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In anticipation of all the new Draenei lore coming our way in Warlords of Draenor, Samaramon is holding a transmogrification contest to create an outfit using the Tabard of the Hand. This unique tabard is awarded only to Draenei characters at the completion of the Bloodmyst Isle storyline, when they are acclaimed as revered heroes of the Hand of Argus. In my usual manner, I’ve put together a kit for each armor type.

Hand of Destiny



Feline Mantle, Robe of the Dragon Slayer, Cincture of Woven Reeds, Scholar’s Gloves, Staff of the Royal Wizard
This outfit contains only items that a Draenei Mage could reasonably expect to be able to obtain by about the same time that she completes the Bloodmyst Isle storyline and receives the Tabard of the Hand, thus allowing her to make a complete, reasonably well-coordinated outfit to wear with her new tabard almost immediately.

Hand of Grace

Yalia’s Cowl, Spiritmend Shoulders, Royal Gown, Cannonfire Cord, Soulcloth Gloves, Apostle of Argus
I chose these shoulders because they match the soft, greyish colours of the tabard so nicely. To wear this kit without the tabard, try the Arcane Pads or Arachnidian Pauldrons.
The belt shown here can only be obtained by Priests. Good options for Mages include Bridenbrad’s Sash, the Primal Mooncloth Belt, or the Azure Silk Belt.

Hand of Dedication

Flamefly Spaulders, Queen Conch Chestguard, Red Belt of Unspoken Warning, Nice Shorts, Conch-Inlaid Gauntlets, Inscribed Leather Boots, Cranedancer’s Staff
This outfit could also be worn “barefoot” by using the Mosshide Boots.

Hand of Pursuit

Rift Stalker Mantle, Formidable chestguard & leggings, Giantstalker’s Belt, Sundered gloves & boots, Arugoo’s Crossbow of Destruction
To convert this outfit for a Shaman, use the Cyclone (T4) shoulders, the Jazeraint belt, and the Spell Axe/Battleaxe of the Farseer.

Hand of Justice

Golem Helmet, Shoulderguards of the Bold, Chestplate of the Great Aspects, Greatbelt of Living Waters (LFR), Legplates of the Bold, Templar Gauntlets, Replica Boots of Heroism, Fist of Argus, Azure-Shield of Coldarra
The T16 LFR belt shown above can only be obtained by Paladins who have chosen Holy for their loot spec. Warriors will want to use the Lurker’s Girdle for this outfit.

The excitement of my friends whose favorite race is the Draenei is rather contagious. I have caught myself contemplating the notion that perhaps I should not use my complementary boost to 90 on either the Warlock or the Rogue, but rather should give it to my Draenei Mage.

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I’ve often wondered what Outland looked like when it was a whole world — what the Black Temple looked like before it was Black, what Farahlon was like before it became Netherstorm, what Hellfire Peninsula and Shadowmoon Valley were like before they were blasted. The screenshots of a lush, vibrant Shadowmoon Valley and the glowing, jewel-like Temple of Karabor do not disappoint! The geography of Old Draenor aligns suitably well with Outland as we know it, though I’m still a little skeptical about Zangarmarsh having been a Mediterranean-like sea. It is a reasonable ecological transformation… only on a geologic timescale, rather than the human timescale there is between one Warcraft game and the next. If those massive mushrooms were originally underwater, they would have evolved to be supported by the water pressure, and thus they should have utterly collapsed when the water drained. Were the sporeloks really originally an underwater species? If so, how did they evade extinction following the ecological catastrophe? I suppose it all must have been a consequence of the same fel energy that transformed Draenei into Broken.

I wonder how the time-travel thing is going to work out for Draenei characters. Even the youngest of Draenei player characters will have been born on Draenor, for the Draenei have simply not been on Azeroth long enough for children born there grow up enough to leave home and go adventuring. A Draenei traveling to Draenor-of-the-Past could very well encounter her or himself. What would you do, when confronted with your doppelganger, someone who both is and is not you?

From a lore/story perspective, I initially had a quite a bit of difficulty wrapping my head around the concept of Warlords of Draenor. I struggled to understand how an expansion focused on preventing the history of Draenor from changing could possibly conclude with any sort of heroic, triumphant, positive outcome. As Effraeti plaintively asked,

If we go back, are we just supposed to watch Draenor work through its intended history? Do we have to see Shattrath fall? Do we have to watch the genocide of the Draenei? Do we have to witness the creation of the Broken Ones? Do we have to stand aside as the Orcs destroy Draenor all over again?

I’ve been reading a lot of Diana Wynne Jones lately. One of her favourite themes is parallel worlds. Warlords of Draenor made more sense to me if I thought of it as side-slipping into a parallel timeline, a parallel version of Old Draenor. Such a side-slip convolution has happened more than once already in Azeroth’s timeline, after all — when Krasus sent Rhonin, et al., back to the War of the Ancients, and when Nozdormu brought a small group of adventurers into the End Time of another Azeroth sacrificed to save ours.

And, indeed, now that we know a little more about the expansion, that seems to be exactly what is going on. Garrosh goes back in time with the help of an as-yet-unidentified accomplice and unites the orc clans into the Iron Horde, thus splitting off a parallel version of Old Draenor that will now continue down a divergent pantleg of the trousers of time (to borrow a metaphor from Terry Pratchett). Our goal is to help that Draenor achieve a better, brighter future than that of the Draenor of our own timeline.

Time to put on our tinfoil hats crinkle crinkle and consider what else this twisting of timelines might mean.

I haven’t seen any of the Visions of Time myself yet, but apparently they hint that Kairoz or even Nozdormu himself might be involved in something shady having to do with Garrosh’s fate at the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar. Suppose that Nozdormu is Garrosh’s accomplice, and goes off into that parallel timeline. Why might he do that?

Because knows how his life will end. As I already mentioned, at the end of Cataclysm, Nozdormu brought a group of adventurers forward in time to the achingly bleak and desolate End Time to defeat Murozond and release the binding that was preventing him from going backward in time to retrieve the Dragon Soul. By obtaining the Dragon Soul and using its power to defeat Deathwing, the Aspects and the mortal races of Azeroth together prevented Azeroth from falling to that awful fate. But if Azeroth was saved from the End Time, how were we able to visit it?

Because it wasn’t our Azeroth that died. It was/is/will be the Azeroth of the parallel timeline in which Garrosh redirects the orcish clans of Draenor and is thwarted from using them to invade Azeroth by our actions. (From what I’ve read, the Iron Horde isn’t intended to invade the Azeroth of that timeline, anyway — it is intended to come forward in time to crush and conquer the Azeroth that Garrosh just came from, our Azeroth.) The Bronze Dragonflight knows that an Azeroth never invaded by the orcs would not be strengthened by the orcs-versus-humans conflicts.

The Burning Legion could still attack that Azeroth using the Scourge as a tool, with some other being from some other unfortunate world as the first Lich King instead of Ner’zhul. When Deathwing rises from Deepholm in that timeline, the Aspects and mortal races could be too beleagured by the Scourge to effectively stop him from wasting the world. On that Azeroth, in the timeline where Draenor remains a whole and living world, the Aspects will fail in their charge and the Old Gods will succeed in bringing to pass their End Time.

Nozdormu knows that he must fall into shadow, become Murozond, create the Infinte Dragonflight. He knows that an Azeroth must die for our Azeroth to live. And so he chooses to aid Garrosh, because it is only by splitting the timelines that his future and what is now our past (the defeat of Deathwing) can come to pass.

The Draenor of “our” timeline must die so that “our” Azeroth can live. The Draenor of the parallel timeline must live so that the Azeroth of the parallel timeline can die… and “our” Azeroth can live.

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I am so excited for my Dwarf Shaman to look like this!

And if the new Tauren female model is as nice as the new Tauren male model seems to be, I will be very happy!

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One of my current favorite WoW webcomics is Away From Reality. It’s funny, the characters are likeable, and the art is totally unique from any other WoW webcomic I’ve ever seen. Instead of drawing, screencapping, or using WMV, Erik Jensen uses the program Poser to model and render his characters. Although this makes the art less immediately recognizable as being derived from WoW, I think the more broad-spectrum fantasy game look also makes the comic more accessible to non-WoW players.

On the “About” page, Jensen comments,

I would love to see someone with actual artistic talent someday render some of my characters or comics, but for myself, this is all I can do.

This invitation has been bouncing around in the back of my brain for awhile now, and out it came onto paper when I was searching for inspiration for something to draw yesterday.

Here we have the main cast of Away From Reality (well, sort-of):

night elf druid Alaxia
human prot warrior Gord
human warlock Morgatha
gnome mage Thizzible*
dwarf holy priest Hurgon

*Night elf hunter Targe is formally the fifth member of the “main cast”, but it’s seemed to me like Thizzible has made more appearances than Targe since the crew reached Pandaria.

The outfits in the picture are (somewhat loosely) based on the in-game clothing items that I thought best matched the clothing the characters wear in the comic — though these are not, obviously, complete Transmogrification kits because most of them are lacking gloves.

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Although imagining, drawing, and posting the picture in my last entry was indeed an effective way of coping with an anticipated bout of depression, it wasn’t the blues that have kept me from posting again more recently — it’s been the busies. Between the flurry of end-of-the-semester responsibilities and packing my apartment to move back to Nova Scotia at the beginning of June, I’ve been rather worn-out. I can’t just leave that sad picture hanging as my most recent post any longer, though. I drew this picture in 2009 when the first STAR TREK reboot movie came out. I haven’t seen the sequel yet — though I very much would like to!


Female Draenei: “Don’t you think the Federation would just love our technology?”
Male Draenei: “Well, yes… but the uniforms are ridiculous!”

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Kamalia’s Guide to the Barbershop (bonus edition)

Okay, so, height and build aren’t exactly things that you can change at all, let alone at the barbershop. They are, however, appearance-related. I put together this scale comparison of the various World of Warcraft player-character races for my own reference. Although it’s kind of rough around the edges, I thought others might find it useful, too.
Click on the small picture to see a larger version.

The Alliance races were all compared to a normal-sized NPC human. The Horde races were all compared to a normal-sized NPC blood elf. I used a comparison between a tauren and a normal-sized, neutral night elf (a Moonglade NPC) to make sure that the two factions were correctly scaled relative to each other.

Also, I finally managed to update the rest of the Azeroth Beautician’s Manual of Feminine Style to include pandaren color and style information.

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art post: neon Trolls

When lacking inspiration for writing, post artwork!

A year ago, when bright, hot, neon/fluorescent colors began to come back into fashion, I doodled up these neon-accented outfits one afternoon during lab (my students weren’t asking enough questions to keep me from getting bored).

(The pigment colors of my bright markers and pencils did not scan well at all, so I touched them up in Photoshop.)

Then, as I thought about making a WoW-themed drawing incorporating neon/fluorescent colors, I was naturally drawn to the race with the brightest hair colors in the game — the Trolls.

This somewhat older “neon Troll” drawing was made with the same Crayola Color Surge paper & marker system that I used for this Lunar Festival drawing.

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