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Archive for May, 2010

To all the friends, allies and comrades I’ve had over the years.

You guys rock. We’ve had some fun times together. We’ve had some fun times apart. Sometimes we disagreed. Sometimes we laughed at noobs. Sometimes we fought tooth and nail for something we believed in. Sometimes we fought ignorance. Sometimes we lost.

Through it all, I was there. You were there. And we’ve had a fucking blast, haven’t we?

To all the enemies and adversaries I’ve made over the years.

LOL U MAD BRO?

Seriously though.

There really isn’t much to say.

I haven’t given up in the face of stress. What stress?

The trolls haven’t gotten to me. Trolls? I used to be one of those, and far better than the crap that constitutes trolling these days. For example, the only way I can actually use “LOL U MAD BRO” without punching myself in the balls is to use it ironically post-ironic.

There is no reason, no point of sudden change or sudden decision making, no pressure, no focal point.

This is simply where Critical QQ ends.

I’ve been blogging since October 2007.

The end of Critical QQ does not mark the end of blogging.

In the next couple weeks, there will be a new blog, a new domain name of some sort. The focus will be completely different though, revolving pretty much entirely around my efforts at fiction. If you’re a fan of my fanfic writings, then the new blog will be for you. Otherwise, this is where we part ways.

I say second last post because, obviously, a new post will go up announcing the new blog at some point.

This site will not be tampered with, it will not be deleted by my hand. It will remain here, a testament, intact, marking an era that has since passed on.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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And Now for the Punchline

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Wild Speculation: Sylvanus

See, here’s the thing. Sylvanus is a rather clever woman, overall.

So I ask you this: how did she miss something as huge as the betrayal of a huge number of apothecaries that, ostensibly, worked for her directly? How did she miss an entire plot designed to oust or kill her? How did she miss her own right hand demon thing plotting to take over her position in order to carry out the will of the Burning Legion?

I propose that she didn’t miss any of that.

I propose that she was very well aware of all of it.

I propose that she planned all of it.

Consider first the direct consequences of the Undercity Battle.

Let’s say Sylvanus was in charge of the weaponized plague used at the Wrathgate from the start. Let’s say all those “rogue” apothecaries were working for her all along.

What’s the easiest way to prevent all those people from ever telling their story? Why, brand them traitors and kill them all of course.

What’s the easiest way to do that without casting any suspicion on yourself? Why, get someone else to brand them all traitors, and then get someone else to kill them all for you.

Bonus points: what is the best way to test how a given fortification would hold up in a siege?

The answer is, of course, to lay siege to it.

Sylvanus got to experience both what an internal infiltration and an external invasion would look like. Not a small scale, war games invasion either, but huge, full fledged armies battling it out. And she got to see all of that first hand.

Meaning, of course, she can now make modifications and adjustments to the city, having experienced first hand the city’s strengths and weaknesses against multiple forms of invasion.

Consider second that Sylvanus, like any good leader, looks beyond her own personal vendettas. Her primary stated goal is, of course, to see the end of the Lich King.

Explain, then, the massive, imperialistic expansions of the Forsaken these past few years if their only goal is to revengeance the Lich King. Sylvanus knows that the Lich King won’t last forever, that someday he will be extinguished, and then… what? What then?

Sylvanus is in a similar position as the scourge in my last wild speculation post.

Nobody likes the undead. Their enemies misunderstand them and will kill them on sight. Their allies are mistrusting, fair weather friends at absolute best. What happens when the proverbial excrement hits the proverbial fan? For the forsaken, it means they’ll be in a hostile world, surrounded by enemies with no friends.

Solution? Exactly the same thing as the Scourge – make yourself appear to be less of a threat than you really are.

Enter the Battle for the Undercity, stage left.

Sylvanus lost her city, “nearly died”, and then was in such a weak position she couldn’t take back what was hers on her own. She had to go to Orgrimmar and ask, nay, beg for help.

Do you see how incredibly weak that makes her look? Especially to the likes of Garrosh.

By allowing the Undercity to fall, Sylvanus simultaneously places more mistrust on her own people and makes them appear to be a significantly weaker friend/foe.

The reason why more mistrust is good for the forsaken is because it forces the horde to keep a much closer eye on them. All the abomination guards are gone from the Undercity, and replaced with orcs.

Obviously a good move on the part of the greater horde. Placing their own troops in the undercity rather than letting them guard themselves means the greater horde can keep much tighter control over the actions of the forsaken.

Unless, of course, that’s exactly what Sylvanus wants them to think they’re doing.

First major advantage, by allowing the horde to think they have greater control over the situation, they naturally become far less suspicious. If strange things were going on, the guards are right there and would have seen it, right?

Right, of course.

The relative threat level of the forsaken is simply lower. With legions of orc troops in the undercity, the greater horde can rest easy that the Undercity is firmly controlled.

Essentially, Sylvanus has proven to the greater horde that the forsaken aren’t a substantial military threat anymore. This is an unimaginably huge advantage.

It’s gone now, but there was a screenshot showing the forsaken invasion of London (or whatever that werewolf place is called). It showed the forsaken fleet and… the horde gunship?

Again, major win for the forsaken. The forsaken get to keep right on expanding their empire with their mighty military, but the rest of the horde is blinded to it. And lending their military to the forsaken to directly assist them to boot.

Classic strategy, really. The greater horde thinks they’re in control, never realizing just how thoroughly they’re being used, the entire time playing directly into the best interests of the forsaken.

GG, Sylvanus, GG.

/tinfoil hat

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Yeah, uh. This was supposed be a 3 parter, but part two ended up getting trimmed too small to warrant an entire post. So part three and two were combined, though there is a scene change partway through this one.

————======————

Arkenheart breathed a sigh of relief. Never before in her life had she ever done something as difficult as her brief interview with that damned Knight-Lord “I’m better than you at everything waaaaah” Bloodvalor. It had taken all her willpower and all the patience her mother had instilled in her not to punch that smug bastard right in his damned face.

She quite liked the orc, though. He seemed nice. She had used up all six orcish words she knew in speaking with him, but at least the hours practicing the orcish salute had come in handy.

Poor Bloodvalor, he would never find any information about her. Mother had taught her well about the ways and wiles of politicians like Bloodvalor, and she had called in a few favors (well, all of them, technically) in order to erase any and all information, official and blackmarket, about herself. Bloodvalor would find absolutely no information about her, no matter how thoroughly or deeply he searched. Not a birth date, birth place, nothing.

Help yourself to a weapon, he had said.

This was a test, she was sure of it. Not quite what her father told her was standard procedure for Blood Knight recruitment, but then again her father had joined the order many, many years before the Scourge arrived.

She quickly glanced around, but she didn’t see any weapons. Well… the two blood knights were armed… surely he didn’t mean… meh. She saw at least one priest on the way here.

She swiftly strode up to where the zombie and two blood knights stood. One of them looked extremely familiar. She must have seen him around before. She didn’t exactly know anybody too well these days. Maybe she’d slept with him a few times? Ah well.

She stole his sword.

The knight, caught completely off-guard, stuttered out “Wh-HEY!” and tried to grab her. Her left fist met his chin less than a second after she had taken his blade, the loud crack of his jaw breaking painful to even listen to. The second blood knight had just managed to grab the hilt of his own sword when Arkenheart struck his head, hard, with the flat part of her own stolen sword. He, too, dropped like so much unconscious stone.

Leaving her alone next to the now completely free enraged ghoul.

She expertly dodged its clumsy attack, kicked its right leg, easily snapping the necrotic limb in half.

Holy energy flowed through her, and bringing the now blazing blade crashing down on the ghoul’s head, she impaled it to the floor. The body of the zombie twitched once and lay still, holy fire quietly flickering along the edges of the sword.

Not even four seconds had passed since she had disarmed the first blood knight.

She turned to his royal stupidness Bloodvalor. “Well? How was that?”

Krukk answered first, in broken Thalassian. “You am be best knight of blood ever!”

For his part, Bloodvalor seethed with rage and merely pointed to the weapon’s rack that stood a few feet away from Arkenheart’s position.

She felt blood rush to her cheeks.

“Oh.” was all she could offer in her own defense.

It was then the famed Guardians of Silvermoon finally reached her position, their arrival announced by the resounding crack of shield against skull, and Arkenheart Dawnseeker collapsed, unconscious.

Arkenheart returned to the world of the conscious in bits and pieces.

The first thing she noticed was that her head hurt. Really hurt, like every hangover of the past five years had hit her all at once.

The second thing she noticed was that it was really hard to say “Owww”. Her brain fumbled with this little piece of information before deciding that she was gagged. Which would explain the general sense that she was biting down on a horseshoe.

The third thing she noticed was that she wasn’t able to move her arms. She tried, but her efforts were met with an odd resistance and a clinking noise.

She struggled with this information for quite some time as well.

Eventually, she concluded that her head really, really hurt.

Alright Arkie, she thought, let’s make sense of this, yeah? Our head hurts, we’re gagged, and our arms are chained behind us. What happened?

The first conclusion she reached was that last night must have been an amazing party. This hangover was brutal, and being bound and gagged were classic hallmarks of an extremely good one-on-one after-party. Of course! He, a handsome elf with a penchant for tying up pretty girls, she, a pretty elf with a penchant for being tied up; one thing led to another, and here she was in the bedroom of said handsome elf. Poor guy was probably just as hung over as she was.

It wouldn’t exactly be the first time this had happened.

She risked opening her eyes.

Apparently this handsome elf kept a room that looked suspiciously like a single occupant prison cell complete with anti-magic seals.

The fourth thing she noticed was that she could remember everything.

This was no bedroom the morning after a night of glorious kink, this was a prison cell after a misguided afternoon of punching the son of Lor’Themar Theron IN THE FACE.

She had thought he had seemed familiar, but she stole his sword and broke his jaw anyway. Only now, in a prison cell, did she finally recognize him. The only son to the second in command of the entire blood elven race, and she had tried to kill him.

Again.

I mean, last time, they were just kids, and it was hardly her fault the spider was only playing dead, but still. Attempted murder usually didn’t go over well.

She would have wept in that cell if she wasn’t so mad at herself. Attacking a Blood Knight is bad enough, warranting the death penalty by itself, but attacking the son of the most powerful blood elf on Azeroth? Biting her tongue in half and choking to death on her own blood would be a merciful death compared to what was in store for her.

All that practice, all the training, the little private lessons here and there on how to not suck when swinging a sword, all that investment, gone in an instant because she couldn’t think about things before acting on them.

Panic had only just begun to set in when they came for her.

Four heavily armed and armored Spellbreakers, Knight-Lord Bloodvalor, Lord Solanar Bloodwrath, and… and Lor’themar’s son, seemingly none the worse for wear.

The Spellbreakers released her chains, forcing her to her feet and holding her there. She couldn’t have resisted if she tried, each one of them was more than a match for her.

Bloodvalor was absolutely livid, screaming and shouting and waving his arms about. She wasn’t really paying any attention to him, he was probably going to execute her any second now anyway. Bloodwrath looked mildly annoyed, and Lor’themar’s son looked… sheepish? She met his gaze, and he quickly turned away and blushed furiously. What the fel is going on here? Turning her attention to Bloodvalor, she finally bothered to listen to his ranting.

“..death! Death! Your life, forfeit immediately for such incredible insubordination! I cannot even begin to imagine the train of thought that would have led to such a rash decision! You realize the guards would have been perfectly within the law to simply kill you where you stood?! It was a mercy to arrest you to await execution!”

Bloodwrath cleared his throat, appearing for all the world as if what he was about to say was equivalent to touching rotten fruit.

“What the Knight-Lord is trying to say is, welcome to the Blood Knights, Recruit Arkenheart Dawnseeker.”

This is it, she thought, any second now they’re going to drag me off, lop my head off in frobwuuuuuuuuuuh?

Bloodwrath seemed pained. “Yes, I know, ridiculous isn’t it? Here I had gone to all the trouble of sharpening my sword so I could run you through, and now I’m going to have to dull it so I can hit you with it when you fail during basic training instead.”

She felt the gag being removed. Her tongue felt swollen, but she managed to squeeze out a faint “Buh… wha…”

Bloodvalor resumed shouting and flailing. “See?! She is an insipid, ungrateful useless waste of flesh! She is talentless, I tell you, talentless! A complete waste of time, we should simply execute her and-“

“Oh, would you please just be silent you arrogant moron!” Bloodwrath interrupted.

Bloodvalor turned to Arkenheart. “You have not heard the last of this, you frivolous apeling!” He stormed out of the room with one last “Bah!”

Bloodwrath sighed and gently rubbed his forhead. “Why oh why do I ever attempt to converse with that man? It is like trying to teach applied teleportation to a rabbit.”

He nodded to the Spellbreakers, and they immediately released her and left the room.

Turning to her once again, Bloodwrath said “Congratulations, little elf. By the authority vested in me by her holiness Lady Liadrin, I do hereby grant you the rank of Initiate in the Blood Knight Order.”

He produced a scroll, a pen, and a small dagger. “Sign here, and if you’d be so kind as to leave your blood mark here.”
Still not quite believing what was happening, Arkenheart quickly signed the scroll and piercing a fingertip with the dagger, left a single drop of blood next to her name.

“It is done, then. Let me be the first to say that this afternoon’s display of unmitigated bravado was by far the highlight of my year.” Bloodwrath smiled at her. “You show a great deal of promise, if an immense amount of ineptitude when it comes to not doing things that can get you killed. You will be sworn in tomorrow, I will inform you of the location and time. Theronidas, see her to her quarters and make sure she gets some food in her belly.”

And with that, Bloodwrath left the two of them alone.

Several seconds went by in awkward silence.

“So, uhm,” said Arkenheart, “Sorry about that whole… stealing your sword and breaking your jaw thing.”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t worry about it.” said Theronidas, “It was… nice. No! I mean not nice! It hurt a lot! But I mean… you were great, and you’re… you… well I mean you have a mean right hook… or, or left… I don’t remember which… anyway I got you this!” Squeezing his eyes shut, his face constructed entirely of blush by this point, he held out a handcrafted necklace to her.

It was a simple golden rope braid, with a tooth entwined in the center. A suspiciously elven looking tooth.

Arkenheart took the necklace, gently fingering the tooth. “Is… is this your tooth?”

He nodded.

“So… I punch you in the face, knock your tooth out, and you make it into a necklace for me?”

He nodded again.

She laughed. Oh what a strange universe this is. Not one minute ago she was preparing to be killed for assault, and now the very person she was to be executed for attacking was attempting to court her in the adorable fashion of a clueless virgin.

He was blushing so furiously. “Oh! Oh you don’t like it well that’s ok I’ll just take it back it was silly stupid idea anyway I mean who wants a tooth right it isn’t just not stupid it’s ok I’ll just go and-“

“Hey.” Arkenheart interrupted him, and gently placed her hand on his arm. “I like it. It’s pretty stupid, yeah, but it’s also very sweet. If you wanted to date or something, I’m game for that. Besides, if you don’t like me, you can always have me killed right?”

He laughed. “Hah, yeah, that’s true! I mean I could always just tell father I changed my mind, and…Oh! Oh no! No I didn’t mean- that wasn’t supposed to be- no I would never! That wasn’t meant to be a threat I just meant I mean you I could no never…” he trailed off into silence.

They stood there, possibly the most awkward situation either of them had ever been in.

Finally, Arkenheart whispered “Try plan b.”

“Right, right yes.” Theronidas cleared his throat, and extended his right arm. “Hi. I’m Theronidas. I find the way your hair cascades over your shoulders to be immensely attractive and you also have breasts which are attached to your body. I find that attractive too.” He stood there, hand extended, completely petrified, eyes squeezed shut.

Arkenheart took his hand and gently shook it. “Hello to you too, I’m Arkenheart, and the way you have arms connected to your torso is neat.”

“HAAAAAAH YES.” He responded, entirely too loud.

“You’re not very good at this, are you?”

“Is it obvious?”

“Painfully so.”

“Permission to go die in a corner somewhere?”

“Only if I can come too.”

“Nerp.”

“… You’ve never even held a girl’s hand before, have you.”

“…”

“Me and you? We have a lot of work to do.”

————======————

Ugh, combat. You know, I was always disappointed when combat made up such a small part of text growing up. All this build up, hundreds of pages spent building up to a huge battle, and then only two or three pages, maybe, would actually dwell on the battle. Then it was back to the heroic speeches.

Lord of the Rings comes to mind. Thousands of lives decided in two or three sentences. Gah, hated that.

Now, on the other end of the page, as it were, I see now why combat features so little.

Suffice to say, combat is a visual thing. Combat is extremely difficult to write, somewhat boring to write, and absolutely brain trauma inducingly dull to read.

I take back all the mean things I said as a boy, reading and writing combat is flat out pointless. Nothing wrong with some combat, but it does need to be tightly controlled. Very tightly controlled, perhaps more so than anything else.

I tried to emulate Arkenheart’s speech patterns in the writing for this section. She isn’t pompous, not even sort of, and speaks much more simplistic and uses more colloquial phrases and slang than, say, I do. For example, she would never say colloquial, she’d just say “Words are hard” and then probably punch you for using colloquial in a sentence.

This isn’t to say she’s not educated, her mother was very nearly a mage after all. Instead, she suffers from Buffy Speak, having been bored to tears by subjects such as english and history. Ask her about the merits of cobalt or saronite for purposes of explosive projectiles, however, and she could talk your ears off for hours on end.

Yes, Arkenheart is the Wrench Wench. Two links to tvtropes in as many paragraphs. Guys! Try not to get too lost in there, mk?

Speaking of things that are difficult to write, awkward romantic dialogue. That is pretty much the most difficult thing to write ever. I mean, it is awkward to write, which is the damn point, but it also needs to still be readable (and thus, entertaining), so it still needs to be clear, and and and aaaaagh.

I never thought I’d say this, but George Lucas deserves some props for writing all that terrible romantic dialogue. That stuff is hard to do!

The character of Theronidas Theron (yes, that is his name, and yes, he is the son of Lor’themar Theron) is of course totally made up. He’s normally nowhere near this assertive, but you see…

LORE

Way I see it, things that work by magic are not free of various side effects. In this case, I’m talking about healing magic. How does it work? Why does it work? What, precisely, does it do?

Obviously it is magic, but what it is doing is healing wounds that would ordinarily take days, weeks, months to even heal, and healing that near instantly. An injection of healing magic makes you high, releasing various endorphins and other feel good chemicals that would ordinarily accompany. It doesn’t do this directly, mind you, but indirectly. The injury itself fires the anti-pain drugs, and when the injury is removed, the rush of endorphins from that hits too.

So you’ve got a double dose of “feels good, man” rocking through your arteries. This effect is greatly amplified in blood elves, due to their inherent addiction and reliance on magic.

You ever see holy paladins standing around spamming heals on themselves? Those guys aren’t seeing how long their mana pool can last or doing any testing whatsoever, those guys are getting stoned out of their minds.

In this story, Theronidas is simply drugged up from being punched in the face and then having his broken jaw repaired inside of a single minute.

That, and he’s still pretty much cripplingly nervous too. Zero experience with women does not confidence make.

Arkenheart, of course, is the polar opposite. Confident, ridiculously assertive and aggressive, and well deserving of the title “town bicycle”. She’s had a lot of sex with a lot of dudes, is what I’m trying to say here. And maybe she likes to be a little… fettered when that sex is taking place.

Bondage is so common it hardly even counts as a kink anymore. Stop being so squeamish guys. And if you are into that sort of thing, then sorry for the accidental smut?

You can’t actually tell to well from here, but Bloodwrath and Bloodvalor are actually pretty good friends. They argue and fight alot, verbally sparring and all that, but really the guys are great fellows. If you want to make a buddy cop movie about these two, feel free.

One last LORE NOTE: assault against a Blood Knight is considered about as bad as killing a police officer in the real world. Except in Silvermoon, it’s generally punished by death, with few exceptions. Arkenheart’s case being one of them, but fortunately she seems to have impressed somebody with a certain level of clout with a certain extremely high ranking blood elf.

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You may remember my previously published Arkenheart story. It pains me to link to my earlier, significantly shittier work, but there it is.

Writing fiction is, itself, rather easy. The problem is, I am the writer. I created this content. It is an intrinsic part of me. It is something I love, something I care for, something I cherish in the heart of hearts. I am my biggest fan. The problem is, how the hell do I manage to transfer that slavish love to the audience? Rereading my current written works is a joy. I love myself.

Reading my old work is like meeting an old ex again (or so I’m told). It is a strange, bitter reunion.

I’ll probably rewrite Birth of a Retribution Paladin at some point. A couple retcons are necessary.

If you don’t wish to read my old story, here’s the backstory necessary to “enjoy” the following fanfic, complete with retcons:

  • Silvermoon is a lot like Sin City, in terms of rampant sex, violence and drug use. Naturally the government puts on a facade of civility. Truth is, the entire blood elf society went to hell overnight. Silvermoon took (is taking?) years to recover from that.
  • Arkenheart is my paladin, these stories are based on HER life. She had a father, who died defending Silvermoon from the Scourge. She had a sister, who disappeared one night at a party. Turns out she was drugged, kidnapped and shipped off somewhere to be a drug addled whore.
  • There was some confusion last time. Arkenheart is a girl. Though she is open to experimentation.
  • Arkenheart tracked down the guy who performed the kidnapping, and murdered him in a back alley.
  • It was then Arkenheart decided to join the Blood Knights, in an effort to be a little better at preventing such tragedies.
  • Arkenheart did not stage a rescue. First off, it was logistically impossible, and technically at this stage in her life her only combat skills come from prepubescent “training” from her father. This amounts to little more than one on one dueling and various killing blows. She isn’t Liam Neeson; trying to chase such kidnappers is pretty much impossible for her.
  • The fact that she didn’t stage a rescue despite the above does haunt her (she considers herself a failure because of it), eventually fueling a massive spree of vengeance some time down the road. Bear in mind Arkenheart, age wise, is in her twenties. How many drug and sex addicts do you know that make morally good decisions in their twenties?

On with the story then. My “writer’s commentary” follows. Leave any comments you desire. Bear in mind I am trying to get better at writing, open and biting criticism will hurt my feelings but I’ll get over it. I promise.

————======————

Knight-Lord Bloodvalor sat, a scattered array of papers and parchments gazing at him from the heavily worn desk he sat behind.

Like most recruitment days, today had been one trial of patience after another.

One would think there would be a limit to the number of insipid morons allowed in a single city, but sadly there were no laws against being an idiot. Perhaps some day, on a day much like today, Bloodvalor would get the chance to introduce such a rule. And oh how the stupid would wail as he laughed at their plight.

The massive orc Krukk stood next to him. An old, experienced warrior from the Warsong orc clan, he shifted his shoulders slightly, signaling another potential recruit approaching his desk.

Oh joy of joys.

“I’m here to join the Blood Knights.”

Hm, thought Knight-Lord Bloodvalor. He gave not even the slightest hint he had heard the speaker.

A female voice, obviously quite young, definitely under a century, probably under even fifty. More than likely an impertinent child trying to rebel against her parents.

Oh look at me father, I’m a paladin now, you can’t make me clean my room anymore.

Bloodvalor remembered a time when the elven youth attended advanced alchemy classes, discussed cutting edge mathematics or spent hours honing their respective weapon skills. Now they collected posters of Sig Nicious and held wild, drunken parties every week. No discipline whatsoever. Positively revolting.

Then again, runaways were usually meek or pretentious, sometimes a disgusting combination of the two. This voice held neither quality. There was definitely something… different. There was nervousness, yes, but he was a Knight-Lord, and a powerful one at that, in every definition of the word. The number of people who spoke to him without being nervous numbered in the dozens.

Previously numbered in the dozens, he mentally amended. Every member of the greater Horde he had met hadn’t so much as averted their gaze in his presence. Krukk, looming over him as he had been doing all day, had attempted to smell his hair when they first met.

“Real warriors don’t smell like bananas.” Krukk had sneered.

The nerve! The conditioner was far more complex and subtle than simply bananas. The intricacies of proper hair care was utterly lost on every non-elf, it seemed.

Krukk did have one use, however. He was positively excellent at spotting solid warriors. Not trained warriors, mind you, anyone can spot a trained warrior. Krukk was adept at spotting potential. The old orc warrior could take one look at a blood elf and tell immediately if the elf would whimper and cry in the face of death, or fight and laugh.

Krukk grunted. This meant an example of the latter had been found.

Bloodvalor concurred, though it pained him to agree with the orc about anything.

Most idiots who tried to join the Blood Knights stammered, hesitated, shuffled their feet. Some started with “H-hello… uhm…”, some asked meekly “Is… is this where the blood knights recruit?” No, the huge sign that said “Blood Knight Recruitment Today!” was advertising a muffin sale.

Not this girl. This elf had simply stated that she was here to join the Blood Knights. No hesitation. Not one ounce of self doubt.

It wasn’t even phrased as a question, she said it as if she was simply stating fact.

He let thirty seconds go by before he deigned to look at the scrawny elf standing before his desk. Not once did she even twitch. Most potential recruits would cough or repeat their question, as if he was somehow deaf. Yes, being in the presence of orcs did tend to damage one’s hearing, but how could they possibly possess the gall to think he had missed them standing right in front of him?

This was the first lesson of being a Blood Knight.

You are nothing.

You do not matter.

You are an insignificant speck.

You do not get to demand the attention of a Knight-Lord, you do not even deserve one second of a superior’s time.

This one seemed to have already learned this lesson.

He slowly shifted his gaze, letting his eyes slowly drift up her youthful form. Standard procedure to leer at all possible female recruits, just to see how they’d react. This one didn’t react at all. Excellent.

It would seem he was correct about her age. Extremely young, she hadn’t even filled out completely yet. Possibly not even thirty! And yet, here she stood with more discipline and self control than anyone else he had seen all day. Her eyes were even cast respectfully to his left side! Incredible!

“Look at me.” He finally spoke.

Her eyes flicked to his immediately.

“Tell me, girl. Was your father a paladin?”

“Yeah.” A hint of pride and sadness. So he’s dead then. Bloodvalor nearly winced at the use of ‘yeah’, however. What an uncouth word.

“And your mother was a priest.”

Her eyes flickered with surprise. “Yeah.” That same hint of sadness.

So she’s an orphan. That explains her motivation.

“I suppose your motivation in coming here today is one of vengeance, yes?”

“Yeah.”

Not even an attempt to lie, nor shame in admitting it either.

Outwardly he kept his expression of barely concealed derision, but inside, Bloodvalor was smiling for the first time all day.

Switching to the orcish tongue, he said “What say you Krukk? Does the whelpling have what it takes?”

Krukk grunted. “She is fearless. A predator. The rigors of war will merely hone her hunger.”

“Thank you, sir orc.” the young girl said in fluent orcish.

Krukk let out a short bark of laughter.

Bloodvalor was utterly flabbergasted. His face, of course, gave away nothing, even as his brain scrambled to find a foothold on a situation that had left his control faster than a goblin fleeing with a sack of gold.

“It seems you are full of surprises, little elf.” Krukk rumbled out. “Throm-ka! I am Krukk!”

“Throm-ka, Krukk!” said the elf, executing a perfect orcish salute.

Bloodvalor saw his chance to regain control of the situation, and he seized it with both hands.

“It would seem pertinent,” he interrupted, in Thalassian, “to know what your name is. Despite being an orphan, I assume you do have a name of some sort?”

“Yes, sir Knight-Lord, I do. Arkenheart Dawnseeker.”

Bloodvalor raised an eyebrow. Outwardly, it was an expression of incredulity, but inside, he found that he was so far out of control of this situation, he didn’t even know what the situation was anymore. She hadn’t even flinched at the accusation of being an orphan. And as if that was not bad enough…

Dawnseeker? As in, THE Dawnseeker? The last wielder of Quel’Delar?

Thalorien did have two daughters, both of which would be roughly this Arkenheart’s age.

Asking directly, of course, would be socially ruinous. He would make quiet inquiries later. If this Arkenheart (what an abhorrent name, fusing the human tongue and… was that dwarvish?) truly was the daughter of Thalorien, the possibilities were endless! Think of the status that would come from training the daughter of the last wielder of Quel’Delar!

He snapped his fingers, a quick command.

Two Blood Knights stepped forward, holding a chained scourge ghoul between them. It twitched and growled, trying to claw something despite the magical chains that rendered movement impossible.

Bloodvalor gestured at the zombie.

“Help yourself to a weapon, let’s see how you fare against the scourge.”

She was, of course unarmed. No one thought to bring a weapon to recruitment day. This was test number two. Some simply burned the zombie down with holy magics. Some helped themselves to a weapon on the conveniently located weapons rack not twenty feet away. Some simply destroyed the zombie with their bare hands. Some managed to die to the vicious thing.

In all cases, recruits took a few minutes to either succeed or fail.

Time Bloodvalor desperately needed to come up with a plan.

————======————

If you’re confused by some of Bloodvalor’s reference lines, that is ok. Silvermoon is not a nice place to be. It is a place rife with social politics, continuous posturing and the whole idea of appearance of various social norms is paramount. If you’re at all familiar with the work of Stendhal, the political and social framework of Silvermoon is supposed to be evocative of 1820s/30s france, as best portrayed in the Red and the Black, or however you wish to refer to it.

For those unfamiliar with this particular work of fiction, it’s pretty much this: everything is political, even romance, appearance is completely paramount, and there is no higher aim or goal than your own social status relative to your fellows.

Imagine a world where absolutely nothing mattered but your social status. Now imagine that social status could be irreparably ruined if you drank tea the wrong way or said “hello” wrong to your own mother. That is the social world of Silvermoon after the Scourge invasion.

I have obviously taken a fair number of artistic freedom in my portrayal of Silvermoon. Obviously little of this is canon. Bloodvalor does exist in-game, but he has not developed anything. Thus his entire character is rendered here.

The revelations that Arkenheart is possibly Thalorien’s daughter, and can speak and understand orcish, present potentially disastrous situations for Bloodvalor to handle. Handle it right, he gains much prestige and respect. Handle it wrong, he faces social ruin.

I also have no idea how the Blood Knights actually do recruit for their order, or really any details at all about how the order works, nor have I been particularly successful in finding any official information on the subject.

So most of it is completely made up.

And yes, Arkenheart is indeed the daughter of Thalorien Dawnseeker. Rabble rabble!

To me, this fits. Arkenheart currently wields Quel’Delar herself, it had already been established that her father died defending against the Scourge in her backstory… it all fell together extremely nicely.

It also neatly allows for some extremely personal and intimate moments when full-grown and experienced daughter gets a chance to speak to father one last time before he dies.

Plus there’s no official information that contradicts any of my claims. :D

More random trivia:

There are several ranks in the Blood Knight Order.

Initiate, the rank given to brand new, in training Blood Knights. (In-game, if you play a blood elf paladin, you were considered an Initiate upon achieving level 12 and completing some of those class quest thingies.)

Adept, a step up from Initiate, but still considered a knight in training. In-game this coincides with the sword quest and leaning how to summon your non-epic mount.

Knight, a full member of the Blood Knight order. Both in-game and in my fanfic lore, you become a Knight when you receive the reins to your Charger, signifying becoming an independent warrior.

Master, an honored, accomplished member of the Blood Knight Order. In-game this is the level 60 quest to gain the Charger, and is symolized by receiving the Blood Knight Tabard.

There are a few other ranks. Of course, Matriarch, The Lady, whatever, refers to lady Liadrin, the commander in chief of the entire order.

There is also Champion and Knight-Lord,  neither of which are ever adequately explained anywhere.

So my lore says this: Champion is a title awarded for heroics. Essentially an additional title awarded to a Blood Knight of any rank who displayed immense courage, bravery, whatever blah blah, usually in war time.

Knight-Lord is an advanced rank of Knight, essentially filling in the gap between Knight and Master, except partially separate. Knight-Lord is a rank that can only be held by nobles. Commoners cannot become Knight-Lords. In addition, every single noble house of Silvermoon is required to have at least one Knight-Lord, regardless of their occupation.

If a noble house is very small, with only one surviving member, and that member is a grave digger, they are given the title Knight-Lord, and have full authority over Knights, Adepts and Initiates.

Knight-Lords are, however, subservient to knights of the Master rank, though Knight-Lords can be promoted to become Master Knight-Lords, and thus become the superior to regular Masters. Champion Master Knight-Lords command even more respect than that.

New noble houses can be created, old ones can be destroyed, but that’s enough elven politics for now.

As to the fic itself.

The temptation to info dump was extremely strong. The original version actually started with a description of the weather. How horrible is that?!

I think it’s edited okay now, much faster and snappier to read overall. I hope.

Krukk, by the way, actually is an in-game NPC. He’s the battlemaster for Warsong Gulch in Silvermoon. There is absolutely no information for him, so again, character completely made up.

I wasn’t sure how much humor to put in here. I tried to put in just enough to not be boring, yet not so much that the narrative vanished in a sea of giggles. I have no idea if I succeeded. I mean, some stuff, like a highly pompous postering ass like Bloodvalor, combined with something as simple and direct as Krukk is a ripe field for comedy. If anyone wants to make a buddy cop movie of these two, go right ahead.

Obligatory goblin bashing.

Obligatory L70ETC reference. It’s interesting to me that this band is fully acknowledged in-game. It only makes sense that they’d have merchandise, and of course the handsome elf Sig Nicious would feature prominently in the bedrooms of teenage elf girls.

Part two comes tomorrow!

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Sick Muse

Again with the post title snagged from whatever was playing in winamp.

ON BIRTHDAY WISHES

Happy (belated) Birthday Krizzlybear!

I recently realized that last time I raided frost, my DPS was somewhat lower than I expected because I fucking fail at frost mage so very hard.

See, you know how the Brain Freeze lets you fire an instant cast Frostfire Bolt?

Yeah.

Uh.

Woops.

I have no birthday present to offer you, krizzly, just know that when I realized my fail, I facepalmed so hard I created a sonic boom, I thought of you.

Wait… what. No, that came out wrong.

Uhhh….

ON LOBOTOMIZED BLOGGERS

Hoo boy.

A disclaimer saying “this is a joke guys come on what the hell people” that takes multiple paragraphs to say in an effort not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the wow.com audience.

That is exactly why I like being a little blog with a little audience. No disclaimers here, oh no kind sirs and madams! I will call you my bitches, and I will mean it, and you will laugh, and then you will realize it was a Daikatana reference, and then you will cry. WELCOME TO CQQ.

And here I do quote what I would have done, had I been the mage columnist at wow.com and had to handle the wow.com readership:

To everyone who got so indignant after the warlockian Arcane Brilliance was posted, crowing over and over about how April Fools was last week and this is a news site, that you come here for news, not to be tricked, and you will now go elsewhere for your news: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Oh what? What was that? I insulted your sensibilities? Was your tiny delicate world upset by a tiny deviation in your schedule? Are you so fundamentally retarded that you actually consider wow.com a premier news site? (There goes my chance to ever write there, lol.) How many times were you dropped on your head as a child that such blatant sarcasm actually tricked you? How pathetic can you possibly be to think “/unsubscribe” is actually a threat to anyone?

OH NOES I HURT YOUR FEELINGS MY BAD HERE’S A LOLLIPOP.

wait what I didn't mean it that way oh god what is this my name isn't even henry WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR MOUTH

On a related note, why do warlocks complain so much about hunters? Warlocks screw hunters over so hard it’s barely even funny. Of course, hunters screw over mages so hard that maybe warlocks are just jealous?

Why don’t we all play nice and go dominate us some paladins, eh? Eh? Fine, fuck you guys too. Never liked you trigger happy gunmongers and fear spamming douchemonkeys anyway.

I tried to be nice, and look what it got me. Scatter trapped deathcoil feared can’t do that while silenced. FFFFFFF.

ON THAT ROBERT DOWNEY JR MOVIE WHERE EVERYONE PRETENDS HE’S SHERLOCK HOLMES FOR SOME REASON

I did like the movie. It was extremely faithful to the actual, original, non-white-washed-by-society Sherlock Holmes.

I never did understand why Holmes was ever made out to be some hoity toity lawful good uber hero. The dude gets so high he has magic adventures with watson and his magical mayonnaise unicorn when he gets bored. Holmes is the original gritty detective! He’d be right at home in Sin City!

But, as there is always a but.

Downey did not, to me, come across as Holmes. Everyone else was brilliant (especially Judge Law, that is his name right?), but… Downey did not make a good Holmes. I wasn’t watching Holmes and Watson shimmy about solving crime, I was watching Robert Downey Jr and Watson shimmy about solving crime.

I can’t really describe it beyond that. Downey just never convinced me that he was something other than Downey. His fault? Director’s fault? My fault? Don’t know, but hell that was hard to get past.

ON ROGER EBERT

“Vidja games ain’t bein’ art!”

Yeah, yeah, shut up ya old coot.

ON WOLVAR ORPHAN

I got this on the mage last year, and was thoroughly “meh” towards it. Busted it out a few times in Ulduar, but nowadays if I have a pet out it’s lil KT. Even after all this time, the laugh. The laugh!

Got it on the paladin this year. Now, somehow, this pet is completely different. Completely. It is exactly the same as it was when I did the quest on the mage a year ago, but somehow… somehow the paladin loves the little guy.

I gave him hugs (violent ones, I am a ret paladin you know), flew around on a dragon, pointed and laughed at the humans in Dalaran, mocked walrusmen… me and likkle Kekek had an absolute blast.

And when the quest was over… I dunno, apparently I had a stroke. I was genuinely sad that my adventures with little Kekek as at an end.

Apparently I forgot that he mailed himself to me not ten seconds later. I promptly treated him to a steak dinner.

Then I logged off and played my shaman for a while, and could not for the life of me remember why the hell I cared so much about some stupid non-combat pet.

Until I logged back into the paladin, summoned the thing, and my heart absolutely melted all over again and I found myself gibbering like a fool, running around in Thunder Bluff, likkle Kekek on my back, and we bustled around making cow tipping jokes.

Is… is this what RP is like? I feel like I am going mad.

And yes, I am avoiding battlegrounds completely due to orphan week.

I know, I know, everyone and their orphan are blithering about orphan week (AGAIN), but look. I PvP because it actually takes a reasonable amount of skill to do well at it. We can argue all we want about relative BG skill levels, but suffice to say playing a BG well takes significantly more effort on my part than questing, running dungeons or raiding. Hence my interest.

I have no interest in tearing into battlegrounds and destroying all the dazed and confused people just trying to get an achievement done. I’d go spend some time with a test dummy in Orgrimmar if all I wanted to do was beat on pinatas for a while.

Let’s be honest here. Quite a few of those trying to do this achievement are little more than pinatas. These are people who would otherwise never venture into a battleground. More often than not, they don’t even fight back. They just stand there, waiting for the inevitable end.

It’s worse when they do fight back. My heart is filled with pity. Just… what are you doing. It is absolutely sad to watch. Like watching some poor child whose mother drank herself to liver poisoning during each trimester; watching this child fail at the most basic of tasks; watching them struggle to even turn themselves around.

And I do quote myself, written May 5th, 2009:

What I mind is all these poor sods queueing up for battlegrounds that haven’t the foggiest idea how to PvP, whether it’s on the tactical or strategical level.

A mage sporting naxx-25 gear with some Ulduar stuff sporting a server first kill of Sartharion and a raiding arcane spec is an impressive sight, no doubt.

But on the PvP front? He becomes nothing more than a hunk of meat hurled at the jaws of a hungry dog. Honestly, with only 15k health and zero resilience, I’m watching him only to see how fast he can die.

Read the post in its entirety here. Still relevant today, despite being a year old. Fancy that.

It breaks my heart to watch. Honorable kill my ass, there is nothing honorable in defeating an unarmed cardboard box in a duel.

This year, I refuse to participate.

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I failed to come up with a clever or relevant post title so I just slapped whatever song was currently playing on winamp in there. Now you know.

There aren’t a lot of cataclysm changes out yet, so there isn’t much to discuss there. We have some talent changes, and a whole bunch of zone things.

I do have to say, I love goblins. Flat out. Best addition to the horde ever. What other race would build a defensive cannon so large it can be seen from orbit? And just look at their sense of style! Banana wallpaper! Golf courses! Pineapple bedsheets!

What do the worgen have to compete with that, huh?

Oh right… top hats.

Those top hats better be available somehow horde side. I desperately require one, so that I may log off in a tux and top hat and look bloody spectacular on the armory. I suppose I could always throw on my haliscan set again. I did, after all, expend some effort for that sombrero back in the day. Did it solo and everything.

(Conspiracy hat mode)

What if, just what if, the Warcraft and Starcraft universes are actually the exact same universe?

Think about it.

It struck me a few weeks back that the draenei and protoss look almost exactly the same. Their body structures are nearly identical. They both have the exact same legs (protoss sans hooves), they both have glowing eyes, and their spines are near identical.

The protoss look like a somewhat stereotypical advanced space race looks like. Spindly limbs, thin body, that just somehow manages to look exactly like what the draenei would look like in a few million years, provided evolution functions in the warcraft/starcraft universe.

(It probably does, though we have no real evidence for it in either case. The Zerg evolve intentionally, and that hardly counts. Both protoss and zerg races were created. Everything in WoW was essentially created as is. Trolls seem to be the only thing that ever actually bothers to adapt to their surroundings. Everything else just says “fuck it, I’m a tiger, I don’t need to evolve” and remains unchanged.)

Consider also that all draenei can heal. They have a deep affinity for the light, and thus even the lowliest of sword grunts with no skills whatsoever can still wield holy magic. On the protoss side, all protoss have a deep affinity for various psionic abilities, where even their lowliest of sword grunts can still summon lethal blades from nothing.

Consider this picture of the Halls of Origination. Now compare that to this picture of the protoss central structure, the nexus.

You could say they look similar due to Blizzard pulling from Egyptian architecture in both cases. I say, there is no such thing as Egypt in-universe for either the warcraft or starcraft universes. So where did the common architecture come from?

Well? Who created most of the stuff on Azeroth? Who built the Halls of Origination? Who went in and created life, leaving behind guardians, elevating the dragons from mindless beasts to powerful, thinking creatures?

They’ve been called makers, creators, they are basically gods in the world of warcraft. The Titans. Effectively, they created Azeroth, birthing most, if not all, of the sentient life there.

Sound familiar? Was there, perhaps, an advanced race of mysterious beings in Starcraft that went about creating life? That created the protoss and the zerg? The Xel’Naga?

I posit that the Titans and Xel’Naga are one and the same.

Consider also the relative nature of the Burning Legion and the Zerg Swarm. Or, rather, the complete and total absence of any difference between the two.

Both the Legion and Swarm are hell bent on conquering everything.

Both are diametrically opposed to the draenei/protoss.

Both, lorewise, are assimilators. The zerg were originally just tiny, sentient bugs. They assimilate the DNA of other races, twisting and evolving them to suit the greater will of the Swarm. Anything that benefits the swarm is incorporated, the rest is erased from reality.

The Legion spread across the universe, either annihilating or assimilating everything in their path. Sometimes they meet a race such as the orcs, and bring them into the fold of the Legion. Everything else is simply destroyed.

Each individual zerg has their will bound to their master, the Overmind. Each individual warrior of the legion has their will bound to their master, Sargeras. In both cases this can be broken.

Sargeras physically led the Legion for millenia, until his physical body was (possibly) destroyed, rendering him little more than a driving will  behind the Legion. Which is pretty much the definition of the Overmind.

Consider also that a cerebrate does not stay dead when killed. Unless slain by a Dark Templar, a cerebrate simply regenerates and reappears elsewhere.

*cough* MAL’GANIS *cough*

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After the Move

I am now moved into my new and shiny place. Perhaps a tad on the small side, but really, the only places I ever use in a home is my bedroom, the washroom, the kitchen and a table somewhere for the computer. I could probably live in a single room quite comfortably.

No internet for several days! No internet since… Saturday? Friday maybe? I can hardly remember. It feels like an eternity. A century cut off from the larger world.

I’m not addicted, I can quit whenever I want provided I can start again whenever I want. Which is usually about thirty seconds later.

My time without internet was actually rather confusing. Every five minutes…

  • I’ll go check up on some webco-DAMNIT
  • Twenty hours of straight Dragon Age. Ehh, maybe I’ll play some World of DAMNIT
  • Conversation about Hitler! Woo! And they’re arguing with me about facts! HA! I’ll fire up ye olde internets to cite my sour-DAMNIT
  • I wonder what Temerity Jane is DAMNIT
  • Erfworld hasn’t updated in a bit, maybe I should DAMNIT

EVERY. FIVE. MINUTES. It was simultaneously extremely frustrating and hilarious.

I tried going to a coffee shop to see if I could get any internets there.

YOU GUYS. This was a horrible mistake.

You know all the internet jokes about those coffee places with wifi? All the hipsters standing or sitting around, looking all aloof with their macbooks and so forth pretending to write an epic novel whilst sipping at their mocha coco banana derp derp coffee things?

TRUE.

ALL OF IT.

I don’t know why anyone thinks it’s possible to write anything at such a place. I even commented to the barista as such. Barista… that is the technical term, yes? I wanted to go with “coffee wench”, but that felt wrong.

Anyway, so I sez “How do any of these people expect to write anything of quality in here? The best one would be able to accomplish is pointless, disjointed blog posts about drivel.”

I ordered a hot chocolate, because I like hot chocolate. And they give you a spoon with which to consume the delightful whipped cream they put on top!

Anyway, so I sit down, bust out my own laptop (not even close to a mac) fire up wordpress and start typing.

The barista arrives several minutes later with my delightful hot chocolate, with a barely concealed smirk on her face, “so what are you typing then?”

I stared at the open wordpress page.

I replied, “A pointless, disjointed blog post about drivel.”

So I closed my laptop (the coffee wench’s laughter still haunting me), carefully placed it back in my bag, and busted out a Safeway flyer instead. Oh look! Cheese is on sale!

Now I have internet again, and I’m typing from the peace and quiet of my own little apartment. Well, not entirely. I mean one of my roomates is watching a chick flick over there, but that is fine as I possess headphones. They are large, comfortable, and noise canceling.

However I have been away from WoW for many days now and haven’t the faintest clue what is going on in this universe anymore.

I guess the closed Cataclysm beta is not far off? MMO-Champ is swamped in Garfield meme? Alpha news everywhere and very promising changes on the horizon?

Oh! I’m in the Starcraft 2 beta! It is rather fun!

The beta is but a small snapshot of the full game, but it is, however, a very clear indication of what the online play is going to be. Lessons are cruel, games can be decided firmly by the three minute mark. I was swiftly reminded that I hadn’t played Starcraft in many, many years, and had my ass firmly abused and then sent to me in a tacky box.

I was Zerg last time, but now… I’m not so sure. I seem to be horrendously incompetent this time around. In the original, I was lean, mean killing machine as Zerg. Barely competent as terran, and my capacity to play protoss was limited to flailing about with a pool noodle.

Now that trend seems to have reversed itself. I’m actually quite good at protoss (though I am still terrible at using the High Templar), decent at terran, and absolutely awful with zerg. And I do mean absolutely, dreadfully awful. A backpedaling mage clicking Ice Lance as a fire spec dreadful.

I’m not entirely sure why this is, either. Obviously things have changed quite a bit from the previous game, and the loss of my beloved Lurkers and Defilers hurts me oh so much, but the basis of the zerg hordes are still pretty much the same.

So why is it that now, my efforts at directing the swarm resemble a child randomly gesticulating at a keyboard?

I suppose I should just accept my fate and play ‘toss for now. They ARE Egyptian ninjas with lightsabers, what is there to dislike?

I’m not particularly fond of Terran, due to that race’s inherent lack of mobility. Both ‘toss and zerg feature a great deal of strategical map movement, and thus map control, the terran does not inherently possess either of these.

It is a weakness I suspect the terran are supposed to make up for by walling in (supply depots, command centers that can become uber fortresses, bunkers, hell, they can even research improved armor for buildings), but such a playstyle simply doesn’t mesh with me.

Random trick for anyone else in the beta: if you’re ever on Twilight Fortress, divide your team into a unit production player and the other into a resource gatherer. The theory is thusly:

Once you reach the 5 minute mark, both players can send resources to the other in any amount. What this means is that, at the 5 minute mark, the two players essentially share a resource pool.

Most maps, teammates have separate bases in different areas. This is not so on Twilight Fortress. Players share a base, and as such it is impossible to attack one player and not the other. There is, then, a strategy whereby one player never builds any units beyond the base gatherer units, and simply harvests.

It works extremely well. One player does nothing but build their primary gathering buildings, units and structures for supply, and then piles and piles and piles of gatherers. As they gather, they send all their harvested resources to the other player, who then spends the absolutely huge surplus on units.

To try and put this in perspective: when me and a teammate first tried this, my resource collection rate was greater than all three other players combined. I had over a hundred probes draining the map dry, dumping massive amounts of resources on my teammate, who reached the supply cap by the twelve minute mark. He had a dozen of each production building, and had all of them building simultaneously.

And even with that, he still had a ten thousand surplus of each resource. On average. Most games ended with him having something like forty thousand minerals and twenty thousand vespene unspent.

Of course, we’re both protoss for this to be at it’s maximum effectiveness. Protoss never has to sacrifice a worker to build anything, and thus can maximize resource gathering. Protoss also features the strongest individual units, thus being able mass produce them nullifies the intended smaller protoss armies.

Net result: you usually end up with more units than both your opponent’s combined, all of your units are stronger than theirs on a one by one basis, and you’re raking in far more resources than they.

If you try this, bear this in mind: the guy on unit production will probably feel like he’s playing with cheats on. All strategy goes out the window when you can build an unlimited amount of anything you want.

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