Once upon a time, in the days of vanilla WoW, there was a really horrific bug with the boats that sailed the seas between continents -- one that would summarily dump players in the middle of nowhere, sometimes high above the scenery. Players were then treated to a very quick introduction with the ground that resulted in ... well, certain death. Enter Captain Placeholder, an NPC placed thoughtfully in Menethil for those seeking to hit up Kalimdor. Needless to say, the good Captain's praises were lauded up and down Azeroth.
Eventually, the bug was fixed and Captain Placeholder was removed, to the sadness of all. We've seen him here and there ever since, in various beta content -- and he's even gotten a few promotions along the way. But the video above, recorded and created by the ever-talented Cranius, remains a testament to the days when the game was ... slightly less stable, and one NPC held the fate of traveling players carefully in his hands.
As you may already know, Jade Forest is disabled in the current Mists of Pandaria beta build. If you, like me, left several level 85s standing around the place while you leveled to 90 on one, you'll be teleported out (in my case, I was ported to the nearby Valley of the Four Winds), and you'll need to find a way back to Orgrimmar or Stormwind. Once there, you'll need to find Adm'rl Placeholder, the Most Interesting Questgiver in the World. He doesn't often give quests, but when he does, they're memorable. Some of you may remember him from his days as a Captain.
The Adm'rl offers a quest which, when accepted, teleports you back to the Valley of the Four Winds, this time to speak to Private Tim P. O'Rary, who will upon completion of the conversation quest (you may have to wait a few minutes for him to recognize you) will immediately boost you to level 86. Enjoy questing in the Valley, the Krasarang Wilds and of course the new leveling dungeons.
I'm so glad that Placeholder got a promotion, I cannot even tell you. He's found in the trade district next to the AH in Stormwind and just outside Garrosh's playhouse for the Horde. It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!
Let's take a moment and jump in the Wayback Machine. Back in the day, boats were perilous things. They would disappear out from beneath you, leaving you stranded in the middle of Azeroth's oceans. In short order, you would die a horrible, fatigued death.
Enter Captain Placeholder. While Blizzard took the boats offline for some needed upgrades, Captain Placeholder teleported players around the world. When the boats were ready to return ... Captain Placeholder disappeared.
Given Garrosh's many failures, I think it's time for a new Warchief ... and Captain Placeholder is the man for the job. Think about it! He's one of Azeroth's most vaunted heroes. Bigger than Bolvar. Bigger than Vol'jin.
Captain Placeholder is the Warchief the Horde deserves, though maybe not the Warchief it needs right now. Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I won't mention the actual story so as to avoid spoiling fellow current or future fans, but in a certain non-Warcraft related story I am reading, a character seems to have died in the latest chapter I've read. It happens, but this character was easily my favorite in the series, so I'm sort of bummed more than usual at seeing a fictional character die. I've queued up my melancholy song playlist on Winamp and everything.
Now in World of Warcraft, loss is a pretty apparent them as well. The loss suffered by nearly every sentient race to the scourge, the fall of the High Elves, the fall of the Broken, it seems like every PC race on WoW has experienced some loss or seen some great hero fall. In addition, sometimes there's the smaller losses as well. Like, say, giving up Archeus for a weapon with an inferior backstory and proc.
So what losses in World of Warcraft have left a mark on you? Is there a certain story of loss in the lore that especially resonates with you, or do you still mourn the loss of a certain item or NPC as you've leveled up, or even some NPC or Quest that's been removed?
Depending on how long you've been playing World of Warcraft, and which faction you play, the subject of The Lament of Captain Placeholder will require either no explanation, or a lot of explanation. I'll sum up. Back in the days of yore, the boats of Menethil Harbor were tricksy things. As you rode them into the distance, the boats could suddenly disappear out from under you. Stranded in murky waters, you were unable to swim to safety before Fatigue overwhelmed you, and you drowned. This was, obviously, a pretty rough state of affairs. The solution was Captain Placeholder, a man of such fame and skill that people still miss him. While Blizzard repaired the boats, Captain Placeholder simply teleported you across the ocean for free.
Eledainn of Graystar long ago penned the words to "The Lament of Captain Placeholder." Now, Cranius has taken it a step further and created a music and video to commemorate the good Captain.
I was floored by this piece. The music is absolutely fantastic. I was impressed by not only the music's composition, but the talent and skill of the singer. The tone and singing style do a lot to bring about a proper WoW feel. The video itself is perfect for the song and soundtrack. The footage is there to provide visual counterpoints and compliments to the music, and that's exactly what it does. With a piece like this, you really want your audience focused on the sound, anyway. I think the transitioning credits did a great job complimenting the style of the song, giving the entire piece an effective classic feel.
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We're going to do something a little different for today's Breakfast Topic. Let's play a little game. Almost all of us have seen those corny, awful Klondike Bar commercials, right? If not, YouTube has some examples for you so you can bask in their ridiculousness. So my request for you this fine Sunday morning is to tell us (tastefully) what you would do for a beta invite, in the style of the Klondike Bar commercials. Yes, I'm serious! Heck, even if you don't want a beta invite, play along! This is purely to have ourselves a good time this morning.
So, out with it. What would you doo-OOO-ooo for a Beta invite?
What would I do for a beta invitation, you ask? Well, I would sing and record the Lament of Captain Placeholder, save it as an mp3 and post it on WoW Insider to be downloaded and mocked by thousands of our readers around the world. But, um... no video. I can only handle so much shame.
I'll see if I can convince some of our other bloggers to answer the question here throughout the day.
In a series of pithy moments last week, Nethaera and Eyonix revealed the sad fate of the fearless crews. It wasn't, as Neth originally claimed, workplace safety hazards that caused the vendors to go AWOL. According to Eyonix, the sight of so many poledancing Blood Elves harrowed the seamen such that they were forced to plunge to icy depths and ultimately drown. Captain Placeholder, Eyonix jokes, is the human form of Deathwing.
I don't care if Eyonix disclaims two or three times that it was a joke -- for me, this is now lore and canon. Captain Placeholder is Deathwing, and I don't care what anyone else has to say about it. Clearly, he killed the boat crews to protect that secret. I fear for the fate of Eyonix for letting this spoiler into the public eye.
We've talked about your favorite NPCs before, but I really like this idea by Benfea: what's the worst NPC name in the game? There are lots of votes for Nutral, the "neutral" flight master in Shattrath, and Haris Pilton probably takes second place for sure. Someone (an MVP!) said Captain Placeholder, but that's crazy talk-- Captain Placeholder is one of the best NPCs ever!
Personally, I never liked the names of the auctioneers in Ironforge-- Redmuse confused me at first, and Lympkin sounds like some kind of disease. And Fandral Staghelm is not only a jerk of the highest order, but his name sounds dumb, too. Who names their kid Fandral?
What's the worst NPC name you've seen in the game?