Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shared Topic: Time Lost

The shared Topic for this week for Blog Azeroth was to role play a scene with your favorite mount.  Anything from how you acquired it to when it dies.  Well this is basically the story of how I acquired my favorite mount. It was the catalyst to my mount collecting, well for those OTHER than Black mounts anyway. Many thanks to Strumwulf for the original idea. 

There was little warning before the attack. Just a swirl of snow and a sudden shadow. Diving to the right, Daraia dropped the herb in her hand, arming herself by the simply flick of her wrist, releasing her daggers from their concealed sheaths. Turning her dive into a roll, she came up in a crouch, faced her attacker.  It was a drake, but of a type she had never seen before. Physically it resembled the northern species the Dragonflights had told her were called "Protodrakes" and were actually the predecessors to the dragonflights she was more familiar with. However this particular specimen was a golden color. Similar to that displayed by members of the Bronze dragonflight.

With a curse Daraia tried to figure out how she was going to get out of this one. The last time she had gone against a dragon alone had been in Outland and it had been difficult. Even young ones could be deadly if not handled correctly and this was one was an unknown. She could only hope that it had the same weak points as others she had encountered in the past.

With a roar the drake dove at her, jaws snapping. Tucking its wings in towards its body as it flew down like a hawk after a fish. From her crouch Daraia jumped up at the last moment and caught one foot on the beast's front leg then a on a wing, climbing up onto the drake's back. Plunging  her daggers into the drake's sides as she went. To her shock, they managing to bite deeply, granting her further leverage. Unlike other dragons she had encountered this particular drake's scales were soft and vulnerable. From her new position on its back she was able to easily plunge both of her daggers into the drake's neck, severing arteries. With a lurch the golden drake tumbled to the ground, tossing Daraia against the cliff and into the snow. Thrashing its legs in desperation, the beast's movements slowed, then ceased. The heat of its body melting the snow, causing a cloud of steam to rise.

Panting Daraia wiped blood from her face. The tumble had briefly knocked the wind out of her. The sound of wing beats brought her back to alert. Slipping into rock face's shadows she spotting a rapidly approaching form, another dragon. With the light behind it was hard for her to determine color but it appeared to be another protodrake and it was headed straight for her.

"Brilliant Dar, not even a month in Northrend and your going to get yourself killed herb farming because your to bloody CHEAP to buy flasks off the auction house..." Frantically she searched for a more secure location, as the new dragon landed causing snow to cascade down on her head from the cliffs above. By the time she had dug her self out the dragon was gone....but a figure was now pacing around the corpse of the golden drake.

"Ah good, you remember me. That saves a great deal of time." Clad in dark armor  he appeared to be a high elf, and Daraia had recently encountered him at Argent Vanguard in Icecrown, but appearances were obviously deceiving. Penumbrius' focus was totally on the golden drake. He paid little attention to Daraia as she scrambled out of the snowbank, shaking snow and ice from her armor. "Hmm, this is very interesting. It seems we have another that has gotten through. I may yet be able to save him."

Daraia quietly watched and waited while Penumbrius worked on the drake. From time to time she could hear him speak, but the words meant nothing to her. His hands would occasionally glow and she could SEE the horrifying wounds on the drake closing but still it lay still. Obviously Penumbrius didn't need her so she summoned her Netherdrake Onyxien and prepared to leave.

 "This isn't over yet."  Startled Daraia turned back from where she had been preparing to mount. Onyxien seemed perfectly content observing Penumbrius and the golden drake through narrowed eyes.

"Excuse me?"

"You can't leave yet.  I can't do everything alone. Depending on what happens here with him I may need further assistance. Your involved now." Daraia scratched her had. It never failed, every time she worked with a dragon she was confused. "You are knowledgeable enough with dragon kind to know that many of us  were created from the original Protodrakes by the Titans. Well this particular fellow and others like him have fallen through small rifts created by a device called the 'Engine of the Makers'. It was here that they created or altered the various races not native to Azeroth. " Penumbrius finally looked up from the drake towards Daraia. "To give you an idea as to how large this Engine is the openings you see all over Storm Peaks are only the exhaust pipes."

"Oh..." Daraia felt like a complete idiot. How do you respond to something like this anyway? At this point all she wanted to do was get back to her herb farming, turn them into the company healer than disappear into the Hero's Welcome in Dalaran for hours.
"I have been trying to locate those like him to aid the Argent Crusade since they can not return to their own time. I call them "Time Lost Protodrakes", for that is what they are, lost souls in time. The Argent Crusade offer them a home and a purpose so that they will not feel alone or even worse fall victim to the Lich King. We are social creatures to a certain extent though we don't care to admit it. In addition to this I am trying to close those rifts as I find them."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to kill him but he attacked...."

Penumbrius laughed. "Oh Daraia. You didn't kill him. That is the problem with those who go through the rift of time. While you certainly DID wound him greatly he is not dead. This one is young, for all that he has inadvertently traveled many years into his future. His name is Tairais and he has stated that he is not interested in assisting the Argent Crusade. What I have to offer him sounds to boring for his liking.  He would like to do more." The drake silent until now gave a moan, then yawned, slowly lifting his head and giving a shake.

Apprehensive Daraia clenched her daggers tightly but noticed that Penumbrius was watching Tairais with a slight smile on his face. The golden drake blinked then turned towards Daraia, lurching to his feet unsteadily. Then spreading his wings and giving out a roar. Onyxien regarding the golden drake calmly before returning the roar sending more snow falling down on Daraia's head.


"It seems that your Netherdrake doesn't care for the cold of Northrend and Tairais is quite happy here. Further more from what Onyxien has shared you have a great many adventures and travel many different places. This appeals to Tairais, so he has decided that rather than aiding the Argent Crusade he is going to go with you."

"WHAT?!?!" Daraia squeaked.

"You should know by now never to argue with a dragon." With a laugh Penumbriums launched into the air changing form as he went. Onyxien gleefully followed leaving Daraia face to face with Tairais, her one time foe.

"Great, just great. and NONE of you thought that I might need a saddle?!?! Dragons!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Know Your Rogue Lore: Maiev Shadowsong

From time to time I get requests to cover specific Rogues sooner rather than later. Some are expected, and others take me by surprise. Today's was one of those. When Jadzea asked me to discuss Maiev I could not understand how she thought she was a rogue. Jad's response? "Well, WowWiki lists her as one of its notable Rogues." Sure enough, she was right. Unlike Brann where I could easily understand the confusion, Warden Maiev Shadowsong is commonly called "The Huntress"....WHY would WowWiki ever consider her a Rogue? Lets see if we can figure out this mystery.

If you have not played the original Warcraft III game or read the War of the Ancients Trilogy, Maiev Shadowsong may be a complete stranger to you. So lets take this time to go over who she is, and what role she has played in the history of the Night Elves, Azeroth and even Outland.

Originally Maiev was little more than a young, somewhat ambitious priestess of Elune. As the oldest daughter of a minor night elf family she has a perfectionist personality. Easily seeing the faults in everyone around her, she often alienated those closest to her, including her younger bother Jarod, with her "I know best" black and white thinking.  By displaying superb organizational and leadership abilities she earned a position of assistant to the High Priestess of Elune. When the Burning Legion began it's invasion Maiev joined those of the Sisterhood who decided to participate more directly by taking up arms. The newly formed Sentinels were a good fit for her as she displayed a talent with blades and tracking. 

Unfortunately for Maiev she forgot that she worked for a "Goddess" not just a governmental organization. It didn't matter how great her abilities were if her heart was not on serving her Goddess, but rather herself. When the High Priestess announced that "country bumpkin" Tyrande Whisperwind would be the new High Priestess Maiev was incensed. Things reached a head when Maiev attempted to undermine the the succession. However she discovered you just can't argue with the direct intervention of Elune. Eventually circumstances handed her the title for a short time during Tyrande's imprisonment at the hands of Queen Azshara, grudging Maiev realized that Tyrande's effortless communication with Elune and selfless devotion was really what is needed. This didn't mean that she liked it.

It further galled her when she was bestowed with the position of  Tyrande's second in command. Now not only did she have to see the position she had always coveted for herself go to someone she couldn't stand, she has to serve that individual PERSONALLY on a daily basis. As far as Maiev is concerned how much worse could it get? As she would soon discover, much worse.

Following the finally battle at Mount Hyjal Maiev was part of the leadership delegation that headed to the summit in search of fresh water. The earlier sighting of a lake had risen hope of a sufficient supply for the survivors.  What they find is that Illidan has turned the once pristine lake into another Well of Eternity and killed all but two of those who tried to stop him. One of these happened to be Maiev's only surviving relative, her younger brother Jarod, by now an acknowledged war hero.

This is a turning point for Maiev. Once she is reassured that Jarod was only injured and not dead her focus turns COMPLETELY to Illidan. Maiev wants him to pay for all that he has done. While she states it is for his crimes against the Night Elf people, the reality is all her personal rage, disillusionment, disappointment and frustration of the past months now have an outlet and Illidan has becomes its acceptable focus. Maiev petitions Malfurion to become Illidan's jailer. Abandoning her hated position as Tyrande's Handmaiden.

Over the next 10,000 years Maiev creates a personally selected organization called the "Watchers". Like the Sentinels its members were made up former Sisters of Elune. She forms a high security prison in Barrow Deeps, the ancient cave system beneath Mount Hyjal, here they could safely lock away not only Illidan but many other dangerous creatures. With the help of  Malfurion, Maiev is able to gain the cooperation of some of Cenarius' offspring as well as some Wildkin to act as additional guardians. By making it their home as well as major base of operations, all of the Watchers could be on hand for continuous training, as well as instantly available when called for. Eventually the Watchers would earn a reputation as the elite Assassins and Bounty Hunters within Night Elf society. Perhaps it is this that leads to Maiev's inclusion on the "Rogue" list.

Even among the Watchers, (as few as there were) some stood out. It was Malfurion who first bestowed the title of "Warden" on Maiev and she then granted it to a select few under her amongst the Watchers.  This title has come to represent the best of the jailers and Marshals. Those who display the combination of extraordinary skill and personal drive. Those who played Warcraft III may even recall a certain ability that Wardens had which we Rogues receive at level 80. Fan of Knives. Perhaps this is another reason why Maiev ended up on the Rogue list. Their Blink ability is also not THAT dissimilar to the modern Shadowstep.

So things are going fairly well for Maiev up until this point. She doesn't have to deal directly with Tyrande. She can just hang out in Barrow Deep with friends. Sure the scenery isn't the greatest but the temperature is consistent and the rest of the Watchers really only answer to her.

Then the Burning Legion return just as Illidan had predicted. While Malfurion and Tyrande hadn't really FORGOTTEN about Illidan, he hasn't been at the forefront of their minds for the last 10,000 years. Malfurion has been off taking an extended nap and Tyrande has been trying to rebuild the Night Elf people. When they DO remember the troublesome twin Tyrande wants to release Illidan to help but Malfurion doesn't agree, forbidding it. (NEVER try to tell a woman what to do when you have left her to do nothing but clean up for 10,000 years while you snoozed....) Furious Tyrande parts from Malfurion and heads to Barrow Deep. She then proceeds to SLAUGHTER the Watchers in Barrow Deep defying  Maiev, and freeing Illidan.

Maiev is devastated and enraged. Not only has her sole purpose in life been violated (guarding over Illidan) but her friends and really what has become her family have all been heartlessly murdered by the individual who is SUPPOSE to be the leader of her people. The SAME person who she lost the only position she ever wanted in life to. For the rest of Maiev's life her only goal is to capture and return Illidan to Barrow Deep, she will now begin what many call her "Huntress" period.

Maiev, along with her second in command Naisha and what few Watchers managed to survive Tyrande track Illidan across Kalimdor, always close but never managing to corner him. Upon reaching the coast they encounter the Naga for the first time, revealing them to be allies of Illidan. It is actually Maiev who discovers that the Naga are in actuality the Highborn who served Queen Azshara, now transformed almost beyond recognition. Appalled Maiev rejects any kinship with the Naga, defeating them before commandeering a ship and heading out after Illidan once again. Their sea journey is short, as they find themselves on a set of uncharted Islands. Maiev soon realizes that someone, or some THING has risen the ruins of the former Elven capital city Suramar from the ocean floor.  Pursuing Illidan into the Tomb of Sargeras, Maiev believes her quest will soon be over, but it is a trap. Illidan repays the Watchers for their centuries of guardianship by collapsing the tomb on top of them, only a handful make it out alive. The hardest blow to Maiev is the loss of Naisha.

Devastated and outnumbered Maiev sends a plea to Malfurion for assistance. However when Tyrande chooses to accompany him the two almost come to physical blows. As far as Maiev is concerned EVERYTHING horrible that has happened is as a direct result of Tyrande and her choices. Tyrande on the other hand believes she had only done what was needed and would make the same decisions even now. Mulfurion just wants the two of them to focus on the task at hand. (He REALLY does not understand women at ALL does he?) Lucky for him they agree and continue on after Illidan.

However when shortly after their arrival in the Eastern Kingdoms and encounter the Blood Elves Maiev is forced to rely on Tyrande's more developed negotiating skills if she hopes to proceed in her quest. Personally Maiev finds Arcane Magic abhorrent and blames it for all the corruption found in the world. Those races such as the Naga and Blood Elves who find their roots in the Night Elf Aristocracy she denies any kinship with. Going so far as to state their current troubles are nothing more than what they deserve for the abomination they insist on practicing.

Her patience is eventually rewarded. Tyrande is swept down river after an attack and Maiev intervenes so that no rescue efforts take place. She goes one step further, deceiving Malfurion into believing Tyrande is dead and it is all Illidan's fault. (NEVER tamper with a vengeful female if you weren't already aware of this rule.) When the group finally DOES located Illidan a grief stricken Malfurion rains accusations down on his brother's head for the death of the woman they love. Gleeful Maiev volunteers to execute Illidan on the spot. Bemused the Blood Elf allies innocently expose her deception by remarking that no one really knows for CERTAIN that Tyrande is dead, she just washed down stream after all....

At this point Maiev loses everything. As far as Malfurion is concerned SHE is now the "Betrayer". Joining forces with Illidan the two brothers set off to find and rescue Tyrande. By the time Maiev is able to locate them Illidan and his allies are slipping through a portal to Draenor. Incensed Maiev and what few Watchers remain follow through the rapidly closing portal. As Malfurion puts it, "She has become nothing more than vengeance."

For quite some time it appeared as if Maiev ultimately failed before perishing on Draenor. However with the release of the Burning Crusade her true fate was revealed. The jailer has now become the jailed. While Maiev HAD actually managed to capture Illidan at one point, she had no where to go. The Blood Elves she had one counted as Allies now served Illidan. His supporters freed him and took HER captive. Illidan decided turn around was fair play and had Maiev imprisoned in Warden's Cage near his new head quarters at the Black Temple. There she is watched over by Akama and his Ashtongue Deathsworn. Restlessly she paces, calling curses down on her jailer and belittling him for his slow moving rebellion.

Eventually Akama invites Maiev to assist him in overthrowing Illidan as part of The Fall of the Betrayer quest chain. What is interesting is that while Maiev gets the killing blow,  Illidan still manages to get the last laugh. As he dies he mocks Maiev that hers is a hollow victory, for without him what is she? For centuries the two have been inexplicably tied. Both prisoners to their fates. Maiev acknowledges he is right, what does she have now without her vengeance? The Watchers are no more, she created and ran the faction, and it was never revived after her original disappearance. As to her fate following Illidan's death, no one knows, she simply vanished. Maiev has to be one of the loneliest individuals in the universe.

So now we know who Maiev IS lets get back to the original question. Why would WowWiki consider her a Rogue? First of all you have to remember that WowWiki is NOT an Official Blizzard site, this means that just anyone can edit it and put their personal perspective on the information. Second, the Maiev inclusion is a recent addition. Third, as the game has evolved some of the abilities that Maiev displays such as Fan of Knives, and  Shadowstep have been recent additions to the rogue arsenal. Personally, I think Maiev, like Brann is a "special case". If you backed me into a corner she is more like a hunter than a rogue. Her gear sets are mail, she sets traps and she is called "The Huntress".  I would HAPPILY take her cloak at ANY time though because that thing is just cool, as are her circular weapons...I don't know what they would be classified, my leaning would be swords, as but I still like them. She has always had a stealth ability, but as she IS a Night Elf, this does fall under the "racial" category. Do any of you have an opinion?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Unexpected Recognition

Originally today's blog post was going to be something small and along the lines of "No Kerrigan didn't get me, but Real Life did. Pay no attention to the fact that it has taken all day for the stupid thing to down load." However last night something totally unexpected happened. I got linked by  I am completely flattered and honored as it is a first for me.

I am certainly not a professional writer. I am not even a struggling journalism student or aspiring literary critic. For some strange reason I have this weird mental image that you have to be this type of person to be linked by  some place like all the time. (No clue why.) That I don't fall into these categories should come as no great shock to anyone who has read my work for any great length of time...I like to use caps for emphasis, my sentence and paragraph structure is atrocious. My spelling is abysmal. These are things I readily acknowledge. Considering I haven't taken anything REMOTELY resembling a "writing" class in well over a decade, I suppose it can only be expected.

The thing is I don't write this blog to be "famous on the Interwebz", to make money or any of the numerous other reasons I have seen. Rather I write because I enjoy it. I don't have a counter. (I am so computer illiterate I could never figure out how to get it to work when I did TRY to set one up.) So while I am sure this attention will generate more hits, just how many will remain a mystery. I welcome you all, even more so those who are kind enough to leave feed back, comments or even return. So many thanks to Wow. com for the nod and I promise I will return soon to the regularly scheduled program once I get through school shopping and physicals....It REALLY has NOTHING to do with that fact that the down load has finally reached 100% HONEST!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Know Your Rogue Lore: Defias Brotherhood part 2 *Spoilers*

All right this post is going to be full of Cata spoilers so hang on. When last we discussed the Defias Brotherhood the question was "Where can they go from here? VanCleef is dead and Lady Prestor their major patron had been exposed as the Broodmother Onyxia and also met her demise." I am not going to take the time to cover their previous history, you can just check the links and see those for a refresher. Lets just focus on the future.

One of the first things you will notice when leaving Stormwind is the ABSENCE of the Defias presence. Before there were always bandits with the distinctive red mask hanging around causing issues. Instead what you will find now are Stormwinds homeless, vagabonds and transients. Basically what has happened is King Varian has now "officially" returned to the throne and "cleaned house".  Before his disappearance Varian had been busy attempting to rebuild the kingdom by running around the country side chasing down orcs and determining what areas needed reinforcement. So under the advisement of King Trerenas Menethil he left the "House of Nobles" in charge of the rebuilding of the City of Stormwind so his attention would not be divided. By now we all know how well that worked out.

Varian was delayed in returning to business by a little war in the far north with his childhood friend Arthas, now with Arthas gone he can turned his attention back to his original goals, this includes the eradication of the Horde. Westfall has FINALLY gotten the reinforcements they were promised. With VanCleef gone and most of his lieutenants either captured or deceased it was not difficult to bring the Defias Brotherhood to its knees and for all intents and purposes force it to disband, rounding up what few failed to return to the general population. The Cataclysm caused some damage to Westfall but over all the farmers have been able to return to their fields and resume production. All should be wonderful right? Not quite.

You see reinforcements require people and war cost money, along with resources. Over the past few years there has been a great deal of miss management on the part of the House of Nobles both while Varian was away scouring the country side and again while he was "bespelled". First you have all the funds that never did get paid out to the Stonemason's guild for rebuilding Stormwind, then you have the "ransom" that was paid to "rescue" King Varian, as well as cost of that little war with the Lich King up North. Who payed all of this? Not the Nobles. No it was the farmers and tradesmen. Some of which have finally gone broke under the burden. Who do they blame? King Varian of course because ultimately he was in charge. In addition to this many of those same farmers and tradesmen saw their sons and daughters go off to war as soldiers, never to return.

Now someone is attempting to organize all those disenfranchised and homeless individuals. Focusing all that anger and resentment towards the King. It is the WHO that is interesting. Many of us joked back when we first ventured into the Deadmines and faced Edwin VanCleef ourselves that with a ship that large who knew what all could be hiding below. In Cata we discover our hunches were correct. It seems our sanctioned  murder and decapitation of the Defias leader was witnessed by none other than VanCleef's offspring. Wow's modeling for children is VERY limited as we have seen with poor Prince Anduin who was stuck looking age ten FOREVER, so it is difficult to determine exact age, my guess would be close to 13. The reason is she (Yes the new Defias leader is VanCleef's DAUGHTER) is described as being a "young girl" at his death, but she is now a "young woman" and it being four years later. (My only problem is that the time line seems a little off with VanCleef's death but we can ignore that.)

So what is Miss Vanessa VanCleef's story? After witnessing her father's death (a horrifying thing for any child) she goes into hiding amongst the local farmers. Like her father Vanessa has personal charisma and organizational skills. She is able to connect with people, to get them to share their frustrations and fears with her.  From there she is able to build on their hopes and dreams. All she personally desires is revenge for what was done to her father. As far as she is concerned the individuals responsible are Gryan Stoutmantle and King Varian. As she grew up Vanessa built a network of individuals who desire personal power, using their greed, she is able to build the framework she needs to rebuild her Father's vision once more.

One of the first individuals she recruits is a goblin by the name of Helix Gearbreaker. Helix works as her go between with some of the more unsavory types in the area that she can not contact herself. These include such groups as the Murlocks and Gnolls, as well as some former members of the original Brotherhood. Helix is even able to connect her with a rogue Worgen who has no desire to continue under Graymantle's rule. One of the interesting things about Helix is that he rides around on the back of a Lumbering Oaf, just like the goblins in the ORIGINAL World of Warcraft game. You will first encounter Helix in a familiar location for Alliance Rogues. Down at the bottom of the Dusty plains in the tower we use to have to stealth up to do our poison quest. Helix now makes THIS his home and center of operations.

Another one of Vanessa's recruits is a two headed ogre by the name of Glubtok. Like all ogres he isn't exactly the brightest, but he does have his uses. When Vanessa first finds him he has set up his own little shop in one of the local mines. However Vanessa is not willing to deal with any competition so she offers him a deal, work for her or be eliminated. Glubtok has to think about it for a little bit but Vanessa's promises of glory and power with out him actually having to do much win him over. His minions now become part of her work force.

Her final recruit and the last member of what will become the bosses of the NEW Deadmines is Admiral Ripsnarl. You first see him in the stocks at Sentinel Hill. Graymantle mentions, and Ripsnarl gleefully confirms that this is a Worgen who is only interested in biting whoever happens to come within range. He has absolutely NO interest in controlling the "beast within", nor of honoring any pacts created by his king with the rest of the Alliance. Ripsnarl is a lot of fun and has a snarky attitude he takes out on anyone who happens to walk by. This old Sea Dog is wild, and it says a lot that the only one he actually seems to respect is Vanessa.

Now don't underestimate Vanessa as a pretty face using her father's reputation to get her places. Oh no. This is a young woman who learned everything at her father's knee but put her OWN twist on it. She learned well, but she is NOT Edwin. Edwin was all about having a "righteous cause", getting what was "owed him" and those who worked with him, gathering to him others who were wronged. Vanessa is about "revenge" pure and simple.  She will take you down, in the dark, from behind, without  pity simply because you have the POSSIBILITY of getting in the way of her plans. If she can't do it personally she will get others to do it. This is one VICIOUS individual for all that she can play the part of "sweet and innocent". All we can hope is that they DON'T give her the emote "My name is Vanessa VanCleef, you killed my father, prepare to die."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tunnel Vision

Have you ever had an experience were you were unintentionally rude? You know, your just going about your business when suddenly someone starts calling curses down on your head and you are clueless as to why? Eventually you discover you have committed some infraction against them which they have interpreted to be deliberate but in actuality was done completely innocently. I seem to have them all the time, I call it "Tunnel Vision". I am so focused on my target, getting to where I need to go, completing my objective that I have no clue what is going on around me.

Things like running over Gnomes or more rarely Dwarves with land mounts. (Horde have yet to have faction members of the vertically challenged variety, your time is coming, there is little chance you will see a Goblin in front of most horde mounts.) Killing mobs that someone else was after because you spammed fan of knives or killing spree.  Picking up items someone else needed for a quest because it appeared they were afk or you literally didn't even SEE them in the area. Failing to respond to remarks directed at you, (things like hails, whispers, questions, etc.) because you were afk, focused on fighting or what not.

The struggle I always have it how guilty should I really FEEL when these individuals are ranting at me? It isn't like I am TRYING to make their life difficult. Sometimes it seems like they are going out of their way to FIND ways to get offended. If you are going to get into a huff because someone is not responding to your hails while they are attacking a target dummy it may have something to do with the fact that they are COMPLETELY focused on what they're doing rather than paying ANY attention to chat windows. Did you ever consider that maybe YOU were being rude, not them? No, that concept never enters these peoples heads. Is there a set time limit as to how long hails are good for? 3 seconds? 5? Or does it change per individual and situation? Miss Manners doesn't seem to have a guide book for MMORPGS, and while the Drama Mama's TRY, they can only do so much for the cry babies who WANT help.

How do you determine when a mob "belongs" to an individual? Does their name suddenly appear above it so I know that they are close by? We all have experienced the frustration of getting into position behind a target only to have a Pally, Mage, DK, Lock, etc, etc go running by AOEing and losing the mob to them. Yes it is annoying, but everyone doesn't immediately think that the individual is doing it to personally cause difficultly. It is the nature of the game. The ONLY time I have ever said anything to anyone was when I was trying to do a quest and it was obvious the individual was just rep farming. I asked if they would be willing to take a 5 min break until I finished my quest or what time they would be done so I could come back later? They were actually quite pleasant about it, but I am sure it won't always be the case.

Sometimes you can't get any type of resolution. I had one individual put me on ignore as soon as they finished their profanity laced rant. I couldn't even say "I'm sorry" or "Excuse me". Granted I was unaware I had even "stolen" two of whatever it was I was suppose to have "stolen" in the first place because I was NEVER able to locate the individual ANYWHERE in my general vicinity, but we were in Dalaran so I guess that is understandable. With my luck it might have even been a case of mistaken identity, just blame the rogue, if they didn't actually DO it, they were THINKING about it! Right?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Know Your Rogue Lore: Quandary

I am faced with a quandary at the moment. For those NOT in the beta it can be VERY difficult cover your eyes and ears to all the information pouring out. I personally am struggling with do I share what I know or keep a cork in it? That is what is so difficult about Beta testing. You get so excited about what you see and learn you just can't wait to share it with others. Even if you aren't a tester it isn't hard to find information. Blizzard has learned so much about questing in the last 5 years that people are going to WANT to level just to experience the old world all over again. Old friends are being completely reborn and re worked in such exciting ways. The one problem is that the Old world is now POST wrath so when you hit Out Land you step BACK in time, for those JUST starting the game it will be a little disorientating.

So I will pose the question you all. Do you want the spoilers or would you rather I hold off? (I know a good portion of you will never respond in the comment section rather you will just send me e-mails or tell me on line but the Comment section IS available too!) Let me know and I will proceed accordingly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My alts

Some people's alternative characters (more commonly called "alts") are treated kindly. Cared for with just as much love and devotion as mains. This is because some day they just may become their main or perhaps they are retired mains, passed over for the new shiny fashion to catch a person's fancy. Not mine. Oh it isn't as bad as it use to be...such as when my hunter was caught running around in level 40 gear at level 70.  I received such flack about it I DID little bit anyway. The truth is only Dar receives the hours of study, the in depth analysis of spreadsheets, the extended chats with other players about talents and lore. The others, meh....I look at it from time to time, but not NEARLY as deeply or with the passion and devotion.

The fact is that ALL of my alts serve only one purpose. To support my main, to provide her with whatever items she can not craft or gather for herself. A few are there only to store stuff in case Dar may need it at a later date. Yes, all of my alts are little more than red headed step children. As a result the only time they ever see the light of day is when I want something from them or the holidays hit. Well, that is not completely true. You see even my alts have a hierarchy. There are my lvl 80 alts, and then there are "the others".

Like all neglectful parents, I behave as if stuffing my "Other" alts full of attention during the holidays, buying them presents from time to time is enough. Don't ask me what level they all are because frankly I have no idea. I see them so seldom you see. I mean, they ALL have COMPLETE sets of Heirloom gear. They ALL have epic mounts, not JUST the Celestial Steed.  My Death Knight even has epic flying, so you can't say I don't ever get them anything nice. However if it hadn't been for the money and leveling opportunities presented by Mid Summer Festival they most likely would still be languishing in obscurity and it will be Harvest Festival before they again see light of day.

Then I have my level 80 alts. Of those I have only two. My Hunter and my Priest. These were created about the same time as Daraia and have leveled pretty much equally with her their whole existences. Now during Burning Crusade my priest enjoyed the status of "favored one". So much so that some THOUGHT she was my MAIN. Merla got into raids that Dar never did just by the fact she was a healer and we were short on healers at the time. Unfortunately this made me a tad bitter towards the poor girl, so much so that I dragged my feet on leveling her. (I have no understanding of those who state that leveling is HARD when I did it from 1-80 on a Holy Priest hardly trying.) This expansion my hunter has managed to fall into the "favored" status completely by default. The reason is that our server has an over abundance of Healers, Tanks and Melee dps but a HUGE shortage of ranged. Now of ranged Hunters ARE the most common, and Kess is a Beast Master of all things, but still manages to put out decent damage.

While I STILL haven't put a whole lot of effort into Kessah she has managed to get more ICC time than Dar  this past month. I'm ok with that as Kess hasn't managed to achieve any of the goals I had for Dar in ICC. Sadly she does have Ulduar achievements that poor Dar never managed to get and most likely never will given my track record.

My time is limited and while for some the summer months mean more time to play or work on gaining elusive achievements as we await the next expansion. For me it translates into intense time management and juggling of schedules.  Of late it seems to be even worse than it has in the past. I have ideas and goals but scrounging up the time to write or even play feels like an exercise in futility. My poor alts, the way things are looking Dar will be level 85 in Cata before I bother to give you any true attention.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Real ID Brouhaha

If some how you managed to be away the last few days (that or you have been hiding under a rock) you may have heard about a little something that Blizzard has just introduced. Update: Upcoming Changes to the Forums

Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature - , a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about our plans for Real ID on our official forums, discuss the design philosophy behind the changes we’re making, and give you a first look at some of the new features we’re adding to the forums to help improve the quality of conversations and make the forums an even more enjoyable place for players to visit.

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. The classic forums, including those for Diablo II and Warcraft III, will be moving to a new legacy forum section with the release of the StarCraft II community site and at that time will also transition to using Real ID for posting.

The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players -- however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.

We also plan to add a number of other features designed to make reading the forums more enjoyable and to empower players with tools to improve the quality of forum discussions. Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.

In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread. We’re also adding a way for Blizzard posters to “broadcast” important messages forums-wide , to help communicate breaking news to the community in a clear and timely fashion. Beyond that, we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads, and we have more planned as well.

With the launch of the new, it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment -- one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID -- including these forum changes -- have been made with this goal in mind.

We’ve given a great deal of consideration to the design of Real ID as a company, as gamers, and as enthusiastic users of the various online-gaming, communication, and social-networking services that have become available in recent years. As these services have become more and more popular, gamers have become part of an increasingly connected and intimate global community – friendships are much more easily forged across long distances, and at conventions like PAX or our own BlizzCon, we’ve seen first-hand how gamers who may have never actually met in person have formed meaningful real-life relationships across borders and oceans. As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come.

For more info on Real ID, check out our Real ID page and FAQ located at . We look forward to answering your questions about these upcoming forum changes in the thread below.

Update - Text updated to include more current and correct information regarding legacy forums and their use of Real ID. "The classic forums, including those for Diablo II and Warcraft III, will be moving to a new legacy forum section with the release of the StarCraft II community site and at that time will also transition to using Real ID for posting."
[ Post edited by Bashiok ]
The response to this announcement has been overwhelming negative. did a poll to get their readers opinion and came up with 16% approving the idea and  88% reacting negatively. Why all the brouhaha? Because several fundamental assumptions was made with this "brilliant" idea. One, that the majority of individuals who play Blizzards games ALSO desire to participate in social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. Two, that the identities individuals have connected to their billing accurately reflect the players of the game. Three, that by posting real life first and last names it would have a positive impact on negative comments, spamming and trolling on the forums and on the Blizzard community in general.

Why would ANYONE think this is a bad idea? Obviously you must have some criminal past if you don't feel comfortable sharing your first and last name on the internet right? The simple and non criminal reasons have been stated over and over again by a variety of individuals but I will give a basic run down of the more common ones:

- Female gamers especially feel VERY uncomfortable with this. Do I even need to mention all the "girls don't play Wow!" jokes frequently trolled? One of the first things you learn as a female is that 1 in 3 women will be assaulted before the age of 21, 1 in 5 in their life time. Protecting your personal information is something we are all strongly encouraged to do.

- Many of us created our accounts YEARS ago and there is NO option to just "replace your name" even if you could put in an "alias" as some have suggested. If at any time you have a security breech or have a problem with your authenticator you need to be able to provide identification to prove you are who you claim to be...can't do that if you are using an alias.

- Individuals who work in identity sensitive careers, I am not just talking about the various celebrities and politicians (they are often provided with intense security measures) but common individuals like public servants, Police, Social Workers, Therapists, etc. Some have even commented how the negative stereotyping of gaming within their particular field or work place can cause issues. To just say "find another job" is both crass and naive. First it assumes the ability to quickly locate another job as well that said job or career change will not adversely effect such things as dependents, require relocation, etc.

-Miss identification. Even if you happen to have a "common" name or are more difficult to locate via the internet you run the risk of either having someone else identified as YOU or YOURSELF identified as someone else. Can't you see it now? A forum thread with 5 "John Smith"'s all voicing their opinion? Besides getting confusing how will you differentiate the 5 Johns? OH! That's right you can put your main CHARACTER name with your Real ID. Why would someone consider THAT a security risk? *sarcasm*

-Hackers. Ever since Battlenet was made a "requirement" (another "optional" that became "mandatory") individuals have had to deal with e-mail phishing scams galore. Even if you are a "safe" player weaknesses in things like Adobe Flash can open you up to hacks contained in adds.

I recently spoke with a government employee and she said something rather scary. "You can't hide on the internet. As long as you can find a first and last name as well as maybe a couple other pieces of information like a nick name (avatar?) or regional location (server they play on?) you can usually find someone in about 10 minutes."  I don't think that is paranoia when the GOVERNMENT acknowledges this to be factual information.Still don't believe me? Check out this. Sure there are steps you can take to protect yourself, but how many are completely unaware of how easy it really is?

So why would Blizzard make such a move? What is motivating them? The only things we know for certain are that:

1. They want to stop negativity and trolling on their forums. (A worthy goal.)
2. The company president stated back in May when they first partnered with Facebook that he wanted to have more access to the "social gamer" market. This is obviously a step towards that goal and has been stated as such.
3. China's regulations require that ALL internet postings be done under "Real Name Identification". (Doesn't THAT idea fill you with comfort?) If they have to do it for China ANYWAY why not broaden the program?
4. They want to change how their forums operate from the way they do currently. Now HOW exactly they want to change is unclear, unless they are simply trying to greatly reduce the amount of activity ON the official forums.

It is also clear Blizzard was NOT anticipating QUITE the backlash it has received. When the original Real ID program was launched, while many of us were not happy about it, since it WAS optional, we figured "Let the social networking people have what apparently they want, we will pass thank you." The IDEA was great. To be able to talk to friends playing on other Blizzard games even if they were not on the one you were currently playing. It was something I know a lot of people really wanted. The problem was the execution. It required my REAL name which was then exposed to everyone else on my friend's friends list. In addition there was no way to "turn it off" if I just wanted privacy or to remain "hidden".

Then there was the weaknesses discovered where mods were taking people's E-mail addresses even if they WEREN'T a part of Real ID and using them to send Phishing E-mails or other spams. This again caused a minor uproar but Blizzard seemed to be working to correct it. Now they inform us that "Real ID" is no longer going to be "optional" (Sound like anything ELSE we know? Oh yeah, Battlenet.) Suddenly Blizzard is besieged. Even individuals who seldom frequent the forums, your average "John Doe" player is up in arms about this.

There is that small maniority that say "Hey this IS a good idea! Why is everyone over reacting?" Their basic arguments are simple as well.

- I don't care if individuals find out I play Wow or look me up on the internet. I PERSONALLY am not that interesting so why should it be a problem for anyone else?
- This is OPTIONAL, just don't use the forums and you won't have to worry about it.
- It will help keep people HONEST and RESPECTFUL on the forums and don't we all want that?

Somethings I have noticed about that small minority is : They are generally young, males and/or in careers where their names are already linked with gaming, or they are independently employed. Not that this makes their opinions less valid but more their perspectives are rather limited.

As when they first introduced Real ID, the IDEA behind it is good. Clean up the forums and provide a safer place for individuals to share information. It is the execution that is the problem. By tying our posts into our billing identities the limitations placed on players have already been well discussed. Why is it that they can't have it so you declare a "Main" on the forums and that is your posting "Handle"? Why must it be your REAL first and last name? Shakespeare once stated "That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet." A troll is a troll no matter WHAT name they go by. SURE hold them accountable, but don't give them more opportunities to be asshats by giving them individuals REAL names to go after.

If Acuvision's idea is to destroy their own game they are doing a GREAT job at it. Honestly for the first time I am actually considering wither or not I will be able to continue to play with this new direction they are going. Already I and several other members of my guild face constant vicious harassment on a daily basis. Now if ANY of us attempt to do a guild recruitment posting on the forums our real names will be out there for all to see. Some of our stalkers already KNOW our real names and have caused us personal pain and difficulty already. As much as I enjoy this game and the friendships I have made in it, no GAME is worth my family's safety and peace of mind. Yes, I would miss my on line friends, my guild is very much a "family" to me. At this point we all can only wait and see how Blizzard will respond to the feedback they are receiving.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quest Extinction

When I first heard they were going to bring the King of Stormwind back I never ONCE considered the fate of Marshal Windsor. I know many hated this chain but I LOVED it. By the time Burning Crusade came around I had it down to such a science I could get a guildie attuned to Onyxia's Lair in just over three hours. Escorting Marshal Windsor to Bolvar was a rite of passage. I remember running it once with a guild mate on their first Alliance toon and their awe at the amount of lore we had as compared to the Horde for going after the Brood Mother. New players will never be able to understand why old Veterans tear up at the end of the Wrathgate chain. Why the sacrifice Bolvar makes at the defeat of Arthas so touches Alliance players. All of that from one quest chain now extinct.

As we get closer and closer to Cataclysm, seeing more hints at how greatly the world we have wandered is about to change a disheartening idea came to mind. How many quests I once enjoyed will go the way of the Dodo? Now Blizzard has let us know that they are basically completely erasing ALL the old world quests and re doing them. This could mean anything from they completely start over from scratch to they rework old ones to better fit what is going on in the present world.

So I have to quest the fate of some of my favorite quests. Will young Pamela and the terrors of Darrowshire no longer touch us as the Plaguelands are reworked? While this quest chains rewards are not spectacular all those who completed the Battle of Darrowshire were touched by it. I have lost count of how many Machinima have been made using this single quest as inspiration. Even a fantastic song by Cranius continues to touch with memories. Many of the comments coming from those in the Beta discuss the many changes effecting those zones.

Near by there is also Nathanos Blightcaller....once the only human Ranger, trained under Sylvanas while she was still a High Elf, now the leader of the Horde forces in the Eastern Plaguelands and the Banshee Queen's Champion. Blizzard has already stated that this Stead will be going away. While this is not surprising as few people take the time to complete his chain now a days since they can no longer find individuals to help, I find it sad because his story is so unique. Sure he may be coming back in a greater position with the introduction of Forsaken Hunters but he will only belong to the Horde, the Alliance may lose any connection with his fascinating lore.

Thousand Needles is getting flooded, is there any way that the Raceway participants will survive? (Yes, yes I know leaks have already answered this one.)  Should we all get our chickens now in preparation or will rumors come true and Magus Tirth relocate to a new home? What about Lonebrow's Journal? This quest chain was something only hardy questers usually discovered. I admit this was the ONLY reason I ever ventured into Razorfen Kraul. Having spent the majority of my childhood hanging out on a farm entering a dungeon that stunk of pigs was not my idea of a fun time. However the lore contained there in about the Horde was rather interesting.

Will the Southsea Pirates get washed out of their hidden cove in Tanaris? Recently revealed pictures of Gadgetzan show it as beach front property. I personally always liked Haughty Modiste and would be sad to see her go. Even Stranglethorn Vale is getting a rework, what will happen to the Bloodsails and Steamwheedle Cartel?

At this point I am taking alts and running through some of these beloved quest chains one last time. What about you? Are there any quests out there you would be sad to see go? Any that have already disappeared whose loss you feel keenly? One of the problems with Beta, even closed Beta is it is like block buster movie with a limited release. Those that see it keep telling us all about it wither we want to know the details or not. They forget that not everyone else has the option viewing it at their leisure. I don't mind if they mention how well the actors were cast or the costuming but when they give me the whole story spoils all the fun of watching it for myself.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Warcraft Legends Vol 2. Review

When ever you start dealing with sequels you run the heightened risk that it will not live up to the original. Since I have made no qualms about expressing my disappointment with the vast majority of the Manga Blizzard has commissioned I was surprised I  enjoyed the last installment of this series so much. I am beginning to detect a standard format in layout. The cover art will have little to do with the over all feel of the book. Volume 1 featured an Orc, yet the vast majority of the stories focused on Alliance characters. In this addition the cover features a Night Elf, but the focus is more on Horde characters. They also seem to start each with the stories that will be linked volume to volume and while having the third be the humor piece.

With the exception of the first chapter which is by Richard Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim each of the authors and artists in this addition are new. The second is written by Grace Randolph, with artwork by Erie. The third was crafted by Dan Jolly, drawings by Eliza Kwon with the final piece submitted by Aaron Sparrow and In-Bae Kim. As I am unfamiliar with EACH of the new artists it forced me to consider this addition as a completely new entity and keep my expectations low.

As with the first volume there is a disharmony of artistic styles between each of the stories. One thing I noted was Jae-Hwan Kim's artwork was quite different from that I have previously seen. While his inking is still quite heavy, the characters didn't display the overwhelming effeminate characteristics of his previous works. This may however have more to do with his subjects than an actual style change. That isn't to say that I now enjoy it but it seems a step in the right direction. The other stories had so many contributing artists that it is hard to really say whose style is what. For example the second story alone was penciled by Erie, the backgrounds by Lince, layout and character designs were crafted by Young-Oh Kim, with the inks by Erie AND Lince,  finally tones were done by yet another artist Lincy Chan. It makes it hard to really get a feel for the other artists artwork.

The first chapter is titled "Fear" and reveals what happened to Trag Highmountain after he left his people to journey to Northrend, still battling the Lich King's attempts to dominate his will. This is the second installment in his story and it is not concluded in this volume. One thing of note is the vast majority of this story doesn't deal with Trag at all, but rather with Thrall. I have to say I was impressed that Mr. Knaak managed to stay true to Ms Golden's character as well as keep the focus off his own.

The second story titled "Warrior: Divided" is a stand alone entry that could appear again with a sequel. The story focuses on twin human sisters Lieren and Loarnia raised separately by non human guardians.  When the thirst for their past results in their being reunited, together they and their guardians set out to discover if they have anything left to call blood family beyond each other.

The third entry called "Miles to Go" deals with two unlikely traveling companions. The Tauren shaman Kova Broadhorn and gnome warrior Miles Corebender, have completely different agendas for their journey which further ads to the tension between them.  If there is a cliche that could be remarked on dealing with their respective size differences, racial jokes or the over all unlikeliness of their friendship, be prepared to find it in this story. Over all though it is an enjoyable read and their constant bickering is light hearted and fun enough to be believable.

The final installment of this edition is titled "Family Values" and deals with former orc Shaman Jaruk Bloodfyre on Draenor. Jaruk finds himself in direct conflict with his brother over the current policies regarding the few surviving Draenei. Sickened by the constant bloodshed of those he personally considers innocents, his repeated efforts to spare them are constantly thwarted. Everything comes to a head when Jaruk flees with a young draenei orphan girl named Leena, attempting to establish a NEW family no longer filled with hate and violence.

What follows contains spoilers so continue on at your own risk.

In "Fear" Trag flees toward Northrend, doing his level best to avoid others as his control of his behavior is in doubt. When he crosses paths with Warchief Thrall, the leader of the Horde offers assistance in overcoming the Lich King's taint. After offering his OWN story of redemption as an encouragement to fortitude, Trag is finally convinced that he can over come his personal fears and gain freedom. Still doubting his own strength Trag decides to continue on his journey, hoping that in the end he will be capable of finding peace. Thrall holds true to his pledge of aid, even if it is not in the form he originally intended, by offering Trag safe passage on one of the Horde ships currently transporting troops to Northrend.

"Warrior: Divided" begins with the human girl Lieren, being raised by the Wildhammers, and facing her feelings of disconnection. When her adopted father refuses to explain how she came to live with him Lieren takes matters into her own hands and determines to discover it truth for herself. A chance encounter results in her coming face to face with her identical twin sister, raised separately within the home of one of the local High Elves. This forces the hand of Lieren's adoptive father to share their history. What follows is a journey to discover the final fate of their parents. In the end the girls form a bond and make a vow to one day continue a legacy of honor to their fallen parents.

"Miles to Go" was a completely unexpected story for me. When Kova is unexpectedly summoned by Magatha Grimtotem to go on a quest she seems completely ill prepared for I anticipated a much more sinister story. Instead I was treated to a romp across Azeroth. Kova is an independent personality, determined to do things herself rather than rely or ask for assistance. Her traveling companion Miles is a mouthy, glory seeker not to pleased to be stuck with a "female cow". At one point enemies flee because they figure it is safer to stay out of the way of their constant arguments, believing they will end up killing EACH OTHER anyway. While much of the humor IS predictable I still enjoyed this over all light hearted tale. I was only left wondering what Magatha could want after sending THIS particular pair on this mission.

"Family Values" deals with the inner conflict faced by Jaruk Bloodfyre as he attempts to retain his honor while surrounded by a clan given over to blood lust. Disillusioned that the elements have left him he reluctantly picks up a weapon and joins with his people on a journey of genocide. In the end it becomes more than he can bear so he lashes out at his brother, the current group leader and rescues young Leena from death. Together they flee across Draenor, creating a new family. When they are finally cornered Jaruk is granted a vision of the future and reassured that eventually, with the aid of his young charge, balance will once more come to the Orcs and the elements. To be honest, I would have preferred if the girl he rescued proved to be Dornaa from Children's week.

Final thoughts on this the second installment of the Warcraft Legacy series is that I was underwhelmed by it. No new lore is really shared in this edition, rather the stories are either recaps or side lines. I can only wait to see what volume 3 has in store for us.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Know Your Rogue Lore: In Coming Changes

Cataclysm is coming, hints of its impending arrival surround us. I don't just mean the recently released Ruby Sanctum or much anticipated Operation Gnomeregan and Echo Isle Offensive. But there are other obvious hints if you take the time to observe while traversing the old world this Mid Summer Festival. Unfortunately the vast majority of us spend all of our time traipsing around the frozen north or hidden away in dungeons so we have completely lost touch with the larger world available to us. Tremors rock the capital cities, Sea Striders wander ALL of Desolace not just the coasts, constant rain in desert zones, these are just a few of the things I have noted and when challenged others have spotted even more.

When I first started playing World of Warcraft I learned not from forums, or even blogs, instead I received instruction from other ROGUES I encountered while exploring this wide world we call Azeroth. We had these strange things called "class specific quests". Together we would explore, assisting as we advanced and progressed in level. It gave us all a sense of comradarie since we were hated by all the other classes, feared and reviled for the very things that make us such a great and fun class to play. Now key abilities are simply granted at level advancement via our trainers, quests often skipped completely for speedy dungeon and battleground leveling. Finding Ravenholdt Manor, that haven for all rogue kind, once considered a right of passage, many new rogues are not even sure what it IS let alone how to get there. The sense of community is largely gone.

Many blame this on Blizzard, but lets face it we have just as much a responsibility as they. We told them that traipsing all over the globe was "boring" and "took to long". The very things that once BUILT our community are the things we rejected in favor of "quick rewards". When I first started out those friendships I made in game were as the result of doing QUESTS and running DUNGEONS. Wasting literally HOURS attempting to find our way around BRD or Sunken Temple. Even today you can STILL build relationships IF you TRY, but the thirst for "Shiny Purples" consumes so many they have forgotten how they came to be there. It is easier to just cling to our small circle of friends or self focus than risk rejection from the "noobs".  Why would you want to be friends with them ANYWAY? YOU were never that stupid, dumb, clueless, etc.

So why should we care? You can certainly play this game and never give a moments thought to the stories (aka lore) that are the driving force behind it all. Lets face it, once you have heard Arthas or any of his long winded minions prattle on a few times you certainly wish there was a mute button. Well all that lore we once knew, those quests we did as we leveled, are soon going to be COMPLETELY washed away in the turbulence known as the Cataclysm. Blizzard recently revealed that ALL the old world quests will be "swept aside".  The opportunities this affords them is AMAZING. It allows them to present a COMPLETELY new game to even us "old timers".

Some who don't pay attention to the lore were shocked at the suggestion that Banshee Queen would be making a power grab after the fall of the Lich King, recruiting former members of the scourge into the Forsaken ranks. Others of us were stating "well it is about TIME, she has only been working for this day since the very beginning!" Old world quests hinted at such things as the "New Plague" and the Deathstalkers role in covering it up.  However if you are not one to actually READ quests or pay attention to the lore it was easy to miss these hints.

With all those old quests going away, Blizzard can COMPLETELY rework the roles of some of the major rogue organizations like the Deathstalkers, the Defias Brotherhood,and SI:7. Perhaps even some of the minor rogue organizations like the Hidden Circle and Shattered Hand could get more attention. On the other hand they may just disappear all together into the rubble. Only time will tell. Something of note though with both Burning Crusade AND Wrath, Blizzard has tired to make LORE or the STORY the driving force, to give you a REASON for being there (even if the story itself may be weak).

I started this whole series because I kept encountering Rogues who had no IDEA how deeply our class impacted the over all game STORY wise. Who the "Greats" were of the rogue class and how they came to be "Greats". So with all the recent announcements the focus of this series will change slightly. I will try to look at those rogues who we certainly should expect to see again in Cata and even more how their presence and existence impact the attitudes and behaviors of other major lore figures we may be more familiar with. A great deal of it will be speculation, but I will also be looking at the hints we are already seeing IN GAME and the clues they are dropping. Time to get back into the spy game, we have A LOT to uncover.