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Posts with tag role-playing

Who are you pretending to be?

I know that a lot of WoW players don't care about lore or role playing, and I've always kind of felt that was a shame. Some of the most fun I've had in World of Warcraft was in playing a role (and no, I don't mean tanking) -- I've talked before about the old days when I actually led a Naxx raid in character as an overly concerned tauren worried about all the small people. Nothing irritates an orc warlock as much as hugs, let me tell you.

I mention this because, thanks to a coworker's twitter, I discovered Daily Character Development, and it got me thinking about my character. Quite frankly, as silly as it might be to concern myself with the fictional life experiences of a mass of pixels, I also find it brings an extra something to the game. Raids come and go. Gear gets replaced. But I find that even dedicating a little time to who you're raiding on, and who that gear is going to, makes it a little bit more fun for me.

Of course, I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who's played tabletop pen and paper RPG's for years and years. But as just one example, when I was playing an orc, I sat back and thought about how that orc would view Garrosh Hellscream and realized that from the perspective of a young orc who's basically grown up on Azeroth, Hellscream was basically the perfect orc. That at least some orcs could totally get behind his agenda. It made the whole Horde civil war aspect of the thing incredibly interesting to me, after I rerolled Alliance again I imagined my orc ended up on the wrong side... and probably dead at the hands of the combined forces besieging the city.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Two Bosses Enter: Season 4 preview

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In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

Two Bosses Enter's season finale was a big win for dungeon boss design, with End Time's Murozond beating out the rest of the Hour of Twilight 5-man instance bosses and even some of the Dragon Soul raid bosses, thanks to the Raid Finder. The WoW Insider community connected with an all-around fun fight that wasn't as punishing as some of the other fights in the 5-man heroic tier but made for epic moments and an important climactic battle. Murozond and his unique mechanic will have a lot to say going forward with encounter design, I would imagine, as this whole set of 5-mans has been remarkably successful, for the most part. Sorry, Arcurion.

Now that we've got season 3 tucked away, it's time to ponder the future, looking forward toward a brighter and more peaceful tomorrow. Sadly, that tomorrow isn't looking so bright or peaceful, with the Horde and the Alliance preparing to descend upon the lost continent of Pandaria, bitter rivalries and hatreds newly reignited. With war comes heroes from every faction, giving us plenty of cannon fodder for Two Bosses Enter.

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter, Mists of Pandaria

Two Bosses Enter Season 3 Finale: Murozond is your champion

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In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

The votes are tallied and the poll is closed -- Murozond is your Two Bosses Enter Season 3 champion! The maddened aspect took the win over fan favorite Echo of Sylvanas by about 320 votes -- pretty close, all things considered. Murozond emerged as a strong contender early in the voting and never let up, soundly defeating each foe he was paired up against. Congratulations!

Did your horse win the race? Are you outraged that the mere embodiment of twisted time and dark knowledge could lay a hand on even a sliver of fair Sylvanas' soul? Hey, I love Sylvanas too, but lately I've been wondering where the heck her story is going, besides trapped in a dragonshrine in a preventable future. Let's see some movement on the Sylvanas story front.

Who wins? Echo of Sylvanas vs. Murozond
Echo of Sylvanas (End Time)2079 (46.4%)
Murozond (End Time)2401 (53.6%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Season 3 finale, Echo of Sylvanas vs. Murozond

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In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

The fans have spoken, and your two finalists are chosen. The Echo of Sylvanas from the End Time dungeon will face off against Murozond, also from the End Time dungeon. I think we can say then that without a doubt, the new 5-man instances that dropped with patch 4.3 were popular enough to spawn some memorable bosses, specifically End Time. Nice job.

Murozond did not squeak by Mannoroth -- he trounced him. Taking 64% of the vote and beating Mannoroth by about a thousand votes, Murozond proved to be the real fan favorite and champion of his brackets. Using the cool hour glass factor as well as great encounter design memories and spectacular moments, the Murozond was raid-worthy in epicness but accessible to the entire World of Warcraft player base. That's an achievement all its own.

The real contest begins now, however, as Murozond and the Echo of Sylvanas go head-to-head, toe-to-toe, in a fan favorite matchup that will rival all previous finales. Rally your troops, because this is going to be down to the final few votes -- I can feel it. If you want to watch either one of these bosses dominate, it's time to vote now.

Who wins? Echo of Sylvanas vs. Murozond
Echo of Sylvanas (End Time)2079 (46.4%)
Murozond (End Time)2401 (53.6%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Mannoroth

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Your first finals contender for this season of Two Bosses Enter is here! The Echo of Sylvanas summarily defeated the Echo of Baine, crushing the vote and positioning herself for a huge win at the end of the tournament. People just love them some Sylvanas, don't they? What can I say? And, speaking of Echos, if you don't mind, I will begin at the beginning ...

Your second finals contender is about to be crowned. Murozond, twisted and tainted, exists as a separate shadow of his former Aspect, Nozdormu, in every moment. His time has not come -- it came for an eternity before this moment and will come for an eternity after this moment. Mannoroth, destroyer of worlds and the lives existing on each, seeks only destruction of all things standing in the way of total universal domination by the Burning Legion. Two beings built for pure chaos face off this week in the Two Bosses Enter arena! Cast your vote now.

Seriously, cast your vote. The buttons call to you, like the sirens to Odysseus, except that you aren't tied to the mast ... and now you've crashed into Fun Island! Just vote.

Who wins? Murozond vs. Mannoroth
Murozond (End Time)2202 (64.0%)
Mannoroth (Well of Eternity)1241 (36.0%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Echo of Baine vs. Echo of Sylvanas

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In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

We have only three matches left in Two Bosses Enter Season 3: The Reckoning, Pre-Mists edition -- and they are going to be exciting. Each of the two semifinal matches will divide fanbases, challenge the status quo, and truly shake the very foundation of Two Bosses Enter forever. There is quite literally nothing more exciting than the next three weeks right here ... Same Two Bosses time, same Two Bosses station.

Two Echoes face off once again in the first semifinal match of the tournament. The Echo of Baine, leader of the tauren tribes at Thunderbluff, awaits tormented in agony within the Black Dragonshrine, awaiting the true cosmic and universal death that I assume is coming with a Burning Legion victory in the supposed End Time future. The Echo of Sylvanas broods in the Red Dragonshrine, waiting to enact her vengeance upon anyone, anything that happens to be living and moving across the barren wasteland of the Dragonblight. These two competitors have heavy followings, and I cannot wait to see which fans come out in force for.

In what I believe is quite an upset, Lord Godfrey has fallen to the might of Mannoroth. I should have seen it coming -- Mannoroth has been an unstoppable force through this tournament so far. Did you have your gold pieces on this monstrosity to take it all the way? You might have been right about it, after all.

Vote, vote, vote me hearties -- vote, vote, vote me hearties today.

Who wins? Echo of Baine vs. Echo of Sylvanas
Echo of Baine1551 (34.2%)
Echo of Sylvanas2986 (65.8%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Mannoroth vs. Lord Godfrey

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

Oh ho ho ho, this promises to be quite the matchup, ladies and gentlemen. Can the pit lord general and his wacky elf sidekick take down gunslinger extraordinaire Lord Godfrey in a duel to the presumable death? I'm excited. Get excited! I've got Mannoroth taking this one in an early and decisive victory. Sorry, Godfrey fans -- I call 'em like I sees 'em.

Last week's matchup was a doozy that took me by surprise. I did not expect a win for Murozond because I thought that Azshara would have a more loyal following. Much like her misguided and tainted Highborne, her followers were not strong or numerous enough to cinch the win. Sorry, lady, you're out.

Now it is time to vote. You heard me -- vote! Who will advance to the next round? Choose! I can't push to any more than I already have.

Who wins? Mannoroth vs. Lord Godfrey
Mannoroth (Well of Eternity)2382 (58.1%)
Lord Godfrey (Shadowfang Keep)1720 (41.9%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Queen Azshara

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

Another exciting episode of Two Bosses Enter hits you in the face right now with an exciting matchup between the infinite master of time, Murozond, and Queen Azshara, one of the most revered night elves in Azeroth's history. You will get to decide who moves on to the next round by voting for your favorite combatant and discussing the fight in the comments. You're going to have a blast.

The fight last week was a real doozy, wasn't it? The Echo of Sylvanas pulled out a decisive victory over the hordes of Old God fanboys, eager to watch their champion move forward into the tournament as the world goes mad watching. Too bad, since Zon'ozz is out. Better find a new servant of the Old Gods to flip out over.

Who wins? Murozond vs. Queen Azshara
Murozond (End Time)2344 (61.5%)
Queen Azshara (Well of Eternity)1466 (38.5%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Echo of Sylvanas vs. Warlord Zon'ozz

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

Welcome back to the WoW Insider ring, where two champions will face off in mortal combat (with a c, not a k) and the ultimate winner being decided by you. This week, the Echo of Sylvanas aims to knock Warlord Zon'ozz and his Old God masters back to the very abyss that they came from. It'll be a hard fight, considering people actually know who General Zon'ozz is for once because of the incredible Raid Finder.

Last week, the Echo of Baine barely carved out a win with a staggeringly close 51.7% of the vote. Sadly, that means the Echo of Jaina is sent home packing, and the tauren chieftain's ancient spirit echo lives to fight another day. You may be getting your own book in the coming months, Jaina, but this is where your story ends on Two Bosses Enter. Ha, ha! Clever!

Vote now or forever be wracked with the pain and guilt of despair as your favorite combatant loses by the vote you never cast. Vote now and be saved from the torment!

Who wins? Echo of Sylvanas vs. Warlord Zon'ozz
Echo of Sylvanas (End Time)2228 (60.2%)
Warlord Zon'ozz (Dragon Soul)1473 (39.8%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Echo of Baine vs. Echo of Jaina

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

Ah, this will be a fun mashup fight to watch. While I would have originally said this would be a win for Baine's father Cairne immediately, I don't know if I can say the same for his son. With Baine's popularity on the rise, however, anything is possible. There is also the looming irony of two of the most friendly and conflict-averse characters in the entire game going head-to-head in a winner-takes-all fight. It's almost like it was planned all along. Don't worry, it wasn't. I'm not that clever.

Last week's matchup was a sad shut-out for Arcurion, who I am sure most people don't even know because he lives at the beginning of a dungeon that people try their best to close their eyes and breeze through. Truth be told, it usually works, and that's all right in my book. Easy and fun are better than frustrating and time-consuming, in my book.

Who takes home the next coveted spot on the ever-dangerous quest to become the champion on Two Bosses Enter? Only you can decide ...

Who wins? Echo of Baine vs. Echo of Jaina
Echo of Baine (End Time)1802 (51.7%)
Echo of Jaina (End Time)1681 (48.3%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Arcurion vs. Lord Godfrey

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

The icy wastes of the Dragonblight are harsh enough without the interference of Arcurion, one of the last undefeared ice ascendants in Deathwing's elemental army. His mission: Stop Thrall from reaching Wyrmrest Temple. Opposite this frosty foe is our championship winner from last season, Shadowfang Keep denizen Lord Godfrey, whose double pistols stole the hearts and minds of readers. Godfrey's cool tricks, as well as some other favorable matches, made last season's competition one of the best yet.

Last week's match was a resounding victory for Mannoroth and Varo'then, easily wrecking Asira Dawnslayer and her night elf allies. It was a serious whooping, friends, with a final tally giving the demon duo 69.5% of the vote. Nice win, kids.

Which of our two champions will advance to the next round of Two Bosses Enter? Only you can decide ...

Who wins? Arcurion vs. Lord Godfrey
Arcurion (Hour of Twilight)694 (26.3%)
Lord Godfrey (Shadowfang Keep)1940 (73.7%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Spiritual Guidance: Of lore, the forsaken and shadow priests


In addition to being the author of Wednesday's shadow priest edition of Spiritual Guidance, Fox Van Allen is an accomplished songwriter. After Dawn Moore refused to use Power Infusion on him during a lengthy raid encounter, Fox wrote the song In the Air Tonight. He mailed Dawn front-row tickets to his first concert performance, and as he reached the chorus, a bright spotlight engulfed Dawn. She cried in shame. It was awesome.

Regular readers of Spiritual Guidance know that over the last month, I've been putting together a leveling guide for aspiring shadow priests. In the last installment, I made a seemingly innocuous comment about shadow priests' being able to take the talent Shadowform at level 40:
We're able to make that fateful decision to forsake the light in exchange for causing more destruction more effectively.
I was literally describing the game mechanics; staying in Shadowform requires you to give up the spells in the holy tab. One of our commenters, aramis, used the line as a launching pad for an interesting comment that addressed a very basic question for us shadow priests: What the heck are shadow priests supposed to be, anyway?

I won't reprint the entire comment here, but it's definitely worth reading. The gist of it can be understood by reading just the first few sentences:
Mr. V-A, we don't FORSAKE the light as Shadow Priests. On the contrary, we embrace it ... We accept the light as the balance of ourselves. Life is about balance: pleasure and pain; good and evil; life and death; light and shadow.
Is aramis right? Follow me past the break as we explore a little bit of shadow priest lore, dip our toes into the cold waters of shadow priest roleplay, and try to solve an identity crisis that most of you probably don't even realize exists.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

WoW.com Guest Post: Creating lore-based characters that aren't Mary Sues


Anna writes about roleplaying, healing, raiding and creative writing over at her blog, Too Many Annas.

One of the most frequent criticisms leveled at any kind of roleplay or fan-written fiction is the presence of the dreaded Mary Sue.

If you're not familiar with the term, a Mary Sue is a character who is overly idealized, has few or no actual flaws and functions as a wish-fulfillment or fantasy for the author. In WoW, this type of character is also frequently tied to major lore figures – the stereotypical lovechild of Thrall and Jaina (or some other such invented tie to a major character).

Unfortunately, sometimes this turns into an avoidance of all lore information in an attempt to not make the character Sue-ish. In a world like Azeroth that has a lot of really well developed lore, that can result in characters who are dangerously ambiguous and don't have any connection or history.

So how do you write a lore-based character without toeing the Mary Sue line?

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Filed under: RP, Guest Posts

All the World's a Stage: Anonymosity

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

Roleplaying is a journey of trust you take with strangers. You may now and then start out with a group of people you know in real life, but for the most part, the people you roleplay with have no idea who you really are, or why you are sitting here at the computer. You can tell them if you want to, but most people don't ask. Roleplayers tend to keep personal details private, and don't intrude on one another's space.

Besides, other roleplayers don't necessarily care that much about who you "really are" either. They're there to get to know your character, not you as a person, unless your character first makes a very good impression and they decide that they actually want to be friends as real people. Even though you respect each other as people who share the same interest, there's still a distance between you which either (or both) of you may wish to maintain.

And yet, the relationship you have is one of trust. It's not at all at the same level as a best friend of course, but you still have to trust one another in a very creative sense -- you rely on each other to create interesting things for your characters to share with one another. You're not just buying a shirt from a salesperson or holding the door for a passerby -- you're exchanging behavior and language in an unpredictable and totally interconnected way. Any little surprise a stranger brings to an interaction may completely alter the whole game session and stick in your mind as one of your most memorable gaming experiences. Roleplayers have to trust other roleplayers to help make those experiences positive, even without knowing anything at all about one another. Sometimes two characters can even become very close friends, even though the real people behind them do not.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: We don't need no narration

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

Throughout my career as a roleplaying columnist on WoW.com, I've been talking about roleplaying as a way to tell stories, but last week a comment by Zombie, as well as those made by a few others on the same topic, caused me to think about roleplay stories in a new way. Perhaps what we roleplayers do isn't actually storytelling so much as it is character development through interesting and somewhat disjointed anecdotes.

There's really no beginning, middle, or end to a roleplayed character in WoW. Instead, what you get is a mishmash of events and experiences, which you may then string together into a story in your mind if you like. But even if you don't, you can see that most of us don't really expect for a narrative to develop from a clear beginning, through various plot developments, and finally lead into an exciting climax. There is something else roleplayers want to get out of their experience, even if many of us have trouble articulating exactly what it is.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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