I was chatting a little with the Godmother, asking her about her plans for the expansion, and it got me to wondering… what the heck are my plans?
Do I have plans? Shit, I don’t even know.
No really, it’s almost here. I’ll be installing a new expansion. Then I’ll have to do something when I log in.
What am I going to do? Log in and stare at a character list and whistle?
There will be a new class and a new race in the expansion. A new area to start up in, and a new land for max level characters to explore.
And there will be new instances, raids, group content, etc.
New profession caps and recipes!
What to do, what to do? Crap!
Well, what’ve I got cooking?
I have a max level character of every class… except Monk, Warlock and Shaman.
Shh. My 85 Shaman is on another server. She doesn’t count. Or wait, does she?
I want a panda. I’m not sure I want a monk, but I want a panda. They’re bears, damnit, and klook hilarious. I mean awesome. Awesomely hilarious.
Fear my leet bamboo sichuan kung fu!
So, how about this?
I can create a new panda monk to play through the new starter zone, and really get immersed in the total awesome experience. From what little I let myself see in beta, it looked freaking great.
If I end up not liking the panda monk, I can let it stall out wherever, probably in the Badlands quest levels. Grrr. Ooh, or should I be a Horde Monk? I could slap the busy out of Garrosh!
Didn’t Horde players used to hate Blood Elves for bringing a ‘cute’ race to the Horde? Good lord, are we gonna see fury at panda furries?
I think I’ve got some popcorn. Oh, if only there was some true outrage to watch. But I think folks have lost their Horde ugly/Alliance purtypassion a long time ago.
I can save up some money, server transfer/race change my Shaman to become a panda… and I get the best of all worlds. A class I was liking with full maxed professions, on the server I play on, on a race that looks cool. Without the leveling grind from 1 to 85!
Except Cassie says they are screwing with Enhance Shammies, and the whole totem thing (without doing research, I’ll admit) sounds too much like micromanaging bullshit to me. I just wanna hit stuff with twin flaming axes, you know?
What, like, ever. That would be a few months down the road, but doable.
So, I got the plan down for a new character, Bouncybutt the panda monk. I saved the name over a year ago, haha suckers!
I got a plan for further down the road to bring my Shaman back to life. Maybe. Probably not.
But what about who to level for the 85 – 90 content, to run groups, instances, raid, level professions, etc?
My Druid. Definitely.
My Druid is a max level Herbalist and Scribe.
I am very excited about Scribes being able to make polearms, upgradeable polearms, and have the new Glyphs for my friends and guild, and I want to level my herbalism and feed myself, my Alchemist, and Cassie’s Alchemist as well. The professions are a good match.
My Druid is also the only character I have that is a max level Archeologist, and the main pet collector. So, spiritually I am poised to be able to get the most out of that content in the expansion on my main, too.
My Druid is going to level solely as Guardian, and I’m going to be doing the group runs, tanking and getting short queues for our family, so it’s a great fit for what I like to do solo and also be there to get the family the quicker queues.
And at max level, I might be able to tank for the raiding, so I’ll be ready and gearing as early as possible to get prepared for that!
Beyond that… what to do? There are so many factions, grinds, dailies and stuff, I’m not just overwhelmed but feeling that it is impossible to continue playing and enjoying multiple alts with so much out there to do, when reputation gains are NOT shared across accounts.
Sure, achievements are shared, but just as with Archeology, whatever reputations and daily quests you do on one character doesn’t carry over to anyone else… and there are just too many rep grinds and factions for me to split things up and make my focus shallow and wide.
I will need one character to be doing the daily quests and rep grinds for rewards, and the others will just have to be played for shits and grins occasionally.
The only thing I’m going into this expansion worried about is the way recipes are being distributed among the factions, and the BOP nature of drops.
With my Druid being played the most, that is good for Scribing, but my Engineers certainly aren’t going to be getting the mats for any of those nifty rides anytime soon.
Let’s mention for a moment, as one example, that I liked being able to provide my family and all of our characters belt buckles when needed. It is, honestly, the ONLY thing I got out of having a max level blacksmith, aside from making a few of the iLevel 365 weapons before the Firelands raid went active. And those ilevel 365 weapons were a long time ago.
Now, if I want to be able to make the onlylong-term guaranteed useful thing on my blacksmith… I’ll have to grind The Klaxxi to Honored. It’s not bad, Honored is not bad at all, but I’m still going to have to find the time to play the character high enough level to be able to do the stuff neded to get there. I’m not giong to be able to just my blacksmith ore to level and get the recipe. it’s something to keep in mind. Time takes time.
No worries, but it’s good as always right before the expansion to remember… one character cannot possibly benefit or make use of everything that will be in the expansion, all at the same time, and for alts to do things useful, they’re gonna have to get played… sooner or later.
I guess what it comes down to is, despite how much I love my Hunter, and how neat the new trackable tameable combat pet content seems to be, and how cool the new tameable combat pets look, I think I’m going to be walking into the expansion abandoning the “all the alts, all the time, bring what you need” approach in favor of maximising one and only one character for at least a few months, maybe longer.
It seems silly to think about these things so far in advance. But it’s coming, and this is the first time I really stopped to think, “What will I do after it’s installed?”
I haven’t farmed any herbs to stock up ahead of time. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to level my Scribe off of old world mats at all to get started. Should I be farming herbs? Is it already too late?
I don’t care about the cash. I know some folks are really prepared, and have sotckpiled gold to be able to buy a Yak mount or other wonderful things right away, but that’s not my thing. I’m not into wealth, I’m into the things wealth can buy you to have fun with. And at the start, I’ll have my Travelers Tundra Mammoth, my Dragon Form, flight form, and over 100 mounts shared across accounts for the achieve. How many mounts do I really need?
A good polearm never goes out of style. Plus, you know… Stag. Because I guess every Druid feels a little horny, now and then.
Or are antlers made out of something other than horn? Digression is diverting.
It’s going to be fun, and I think I’ve got a good mix of things I’ll be able to do on game day. I’ll be broke as hell, my herb cupboards will be bare, and my hard earned purps will be tossed out in favor of early zone greens, but that’s all good.
It’s a new expansion. Sounds to me like business as usual.
And, hey, bonus! I get to wear my “Green is the new purple” shirt again!
From talking to the Godmother, I know that her plans are nowhere near as aimless and, err, shiftless as mine. She’s got things nailed down so well (love her series of preparedness posts, it’s fascinating to see people who know what they’re doing), so I know everyone is heading into this different.
How about you? Are my readers more the prepared and ready type, or the /kermitflail type like me?
Tonight, I showed Alex the Mists of Pandaria official trailer.
He was… amused, but his reaction can be best described as “Huh, okay. Neat.”
I mentioned that there were other videos, done by Blizzard, for each of the expansions. And I showed him how you can access them from the game loading screen. No, he had never seen them before. At least, that he remembered since he began playing.
Those movies were much bigger hits, with the Catalclysm cinematic winning ‘best of show’ for Alex.
But watching the cinematics, I was confused. I remembered there being other movies, official movies that I was not seeing in the in-game list. I expected to open up, for example, the Burning Crusade tab and see at least two movies in there. The first official expansion cinematic, and then there was at least one Black Temple video, wasn’t there?
And what about original WoW? Wasn’t there a movie for the Necropolis patch release?
I had to bookmark the WoW youtube channel and teach him how to navigate it and use the settings to change the quality level and make them full screen, and I know full well what he’s going to be doing tomorrow.
One thing he asked me though, was if there was some way he could only see the patch and expansion trailers as he browsed the channel.
Maybe he can, I don’t know. I’m not as tech savvy with these things as I used to be. I don’t take the time to tinker like I used to.
One thing I can do, though, is make a single blog page that has each expansion and trailer video, in chronological order, for him to view at his convenience.
It will be an awesome little webpage for me, too. It’s been a long time, and just watching snippets of these videos again made me excited all over for the entire game.
Why, it motivated me to get us into Blackwing Lair tonight, and get the achievement and see if we could get some of that awesome gear. Alex had a BLAST controlling Razorgore the Untamed!
It made blasting through Blackwing Lair a breeze. :)
And now, on to a celebration of the Blizzard cinematic team, and my unbridled thrill at wishing they were in charge of the entire World of Warcraft official movie development. I don’t want live action, I want this! As a trilogy over ten years if I must.
World of Warcraft – official cinematic trailer.
In the beginning, World of Warcraft and Everquest II were both slated for release at the same time, and most game magazines I read compared them side by side, weighting EQII as the heavyweight and WoW as the upstart underdog.
I didn’t buy in until I saw this video. It was that transformation from night Elf to panther that sold me on this. That, and the Dwarf with his Bear. Yes, Cats and Bears are pretty much why I bought this game.
World of Warcraft – Patch 1.11: Shadow of the Necropolis.
When Alex saw this video, his first question was, “Can we go there?” Yes, my son, yes. And there will be much rejoicing.
World of Warcraft – The Burning Crusade cinematic trailer.
Alex was surprised to see this one, he has never set foot in the Black Temple, but he loved the look of Illidan. He also loved a certain sheepish moment. Yeah, I went there.
The Burning Crusade – Patch 2.1: The Black Temple
The Burning Crusade – Patch 2.3: The Gods of Zul’Aman
The Burning Crusade – Patch 2.4: Fury of the Sunwell
World of Warcraft – Wrath of the Lich King cinematic trailer
Wrath of the Lich King – Patch 3.1: Secrets of Ulduar
Wrath of the Lich King – Patch 3.2: Call of the Crusade
Wrath of the Lich King – Patch 3.3: Fall of the Lich King
World of Warcraft – Cataclysm cinematic trailer
Cataclysm – Patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari
Cataclysm – Patch 4.2: Rage of the Firelands
Alex has chosen this as the ultimate best movie in all of creation. He keeps talking about how incredible it is, Thrall asks for guidance from the spirits and gets a vision from Ragnaraos himself! Or, as Alex said he calls him, “Little Rag.”
Cataclysm – Patch 4.3: Hour of Twilight
World of Warcraft – Mists of Pandaria cinematic trailer
Whew! You know, I swear there was a movie for Ahn’Qiraj. Are there some Blizzard doesn’t have on their official site? I know that there are many more awesome movies there and commericals and stuff, but I wanted to make Alex a collection of the official cinematic and trailer videos, and I was surprised there wasn’t a Gates of Ahn’Qiraj one.
Regardless, after watching all of these back to back, I am so freaking excited to play some more WoW I want Pandas, and I mean right the heck NOW!!!
As you head into the weekend, I wanted to send a little thought out there your way.
Mists of Pandaria is about to descend upon us, and for players everywhere, what a joyous time it will be.
Before we have a reason to take vacation and ignore the outside world until the new year, might I suggest you do something, anything you wouldn’t normally do.
Most of you folks are already active, I know, we don’t buy into those stereotypes around here.
But even so, it’s easy to fall into a rhythm of consistent behavior. Ask any service member, if you behave in a consistently predictable manner, all sorts of terrible sorts could take advantage of you.
So, in the month ahead, why not go have fun in a new and different way, combat terrorism and avoid ambushes, all at the same time!
As just one example of what I’m talking about, Cassie suggested we go spend some time doing something fun together, and had this great idea to go find a “paint your own ceramics” shop and do some artsy craftsy fartsy kinds of stuff.
The one we went to locally was Kiln Kreations. Yes, a little part of my soul shriveled and died at the use of the ‘K’. I’m not endorsing them, just sayin’ where we went.
These kinds of places were fairly common at one time, and I know there are still several in our St Paul, MN area so you might have one near your local city as well.
Going to a place like this and having fun is pretty simple.
We went in, picked from among a nice selection of pre-made ceramics, painted them over a few hours of relaxing family time whatever color and style and pattern and whatever we wanted, and then left them to be fired and glazed for us to pick up later, about a week.
They had like a hundred colors, bins and baskets of stencils, stamps, various kinds of brushes, all sorts of stuff. Everything was pretty easy to get right into.
I did a little dragon Alex insists we name “Puff”, God help us, Cassie made a Reindeer tea mug, and Alex choose a huge Android cookie bin to make an Android Robot with removeable head.
Then Alex and Cassie went in on a join Snowman Christmas Tree ornament.
When we painted, they told us we needed to make sure and apply at least three good coats with time to dry between each for the colors to be deep and rich and not show the brush strokes. Since I wanted a pretty dragon, I was extra special careful. Which is not to say skilled at staying along the edge. Razzing frazzing clumsy bear paws.
This took a few hours of our time, and we all enjoyed something completely unusual for an afternoon. Plus, I can readily assure you nobody else has a dragon that looks exactly like mine.
I hope you enjoy our little project pictures, and that it encourages you to go do something fun that is different from your norm, and hell, come back and share some pics with us!
If you do ceramics all the time, why not try some knitting? If you knit, why not draw or sketch? Or, sure, go canoeing or boogie boarding or something, break out of the mold a bit with your butt.
And have a great weekend!
Just for comparison, below are pictures I took with my phone when we were finished painting them and they were dry. We were warned up front that the colors before firing would look pale and washed out, and as you can see, they weren’t exaggerating!
One bit of advice? Each coat really needs to dry all the way, because you are layering coats of thickness on each other. If you do like me and get some color blotching in the wrong place, let it dry 100% and then you can scrape it gently off. Don’t do like me and paint over it with another color three times, it’ll still bleed through.
Alex and I together watched videos and examined pictures of all of the sets in this first series, and debated the pros and cons of each against the revealed price points.
“Oh wow, that Zeppelin looks great, but for pure value how can you beat Sindragosa the Dragon and the Lich King for $35? Barrens Chase just gives you a couple of mounts and generic WoW characters, two each.”
“Yeah, but Dad, you get Horde and Alliance banners on poles with the Barrens Chase!”
“Two words: Frozen Throne.”
“Yeah, but I can’t have the rocket mount in game, this way I can have one outside.”
“Frostmourne! Teeny, tiny Frostmourne!”
“But what about the catapult on the Demolisher!”
“Well, yeah, that’s cool, but when do you actually drive one in game? The Alliance tower is sweet, though.”
“But look at the Warlock pet! That’s awesome!”
And on and on…
Alex has his favorite, and of course it’s the Deathwing Assault. His second favorite, and my first, was the Lich King and Sindragosa set.
I’ve also been excited, because one of the sets, the Alliance Worgen Death Knight on the Griffon mount, perfectly matches his main character, Hailsword.
Alex loved that Brick Show review, by the way. Oh yes, he did.
So, we were settled in to a two month wait.
Imagine my shock this afternoon when I saw a tweet that someone had purchased a Mega Bloks set today. Like, right that minute. From Target.
I did a quick check, and sure as shit, Mega Bloks had a little blurb that went up July 31st saying, “Oh yeah and, like, the toys are in stores, like, today and stuff. Surprise!”
Oh, fiddlywinkers. Are they trying to give toy reselling scalpers all the breaks? Damnit!
I immediately took my lunch break to run to my local Target retailer, where I found… a big old empty set of shelves, with one set, the Demolisher, still on it.
Ah crap. Sinking chest feeling. Missed the release day, and now the chase is on.
I have been here before. A highly desired special toy, a lackadaisical walk to a store months after release, no sign of toy in existence. But resellers on eBay have it, oh my yes, for 300% of the original cost.
We aren’t made of money, far from it. We budget things tight, but we still have fun because Cassie budgets in fun, too. We just didn’t budget in buying a ton of toys this month. We budgeted about $300 for toys in two months time, and most of that was to go in a closet until Christmas. If you’ve got kids, you know what I mean. The secret closet, a hidden treasure trove representing a cumulative year of special sales, clearance racks, and sniped eBay auctions.
But… the shelves in Target were empty. EMPTY. Not even the Worgen on a mount! What if… what if the production did not anticipate final demand?
I bought the Demolisher. Last WoW Mega Bloks item in the store day after release? Yeah, um, no shit. I was NOT going to find out tomorrow that I had my one chance and blew it.
Then I went across the street to Walmart. Nothing, they were already stripped.
When I left work for the day, I stopped at two more Targets on the way home, and at each of them the story was the same. Stripped, empty shelves and a single, lone item still remaining.
At the first Target, the remaining item was a Worgen Death Knight on a Griffon. Score! No matter what else, we win. Alex gets his own character built of Mega Bloks.
At the second Target, double score! A single item, the Lich King and Sindragosa! Okay, Christmas is assured.
At this point, the Deathwing Assault on Stormwind is looking like a “wait for the second release” item. Seriously, the second day and stores are wiped clean? WTF?
Now, at this point I had to go home. This was a bad thing, because I had to tell Cassie I just spent $50 of her money on Mega Bloks. The Demolisher wiped out my own mad money account, so the rest of it was on the family dime, which means her dime.
So, I owe a lot of back rubs. And I’m in the doghouse.
I looked at Cassie, as she explained to me the simple math behind our current finances, in small words, and the reasons why spending $50, not to mention $95 right now, was a BAD THING.
I mentioned that I could go through my stuff and find what I can get rid of on eBay. I have to have SOME shit I could sell, right?
You’d think I would, but then I realize, all I have are books, my computer and phone, and some knickknacks like plush Looking For Group stuff on my desktop. No, I’m not selling Sooba.
Hey, wait! I’ve got an idea!
“What.” Man, she can look suspicious!
I can put a “Donate” button linking to my Paypal account on the sidebar of the website, saying ‘Donate to the Alex MegaBloks Christmas Toy Fund!”
but, no wait, think about…
“No. And yes, your readers are very nice, you’d probably get enough donations to buy Deathwing for Alex. Still no.”
Moments later, sanity returned. If you’re going to sell out, shit, go large, right? I’d better save the pimping for my first novel release!
That still left an issue unresolved.
So, I explained the whole “Deathwing for Christmas is looking as bleak as Barrens Chat” situation.
She checks the Target website, and sees there is supposedly one at a couple of local stores, including at one of the stores I knew had jack and squat. So, the website? Not to be trusted.
Cassie shocked me by suggesting that some employees at the Target stores might have taken stock and hid it in the back, planning on paying for it when they get their paychecks.
So cynical! No teen Target or Walmart employee would ever do such a thing!
Then she checked Amazon… who went from having four left in stock to zero as we watched and refreshed. Followed by someone relisting it for $145. Ugh!
Cassie looked at me, and pointed her finger like a General unleashing the first armored bear assault. “Get to Target. Right now. Get. that. set!”
So of I went. And lo and behold, a different Target DID have the Deathwing set, and more money was spent (but this time authorized) and there will be much rejoicing at Christmas time, and there had better be, because that pretty much wraps up Christmas. $100 for a single toy? Dear lord.
We gave Alex the Sindaragosa/Lich King set, and his Worgen Death Knight.
The Demolisher and Deathwing are going into storage, and he’ll probably see the Demolisher as a very special treat sometime before Christmas.
Alex has built the sets he has now, and I’ve got a few things to say.
First, the quality is top notch. Alex has a few of the Mega Bloks Halo sets, and my own opinion of their character figures are, they’re pretty crappy. Small, poor detail.
The Mega Bloks WoW figures, on the other hand, seem quite large in comparison, and are very nicely detailed.
There is something else that I haven’t seen talked about much, though, and this is huge.
The armor pieces for the shoulders and chest are removable, and replaceable.
The arms and shoulder joints are solid. The shoulder armor is a softer rubber that slide over the shoulder joints, and are VERY well fitted. The chest armor is also removeable and interchangeable.
The Sindragosa/Lich King set comes with a small baggie of Mystery Loot. There are a range of armor pieces and weapons that can be in this bag. It really is a random loot drop in a sealed bag, and Alex got a new set of red plate shoulder armor.
The fact that you can get extra ‘loot’ armor and weapon drops and actually equip them is awesome. I really can’t emphasize that enough, this first series of characters and sets has raised the bar, and Alex noted right away that his character in game has transmogged the exact shoulders that came on the Worgen figure. All the loot is based on in game models.
Think about that, and ponder multiple series of this toy set. Or more interesting, the trend now is to release booster packs of weapons amid the smaller Halo figures. So you could indeed someday buy weapon or armor set booster packs, hoping for that lucky drop.
The craftsmanship on the Lich King is just absurd, and the Dragon? Seriously, I am extremely happy with Sindragosa. If there was any one set I would recommend buying, it would be the Sindragosa/Lich King set. It is a masterpiece. It is “pose on my desk and make my geek friends exclaim in delight” levels of awesome.
I do have one issue with the overall release, and it is simply that the only characters released were men of the various races.
Now, hold on! Don’t get all mob and pitchforky on me! Give me a sec to explain!
I am not accusing anyone of anything, and I’m not being an activist here. In this case I don’t think the situation calls for it.
I personally would have preferred an even mix of male and female characters, but with all of the variations possible, I think they probably decided to focus on one series of male characters with armor pieces to nail down the possibilities in everyone’s mind, and then take advantage of the greater demand later.
Face it. There is no way all possibilities could be released in the same series.
And that is a point to reiterate. Mega Bloks does not tool up to do a single series and then dump the property. They release an initial line to explore the market response and expand it in follow-on series afterwards.
Just because most of my characters are female is no reason for me to get upset yet. :) I can be patient, especially now that I’ve seen the quality they’re coming out with. This is not your Dora the Explorer Mega Bloks set. Once they do release females of each race, with the way armor sets are interchangeable, you’ll be able to make your own unique look easy enough.
And if they don’t, well, the company I work for sells tools in wholesale quantities. I can outfit a WHOLE lot of mobs with pitchforks and blowtorches. No sweat.
What I’m wondering, now that I’ve seen these, is what dramatic moments in the history of World of Warcraft lend themselves to the iconic Mega Bloks treatment?
They’ve got to come out with new sets, so what is in the pipeline right now?
The first one that I would like to see that comes to mind is the Onyxia raid scenario.
A boxed set with Onyxia, a Dragonoid warrior, and perhaps three or four Black Whelps. I would pay very good money for expansion packs of four whelps too, so I could eventually have MANY WHELPS! HANDLE IT!
The expansion pack of whelps also goes nicely with building your own Leroy Jenkins action diorama.
But what other dramatic moments in WoW history can you think of for future Mega Bloks sets?
When you look at what they’ve released, there are individual characters and mount packs (character and mount). We can discount those, they will assuredly release more interesting combinations over the upcoming series, and can anyone say they lack mount, armor or weapon designs to choose from?
But then there are small scenes and moments, medium raid boss encounters, and then the large war diorama treatment.
So, three sizes of toy. The Onyxia one I think would fit solidly in the middle, a raid boss encounter with extra knickknacks.
I think a Warsong Gulch flag room would be a ROCKIN’ small diorama to build, with Cat druid and flag that can be carried in it’s mouth. :)
What are your ideas? Can you think of a special moment or dramatic WoW event that you’d think lends itself to being recreated in Mega Bloks? I’d love to see your ideas, so once things are released, I can go back and see who came closest to predicting the future.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone come out and say they think it was a good quest from an RP point of view, because your choice is to torture, or walk away and abadon the quest, implying that you left the Kirin Tor to find someone else to torture the guy. There are no real choices involved, the prisoner will still be tortured one way or the other, and you knew about it and did nothing to stop it.
When I mentioned the idea of having raid hard modes represent harder moral choices, the Art of Persuasion quest was one that I still think of as a lost chance at letting the player make a pesonal choice.
To fight and struggle against an implacable foe can seem very heroic on the face of it. Armor plated warrior queen facing off against fire breathing drag0n, you know the battle is either gonna be brutal, or extra crispy.
But when the choice you’re given is to have a target strapped to a chair, people standing all around you, and one of them hands you a knife and says, “Get carving”, that’s not making a choice so much as taking the path of least resistance.
But what about having quests with decision points? A quest that follows a certain chain, and then at a certain critical point offers you two choices, and each choice has a couple different quests that, regardless of which path you choose, rejoin once again into the one chain?
Let’s take “The Art of Persuasion” chain as an example.
You are a hero trying to aid the Kirin Tor out in Borean Tundra. The Mages have a problem, and it’s a big one. Mages are being abducted!
You are first tasked by the quest “Prison Break” with rescuing an abducted Kirin Tor mage. You are sent to where the mage prisons are, tasked with killing a guard to get a prison key and freeing a Mage. Good!
Once you’ve freed the Mage, your are given the “Abduction” quest. Lady Evanor, one of the Dalaran Archmages, was captured and the most likely suspects are these mage hunters and their Beryl Sorcerer allies. Time is of the essence if we are to find and rescue her!
You are to go back down there, subdue a Beryl Sorcerer, chain him up and drag him back in for questioning.
After you have brought back your Beryl Sorcerer prisoner, you are given the quest “The Borean Inquisition”. The prisoner is being prepared for questioning, mostly involving a chair with straps. You are sent to go and be ready to help in the questioning, in case you are needed.
Okay, so far so good, right? Mages are being abducted, you go free one, then word comes down that a senior senator or archmage or some other high muckety-muck just got captured, this is an emergency, we have to act fast to enact a rescue!
So you go and grab a prisoner to bring back for questioning. Since you picked the person to capture and brought them back in chains, the well being of that prisoner is your responsibility. Whatever they were before, they are helpless now in your hands.
Yes, there are questions that need answers. Yes, in the heat of battle they might have died anyway. But this changes the dynamic.
Where is Lady Evanor? What are they planning to do to her? How can we free her from her magical chains? We need answers before it’s too late! But at the same time, the prisoner cannot defend themselves. whatever you do to them is being done to someone as helpless as a babe. How do you feel about that? No worries, who cares, I’d have bathed in his blood anyway, or is it different now that he is utterly helpless and at your mercy?
So you’re sent to the tower, where the prisoner has been strapped helpless in a chair, and there is clearly going to be some torturing for information going on.
It is fortunate you’re here, <race>.
You see, the Kirin Tor code of conduct frowns upon our taking certain ‘extreme’ measures – even in desperate times such as these.
You, however, as an outsider, are not bound by such restrictions and could take any steps necessary in the retrieval of information.
Do what you must. We need to know where Lady Evanor is being held at once!
I’ll just busy myself organizing these shelves here. Oh, and here, perhaps you’ll find this old thing useful….
[You receive [Neural Needler].]
Now, this is the perfect point where a choice could have been offered. Instead of a single “Accept” button to choose to take the quest as offered, there could have been two lines of text describing your reaction, each leading to one of two branching quests.
The decision point.
One of the lines could have said, <You take the Neural Needler.>, indicating you intend to do exactly as asked, and torture the prisoner. That could have led to the normal two follow up quests, actually performing the torture, and then the follow up of taking your information to Librarian Donathan.
But what if the other line of text read, <No! There has to be another way! Wait, I have an idea.>
By selecting that choice, you could then be sent to talk to Librarian Donathan outside, and complete that quest by saying, “You of the Kirin Tor are powerful mages. Can you make me look like one of the Beryl Sorcerers for a few minutes, make a loud noise to the north and clear your people from the tower?”
The conclusion of that quest could be Librarian Donathan casting an illusion on you to make you look like a Beryl Sorcerer.
The follow up quest? There is a loud “boom!” to the north, a cloud od dust, the tower shakes a little, and you go in the tower, conveniently empty of Kirin Tor, to “break” the prisoner out. As you grab him and do a traditional escort quest to lead him out of the tower, he could let drop pieces of info along the way, such as thanking you, and telling you he’ll meet you on the platform where Lady Evanor is held as soon as he checks in with the person who holds her key, naming him.
That would give you two quests for each decision, but the end result would be the same.
However you got it, you have information to pass on to Librarian Donathan so you know where to go and what to do to free Lady Evanor in the quest chain.
Same quest count, so there is no advantage to one or the other in terms of exploring. And the follow up quests in the chain from that point would be the same. It would all be about which you felt more approapriate to your character.
The point is, for one brief moment lasting two quests long, you could choose whether you were the kind of person who chose expedience, pragmatism, ruthlessness or outride bloodthirstiness as their character personality, or if you were the kind of character that will try to find another way, any other way than torturing a prisoner, even if that means you fail to save someone else.
On a bonus? Screw the kirin Tor and their holier than thou bullshit. How much more fun would it be to listen to them tell you how special and precious their rules make them that they won’t torture the prisoner, tell you that YOU have to get your hands bloody, there is no other way, here is your torture device we just happen to have laying around, and then YOU tell THEM that you refuse and then find a better way that could have been taken all along, if they hadn’t been so quick to decide, in their worry or concern over the fate of Lady Evanor, to jump at torturing the prisoner..
Take your neural needler, shove it up your ass, because maybe it’s time you asked yourselves some pointed questions about how committed you are to the intent behind your rules and not just the letter of the law.
Yes, my description of how to impersonate a Beryl Sorcerer and the odds you’d really get your answers is far-fetched in a real detailed novel, but for a fast-paced quest chain I think it would be satisying.
You could get the job done, but take one of two drastically different routes to do it, and while your choice would affect nothing but your personal relationship with your character, it would still be a meaningful RP decision.
Blizzard almost did this later on, with Cataclysm in Mount Hyjal. There is a quest given by Thisalee Crow called ‘A Bird in Hand”.
In it, you are to use a signal fire to draw the attention of Marion Wormwing, and after you distract her by beating on her for a while, Thisalee sneaks up behind her and grapples her.
You then get to do some quick interrogating.
What’s interesting to me with this quest is, you aren’t given a choice of questioning her or not, but once you’ve gotten your info, you ARE given a choice… of whether to let her go, or kill her in cold blood.
Line of text: <Order Thisalee to kill the harpy.>
Thisalee Crow says: You’re my kind of mage, <name>! We’re finished with this filth.
Line of text: <Ask Thisalee to release the harpy.>
Thisalee Crow says: You’re a better person than I, <name>. But I suppose the harpies are just pawns here.
As you can see, this is exactly what I was talking about before. You still did the questioning and, yes, torture beforehand, but afterwards you’re given two choices, two lines of text, and what will happen differs depending on what you choose.
I’m suggesting that this same kind of “two options” thing could be used to offer decision points leading to quests, just one or two quests deep, that rejoined the same quest chain when done, but would give you a choice in how your character would approach things.
What do you think? Are there other quests in the game that you think could have a very different emotional impact if you’re just given a small choice?