The Lore of Yore

By now, I hope everyone who wanted to get Chronicle Vol 1 has gotten it…because from what I hear it’s sold out, or close to it, at least in the hardcover edition. And while I myself love ebooks, this is one you’re going to want in hardcover. You’ll want to hold it, caress it, stroke its pages…oh er hi.

Yes, I enjoyed the book. I can’t wait for the second volume (and all the others) to come out. In the past, I’ve always had trouble keeping track of Azerothian history, perhaps because I didn’t start playing Warcraft until 2008. This book and its companions will definitely help.

Another reason Warcraft lore has been difficult for me to keep track of is because it’s so cyclical in nature. Oh look! Here comes the Burning Legion! Ah okay, we’ve defeated them. No wait! Here they are again! Never fear, we’ve got this. Oh hey, alternate time line, gotta defeat this guy we already defeated! Also, here are some books with more alternate stuff! Whew! Wait, what’s Archimonde doing in this Orc expansion? OH HEY HERE COMES THE LEGION AGAIN…

Why? Why do they keep coming? Why do they have such a hot nut for Azeroth? But this book has helped me understand what’s going on. I get it now. And wow, they’ve been hinting at some of this all along. For instance, all the Titan artifacts we’ve been finding all over the place, and the Titans’ relationship to the Old Gods, and why the Titans haven’t come back…all explained.

Another thing I appreciate is that they explain the “madness” of Sargeras. As someone who grew up with mental illness, I never appreciated the idea of a villain who was irrevocably evil simply because he “went mad”. I get enough of that crap as it is. People don’t just “go mad”, and “madness” doesn’t make a person irredeemable. Perhaps there’s nothing I can do to change that person, but I want to believe that every bad person has some little spark of good – of Light – in them. There is probably nobody who can “reach” Sargeras now, but the fact that, in his own mind anyway, he is justified and “right” in what he is doing makes a huge amount of difference to me. There is still a little too much of the idea of “absolute” evil for my taste, but at least it’s mitigated a little by understanding some of the motivations behind the darkness.

So yes, I loved this book, and I will continue to buy the Chronicle series as they come out. I do have one complaint about this book, though: the writing style. It’s so very overwrought, with “untold” this and “towering” that. There’s so much of this in fantasy writing, and it’s really not necessary, even when you’re writing about “ancient” subjects. Tolkien got away with it in The Silmarillion, but most writers simply can’t pull it off, and the authors of Chronicle are no exception. However, to find out the answers to my lore questions, I’m willing to put up with it.

And here’s my guilty secret: I might even (gasp) commit fanfiction, based on some of what I’ve learned. I haven’t done that in years (and I’ll admit to only one attempt, complete with overwrought language), but I’m feeling rather inspired. Stay tuned!

What Do You Mean, There’s Nothing to Talk About?

I was listening to a new (to me) podcast this morning; the hosts said, as so many other podcast hosts have been saying, that there’s “nothing going on” in World of Warcraft, no news to report and so on.

Meanwhile, I just bought Chronicle Vol I. My Twitter feed is constantly exploding with new Legion stuff that’s been datamined or announced. There’s a movie coming out this summer (it’s not being well-publicized, which is curious, but it definitely looks good from what I can tell). Hearthstone just added a new character that you need to level a new (or under 20, anyway) toon to 20 in WoW to get. And that’s just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head.
But there’s nothing going on…
Listen, I get it. Blizzard originally announced that this expansion would be only a year in length, which meant that everyone pushed even harder than usual to level their mains (and as many alts as possible) to 100 in anticipation of a short raiding season. Then, after less content than was a) usual and b) promised, Blizzard dragged the final content raiding out for a year anyway (it hasn’t been a year yet, but it will be at least that by the time Legion drops). This expansion is definitely a bit shorter than previous ones, but not enough so to justify the relative lack of content, plus the huge blowup about flying has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. It feels like there’s nothing going on.
And Blizzard is probably being a little bit more quiet than is usual before an expansion. I can think of a couple of reasons for this, though. One is that they hyped Warlords of Draenor half to death, but they ended up losing a lot of subscribers by the time patch 6.1 dropped. Possibly they don’t want to go crazy with marketing for Legion, for that reason. In addition, a couple of tentative decisions by the developers have been met with a huge outcry (and in at least one case, outright abuse) by the player base, and so there may be less of a desire to talk about plans because of that (although I don’t necessarily agree that that’s a good idea, I can understand it). 
So I can agree that, relative to early in the expansion, there is not a lot going on. There wasn’t a lot going on at the end of the last expansion either, or the one before that, or the one…you get the idea. Yet the hosts of the podcast I was listening to seemed to feel that it was the end of this expansion in particular that had nothing going on, as opposed to the end of any other expansion. And that’s what I don’t get.
I’m not talking about what there is to do in game. Depending on whether or not you actually want to do it, there is a ton to do: farming old content, alt leveling, gearing up, gold making, and so on. Nobody actually disputes that, whether or not they actually want to do this stuff. What they say is that there’s nothing to talk about.
And I just don’t agree. There’s always something to talk about. For instance, you can pick a spec and talk about what you think it might be like to play in Legion, given the things we now know. Most players who don’t want spoilers are talking about the story line, so it shouldn’t be a problem to do that. Or you can talk about the history of something. Or how you are (or could be) making gold right now. Or raiding.
But that’s been done to death! you might say. Oh, has it? How many podcasters are there, all talking about the same game? No matter what you decide to talk about, you or someone else has probably already covered it at least once. But maybe your audience has shifted in membership. Maybe you have a new thought about it. Maybe you have a potential guest who hasn’t held forth on that topic before and can present some new opinions. Maybe a new player to the game (and there are always new players) hasn’t heard it already.
Some of my favorite podcasts involve people just talking about whatever aspect of playing the game comes into their heads, no matter if it’s “new” (or “news”) or not, just because they love playing. I never hear them say there’s nothing to talk about. In fact, they have to rein it in sometimes because they’re about to run over their time. 
Another podcast I really like had a whole series on starting zones. So many of us have so many alts that we’ve played every starting zone a billion times, even given the reboot when Cataclysm dropped…and yet, that series was interesting, because it was new to (at least one of) them. Talking about stuff that everybody already knows doesn’t have to be boring. 
I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a podcast of my own, off and on – I’ve had a lot of encouragement, but I’m not 100% there yet. I’m hesitating because I’m not sure I have the time to commit. But I am not worried about having enough to talk about, in this end of expansion lull. I’m more worried about being able to stop talking.