Lessons to be Learned

I’ve always prided myself on being observant and so it came as a surprise this afternoon to spot this when bouncing through the Mage Quarter looking for stink bombs to clear up :

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On closer inspection I discovered that Archmage Nakada was looking for volunteers for his class and given that the mini Mages looked so cute in their hats, saying no was impossible. That said I wasn’t expecting to be turned into a Crawling Claw for five minutes with a half an hour buff preventing me from becoming another “test subject” straight away.

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My UI is still a work in progress

Have I learnt my lesson? Definitely not, I suspect this will give me yet another reason to haunt the Mage Quarter when I’m in Stormwind but once I’d stopped making happy crawling claw noises and spamming Holy Nova, I got to wondering who is the Archmage and what exactly is he doing there. One trip to WoWhead later and my feelings of fuzziness towards Blizzard (already on a semi high from this patch) increased considerably. I’ve always loved the memorials to people now  sadly missed in-game and as memorials go, this has to be right up there with the pyramids and the Arc de Triomphe. What better way to say goodbye and thanks to someone loved and respected by those responsible for the game that we all love and spend so much time playing.

My Grandmother who despite being not dead or even ill is obsessed with funeral preparations and has asked me to read Christina Rossetti’s “Remember” over her open grave.

Remember me when I am gone away,
         Gone far away into the silent land;
         When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
         You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
         Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
         And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
         For if the darkness and corruption leave
         A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
         Than that you should remember and be sad.

Now I’ve always loved her poems but that ending annoys me on some intrinsic level, what’s wrong with remembering and being happy for all the good times and I think that’s why this memorial sings to me so much. It’s not a stone in some out of the way place or a grave garlanded with flowers, it’s something guaranteed to make you smile even if knowing what it represents, that smile is tinged with sadness and I think that’s a lesson we could all benefit from.

For those of you who don’t recognize the area, they are by the clearing by the Mage Tower, next to the Essential Components shop and apparently you can be turned into a variety of creatures including the Crawling Claw and Sprite Darter Hatchling.

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Rolling in the Deep

One of the great attractions of WoW to me at least has always been the little things, the pop culture references, the jokes and the interactions between NPCs so when I saw this, I couldn’t stop myself smiling and singing away.

Yep, that’s a Panda called Adele and she’s rolling in the deep, the Widening Deep to be precise.

We could have had it all

Rolling in the deep

You had my heart inside your hand

And you played it to the beat

Shared Topic – Azeroth’s Hidden Gems

Over at Blog Azeroth, the shared topic this week is:

The secrets of the World of Warcraft

Suggested by Syl of Raging Monkeys.

I love this topic so much, I’m going to share a couple of my favourite hidden things with you. First of all, the best location in the whole of Azeroth. Up high, where the mountains touch the sky, you can sit, relax and look down on the world spread out beneath you. When I first started playing, I was so in awe of this world, I talked to every NPC I could find. Some with better results than others, for example Sergra Darkthorn really wasn’t happy to see my little human warlock wandering through Crossroads looking for polite conversation.

We were heading through Feralas on our way to Feathermoon Stronghold for the very first time, I think so I could learn the next alchemy recipes when we spotted this female nightelf standing by the way side.

Being the type of heroes who rush to the rescue of people in distress, we naturally left the path to ensure she was alright. However instead of asking us to retrieve her lost luggage or kill some marauding bears for food, she wanted to send us up a mountain. A little dubious as there were no ladders or any other visible means of ascending, we accepted her quest. Whoosh, one minute we were standing with both feet firmly on the ground and the next… it was as if some whirlwind had picked us up.

The land of Feralas has been through much, human. The earth, the trees, the creatures; they are all changing what Feralas is and will be.

The Twin Colossals above us remain constant, though, throughout all that has happened here…”

 

The perfect picnic spot

 

Here I am sitting at the top by the pool and watching the sky. Once you are up there, the only way is down but you don’t just have to hurtle to your death, unless you want to of course. A nightelf gentleman will sell you a parachute for a few silver, however don’t deploy it too soon as it doesn’t last long at all and those rocks hurt if you hit them head on. For mages, priests and engineers you can descend at your own pace taking in the view.

 

The Colossus in all it's glory

 

Trust me, that’s a long way down. Also if you hit the rocks half way up, it can be tricky to resurrect without someone else managing to land next to you to res you or taking res sickness, so be careful.

Possibly my favourite disguise is that of a Dark Iron Dwarf which comes from the best watering hole in the Eastern Kingdoms, The Grim Guzzler itself. Home to Coren Direbrew (some of the year), some of the best bar snacks in Azeroth (all the time) as well as the Tauren Chieftans, I love the bar. Especially now I have my direbrew remote, it’s my hangout spot of choice whilst forum reading. Whilst I’ve never managed to play a Dwarf beyond lv 5, I love their animations and so this is my substitute.

Standing at the back of the Bar is a gentleman called the Dark Iron Brewer. He’s neutral to both factions and has a couple of pages of dialogue for you  to work through.

Once you’ve read it all, he drops a flagon of beer on the ground. Drink it and you become a Dwarf. Unfortunately they don’t stack so you’re limited to one in your bags at once but you drink one and pick another up for later. The disguise doesn’t last after death either. From a spot of experimentation, it seems as if the Dwarf you become is down to armour specialisation rather than anything else. For example every caster I’ve tried, regardless of class and faction ends up looking like my Priest above.

Druids and I think rogues get this model and so on.

Finally, my favourite item of clothing tends to be a bit of a secret too, at least if you only play the Alliance. The sleeveless t-shirt only drops from Alliance corpses (includes players) inside Alterac Valley. The flavour text reads “On the inside collar it reads, “Inspected by Earl Z. Moade.” All my characters wear them with pride even though they’ve been around since the early days of AV, when you could argue that the Horde possibly had a slight advance over the Alliance as they could jump into the Dun Baldar bunkers and their choke point was considerably more choking than the Alliance version.

Here you see my Priest modelling a sleeveless T-shirt and a ripped ogre loin cloth. I’m guessing there must be a lot of safety pins around the back holding it together as there is a bit of a size difference between a Bloodelf and an Ogre.

This is one of the reasons I’m really looking forwards to Cataclysm. Exploring and hunting down new quirky things is up there with killing a boss for the very first time.

101 things to do – White water logging

Take the wild wet ride from Blue Sky Logging Grounds to Venture Bay in Grizzly Hills. Besides myself (I do this far too often) I haven’t seen a single other person go flying down the river on a log, so next time you play WoW… take a detour  to Grizzly Hills.

The Alliance need to talk to Gordun and just across from him, the Horde can find Darrok.

The happy smiling face on the timber is just the icing on the cake.

101 things to do – Jump on Medivh’s bed

Despite having run Karazhan countless times on multiple characters, I only recently discovered Medivh’s rather nice bed. Situated at the top of the tower of Karazhan its spacious, bouncy and surprisingly comfortable.

The biggest bed in WoW?

Who wouldn’t want a bed so big, you need a ramp to get into it. Although if you fell out in the night… those floors look pretty hard.

Come to think of it, Karazhan itself would make a comfortable dwelling. Lots of stained glass, big dining room, plenty of guest bedrooms and stables for all your mounts. Sure you might get the odd unwelcome guest and the ghosts might complain about new ownership, but for that library, I think its worth it.

Heaven

As long as they aren’t all copies of Middlemarch in different languages. That would be hell. Sorry.

Although I’m biased. Karazhan is probably my favourite Burning Crusade instance. Its creepy, gothic and full of ladies of the night.

Wonder if Middlemarch would be more bearable if a Night Mistress read it to me? Hmm, think my Priest is going to have to relocate to the Deadwind Pass.

Stitches – 101 things to see and do

Too many quests in Warcraft are the generic fetch X, kill Y or go to Z. Little to no real explanation is offered and we as the perpetrators of countless awful acts rarely see any negative effects as the result of our actions. We just slaughter our way through the world, picking up gold and second hand cloths without a care in the world.

The chain which leads to Stitches the Abomination being let loose on the good people of Darkshire is a step beyond that. First of all, we are trying to help a community under siege rather than just committing random acts of violence. Running errands, catching proven murderers (Stalvan) and making a stand against the wandering dead. Ok, our motives probably aren’t 100 percent pure. No reward, no dead ogres, worgen (wonder if when they become a playable race, we’ll still be able to skin all the NPC ones) or undead. For once, we are fighting the good fight and yet in our naivety we manage to cause even more chaos.

Darkshire, he hungers!

Then once he is lumbering towards the town, you get the build up. The Watchers running out to try and block his path (of course they die pathetically) and the people of Darkshire panicking as yet another evil heads towards them.

I think this is definitely a contender for my favourite quest chain in-game and well worth doing, if only to watch the ensuing havoc. A word of warning though, stay clear of the road if you’re low level whilst he’s rampaging towards town. 12k health is a lot for lv 20s to cut through and he hits like a truck.

Darrowshire – 101 things to see and do

Ever since Vanilla WoW I’ve avoided questing in the Plaguelands, too many annoying mobs and too many annoying diseases. However with our hunter/paladin team we thought lets revisit old haunts and old hauntings whilst working our way through all the quest chains. To say I’m glad we did is an understatement, instead of slaughtering our way through countless mobs for a few pieces of gold we were following a proper story line and doing something worthwhile.

Take for example the epic questline that is the Battle of Darrowshire. It has everything a story needs, a hero who loses his way, evil doers, ghosts, a little girl hunting for her dolly and of course a dragon pretending to be gnome (never quite got that one myself, but who is going to argue with a member of the Bronze Dragonflight).

Darrowshire, named from the Darrowmere Lake to its west, is a village tucked into the southern foothills of Lordaeron.

It sounds idyllic enough and indeed it probably was until war came ravaging its way across the landscape corrupting everything it touched. The chain begins in Winterspring, where Jessica Redpath of the Argent Dawn begs you to find her little sister Pamela.

I fled Lordaeron during the great war, and was lucky to escape before the Scourge swept through my homeland and turned it into a plagued nightmare! I was lucky, but my family was not. I fear they were all killed during the battle of Darrowshire.

It sounds easy enough, head off to the Plaguelands and look for a little girl. Hardly taxing for a seasoned adventurer. Yet I assure you, even the hardest hearted amongst you will find cause enough for tears in Darrowshire. On arrival the village is deserted or at least it appears that way at first glance, skeletons lie where their owners died.

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Listen for a second as you look around, perhaps whisper a prayer of thanks that this isn’t your village, that you know where your family sleep tonight.

As you work through the chain, misery confronts you at every turn. Betrayal, death and anguish will dog your footsteps. You will see things better off unseen, yet continue you must, for little Pamela if nothing else.

Breadcrumb by breadcrumb, the terrible details of that battle come spilling out.

I wish Joseph could again be with his daughter, but it cannot be so. His soul was twisted by the Scourge, and he became a monster. Oh, he is doomed!

Search the graves outside for Joseph’s monument. His body’s not there, for it was trampled and destroyed years ago, but under the monument is his wedding ring. Take that ring to Chromie… a strange gnome with very strange powers.

It seems that Pamela’s loving father has a dark secret and no real grave. There is however something tempting about changing fate, altering the path of time (hmm wonder if I could snag a job with the Infinite dragonflight).

The Annals of Darrowshire tell us the full tragic story:

The battle continued, and Captain Redpath led his militia bravely.  And it might have been won, had the captain not been corrupted by the death knight Marduk the Black.

~~~~~~~

The corrupted Captain Redpath then spread his evil taint among the defenders of Darrowshire, who betrayed their allies and slaughtered them.  They then turned on the town of Darrowshire and killed all who hid in their homes.

Part of the reason why I like this chain so much, despite the fact that it makes me cry everytime I do it is that it reinforces what we are fighting for. Running around Northrend, especially with this new Coliseum its easy to lose sight of our history. Of the terrible things that happened during the wars that litter Azeroth’s past and why we have so much to lose as we fight our way up to the doors of Icecrown. Joseph Redpath wasn’t a bad man, yet he was twisted into slaughtering his own people, his own family. That kind of darkness, that kind of evil has to be wiped clean before it ruins anymore lives. Besides, its the only quest chain in game which gives as a reward a cup of sugary tea made by a ghost no less.

The questline begins with either :

Sister Pamela from Jessica Redpath in Winterspring.

or

Little Pamela from Marlene Redpath’s ghost in Sorrow Hill

The chain then goes:

In case you need any further encouragement to see this epic quest line before Cataclysm sweeps it all way, watch Cranius’s awesome video on the subject, dry your eyes and head off to Darrowshire. Save the ghost girl, save the world!

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