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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.

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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).

I spent a good bit of time this weekend reading World of Warcraft lore and also visiting the blogs and websites of other role-players to see what their characters were all about.

Many of these characters had some lofty goals and aspirations, in most cases based solely on an incident that occurred to the character in some time past. One common “purpose in life” that I run across is: vengeance against the Scourge in general or Arthas in particular. The character’s life was destroyed by the Scourge, and likely a large or meaningful part of their family was destroyed as well. This gives them the drive to press on until one day Arthas is destroyed.

I have run across other characters who want to live out some general purpose – perhaps serving the Dark Lady or Tyrande Whisperwind without question because in some way their character owes Sylvanas or the night elf high priestess their lives. Still more characters are crusaders of some kind, perhaps keeping their homelands free of demon taint or wandering elementals.

Elsinne, my character, doesn’t have a purpose at all. I don’t know if that’s good or bad in terms of role-play. As I have indicated in days past, she is an admirer of Sylvanas Windrunner but she does not share her goals and ideals. Elsinne is from Quel’thalas but she has no deep loyalty to Silvermoon. She wishes that she could have left it under better circumstances, but she is glad that she left. She is a member of the Horde mostly in name only. The Scourge invasion has left her largely emotionless when it comes to anything political. She sees little point in drawn lines and boundaries. They seem to create more problems than they solve. Elsinne isn’t interested in being ruled by anybody.

This is why she gets along so well with the tauren in Thunder Bluff and can usually be found among them. They just want to survive, not scheme and conquest. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she stays out of trouble. She often leaves Mulgore for months at a time, adventuring and making her way the best way she can. On occasion she has been known to get involved in local problems, whether it be for coin or genuine interest.

The bottom line here, I guess, is that Elsinne isn’t “epic” and she’s okay with that. She’s never been on any adventures thus far with any major players. In fact, she’s only ever met less than a handful of people who could have been said to have any real influence at all. Elsinne doesn’t want to change the world, though she does recognize that there is plenty wrong with it.

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