Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ Category

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Audiobook Review: Warcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden

May 16, 2016

Durotan audio

Warcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden

Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Media Tie-In

Series: Warcraft

Publisher: Audible Studios (May 3, 2016)

Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrator: Toby Longworth

Warcraft: Durotan is the official prequel novel to the Warcraft movie, set to hit theaters later this summer. As a fan of the game franchise, I almost feel like I have an obligation to go out and see this film, though whether or not it’ll actually be good remains to be seen. Call me cynical, but I’ve been burned way too many times by underwhelming movie adaptations, and so while part of me is excited to finally see one of my favorite games come to life on the big screen, I will also remain cautiously optimistic for now.

Still, I picked up this book because I knew I would want the background story. A lot of people don’t realize that Warcraft is more than just a game series—it’s also an immense, indescribably huge body of lore. Its world encompasses a countless number of locations and characters, and its history stretches back thousands upon thousands of years. And as much as I enjoy playing the games, in some ways I enjoy hearing about the stories even more. I love the epic tales of legendary heroes, reading about their great deeds and how they made their mark on the world of Warcraft and its history.

The Frostwolf orc clan chieftain Durotan is one of these legendary figures. The eponymous main character of this novel will also be one of the key players in the upcoming film, and this is the story of how he led his people out of the dying lands of Draenor to find their home in a new world.

When the book begins, Draenor is already on the brink of destruction. With the spirits of the elements weakened, winters are becoming increasingly harsher and the dwindling herds mean that the orcs will soon have to abandon their territory or face death by exposure and starvation. However, when a mysterious warlock named Gul’dan arrives with an offer to save them, the Frostwolf Clan decides to turn him away, preferring to maintain their independence. No stranger to tough times, Durotan believes it would be better to take their chances on their own rather than join the outsider’s “Horde”, especially since he does not trust the warlock. But while the Frostwolf may be one of the last clans to hold out, things in Draenor are going from bad to worse, and soon they too will have to make a decision on how to move forward, or risk dying with their homeland.

Believe it or not, finishing this book actually made me feel more confident about the movie. The events portrayed here offer us a solid foundation and a promise of some fantastic things to come. But then again, it’s Christie Golden. She’s written some of my favorite Warcraft and Star Wars novels of all time, and I knew even before going into this novel that it was going to be great. I’m beyond excited that this was everything I expected, especially since Durotan’s story was one that I’ve always wanted to get to know better.

I’m also pleased that this novel was entirely about the orcs. I say this even as a diehard Ally, as I honestly believe not enough attention is being given to the races of the Horde when it comes to media tie-ins, plus fantasy in general can be so human-centric. It’s easy to get caught up in the faction pride sometimes, reducing the “other guys” to nothing more but enemies to kill, but the truth is, orcs are a complex race with values deeply rooted in their society and culture. We get to see many examples of this in Warcraft: Durotan, as our protagonist realizes that being a leader is about more than just his strength and pride. Wisdom is just as important, as is compassion—even for your enemies. Durotan often finds himself torn between his honor and what he knows is best for his people, but knowing when to listen and when you have to sacrifice for the greater good are just some of the lessons he learns first as the Frostwolf’s chieftain, and then as a husband and a father-to-be. This book is simple filled to the brim with all these feels.

Kudos also goes to Toby Longworth for doing a superb job narrating the audio version. He has a very strong voice, great for reading fantasy novels and perfect for capturing the personalities of larger-than-life characters like Durotan. In addition, this audiobook was very easy to get into; at seven-and-a-half hours in length, I finished this one in good time, probably within two or three listening sessions. Finally, the audiobook ends with an audio excerpt of the “sequel”, which is the novelization of the movie itself, also written by Christie Golden.

If you plan on seeing Warcraft, I highly recommend picking up Warcraft: Durotan first, because it shows a larger picture and puts some of the movie’s events in context. Lore hounds will also love this book, especially if you want deeper insight into those who had a hand in shaping the face of Azeroth. All told, this is a wonderful, fascinating look into the life of Durotan, who is the loving mate of Draka, a contemporary of Orgim Doomhammer, and the future father of one of Warcraft’s most prominent characters.

***A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Battle Bards Episode 63: Warlords of Draenor

December 3, 2015

Battle Bards

A new episode of Battle Bards is up!

With a new World of Warcraft expansion on the horizon, the Battle Bards turn their attention to Warlords of Draenor to see how it stacks up to the rest of the series. The answer? For at least one of the bards, it’s the best WoW soundtrack ever. Crank up the volume and get your Orc on, for it’s time to go on the musical warpath!

LISTEN NOW

Warlords of Draenor

Episode 63 show notes
  • Intro (featuring “Malach” and “Shadowmoon Valley”)
  • “Wolf at the Gates”
  • “Chieftans Gather”
  • “Family”
  • “Last Light (A Hero’s Sacrifice)”
  • “Man Down”
  • “T’s Have It”
  • “A Light in the Darkness”
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Jukebox (featuring “Abadis Forest” from Dust: An Elysian Tail, “Main Theme” from Fallout 4, “EverLand” from Ragnarok Online 2)
  • Outro
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The Big DING! Warlords Edition

November 21, 2014

ding

It took some of my guildies a little less than 24 hours, and a lot more of my friends aren’t even anywhere close, but for me it took about eight days. Last night, a week after the release of World of Warcraft’s newest expansion Warlords of Draenor, I hit the new level cap of 100.

I have to say, the experience just keeps piling on in this expac. My husband and I weren’t pushing hard towards 100 by any means, mostly keeping to our regular gaming schedule and only playing a couple hours in the evenings, a bit more on the weekends.

Not to mention, I kept getting distracted from questing by about a million other things — treasure hunting, collecting and battling companion pets, archaeology…and most of all, I got constantly waylaid in my leveling by my Garrison. Every half hour or so I’d be hearthing back to my base to set up new missions, check in on progress and status of my buildings,  start new work orders, etc. It’s bloody ADDICTIVE.

It’s actually a wonder I made it to the new cap in only about a week.

Obviously there’s so much to do in WoD. Even though I’ve achieved level 100, I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I’m happy about a lot of the new content and while my overall impressions are positive, it’s still probably too soon for me to do any in depth write-up. The expansion has been keeping me quite busy though, and that’s good thing (though not for all the other stuff I have to do this month)!

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WoW: We Are Legendary

October 10, 2014

legendary cloak

The legendary cloak wasn’t something I expected ever to get, but at the beginning of September when I resubbed to World of Warcraft I saw that things for the quest chain were in full swing. With a game-wide buff Gaze of the Black Prince increasing rep gain and drop rate for the raid items you need, I figured there’s no harm in trying for it – and there’s no time like the present. I’m also grateful for Tententacles for also going for the legendary cloak chain, because without him doing it too, I honestly don’t think I would have been as motivated!

So, seven weeks or so later (I did get lucky these last couple of weeks with Titan Runestones), I finally got my cloak on my Monk. And just in time too, with the prepatch for the next expansion said to drop next Tuesday, and apparently the quest chain will go away. If you’re still thinking of going for the cloak, this may be your last chance to start, because starting Tuesday next week it might not be possible to get the first quest anymore.

But if you’re in the middle of the chain, it’s not too late. I’m in that boat too, as I’ve actually begun work on the legendary cloak on another character, my Druid. She’s been my main forever, and even though I’ve been playing my Monk a lot more recently, my emotional attachment to the Druid is just too strong to not try for the legendary cloak with her too. When the patch drops, they’re removing the valor grind requirement section of the quest, which was by far the most aggravating and longest part anyway, and there’s a good chance to finish before or around the time Warlords of Draenor is released. Sure, a few weeks into the expansion and the cloak will probably be obsolete, but for completionists, it’s still an impressive achievement and a nice memento to have.

 

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A Scheduled Return To WoW…

August 25, 2014
There's always something to work towards...

There’s always something to work towards…

Ever since the announcement of the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion release date, I’ve joined the trickle of players returning to the game.

Actually, I’d planned on resubbing around the first week of September, but then I didn’t see the reason to wait anymore. I’ve been pretty busy this summer so I’ve only been really playing one MMO off and on, that game being The Secret World. And the truth is, content there has pretty much dried up despite the TSW Monday crew trying to stretch out Issue 9 and the Side Stories quests as long as we could.

So until more of Tokyo opens up, you’ll find me in Azeroth.

So, what am I doing in WoW these days? Well, mostly relearning how to play my characters, which is par for the course every time I take a protracted leave of absence from the game. There are also still a few alt stragglers languishing around level 70-80 that I’m hoping to bring to 90 before deciding which class I’ll take first into the new expansion.

And of course, each time I come back, I can also count on Blizzard having added a whole slew of new battle pets to their menagerie. The urge to nab what I can for my collection is pretty much a knee jerk reaction by now (481 unique pets and counting)!

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Battle Bards Episode 24: World Of Warcraft Part II

April 1, 2014

Battle Bards

A new episode of Battle Bards is live!

Can you believe also that our podcast is a year old? This week, we’re returning to Azeroth, because let’s face it, we could be covering the music of World of Warcraft with a show featuring it every year and we’ll still never be able to cover all the amazing music in this game. With soundtracks for the main game and all its expansions plus a couple more besides, that’s a lot of damn songs. We’re here with more of our favorites, and afterwards be sure to stay tuned as Syp, Syl and I recall our most memorable moments from a year of Battle Bards.

LISTEN NOW

illidan

Episode 24 show notes
  • Intro (including “Ebon Hold” and “Garden of Life”)
  • Undercity (from World of Warcraft)
  • Echoes of the Past (from World of Warcraft)
  • Totems of the Grizzlemaw (from Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Curse of the Worgen (from Cataclysm)
  • Forged in Blood (from Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Argent Tournament (from Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Way of the Monk (from Mists of Pandaria)
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Our first anniversary!
  • Outro (Argent Tournament intro)
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Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

January 8, 2014

4 bday

Holy crap, as of yesterday this blog is four years old! Time really flies, doesn’t it? It feels more like three, though that might be because I completely forgot my blogiversary last year. Would have forgotten this year too, truth be told, if Rowan (who will be celebrating his own blogiversary very soon as well) hadn’t reminded me. I am just bad with birthdays.

Anyway, since my blog’s anniversary is in January, technically this post could also serve as a look back at 2013. Once again, this blog didn’t see as much activity in the last year as I would have liked. In my defense though, it was a busy year in terms of real life, and quite honestly, it was a pretty tame one for MMOs. Tame…but definitely not lame.

I only participated in the launches of mainly two games — Defiance and Neverwinter — and both released during the first part of the year (though in the latter’s case, an um, open-beta-that-really-wasn’t-a-beta).

nw

Instead, I spent the last year revisiting a lot of old favorites. World of Warcraft, of course, is as ever the dependable standby. I would play a couple months, take another couple months off, then do it all over again. I know I can always count on it being there whenever I feel like a romp through Azeroth.

panda

Star Trek Online saw some play too because of their new expansion. I rolled a Romulan, got to have some fun with the duty officer mini-game, and got roped into doing dailies for their summer event. This was the year I truly came to develop an appreciation for a free-to-play STO.

romulan

A few months ago, I also surprised myself by resubbing to Star Wars: The Old Republic. This was thanks to the revitalization of our guild, which included a faction change to refocus our efforts on the Empire side. SWTOR saw an expansion too, and I’m still hopping in now and then getting in my Galactic Starfighter battles. They’re a lot more fun once you get a hang of the controls and start upgrading your ship.

ops

And finally, there’s The Secret World. TSW Mondays are still going strong, and in terms of social events, it’s probably Mercy Gaming’s greatest success. I don’t think anyone would have believed it a year and a half ago, but it’s true that our weekly group has steadily grown since Secret Mondays first started. To the usual gang, thanks for making this such a great year in TSW.

headstand

Other highlights of the year that aren’t really related to gaming (and in fact, they actually took away from my gaming time, but I wouldn’t change that for the world!) include some of my new hobbies:

1) Pathfinder! I have reason to look forward to Sunday nights now that my friends and I hold weekly games over Fantasy Grounds 2 and Teamspeak.

2) Miniature painting! I’ve always wanted to get into this, and this year I finally took the plunge!

3) Podcasting! Recording Battle Bards with my co-hosts Syp and Syl has been such fun this year.

4) Book blogging! I’ve always read voraciously, and this year I went one step further and started a book blog with a couple of my friends. It has been amazing.

And of course, nothing beats spending time with my family. My little girl is almost two now, and every day she fills my life with surprises and delight. My husband and I don’t get to play video games as much anymore, spending a couple hours a night in our MMOs only after we’ve put the baby to bed. When she’s awake, we don’t want to miss a moment with her!

Finally, to my readers, I want to thank you for another fantastic year. 2014 looks to be another great one with a couple big MMOs on the horizon. I haven’t mentioned these games a lot on my blog the past year, mostly because I’ve resolved to keep my excitement in check going forward, but I’d like to go on record to say that I am very much looking forward to BOTH Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online.

wildstar

ESO

I have no doubt I’ll be gracing this blog with my thoughts on both sometime in the future. And perhaps more! Thanks again, and I’m definitely looking forward to another year of blogging. Ciao!