Archive for the “A-delving we will go” Category

WoW is in a similar position to a lot of high / gothic fantasy and terrestrial MMOs, in that adding new play areas is often a case of the game designers pulling new zones out of their metaphorical asses. WoW is in a lot better position than most in that there are plenty of other canonical worlds out there, though oddly they’d rather go the time traveling grandfather killer route than actually explore those other worlds1.

killerAnd they said his predecessor was grim.

While I usually look forward to exploring other worlds, the thing I actually am enjoying when I do that is the exploration of new zones, regardless of where they are, and the discovery of fun things.  But I’m very sensitive to the harmony of the zone with the established dogma of a fantasy world, and I often feel the “new world” approach is very disharmonious with the established dogma when it comes to my completionist makeup.

What is he going on about?

Let me put it all out there: I think that the three worlds we know now – Azeroth, Outland, and Draenor – are only partially explored, only partially revealed to us.

Draenor and Outland are, at this point, only conjecture on my part, but it’s common sense. Looking at the tiny island that makes up what we know of Draenor, there are only two possibilities.  The first is that Draenor as we know it is a speck of land half the size of Khaz Modan and an ocean the size of Azeroth.  The other possibility is that Draenor as we know it is just one land mass among many, that the world of Draenor is largely unexplored by ourselves.

This does of course open all sorts of possibilities, including lost tribes of Draenei, Orcses, Ogreses, and other denizens of Draenor that we have either encountered or been hinted to.

Draenor Map Honestly, they might be trolling us already.

By Extension

And since Draenor as we know it is the bedrock upon which Outland is built, that also means that for every lost continent of Draenor, there is a possibility of the same lost continent of Outland, only with more shatteryness. For lore purposes, it also opens a lot of possibilities since we have 35 years of Azerothian lore on that shattered land mass and its supposed compatriots.

Alleria‘s gotta be hiding somewhere, right?

Outland Map

Closer to Home

But what I’m getting at is this.

Azeroth only makes sense, from a climatic point of view, if you assume that it is only half explored.

Kalimdor and Khaz Modan make excellent sense climatically if you assume that they are northern hemisphere continents. Both continents are arctic to subarctic in the north, and tropical or arid in the south. Khaz Modan’s northern half is very European, while its south is very tropical. Kalimdor’s northern parts are very North American, and its south is very African – arid, dry, desert.

Azeroth Map

If Kalimdor and Khaz Modan were truly global, you’d expect Tanaris and Stranglethorn and Pandaria to be subarctic at the very least, rather than the tropical – dare I say, equatorial – climates they exhibit.

It only makes sense that the equator of Azeroth passes somewhere in the vicinity, or just south, of Pandaria, rather than in between the Arathi Highlands and Wetlands as depicted on some representations.

You Can’t Prove a Negative

Mea culpa – the possibility that those two continents are northern hemispheric does not in any way prove the existence of one or more southern hemispheric continents. It merely opens up the possibility. It provides an opening into which these land masses could be inserted.

For all we know, the southern hemisphere of Azeroth is an empty ocean, devoid of little more than the occasional island kingdom that would provide a content patch’s worth of exploration at most.  But there is one or more expansions’ worth of space in this alleged southern hemisphere, and not exploiting it seems to me, as a certain fictional astronomer’s fictional father said, “a waste of space”.

The Solid Case Against

There is, however, a solid case against the possible existence of these alleged continents. In fact, there is a solid case against Kalimdor and Khaz Modan being northern continents rather than globally spanning.  There are three such cases that I am aware of, in fact.

Azeroth from BT

Hard to see detail, admittedly.

The first is revealed either when raiding Black Temple, or doing the Warlock “Green Fire” quests. At one point you can look up, and see, in the sky above you, the planet Azeroth.  I have absolutely no explanation as to why this is – you can’t see Draenor from Azeroth, after all – and from any other point on Outland, you can’t see it. But from that particular point, you can. And the planet you see shows the two continents spanning the planet from north to south. This makes no sense whatsoever on many levels, but it is there as established game lore, and that’s that.  Azeroth, as seen from The Black Temple, has no missing southern continents.

It also doesn’t appear to have Pandaria or Northrend, either.  So the infallibility index of this sighting just took a dive.  If you’re gonna use this sighting as an example of why the North is alone, it needs to at least include all of current lore within it. And the weak tea excuse of “But it was made before Northrend was part of the map” also works for “But it was made before the southern continents were part of the map” as well, now doesn’t it?

Moving on, then.

Loken Globe

Dungeon delvers in Ulduar are familiar with the room just prior to Loken’s in Halls of Lightning. It bears within it a holographic representation of Azeroth. And, just like the BT sky-orb, this holo-orb shows no indications of there being more to Azeroth.  It also doesn’t show Pandaria, so once again we have no evidence that this ancient holo-orb is actually accurate, or if the Titans are trolling us.

Algalon Globe

Finally, we have the globe that Algalon uses as an instrument of destruction against Azeroth. Not only does it show no more than the other two representations, it also shows one of Azeroth’s moons as a crescent, which is just weird if it’s supposed to be an accurate representation. Clearly it is not, nor intended to be.

These are the facts

The facts are, there is no evidence that there is a southern hemisphere beyond the shores of Tanaris and Uldum. No sign of a missing southern continent. No support for a theory that there is more to Azeroth than we can see right now. But there is also no solid evidence against it, nor against a missing continent (or raft thereof) on Outland and Draenor.

All we have is this.

  1. in 2007, there was no reason to believe that Northrend or Pandaria were real, and they were not depicted in any available representation.
  2. The physical climate of this imaginary world of Azeroth makes absolutely no sense without an unexplored southern hemisphere.
  3. Draenor and Outland are too small to be entire planets. There must be more.

The Possibilities are Endless

We know that Blizz is near the end of its planned story arc for WoW. This arc, so widely known, has proven to be a burden that they’ve fought hard to shake off, coming up with the ridiculous plot of WoD as a way of bucking the system and shaking up our expectations.  But even if the next two expansions adhere slavishly to that timeline, there is so much potential left in that prophesied timeline of Azeroth.

But imagine an entire set of southern continents equal in size and scope with Khaz Modan and Kalimdor. What might we find there? Feral Elves that predate the Titans? A whole continent of Trolls? What of Draenor / Outland? Might we find an entire land where the Draenei reverted to Eredar ways? Did Turalyon and Alleria start a new Alliance-based2 trade empire just out of sight?  Where might there be dragons? A lost Ogre empire?

There are clues. That anonymous bit of land to the southwest on the Draenor map.  The ports on Draenor! Why build massive ports unless you are trading with people that you can’t reach by land?

The stories for these places are completely unwritten.  But, like Pern’s “Southern continent”, bursting with potential.

I hope we get to see them.


  1. And if you take that to mean that I think that the WoD premise is just plain lazy storytelling, you might be onto something. []
  2. Did the Alliance as we know it even exist then? This might be retro-futuristic Alliance, if not. []

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RE: http://www.cannotbetamed.com/2014/08/19/gaming-questionnaire/

I’m a sucker for a good questionnaire, and this one is relevant to my interests.

I’ll let the Qs speak for themselves.  And if you want to chime in, go over to her blog (link above) and give her an earful!

When did you start playing video games?

In the 1970s … when they started appearing in the Pinball arcades.  Yeah.  Pinball arcades were a thing back then, and as video games started coming out, the video cabinets started displacing the pinball machines.  But pinball was my gateway drug to video gaming, no doubt about it.

What is the first game you remember playing?

Video game: Pong … when I could find someone to play with me.

Game in general … checkers. 

But it was strategy (board) games like Squad Leader or Star Fleet Battles or Submarine (in fact, most of the Avalon Hill lineup) that positioned me to get into AD&D, and that was my gateway in general.

PC or Console?

Standup console … this was before we had video games in our homes.  But the first one of THOSE that I played was on a friend’s Sears Pong console.  The first one I actually OWNED was a Magnavox Odyssey 2.  It was wretched, even back then.

XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?

Jesus H. Christ on a unicycle, how young ARE you?  My first two vid consoles were the aforementioned Odyssey 2, and a used Mattel Intellivision 2.  Neither of which you probably heard of, from the sound of it.

/hipster glasses

What’s the best game you’ve ever played?

I would never be able to nail that down to one game. Railroad Tycoon on the Amiga1 kept me playing for years, until my miggy finally died from fractured PLCC socket woes. Close behind it, Civilization III on the PC. Civ I was great, and I played it until my miggy died, but Civ III hit a sweet spot.

What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?

Sid Meiers’ Rails! was one of the biggest disappointments of all time. OF ALL TIME2.  In the vid cabinet world, I loathe and abhor Tempest.

Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

Quake.  I enjoy the FPS genre, but I felt Doom2 was the pinnacle of iDs output at the time; Quake seemed to be a poorly executed implementation of Doom in 3D.

Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

I really liked Wizardry 8 and am really glad I got in on the pre-purchase … those that didn’t, didn’t even get the disks.

What are your favorite game genres?

God Games / Strategy games.  Games like Civ, RRT, Populous, Settlers

Who is your favorite game protagonist?

Jaina Proudmoore.  I keep hoping that someday, she’ll remember she is powerful.

Describe your perfect video game.

Keeps me coming back time and time again. Not story driven. Not scenario driven (unless those are randomly or procedurally generated). Has many layers (think of Star Fleet Command’s galactic versus tactical levels). Never ends.  Never plays the same twice.  Scalable difficulty.

What video game character do you have a crush on?

I prefer my own species, thanks.  "Crushing" on vid game characters seems to be a post-FF-VII thing, which was not my jam.

But Fanny Thundermar … she does make me think twice about that from time to time even if I don’t have an arse like an anvil.

What game has the best music?

Descent / Descent 2.  Can’t beat that with a stick.  I was le disappoint with Descent 3 for not carrying forward the tradition.

Most memorable moment in a game:

Most of the games I play have no real dramatic moments in them.  Sepiroth doesn’t reveal he’s Luke’s father as you take over his company in RRT.

But there’s the time my guild downed the final boss while he was still relevant. Or the Wrathgate event (which actually crashed my computer the first time). Or that time that (SPOILERS) Yoshimo turned coat in the big bad’s lair (didn’t see that one coming).

Scariest moment in a game:

Eye of the Beholder on the Amiga … the sounds of lurking monsters, just around the corner or on the other side of that wall? The Amiga team for this game did an outstanding job of making the ambient sound dial up the creep factor.

Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

I have no heart.  For otherwise I would care about video game characters. Baldur’s Gate II tried real hard for me to care about the wingless elf’s plight, but she just came across as whiney and clingy and resentful.  Note to dialog writers (and this is true especially of Blizzard’s): show, don’t tell.

Well, there’s Socks3.

What are your favorite websites/blogs about games?

I have a giant list.  Perhaps you have seen it in the sidebar.  I am somewhat voracious.

What’s the last game you finished?

The kind of games I generally play don’t have "finishes". But if I look back far enough … Descent 3. I think that’s the last story-driven game I purchased that I actually played all the way through. Maybe Riven on the PS2, but I don’t think I actually finished it. Wasn’t interesting enough for me to remember, if I did.   Homeworld 2, possibly, though I might have stopped playing because of the interface.  But I did finish Homeworld. Was that more recent than D3?

What future releases are you most excited about?

Elite: Dangerous.  Between this and Star Citizen, I have hopes of finding a space trader game that isn’t Eve.  If Braben can find the sweet spot between Frontier and Eve, that would be great.

Do you identify as a gamer?

Sure. Yeah.

Why do you play video games?

Not because I feel obligated.  I play for fun.  And the daystar burns, so outside is not an option.

Is that a cop-out?  Am I supposed to write something deep and interesting here?  If so, I fail, for it’s nothing more than that. It’s recreation. Nothing more than that.


  1. A computer platform from the days of the Platform Wars. “Platform” used to mean something slightly more profound than “AMD or Intel”. []
  2. Anyone else think it’s funny that both my favorite and least favorite games come from the same guy? []
  3. Socks! Nooooooooooooooo!!! []

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Our weekend routine generally involves each of the 80s running the daily random, and, since three of them are DPS, a lot of fishing or gathering. Since fish leads to fish feasts and herbs lead to glyphs and other stuff, it’s a win all around.

Usually our experience is pretty good. Oh, there’s hurry hurry stuff going on, and occasional oopsies, but generally it’s been a positive experience. Between the four of us, we’ve had three or four failpugs so far.

And yet, yesterday, I deliberately dropped out of a pug before it started. Oculus, you say? Nope. I’m down with Oculus. No, I dropped from Heroic Halls of Reflection.

The reasoning behind this is difficult to explain, but suffice it to say that generally speaking it’s a very frustrating experience for ranged DPS. The most difficult aspect is reaching agreement on targeting priorities when nobody is willing to speak.  Inevitably we fail to focus fire properly, the healer goes down, and it’s all over until we do the monochrome marathon, if we don’t have one or more quit as well.

So, Flora, Illume, and myself just won’t do it with strangers. Friends, guildies, sure. Pugs, no.

The ironic part of this is that Jasra doesn’t mind healing it at all. It’s challenging, yes, but if she gets killed by mobs, nobody’s going to claim she was at fault. Dying’s part of the game.

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