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Archive for the ‘rwlrwlrwlrwl’ Category

So, so, so, Warlords is available for pre-order now, despite the beta not yet having shown its face. With the free boost to 90 from buying the expansion now available, naturally the extra boosts are, too. Although the extra boosts are expensive enough, at $60, that I don’t see myself buying any, I still plan to use my free boost on a male Tauren Warrior whose primary roles will be to hold all my non-heirloom BoA stuff when it’s not in use and to look awesome. I won’t be pre-ordering the expansion, however, until I know which realm should be his home. I want to put him on a partner realm to my completely full Tauren home realm, but my home realm has not yet been connected or even had a connection involving it announced. Ever since connected realms were announced, I’ve been waiting for my home realm to get connected so that I could move my three extra Tauren to the partner realm and finally have all my Tauren be in the same guild(s) and able to freely share resources with each other. Alas, each time the list of connected realms has been updated, I have looked to see if my home realm is on the list of upcoming connections, and so far, it has not been. sigh

Meanwhile, my Photobucket bandwidth got overrun again on March 6th. I thought that my bandwidth was supposed to reset on the day of the month that I originally registered my account, which should have been the 9th. It is now the 10th, and all my images are still being held hostage. Grrrrr! I’m still not quite ready to start paying Photobucket yet, though, so instead I’m thinking about moving a selection of images somewhere else — probably some here to WordPress and some to Picasa. I’d probably be moving the art (even though no-one ever looks at it, I still want it to be always visible), the images in the “Things My Characters Wear” series, and the images in “Things My Characters are Wearing with their Shado-Pan Helmets”, “The Very Model of a Warlock Dark and Terrible”, and “The Aristocratic Gilnean in Exile but still in Vogue”. The latter three posts have consistently generated a lot of traffic and thus seem to be the culprits responsible for my bandwidth getting overrun. If I move those images somewhere else, then hopefully that will solve the problem.

ETA: Put in a ticket at Photobucket, seems that my bandwidth didn’t reset properly because my account just happened to reset on the same day that Daylight Savings Time began — stupid, stupid, why don’t we just get rid of DST already? — hopefully problem will get resolved soon. Moved art here to WordPress. Poked around with Picasa (now Google+ Photos); didn’t seem to have quite the functionality I want. Made a new Photobucket account for the images in the three specific posts listed above. Will wait to see what happens this month before moving images in “Things My Characters Wear” series.

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I felt very honored indeed when WoW Insider linked to the “What My Characters are Wearing with their Shado-Pan Helmets” post that I made back in December.

Unfortunately, as you may have noticed by the obnoxious placeholder images now appearing all over my site, the continuing interest in that post, and an elevated level of traffic to my little blog in general this week due to Mog the World in 80 Days and getting a link from the Godmother (another honor!), has now exceeded the monthly “free” bandwidth limit of the image hosting service I’ve been using. Unless I want to pay them some money, in the form of a monthly subscription fee, Photobucket is going to be holding my images hostage until the monthly bandwidth reset of my account. This happens on the day of the month on which I originally registered the account, which happens to be the 9th — about a week and a half from now.

If I make any posts that need pictures between now and February 9th, I can use WordPress’s built-in media storage. I have way, way, way too many images to move them all over to WordPress, though. Furthermore, the WordPress library doesn’t seem to have the functionality to make the various sub-albums and folders that I’d need to organize my multitude of pictures.

I could also make a new Photobucket account, but storage space isn’t the issue. I haven’t even used ten percent of the default storage space in a free Photobucket account. It’s the bandwidth used by folks looking at the posts where I’ve linked those images here on the blog that’s the problem.

As frustrating as this is, I’m not going to pay up for the Photobucket “Plus” account — at least, not now. If my bandwidth keeps getting overrun for three or four months in a row, then I might consider it.

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I felt an odd sort of whiplash watching The Godmother’s #TBLIZ feed during the initial Warlords announcement. One minute, people were squealing in giddy delight, “look at all the ladies!”, while watching the trailer cinematic. The next minute, they were passing around this image –

– and complaining that it has no women in it.

Wait wait waitaminnit… first you’re glad that there will be many ladies in the new expansion, and now you’re sad that there aren’t enough? I R CONFUZZLED.

In retrospect, I suppose I can understand why, after seeing the trailer, they’d be disappointed that that image — or this one, for that matter –

– does not have any (let alone the same level of) female representatation.

In the days since BlizzCon, there’s been this implication in the blogosphere that the principal thought a Real Female Gamer “should” have upon seeing these images is where are all the women?

I don’t know if I would have thought that or not — I didn’t really get the chance. Because blogs and their associated Twitter feeds updated faster than the WoW Insider coverage did, I started seeing that first image with “why aren’t there any women?” commentary well before I saw the unmodified image in its original context. I did wonder why Draka was not alongside Durotan in the second image, though.

I recognize that this gal (Y’rel?) –

– is something of a “token female” in the Warlords of Draenor promotional material we’ve seen so far. I get that there are women who play WoW who feel left out and pushed aside by the emphasis on male characters in what we’ve seen of the upcoming storyline. I acknowledge that, for them, their concerns are real, legitimate, and deserve to be addressed… but I am not bothered much.

As long as the plot and the characters are engaging, and there are not any other aspects of the content that I find disagreeable, I have never particularly noticed or cared about gender balance in the stories I consume. If Harry Potter’s two best friends had been Ron and Neville, the series would have been a rather different story, but I think I still would have enjoyed it just as much. I hope that Blizzard will tell a cracking good story over the course of Warlords of Draenor, as they have during Mists of Pandaria, and I intend to enjoy it without worrying about exactly how many of the “badass people doing badass things” (to borrow a phrase from Anne Stickney) are male and how many are female.

The Aggra thing, however… yeah, that bothers me.

Although I have been culturally raised to believe that stay-at-home-motherhood is the most important and worthwhile lifestyle a woman can choose, I agree that it’s utterly ridiculous that Aggra should be left behind just because she’s had a baby. It’s just not consistent with her character at all. Until someone specifically asked the question about her, I’d been automatically assuming that she would be going along with Thrall, and it does seem, from what I’ve read, that the presenters’ way of answering that question was condescending and dismissive. Aggra is an awesome character in The Shattering novel, and I have been disappointed that her development in the game has not fully lived up to that potential. Akabeko, Anne Stickney and Rades have expounded upon this topic much more completely and eloquently than I could. It would be wonderful if the strong concerns that have been raised over Aggra result in the CDevs changing their minds and more fully including her in the Warlords story, just as the strong concerns that were raised about Ji Firepaw during the Mists beta resulted in positive changes to his character. If that doesn’t happen, though, I’m still going to play the expansion and enjoy the story it tells.

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My plans for Alt Appreciation and Dress Up! related leveling and doing anything at all with my 90s this week were stymied when my home internet connection fritzed out on Tuesday afternoon. I’m not sure exactly when it happened; I turned my computer off for a couple of hours, and when I came back, my internet was gone. I tried resetting the router. I tried power-cycling both router and modem. I tried plugging my laptop directly into the modem with a network cable — still no connection, so the problem seemed to be in the modem, not the router. We then discovered that the land-line phone was out, too, so it’s taken awhile to get the problem fixed because BTH has had to call the telecomm company from his work. It would be nice if the problem was taken care of by this evening, but I would not be surprised if it wasn’t. I am writing this post from the chemistry department tutorial/computer lab.

As much as I have fretted at being unexpectedly internet-less for the past day and a half, it has in truth been good to have a bit of a break from WoW. I read the last of my library books on Tuesday night. I spent yesterday drawing in Photoshop, working up my earlier sloppy sketches for an image concept I’ve been thinking about for some months into clean lineart. My wrists, elbows, and left ring finger — the one I use to spam “2″ — have needed the rest. Around the time that Cynwise wrote about wrist RSI forcing him to retire from WoW in early summer, my wrists also began feeling rather sore. I staved off further injury by keeping them bandaged for a few weeks, and I continue to bandage them intermittently whent they start to feel sore again. More recently, I’ve started to feel a little of the same sort of elbow pain that Cadistra described in her recent WoW, Eh? update when I hammer 1 and 2 while pulling weeds and wrestling wild crops at Sunsong Ranch. I’m not quite sure what would be the best preventative therapy for that (other than not playing WoW or drawing for awhile) — perhaps an elbow brace? Furthermore, my arms are unusually sore this week because I beat whipped cream for a fruit salad and egg whites for an angel cake by hand, with a wire whisk, for our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (we are living in a company-furnished apartment, and they did not provide a mixer). So really, it has been a good thing to have an enforced break from the game.

I just hope it doesn’t go on for too very much longer.

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rolling will saves

Since last Wednesday, when Garrosh was defeated on Normal and the Siege of Orgrimmar ending cinematics were revealed, I must mentally roll a Will Save against the temptation to look at the spoilers every time I visit WoW Insider or check my blogroll. So far, I have been successful, but will I be able to hold out until the final wing of Siege of Orgrimmar opens for LFR on 22 October, over a month away? Perhaps BTH’s guild will defeat Garrosh before then, and I can watch the cinematic over his shoulder…?

I finally got around to taking Kamalia to the Proving Grounds on Saturday evening. I quickly discovered that I am not as 1337 a healer as I thought I was. I knew I had gotten sloppy raiding only in LFR, but even Bronze mode was more challenging than I’d expected — I was under 20% mana by the time it ended. I passed Silver mode by the skin of my teeth, drained dry of mana and desperately weaving Telluric Currents-enhanced Lightning Bolts with Healing Waves. By the fourth or fifth wave of Gold mode, I was already ooming, and as desperately as I tried, I could not keep both the tank and the standing-in-fire hunter alive. I am going to have to study up on How To Resto Shaman and keep an eye on Vixsin and Lodur to see if they write Resto-Shaman-specific guides to the Proving Grounds. To give myself something to work toward between when I decided Kam is finished with Siege of Orgrimmar and the next expansion, I had been contemplating setting a goal of getting the Gold certificate at the Proving grounds with all of my healers; after seeing just how difficult Gold mode is, perhaps it would be less frustrating to collect Silvers on all of them before I go for Golds on any of them.

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the timeless treadmill

At first, I had a lot of fun exploring the Timeless Isle — seeing what was there, talking to all of my old friend NPCs from various factions, marveling at the sheer number of brew and noodle sellers, figuring out the jumping puzzles.

The Timeless Isle is definitely going to be a great way to gear up alts. By the end of the night, I had a big pile of Timeless armor in my bags — lots of plate, one mail item, one cloth item, a cloak, a ring.

Everything that can be purchased with Timeless Coins, however, is overpriced by an order of magnitude.

I suppose I misunderstood what I’d been reading about Mogu Runes of Fate being available on the Timeless Isle. I thought it would be like the Isle of Thunder, where Greater Charms of Fortune drop from the creatures there with reasonable frequency and can be found in Troves of Thunder and the Treasure Room. Thus, I expected that Mogu Runes of Fate would drop with reasonable frequency from the creatures on the Timeless Isle and that I might find them in the treasure chests there. But I did not loot a single Mogu Rune of Fate last night. I had to buy them all.

And by the time I’d collected 7500 Timeless Coins to purchase the 3 Mogu Runes of Fate that I will need for the Throne of Thunder bosses that have the loot I still want, I was tired of it. I was tired of running around and around looking for boxes. I was tired of dying to mobs that took my health down so fast that I didn’t know how anyone was managing to kill them. I was feeling like I was just doing a grindfest, and I was bored of it by the time I had enough Timeless Coins for two Mogu Runes of Fate. Worse yet, a good chunk of those 7500 Timeless Coins, this first day, came from the one-off quests. The grind will be even more dull next week. I would be willing to grind 750 Timeless Coins each week to purchase 3 Mogu Runes of Fate at 250 apiece… but 2500 apiece feels like too much.

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Last week’s LFR was really quite successful: I picked up Kamalia’s last four Secrets of the First Empire in just two wings of Throne of Thunder, and Keija went to Mogu’shan Vaults and nobody called her out for having horrible DPS (I still haven’t gotten around to reinstalling a meter) and Starshatter dropped!

Kamalia dutifully trotted over to the Tavern in the Mists to meet with Wrathion, then went to the Isle of Thunder. The first stages of the Thunder Forge scenario were pretty easy. I was delighted that the Shado-Pan NPCs showed up on my Grid as soon as they appeared, so that I could heal them just as if they were players. Then that final boss appeared and I just couldn’t do it. I could keep the Celestial Defender alive, but it barely tickled the boss. If I tried to damage and heal, I ran myself OOM very quickly. After three or four deaths in Resto — with the Spirit Healer resurrecting me while the Celestial Defender was still fighting the boss — I tried switching to Elemental as soon as I rezzed. Now I could do more damage, but it was harder to stay alive (especially during that accursed Meteor Swarm phase) and I wasn’t doing enough damage to keep ahead of the anvil clock. I don’t think I got that boss down to even 50%, on my best attempt. I only use my Elemental spec for doing dailies, so I haven’t at all mastered its CD usage nuances. I died and I died and I died and I died. Finally I gave up and started the scenario over from the beginning, this time in Elemental from the start. That was even worse — the first stages were more difficult, and I failed in the penultimate stage because I let the Celestial Blacksmith die.

I guess I should go see if I can find some Shaman-specific strategies for the Thunder Forge scenario. Ideally, one for Resto, because my Resto gear and skills are always in better condition than my Elemental gear and skills.

For awhile, I thought perhaps the 6K valor points would be the stage of the Legendary questline that stalled me. Then, for a little bit, I was having such terrible luck with Secrets of the Empire drops in LFR that I thought that might be the stage that stopped me. This Thunder Forge scenario, though… it just might be the thing that really washes me out of the program…

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When Patch 5.4 drops, will Taran Zhu be able to resist a nigh overwhelming desire to say I TOLD YOU SO!!!! to some of the other factions in Pandaria?

On the one hand, I feel like I’ve already been spoiled more than I wanted to be about what’s coming in Patch 5.4. Even without reading posts that warn HERE THERE BE SPOILERS, the header images on various WoW Insider posts, newsbutton images at Wowhead, and post titles that I’ve seen in other blogs’ newsfeeds have spoiled some of the major environment changes.

On the other hand, knowing at least a little bit about what’s coming, as betrayed and sorrowful as it makes me feel, gives me time to run around screencapping the location that is going to be dramatically changed. I collected screenshots of the southern beaches of Krasarang Wilds in their pristine state shortly before Patch 5.1 dropped. I wish, now, that I’d paid just a little more attention to the news from the Patch 5.3 PTR, because I don’t have any screenshots of what the area that is now the Big Blossom Excavation site used to look like.

On a somewhat related note, as I rode past a couple of the yaungol fire-camps that now dot Kun-Lai Summit, I thought about the blatant hypocrisy of the Horde, as represented by General Nazgrim. Nazgrim pretends to help the pandaren, agreeing that the yaungol, who have been disposessed and want new and better lands to provide for their people, should be pushed back — when Hellscream and his Kor’kron want to do exactly the same thing to the very same lands. Why is it wrong for the yaungol to take Kun-Lai Summit from the pandaren, but not wrong for the orcs to take all of Pandaria from the pandaren? Playing through the storylines of the Horde invasion of Pandaria has made me feel rather uncomfortable about my own country’s history of colonization and Manifest Destiny….

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jumping games

Last night I was questing in Ighaluk Crag when I saw the Shoulder of the Chamberlain waaaaay up on the tip of a rock. I jumped around the base of that rock pile for several minutes, growing increasingly frustrated with my inability to understand the variables that control Saurok-form jumping. Why did sometimes I jump far and sometimes short? Why could I not get onto that one rock no matter what distance I jumped from, even when it seemed that the apex of my jump was high enough that if I jumped from just the right horizontal distance, I ought to be able to make it? Large muscle coordination has never been something I was good at in real life, either. Eventually I got so fed up that I looked in my quest log to see if the Crumbled Chamberlain quest rewards valor points. Upon finding that it doesn’t, only money and a Shan-ze Ritual Stone, I said forget this! and dumped the Head of the Chamberlain and the two other parts I’d already found right there on the beach.

Having run through the rest of the day’s quest sequence, I got to the Swollen Vault and found this little challenge awaiting me:

Despite an impressive and slightly intimidating number of skeletons on and around the pillars, I didn’t find that jumping game to be particularly difficult — well, this time, at least. Maybe it was beginner’s luck…

It reminded me of a cross between this:

and this:

So if the Swollen Vault’s lightning pillars are giving you trouble, you might want to go practice jumping in Blackfathom Deeps and staying out of the fire with Darwin.

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BTH and I must have finally reached Exalted with his brother, because when I went over to babysit the kids the other day, my sister-in-law gave us a key to their house.

Kamalia, however, has been lax about doing her daily quests and her daily heroics, and this is what her reputation pane looked like as of Monday night:

As you can see, I’ve been neglecting the “serious” factions in favor of the “fun” factions. Now that the Grand Commendations are available, it’s really time to buckle down and get the August Celestials and the Shado-Pan to Revered. (I think I’ll only purchase Grand Commendations for the “serious” factions, though — I won’t mind doing the “fun” factions at the slower pace with alts.) After I’ve achieved that goal, I plan to choose one faction at a time to work on getting to Exalted. And I do want to get to Exalted with all the vanilla!Pandaria factions, eventually, for the story payoffs and for a Pandaren Kite of my very own.


Here I am on a flight path — I’m glad that there’s a way to get one of these awesome kites to use anywhere!

(I jest about having to grind rep with my relatives; BTH and his brother are very close, my sister-in-law and I have liked each other immensely from the first time that we met, and I’m glad to watch my nieces and nephew at any time.)

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