Thoughts on the Sha

Beta spoilers, because that's how I roll.

I get that we are limited by the genre of the game, but I really feel like we should not be able to fight the Sha, or at least the Sha of Anger and the Sha of Hatred, by actually...fighting them. Or, I mean. Maybe we try it once or twice and it just feeds them.

It shouldn't work, is what I'm saying.

It should be like in You Awaken in Razor Hill: "You can't possibly stop this with more violence."

I could see it working on Doubt, but there should be some kind of tie-in with that in the later zones where we find out that by using violence to defeat the Sha of Doubt we have strengthened Anger and Hatred. Because that's how that would work. We are failing at balance and I get that this is Warcraft and that there's really not another way they could go on this, from a gameplay standpoint, but storywise it just feels wrong.

Anyway. I'm not posting this in the Beta Feedback forum because there would be no point, but that's my take on it.

Incidentally I really love the Sha as the focus of the expansion, especially against the backdrop of a bunch of haters blathering on about how this expansion is too lighthearted and "should be rated E" and whatever-all. Because yes, on the surface, this expansion is about happy bouncy pandas who like to get drunk (but are always happy drunks, they don't get maudlin or go home and beat their families or anything), but if you look just a little deeper, this expansion is the darkest yet.

Yes, we've fought deeply evil things before. We've fought characters who were created to be good but got twisted into evil, who want to blacken and destroy everything their hands can reach, but those characters have always been outside us. We were always the good guys, and maybe once in a while we got manipulated into doing something evil and had to atone for that but at the end of the day we were the heroes and they were the villains and there was always that line of demarcation there.

(My deep and abiding love for death knights comes mostly from the fact that death knights, more than any other class, blur that line.)

But this time, this time, it's not some Big Bad trying to destroy the world, it's not about some evil master plan that we're being manipulated into furthering. The evil comes from us. We brought it with us to this new land that we've discovered and we didn't do it because somebody wanted to use us for their own evil ends, we did it because we're a bunch of petty squabbling assholes who hate each other for no better reason than that we're different. And because of our stupid, self-centered, ignorant, violent bullshit, we have made manifest the Sha to destroy homes and lives and families across a continent of people who offered us only friendship and booze.

We are the bad guys this time. We have to take down the evil not because we're heroes and that's what we do, but because we caused it, it's our fault, and we have to clean up our mess. Because nothing will make up for what has already been lost to our shortsightedness but we have to stop the destruction before it's too late.

Because whining that we didn't know, that we didn't mean any harm, accomplishes nothing. Because intent is not magic. We have to fix it. We have to roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves. Are we the heroes who have saved Azeroth so many times before? Time to fucking act like it.

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More MoP Thoughts

I really hope they put Asric and Jadaar in Pandaria. I doubt they will, but I want it anyway.

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Guys

Guys I'm having a Pandaren existential crisis.

I've had the name Tophbeifong reserved on my server for months for my female Pandaren monk. The trouble is, now that I've seen the model with the long tail1, I can't get Ty Lee out of my head.

I'm compulsively drawing pictures of red Pandaren women in acrobatic poses with cheerful, mischievous expressions and long braids.

And I keep telling myself, it'll be okay, I'll have another character slot when the xpac goes live, I can roll them both, but then I start worrying someone else will get Tylee as a name before I can. And so I think, what other character can I delete to make room to reserve the name, and I don't know and just ugh what do I do.

Intellectually I know I am not going to level two Alliance monks. I'm just not. I need to get over it, really. As much as I love Tophgod (because who doesn't) I am not going to play her. I need to delete her placeholder and make one for Ty Lee and get over myself. The longer I dither, the greater the chance someone else will have the name on my server.

1. People keep saying the red females are the only Pandaren with tails, and this is simply not the case. All Pandaren have tails. The black-and-whites simply have the little teeny round short tails.

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Notes From the Wandering Isle

I'm not in the beta (yet), but I'm watching everybody's livestreams like a mad fiend, and I bring you news of grave importance.

New favorite NPC: Jojo Ironbrow.

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Female Pandaren Thoughts

Here's WoW Insider's article, including pics.

1. It comes in red! I'm super excited about the red panda option. SUPER SUPER EXCITE U GUISE OMG. I'm not sure if I'll actually play one or not, but I think it's awesome regardless.

2. Fat-bottomed girls do make the panda world go 'round. When we got the silhouette, there were a lot of people saying she was still skinnier than they'd like, and I would have thought it was cool if they had gone fatter with her as well, but compared to the male model I call her just fine. WoW female characters are always skinnier than the males; her slenderness in comparison can, I think, be attributed to compacter muscles underneath her padding, which is fine with me. And do I spy a bit of a belly? I do! I do! Love.

3. HAIR TOYS Some of the hair options are going to have hair sticks. YES PLEASE. Is it wrong to hope we'll see one or two of those in the barber shop for other races?

Tophbeifong is gonna be the coolest looking toon on my character selection screen, you guys.

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So I was just thinking.

In my twenty-nine years I have encountered five stories that have changed my life and the way I looked at the world. The first was Lord of the Rings. The second was Harry Potter. The third was Women On Fire. The fourth was Discworld. The fifth was You Awaken in Razor Hill.

If you play WoW, and you haven't read it, you need to follow that link right now.

If you don't play WoW, I really recommend that you read it anyway, although it may make you want to play WoW, so fair warning on that.

If you are a Supernatural fan, I can tell you that SPN gives me the same kinds of feelings as reading this story, so check that out.

I don't have a lot of homework this weekend, so I'll have time to reread it. And then I'm going to go in-game to pay my respects to certain NPCs and a certain grave site.

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Writer's Block: Tea for two

If you could spend a day with any fictional character, who would it be and what would the two of you do?


YOU GUYS REALLY DO NOT WANT ME TO ANSWER THIS RIGHT NOW. Which is of course why I am going to answer it anyway, obvs.

Suffice to say that half of the 32k words of my Mary Sue/That One Character NaNo so far is sex scenes. Gratuitous, rampantly OOC sex scenes.

The other half, lolariously, is Mary Sue explaining LHC hair care knowledge and answering questions like "What is an internet?" with statements such as "It's a series of tubes" and then bursting into uncontrollable giggles. And the two of them eating Chinese food together. And the reading of Discworld by Mary Sue to That Character. Also sometimes they take baths together, shockingly totally without having any sex in any bathtubs. And she lectures him about how he will never be king and needs to build a bridge and get over himself. And then cunningly distracts him with MOAR SEX. And they watch Firefly.

NOVEMBER IS FOR CRACK OKAY DON'T YOU DARE JUDGE ME

It's entirely possible I fail feminism forever for having a crush on this character. I wish I could say it's all Harry Lloyd's fault for being so hot, because he is, but if I'm totally honest I had a crush on this character the first time I read the book, even though I was fully aware that he was a complete and total asshole. (Possibly partly because I was fully aware that he was a complete and total asshole. This is a problem I have had for a while.)

It is also entirely possible that I have a type.

But if I were going to spend the day with a fictional character that was not the one discussed above, it would be one of the following:

This got longer than I expected, so: cut.Collapse )

Preparing for MoP

Step 1: Secure place in MoP beta by signing up for WoW Annual Pass, since we all know I'm going to be subscribed for the next twelve months anyway: check.

Step 2: Reserve the names "Tophbeifong" on my Alliance server and "Irohmushi" on my Horde server for my future Pandaren monks: check.

Step 3: ???

Step 4: Profit!

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Mists of Pandaria Wish List

(What it says on the tin.)

1. How do you fit two pandas in the back of a Mini? Open the doors and take out the elephants. We need more character slots. All the altoholics I know were desperate for them in Cata anyway, but we really need them now. Thirteen races and eleven classes? We need more than ten slots per server. I've said before I don't really see why they can't just let us have fifty toons per account (as now) on any combination of servers we feel like--one toon each on fifty servers, fifty toons on one server. I'll concede maybe they could stagger the allowed slots by server population--Full = no more toons, High = ten slots, Medium = 25, Low = 50. Or something.

2. Fat bottomed girls, you make the panda world go 'round. Please, Blizzard, I'm begging you, don't do to the Pandaren what you did to the Worgen. We wanted hunched-over monstergirls, you gave us porn stars in fursuits and then you gave them rabid Chihuahua faces and stupid hair. That was a fail. If we get skinny Pandaren women with giant implants, I'm gonna be pissed. Make them a little shorter and smaller than the men, but make them round, make them fleshy, make them full-bodied, for the love of all unholy fuck make them fat. Pandas don't have a lot of sexual dimorphism. You can give them giant tits if you absolutely must, because the Rack of Doom comes standard on many fat women anyway. But please don't give them long slender legs and tiny waists.

3. Does it come in red? Can we have some red-panda-like color options? I get that the race is based on the giant panda, but it'd give them a bit more variety. This is not a must-have for me; I just think it would be cool.

4. I'll have the bamboo, bamboo, bamboo, bamboo, baked beans, bamboo, and bamboo. Lose the "Epicurean" racial. Pandas don't love all the foods that there are. They eat one thing. Period. I'm not saying make the player characters only eat bamboo, but the idea that they are just so into All The Foods is weird to me. These are not hobbits.

5. Caution: Potential Racefail Ahead It was annoying but not actually offensive when Blizzard gave the Worgen American voices doing bad British accents. If we get bad fake Asian accents for the Pandaren, that will not be at all cool. If they can't make it not sound stereotypical and faily, I and I would imagine most players who are not total assholes would much rather they just got generic American accents.

6. Is that my face? Is that my face? I'm gathering from the stuff I'm seeing from Blizzcon that they want to redo the models for the original races but they're afraid some people will like the old models better. I'm sure they're right. There are always people who hate any change they make, and there will always be someone somewhere who thinks something stupid is better than something awesome. I'm prepared to go out on a limb and say: fuck those people. Let me keep the basic look of my face and my green puffy pigtails, but fix my lopsided boobs. Also if my character could not make a face like a mutant clown on crack when she dances, that would be good too.

7. Love keeps her in the air when she oughtta fall down. I am hearing rumors that the vanity pet battle system will allow us to name our vanity pets. I have not seen any indication of this in the official stuff, but if it is true, I would like to plead that Blizzard let us name our vanity pets even if we don't intend to battle them. My firefly has been called Serenity in my head for a long time now. I'd love to put that out there for other players to see, especially since the vanity pets no longer despawn when I take a flight path or a portal or zone into a dungeon and I can't spam my Firefly quotes macro to summon her all the time.

8. We're gonna need another Timmy. I know there is a vocal group of Death Knight players who would like to be able to name the ghoul or just to keep the same ghoul with the same name all the time. I have heard no indication that Blizzard plans to implement this in MoP but I would just like to go on record as saying, please don't do it. The whole point of the ghoul is that I am raising random corpses to do my bidding each time the old one runs out of steam and falls apart. The ghoul is not my BFF. We are not partners in crime. We don't even have a contractual relationship like that of warlocks and their minions. I certainly do not love my ghouls and I don't give them names. They are animated corpses with a low level of intelligence just sufficient to help me kill my enemies. My character sees them as useful tools that die periodically, and you sigh and you go get a new one--like a vacuum cleaner. Oh, there are always people who will evangelize about their particular brand and model of vacuum, but frankly those people have too much time on their hands. Most of us buy a middle-of-the-road model and we use it for a purpose, to get a job done. We don't give it a name. We don't talk to it. (Maybe sometimes we swear at it.) When it breaks, we don't cry, we get it fixed or we go and get a new one. And the new one is pretty much like the old one. That's what the ghoul is like to a death knight. I really fucking hope they keep it that way.

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YSPLZ

When the Pandaren meet eachother on the field they are more of WHATS UP instead of being pissed at eachother. They would probably be drinking beer right after. All the sort of anger, hatred and other negative energies become the Sha. It literally can come and bite you in the butt. They dont want to bring all that bad bagage into a fight. When a Pandaren fights he fights to reach a conclusion. When things are settled you take a beer. (source)

I cannot wait for the RP aspect of this, even if it's just the imaginary RP server in my head. I can't wait to be Monkgiggles running into another Pandaren in Tol Barad (you know, or equivalent), losing the battle, and being like, "Yeah, you guys got us that time, didn't you? I know, I know, loser buys a round."

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