Episode #27 – “The Women of Questing”

Episode #27 – “The Women of Questing”

Jan 14
Elf cheering by Mountaineer Pebblebitty, dwarf on a ram.

Mountaineer Pebblebitty, one of the lesser known quest givers of history.

Our twenty-seventh features Tzufit and Apple Cider  talking to Akabeko of Red Cow Rise about some of our favorite women of questing. We go over little-known NPCs from all expansions and talk about women’s stories through the course of doing quests.

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Below the cut is a full transcript of Episode 27, “The Women of Questing.” Many thanks to @IviaRelle for transcribing this episode.

Tzufit: Hello there, and welcome to Justice Points. This week we will be discussing some of our favorite and in some cases lesser known lady NPCs and quest-givers! And to help us discuss that today we have a very special guest with us. Akabeko, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Akabeko: Hello everyone, my name is Akabeko, and… let’s see, I’ve been playing WoW since early 2008, so it’s been kind of a while.

Apple Cider: Awesome. Tzufit, that’s about when you started, right?

Tzufit: Yeah, I think I was probably- that was around the end of BC, right?

Apple Cider: Uhhh, I believe so, yeah.

Akabeko: Yeah, right at the tail end, right before Wrath was coming out, so I was basically being carried through Karazhan and other things to be geared up quickly in time for the new expansion.

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: You’re still wrath babies to me.

Tzufit: So what are some of your favorite things that you like to do in-game?

Akabeko: I really like achievements and rep grinding, which sounds weird and repetitive but it’s sort of like a thing where I can get into my zone and just work on repetitive things over and over again.

Tzufit: Huh, OK, that is not an answer that I generally hear or expect. (Chuckling) So, out of curiosity then, what are some of your favorite rep grinds that you’ve done? What makes a rep grind fun for you?

Akabeko: So, I did the insane rep grind before they took out some of the requirements to get it, so I did a lot of Dire Maul runs, I pickpocketed a lot of dudes in a zone that I’ve now forgotten, but it gave me an opportunity to turn off and put on a podcast or put on music and just focus on something else while my hands did another thing, which is a useful relaxation technique for me.

Tzufit: That’s cool! I know the one time that I’ve had a really fun time with a very grindy rep grind (laughing) was my shaman, when she hit 68 instead of going to Northrend I was like, you know what, I really want to do- um- oh gosh, now I’ve blanked on the names of them- Skyguard rep, and then what’s the other one, the Draenei out in Nagrand?

Apple Cider: Oh, the Kurenai?

Tzufit: Yeah, Kurenai. So I really wanted to do Kurenai and Skyguard ‘cause I had never done those before and I wanted the mounts for her ’cause she was a Draenei lady and it seemed like that should be something she should have, so I did those two and particularly Kurenai because, you know, you can- Kurenai doesn’t really have any dailies, you just do the quests and then you grind and grind and grind and get all your Ogre beads and kill lots of Ogres, so I did that and it was the same kind of thing where it was nice, like you zone out, maybe you watch some TV, you listen to music, and you just kill a whole lot of Ogres or whatever the case may be.

Apple Cider: Yeah, it’s- that’s one of the things that has gotten me through a lot of rep grinds in the past, especially pre-changes in rep grind as well. It’s just, yeah, you can just zone out, like I would zone out and do loops of Blackrock Spire on my rogue and, you know, pickpocket boxes and stuff like that. But, you know, screw Dire Maul! Never wanna go back there EVER again! (Laughing)

Akabeko: Agreed.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: OK, so that said, obviously you don’t like the Dire Maul rep- what is that, Shen-something?

Apple Cider: Shen’dralar.

Tzufit: Shen’dralar, yeah.

Apple Cider: It was also for Goblins at the time.

Tzufit: So obviously you don’t like that one, are there any other rep grinds you’ve done that you really, like, I’m never doing that one again?

Akabeko: Um… so, this is probably just because I really stopped doing any sort of group cooperative dungeoning the last year and a half, but when I was doing the Dominance Offensive dailies, there was one part where they would send you down into a pit and you had to, like, deal with ghosts and stuff and there were some aspects of those quests that I straight up could not do by myself, or- you know the- where you have to kill the floating crystal and then a bunch of ghosts come out as you’re killing it and then the ghosts are killing you? So, for the first, let’s say, two or three months that I was working on this every other day, every third day sort of thing, I would start to kill the crystal and just barely at the end I would kill it and then the ghosts would kill me, so I’d have to run back and hope that I could still collect my loot so I would actually get credit for having done it, but until I was able to buy one or two new pieces of gear, that was the most infuriating experience.

Tzufit: I’ll bet! Yeah, that was my experience with Dominance Offensive for Horde, and then for Operation Shieldwall, the Alliance counterpart, and also with Battlefield Barrens in the patch- I guess two patches after that? ‘Cause Throne of Thunder was in between. Like, all- well, basically, all of the dailies in Pandaria prior to Timeless Isle, I had that experience on undergeared alts of, like, this sucks. (Laughing) Like, unless I have a friend to do this with, on an undergeared alt, these dailies are really no fun at all.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Akabeko: Yeah, it was a surprising level of difficulty for what I assumed was a solo experience.

Tzufit: Yeah, I mean, I know they’re really looking into how they want to handle dailies in Warlords, and trying to figure out that sweet spot between having way too many of them and still having something for people to do at end-game, but that- I feel like the difficulty level really needs to be reassessed too, because dailies are one of the few things that you really can do with consistency on alt characters, and that just was not true at all this expansion. But anyway, major tangent there, so… sorry.

Apple Cider: This is gonna turn into the Golden Lotus Dailies Suck podcast.

Akabeko: Oh my god.

Tzufit: (Laughing) OK, so, we will jump into our main topic here in a second, but just quickly, for people who maybe have seen you around on Twitter or seen your blog, can you tell us a little bit about where you are on the internet and how people can find you?

Akabeko: Uh, yes, I am blogging with some consistency at redcowrise.blogspot.com, and I tweet at redcowrise.

Tzufit: I think blogging with some consistency is really a noble goal, at this point.

Apple Cider: Yeah, exactly.

Tzufit: That’s about what we can all push ourselves toward, so. OK, so let’s- let’s dive right in, and- I think this is a fascinating idea for a topic, because we do see SO many quest givers and so many NPCs on a daily basis, and depending on what kind of a quester you are you may breeze past them without paying much attention to their names or their gender or anything about their story whatsoever, but there are always those people along the way that really make you stop and pay attention for one reason or another. It might be that their quest is really fun or that they have really cool dialogue, but there are quest givers who kind of stick with you, and so it was fun to try and think through some of those when Aka suggested this topic. So, since you were the one who suggested it, why don’t you tell us just a couple of your favorites from along the way?

Akabeko: So, the first one that really jumped out at me, because I started playing as a Tauren, was the Greatmother Hawkwind quest which, I don’t know if anyone remembers that, but pre-Cata she- rather, you would go and get some water for her at the well, and then post-Cata you end up logging in and attending her funeral, so-

Tzufit: Oh my gosh!

Apple Cider: Ohh!

Akabeko: Sorry, spoilers!

Tzufit: I haven’t done the Tauren quest area since Cataclysm. I do remember- I mean, I wouldn’t remember her by name, but I remember having to run over to the well and get water. What happened?!

Akabeko: She was old.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Ohhh! (Chuckling)

Akabeko: I think, I’m pretty sure that was the only thing they mentioned.

Apple Cider: I’m surprised. Women don’t usually live to be old-age dying in World of Warcraft. They usually go far, far, far earlier than that.

Tzufit: Well, as soon as they have a baby.

Apple Cider: Yeah, exactly. (Laughing)

Akabeko: So yeah, she did make it that far, and I think the last thing you do is, like, you actually end up bringing her a jug of water to the pyre and it’s all very emotional!

Tzufit: Ohhhh

Apple Cider: Ohhhh!

Tzufit: That’s so sad! OK, so that’s- that’s definitely a good one, in terms of, I like the circle of life thing that’s happening there.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Even if it’s very sad. (Laughing)

Akabeko: It’s nice to be able to, I guess, when you attend her funeral everyone’s sort of talking about her and you can tell that everyone really respected and revered her, so you’re like, aww, I miss her too.

Tzufit: And it’s nice to see- I mean, you certainly see women in places of power in Tauren society, it seems like, but it’s nice to have a woman that the whole village obviously was very fond of and looked up to and recognized her as wise and powerful.

Akabeko: Indeed.

Tzufit: I know I have some similar feelings about- and I don’t even know any of their names, but I love a lot of the Gnomes in the Gnome starting area who are just, like, very gung-ho about the fact that they’re going to take back their city and they have cool gadgets, and, like- you know, Gnomes are always a favorite for me because they’ve been through so much. Like, Gnomes have a really terrible and sad backstory, but they’re so focused and they always rally and that’s one of the things I like about the Gnomes and particularly the lady Gnomes in the starting area, ’cause like, they’re so- they’re so happy to be there working on liberating their city, even though there’s a lot of really sad things that go into that process.

Apple Cider: There- and there seems to be quite a lack of Gnome women quest givers that don’t exemplify Blizzard trying to make a joke. So, when you actually run across Gnome lady quest givers who are funny and cute but not joke-y or act like little kids, it’s kind of refreshing- a refreshing taste, and I know I’m gonna mention one of them later on in the show. So, it’s, you know, it’s always nice to see other Gnomes, especially as a Gnome player (chuckling) that don’t make you feel silly.

Tzufit: So, any other big favorites of yours, Aka? Quest givers or NPCs that you run into along the way?

Akabeko: Well, they’re actually more starting zone people, but I really liked Sassy Hardwrench.

Tzufit: Oh yeah.

Akabeko: Who you meet in the Goblin starting zone, as your extremely capable assistant?

Tzufit: It’s embarrassing that she’s your assistant because she’s obviously so much better at everything than you are.

Akabeko: Yes.

Tzufit: Like, why are you not her assistant?

Apple Cider: Yeah. (Laughing)

Tzufit: Every quest that you get in that zone that progresses- I mean, let’s be honest, Sassy Hardwrench is the reason that you as a player Goblin are alive.

Akabeko: You’re right.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: Plus, considering the whole story is that you’re supposed to be a potential for Trade Prince, I dunno, it just makes you out to be such a really overly important player character, it might have even been better to have the player sort of play second fiddle to Sassy Hardwrench so you could sort of be like, oh, she’s gonna be the Trade Prince, aww man it didn’t work out, but it wouldn’t be such a personal story.

Tzufit: Yeah, we’ve talked about that a little bit before, I think. It is- it is really bizarre to have the player character so firmly situated in such a very specific role in Goblin society. It feels really bizarre from a roleplay standpoint, because it’s just like, so, we’re all? potential? Trade Princes? OK, cool, I mean, that’s- you know, how does this process work? Can anybody nominate themselves ’cause that kinda makes sense.

Akabeko: Yeah, and especially, like- imagine if all the Orcs, for their starting zone, were like, well maybe you’ll be the next Warchief! That’s just too many important people.

Tzufit: Yeah, it’s like all of the Night Elves going through and being like, well, you know, Malfurion hasn’t been hanging out too much recently, so Tyrande needs a number two, and all of you are in the running for that.

Akabeko: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: I love it.

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah, Sassy’s a great one, though, and I HATE that she doesn’t show up more later on, because there’s just sooo much potential there, and granted we get a lot of her in that Goblin starting area, but I hate that that’s the end for her, ’cause she’s great. She’s a great character.

Akabeko: I hope that we can talk a little bit more about particularly characters who are super great and then they fill up a zone or fill up a questline and then peter out of existence.

Apple Cider: Oh, absolutely. That’ll- that’s gonna probably be a big part of the show today. (Laughing) So we did ask some of our listeners who were some of the more popular or even little-known NPCs that they were actually pretty fond of. We asked them to send in Tweets and emails and things, so we actually got quite a few that were the same answer, but we had from Suntiger, they mentioned a ton.

Tzufit: Yeah. (Laughing)

Apple Cider: A ton, but they did mention Shandris Feathermoon, who didn’t get mentioned a lot, Alexstrasza, who is interestingly one of the reverse of some of the things that we’re gonna talk about on the show. Like, one of the things we were actually gonna talk about is people that were quest givers that should or did rise to prominence in the storyline, and Alexstrasza is one of those notable, you know, already a big part of the storyline but deigns to be a quest giver now and again.

Tzufit: (Laughing) Even shows up in a raid instance every once in a while.

Apple Cider: Absolutely. Cynwise, wowcynwise, says since Auctioneer Jackson is off-limits, I’ll nominate Joanna Blueheart.

Tzufit: Yeah, and I think a few other people also mentioned Joanna Blueheart. I know, let’s see, Feymercurial had mentioned her as well, and for those who don’t know the awesomeness of Joanna Blueheart, she is a quest giver out at Marshtide Watch in Swamp of Sorrows who helps the Alliance players out there try to fight to take back Stonard, and she’s actually got some really cool quotes, too. Like, on top of being a very capable military leader, Joanna Blueheart just, like, knows why she’s there and knows what she’s fighting for.

Apple Cider: Yeah, I actually- that was one of the reasons I was excited to do quest giver NPCs because I think that’s one of the places that you really do get to see women shine in more military roles, otherwise. Like, a lot of major story NPC women are not that militarily involved, and so when you get to the ground level and you see these high commanders and captains and things like that, it does lead you to believe that both factions do have women in quite many ranks of their military.

Tzufit: Yeah. I’m gonna read Joanna’s quotes, real quick, just because she’s awesome, and somebody said, was it Feymercurial who said that maybe? Yes. The way she put it was, or they put it, was that Joanna explained why we fought before the Pandaren ever asked that question, so Joanna kind of tells you the story of why she’s there and what she’s doing and she says, “This land is where orcs and humans first spilled each other’s blood. Not a mile south lurks Stonard, where the orcs first grouped to invade our lands. It was here they amassed their armies before we even knew they existed. It was here that they started the first of three wars with their attack on a small Alliance town to the west. My town. The town where my parents died to save me. But I’m not here to settle a grudge… I’m here to win a war.”

Apple Cider: Wow.

Tzufit: Yeah. Joanna Blueheart, everybody! What!

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: Hot [edited].

Apple Cider: That’s very impressive. I can see why a lot of you nominated her, because again, I had no idea who she was prior to this point, ’cause I had never quested that far in Swamp of Sorrows, so maybe I’ll have to go back there and take a look.

Tzufit: You have to. You have to go do her quest.

Apple Cider: After this, now, I will have to!

Tzufit: (Laughing) But she’s one that I would definitely like to see show up later on because one of the cool things- and I’m getting ahead of myself ’cause we’re gonna get to them, but one of the cool things that’s great about Alliance military leadership right now is that there are a lot of really strong, really cool women in Alliance military leadership, Joanna among them, and I’d love to see Joanna- it would’ve been cool if she had been on the expedition to Pandaria, but since we know that’s not the case, if we see her as a main leader going into Warlords or even if she’s just in charge of some settlement that the Alliance are at at some point, that would be cool, to really see her story continue on because she’s obviously somebody who has a lot of potential.

Apple Cider: Yeah. It- I mean, she would fit so naturally into any forward movement into Warlords, even if the fact that Warlords is skipping over the Orcs taking the blood and going through the Dark Portal, she would still be an invaluable military expert to have along on that trip.

Tzufit: Yeah, and, I mean, obviously she’s gonna have some feelings about what Garrosh is trying to do. Like, that has a direct effect on her and her past and her future, I don’t know, whatever timey [edited] is going on here.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: But basically, she has an investment in this, so it would totally make sense for her to pop up again in Warlords.

Apple Cider: Yeah, absolutely. Um… Let’s see. Ligerwolf said, “Pamela Redpath. I will not cry.”

Tzufit: Oh, well, you’ll be the only one.

Apple Cider: Yeah exactly. So sad, and I’m really glad that Pamela Redpath was actually one of the quest NPCs that did manage to get remodeled but not completely removed after the Cata revamp, because a lot of the favorite NPCs that I remember that are sort of little-known that we’ll talk about later, they all either got removed or extremely invalidated with the Cata revamp, so it’s really nice to see somebody’s story that is so moving and so touching and was part of a major Vanilla quest chain back when Vanilla had major epic quest chains. It’s nice to see that they kept that in the game, on maybe a smaller level.

Tzufit: Yeah, Pamela’s also- as you were saying, there- so I remember doing the Battle of Darrowshire, it must have been during Wrath but I think it was very early Wrath, and that was a big deal. We got a couple of friends together and there were probably five or ten of us who went to do the old version of the Battle of Darrowshire, which was not easy. (Laughing) You know? ‘Cause we did it- um, we probably weren’t quite sixty but I don’t think we were seventy on those characters at the time either, so you know, it was not a simple quest line to complete, and I like that when they redid that quest for Cata they kept that story in there and you still get to see how that battle plays out, but you could do it by yourself now. It doesn’t- you don’t have to get a raid group or a group of people together to see it.

Apple Cider: Yeah, exactly. Um, we also had- I mean, we- I mean, we have a lot of people that duplicated answers. We had a lot of Lilian Vosses, we had a lot of Shademaster Kiryns, but we had a couple that were sort of unique. Pontelon mentioned the JC daily quest giver in Orgrimmar, we actually mentioned her and her Alliance counterpart on the queer episode that we did, ’cause she’s one of the few pieces of evidence that we have that there are actually maybe any gay people in World of Warcraft. Um, we also had Ashveridian, who we’re also gonna mention a little bit later, they said, Shademaster Kiryn, Gorgonna, Magistrix Carinda, Taoshi, Leza Dawnchaser, Chief Officer Coppernut.

Tzufit: I have no idea who Shademaster Kiryn is.

Apple Cider: Shademaster Kiryn- well, actually, Aka, do you want to answer this since you’re Horde?

Akabeko: Umm… yes, but I need to refresh my memory. All I know is she definitely shows up in the Dominance Offensive quest whatchamacallit.

Apple Cider: Uh, she’s-

Tzufit: When I searched for her, it appears that she has battle pets for the Celestial Tournament, but that’s all I got.

Apple Cider: She’s actually one of the major NPCs that you travel along with in-

Akabeko: Oh yeah!

Apple Cider: In Jade Forest.

Akabeko: Yes!

Tzufit: Oh, OK!

Akabeko: She has the romance with the monkey guy.

Apple Cider: Yeah, she’s the analog to Amber Kearnen for the Alliance side.

Tzufit: Ohh, OK. Wait, she has a romance with one of the Hozen?

Apple Cider: I’m sorry but if a Hozen wants to have a romance with her

Akabeko: I see it more as the Hozen wants to have a romance with her.

Tzufit: Ohh.

Akabeko: And she’s like, excuse you, which is also good, and then he realizes that she’s not as alive as he thought she was. (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: And he becomes very upset.

Tzufit: Oh, that poor Hozen. There are so many things he doesn’t understand.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard) Yeah, he thought she was wearing a mask.

Tzufit: Ohhh. Poor guy. Yeah-

Akabeko: But the reaction to his advances was just great. She’s like, mmm, that’s nice and all, but bye~

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: Yeah, exactly.

Tzufit: These are just more reasons why I really need to have a level 90 Horde character, obviously

Apple Cider: Oh, absolutely, yeah. Some of the quests are really good, or at least slightly different from Alliance, that’s for sure. Um, let’s see… Obviously we had quite a few Amber Kearnens, Thisalee Crow, but we’re gonna talk about them later on in the show.

Tzufit: Greatpharaoh here pointed out one that I didn’t think of but he pointed out Lili, who follows you around in Valley of the Four Winds for a while and makes (chuckling) really mean comments about Chen and-

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: Actually makes pretty snarky comments at you, too, and then if you click on Lili you have a couple different dialog options for her, and one of them is you can ask, “Why aren’t you helping me fight, Lili?” and she’s like, “Do you really want an eight-year-old helping you fight? Is that something you need?”

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: Aww, she’s great.

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: And she got her own story series that I wanna say was written by Sally Pine, who works for WoW Insider, if I remember correctly.

Tzufit: Yeah, Lili’s story is a lot of fun, the lead-up to Pandaria there. She’s definitely a cool one. Younger, like Pamela Redpath, but still- I like that Lili very much has her own opinions about things, even though she’s obviously been traveling with Chen for, it sounds like, probably her whole life. She definitely doesn’t take his word at face value, she really is curious and wants to learn more and has no problem with contradicting him. (Laughing) So.

Apple Cider: Yeah! Um… We had SevenCylons said Sky Admiral Rogers. She shows emotion, is intensely driven, has a full backstory. NotAnna said Aponi Brightmane, Sunwalker extraordinaire. Now, I have no idea who that is, and I believe that that is a Tauren paladin, probably. Judging by the name.

Akabeko: Umm… Is she the one who kind of starts to introduce the idea of priests and paladins, I guess, that would be post-Cata?

Apple Cider: Yeah, I believe so.

Tzufit: Yes. Yeah, looking at- looking her up here, it says she has a conversation with Tahu Sagewind and it looks like, yeah, they’re talking about the moon goddess and the sun goddess.

Apple Cider: That’s awesome.

Tzufit: Yeah!

Apple Cider: Not-

Tzufit: That does seem to be a thing for the Tauren, is that they seem to have a lot of female spiritual leaders.

Akabeko: Yeah, she was- her conversation with Tahu was, I guess, on repeat or whatever in the section- or, like, the part of the zone that they were in, so if you were playing in that area you could hear them discussing this spiritual change that was going to introduce these new classes to Tauren.

Apple Cider: Oh, nice!

Tzufit: That’s pretty cool, and that’s- I have to say that the Tauren introduction to the Light and Tauren being able to be paladins and priests was much more gracefully done than the Worgen introduction to being druids.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Which is just, like, OK.

Akabeko: I have no recollection of that.

Tzufit: Oh, well, you’re not missing much.

Apple Cider: Yeah, you’re really not.

Tzufit: It’s the whole staff and the curse and blah blah blah, basically- I’m not even- we’ll talk about it later. (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: OK.

Tzufit: I don’t even wanna give it the credit, but…

Apple Cider: We had a couple for Gina Mudclaw, who’s obviously one of my favorite Pandaria NPCs.

Tzufit: I like the one here, too, from BarrierTrio that says the Draenei shaman trainer that was made to sit in the moat.

Apple Cider: Oh my god! That’s so sad!

Tzufit: I don’t think she’s still out there.

Apple Cider: No, she’s not.

Tzufit: I’m pretty sure.

Apple Cider: She got moved into the indoor spirally sort of thing.

Tzufit: Yeah, right, because for all of- clear up until Cata? Yeah, clear up until Cata she had to sit out on the little- on the side of the moat as you’re walking into Stormwind where the bridges are, and everything, she’s just hanging out out there and all the shaman had to run out there to train.

Apple Cider: Yeah. It felt very exclusionary, I felt very bad for her. But yeah, we got a lot of really good suggestions. Also have to give props to Mylune, lot of people like Mylune, and she was quite a frequent questgiver if you did anything with the Molten Front in Firelands.

Tzufit: Yup. Hey, so since you said Molten Front in Firelands, does that mean we’re allowed to talk about Thisalee Crow now?

Apple Cider: Yes! Let’s start getting into some of our faves, some of the people that we really like. (Laughing)

Tzufit: OK, so Thisalee Crow.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) Who’s every- everybody is dating Thisalee Crow.

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah, it’s canon! But somebody specifically, was it Rezznul I think, who said that every druid secretly has a crush on Thisalee Crow. It’s- it’s not secret, first of all, and it’s not just druids. (Laughing) But, I mean, druids particularly. Thisalee’s just so cool! I mean, you show up when you first meet her, she’s kind of a one-off questgiver, sort of, in Mount Hyjal, where she’s the one who kind of holds the harpy and you have to decide whether or not to kill the harpy at the end, and it’s very clear that Thisalee thinks you probably should kill the harpy and why wouldn’t you, at that point. She’s got kind of an interesting moral curve. (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Especially- and I think- my hunch is that maybe this is kind of intentional, because there’s a lot of jokes about how druids are just peace-loving hippies, basically, and Thisalee seems like initially she was created to- to provide a counterpoint, basically, to show that druids, when they’re attacked, when they’re at war, can just- can be just as deadly as anybody else.

Apple Cider: Yeah, it’s- and- I was not expecting her to have a bigger part of the story, and I think that’s kind of what we’re talking about right now, is that there are some women that either were starting out as just questgiver NPCs and eventually started to have a bigger part in the story, or their quest arcs were big enough that a lot of people remember them, that they actually had quite a significant hand, and I wasn’t expecting Thisalee Crow to come back for the Firelands stuff, but it makes sense from a standpoint where Firelands is a story- it’s a progression of the story that you quest through when you initially do Mount Hyjal.

Tzufit: Yeah, and I think- I wish I knew exactly how that worked, because we know that Blizzard works on patches way, way far in advance, but I’m just curious as to how much influence there is when it comes to something like, oh hey, so we know we’re gonna be doing a Firelands patch, we know there’s gonna be a bunch of druids in there, and everybody really seemed to love this one NPC so maybe we should bring her back, you know? Like, was that the course of events, or were they already planning on having Thisalee there, I don’t know but I’m kind of curious because obviously that means that for future lady questgivers that we find who are awesome, we should definitely make sure Blizzard knows that we think they’re awesome. (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: We could always tweet at Dave Kosak, or- well, and Dave Kosak, because Craig Amai isn’t on Twitter yet. (Laughing)

Tzufit: So, on the Horde side of things, we have Warlord Zaela, who is the chieftain of the Dragonmaw clan after they come back into the Horde, right? I think I’m getting this correct?

Akabeko: Yes, that’s right.

Tzufit: So, I assume you would see her first up in Twilight Highlands?

Akabeko: Yes, but she ends up I think replacing the original guy, so you come in and you’re like, oh no, I don’t know if I wanna deal with these Dragonmaw people ’cause they’re kind of unpleasant, and then you end up interacting with Zaela and realizing, oh, she actually cares about her clan, she cares about her people, and when she ends up becoming the warlord out there, you’re like, oh, thank god we have someone who is paying attention, who cares about what’s going on, how they’re going to integrate with the Horde.

Tzufit: Unfortunately for Zaela, in the long term, it sounds like she was pretty dedicated to Garrosh’s Horde specifically.

Akabeko: Yeah, and- uh- mmmh- I don’t super like that people kind of imply, I guess, that she’s got a Thing for Garrosh, mostly because- I dunno, I just want her to be her own character without having to be like, oh but there’s a strong man there, but it also is a good way to show why she’s so invested in his vision for the Horde.

Tzufit: Yeah, but she could be invested in his vision of the Horde without them actually having any kind of romantic relationship. I mean, Garrosh gets plenty of other Orcs on his side, plenty of dude Orcs on his side who believe in his vision, so.

Apple Cider: Well, I mean, I don’t wanna read into it too much, but-

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: That would be- that would be a very different Iron Horde, I think. A bunch of swarthy male Orc admirers of Garrosh beating down his door with flowers and severed arms and things like that.

Akabeko: I’m into it. Yeah.

Tzufit: (Laughing) Bouquets of severed arms!

Apple Cider: Yeah, I don’t know what Orcs do to court each other! Bring me the arm of my enemy!

Akabeko: I’m just imagining them all, like posing outside, flexing their muscles, look at all of the kills I made today! Look at my amazing hunting skills!

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: Exactly!

Tzufit: Look at how big my shoulders are!

Apple Cider: (Laughing) I’m liking this more and more. This is what Warlords of Draenor really needs to be about.

Tzufit: (Laughing) Well, so the good news for Zaela, though, is that even though we fight her in Siege of Orgrimmar, what really happens there, at the end of the fight, is she gets thrown off of Galakras when you kill Galakras and she disappears in a poof of smoke, basically. So she’s not dead, right now, and chances are that she’s gonna show up somewhere in Warlords of Draenor, and- my only concern about that, going along with what Aka said, is that, like, so is she basically gonna be Garrosh’s girlfriend at that point?

Apple Cider: Yeah, we can’t tell if it’s gonna be girlfriend or right-hand gal, basically. I’m hoping it’s the latter, not the former. I don’t wanna have another Aggra situation on our hands.

Tzufit: Yeah, I’m looking at a couple of her gossip text things here, and so there’s one when she says, “I don’t know how Garrosh Hellscream does it. He must possess great strength to hold together a force as diverse as the Horde. I should like to know him more.”

Apple Cider: Ohhh. Disappointed.

Akabeko: Heyo.

Tzufit: Yeah. [Sad trumpet noise]

Akabeko: So the next time we see her, we’ll find out that she disappeared into a puff of smoke and became pregnant with baby Garrosh.

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: And that’s it for her!

Tzufit: And so she will also not be going through the Dark Portal.

Apple Cider: That- I- that would make me sooo angry

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: Don’t do her like that! Don’t make her a second Aggra. Let’s not go there.

Tzufit: Maybe we’ll get another giant questline where Garrosh and Zaela are about to get married but this time instead of making sure the wedding goes on, we’ll have to try and interrupt it.

Apple Cider: Ohh.

Tzufit: That’d be a neat little circle.

Akabeko: Wedding crasher cinematic, that would be perfect.

Tzufit: Yes.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Akabeko: That would be really entertaining.

Tzufit: So, kind of in a similar vein to Warlord Zaela is Gorgonna, who we’ve mentioned a little bit before, who is the questgiver out in Grizzly Hills who’s hanging out with Nazgrim when you first meet them.

Akabeko: So, I really like her because, I guess, similar to when you first meet Zaela, you realize that she’s perhaps, like, the kinder, gentler side of Orc behaviour, I guess. So she has a sister, Krenna, who is extremely unpleasant, very violent, very unforgiving, and sort of unreasonable in a lot of her requests, and Gorgonna sort of tempers that when she interacts with either the quest NPCs or with the player trying to accomplish Krenna’s unreasonable requests. So, in the end Gorgonna ends up replacing Krenna as the leader of Conquest Hold in Grizzly Hills.

Tzufit: Oh, that’s cool. See, more quests that I’ve never done. And this was one which we should link to, if we haven’t before, but Ashveridian on Twitter has a long Tumblr post about Gorgonna and about the fact that- I mean, correct me if I’m wrong here, Aka, but it sounds like she has actually more of a story out there in Grizzly Hills than Nazgrim who is a sergeant at the time, got promoted later, than Nazgrim does.

Akabeko: I honestly don’t even know what Nazgrim does in that- in his introductory quest hub. Like, I have no memory of that.

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: He left that much of an impression. You know, if he had brought a bouquet of severed arms, it would’ve been different.

Apple Cider: Yeah, seriously.

Akabeko: Well, we would’ve gotten married, and I would have a baby and have quit WoW by now.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: (Laughing hard) But yeah, so it’s an interesting point that, of these two NPCs that didn’t necessarily have a future, they were just kind of your general run of the mill- well, they have an interesting story in this one zone, but that might be it for them. Nazgrim is the one who somehow manages to go on and become Garrosh’s most loyal general? And then you have to kill him and his, you know, giant annoying fleet of adds.

Apple Cider: Yeah, I- I’m gonna talk this up, just straight up nepotism. He had to have pulled some favors, or brought a bouquet of Orc arms, or something like that.

Akabeko: Yeah, yeah.

Apple Cider: Like, yeah. Well, OK, so let’s theorize for a second. Maybe he got his promotion because he had a crush on Garrosh and he made it worth his while.

Tzufit: Because he brought him a bouquet of arms. That’s, you know, it works for marriage, it works for promotion, there’s a couple of different options there.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Akabeko: Poor Zaela, I wish she had thought to do that. She’d be so happy now.

Apple Cider: She would’ve worked her way up the chain much faster.

Tzufit: So here’s my suggestion, then. It sounds like Gorgonna is basically all around really high quality Orc leader, Orcs are in need of a racial leader, definitely not gonna be Thrall, so… Can I nominate Gorgonna?

Apple Cider: Yeah! Heck yeah!

Tzufit: I mean, I say definitely not gonna be Thrall, but it’s probably gonna be Thrall.

Apple Cider: Oh, god, I hope it’s not Thrall. I- I would- I would take a- a cardboard face stuck to a stick over- over Thrall.

Tzufit: I would take a Goblin wearing an Orc mask.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) I think that would be the better of the two options.

Tzufit: Like, one of the Halloween Orc masks. Yeah. Yeah, but she sounds- I mean, she sounds really, really interesting, and extremely capable.

Apple Cider: Yeah, and that is- that was one of the things that Ashveridian talked about in their Tumblr post at length is, just, why did it make more sense to promote Nazgrim, who did essentially nothing, and leave behind a, you know, a personable, competent, smart Orc woman?

Tzufit: Right. And the only positive that I see coming out of this now is that, OK, so Nazgrim did make it into Siege of Orgrimmar, but he’s dead, that’s the end of his story. Gorgonna, at least, has the potential for, you know, interesting story going forward, but that’s only if they actually do anything with that potential, which is always the question.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Exactly.

Akabeko: So, they could go back and pull her out of anonymity, and I guess make the ten people who remember her questline really happy, which would be great, like, I would be fine with that. I would also be OK with them, I guess, going and intentionally writing in more female characters of any sort at any point and just, you know, because they’re good writers. Giving them a compelling backstory that makes us care about them as questgivers going forward, but- I don’t know, sometimes I wonder, like, is it better to keep saying, well, look at all these great characters that you just left by the way-side, like, should we kind of demand that those characters be pulled into the front or should we, I guess, be OK with just new people being written in and then hopefully being placed as important characters to continue moving forward with the story from now.

Tzufit: Yeah, that’s a really good point, and I think Pandaria is a great example kind of in defense of what you’re saying, too, because Pandaria is filled with brand new people, especially Pandaren, obviously, but also some new characters for Horde and Alliance that we hadn’t necessarily seen before, and I think- I mean, people can argue with me about this, I guess, but I’m just gonna say, I think when it comes to memorability and depth of story, you don’t really get any better than the quest givers and the NPCs in Pandaria.

Apple Cider: Yeah. It’s- Pandaria was a good- in good defense of creating new characters to enjoy, my- I’m kind of sad, though, ’cause I have a feeling we’re just not gonna see them going forward, whereas there have been definitely characters that Blizzard has felt were important enough to elevate above the quest NPC level. Like, I know that a lot of it has to do with- you know, yeah, if you’re leaving characters by the wayside because you’re not a real quest person, you’re not real oriented on the story, you’re not focused on the story as you’re paying attention to the quests, yeah, OK, I think that is a certain segment of the population, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to only relegate good quest NPCs and good stories to just the questing level and then never do anything with them, and that’s completely [edited] that they would say that because- it’s like, there are quite a few male characters, like Nazgrim, who got elevated to at least a more- like, their story got continued on a little bit further, but then look at somebody like Bolvar. Bolvar is a little bit of a not-a-good-example because he’s so beloved on every level that I can understand that they took him into Wrath, and things like that, but, like, there have been so many male characters that got to keep going on in multiple places because Blizzard has some sort of massive boner for them? Like, look at Bud. Bud is literally nothing other than, like-

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Akabeko: Oh my god.

Apple Cider: -a flamboyant gay joke, and he just turned up in, like, three [edited] expansions. THREE! OK! OK! Like, seriously? So they obviously care enough but they don’t seem to really care about it with a lot of women NPCs.

Tzufit: Well, I think Nazgrim, your first example, was a good one, because I can’t really imagine that anybody was clamoring over, “Man, you know what I really just want? I want more Nazgrim lore.”

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: You know? Like, it’s just kinda out of left field to drag him up all of a sudden, and while I understand, I guess, trying to build Garrosh’s Horde with some faces that we’ve seen before, it would make equal sense that they could be just Orcs who rose through the ranks after Garrosh took power, because obviously he didn’t take every single one of the strong Orc generals with him because it’s essentially a civil war. Like, they could’ve gone either way.

Akabeko: OK, so just to- I was gonna go back and wonder, like, why did they go and pluck Nazgrim from that section, but he actually- so, he first appears in Grizzly Hills after the Lich King’s defeat he was promoted to legionnaire and sent to Vashj’ir. So he didn’t-

Tzufit: Huh.

Akabeko: -I guess move up with us, but- and you know, I think I do remember him on the- when you take the boat out to Vashj’ir and then of course you sink and you have to do all sorts of quest things, he’s there. So I remember that, but then I guess it begs the question, why did he get plucked out of Grizzly Hills when he was just some dude and get promoted to Vashj’ir, were they assuming that since Gorgonna had already become the head of Conquest Hills that she shouldn’t leave her post so they took another guy who’s running around there and made him a more prominent position?

Tzufit: Yeah, that is- it’s just a weird choice.

Apple Cider: Yeah, well, OK, so let’s talk about somebody who actually did get done right in my opinion as both a persistent story character who got to elevate above just a one-time thing and actually got to be in multiple zones, Lilian Voss. Lilian Voss is an extremely good example of how to do a female quest NPC with a persistent story.

Tzufit: Now, here’s the one thing about that, to me, and I’m not arguing that Lilian Voss isn’t a great character, she is, but everything in Lilian’s story- well, no, I guess that’s not even true, so Lilian gets introduced in Cataclysm, right?

Apple Cider: Mmhmm.

Tzufit: In the Forsaken starting area?

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: And then they introduce or reintroduce or continue her story in Mists of Pandaria when they redo the Scarlet instances.

Apple Cider: Yes.

Tzufit: OK, so that is across multiple expansions. I was gonna say that they kind of lumped her story all together, which- you know, is different. Like, you will see a character- you may follow a character across zones that are all within the same expansion, but actually seeing a character make a jump from one expansion to the other seems to be a lot rarer.

Apple Cider: Yeah. Absolutely, but- and it made sense though, because obviously Scarlets-

Tzufit: Oh, yeah!

Apple Cider: Yeah. So, you know. Like, I was really pleased about that because I thought they were just gonna forget her, as well, and she was- she had such an interesting sort of pivotal role and always just sort of popping up in the background, and in sort of a subtle way so the fact that she got used so cleverly like that made me really happy. It was also cool to see a Forsaken woman who was pretty not down with being Forsaken, like, everybody seems to kind of toe the Sylvanas party line, so seeing somebody who kind of actively rejects that was actually really cool.

Tzufit: So-

Akabeko: Yeah, she’s- oh, sorry.

Tzufit: Nope, go ahead. (Chuckling)

Akabeko: I was just gonna mention, right, so with her story I guess- well, I don’t know, do you think she could continue to be written about, or do you think that her- like, the purpose of her story has sort of been exhausted or completed? Because, like, with Pamela Redpath, [glitch noise] like a really good character, she’s a very memorable character, but when you finish it, you know, like, that’s the last we’ll see of her because that story’s sort of played itself out, and you get some sort of emotional payoff for doing it, whereas with- and even, like, Nazgrim, I guess now that he’s gone, right, he’s served his narrative purpose, so his story is ended, so do you think Lilian is the kind of character whose story has sort of completed or do you think she can continue to show up and still be a beloved character that moves forward with the player?

Tzufit: I think that Lilian has potential to continue, for her story to continue, but at this point I think, at least in my mind, it’s a little tied up with where Sylvanas’s story goes because I think Lilian could serve as a really interesting counterpoint for Forsaken who, as Apple Cider just said, aren’t really on board with Sylvanas. Like, Lilian could be someone who rallies them, you know, if she has any desire to do that, is the only thing, ’cause she’s kind of a loner as far as we’ve seen so far, but- it- (sigh) depending on what they end up doing with Sylvanas, which just I can’t even guess at this point, I could see Lilian making sense as a foil but hopefully one that’s not just kind of being wasted the way a lot of foils in WoW tend to be.

Akabeko: I like that. So you think, right, when we eventually come back to the Forsaken story and push that forward, that hopefully she’ll be able to come back in those- what hopefully will be related quests and not some sort of book story?

Apple Cider: Yes.

Tzufit: I would love that, yes, that would be best-case scenario for me. But, I guess we also really don’t know officially what Lilian’s status is right now because it kind of seems like she might be dead, but we have no idea. I guess that’s one of those questions we should probably tweet at Sean Copeland at Loreology and then he’ll come back and say, “Weeeelllllll-” (Laughing) He will very politely tell us that he can’t give us the answer.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) Look, Sean. Look, Sean, I’ll send you a box of chocolates, just TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO LILIAN VOSS! It’s essential for my fanfic.

Tzufit: (Laughing) We just need to know- well, I think someone has asked him that question, and I think he got out on the technicality that, you know, is Lilian alive? Well, Lilian hasn’t been alive for some time. Well, yes, thank you.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) Thank you, Sean Copeland.

Tzufit: (Laughing) To me, on the Alliance side of things, Moira is a good example of an NPC who- I mean, Moira’s been there since the beginning. You know, she’s crossed all the expansions with us, although she hasn’t necessarily progressed (laughing) through each of them.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: But she’s been present, and her story has definitely gotten better, especially from a feminist standpoint, in terms of what she’s been through. She is certainly emerging as someone who is very much in control and knows what she wants and has her own motivations and is not gonna be controlled by anybody anymore.

Apple Cider: Yeah. She’s a really good example of- yeah, progressing past whatever fate you’re assigned to at the beginning of the game, I mean, I seriously thought we were never gonna hear about Moira again once we successfully killed her boyfriend in many many many many BRD runs to get a trinket for our main tank. (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: So the fact that she not only got out of Blackrock, took power, unites the clans, has a baby, you know, is thumbing her nose at all of the other Bronzebeards that are still around. I like it.

Tzufit: Yeah, the idea that- I mean, I- you know, I wasn’t playing in Vanilla but when I first saw Moira, and you can answer as someone who was playing in Vanilla, I think that is so out of left field to have Moira go from being this sort of damsel in distress trope kind of mind control tricked into marrying this guy, that whole thing- to have her go from that to, like, being one of the huge faction leaders for the Alliance, I never saw that coming, and it’s very cool that that’s the course it took.

Apple Cider: Yeah, it was- like, most people didn’t [glitch noise] in Vanilla, that was one of the reasons why you went to BRD in the first place, it was kind of a long convoluted quest chain where you get sent to rescue her, and that was one of the things that you had to do is before she got replaced with- basically, my memory is completely shot, but basically there are ways of doing that fight in particular, the emperor fight at the end of BRD, where you- (sigh) you had her and the priestess both fighting you because she’s mind-controlled. If you did it in a specific way, you didn’t get extra loot but you got to not kill her, and so her actually being alive after all of that and rescuing her and seeing her actually rise to prominence and actually seeing her have a potential for a future in Warlords of Draenor as a serious political contender and a faction leader is- I think it’s- that’s pretty amazing, ’cause I really didn’t think we were gonna see her after Vanilla at all.

Akabeko: I wish that I played Alliance so I had seen what happened later on first-hand, ’cause like I did the fight where you rescue her just because I was, you know, doing all my dungeon completions and all that stuff, but I never got to do anything more than read about or hear tangentially about what she ended up doing when she was like, “No, you know what, I am supposed to be here and I’m going to take power because [edited] everybody.”

Tzufit: (Laughing) A lot of that actually happens in the Shattering novel, and it’s not clear initially- like, it’s a little bit of a hostile takeover. (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: It’s not entirely peaceful, and it resolves itself in the end but Moira comes to Ironforge with force.

Akabeko: Which I’m OK with, actually.

Tzufit: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s interesting, I think it adds some depth to her character to have her, you know, not come back on hands and knees begging dad to take her back or anything like that. I mean, she knows where she stood with him, he made it perfectly clear, and so she also knows what her birthright is, and she’s come back to claim that, so y’all better watch out.

Apple Cider: Well, it’s- it must have been bittersweet, although more sweet than bitter, to realize that your dad was put out of commission so that you don’t have to listen to his [edited] about how you weren’t meant to rule because you’re a woman and that’s the whole reason why she ran off to date the emperor in the first place, although, you know, ran off to date, mind control, it’s a little bit vague there, but-

Akabeko: Yeah…

Apple Cider: -for the most part it seemed like she kind of made the best of that situation.

Tzufit: I’ll tell you what, the way that I’m gonna choose to deal with that in the future-

Apple Cider: Yeah. (Chuckling)

Tzufit: -is that I’m gonna assume she made up the rumors about it being mind-control and kind of pushed those out so that if there was ever an issue in the future about whether she could return to Ironforge, she would have that to fall back on. But realistically, she didn’t wanna be around her [edited] dad, she fell in love with the emperor, so she did what she wanted to do. That’s how I’m gonna deal with it. (Laughing)

Apple Cider: Yeah, absolutely. (Laughing)

Akabeko: I kind of like that she comes back, right, in not, like, a peaceful way because, one, it’s World of Warcraft and it’s kind of nice to see that even among the same, I don’t know, faction, race, whatever, that there’s still in-fighting like that? Though maybe it’s just interesting to me because I don’t know a lot about Alliance, but her- I guess, like, she’s a very powerful character but she’s also sort of a polarizing character, at least for her own people, and it makes me think a little bit of Magatha Grimtotem even though she’s pretty much all bad except for from a Grimtotem’s perspective, but I really like her because I hate her so much.

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Yeah, I’m always fascinated when I play Horde, doing any of Magatha’s stuff and more so, I think, even prior to Cata because she’s just, like, she’s so devious but she’s so smart and she’s so powerful and, like, yeah, it’s that definite love to hate kind of thing.

Akabeko: Yeah, and like- so I hadn’t known much, you know, except for what I had seen of her in-game, so just based on the game, I was like, holy [edited], never cross her, and also, I hate her so much. Everything she does is terrible, but reading about her on, like, her WoWPedia page, she’s even craftier than you realize from the in-game quests.

Tzufit: Oh, yeah! I mean, I’m sure if you read the WoWPedia page, you’d know what she did to Garrosh’s axe.

Akabeko: Arr! Yes.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) So, of some of the lesser-known quest NPCs that maybe have gotten removed or you didn’t notice because they don’t have the big story arcs like some of the others we’ve been talking about, we did have a few favorites there that we wanted to highlight and Apple Cider, I know, since she is the only one here today playing since Vanilla, has kind of a unique perspective of lady questgivers that she always liked to talk to before, unfortunately, some of them got removed from the game.

Apple Cider: Yeah, so here’s the thing- I was doing- we’re doing this show, coming up with research for the show, I kept (laughing) looking for all my favorite NPCs and realizing, oh, wait, they were all taken out of the game, or changed in some way, so a lot of my favorite NPCs are from Vanilla, it’s pretty obvious. The first one is Meridith the Mermaiden, and this is really- she was really kind of rare because she was only in for a pretty short time because she was put in with the patch for Ahn’Qiraj when the scepter chain got put in, which I think was 1.9 or 1.10? And she’s one of the few examples of a neutral-slash-friendly Naga. Most Naga are not friendly to you in the slightest and there’s only been a handful of them that will actually work with Alliance and Horde players. Meridith the Mermaiden was part of the- I wanna say green scepter chain, green or blue, ’cause there was three parts, red, green, and blue, and she was part of- um- she was part of the quest chain where you had to find a scrap of paper on some islands and at the time, these islands were deep into fatigue water, and I mean DEEP, and at the time you couldn’t really outrun fatigue water because flying mounts definitely didn’t exist yet and water walking for most classes wasn’t a thing. So, in order to survive getting there- like, there’s just- it just really wasn’t possible, but she was this kind of cool quest giver that gave you a swimming buff that made you swim fast enough so that you hit these islands on the very very very very very VERY south of Tanaris just in the nick of time, it was, like, an underwater breathing buff and a three-hundred-percent swim buff, and so you got to swim to these islands where there were, like, level forty pirates and this scrap of paper, and you had to read it and then bring it back, and that’s all she did. That is literally all she did, but she was part of this really amazing quest chain for putting together the scepter, and I did it over a course of two years because, you know, at the time doing the AQ quest chain solo was really not a thing considering how many raids it involved, so slowly over time I got to do it, but Meridith the Mermaiden was one of the highlights of it because she was just, you know, she’s this cute little Naga lady that would just kinda swim around and she would give you this buff, and when Cataclysm came out the entire quest chain for the most part was ripped out, most of the NPCs were removed, and with it was Meridith the Mermaiden and, uh- and the islands that corresponded with her, too, those were also taken out entirely as well, so it’s kinda sad.

Tzufit: Aww!

Apple Cider: The other favorite questgiver that got sort of changed in Cataclysm, I don’t think she was removed, I think she’s still there, but- OK, so, this is gonna date me quite a lot. (Laughing) [Old southern accent] Back in my day, we didn’t have- we had our own separate key ring for keys to-

Tzufit: Oh, yeah. That was still around when we joined.

Apple Cider: [Normal voice] Yeah, and you- so you kept all of these keys in your bag, so now- back in the day, Searing Gorge was locked off by a gate from Loch Modan. You couldn’t- you couldn’t actually go to Searing Gorge until you had done that quest, interestingly enough, a quest that was in a zone that was ostensibly thirty levels underneath you. It was just one of those quirks of Vanilla where, you know, quests weren’t always in zones where they were level-appropriate, it was definitely more of a thing that kind of gave you more of a sense of globetrotting around the world, you know, similar to things that like took you out to Azshara when you were questing in Blasted Lands and, you know, things that just span the entire- you know, the entire continent. Mountaineer (chuckles) Pebblebitty (chuckles again) is this, uh, level forty Dwarf female who’s sitting on a ramp who will tell you, you know, extremely hilarious tales about fighting this Kodo or rhino-thing in Searing Gorge and, you know, getting her horn, but she also gave you a quest that would give you the key to Searing Gorge so you could actually pass from Loch Modan to Searing Gorge when you hit level forty, and it was just this cute little quest, I think that you actually, like, got to go around a back way through Badlands or something like that and bring her back the horn and then you got the key and once you got the key then you could pass to Searing Gorge, you know, no problem. But it was kind of just one of those interesting things, it was very Vanilla in flavor and I’m sad that, you know, people don’t know about her anymore because no-one has to get a key to Searing Gorge. (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Akabeko: I’m sorry that I missed out on this! This is adorable!

Apple Cider: Yeah, I know!

Tzufit: I actually kind of remember her, I think.

Apple Cider: Yeah, I think she’s still there. I think they removed the quest a long time ago, like, especially after they got rid of key rings. I definitely think Cata’s what got rid of her quest in general.

Tzufit: Yeah, but I do remember- I remember her kind of barring the way.

Apple Cider: Yeah, yes, she’s sitting there on her ramp and she’ll- she still has gossip options, too. You can still talk to her. Like, she’ll still tell you funny things, but no more keys and that’s definitely a gate that most people don’t even use ’cause now you just- to get to Searing Gorge you either just run there from Burning Steppes or wherever. Badlands.

Tzufit: So I did say we would come back to it and I’ll go ahead and bring it up now, which is some of the other awesome military women on the Alliance side, and two that we run into- I guess mostly in Cataclysm, although Amber has a little bit before- are Amber Kearnen and Sky Admiral Rogers, and Sky Admiral Rogers in particular, I think, is interesting because she’s kind of unique in terms of women in Alliance leadership, in that she is very much, like, “Hey, the Horde needs to die.” Like, she is- she is very clear with you when you speak to her. She has a couple of gossip text options, because she’s the one that you talk to for Alliance side when you first go up to the Skybreaker or whatever the new ship is called and get ready to go into the cinematic that takes you to Pandaria, and when you kind of start talking to her about her feelings about the Horde she doesn’t mince words, she doesn’t pull any punches, she thinks it’s bad news and we need to go on the offensive and that’s- not something you hear from Alliance military in general very often, and it’s really not something that you hear especially since Jaina was our primary conduit for that kind of stuff, and since Jaina was very much working toward peace until quite recently, that was kind of surprising the first time I did it, ’cause it was like, OH! Oh, OK, this lady wants to bring the war to the Horde.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Akabeko: QQ.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: She’s definitely- has it out for the Orcs, especially because of their more- like, you definitely know that that’s what’s driving a lot of her hatred of them, especially it being kind of fresh to the minds of most Alliance  when you go to Pandaria.

Tzufit: Right, and then of course Amber Kearnen, we originally meet- she’s been around since Vanilla, but in a very minor role. She was the one who- there’s that tower out in Westfall that prior to Cataclysm there were some Defias holed up in the tower, and now- I can’t remember if they’re still Defias or if they’re just, like, kind of these random mercenaries that are out there, and you need to clear them out, but she’s been the one who’s always out there scouting with her sniper rifle that’s like one and a half times the size of her body.

Apple Cider: Yeah. (Laughing)

Tzufit: So (laughing) so she was a questgiver there but then she really got some love in Pandaria because for Alliance she’s the one who is pretty much leading that expeditionary force that’s trying to find Anduin, and she’s got, you know, her friends with her, the Night Elf and the Dwarf, and then there’s the nurse Draenei lady, but it really kind of seems like Amber’s the one in charge of that little group.

Apple Cider: Yeah, she- and- a lot of people thought that she was dead for a really long time until she actually turns up in later patches, even past that, which made me really happy because I thought that after what happened in Jade Forest that she was a goner, but nope, Amber Kearnen keeps on tickin’.

Tzufit: No, she shows up pretty heavily in the Shieldwall Offensive, or- uh, Operation Shieldwall. She’s in that. I wanna say that she actually shows up in that force when Jaina opens up the one door- (sigh) like, kind of mid-way through Siege of Orgrimmar, I could swear that Amber Kearnen’s there, but that could just be wishful thinking on my part. (Laughing)

Apple Cider: Amber Kearnen is everywhere, basically.

Tzufit: Right, all the time!

Apple Cider: All the time, she just-

Tzufit: She’s hanging out with me right now.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: But she’s a really great example of, you know, kind of what can be done. I do agree with Aka that there are kind of positives and negatives to taking existing characters and pulling them into the new lore, because for Warcraft sometimes that just doesn’t really work, but I think Amber is an example of that being done pretty well, ’cause she was a really minor character initially. She helped you out with, like, maybe one, two, three tops quests out in Westfall, and next thing you know she’s a major player in Jade Forest.

Apple Cider: Yeah. She’s also a kickass kind of spy character, as well, which is really neat, and a sniper.

Tzufit: Yeah! And it’s nice to see somebody who has that stealthy thing going on who isn’t just Mathias Shaw, not that Mathias isn’t cool, but it’s nice to see, you know, a lady doing that, too.

Apple Cider: Um…

Tzufit: Um… do you wanna do Darkrider Arly?

Apple Cider: Yeah. Um, so, one of the quest givers that kind of always sticks out in my mind, we said that we were gonna talk about a little bit later in the show, is Darkrider Arly. Now, for anybody who didn’t do extensive Icecrown questing, Darkrider Arly is a death knight Gnome who is out at the Fleshworks, so- she’s a- she’s pretty deep in the zone, so a lot of people might have not done her, but she’s very- she’s one of the very few Gnome female questgiver NPCs who is very very serious, and pretty dark, actually, and was just such a completely different kind of character that she just kinda stuck out in my mind. (Chuckling) For that reason alone.

Tzufit: Yeah, she’s definitely not your typical Gnome. She’s very- I mean, she’s much more your typical death knight than she is your typical Gnome, if that helps clarify it a little bit.

Apple Cider: Yeah, absolutely

Akabeko: And you know what, I do remember doing her quests, and I remember her- isn’t she sitting on one of the big death knight horses?

Apple Cider: Yes.

Tzufit: Yeah, exactly.

Akabeko: Looking precious and menacing, and what a title, Darkrider? That’s epic.

Tzufit: (Chuckling) I know! That’s, like, a title every death knight should want to have in-game.

Akabeko: Sorry, I really like it when they have Gnomes that are- like, they [glitch noise] like, you can’t help that they look adorable, but I kind of like it when they’re, you know, serious. There’s something really, like, cutely menacing about it that I really appreciate.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah, it’s great because, like, she is adorable, and she does have, like, the pink pigtail haircut and everything that just contributes, but at the same time I truly believe that she could destroy me in a second if she wanted to, so. (Laughing) And I think, since we are discussing Gnomes, I mean, we have to talk about Chromie.

Apple Cider: Yes. Yeah.

Tzufit: ’cause she’s amazing. Chromie definitely falls more into the stereotypical Gnome in terms of being, you know, very cute and Chromie’s big thing, of course, is that she’s kind of absent-minded because, I mean, Chromie never knows whether it’s the first time she’s meeting you or not because she’s met you so many times in so many different periods in the timeline, and I just find that super endearing and adorable.

Apple Cider: (Chuckling) It’s- again, this is where my Vanilla knowledge comes in handy, and- when players first met Chromie, I mean, Chromie’s kept the same personality consistently across multiple expansions and I know that Chromie is a little bit of kind of like a Bronze Dragon, you know, deus ex machina, that sort of thing, but originally Vanilla players met Chromie in the- in Western Plaguelands when-

Tzufit: She’s just up in that inn, and hanging out.

Apple Cider: Yeah, in Andorhal. She’s in Andorhal back when Andorhal was a monstrous hellish death pit, and she gave you a couple of quests and she was also a part of the Onyxia attunement for Alliance players, as well, which was, you know, obviously at the time very epic and- so that- so it was weird to go into an inn in the middle of a town that was walled in and swarming with Scourge, and then just, you know, just a random Gnome dragon-

Tzufit: (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: -in the upstairs of the inn, just kind of hanging out, just being, like, “Oh, hey, what’s going on?”

Tzufit: Yeah, and just like Zaela has to show up in Warlords of Draenor, like, it wouldn’t make sense that she’s not there, it wouldn’t make sense that Chromie doesn’t show up in Warlords of Draenor, like we really-

Apple Cider: Oh, absolutely.

Tzufit: We haven’t heard a whole lot from the Dragonflights this expansion because- who the [edited] knows what’s going on with them with this whole Age of Mortals thing, like, that’s- that’s really never been clarified too much, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens or how much power they really have going forward, but I’m- Chromie has GOTTA have some feelings about Garrosh going back and screwing around with the timeline.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) Yeah.

Tzufit: I mean, we’ve gone through how many dungeons to prevent people from doing that?

Apple Cider: Yeah, if she doesn’t have some choice words for Garrosh I’m gonna be very angry.

Tzufit: Yeah. Actually, you know how I said a while ago that, like, my ideal thing for Garrosh is that he’s, like, just a normal non-elite mob that we get to kill within our first quest in Warlords of Draenor? Even better for me would be that Chromie just, like, eats him within the first five minutes that we’re there.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) She’s an immortal dragon, she should be able to.

Tzufit: Yeah.

Apple Cider: It’s not hard.

Tzufit: Well, who knows what she’s- I don’t think she’s immortal anymore, but maybe this is past-Chromie, I don’t know. Things are gonna get a little confusing. So, Aka, I know you had one more that you wanted to talk about, too, uh, Shokia?

Akabeko: Yeah, so, I’ve kinda been thinking about it all show, right? So, Shademaster Kiryn, she’s traveling with a group of four people, so one of them is the Hozen guy, Riko, and then there’s another woman who is Shokia, who is a beautiful bald Orc, which means I’m required to like her because I love bald Orc women.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) That’s a good choice.

Akabeko: And it says, right, so after Kiryn finds Anduin Wrynn, Shokia takes charge of guarding him, so not only is she really crucial to the questline that the player follows in Jade Forest, but she ends up dealing with Anduin. So she has a fairly important place in the storyline, and then she goes on to Domination Point along with the rest of the people she was traveling with. She’s also an herbalism trainer, which I think is kind of humorous because she doesn’t at all look like someone who’d be into picking flowers.

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Apple Cider: Yeah, I didn’t know that at all. She doesn’t seem like the type, yeah, to kind of stoop down and pick some plants and tell you the name and things like that, but it’s nice to kind of defy expectations.

Akabeko: So, one of the quests that she has you do is where she’s working together with Kiryn, so she has a sniper rifle, right, and you’re, I guess, playing that part for her, and you’re looking down where Kiryn is going to places and, like, setting up slayers or killing dudes or something, and you’re covering her from where you are far away and above. But, like, when Riko is describing their story, he’s like, Shokia and Kiryn went off to do girly stuff, and then you see what they’re doing, and they’re just slaughtering people.

Apple Cider: (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: (Laughing hard)

Apple Cider: I actually remember that part of the quest chain when I did it on my mage. (Laughing) My poor mage. It was like, yes, this is the kind of (laughing) girly (laughing) like, it just reminded me of- it’s this Tumblr that I see getting, like, sort of made fun of all the time, ’cause it’s this Tumblr called Just Girly Things, and it’s like, all image posts with text, and it’s like, you know, “Thinking about jumping into his arms!” and it’s like, some trippy picture of, like, you know, some hipster white lady sitting on a dude or whatever, so Just Girly Things with Shokia and Kiryn would just be an image of them, like, up to their necks in blood with, like, weapons and things like that, so I think that’s the kind of Just Girly Things that I could get behind.

Akabeko: So, have you seen the answer, the parodying answer Tumblr to Just Girly Things, which is those white lady hipster posts, but the texts are like, “Sacrificing your landlord to the Dark Master.”

Apple Cider: YES! (Laughing hard)

Tzufit: (Laughing hard)

Apple Cider: OK, that’s perfect. (Laughing)

Tzufit: That definitely sounds like a Forsaken kind of girly thing.

Akabeko: I love it.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) Oh, can we talk about Stormcaller Mylra, because, frankly-

Tzufit: Oh, yeah.

Apple Cider: She- she-

Tzufit: Tiny angry woman!

Apple Cider: PUT ME DOWN! YOU TINY ANGRY WOMAN!

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yeah, she’s another great example of Alliance military, although she isn’t technically Alliance, she’s-

Apple Cider: Earthen Ring.

Tzufit: -Earthen Ring, I guess- but just another great example of, like, (laughing) she is so great in that questline in terms of just being willing to manipulate that Ogre to the edge of his life, pretty much, to be able to get the information that she wants. Like, she is not afraid to do that. (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: She’s also sassy as [edited].

Tzufit: Mmhmm, yeah.

Apple Cider: It’s very rare, in World of Warcraft, where a woman NPC is that snarky and insulting to people, actually. (Laughing) It’s- she kind of- she just stood out because I know she kind of is in other places, I wanna say she turns up somewhere else in Cataclysm, but she was only kind of around for a couple of quests, but she was kind of key in figuring out what exactly Deathwing and the cultists were doing with the fragments of the Earth Pillar, but her involvement was solely limited to a couple of quests, but still she was just such a memorable character that I- I dunno, I think we need more characters like that in general.

Tzufit: Yeah, and to Aka’s point, even if they’re new characters, as long as they’re memorable in that kind of way, I think, you know, that’s helping the ’cause. (Chuckling)

Apple Cider: Yeah. Well, I think that’s one of the reasons why we have such a love for Suna Silentstrike.

Tzufit: Oh, absolutely.

Apple Cider: Memorable story, only a couple of quests but kind of was her own personality, definitely had motives, definitely had desires and things like that, very short story but you got a lot out of it in the short time that you were with her.

Tzufit: Yeah.

Akabeko: Did you see that Rades tweeted about Masha Cliffwalker who’s in the Stonetalon questline.

Tzufit: Yes, and a particularly sad questline, if I’m recalling correctly.

Akabeko: Yeah, it basically shows- well, I mean, that’s- I guess- I feel like the point of that is to show how Garrosh in that situation is starting to be less of an [edited] because he kind of shows up and shuts the whole thing down, but of course by the end she’s the one that has to get killed.

Tzufit: Yeah. (Sigh) I think we would also- we would be missing somebody here if we didn’t mention Lorna Crowley, who’s-

Apple Cider: Yes!

Tzufit: -amazing.

Apple Cider: Yes. I actually saw a whole post on Tumblr this morning that was- and I wanted- I think that we should definitely do an episode about some of the things that they were talking about in this post, but they basically- this post on Tumblr, and I’ll link it in the description for the podcast, how four of the only prominent Worgen or Gilnean, I should say, women that we see in-game at all, only one of them is actually a Worgen. Mia, Tess, and Lorna Crowley are all still just Gilnean, whereas Fiona, who is actually on our list as a questgiver, she’s the only one that gets to be a Worgen, versus all of the Gilnean women, but Lorna Crowley- I mean, if everybody’s head over heels for Thessaly Crow, I consider myself head over heels for Lorna Crowley.

Tzufit: (Laughing)

Akabeko: She’s great!

Tzufit: She is, and she’s definitely one- I mean, especially considering that she is part of the leadership for the Worgen, I think it would be sad if we don’t see more of her at some point in the future.

Apple Cider: Yeah, absolutely. She’s another one of those, like, gun-toting bad-[edited], especially because, I mean, she does get an armor upgrade if you go far enough ahead in the Silverpine Forsaken starting experience, she gets an upgrade to actual armor, but the idea of a beautiful woman with a flower in her hair carrying a giant rifle-

Tzufit: (Laughing) Yes!

Akabeko: (Dreamy sigh)

Apple Cider: It’s really dreamy and awesome. I’ve seen some really amazing fanart of Lorna Crowley, which is probably not helping me at all.

Tzufit: Right.

Akabeko: No, it’s good, these are the obsessions that you need to develop.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) But I already have an obsession with Lilian Voss and Lynnia Abbendis! And now Lorna Crowley! It’s all L names! It’s weird.

Akabeko: OK, so, um, Ysiel Windsinger in Zangarmarsh is part of the Cenarion Expedition, so she’s in that town, she’s in the, I guess the inn building, and she is the person who actually gives you the quest where you turn into a Stormcrow and cruise around looking at how the Naga have destroyed the ecology of the marsh.

Tzufit: I’m always happy when we get a lady druid leader, too, because you have to imagine that those are relatively new for the Cenarion Circle, since, you know, there weren’t lady druids for a really long time, so, always kind of impressing to get a couple of those.

Apple Cider: Yeah, absolutely.

Akabeko: Plus, she has super attractive pauldrons.

Apple Cider: (Laughing)

Tzufit: Much like Thessaly Crow!

Akabeko: I know!

Apple Cider: Does she have the lettuce shoulders too?

Akabeko: Yeah, but they’re green instead of blue.

Apple Cider: Ah, OK.

Tzufit: Yeah, Thessaly has the super unique, like, wintertime shoulders with the light blue.

Akabeko: I love them.

Tzufit: I love them, too. I think everybody is just drooling over those for transmogs.

Apple Cider: (Laughing) Yeah.

Tzufit: They don’t exist, sadly.

Akabeko: Oh, and Ysiel is also the person that you turn in the Coilfang armaments to, so I guess rep grind related.

Apple Cider: Yeah.

Tzufit: That’s true. Well, thank you so much, Akabeko, for joining us this week. We really appreciate having you on and having you talk about all these awesome lady NPCs.

Akabeko: Thank you so much for inviting me! It’s a real honor because I’m a big fan of your show. (Chuckling)

Tzufit: Ohh! Thank you! Well, can you tell everybody just one more time your website and your Twitter so that they can contact you or read more of your stuff?

Akabeko: Yes, I am tweeting at redcowrise and I write at the moment mostly about interesting lady characters in a fictional context at redcowrise.blogspot.com

Tzufit: Awesome.

Apple Cider: We also would like to announce that we also have a new patron on our Patreon account. Suntiger, thank you so much for donating to our lovely Patreon account. Thank you.

Tzufit: We definitely appreciate the generosity.

Apple Cider: Absolutely!

Tzufit: And, as always, please remember to rate, subscribe, and comment on iTunes and on Stitcher, and next week we will actually be discussing some of our favorite women and women’s storylines specifically from Wrath of the Lich King!

Apple Cider: Woohoo!

Tzufit: Yeah. So, thanks again to everybody for listening, thank you to Akabeko for being such a great guest, and we will talk to you next week.

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