Friday, 23 December 2011

Holy Healing - Tales of a Student Priest.

Apollina Lightfoot bent down to the river and scooped some water up with her hand. The water was clear and she could see small mudsnappers swimming in the shallows. The cool water felt like ice in her throat, her body was so hot from the sun and the ride through the dark forest. She sat back on the bank and looked over at her horse, a bright black stallion who was also eagerly drinking from the river, his reins resting in her hand.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Light and Shade -- Part 3

This is the third part of a piece of fan fiction I began in the summer and since resubbing to Warcraft I've found my muse again!  You can read the first two parts here and here. 

"Are we all set then my love?" Deme asked Raik as she approached him at the tram entrance.

"Of course! Did you ever doubt me?" he smirked as he said it and Deme smiled back, reminded that this was the man who could get any project off the ground.

They turned to walk through the swirling entrance and down the ramp to the tram. The cold metal clunk under their feet rang off the tunnel walls as they left the cobbles and slate of Stormwind behind. The tram always astounded Deme, a feat of gnomish engineering. From the outside it looked like a giant swirling cog with a mouth gaping, big enough to take a whole battalion of Alliance forces in one gulp and on the inside it was full of giant rivets, bronze and iron and the driver-free tram system that linked Stormwind with it's closest neighbouring city, the great dwarven capital of Ironforge. They descended into the station and the sounds of Stormwind faded, the chatter of the residents lost into the metal tunnel.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

On the importance of experience.

This post concerns a principle that I have long stood by and believe to be central to my enjoyment of Azeroth. That principle, or rule, if you like, is that in the current guild I'm in we do not accept anyone who is under 18 years of age. However it has recently been brought to my attention that we have someone considerably younger than that in the guild, and I took the decision that I could no longer remain an officer if that was the case. Before there is a cry of people exclaiming that I'm over-reacting, let me explain a little about the reasoning behind this decision.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Saturday Coffee Reading

There's been some damn good blogs around this week so here's a few pointers to keep you entertained over the weekend.

Disco Priest over on Disciplinary Action explains why the Baby Boomers are to blame for your professional frustrations and why that makes Warcraft such a good outlet.

Pewter over on 'mental Shaman explains why homophobic slurs will never be acceptable, even if intended in jest. Thankfully there has been a sincere apology from Blizzard on this now, but it's still worth noting this little hot potato.

Cynwise in his Field Notes talks about the influences that are apparent on Samwise Didier's designs for Mists of Pandaria. If, like me, your initial thoughts about this up coming ex-pac were 'Kung-Fu Pandas, WTF?' then I urge you to read this post. I have renewed hope for a land covered in ronin and feudal lords fighting with each other.

Someone clearly looking forward to the release of MoP is me ole' mucker Grokknar. For excited and positive thoughts on MoP with much less of the cynicism and side-long glances I've been giving it, head over to Real Men Wear Dresses. Look, he's a paladin, in cloth, with flashy light spells. Of course he thinks real men wear dresses.

Have you read something this week you want to recommend? Please let me know! I'm always looking for more blogs to pour over.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Over my 'dead' body - Or How Blizzard got my interest in Mists of Pandaria

Until lunch time yesterday I was pretty much "meh" about the whole Mists of Pandaria expansion. Pandas are fun but it was a bit of a stretch for me to see them in Azeroth.


Then I read about Theramore. I play mainly Alliance, of my 17 characters, 3 are horde. My over-riding feeling of Deme's past has been that she fought and fell against Arthas when he rampaged through Lordaeron. The details have always been hazy, she certainly isn't old enough to have been at Stratholme in the early days of the zombie plague. It's more likely that she was a militia woman or town guard at a small village, a place smaller than Andorhal so it's not even on the map any more. Anyway, with that in mind it's pretty feasible that she has a sentimental attachment to Theramore, one of the last out-posts of Lordaeron's escaped refugees. So this feels rather more personal to her than anything the horde have done before. Lordaeron was her nation and it fell. She moved on. In 'undeath' as a Death Knight she heard of Gilneas's fall to the Forsaken and the butchering of alliance home-steaders at Southshore. She continued to fight but didn't let these losses dampen her spirit or break her faith in the Alliance.

Theramore, is a different story altogether. A potential threat to Theramore  gets her back up. To be told that even with one of the most powerful mages in Azeroth in their way, the horde will be riding into this city and flattening it, well it stings a bit. Yeah, it stings like a 1000 bee stings in your crotch.

It's not often that I am lost for words, in fact I don't recall the last time it happened. But the abject fury and rage I feel today, and thus so does my main character, Deme, has kind of shocked me. It's not even that great of a questing area!

I can forget about the pandas and the pokemon. I can get over what will be the umpteenth talent reset for Deme. I can even ignore the fact that as yet, there isn't even a 'little-bad' announced for the expansion, but I can not forgive the horde for obliterating Theramore.

I've heard that in the lead up to MoP it will probably 'just happen'. No in-game action, no chance to defend the city. I realise we will lose. I realise the outcome is already planned. Please though, I ask you oh Great God of Pixels, allow us the opportunity to defend Theramore. Allow us to see the battle, to take part and to be be beaten back. Wow Insider asked sometime ago, what would happen if we lost for once? Allow us (even if it is just the alliance faction) to see and to feel what that would be like.

Allow us to see a Jaina furious and embittered and taking action. Since one lowly Death Knight can be left broken and battered by the loss of Theramore, what would it do to the woman who created it? Who built the city and who remains a key linch-pin in Kalimdor's Alliance presence?

Suddenly I am all-a-flutter with excitement to know what will happen! How will we retaliate? Where will we strike? What will Variann do? Hell! What will Anduin do when Aunt Jaina portals into Stormwind with battered and broken citizens of Theramore? What will Baine think? The money says Garrosh begins the war, what prompts him to lead an attack on Jaina's city? Is he that keen to distant himself from Thrall's reign?

Whilst I am sad and yes, a little pissed off, the effect this news has had on me  and on other Alliance players, definitely shows that Blizzard know what they are up to. Bravo, Blizzard, Bravo.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

In which the F2P Project dies, at the hands of a Blue.

Well we tried folks. You were creative and ingenious and I did my best not to fish in XP rich waters and grind out even a lowly 1g, but thanks to a recent hotfix, Deminii will never be able to be the all empowered level 10 F2P rogue with 9000 achievement points.  Whilst I wasn't paying attention, Cynwise tipped us all off to the fact that F2P accounts are no longer able to turn off their XP. Boo I say Blizz! Big Boo!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

F2P Project - In which I hit my head on a wall

On Friday I was able to do some testing of these F2P limits.

Grouping with someone higher works if they initiate the group, however I can't get them to summon me to Dalaran because the F2P accounts don't have Wrath.

I can use a 2 character mount, the lovely Candlewaxx flew me down to STV to do some fishing. I can swim from Yojamba Isle to Booty Bay without getting any XP and only dying once I get to Booty Bay due to the vengeful fish. However, fishing training costs 1g for the next training level, or 90s if I get it in SW.

I currently have around 50s. And I need all I can get to get me to 10g for god's sake.

I did the fishing daily in SW and got myself the weatherbeaten journal and then the 'Fish don't leave footprints' achievement. SO another 10 points for that but still no closer to the 10g and 50% into level 10. I'm starting to doubt that I can do this.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Free To Play Project - Deminii

Last night I had my first bash at earning Deminii the 10g needed to turn her XP off. I managed to go from 22s to 40s in an hour of fishing and mob slaying. This revealed a few problems though.

  • Killing mobs in Teldrassil still grants me XP and the nightsabers in Shadowglen are not skinnable. 
  • Fishing will only level to 75 in Darnassus/Rutheran 
  • The Fishing daily grants me a huge chunk of XP
  • There isn't a lot to skin in Teldrassil

Twitter and my Google Wave buddies came up with a few creative suggestions on how to get the gold -

  1. Ditch LW for herbalism or mining and go gathering
  2. Group up with a warlock and get them to summon you somewhere higher level to fish
  3. Swim to STV and fish
  4. Fish up rare fish in Outlands that vendor for 6g. 
Number 1 has a couple of problems,  I can't use the AH so anything I gather is only worth vendor value. To go mining I would need to go to Elwynn Forest for the best lowbie place and that means getting XP through exploration. BUT I should ditch LW and go for herbing anyway at this point because Teldrassil does have more flowers to pick. 

Number 2 - Warlocks only learn the summoning spell at level 42 and I can only group with people up to level 20. 

Number 3 - This is possible! Although I would imagine rather mind-numbing, but not quite so mind numbing as only ever fishing up crap in Darnassus. 

Number 4 - Also possible with a body-guard to kill all the mobs in the area that I will no doubt aggro the shit out of. 

So a couple of options. THEN ... the mighty Warcraft Experimenter Cynwise let me in on a little secret and mentioned that I shouldn't take all of the FTP rules as written in stone but test them out. Next time I can get on to  play Deminii I will poke one of my very good friends and we'll test a few of the limits. I'll keep you posted!  Thanks to all who made suggestions :) 

On the route to the big achievement target we rose from 10 points to 30 last night with a nice couple of 'WHOOOSHES' from 25 and 50 fish. I noted I panicked slightly thinking that the achievements would give me XP, which of course they didn't. Needless to say, I still love the 'WHOOSH'.  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A New Project

Apart from the obvious changes in my life lately, I've taken on another new project.

Meet Deminii. 

Currently a level 10 Night Elf Rogue. As my play time for Warcraft is limited now, I decided that rolling one of the FTP accounts would allow me to play on a super casual level and still visit the virtual world I've grown rather fond of. The limitations of the FTP accounts are well known, but just to recap in case you've not been paying attention -

  • Level limit of 20
  • Max level on profession of 100
  • No ability to use the AH
  • No mail box access
  • No Heirlooms
  • Can not join a guild
  • Can not create a party (but can join one)
  • Can not join trade chat 
  • Can not /yell
  • Can not whisper anyone unless they have already added you to their friend list
  • RealID is disabled (there's a quirk in this which I'll come onto later). 
Editted - found a few other things I can't do!

  • Group with anyone over level 20
  • Trade player to player

My original plan with Deminii was to level to 10, turn off XP and go into PvP. However, given the above, without the option to get any gear except from questing, I'd be annihilated within seconds. This doesn't mean I won't be PvP-ing though, but the overall aim is now going to be somewhat different.

Deminii will stay locked at level 10. And I shall take her across Azeroth to see how many achievements I can get on her. There's the obvious ones that would be fun such as Exploration, and 50 Quests seems easily achievable, possibly even 100. The Daily quests, thanks to the fishing and cooking dailies should be quick to gain too. Then you get into the ones which might be a bit trickier -

Then there's things like getting the rep for the home cities and becoming an Ambassador, hey Cyn did at level 19 ... MAYBE there's a way to do it at level 10. I suspect a long PvP grind would be involved. Cyn's posts up on Green Tinted Goggles about twinks for trial accounts and rogue twinks may well come in handy. I've yet to figure out if I can do anything with honour/points/rep but I think there must be a way. Any tips welcome!

The quirk in RealID I mentioned by the way, once your FTP account is linked to your main account via Battle.Net, your buddies on RealID will be able to see you log in and they will try to send you messages on RealID but you won't get them. So just make sure they all add that little FTP char to their friends list! 

Now, I ask you dear reader, what achievements would you like to see a level 10 rogue in white/grey gear (and 1 green! woo!)  attempt? At this point I will consider everything and investigate it. This isn't going to be a quick project, my play time is seriously curbed (which isn't a bad thing) and I thought this would be a great way of keeping me interested when there are so many limitations on this type of account. I've already had offers of help from my old guild buddies, let's just see how much we can do! The aim is to play within the limitations of the account and see just how many achievements we can get and just to make it more fun, we'll do it at level 10 rather than level 20.

Edit - The first task on the list is to grind out 10g to pay for turning off the XP. That is going to be a LOT of leather for the little skinner. I will continue to quest in Teldrassil and keep an eye on the bar, too close to level 11 and I'll have to stop and re-think how to get the 10g! 

Saturday, 30 July 2011

A New Addition

I recently announced that myself and The Man are expecting our first bubba. The following is a totally gratuitous post.

My long time King of Mischief, Longstrider, took it upon himself to decide that upon Bean's arrival we'll have a gnome, possibly a rogue, or a druid of some unspecified race. Considering both Man and I played humans, I think it's safe to assume Bean will be human. And since we both played plate-wearing-head-butting-crotch-watching tanking machines, I suspect Bean will also end up that way. Of course, if he or she turns out to be a cloth-wearing-stand-at-the-back-squishy, we will love them just the same. If they turn out to be a Stabby-McStab-Stab-Stab or [OMG HORROR!] a Pink-plate-wearing-friend-of-the-light, we might have to disown them.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Light and Shade

It had been a week since Demeternoth had agreed to take the trip to Hearthglen. Raiklev had sent messages ahead to various old contacts in the hope that they would be able to help along the journey north, it would be long and rather costly and any room or meal that came cheaply or, even better for free, would be welcome.

Since they had left the forces, he had tried to forge them a new life based on the outskirts of Stormwind, offering them both much needed peace and calm. It had been that way for a time, and the small holding they'd set up had given good yields and they were able to sell the farm produce in the streets of Stormwind. Without warning though, the dreams had started after they'd moved into the log cabin on the lake. Deme had shrugged them off at first but as they became more frequent and more disturbing, Raiklev's concern had grown and he'd urged her to consider confronting the cause of them. Consistently she'd refused, stubborn as ever. They argued more and more about it as Deme's wellbeing suffered and Raiklev continued to work on the farm, trying to build them a future. When she finally relented last week he was struck by how vulnerable she looked, usually so tough, so strong and so defiant to any trauma or fear she suddenly seemed weak. Raiklev sighed to himself, it was that striking and rare vulnerability that he saw in her, that no one else did, that had swelled his heart when they'd first faced battle together.

When the world had been broken and Stormwind shaken to the core by Deathwing himself, he feared her dreams would grow worse, the noise from the forces amassing by the portals and the increased activity around the lake destroyed the little peace and quiet they had carved out for themselves. Whilst they hadn't become more frequent, the dreams hadn't stopped. In some ways the noise and sounds of battle preparations at the portals had offered a small comfort, a distraction almost, but the intensity of the dreams had continued to grow and that's what concerned him more than anything.

He shook his head clear of the musings and gathered up the last of the supply crates. Walking out to the horse and cart he loaded on the last crate and lashed it down. A few gold passed to the driver of the cart and he reconfirmed the instructions to meet up at Menethil in 4 days time. Now to track down his wife.

Deme was in the dwarven quarter purchasing the last of a few light supplies to take with them on the first leg of the journey. She marvelled at how quickly Raiklev had made the arrangements and smirked to herself, she should have known, he was never one to wait for things to happen so she should have been prepared to move quickly. She wrapped the bread she'd bought in a cloth napsack and thanked the vendor, just some water and light ale to pick up and she could head off to meet Raik at the entrance to the tram and then, they would begin the trek to Hearthglen.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Light and Shade

This is my third bash at fan fiction. This one might go a bit further than the previous two though.

Beneath the scaled plate gauntlets Deme's finger tips were white. In places the nails were jagged and torn with drying blood crusting up the plate joints. She scrabbled to get purchase with her feet but there was nothing. Nothing. Below her, if she dared to glance, was ice, snow and the gallumpfing rotting abominations of Icecrown. There were no footholds at the seat of the Lich King, just a rigid ice block and a fatal drop should you fall victim to his machinations.

Her left hand was slipping. Over head, she could hear the battle raging. The taunts of the Lich King playing out, the grim note of death ringing in his thick voice. And then she heard Tirion, a glossy rich baritone next to the Lich King's unearthly tone.

She heard Tirion begin his speech and then saw her lost comrades imbued with the holy light rising above the her and the platform. Fighting to retain her hold on the platform she felt the plate scales skidding on the ice.

"Where is my light Paladin?!" She cried.

"There is no light in you Death Knight. You burned your soul clear of that the moment you killed your old friend in the chapel. There is no light for one as black as you. You are the shadow to the light, and as shadow you must stay."

Deme was raised into the air, high above the platform. For a second she hung in mid-air, a feeling of intense scrutiny filled her, followed by a freezing cold that bit into her bones and stayed there gnawing at her. It felt familiar.

"You are of the shadow!" boomed Tirion, "And back to the shadow you will go!"

The wind was forced from her lungs, her limbs fell in front of her and she was flying through the air of Northrend, ripped from the platform and hurtling back towards Acherus.

Screaming out, Deme shot up in the bed. Sweat trickled down her back and beaded on her top lip.  The room around her was dark, the fire having long gone out. From the window she could hear the faint lapping of the lake on the shore and could see a hint of light from the open portals on the island. Beside her, her mate stirred in the bed. She drew the tatty blankets back up round his shoulders and he settled back into slumber.

Deme rose from the bed and took up a robe. Since they'd left the mercenary ways behind them she'd grown used to the feel of cloth on her skin, it had certain advantages that plate armour didn't. The cloth was cool on her skin and she shuddered as it slipped over her body. Walking through the bedroom door her bare feet padded on the floorboards and into the larger, main room of the humble cabin. She paused and picked up a cloak from the chair by the fire and looped it over her shoulders.

The cool night air tickled her hair against her neck and the wet dew on the grass drenched her bare toes. She walked on to the shore of the lake until she felt the water lapping at her ankles. She could see the portals clearer now, their different glows casting an eery light over the island and fighting with the light from the braziers to show the faces of the guards and battle mages who maintained the portals. Faintly she could catch the odd snippet of conversation as they chatted through the night. Every now and then a fresh hero or a battle worn veteran would swoop in from the walls of Stormwind and head off to one of the war fronts.

She knew if she turned around she'd see the tall cold walls of Stormwind behind her. Walls that protected and shielded but they weren't quite tall enough. The spires still climbed higher. The wretched golden spires of the cathedral taunted her and twisted her guts.

"My love?", a soft call, "What are you doing out here?"

"More dreams", she replied, turning to face him. Even in this pale light his strong face showed his concern. This was becoming more and more frequent.



"Perhaps we should do something about this before they get any worse"

Deme frowned. "I know what you are suggesting, but I don't see how going to Hearthglen will help."

He had moved to her now and slipped his arms round her waist. This close with the glow from the portals, it was possible to see the crinkles and faded scars which portrayed his own battle experience. She ran her hand along his forearm and marvelled for the thousandth time how the skinny arms had ever held a shield. But held it they had, and held it well, for they had both survived that fight in Icecrown to stand here together in the night. Standing this close also meant that she couldn't avoid his gaze. The blue of his eyes was warm, alive and real.

She thought over the months since the nightmares began, Raiklev was right, it couldn't carry on. With trepidation, she relented. "Ok, we'll go to Hearthglen."

Monday, 28 March 2011

And now the end is near …

And so I face the final curtain.

Which was ICC HC last night. Demeternoth and her Number One Tank Buddy, aka Darklive, aka My Crazy Dutch Man, have retired from raiding and to round off a great year, we headed back to where it all fell into place, Ice Crown. Of course umpteen (nay thousands, maybe millions?!) have already bopped Ole Lich King on the head in HC mode but we, in the Uber Noob raid team of Deadbeat Desperados, the Old Double Ds, ended Wrath on 6/12 on heroic. And last night we got through the whole place with 15 minutes left to bop LK. Not really long enough as it turned out but this isn't a bad thing. There will always be 'One more boss' for us now :D

Today I am reminiscing about all the raid bosses we have killed, the wipes we’ve had and the unforgettable nights of fun and laughter. At the beginning of ICC, having not been able to find a suitable tank to partner Darklive and having two DPS DKs, Demeternoth stuck her plucky little hand up and said ‘I’ll tank’. Deme and Dark have been the tanking pair in Double Ds ever since and Deme was proud to wear the Nipple as her mark. Yes there is a theme here, BOOBIES!

I will never forget dancing in front of Marrowgar, shouting at all three healers who were trying to tell me, individually, where to place Sindy, sucking with all my might on Proff P and doing the Hokey Cokey on ole LK himself. In between all that we cleared most of Ulduar on 10 man too, some of us did the whole thing including Algalon on 25 man and we even ventured into the old favourites of Naxx, EoE and Obsidian Sanctum to clean off a few titles, achievements and have a bit of fun. That big purple dragon in the Ruby Sanctum dropped the very same week we killed LK. I guess the Game Gods were on our side that week.

As anyone who has read this blog will know, my time in WoW has been coming to an end and the blog hasn’t been getting regular updates for a good few months now. With the end of raiding on Demeternoth, I anticipate another dip in activity here. I will post if I have something interesting to say of course, but for the most part, there’s plenty of other blogs and resources for people to get the information on Death Knights so this is likely to become a much more general wow place. Especially since that little warlock is quite addictive and the druid is howling for attention. In time though, even our casual play will dwindle as we move on in life and begin to tank our very own set of raid bosses, a house renovation/redecoration plan and begin our own little dps team :D. We don’t need any more tanks in our household afterall. Maybe a healer for a 5 man dungeon team.

I will greatly miss talking to Vecio, Gorani, Hugregotwo, Andycoopsdk, Jarobh, Candlewaxx, Serkul/Sertel, Grokknar and Zetronex two nights a week. Candle and Hug have become two great friends to myself and Darklive and as for the hunter who’d never used Misdirect until we got to Halfus, I salute you Serkul, you miserable old fucker. Andycoopsdk, my in game brother, our little warriors grew up together followed by our DKs. You couldn’t get a more stereotypical pair of noobs. I’ll never forget asking for help in Redridge and running Deadmines with you tanking :D. Good times! Vecio – you don’t say much but when you do you make it count. Thanks for healing my arse! Gorani you giant spacegoat. Keep those balls up. Jarobh, thank you for the portals and healthstones. Warlockery is awesome, who needs a mage?! Pink Pally #2, aka Zetronex, get those tanking boots polished and those weapons sharp. Take care of the team and they’ll take care of you. The biggest thing to remember is to talk to the rest of the guys and especially your co-tank, your life depends on it!

And finally Grokknar, the original Pink Pally in a Skirt, well I can’t say how grateful I am to you for raid leading this bunch of noobs. Your patience and approach to raid leading is refreshing and sets the tone for the rest of us to enjoy our evenings together.

Demeternoth and Darklive’s final week of raiding has been marked by two events. The ICC HC run and a wedding. At Light’s Hope Chapel at 2000 realm time on Saturday 26th March, Darklive and Demeternoth exchanged vows. After all, if a Death Knight can essentially repent and feel guilt for the killing they did in the Lich King’s name, they can feel love again right?!

Demeternoth and Darklive will now be found on a little farm, just north of the lake in Stormwind. Deme doesn't want to move back to Northshire since most of its burnt and Darklive wants to be near a lake for fishing. They plan to raise a few DPS and a healer whilst running a totally self-sufficient farm. Look out for 'DD Farm Produce' at the Stormwind Farmers Market soon.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Jumping the Whale Shark

I don't think I've posted on Patch notes much before now, if at all. But something in the patch notes for 4.1 couldn't fail to catch my eye.

  • Raise Ally has been redesigned to be a battle resurrection, analogous to Rebirth. It is instant cast, but costs 50 Runic Power to use, and has a 10-minute cooldown. It shares the same global battle resurrection cap with Rebirth and Soulstone.

Erm, say what?? Deme will be able to B-rez her allies and instead of 'spamming 1' they can actually fight? First reaction, Yippee!! What a great update for a spell that isn't really made the most of currently. Then I thought about it some more. Death knights. The clue is in the name surely? D E A T H. We shouldn't be able to resurrect people, as Shizukera on Twitter said "They're harbingers of death, not bringers of life".

Rioriel said "HI! Want to play a class defined by unique abilities? TOUGH THEY'RE ALL THE SAME. In 5 years we'll just have one stat: Awesome." Which was kind of my 3rd thought. If I wanted to be able to 'rescue' players I'd be a healing class. I have a lowbie priest, specced in holy and disc. She's low level for a reason. I like smashing stuff in the face with a big sword in my hand.

Which brings me to Psynister's recent Rift review where, understandably, he compares it to WoW. It was the remarks about class balance which struck me most.

There’s a lot of simplifying going on in WoW right now where classes and roles are being standardized so that everyone can do the same things with every class, and that takes away some of the uniqueness that used to be really appealing in WoW. So right now Rift is at one extreme (lacking balance) and WoW is at the other (excessive balance)."

The emphasis there is mine, but it sums up how I feel about this change pretty well and it makes me wonder what else is about to happen in the name of balance and how much do I want to be a part of that? I'm starting to think WoW has jumped the Whale Shark.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tuesday Tickle aka what you do when you can't move.

6 things to tickle you on a Tuesday.

Verde's Videos - he makes some of the prettiest raid vids ever. His Wrath Tribute is beautiful. Someone get him into machinima please!

Cynwise's Maps - now appearing in all his BG guides and on my pink hoodie.

There's been some comings and goings in blogging lately --

If you didn't know, Mortigan is back. And as fabulous as ever.

On the sadder side, both Arrens and Tam and Chas are hanging up their blogging boots. If you've not read them, go on! NOW! Whilst you can!

But! On the plus side, after a short absence it looks like Soph at View Through the Branches is back to blogging again. Good stuff!

I'm off to buy the strongest pain killers known to man. Or maybe just to Azeroth.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Blogging and Fanfiction

In the past few weeks I've written a couple of stories about Deme. The first part, Midnight Ride, was good. Honestly, I believe it's a good piece of writing. The second part, Light House, humm, not so much. It didn't feel as good when I wrote it and then this last week I've written another part whilst on the plane off on my holidays. This 3rd part feels good too, BUT it also feels like it's giving away too much too soon. There's some great passion in there on the two characters parts, but it feels like they are baring too much to each other way too soon. So I'm not putting it out there yet.

Now I'm a bit stuck. I've got this 2nd character involved and I'm not sure I've introduced him properly. Let me explain. I've not developed sufficient back story for Deme yet to carry a 2nd character and his introduction felt rather rushed. I read it back and I didn't buy it so I don't know how I expected a reader to. I think I swung Deme's reaction to the new character too soon and should have taken my time with it a bit more. So now what? I need your help! Do I leave it as it is and try to improve on the 2nd part some how? Do I just chalk it up to being in-experienced in this field of writing and carry on ignoring the pants effort I made on it or do I just leave Deme on the jetty for all eternity?!

And would you like to hear about Artemia, a clumsy rogue? I think WoW needs more comedic characters.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Light House

This is the second part to a fictional story I began here. Feedback is appreciated in the comments.

Deme turned her mount back towards the jetty and kicked him into a trot. As they approached, the boat was alongside and the rower was hefting rope in the moonlight.

Well get off your horse and tie me alongside! yelled the boatman.

Deme stood her ground and did not dismount. Wearing a flimsy dress was not the best way to encounter someone who might want a fight. She wasn't about to give up the advantage of being on horseback.

Who are you?

I'm the bloody Light House Keeper and your that stuck up death knight who thinks she's too good to get married in our cathedral!

Deme gaped.

Aww come on lass, grab this rope and tie me up. Then come inside, you look half frozen.

Disarmed by the light house keeper's consideration and his knowledge of who she was, Deme dismounted with as much vigour and dignity as the silly dress would allow. Self-consciously pulling her cloak tighter round shoulders, she thought, Damn that bloody Jenwa for convincing me to go to the party in a dress.

Don't worry lass, there's nothing of yours I want. I've seen it all a'fore from them blue ones to the blood elves and I still say the dwarven lasses are the best there is.

Deme was gaping again. He was damn rude, but oddly perceptive and reassuring. The light house keeper chortled and clambered onto the jetty from the boat. Not an easy task Deme now realised, given his short stature.

I'm Derrid Oljind, he grinned holding out his hand.

I'm that stuck up death knight replied Deme, shaking his hand and grinning back. Rude, but reassuring, what wasn't to like?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Midnight Ride

As a side step from normal activities, I've written a piece of fiction this week. Constructive criticism is welcome, trolling is not.

Deme slipped out of the tavern and flipped the hood of her cloak over her head. Her heels clipped on the cobbles as she walked over to her deathcharger. A soft whiny greeted her as she slipped the worn leather reins from their tether.

The light grew brighter and the sound of raucous laughter emerged as the tavern door swung open again, but no one followed her into the street. Taking the reins, she led her horse through the winding streets and across the canal, heading for the docks. Rounding a turn past the Cathedral, she looked up and shuddered as the she saw the spires reaching up to the stars.

Even after all she'd been through this large building intimidated her. The Light seemed to emanate and pulse from it, even in the night blue. It forbade one of Deme's kind from entering the sanctuary it provided, no matter what anyone else told her, she still felt this way. Thinking back to her first meeting with Fordring and her recent run in with Thassarian and Koltira, she was stunned momentarily. So much had changed!

The deathcharger shied as a gaurd approached on his patrol. He grunted a greeting and passed on. Still not fully welcome in my home city, mused Deme. Lost in her nostalgia, the swoop of the gryphon riders overhead brought her back to the present, and the moonlight cast over the docks.

The sea salt tickled her nostrils and she felt the cooler breeze on her face. Dropping down in front of her were the sheer grey stone ramparts of the harbour, leading out to the piers and the ships, carrying merchants, goods and the Alliance Army to all reaches of Azeroth. With her free hand she pulled the cloak tighter around her, thinking her attire wasn't really appropriate for these nocturnal activities. A dress was fine for a few drinks in the tavern on a special occasion, but not really suitable for a moonlit flit across the harbour. She missed the weight of her armour. The sense of release she'd first enjoyed at not wearing it had quickly been replaced by a vulnerability she was not accustomed to, nor entirely happy about.

She'd reached the edge of the docks. Turning right she walked the length of the board-walk, aiming for the far northern land mass, the closest point to the Light House, her final destination. Hitching up the dress, and cursing it's impracticality, she swung up onto the death charger before leaning down and stroking his shoulder. A whispered word of enchantment and they were racing across the water on a frosted mirror.

The wind tore her hood down and tugged at the cloak's clasp around her neck. The skimpy dress beneath did little to keep out the cold but she'd forgotten about that now. Racing across the water, cloak, hair and clothes flying and her grin spreading. A laugh escaped her throat and kept coming. Pure, belly laughter of delight as she sat back, reining in her charge and slowing to a canter. The pair rode onto the small jetty that served the Light House and turned to see the city of Stormwind across the water. Coming to a halt, the deathchargers snorts displaying his enjoyment of the night-time excursions.

Over the bay, the spires of the Cathedral and in the far distance the high stone walls of the keep dominated the night sky, lit from the torches placed around the city and from the lights still burning inside. In sharp contrast to the grandeur and splendour of the new Keep, was what had once been the city's Park district. Now a tumbled, crumpled and burnt out ruin. In the slivers of moonlight rocky ruins could be glimpsed, a sign of the recent horrific events to have warped Azeroth.

Deme gazed over the docks and the city for what felt like mere moments. She heard the 'clunk-splash-clunk-splash' of a rowing boat and realised that her time alone, for now, was over.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Lunch Topic - What if ....

One day the AOL Seed programme will work in the UK and I'll be able to submit something for the WoW Insider Breakfast Topic. In the meantime, this is your very own lunch time topic.

What if you hadn't rolled your main character on your current server, do you think you would have made friendships/found similar people/guilds on another server? I sometimes wonder if, in a parallel universe type way, I would find people similar to all those I now know on my home server, on another server. Would they be the same personality types? Would there be a person who works/thinks like our GM, or like the officers, or like my friends in my raid team? Would we spot the person who gets lost ALL the effing time?! The person who spams up /g with random chat, would there be the same characters in another guild??

Would your WoW journey have been different? I know I would not have continued to play had I not made friends and found my guild. If I'd rolled on a PvP server and been consistently ganked in Stranglethorn Vale I probably would have /ragequit and never come back. What if I'd rolled on an RP server and discovered that side of the game? How would that have affected my gameplay? My blogging? Would I have begun a blog at all?!

The power of What If makes my head hurt. The great thing is I can still experience all of the things mentioned above and still stay on my server, play with my friends and play the game I've grown into and enjoy so much.

How has your game been shaped by the server you've rolled on and the characters and players you have met there?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Needy and The Greedy

Today's post is a two-for-one deal!

The Needy
Sparked by several incidents over on twitter, this great article on 'nice guys' and my own experiences, I want to say something about the 'needy' types out there on the innernetz. I'm not talking about your old and infirm, those living on the breadline or those in need of genuine help. I'm talking about the attention seeking, pity-party, woe-is-me unbalanced saps who can thrive on the internet and frankly, make other peoples lives a living misery.

This is not a guy-only problem. I can put my hand up and say I've been a needy girl too. Big apologies to Jim and Lewis where ever you are now, I apologise for the late night texting, the abuse of my position as your superior at work and any other awful needy behaviour I exhibited. I'm not proud of it. At all. The good thing is though that I moved on. I learnt. I grew the fuck up.

If you think you fall into the category of a 'Nice Guy' or Girl, go read that article I linked above. What you don't realise by being the first and last person your 'special' friend talks to every day, through YOUR persistence, not their's, is that you are not bringing them closer to you. You are driving them away. You are freaking them out. You are making their life uncomfortable. You are probably ruining some of their favourite past times and ways of relaxation with your constant bombardment and need to chat/text/have contact. Have they begun avoiding you? Not responding to your self-pitying nonsense? Take the hint. Go have a long hard look at yourself and ask if this is how you would like to be treated. Would you be likely to date someone who behaved like this towards you? Would you even want to be their friend? I seriously doubt it.

The Greedy
Yesterday the Man and I ran a couple of dungeons. I hate running dungeons when I've just got to level cap and don't know them. I hate it because I don't want to be the 'bad DK'. I'm so terrified of being 'that DK' that I'll only run dungeons with guildies and even pulling in two PuGs gives me The Fear. We ran Lost City twice yesterday, quite enjoyed it on the second run when I was actually able to look around a bit and wasn't thinking 'oh fuck 11fps and I can't see the bad not to stand in'.

I should say here, that The Man and I are the tanks in our raid team. We're gearing up at a similar rate to get into HCs and then raiding. We're also always talking to each other over Mumble or Skype when we are in game. So yesterday when a guildie* running with us whispered me to say I shouldn't have needed on tank gear whilst running as DPS, I got a bit upset. Said guildie is also in the raid team and is another plate wearer. The other two members of the group were druids. The Man is currently geared better than me. I needed on it. I won it.

I would never dare to need without asking on tank gear when I'm running as DPS in a random where I don't know the other members. It's just not my style. I think it's called 'being a ninja'.

What self imposed, or otherwise rules do you have for running dungeons? Are you a giant fraidy cat like me who only runs with guildies? Or are you a big brave lion who jumps right into the random queue with gusto?

*The guildie is cool, it's just my own paranoia playing out :P

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Insomniac Rant. What defines a 'good' realm or player?

Feeling infuriated. What defines a 'good' realm? Most ranking websites would have you believe it's how progressed the realm is in raiding. Thus a 'good' realm must raid. The further implication is that to be a good player you should be a good raider. Are you telling me that the player who has levelled many classes/specs to level cap and thus has knowledge of those classes is not a good player? Are you telling me that the player who hunts down obscure achievements on their own and knows the location/method to get them isn't a good player? Or the player who raided end game at top level and is now casual becomes less good because they aren't raiding? Orcballs to you then, Sir.

My home realm, Terokkar EU has languished at the bottom of the progression tables for a longtime. It has suffered through Wrath as a new realm which consequently was loaded up with noobs, myself included. However, overall the community on Terokkar is a great place. I'd say it's no worse than any other server and I do have alts elsewhere. It's fun and friendly and there's a great interaction between guilds and factions even. To turn up on the realm forum and slate the entire population of the realm in a profoundly offensive and bigoted fashion is most ungracious. I take umbrage on behalf of those who don't speak up and frankly on a personal level too. Your definition of good can fuck off. As can you.

So dear internet, what qualifies a 'good' player and/or realm for you?