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  #51  
Old 05-17-2013, 03:49 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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My mistake - he indeed opens the portal on Draenor; it's YOUR goal to get there through the Dark Potal.

Then it's even easier. The last orc mission is a rush to the portal described in the novel, and Grom is left behind (but not Kargath and Deadeye).

Funny how BTDP was much either to novelize than TOD - if only because how its whole campaign structure mirrors RPG questing. Whereas TOD was, indeed, a massive invasion campaign with the goal of securing a hold on new lands, BTDP was about building quick bases for the sake of making raids to acquire artifacts that could be used later for PROFIT. The first one is a war story, the second one is a MacGuffin chase.
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  #52  
Old 05-17-2013, 04:37 AM
Acanthostega Acanthostega is offline

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Then it's even easier. The last orc mission is a rush to the portal described in the novel, and Grom is left behind (but not Kargath and Deadeye).
But with that, you've lost both the crushing final victory and Ner'zhul treason. And those were valuable, badass story elements.
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  #53  
Old 05-17-2013, 04:58 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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But with that, you've lost both the crushing final victory and Ner'zhul treason. And those were valuable, badass story elements.
Uh, no. The Horde wins and gets through the portal, but Grom and his buddies are left behind. That's Ner'zhul's first treason. Then his portals threaten to destroy Draenor and he kills the contrarian orc guy. That's Ner'zhul's second treason - seems like he intended for the Bleeding Hollow to die anyway.

Which is a bit dumb, if you ask me. So, Ner'zhul's whole plan was to make new portals to find new worlds to conquer them with... what exactly? In the original game he abandons two of his three main clans, in WC3 onwards he enters the portal with a small group of shamans and warlocks (which get turned into the first Liches)
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:40 AM
Acanthostega Acanthostega is offline

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Don't forget that there are lots of small clans we don't hear much in the first Warcraft games. The clans we hear about are the main ones, who can dictate their will and have strong political, military or mystical influence. At the end of the game, only the Shadow Moon clan remain as a strong clan, but Draenor is still crowned with war-hungry orcs.

A good example would be Bonechewers. For a long time I believed this clan had never ever set foot into Azeroth. Then I suddenly realised that :
- orc2, the orc that have the skull of Gul'dan is Bonechewer
- human7, Bonechewers are using human prisoners from the previous war as sacrifice.
- orc9, there are freaking Bonechewers living near the Tomb of Sargeras, either in prisoner encampments or hidden in the forest.

At first I thought that the skull had passed into several hands before ending in those of this Bonechewer, that they were trading human slaves with other clans, that those orcs in orc9 were Bleeding Hollow with their old ToD color, but now I am not sure. It's more like during the previous wars, Bonechewers were regularly crossing the Dark Portal to pillage stuff in Azeroth, make prisoners, and get back home. And at the end of ToD some apparently went to the Tomb of Sargeras new islands, maybe accompanying the orc player, maybe on their own. And one grabbed the skull of Gul'dan. As they were not a main clan in Azeroth, and didn't hold any land or political influence there, we had no mention of them, but they were there, doing stuff. There might have been a lot like them.


I don't think Ner'zhul was planning to kill the Bleeding Hollows. I don't see why he would ask them to return to Draenor with the Scepter of Sargeras if he hadn't bigger plans for them. I think he rather intended to incorporate them into Shadow Moon, much like he had disbanded the Clan when Kilrogg had returned. I think all of them were probably not Bleeding Hollow in the first place : there were certainly a lot of former Blackrock or other that had joined the only strong clan left after the fall of Blackrock spire, their own clans having been routed. Bleeding Hollow warriors are too experimented and valuable veterans to waste.

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  #55  
Old 05-17-2013, 07:47 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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But I'd still like the New Stormwind mission to stay in canon somehow. Maybe the dragons DID raid the city... which led to the kingdom's having to hire MORE stonemasons, then being unable to pay the debt.
That's really why I consider the Battle for Nethergarde the decision point of the war's direction, much like I consider Tol Barad the decision point in the Second War.

A Horde victory at Nethergarde leads to an open orc attack on New Stormwind to recover the Book of Medivh... only to find that an Alterac assassin has taken it across the Great Sea. While fighting to recover it, Ner'zhul decides to pick up a couple more artifacts to up his game (Sceptre of Sargeras and Eye of Dalaran).

An Alliance victory at Nethergarde leads to an early counterattack against the Portal, which forces Ner'zhul to do his commando raid to recover the Book of Medivh from New Stormwind--which he succeeds in. With the Book of Medivh and the Skull of Guldan... and with the Alliance armies too powerful to invade directly... he decides those two artifacts are enough and retreats to Draenor, where the Alliance pursues him.

One of my retroheadcanons, actually, was that the Portals created by Ner'zhul at the end of the Horde campaign are actually more stable than the Portals he makes at the end of the Alliance campaign (using four artifacts with a bit of spare time, instead of two artifacts and a rush job), so that Azeroth and Draenor aren't necessarily doomed at the end of the Horde victory.

(Though all of the Alliance heroes are. Remember that Khadgar, Turalyon, Alleria, Danath, and Kurdran all die at the foot of the Portal at the final orc level.)

But yes, you'd ignore that in order to combine the stories and get the greatest amount of activity. You could also reverse things... as a thought experiment, imagine a BtDP storyline that begins with the Human campaign but ends with the Orc campaign!

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As far as units and techtree goes, even if the game kept the old formula from Tides of Darkness, you get some hints that it is supposed to be a little different. Thunderlords are supposed to have Wolfriders, for example.
Truth. It's a shame Warcraft II didn't have the technology of unique, scenario-specific units like Warcraft III or even Starcraft had.

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The conflicting point is mostly the story of Kilrogg great escape as told in the manual, in regards with the campaigns briefings. In the manual he escapes after the Portal was destroyed, with the help of Ner'zhul (how? why?) and with Dragons; while in the briefings, orcs apparently escaped before the Portal was destroyed, without any dragons, and Kilrogg is never mentioned.
To make things worst, later on Thrall and Kilrogg are supposed to met in the canceled game.
One of the saddest points in the game, for me, is when you realized that you just killed the entire Bleeding Hollow Clan in Human 6, at Auchindoun. They just took too many punches, I guess. Like Apollo Creed.

And how does Beyond the Dark Portal novel adapt that? It makes it so that, at Auchindoun, Danath kills Kilrogg Deadeye. I think that's a pretty solid adaptation, if I do say so myself.

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Funny how BTDP was much either to novelize than TOD - if only because how its whole campaign structure mirrors RPG questing. Whereas TOD was, indeed, a massive invasion campaign with the goal of securing a hold on new lands, BTDP was about building quick bases for the sake of making raids to acquire artifacts that could be used later for PROFIT. The first one is a war story, the second one is a MacGuffin chase.
Truth. Really, I think BtDP only disappointed me in four tiny areas:

1) The naval battles not being represented.
2) No Mogor.
3) Dentarg's head.
4) Aiden Perenolde still reigning, and taking the role of the Alterac Mage.

Other than that, I was very impressed with how much content was adapted so well. Plus WoW areas and groups I hadn't even heard of.

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Originally Posted by Acanthostega View Post
Don't forget that there are lots of small clans we don't hear much in the first Warcraft games. The clans we hear about are the main ones, who can dictate their will and have strong political, military or mystical influence. At the end of the game, only the Shadow Moon clan remain as a strong clan, but Draenor is still crowned with war-hungry orcs.

A good example would be Bonechewers. For a long time I believed this clan had never ever set foot into Azeroth. Then I suddenly realised that :
- orc2, the orc that have the skull of Gul'dan is Bonechewer
- human7, Bonechewers are using human prisoners from the previous war as sacrifice.
- orc9, there are freaking Bonechewers living near the Tomb of Sargeras, either in prisoner encampments or hidden in the forest.

At first I thought that the skull had passed into several hands before ending in those of this Bonechewer, that they were trading human slaves with other clans, that those orcs in orc9 were Bleeding Hollow with their old ToD color, but now I am not sure. It's more like during the previous wars, Bonechewers were regularly crossing the Dark Portal to pillage stuff in Azeroth, make prisoners, and get back home. And at the end of ToD some apparently went to the Tomb of Sargeras new islands, maybe accompanying the orc player, maybe on their own. And one grabbed the skull of Gul'dan. As they were not a main clan in Azeroth, and didn't hold any land or political influence there, we had no mention of them, but they were there, doing stuff. There might have been a lot like them.
You know what? I hadn't even considered that. I've sort of ignored the colors of rescue passives unless the mission briefing told me about them, but it is an interesting possibility.

One of the big questions was always: what are these other Draenor clans doing while the rest of the Horde is invading? If the answer is civil war, then why didn't the civil war spill beyond the Portal into Azeroth?

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I don't think Ner'zhul was planning to kill the Bleeding Hollows. I don't see why he would ask them to return to Draenor with the Scepter of Sargeras if he hadn't bigger plans for them. I think he rather intended to incorporate them into Shadow Moon, much like he had disbanded the Clan when Kilrogg had returned. I think all of them were probably not Bleeding Hollow in the first place : there were certainly a lot of former Blackrock or other that had joined the only strong clan left after the fall of Blackrock spire, their own clans having been routed. Bleeding Hollow warriors are too experimented and valuable veterans to waste.
I interpreted it as a consolidation of power, which included eliminating every hero of the Horde campaign (except maybe Dentarg, since we see that ogre-mage in the final cutscene - though it could be any ogre-mage, and Dentarg could have easily died loyally in battle). I think tvtropes calls this the Uriah Gambit?

Basically, all of these heroes were potential threats to Ner'zhul's rule. The shaman's power base was probably more secure without Grom, Kargath, Teron, and Deathwing in the picture. For Grom and Kargath, this extended to the powerful clans they commanded.

~ ~ ~

Assuming Azeroth and Draenor survived that hypothetical Horde victory (due to my Stable Portal theory), it would be interesting to see the aftermath left behind on those worlds. The Alliance, beaten to a pulp but still somewhat intact. Those orc clans left behind, betrayed by Ner'zhul, and now still in extremely hostile territory... plus other orcs in internment camps somewhere. It's like Ner'zhul trashed the place, flipped the bird, and left them with the mess to clean up.

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  #56  
Old 05-17-2013, 08:25 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Truth. Really, I think BtDP only disappointed me in four tiny areas:

1) The naval battles not being represented.
2) No Mogor.
3) Dentarg's head.
4) Aiden Perenolde still reigning, and taking the role of the Alterac Mage.

Other than that, I was very impressed with how much content was adapted so well. Plus WoW areas and groups I hadn't even heard of.
Oh, yeah, Mogor wasn't there indeed. Gruul kinda took his role.

Except that it's another case of, as Metzen gracefully said it, "Ya, the novels are pretty much considered canon, um, the funny thing is some things are less canon, we shoot for canon...typically the characters in novels are canon..."

So screw the book, because Mogor is in WoW alive and well, still ruling over the remains of Laughing Skull settlements.

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You know what? I hadn't even considered that. I've sort of ignored the colors of rescue passives unless the mission briefing told me about them, but it is an interesting possibility.
You may be right do that because, well, they are not always consistent. And not just the rescue passives (Bleeding Hollow Trolls?) but also certain enemies (Stromgarde Tyr's Hand? Lordaeron Demons? Kul Tiras & Azeroth Elves?)

I believe sometimes they would forget about lore significance of factions in favor of a more relevant, or a more beautiful color representation.

=
IMO: the best BTDP missions are orcish attacks at New Stormwind and Kul Tiras. Probably the most epic and empowering, in my opinion.

One other thing I always hated is that we are only allowed to play two clans/kingdoms (one in BTDP). I always wanted each faction to get its own mission.
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  #57  
Old 05-18-2013, 04:19 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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You may be right do that because, well, they are not always consistent. And not just the rescue passives (Bleeding Hollow Trolls?),
You mean Zuljin? Only Zuljin was Bleeding Hollow; his other trolls and their village was Black Tooth Grin. And Lothar was fighting with a Dalaran tabard.

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but also certain enemies (Stromgarde Tyr's Hand? Lordaeron Demons? Kul Tiras & Azeroth Elves?)

I believe sometimes they would forget about lore significance of factions in favor of a more relevant, or a more beautiful color representation.
Well, with a few exceptions, I actually think they spent more lore attention on the enemies you were fighting than anyone else. I do think Tyr's Hand was made Stromgarde on purpose, for example.

This is how I think they decided color representation:

First Priority: Color of the enemies.
* Use the color that best represents the enemy nation/faction the player is fighting.
* Causes issues in ToD Orc Act III (or maybe just Orc Mission 11), since there is no color to represent the Nation of Quel'thalas. The BLUE color for Nation of Azeroth is used instead, as the main color of the Alliance campaign.
* Also has bizarre effects in BtDP Orc Missions 1 and 9, where (according to my theory) a WHITE color is used to represent generic "Undead Forces". This has the unfortunate effect of giving us "Shattered Hand Clan" forces when the mission tells us we are fighting Mogor's Laughing Skull Clan, and then Lordaeron proto-Forsaken in the Tomb of Sargeras.

Though with the former example, in the Horde Civil War I kind of like the interpretation of Shattered Hand forces cooperating with Mogor, without the approval or disapproval of Kargath (who is still on the fence, waiting to see whether Ner'zhul or Mogor will become the new powerplayer), and then having Kargath loudly condemning their actions and siding with Ner'zhul after the decisive battle.

Second Priority: Player color.
Alliance player in ToD will always be Azeroth BLUE, unless First Priority has us fighting the Stormreaver Clan, in which case the player is Lordaeron WHITE. Horde player in ToD will always be Blackrock RED, unless First Priority tells us we're fighting the Nation of Stromgarde, in which case the player is Black Tooth Grin BLACK.

In BtDP, Alliance player is always Azeroth BLUE while Horde player is always Shadowmoon BLACK, since the game will never have players fight the Nation of Gilneas or the Flowerpicker Clan.

Third Priority: Allied nations/clans specifically mentioned in briefings.
Can be rescue active or rescue passive. Examples are Stromgarde in ToD Human 5, the Thunderlord Clan in BtDP Orc 2, and the Laughing Skull Clan in BtDP Human 11.

Meaningless: Generic rescue passives and Heroes.
Rescue passive "prisoners" cannot be the same color as the player, so they are generally given a random color. ToD Mission 2 gives us captured Elves in Lordaeron WHITE, and captured Trolls in Black Tooth Grin BLACK.
Hero units are usually given a random color to distinguish them from the main player forces - the exceptions are Gul'dan and Cho'gall, sporting their clan colors. But otherwise, this gives us a Bleeding Hollow Zuljin, a Dalaran Lothar, and BtDP Heroes who change tabards from mission to mission. So maybe they're more like player characters.

~ ~ ~

As an example to how this plays out in the games, I'm convinced that the Stormreavers were meant to be the main Horde force in the Northlands and Quel'thalas. This is why we see Stormreavers in every level of Human Act III, and as a result Act III is the only set of levels that the Human player is "Lordaeron" instead of "Azeroth".

The Horde campaign has the player as Blackrock RED in most levels, but pay attention to the briefings--Gul'dan's name is invoked in Missions 8, 9, and 11. Mission 8 seems arguably done under his orders, or at least his suggestion. But you're not going to play as Stormreaver BLUE for two reasons.... Reason #1 is that First Priority makes your enemies Azeroth BLUE for those missions. Reason #2 is that Second Priority would have your clan as Blackrock RED anyway, regardless of the mission briefing, unless you were fighting Stromgarde in which case you would be Black Tooth Grin. Which happens in Mission 9.

You can compare this with the example of Human Missions 13 and 14, which specifically mention your armies as being "Lordaeron". But you're not going to play as Lordaeron WHITE, you're going to play as Azeroth BLUE - because the only time you play as Lordaeron is when the Stormreaver Clan is on the map. And you especially wouldn't be able to be Lordaeron in Mission 14, since the Dragonmaw Clan's presence takes First Priority.

(Though also note we've seen this game use the words "Lordaeron" and "Alliance" as synonyms, so yeah...)



EDIT: Oh, Kir. That is a most eggcellent Robotnik.

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  #58  
Old 05-19-2013, 04:32 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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EDIT: Oh, Kir. That is a most eggcellent Robotnik.
Why, thank you, kind sir.

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The Horde campaign has the player as Blackrock RED in most levels, but pay attention to the briefings--Gul'dan's name is invoked in Missions 8, 9, and 11. Mission 8 seems arguably done under his orders, or at least his suggestion. But you're not going to play as Stormreaver BLUE for two reasons.... Reason #1 is that First Priority makes your enemies Azeroth BLUE for those missions. Reason #2 is that Second Priority would have your clan as Blackrock RED anyway, regardless of the mission briefing, unless you were fighting Stromgarde in which case you would be Black Tooth Grin. Which happens in Mission 9.

You can compare this with the example of Human Missions 13 and 14, which specifically mention your armies as being "Lordaeron". But you're not going to play as Lordaeron WHITE, you're going to play as Azeroth BLUE - because the only time you play as Lordaeron is when the Stormreaver Clan is on the map. And you especially wouldn't be able to be Lordaeron in Mission 14, since the Dragonmaw Clan's presence takes First Priority.
But what about Tyr's Hand's changing colors? In orc campaign it's Stromgarde RED... In human one it's Kul Tiras GREEN - while the local peasants are Alterac ORANGE.

I am more inclined to believe that it was a Lordaeron keep that couldn't be portrayed as such because YOUR forces were Lordaeron WHITE - while in the orcish version.

Interestingly, maybe it's just that Tyr's Hand itself is intended to be red. Check it out in WoW. Maybe the Crusade simply kept the old Tyrian color markings, instead of repainting it anew like in Hearthglen?
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:18 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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But what about Tyr's Hand's changing colors? In orc campaign it's Stromgarde RED... In human one it's Kul Tiras GREEN - while the local peasants are Alterac ORANGE.

I am more inclined to believe that it was a Lordaeron keep that couldn't be portrayed as such because YOUR forces were Lordaeron WHITE - while in the orcish version.
The Orc mission could have used Lordaeron whites, if Blizzard had wanted to.

That's why it's my opinion that Tyr's Hand was meant to be Red, meaning the orcish player had to be Black. But the human mission was already using Red for the Blackrock forces and Blue for the Stormreavers, so neither Stromgarde nor Azeroth could be represented in that level.

But that's just my thoughts on Blizzard's original intent; it's not my retroheadcanon. My retroheadcanon is that the Kul Tiras-Stromgarde defensive line from Khaz Modan...

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Originally Posted by Human 5 Briefing
The forces of Stromgarde and Kul Tiras are stationed along the northern border of Khaz Modan, fighting to keep the Orcs from advancing into southern Lordaeron.
...fell back northeast to Tyr's, Kul Tiras occupying the western inland (Tyr's Hand) and Stromgarde occupying the eastern coast (Tyr's Bay). I envision that this same Kul Tiras Expedition will aid in the defense of Quel'thalas, for Orc Mission 11.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:23 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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That... does make sense actually I completely forgot about that briefing.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:00 AM
Acanthostega Acanthostega is offline

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Well said.
I mostly agree with how you analyze color distribution, with some exceptions.
In BtDP, generic undead forces don't always get the white color, in human4 for instance yellow is used. In Orc1, there are lots of white non-undead units, I don't see why there wouldn't be intended to be Shattered Hand.

Zul'jin, his trolls, and the captured Silvermoon Elves are not yet part of the Horde nor the Alliance, their color cannot be interpreted with orc or human standards. The elves are probably white because they are from Silvermoon - silver is more or less white-ish.


I don't share your views about the Stormreaver clan being the main Horde force in Act III, it is still Blackrock for me, with Gul'dan and his clan having some big role nonetheless. But well, I guess I will wait your detailed analysis of each mission.

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I interpreted it as a consolidation of power, which included eliminating every hero of the Horde campaign (except maybe Dentarg, since we see that ogre-mage in the final cutscene - though it could be any ogre-mage, and Dentarg could have easily died loyally in battle). I think tvtropes calls this the Uriah Gambit?

Basically, all of these heroes were potential threats to Ner'zhul's rule. The shaman's power base was probably more secure without Grom, Kargath, Teron, and Deathwing in the picture. For Grom and Kargath, this extended to the powerful clans they commanded.
Funny, I saw it as the exact opposite...
To me, Dentarg, Teron Gorefiend, and Deathwings are all necessary for Ner'zhul to maintain the cohesion of the Horde various elements. Dentarg is highly loyal, and serves as a strong negotiator - he is supposed to be the one to convince the Thunderlords to battle against the Bonechewers in Orc2. Teron Gorefiend and Deathwings are needed because of their influence on the Death Knights and Dragons respectively. Grom Hellscream, on the other hand, is stated in the manual to distrust Ner'zhul, and is leading a concurrent clan.

Truth is, it is a little hard for me to see Ner'zhul as a one-sided villain seeking ultimate domination over the Horde, and that is often how people view him. Thought it is even harder for me to see him as a gentle shaman who only cared about saving his people as he was latter portrayed. I limit his goals to what we can see in the campaign :
1) Open portals to new worlds to conquer. For me this is in order to reduce inner fighting within the Horde, as in Warcraft : Orcs and Humans.
2) Seal off the way to the world of Azeroth which is a waste of everyone's time & energy.
3) Weaken the influence of the stronger clans other than Shadow Moon.

Other than that, I think Ner'zhul powers over the Horde or even his own clan were limited to an extend and nowhere as strong as what a human King would have. Orc1 kind of reminds me of how some natives tribes used to work : we are introduced with the orc player, which have the title of "Slayer". Basically with this rank he is to lead the troops into battle, while apparently Ner'zhul is to decide the diplomatic orientations of the clan, and is more of the spiritual leader.

But well. Either you think Ner'zhul doesn't care about anything but absolute power, either you consider he only viewed the brutal leadership he imposed as the mean to drive the chaotic orcs into the right directions. The same applies to the Warcraft : Orcs and Humans Shadow Council. And whether these were indeed the right orientations is yet another debate (especially considering the catastrophic ending in the human campaign).

Gul'dan stands as a much easier character to read : he sought for immense magical power - "to wield the fury of ethereal storms and to stand unscathed within the dying hearts of burning suns". He despises political power, but is forced to play with it in order to achieve his dream.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:11 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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In BtDP, generic undead forces don't always get the white color, in human4 for instance yellow is used. In Orc1, there are lots of white non-undead units, I don't see why there wouldn't be intended to be Shattered Hand.
'Tis a good point. It's just a stark contrast between the Mission Briefing--which mentions only Laughing Skull enemies. And then we see Shattered Hand with zero Laughing Skulls... including a Shattered Hand Ogre that the official strategy guide interprets as Mogor himself!

I wonder if it was a simple mistake, using White instead of Yellow for that mission.

~ ~ ~

As for Tomb of Sargeras, it would've been so easy. They could have NOT made the Flowerpicker Clan joke name that nobody saw, and keep the Orcish Blue forces named as Stormreaver Clan.

Then, for the Tomb of Sargeras level, replace the Azeroth (blue) paladins with Lordaeron (white) paladins. And finally, replace the Lordaeron undead forces with Stormreaver (blue) undead forces. Voila! Undead Stormreavers!
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  #63  
Old 05-20-2013, 01:16 AM
Acanthostega Acanthostega is offline

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It is indeed possible that there were some confusion between Laughting Skull's and Shattered Hand's colors. That could explain why we also get Laughting Skull to fight in Human level2, where you would rightfully expect the Shattered Hand.

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  #64  
Old 05-20-2013, 04:52 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Note how the Laughing Skull Clan uses the color that was previously used for "Horde Traitors".
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:49 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Wasted some time on the meme generator today. I call this series: "Fail Doomhammer". Yeah, I know. Jumping ahead too far.











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  #66  
Old 05-20-2013, 08:20 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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One thing I always considered true in WC2 is that your playable forces did not constitute the main ones until about the third act, with your player character moving in the ranks from a regional commander to the leader of his own clan.

There still was this feeling that there is a larger war going off-screen, with your troops not being the main Doomhammer army.

This is largely the reason why I think a lot of WC2 missions can be canonized as Varok's and Urok's offensive, different from Doomhammer's weird march from Southshore to Hinterlands to Quel'Thalas to Capital City.
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  #67  
Old 05-20-2013, 10:00 AM
Acanthostega Acanthostega is offline

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Wasted some time on the meme generator today. I call this series: "Fail Doomhammer". Yeah, I know. Jumping ahead too far.
Gul'dan would be pleased.



I like Orgrim Doomhammer, but only because he is supposed to be the orc player from Warcraft : Orcs and Humans, which translates to me as ultimate badassery and awesomeness. With Warcraft II alone, I would probably not be a fan of that character. I would most likely mainly remember that the orcish narrator seems to think it really is absolutely necessary to mention he is the Warchief of the orcish Hordes in the ending victory text, as if I somehow could possibly not know who he might be at that point of the game. I mean, his name just appears in about half or more of the briefings.


I don't like the Doomhammer-the-brutal-moron that Gul'dan tries to sell you, or the Noble-Honorable-Doomhammer-the-savier that the new Horde worship. I prefer to see those two as fakes, distorted by propaganda of either his opponents or his latter hagiographers; considered as such, those visions are still interesting, in regards to what they reveal on both the warcraft characters who spread that propaganda and those who believe in it.

The Warcraft II game itself is ambiguous concerning this character, and give you several possibilities. Gul'dan in the manual tries his best to downgrade Doomhammer image, but in the campaign you are a loyal Blackrock member, with an over-zealous orc narrator in the briefing. You can already believe in/side with one vision or the other.

Last edited by Acanthostega; 05-20-2013 at 10:16 AM..
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  #68  
Old 05-20-2013, 10:12 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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We already have a canonical version of Doomhammer, as well as the explanation why Thrall considers him a hero of the Horde.
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  #69  
Old 05-22-2013, 10:43 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Gold Sky Sanctuary Zone

Sonic Mission 6: Sky Sanctuary Zone

Welcome to the climax. Throughout the whole of Sonic's adventure, his main pursuit against Robotnik has been hindered by Knuckles's interference. Knuckles has been waging war on both Sonic and Robotnik since the end of the last game, certain that neither can be trusted and panicking after the treachery at Launch Base Zone. We knocked some sense into him at the Hidden Palace, but the time it took to finish that gave Robotnik the distraction he needed to acquire his perfect power source: the Master Emerald.

And now, the Death Egg is launching one more time. Taking it down won't be like either of the last two encounters. We aren't getting a chance to one-shot it early in flight, like in Sonic 2. We aren't going to ambush it in launch and tear it apart as it barely gets off the ground, like in Sonic 3. No, this time the Death Egg is launched, it is armed, it is prepared. If it's going to be destroyed, Sonic has to do it the old-fashioned way.

But first, he has to get there. And as he does so, we're going to encounter an old friend, joyriding about in a few familiar vehicles...



. . .

Oh, wait. Crap. I'm in the wrong retromode, aren't I? Let me try that again . . .
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  #70  
Old 05-22-2013, 10:44 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Lumber Stratholme and generic Quel'thalas place

Orc Mission 10: The Destruction of Stratholme
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8E02tizVwM

The Horde has scored decisive victories to the east and west of a very critical area of Alliance territory. Uncharacteristically, these victories have not been scorched-earth annihilations; they were precise, objective-based strikes that improved the Horde's position while leaving Alliance defenders intact. And it's certain that the Alliance command would be very interested in knowing Doomhammer's intentions here--the Elves would see that while a western strike through Darrowmere would have to first go through Stratholme, the orcs could instead reach the heart of Quel'thalas with a push from the east by sea or by land (with the Black Tooth Grin's army or fleet in Forbidding Sea).

For the Humans--though they probably wouldn't admit as much to their allies, the heartland of Quel'thalas is not the most critical resource under threat. Stratholme and its oil platforms form the industrial base of the surviving nations in western Lordaeron. Just as Grim Batol's oil was the impetus for the orcish occupation of Khaz Modan, we can imagine that without Stratholme's refineries the Humans' interest in Quel'thalas would be mainly sentimental.

Fortunately, Stratholme's defenders know exactly where a Horde assault would have to come from. Stratholme is positioned north of a natural barrior: an impassable mountain range. Therefore, any strike on the refineries and aquatic platforms would have to come from Darrowmere Lake, from the Blackrock Fleet already established in the area. Which means the survivors of Caer Darrow would be able to give early warning as the fleet passes them.

Too bad Doomhammer's ordering Goblin Sappers to blow a path through the mountain and enable a surprise attack by land, made possible by a huge section of the lake freezing over for the winter. Oh snap!


Orcish military ingenuity strikes again. I give Doomhammer credit for this scheme instead of the Player Commander... the Commander's forces are already at the mountain and have no choice but to blast it; surely they were placed in that start position under Orgrim's orders. I like to make fun of Doomhammer's depictions nowadays, but remember this guy was a veteran tactician of the First War. He's not going to disappoint us now. Or, hey, maybe it was Gul'dan's idea. He is the one to get his name mentioned in the briefing again!

The sappers create a land corridor between the Blackrock Army and Stratholme. Even though a huge chunk of this mission's map is lake (with oil platforms and a "Nation of Azeroth" navy), it is very much a land battle - the first proper land battle of the Horde campaign. It's a fine presentation platform for the new Ogre-magi unit, much better than the previous battle was.

Stratholme's defenders are caught flat-footed. The naval base is gutted open from the inside, its Shipyard and Refineries burned without an orcish boat coming anywhere near it. The Alliance Navy and oil platforms are left to rot on the vine... until the conquering Horde commander can throw together a few ships to clean them up, that is.

And just as Stratholme's oil platforms and Darrowmere Fleet are left uprooted and worthless, so also are the settlements at Caer Darrow and Tyr's Hand. They are temporarily spared the carnage wrought on Stratholme itself, but without that great city bolstering them they are nothing, at least nothing of strategic value. No, the Alliance won't pull out completely like the Horde would after a Grim Batol raid, but you can guarantee there are heads in the High Command who have written off the region as lost, and are already repositioning armies for a final, desperate defense of the western half of continental Lordaeron.

~ ~ ~

Orc Mission 11: The Dead Rise as Quel'thalas Falls
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWd2gKtTDoY

Let me step back a bit from my last statement. It's not fair of me to say the Human kingdoms wrote off Quel'thalas; that would be a lie.



As we've mentioned before, the bulk of this territory is represented by "Nation of Azeroth", which at the very least indicates there could be Azeroth soldiers and/or leaders taking a major role in the Elves' defense. For the first time, the Horde player gets to see the Kul Tiras Expeditionary Force--either the final remnants having retreated north, or perhaps a fresh squad of marines having landed from the northern sea. Among the defenders are also Dalaran soldiers, the first real indication of kinship between Dalaran and Quel'thalas. Remember that this was all before we knew just how important magic was to Elven culture; at this point, their main feature is woodcraft.

Or... am I just making wild assumptions about Azeroth, Kul Tiras, and Dalaran participating? The Mission Objectives for this level read: Destroy the Elven Stronghold. Which we can take to mean the entire base, especially since it has a Castle instead of a Stronghold. And indeed, the blue "Nation of Azeroth" main force has full representation of Alliance forces--footmen and mages and paladins, everything you'd expect.

The "Nation of Dalaran"? It's a group of defenders outside the main base after the river crossing, entirely composed of Elven Archers and Ballistae. The "Nation of Kul Tiras"? It's a group of skirmishers near the Horde base, 100% Elven Archers. So there is a very, very real possibility that the defenders in this level are meant to be primarily Kingdom of Quel'thalas, even if we know other Alliance forces are also present.

Or, there is one more possibility. Consider further that these other Alliance bases, at Tol Barad and Stromgarde and Caer Darrow and Tyr's Bay, they all had Elven units in their ranks. Perhaps the Elves assigned to Kul Tiras and Dalaran brigades have left their previously assigned areas (likely with permission) so as to return to their homeland's defense, as it is now falling under imminent attack. Those Kul Tiras Elven Archers could have been with the KT defenders north of Khaz Modan, but they chose to retreat north and defend their homeland instead of sailing off with the KT group to other battlefronts. It's one of many possibilities.

But we do know Humans were there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mission briefing
With the destruction of Stratholme, the Alliance supply lines to Quel'thalas have been severed. Only a handful of Human and Elven defenders remain to safeguard the ancient Elf kingdom from the onslaught of the Horde.
(cough cough also Gnomes stop forgetting the Gnomes)

Anyway. The mission briefing has always frustrated me. First of all is the vague location, with nothing more precise than "Quel'thalas". It is legitimately the only mission in WCII: ToD we can't point to on a map and say, "Right here." Instead of focusing on that, the mission briefing goes into great elaboration on the Death Knight unit. According to this text, this battle is the first time the Horde fields Death Knights. I already linked the first two sentences of the mission briefing. Do you want to read the rest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mission briefing
The enchanted domain of the Elves has inspired Gul'dan to unleash his most perverted creation - the Death Knights. Formed from the corpses of the fallen Knights of Azeroth, these once proud defenders of Humanity now serve the Horde in a blasphemous state of eternal undeath. Conjuring dark spells of necromantic horror upon their terrified foes, these Death Knights seek to unleash their wrath upon any foolish enough to stand in their way.

Even the title of this mission focuses more on the Death Knights than on a name for the battle. (And let me just pause to say that in modern lore, now that the fighting in Quel'Thalas has become a huge part of the Second War, I would like a proper name for this battle. The Burning of Quel'Thalas? The First Battle for Quel'Thalas? C'mon Blizzard! Gimme a name!)

Strangely, Gul'dan's account in the manual also describes in great detail his creation of the Death Knights as appeasement to Doomhammer, implying they've been around since before the Second War began. Was he putting the finishing touches on them? Was the Horde waiting for the precise moment to unleash a secret weapon? It's unclear.

But regardless, the mission's title and description do indicate that, regardless of how the Player Commander conducts this battle (I never built a Death Knight, myself), the lore considered Death Knights and their skeletal minions to be a major factor in the destruction of Quel'thalas. Which is a little entertaining in my mind, considering what will happen in future games.

With the fall of Quel'thalas (whatever that means), the Horde is only a couple of steps from certain victory. They just have to make a quick pit stop first. Hey, Gul'dan! We were just talking about you.

~ ~ ~

Act III Horde Victory Cutscene

http://youtu.be/2gs-hjD5lHE?t=42s

Well, well. Gul'dan's crew finally found the dungeon entrance to Diablo.

I mean the Tomb of Sargeras, sorry. That slightly pudged silhouette matches Gul'dan's proportions in the manual art, so it's likely meant to be him opening the Tomb. And of course, I always assumed this lone daemon was Sargeras himself. Because why not? Isn't it his Tomb? This was back when Sargeras was a daemonlord, not a corrupted titan.

Unfortunately, this cutscene creates issues with the next mission. Is Gul'dan murdered where he stands by the daemon he released? Did he use magic to hold back the daemon at the last moment, then rally a group of daemons to his command, and is now ready to face the Player Commander's forces? Sure, we know he has a pact with a group of daemons...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcraft II Manual, Daemons
It is rumored that Gul'dan has entered into a pact with a sect of Daemons loyal to the Daemonlord Sargeras who are willing to aid the Warlock in finding their master's Tomb.
...but that doesn't clarify the current situation with a daemon rushing him and then making all those "kill and eat" sounds. Maybe Gul'dan opened the door, saw the scary monster running at him, then slammed it shut. Or hey, Gul'dan is going to use the "Death Knight" unit model in the next level. Maybe the daemon plans to kill him and then raise him, for fun! Gul'dan the Death Knight!

I remember suggesting once as a joke, on the AOL Forums in '96 or '97, that it was a metaphysical oddity that Gul'dan was vulnerable to Exorcism (since only literally undead units are vulnerable to it). Someone responded by saying he also has magic powers that let his attacks hit targets even when they miss.

(See now, that was a crack about how ranged units in Warcraft II always hit their targets, even if the animation showed it as a huge miss--this was the case for almost everything except siege weapons, cannon towers, and battlejuggers. It was one of the criticisms in the Warcraft vs. Command and Conquer flamewars. But for their merit, Warcraft siege weapons were smart enough to stop at their maximum range to attack a target, instead of strolling up to the tower and getting annihilated even though it could've outranged it if the unit A.I. was better.)

But what was I talking about? Right, 'Danny boy. His fate in the cutscene versus his fate in the upcoming mission.



One other possibility that I tend to enjoy, is that the victory cutscene is a vision of the future... of what will happen if Gul'dan is allowed to open the Tomb of Sargeras. The daemonlord will kill Gul'dan and keep going, wreaking havoc on everyone. Alliance, Horde, all will fall before him.

Medivh was a fool for summoning the relentless orcs. Now he's dead, and the orcs are set to become masters of the world. Gul'dan seems to be hellbent on repeating Medivh's mistake... if successful, we could presume there is virtually nothing the Horde could do to stop this ancient master and his daemons from destroying them all, taking the orcs' place as world conqueror. They had better hurry.

STRICT HORDE


But we have all the time in the world. Let's see what the Alliance is doing, in the universe that has the war turning in their favor....

Next: The Alterac Saga Begins

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 10-09-2013 at 08:02 AM..
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  #71  
Old 05-22-2013, 11:04 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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You know, I'd totally read a Sonic lore retrospective as written by you.

If anything, I'd like to fit all those old games in a single timeline, because not many things were actually officially made non-canon.
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  #72  
Old 05-23-2013, 02:52 AM
Acanthostega Acanthostega is offline

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[B][U][COLOR="DarkRed"]Or, there is one more possibility. Consider further that these other Alliance bases, at Tol Barad and Stromgarde and Caer Darrow and Tyr's Bay, they all had Elven units in their ranks. Perhaps the Elves assigned to Kul Tiras and Dalaran brigades have left their previously assigned areas (likely with permission) so as to return to their homeland's defense, as it is now falling under imminent attack. Those Kul Tiras Elven Archers could have been with the KT defenders north of Khaz Modan, but they chose to retreat north and defend their homeland instead of sailing off with the KT group to other battlefronts. It's one of many possibilities.
Actually, I really like this interpretation. You see, in this level there was no need to have two computer players with static units waiting in ambush, as far as gameplay goes Blizzard could have set only one. Which could indicate they really indeed to have Kul Tiras and Dalaran appear in the score screen, even thought they were 100% elven units.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
[B][U][COLOR="DarkRed"]
But regardless, the mission's title and description do indicate that, regardless of how the Player Commander conducts this battle (I never built a Death Knight, myself), the lore considered Death Knights and their skeletal minions to be a major factor in the destruction of Quel'thalas. Which is a little entertaining in my mind, considering what will happen in future games.
You never, ever built a Death Knight in this mission? Even the first time? Man, my first time playing this mission is forever carved in my head : a freaking paladin dashing through my defensive lines, ignoring grunts and other units alike to make my incredibly expensive unit we had so much hype and building up about explode with a single spell and a frightening sound. I can picture the look on Doomhammer and Gul'dan faces if they were sitting beside me in that battle. Guess that'd be a reason for Gul'dan to quietly leave for the next level before Doomhammer overcome the shock. Seriously, because of this level, I am pretty sure all new players labeled the Deathknight as useless for quite a time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
[B][U][COLOR="DarkRed"]
Well, well. Gul'dan's crew finally found the dungeon entrance to Diablo.

I mean the Tomb of Sargeras, sorry. That slightly pudged silhouette matches Gul'dan's proportions in the manual art, so it's likely meant to be him opening the Tomb. And of course, I always assumed this lone daemon was Sargeras himself. Because why not? Isn't it his Tomb? This was back when Sargeras was a daemonlord, not a corrupted titan.

Unfortunately, this cutscene creates issues with the next mission. Is Gul'dan murdered where he stands by the daemon he released? Did he use magic to hold back the daemon at the last moment, then rally a group of daemons to his command, and is now ready to face the Player Commander's forces? Sure, we know he has a pact with a group of daemons...

...but that doesn't clarify the current situation with a daemon rushing him and then making all those "kill and eat" sounds.
Yes, that cutscene is not easy to understand. I used to think it showed Gul'dan freeing daemons from the tomb, and subjugating them, which works well with the setting of the mission in which Gul'dan has Daemons units on his side. I didn't think 'Diablo' could be Sargeras because I thought Sargeras was - well, dead. So to me it was just one of many lonely demons guarding the tomb, and the noise at the end was generic daemon cries. But apparently not many people viewed it that way.
The demon doesn't look much like the weak Warcraft II flying demon unit portrait, it look more like the Warcraft : Orcs and Humans daemon summon. Good thing Gul'dan didn't have one of those in that mission. Imagine having to fight Hasted & Bloodlusted Warcraft1 daemons. That would make the noise at the end of the video appropriate - coming from our slaughtered units.
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  #73  
Old 05-23-2013, 05:34 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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By this point, the daemonlord Sargeras is presumed to be dead - which is why the Tomb is there.

The cutscene is pretty clear, I think. Gul'dan opens the Tomb and releases demons... Who make generic evil noises that may or may not be interpreted as flesh-eating. But actually, as the mission tells us, Gul'dan has already taken control over the demons.

Interestingly... The WC3 interpretation is pretty much based on an alternative interpretation of this cutscene that you presented - Gul'dan opens the Tomb, but is ultimately killed by the guardian demons.

Perhaps the developers only watched the cutscene when they made the TFT level, and forgot that Gul'dan was supposed to be killed by the orcish troops?
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:33 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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When I mentioned the possibility of Sargeras still being alive, it was on a misreading of some manual text. For some reason, I always remembered Aegwyn writing that she didn't know if Sargeras was truly dead or not. But what she really wrote was:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegwyn's account
It was to this tomb that I had banished the ancient Daemonlord Sargeras after a long and exhausting battle eight hundred years before. Even I cannot say whether or not the power of Sargeras remains entombed there.
So my mistake there. But I really did think it was Sargeras, when I was younger, even if that doesn't make sense upon reflection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acanthostega View Post
You never, ever built a Death Knight in this mission? Even the first time?
Yeah, I'm sort of a bad guy to go too for accurate first impressions. I spoil. I cheat. This was the order in which I discovered Warcraft:

1) Introduced to Warcraft II at a friend's house. Saw the intro and played the first two Orc and Human levels. Intrigued by Zuljin leader unit and by the Elves calling out "For the Alliance."

2) Bought the Warcraft II Official Strategy Guide. Immersed myself in it... the units, the buildings, the missions.

3) Bought Warcraft II. Immersed myself in the manual. Cheated my way through the game.

4) Finally played the game legitimately without cheating.


So I probably did build Death Knights during my first, cheaterific games. But by the time I played the levels legitimately, I was a little disenchanted with the unit (You mean the Paladin magic can kill my Death Knights even with godmode on?!!)
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  #75  
Old 06-02-2013, 08:11 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Hey, did you know that the naga also weaponized giant sea turtles?
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