- by Betria Tallrock, with technical advice from Aleksandros
In light of recent rumors of possible restrictions on the importation of certain brands and varieties of alcohol into Stormwind, many people who would otherwise not be in contact with the arcane have been considering hiring the transportation services of mages in order to bypass any future boycotts on their favored beverage. This is a good idea, as portals are safe and reliable, and allow a customer to cross Azeroth quickly and easily as they go about their business.
With permanent portals so ubiquitous nowadays, some people have forgotten that there are certain rules of etiquette to be followed when contacting and negotiating teleportation services from mages. While most mages will be happy to provide you with instant transportation to wherever they are able, all parties involved will have a much better time if you pay attention to the following pointers:
- Have a tip handy! Teleportation takes effort and mystical reagents. Some mages will gladly send you where you want to go for no charge but rest assured that even those will appreciate being remunerated for their trouble. There is no set standard for how much you should give, but thirty silver coins is the bare minimum for the mage to break even if she had to cast a teleportation spell to get to where you are. Most mages expect a minimum tip of a handful of gold coins. It might seem expensive, but remember that you are saving yourself hours, days or even weeks of travel, and that an equivalent yet far more lengthy and dangerous journey by boat or gryphon would probably cost the same if not more than said tip.
- Know where you want to go. Mages are often able to teleport themselves to many different places, using a multitude of spells and devices, but the list of places they can take other people to is considerably more restricted. Given portal spells require anchoring points in space-time, responsible mages will only carry you to specially-prepared sites in capital cities. With that in mind, one must carefully consider where they require transportation to, given not every city provides the same services as another.
For example, Ironforge is well-known for its dwarven spirits and cheap inns, but the environment might be somewhat claustrophobic for some. Dalaran and Shattrath are perfect places to try out a multitude of dishes and brews from Azeroth and beyond, but anyone going to those towns would be well advised to be careful with members of the Horde prowling about. Violence is obviously banned within those sanctuary cities, but it never hurts to tread lightly when there are orcs around. In a more practical note, those going to Darnassus will be able to enjoy the exotic kaldorei cuisine and art, but may have a hard time finding a mage to teleport them back home due to some night elves upholding a taboo against arcane magic. Contacting the gilnean refugees to set up a return trip is advised.
- Be polite. Don’t just shove the gold in the mage’s hand without warning while yelling the name of the city you want to be taken to. Likewise, if you have to contact the mage via buzzbox or some other long-distance communications channel, use the standard greetings and politely ask if you could hire their services. Remember: very few mages actually make a living out of creating portals, and even those who do probably have enough clients to afford to lose a few rude ones. Being civil and well-mannered will ensure the mage will be glad to rent you her services in the future. As an aside: be where you tell the mage you will be. There are very few things more frustrating than crossing entire continents in the blink of an eye, only to spend the next fifteen minutes waiting for the client.
- Don’t step in right away. It is a sad truth that a few individuals in the arcane community have certain mischievous or even cruel streaks to them. If you are hiring the services of a certain mage for the first time, or if you don’t trust him or her fully, take some time before stepping through the portal to examine it. Within the swirling glow of mystical energy, you should be able to catch glimpses of the target location. If it’s not where you want to go, don’t step in. Many an unwitting customer has arrived in the desolate shores of Tol Barad or found themselves staring into the alien skies of Shattrath when they intended to go to Dalaran or Stormwind. Sanctioned portal destinations are generally safe, but it is better to avoid the hassle of having to find another portal back home.
- Keep your arms and legs inside the magical stream at all times. Portals will only transport things within their boundaries. Mages will not be held responsible for misuse resulting in loss of one or more extremities.
- Close your eyes. Every sorcerer has a different style to their spells, and their portals are no exception. For some, the voyage through the Twisting Nether is no more than an instant flash of bright light, while other portals take a few seconds to safely deposit someone on the other side and produce quite a spectacular lightshow while at that. A few mages use specific shortcuts that cause the edges of the teleportation field to display images of the places they go through, and some can be quite frightening. A civilian may be scared witless if she sees herself hurtling through some of the most obscure corners of the Twisting Nether before reaching their destination. As a rule of thumb, it’s usually a good idea to close your eyes and hold your breath after stepping into the portal and only reopen them when your feet are on solid ground and you no longer hear the space-time continuum rushing past your ears.
- Have fun! Detractors see teleportation as something unnatural and frightening. It doesn’t have to be so. In fact, a trip through a well-cast portal is more likely to be an exhilarating experience than anything else, and a great way to end a good night of celebration in Dalaran!
So, next time you think about going somewhere far away for whatever reason, pay attention to the tips presented here and go check if your local mage can help you out!