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Archive for the ‘rwlrwlrwlrwl’ Category

My WoW playing lately has been driven or dominated by what Kaylriene has recently discussed as the time-wasting or “hamster wheel” aspects of the game. I’m still logging in almost every day, but I’m just doing Anima Conductor Treasures and my favorite super-easy WQs to get my 1K Anima each week. I’m marking time, making minimal increments of progression toward Transmogrification collecting goals (by the proxies of collecting Renown and Anima and Grateful Offerings) between the widely-spaced opportunities when I feel like I have enough time and attention to do a segment of story progression.

Transmogrification is where I get the most fun out of WoW, as you might guess from the persistence and prominence of “Sunday on the Promenade” as a feature of this blog. I love designing new outfits & looks for my characters. With each expansion and patch, I am most interested in finding out what nifty new things there will be to wear and what interesting new character customizations will be available. I catalog which items are both awesome looking and not overly difficult to acquire relative to the comfort zone of my playstyle, then focus my gameplay toward obtaining those items and making outfits with them.

Although I am so, so far behind on experiencing the current storylines, I’ve appreciated and agreed with posts about how the story of WoW is struggling in Shadowlands such this one by Kaylriene and this one by Redbeard.

I’ve found that I engage with the story of Azeroth most at what I think of as the “middle” level — the zone and Campaign storylines. The “little” side-quest storylines can be quite interesting, but I don’t make the effort to search out all of them. As for the “big” overall narrative, well… it lost me in Warlords of Draenor.

For me, the premise of Warlords of Draenor was just a little too reality-warping, even for a fantasy universe. By interacting with the Draenor of the other timeway in such drastic ways, we essentially pulled it out of its original timeway into our own timeway. Between that and the magnitude of the differences between Draenor and Outland, I am more comfortable thinking of Draenor as just another continent (that happens to be on another world) than as a version of the past of Outland. Then there was the “boys’ trip” kerfluffle, which was only tokenly addressed by the roles of Draka and Yrel — and was a clue to Blizzard’s now very public internal woes.

Legion had a good overall premise and narrative. I think that we could have gotten to the premise of “the Burning Legion comes roaring back to Azeroth and we have to make our Final Stand and Stop Them For Good This Time” by another route that didn’t involve timeway shenanigans and alt-Gul’dan.

Battle for Azeroth‘s main premise and Sylvanas and N’Zoth narratives lost me again. I also couldn’t ever quite get over the cognitive dissonance of having the Zandalari be our enemies in Kun-Lai Summit and Isle of Thunder, then our buddy-buddies in Dazar’alor with seemingly very few hard feelings — even with the handwaving that the Zandalari invaders in Pandaria were Zul loyalists whose activities were not officially sanctioned by King Rastakhan, and that Princess Talanji had concluded that the best folks to help her with the Blood Troll problem would be the ones who had thoroughly kicked the butts of that rogue group.

And then there’s Shadowlands, in which I will be more interested, when I finally get there, in how the 9.1 Campaign advances the smaller Covenant narratives than in what it discloses about the larger Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot narrative. Because I don’t really care about it, I’ve let myself get spoiled about the Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot narrative while trying to stay only minimally spoiled about the advancement of the Covenant storylines.

In each of these expansions, because of my playstyle, I’ve felt like my character’s actions and interactions have mattered the most on the zone-leveling and Garrison/Order Hall/Suramar/Covenant Campaign storyline level. I feel like I could, if I so desired, write an in-character RP story about how my character(s) participated in and thought and felt about these events. The Battle for Azeroth War Campaign, however, was just a vehicle for showing me what was happening in the faction war because the events that happened weren’t things I was particularly enthused about having my characters actually be participants in doing (except for rescuing Baine from Sylvanas — Kamalia did help out with that!). I feel the same about the Torghast questchain and the Sylvanas-and-Jailer’s plot stuff in Shadowlands — it’s a way to show me what is happening with the faction leaders, but it’s not really stuff that my characters would be personally involved in doing. I may be a Big Damn Hero, but I’m not that much of a Big Damn Hero.

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It is said that to not speak up in support of the oppressed is to tacitly assent to the oppression, so I suppose I had ought to say something about the recent news concerning Blizzard’s corporate culture and the experience of working for Blizzard. I didn’t read the lawsuit itself, but I’ve read most of the coverage from Wowhead and Blizzard Watch, the article about it in the New York Times, and various thoughtful posts by the small list of active bloggers I currently read. Like others, I am saddened and sickened, disgusted and disappointed that such acutely and chronically distressing things have happened at Blizzard — somehow I’d hoped that Blizzard would be better than that. I thought for a bit on whether I should cancel my sub, and stop playing World of Warcraft for awhile — I do have other games to play now, Horizon Zero Dawn where I still haven’t made it out of the starting area, and Bloons Monkey City which is mostly for my kids but in which I could get more involved if I wanted, and it might be fun to run through Portal again and see if I can get past that one level where I stalled out a decade ago… I decided to keep playing; I agree with the sentiments expressed by Gnomecore and Wrath of Kubla Khan about the value of continuing to support the “normal people” at the company — the 2500+ employees who signed on to the open letter rebuking their company leadership, the artists and animators and code writers, etc, who actually do the nitty gritty nuts and bolts work of making the game that I enjoy. Besides, at this time of year I always have to make myself take a break from playing WoW while I’m scrambling to get my courses prepared for the impending doom of the beginning of Fall semester, now only a month away. So for me to say that I was taking a break for ethical protest reasons seems like it would be kind of disingenuous.

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Well, damn.

I abandoned the Torghast questchain after rescuing Thrall; the Patch 9.1 trailer spoiled Anduin’s fate thoroughly enough that I felt like I didn’t need to do the last two steps of the questchain just for the sake of the lore.

The latest news from the Patch 9.1 PTR, via Wowhead, is that there’ll be a skip for the Torghast questline. Chapter 2 of the Covenant Campaign only requires doing the first three steps of the Torghast questline, but it’d be nice to be able to skip it and jump right into Chapter 3, where the real story of the Covenant Campaign begins. Not particularly surprisingly, however, being able to use the skip most likely will require one character on the account to have completed the whole thing.

This Wowhead post also revealed to me, though, that there was a whole ‘nother questchain that I’d been ignorant of. If you’ve completed the Torghast questchain, there’s another questchain that opens up after defeating Sire Denathrius in Castle Nathria. In Patch 9.1, it, too, can be skipped on alts once one character on the account has done it. Completion/skipping of this second questchain is, however, required to access the Patch 9.1 Campaign.

So I guess I’d better go attempt the Twisting Corridors after all — as three sessions of going just to Floor 6; many thanks to Gnomecore for pointing out that the quest to find three clues about Anduin’s location can be completed in this fashion.

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With doubled-up Callings to Maldraxxus this week, I finally made it back to the place — and it still grosses me out. I’m so glad that I don’t have to smell what my poor characters must be smelling!

~*~*~

They said that we wouldn’t need the Flight Whistle because we’d be spending most of our time in the zone associated with our Covenant choice and the Travel Network would make getting around that zone easier. I still miss the Flight Whistle, though. I think that statement from the devs (was it from Hazzikostas, even?) misunderstands what the Flight Whistle is really for. The Flight Whistle is for quickly and easily getting out of the depths of some WQ area once you’ve completed the quest requirements, so that you don’t have to fight your way back out to the road through all the respawns.

~*~*~

I am struggling with prioritizing all the things available to do.

Kaelinda has reached Renown 10 and has accepted the starter quest for Chapter 4 of the Venthyr campaign, but I keep deciding to do Callings and WQs instead. The “get 1000 Anima” weekly has not been exactly trivial for me. I spend a lot of time chasing Anima WQs at the expense of playing through the next Chapter of my Covenant campaign — and I’ve had weeks where I didn’t quite make it because I didn’t feel like playing enough to clear all the available Anima WQs in all four zones. Is it better to prioritize getting Anima, to fill up the Sanctum Reservoir and increase my Renown, or would it be better to prioritize getting through the Covenant campaign story?

Kaurinka has reached Renown 11, but she is stalled out near the beginning of Chapter 2 — the you must do Torghast Chapter — of the Night Fae campaign, even though she knows that she’ll be rescuing Baine and does want to do so. Torghast hasn’t been quite as awful as I’d feared it might be, but it hasn’t tickled the “this is so fun!” spot for me, either. Kaelinda, who is currently Fire, managed not to die at all on her first true run through a Layer 1 wing of Torghast, though she did go through most of a stack of Mana Buns. I will probably not return there any more often than storyline quests send me there, and I may only complete the full questchain from Bolvar on one character (most likely Kaelinda).

I’ve decided that I should just go to the Maw more or less first thing on Tuesday evenings and rescue souls, then get out of there — ideally before my Eye of the Jailer even gets to 1. That, at least, will be a reliable source of Renown, and I’ll steadily collect the souls needed to lend their labor to Sanctum upgrades. If I’m spending as little time in the Maw and Torghast as possible, and only running Torghast on Layer 1 difficulty, repping up with Ve’nari to get stuff from her isn’t a high priority.

I decided to activate the Anima Conductor before activating the Special Feature and both characters are currently channeling anima to the location that has a special treasure. Each of them makes sure to go get their special treasure each day. So far, the Greater Greedstone has proved to be a reliable source of Anima tokens, but the Large Lunarlight Pod has mostly yielded Conduits — often duplicates of Conduits I already have.

With Anima being so scarce, I’m trying to decide how to manage my Sanctum upgrades. I’ve got the first stage of both the Travel Network and the Anima Conductor. Now, do I save up to upgrade one or the other of those things, or do I activate the first stage of the Special Feature?
I have made a tactical decision to ignore the Command Table entirely. I’ve got too many things competing for my attention already (especially if I decide to activate the Special Feature before upgrading the Travel Network or Anima Conductor). Besides, I’d rather save that precious Anima to spend on other things, such as upgrading the other Sanctum features, upgrading Covenant armor pieces, or acquiring the other tints of the Covenant armor and backpieces (once I’ve unlocked them).

~*~*~

And then there’s the other three characters who are patiently waiting in the wings in Oribos for their turns to level and choose their Covenants. I’m half-inclined to do it — to level them and play each of them through the first chapter of their chosen Covenant campaign and get them settled into their Sanctums — even though doing so will delay the progress of Kaelinda and Kaurinka through their Covenant campaigns. I think I might be able to resist doing anything else with them beyond the “rescue 5 souls from the Maw” weekly (and maybe the special treasures from the first stage of the Anima Conductor) until I’ve completed the Venthyr and Night Fae campaigns — especially with the you must do Torghast barrier of Chapter 2 of the Covenant campaign.

~*~*~

And then there’s Horizon Zero Dawn waiting for me on Steam. I got through most of the first area and to level 4 in my first play session before I looked at the clock and realized that I really ought to go to bed. I need to finish up the last couple of side-quests in the first area before I turn in my current main storyline quest, which I think will move me out of that area into the next one — the challenge and rewards of side-quests are really only worth doing while I’m still at-level for the area. The gameworld is beautiful, and I was genuinely enjoying exploring around — and since I’m playing it on Story mode, of course, the combat hasn’t been overly challenging (yet). I want to play more — if only I can resist auto-pilot logging into WoW to do dailies after my schoolwork is done each evening (Spring semester classes begin on Monday!).

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So I got the Sanity Cloak with my Alliance Mage yesterday night — sweet Earthmother, that is a long questline! — and she got Echoes of Ny’alotha when she did today’s Emissary quest.
When I did today’s Emissary quest with my Horde characters, they didn’t get any Echoes of Ny’alotha. Seems that the account-wide unlock is bugged and is faction-specific instead… or maybe the account-wide unlock is bugged and I’ll have to get the Sanity Cloak with everyone whom I want to be getting Echoes of Ny’alotha for picking up one or two more Rank 3 Essences? Thunder and botheration!

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checking in

Yeah, deciding last Sunday night after I finished up Mechagon to take this week off from WoW was definitely a good decision, because this week turned out to be a real doozy. I’m still behind enough on my grading that I’d better take this next week off from WoW, too… but then maybe things will lighten up a bit and I’ll be able to spend some time in the evenings leveling alts? My fancy Hearthstone collection will just have to go another year without Peddlefeet’s Lovely Hearthstone, though.

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Before Alunaria’s Happy Thoughts Experiment officially begins tomorrow, I need to take a moment to whine about something that’s been annoying me.

Ever since Patch 8.1, I have been getting relentlessly spammed by the error message “Lost connection to the voice chat service.” It happens on average about every 15 seconds, and sometimes 3 – 12 copies of the error message pop up all at once. My activity log is so filled with this error message that I can hardly find anything else in it.

I had voice chat disabled using Parental Controls; I re-enabled it; that didn’t fix the problem.

I tried turning “Optimize Network for Speed” off; that didn’t seem to help.

When I look at “Voice Chat” in my Systems menu, it tells me that my microphone and output devices are “invalid” — probably because I have neither a microphone nor headphones connected to my computer.

I’ve submitted two bug reports about it.

I sure hope that what ever is causing this gets teased out and fixed soon, because it’s really driving me nuts!

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Teldrassil was never a good idea.

There, I said it.

I hadn’t completely agreed with Shan’do Stormrage’s assessment that it was necessary to sacrifice Nordrassil — and our immortality — to stop the demon Archimonde, but it had been done. Instead of trying to regain what we had lost by trying to grow a new World Tree, however, we should have been more focused on reclaiming some of the other things we had lost. The forest now known as “Felwood”, for one. The regions of Ashenvale that had become infested with orcs, for another. If we’d cleared out the orcs from Ashenvale when we had the chance, then their so-called allies the undead might not have defiled the Dor’danil Barrow Den and killed my grandfather…

And perhaps if we had not been so determined to “not interfere with the development of less advanced societies*” (utter rubbish, given our interactions with the furbolgs), we might have been the ones to save the tauren from the centaur, denying the orcs one of their most valuable allies. The tauren could have been our allies, instead — not just the ones who’d been invited into the Cenarion Circle, all of them. Hadn’t it been my own grandmother who had argued that the existence (and sophistication) of music created by the tauren tribes demonstrated that they were a more intelligent and advanced society than their centaur, harpy, quilboar, and gnoll enemies?

But I digress. Teldrassil. It was Shan’do Staghelm’s idea. When the Aspects, especially my beloved Ysera, initially refused to give it their blessing, that should have been a clue that it really wasn’t a good idea. After all, hadn’t Shan’do Staghelm already been involved in the creation of a failed World Tree, Andrassil-that-had-become-Vordrassil up in Northrend? Like Andrassil, which had created the leak into the Emerald Dream that allowed the Emerald Nightmare to begin, Teldrassil also was corrupted.

Furthermore, Teldrassil and Darnassus had only even existed for, what, fifteen years? Twenty? Maybe thirty? Even for a young kaldorei like myself, less than a millennium old, born after the War of the Shifting Sands, that was still an absolutely insignificant amount of time. I didn’t understand how any kaldorei could truly think of Teldrassil or Darnassus as “home”, except perhaps the handful of children who had been born there.

Watching Teldrassil burn, I was infuriated by yet another Horde atrocity, and I grieved for the innocent lives that I could not save. But for the tree itself? I found no sorrow in me for the loss of a false home.

~*~*~

* Yes, that is a sideways reference to Star Trek‘s Prime Directive.

~*~*~

Remember, this is an RP story! Kerithian’s opinions are not necessarily my opinions!

…Okay, maybe they are. Apologies to my Night Elf friends, but Darnassus and Teldrassil have never particularly captured my imagination. I don’t dislike Darnassus the way I deeply dislike Undercity — it just never “clicked” with me (I am glad to see Undercity gone — definitely no tears there at all!). When it comes to Night Elf zones, I’ve always preferred Ashenvale to Teldrassil.

I played through the War of Thorns first as Horde, then as Alliance. I’m glad I chose to do it with my Rogue on the Horde side; I don’t think any of my other characters (except perhaps the Warlock) could have stomached doing what Sylvanas commanded. My heart ached through the whole thing, as Horde as well as Alliance.

Look, I play Horde because I want to play Tauren and Blood Elves. I don’t play Horde because I like or agree with the role they are too often given in the overarching plotlines of the game. I am tired, so, so very tired, of the Horde always having to be the bad guys. And there are those who might say, oh, but the Alliance sometimes does bad guy things too — but the Horde always has to do more and worse bad guy things. For example, the things the Horde sees the Alliance doing versus the things the Alliance sees the Horde doing in the first part of the Jade Forest storyline, or the Horde killing the Astranaar guards with a swift poison versus the Alliance using sleeping powder on the Horde guards in the captured furbolg village in the War of Thorns.

The kaldorei have now suffered a population decimation on par with that suffered by the quel’dorei when Arthas and the Scourge burned the Dead Scar through Eversong Woods and what is now the Ghostlands. The Warbringers: Sylvanas short draws that parallel very clearly. I’m not sure what I want to say about that beyond pointing it out…

~*~*~

Kerithian is the granddaughter of my Night Elf Mage, Keriluna, through Keriluna’s son, Ceredion. She was born, raised, and spent most of her early life at Feathermoon Stronghold in Feralas before becoming one of the caretakers of Nordrassil during its recovery after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, then one of the vanguard on the Molten Front during the Cataclysm. The events relating to her grandparents that she mentions are described in Keriluna’s Song.

Keriluna herself survived the inferno by virtue of not being in Darnassus when it happened. When she resigned her position as one of the Temple of the Moon musicians at the beginning of Cataclysm to pursue the Arcane arts, she moved herself and her belongings to Feathermoon Stronghold — a place that had long been something of a secondary home for her — so that she could study under the tutelage of Estulan.
I didn’t actually move the character to Feathermoon Stronghold and set her Hearthstone there until a week or two ago, though, shortly before playing through the War of Thorns campaign.

On the other side of the faction fence, Kivrinne had been traveling back and forth between her home lab in Undercity and Plaguewood Tower in Eastern Plaguelands, where her on-again, off-again romantic interest Argent Apothecary Judkins resides, for some time. After her friends Parqual and Vellcinda failed to return from the events chronicled in Before the Storm, she moved herself and her belongings out to Plaguewood Tower permanently.
As with Keriluna, I didn’t actually move the character there until recently, and in this case, the nearest place where she could reset her Hearthstone is Light’s Hope Chapel.

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One of my favorite female hairstyles in the game is the long, loose ringlets of the Draenei “Jeweled Band” hairstyle.

I’ve often wished that other races could wear ringlets, too.

Although I’m still a long way from being able to create my Void Elf Mage — I haven’t even gotten my Demon Hunter to Argus yet (though she’s already reached Honored with Argussian Reach from Kirin Tor Emissary tokens) — I can experiment with what I might want her to look like using the “Preview” option that the devs so considerately included on the character creation screen.

I was initially rather excited that the Void Elf female hairstyles include some options that, while more wavy than true ringlets, have a similar aesthetic to the Draenei style. Alas, most of the ringlets-like hairstyles also feature the animated, glowing void tendrils — which are too creepy for me.

This one is my favorite from the back, but in the front, it has those void tendrils instead of proper ringlets.

This one is my favorite from the front, but in the back, what would otherwise be very nice ringlets turn into void tendrils.

If I could have the back view of the first one with the front view of the second one, that would be perfect!

This wavy hairstyle is quite pretty from the back, and it doesn’t have void tendrils in either front or back — which might be why I see it on so many Void Elves — but I’m not much of a fan of the hair-over-one-eye look, either.

I think this hairstyle is rather romantic… except for those void tendrils in the front again…

I’m fond of the long braid pulled over the shoulder hairstyle — originally a Night Elf hairstyle, added to Dwarves and Blood Elves when the Barbershop was introduced — because Jaina will be wearing her hair like that in Battle for Azeroth, I think Humans should get it now, too — so perhaps my Void Elf will choose this long ponytail pulled over the shoulder hairstyle.

And is it just me, or does the animation of those tendrils not look suspiciously similar to the animated, glowing, sinuously-shaped pillars on the statue of Rhonin…?

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As Warlords wound down, I kept all three of my Tailors* busy making bags to ensure that all of my Horde characters who would be actively leveling and doing endgame stuff in Legion would have Hexweave bags in all of their personal and bank inventory slots. The Underpowered Death Knight got full Hexweave bags, too, because she had decided to become my primary Banker. But then I got tired of grinding out bags, so I left my secondary Shaman and secondary Monk — whom I intended to retire anyway — with Royal Satchels in their personal inventory slots and random combinations of the smaller Frostweave and Embersilk bags in their bank slots.

In a post last week-ish, Coffee Cakes & Crits mentioned continuing to churn out Hexweave bags with their Garrison Tailoring hut machinery not just to sell on the AH for teh golds but also to give to those in their guild who are leveling new Allied Races alts. This reminded me that I should get my bag-making operation going again, because someday I, too, will have new Allied Races alts who will need bags.

Thus, yesterday evening I dusted off Kaobeka and took stock of the bag-making supplies that she had on hand personally and that were stashed in my guild bank. I don’t think I’ll try to make full Hexweave bags for all of my Highmountain Tauren**, though, but will be satisfied if I can get to the point where I have enough Royal Satchels & Hexweave bags, combined, to fill all of their personal inventory and bank slots. Anyhow, by keeping Kaobeka’s primary Hearthstone at Sunsong Ranch, it should be easy for her to hop back and forth each day between Pandaria, to farm Windshear Cactus at Sunsong Ranch to make Royal Satchels, and Draenor, to trap beasts and put in work orders at her Garrison Barn and Tailoring hut to make Hexweave bags.

The problem is that her Garrison Hearthstone is broken. When I try to use it, the Garrison loading screen gets to 70 or 80% and hangs for a few minutes, and then I get disconnected. When I log back in, she’s right where she was when I tried to use the Garrison Hearthstone.

I first started experiencing this problem around, um, Patch 7.2, I think. For a week or two, no-one’s Garrison Hearthstone worked. It wasn’t access to Draenor that was broken, or access to the Garrison instance that was broken — if I got to Draenor some other way, such as by a Mage teleport, the portal to Ashran in Orgrimmar, going through the Dark Portal, or using the sooper-sekrit backdoor teleport between the Timeless Isle and Gorgrond, I could then fly into the Garrison without problems — it was just the Hearthstone teleport that failed. After a few weeks, some of my characters’ Garrison Hearthstones started working again. After a few more weeks, I figured out that the characters who’d come to Draenor the “right” way — who completed the Tanaan Jungle intro questline — could use both the Ashran portal in Orgrimmar and their Garrison Hearthstones, whereas the characters who’d come to Draenor by the backdoor — who skipped the Tanaan Jungle intro questline — could use neither the Ashran portal in Orgrimmar nor their Garrison Hearthstones. Those characters could still get to Draenor by the Timeless Isle backdoor, though.

So I guess if I want Kaobeka to jump back and forth between Sunsong Ranch and her Garrison every day without spending a lot of time getting from here to there, I’ll have to go through the Dark Portal and do the Tanaan Jungle intro questline with her…

Update: So I went and did the Assault on the Dark Portal questline with Kaobeka. At the very end, however, I couldn’t turn in the final quest because I already had a Shipyard in her Garrison, which put the landing site in a different phase. Her Garrison Hearthstone still disconnects, but she can use the portal to Ashran from Orgrimmar now. Going through the Dark Portal from the Blasted Lands puts her in Ashran, too. I can live with that. I probably really only have to visit the Garrison twice a week, anyway, because I can do the Hexweave CD anywhere and a full set of work orders for the Barn & Tailoring Hut takes about 3 days to complete.

* Kaelinda, Kaohana, and Kaobeka (my secondary Monk)

** My Void Elf, being Alliance, will have to muddle along with the bags she can obtain from quests and boss drops until she has enough money to buy better bags on the AH.

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