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I’d been thinking about writing this post for quite a while when it occurred to me that I was really quite curious about how other players approached the same concept — so I suggested it as a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic:

I’ve always considered that my various characters know each other. Each one of them may not personally know every single one of the others, but they are all connected in a web of family and friend relationships. I know that other bloggers, most famously Ratshag, and also Grimmtooth, write about their characters as being a “family of misfits” type of community. And so I’ve been wondering, how did your alts “become the Brady Bunch”?

Whether you have many alts or just a few, do they know each other? Do they have some sort of relationship as people living in Azeroth, or is sending materials and money between them just a game mechanic for you? If your characters do know each other, what kind of relationships do they have, and how did those relationships come into being? If they don’t, what functions do your different alts serve?

Because I treat my characters’ materials and money as a communal pool from a meta perspective, I feel like they have to have some kind of knowledge of each other within the game world, some in-character reason why they are willing to freely share their stuff with each other.

My Tauren characters have always been sisters. Kamalia is the eldest, followed by Kerisa, Ketura, and Keija. Tauren only have four faces to choose from, but when I first created Ketura, Keija, and Kerisa, I deliberately gave them all the same face and skin tone that I’d chosen for Kamalia. Only their hair and horn styles differentiated their appearances (later, after the Barbershop debuted, I tweaked their appearances to have a Tauren of each color).
Karelia and Kaohana are part of the family and have Kamalia’s face, too. Mirroring the late addition of the Paladin and Priest classes to the Tauren race, they were their parents’ “surprise” late middle-age children. They are also twins. I imagine that twins are probably rather rare among the Tauren, and that, combined with their mother’s age at the time, made the pregnancy and birth quite incapacitating. The difficult circumstances of their birth and infancy are what later led them to question the traditional paths of the Tauren and become attracted to the teachings of the disciples of An’She, the Sunwalkers and the Seers. Meanwhile, Keija, the youngest of the older daughters and the only one who had not yet left home, had to take over most of the management of the family’s financial affairs while their father devoted himself to caring for their mother and the babies — the RP explanation for why Warrior Keija was my primary banker on LH for a long time.
DK Kregga was always intended to be a banker, but it took her a long time to get there because she needed to be at or near the level cap herself to be able to disenchant everything Kamalia and Kerisa might throw at her. She was born Grimtotem, but has since renounced her affiliation with that clan. After she returned from Acherus, she was much troubled and sought counsel from the elders of Thunder Bluff, who assigned a trusted senior Shaman — Kamalia — to mentor her as she worked to regain a connection to the Earthmother. As part of her continuing self-inflicted penance for her acts in the service of the Lich King, Kregga has volunteered to help manage Kamalia’s family’s finances so that Keija can resume her training as a Warrior.
Feral Druid Kaiuna, with her green eyes, is one of Kamalia’s younger cousins and a particular favorite of the twins; she is only a year or two older than they are and the three of them were often together during their childhood.

I have a lot of alts, so this post is likely to be a wall-of-text crit — if you’re interested, follow the cut to (more…)

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Further thoughts on this week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic from PvE Rogues:

Perhaps your favourite race is the one that yields the best DPS or raid utility? Perhaps you’d rather have a certain race because it seems to suit your class best or your characters back story. Maybe you like PVP beneficial racial traits or just like the look of those sexy draeneis or blood elfs.
If questing and alts are more to your liking which race has the best questing racial traits or the most interesting starting quest zones/chains?
If you run a personal blog perhaps you want to simply talk about what you think about the races, which ones look best, which ones have the best emotes and /dance animation?

As indicated in my previous post, I wonder sometimes if the Tauren are my favorite race mostly because my first introduction to the world of Azeroth was through Tauren eyes. If I had played some other race first — an Orc or a Troll, given that I wanted to be a Horde Shaman — would that race be my favorite now?

the short version

for the tl;dr version, continue past the cut
(more…)

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PvE Rogues suggested this week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic:

What is your favourite race in wow?

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s spent much time around here that my favorite race is the Tauren.

I like the way Tauren look, I like the way they move, I like the way they dance. I like that the Tauren dances aren’t sexualized, the way the other races’ dances are. BTH likes Tauren best because, in his opinion, the shape of a Tauren woman (if you ignore the funny head and legs) is the most realistic. At the same time, he’ll probably be scandalized a) to learn that I think that Tauren tails are sexy and b) that I’m admitting it publicly. Draenei tails? Not so much. And Worgen would be more attractive if they did have tails than they are in their current tail-less state.

Although there are certain sorts of clothing that don’t really hang well on a Tauren, I like a Tauren model precisely because they are so big — the fine details of the clothing often show up better on a large Tauren frame than on a small, slender Blood Elf.

The first Druid I ever rolled was a Night Elf. She didn’t make it past level 19. When I later rolled a Tauren Druid, the Tauren philosophy of Druidism seemed to be more humble than the Night Elf philosophy, and I liked that. In time, I decided that the Tauren shapeshifts are the most handsome of all the races’ shapeshift forms.

I love the Tauren “home territory” zones — Mulgore, the Barrens, Stonetalon Mountains, Thousand Needles — because they remind me of some of my favorite parts of the real world. I enjoyed questing in these zones — the pre-Shattering versions, that is, given that I haven’t yet explored them in the Shattered world.

The racial personality of the Tauren as the gentle giants of the Horde, normally mild-mannered and difficult to anger, but capable of intense fury when roused, appeals to me. I like the things that Tauren NPCs say to you, always warm, welcoming, and generous.

Syrco and Glorwynn talk more specifically about some aspects of the Tauren that I didn’t think to mention here but which definitely contribute to my love for the race.

Most of all, I love Thunder Bluff. Once I learned my way around the bridges, it became my favorite city. I like it because it is pretty, and I like it because it is quiet. I began playing on a computer that didn’t have a gaming quality graphics card, and the graphics were awful even at the lowest settings. Shattrath City overwhelmed my poor computer; I avoided it as much as possible. Thunder Bluff was a much more pleasant place to be. I like the feeling of being out in the fresh open air on the mountain top, and I love the peaceful, calming music.

But I sometimes wonder, if I had rolled Kamalia as, say, a Troll, would I now have a server full of Trolls, rather than a server full of Tauren?

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This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic comes to us from Kallixta, who asks

Is your favorite weapon something with strong memories for you? Is it something that just works well for RP purposes? Or maybe the balance of abilities meshes better than normal to your spec and play style?

There are a number of weapons in the game I really like, most of them for RP reasons and a few for the associated memories. I discussed a few of my favorite weapons several months ago; I recently updated that post to include a new Cataclysm shiny.

When I first saw the prompt, though, I immediately thought of Nibelung.

It was a huge upgrade for Kerisa when she first started raiding and I was struggling and frustrated. Kerisa is the only one of my characters who has gotten or ever will get one, so it’s staying in her bank forever because it procs Val’kyr.

Most of the Scourge are gross and disgusting, but Val’kyr are awesome. It felt pretty cool to get some of the LK’s most devoted servants to help and protect me, against him, instead! I bet that’s where Sylvanas first got the idea to try to get the Val’kyr into her service.

The weapons I like most tend to be relatively simple in design and to have some sort of iconic class or race association. The new level 20 SFK class quest weapons are amazing and I’m looking forward to acquiring them with my various alts — and I will then be keeping them for those characters’ RP sets.

Before I got the SFK Druid staff for Kerisa, her favorite RP set weapon was the Conifer Cone staff. It has a unique look, isn’t often seen, and seemed like a perfect fit for a Druid.

Kiraleia’s Sin’dorei Warblade is a distinctive and elegantly simple weapon. Although it is very strongly associated with the Blood Elves, it’s such a handsome blade that I’d like to get it with Karelia, for her dress armor sets, too.

Kamalia has a handful of weapons in her bank that are no longer available in the game. She acquired the Scepter of Celebras, Mallet of Zul Farrak, and Enchanted Azsharite Dagger over a year ago while doing Loremaster. Only the ZF Mallet is really cool looking, but I keep them all for the memories of exploring the stories of Azeroth-that-was. For her RP sets, she uses the Resurgence Rod and Furbolg Medicine Totem; I didn’t know that these weren’t in the game anymore until I looked them up on WoWhead to link them just now. I also keep around her Guiding Star for its fond memories of Ulduar (this one can still be obtained).

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Archaeology: Yeah, I Dig it

Although I posted about Archaeology less than a week ago (and only two posts before this one), it’s this week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic (suggested by the estimable Ringo Flinthammer), and I do have more thoughts on the subject.

Archaeology appeals to me on two fronts: I love the lore and stories of Azeroth, and I love collecting things. IRL, I have collected Breyer model horses, Harry Potter Legos, Crayola crayons, Prismacolor markers and pencils, assorted other art supplies that I rarely use, and many many books. In-game, I collect characters — one of every Race, one of every Class, a Tauren of every class available to the race, and a Mage of every race available to the class — and Kamalia has collected the party clothes supplied by Blizzard for Azeroth’s holidays, enough mounts to get the Albino Drake, enough pets to get Stinker, and is my designated Achievement hound. My other characters have fairly sizeable RP wardrobes (that they rarely wear), too. So, collecting things that tell me stories about Azeroth? You bet I’m all over that 😀

I intend to keep doing Archaeology with Kamalia until I’ve found everything, although it became slightly less pure fun when I started hoping to get Tyrande’s Doll. Somehow I’m not surprised that I’ve found 24/25 Night Elf artifacts and the only one I haven’t found yet is the Doll.

I’ve only found two BOA artifacts so far, the Orcish Headdress of the First Shaman — which will be nice for my Hunter to wear when she gets to level 70 — and the NE Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown — a good incentive to get working on leveling my Priest so she can get to level 60 and use it. The other rare artifacts have amused me, although I really wish that the Bones of Transformation would turn my female character into a female Naga.

So far, Kamalia is the only character with whom I’ve leveled Archaeology. I have picked up Archaeology with Kaelinda because she collects purple dresses and wants Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown and with Kjersti because Archaeology is such a Dwarf meme. Between Kamalia, Kaelinda, and Kjersti, I’ll have an Archaeologist on each of my main servers, giving them all potential access to the BOA items. I’ll only take it up with other characters if I decide that one of them wants a specific soulbound rare artifact. For example, Ketura has a thing for Raptor mounts, so I’ll probably end up doing Archaeology with her just long enough for her to get the Fossilized Hatchling and Fossilized Raptor.

I think it might be Blizzard’s intent for Archaeology to fill the “it’s 30 minutes until raid/Tol Barad/LFD pops, what should I do in the meantime?” niche, particularly for characters who don’t have gathering professions such as Mining, Herbing, or Fishing with which to occupy that time. The rare finds are meant to be bonuses, perhaps, rather than things that are ground for (though of course the player base will grind for them). I often do Archaeology with my Fishing Pole and Hat equipped, though I don’t necessarily fish every pool I see. For me, Archaeology is also a good way to relax and unwind after raid time is over — I may spend another hour in-game after the raid flying around the world digging up stuff.

Although Archaeology does give good XP, a flying mount is just so useful for jumping up, down, and across obstacles that I don’t think I’d really do much Archaeology while leveling until I reached level 60 and could get my Flight Master’s License. I’d also probably only do dig sites that were directly in the path of questing and herbing/mining if I was doing Archaeology with an under-60 leveling toon.

While I’ve been out doing Archaeology, occasionally I find all four of a continent’s dig sites in the same zone! This always merits a screenshot. (more…)

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No picture for the post itself today, because I think that the new header I just put up, using the lovely portrait of Kamalia Vidyala made for me, suits the subject matter perfectly. Llani at Pocket Heals suggested this week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic, asking, in brief:

What takes the longest to choose, is the first thing people see, and is the one thing they always remember about you and your character?

Your name.

How did you decide upon the name for your character(s)?

When I was making my very first character, the Native American influences on the Tauren were obvious right from the character creation screen. So as I thought about my Tauren Shaman, I thought about the concept of a “medicine man”. From there, I started thinking about the plants a medicine man might use. I’d been watching the new Battlestar Galactica with friends for the past year or so, and chamalla, the herb used by President Roslin to treat her cancer, came to mind. A little playing around with the sounds and syllables produced “Kamalia”. Using “chamalla” as the inspiration for Kamalia‘s name proved quite seredipitous, as although it was a healing herb, I didn’t know yet that Kamalia was going to be a healer, nor did I know about the strong association between shamans and farseeing, or visions — which Roslin experiences as a side-effect of her chamalla treatments — in the game world.

My second character was an Undead Warlock. I wanted a name that sounded dangerous, prickly. I thought of paprika, a sort of pepper. I thought of Caprica Six, the dangerous Cylon agent from BSG, who had experienced many deaths and “resurrections”. Thus my (long since deleted) undead warlock became “Kaprikka”. I just couldn’t resist the pun inherent in giving that name to a spacegoat, so I eventually changed my Draenei Mage’s name to “Kaprikka”.

My third character, a Tauren Hunter, is “Ketura” because “Keturah”, a pretty name from a Christmas picturebook I liked, was unavailable.

For awhile, I tried to fit all of my characters’ names between “K” and “a”. By the time I really caught the altitis fever, I’d begun raiding, so I also wanted the names I chose to shorten to nice four-letter nicknames for fitting inside my Grid boxes. With these constraints and the additional desire to have the name sound pretty, I ended up with a lot of very similar names for my elven characters — Kaelinda, Kalaneia, Kiraleia, Keriluna, Kelisanna, Katelyra/Katelaira. And I found myself thinking of plenty of “K” names that were pretty, but didn’t end in “a” and trying to force them to end in “a” only made them awkward — like “Kerisibeth”, which looked awkward once I saw it in type, despite sounding pretty in my head, and ended up shortening to “Kerisa” for my Tauren Druid’s name. So I have relaxed the “end in a” rule and only require my characters’ names to “begin with K”.

Some of my characters’ names are derived from relatives or friends. “Kjersti” is one of my cousins; my uncle went to Norway for his LDS mission and brought the name back with him. “Kesha”, a cousin on the other side of the family, sounded like a good name for an Orc, but since that name itself wasn’t available, I ended up with “Keshona” — which is also a permutation of “Kenosha”, a town in Wisconsin I used to drive past when traveling to Chicago. “Keija” was originally intended to be “Kaija”, but since the latter wasn’t available, I had to use the former… which is very much like the name of one of my sisters. “Kelilla” is named after the creator of one of the first online comic books I read and host of one of the first BBS boards I frequented regularly (both sites, alas, have been defunct for a few years now). “Kalani” is the sister of a friend, but since that name was already taken, I ended up with “Kalaneia”.

“Kivrinne”, “Kimorene”, and “Kinevra” are all derived from books I love — Doomsday Book (Connie Willis), Dealing with Dragons (Patricia C Wrede), and Harry Potter (J K Rowling), respectively. “Kinevra” is also a quasi-anagram of “Kivrinne”, as the Human character was originally created to represent the backstory of the Undead character.

“Karelia” is a region of Finland. “Kilauea” is a volcano in Hawai’i — a good name, I thought, for a Troll Elemental Shaman. “Kazuliza” is partially another reference to Dealing with Dragons and partially comes about because I wanted to use “z” in a name and thought it would be a good fit for a Goblin.

I have always tried to give my characters “real person” names, but sometimes I have to distort the spelling quite a bit to find a version that hasn’t already been taken — thus “Kymberlea” for my Worgen (who would have been born a normal Human) and “Kryztalya” as my Draenei Mage’s original name. In the case of the Draenei, I also wanted to make a reference to the crystals of which Draenei are so fond, and give the name a bit of a Russian sound to go with the slightly Russian accent of Draenei voices.

“Kelisanna” was originally “Kelisendra”. I thought it rolled off the tounge nicely… until I discovered that the name was in my head because of Captain Kelisendra in Eversong Woods. “Kregga” was a good somewhat harsh sounding, yet still feminine, name for a character who’d come from an aggressive background into a grim future — my Tauren DK. By the time I remembered Sergeant Kregga in Icecrown, my Kregga was too attached to her name to let me change it. I still felt embarassed when I realized that I’d unwittingly named a character after an NPC again.

“Kaiuna”, “Kaohana”, and “Kikimaia” all resulted from hitting the “randomize” button over and over until I found a combination of syllables that still made a nice-sounding name when I substituted a “K” for the initial consonant or added “K” to the front of a name beginning with a vowel.

I think that’s all my alts….

My naming practices, then, have run the gamut of inspirations and sources. I’ve decided, however, that none of my RL children, when we actually have some, will have “K” names.

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