Should Casters Use Their Weapons in Casting Animations?

Back at Gamescom2017, Ion Hazzikostas, @WatcherDev was answering questions on twitter. One of which was, “Isn’t now the best chance to add animations using the staves for caster classes (at least optionally)? That would be so great.” -@AlexCC94

The answer from Ion was, “Spells in Warcraft have historically been conjured, not channeled through weapons.”

I’m going to show my age and point out that weapons were used for caster animation in Warcraft 3 and they looked cool.

 

 

Uhhh… ok, maybe not that troll one in the middle… but the others look good!  Most of them are even just weapon swings with a particle effect.  It would seem like something like that might be easy to accomplish with cosmetic glyphs or transmog options.

Weapons could be used to denote a difference in what is happening, such as casting a spell vs channeling a spell.  You could make any number of arguments for when weapons would and would not be best utilized in casting animations, but I think all it boils down to casters wanting to see their weapons used in any kind of way other than a stat stick that never moves from their back/hip.

No matter how epic and awesome looking your weapon is, it is diminished if you literally never use it.

 

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Gnome Beliefs

Gnomes are not superstitious.  In a world with arcane magic, divine power, and interdimensional beings, these things are as natural as gravity, magnets, and electricity.  Gnomeregan lacks the mythological origin stories that other cultures use to inform themselves who they are.  For gnomes <unknown> is a valid answer until some mechanism that explains a phenomenon is demonstrated.

Gnome Philosophy struggles with different questions than other cultures.  This is primarily due to the fact gnomes want to understand how things work so that those properties can be harnessed to some effect.  Do origins matter?  Dwarves are very concerned with their origins, but gnomes are not, because that information does not provide much insight about how things currently function.  This peels back a layer and lets us see deeper into gnome philosophy.  “How” is a much more important question to gnomes than “Why” is.

Physics, medicine, and chemistry and the very common and well developed schools of thought in Gnomeregan.  They are things things that can be measured and applied in the physical world.  The tricky things that gnomes grapple with are morality, aesthetics, and the nature of existence.  Things that are innately abstract and don’t have obvious immediate application languish on the margins of gnomish disciplines.  Their philosophy is less about acquiring wisdom for understanding and more about attaining knowledge to achieve goals.

MekkatorqueandSuit2There is a Micro and Macro aspect to gnome individualism.  On the micro level is an individual gnome, made of of all of his or her physical parts, education, experiences, and expertise.  All these parts come together to form a complex being that can accomplish amazing feats.  Alone a gnome can create amazing things.  These creations are then seen as an extension of the self though intellect and craftsmanship.

Every individual gnome is expected to bring their best to any situation.  Any job that is necessary is important. This leads into their macro views.  Just like each gnome is made of smaller parts themselves, on the macro scale, each gnome is a small piece of a larger community.  This is one of the reasons gnomes don’t make many demands of the Alliance.  In their expandable views of the self, any success of the Alliance is a success for gnomes as a part of the Alliance.

Gnomish thought-leaders come in all types.  Gnomes that take on the roles of priest are not leading fields outside their role, however, they are important sounding boards for all gnomes no matter what the disciple.  If a gnome gets too involved in their own personal goals, it’s the job of a gnome philosopher to remind them that they have responsibilities and that their actions have impacts beyond themselves.  On the same note, they also guide gnomes that have lost focus and overextend themselves.

When soliciting feedback on ideas it’s also important to get multiple perspectives.  There are gnomes that specialize in positive encouragement.  Acting as a confidants, these optimists believe that there is a good idea at the core of any concept, and that it must be nurtured to realize it’s maximum potential.  Other gnomes are skeptical, asking many questions about how the idea is going to be brought to fruition.  It’s not that they are trying to discourage new ideas.  Instead they want to make sure that the idea has been considered in depth before resources are spent trying to make it happen.  Finally there are nay-saying cynics.  Gnomes that offer this kind of feedback tend to focus more on the applications of ideas and the motivations for implementing them more than the feasibility of the idea itself.

Gnomeregan credits a lot of it’s strength to the fact that all citizens have a door that is always open, a gnome to talk to about any idea and work through and explore the merits and drawbacks of all potential ideas.

Gnomish Sciomancers

Most gnomes don’t think much about the afterlife.  Attempts to contact and study those that have passed on generally yields inconclusive results, with one exception: Ghosts.

Ghost are real, as is the shadowlands.  They can be interacted with and examined through sciomancy.  At one time this lead to the formation of a group of gnomes who believed becoming a ghost was the only hope of an afterlife. (If not the ONLY hope, at least it was preferable to reintegration with the environment or oblivion.)  These gnomes became Sciomancers of the highest caliber.  Able to contact and control the spirits of the dead, and even enter the shadowlands.

While Gnomeregan had no official laws against Necromancy or Shadow magic at the time, the group was still looked down upon and outcast.  Most of these Scimomancers went north to Lordaeron to study at the school that became Scholomance, and were lost to the scourge.

Sciomancer2

The Friction Cult

“The Friction Devotion” is a small cult started by a gnome rogue turned priest named Dinomoda Skipssmas.  She taught that existence is a struggle of friction and viscosity: too much and everything grinds to a halt, too little and everything falls apart.  The light is an expression of heat, stasis, and order, while shadow is contraction, flow, and freedom.

The group quickly found a niche focusing on reducing friction, because so many gnome inventions are built around wheels and parts with a fixed point of rotation.  Early on they developed new formulas for shadow oils, and a HEAT Power Word that would stop machines that started running out of control. Unfortunately the shadow oils did not prove to be cost effective for there intended purposes, and inventors were unhappy with the results of using the HEAT Power Word on their devices because it frequently warped, melted, or fused parts.  One inventor was quoted to say that it would have been better if they had “..smashed the whole thing with hammer, at least I’d have some salvageable scraps!”

The group experienced a schism after one of their high ranking member, Faxflex Clutchwydth, purportedly produced a mathematical formula showing that their ultimate goal, to produce a friction-less substance, was impossible.  The teachings of Dinomoda Skipssmas were updated by her followers to suggest that finding something perfectly friction-less was an ideal and not meant to be taken as a literal goal.  Despite this update, there is still a small fundamentalist group working toward this ‘idealistic’ goal.

The majority of Friction Devotion members that remain continue to search for more efficient lubricants, and their configurations for braking systems are still taught in every level of gnomish schools.

frictioncult2

Gnome Priests – Power of Skepticism

Gnomes are notorious for not believing in any of the common religions on Azeroth.  Gelbin Mekkatorque himself, when presented with a mechagnome from Northrend, still could not be convinced to believe in the Titans.

For a long time gnomes did not practice the arts of the priest.  There was simply no faith to harness the power of, but in recent years it has been discovered that it’s not faith, but willpower that fuels the spells of a priest.  With that discovery, gnomes have been able to set about with a who new and different kind of holy healer, one who powers their magic with skepticism.

There is no denying that their is a life force on Azeroth.  It maybe called it the light, the loa, the ancestors, Elune, but in the end, there is a very real, verifiable and repeatable way to invoke this life force to heal allies.  There is also a psychic energy that can be harnessed and used to great effect to control or destroy enemies.

The fact that these two forces exist does that verify the mythologies and ‘gods’ that they are often associated with.  In fact, the wide variety of beliefs undermines the chances that any are correct.  If the light truly flowed from Elune, then human paladins would not be able to harness it to such efficacy.

Gnome holy priests are free thinkers, they study the theologies of all the belief systems on Azeroth.  They use the teaching and mythologies as a way to focus their minds to achieve success.  They don’t believe that Tir sacrifices this hand to fight against the darkness, but the imagery and the morality of the tale gives them a focus.  This leads to a situation where you might hear a gnome call out to anything from the loa to the naaru when healing their allies.

Gnome discipline priests are skeptics.  They have no use for the myths and legends that the holy priests use.  They study the light and shadow the same way that a mage would study arcane magic.  Both life force and psychic energy are naturally occurring phenomena that can be measured studied and understood.  They are able to channel their magics through confidence.  Their repeated testing and research have given them an understanding of how these forces are manipulated.

Gnome shadow priests are deniers and cynics.  They may not know exactly how their magic works, but that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that they know YOU are WRONG.  These gnomes use psychic energy to project their doubts and disbelief in to the minds of a target.  Once afflicted, the subject loses their own faith and their mind either submits to the will of the gnome, or is torn by the thought that everything they know and love is a lie.

Gnomes have no cultural concept of the divine.  They may not see value in the idea of worship, but these gnostics still possess the convictions and the strength of will to harness the powers of light and dark.

Skeptics

Goblin Religion – Karmic Debt

Karmic Debt.

I like to think that goblins believe in karma, the kind of karma that you can BRIBE.  I heard someone on a Blizzard panel use the word “tithe” to describe the entirety of the goblins religion, but I think a more fitting concept for them is indulgence.

Goblins are BIG risk takers.  That works well for them in their crazy anarcho-capitalist system.  I also imagine they are somewhat superstitious.  If the gnomes version of the belief in the light is loosely parallel to the force from Star Wars (“In my experience there is no such thing as luck”) then goblins are probably exactly the opposite, (cross your fingers and hope “luck be a lady tonight!”)

So then how would the karma play in?  If you have unfairly, through deceit or theft, come into some money, you can pay an indulgence to a local priest.  That priest does ‘good works’ with your ill gotten gains and clears you of any jinx that might be on you for the transgression.

Goblin orders are probably based around who and what they would bless. If you are a traveling merchant, you would probably pay your indulgences or tithes to priests of “Safe Journeys” who in turn use the money to maintain and repair things like roads and lighthouses. (Get it!?  LIGHThouses! ha ha ha)  This would be necessary if goblins are indeed anarcho-capitalists, because they probably are LOATH to pay anything like TAXES to take care of public goods.

The discipline priests would be the bookkeepers.  Human justice may be blind, but goblin (and gnome) Justice is meticulously measured through a  magnifying glass.  It’s a goblin discipline priest that is called in whenever a moral issue comes up that needs to be resolved, and a dollar amount needs to be calculated for a misdeed.

Goblin holy priests are spendthrifts.  They take the money the church brings in and spend it on the the biggest and best, whatevers (it doesn’t matter the shopping is the fun part, right?)  Their job is to make sure all the money the priesthood brings in is put to ‘good use’. Holy goblins are probably first in line when Griftah opens shop, but he won’t sell to them. He knows ripping off a goblin holy priest in the morning means a goblin SHADOW priest will come knocking that night.

Goblin Shadow Priests are cynical enforcers of Karma.  A tithe collected by a goblin shadow priest functions as spiritual protection money, or ‘oops’ insurance.

So that’s how I personally role-play my goblins faith.  It doesn’t match up with what’s in game very well, but it works really well for me!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tithe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism

GoblinPriests

((warning, this is head canon, THE WORST kind of head canon.  It directly conflicts with the official story))

Cool Stuff for Old Classes

My Tinker post got me thinking.  Horns, blindfolds and scales are cool options.  Glowing blue eyes are cool too (although, NOT actually an ‘option’)

What cool cosmetic things could other classes have?

Death Knight – WaroftheColossalBeastThe glowing blue eyes
are cool.  but the custom faces and hair colors are lackluster.

What could they use? Half skull! like in the movie “War of the Colossal Beast (1958)”  More skeletal features, maybe pustules like the super zombies.

Druid – DruidCustomDruids and character customization are not friendly.  Any option you give to the base model you have to give to the animal forms.  For some reason Animal forms are treated like individual creatures rather than as races, so it’s a lot more work to customize them.

Malfurion gives us a lot to work with.  Antlers are obvious, but we have plenty of transmogs to handle those.

Druids could ‘grow'(?) feathers and clawed hands and feet, maybe a beak if you like that.

Mage – Mages are mostly normal people. What could a mages have? Probably something floating around them, like ion stones.

Monk – I’m good with Monks because they already have full sets of custom animations that no one gets. That’s great! New Run/Walk/Stand animations might work to set them more apart, but making those look different AND natural could be a big challenge.

Paladin –PaladinRune I would like the see the Draenei share their forehead glow rune with other paladins. Make it a quest to go get blessed by a Naaru and it could change depending on which one you visit.

Priest – Thematically Priests and Paladins have been similar for a long time.

Priests could glow with an Aura that changes color based on race and spec, but I also want to stay away from too many particle effects.

Shaman and Warlock – For me these too classes have the problem of overlapping with the new Demon Hunters.

I would give shamans tattoos.  It would not be hard to make the tattoos look very different from the demon hunter ones.  A different set of colors alone would accomplish that.

Warlocks, all I can think of is horns and wings.

Hunter, Rogue, and Warrior – Hunter along with Rogue and Warrior are kind of generic.  Best I could think of was allowing rogues to scale down to be ~6 in. shorter, Warriors to scale up to be ~6 in. taller.

For Hunters… scars?  There is no reason to give hunters scars over the other two.  My warrior needs badass scars on his face like Varian, but I can’t imagine what to give hunters, without going back to the animal features available to Druids above.