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Old 02-26-2010, 09:50 PM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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Default Brief Review of "Stormrage" CAUTION: Major Stormrage spoilers inside

I posted a couple days ago that I was 130 pages in to Stormrage and that I wasn't liking it too much. Well DAMN did that book take a turn around. It gets much, much better in the second half. There was some SERIOUS lore progression in this novel.

Here's a brief synopsis of the story. Malfurion has been taken captive by Xavius, who's power is being magnified by an "ancient evil", most likely an Old God. Malfurion subtly manipulates the nightmares of allies in Azeroth to lead them to him to free him. He doesn't want to directly contact them so Xavius will not know of his plan. The Nightmare pretty much attacks the entire world, but once Malfurion is freed he enlists the aid of many important figures including Broll, Tyrande, Varian, Hamuul, Alexstrasza, and Ysera to defeat the nightmare. I won't detail how exactly he defeats the nightmare, because the story is pretty complicated. In the end he manages to kill Xavius and isolate the nightmare to the Rift of Aln, a region of the Emerald Dream that possibly reaches directly into the Twisting Nether. The Emerald Nightmare has been effectively destroyed and any corruption was sealed back to the rift.

Juicy plot points for the lore-heads:
-Broll is able to overcome his constant self-doubt and ascends to super saiyan druid level, i.e. his eyes start glowing gold
-Fandral Staghelm has been under the influence of the nightmare since the start of World of Warcraft!!! He was gathering morrowgrain as part of a secret plan to poison Malfurion's sleeping body. The only reason Malfurion survived was because Tyrande ordered her priestesses to constantly heal his body.
-The source of Teldrassil's corruption was a branch from Xavius (who was turned into a tree by Malfurion at the end of WotA) that was grafted onto Teldrassil. Malfurion managed to break this corruption and completely heal Teldrassil. Alexstrasza and Ysera bless Teldrassil as thanks for Malfurion saving the world again. Perhaps this is hinting at Nozdormu eventually blessing Teldrassil and giving the NE's back their immortality!
-We now know the fate of Ysera. She has been battling the Emerald Nightmare and has fortunately NOT gone crazy, unlike so many other characters in Warcraft lore recently. By the end of the novel she's actually recovered and back in Azeroth. Yay for not losing another aspect to the crazy disease!
-The Eranikus storyline begun in The Sunken Temple is wrapped up. He had been corrupted by the Nightmare, but he eventually sacrifices himself to free Ysera from her prison in the Nightmare.
-Malfurion and Tyrande finally get married, and the wedding section of the novel is actually very touching.
-Malfurion has now returned to his position as leader of the Cenarion Circle
-The book pretty much confirms there's an Old God underneath Azshara.
-Holy CRAP Malfurion goes nuts. He draws on the power of all of Azeroth and the Emerald dream plus the power of all druids on Azeroth to create a tempest to destroy Xavius. Ysera acknowledges in the end that he has done something that even she is incapable of. Here's exactly what she says,
"...but you, most of all, my Malfurion, have entered a new stage. When there is time...and I say when...you have a complex level of training to start, one which no other has faced before."

he responds "I look forward to your teachings, great one..."

Ysera responds "This is not something that I can teach your... this is something that must be learned by yourself. You have done what no other, not even I, could do."

This hints at some truly awesome things in store for Malfurion. He basically went Super Saiyan 2 for druids.
-Tyrande is a serious badass and plays a huge role in protecting Malfurion while he saves the world. I was just glad to see more Tyrande.

Now my critical review. I still stand by my criticisms of Knaak's writing. He's just overly descriptive of unimportant things, and it breaks the flow a lot. He also will describe the same thing using the same description over and over. For example I think he must've described what satyrs look like at least 5 times. He also has this extremely annoying habit of having two characters carry out a very cryptic conversation and then revealing what they're talking about after the fact. This forces the reader to go back and reread the conversation. Sometimes this can be several pages of rereading. It gets very annoying to say the least.

Often times he doesn't provide a clear description of how something "magical" is happening. Xavius cast a spell that wouldn't allow the female orc warrior Thura to pick up her magic ax that once belonged to Brox. Broll then take a branch from Xavius' tree and hit the axe with it and this broke the spell. What??? How the f*** did that happen? Oddities like this happen multiple times.

The cartographer Lucan has to be the single worst character I've ever read in a book. He has no personality whatsoever and he literally stumbles (and literally I mean literally) his way through the entire book in and out of the Emerald Dream and somehow manages to significantly contribute to saving Azeroth. He mysteriously is able to provide Ysera with a link to communicate with Malfurion when she is imprisoned. How does this happen you might ask? Who knows. I could tell this was going to be a terrible character when we are told he is a cartographer, but are given no reasons as to why or how this is related to his personality, because he HAS NO personality. A cartographer is also a hella lame job. He passes in and out of the Emerald Dream many times throughout the book and the reader has no idea where he is or where he goes. He doesn't either. He's just terrible.

Now, my criticisms being said, Knaak does an admirable job of very strongly connecting this book to the game and the larger Warcraft lore. I'm sure some of you guys will find some inconsistencies, but I wasn't able to spot any serious contradictions of established lore. We are familiar with many of the characters, and there are many references to in-game quests and events. It makes for a satisfying story that truly feels like it progresses the story of the entire Warcraft universe, rather than just feeling like a sidestory. The story as a whole was actually awesome, even if the there are serious problems with the writing.

One last point. I'm an alliance fanboy. I'm not too happy that he made Varian out to be a total jerk.

Honestly I wanted to write a longer review, but I'm running out of steam. If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:01 PM
Slowpokeking
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Looks like I got the opposite view, I think the beginning is fine, but turned very bad, repeating fights and super saiyanish.

PS: Erankius is not corrupted in the novel, he was cleansed by Tyrande in the Green Scepter shard quest line before, just ashamed of what he did and disguised as a black dragon.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:30 PM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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Originally Posted by Slowpokeking View Post
Looks like I got the opposite view, I think the beginning is fine, but turned very bad, repeating fights and super saiyanish.

PS: Erankius is not corrupted in the novel, he was cleansed by Tyrande in the Green Scepter shard quest line before, just ashamed of what he did and disguised as a black dragon.
Yah I actually remembered what you said about the beginning. Now that I think about it, I think it actually starts out strong and then goes downhill, but bounces back. Maybe my view is biased because I was having a lore-gasm towards the end of the book

Yes, you're right now about Eranikus. I should've been more clear about that. I didn't mean to imply he was corrupted in the book.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:34 PM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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Originally Posted by Slowpokeking View Post
Looks like I got the opposite view, I think the beginning is fine, but turned very bad, repeating fights and super saiyanish.

PS: Erankius is not corrupted in the novel, he was cleansed by Tyrande in the Green Scepter shard quest line before, just ashamed of what he did and disguised as a black dragon.

I noticed Knaak directly mentioned the issue you brought up about the undead experiencing the Emerald Nightmare. I honestly don't remember what his explanation was for it, but were you satisfied with it?
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:52 PM
Rolandius Rolandius is offline

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Originally Posted by Slowpokeking View Post
Looks like I got the opposite view, I think the beginning is fine, but turned very bad, repeating fights and super saiyanish.

PS: Erankius is not corrupted in the novel, he was cleansed by Tyrande in the Green Scepter shard quest line before, just ashamed of what he did and disguised as a black dragon.
Dragons can pretend to be other colors?

Why would he pick black? People might target him thinking he is really a black dragon.

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I noticed Knaak directly mentioned the issue you brought up about the undead experiencing the Emerald Nightmare. I honestly don't remember what his explanation was for it, but were you satisfied with it?
Did anything ever say what the Lich King was doing in regards to the Emerald Dream?
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:55 PM
BaskinRidge BaskinRidge is offline

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One last point. I'm an alliance fanboy. I'm not too happy that he made Varian out to be a total jerk.
Varian was fine in the story. Knaak didn't do anything out of character for him.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:07 AM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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Dragons can pretend to be other colors?

Why would he pick black? People might target him thinking he is really a black dragon.



Did anything ever say what the Lich King was doing in regards to the Emerald Dream?
He picked black, because most azerothians tend to avoid black dragons.

The novel takes place after the Battle for Undercity, but I don't remember whether it's before the Lich King's death. The only mention of the Lich King I can remember offhand is a nightmare that Sylvanas has in which he's torturing/killing her, but there might be a couple other small mentions of him. What he's actually doing up north with regard to it is not mentioned at all. When I'm back home and have the book I will check whether this is before his death or not.

I'm wondering how Blizzard will address the events of the novel in-game. The nightmare winds up killing many, many people. It affects every single major city. Teldrassil is cleansed so there shouldn't be lots of "tainted" baddies running around it anymore. I wander if they will change the world in Cata according to the events and if quests and such will reference them. It's such a huge event that I'm surprised it was made into a book and not an in-game patch or expansion.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:08 AM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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Varian was fine in the story. Knaak didn't do anything out of character for him.
Every other comment he made was about hating orcs, and he was rather rude towards Malfurion.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:16 AM
Rolandius Rolandius is offline

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I'm wondering how Blizzard will address the events of the novel in-game. The nightmare winds up killing many, many people. It affects every single major city. Teldrassil is cleansed so there shouldn't be lots of "tainted" baddies running around it anymore. I wander if they will change the world in Cata according to the events and if quests and such will reference them. It's such a huge event that I'm surprised it was made into a book and not an in-game patch or expansion.
Good question. They could add a lot of people in the cities going into comas with little Z's floating around their head. Were there any known major or even minor characters in the "many, many people" you mentioned that were killed? If not, Blizzard could just say it didn't affect the real Azeroth enough because they were just regular people. You are not the only one. A lot of people thought there would be an "Emerald Dream" expansion where we help fight against the Nightmare. I guess the Nightmare could always "grow" back.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:21 AM
BaskinRidge BaskinRidge is offline

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Every other comment he made was about hating orcs, and he was rather rude towards Malfurion.
Remember who you're dealing with here combined with the situation he was in. Varian's always been a fiery and commanding type guy in regular instances.

He doesn't really like orcs, and mostly for good reasons, past and present. Hell, the only time i've seen him say somewhat decent things about orcs was at the Theramore summit before that blew up, and when he complimented Saurfang Jr, which was more a father/son connection.

Add in the fact that his Stormwind was falling, something that's really touchy to him since he's seen it fall once before, and the fact that his son was in trouble, and we all know how close he is to his son. Then it's easy to say why he was edgy about things.

lol so he was a bit rude with Malfurion, big deal, Varian and his troops were getting their ass kicked badly and his city was falling once more. Hell, he had to kill a servant during that convo, something he admitted would add more to his nightmare collection. It's not like he didn't do what Malfurion told him to do.

Hell, in the end, it says Varian, among other leaders, were pressing for the marriage between Furion and Tyrande to be done soon despite the needed rebuilding to make sure everyone knew who truly saved them.

Theres some legit complaints about the book that I agree with, but I think that ones a bit much.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:30 AM
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It's after WotLK. Lich King was beaten.
I tried to put away my dislike of some important characters such as Furion when reading the book except the last chapter about their marriage.
I will compare it to RotLK, I thought RotLK got many problems, but at least did a better job on leading character's character development and no super saiyan stuff. Maybe because most of the stories of Arthas are in WC3 so it won't go out of control.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:34 AM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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It's after WotLK. Lich King was beaten.
I tried to put away my dislike of some important characters such as Furion when reading the book except the last chapter about their marriage.
I will compare it to RotLK, I thought RotLK got many problems, but at least did a better job on leading character's character development and no super saiyan stuff. Maybe because most of the stories of Arthas are in WC3 so it won't go out of control.
No wonder you didn't like the second half at all. It was nearly all Malfurion!
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:41 AM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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Good question. They could add a lot of people in the cities going into comas with little Z's floating around their head. Were there any known major or even minor characters in the "many, many people" you mentioned that were killed? If not, Blizzard could just say it didn't affect the real Azeroth enough because they were just regular people. You are not the only one. A lot of people thought there would be an "Emerald Dream" expansion where we help fight against the Nightmare. I guess the Nightmare could always "grow" back.
There were no characters killed that would have to be accounted for in-game. Some other major events to account for:
-I'm pretty sure though Fandral Staghelm won't be a faction leader.
-Ysera's return. Important because of the quests in Dragonblight at the emerald dragonshrine.
-Malfurion has returned. I hope they handle this better than they did Varian's return
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:50 AM
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No wonder you didn't like the second half at all. It was nearly all Malfurion!
I didn't blame this book for my dislike of character. Arthas is my favorite character but I thought RotLK was terrible when finished it first time and still think it has many problems now. I knew Furion would kick ass from the beginning. His part in the second half was better than Tyrande and other character's, like his fight with Fandral. Until the last battle, he went super saiyan. I won't think differently if it changes to some of my favorite characters.

In WC3 Hyjal, Furion mostly used not his raw power, but knowledge and wisdom to set a trap and took down Archimonde.
In WotA, he went superman a few times, but he was not too important in the whole war, which is still...ok.
Now in Stormrage, he just saved the world like a super saiyan. Well...
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:11 AM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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I didn't blame this book for my dislike of character. Arthas is my favorite character but I thought RotLK was terrible when finished it first time and still think it has many problems now. I knew Furion would kick ass from the beginning. His part in the second half was better than Tyrande and other character's, like his fight with Fandral. Until the last battle, he went super saiyan. I won't think differently if it changes to some of my favorite characters.

In WC3 Hyjal, Furion mostly used not his raw power, but knowledge and wisdom to set a trap and took down Archimonde.
In WotA, he went superman a few times, but he was not too important in the whole war, which is still...ok.
Now in Stormrage, he just saved the world like a super saiyan. Well...
It was pretty annoying how Knaak said "Malfurion reached deeper into Azeroth and the Emerald dream for more power" every 5 pages. I was thinking "oh come on, how many times is he just going to reach deeper. Can we be a little more creative here?"
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:53 AM
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Eranikus sacrificed himself, does this mean he is dead?
Then Ysera needs new consort :/
Hope she doesnt do like Malygos, capture som red dragon stud and force some gems on him making him green :S
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:38 AM
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If they were to add some event in-game, the best would make us to protect everyone sleeping, helped by those leaders that weren't affected.

Something like killing satyrs assaulting the city and stuff like that.

And just after that, the Twilight Hammer would appear around and start with the "world is ending!" thing.
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Old 02-27-2010, 06:54 AM
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I would love to have NPCs sleeped but i'm not sure how it would work in-game. Quests? AH? Guards? Banks?
Maybe if it only was for a few days it could work without massive, massive QQ from players.

Itharius for consort!
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:42 AM
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Eranikus sacrificed himself, does this mean he is dead?
Then Ysera needs new consort :/
Hope she doesnt do like Malygos, capture som red dragon stud and force some gems on him making him green :S
Yes, he destroyed Lethon with the cost of himself.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:06 AM
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so basically this book just tells how Malfurion ended the Emerald Nightmare. but from the looks of it and your comments i think that the Emerald Dream will end up being a Hero Class zone, most likely for training "super sayian 2 druids".
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:51 AM
Nozdormu Nozdormu is offline

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Yes, he destroyed Lethon with the cost of himself.
Lethon was that powerful? :S

What about the other emerald dragons? Are they...cleansed?
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:42 AM
dcr13 dcr13 is offline

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Lethon was that powerful? :S

What about the other emerald dragons? Are they...cleansed?
Lethon's strength was being enhanced by the nightmare.

Emeriss is also in the book. Emeriss also dies I think. Ysondre and Taerar are not in the book.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:56 AM
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There is one question i wish to ask and that is what has happened to Xavius has he died or just been defeated ?
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:59 AM
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"-The book pretty much confirms there's an Old God underneath Azshara."

I wonder what this means for Orgrimmar? Any connection to the warlocks in ragefire and what they are/were doing?
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:35 PM
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Both Lethon and Emeriss were actually, killed before the novel. But their evil shadow still resides in the Dream, Emeriss' shadow was cleansed by Tyrande and nothing left.

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There is one question i wish to ask and that is what has happened to Xavius has he died or just been defeated ?
He's destroyed, seems nothing left. But we can't say he won't come back for sure.
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