No apologies, always moving forward...

So I kinda sorta forgot about even having a blog. I say kinda sorta because I haven't ever been good at maintaining a journal due to the rather inconsistent nature of my interests and hobbies. One week I am doing X, Y, Z...the next A, B, C.

Anywho, on to some meat and potatoes. Two major topics that I want to cover. The first: why troll warlocks aren't inherently evil. The second: project car updates.

On with the first! But I guess there will need to be some background as to why this first topic is even relevant to me at all.

I play WoW, and have since about February 2005. Most friends and family don't realize or know this because I wasn't the stereotypical player who spent such considerable amounts of time playing that it was ever an issue. In fact, it wasn't until about 2007~2008 that I really began to play it with the intention of getting to "endgame".

"Endgame" is not really an end to the game itself, it is the end of "leveling" your character. There is still lots to do, but where and what you do changes dramatically. I hit level 70 with a troll shaman, followed by a troll hunter "alt".

I now have level 80 troll rogue, shaman, and death knight. I also have a troll warrior and the hunter in the 70's. I have a priest in the 50's, and an up-and-coming lock in the 40's. I like the troll race, and I like leveling.

I also like to like my characters. And not in just a gameplay sense, but in a complete worldview sort of way. I like to get behind them, their motivations, imagine how they would react to stuff...this is why I have gravitated towards "Role Playing" or "RP" gameplay moreso than other available options in recent times. The characters allow me to live vicariously on multiple levels without relative consequence.

The trouble, though, is when I can't reconcile between myself and the character. While I may live vicariously, there are certain behavior patterns I am just not interested in. "Evil" being an umbrella label for something I don't care for. In games with morality systems, I naturally gravitate towards the "moral" end of the spectrum.

So, when I started playing a warlock, a class draped heavily in demons and spells and shadow magic, a class which by many accounts is plain "evil", I was finding it hard to get behind the character. Nevermind that I enjoyed the gameplay mechanics, if I couldn't see myself in their shoes I didn't want to play them.

Which is where trolls came back into play. Recently, trolls gained access to the warlock class. What is special about this is that trolls are a unique race in WoW; most of their "magic" comes from completely different sources than other races.

The trolls' magic is based largely on "voodoo". Loosely based on the real-world equivalent, voodoo has many rituals and practices which are barbaric and graphic in nature. At the center of the voodoo, is a pantheon of gods called "Loa", with each "Loa" being much like the classic Greek gods where each one has a special focus to their power. The Loa are viewed much like the Greek gods as well, some are "good" and some are "bad" and some are just mischievous.

As such, trolls drawing on the power of the Loa through voodoo are thus tied to the nature of the Loa itself. In the Stranglethorn Vale (jungle area), trolls had worshipped and summoned forth an evil Loa named Hakkar. As such, their actions are rightfully considered evil, which was why Hakkar had to be killed off.

But what if Hakkar had not been evil, but a benevolent instead? In that case, the actions of the trolls would not have been evil. The point being that with at least the trolls in these kinds of specific instances, the ends are required to understand the "correctness" of the means. This is a very shaky ground to try and stand upon, until we take into account that the ends will be pre-determined by the Loa and the trolls themselves who are involved.

Now, before we go further, I will also need to clarify an important truth about WoW: there are gameplay mechanics that exist for balance and consistency that do not align with the lore for that mechanic. An example would be the priest class.

All races that can be the priest class have the exact same spells, talents, etc. available to them. In the lore, only certain races have access to certain abilities. "The Light", the generic "good" that allows priests to heal or resurrect other players, is painful and often fatal to undead exposed to it. However, undead priests that players play in the game can still do the same things as other races for consistency and balance reasons.

Back to warlocks and trolls. Warlocks with the orc and undead races are related to great evil powers in the demonic and shadow magics. In the lore, the orc warlocks are allowed only because they promise not to fall to corruption. Undead warlocks are in a similar boat, but are moreso accepted in that their entire race exists because of the power of warlocks. So where do the new troll warlocks fit into this existing mindset?

The answer is they don't. Though they, again for consistency and balance reasons, have all the same spells and abilities as the other races, the troll warlocks are not drawing on the same demonic powers the other races are. What the troll warlock represents is a voodoo shaman.

The shaman class harnesses elements to do the bidding of the shaman. The voodoo arts (curses, hexes, ceremonies, rituals, etc) are a major part of the troll history. In the lore, trolls largely gave up these traditions because the other races in the Horde found them disturbing...and don't get me wrong they are in many examples...but that doesn't mean they are evil practices.

And since, as stated earlier, for consistency and balance the game has the same spells and abilities for a specific class regardless of race, WoW coudn't have a unique class just for trolls...so we now have warlocks.

Think of it this way: driving a car to work isn't evil. But if you're an evil person and your work is evil, then people might label your driving to work as evil. Would it then be fair to label your next-door neighbor's drive to work as evil as well? Nope.

This all being said, why is this relevant again? Well, in playing my troll warlock, I came across a quest which ran me into some important characters. I was delivering a message of failure, and my job was then to fix the problem. When I was reporting my having fixed the problem, I was informed that there was a price put on my head while I was absent and that it would now be lifted, but the character was considering killing me off just for having been involved.

Now, this struck me as "wow, you're an asshole." But when I shared my revelation, I had people disagreeing with me for one reason or another - most revolving around the evil nature of the problem I been involved with and the warlock class in general. I couldn't pin down why I disagreed with their conclusion...and it wasn't till I realized they and I were making assumptions based on game mechanics, not the game lore.

So, I have yet to share this information with them, but since I have this set straight in the lore vs. game mechanics end of things, I was much happier with my character and I felt relief because my original alarm at the behavior of the quest giver was in fact well founded.


Now some brief project car talk time!

Project car #1 - 88' S10 Blazer. Sitting in storage, the guy who is going to build my bumpers is just having a tough time and will need to take the vehicle and build the bumpers on. The truck he had available was too malformed to pull useful measurements off of, so he'll need my vehicle in order to make modifications. Going to put Geolandar I/T tires and generic Discount Tire rims on it. Need to get the exhaust system patched up.

Project car #2 - 86' Accord Hatchback. Got the alarm and sound systems in, had a local shop install both. The alarm is nice, good range, modular feature set, and good value. Sound system is spartan, mostly did OE replacement. Working on figuring out what sizes of tires I can fit on the vehicle - if I can fit standard rally tires without significant body modification then that'd be great.

That's all for the project cars. The key is to be able to RallyCross both the truck and the car, emphasis more on the car, as the truck would also serve as a nice hauler (esp. if I swapped a V8 in it).

Thanks for your time and have a wonderful week!

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