geared to want it, to participating in Less Is More achievement runs just so there would be less competition for it.

Towards the end of the Patch 3.2 days, people would run OS25 once a week just to try and get that one trinket. Most weeks, it wouldn't even drop. When it did, you'd have to beat a good twelve or thirteen people in a roll for it.

The Illustration was so valuable (1) because it was a darn good trinket with gobs of spell power, and (2) it seemed impossible get it -- or any good trinket, for that matter. You can still head to Dalaran and buy trinkets with emblems, like the Talisman of Resurgence, but their use is painfully specialized and their value is often less than trinkets you can find in lower level heroics.

It turns out that good trinkets are hard to find for a reason: Blizzard like it that way. Bornakk at the official World of Warcraft forums wrote today:
"Trinkets are really the one item (weapons are to a lesser extent) that we use to try and capture that old slot machine feel from the classic Molten Core days. Yes, completely random loot with huge loot tables can be frustrating but we are pretty far from being completely random these days. Trinkets however are still somewhat random, they can be hard to acquire, and there is often a lot of competition for them."

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Filed under: News items

15 Minutes of Fame: Philosophically speaking

15 Minutes of Fame is's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Whoa ... Was that a book on WoW and philosophy on that display rack? Why yes, it was. World of Warcraft and Philosophy, edited by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger, has been attracting double-takes in bookstores since last fall. With selections by philosophers from all over the globe, the book covers issues topics such as ethics, economics, gender identity and metaphysics through WoW-tinted lenses. But this is no dusty, academic tome. Roleplaying, cybersex and the infamous Corrupted Blood plague are all on the menu in this lively, readable tome targeted at fans of WoW.

Editor John Nordlinger is just the sort of guy you'd expect to find behind such an eclectic project. The former senior research program manager at Microsoft is California-bound, moving from work in high-tech education to studying film production at USC. We visited with John while he was in transition about some of the realities behind World of Warcraft and Philosophy.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Author of World of Warcraft and Philosophy interviewed

World of Warcraft and Philosophy got released a little while back -- it's a book by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger that examines WoW-related topics like roleplaying and the Corrupted Blood plague, and ties them into philsophical ideas and thinking. TechFlash has now posted an interview with Nordlinger, and it's a good read as well. Nordlinger says that one reason they chose to talk about World of Warcraft in this way is that it's so incredibly big -- when you have 12 million (give or take a few at this point) people playing a game with a GDP larger than some smaller nations, you're going to touch on all sorts of interesting ethical, moral, and other philosophical ideas. He says the book has been pretty popular, and a few universities are currently considering teaching courses based on the material, not only because it's interesting, but thinking about the game in this way helps improve abstract thinking in general.

And perhaps most interesting, he says that reading the book could help players better make ethical and moral decisions in the game. Just ninja-ing the mount from an Onyxia raid might not mean much to you, but when you look at the bigger picture, and what those actions mean for ethics in general, Nordlinger says the book might help players "make more aware decisions, if not different decisions." Of course, in practice, trying to explain higher philosophy to ninjas might not have the desired effect, but it does seem true that exploring the higher meanings of this game and the intents of the people playing it might put a little more meaning into the pixels as well.

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

World of Warcraft and Philosophy now on sale

Is your raid leader Machiavellian? Is it a categorical imperative to torture that Beryl Sorceror? What would Nietzsche have thought of Leeroy Jenkins?

Good questions! And now we can find out. Following in the footsteps of books dealing with philosophies in other popular game titles like Legend of Zelda, Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger recently released World of Warcraft and Philosophy. The book deals with topics like ethics, economics, gender identity, metaphysics, and more, written by philosophers and gamers alike from around the globe. Heck, even role-playing and cybering are the subject of discussion, along with the Infected Blood plague and lots of other well-known WoW topics.

The reviews seem to indicate that the book's a brisk, fun read, but who knows what the game's twelve-million-strong audience will actually like or appreciate. After all, to paraphrase Yeats, Azerothians are babes in philosophy and so prefer faction-fighting to the labor of its unfamiliar thought.

Those who do want to stack their Int, though, can pick up the book at Amazon or other bookstores now.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

The Queue: Waterfalls

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

There's a bunch of good questions in today's Queue: gold cap (including a little extrapolation by yours truly), boss level hit cap design, and voicing of a certain King of Stormwind.

(In my Casey Kasem voice) As for today's reading music, take a listen to the 1990's classic by TLC, Don't Go Chasin' Waterfalls. They totally turn into water elementals too, around 3:40 in the video.

Outdps asked...

"Is the gold cap per character or per account? Is there a gold cap for guild banks?" Bonus question: "What should the gold cap be?"

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Filed under: The Queue

Officers' Quarters: Unchart(er)ed territory

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

It's no secret that the game we all know and love is in a period of transition. Many basic assumptions of Warcraft are changing, from the way loot is itemized, to the way buffs work, to the very nature of raiding. Amidst all this change, I decided to update the document my guild wrote to define our basic principles and guidelines. Written in 2005, it was astonishingly outdated. I guess I shouldn't have been all that surprised. Someone who stopped playing back when Blackwing Lair was the endgame would barely recognize WoW if they rolled a premade 80 on the beta servers today.

We call this document our guild's philosophy. Many guilds call it their charter. However you label it, right now is a great time to reevaluate exactly what your guild is all about and what your basic rules and beliefs will be going into the next expansion.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Ask a Lore Nerd: Faith and religion

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below, ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment!

Two weeks ago, when I was going through my queue of questions, one stuck out as especially complex. Sean Riley inquired about the beliefs and practices of the various Azerothian religions. This topic really excited me as I kind of have a thing for analyzing religion and faith. I would never claim to be an authority on theology, but it's stlil something that is very interesting to me. Warcraft lore combined with theology? Yes please! Obviously this isn't really the place to analyze and debate religion, but taking time out to research the gaps in my knowledge on this particular topic was incredibly fun for me.

Unforunately, I didn't have the space in that week's column to fit the answer to that question in, nor did I really have the time. It was a broad question and needed to invest a hefty amount of time into it. This one question has filled today's column, and while that may be disappointing to some that are waiting their turn, I hope it's an interesting read regardless.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Ask a Lore Nerd

The Art of War(craft): Alterac Valley, Part II - A Ronin's Guide to the Ice and Snow

Before we begin, let's get one thing clear: there are no armies in Alterac Valley, only mobs and rabbles and bloodthirsty riffraff who will, under the best circumstances, happen to be in the same vicinity and fight alongside you. Unless Tigole and company decide to bring back group queues to AV, you will often find yourself fighting the war with an over-sized, sometimes uncooperative PUG. In my column last week, I went over the changes made to Alterac Valley and what it meant in terms of gameplay. I had promised for this week to detail some strategy and tactics for the new AV but realized that, after logging countless hours of Alterac Valley since 2.3, in order to actually execute any manner of battle plan, you will need an army. An army the way Sun Tzu sees it; an army with a Commander; an army with will and purpose. Unfortunately, there are no armies in Alterac Valley. There are, however, drifters. Ronin, if you wish. Ronin were the masterless samurai of feudal Japan. In a game of AV, what you will have, essentially, is a band of about forty ronin doing their own thing.

That said, there can be no definitive guide to playing Alterac Valley. There will be epic battles where Horde and Alliance will defend and fight raging, bloody battles on the Field of Strife, on top of towers, or beside their Captains; there will also be mindless races with no defense where all towers burn and Generals and Captains die to a frenzied mob. Both methods can win or lose games. You as a masterless warrior -- or Rogue, or Mage, or Shaman (you get the idea) -- can choose to play it either way. There are so many variables involved in Alterac Valley that it makes it almost impossible -- and unwise -- to dictate one particular course of action. While it may not be practical to write a guide for an army's incursion into the valley, it is a rather simple task to draw up some simple reminders for ronin. Because what do not change from game to game are the map's terrain and objectives. In every game of AV, there is a General and a Captain to be slain, towers to be burned, graveyards to be captured, and of course, enemies to be defeated on the field of battle. Depending on your faction, there are particular objectives that are easier to access because of the terrain. Terrain, more than anything else, will dictate the flow of your offense.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, PvP, Factions, Guides, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

The Art of War(craft): Why PvP?

Zach Yonzon writes the weekly PvP column The Art of War(craft). When he isn't working or playing, Zach is busy trying to master the secret of The Thousand Buddha Palm.

In the 6th century BC, Chinese general Sun Tzu began his seminal treatise on war with the words, "The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road to either safety or ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected."

Wiser words were never spoken, which leads me to the real preface of this column: It's time to PvP, baby! Just like Blood Sport author V'Ming Chew, I sent in an application with the presumable hordes of WoW Insider readers and, when the dust settled, we must have landed the proverbial most Killing Blows. While Vims will focus more on Arena combat, my column will deal with more general aspects of PvP and I'll occasionally try to apply the precepts of Sun Tzu's (and other military strategists ) work to PvP in the World of Warcraft. It was somewhat ironic that a blog site dedicated to game called Warcraft had very little by way of PvP-centric content. WoW Insider is making up for it in a big way by giving you not one, but two PvP columns every week! How's that for customer satisfaction?

One of my favorite things about the World of Warcraft is that there's something for pretty much everybody. My wife, for example, enjoys fishing, making shirts, and amassing gold. I, on the other hand, have simpler tastes: I enjoy PvP. Even before Battlegrounds were implemented, I enjoyed the old school carnage in Tarren Mill and Crossroads. I immersed myself in the Honor grind, and now I enjoy Arena PvP. PvP interaction is a huge part of the game, even on normal servers. Blizzard is keen on playing up the conflict between the factions, and encourages world PvP by implementing zonewide benefits and has announced a non-instanced Battleground zone in Wrath of the Lich King. The introduction of Arenas has had a major impact on the game itself, leading to class nerfs and buffs based greatly on class representation and desirability in the format. PvP is integral to the game, and there are two major reasons why people PvP:

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Legendary items come and go too

From time to time players who get (or dream of getting) one of those iconic legendary items, such as the Twin Warglaives that Illidan uses, suggest to Blizzard that they should make these items somehow upgradeable so that they can keep on using them no matter what else happens in the game. On one hand, I can understand their point of view -- getting these items can be a legendary amount of work, and naturally one would want to make the reward last as long as possible. Also, it's natural to cling to the glory of wielding the same incredible weapon throughout your character's life.

On the other hand, Blizzard's philosophy is that gear comes and gear goes: you only use whatever gear you have until you find something better, and this applies across the board without exception. Besides, allowing any item to truly scale with the player could create all sorts of logistical problems that Blizzard doesn't want to get into; they'd have to scale the difficulty of getting the items, the difficulty of improving them as you level, and a whole lot of other work they'd rather put into making new items for you to replace your legendary stuff with.

Some players seem to rally against this philosophy of constant change. Perhaps they feel as though the effort they put in is worth permanent rewards? Or perhaps they feel like their awesome items are a part of who they are, and their characters just don't feel the same if they have to give them up. For myself, I prefer to keep on upgrading my gear than ever to have one permanent item, since it helps to keep things fresh and interesting.

Filed under: Items, Leveling

Schrodinger's Jump

Piping hot from the WoW forums comes the tale of an interesting experiment: Psychosheep, a troll warrior on Anvilmar, decided to jump off of the Aldor rise with 15 seconds left before server reset. Best comment comes about half way down the thread, in my opinion: Renault, a BE Pally from Suncrown, says " ...mein Gott. It's Schrodinger's Jump. Considering we do not know the state of existence until you log back on, your char is both simultaneously alive and dead at the same time. Until you log back on to confirm the state."

Now, that idea right there just tickles me, both because it's very apt and it's the kind of metaphor that tends to extend itself. It's weird to think about your character in a state of quantum uncertainty when you disconnect or the server goes down, essentially in limbo while you try and get back. Does he or she even exist when you're not playing? The Armory would seem to offer us some solace in these uncertain times.

Have you ever done anything similar when your server was about to shut down? The closest I've ever come personally was when I, not paying attention to general or announcements, was farming furbolgs in Winterspring and I managed to charge one just as the server came down. I spent an hour trying to get back in, and finally managed it to discover the furbolg dead and my character at half-health. But I don't think I would have deliberately done so, as was the case here. I'm not a big fan of dying from fall damage.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor

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