Yikes! It has been nearly two years since I updated this blog. That’s quite a long time – especially when talking about World of Warcraft.

I decided to return to the wonderful world of role-playing. I have missed it. And after being stuck in Northrend for two years, I am sure Elsinne would like to return to the warmer climates of Azeroth as well.

First off, I would like to note a surname change. Elsinne Starsong will from here forward be known as Elsinne Flaresong. That change is for a few reasons, but the chief reason is that Starsong is pretty much exclusively a kaldorei name. There was supposed to be some background as to why Elsinne’s name might have been Starsong, but it’s easier to just move forward. Flaresong it is.

I haven’t quite come up with a reason for her to have been hanging out in Northrend for two years, but I will think of something.

On a side note, I have run two non RP characters up to 85 and am participating in the Firelands dailies with one of them. I was fearful of them at first because of, well, you know … the Argent Tournament daily quests. I hated them something awful.

But these are short, friendly, and I feel like I am actually seeing some payoff in terms of story progression. I can’t wait until Elsinne catches up.

I’ve returned after being lost for a couple of months. Congratulations, you’ve found me!

In that time, some crazy things have taken place in the World of Warcraft. Most of you know what these crazy things are, so I don’t need to go into serious detail about the. I am excitedly looking forward to Cataclysm, and that’s about all that I can say at the moment.

Elsinne Starsong has also returned, after spending a couple of months spying on Twilight’s Hammer activities in Searing Gorge. When she returned to Orgrimmar with a report, sooner than expected, she was asked why she terminated her activities so soon. “Grilled lava spider meat gets old real fast,” was her reply.

Since then, I’ve whisked Elsinne off to places like Un’goro Crater and Azshara.

In fact, this was my first official and complete run of Azshara and, I must admit, lorewise I was more than a little disappointed. Here we have arguably the most historically significant zone in the entire world and there is nothing in the zone worthwhile or interesting to do!

Sure you get to hunt down some satyrs, slay some rogue blood elves, put to rest some Highborne spirits, and attempt to medicate some nauseated Tauren in Undercity. But outside of that, there isn’t anything else going on in Azshara.

I am certainly glad that Blizzard has decided to re-roll this zone for Cataclysm (as well as add Hyjal!).

Now that I am back, there will be more consistent updates and more on Elsinne’s adventures as she gradually makes her way toward Northrend.

I will also add that I am leveling a Draenei Shaman on the side (currently level 45) so the leveling may be a bit slower than normal.

My parents loved me. I could always tell. I never doubted it. But I would never make them truly happy. I would never be a mage. Some of the arcane masters in Silvermoon worked very hard with me, likely heavily encouraged by some coin from my parents. But it was never in me.

But my brother – he had it. The knack. The calling. Or whatever you want to call it. He had a great aptitude for it.

Alas, when the scourge came, it wasn’t enough. Nobody’s magic was enough. The scourge laughed at us when they marched through Silvermoon.

My father told me to go hide. He didn’t tell me where. It didn’t matter. I doubt there was anybody better than me when it came to getting lost.

My parents were killed that day, along with just about everyone else.

I found their bodies together, not too far from the Bazaar. I was relieved – relieved that they weren’t brought back as those sickening things. So many others had been. What abominations!

My brother … I never found his body. I looked for weeks.

There’s not much new in Azeroth lately, which is why I haven’t made a post lately.

My mother-in-law has been visiting with us for the past few days, which has put an enormous dent in my already minimal WoW time. Last night, I was able to log on for exactly fifteen minutes, which was just long enough for me to turn in two quests, ding 50, buy skills and more poison, and do a couple minutes of auction housing to get rid of my full bags.

My mother-in-law is old school. Not only does she not dig computers, she has never even owned one. Trying to explain the concept of World of Warcraft to her would be more difficult than having her sit down to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Strangely enough, my mother gets WoW. She doesn’t play it, but she does play video games. Excessively. And she’s sixty years old. She has owned every generation of the Nintendo DS, recently acquiring the new DSi. She loves games that contain puzzles and also games that offer achievements (like Animal Crossing). It is not uncommon for me to bring her grandkids over to visit and she’s sitting on the couch playing with the Nintendo DS. She also owns a Sony PSP. She also owns a copy of Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSP. I don’t know why. I feel weird even typing that.

I will be thirty-nine years old this fall. I have been playing video games since I got the Atari 2600 in 1979. I didn’t play the video games much back then, though. They were fun but they sucked just enough to not allow you to become fully engrossed in them, so you went outside instead. I think that if World of Warcraft or Everquest had been released in the late seventies, we would have ceased to function as a civilization long ago.

But I digress …

My mother didn’t care that I played video games, but she had no interest in them at all until I was married with two children and I had a third on the way. Her gateway drug was the Nintendo Gamecube. In 2001, I bought Animal Crossing. My oldest son would play it sometimes while visiting with his grandmother and she liked the look of it. She would soon after buy her own Gamecube, her own copy of Animal Crossing, and the $24 guide.

It was over after that. She’s been spending money on consoles and video games since. I am not lying when I tell you that she has a Nintendo DS game collection that would rival most. I don’t even know how many games she has for her PSP.

When I think of introducing her to World of Warcraft, I shudder. I can’t imagine my mother staying up until 3AM issuing ready checks before running into Ulduar. And, yes, she would be the raid leader without a doubt.

I don’t know how Blizzard will play out the events following the story as it is. But I am one of those people that secretly suspect that Sylvanas Windrunner had everything to do with the assault on the Wrathgate which, in turn, led to the deaths of Putress and, more importantly, Varimathras.

I think Sylvanas had/has it all planned out. While she was probably more than certain that Arthas would survive the assault, she would succeed in a real life test of her plague against the Scourge and against the living. But, more importantly, she would be rid of Varimathras, whom she has likely not trusted since day one. Likely she was aware of some conspiratorial activities by Varimathras and allowed these activities to continue.

Allowing the attack on Undercity would suit her purposes and would give her credibility when she went before Thrall to present herself as completely uninvolved with Putress and Varimathras.

I am of the opinion that her vengeance goes far beyond Arthas at this point. I believe that she sees her people, the Forsaken, as her own personal Scourge army which she can use for total domination once her forces are powerful enough. But since they aren’t, separating from the Horde at this point would be suicide.

I am also fairly sure that her deceptive ways aren’t ignored by Vol’jin, Thrall, Cairne, or even Lor’themar (though Lor’themar would be the least likely to call her on it due to the weakened blood elf dependence on the Horde at this time). Given the troll superstitions about the undead in general, I’d say that Vol’jin would be the most wary and watchful of Sylvanas’ doings. You could argue, I suppose, that Lor’themar – who has the longer history with her as her former second-in-command in Silvermoon – might see the greater threat due to knowledge of her diligence and desire.

Sylvanas’ complete lack of emotion and concern for the humans or other living beings that she captures as test experiments (which is more than evident in the Arthas: Rise of the Lich King novel) makes her almost as bad – if not worse – than Arthas. Whereas Arthas’ path started with at least a desire to make things better at the moment of his turning down the dark path, Sylvanas has been driven by black revenge from the very beginning. Nothing good can come from that. She’s definitely more evil-aligned than Illidan Stormrage ever was.

The problem I am having is that, if she turns out to be a little evil and thus a killable boss at some point, who would lead the Forsaken after she is gone? The blood elves replaced Kael’thas Sunstrider with Lor’themar Theron pretty easily, but I don’t know who Blizzard could pop down to the Undercity to take control of the Forsaken. Assuming that, even after Arthas’ or Sylvanas’ demise, the undead state could not be cured (for game mechanic reasons), they would still need a leader.

It's not easy being green.

It's not easy being green.

Some of the kind folk in Thunder Bluff asked me if I would accompany them on a supply run to Camp Mojache, Feralas. I tried to find an excuse not to go, but the tauren have a way about them that makes them seem needy. Not needy in a weak way, but in a way that makes you just want to hug them and tell them that it will all be okay. But it never really is, is it?

The centaur haven’t been harassing the transport caravans from Thunder Bluff lately, but you never can tell when one of those wretched centaur has managed to round up a few of his bloodthirsty friends. The tauren requested that I scout ahead for them.

The trip took a couple of weeks. The worst part was probably the lack of any good bathing spots. I am pretty sure we all smelled like jungle gorillas when we finally rolled into Camp Mojache. I was swimming naked in Wildwind Lake before I even bothered to greet anyone.

In spite of the fact that there is the constant threat of attack by gnolls or Grimtotem clan people, the jungle of Feralas is one of the most serene places I have ever been. This is mostly due to the military guidance of Rok Orhan. That is one orc woman to be reckoned with.

It has been warm but not excessively humid. On the occasions where there has been rainfall, it was cool and pleasant.

I have been here now for several days and I’ve been able to get some thinking done. That wasn’t the purpose of my visit (Cairne promised me a hundred gold for assisting) but it has been a welcome by product.

Last night, I completed Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden. It was a sad occasion because I was enjoying the book so very much. I won’t spoil the book for anyone because I really think that you should run out and get it (or download it on your iPhone), especially if you are into the game’s lore at all.

ArthasCover

The story chronicles Arthas’ life from the age of a young prince all the way up to his current status, the Lich King. Of course, the book doesn’t reveal any major events that we don’t already know about, either from playing Warcraft 3 or from reading the lore on the internet. What the book does do is give us a glimpse into what was going on in the mind of Arthas during all of this. It also allows us to see things unfold from, not just his perspective, but that of Lady Jaina Proudmoore and Sylvanas Windrunner.

I won’t go into more detail because I think you should read it yourself. Is it the best book for a person who knows nothing of Warcraft lore? I honestly cannot say. This is the first book I’ve read so far of Warcraft. But there are many otherwise major characters that are glossed over and who inexplicably appear and disappear – no mention is made about where they came from, why they’re there, and where they go after you never read of them again in the novel. For a current player with some knowledge of lore, this would not be a problem. But I can imagine that it would be a point of frustration and possibly confusion if you’re brand new into it and you have questions. There are a few times that this occurs, but one really frustrating one might be Illidan Stormrage. Out of the blue, he’s introduced into the story towards the end and then … well, his part is over.

Given that the book is about Arthas and not Illidan, it wouldn’t do to spend five chapters on a character that doesn’t have much to do with this particular storyline. So it makes sense that not much time was spent on him. At the same time, a person unfamiliar with the lore would have some gaps to fill.

I do intend to personally go back and start reading the previous Warcraft novels. I wouldn’t mind starting with any authored by Christie Golden. She is not a difficult read. I’d say that anyone over the age ten could enjoy this book. And by that I do not mean to be insulting. I mean to say that this is a very accessible book that even the youngest readers or fans of the game will enjoy.

From a role-playing perspective, this book really made me want to log onto WoW immediately and create a human paladin. Fortunately, I was able to resist! Golden’s vivid descriptions of paladins and their use of the Light were memorable and exciting to read, though they represented only a very small part of the book. There were also mage and death knight descriptions – path of frost was my favorite – but the Light was, well, delightful (I’m sorry).

If you’re doing any role-playing within the game and you need some ideas or inspiration behind your character and his or her motivations, you might be able to find some here – especially if your character is a human, blood elf, or forsaken.

My bottom line: Go buy this book. At the very least, borrow a copy from your local library if they have it available (mine didn’t).

The following is a portion of a scene from the movie Bladerunner:

Holden: You’re in a desert, walking along when –
Leon: What one?
Holden: What?
Leon: What desert?
Holden: Doesn’t matter what desert it is, it’s completely hypothetical.
Leon: Well, how come I’d be there?
Holden: Maybe you’re fed up. Maybe you just wanted to get away from it all. Anyway. You’re in a desert, walking along when you look down and you see a tortoise, Leon. It’s crawling toward you.

I was listening to Stardancer’s piece on the latest episode of Epic Dolls just last night, specifically the part about role-playing your character and having a reason to be in a particular zone other than the fact that the last quest brought you there.

In terms of role-playing, that’s absolutely necessary. Without it, your answer to the question of “What brings you here?” would always be something like:

“Well, I was on a journey to help with the defense of the land when some woman stopped me and asked me to help her get some meat for her pie.”

“Is she a relative of yours?”

“Well, no.”

“So you traveled weeks to get here to the coast in order to catch crabs to make pie for a woman you don’t even know?”

“Seems that way. Oh, but wait, also some guy lost his watch in a house about fifty miles from here. He said it’s surrounded by wolves.”

“A watch?”

“Well, it’s more of a family heirloom.”

“You’re going to risk being eaten by wolves to get a watch for some guy? Where does he live?”

“I’m not sure. I met him on the road.”

“You’re a strange person.”

So, if you’re a role-player, why would you have ended up in whatever zone you’re in? Would your character really have traveled to the other side of the world because he or she cared about some goblins who needed parts to make a racing car? Would your character really swim through murloc-infested waters just so two lovers can make out together in the woods?

Or is it more consistent with your character that he or she might be there because they’ve heard that the coast has the most beautiful beaches in all of Azeroth? Because you’ve heard that the dwarves in the mountains there make the most potent ale? Or is it because you committed a horrible crime in the last area you were in and there is a bounty on your head?

I have my own reasons for seeking vengeance. Arthas murdered my people and turned me into this...monstrosity.

I have my own reasons for seeking vengeance. Arthas murdered my people and turned me into this...monstrosity.

Eventually, we (and by we I mean you) are going to get our chance to take down Arthas. Selfishly, I wish it could be a 5-man instance because I will never have the time or desire to gear up through raiding for the purpose of participating in the 10 or 25-man that will feature Arthas’ demise. But, make no mistake; it’s coming.

And, as you know, there isn’t anybody in the Warcraft universe that wants Arthas more than Sylvanas Windrunner. Sure, there are millions who want him taken down – from beings like Kil’jaeden all the way down to some lowly peasants whose families either became Scourge or were killed by them. Sylvanas burns for revenge and I think it would be a bit of a slap in the face to her if she isn’t directly involved in his tortuous demise. Sylvanas would never give someone a quest to go snap Arthas’ neck. No, she would want to do that with her own cold hands.

The least Blizzard could do is allow for the raid party to get Arthas down to 1% and then, after somehow being delayed, Sylvanas strolls in and shoots an arrow right between the eyes. Or, more likely, she drags him off to Undercity where she can make him suffer before killing him.

What do you think? Will Blizzard shut Sylvanas out of the Arthas raid?

My need to possess you has consumed my soul.

My need to possess you has consumed my soul.

I made a post a few days ago about how Elsinne didn’t have a purpose in the world. She was a young elf wandering the world, enjoying her lonely freedom after the destruction of Silvermoon seven years ago. When I created her name, I thought it was completely original; I did not realize there were other Starsongs in the game. There are a few, but the most interesting one is Velinde Starsong, the night elf sentinel.

Elsinne was the only blood elf Starsong to survive the Scourge invasion, but clearly there are now some very distant night elf Starsongs. What does that mean for Elsinne? Well, this is how I imagine some recent events may have played out.

Elsinne visits Ratchet. Learning her name through a conversation, a goblin tells her that another Starsong was through there some years ago, a night elf, on her way to the Eastern Kingdoms. The night elf called Starsong was looking for someone. Arriving in Booty Bay some time later, Elsinne confirms with Baron Revilgaz, who never forgets a face, that indeed a night elf by the name of Starsong was there. Elsinne learns that Velinde Starsong was searching for assistance with the Scythe of Elune, a powerful artifact that could summon worgen.

Elsinne would not be at all interested in her night elf ancestry, but her hatred of the centaur of Kalimdor has given her an idea. What if she could find out more about what happened to Velinde? What if she could gain access to this scythe? What if she could control the worgen? The vile centaur could be removed from the face of this world forever.

And thus would begin her obsession.

Searching for Velinde, searching for the Scythe, searching for information. I am imagining that this could RP very well, given that there are libraries everywhere. There are many learned scholars all over Azeroth. I know that the quest chain ends with Velinde and the Scythe disappearing, but this gives much for Elsinne to learn and search for. And since this whole Scythe business continues on into Northrend in Grizzly Hills, this could be a long time sorting out!

September 2016
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