Gnome in Hearthstone Part 3!

This again? Yes!  I gave you a break, after Part 1 and Part 2 were back to back, but now we are back and scrapping the bottom of the barrel like never before!  This week I’m hitting three themes at once! Summoning, Versatility and Resource Manipulation!.

Plenty of gnomes summon other minions.  This was started by Mekkatorque and the Dragonling Mechanic.  What’s really interesting to me about these is that most of them are NOT engineering devices.  It started what way, but Arcanosmith and Rattling Rascal are summoning magical  minions.  Blingaton brings weapons, and Thermaplugg summons gnomes.  So what does this tell us about gnomes?  I think that this is a representation of strategic thinking from gnomes. Having multiple units on the board increases your play options, and generally forces your opponent to spend more resources to clear the board.  Below are the 6 gnome cards that bring another card to play field with them.

The second trait is Versatility.  These gnomes have multiple basic abilities.  Charge, Taunt, Stealth, Lifesteal, Poisonous, Spell Damage and more!  This stacking of abilities plays into the concept of gnomes as strategists.  Having multiple abilities give these gnome a wider variety of scenarios that they are useful in.

The first sets of abilities we talked in parts 1 and 2 were about playing into the engineering specialization that gnomes are well known for.  These set don’t do that, they harken to the raw intelligence of them.  It’s not played up as much, but I am really happy to see it portrayed here.

Last of these we have 4 card that modify Mana Costs.  These clearly reflect the gnome racial ability Expansive Mind.  Like the cards above, they reflect the intellectual prowess of gnomes.  These are even more pure in their representation, because none of them call back to some form of engineering.  They are all mages that use their genius to maximize efficiency.  …  Except Millhouse.  GET IT TOGETHER MANASTORM!

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Getting the Band Back Together: The Return of Kel’thuzad – Part 3 FINAL

Sing Sweet Blightingale

Part 1Part 2

“I’m not waiting one more minute.” Arthas had very little patient for Sylvanas.  Obviously she new that and was testing them. He and Kel’thuzad had been sitting in the reception area for almost half an hour, but Kel’thuzad was not about to let a tantrum ruin his plans.

“Have you forgotten your own immortality?  This wait is nothing to us.”  Arthas was unmoved and stood to storm out.  As he did, the door cracked open and the head of Nathanos Blightcaller leaned in.  “The Dark Lady will see you now.”

Kel had intended to go in first but Arthas marched in ahead of him.  Sylvanas was not at her desk, she was standing at the window looking out over the ruins of Lordaeron.

“How are your ruins?” Arthas quipped before anyone else could make a proper greeting.

Sylvanas looked back over her shoulder with a scowl on her face.  “Ruins are a classic Arthas.  They were good enough to build your career on.  Where would you be if it wasn’t for this.” She motioned to the crumbling buildings outside the window. “But certainly you didn’t come here to take shots at your own legacy.  What do you want.”  She walked back to her desk and sat down eyes narrowed.  No attempt made to hide the disgust on her face.

“We’ve come to put the band back together for a reunion tour.  No new songs, we all continue to work on our side projects, just on the road performing for our adoring fans.” Kel had seen an opening and cut Arthas off. talking as fast as he could and still seem natural.

“Side Projects!? I run an entire label now.  I’m trying to promote over half a dozen bands right now.  I don’t have time to run all over Azeroth trying to recapture YOUR good old days.”

“You’ve got the passion Sylvanas.  You’re a performer at heart. I know you do a joint track with every new artist you sign.” Kel’thuzad implored her.

“It’s called branding.  I’m busting my ass building recognition. I have REAL responsibilities. I have no time for a nostalgia tour with a couple asshole I can BARELY stand to be in the same room with!”  She’d stood up now, hands slammed down on the desk.

He has known that this would be difficult, but she was being more resistant than he had expected.  “Sylvanas, I know you’ve got a lot going on here, but we’ve so much history, so much more in common.  Who outside this room understands the burden of our…”

“YOU DARE SPEAK TO ME ABOUT BURDEN!” She screamed.  Arthas and Kel’thuzad both put their hands up in front of their faces.  She finished her words, but the screaming did not let up, it intensified.  The two Scourge lords were pushed backwards out of the room by the percussive force of her banshee wail.  Nathanos closed the door behind them.

Failure. Everything up to this point had gone exactly as he had planned.  Kel’thuzad was sure that he could agree Sylvanas to at least consider the idea, that he could buy more time to convince her, and get her truly back on board.  It was apparent now her resentment had spent all these years festering and had bloated in to an unsurmountable obstacle.  Lost in thought, suddenly he was snapped back to reality as Arthas hand clapped down on his shoulder.  He looked up annoyed that Arthas had been so openly hostile when they first went in, souring their chances. Kel’s eyes narrowed.  “We needed our lead female singer.”

“I told you Sylvanas would never be on board Kel.  I’ve made some other arrangements for our female lead.”

“Oh?” Kel was cautious and curious.

“Yea,” Arthas smirked.  “Two birds with one stone, a female lead singer, and a replacement Dreadlord.”

Getting the Band Back Together: The Return of Kel’thuzad – Part 2

Fresh Meat

( Part 1 – Mind, Body, and Soul )

Kel’thuzad emerged from the death gate, Arthas and Anub’arak close behind.  “Gentlemen, welcome to Darkshire.”

“Dar’ksheer?” Anub’arak try to pronounce the word.

“Dark-Shire” Arthas corrected him.  “A boondock thousands of miles away from any undead of note, they are not even Scourge.  What are we doing here Kel?”

“We are escaping the mainstream, looking for a fresh face with a new perspective.  No offence, you are both royalty, and it’s always hurt our image with the common ghoul.  We’re going to need a more down to earth ‘everyman’ to broaden our fan base.”

They could hear the music coming from the hole in the wall they were approaching.  It was literally a hole in the wall of a partially collapsed Alliance barracks.  Arthas felt strange as they walked in.  No one recognized them.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been able to go anywhere without a entourage of ghouls to fight off acolytes desperate for autographs.  Here no one bothered giving much more than a second glance.  Anub’arak was getting some strange looks, but rather than being mobbed, the crowd was giving them space.

“This place is a little dated isn’t it?” Arthas was clearly displeased.  “The ‘ruins’ look is a little last decade.”

“Ignore the decor, Arthas, listen to the music.” as they approached Kel motioned towards the stage.  There were a couple ghouls playing guitar, an armored skeleton on keyboard, an abomination on drums, and a banshee singing lead.  It was a cover of one of their songs.

“Pitiful” Anub’arak finally said.  “These creatures do not match our talents.”

“Agreed” Arthas added.  “That keyboard solo was garbage.  He can not replace Mal’ganis.”

“We aren’t here for the keyboardist.” Kel’thuzad replied.  He then turned to face Anub’arak, “You spin now yes?  You’re no longer drumming.”

“Yes. I enjoy it more than the sticks.” Anub’arak responded. He turned to look at the abomination at the drum kit.  “I would like to continue with my current set up, but out old songs require a drummer, and I will not stand for to our beats be mangled by an abomination. It will not be able to keep up with…” as the Crypt lord spoke the band paused, and the Abomination launched into an epic drum solo.  It was tight and fast, a masterful execution that got the nerubian to change his tune, “How is such a thing possible?’

Kel’thuzad explained, “You see Stitches up there is not like the mass produced abominations we have up north.  He’s all hand crafted and painstakingly imbued with the most perverse mixture of love and loathing you’ll ever find.  His creator and manager, Abercrombie, is over there, left of the stage.  The rest of the band has a separate manager, but Abercrombie keeps a tight leash on his unique creation.  He’s the one we will have to negotiate with.”

“Very well”  Arthas strolled up to Abercrombie at the side of the stage and leaned in.  “We like your drummer, we want to offer him a place with our band.”

The old hermit twisted his face up.  “I get a full manager’s cut.  Anywhere he goes I go.  He doesn’t do anything without my say so.”

“Very well”  Arthas casually pulled out Frostmorne and plunged it into the old man’s heart.  The music stopped dead, and the room fell silent save of the screeching sound of the man’s soul being pulled into Frostmorne.  Arthas pulled the sword out and pointed it at Stitches.  “You.  I have the soul of you master and creator bound to me.  You will do as I bid.  I am your manager now.”

“Cool” said Stitches. “What we do?”

Part 3

NewMeat

 

Journal Entry, SEPTransgear 1st, 2017

SaltyDog

Avast!

As former admiral of the gnomish submarine fleet, I know a lot of gnomes who went on to become unscrupulous scourges of the seas.  Some of my favorite gnomes!

Celebrate with them later this month on Pirates Day, 20th of Septransgear.  Tell them I sent you!  Seriously make sure you mention I sent you, I get a commission for each… uh… PARTYGOER that shows up!  Go buy a round.  Seriously.  Buying a round for everyone reduces chances of being stabbed by 20.9% and robbed by 17.2%!

http://www.wowhead.com/pirates-day

 

Getting the Band Back Together: The Return of Kel’thuzad – Part 1

Mind, Body, and Soul

Arthas and Anub’arak were lounging backstage of the Nexus.  Arthas, feet up on the table tuning his guitar.  Anub’arak flipping though the Battle Records in his Flight case.

As Arthas ran though some warm-up cords, he noticed the air was cooler than normal, and there was a smell in the air, iron maybe?  At the same time, Anub’arak noticed and they both looked towards the green room door that had just opened.

In the doorway stood a familiar figure they hadn’t seen in years. For a what felt like an eternity there was silence.  Finally, Arthas spoke.  “Kel’thuzad?  You damned skeletal son of a lich.  You gotta lotta nerve showing your face around here.” Athas had risen from the couch and moved over to the floating figure.  Kel’thuzad betrayed no emotion as Arthas slammed his hand down on his shoulder.  Arthas face broke into a smile. and he pulled Kel in for a hug.

“Always the sentimental one.”  Kel responded dryly as Arthas released his grip.

“What is the reason for your return, lich?” Anub’arak asked.  Despite his eerie and alien vocal tones, the suspicion in his voice was clear.

“I am here to get the band back together.” Kel’thuzad extended his massive hands in a friendly gesture as he said the words.

Anub’arak scoffed, “YOU abandoned US for your solo career. It is your fault everyone thinks you are a one hit wonder. Now that you can not replicate your success, you return?”

Arthas smirked, “I hear you play ‘Naxxramas’ TWICE at your concerts.”

Kel waved them both off dismissively, “I’m not here about the past, I want to discuss our future. We need a reunion tour! I wanted to discuss terms with you both.  I hear that Ner’zul is no longer managing you?  I think I recall warning you against trying to be manager and star, didn’t I Arthas?”

“You said, ‘Don’t put on too many hats.’, but I have been managing things very well since then.  That’s not something I plan on giving up.  If you are going to work with us again, that’s how it’s going to stay.”  Arthas had dropped the friendly pretence.  Emotion in the room was raw despite the years that had passed for it to cool down.

“Of course.” was Kel’thuzad’s reply.  “I don’t want to shake up what you’ve got going on, I just want to be a part of it again.  A reunion tour would do us all a world of good.”

Arthas’ severe expression melted into a more pleasant one.  He almost smiled again.  “I’ll have a contract written up.  We can start working on tour schedules…”

“AS soon as we get the others.” Kel interjected.  Both Arthas hand Anub’arak’s faces froze in astonishment.

“But… Malganis is dead.” Anub’arak stated, although it could have been a question.

“And Sylvanas…”  Arthas threw his hands up.  He didn’t need to explain.  “She would never.”

Kel’thuzad leaned in towards the two of them.  His calm demeanor started to crack.  Slowly he curled his hands in to fists. “When I said I wanted to get the band back, I meant the WHOLE band.”

Part 2Part 3

Rocking Arthas

Should the Faction Divide be Eliminated?

Every now and again I hear people talking about how the factions should be eliminated from World of Warcraft to facilitate easier game play.  That the model of dual factions is outdated and we should all be able to group with whomever we want.

I do understand the mechanics behind such a request.  When someone has friends that have mains in the opposite faction it can be a hassle.  Faction swap might be an option if you have some friends over here and some friends over there.

Generally the rebuttals to this are something along the lines of, “But it’s World of WARcraft.” and “The factions can’t put aside their long histories.

But what if instead of merging the existing factions they disintegrated completely.  In Mists we saw the horde rip itself in two.  It easily could have been a wound that the faction failed to recover from.  Ironforge is in a similar position with trying to keep all the dwarf clans living in peace under one roof.  The reintroduction of the Highborn to Darnassus, and there has been strife in the Exodar over acceptance of the broken draenei.  All that is just in the Alliance.  If these cities go to war with themselves, then they can’t support the large group they are supposed to be a part of.

If this were to happen it would increase the amount of conflict and war in the setting, so that’s a plus, and the “but it’s World of WARcraft” argument doesn’t work.  Dissolving the factions also undermines the historical animosities, because those organizations that were involved wouldn’t exist in the same capacity.

Ather argument that I’ve heard is, “It wouldn’t make sense to have Orcs running around Stormwind.”  To that I say, it could be that each race has one or two other capital cities that they are still always considered at war with, no orcs in Stormwind, no worgen in the Undercity, etc.

What do you think?  Faction Pride or Factions Outdated?

TL;DR Ironforge should destroy itself in civil war and Gnomeregan should replace it as a capital city.  It’s in a much better location because it could have a submarine port on the coast.

GvsORC2

Gnomes in Hearthstone part 2!

Last week we talked about the primary characteristic of gnomes in Hearthstone, drawing cards.  There is another mechanic that gnomes have a lot of, buffing and debuffing.  When I started reviewing the cards I was surprised by how many gnomes buff.  I thought that buffing was just such a generic ability (a lot of these cards are pirates) that it wasn’t really a big deal, bug then, I compared them to goblins, and goblins almost NEVER buff.  So what does this tell us about gnomes?

I think it ties back into gnomes being engineers.  Drawing cards is analogous to inventing new devices.  Buffing is improving and enhancing existing things (a very important and often overlooked aspect of engineering).  There were 13 draw cards and now we have 11 buff/debuff cards.

The subtle and flexible theming in Hearthstone is great.  It expands on the Warcraft lore in a freeform way that is really fun and interesting to see.

WeeSpellstopperUsherOfSoulsTwilightElderTinkertownTechnicianSmall-TimeBuccaneerShrinkmeisterShadyDealerPlagueScientistEnhance-oMechanoCogmasterBloodsailCultist