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… I wanted to participate in the community.

About two and a half years after I began playing WoW, I was playing a lot with my Boomkin. I don’t remember anymore if I was still leveling her or if this was after BTH and I switched guilds and the new guild, having enough healers, wanted me as DPS on my Boomkin rather than as a healer on Kamalia. Anyhow, I wanted to get better at Boomkining, and that led me to Restokin. Reading Restokin led me to a number of other blogs (many of which are now long since in mothballs). Presently, I started wanting to make comments on the blogs I was reading. Eventually, I started wanting to talk about the game on my own platform. More specifically, I wanted to participate in a survey about healing by making an independent post about it rather than by leaving a lengthy comment on the blog that originated the survey.

Cataclysm was announced sometime around the time I began blogging, so a lot of posts in the first year were prompted by the upcoming changes to the world. One of the bloggers I read issued an “Exploration” challenge, for which I wrote a series of posts about the Shaman totem quests. Another issued an “Eleventh Hour” challenge to write a story about a specific zone with a specific plot element in the story; from that challenge came my first story about Kaelinda. I wrote other stories to work out acceptable backgrounds/character concepts for characters that I was initially uncomfortable with the idea of playing — Forsaken and Death Knights. I have continued to write stories to record and respond to quests and events within the game.

I’d also been quite active as a commenter and on the forums of Kirina’s Closet, an early RP clothes blog, so it was a natural transition from writing about RP clothes in that venue to writing about them on my own blog. Although this blog has pretty much always had a signifcant emphasis on pretty clothes, fashion began to dominate my content after Transmogrification debuted. I participated in a handful of Transmogrification contests or challenges in the first year after Transmogrification went live. I also started keeping a running documentation of my own characters’ Transmogrifications.

I’ve met a lot of people whom I like very much through the exchange of reading and commenting on blogs, and I definitely still value the participating-in-the-community aspect of blogging. Although I appreciate every comment I receive and am quite fond of all of you who comment regularly, I think that if I were always trying to write my blog for other people, I would have stopped blogging long ago. Indeed, I blog mostly for myself. I can’t really talk about this game in any depth or detail to anyone in my family except BTH (who got me into it in the first place) because they either disapprove (my Dad, my in-laws) or aren’t really interested/don’t care (everyone else). I don’t write a lot about what I do in Azeroth in my pen-and-paper journal, either — I mention it, but only briefly. This blog is my primary record of my experience with the game.

So I write about anything about the game that is occupying my mind. I comment on events (both in-game and meta-game), I set goals for my characters and track my success (or lack thereof) in accomplishing them, I respond to blogging prompts such as this one, I write stories (which usually languish unfinished in my drafts folder for a very long time before I finally post them), I draw pictures (which I haven’t done much of lately). While Transmogrification is probably the “bread and butter” content of my blog — especially in the past year since I started doing the Sunday Mog Show series — I strongly suspect that my interest in blogging would burn out and die if I tried to make this exclusively a Mog blog. I’d still want to write about other aspects of the game, but it would feel like too much work to try to maintain two distinct blogs that were both about WoW — and the blogging about Mogging itself would become a tedious chore instead of a fun diversion. “Variety is the spice of life,” and all that.

I also feel like blogging — both writing about my own activities and reading about others’ activities — has helped me sustain my interest in the game. Someday, though, my interest in WoW and in blogging about WoW will dwindle, and I will wander away and find something else to occupy myself with. I like to think that when I feel that starting to happen, I will download and archive in some form or another my favorite content from this blog — by which I mean all of the posts linked on the “Stories” page and all of the “Things my [Class] Wears” posts — so that later, I can look back fondly on the time that I spent with this game and the things that it inspired me to create.

~*~*~

This post brought to you by Z & Cinder’s Blog Challenge #23:

Why do you blog about WoW?
Everyone who has created a blog has done so for a reason. For all of you WoW bloggers out there, what was that reason? Why did you choose to put fingers to keys to write about a computer game? What type of posts do you like to write? Does your blog have a theme to it, or do you just wing it and write whatever you want? We’d love to know!

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While I was trawling through my Photobucket library looking for pictures that I didn’t have on the hard drive of my current computer and that I really wanted to keep, I found these screenshot + lyrics images that I’d created for a couple of different blogging prompts in years gone by. I wanted an excuse to repost them all together in one post, so I suggested this topic for Z & Cinder’s Blog Challenge:

What things in WoW always make you think of a particular piece of music? Show us a screenshot/s and share with us the music that it brings to mind.

I’ve had a special fondness for the following passage from Paradise Lost (Book II, lines 907-910) ever since my Physical Chemistry professor put it on an exam and asked us to write about how it describes the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

Unfortunately, I don’t remember P-Chem well enough to reproduce the explanation here (though I do still have the exam — it’s in my Honors portfolio).
It helped, too, that I’d already read Paradise Lost for the Honors literature class I took during my freshman year of college.

A love song to Miss Danna from her beau:

Wonderful World, Sam Cooke; my favorite recording is the one by Herman’s Hermits

The Horde in microcosm:

The Real Ambassador, Dave Brubeck & Louis Armstrong

One of the first really gorgeous WoW rainbow locations. Another is at the final falls of the Vir’naal river in Uldum.

The Rainbow Connection, Paul Williams & Kenneth Ascher, originally sung by Kermit in The Muppet Movie

I love these lines of relationship advice from the song “My White Knight” in my all-time favorite musical, The Music Man:
And I want him to be
More interested in me
Than he is in himself.
And more interested in us
Than in me!

Sadly, I had a much easier time thinking of counterexamples in Azeroth than I did examples of the intended sentiment, so I wasn’t able to come up with a good idea for a screenshot.
So here’s another of my favorite bits of the musical, instead:

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After about a week and a half of spending my night hours after baby’s bedtime feverishly working on downloading images from Photobucket, uploading images to my WordPress library, updating image links, and subdividing behemoth mog posts, I’ve finally finished updating what I consider to be the core content of my blog: my Characters page, my artwork (most of it was already in my WordPress library, but I still went through and double-checked it), my stories, and the “Things my [Class] Wears” Transmogrification posts. Everything else will stay broken indefinitely.

I don’t know why I was worried about the capacity of my WordPress media library. It’s now at 264 MB out of 3 GB — or not quite 9%. I should have started putting everything in my WordPress library as soon as Photobucket started giving me trouble about the bandwidth my account was using years ago…

All those new Transmogrification posts put me over the 1000 post milestone mark — counting this one, I’m now at 1030 posts. The Shaman pages weigh in at 72 outfits (75 if I split out all of the Broken Isles leveling sets into separate entries). That’s a lot, but not really surprising given that I was actively playing and mogging two Shaman up until about a year ago. But that’s not actually the most outfits I have for a given class. The two Death Knights together have 77 outfits, and the two Mages, Kaelinda and Kaylynda, have 79 outfits between them.

As I was going through all my characters and reviewing their Transmogrification history from the time that the feature debuted, I noticed that most of them really start to take off during the timeframe of Mists — not surprising, because that was the expansion when I had a ton of free time to level all of my heretofore low-level “one of each class” characters. And everybody has gotten new outfits a lot more frequently since last summer, when I started doing the Sunday Mog Show posts.

That means that the Sunday Mog Show is doing what I intended it to do: by documenting outfits as soon as I create them and publishing them relatively soon after I create them, I don’t get stuck waiting for weeks or months to make a new kit for a character because I haven’t yet gotten around to documenting & posting their current outfit. It’s allowed me to get through pretty much all of my backlog of ideas from the Transmogrification challenges that I participated in during the first year or two after the feature went live. I still have plenty of other half-forgotten ideas lurking in the back of my brain, though, and plenty of new ideas piling up…

The next installment of the Sunday Mog Show will probably be next Sunday, unless something crazy happens IRL.

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So I went to sub up for my Transmogrification Photobucket account. They’d been pushing getting to be ad-free for $2.49 a month, so I was expecting a figure comparable to that — maybe double or triple or something — to enable 3rd party hosting. When I got to the checkout, though, the price was $399 a year — or $33 a month. Holy sticker shock, Batman! I took one look at that and said Heck NO!

For comparison, $33 a month is about a third of what I’m currently paying for my mobile devices family plan and for my ISP. Do I think that the bandwidth that this blog uses for images, even with the large number of images that I post, is worth that much? No. I get barely a trickle of traffic — mostly from you guys who Follow me (thanks! {hug}).

I suppose I’ll start putting the images for the Sunday Mog Show in my WordPress media library going forward, and I’ll slowly start backfilling the images for older outfits in the “Things my [Class] Wears” posts into my WordPress media library. My most favorite other posts will eventually get updated, too… but there are too many posts and too many images to do them all. Many images and many posts will just get left broken indefinitely.

If I run out of storage space in my WordPress library, then I guess I’ll start paying for my WordPress account. Even the most expensive WordPress plan, with unlimited storage space, is only $25 a month…

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I’ve been increasingly irritated by the increasingly pushy and obnoxious advertising on Photobucket during the past several months. It’s so terrible that I always open Photobucket in a separate browser window so that I can immediately close it when the most annoying ads come up. The worse the advertising got, however, the more stubbornly I refused to upgrade my account to a paid account. I felt like the ramping up of the obnoxiousness of the advertising was a form of extortion.

Well, I guess enough other Photobucket users were of the same mind as me, or something, because now Photobucket has upped the ante: when I went to look at an old post that had come up in the “posts people are looking at today” section of my WordPress dashboard, I discovered that all of the images in the post had been replaced with a placeholder image explaining that Photobucket is no longer allowing third-party image hosting for free accounts. /headdesk Not cool, Photobucket, NOT COOL.

I am closing in on 1000 posts on this blog. Most of them have multiple pictures — a single Transmogrification post might have over a dozen pictures — so I have posted thousands and thousands of images. Some years ago — about the time that I first created the “Things my [Class] Wears” pages — I began to have bandwidth issues with my Photobucket account. Not storage issues — I still had plenty of room. Toward the end of the month, my images would start getting replaced with placeholders because my account was using up too much bandwidth. I got around that problem by creating a second account. One account is used exclusively for the pictures in the “Things my [Class] Wears” and “Sunday on the Promenade” posts; the other is used for everything else. Thus, if I wanted to restore all of the images I’ve posted on this blog, I would have to pay for two premium Photobucket accounts.

At the time that I made my second Photobucket account, I moved all of my artwork and the character portraits for my Characters page over to the Media library of my WordPress account. I also started occasionally putting images for posts that would use only one or two pictures into my WordPress media library rather than going to the bother of opeining up Photobucket. Any images that are still visible on my blog today are in my WordPress media library. I’ve currently filled about 4% of my WordPress media library. I’m not sure how much room I’d have left to grow if I put all the rest of my blog images there. Furthermore, the WordPress media library doesn’t have a sub-album functionality, which I very much need to keep my Transmogrification pictures organized.

I have neither the time nor the mental energy to spare for the enormous, nearly Sisyphean, tedium of finding another free image hosting service that is easy to use (and isn’t going to pull the rug out from under me at some future date), locating all of those thousands of images on my hard drive, uploading them to the new hosting service, and updating thousands of links in hundreds of blog posts. I am going to have to give in and start paying for the image hosting for this blog.

I don’t want to pay for two Photobucket accounts, though, because Budget. At the moment, I’m thinking that I’ll only sub up for the Transmogrification account. I’ll move the pictures from my favorite story posts over to a new sub-album in the Transmogrification account, or into my WordPress media library. That will still be a lot of work, and I definitely won’t try to do it immediately or all at once, so there will be broken image links in old posts on this blog for a long time to come. Many image links will stay broken permanently.

Meanwhile, I got two emails from Pinterest this evening: one asking for a confirmation to set up an account, and another notifying me of a new login to my account from somewhere in India. I don’t have a Pinterest account. I didn’t approve the creation of the account, of course, and I then went to Pinterest directly and followed the directions in their Help center to disconnect my email address from the fraudulent account creation attempt. sigh I’ve had this happen before — a few years ago, someone in India tried to use one of my personal email accounts to set up a Facebook account. I used the appropriate Facebook reporting tools to shut down the fraudulent user — but now I can’t use that particular email account to make a legitimate Facebook account for myself, either.

growl grumble growl growl snarl

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Z & Cinder want to know:

What’s in your bags and why?
Are you are hoarder of every scrap of material that comes across your path? Do you have the tidiest bags in Azeroth with nothing extraneous left to clutter your space? Let us take a peek inside and see your bags in all their glory!
No cheating or pre-organising allowed!

Following the lead of others who have posted on this topic so far, I’ll just show you my main’s bags.

Only two bags are really important in my organization scheme: the main Backpack (F12) and the far left bag (F8).

In the Backpack go consumables (food, flasks & potions, augment runes, etc), Artifact weapons, and any quest items that actually need to be clicked to use.

The F8 bag is usually tagged as my “Trade Goods” bag. I also keep in that bag anything that I don’t want to accidentally sell: hearthstones, shirts & tabards, Stormheim grappling gun, derelict Skyhorn kite (which I also put on my right action bar), fishing gear, miscellaneous odds and ends with sentimental value. In the lower right hand corner of Kamalia’s F8 bag here you see The Last Relic of Argus, which I carry around just in case I get stuck somewhere and would rather not just boringly hearthstone to get out of it. There’s a Mourning Glory above the fishing hat, and a Finkle’s Skinner next to it. At the top of the bag, next to the Garrison Hearthstone, is The Innkeeper’s Daughter — I would feel bad to leave her in my bank. Characters who have done the Badlands questline carry around Rhea’s Last Egg for similar reasons. If the F8 bag gets too full of miscellaneous stuff, I make the F9 bag be a Trade Goods bag in addition to or instead of the F8 bag.

I try to keep the F11 bag clear so that while I’m out questing or running old dungeons & raids or whatever, it can fill up with all the junk I pick up. Every now and then, while I’m out and about, I’ll stop and manually sort the contents of F11 into stuff I want to vendor and stuff I want to keep either for that character or to mail to another character. If I don’t have much junk yet, I’ll sort the F11 bag top-and-bottom — stuff I want to vendor on the top, stuff I want to keep on the bottom, or vice versa. If the F11 bag is getting full, I’ll move the stuff I want to keep over to the F10 bag or the F9 bag. Here we see that I have filled up the top of Kamalia’s F11 bag with recently-acquired gear that she needs to equip to replace the gear she is currently wearing.

At the top of the F10 bag, Kam has her Thunder Bluff Doublet and her Totem of the Earthen Ring, a keepsake of the removed pre-Cataclysm Shaman class quests. In the row below that, all of the War Harnesses from Highmountain Tribes reputation. Below that, some spare jewelry for swapping out her Legendary necklace or ring if she gets a better item for a different slot and some Agility trinkets for when she uses Enhancement spec. At the bottom, the ICC Shaman tier sets that she’s been farming. I know that I don’t have to physically keep the items anymore, so I’ll probably sell them once I finish collecting the sets. My other characters also have piles of gear that I’ve been farming from legacy content in their F9 and F10 bags.

Kamalia’s bags are unusually tidy right now because I’m not doing much with her and when I do go do something with her, I try to clean her bags out before I log out. My other characters’ bags are messier, full of more random stuff — but it would get quite tedious to show you all of them.

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The morning sun filtering through the curtains of the suite of rooms which she’d been given in the Hall of the Guardian awakened Kaelinda from a jumbled dream of Silvermoon before Arthas, Silvermoon after Arthas, the Dawnstrider estate in Eversong Woods, and a certain someone* waiting for her to come home again. Sighing, she slid out of bed, tidying the bedclothes with an unvocalized handflick cantrip that she had been doing for so much of her life that she did it now without even consciously thinking about it. After bathing, dressing, and eating a simple breakfast of fruit, nuts, and quark** that she kept stored in her rooms, she went downstairs to the morning meeting of the Council of Tirisgarde.

Kaelinda was not entirely comfortable with her role as the First Conjurer of the renewed Order of Tirisgarde. It had only been a few short years ago that the Magisters of Silvermoon had granted her the rank of Magistrix, after all, and she hadn’t yet taken on even one apprentice. Until the Council was able to determine the cause of and cure for Meryl Felstorm’s debilitating illness, however, she would have to take his place.

First, the Council received the daily petition from an Emissary from one of the peoples of the Broken Isles. Next, Archmage Melis reviewed the notices she’d received in the past day about errands that required the skills of the other Archmages of the Council. They usually ended up assigning those errands to Kalec, Ravandwyr, Esara, or Millhouse, while Kaelinda requested that Archmage Modera accompany her. Then the Council discussed with Grand Conjurer Mimic the training progress and needs of the Apprentices and Invokers. There were potential improvements to the Hall to be considered with Chronicler Elrianne, armor and talismans to be requisitioned with Minuette, and the Focusing Crystal to be charged by Conjurer Awlyn and her staff. When all of these tasks were done, Kaelinda met with Modera to review the notices about various errands or opportunities throughout the Broken Isles. They selected which errands they would do to fulfil the petition of the Emissary, then decided if they wanted to do any of the other errands, as well. The business of the Council frequently took up most of the morning.

Sometimes, Kaelinda went back to her rooms to take lunch by herself. Sometimes, she went to the Purple Parlor with other Mages from the Hall of the Guardian. Sometimes, she went to the Ledgerdemain Lounge with her Sin’dorei relatives. Occasionally, she went to the Filthy Animal with her Tauren friends. Despite the revolting name and the outrageous rumors about Chef Lon’gomba and Gnomes, the food there was really quite decent — provided you ordered something off of the establishment’s traditional menu. There were two new sections on the menu since Dalaran had moved to the Broken Isles: Pandarian cuisine and Broken Isles delicacies. Actually, the Pandarian cuisine was also decent, but anyone who dared to order something from the Broken Isles menu frequently got a badly burned mess.

After lunch, Kaelinda usually did one of two things. Either she and Edirah delved into the the vast library in the center of the Hall of the Guardian, hunting down more information about Felo’melorn, Aluneth, Ebonchill, and the Mages who’d wielded them, or she worked on sewing projects*** in her rooms. Today, she decided to embroider another section of the elaborate decorations on the Imbued Silkweave Robe she was making.

In the late afternoon or early evening, Kaelinda and Modera set out to fulfil the Emissary’s petition. When that task was completed, Kaelinda visited Shal’Aran and distributed Ancient Mana crystals to First Arcanist Thalyssra, Arcanist Valtrois, and Chief Telemancer Occuleth. Although she now understood, as she had not realized when she first met Runas the Shamed and the exiled Leyweaver, Lyndras, that the dependence of the Nightfallen on condensed forms of mana was because it was literally food to them — not quite the same thing as the subtle addiction of the Quel’dorei to the flow of mana from the Sunwell — chasing after Ancient Mana deposits while she was in Suramar still made her feel vaguely like she had become a mana-addict again by proxy. If she had the time and physical energy, she would ask Thalyssra what else she could do that day to help the Nightfallen. If not, she would retire to the Hall of the Guardian and spend the rest of the evening studying magic and practicing her spellwork+. It wouldn’t do, after all, to be outperformed by one of the other members of the Order of Tirisgarde the next time that Mimic requested that she participate in an exhibition duel for the benefit of the Apprentices…

~*~*~

* Until just recently, I wasn’t certain what Kaelinda’s romantic status was. She’s begun hinting to me that she’s got a special male friend who lives in Silvermoon City, though where that relationship falls on the scale of “outwardly platonic, but desperately wishing for more” to “married with children”, she hasn’t told me yet (I suspect that it’s more toward the UST end).

** A cultured, thickened and strained, slightly sweetened dairy product intermediate in texture between yogurt and cream cheese; a regional specialty of Eversong Woods.

*** I have more or less always imagined that the 5 – 10 seconds it takes to craft an item in-game only represents putting the final, finishing touches on it. All the real work of the crafting — the preparation of materials, the shaping and assembly of pieces, the meticulous labor of fine detail work — is something that the character occupies herself with when she’s not busy questing — that is to say, when I’m offline.

+ Although I, the player, almost never spend time with the training dummies, I imagine that my characters do practice their skills and train themselves in new techniques regularly. One can’t stay skilled enough to remain capable of being the leader second-in-command of one’s Class Order if one rests on one’s laurels, after all.

~*~*~

This story was brought to you by the challenge of the fortnight from Z & Cinder:

We want to read about a day in the life of your toon. This one is an opportunity to get as creative as you like. You can simply write about what you get up to in WoW each day. Or maybe you would write it like a diary entry from the point of view of your character, telling the story of their day to day life, going in to battle, fighting the Legion… it’s up to you!

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