Shamus Plays WoW, Part 8: Lazy, Star-Crossed Lovers

By Shamus
on Dec 17, 2010
Filed under:
Column

The latest installment is up, but I forgot to link it on Wednesday.

This series is an interesting experiment. I joke about it being “fanfiction”, but I think it’s actually true. This really is fanfiction, even more so than my Lord of the Rings Online or my Champions Online series. In those other stories, I stuck pretty close to the game. I made up dialog, but that’s about it. The rest of it was simply a transcription of the in-game activity. (Which speaks poorly of the writers, I guess.) But here I’m making up characters, backstories, and even doing a bit or world-building in imagining the how the demonic realms operate. I was pretty nervous when I set out in this direction, and very worried that I might get picked apart by WoW lore fans, but so far everyone seems happy.

Having played around on the Horde side, I think both the Blood Elves and the Undead would make for great Let’s Play series. The next time I’m having trouble finding an MMO for Shamus Plays, I might come back to WoW.

Interesting news: DC Universe Online is sounding very, very promising. I’m considering that for my next series. It launches in February, although I don’t know if we’ll be done with WoW before then.

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20201151 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Selater says:

    Hopefully you won’t attract the attention of the Red Shirt Guy. He might ask some pretty difficult questions.

  2. Tessa says:

    Oh, the lore-fans -could- pick you appart if they wanted.

    I think in general they’re just aware that you’re not attempting to present the WoW-lore as it actually is, but only what you have inferred through gameplay.

    • Namaps says:

      Not to mention that since Warcraft’s lore has been completely revamped multiple times by Blizzard itself, one hesitates at this point to take any of it too seriously.

  3. Yeah, blood elves just cry out for mockery.

  4. Ross says:

    And as far as your LOTRO series went, you admittedly were cherry-picking the quests, and most of those were out of The Shire which are specifically meant to be ridiculous by human standards, but utterly serious by hobbit standards. You also pointed that out during the series.

    You did a great job with LOTRO, but in this case I don’t think it says anything horribly negative about the quest writers.

    Champions Online, on the other hand, has no excuse for that god-awful writing.

    My WoW-addicted friends find this series to be absolutely hysterical, so you’re doing something right. ;)

  5. Zem says:

    I greatly enjoy your series, but i do have to lodge a small complaint:
    It is very complicated to find it.

    I was not sure whether I had read the previous installment, so I tried to find a link to it before starting to read the current one and spoiling myself.

    The box at the bottom “related News” had links to 5 previous issues, but they do not seem to be the most recent ones. Since they do not have numbers in the title, it is hard to make sure. I tried every link, concluded that I had read them all, but I thought there was at least one more recent one that I had read.

    The tags at the top “shamus young” and “shamus plays” did not help either; the list is apparently not ordered by date and contains everything including the LOTRO and champions let’s-plays (all great, by the way)

    I finally found the link to what I think is the most recent installment on page 3 of the articles section in the escapist:
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/shamusplays/8410-The-Cataclysm-Begins
    But I am still not certain if there is a more recent one that I missed.

    Probably I just missed checking something obvious, but links to an archive page at the top of each let’s play, maybe with numbers, would be much appreciated.

    • ngthagg says:

      I’ve had exactly the same problem. The thing to click on is the name in the byline (ie, where it says “by Shamus Young”) and that will bring up a list of his articles with the most recent first.

      • Zem says:

        Actually, I think even that link is missing at least the installment “The Cataclysm Begins!” from December 8.
        Or the list is not ordered by date. There is no entry between “10 Dec 2010” and “3 Dec 2010”

  6. Wolfwood says:

    O DCUO does sound promising. I think it’ll hold me over till TERA. Basically the same clicky action MMO from what i gather but i just like high fantasy more than pastel colored spandex superheros XD

    please do one on DCUO after WoW because otherwise i would never know what the quest dialogs are in the game! ^-^

  7. Ben Orchard says:

    Suggestion:

    There is a Lego MMO.

    GO THERE NOW!!

  8. Brandon says:

    I love this series Shamus. You’re an excellent comedy writer, every installment makes me laugh, without fail. :)

    I wonder if Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to be an option for a Shamus Plays in the future? Supposedly it is going to be out this year.

  9. hewhosaysfish says:

    Hmmm…..
    “The Alliance and Horde are fighting again. Killing each other left and right,”
    “But all it would take is for one guy to show up and say he’s with the Burning Legion and peace would break out again”

    Anyone else foreseeing Norman trying to work for the Burning Legion?

  10. Dante says:

    Back when I played WoW (years ago, I played for about 2.5 years, I quit a few months after BC was released), I tried so very very hard to play as an Alliance character and…..I just couldn’t despite the quantity of players (something in the realm of 3:1 Alliance vs Horde on the server I was on), I couldn’t play past level 10 on any Alliance character I made because NO ONE ON THE ALLIANCE SIDE WAS HELPFUL. You ask for directions in Goldshires general chat…nothing. You ask directions again 10 minutes later, you get wonderful responses like “check online n00b”. You ask for directions in Durotar in general and get responses like “start here, go north, then west when you see…” “you have a coord(inate) add-on? The coords are…” “I’m heading about that way, lets form a party and I’ll show right where to go”. The player base on Horde (at least back then) was always much more mature and helpful than the Alliance ever was. So hopefully it still is when you decide to play on Horde Shamus.

    • Ian says:

      It does depend on the realm, but I concur. I’m mostly Horde with some Alliance toons and, in general, the Horde side seems to be calmer. In my experience, this does not seem to be the case when the Horde vastly overpopulates the Alliance. Ugh. At least it’s easy to leave trade chat. :)

      One theory that I’ve seen thrown around is that many of “those people” don’t want to play characters whose features deviate too much from humans. That would probably explain the seemingly infinite number of “highly mature” blood elves (obligatory disclaimer: not all blood elves are bad) that I see.

    • Hitch says:

      This is very much a Your Mileage May Vary sort of thing. In my experience, you will get rude responses in Trade chat or Elwynn General (because that includes Goldshire), but for the most part Alliance players are fairly helpful in chat. My play time on the horde side was typified by level capped Orcs charging through the zone where I was questing and one-shotting as many quest mobs as they could before I could get to them and then laughing at me, or waiting until I was struggling to fight a mob higher level than myself and dropping a duel flag then doing the /chicken emote when I declined. Now I do get the high levels wanting to duel lowbies and mocking them for refusing on the Alliance side, but almost exclusively in Goldshire, it happened everywhere in the world to me Horde-side. At least the Alliance has a widely recognized sub-zone for stupid behavior.

      • Ian says:

        I usually embrace ridiculously impossible duels. When I’m on my lowbie Alliance toons I make a point of going to Goldshire and challenging one of the 80s (well, 85s now, I guess) to a duel. When they beat me I call shenanigans.

  11. Though this was nicely developed storyline, and explains why there are so many paladins.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wow what fans?(I kid,I kid)

    Oh,and this “expression of love” has remonded me of a joke:

    A phone conversation between a man and a woman:
    M -Oh darling,I love you so much!Id jump over the moon for you!Id ame a volcano!Id pluck the stars from the sky!
    W -Oh dear!Im swooned by your words!Come to me my darling!
    M -Well,I cant darling,its raining outside…

  13. Sekundaari says:

    “that’s why you make sure you only kill one of them! With only one lovebird dead, one family will want to mourn and the other will want revenge.”

    Wait – wouldn’t just one family want to mourn AND to revenge? Or am I missing something?

    • Shamus says:

      Erm, yeah. I can’t believe I messed that up.

      And I can’t believe you’re the first to notice.

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

        Oh, so it wasn’t a carefully planned “mistake” that you made just to keep up the illusion that you’re just a friendly family man instead of a scheming monster out for the lives of all livings?

        Now I feel kinda of disappointed.

        Not that the typo is the only thing wrong with that plan. It overtly simplifies the complex mechanics of feeding fire to a conflict. Why you want only one dead is because you need one of the families happy that their member got back safely. That way they’ll be mainly happy while the other family’s members will feel sad and that it’s unfair, becoming envious. Starting to conjure up illusions for themselves why such an unjust event could’ve befallen, they’ll blame the survivor, who will be protected by his/her family. Which will merely feed the anger within.

        If you’re lucky, the survivor will be pushed over by this and either project his/her sorrow as anger on the other family or be stricken with grief so much that he/she will do something rash. Like set a building on fire, which will really kick things up. Or kill him/herself, getting that family full on the revenge bandwagon. After all, they’ll most likely believe the other family’s accusations brought on the suicide. Then you just hand over the matches.

        If you get really crafty, you can even get other families involved by proxy, culminating in a country/world wide war.

        Unfortunately, all it needs is one damn hero to show up and go all smartarse on the situation and fix it. Bloody goody goodies.

  14. Kira says:

    I’d like to state that DCUO is great. Mix of diablo-esque clicky combat with WoW combat. Its quite a change, and great fun.

  15. Zukhramm says:

    I like the new stuff in Cataclysm so far, but what I really really hate is the old things that are gone. I was halfways through my tier 0.5 quest and now it’s gone. I thought expansions were supposed to add content, not remove it.

  16. Drew says:

    So I know this isn’t the thread for it, but nobody’s going to look at the old one:

    Rez sickness has a very clear and reasonable purpose. Without it, dying would be the smart way to finish quests. Consider: You’re sent into a deep cave to kill some bad guy or find some arcane item. Now you’ve got it. You can:

    A) Fight your way back out and trek across the map to your quest giver
    B) Take off your gear and get yourself killed, then rez at the spirit healer right next to town without penalty.

    Without rez sickness, choice B) would be the only reasonable option, and the game would quickly become ridiculous. Without a penalty for using spirit healers, they’d either need to be removed entirely, or the game would devolve into a rush to your objective, then suicide. And that’s not good.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      But how about situations where you’re forced to use it? How about designing it so that the trek back wouldn’t feel like either a hassle or pointless drudgery? I mean, being forced to fight out of a cave because the enemies respawned isn’t exactly fun. Doubly not-fun when it’s because there was a flood player’s there shortly before and had to wait for the bad guy to respawn, and the area is stuck in short respawn timers meaning you’re stuck because they spawn too fast. And running is not an option, since every enemy gets potshots at you and run faster, while you have a shorter range and penalties for fighting while moving (IIRC).

      And wait, wasn’t Hearthstones meant to be something like that? Or was it just meant as a “I want to quit, Hearthstone, Logout”-item?

      I consider “acceptable casualties” a BS justification, by the way.

      I don’t really have a better solution to discourage rez traveling, but that doesn’t mean that people should stop complaining. And it feels more like trying to cure the symptom, not source. Like a man spraying water at the flames, instead of the wood that’s burning, drenching an innocent opposite of him.

      • Drew says:

        I’ve always considered hearthstones a way to return to your home base, not to your nearest quest giver. Maybe you need to train, sell some stuff, visit your bank, whatever. That’s what a hearthstone was for in my book. Thus the (original) 1 hour cooldown (which is now half that). I suppose one could make the case that the hearthstone should be an “instant travel to wherever you want” item, but I don’t think that’s the intent. I could be mistaken.

        And the only situation I can recall where I was “forced” to spirit rez was a long time ago when I dove into the lava in blackrock mountain, and it would have taken several corpse runs to actually get the shore of the lake of lava. The fact that you have a decent range around your corpse in which to resurrect generally ensures you can find a place where you won’t get attacked. Now on PvP servers, I can see things being different, though when I leveled on one I really didn’t find corpse camping to be that prevalent.

        Anyway, I was simply responding to the comment from Shamus that he didn’t see any point for rez sickness, and I was trying to communicate that one exists.

        • Ian says:

          Speaking as someone who was forced to spirit rez due to a game bug, I find rez sickness to be downright terrible with the repair bill being little more than insult to the injury.

          The last time I was forced to spirit rez was when the event that occurs in the Horde sub in Vashj’ir refused to play, stranding several players on-board. To make matters worse, another bug occurred simultaneously that caused my character to slowly run out of breath as if he were underwater. My hearthstone had a 15 minutes cooldown at the time, so I was unable to escape. I died on the sub and figured that I could run to where the sub was and rez outside of the hull, but no dice. The sub moved too fast and the resurrection area didn’t update fast enough*, so I was forced to spirit rez and take 25% durability loss on a full set of endgame WotLK epic gear. I got a hefty repair bill and 10 minutes of timeout solely due to a bug in the game.

          *The way the resurrection system seems to work is that it takes a snapshot of where your corpse is every ~10 seconds. Each update can be seen by looking at your map, the grave marker will move each time. You have to be within range of where the grave marker is in order to rez — most likely to cut back on server traffic and to prevent 1337 hax0rz from rezzing anywhere. This isn’t an issue when your corpse is just lying there, but if it’s on a vehicle that’s moving faster than your spirit form can move, rezzing normally becomes a non-trivial affair.

          • Drew says:

            Now that sucks, though it sounds more like an indictment of game-breaking bugs, than of rez sickness.

            • Ian says:

              Indeed. I don’t have a problem with rez sickness as-is (the way I look at it, dying in other MMOs usually proves to be far, far worse), but being forced into it and thrown into the corner for 10 minutes sucks. I don’t care so much about the repair bill — a couple of dailies can sort that out — but it was just the icing on the cake for the whole thing.

              That said, I suppose I can’t complain too much. Aside from a few niggles like that, the Cataclysm launch went quite well.

          • If you put in a ticket, you usually get immediate respite in situations like that. I did.

            • Hitch says:

              These days I don’t think the GMs respond to any ticket in less than 10 minutes.

              This is not a complaint about the GM staff. They seem to do a very good job. But if the forums are any indication there are a flood of people submitting pointless tickets that have to be checked to see if there anything worth responding to.

            • Ian says:

              It was annoying, but I wasn’t about to put in a ticket for losing ten minutes and an amount of gold that can be made up by doing a quest or two.

              It’s far from being immediate respite. The annoying part was the rez sickness, and considering Cataclysm was just released, there’s no way my ticket would have been answered in under ten minutes (as Hitch mentioned), let alone that night. No point unnecessarily adding to the GM’s long and ever-growing queue for something so trivial and well-reported.

        • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

          I made the base point (it’s to avoid rez ‘porting*), but felt that there was a need to point again that it is inadequate considering the inconvenience it causes. Games are supposed to be about enjoyment, not being slaves to the designers.

          I had forgotten how the Hearthstones worked, especially the cooldown period being 30 min. Which annoys me in games. I wouldn’t be using it half the time if traveling wouldn’t be such a pain. But it is, so I am slogging through to get from A to B and wondering why I paid real money just so I could waste my time doing a boring chore.

          * there just has to be a term for this, why has no-one pointed it out?

  17. Sheer_Falacy says:

    So one thing that’s a bit annoying is that the Cataclysm happened, and you’re, sadly, in one of the areas that didn’t change much. The very first human subarea (where you fought all the kobolds before going to Goldshire to fight different kobolds) changed, and Westfall and Redridge changed massively, but mostly Elwynn Forest (where you are now) just got minor changes in quest order and acquired some flight paths. Hopefully you’ll get to Westfall at some point – I’m sure you’ll have great fun narrating that.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      I’ve given some thought to it and isn’t actually good he has done so? Every player will be pointing out what has changed just to encourage people to try those out. And the human area was one of the worst (well, Alliance side probably worst) so attention needs to be drawn on it too.

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

        “…isn’t it actually good that he…”

        I must be suffering from malnutrition or something. It just feels so strange to miss such basic things that often bug me. I mean, proper sentence structure? Doesn't matter. But dropping words that break the flow completely and lower the word count? Inconceivable!

  18. Daimbert says:

    Ah, so THAT explains why this latest series is leaving me a bit cold. I just thought it was because WoW didn’t have interesting quest lines …

    See, what I liked about the Champions Online and LotRO Let’s Plays was that you went through the regular quests with a character that could comment on them. A character that was both in and out of the loop and so could be an objective — but not that objective — observer. I think Lulzy’s final encounter with Aragorn was a perfect example of how that could work, where the two combined to make a different story.

    Here, it seems more like there’s a story going on, and WoW is mostly extraneous. Early on, I thought that it was just because there weren’t really … meaty quests that you can hang an actual story on, which might be true. But the focus on your own story does seem to take it away a bit from WoW; this story could be done anywhere, at least so far.

    That being said, in order to not be too critical, it’s still entertaining enough that I read it, and some of the links to lore in this one were interesting.

  19. froogger says:

    But here I’m making up characters, backstories, and even doing a bit or world-building in imagining the how the demonic realms operate.

    And you are succeeding eminently. In fact, this latest addition to your series is a great example of what I love about your style of writing. Gobstabs comment on how an escalating powerstruggle ends up destroying what you originally set out to save is a truth told in a delightfully humorous way.
    Kudos, and keep it up :D

  20. andy_k says:

    That was gold… You have cheered me up. Last quote by the demon – awesome. I quite like the direction and style of this; I think it works really well.

    Shame on you for not linking to it earlier. Shame on me for not checking the escapist.

    Keep up the good work!

  21. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Ah, that’s explains quite a bit, really, about the writing style here and why it’s not gelling with me as well as the last two series.

    Most people ignore the quest text in WoW, and other MMO’s, because it’s so very, very unneeded to enjoy the experience, so I was hoping that you’d take advantage of that and make the LP more like the previous two, where most of the really good humour was making fun of the quests and the general world, which WoW is pretty damn good for.

    As is, you’ve got to go through the trouble of “world building” and “establishing characters,” which was handled very nicely in the previous two LP’s by making fun of the quest text with the voice of the hero, but since you’re writing the quest text yourself, then it’s your quests you’re making fun of, your world you’re making fun of, and the effort going into creating all that extra stuff is bogging things down and making this more about the story of Norman than making good natured fun of WoW.

    I can see you burning out on this series pretty quickly if you keep going this way, cause you’re creating extra work for yourself with no benefits.

    That said, I’d love to see you take a whack at it again by killing off Norman and having him be resurrected as an Undead, as Undead starter quests, even after the Cataclysm, are still morbidly entertaining and very easy to make fun of.

    EDIT: Re-reading this, I realized I didn’t say if I enjoyed the series, which I do, I do a lot, just not as much as the first two, but I still really enjoy it!

    I’m mostly just worried you’re adding on extra work for little to no purpose, since making fun of the game is why you started this LP in the first place, but if you remove the game from the equation, what are you making fun of?

  22. Phoenix says:

    Even without having played WOW for more than 10 minutes (which seemed to affirm all the bad things I heard about parts of the community before – but maybe I was just unlucky) I really love this series! Especially the ironic Pratchett-like style is really good!

    I’m really looking forward to read what all this mystery concerning Normans mom is about ;)

  23. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

    Since Shamus has yet to add a post for the auto-published Experienced points about Death Penalty, I’ll comment on a couple of things here:

    First, even in a no penalty situation, there is an actual benefit for being better. You get through combat faster. Meaning that in a way, even then poor playing has a time penalty. The problem is, that even if you’d take an “almost no penalty” approach, for example forcing for a graveyard zerging, won’t necessarily motivate people to find a better way. The designers need to put something that nudges the thought “I’m not doing this right” into action so the player will actually search for a better or more fun solution. Of course that still translates to “absolutely no penalty is bad” so I both understand that you didn’t put it into the article and don’t really disagree with anything there.

    Secondly: Get out. Of my. Head!

    Ó_Ò

  24. Noah Lesgold says:

    Very interested in what you think of DCUO when it comes out. I’ve been playing the beta and it hooked me pretty hard. In particular, the amazingness of the acrobatics and super speed travel powers made me think of your (totally justified) bitching about getting around in CO and COH. The first time I went rooftop-hopping in Gotham with an acrobatics character blew my mind, and then after that, making a character with Super Speed and running up the side of a building was fantastic and had me laughing out loud with a giant, goofy grin on my face.

    DCUO (still in beta) has a number of issues – the costume creator is a human rights violation, social interaction is practically impossible, and there are straight up not enough power sets (want to be like Green Lantern? Plastic Man? Firestorm? Dr. Light? You’re SOL). At the same time, the core gameplay is brimming with fun and excitement, and the writing and voice acting are actually good, almost all the time. It has a TON of potential, and I’m hoping it gets the chance to live up to it.

    • Joshua says:

      See, I feel like the entire UI in DCUO is a crime against humanity. Maybe it’s tolerable on a PS3 controller, but rapidly mashing the left and right mouse buttons isn’t my idea of a good time. I was bored to tears before I was even out of the tutorial.

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