[WoW] Smart storytelling in Patch 5.1 (minor spoilers)


The Horde army in 5.1 is known as the Dominance Offensive. But looking at these NPCs (dominance medic???) you have to wonder what else these blood elves are up to after dark…

Patch 5.1 hit WoW recently and with it some new Scenarios (3 man instances) and Dailies (which are rapidly becoming the theme of this expansion). But that isn’t the only thing that landed with the new content.

As you work through the dailies and build up reputation with your factions invasion army, every few days you will also unlock a new questline which tells part of an ongoing story. Last week I wrote about one off events, dividing them into event driven and time driven, depending on whether it was a player’s action that kicked off the event or if it had its own schedule.

These new ongoing questlines look to be a bit of both. They seem to depend on your faction reputation (which you can improve by doing quests), but the reputation is gated by dailies (so there is a time-based limit on how quickly you can faction up.)


There is an achievement for finishing this storyline, which also gives us an idea of how much is left to run. Each mini storyline corresponds to one line in this box.I do worry about there being one called ‘rise of the blood elves’, although purging Dalaran sounds like fun.

The interesting thing about the storyline so far is that all the new mini story questlines are … actually telling a pretty cool story. I am now really looking forwards to each next update. And I feel really engaged and keen to do these dailies now to unlock more story, even when they are in that freaking mine place.

You can also tell with clockwork precision when guildies have done various parts of the quest due to people making comments on guild chat such as “Oh shit, Garrosh is here!” (said in the same way you might say ‘Oh shit, the boss is back’ at work, if your boss was a raging psycho.)

Intriguingly, this has also sparked me into working out more backstory and personality quirks for my characters. Mrs Spinks I already knew quite well, she’s a chirpy cockney with no sense of fear and no moral compass beyond looking after ‘her boys.’ Think undead Mrs Kray with a big axe. Mrs Spinks has no issues with working for a raging psycho like Garrosh, and would normally be pretty sanguine about a warmongering warchief – if nothing else, it means good employment prospects for warriors. But since Garrosh managed to royally piss off the entire Undercity, no Forsaken is going to cry if he meets with an unfortunate farming accident.

Scutter (the goblin priest) simply lives on another planet, and is happily trying to preach the prosperity gospel to the Klaxxi in between raids, it’s hopeless and pointless but she doesn’t see it. She’s loyal in the ‘oo shiny!’ sense and completely fails to see the big picture. If she says or does anything smart and/or useful, it’s a coincidence. She likes kittens, explosions, and making inappropriate new friends.

So where is the plot going?

Yeah, this is the spoilery bit.

There is one section of the Horde plot where you get to go meet Thrall (you just knew he was going to be involved) and free a troll village from the Kork’ron elite guard who are oppressing it. If you pay attention, you will notice that some of these orcs are using warlock-like abilities. Mrs Spinks may not be the smartest warrior on the block but even she can recognise a Shadow Bolt to the face.

Orcs using warlock spells has always been associated with demonic corruption in the past.

So my prediction is that Garrosh’s new advisor, Malkorok, is going to turn out to be Mal’Ganis. Who will throw Garrosh to the wolves (and/or Sha) and somehow escape at the end of this expansion to be one of the main bosses in the next, which is already suspected to have a Burning Legion theme. Mal’Ganis is also probably one of the better villains in WoW who is still standing, so I’d be rather happy to see him again. We do have unfinished business, after all.

I’m quite curious as to the Alliance storyline also, now. Anyone want to share?

[WoW] Never underestimate the power of bloodthirst

So the NDA for press information about Pandaria has been dropped, and information about Warcraft’s next expansion is all over the internet.

I was especially intrigued that they’ve decided to inform the playerbase already about what the last fight of the next expansion is going to be. Horde and Alliance are going to siege Orgrimmar together and kill Garrosh. Won’t that be fun? It’ll be just like going to the Undercity in Wrath, but with different scenery.

One of the flaws of Cataclysm has been stated as players not really caring enough about killing Deathwing. He’s one of the Big Bad’s of the setting, but how much did most players really want him dead? Evidently not enough for many of them to stay subscribed. If I compare this with Wrath, the desire to put down the Lich King was genuinely one of the factors that kept my subscription going all expansion.

Now, about Garrosh. He’s been very inconsistently written all through Wrath and Cataclysm. In one zone, he’s a big damn hero (Stonetalon), in another he’s a windbag, and in another, he’s a romantic hero (Twilight Highlands) or a failure (same zone). Many players and characters see him as a dangerous warmonger. Who knows what Blizzard plan to do with him in Pandaria? (I’d guess ‘corruption’ since that happens to so many of WoW’s raid bosses in their backstory.)

But one thing is for sure, no horde player wants the Alliance to get involved in this. An internal coup is one thing, an entire expansion around a storyline in which the alliance are heroes who get to siege Orgrimmar and horde are losers …. that’s less appealing. This does sound like an ending in which the Alliance win.

I’m not sure I need to play to the end of Pandaria to see this one play out. I don’t like being on the losing faction all that much. But I do wonder if the expansion after Pandaria will see the Horde absorbed more into Alliance under Wrynn, with cross faction grouping included in the game.

[Pictures] Pre-Cataclysm elemental on elemental action!


I thought it might be fun to share a few screenshots of the pre-Cataclysm events, just for posterity. This is Ogrimmar being attacked by elementals. Tons of players have shown up to help kill the attackers, close the rifts and free prisoners trapped in elemental fire. Players also helped to barricade various parts of the city.

When I came in via the portal from Dalaran (enjoy it while it lasts) an Earthen Ring representative was standing around and gave me a device to free prisoners so I spent more time running around and doing that than actually killing stuff.

General and guild chat were alive with excitement.


A couple more pictures from the event. Thrall is now in Outland, talking to Aggra and Gavan Grayfeather. I’ll try to get more of the dialogue this week but it mostly consislantresorts of Aggra telling Thrall to take his clothes off (I kid you not) and both the other shamans implying that he needs to choose now between being warchief of the horde or being a shaman. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that we’re stuck with Garrosh for Cataclysm rather than my favoured candidate who is pictured to the left.

edited to add: They’ve typed out the Thrall/ Aggra/ Gavan dialogue here.

And my paladin, disguised (but not very well) as a twilight cultist is practicing the summoning ritual which she will later screw up on purpose –— well, apparently it’s on purpose but I also think she’s not very bright so who knows?


And here are some pictures of the elemental attacks throughout Azeroth and Outland. You’ll see that the native wildlife is helping to fight back the invaders too. I’ve shown ravagers fighting fire elementals in Hellfire Peninsula, native fire elementals fighting invading air elementals in Felwood, and the inhabitants of Garodar (including Garrosh) fighting earth elementals in Nagrand.