Category Archives: Broken promises and shattered dreams
If you’re not up with the latest happenings of the past hours (i.e. the commencement of War of the Thorns Pt. 2 and the animated Sylvanas Warbringers story) and care deeply about spoilers, close this tab now and come back when you’re caught up. There will be no further coddling.
I want to say first of all a few words about some peoples’ reactions.
One rotten development of this is that a lot of people have been harassing Christie Golden and others associated with the writing of this game, the shorts, and related media. I don’t care if you don’t like the direction a character is taking, harassment is out of line. It’s one thing to analyze the story without mercy, to call shit out, and express even disgust with the proceedings. Fine. Be as dramatic as you want about a video game.
(I don’t care how many years of your life you’ve “invested” in it. That just makes you look bad when you couch it in those terms. Stop making a fool of yourself).
But personal abuse of any sort is way beyond the pale. Take it down or get the Bitch Slap of the Apocalypse for your troubles. That’s my personal promise.
Back to the story.
We’ve known for a year that Teldrassil would burn. We’ve known that likely Sylvanas would be the burner, and that Azerite might in some way figure into all of this.
Blizzard assured us that Sylvanas wasn’t going full on evil, saying the world was “gray, not black and white”, or words to that effect.
Aaaand Sylvanas then turned full on evil. She burned that tree down for spite’s sake.
I don’t want to hear how she was better off not fighting a Resistance so it was a good tactical move. She had full on planned to capture until Delaryn Summermoon sassed her, telling her she would never defeat hope. And Sylvanas, morally grey Warchief of the Horde, who until then had other plans, ordered the tree burned. AND forced Delaryn to watch it. Deliberately, sadistically.
This is not me RPing angry Alliance, this is me saying that the character they depicted shows all the signs of a sadistic, evil creature not too far removed from Garrosh Hellscream himself. Cruel, capricious, and, from what I can see, just plain greedy. She’s missing a moustache to twirl, but so is Elon Musk.
And that’s a problem for Horde players that have been “we’re not evil” for all these years. Granted, this is the same Horde that Pearl Harbor’d Theramore and Scourged Gilneas, but otherwise a peaceful, pastoral group of people that were just trying to get by, farm grain, murder elves, same as everyone else.
The Horde now have a maniac in charge again, and I think this time it’s breaking them. I have seen a LOT of people revolting. (I’ve seen some revolting people too, which we’ll speak of in a moment). They are not happy and they are making themselves known.
In a way it’s kinda comforting to know that some people, when confronted with what their nation has become, will not, in actuality, go along with it. It feels like maybe we’ve learned something from the Nazis after all. Refrains of “Not our Warchief” reflect the real-world cries of “Not our President”. In a way, I wonder if Blizz isn’t making some sort of statement here.
Sliding back into the story … it’s hard to take it all in. I have two Kaldorei toons, both noob’d on Teldrassil back when getting to Stormwind was a harrowing journey through high-level dangers. I have a lot of memories associated with Darkshore, Teldrassil, Auberdine, and points beyond. A big chunk of my WoW history is literally up in flames now. Others are taking it even harder. Some people are tremendously attached to their gentle elvenfolk and feel as betrayed as the Hordies that can’t cope with their murderer-in-chief.
Right now the Kaldorei and Gilneans are camped out in Stormwind Harbor (seriously, Anduin, can we get some housing here?) and presumably they will be in search of new digs after all of this settles. Though, personally, I think, after they fill in that nasty basement, Lorderon would make a fine new home for our displaced friends. And maybe they’ll team up and take back Gilneas as well – that’s a huge waste of a beautiful city otherwise.
Maybe once the Sindorei disavow the Horde and join the Alliance, they will reunite with their sylvan relatives, we can fire up the jets, and Kaz Modan can fly off to Mars like a rocket ship.
Hey, you never know. Haven’t you read ElfQuest?
I’ve recently completed my class mount quest, and, well, I need to preface my thoughts a little bit first.
Listen, art department peeps, I know you’re hard working Artists with a Capital A. And I respect what you do. Going from solid models to 3D models requires a broad skill set. Creating new sounds for fantastical creatures that don’t even exist is challenging under any circumstances. And you folks in the lead positions, I know for sure that it’s difficult to give good leads to the art and sound peeps and fold it all back together at the end of the development cycle and get it in to the assets people to be merged into the test servers.
I respect the challenges in developing all the pixels we see and use in the game.
Having said all that, I have to observe that somebody actually signed off on this.
I can’t even. It’s like somebody mashed an owl and a lion together without a) being told that it was supposed to be a mount or b) knowing what a lion or owl looked like originally. And the sound … the sound the thing makes when you summon it is reminiscent of the Witch King’s mount in Lord of the Rings. There is nothing divine about this creature’s screeching wail. It’s like somebody got the sound files for the Death Knight mount mixed up with the Priest mount files, and everyone’s too embarrassed to admit it. Working as intended, yo.
I hate to sound ungrateful, but, seriously, if they’d posted a note that “the Priest mount will be delayed for a few weeks for additional enhancement”, I would not have objected at all, expecially if I knew what we’d get “on schedule”.
Next up: mage mount. It’s a fidget spinner, yo. I can live with that. It’s like that Pandaria Red Cloud thingy.
After six weeks, I’ve got a bit of a handle on Inscription as it stands. It’s definitely not the old profession we used to have. But is it better, worse, or indeterminate?
Here are the bullet points.
- Glyphs are no longer permanent. If someone wants to re-use a glyph after purging it out, they’ll have to buy it again.
- Glyphs no longer provide necessary improvements to your skills or talents – all they do is change appearances. That’s it. They have no real purpose, and anyone eschewing them will perform exactly the same as they would if they were fully loaded.
- Older glyphs cost all of three Roseate Pigments, the “common” pigment of Legion.
- New glyphs, or NuGlyphs as I like to call them, cost varying amount of Roseate and Sallow Pigments – Sallow being the “uncommon” pigment of Legion.
- Pigment drops vary vastly between different herbs.
- Roseate Pigment is the Palmetto Bug of Legion herbalism. You can’t get rid of it, and it’s everywhere.
So first I’ll address the yield rate of the different herbs. Observe:
- The first thing I will point out is that Roseate and Sallow yields vary widely between different herbs, and an herb that yields a lot of Roseate may be crappy for Sallow.
- Sallow Pigment is the real limiting factor for NuGlyphs.
- Secondly, from a strictly Herbalist perspective, and with the previous in mind, Dreamleaf is the way to go for glyphing. At a .23 yield, it’s a couple of hundredths ahead of even Starlight Rose.
- Roseate pigment yield isn’t really much of a factor.
- Dreamleaf yield rates do not reflect the addition of Nightmare Pods. These pods can yield a lot of Sallow pigments, and are the after effects of Dreamleaf milling. So Dreamleaf may have a higher effective yield of Sallow than the chart reflects. I will be working on gathering more info on this statistic at some point, but off the cuff it seems like it’s almost a 50% boost.
- I have more data on some herbs than other. Which brings me to …
- I have zero data on Felwort. Do I look like I’m gonna spend that kind of money on something so expensive to get data that nobody in their right mind would use? No matter how good the yields you get from this bonny jewel, it’ll always be better to sell it on the AH. Oh, all right, some day when I’m fat and buttery I’ll prolly blow a few Gs on a stack. But today is not that day.
Regardless, strictly for herbalists, Dreamleaf appears to be the clear winner.
But for Scribes, maybe not.
Let’s be clear: most Scribes are going to burn a lot more herbage daily than they can gather in a day. So that means they’re going to have to buy herbs from someone – either the AH or private channels, it matters not at all. Coin is coin. And that takes us to the more complex level of this equation.
Here you see three data tables. On the upper right is a breakdown of the prices for all but one of the herbs. To the left of the prices is a breakdown of the general price for each pigment as based on the yield rates of each herb.
The data are clear. Regardless of their inferior yield rate, Aethril’s much lower cost produces a much lower cost per pigment. Looking at the table to the left, you can see a calculation of price per glyph by class. As I said, mat requirements for each class varies. For example, Paladin and Priest only require 2 Sallow pigments, while Warlock requires 15.
The final table in this image is a little selector that changes the “Sallow” and “Roseate” values for the table on the left based on what herb you choose. Easy enough … right now, at this point in the game, on my connected realm, Aethril is the clear choice for purchasing off the AH.
Vantus Very Little
A word on Vantus Runes … I have no data. These runes require you to have defeated a boss before you can get the recipe, and I have not raided even a bit. Given that Jas is hogging all the glory, I imagine I probably never will without running LFR – which I look forward to as much as my next tax audit.
For the Profit
So, what is happening in terms of profitability? Before this expansion, Inscription was my cash cow. Slower at times than other, but still a steady source of income.
Now, it’s hard to say. I’ve suffered a massive loss of cash getting ramped up – at least 300,000 – but the treasury is starting to grow once again. Having said that, the sell rate is starting to fall off. So I’m not sure I can draw any solid conclusions yet.
There are around 20-30 glyph techniques – recipes, basically – that are drops out there in the world, making your ability to perform somewhat random. If you get some good luck in drops, you’ll be able to produce product that few others can. If you get bad luck, your stock will be limited.
Not saying we have a trend here, but from level 100 to 109, I’ve gotten exactly two – two – technique drops.
Gonna throw a little shade, here. Most other professions, you have “ranks” for items that you can produce. The higher the rank, the fewer mats required to create the item. These ranks come from various sources, such as drops in the world, world quests, experience, and so forth.
Guess which profession doesn’t have this mechanic?
If you guessed Inscription, you get a no-prize. Our recipes cost the same no matter what. There is no potential for improvement no matter how many of the darned things you make. I am not exactly pleased about this.
As I watch this profession for further trends, I have to wonder where we’re going with it. I see exactly zero motivation for people to buy my wares, and have to wonder which profession will be next to be hit by this sort of nerf. Enchanting? Alchemy? Hard to say.
I hope it swings the other way. That the person that thought that this was a great idea gets transferred to Diablo and never comes back. That we see a return of Inscription as a profession of great interest in the next expansion.
But I have a hard time thinking that Blizz is going to go back now that they’ve taken the first step on the voyage of “making professions fun again.” Which seems to be a euphemism for “make stuff for yourself, but not so much any one else.”
You know, “Fun.”
If you’ve spent much time around me, you know that few things piss me off more than game elements created to deliberately waste my time. In that regard, the Garrison as a whole, and the Lunarfall Excavation in particular really set me off on a rant when certain things come up.
But there’s more.
There are far fewer things that piss me off than things that are done to deliberately waste my time, but which contain self-defeating mechanisms to lessen or nullify their effects because the game designer was unwilling to hold the line on the decision to go with that design, and wimped out rather than admit s/he was wrong.
In this case, I am referring to the two little treats you can find in the Lunarfall Excavation – the Preserved Mining Pick and the Miner’s Coffee. These two items drop from Mine Carts that you find throughout the mine, and they nullify a bit of the time-sink that the mine represents – the picks by halving the time it takes to mine a node, and the coffee by speeding up your movement speed between nodes. While neither completely nullify the time or distance required to travel around in a Level 3 mine, they go a long way towards diminishing it. And that’s what annoys me.
When you’ve completed the design of a thing and submitted it to alpha testing, there are two ways of dealing with any shortcomings that the testers might find. The first is, you take their feedback and make adjustments to the thing to make things better. The other is, you pretend the testers don’t “get” your creation, and hold that line until someone else – say, the senior game designer – gets wind of it and there’s no time to actual redesign the thing, so little, stupid, workarounds have to be created to compensate for the failure of the thing.
Is this what actually happened with the Lunarfall Excavation? Honestly, I’ll probably never know. But the design is so crappy, it really looks like those two “buff” items were added as a compensatory afterthought to somehow mollify the throngs of torch-bearing beta testers that wanted someone’s ass.
Compare the design to the herb garden. The garden is compact, organized, and takes less than five minutes to fully clean out even at Level 3. Sure, it doesn’t render up the same quantity of resources or Primal Spirits, but it is just a far better design than the mine is.
This would not annoy me nearly as much if it weren’t for two things. The first thing I’ve already hit on – Blizz, having elected to have this huge, sprawling complex that took at least a quarter of an hour to fully clean out, seemingly decided to wimp out on the level of commitment needed to clean it out. They apparently decided to soften the blow with a rather wimpy solution that showed commitment to nothing.
The second thing that amps up the annoyance here is that the mine is artificially mandatory for anyone that has a garrison. Either you have to mine it for mats for your crafting – and many of these crafts are not blacksmithing or jewelcrafting – or you have to mine it for primal spirits used to upgrade your crafted armor.
Sure, you few Mythic raiders are going to get the good stuff off of Archy, but us mere mortals are going to have to deal with collecting resources to make our stuff, and unfortunately that includes mandatory mining for most things – Savage Blood, for example, requires Blackrock Ore for alchemists to use, and you need 60 of them to get a crafted item to its 4/6 level.
(Aside: it feels like they did levels 5 and 6 better, requiring you to be out in the world to find the primary mats for those upgrade, at least. So they can possibly be taught.)
Never let the seller know you’re hot to trot. Tell him you haven’t got the money. […] tell ’em you don’t have the money, that it’s all tied up in investments or some crap. […] A bad salesman will automatically drop his price. Bad salesmen make me sick.
With regards to the Lunarfall Excavation, Blizzard plays the role of the Bad Salesman.
Bad salesmen make me sick.
I’ll be brief.
Blizzard Watch just posted a great analysis of the iteration times for all the past expansions. I took that data and visualized it.
Blue is the gap between the release of the previous expansion and the announce of the new one; red is basically the time between that announce and the start of beta; and the orange is the length of the beta to release.
Crunch it however you want, but the big takeaway for me is the damned heroic effort in getting MoP out in less time than all but one previous expansion, and that’s INCLUDING a total refactoring of The Jade Forest.
After the worlds-shattering drama following their announcement that flying would not be happening in Draenor at all, Blizzard has changed their minds and decided it bring it back, but only if you really want it.
At the heart of the initial plan to restrict flight in Draenor (even after players reach level 100) lies the design goal of providing the best moment-to-moment gameplay possible in the outdoor world. From navigating the lava flows of the Molten Front in Patch 4.2, to breaching the Thunder King’s stronghold in Patch 5.2, to reaching the heights of the Ordon Sanctuary on Timeless Isle in Patch 5.4, to uncovering secrets deep within Gorgrond’s jungles on Draenor, World of Warcraft is full of memorable moments that are only possible when players explore the world by ground. And as we’ve continued to develop content over the years, we’ve focused more and more on providing players with these kinds of experiences.
There will be chores to do; exploring, collecting, rep grinding, and so forth. It’s a little reminiscent of the attunements we had in BC, to be honest, and I like that. I’m not one for collecting piles of non combat pets I’ll never look at or mounts I’ll never or rarely use at all. I’m not as much an achievement monkey as some. Give me a grind that will get me something tangible, however, then you’ve got my attention.
Naturally, no matter how you slice this, there will be mighty drama around this announcement as there was around the last. Where before it was all “Blizzard doesn’t care about what the players want raaaaeeeege”, now instead it’s “Blizzard gives in to every little whine raeeeeege!” Blizzard can’t win with this bunch, and personally I think they should just do what they think best and shut down the forums, but that’s me.
I’m still not missing flight in Draenor. But to some, the mere inconvenience is an insurmountable obstacle to inner peace, or something like that. This is not to say, I won’t use it if it’s there. As I’ve said before, I won’t put myself at a disadvantage on mere principle.
The haters will always be around because they need an avenue to vent their frustrations in life in, and a bunch of nerds writing software is just the perfect target. Well, people at Blizz get paid to read their drek, but I don’t.
So flush twice, it’s a long way to MMO-C.
A certain gaming website recently ran an article in which it noted that a LOT of people were piling on the pro-flight side of the scale with regard to The Great Grounding. Notable here was a complete absence if the pro-grounding camp. Why?
Well, the obvious and probably intended conclusion you could draw was that there weren’t any.
But given that I know for a fact that that’s not true, I’m entertaining another theory.
See, people that are basically okay with the status quo rarely speak up. Why would they? Everything’s fine! What is there to blog about?
I am thoroughly content with the pace of content patches.
I can’t find the words to express how perfect I find Garrisons as they are.
Nobody blogs how they think that the weather is perfect, or their soup was just the right temperature last night. Contentment isn’t interesting.
Bloggers, if we wish to aggrandize ourselves a little bit, are basically story-tellers. And one of the core features of a story is conflict. Nobody wants to read how Frodo got to Mordor without incident, or how Harry caught Voldemort flat-footed before he had any real power, or how Kirk raised shields when the Reliant failed to respond to hails and Khan got clapped into irons right off the bat. Nobody gives two shits about a story with no tension in it.
So my theory is – and I hasten to point out, it’s a theory – is that people that are okay with this aren’t really moved to express that they are, and thus it’s kind of hard to count them.
But I suspect the number of people that this describes is somewhere north of where you think it is.
Having rankled for more than a few people, I’m sure, my thoughts on flying in WoW remain unchanged, but I want to give the flip side of the argument some air, because it is very valid.
My friend Zel brings up the way this impacts herb farming, as an example. I do hasten to point out that herb farming isn’t the lucrative endeavor it once was. Making flasks for resale is just silly given current prices (I expect to see them go below 10g before too long); farming for glyphs doesn’t outweigh the convenience of buying herbs off the AH – the herb prices just don’t impact your profit margin that much. And selling herbs outright doesn’t (as implied) really bring a lot of cash to the table – hardly worth trolling SMV for choice cuts.
There’s this thing that you’re either for or against flying, by the way. I think the angst and anger between the two sides at this moment is greater than that between Alliance and Horde. And that’s pretty silly, considering that one can be on both sides of this.
I have my own problems with flight-less WoW, and most of them resolve down to inconvenience and annoyance.
It is very inconvenient and annoying to, for example, try to get to some of the more obscure corners of Draenor right now. Why? Because you have to navigate these huge mountains and ravines just to go from A to B, much less the obscure Point Z. And the maps are not very helpful in this regard. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a set of convoluted zones as I have in Draenor. It’s a perfect storm of angsty goodness that makes even me want to rezz up the old roflcopter and fly on over there.
The thing is, I find that as I give myself time to develop tactics to deal with little annoyances like this, the less annoying they become. And that’s part of the problem, here. People have not developed these strategies internally because they either feel they haven’t needed to (i.e. “flight is coming”) or shouldn’t have to (“fuck Blizzard”).
But it also comes back to the problematic skills that the terrain designers have. Instead of a stick – “no flying, you’re not paying attention to our bootiful landscapes” – how about a carrot – make the ground route a nice place to be, something enjoyable and maybe somewhere south of 50% annoying.
So while I completely get and embrace the no flight evermore approach – for limited reasons – I also get very much why this is frustrating and, believe it, I am feeling those same frustrations.
Let’s just say that if it weren’t for WoWHead, I’d’ve given up and moved on to another game by now. And that’s a very strong indication that you have issues with your terrain design. It should be possible to sort most of this out with in game resources. I agree that parts of the map should be reserved for those that have a lot of Dora in their veins – those that enjoy the exploration part of the game – but nothing important should be as hard to get to as the Time-lost Glade, not when it’s a key part of a major component of the endgame gearing circle-jerk.
So, pro-flight people, don’t for a second think I don’t empathize and agree, but also don’t think for a moment that I think it’s worth pitching a fit over. It is what it is. The minute that becomes too annoying to pay 22000 gold for, I’m back to playing marathon sessions of Sins of a Solar Empire or Civ 5, like I was before WoW even came out.
Bottom line here is that, regardless of which way this goes, Blizz done messed up and removing Flight is their version of mayonnaise, which cooks use to cover their mistakes. All the anger, all the ragequitting, all the angst belongs squarely on the shoulders of senior game management, and nowhere else.
Sadly, I doubt they’ll ever understand that. They will say the words, but they will never, truly, own their mistakes.
And that’s the greatest disappointment.
This interview with Watcher has set the WoW social universe on its ear.
The first big bombshell is his statement that Flight will not only not be back in 6.2, but may quite possibly not reappear in-game ever again, going forward.
I am mixed on this. I’m pretty much in favor of this because of the way that flight disrupts the quest design mechanics, but I want to state for the record that if Blizz had designed the quests with flight in mind in the first place, this wouldn’t be a problem.
Let’s consider the example that Watcher gave: without flight, you have to “fight your way to the NPC you’re rescuing” to complete the quest, but with flight you can “just fly over there, land on the hut he’s in, and you’re done.” And: agreed, that’s a lousy thing.
But why aren’t there flying Mobs around the hut? This is a design failure in the quest, not a problem with flight per se. But, since Blizzard is apparently incapable of grasping that simple concept and fixing the problem, the simpler solution is just to ground everyone.
The quest designers done screwed up, so everyone has to get out of the pool.
And now, a moment of gloating.
Watcher confirms that 6.2 is not the final patch for this expansion. There have been a number of intensely strident people swarzing up and down that this was the final content patch for Warlords, despite the fact that they had not a single fact to support this. I have set aside a vat to collect their delicious tears, and have set aside an area for them to furiously backpedal without endangering innocent lives. Because, sure as Moira’s got an agenda, these people will be claiming they said no such thing as soon as they can, as often as is legal in their home state and/or country, and and as loudly as local noise ordinances allow.
Let’s say this all together once again: MMO-Champion is not the gold standard of Blizzard predictions. They got it right exactly ONCE (Cata), and ever since then, Blizz has alternatively bought their silence with access bribes, or fed them misinformation. Reddit isn’t a lot better, but at least there you don’t have a central point of failure like you do with MMO-C.
Honestly, the louder and more strident they are, the less likely they are to be right.
I myself haven’t made much in the way of predictions in this regard other than to express extreme doubts that 6.2 was the final patch. For a number of reasons.
- Two patches is atypical for Blizzard’s history. Three to four is the general rule of thumb.
- The story that I’ve been able to discern so far doesn’t really seem to be end-gamish.
- e.g. I strongly suspect there’s a real WTF moment in our future, either at the end of 6.2 or in a future patch.
- I don’t see the ultimate end-of-expansion time-waster-zone that we’ve seen in every expansion including BC (e.g. Money Island / Tournament / Firelands / Timeless Isle). Until they roll out that zone – which, you realize, will be yet another new and innovative way to while a way the post-expansion blues! – we’re not looking at the final patch.
As I have proven to myself a number of times, predictions are a tricky thing. Smart people will couch these guesses as guesses and not FACT (actual quote). There’s nothing wrong with speculation as long as it’s presented as such. But stating categorically with great authority on these topics is just silly.
Unfortunately, these people won’t learn, probably. They’ll just get shriller, louder, and more frantically self-defensive as this unwinds. I’m not sure what the point of all this is – some weird form of territorial marking or something – but it’s lead to some serious paring of my social media feeds, let me tell you.
But I’m more interested in where this is going, lore-wise.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Grommash / Guldan story resolves this patch, or if it gets marched out to the next one. I personally don’t think one zone and one raid is enough to include that and Archimonde, too. I’m interested to see what they do with that, too, and whether we get to see Kil’jaeden as well. And will this all end in tears as Draenor Renewed gets blown up again?
All I know is that we are free of the tyranny of prophecy once again.
No fate but what we make for ourselves.
There is a moment in the Shadowmoon Valley experience that is one of the most supremely heroic and noble and tragic and triumphant of the game so far. Nothing in all the expansions or the original game can match this for emotional punch or impact. It is truly one of the Big Moments of video gaming. This is a genuine “Aeris moment”. The people at Blizz that are responsible for this should take each other out for copious rounds of hard cider and pizza; they’ve achieved a high point in this franchise. I state this without hesitation.
Those of you that have seen the cinematic sneak peeks, or completed this zone, know of that which I speak.
And yet that there is more to the story of Shadowmoon Valley. You still have work to do, and you’re inspired to do so. And that, friends, is the point of a good cinematic. It drags you in and involves you in the story.
There is a scene before this in which you are involved in the final battle to save Karabor. You are participating in a future-vision with alt!Velen, and in the dream you fight beside him and Yrel. Just as things look grimmest, alt!Velen cries out and gives rise to the Holy Light, and the enemy begins to fall back! And then there is evil laughter, and Ner’zhul, and then … well, I won’t spoil it, but if you were there, you probably whispered … “oh, gods, no.” It was that bad.
As I and alt!Velen awoke from this nightmarish dream, I felt a resolve … “Hell, no!” Just that. The thing that we saw. We’ve seen it before. And regardless of the outcome of the previous event that we have seen before, the cost is just so damned high. Never again.
After That Cinematic Moment, the game kicks into high gear. The moment of supreme sacrifice cannot be dwelled upon. The Iron Horde is storming Karabor! You know now that the nightmare of alt!Velen’s vision will not come to pass. But will it be enough?
I hope you have the music playing, because they milk it for all it’s worth as you, Yrel, and Maraad take to the skies as air support for your garrison’s denizens as you all, together, storm the city. Your job is to plow the road so the garrison troops can break through to the docks.
Once accomplished, you link up with Yrel after taking out a mini-boss ((Honestly, I have no idea how Jas or Illume are going to survive that dude without a tanky pet.)) and end up once again in the final defense of Karabor. Will the Aeris moment pay off?
Of course it does, but the final moments of the battle are involving and emotional. If you can imagine a Dwarf riding a giant rooster, his rampaging polar bear at his side, yelling FOR [REDACTED]!!!! at the top of his wee Dwarven lungs, charging into battle as if he’d forgotten that he never quite mastered the art of shooting and moving at the same time, well, you’ve got a good handle on where I was living for five minutes of my life.
At the end, you’re given a ride back to Embaari, where the music swells, speeches are made, and the natives cheer you and your doughty troops for, well, as long as you stick around, it looks like. The moments of tragedy, tension, and triumph all culminate in this final moment, in which you not only get to bask in the glow of your own sense of achievement, but share it with the people that you were fighting for. Again, it was quite an emotional moment.
Here now, in the wee hours of the morning, I hurry to push that emotion out onto virtual page before it’s gone. It’s not enough to feel it; I want to share what it’s like, even though I know that this sense is completely derived from pixels and logical constructs living inside a silicon wafer. And I just don’t care.
A year ago, I was mocking Blizzard for many reasons, and justifiably so. They appeared to be inept, tone-deaf, and downright hostile to the culture they said they were a part of. Boy, a year does make one hell of a difference. Blizzcon 2014 saw a complete about-face, right down to the host of the cosplay event. The Overwatch reveal was a huge success ((I’m not into that kind of game, but by the Light it was one hella reveal, even a jaded old husk like me can admit that.)), the outreach felt genuine, and the tone of the game launch, while marred by a DDoS and subsequent messy mop-up ((Which, despite the bleats of the nonbelievers, was done in cracking good time.)) was aimed squarely at us, the gamers.
I’ll proudly be among the first to step up to the buffet and eat a large plate of crow. If Shadowmoon is any indication at all, this game has received a much needed injection of “Panda? What’s a fucking panda?”
Story matters. It has to be a good story. It has to be a relevant story. I’m sure some poor fellow worked long and hard on the Pandaria lore, but bottom line is, nobody cared.
Draenor, for all the contrivance involved in its invocation, is nevertheless relevant, in spades. And the story of Draenor thus far is, by the Light, GOOD. I know the high spots of what’s coming, but this zone. Guys, this goddamned zone. Tears of anguish. Tears of betrayal. Tears of hopelessness. Tears of loss. Tears of joy. Tears of triumph.
A very moist zone, this Shadowmoon Valley.
I don’t know if I’m emotionally up to coping with what is yet to come. And I damned well don’t know if I’m up to bringing three more alts through this zone over the next month or two. But for some reason, I have the feeling that the giddy feeling that I get coming out of it will make it worth the while.
Game on, nerds.