Home Sweet Home

Last week the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was:

What in WoW reminds you of your home?

Suggested by Sycro of Sycro Owl.

Unfortunately I was too ill to put words on the page then so I’m sneaking in late.

I’ve been fortunate to call many beautiful places home and so rather than picking one, I’m going to take you on a quick tour of my life via WoW locations.

As a child, we lived in Germany in amongst the mountains and the fairytale castles so Gilneas immediately springs to mind. Their accents might be an approximation of English but those barren crags, dark waters and ornate walled city reminds me more of the Germany of my childhood than it does Britain.

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Then as a teenager, we moved to a far softer landscape surrounded by farm land in Scotland where you could see for miles, fields tapering down the sea. So in WoW terms I couldn’t imagine a better fit for Westfall and the rain in this particular shot is merely art mirroring life.

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There was an interlude traveling to places which didn’t remind me of home at all, following by a stint of living in a city about as far removed from Stormwind as possible and now, I live idyllically less than 200 metres from the sea in a tiny fishing village. The best equivalent I think in WoW would have to be  Sri-la village perched as it is at the base of a cliff. Okay, we don’t have a waterfall or any giant statues but that hidden away feel persists. There is only one road down into the village, passing the sea front and for a moment everyone seems to pause just to look down over the houses scattered below.

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This is the view less than a five minute walk from my front door and it makes me smile every time I see it.

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Fast First Impressions of the Beta (Spoilers included)

So far I’m pleasantly surprised.

My Nightelf is perhaps a tad too square jawed but I can live with that. I haven’t tried healing but am currently beating Orcs up on a 90 Druid and am heartily enjoying the experience. Would I want to do it 20 times, probably not but so far it’s been interesting and I’ve met some fascinating people along the way.

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I rather like the fact that the women did the fighting for once and having a Warden along for the ride… well that’s pretty awesome.

Also blood drinking Toucans are a wonderful touch and everything I’ve seen so far is extremely pretty if slightly gruesome.

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In fact I think Shadowmoon Valley mark 2 might easily become one of my favourite zones in game.

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The potential for transmogrification also seems interesting as my new character received this very quickly:

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Yep, a staff with a cluster of adorable little bugs flying around it’s end.

All in all, I find myself looking forward to the release.

Fanciful Friday – Wolfenstein: The New Order

We’ve finally finished our first play through of Wolfenstein and despite it’s somewhat dark subject matter, there is no denying it’s a stunning game.

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My Wildstar Nest

I’ve been a bit distracted recently because there has been quite a lot going on in my own nest but I’ve finally managed to get to level 14 in Wildstar. Unfortunately I’m a bit strapped for cash  and will probably never manage to afford a mount because it’s all going on flowers. I am however having a lot of fun designing and playing around. This is very much a work in progress however.

Eventually I want gardens running almost seamlessly from one to another with plenty of plant life inside the dwelling too. I haven’t quite decided but I think lots of trellises might be used plus I need a massive pile of pumpkins.

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Here is my relaxing outdoor area with it’s shaded patch underneath an olive tree, battered rug and book. The perfect spot for a cold drink when adventuring begins to pall. When my finances are a little sunnier, I’m going to try and build a tree house in the olive tree or at least a little platform and move everything up a level.

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One of the first decorative items I got off a mob was this rather fetching bra, thrown at me by a Torine lady so naturally it had to make the interior of my nest. I’m using a mushroom as a bedside table just because and of course that’s my cup of tea sat next to the flowers.
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My hedge of flowers needs some work and hopefully that garden fab kit will drop off those challenges soon before I have to slaughter an entire race of flying fish monster things but I have a plan, I just need money and more plants..
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The Gnome Garden

When we bought our house by the sea, we inherited the most beautiful terraced courtyard garden along with it. Slowly but surely my fingers have been turning green as I’ve spent more and more time out there. We are growing strawberries, jalapeños, tomatoes and herbs by the pot full and nothing helps you relax after a tough week at work than sitting the sun, shadowed by your own sweet smelling roses.

Then a few months ago I got the idea to build a little Gnome Garden in a terracotta pot.

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The lump of stone at the back was the stand in for the cottage I knew the garden had to have whilst I sourced something suitable. I looked at plastic Smurf mushrooms and at ruins for fish tanks before finally settling on something so simple I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me straight away.

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The good old painted stone cottage which can be customized in any way you see fit.

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Over all I’m pretty happy with how this has turned out and intend making a village full of cute little cottages to hide away amongst the herbs, roses and marigolds in the garden.

Where on earth is Erinys?

It’s weird, I sat down last week and came up with a brief posting schedule and drafted the bare bones of a bunch of posts. Then I got distracted by a variety of things and didn’t read a single blog post let alone write one myself. Instead thanks to a Facebook geography game my colleagues infected the office with, I’ve found myself getting nostalgic with this.

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As it turns out, my geography could really do with some work.  What I find interesting though is that the first Carmen game was released in 1983. Now that I imagine is when a lot of the studio heads, developers and game designers we see now saying that women can’t be the lead characters in computer games must have started playing. I know my software developer husband absolutely adored chasing Carmen around the world when he was a kid. As villains go, I must admit I have a soft spot for Carmen. She’s a snappy dresser, thinks big and doesn’t give up when her latest plan goes awry.

 

On The Revolutionary Concept of Women Assassins – Charlotte Corday and Ubisoft

I read Ubisoft’s explanation as to why there would be no playable female characters in the next installment of Assassin’s Creed without surprise. I merely raised an eyebrow when I read a male commentator who refused to believe that women played anything other than facebook games and I didn’t blink when a male colleague of mine claimed that men never want to play female characters in video games. In fact I nearly let the fact that I’m so used to being told I have no place in this environment (other than healing my husband in games with cute graphics that obviously he only plays to indulge my childlike mind) stop me from saying anything on the topic. Then I realized just when Assassin’s Creed Unity is set ….

When I think of Assassins and the French Revolution, one person comes to mind. I studied the history of art at school and in particular we covered the French Neo-Classical style. It was through the work of Jacques-Louis David, I first came across the name of Charlotte Corday, the woman who assassinated Marat in his bath with a kitchen knife.

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Posthumously nicknamed l’ange de l’assassinat  by Alphonse de Lamartine she was guillotined for her politically motivated act. After her death, her corpse was checked to see whether or not she was a virgin because the authorities refused to believe that a woman would act like this without a man pulling her strings. Just like Joan of Arc before her, they wanted to write her off as unclean, as a cancer which could be controlled before it spread to infect good docile women. Just like Joan, however, she was found to be intact and the regime had to face the unpalatable truth that women can and do kill.

Interestingly enough, given the current debate she caught the imagination of male artists en masse. The painting above is by Paul  Baudry and the perspective is definitely on her, not Marat slumped in his bath with this papers. Does she look like a killer, no and it’s impressive that not a drop of splatter marrs her dress. Edvard Munch came up with a rather disturbing work on the subject in which Charlotte is naked and Jules Aviat has her hiding behind the curtain looking like a lamb to the slaughter. Then we have Jean Joseph Weerts’s focus on her arrest and other works of her being interrogated. There are paintings of her just after the act, paintings of her in jail and sketches and cartoons of her en-route to the guillotined. Perhaps it was the nature of the crime which thrilled them, a vulnerable and one assumes naked man in bath stabbed (or penetrated) by a woman in an age where such behaviour would be deemed unnatural. In some, like the above she is portrayed as the victim or as France herself (implied above by her proximity to the map of France and her shadow falling across it) and in others, she’s barely human.

I’m currently playing Wolfenstein and I have no issue whatsoever with the fact that my character looks like this:

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Character customization is not a thing in the game, killing people in many different ways yes, choosing what colour shirt to wear whilst doing so, no, Everyone who plays it will look the same and that’s fine, after all Blazkowicz and I have a history together. Do I need a female character to play a game, no anymore than I need a female protagonist to enjoy a book or a film but when a studio pushes the customization aspects of it’s game especially in cooperative mode, then I expect to be able to pick female if I want to.

That becomes especially true when I can’t help feeling that they’ve missed a trick. Would Marat have let a man into his house whilst he lay defenseless in a bath? Somehow I doubt it. It’s not about complaining that Ubisoft chose to make their main character in the story based aspect of the game male but that in this particular time period it would have been perfect to let an assassin called Charlotte loose on the people of Paris backed up by historical fact. Regardless of what the Ubisoft supporters say the French Revolution did involve debate about the role of women, did involve women who wanted to bear arms, who wanted the right to vote (which incidentally they didn’t get in France until 1944) and who, like Charlotte Cordray participated in the violence.

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