Everything Changes

The community blog topic over at WoW Insider this week is:

What do you think of persistent changes to Azeroth?

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Now I have to admit I am in favour of the world constantly evolving and changing. Events like a giant bad tempered Dragon flying up from inside the earth should leave scars on the landscape as should tidal waves and conflict. You can’t have say deforestation taking place on a massive scale yet the number of trees in a particular zone staying the same, it doesn’t happen in the real world and wouldn’t happen on Azeroth either. As a story line progresses, the world in which it takes place needs to change along side it. I think phasing ( as annoying as it is from a world pvp perspective) works wonders for this, letting us see the result of our actions as we explore the environment around us. That said, I do wish Blizzard would stop taking a remodeling tool to my favourite zones.

However what I’d love to see is more use being made of the Caverns of Time. What if we could enter a zone in the Caverns of Time and be whisked away to a point in Azeroth’s past. You couldn’t necessarily go anywhere at once but that could easily be explained away by mist on the timeways or some such random deus ex machina. Maybe the destinations would change weekly or maybe it would be influenced by the patch but the idea would be that one week/patch cycle you could picnic in old Auberdine and the following week/patch you could revisit Desolace back when it was desolate.

This would also allow Blizzard to add old content without actually adding old content. A bit like the Timeless Isle, I wouldn’t make it obvious with big question marks everywhere but merely allow those who are interested to meander around finding things if they want to. You could put the old class quests back even if the rewards are purely cosmetic but personally I’d love to see Eris Havenfire yelling across the Plaguelands again. It would also allow people who are relatively new to the game to see the bits and pieces which everyone still talks about.

Major events like the Scourge invasions and the recent Barrens conflict could also turn up so that people who still want things from them could have a chance to revisit on alts. In fact which areas are due to swing by the Caverns could appear in the calendar a bit like the call to arms battleground so that you would know that next week, you could pay a visit to old Westfall or in three weeks time your chance to farm a bit of lumber for an old war effort. Loch Modan would still have a loch in it and Auberdine a proper pier but yet it wouldn’t detract from the current game.

We’d be able to pay our respects to NPCs long since dead and dance around Lady Prestor teasing her with future.

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Azshara could be Goblin free once again even it was just for a limited period and we could just wander and explore to our heart’s content. Blizzard have recently started adding more and more vanity items and these portals into the past would be the perfect place to continue this trend as well allowing them to advance current story lines by trips into the shadows if they so chose.

A Nest of Harpys: The Race I’d like to Play

The Community Blog Topic this week posed a question near to my heart, Which Race would you like to see playable?

Harpies, naturally.

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Now, it’s not just bias on my part. I went and did some research on Wowwiki and what I discovered would suggest that Harpies could fit in perfectly as a player race.

Harpy legends claim that they are descend from a group of female night elves who betrayed Queen Azshara, and were cursed as punishment.

Given that Queen Azshara isn’t dead yet, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that a tribe of Harpies, less savage than those currently found inhabiting Kalimdor and Northrend could be discovered. A tribe willing to put aside their differences long enough to attempt to thwart Azshara and seek revenge. Possibly more plausible than a bunch of worgen keeping their curse in check and deciding to play with the Night Elves. Given that Harpies are also 100 percent female it would present an interesting challenge to Blizzard. Add the first race which only has female models or attempt to find a way to present male harpies. Personally I would prefer the former but it would be an interesting decision if they went either way.

Back Story:

A small sisterhood of Night Elves who worshiped Aviana did something which Queen Azshara classed as a betrayal. Perhaps it was as small a crime as not seeing their Queen as a deity. In return she caused them all to take on the form that they all adored or perhaps Aviana allowed them to take on that shape temporarily but Azshara found a way of forcing them to stay like that for eternity.

Language:

Similar to that which the Night Elves speak with perhaps a few different words and inter-spaced with bird like noises.

/Flirts:

“If you’re really good, maybe I won’t eat you in the morning”.

Capital City:

If their ancestral home is the Mountains of Stonetalon, I would locate their capital up in the mountains towards the north. An area currently unreachable due to heavy storms.  In terms of visuals, it would be something a bit like the ruins of Ravenwind in Feralas. Night Elf architecture, slightly overgrown and decayed with nests hanging from the trees. It wouldn’t be the most beautiful city in Kalimdor but functional, if not slightly dirty. Harpies appear to be a bit like magpies so there would be lots of wind chimes, beads and bones hanging from the foliage.

Mounts:

Even though Harpies have wings and can flutter off the ground, they would still use mounts to cross long distances. For ground mounts, they ride feathery horses, their bright colours match their riders plumage. Flying mounts would be mutated Hippogriphs, possibly including those pretty pink and blue ones you find in Feralas but can’t ride at the moment.

Classes:

Given the variety of Harpies already in-game, casters seem the most likely candidates. Mage, Warlock (being turned into a flesh eating bird could potentially interest you in all sorts of dodgy stuff), Priest, Shaman. In addition to that, I’d go for rogues.

Racials:

As the mythological Harpies were spirits of sudden gusts of wind, their racials should reflect that.

  • Storm-winds: 2.5 min cooldown – The Harpy swoops upwards out of range of attacks for 10 seconds
  • Fleet-footed: 4 min cooldown which is shared with Storm-winds. The Harpy picks up a party member within 30 yards range, swooping upwards with them, protecting them from harm for 10 seconds.
  • Flickering Memory: Turn into the Night Elf you once were. Breaks in combat. Drains energy/mana the longer you keep it up.

They would also get a small bonus to haste being known for their speed and all.

Mini pets:

Tiny feathery foals with little wings which they flutter into the air with every so often. (Yes I was a My Little Pony girl once upon a time).

Visuals:

Now to get armour to fit, there would have to be a few changes. I imagine that their wings would be capable of folding up but that their tail feathers would just stick out through their clothing like all the other tailed races. Feather colour, hair and face features would all be customizable. I imagine they would be a bit like Female Night Elves only with lots of feathers. I would hope the hair styles would be fairly diverse, with decorations made from feathers and/or bones.

Quest chains:

As much as I dislike phased starting quests, that’s what I think I’d go for here. Given that Night Elves and thus probably Harpies do live a very long time, I’d begin at the beginning with a flashback to Queen Aszhara damning your character for daring to turn against her, quite possibly around the time she thought that getting into bed with demons was a good idea. You would begin as a Night Elf standing against the Queen and her madness and then a bit like the Worgen, you would wake up as a Harpy. Time would then shift forwards until your clan’s spies bring word of the chaos breaking beyond your stormy borders. There is dissent amongst the Harpies, some wish to keep out of the affairs of the Night Elves pointing out that they are no longer your  people. That no one else spoke up when Azshara unleashed her rage on you and your sisters but others feel enough is enough. You being both brave and quite possibly foolish decide to take matters into your own hands and explore the upheaval in the world below. You discover a world changed beyond all recognition, Azshara itself ruined by the Goblin incursion, Ashenvale scarred and burnt, Stonetalon twisted. Where you knew towns and temples, you find ruins and broken statues. It’s at that point you find a party of Night Elves struggling against unknown force and against your better judgement and with the words of your Elders ringing in your ears, you join the fight, helping turn the tide in the Sentinels favour. Naturally they aren’t best pleased to see you but give you the benefit of the doubt, binding you and taking you to Darnassus in chains rather than slaughtering you where you stand. It’s on being dragged into the Temple of the Moon, you discover your first ally. A Priestess who recognizes something in you, a reminder of the Night Elf you once were  and who speaks on your behalf, saving your life.

Tyrande and the Alliance are desperate for allies. You find yourself having to accompany a party of Night Elves led by Tyrande herself to your own hidden citadel. During the journey, you learn a bit more about the circumstances leading to both your transformation in the first place but also about some of those once Night Elves now Harpies your clan call Elders. A few assassinations, a couple of quests involving stealing artifacts and a small punch-up later, everyone who is still alive is now at least talking and the Harpies can start running around doing whatever quests/battlegrounds and dungeons they want.

The main purpose of the quest chain would be to fill in some of the in-game lore gaps and would be useful to both Night Elves and of course to the Harpies themselves.