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Shattered Roleplaying

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December 02 2010

Shattered Roleplaying
by Steve

Since Deathwing’s emergence from the bowels of the elemental plane, Azeroth looks a touch different. The Northshire vineyards are all aflame, there’s an enormous gaping chasm cutting the Barrens in half, and certain faction leaders are no longer with us. Some of this is the fault of the aforementioned dragon aspect. Others…not so much. Yet all of it together has given those of us playing WoW in its sixth year a much deeper story than what we’ve seen before, when rolling a new toon and emerging from our crypts in Deathknell. And if you, like me, are a roleplayer, you couldn’t be more grateful.

Blizzard has graced us with new fodder for roleplaying. Whether it be an extension upon a story already in progress with your main toon or the option to roll a new one and start fresh, thereby experiencing the new content from the eyes of an up and coming hero, the post-4.0.1a world has given us a plethora of lore and stories to make the game more enjoyable. Yet, even with all the new toys we have to play with, there are a couple of lingering questions that remain that might be a hindrance to your story progression.

How much time has elapsed between the elemental invasion and the Shattering?

Timelines in game are a tricky thing. As for this particular timeline, the simple answer is that we don’t know. Blizzard, to the best of my knowledge, has not come out with an official answer, but it’s best to assume a fair amount of time has passed; likely several months at least. It isn’t every day that a dragon aspect flies over a capital city and leaves it in ruins, right? And those battlements where the park once stood in Stormwind didn’t build themselves overnight.

Yet, if you found yourself portraying your characters reacting to the decimation left by Deathwing instead of being over it and helping with the reconstruction of Orgrimmar, are you doing it wrong? Hell no! Character reactions are integral to making RPing an interesting and fun exercise. Without it, we’d all be sitting around a campfire in the Barrens eating roasted zhevra and telling the same tired old stories week after week. Suspension of disbelief is a key to roleplaying.

Does my character know what happened to Magni Bronzebeard?

This one’s a little more difficult to answer. If your character is often seen in the Ironforge throne room, then yes, he or she probably has intimate knowledge that Magni was turned to stone. If not, then does your character have much interaction with the politics of the dwarven kingdom? Because if that’s the case, it would be hard for you not to know that Moira is back from Blackrock Depths and now on the council with two other dwarves. (I’m purposely sparing further naming in the off-chance you’ve not had a chance to go to Ironforge yourself and see what’s happened or are alternately reading The Shattering. I’m trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible. You’re welcome.)

What about Cairne Bloodhoof? That big cow was killed!

Right. This one is a little more cut and dry. Anyone with even a passing interest in Horde politics would know what happened to the big lug that once sat in his tent in Thunder Bluff. When you challenge a warchief to a duel to the death, it stands to reason you’re going to hear about it, even if you are just Joe Forsaken out there panhandling in the fetid sewers of Undercity. Of course, if your character has been on a secret recon mission attempting to cannibalize all the gnomes now coming out of Gnomeregan, it might be a little more tricky. But the option is certainly there for them to get word through the grapevine about what happened.

My Alliance toon had a little house near Southshore. It’s now covered in Blight goo! GAH!

Oh, Hillsbrad. You’ll never know how much of a pain in the patootie you were to quest in back in the day, especially as Alliance. But now, you’re fully entrenched as a Horde leveling area and, more specifically, a Forsaken foothold. If you’re Alliance and haven’t seen what was done to Hillsbrad (and Silverpine Forest), do yourself a favor and head out there. If you have seen it and wish to exact revenge upon Sylvanas’ army, you’d best prepare yourself for some monstrous amounts of PvP, the likes of which will make the old Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battles seem tame by comparison. Also, you might wish to look for less blighted real estate.

What about those of us who swear allegiance to the Horde? How does Hillsbrad affect us?

Congratulations. You’ve effectively managed to nuke most of the Stormpike army and a battalion of SI:7 operatives from the face of Azeroth. And you have some prime, green waterfront property to call your own. (No, really. You nuked them. Nicely played, Horde.)

The simple fact of the matter is, the Shattering has offered us roleplayers a bunch of new toys to play with and means in which we can expand our individual stories in ways old Azeroth limited. Remember that first time you set foot in Dalaran and thought, “Man. This place is a roleplayer’s wet dream!”? In less than a week, we’ll all be able to exact our revenge on Deathwing and his cohorts and have even shinier new toys to play with not merely limited to a neutral city hub.

And I, for one, couldn’t be more thankful.

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