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.
“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!
Location: Saltheril’s Haven, Eversong Woods
Back when The Burning Crusade was the next big thing, there was a lot of talk about the Blood Elves. They originally had scrawnier models that looked weak, so Blizz buffed up the models to look like… well… models. The other concern was with their attitude. Were the blood elves bad enough muthas to actually belong to the Horde. Blizzard’s answer to this? To make blood elves as evil as humanly possible. They were magic crack addicts, they stole holy power from a quasi-angel-deity-thing, they used slave labor, and they would exploit every single opening their enemies left to them. Heck they were so underhanded that even their leader turned around and back-stabbed them.
But when I first played a blood elf, I had my own reasons for thinking they were pure evil. Granted, I was a warlock, so I just rolled with it. The tip off was hidden deep within Saltheril’s little party pad. If you wander past Salthy and in to his little pavilion/house/hut/fab-pad, you’ll find an honest to goodness palantír from the Lord of the Rings. While this wouldn’t be the first time Warcraft has borrowed from LotR, this is the first time a player race just hasn’t artifacts from it lying about the house the way you would a coffee table book or Hummels.
The only thing that makes this worse is the fact that the palantír seems to be permanently channeling Sauron and his ever Visine-starved eyeball. So essentially, even the most party orientated elf in Eversong Woods is rocking a constant video chat with the most evil being in Middle-Earth. Not entirely surprising when Prince Kael’thas (who much like Princess Leia somehow never ascends the throne despite the fact that they are the only remaining members of the royal family) is making deals with one of Warcraft’s equivalents of the devil.
I wonder what other completely evil beings are making contact with the elves of Eversong? Is Hexxus helping burn the trees? Maybe Chernabog is chilling at the top of Duskwither Spire? Maybe Miley Cyrus is hiding out at the East Sanctum?
Location: Southbreak Shore, Tanaris
One fine day, I got very bored and decided to see what the little stretch of land at the far south end of Tanaris was. You know, the one that’s south of pirates, south of Uldum and on the otherside of the mountains with no actual means to enter it. So I swam.
To be honest, Southbreak isn’t extremely impressive. Lots of turtles and sand, the sight of a far off island even further south, and a crashed plane. Wait… what? That’s right, there’s a crashed gnomish plane on the deserted beach. There’s really no sign of who or what it belonged to. I took it upon myself to think up a story for it. Read the rest of this entry