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Posts with tag storyline

The Broken Doll roleplaying storyline chills hundreds on Moon Guard

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Your days are numbered.

It takes you a moment to realize that's all that's in the letter you just opened in your in-game mailbox -- that, and the Hangman's Noose ("It's shiny with blood!") attached at the bottom. You flick open the guild roster, but nobody's online yet. You run the sender's name through the Armory, only to come up with ... nothing. You're not involved in any active roleplaying storylines, and you can't think of anyone you've roleplayed with recently who seems threatening in the least ...

Fine, then. You take it to the forums. You're met with the usual banter for a page or so -- but then another player reports that a friend received a similar note. Then another shows up. And another. Before you know it, the entire realm, Alliance and Horde alike, is roiling with intrigue. Hundreds of players are sucked in. Who are the letters from? What is the threat striking again and again at seemingly unlinked players? What is behind the unfolding string of horror unfolding before you?

Who is The Broken Doll?

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Filed under: RP, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Breakfast Topic: Which storyline do you want more of?

What's the end of the story?
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

WoW has so many ongoing storylines that it's hard to keep track of them all. Occasionally, they blend and merge, and sometimes they simply drift off without any sort of resolution. Sometimes we can get all caught up in the story and then abruptly it's gone. Sometimes storylines are resolved in books and unless you make a point of reading the novels or the comics you have no way of knowing what eventually happened, unless you can find some random NPC who will drop hints.

I've never managed to pull off Loremaster, so I've missed the ends of lots of storylines. I do always perk up a bit when I hear bits about the Old Gods. This particular storyline is fascinating to me, and it always just seems to show up in hints and winks, with occasionally an Old God turning up as a big boss. I know I would like to see more happening with these guys, like the sneaky little voice that show up sometimes with archaeology.

What about you? Are there any stories that petered out that you want to hear the end of? Do you like catching the beginning of the story and filling in the blanks in the Caverns of Time? Do you hope other old stories get revived?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How often do you read quest text?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

If you have played WoW for more than five minutes, you have done a quest. It is nearly impossible to avoid doing them altogether. Since the option has been implemented to have instant quest text and the options tracked on the map by Blizzard's default UI now, most players see the exclamation mark, click on the NPC, accept the quest, and go get the items -- whether it be someone's head, 10 rocks, or going to kill a certain number of creatures -- without paying attention to the why. We want the gold, experience, achievement, or perhaps a quest reward, but we cannot be bothered with why we need to commit genocide on a population of wild animals. We would rather crit the mobs required for the quest than be crit by a wall of text.

I am as guilty of this as the next person: Oh, bring you murloc eyes ... Sure, why not? Kill a bunch of boars? Whatever. However, when I recently went back and finished off Loremaster, I found myself actually paying attention to some of the quests, and I realized there can be some great stories there. The Burning Crusade, Wrath, and soon Cataclysm have come a long way in terms of making the quests feel like they are leading somewhere, as opposed to killing these random mobs for no apparent reason. While working on Loremaster, I was like, "Wow, that was a neat little storyline in that quest chain!" It made me both impressed and a little sad, wondering about all the possible nuggets of story I had simply ignored just so I could level a couple of minutes sooner.

Do you actually read the quest text? Do you ever want to know why we have to kill the creatures we kill and why the NPCs want these seemingly inane items? Or do you just do it for the XP and money and could not care less?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your story?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

I have a confession: I am not a roleplayer, yet I feel the need to create a backstory for every single one of my characters, from the mighty main to the lowly banker alt who sits comfortably in Stormwind. I do not really know why. Maybe it is the storyteller in me, the sheer boredom, or the 60 ounces or so of various energy drinks that keep me up at night, but I begin to imagine the details of my characters, even going so far as to create a web of connections between them, as if when I'm not playing, they are banded together, battling side by side as brothers and sisters in arms.

A main example is my main and all the human alts I play on. There are only two at the moment, but a third shall arise, of the wolfish variety, come Cataclysm. Their story? All of them are brothers, my death knight being the eldest, a once-accomplished paladin who fell during the purging of Stratholme, being one of the very few against it. My main warrior is the middle child who was the least likely to accomplish anything of the three brothers but fought nonetheless as part of the Stormwind guard, before becoming a mercenary for hire. The newest addition will be a worgen rogue, the long-presumed-dead, sickly little brother who was astute in the arcane and was taken under tutelage of a sorcerer in Gilneas before being infected as a worgen. He will return instead as a quick and nimble character, one of the few worgen who likes his new form.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, RP, Guest Posts

The importance of the Wrathgate story in Icecrown Citadel

Zubon of Kill Ten Rats has been playing through Northrend lately, and it sounds like he's right around where my paladin is: working through the Wrathgate questline. The zombie invasion was the most important kickoff event for this expansion, but especially with what we've been seeing of Icecrown (spoilers there) lately, it looks like the events that went down at Angrathar might be the defining moments of Wrath of the Lich King. So much we're seeing in Icecrown and even beyond seems to be debris spinning off of the clash in that cinematic.

Zubon has mostly high praise for the storyline -- I agree that Borean Tundra and the Howling Fjord are preludes to the real anti-Scourge action you find in the Wrathgate questline. But then he goes one step further, and says that the end just shows how old Blizzard's game really is. Even while such an epic story is unfurling, graphical glitches and the realities of Blizzard's game (one of the phases is essentially an ongoing fight in which you personally have no effect) bring the experience back down. Wrathgate is certainly an epic event, and every indication is that we're going to be feeling its repercussions a lot in the next dungeon. But five years after launch, it's also a sign that Blizzard is pushing this old game as hard as they can.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas.'s Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Raiding, Leveling

Breakfast Topic: Does the levity mess up the lore?

Warning: Wrath spoilers ahead!

Blizzard's pretty good at Lore when they want to be, with the whole 2.4 storyline, the Battle of Ahn'Qiraj, and many epic storylines promising to come out of Northrend. At the same time, they also have their own offbeat brand of humor that is never far gone from their design philosophy, and it shows up in their stories too.

Sometimes it serves them well and adds a bit of levity, but other time, it seems to take on a life of its own, a life that can strangle what could have otherwise been something compelling and interesting. Zul'Aman is perhaps the most pertinent example. What could have been the last attempt of the Farstriders to shut down the troll menace threatening their people, what could have been a revival of the Troll killing tradition of the Arathi, or an examination of the High Elves who stayed loyal to the Alliance but still hate the Amani, instead turned into a cheap redneck treasure hunt. It killed much of the allure of the zone and turned what could have been a epic struggle against a former hero of the Horde into a run of the mill bunny bashing session.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, Lore, RP, Wrath of the Lich King

All the World's a Stage: Delicate subjects, handle with care

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. Michael Gray fills in this week for David Bowers to talk about how you can handle delicate subjects while achieving your roleplay goals.

I can't speak for anyone else, but one thing Momma always warned me about is that there are a few topics you just don't talk about over dinner or in polite company. Sex, drugs, money, politics. If you're like me, your sweetheart gives you that look if certain subjects are brought up. "Don't even get started," that look warns me.

I admit, I can be a powderkeg about feminism, racial equality, and general "do the right thing" subjects. But these issues do come up during the course of roleplay. There are more than a few victims among WoW's characters, and there are certainly some bad guys who'd do despicable things.

If you're going to play with hot-topic issues, there some things you can do to help keep everyone's sensitivities in mind.

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

All the World's a Stage: Adding flesh to your character

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. Michael Gray fills in this week for David Bowers to talk about how you can flesh our your character, and help it leap from the screen into everyone's imagination.

As David's said before, getting into character can be a challenge. With the WWI right behind us and Death Knights looming around the corner, there's dozens of things threatening to water down our immersive roleplay. It can be frustrating, but the first thing you can control about your playtime is yourself -- and the character you've written.

Your background sets up your character's story. It's where your character comes from, and often describes what motives your character's actions. But it's infinitely helpful to define more about your character than just the time the Horde ravaged your family and wrecked the estate, and maybe talk he feels about children, or the summer holidays.

Let's talk about how to flesh out a character, behind the cut...

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

Breakfast Topic: Lore and story progression via static NPCs

Hemet Nesingwary JrWhen the Burning Crusade first came out, veterans noticed a few things back on Azeroth: Some of our favorite NPCs had disappeared! The wandering Rexxar was replaced by a fellow name Rokaro, and Hemet Nesingwary left Stranglethorn, leaving his son, Hemet Nesingwary Jr., to take over the hunt. More recently, Lady Liadrin has come to Shattrath City, leaving behind Lord Solanar Bloodwrath to guide up and coming Blood Knights in her place. In order to move along a few story lines, Blizzard decided that it was worth moving NPCs to move along the story, and left other NPCs in place with minor alterations so that other people could still experience their old quests.

This, however, isn't the only way Blizzard has dealt with progressing story lines.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Lore, NPCs

Kael'thas in two places at once

This thread over on the forums starts off a little silly (it's a complaint about Kael'thas being both in Tempest Keep and Magisters' Terrace at the same time), but later on gets into some really interesting commentary and thinking about just how the lore and story in this game works. Obviously, there are no problems with having Kael in two places at once (as Bornakk says with an epic burn, a character can be alive on page 1 and dead on page 10 at the same time), but it's interesting that that's not always what happens in the game. Griftah, for example, was never in two places at once, and neither was Hemet Nesingwary -- both of those characters had progressive lore storylines. But Kael, like Thrall, has a storyline that evolves as a character moves forward in their own storyline, and so Blizzard has placed him in two different places at once, and asked players to move their own characters to see the storyline in order.

Interesting stuff. Scuzz makes a particularly interesting point in the thread -- the World of Warcraft really does revolve around player characters, not NPCs. If you discover through quests that Onyxia is actually pretending to be a woman in Stormwind, all of the NPCs your character meets will be shocked. It's a sign of Blizzard's talent at game creation that something can be both known by most players and discovered by one player almost every single day.

Of course there's no problem with Kael being in two places -- I would rather have my character move through a changing world than have Blizzard worry about making sure "reality" was kept correctly. But it's an interesting line being walked very well -- if you do the two instances in order, you get a much better story than if we were simply fighting a generic third boss in Magisters' Terrace.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Quests, Lore, Bosses, NPCs

WoW Moviewatch: The Showdown

Fishface is becoming quite the machinima addict! Less than two weeks ago, I featured his very first creation, StreamLine. Through trial and error, he is experimenting with different genres. Let's hope he finds a niche!

The Showdown, his latest video, is an attempt at an action-packed storyline film. Unfortunately there's not much of a story going on. However, it is a very cinematic take on a battle scene. I'd say that the area that needed the most improvement would be the length of the video, but don't let that discourage you, Fishface!


Previously on Moviewatch ...

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

WoW Moviewatch: The Captured Exarch

I'm a firm believer that artists need encouragement, or they won't know what they did right or wrong. They won't be able to improve their work and, with nothing but silence or discouragement, they might not make another video. It would be hard to find production-quality WoW machinimas with storylines, or special effects, every day of the year. Those are just the special gems.

With that said, Geis Archrion, creator of The Captured Exarch, works on improving his craft with each video. The machinima focuses on the suicide of a man, who leaves behind a mysterious note. Athanatoi, a scouting mercenary guild, must decipher it in order to figure out the next target of The Essence.

There's plenty of action, and just enough of a cliffhanger to make me want to see what he does with his next video. While the camera work is shaky and the voice acting is rough, it's not that bad.


Previously on Moviewatch...

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

Tigole interviewed by Warcry

Warcry posted an interview with Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan (WoW's lead designer) last Friday, and while he doesn't reveal anything super new, he does confirm a few directions Blizzard is headed in with the game-- away from grinds, opening up more endgame content for players, and incorporating daily quests into more facets of player advancement.

Kaplan does say that Blizzard thought the progression rate for Burning Crusade was done well, and that they are looking at getting even more players involved in endgame, which, with the coming of Zul'Aman and the lowering of the Heroic reputations, is something we've observed before. He says also that Blizzard is planning to involve reputation more with daily quests, while at the same time making sure it's not a grind (hopefully this will mean gaining reputation from daily quests like the new ones-- attaching instance runs or battleground fights to daily quests, with reputation as a reward). And finally, Kaplan hints at lore in Wrath of the Lich King, specifically saying that "Humans, Dwarves, Tauren, and Trolls will all have their storylines developed further" in Northrend.

Sounds fun. He doesn't give any indication of where they are in the development process for the expansion (he does work for Blizzard, after all), but it definitely does sound like Blizzard is hard at work hammering WotLK together.

Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Lore, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

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