Category Archives: roleplaying

Post x-pack lulls: Cataclysm versus Wrath

A post on WoWinsider last night declared that raiding guild activity, in-game, is down 50% so far this year. The metric comes from GuildOx and I admit, the way it’s presented is a bit misleading. Activity, per GuildOx, is defined as new boss kills or achievements: farming runs don’t register. A guild stalled out at 4/8H doesn’t register since they’re not getting new kills or achievements.  While the metric is partially indicative of “activity”, it also shows that many guilds that are raiding have completed the level of progression that they’re going to reach. Those guild might still be doing farming runs or alt runs, but they’re not “advancing” since there’s nowhere to go.

Is this different from Wrath? I think, in part, yes. I know we were still working on a LK kill up until a few weeks before Cata’s release…and we finished DS weeks ago. My impression was also that more guilds were working on heroic modes or just finishing progression as we headed towards Cataclysm. Back in Wrath, I would constantly see raiding guilds looking for pick-up players or recruiting, and there was a high PUG raid activity on my server. I only see the occasionally “LFM DS” announcements now and most of the raiding groups I know have shut-down operations largely until MoP.  We haven’t really run DS in two weeks now due to lack of interest; we got our legendary daggers,  our mains are geared, and we’ve full cleared the raid multiple times now.  Not everyone is interested in heroic modes; which is fine by me!

The game feels so much emptier now than it did before Cataclysm. Up until a few weeks before Cata’s release, I was chaining dungeons on Anatevka to get her shadow gear and hoping to alt-hop into one of our ICC runs.  Ana’s been geared via LFR for a couple months now and has nothing to gain from valor points or dungeons outside of normal DS. I’m still having fun in-game, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been leveling a new priest and sporadically working on reps for Rhia. I’ve been working on some RP ideas to prepare for Mists. But I feel more -DONE- in the Cata content than I ever did in Wrath.

I’m not quite sure why that is, either. Are we really just that much better at the game that we’re burning through content faster or was there just that much less end-game content at 85?

Real-life Mogging

In-game, some folks spend lots of time putting together awesome outfits to make their characters look…well…like themselves. (Although apparently ALOT of our characters are very fond of dressing scantily?) It’s called transmog or mogging.

In real life,  some people likewise spend great deals of time putting together great real-life mog sets – aka Fashion. While most of us probably stick to ye olde jeans and tank top route more often than not, fashion, just like mogging, is an avenue into a world of endless possibility. Bohemian? Steam punk? Gothic? Modern? Romantic? Edgy?  Someone once said fashion is a “fantasy” and I couldn’t agree more.

One amazingly brilliant WoW’er decided to put together mogging and fashion, and thanks to an online fashion tool named Polyvore,  clipped together real-life outfits based on WoW designs and zones. I basically spent all afternoon yesterday devouring their feed (the Nagrand set is one of my favs) and I recommend you guys check it out as well!

But, of course, that got me thinking — which is always a dangerous proposition. If my characters stepped off the screen and into the real world, what kind of real world fashions would they be wearing? What would their real-life mog set be like?

And thus, I became addicted to polyvore.

Rhianon RL mog

~~ Rhianon ~~

Here, I took a bit of a peek into Rhianon’s wardrobe. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from her – lots of romantic touches and florals – and a bit of a bohemian vibe. The bright red pumps really make the set though, a bit of sexy “come hither” popping out from all the feminine softness. Click here to get the polyvore set with info on all the pieces showcased!

Gilberte

~~ Gilberte ~~

And now for something totally different! Gilberte’s closet is flashy and pretty chic, very “downtown” girl.  The white blazer gives the cocktail dress some professionalism, but you know it’s Gilly when you see the over-the-top red lip clutch. Gilly wears her personality on her sleeve (or her body, in this case), so mysteriously sexy bright shoes like Rhianon’s aren’t really suitable. She goes for classic black heels. Once again, here’s the polyvore set with all the fashion details.  (And holy crap, I just realized that that silly little clutch is $730!!! That’s why fashion is a fantasy, boys and girls.)

Anatevka

~~ Anatevka ~~

I have to admit, putting together Ana’s set was much more difficult. I opted for a great deal of Vivienne Westwood – punk with a Victorian flair.  Ana’s style, while bold, is not as overtly in-your-face as Gilly’s wardrobe. She doesn’t need a sleek red dress to catch anyone’s eye; she can do that quite well on her own, thank you very much. I love how glamorous and mature the looks turned out, while still being somewhat romantic. And Ana could totally pull off the sparkly dress.  Got lots of cash? You too can dress like Anatevka.

Thanks to Azerothian Appearance for giving me the great inspiration (to waste about 5 hours staring at gorgeous clothes). Now I will have to spend the rest of the week fighting the urge to go shopping. *shakes fist*

Would you like a macaron with those boar ribs?

Back in college, I spent a semester studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. I actually don’t remember much about my courses there (except that one crazy teacher with red hair who was proud to be from Bretagne and told us stories about ladies giving birth on trains during World War 2) – but I will never forget the bakeries.

Small patisseries and bakeries dotted my path from my apartment to the campus. The cases were eye-popping and the smells intoxicating. Each day after my morning class, I would count out my change and buy a demi-baguette to eat with lunch, which was usually cheese from a shop, butter, a yogurt tin and sliced ham. (Somehow, I was approaching the “underweight” end of the BMI scale when I came back from Paris, despite a diet of bread, wine, cheese and butter. Crazy, right?)

So, when the idea of my character opening a bakery in the heart of Stormwind popped into my head, I knew exactly what I had in my mind:

A little piece of heaven

A little piece of heaven, for just a few euros!

And later on, that got me to thinking – what is Azerothian cuisine actually like? Some of the food items we see in-game have ready real world comparisons: buttery wheat rolls, boar ribs, and the like. But the serious part – could my shaman really have a bakery like the ones in Paris  in Azeroth?

I think, in this case, RPers are free to take a certain amount of license with the in-game world. We know that Azerothians eat cake, pie and muffins, among other sweet delights. Is it that outlandish to think that some enterprising cook came up with a souffle? Or a macaron? Doubtful that the treats would have the same names, but for the sake of not messing up everyone’s head, you might as well call a macaroon a macaroon and a crepe a crepe.

So, last week, Rhianon offered a tray of small colorful fruits shaped out of sugary nut-paste….otherwise known as “marzipan”.  Because she has the best, most delightfully European bakery ever (in Azeroth).

And yes, I realize that marzipan most likely has Arabic roots. But there’s nothing more quintessentially European to me than Marzipan confections.

Would you like a lemon or a strawberry?

About a Shaman

I’m a bit late in coming to this, but I recently came across the challenge series for the New Blogger Initiative (thanks to a link on a blog I was browsing yesterday). I’m not quite sure how I missed the series since I signed up for the Initiative, but I like to blame the excessive amounts of work I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks.

One of the challenge topics was to tell a bit about your main character.  I did a short blurb about all of my characters on the Games Present page, but I don’t think that really tells the full story. Why do I play Rhianon, a resto shaman, as my main? What keeps me coming back to her?

Rhianon is one of those odd characters who took on a life of her own somewhere between 1 and 70 when I first rolled her back in Burning Crusade. I really intended her to be an enhancement shaman (healing?! That’s for wimps!) – but my guild encouraged me to try resto since they only had one resto shaman for raids and that was an alt of one of their best DPS’ers. I fully admit to NOT thinking chain heal was worthwhile at all when I first got the spell around level 40. Chain heal? Why would I ever cast that? It looks dumb!

Fast forward a few months and 30 levels, and I was hooked. Rhianon the enhancement shaman became restoration for life, and five years later, I haven’t looked back.

The character herself had a similar “wait, a second – what happened?” development process.  Rhianon was originally supposed to be a petulant young Draenei who ran away from her Da and the Exodar.

Somewhere along the way, she’s become a young woman who is alternatively wise and whimsical — silly but also incredibly sensitive and caring. She walks with Spirits and sometimes loses her way in the real world.  A friend recently compared Rhianon to the Enchantress companion in Diablo 3, and I’d have to agree.  She usually comes across as not being “all there”; she finds the mundane fantastic and the fantastic mundane.

There’s something about roleplaying Rhianon that is both easy and complicated: she’s full of gusto for life, but there’s a great softness and delicacy to her personality as well.  At first blush, she seems out of place on a battlefield – but then as you get to know her, you understand why she’s out there.

I had this lovely portrait of Rhianon commissioned over the 2011 Christmas holidays and I really think it captures her beautifully. (Thanks, dekraus!!)

Making the Decision

My RIFT account runs out May 28, 2012. I still haven’t decided yet whether I’ll bother keeping the subscription active, particularly in anticipation of Mists and Guild Wars 2’s release.

A part of me says “Oh, well, it’s just 10-12 bucks a month. Not a big deal. You spend that much on sodas and stuff at work!” Another part of me says, “But why spend money on something you don’t play? At least you drink those sodas and eat those snacks!” Read the rest of this entry

Monday RP: Uncommon, yet Ordinary

“You shall be ordinary” was the curse/blessing a somewhat worn-out fairy godmother pronounced over royal infant Amy in M. M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess. It made sense, you see, to the fairy godmother. She was positively sick of all the dull (yet beautiful) golden-haired, blue-eyed princesses.

I was a big fan of the Ordinary Princess as a kid, so it makes some sense that I largely prefer “ordinary” characters in roleplay situations.  Yet, at the same time, I know my characters are never going to be normal. They’re not merchants or farmers, and they’re often out slaying world-ending dragons.  I don’t even know that I would want to roleplay a farmer! So, I’ve ended up favoring the “Uncommon yet Ordinary” concept when working with my characters.

You see, it’s perfectly possible to be ordinary and yet uncommon at the same time. That was the whole point of the Ordinary Princess — because there is NOTHING ordinary about being a Princess, no matter how brown your hair is or how freckly your face! So, your character is “The Ordinary Paladin” or “The Ordinary Shaman” – you temper the extra-ordinary with the, well, boring normalcy of life.

Even the most heroic of heroes probably has some everyday concerns – does he have money woes? a broken heart? childhood fear of snakes? – and supplementing your character with these “normal” thoughts brings the common back into the uncommon.

Rhianon, my shaman, has some pretty amazing things going on for her. She’s a spirit-walker, ferrying dying souls to the Beyond, and she participated in the final fighting against Deathwing. Yet, she has low self-confidence, tends to be shy and quiet, and worries about boring, normal things: family, friendships, and so on. Conversely, she owns a bakery (normal, right?) that just so happens to be haunted!

Anatevka came from Argus and has survived thousands of years – but still gets annoyed when her sometimes-boyfriend uses her fancy soaps to wash up.

Gilberte might be writing amazing romance novels, but she still has to keep her day job as a secretary to stay on top of her bills and be close to her baby daughter.

I look at my characters’ stories from one side and I’m constantly worried – Are they too boring and normal???. And then I look from the other side and think – “Wait, are they too much? Is this talent/ability/success too over-the-top?”

At that point, I know I’ve struck pretty much the right balance!