As we near the end of development, it's become apparent that the new Blood Elf models won't be finished to meet our standards before launch.- Chris G. Robinson (@artofcgrobinson) July 30, 2014
Posts with tag blood-elves
Last week, we launched into the newest beta in WoW's history -- its sixth! -- for Warlords of Draenor. It's an exciting time for the game. Every beta has its surprises, good and bad. New things that were never announced. Prior announcements that changed unexpectedly. We've already had a number of surprises in the Warlords beta: the faction hub shift to Ashran, cross-faction auctions, and the removal of guild leveling.
Beta is just ramping up. We are sure to encounter more than one surprise over the next few months as we test the Draenor experience and gear up for the expansion's launch. Let's take a look back at the previous five betas and examine some of the twists that greeted testers -- and often shocked the WoW community. Caveat: I'm excluding storyline surprises.
The original beta
In 2003 and early 2004, players didn't really know what to expect from a World of Warcraft MMO. Blizzard, after all, had never made one before. Most of the original beta served up surprise after surprise. Yet, a few stand out.
Tired heroes. Patch 0.6 introduced the first incarnation of the rest system. Today it is simply a bonus for players who don't have time to log in every day. The original version was more like the Chinese government's "anti-obsession measures": it punished you for playing too long. The system looked like this:
- Well rested gave 200% of the XP from a mob kill
- Rested gave between 100% and 200% XP
- Normal gave 100% XP
- Fatigued gave 50% XP
- Exhausted gave 25% XP
Last week, we discussed the story behind the paladin's charger -- a unique mount that both dwarf and human paladins could obtain in vanilla WoW, and in Burning Crusade, the draenei. In addition to the draenei, Burning Crusade also introduced blood elves, and blood elf paladins. Unlike the noble paladins of the Alliance, these Blood Knights took the Light by force, siphoning it from the captured naaru M'uru and bending it to their whim.
Although the events of Burning Crusade and the restoration of the Sunwell dramatically changed the Blood Knights method of operation, we can't really forget where their origins began. It was a much darker place, a place born of Light lost, and the desperation of a downtrodden people to prove to the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with -- and perhaps prove the same to themselves, as well.
However, the book contains all of the leader short stories that were released over the course of Cataclysm's run, as well as a few other shorts -- Unbroken, the story of Farseer Nobundo, The War of the Shifting Sands, a piece that was released just before the launch of AQ40, and Road to Damnation, the story of Kel'thuzad, released just before the launch of the original iteration of Naxxramas all the way back in vanilla. It's Blood of the Highborne that really stands out among the collection, not necessarily because it's better than the rest, but because it's brand-new content that fills in a gap that's been missing in lore -- the conception and introduction of the Blood Knights of Silvermoon.
While Paragons was released earlier this year in Spain and France, the US release was nowhere to be found. We still have some time to wait before we'll see an English version, but at least we have a date to look forward to -- and preorders to place. You can preorder World of Warcraft: Paragons for the Kindle on Amazon, or for the Nook on Barnes and Noble for $5.99. At present time, it appears that the novel is only available for preorder in ebook format -- we have yet to see if a print version will be made available.
Things are about to get much worse.
- Deathbringer Saurfang
On the surface of things, it seems like we may be about to turn the corner. Garrosh Hellscream's True Horde is about to face its enemies and the Warchief has alienated so many of his former allies that the Horde itself has erupted in civil war. But once we start thinking about the aftermath, it all starts to seem a little murkier.
After all, even though we know that there will apparently be a new warchief appointed after the fall of Hellscream, that won't immediately fix the tensions that led to the Horde making war on itself. Hellscream's former supporters won't just vanish - with the vast majority of orcs behind him, Hellscream's legacy is bound to continue and any new warchief is going to have to face those orcs who took up arms for the True Horde and come up with a way to re-integrate them into the Horde as a whole. Meanwhile, it's likely that those who supported the Darkspear Rebellion are going to want to see substantial changes made to the way the Horde functions - the orcish ideals of Lok'tar Ogar, of unquestioning loyalty to the warchief are by necessity broken now. The Horde of the future is a Horde that has survived a mutiny, has seen a leader deposed - it cannot be bound by tight-knit expectations of loyalty and honor. The blood elves and forsaken, tauren and goblins and trolls who had a hand in making the new warchief possible will have demands, and they're not all going to be possible to meet.
Meanwhile, the Alliance will have found itself in the position of kingmaker for its enemy. What does the future hold for Alliance/Horde relations? Will the Alliance forget the past several years of Horde aggression or will it demand concessions from its weakened enemy? And if Varian Wrynn doesn't take advantage of this moment to reclaim Azshara and Ashenvale, or Gilneas, what backlash will he have to face from within his own faction? Thanks in no small part to the threat of the Horde, Wrynn has found himself rising to the position of war-leader for the Alliance as a whole. But can he maintain that position with a much less threatening Horde, especially if he doesn't move to take advantage of its weakness?
Let's look at potential threats to any return to stability. This week, we'll discuss the forces at play within the Horde.
The novel found at Scrolls of Lore is titled World of Warcraft: Dechados, which was translated as World of Warcraft: Paragons. It seems an apt title for a collection of short stories about Azeroth's leaders -- and there's the fact that the translation of the description also mentions the inclusion of a novella. After doing some further digging, we managed to find a French version of the book as well. Both books suggest a September release date.
At present time, there doesn't appear to be a peep about an English version of the collection, however -- and it definitely wasn't mentioned at the San Diego Comic Con Licensing panel this year, either. What's the fate of Blood of the Highborne? We aren't certain, but judging from the information found, it may be out sooner than we'd previously thought.
But on the other end of the equation, there are lots of Horde players who don't play an orc. Take me, for example -- while I started out as a Forsaken priest, I've now played a blood elf rogue for far longer. To me, Hellscream's actions are questionable at best, horrific beyond imagining at worst. Yet here I am, still playing Horde and carrying out the orders of Hellscream. The why of it all is the part that is an incredibly clever design move on the part of the story development team.
Vanilla WoW may not have seemed full of story to most, but it was jam-packed with plot elements, although they were hidden from all but those who paid the closest attention to what was going on around them. Most lore in the game was simply introduced with quest text -- there were no cut scenes, there was no phasing, there were none of the innovations we currently have today in regards to the implementation of lore in gameplay.
If you missed them, I recommend going back and reading through the summaries of early days of vanilla lore. There are two versions of Act I, one for Alliance and one for Horde. Act II applies to both sides of the faction fence as the story began to merge for both sides. Please note that these are summaries of the lore that existed in game -- later novels, comics, and other material adjusted what actually happened in the scope of the game universe, and some of those novels and comics are now the official canon version of these events. I've pointed out where these changes occurred.
The end of vanilla was marked with the return of foes long thought dead and gone, and the ominous stirrings of a portal to another world.
Please note that this is a review for the Dominance Offensive, which is the Horde side of the 5.1 reputation. At this point in time, I don't have an Alliance character at level 90, so I'm unable to play through the Operation Shieldwall quests. However, I have been assured that not only are the Operation Shieldwall quests just as good, in some ways they are even better than the Dominance Offensive material. I'm not even sure how this is possible, because these dailies are just that good.
But enough gushing. Let's get into the nuts and bolts of what makes this reputation grind so different from everything before it.
These posts about the naaru are mainly speculative. I hesitate to use the Tinfoil Hat title, because I'm not postulating that they're secretly evil or anything. But the fact remains, we know very little about the naaru. We don't know where they come from, how long they live, if they can enter their Light/Darkness cycle indefinitely, if they ever die naturally or even if they can be really killed. The only one we've ever defeated in combat ended up part of the Sunwell, and who's to say what he's doing in there now? Is M'uru still alive in the Sunwell, or did his mind die with Entropius? We currently have no way of knowing.
We know that despite what we experienced in The Burning Crusade, for the naaru, entering the void phase of their existence is an exceedingly rare and perilous event, at least according to the Ask CDev threads. It is this unknown quality that fascinates me about the naaru.
As we discussed last week, the Ata'mal Crystal that Velen used to create the barrier of Light and hold off Archimonde and Kil'jaeden's followers was an ancient mystery of his people. We don't really know where it comes from or if the naaru gave it to the ancient eredar or if the eredar constructed it somehow. What we do know is that at some point in the distant past before Sargeras came to Argus, the eredar and the naaru had some form of contact. This implies that the naaru may well predate the Titans. What we do know is this: Somehow, in some way, the eredar and the naaru met, and the Ata'mal Crystal was left in eredar hands until Velen came to call upon it for guidance.
Generally speaking, that's the reaction you'll get when you mention Lor'themar. Though he's been leader of the blood elves since The Burning Crusade launched in 2006, barely a word has been heard from him, and few know his history. Indeed, the sindorei themselves have done little since the events involving the Sunwell's restoration. They hardly seem like strong supporters of the Horde at all. Given this, it's almost easy to see where Garrosh's viewpoint regarding the blood elves comes from.
But the very fact that few know of Lor'themar's exploits, that few know of any tales spun from the lands of Quel'Thalas, is a subtle indication of something far deeper that is actually going on in the forests. The blood elves have had to deal with the most crippling blow their society has ever faced, the destruction of the Sunwell, and the decision of how to proceed after the damage was done is something that plagues the Regent Lord to this day.
It's not easy being a leader. It's even more difficult to be a leader in the face of constant adversity and to do so while still retaining what parts of a decent creature you are while you're at it.
It's good to be Horde. All over the world of Azeroth, the Horde is conquering new territory, claiming new land and expanding far, far beyond the few holdings it had in vanilla World of Warcraft. Back then, the Horde merely eked out an existence, defending small outposts where it could. Sylvanas and her Forsaken stayed by and large in Tirisfal Glades, with a tiny outpost in Silverpine and a slightly larger one in Hillsbrad Foothills. The tauren stayed largely confined to Mulgore, with a few settlements to the south and southeast. The trolls took refuge in Orgrimmar, with no real land to call their own save one tiny village on the coast and another small outpost in Stranglethorn Vale.
Now, the Horde is branching out in a major way. Sylvanas has dominated the forests of Silverpine and the rolling farmlands of Hillsbrad and is working her way east through the Western Plaguelands. The trolls have taken back the Echo Isles, and the orcs of Orgimmar are claiming new land to the north and the east, moving in a tidal wave of barbaric conquering. The Horde is flush with the glorious victories in Northrend, eagerly seeking more territory. In Cataclysm, it's very, very good to be Horde.
Or so popular opinion states.
A soothing light fills you as you approach the naaru. Slow musical chimes echo within your mind and though a word is not uttered, you feel an assurance of safety.
They glimmer with the purity of the Light, and their very presence fills one with a warm, calm feeling of inner peace. They also teach the ways of the Light -- the draenei would not be paladins were it not for these mysterious creature's intervention. In fact, the benevolent naaru came to Velen in a vision when his world was at its darkest hour, offering him hope, salvation, escape ... and the knowledge that there was a far larger battle out there, one that had yet to come to pass.
Kil'jaeden and Archimonde eagerly agreed to follow and serve Sargeras, becoming the highest-ranked members of the Burning Legion. As for Velen, he took the worried, the lost, the concerned draenei with him and fled, pledging his servitude to the naaru and their righteous cause. Two causes, one outwardly and easily identifiable as evil -- and the other, far more sinister and wicked than anything the Burning Legion could ever hope to achieve.
Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on what is to come. These speculations are merely theories and should not be taken as fact or official lore.
Each side has its own justifications for what they view as right, just, and honorable. Yet there are races on either side that seem more neutral than anything, whether it be the peaceful draenei, the equally peaceful tauren, or even the blood elves, who have spent time on both sides of the faction fence. These races participate in the battles and bloodshed as readily as any other, but their motives never seem quite in the right place.
And that's caused more than one person to wonder: Just what exactly would happen if World of Warcraft created a third faction?
Filed under: Analysis / Opinion