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Sense of (Virtual) Space

Cold and clear here in Providence. And I have not left the house since Tuesday afternoon, almost a full week. But we shall remedy that as soon as possible.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,027 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." It's slow going, as this story is not set in one of my fictional universes, but in that of another author (I don't think I'm supposed to say who, not yet). Someone on Facebook had the gall to say, yesterday, that this constitutes "cheating," to which I reply "bullshit." I'd always much rather be playing in my own world and by my own rules, no matter how honored I might be at being allowed into that of another author. Staying true to their vision, not only the facts of that world but also the spirit of that world, it's no easy undertaking. I think I might be halfway through this story. If so, I should finish it on Wednesday.

And I'll post these links one last time, as there was another Solstice/Cephalopodmas gift inquiry yesterday evening. Here's the link to my Amazon wishlist, and here's the link to Spooky's. We are always just as happy to receive used copies of books, DVDs, and movies, by the way.

Back on Thursday, when the news went out that Kirkus Reviews is folding after seventy-six years (and I never got a bad review from them), I was dumbfounded and a bit saddened. After all, it's yet another sign that the publishing industry has been much healthier than it is right now. But, at the same time, I have been heartened to see that competent, literate bloggers who are also competent readers have begun picking up the slack. This has been more evident with The Red Tree than with any of my previous novels. Indeed, a number of the blurbs that will be included when the mass-market paperback is released next year will be from such blog reviews. Even as the easy chirping of Twitter and snarking of Facebook seem to be supplanting mass blogging, literary blogging seems to be coming into its own. For example, this morning I was greeted by this very fine review of The Red Tree at "The Black Letters" (even if it does deem me "snarly").

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So, last night Spooky and I took Suraa and Shaharrazad (respectively) away from Outland and into Northrend, by way of the Howling Fjord. And it seems only fair that I should bestow upon Blizzard some deserved praise, after yesterday bestowing all that deserved scorn. Which is to say that Northrend is fucking beautiful, and the quests are great. My impression so far is that this extension is a vast improvement over the mismatched chaos and chintz of The Burning Crusade extension. We've only made it as far as the Tauren encampment of Winterhoof and the southern slopes of the Grizzly Hills, but these environments are gorgeous. The graphics are of an entirely different level than those from Outland. We found ourselves pausing in gameplay last night, just to stare at the sun sparkling off the snow, or the aurora coruscating above the fjord, or the mist lying thick in the boreal forests. This is a far more mature and fully realized world than we've previously seen on Azeroth, and I hope that when the big Cataclysm reboot roles around in 2010, the whole world is given this sort of face lift. Because Northrend makes the rest of WoW look shabby and cartoonish, it's that good. Also, nice to be fighting the "good" fight against the Alliance again, and hopefully all that Aldor vs. Scryers crap is behind us. No more Argent Dawn, please.

Before heading off to Winterhoof, we relocated to the inn at Vengeance Landing, fought the Alliance bastards at the Derelict Strand and then went off to battle the Vrykul at Baleheim. By the way, I thought the Vrykul were especially well realized, though I'd have liked to see women among them. WoW has this habit of tossing races at you, races which exist primarily to offer up adversaries, and making every member of that race male. They've done it with the orges, the trogs, the kobolds, and so forth. Are we supposed to suspect that these races are hermaphroditic or reproduce by budding? Is this just more neglect of female gamers? Come on, the boys would love to see giant Vrykul boobies. Well, the gay boys probably wouldn't. Maybe that's it. WoW is pandering to teh gay...

Anyway, yes, Northrend is absolutely amazing.

And now I have to go write.

Comments

( 34 comments — Have your say! )
theswede
Dec. 14th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
I can assure you there will be boobies when you get further north. There are whole tribes of only women there, friend and foe alike. And Vrykul boobies as well. You have a lot to look forward to. =)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 14th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)

I can assure you there will be boobies when you get further north. There are whole tribes of only women there, friend and foe alike. And Vrykul boobies as well. You have a lot to look forward to. =)

Huzzah!
blakesrealm
Dec. 14th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
I had a feeling that you'd enjoy the sights and quests of Northrend. They really did an amazing job with the expansion, in both look and depth.

The other 'starter' area is the Borean Tundra and I think you'd enjoy that just as much if not more. In particular there are some quest chains I think you'd find very satisfying on that land mass.

Enjoy your explorations, and thanks for sharing.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 14th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)

The other 'starter' area is the Borean Tundra and I think you'd enjoy that just as much if not more. In particular there are some quest chains I think you'd find very satisfying on that land mass.

We're taking it slowly, making it last, but we'll get there eventually.
(no subject) - humglum - Dec. 14th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Dec. 14th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
scarletboi
Dec. 14th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
When you're done with Howling Fjord, I definitely recommend going over to Borean Tundra and doing the quests there, too. That area is intended for the same levels as Howling Fjord, and it's got a lot of really neat stuff going on. (and terrifying flying spider things).

Oh, also, it leads into Dragonblight, which features a quest chain that lets you fight with Sylvanas.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 14th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)


Oh, also, it leads into Dragonblight, which features a quest chain that lets you fight with Sylvanas.


Alas, Shaharrazad would never fight with her Dark Lady, and I really haven't time to level any of my Alliance alts that high. Is there not a quest chain that allows you to fight for Sylvanas? Or...wait...is that what you meant to start with? I'm feeling painfully dense today.
(no subject) - scarletboi - Dec. 14th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - lee_in_limbo - Dec. 14th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Dec. 14th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
martianmooncrab
Dec. 14th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
the orges, the trogs, the kobolds, and so forth

its not polite to ask their gender, makes them all cranky...
lee_in_limbo
Dec. 14th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Oops, sorry for the bad HTML up there.

Just adding my voice to the throng. Northrend is almost flawlessly fabulous from start to finish, whichever way you come in, especially now that they're adding more content to Icecrown (my least favourite zone in the game, though it's incredible what they've achieved on a technical level; the zone is huge, and the major quest chains are phased, kind of like instances, where the immediate area is significantly and permanently changed by the end of each chain). And I agree that, if Cataclysm revamps Azeroth to the level of Northrend, I'm going to be one very happy camper.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 14th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)

and the major quest chains are phased, kind of like instances, where the immediate area is significantly and permanently changed by the end of each chain).

Phasing environments is something that I think would greatly benefit the game as a whole. It would help to remove much of that air of futility I often feel ingame.
(no subject) - lee_in_limbo - Dec. 14th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 14th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)

I've always felt rather love/hate about WoW, and you express that perfectly. Then again, you have *such* a way with words.

It's my one magic trick.
amethyst_clan
Dec. 14th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
I agree on Northrend being much more gorgeous than Azeroth and the Outlands. And I can't even run WoW on maximum video capabilities 'cuz I run it on a laptop with an integrated video card. If I ever get a new computer, it's going to be a gaming computer, and I fully expect to sit in front of my computer, slack-jawed with awe at the pretty that is WoW running at maximum video specs. XD

(I got a preview of it at my brother's house.)

No more Argent Dawn, please.

There are quests in Zul'Drak and Icecrown that deal with the Argent Dawn. But because the areas overlap so much, level-wise, you can easily avoid those quest chains. I didn't really even get into Zul'Drak or any of the higher level areas until well after I hit 80. Granted, I do as many quests as possible in an area.

I highly suggest doing as many quests in Dragonblight as possible. There are some nice story chains there. I don't know if the best one is still in the game (the one that caused the abominations in UC to be replaced with Kor'kron Guards with 3.3) though I really, really hope it is. That was easily probably the best quest chain in the entire game.

There are tribes of female Vrykul. They're just in the Stormpeaks (mainly). You even get to run around as one for a series of quests!
chris_walsh
Dec. 15th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Staying true to their vision, not only the facts of that world but also the spirit of that world, it's no easy undertaking.

Hell, I know that just from things like the one time I tried to imitate Rickey and G-Man in a birthday note to docbrite. So I have an inkling of what you thought about. (And by the way, part of what hooked me on your work was From Weird And Distant Shores, and that's a full book of reminders that you can do this playing-in-other-writers'-universes stuff well.)

(even if it does deem me "snarly")

But if you had fangs, then you'd WANT to snarl! (I can picture you with fangs.)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 15th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)


But if you had fangs, then you'd WANT to snarl! (I can picture you with fangs.)


Oh, I've had fangs. Many, many times....
cynical_ghost
Dec. 15th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
After playing through Northrend (and all of the zones are beautiful and different), going back to Old Azeroth feels like walking through a coloring book. It makes me anxious and excited to see how they will change it all in Cataclysm.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 15th, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)

going back to Old Azeroth feels like walking through a coloring book.

Yes!
opalblack
Dec. 15th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
I don't like the cover of The Red Tree much at all. So I made a new one.
http://kalimayablack.deviantart.com/art/The-Red-Tree-cover-146835390

(repost for whoopslinkfail)
natf
Dec. 16th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Well, no Argent Dawn as such but you do have the Argent Tournament to come up in Icecrown…

Edited at 2009-12-16 02:37 am (UTC)
( 34 comments — Have your say! )