Quick Update

Right, so, things have been dead here for a bit and I wanted to explain why.

  1. A few weeks back I was in Chicago for a few days, visiting friends and going to a wedding. Was a great trip, but the hotel didn’t have good wifi and it was the Tonberry King’s first big travel, so there wasn’t a lot of free time for me to blog.
  2. We came home to find our door kicked open and a bunch of our stuff gone, so a lot of mental space was then taken up doing inventory and reporting for law enforcement and insurance.
  3. There have been a couple of computer issues that cropped up at inconvenient times, because if I want to write and that writing requires research, but the research is impossible to do because YouTube won’t load videos in a timely manner, and the situation can’t be troubleshot because it’s clearly an ISP problem, and after I’ve tried to troubleshoot it myself I’ve lost the inspiration for the post and the baby wakes up… well, that means no writing, and a lot of frustration.

Things have thankfully calmed down, and we’ve replaced most of the big stuff that we lost. Then Patch 5.4 hit, and my free time has been taken up playing that rather than writing about the game… and while there’s a lot to be said about the patch, I think I’ve missed the boat a bit in terms of being able to write something original about it. Briefly, though:

  • The Timeless Isle is pretty cool, but I expect that the experience of it is dulled by the boatload of players who are also on the island, camping rares, turning General into Shrine Trade, or rolling around in PVP hunter-killer groups. It’s ambitious but I need some narrative distance before I can write on whether it’s a success for Blizzard or not.
  • I’m pretty happy about how the Horde/Alliance ending cinematics for SoO worked out, but I’m pretty upset about Jaina’s characterization and how much it feels like a gross heel turn for her. The problem is that I feel any argument I make to that effect will fall on deaf ears with Blizzard because Kosak is convinced that Jaina’s portrayal in the game has built appropriately to this super-aggressive version. Ultimately, I think that many of the qualities of Jaina’s character that I really cared for in the past have been stripped away so that she could be the violent human warmonger, since that role isn’t working for Varian Wrynn any longer. (There really is a bigger post on that, but again, I need some distance from the problem.)
  • Haven’t been able to get into SoO in any mode yet, but I am looking forward to it. Might need to give LFR a week for the population to get a clear sense on how to do the fights; being a cloth DPS means that I’ll be in queue for a long time, and I can’t afford having a bunch of wipes eat up the limited hours I’ve got while the boy’s napping.

So I’m going to work on getting regular here again; we’ve got a long road ahead of us, seven weeks to BlizzCon, and I think there will be a lot of talk about between now and then. ^_^

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3 thoughts on “Quick Update

  1. Welcome back. I’m curious as to your thoughts regarding the selection of Vol’Jin as Warchief (and the way Thrall basically just said “here, you’re the warchief now” rather than putting it to a vote among the other leaders.).

    I’m incredibly disappointed with the new Jaina, especially now that it seems I’m on the Alliance again with almost all of my characters. It was very clearly established in the end of Tides of War that Jaina got over her homicidal war-mongering phase. That’s been ignored. There’s nothing left of the original Jaina that was so strongly committed to peace that she was willing to fight her own father. That character has been dismantled.

    It’s disappointing, because I feel like with Jaina’s transition into the resident “hot-blooded warmonger,” there is now a serious dearth of strong, likable female characters. Tyrande has been MIA since WarCraft 3. Sylvanas is only likable if you’re playing a Fosaken.

    I don’t know, I guess I’m just really disappointed. Even though I spent most of my WoW career on the Horde, Jaina was one of my favorite characters. It feels like she was sacrificed to make Varian seem more reasonable and likable, which just sucks.

    • On Vol’jin: given the Stackpole novel, Vol’jin’s center-stage performance in early 5.1 and in 5.3, and the constant refrain among the fanbase that everyone is still full up on Thrall since Cataclysm, I find Vol’jin’s selection to be both appropriate and a paradigm shift. Keep in mind that when Thrall said that Vol’jin was the Warchief, all of the other leaders basically gave their approval, albeit silently. That counts as a vote and is far more dramatic besides, which the cinematic needed to sell.

      In other news, the Horde’s never really been run as a democracy; Thrall appointed Garrosh without getting any kind of council approval, and previous warchiefs were typically selected by the old one getting shanked by the new one or the old one, as a dying act, saying “here, I just took an arrow in the back but you should totally put my armor on so the grunts don’t lose faith.”

      Kosak’s rebuttal regarding Jaina is that her condition at the end of Tides of War isn’t her condition before the cinematic; his assertion, both implicit and explicit, is that Jaina’s second betrayal by the Sunreavers in 5.1 and the subsequent Purge of Dalaran are the events that triggered her into losing any and all remaining faith in the Horde. Which is a pretty awful justification for the dismantling of her character, as you put it, but from a developer POV, the character arc makes sense when you take it at face value.

      It’s George Lucas answering criticisms about Jar Jar Binks is an immature and racist character by saying “this is a movie for young people, and Jar Jar was written to appeal to young people. By and large that worked.”

      I don’t like the implication that Warcraft as a franchise isn’t “for me” anymore because Jaina is Blizzard’s plaything and they can dress her however they like. But Jaina doing a heel turn pretty much kills the character for me. She’s not the only thing holding me to the franchise, but she’s certainly someone I was attached to and this turn, even if it had been sold better than it has been, breaks that attachment. It burns me from getting attached to characters in this IP, and the fewer attachments I have to the thing the less I can justify the time spent paying attention to it.

      Admittedly, that’s one of the big reasons that I haven’t taken the time to compose a big post about the Jaina thing: ultimately it borders on depressing at best and “why should I stick with this franchise” at worst. That’s just not a question I’m willing to confront right now.

      • I know the story arc was set up to lead to Warchief Vol’jin, but I won’t deny that when Rommath said Lor’themar would make a good Warchief and the Regent Lord muses that it might be necessary, I was like “blood elf for Warchief!” I realize that it was never a serious option, of course; the player revolt to that would be massive.

        The problem with the Purge of Dalaran as justification for her complete reversal of how she was at the end of Tide of War is that she’s later reversed again during the confrontation with Lor’themar on the Isle of Thunder. She’s talked down by both Lor’themar and Taran Zhu. It feels like the writers are trying to push Jaina down this particular arc of war-monger, but the character herself keeps trying to self-correct. It’s like she’s caught in a heel-face revolving door.

        The part that’s difficult for me is that it feels like the racial leaders are meant to house our story aspirations. It feels like we’re meant to identify with our particular leader as a stand-in for our own characters, since our characters can’t contribute to the story as anything more than “these brave heroes.” The Forsaken have this attitude especially reinforced if you play through the revamped Silverpine Forest quests. “Kneel before your queen, (player name).” No idea if this holds true for characters of other races, since I haven’t played all of them.

        It’s entirely possible that’s just my own projection and not one shared by the larger player-base. I think, however, it’s the reason I’ve almost completely abandoned my mains in favor of my druid alt who is, at the moment, leveling through Outland. It’s like going back in time to a previous part of the story.

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