April 17, 2006

"Adventuring" in Vana'diel.

As a warlock I have the ability to open a gap in the void of madness that separates our world of Azeroth from the worlds of others. This practice would render most mortal beings incurably insane, their minds unable to comprehend the intricacies of alien worlds and their inhabitants, especially those which are (at first glance) so similar to our own. But I eat demons for breakfast and am made of hardier stock than most, plus I'm cursed with a natural gnomish curiosity, and so I take a peek into the goings-on of other realms from time to time.

Vana'diel is a world much like our own, with its silly factions and its humdrum wars. It's got humans and elves and goblins, although in different shapes and sizes than what we're used to.

And it's got adventurers. A veritable plague of adventurers.

If one were to sit down and classify all the different adventuring types in Azeroth into neat little piles, one would arrive at a count of nine, of which the humble ranks of warlocks are but one. Even nine is too many, some say, considering hunters are just warlocks with soft hearts (and softer heads), paladins are just priests in tin cans and druids are just indecisive hippies (mana, energy or rage, people, pick one and stick with it!). So I was shocked and abhored when I learned that the pitiful denizens of Vana'diel must cope with fifteen classes of adventurer, with the further complication of each individual being dual-classed.

I mean, being a warlock is a full-time job. I'm not saying I wouldn't like to do a little rogue action on the side, I'm just wondering who has the time.

Anyway, our nine classes in Azeroth get to bickering now and again about who has it sweet and who has it rough. After studying Vana'diel for a time, though, I'm here to tell you that none of us have it so bad. Even the lamest hunter or the biggest crybaby paladin can find work in Azeroth; even the weakest warrior or pansiest druid can make himself useful.

I offer as a public service this list of the fifteen Vana'diel classes, and why they are each of them inferior to our own.

01: Warrior - They wear furry underwear and hit things with swords. Warrior is the class of choice for adventurers who lack imagination and ambition. "Hmm, I want a career in killing monsters but I don't want to put any thought into it. Guess I'll just buy a hammer or a spear or whatever and get movin'!" I mean, it's the same way in Azeroth, but at least our warriors ramp up the killing as they get madder and madder.

02: Black Mage - Aww... they color-code their mages. Isn't that handy? In Azeroth these guys would just be regular mages. Except they can't make bread and water. Since a free meal is about the only thing a mage can do that a warlock can't, I think I'll pass on the "black" sort. (Does that make me a racist?)

03: White Mage - We just call them "priests". They heal you. And then they heal you. And then they heal you again. Man, I'm so sick of priests. Anyway, unlike a real priest a white mage can't even hold her own in a fight, so unless she's got a strong friend or five handy, she might as well just jump off a roof somewhere and be done with it.

04: Red Mage - They wear funny hats and can use all sorts of different kinds of magic. In addition they also can use weaponry stronger than "butter knife". Imagine if you could be a mage and a priest at the same time, and carry something better than a boxcutter to boot? Oh, right, you'd be called a shaman. My bad.

05: Thief - We call them "rogues"; hey, at least they're honest about it. Now I honestly can't complain about rogues, what with all the backstabbery and all, but I don't think I'd want to run around being called a thief. It's an image thing... "warlock" after all is just a euphamism for "murderous demon-summoner". I think these guys are in sore need of a good PR team.

06: Monk - So let me get this straight. You cats run into battle, next to naked, armed with nothing but your fists and a passion for violence? There's a reason there are no "monks" in Azeroth -- they get murdered by murlocs before they have a chance to leave Elwynn Forest.

07: Bard - How many times have you been standing at the maw of some dungeon or another, or sitting on the brink of a battleground, putting together a strategy with your teammates, and thought, "Man, I really wish I had someone who would follow me around singing ballads and plucking a harp!" Hmm? Never? No, me neither.

08: Paladin - Just like in Azeroth, they can't decide whether they want to heal or fight. Pick a sword or a spellbook guys, leave the other at home. I didn't think it was possible, but the Vana'diel variety are even bigger crybabies than what we're used to.

09: Dark Knight - Supposedly the opposite of the paladin. Problem is, they're all emo crybabies too, so who can tell the difference?

10: Samurai - Warriors with funny-looking swords and funnier-looking hats.

11: Ninja - Thieves that don't suck. We call these guys "rogues" too, but we usually curse their names or spit soon after doing so.

12: Beastmaster - Vana'diel actually managed to take the already useless "hunter" class and split it in half. This is the half that gets followed around by critters. I guess if standing perfectly still watching your fiddler crab or whatever get mauled by monsters is your thing, you just can't go wrong with this class.

13: Ranger - The other half of beastmaster, which means they can track things and shoot cute little arrows. Let me tell you something, if handling a bow is your best attribute as an "adventurer"... dude, you need to get a clue. A warrior with a huge axe at least looks menacing. At least there are no night elves in Vana'diel.

14: Dragoon - With their adorable dragon mascots and their fantastic jumping abilities, they're qualified to play on their respective faction's basketball team but not much else. Pass.

15: Summoner - The absolute closest thing that poor world has to a warlock. Depressing. Fun fact, summoners: in Azeroth we take mana from our demons, not the other way around. Oh wait, you call them "elementals". How cute.

As you can see, our only course of action is to get the Horde and Alliance to call off their silly war, and raid Vana'diel in full force. I guarantee that if this is the best they can offer, nobody will put up a fight. Who's with me?

April 15, 2006

Going out with a bang.

You'll have to excuse me when I giggle with unbridled delight at scenes like this one.

Basically what's happening in that video (besides some seriously kickin' tunes and an epic melee the size of Blackrock Mountain) is you have a large Horde guild mourning the recent loss of a good friend, when suddenly a large Alliance guild comes along and rocks their faces totally off.

Not that there's anything wrong with mourning a loved one. I personally am not chained by the emotional baggage that comes with illogical attachments to people, but I understand that many lesser mortals don't possess the dark iron will of a warlock. I might even show up and mourn myself, if it was a person I particularly respected... or feared.

What strikes me as funny to begin with is that it's the Horde doing the mourning. I, like every other brainwashed budding Alliance lackey, was raised with the firm belief that orcs and trolls and tauren were barbarians incapable of honor or respect. Of course that's a bunch of hogwash (isn't there a "Valley of Honor" in Orgrimmar, for crying out loud?), but that still doesn't explain the many undead in the funeral procession. Leave aside for the second that the forsaken as a race only pay lip service to the Horde -- why do they revere death with anything but a withdrawn smugness? One of the forsaken mourning (or celebrating, whatever) someone's death is kind of like a night elf listening excitedly to a dwarf's description of his vacation to Darnassus. The phrase "been there, done that" comes to mind.

And let me point out, that infernal you see running around is targetting Allies. That means that not only was there a warlock in that funeral procession to begin with, but she cared enough about the departed to summon an infernal to put a stop to the desecration. For shame.

Equally surprising is the fact that it's the Allies that are doing all the slaughtering. The same Alliance propoganda that teaches us that the Horde are evil teaches us that the Alliance is righteous, honorable and good. So... it's dishonorable to sneak into Grom'gol and slit the bread merchant's throat, but not to crash into a funeral procession and lay waste to the festivities? Does anyone else seriously not find that as amusing as I do?

Above all else, why on earth is the funeral being held in Winterspring, of all places? I mean, at least do the thing in Mulgore, where you won't shiver your knickers off, and there's no chance of a small army of Allies dropping some carnage on you.

For good or ill, the departed (with whom I was not acquainted) will be etched in the memories of all those present, Alliance or Horde, for probably as long as this stupid war lasts. What a send-off. The rest of us can only dream of such a wonderfully ironic and memorable eulogy.

Well, the rest of you anyway. I have other plans for myself...

April 7, 2006

Warlocks unite!

So have any of you cats been to Moonglade? It's this silvery, sparkly forest in northern Kalimdor where a whole gaggle of druids have gotten together to form a little society away from both Alliance and Horde concerns. You've got night elves and tauren living happily side by side, united in their unending quest to burn insence and wear tie-dye.

For some reason, druids alone get a free pass from the faction war the rest of us are tirelessly embroiled in. And the odd druid who doesn't want to be a tree-hugging hippy? I'm not really sure if such a creature exists, but theoretically they would be welcomed with open arms anywhere inside their faction, just as the rest of night elves and tauren are, no questions asked.

This, my friends, is intolerable.

Basically what I'm getting at here is that warlocks, not druids, are in dire need of a place like Moonglade. I mean, hell, we're already ostracized from polite Alliance life as it is. I can't walk down the streets of Stormwind without getting haughty looks from self-righteous paladins, or without mothers clasping their children closer to them. Not that I have any inclination to walk down the grimy, awful streets of Stormwind to begin with, just that it would be nice to have the option to do so without all the social stigma attached. I hear warlocks of the human and orc persuasions have it just as bad. Undead warlocks are pretty generally accepted within the Horde, so I've heard... but only inasmuch as undead are accepted at all. I guess it's hard to carry a conversation with someone who smells like an unwashed trogg's dirty laundry.

There are already precious few of us warlocks to begin with, so demanding is our path and so powerful our wills. That I'm automatically cut off from chilling with more than half of my bretheren thanks to some artificially mandated "war" between Horde and Alliance is insufferable.

I mean, what kind of "war" is based around capturing flags? Honestly.

So here's what I propose: warlocks should band together and take over Moonglade. Kick the hippies out, they already have it made. Everyone loves the happy-go-lucky back-to-nature pot-smoking druid. No love for the demon-summoning dark-force-controlling speaking-in-tongues warlock. We're the ones who need a place away from the war. That we'll be communing with dark, evil spirits rather than the "voices of nature" is irrelevant.

First of all, no flight path. Right now the druids allow other people into Moonglade, as long as they make friends with the Timbermaw faction of Felwood first. You know what? Screw you guys. We'll pay off those corrupt Timbermaw jerks and have a big ol' hippogryph feast at our grand opening. Then we'll hire a team of lazy, unambitious warlocks to work as full-time summoners. The only way into or out of Moonglade will be to be via Ritual of Summoning.

And while we're at it, we're changing the name from Moonglade to something more awesome. Just off the top of my head, I suggest Crystalis Glades. Yeah. That has a nice ring to it.

Just to make sure those sneaky, backstabbing druids don't try to fight their way back in, I'll have a secret cabal of talented warlocks whip up a spell to bind the souls of a few of those awesome Darnassus tree monsters. Oh man, just the thought of forcing one of those giant tree guys to squish a pansy druid between the roots of his toes makes my heart go all aflutter.

Best of all, though, it'll be a place for warlocks to finally go where they won't have to worry about people coming at them with torches and pitchforks. Be you human or gnome, orc or forsaken... at long as you bind the immortal souls of the damned to do your bidding, you're good to go in Crystalis Glades.

Hmm. Looks like I have my work cut out for me. First step, I guess, is to travel to Moonbrook via the ill-conceived public flight path, and scout the place out. Then I'll need a contact in the Horde to coordinate my efforts. I'm getting really excited about this. Maybe if we're really lucky all those druids will be so disheartened that they'll quit turning into cats and birds and whatever and get real jobs for a change.

April 3, 2006

Old Uncle Sideburns.

As a warlock I have virtually no use for family, extended or otherwise, and I do my level best to avoid such frivolous concerns where I can. However, as a gnome this task can sometimes prove impossible for even someone of my considerable skill. If there's one thing gnomes are good at (besides riding mechanical chickens and blowing themselves up) it's keeping track of every insignificant root, branch, leaf and petiolule in their family tree. It's a sure bet that any given gnome in Stormwind knows exactly how he's related to any other given gnome in Stormwind.

Thankfully, now that Gnomeregan is basically just a big tub of green goo it's become a little easier to dodge the endless waves of relatives that used to pester me -- mainly because they are most of them turned into green goo themselves. I recently received a letter, however, that may prove to be an interesting development. Observe...

Letter from Sideburns

Only time will tell if I will be able to turn my uncle's newfound wanderlust to my advantage. It's never been difficult to get Uncle Sideburns to do my bidding (I am his favorite, after all), but now that he can do a little magic he might actually prove useful for a change.

For the record, his shop in Ironforge used to sell novelty items such as ice cubes with fake silithid wings inside, dolls of ogres and orcs that made fart noises when you pulled their strings, and little bobble-headed troggs. Something tells me Azeroth is a richer place now that he's changed careers.