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This fortnight at the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic forum, Amerence says:

Let’s talk about “Time” in Timeless Isle — How much play time do you really spend time hanging out in this Island? What are the benefits despite those elite mobs ganking at you or, if you’re on a PvP server, for any faction tries to kill you? Or just Rare hunting? Is it really fun? Do you finish all the dailies by yourself or in a group?


these floating chests are probably my favorite thing about the Timeless Isle

One of Prinnie’s free-for-all Liebster questions was

Have you ever played a game so much your eyes glazed over? What game was it?

Well, the Timeless Isle glazes me over faster than just about anything else in the whole wide wonderful World of Warcraft. Running around mindlessly killing stuff just because it’s there or because it has aggroed onto me while waiting for a “rare” spawn or an event to appear bores me.

I don’t like the Timeless Isle because it makes me feel deeply inadequate. Some of my characters can handle the cranes, the yaks, the tigers, the turtles. I can’t do the big snakes. I haven’t really tried the crabs. The frogs and the elementals on the beach and in the cave get me more often than I get them. I can sometimes take on the littlest Yaungol. I don’t even try the big ones. The Timeless Isle exposes how poorly I play my characters… and because I have so very many characters with so very many other goals, I don’t want to spend the time and effort to learn how to play any one of them well enough to do well on the Timeless Isle. (I have not bothered with the Brawler’s Guild for the same reason.)

I will take a character who’s recently dinged 90 to the Timeless Isle once to do the introductory quests and to attempt to pick up armor tokens for any slots that weren’t filled by what I already had stashed away from previous characters’ trips to the Isle. I don’t try to get all the chests — just the easy ones I happen to wander past. (Kamalia herself only got the last chest for Treasure, Treasure Everywhere when BTH convinced me to go there with him as a last hurrah before he quit WoW to go play TESO until Warlords and he escorted me up to get the Blazing Chest. Despite Tome’s terrific tips, I am too much of a coward to try to get there by myself.) After that one trip, I generally don’t go to the Timeless Isle again until I’ve got another fresh 90.

I did spend a couple of hours on the Timeless Isle with my Paladin last week; I was out of ore, so she was flying around mining and when she got out to the eastern edge of the Jade Forest, I thought, “as long as I’m farming ore, I might as well pick up some Lesser Charms while I’m at it.” I felt really glazed over by the time I decided she had enough ore and could go home! Usually, though, I don’t even go to the Timeless Isle for Lesser Charms; I’d rather do dailies. Sure, doing dailies will take more time, but I will be less bored, and I will also get gold (instead of mostly useless Timeless Coins), miscellaneous useful items, and a much smaller repair bill!

I was quite grateful when, near the end of Cataclysm, BTH’s decision to change guilds for raiding reasons also moved us from the PvP server we’d initially rolled on (because his RL friends who were playing the game at the time were there) to a PvE server. In early Mists, seeing the high mixed-faction populations at all the rep-dailies areas — especially the Golden Lotus areas — made me even more grateful that I was no longer subject to ganking. The Timeless Isle has made me more grateful still! Even without taking the Censer of Eternal Agony into consideration, I would not want to go to the Timeless Isle ever, for any reason, if I were on a PvP server!

I am somewhat concerned about the extension of the Timeless Isle model to Warlords; if the level 100 non-raid content is too much in that vein, Warlords may be the expansion where Blizzard loses me. Hopefully Garrisons will prove engaging enough to retain my interest!

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As it turns out, I was also tagged for the Leibster meme by Chatmay — thanks!

1) How long have you been blogging? Why did you decide to start a WOW blog?
I began keeping a LiveJournal sometime in late 2001 or early 2002 to participate in the Harry Potter fandom. I began reading WoW fansites and blogs sometime around late 2009, when my Druid was reaching level 80 and I wanted to learn more about how to play the class well at the level cap. In early 2010, a healing survey was going around the blogs I was reading, and I wanted to participate. I was also, by that point, starting to have more to say about WoW myself than was reasonable to put in comments on other folks’ blogs.

2) What has been the highlight of your blogging career?
Running the Great Noblegarden Egg Hunt in 2011 and 2012, and having my “What My Characters are Wearing with their Shado-Pan Helmets” article featured on WoW Insider.

3) What games do you play besides WOW?
I don’t play any other computer games, though I am now quite tempted to ask for an iPad for Christmas so that I can use it to play Hearthstone! :P
I enjoy most table games, though I’m terrible at trivia games and don’t like Monopoly very much.
BTH, on the other hand, plays lots of other computer games. He enjoyed Skyrim so much that he jumped into the Elder Scrolls Online during the early access period and will be letting his WoW account lapse until patch 6.0.

4) What hobby do you spend the most time on besides gaming?
I used to spend a great deal of time crocheting afghans, most of which I made as wedding or baby shower gifts, but it’s been quite awhile now since any siblings or friends got married or had their first babies. More recently, I made dragons. I’m currently working on another WoW-themed sewing project that I’ll reveal when it’s finished.
Every few months, I treat myself to a book binge — I check out a pile of books from the library and mostly ignore WoW for a week or two until I’ve read them all.
I also enjoy baking and cooking. Borrowing an idea from my Mum, sometimes I check out a cookbook from the library, then photocopy out recipes that I tried and liked or recipes that looked interesting to try later.

5) What kinds of foods do you like and when do you snack the most?
I have a raging sweet tooth. I love chocolate, ice cream, cookies, pie, yogurt, fresh fruit, cake. I like fruit pies best — especially for breakfast! I tend to think of bread as a platform for butter, honey, and cinnamon — it’s a great snack!
I snack the most at the computer, when I am playing WoW. It’s a very bad habit that I have been trying to break.

6) What period of time/expansion have you enjoyed the most in WOW and why?
I began playing during Burning Crusade, so I’m rather fond of it. I’ve actually quite enjoyed Mists; deciding to drop out of guild raiding and just do LFR suited me and my altoholic playstyle really well.

7) What is your favorite profession in WOW? What is the rarest pattern you have made in a profession?
My favorite profession has been, at various times, herbalism, fishing, and archaeology. I’m not quite sure what it is right at the moment.
Probably the rarest pattern I own is the Black Belt of Knowledge; I saw it on the Winterhoof AH not too long ago and the price was low enough that I could actually afford it, so I snapped it up. I haven’t actually made one yet, though…

8) How often do you twitter about WOW? In one day?
Well, I don’t even have a Twitter account to begin with, so… never.

9) Do you attend any conventions for comics, anime, WOW, gaming, etc.?
I went to a couple of Harry Potter release parties — one for the Prisoner of Azkaban movie and one for the Half-Blood Prince book — but those were relatively small gatherings of a close-knit circle of LJ/fansite friends. Other than that, I haven’t been to any cons.

10) Tell about a close friend you have had in WOW and whether you are still in touch.
One of my first WoW friends was Kirina, one of the inspirations for me starting my own blog. By coincidence, she was on the same server that I was at the time, so we were able to meet up in-game a time or two. Eventually, we both transferred off that server. Sadly, we’ve lost touch. She stopped blogging sometime in 2012. It must have been before the advent of the battletag, because I don’t have her on my battletag friendslist. She’s still playing, though — I just Armory-stalked her, and she’s wearing a sweet Transmogrification kit that I might just have to borrow…

11) Random WOW fact or adventure you have been on.
Whereas I play WoW as a “breadth” game, BTH plays WoW as a “depth” game. He plays to raid, to defeat the bosses on the hardest possible difficulty settings and get the best possible gear. Thus, he always ends up being one of the best-geared bears on our server. In late Wrath, he decided he wanted to try to duo Naxx. We did pretty well until we got to Construct Quarter; though we squeaked through Patchwerk, we had to call in a couple of guildies to help us down Gluth. Now, of course, we can duo the whole place easily. Recently, we duoed ICC with his bear and my best-geared DPS, my Warrior. We had to bring in my Paladin for Valithria and the Lich King, though.

~*~*~

Prinnie, finding no-one on her blogroll that was yet untagged, wrote some free-for-all questions.

1) What’s one thing (other than sheer inertia) that could make you stop blogging?
I’m taking “sheer inertia” to mean the kinds of massive lifestyle changes such as getting a demanding new job, getting married, or having a baby that tend to derail playing and blogging about WoW. If I got tired of WoW and wandered off to do something else, that would probably spell the end of this blog, too — but it wouldn’t stop me from blogging in general, because I’d probably revive my LiveJournal to start talking about my interest in whatever that “something else” happened to be.
I try to not get involved in the kinds of controversies that get people flamed so badly that they decide to quit blogging altogether!

2) What’s your favorite word, and why?
I’m exceedingly fond of “miscellaneous” and its derivative “miscellany”. I think it’s a better word to describe a collection of not-necessarily-related items than “random”.
I’ve been fond of “eclectic” to describe my tastes since high school.

3) If you could choose to never ever write about a particular topic again, what would it be?
See above about trying to stay out of controversies as much as possible — but if I never felt like I had to respond in some way to a sexism-in-WoW discussion ever again, that would be wonderful. Preferrably, it would be because Blizzard had stopped even inadvertently giving people reasons to poke the coals.

4) Does your family know about your blog? If so, what do they think of it?
Some of my family know about this blog. I don’t talk about it much with them because they think I play too much WoW anyway and they think that blogging about it is rather silly. And, too be fair, much of the content of my blog is rather silly.

5) What’s the least realistic goal you’ve ever set for yourself?
The ones that seemed utterly realistic at the time, then failed to happen because they relied, in part, on circumstances beyond my control. Like, getting married before I graduated from university when I didn’t even date while I was in high school. I was about halfway through graduate school before BTH finally came along.

6) Have you ever played a game so much your eyes glazed over? What game was it?
When I roll a new alt in WoW, I like to try to play the character all the way through their starting zone in one sitting. Sometimes I stop halfway through, but when I succeed, I always feel pretty glazed-over by the time I’m done!

7) Let’s say I gave you 100 cupcakes that are super delicious. What would you do with them all?
Well, I’m a chemistry teacher, so I’d decorate them all with the symbols of the elements and make a periodic table of cupcakes.

8) Find the closest object to your right that has text on it. Find the third word in the first sentence. Tell us what it is, and then write a new, amazing sentence for it. (If it’s “the,” or something like that, I may cry.)
Immediately to my right is a pile of used computer games that BTH bought a couple of months ago. Looking at the text on the back of the cases, the third word in the first sentence on the top game in the stack is “to”. Boring! The third word in the first sentence on the next game is “Crysis”, the name of the game. No thanks. The third word in the first sentence on the third game in the stack is “legend”. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Let’s look at the last game, just to be sure… “nothing”.
In a time of crisis when nothing is certain, the seeds of legends both good and ill begin to grow.

9) Is a bad idea better than no idea at all? Why?
Yes, because at least then you are doing something, rather than nothing at all.

10) What’s one thing you’d like to write about on your blog, but probably never will?
Though I may occasionally mention it very briefly, in passing, I will probably not ever write much about how after nearly seven years of marriage, BTH and I do not yet have children because I have anovulatory PCOS and can only afford, financially and emotionally, about three months per year of the infertility treatment roller-coaster.

11) What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked?
I’m sure I’ve gotten some real doozies from my chemistry students, but I guess none of them were so truly inane that they stuck in my mind. The dumbest questions, of course, are the ones that can be answered by pointing to a specific sentence in the lab manual and saying “it’s right here, didn’t you read this before you came to class?”

~*~*~

Likewise, Martha, finding no-one left to tag, wrote up her own set of free-for-all questions.

1) What is one quest/grind that you never want to do again?
I was so glad when mounts went account-wide so that I’d only have to do the Netherwing and Mag’har grinds once! I’m getting pretty tired of the Argent Tournament and the Shado-Pan by now, too. I’d also like to never do the Aldor/Scryer grinds again, but I’m a cheapskate concerning things that aren’t clothes for Transmogrification and would rather farm the rep tokens than buy them from the AH.

2) What is one quest you wish was repeatable?
I’m not thinking, off the top of my head, of a quest that I really wish was repeatable. I think that Mists did rather well at identifying the quests that people would like enough to want to repeat and turning them into dailies. They even turned some older fun quests into dailies for MistsRiding the Storm, one of the possible end-quests of the Shan’ze Dao sequence of Shado-Pan dailies, is, at least to me, pretty clearly a reworking of the popular Drakkensryd quest from the Storm Peaks back in Wrath.

3) What is your favorite critter?
the Armadillo Pup, though the Bandicoon/Masked Tanuki (raccoon) is a close second

4) What’s one thing Blizzard could offer a micro-payment for that you’d love to see?
Armor dyes. A permanent version of the Hallow’s End broomstick mount (though I would rather see that be purchasable with the in-game currency from the holiday). The ability to pick which boss of a variable boss encounter such as the Karazhan opera you’d get to fight. The ability for a max-level character to bypass the once-a-day lockout system for Heroics from past expansions — perhaps allowing you to run a given Heroic five times in a day, similar to how you can run five ten Normals within an hour before you hit the “you have entered too many instances recently” wall.

5) Name one blog you read every day (or at least every time they post).
Alt:ernative and The Daily Frostwolf — it continually amazes me how these ladies can make such thoughtful posts every single day

6) If you lost everything and had to start over again, would you keep playing WoW or quit?
I would certainly feel like just quitting at first! But when I was done sulking, maybe after a week or three, I’d probably start playing again.

7) Do you think WoW will exist 5 years from now? How about 10?
Five years from now? Certainly. Ten years from now? Maybe.

8a) For the older crowd: What did you do for fun before video games took off?
Well, I still love to read books and do textiles-related crafty things….

8b) How much money would someone have to pay you to disconnect all internet service (phones web-browsing included) at home?
They couldn’t pay me enough. I don’t have a smart phone, but I need a high-speed internet connection for my computer! Gaming and blogging aside, I value the internet-based services that allow me to stay connected with my family even though we are scattered all across North America. I recently applied for a job at a well-reputed, fully accredited online university, for whom I would work from home over a high-speed internet connection. Also, it’s so very pleasant to watch General Conference from the comfort of my own living room over streaming internet!

9) If you could have any animal as a real-life pet what would it be? How about as a WoW hunter pet?
I had guinea-pigs from relatively early in my childhood until I left home, and I would like to have them again — when I have a lawn to graze them on in the summer months. I’d love to have a guinea-pig battle pet!
I’d also be happy to have a cat or two, after we settle down.
I’ve wished for a long time that my Hunter could tame hooved mammals such as zhevras, giraffes, and the okapi in Sholazar Basin. I’d also like to be able to tame more of the really large animals such as kodos, clefthoofs, elekks, and mushans.

10) What is the weirdest/silliest skill that you have learned while playing WoW?
Recognizing the flight path landing sound effect when I am tabbed out or even, if I have my volume turned up loud enough, AFK

11) If the real-money auction house had actually worked and you could make a living just playing WoW all day -– would you?
No. I don’t have the patience to make in-game gold from playing the AH, so it would be even stupider and more frustrating to me to try to make real money from the game!

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Whenever a new varation on the “answer N questions and then tag N other bloggers to do the same” meme goes around, I always get a little giddy with anticipation wondering who is going to tag me.

This particular variation on the theme is called the “Liebster Awards”, and it works like so:

1) Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award badge
2) Answer the eleven questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
3) Provide eleven miscellaneous facts about yourself
4) Nominate eleven blogs of relatively small readership that you think deserve to be better-known
5) Notify the bloggers that you’ve nominated them
6) Compile eleven questions for your nominees to answer

Step One
The lovely Amerence gave me the tip of the hat. Thank you, darling!

Step Two

1) When did you start blogging; What it’s all about and why?
I’ve been writing here at Kamalia et alia since March 2010, when I wanted to participate in a healing survey that was going around the blogs I was reading at the time. Prior to that, I’d been participating in the Harry Potter fandom and writing about my RL (mis)adventures using LiveJournal since 2001 or 2002. My poor LJ, it’s been so abandoned and neglected since I started this WoW blog and began using Facebook to keep up with my closest HP-fandom friends.
To me, blogging is partly a way for me to record the things I’ve enjoyed about the game and partly a way for me to share my love of the game with others. It’s also been a great way to make new friends, given that I am kind of shy and don’t tend to make friends or even just talk to new people IRL unless the other person approaches me. I have often, over the past decade or so, felt like I have more friends online than “in-person”.

2) Post your most favorite Screenshot of all time!
Ever since Cataclysm, my default answer to the “favorite screenshot” question has been this picture from when I was out exploring the newly-Shattered world, enjoying finally being able to FLY IN AZEROTH!, and got stuck on a tree branch that wasn’t just an ordinary tree branch…

3) Favorite city in WoW to hang out in and why?
Thunder Bluff, of course! It’s relatively quiet and peaceful. If I’m going to be tabbed out or AFK for awhile, I will often log into a character who is in Thunder Bluff because I find the Thunder Bluff music to be calm and relaxing, so I don’t mind listening to it looping.

4) Do you play other games besides WoW? Do you use any console besides your PC?
When it comes to computer games, I just play World of Warcraft. We don’t own a console, or even a TV. I’m very fond of table games such as Catan, Carcassonne, Dominion, Ticket to Ride, etc.

5) What’s your favorite Transmog gear?
There are so many sets I adore, but I’m particularly fond of the Shaman T4 “Cyclone” set because not only is it a very, very stylish set, Karazhan was also my very first raiding experience, and I was fortunate to be in a friendly guild for it.

6) How many WoW characters in game do you have? Do you play them all equally?
Hmm, let’s see… eleven on Bloodhoof, eleven on Winterhoof, eleven on Argent Dawn, and four on Thunderhorn makes thirty-seven. I’m usually only actively playing — leveling or doing dailies/farming/LFR at max level — three to five of them at any given time, and my Tauren get the bulk of my attention.

7) What’s your current achievement score? What’s your most favorite one and why?
I currently have 12600 Achievement Points. The two that are the most meaningful to me are having completed Loremaster before Cataclysm and, more recently, having completed The Black Prince, Chapter V and obtained my Legendary cloak.

8) What was your most memorable experience since you started playing WoW?
I don’t really remember my first Wailing Caverns run itself, but I do remember the nightmare-loop I was stuck in after I went to sleep that night, dreaming about being lost in the Wailing Caverns!

9) How many total deaths of critters do you currently have? What are your thoughts about these creatures since they can battle now with your own Pet collections too.
Kamalia has a critter kill count of 9721. I’ve always felt a little guilty about accidentally killing critters with AoE.

10) What is the first word that comes to mind when you think about WoW and why?
“Wonderful” sums up the World of Warcraft in one word pretty neatly, because I love the art of the game and because there are so many great things to explore and do within the game world.

11) Warlords of Draenor is coming up soon! It’s the new expansion everyone is talking about! What are your expectations?
I expect a breathtaking new world to explore, filled with interesting characters to meet and fascinating stories to experience that will encompass a wide range of emotions. I will play through the Horde storyline first, leveling Kamalia to 100 in tandem with BTH. I plan to play through the Alliance storyline next, before I level any Horde alts, because, like Matthew Rossi, I’m feeling rather bored of orcs and their turmoils and am more excited about discovering what the Draenei were like when they were a flourishing civilization. I expect to spend a lot of time managing my Garrison.

Step Three
* When I was very little, I was a strawberry blonde. As I got older, my hair got darker; it was never the true bright shiny new copper penny color, it was more like the color of an old dull penny. Now my hair only looks reddish in just the right sort of sunlight, and I wonder if it is the color called “auburn” or not.
* During my teens and early twenties, I collected every color of Crayola crayons that I could find. Crayola hasn’t produced any new or interesting crayon colors for several years, though.
* Shortly after I first started this blog, BTH got transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia for work. We lived there for a year and a half, then returned to the Twin Cities. About a year and a half later, BTH got transferred to the Halifax project again, and we will probably have been here in Nova Scotia for another year and a half before he gets assigned to a different project.
* I had a great temerity about fresh hot peppers and only ever used the canned green chiles from Old El Paso until my Mom gave me a Mexican cookbook for Christmas this past year. Now I enjoy using poblano, jalapeno or serrano, fresno, ancho, and chipotle peppers — but I am still timid about the really super hot peppers!
* I enjoy baking and would much rather bake my own bread than have to buy it. I take pride in doing the mixing and kneading by hand. When I do buy bread, I prefer to buy it from a small, local-business bakery.
* My Mom used to think she was descended from Priscilla Mullins, who came over on the Mayflower. Now, she’s not so sure if that ancestry has been correctly traced. We do know for certain, however, that we are descended from Joseph Knight, Sr., who, with his family, was one of the most staunch friends and supporters of Joseph Smith, Jr., during the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
* I’ve really enjoyed judging Dragonray’s Mog the World in 80 Days competition. I usually give 8.5/10 as my top score, but I have given a couple of 9.0s and even a 10! My favorite sets are the ones that effectively use both the colors and the motifs of the chosen flag while still being an oufit that I feel like I would be able to wear without having to explain that my outfit was inspired by the flag of a certain country and, more importantly, being an outfit that I would enjoy wearing myself!
* This winter, I’ve become addicted to Tim Hortons hot chocolate. I drink at least one cup a day, usually two and sometimes even three, and I go through about a cannister a week.
* Although the official timeline on pages 28 – 31 of the World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide allocates only one year apiece to the events of classic WoW and each of the expansions, it’s never made sense to me that all the war campaigns and especially all the buildings and construction that happened in each expansion could really be done in just one year of time. My headcanon is that the events of classic WoW and each of the expansions took as much time in Azeroth as we spent playing those expansions in “real time”.
* Despite what I said before about the $60 cost being prohibitive, I am really quite tempted to just boost my nine sub-level-60 Mages up to 90. It would be quite the heap of cash if I boosted them all at once, but if I boost them one at a time, as each one reaches level 60…
* I love a good bad pun, especially when I’ve managed to come up with it myself, so here are some lobsters that I painted in June 2011.

Step Four
(in no particular order)
Manalicious
Martha
Parallel Context
Plenty of Paladins
That Was an Accident!
The Pixel Lives of Lorelei/Zazzy Mogs
Mog’s Addiction
Ironyca Stood in the Fire
Jaedia’s Menagerie
Awaiting the Muse
Azerothian Life
Pretty Fly for a Draenei
Red Cow Rise (Akabeko, I miss you!)

Step Five
Oh, dear, I guess this means I have to go make comments on all these blogs, don’t I? Perhaps I’ll just leave comments for the folks that don’t stop by here regularly, and leave it up to the folks who do stop by regularly to decide whether or not they want to play along.

Step Six
1) Tell me about a game or games — video or table or both! — that you are really enjoying right now.
2) What classes, races, or roles do you find yourself most drawn to in RPGs, whether in D&D, a single-player video game, or an MMO?
3) When you make your first character in a new game, do you try to make a character that is in some way an avatar of your RL self, or do you make someone entirely different?
4) Describe a typical session of playing your current favorite video/computer game.
5) What was the very first computer/video game you ever played? How old were you?
6) Do you have more than one blog? If so, what is/are your other blog(s) about? (Blog names/links not necessary, and you don’t have to include personal/family/work-related blogs unless you really want to.)
7) Name three non-WoW/game-related websites that you visit frequently.
8) What was/is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?
9) Cake or Pie? What is your favorite flavor of your preferred dessert?
10) What toppings do you like on a pizza? on an ice-cream sundae?
11) What is your favorite writing instrument?

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This morning, Matthew Rossi over at WoW Inisder wonders,

…would you, if you could, make a copy of one of your characters on the other faction to play with friends of said faction?

I have often, frequently, wished that I could just make an Alliance duplicate of Kamalia, exactly as she was right at the moment, to play with my blue team friends. Now that I have a choice of races, she’d be a Dwarf. How much would I be willing to pay for it? Probably $50 – $75.

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A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic, courtesy of Dragonray, who wonders:

What sort of method do you use for levelling multiple alts? Do you follow the same quest chains each time, do you avoid a certain quest section, do you only dungeon, etc?

I typically level with a mixture of questing, gathering, and LFD.

Since Heirlooms debuted, most of my characters have used them. I’ve gotten used to the pace of leveling using Heirlooms, to the extent that leveling without them now feels agonizingly slow. Kaumalea the Underpowered Death Knight doesn’t use Heirlooms, of course, and I’ve decided that Kehontah the Male Tauren Warrior will not use Heirlooms to help him reach level 60, prior to being boosted to 90, either. He’s also not going to do LFD, not even SFK at level 20 for the weapon (a rite of passage for all my other alts). He’ll be finding joy in the journey and perhaps even contributing to the Godmother’s “Those We Leave Behind” project.

To keep myself from getting bored with the leveling process, I try to do something a little different with each alt — or at least, between one alt that I spend a lot of time with and the next alt that I spend a lot of time with. I try to choose zones and questlines that feature the race of my character or a faction that relates to the class of my character. I use LFD to skip over levels that don’t have any zones or quests I want to do.

When I get to Outland, I cherry-pick the questlines that give good-looking clothes or weapons for Transmogrification. This means I end up doing a different set of zones and quests depending upon the armor class of the character.

Going through Northrend as Horde, I usually do some of the Taunka village questlines, then burn through the rest of those levels in LFD. Ever since Kamalia experienced the Wrathgate, I’ve avoided the Forsaken outposts and their quests like, well, the plague (pun intended). I tried to do some of the Alliance side quests in Northrend with Kinevra, but she was in such a hurry to get to 85 that what she did went by in a blur. Now, Kaprikka is in a hurry-hurry to get to 90, so I probably won’t see much of non-LFD Northrend with her, either. One of my other Alliance alts will have to be the one to take it slow through the Alliance story in Northrend — and I would like to play all the way through Storm Peaks again sometime.

I do have a fairly set path for the Cataclysm levels. I play through Mount Hyjal until I’ve completed Aessina’s Miracle, so that if the character ever wants to get something from the Molten Front, they can jump right in. Then I go to Vashj’ir and follow the quest chain until I get to Silver Tide Hollow and open up the Earthen Ring quartermaster. I go to Deepholm just long enough to get to level 83, and I usually follow the Stonehearth questline rather than the skyship questline. Then I go to Uldum and play through the Ramkahen questline. Sometimes I finish it, other times I go to Twilight Highlands as soon as I reach level 84. I’ll do enough of Twilight Highlands to get the portal open. After that, I may continue questing in Twilight Highlands, go back to Uldum, or just gather and LFD my way to 85.

The only things a character must do in Pandaria are get the Grummlepack and open the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Mages don’t even have to do the latter; they can just wait until they get to level 90 and learn the teleport. I usually do the Tian Monastery in Jade Forest, getting started at Sunsong Ranch, and the Lorewalker Cho/Zouchin Province questline in Kun-Lai Summit (at least until the trolls have been defeated). I’ve only done the Dread Wastes with a few characters; the others have all tried to avoid it.

I’m fond of Archaeology as a speed-leveling tool when I’m really in a hurry to level and don’t have any zones or questlines that I’m particularly interested in playing through. Archaeology provides consistently good XP, plus a little gold on the side, and it’s a good way to occupy myself while I’m sitting in an LFD queue (especially as DPS). Archaeology gets much easier after level 60, when one can fly. Many digsites have very uneven terrain or large obstacles created by ruined structures, and it’s faster and simpler to hop on one’s flying mount and go over an obstacle than to go around on the ground. The digsites at Auchindoun are particularly terrible; the relics can spawn both inside and outside the ring, and trying to navigate around that place on the ground while searching for relics would be a nightmare! I am not excited about trying to do Archaeology on Draenor if it remains a no-fly environment for the whole expansion!

I’m also fond of dailies as a leveling tool, though they are definitely not a speed-leveling method! I’ll often do the Thunder Bluff fishing and cooking dailies with whichever alt is currently at the top of my leveling queue. I particularly like to do dailies from past expansions with a character who is not yet at the level cap of the current expansion, so that they can get XP as well as whatever reward I’m interested in. I’ve put many characters through their paces at the Argent Tournament. The latest, Kinevra, eventually said enough is enough and refused to do any more jousting — I haven’t done the jousting in the Court of Bones for ages, only the arena jousting on the Tournament grounds, but it seems that I’ve finally gotten thoroughly sick of that. Kaelinda got a couple of levels between 85 and 90 from the Molten Front — good enough XP that Kinevra is contemplating going to Tol Barad after she’s finished at the Argent Tournament (still a long way off). After Warlords launches, I will probably get post-90 levels for at least some of my characters from the various Pandaria dailies.

The Kalimdor Pet Battle Trainer circuit sped the Pet Battling Monk quite handily through her first 70 levels. I’ve liked Pet Battling enough to occasionally vist Pet Trainers with other alts, if they’ve been convenient to wherever the character was questing, or to do a wild pet battle here and there. In the future, I might do Pet Battling as an alternative to gathering and LFD to skip over levels that don’t have any zones/quests a given character wants to do.

So that’s how I level, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, never exactly the same way for any two characters.

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Dragonray’s been wondering,

What are your top 5 mounts – or just the ones you go to all the time because you like the way they ride? What are the ones you really dislike and can never bring yourself to use – does it rub against your collecting nature (if you have one) to buy all the mounts even though you know you will never use them?

At the moment, my favorite-favorite mount is certainly the Swift Zhevra.

I’ve wanted this mount for a long time, and now I finally have it — thanks, Navimie!!

Wanting the Pandaren Kite is what finally motivated me to finish getting all the Pandaria reputations to Exalted.

(Well, that and Wrathion’s 6000 valor points quest. :P)
I really like the Red Flying Cloud too!

I wrote an in-character story about how Kaelinda got the Celestial Steed. Kaelinda was also the lucky one who won the gorgeous Ashes of Al’ar for me. During BC, I had thought that I would never, ever be able to acquire that mount.

I’m quite fond of hippogryphs. I’ve collected all the ones that I can obtain purely in-game. I’m not going to seek out the ones from TCG loot cards, but I do I need to either find someone else to RAF-swap with or just RAF myself to get the Emerald Hippogryph. I rather like gryphons, too.

Well, those are the first five that came to mind, so I guess they’re my current Top Five.

Mostly, the mounts I prefer depend on the character I’m playing. Each character has a different selection of mounts in her randomcast “ride” and “fly” macros. Most types of mounts are used by at least one character in this fashion. It does bother me to have mounts that I don’t like well enough to use, so I try to use even the mounts I don’t particularly like — such as the Skeletal Horses and Wolves — with the characters who have those types as their racial mounts. This still doesn’t mean that all my mounts get used, however. I generally prefer un-armored mounts to armored mounts, and though I usually try to obtain all the colors of any given type of mount, I only use the colors I like best.

I’m quite happy with the Celestial Steed, Winged Guardian, and Enchanted Fey Dragon, but I can’t bring myself to spend the money for the Heart of the Aspects, Armored Bloodwing, or Swift Windsteed, even to add to my mount total, because I know that I’d never use them. I will probably never make the Sky Golem or the Jeweled Panthers because they just don’t interest me. I only have one mammoth, just for the sake of having one. It’s not even the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth, because I couldn’t afford that mount back in the day. I almost never use my mammoth because it is too big and I don’t like its gait. The Grand Expedition Yak, if I had it, would be too big for me to use regularly, too, and I don’t much like the gait of the yaks, either — but the little ones make up for it by being oh-so-cute and having a small footprint/profile. I acquired the Kor’kron Annihilator and the Sunreaver Dragonhawk purely so that account-wide mount magic could allow my Alliance characters to ride the Golden King and the Silver Covenant Hippogryph — I never use the Horde versions of those mounts.

One mount deserves a special mention here. In general, I absolutely love kodos. They’re like the Jeeps of Azeroth, moving steadily over all kinds of terrain. Kamalia has as many of them as she could manage to find. I love the way the Sunwalker Kodo looks, better even than the Great Sunwalker Kodo–

–when it’s standing still. When it is moving, the Sunwalker Kodo sways wildly from side-to-side.

Watching it gives me a headache. No other kodo has this problem. The Sunwalker Kodo hasn’t always had this problem, either. It broke a few patches ago, and Blizz hasn’t gotten around to fixing it yet.

I would like to get to 150 mounts eventually so I can get that pretty Jade Pandaren Kite… but there will surely be at least a few mounts that I’ll like on Draenor.

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It’s that time of year again — time for the #FFW Furtive Father Winter blog post exchange!

There’s one week left — until 15 December — to sign up for the exchange at red cow rise. Then Akabeko will put everyone’s names into the Father Winter hat and send out recipients on 16 December.

I’ve really enjoyed participating in this event the past two years. For me, the most fun thing is figuring out what kind of post to make for my recipient and putting it together. Then, I love seeing what everyone else has come up with. The gifts I’ve received have been wonderful, too!

I had to think a bit before I decided to sign up this year; BTH and I are starting our Christmas vacation a little earlier this year than we have for the past couple of years and will be at relatives’ houses for the whole #FFW timeperiod. Still, I think I’ll have enough “downtime” to do my own thing that I’ll be able to make an #FFW post for someone — and I can’t wait to find out who that person will be!

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In anticipation of all the new Draenei lore coming our way in Warlords of Draenor, Samaramon is holding a transmogrification contest to create an outfit using the Tabard of the Hand. This unique tabard is awarded only to Draenei characters at the completion of the Bloodmyst Isle storyline, when they are acclaimed as revered heroes of the Hand of Argus. In my usual manner, I’ve put together a kit for each armor type.

Hand of Destiny



Feline Mantle, Robe of the Dragon Slayer, Cincture of Woven Reeds, Scholar’s Gloves, Staff of the Royal Wizard
This outfit contains only items that a Draenei Mage could reasonably expect to be able to obtain by about the same time that she completes the Bloodmyst Isle storyline and receives the Tabard of the Hand, thus allowing her to make a complete, reasonably well-coordinated outfit to wear with her new tabard almost immediately.

Hand of Grace

Yalia’s Cowl, Spiritmend Shoulders, Royal Gown, Cannonfire Cord, Soulcloth Gloves, Apostle of Argus
I chose these shoulders because they match the soft, greyish colours of the tabard so nicely. To wear this kit without the tabard, try the Arcane Pads or Arachnidian Pauldrons.
The belt shown here can only be obtained by Priests. Good options for Mages include Bridenbrad’s Sash, the Primal Mooncloth Belt, or the Azure Silk Belt.

Hand of Dedication

Flamefly Spaulders, Queen Conch Chestguard, Red Belt of Unspoken Warning, Nice Shorts, Conch-Inlaid Gauntlets, Inscribed Leather Boots, Cranedancer’s Staff
This outfit could also be worn “barefoot” by using the Mosshide Boots.

Hand of Pursuit

Rift Stalker Mantle, Formidable chestguard & leggings, Giantstalker’s Belt, Sundered gloves & boots, Arugoo’s Crossbow of Destruction
To convert this outfit for a Shaman, use the Cyclone (T4) shoulders, the Jazeraint belt, and the Spell Axe/Battleaxe of the Farseer.

Hand of Justice

Golem Helmet, Shoulderguards of the Bold, Chestplate of the Great Aspects, Greatbelt of Living Waters (LFR), Legplates of the Bold, Templar Gauntlets, Replica Boots of Heroism, Fist of Argus, Azure-Shield of Coldarra
The T16 LFR belt shown above can only be obtained by Paladins who have chosen Holy for their loot spec. Warriors will want to use the Lurker’s Girdle for this outfit.

The excitement of my friends whose favorite race is the Draenei is rather contagious. I have caught myself contemplating the notion that perhaps I should not use my complementary boost to 90 on either the Warlock or the Rogue, but rather should give it to my Draenei Mage.

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WoW Insider’s Breakfast Topics usually go by so fast that I don’t manage to respond to them. I had a few spare minutes this morning, though, so I thought I’d tell y’all what I am saving my gold to buy.

As I have levelled and done dailies and LFR, I’ve been watching the total gold counter in Altoholic slowly tick upwards. None of my characters are rich; the most wealthy are sitting at 10-12k and my total gold is currently somewhere around the 52k mark.

When I get to around 75k, I plan to pool most of that gold onto Kamalia and send her out to talk to Big Keech — a considerably more dangerous expedition these days than it used to be — to buy three Orbs of Mystery. She will then send them to Ketura, my Engineer, who will temporarily swap her specialization from Goblin to Gnome so that she can craft the Geosynchronous World Spinner.

Then I will start slowly saving gold again to someday, perhaps by the end of Warlords of Draenor, purchase that Grand Expedition Yak… assuming that Mystic Birdhat will change his career from Reforging to Transmogrification in 6.0.

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For the fifteenth and final Batinna’s Dress Up theme, I’ve created a Mog-costume of Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph.


reference image from disney.wikia.com

Vanellope’s signature mint-green hoodie is almost more blue than green (to my eye), and there aren’t any good color matches for it in the game. The softest green is the Crown of the Sun from Tempest Keep. The Vital Raiment robe coordinates reasonably well with that cowl, but there aren’t really any good tunic + pants options. Plus, getting Kelilla to a high enough level to solo TK was a little more work than I really wanted to do for this outfit. So I went with a brighter shade of green.

Vanellope

Conjurer’s Hood, Greenweave Mantle, Willow Vest Gloves & Belt, Cleaning Britches, Sorcerer Slippers, Green Holiday Shirt
The goblin trikes would be a somewhat better mount to represent the Sugar Rush karts. Sometimes I really wish that mounts weren’t quite so faction-restricted!

Thank you, Batinna, for a wonderful, engaging set of challenges!

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