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. 

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