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This week being Spring Break, I decided it was time to buckle down and get the remainder of my One of Each Class set of characters into their Garrisons. On Saturday, I powered through Tanaan with the Hunter and the Warrior. Although I am so, so tired of Tanaan, I determined to grit my teeth and just get it over and done with the Rogue, the Warlock, and the Blood Elf Mage. I wished that there were some way to just skip the Tanaan intro sequence.

In a post that couldn’t have been more conveniently timed, Anne Stickney just shared her discovery of a hidden backdoor access to Draenor. It’s not exactly a “shortcut”, but it definitely doesn’t require running circles around the Dark Portal!

Personally, I think this must be how Kairoz got Garrosh to Draenor.

tag, I’m IT

The Liebsters are going around again, and I got tagged by Zeirah.

Let’s get to it, then.

What makes you smile?
A beautiful sunny morning, in any season of the year. Spring flowers. Birdsong. Silly things that my husband says or does. My supremely cute nieces and nephews.

Where do you see yourself in 50 years?
In fifty years, I will be eighty-five. It would be nice to have a few grandchildren, but first I have to have children… I would also like to have served a mission (or two) with my husband. By eighty-five, though, I very well might be beginning to lose my mind to Alzheimers — my maternal grandmother had been suffering from Alzheimers decay for two or three years prior to her death at age 87 three years ago.

Is there one class in WoW you haven’t been able to really gel with?
After playing all the classes to 90 during Mists, there are things I enjoy about the gameplay of all of them. I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed playing my Subtlety Rogue and Destro ‘Lock while leveling through Pandaria. The Cataclysm revamp of the Warlock class definitely played a big role in that; I hadn’t really been able to “gel” with my Warlock before that. Currently, the class I seem to be struggling with the most is Mage… since the 6.0 changes, I’m not really “click”ing with any of the Mage specs.

What is your biggest problem/challenge when it comes to blogging?
I have never been good about seeking out new bloggers — I generally find new blogs to read when bloggers I already read link to them. I am also really terrible about commenting, especially lately.

What is your dream career?
I am living my dream career right now, teaching chemistry full-time at a small, two-year college where all I have to do is teach and I don’t have to try to do research unless I really really want to. Unfortunately, this small, rural town is not so great for my husband’s career, so I doubt that we will actually stay here for the remainder of my career.

What is the one thing in WoW you love doing the most?
Just one thing? Either leveling alts or Transmogrification, though I haven’t done a lot of either lately. I have this long list of not-so-new-anymore Transmogrification kits that I need to take screenshots of and then get posted…

What is your favourite book?
If I could have only one book for the entire rest of my life, I’d take a Book of Mormon.
Or, if I could get away with it, the quadruple combination of the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price in a single binding.
As far as secular books go, well, there are way too many books that I adore for me to choose just one favorite. Do I choose the authors that I discovered just recently and have been devouring, or the favorites of my teens and twenties that I return to and reread every five years or so, or the books that I loved during my childhood (even though I haven’t reread them for ten years or more)? I have favorite textbooks, too…

If you could choose the next playable race, what would it be?
High Elves for the Alliance.
I suppose that if that happened, it would most likely be paired with Ogres for the Horde, though I personally am not all that interested in/excited about playing an Ogre unless Blizz manages to make the Ogre women as awesome as Four.
Tuskarr. Or Vrykul. Saberon, perhaps, so that we can have “cats ‘n’ dogs” interactions with the Worgen?
Just adding the sub-races to the existing races — Taunka and Yaungol for Tauren, and so forth — would be great.
Centaurs and/or Tol’vir would also be pretty neat, though the “where are my pa-a-ants?!” issue will probably prevent them from ever actually being playable.

What is the most delicious food you have ever eaten?
Godiva Belgian Dark Chocolate ice cream was so so good, for the brief time that it was on the market. I love dark chocolate, and I love ice cream, and a really truly good premium dark chocolate ice cream is the best of both!

Who is your favourite WoW character?
Draka. Aggra. Baine. Jaina. Lor’themar. Dezco — though his arc in Warlords has become even more heartbreaking (a post I need to get around to writing). I haven’t done enough of the Alliance storyline in Draenor yet to know how much I like Yrel — though I was impressed by what I saw of her in the Horde storyline.

What do you think the next expansion should be about?
I don’t have any great ideas about what the overall theme of the next expansion should be — but I think it’s high time that we found out what Magatha Grimtotem is going to do with the Doomstone. Figuring that out — and stymying her plans — could be the focus for a whole zone storyline plot! Or a dungeon, at least, though I think it would be more fun as a zone questline.

Has Fel Fashion been nominated yet? or Anou’s Armoire? or rhuanious? or Dwarven District? or Kallixta’s Notes? or WoW Storylines? No? Then I tag you.

Here are my eleven questions, and my eleven factoids about myself in the form of my answers to my own questions:

1) What is your least favorite color?
chartreuse

2) What music do you like to listen to when you’re in a thinking sort of mood?
wind quintets, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings soundtracks, FFVI soundtrack

3) Who is your favorite Garrison follower?
Leorajh, because he’s adorable

4) Should Farmer Yoon date Gina Mudclaw (whom he has a crush on) or Tina Mudclaw (who has a crush on him, but can’t decide whether she likes him or Farmer Fung better)?
Gina — choose the smart girl!

5) What is/are your favorite Tier set(s)?
T4 Shaman, T4 Paladin, T15-LFR Warrior, T1 & all of the BC Druid sets

6) Chocolate & peanut butter, or chocolate & mint?
most of the time, chocolate & peanut butter; for many years, I thought that mint ruined perfectly good chocolate, but then a few years ago I found a couple of brands of chocolate (Chocolove & Lindt) that made mint chocolate bars that, somewhat to my surprise, I really liked, and now I occasionally get in a chocolate & mint mood

7) If Arakkoa were made into a playable race, would you rather be the cursed, flightless Arakkoa that we first met in Outland, or the flying “high Arakkoa” that we meet in Draenor?
I think I’d like to be a high Arakkoa and have a special racial flying ability similar to the Worgen racial running ability (although I suppose that would not be so useful in no-player-flying-allowed Draenor). I also think the high Arakkoa would be more fun to dress up!

8) What is your favorite RL holiday, and what special foods must you have to eat for that holiday?
for Christmas, I want homemade truffles and toffee and caramel popcorn balls — but Christmas is not Christmas without peanut butter smoothie, a delicious confection of white coating and rice crispies and crunchy peanut butter

9) Did you make a pie for Pi Day? If so, what kind?
I made Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie for Pi Day this year

10) What utensil do you prefer for eating rice?
I grew up using a spoon to eat rice, so I prefer a spoon. My husband prefers a fork. When I cook rice as the starch for a meal, I set a fork for him and a spoon for me.

11) What new attraction would you love to see at the Darkmoon Faire?
I think the Faire ought to have a Ferris Wheel, but the Carousel already grants a nice XP & rep buff, so what could the Ferris Wheel do that would be complementary? Maybe a luck buff that would increase your chance to get a useful loot drop from dungeons or raids for the next 12 hours? If the Faire did have a Ferris Wheel, then there should be an achievement for taking a picture of yourself right at the top!

I also tag Navimie, Prinnie, Plaid, Tome, Cymre, and Matty, because I’d rather like to see your answers to my questions! But don’t feel obliged to answer my questions if you don’t want to.


The Field Photographer achievement requires characters to visit the Maelstrom in Dragon Soul and the Frozen Throne in Icecrown Citadel. I’m sure there are folks out there who are skilled enough to solo their way to those places, but I sure am not!
We ought to hit up the Terrace of Endless Spring (and Blackwing Descent and Naxxramas), too, because I’ve heard that there are Music Rolls to be found in there…

What do you think? When might be a good time for it? I’ve got RL events on Saturday evenings for the next few weeks, but what about Friday the 27th?

Tauren selfies look so silly! Especially when I’m trying to get Pepe into the shot, too :P

When I first started this blog, in 2010, I figured, based on the lifespan of my Harry Potter fanart site, that I’d probably write about World of Warcraft for about five years before I wandered off to do something else.

Well, here I am at the five-year point, and I don’t seem to be wandering off to do something else quite yet. I’ll probably keep writing this blog for as long as I’m playing World of Warcraft, however much longer that may be.

Since my last blogiversary, I achieved both of my long-term WoW goals: playing a character of every class to the level cap and raid-healing (in LFR, at least) with a character of every healing class. I also managed to get two Alliance characters to the level cap, though I don’t feel like I’ve really “played Alliance” because I rushed them so hard with dungeons and such that I skipped large swathes of the Alliance lore. That was in Mists, of course — almost four months into Warlords, Kamalia is still my only level 100 character. There are lots of things I’d like to do with other characters, though, if only I could convince myself that my Garrisons don’t really need to be tended every single day…

I’ve been terrible about achieving blogging goals I’ve set in past years — I’ve had unfinished stories about my Undead and Worgen Mages sitting in my drafts folder for over three years (though I did finally publish the one about the Night Elf Mage this year) and I’ve still not written about the Grimtotem in the post-Cataclysm world — so keeping up with my custom thus far of posting at least once a week is about as much of a blogging goal as I want to make.

In honor of this big blogiversary milestone, have some Recipe:Delicious Chocolate Cake:

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake
This cake is so easy to make and so yummy that I have never wanted to buy chocolate cake in a mix since I tried this recipe.
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c boiling water
2 eggs
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 3/4 c AP flour
2 t vanilla
1 c milk
1 t salt
3/4 c cocoa
2 c sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

VARIATIONS:
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

German Chocolate Cake
This recipe comes from a family recipe book given to one of my sisters as a wedding present by the bishop of her singles ward.
Cake:

1 bar (4 oz) German sweet chocolate
1/2 c boiling water
1 c butter
2 c sugar
4 egg yolks
1 t vanilla
2 c sifted AP flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 c buttermilk
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Heat oven to 350 F. Line 2 or 3 deep 8 or 9 inch cake pans with waxed paper. Melt chocolate in boiling water; cool. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Mix well. Sift together dries. Add alternately with buttermilk to chocolate mixture, beating well until smooth. Fold in egg whites. Pour into cake pans and bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool.

Filling/topping:

1 c evaporated milk
1 c sugar
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 c butter
1 t vanilla
1 1/3 c coconut
1 c chopped pecans

Combine ingredients except coconut and pecans. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add coconut and pecans. Beat until thick enough to spread. Makes 2 1/2 cups. Use to layer cake.

Mom’s Perfected Brownies
This is literally my mother’s perfected brownie recipe, not somebody else’s “Mom’s best recipe” from the internet somewhere.
3/4 c butter
6 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1/3 c brown sugar
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 c flour
1/2 c plus 1 T cocoa
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon, optional
(chocolate/other flavored chips and/or nuts are also good; use 1 c total of chunky mix-ins)

Line a 9 x 12 baking dish with foil or parchment, allowing the liner to overhang the short ends of the pan. Lightly grease the liner and any exposed areas of the pan.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large saucepan. Allow the melted mixture to cool to about room temperature, then stir in the sugars. Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, if using. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Stir in the chips/nuts, if using.

Bake at 325 F for 30 minutes.

ONE: Five of my eight characters who are in Garrisons have gotten cameras so far. Only the two Alliance Mages have been vain enough to snap some test self-portraits.

It seems that these cameras will, in fact, be satisfactory for acquiring the sort of close-up pictures I want for my Characters page. I’m still waiting for one of the characters who has already gotten a camera to get the follow-up mission that will upgrade the camera to an account-wide Toy…

TWO: I hadn’t originally intended to upgrade the Storehouse to level 2 because the Mobile Banking guild perk is generally sufficient for my guild bank access needs. Nevertheless, some weeks ago, Kamalia upgraded her Storehouse on a whim. I was delighted to meet the guild banker!

Aww, Yorn got to bring his wife out to Draenor, like Murne Greenhoof at the Tannery brought his wife Suniya with him!

Or maybe Ranea is Yorn’s sister, and Suniya is Murne’s mother — whatever, they are still obviously family. Charmed, I decided that I’d upgrade the Storehouse to level 2 on all my characters so that Yorn wouldn’t have to be lonely. Then Patch 6.1 came, and Ranea disappeared, replaced by a soulless goblin golden piggybank. It would have been nice if they’d let Ranea become one of the building-associated extra NPCs who wanders about the Garrison — like Suniya who appears when you build the Tannery or Jozzle the Neat who appears when you build the Scribe’s Quarters — but I didn’t see her. I was so sad about Ranea’s disappearance that I busted my Storehouse back down to level 1.

THREE: I recruited for a Treasure Hunter this week.

Treasure hunting and scavenging together is a powerful combo that I may never see again — but how could I not choose Ken-Ken?

FOUR: Harrison Jones finally showed up in my Garrison the other day. Turns out, I do have my Archaeology up to 700 already — it’s just that I haven’t yet done enough digging to find all the Draenor things. Anyhow, I was anxious to get his mission done, just in case it disappeared from my quest log the next day. Unfortunately, I had to grade homework first that evening — so I stayed up later than I normally do on a weeknight afterward to play through the mission. It was a nice little story, with a fun little puzzle at the end (though the hardest part of the puzzle was figuring out how to actually interact with the device). I look forward to the next time Dr Jones shows up.

FIVE: Kamalia achieved Exalted status with the Arakkoa Outcasts a few weeks ago, thanks to all the Relics of Rukhmar that the followers in my various Garrisons collected, but she didn’t get the achievement that granted the follower. I was puzzled at what I’d missed, but didn’t follow up to try to find out. When I flew into Akeeta’s Hovel at the border of Arak and Shadowmoon to do my mission from Harrison Jones, a quest popped up to go talk to Terokk. Oh. I hadn’t been to Arak since I got Exalted with the Arakkoa. So I visited Terokk, and he proclaimed me Talon Queen, and then I got the achievement and the new follower.

SIX: This expansion is really making me wish that BloodHigh Elves were a playable race for the Alliance. For one thing, I would much, MUCH rather have the Alliance architecture than the Horde architecture for my Blood Elf Mage’s Garrison. For another, just the thought of running twelve Garrisons — one of each class Horde-side, plus a token Alliance character — is exhausting enough that I’ve thought about just leaving my Blood Elves behind this expansion. I am too fond of my Blood Elf Mage to want to leave her behind, though, and the Rogue and the Warlock were surprisingly fun to play when I was leveling them through Pandaria. Because I’ve already got a level 91 Alliance Mage (or two), I’ve seriously contemplated taking the Rogue and the Warlock over to the Alliance side and playing the non-Tauren classes as Alliance from here on out. Eight Horde Garrisons and three Alliance Garrisons would be a little less exhausting than eleven Horde Garrisons just because of the greater variety. I like Kaelinda, Kelisanna, and Kalaneia just as they are, as Blood Elves, though, and don’t really want to turn them into Humans (or any of the other Alliance races, for that matter). It would really be so much nicer if High Elves were a playable race for the Alliance…

.ONE: People must have complained on the forums about the Tauren DK colors getting dulled with the new models, because since Patch 6.1, the Underpowered Death Knight’s braids have been brilliant sapphire blue again.

The other two DK colors look a little bit more intense/saturated now than they were in 6.0, but they’re not as close to the originals as the blue-and-white.

Around the time that she dinged 88, the Underpowered Death Knight decided that she wanted to go to Draenor, too.
No, thank you, she did not want to dink around in Pandaria gaining reputation with the Tillers and the Shado-Pan.
The buff against creatures from previous expansions had made questing in Cataclysm areas as a late-Mists level-range character trivial, and even the questing she’d done in Pandaria (getting her Grummlepack and opening the Vale) hadn’t been especially challenging.

So, after completing her annual Lunar Festival World Tour and dinging 90 in the process —

— off she went to the Dark Portal.


Seeking a proper challenge, she started out with her weakest weapon, a simple Training Sword. It didn’t take long before she realized that she wasn’t putting out enough damage to reliably survive. She tossed the Training Sword back into her bags and pulled out her Greataxe of the Ebon Blade.

I hadn’t really noticed with other characters that the encounters in Tanaan get progressively more difficult. The Umbral Halls segment was where it really started to get hard. The mobs are so dense that I died three or four times to patrols — the Underpowered Death Knight can handle one enemy (counting a pack of three Void Wolves as one enemy) at a time, but not two and certainly not three! I had to attempt Ner’zhul’s lieutenant a few times before I managed to work out a proper sequence of interrupts and cooldowns, and even then, it was close. There were many times in the Umbral Halls where I felt like just giving up, retreating to Pandaria with hanging head, and coming back to Tanaan after she’d gotten to, say, level 95 or so — but I persevered and eventually got through it.

The first part of the Blackrock Quarry area was easier than I’d anticipated — partly because another player happened to be running through at the same time and cleared out a lot of the mob density. In the second part of the Blackrock Quarry area, I just could not get past the Burning Blade overseer that holds the key to Ga’nar’s shackles. I tried three times, pulling out all the stops in the Underpowered Death Knight’s no-spec-and-no-talents-limited spellbook, and I just could not put out enough damage to kill that guy before the magic damage from his set-you-on-fire debuff killed me. My two available damage mitigation abilities, Icebound Fortitude and Anti-Magic Shell, have CDs that were too long for me to use one every time the dude set me on fire, and using Death Strike on CD didn’t heal enough to keep me alive, either. I could tell from the trouble I was having that fight that I wouldn’t have a chance against that gronn by the big tank.

About that time, I ran out of health potions (which the Underpowered Death Knight can use if she loots them) and was close to running out of food. Feeling a little bit desperate, the Underpowered Death Knight summoned a Death Gate and went to Acherus to buy some food and runeforge the Iron Horde Waraxe that she had received upon deactivating the Dark Portal. A little more strength and stamina and a lot more raw weapon damage might be just what she needed to make it through the Tanaan Jungle and get her Garrison established while still being suitably challenged. After she got to Frostfire Ridge, perhaps she could go back to her trusty Greataxe of the Ebon Blade?

I tried again, another three or four times, switching from Blood Presence to Frost Presence to get more DPS and attempting to use my abilities even more effectively. Having to wait ten minutes between attempts due to the CD on Army of the Dead made my failures even more frustrating. It still wasn’t enough; the lowest I ever got the guy before he burned me to death was 26%. The Underpowered Death Knight’s schtick/gimmick/goal is to have ordinary leveling questing be a challenge, but this was becoming as maddeningly frustrating as the Thunder Forge and Celestial Challenge solo scenarios in the Mists Legendary questline had been.

Equipping just one of the Tanaan quest reward armor pieces might provide enough more stamina and strength to beat the fight… at the expense of one of the key factors of the “Underpowered” playstyle challenge concept. Although I long ago established that the Underpowered Death Knight may use her DK starting zone weapons, using the Iron Horde Waraxe was still a stretch of the “no gear” factor.

Defeated, the Underpowered Death Knight retreated back to Azeroth to lick her wounds, soak up easy XP from the Darkmoon Faire and holiday quests, do some archaeology, do some rep grinds in Pandaria, and try Tanaan again in another level or so.

Kamalia has quite a few things lingering on her “to do” list. There’s those two Inn dungeon quests (the initial version) that she never got around to doing because the hotfix that made it so you don’t have to do all the Inn dungeon quests to get the level 3 Inn went through before she did them. There’s the Legendary quest to vanquish the end boss of Highmaul and pinch his toe-ring or whatever… and I doubt that I’ll get into LFR to do that until summer. And oh yeah, the Abrogator gubbins. I’ve gotten about 30 of those so far, from Garrison missions and random procs in my work order boxes. There’s Nat Pagle’s quest to fish up a lunker in each Draenor zone, which I haven’t done because I’m dithering over whether or not I actually want Nat as a follower in Kam’s Garrison (I do want him in the Hunter’s Garrison, eventually).

To that list, I’ve now added the Garrison music box quest. I’m not sure when I’ll do it, though. At first, I thought I’d try to do it this weekend. This weekend is still Lunar Festival, however, and I haven’t had time to do the Lunar Festival World Tour with the Underpowered Death Knight yet — and the Underpowered Death Knight is counting on all that holiday XP to get her a significant fraction of the way from her current level of 89 to 90.

Harrison Jones didn’t show up in Kam’s Garrison. Is he one of the RNG visitors and he might show up tomorrow, or the next day, or is he not deigning to visit me yet because I don’t have my Archaeology to 700 yet?

After I logged in and out with all my alts to load my heirlooms into the spiffy new Heirloom tab, I found that I have 41 of the 71 possible heirloom items — more than enough to qualify for the Chauffeured Chopper. I still don’t dig the Chauffeured Chopper enough to use it with my baby alts.

I’m not familiar enough with most of the new models to be able to notice how many of them (or which ones) recieved tweaks from the versions that came out with the pre-launch patch. I did immediately notice, however, that my Human Mage is less top-heavy, less busty, today than she was yesterday — and that’s a good thing! Her face looks better, too — though her monocle is now displaying really wierdly. It barely looks like it’s there at all — it just makes her eye look funny. My Draenei Mage looks more like her original self than the first version of the updated Draenei model did. And if I’m not mistaken, the Tauren female run got some adjustments; the first version of the new model run looked a lot like the Worgen female run to me, and while I appreciated that it made my girls look more fleet, it still felt wrong. Today, they look like they’re planting their hooves more solidly, feeling sure-footed like the original run without feeling quite as ponderous as the original run.

The new Blood Elf model suits the Warlock very well. The Rogue looks good, too. The Mage will take the most getting used to simply because I’m the most familiar with her — but her new look isn’t terrible or anything. It’s acceptable; she still looks thoughtful and sweet-tempered (for a Blood Elf). Except, of course, when she’s doing that tilted-head sneer. I used to like the tilted-head pose because I thought it looked contemplative. No more, alas. The sneer works for the Warlock and the Rogue, though!

Now that the updated models for the Blood Elves are finally done, I guess it’s time that I start working on updating my woefully out-of-date Characters page. Making all those character portraits on the current version of the page was a lot of work, though, and I did it last summer while I had less RL stuff to do. I’m not quite sure how I’ll fit that work in now. I think I’ll procrastinate it just a little bit longer — it’s always been difficult to get really good close-ups of my characters’ faces in-game (I used MogIt to get the close-ups for my current set of portraits) and I think the SELFIE camera might be just what I’m wanting for that. So now I have to wait for the two photography missions to show up in one or another of my Garrisons…

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