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Ardenweald, again

Kaelinda blasted and burned her way through Ardenweald and didn’t have as much trouble with survival as I thought she might. Well, she did have to sit down and eat frequently, but with Mage Food, she wouldn’t run out.

Kaurinka didn’t ask Korenth to sing and dance, but Kaelinda did — and she was rewarded with some different conversation text when she turned in the quest to Lady Moonberry!

With Kaelinda, I noticed some neat visual effects during some of the quests that I’d completely missed with Kaurinka, perhaps because they didn’t show up on the Boomkin shapeshift. I’d been thinking about doing Threads of Fate from the beginning with Kaelya, who will pledge to the Night Fae, but now I want to level her through Ardenweald properly so I can take screenshots with those neat quest visuals — and maybe have a Mog to go with them!

Kaelinda was 65% through level 58 when she finished the main storyline of Ardenweald.

I continued immediately on to Revendreth — a zone which I will very likely only play completely through once. I didn’t do much there before I logged off for the night, though. First impressions: it’s like a mashup of Gilneas and the Forsaken town The Sepulcher, dialed up to, like, 13.

Gaudy Clarion



Crown of the Fire Festival, Mantle of the Avatar, Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater, Cord of the High Priest, Pure Aspirant’s Leggings, Steps of the High Priest, Sigilback’s Smashshell, Ritual Bell
Like various of my other Gaudy Winter Sweater outfits, the sweater itself is the only truly holiday thing about it, and could easily be swapped out for another piece to make a year-round version of the kit.
Because the gold-toned version of this Bastion bell offhand is only available from the Venthyr Ember Court, but I wanted to use the gold-toned version of the Bastion mace, I mixed golds and silvers in the rest of the outfit as well.

Gaudy Dreamer


Finely-Tailored Green Holiday Hat, Amice of the Dreamgrove, Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater, Cord of the Dreamgrove, Gloomtalon’s Spare Kilt, Spire of Withering Dreams
I hadn’t made Kasheena a Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater outfit yet, and I hadn’t used this maroon leather kilt in a leather Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater outfit yet, et voila!

Like, Totally, Not a Death Cultist, Okay?



Wicked Witch’s Hat, Mantle of Deceit, Ravencourt Formal Robes, Vicious Fireweave Belt, Whirlpool Gloves, Vile Manipulator’s Footwraps, Malevolence
WTB black lipstick at the Barbershop, kthx?
This kit is based on the Cult Couture/Collaborator’s Robes disguise collected at Aldur’thar and worn at Mord’rethar during the second stage of the Death Rising pre-launch event for Shadowlands.

Bright Wings


Sprite Darter’s Wings with Bard’s Trousers, Deadly Glare Cape, and Sentinel’s Branch
I wanted to do a variation on this set with more red in it. I also wanted to show off how the pointed tails of the tunic are part of the chestpiece model, not part of the pants model. No else had wanted to wear the hat, but Kerithian did.

~*~*~

This series of posts began because I set myself a goal to document new Transmogrification outfits in a more timely fashion. As soon as I create a new outfit, I write it up in a draft post. As the weekend approaches, I start working on taking fashion screenshots, processing them, and updating “Things my [Class] Wears” posts. On Sunday — though not every Sunday — I publish the collection of my recent efforts. Then I begin the next “Sunday on the Promenade” draft post.

Occasionally, I have ideas for themed Transmogrification collections that take several months to completely assemble. Thus, some of these outfits might get re-posted at a later date as part of such a themed Transmogrification collection.

Kaurinka felt like she already knew Ardenweald. One winter when she was an adolescent, she had gotten pneumonia and nearly died. She remembered little of her illness, except that it had seemed that while her body lay delirious in her tribe’s longhouse, her spirit had wandered freely over the dark, snowy landscape around the camp. Out of the corners of her eyes, she’d caught glimpses of towering, sigil-scribed trees with swirling, starry canopies, and underneath them, smaller trees, or maybe bushes, laden with glowing blue globes — but when she turned to try to look at them straight on, she saw only the normal, familiar trees. What was that place?, she had wondered many times during all the years that had followed. And now, here she was. If I had managed to find that place, and walk between those trees, she realized, I would have died.

~*~*~

I felt much weaker in Ardenweald than I had in Bastion or Maldraxxus. Enemies were harder to kill and took off more of my health in the process. I was using Regrowth more-or-less rotationally just to stay alive, which makes me rather worried for the survivability of my other characters.

Although I did a couple of side quests in Bastion with both Kaelinda and Kaurinka, I ignored side quests entirely in Maldraxxus. I wanted to know the whole story of Ardenweald with Kaurinka, so she did all the side quests. In the process, I discovered that for each zone, there’s one Achievement for completing the main storyline of the zone and another Achievement for doing all of the side quests* — and that both Achievements are required for each zone to complete the Loremaster meta-Achievement. Unlike Legion and Battle for Azeroth, side quests are not optional for Loremaster**! Fortunately, Loremaster is an account-wide meta-Achievement, so I can continue with my original plan of having the character who will pledge to the Covenant of each zone do its side quests — Keliora will do all the side quests of Bastion, Kalaneia will do all the side quests of Maldraxxus, and Kaelinda will do all the side quests of Revendreth — while all the others just barrel through the main questline.

Between the Rest that I accumulated last week and doing all the side quests, Kaurinka was 58% through level 59 when she finished the main zone storyline. She’ll now slumber in Ardenweald until Kaelinda has activated Threads of Fate, then use Threads of Fate to select the Night Fae as her Covenant and level the remainder of the way to 60.

Lorewise, Ardenweald delivered on the themes of heartbreaking loss and sacrifice promised by its Afterlives short. Continue Reading »

I didn’t play on Monday because I was busy doing other things, nor on Tuesday because the authentication issues prevented me from logging it. That still left plenty of time to bring Kaelyla, Keliora, and Kalaneia through the Maw into Oribos. That will do, for now.

I also took those three characters, as well as Kaelinda and Kaurinka, to the Darkmoon Faire. It’s been many months since I last visited the Faire, because beyond making the first set of crafted gear for each of the armor types, I ignored Professions during Battle for Azeroth. But with Professions being, by all reports, more reasonable to level and more genuinely useful in Shadowlands, I thought it was worth my time again to get those 5 free Profession skill points. My Druid is an Herbalist and Scribe; all my other Herbalists will funnel their herbs to her to craft Staves and Missives. Kaelinda is an Herbalist and Tailor; all the rest will send her their cloth so she can craft the Shrouded Cloth and Shadowlace sets. Kalaneia is an Herbalist and Alchemist; I’ll work on leveling her Alchemy after my Druid has reached her crafting goals. Keliora is a Miner and Engineer (because Goggles); leveling her Engineering will be slower because no-one else will be feeding her ore. Kaelyla is an Herbalist and Miner, but she’s Alliance, so all of her materials will go on the AH and make her rich!

I’ve been contemplating what I might do about raiding in this expansion. I sat out LFR entirely in Warlords and did very little in Legion and Battle for Azeroth. It sounds like just getting ready for raiding — even at the LFR level — is a long haul of dungeon running and shelling out gold for crafted gear, plus running Torghast to craft whatever Legendary is BIS for one’s class & spec. Of course I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m not sure if I’ll like Torghast very much. After all, I only did as much of Horrific Visions as I needed to get the first Shroud of Resolve appearance upgrade. Even though I think the second appearance upgrade for the Shroud of Resolve is very pretty, whenever I have thought about doing more Horrific Visions — and more Black Empire Assaults to buy those attempts — I end up saying, “meh, I don’t feel like doing that.” So I think I only want to raid with one toon at most, if I can even manage that. That toon will probably be my Druid because I like the leather set from Castle Nathria ever so much more than the cloth set.

But then how to get all of the different Covenant weapons? Hmm… If I pick up a Castle Nathria weapon token and use it for one Covenant, then change Covenants, I know that I won’t be able to use that weapon appearance with that character anymore — but will I still be able to use it with other characters in that Covenant? So could I get a Castle Nathria weapon token, spend it with the Covenant I’m currently in, change Covenants, get another Castle Nathria weapon token and spend it with the new Covenant, and so on until I’ve gotten the Castle Nathria weapons for all of the Covenants? I would just try for all of the Staves, I think — though that Night Fae Harp is lovely and after I’ve gotten all the Staves and come back to the Night Fae, I’d want to get one more Castle Nathria weapon token to spend on that. From an RP standpoint, Kaurinka will want to stay devoted to the Night Fae, but Kaiuna might be up for some Covenant-hopping….

the fifth Horseman

I was supposed to be assembling an OChem exam tonight, but this idea for a short story grabbed my mind and wouldn’t let go.

This story is inspired by the “We Ride Forth” short story from Blizzard, the events of the introductory Shadowlands sequence in the Maw, and the further events that occur in the Maw as part of the Maldraxxus leveling storyline.

Spoilers for We Ride Forth, so if you haven’t read it yet, go do that before reading this story. Continue Reading »

I went through Maldraxxus quite slowly with Kaelinda; for various reasons, I averaged about one chapter in a sitting. Kaurinka burned through it in two sessions (maybe because it was the weekend?).

The second playthrough of the zone went a lot more quickly and smoothly than the first because I knew where to find the quest objectives, what I needed to do for some of the less obvious quest objectives, better ways to path through things. This is, of course, how it goes in every expansion. I found myself wondering, should I send someone else through Ardenweald first, so Kaurinka can have a smoother run? I quickly dismissed that thought — the most valuable part of the first playthrough is that the story is completely fresh and new and full of surprises, and I want to be learning the Ardenweald story fresh and new and full of surprises with Kaurinka.

To allow Kaurinka to Rest awhile before she continues her journey onward to Ardenweald, however, I’m going to spend the next few nights bringing Kalaneia, Keliora, and Kaelyla through the Maw to Oribos.

Maldraxxus was a monstrous landscape that Kaelinda was anxious to escape as soon she could complete her mission from the Overseers to discover the cause of the Maldraxxi invasion of Bastion.

She was unexpectedly… what was the right word? charmed, perhaps? by some of the personalities she met there. Gruff Bonesmith Heirmir. Poor mad Plague Deviser Marileth! (But would he have been quite so likeable before the fall of his House and the breaking of his mind?) Bold Secutor Mevix. Baroness Draka — and those other two high-ranking Azerothian souls. The superb voice acting was what really won me over about all of these characters.

Being in Maldraxxus made Kaelinda feel powerful, and like she came from a World that is Powerful, in a way that she didn’t feel while in Bastion. Indeed, Azeroth is a Powerful World! It was her people (with some help from the peoples of Argus and Draenor, to be sure) who stopped the Burning Legion from destroying their world and defeated Sargeras! It was her people who have turned back multiple Old Gods from claiming their world for the Void! But ah, beware the Sha of Pride! Nonetheless, being Maldraxxi isn’t quite the thing for Kaelinda — but it will definitely be the thing for Kalaneia.

I liked that Maldraxxus wasn’t as linear as Bastion. After the first two chapters, three of the remaining chapters unlocked simultaneously, and I could pursue them in any order I wished. That will make it more interesting to replay.

I was surprised — and very pleased — to discover a follow-up to the ending of the Bastion storyline; I’m not sure why that surprised me, but it did. Probably because it has been a long, long time since zone storylines were intertwined in such a way. Maybe because this particular questline seemed to be an even more thorough integration of leveling storylines between two zones than I can remember happening ever before (though of course there is much I have forgotten about the storylines of past expansions). I’d been planning to have Keliora do all of Bastion before turning on Threads of Fate; now I think I’ll take her through the first two chapters of Maldraxxus, then that specific chapter, too.

By the time I got to the fourth or fifth chapter, I was wondering what the connection between Maldraxxus and Ardenweald was going to be… Continue Reading »

Mu’sha’s Sickle

I’ve been taking small breaks from Shadowlands to level with Kasheena. I’d gotten her to level 60 and Old Dalaran before Patch 9.0.1 arrived. After Patch 9.0.1, shortly before the Death Rising event began, I Chromie Timed her to Draenor and established her Garrison, so she could camp out there during the zombie invasion. During the past week, I returned her from Draenor. Then I Chromie Timed to Pandaria and played through just enough of the opening sequence to get to the village, so that I’d have that portal open in the Orgrimmar Portal Room. Next, I dropped out of Chromie Time and did the Battle for Azeroth opening sequence — skipping the Stormwind Extraction scenario — so I’d have that portal open. Then I was ready to Chromie Time to Legion. I discovered, somewhat to my dismay, that I didn’t have the option to skip the Broken Shore scenario and go straight to New Dalaran. Oh well, it had been long enough since I’d done it that it wasn’t so bad to do it again. With Balance as my favorite Druid spec, of course she chose the Scythe of Elune first. I might also get her the Fangs of Ashamane at some point.

I think it’s rather silly that Highmountain Tauren PCs don’t get that campaign marked as completed and their reputation set to Exalted, the way Nightborne PCs get the Suramar campaign and reputation flagged as already done for them. At any rate, she’s questing through Highmountain and shaking her head at being treated like an ignorant outsider. When she’s finished with Highmountain, she’ll probably do Val’sharah, too. She’s currently level 33; if she’s not level 50 by the time she’s finished Val’sharah, well, I guess I’ll figure out what I want to do next when I get there.

Kaurinka’s journey through Bastion went faster than Kaelinda’s — I did fewer of the side quests, and I now knew that the main questline would only uncover two-thirds (or maybe only half?) of the map. Watching how slowly the map was being revealed the first time through made that journey feel slower than it really was, because I was thinking I’d have to do enough questing to reveal the whole thing. I can probably expect something similar in the other three zones.

Kaurinka also paid closer attention during the initial orientation, and she ultimately came through Bastion with a rather more favorable opinion of the Kyrian than Kaelinda did. Sophone and Mikanikos are still my favorites; I’m finding that I rather like Pelagos; and Kleia, though I still think she has an annoying holier-than-thou attitude, is growing on me. It occurred to me this afternoon that the vocal tone of many Kyrian NPCs, especially the higher-ranking ones, reminds me of the vocal tone that I shift into when I am trying very, very, very hard to not lose my temper with my three-year-old…

I briefly toyed with the idea of bringing Kalaneia, Keliora, and Kaelya (Kaylynda will stay behind until I’ve decided which Covenant will be the best fit for her) through the Maw and through Bastion before sending anyone through Maldraxxus — leveling all my alts in parallel rather than in series. Realistically speaking, however, that would just get me thoroughly burned out on Bastion. For now, Kaelinda and Kaurinka will keep playing leapfrog.

A neat thing that I discovered from playing through Bastion with two characters with different previous questing history is that a certain Legion NPC who dies heroically and traumatically and ends up in Bastion says different things to you depending on whether you completed their zone or not… Continue Reading »

finally out of Bastion

Having gone through the Maw a couple of times, I’m now wanting to level Kregga up to 50, dress her up in a good Ebon Blade kit, and send her into the Maw. She’d follow the questline up to the point where Anduin has been rescued and we’ve found out about the Waystone… and then I’d leave her there in the Forlorn Respite, with Highlord Mograine and the rest of the Ebon Blade, until the expansion storyline progresses enough to allow us to rescue them. The Highlords — Mograine and Fordragon, both — need your strength, Deathlord.
No, self, no, that side project needs to wait until I’ve got at least one level 60…

After escaping the Maw with Kaelinda, I decided to continue with her into Bastion instead of switching over to Kaurinka.

It felt like it took a long time to get through Bastion. I didn’t just barrel straight through the main story, though, but did some of the side quests, too. But then, the first time through any zone at the beginning of an expansion, when I’m doing a full playthrough, always seems to take a long time.

Now I need to decide whether to keep going onward to Maldraxxus with Kaelinda, or let her rest while I bring Kaurinka up through Bastion. I definitely want Kaurinka to be first to go through Ardenweald.

Bastion is definitely not the place for Kaelinda — or for any of my other longtime characters. Even my Priest and Paladin would be better suited for whatever plane of the Shadowlands is the domain of the Earthmother — the place where I hope Cairne and his wife are — than for Bastion. And that is, after all, why I created & Boosted a brand-new character (Keliora) specifically for Bastion…

story commentary follows below the screenshot and the cut; skip if you’re going even slower than me and haven’t finished Bastion yet yourself

Continue Reading »