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Posts with tag roleplaying-lore-guides

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the twenty-first 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.

There's something about shamans that gets us thinking and talking. Whether it's something as simple as the proper pronunciation of "shamanism," or something as profound as a shaman's humility in relation to the source of his or her power, the lore and ideology of the shaman class often resonates with players more than many others in the World of Warcraft.

One reason for this is that shamans have been such a pivotal force in the lore, possibly more than any other class in the game (depending on your point of view). Other classes, such as warriors, or paladins, come as a sort of pre-defined archetype in fantasy games that don't seem all that different from their original forms in other fantasy settings. The actual beliefs of a priest, for instance, don't seem to matter so much to many players, so long as the class can heal like we expect them to. Even the druids, with their central place in night elf society, sometimes seem more like nature-based magic users rather than true philosophers in their own right.

Shamans, however, have a major burden to bear in one of the central plot shifts of the Warcraft storyline -- namely that the orcs, who entered the Warcraft stage in the Warcraft 1: Orcs and Humans computer game as rampaging demonic evildoers bent on destruction, and actually turned out to be a peaceful race that just got tricked into being evil. Shamanism had to be much much more than just an archetype with some special powers -- it had to be a way of thinking, a system of belief that could be taken over by demonic corruption and yet at the same time act as a beacon of truth and goodness once that the demonic taint had been defeated. Shamanism has got to be complex and profound, or else the story wouldn't make sense.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Shaman, Draenei, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

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

Long long ago, human beings all around the world (of Earth, not Warcraft) investigated different ways of describing how the world around them worked. Many different cultures found that the materials they encountered seemed divided into four or five separate elements, each with its own properties: earth, fire, water, and air. Space, "void," or "aether" was often noted as the fifth element, or, as in the case of China, the understanding of these elements looked a lot different but in the end produced a similar sort of system.

In Azeroth, however, these ideas about the elements never got swallowed up by modern science and the periodic table of elements. They turned out to be real forces in the world, each with its own set of elemental spirits, which people could communicate and cooperate with.

Shamans are the masters of this magical task, charged with helping to maintain the balance of nature in a very different way from druids. While druids are focused more on nature as a system of energy, life, and growth, shamans focus more on the spirits of the land, flames, waters and skies as they all interact with one another. They gain great wisdom by learning of the different characteristics of these elements, and in turn bring this wisdom to the people they serve.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Shaman, Draenei, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

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

Nature is a system of life energy in constant flow, peaceful one moment and turbulent the next. All living things draw their life from it, and depend upon its balance for their existence. Druids are the protectors of this balance, who harness the energies it contains and try to live their lives according to its laws and principles. In this way, they become intimate members of the natural system, embodying the very force that they seek to protect. The druid is not merely a spellcaster who draws on nature to do cool stuff -- he is nature, in himself, completely one with it in every way. The world is his body, and he is an inseparable part of the whole.

It can be rather hard for those of us living in the concrete jungles of modern city life to get a feeling for what nature really is, or what it feels like to be a part of it. Perhaps if you have ever ventured off the paved highway into the distant reaches of the world, you will know the feeling of connection to the greatness of the natural world in which the human race evolved, long, long ago in a state of mind far, far away from billboards and electronic devices, pop culture and prime-time TV programming. It may no longer be possible for human beings to simply return to its ancient state, nor would that necessarily be a good thing. Today, people look out at the world outside the closed-off bubble of material civilization and wonder their new relationship with the ancient balance of nature could be.

To play a druid in WoW as a class in a game is one thing, but to try and get inside the druid worldview and understand what they might be thinking is something else. To start, it would help to look inside ourselves and see what sort of connection to nature exists there. Is there a balance? What would balance look like? How would it feel to be in complete harmony with the natural world? What would it be like to channel all the power of nature through your body or indeed feel the world itself as an extension of your body?

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

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

Originally I had planned to write about death knights only after I had written about all the other classes, as a way of wrapping up and rounding out this whole series of articles about the lore behind the playable races and classes of World of Warcraft. But then ZuWho posted a comment on my last article specifically requesting me for my thoughts on death knights -- and even used the word "pleeeaase!" So of course I'm always a sucker for such polite requests, especially comments like this with really insightful questions. Today we'll look specifically at these questions and see what possible answers come to mind.

To a certain extent, we already covered a number of possibilities for death knight characters about 6 months ago. However, while most of those possibilities are still valid, there was so much we didn't know about the player-character death knight lore at that time, and there are definitely some points that need updating.

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Filed under: Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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 a Warlock

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

The Warlock is the ideological counterpart to the Paladin. Where paladins strive to wipe out evil wherever they see it, warlocks enslave those evils and use them for their own purposes. Being a warlock is all about harnessing the most wicked, corrupting, and evil forces in the universe.

Why are these forces evil, you ask? Aren't magical powers neutral in themselves depending on how you use them? Isn't killing with one weapon more or less the same as killing with another? Well, if you consider that a warrior basically cuts or bashes things, and a paladin cuts or bashes and brings down the righteous energy of justice. But a warlock uses curses and spells, which, like horrifying biological weapons of modern days, destroy his enemies' minds and eat away their bodies from the inside; wreaks massive havoc with great explosions and persisting fire; and sucks the souls out of people and creatures and uses them to power even more horrifying abilities, such as summoning demonic creatures who would just as soon pluck out your eyeballs as look at you.

To suffer at the hands of a warlock is significantly more excruciating than the attacks of any other class -- a slow, painful, torturous, agonizing death. If warlocks existed in modern earth, their abilities would be against all international agreements on human rights and rules of warfare; they would be squarely in the evil company of terrorism, drug-trafficking, slavery, and biological germ warfare development.

And yet if your warlock works for the Alliance or the Horde, he or she claims to do all of these things all for the greater good.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Gnomes, Orcs, Undead, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, 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 Paladin


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

You might say that paladins are the guardians at the gates of hell -- they fight evil wherever it penetrates into their world and they take the fight to the evil's source in the hope of quenching it forever. Although they focus on guarding their people from undead and demonic forces on the rise, paladins actually stand against evil everywhere, including the evil in their own hearts.

Being a paladin means that you have a relationship of some sort with the Holy Light, that mysterious force of goodness and faith that flows to some degree within all living beings with positive intentions. Most paladins (and many priests) believe that when you do something that you believe to be good, the power of the Light increases in you and your connection to the rest of creation is strengthened, whereas doing something evil (such as acts of greed, despair, or vengeance) will darken the universe and weaken your connection to it. Whether this belief system is a religion or a philosophy is open to interpretation, and seems to depend in some part upon which race you are.

There are three sorts of paladins in World of Warcraft, aligned with the humans, the draenei, and the blood elves. All of these share certain similarities, but each has its own differences as well.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Dwarves, Paladin, Draenei, Blood Elves, 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 a Horde Warrior

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

The Warrior is not merely a well-trained fighter who loves his weapons and armor and takes great care to wield them well -- inside each one is a boiling cauldron of rage and passion. By and large, warriors feel at home on the battlefield because it is the one place where they can express themselves, where they can finally let go of all the restraint society imposes on them and unleash all their emotions. Without his raging passion, a person would be much better suited to some calmer form of work -- it is this unquenchable fire which sustains a warrior, driving him into action in the midst of mortal peril.

Alliance warriors tend to focus more on training and weapon mastery, sometimes downplaying their rage so much that you hardly even see it. Some warriors like this (even in the Horde sometimes) may be so stoic that even they do not believe that they have any emotions whatsoever, although I doubt anyone who watched them fight could really agree. Something's got to make you willing to put on all that armor and risk death every day.

But Horde warriors are more likely to display their rage, bloodlust, and other aggressive emotions much more freely. Of course, it's possible that a Horde warrior could have a collection of stuffed animals, write poetry, and even play hopscotch with children, but their rage lurks deep within, and the essence of their profession is to let it loose.

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Warrior, Blood Elves, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, 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)

All the World's a Stage: So you still want to be a blood elf


This installment of All the World's a Stage is the eleventh 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. This article is largely a continuation of last week's article, which has been updated for accuracy.

There has been a great deal of change and evolution of the world of World of Warcraft, and to a certain extent, all the available player races have gone through changes because of the events that have taken place. The original release content had lots of dungeons and quests and things going on, but each one seemed to tell the story of a place rather than the story of a people. Like each place, the stories told there seemed static, as the players grew and moved on, the places all remained the same.

The Burning Crusade, however, began to change all that. Instead of just adding new content with each patch, some aspects of the old content were changed as well, with certain characters and peoples coming to the foreground as major antagonists. Players were no longer merely vague adventurers tasked with saving the world from one giant evil monster or another, their characters had vested interests in bringing about some change in their circumstances.

For no group of player-aligned characters was this as true as it was with the blood elves. From the time The Burning Crusade was released, up to now, when the next chapter of the Warcraft story (Wrath of the Lich King) is starting to unfold, the blood elves are the only player faction whose leader has turned into a major boss in a dungeon (not once but twice!), whose capital city has been deprived of one of its most significant residents (who also ended up turned into a major dungeon boss), and whose culture has undergone a complete turnaround over the course of this expansion's expanding storyline.

The draenei, of course, played a huge role in the story of The Burning Crusade, but in the end, they were mostly just very strong supporting characters. The blood elves were the stars of the show.

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Filed under: Horde, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you still want to be a blood elf, part 3



The Sunwell Redemption

The final tie between Kael'thas and Quel'thalas was broken when Kael'thas' minions returned to take back by force the naaru, M'uru, which he had once given to his kindred so freely. Lady Liadrin and her Blood Knights would have been left without any of their powers had the naaru A'dal not reached out a hand to save her and her people. Lady Liadrin was deeply regretful of what she and her Blood Knights had done to M'uru, but A'dal forgave them, saying that M'uru had known all along what his role would be in this unfolding drama. The naaru extended his own Light energies to Liadrin and her Blood Knights, and encouraged them to assist him to stop the terrible threat that Kael'thas now represented to all the people of Azeroth and Outland.

The former "Lord of the Blood Elves," now quite insane, had brought the remaining strength of his forces back to Azeroth and taken over the Sunwell Island, just across the channel from Silvermoon City, and planned to use the hidden energies of the Sunwell's magic to try and summon Kil'jaeden into the world. The blood elves and draenei of Shattrath united to overcome this threat, and as their forces ventured deeper and deeper into the Sunwell fortifications Kael'thas had set up, they found that M'uru himself was enslaved as a guard the site where Kil'jaeden would be summoned. The heroes were forced to destroy his weakened body and stop the entropic energies which now began to vacuum up all life around it as the last of his Light energies seemed to drain away.

At last, of course, the heroes faced Kil'jaeden himself at the site of the Sunwell (perhaps your own character was among them), and, with the help of some dragons, they drove him back into the Sunwell Portal, away from Azeroth. The draenei prophet Velen arrived, along with Lady Liadrin, and spoke to the heroes, as he placed the last remaining fragment of M'uru's body into the Sunwell. The result is one of the best scenes in Warcraft lore, which you too can look on, as the last spark of M'uru's life reignites the Sunwell with the energy of the Holy Light, restoring once and for all, that magical life energy the blood elves need, as well as something far greater, something with the power to rebirth the entire civilization of the blood elves: Faith.

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Filed under: Horde, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you still want to be a blood elf, part 2

Stealing the Light

At this point it is important to draw a distinction between the blood elves who followed Kael'thas and the naga through the portal into Outland, and the blood elves who stayed behind in Quel'thalas and Silvermoon City. They were still one faction at this point, but a number of differences were starting to appear. For one, although the blood elves in Quel'thalas were drawing on fel energies just like their brethren in Outland, they certainly weren't surrounded by demons like Illidan and all his minions all the time, not to mention the vast energies of the evil Twisting Nether, which surrounded all of Outland. Thus, the blood elves in Outland were saturated to overflowing in magic and power, while the blood elves in Quel'thalas were still rather hungry for it.

Therefore, Kael'thas thought it wise to send the gift of this captured naaru, named M'uru, back to Silvermoon City, so that his people there could have more energy to help quench their magical thirst. Soon, however, the blood elves of Quel'thalas found a way to start using this power of the Light rather than merely feeding on it, casting spells and blessings in the same way that human, dwarven, and draenei paladins could -- while the other races drew on the Light through the power of their faith, the blood elves learned to control it as it flowed through M'uru.

The first blood elf to take up this path of corrupted paladinhood was Lady Liadrin, who then founded the order of Blood Knights that became infamous throughout Azeroth and Outland alike. Thrall and the other leaders of the Horde disagreed with the methods the Blood Knights had employed, but could not deny their strategic value on the battlefield.

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Filed under: Horde, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

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

One look at the blood elves and you might think "arrogant pop star," but their story entails much more suffering and tragedy than is at first evident. Like so many in the World of Warcraft, they have very nearly lost everything that was important to them, and more than once their entire way of life has been upset, turned around, and set in an entirely new direction. They are at once brilliant and desperate, beautiful and woefully flawed, addicted to evil magic and yet not yet beyond hope of redemption.

The blood elves are the descendants of the original "Highborne" of the night elves 10,000 years before the setting of World of Warcraft, who used to follow Queen Azshara and studied the arcane magical energies flowing through the Well of Eternity. Following the "War of the Ancients," (discussed in the article on night elves), most of their peers at the time observed that arcane energies tended to attract evil demons from the darkest dimensions in the universe, and thought the world would be better off without it. The Highborne who survived that war had gotten very used to the power of arcane magic coursing through their bodies, however, and they suffered from serious magical withdrawal when those energies were no longer available to them. From their point of view, it was cowardly not to try again, to simply conceal themselves from the demons rather than to give up arcane magic entirely. Their addiction and powerlessness made them desperate enough to turn to violence, though they were no match for the new rulers of the night elf people.

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Filed under: Horde, Blood Elves, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

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

There are those who like to buy Hello Kitty paraphernalia, decorate their bedroom with stuffed animals, or perhaps just smile at anyone they pass on the street. The Forsaken would eat those people for breakfast.

I see, dear readers, that I have caused some of you to recoil in horror at the very thought of such depravity. But to the Forsaken it is not uncommon to view other people as potential lunch -- the reason being that the Forsaken are not really "people" as such. They used to be people, they remember being people, and yet now they are not. Their bodies are decayed and some of their flesh is missing -- and yet they are doomed to walk this world under the curse of undeath, animated by evil magic rather than natural life energy, denied all those things that living people enjoy.

Consider for a moment the pleasures of the flesh: the rich taste of food in your mouth, the soft touch of the breeze in your hair, or the embrace of your dearest loved one. Consider also the feeling in your body when you rise to heights of anger or fear, joy or sadness. Now imagine if all those were taken away -- you may still eat, but your meals no longer taste good or bad; the breeze simply disturbs the stiff remains of hair on your head; and the embrace of your loved one would feel like the touch of wax upon wax, if anyone could love you enough to touch you anymore. You don't even feel that love in your heart anymore -- no feeling, no matter how passionate, can make it beat even once more. The feelings you used to live with every day are merely ideas now, reminders of a time when you lived in the body that now traps you in its cold and dark materials.

If you were thus afflicted, could you maintain any sense of compassion?

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Filed under: Horde, Undead, Lore, RP, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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