Category Archives: Uncategorized
What is it you want, but know you can’t get your hands on and have to stare at longingly whenever you log in?
As I thought about this, I had alot of trouble coming up with in-game things: in general, if I want something, I do my best to get it. I did eventually get the Sporeggar pet and tabard, the Kurenai mount, and the Cenarion War Hippogryph. I completed the Avatar set for Anatevka and the Cyclone raiment for Rhianon. And if I really wanted some of the archaeology trinkets that I admire (the Naaru one, for example), I would simply go out and level up archaeology.
There are a few things that stick out to me, however – mainly because I either can’t get them or they have simply eluded me for so long:
1) The Firefly pet — I desparately want this pet for Rhianon, but despite farming Zangarmarsh and browsing the AH, I have yet to get it for her. I could have gotten it earlier this year on the AH, but I choose to spend my gold on the Tsunami card set for raiding. (*tosses 20k gold out the window*)
2) Magical Crawdad pet — Another wish for Rhianon, but this one has a longer story. I first saw the pet in SSC during a 25-man raid; one of the other healers had it out and I had instant jealousy. I leveled up fishing specifically to get this pet and I spent hours farming for Mr. Pinchy drop. I actually got Mr. Pinchy twice — but none of my wishes ever brought me the pet. Since then, I have yet to farm this seriously since it frustrates me so.
But perhaps the saddest:
Anatevka was not my first priest. Before I even created the blood elf version of her, I had a night elf priestess named Starchaser – and from the moment I created Starchaser, I coveted the Benediction staff. We had MC and Onxyia on farm by the time she got to 60, and one night, I was lucky enough to get the Eye of Divinity from Majordomo’s cache. Guildies bought me the corresponding Eye of Shadow as a present and within a week, my little night elf was sporting Benediction. (I remember completing the quest in the wee hours of the morning and waking up my fiance-at-the-time to tell him that ‘I DID IT! I DID IT!’).
At the beginning of BC, my account was hacked and I lost everything, including that priest with the Benediction. I got a restore about 6 months or so later, but when I logged back on, the staff was gone. Forever. Later on, I transferred over my blood elf priest and Anatevka was born, but I never pursued getting the Benediction for her. Now that transmog is in-game, I wish I had bothered getting Benediction so I could use it as her staff model.
So whenever I see Benediction, I feel a little sad and nostalgic, and then slap myself for not getting it on Anatevka when I could have.
I actually wrote this piece last week and held it back with the intention of gathering screenshots…and then real-life happened. So, I’m late to the party on this one!
If Blizzard added your main as an NPC in WoW, where would they be located and what would be their function?
At first, I thought this topic would be a breeze. Rhia’s a baker. She owns a bakery in Stormwind and sells a variety of sweet delights to locals. So, wouldn’t she be someone like Aimee in Dalaran, the ever-popular pipe and cake vendor?
The longer I thought about it, however, the less like Rhia a vendor like Aimee seemed. Yes, Rhia does love to bake and share treats with everyone, but she’s really much more like Vianne from Chocolat.
Vianne was raised as a wanderer, obeying the call of the “wind” that shuffled her from city to city and making her living through domestic magic. Although she believes in the unseen, her gifts, working through the simple delights of chocolates and candies, are accessible to everyone.
Rhia’s bakery is her “domestic magic”; she’s still, at her core, a shaman and while she may be feeding cakes and pies in Stormwind right now, she will follow wherever duty takes her. She lives to serve the people, whether through healing or treats. To keep her as a still NPC, simply selling cakes and pies, seems to almost violate the essence of her character.
Instead, she would be a shaman trainer, sitting on the ledge overlooking Stormwind harbor (and the horizon), with bags filled with pies to feed whatever passerbys or students come her way. Since Farseer Umbrua vacated her post in the Valley of Heroes after the Cataclysm, it makes sense that Rhia might take up a similar watch. We also have the portrait I commissioned of Rhia that’s highly evocative of this position — Stormwind in the background and Rhia looking on from a dock near Olivia’s Pond.
It’s an image that’s both mysterious/elusive and warm (almost maternal), and that’s certainly Rhia at the core.
And not in the real world, although RL kept me away from blogging over the past week. Turns out that resigning a job you’ve held for almost six years (at a company for which you have great respect) is difficult and stressful, no matter how bright the future looks.
My cleric in Rift dinged 50 two Saturdays ago and with some time purchased as a birthday present, I decided to dive into Rift’s endgame a bit, while savoring every bit of Mists news that came my way.
Hitting 50 and getting into expert dungeons (heroics) and raiding in Rift is pretty much an exercise in everything Blizzard wants to move away from in Mists. The class soul system is pretty complicated; selecting from 9 souls and scads of talents in an environment where min/maxing (however limited) is pretty much the norm is a task not for the faint of heart. I dove into cleric guides everywhere and settled on a couple basic builds:
Sentinel/Warden/– (3x/3x/–): Standard healing build that gives you warden’s mana regen tools, plenty of hots, and the AOE healing power of the Sentinel. Decent for raid healing and back-up tanking healing; not very mana-intensive.
Purifier/Sentinel/–(3x/3x/–): Single target healing build that goes deep into the purifier tree to pick up all the tank-saving moves. Average mana investment for single target healing, heavy costs for AOE healing.
Senticar (Sentinel/Justicar): A novel build that relies on a Justicar’s convictions and damage-based healing for AOE healing, while funneling extra heals to a tank via Righteous Mandate (similar to Beacon of Light). Two single target patch heals — Healing Breath and Invocation – that can each be reduced to instant cast with a cooldown.
And that’s just for healing — don’t get me into damage dealing! (Or tanking, for that matter.) Senticar is my go-to for expert dungeon healing; most of the groups are overgeared and between Mien of Honor and Doctrine of Loyalty, I can dish out heavy heavy while still entertaining myself by dealing some damage. I tried Senticar in a raid environment and it felt woefully weak, however — probably due to gear level more so than the actual spec. I don’t have enough mana to keep up DoLing during a boss encounter and my single target heals couldn’t keep up with the other healers.
Ah, yes, Rift raiding. I joined a casual guild and signed up for their Wednesday night alt- raid — Drowned Halls and Gilded Prophecy, back-to-back. Both were easy clears and I picked up a few nice pieces of gear. The next day, however, I was reminded of how quickly I got turned off to raiding in Rift — the sheer cost of it and the time investment required.
My friendly guild officer sent me a note with some items I had requested, directing me to which factions to grind dailies for so I could buy specific enchants (called “runes”) and which planar essences to purchase. Each of these planar essences cost approximately 30-50 (or more) Inscribed Sourcestones. You can gather these stones via Instant Adventure, daily and weekly raid quests, closing Rifts, or doing Events. The average Ember Isle event may take 30 minutes or so to complete and will award approximately 20-30 sourcestones. While you can easily grind out the stones needed by tracking events and basically “farming” them – and completing dailies, I find doing events that often to be tiresome. It’s alot mounting up and riding around; and not alot of time doing what I enjoy — defeating monsters and bosses. If I could convert my Expert Dungeon currency into Sourcestones, I would be happy — but there’s no way to really do that.
And then there are the raiding consumables. On my server, the flasks and weapon enchant for a night of raiding can easily cost 10-20 plat a night. Add in your repair costs and that’s easily 30 plat for a night of raiding, a night in my case spent -not- farming plat. That became incredibly costly before on my mage, to the point that it was largely a determining factor in me deciding to set Rift aside for a moment.
But, Fivequarters, you may say — raiding in WoW has consumables and there are faction grinds. Why is that an easier burden to bear? First, I have it a bit easy in WoW since raiding consumables are provided by my guild. I’ll farm some to add to the pot and bring my own cauldrons/feasts, but largely, the cost of cauldrons and feasts is a non-issue.
And I’ve already stated how I feel about faction grinds in WoW (Deepholme) and Blizzard has basically come out in agreement with those complaints. Choosing a faction to level should be based on which dailies are more interesting or which rewards you like better (such as pets/mounts/tabards), not which has the enchants you need NOW for raiding.
So, after a week assuaging my RL woes with Rifting, I’ve become once again exhausted of the Rift model and heading back into WoW where everything is…well…much easier. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. If I only have 2 to 3 hours to play in an evening, I don’t want to spend that time doing things I don’t want to do but NEED to do for raiding/etc. I want to spend that time playing the game and enjoying it! A night of RP in Stormwind is a gazillion times more fun than a night spent grinding dailies.
I am the worst pack rat ever. My bags are constantly full of stuff I don’t need (but might potentially need one day in the far future!) and my bank is stuffed to the brim. I think I have Aldor rep tokens and spicy Crawdad sushi in my bank still. (It’s probably stinking everything up a bit.)
To be honest, though, I can’t really think of any item that I would be disappointed if I lost. I have a few nostalgic items — the first raid tier drop I ever got (Tier 5 shoulderpads), for example – and all of the holiday dresses. I have my transmog sets. I have rp clothes.
But I have nothing that’s personally valuable to my main character.
I suspect it has something to do with my playstyle — I don’t really go after “unique” items or special items other than pets/mounts — and I’m usually unattached to items I use for raiding purposes. Ever expansion pack, I try to do a full clear of my bank and bags to get ready for new things.
So far, the Tier 5 shoulderpads were the only things to survive the past two expansion pack clear-outs. I have some ICC gear left and that will probably go with Mists. Now that pets and mounts don’t take up bag space, I have little of personal value in my bags or bank.
On the other hand, my alt paladin has an item I would be upset to lose – the Competitor’s Tabard. Not only does it look smashing on her, it’s a unique tabard that you can get any more. She also has the Argent Dawn Wrath launch event tabard, a full set of Undead Slayer gear, and the lyric book to Lament of the Highborne.
Is it a little sad that my alt has more personally valuable items than my main?
We’re closing out the whirlwind month of the New Blogger Initiative – but not without a final challenge, of course.
There were about 100-some new blogs created during the Initiative period. Amazing, right? Of course, it’s easy to get going but keeping going is another matter. I know this from personal experience as the managing editor on a few environmental blogs for work! This blog is actually my first endeavor where I’m writing what I want, not editing others’ posts or cobbling together something to promo our next event. I’m personally just happy posting for myself for that reason; if other folks find it interesting, all the better!
Without much further ado, I’ll present a few blogs that caught my eye during the initiative – and heartily recommend you add them to your reading list!
MMO One Night a Week: I admit, the concept for this is fascinating. Kanter will be taking on an MMO in bursts of just one night a week, a pretty foreign concept for those of us who play MMO’s on a more regular basis. It will be interesting to see how he progresses and engages in the game with such a focused schedule. His first night found him in the Shire in Lord of the Rings, but he’s currently fielding ideas for potential games to explore.
Flask Half-Empty: Okay, there are two mostly silly reasons that this blog caught my idea at first. One – the banner image is really gorgeous and makes me imagine some sort of fantastic, fairytale kind of world. Two – the first post I read was about shaman totems, and well, I think my biases are pretty clear there. Beyond that, however, the writing is solid and conversational in the best of blogging styles, and I look forward to seeing what Ninevi will be up to in the future!
Healing Mains: A blog from two intrepid healers, Brae (priest) and Eluna (druid), about their adventures in healing and also while they’re not on their “healing mains.” One of the reasons this blog stuck in my mind was Eluna’s discussion about how druid healing just works for her. I personally have never been able to get into druid healing, and I’ll appreciate a chance to see her perspectives on healing. Maybe I’ll learn a few things so I don’t have to ask my druids stupid questions like “what’s the range on Tranquility?”.
Go forth and read!
Finally got around to finishing off Act 3 of Diablo early Saturday morning. I felt like Azmodan’s fight was the right level of difficulty; I definitely had some close calls, but I did get him down on my first go (and with a sub-optimal build, trash skills and passives still equipped). So I was basically running around like a ninny and flinging sludge on Azmodan while picking up health globes after he ate my puppies.
Act 4 went by quickly. Nothing was terribly difficult, although the first named mob did smash my face in (luckily, I had my ‘rez’ passive equipped and popped back up!). I was anticipating a decent challenge with Diablo’s fight (particularly after I lost my templar bud) and pulled it once without adjusting my build just to see the cinematic before wiping immediately.
After dying, I adjusted my build to something more suited for survival/single-target encounter. Lots of health return abilities, tanky pet, and speed boosts (Spirit Walk) to keep my distance.
I figured Diablo would be similar to Belial. Belial took me at least 6 or 7 tries and a couple build iterations to get him down the first time. I wasn’t actually expecting to down Diablo on my first serious pull.
The fight underwhelmed me. As long as I kept moving (occasionally turning to Diablo to fire off a Haunt, Poison Dart or Spirit Barrage), I avoided getting caged and sustaining much (if any) damage. He was killing my tanky pet very quickly and I was resummoning on CD basically, but I anticipated that. I did eat a cage once or twice, but a health pot put me back into a safe zone and I used Spirit Walk to get out of melee immediately after the stun wore off. It was just incredibly long (probably because I was being so conservative and just scurrying around with the occasional DPS burst when it was clear).
Overall? Diablo 3 was a fun jaunt. Witch Doctor had a bit of a bad spot near the end of Act 1/beginning of Act 2 and the beginning of Act 3, but once I got enough abilities, I felt pretty OP. I may pop back in and do some Nightmare mode at some point, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to do that right now. At times, I felt like the story was a bit poorly handled at points (near the end) and sometimes too surprising to seem plausible, but I’m also coming at it from the standpoint of a complete Diablo novice. Perhaps if I had played 1 or 2, I might not have been so “bwah?” at various points of the story.
I haven’t played a blood elf in a really, really long time, but back in the day, both Anatevka and Gilberte were blood elves. Anatevka’s former name was “Tanaquil Sunwaker” and Gilberte was “Neilianah Skywhisper.”
I’ve had the itch to level a character horde-side for awhile, but I had some trouble settling on exactly who and what to level. I tried out the Goblin starter zone, and while it was fun, I don’t particularly care to play a goblin. I’ve also wanted to play a rogue — they’re lots of fun in pvp and it’s always confused me how the type of class I normally play in solo RPG’s (rogue) never really caught my eye in WoW.
And then I got the name Antoinette and realized that’s pretty perfect for a Blood Elf.
Eversong and the Ghostlands just feel like home; I’m not sure what it is, but the music and ambient sound effects really take me back to when BC was young and some really good memories with my Horde-side guild and RL friends.
So, I’m introducing Antoinette Sunshatter!
- Name: Antoinette “Annie” Sunshatter
- Hair Color: Black and boring.
- Eye Color: Green.
- Height/Weight: Average build and height, nothing unusual here.
- Age: Young – early 70’s.
- Social Status: Daughter of upwardly mobile Merchant family.
- Family: Annie is the youngest daughter of Silvermoon cloth merchants who want to be members of high society but can never quite cut it due to their openly suspicious trade dealings. She has two older sisters who have been well married into other mercantile families.
- Hometown: Annie grew up around Eversong and Silvermoon, but never had a fixed home due to her parents’ trade.
I caught the Breakfast Topic on WoW Insider yesterday about what your gaming zone looks like — and here’s mine!
I originally only had the really big monitor until a few months ago when I appropriated an old monitor from storage, so now I watch youtube videos during trash pulls! I love my desk – it’s an art deco style with glass and lots of little drawers in the pull-out to keep things like my authenticator. The computer was built by my husband, but I did select the case. It was really the only case I liked – black/dark colors are so yesterday!
The bright blue keyed keyboard is my pride and joy though. My husband got it for me during Christmas because he was sick of replacing my keyboards every 6 months. It uses mechanical switches and is guaranteed for up to 2 million key depressions (perhaps more!). It makes a very loud clacky noise when I type. I am apparently really rough on keyboards…
The pretty poochie in the picture is Miss Juliet, who is trying to get her tennis ball back. She is usually good and doesn’t mess with my desk during raids, but sometimes she will jump up to get attention and push the keyboard tray in.
You can also see Hamlet’s e-collar to the side of the picture. I haven’t thrown it out yet since we’re still in flea season…
This afternoon, while polishing off my bagged sandwich lunch at my desk, I came across this fascinating discussion on Harpy’s Nest via MMO Melting Pot. Even though I wasn’t really intending on posting anything else today (I have 3 large reports glaring at me from my inbox), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get in on what’s probably one of the more controversial aspects of Blizzard’s treatment of WoW lore, specifically women in lore.
We all know the complaint that there are no “strong” female characters in the world of Azeroth – or at least, no “strong” female characters who can remain as such. We can point to multiple female characters who were confident, assertive characters in their own right (Tyrande, Jaina, perhaps even Aggra), but who then somehow end up being defined by their interaction with the man/men in their life, positively or negatively (Sylvanas, for example). So, while there are multiple interesting female characters in the form of “bit” parts or quest givers (Thisalee Crow), Blizzard’s female characters seem to end up…well…in the kitchen, so to speak.
Harpysnest takes this back into Victorian literature, where female characters were either Madonnas (wives/mothers) or “fallen women” (vindictive/broken women).
To illustrate her point, along with lines of poetry she showed paintings of domestic bliss followed by image after image of dead girls floating down rivers trailing flowers in their wake or tearfully hurling themselves into angry rivers. Idly at first I found myself applying the same concept to the women of WoW, but then something dawned on me. Just like their Victorian counterparts, all our fleshed out female leaders are defined not by their own abilities but by their relationships with the men that surround them. – Harpysnest
Did Harpysnest ever read Simon de Beauvoir?
[The woman] is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her. – Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (paraphrased/translated)
Now I’m not saying that “OMIGOSH lore means that women are inferior people and blizzard is misogynistic, get out the pitchforks and knives!” – I’m more pointing out that countless feminists and philosophers have seen similar trends, both in real life and in literature. It goes beyond Victorian literature, classical literature, Romantic literature, and into how women traditionally feature in a largely male-dominated society. If you think of it in a more real-world, bare bones guise – typically, a girl will legally be recognized as her father’s child (have his last name) until she marries and gets her husband’s last name. That is a identity (a name) continually defined by relationships to men.
So, you can say that we’re all Tyrande, Aggra and Jaina, I suppose. Blizzard is not so much at fault for their representation of women than they are a result of our literary heritage and society (and I can’t believe I just called lore literary!). Rather than throwing our annoyance at Blizzard – which I see many people do – I’d like to see more people take part and help redefine our literary tradition, and by extension, our society. This can be as little as participating in and presenting roleplay that features female characters that we WANT to see in the forefront. We can’t change lore, but we can participate in fleshing out the world around lore with female characters we’re proud of.
My favorite line from Harpysnest’s post:
Then we come to Aggra, the receptacle for Thrall’s sperm and his reward for being a totally awesome Orc.
I don’t think I even need to elaborate on that!
This weekend, an article on the value of public roleplaying on WoWInsider reopened this often controversial topic in the often-maligned RP community. Today, I’m going to come clean.
Before WoW, I never roleplayed. Ever. The closest I got to roleplaying was probably playing a Final Fantasy game or King’s Quest, or maybe acting out some stories in my backyard with friends as a kid. I thought Dungeons and Dragons (D&D as the cool kids say) was some sort of esoteric thing they only spoke about in movies once or twice and no one actually PLAYED in real life. I probably thought LARP was some kind of musical instrument.
I did, however, write. I started telling stories about pioneer girls on the wild frontier, cute animals and their adventures in the forest (I was in elementary school!), and eventually graduated into fantasy and sci-fi as a preteen/teen. I have notebooks upon notebooks of notes on the worlds I was creating, languages, characters, histories (including detailed timelines), and countless computer files of manuscripts and short stories.
In an embarrassing turn of events, partially related to why I roleplay a paladin-turned-romance-novel-writer, the crowning achievement of these years of storytelling was my senior year AP English teacher reading a recent manuscript and telling me I should become a romance novelist. Maybe I will, one day.
I fell into roleplay in online gaming largely by chance. As I was leveling my first character, I joined a guild via trade-chat (yes, I was total newb) and subsequently registered for their forums. On the forums, I noticed one of the guildies had posted a “bio” of their character.
I thought, “Sure, I can do that too!”
So I wrote down a little history of my fledgling mage, Andriona, and posted it to the guild forums. I still have that old post. It’s really, really embarrassing.
I entered the world on a starry night in the middle of winter on the peaks of Loch Modan, just as the moon began to rise in the sky (according to my father). My parents, though originally from the Redridge Mountains, traveled to the land of Loch Modan to make their living making and sell potions. They had barely put a roof on their cottage when I decided to make my appearance…
When I was but three years old, my mother gave birth to Cailean, my tiny baby sister with faery-like blond hair and sparkling eyes. Cailean never had the patience for books and stories as I did; she wanted to become an adventurer and spent many a day watching the guards in the dwarf village of Thelasamar, copying their blade work. I, on the other hand, valued the knowledge contained within the four walls of my parents’ cottage – and when I reached the age of fifteen, I begged for my parents to send me to Stormwind where I could truly focus my heart and mind on my studies…
[Cailean] was killed in cold blood by a Tauren Shaman while foraging for supplies for her unit. Heartbroken and furious (both at myself and the Tauren scum), I traded in my books for a mage’s staff and applied my learning to the study of magic. With that power, I would be able not only to bring about vengeance for Cailean – but I would be able to continue her mission in her honor, preserving the Light and destroying the Shadow all across Azeroth. Thus, I find myself among your numbers today, ready to fight to preserve all we love. For the Alliance!
I cut out the worst parts of the post, including the section where I talk about how Andriona’s mother lived on Teldrassil for a spell. Yes, the lore flaws were there — but only because I didn’t know any better at the time. When I learned, I corrected it. I can’t imagine flinging that history into some of the more cruel RP forums that I know of these days.
So, what does this all have to do with public roleplay?
You see, writing a history doesn’t make you a roleplayer. It gets you started, but you need to actually start “roleplaying” with the character. Shortly after I shared that history with my guild, I ran into a couple members of a guild called “Azure Dreamers” in front of Zul Farrak. They were roleplaying among themselves, publicly. Armed with my new character history, I decided to strike up an in-character conversation with one of the players, a priestess named Taliana. I’m not sure exactly what was said, but I do know that after that interaction, I wanted to roleplay more.
And so I did.
Now, almost seven years later, that original mage has been retired and I roleplay a spirit-walker shaman turned baker, a romance novelist, and a no-nonsense school marm from Argus. I have learned an incredible amount about myself as a creator and developed a deep love for the “World” of Warcraft that myself and my fellow roleplayers have built.
So, what does this have to do with public roleplay?
I think that there is nothing more important to the strength of a roleplaying community than keeping roleplay accessible and in public, rather than behind the scenes in chat channels and guild meetings. If the roleplayers on my server had just hid in channels or avoided roleplaying in common areas, I would have probably never started roleplaying. I have a personal investment in it, you see.
I’ve made a point of reaching out to new players and roleplayers, introducing roleplay to them through exposure, not force. I spent a year on a PvE server and I started posting stories about my characters on the (non-RP) guild forums. It struck people as strange at first — but then they started to grow interested in this thing called “roleplay”. Suddenly, in raids, people started roleplaying along with my character. Yes, it was casual and clunky, but it was a start.
I know it’s hard. I know that there are lots of trolls and cruel people who like to destroy roleplay moments. I also know, however, that for every troll, there are five people curious about roleplay or completely ignorant of roleplay who might just get more interested or involved. Even if it’s just as small as a raider sitting in the roleplay bar while waiting for a slot to open, that’s something, in my book. Maybe one day, he’ll move beyond just sitting there to ordering a drink or saying hi to someone.
Once we close the door to those people out of fear or out of self-preservation, however, we’re lost. We won’t get new players in our tight circles and we won’t encourage growth in the community.
I’d like to encourage all roleplayers to support public roleplay, even if it’s just doing something as simple as responding in-character to someone’s “poke” or carrying on a roleplaying conversation in public. It’s those little things that matter and make new players feel like they TOO could participate in roleplay.
Last weekend, a low level player bought my 85 schoolmarm priest an ice cream bar. We only spent a few seconds chatting, but I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had written him off or just ignored him. His spelling was terrible and he had no punctuation, but he was friendly and interested in sharing just a moment of conversation. Was he a new roleplayer? A player just trying to pass sometime between dungeons? Who knows? Who cares?
It was a moment of roleplay – and that’s all that really matters to me.