Mages & Wizards

Mages are to fantasy what porn actresses are to the movie industry: if they aren’t there, you feel like there’s something missing. Brilliant stuff.

Mages and wizards are powerful characters that bend magic to their own will, and they are usually involved in every fairy tale. Except maybe in Red Riding Hood, and good Lord, that story is lame. In fact, if there was a wizard in that story, he would have called social services: Red Riding Hood’s mom sends his daughter into the forest to visit grandma, who happens to live alone in a poorly protected cottage stalked by wolves. Red Riding Hood’s mom was either a lousy mom or a serial killer planning on getting rid of her family.

“Polymorphing might be painful, click on the image to save the sheep!!”

There are different kind of mages. World of Warcraft makes us believe that mages are just spellcasters who happen to make things explode and transform other people in sheeps (see the image above). For some inexplicable reason, they are really bad businessmen. Otherwise, they would be opening restaurants all over Azeroth, which would prove effective with their ability to create food and drink out of nowhere.

But the concept of mages wasn’t always lied to sheep abuse and miracles in multiplying food and drink. In the beginning, wizards had quite a defined line to construct their personalities: they controlled arcane forces, they wore a hat ending in a peak, and long robes. Mystic and enigmatically, they spent most of their time poking their nose into big dusty books and their social life sucks. Nowadays they are called “nerds”.

“See? Nerds. No doubt.”

This was pretty clear to everyone until Harry Potter got in the way, changing reality and piña coladas as we knew them, probably created as a subversive influence to change the nerdy image we had about magic men (NOTE: Magic men are not men with huge reproductive capabilities).

Harry Potter was a nerd AND a mage, which semantically managed to separate both concepts as different definitions. In a way, it is the same phenomenon that we can observe in politics: they claim to have principles and make politics at the same time, which is an inherent contradiction by itself.

There are many important wizards in our collective imaginary: Tolkien’s Gandalf set an important figure in Lord Of The Rings. Merlin is a milestone in Arthurian Legends. Raistlin Majere in the Dragonlance series. Medivh in World of Warcraft.

But there is a character that brings the iconic essence of magicians back to life: Terry Pratchett’s Rincewind. He is a wiZZard, according to his hat, and believes in pre-emtive karma, as in his karma ensures that bad things will happen to him no matter how brilliant his future might seem. Dramatic and outrageously funny, this is really brilliant stuff.

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WoTLK: What defines a real Dark Lord?

Have you ever wondered what are the main treats of the Lich King? Or any other dark lord for that matter? Let’s analyze this. Dark lords, brilliant stuff.

  • The Lord of Darkness of any evil organization lives in some sort of fortress, each one being named slightly different in order to avoid mistakes with the local mailing services. Subscriptions to “Evil’s Digest” or “Evil Today” could get lost. However, as a general rule, dark lords tend to get pretty pissed off if their monthly subscription to “Playboy, you little rascal of malevolent genius” gets lost.
  • Being the peak of an evil hierarchy often grants some title of nobility, as such “king”, “lord”, “prince” or any other of the likes. If they have no access to a title of nobility, the evil leader will adopt a nickname in the form of punch line, probably to seed fear in the hearts of villagers and keep tax inspectors away. Some examples might be “prince malchezaar” or “Lich King” for those who managed to get into nobility, and “Gruul the Dragonslayer”, Illidan “The Betrayer”. We’re investigating “Burger King” to find out about his specific field of evilness.

(If you ever forget their official name, you can stick to standards: “great lord of darkness” or “your evil majesty” will do fine)

  • Evil leaders must hire high amounts of stunt men to be randomly killed before getting to real threats. This is a follow up of the classic Star Trek’s technique of adding some non-regular actors to get killed in action during the exploration of some new planet. If you see yourself regularly patrolling some door in a fortress, start to get suspicious.
  • Dark lords are goths. They wear black clothes and skulls hanging from any part of their bodies. The more skulls, the merrier. They look very haggard and emaciated. Either they have severe nutritional problems or they are goths. I swear. However, we have failed to prove if they have trouble to distinguish between male and female when picking out sexual partners. Goths, no doubt.
  • A prince of darkness must stick to evilness under any circumstance. He also must aim to theatrical performance, such as malevolent laugh, catchy and repetitive sentences to settle your evil philosophy. Examples:

“you are not prepaaaaareeed!” (Illidan Stormrage)

“Resistance is futile” (The Borg Community, it’s basically their way of communicating)

“This is gonna be legen… wait for it… DARY!” (Bartney Stinson)

  • Scheduled sacrifices to set an example of your cruelty and tyranny would be great. Add some chaos scattered all over the mess and you’ve got the exact amount of evilness to become a great Dark Lord.

(NOTE: Chuck Norris follows no rules, he is a dark lord no matter what)

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WoTLK: What would you add?

WoTLK new features. Brilliant Stuff.

Even when the vast majority of people have not even entered Sunwell Plateau, and they probably associate Black Temple to the term “wipe”, the Lych King is around the corner, sitting in his frozen throne and enjoying the summer.

He is about to make his appearance in our lives, and eagerness eats us alive. Death Knight, 10 new levels, more dungeons, gear, bosses, new cities… everything that the BC brought us when we crossed the portal… and more, much more.

But if we can ask for something, what would we ask for? We got an e-mail with two wishes that we would love to see coming true:

Hi, there

(bla, bla… some introduction words in here) (…) for the forthcoming WoTLK expansion I would ask for two important improvements:

1) An evolving environment where your activity matters over time. This is the real challenge.

2) An line of action not consisting in endless repetition. It kills as a full epic level 70 warlock to be sent to “kill 20 goretusks” (I don’t care if they are demonic goretusks). Having to repeat the same dungeon over and over also turns the fun of entering new places into painful work.

A possible solution for this would be World of Warcraft going actually social. Facing automated elements (aka NPC or mobs) limits seriously the range of possibilties for detaching the game from the repetitive schema aforementioned. So, it is people deciding the line of action which would do the trick.

We are talking virtual reality here, a world unfolding itself by the action of its inhabitants, which is a giant leap from the World of Warcraft as we know it. However, it would be the real success on Blizzard’s behalf.

Heading in this direction would present some serious difficulties, since it would mean giving some control to the players, or said the other way around: losing control of the game.

It would require:

– Reforcing control from in-game laws, not from stablished and unavoidable guidelines (quest-lines).

– Stimulation of activity: one can’t rely on users to develop the whole game, so it would be precise to count on some system adding natural interaction between players. An idea would be counting on Blizzard’s employees interacting with players.

It would achieve:

– No more grinding to spend time, when players are involved in the line of action, the game doesn’t need to keep you busy, other players do.

– Higher monthly fees due to all the staff
required to sustain the new WoW environment. (Look on the bright side:
less people looking for a job)

Thanks for listening to my rant,

/Dana

It would be nice leaving massive goretusk genocides behind and having the chance to take WoW as a means of breaking reality laws, no limits aside from the interaction rules, instead of just changing the real world limits for the WoW ones.

And you, what would you add?

Guild Conflicts

Managing a mmorpg online’s guild. Brilliant stuff.

I’ve got this from a friend not so long ago:

We’ve been experiencing some internal problems in our WoW guild since it was created 3 years ago, up to the point that we barely resemble the social group that we were back then. Those problems have not disappeared, nor solved, and I wonder if it is strictly particular to our guild.

Our guild was formed by friends who knew each other in real life, it was the dawn of our little brotherhood. I was slightly detached from the group, since I was still leveling up and the rest had reached lvl 60 (before BC) a while ago, so I was just a young night elf priest wandering around and killing murlocs here and there, knowing nothing about the life of a level 60 and the need of better gear.

However, every now and then there was someone who complained about something in the guild’s board. As a rule, the complaint often generated a big turmoil, pages and pages of discussing and arguing, and many times it ended with someone leaving the guild.

Nowadays, it keeps happening, and I believe it is on the guild’s leaders fault, or ultimately, it is their responsibility to solve it… or see the guild agonize or even die. “

Well, in my opinion, the guy is right. It doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, there is someone who decided to take the reins and lead the social group to certain goals. He and those designed by him are the ones in charge to solve anything that might prevent the group from reaching those goals, and there are many ways to do it.

This raises a common question for guilds: how should they be ruled in order to obtain the best results?

Well, as a matter of fact, there is not just one way to operate and obtain best results, but there is one that will allow the guild to exist as a healthy environment to evolve and obtain those results, eventually.

No matter how many (awful) wrong decisions you might take, they will be worth trying and people will be at your side if you have got the needed charisma in you. (Note: Yes, you will need a great load of charisma if you keep on making the wrong decisions, but still, you can overcompensate).

Knowing how to confront situations will help the leader to… lead, which in the end is what the job is about. Confronting people instead of situations will difficult the task and won’t really help anyone. This is what I would do, as a leader:

MANUAL FOR THE GOOD LEADERS

1) Find reliable people as officers, raid leaders and class leaders. You’re about to create a social structure, so you better find solid pillars to sustain your hierarchy.

2) Structure the work and share the weight with your men. Because even with solid pillars, the weight should be sustained equally or someone’s head is going to explode (probably yours).

3) Create an atmosphere of confidence, seed illusion in the hearts of your fellow guild members!! People want to believe that they are going somewhere in the same proportion that they want to be part of it, but they do not know how. The leader is responsible for this, you must give them illusion and make them move to your goals. Or that was what you stepped up for, in case that you didn’t know, pal.

4) Keep following rule 3 when things make a turn for the bad. Wipes and wrong tactics will come and then you’ll be asked for direction, but maybe they won’t be that polite in expressing themselves and will say something like: “did you really think that this would work, you asshole?”.

Don’t lose your temper, you’re the righteous hand of justice, the wise brain of… brainland, you can’t be disturbed by that, can you? Explain yourself calmly, try to learn from the experience and above all: show a detailed analysis of what happened and how to solve it. If you show intelligence and serenity, they will try to play along and discuss things in the same vein.

5) Sometimes people get pissed off no matter what. Take that as a critic, that’s brilliant stuff to improve.

Speak your mind intelligently, be fair, let them express themselves in an opinionated way, and stress out (politely) the fact that there’s no room for offensive language, in case that there is.

If you keep being calm, explaining yourself in a keen way, and they keep being pissed off in a destructive way, they will discredit themselves and no one will stick with them.

6) Accept constructive criticism, use other people’s ideas and take it in your own benefit. It helps your politics to accept other people’s ideas, they might be great ideas and you just have to use them to make your people feel that they are part of the success.

That’s pretty much it. Then, we can get down to particulars, but everything gravitates around these points. If you can’t manage to do this, maybe you have not what it takes to lead properly, and fights will arise every now and then.

It will be hard anyway, because it requires hard work and dedication, and you’re not paid for it.  So even if you’re doing great with the basics, you can get pissed off more often than you think. But once again, it was you who decided to step up and lead some people to conquer Azeroth.

Any other suggestions will be considered and discussed. Go ahead, people.

P.S: China and World of Warcraft

In addition to the post below, regarding Blizzard’s advertising, here we go again with this little jewel coming straight away from China (well, actually, it comes from youtube, but you get the point).

Van Damme rules the World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft’s advertising. Brilliant stuff.

I always knew that Jean Claude Van Damme was one of the brightest minds of our time.

J.C has proven to be “aware”, especially when there’s money involved. Contrary to what most of people think, he is not french. He was born in Belgium, land of the (excellent) beer. This might explain the “why, oh my Lord, why?” about Van Damme, he was overexposed to beer when he was a child and the results are pretty evident to anyone.

Blizzard’s publicists have chosen some unusual personalities for their World of Warcraft campaigns. Personally, I think it tinges the advertising of certain originality: it is a videogame so they aim to impress “geeks”. By bringing William Shatner or Mini Me to talk about the game, they bring living Gods to their own worshippers!! Brilliant.

Hold on, hold on, we’re not saying that Van Damme is a living God. I see rather odd that they have chosen the Kickboxer for the french version of their advertise. However, the results don’t make me frown either, it fits among the rest.

It’s really scary to see Van Damme speaking. It is even more dreadful to see him speaking french, the walls of reality shake in anger and ancient Gods (Mr. T ? Hannibal?  ) scream from their wombs. I watch this in pure astonishment, I hope it is not too disturbing for you.

(Note: I realize that I composed a story about Gods taking over the world, Jean Claude Van Damme, The A Team and WoW. Things happen).

10 THINGS YOU DON’T GET ABOUT…

Murlocs. Brilliant Stuff.

1) Let alone the aspect of these critters, they are like walking piranhas. Thing I hate about them is that they are always “there” but you don’t know what the hell they are doing.

2) They speak Nerglish. WTF is nerglish? They yawl and chase you, that’s all they do!! How come Wikipedia knows the name of their language but nobody has achieved to determine if it is actually a language or not?

3) They look like savage beings but they act organized, exactly like mormons: you rarely see just one on his own, and a certain sensation of deep fear begins to grow inside you.

4) They remind me of my aunt Stephanie, and believe me, murlocs are way nicer.

5) Wiping before Kil’Jaeden might be demoralizing, but dying because a walking fish is hitting you with a staff is a real highway to depression.

“Click on him to save the murlocs!!”


6) Even if you’re an overpowered level 94 orc warlock named “Daisy”, sooner or later you’re going to stumble onto some murloc that can kick your full epic ass in five seconds. Murlocs are the real archenemy in any game: if you put murlocs in Assassin’s Creed, the assassin would ask a murloc for advice in order to improve.

7) You should get killed mercilessly by a murloc when you reach level 1, in order to get the whole point of the game.

8 ) Did I mention my aunt Stephanie?

9) You reach maximum level, you have been trained the arts of war or the mystics of magic, you’ve defeated high evil bosses and dark lords, then you enter SCC and there are stunning murlocs waving their staves at you. Seriously, where are these creatures coming from?

10) According to several sources, Chuck Norris might be an evolved murloc.