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 Shadow Priests: The Ascension

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Othragon Rotarm

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PostSubject: Shadow Priests: The Ascension   Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:31 pm

THE FORSAKEN AND THE CULT OF THE SHADOW

Though the majesty of the shadow tree is available to all players, it is primarily the domain of the forsaken. In most respects, it was born from the forsaken.

As a mental exercise, consider this: You are a great priest of the Holy Light, fighting to defend Lordaeron. After decades of dedicating yourself to respect and compassion -- to the Light -- you find yourself falling to the scourge. Even after the bonds of the Lich King have gone, as a forsaken, the light is still physically painful to you. Hostile.

You are forced to accept a new reality: Your new form was born of a darkness from which you cannot escape. Through no fault of your own, you've been abandoned by the Holy Light. All that is left for you is the shadow. The Cult of Forgotten Shadows -- the premiere forsaken religion -- is based on that principle.

Deathknell, the forsaken starting area, is a stronghold of the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow. While there's no law that says undead priests have to be followers of the shadow, we should at least acknowledge the societal expectation. Just as you would expect a person born of Mecca to be a Muslim, so too should you expect a forsaken born of Deathknell to be a part of the Cult of the Forsaken Shadow.

Deathknell's priest trainer, Dark Cleric Duesten, is a member of the cult. If you have any question about the adversarial nature of the shadow and the light, let him help put that to rest:

"Ah, so between fire, plague, rioting, and much worse, one more of the "faithful" comes to my door. Well, let me bid you welcome, priest. And allow me a moment to explain a thing or two before you decide it's time for you to seek whatever drives you forward: the Holy Light no longer concerns you, the spirits of your forefathers are fairy tales, and creatures from the Nether don't want you. Do you understand me so far?"



Any priest, forsaken or not, can eventually become a shadow priest. In terms of named NPCs, however, virtually every shadow priest in the game is a forsaken. Further, virtually every shadow priest has an adversarial relationship with the Holy Light. If you need more proof, just head to your local library for a copy of Shadow Priest Allister's book, Holy Bologna: What the Light Won't Tell You.

So, what's the main difference between the religion of the Light and the religion of the shadow? Primarily, two things:

- As part of the three principles, the Light values respect. The shadow values power.

- Followers of the Light absorb greatness from the universe and reflect that onto others. Followers of the shadow believe that power comes from within themselves. They use this power to shape the universe.

Notable though, is the fact that followers of the shadow never actually forget the Light. Dark Cleric Beryl, another forsaken follower of The Cult, puts it fairly well:

"There are many lessons that the Forsaken have learned through experience -- things that some races can only begin to fathom. And although our path lies in darkness, you will find that a great many things rely on both the light and the dark. Your lessons shall teach you to use both... and with discretion. But heed my words: never forget we were forged in corruption and left to rot like so much carrion. The Darkness is our home."




ASCENDING INTO THE SHADOWS


Of course, as they are no longer "Mindless Ones," the forsaken do have a choice. Some merely turn their back on the light, just as they perceive the light has turned its back on them. The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow goes one step further -- instead of merely rejecting the light, they develop a loathing for it. Incredible power can be found by embracing the shadow, the essence of darkness that caused their new form.

To follow the shadow is to embrace a path into darkness. According to the Horde Player's Guide, that to which we aspire as shadow priests -- our ultimate reward -- is ascension:

The ultimate goal of practitioners of the Forgotten Shadow is to ascend. Ascension occurs once a person achieves complete control over herself and the power to transcend death. A Forsaken who ascends becomes invulnerable, invincible and eternal. In essence, she becomes a god.

Through embracing the concept of "Divine Humanism" -- that is, each individual has the power of a god, capable of shaping the world around him. Ascension is the apex of that power, the end point of the path from physical being to a god formed of naught but eternal shadow. For the player, this is more than just a theoretical concept; through training and investment in the shadow tree, ascension is a possibility. At least, that is, for a short time. After all, the same Horde Player's Guide explains ascension:

At the culmination of this path, the ascendant's body fades, and they become a living shadow. While the Forsaken loses the strength of an undead body, they gain the perfection of undeath, an incorporeal and inhumanly powerful free soul. This form resembles their old form, but without facial features. Hair and body shape remains, formed of the stuff of shadows, and eyes remain as burning balls of unholy light. The Forsaken still has a body, however, and is not truly incorporeal as a ghost is. The ascendant's shadow body bears some substance, almost like an ephemeral, inky fluid, but it is so wispy that it almost doesn't exist.

Ascendancy is ascribed to the domain of the forsaken. Still, it's hard to miss the clear references to shadow priest mechanics that are accessible to a priest of any race. A shadow priest experiences a major event in his ascendancy at level 40, when he enters Shadowform for the first time. Twenty levels later, ascendancy can be had with Dispersion -- if only for six seconds at a time. There is no question that the beliefs of the forsaken and the powers enjoyed by non-forsaken shadow priests are closely tied.

(( taken from WoW.com, to your convenience, seemingly as there are so many priests in HoS these days... also, this has been pulled off successfully by Archeh, of course, not everyone is as imba as our Dark Lord hence, the guideline above ))
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