Category Archives: Oddities
All the Strange Things Collected Thus Far
Where? The Carrion Fields, Dragonblight
There’s something to be said for the Lich King. Granted, I’ve already said it, but it bears repeating. The guy has massive power at his fingertips and has little to no strategy. You let the greatest heroes of Azeroth get to your throne and then try to convert them into powerful servants and just assume that it’ll all work out in your favor. Wonderful, brilliant, a stroke of genius. I’m sure not one of your generals would have pointed out the number of logical missteps and oversight that plan had, namely because the Lich King comes off as the type of evil overlord who kills people who disagree with him.
But what does this have to do with what I’m talking about today? Well, I was flying about my business in the Dragonblight the other day when a strange thought hit me as I passed over Wintergarde Keep. Why the heck is Naxxramas positioned over the Carrion Fields? I mean, the position of Naxxramas in the Eastern Plaguelands always seemed to make some sense, it was positioned over Stratholme, a fortified city that was controlled almost entirely by the Scourge (The Loonies held one building and the western square, but they hardly were much of a threat to the Scourge.) So it made sense to establish your floating citadel of death and doom above it. Kind of. Not really.
The necropoli were designed to be mobile fortresses for massive deployment of Scourge forces directly in enemy territory. The shining example of this was the use of Acherus the Ebon Hold to lay siege to the Loonies’ city and take control of New Avalon before the Scarlet Nutballs had a chance to react. No sooner than the capture of Havenshire, the Ebon Blade had already captured the chapel and the house out by the Orchard and began to assault the city proper. This is how the Necropoli should have been utilized.
Instead what do we have? Well, during both Scourge Invasions, the necropoli were positioned outside of the major cities of both factions and also some really strange locations. I mean, I can see sending a necropolis to the Blasted Lands, as it would actually be quite advantageous to seize control of the Dark Portal. However, sending one to the south end of the Eastern Plagueland, and desolate pointless places like Azshara or Winterspring never quite made sense to me. Also, why not position your forces directly over the enemy cities? Dropping your forces in mass right in the middle of the city streets. Can you imagine dropping a cauldron of the plague of undeath directly into the middle of Stormwind? Certainly this can’t be accomplished with every city, Ironforge and the Undercity both lie buried under the earth, and the Exodar has a roof over the entire place. The strategy however works more than it doesn’t, and shouldn’t be disregarded so quickly.
This brings me back to Naxxramas and the Carrion Fields. My understanding is that the Carrion Fields are where the lowest tier of the town of Wintergarde stood. It fell to the Scourge, and thus it became the Carrion Fields. Not bad, direct deployment to take control and everything. But why the heck start at the bottom of the hill? Wouldn’t it have been a smidge better if you had started your attack at, oh you know, the center of the fortress on the hill instead of the town below it? You know, leave a less fortified area for the 7th Legion to hole up in? I mean it’s the 7th Legion for Pete’s sake. Do you know what they are capable of? (For those not aware of what the 7th Legion is capable of I suggest you read up on them here. They are AWESOME.)
This is sadly just another example of the Lich King’s complete and utter lack of strategic ability. It’s not surprising considering he is the fusion of a stubborn prince who burned his own boats on purpose and an orc whose great idea for getting the hell out of Draenor was to open more and more portals till the planet was shredded. Still, I have to wonder how then, did the Lich King manage to so eloquently recruit the Cult of the Damned and spread the plague grain across Lordaeron without being noticed for so long. Did merging with Arthas drag him down? Did the scheming foursome of color coded dreadlords come up with it? Was it actually Kel’Thuzad or something?
It’d be pretty sad if it was Kel’Thuzad. Sitting on his chair in Naxxramas with his skull in his hands repeating over and over, “We’re doing this all wrong. Why didn’t we just go with my idea and start at the top of the hill? Why do we always listen to HIS ideas?” Probably cause he’d kill you if you didn’t, Kel. He’s just that kind of evil overlord.
Location: The Eventide, Dalaran
This thing has been bugging me since the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King, but I wasn’t able to put my finger on it till recently. In the Eventide, there is the most infamous fountain in all of WoW. Why? Because you fish coins out of it! I’m not going to go into the possible ramifications of stealing coins from a wishing well in a world where magic actually exists (from a fountain in a city of wizards no less). I’m sure those kind of actions will have their own ramifications that will make for excellent fodder for a horror flick or a romantic comedy. No, I am talking about the sculpture sitting over the pond o’ goldfish (and occasionally coins, but never that last one you need and have been sitting there and waiting for until 4am and you have work the next day.)
It’s one of those funky looking walrus things from the Howling Fjord! Technically, it’s a Reef Cow. It’s still an ugly as sin animal that has no place being sculpted, but that’s just my opinion. That’s not even the real issue here. Let me explain my real problem with this statue. Dalaran is a city-state that once rested at the base of the Alterac Mountains along the shores of Lordamere Lake. In a predominantly human (now also forsaken) region. The story goes, or so we’re told, that after its destruction at the hands of Archimonde, Dalaran popped inside a pink bubble and starting to rebuild. In my head, I always pictured it like in the Harry Potter movies, where the destruction goes in reverse until everything is back to normal – but they probably rebuilt it the normal way.
My understanding though was that after the reconstruction was complete, they moved the city to Northrend. Am I alone on this? Because I am very curious about why there is a sculpture of an animal that is native only to Northrend in the reconstructed Dalaran. Did they get some wild eyed sculptor from the Howling Fjord to travel all the way back down the Alterac just to do this statue? Were they just so captivated by this creature that they just had to immortalize in stone for all mages to see? I can’t imagine anything else! Either someone who had studied reef cows made this monstrosity of stone before the city was moved, or the mages of Dalaran got to Northrend, decided the fountain needed some pizazz and saw a reef cow and thought that thing best represented the beauty of the floating magical city.
While we’re on the note of this weird sculpture, why is the reef cow eating frenzies? There are no frenzies in the Howling Fjord! The only place in Northrend where frenzies can be found is in the Sholazar Basin (which would lead me to take a guess that maybe the titans had a hand in creating these psychotic killer fish… still no clue how they ended up in the Serpentshrine Cavern though.) But there are no reef cows in the Basin. There are no reason these two species to even have come into contact, and based on my past experience with frenzy fish – the damn walrus should be DEAD. Just a skeleton, not even a speck of meat left on those bones.
If anything this just further solidifies the idea that the mages of Dalaran are all completely insane. They’re friend their brains on sucking up arcane energy and this is what we get. When the next generation of mages arrive to study the craft, they’ll be looking at this statue like we look at what our people considered art in the 1960’s. The ugly walrus statue will be the tie dye of the wizard society.
The Barrens. Even the name doesn’t bring pleasant images to mind. Across these dusty plains lies a couple of trees and maybe an oasis here or there. The appearance just sets a somber tone for the many young Horde adventurers who will be spending a good deal of time here. The lack of traffic has been noticeable to those who try to make a living in their harsh landscape. Sergra Darkthorn, a well known figure at the Horde settlement of the Crossroads, was quick to air her thoughts on the problem: “Too many young ones are walking across the bridge from Durotar and seeing this wide flat mess of dirt and weeds that contains a couple of animals, and little to look it. So they say why bother with the Barrens, spending hours killing quillboar to help the Horde and dealing with the cowardly Alliance attacks, we could just go hang out in the Ghostlands instead – it’s pretty there and they give nicer rewards too! …By the spirits, I hate the Ghostlands.”
Sergra isn’t the only one to notice the lack of adventurers coming through the area. Local legend Mankrik has been extremely distressed about the lack of aid, “I’ve written letters to the Warchief, I’ve asked every one of the vendors for help, and I get nothing. Without the help of some of these traveling adventurers, I don’t think I’ll ever find my dear wife.” Mankrik’s wife went missing five years ago, and so far no one has been able to give him directions to her current whereabouts. “Oh I’ve seen some experienced soldiers coming in from Northrend. Gussied up in their armor pulled off the dead of Icecrown. Seeking me out for some story to tell. They don’t care about my problems. They drop in, say she’s down south somewhere, dead – They THINK. Then they put a notch on their sheet and off they go, trying to prove something I guess.”
The people of the Crossroads are not taking this lying down though. They’ve begun what they’re calling the Big Barrens Beautification Project, or the 3B Project for short. Working on creating a more presentable appearance across the Barrens. “We’ve gone all out with some of these new ‘sight stations’ as we’re calling them.” says Boorand Plainswind, the innkeeper at the Crossroads, “We’ve flown in baskets from Thunderbluff, some fine rugs from Orgrimmar, and even the trolls donated some things. We’re trying to make them as eye catching as possible.”
The technique has proven to be quite successful, as both the Alliance and Horde are taking notice of the new Sight Stations. We caught up with Orïgnalgnkstä, a night elf rogue, who had this to say about the changes: “I wuz all like time to go killz some lowbie hordiez, but den I saw this thing off the side of the road and I was like… whoa… they gotz gongs and s*** out here now.” Even some fresh young faces just heading out from Durotar commented on how eye catching they were. Chainheelzftw, a troll shaman, shared her feelings with us: “I just saw this weird set up sitting over by the mountain. It didn’t look like the Centaur made it so I like checked it out. I mean it was like just a bunch of tarps and stuff, but it was like so random. I just stood there wondering like… Why?” One of Chainheelzftw’s friend, a Tauren by the name of Manox, mentioned that he found the stations to be “neat” and a “cool little detail”
So there you have it, some dedicated souls out here in the Barrens, trying to make things a little “cool”-er for all the world weary travelers out here.
Father’s Day is always an interesting holiday in Azeroth, after three wars in the past twenty-five years the holiday has taken a very somber tone for many. Reports of the Horde’s warchief is spending the day in the isolation of a cliff side in the hills of Alterac in quiet meditation. Drek’Thar, one of the warchief’s generals and spiritual advisers has mentioned that the holiday is a rough time for the already troubled warchief, “Thrall never knew his parents, killed his former master in the battle of Durnholde, and lost a father figures in Orgrim Doomhammer. Yes, I think the holiday is a bit of a sore subject with the Warchief.” Thrall is not alone in his desire for solitude this Father’s Day, as Varok Saurfang, the commander of the Kor’kron Guard in Northrend, took leave to go to Outland and visit the Ancestral Grounds in Nagrand for the weekend to “celebrate his pride as a father in his own way.”
Also celebrating in his own is Garrosh Hellscream, who is reported to be spending Father’s Day in a tavern yelling at other orcs about how his father is “the greatesht hero the Horde has ever known” and how they were lucky that his bloodline continues in their “future bestest warchief evers.” The King of Stormwind took some time to take his son off to Lordamere Lake, just off the coast of Hillsbrad, where they fished and King Varian told young Anduin stories of King Llane and King Terenas. Meanwhile, on the shores of Kalimdor, Lady Jaina Proudmoore held a solemn procession in remembrance of the many father’s that were lost in the first, second and third wars. The entire population of Theramore turned up as Jaina led a mock navy funeral for those who had passed, including her own father, Lord Admiral Daelin Proudmoore.
However the most interesting tale of Father’s Day is coming from the freezing halls of Icecrown Citadel, as many members of both the Argent Crusade and the Ebon Blade awoke to find a good deal of their alcohol had gone missing, coupled with the sounds of the loud shouting of obscenities and slightly disturbing echoes of sobs reverberating through the Citadel from the Frozen Throne at its peak. The majority of the invading forces have decided to not attempt to press the attack into the fortress of the Lich King today. “The men are saying it’s out of respect,” says Crok Scourgebane, a champion of the Ebon Blade, “but it’s really cause the sound alone is making these whelps wet themselves.”
Highlord Tirion Fordring however saw a silver lining to the presence of a drunk and depressed Lich King, “Maybe I was wrong – and perhaps Jaina was right and there is something left of Arthas in there after all.” but the Highlord’s somewhat lifted tone was quickly soured, “But I wouldn’t want to face him today. There’s not a force on Azeroth that could make me do something that stupid.”
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!
“What’s so special about the cheese makers?”
“Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.”
– Overheard in the Stormwind Cathedral
We’ve reached the half way mark of the Stormwind Tour! We’re taking a stop off in the Cathedral Square to rest our feet. As someone who routinely works with Warlocks, Death Knights, and Shamans, I’m a bit nervous around this area. However, I don’t think they seem to be too picky about who they let in here, more on that later. The Cathedral is essentially the middle of the city, which is something I never understood.
Wouldn’t this central location be a good place for Stormwind Keep? Unlike many cities in Azeroth which place the seat of power in a central location (Ironforge, Thunderbluff) or in a notable location (Silvermoon, Darnassus), Stormwind and interestingly enough Orgrimmar have their leaders tucked away in some odd spot. Maybe this a strategic decision, but ultimately I find it to just be an annoyance.
Not to mention putting a church in the most central point in your city says a lot about your priorities as a kingdom. And don’t even try and convince me that the Church doesn’t have some authority in Stormwind. You got Warlocks stuck in basements of bars, and the Shaman trainer is sitting outside the city, under the bridge that leads in to the city. Just try and tell me there isn’t some bias toward Light worshipers in this town. Do you think that wise? Let’s see…
Blessed Are The Liars
There are two real shops in the Cathedral Square, and shockingly neither are an Herbalism shop. However there is something off about these two shops. The first one I stopped in – Righteous Plate – was occupied by two vendors. One was a robe vendor, and the other sold chain mail. I took a few steps back outside and looked at the sign: Righteous Plate. Peered back in to see the chain mail and cloth armor vendors smile at me. I repeated this process a few times until the Stormwind Guard had to step in and ask me to move along. I don’t know how you get away with that! How do you put on your sign that you are a plate armor vendor and sell anything but! That is lying, my friends! That is lying in front of the church!
Okay maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe they have some plate in the back room or something. It’s not like their sign said “Only Plate.” However, just down the way there is another shop. This one is called Just Maces. Well that’s fine. A mace is the traditional tool of both the priest and the paladin, notable light worshiping classes whose trainers have a nice roof over their heads. So I walk in and am greeted by a vendor that sells maces… and staffs… and their sign has a sword on it. Am I the only way a bit put off by this? Am I overreacting? But are the only two shops that share a space with the church to the largest religion in Azeroth are flat out lying to people! Even if you give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the Just in Just Maces is referring to the maces being just as in justice, it’s still more than just maces! (I have no idea if that sentence even makes sense, that’s how much these two stores have damaged my brain.)
I’m shocked and appalled at this entire thing. What could possibly be worse than this?
Blessed Are The Grave Robbers
Well, this would definitely fall into the category of worse than a pair of lying shop owners. Like many churches I have seen, there is a crypt underneath the Stormwind Cathedral. While I am a bit unnerved that the crypt is much larger than the actual church, that is not my complaint. My complaint is that it seems that nearly every single coffin in the crypt has been broken open and robbed from. I’m not talking about the jewels that a noble was buried with, or some fine threads that might fetch a good silver or two… there is nothing left in these coffins! Aside from the occasional femur or skull, every body and all their belongings are simply gone.
There are some pretty dark and extremely disgusting ideas of where all the dead people went going through my head, but I’ll spare you them. How about the non-vomit inducing possibility of the undead? Could the entire Stormwind crypt have gotten up and run rampant back during the Scourge Invasion? I suppose it could be possible. There were so many dead people walking about I don’t think anyone would have noticed. But you think someone would want to investigate this. I went to the local Argent Dawn office, some 100 meters from the cathedral, to see if they would be interested to know if every single dead person below the church had gone missing, but no one was in there. At all. Maybe they all went to Northrend? Couldn’t they put up a sign or something to that extent?
I’m a bit curious as to how no one in the church even noticed. You don’t normally see guys schlepping dead bodies around or a bunch of walking corpses (unless you are in Northrend), so how was this perfect crime committed? Maybe it was an inside job. But who inside the Church of the Light would be corrupt enough to steal a bunch of dead bodies?
Blessed Are The Fanatical Fruitcakes Who Want To Kill Everyone Who Isn’t In Their Club Because They Might Become Undead Maybe
Brother Crowley. How could I forget this completely obvious and scrupulous character! (That is until I found a suitable segue for him) In case you’ve never ventured underneath the Cathedral, allow me to explain. Actually, I take that back. I can’t explain. I have no idea why they even let him in here! Brother Crowley is a member of the Scarlet Crusade. That group of religious wackos that believe that the only people they can trust are those within their own organization because everyone else is either a zombie or potentially a zombie and thus is fair game for killing. Never mind that their leaders have proven to be demons in disguise… twice. It’s essentially “Would you like a copy of the Watchtower? If not then DIE!”
So how and why he was allowed into the Church of the Light’s basement, I’ll never know. He is however a likely candidate for making the bodies disappear. After all, wouldn’t his buddies want some easier target practice? How else do they fund their insane little cult if not taking expensive items off of the dead? I bet they pillage the ruins of Stratholme regularly. Maybe they’ll take a page from every zombie movie franchise I’ve ever seen and attempt to domesticate them that will inevitably backfire… Well, I suppose they are using Death Knights now.
Crowley’s presence does raise some questions about the integrity of the Church as a whole though doesn’t it? I mean, the stores around them are liars, they can’t keep track of the dead that are in their care, and now they have a religious terrorist in their basement with torture devices. What torture devices? Well the iron maidens that stand against the wall behind him. Not only that, but they seem to have been used as well. That’s blood stains on those spikes folks, and I doubt the Church is ignorant to this. Actually, considering they didn’t notice the grave robberies they might be. Dang these Light worshipers are dumb. Glad I’m with the shamans. Even if they have to train in the rain.
“I meant to do that.” – Random Mage Flying Through a Window
Perhaps taking a break in the serenity of nature will keep my mind off of the immense greed and corruption of the Trade District. So a quick jaunt over to the Mage Quarter is in order. The architecture is very different in this area compared to that of the Trade District, the buildings seem to be older, there is a distinct purple motif (I blame Dalaran for the whole Mage = Purple mentality), and the roads are all paved in grass.
What?! Who in their right mind thought this would be a good idea?! I can understand the mentality of having grass roads in The Park (We’ll get to that fruitcake factory in a bit), but at what point did the Stormwind designers sit there and say “Mages like grass right?” “Oh yea! They use that arcane magic… which is from like nature and stuff right?” Surely, no logical train of thought could reach the conclusion that grass roads are appropriate here. Luckily (or unluckily), the lack of logic does not stop at the roads. Shall we?
Only You Can Prevent Start Fires!
You would think in a district that is mostly covered in grass in a city that has already been burned to ground once, controlling outbreaks of fire would be a priority. You would be wrong. In the corner of the Mage Quarter is a small shop that is simply called ‘Pyrotechnics.’ What do they sell? Things that start fires, of course! More specifically: fireworks.
Judging from the overall lack of stock in the shop (in comparison to the majority of shops in Stormwind), business is not doing well. Even the shop owner, Darian Singh, looks a little depressed about it. Now, I am not a business expert by any means. Heck, my auction house profits were noticably low this last quarter (Damn battered hilt impulse buying). But if you are going to open a shop that sells fireworks (I should say firework, cause all he actually has in stock is the red fireworks and a schematic for the blue fireworks), you might not want to do it in the second most flamable area in Stormwind. Just a hunch.
I actually want to know why he did it. What was the deal he must have scored to decide to open up a fireworks shop here. Maybe the rent is really low? That would work. It would explain the abundance of poorly kept and redundant shops in the Mage Quarter (How many Herbalism shops are there in Stormwind?) Maybe it’s an attempt to appeal to the mage audience. After all, they shoot fireballs. Fireworks are kind of like fireballs. So maybe there’s an appeal there. But if mages (AND warlocks) can shoot fire, why would they want to buy fake fireballs?
Is it for the mage wannabes? People who aren’t mages or warlocks but want to act like them? Do such people exist? Well I suppose if there’s a tauren who wants to be a rogue, it can’t be out of the realm of possibilities for there to be people who want to be mages. Still, seems like a weak premise to invest in starting an entire shop for. At least it explains the lack of business.
Could I Interest You in a Skull or a Rabbit?
Even if Pyrotechnics is a stupid idea for a shop, at least I know what they sell. There is another shop in the Mage Quarter called Ancient Curios. Now this shop, I have no idea. Technically, they sell reagents but there is no possible way you would know that from simply looking inside. The place is decorated with skulls from various animals in Kalimdor, strange looking weapons, alchemical supplies and there’s a rabbit sitting on the counter.
Every other shop in Stormwind, you can usually gather what they sell by their surroundings. Herbalism shops are full of flowers, the weapon shops have racks of swords and axes, and tailoring shops have fine clothing on display. But what does having some weird staves and a couple of plainstrider skulls have to do with magical trinkets? I mean, I can kind of see the alchemy stuff being related to reagents, but that’s about it.
I really don’t get the rabbit though. Are they going for a Magician’s Rabbit thing? That it’s supposed to hop out of a hat or something? But there is no hat. None. So what’s the deal with the rabbit? It’s never addressed. It just sits there. More importantly it sits on the same table as the weapons, alchemy supplies and skulls. So… can I buy the rabbit? Is the rabbit a reagent? What spell uses a rabbit as a reagent?! I will admit, I haven’t played every class in the game to max level. So I don’t want to rule this option out.
Maybe it’s for a druid form? You wanna switch to cat form, but your cat form doesn’t want to… um… emerge because it’s hungry. Use the rabbit to lure it out! Or maybe its used for a special mage portal. You know, like the rabbit in a hat trick. I would try to imagine what a warlock would use it for but that becomes very disturbing, very quickly.
I actually thought the rabbit was the vendor at first. Magic spell gone wrong or something. It would explain why no one had bothered to clean the massive cobwebs that had formed around the shop. But no, the rabbit isn’t the shop keep. It’s just a rabbit. That stares at me. And never blinks. I’m not shopping here anymore.
“This iz where I make the big bucks, yo. Fools be wishin they gotz what it takes to go toe ta toe with me in the auction hizouse.”
– Stevesbank, a Trade District local
A long while back, I had made the proclamation that my favorite city to spend time in was Silvermoon. After all, it had an abundance of atmosphere that most city’s lacked: people doing things, hidden areas that were off the beaten path, and the size that actually made it feel like a city (Complete with multiple banks and inns). I made passing mention that for the similar reasons, Stormwind was my second favorite. So I figured since I did Silvermoon the justice of having an extensive tour of all that it had to offer, I’d do something similar for Stormwind. I decided to start my tour of the bastion of human integrity with the Trade District and what I found there was a disturbing blend of corruption, greed, and dirty deals. Maybe the Horde and the Alliance have more in common than I thought.
Attend the Tale of Jelinek Sharpshear
In case you doubt my claim that shady characters reside within the esteemed Trade District of Stormwind, let’s start with a trip around the middle loop to the Stormwind Barbershop, operated by Mr. Jelinek Sharpshear. While he seems to run a fairly respectable business, it would seem the corrupt nature of the Trade District had gotten to him. While sneaking up the stairs of the shop, you can find that our goblin friend has some skeletons in his closet – or more accurately his floorboards.
What sets me off about this is the skeletons are distinctly that of gnomes. I would have hoped that a goblin operating out of Stormwind, one of the most culturally diverse cities in Azeroth, to have moved past such simple grudges. In an effort to uncover more about this strange gnome killing goblin, I decided to a bit of digging into his background. Oddly, there are very little records for Jelinek Sharpshear, who appears to have only had control of the shop recently. The original owner, a Mr. Sween Neetod had stepped out some time back and left his “relative” in the shop to watch over things. I’m suddenly reminded of stepping back into the back room of Keelen Sheets’ shop in Silvermoon, and it’s making me curious where the goblin got those sample haircuts sitting in front of the mirrors in the shop.
You Can’t Not Like It
The shadiness of the Trade District isn’t limited to just adults though. Oh no. Take a walk along the canals to the flower shop and you’ll find Little Adeline the Flower Pusher. This kid… Let me tell you about this kid. If you even try to utter a single word to her she will jump you about how much she likes flowers. Not surprising – it is a flower shop. But when she asks if you like flowers? She will not take ‘No’ for an answer. It’s not even an option when talking with this girl. She’ll just sit there and stare at you with her big doughy eyes until you say yes.
What kind of a brute force tactic to sell flowers is this? The Gump family that owns the shop should be ashamed of resorting to such tactics. The fact that she’s a kid is just the foot in the door, but then she will pester you till you say yes. Imagine hitting up the stable master to buy a horse over in the Eastvale Logging Camp, and you said “I really like this brown one.” Only to have the stable master look at you and say “You want to buy the black horse?” But if you even try to say no, he just repeats the question until you are left without a choice but to buy the black horse if for no other reason than to shut the stable master up.
That’s Adeline. You have to tell her you like flowers just to get her to leave you alone and when you do? Well, then she throws flower petals at you. I don’t know what this is. Some kind of mental trick perhaps? Drive me to point of insanity with her pushy insisting of having to like flowers just to have them tossed at you like they were nothing. The same flowers that people are selling two feet away are now being tossed at you by a girl who forces people to like flowers regardless of whether they want to. Weird does not begin to describe the scenario. No wonder why these people can only afford a shop in the corner of the canals where no one ever goes.
Feed Me or I Shall Break You
Another thing that doesn’t make any sense in the Trade District is the resident homeless man: Topper McNabb. The shoeless beggar spends his days sitting behind the Auction House and asking for anything for a copper to a hamburger. The real question, for me at least, is a simple matter of Topper’s health. He’s been begging in the trade district for what seems like forever, and yet his physique could only be described as “ripped.” The man has the appearance of a body builder. On top of that he has long, shiny hair that is perfectly styled. He looks like he belongs on a steamy romance novel, not stuck in some alley.
My hunch is that Topper isn’t necessarily as hard up for cash as he would like us to seem. Perhaps he actually has a nice home over in the Park. But why would he pan handle in his free time? Because greed is good. Greed works. That’s the lesson of the Trade District, and if you doubt me just take a look in the Auction House and see once potential heroes turned profiteers, dressed in fine suits and wearing fancy ‘bling.’ Dollar dollar bill y’all.
Meet the Master of (Illicit) Cheese
Probably the darkest secrets of the Trade District are hidden in the least likely of locations: A small cheese shop owned by the Trias family. There’s something a bit off about this family though. As I took to perusing their wide selection of various cheeses I happened to notice a pound of Garadar Sharp sitting on one shelf. I turned to look at Ben Trias, the studious apprentice of cheese, and ask him how the Trias family was able to procure a pound of cheese that is not only from Outland but made by the Horde as well. Ben turned to me and with a voice barely above a whisper informed me to not ask and that they weren’t allowed to talk about it. His eyes gravitated upwards, and when I followed his line of sight I was greeted with a tall dark figure leaning over the upstairs balcony. Elling Trias – the Master of Cheese.
He called me upstairs and sat me down at a small table in the shadows. Elling took a seat across from me, and glared at me with his one good eye, “You think you know cheese, boy?” A simple nod was all I could produce, “You know NOTHING.” He pulled a dagger from his belt and before I could even see that he had it, he had planted the knife into the table, mere inches away from my lap. “Cheese is about passion. And men must sometimes do horrible, unspeakable and treacherous things for their passion. Best you remember that the next time you question my life’s work.”
He pulled the knife from the table and offered it to me, and put down a wheel of Dalaran Sharp, “Now do you want to cut the cheese or shall I?”