Losing My Religion

REM-tableau-2 The title to this post sounds rather more ominous than it deserves, but I loved the song, and love the phrase.  Another week is passing and this is my first blog post.  I’ve found myself in a slump lately.  When I started this crazy experiment I had more topics to write about than I had time to write them.  Now as I sit here trying to drum up anything worthy of discussing, I realize that it’s become much harder.

I’m finding myself in a pretty “blah” place as far as the game goes right now.  I’m enjoying Ulduar still, and I am happy that we are making progress.  But the prospect of more content on the horizon looms over my head like the sword of Damocles.  I know without a doubt that we have more time needed before we reach the end of Ulduar than we have weeks left before the patch.  So as I look at what is coming down the pipe, I know eventually we will have to move forward.

This is the big frustration with living in the “medium-core” space (as one of our raid council members put it), you are constantly trying to temper both ends of the spectrum.  We have our more hardcore members, who actively want every single achievement, are pushing with full gusto to do hard modes, and burn through content as fast as we can.  On the other end of the spectrum, we have the players who either want to stop and smell the roses, have specific goals like obtaining X item, or only have enough playtime to show up just in time for the raid. 

Being a “casual but focused” raid means we are constantly trying to steer between the two very different pillars.  If you move too slowly, you risk losing your best players to bigger raids.  If you move too fast, you end up tearing yourselves apart at the seams while forcibly dragging players who don’t want to move.  So as raid leaders we walk this razor thin line, attempting to make everyone acceptably happy in the process…  but at the same time having to swallow many of your own hopes and aspirations in the process.

So I think a good chunk of my malaise towards posting lately is that I am myself going through a bit of a burnout from all the opposing forces surrounding me.  I think it mostly started when the first news of the new patch surfaced, my impending class nerfs, and a brand new dungeon that feels like another hamster wheel presented before us to keep the most hardcore of players from going to other games.  I am sure I will enjoy it when it arrives, but my present disdain of the argent tournament is not helping my excitement at all.

Goblin Engineering

Goblin-Shredder One of the topics that has spurred more than a bit of interest in me is the supposed “leak” of new mask textures from the last few PTR releases.  I believe MMO Champion broke the news first with their provocative topic titled:  Goblins and Worgens are the new races of the Expansion.  Two new halloween mask textures made their way into the 07/17 PTR build, and they featured a good number of curious things.  Firstly the quality of the textures shown represented something we had never seen in the existing Worgen or Goblin models.  On the Worgen side, they represented a “female” Worgen model, something that doesn’t exist in the game today even when the female humans in Grizzly Hills transform.

This started the forum crowds murmuring about the likelihood of whether or not these were legitimate racials, or if this was yet another Blizzard red herring.  A few days later, in build 10123 other masks began appearing.  So added to the pile were Murlocs, Vrykul, Ogres, and Naga.  So of course, this began the chant of players claiming that the new races were simply a figment of our collective imagination.  I am not sure if I am ready to call this as over, or to call it as a conspiracy to cover up a mistake.  However one thing you can notice immediately, is that the second set of masks do not match the level of detail as shown within the first two.  The Murloc, Naga, and Female Ogre masks are all extremely low resolution as compared to the high level of detail shown within the Goblin and Worgen masks.  Part of me wants to believe that we really DID get a glimpse of the new racial models, and that the resulting additional masks were an attempt to diffuse a mistake.

I’ve said for awhile now within guild conversations that I felt this expansion would lead to new races being introduced.  In MMO gaming, after awhile companies tend to get into patterns for releases, and I feel that blizzard has probably already hit it’s stride.  For sake of balancing the game, it is far to destructive to introduce both new races and classes at the same time.  So I feel that from this point on, Blizzard will introduce an expansion that provides new races and starting zones to grow its player base, then follow it with an expansion that introduces new classes to play.  This pattern gives one expansion to bring up a new crop of players, and then the next to reward these new players and old ones alike with new kinds of game play at its most basic level.  So following this pattern, it means that this next expansion would introduce new races…  which in turn fits the leak.

The Beta List

scroll There has been a list of “expansions” floating around the internet for years now.  The very first time it came to my attention was shortly before the announcements surrounding Burning Crusade.  Much like Nostradamas and his quatrains, it seemed to predict the progression of Azeroth.  For the sake of explaination I am reposting the list here.  I’ll make no guarantee as to its validity, but it has in fact been floating around the collective web since before the original Naxxramas patch, which is roughly when I first saw it.

Draenor Set

Azuremyst Isle – 1 to 10
Bloodmyrk Isle – 10 to 20

Eversong Forest – 1 to 10
Quel’thalas – 10 to 20
Hellfire Peninsula – 58 to 62
Zangarmarsh – 60 to 64
Terokkar Forest – 61 to 65
The Deadlands – 63 to 67
Nagrand – 64 to 68
Blade’s Edge Mountains – 66 to 70
Netherstorm – 67 to 70
Shadowmoon Valley – 69 to 70

Northrend Set

Borean Tundra – 67 to 70
Howling Fjord – 67 to 70
Dragonblight – 69 to 72
Grizzly Hills – 70 to 73
Crystalsong Forest – 72 to 75
Zul’drak – 73 to 76
Sholazar Basin – 75 to 79
Storm Peaks – 76 to 80
Icecrown Glacier – 78 to 80

Maelstrom Set

Gilneas – 77 to 80
Grim Batol – 78 to 81
Kul Tiras – 79 to 82
Kezan – 81 to 86
Tel Abim – 83 to 85
Zandalar – 84 to 87
Plunder Isle – 86 to 88
The Broken Isles – 87 to 90
The Maelstrom – 89 to 90

Plane Set

Pandaria – 1 to 10
Hiji – 10 to 20

Wolfenhold – 1 to 10
Xorothian Plains – 10 to 20

The Green Lands – 88 to 91
The Dying Paradise – 91 to 94
The Emerald Nightmare – 94 to 97
The Eye of Ysera – 97 to 100

Deephome – 88 to 91
Skywall – 91 to 94
The Abyssal Maw – 94 to 97
The Firelands – 97 to 100

Legion Set

K’aresh – 96 to 99
Argus Meadowlands – 97 to 100
Mac’Aree – 99 to 100
Maw of Oblivion – 100+
The Burning Citadel – 100+++

As you can see, for the most part the list has been accurate to this point.  Some of the final names of the zones have been different, but the wide majority of both the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King zones have been dead on.  If the list continues to predict the future, then the next expansion would in fact be related to the Maelstrom as many have speculated, which strongly fits with the recent trademark of the name Cataclysm.  In the above list, the area slotted as the staring zone for the expansion is Gilneas.

31925 Gilneas is rumored to have fallen to the influences of the Worgen.  So while the zone levels do not fit with the pattern of a starting zone, it would seem that the next expansion will in fact let us peer beyond the Greymane wall into the cloistered realm.  As far as the Goblins go, it has been long rumored that the “Sea” expansion, will let us visit the goblin continent of Undermine.  We know it has been designed based on whiteboard drawings from the Warcraft Behind the Scenes DVD.  So if the next expansion is in fact the Maelstrom, it would be the “sea” expansion and more than likely have a good deal of involvement with the Goblins as well.

So when you take the combined speculative powers of all of the above, combined with the supposed “leak” of the racial masks you can get to the point where you begin to believe that we will be playing wolves and gobbos in the next expansion.  Granted this is all a colossal feat of Imagineering, with only the most flimsy of evidence… it could happen.  After you have leapt to the conclusion, the next question you have to ask yourself is which faction will get which of the new races.

Without a doubt, in these are the new races then the Goblins will be a Horde race.  My reasoning here is pretty simple.  Goblins and Gnomes hate each other.  This has been a construct of the wow mythos since the days of beta.  The engineering might of the gnomes and the goblins will forever be pit against each other, and that in itself is reason along to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that they would end up wearing red.  But if you need further reasons, I give you this.  The horde has no “small race”.  Burning Crusade gave alliance their first “big race” with the Draenei, so in the Great Blizzard Homogenization I figure the next expansion will give the Horde their first “stunty”.  Granted I would have rather it been Iron Dwarves…  but Goblins would have been a close second.

So by elimination this leaves Worgen as being the new Alliance race, which also makes a certain amount of sense if you stop to evaluate it.  There are many bits of non-canon lore suggesting that the individuals locked behind the Greymane wall too suffer from the same Worgen curse as the inhabitants of Pyrewood Village.  Pyrewood itself is our first step on the delusional road that leads us to believing the Worgen to be Alliance sympathizers.  This Village by day is a normal run of the mill alliance town, which registers as hostile to horde players.  Every race needs a foil, so you already have the ready enemies just a zone away in the Forsaken.  It would be an easy fit for the Forsaken and Worgen forces to be opposed to each other.  Lastly in the Great Homogenization, this would give the alliance our very first REAL “Montrous Humanoid”, to use the Dungeons and Dragons term.

Granted everything I just said, is for all intents and purposes, utter bullshit.  I am by no means a lore afficianado, I haven’t even read quest text since about level 40…  so in truth I have no leg to stand on.  However this all makes a kooky kind of sense to me based on the patterns we have already seen from Blizzard.  Worgen would present the alliance with a new Shaman race, but Goblins however I really don’t see solving the paladin racial issue.  I am anxiously awaiting BlizzCon just so we can finally get some real information to replace all of this hysteria that currently abounds.  Granted I just probably fed a good number of conspiracy theorists with my blog post, but hopefully some of you Loremasters out there can tell me just how wrong I am.

2 thoughts on “Losing My Religion

  1. Well, according to canon, Tandred Proudmoore is holding the isle of Kul Tiras, which is the island between the two continents. This to me would be the most “logical” of the jumping-off points, at least for the Alliance. That is assuming that the Maelstrom is the next expansion.

    That might actually leave Gilneas as the Horde starting zone, but who knows.

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