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It had only been in the past few years that Tauren Druids had begun to feel Ysera — no, not Ysera, for the Great Dragons had spent their Aspect powers defeating Deathwing — the Emerald Dream itself calling them to walk its green shadows. Having no millennia-long tradition of Dreaming in specially-constructed Barrow Dens, as the Kaldorei Druids did, Tauren Druids who heard the call of the Dream tended to simply shift into bear form and find a snug den before entering the long slumber.

Standing at the mouth of the small cave in the mountains high above Mulgore’s golden plains, watching the gently-snoring gray bear curled into its furthest corner, Kamalia had never felt so lonely.

Kamalia and her closest-age cousin, Ronada, had been inseparable companions since childhood. They had traveled and explored the whole world — and the other world of Outland — together, growing in power and skill side-by-side. Karazhan, Zul’Aman, Serpentshrine Cavern, Naxxramas, Ulduar, the Trial of the Crusaders, the Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent, the Throne of the Four Winds, the Firelands… all of these dangers to Azerzoth, they had faced together, with Ronada tanking and Kamalia healing.

That year in Northrend when the guild needed a moonkin more than another healer, so Kamalia’s sister Kerisa had raided Icecrown Citadel with Ronada instead, began the cousins’ slow drift apart. During the Cataclysm, Kamalia became so weary of the demands of constant raiding that she quit shortly after the defeat of Ultraxion and the reclamation of Wyrmrest Temple and the Dragonblight. Ronada, however, continued on to help bring down Deathwing. When Pandaria had been discovered, Kamalia and Ronada traveled together again to explore the new continent… at least until Ronada began raiding the Mogu and Mantid strongholds, and Kamalia declined to participate.

Though she no longer spent most of her time with Ronada, Kamalia hadn’t been alone. Her sisters, some Tauren friends, and her Sin’dorei friends had all eventually come to Pandaria, and they saw each other frequently. She’d also made many new friends among the Pandaren, especially in Halfhill and the surrounding farming communities.

After the Siege of Orgrimmar had dragged on for six months, Ronada, too, had wearied of raiding. The Emerald Dream was calling her. Kamalia had not felt sad or lonely when she had come to see Ronada safely off into the Dream half a year ago, but now…

When the Warchief’s Heralds had brought the news of the bizarre change in color of the Dark Portal and the invasion of a new, strangely-equipped sort of Orc, Kamalia had not gone immediately to the battlefront. She had come here, hoping to be able to rouse Ronada from the Dream, so that they could once more fight together. Kamalia had not begged or pleaded for Ronada to come back, merely told her cousin of her own excitement and anticipation. For a few moments, she had thought that Ronada might be waking. But then the bear settled back down into what seemed to be an even deeper sleep.

Sighing, Kamalia turned from the cave and began attuning her Astral Recall. Whatever strange new world now lay on the other side of the altered Dark Portal, she would be exploring it on her own.

~*~*~

In the spring, BTH decided to take a break from WoW. His guild had defeated Garrosh on normal mode a few times and was banging its head against the heroic modes — and after it had attritted enough people that even forming a 10s group became difficult, BTH decided he needed some time off from raiding, too. Plus, Elder Scrolls Online was coming out, and he’d really enjoyed Skyrim. He’s spent the past six months or so playing ESO and a variety of non-MMO games. Since D&D 5e came out a few weeks ago, he’s really been getting back into D&D.
Now, with Warlords just around the corner, BTH is not sure he even wants to come back to WoW. His guild hasn’t changed their raiding times, and the raiding times that worked well when we were in Atlantic Canada don’t work well now that we’re in the Mountain West. The guild has also decided to server transfer, and he doesn’t really want to server transfer his character. So he’d have to look for a new guild if he wanted to raid — and if he’s going to play WoW, he wants to do real (not-LFR) raiding. He’s not much interested in all the stuff that I still enjoy doing in Azeroth.
Which leaves me looking at playing through a new expansion entirely on my own for the first time… another indicator that Warlords has a fairly high probability of being my last expansion of playing WoW.

So, those Lounge Cushions in the Toybox that are supposed to be coming from Winter Veil?

Goblins make them. Here’s what they look like:

Clever Blizzard, using Winter Veil to give us some doodads that are already in the game that decorating-minded people have probably already been asking for on the forums.

Now — how will we get them, and will it be possible to get all four in one Winter Veil with just one character (for the One True Main folks out there)?

… does it?

In past years, I’ve not bothered with trying to farm for the Horseman’s Reins. That was before the Warlock could fly, however, and now that she can, it would be a perfect flying mount for her.

So I’ve been queueing up for the Horseman battle with my gemmed and enchanted characters — my healers, my ToT-geared Warrior, and the Warlock herself, whom I gemmed and enchanted just for this. I’ve been tempted, though, to just go ahead and queue with all my 90s, regardless of their mostly un-gemmed, un-enchanted states. No-one complained (to my face) when I let Kaelinda get away with being a scrub for the two weeks it took her to get what she wanted out of Terrace of Endless Spring LFR (most other people were collecting the Heart of Fear for Wrathion on their umpteenth alt by that point, and way out-geared the place), and the Horseman battle goes so fast that I doubt people would really even notice my characters’ sub-par DPS…

Knowing that Patch 6.0 would bring (along with the general stat squish) a complete removal of Base Stamina (requiring reliance upon Stamina from gear only) and auto-learning of certain glyphs during leveling, I was curious to see how the Underpowered Death Knight would be affected.

Her health went from 26925 to 17688.

Fortunately, the auto-learned glyphs were not auto-equipped, so she can continue as a playstyle experiment with no spec, talents, or glyphs and poor-quality gear. Practically speaking, this means that she will continue to be largely an alternative leveler — holidays, archaeology, and maybe even pet battles (though I have so far been unsuccessful in persuading her to pick up that baton) — rather than a quester.

I’m not sure how I feel about how the new model has changed her coloration.

I liked and wanted those brilliant blue braids.

The other DK-exclusive colors aren’t as bold anymore, either.

On the other hand, the new blue-gray coloration is very much like the existing blue-gray color of some Taunka males, reinforcing her backstory that she is a Taunka whose wanderlust got her into more trouble than she’d expected.

Tonight, I was too busy grading my general chemistry class’s second midterm exam to do more than take pictures of my characters’ new forms on the character selection screen. I’m mostly okay with what I saw; only two characters seem like they’ll be needing prompt facial reconstruction.

My sweet yet serious Gnome has turned into a witch!

And my solemn, somber Night Elf has turned smirking and supercilious. Plus, her current eye tattoos make her look like some kind of super-villain! I’ll probably end up changing her tattoos as well as her face.

UPDATE:
So I went to the Barbershop and succeeded in finding some faces were both suitable matches for my poor girls’ original faces and adequately conveyed their personalities. But now, if after a month trial period I just haven’t gotten used to the new models and decide to toggle on the old models, I’ll have to visit the Barbershop again to change their faces back…


There was a face that actually matched Kelilla’s original face a little better than this one — but it had too much of what Zel so appropriately described as weepy mascara.
Somehow using the Barbershop also undid Kelilla’s mogging. I’d better go fix that…


I did decide to change Keriluna’s tattoos, too. I’ve always been fond of this particular design, and the higher resolution upgrade was good to it.

cricket collection

Along with leveling a character of each class to the current level cap, one of my long-time WoW goals has been to raid-heal with each of the healing classes. Mists LFR has been an absolutely Golden Age for me in that regard. I have a healer of each class who has completed at least Terrace of Endless Spring from T14, all of Throne of Thunder, and Siege of Orgrimmar through the Sha of Pride.

As proof that I have indeed completed my Mists expansion goal of healing in LFR with each of the healing classes — and before Patch 6.0 wreaks havoc on my action bars and addons, too! — I now present a couture collection featuring that most charming of Siege of Orgrimmar healer loot drops, the Purehearted Cricket Cage.

Waterfall Cricket

Greenweave Mantle, Waterfall Robe, Councillor’s Sash, Replica Virtuous Gloves, Rejuvenating Scepter, Purehearted Cricket Cage
This Kun-Lai Summit quest reward robe matches the tailored Windwool set, which has a tunic chestpiece instead of a robe.

Hoodoo Cricket

Self-Reflecting Mask, Runetotem’s Mantle of Conquest, Jinxed Hoodoo Skin & Kilt, Hurricane Belt, Cenarion Gloves, Miniature Winter Veil Tree, Purehearted Cricket Cage
This outfit is based on Zazzy’s grand-prize-winning final round entry for JD Kenada’s Amazing Transmog Survivor competition. Kerisa already had the shoulders, chestpiece, and kilt of Zazzy’s kit — though as a Druid, she of course could not use the same belt.

Fire-Charm Cricket

Fire-Charm Mantle, Jinxed Hoodoo Skin & Kilt, Serene Yellow Belt, Grips of Slicing Electricity, Ethereum Phase Blade, Purehearted Cricket Cage, Veridian Cloak
A variation on Zazzy’s grand-prize-winning final round entry for JD Kenada’s Amazing Transmog Survivor competition. As a Monk, Koralyra could get the chestpiece, belt, and kilt easily — but she’d have had to farm for the lookalike T9 Druid shoulders, as Zazzy had. Fortunately, the glow of the T15-LFR Monk shoulders matches the Jinxed Hoodoo items just as nicely as the crystals on the T9-Horde Druid shoulders do!

Suncrown Cricket

Bog Pauldrons, Suncrown Hauberk, Myrmidon’s Girdle, Cenarion Reservist’s Legguards*/Green Iron Leggings, Green Iron Gauntlets, Tsunami Boots, Light’s Justice, Purehearted Cricket Cage, Xing-Ho, Breath of Yu’lon
So, yeah, I decided to get the Legendary Cloak for Kamalia’s DPS spec. Hopefully, it’ll make at least the first few levels of 90 to 100 a little easier, considering that I don’t (and won’t) have a Garrosh Heirloom weapon.

Jade Cricket

Jade set with Acid-Etched Pauldrons, Qon’s Flaming Scimitar, and Purehearted Cricket Cage
I put up with the Jade set being platekini because I love its unique coloration so much. I’d be much happier if it looked on my female character the way it looks on male characters, though!

Darkmoon Carnie

Tarnished Crown, Willow Vest, Imbued Disciple’s Sash, Councillor’s Pants, Heavy Weave Gloves, Ikeyen’s Boots, Cloak of the Darkmoon Faire, Farmer’s Broom
This non-Transmogrification-friendly outfit for a level 60+ banker is a hybrid of the outfits worn by the Darkmoon Carnies and the Darkmoon Fire Breathers.

Heiress of Antiquity

Hood of the Shuffled Coil, Runecloth Shoulders, Robes of Antiquity, Replica Magister’s Belt, Jumanza Grips, Kodo Rustler Boots*, Spellbound Cloak, Golden Filigreed Doublet, The Staff of Twin Worlds
Kaelinda obtained this robe from a short Alliance-only quest chain at the Zoram Strand in Ashenvale while she was masquerading as a Human shortly before the Shattering. I’m delighted with how nicely the Cataclysm-era crown matches; I like this style of hat and had been wanting to use it.

Roiling Gardens

Shoulders of the Roiling Inferno, Blessed Elunite Coverings, Dragonmaw Emergency Strap, Giant-Friend Kilt, Marshseeker Gloves, Staff of the Verdant Circle
The inspiration for this outfit began with the “Garden of Eden” kits I designed to use the T16-LFR Druid shoulders & belt. Instead of farming for any of the chestpiece & leggings combinations I suggested in that post, however, I elected to use a kilt that I already had and a JP-purchase tunic that I’d been looking for an excuse to buy anyway.

Spiritwalker’s Grace

Pauldrons of the Deafening Gale, Spiritwalker’s Tunic & Handwraps, Marauder’s Belt, Giorgio’s Caduceus of Pure Moods
I had meant to make an outfit combining elements of the T10, T13, and T16 Shaman sets, but it didn’t come together in quite the way that I’d thought it would, so I made this instead. The T13 items look more like leather than like mail, so in combination with the feathered staff, the whole outfit has a fun sort of double-take is that a Druid or is that a Shaman? appearance.

Iceguard

Iceguard Helm Breastplate & Leggings, Imperial Plate Shoulders & Boots, Rainbow Girdle, Jouster’s Gauntlets, The Oathkeeper
I originally imagined this set for my Warrior to wear with her Starshatter. As soon as I’d finished designing it, however, the Underpowered Death Knight also wanted it, because it would be just too perfect with her white-and-blue coloration. Khorium is so expensive/difficult to find that I only wanted to craft the Iceguard items once, though… The Warrior and the Underpowered Death Knight broke the wishbone of a roasted plainstrider over it, and the Underpowered Death Knight won.

Shado-Pan Brewmaster (Monk)

Replica Shado-Pan Helmet, Dark Warder’s Pauldrons, Vest of Welcome, Red Belt of Gentle Persuasion, Sunroc Pants, Swashbuckler’s Gloves & Boots, Tremendous Tankard O’ Terror, Ced’s Crusher
Most of my characters are tee-totalers because, well, I am. Way back when acheivements were the new hotness, Kamalia picked up several of the Brewfest acheivements, but she hadn’t bothered to get Brew of the Month — and thus the “Brewmaster” title — because she knew she wouldn’t actually be interested tasting the brews of the month themselves.
That was before I had a Brewmaster Monk, however. This year, Koralyra wanted the “Brewmaster” title, and so it fell to Kamalia, who was only one achievement short, to get the meta for the whole family.
The keg-shaped maces are probably my favorite Mists 1H-Mace design.

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