Day Five: Favourite Items

This post is part of a series "20 Days of... WoW Blogging Challenge", a blogging challenge suggested by Saga at Spellbound. She proposes twenty questions to be answered in twenty days and I, foolishly, have decided to take up this most daunting task because clearly my schedule is not full enough.

"There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book." - Marcel Proust
I always find these posts the hardest to write.  I've already written at length about my love affair with Shields, which could certainly qualify as my favourite items in the game.  If I just wanted to phone-in this 20 Days challenge I could simply link to that post and be done with it.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

But no, that isn't really keeping with the spirit of the challenge.  Battle Medics never do things the easy way, or else I'd still be playing my hunter.

"Books, young man, books. Thousands of them. If time wasn't so important, I'd show you something -- my library. Thousands of books." - Samuel T. Cogley, Attorney-at-law, self-professed crackpot and fictional Star Trek character
I think my favourite items and objects in WoW are all the books.  I've always thought that the strongest and most compelling thing about World of Warcraft - and what sets it apart from other MMOs - is the story. The lore of Azeroth is incredibly rich, deep and varied.

Dwarven bookshelf designers
are incredibly sadistic.
One of the most clever things that Blizzard did was scattering books all around the game world that tell little snippets of the story - in particular parts of the overall story that happened behind the scenes or in the previous Warcraft RTS games.  As well, occasionally as part of a quest the player will receive a book that goes into more depth about the story that the quest is telling, such as The Story of Morgan Ladimore or The Legend of Stalvan.

I've always really enjoyed these books, and made it a point to read them all.  The achievement Well Read was the very first "nothing" achievement that I put real effort into accomplishing.  I remember hitting level 60 on my warrior and entering Scholomance by myself in order to get the last couple of books that I needed; finally getting them by jumping over the balcony and getting swarmed and overwhelmed by a horde of ghouls several times.

The little tidbits and stories that are expanded on in these books are completely useless in game terms, but absolutely wonderful in giving the world depth and flavour.

Probably the single most brilliant and evil books in the game are the ones that randomly spawn in Dalaran for the achievement Higher Learning.  The books required for the achievement give details of the different magical schools practised on Azeroth, and are informative in themselves, but the real joy of this achievement comes from the "dummy" books that randomly spawn in place of the achievement books.  Such intriguing titles as Portals are NOT Garbage Bins, several issues of the Kirin Tor Monthly, three parts of the biography of Archmage Antoniadas and the long and interesting Old Wizard's Almanac that details quite a number of the races of World of Warcraft.  There is a lot of great lore information in these books, as well as a lot of colour, humour and charm - and they're well worth the hell that is needed in order to see all the books and get the achievement.

From a gameplay standpoint, there was absolutely no reason to put these books in the game.  They serve absolutely no useful purpose and they don't help anyone get shiny, purple slot-fillers, but they help bring Azeroth to life in a way that loot dropping off of a boss could never do, which is why I enjoy them so much.



  1. Kind of interesting to see the motivations on favored items/goals. You actually are the first person I met who put that much effort into the lore aspect by looking for books. I still have my old Ladimore lore book in my bank lol.

  2. Well said, Fannon! One of the things I most love about WoW is the incredibly rich world of Azeroth. It's not just a setting, a terrain in which our toons operate, it's almost a character unto itself with a history and evolving personality. I too love finding those little bits and pieces of lore scattered in unexpected places. I even get disappointed when I see stacks of books in the scenery and none of them are readable.

  3. Although I am an avid reader in RL, I haven't done so much in game. Pity really, after reading this. Perhaps I shall pursue now :).

    Also, I think one reason WoW wins out over rift is the rich lore, the attention to detail, the drama and personality that comes out in these books, bits of notes recovered on quests, even the long diatribes and monologues of bosses and NPCs. All of this give the game experience a richer, fuller, more interesting flavor.

  4. I love the books in WoW, too. "Higher Learning" is an achievement I'd like to finish someday, on at least one of my characters. Kamalia is only three books short of it, but with the portals gone, Dalaran's not exactly a good place for an active raider to spend most of her time. Perhaps I'll do it with one of my Mages or my Warlock.