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I would love to have a cosmetic minor Glyph of the High Arakkoa that transforms my Druid’s Moonkin form into a graceful High Arakkoa like Dawnseeker Rukaryx. Glyph of the Flapping Owl should NOT be exclusive with Glyph of the High Arakkoa, unlike its current exclusivity with Glyph of Stars.

Ironically, the loss of flight makes a Druid more like the cursed, crippled Arakkoa we’ve known since Outland than like the soaring High Arakkoa of Draenor. As nifty as it is, Flap is a poor substitute for Flight Form… sigh


These NPCs that I saw while doing the Garrison Campaign chapter in Shattrath really rub salt in the “no flying” wound. Oh, quest developers, why must you tease us this way?

I have not obtained a single Savage Blood so far this expansion. Why? Because I haven’t been able to figure out what I want to DO with it. There are so many items to craft and it’s so expensive to upgrade just one item just once that I’ve become paralyzed by indecision.

So help me out here, guys. Convince me that it’s worth my time and effort to start collecting Savage Blood by showing me what kinds of awesome Transmogrification kits can be made with Warlords crafted items. I know that rhuanious has made some sweet sets using each of the stages of the mail pants. I’d love to see what all of you other talented Moggers out there can do with Warlords crafted items.

This is not a contest, with prizes and such, just a challenge — a prompt — for a fashion show similar to These Boots were Made for Mogging.

If you’d like to play along, the guidelines are as follows:

* There must be at least one Warlords crafted item in your kit. It doesn’t have to be upgraded; the stage 1 items are perfectly acceptable.

* Because these are kits for Transmogrification, not for equipping, the three-item-equipped limit does not apply. To limit the expense of crafting and upgrading, however, there can be no more than five Warlords crafted items in your kit.

* If you want to include Warlords raid gear in your kit, LFR gear is preferred. I’m looking for inspiration for kits to wear myself, and I haven’t raided at any higher level than LFR since late Cataclysm.

* If you’ve already made a Transmogrification kit or kits using Warlords crafted items, feel free to send me the screenshots of your character wearing that kit! Already-made kits are exempt from the “LFR raid gear preferred” guideline.

* Ideas designed in MogIt (or similar programs) are both expected and welcome.

* Please include an item list with your image. In your item list, specify which upgrade stage/ilevel of the crafted item(s) you used.

* All armor types are allowed.

* Images should be .jpg or .png format.

* You can contribute as many ideas as you can imagine!

* Send your contributions to kamalia_et_alia@yahoo.com on or before May 31. I’ll post the fashion show in early June.

I thought about requiring each contribution to use a Warlords crafted weapon plus at least one other Warlords crafted item. Although I am really quite impressed by all of the stages of the Warlords crafted weapons, I decided that such a specification would be too restrictive. It would probably disqualify most already-designed kits, and I definitely want to see those! Do keep in mind, though, that your minimum one Warlords crafted item can be a weapon or a cloak!

I look forward to seeing what all of you can imagine!

The semester having ended, I took a break from work during the first week of May to catch up on WoW. Specifically, I wanted to get my Tauren “one of each class” characters not just into their level 2 Garrisons, but also all the way through Frostfire Ridge. By the time I got to the last of those characters, I went into the system sound menu and turned the dialog slider all the way down to 0 so that I didn’t have to hear it anymore. I’d gotten so, so, so tired of Orcs. What is it that Taran Zhu says in the last of the Isle of Thunder scenarios? Ah, yes: “Every reprisal is itself an act of aggression, and every act of aggression triggers immediate reprisal.” That describes the escalation of the war between the Frostwolf clan and the Thunderlord clan pretty neatly, and after having played through Frostfire Ridge nine times*, I was utterly exhausted by Orcs and their bloodlust.

When I told BTH that I was so, so, so tired of Orcs, he responded, “Why are you still playing that game?”

BTH quit playing WoW himself several weeks ago; the raid time that had worked relatively well when we were in Atlantic Canada was not working very well now that we are in the Mountain West, and he wasn’t really enjoying Warlords raiding enough to want to look for another guild (possibly requiring a server transfer). He has always played WoW primarily to raid, so if he wasn’t going to be raiding, why play at all?

I… am not sure that I have a good answer to that question. Do I keep playing WoW just because I’ve gotten into the habit of using it to fill my idle time, and I don’t want to expend the effort to find something else, something better, to do with that time? That’s not a very satisfactory answer, even if it is an uncomfortably large fraction of it.

Being thus discomfited, I didn’t play much WoW for the next week. Instead, I read webcomics — catching up on ones I hadn’t read regularly for a few months and reading through the archives of a few ones I hadn’t read before — and reread the classic early detective novel The Moonstone (by Wilkie Collins).

Why are you still playing that game?

Syrco has been looking for a reason to log in.

BBB, in his characteristic way, answers with the things that keep him going.

The Godmother asks her audience, “if you’re tired of/angry at the game, why are you still playing it?”, in various forms, constantly. She is also continually asking herself “why am I still playing this game?” and exploring the various forms that answer takes.

When I think about the things I have enjoyed about WoW in the past, and why I’m not doing those things now, I inevitably get tangled up in either the Garrison or the Faction Divide… or both.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed exploring the stories of the World of Warcraft. Now, I’m tired of Orc-centric Horde stories… but I still prefer to play as a Tauren or a Sin’dorei. I’ve played mostly Horde for long enough that when I do play Alliance, the anti-Horde prejudices in the Alliance-side stories alienate me. I enjoyed the Legendary storyline in Mists, but when I found out what was involved with getting Garona for my Garrison, I decided that maybe I’d rather not continue following the Warlords Legendary storyline. When I think about going out with a low-level alt or perhaps back with a high-level alt to play through past-expansion storylines that I haven’t yet seen, I get tripped up by wanting to run through all my Draenor-level alts’ Garrison chores first… and then by the time I’m done with that, my limited playtime is gone.

I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of Transmogrification, but with the LFR gear being uninspiring and the normal/heroic mode gear being out-of-reach** because I don’t want to PuG with the Group Finder, I’ve been lacking in Transmogrification inspiration for this expansion. Some of the crafted gear looks really nice — though the upgraded appearances are, of course, nicer than the Stage 1 appearance. When I’m looking at making crafted gear for Transmogrification instead of just equipping, though, I start thinking about making whole sets, and then the upgrade costs — 150 of the daily CD material, plus 30 of Sorcerous whatever, plus 15 Savage Blood just to upgrade one piece once — start becoming overwhelming. Even with — especially with! — Work Orders, I feel like I’d be spending all of my playtime doing nothing but Gathering. I also can’t bring myself to go farm old raids just on speculation or to make money; my inventory space is crowded enough already that I have to have a specific item or items from a specific raid that I want, for a specific planned Transmogrification kit, that I’m farming for. Even when I do want a specific item for specific set that I’m thinking about, again, tending all my Garrisons usually takes up all my limited playtime.

Time to take a few pages from The Godmother’s playbook, I think.

Taking a bit of a break from the game and thinking through my current feelings about it (in the form of this Bearwall) has been a good start.

Next, I need to find my own motivation to do something other than just routinely tending my Garrisons. I should also find a reason to be doing the daily profession CDs that’s better than “just in case I want this stuff later”.

So — I should design some Transmogrification kits that use Warlords crafted items — but not full Warlords crafted sets — so that I have specific items that I want to craft. I should prioritize leveling my two Alchemists to 100 and getting their Garrisons to Level 3 so that they can get the Savage Blood transmute from the herb trader***. I should also prioritize Follower missions that reward Primal Spirits so that I can trade those for Savage Blood. The upcoming Patch 6.2 changes to increase the amount of materials, including Sorcerous whatevers, generated by the daily profession CDs will definitely help this plan!

I should shake off the OCD tendencies that have been shackling me to my Garrisons. When I know that what I really want to do on a given evening is farm an old raid for a Transmogrification item, or go Fishing, or do Archaeology, or do Pet Battles, or quest in Draenor with one of my high-level alts, or quest elsewhere with one of my low-level alts, I should allow myself to just leave my Garrisons untended for that evening.

And then maybe I’ll get back to playing this game because it’s fun instead of just because it’s habit.

~*~*~

*Eight Tauren characters plus the Blood Elf Warlock

**Yes, my Followers do bring me normal mode raid gear, but because it is randomly generated and not from the loot table of any specific boss (unless there is a correlation between the various Follower raid missions and the loot tables of specific bosses that I haven’t been paying attention to), it isn’t really a reliable way to collect pieces for Transmogrification. Plus, more often than not (in my experience) it turns out to be a non-visible item such as a ring, necklace, or trinket.

***Or, perhaps, get the Savage Blood transmute from the herb trader when he’s in the Garrison of one of my battlenet friends?

“Good morning, Miz Kaumaleia!”

“Good morning, Andi.” Kaumaleia waited to hear which of the Tillers the boy thought she ought to appease today.

“You know,” said Andi, “I’ve been thinking. I’ve got it pretty good living here with Uncle Yoon and all these great folks here in the Heartland. But there’s a lot of orphans here in Pandaria who don’t. Even without you outsiders and your silly war, there’ve always been the mantid and the yaungol and the saurok and the hozen… There’s an orphanage in Dawn’s Blossom, and you’ve been so nice about helping out around here that I think you should go see if you can help them out, too.”

***

Orphan Matron Mai-Lin scowled up at Kaumaleia. “I guess you’re not a yaungol — your face is all wrong.”

“No,” Kaumaleia agreed, “I am not a yaungol. I am a taunka from Northrend, as far to the north of the world as Pandaria is to the south.”

“Hmph,” said the Matron. “Well, it’s about time one of you outsiders took some responsibility for the consequences of your actions. The massacres at Pearlfin Village and Grookin Hill and the battle at Serpent’s Heart left a lot of young jinyu and hozen family-less and homeless.” She looked over her shoulder at the youngsters peeping curiously around the door- and windowframes of the orphanage building, and though her face softened, they all ducked.

Orphan Matron Mai-Lin considered for a moment, then walked into the building, motioning for Kaumaleia to stay outside. Through the windows, Kaumaleia could see monkey-like hozen and fish-like jinyu tussling in a way that strongly reminded her of the wolvar and gorloc children at the Dalaran orphanage. She watched as the children settled down in the Matron’s wake. The Matron selected one of the older-looking hozen, briefly spoke with him (or her? Kaumaleia had difficulty distinguishing the males from the females), and then brought the child outside.

“Bonzo is almost old enough that soon it will be time for him to leave the orphanage and decide what he wants to be in the world. Perhaps you can help him with this choice.”

Bonzo gazed up at Kaumaleia with complete awe for a few moments. Then he grinned and asked, “Can I ride on your shoulders?”

“Of course you may,” said Kaumaleia, dropping to one knee and holding out a hand for him to climb up.

Orphan Matron Mai-Lin smiled. “I think you two will get along just fine. Oh, and don’t mind the gloves. He’s a bit… pugnacious, but they’re all he’s got to remember his family by.”

***

When Kaumaleia asked Bonzo where he wanted to go and what he would like to see, he thought for a minute or two before replying.

“Didja hear about how Ken-Ken the hozen monk cured Zhu’s Watch of the super-sads?” he said at last, “He trained at Tian Monastery, up on the next big mountain to the north of Dawn’s Blossom. They’ll teach anybody — pandaren, hozen, slimy jinyu, even strangers like you! Maybe I could be a monk, too… Let’s go check it out!”

“Wow, I didn’t think being a monk would be so much work! But I’ll do the work if it means I get to eat all that great food!”

***

“Some hozen don’t get along very well with anyone. Some hozen get along great with everyone… well, everyone that’s not jinyu.” Bonzo paused for a moment and made a face. “Anyhow, some hozen get along so well with pandaren that they work with them on their farms. I heard that there’s a hozen in the Heartland who has his own farm! His name is Chee Chee, and he raises sheep! I wanna visit him and find out how he did it. Um, does it, I guess?”

“Lookit all those frikfraks decorating Chee Chee’s house! Toldja he was important. Are you gonna help him save his sheep from those Kunzen hozen? They sound like they’re the kind that don’t get along with anyone.”

***

“I know, I know!” Bonzo exclaimed, “I wanna be a pirate! The Matron doesn’t let us have parties at the orphanage very often, but pirates have fun parties all the time! There’s some hozen pirates that hang out at a place called Unga Ingoo. It’s one of the islands that surrounds the Nayeli Lagoon off the coast of Krasarang Wilds. Can we go to a pirate party?”

“That would have been a more fun beach party if those pirates weren’t so mean… Can I keep the Golden Banana?”

***

Bonzo looked pensive as they returned to Kaumaleia’s lodgings at the Lazy Turnip.

“You know that hozen tribes have two chiefs, right?” he said. “A hunting-chief and a legend-chief. My Mam-mam was the best legend-chief Grookin Hill ever had! I miss her stories. The Matron tries, but she doesn’t tell a story nearly as good. You know who might, though? The pandaren have a great legend-chief, Lorewalker Cho, who lives in the library at Mogu’shan Palace. I wonder what kind of stories he tells about hozen?”

“Hahaha! That was a great story! I will have lots of good stories to tell the others at the orphanage now!”

As they left the Seat of Knowledge, Bonzo jumped around Kaumaleia excitedly, tugging at the edges of her armor.
“I was gonna ask if we could go visit Emperor Rikktik’s Tomb, but then I thought of something even better! The Timeless Isle has come back, and the Monkey King is there! The Monkey King! From the legends! Oh, can we go see him, please-please-please?”

“I bet the Monkey King always talks in riddles like that because he is so wise. Emperor Shaohao was lucky to have a hozen for his greatest friend!”

Kaumaleia asked Bonzo what he would like for a treat before he went back to Dawn’s Blossom. The young hozen looked around, then began vigorously sniffing the air.

“Noodles!” he cried, bounding off toward Noodle-Maker Monmon’s cart. Kaumalea bought them both a bowl of Crazy Snake Noodles, and they sat at one of the nearby tables to eat them. Bonzo slurped his noodles enthusiastically.

“Oh yeah, these are real hozen noodles!” he cheered at Noodle-Maker Monmon, who responded with a fist-pump. “Noodlemonger Chin at Dawn’s Blossom tells you he makes the only noodles worth eating. His noodles are the best in town, for sure… but these are better!” He sobered for a moment. “They remind me of the ones my Pap-pap used to make… That’s it! I should learn how to cook! I’ll be the best noodle cook and the best storyteller of all the hozen in Pandaria. Yeah!”

***


inspired by Noxychu’s “Bad Example” artwork on Wowhead

card tricks


BTH really enjoys Magic: The Gathering, but he’s never been able to get me into playing it. When Hearthstone first came out, therefore, I was intrigued by the concept of the game — something like MTG, but perhaps not so complex, or differently complex in ways that I would be able to understand more easily. I had (and still have) too many things I wanted to do in WoW to want put another game on my computer*, though — and the Hearthsteed was not an incentive because I think it looks creepy. If I had a tablet, I might have picked up Hearthstone when it came out for tablets… but I don’t. So I’d been looking forward to the game coming out for smartphones, and when it finally did, about two weeks ago, I got it.

I’ve played very casually so far, only one or two games a day and not every day. I just finished unlocking all the classes a day or two ago, and Mage is still the only class that I’ve leveled to 10. After I’d gotten through the initial tutorials and quests playing against The Innkeeper, my first several games in casual Play mode were very discouraging. I used Mage because I have the most class-specific cards for it, but I just got smashed and smashed and smashed. I’d feel like I was playing my cards well and doing okay in the early part of the game, but then I’d run out of cards in my hand and get utterly overwhelmed by the other player’s minions. Yet I would doggedly play the game out to the bitter end, because to me, conceding would be akin to flipping the table and stomping away in a huff.

I’m usually a good sport about losing when I feel like it’s been an even match and I could have won if I’d done one or two things differently, but I am not a very good sport about losing when I feel overwhelmed and powerless. Losing and losing and losing to swarms of enemy minions when I was out of good cards in my hand definitely made me feel a bit table-flippy! Eventually, I decided that I just didn’t understand how to play Mage. Thinking I’d try the same strategy that had been beating me, I used the Hunter deck instead. I’ve had more success with that; earlier today, I finally got to the three wins in Play mode required to earn the crossover reward pictured above.

Hearthstone will be good for amusement when I have to wait for short intervals or when I’m bored at relatives’ houses. I’ll probably continue to do Play mode as casual, though if there’s a particularly attractive card back, I might attempt the ranked ladder. I suppose that I’ll probably get all the classes leveled up to 10 eventually, just because I’m a collector personality type, and because I know that there are class-based challenges in the solo Adventures. I don’t intend to ever spend any real money on Hearthstone, though, so it’ll be a long time before I venture into Naxxramas or Blackrock Mountain. I don’t play enough to accumulate gold very quickly, and I should probably use my gold for card packs for awhile before I try the Adventures.

BTH has been quite amused by watching me play and talk about Hearthstone.

* WoW is the only game, other than the standard Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc, that come with the OS, that I currently have installed. For awhile, I had the Portal games, too.

After I’d been taking an alt to battle Stone Cold Trixxy every day for awhile, I decided to station a couple of other alts at the two other satchel-giving Grand Master trainers I’ve unlocked so far, Lydia Accoste and Blood Knight Antari. Flying back to Shadowmoon Village one evening after having given the smackdown to Antari, I was suddenly struck by the similarity between Shadowmoon Village on Outland and Lunarfall Garrison on Draenor.

The two settlements are in corresponding locations on their respective zone maps.


With no flying and all those trees in the lush, living Shadowmoon Valley of Draenor, it’s a little harder to get a good aerial view of Lunarfall Garrison than to get an aerial view of Shadowmoon Village in Outland, but both settlements have very similar terraced terrain.


The view from Overlord Or’barokh’s command tower, looking down the hill to the main gate of the village gives me an eerie sense of deja vu to the view from Lunarfall Town Hall, looking down the hill to the main gate of the garrison.

***

***


The Lunarfall Barracks is in the same place as the Shadowmoon Village Inn, and I have put my Lunarfall Barn in the same place as the Shadowmoon Village Stables!

***

The terrain isn’t exactly the same, in the way that nothing about Draenor is exactly the same as Outland — but it’s close enough. Lunarfall Garrison and Shadowmoon Village are the same place.

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