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Of Blizzard, and WoW and Really Bad Eggs

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 Obvious

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

No, I don't want to know what pirates do with sheep on their ships.

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?

Tie Your Wagons Down (Or You Ain’t No Friend of Mine)

You do know that chaining the wagon to the ground doesn't stop anyone from STEALING THE SUPPLIES INSIDE THE WAGON, right?!

Where? The Crossroads, Northern Barrens

Who in Azeroth steals a wagon?  No, I’m serious.  We’re talking about a fantasy world where zeppelins and helicopters exist, everyone rides around on wolves, dinosaurs, big goats or something, and you can instantaneously receive a full-sized war bear from a mailbox (Behold the power of SCIENCE!).  Why would anyone in their right mind actually bother to steal a wagon?  I mean, sure I can see the merits in having a wagon.  You get to ride one a couple of times in the early horde quests in Kalimdor.  But I don’t think the benefits of having a wagon justify the effort to attack a settlement to steal them.  So why I ask you would anyone at the Crossroads bother to chain the wagons to the ground?  Well, let’s explore this one a bit shall we?

The Alliance Might Take Them

It’s no secret that there is a long-standing tradition of the Alliance playing footsie with the Horde at the Crossroads.  They show up, kill the quest givers and any lowbie they cross paths with, and then either a) get bored and leave or b) get their butts handed to them by high level horde.  But I’ve never seen them take a wagon.  Hell, they don’t even bother with the copious amounts of hookahs lying all over the Crossroads.  I would think if anything the hookahs would be a higher priority item since they are smaller and I imagine a whole of a lot more useful on those dull Kalimdor nights (Ask the Night Elves. They know what I’m talking about.)

Not to mention there’s the simple matter that taking a wagon, especially without a kodo or something of roughly equivalent strength to pull it (This ain’t no sissy Gilnean stage-coach! This is a Horde wagon, boy!) it would simply slow down the Alliance and impede their attempts to run away.  It’s just not practical, especially since I never see a wagon leave the Crossroads.  Oh I’ve seen them arrive, but never leave.  So it’s not like it’d be some strategic victory for the Alliance to steal the never-moved-a-day-in-their-lives wagons.

The Raptors Might Take Them

Raptors are smart, I’ll give you that.  Smarter than most people tend to give them credit for.  But I already discussed the matters of Raptor intelligence in my post about Subject Nine.  The simple fact here is that raptors don’t need wagons.  At all.  They are quick and agile on their own clawed feet.  Heck, they could have taken a wagon already, but they just destroyed it in order to get to the silver in the wagon to fund their nefarious doomsday machines.  While there may come a day when the raptors find a need for a wagon (Earth mother help us all), it surely isn’t now and rest assured that no manner of iron chain on a peg will be stopping them from taking the wagons.  There won’t be a force on Azeroth prepared for what those raptors will unleash on that day.

They Might Just Up and Leave

This idea may be the most nonsensical or the most sensible one depending on how you look at it.  On one hand, this may be suggesting that the wagons are somehow possessed, driven by forces beyond the nether to become some kind of twisted wooden Azerothian incarnation of Christine.  Shackled to the earth for fear that the wagons’ blood lust would be let loose amongst the innocent souls that dwell within the walls of the Crossroads (and that forsaken that hangs out there too).  Woe be to those who think of breaking the chains of bondage that keep these demonic wagons at bay!  For the guilt of the HK’s that these wagons bring forth shall be laid at YOUR feet and weigh on your conscience for all time!

The other possibility is that they just might roll away.  Because the Barrens is kinda hill-y in spots. However, that seems to be unlikely as the furthest a wagon will roll either forward and stop when they bump into the inn or backwards and bump into the wall.  There’s not enough room for the wagons to gain enough velocity from a fully stopped position to do any serious damage to either the wall or the inn, so maybe just a rock underneath the wheel should be sufficient to make sure they don’t roll into the road at some point, but a chain seems unnecessary.

I would consider the demonic possessed wagon to be a stupid suggestion and no reason to chain them down, but that was before I had to help out with a certain possessed bulldozer in Azshara.

What About Marsupials With a Wagon Fetish?

Well, of course not.  There’s not really an abundant marsupial population in the Barrens, at least not the type of militants that would be willing to attack the Crossroads in order to haul off one of the wagons.  That’d probably take a good size group to do and certainly there can’t be THAT many marsupials in the Barrens that have a wagon fetish.  Unless the centaur are marsupials. There might be centaur with wagon fetishes though.  Actually that might explain a good deal about the centaur.  Or not at all. Wait…  what the heck is a marsupial?

Conclusion

I think we can safely say there’s only one real reason to tie these wagons down.  The Crossroads is actually a prison for demonically possessed wagons.  It’s the only logical explanation.  So keep that in mind Alliance the next time you decide to start killing off the only people who are risking their lives to protect all of Azeroth from the evil wagon threat.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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