Hi, everyone. Averry here — no, I haven’t been kidnapped or brutally murdered. (Yet.)
It’s been a busy few weeks for me off on Earth Online, so I’ve been mostly focusing on that while allowing myself a needed breather from working on the blog. (Along those lines, I may try to build in a few scheduled “breaks” so that I can sneak in a little down time without making everyone wonder where Garrosh has vanished off to. Updates as needed.)
That said, I’m ready to start rolling out some new material, and I have quite a bit in the pipeline for the next few weeks. So, just to whet everyone’s appetite, I thought I’d make a quick post, grab everyone’s attention, and tease a glimpse at what you can expect to see coming your way in the days ahead.
First and foremost: this being the tail end of Darkmoon week, tomorrow night (Saturday, April 12) we’ll be meeting up for this month’s meta raid. As always, everyone is invited to join in for Siege of Orgrimmar — Flex if possible, if we enough people and the appropriate roles covered; LFR (with vent snarking sure to follow) if need be. Feel free to add me on RealID (Averry#1116) if you haven’t already, and hit me up for an invite! We’ll plan to get things rolling around 8:00 PM EDT.
So, what else do we have coming up? Well, mark your blog-reading calender…
This coming week:
Monday (4/14) — Garrosh responds (graciously, no doubt) to his Liebster nomination, courtesy of Myraide.
Another new comic: “The Secret Life of Spazzle Fizzletrinket”
New Earth Online guild chat log! Can Bob be far behind?
Garrosh journeys to the Burning Steppes, Eitrigg’s son Ariok makes his WCB debut, and the hunt for Ji Firepaw begins!
Also, lest we forget, we’re just a few weeks away from the release of World of Warcraft: War Crimes by Christie Golden on May 6. Obviously, there’s a ways to go before the blog will catch up to the events of the novel, but it’ll still be plenty interesting to get a fuller picture of where we’re all heading (as well as, um, just how much retconning I’ll need to start doing!).
We’ve already seen excerpts from War Crimes, which brings me to one last item for now. After this first excerpt was released — Garrosh facing the charges against him and entering his non-plea — I saw several forum poster noting that Garrosh reminded them of the Joker, between his sarcastic applause and general attitude toward the proceedings. And, well, once they went and planted that idea in my head…
Time for the fashion show at last! It’s taken me a lot of time to get all the Transmogs for Shay entries sorted out, but I’m finally ready to declare some winners and, more importantly, show off the full gamut of sartorial goodies that many of you have sent my way!
A few preliminaries: Thank you to everyone who submitted entries! It was a lot of fun to pore over your designs (even for someone like me, who has never once transmogged anything, ever) (No, really.) and imagine how they might look on everyone’s new favorite half-draenei girl. Choosing winners was extremely difficulty, and honestly, if you wiped my memory and asked me to do it again, I might very well chose different ones — it really was an embarrassment of riches. As such, by the way, I make no guarantees that I won’t dip into more of these outfits if I decide to get ambitious with Shayari’s wardrobe at some point. In fact, I’d say it’s likely that I will. With proper in-blog acknowledgement, of course!
To make the imminent outpouring of fashion more manageable, I’m breaking the outfits down into various categories. Otherwise, the transmogs are listed in the completely arbitrary order that they ended up in the folder I keep for blog images. Apologies if the layout of pictures gets a little messy at times; WordPress doesn’t seem to have the more cooperative editor in the world where these matters are concerned. I’ve included links when available, and tried to link back to the blogs of any other bloggers who submitted entries (please tell at me if I missed you).
And so, with no further ado…on to the transmogs!
N.S.F.G. (Not Safe For Gurtash)
Somehow, I knew this category was going to be necessary. Even though one of the contest criteria was that the outfits needed to be something that could be safely entrusted to Gurtash to draw…well…you know what tends to happen with transmog. Still, I’d decided well in advance that I was going to include all the entries here, so let’s see how some of you sick, sick individuals decided to torment our poor, teenage trainee…
Sintra, don’t say I didn’t warn you if/when Garrosh turns up at your house.
Somehow, I knew someone was going to stick Shay in a bikini. Aliok ended up doing the honors with this number, pointing out rightly that every girl needs a beach outfit, especially with the nice beach near Sen’jin Village. She’s right, of course, but I shudder to imagine what would happen if Gurtash had to draw this…or, for that matter, if Garrosh caught Shayari hanging out with the trolls.
While Aliok was at it, though, she apparently went to the trouble of working up links for an assortment of items compiled by none other than Bob himself. No, really. Aliok writes that Bob informed her, “Dese be for Gurtash so he being practicing his art skills, hahaHA!” Our first offering, such as it is, is for Noblegarden parties:
Next up from Bob, Shay sporting a variation of the dress that I’ve come to think of as the Soridormi gown:
Next, Bob digs out the Lovely Purple Dress to offer a little “celebrity style“:
Um, yeah, thanks, Aliok. Gurtash says thanks, too. Somewhat less sarcastically. (I know, I know. Fucking troll…)
DRAENEI WITH A BLUE DRESS ON (Color May Vary)
Now for some of the real entries! First up, a look at the assortment of dresses, gowns, and robes that were submitted. Since Shayari is a mage, and somewhat girly to boot, I figured these would be a key part of her wardrobe.
First up, we have this look from Myriade, who describes the outfit as “Shay Goes Garrosh” (note all the skulls and spikes — her father would be proud!). It’s actually an impressive way of infusing the robe with a bloodthirsty vibe that you wouldn’t normally associate with mages, and definitely suits Shay’s background:
Next, a set of gowns and dresses from Kaneka. This first one is built around the Gown of Blaumeux; I especially love the choice of matching staff. Honestly, this look would be a serious contender if I weren’t so utterly intimidated by the thought of trying to draw it, because I know my paltry cartooning skills would fail to do it justice.
Next up from Kaneka, an aerial-themed look built around the Windchaser Robes. Again, great coordination with the staff; maybe a tiny bit N.S.F.G, but whatever, the kid can just deal.
And one more from Kaneka (I would comment on what it’s based on, but I don’t have a link for this one, just the screenshot):
This outfit from ZugZug, which she describes as “formal attire,” is another outfit that’s maybe possibly slightly N.S.F.G., but I’ll be damned if Shay wouldn’t wear it well:
This outfit from Ritaba, based on the Flirtation Regalia, comes in two forms, one with a robe and one with a vest; Ritaba notes that she prefers the vest, but I’m a bit partial to the robe version myself. Either way, it’s a terrific, understated look, though it’s another one that I worry might lose something in translation (read: simplification) into comic form.
Rinike had posted this transmog previously on her eponymous blog (your homework: go look up “eponymous”), but sent these images along for Shayari’s perusal. I’ll always associate this style of wizard hat/mask with early Cataclysm, Shadowfang Keep especially.
Next up, from Toka, a classic robe that many of us will remember from our Burning Crusade days:
Khizzara, longstanding WCB conspirator, secret identity of warrior-in-training Korrina, and author of Blog of the Treant, offers her “Spellbinder” look, complete with a myriad of angles and close-ups. The halo is a great touch, I think, even if Shay may be a little too much of a stinker to earn one the conventional way…
From Ayalea, we have the Green Wedding Hanbok. (Just don’t tell Garrosh what the dress is supposed to mean…) (Or, maybe tell him, so he’ll know to run like hell if he ever sees Garona coming at him with one of these on…)
This simple but elegant robe from Malauch was a difficult cut. I love the look of it, love the simple but effective use of the red and gold to offset the dark gray, but ended up reluctantly leaving it off the final list mainly due to reservations about how well a heavily-black costume would play in comic form.
Another gown from Malauch, this time drawing on purple and green highlights with a kinda-sorta mock-turtleneck style that you don’t see all that much.
Matakoa of Sugar & Blood brings us a vaguely priest-like look for Shayari:
And, finally, from Repgrind (known in-blog as Giska and Wega) of Reputation Grind fame, a very cool-looking robe that also falls into the “I think I would be afraid to try to draw this” category. (Yes, my artistic cowardice is likely to become an ongoing theme.)
GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE
Before we move on from robes and dresses altogether, I should point out one phenomenon that I noticed while sorting out entries: a few of you have very similar tastes! In particular, there were a handful of entries that all drew on the Astralaan Robe (or a very similar look)
First up, from Kaneka:
Then, Ayalea had the same idea, minus the shoulders and plus a rose:
I really like this look, actually, in all its forms. It occurred to me, though, that if you look at the Astralaan Robe closely, it’s actually very nearly identical to Shayari’s signature blue dress, apart from using a different color palette. As such, as much as I like this look, I felt that it kind of defeats the idea of infusing Shayari’s outfits with some variety. That said…don’t bet against me using this color scheme as a cheap-and-easy way to add a further illusion of variety to Shay’s looks.
THE FOOL THAT MOGGED HER PANTS
Sure, dresses and robes are the signature mage look, but Shay also needs some options that use a vest or other top matched with pants. As some of our wisest sages have noted, after all, nothing better shows your taste than what you wear below your waist.
Our first top-and-pants style outfit comes from Beltrine, who notes that if Shayari worries about Garrosh doubting their relation, she might go with this look to drive the connection home (complete with tusks on her shoulders, and a staff that could pass for an axe):
From ZugZug, her “Ready for Anything” look, which…call me crazy, but if you look at this outfit quickly then turn away, doesn’t it seem like something Michael Jackson might have worn…?
Another entry from Sintra E’Drien, who clearly loves his wizard hats (and who can blame him?):
ZugZug brings us “Battle Mage Shayari“, who’s looking pretty damn badass here, especially with that is-it-a-staff-or-is-it-a-tridenty-kinda-axe that she’s wielding:
Another entry from Toka, who mixes her colors in a way here that makes this outfit look vaguely shaman- or druid-like to me:
From Rakael (the alter ego of old friend Ruekie), we have a suit with a bit of Spanish flair; Rakael notes that Don Carlos’ Famous Hat would finish the ensemble…if it wouldn’t look rather ridiculous in Shay’s case:
Aliok describes this outfit as “semi-formal”, with optional helm, gloves, bracers, shoulders, and cloak in the link, though they’re really not needed for the outfit to stand on its own:
From Ayalea, here’s a possible “work outfit” for Shayari:
This one is the first of a pair from Malauch, in this case providing an obvious case of an item Shay really should have in her wardrobe somewhere: jeans!
Meanwhile, his second entry is a really terrific vest combo, one of the tougher cuts of any of the submissions:
These outfits might never see the light of day (or maybe they might!), but they’re all unified by being very specific looks for very specific situations. Continue on; you’ll get the idea quickly enough.
For instance, in case I ever come up with a story in which our characters go sailing, Toka gives us Pirate Shay:
Aliok, meanwhile, offers this outfit — which Shay could wear in the event she goes to a rave — with the disclaimer that she doesn’t really expect me to draw it, but just wanted to assault my eyeballs. If my eyeballs are going to get assaulted, I’m taking the rest of you people with me, so here we go:
In more practical terms, Aliok also picked out some pajamas for Shayari:
AAAAAAAND THE WINNERS ARE…
And now for the big moment. The winners! As I said earlier, this was a very tough call to make, so in order to make things a little more manageable, I decided to break the three winning entries into three different types of outfit, with the idea being that the whole point of the exercise was to build some variety into Shay’s different looks. So, our winners consist of one dress/robe-type outfit, one pants/vest outfit, and one top/skirt combo. Which leaves us with…
Now, granted, the top here is more than a little N.S.F.G, but in ways that are easy enough to work around for comic-rendering purposes. More importantly, though, I love the fact that this combination works with a clearly distinct set of top and skirt, as opposed to the full-body robe and vest-and-pants alternatives that comprise almost all the clothie outfits you usually see. Also, with spring approaching, this struck me as a great seasonal outfit (especially for Noblegarden…without turning Shay into a Playorc Bunny). The semi-sorta-handbag offhand is just icing on the cake.
Winner #2: From Sintra E’Drien, the winner of the robe/gown category:
As I’ve said, people sent in a ton of great dresses, and I doubt that this will be the only one that will find its way into the blog. But of all the options, this is the one that stood out the most to me. Visually interesting without being overly complicated, elegant, just a terrific caster look. Bonus point for affording me a chance to work some purple into Shay’s wardrobe (think in terms of the potential symbolism of blending red and blue).
Winner #3: From Aliok, in the vest-and-pants category, Shayari’s “barfight” attire:
A change of pace for Shayari that I just couldn’t resist. The jeans and vest strike just the right balance between cool and casual, and as Aliok pointed out in her submission, the brassy hands (and the overall look) give Shay the look of someone ready to trade blows in some rowdy tavern somewhere. And I don’t think it’ll come as a shock to anyone that Shay has her father’s right hook.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Remember when I said how hard it was to make these picks? Well, I’m weaseling out of some of the final decision-making, and handing that responsibility off to YOU, the Warchief’s LOYAL READERS AND MINIONS. I’ve decided to add a fourth winner to the contest — to be determined by all of you! Check out the five candidates below, and vote in the poll at the end of this post!
Finalist #1 – Snow Blossom: Our first contender was submitted by Dragonray from Azerothian Life, who even posted the outfit in a blog entry a few weeks ago:
A little more formal than some other looks, but still simple and classy. Bonus points for the off-hand fan, which will fit in especially nicely if Shayari finds her way to a clothier in Pandaria at some point.
Finalist #2 – My Robe and Wizard Hat: From Sintra, this one is a variation of a similar outfit he’d also submitted, but with a color scheme that I thought suited Shayari a bit better (in general, I think reds and blues suit her a little better than greens):
Besides, you know I had to toss at least one classic wizard hat into the mix.
Finalist #3 – Scarlet Sindorei Robe: From Khizzara, this robe set includes an alternate look using a Replica Magister’s Crown for the head:
Just a beautiful all-around look, as illustrated by some of the close-up detail shows Khizzara provided.
Finalist #4 – Antiquity: Khizzara wasn’t done yet, though, because she still had this gem” in her pocket:
In her submission, Kash (a.k.a. Khiz) noted that most of the pieces in the outfit are pretty optional, as the gown itself can stand on its own. I’m inclined to agree; not only does it work perfectly well as an outfit by itself, but it does so with a style and elegance that you don’t see in many other cloth pieces.
Finalist #5 – Indiana Shay: I knew there was going to be at least one more vest/pants combo in here, and after wavering between a few excellent options, the nod finally went to this outfit from Malauch:
Cool, stylish, and strikes a nice balance between being adventurous enough for Shayari to wear while crawling through some dungeon and being dressy enough for her to keep on for more professional matters back home. Bonus points for the hat (even though I’m not 100% sure it would make it into cartoon form…but I would try!), which makes me feel like Shay must be a secret Harrison Jones fan.
So, those are our candidates! Now it’s time for you to make your voices heard:
Congratulations to all our winners, and thanks once again to everyone who submitted entries to the contest — the response was far greater than I was expecting, and the quality of submissions across the board made it much, much harder to pick my favorites than I was prepared for. But, it’s not over yet — get voting!
[A few final programming notes: A reminder, tomorrow night -- Saturday, March 8 -- we'll have having this month's SoO Meta Raid, starting at approximately 8:00 PM Eastern. As always, everyone is welcome to join in the fun; you can reach me on RealID as Averry#1116. Since Averry is finally, FINALLY on the last stage of his legendary quest, I might try to coerce a few people to hop on a few minutes early to help me fight some Celestials..
More on the way soon, but I'll toss in a disclaimer now: There are a couple posts coming up that will be very labor intensive to assemble -- bear with me while I work on them, and I promise I'll try to make the wait worthwhile.]
Hi, everyone. Averry here with a reminder and an announcement.
First, the obligatory reminder – tonight at 8:00 PM EST, we’ll be having our second Friends-of-WCB Meta raid of Siege of Orgrimmar. All are welcome to join in (well, unless we fill up…). You can always find me on RealID as Averry#1116.
Now for the real announcement!
I’ve been happy to see that people seem to be embracing the character of Shayari since her debut a few days ago. We’ll be seeing plenty more of her (not in the Gurtash sense), and I’d like her to be a departure from the one conspicuous Warcraft norm: People who, apparently, wear the same outfit every single day. Clearly, Shay is a little more fashionable and stylish than that.
So, to that end, I’m announcing a TRANSMOGS FOR SHAYARI contest! The basic gist: All you transmog fanatics (I know you’re out there!) are invited to put together an outfit for Shay to wear in at least one – likely multiple – upcoming comics.
A few notes and caveats as you consider the possibilities:
Shayari is a mage in training, so your transmog should consist solely of items that a clothie can wear.
When in doubt, let “Averry/Gurtash actually has to draw this” be your guide – i.e., try to avoid looks that are excessively elaborate or overwrought.
Try to have mercy on poor Gurtash. (Translation: Let’s try to keep the poor girl fully dressed!)
Alternative for would-be fashion designers: You also have the option of designing your outfit from the ground up! You’re welcome to come up with your own original gear design and draw it up yourself, then submit your sketches. (Please try not to show up my own middling artistic skills too badly.)
Please e-mail your entries to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) by SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27. If at all possible, try to model your transmogs on a female draenei character, or save them as WoWhead outfits and share the link. (Being able to refer to the outfit on a draenei model will just make it easier for me to translate it into comic form.)
I’ll choose my three favorites, and incorporate them into future comics as opportunity allows over the weeks that follow. In addition to their own personal satisfaction, and boundless blogosphere fame (cough), winners will be able to pick one of the following prizes:
A comic-style portrait of your character from Gurtash!
An original EPIC VERSE from the Warchief on the topic of your choosing!
An in-blog (comic or transcript) cameo for your character – you too can rub elbows with the likes of Faranell, Liadrin, Dontrag and Utvoch, and the DPS! (And hey, who knows? That’s how Taktani got started…)
A ride on Mortimer! (Not really.)
A hug from Mylune!* (Only possibly.)
A highly coveted “Get Out of Conversation with Tirion Free” card.**
Something else that we mutually come up with, on the off chance one of us has a brainstorm!
Well, what are you still doing here? Get transmogging! Shayari has a wardrobe to fill!
* The Warchief’s Command Board makes no guarantee that Mylune will not have another episode in mid-embrace. Hug at your own risk.
** May be exchanged for a “Get Out of Conversation with Dontrag and/or Utvoch” card. (Likelihood of Garrosh personally entering the contest has now increased 400%.)
[A quick update -- I need to correct an error in this announcement: I listed the deadline for the contest as Saturday, February 27. This is problematic, in that February 27 is not a Saturday. Don’t ask me what happened there. I was probably having another one of my many episodes. At any rate, I figure I may as well err on the side of giving people more time rather than less, so let’s revise the due date to the next Saturday after the 27th, which would be March 1.
I think. Hang on.
<checks calendar all paranoid-like>
Yes, there we go. So, officially: the deadline for the Transmogs for Shay contest is SATURDAY, MARCH 1! Get back to mogging!]
I’d originally wanted to save this announcement until after I’d posted the rest of the Paternity story (or, maybe more accurately, “Can of Worms, Part 1: Lid Be Gone!”). The comic is taking longer than I’d planned to finish, though (I had a grade-A “back to the drawing board” moment with the artwork this week) (hey, literally! I didn’t even plan that!) (yes, I do like parentheses, thank you very much), and I want to make sure I give people enough lead time.
So, here’s the plan. Readers, bloggers, lurkers, and various and sundry others are invited to a Flex raid of Siege of Orgrimmar, the closing weekend of each Darkmoon Faire. I figure that once a month is often enough to make it a fun ongoing event, without being so frequent that it becomes a burden on people’s schedules. I’d like to shoot for Saturday nights, with Sunday possibly being a backup and/or spillover date if we ever decide to be ambitious and continue on the next night. Same as the original raid, we can plan on starting around 8:00 PM Eastern time, and go until…well…until we fall asleep or get sick of each other.
Since this weekend marks the beginning of February’s Darkmoon Faire, that means we would be shooting for Saturday, February 8 as our next raid night. And then, if all goes well, continue on each month as the faire comes to a close.
Thanks as always for reading, commenting, and generally coming along for the ride. More from the Warchief soon…as soon as Gurtash stops messing up this drawing of…erm…oops. Spoilers. Never mind.
Hi everyone — this is just a quick OOC reminder that we’ll be having our friends-of-WCB Siege of Orgrimmar raid (Horde-side) tonight at 8:00 PM EST. Or, as I like to think of it, the “Meta” raid (what else would you call OOC Garrosh killing IC Garrosh?).
We’ll be running the raid on Flex, so if you’re not able to be there for the start of the raid, you’re more than welcome to join us in progress. Many of you have already added me on RealID; for anyone else who might be interested in joining us, feel free to add Battletag Averry#1116. Even if, for whatever reason, you’re not able to participate in the actual raid, you’re still welcome to come join us in raid chat and/or vent. (Once again, I am only too happy to generously dispense invitations to a vent server that isn’t mine.)
Also, seeing as I haven’t done any non-LFR raiding since Deathwing, I will apologize in advance for what will very likely be my profound mediocrity.
Averry here with one last out-of-character item before I disappear behind the curtain again for (I hope) a long, long time.
Back before I went on my recent, unplanned hiatus, I’d written about my interest in setting up a Friends-of-WCB shits-and-giggles raid for Siege of Orgrimmar. Based on the response I got, both in blog comments and in individual messages, it looked like there was a fair bit of interest at the time. Hopefully that’s still the case, because now that life has become somewhat less hectic, I’d very much like to finally get the ball rolling.
So, here’s the pseudo-quasi-plan: I’d like to set up a Horde-side SoO group for next weekend – i.e., the weekend of November 23 and 24. In a perfect world, if we have enough people and the right combination of roles, I’d love to do this as Flex, but if not, we can always go in and take over some poor, unsuspecting LFR. This would be a one-night deal; I don’t have a strong preference for that Saturday or Sunday, so I’d prefer to leave that open and see when people are available. I would be looking to start somewhere in the vicinity of 8:00-9:00 PM EST, and run until…well…until we all get sick of each other, I suppose.
If you’re still interested in coming along, please let me know – either through a comment here, or by contacting me directly – what your availability is and whether you have a preference between Saturday and Sunday. (Also, please be sure to let me know if either day would be possible for you, even if you have a definite preference.) If you haven’t already, feel free to add me on RealID: Averry#1116.
Even if you aren’t able to participate in the raid itself (say your Flex lockout is already committed, or you don’t have a max-level Horde toon*), you’re more than welcome to come join the party, whether that be hanging out in raid chat or popping into vent with us. (Speaking of which, LF generous benefactor with a vent server we can use for the shindig!** I promise this won’t be one of those cases like when you host a party the weekend your parents are away, and a bunch of strangers come over, and they end up wrecking the place, and then they take off and stick you with the mess, and so now you’ve got to clean it all up before Mom and Dad get home or oh boy are you going to be in trouble, which sounds pretty awful and stressful but really isn’t all that bad once you realize you can just cleaning-montage your way over it. Although you never could figure out how the wombat got in the guest bathroom, because who the hell brings a wombat to a party? They’re notoriously bad minglers. So no, it won’t be like that.***)
So, there you have it – clear your (social) (HA!) (raid) calendars!
Be seeing you,
* Although, seriously, you don’t? What’s wrong with you?
** I say “shindig,” because yes, gentle readers, I am old.
As promised in my last post, here’s an overview of the state of the blog. I realize that after two years of accumulated in-jokes and storylines, the Command Board may be a bit disorienting to a newcomer (or, for that matter, to a long-time reader who blinked at the wrong time), so I’ve tried to break this down into a semi-sorta-kinda FAQ. Most of this will be familiar to long-time readers (though I’ve also included a few behind-the-scenes notes that some of you might find interesting), but I hope it’ll explain a few things for new arrivals.
I hate Garrosh! Why does Garrosh seem so sympathetic in this blog? Are you one of those Garrosh apologists/fanboys?
Comically enough, I originally started the blog because I really didn’t like Garrosh either, and saw the blog as a way to have a few chuckles mocking him. It wasn’t long, though, before I decided that I would get sick of the outright-mockery approach pretty quickly, so I started branching out. Part of the result was letting blog-Garrosh become (I hope) a bit more multifaceted, while still remaining true to his temperamental self. Including the LOLs.
Ultimately, I don’t set out to justify anything Garrosh does, just to present it in a way that makes sense in light of the character, and if that pushes a black-and-white scenario into some shade of gray, well, that makes for a more interesting story anyway. And, keep in mind, the story here is being told, generally, from Garrosh’s point of view, so I don’t know how that perspective wouldn’t be sympathetic. Everyone is the hero of their own story, after all, and nobody thinks they’re a bad person.
Why isn’t there anything here about the siege of Orgrimmar?
What are you talking about? There was a post titled “The siege of Orgrimmar” a good solid year ago – if anything, shouldn’t you be asking why Blizzard is coming so late to the party? (By the way, I didn’t realize until just now that patch 5.4 was released almost exactly on the one-year anniversary of the “Siege or Orgrimmar” post. How awesomely freaky is that?)
Anyway, to give a real answer: Time-wise, the blog has not yet reached the events of patch 5.4. The storyline is currently playing out the midst of 5.2; Lor’themar Theron and Jaina Proudmoore have recently set up shop on the Isle of Thunder, while Vol’jin is still recovering from his injuries at Shado-Pan Monastery.
This time lag between the game and the blog, by the way, is partly by design. I’d always intended the blog to run a bit behind the game; coming into MoP, I realized that if I tried to follow in-game events too closely, I wouldn’t have time to adapt my own ideas to fit Blizzard’s story. There have already been a few instances in which Blizzard’s story has taken a turn that’s forced me to change gears in a way that would have been disastrous if I didn’t have a month or two of lead time. Of course, I’m clearly more than a month or two behind – that’s been a result of various real-life circumstances slowing down my output over the last few months. I’m working on it!
So the blog basically retells in-game events, from Garrosh’s point of view?
Yes and no. The blog operates within Blizzard’s continuity (with the aforementioned time delay), but also weaves additional storylines in and around the canonical Blizzard plots. Anything that happens or is stated explicitly in-game is canon, obviously, and the blog is bound by it.* That said, I sometimes like to put other stories around Blizzard’s, to give them context that might change the way those events are perceived. (This was a large part of my motivation for the Timequake story leading into Theramore, or, more recently, the blog events surrounding the Divine Bell / Domination Offensive storyline.)
Also, while the point of view is mostly Garrosh’s, there are some posts that present events from other perspectives. Most notable are the “guest” posts by Spazzle (Garrosh’s tech goblin), which help fill in story details that Garrosh wouldn’t necessarily be privy to. You can always identify a post written by someone other than Garrosh by the color of the text – Spazzle’s posts, for instance, are always written in green text, and almost always include the phrase “Spazzle Speaks” in the title. Also, as a rule of thumb, when Spazzle et al post, Garrosh remains oblivious to anything that might be revealed; the conceit at work here is that Garrosh doesn’t really care what anyone else is writing, so he doesn’t bother reading it.
* The one instance that I’ve flat-out fudged in-game details is the way I’ve chosen to incorporate the events of “A Little Patience.” From the Alliance point of view, that scenario takes place almost immediately after Varian arrives in Pandaria; in the blog, I’ve pushed those events a bit later in the story. This was largely a matter of convenience: I knew that I wanted there to be a military operation in Krasarang in which Garrosh’s trainees went missing, and I realized fairly late in the going that “A Little Patience” lent itself to that story pretty readily. Hopefully those Alliance-side readers out there will be willing to turn a blind eye to my blatant and shameless revision. (Horde bias rears its ugly head again! GRR!)
Garrosh has trainees? When did that happen?
Right here! As part of the escalation of the war effort, the Kor’kron started a training program to prepare orc teenagers for eventual military service. When Garrosh learned that Gurtash – an orc boy from the Orgrimmar orphanage whom Garrosh had taken under his wing – had been conscripted, Garrosh volunteered to take Gurtash’s trainee group under his own supervision. (Side note: In my head-canon, Garrosh has a bit of a soft spot for the orphans, being as he is one himself.) The trainees, who have nicknamed themselves the Dead Peons Society (DPS for short) have accompanied Garrosh to Pandaria and joined him on a few adventures. Fairly recently, they went missing after the Horde loss in the “A Little Patience” scenario, and were eventually found by Garrosh, hiding away in an underground system of caves. That’s brought us up to the point where we are now, story-wise: Garrosh and the trainees underground, looking for a way out.
Is the entire supporting cast from within the game?
Mostly, but not entirely. I’ve invented a few characters for the blog – Spazzle being the highest-profile – but I’ve tried to keep it limited, and tried to restrict those characters to fairly peripheral positions in the lore. The one glaring exception was the storyline involving Garrosh’s mother, Lakkara, who isn’t mentioned anywhere in the actual lore. It just struck me as odd that there’s no record of who she was, or what happened to her, and besides, in a mythology packed to capacity with father/son relationships, I thought it was about time somebody’s mom got a little screen time.
Otherwise, when a character turns up who doesn’t exist in-game, that character was often inspired by a reader and/or based on someone’s game character. For instance, both Gurtash and Mortimer (Garrosh’s personal wyvern) became blog characters thanks to mailbag letters from Khizzara from Blog of the Treant; Khizzara’s own namesake has made a few appearances as Spazzle’s cousin; doodle-prone kitty druid Taktani became a full-fledged character (and boy, is she ever a character) after making several mailbag contributions; and many of the DPS trainees are modeled on the baby orc alts of friends.
In general, though, if you see a supporting character turn up whose name you don’t recognize, the smartest first guess is that he or she is based on a questgiver or other NPC somewhere in-game. (Wowpedia is your friend!) I deliberately picked a lot of relatively minor NPCs – people like Mokvar, Elder Cloudfall, and Dontrag and Utvoch – to use as supporting characters because I figured their relatively peripheral status gave me more latitude to work with them, give them backstories, etc. After all, what are the odds that Blizzard would actually do something with one of these people to contradict my own concoctions?
(Either way, if you’re not sure who someone is, I’ve also maintained a partial list of supporting players on the About the Blog page, including some of the more pertinent information about them.)
Speaking of which – in the SoO raid, Mokvar is a mini-boss! Isn’t he missing? How are you going to deal with that?
First… um, yeah, that whole “no way they’re gonna do something with this guy” really blew up in my face on this one, huh?
And second… So, everyone who thought I was going to lay out this big storyline for Mokvar, and make such a production out of his disappearance…and then have it turn out that he really is dead…step forward.
Didn’t think so.
For those of you unclear on Mokvar’s whole story, which has been unfolding gradually for quite a while, you can check here for a brief overview and links to the relevant posts. Very short version: After becoming the victim of a mysterious attack, Mokvar sets out to track down a powerful relic from his warlock days, with the aid of a human named Deliana (who was Mokvar’s Alliance equivalent in the old dungeon set quests); over the course of his quest, he starts to behave increasingly strangely, culminating in his eventual flight from arrest in Orgrimmar. His whereabouts are now unknown.
Stay tuned. You’ll see where this is going!
With Mokvar gone, how are you handling the transcripts?
Prelinimary: The blog contains several transcripts of conversations that Garrosh has engaged in. The premise from the outset has been that Mokvar is (or was) Garrosh’s personal scribe, and records all these conversations for posting. This explains, by the way, a number of occasions when Garrosh mentions summoning Mokvar to an event, or otherwise noting Mokvar’s presence, as a way of leading in to a transcript.
Since Mokvar is off the grid, Garrosh has passed transcription duties to two people: Gurtash, who records his transcripts in the form of comics; and Taktani, a friend of Dontrag and Utvoch and long-time mailbag contributor, who’s started to (and will continue to) write a few transcripts, laden with her own unassuming brand of commentary.
What are these guild chat logs that keep cropping up?
Garrosh and several of the supporting characters play an MMORPG called Earth Online – the basic premise being that, to these characters, Azeroth is reality, and our real world is actually the game world of the MMO. Garrosh started his own guild, called <Warchief>, and several familiar faces (including Spazzle, Sylvanas, Lor’themar, Faranell, Garona, and Dontrag and Utvoch) are members. Also worth noting is that Jaina Proudmoore is a member of the guild…although she doesn’t realize (yet?) who her guildmates are in “real life.”
The guild chat logs recreate some of the exchanges that the members of <Warchief> have within their game, usually including regular guild chat, officer chat, and, in some cases, whispers. I make no pretense about the fact that some aspects of these logs are based on my own guild-chat expeiences, especially officer chat. The transcripts are always presented from the point of view of whoever posted them – usually Garrosh, but occasionally Spazzle.
Where did this whole thing about lemon squares come from?
Garrosh loves lemon squares. Don’t you?
Real explanation: Very early in the blog, Edenvale of The Gamer’s Fridge posted a recipe for Garrosh Hellscream’s lemon squares, and pointed me to her post with a comment on the Command Board. Since then, it’s become a bit of a running gag – the recipe, according to Garrosh, was his greatmother’s secret family recipe, and he was most perturbed that this random night elf had apparently gotten ahold of it.
What does “FYV” mean?
An abbreviation of one of Garrosh’s favorite turns of phrase, of course: “Fuck you, Varian!” Among other things, Garrosh often finds a way to slip that phrase into his EPIC VERSE compositions.
Speaking of which, what’s this “EPIC VERSE”? Garrosh writes poetry?
You sound surprised. Garrosh is an orc of many interests. What, do you think he’s some kind of one-note caricature or something?
Okay, fine, game-Garrosh kind of is.
Honestly, I just got a kick out of the obvious dichotomy of Garrosh Hellscream, gruffest of the gruff, also writing poetry on the side. True to form, Garrosh doesn’t view his compositions as just any poetry, so he prefers to call them EPIC VERSE. In caps. Always. It’s sprinkled throughout the blog – almost always in purple text, to stress its epic-ness – and ranges from limericks, to parodies of other famous poems, to reader requests, to epic rap battles.
So, that’s as much as I can think to cover. Other gaps can probably be filled in through the Major Storylines page, but if there are questions that anyone still has, in terms of getting caught up or clarified, by all means toss them into a comment and I’ll make sure it’s answered. And so, on that note, I’ll sigh off with the promise – unconditional promise! – that before the week is out, you’ll have the continuation of the actual STORY part of the story! Which left off, as you might recall, right here:
Greetings once again from behind the curtain, everyone. Averry here with another pseudo-kinda-public service announcement. (No, not another one about Google search terms. That one was all Garrosh.) (Kind of.)
First of all, yes, I know, I’m woefully behind on actual story updates on the blog, and I’ve left you all hanging on that last semi-cliffhanger for far too long. As I’ve hinted at elsewhere, I’ve had a convergence of real-life work and – ever so conveniently – a (minor but annoying) hand injury which has made it rather difficult to work on new comics for more than short periods at a time. And, of course, this happened just at a point when I’d committed the story to a string of comic installments that really need to stay in place.
Rest assured, I’m working on getting the next installment together as quickly as possible. Since starting the blog, I’ve always truly hated letting more than a couple days go by without a new post, so believe me when I say that the slow output I’ve had the last several weeks has grated on me to no end. With any luck, you’ll find this upcoming stretch worth the wait, between (in the immediate-term) some face time between Garrosh and Varian, and (in the slightly longer-term) a few plot twists that I’m hoping will draw some pronounced reactions. (Yep, there I go teasing again.)
In the meantime, though, I wanted to touch on two other items, since – have you heard about this? – today marks the moment we’ve all been anticipating for quite a while: the release of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, and the downfall of Garrosh Hellscream.
Well, in-game, at least. Blog-Garrosh still has a ways to go before he bids us a fond farewell.
Granted, as I’ve mentioned before, I do have the major plotlines mapped out for the blog from here to the grand finale, and I’m admittedly not in any great hurry to close up shop just yet, but nevertheless, the gap between what’s happening in the blog and what’s happening in-game does highlight one issue that probably deserves to be addressed. Which leads us to…
ITEM THE FIRST!
That being, the timeline of the blog, and all the convoluted storylines swirling around it.
Over the last year or so, a number of readers have given the Command Board plugs and shout-outs on various other blogs and forums – for which I always feel grateful and flattered – and on more than one occasion, their endorsements have included the recommendation that new readers go back and read the blog from the beginning, since it’s not exactly newcomer-friendly. That’s a fair criticism, even if it’s not really meant to be critical; while building up these ongoing storylines and running jokes/themes is one of the things I enjoy most about writing the blog, I also understand that it probably makes it difficult to jump in mid-stream. And while I’d certainly love for people to go back to read it all from the beginning (ARTIFICIALLY INFLATE MY PAGEVIEWS, BWAHA!), at this point, well past the 300-post mark, I don’t think I can fairly expect every new arrival to commit to such a bear of an undertaking.
And, with the release of Siege of Orgrimmar, I should probably brace myself for a few new folks to start finding their way here. (It’s already started on Twitter, by the way. Not to mention the beginning of what I’m sure will be a minor whirlwind of trash-talking tweets. Stay tuned; I may share some here soon.) While I try to link back to earlier posts when relevant, and hope that the About the Blog and Major Storylines pages help fill in a bit, I’m sure the blog can be a little confusing to a new reader for a number of reasons. So, to help any of you who just arrived – or not-so-new readers whom I’ve managed to confuse with some of my byzantine plotting – I’m going to be putting up a bit of a crib sheet in the next couple days to help account for where we are and how we got here. Hopefully, if you just found your way to the Command Board and are having a WTF response, that will help a bit.
(Super-short version: Right now the events of the blog are taking place in the midst of patch 5.2 – the Divine Bell is still a recent memory, Lor’themar and Jaina have recently arrived on the Isle of Thunder, and Vol’jin is still recuperating at Shado-Pan Monastery.)
With that said, let’s more on to the much more pressing…
ITEM THE SECOND!
Raiding your Warchief. With your Warchief. Kind of.
True story: Coming into MoP, I retired from raiding. I had raided pretty much all the way through TBC, Wrath, and Cata…and it just wasn’t fun anymore. This, by the way, was a reflection of my own shifting priorities and interests, not some tired, stale WoW-veteran gripe about Blizzard somehow doing me wrong. And I’ve absolutely loved MoP – in no small part, I think, because I’ve spent the entirety of it doing solely what I felt like doing, when I felt like doing it, having stepped away from the gear grind and raiding scene. Not a criticism of those who enjoy that scene, mind you; it’s just not where I am anymore.
That said…well, this is something different. This new raid isn’t just any other raid. The Siege of Orgrimmar carries with it a personal connection unlike anything before, and unlike anything WoW will ever offer again. And while I definitely don’t have any interest in committing myself to full-on progression raiding, I feel like this is a raid that I need to sample. Not “need” in the sense of the joyless gear grind that many of us let ourselves be sucked into – “need” in the sense of “Oh, man, I’ve been living with this story for years now; I’ve got to experience the end first-hand.”
More importantly, I’d like to experience it with people who share some of that personal connection. People who have been along for the long, crazy, oftentimes ridiculous ride, and have context for these events and these characters that your average WoW player doesn’t have. People who think of Lor’themar as “Ponytail” even more than as “that blood elf guy”…who find it odd that Orgrimmar has no vendor selling lemon squares or goblin NPC named Spazzle…who understand why it’s a BIG EFFING DEAL that there’s a mini-boss named Mokvar the Treasurer lurking in the Valley of Strength bank. (Yes, really.)
So, consider this an invitation.
At some point in the next week or two, I’d like to try to assemble a group of readers, fellow bloggers, and all-around friends of the Command Board to stroll into Orgrimmar together and see what there is to see. In a perfect world, if there are enough people interested and we can cover the necessary roles, we could use the new Flex setting; worst-case scenario, we could group up, hop into LFR, and take over the whole operation Garrosh-style. I definitely wouldn’t want to ask anyone to commit their normal-difficulty lockout – not least of all because I want this to be a purely for-kicks endeavor, not about progression or gear. Just good fun in good company, and if we happen to stumble into a ridiculous wipe or two on trash, I hope it would be a source of amusement, not angst.
So, if you have a level 90 Horde character and think you’d like to join the party, give me a shout. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com, send a tweet to @GarroshHllscrm, leave a comment here on the blog, or contact me in-game (RealID Averry#1116). Give me an idea of what days and times might be possible for you, and what role(s) you might be able to fill. With any luck, I’ll be able to get something together sooner rather than later, and then, with even more luck, you might have a chance to be there when I come face-to-face with…well…myself. And kill him. Me. Kind of. Unless we don’t. (AT LONG LAST, AVERRY’S NEUROTIC SELF-LOATHING FINDS ITS ULTIMATE EXPRESSION!)
Thanks for wading through all my babble here. And thanks, as always, for reading and hanging in there with me. I hope to hear from many of you soon.
Hi, everyone. Averry here with a completely self-indulgent out-of-character post that ultimately relates to the blog only tangentially. I know I keep saying I don’t like stepping out of character like this, especially since I already did not too long ago, but in this case, the blog is also my outlet. Thank you in advance for bearing with me, and apologies in advance for this not being at all what you normally come here to read.
Regular readers know that one of the blog’s running jokes is that Garrosh plays a game called Earth Online, which rests on the premise that our world is actually an MMO, and the in-game world of Azeroth is reality. I’m sure it won’t come as much of a shock that I’ve sometimes used the conceit of Earth Online to refer to things in my real life — for instance, the fact that Garrosh plays the teacher class “in-game” is a nod toward my real career.
On a couple of occasions, Garrosh has mentioned an in-game vanity pet that he’s fond of, a dog named Sawyer. This was an unabashed reference to my own dog, a West Highland white terrier whom I adopted a few years ago from a local westie rescue group. The fact is, Sawyer had already worked his way into the blog in other, less obvious ways — I’d long ago come to think of him as the personality basis for Mortimer: naturally feisty, oftentimes cranky, fiercely loyal, frequently a handful. And always boundlessly endearing, to the point of finding a soft spot (kind of) even in Garrosh.
Very late last night (or very early this morning, depending on how you’re counting), after several days of struggle with deteriorating medical issues, Sawyer had to be put to sleep.
He kept fighting to the end. Sawyer had been rescued from a puppy mill, so he was no stranger to adversity; even after being rescued, two would-be adoptive families returned him to the rescue organization after finding his brand of canine PTST was too difficult to deal with. It was only because of those returns that he ultimately wound up with me. Oddly enough, in all the days since he moved in, I don’t think I can remember a single one that he tried my patience to a degree that even registered. (Maybe that’s a perk of working with high school students, who knows.)
When Sawyer was first rescued, his age was estimated at about two years, based on his small size and puppy-like behavior, so I figured I would have him with me for a decade or more. Two years of age became nine or ten after eventual dental work revealed he had the teeth of a much older dog; still, I thought, that left me with another four or five years, more if we were lucky. By the time our luck ran out this week, our time together had run its course in just under three years total.
Three years were over too soon. Then again, twenty years would have been over too soon. Somehow, though, I really don’t feel cheated. Three years were a gift.
Yes, I know, I’m one of those crazy sentimental dog people. (I can not watch the last five minutes of “Jurassic Bark.”)
Friends and guildmates have long been familiar with Sawyer’s antics — I’m sure many of them got sick of hearing me talk about him. And more than one raid was punctuated by the sounds of a squeak toy over vent. And there may or may not have been an add or two that I didn’t pick up very quickly to tank because a certain someone was pawing at my arm. I wish everyone could have met him.
As I’m sure you’ll all understand, Sawyer’s fight for life has been a major factor in the blog going quiet for the last several days. I’m probably going to continue to be quiet for a little while more. While I have a lot of stories in the pipeline that I’ve been pretty excited about, I really don’t feel very funny right now, much less ready to take on some of the darker, serious stuff (of which, um, there’s a lot). Rest assured, Garrosh’s misadventures will be back again in short order. Thank you for your ongoing patience.
If you happen to have a dog — or any pet, for that matter — give a few extra hugs tonight. If you don’t, maybe take your companion pug for a walk around Pandaria. Or, better yet, look up a local rescue organization, and send along a small donation to help undeserving slobs like me continue to have their lives graced by the best friends they’ll ever know.
Hi, everyone. Brief quasi-announcement-disclaimer from Averry.
When information about patch 5.4 and the Siege of Orgrimmar raid started coming out last week, I debated making a post to get a few points on record. Then, a few days ago, some of the PTR sound files went public…including voice clips of Garrosh in which, on a couple occasions, he refers to having a “destiny.” That pretty much settled it, so here I am.
I don’t think it will come as much of a surprise that, while I’ve had several plotlines in mind for the blog for quite a while, I’ve had to play many of those ideas fairly close to the vest until learning more about what Blizzard has in store for us. After all, there isn’t much sense in committing myself to a story in which Major Player X has a long-term role, only to find out that Major Player X is being killed off. (Well, other than you-know-who. But you see my point.)
For quite a while, I’ve had a fairly clear idea of where I’d like the blog’s story to go, provided that Blizzard’s eventual storyline proves compatible. Now, we’re starting to get a better idea of what’s going to happen, and based on what we’re seeing…yikes. Seriously, Blizzard couldn’t be helping me more here – and my saying that isn’t even a spoiler, because patch 5.4 is turning out to mesh with my own plans in ways that won’t even be terribly obvious until much further down the line. Garrosh mentioning having a “destiny” is just the tip of the serendipitous iceberg as far as details conspiring to fall into place. At this point, for all intents and purposes, all the major plotlines for the blog are set (other than a few cosmetic details here and there); there’s still room for me to incorporate new ideas for stand-alone posts and mini-arcs, but as far as major stories go, everything you’ll be seeing over the next several months will be what I’ve been wanting to do for…well…quite a while.
(Just to give you an idea of how pathological I am, in fact: I’ve already written about half of what will be the very, very last post.)
(Well, sort of. You’ll see.)
At any rate…I suppose, more than anything, that I just wanted to get on record that seriously, this is what I’ve had in mind all along, and not me concocting ways to work around Blizzard’s story. This way, those of you who care about such things can eventually share in my reaction of “Holy crap, could they be cooperating any more?” once you see how the pieces (I hope) fit together.
And, on that note, I have work to do. Thanks as always for reading, for commenting, and for turning a blind eye to the many and sundry typos (mostly).