Category Archives: Eastern Kingdom
So it’s Noblegarden time again, and tradition dictates that I make some kind of post about a rabbit. Luckily, I’ve got a doozy of a hare-raising tale that keep you hopping. Oh I’ve hinted at it, and I’ve mentioned it, but now it’s time to actually talk about. In the heart of Forsaken territory, beneath the still waters of a small pond, lies an unimaginable terror beyond comprehension:
A GIANT BUNNY SKELETON! No, seriously. Take a look at that thing. Look at the bones! It’s a bunny. With giant pointy teeth and huge dangerous claws. I mean, this thing is probably was the most dangerous critter in the history of Azeroth and I am INCLUDING the Darkmoon Rabbit in that. I mean, Thrall’s balls, that is one big bunny. Where do you think it came from and how the hell did someone kill it?
Well, I wouldn’t be posting if I didn’t have some theories now would I? The first piece of evidence is quite possibly the location of the Devil Rabbit. Tirisfal Glades is home to, well, a number of weird things. From the ongoing fan theory that an Old God dwells beneath the surface contributing to everything from the corruption of Prince Arthas to the slow maddening descent of the current ruler, Lady Windrunner. The Old God’s ability to twist living things to their needs can easily be witnessed in the “Faceless” and the Qiraji. However, I am not one hundred percent on this idea. Simply because it seems unlikely that an Old God would choose something like a rabbit to be its minion to bring destruction amongst the living. Unless the Old God happens to be Sheogorath. Then it makes perfect sense. Because it doesn’t make any sense. Who wants cheese?
I suppose there is some merit to having a giant bunny become a tormented bringer of the end times. For one, just imagine the utter confusion it would cause. No one would come to anyone’s defense. I mean, would you send your military forces to aid a neighboring city or land because they’re claiming a giant devil rabbit is slaughtering everyone? No. You’d think they’d gone mad and stopped returning their owls. Second, is that if the bunny is some horrible nightmarish lovecraftian nightmare, people might hesitate about killing the giant adorable death machine. Even a seconds hesitation is enough to give beelzebunny a chance to devour you and your kin!
Another possibility lies in the fairy ring that lies in the western hills of Tirisfal. Perhaps the fairy ring is a link to the Emerald Dream, where nature rules supreme! Ages ago, a living terror burst forth from this ring into the unsuspecting lands of Azeroth. From deep within the dream, a simple bunny grew massive and powerful and… okay, honestly I have no idea if there’s any backing to this Emerald Dream theory. That fairy ring is weird. A giant bunny is weird. That’s about the extent of the link. But you have to admit, I’ve had further reaching theories in the past.
For all we know, this thing could be ancient. Possibly even pre-dating the titans. Unless we find out in an expansion or two that rabbits were only made of stone and blah blah blah. Unlikely. This thing could be a prehistoric bunny. Possible an ancestor to the weapon carrying death critters that dwell north of Mulgore. Which would mean that this thing would pre-date the Shattering! Or the Sundering. Whichever of those is older. Cause let’s be honest, the Sundering was more of a Shattering and the Shattering more of a Sundering really.
The other thing is how the hell did it die? I mean, did someone kill it? Did they use a spear and magic freaking helmet to do it? Did it drown in some ancient quicksand hole? Did it drown in the tiny pond because giant death bunnies can’t swim?! The possibilities are endless. Though likely it was something along the lines of the quicksand idea because its head and one arm is apparently higher than most of its body. Seems like it was trying to flee from being dragged under. I still really like the spear and magic helmet idea though.
Really, the biggest question is why no one in the Undercity is trying to come up with a way to ressurect it. While they seem to have had only success raising dead humans (even cursed humans like worgen are impossible), it’s not out of the absolute range of possibilities. After all, the Lich King had the frostwyrms. They were raised dragons. So there must be SOME way to bring back a giant bunny o’ killomatic from beyond the grave. Heck, you can do it with archaeology! So someone get the Royal Apothecary Society on the job! And while they’re at it, they can slap a saddle on that thing. I wants me a new mount! Mwa ha ha!
If there is one thing I’ve noticed while going through the new Cataclysm 1 to 60 “experience” (because that’s the only marketing buzz word I can dig out of my brain that can accurately match the amazingly well done revision to the game in my opinion) is that someone at Blizzard – or all of Blizzard – really, REALLY likes pirates. People like to bicker constantly over who Blizzard favors more: Horde or the Alliance – but really the question should be focused on the age-old battle of pirates and ninjas. The fact that there are no less than 3 zones that feature pirates heavily, and several subzones that have pirate related quest chains, and as far as I’ve seen there are NO ninja related storylines thus far indicates a huge imbalance on the Pirate/Ninja front. From a company that likes to tote their supposed focus on “balance,” this is – dare I say it? A slap in the face!
I will admit, even as a staunch ninja supporter, I am willingly to indulge in a bit of piratey fun, but come on Blizz! Would it kill you to put a bit more ninja in the World of Warcraft? The best we get is a Halloween disguise, the Deviate Delight disguise and a frickin’ sword. That’s it. Need I remind the jury that ninja movies out number pirate movies by a fair amount? It’s not like there’s a lack of stuff to draw from. Especially when you essentially have a NINJA CLASS in the form of the subtlety and assassin rogues. But no, instead we get tons of trendy pirate movie references on top of pirate quest chains, pirate cities and pirate zones!
That’s right, Cataclysm added a bunch of references to movies. Probably the most blatant being following around Harrison Jones around and doing his grunt work for entire zone (I preferred helping the cat people). But I’m shocked at how many Pirates of the Caribbean references have been snuck into the game. Most of them fairly easy to miss. Today I’m only going to talk about the big three I found, but if you’ve spotted more feel free to put them in the comments section, I’m kind of curious to how many I may have overlooked.
The most obvious allusion the Pirates of the Caribbean movies comes from the Kelp’thar Forest of Vashj’ir. Poor Budd Nedreck, the guy can’t catch a break in his money-making schemes. He wants you to help reclaim some new “shinies” (which every time he says that word I’m reminded of a particular wild child in the Veldt) but sadly, the shinies make anyone who touches them turn into a skeleton. Sounds familiar. The best pay off for the quest is what you bring him back to “cure” the curse. It’s a hammer. Just a hammer to break the shiny. That has nothing to do with Pirates of the Caribbean, but I must admit, I was in stitches laughing at that.
The Off the Beaten Path
Now these references become a bit more interesting. This one can be somewhat easy to miss if you just rush by and miss some of the emotes that would draw your attention to it, especially since there’s no quest associated with it, although there is one near it. Just south of Ratchet, along the coast line there is an area where the Northwatch guard has taken control of the former pirate dock. The Horde will receive a couple of quests here including one that sends you to speak with Baron Longshore, who is comfortably sitting in a locked cage. However, sitting near the Baron is another group of Southsea Freebooters that will eventually speak to a nearby dog named Charlie. If you look closely, you’ll see that Charlie is holding what appears to be a key in his mouth.
Anyone who is familiar with either the Pirates of the Caribbean movies or ride will instantly recognize this famous scene of pirates attempting to lure a dog with keys with a bone, but it’s easy to miss if you don’t catch one of the occasional pirate emotes or saying something to try to lure Charlie in. However, I question the logic of leaving the key with this dog. This isn’t a jail. It’s an open area on the coast of a highly contested area between the Horde and the Alliance, not to mention the goblins of Ratchet and the Southsea Freebooters.
Having a random animal carry your key seems like a terrible idea. Even if you train it well enough to not run off into the Barrens sunset, you’ve stuck the poor animal in an area where there’s massive amounts of bloodshed in a zone known for its copious number of hunting quests. Honestly, it’s not like it would hurt to put the keys on a peg on the wall. It would actually be better. 1) It would sit further away from the cage. 2) IT WON’T RUN AWAY AT THE FIRST WHIFF OF STEAK.
The One and Only Chance
This last one is named as such because there’s only a small opening to see this pirate reference before its gone forever. Namely because it only shows up during a phased event during the Booty Bay quest line to infiltrate the Bloodsail Buccaneers (I am just now noticing how fond pirates seem to be of alliteration). At the end of the chain, the Bloodsail will wage an all out attack on Booty Bay in trying to claim the town for their own once and for all, during this time the Bloodsail and their allies will be running amok all along the streets.
However, a trio of musical worgen will be sitting on the roof of the first large building in Booty Bay (The one they sell parrots and weapons in. Cause you know, those go well together.) These worgen will sit on the roof and sing their own wolfy rendition of ‘A Pirate’s Life for Me.’ It’s actually pretty funny and got me to sit there and listen as the pirates ransack the city. Perhaps that was their plan all along. A musical distraction so they can plunder freely…
You know when I say that out loud it seems rather silly. But how I can possibly argue against it when it worked! I sat through the entire thing! I waited to see if the next time was really just a repeat or a second verse! All the while Bloodsail pirates are running around me, attacking semi-innocent goblins, and creating mayhem. So there you go. Next time you’re in a raid, you don’t need an off tank, just a drunk bard belting out some garbled incantation to the approximate tune of ‘It’s a Small World After All.’
So there are three quick references to the ever-expanding-and-me-growing-less-and-less-interested-in Pirates of the Caribbean movies (I still like the ride). Maybe once we find them all, Blizzard will finally dig up some ninja and kung fu references to splice into their game world. Master Betty Pain, anyone?
Location: Amberstill Ranch, Dun Morogh
Okay, how come every single time I end up talking about Dun Morogh, it also ends up being some kind of kinky innuendo laced sex joke? What is it with dwarves anyway? They like putting some boom in the bedroom, dirty old priests hide out in their backyard, and now I find a mild mannered dwarven hovel that has a basement ripped straight from a trashy harlequin novel!
Imagine it, you come home from the frozen and icy hills of Dun Morogh, just getting off patrol and stopping some random Horde warlock punk from blitzing Kharanos with a rain of fire from atop the roof of the tavern, and the first thing that hits you is the immense warmth of a roaring fireplace. You follow the stairs down around the edge of the interior to find rose petals strewn across the bear skin rug. Following the fragrant path of rose petals, you find they lead you right into a warm cozy bed full of hairy dwarf manliness! Strikes quite a picture right?
Speaking of pictures, there’s a downright creepy one right at the bottom of the stairs with big googley eyes. It almost looks like one of those pictures from Scooby Doo where the moment Shaggy and Scoob wander off, the eyes start following them because they’re actually just the bad guy hiding behind… the… portrait… HEY WAIT! You don’t think that’s what is going on here, do you? Some decked out trashy romance scene set to lure in unsuspecting dwarves into a moment of sweaty dwarf banging while whoever is secretly behind this painting is watching?! Oh god! I knew there were some messed up people in Azeroth, but they usually are fairly identifiable by wearing dark colors or overly dramatic monologues. This is… this is just disturbing. Who do you think is hiding behind that picture? Has to be a dwarf. A gnome would rig up a more elaborate system of self-editing video cameras, and humans… well, they have Goldshire now don’t they?
I can only imagine that this elaborate set up was put together by a fairly lonely dwarf. I mean, in a society that is built on a total of two principles: Studying the past and getting #$%&-faced, you can only imagine that dwarves would be going at it like bunnies whenever they found the chance (Perhaps that explains all the actual bunnies as well.) So what kind of dwarf would want to build this love bungalow just for the purpose of spying on OTHER dwarves getting lucky? Must lead a sad, sad life. I can only imagine this degree of voyeurism is probably illegal too. Which would explain the four guards standing outside to guard this little house. They’re waiting to catch this depraved and disgusting dwarf! That or their taking turns using the umm… “facilities.”
Where? The Blue Recluse, Stormwind Mage Quarter
His name is Steven Lohan. He works and operates a small tavern in the mage district of Stormwind. He has a brother, he has employees, and he seems to have a good life. But Steven Lohan is a lie. Because in the chaos and panic of the Shattering, as Deathwing destroyed the Park for the sake of plot convenience for when Chris Metzen had no real answer as to why the worgen had go to Darnassus, the man who was once named Steven Lohan was silenced, and without a single soul noticing, vanished from the world in a flash of claws and a small splash of blood on cloth.
Why do I say this? What right do I have to claim that this “man” is not Steven Lohan? Because during Patch 4.0.3a, something happened to good old Steve. He started saying funny things. With an accent he previously never had before. He began barking, “Get gabbin’ or get goin’!” at patrons. No one knew what to make of it – it was such an odd thing for him to say. However, if you asked a night elf about it, they’d know instantly that this new Steven Lohan is not a Stormwind resident at all… BUT A GILNEAN INFILTRATOR! (Dun dun Duuuuun)
No joke, for some reason when Cataclysm hit the live servers, this random guy who no one really had any reason to interact with in the game (I don’t think he even had any dialogue besides the normal click-on-them responses) just suddenly and without reasoning decided to become a Gilnean. This is an excellent argument for the people who want to claim that there are worgen in Stormwind just hiding out in human guise, because well… here’s one.
Granted, there’s the chance that Stevie was a defected Gilnean that struggled against the odds to climb past the Greymane Wall, survived the harsh trek across the haunted vales of Silverpine, the warzones of Hillsbrad, the beastie infested swamps of the Wetlands, and the Dwarf riddled lands of Dun Morogh until he eventually made it to Stormwind where he learned to suppress his accent and worked as a shoe shiner until he had enough money to open up his own tavern. However, things turned for the worse and a warlock bar opened up just up the street, and thus began a life long rivalry as Steven fought and struggled with his family, his alcoholism, his stressful marriage to a Kirin Tor woman (they are very strict) in the Lifetime Original Movie… Howling for Home: The Steven Lohan Story.
That or he was a worgen that showed up and killed the original Steven and took his place. You tell me which sounds more likely.
Where? Stormwind Canals
Have I got a whale of a tale for ya. It ain’t no fish story either. More of a boot story really. You see, down in the canals of Stormwind city there are a pair of young men – Billy and Adam. Two young boys who seem the same as any of the other children running about Stormwind. They’re young, cheerful and enjoy their fishing. However, if you follow these two around you’ll quickly notice somethings amiss. Either Billy is a pathological liar or Adam is the most skeptical grade schooler I’ve ever seen.
Billy likes to tell fishing stories. Most are akin to the stories you hear all the time about fishing. You know, “I caught one THIS big” or “It was the catch of the lifetime and it got away from me.” Or something like that. I don’t fish much. I suck at it in real life. Don’t judge me. Anyway, Billy’s stories tend to have a grain of truth in them. A golden fish that grants 3 wishes, a fish big enough to eat a man whole, or fish that walk on land and hunt – all have a bit of something that’s actually in the game somewhere. I haven’t the slightest clue how he actually knows these things, the only time he’s apparently been away from Stormwind was when he was at camp (and caught a fish bigger than he was!) and if camp is teaching kids about giant monster fish, it’s come a long way since singing the ‘Cat Came Back’ and eating Lunchables. The only hint we ever get to where he might have learned all this is that he will sometimes mention his father, who is never named or seen, and since Billy has no last name in the game, fat chance trying to track him down in the city registry.
Heck the only person in the world that would have some of this weird esoteric knowledge of fishing (and didn’t have internet access and knowledge of WoWwiki or WoWhead) would be Nat Pagle. That creepy fisherman who lives in some manner of self-appointed exile on an island in Dustwallow Marsh. Could he be Billy’s father? Sure. Why not. Then again any adult human male could be Billy’s father. Heck there’s another hermit fishing dude off in the corner of Westfall. The only reason Nat could even be considered for speculation for Billy’s dad is that Nat is probably the only well known fisherman who could possibly know about things like Tethyr or a mystical “golden fish” that could grant wishes (To be fair, Mr. Pinchy does drop in the same waters that Golden Darters swim in.) I mean we are talking about the man who knew the whereabouts of the Ashbringer (The Ashbringer… the Ashbriner… there I did for you) way before Naxxramas arrived in Vanilla. Even the Shendralar learned about it because of Nat Pagle’s book. So maybe he is Billy’s real father.
That is unless Adam knows something that we don’t. See, Billy’s friend Adam is eternally chained to Billy’s side. He’s heard every one of these stories a few hundred times already and he’s clearly not impressed. In fact, he doesn’t even believe Billy. Even worse, Billy’s non stop mouth seems to be constantly scaring the fish in the canals off so Adam can’t catch anything. To be fair, if I were Adam, they would have found Billy’s body in the canals ages ago with a fishing pole through him (We at OddCraft do not condone child murder. We do however find poetic justice hilarious.) I might wager that since these two are constantly hanging out that they probably know each other, and I’m assuming they know each other’s parents. The fact that Adam isn’t willing to believe that Billy could catch a boot, let alone what Billy’s Dad supposedly told him speaks pretty loudly to the idea that Billy’s father is not Nat Pagle, Billy is just an idiot who happens to coincidentally be correct.
Then again, I suppose that they both could be orphans. Which would explain Adam’s frustrations, and bring up a lot of questions about Billy’s mental health. After all, walking talking fish on land is just a myth… Like yetis… or Dragons.
Poor poor insane Billy.
Where? The Burning Steppes
You ever notice that there’s always been a strong association with fighting and dogs? And I don’t mean in the abusive illegal Michael Vick kind of way (See that? That’s topical humor right there. Well, for me at least). But on an Alliance quest in the heart of the Burning Steppes, you are given the task of collecting 50 (Yup. Fifty.) Blackrock Medallions from the orcs of the Blackrock clan around the area. Sounded pretty simple, so I head off and start whacking orcs left and right. But then there’s also these worgs that the orcs have around, and you won’t believe it, they drop the medals too. The hell?
So are the worgs part of the Blackrock forces? I mean, I know that they are the pets of the Blackrock clan and are used as guard dogs or sentries and often follow around the orcs to assist in battle much as a hunter’s pet would, but are these medals to indicate that the beasts actual hold some manner of rank? Is there a separate chain of command for the worgs? Do the newbie orcs and wolves start out in the same place? I can imagine the boot camp must have been pretty dog eat dog (/rimshot). It kind of makes me wonder about promotions. Do you think a worg could ever become an officer? I can only imagine there’s a pretty harsh concrete ceiling to military ranks for canines. However, seeing General Spuds MacKenzie delivering a speech to a mountain full of orcs is an awesome mental image.
I suppose the other possibility would be that the worgs actually started eating the orcs and thus would have the medals, but I really can’t see the orcs continuing to use animals that would routinely just eat them. Seems slightly counter productive in my opinion. I mean, orcs aren’t stupid. Ogres maybe, but certainly not orcs. So the medals have to be for the worgs (granted, that idea doesn’t help my previously stated case that orcs aren’t stupid) but what were they for? Did the worgs see some action and earn the medals? Maybe there was an all wolf platoon during the Second War. A down and dirty group of dogs of war that fought in the trenches with their orc allies to end the Alliance’s tyranny of… um… giving the table scraps to the cats? Humans do seem to have a pretty strong cat theme going, whether it’s Stormwind or Dalaran, there are cats to be found. So maybe that’s why the worgs signed on with the Blackrock orcs?
Okay, but how long does a worg live? The Second War (the last time the Blackrock’s actually participated in a war) was years ago, these have got to be some pretty old dogs. You think they all sit around, play cards, and drink toilet water, while swapping old war stories around a fold up card table on Thursday nights? Maybe they sit on park benches around the desolate and flaming landscape under the shadow of Blackrock Mountain talking about how their generation had real discipline and knew the value of hard work and these young pups just sit around in their Spire, listening to their hip hop and walking around in circles doing nothing.
Ultimately, I think this about treating the dogs as equal to the other orcs. Something that Genn Greymane probably would have approved of, before he kind of became part doggy himself. Hey! There ya go, Genn! Forget the Alliance that you /gquit all those years ago and join up with the Blackrock Orcs! They hate the Horde (The New Horde at least, beggars can’t be choosers) and I hear their boss is coming back soon. It’s the perfect opportunity for you! They like to be mean and nasty to things they don’t like too! So then we’ll have a worg platoon, and the worgen platoon, and they can all chase the cats up trees together! It might even prevent the worgen from becoming the most overplayed race since Blood Elves!
…ah, who am I kidding? /rolls worgen.
Where? Sunstrider Isle, Eversong Woods
This is probably one of the first weird things I can actually sitting at my desk and wondering about way back in the day. They were so iconic of the Blood Elf culture, yet the Sin’dorei seemed completely oblivious to them. It baffled me how you could run an entire society based on something and not know how it actually works… Ya know what. Forget I said that. I have no idea how anything more complicated than my toaster works.
Of course what I’m referring to is that giant green crystal that litter the landscape of Blood Elf territories. Regardless of their allegiance to Kael’Thas or the recent introduction of a holy light powered Sunwell, these massive crystals are still employed around the blood elf landscape, probably because blood elves have a terrible time noticing really really bad ideas (I think it’s genetic). The first this struck me as odd was during the first couple of quests a new blood elf will do in their starter area.
The general idea of the quests is pretty simply, the local wildlife (notably the mana wyrms, which are a creepy enough concept for me to stab them without hesitation. Aren’t they like giant wriggling mana mosquitoes?) have been acting quite strange. Well, anyone with a pair of eyes will notice that the mana wyrms are congregating around the giant green rocks. You know, the ones with burning red eyes floating in them? Yet somehow at no point does this raise a flag for anyone. No one ever says “Maybe it’s caused by our giant burning fel rocks!” Nope. Not once. Ever. So what is causing it? Oh, the scourge must be interfering with them. Yes. The not even present on the island scourge are responsible. By the light, blood elves tick me off.
So I kill the stupid wyrmsquitoes. What’s next on the chopping block? Oh, well, it looks like the cats that are wandering around the giant crystals are also acting weird. I don’t even know why you have giant jungle cats wandering around your academy campus anyway! Oh yes, these unobservant blood elves with all manner of wild beasties running amok aren’t just a bunch of fancy farmers, no sir, they are academics. Sunstrider Isle is the home of the Falthrien Academy and the surrounding buildings, including the Sunspire that houses all of the trainers, I can only assume are part of the campus.
But there’s good news, a glimpse of redemption to these blood elf smarties, it seems that the ‘Burning Crystals’ are actually the ones causing the problem! Oh good! You learned how to add one and one together. So what’s the plan? Destroy the crystals? Research alternative power sources that aren’t evil? How about that holy energy? I know it may take some work, but I think we can get Silvermoon to ‘Go Yellow’ with a clever ad campaign that demonizes those who rely on demonic energy. I mean, what are blood elves about if not looking down on others for any possible reason?
Wait… what? Oh. So the plan is to just kill the cats instead. Good plan. I can defintely see that working out magnificently in the long run. You know what, I don’t think the giant jungle cats are being affected by the ‘Burning Crystals’ at all. I think you want these dumb felines off of your well manicured campus lawn and you want me to do it. Lazy blood elf pricks. I still can’t believe that you are even using those fel rocks. At what point does that seem like a good idea?
Well, believe it or not, I’ve had people try to convince me that the crystals aren’t really demonic in nature. That they use arcane energy, not fel magic. This is not some blood elf NPC trying to swindle me into helping them because I might have some trepidations about working with a demon influenced employer. No, the people (yes, plural) who have tried to convince me of this are other players. Come on, people! There are giant glowing evil eyes floating inside the crystals. The leader of the blood elves is sucking demon juice and bottling it in Outland. By the end of the expansion, he’s not only actively working for one of the top demons – he’s got one of the little fel rocks stuck in his chest!
I am shocked that no one thinks that using these things was ever a bad idea. I know that your magic addiction sucks, and it is more or less go cold turkey or turn into a mana vampire. But downing shots of unfiltered demon dew (Extreme!) is not a solution. The fact that no one is concerned about it and that your first instinct is to destroy the evidence? This does not bode well for your society. Don’t do the dew, crack is whack, and just say no to green stuff the big kids tell you is magical.
Don’t believe me? Look at Grom Hellscream. Now look at Grom Hellscream’s kid. Do you see why you shouldn’t do fel magic now? Yea. Go back to sucking sunwell punch.
Welcome back folks to the final installment of the Stormwind Tour. We’ve had an eccentric tour thus far to say the least, but no worries. We have a new tour guide here with us now and his psychological profile check has proven to be way more stable than the last guy. Now enjoy, as we bring to you Stormwind’s oldest district simply known to the locals as Old Town.
Hiya folks! Welcome to Old Town! Named such for the fact that much of this district actually predates the Reconstruction of Stormwind after the Second War. It’s kind of got that classic Gnorman Steamwell feel to it of small town Azeroth in my opinion that makes it one of the most endearing… Are they gone yet? No one see those pricks from OddCraft?
Right then! They thought they got rid of me! HA! One good fake interview and a fake mustache and I’m back on top! After all, You’re MY tour group and I will give you the tour. I’ll tell you what, Old Town is one messed up berg. This place is the complete opposite of the rest of Stormwind. So whether Old Town or the Rest of Stormwind is inverted and backwards in their thinking, I’ll leave that decision to you.
Honestly, Honest Business is Honest
This is my first hint that this entire district is part of some huge conspiracy. I’m sure those who have read up on all my other tours will note that I talk a lot about the shops in each district. Weird shops, confusing shops, empty shops and flat out lying shops. Well the shops in Old Town are the complete antithesis of all of those things. Each shop is clearly labeled, and they sell exactly what is on the sign. You walk into the shoe store? All you can buy there is shoes. The shield store? Shields only. I visited every single shop in this entire district trying to find a single out of place thing, some momentary glimpse of the insanity (or sanity) I had become used to while wandering about this town. Not a thing.
What could possess the people of Old Town to pull a complete 180 like this? Is this the work of some strange being from the depths of the Nether coming to drag Stormwind into the depths of madness by making this entire district actually make sense? It’s like a little miniature parallel dimension that is trapped in some kind of horrific more innocent time and it’s got me on edge. I keep expecting some kind old lady to come out and offer me some cookies and a bottle of sody pop, or some brats running through the streets pushing a wheel with a stick like some demented ritual of evil to a bygone age of 5 copper funny books and walking up hill both ways in the snow!
I’ll tell you this much, dear readers. The first step towards complete chaos and destruction of everything we hold dear is showing good clean honesty like these shops. Ever wonder why serial killers are always described as being good neighbors or such nice guys? Uh huh. You got it. How about those horror stories that always start in sweet innocent peaceful small towns but then turn out to have a rotten core of a decidedly eldritch origin and nature.
The Black Poison Heart of Old Town
So um… this is awkward. Apparently Old Town does have a rotten core. It’s not necessarily of eldritch origin or nature, but in the center of the entire district lies a black heart in the form of a small alleyway that leads to the very shifty territory. Here there dwells the darkest and foulest that the streets of Stormwind can offer: rogue rogues, defias sympathizers, a shop that sells deadly poisons and Star Trek references. Okay, maybe the Star Trek references aren’t THAT dark, but have you ever smelled one of those conventions? You have got to at least give me foul on that one.
The poison shop is a double dose of demented however. Not only is this a shop that peddles wares that can easily kill you, including a tome written by the shop’s owner that teaches how to store toxic venom in your mouth and spit it at your opponents (Practical for those close quarters situations when battling for ones life in Warsong Gulch or possibly being interrogated by a foul baron.) This shop goes one step further into the depths of evil by also clearly and honestly proclaiming his shop to be a poison shop on a sign hanging above the door. The one thing you probably don’t want to be advertising for is that your shop sells utensils for murder (as well as pest control and self defense, poison is not a uni-tasker) and these guys go ahead and do it in line with the backwards thinking indoctrination that has taken hold of this hamlet of Stormwind. There must be some evidence of where this seedy reversal of the status quo has originated from – Wait! There! Outside the alley!
The Stone Chiseled Face of Darkness Marks the Way
Yes, this massive statue in front of the Champions Hall. I’ve seen this statue before. In front of the Stormwind Bank. This means something. This is important. Think about it. If these statues didn’t have something to do with the madness that has engulfed Old Town down its gullet into an awaiting cesspool of blatant differential mindset than the rest of Stormwind, then why do they look like He-Man? You can’t answer that, can you? No, of course not. Truly this is a sign that we are on the right trail and before you even ask, the one at the Stormwind bank is obviously a decoy to make you think that the banks are behind it. But do I look like some hair brained conspiracy theorist that thinks the people with the money are secretly behind everything? Heck no. I am a professional!
Obviously the strange He-Man looking statue is a sign that the villainous force behind these strange occurrences has a fascination with super heroes. Probably over idealized male ones. Judging by the fact that there are two identical statues in different places in Stormwind, I’d say its probably capable of generating instantaneous matter in four dimensions, able to place them anywhere it wants and whenever it wants in history. The question remains though as to why would the fiend hide here of all places? After all there’s nothing in this neck of the woods except for the Champions Hall and the Command Center (Possibly where the Powered Rangers take up residence along with their robot, Alpha 1, and their leader Zordormu, a powerful bronze dragon that is trapped in a time tube.) But there is also SI:7 and everyone knows that the SI:7 are the Men in Black of the Alliance, riding around on black horses and making those of us who know too much disappear.
Surely the best place for such a powerful and malevolent entity hellbent on destroying any sense of disorder that Stormwind has would be smart enough to hide in plain sight in the shadiest of shady government organizations in the city. Though how one is hiding in plain sight if they are also hiding in a shady place that does most of its dealings out of plain sight is beyond me. Come my friends! We shall dispense of this monster and free Stormwind of making sense forever!
The Face of Madness: Horror from the Fifth Dimension
So here’s where it’s all coming from. The backwards true-to-their-word shops, the small town Azeroth feel that hides the thrice damned soul of a killer, everything that the Old Town thinks it is comes from right here. Deep in the basement of SI:7 is Doctor Mixilpixil, a poor pseudonym for Mr. Mxyzptlk, the insane conjurer of the 5th Dimension! At last we’ve come face to face and it all makes sense now. He sows the seeds of strangeness and chaos in the world, but how does one create deviation in a town that sports an unorthodox number of herbalism shops or shops that lie in front of churches or this many pop culture references? You disrupt it by changing it to make SENSE.
Yes, I know your tricks, Mxyzptlk. You are a crafty one. But you couldn’t hide your obsession of Superman now could you? It’s like some sort of ever present inferiority complex in super villains. You even built a statue of a Superman knock off like He-Man right outside your own base of operations. But now, Mixilpixil, you shall die! FREEEDDOOOO- Hey wait a minute! Let go of me! I wanted to kill the alien from the fifth dimension! He’s curing you all of the weird! We must stop him! Azeroth needs the weird! I’ll get the Horde to help then! I’LL KILL YOU MIXIPIX–
We are sorry about that. We had our suspicions that Mr. Susan Donem was up to no good, and luckily we caught him before he did something regrettable while we were still liable for his actions. We’ve resolved that by sealing him in a vault in our basement instead of just firing him. We’ve also now sacked our HR director for not noticing that a doctorate written in crayon isn’t authentic. Well, that’s it for the Stormwind Tour. In case you’re wondering about the Stormwind Keep, we’re saving it. Too many odd things in that place to broad stroke it like these.
“TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!”
– Overheard every night in the Dwarven District…
Ah! Smell that? That stench of molten flux and grain alcohol? We’ve made it to the Dwarven district, my friends. The Dwarven District is world apart from the rest of Stormwind, the moment you step inside the walls of the area, you’re lungs are filled with smoke and your eyes begin to water. This may seem a bit extreme to many but to the dwarves of Ironforge, this is as homey as they can make a town that has such strange customs as not cutting their homes from the side of a mountain. After all, Ironforge is built on top of a massive magma filled forge, you can’t expect dwarves to live in nice clean air like the rest of us.
However, the amount of pollution there are plenty of other things that you’ll find out of place in this district, and I’m not talking about the fact that the Mage Quarter has at least double the alcohol on hand. If you’re going to survive in the Dwarven District, you’ll have to learn how to blend in with the local customs and really get to know the dwarves… like me!
By the titans, what the hell is that?!
Can We Build It? Yes We Can!
What in the Light’s name have those dwarves done to Stormwind? Why is there construction equipment all over the streets? There are massive logs just dangling over peoples heads over here! Why do they even need the logs? The district is built! It’s done! They don’t need anymore lumber to do anything here. There’s not even enough room for another house. Okay, what about that massive crane? What are you planning to do you dwarf bastards? Fish for people with a massive crane? It’s low enough that anyone taller than a dwarf will just smack their head in to it. Do you people not have any sort of safety measures in place?
*Sigh* Sorry about that folks. These dwarves are just bringing part of their… “interesting” life style to the streets of Stormwind. Dwarves as you know are excellent craftsman, and I kind of wish that they had helped rebuild Stormwind instead of Van Cleef and his teamster buddies, but someone was to busy sitting around their TITAN LOVING MOUNTAIN to raise one finger with the relief efforts despite and yet still get an entire section of the city to themselves. What’s next? We’ll just start letting wild animals take up residence? Ha! Not likely.
Anyway, aside from their “unique” culture, the dwarves are also renown for their smithing abilities, and the Dwarven District is a wonderful display of that. No matter where you are in the district you’ll be hearing the tinking of hammers upon anvils all day… and night… every single moment of the entire night. Oh come on! What’s with the excavator? I mean I know you guys needed the wood maybe to build extra floors in the houses and the crane to… do something… but what on Azeroth are you gonna do with a giant excavator? Are you digging under Stormwind now? You know maybe if you dwarves stopped putting massive construction equipment on every corner, you’d have some room for signs for your shops! I’ve walked into that gun store four times now looking for a bite to eat! Fortunately, the dwarves do bring something to the city: the Deeprun Tram. A massive gnomish transportation device that runs from Ironforge to Stormwind and apparently right through Loch Ness.
I know what you’re saying, “Didn’t the gnomes invent the Deeprun?” Well, yes. But gnomes are just pets of the dwarves. Don’t look at me like that! It’s not racist, it’s a fact! I’ll show you.
No Gnomey! That’s My Guild Hall! That’s a Bad Gnomey!
Come here. See over there in the corner? Those are the gnomes of the Dwarven District. Living in those tents. The dwarves have doubled and tripled the living space in this district, they house more dwarves in this little section of Stormwind than all of Ironforge, but the gnomes are living in tents. Just when you think the dwarves shafting them with putting “Tinker Town” in a hallway, they get this treatment here. Why not? All they ever did was design and build a massive underground train for the dwarves to easily access home all the way in Khaz Modan. The gnomes are a bunch of moochers to be sure!
They surely deserve to be placed in what is equivalent to a refugee camp in the corner of town. I’m sure the dwarves are 100% justified by this one. After all, there’s 30,000 dwarves living in this district. That’s right 30,000 dwarves live in this corner of Stormwind. They must be completely out of room for the gnomes. You know, except for the massive empty building that’s 10 yards from them. Yup, that big building in the corner of the district that looks like the Stormwind Bank. Did you ever notice that sitting there before? I bet you didn’t. Have you ever gone inside? Well, this is a tour – in we go!
Wow! Look at all this completely unused space in here! Not only is there never touched benches but there are two whole fancy desks in the front of the room. I don’t even know what those dwarves wanted to do with this place. People have told me it was supposed to be some kind of a guild hall, but what guild hall needs two big desks? Do guilds have two guildmasters? I’m actually a bit creeped out by how symetrical this room is. The benches are in the same spots on each side of the room, the two desks are a mirror image of each other. It’s like there’s a mirror in the middle of the room, or some freaky dwarven feng shooey going on here. But my point still stands! Why can’t the gnomes living in tents be in this room? It’s huge, empty and completely pointless!
Alas, the gnomes still sit outside in their cold tents. The dwarves were at least kind enough to stick them outside of the big empty building, so they can always look at where they could be staying but aren’t because of “dwarven kindess.” I suppose this has something to do with dwarven “culture” as well. However, the guild hall isn’t the only place in the Dwarven District where the gnomes could live but aren’t allowed too. Though I’m thinking this one is by choice.
Stab-Neck Lane Wasn’t Available Apparently
There’s a secret area in the Dwarven District. One the dwarves don’t want you to know about. How do I know? Because the entrance to it isn’t even in the district. It’s in the canals outside of it. Right around the corner on the side that faces the Cathedral Square, you’ll find a small shop that if you look inside there will be a back door. This door leads to a very strange area in the Dwarven District simply known as Cut Throat Alley. Which, surprisingly, is far nicer than the majority of the district. There’s no pollution here, no smoke or cinders. An odd sense of calm is all that you’ll find here. The alley runs along the back of a number of houses in the district and leads to a secret house where the road dead ends. This house is… very nice! It’s cozy and fully furnished and has an extraordinarily large bed. The oddest thing is that this entire alley and home are abandoned.
Why would such a nice place be abandoned and have the name Cut Throat Alley? Was it built by the same people who constructed Murder Row? Could there be something far more sinister in the works here? Maybe the nice look of this place is a trap! Maybe that’s why the gnomes don’t come here. They’ve been in Ironforge, they know what those damn dwarves are doing! They’re KILLING PEOPLE! To feed their dark titan masters! You think Yogg-Saron was imprisoned in Ulduar? Wrong! He lived there! The titans are evil and their little servants the dwarves are working for them! They’re trying to shut up the gnomes! They’re trying to kill the people with smog and dangerous equipment littered everywhere! This is the proof we needed! We got them! Come friends! We’ll get those dwarven fiends! Death to the Dwarves! DEATH TO THE–
…We here at Oddcraft would like to apologize for having to put you through that folks. Rest assured that we’ll be getting that tour guide the best medical care possible. Maybe some with a nice clean straight jacket. Oddcraft in no way endorses the comments stated above, and we would like to clarify that we like dwarves, think highly of gnomes, and do not think the titans are evil monsters trying to kill us. Except Sargeras. Cause he actually is trying to kill us. But Sargeras is not representative for the entire titan pantheon in any way.
We’ll make sure that we find a new, more stable tour guide to show you Old Town next week. –The Administrators
“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale of a fateful trip that started from this city port aboard a tiny ship. The first mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave and sure and five passengers set sail that day for what they thought would be a three hour tour…”
– Sherwyle Gartz, a Stormwind Harbor Fisherman
Smell that air? Yup. That’s the sea. And some other things. Gross, nasty things. Anyway, Stormwind Harbor is the newest addition to this fine city, and there is quite a bit to it. I originally had contemplated simply making a video to show off all that is here. Honestly, it’s amazing. From the massive amount of lion statues to the fact that you can get aboard any boat in the area, it’s an amazing place just to wander around. I must say, finding specific landmarks for this one was a trick, so let’s start this thing off with what the Harbor is most known for – Bugs!
The Quality of the Assurance
One thing you’ll notice fairly quick is that apart from the unfinished ships on the eastern shore, there is one ship in the harbor that doesn’t actually go anywhere. Now it’s an Icebreaker just like the one that sets sail for Northrend every few minutes or so from the other pier, but this one is firmly stationed at the harbor. The reason? Well it appears that the Assurance has a pest problem. Looking over the side on the pier, you’ll see a small rat wandering around and you’ll smile and think you’ve pieced two and two together but you’d be wrong. See these pests are bugs. Yes, bugs. Apparently that’s a reason to stop a ship from going anywhere. There is no further explanation as to what type of bug, or how bad the problem is. There doesn’t seem to be much urgency to getting this massive ship going as everyone on the ship is just sitting around.
I thought it might be some of those dang plague bugs that were causing so many issues during the Second Scourge Invasion. Getting some of those on your ship could really wreak havoc on the travel, and you’d end up docking in Northrend with a ship full of zombies – and only Marshal Isildor‘s heir would find any use for ship full of dead people. I didn’t really think this was out of the question, since the Cult of the Damned have clearly infiltrated the ships in Valiance Keep. But once again this doesn’t seem to be a priority at all to them. On the plus side they do seem to provide a place to repair and get food and drinks while hanging out at the harbor.
In all actuality, this is an Easter egg. The entire crew of the Assurance was named after the Quality Assurance team that worked on Burning Crusade, so the bugs they’re talking about are… well… software bugs that have prevented the ship from functioning correctly. This is actually one of the better Easter eggs I’ve seen in the game, simply because it works on multiple levels. It’s a computer joke, it’s an inside reference, and it provides a service in the game via shops & repair (which are absent otherwise from the harbor district.) I actually got the quality assurance and bugs thing fairly quickly, but the named after the actual QA team was something I had to look up to find out. Which was a pleasant surprise. This next however, a little less pleasant.
Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right
I’m not entirely sure where the found this thing, but supposedly (and I must stress the supposedly) someone fishing in the harbor caught it. Over on one of the piers is a giant shark. Huge really. Why the heck it was swimming around Stormwind is beyond me. There do seem to be an abundance of sharks in Azeroth. However, I guess there are weirder things than a giant shark in a harbor that’s open to an ocean. Like a giant alligator that swims through the canals. However, the really odd thing isn’t the shark but that someone fished it up. Look around at the Stormwind Harbor. There are military personnel, a massive armada of tanks and ballistae and they even escort prisoners off of ships and to the stockades from this harbor. Does this look like a good place to fish to you? I’d be nervous about doing it myself.
Sittin’ on the Dock of the Ocean
Just past the shipyard on the east end of the harbor you’ll find Steven Allen, an exhausted dock worker that simply sits in a chair with a cute little umbrella and stares out at the ocean and the lighthouse. However, it’s something he says that intrigues me the most. When you talk to him he mentions that he’s tired from working on the harbor road and that he just wants to sit for a while, drink some dwarven ale, cry some, and relax. Well that sounds nic- did he say cry? And all of a sudden I am very, very interested in what Mr. Allen was exactly doing on the harbor road that would bring him to tears while sitting on a small dock that exists only to be sat on. My mind reels at the possibilities here. Did he accidentally (intentionally?) crush some poor soul by dropping a giant stone lion on them? Is there some horrible secret behind the dock that we aren’t to know? Did his boss sexually harass him? I need answers, Steve!
Perhaps answers can be found at the large lighthouse out in the water just past where Steven is sitting. You see, on this small bit of land where the massive (and I do mean massive, the door is at least two humans tall) lighthouse stands, there is a small unmarked grave off to the side. My first guess when I saw it was that someone must have died in the construction of the lighthouse (my second guess is that the lighthouse keepers just stayed up there until they died and this is where the first one was buried.) I have to wonder if these two things are related. After all, Steven is sitting and watching the lighthouse crying and getting drunk, and someone had to die over here or maybe over on the harbor road and they just didn’t want anyone to know so they buried them way over here. Hey, you never know the health risks involved with these projects and the guys who built the harbor had to be non-union (after the whole Defias thing, can you ever see Stormwind using union-ized labor again?) So it’s possible that there are some dark secrets to this place that we don’t know about.
Thaaaat or Steven Allen is actually a 3D designer at Blizzard that was put hear as a tribute the apparently exhausting hours that went into modeling the harbor area. But I can’t imagine how likely that is! No, it’s probably the extremely paranoid, dark secret of the harbor road that the King of Stormwind doesn’t want people to know and threatened poor Steven Allen to keep his mouth shut or else thing. Definitely that one.
What Are They Keeping In There? King Kong?
Speaking of unspeakable secrets, there’s a tantalizing one here in the harbor. Over in the corner, there is this gigantic pair of doors. A massive gate to which there is no other entrance. Now there is the common everyday speculation that it’s probably just some ship holding area or a place for ship construction, but that’s only if you want to believe the official government story. Are you telling me you trust the word of Varian Wrynn? The man who threatened poor Steven Allen into silence? I thought so. The king would never tell us what he’s really got brewing behind that massive door.
While I wouldn’t put it past him to clone dinosaurs (probably with some illegal goblin machine) or capture some of the biggest monsters out there for our protection (Gamera? Mothra?), I have a pretty safe bet that’s a new weapon that will be used to defend the Alliance against any unforeseen threats like another scourge attack (or the Horde, I guess. But with diplomacy working so well between Garrosh and Varian, what are the chances of that happening?) Probably inspired by the recent discoveries within the halls of Ulduar, the King’s chief gnome scientists have discovered a way to reverse engineer the V-07-TR-0N, to construct a new defense system: the M3-G4-Z0-RD!
Yes, the M3-G4-Z0-RD is comprised of four separate machines, cleverly developed to look similar to the indigenous life in Un’Goro Crater (which are fairly feared the world over), and piloted by four expertly trained high elf rangers formerly of the Farstriders who departed angrily when the organization was taken over by the corrupted blood elves (Varian requested elves with attitude) wearing gnomish powered battle suits. The gnomes down in R&D have starting call them the Powered Rangers for short. Anyway, these four machines (Pterrordax, Diemetradon, Stegodon and Devilsaur) will assemble to form the massive fighting robot known as M3-G4-Z0-RD!
And you just thought they were building ships. Ha!