Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pearl of Pandaria Review!

Published by DC Comics!
DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS!!!!

So with that warning aside, I will continue. Long story short, this book is amazing. It has a beautiful, unique art style, and a well written story, which is actually continued in the Quest for Pandaria short story on the main World of Warcraft site!

Set during the War against the Lich King, this is the story of Li Li Stormstout, and her quest to find her Uncle Chen, who left the Wandering Isle years ago, never to return. Being that Pandarens are a rare sight around Azeroth, it doesn't take her long to draw unwanted attention!

I won't say much about the story, but you really should read this one. It has some really great lore in it, of which I will briefly mention two plot developments.

Brewfest. We get the origin, the reasons for the dark iron attacks on Brewfest celebrations, and the reason Coren Direbrew is a holiday boss. It's jolly good fun!

Naga. Yes, the Naga are in this book. Well, one specific witch is in this book. She is looking for the Pearl of Pandaria, which, according to the Quest for Pandaria series, can show you what you want to see...
(SPOILERS!!!)
...and it seems the Naga really want to find Pandaria, but can't seem to locate it. Hmmm. Interesting plot development, and this is before the Cataclysm even happened, so the events in Vashj'ir haven't happened yet! Could we see some Naga action in the new expansion?

In fact, with Alliance, Horde, Zalandari and Mogu forces, the Mantid, the Sha, and now the Naga all having an interest in Pandaria, it would seem the poor island should have stayed hidden in the mists! Why did the mists let up anyway?

Seriously, you can get this one on the cheap at Amazon, and you really should read it!

And now back to questing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vol'jin Gets His Own Novel!!

Found on Wowpedia

Exciting news from the Reddit WOW developer AMA! Seems that Vol'jin will star in his own book, which will tie into the events of Patch 5.1! I wonder if this is the Michael Stackpole novel listed on Amazon?

Other tidbits of lore include promises that Jaina's story will continue in future patches and novels, and the promise that Sylvana's story is far from over. They also hinted that Koltira was in some dire straights at the moment....

Follow the link and read up! Lots of juicy details!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tides of War Review


Jaina Proudmoore:Tides of War is the latest World of Warcraft tie - in novel. Written by Christie Golden, this novel is a setup for Mists of Pandaria, in very much the same way The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm was a setup for Cataclysm. It continues many of the stories that are left open at the end of the Cataclysm expansion.

The story itself is stunning and tragic.It is rare to read an officially licensed product, and leave with tears in your eyes. Jaina's pain and anger are very well conveyed. I was absolutely stunned by how dark the novel became. The War that was started in Cataclysm is in full gear now. The closing scenes of the book leave no question as to where this is headed.

Several new ideas have been tossed into the mix, such as Shamans enslaving the elements, which is sure to draw the ire of the Earthen Ring, and the Horde controlling Kraken. Huh? No explanation on that one... I will resist the urge to put on my tinfoil hat....

What I liked:
  • Catching up on old friends. Many individuals were touched upon in the book, and not in a way that hurt the pacing or felt out of place. In a universe this large, Golden does one hell of a job allowing us to say hi to our favorites, and then continue on. Very well done.
  • The raw emotions, from both factions, was pretty amazing. Jaina, Baine, Vol'jin, Thrall, and Kalec had their souls open and on full display. Thrall, Jaina, and Baine were just amazing, in that you could fell the hurt they felt.
  • The nature of Garrosh. I have long believed he would fall to some outside power, Sha, or some such thing. Now I am not so sure. He is doing everything on his own. The frightening image of his Kro'kron Guard spying on the citizens and silencing decent, is one I will not soon forget. This story is dark. I feel it will get darker....
  • I absolutely LOVE how the novels and comics and short stories all reference each other. Even the game meshes well in the world. Its rare to see that done so well. The Star Wars EU does it a lot, but never this well.
What I didn't like:
  • Warcraft novels, and really all licensed products, could use a decent editor. I found The Shattering to be damn near unreadable. I loved the story, but every sentence made me cringe. Tides of War was much more polished and pretty, but it still has the same flaws. I would love to see a Warcraft novel by Patrick Rothfuss or Brandon Sanderson. Someone that can really bang out some quality word-crafting.
  • No Pandaria. Nothing. Not even a blurb at the end about a "strange new land". Nothing. Very, very sad. And with such a dark story, I'm concerned how that will contrast with the Pandaria story. Then again, that story no longer seems so lighthearted these days, with the awesome cut-scenes popping up in the beta.
  • Uh, Lordaeron? Last we saw the Eastern Kingdoms, The Forsaken were wrecking shop. Whats going on over there? And, what happened to Koltira?!
TL;DR - Buy this book. Read it. Thank me later.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Never Noticed That!


If you have a good eye for detail, you may have noticed this. I certainly didn't.... Back in the pre-cata days, the skull and armor of Mannaroth stood outside of Grommash Hold in Orgrimmar. After the Cataclysm, the Hold was rebuilt and relocated. And the monument to Grom Hellscream vanished... or so I thought.

In the opening chapters of Tides of War, Baine is attending a leaders meeting, and kinda offhand notes that Garrosh's armor is the tusks of Mannaroth! Also, Mannaroth's skull serves as a centerpiece for Garrosh's throne! Yep, I completely missed that. So, I googled Garrosh, and found a really cool picture that shows his gear and his throne.

Mystery solved!
It's a neat little detail that I simply overlooked. Let's be honest, there is a LOT to look at anyway in World of Warcraft, so forgive me if I missed this! I'll post a review of Tides of War once I finish it. Can't wait for servers to go back up! New content!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pearl of Pandaria Update

Found this image at MMO Champion
Is this how the final product will look? I LOVE IT! The format is really cool too.

The release date got pushed back to September 24th. I don't love that.

Also, where can I get that coffee cup?


If I could write the story....

Why does Yogg have teeth growing from his nose?

I can't wait to explore Pandaria and learn more about the consequences of killing an Old God. To date in WOW, we have learned that these beings were imprisoned rather than killed, supposedly with good reason. Something to the effect of the Old Gods being so tied to the planet that killing them would have dire consequences.

We learn in Pandaria that at least one Old God had prevously been killed. Y'shaarj was offed by the Titans long, long before the Burning Legion had even set foot on Azeroth. According to the Klaxxi, Y'shaarj's last act was to breathe his corruption onto the land, which many lore nerds (myself included) believe to be the Sha. I have not played the beta, so I have very little idea whats coming (and I like it that way!).

But let us assume that the Sha are in fact the last remnants of Y'shaarj. We are due an Old God raid for this expansion, and rumors are flying that Y'shaarj will be ressurected, allowing us to fight him and save Pandaria. I think its a stupid theory, and horrible storytelling. If I were scripting this expansion, heres what I would do:

Leave Y'shaarj dead. If the Titan's cannot kill an Old God, then what is the point of them being so legendary. Y'shaarj must stay dead so that the Titans stay extraordinary. The discovery of the Sha should in fact be the reason they imprisoned the other Old Gods, rather than kill them outright.

Allow one of the Sha into Azeroth. This has got to happen. The story is supposed to shift back to the wars in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. All that negative energy = epic raid boss. I'm kinda hoping that the Sha cause a darker, more mature story to show up. War crimes, violence, betrayals. Lets really raise the stakes....

N'zoth should be the Old God raid for this expansion. He has much to answer for. The Twilights Hammer. The Naga invading the Plane of Water. Deathwing. The Dragon Aspects are now much less powerful, and everyone is on Pandaria. Now is the time to strike! Raise that sunken city you sleep in and attack with your armies! Instant setup for a raid.

N'zoth must die! If the rumors I read are true, the weapon that slew Y'shaarj is in the Mogu'shan Vaults. Let some less than brilliant, but glory driven leader acquire it. In a surprise twist after we beat N'zoth back into slumber, have said leader (Garrosh maybe?) slay N'zoth. If the Sha are from Y'shaarj, maybe we get Zots from N'zoth. Consequences will never be the same...!

Corruption Everywhere! Lets see some things fall apart. Use senarios to really tell a story. This goes back to allowing a Sha to escape Pandaria. Only now, maybe N'zoth's Zots are running around. I want to specifically see a faction of the Bronze Dragonflight become the Infinite Dragonflight.


Note the...
...matching color scheme.


Garrosh goes Prototype. I want to see the Sha corrupt Garrosh to an insane degree. Nazgrim gets affected by the Sha moments after he arrives on Pandaria.I want to see more of this, and since Garrosh is the main "villain" this expansion, I expect some seriously crazy stuff to happen.

  
Note dem hands! Found on Scrolls of Lore



Azshara and the Legion. Currently I'm reading the War of the Ancients Trilogy. Azshara is a great character, and I expect she will be a villain at some point in WOW's future. I would, if I wrote the story, directly connect her to the Burning Legion again. If she has truly taken the Plane of Water, then she needs to become more powerful, perhaps even an Elemental Lord in her own right. In the book series she wanted to marry Sargeras. With her newfound abilities, she could make a move to approach the legion again. If N'zoth is taken out, she could sever her ties to the Old Gods and return to the Legion as its leading lady. I haven't really thought too much about this, but leaving at lease one thread to the Legion will allow them to be worked back in at a later date with relative ease.

This is all just my thoughts. I am geeking out again, waiting for the expansion to arrive. I have many opinions on how the story should go, but it's likely that they have already planned everything out, so I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Good luck on Tuesday! Hope your class isn't destroyed! LOL!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Amazing In Game Cinematic! SPOILERS!!!!!


If you hadn't seen this yet, holy cow! If this is the type of story we will be getting, I'm so onboard! The Cata cutscenes were awful compared to this! Not since the Wrathgate have we seen anything of this quality in game. As I understand it, this is in the first area of Pandaria. I honestly hope their are more cutscenes like this.

If you didn't already know, Pandaria is built in a way that tells a full story. We will supposedly get a complete story arc in the opening content. Then the action is going to shift back to the war in the later patches. I would imagine Scenarios are going to be a major plot builder. So I expect that patches will have a few scenarios, a few dungeons, and a raid. How that affects gear progression remains to be seen.

The three raids in Pandaria are also gated, and tell a complete story. They are:
  • Mogu'shan Vaults
  • Heart of Fear
  • Terrace of the Endless Spring 
The story will play out in that order. The Sha will be a major focus. I suspect a lot plot wise, but will keep my mouth shut, for now. I tried to throw out some theories on the Official Forums, but got less than stellar results. My thread is here if you are interested.

In other news, the Dark Riders graphic novel has a release date! May 7 2013. Woot. Don't hold your breath....