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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).

Last night I learned a very important lesson.

Polly is a meanie.

Polly is a meanie.

The Barrens + being sleepy + not bothering to read quest text = painful and embarrassing death.

I completed Ghostlands and recently visited Sylvanas Windrunner and Thrall to secure the Blood Elves’ place in the Horde. I was a bit proud of myself. I made my way out to Tarren Mill to see if they needed help. Apparently they do, but most of the quests available there are level 22 and up. Being only level 21, it seemed like a good idea to see what was available in Kalimdor and gain a level or two.  

I don’t like the Barrens. Let’s just get that out of the way. It’s not just because of the infamous Barrenschat. I sincerely just don’t like the zone. Without a mount it’s pure torture and the quest lines just aren’t very compelling. And zebra unicorns just aren’t very interesting. Questing in the Barrens feels like work. So my goal is to get the level or two that I need and then get out.

After shamelessly and unquestioningly slitting a few raptor throats for some goblin I’d just met, I decided to undergo my third lockpicking quest in Ratchet. This is where things went downhill in a hurry.

The quest (Plundering the Plunderers) was to bring back a treasure from a pirate ship. Easy peasy, right? Knock off a couple of hopeless pirate wannabes, loot the treasure, and get out. Sadly, this would have been the case had I bothered to actually read the quest text.

I jumped into the pirate ship, which was completely empty, by the way. It seemed that the pirates weren’t especially interested in guarding their treasure. Down at the bottom level of the ship, the unguarded treasure chest glittered in the corner. A couple of seconds of lockpicking and … what? The chest is empty? And there is now a giant parrot named Polly blocking my exit?

Four hits later, I was dead, shredded by Polly. No wonder there were no pirates guarding the treasure. They simply weren’t needed. I would discover later that Polly was, in fact, level 50 and was toying with me. Though sleepy, I decided I’d better read the quest text this time.

I was too lazy to go all the way back to my corspe so I spirit rezzed. Oops. I didn’t get the anti-parrot item from the goblin robot thing. Okay, done. Well, I didn’t really need to wait until the death debuff ran out, did I? I can just give the parrot the treat. Yeah.

I opened the chest. Yay! Still empty!? Polly showed up again, more angry than the first time. I tossed the crackers it. Polly was reduced to level 18 but … I had to fight it … with rez sickness.

We both died together. It wasn’t pretty. So I ran back to my corpse and then looted Polly’s mangled but glittering bird body for the treasure! Carbonite would congratulate me: Quest complete! (As a side note, can I get a female voice for Carbonite?)

So what are today’s lessons, boys and girls?

Don’t play while half awake. You won’t read your quest text and bad things will happen. Very bad things.  Also, get over your rez sickness before getting involved with quests. Otherwise, even more bad things will take place.

Please continue to pray for me as I emotionally deal with the Barrens.

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