All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.
Last week, we discussed the mundane side of the Horde -- what a roleplayed character who has not traveled to Pandaria would see if he were to remain in Azeroth. We also discussed some alternatives to traveling to Pandaria that don't involve joining the militia as a happy member of the Horde's wrecking crew. The Horde side of the equation at the moment is not really a happy one, the various factions almost seem to splintering apart, with nothing to bind them together as a cohesive whole.
For the Alliance side of things ... there isn't quite as much to talk about. This shouldn't be taken as a bad thing, because it means that the Alliance is finally starting to stand together again. There's not as much to talk about, because the Alliance isn't really fracturing apart or experiencing any major upheavals from a political standpoint. This doesn't mean that a character remaining in Azeroth would have very little to keep him occupied, however.
Current politics and you
Regardless of your current character's whereabouts, it's likely he's heard tales of Pandaria. Now that the main militia has moved to the continent, there's apt to be far more discussion on the mainland about what's going on over there -- and what's going on with the Horde. The attack on Theramore wasn't just a tragedy, it was a blatant sign that the Horde has decided to ramp up their efforts and launch into a full-out war with the Alliance, which pretty much affects everyone. Combine that with the sudden appearance of a ton of new pandaren allies, and your character has a lot to think and chat about.
- Human The human race is finally starting to get back on its feet after the king's return. In patch 5.2, you'll notice that Stormwind's gates are finally repaired. While the old park remains a wreck -- it's kind of hard to fix a giant crater, after all -- the rest of Stormwind seems to be on an upward trend. Characters that keep tabs on politics may note that the militia has moved to Pandaria, and may also have heard tales of what Jaina Proudmoore has been up to in the wake of Theramore.
- Dwarves The dwarf political situation is still somewhat tense. After all, Magni's death caused a major upheaval in Ironforge, and the new Council of Three Hammers, combined with the new combination of three very different and distinct dwarf factions is still unsettling. Wildhammers, Bronzebeards and the Dark Iron aren't particularly known for getting along. This is something that may still be a subject of concern for dwarf players.
- Gnomes For gnomes, the situation is also more of the same at home. Gnomeregan is still not reclaimed, and the uneasy air in Ironforge makes it a little less appealing to call home. Gnomes are and always have been friends of the dwarves, but the tensions that showed up when the new Council was formed are difficult to ignore.
- Night Elves Tyrande Whisperwind has traveled to Pandaria to help with the war efforts on the continent. In addition, Darnassus was used as a place to hide the Divine Bell, an ancient artifact that the Horde wished to use for no good. But Horde forces somehow infiltrated the vast city and removed the Bell right under everyone's noses -- which raises the question of just how safe the civilians of Darnassus really are.
- Worgen Because the worgen are currently stationed in Darnassus, the events that the night elves have recently experienced also apply to worgen players. The worgen traveled to night elf territory because it was no longer safe to remain in Gilneas. But is Darnassus really the safe haven that it originally appeared to be? That Horde infiltration suggests that perhaps it isn't.
- Draenei The draenei have been by and large quiet this expansion. But one thing to note is that the Exodar seems to be repaired, according to the short story Prophet's Lesson. Despite the repair, the draenei are remaining on Azeroth. I would highly suggest that draenei players read Prophet's Lesson, because it offers a pretty eye-opening look into what the draenei are up to, and why they are still here -- and in all of that, gives a draenei roleplayer a heck of a lot to think about.
Pandaria on your own
For Alliance roleplayers seeking out a way to Pandaria that doesn't involve the military, there are a few possible ways that mirror the Horde's version of events. A contingent of night elves traveled to Pandaria much as the tauren did, arriving in Krasarang Wilds as a separate part of the main forces. Your character could easily have been a passenger on that particular journey. And again, Hemet Nessingwary and company traveled to the wilds of Pandaria as well, so it's not out of the question to suggest that a character may have hitched a ride with him.
As pointed out in the comments of the last article, there are also other ways your character could have arrived. In the wake of patch 5.1, it's natural that support ships arrived along with the main military, and your character could be one of those support people. A blacksmith, an alchemist, a baker -- the choice is entirely up to you, of course! But as a support role, your character needn't necessarily be a soldier at all.
In addition, both the Reliquary on Horde side and the Explorer's League on Alliance side have reasons to travel to Pandaria. The place is full of rare artifacts and history that we've never seen before. It only stands to reason that an explorer interested in the history of the world would have more than enough reason to head to the continent -- or a mercenary looking to plunder the riches of the world and sell it on the Black Market.
Why roleplay the mundane?
Another question brought up in the comments of the last article was why a roleplayer would deliberately choose to ignore the story of the world and play outside of the story that Blizzard has created. Blizzard has created a really good story in which any character can feel like a hero. But that heroic tale may not appeal to all roleplayers. Roleplay is an exercise in creativity -- and some roleplayers don't really want to play a character that is your standard hero. Given the open nature of roleplay, there's no reason that you really have to, if you don't want to.
This is done by looking at quests and counting them as out-of-character actions. While you as the player may play through all of those quests in the Jade Forest in order to level, your character didn't participate in any of those events, from an in-character perspective. It's much easier to roleplay when you can pick and choose what your character has and has not done -- and far less confusing to keep track of, in the long run.
So why would you choose to do something like that? It's all up to personal choice. Some people like playing the hero and roleplaying a character who is a really big deal -- someone who is fairly well-known and has seen all of the amazing events that have played out so far over the expansion. But sometimes, you don't want to play the hero, you just want to play an average person in Azeroth and see what that experience could potentially be.
Although Alliance players in Azeroth don't really have a lot of major story to consider like Horde players, this could almost be considered a welcome relief. The Horde experience at the moment is one of apprehension and tension. But from the Alliance side of the faction fence, while the world may not be perfect -- life in Azeroth is never perfect -- a man can still breathe a small sigh of relief that for the first time in years, things are starting to look up.
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.