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Ion Hazzikostas complaining about world buffs and consumables in 2006
This argument has been laid out many times, and it rears its head in threads about raid encounters, about real-money trading, about professions, about burnout, and so on and so forth. My aim here is not necessarily to break any new ground, but rather to summarize the main problems with consumables as they currently exist in WoW, and with alchemy in particular, as they relate to raid design and player enjoyment.
One-sentence summary: Consumables are too powerful, such that Blizzard's raid designers are forced into the untenable position of balancing around unbuffed groups and having their content steamrolled, or balancing around buffed groups and forcing players into a cycle of unpleasant farming in order to even have a chance.
I am going to mention world buffs only for a moment and then move on to focus solely on true consumables. The problem with world buffs is obvious. They do too much, too well, and they scale fantastically. I do not want to be farming Hakkar in order to kill Illidan a year from now. Don't nerf them at this point. Just make them zone-limited in some form -- either KalimdoEastern Kingdoms only, or stripped upon entering any raid zone.
For some easy numerical illustration, I made a set of CTProfiles profiles for my own class, since that's what I'm familiar with, comparing gear progression in full Tier 1 or equivalent (MC and 20-mans), full Tier 2 (BWL and first-half AQ), and full Tier 3 (pre-Sapp/Kel).
Here are the key values:
Tier 1 Gear: 4450hp, 6085mana, 251 spirit, 365 +healing, 58 mana/5 Tier 2 Gear: 4250hp, 6700mana, 244 spirit, 567 +healing, 73 mana/5 Tier 3 Gear: 4610hp, 6970mana, 123 spirit (lol), 1008 +healing, 109 mana/5
+healing does less for mana conservation than it once did due to downranking changes, but it still can be more or less converted into some equivalent amount of mana regen since where +healing shines is generally in maximizing healing/mana rather than healing/time. There isn't a boss out there that puts out enough damage to require max-rank spam, so whether the +healing means downranking or fewer heals cast per minute, there is a mana savings. Based on the HealPoints and itemization formulas, I'm going to say that 6 +healing = 1 mana/5 for easy approximations.
Using that conversion ratio, we're left with the following: Tier1: 119 mana/5 Tier2: 167 mana/5 Tier3: 277 mana/5
Unsurprisingly, tier 3 is a large step above the rest. That's good. Now, how do consumables fit into the picture? For a healer, let's assume the following non-exotic consumables:
Nightfin Soup = 8 mana/5 Mageblood Potion = 12 mana/5 Brilliant Mana Oil = 12 mana/5 and 25 +healing = 16 mana/5 Major Mana Potions = 1800 mana every 2 minutes = 75 mana/5 (!!) Dark/Demonic Runes = 1200 mana every 2 minutes = 50 mana/5
Assuming all of the above used, I get a net benefit of 161 mana/5.
That is larger than the gap between mixed tier 1 with suboptimal enchants (no ZG enchants, etc.) and fully-enchanted optimal tier 3 gear. So, in order to feel this amount of character progression as a healer, instead of spending 15 months doing raid progression, I should've just used five consumables. Silly, isn't it? Obviously this is something of an oversimplification, and I do really feel the benefits of the gear, because in practice I am comparing myself fully-buffed now to myself unbuffed or partially-buffed then.
I used shamans as an example due to firsthand familiarity, but any caster will do. Try comparing an unbuffed tier 3 tank to a tier 1 tank using all standard tank consumables, Titans, and drinking stoneshields. Similar result (though defense and shield block value aren't available through consumables, so not quite as precise). If anything, the classes that benefit by far the least from available buffs are physical DPS classes. Mongoose and Juju are great, but they actually are a comparatively minor buff compared to what I just listed above, or compared to a mage/warlock stacking Supreme Power + GAE + Firepower + Oil + mana regen stuff.
Does anyone dispute my basic premise that consumables are incredibly, incredibly powerful relative to the gear progression that is the mainstay of how we are supposed to improve and develop our characters once we are done with the fairly rapid leveling process?
Now, let's turn to raid design. The following visual is a crude approximation of the raid design progression we have seen thus far. As compared to a spectrum of "Raid Power" (i.e., how strong your raid is, in terms of raw stats), the various bars represent the ranges within which those zones are viable. Towards the left end of each bar, where it is brightest, the difficulty is extreme; as you move right and the bar darkens, the zone becomes easier and easier as power improves, until the pure black portions indicate trivial farm content. For the Naxxramas bar, I limit it to "numbers" fights like Patchwerk, Loatheb, Sapphiron, and so forth -- obviously fights like Razuvius, Grobbulus, Heigan, and their ilk, are quite different. http://forums.elitistjerks.com/uploaded/RaidPower.png I've plotted out the progression from blues (by which I mean pre-revamp level 60 blues, circa early 2005) to epics of various tiers. The rest should be more or less self-explanatory.
Anyway, most of the raid content in the game was balanced around a largely unbuffed raid at the time it was introduced. Even among fairly competitive guilds, buffs were not part of the raiding culture. Our first Ragnaros kill in May 2005 (one week after Ascent killed him) was more or less completely unbuffed. GFPPs for Ragnaros was the most anyone did, and things like tanks chugging Stoneshields simply weren't done. Some individual alchemists used their own buffs, but it wasn't expected. Over time, however, raiders grew more sophisticated, and various mods simplified the process, and the raiding game became more competitive at the high end. At the same time, the amount of available buffs continued to grow. We got Mageblood potions and weapon oils. We got new food buffs. We got Zanzas. And, of course, we got flasks that persisted through death. The encounter design still lagged behind this to an extent. Vek'nilash was the first boss in the game that assumed some degree of external buffing on the tank. A tank in the gear available at the time (Jan/Feb 2006) simply could not tank Vek'nilash with only standard raid buffs. His death would be inevitable. But still, if not for the untuned state of C'Thun and Ouro, I am confident that Ahn'Qiraj would have been fully cleared within one month. We saw C'Thun Phase 2 within two weeks of our gates opening, in late February. He'd have died a week later if it had been the current version.
Which brings us to Naxxramas. Naxxramas was designed to be "hardcore," and to keep us all busy from June, when it was released, until the late fall or early winter, when the expansion would be ready. In that regard, it succeeded admirably. Compared to every raid zone before it, Naxxramas was a resounding success in terms of encounter design and balance. Whereas before top guilds were accustomed to learning every boss within a few days, and assuming that if the boss still hadn't died by then, it was bugged or untuned (or a "cockblock" -- see pre-fix Ragnaros, Chromaggus, Ouro, C'Thun, etc.), in Naxx there were fights that legitimately took days or even weeks to learn and master despite high levels of skill and concerted effort.
This is partly due to very clever design, but also partly due to the fact that, for the first time, the raid designers were acknowledging that top guilds would use every tool at their disposal to win the race to Kel'Thuzad, and tuning the fights around that expectation. If you don't have flasked tanks with full buffs and a cache of Greater Stoneshields, or healers with a healthy supply of mana consumables, don't bother even looking at Patchwerk. Even on fights like Noth, Maexxna, 4H, and others, having that extra DPS from raidwide consumable use can make all the difference in the world when it comes to salvaging a kill from a less-than-flawless performance, particularly as you are still gearing up in Naxx. I don't need to talk about Loatheb, but I will note that when we tested him on the PTR, the GM/Dev who had ported us there asked me how many Greater Shadow Protection pots we had in the raid. They knew.
As a result of this, particularly in the learning process on these fights, Blizzard unwittingly created one of the worst grinds in the history of any MMO. Yes, any MMO. It's not because of the magnitude of time involved, but rather what that time gets you. In your typical Korean "grindfest" MMO like Lineage II, RF Online, MapleStory -- you name it -- there is a massive time investment required, performing repetitive activities... and yet, after two hours of grinding away in one of those games, you have something tangible to show for it. A bit more gold. Closer to a new weapon. A few more pixels on your experience bar. Something, however small, that represents forward progress. In WoW as a Naxx raider, the result of that time investment is preservation of the status quo, and replenishing what was burned through at an alarming rate in that night's raid. That is the worst part of it, and that is what burns people out and drives them away from a truly wonderful raiding endgame.
It is not the raid designers' fault. The alternative, for them, would have been to balance around few or no consumables, and then we would've seen a Kel'Thuzad killshot in July, and hundreds of guilds rampaging through the zone by brute-forcing encounters via consumable use. Would that have been better? I don't think so.
Once upon a time, the class devs gave paladins a version of Improved Lay on Hands that bestowed +50% to armor for 5 minutes. Such an ability, while reasonable in PvP where burning your full mana pool is a major issue, and where buffing one player's armor isn't necessarily a decisive factor, would have been absolutely impossible to balance around in a raid setting. After an uproar on the FoH boards, that talent was quickly toned down, and I can only assume that the raid designers had a hand in that. This situation is not quite as severe, but it is similar. The consumable system and the array of consumables available to the players, created by unwitting quest designers who want to add cool new buffs and by people who want to give alchemists something to get excited about as they look at their neighbors' 90 DPS BoP 1h weapons, is tying the hands of the raid team. That needs to change. I look at things like Super Mana Potions in conjunction with the Alchemist's Stone (take a minute to compute the mana/5 equivalency and laugh) or a new array of Flasks that give huge benefits to all classes instead of just tanks and nukers, and I fear for the future of the high-end raiding game.
Take another look at that chart up top, and the pink bar. That bar needs to shrink, a lot, or the way consumables are handled in general needs to change drastically. Either take them away or, since Blizzard doesn't like taking things away, make them more abundant and thus less taxing: Double durations on things, make them last through death, give potions multiple charges, etc., while keeping the materials requirements static.\ We can argue over the solution, but* something has to change.
\(And no, this wouldn't kill Alchemy. You can spend some time farming herbs and make a stack of Major Manas or Mageblood and it will sell, at a large markup, as a matter of certainty. There is absolutely nothing that a skinneLW or minesmith could produce with an equal time investment that would sell to any reliable degree. Alchemy's importance can be substantially reduced without creating any imbalance among the professions.)*
The source i found it from was: https://www.9lives.be/forum/games-general/458014-burning-crusade-vraag-antwoord-met-beta-testers-13.html but I know I did originaly see it on elitists jerks website via wayback machine but could not find again. Maybe if someone is a wayback machine wizard they could find the original source as it had a ton of replies and pages and made for some interesting reading.
Funny how things haven't changed that much in all these years.
I’m thinking of removing the issue of prophecy from my story, but I fear that may create plot holes to come. Your thoughts?
Before there was anything, there was nothing but two brothers. These two brothers did not know why they were there or who made them. They only knew they had one goal: overpower the other. The two would fight relentlessly, one gaining the upper hand for a short time before the other took the upper hand, but neither would lay a scratch on the other. The brothers were Muno, the physical embodiment of all that is good, and Malu, the physical embodiment of all that is evil.
They fought for seemingly eons in an empty black void until finally they landed a blow on each other hat was so powerful that it created the universe, a perfect blend between good and evil, never mixing. Both wanted to rule their creation, but neither wanted to harm it. So, for once in eternity, the two worked together to create a separation between the universe and their fight. They called their new realm the Battlefield of the Brothers.
The balance of good and evil in the universe was directly affected by the brothers' fight. Whenever Muno gained the upper hand in the fight, the universe would be prosperous and peaceful, but whenever Malu gained the upper hand, the universe would be chaotic and filled with war. That's not to say that when it was prosperous there was no conflict or when it was chaotic there was no goodwill, just that it was mostly chaotic or mostly peaceful.
On a planet called Sirbio, on a continent called Iperios, there dwelled four distinct races: humans with their sheer numbers, elves with their powerful magic, dwarves with their skilled engineering, and orcs with their immense strength. These four races lived on the continent together, and lived in an uneasy and tense peace. Conflicts and wars broke out, and when they did, they were chaotic. There was one such war between two tribes of elves. One of the tribes called for the aid of the southern nation of Gentem, led by King Davius.
While Davius and his men aided the elves in their war, another fight was occurring between Muno and Malu, and it was dangerously close to the universe. Davius knelt down to tend a wounded soldier, when Muno accidentally sliced open a portal in the sky right above the battlefield, nearly three hundred feet in length. Malu seized the opportunity and quickly sliced of Muno's right hand. A single drop of Muno's blood fell through the portal and landed on Davius, granting him the supernatural and divine ability to heal nearly any ailment imaginable. Davius grabbed a rock floating in space and forged it into a new metal hand to replace his lost one. However, Muno realized that the hand that was lost had come to life and gained sentience. It had grown a single eye on the back, and it had gained the ability to see all time: past, present, and future. Muno named the hand Matorum. He decided to make Davius and Matorum his sons, and watched over them.
Malu, on the other hand, grew increasingly jealous of Muno and his two offspring. He decided that he would make his own. He tried for a long time but all of his creation destroyed itself. He realized then that the only way for him to make something was to destroy something until it had deformed into the thing he wanted to make. He looked onto Iperios and found a wizard named Muyum who was living on the northernmost point of the continent in a castle. Malu slowly began to corrupt Muyum into insanity until all of his thoughts were evil.
King Davius and his Queen Koravela had given birth to a son named Sirius, who grew to surpass his father. He was a gentle-hearted man whose healing abilities were more effective than Davius's. The elves who Gentem had aided gifted Sirius with a magic scepter that gave its wielder immense magical power. However, only him and those who followed in his bloodline could use it.
At the same time Sirius was born, another baby was born into poorer circumstances. She was tossed aside by her parents who could hardly feed themselves, much to the dismay of her older brother, Vivlio. Muyum found the baby and sensed great magical power inside of her, then he decided to train her to be his successor. As she grew, he slowly corrupted the girl to be more evil than him, more intelligent, and more powerful. He named the girl Vasilia. Soon enough, Vasilia, who had developed Stockholm Syndrome, finally betrayed and murdered Muyum and took over his estate in the north, in an orc nation named Istonik.
Vasilia had read the history of Iperios and all of the wars that had come before it and of the odd balance between prospering and chaos that cycled every thousand years. It seemed that every thousand years, there would be peace and prosperity, but as the thousand years ended, there would be chaos and war. She had also noticed the escalating conflicts between the four races and sought to end it. She finally judged that the only way to do so was for her to put them all under her subjugation and rule as queen of all the land. For years she prepared her campaign to take over Iperios, by seducing lords and ladies, kings and queens, with power and a seat at her table when she was ruler.
Before she was to do so, however, she wanted to make herself immortal so she could rule on high, as if she were an elf. There was a spell of immortality, and she planned to cast it on herself, her husband and daughter. She cast it first on herself, then watched in terror as her husband and daughter, the only two people she truly cared for, die. The spell would grant someone eternal life and youth, but in return, they must lose the people they hold most dear so they can untether themselves from the world. However, she became blinded by rage and grief. Soon, she had amassed an impressive force for conquest, and as she sensed that the thousand years of peace was coming to an end, she began her anger-fueled war.
She marched all the way south, taking over every nation in her path until she reached the nation of Gentem, where King Sirius ruled. He, wielding his scepter, and Vasilia with her raw power, fought hard for an entire long night before, as morning dawned, Sirius finally managed to overpower her. She knew he could not kill her, and that she could not fight him now. She had just enough energy to place a curse of barrenness on him so that when he died, nobody else could use his scepter. However, Sirius dealt his final blow to her as she was in the middle of casting the spell, making it incomplete. Instead of making his bloodline barren, Vasilia made it so that Sirius could only have one offspring, and each offspring after him could also only have one offspring. Sirius, however, was not aware of the curse at the time.
After Vasilia was detained, Sirius realized that she could not be killed at all. He decided to find a way to kill an immortal, but locked her away inside her castle. She could not step outside of its boundaries, else she would freeze into living stone forever. She was also forced to consume the bone marrows of humans, elves, dwarves, or orcs in order to maintain her youthful, beautiful form. Otherwise, she would devolve into this decrepit, half-human half-vulture hybrid. Sirius tasked the orcs of Istonik with watching over her while she was imprisoned in her castle. They dubbed her the "Vulture Queen", mocking both her failure to take over Iperios and her vulture-like form.
Sirius spent three years poring over the immortality spell, examining every facet of its weaving and incantation, how the spell layered together to make the soul and the body run forever, never breaking down or experiencing injury or illness. During the last year of his research, he and his wife conceived their first child.
During her time imprisoned in her castle, Vasilia learned that she had an ability that Sirius perhaps did not anticipate: she could communicate with vultures. She asked them to bring her food in the form of bone marrow, and then asked them to deliver messages to her original followers. She knew that since she could not leave, she had to take a new approach to taking over the land, a far more secretive approach. She decided to create a massive network of agents that would control and puppeteer the land for her, giving her a modicum of control over the land. Soon after the child was born, Sirius completed his research and created the blueprints for a weapon, a small dagger, that could harm and kill an immortal.
A spy sent Vasilia word of Sirius's success in his research, and she ordered him to be killed before the weapons could be built. As she began plotting Sirius's demise, there was a man from the far south who was visited by Matorum, who referred to itself as the Hand of Fate and told him of what would happen both in the near and far future, nearly a thousand years from now. He awoke to find his left eye missing, now on the back of his right hand, still seeing. He journeyed north to Gentem to find Sirius and tell him of what was to come. Many of Sirius's council did not trust the man, who referred to himself as the Oracle of Fate. Sirius was skeptical as well, but he decided to listen and have Vivlio, Vasilia's brother, write down everything the Oracle said.
The Oracle of Fate explained that a thousand years into the future, Vasilia would break free of her prison and reignite her campaign to retake the continent, but the returning long-lost heir of King Sirius, along with a man with a metal hand, would step forth to oppose her. The two would emerge after the man with the metal hand delivers the new Oracle of Fate to his followers. Sirius was troubled by hearing that his heir would be "long-lost" and need to return, and asked the Oracle if he could tell him why his lineage goes missing. The Oracle explains that he can ask Matorum questions about the future, but Matorum can choose which questions to answer. That night, the Oracle contacted Matorum and asked him for the future lineage of King Sirius, both the faces and the names of his future children. The next morning, the Oracle named off every single one of Sirius's future lineage, right up to a thousand years. It is here that Sirius learns of the curse, that he and his offspring can only have one offspring. However, he sees that after a thousand years of offspring, the one-line family tree breaks off into three new branches.
A spy sends Vasilia word of the prophecy and the lineage, but he cannot get a hold of the family tree, as Sirius has it locked away by Vivlio. She orders him to put her plan into action to bring Sirius down. He is falsely accused of war crimes, given a false trial, and executed. As Sirius is executed, Vivlio and the Oracle hide the copies of the lineage in the palace. Vivlio manages to escape, but the Oracle is found and killed. At this, King Sirius's scepter is touched by a rogue lord who wanted the power for himself. The scepter went berserk and released a great amount of energy, slaughtering everyone in the palace, then buried the palace. The scepter was not found, nor the page with Sirius's future lineage, but the prophecy of Vasilia's defeat and the heir's return was. As lords began fighting over the throne for Gentem for the next thousand years, the people began wishing Sirius never died and waited patiently for his heir to return in a thousand years.
Meanwhile, the words of the prophecy spread throughout the land, and people began praying that the heir and this “metal-handed man” would return soon, all the while not realizing that Vasilia is puppeteering almost every nation in the land. It took her two hundred and thirty years before she had finally gained an influence over every nation. Some nations she directly puppeted, but others her influence was very limited.
As for Vivlio, as he reached seventy years of age, he was suddenly teleported out of his home and into a mysterious place called the Library. The Library was a magical hidden place where one single copy of every single written thing in the world, and he has been chosen to become the caretaker of this place, an immortal kept alive by spirits known as the Librarian. He digs through the Gentemian files for a long time before finally finding what he was looking for: the future family tree of King Sirius. The faces and the names of all of his future children. He placed it in a chest where beside a fireplace where he knew it would be safe. He also found a copy of the blueprints for the weapon that could kill an immortal and stored them with the lineage. He knew, however, that he could not go out and find them himself, for if he left the confines of the Library, he would die, and a new Librarian would be chosen.
Meanwhile, outside of the Library, a cult was being formed around the prophecy, Matorum, and the Oracle of Fate. The cult was known as the Cult of Fate. At first their intentions were pure, but after seven hundred years they were corrupted by a fanatical leader who became convinced that he was the man with the metal hand (he wasn’t). He cut off his own hand and replaced it with a metal one, and then he went so far as to cast the spell of immortality on himself so he would outlive the three hundred years until Vasilia’s return. The spell was botched however, only binding his soul to his skeleton, and then to mention a lake of tar. The Cult of Fate soon congregated there as their center of worship, but the surrounding land slowly became corrupted by the man in the tar lake, who soon became known as the Dead King. The land was known as the Land of Fate, a dead place with constantly overcast skies but no rain, cracked, dry earth and petrified trees, and the water there is rarely drinkable. Only shrubs, insects, and small mammals can survive there, but even those are rare.
Fast forward a thousand years after Sirius’s death to the main events of our story, and we learn that the heir is a young woman named Irena, who ironically was a former handmaiden of Vasilia before she and two other handmaidens went rogue and rescued a lot of prisoners, including our protagonist Wolfgang, who is the man with the metal hand. He loses it on the field of battle, and the dwarves reward him with a new one made of metal and run by clockwork. It’s kind of a piece of crap, but it can at least hold a buckler. She also unknowingly rescues the new Oracle of Fate, a hunchback named Lukaro.
The three, after a long string of events, Matorum communes with Lukaro and dubs him the new Oralce of Fate, and tells him where he can find the Library. They journey to the place where Matorum said, and there they find the Library and Vivlio, who proclaims that Irena is the heir of King Sirius. They also learn that Vasilia has broken free of her prison and is now wreaking havoc in the north, slowly closing in on the south. Vivlio quickly gives them the copy of the lineage sheet and the blueprints for the weapon.
After finding the Librarian, the three find the Cult of Fate and Wolfgang delivers Lukaro to them, and he is made their new leader. The Dead King is enraged, blinded by his fanaticism, but the Cult of Fate doesn’t listen to him anymore and choose to make Lukaro and Wolfgang their new leaders. They abandon their leader to be left alone in his black tar lake for the rest of eternity.
Irena, now backed by the Cult of Fate, returns to the capital of Gentem, and convinces the people that she is the heir of King Sirius, and they overthrow the current monarchy and establish her as the new queen. Wolfgang trains with the Cult’s finest fighters to defeat Vasilia once and for all, and the dwarves, elves, and orcs all work together in forging the weapon, five small daggers that can pierce the skin of an immortal. The orcs procured the materials required, the dwarves shaped the metal into knives, and the elves enchanted the blades with their magic. They gave the knives to Wolfgang, who had them turned into fingers for his metal hand, so now they’re like claws.
Finally, after Gentem sends out a call for reinforcements, and gaining reinforcements form Wolfgang’s home nation of Nuen, the maritime nation of Bahari, and others, Vasilia arrives. She at first negotiates the terms of the coming battle with Irena and the others present. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that this is a trial. They judge her guilty of several crimes, and they sentence her to death. She scoffs, saying that she is an immortal and cannot die. They also know that they cannot kill her now, as she is at the height of her magical power. Even if Wolfgang wanted to kill her now, she would just blast him into fire or something. They had to wait until she was too weak to do magic for him to kill her.
The next morning, the battle began. Queen Irena herself went out with her army to face Vasilia’s while Wolfgang waited at the edge of the fields that surrounded the city for the sign of attack. As the sun set, Irena and her forces were forced to retreat into the fields, where Wolfgang and the Cultist’s fighters were waiting. They rose out of the wheat like ghosts and engaged the enemy forces. Wolfgang soon came upon Vasilia and dueled her, but she was a far better duelist than he had anticipated. As midnight fell, he found himself tired and world-weary, but still fighting her. He watched in terror as a massive vulture swooped down and grabbed Irena, then flew off and crashed into the roof of the royal palace. Fueled by rage now, he found a new fighting spirit and fought Vasilia more and more. An hour later, everyone was startled by a massive blast of green energy coming from the royal palace. Riding back out onto the battlefield on a white horse, wielding the scepter of King Sirius, her shoulder and arm torn to all hell by the vulture’s talons, was Queen Irena.
Irena was already a skilled magic user, so getting the hang of using the scepter was easy, it just took a lot of energy. Four three more hours she fought Vasilia before blasting her away into a nearby forest. Wolfgang tracked them down, hiding in the branches of a tree, watching the final confrontation. Vasilia was worn down, and Irena, bloody and injured but still standing, stood over her, proclaiming that she has been found guilty of several unforgivable crimes and was sentenced to death.
“You can’t kill me, I cannot die,” Vasilia scoffed half-heartedly.
“Oh, I’m not going to kill you,” Irena replied. “He is.”
Wolfgang leaps down from the trees and takes the glove off of his metal hand, revealing the daggers for fingers. Vasilia is too weak to use magic, so she must fight him through weaponry. The two duel, and Wolfgang finally lays a scratch on her face. Vasilia is shocked, having forgotten what pain I like to feel, and what her own blood looks like. She stares in terror as Wolfgang raises the metal fingers, revealing blood dripping down the tips.
Thrown into panic, Vasilia throws everything at Wolfgang, but he gets her on the ground by grabbing her around the ankles and pulling her down. She raises a hand to strike him, but he grabs her by the wrist and tears the arteries open. Finally, he plunges his hand down to grab at her throat, but her own hands stop his with surprising newfound strength. Slowly, Wolfgang’s hand inches down closer to her throat before he finally barely scratches the skin. Her hands give out, and Wolfgang tears out Vasilia’s throat. The Vulture Queen is dead.
This isn’t the complete story, by the way. There are a lot of details that I’ve left out because they aren’t important to the question at hand.
I remember recently reading a post that explained that stories motivated by free will are better than those motivated by prophecy, and I realized that if one took out the issue of prophecy in my story, the events would be fare more impressive. Doing so, however, would leave a few plot holes, like “How would Vivlio, or anyone for that matter, know that Irena is the heir of King Sirius?” or “If there is no prophecy, then what would the point of the Cult of Fate be?” See, Wolfgang is set to become a leader of the Cult of Fate and, when Irena becomes queen and he becomes her consort and her head of security, he will also represent the Cult in her court. But if that is removed, then Wolfgang is down to two roles in the end, which really isn’t that much of an issue.
I suppose that one option would be to limit the prophecy down further. Make Matorum only tell the first Oracle of Fate about Sirius’s heir’s returning and the demise of Vasilia and nothing else, leaving out the details of how Wolfgang would defeat Vasilia, but then I fear people would be confused as to why Irena wasn’t the one to kill her.
That’s all of the issues I can think of at the moment. What do you guys think I should do? Should I leave this as it is, remove the prophecy altogether, or just limit the prophecy a bit different?