Why, thank you Blizzard

So Blizzard hath spoken, the Cataclysm rumours are true and the world we all know and love as Azeroth will errupt in flame and all will die in fire. Well, not really, but there’s definitely huge things coming, and I have no doubt much of it is already being hotly debated by people far more analytical and intelligent than I. I’m not going to try to copy-paste a list of everything said because, quite frankly, if you want to know then you probably have already read the umpteenth summaries already and know as much as I do if not more!

So, instead I’ll just ramble my head off about the thing that hit me square in the face, in the hopes that it might grant me some peace of mind to do so.

The one thing that stood out to me as early as when the rumors got started wasn’t the changes to the world, the way the narrative would progress or the new races or anything like that. No, it was two words mixed in a most holy union of rapture and joy: “Gnome Priest”. Unfortunately, that feeling quickly gave way to frustration as I started demanding – to no one in particular – to know why this had not happened when Wrath started and I actually could’ve used a guiding star to tell me what to play. It ultimately calmed down as I decided that I was already in a good place for characters and alts, and that while healing gnomes – something I’ll admit I’ve been wanting for quite some time – was a compelling choice, it wasn’t one I needed.

Or so I thought, until MMO-Champion produced photos of the Blizzcon event and I found myself looking at this particular image. In moments, my resolve fled the scene to hide in a dark hole, my mind struggled to find an accurate term to quantify the obcene amount of adorably cute this image held and my fate was, completely and utterly, sealed. Then the announcement that they’re adding paid race changes after they’ve completed paid faction changes and I am – utterly – doomed.

In parts I’m happy with it: I’ve been looking to get away from – in some degree or another – the immense vehicle that Priestess Nhani Moonfall can represent and helm a simpler, more naive and ultimately happier character. Seeing the changes that’ll be applied to the Night elves and their lands too, I’ve ended up with this feeling that Cataclysm may, in fact, be a very good time to be somewhere else. As silly as it may sound, carrying around an angry character can be a very heavy burden due to the feedback – I’d rather have one that’s cheerful or atleast centered most of the time. Old Moonfall won’t go away entirely, of course, though what form she’ll hold is far from certain; it’s quite awhile ’til Cataclysm yet, too, so there’s still plenty of space for things to change depending on information about and changes to quests, the world and class mechanics. If the changes aren’t dramatic enough, though, you’ll likely find me playing a gnome priestess in Cataclysm.

Now there’s the problem of actually waiting that long. I want my healing gnome now! Gnawrrgh!

One thing that really comes to mind considering Cataclysm is the fate of Beyond the Tree in terms of Story Arc Two and onwards – the narrative so far have been set rather early in time: The Deadmines haven’t been rooted out, Kazzak hasn’t reopened the Dark Portal, there’s yet been an invasion of Northrend, etcetera. Though some elements definitely are in uncertain canon (whether there are Draenei around, if Varian Wrynn has been returned yet or not and soforth) until I find I need to set them, by large it’s based on how the World of Warcraft was very early on, before we players started mucking about and killing things and bosses left and right.

So that sets me with a dilemma – whether I scour the locations I want to visit now – before Blizzard has time to change them – in order to dig up all the backdrops I need – or hopefully most of, atleast – so I can still portray the old world as it was before the powers that be accidentally dropped it and made it break, or I adjust and try to overhaul a great deal of things. The storyteller in me prefers to go with the former, as I already have a set narrative that I think will be interesting and compelling – on the other hand, it will mean that my portrayal of the world, and especially the Horde, will be very much different from what their current incarnation within the game will be at the time.

Now don’t get me wrong – there’s a great deal about Cataclysm I’m really looking forward to, beyond just Gnome Priests – there’s a great deal I’m curious about too, like quests, talents, other mechanics and etcetera. But there is a great deal that will force a significant amount of contemplation and decision-making – picking what to do and how – nevermind trying to picture and realize characters, old and new, that I’ll be playing within the game itself.

I imagine it’ll be interesting see where it all goes.


20 Responses to “Why, thank you Blizzard”

  1. 1 Epsilon
    August 23, 2009 at 20:52

    Well. I know Blizzard doesn’t realy “like” those, but I think their will always be unofficial Servers out there on which the old WoW may continue to exist. (Hey, you can even run your own with the right programs)
    Personaly I hope Blizzard will use this chance to launche an “Old School/Retro/Old World” Server.

  2. 2 Valrim of Earthen Ring
    August 23, 2009 at 21:39

    Gnome priests are really something you’d expect a long time ago, so it’s about time! One thing that bugs me, however, is Night Elf Mages. They despise arcane, if I’m not wrong. So that doesn’t really make any sense!

    I’m looking forward to focus for hunters, though! No more annoying mana! Yay!
    And I also had a question, are you still on Earthen Ring? Because if so, you’re really sneaky!

    • 3 Synchronizor
      August 23, 2009 at 22:20

      Blizzard is actually establishing lore to explain Night Elf mages. The story is that, following Deathwing’s bull-in-a-china-shop routine, the surving Highbourne who were previously isolated in Dire Maul return to the mainstream Night Elven society. These Highbourne are still practitioners of arcane magic, and will train other night elves in those arts.

      I’ll admit that, as a huge Night Elf fan and player, I was rather put off at first by this prospect, but I’m willing to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt, and trust that they will provide sufficent backstory and motivitation for this change.

      Oh, and I almost forgot;

      HOLY COW!

      (I just had to say it)

    • 4 Nhani
      August 23, 2009 at 22:55

      I’m very partial to night elven mages – I can see what they’re trying to do, and I’ll hold off making final judgement on how strong a plot point it is until I see how they portray their re-entry into the society at large, but as a friend of mine tends to put it – it feels just a tad of a stretch that Tyrande would accept them in so quickly.

      Nevermind the fact that it feels like they’re being accepted in on their own terms, rather than those of the night elves in general, which makes me further concerned where Blizzard might be heading with Night elves. Doubly so since I saw a quote somewhere that pretty much said the reason Night elves get mages in Cataclysm is because the powers that be decided it would be “cool” if a race that “shouldn’t” be using arcane picks it up again.

      Mind you, I can very well understand the use or even need to use Rule of Cool in design, but that doesn’t mean I always have to be happy about it. But we’ll see, little else we can do.

      And yes, I still make old Earthen Ring EU my home abode, though time has made me a little bit of a recluse. The sort of RP I prefer tends to be fairly scarce compared to all the doom, gloom, plots and schemes (not to mention all the cops and robbers) and I mostly only indulge in my own personal narrative, along with meeting a few familiar faces every so often. I’m hoping that once given a gnome priestess, I might actually dare to take a few peeks around Stormwind without fleeing the daily madness that takes place there.

      • 5 Synchronizor
        August 24, 2009 at 01:12

        I agree that it seems odd thet the Highbourne would be accepted back just like that, and doubly so that they would be allowed to continue being mages. (Though I doubt they would even return if they were forced to give up arcane magic)

        As for the timeline of their return, I understand that the first Highbourne seeking to return are revealed in a quest Blizzard is adding in patch 3.2.2, and then we won’t see playable mages until the next expansion hits, so the timeline dosn’t seem too rushed to me.

        I do know that my Night Elf character (as I’m RPing her) will NOT be happy about seeing mages training in Darnassus.

      • 6 Illidan
        August 24, 2009 at 11:31

        “Just like that?” What does that mean? We are talking about ten thousand years! My personal opinion is that it’s about time…

      • 7 Maiev
        August 24, 2009 at 12:13

        Ten thousand years is not long enough to mete out the Justice they deserve: their victims still live, the perpetrators are the same.

        Tyrande would be foolish to forgive such betrayers, yet she has done nothing but demonstrate her weakness in recent years!

      • 8 Nhani
        August 24, 2009 at 12:14

        That’s a pretty ironic statement seeing the name you’re posting under, heh.

        Let’s take Illidan then – ten thousand years of imprisonment, and where does that leave him? Not for a second does he consider himself being the one at fault – not for a moment does he acknowledge his own part in his fate. It’s all everyone else who denied him, who worked against him, who betrayed him, even as he betrayed all of his people and the entire world.

        And now here we have the highborne, their entire demeanour seemingly suggesting that they haven’t changed either – that the fault is not theirs, the responsibility is solely someone elses, that they should have no cause for humility as it’s everyone else that wronged them, not the other way around.

        It’s too soon – too simple – because nothing has changed. There’s no signs that they have learned, no hint whatsoever that they consider they might deserve the scorn they recieve, not even the slightest hint that they would not unleash the same arcane storm a second time if denied again.

        Time means nothing if it has no weight.

      • 9 Illidan
        August 24, 2009 at 18:33

        Well, I’ve always loved the Highborne because of the depth of their characters and I’ve always thought of them as slaves of Azshara rather then acolytes… So I guess I’m a little prejudiced in their favor.

      • 10 Nhani
        August 24, 2009 at 19:33

        In that I think we’ll simply have to agree to disagree; to me the Highborne are very blatantly childish – they’re self-centered, they blame everyone but themselves for all ill that happens to them and refuse to pick up their own garbage, so to speak. The one interesting element – save for how they’ve managed to survive this long – for me is the arcane addiction, and even then they don’t really resist it, just indulge in it.

        I can’t see them being slaves per se either – held on a leash likely, yes, but I imagine they wanted that power every bit as much as Azshara did, and where the rest of the Night elves found themselves trying to come to terms with the idea that their beloved and downright worshipped queen had unleashed an armada of demons upon them, the Highborne had it happen right before their eyes and even so it took them a long time to realize that maybe she was doing some pretty bad things.

        They have an interesting place in night elven society – through their use, interesting interaction can be achieved. But personally, I don’t find them in their own interesting – to me they don’t seem to have a struggle in their dual nature, just indulgence.

      • 11 Algorithmix
        August 25, 2009 at 16:24

        The thing, at least from my point of view, is that THE WORLD IS GOING TO BLOW UP!!!!

        Well, not entirely, but close enough. If we look at (rl) human history, events far less disastrous have been enough to motivate people to band together with those they would normally not want to be associated with. And no event for as long as humans have existed have, to my knowledge at least, come close to the scale of what will happen to Azeroth.

        As was suggested in the Cataclysm trailer, this will make the current political conflicts seem petty, when compared to a struggle for survival. Such a thing can force anyone to put their morals on hold for a while.

        Also, we dont know how the Highborne will be admitted back into Night Elf society. Maybe the rest of the Alliance are putting pressure on Tyrande: they dont see the problem. All other races in the Alliance already have mages within their ranks or within their cities. Maybe they are even willing to take the Highborne in, if need be. Furthermore, many of the Night Elves that are alive today may not have been so when the Highborne were the major players. These Night Elves have over the past years worked with, fought with, and interacted with mages from other races, with few ill effects. They may simply see the stories about the Highborne as an exaggeration.

        Tyrande herself, while not very happy with all of this, probably has much more pressing concerns than an argument she may already have lost. And she may feel that, when all is said an done, it is better to keep the Highborne close, where she can keep an eye on them, and restrict their activities if need be.

      • 12 Nhani
        August 25, 2009 at 20:27

        I’ll admit, that’s actually one of the things I find a little strange sometimes with Blizzard’s present pvp-centric narrative – they continuously keep painting up these scenarios where the Alliance and Horde have to work together for a common goal, and how they have to unite against one foe after the other.. and yet for every time that happens, the sides only grow more and more split?

        Now, I can see what they’re doing; they want to have an incentive for PvP, a cause for the two factions to go all out in a gigantic slugfest; but at the same time, they keep stacking up the reasons why they shouldn’t – and until Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream, it seemed largely up in air who even inspired these constant strikes back and forth.

        Of course.. I do realize that the problem is part that if the case of unity would actually start being successful, then that would be that – the game would essentially be over because the problem would be fixed. Still, I’m not sure if they can just keep winding it up more and more without offering some level of release.

  3. August 23, 2009 at 21:55

    Gnomes, finally self sufficient!

    I’ve also put together some info bytes about Cataclysm on Random Ravings.
    You probably saw those already though 😛

    • 14 Nhani
      August 23, 2009 at 22:39

      Oh yes, and between that, MMO-Champion and WoW.Com there’s defintely no shortage of summaries of what Blizzcon reported. Hence why I didn’t bother summarizing myself – there’s a whole lot of people far better at it than I working on doing that!

  4. 15 Skyll
    August 24, 2009 at 00:42

    My initial reaction to Cataclysm was rather negative.
    I’ve been playing a holy human paladin since spring of 2006,
    and I’ve more or less tried to keep a mind set of righteousness.

    Then Varian came along and that got screwed out to silliness.

    And ever since I started playing I’ve had times when I just couldn’t
    focus on actual development on my characters. So I took strolls.
    Especially through Kalimdor, and always past Desolace.

    And now. Cataclysm. Destroys. Desolace.
    Why can’t they leave such a pristine place of emptyness alone?
    The whole place screams with meditation!
    It’s possibly the highest point of Nirvana I’ve ever achieved in a game!

    And now they turn it into a flowering oasis..

    But, I shall not fail. I shall carry on!
    Perhaps I can still find solace in my home away from home.
    Flying over Shadowmoon Valley for hours like a shining light of hope,
    has never to date failed to satisfy me.
    I hope they wont decide to make the Black Temple into a kindergarden,
    or introduce new shades of pink and blue and grass and teddybears
    to the fire-ridden excuse for a landscape.

    Then I’d commit ritual suicide.

  5. 16 Seagale
    August 24, 2009 at 18:47

    Hey there, Nhani, it’s me again!

    One thing I can say is that I’m waiting for Cataclysm to shake things up for the elves.
    Should the Highbourne elves really make a return, there will be a lot of fuel for internal conflict between the night elves themselves.

    Seagale, too, bore a certain charge with her. Her life had changed from the moment of the Sundering to the present day (when I played her) and she harbored intense emotions regarding the Highbourne, high elves, and the other races who ultimately descend from the ancient night elves.
    She really did believe the world was better off without foul demonic magic of any sort (she never appreciated magi much either).

    With night elves taking up magic again, there should be a lot of unrest between those who remember what magic had done to them, their families and the world itself, and those who allowed it to happen. Besides, the druids and priestesses can’t steer the elven society where they wish anymore. There will be power struggle and polarization of the night elf world. There will be those who wish to heal the world of the damage the Cataclysm caused, and there will be those who wouldn’t care, or would get in the way.

    I think thwse elements, if used in a mature way, could create roleplaying of very high quality.

    What do you think?

    – Seagale

    • 17 Nhani
      August 24, 2009 at 19:18

      I’m definitely nowhere near as optimistic as you are – I’ve learnt from pretty much every other attempt at creating interesting dialogue in a night elven setting that very few people are even remotely interested in the idea unless it gives them real, significant power they can wield.

      This, coupled with what the highborne are like and the sort of people they’re likely to draw in seems to me very much like it’ll create more of a situation like warlocks early on in WoW – too many people being all “I can do whatever I want, ha-ha” and everyone else either can cheer at them or sit on their thumbs twiddling.

      Now, I agree that if used properly it could likely craft something interesting. However, I very much doubt it will be used anywhere near maturely or properly, and the few that might are likely to drown in the sea that will be all the other examples. It depends a great deal on how Blizzard finally ends up portraying the strained setting, of course, but I’m very much feeling that this might be a very good time not to be a night elf.

      • 18 Seagale
        August 24, 2009 at 19:23

        I think it will be what we make of it. Original WoW was.
        I have some ideas and I’ll need help to carry them out.

        If it sounds good to you, my MSN Messenger account is the same as the email address associated with this comment.


        – Seagale

  6. 19 venci
    August 24, 2009 at 23:47

    well for the night elf mage dilema.
    Thrall actualy accepted warlocks in the horde that is counted as foul arcane magic.
    so why not the night elfs even tho the use of the arcane magic will give them the craving for mana and mabby remake the high elfs |( …… and i wonder when did trolls ever used druidic magic and allyance getting werewolf’s well … that’s interesting
    that will make the first “dark” looking characters in there.

  7. 20 Cel
    August 25, 2009 at 13:29

    I share the joy of the gnome priest, gnomes are my favorite race and priest my favorite class! 😀

    I fled the rp servers a long time ago, before tbc hit, as I really didn’t gain much from trying to rp there, the huge amount of non-rpers threw me off. As of now I believe that rping with a group of friends and more or less ignoring the rest of the population is the easiest way to gain any meaningful rp and rping in an mmo is for me all about interacting with new people. 😦

    Convince one of your friends to make a background story and roll a NE mage and you can probably make the rp really interesting. Who knows, if you do it well enough some of the “I can do whatever I want, ha-ha!” people follow the example. 😉

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