Is Muradin Your Love Match?
The Tank & Healer contract
Elune in the Psychiatrist’s Chair
Cult of the Forgotten Shadow
The Azeroth Rosetta Stone
Chen Stormstout in the Psychiatrist’s Chair
The Fifth Realm
The Church of the Holy Light
Exposed: The Professions
Deathwing’s Guide to Defeating His Spine
Come visit Theramore
Sky Admiral Rogers does Henry V
The Fifth Expansion Preview
Add ons- what next?
The Case of the Bloody Five
Bravetank’s Winterveil Carol
A long time ago a young – ok not so young – Welsh girl decided to try a game called World of Warcraft. As a text MUD player (with poor typing skills – recipe for disaster) the world of Azeroth was simply astounding. So entranced was she that often she was content to simply run up and down the road from Stormwind to Eastvale Logging camp marvelling at the sights… until the guards at the bridge told her to go away and make friends with the murlocs. And then what delights awaited her. Levelling, questing, tailoring and cooking. Exclamations and question marks would never be the same again. And with experience came more delights – grouping for dungeons (aren’t people friendly she said on entering; where’s my therapist she asked on leaving). Soon she had it all – the pride of being relentlessly battered as a Paladin tank; the kudos of killing everything in sight while painting her nails as a DPS mage; the Florence Nightingale effect of being a healer. The wonder of the world became too much for her. She couldn’t just play it – she had to write about it. And thus she was born … BRAVETANK. And these are her stories.
Deathwing issued an unexpected apology today for the months of mayhem he has been causing since the Cataclysm. “I don’t know what’s got into me,” he admitted, when I caught up with him in Elwynn Forest. “I’ve been feeling a little tetchy that’s true, but normally a couple of days in the sauna sorts me out. But the last few months the only thing that’s worked has been total death and mayhem.” Asked if it might be the pressure of being the top dragon in town Deathwing sighed and admitted that the pressure was difficult but he would not be drawn on whether the other dragon aspects were pulling their weight. “No I can’t really comment on the others. They do their thing. I do mine. I will just say that Alex and Kory do spend quite a bit of their time polishing each other’s scales and Ysera’s not been the same since she put that dream catcher up in the bedroom, but each to their own.” Asked if he was going to stop setting Azeroth aflame Deathwing finally gave a little chuckle. “Now that would be going a bit too far,” he said, “A man …ahem… dragon…has to vent now and again. But I’ll try to avoid the drier areas. The flames really spread there and I know they’re a bugger to put out.”
Female Midriff Cannot be Attacked
Scientists today announced that the female midriff is completely resistant to all forms of attack including swords, maces, polearms and daggers. Speaking in the Female Flesh Let’s ‘Ave it conference today in Amsterdam Dr Ilike Toleer stated, “We have proven after extensive laboratory tests and relatively few fatalities that if the midriff is exposed it is somehow protected. We know that this is counter intuitive but we believe it is something to do with the sun’s affect on female skin. Sort of like Superman. Kind of. The point is that the more midriff flesh the woman exposes the better it is for us all.” Dr Toleer confirmed he was now investigating the buttock area to confirm his theory that a good slap of the female buttock before a raid increases DPS.
Mage Claims Discrimination
A mage today confirmed he is seeking legal advice about discrimination in WoW because he is not allowed to be a healer. Speaking at a press conference he stated, “If I want to be a healer I should be able to be a healer whether I have the spells or not. It should not be a question of ability. It is a question of entitlement. My mother always told me I could be anything I wanted to be and I want to be a mage priest. That’s my dream.” When pressed about the lack of any healing skills whatsoever he claimed, “A lot of people say they need healing when they don’t really anyway. I think a lot of it is a state of mind and with my intellect there’s no one better to explain that to someone who thinks he’s dying.” However, despite the mage’s insistence on his right to heal the reality for those who have experienced mage healing is not a pleasant one. One tank is currently receiving hospital treatment from his experience in Scholomance where the mage insisted he could cauterize all wounds with a fireball and another is being treated for frostbite after an attempt to heal him by cryogenic freezing. Nevertheless it looks likely that if this case goes to court the ruling will be in the mage’s favour and a new law will be introduced allowing all Mages to heal and imposing harsh sanctions on any group that selects a Paladin, Priest, Druid or Shaman healer over a Mage. “This law must be introduced,” said the leader of the party “Fight Discrimination through Discrimination.” He continued, “For too long Paladins, Priests, Druids and Shamans have had the monopoly on healing just because they happen to be able to do it. Skills are no longer important. Everyone has the right to do what they like when they like. We are determined that Pallys, Priests, Druids and Shamans should not be the first choice healers anymore.” When asked whether this in turn was discriminating against them he responded “Who gives a shit? Mages are cool and that’s that.”
Zangarmarsh Honeymoon Nightmare
A newlywed cried today as she recounted her experiences with a naga hotel porter in the deluxe 5 star Zangarmarsh hotel she and her husband had chosen for their honeymoon. The two Draenei held hands as they described the “weird way” he glided up to them, his insistence that they “try a mushroom” and his repeated attempts to attack them with a trident when they tried to get ice from the machine in the corridor. “It was a nightmare,” said Sally, “So we marked him as average on the hotel feedback form and I gave him a bit of look when we handed over the tip.”
Here at Azeroth Match.com we want to help YOU find your true love. Today our featured heart-throb is none other than Muradin Bronzebeard- exciting explorer, fantastic fighter and sexy steam tank collector. Fan yourselves down and come meet old Muradin. If you're interested send him a wink- who knows he might wink back (actually more likely to be a blink- Muradin never quite learnt the art of winking- poor eye muscles - but think of a blink as double the wink and you won't be disappointed).
Ok tell us about yourself Muradin.
What can I say. I’m kind, generous and loving with a great sense of humour.
What about your family?
Well I’m the middle child. Can’t say I’ve ever really liked that. My older brother Magni was always the responsible one and Brann was the cool one. But my mother always said, “Muri Muri you may not have the brains and you may not have the looks and sometimes you look like you need a damn good wash, but when the doctor held you up on the day you were born and we saw you were a lad…and boy what a lad if you know what I mean…me and your dad knew you wouldn’t struggle in life with the ladies.”
Do you get what she was saying there? Have you written that down? That’s an important bit for the feature … shall I spell it out for you…W..E…L…L…E…N…D…O..W….oh you’ve got it. Right right. Well I just wanted to be sure.
Any memorable events in your life?
Well I wouldn't say memorable...more unmemorable ...since I lost my memory ...haha. Unmemorable!! Actually don't know why I'm laughing. It's not at all funny. It traumatised me that did. I still wake up screaming each nigh t- blood curdling screams that would wake the dead (in fact the undead couple two doors up always complain). Aside from that though I'm an excellent bed companion...if you know what I mean (blink blink).
What are your three best qualities?
Loyalty, loyalty, and loyalty. I’m loyal to everyone – even when they leave me for dead. Yes I’m talking about Arthas. I never took against him when he left me in Frostmourn Cavern. Yes I did go after him in the end – him and followers – in a gunship. Yes I did swear vengeance on the whole bloody lot of them. But that was just me in a temper. I’m over it now. I can even laugh about it – me and Arthas in the cavern, me all, “Don’t do it Arthas, don’t do it, it’s cursed”, and Arthas all, “I have to do it. It’s my destiny Muradin,” and then all that ice flying towards me, Arthas taking the sword and leaving me for dead. Oh it’s all quite funny when you think about it. Tears of laughter these are not because of the total and utter betrayal I suffered at the hands of that man that BROKE MY BLOODY HEART. No No. Tears of laughter. Umm can I have a moment please?
Ok…are you feeling alright to continue?
((Sniffs then nods))
[_ Ok- tell us about your worst qualities then? _]
Trust. I trust the wrong people. And then I get betrayed by someone who BROKE MY BLOODY…ok ok I’m not going there again. Hmmm other worse qualities… oh I know…can’t read a map to save my life. And as founder member of the Explorers Guild that didn’t half cause me some problems.
On the subject of travelling – what’s your favourite holiday destination?
Well I used to have a soft spot for Northrend – good skiing there – but that was before the incident. Now I live in terror of visiting the place again. Did you notice I said “No Vrykul” in my preferences. Can’t go out with one of those (sorry Vrykul ladies – old Muri is off limits). Much as I like their thighs (seen them crack nuts between them – not mine though thank god) it would be no good because I’d never be able to face visiting the in-laws and that would cause a ruccus.
[_ Well...there was this one occasion when I led my friend Arthas to the Frostmourne. I think I might have mentioned it earlier.... plays on me quite a bit to be honest. I knew it was cursed but he looked at me with those big old eyes and I couldn't resist. He used to get sweets out of me the same way. He took the blade and that's the last I remember. It's all a bit of a blur after that. So yes with hindsight I wish I'd distracted him in some way ("ooh look at the birdy" always used to work on Arthas- frustrated ornithologist he was) and then I could have got us both the hell out of there. But it wasn't to be. _]
[What was the greatest moment in your life?
[_ Becoming King of the Frostborn. King!! Did you get that? I think that's important for the feature. Magni was pig sick when he heard. Thought he was the only King in the family. But I showed them all. Admittedly the Frostbourn are quite a smallish clan. And they've got some odd ways it has to be said. But I'm their King. Oh- I also enjoyed it when Magni got turned to stone. Sorry. Got to be honest here. It did make me laugh. Brann and I were bent over laughing when we saw him. I still go in the room for a look when I'm feeling down. Doesn't half bring a smile to my face. _]
Final word for any prospective partners out there?
Well I’d like to finish on a poem if I may…
[I’m Muradin Muradin short and stout,
If you’re lucky I’ll take you out
With my secret key your heart will unlock
I’ll give you a clue – it’s my massive great co…]
Whoa we’ll stop there I think. Thank you Muradin.
I [Insert NAME OF TANK – likely something like along the lines of Meatball, Toughnuts or Hardboy] hereby agree to the following:-
1.I will arrive in the dungeon with a working knowledge of my class, my abilities, my cooldowns and the way in which aggro works – a general tank shortage does not mean I am God on earth and can do whatever the hell I want.
2. I will say hello to the group including my healer since given he/she is going to be saving my ass throughout the entire run the least I can do is acknowledge their existence (however pitiful I really find it to be).
3.I will make sure everybody (and I mean everybody) is ready before I start. However much I like to think I can do this dungeon on my own there is a reason they are called 5 mans and it is not because as a tank I have the strength and ability of 5 men (I don’t). This means being aware if the healer needs a mana break and listening if the healer requests a mana break. I might have a name like Meatball but there must be some grey matter between my ears for even me to understand that no mana=no healing=quick and painful death.
4.I will know what I can handle and I will check with my healer what they can handle before pulling, as opposed to assuming we can both handle anything and everything and discovering pretty quickly (usually via a wry look and sarcastic comment from the spirit healer – “YOU again”) that this is not the case.
5. I will remember to buff myself and others appropriately (this means taking off Crusader Aura please pally tank). Just because I am the tank does not mean I am above all this.
6. I will drink my flask/potion, eat my buff food and make sure my healing potions and bandages are quickly accessible if I need them.
7. I will HAVE flasks/potions, buff food, healing potions and bandages. A degree of self sufficiency is not just for New Age vegetable growers.
8. I will check the healer is nearby when I pull the next pack of trash or boss and if not I will not sarcastically type “…” – the healer is allowed to loot. Repeat after me – the healer is allowed to loot.
9.If we wipe I will refrain from pointing the finger immediately at the healer (no cries of "HEALER!!!!" will be permitted- each exclamation point is a breach of the contract for which there will be serious penalties). I will consider my own actions first and reflect carefully where things might have gone wrong in the group and offer constructive feedback/advice if appropriate (with proper and complete sentences and a noticeable lack of name calling and comments regarding the healer’s mother).
10. When the run is over I will thank my healer (and all the dps) and then say goodbye and generally act like a civilised human being. This might take practice.
If I as Tank fail to adhere to all of the above the Healer reserves the right to immediately cease and desist healing, to write something bitter and sarcastic in party chat and then get the hell out of there.
I [Insert NAME OF HEALER – likely something like Florence, LittleMissPerfect or simply DivineAngelofMercy] hereby agree to the following:-
1. I will arrive in the dungeon in the appropriate spec and gear that gives me a decent pool of mana from which to draw. I will not expect to wear high ilevel gear without any intellect and spirit whatsoever and request mana breaks after every trash pull.
2. I will apply my buffs and shields to the group in a timely and effective manner – ideally before they are dead.
3.I will not go to the toilet/get a sandwich/feed the cat/visit my relatives in Australia without telling the group I will be afk. My very presence in a dungeon does not automatically heal people. I actually have to do something.
4. I will not go all psycho if people new to the dungeon stand in the bad or do something wrong.
5. I will go all psycho if people who have been advised not to stand in the bad and how to do the fight continue to screw it up.
6. While the tank is my first priority, and then myself, I will also try to heal all dps regularly and efficiently. I will not tut/sigh/moan if a dps (innocent of serious wrongdoing) needs healing or, god forbid, actually resurrecting. As a healer I do have to heal. I might think this is unfair but it is actually the case.
7. I will ask for a mana break quickly and early and not sigh like a martyr if the entire group misses my obscure mistyped request i.e. “mwni bah” does not suffice (and I think it means something rather offensive in Esperanto).
8. I will have mana food in my bag and will not expect every group I’m in to have a mage who can feed me. I am not a baby and mages are not my surrogate mothers. If any seem to want this role and offer to bathe and clothe me I should put them on ignore.
9.I will know what stages of the boss fight deal the most damage and plan accordingly. This means not panicking and freaking out when the boss stomps down his foot and causes immense AoE damage. I should be expecting it and know what to do. Running screaming from the dungeon is not the recommended action.
10.After the dungeon is over I will thank the group and say goodbye – reserving the right to vent freely in guild chat (or to my mother/husband/wife/goldfish) when each of them disappears without a word of thanks in return (the tank who does this is of course in serious breach of this contract).
If a Healer fails to carry out all of the above the Tank reserves the right to leave the dungeon after a huge pull and laugh for a good hour or so afterwards at the thought of the messy wipe that then followed.
We [Insert NAMES OF TANK & HEALER] agree to adhere to these terms and conditions in every single dungeon run we take part in from here on out. Let the DPS rejoice. There is finally accord between tank and healer.
It’s clear to most of us that many of Azeroth most famous inhabitants could benefit from some psychiatric treatment to work out some of their issues. Today we sit in on Elune the Moon Goddess’s session with her psychiatrist. It will be illuminating (pardon the crap pun) to say the least. Even the oldest of Azeroth’s deities can hit a crisis point in their lives.
Psychiatrist: Elune, welcome. I would like you to try and relax during this session. This is a safe place for you to speak openly and without fearing censure or judgement.
Elune: Good. Because I’ve got a helluva lot to get off my chest and I can’t do it out there (gestures to the door). Oh no – out there I’ve got to be all peaceful and light and all “Oh no please don’t fight, pretty please, I hate it when we argue” blah blah blah. When really deep down I’m all “Get stuck in, rip his bloody eyeballs out!” But I’m not allowed to say that. It’s frowned upon.
Psychiatrist: Frowned upon. It’s interesting you say that. Who frowns upon you expressing your feelings?
Elune: Well Malorne for one. He doesn’t like it. He says “It’s not becoming a Moon Goddess.” He’s always very dignified and serious as you probably know. He’s a stag after all. Father of the forest and all that. I respect it but geez sometimes it’s so boring. I just want to kick back and live a little. You know what I mean? Malorne always covers my eyes if there’s anyone around fighting – even if it’s just those newbies duelling in Goldshire. It really irritates me. And Cenarius – well you know what children are like – no matter how old they get. They’re always embarrassed by their mothers.
Psychiatrist: Tell me more about your relationship with your son?
Elune: These days it’s not so good. I let Ysera bring him up and that was a huge mistake. But I had my career to think of at the time. It’s long hours being a Moon Goddess - lots of night shifts. He says I interfere now - but it’s just me trying to get involved. Probably too little too late but there you go. I was only saying to him the other day, “You need to trim your hooves, they’re trekking dirt into my temple.” If I did - the look he gave me. Ysera would have taken his eyebrows off with her fiery breath (bad breath I call it- but don’t tell her) if he’d said that to her, but no - it’s only with me he’s like that. He thinks he can get away with it. But I don’t think I was being unreasonable. His hooves are mucky. I need to have a good hour on them with a nail file. I get embarrassed when my devotees see him. He doesn’t really take after me physically...
Psychiatrist: Tell me about your devotees?
Elune: Well it’s the Night Elves mainly – although some of them haven’t got a clue these days to be honest and are starting to get all starry eyed for Ysera – saying she and I are actually one and the same. Are they kidding? I’d never let my back get scaley like that. I exfoliate every day without fail. But my Sentinels are loyal at least. They’ve not let me down like the Kaldorei did way back when.
Psychiatrist: The Kaldorei let you down?
Elune: Yes – you must have heard – it was the talk of the land. In fact it ravaged the land. They got a taste for power. The bad kind. Then their queen Azshara got totally swept away by Sargeras. Weak minded that one – but surprisingly very kind to puppies. Most people don’t know that about her. When she retires she plans to set up an animal sanctuary and I’ve promised to help out volunteering on weekends. Anyway… her shenanigans with Sargeras led to the Burning Legion descending on Azeroth and – as you know – total disaster.
Psychiatrist: Did you tell the Kaldorei and Azshara how you felt about it all?
Elune: (Sighing) Well I sent Azshara a rather terse note but not sure if she read it. She’d gone a bit doolallytap by then (wiggles finger at head). Plus as I said I’m not really allowed to express myself like that. Malorne likes me to be all calm and dignified – except in the bedroom of course where it’s all “Discipline me mistress, discipline me, I’ve been a very bad stag.” The only thing I can do if there’s ever any trouble going on – and you won’t believe this – is sing a song. It calms people down for some reason – although Malorne says I’m usually a fraction off key and can’t hold a candle to Barbra Streisand, whoever she is.
Psychiatrist: So what do you want to do to change all this? What would you like to be different?
Elune: Well as a starter I’d like to be able to actually say how I feel and not revert to song as if I’m in some bloody Gilbert & Sullivan production. And I know it sounds trivial but I’d also like to start wearing darker clothes. All this luminescence totally washes me out. It makes me look 10 years older and I’m old enough as it is. And I want laser eye surgery. My eyes are orbs of pure moonlight. Pure moonlight! There’s not one working optic nerve between them. It’s the reason why I ended up hooking up with a stag of all things – I thought he was a Titan in fancy dress. And I’m constantly bumping into things.
Psychiatrist: Well could you set some SMART goals for yourself to achieve these three things? For example commit to booking an appointment for a laser surgery consultation in the next two weeks? Perhaps agree with yourself that you will buy yourself a black item of clothing when you’re next out shopping? And consider fixing a time to sit your son and partner down and talk to them about how you really feel.
Elune: Yes I think I could do that.
Psychiatrist: Ok … think about the future now – say five years on. What is Elune like then? What would you like to be doing five years from now?
Elune: Hmmm…interesting. Ok well I’ll have definitely specced as a warrior. It’s a little unusual for a goddess to spec in anything really but I want to start breaking the mould here. And it’s melee all the way baby. None of this standing off afar and singing a little tune. I want to feel the cut and thrust of it – the heat of the battle. All this nonsense about me hating violence – I’ve always said to Malorne, “Sometimes you’ve just got to have a good smackdown, it’s the only way to sort things out.” Finally I’ll be able to be open about it all – maybe even show off some of the old martial arts I’ve secretly picked up over the years. I once dressed up as a ninja and attacked Azshara with a flying monkey kick. It was awesome – gave her a concussion for a week. I was just gutted I couldn’t tell anyone that I’d done it … for some reason she thought it was a disgruntled puppy. So yes finally everyone will know who and what I am and how I really feel. It will come as a shock to some. For example truth be told I’m not all that keen on the moon – gives me the creeps. At heart I’m a sun worshipper. And I’ll tell you this – Cenarius will have clean hooves.
Psychiatrist: Ok we’ll leave it there Elune. Good luck with your goals. May Elune …ummm …you … light your path.
END OF SESSION
Fantastic new announcement today – have you heard? New glyph system for dungeons based on the role you play rather than your class. Completely different from anything we’ve ever seen before.
I’ve read some pre-patch notes on the Prime glyphs. Have a feeling we’re going to be wondering how we ever managed without them.
Tank Prime Glyphs
Glyph of Map Awareness
Fantastic addition. No longer will any tank need to look at the map (the animation just gives you away) or ask sheepishly, “Where to now?” Once you have this glyph you will instinctively know your way around the dungeon even if you’ve never ever been there before. And even if you somehow get it wrong the dungeon will now rearrange itself to fit with your perception. Since you are of course all knowing and all powerful – always have been but at last the game mechanics have caught up.
Glyph of DPS Putdown
Much needed I think you'll all agree. No longer will you have to fumble around typing something cutting while trying to hold aggro and save the healer's life. Just hit the P key and out will come a randomised putdown that is 100% customisable. Some suggested ones include” Stick your totem where the sun don't shine Shaman boy/girl", "Does your mother know you're out little child” (to any gnome unless you're a gnome tank yourself- in which case shame on you), "Get a room!" (to warlock and pet), and the old classic "FFS L2P" (the more uncalled for the bigger the impact of this one I find).
Glyph of Healer Pet
Turns your healer into the obedient pet they should always have been. No longer will they dawdle behind you looting or insisting on annoying little mana breaks (you can drink on your own time Nurse Ratchet). They will follow close to your heels without even the use of a lead (although you will be able to buy a vanity lead and collar if you like the look). There is rumour that the accompanying major glyph to this will ensure the healer only ever heals the tank – after all with dps waiting up to 20 minutes in the queue why waste mana keeping them alive?
DPS Prime Glyphs
Glyph of Pulling Power
Yes we all secretly want it because it proves just how awesome we are. This glyph will allow you to pull aggro off the tank without any effort at all (your sheer presence will prove irresistible to those weak minded mobs), shoot to the top of Recount and announce to the group that you really are the most potent and virile DPSer the World of Warcraft has ever seen. When in effect it does seem to trigger Tank’s Glyph of DPS Putdown though (please see above).
Glyph of Random AoE
It’s fun when all the mobs run towards you isn’t it? You finally get to feel like the life and soul of a party. Well with this glyph you will randomly – usually at the worst possible moments – cast your most powerful AoE and aggro everything nearby. You might want to run to the tank immediately on doing this of course – but he/she won’t mind – after all you’ve been telling him to have bigger pulls ever since the start of the dungeon so this is just another way of being helpful.
Glyph of Speed
This gives a group buff allowing everyone to run ten times faster than normal. Rooms will pass in a blur and the mechanics of the game will mean that you are killing mobs that are actually five rooms behind you. Final mob fights from each dungeon will actually take place after you’ve left the dungeon and the game and are watching X Factor on the sofa. No need to actually look at the game anymore.
Healer Prime Glyphs
Glyph of Martyrdom
Thank goodness the developers have recognised the need for this. Enables healer characters to show a seriously woeful expression on their face and occasionally give out emotes such as “No one ever thanks the healer”,“You’d all be dead if it wasn’t for me” and “Does anyone ever check if I need a drink?” Can be customised to display an angry shake of fist to sky for greater impact.
Glyph of Attention
Clever one this. A cosmetic glyph to make it seem as if your mana bar is empty even though actually you are perfectly fine. This can buy you some much needed looting time and a chance to see the tourist attractions (that’s what you became a healer for after all). Can be used with Glyph of Martyrdom (see above) to very powerful effect particularly on the tank who will swear he/she only checked your mana 2 minutes ago and you were fine.
Glyph of Armor Reduction
No healer will ever want to be without this one. If your tank ever dies it immediately changes the appearance of their stats armor so it looks as if he/she was kitted out in greys and greens. It comes with a customisable macro that lets you quickly tell the group to inspect the tank to see why he died. This ensures that no blame will ever again find its way to the healer.
So that’s it. A sneak preview of the Prime Glyphs for Tanks, DPSs and Healers. I for one can’t wait. Finally dungeons will run like they were meant to!
So many people are confused by the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow that I thought it would be useful to have a mini guide. The first thing that confuses people is how there can be a cult of a shadow that is actually forgotten. But this is simply a classic religious paradox - the sort that Augustine and Aquinas wrestled with in their day (while still putting out impressive DPS it should be noted). Actually at least one part of the name comes from a passive aggressive attack on the Church of the Holy Light. The cult wanted a word that was the opposite of Light and opted for "Shadow" because Aelthalyste (their banshee cult leader) forbade the use of the word "Dark" (it was a bitter reminder of her favourite treat when pre-menstrual- dark chocolate - which she now refused to eat because Illius, one of the other leaders, once implied it was making her put on weight (his actual words to her were, "Do you want me to buy you another bar or have you had enough? - but she knew exactly what he meant).
Before we talk about the religion in more detail it’s worth pointing out that we are talking here about the religion of the Forsaken – a faction of the Undead. This is a group of people who find it socially acceptable (indeed it is praised in their best-selling etiquette guide “Don’t Forsake your Manners”) to fall to their hands and knees to chew up the remains of the dead without the use of a napkin. So it’s not going to be pretty.
This is a religion that was formed in anger. Previously priests of the cult had been adherents of the Holy Light. They had believed that dead was dead – at least as far as the body was concerned – and only the soul lived on. To look in the mirror and see a shambling mass of muscle and sinew was to at first get excited and squeal “oooh look Madonna” and then to realise with a bitter blow that it was in fact yourself without even the compensation of her millions. Depression and anger soon followed.
There are three central tenets in the cult - Respect, Tenacity and Power - RTP - easily remembered by the saying Roll The Penguin- a past-time many Forsaken enjoy on a Bank Holiday (but against which the Penguin Society "We get Dizzy when we Roll" was formed).
“Respect” in Forsaken terms does not mean what one would normally think of as respect – honour to one’s parents (even when they’re talking loudly through your favourite programme), humility before those of greater power (being nice to the boss even though he is so dense he thinks standard deviation is what you do when taking a longer route to avoid roadworks). No – “respect” in cult terms is merely a greeting – one that shows the other person you are a cult member (although the robes and badges are normally a dead giveaway). Any member of the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow must greet each other by saying “Respect” preferably with a “yo” and nearly always ending with a cult member debate about which character is the funniest – Ali G, Borat or Bruno and with at least one person informing the group that Sacha Baron Cohen “is married to Isla Fisher did you know” – a tedious statement that all greet with rolling eyes.
“Tenacity” again has a somewhat different meaning in the cult – it is a reference to Tenacious D which sums up everything that is abhorrent and vacuous in the world. By remembering this tenet cult members are prevented from bemoaning their fate and instead rejoice that they are no longer compelled to watch Jack Black repeatedly live out his delusions of being a rock star.
“Power” is the final tenet – this is quite simply a reference to The Power of Love – a moving Frankie Goes to Hollywood song that – despite their anger, hatred and bitterness, still brings a tear to every Forsaken eye when they hold hands and sing along to it every Tuesday morning before torturing captured dwarves. Most are convinced Holly Johnson is simply a rather well fed member of the Undead.
The cult believes in Divine Humanism- i.e. that they themselves shape the universe. However, it is important to note that by universe they mean "The Universe" - a Forsaken comic book that they all work on every day. Indeed you will not find a member of the cult without a coloured pencil in his or her hand. They are incredible artists given the fact their fingers are hanging on by a mere thread.
There are Shadow Ascendants and Lightslayers in the cult. Shadow Ascendants are those that have mastered the art of casting their own shadow on a wall and then running up the wall to dance with the shadow – Donald O’Connor style. Lightslayers are simply those who have the responsibility of turning the lights out at bedtime – an important role given the current price of electricity.
The goal of the cult is to conquer and transcend death. Or learn how to make the perfect hot chocolate. With marshmallows. It varies depending on the mood they are in.
The best way to join the cult is to first look undead (i.e. follow faithfully Madonna’s workout and diet plan), then publically destroy a copy of any Jack Black film (interestingly for Boy Scouts this is also the way to earn the highest public service award) and then perform the extended version of Frankie’s Relax complete with any actions you deem appropriate to illustrate the lyrics. Finally go along and and reassure Aelthalyste she could never be fat and that you like your banshees loud and cuddly. You’ll be promoted to priest before you know it.
The primitive language of the less evolved species that you may encounter in groups and raids can be hard to understand. Inevitably this can lead to difficulties and confusion. However, fortunately for us an Azeroth academic (Professor O.P. Class) has now unearthed an ancient stone tablet that sheds valuable light on the meaning of these archaic terms. I for one am convinced that this will lead to far less frustration and wipes in dungeons and raids going forward as we will now finally be able to understand the grunts and basic utterances of a species that up until now has defied all understanding.
1.FFS – Now this has long perplexed more sophisticated gamers. For some time it has been taken as an expression of frustration and outrage. But oh dear. How wrong we were. It is actually a term of endearment – namely “Forever Friends Sweetheart” and if used directly at you it means you have done something for which you should be very proud indeed. You have performed well. The ideal response in this situation is to highlight the name of the person who said it and /hug them. It will go down a treat I assure you.
2. GTFO – We now know this means – “Go to fire opportunity.” It’s a shame we’re only just finding this out. It basically advises us to walk to any fire (or e.g. bubbling pool – the term has developed over time and now has a wider reference to any special surface area) that will be somewhere nearby and stand in it as long as possible. The Professor tells us that by doing so we will receive a buff appropriate to our class or even – on occasion – a rare mount. Clearly this is an opportunity not to be ignored. From now on you need to start acting on this GTFO command as quickly as possible. Get in that fire and enjoy your reward.
3. Huntard – You are truly blessed if you have one of these in your group. In ancient times huntards were esteemed for their wisdom, strategic minds and military prowess. Only the truly gifted could ever hope to reach such heights. If you are called a huntard then you are playing your hunter class flawlessly. Do not be surprised if some people leave the group after calling you this – it is simply that they do not feel deserving enough to be in your company. Forgive them.
4. l2p – This one has puzzled many of us for some time. Its curious mixture of alpha and numeric characters has defied all explanation. But not anymore. We now know that l2p actually means “love to papa.” It is an odd colloquial term meant to compliment your family and heritage and to indicate that the speaker believes you are representing your ancestral line with skill and dignity. It is customary to bow in response to this (/bow) and then do a lap of honour around whichever room you are in – otherwise you will offend the speaker and bring bad luck onto your own descendants.
5. nOOb/nOObs/nOObz – This is a curious one. For some time we have wrongly assumed this referred to the object of the sentence i.e. someone other than the speaker. However, we have now found out that the speaker is referring to him/herself when they use this term. Basically a player very unhappy with their own performance will exclaim “nOOb” (or some variant) in order to tell the group that they know they are playing badly, that they are deeply ashamed of themselves and they would very much like to be kicked from the group so that they can go to a remote forest and give themselves forty lashes. Oblige them please. It is cruelty to keep them in the group any longer.
So there you have it. An absolutely invaluable guide to several of the terms you will hear used in dungeons and raids. Understanding these terms and acting on the suggested responses will, I assure you, give you a dungeon run like never before.
Betty Twojugs and Cyril Shrinklewrap were left horrified when a last minute luxury getaway turned into a holiday from hell. Betty and Cyril – both Dwarf naturists and very enthusiastic about their interest (in fact you can see just how enthusiastic Cyril is by looking at him) – had been looking forward to a week of “letting it all hang out” in the blistering sun of Tanaris. Imagine their horror then when they arrived in Tanaris and found their hotel was in the Troll compound of Zulfarrak. “It was awful,” said Betty. “Worst holiday ever. For one thing there’s not a bit of sea in sight. The only place to go swimming was right in the middle of the compound but that bloody Gahzrilla took a bit of a liking to my bits and bobs and it got very awkward.” “Yes, I didn’t like where he was putting his fangs if you know what I mean,” said Cyril. “I’m happy for my wife to let it all hang out but it’s a strictly look but don’t touch policy I’m operating here.” “And what about Sergeant Bly,” interrupted Betty. “Oh yes, Bly, well he was a bit competitive if you know what I mean,” said Cyril. “Kept chasing me around with a ruler.” But the worst of it appears to have been the attitude of Chief Ukorz Sandscalp. “What a bloody prude,” said Cyril. “Here we are walking around just as the Holy Light intended and he was all, “It’s not allowed here. Put your clothes on. I’m reporting you to the authorities.” “Yes he needs to get with the times,” said Betty, “Dwarf naturism is here to stay. Just not in Dun Morogh – it’s bloody cold there.”
The power of totems is all in the mind claims one doctor today. After 6 months of intense research he has come to the conclusion that the only purpose totems serve is to help Shamans feel they are actually contributing something to the group when deep down they know their personal performance is shite. He ran tests with two groups of Shamans, the first ten trying to run dungeons without any totems, the second group using “special new totems” (in reality simply pebbles) which they had been told were new and more powerful (the study also proved that Shamans are scientifically more stupid than goldfish). The first group without totems all had total mental breakdowns halfway through their runs. All of them were forced to finally admit they wished they had rolled Mages but had been won over by the pretty totem lights and the “cool sound they make when you put them down.” The Shamans in the latter group completed their runs and later praised the new super powered totems. They claimed they felt happier and more confident in the run, generated more mana and casted quickly. When shown readouts from Recount that showed all of this to be patently false they promptly burst into tears and rage quit, vowing to never return again. However, authorities confirm they all reappeared one minute later as level 1 Mages in Northshire Abbey. The good doctor was delighted with the results. “Shamans really are crap,” he said, “We need to get rid of them from the game. However, it will mean that dungeon runs are rather darker from now on,” he admitted.
CHEESE ALLERGY CAUSES DESPAIR
Sammy Sunshine, a Syndicate Thief of Alterac Mountains, was today in despair at hearing he’d been thrown out of the Syndicate Assassins for being allergic to cheese. The Syndicate Assassins famously carry Stormwind Brie wherever they go and it is regarded as a staple of their diet. Said their leader yesterday, “It’s full of protein and full of fat. We believe in Atkins and ketosis here. Low carb. It’s the only way to go. You need cheese for breakfast, cheese for lunch and cheese for dinner. But Sammy. Well he can’t hack it so he’s out. Good riddance.” Sammy was in tears. “I haven’t been feeling well for awhile. I’ve tried to eat the cheese. But it doesn’t agree with me. I mean it’s full of fat and I’m training to do the Kessel Run in Bloodmyst Isle in the summer. I can’t do it on that stuff. Plus it’s giving me nightmares. I have an allergy. That’s that. But that shouldn’t be enough to get me thrown out of the Syndicate.” However, today the Syndicate were adamant he could not rejoin, particularly on discovering he had been secretly substituting his sweet nectar for a sports energy drinks.
LIL GAME HUNTER
Deathwing was celebrating today when he finally gained the Lil Game Hunter achievement. This has been somewhat of an obsession for Deathwing over the last few months and, he admits, might have been the reason behind his many LFR defeats. “I was somewhat distracted,” he said today with a wry smile, “I could feel my spinal plates lifting but I was too busy using the Collect Me addon to see what I still needed to get.” I put it to Deathwing that he wasn’t what you’d call the typical pet collector. He looked rather affronted at this (which quite terrified me I have to admit). “What’s a typical pet collector when he’s at home?” he bellowed. “Should I be all fuzzy and whuzzy and ooh isn’t he cute? No way hosay. We pet collectors are the most hardcore of all the WoW players. No one goes as far as we do or digs as deep.” Asked what his favourite pet was he excitedly jumped up and down and squealed, “Ooh winterspring cub, winterspring cub, he is just so cute.”
It’s time for another In the Psychiatrist’s Chair and, given the latest expansion, it seems appropriate to delve into the dark subconscious mind of famous Pandaren Chen Stormstout. Warning – some possible MoP spoilers depending on where you are in the game … Chen cannot hold his tongue after a cask of ale.
Psychiatrist: Chen, welcome.
Chen: Before we begin do you mind if I drink? I’m a little on edge. I’ll only have the one. One cask that is.
Psychiatrist: Well it’s not usual for a client to drink in a session but …ok…ok…you can put the panda teeth away. I’ll waive the rule for once. Why are you on edge?
Chen: Well it’s my niece Li Li. I think she’s gone crazy.
Psychiatrist: Crazy is a very strong word.
Chen: Well what would you call someone who’s talking about liberating turnips, leading carrots to freedom and probably wants to marry a pumpkin? It’s all this Pandaren farm air. It must be. And her violence. Oh my goodness. I’m scared to sleep at night. Any excuse and she’s beating the crap out of some virmen. I’m starting to feel rather sorry for the old chaps. One knitted me a jumper the other day. Most odd. But perfect fit. They’re the next generation of tailors. Mark my words. But anyway she’s a total looney tunes. Rexxar will never want her now.
Chen: Oh me old mucker Rexxar. You must have heard of him. Big chap. Big teeth. Like this ... (bares teeth). Always got a bear with him. He loves the animals. Actually that bit made me feel a bit awkward when we hung out. Occasionally he'd put a leash on me. He told me it was a friendship leash but it hurt when he tugged. And I didn't like it when he made me dance for food - unless it was a jig - I do love to jig. I was hoping him and Li Li ...oh doesn't matter. I think he had a soft spot for Jaina. But then who doesn't. Show me a man without a soft spot for Jaina and you'll have shown me a eunuch- FACT (or an undead male whose testicles have....oh never mind). Jaina. Jaina. None so beautiful and few so wise. I think she had a soft spot for me when we met. She tried to tickle my belly. It got awkward because my self defence mechanism kicked in and I clouted her. But we laughed about it afterwards.
Psychiatrist: Is there anything else troubling you?
Chen: Well….it’s a bit embarrassing…and it’s my niece again – she’s got a lot to answer for. She keeps calling me fat.
Psychiatrist: How does that make you feel?
Chen: Are you paid to ask questions like that? How the hell do you think it would make me feel? Who likes being called fat? What if I called you fat? What if I called you the fat psychiatrist…oh …oh …I’m sorry…
(Psychiatrist is weeping)
Chen: Oh I’m so sorry. It’s the ale I swear. You’re tiny. A mere slip of a girl. I can barely see you in that chair. Where are you? Where are you? Oooh I’m all alone in a scarey psychiatrist office with weird potted plants and magazines. The horror. The horror. Oh no I’m not. There you are. Officially the thinnest – and not for one moment fat – psychiatrist in the world.
Psychiatrist: Thank you. I’m ok now. But I am thin right?
Chen: (soothingly) Very very
Psychiatrist: (unwraps cupcake then looks up defiantly) I’ve earned it. Please continue.
Chen: Well I do what I can. I’m actually a fully signed up member of Azeroth’s new Paleo movement. We need to embrace our ancient hunter gatherer heritage. Definitely. Actually it’s not so ancient. I lived next door to some hunter gatherers in Durotar. And actually now I think about it their eating habits were crap – most of them were vegetarians who fed their pets all the meat. Mind you I would too if my pet was a lion giving me the evil eye. He wouldn’t need to ask me twice. But I digress. I’m very low carb right now.
Psychiatrist: What about the ale? Are you concerned…
Chen: Stop right there. Who’s been speaking to you? Did someone tell you about the incident with Mudmug the other night? We had BOTH had quite a bit to drink. There’s NO shame in it. AND I washed my hands afterwards. That’s all I’ll say.
Psychiatrist: No one has said anything to me about that. It’s just an observation that you’ve now drunk three casks since we started … do you not think that might be a little excessive?
Chen: But it’s all relative isn’t it. Oh… (face falls)…. I said relative. Oh it’s all coming back. Relative. Never was a word more cruel and painful to me. Except maybe that time I was called a “fat and total and utter waste of space pisshead who should get the hell out and never return.” But mother had a funny glint in her eye when she said it so I knew she was pulling my leg – even when she handed me my bags and changed the locks. But there are other relatives not so kind…
Psychiatrist: Who are you speaking of?
Chen: (spits the word out) Gao. Old Uncle Gao. Unccie Gao. Big Man Gao. Gao …
Psychiatrist: Ok I get it. Hao.
Psychiatrist: Sorry. What did Gao do?
Chen: He denied me. He denied a Stormstout. We have NEVER been denied. Well ok I have been denied service in a couple of inns but some people just don’t know how to handle a panda doing cartwheels on the bar. That’s their problem not mine.
Psychiatrist: So what are you going to do about Gao and Li Li?
Chen: (sighing and sitting back) Well really what can I do? They’re family. I respect that even if they don’t. I’ll always be there for them even if they turn their back on me. That’s what a Stormstout does. We wait. We drink. We drink while we wait and wait while we…well you get the picture.
Psychiatrist: I certainly do Chen. You know escaping into drink is perhaps not the best answer to…
Chen: I have a cupcake in my pocket…
Psychiatrist: Gimme gimme …I’ve had a really hard day.
END OF SESSION
I’ve been thinking a lot about the realms in WoW and the choice we have – PvE, PvP, RP, RPPvP (and probably some other combination of the letters E,P & R that I’ve overlooked). It’s just not enough. I’m concerned that a certain category of player is being completely overlooked in the current set up. I think we need another realm type.
To select players for this realm there will need to be some sort of screening up front. Not everyone will be allowed into this realm. We cannot allow the player experience to be diluted. I’m thinking there would need to be some questions up front – yes/no questions perhaps. The type of player who deserves a realm of this nature will naturally be identified from the answers to some of the following. It will be like natural selection/evolution – but happening very quickly, right before your eyes via a clever game mechanic (so exactly as Darwin described).
Right – the questions. I’ve thought quite a bit about these and my ideas are below but more than happy to take other suggestions for my proposal to Blizzard.
-Is your name a “clever” insult of some type with a few subtle letter changes?
-Do you think it is your duty to thrust your pole in front of everyone you meet (in the context of duelling)?
-Will your first guild chat be, “Will someone run me through XXX dungeon” please?
-Will you say the above at level 5?
-Do you regard other players fighting by a mining node as your personal emissaries clearing your path to auction house gold?
-Do you try to socialise by inspecting everyone you see and offering them sarcastic critiques of their armour?
-In a dungeon if someone says “Hello” is your response “Buff”?
-Do you like to help the healer by shouting in caps HEAL as often as possible?
-Do you like to help the healer by shouting HEALER FFS after every wipe or after you – and only you – have died and no one in the group can figure out how?
-When playing DPS do you see your role in a group to ensure that as many mobs as possible are pulled as quickly as possible, preferably when the healer is separated from group or low in mana?
-When playing DPS do you like to use your strongest AoE right at the beginning when the tank is still looking at the map and then immediately link to recount (gives everyone something to read while corpse running)?
-When playing a tank do you have a macro set up that says, “More DPS”?
-Do you hit this macro at the start of every run before a shot is fired?
-As a healer do you regard it as your god given right to go to the toilet/go for a drink/answer the phone/go to bed whenever you want without telling the group?
-As a healer do you think it is an infringement of your equal rights to be expected to corpse run back to the dungeon to resurrect everyone?
-Do you like to dance?
-Do you like to climb on things?
-Do you like to jump up and down?
-Do you like to dance, climb on things and jump up and down naked?
-Do you like to watch other people doing the above naked?
-Does that make other people in your home reluctant to sit in your chair?
And so on and so forth. These questions are only a first draft. Let me know if you have any more. It’s clear these players need their own realm. They are being poorly served by the 4 main realm types. We are not worthy to play with them – we just can’t operate at their level. So let’s stop pretending and give them their own space.
Of course once they’re on that realm all transfers back to our realms will unfortunately be prohibited. And enforced Real ID will mean that even their other equally “clever” insult names won’t be able to get past the screening process. It’s all for their own good. We know what’s best and they’ll all be happier there. Together. Forever.
The realm will be called Player Realm Advanced Team – easy to remember acronym. So come on Blizzard. Let’s break the mould – introduce the 5th realm – for all our sakes.
It’s time to write about another of the religions in WoW. Some of you will have read my early scholarly post on the Cult of the Forgotten shadow – if not you might want to flick back and give it a read particularly if you think you might have joined the cult by mistake (hint: if you’re murdering people and cackling in your sleep there’s a good chance you have). Today though I want to write about the Church of the Holy Light.
The first thing to note is that the word Holy was a late addition to the Church’s nomenclature. It was initially called the Church of the Light and this was because of its very strict weight restrictions. Basically you had to be able to play a tune (a hymn preferably although some light rock and roll was allowed) on your ribs before you could join. However, as cooking skills improved and food became more plentiful so the light adherents became – well – less light. Happily one day one of the bishops had a vision (while eating some chicken skin as it happens) which told him they had been taking the word light too literally, that it was meant to mean a Holy (i.e. very special and sparkly) light and that meant it was ok to eat chocolate six times a day and finish off that chicken skin. There was much rejoicing.
The Church became known not just for its message of the light – the holy light I mean (go on – have a cake) but also hope. Members of the Church would frequently stand in village squares shouting things like, “Cheer up, it might be sunny tomorrow” (bizarrely preached most often in Stranglethorn Vale during the drought that killed thousands), or to individuals passing by, “Look on the bright side, your wife’s so pig ugly at least you’ll never have to worry about her having an affair.” Their words brought comfort to millions.
In essence the philosophy of the Holy Light boils down to the Three Virtues — respect, tenacity and compassion.
Respect quite simply involves saluting anyone with an ilevel over 379. They are awesome, you are crap, so salute.
Tenacity can be shown by grinding rep with insignificant factions by doing annoying daily quests. This is why one of my characters – still bombing eggs – is almost at sainthood level in regards to her tenacity (although this is undermined by the murderous rage she now feels every time she sees someone from the Shatari Skyguard).
Compassion involves undercutting others on the auction house to enable new players to buy stuff cheaply and to annoy the sellers who price too high (by annoy I mean teach them an important lesson about greed). It also helps shift large amounts of crap quickly which is no bad thing.
One of the earliest leaders of the church was Archbishop Alonsus Faol. However, it is important to know that his last name was not actually Faol but Fool – Alonsus the Fool. This was because he could not work out how to play Tic Tac Toe and was continually beaten by his apprentice Uther. Eventually even Uther tired of trying to teach him how to draw a cross (he insisted on drawing spirals instead and calling them Mother) and instead formed a new order, the Knights of the Silver Hand (originally Silver and Gold – they were going to sell jewellery as a sideline ).
It was these Knights that brought success in the Third War. In fact the Third War was a good war for the Church (as opposed to the Second which was a tad boring and the First which was a frightful nuisance). But after the war division hit the church – there were those who thought it was time for a total revamp (curtains, carpets and an accent wall was suggested) and others who felt that there was wisdom to be found in the words of squirrels.
Guidance was looked for in the texts but most of these were lost or too ridiculous for words (they suggested things like morality and good behaviour – the knights used to read them out in funny voices to make each other laugh). Eventually each group decided to write their own. They used these texts as a way to dismiss the beliefs of the others. We see this in several harsh statements in these texts, such as “Red curtains hide a jealous mind and probably an unwashed floor if I’m not mistaken” and “If a squirrel shows you his nuts do not /love him as this sends him entirely the wrong message.” Of course Azerothians today take these verses literally with many spitting on houses with so much as a hint of pink in the curtain (god help those whose colours run in the wash) and others ostracised if seen out drinking with a squirrel (as so many are wont to do).
The one thing that united – and still unites – the Church, however, were two key beliefs – that the Scourge are evil and that certain stains can only be removed with a scouring cloth. Because of this it is customary on one special day each year for different factions of the Church to greet each other by doing a robust scouring action in the air (try it – good for the shoulder as well as the spirit). This indicates that beyond the divisions they are all still fighting the same thing – grease, grime and the undead (and if they can kill a greasy, grimy undead at the same time they can earn maximum holy kudos points).
So that’s it – a brief guide to the Church of the Holy Light. They’re always looking for newcomers of course. If you’re interested pop along to your local store, buy a scouring pad and a “I hate the Scourge” t-shirt and you’re away to go. You’ll need to choose between soft furnishings and squirrels of course – but to me there’s no choice – there’s not much about the world a squirrel doesn’t know and don’t let the racoons tell you any different.
Today I Bravetank will expose the horror stories lying behind the WoW professions.
This is what they don’t tell you…
[* A goretusk today spoke of his anguish after being voted, “Animal most useful for levelling cooking up to 130.” Gary the Goretusk bravely held back his tears as he spoke about the proliferation of WoW cooking levelling guides on the internet and how many of them advocate the cooking of boar ribs (using the Dry Pork Ribs recipe) to get to 130. “These people don’t realise the impact they’re having on my life. I’m scared to go out. And every night I dream some player is extracting my ribs. I have to count them in the morning to make sure they’re still there and that’s not easy as there’s a fair bit of meat on me. On second thoughts no there’s not. Don’t publish that will you. No meat to be found here. Move along.” Asked what he thought the solution was Gary’s answer was emphatic, “Giraffes. It has to be. Their long necks would means one giraffe would give you enough meat to level in steps of 20 surely. I’m convinced. In fact I’m working on my own power levelling guide right now called “1-525 in one hour- you’re having a giraffe!!” *]
Thousands were left dead last night in Tanaris after a levelling tailor flatly refused to hand over any cloth for first aid. A skirmish had broke out between Alliance and Horde hunters, rogues, warriors and mages. No healer could be found on the scene but Terry the Tailor was found looking on while guarding his stacks of cloth. As the casualties mounted so more and more pressure came upon Terry to release his stacks and help stop the bleeding. But Terry was adamant that tailors should not be expected to act in these situations. “I’m a tailor not a nurse,” he was heard to shout, and “Have you tried levelling tailoring. Have you seen what I’m expected to get. It’s hard man. Real hard. I’ve been stung by more spiders than you can shake a stick at. And don’t shake sticks at them anyway,” he warned, “They really don’t like it.” When accused of saving cloth for a flying carpet he refused to comment but was seen kicking a piece of Golden Draenite under a rock. Luckily for the injured an alchemist soon wandered by looking for herbs and generously made up a minor health potion for the crowds to share. One sip each meant that although their bleeding continued everyone’s acne was sorted out. Happy days.
“Enchanting made me put on weight,” says Betty the formerly svelte Blood Elf. “It started when I was about level 20 I think. I was busy disenchanting some stuff I’d got in a dungeon when I felt my robes seemed tight. I shrugged it off and thought no more about it. Then the next day I was enchanting a shield for a gentleman friend of mine (he likes what I do with my tongue – enchanting-wise I mean) when I caught a glimpse of my face in the reflection of the shield and I swear I saw a double chin. It then went on from there. Every time I disenchanted something I put on a pound and if I enchanted something I put on two pounds (unless it was a mace – in which case I’d squawk like a chicken for four hours). All odd really but it’s led to me ballooning in size. I think everyone needs to know about the dangers of enchanting.” Enchanting trainers dispute Betty’s claims of course, pointing to the exercise that disenchanting and enchanting can provide (“it’s a full facial workout”) and the fact that Betty put on the weight over the Winterveil period. Betty has refused to comment although this journalist did find a cookie crumb down the side of her sofa. Make of that what you will.
[* Today it emerged that most Azeroth doctors are only journeyman skinners. After an anonymous whisteblowing allegation 100 doctors today were investigated to discover that in 80% of cases the only qualification was Master of Anatomy. The Azeroth General Medical Association today denied it was an issue. “You can’t get a better knowledge of human anatomy and medicine than killing and skinning animals although admittedly it’s less confusing if they only have two legs. But our knowledge of the brain would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for skinning crocodiles. I kid you not. They are smart creatures. They smile at you and stuff. Even though they really want to eat you. That’s clever that." However, not all were convinced. “I’m horrified,” said one concerned patient, “But it explains so much. Every time I go in with a headache the doctor flays my back, and once when I had a stomach bug he chopped off one of my toes and made a leather thumb warmer out of it. Look I’m wearing it now. Really does keep my thumb warm mind.” *]
Profession news in brief
JUST IN – “Mining makes me horny,” confesses Lady Jaina.
[* NEWSFLASH- Radical experiment goes wrong. Volunteers told that drinking any red liquid is as effective as a health potion were all buried today. “At least they died with a nice berry taste in their mouth,” said one relative. *]
WARNING – Inscription could cause repetitive strain injury warned the government today. “Hold your quill in your mouth,” advised one giggling doctor.
UNLIKELY FACT OF THE WEEK – Blacksmithing is ideal first date claims dwarf.
CAREER ADVICE – Low IQ is best for engineering. This means most LFG players are ideal says trainer
I was very “lucky” to run into Deathwing the other day, but boy was he in a bad mood.
“I’m sick and tired of all the nerd rage happening on my back during LFR,” he complained. “Everyday it’s the same. Stop DPS. Stop DPS. Kick him. Kick her. Kick me. It’s all I hear. I wouldn’t mind so much if it meant that I was winning all these encounters but even the crappest group gets there eventually and in the meantime I have to put up with all that shit. I want people to learn to do this properly and quickly. I’ve got better things to do than have 25 people trampling all over my back yelling words at each other that my mother (god rest her soul) banned me from using.”
I could see he was upset and if there’s anything I’ve learnt in my time in Azeroth you do not want to upset Deathwing when you’re on your own with him (we were both fishing on Azuremyst Isle as it happens. Interesting fact – he wears the weather-beaten hat when he fishes. Screenshot to follow.) Anyway in the hope that he would spare my life I offered to use this book as a way to promote his own strategy for completing Spine of Deathwing in LFR quickly and easily. He seemed quite taken with the idea – even used his lovely fire breath to warm my feet as a little treat for me.
This is what he said:-
1. Right the raid (is that what you guys call yourselves?) are meant to be removing my armored plates. Not polishing them. Not tickling them. Removing them. Get it. They need to be removed because with them I am pretty invincible (without them I’m just pretty).
2. The first thing you will see upon landing on my back are four wavy tendrils – I call them Adam, Joe, Duncan and Kenny but you call them Corruptions (it’s all a question of perspective I guess).
3. When one of my tendril friends is killed (you bastards you killed Kenny) it will bring forth a Hideous Amalgamation (again not my name for these dear friends of mind – I call the first one Paul, the second John, the third…you know where I’m going with this and yes I’m a huge fan – all the Black Dragonflight are).
4.Corrupted Blood will also appear from the hole where the original tendril (Kenny – it’s always Kenny) was. Now by corrupted all it really means is that – if it were ever to be tested – you’d find a bit of alcohol in it. Not too much. I’m not over the limit. I can still drive … I mean fly … officer. But there’ll be a bit of gin in it. Nothing wrong with a bit of gin my old mother used to say. She swore by it to send me to sleep. Apparently I was a troublesome whelp. These days I usually need a nice gin and tonic to wind down of an evening. It’s the pressure see. But I do not have a problem. No sireee.
5. Where should you be standing you ask? Umm on the ground leaving me well alone. Ha ha. I jest, I jest. You should probably be somewhere in the middle of my back. If you jump up and down a bit it feels like a shiatsu massage – FACT.
6. Now in LFR (see how I know your lingo – that comes from hours of enduring these bloody things) – you only need to kill one Corruption. This is where it usually goes wrong. Certain people do not know this and start killing them all. And why wouldn’t they? In most fights if it’s red it’s dead. Yes? But this leads to mayhem. However, instead of telling these people that what they are doing is wrong certain other players just yell abuse – things like Noob, idiot and that awful …tard word that I – the most evil thing in the whole wide world – cannot bring myself to say. But all they really need to say is, “Don’t kill corruptions, kill the corrupted (i.e. gin-soaked) blood.” Not hard but seemingly too hard for some of the people crawling all over my back (ugh it makes me shudder just thinking about the type of people I have up there – I deserve better – I really do).
7. Anyway let’s suppose only one Corruption has been killed and let’s suppose there is just one Hideous Amalgamation (would be Paul – he’s always first out – likes the limelight that one). Well the tank should then move Paul up near my head (we normally have a good chat at this point so I prefer him nearer my ears … I do have ears and by the end of the encounter they are usually bleeding after all the crap I have to listen to in LFR but there you go). The tank should focus on Paul while the DPS kill the corrupted bloods.
8. When a corrupted blood dies a small fire will appear in its place (don’t ask me why – gin is flammable?). The tank should move Paul over it to stack “Absorb Blood” (let us be frank here – the game developers were on something when they designed this – none of it makes biological sense to me and it’s my bloody body).
9.Once Paul gains 9 stacks he should be killed (awww no more silly love songs).
10. Once Paul is killed he will cause a nuclear blast – be prepared to run from it. It should lift up one of my armour plates exposing one of my tendons. You may be tempted to pause a moment here to ooh and aah at how strong my tendon looks (I am buff – make no mistake about it) but you really need to move quickly and start blasting away. Don’t worry – I don’t really feel it. I’m usually sending suggestive texts to Alexstrasza at this point.
11. Once my tendon is destroyed my armour plate falls off and you can start all over again (three times in total). Fun eh?
12. Once completed celebrate for a few seconds but then know I’m gonna get you in the next encounter, oh yes, I will have my revenge. Once I finish texting of course.
And that was it from Deathwing. Pretty self-explanatory and, as an added benefit, it might lead to a resurgence of interest in the Beatles. And that’s never a bad thing.
I’ve been thinking about peer review and how powerful a tool it can be if correctly and appropriately used (i.e. no anonymous scrawled comment left on the desk stating “I hate you and your mother is a whore” – that feedback is inappropriate and unless supplemented by important information about how the individual’s whoring mother could improve her cost/income ratio it is frankly unhelpful).
Anyway my proposal is a peer review system in dungeons. A brief little survey (just 60 seconds of your time to complete) could pop up at the end of the dungeon allowing you to rate your four fellow dungeoneers in a number of categories. Those dungeon members that score well will automatically go to the top of the queue when they next queue for a dungeon. Those that score poorly will be cast into the burning fires of hell.
So – good idea yes? What then could the peer review consist of? Many organisations’ objectives are now set around Productivity, Attendance and some sort of Behaviour objective. This could cross over very effectively into the dungeon environment in my opinion.
Consider the following sample questions:-
1. How would you rate the tank’s pulling?
(a)I haven’t a mark on me – fantastic!
(b)Don’t like to criticise but the range mobs were using me as target practice – they called me Bullseye.
© OMFG. Even the spirit healer advised me not to go back in.
2. How would you rate DPS 1/2/3?
(a)Their elegant balancing of damage delivery and threat minimisation was almost poetic in its expression. I was honoured to be in their presence.
(b) They helpfully linked to Recount every 2 minutes so they must have been good.
©They shot anything and everything that moved – usually when the tank was dead and the healer taking a mana break.
3. How would you rate the healer?
(a)They should give out honorary medical degrees for that sort of healing.
(b)I don’t find it particularly helpful to be offered alternative therapies in a dungeon (a massage won’t refill my green bar no matter how firm their hands).
©They inflicted more damage on me than the mobs – emotionally I mean.
Person A/B/C/D was
1. Appropriately present and correct in both the dungeon and party chat. We LOLd and ROFLD like there was no tomorrow.
2.Adequately present for one with some sort of dehydration (or alcohol?) problem combined with serious bladder control issues and a wife/husband/dog/cat/alternate personality that rules the roost.
3.Lagging so much they must surely have gone back in time before WoW was invented and so ended up caught in a time paradox that only Donny Darko could sort out.
1. My new bestest friend – we’ve exchanged Real Id, addresses, birthdays, deepest darkest secrets and soon marriage vows. I lurve them.
2.Well they can jump high and dance well and I learnt a few new words. That’s something right?
3.I can't answer- I'm on hold with the police.
1. Yes without reservation – except I will never allow them to play with anyone else ever again since they are now mine all mine
3. Only under the sort of torture inflicted on Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man (yes it’s safe Laurence … now please for the love of God turn off the drill).
[* So there you have it. Surely this is the sort of questionnaire we need. It would sort the wheat from the chaff and let us lovely, saintly, perfect group members get to the top of the dungeon queues and know we are in for a pleasant dungeon with equally well scoring people! Peer review- definitely the way forward. Next steps - agreeing a development plan for an underperforming (i.e. crap) group member. *]
I like to be ahead of the game so when I first heard about Mists of Pandaria (before it was released and after checking for the 100th time that it was not a cruel elaborate hoax) I began to look into pandas with my research partner Mr Wiki Pedia (always reliable). What I wanted was a sense of what the early quests in Pandaria would likely be so I could get into training for them (my kill and collect skills are a little rusty). Anyway from even a cursory glance at some of the information available I figured out the ideal first ten quests (although for some reason the developers went in a completely different direction). Here is what we should have had:-
[+ QUEST 1 - based on panda fact 1:- their diet is 99% bamboo (tasty) +]
A clan of renegade pandas wearing a surreal white eye patch to differentiate themselves from other pandas have infested the area to the south of the starting zone. They have stolen all the bamboo in the area and are using it to tempt females from the home tribe to come and “see my bamboo shoot”. Your first quest is to go to this area, kill 10 pandas and steal their shoots. Eye patches should also be looted and vendored.
[+ QUEST 2 - based on panda fact 2:- due to farming and deforestation they have been driven out of the lowlands that they used to occupy +]
The Venture company are causing their usual mayhem by draining a lake and filling it with sand for baby goblins. You have to go to the sandpit with a water tank strapped to your back and, standing in the middle of the sandpit, fill the lake with water. This will aggro the mother goblins who will be sitting casually on various park benches around the pit complaining that every time they ask their husbands to do anything they are dismissed with a “time is money friend” and then sleazily propositioned with a “I got what you need” and never cuddled after intimacy (parting words are normally just “spit it out”). Anyway they are fairly easy to kill and will give you good experience plus, if you’re lucky and wear cloth, a fetching goblin female dress which looks strangely good on both male and female pandas (actually male and female pandas look good in anything).
[+ QUEST 3 - based on panda fact 3:- while they are usually docile they have been known to attack humans if irritated by them +]
This involves teleportation, but no problem since the quest giver does it all for you. Great overlap here with vanilla WoW. You are teleported to Elwynn Forest and have to kill three very irritating human npcs – Billy MacClure who stole the necklace, Bernice Stonefield who has no gumption and gives into Billy’s blackmail all too easily and has most humans running round left right and centre for stuff for her bloody pie and that sad sack Tommy Joe Stonefield lazing around by the lake bemoaning his love life. Despatch them quick sharpish then rub your nose (pandas look cute when they rub their nose so this is a nice graphic). This will stimulate the teleportation powder on your nose (did I forget to mention that bit – anyone would think I’m making this up as I go along) and get you back to Pandaria.
[+ QUEST 4- based on panda fact four:- pandas communicate through scent marking (spraying urine) and clawing trees +]
Pandarian quest four:- fun one this with a good game mechanic. There’s an old decrepit panda hiding up a tree. The pandas are worried about him but can’t get him down. You have to climb the tree and, using a targeting mechanic, urinate on him and then when he is soaked (60 second debuff) claw the tree six times. The urine makes him more amenable to persuasion and the clawing of the tree basically means, “Get your ass down right now.” Need nimble fingers for this one. If you get it right he will slink shamefacedly back down the tree and wander back to his hut. If you get it wrong he will aggro and rip your face off then urinate over your dead body.
[+ QUEST 5- based on panda fact five:-the West first learned of the panda in 1869 -the French missionary Armand David received a panda skin from a hunter +]
Pandarian quest:- in homage to this French missionary there is an NPC to the west of the starting area - Armand David Ginola - who trains skinning and a bit of rudimentary French to help the pandas get by on their holidays. Go there to learn skinning and how to say “I would like three bamboo shoots” (“Je voudrais trois pousses de bambou” if you think you might need to know this too).
[+ QUEST 6- based on panda fact six:- the 70s practice of “Panda diplomacy" was important for China and involved loaning giant pandas to American and Japanese zoos +]
Pandarian quest:- zoo-type enclosures are somewhat different in Pandaria. They are run by pandas and filled with Worgen and Tauren as a result of the Horde and Alliance policy of “let’s give up the race that really doesn't fit in with us and we all know it”. You have to go around the enclosure feeding meat to both - there is something suspicious about the meat though and it will later turn out in the game that you are feeding dead Tauren to Worgen and vice versa and creating a dangerous hybrid (the chief of which is the first boss of Pandaria you later fight). Cultivation (Tauren racial) and Flayer (Worgen racial) are completely mixed up in these hybrids meaning they “cultivate skins” in a very disturbing Silence of the Lambs way and flay herbs and basically cause a mess (petals and leaves everywhere).
[+ QUEST 7- based on panda fact seven:- pandas in captivity seem to lose interest in mating and there is consequently a very low birthrate amongst them +]
Pandarian quest:- The language is subtle here but the symbolism clear. You have to help two pandas “have fun” by collecting certain mood enhancers from the area. These include feathers (“I like to be tickled!” is one of the stock panda NPC phrases), a pearl necklace (early archaeology artifact) and a kobald candle. Once received the two panda NPCs run off to a tent where the real problem of the low birthrate becomes apparent if you hang around long enough in the area to listen to the dialogue (“It goes in your ear”, “Really? Are you sure?”, “Definitely, keep your head still.”)
Pandarian quest:- a direct reference to this story and what appears to also be a clever allusion/homage to Kung Fu Panda to keep the lawyers at bay. The skull belonged to the old master monk Dustin (Hoffman was the voice of Shifu in the film so this one’s for the fans) and you must retrieve it with the help of a bumbling, clumsy panda called Po (not even subtle this one). Funny dialogue and hijinks ensue and all seems well. However, after retrieving the skull you get possessed by an “envious spirit”, and brutally slaughter Po (excellent experience points here). It seems this is an attempt to stop the Kung Fu Panda franchise in its tracks. A very bold move indeed. His final words are “The Pandarians predate me” which is an oblique reference to their original appearance before Kung Fu Panda was ever made.
[+ QUEST 9 - based on panda fact nine:- there seems to be no pre-20th-century paintings/drawings of giant pandas +]
Pandarian quest:- the in-game reason for the lack of panda paintings is the lack of white crayons and a surplus of black. The fact that, using white paper, there is a way around this has escaped them all (you might want to get as many intellect items as possible when playing a panda - it will really help). So your mission is to go and steal a white crayon from the house in Goldshire (where the creepy kids are). More teleportation follows (economic reuse of other starting areas here - in this day and age even highly successful game companies have to economise). The crayon is easy to steal by distracting the kids with a puppet show. As soon as you right click on the puppet the usual vehicle mechanic pops up with buttons for “wave puppet”, “hit puppet” and “reveal paw inside puppet”. The latter completely traumatises the children and causes them to hide their eyes in terror at which point you pick up the sparkling crayon and teleport back to Pandaria. You then give the crayon to the resident artist who immediately starts drawing in white on white paper and then cries in frustration.
[+ QUEST 10 - based on panda fact ten:- the World Wildlife Fund uses the Panda as a symbol +]
Pandarian quest:-it would be socially remiss for quest ten not to have a charity dimension. In this one you have to pick flowers from the surrounding area, give to an NPC crafter who will fashion the flowers into a garland necklace for the poorest panda in the village. This will not help the panda survive of course but the flowers are gorgeous and will mask the odour of his decaying body for days after his death, by which time he will have decomposed sufficiently to be fed to the captured Worgens. Perfect!
So there we have it. The first ten quests they should have had in the game – would have been lots of fun and would have made sure you left the game having learnt a lot about pandas, ready to take on the subject in any pub quiz and with a definite plan to rewatch Kung Fu Panda to fine tune your rotation. Oh well never mind!
Found an old Theramore Tourist Information Guide amongst the wreckage. Could not hold back the tears when I read the following…
“Nothing changes in Theramore and that’s why we love it!” (Captain Vimes, Foothold Citadel, Theramore, 2012)
Theramore – the safest, most stable, solid as a bloody rock Alliance stronghold in Kalimdor. Nothing will harm you here.
Welcome to the official (hmm ok not really) tourist information guide for this stunning area of Dustwallow Marsh. Why don’t you stay awhile and see all the things you can do in this Kalimdor Alliance stronghold – a stronghold completely and utterly impenetrable to the enemy.
Ok so what can you do in Theramore? Actually better question is what can’t you do – hmm several things as a matter of fact – you can’t transmogrify, use the auction house, see King Varian, have a hair cut …. Ok…ok… but you can go on long walks here (yes walking is fun – speak to any RPer), you can go riding (you can show off your RAF mount that you acquired by starting a second account and referring yourself … Blizzard may have addressed the confirmation email “Dear Sucker”). You could collect some insects for the resident natural historian Morgan Stern (what do you mean he eats them?) and lots lots more in what is officially the SAFEST place in Azeroth (Safe or Scary Azeroth Survey, 2011)
Theramore, both a military fortress (unnecessary these days I tell you but we all like a turret) and trading port (anyone need any fine thread – we’ve got them by the bucket load) and home to the Alliance Assembly (come visit your favourite Alliance politician – no corruption here, no sirreee). Book your accommodation today (you can’t go wrong in Theramore itself and the Knights of the Silver Hand paladin lodge are offering 3 nights for the price of 2 if you book before the next patch goes live).
Theramore is a place of stunning (& IN NO WAY THREATENING) contrasts: Alliance stronghold set within the wild yet beautiful territory of the Horde (they get all the nicest scenery). It’s where history (I think I’ve mentioned there are turrets) and modern (if you speak nicely to Jaina she’ll show you her Blackberry) meet. Roll in the grass and swim in the sea (sorry I’m talking to you now as if you’re a dog...what...you’re happy as long as you get a biscuit?)- it’s got it all folks. (Important: Visitors are advised to keep weapons accessible at all times and to know the whereabouts of the nearest spirit healer.)
Theramore, Kalimdor’s picturesque city by the sea, has had a long and admittedly turbulent past – but all that’s history now. Now think Permanence, Endurance, Stability and absolutely Indestructible Brickwork. All these are bywords for Theramore itself (cross my heart & hope to die….not really). Home now to some unusual visitor attractions (come spot the troublesome deserters) and famous for its incredible nightlife (how many injured soldiers can you save with the Triage approach of first aid – you’ll laugh like a drain as the most critically injured die before your very eyes) – it’s an exciting vibrant cultural hotspot offering something for everyone (even Horde if that something includes a sword through your lying scheming heart).
Just a catapult’s throw away you’ll find find the nearby beauty spots of Onyxia's Lair (a volcanic cave - bring your camera and try not to drop it in the lava), Southern Barrens (is that a zebra - no it’s a Zhevra - totally different animal), as well as the magical Blackhoof Village (damn those Grimtotems are nasty though) and Mudsprocket (Drazzit Dripvalve lives here ... take him a deed poll to change his name- he'll thank you forever). These quaint hamlets are set within a landscape that offers miles upon miles of sightseeing (ignore the occasional bloody corpse - unless it's your own in which case good for you you've just completed a corpse run), happy vendors (they're practically giving the spring water away) and of course numerous inns where you’ll get the chance to sample the latest in Kalimdor’s fine dining (might want to give Morgan Stern's stuff a bit of a miss though).
What else can you do in this wonderful place? Well you can walk (just toggle / on the number pad), enjoy the watersports (go deep sea diving with Renn McGill), enjoy the sea life (make friends with Tethyr – I think that creature is badly misunderstood), experience more wildlife that you can shake a stick at (don’t go shaking sticks though – they don’t like that). And of course if all that fails you can go and fawn over Jaina (or if you’re female go and be nice and then afterwards tell everyone how tired she’s looking these days).
How to get here
Nag any mage you can find for a portal. They really don’t mind. And mercilessly abuse anyone who hasn’t levelled high enough to get it yet. Selfish bastards.
Please come and visit. In fact come and visit and set up home here. It’s that good. It’s that safe. We’re going nowhere – we’re here to stay.
(Disclaimer: all information correct at time of going to press. Tourist Board holds no responsibility for any losses (including those of life and limb) incurred if holiday takes place during or after launch of any patch.)
Finding that guide broke my bloody heart.
Once more unto the breach, dear Alliance, once more; Or close the wall up with our Human dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a Night Elf As modest stillness and humility (and less nonsense chat about Elune): But when the blast of war blows in our flappy ears (still talking to the Night Elves here), Then imitate the action of the Shaman spirit wolves; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood (and your expertise and mastery of course) Disguise fair nature (although us Humans have never really been that fair – we should have paid van Cleef surely?) with hard-favour’d rage (GRRR GRRR); Then lend the eye a terrible aspect (squint rather nastily) Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide (this also doubles as a very beneficial yoga move) Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit To his full height ([_ more yoga – Power Yoga this time- not for beginners _]) On, on, you noblest Alliance.
And you, good yeoman (the Tillers),
Whose limbs were made in Pandaland, show us here The mettle of your pasture (it’s rather green with lots of pumpkins and carrots I bet); let us swear That you are worth your breeding (yes even you Worgen who do it doggy style…); which I doubt not (although look into her eyes once in awhile dear Worgen – just for decency’s sake); For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes (even while you’re mowing down defenceless Horde swimming for their lives).
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. ([_ This is a myth- greyhounds are notoriously the laziest of animals - all greyhound races are actually poodles in greyhound suits – fact _]) The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Prince Varian, Stormwind, and the Alliance!
It’s PAYBACK TIME!
Other sites are so far behind the times. It’s MoP this, panda that, and yet where is the news on the fifth expansion? I seem to be the only one with my ear to the ground in regard to the developments planned for next year. But luckily for you I’ve gathered all the information I know (let’s agree to use “know” in a loose sense from here on in ok?) – read it here first.
1. NEW WORLD
Forget about new continents and planets. That is so old hat. Yawn city (actually I think that is a city in Pandaria). The developers are thinking far bigger than that now. The entire 5th expansion takes place in an Azeroth alternate reality discovered by Anduin Wrynn after he ingested some infused mushrooms (naughty boy). An alternate reality broke open – inventively called New Azeroth – a very different beast from the usual Azeroth and offering brand new challenges to the player.
2. NEW RACE
New Azeroth offers an exciting new race:-
REAL HUMANS – Real human females will be flat chested and plump but have great personalities and a jolly good sense of humour. Unfortunately the males will be beer bellied sloths who will simply grunt if a female human asks them to do anything but amazingly stand up tall (sucking in their bellies) to become the most eloquent creature imaginable if a female blood elf so much as looks at them.
3. NEW CLASS
-The Whinger – a DPS class. The Whinger brings a great deal of power to any group activity. They deliver huge damage to the boss every time they post something critical of the tank in party chat and score a critical hit every time they slag off the healer. You will not want to be without these in your group – and let’s face it you never will be.
It hasn’t got a name yet but it’s fun, cheap, well worth investing lots of time in (and since it doesn’t feel like work the time flies by anyway) and makes you lots of money on the AH both while you’re levelling and once you’re maxxed out. In other words totally different from anything in the current game.
5. NEW “IN GAME” GAME
Forget the pet battle system. By the time this expansion comes out you will be sick of them (remember your old tamagotchi?). The new "in game" game of the 5th expansion is the old classic Bingo. In every inn in every city you will be able to take a seat and cross off your numbers and shout INN loudly whenever you mark off all the boxes. You can't go wrong with a bit of bingo. 100 million bingo players worldwide can't be wrong. In fact Blizzard might consider making this the main game and turning WoW itself into an "in game" game when you get bored of the bingo (you heard it here first). The real human race females have a racial 10% lucky ticket bonus which gives them a slight advantage in this activity but the game mechanic means for each hour they sit playing they put on 10lbs and develop a pathological hatred of all female blood elves.
6. NEW TALENT SYSTEM
Alternate Azeroth knows the true meaning of the word Talent not like current Azeroth with all it's weird things like Nether Vortex and Prismatic Cloak (you what?- speak English man). In Alternate Azeroth there are three talents recognised the world over, namely -
TOUCHING THE TIP OF YOUR NOSE WITH YOUR TONGUE
Players invest points in each talent tree as follows:-
-SINGING- early levels have talents such as "Solo shower pleasure...singing I mean", while the middle of the tree offers both "Drunk and tuneless karaoke" and "Let's all have a singsong in the car". The final talent is the one to aim for of course - "The Cowell Magic"- this is an ability that you can use during a boss fight. It will immediately make the boss pause his activity, wipe a tear from his eye and pledge he will give you a multimillion pound record deal and make you a star. After 10 seconds the ability wears off and the boss stabs you in the back - a critical blow.
-DANCING – early tiers include “Look at me Mam on my tippy toes”. Middle tiers offer both, “I can do the robot even though it’s irritating as hell” and “I didn’t fall over – I was breakdancing”, while the final talent is “The Timeless Travolta”. Pull this out in a boss fight and the boss will be forced to dance the routine with the tank (the rest of the group will support with a nifty back up routine). The humiliation will cause the boss to lose stacks of health. When it’s over he will crawl to the corner weeping and begging the group to put him out of his misery. Which of course we’ll be only too happy to do.
-TIP OF THE NOSE TRICK- early tiers include "I can touch my lip - is that enough?" Middle tiers include both, "This is stupid and now my tongue really hurts" and "Is that the best thing you can do with your tongue". The final talent is "I did it, I did it, by jove I did it" (or more accurately "I mff m, I mff m, I bb m ff mm"). This has no benefit at all in a group setting but will keep guild chat occupied for hours as everyone shares their favourite technique.
7. NEW PvP SYSTEM
Tickle fights. That’s all I will say.
So new world, new race, new class, new profession, new talents and new PvP system. This isn’t just an expansion – it’s a revolution that will turn WoW on its head. Forget Pandas. I’m already bored of them. Fix your gaze on 2013 and the Alternate Azeroth experience – the game will never be the same.
(Disclaimer….quite a bit of this might not be true …but I am trying to touch the tip of my nose with my tongue as I type.)
I’ve heard on the grapevine that new versions of the current top five add-ons are to be released. These uber add-ons will take the game to a whole new level by recognising the reality of how we, the player, want to enjoy the game and what we need to help us do so. I’ve tried these out in Beta and can indeed confirm they truly will enhance our gaming experience across the board,
So without further ado here’s a sneak preview of the 5 revamped add-ons that you’ll want to be downloading as soon as they’re released:-
1. Recount Deluxe – Sticks and Stones
This version of the best damage meter out there will not only tell you what physical and spell damage you’ve dished out but will also monitor the emotional damage you’ve unleashed on those in your group (and enemy mobs too – but for more on that see DBS below). Yes you’ve heard it right. You can let rip with your cruellest vitriol in party chat directed at whichever member of the group you’ve taken an instant dislike to and actually see your DPS numbers rise! There will even be a breakdown of where your attack landed and what damage it caused i.e. physical rebukes (e.g. “I bet you’re a chubby git who never goes out”) will hit directly at self esteem; attacks on play style will knock confidence into a cocked hat and suggestions that the player is of uncertain parentage will destroy familial trust and lead to a rather accusatory phone call later with their mother. So get Recount Deluxe – the Sticks and Stones version, monitor the results of your uncalled for and heartless abuse and rejoice at the fragility of the human soul.
[+ 2. Deadly Boss Mods- Let’s get Down and Dirty +]
DBS is already the add-on of choice for all those pesky bosses and their crafty fight mechanics, but this enhanced version will offer even more. It will give you a whole new set of information about the boss you are to fight - helping you design a highly tailored attack strategy that will get right to their weakest spots. So instead of just being informed about their key abilities and told when a critical phase is about to start, you will also know about their childhood hopes and dreams; the recurring fears that trouble then at 3am and cause them to go downstairs (or into another cave or cesspit or whatever) for a comforting biccie and a glass of warm milk. Indeed you’ll even know their secret crushes (interestingly 99% of them fantasise about the innkeeper in Stormwind’s The Guilded Rose - they all love her nurturing maternal approach - as one rather poetically said (I think it was Feng the Accursed), “She seems to really care when you hearthstone in - it’s all in the eyes - I’d really like to give her one - hard”). This knowledge will enable very targeted abuse using the /say command in chat and will have a devastating effect on even the toughest of bosses. Against the Sha of Doubt for example you might want to try, “Knowledge can be advanced through science” or “I am a child of the Enlightenment, there is no room for doubt”. This will confirm his worst fears that he is the only one in this day and age racked with doubt and confusion - in turn this will lead him to remember that time in maths class when he just could not get fractions and the rest of the class laughed. His whole tough facade will crumble. If that fails of course you can always go for the old classic, “Your mother is a whore.” He will be a broken man ... I mean darkness. Against Yan-Zhu the Uncasked try, “No thanks, I am a teetotal” (this will remind him of all his broken New Years Day resolutions to only drink on a Saturday or on special occasions), or “I’m wheat intolerant - are you gluten free?” (he will fear he cannot keep up with current diet trends), or try the old classic, “That extra weight looks good on you.” The result will be bosses downed in half the time with half the effort. Indeed for most of the fight they will be curled up in a foetal position in the corner of the room, weeping uncontrollably. This means even a feral cat druid will be able to get some decent dps using this addon. A thousand MoP druids cheer.
3. Atlas Loot – The Truth
How could Atlas Loot be improved you ask? After all it is the goto source of knowledge for all in-game loot (very poor on non-game loot of course - you might still want to check out Amazon for that). There are gear stats galore - you really can’t go wrong with it. And of course even if it’s not upgrades you are looking for it can help you plan your transmogrifications by telling you where the outfit of choice will drop. And therein lies the problem. Atlas Loot (and indeed transmog tools such as Mog It) do not have within them that absolutely modern day essential - the cynical, jaded and rather cruel fashion critic. And that means there is no one to give you an honest objective assessment of how the gear will look on you (not the same as you viewing it in the preview mirror since you have no taste - remember that). This in-game fashion critic has been seriously lacking. I mean from personal experience given my human paladin’s thighs I should never have considered the black mageweave set but I thought I looked good. How deluded was I (although that gnome in Ironforge seemed rather taken with the outfit judging from his somewhat enthusiastic emotes). Well Atlas Loot -The Truth makes all that a problem of the past. Now when you hover over a piece of gear to read its stats, and even when you preview it on your character, an honest and frank assessment of its suitability for you will pop up in large writing in the centre of the the screen. You will read advice such as, “What are you thinking, you’re an orc, you can’t wear silk, the guys will laugh their asses off”, and “Those legs make you look dumpy and you’re a friggin night elf”, and even, on a more positive note, “Yes good idea mate, that helm completely covers your face, the whole of Azeroth rejoices”. Harsh - yes; not for the fainthearted - for sure; but this is the truth like you’ve never heard it before and it will change your life. After all it is only appearances that matter. Beauty is only skin deep and that’s deep enough for all of us in this day and age. So no more fashion faux pas. No more gear upgrade/transmog mistakes. And so what if you lose all your skill points when it turns out the only thing that looks good on you is the starting gear from Northshire Abbey. What you learn in criticism and cruelty will make your emotional dps (see above) fly off the meter anyway. This is a holistic pack of add-ons. It’s all good.
4. NPC scan – Let me Help
Don’t you find it frustrating when NPC scan tells you something wonderful and rare is nearby but you still can’t find it (because like me you’re rather clueless…what…no… come on… there must be others like me right?). Well worry no more. This enhanced NPC Scan will not only alert you to the presence of any rare NPCs nearby but will also automatically start attacking the creature on your behalf. In fact even before that it will check your shields and buffs are up, dump any vendor trash taking up space in your bag, ring your mother to tell her you’ll be busy for the next three minutes and then once the mob is dead will automatically loot it and skin it (great if appropriate – messy if not), post a celebratory note in guild chat on your behalf, and then re-ring your mother and patiently listen to her complain about her bunions for a good hour. All this without you having to lift a finger or actually, you know, look around and stuff. And that’s how it should be right?
Finally Bartender 4 - but a new deluxe version that does far more than just enable you to customise your boring old action bars. It takes the TENDER bit - as in someone who takes care of something- far more seriously than any previous release. And this means that whenever you try to move or customise an action bar, if the programme does not agree with what you are doing (and it seldom does - it has very high standards) it will gently tut a few times, then rather pleasantly say, “Are you really sure about this?” Then if you still insist on trying to move the bar a hand will emerge from your monitor and slap you hard across the face, bringing you sharply to your senses. You will quickly learn - you do not mess with the Bartender. So no more fiddling obsessively with your UI (as opposed to actually playing the game) to make minor changes that you will then undo the next day. Bartender will decide once and for all what works for you and, with proven Pavlovian conditioning techniques, it will ensure you stick with it. Remember it knows best - action bars are its life and novice tinkerers like you annoy the hell out of it. Take issue with Bartender at your peril.
[* And so there you have it- the 5 new add-ons that are soon to be unleashed and that will enhance your gaming pleasure. I think you’ll all agree that these are ones no serious player of WoW will ever want to be without - and less serious players of WoW are otherwise engaged with pet battles and farming anyway. *]
You remind me of the babe
What babe? The babe with the power
What power? Power of voodoo
Who do? You do
Do what? Remind me of the babe
David Bowie, Labyrinth - lyrics so profound, thought provoking, challenging. Such a deft use of the question mark. So sad he was totally out acted by a bunch of muppets - but it happened to Michael Caine in the Muppets Christmas Carol as well so it happens to the best of them. But David leads us nicely into my third study of the religions in WoW (and can’t you just tell I’m a Theology graduate - my supervisor would be so proud). We have covered The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow and The Church of the Holy Light and now ... well it just has to be Voodoo - if only because I’ve got that bloody David Bowie song dancing around my head and I’m forced to take it as a sign from the gods (the Voodoo gods - they are very supportive of us writers) that I need to get this down. Ok so Voodoo in Azeroth- what is it, where did it come from and is a shrunken head soon to be the height of fashion on the Paris catwalk (what do you mean it already is?). There is only one answer to all that - it’s the Trolls mon, look to the Trolls.
It’s best to think of the Trolls and their Voodoo religion as a slightly darker version of the shamanistic beliefs of the cuddly Orcs and the “only one evolutionary step away from cattle” Tauren. The Trolls don’t need all that “harnessing the power of the elements” nonsense. They harness the power of beings who use the elements as cheap home help and pay them less than minimum wage. Yes Trolls and their spirits are that hard.
It is said by some that the spirits Trolls worship are malign - I would rather call them “darkly cranky” which to be fair is no different to how I get every time I see the milk left out on the counter. Yes there is some sacrifice and cannibalism - but jeez the milk will go off if left out for too long- what am I meant to do? But I digress. For the trolls it is important to get the spirits they worship on side and to do this they need to give them a bit of what they fancy - unfortunately this tends not to be a glass of juice and a cupcake. Troll spirits like some death, blood and burnt offerings. But this just means they would not feel out of place at any UK summer BBQ.
The spirits are often dead ancestors who are rather jealous of the living. So remember how cranky Gran used to get when she was alive and her bunions were hurting and she couldn’t quite hear the TV and she thought you were silly for going out without a jumper? Well give her sharper teeth and a real taste for blood sacrifice and you have your classic Troll spirit. Aww isn’t it nice to see Gran again (will be your last thought from the top of the burning pyre).
The Darkspear Trolls did try to mend their sacrificial and cannibalistic ways ways in front of Thrall because they knew he didn’t like that sort of thing (“Troll guy what’s in your mouth?” “It’s a stick Thrall, I’m chewing on it, thought it would be all cool and Clint Eastwood-like”, “It’s got a finger nail… Troll, are you sure that’s a stick”, “Jeez yes Thrall it’s a stick, you’re in the wild here mon, our trees have nails and stuff, and …and what’s that…(spits) ..um …wedding rings…..”). To placate Thrall they tried to switch to animal sacrifices (because of course animals like being killed so much more …don’t get me started on Thrall’s double standards), corpse eye removal (what?) and head shrinking (double what?!!).
Yes headshrinking – it is the ultimate Troll calling card except instead of being out to the shops when they call you’re dead and decapitated. What they do to your head after death does not bear thinking about. Suffice to say that even if you managed to come back from the dead and reattach your head your hats would no longer fit and you’d look rather ridiculous in a turtleneck. Which of course is their dastardly plan. I think I’d rather be eaten.
Senior Troll leaders are the priests and the witch doctors.
First the priests – these are closely associated with the Loa they worship – powerful and scary primal gods. Indeed priests can take on the shape of their personal Loa – becoming its avatar. This tends to mean taking on the appearance of things like snakes, bears, felines and birds – although there are some rather cuter Troll priests who prefer to become avatars of the bunny, puppy and kitten primal gods. These priests are mocked in most Troll circles but they don’t half have some fun with a ball of string, a discarded slipper and a carrot.
Then there’s the Witch doctors – PhDs in hexes, head resizing and boils, but absolutely useless at dealing with colds, flus or fevers (they always suggest fluids, paracetemols and bed rest – where do they learn that stuff?). There are some female witch doctors but they tend to only be allowed to deal with “Troll women troubles” and family planning (which for contraception usually involves a variant of the head shrinking hex directed at another part of the anatomy. It’s also employed as a playful mood improver during periods of “women trouble” too – you’re in discomfort so why the hell shouldn’t he suffer too being the general philosophy.)
Witch doctors are also well respected for their fortune telling abilities and will be consulted before any battle. They will carefully interpret the signs around them (enemies in the village, troll warriors dead at their feet, buildings burning) and usually cautiously offer the view that victory is assured. They are a glass half full race after all.
And that’s about it on the Troll Voodoo religion. After all that I just bet you’re keen to meet some Voodoo practising Trolls? I mean who wouldn’t be? Well get yourself along to Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman and say howdy. Don’t bother taking a hat though.
Protest Azeroth escalated yesterday as critters camped outside the bank of Stormwind demanding the right to have their own critter guilds, critter auction houses and critter banks. “For too long we have been sidelined by the rich corrupt races of this world,” said Cyril the Squirrel, the spokessquirrel for the group. “Pet battles don’t count. We offer no real experience to your main when we’re killed, no loot, we are the forgotten ones. Azeroth society has left us to rot. I can’t even get in a dungeon group – but look at my teeth – I could take anything out with these – I once bit the head off an adder so Lady Anacondra would be no threat to me.” However, it seems the experience focused races of Azeroth have no time for these protests. “They’re only good for a couple of jokey achievements and pet battles,” said one passer-by, “Nothing a serious WoW player should be spending time on. After all there are a million reps that need grinding.”
The Azeroth Union today prohibited calling the Walrus tribes of Northrend “Tuskarr.” A spokesman for the union stated that while the tribe themselves call each other Tuskarr and have stated in writing that is how they would prefer to be known, the term is nevertheless offensive and banned. Instead with immediate effect everyone must now call them, “Wobbly fat faced walruses.”
A Savannah matriarch was yesterday calling for her entry in WoW wiki to be changed after discovering she is described as “hostile”. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Susie, “I’m not hostile. Ask anyone. I’m the kindest thing you could ever meet. In fact my friends say “Susie, you’re too kind, everyone takes advantage.” Susie continued, “Only the other day I was playing with a zebra. He was loving it. Never seen a zebra run so fast. We were playing kiss chase. Of course I think I kissed him a little bit too hard when I caught him because he didn’t half go down, but these things happen in play. Do you want to see him by the way, I’ve still got his legs left.” Asked how she would prefer to be described Susie said, “I’m not one to make demands but I think it’ll be a travesty if the word cute isn’t in there somewhere. And cuddly. I’d be happy with that.” Asked about a recent statement from the giraffes of the Barrens that she was a threat to their very survival, Susie scoffed, “Threat. How can I be a threat to those long legged buffoons? If we collide when we are both going for the same leaf and their necks end up in my mouth how is that my problem? I’m the innocent party here. Speaking of necks, you look like you have a little mark on your’s, come a bit nearer and let me have a closer look, it won’t hurt one little bit.”
Brother Sarno wept today as he described how he was forced to wave at everyone who entered the cathedral even though he was feeling rather down. Looking pale and drawn he described how, when he told his employers he didn’t feel all that cheery, they insisted he just, “wave [your] bloody hand from side to side and smile, it’s not that hard.” He continued, “So I did what they demanded but I had tears rolling down my eyes. No one noticed because no one pays that much attention to me when I wave. They just think oh there he goes again, the weird waving one. But it’s cost me. I had to quit in the end. I now work as a winter reveler. I’m still pretty down but at least I get a little kiss now and then.”
I understand there is still talk of there being a WoW film. It’s probably already been written but not one to be deterred by real life in any sense of the word I have drafted my first screenplay. Now to find an agent…
THE CASE OF THE BLOODY FIVE
INT. UNDERCITY POLICE STATION NIGHT
SERGEANT PICKFORD and INSPECTOR JONES walk hurriedly down a well lit corridor.
It’s messy sir. They’re all upset. Can’t get the priest to calm down. Keeps trying to smite himself.
Where did you pick them up?
Wandering around Tirisfal Glades. All five were covered in blood. The tank was mumbling something about Interrogator Vishas being pulled too soon. Didn’t make any sense. We searched the monastery. The interrogator is dead. Again.
The Sgt enters a door on the left. A warlock sits at a table, imp on lap.
My name is Sgt Pickford. I need to ask you some questions.
I’m tired. I’m life tapping.
The Warlock does something clever with hands and visibly weakens before the Sgt.
Why are you life tapping now? What’s the point?
I want to be ready. For when I see… never mind…forget it…
The warlock puts his head in his hands, slightly rumpling his unusual cloth helm.
Nothing. This isn’t your business. We would have been ok if that bloody priest hadn’t died. L2P healer I said, L2P.
Why did the healer die?
Why do you think? Too much bloody healing too soon. Never learnt threat management. Rookie mistake. Must have pulled the attention of the big guy. And then took ages running back. By then it was too late. We were dead.
But what about the soulstone?
What do you mean?
Why didn’t the healer use the soulstone you gave him?
The warlock shifts in his seat and looks around. The imp starts nervously playing with his fireballs.
I… I… didn’t give him one.
You heard me. I didn’t give him one.
What is the point of being a warlock if you’re not going to give the healer a soulstone?
But he didn’t ask for one.
Sgt Pickford takes a deep breath. Then a resigned expression comes across his face.
He shouldn’t have to. You make me sick.
The Sgt gets up from his seat and turns to go but then stops and looks back.
Just one more question. I’ve been told someone pulled too soon. Was it you?
No! No! I never do that! I’ve been playing for years,
I’m not talking to you – I’m talking to him.
The Sgt points at the imp. The imp shakes his head and smirks.
I wasn’t even out. Our friend here is affliction not destruction and that felhunter has long gone. You’ll never find out anything from him.
The Sgt looks disappointed, shakes his head and leaves the room.
He enters a second door on the left and sees a warrior sitting there, looking at his reflection in his shield.
So you were the tank in this little PUG I understand
Yes I was the tank. And I’m a good tank. I’ve done that dungeon loads of times. It was all fine until … well I don’t know what happened. I had told them all you yank it you tank it. I had made nice with the priest – we all need a pocket healer. I went straight to the mobs on the left. It was all done as it should be.
So what happened. In the wrong stance were you?
The warrior looks indignant.
How dare you. I never use the wrong stance. Well. That one time maybe. But I realised then … I didn’t need the entire group yelling FFS and I told them so at the time.
So what happened then?
I don’t know. I used concussion blow and shockwave. I thunder clapped. I even turned the mobs around so I could see what the dps were doing. But it was too late.
You managed to do some looting though.
What do you mean?
You handed in this when you came in.
He holds out a cloth belt.
Yes so what?
You’re a warrior. You wear plate. Why do you have a cloth belt?
Tell me straight. Did you need on it?
But he starts to cry
Tell me the truth goddammit. I’ve got a priest in the next room – apparently he’s in bits. Did you stop him having this? It has spirit on it for chrissake.
Ok…ok…yes I needed on it.
There’s a word for people like you.
I know…I know…I’m a ninja. But you don’t understand.
What is there to understand?
My mother…my mother…she is quite demanding. She loves a bit of cloth. I needed it for her.
So you went into a dungeon pretending to be a tank…
The warrior shifts uncertainly.
What do you mean pretending?
We’ve looked at your talents – we know you’re dps. You misled them. You misled them all.
The warrior puts his head in his hands, defeated.
No more questions.
The Sgt gets up and leaves the room. He enters a door opposite on the right. A mage is sitting at the table, then at the door, then the table.
Sorry I only do it when I’m nervous. Do you want a biscuit?
I don’t accept bribes Abracadabra. Now tell me what happened?
Don’t know. I was standing right at the back. I have a good range and I know how to use it. The tank went to clear the left corner first. Next thing everyone’s getting hit. I kept my presence of mind and threw out five arcane blasts on the trot. Five I tell you. Do you know what that does to my mana? Then I died.
What were you fighting?
Same thing as the tank.
How do you know?
I always target the tank then press F. It’s foolproof.
How long did you wait for the tank to get aggro? Were you excited magic man?
2 seconds, 3 seconds. Something like that. It was enough goddamit. I know it was enough.
Did you cast any AoE?
The mage looks uncomfortable.
I’m a single target guy, I don’t AoE unless asked to.
Don’t play dull. I know your sort. Can’t resist a little AoE.
Ok…ok…I used one. A little one. But that was all. And the mob he was fighting was already half dead by then. And there was no one close by. I just did it for effect. It can’t have been that. It can’t.
No more questions
The Sgt walks into the second room on the right. A Priest sits there – wailing and rending his cloth.
Calm down please. I need to ask you some questions.
They all died. They all died. I need to repent but I’m a priest not a Paladin.
How did they die?
I don’t know. I thought it was all under control. I was using all my heals
Did you put power word: shield on the tank?
No…no…he’s a warrior. I didn’t want to stop him building rage. I’ve read all about it.
The Sgt sighs.
You need to update your reading then. That hasn’t been the case for a couple of patches now. Haven’t you heard what Ghostcrawler said. He said “If a group is getting on to you for using PW:Shield as a Discipline priest (or jeez even a Holy priest), you have my permission to say “GC says you’re doing it wrong.”“
The Priest looks like he is going to argue, but then stops short. He begins to wail again.
I thought I was playing my class well
Your type always does. That’s why they give you Penance. You’re going to need to do a lot of it. You practically sentenced that group to their deaths.
The Sgt walks out of room. The inspector is waiting for him
So what do you think Sgt? Was it the priest’s fault?
Not quite. There’s something else I can’t figure out. Some missing piece of the jigsaw. The priest should have used the shield but the mage gave the tank time and the affliction warlock’s not pulling anything with those bloody DOTS. No there’s something else.
The Sgt enters the final room at the end of the corridor. There is a hunter sitting behind the table, smiling vacantly. The Sgt turns on his heels and walks back out. Case closed.
(all good bits grudgingly acknowledged as belonging to Charles Dickens)
Sylvanus was undead to begin with. Sylvanus was as undead as a door nail infected by the plague of undeath - although the Scourge tend not to infect door nails since door nails can’t run very fast and are rubbish in a fight. Anyway this must be understood (the Sylvanus bit not the fact door nails can’t run- if you don’t know that you shouldn’t be anywhere near a computer) or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.
Bravetank had never painted out Sylvanus’s name from the guild house although her old guild leader was definitely undead. Sylvanus had been affectionately called Raggy Doll in real life and the guild kept the same name – in homage to her and the curious floppiness of her limbs when alive.
Oh Bravetank was a selfish old guild leader and a very bad tank. And Winterveil made not one ounce of difference.
One dark Winterveil night Bravetank sat in the guild house lazily skimming through the Elitest Jerks website.
“Merry Winterveil, Bravetank!” Her newest guildee Totallieemadeupperson (Tottie for short) came into the room.
“Bah!” said Bravetank, “Humbug!”
“Winterveil a humbug, Bravetank!” Tottie said. “You surely don’t mean that?”
“If I could work my will,” said Bravetank, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Winterveil ’ on his lips would be forcefed mana cookies and have a harvest pumpkin stuck up his….
“Whoa there Bravetank. Chill out. It’s only a game. Come for a dungeon run tomorrow.”
“Why cannot we be in a group?” cried Tottie. “I don’t understand. But Merry Winterveil anyway Bravetank, Merry Winterveil!”
“Good-bye!” said Bravetank.
As Tottie left he let another person in – an arms Warriors and therefore rather useless in Bravetank’s eyes. He bowed to Bravetank.
“Bravetank or Ms. Raggy Doll?” asked the Warrior.
“The Raggy Doll herself became undead seven years ago this very night,” said Bravetank.
“Shame that,” said the Warrior, “Always had a bit of a thing for her. But anyway a few of us are going to give some newbies some armour and weapons and maybe even an 8 slot bag. What would you like to give?”
“Nothing,” said Bravetank. “They can go to the auction house.”
“Many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Bravetank, “They had better do it, and decrease the godawful lag in Stormwind these days. Good afternoon, Warrior!”
The Warrior left and Bravetank went back to her computer.
The night drew in. Suddenly there was a weird and really irritating noise. Bravetank got up and looked out the door. A Singing Sunflower.
“La La La…”
Bravetank grabbed the weed spray she kept by the door for just this occasion. The Sunflower saw it coming and glided away in horror.
Then another guildee who had been sitting unseen in the corner….let’s call him Cob Bratchit shall we, stood up and put on his cloak. He had been aimlessly reading WoW Insider – but now it was time to go.
“You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose?” said Bravetank.
“It’s only once a year,” said Cob, “I’ll be back in guild chat the day after.”
“A poor excuse for picking a person’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December even from a rogue such as yourself,” said Bravetank. “Be here all the earlier the next day, there will be gossiping to be done.”
After Cob had gone Bravetank herself left the guildhouse and went home (since WoW does not have player housing she was basically squatting in a house in Goldshire and claiming it as her own).
The knocker on the door to the house was usually very ordinary. But tonight as Bravetank approached it seemed to change shape and look like old Sylvanus’s face with wide open eyes and snarling teeth. Bravetank looked closer. No she was wrong. It was her own face reflected in the shiny knocker. She really could do with a facial and rethinking the snarl she said to herself as she entered the house.
She made some soup and took it to eat by the fire. But as she sat down she heard a loud clanking noise, as if a heavy chain was being dragged on the floor.
Suddenly the living room door opened and in came Sylvanus dragging a chain made of lock boxes and obsolete dungeon keys behind her.
“Who are you?” said Bravetank.
“In WoW life I was your partner, Sylvanus the Raggy Doll.”
At this Sylvanus raised a bansheee cry, shook her chain and then wiggled her hips. Next thing she was in musical show dance mode and performing an impressive rendition of The Music Man. Bravetank watched patiently – even during the boring bits.
When Sylvanus had finished and taken five encores she asked Bravetank, “Now do you believe in me?”
“I do,” said Bravetank. “I must anyway. The undead are a playable race. I have one myself on another server. But why do you come to me? And why are you chained?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link. Took me bloody ages. Then I used it in the bedroom …. aaah the games me and my partner liked,” said Sylvanus with a little grin, “You could do with a chain like this I reckon… but anyway where were we? Yes you – you need to sort yourself out girl.
“Me. In what way?”
“Groups,” cried Sylvanus. “In my life groups should have been my business and they should be your’s now. Even PuGs if you have to. You need to get in there and tank. And I am here tonight to warn you that you will be haunted by three spirits.”
“No thanks,” said Bravetank firmly, “I’d rather not.”
“Expect the first tonight,” said Sylvanus, “when the bell tolls one. Then expect the second at two. And so on and so forth. It’ll all be over by four o’clock … unless the greedy sods try and push for some overtime.”
After she had said these words she disappeared and Bravetank found herself tucked up in bed about to fall asleep.
But then she heard the chimes. It was one o’clock already.
Light flashed and the curtains of her bed (she liked a good four poster) parted. Bravetank found herself face to face with a strange figure—small, green, wearing goggles. In other words a bloody goblin.
“Are you the spirit whose coming was foretold?” asked Bravetank
The voice was squawky and rough. “Time is money friend. I am the Ghost of Christmas past.”
“Long past?” asked Bravetank, rather pedantically.
“No. Your past.”
“My past, or my player Michelle’s past?”
“Your f%$&king past, now shut up and come with me.”
The goblin clasped her by the arm and together they passed through the wall. They were on the road to Duskwood.
“Goodness,” said Bravetank. “I started out in this place!” She wiped away a little tear (thinking of old Mor’Laidim – she’d had a crush on him even though he had brutally killed her one hundred times).
“You remember the way?” asked the Spirit.
“Remember it!” cried Bravetank. “It’s a straight bloody road. How twp do you think I am (“twp” is a Welsh word meaning stupid or dull – this is an educational read too).
They walked along the road. Bravetank saw Stitches in the distance, embroidering. Commander Althea walked by. Everything was rather merry.
“These are but shadows of the things that have been,” said the Spirit. “They do not see us. But come. The townhall is not quite deserted. A lonely tank, neglected by her guildees, is there still.”
They approached the town hall and entered. In the back was Bravetank, alone, practicing her blocking moves with a brick. It was sad as hell.
“I wish …” Bravetank muttered.
“What do you wish?” asked the Spirit.
“Nothing,” said Bravetank. “It’s just … there was a Sunflower singing at the door earlier. I should have given it something that’s all.”
“Don’t encourage them,” the Spirit rebuked, “Annoying little shits. Worse thing Blizzard ever introduced. They give me the creeps!”
Suddenly the door opened and a little mage came blinking in.
“I have come to take you to the Stockades dear Bravetank!” said the mage. “We’re to be together all Winterveil long and collect lots and lots of loot from old Hogger.”
“Your mage friend,” said the Spirit. “Always a delicate little creature. They all are. Clothies. But she had a large heart …no not heart…fireball I mean. I always get those two mixed up!”
“So she did,” said Bravetank.
“She brought another guildee into The Raggy Dolls,” said the Spirit, “Tottie I think, you saw him earlier (scroll back up dear reader if you’ve forgotten who the hell Tottie is – can’t blame you – this is a much longer story than I realised. Bloody Muppets made it seem much shorter.)
“Yes,” said Bravetank, looking rather sad.
The Spirit clapped his hands together. All at once they were in Westfall, in Moonbrook
“Do you know where we are?” asked the Spirit.
“Know it!” said Bravetank. “It’s the Deadmines. I got my first blue belt here.”
Suddenly a tall warlock with his pet imp out walked by. Bravetank cried out in excitement.
“Why it’s old Wiggifuz the Warlock, alive again!”
Bravetank’s old guild leader Wizzifug was cleverly summoning a group, including Bravetank’s former self. Once all were present Wizzifug called out in a warlocky voice,
“No more questing tonight guys. It’s Winterveil Eve. Let’s go in the Deadmines.”
“Yay!” exclaimed the mage, healer and hunter (no group is ever perfect). Bravetank’s old self equipped her shield and the five entered the dungeon.
The run was like a dance – so well prepared and expert were they. And all level 40s. Pointless run really. They only did it to look cool and because they kept getting their asses kicked in Scarlet Monastery Cathedral.
But old Bravetank looking on enjoyed it. She even tried to join in a bit on the ship at the end and made herself look rather the foolish. The Spirit pretended not to notice. When it was over Bravetank clapped.
“Isn’t Wiggifuz wonderful?”
“A small matter,” said the Spirit, “to help this group kill Cookie.”
“Small,” said Bravetank. “It isn’t that. He had the power to make our run a pleasure or a toil. He could have brought the annoying succubus out but he didn’t. The happiness he gave us by reminding me to stop for the healer’s mana breaks and to make the hunter put his away his bear was amazing. You don’t see it these days.”
“What is the matter?” asked the Spirit.
“Nothing,” muttered Bravetank.
“Something, I think,” said the Spirit.
“No,” said Bravetank, “It’s just – I wish I had the Raggy Doll guildees here right now.
“Come with me,” said the Spirit, “I have one more thing to show you before I go.”
There was another clap and a blur and Bravetank saw her younger self again, not alone but this time sat by a strong handsome wonderful (yes he’s reading) Paladin healer, aka pocket healer, aka Michelle’s hubby healer.
“It matters little to you,” said healer hubby angrily (what’s new?). “Another healer has taken my place. It is your love of Druid healing. But Holy Light is better. And yes sometimes I know I forget to Beacon you. And yes I know I sometimes cleanse you instead of healing you. But what do you want …perfection. Five deaths a run is not that bad. Anyway good-bye. May you be happy in the group life you have chosen!”
“Spirit!” cried Bravetank, “Show me no more! I cannot bear it!”
The Spirit disappeared. Bravetank found herself back in her own bedroom. Exhausted she sank into a heavy sleep… for all of one minute. Again the bloody bell tolled. This time twice.
Bravetank sat up. There was a noise in the next room. She got up and walked to the door, opened it and looked inside.
It was - weirdly enough- Ironforge - and there was great Greatfather Winterveil surrounded with presents.
“Come in and know me better man…I mean woman …a woman Tank…what’s the world coming to? Anyway I am the Ghost of Christmas present,” said the Spirit. “You have never seen the like of me before!”
“Well every year in Ironforge I do,” said Bravetank, “If I can be bothered to go there. Don’t usually. Sick of finding Metzen.”
“Touch my robe!” said the Spirit.
“I’m not falling for that again…there was this warrior once in an inn …I’d had a bit to drink, “ said Bravetank, “And…”
Impatiently the Spirit grabbed Bravetank’s hand and thrust it on his … shoulder (keep it clean, keep it clean). Suddenly they stood outside – it was Winterveil morning.
The spirit led Bravetank straight to his guildee’s house. Inside was Mrs. Bratchit.
“Where is Cob?” said Mrs Bratchit to the other guildees. “And poor Dwarven Darren.”
At this the door opened and in came Cob with Dwarven Darren upon his shoulders – drunk … again. He held a little crutch in his hand. “Look what I nicked,” he exclaimed, happily, “That little fella, short arsed Tim or something, never saw me coming.”
“I won’t bother asking how Dwarven Darren behaved then,” said Mrs Bratchit ruefully.
“Well he had his moments,” said Cob. “He told me that he hoped the people in Stormwind Cathedral saw him because he was a bit tipsy, and it might be good for them to remember he who turned water into wine on this night of all nights.”
“That’s the fella.”
At last the food was set out and Cob proposed a toast “A Merry Winrterveil to us all. God bless us!”
“God bless us every one!” added Dwarven Darren, “But in particular Alchemist Andy. I love him.” He then slumped unconscious over the table with his head in his plate.
“Spirit,” said Bravetank, “tell me if Dwarven Darren will live through the hangover I can see coming?”
“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Spirit, “and in the corner, a crutch without an owner and Dwarven Darren on his knees in the alley behind the house. If these shadows remain unaltered by the future he will be sick. Definitely.”
“No, no,” said Bravetank. “Oh, no, kind spirit, say he will be spared. The vomit reflex is so unpleasant. And sometimes it goes in your hair.”
“If these shadows remain unaltered he will be sick. Deffo.” said the Spirit. “What then? If he is sick he is at home and surely that is better – it will decrease the surplus population and godawful lag in Stormwind.”
Bravetank hung her head in shame.
Suddenly she heard her own name.
“Bravetank!” toasted Cob, “I’ll give you Bravetank, the founder of our guild!”
“The founder of the guild indeed!” cried Mrs Bratchit angrily.
“My dear,” said Cob, “It’s Winterveil after all.”
“I’ll drink her health for your sake then and the other guildees,” said Mrs Bratchit, “but not for her. So … a long life to her! May her spirit healer runs be infrequent.”
The scene faded. Suddenly Bravetank was in Tottie’s house with the Spirit standing by her side.
“Ha, ha!” laughed Tottie. “Bravetank said that Winterveil was a humbug”
“More shame for her, Tottie!” said his friend, Nonnie (short for No Name- I’m getting tired now).
“She’s a good old girl,” said Tottie, “But some deep rooted issues. I mean… have you read her book….! But she is our guild leader. Anywhoo let’s stop talking about her and start reading up on some raid tactics…one day…one day…she’ll come round to our way of thinking.”
Bravetank and the Spirit left Tottie’s house. Bravetank noticed that the Spirit was growing older.
“Is your life so short?” asked Bravetank.
“My life upon Azeroth is very brief, but annual. So can’t complain,” replied the Spirit.
At that the bell struck three. Greatfather Winterveil disappeared and was replaced with another Spirit – one with no head. It was only the bloody Headless Horseman! Out and about even though it wasn’t Hallow’s End. Incredible.
The Headless Horseman approached Bravetank and stood silently before her.
“Am I in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas yet to come?” asked Bravetank. “Is that so? I fear you more than any Spirit I have seen.Will you not speak to me?”
It gave her no reply but pointed at the gap where the head should have been and shrugged.
Together they walked off and found themselves in the centre of Stormwind. The spirit stopped beside a group of nightelves and pointed. Bravetank went closer to listen.
“No,” said one night elf, “I only know she’s dead and refusing to resurrect.”
“When did she die?” asked another.
“Last night, I think.”
“What has she done with her bank slots?”
“I haven’t heard,” said the original night elf. “But I do know she was too tight to buy many anyway. Used to really irritate her healer hubby.”
Bravetank knew the night elves…or their sort anyway …level one players who liked to dance naked on mailboxes. She looked towards the Spirit for an explanation of their words.
Nothing. Still no head.
The Spirit then took her to Cob’s house. Most of them (except Cob and Dwarven Darren) were seated around the fire, inscribing.
Mrs Bratchit suddenly set her ink down on table, and put her hand up to her face, leaving a black smudge which was rather humourous it must be said. “It is past Cob’s coming home time,” she said mournfully.
One of the guildees replied, “I think he has walked a little slower than he used to these past few evenings.”
Mrs Bratchit sighed. “He used to walk with Dwarven Darren upon his shoulders, very fast indeed – considering how much Dwarven Darren liked his food.”
There was a noise outside. “Ahh there Cob is,” she said.
She hurried out to meet him. Cob was crying. He couldn’t help it.
She brought him inside and they sat by the the fire. Cob told them of the kindness of all the people he had run into when walking home. Then, weeping, he said, “I am so sorry about it all. Gutted I am. I am sure none of us will forget poor Dwarven Darren.”
“Never!” they cried.
But suddenly the door opened and in strode Darren.
“What do you want?” said Cob.
“Am I not welcome on Winterveil because I’ve decided to become teetotal?” asked Darren shocked.
“It’s boring Darren,” said Cob, “We all liked you drunk, I liked you sitting on my shoulders.”
“It was a bit kinky if you ask me,” said Darren
“Get out,” cried Cob. “We don’t want your spring water drinking sort in here.”
Darren left. Sad. Sober. But still a dwarf at least.
The Spirit then led Bravetank to a graveyard. He pointed towards the hovering Spirit Healer. Then in Bravetank’s head was a flash and she saw an image of her own body lying lifeless in Blackrock Depths. She was clearly refusing to retrieve her corpse and stubbornly waiting for a healer to run back.
“Answer me one question,” said Bravetank to the Spirit. “Are these the shadows of the things that will definitely be, or are they shadows of things that might only be?”
The Spirit pointed once again to his absent head and stamped his foot as if to say, “When will you get the bloody message. I cannot talk. Don’t know how I do it at Hallow’s End but really once beheaded you stop being able to talk. Read up about it in any bloody anatomy book." (All conveyed with a stamp by the way- could have been a mime artist in a different life.)
“Spirit,” cried Bravetank, clutching her Raggy Dolls tabard, “Hear me … I am not the tank I was. I promise I will honour Winterveil. I will resurrect and run back to my body. I will help heal fellow group members after a wipe even though I’m the tank not healer. And I will remember the healer needs time for mana and all the group need time to loot. I will live in the past, the present, and the future – yes I will go to Caverns of Time.”
At this the Spirit disappeared. Everything swirled and Bravetank found herself at home, in her bed.
“Oh Sylvanus,” she cried to the empty room happily. “Thank you for this night. It has transformed me.” At this Sylvanus entered from the kitchen. Apron on. “Oh good you’re back. Happier now? Going to introduce the old chains in the bedroom eh? Good. I knew that would do the trick. Now how do you like your eggs?”
“I don’t know what to do!” cried Bravetank. “I am as light as a feather… oooh feathers… I have a few I need to sell in the auction house. I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. Oh drunken – I must find Dwarven Darren and pour a pint down his neck. Hair of the dog is what he needs!”
She left her house in a hurry.
“What’s today!” she cried to a newbie Level 5 she saw outside who seemed to be trying to kiss a Winterveil reveller.
“Today?” replied the Level 5. “I think it’s Winterveil Day.”
“Good,” said Bravetank. “I haven’t missed it. The spirits have done it all in one night. Ok my fine fellow…”
“I’m female actually but I’ve made my character male,” said the Level 5.
“Ooookay. Anyway do you know the inn behind you?” Bravetank asked.
“I should hope so – just made it my home so I did now,” replied the Level 5, who suddenly seemed to think he was Irish.
“An intelligent newbie!” said Bravetank. “Remarkable! Go back in there for me and buy me some ale.
“Do it yourself you lazy git,” said the Level 5, “What do you think I am. Your bloody peon? I have five level 85s you know. Look at me. I’m in heirlooms.”
“Oh!” said Bravetank, who didn’t even know any 85s. “Ok I’ll do it myself.”
So in she went and bought the ale. She then walked down the street to the guildhouse, saying Merry Winterveil to all she passed. None of the NPCs responded. The game lacks plausible interaction sometimes.
She had not gone far when she came across the Warrior who’d asked her for spare weapons and armour the day before. She quickly went up to him and handed over her shield.
“Lord bless me Bravetank! Are you serious?”
“It’s my pleasure. Crap stats on that and it needs repairing. But still it’s free and oddly enough not soul bound. So don’t complain.”
She carried on down the street to the guildhouse.
“Tottie!” said Bravetank as she entered. “Why bless my soul!” cried Tottie, “Who’s that?”
“It is I. Your guild leader Bravetank. I have come to talk about raids. A raiding guild we will be!”
“Yes,” said Tottie, emoting a clenched fist in the air. “Finally. I knew you’d see sense.”
“But I can’t stay right now. I have to find Dwarven Darren,” said Bravetank.
“Oh I saw him earlier, wretching in an alley, swearing to give up the booze for life.”
“No that can’t be,” said Bravetank, “Who will Cob carry on his shoulders? I’m not going up there. He likes it too much in my opinion.”
So off she ran and found the alley where Dwarven Darren was on his knees wretching, body trembling, muttering, “Never again. Never again.”
“Take this Darren,” said Bravetank merrily, “Hair of the dog. Nothing like it.”
Before Darren could say a word she poured the ale down his throat.
Suddenly Cob appeared.
“Thank god there you are Darren. Climb up. My shoulders await.”
“Yesh I willsh,” slurred Darren happily, and on he climbed.
“A Merry Winterveil all,” cried Bravetank. “We have a future of guild runs, raids and loot wars to look forward to now for many a year to come. Then the guild will bitterly argue one day, split, reform, bitch about each other forever, and then reminisce in years to come about how good it all was. It will be wondrous!”
And Bravetank was better than her word. She did it all, and infinitely more. And to Dwarven Darren, who did NOT become a teetotal, and the rest she became as good a friend, as good a guild leader, and as good a tank as the old city of Stormwind ever knew.
And it was always said of her she knew how to keep good tempered in a run no matter how bad the dps. May that be said of us all. And so, as Dwarven Darren observed, “God bless us, every one, but particularly Alchemist Andy!”
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