Pygmalion Complex – Building the Perfect Woman

The idea of men searching for the perfect mate and then having to resort to building their own is ancient one. As we search through literature, it’s a concept we encounter time and time again and now it’s found it’s way into WoW.

When Pygmalion saw these women spending their lives in criminal pursuits, shocked at the vices which Nature had so plentifully imparted to the female disposition, he lived a single life without a wife, and for a long time was without a partner of his bed. In the meantime, he ingeniously carved a statue of snow-white ivory with wondrous skill; and gave it a beauty with which no woman can be born; and then conceived a passion for his own workmanship. The appearance was that of a real virgin, whom you might suppose to be alive, and if modesty did not hinder her, to be desirous to move; so much did art lie concealed under his skill. Pygmalion admires it; and entertains, within his breast, a flame for this fictitious body.

Ovid (Metamorphoses X)

Sound familiar? Well if you’re been following the discussion on the Thunder King’s most precious possessions, the Twin Consorts, it should.

Players who look closely at the models of these celestial twins will note that they seem quite literally carved out of stone. Indeed, these were specifically created by Lei Shen and empowered to serve and guard him, and they are a direct reflection of his will rather than any broader sense of mogu culture as a whole.

To say Blizzard handled this badly would be an understatement. A fairly large and vocal percentage of the community (rightly so) have been protesting about the lack of female models for more than half the races for years and once again, Blizzard fell head first into the trap. However I’m not going to go into that because Nyxrinne, Apple Cider and Navimie have already covered it. What I want to talk about instead is the missed opportunities Blizzard have let saunter past them once again.

Stories don’t exist in a vacuum and with games like WoW, Blizzard have the perfect opportunity to drop hints and clues long in advance. We know from the various quests that MoP launched with that the Thunder King was always going to be brought back so far more preparation could have been done.  We also know that the Mogu themselves came from stone, brought to flesh and blood by the same curse which gave us Gnomes (basically it’s all the Old Gods fault!).

Their ancient research delivered to them methods of turning flesh to stone, and back again. Lifeless rock could be animated, providing a willing (or unwilling) soul could be captured within. These dark rituals created the Stoneborn, soldiers of jade and dark magic forged from the living essence of conquered victims. These creations were powerful… terrible to behold, and above all else, one hundred percent loyal to their mogu masters. (from Wowpedia).

There are a number of potential avenues that they could have utilized, archaeology, the Lorewalkers faction and of course the storylines on the Isle of Thunder itself. Archaeology has a Mogu branch but there is no mention of the Twins in any of the artifacts which given that they are meant to be pride and joy seems strange. Adding twin fans, one of anger and one of solitude which needed uniting to create perhaps a boe blue fist weapon set would have been a nice touch. Even a grey item, perhaps a painting of the sun and the moon with flavour text implying it represented the Thunder King’s greatest treasure would have been a start.

Then when we look at the Lorewalkers, they tell the tale of Lao-Fe:

Even by mogu standards, Emperor Lao-Fe was a monster among beasts. His favored punishment among pandaren slaves was to separate families. Slaves who displeased him would have their children sent to the Serpent’s Spine, to suffer and die as fodder for the mantid swarms.

This was the fate that befell a young pandaren monk named Kang. Kang was so grief-stricken over the loss of his cub that he chose to wear all black. In a moment of clarity, he saw the mogu overlords for what they were: weak.

Re-writing that to suggest the origins of these two female Mogu would have worked. Perhaps Lei Shen surrounded by his wealth and his power with his palaces and his wall was jealous of the relationships between male and female Pandarens. Maybe he watched and listened and finally decided that like the Titans who created his race, that he too could play God. Imagine what sort of punishment for rebellion that would be, forced to watch the essence of your sister or wife forced into silent rock, powerless to save them and then dying at their hands as the Thunder King sits on his throne, his laugh booming through his halls. As one of those little stories told through pictures and the words of Lorewalker Cho it would have worked wonderfully.

Finally though, I came across this:

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What a shame then, that this “famous saga” doesn’t seem to have stood the test of time. Of course, this raises all sorts of questions such as if this was prior to the creation of the Twins, what sort of woman did they allegedly quarrel over? Based on everything we know about the Thunder King, it seems unlikely he would have “consorted” with a woman from what he would deem a “lesser” race (i.e. everything which wasn’t his own). The writers could have had so much fun with this, adding extra dimensions to not only the Twins but Lei Shen too. Investing the player base with their story so that when we’re knocking on his door with murder and loot in mind we actually know why we’re there. Of course, it would be easy to argue that Blizzard tend not to invest time in creating a back story for many if any of the interim bosses in a raid instance so why should these two ladies be any different? I’d like to think they shouldn’t be and that Blizzard should be using every opportunity they can grasp to both answer questions and create new ones in the minds of the player base (at least those amongst us who actually read flavour and quest text). We should know the story behind each and every of the bosses we encounter as we slice and dice our way across the continents. Surely that’s the whole point of grey items, archaeology and lore.

Instead though, Blizzard decided that a few quick lines explaining “everything” would suffice. Of course that’s ignoring the fact that we’re back to the whole “Madonna” and “Whore” thing again, the soft sad serene sister who clearly isn’t happy killing people and her angry twin who appears to glorify in it. The women in WoW don’t seem to come in any other flavours other than victim or mad. What they really need is Carol Anne Duffy writing the lore for them.

The Perfect Pets for a Gnome: Anklebiters All

Ignoring the whole “What.. more dailies” thing, I love the look of the new zones.  You can’t go wrong with Dinosaurs, especially nasty sneaky heavy hitting big teethed ones. However it’s the new mini-pets which excited me the most, after all with names like those, they belong with a Gnome.

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So the first thing I did on patching the game was head straight north through Kun’lai Summit for the Isle of Giants. It took us around an hours worth of farming to net all four for me and a second Anklerender for Mr Harpy.

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This is my favourite baby dinosaur farming ground. It take a bit of effort sneaking on boat (we used shroud of concealment to edge pass the large angry Devilsaur) but in terms of peaceful farming, it’s definitely worth it

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Whilst running around (mostly away from things with big teeth), we came across a rather nice Dwarf who sold us an Intact Direhorn Hide. I love these disguise type items and whilst it’s a shame you can’t cast whilst transformed, you can at least have fun levitating across water as a Dinosaur.

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Sprout and her new best friend, coming soon to a battleground near you!

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Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Hoarding and Me

The Blog Azeroth Shared Topic this week is one dear to my little hoarding heart.

World of Warcraft has added many different items for players to collect, whether it be collecting pets, mounts, transmog gear or knickknacks about the lore. This week’s topic asks what you do collect in the game and what is your prized item from that collection?

Suggested by Noahdeer of Be MoP.

I have a slight tendency to collect all things but if I break my various bits and bobs down, it probably comes out like this:

1. Gear with a primary focus on staves. This is my very first Druid, Briarrose with her Undead slaying skirt and her Grand Marshal’s stave. In fact even though I’ve hadn’t really used a staff on any end-game character since the off-hand enchant was introduced, I have bags full of them.

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Erinys being my main for so long has the bulk of my clothes and weapons collection but Sprout hasn’t done too badly herself, especially with old dungeon runs. That said, my prized item of gear has to be my Benediction. I was the 2nd Priest on my then server to complete it and it has a lot of wonderful memories both of that sense of satisfaction of killing the bosses back in my first raiding days but also of the people I played along side who helped me farm for the Eye of Shadow all night.

2. Things to gank with. Gathered from a variety of sources, some from rares and some from festivals for example but over all, little silly things to brighten up battlegrounds and frustrate the enemy.

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Here we can see the results of the Gin’ji knife set (that pile of meat I’m sat on happens to be Panda) and my romantic picnic basket. Oh and before anyone assumes I’m a hateful ganker, my little monk arrived in Arathi en route to the Scarlet Monastery to be greeted by this:

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Okay anyone with a fragment of a brain cell may have questioned why I stayed whilst being spammed by that and personally the /chicken and /laugh emotes would have definitely made me nervous had I been in their shoes but …. they forgot the cardinal rule of world pvp, there is always a bigger fish somewhere in the shadows.

I’m tempted to say that the knife set is my favourite of these items, simply because I’d hate it to be used on me. The fact that you can use it on your own faction is a plus point too.

3. Pets/Mounts

My very first WoW pet cost me the shirt off my back, quite literally as I hadn’t found the auction house at the point but desperately wanted to buy a cat off the crazy lady with cleaver. Since then, I’ve done my best to acquire a decent pet collection. I’m also well on my way to 150 mounts, which I freely admit isn’t many by some standards but given that all my characters seem to ride the same 4 or 5 is still a little excessive.

The favourite here would be a toss up between Spike my Iron-bound protodrake (lots of happy memories of frying dwarves week in week out) and my Hyacinth Macaw, a gift from Mr Harpy who got lucky with the drop in Vanilla whilst camping some Horde in STV.

4. Achievement points. Unfortunately I’m one of those people who when shown a list has a pathetic urge to tick everything off it.

I’m also quite partial to collecting grey items, especially the ones you get from pick pocketing so have quite a few Gnome Effigies and Rag Dolls kicking around in my bank just waiting to be used for something. One day I just know they will come in handy!

“But war is a bitter bugle”

Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of the glowing globe of flame heading straight for the beachhead. Somehow the juxtaposition of the elegant ship, it’s sails furled sliding across the moon with the harsh bolts of the tower and the spiked defenses made me think of a few lines by Charles Causley.

But war is a bitter bugle
That all must learn to blow
And it didn’t take long to stop the song
In the dirty Italian snow..
O war is a casual mistress
And the world is her double bed
She has a few charms in her mechanised arms
But you wake up and find yourself dead.

from his poem “A Ballad for Katharine of Aragon

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Almost at the end of the quest line for the Operation: Shieldwall, I find myself wondering “What is worth fighting for?” Also I have to admit I preferred Anduin in the days of Lady Prestor when he just stood there as a small but quiet child to his current teenage brat behavior. Constantly running away from his protection detail… pff Jaina should turn him into a sheep for a bit.

 

Somehow from there, I ended up contemplating Sky Admiral Rogers, Sprout’s new role model (possibly because my wandering brain swapped her name for war in the previously mentioned lines). Not only did she tell Admiral Taylor to put his “big boy pants on” but her desire to weaponize everything and anything which might help turn the tide of war speaks volumes to a Gnome!

Plus she’s a bit genocidal, which probably means she’s going to die at some point in the not to distant future so we should revel in her whilst we can.

Those green dirtbags down there plagued your homes in Southshore, laid siege to your children in Redridge, and massacred every man, woman and child in Theramore.

It. Is. PAYBACK TIME! (from the quest text)

Although Thrall did something similar to unarmed Alliance in the Goblin start zone and he’s still alive and kicking so who knows.

Pre Patch Panicking

Time scales and deadlines always make me nervous, suddenly I feel that I have so much to do before Blizzard roll out the next patch.

Sprout

  • Finish up her remaining reputations (Shado-Pan and that pesky Alliance one in the Wilds)
  • Farm as many Conquest and Valor points as I can lay my sticky little mitts on
  • Finish up beating the Pet Tamers
  • Hit 480 item level for the new LFR

Twiceshy

I would also like to level a couple of my alts past their respective starting zones and tick off a few achievements which have been sitting around half finished for ages.

It may not seem like a massive list, but with my limited play time, I’m definitely a bit concerned.

20 Days of Blogging – Your desktop background (on your computer) and why you chose it

Okay, it turned out that doing this in order doesn’t work for me so today I’m doing number 15 – My Desktop background. (from Saga’s 20 days of Blogging).

Day 01 – Introduce yourself
Day 02 – Why you decided to start a blog
Day 03 – Your first day playing WoW
Day 04 – Your best WoW memory
Day 05 – Favourite item(s) in game
Day 06 – Your workplace/desk (photo and/or description)
Day 07 – The reason behind your blog’s name
Day 08 – 10 things we don’t know about you
Day 09 – Your first blog post
Day 10 – Blog/Website favourites
Day 11 – Bad habits and flaws
Day 12 – A usual day in your life/online time
Day 13 – People (players/bloggers) that you admire
Day 14 – This upsets you
Day 15 – Your desktop background (on your computer) and why you chose it
Day 16 – Things you miss (post Cataclysm)
Day 17 – Your favourite spot (in game or outside it)
Day 18 – Your favourite outfit
Day 19 – In your bags/bank
Day 20 – If this was your last day playing WoW, what would you do?

This is my current desktop background, a picture of Dorrie the little witch and her cat sitting reading in a library. When I was small, I loved these books by Patricia Coombs both for the stories and the pictures.

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Before that, I’ve had a mix of things. Some WoW screenshots like this one:

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and proper photographs like these two:

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Basically I pick images I like either from my own photo collection or from the random images on the internet I have access to.

What will survive of us is love

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I’ve had a love affair with Philip Larkin ever since I first read “This Be the Verse” aged around 14 and rebellious in my purple steel toe capped Doc Martens. His words twisted around in my head,  wrapping themselves secure so that even now, I can still recall whole verses.

The second I saw this dinosaur burial ground the lines from “An Arundel Tomb” rose unbidden to the surface, “what will survive of us is love”.

Time has transfigures them into 
Untruth. The stone fidelity 
They hardly meant has come to be 
Their final blazon, and to prove 
Our almost-instinct almost true: 
What will survive of us is love.

Philip Larkin.

Perhaps they hated each other and just happened to die on very fertile ground, maybe some prankster Goblin thought “let’s pop a rose in the hand of this skeleton” or possibly, just possibly, there is some real truth in that last line. Somehow, given that it’s Valentine’s Day on Thursday this seemed appropriate, if not a little maudlin.

For Matty

The second I saw this model moth, I knew I wanted one. Quirky, colourful and graceful, Sprout has been hopefully ripping up her cocoons ever since the patch and finally her “patience” has been rewarded.

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(I have to admit being a little concerned about the name because I know moths are not everyone’s cup of tea but it just seemed right and she is one of my favourite pets).

Sprout the Brawler

Slightly late to the party but this weekend, Sprout intends taking on all comers in the Brawler’s Guild.

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My self-imposed challenge however is to do it as Holy or die trying! No doubt the latter will definitely happen more than a few times but I think with a bit of practice some fights at least will be possible and making the attempt is half the fun in it’s self.

So without any further ado, introducing Brawler Sprout!

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Be afraid.

The Snowflower’s Blossom

Snowflower, my newest Priest has suddenly found her raison d’etre, no longer does she languish abandoned part way through a quest chain.

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Instead she burns with purpose, driven by a need to leave behind the world she knows and explore what lies beyond the mist.

I’m not a huge fan of instanced start zones. My Death knights tend to get stuck early on because despite my love of being bad, I hate feeling trapped for so many levels and to be honest, stealing horses and slaughtering “innocents” who by their very nature can’t make lv 1s and call you names soon grows old. If only all NPCs were like a certain Miss Ellia Ravenmane. Gilneas was fun the first time around although the Goblin start zone had me feeling like I was playing the wrong game but the Pandaren start has some how managed to engage with me on a personal level. I won’t go into details as to why now because that’s a post and a half in it’s own right but somehow whilst wandering along, the atmosphere has managed to breathe life into character I was leveling for turtle mounts. She’s become a living breathing opinionated entity in her own right.

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There is no one factor which has helped create this shift in her character, meeting the Great Turtle helped and of course the sheer beauty of the landscape played it’s part.

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Ultimately though, the Forest of Staves was perhaps the biggest influence on her fledgling personality. Snowflower’s staff will never grow along side her ancestors but where-ever she ends up, she’ll carry their memories forever.

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