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Speculation on the Reborn Shards
I was going to post this in another thread, but I thought it better to just create a new one.

The other day I was thinking about the reborn shard system and how it can affect roleplay/lore as an in-character action. The main problem see with it is that while it is an honorable action to show loyalty to a faction; it does not necessarily *help* that faction in any way, other than giving them the peace of mind in laying their fallen to rest. (and stopping the scourge from raising them, but that doesn't really change anything, as all factions are more or less enemies of the scourge regardless of what they are to one another)

Now it has been established that anyone who turns in reborn shards gains favor with the faction that they turn them in to; the in-character explanation for this isn't really made evident (why factions would grant so much favor to complete strangers over something that has no constructive value doesnt make sense to me, but I'll not question that bit). But as noted above it doesn't give said faction any kind of advantage over the others.

First off, if it's an in character action, then it must be implied that any character in the world is capable of it from an realistic perspective. That means that if they should so choose, massive amounts of orcs could deliver shards to the Exodar and all be given honorary status with the Draenei. Being a possibility, this could and would change the world of azeroth drastically.

By now you're thinking: why would the orcs ever want to help the draenei lay their fallen to rest? This sounds like a completely insane and 100% unrealistic occurrence, right?

Wrong. Dead Wrong, in fact.

Since the deliverance of reborn shards does not actually "help" an enemy faction (give them an advantage over other factions), the orcs, despite their hatred for the draenei could very likely gather reborn shards and turn them in simply so that they can infiltrate the Exodar without resistance. They might not like the idea of laying fallen draenei to rest, but would be willing to do it to gain an advantage (false trust) over their enemy faction.

Perhaps a better example is in order:

A group of blood elves decide they want to travel to Ironforge and attempt to assassinate King Magni Bronzebeard (whether PC's or not, it's all the same in the eyes of the lore). Being the clever, scheming blood elves they are, they decide:

"Hey why don't we each give the dwarves of Ironforge a bunch of reborn shards so they'll befriend/honor or even revere us. Giving them these shards wont help them at all, or help the alliance defeat us, all it'll do is make them happy, a small price to pay. Meanwhile they'll trust us and let us into their city, so it will be far easier to get to the throne room and kill the king, being we can (at least temporarily) bypass a large amount of the guards and populace."

Now this may be a somewhat exaggerated example, that doesn't account for *every* hindrance that the described blood elves would encounter, the point still remains. Any character who wants to gain prestige with a faction can do so by turning in reborn shards, and would have little qualms about doing it to an enemy since it doesn't really help their enemies to defeat them, it just gains them trust.

Another more practical example:

If a night elf character wanted to spy on Orgrimmar, he could just turn in a bunch of reborn shards. He believes all souls should be put to rest regardless of their actions in life so he has no qualms at all about. In the same sense, he holds no loyalty to the Orcs, he's just feigning loyalty (by doing something that doesnt really at all help the orcs, but for some reason still gains him immense prestige) so the orcs will allow him into their city, where he would steal their secrets and turn them into Darnassus/The Alliance without the orcs even knowing.

But beyond all of this, it's unrealistic to think that the kinds of examples noted above would not already have happened lore-wise. It's unrealistic to say that SI:7 would not immediately use the reborn shards to their advantage in infiltrating enemy factions at their very first opportunity. The same goes for other intelligence groups.

In the end, the whole reborn shard system seems very unrealistic and is almost crippling to the lore as being an available IC action. Now if there's something I missed, some fact about the system I overlooked, please don't hesitate to note them. If anyone has an argument against the points I have just related I welcome it, but as of right now I see the reborn shard system as a major problem. (not even mentioning all the cross-faction interaction problems it no doubt contributed to)
I kind of understand where you're coming from, and I agree with reborn shards being labeled IC a mistake. Mine is because some characters may be able to pass through lands for reasons other than turning in lost souls. But it's mostly because there isn't an automated, player-to-system (as opposed to player-to-gm-to-system) method to do the opposite. I could see making soul shards IC if there was a similar rep-degrader in place that doesn't involve guard farming or gm involvement.

Some may say "what's the point of making yourself neutral/hated with a faction?" That's using ingame mechanics to reflect your character's status.
˜★Sketch Blog
Quote:The main problem see with it is that while it is an honorable action to show loyalty to a faction; it does not necessarily *help* that faction in any way, other than giving them the peace of mind in laying their fallen to rest.

Where are you getting this notion? It's never explicitly stated one way or another if the various factions can actually use them for some reason or another...in fact, I'm pretty sure I worded the quest to allude to the fact that they CAN use these shards for something.

When I designed the quest text for these quests, I wanted to do a whole lot more with it, including a special blurb for every faction explaining what that particular faction wants the shards for. Unfortunately I never got around to doing it, but reborn shards are not just some valueless trinkets you turn-in for good will.
Have you hugged an orc today?
- I am not tech support. Please do not contact me regarding technical issues. -
WOW...Very eye opening and I have to say it all makes relaltive sense. But then Again I don't really use them to gain cross-faction rep as not many (if any) of my chars have any good reason not to hate the oposing faction and I don't farm shards just open RP that would not be ICly realistic, so I might not be the best person to put forth an arguement.
That premise, Grakor, is the main support for the situations I later described: How players can gain prestige with an enemy faction without actually helping them (possibly purely for the sake of gaining trust they plan to betray from the get-go); thus making the world very unbalanaced and unrealistic (as it stands). When I wrote this I was basically going off the description of Reborn Shards in the wiki:

Reborn shards are scattered all over the world, buried in what look like glowing piles of dirt. All factions consider these shards valuable, and turning them in to various NPCs in Orgrimmar, Shatterspear, and Stormwind will allow you to gain reputation. Essentially, these are the dead souls of heroes who passed away in the world, which are collected for some purpose not previously disclosed. Finding five of these tokens entitles the player to a Lesser Reborn Token, which can in turn be returned for tokens of greater value, and greater faction in other areas. You merely need to turn them into the appropriate faction. This is a quick, easy way of earning faction with cities one wouldn't normally have access to (i.e., an orc in Stormwind for example). They're actually quite a bit of fun to collect, and during some events their value is sometimes doubled.

. . . along with Qaza's numerous elaborations in other posts.

If you have plans to elaborate upon them further, and how they can be used by factions to gain an advantage over their enemies; then that's great and would likely file out the problems I described. Now I'm not trying to pressure you or demand anything of you (or the others) as a GM. It's been repeated constantly that we're on freeze and you're already working really hard to make up for the lack of manpower admin-side, and I've kept that in mind constantly with every post I make.

But it should be noted that anything you write about reborn shards in the future will have to be received as (at least in part) knowledge having been known by characters (IC) all along (before actually having been written) when they turned in reborn shards.

It's possible to make it something that wasn't known, and is all of a sudden "revealed" but at the same time not realistic as it makes the scenarios noted in my last post a possibility. Despite the advantage a faction would then gain, it still means blood elves walking around ironforge just waiting to attack the king. Since they didn't *know* they were helping the enemy they wouldn't have taken it into account when they formulated their plot.

Any character who turned in reborn shards would know what they were doing for their faction. If an orc were to turn in reborn shards to Stormwind, he would know that he'd be helping them based on the fact that he's seen the (so far unwritten) advantage his own people gain when they receive reborn shards. Especially if he himself is a loyal and active member of his own race's army/civilization. (which isn't always the case, but very well could be)

Thus anything you write in the future would have to be consistent with the actions people have already taken (IC) in regard to turning in reborn shards and what their character's intent was in doing it.

Again I'm not trying to pressure you, but as reborn shards are continually incorporated into storylines and roleplay through the use of cross-faction interaction (which has already been expressed as a problematic comomdity), the possiblities available to you in designing a constructive use for them by a faction is being limited greatly by the various intentions of characters turning them in. Not saying it's impossible, as you may already know how you're going to do this so it fits what has already happened IC, just that it may be more difficult for you. (I for one have only used the system to gain faction with my characters' own capital cities)

In the end, I'm just saying it may be something you wish to give more priority to than you have previously. Especially given the abuse of the system by players in the past. If there's anything I personally, or the community can do as a whole to help in this matter, please let us know. I'd be more than happy to contribute if it makes things go more smoothly.
Perhapse there should be a condition to finding them...if the stones doin fact hold the souls of those long dead, perhapse a magic within the stone could prevent someone, say an orc infiltraitor who plans to decive the alliance, from picking up the stone with that intention.

I know, not a great solution, but I am just throwing out ideas I think can help. If the char that picked up the stone and turned it in to be accepted and was honest about it,and had a change of heart, he could then betray the trust, but that would just make it more realistic.
The system is changing I believe, so any information I input here could be made obsolete in a few days.

However, the general belief was, and always has been, if you're giving shards to a faction, you are actually helping make that faction more powerful.
Have you hugged an orc today?
- I am not tech support. Please do not contact me regarding technical issues. -
Good to know, both that it is changing and the clarification that it is indeed helping a faction.

Greatly appreciate the response.

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