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Archive for the ‘Story/RP’ Category

War Crimes

Well, I finally got around to reading War Crimes. I didn’t go get it right away when it first came out in early May because I knew I’d want to read it right away, and I’d decided I’d rather save it to be a book to read on the airplane to France at the end of the month. When I went to the bookstore a few days before we left, however, there weren’t any copies in stock — and I didn’t have the time to wait for one to be shipped in from another location (I bought the latest Brandon Sanderson tome, Words of Radiance, instead). I looked in the airport bookstores for it, but didn’t find it. When we got back to Canada last week, I decided to look for it at the public library first — I’m contemplating culling my personal library when I unpack it from storage after our upcoming move, and as much as I have enjoyed the WoW books that I’ve read, they aren’t among the books that I love too much to give away, so why buy a book that I know I’m just going to discard soon? But the library didn’t have it at all, not even at another branch from which I could have requested it. So I tried the bookstore again, and got the only copy they had in stock.

War Crimes was a good, solid read. I have one major quibble with the writing itself — the continual shouting of “With respect, I protest!” got annoying rather quickly. I thought that surely neither Tyrande nor Baine should really have to shout to be heard so very often, and I probably would have been less annoyed if they had always “interrupted” instead. That aside, I enjoyed seeing a fiercer side of Tyrande — with only a minimal appearance from Malfurion — and a softer side of Sylvanas. I wondered/hoped for a time if we might see the effects of the side-plot with Sylvanas reflected in the game somehow; the way that plot wrapped up, we probably won’t see any effect on Sylvanas in-game, but it would still be nice to see the final effects for her co-conspirator appear in the game. I love, love the way Golden writes Baine and Anduin. I was glad to see Jaina finally beginning to heal properly. And Wrathion, oh Wrathion, you are such a brat!

I liked the use of the Vision of Time device to show events from the past. I didn’t really understand why Tyrande chose to show the Vision of the Hour of Twilight at the end of Thrall Go’el’s testimony, though, until I read Anne Stickney’s commentary on the book (part 1, part 2). That Vision showed the August Celestial jury what Thrall really did in choosing to move on from Warchief to World Shaman; it absolves Thrall of the choices made by Garrosh by showing that the world would have been even worse off had Go’el not done as he did. I had been expecting Baine to call a witness that would allow him to show the “Honor, Krom’gar, never forsake it!” moment from Stonetalon Mountains in a Vision and was surprised that it was not shown. I suppose, though, that that moment would actually have detrimented Baine’s case, showing how Garrosh had changed from better to worse, when Baine was arguing that Garrosh could still change from worse to better. Most of the Visions/witnesses and their testimonies were familiar to me, but I did not recognize the one about magnataur being used in a battle in Ashenvale. I don’t remember that from playing through post-Shattering Ashenvale as Horde. Is that event something that only Alliance players see as they quest through Ashenvale, or is it something that happens in a short story or in one of the novels I haven’t read yet (Stormrage or Wolfheart)?

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The preview of the new female Night Elf model released this week has inspired me to post this story, which I wrote primarily during summer and autumn of 2011.

~*~*~

I don’t remember the glory of Zin’Azshari or the decadence of the Highborne.

I don’t remember the War of the Ancients or the Sundering of the world.

My mother once told me that there were more kaldorei children born in the fifty years immediately following Illidan Stormrage’s creation of the second Well of Eternity and the planting of Nordrassil by the Aspects than there were in the previous — or following — five hundred.

Scorned, derided, and shunned by the kaldorei, the remaining Highborne kept to themselves, but we occasionally saw them walking around the very outskirts of Constellas, where we lived. As a child and a youth, I was intensely fascinated by their pale, solemn, haughty countenances and their richly-decorated, yet increasingly threadbare apparel. My parents grew tired of my continual pestering to know more about them. After my father’s patience finally broke and he shouted at me — “Arcane magics destroyed our world! They are forbidden for a reason! Do not seek after them any more!” — I stopped asking about the Highborne… but when I had come of age, my parents could not prevent me from associating with them.
(more…)

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(for reference: The Underpowered Death Knight and the Orphans, Matron Kaumaleia)

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Tauren, Taunka, Yaungol

What would a Taunka woman look like if she had the same facial structure as a Taunka man?
What does a Yaungol woman look like?

Perhaps something like this:

The Tauren is wearing the Lunar/Twilight/Raincaller set. The Taunka’s clothing is that worn by the guards at Camps Winterhoof and Oneqwah. The Yaungol’s outfit combines the clothing of Yaungol melee combatants with the chestpiece worn by Yaungol casters.

Figuring out the relative scale of the three races turned out to be trickier than I’d thought. I initially had the notion that Taunka were about a head taller than Tauren and Yaungol about a head taller than Taunka, as I’ve shown them in this picture — my initial sketches may make that more obvious.

Based on my extensive study of Taunka and Yaungol NPCs, however, it’s probably more accurate to say that the Taunka and Yaungol shown in my picture represent the low-to-middle range of a size distribution common to both subspecies.

Taunka men are pretty consistently head-and-shoulders taller than Tauren. My player character Tauren woman’s shoulder comes to the armpit of most Taunka men, or to the elbow of the larger size used for Chieftains and the male guards at some of the Taunka villages in Northrend. A few Taunka men, generally vendors, are a bit shorter, but still about a head taller than my character. The size of Taunka women varies quite widely. In Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, and Grizzly Hills, some of the Taunka women are the same size as the men and some of them are only half-a-head taller than my character. Female Taunka NPCs who are very old or very young women, such as Greatmother Ankha and Nokoma Snowseer at Camp Winterhoof, tend to be about the same size as my character or even a little smaller. At Camp Tunka’lo in the Storm Peaks, however, all of the Taunka women are the same size as my character — I think the developers simply forgot to add the scaling factor!

The Yaungol invaders found in various locations around Kun-Lai Summit seem to be about the same size as the average male Taunka, with my player character Tauren woman’s shoulder coming to the armpit of a typical Yaungol melee combatant. The Yaungol casters found around Binan Village are somewhat smaller, perhaps only half-a-head taller than my character. The Yaungol at Deadtalker’s Plateau and Fire Camp Gai-Cho in Townlong Steppes are a bit larger; my character’s shoulder comes to the armpit of the smaller ones, to the elbow of the larger ones, and only to the waist of the “end bosses” of Master Snowdrift’s set of Shado-Pan dailies, Uruk and Cheng Bo. On the Timeless Isle, the Ordon Candlekeepers are about the same size as a Tauren player character, and Ordon Yaungol get continually larger as they get tougher going up the mountain, until one reaches Ordos, who is, of course, a Boss. On the extreme other end of the scale, the guards of the Bataari war banner located between Binan Village and the Chow Farmstead are very small indeed — smaller than my player character Tauren woman — so small that I think they must be mere youths, approximately equivalent in maturity to a twelve year-old human.

I always feel so bad about having to kill them all! And yet, it seems more merciful to do so. If you burn the banner after having only killed the pair you passed by on your way into the camp, the others yell “Ur-Bataar, Help!” and run around, panicked, until they run into the fire on the banner and catch fire and die anyway. This sad behavior reinforces my feeling that these wee little Yaungol are just children!

I can easily imagine this duty of guarding the war banner as one of the first martial opportunities a young Yaungol receives, a first step away from the chores of tending the camp and toward being a warrior who can help defend the tribe. If having enough strong healthy warriors is so important to Yaungol society and survival that even disputes of leadership are settled by non-lethal ritual combat (see “Dominance”), I cannot imagine Yaungol women being anything but warriors right alongside the men. I would guess that a Yaungol woman only rests from active warrior duties for the few weeks immediately before and after the birth of an infant, and that those who are too young for combat are mostly cared for by those who are too old or honorably disabled for combat.

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Thunder Bluff Warrior of the Insurrection

Vicious Pyrium Shoulders, any sleeveless chestpiece, Shattered Hand belt, Imperial Plate Leggings, Jade Tiger Gauntlets, Grim Sabatons, Thunder Bluff cloak & tabard, Ymiron’s Blade
The Thunder Bluff Warriors who are occupying Razor Hill during the Siege of Orgrimmar wear neither gloves nor boots. If you have invisiboots, such as Griftah’s Authentic Troll Shoes or Ancient Skeletal Boots, by all means use them! Keija does not yet have any invisiboots, not having obtained any either by raiding or by grinding the necessary Kor’kron supplies during patch 5.3, but the Grim Sabatons blend in with the pants well enough to produce almost the same effect.
The NPC belt is the same style as the golden-brown Shattered Hand or blue-grey Grimscale belt, but in a warm grey color that is not available to players. I chose to use the Shattered Hand belt because I felt like the warm tones harmonized better with the tabard & cloak. The Jade Tiger gloves contain both silvery tones to coordinate with the pants and golden tones to coordinate with the belt and tabard, making them the best choice of Keija’s readily-available gloves.
The NPCs carry Ymiron’s Blade + Saltstone Shield, a brighter recolor of the Angerfang/Splinterspear/Bladestaff Hammer that is not available to players, a unique and unobtainable 2H axe, or sometimes even the giant totem that every Tauren player character dearly wishes she or he could wield.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry


Wyrmslayer Spaulders, Bloodscale chestpiece & belt, Brutish pants gloves & boots, Dire Maul, Shield of Maraudon
Oh oh oh! Oh no! I totally forgot that I had wanted to make this outfit for my secondary Warrior for Love is in the Air this year until after the holiday had come and gone. Fortunately, I had some screenshots of the holiday decor from previous years that were suitable for compositing.

Tiller with Shovel





Straw Hat, Ramshorn-Inlaid Shoulders, Armored Chestpiece of Eminient Domain, Field Plate Girdle, Antique Reinforced Legguards, Crystalvein gloves, Subservient Greatboots, Green Lumberjack Shirt, Tillers Tabard, The Shoveler
This outfit owes a great debt to Freyana’s fantastic entry for the final round of The Amazing Transmog Survivor Contest.

Tiller with Shovel and Torch

Straw Hat, Pauldrons of the Deafening Gale, Kargal’s Breastplate, Marauder’s Belt, Togrik’s Legguards, Talhide Lined-Gloves & Boots, Wikket Wrap, Yellow Lumberjack Shirt, Shovel of Mercy, Grayson’s Torch
As it happened, it was more convenient for Kamalia to collect the low-level quest rewards than to watch for the identical Veteran’s armor to appear on the AH.
Fortunately, the Pauldrons of the Deafening Gale dropped for me on my first Trial of the Champions run. The first boss encounter is incredibly, exceedingly obnoxious to solo because the NPCs get to chain stunlock with no diminishing returns.
When I “Do the Right Thing” to get the shovel, I always rescue the humans and wish I could save the whole field of them. Poor things, they will need a lifetime of therapy to overcome the PTSD from that horrific experience.
Prior to Cataclysm, Captain Grayson offered his quests to Horde as well as Alliance, and I ran multiple characters up the coast from Grom’gol to his lighthouse in Westfall to get the torch. Nowadays, alas, though he remains neutral, Captain Grayson only offers his quests to Alliance characters. Horde characters should watch the AH for the Mistyreed Torch.

Tiller with Pitchfork

Straw Hat, Murkblood shoulders & chest, Brown Belt of Humbling Gravity, Expedition Pants, Silentleaf Gloves, Swift Cenarion Footwear, Blue Lumberjack Shirt, Nether Trident
At its core, this outfit is the same as my “Newsie” set. I’ve just switched out a few of the accessories.
Kate always wears one of her Monk class quest belts. Other characters should look for a relatively plain brown belt, such as the Belt of the Raptor.
One of the reasons why I picked this trident for Kate’s earlier Fisherman set is that it also makes a halfway-decent pitchfork for a Farmer set. The War Scythe or Grim Scythe would also be suitable weapons for a polearm-wielding class to use in a Farmer outfit.

Tiller with Staff

Straw Hat, Outlander’s Pauldrons, Blue Overalls, Willow Belt, Tangled Thread Gloves, Apprentice Boots, Red Lumberjack Shirt, Rosethorn Staff
I’ve seen several variations on the classic cloth “Farmer” look that use the Skein Woven Mantle. Indeed, I had one squirrelled away in my Transmogrification vault guild bank for Kaohana to use in a Farmer outfit. When I finally got around to making her one, however, I decided to do something a little different and use this set of shoulders that she already had soulbound, rather than adding yet another item to her overflowing wardrobe.
I thought about using a really plain “walking stick”-type staff model, such as Umbranse’s Staff, with this kit. The fancier Rosethorn Staff appealed to me more, though I’m not quite sure why it felt so appropriate for a Farmer. Warlock Farmers should of course use their Staff of the Left Hand Path/Staff of Justified Sins. WTB a Transmogrifiable Broom!

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The next time Kamalia came to the Seat of Knowledge, after having assisted in the defeat of Garrosh Hellscream, Lorewalker Cho trotted down from the dais to meet her, saying, “My friend, please meet me near the Big Blossom Mine in the center of the Vale. There is something I wish to show you there.”

This is a story about the lore event that unlocks following one’s first victory over Garrosh Hellscream. If you have not yet defeated Garrosh yourself, you may not want to continue reading it. Otherwise, (more…)

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Some five seasons had passed since Kamalia had recieved the mysterious note directing her to meet with the Black Prince at the Tavern in the Mists.


29 September 2012

1 October 2012

Kamalia knew she was not the only adventurer whom Wrathion was sponsoring, yet the dragonling had waited with great patience for her to complete his tasks and had praised her accomplishments with as much respect as if she had been swift to do his bidding.


16 January 2013

Three stages of Wrathion’s plot had been especially difficult for Kamalia.

Somewhat surprisingly, those stages had not been the missions that required her to engage in active combat against members of the Alliance. She faltered with exhaustion about halfway through the task to collect six thousand valor merits, taking about twice as long to do it as the absolute minimum time in which it could have been done.


20 April 2013

Her first attempts to assist Wrathion at the Thunder Forge demoralized her so badly that she needed a month to recover before she made any more serious attempts… and even then, she only managed to succeed by sheer luck and the skin of her teeth.


30 October 2013

After her first experience with Chi-Ji’s challenge at the Red Crane’s still-Sha-soaked temple in the Krasarang Wilds, doubt and despair overwhelmed Kamalia. Over two months passed before she felt like she could try again.


6 January 2014

At last, only one test remained: to defeat each of the August Celestials in combat at their court on the Timeless Isle.

“Champion,” said Wrathion, “you’ve done it!” He meant to say more, the same spiel about “few mortals posess such spirit, such power — believe me, I have tested many!” that he gave to all of the adventurers who had managed to complete his campaign, but the tauren shaman interrupted him.

Finally!” she cried, her voice holding that curious note, peculiar to the mammalian races, of simultaneous laughter and weeping. She flung out her arms and caught Wrathion up in a completely unexpected embrace.

Finding his face suddenly smashed into her bosom, Wrathion let out a startled squawk and shifted into his dragon form. That form still being a mere whelpling, however, she just grinned wider and squeezed him tighter.

A chord of smothered laughter hummed out behind them: Yu’lon’s contralto and Chi-Ji’s tenor floating over the deep rumbling basses of Xuen and Niuzao.

Kamalia dropped Wrathion so quickly that he landed in an undignified heap of wings and tail before he had the presence of mind to shift back into his humanoid form. She backed up a few steps, flushing deeply.

“Hero,” Xuen purred, “You are an inspiration!”

“I knew you were destined for greatness,” Chi-Ji affirmed.

“Not bad,” Niuzao nodded.

“The pandaren will sing your praises for ages to come,” Yu’lon smiled.

“A legend is born!” Lorewalker Cho exclaimed. “Come, my dear friend, meet me in the Seat of Knowledge, and let me tell your story!”

Wrathion and Lorewalker Cho disagreed over what aspects of Kamalia’s Pandarian adventures were most important. To Kamalia, though, their desired emphases were merely two faces of a single coin.

Wrathion presented Kamalia with his final gift, and at long last, she had it: her very own Legendary item!


8 January 2014

But Wrathion wasn’t quite done with Kamalia. He charged her with one more task — one which she was eager to complete.


8 January 2014

Powers above Kamalia’s control stepped in, however, and Wrathion was not pleased with the report she brought him.

“Good-bye and good riddance!” she muttered under her breath as the Black Prince shifted into his whelpling form and flapped off in a huff. Her annoyance dissipated quickly, though, and she soon found herself wondering when she would see the young dragon again… and if his private army of empowered adventurers would indeed be adequately Prepared when his terrifying visions became Azeroth’s reality. Stroking the rich fabric of her powerful new cloak, Kamalia felt the warmth of Chi-Ji’s kindness and hope blooming in her heart and mind, and believed that they would.

~*~*~

Hope’s Bright Flame

Helm of Affinity, Champion’s Pauldrons, Impenetrable Breastplate, Bloodspattered Sash, Patroller’s War-Kilt, Seer’s Linked Gauntlets, War Mace of Unrequited Love, Swamplight Lantern, Jina-Kang, Kindness of Chi-Ji
The name of this outfit is inspired by the proc effect of Jina-Kang, Kindness of Chi-Ji, which reminds me of a lyric from one of my favorite hymns, Press Forward, Saints.

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Hi Kamalia,

It’s Erinys from the Harpy’s Nest here.

Sorry for this being slightly late but I couldn’t decide what to do. Spending hours poring over your blog changing my mind every few minutes, I finally came down to the two Ts of Transmogrification and Taurens but how to combine them? Carolling in Thunder Bluff, the answer, it turned out was right in front of me… creation myths!

There is one outfit for each gear specialization in-game. I know that transmogrification is subjective and most definitely in the eye of the beholder but I hope you like these.

~*~*~

“Before the Age of Memory, the gentle Earthmother breathed upon the golden mists of dawn. Where the amber clouds came to rest, there were endless fields of flowing wheat and barley. This was the basin of her works – the great basket of life and hope.”

Endless fields of flowing wheat and barley
This is built around one of my favourite items in-game, the conifer cone staff. In my head, the Greatmother is a Shaman so this outfit had to be mail.

Crown of Flame (H)
Mantle of the Golden Forest
Khan’s chestpiece
Amber Filigreed Doublet
Bloodlust Gauntlets
Engraved Girdle
Valorous Earthshatter Kilt
De’rizu Greaves
Conifer Cone Staff

“The Earthmother, her heart heavy with her children’s plight, could not bear to watch them fall from grace. In her grief, she tore out her eyes and set them spinning across the endless, starry skies. An’she and Mu’sha, seeking to ease the other’s sorrow, could only chase each other’s faint glow across the sky. The twins still chase one another with every turning of the world.”

The Twins: An’she
I decided against going for the obvious golds and yellows, choosing to focus more on the dawning and setting sun, those delicate shades which paint the whole sky with just some subtle hints of gold to suggest the sun at its midday peak. The Sun had to be plate, whether I was influenced by those lines from Shakespeare’s Richard III,

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

or perhaps I’ve just pvped too much but it makes me think of arrogant warriors and paladins charging into battle.

Crown of Empowered Fate
Pauldrons of the Souleater
Commander’s Armour
Amber Filigreed Doublet
Gauntlets of the Righteous Champion
Belt of the Seven Seals
Triton Legplates
Gothic Sabatons
Ashkandi, Greatsword of the Brotherhood

The Twins: Mu’sha
This could only be a cloth transmogrification with the mooncloth robe at its heart.

Moonsoul Crown
Aurora Mantle
Mooncloth Robe
White Tuxedo Shirt
Safeguard Gloves
Relentless Gladiator’s Cord of Salvation
Redemption

“This tale speaks of how the Earthmother gave the Shu’halo the love of the hunt. The Tauren became great hunters, but one spirit eluded them, Apa’ro, the white stag (called Malorne by the Night Elves.) The Tauren hunted Apa’ro to the ends of Azeroth, and finally the stag fled into the heavens. where his great antlers became tangled in the starts. As the moon, (Mu’sha) chased her brother across the skies, she saw the helpless stag, and immediately fell in love with him.”

The White Stag
The fact that Malorne’s a Druidic icon, so to speak, meant that this set had to be leather. We know that he is a pure white stag so the Boneshredder set seemed like the perfect starting point for this.

Crown of the Forest Lord
Boneshredder Shoulderguards
Boneshredder Jerkin
Jinxed Hoodoo Kilt
Heraldic Belt
Boneshredder Gloves
Dreamer’s Dragonstaff

The observant amongst you might notice that neither of the latter two are illustrated, that’s because I’m bad.

The full lore behind the Tauren creation myths can be found in the scrolls hanging on the walls of the Archdruid’s tent in Thunder Bluff, and it’s well worth taking the trip to read if you haven’t already. All of the quotes to illustrate my outfits are taken from there — but that’s a tiny portion of the full tale.

Happy Winter Veil

~*~*~

I love this concept of making costumes for a theatrical telling of the Tauren creation myths. All these outfits are so wonderful — the rich autumnal tones of the Greatmother herself, the rosy light of An’she peeking over the horizon at sunrise or sunset, the cool clear brilliance of Mu’sha in the night sky, the sleek elegance of Malorne! Thank you so much, Erinys!

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I felt an odd sort of whiplash watching The Godmother’s #TBLIZ feed during the initial Warlords announcement. One minute, people were squealing in giddy delight, “look at all the ladies!”, while watching the trailer cinematic. The next minute, they were passing around this image –

– and complaining that it has no women in it.

Wait wait waitaminnit… first you’re glad that there will be many ladies in the new expansion, and now you’re sad that there aren’t enough? I R CONFUZZLED.

In retrospect, I suppose I can understand why, after seeing the trailer, they’d be disappointed that that image — or this one, for that matter –

– does not have any (let alone the same level of) female representatation.

In the days since BlizzCon, there’s been this implication in the blogosphere that the principal thought a Real Female Gamer “should” have upon seeing these images is where are all the women?

I don’t know if I would have thought that or not — I didn’t really get the chance. Because blogs and their associated Twitter feeds updated faster than the WoW Insider coverage did, I started seeing that first image with “why aren’t there any women?” commentary well before I saw the unmodified image in its original context. I did wonder why Draka was not alongside Durotan in the second image, though.

I recognize that this gal (Y’rel?) –

– is something of a “token female” in the Warlords of Draenor promotional material we’ve seen so far. I get that there are women who play WoW who feel left out and pushed aside by the emphasis on male characters in what we’ve seen of the upcoming storyline. I acknowledge that, for them, their concerns are real, legitimate, and deserve to be addressed… but I am not bothered much.

As long as the plot and the characters are engaging, and there are not any other aspects of the content that I find disagreeable, I have never particularly noticed or cared about gender balance in the stories I consume. If Harry Potter’s two best friends had been Ron and Neville, the series would have been a rather different story, but I think I still would have enjoyed it just as much. I hope that Blizzard will tell a cracking good story over the course of Warlords of Draenor, as they have during Mists of Pandaria, and I intend to enjoy it without worrying about exactly how many of the “badass people doing badass things” (to borrow a phrase from Anne Stickney) are male and how many are female.

The Aggra thing, however… yeah, that bothers me.

Although I have been culturally raised to believe that stay-at-home-motherhood is the most important and worthwhile lifestyle a woman can choose, I agree that it’s utterly ridiculous that Aggra should be left behind just because she’s had a baby. It’s just not consistent with her character at all. Until someone specifically asked the question about her, I’d been automatically assuming that she would be going along with Thrall, and it does seem, from what I’ve read, that the presenters’ way of answering that question was condescending and dismissive. Aggra is an awesome character in The Shattering novel, and I have been disappointed that her development in the game has not fully lived up to that potential. Akabeko, Anne Stickney and Rades have expounded upon this topic much more completely and eloquently than I could. It would be wonderful if the strong concerns that have been raised over Aggra result in the CDevs changing their minds and more fully including her in the Warlords story, just as the strong concerns that were raised about Ji Firepaw during the Mists beta resulted in positive changes to his character. If that doesn’t happen, though, I’m still going to play the expansion and enjoy the story it tells.

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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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