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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the seventeenth 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.

Priests in the World of Warcraft are a single class that incorporates a wide variety of characters. They are best known for casting spells that call forth the power of the Holy Light, but the priest using these spells in the game mechanics doesn't necessarily have much connection to the Light as such -- rather they have a connection with their own religion which grants them similar effects to those of the Light.

When WoW was being developed, Blizzard realized that night elves and trolls, for instance, would not follow the Light in the same way humans and dwarves do, so they tried to represent a bit of this diversity through race-specific spells. It didn't work out, though -- some were too powerful, while others weren't worth reading about, much less putting on one's action bar. The end result was that they made some of these spells universally available to all priests, and completely removed the rest. Here the lore had to surrender to the game mechanics in order to provide the best game balance.

In roleplaying, however, there is a lot of room for players of different races to behave differently, and draw their powers from totally different sources. Greater Heal, for instance, could come either from the Light or the power of Elune. A Shadowfiend could either be a spawn of the Forgotten Shadow, or a dark trollish voodoo spirit. If you are roleplaying a priest, the only thing that really matters is that your character have some sort of faith or profound belief, which could serve as the source of their divine magical power. A priest's magic revolves around his or her strong beliefs and ideas -- but what those beliefs are is entirely up to you.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Undead, Trolls, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Draenei, Blood Elves, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the sixteenth 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. It's also the first installment with a title that rhymes!

The Mage is the foremost master of magic in the Warcraft universe. Although all the other classes excluding the Warrior and the Rogue use magic of one sort or another with equally wonderful effects, the Mage is the class that's named after the stuff.

But what is magic? What does it feel like to harness it? Does the mage have to do a strange ritual or utter incomprehensible words in an ancient language in order to cast her spells? Other fantasy settings often have one or more of these elements together, but as far as I can tell, Warcraft lacks them.

Arcane magic in the World of Warcraft is an ever-present energy field surrounding the whole world. Mages access it by concentrating in the magic energy within themselves, feeling it rush through their body, and directing it as they please. Those spells that require reagents need an extra focusing item with magical properties of its own in order to bring about the desired effect, but for the most part, fireballs, frostbolts and arcane explosions can be created through the mere act of will on the part of a properly educated mind.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Gnomes, Undead, Trolls, Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Draenei, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be an Alliance Warrior

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the twelfth 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.

From the way that warriors are available to nearly every race in the game as a sort of default fighter person, you'd think that they would be the fallback choice for any number of different sort of characters you might imagine. Any sort of regular shmuck could be a warrior right? You just gotta pick up some sort of weapon and start swinging it around at an enemy, yes?

No. Even though the Warrior class is available to almost every race in the game, every race has its own tradition of what it means to be a warrior -- it's not just a farmer with a pitchfork running around and trying to kill things. Warriors go through extensive training, learn to wield a wide variety of weapons, and train themselves in staying upright and charging about even while wearing all kinds of heavy metal on their bodies.

So today we'll look into some of the ways that the races of the Alliance understand what it means to be a warrior, and see which heroes your character might look up to, as well as the archetypes these heroes represent.

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Filed under: Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Warrior, Draenei, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Gametrailers.com's Warcraft Retrospective continues

The second part of Gametrailers.com's Warcraft Retrospective has gone up, and it's no less fun and informative than the first. Picking up right where it left off, the second part starts with Warcraft III, following the ascension of some of the most well known Blizzard employees such as Rob Pardo, Chris Metzen, and Samwise Didier, not to mention the company and Warcraft series as a whole.

This edition of the series focuses a lot more on one specific game than the first edition, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that. Warcraft III changed a lot about the RTS genre and whether that's a good thing or not is up to the individual. It changed how you managed your units, your base, and your resources, making units more important than just canon fodder. That was especially true when it came to the hero units that now highlight World of Warcraft. This retrospective also goes into the infamous DOTA before it steps up to The Frozen Throne, so if you've no idea what that crazy Europop video is all about, you'll find out!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the first in a series of roleplaying guides on every race in WoW, in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well without embarrassing yourself.

I know, you're thinking "wait a minute, I'm already a human, aren't I? Isn't roleplaying a human in WoW just like being a human in real life -- plus some sword and sorcery, minus some boring office jobs and unpleasant bodily functions?" The answer is no, it's not so simple -- there's a bit of history and culture at work in Azerothian human society that all roleplayers of human characters need to be aware of. Otherwise, it's easy to fall into the trap of inconsistency with the Warcraft lore and the roleplaying that everyone else is trying to do within it.

Suppose for example that you say "Hi! My name is Walter and I was raised on a farm. Now I've come to Stormwind to have adventures and become a hero!" You may find the never-seen-danger-before style of new hero interesting to roleplay, but it would be very unlikely to find such a human in the actual Warcraft lore: ever since the orcs first came through the portal 30 years or so prior to the setting of our game, every human nation has suffered terribly as the human race barely survived 3 huge waves of devastating warfare, with some whole nations of humans completely wiped out. No human growing up in that time would have been untouched by the conflict -- and if you want to roleplay a human, you ought to know about it.

Similar issues exist for all the available player races in WoW; there are certain details about your race's history that you need to know in order to roleplay well. So today we will provide you with the basic knowledge you need to be a human. We'll leave the in-depth lore to other columns, though -- today is just a basic roleplayer's primer on one race, with other races to follow in the future.

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Filed under: Alliance, Human, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Killing off the Horde and their heroes

Ketsumei of Bleeding Hollow makes a pretty good point on the forums: we're killing off Horde heroes, and Alliance are getting a pass. Actually, the Horde heroes point isn't quite a valid one-- yes, we've taken down Kael'thas, Rend Blackhand, and eventually Zul'jin, but we've also killed off Emperor Thaurissian, the Architect of Stormwind (many, many times), and Mekgineer Thermaplugg, not to mention that eventually we'll be killing the number one figure in Alliance lore, Arthas himself. Oh, and some lady named Katrana Prestor, usually found sitting on the left hand of the throne in Stormwind, has been killed as well. But it's true that more instances, especially raid instances, are featuring the deaths of Horde races rather than Alliance races. Especially in the endgame, we're fighting Trolls, Orcs and Blood Elves, not Humans and Draenei.

So what's with the imbalance? This Horde-heavy enemies list is actually a very recent thing-- Scarlet Monastery is full of Humans, as are the Deadmines, and BRD is full of Dwarves. But as we've headed to Outland, the Burning Legion seems to have a thing for recruiting Blood Elves and Orcs, and Zul'Aman will bring about the death of many, many Trolls. Far many more Horde cries of death are being heard lately, and that's just racist.

There's only one thing for it-- as players suggest, we should be allowed to kill a corrupted Malfurion Stormrage in the Emerald Dream expansion. No arguing now-- let's say he's gone insane from fighting the Nightmare and he's got to be put down. We need an instance full of Night Elves to kill over and over again. Oh, and while we're at it, let's have Arthas bring Uther back as a Scourge, and kill him, too! And what's the King of Stormwind up to-- isn't time he died, too?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Raiding, Lore, Bosses, NPCs

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

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