Okay, peeps, time to hack through a little more of this backlog of letters. Here we go.
As an amateur artist myself, I’m always interested in others’ artistic work. Lately I’ve been taking particular interest in the artistry that went into your tattoos. I’m curious if they have any special meaning, like certain markings indicating anything specifically. They look like someone put a lot of effort into the intricate detailing. And placement.
No, really, that’s why I’ve been staring. I’m studying. The tattoos.
Also, speaking of artwork, tell Gurtash to keep up the good work, I’ve been enjoying watching his drawings develop. Is there any chance that some of his drawings of you might become available as pinups? I’m just curious. I’d like to help support a budding young artist, you see.
–Tandeleina, Silvermoon City
Uh huh. Yup.
But to answer your question, Tandeleina (do you have any nicknames, by the way? not for nothing, but your name is seriously a bitch to type)… The tattoos are Warsong ceremonial markings, done by Vanteg from back in Nagrand. I talked about this a little once before, but I guess I never really touched on what the tattoos actually mean. Because they DO mean things – they’re not just some fancy scribbles that somebody doodled all over me at random and hoped they would look badass. Well, except when Gurtash draws them, because honestly, he DOES just kind of doodle them all over me, like I can just imagine him spending all day working on one of those sketches of me, and struggling like hell to recreate all that awesome on paper, and then he gets to the end and realizes he still needs to do the tattoos, only at that point he’s all tired and spent from the whole exercise so he’s like “oh fuck it” and scribbles a bunch of vaguely stripey shapes on me. Because, see, in reality, unlike Gurtash’s drawings, my tattoos are NOT different shapes in different locations every single time you look at me. Kid’s got a good eye in general, I guess, but apparently getting that much right calls for TWO good eyes.
But I digress.
Anyway, the tattoos fall into two groups, the ones on my back and the ones on my shoulders and arms. The markings on my arms stand for the major victories and achievements of my family line, with the earliest accomplishments being represented around my shoulders, then working their way toward the present as they continue down my arms. So as you trace down each arm, you can follow the achievements of my grandfather, Golmash, then Grommash and Lakkara, then me. They all pretty much look like interchangeable stripes to the untrained eye, but see, there are all these little subtle variations, where the bands get thicker or narrower, where there are little nicks and indentations, where there are curves and where they stay straight… every little detail is symbolic for something. You’ll also notice, the tattoos only run down to about my elbows. I had Vanteg do that deliberately, so there’d be room for me to add more tattoos down the rest of my arms as time goes on. Who knows, now that it turns out I’m not the last of the line, maybe if Shay does something big one day, I can get myself inked up a little more to cover that.
Meanwhile, the tattoos on my back mean something else. See, the accomplishments of my family go on my arms, because the arms stand for deeds and actions. The back, on the other hand, stands for the…well, the backbone. The framework that supports everything else. So the markings on my back symbolize different qualities that are valued in the Warsong clan or within my family line. So there’s one marking that means loyalty, and one marking that means prowess in battle, and another marking that means strength of will, and then there’s that one stray marking on the left side of my back that means Vanteg should have known to put the fucking needle down for a minute when he felt the hiccups coming on. By the by, he’s got a marking of his own now that symbolizes that very same thing, only it’s not made of fucking ink.
So there you go, ladies. Now you have an excuse to take a good long look next time you see me tooling around Orgrimmar. It’s not leering, it’s exegesis! I’ll know the truth, but that can just be our little secret. You’re welcome.
Yo Warchief Hellscream,
Wazzup? Long time reader, first time writer here. Anyway, I got a bit of a problem I was hoping you’d take care of for me. Could you call off your Kor’kron mooks every time I come into the city to sell my goods? I’m a loyal citizen of the Horde and a skilled engineer, and I haven’t stolen anything I ain’t earned through good and honest–whoa I almost got that out legit there.
Anyway, all I do is sell inferior gnome engineered products to promote how much more AWESOME goblin engineered products are (not to mention that there’s less of a chance of turning into a chicken when you use ’em), but every time, your Kor’kron goons come over and harass me outta my stall! Since I’m already paying protection to the Tinker’s Guild and the Trade Prince, if I gotta start paying you, I wouldn’t even be breaking even profit-wise! What’s a girl gotta do to make some semi-honest coin around here?
–Glesse “Glitch” Sparkbolt, Sparkbolt Enterprises
Hey, Glitch, thanks for writing. What the hell took you so long? Freaking lazy-ass goblins. Anyhow.
So let me get the straight. Your business plan…is to sell stuff that you know going in is crap…so people can SEE that it’s crap…and then not buy it anymore…and then go to someone ELSE who’s selling BETTER stuff and buy from THEM? So you’re telling them, “Goblin products are awesome – and I’m not selling them! So you better go give your money to someone who isn’t me”? That’s your business model?
I’m going to stick my neck way, way out and guess that you don’t exactly have investors lined up around the block to sink money into this operation.
So as far as the Kor’kron go, see, there isn’t any law against selling gnomish products, but if you’re causing a nuisance with your junk, then yeah, they’re going to come over and stop the operation and make sure you don’t give any more people cause to register complaints.
So here’s the question for you: When you were getting “harassed” out of your stall, HAD you just turned a would-be customer into a chicken? How about a frog? Did you just make somebody’s mother-in-law seven feet taller? Did you just give some horny teenager x-ray vision? (Fucking hell save us if that kind of tech drops into a certain pair of doodle-prone hands I know.) Did you just go “one two three kablooey” and turn somebody’s hat into a bowl lime sherbet? Did you give somebody a free trial of a teleportation device only instead of taking them to the Barrens it popped them into a parallel dimension made entirely out of shrimp, only when you pulled them back it split them into two copies of themselves, one with all the good and noble qualities and one with all the evil nasty stuff, but neither of them are strong enough to survive on their own, plus there’s the persistent uncontrollable toxic flatulence?
Because seriously, once you open the can of worms that is gnomish tech, no outcome is too ridiculous to be off the menu. That’s why, at the end of the day, I DO prefer goblin products. At least with those, you know they’re only ever going to blow up in your face LITERALLY.
I finally decided to give Earth Online a try after reading about your adventures there. It’s a pretty fun game! I decided to follow in your footsteps and roll a teacher class. I’m coming up on the end of the university starter zone, and I’ve been doing okay with the student teacher proving grounds, but since I’m about to venture off the safe confines of campus, I was wondering if you had any helpful tips on playing a teacher successfully in the big wide world?
–Gurda Ragescar, Splintertree Post
Thanks for writing, Gurda. Glad you’re liking the game. The teacher class is a tricky one, what with all the lesson plan juggling and management of your minions, but it can be pretty fun once you work out how you’re going to do things. A lot of stuff is going to depend on how you’re specced, like if you’ve got more of a science or orcities (what those Alliance buggers probably call humanities) build, so I don’t want to get too deep into specifics that might not apply to you. But, I can give you a few things you might want to keep in mind.
First, when you’re dealing with your minions and issuing them commands, you need to spam those keybindings. Do not – repeat, DO NOT – make the mistake of thinking you can press the button once to tell the brats to do something and then sit back pleased as can be expecting them to go do it. There is ZERO chance they’re going to do what you tell them until you click on it at least three or four times. Same thing goes for when you try to up their skills. You want to boost them up a skill point, you need to hit that train button six or seven times. It will not take otherwise. It’ll bounce right off their stubborn little heads. You might think I’m crazy, but just you watch – try sending them off on a mission, only hit the assignment key once, then come back when the mission is supposed to be done, and watch the blank looks on their faces, like they’re saying, “Oh…did you want me to do something?”
Second, sometimes when you’re dealing with one of your minions, it’ll spawn this older-looking NPC that’ll aggro on you and initiate a parent-teacher conference solo scenario. Those can be tricky. You’ve got to improvise on the fly as far as the parent’s mechanics, but basically, you need to wear them down until they stop being hostile and turn friendly. At that point, they’ll help you reinforce whatever you’re trying to get your minions to do. Here’s the catch, though: some of the parents will be really easy to get on your side, and some of them will be damn near impossible – like infuriatingly so. And the funny part is, the easy parents are the ones whose kids were pretty easy for you to handle in the first place, so you probably don’t really NEED help from the parents. But those are the ones that spawn more often. But the harder parents? Yeah, they’re tough to deal with, but they’re kind of worth it, because THEIR kids are frigging impossible to handle, so you NEED all the help you can get with them…only those parents almost never spawn. It’s like they don’t want to be bothered with the little brats, so good luck ever getting them to show for a conference.
When you’re grinding out your paper-grading dailies, DO NOT try to do too many of them in one sitting. If you try to grind out too many at once, your patience bar will burn out way too quickly and you’ll end up giving D’s to everyone in the bottom half of the pile.
That’s it as far as suggestions. One fun thing to look out for, though – when you’re going around the world away from your school, keep an eye out for your minions. It won’t happen often, but every once in a while you’ll randomly run into one of them wandering around the world. Keep an eye open, and watch them when that happens – they will freak the fuck out, like they’re totally dumbstruck by the fact that you exist out in the regular world. I just get a kick out of watching them panic and scramble around all confused. Maybe it’s just me.
Yo, what’s up Warchief?
The name’s Grottee Metalbeard. You know, that goblin who came to see you with a letter from your old buddy Thrall. Of course, you probably remember better from when a message with my name on it was sent to your Live Blog a coupla weeks back. Darndest thing: that wasn’t me.
Turns out, my assistant Mindy found my password and logged in a few hundred times when I wasn’t around – after all, a shaman’s work is never done. That little question about the Warsong? Her doing. It’s a good question, but I wasn’t gonna ask it, so she did.
Good news is, I finally know why I’m getting all those meal deal emails. And how my old boss Gallywix somehow found out about my recent fling with an old friend, Sassy Hardwrench, during one of my trips to Stranglethorn. (I knew all those gossip magazines were hiding something from me!)
The bad news is, I’m now in the market for a new assistant. And a new office. Turns out she blew it up with smuggled explosives. That mystery boob job she went on and on about? Bombs smuggled in under the shirt. My fault for not asking for a look I guess. Don’t suppose you know where else I could set up?
Aaaanyway, that ain’t what I’m really writing in about. No, no, what I’m writing in about, is these three words: Blackfuse, elementals, trolls.
What am I talking about? I’ll discuss each topic in brief.
Step 1: Blackfuse. I can tell you’re not exactly worried about the technology of your Horde right about now, seeing as how you’re trying to master the Sha and all that. But you really should be. If what I’ve heard is true, the Alliance is gearing up to take you on. As in, lay siege to Orgrimmar, kill anyone who doesn’t run away/surrender and stick your head on a pike. And I’m not talking about your average bunch of Alliance adventurers going in and taking a shot at you hoping Varian will send them a bear in the mail (how does that work, by the way?) or anything like that. I mean, armies from all over Azeroth baring down on you with their hackles raised. Fortunately for you, I know a guy who’ll crank Orgrimmar’s Engineering skill all the way to the top. His name’s Helix Blackfuse, and he runs a little outfit called Blackfuse company. They’re a rowdy bundle of backstickers and grease-monkeys who build high-tech shredders, giant lasers, the odd drilling machine and yes, a crapload of bombs, then sell ’em to whoever’s got the gold. I’m saying this ’cause while I don’t have enough money to pay him to make me a sandwich, you probably have the gold to tie him to the Horde at the hip. Blackfuse has a weakness for shiny gold worse than the average magpie; you pay him enough, he’ll build you a giant metal scorpid with laser, bombs and buzz-saws coming out the wazoo. I figure that should be a step in the right direction.
Step 2: Elementals. Let me be blunt, Warchief: I know you’ve been getting offers of help from the Dark Shaman. You know, the ones who force the elementals to bend to their will and corrupt them into creatures of darkness. I’m only gonna say this once: don’t. Whatever neat little tricks they promised you, don’t. Don’t say yes to the jokers who think the elements are tools they get to bend in or out of shape as they like. You think life in the desert is harsh now? I’ve been chatting to the elements here, and they’re being nice. Even after you dragged out those molten giants during your attack on Theramore, they’ve decided to let your people keep on living here. But they’re running out of tolerance. It’s pretty understandable. If you laugh and spit in people’s faces too often they’ll try to get rid of you – like I was gonna do to Gallywix before the volcano on Kezan erupted. Besides, you don’t need to force the elementals to fight for you – some of them’ll do it for free.
And before you ask, I know this because since the death of Deathwing I’ve been hopping to some of the elemental planes, chating with the natives. Turns out, there’s entire armies of elementals out there without a cause to fight for. I don’t expect you to know this, but the leaders of the wind and fire elementals got KO’d a while back, like FOR REAL. Not coming back no matter how many reset buttons get pushed. Which means there’s a power vacuum in the Skywall and the Firelands – and a few of the more intelligent ones are happy to take any work they can get. Business has been good for me so far. Maybe you’d like to try it?
Now, like I said, the wind and fire elementals need no prompting, so that’s two elements ticked off right from the off. Earth is a little more tricky, ’cause their ruler is still around, and they’re not exactly big on mortals around there. Still, I’ve got a lot of pull with the Stonemother, so I imagine at least some of them would be willing to try working with someone I gave a ringing endorsement. The water boys, though? That’s kinda tricky. They’d be willing to give you a run, see how things go. But there’s a catch (of course there is) – namely, they want a small army of Horde troops to help them with reclaiming the Abyssal Maw from the naga. And not the kids fresh out of training either. Top of the line Kor’kron boots in the water is what they want. It seems there’s a few of them who are happy to serve the Alliance’s Frost mage population, and they don’t really want to switch sides without a little stellar motivation. I was half-tempted to say yes just to find out what the hell happened to that Neptulon guy, but I figured I should run it by you and see what we should do. Anyway, all I’m saying is, you’ve got an opportunity to play nice and get what you want from the elementals without screwing them and yourself over. I’d take it, if I were you.
Step 3: Trolls. And I’m not talking about the guys you know about – the peacemakers with the ambition of soggy wood. No, I’m talking about the big boys. The fellas who made an empire once, long ago. After the death of the Thunder King, they’re in a bad way in terms of leadership, and reduced to grasping at straws. Basically, they’ll take whatever help they can get, I’m sure. And let me tell you, Warchief, these guys mean business. I’ve seen them come out with some of the coolest toys a troll can get his hands on: giant dinosaur mounts, massive golems, even a few loa priests with transformation magic. Hell, you could get a lot of mileage out of them, and by bringing them into the fold, you’d be sending a message to those Darkspear morons that they’re not as needed as they think they are. Plus, you’d not only get rid of one of an ongoing list of enemies for the Horde, you’d also get powerful allies against the Alliance. Genius, huh?
Anyway, let me know how your negotiations go if you decide to give Blackfuse or the Zandas a call. And, uh, on the subject of the elementals, do I have the go-ahead? Be nice to do something more constructive than go brewing and selling the Vial of the Sands all day.
–Grottee Metalbeard, goblin shaman
We now continue with Tuesday mailbag. Because holy fucking SHIT, what the fuck just happened THERE? Where did the last eight pages and twelve hours go, for fuck’s sake?
Look, Grottee – and thank the spirits you had your name on the very last line there, because I sure as fuck wasn’t going to go looking – you might be brilliant and insightful and wise and skillful and loyal and punctual and have impeccable table manners, but DUDE, the FUCK? A mailbag letter should NOT have CHAPTER BREAKS, dude. And look, maybe you think I’m being a little hard on you, and maybe you’re thinking “oh, come on, that gigantic congealed brick of words wasn’t THAT long,” here, allow me to defer to an expert witness who knows a thing or two on the subject. Check this out:
DO YOU SEE THAT? DO YOU? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE FUCKING MAGNITUDE OF THAT SHIT?!
Okay, so, I’m just going to respond to random assorted parts of that, because in all honesty, I think I zoned out about four or five times trying to make my way through that. So here we go.
Goblin tech. Got it. Not a bad idea. I might have to look up this Blackfuse dude. Like I was just telling Glitch back before forty days and forty nights blew on by, goblin tech CAN be handy, and it’s sure as hell a better option than trying our luck on gnomish crap.
So, water elementals. Look, dude, go hang out with the elementals all you want, but don’t hold your breath waiting to get an answer on the whole Neptulon thing. Mark my words, we are never going to find out what the fuck happened to that dude. It’s just going to be one of those crazy mysteries lost to the mists of time, like where Medivh vanished off to, or what creepy shit is going on under Tirisfal Glades (other than the regular ol’ creepy shit that Sylvanas is doing any given Tuesday), or what really happened to Turalyon and Alleria or whoever the fuck. You’re just never going to find out. Either that or you’ll find out somewhere between 4-6 years from now, and at that point the answer’s probably just going to be a giant fucking disappointment anyway.
Meanwhile…the Zandalari. Um…dude, I’ve got enough headaches from the trolls we’ve got, without going out and digging up some more. I mean, fuck, if that’s what I’m going to do, how about I go help Lather-on-us recruit some more fucking hippies into DEHTA and send them an invitation to come hang out in Grommash Hold, and then I can round up some of these goblin mad scientist types and see if they can come up with a way to clone Dontrag and Utvoch, and then how about I log onto Earth Online and try pugging for a couple hours, or until my eyes bleed, whichever comes first (pro tip: smart money takes the under), and then I can put on my snazziest suit and invite Magatha over for afternoon tea. THE FUCK KIND OF OPERATION DO YOU THINK I’M RUNNING HERE?
That said, as much as I’m no fan of trolls, riding around on dinosaurs? THAT’s kind of badass. I might have to see about getting me one of those.
That does it for this time. As always, keep those letters coming.
[Keep the letters coming indeed – because next week the Warchief will be cranking out an extra mailbag for this month! So keep your questions, thoughts, and ramblings coming for next Monday!]