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Archive for the ‘Story/RP’ Category

Several months into Warlords, I’ve finally gotten around to updating my Characters page with new portraits showing how my characters look with the new models!

The SELFIE camera proved useful for getting good facial close-up screencaps to use for this project, as I’d hoped it would. Most of the Tauren expressions are pretty silly, but there are one or two that are cute if you catch them at just the right moment. Alas, that cute, flirty expression turned into a rather… dazed expression when I reduced the new portraits to the 100 x 100 size I use for my Characters page. I still think it’s better than the serious DMV mug shot expression, though. You can’t see the color of their eyes at the small size, either. I should remember to use the camera more often when I’m bopping around the world and when I’m doing Transmogrification photo shoots… and maybe get around to making those individual Character Profile posts/pages with all their favorite mounts and titles and jukebox tracks and suchlike, and links to artwork and stories featuring that particular character.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to update my blog banner. When I last updated it, near the end of Mists, I displayed my One-of-Each-Class set of alts, because I was so pleased with myself for having finally accomplished the goal, which I’d had since I first started playing this game, of getting a character of every class to the level cap.

I won’t be doing that again, though, because I just don’t have the time any more to play classes whose fantasy doesn’t really interest me. I probably won’t play a Demon Hunter much farther than just getting through their starting zone experience, and I’m currently thinking that I may not level the Rogue or the Warlock at all in Legion. Furthermore, making the row of icons along the bottom of the banner small enough to add another one for the Demon Hunter would have made them so small that they’d barely have been readable. Instead, I’ve displayed the alts that I actually intend to play going forward into Legion. I’ve reorganized the listing priority on the Characters page in a similar fashion.

It’s funny how my interest in particular alts comes and goes. I thought I was done with my Human Mage at the end of Mists. Then I decided that if I couldn’t have a High Elf Mage, a Human Mage would be the next-best thing, and so I renamed my Human Mage and made her look as much like my Blood Elf Mage as I could. I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, though. I kept iterating her appearance until I was happy with it, and it turns out that what I really wanted my Human Mage to be is as close to an avatar of my RL self as I could manage (oddly enough, the new model face that I ultimately chose as the one that seemed the closest to just right is one that I probably wouldn’t have chosen in the old model version). As I updated my Characters page, I considered putting my Human Mage’s race down as “High Elf”, signifying that even though the model she uses is Human, RP-wise she is really a Quel’dorei, but that just didn’t feel quite right anymore because I’ve gotten to a happy place with that character as a Human. If by some miracle the Alliance were to get playable High Elves, I’d most likely just create a new character instead of race-changing my Human Mage. I might still faction-change my Blood Elf Mage, though, and create (and perhaps even boost) that new character as a Blood Elf Mage, because I think I’d still want a Blood Elf Mage, as well as a High Elf Mage…

I did, however, put down RP-inspired race descriptions for some of my Tauren characters, indicating customization options (such as Grimtotem war paint) that I would take if they were available. I already knew which characters were of the Taunka and Yaungol sub-races; with Legion introducing a new Taurenoid sub-race, I looked through my other characters to decide which one to retcon as a Highmountain Tauren. I chose my secondary Druid, whose RP description already establishes her as having features that aren’t actually available in the current character customization options. Perhaps curly coat is a trait that was unique to the tribes that lived in the Highmountain region of Pangaea-Kalimdor, or, like the moose horns or the characteristics that distinguish Taunka and Yaungol from Shu’halo, a trait that developed among them after the Sundering split them off from the rest of the Tauren lineages.

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The Underpowered Death Knight was well-satisfied with her efforts in the Valley of the Four Winds.


She’d helped Mr Yoon revitalize his grandfather’s property and prove his worth to the Tillers. She’d helped him get together with Gina Mudclaw, too.


Helping out Farmer Yoon had led to helping each of the Tillers, and she’d slowly gained the respect and friendship of all of them* — even the arrogant Haohan Mudclaw.


Most recently, she’d helped Fish Fellreed find the legendary Old Man Thistle’s treasure.

Coming back to Pandaria after her defeat and discharge during the assault on the Dark Portal in Tanaan Jungle had been a crushing lesson in humility. The Underpowered Death Knight had thought, when she joined the invasion force, that she had grown strong enough that the creatures of Pandaria would no longer provide a suitable challenge, but when she had started helping Mr Yoon try to get into the Tillers’ good graces, the virmen infesting the Mudclaw farms had overcome her. Toiling in the farms every day had slowly strengthened her, though, and now those virmen — and even the big hozen ravagers up on the Skyrange — were easily defeated.

The Underpowered Death Knight considered. Was she strong enough yet to rejoin the battle on Draenor? Perhaps not. Maybe it was time for her to seek the favor of the Shado-Pan…

* Making her only the second of my characters, after Kamalia, to have completed this achievement. Most of them just got the furniture, the mailbox, and the straw hat. A few got one additional upgrade, such as the orange tree or the kitty.

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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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“Good morning, Miz Kaumaleia!”

“Good morning, Andi.” Kaumaleia waited to hear which of the Tillers the boy thought she ought to appease today.

“You know,” said Andi, “I’ve been thinking. I’ve got it pretty good living here with Uncle Yoon and all these great folks here in the Heartland. But there’s a lot of orphans here in Pandaria who don’t. Even without you outsiders and your silly war, there’ve always been the mantid and the yaungol and the saurok and the hozen… There’s an orphanage in Dawn’s Blossom, and you’ve been so nice about helping out around here that I think you should go see if you can help them out, too.”

***

Orphan Matron Mai-Lin scowled up at Kaumaleia. “I guess you’re not a yaungol — your face is all wrong.”

“No,” Kaumaleia agreed, “I am not a yaungol. I am a taunka from Northrend, as far to the north of the world as Pandaria is to the south.”

“Hmph,” said the Matron. “Well, it’s about time one of you outsiders took some responsibility for the consequences of your actions. The massacres at Pearlfin Village and Grookin Hill and the battle at Serpent’s Heart left a lot of young jinyu and hozen family-less and homeless.” She looked over her shoulder at the youngsters peeping curiously around the door- and windowframes of the orphanage building, and though her face softened, they all ducked.

Orphan Matron Mai-Lin considered for a moment, then walked into the building, motioning for Kaumaleia to stay outside. Through the windows, Kaumaleia could see monkey-like hozen and fish-like jinyu tussling in a way that strongly reminded her of the wolvar and gorloc children at the Dalaran orphanage. She watched as the children settled down in the Matron’s wake. The Matron selected one of the older-looking hozen, briefly spoke with him (or her? Kaumaleia had difficulty distinguishing the males from the females), and then brought the child outside.

“Bonzo is almost old enough that soon it will be time for him to leave the orphanage and decide what he wants to be in the world. Perhaps you can help him with this choice.”

Bonzo gazed up at Kaumaleia with complete awe for a few moments. Then he grinned and asked, “Can I ride on your shoulders?”

“Of course you may,” said Kaumaleia, dropping to one knee and holding out a hand for him to climb up.

Orphan Matron Mai-Lin smiled. “I think you two will get along just fine. Oh, and don’t mind the gloves. He’s a bit… pugnacious, but they’re all he’s got to remember his family by.”

***

When Kaumaleia asked Bonzo where he wanted to go and what he would like to see, he thought for a minute or two before replying.

“Didja hear about how Ken-Ken the hozen monk cured Zhu’s Watch of the super-sads?” he said at last, “He trained at Tian Monastery, up on the next big mountain to the north of Dawn’s Blossom. They’ll teach anybody — pandaren, hozen, slimy jinyu, even strangers like you! Maybe I could be a monk, too… Let’s go check it out!”

“Wow, I didn’t think being a monk would be so much work! But I’ll do the work if it means I get to eat all that great food!”

***

“Some hozen don’t get along very well with anyone. Some hozen get along great with everyone… well, everyone that’s not jinyu.” Bonzo paused for a moment and made a face. “Anyhow, some hozen get along so well with pandaren that they work with them on their farms. I heard that there’s a hozen in the Heartland who has his own farm! His name is Chee Chee, and he raises sheep! I wanna visit him and find out how he did it. Um, does it, I guess?”

“Lookit all those frikfraks decorating Chee Chee’s house! Toldja he was important. Are you gonna help him save his sheep from those Kunzen hozen? They sound like they’re the kind that don’t get along with anyone.”

***

“I know, I know!” Bonzo exclaimed, “I wanna be a pirate! The Matron doesn’t let us have parties at the orphanage very often, but pirates have fun parties all the time! There’s some hozen pirates that hang out at a place called Unga Ingoo. It’s one of the islands that surrounds the Nayeli Lagoon off the coast of Krasarang Wilds. Can we go to a pirate party?”

“That would have been a more fun beach party if those pirates weren’t so mean… Can I keep the Golden Banana?”

***

Bonzo looked pensive as they returned to Kaumaleia’s lodgings at the Lazy Turnip.

“You know that hozen tribes have two chiefs, right?” he said. “A hunting-chief and a legend-chief. My Mam-mam was the best legend-chief Grookin Hill ever had! I miss her stories. The Matron tries, but she doesn’t tell a story nearly as good. You know who might, though? The pandaren have a great legend-chief, Lorewalker Cho, who lives in the library at Mogu’shan Palace. I wonder what kind of stories he tells about hozen?”

“Hahaha! That was a great story! I will have lots of good stories to tell the others at the orphanage now!”

As they left the Seat of Knowledge, Bonzo jumped around Kaumaleia excitedly, tugging at the edges of her armor.
“I was gonna ask if we could go visit Emperor Rikktik’s Tomb, but then I thought of something even better! The Timeless Isle has come back, and the Monkey King is there! The Monkey King! From the legends! Oh, can we go see him, please-please-please?”

“I bet the Monkey King always talks in riddles like that because he is so wise. Emperor Shaohao was lucky to have a hozen for his greatest friend!”

Kaumaleia asked Bonzo what he would like for a treat before he went back to Dawn’s Blossom. The young hozen looked around, then began vigorously sniffing the air.

“Noodles!” he cried, bounding off toward Noodle-Maker Monmon’s cart. Kaumalea bought them both a bowl of Crazy Snake Noodles, and they sat at one of the nearby tables to eat them. Bonzo slurped his noodles enthusiastically.

“Oh yeah, these are real hozen noodles!” he cheered at Noodle-Maker Monmon, who responded with a fist-pump. “Noodlemonger Chin at Dawn’s Blossom tells you he makes the only noodles worth eating. His noodles are the best in town, for sure… but these are better!” He sobered for a moment. “They remind me of the ones my Pap-pap used to make… That’s it! I should learn how to cook! I’ll be the best noodle cook and the best storyteller of all the hozen in Pandaria. Yeah!”

***


inspired by Noxychu’s “Bad Example” artwork on Wowhead

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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.

***

***


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!

***

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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This week being Spring Break, I decided it was time to buckle down and get the remainder of my One of Each Class set of characters into their Garrisons. On Saturday, I powered through Tanaan with the Hunter and the Warrior. Although I am so, so tired of Tanaan, I determined to grit my teeth and just get it over and done with the Rogue, the Warlock, and the Blood Elf Mage. I wished that there were some way to just skip the Tanaan intro sequence.

In a post that couldn’t have been more conveniently timed, Anne Stickney just shared her discovery of a hidden backdoor access to Draenor. It’s not exactly a “shortcut”, but it definitely doesn’t require running circles around the Dark Portal!

Personally, I think this must be how Kairoz got Garrosh to Draenor.

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Alas, no maintenance on Tuesday this week, so I wasn’t able to change my Gorgrond outpost and recruit Penny and Kaz. Maybe next week…

As Kamalia’s followers have begun to purple out, she’s accumulated four pairs who have the same combination of abilities. I’ve deactivated one follower from each of those pairs and reactivated some less-experienced followers, with the goal of eventually getting all of Kamalia’s followers up to purple and seeing how many different combinations I can get. There are 36 different combinations of two of the nine abilities (counting A,B and B,A as the same combination), but I’m not sure that all of them are “allowed” — is it even possible for the same follower to have both the “tank-like” Wild Aggression and the “healer-like” Group Damage?

Kamalia upgraded her Inn to level 3 yesterday. She has enough of a resources reserve that after my current batch of work orders at the Lumber Mill completes, I can tear down the Lumber Mill and re-build the Barn, at last. I’ll miss rambling across the landscape for timber, though. On my other characters, I find herbing and mining to be rather relaxing, and logging fills the same psychological niche.

I currently have five Garrisons — one at level 3, one at level 2, and three at level 1 — and another character halfway through Tanaan. My level 2 garrison has only the mine open (I haven’t yet quested enough with that alt to unlock the herb garden) and my level 3 garrison has the mine & herb garden at only level 1 (Kam’s professions are not primarily dependent upon those materials, and I don’t feel like upgrading them just for the achievement points). Even so, tending my five garrisons feels like it takes as much time as the nine farms I’m still running in Pandaria! When I get enough alts in Draenor, by the time I finish tending the last alt’s garrison, it’ll be time to start all over again by collecting the spoils from the short missions in the first character’s garrison!

At this point, it’s looking like my standard garrison layout, at least as far as the small plots are concerned, will be level 2 Crafting Profession Hut, level 3 Salvage Yard, and level 1 Storehouse. Most of my garrisons will probably have the Inn as one of their medium plots and keep the Barracks as one of their large plots because followers.

I used to think that I played for the story/lore, but if I play for the story, then why haven’t I finished playing through Stonetalon Mountains (among other 1-60 zones) to see the “new” (Cataclysm) story there? If I play for the story, then why is my Draenei not level 100 yet? If I play for the story, then why is my Dwarf Shaman not level 100 yet? I enjoy the stories, but they’re obviously not what drives my play.

I suppose one reason I haven’t gotten my Draenei to level 100 yet is that now that I have both my Draenei and Human Mages set up at Lunarfall, I can’t decide which one I’d rather play. Do I play the Draenei because it somehow feels more “right” to experience all this new Draenei lore first as a Draenei*? Or do I play the Human because I’d really rather be playing Alliance as a High Elf?

I knew that Khadgar — dear darling obnoxious interfering power-hungry Khadgar — was bound to send me into LFR for the legendary questline eventually… and now that I’ve gotten to that point, I’m not feeling very motivated to do it. More precisely, I’m not feeling very motivated to a) do the research on what talents, glyphs, gems, enchants, consumables, etc I ought to be using to be properly prepared for raiding and then b) go out and get all those things.

I still haven’t done the Molten Core LFR, either. Though I don’t care the slightest for the mount and pet, I would like to have the hat. I kept telling myself that I’d do it as a treat to myself after classes were over, and classes are over… but I’ve been on campus all week anyway prepping for next semester.

* Feeling like I ought to be a character of a given race to play through storylines that prominently feature that race is not a problem I have Horde-side because I’m so used to being Kam/Tauren when I’m Horde.

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