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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.

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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.

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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.

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farewell, WoW Insider

I, too, am saddened that WoW Insider is having to close up shop. Although I didn’t participate in the WoW Insider community, as a reader, I love what the site does.

Where will I go, now, for my daily dose of The Queue?
Will Anne start writing at her old blog again, so I can still enjoy her dazzling knowledge of lore and especially her Tinfoil Hat theories?
Will Rossi start writing on his personal blog more, and will I be able to get a weekly dose of Dinosaurs Are Awesome there, now, too?
What about the WoW Archivist column? Will there be somewhere else, somewhere new, that takes thematic explorations into how World of Warcraft has developed over its history?
I’ll miss Alex — or is it one of the Adams? — writing occasionally about his “day job” with the Minnesota Opera, because I’m rather fond of the Twin Cities, and it was fun to connect his mentions of his work at the opera with what I’d hear about the opera while listening to Minnesota Public Radio.
I’ll miss the way WoW Insider breaks the news up into easily understandable, easily linkable single-topic posts that help me to figure out the features of a new patch or expansion that I’m most excited about. Wowhead is great and getting better all the time, but it just doesn’t fill the same news-digesting role that WoW Insider does.
I’ll miss their commentary, their editorials and opinions, on the news. When WoW Insider said something, I usually agreed, and I hoped that because they were a big site with an apparently good relationship with Blizzard, that Blizz would actually pay attention.

Plus, I seriously doubt that my “Things my characters are wearing with their Shado-Pan Helmets” would be continuing to be my number one source of hits each week if WoW Insider hadn’t linked it shortly after I originally published it. I am continually grateful to them for that moment in the limelight.

I suppose I’ll have to keep an eye out for whatever comes to pass on February third…

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I’m having a real hard time getting my brain in gear to work today — it must be Thursday (never could get the hang of Thursdays) — so I’m going to write a blog post instead. I saw on Alt:ernative this morning a link to a post about “Maintenance Gaming”.

Yeah, that’s pretty much what I have been doing ever since Kam got to level 100, and it’s pretty much what I will be doing probably until the end of the semester. Classes began on Monday, and because of the way I’ve restructured my courses, I’ve got a lot more work to do. Last semester, I was able to go home for lunch most days of the week, so I’d do the “maintenance” stuff of tending farms/garrisons over my lunch break and then I could “play” — run LFR, do dailies, level alts, whatever — in the evening. This semester, however, I’ll be spending my evening playtime hours on the maintenance stuff at least until I get my prep schedule enough under control that I can start going home for lunch again. The maintenance stuff is really about all I have enough energy for, anyway. Even doing my Garrison Campaign weeklies, which I enjoy, is getting pushed off until the weekends when I’ll have not only more time but also more energy to invest in doing them.

Having to spend more time on work and less time on play also means that blog posts might be few and far between for awhile (though I’ll probably try to put another post up pretty soon, so that I don’t leave this somewhat depressing ramble as the top post for too very long).

In additon to the whole “less time and energy for play” issue, I haven’t taken Kam into Highmaul LFR yet, despite having heard that it’s dead easy, because I’m too scroogey* to want to pay for gems and enchants on the AH when I have alts that have those professions. Problem is, the alts that have those professions are still in Pandaria working on my Bag Operation to get all** of my Bloodhoof-Duskwood characters equipped with Royal Satchels in their main inventories. Turns out, I didn’t spend enough time on “maintenance gaming” during late Mists — if I had kept all my farms running all the time, the Bag Operation would be well over and done by now.

Poor Kaprikka. She’s been stuck in maintenance mode for so long that she’s accumulated over 7k resources… and after she reaches the 10k resource cap, it might be a long time before I log in with her again. Although I pushed and pushed to get Kaprikka to level 90 in late Mists so that I could play through the new Draenei lore as a Draenei in Warlords, rushing so fast with dungeons and such that I skipped large swaths of already-existing Alliance lore in Outland, Northrend, and the Cataclysm zones, recently I’ve been thinking that I should focus on/commit to just one Alliance alt… and I’ve decided that I would rather “be” Kaylynda, the red-headed Human Mage, when I do Alliance things at level 100. Alas, poor Kaprikka… perhaps you can commiserate about the fickleness of your overmind with Tome’s Lokkan?

* Speaking of being scroogey, several weeks ago, I was on an alt when I got a random whisper asking for help. When I asked what I could help with, the person begged for several hundred gold to help them purchase the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth. I declined, because I always decline gold begging, but I softened the blow by telling them that I myself am saving for the Grand Expedition Yak. Which is true… sort-of. I would like to have my owm personal pocket-Transmogrifier someday… I’m just not saving up for it in a very fast or very focused sort of way.

** Well, all of my alts above level 50, at any rate. I recently decided that, for my sanity’s sake, the alts under level 50 would only get one Royal Satchel apiece, in place of the gathering professions bag I might have gotten them in previous expansions.

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Earlier this evening, JD Kenada & his Missus and I put on our Gaudy Winter Veil Sweaters and went caroling to some old bosses.

First, we burned up the Sunwell with some Alliance characters:

Next, we blew out the Four Winds with some Horde characters:

Thinking about what to do next, as the night was still young, I suggested that we try Dragon Soul for a chance at the Blazing Drake for Awake the Drakes. Everything fell right over until we got to Spine… and then we were the ones falling over! We wiped and wiped and wiped — making incremental progress each time — just like it was current content progression raiding. Eventually, though, we hit the wall of one wipe too many and called it a night. Ah well, maybe some other day.

Thanks for a fun evening, JD!

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The premise of Dragonray’s Draenor Dress-Up is pretty simple:

In honour of the upcoming Warlords of Draenor xpac and the changes we will be going through, I have decided it would be cool to do a comp based on only Burning Crusade gear. Heading back to Outland as we know it now before it (and our future) changes forever is a fair reason to remember all the lovely outfits we had for the very first expansion of this game!

Draenor Expedition Kit

Junior Technician 3rd Grade Goggles, Mantle of Magical Might, Goldweave Tunic, Archmage Belt & Pants, Soulcloth Gloves, Marshfang Boots, Tattered Cape of Antonidas, Staff of Twin Worlds, Lavender Mageweave Shirt

See all the awesome entries here!

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