Shamus Plays WoW #6: The Truth Hurts

By Shamus
on Oct 23, 2016
Filed under:
WoW

Master Norman has led us east along the road, looking for the landmarks that will lead us to the Jasperlode mine.

I love the arms-out frolicsome run of the demon imp.

I love the arms-out frolicsome run of the demon imp.

“We’re actually going to investigate this mine business?”, I ask.

“I don’t see why not.”, Norman says.

“You realize this is a huge waste of time, don’t you?”, I protest.

Norman gives a halfhearted shrug, “Look, this is what the guards want us to do. They know what the people around here need. We have to help the people of Azeroth somehow.”

We hang a left off the path and plunge into the woods. A few minutes later we reach the bustling kobold city that the Marshal Dughan hilariously referred to as the “Jasperlode mine”.

Can you imagine how annoying it would be to mount a stick on your back like this? Even if you could get it to hold still, you`d run it into things constantly.

Can you imagine how annoying it would be to mount a stick on your back like this? Even if you could get it to hold still, you`d run it into things constantly.

“Okay then.”, I say. “I think we can safely say this place is overrun. Let’s head back.”

“No.”, Norman says. “We have to scout the mines.”

“We just did. It’s kobold central. Let’s go get paid.”

“We have to scout inside.”

“Just say we did. You know it’s just more kobolds inside.”

“Are you suggesting I lie?” Norman asks, offended.

“I would never dream of such OF COURSE I’M TELLING YOU TO LIE. What kind of advice did you expect to get when you summoned a demon? Besides, this is barely lying at all, anyway. You know anyone that goes in there is going to be up to their ass in kobolds in about three seconds.”

“I’m not lying to the Marshal,” Norman insists.

“This lie is for their own good. You’re telling them what they need to know. You’re doing them a favor.”

“Lying is out of the question! Now get in there.”

“This is completely stupid and pointless. I don’t see why we don’t just-“

OBJECTION!

OBJECTION!

“AS YOUR MASTER, I COMMAND YOU TO-“

“Yeah. Yeah. Okay,” I sigh. “No need to get pushy.”

I charge in and heave some fireballs at the locals. Norman does his shadow magic stuff. It turns out that there are a lot more kobolds here than at the other mine, and these guys are a lot more ornery. Things go from bad to worse when I end up fighting three of them at once. Pretty soon I feel my demonic body coming apart. As I fall, I look backwards and see what Norman has been doing….

**wooshing noise**

**wooshing noise**

Of course, being immortal means I don’t die. I just return to the demonic planes. Which is something of a relief. I’m no longer two feet tall and feeble. I have just enough time to take care of a bit of business before I end up being summoned again.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how intentional were the developers when they made this look like a disco pose?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how intentional were the developers when they made this look like a disco pose?

“Behold demon, you now serve the mighty Deathbringerer!” Norman bellows as I snap back to the mortal realm.

“Lucky me,” I say. “It’s Deathbringerer, the master of running off and leaving his companion to die. Long time no see.”

Norman tilts his head to one side, “Gobstab? Is that you?”

“You were expecting Archimonde?”

He looks confused, “Well, I… My warlock teacher told me you never summon the same demon twice. I mean, there’s like billions of demons so…”

“Yeah, funny thing, that,” I shrug. “Probably a fluke. Best not to think too much about it. Let’s get back to work.”

It’s quite a long walk back to the mines.

“Man, when you run away you don’t mess around,” I observe.

“Yeah. Those kobolds chased me for a long ways. They were mean little buggers.”

“Oh I’m sure I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

“Yeah.” Norman says guiltily, “I’m sorry about leaving you like that. When you died I thought I’d never see you again.”

“First of all, I didn’t ‘die’. I just lost my connection to the mortal realm. Which is not a bad thing. Second, don’t apologize to one of your own servants. It sickens me.”

“Sorry.”

“Stop that!”

“Right, right. No apologizing. Got it.”

We`re in the part of the game where foes will attack on sight. The distance required to trigger an attack goes down as you level. So higher-level foes will pounce on you quickly, but foes under your level won`t attack until you`re basically on top of them. Good feature to avoid harassing people with worthless mobs
We're in the part of the game where foes will attack on sight. The distance required to trigger an attack goes down as you level. So higher-level foes will pounce on you quickly, but foes under your level won't attack until you're basically on top of them. Good feature to avoid harassing people with worthless mobs

Back at the mines, Norman once again sends me into the fray while he hangs back. We make it further this time, but eventually we attract too many kobolds and Norman runs off and I get a free trip back home. Sure enough, a few minutes later…

“Behold demon, you now serve-“

“Oh look. It’s the running man. Thanks a lot for that one.”, I say.

“Gobstab? Again? This is uncanny. No. This is absurd. Impossible. This isn’t just random chance.”

“Yeah. Quite a mystery. Like I said, best not to think about it. Let’s get going.”

“No, as you master, I order you to tell me why you’re the only demon I can summon.”

“Nice try, but you can’t make me tell you about how the demonic realms work.”

“I can’t?”, he says, suddenly uneasy.

“It’s not part of the deal. So suck it up. All you need to know is that we’re stuck with each other for the time being.”

Norman is really shaken by this. He’s suddenly aware that there are limits on how much power he has over me. He’s probably wondering what other limits there are. Or what secrets I might be hiding, and why. For the first time in his life he might be questioning the wisdom of striking deals with demons who are older, smarter, and more powerful than himself. But like all humans the feeling soon passes and he goes back to thinking he knows what he’s doing.

Gotta love humans.

Oh come on, that staff isn`t anywhere NEAR my character`s back!

Oh come on, that staff isn`t anywhere NEAR my character`s back!

It takes us three more attempts at a frontal assault before we manage to scrape by the guards at the entrance and push our way into the mines where we find, to our complete lack of surprise, that the place is completely full of kobolds.

We kill a couple of the locals just for good measure, and then we head back to Goldshire, city of brave champions.

All caps or all lowercase. Either way, no class.

All caps or all lowercase. Either way, no class.

Marshal Dughan is upset by the news, “Kobolds at the Jasperlode Mine, you say? Curses! The situation is worsening by the minute!”

“So, I guess you’ll be increasing your patrols in that area?”, Norman asks earnestly.

Dughan gives a little shrug. Meh. Whatever.

“But… what was the point of scouting the place if you weren’t going to do anything about it?” Norman asks.

Due to a quirk of idle animations, it looks like Dughan and Gobstab just locked eyes.

Due to a quirk of idle animations, it looks like Dughan and Gobstab just locked eyes.

“Oh you know. Looks good on the end-of-week reports. Shows we’re involved.”

Norman looks around at the other guards loitering about town, “But… you’re not involved.”

Dughan gives another one of those little shrugs.

“That does it!” Norman shouts. I know what we’re going to do!”

And with that he marches us right out of town and to the capital city of Stormwind.

This is a two-minute walk. Nothing, really. You usually begin the game very close to the capital city of your race.

This is a two-minute walk. Nothing, really. You usually begin the game very close to the capital city of your race.

Gorgeous.

Gorgeous.

Note that this screenshot is from Cataclysm, which we’re not going to explore until the next entry. Part 7 of this series originally went up on the same week that the Cataclysm expansion went live.

Cataclysm brought a lot of changes to Stormwind, but the biggest change is that fact that in Cataclysm you can actually view the city from above. See, back in 2004 it would have been madness to try and show a city this large and detailed. So the city was designed to limit visibility. Each district was surrounded by a wall, and there was a set of canals between them. The doors in these walls didn’t line up, which prevented you from looking out of your current district, over the canals, and into another district. This meant your computer would never have to draw more than one district at a time. It also meant the entire city was damned annoying to navigate. If you approached the city on a griffin, the approach angles were set so that you couldn’t really look down and see the whole city.

The place has opened up a bit in Cataclysm, and it’s now possible to fly directly over the city. There are other, more destructive changes, but we’ll get to those next week.

“So why are we here, again?” I ask as we stroll into town.

Note the baffle wall on the far side of the gate, to limit visibility.

Note the baffle wall on the far side of the gate, to limit visibility.

“I’m going to tell the authorities about the slacking guards in Goldshire!” he announces.

Norman leads us to Cathedral Square, at the heart of the city. There are some official buildings there, and he meanders from one place to the next, complaining loudly and getting nowhere.

Finally I can’t stand it anymore. “You’re wasting your time,” I tell him.

“Azeroth needs help, and those guards are doing nothing while kobolds multiply around them! Someone here is in charge of those guards, and when I find him-“

Just imagine how much worse this would look if you gave it a HD texture pack. This is a world designed to LOOK GOOD at its initial tech level.

Just imagine how much worse this would look if you gave it a HD texture pack. This is a world designed to LOOK GOOD at its initial tech level.

“It doesn’t matter. None of this matters,” I say patiently. “Look, pretty soon a dragon is going to show up and wreck everyone’s party. Until then, this is just a bunch of wanking.”

“That’s ridiculous! A dragon?”

“Look, I’m not some two-bit chump summon. I’m the real deal. An important field-agent demon with a line on the secret happenings of the universe, and I’m giving you an insider tip: A dragon is about to kick your asses to Kalimdor and back.”

Norman is red with fury, “I’ve had enough of your lies! I command you to return to the abyss and let me summon a different demon!”

“Not happening.”

“Fine. We’ll see about this.”

Now that the game has gotten rid of class trainers, a lot of sections of the city are pretty much useless. I don`t think there`s ever a reason to come to the Mage Quarter other than the endpoint for the occasional delivery quest.

Now that the game has gotten rid of class trainers, a lot of sections of the city are pretty much useless. I don`t think there`s ever a reason to come to the Mage Quarter other than the endpoint for the occasional delivery quest.

“What? You’re taking me to the Mage Quarter now? You think your amusing Mages can overpower the demonic realms with a couple of fireballs and some summoned water?”

“I’m going to the Warlock expert here in town. Maybe he knows what’s going on.”

I let out a long sigh. When the smoke clears, I tell Norman, “Okay. Fine. Here’s the deal: I’m from the Department of Infernal Damnation. I’m your assigned caseworker. No matter what you do, I’m the only demon you’re ever going to be able to summon.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re trying to use demon powers to serve the Lighttm. Maybe it didn’t occur to you that the Demonic Review Board might not appreciate that? You’re a priority case, and that’s why I got the job of orchestrating your downfall.”

“So what if I don’t turn to evil?”

“Then that’s my ass. I’ll be demoted and spend the next couple thousand years filing paperwork and getting coffee for the important demons. Metaphorically.”

I love this courtyard, although I do question the utility of putting a well over cobblestones like this.

I love this courtyard, although I do question the utility of putting a well over cobblestones like this.

“So all I have to do is dismiss you and never call you again, and I’m safe?”

“You could do that, but you won’t. You need me. You never would have gotten this far without my help. What are you going to do? Abandon your country in their hour of need because of your selfish concern over your own soul?”

“You don’t get it. If I turned to evil, mother would kill me.”

“If you’re more afraid of your mother than demons, then your mother was either very bad, or very awesome.”

“I’m getting rid of you.”

“I’ll be on call. Just remember me when things go sideways.”

“Never! Begone!”

Click for HD version.

Click for HD version.

Crap. Banished. Ah well, he’ll be back. Oh yeah. He’ll be back.

Next entry: THE CATACLYSM BEGINS!

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17Just 17 comments.

From the Archives:

  1. Incunabulum says:

    ‘Click for the HD version’

    And, like a chump, I clicked before I got the joke.

    I don’t know if you want to update some of this one – there’s a lot of talk of Cataclysm ‘coming out next week’. Might be worth the effort to modernize it. Just something to think about.

  2. Bubble181 says:

    Ooh, only a week left ’till Cataclysm! I can’t wait to see what happens and in what ways the game will improve!

    …What?

    • MrGuy says:

      This series is a repost of work Shamus originally did for The Escapist. If you want, you can read the whole series there (there’s even a link in the archives).

      I believe the original intent was specifically to line up with the launch of Cataclysm, which is why that event features so prominently in the series.

  3. Somniorum says:

    The Mage Quarter has a couple profession trainers in there – still need to go to those to do profession stuff – and there’s a little teleportation stuff in there (mages have a bunch of teleportation spells to capital cities). So there’s a small use in the Mage Quarter still, though surely not as much as before.

    • Trix2000 says:

      It’s the place where all portals to the city drop you off, so it is in fact one of the more traveled portions actually. People still need to stop in Stormwind for the Auction House, and the high level hubs generally have permanent portals to there and the other cities… which consequently puts people in the Mage District.

      …Though most people will immediately mount up and leave it heading towards the Trade District the moment they exit the mage tower. There’s not more than a few profession trainers to keep people there.

  4. Rick C says:

    The intro to the Mists of Pandaria quests will have you in and out of the cellars, and the Archmage’s tower is still a portal to The Blasted Lands, which you’ll use both for the Burning Crusade content and for Warlords of Draenor.

  5. evileeyore says:

    DAMN YOU SHAMUS!

    NOW I WANT TO GO BACK AND PLAY MORE WARCRAFT!

    fight me n00b1!!1

  6. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    On a scale of 1 – 10. 11. The Bee Gees and John Travolta looked at that and said “maybe you should tone it down a bit?”

  7. Ivan says:

    Ok so, this blew my mind slightly, but that overhead shot of Stormwind, they actually used the same basic city structure as was used in the last level of the Orc Campaign in Warcraft 1. I.E: the mission where the orcs attack Stormwind. Frickin callback!

  8. Philadelphus says:

    Baffle walls might also be good fortification design; that way no one can charge in right through a newly-breached gate (or, in this world, sling line-of-sight magic or arrows). I once toured a crusader-era castle in Israel called Nimrod’s fortress, and just inside the gate maybe 10–15 feet there was a 90° turn to the right, with a thin passageway (lined with murder holes, I’m sure) that perhaps two people at a time could traverse for another 50 or so feet before coming out into the courtyard proper.

  9. Pinkhair says:

    Slightly pedantic, but the screenshot you had for the comment on low res textures actually shows the updated high(er) res textures and updated models from Cataclysm, which were added a good while before Cataclysm itself went live.

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