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Archive for the ‘Alliance’ Category

Although I had considered retiring my Draenei Mage, Kaprikka, at the Lamplighter Inn in Embaari Village, at the end of Warlords I ultimately decided to pull her back to the Exodar.

Ever since I played through the Battle for the Exodar scenario at the beginning of the Light’s Heart questline for the first time with Kamalia — knowing that Kaprikka was there when those terrible things happened there — I can’t bear to log in with Kaprikka. It would feel utterly wrong to be in an Exodar that is calm, peaceful, undisturbed, still filled with the soothing chiming of O’ros, still led by a Velen who is suppressing the ancient brokenness of his heart.

A few days ago, Mr Rossi wrote about the trauma experienced by major lore figures and how the in-game and external lore sources deal with it inconsistently. Something the Battle for the Exodar has made me stop and think about is the trauma experienced by the “little guys”, the ordinary folk of Azeroth. Every time I play through that scenario with another character, I can’t help but think, what was Kaprikka’s experience with this event — the experience of an ordinary Draenei citizen?

Some of the things the Terrified Draenei Citizens say when you rescue them — especially the things the children say —

— show that the devs put at least a little bit of thought into how this event would affect the ordinary people of the city. But that’s also another thing that makes it hard to think about logging into an unchanged, unaffected Exodar, with a Velen who is still a pillar of the Light.

When I played through the scenario again last night with my Blood Elf Mage, Kaelinda, it was even more harrowing than it has been for my other characters. I imagined Kaelinda remembering her visit there, in Human disguise, shortly before the Cataclysm, and being even more deeply horrified than my other characters by the fel destruction taking place. I imagined her searching for the face of her friend, Kaprikka, among the crowd when she first arrived at Velen’s bubble in the Vault of Light and becoming increasingly desperate as she didn’t find Kaprikka while looking for Terrified Exodar Citizens to rescue. I imagined that she caught a glimpse of Kaprikka running to safety after she had finished collapsing the Legion portals, but that she couldn’t stay because Velen took off toward the Seat of the Naaru. And even though what I actually did in-game was use Khadgar’s Beacon to teleport back to New Dalaran as soon as the scenario was over, if I were to write this event up as an RP story, Kaelinda would go back to the Vault of Light to talk to Kaprikka before she returned to New Dalaran.

For Draenei who have been around as long as Velen — or who are first- or second-generation children of the exodus — the attack of the Legion on the Exodar on Azeroth is probably just “oh no, not this again…” For Kaprikka, though, who is only 200 – 250 years old — born on Draenor, in Farahlon — this is only the second time that she has experienced this kind of thing… and if she’s honest with herself, in only a decade, she hasn’t completely recovered from the events that turned Draenor into Outland. And because she was in Farahlon, away from the worst of the rampage of the Orcs, the Legion’s attack on the Exodar on Azeroth is a more traumatic experience for her than Kael’thas’ Blood Elves’ attack on the Exodar that led to its flight to Azeroth.

“We were supposed to be safe here!”

“No, child, the Draenei are not ‘safe’ from the Eredar anywhere. The difference with this world is that here is where we stop running. Here is where make our final stand.”

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I finally got the last of my characters through the Broken Shore event and their first Demon Invasion. Then I did a few more Demon Invasions with various characters until I’d completed the Transmogrification sets for each armor type. In the process, my Monk got that sweet looking polearm — the only one of the Invasions weapons that I was really truly interested in collecting for its appearance. I’m almost done with Invasions. My DK is still farming for the 2H axe and collecting Nethershards to get upgrade tokens for it so that she can use it for her off-spec during Legion*.

I also have yet to play through the Demon Hunter starting experience. I’d like to do that before August 30, though — in the lull between the big crowds from the early access and the big crowds from the actual launch. I think I’m just going to buy the Invasions warglaive for my Demon Hunter with some of Kamalia’s Nethershards so that I don’t have to worry about farming for the drop.

Anyhow, with Invasions no longer a top priority for my playtime, it was time to visit Dalaran in its temporary location over Karazhan. I did it with Kamalia. Then I did it with my Alliance Mage. (more…)

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/bowled over

I did the Alliance version first. I hoped that the Horde version would make some more sense of some of Sylvanas’ actions. And yes, yes it very much did.

My absolute favorite thing about the whole experience, though, was what I observed when I took a thorough tour of the docks area before turning in the first quest. I don’t think it’s too terribly spoilery to write about this, as it’s not related to the big lore reveals and many folks may have missed it in their rush to get to and through the scenario itself.

I’ll put it behind a cut, though, just in case. (more…)

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Eight years ago, the Summer Olympics were in Beijing, and Blizzard commemorated the event with the Competitor’s Tabard, an award for participating in any Battleground, win or lose. I got one for Kamalia, but not for any of my other characters who existed at that time (one year after I began playing).

Four years ago, the Summer Olympics were in London, and I created a set of Transmogrification kit ideas to go with the Competitor’s Tabard.

This year, the Summer Olympics are in Rio de Janeiro, and, thanks to the new Appearances system, I can have characters actually wearing Competitor’s Tabard outfits in-game!

Sleek Sprinter

Regal Armor, Serenity Belt, Shimmering Trousers, Riding Gloves* + Earthmender’s Bracer of Shattering, Sage’s Boots, Competitor’s Tabard, Helcular’s Other Rod or Torch of Austen + Tears of Heaven
I originally designed this outfit with the Swoop-Tail Shoulders and Sage’s Trousers. I was very well-pleased by how the green on top, red in the middle, blue on the bottom pattern of colors mimicked the pattern of the colors of the rings on the tabard. Now that we can hide shoulders, however, it seemed most appropriate to leave them off, so I shifted the green color to the trousers and the blue color to the shoes.
For the staff version, I chose a plain, straight staff to suggest a vaulting pole.
For the wand-and-off-hand version, of course she had to be running the Torch! I chose this flask off-hand to represent the water that would be carried by a distance/endurance runner.

On a whim, I decided to make the outfits for the other armor types with Alliance characters as well — meaning my low-level Dwarves. Thus, these outfits are rather different from the ideas I presented in my Competitor’s Tabard post four years ago.

Nimbletoes

Plainstalker Tunic*, Pilfered Kaldorei Belt, Bluegill Breeches*, Oilrag Handwraps*, Padded Running Shoes, Competitor’s Tabard, Bangalash’s Claw
Karolynne is level 22, so I didn’t have very many options for this leather kit. I started with the pale golden color of the pants (which I got from a Salvage Crate), then looked for other relatively light-colored brown items. It seemed appropriate to hide the shoulders for this outfit. Given their name, I couldn’t pass up this pair of boots!
How can this character be using so many items that are no longer available for this outfit? Thank the account-wide nature of the Appearances collection! I’m a bit sorry about that, as it will make the kit harder to replicate (especially for low-level characters). For high-level characters, I’d probably use the Marshseeker Gloves instead anyway.

Glittering Prize

Glimmering Mail Pauldrons & Girdle, Lambent Scale Breastplate & Legguards, Mail Combat Gauntlets & Boots, Competitor’s Tabard, Thun’grim’s Mace*, Glyphed Buckler
At level 30, Kjerstin was able to use the chestpiece & leggings from my original Competitor’s Tabard mail designs, but she had to choose different gloves & boots. Although the cloth and leather kits looked complete without shoulders, I felt like the heavier appearance of the mail items was more balanced with shoulders included.
This mace was one of the possible rewards from a pre-Cataclysm low-level Horde Warrior questchain.

Royal Champion

Princess Poobah’s Tiara, Mantle of the Horusath, Leonine Breastplate, Replica Belt of Valor, Starcaller’s Plated Legguards, Judicator’s Gauntlets, Slime Kickers, Competitor’s Tabard, Royal Mallet
Maybe it was her hairstyle that made me feel like Kyraleia (level 63) needed a headband with her Competitor’s Tabard kit when none of the other kits did. Again, I felt like the heavy plate items didn’t look quite right without shoulders.
Without the tabard, I’ve had this sort of kit for a Paladin in the back of my mind for quite a long time.

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After a few days, the Underpowered Death Knight reported that she had collected twelve different pamphlets from the Doomsayers. It had taken her that long to be sure that she’d gotten them all, as after she’d gotten a handful, she started to get duplicates, but there didn’t seem to be any more than that. She gave them to Kaelinda to analyze. Flicking through the tattered, stained, crumpled, blackened, worn, damp, scrawled, scribbled, odorous, ominous, demonic, prophetic pile, Kaelinda quickly concluded that advice from other expert opinions would be valuable. She invited her Mage friends to study the pamphlets with her.

“The things that Kael’thas’ followers said about their plan to bring Kil’jaeden through the Sunwell,” Kaelinda said, “sounded a lot like this. There wasn’t actual death in that transformation, but the rest of it is more or less the same.”

“This drivel,” Kaprikka scowled, “is distressingly similar to the propaganda that Socrethar used to seduce the Sargerei.”

“I wasn’t there during the War of the Ancients,” Keriluna mused, “I was born a few decades afterward. My parents didn’t like to talk about that time, but when they thought I was old enough, they told me about it. These words… they are just like my parents’ memories.”

“Oh, I think I know what this one’s talkin’ about!” exclaimed Khrissalys. “Did yeh hear about how King Magni got turned into diamond when he went to commune with the earth just before the Cataclysm? Well, he woke up and I saw him with my own eyes walkin’ out of Ironforge.”

(the other two prophecies reference the second and fourth Legion comics)

Kaoling shook her head sadly. “The evaporation of the mists was enough of a shock, and then Pandaria was devastated by the escape of the great Sha, and especially the destruction of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. I think there are many Pandaren who feel like their lives were turned upside down who would be susceptible to this message. Those who were severely afflicted by the great Sha might be even more so.”

“There are many who are unhappy with the current state of our governments,” Kymberlea observed, “Those who ask, where is Lorna? Where is Tess? Where is Calia? It is bad enough that these people are… reluctant to fight in the normal conflicts of our nations. It is worse to think that those sympathies could be used to persuade them to turn traitor to our world itself.”

“Why,” Kenosha muttered disgustedly, “why are my people so stupid? After all that we have suffered because of our bloodlust in the past, why would they think that this is the most honorable way to deal with this threat?”

“Most of my family belongs to a sect of the Church of the Holy Light that has as one of its tenets being prepared for future misfortune,” Kaylynda explained, “I bet that’s where this list originally came from.”

“I’m not sure that this is actually related,” Kivrinne said, “This looks to me like a left-over Twilight’s Hammer flyer from before the Cataclysm. That, or poetry by a high level cleric of the Forgotten Shadow. I hear that priests who turn their backs on the Light are going not just into the Shadow, but all the way into the Void now.”

“Dem Darkmoon carnies are pretty clever,” said Kikimaia, “I wouldn’t trust just a suit, though. I’d feel bettah if it had a voodoo charm ta strenthen da illusion, too.”

“What a scam!” hooted Kermione. “We should put out some counter-pamphlets telling people not to trust this at all. Gallywix’ll just take your life savings and enslave you. Been there, done that!… Didn’t get a T-shirt, though… hmm, maybe I oughtta suggest the idea to Boss Mida.”

“Only two air fresheners?” said Kelilla, “They really think a demon invasion would be over that soon? But what’s more worrying is that they aren’t including any Trogg repellent.”

“Still, if there are folks trying to make gold off of this” — the Gnome waved her hands to encompass the pamphlets held by the Goblin and the Troll — “then this kind of stuff must have been going around for awhile already.”

Kaylynda shook her head in astonishment. “Just what has been going on on Azeroth while we were all away on Draenor…?” Her eyes widened and she buried her face in her hands. “Kairoz, you blithering idiot! Whatever you thought you were doing when you brought Garrosh to Draenor, you’ve gotten us into way more trouble than you were planning for!”

“You mean –” began Kaelinda, “Oh! Remember what the Black Prince said? What he showed us?”

All around the table, heads nodded.

That is what this is all about.”

“You know,” Kaylynda said after a moment, “tomorrow is Tuesday. New and strange things always seem to happen on Tuesdays. Kaelinda, you had better tell your Death Knight friend to continue keeping an eye on these Doomsayers, just in case they change their behavior somehow tomorrow…”

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These kits were made to go with the movie tie-in weapons. They also use the new-and-improved versions of the faction capital city tabards from the Garrison Bunker/War Mill.

Stormwind War-Mage

Sage’s Mantle, Sorcerer Drape, Serenity Belt, Royal Trousers, Black Mageweave Gloves + Fireflash Bracers, Saltarello Shoes, Brilliant Hexweave Cloak (2-655), Stormwind Tabard, Replica Lion’s Fang, Karabor Arcanist Tome
Betcha most of the Transmogrification kits that will be made to go with this sword (and its matching shield) will be plate outfits for Paladins or Warriors. Well, Mages can wield swords, too, so here’s a Lion’s Fang kit in cloth, for a change.

Orgrimmar Blood Guard

Cabalist Spaulders, Wolf Rider’s Padded Armor, Red Belt of Gentle Persuasion, Prospector’s Woolies, Loramus’ Gloves, Firemoss Boots, Nimble Hexweave Cloak (1-640), Orgrimmar Tabard, Replica Blood Guard’s Cleaver
I hesitated about using the Monk-specific belt in this kit, but it really was what looked best to me. The Mists-crafted Snow Lily Belt is a suitable alternative for non-Monks, though.

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alt exhaustion

One of the questions in the Blizzard Watch Queue this morning was, “How many alts are you going to play in Legion?”

A few weeks ago, I would have answered, “sixteen — one of each class as Horde, plus my Alliance Mage, plus Horde doubles of Shaman, Monk, and Druid”.

After this month’s leveling extravaganza, I’m thinking that I don’t really want to try to manage any more than thirteen characters in Legion: one of each of the twelve classes as Horde, plus my Alliance Mage.

In the week between my big leveling spree and last weekend when I got the last two of the “one of each class” set leveled, I would sit at my computer desk looking at my Garrison progress chart and my other alt-tracking spreadsheets and just feel tired. Worn out. So tired of the zone opening questlines that everyone had to do to unlock their Outpost bonuses and followers. So tired of Pinchwhistle Point. So tired of busting Solog Roark out of the Iron Docks.

Back in the day, I rolled secondary characters of various classes either to experience the third specialization of the class without having to spend a lot of time and gold switching back and forth between specs or because I had more Transmogrification ideas for that class than one character’s inventory could handle — or both. Legion addresses both of those problems with making all specs always available and the Wardrobe. I’ve been saying that I’m going to carry forward my doubles of Shaman, Monk, and Druid because it would feel too wierd to play their designated specs with my primary characters of those classes… but then I as I looked at my Garrison worksheets and thought about doing the Order Hall stuff for the same class twice, I felt tired already. I thought, “you know what, it wouldn’t be all that wierd to play Kam as Enhancement, or Kate as Brewmaster*, or Kerisa as Feral.” I’m thinking, therefore, that I’m going to retire my secondary Shaman, Monk, and Druid** along with the Underpowered Death Knight — leave them at level 100, and you’ll see them occasionally when I have a Transmogrification kit idea that uses all pre-Legion gear for which I think one of them would be the best model.

Legion‘s focus on class-specific experiences will be both less exhausting and more exhausting for my altoholic self. Each character having a more unique, distinctive experience will be less exhausting in the sense of the content becoming tediously repetitive. Each character having a more unique, distinctive experience will be more exhausting because there will be so much more stuff that I’ll feel like I ought to do and want to do.

Sometimes I contemplate the idea that I’d probably get less tired of the content by the time I get through leveling all of the classes — and I do enjoy playing with the different playstyles of each class — if I gave myself more variety by playing only the classes that Tauren can be as Horde and all the classes that Tauren can’t be as Alliance. I have thought often enough about faction-changing the Rogue and the Warlock to know that if I did, they’d both become Humans — the Rogue because her blonde ponytail and freckles are more important to her being herself than being an Elf is, and the Warlock because of Cynwise and Cimmeria. I always end up thinking, though, about how I love my Blood Elf Mage too much to retire her, how Blood Elves have cooler stealth animations than Humans do, how Humans don’t have access to the right haircut for my Warlock***, and how I’d be bugged by not having all of my “one of each class” set on the same faction so they can all be in the same guild, and I don’t do it.

And how many alts will I really play in Legion? Kamalia will go first because she always goes first, and it really would feel wierd and wrong to let someone else go first. I’m not going to try to predict who will go next. It will be whomever I most want to play with in the moment. The others will follow along as I have time and interest. Maybe I’ll repeat the feat of getting a character of each class to the level cap for a third time, or maybe we’ll actually manage to either conceive or adopt (or both!) and I’ll drop off of the face of Azeroth for most of the expansion.

~*~*~

* In fact, at the moment, I am enjoying Brewmaster Monk so much more than Windwalker Monk that I’m considering doing the Brewmaster Artifact first.

** The secondary Druid will probably still get the Boost whenever I manage to finish playing her through Outland. I have her RP-flagged as a Highmountain Tauren, so she might also pick up the Feral Artifact and play through the Highmountain zone before she actually, completely, finally retires — but I’m going to try to allow myself to not be in any hurry to do any of those things.

*** What this really all boils down to is that my two favorite races in the game, Tauren and Blood Elves, both happen to be Horde. And with Demon Hunters coming on the scene, well… Night Elves are fun to draw, but I just can’t get into playing as one. I’d rather be a Sin’dorei Demon Hunter than a Kaldorei Demon Hunter.

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