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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Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: The Levelling Game

The shared topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is:

I am sure this has been done years ago perhaps, but I felt I should ask again as it is particularly relevant to me now that I am back :)

What sort of method do you use for levelling the multiple alts? Do you follow the same quest chains each time, do you avoid a certain quest section, do you only dungeon etc?? I am levelling my 5th to 90 now – from 85 and I just wondered how you guys do it??

I am not talking about the oddball levelling like just herbing to push yourself to the limit of insanity, but the more run of the mill levelling.

Suggested by Dragonray.

As it turns out I’m a creature of habit. For me leveling on the Alliance side goes much like this:

Mostly questing through favourite zones, for example I think every Alliance character I’ve ever rolled has done at least a part of Duskwood. Looking back, what is interesting is how my questing path has changed pre and post Cataclysm. For example up until the world was ripped asunder, I always went to the Thousand Needles and Tanaris and now I rarely do. Duskwood though is a constant and I’m still fond of Ashenvale.

A smidgen of Dungeons but again I err towards certain level brackets, for example Scholomance, Stratholme and Dire Maul East are rarely missed but if Gnomeregon is an option… count me out.

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PvP also plays apart especially from level 45 upwards where AV is available. If Alterac Valley is the Call to Arms whilst I’m leveling a character, I’ll usually stop doing everything else and just PvP.

Finally when I get tired of the above, I meander across Azeroth pet battling using the flight time to chat to people on Real ID, twitter or to browse the internet.

 

 

It was the best of times – A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

The Shared Blog topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is as follows:

I know we heard the word “Throwback” many times around the net, but as part of World of warcraft expansions. I want to know what is the best expansion in game that really highlights a lot of your accomplishments in game especially that the new upcoming expansion is coming its nice to look back it could be the one when you started playing with your main character, getting a cool mount, being in a great guild, or your very first screenshot in game if you still have it or being in PvP battlegrounds or Arenas, even your raiding experiences back in BC or PRE-BC, Cataclysm, etc. You can be creative how you want to do this it could be storyline, poem, screenshots up to you it is pretty much a throwback experiences you can share to everyone.

Suggested by Amerence.

For me this has to be a toss up between the original game and Wrath.

When I first started playing, it wasn’t long before I found myself in a hardcore guild fighting for and indeed winning server firsts on everything from Vael onwards all the way to Naxxramas mark 1. Despite there being over 40 of us, despite there being a fair number of giant egos and quite a few times when I would have liked to kill at least one person in the guild, there was also a sense of pride in our guildtag. We played on a PvP server and it was more often than not a case of attack one and get swarmed by the rest of the guild.

Also of course there was the newness factor, I’d never ever played anything multi player besides first person shooters across a LAN with friends so suddenly raiding with 39 other people from across Europe including Russians from Vladivostok who would get up early to raid before work felt amazing.

Getting my Benediction as the second Priest on our then server and of course getting the only C’thun kill  (no one else killed him until the Burning Crusade) naturally rank high on my list of things achieved in the days before “achievements” but it was the silly things which stand out more. The long drawn out fights between Southshore and Tarren Mill, getting rank on my little Warlock before she was level 60 when the pvp system first came out and of course later on, same server Alterac valleys. The conversations in Priest chat, like the one which put me off eating seaweed for a very long time and doing things like drunken LBRS runs with 3 dpsers all desperately trying to beat each other by pulling as much as possible and no tank these are the things which stand out.

Selling the clothes off my back to buy my first mini pet because I hadn’t found the auction house and 40 silver was a lot of money back then, to me at least. Not to mention many of my favourite outfits are based around gear which has been available since the start, the Devout set, the Wildheart set and the Robes of the Guardian Saint are three examples which quickly spring to mind.

Wrath didn’t have the newness factor but it had several elements I enjoyed. First up a proper end boss, demons really aren’t my thing and the Sunwell didn’t exactly have the happiest of memories for me. Then there was Ulduar, quite possibly my favourite raiding instance of the entire game. As with the original game I was raiding at a fairly high end level and enjoyed completing for things like server firsts and also ticking off what were then hard achievements. When we got A Tribute to Insanityit felt like killing C’thun all over again especially given that we usually wiped to stupid on something. It also brought me my favorite 5 man of all time, the Halls of Reflection. Call me weird if you want, but I rather like being chased through frozen halls by a man with a very large sword (and based on what I found when I went and read WoW fan fiction with the  mature filter turned off) I’m apparently not alone.

There was the nakedness bug

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and Gnomes in the fish feasts. I got my one and only legendary, although I have to admit the lack of RP was slightly disappointing even though some of my guild kindly tried to improvise for me. There were flying carpets and real story telling. The Wrathgate chain for example still makes me teary eyed.

Ultimately though, there has been one constant to my journey across Azeroth.

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Mr Harpy and given that he’s currently in the process of leveling warrior number 3, this shot of us snuggling on a beach in Silverpine way back when our adventure was just starting seemed appropriate. I’ve enjoyed the vast majority of my time spent exploring this strange new world and am looking forward to everything that this new expansion brings.

Shared Topic Mountable Mounts

This week the Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth is:

So what are your top 5 mounts – or just the ones you go to all the time because you like the way they ride? What are the ones you really dislike and can never bring yourself to use – does it rub against your collecting nature (if you have one) to buy all the mounts even though you know you will never use them?

Suggested by Dragonray.

In no particular order, these are my favourites:

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Jade Pandaren Kite – This is a winner as far as I’m concerned partly because of the colours but also because I’m surfing across the sky on a giant kite. It’s fairly hard to beat that as a thrill ride.

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Ironbound Proto-drake – Otherwise known as Spike. I’ve loved this mount ever since my then guild completed the meta achievement for him way back in Wrath. Sure it’s questionable whether Brann should be mailing people dragons but I’ve been a mostly responsible owner ever since. I even let him eat the odd Troll.

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Azure Water Strider –  What’s not to like. It walks on water and is a giant salmon coloured bug. Bow down to our aquatic overlords!

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The Headless Horseman’s Mount – Anyone who knows me will know that I’ve been in love with a certain legend of Sleepy Hollow for a very long time. I’ve seen pretty much every movie or tv show based around the story, I even have the talking book on my phone and am seriously tempted to buy this. Therefore how could I not covert this mount. The fact that it’s a flying horse definitely adds to it’s appeal.

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Amber Scorpion – It’s a giant evil Scorpion, just the perfect mount to charge into battle on.

As for those I actively dislike, the jewel-crafting mounts that everyone else seems so fond of definitely make the list. They are followed by this:

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The decidedly creepy Albino Drake with  all the Elekks bringing up the rear.

I try and vary the mounts my alts use although the Headless Horseman’s reins does feature quite heavily mostly because there aren’t any wings flapping around annoying me whilst I travel. In fact I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of my 157 mounts never see the light of day now that mounts are shared across the account.

Furtive Father Winter: The Perfect Present

I returned home yesterday after a couple of internet-less days to discover this awaiting me in my inbox.

the harpy's nest

 

I’ll admit I was a bit stuck when I got your name. Which of your many toons was I going to draw?!  In the end I decided to try and make a night elf harpy holding Benedition since I remember reading somewhere that it was one of your favorite items. I hope you like it.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll keep this brief. A massive thanks to Tyledres from Frost and Claws for this amazing Furtive Father Winter gift. You basically nailed it as I love it to bits.

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving Sprout would like to say a few heartfelt words in thanks.

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First of all to the Godmother of Alternative Chat fame (or possibly infamy depending on your stance on flying mounts on Draenor) who offered a stable and friendly home to Sprout and her associates.

Then to all those wonderful people I’ve encountered through playing WoW and through blogging about it. To Seph without whom I may well never have taken the plunge into writing on such a public medium. Also to Saga, Tome, Matty, Navi and Cymre who were some of my first readers and commentators when I finally managed to go public. I suffer rather badly from anxiety and to say my self esteem is low would be an understatement. Recently in particular things have been extremely bad, to the point where I’ve struggled to do anything socially at all because I’ve felt the “mask” is paper thin, that everyone else can see the flaws within. Just knowing there are people out there within the blogging community who don’t think I’m total waste of space helps and so thank you again to all of you, readers, commentators, lurkers and ships which pass in the night. Prinnie also warrants a special mention because no matter how bad I’m feeling, her posts can usually manage to raise a smile so thank you (and believe me, it’s hard for Sprout to thank Goblins!).

I also want to thank Amerance for hosting the first Blog Azeroth Thanksgiving two years ago which was the catalyst behind my twitter account and I’ve learnt so much from twitter (including the fact that you can lick your own nipple*).Thanksgiving-turkey-2

Thank you also to Mr Harpy who has the patience of a saint for putting up with me, even if he is a photo bombing bouncy green haired pest.

In closing, words can’t quite express just how grateful I am to each and everyone one of you. Thank you once more.

*I’ve been told this is common knowledge, clearly I skipped all the interesting classes at school.

A spoonful of sugar: The Jade Witch

The shared topic this week over at Blog Azeroth is:

to consider the nicest, cutest, sappiest, and sweetest quests in the game; nothing sad or depressing, but sweet and light.

suggested by Matty.

Now I’m not particularly good at sappy, cute and sweet, so I decided to pick a quest chain which I happen to adore but has overtones of sadness intermingled with the sweet gingerbreadiness.

This little quest chain has all the hallmarks of a fairytale. When you start out, it’s almost as a disbeliever, accompanying the child because it’s the polite thing to do but …. a witch… in these woods.

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As you wind your way deeper into the forest towards her cottage, the atmosphere darkens. Less light manages to fight it’s way through the canopy above, the air takes on a jade hue and suddenly you start to think that perhaps there could be a witch in the woods.

The Double Hozen Dare.

There is a witch in the woods but no one believes me. She turned my friend Shin into jade!

We were all so scared we tried to run back but she sicced her big jade monsters on us. A bunch of my friends tried to get away by climbing trees.

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Even I have to admit there are few things cuter than a Panda cub climbing a giant bamboo shoot to escape being turned into jade.  Then once you’ve rescued An Windfur’s fellow cubs, she tasks you with saving her best friend from the Witch.

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This for me at least is where the tinge of sadness enters the frame. The witch is always a witch, not a wife, not a widow, not a woman who lives alone and keeps jade cats but a witch, especially in the eyes of the children.

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Then there are her reasons for keeping her sculpture garden.

Have you come to pay your respects at the shrine of my husband? He was a hero you know. A master of Jade crafting and fighting. He was to be remembered forever they said.

Do you like my statues? I craft them with special care saving only the best to provide my husband company and protection.

She’s not evil (at least by Azerothian standards), she just wants company and to honour the memory of her dead (or possibly turned to jade in an act of sacrifice) husband.

The other reason I love this quest chain is because it reminds me of one of my favourite stories from my childhood, that of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe“. I find myself wondering if it’s any coincidence that the Jade Witch of Warcraft can turn people into jade and Jadis, otherwise known as the White Witch can turn people into stone.

Like all fairy tales involving witches, you’re left with a slight feeling of sickness, as if you ate an entire gingerbread house by yourself. I haven’t failed completely though, there are plenty of cute, light and sweet moments in these quests. I particularly like rescuing the cubs and of course getting my very own jade raccoon at the end.

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