Specialized Services [Letters]

Most honored and esteemed Nexus-Prince Haramad,

Humble greetings and salutations, oh revered one! Your loyal servants bring you wonderful news from the terrestrial realm known as Azeroth.

As you know, the fleshlings native to this planet are privy to untold mineral, magical and spiritual riches, but remain foolishly unaware of the treasures they hold in their grubby paws. For years, our agents have attempted to establish trading posts or contractual agreements with the local populace, but always have our offers been rejected.

What is truly maddening is that our endeavors have been declined not because of unsatisfactory terms or from personal desires to retain their resources for themselves, but because the primitive fools lack the technological and scientific wherewithal to understand just what we have been offering them!

This planet's races are little more than primates, living their lives with sticks and rocks, and yet they swarm across this world's surface, exploring its every nook and cranny with parasitic persistence. If we only had access to such an easily-manipulated work force on our other mercantile trade-worlds! Ah well, we can but dream.

Of course, being creatures of material physiques, they are flawed. They still require nutritional sustenance, bodily rest, and are susceptible to biological ailments. But perhaps worse than these physical limitations are their uneducated mental capacities - their primitive intellects simply cannot fathom what remarkable technologies and gifts we are attempting to share with them.

For a race as advanced as our own, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to imagine their needs and desires. For example, my liege, we might offer one of the subterranean, earthen races of this planet - a "dwarf" - a pristine matter destabilizer equipped with an augury-enhanced sensory neural harness, to assist in their mining operations, and what does the little creature do? Hand it back and ask for a "pickaxe" - a crude alloy blade attached to an uninsulated handle made of harvested organic material! They actually have craftsmen whose sole purpose in life is to create such "tools", often by hand! Ludicrous!

And negative, your sensory receptacles were not mistaken, revered one. Azeroth has untold mineral deposits, raw and untarnished by the Void, simply waiting to be extracted. And yet, you will be horrified to learn that this planet's mortal simpletons waste these invaluable resources on mundane tools and weaponry, or even illogical, maddening decorative features such as enormous physical representations of their leaders! They call these displays "statues", and they serve no purpose other than to satisfy their leaders' absurd notions of vanity and ego - truly, I would not have thought such folly was even possible had I not witnessed these monstrosities myself.

If one of your court were to throw away precious commodities in such a fashion, they would surely be stripped of their wrappings and banished to the Void, yet this extravagant practice is celebrated on this planet! Our aghast agents asked fleshling officials why their craftsmen did not simply use a basic holographic display nodule instead of wasting hundreds of priceless mineral units, and they received only blank stares in return.

This is the level of ignorance we have to deal with on an everyday basis, my Prince. It sometimes feels like we would make better progress conversing with an amphibian sunning itself on a warm rock than with these so-called sentient species.

However, as I said, revered one, our major struggles in establishing any sort of economically-beneficial relationship with the native races have been disparities between what we can provide and what their simple minds desire. I am exceedingly jubilant to report that I believe we have overcome this obstacle.

Instead of trying to sell these creatures useful products that sensible beings would find appealing, it occurred to us that perhaps we would attain more success by analyzing their bizarre perspectives and adjusting our proposed services to appropriately coincide. Reverse social engineering, if you will.

The first thing we determined is that these fleshling races largely possess two personality traits that are easily exploitable. Firstly, they are very sentimental, and commonly develop emotional attachments to inanimate objects. Often these items are worthless or expended baubles, and being asked to discard such keepsakes can cause these creatures genuine emotional distress.

I am not joking, though if you find my words hard to believe I would not blame you, my Prince! I have seen a hardened warrior, talented for a lesser being, battle ferocious shadow creatures from the Twisted Nether without blinking an eye, and yet the idea of getting rid of his old training sword nearly reduced him to tears.

While this is rather amusing, I noticed with some interest that these incidents of emotional turmoil occur quite frequently, as the fleshlings - obsessed with material possessions as they are - continue to acquire more and more belongings, and quickly run out of space to store their "precious" treasures.

I have no explanation for this ridiculous mental impediment, but why these creatures feel this way is irrelevant. All that matters to us is if we can somehow turn these unexpected flaws into financial gain. And the answer is, of course, a resounding yes!

I have tasked Jazra and Razhid, two of our nethermancers talented in the arcane art of conjuration, to create extra-dimensional vaults of limitless capacity in a pocket dimension. For a nominal fee, the fleshlings will be able to safely store their "irreplaceable" heirlooms with us, whether it be an old set of armor, a necklace passed down by their progenitor, or a trophy from a long-vanquished foe. In other words, their sentimental garbage. But if they are willing to pay for the service, that is fine with us!

There is, of course, the possibility of being tasked to store items of ACTUAL value, which is something we will monitor closely. Should the items in the vaults ever reach a certain level of value, we may abscond with the goods and depart. However, it is my prediction that this will never happen, as the fleshlings seem much more concerned with retaining ownership of their old hats rather than items of legitimate net worth. Additionally, the items stolen would have to be of exceptional value, since we would be unable to ever return to Azeroth for future transactions. Still, it is good to consider every possibility.

The second flaw these curious beings suffer from is an incredible, unfathomable level of personal vanity. Prepare yourself, my liege. These creatures are willing to go to exceptional effort simply so that their armor colors match. I do not speak of their equipment's effectiveness or enchantments - I mean the literal, physical COLORS.

I observed this practice for a month, for I was certain I was misunderstanding some strange cultural ritual or tradition at work, but I was not mistaken. Personal appearance and aesthetics are apparently essential to these fools.

On a hunch, I queried some fleshlings if they would be interested in a service that could transform their equipment to look like something else, of their choosing. (For a small fee, of course.) This suggestion would have had me laughed out of your court, oh exalted one, but the mortals were astounded at the very idea, and expressed intense interest in such a service.

That is correct, they were willing to part with their precious, hard-earned currency to make their weapons and armor look like something else, while not bestowing any actual benefit.

Sometimes, I worry for the universe.

Establishing this service was simplicity itself. Weaving the arcane has always been second nature to us, including spells of a transmutational nature. I have tasked Arcanists Dushar and Hashom to handle these requests. The anticipation for this service has been very high, so I foresee a significant opportunity for substantial profit in this endeavor.

Despite the elementary nature of these transmutations, the uneducated masses seem entranced by what they think are mysterious, supernatural powers, so we have labeled Dushar and Hashom as "Warpweavers", a meaningless title, yet one that is sure to satisfy our ignorant customers.

Finally, we noticed that there were a small group of independent sorcerers who had carved out a specialized niche for themselves, involving the redistribution of enchantments on magical equipment. We decided that this practice fit in well with our "Void Storage" and "Transmogrification" services, so we have arranged for a small series of tragic and unrelated accidents to befall them, forcing them out of the industry. How fortunate for their customers that the Consortium is fully prepared to handle their re-enchantment needs! I have decided to personally oversee this market, along with Thaumaturge Zajir.

Our varied services are undergoing final fine-tuning and analysis before we make them publicly available, and already the anticipation and excitement is palpable among our fleshy neighbors. I have a good feeling about this one, my Prince, and I believe this practice is one that we might consider also adopting in other markets. After all, why part with valuable goods or items when we can instead simply let our customers' own arrogance and emotional flaws pad our coffers?

Profit to the Consortium!

Sincerely, your humble servant and Wind Trader,

Show/Hide Letter Notes
I thought it was interesting that we didn't see the Ethereals in Cataclysm until Void Storage and Transmogrification, and I wondered why they might be involved in those particular services. Flavor-wise, it makes a lot of sense, especially with the Void Storage. And let's be honest - if the opportunistic Ethereals are getting into the game, you can bet there's profit involved.

From there, I kind of wondered - just what would a culture whose priorities revolve around pragmatism and profit think about Azeroth, where the world's greatest heroes are fretting and fussing about their armor's appearance? It would seem absurd! And when you add in the fact that many players have strong sentimental ties to their old gear, which would seem so, so weird to the ruthless/detached Consortium, I basically had the entire Letter's plot right there. I felt it was also appropriate to add a "corporate takeover" of the currently-existing Reforging industry.

Finally, I realized while writing this Letter that Ethereals just may be my favorite race to write. Smart, overly wordy, mocking of other, silly races...they're a lot of fun. :D

5 Responses Subscribe to comments

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    "Of course, being creatures of material physiques, they are flawed. They still require nutritional sustenance, bodily rest, and are susceptible to biological ailments. -> But perhaps worse than these physical limitations are their <-

    For a race as advanced as our own, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to imagine their needs and desires."

    Is that abrupt "their" intentional? I can see how it might be, but the reasoning for it doesn't make sense given the rest of the piece.

    November 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM

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    Oh, good catch, I lost some text somewhere. Fixed now! :D

    November 2, 2011 at 10:54 AM

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    I'm enjoying the series so far! Suggestions from Ryan on who to write about: Nespirah.

    My suggestions: the shamans you rescue from the Maw of Madness in the Twilight Highlands. Earthmender Duarn, Earthcaller Yevaa, Hargoth Dimblaze, and Stormcaller Jalara. Some of the things they say in the quest The Terrors of Iso'rath are hilarious.

    Another suggestion from me is the 'raid' groups that you see when you're doing the bombing quest from the molten front, where you fly into 'the firelands' and you see a raid waiting where you would pull Shannox from. The alliance has Johnny Awesome!

    November 3, 2011 at 3:04 AM

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    @Mittenz -- There are NPC "raid groups" in the version of the Firelands that you fly over for the Molten Front bombing quest? Clearly, I have not done the Druids of the Talon quests often enough, and I will have to watch for them the next time I get that quest! (My Shaman prefers the Shadow Warden quests because the flame spiders are, oddly enough, skinnable.)

    @Rades -- Hahaha! I wonder what of all the junk we'll be putting in Void Storage the Ethereals might consider worth absconding with....

    November 3, 2011 at 10:57 AM

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    We decided that this practice fit in well with our "Void Storage" and "Transmogrification" services, so we have arranged for a small series of tragic and unrelated accidents to befall them, forcing them out of the industry.

    Oh noes! Poor elf mages. D:

    November 13, 2011 at 9:43 AM