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Posts with tag evil

The most wicked creatures in WoW

Warcraft is a game that seems fairly straightforward in faction division. Alliance is good; Horde is bad. But once you delve into it, that straightforwardness becomes muddled and marred. The Alliance may seem like good guys, but they have their bad moments, and the Horde may seem evil, but even they've got their shining examples of goodness buried within. And when you examine the story and lore closely, you begin to realize that there is no black-and-white division between good and evil; all characters are loosely scattered and somewhere in shades of gray.

Sure, you can argue that the orcs are evil -- and they absolutely were, back in the day. But when you start looking at the justifications for the orcs' actions, that label of pure evil comes into question. As for the Alliance, you can argue that the human race is a bastion of goodness and light -- but then you look at things like the Scarlet Crusade, at Benedictus' betrayal, and you begin to wonder whether the human race is inherently good or just as scattered as the rest of the world.

... Unless, of course, you look at the one place where evil characters always hang out: instances.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The OverAchiever: The 25 most evil achievements, part 1

What are evil achievements? They're the soul-killing rep grinds, the raiding milestones that required sacrificing a farm animal to get, and even fun pasttimes like battlegrounds into which a sizable dose of misery has been added. Eventually you just want to grab the nearest developer and shake him back and forth, screaming, "What the hell were you thinking?"

Last week I previewed three of the most evil achievements in the game, both to collect my own thoughts and to canvass commenters' opinions for a larger article. This week, I'd like to present the first set of evil achievements for your reading, wincing and antacid-chugging pleasure.

A note on judging the "evil value" of achievements
: I've been adding to this list for a while, and it's drawn from both the achievements we've covered in this column and some I've seen players complain about frequently in game. Obviously, there's no real way to quantify exactly how difficult or excruciating achievements are, so I'm going with the definition I gave above. Any incredibly difficult or RNG-saturated achievement made the short list, but I also tried to keep some unusual picks in mind. In this vein, there's an achievement in today's column that, while extremely easy by today's standards, was a screaming horror when it first debuted. I may wind up doing a list of honorable mentions as well.

So, in no particular order, I am pleased to present World of Warcraft's 25 most evil achievements, starting with #25-16 this week.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Breakfast Topic: Too powerful

I like Nibuca's little writeup recently from her blog asking what happens when we become just too powerful to care? Just like her, I've played a full, months-and-months, session of D&D before, and by the time your characters start to flirt with level 20 (the maximum level in that system), you're so powerful that the story barely makes sense any more -- you're crossing planes of existence, unweaving and re-weaving the fabric of reality, and taking down gods, more or less. Once you've vanquished evil from the earth four or five times, yet another threat doesn't bother you so much.

And to a certain extent, that's exactly what's happening with World of Warcraft -- when the game first started, the devs casually threw out there that it would take 40 level 80s to take Arthas down, which was of course a guess based on what raiding was at the time. But nowadays, we're all level 80, you only need five people to go after Arthas, and very soon, even someone like Deathwing will seem conquerable. In the next expansion, we already know that we're going to transverse some planes of existence, and when you're a being that can do that, why bother fighting frost wyrms? Just escape their reality and/or will them out of yours.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Lore, Leveling, Talents, NPCs

All the World's a Stage: So you want to raise up the shadows of doom


Today, All the World's a Stage concludes a series on "how to be evil," bringing the bad guy back into your fantasy roleplaying, complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples. Be sure to check out steps 1-3, steps 4-6, and steps 7 and 8 on the path to evil!

Your friends keep telling you, "you can't play Arthas, man! Nobody's going to believe that your little human death knight is actually the Lich King in disguise. Get real!" But your idea just won't go away. You admit that creating a human death knight named "Ahrrthyss" might not be the best way to go about it, but you're in this guild which is devoted to fighting the Scourge, and you want Arthas to be a part of your story, not just an NPC who shows up in some quests and at the end of a raid.

We've already discussed a number of ways to be a villain in WoW – so you look at them to see if you can get one of them to work for you: The most obvious is to just start a new character and designate it to be one of your guild's antagonists, but the problem here is that making Arthas as an actual player character is way too Mary Sue. Such a tactic usually only works for very subtle villains (more like flawed heroes really), or for short-term possession, and your guild has done 3 "possessed by the Lich King's power" type stories already. You need something new! Another choice is to create a disposable villain, perhaps, some agent of the Lich King, which could be interesting, but still doesn't put you in touch with Arthas himself.

But there is another way, which many people have not thought of: to put the villain entirely in the shadows of the background, let him never actually be seen, but let his effects be felt based on what happens to the heroes. Arthas can indeed play a huge role in your story, without ever having to appear in person. It has been done to great effect before, even in novels. Sauron, anyone?

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Filed under: How-tos, Lore, Bosses, RP, Alts, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

Today, All the World's a Stage continues with steps 7 and 8 of a series on "how to be evil: bringing the bad guy back into your fantasy roleplaying," complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples. Be sure not to miss steps 1-3 and steps 4-6 on the path to evil!

So, you want to be evil? It's not as easy as it seems. Perhaps you've watched a lot of movies or TV shows in which the bad guy has amazing powers, threatens human civilization, and nearly destroys the universe in his quest for domination. Perhaps you were playing Warcraft and saw characters like Arthas and Archimonde wrecking things up pretty bad and said to yourself, "I wanna be just like them when I grow up!" You open up your copy of World of Warcraft and find that you can't play a Lich King or Eredar Overlord, so you just click on the "forsaken" or "draenei" options as the next best things available. "Yup! I'm all ready to go!" you say to yourself. Everyone is just gonna love my idea about being an immortal demigod out to destroy the universe!

But it turns out no one believes you're actually the Lich Prince instead of just another forsaken dude. And people just roll their eyes whenever you reveal your draenei's secret eredar affiliation. A lot of people want to play a raid boss, but the fact remains, you're just not. You're a generic adventurer like everyone else. That doesn't mean you can't be bad... it just means can't be 20 feet tall and out whole cities with a flick of your hand. Once you start thinking practically, about doing something with what you've actually got, then you can start getting somewhere.

One of the most practical tools you can have for playing a bad guy is the disposable low-level character. Keeping your villain at a low level means you don't need to hesitate when he's been defeated, you can roleplay his glorious death and delete him. Your friends save the day -- you save a lot of leveling time. How is it done? Read on.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, Lore, RP, Alts, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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


Today, All the World's a Stage continues a series on "how to be evil," bringing the bad guy back into your fantasy roleplaying, complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples. Be sure to check out steps 1-3 on the path to evil here.

It's been said that the secret to writing a good story is not having a really interesting hero, but rather an interesting villain. The hero himself is defined by the villain in many ways, just as a sports team becomes famous only once they've defeated the last year's champions, or a runner breaks the world record for speed, a hero needs someone to test himself against, a great obstacle for him to overcome or destroy. If the villain is interesting, then the hero will be interesting too.

It is natural, then, for a roleplayer to want to test his own heroes or those of his friends against some obstacles as well. Many of us sit down with the intention of creating a really interesting challenge for our guildmates to overcome – but in our creative endeavor we must remember that danger lurks behind every corner, and creating a villain in itself is a task with significant obstacles to overcome. In fact, one might say that the greatest enemy of such a roleplayer is none other than his own self, the ghost of cliché lurking just outside his field of creative vision.

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Filed under: How-tos, Virtual selves, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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


Today, All the World's a Stage begins a series on "how to be evil," bringing back the bad guy in your fantasy roleplaying -- complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples.

Up to now, we've mostly talked about roleplaying as a way that you and your friends can get together and enjoy developing your characters' relationships with one another. You don't normally tell stories about epic struggle against evil incarnate as a roleplayer in WoW, mostly because you have very limited control over the enemies you can struggle against in the game -- they tend to respawn every few minutes. It's hard to say, "We have just defeated Arthas and rid the world of the threat of the Scourge!" when your guild is scheduled to do the same thing again next week. There are ways around the continuity problem when you're raiding, but generally the best roleplayers tend to stay away from big lore characters and earth-shattering consequences, to focus on the more personal, down to earth things our heroes experience as they go through their daily lives.

It's kind of like if you had a TV series about all the things that happened in the general background of Lord of the Rings that didn't make it into the movies or novels – Frodo, Aragorn and Legolas would not be in it, but there would be other characters who could interact in the same world, and flesh out many of the details that wouldn't fit in the epic trilogy. (Incidentally, I have not had a chance to play Lord of the Rings Online, but I would hope that one of the goals of that game would be to do just this for the world of Middle Earth, the same way WoW roleplayers can sort of do for Azeroth.)

Now, even though you typically don't roleplay yourself beating up the biggest bad guys in the game, that doesn't mean you can't have any antagonists in your RP stories -- just that your own personal villains have to be somewhat low-key, and that you and your friends have to play them yourselves. There are a lot of limitations and pitfalls with that sort of endeavor, of course, but with a bit of subtlety and imagination, it can most certainly be done.

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Filed under: How-tos, Virtual selves, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Breakfast Topic: What will your last meal be?

I would not, could not, in a Citadel.
I could not, would not, with someone so magical.

I will not eat them with an elf.
I will not eat them in a house.

I will not eat them at Northrend or here.
I will not eat them in Azeroth anywhere.

I do not eat green eggs and ham!
I do not like them, Lich King–I–am!


While Dr. Seuss may never have imaged his work being set to the poststructuralist lamentings of an evil-incarnate Paladin, they time is quickly arriving in which your character will sit down and have his last meal in Outlands.

For me, I'm going to be enjoying what's left of my Spicy Crawdad. I built up a large supply of the stuff six or so months ago. I think I've only used about half of it, so there'll be plenty to eat while leveling through Northrend.

But on Wednesday evening when I group up with my friends of Eldre'Thalas for the last time to grind that final bit of Honor Hold rep I need to get exalted (sorry if you didn't know we were doing this guys), I'll be eat my spicy crawdad.

My last meal seems a bit fishy.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Most evil quest in the game

Here's an interesting question: what's the most morally evil quest in the game? There was a quick discussion about the Stanley the Dog quest in Hillsbrad (where you poison and then kill a neutral dog), and it got me thinking: are there any quests in game where you really had a problem with what your character was doing? What's the most evil thing your character has done?

Of course, the definition of evil in this case isn't quite written in stone -- what your character thinks is OK to do may not be what you think is OK to do. My undead Rogue took a lot of pleasure in killing Stanley, even if I would be horrified to hear about someone doing the same thing in real life. But in the same vein, while I was fully convinced in character that setting off that Mana Bomb in Outland was the right thing for my character to do, personally, I thought the kill count was a little shocking. At what point does my hero become a mass murderer?

A few other WoW Insider writers mentioned the Cenarius' Legacy and the other Undead Plague quests to be a little too evil for their tastes. Are there any other quests in the game where your character is asked to do something morally questionable?

Filed under: Undead, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Quests

All the World's a Stage: How to roleplay your way to level 70

When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.

A friend of mine recently complained that lately leveling has been extremely tedious. Even with characters he might feel excited about at first, he eventually gets bored after just a few quests. We talked about this for a little while, and he brought up the fact that if he was going to play WoW by himself he might as well play a single-player game instead.

It got me thinking that, in spite of all the demand people have for more solo and casual content, this is significantly better when we play it together. Even when I play by myself, my eye is always on my friends list to see if someone I know is going to show up and chat with me. Thinking about my friend's problem, I thought maybe it would really help if he and I were to go questing together -- so we found the two characters we had with the smallest level gap between them and we decided to go at it. Rather than just just going through the motions of killing the various enemies listed on our little quest sheets as if we were buying groceries or something, we made it into a neat little roleplay experience.

In fact, there are lots of quests in the game that are very appropriate for roleplaying. When you get together with your friends to level up and quest together, you can focus on the quest that has the deepest possible connection to your own character, or the one with the most intrinsic storyline. Of course there are many other throwaway quests you can do along the way, like "kill 10 Generic Humanoids" or whatever, but it works best to pick one that seems to have some meaning to you or your character and start there.

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Filed under: How-tos, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Quests, Leveling, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Gold sellers hold account hostage

We all deal with them. Their annoying spam, their flooding of the general channels. Those gold sellers deserve the kiss of death. Wouldn't it be nice if their industry just went and slept with the fishes?

In a tactic that even Don Corleone himself would be angry at, gold sellers have sunken to a new low. John M. wrote in to tell us the tale of a fellow guild mate who fell under the gaze of a gold seller who took his account hostage, demanding payment from his guild. Sit back, open up a new window with this Godfather music, and read on after the break.

I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, News items, Economy, Making money, Rumors

"Good" items in the land of the Lich King

Silrad has an interesting request for the next expansion: he would like some "good" looking items, please.

No, not necessarily "attractive" items-- rather, he wants some items that look like they could be wielded by someone fighting for right, for truth, and for justice. Since Blackwing Lair in vanilla WoW, most of the higher level items look scary-- they're black and spiky, with dark magics streaming around them. Not exactly the kind of thing that a true worshipper of the Light would want to be seen with. I get what Silrad's saying-- he's not a hardcore RPer, but he wants to look like a good guy, and it's tough to do that when your shield has skulls all over it.

Unfortunately, considering who we'll probably be going after in Northrend, odds are that we're in for more gothic, frosty death armor. But there is good news-- Blizzard has already said that even though we're headed into a place where they have something called the Frozen Throne, it's not going to be all ice and snow. There will be at least one Dwarven instance, and you know those Dwarves are interested in: your regular old shiny, gleaming, good-guy steel.

True, if you're playing a class called a "Death Knight," your armor can't really be pink and frilly-- it's got to have some skulls, black plating, and blue magic on it. But hopefully the artists on Wrath will find a few places to put some good old "knight in shining armor" armor out there for us.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Humor, Wrath of the Lich King

Is "ugly" the new beautiful, and "evil" the new good? [Updated]

I have a question for all the Horde and warlock players out there -- as well as anyone who plays their character in a so-called "evil" way. But first, let me explain where I'm coming from.

As you know, one of the main differences between the Alliance and the Horde is their sense of style. In fact, the question of what looks and feels good to players of either side may be one of the biggest areas of disagreement that actually exists between them. To a lesser extent, this sort of disagreement exists between classes as well. Warlocks give off a very different feeling from Paladins for example, and different people are attracted to each sort of "aura."

Like many players, my sense of aesthetics and beauty fits in squarely on one side of this aesthetic equation, and the other side can be rather difficult for me to understand. I play in the Alliance, and my favorite races are usually the ones that are "beautiful" and noble-looking in a traditional sense. To me personally, the Horde races are hard to relate to.

I do sometimes start up a Horde character if I have a funny idea for roleplaying him or her, but eventually something about them starts to bother me. Now that the Horde has prettier blood elves to play, I admit this helped me a lot -- I am gradually leveling up a blood elf alt in my free time -- but somehow being a blood elf in the Horde feels rather out of place, as if I'm not really part of the Horde because I'm not hunched over with a ready-to-kill look on my face.

For a long time I couldn't play a warlock either for similar reasons. The class just seemed inherently evil; summoning demons and stealing people's souls seemed wrong somehow. Even though I knew it's just a fantasy game, I still had no desire to mimic in the game something that would be abhorrent to me in real life. I often wondered: what is attractive about the look and feel of these characters to Horde and warlock players?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP

Mass Murder 101: How to be a hero

It's a fact that the majority of what we do in World of Warcraft is kill things. Nearly all the supplementary activities we engage in, from shopping to crafting, are all basically to help us improve the effectiveness of our violent capabilities. Many players have noted that if WoW were at all real, then nearly every one of our characters would be considered a genocidal maniac for all the people and creatures we have killed, and yet we view ourselves as heroes.

The idea is, of course, that most of the lives we take are really evil anyway, so we're actually doing the real good guys a favor. We kill tons of demons, ghosts, zombies, dragonkin, giants, and rabid beasts -- even most of the humanoids we kill are bandits or wicked cultists of one sort or another. This way we do lots of killing, but still feel as though we are heroes.

There are some situations in the game, however, that turn things around for us, in which our character is not the hero. While there are some higher-level instances such as the Black Morass, or the new Caverns of Time: Stratholme, in which one could argue either way whether what we're doing is good or evil, most of situations in which you are clearly the bad guy, as far as I am aware, have to do with the undead, and to a lesser extent the blood elves as well. Of course, you can argue that in general, undead are just misunderstood, and the blood elves are just tragically misled, but as in the case of quests in Hillsbrad that ask you to go slaughter human farmers, or help develop a new plague, there's really no denying that your character is doing something "morally wrong."

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Filed under: Undead, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blood Elves, RP

Child of the Elements

I finally finished the children's week quests on the alliance side, after being quite busy for most of the last week. It's interesting to note how different the draenei girl is from the blood elf that Elizabeth covered earlier. Far from a girl seeming fated to grow up to be a evil-doer of some kind, young Dornaa seems to be a child destined to be a kind and powerful shaman, deeply in touch with the elements.

The Exodar's resident Naaru, named O'ros, seems very impressed with her and asks you to have her visit Farseer Nobundo, leader of draenei shamanism, upstairs. She and the Farseer have already met in a dream, apparently! Nobundo is astounded that the child should have such a natural connection to the elements, and says he will petition for her to stay in the Exodar and train under him after you return her to the orphanage. At the Caverns of Time, she is approached by the Wardens of Time (and saved by the great dragon Zaladormu) just like the blood elf orphan, but the feeling of this is quite different in her context, especially since she wants to befriend a dragon someday, not own one like the blood elf. It seems to me as if a great responsibility rests on her at some time in the future, not some great and evil destiny.

Does the difference between the Horde and Alliance orphans reinforce the thinking that the Horde really is generally evil (with a few who are good) while the Alliance is generally good (with a few who are evil)? Is that the balance we like? Does Blizzard need to provide more kind hordies and wicked allies?

(By the way, if you haven't yet done the Children's Week quests, today [the 29th] is the last day already too late. It seems that Blizzard has once again posted one time on the calendar but gone ahead and cut it off early. Personally, it irks me when this sort of thing happens for no reason -- product delays I can understand, but cutting off a fun event before you promised you would? Grrrr!)

Filed under: Patches, Events, Draenei

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