I really wanted to work these in during my I Am Become Death article, but I didn’t have them ready at the time. Also, there are a few things that I missed that I wanted to mention that these pictures can help illustrate.
Most of all, though, I wanted to call attention to the last screen shot on the page, because it gives me a bit of hope for Blizzard amid all the snarkiness that I’ve perhaps unfortunately indulged in.
This is Sendoku: Dark, brooding, blue… and really in need of a hug. You might think it’s a hard life, that of a Death Knight, but it’s really the emotional turmoil that hurts (since anything mortal or material can just be mercilessly murdered). You should see his CD collection. *shudder*
His fellow emobrood critterlings seem to like him well enough, though, and even Daddy Lich King seems like he might give Sendoku a hug someday.
With Frostmourne in hand.
Just in case.
Early on in his tasklist for the village assault, Sendoku was told to go steal a horse, that it might be converted into a Death Charger for him to ride on. It’s an interesting bit of lore, since horses are a key part of the whole “knight” mythos, but it’s ultimately a somewhat disappointing chain of events.
Sendoku ran into town risking defeat at the hands of the village defenders, angling to swipe a lovely horse to claim as his own. (By getting someone else to kill it back at the camp, naturally. Death Charger, remember?) He grabbed a stark white and grey stallion, since it stood out from its more colorful brethren as a proper Death Knight mount.
Back in the camp, the Horsemaster took the horse and shunted it into the Death Zone Shadow World (or something like that), where his minions would Necromance it in a weird Azerothian emo form of Pimp My Ride. Sendoku was actually sort of looking forward to that, since that horse went so well with his armor. Upon entry into the Death Zone Shadow World, though, it was revealed that all of the horses that wound up as Death Charger candidates went through the same cookie cutter and wound up as identical equine tanks. Ultimately, it didn’t really even matter that he had brought a horse, since the first one that he captured escaped when he accidentally dismounted, and he was forced to grab another one that materialized a few dozen paces yonder. Apparently, there are plenty of critters to go around.
Or maybe he just shafted another initiate by stealing his horse. Ah, well. No love lost among these brethren anyway. Still, it pays to look over your shoulder now and then… or have a few minions to watch your back for you.
Especially when you’re told to fight five other Death Knight noobs to prove your dominance. I’ll be blunt on this one: they shouldn’t have made the NPC DK Initiates try to imatate humans by using inane terms like “owned”. I know, there’s a dose of tongue in cheek in the whole game, as well as a penchant to embrace the absurd, but that stood out as being, well… dumb. The groveling that those DK Initiates did after Sendoku whipped them was vaguely satisfying, though. (Especially when the next dolt in line thought they had a chance to “own” him after the other guy “phailed”. Morons.)
Phasing is pretty cool. I don’t have any good “preburning” pictures, and I feel remiss in my self-imposed duties for neglecting that… but the sense of time progress lends a nice air to the storytelling and atmosphere. I maintain that it would be better if they just went ahead and made a great single player game to really nail down the storytelling…
A bit later, Sendoku was charged with assassinating the curiously regenerating Mayor of the nearby Havenshire, and maybe some random citizens while he was at it. The gates and doorstep of the town were overrun by a horde (get it? Hyuk!) of ghouls, which made for an interesting sense of life by way of undeath.
This is one place where I can be (sort of) serious; if Blizzard can do this sort of “incidental atmospheric life” thing without having any other players around, it undermines the “I play MMOs because they seem more alive than single player games” argument a bit. If anything, the ghoul conga line and dogpile suggest that NPC critters do the whole “undead mindless attack swarm” better than a bunch of noob Death Knights ever could, and that the completely AI-driven characters sell the storytelling far more effectively than other players. This whole DK starting questline really fits more into a single player game than an MMO, and it’s even engineered that way. Well, except for that whole “$15/month to play” thing.
Speech bubbles are funny sometimes, albeit occasionally unintentionally. Context is king.
Oh, and as I mentioned the tedium of Patch Day, I had to note this pair of screenshots from the patch notes. First, this note on DK abilities made the math geek in me chortle. Blizzard, you dummies, 2/4 is equal to 1/2. I know that there are a lot of people in the U.S. who have the math competency of rutabegas, but that’s still silly.
…OK, OK, I know that it’s a list of two different numbers that just happen to be separated by a slash. They aren’t really fractions. It just looked odd enough to me that it cought my eye, and I grabbed a shot of it for posterity’s sake.
And then there’s this little gem. I know, it’s probably not a big deal, and it’s a bit odd that it was tucked away in the patch notes in a relatively bland, unimportant place… but that they even put this in at all suggests to me that there are still a few people with some class over in the WoW dev team.
I never really did get into D&D (beyond a passing interest and a brief flirtation with Baldur’s Gate, Planescape Torment and Neverwinter Nights Diamond Edition), but Mr. Arneson did have a significant effect on gaming as a whole, and for that, he deserves thanks and accolades. I wish his family well.
Death Knight nuttery aside, there really are real people behind these game thingies. I don’t agree with a lot of them and a lot of their decisions, but they are people, and it’s nice to see a human touch here and there that doesn’t smack of saccharine or cynicism.