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Archive for the ‘Horde’ Category

Several months into Warlords, I’ve finally gotten around to updating my Characters page with new portraits showing how my characters look with the new models!

The SELFIE camera proved useful for getting good facial close-up screencaps to use for this project, as I’d hoped it would. Most of the Tauren expressions are pretty silly, but there are one or two that are cute if you catch them at just the right moment. Alas, that cute, flirty expression turned into a rather… dazed expression when I reduced the new portraits to the 100 x 100 size I use for my Characters page. I still think it’s better than the serious DMV mug shot expression, though. You can’t see the color of their eyes at the small size, either. I should remember to use the camera more often when I’m bopping around the world and when I’m doing Transmogrification photo shoots… and maybe get around to making those individual Character Profile posts/pages with all their favorite mounts and titles and jukebox tracks and suchlike, and links to artwork and stories featuring that particular character.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to update my blog banner. When I last updated it, near the end of Mists, I displayed my One-of-Each-Class set of alts, because I was so pleased with myself for having finally accomplished the goal, which I’d had since I first started playing this game, of getting a character of every class to the level cap.

I won’t be doing that again, though, because I just don’t have the time any more to play classes whose fantasy doesn’t really interest me. I probably won’t play a Demon Hunter much farther than just getting through their starting zone experience, and I’m currently thinking that I may not level the Rogue or the Warlock at all in Legion. Furthermore, making the row of icons along the bottom of the banner small enough to add another one for the Demon Hunter would have made them so small that they’d barely have been readable. Instead, I’ve displayed the alts that I actually intend to play going forward into Legion. I’ve reorganized the listing priority on the Characters page in a similar fashion.

It’s funny how my interest in particular alts comes and goes. I thought I was done with my Human Mage at the end of Mists. Then I decided that if I couldn’t have a High Elf Mage, a Human Mage would be the next-best thing, and so I renamed my Human Mage and made her look as much like my Blood Elf Mage as I could. I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, though. I kept iterating her appearance until I was happy with it, and it turns out that what I really wanted my Human Mage to be is as close to an avatar of my RL self as I could manage (oddly enough, the new model face that I ultimately chose as the one that seemed the closest to just right is one that I probably wouldn’t have chosen in the old model version). As I updated my Characters page, I considered putting my Human Mage’s race down as “High Elf”, signifying that even though the model she uses is Human, RP-wise she is really a Quel’dorei, but that just didn’t feel quite right anymore because I’ve gotten to a happy place with that character as a Human. If by some miracle the Alliance were to get playable High Elves, I’d most likely just create a new character instead of race-changing my Human Mage. I might still faction-change my Blood Elf Mage, though, and create (and perhaps even boost) that new character as a Blood Elf Mage, because I think I’d still want a Blood Elf Mage, as well as a High Elf Mage…

I did, however, put down RP-inspired race descriptions for some of my Tauren characters, indicating customization options (such as Grimtotem war paint) that I would take if they were available. I already knew which characters were of the Taunka and Yaungol sub-races; with Legion introducing a new Taurenoid sub-race, I looked through my other characters to decide which one to retcon as a Highmountain Tauren. I chose my secondary Druid, whose RP description already establishes her as having features that aren’t actually available in the current character customization options. Perhaps curly coat is a trait that was unique to the tribes that lived in the Highmountain region of Pangaea-Kalimdor, or, like the moose horns or the characteristics that distinguish Taunka and Yaungol from Shu’halo, a trait that developed among them after the Sundering split them off from the rest of the Tauren lineages.

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Well, the Q&A this morning answered my most burning question about Artifact weapons, which was “how are they going to manage dual specs?” I’m glad that I’ll be able to get the Artifact weapons for both of my specs. I didn’t want to have to choose whether my Paladin will be Prot or Holy for Legion. My Blood Elf Mage will be Fire for Felo’melorn, of course.

Early last week, shortly before the all the excitement about the new expansion, Kamalia completed her 100th naval mission and obtained the Captain’s Hat. Naturally, I set about to design a kit to go with it.

Captain’s Hat, Crusader’s Pauldrons, Felstalker Breastplate, Veteran’s Linked Girdle, Wasteland Ringmail Leggings, Talhide Lined-Gloves, Railwalker’s Ratcheted Boots, Steelforged Dagger (1-630), Wheel of the Lost Hope
Alas, the most perfect shield to go with this hat is Alliance-only!
And while I am willing to do there-and-back-again faction-switching shenanigans with my other characters, I won’t do that with Kamalia. sigh…
I guess I’ll just have to make do with the Sharptusk Shield, which kinda-sorta looks nautical — like a broken porthole cover, perhaps.

I’ve been saying that I won’t play the Shipyard with anyone but Kamalia, but this cosmetic hat… I just know that I’m going to want to get one for a character of each armor type, at least. I don’t have to play the Shipyard as seriously with my other characters as I have with Kam, though. I just have to complete 100 missions, I don’t have to succeed at them, so I can play my other characters’ Shipyards in ships-are-expendable mode, instead of in the min-max mode I’ve been playing it with Kam.

I don’t mind Demon Hunters being restricted to the elven races — Sin’dorei are my second-favorite race, after all — because even if all races could be Demon Hunters, I’m not sure I’d want to play a Tauren Demon Hunter. I think I could quite happily play a swashbuckling Tauren Combat Rogue, or a Tauren Frost/Fire Mage (as an outgrowth of Shamanism, similar to the way that Tauren Priests are an outgrowth of Druidism), but I don’t think I could be a Tauren Warlock or Demon Hunter. It would just feel too wrong (but then, I thought that about Death Knights, too, and now I have two of them). Nevertheless, that Demon Hunters will now be a player character thing instead of just an NPC thing is making me want to start running my Monk through Black Temple to swipe Illidan’s blindfold. She may not want to be a Demon Hunter, but she can play at looking like one.

Cursed Vision of Sargeras, Supple Shoulderguards (1-640), Raiment of Silent Stars, Green Belt of Hushed Wisdom, Blazewing’s Furious Kilt, Gloves of the Blind Stalker, Terokk’s Shadowstaff
The most difficult piece of this kit to acquire will be the chestpiece — it requires Friendly reputation with the Shado-Pan Assault, and Kate is only at Neutral. I’ll need some buddies to help me clear the first LFR wing of Throne of Thunder to get the rep.

Having resigned myself to the idea that there probably won’t be any new race/class combinations in the next expansion, let alone Tauren Mages (given that the Grimtotem casters who used Mage spells in pre-Cataclysm days now use only Shaman or Druid spells), I thought that the next-best thing would be to level up my Gnome Mage and run her with the Orb of Deception active on cooldown. After acquiring an Orb of Deception, however, I found to my disappointment that instead of changing my Gnome to look like a Tauren wearing the same clothes as my Gnome, it generates a fixed disguise. Well, I thought, perhaps it might be fun to play with the Orb of Disguise concept by making a Transmogrification kit to make one of my leather-wearing characters look like an Orb-of-Disguised Gnome.

Big Voodoo Mask, Wild Growth Spaulders, Living Breastplate, Tracker’s Belt, Jinxed Hoodoo Kilt, Gauntlets of Southwind, Bright Yellow Shirt
Alas, the Living Breastplate pattern is no longer obtainable, and Kamalia doesn’t have it because I didn’t think I’d ever want to make it. The best substitute, I think, is probably the Thick Draenic Vest, which is the same style in a tan color that would coordinate reasonably well with the rest of the kit.

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Well, not everybody-everybody, but all my level 90+ characters who are currently on Draenor, at any rate. As I was going through my wardrobe pages the other day, it was clear that it had been far too long since I’d updated — several of the pages were still showing my end-of-Mists outfits, while the characters themselves were loafing around their Garrisons in sloppy, mismatched combinations of Frostfire Ridge quest reward gear and Tormented token gear that their followers had brought them. Even if nobody will see them in-game but me, it was high time for some new Transmogrification kits.

Scorched Earth


Pauldrons of the Deafening Gale, Warsong Wraps, Netherstrike Belt, Valorous Earthshatter Legguards (T7), Grips of Nature’s Wrath, Thunder Bluff Doublet, Gutgore Ripper, Viryx’s Indomitable Bulwark (H)
This High Arakkoa shield design is pretty cool, but I don’t know if I’ll keep it beyond the end of this expansion. So I figured I’d better make a kit with it for running around in Tanaan. The dagger was an obvious match, but Kamalia didn’t really have much else that was orange in her wardrobe. Poking around in MogIt, I found this combination of chestpiece and kilt, which is so nice that I feel like I’ve seen it somewhere else before… but where or when, I can’t recall. I had this kilt during Wrath, but I sold it at the end of the expansion to free up some bag space, so I had to re-collect it.

In order of seniority… (more…)

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

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

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

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

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

Why are you still playing that game?

Syrco has been looking for a reason to log in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~

*Eight Tauren characters plus the Blood Elf Warlock

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

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

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

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


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


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

***

***


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

***

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

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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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My favorite part of “Love is in the Air” is that it gives me an excuse to wear some very silly outfits.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry


Pauldrons of the Wardancer, Bloodscale chestpiece & belt, Brutish pants gloves & boots, Pink Mageweave Shirt, Ironhew Cloak, Hammer of Destiny
I intended to just re-create the brown-and-pink outfit that I forgot to make for my secondary Warrior during Love is in the Air last year — but then I remembered that I had these shoulders in the bank, and I could not resist the silliness of using them to resemble the crown of sepals at the top of a strawberry…

Heartburn

Runic Plate Shoulders, Boulderfist Armor, Bloodscale Belt & Gauntlets, Legguards of the Shattered Hand, Bloodforged Sabatons, War Paint Cloak, Hammer of Destiny
What is this thing called “love”? And why does it hurt so much?
Some kind person tossed a Lovely Rose at me as I was coming out of the Warpweaver‘s shop. It was the perfect finishing touch for the outfit!

Hunting for Love

Ornate Pauldrons, Workforce Chestguard, Myrmidon’s Girdle, Pounding Leggings, Scarlet Gauntlets*, Brigade Boots, Night Elven Bow
I’d already collected the green and blue versions of this set — one of the most handsome low-level mail kits — so I figured, why not pick up the red one, too?
Try the Brigade or Merciless Gloves in place of the Scarlet Gauntlets.

Blacklight Battleguard

Katoom’s Mask, Resplendent Epaulets, Vestments of the Shifting Sands, Black Belt of Knowledge, Coven Britches, Exiled Dabbler’s Gloves, Junglestrider Sandals, Stylish Black Shirt, Swarming Sting-Staff
If I had been sensible, I would have farmed for the Staff of the Qiraji Prophets at the same time as I was farming for the robe. But I was not, and didn’t begin farming for the staff until after I obtained the robe. The Swarming-Sting Staff is a good stand-in until I get the Qiraji staff, though.

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