WoW: The day the elves died (and I laughed)

Who said that Christmas doesn’t come in summer? Because Blizzard just wrapped up a whole bunch of dying, crying elves and left it under my tree (which was burning with even more elves inside). I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. Sorry, firstborn child of mine, that memory has been supplanted by Sylvanas deciding to go “full roast” on an elf city. You’ll understand one day, son.

So yeah, Blizzard released a new pre-Battle for Azeroth cutscene and the next stage of the prologue quests, and the community lost its collective minds. Every YouTuber who had spent weeks creating complex conspiracy theory videos over who burned down the World Tree was caught dumbfounded as Blizzard went with the most simplistic, nonsensical, and obvious answer.

It doesn’t really make any sense, I’m on board with that. I don’t care, of course, because if I have to sacrifice lore to see hundreds if not thousands of elves go “poof” in this game, then I’m happy to make that sacrifice.

And it doesn’t make sense, does it. I can’t even figure out the logistics of trying to burn down a tree of that magnitude when the Horde are firing relatively small catapults across a sizable sound. Even if they hit, they’re only able to really target a pretty small section of the tree itself, since they can’t fire on the sides or back, so there’s no way a fire could spread all the way around and on top that quickly (and there really shouldn’t have been any firing arcs with those catapults that could reach the top of the tree).

And you ever try to burn little sticks of green wood? Good luck with that. Now try a huge tree that has lakes and rivers on top of it with lots of growing, leafy stuff.

As an Alliance player, I was sent to help with the spontaneous evacuation of Darnassus and presumably dozens of very confused Night Elf level 1 characters. The quest asked me to tag around 952 elf civilians in a rather short amount of time, perhaps trying to show how futile my efforts would be.

You know, if I actually made any effort at all. Instead, I stood amid the burning wreckage of this tree fort and laughed and laughed and laughed. Best. Day. Ever. And I got free mounts out of it! Thanks dead elves!

In all seriousness, this cutscene and the new Old Soldier cinematic has actually gotten me more excited and invested in Battle for Azeroth than, well, anything that Blizzard has done or said up to this point. It’s divisive, it’s stirring the community, it’s causing a lot of debate, it’s triggered an in-game protest, and it’s laying a foundation for an uncertain start to a new chapter of the game. There’s a lot of knee-jerk reactions about how this is dumb and illogical and botches storytelling, but when I step back and look at how Blizzard is rolling out these story segments (the cinematics and the quests) and how it must have planned all this for a good long while now, I’m starting to get the sense that there’s something a lot more interesting here than fans can see.

So yeah, I’m on board. I’m not sobbing over broken lore or having a hissy fit over a well-known genocidal sociopath doing what she’s already done before. As was pointed out elsewhere, it’s very interesting that the Old Soldier cinematic directly calls back to the cover of Warcraft III — a game that ended in the destruction of a world tree. Blizzard is lashing BFA to Warcraft III through many ways, and I think we’ll see a lot more before all is said and done.

With that done and nothing much else to do, I decided I’d try to assemble a transmog set from a Warlords of Draenor raid. Have no idea if I can actually solo one, probably can’t, but why not try?

Except that I found out that my Horde Warlock — whom I boosted to 110 as my BFA pre-order perk — had absolutely no garrison hearthstone. That set me aback. In the Legion pre-order, you’d get a level 100 boosted character who would come with a pretty decked-out garrison as a perk. I did some research and found out that Blizzard doesn’t consider garrisons relevant content in the least any more so it elected not to add them to boosted characters.

That kind of stunk if I wanted to get to Draenor and had no hearthstone handy. So I actually went through the starter quests of WoD and got to the point where I could build my basic Horde garrison (my first on that faction, actually) and get the hearthstone. Then it was some romping through the fields, taking screenshots and picking up flight points.

Since I only came to Draenor late in that expansion’s life cycle, I still don’t have flying for this one part of the game — and I don’t have this hatred toward garrisons that others seem to have developed. I think garrisons could be salvaged and repurposed, but of course that’s never going to happen so why bother coming up with ways it could be done? Looking at that system and the gorgeous zones, I’m reminded that there were some good parts of this now-despised expansion — at least in the beginning.

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11 thoughts on “WoW: The day the elves died (and I laughed)

  1. Tesh August 6, 2018 / 10:06 pm

    I liked Draenor, except for the rep grind to unlock flight. Then again, I didn’t play 20 hours a week, so I didn’t burn out on it.

  2. Athie August 7, 2018 / 9:12 am

    Jokiness notwithstanding, I’m feeling a bit creeped out by your glee at the depicted deaths of thousands of people that you dislike because they remind you of real-life people that you dislike…

  3. scholargipsy August 7, 2018 / 10:04 am

    I’m with Athie. I recognize the difference between make-believe and reality, but especially coming from a man whose professed faith preaches forgiveness and nonviolence, the whole anti-elf thing has crossed over from a weird but harmless affectation to something decidedly unnerving.

  4. Pitrelli August 9, 2018 / 2:52 am

    I enjoyed WoD however the game felt far too linear in terms of progression through each zone. It always felt you were on a tight leash.

    As for the elves? The only good elf is a dead elf… Or an undead elf in this case. All hail the lich queen

  5. Athie August 9, 2018 / 9:33 am

    So: letting Scholargipsy and my comments sit unanswered for days seems to imply that we got the intended message here, and your elf-killing joy really is aimed at real-life hippies, pagans, etc.? In which case, I’m glad you don’t know where I live, Justin.

  6. Syp August 9, 2018 / 11:35 am

    Dark Lady watch over us!

  7. Syp August 9, 2018 / 11:48 am

    They’re pretend. I don’t think you do quite understand the difference here. Elves aren’t representative of any real people or cultures, they’re these idolized, idealized, and fetishized fictional races that are kind of horrible and way too pervasive in fantasy.

  8. Syp August 9, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    If the main concern here is the descriptor “hippie” — which I was using to describe the style of the tree-city and not the people — then I’ll gladly remove it. I have no hatred for hippies (my mother was one!) nor a cause to offend over the use of that language. Just was writing this as a comedy piece, as usual around here.

  9. Athie August 9, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    Fair enough. I was reacting to years of hearing you talk about elves, not just this post. My recollection is that you’ve objected to them as hippies, nature-worshipers, tree huggers, and holier-than-thou. All of which is how people often negatively describe envionmentalists etc. If the objection is really just to elves as an overused trope, I’ll just go back to genially disagreeing. 😁

    For what it’s worth, I wasn’t offended — more unnerved and worried that I maybe was a very unwelcome part of your audience. Happy to be wrong!

  10. Syp August 10, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    Nobody’s unwelcome here, trust me, nor am I out to make anyone feel that way!

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