Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In-game items in honour of bloggers – who’s next?

It’s been a while since last time we saw it, but now it appears as if Blizzard is going to give a shoutout to a prominent community member by naming an item in the game after them.

Frostheim, the columnist at WoWinsider, who also runs a hunter blog and co-hosts a podcast, has apparently dropped his cloak somewhere, but it will soon be found again in the form of the epic drop Recovered cloak of Frostheim.

This is not only well deserved, but also encouraging to the rest of the blogging community.

It may appear as if Blizzard doesn't pay much attention to the work we do, the ideas and opinions and the knowledge we share for free with the rest of the community, the passion and effort we put into it. I’ve bashed them previously for the lack of interest they’ve displayed.

But when those things happen you start to wonder if they might actually be listening after all, sneaking around, hiding silently in the dark corners, taking notes, reflecting, getting a few insights on the way and hopefully a few laughs as well. At least I’d like to think so.

Phaelia and BRK
We’ve seen this kind of gestures a couple of times before. What comes to mind is of course Phaelia at Resto4life, who was honoured with Phaelia’s Vestments of the Sprouting Seed when she closed her shop after getting pregnant.

And a few months later, the most famous and loved hunterblogger through all those years, BRK, got a gun named after him, BRK – 1000, which even smelled faintly of raspberries. (BRK had a thing with those.)

What makes the case of Frostheim different to BRK and Phaelia though is that he hasn’t announced that he’s quitting blogging, at least not as far as I know of. And I think that’s a good thing. It means far more to get this kind of recognition and encouragement when you’re still active in the community and playing the game than to get it as some sort of farewell present, once you’ve decided to move on and leave it behind you.

If you ask me I think Blizzard could be more generous than they are in naming items after people in the community. How many items are there in the game? Thousands and thousands! Not everyone would have to get an epic item. It could be ordinary grey or white items, which actually would last longer than an epic drop that will get outdated and never-to-be-seen as soon as the raiding moves to the next tier of content.

The case of Breanni
My favourite nod to the community in game is not an object at all - it’s an NPC. Of course I’m thinking of Breanni, the pet shop keeper in Dalaran, who is a reference to the creator of Warcraft Pets. Obviously an NPC has a longer life than an item, but this one is more than that: it’s an NPC that doesn’t stand idly on one spot but reaches out to you. Even these days when very few bothers about going to see her in Dalaran, Breanni will keep sending letters, as when you complete the meta-achievement for pet-collecting or when you get your Core-hound pup.

How awesome isn’t that? If you’d like to know more about the real person behind Breanni, I suggest you read the interview with Brian, which is his real name. (Yep, he’s a guy. As opposed to what some players think, collecting non-combat pets isn’t necessarily something girlish).

Who’s next?
The question is: who’s next? Who in the WoW community would you like to see honoured in game with an item, an NPC or in some other way?

I have one favourite candidate: Tim Howgego, who has created El’s Extreme Anglin’, the one and only resource you need to improve your fishing. Make him a hat, a lure, a quest or an npc named “El”. Whatever. He’s not only the biggest fishing enthusiast and source of knowledge out there; he also manages to transfer a bit of this enthusiasm into the community. Which is quite an achievement considering how exciting fishing really is as a gaming experience.

Oh, and I’d totally love to be able to buy or bake a Tobold Cookie. Eat it and increase your intellect for an hour. Pretty obvious.

Edit: After publishing this, it has been brought to my attention that there is another blogger who has been honored in the game, namely Mania from Mania's Arcania and the hunter pet resource site Petopia. The reference to her beats anything I've heard of so far in terms of coolness.

You're not likely to have encountered her since it's a rare one, the silithid Aniamiss the Hive Queen. Take away the -iss ending and read it backwards. Or you could read it as "Mania is the Hive Queen".

It's very discrete and totally adorable!


Rades said...

I would highly agree that an El item, NPC, fishing pole, etc. is long overdue! Let us wear El's Anglin' Hat as a reward from new fishing dailies, something!

Mania at Petopia would also be a great candidate/example of someone who's provided an amazing resource for the community, though that's a little more Hunter-specific.

Keeva said...

I took the bull by the horns and named my blog after an item!

I still occasionally get people excitedly writing to me to tell me that they found a Tree Bark Jacket in the game :P

Redbeard said...

Oh, there could be so many unique little items floating around WoW if they were to name things after bloggers.

Tam and Chas' Really Righteous Orb comes to mind as an offhand. Hell, make a Gerrold's Candle while you're at it.

Mania said...

Rades: I already have something named after me, but thank you. ;)

Keeva: That's an amazingly smart idea!

Klepsacovic said...

If you're not an innkeeper in the next expansion, I will be greatly offended.

Anonymous said...

The NPCs Caylee Dak, Ahab Wheathoof and Captain Armando Ossex are the true testaments of Blizzard's reflection of players.

Shawndra said...

Chelley's Staff of Dark Mending is an in game tribute to Michelle Madison of Warcraft Outsiders/Video Game Outsiders podcasts. Thought that was a neat one :)

I'd love to see a Larissa handing out hearth stones in a truly lavish inn someday. *crossing fingers*

Archangel said...

This was on my mind for some time now. El definitely deserves an ingame item. And for the record, in my book, El > Nat Pagle.

Larísa said...

@Mania: I had a vague memory of you being honored in game, so I googled it and looked in Wowhead but I couldn't find it and decided it must have been something I had dreamed up. I'd appreciate if you could help me out with the reference so I can include it in this post.

It's interesting though, isn't it... Of five honoured blogger/community people, three are hunter-related. OP hunter blogs!

Larísa said...

: Tsss... you silly.

But actually there IS an innkeeper in the game that almost carries my name, at least according to Wowhead. I just found out.

I haven't looked her up in person to verify her existance. She's called Larisal and has her place in Wetlands. However according to the image it's a hot nightelf chick and nothing like me. Or rather she looks like my druid alt Arasil, and her name is like my rogue alt Arisal. So I guess I could relate a little to her anyway. I definitely have to check out that place. Perhaps I could pretend it's mine, even though I know for sure it isn't.

Rhii said...

El would be an awesome candidate for sure, and like the others, there's something very recognizeable to associate him with. I'd be very excited to pull "El's old pole" out of my fishing reward some day!

I think Big Bear Butt is possibly someone who might deserve the honor also.

And though I seem to recall there being some offical Blizzard unfriendliness toward Matticus, I think bringing the WoW community World of Matticus, No Stock UI AND PlusHeal is a pretty big deal!

tankforlife said...

"...they might actually be listening after all, sneaking around, hiding silently in the dark corners, taking notes, reflecting..."

This is probably truer than you think.

From the Ask the Devs question list:

Q: What is your favorite escape/distraction when you arent working on WoW?

A: "...being spinal tapped to Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan;..."

It's good to know that probably everything people post on reddit for example gets read by some part or another of the Blizz WoW team.

Syl said...

I have some favorite bloggers for obvious reasons, but I doubt Blizzard cares for them much. =/ The people who get NPCs usually contribute to WoW in form of resources, guides, very class-specific content etc. and I prefer blogs that are more about individuals playing the game and their experiences and thoughts on it.

But if I had to name someone that contributes in such ways regularly and for a long time, I'd also go for Matticus. WoM and Plusheal have been the 'place to go' for WoW's healing community for years now.

Tim Howgego said...

You're making me blush again, Larísa.

To my knowledge all the "people" honored in this way have been United States citizens. Can anyone point to a non-US example I'm not aware of? Certainly there are some very prominent Europeans that are conspicuous by their absence. Kungen (of Nihilum fame) struck me as an obvious example of a player that is as well known as any. Tobold, yourself, I could go on, are all well known Europeans.

So I suspect that's a legal policy decision. Likely a reflection on the biases in property (and I suppose contract) law between the US and Europe. In a nutshell, if Blizzard added "El" in a fishing capacity, I might (that is, in theory) claim a proportion of their earnings from WoW for the unlicensed use of "my image". In the US the player contract and Blizzard's absolute ownership of the software would likely invalidate such a claim. But in Europe the law doesn't give as much strength to contracts where they conflict with an underlying person's right, and isn't so cosy about the idea of MMOG software as a fixed intellectual property. The situation in Europe seems less clear, hence caution.

(Needless to say, this is a fascinating topic, with (if I'm only half right) huge implications for 21st century society. I started researching this a while ago, but the issue rapidly ceases to be legal, and starts to become philosophical, because it challenges some of the basic enlightenment logic that determines the current law: "Though the Earth... be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person." - Locke, 1689. For a long time I've struggled with the notion that little El is more famous than the human me, and in postmodern, relativist currency, she is more of a "man" than I am.)

Anonymous said...

Kungen might not be in the game, but he is a Trading Card at least ;)

Yaggle said...

There is a new horde quest reward called 'wand of the groady goblin'. I sent e-mail to Gevlon about it but maybe he already heard about it or thought I was being mean. But he has called out Blizzard on a few things(rightfully so) so it's possible that the item was named for his blog. The horde quest is called "Siegebreaker". I think it's really cool when they name somebody, or something, in the game after a blogger, no matter whether it's nice or not-so-nice. 'Infamous' is just 'famous' with two silly letters added. And I do miss the BRK videos, those were fun.

Anonymous said...

You're in the game, Larisa - I kill you in Tol Barad almost every day. The mages in the keeps between battles are little gnomes with pink pigtails, who blink around and cast arcane missles a lot.

Copra said...

There are dozens upon dozens of bloggers, too, and only few of them get their spot in the fame: in a way I can understand it all, but doesn't it put the rest of us into even deeper shade?

I thought Larisa was already there, if not she definitely should be. And Matticus would get my vote, too, even though he has become a bit obnoxiously self centered.

C out

Klepsacovic said...

You say I'm silly, and then you say that there's a not quite at all you inkeeper. Don't you get it? They're taunting you! What jerks.

Jen said...

Not exactly a blogger, but it looks like a pet collector's name (drrum/michelle) was used for a pet vendor that's going to go live in 4.1. More details at Quintessence's blog, I don't claim credit for this find :)

Syl said...

the coolest inn in all of wow is of course the lion's pride in Elwynn forest - if that featured a pink-pigtailed bartender (in a red medieval dress!) on top, that would be a reason for me to log into wow again sometime!

she could offer a mini-game besides ale or wine - maybe bashing pixies with a huge tumbler? ;)

Darthregis said...

My vote would go for Big Bear Butt.

"Pants of the Surly Bear"
Leather Agility pants of some sort, of course. With some little note in yellow text:

"The posterior of these pants seem to be rather large."

Mania said...

Tim, that's fascinating info about the difference in EU laws in this respect. You have got to do a full-fledged post on that on your non-WoW blog (so I can quote it on mine).

Larisa: My 'namesake' is subtle enough that it's up for debate - which suits me just fine. I'd be disturbed by a stable master named Mania, I think.

At any rate, some people believe that the rare boss-style silithid Ainamiss the Hive Queen is an indirect reference to me, since once you pop off the '-iss' silithid ending the name is Mania backwards. (Or, if you prefer, 'Mania iss the Hive Queen'.)

Personally, I think a rare silithid is way cooler than an innkeeper - no offense. :)

Larísa said...

@Klep: I actually went to see this innkeeper Larisal in game. She exists. The worst innkeeper ever. She doesn't sell any beer! Not even goat milk! I certainly don't have ANYTHING to do with her.

Glyph, the Architect said...

Aldriana's Gloves of Secrecy

Kierbuu said...

Would kind of like to see a nice tanking mace for Honor of the retired "Honorscode" paladin tanking blog.

Of the current group of bloggers not yet mentioned... maybe a nice trinket named after resto shaman Vixsyn from "Life in Group Five".

Larísa said...

@Rades: Mania obviously already had one! As I’ve been updated on. But El – yes to that.

@Keeva: That’s smart!

: I think there are some more like that… The Jenkins achievement not the least. This time I was focusing on the ones that are more connected to blogging/websites rather than to individual players.

. That’s cool! Didn’t know about that.

: Yep. I think El has a strong support.

@Rhii: BBB would get my vote too for his long service as a sort of community father.

: I noticed that too. I’m not on reddit myself though and don’t know how it works. Will stuff from the blogosphere be picked up there somehow?

@Syl: yeah, the ones they honour are normally the ones that provide useful information rather than opinions.

And how awesome wouldn’t it be to have an inn with a gnomish innkeeper with pigtails. It really wouldn’t have to refer to anything, but I like the idea. And yes, the inn in Goldshire holds a special place in my heart. Although I’m a little bit closer to the one in Darkshire. There’s something about the shadows and darkness luring outside that I like. A place of light and laughter and friendship and relaxation in a hostile world…

@Tim: That’s an interesting aspect. And a bit unexpected to me – I never thought of European as particularly aggressive about copy rights. This is exactly the opposite of what I would have thought. I’d totally love to see some more philosophical ponderings about this. You’ve been slacking terribly on your blog lately…. (Yes, this was a less-than-subtle-hint.)

: He is, although he’s more of a player than a blogger. (He DOES blog occasionally but I don’t think that’s why he got his award.)

@Yaggle: Hm… weird. Why would they call it groady rather than greedy though? But maybe, maybe… you never know.

: Hehe yeah sort of. But honestly pink pigtailed gnomes are rather abundant. And for a good reason! Irresistible.

@Copra: On the whole I think we’re all in the shade to be honest. After all this is such a narrow, small little world that we’re operating in. If a blogpost is read by a few hundred readers among millions of players you can consider yourself “successful”. But are you, really?
The famous aren’t as famous as you think imo.
March 16, 2011 1:31 PM

@Jen: That’s nice! Thanks for the heads-up!

: Lovely pants! They have my vote!

Lily said...

I'd like to think that the information given by blogs and video sites is nearly essential for the success of World of Warcraft in general. It's like the directional component of the development stage vector.
Sure, the feedback given in terms of subscribers dropping or rising when they implement new features is a sign of where they have come from each iteration, but the direct objective feedback of the users must be invaluable.

Orthien said...

You also missed Satrina from Tankspot and various addons who got a tanking trinket in ToC when BRK got his gun.
For future bloggers to get one;
BBB would be a big vote he does a lot around the place even outside of the blog.
Matticus is an obvious other choice for his work over the years on healing.
I agree with you the El should get something I am really surprised he hasn't yet.
I think Rhidach from Righteous Defense should get one hes come a long way over the past year to bringing new and views out for Pallys.
Of cause the obligatory you Larisa for all your work here.

I also would like to see for personal reasons;
Honorshammer get something for being one of the original big Pally bloggers.
Scott Johnson for his work on The Instance.
Finally Theck from Maintankadin for his huge contributions to Prot Pally theory crafting.

I just hope that if they give a Pally blogger an item its not used as yet another attempt to make cheep class shots.

WoW loot cards said...

If they were going to name a thing after Gevlon of greedy goblin I'd think it'd have to be Goblin Banker surely.

Deip said...

Love your blog, so I thought I would break my lurking with this. As someone who is taking discrete (or sneaky as my friends and I call it) math right now, when you say "It's very discrete and totally adorable" at the end I think you mean discreet (sneaky) as opposed to discrete (separate, not continuous). Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

There is a new Guild Vendor in Silvermoon named Larissia ..