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Archive for the ‘Story/RP/Lore’ Category

Between the loss of reputation due to the reveals of Blizzard’s internal culture woes and the glowing reviews that the latest FFXIV expansion is receiving, WoW 10.0 needs to be spectacular.

Furthermore, three out of WoW’s past four expansions (including the current Shadowlands) have been, well, misses — expansions where I’ve said to myself, ” meh, I’ll wait to see what comes next…” To be sure, there have been things that I enjoyed more than I expected about Warlords of Draenor, Battle for Azeroth, and Shadowlands — but the overarching grand story plots certainly weren’t it.

And then there is this… and this… and I’m losing hope that WoW 10.0 will be something that I’ll be able to be really and truly excited about right from the initial announcement.

I’ll probably play it anyway just to say that I played WoW all the way to 10.0, but then I might drift away from Azeroth.

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Like the bloggers I read, I was not particularly impressed or excited by the Patch 9.2 preview announcement.

The realms of Death should be otherworldly, and the existing zones of Shadowlands are suitably otherworldly while still retaining some familiarity (at least the leveling zones are)… but Zereth Mortis is waaaay out there in strangeness. Pretty, yes, but also uncomfortably wierd.

Although I feel engaged enough by the Covenants and their stories, the grand story of this expansion lost me a long time ago. Thus, I’m not feeling motivated to explore Zereth Mortis for the story progression because it’s leaving the Covenants behind (or so it seems from what we know so far).

In another set of RL circumstances, I might be excited by the return of class-specific Tier sets and by the sets that were previewed. I am very checked-out of raiding right now, though. Even with a sort-of goal of having either the shoulders or the chestpiece of at least one of the recolors of every Mage Tier set (including PvP recolors, for Black Temple and most of the Legion sets, yay for being able to get Marks of Honor from PvE content during that expansion!), after I finally got the chestpiece for the Castle Nathria set back in late June/early July, I haven’t managed to drag myself into Sanctum of Domination LFR to get the chestpiece for that set.

And with no new non-raid PvE Mog stuff to chase after — except maybe a questing/zone drop set which might show up from datamining/testing by Wowhead folks on the PTR? — I just am not feeling a great need to be ready to go running off to Zereth Mortis as soon as it becomes available.

I dunno, maybe the puzzle aspect of the Cipher of the First Ones will be an intriguing enough game to play? If I don’t let myself get spoilt by the datamining, etc, from the PTR?

I think the most interesting thing to come out of the Patch 9.2 news is the idea that the end of the Shadowlands story “closes a book” on the overall story of Warcraft/Azeroth. This makes me quite curious to find out how 10.0 will change what we know about Warcraft/Azeroth to “open a new book”, so to speak, of its story.

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For all that she detested the physical environment of Maldraxxus, by the time she had completed the restoration of the Blade of the Primus and opened the door to the Seat of the Primus, Kalaneia knew that the Necrolords were the Covenant where she belonged.
Also, WTB cosmetic Blade of the Primus that can be Mogged over any and all weapon types.

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Hmm, hmm, hmm — now that brown will be an available hair color for Void Elves in Patch 9.1.5, I’ll be able to make Kaelyla’s pre-Telogrus Incident appearance with the toon Kaelyla herself. This opens up some interesting storytelling possibilities — Kaelyla as her pre-Fall of Quel’thalas self, with brown skin and brown hair and blue eyes, in Alliance locations; Kaelinda as Kaelyla’s post-Fall of Quel’thalas-pre-Telogrus Incident self, with brown skin and brown hair and green eyes, in Horde locations; Kaelyla as her post-Telogrus Incident self, with blue skin and blue hair and blue eyes, in Alliance locations.
Hmm, hmm, hmm — but I think I’ll still end up creating a new Alter Ego of Kaelyla who will be an Alliance High Elf through and through.

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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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A collection of Transmogrification Kits actually worn in-game by my Blood Elf Mage. Outfits are listed from most recent to least recent. Items that are no longer obtainable are marked with an asterisk (*).

110) Minerva



Dazzling Spectacles, Mantle of the Tribunal, Labor Camp Frock, Mana-Cord of Deception, Sorcerer Slippers, Drape of the Loyal Vassal, Cauldron Dredger
Minerva McGonagall hits many of the same character notes as Morwen. I caught the Harry Potter wave just before Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in the US; I was about nineteen at the time. Professor McGonagall soon became another of my favorite literary role models. Aspiring to be like Professor McGonagall is perhaps a little more within my grasp in my RL role as a Professor, though I still don’t really come close.
See also Human Mage #43.

109) None of This Nonsense, Please



Dazzling Spectacles, Black Velvet Robes, Shadow Council Boots, Tower of Theramore
Patricia C Wrede is my favorite author; The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are my favorite of her works; Morwen is my favorite character in that series. I was thirteen or fourteen when I first met Morwen, and I wanted to be like her when I grew up (spoiler alert: I’m not as much like her as I thought I wanted to be). When I was first venturing onto the internet over twenty years ago, I used “Morwen” as my screenname. So somehow it was no surprise that my primary Mage character ended up with an appearance very much like Morwen’s description. The Dazzling Spectacles are what I needed to finally complete that look!

108) Duel of Frost and Fire






Jewel of the Firelord/Crown of Eternal Winter, Frostwind Mantle/Mantle of Closed Doors (N), Cloudscorcher Robe, Frostwind Cord/Embereye Belt, Adept’s Gloves, Slippers of Serenity, Tabard of Summer Flames/Tabard of Summer Skies, Ebonchill (Hidden, first tint)
It’s Midsummer Fire Festival and I’ve had a note in my “Notebook” perpetual draft post that when Midsummer Fire Festival came around again, I should make a Mage kit with the Hidden appearance of Ebonchill — and I didn’t want to wait a whole ‘nother year to do it.
This outfit is derived from a Midsummer Fire Festival kit that I made several years ago for my Draenei Mage.

107) Scryer Illuminator



Helm of Arcane Purity, Elegant Mantle, Imbued Netherweave Robe, Black Belt of Knowledge, Adept’s Gloves, Shadow Council Boots, Scryers Tabard, Staff of Dominance
Having lost everything except each other when the Scourge invaded, Kaelyla and her husband, Ishaleron, travelled with Prince Kael’thas and Lady Vashj to join forces with Illidan Stormrage in Outland. Eventually, observing Kael’thas’ actions, they defected with Lord Voren’thal and became Scryers in Shattrath. Kaelyla had her first significant experiences with the Void at the beleagured Manaforge Ultris in Netherstorm. This piqued her interest, and, as a Scryer seeks the truth in all things, she began to investigate what was known of the Void.

106) Young Maiden


Journeyman’s Robe, Omnicast Boots, Wound Dressing, Expeditionary Staff
When Kaelyla was very young, her hair was lighter in color; it darkened rapidly during her early adulthood.
This appearance concept is mostly an excuse to use this Blood Elf hair color, which is new in Shadowlands, and this robe, which I’ve been wanting to make an outfit with for awhile.

105) Sin’Venthyr II


Crown of the Champion, Sin’dorei Pauldrons Belt & Slippers, Soulbreaker’s Crimson Vestments, Wild Gladiator’s Gloves of Prowess, Mantle of Crimson Blades, House Renathal Ceremonial Dagger + Red Crane Scepter
Another mix-and-match of the Sin’dorei Heritage and Venthyr Renown sets.
The dimensional pieces on the sleeves of the robe took layering priority even over the bulky, showy design of the Sin’dorei gauntlets, so I had to choose some different gloves.
Although the crane off-hand is a Pandaria item, its colors are very Sin’dorei, and its rather phoenix-like shape is also appropriate for the Sin’dorei.

104) Sin’Venthyr



Sin’dorei Helm & Tunic, Soulbreaker’s Crimson Mantle Leggings & Slippers, Corpse-Stitcher’s Cord, Primal Combatant’s Gloves of Prowess, Shadowfeather Shawl, Gilded Sineater’s Staff
A first go at mashing up the Heritage of the Sin’dorei and Venthyr Renown armor sets.
My Blood Elf Paladin is currently wearing this hat with this hairstyle, and they just suit each other so well. Using this hairstyle was too much of a change for Kaelinda, however. It works for Kaelydia, though — maybe because she has golden eyes, like the Paladin?
I thought I was done with Venthyr Anima collectibles, but apparently I needed just one more — the Renown recolor of the staff — and I had the Anima on hand, so I got it.

103) Crimson Soulbreaker



Soulbreaker’s Crimson Vestments with Resplendent Circlet and Twisted Visage
The Renown tint of the Venthyr Covenant armor set.
Kaelinda farmed Anima pretty intensively to collect this set and the two Venthyr Renown backpieces. Those were all the Anima collectibles she wanted, though, so now she can relax and let some of my other characters take the spotlight for awhile.
I chose Venthyr for Kaelinda partly because I thought that the red & gold variation of that Covenant’s armor set would be fun to play mix-and-match with the Heritage of the Sin’dorei set, so expect outfits along those lines to be showing up sometime soon!

102) Countess of Blades


Resplendent Circlet, Soulbreaker’s Crimson Mantle/Hidden Shoulder, Ferocious Gladiator’s Silk Robe, Illidari Bindings, Kavan’s Forsaken Treads, Shroud of Resolve (rank 6)/Mantle of Crimson Blades, Ebonchill (default, fourth tint)
There were two combinations of shoulders and cloak that looked simply amazing with this robe. Although I’ve included them both in this listing, the Mantle of Crimson Blades variation is what I ran around in.

101) Penitent’s Pilgrimage






Pilgrim’s Cover, Fireworm Robes, Black Mageweave Gloves + Wraithcloth Bindings, Windshaper Treads, Acolyte’s Shirt, Kael’s Dark Sinstone Chain, Hardened Root Staff*
Kaelinda feels no need to lug around a Sinstone.
Kaelydia, however, still keenly feels guilt for the actions of the Sin’dorei in Outland because she went to Outland with Prince Kael’thas and participated in some of his operations there prior to defecting to Shattrath City with Seer Voren’thal and the Scryers.
With the hood covering her hair, this character is primarily recognizable as Kaelydia by her golden eyes.
This outfit is all about the RP, which is why I took so many pictures of it — but I quickly discovered that in addition to not being particularly fond of the Sinstone as a static design, I also really don’t like how it bounces and jostles and wobbles and whips the loose end of the chain all over while she is moving. In fact, I disliked the movement of the Sinstone so much that this outfit only lasted for a few days; as soon as I’d finished taking the screenshots for this posting, I went and changed to a new outfit.

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I decided I might as well get it over with, so off Kaelinda went to Torghast. I did the first 6 floors of the Twisting Corridors three times in a row, then watched 20 minutes of cinematics and conversations between the faction leaders in Oribos, and now I’ll be ready to skip into the Patch 9.1 Campaign. With the content of these questlines being rather significant lore moments, not to mention required to unlock the next stage of the story, I was expecting their completion to be signposted by Achievements and was rather disappointed that they weren’t.
The cinematics were really very good, and I’m glad now that I’ve seen them for myself, so that I know the whole story — not just the key bits that were summarized in the beginning of the Patch 9.1 trailer cinematic.
~*~*~
So now that I’ve done this, I’m thinking maybe I want to hold off on doing Covenant campaigns with Kaelyla and Keliora and Kalaneia until Patch 9.1 drops and they can all skip Chapter 2. Kaurinka has already done Chapter 2 of the Night Fae campaign and is getting kind of tired of waiting to get started on the rest of it, so I’m thinking I’ll abandon my plan of running Kaurinka and Kaelyla through it in parallel and just get going with Kaurinka. If I can get Kaurinka through the Night Fae campaign and get the other three up to level 60 before Patch 9.1 arrives, that’ll be good enough. I’ll still want to do the other three 9.0 Covenant campaigns before I get into the 9.1 campaign itself, though.

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Clockwise from lower right: Kaelinda, Ianestin, Kaelyla and Ishaleron (newlyweds, but not completely insufferable about it). Tigerlily the cat is a library resident who has adopted this group of students; she was adopted in turn by Ianestin after the fall of Silvermoon.

My Void Elf Mage, Kaelyla, has been one of Kaelinda’s friends since their Academy days. After some initial tension, their friendship survived the disruptions of the expulsion of the group who would become the Ren’dorei from Silvermoon following the near-disaster of Alleria Windrunner’s visit to the Sunwell and the subsequent migration of the Ren’dorei into the Alliance.

Only Kaelinda’s clothing is meant to evoke an in-game item; it is a less skimpy version of the Light Silk Robe.

I drew this picture as an illustration for a story that I’m writing. I’m posting it on its own, though, so I can more easily link it on my “Drawings” page.

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Kaelinda still hasn’t made it into Castle Nathria LFR, or back into Torghast to liberate Thrall. Oh well. There should still be plenty of time to do that before Patch 9.1 arrives. Spring Break is in a couple of weeks; maybe I can get myself into LFR then.

After completing “Replenishing the Reservoir” with both Kaelinda and Kaurinka, which I typically manage to do by Thursday or Friday night, I’ve been leveling Kaelyla. Kaelyla has finished Bastion and is halfway through level 54. After completing the campaign storyline, before returning to Oribos, she did the Agthia’s Rest sidequests. Kaelinda had given her a hint that there was an interesting story about a Void attack there, and as a scholar of the Void, of course she wanted to find out what it was. Although she knew quite well the story of the conflict between Light and Fel that played out on Argus — and the Void’s latecoming efforts to butt in on that conflict — somehow it was shocking to learn about a conflict between two cosmic forces happening in the home domain of one of those forces, rather than on a mortal world. Furthermore, participating in the recreation of the event through the Vesper of History caused the whispers of the Void to become roars. Although Kaelyla liked the Kyrian better than Kaelinda did, Bastion is no longer a place where she feels at ease.

In the 9.0.5 PTR Patch Notes are the lines “Once players reach 40 Renown with their Covenant, the weekly quest to gather 1000 Anima will now award you with 1500 gold.” (a nice reward, but will it go away when Patch 9.1 drops with 40 more Renown levels?) and “Once players have recruited the maximum amount of Souls for their Covenant, your weekly quest to rescue Souls from the Maw will now award you with 500 Anima.”
“Maximum amount of Souls for their Covenant?” I wondered, “What does that mean? Enough souls to fully upgrade all of the Sanctum features?”
Then I picked up “Return Lost Souls” for this week and saw that the reward icon was red, indicating that it would put me over the currency limit. I’d never noticed before that there was a limit on how many idle souls could be in the Sanctum at a time — it seems that there can only be 100. Because they hadn’t been doing any feature upgrades, Kaelinda had 88/100 souls and Kaurinka had 73/100 souls. So I got the second stage of the Travel Network for both of them, but that only puts 8 souls to work. Kaelinda is now effectively out of Anima. Kaurinka has enough Anima that she could get another Sanctum upgrade, but she’s saving up for the armor upgrades when she does her Covenant campaign. Thus, after this week, the souls I rescue from the Maw for the next several weeks will just get to be free!

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Getting the Fel Out

“I want to have a baby,” Keija announced, “and I would rather not give birth to a Feltotem. I am not actively working with felslate anymore. Please remove these.” She swept her right hand down the length of her left arm, where bulges of scar tissue at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist encased small shards of felslate.

“What will you pay me to do this for you?” Felsmith Nal’ryssa asked.

“The remnants of one hundred demons killed on the Broken Shore, and all of my unused stock of felslate.” As she spoke, Keija opened a satchel and dumped the materials in a heap by the Felsmith’s forge.

“Very well,” Nal’ryssa responded, smiling slightly. “This will not be pleasant. Are you prepared?”

“I am prepared,” said Keija. “I have brought healers with me.”

The Felsmith looked around, and Keija knew that although she was blind, her spectral sight allowed her to perceive Keija’s sisters, Kaohana and Karaelia and Kamalia, and Kamalia’s husband, Haitou, standing nearby.

“Then let us begin.”

Keija turned and pressed her face into her husband’s chest, and Raharto wrapped his arms securely around her, leaving her left arm exposed.

With the same firm, gentle touch that Keija remembered from before, Nal’ryssa’s fingers probed around each of the lumps of scar tissue.

“Hold the wrist steady, please,” Nal’ryssa instructed. Raharto grasped her wrist firmly. With one swift, deft movement, using the very tip of her warglaive, the Felsmith sliced open the scar tissue and hooked up one end of the shard of felslate embedded within it. She took a pair of tongs that had been heating in the forge and pulled the shard out. The jagged edges of the shard tore at the tissue around it as it came out, but Keija had experienced worse arrow removals. She gritted her teeth and grunted.

In a moment, she felt the fizzing sensation of holy magic, and the pain dulled. She heard the thump of a totem dropping, and pulses of cool water began washing over the wound as Nal’ryssa carefully wrapped it.

Felsmith Nal’ryssa waited until Keija’s breathing and heartrate had steadied before continuing. Keija’s sisters continued to soothe her with small healing-over-time spells.

“Now the elbow,” said Nal’ryssa. “If you could hold it above and below?” Raharto held her upper arm, and Haitou grasped her lower arm, just below the elbow. Another swift slice, another yank with the burning hot tongs. This one hurt much more than the first one had, surprising her into growling out an “AARRRRGH!”

It took longer, this time, for the pain to subside as her sisters cast healing spells and Nalryssa bandaged the wound.

Once more, the Felsmith waited until Keija’s breathing and heartrate had steadied before she continued.

Nal’ryssa probed the shoulder scar tissue again. “This one will not be as easy as the others,” she said. “Secure the shoulder.” Raharto grasped her shoulder joint, and Haitou wrapped both hands around her arm, holding the already bandaged areas as gently as he could. This time, the slice exposed the felslate shard, but did not begin to pull it out. Nal’ryssa spread the edges of the wound with the fingers of one hand, then carefully dug with some kind of small blade until she was able to extract the shard. Blood poured down Keija’s arm. As she felt the shard tugging out, it seemed like it was trying to pull a portion of her soul with it, and she screamed, arching her back against the unyielding support of Raharto’s arm. Her head swam and spun.

Keija awoke lying on her back on the ground. Her head was pillowed on her empty satchel, a blanket had been wrapped around her, and her feet were propped up in Raharto’s lap. Her shoulder had been bandaged, and her sisters were pouring healing magic into her. Her arm throbbed from shoulder to wrist, and she felt weak all over — but her spirit felt somehow lighter and cleaner than it had since, well, since she had allowed the Felsmith to put the shards in. She struggled to sit up, and Raharto quickly shifted position to support her.

Keija looked around until she found the Felsmith. “Thank you,” she gasped.

Nal’ryssa just nodded and returned to her work.

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