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Something about the abandoned docks where the Hungry Riverbeast came ashore felt hauntingly familiar.


As Kamalia turned around and caught sight of the road leading away from the far side of the docks, the memories returned in a terrifying, overwhelming rush…


The bodies were gone, of course.


In this climate, in this jungle, after so many months, it was inevitable.


But as Kamalia and Draka fought their way up the road, Kamalia spied fluttering scraps of bright cloth snagged in the briars, and Azerothian pauldrons, helmets, and weapons half-buried in the mud.


Her heart ached again for the cost of war, for the valiant members of the Vanguard, Horde and Alliance alike, and for the rescued Frostwolves and draenei who had fallen in that final, panicked, headlong rush toward the (relative) safety of the boats.

Kamalia knew that Tanaan Jungle corresponded to the Hellfire Peninsula region of Outland. Studying the map, she knew that Vol’mar was in the same location, relative to the Dark Portal and Hellfire Citadel, as Thrallmar. But just as with Shadowmoon Valley, this land was so rich and full and overgrown with life that she could not make the terrain align in her mind. Really, this Draenor was so different from the Draenor that had become Outland (especially in the relative homeland locations of the orcish clans), that it was astonishing that it had spawned a collection of Warlords with the same names, and a Durotan and a Draka, at all.

~*~*~

Gameplay-wise, I’m enjoying this patch. With Vivianne at her side, Kamalia has been able to handle just about everything she’s encountered… except for the demons at the Throne of Kil’jaeden and the saberon in Fangri’la. I’ll have to be diligent about getting myself into Saberstalker rep groups for Rumble in the Jungle at the beginning of each week if I want to get this rep done at any kind of reasonable speed. The Vol’mar rep doesn’t seem like it will be too bad to do. The Arakkoa rep will be a bit harder; I’ve actually been deliberately ignoring treasures that I see so that I will still have treasures to collect for the treasure-finding/rare-killing daily for as long as possible.

I’m enjoying the Shipyard and Naval Missions (so far). I think it’s a nifty iteration on the original followers & missions mechanics of the Garrison. I like the gameplay depth of being able to customize my ships for specific missions by changing their equipment. I’ve found about half of the equipment blueprints I need; I still need to keep my eyes peeled for the rares that drop the remaining blueprints and brave the first wing of Hellfire Citadel LFR for the Gyroscopic Internal Stabilizer blueprint. Swapping out equipment is slowly draining my cache of Garrison Resources, though, so I suppose I ought to start using my Trading Post (as long as I have it up anyway for rep purposes) to generate resources.

At this point, I am thinking that I will take only three of my alts to Tanaan: Kerisa the Druid, who is my Scribe, to get the Glyph of Ascendance technique from the rare who drops it; Keija the Warrior, to get the Forgotten Champion’s Blade; and Kaylynda the Alliance Mage.

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

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


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


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

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

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

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The Field Photographer achievement requires characters to visit the Maelstrom in Dragon Soul and the Frozen Throne in Icecrown Citadel. I’m sure there are folks out there who are skilled enough to solo their way to those places, but I sure am not!
We ought to hit up the Terrace of Endless Spring (and Blackwing Descent and Naxxramas), too, because I’ve heard that there are Music Rolls to be found in there…

What do you think? When might be a good time for it? I’ve got RL events on Saturday evenings for the next few weeks, but what about Friday the 27th?

Tauren selfies look so silly! Especially when I’m trying to get Pepe into the shot, too :P

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Yesterday, one week after dinging 100 and two weeks after going to Draenor, Kamalia upgraded her Garrison to Tier 3.

I promptly put in an Inn, a War Mill, and a Salvage Yard. I’ll leave the Lumber Mill up until I get my Barracks to level 3 and my Inn to level 2, then take it down and put the Barn back up.

No sooner had I upgraded my Garrison to level 3 than this fellow showed up:



Have you guys seen him yet?

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Hallow’s End was good to the Underpowered Death Knight this year. She started out somewhere in the middle of 83. Between the dailies and trick-or-treat touring, this happened when she’d completed Northrend, Eastern Kingdoms, and most of Kalimdor —

She finished up Kalimdor, did the tour of Outland, and went under the sea —

Finishing up the Azerothian candy tour and dailies over the next few days got her halfway to 86.

Then it was time to go to Pandaria!


Hey, what’s that lout still doing hanging around here?!

Once she got on the ground, she ignored the rest of Jade Forest questing to look for candy buckets. I quickly discovered that if a Horde character who is still hostile to the Forest Hozen tries to run through hozen settlements that later become allied with the Horde (Camp Nooka Nooka and Grookin Hill) the hozen there will treat them as if they are Alliance — Elite guards will spawn and one-shot the hapless character with their bows, and they will be PvP-flagged when they rez. I did manage to get the Grookin Hill candy bucket, though!


Except that you won’t be here very much longer, now will you?

The candy buckets, exploration XP, and a couple of fortuitously-placed (that is to say, not very dangerous) Pandarian Archaeology digsites soon got the Underpowered Death Knight to level 86. I hadn’t been able to get the Eastwind Rest candy bucket because of the quest phasing, and while I could have tried to get a summon into the Vale for the two candy buckets there, I didn’t try very hard. Instead, I went back to Kalimdor and did some more Archaeology until she dinged 87. Then she could do the quests to open up Eastwind Rest and the Vale. Because I wanted to succeed at these quests fairly quickly, I didn’t bother using her usual weak weapon, but instead equipped her Greataxe of the Ebon Blade.


The Vrykul Drinking Horn enlarges my Tauren Female player character to approximately the size that I would expect a female Yaungol of the same scale as this male Yaungol to be.


Somewhat surprisingly, Ur-Bataar proved to be more difficult than Varian Wrynn the Spirit of Hatred! She died twice to Ur-Bataar and only succeeded the third time because a Night Elf Shadow Priest came along and joined the fight. In contrast, the Spirits of Anger, Violence, and Hatred in Xuen’s trials went down fairly easily — perhaps because I already know all their tricks and how to avoid them, whereas Ur-Bataar is simply a contest of raw power?

Now I am somewhat tempted to spend the next couple of weeks until Warlords pushing her through to become one last 90 before the level cap goes up…

Meanwhile, my ensemble of level 90 characters were taking their daily turns to whack the Headless Horseman. They collected almost enough Magic Brooms to completely outfit six Quidditch teams —

— just about as many Sinister Squashlings (I didn’t count those because I just threw them away), and a handful of helmets and swords… but no Horseman’s Reins. :(

Now that this holiday stuff is over and won’t be eating up all my playtime anymore, I’ll be able to go do that pre-launch world event quest chain in the Blasted Lands and run the new UBRS a few times. I should do it with Kamalia and Kaprikka — the two characters who I know for sure will be going to Draenor — even if I don’t manage to do it with anyone else.

Finally, here’s my other Death Knight’s annual Horseman’s Helmet outfit:

Grave Moss

The Horseman’s Horrific Hood, Crystalvein shoulders chestpiece & gloves, Field Plate Girdle, Antique Reinforced Legguards, Pyrelord Greaves, Gravestone War Axe*/Greataxe of Stonard
I thought about making black “Grim Reaper”-type outfit to go with this axe, but somehow that seemed excessively cliche. These greens look better with the glowing helmet, anyway.

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Liftoff!

This week, I finally had enough gold to buy the three Orbs of Mystery needed to craft the Geosynchronous World Spinner!
Ketura switched her Engineering specialization from Goblin to Gnomish just long enough to build this handsome rocket, then switched it right back.

Of course, now I’m pretty broke. I was able to leave all of my characters with about 1K gold, and my banker with 5K. That’ll do for repairs and minor expenses for awhile, and one or two changes of Transmogrification — but then I’ll need to make some more gold… somehow. :P

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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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