Spirit of the Seas: The WoW Festival I’d design

My eye was caught by this week’s WoW Insider Community Blog post in which we are asked to design our own WoW holiday.

So without further ado I would like to present The Spirit of the Seas, a festival in which the denizens of Azeroth give thanks to the Goddess of the Sea for her bounty of fishes and her kindness in sparing the lives of sailors. Azeroth after all has a lot of coast lines and boats a plenty so it surely makes sense that it’s people should pay their respects to the beautiful and fickle sea.

The main action would take place in four different beachfront locations.

For the Alliance:

  • Darkshore
  • Westfall

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For the Horde:

  • Echo Isles
  • Beach in Ghostlands

There would be faction appropriate lanterns hung on sticks pushed into sand, beach chairs and little stalls set up by the locals. Food in the shape of fish would be available through the festival as would cold beers or other suitably chilled beverages. All of the above would provide some sort of stat buff. Souvenirs could be purchased including a bucket and spade which for the duration of the festival would build a little sand castle on the ground in front of you. You can also purchase bubbles of stranglekelp as a sort of Festival long mini pet, a bit like the Green and Yellow balloons the Dark Moon Faire lets you buy and a blow up horse for paddling with because someone thought that inviting Goblins to set up a stall would be a good idea.

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There would also be increased activity on most beaches with little groups of revelers talking about how much they hope to see sea monsters and telling fantastical stories about giant whales and squid which eat ships for breakfast.

Events

The mainstay of the event would take place at 8pm server time every night. The relevant faction leader for each location would arrive by boat with much pomp and ceremony. They would then make a speech about how important the sea has been to the people who live along it’s coastlines. This segment would end with them dropping something personal into the water.

Next food and other offerings would be piled onto boats. These are then pushed out to sea and set alight as they drift as a tribute to the Goddess.

Watching the ceremony would award you the achievement “Burning Boats – There is no accounting for Tribute taste” – listen to a Faction Leader give thanks for the bounties of the sea.

There would also be another achievement for listening to all 4 Faction leaders within one Festival but this wouldn’t count towards the meta achievement.

As the distant flames flicker getting smaller and smaller as they sail towards the horizon, a wave of ghostly figures rises from the depths and wanders up onto the beach to mingle once against with the living. These are the souls of those lost at sea. Clicking on them brings up a dialogue box in which you can offer them drink and ask to hear their stories. Interacting with them has a chance to reward you with a broken shell which when used turns you into one of them for 10 minutes on a 30 minute cooldown, if you die with this effect up, your body breaks down into seaweed and shells just like the  Kvaldir in Northrend.

This awards you the achievement “Full Fathom Five” – talk to the drowned during the Spirit of the Seas Festival.

At around hourly intervals, Naga would attack the beaches trying to carry off festival goers. This would culminate in a giant shark attacking the boat races. “Maws II the revenge” seeks payback for the murder of his brother by eating as many sailors as possible. Killing him would net you currency and a chance to get your very own “Son of Maws 3D” mini pet, basically a really annoyed looking baby shark in a bubble.

You would also be awarded the achievement “We didn’t need a bigger boat after all” – Rid the world of Maws II albeit temporarily.

Other activities would include boat races. This would be mostly like ram racing but without the annoying fatigue component. Coming first in a race would reward you with a winner’s bag which would contain more pearls and possibly some random item. Taking part would give you an achievement naturally. The races would take place regardless of whether there were other players there or not, letting you compete against famous NPCs, generic locals or other players depending on who was ready for some hardcore sailing at the time. I’m sure for example Nat Pagle wouldn’t be able to resist showing up at such an event and I bet he’s a pretty mean rower. Rowing too hard would make you sea sick which would force the title <Sea Sick> on you for two hours. Whilst feeling slightly green you would be able to get optional achievements for things like killing 10 players in PvP and killing a raid boss.

For the duration of the Festival, all catches in salt water will yield a minimum of 2 fish per catch as the Goddess rewards her followers well. In fact sea life would be particularly bountiful at this time, increasing the drop rate of a certain turtle mount I haven’t got yet as well as increasing the numbers of turtles and fish swimming around.

Then as every Festival requires a bit where you have to run around the world picking stuff up, there would be secret watery shrines to the Goddess dotted around Azeroth. In order to make these hidden locations visible to all the clandestine clan who worship the Goddess every day rather than for two weeks a year have set a challenge. Are you willing to be ported up into the heavens and then to take a leap of faith into the turbulent waters below? On falling into the sea (all forms of slow fall are banned) you receive a vision of the Goddess in humanoid form (she appears as a Night Elf in Darkshore, a Bloodelf in Ghostlands etc) who thanks you for your tribute and blesses you. The blessing not only gives you 10 percent experience/rep buff but it also allows you to see what has been concealed. The Goddess returns you to the beach with a whispered memory lingering in your mind, visit her shrines and whisper a prayer there in return for pearls.

The location of said shrines would vary between being underwater, think Vashj’ir and nestled on the edge of beaches.  There would be achievements for visiting all those on the Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Outlands, Northrend and Panderia as well one for completing the lot.

Items

The currency for the Festival would be pearls and these would be gained through daily quests for things such as boat racing, from visiting shrines and from participating in Maws kills.

(Some of the pearls can be opened and have a small chance to yield either the opposing faction’s boats or a giant crab mount which can travel on land, over water and on the sea floor and whilst you’re riding it, you can’t drown).

Mermaid tail – makes you swim faster and provides underwater breathing not to mention style by the bucket load (for Cymre).

Boats – These would come in four different flavours, one for each of the Festival locations but would go into your mount selection so a player assuming they play both sides could collect all four.

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Polymorph: Fish out of water. Pretty much as it says on the tin. Victims of polymorph turn into a rather miserable looking fish and flap around pathetically, perfect for adding insult to injury when you polymorph someone off their mount in PvP.

Drops

Mini Shark in a bubble pet (Maws 3D) Mr Harpy insists that it needs to have the proper old fashioned 3D glasses complete with red and green lens.

Broken Shell from the Souls lost at Sea. This turns you into a ghostly figure a bit like the Kvaldir in Northrend, with barnacles and sea weed for hair although you are still essentially recognizable as the race you were before the sea change started. Dying with the debuff up has the same effect as when the Kvaldir die, collapsing into shells and seaweed and particles of sand.

Examples of Achievement

  • “Burning Boats – There is no accounting for Tribute taste” – Listen to a Faction Leader praise the Goddess for the bounty of the sea
  • “Full Fathom Five” – talk to the drowned during the Spirit of the Sea Festival.
  • We didn’t need a bigger boat after all” – Rid the world of Maws II albeit temporarily.
  • “Castles in the Sand” – Build a Sand Castle on the following beaches during the Spirit of the Seas.

Title:

For completing the meta achievement there would be a title, <Pearl of the Goddess>.

Thanksgiving 2013

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

thanksgivingsproutheart

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.

The Reason for the Season – All Hallows Eve and the Day of the Dead

It’s that time of year again when autumn starts to bleed into winter, when the nights get longer and the damp foggy air smells of apples and burning wood. I’ve always been a Halloween girl, addicted to scary stories and tales about things which go bump in the night so I suppose it comes as no surprise that Hallows End and the Day of the Dead are my favourite WoW festivals of all.

Long before I played WoW, I learned all about the rituals of both albeit from two completely different sources. All Hallows Eve from family, time spent in the garden learning how to twist a handful of plants into a “wickerman” as well as ghost stories around the fire and pumpkin carving, the candles kept burning until morning. My knowledge of the Day of the Dead came from backpacking across Mexico armed with a dog eared Spanish dictionary and bucketfuls of curiosity. We spent the Day of the Dead at Teotihuacan before returning to a Puebla lit by candles and full of marigolds.

Hallows End

The Gilneans and the Forsaken

When Hallows End was revamped, I was glad that Blizzard chose the Gilneans as the perfect counterparts to the Forsaken. As neighbours, it’s entirely possible that they would have had similar beliefs and customs so both burning a Wickerman, albeit for ever so slightly different purposes makes perfect sense.

This time of year celebrates the end of the Harvest, the bringing in the fruits of the summer and the slaughtering of livestock to keep the cold winter days at bay. Even as everything begins to die, it brings with it the promise of rebirth, of a new start and that’s precisely what the Wickerman quest offers.

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The idea of a Wickerman has been around for centuries, Julius Caesar wrote about it, claiming that the Druids burnt their enemies inside it (although he did have a reason for wanting to paint them in a savage and dangerous light) and in more modern times it’s featured in books and films.

Dooking for Apples

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Apples have long been associated with fertility and certainly when I “dooked” for apples as a child, we would peel them, throw the peel over your shoulder and then frantically try and read the initial of our future husbands from the mess on the floor. Surprisingly though, I didn’t marry anyone called “S”, the shape that apple peel tends to squiggle into when thrown from a great height.

Guising

The roots of disguising yourself as something else and going door to door seem to have many possible origins. As far back as Celtic times, people would dress up as those recently deceased in an attempt to confuse evil spirits.

Pumpkins and Jack o’lanterns

The term Jack o’lantern was originally coined to describe a will o’the wisp, those creepy balls of marsh gas blamed for leading many travelers to a sticky end in soggy ground. Family tradition has it that they were carved out of sturdier stuff than pumpkin once upon a time and that modern generations have never had it so good. Placed in windows, their candles should keep evil spirits away until dawn and the safety of All Saints Day.

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The Day of the Dead

La Calavera Catrina

Appearing in many guises, like on the decorative plate seen here next to one of Frida Kahlo, La Calavera Catrina is one of the enduring symbols of the Day of the Dead. “Catrina” used to mean a wealthy or well dressed Lady and you don’t need to spend long in Mexico around October/November to discover that “Calavera” means skull. So essentially, at least on paper, she’s a skull in an expensive hat but in reality, she’s so much more.

san miguel to puerto vallarta 101

So next time you dance with Catrina, remember you are staring the “skull beneath the skin” in the face, the reminder that all us, regardless of money, power and gear score, will die.

Bread of the Dead

Otherwise known as Pan de Muerto, folklore has it that the dead ask for bread and sugar to help them on their journey and this sweet bread provides the perfect sustenance for the soul on it’s final trip.

Marigolds

The Aztec flower of the Dead, Cempasúchil plays a massive part in the Day of the Dead celebrations, adorning altars and forming a path of petals to enable the souls of the dead to return to spend precious time with the living. So it seems only fitting then in Azeroth, they aid us to see both the spirits of our ancestors but also hidden secrets like these forgotten ghosts haunting Raven Hill.

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Tradition has to be important to all of us, but blindly following without understanding is both pointless and potentially dangerous. Don’t eat your own wedding cake, never leave a cloth on a table over night, no shoes on the table, always smash an egg shell into tiny pieces… rituals that you grow up with, so familiar they’re apart of you, actions your body takes without your brain engaging.

Day 15 – A Screenshot A Day

Today’s prompt is Season.

Now this time of year actually happens to be my favourite. That slow slide into autumn, golden leaves falling from the trees, toffee apples and Halloween.

For my shot, I thought I’d pick that somewhat forgotten and neglected Blizzard festival, Harvest  which as it happens is taking place right now.

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Happy Winter Veil

I know it’s slightly early but after finishing work tomorrow we’re heading straight off into a three day food and family fest without proper computer access (we do have it but I’d be roasted alive if my Mother* caught me blogging about a computer game whilst I’m meant to be concentrating on nieces, nephews and other assorted family members) so this is my last chance to hope you all have an awesome time and that Grandfather Winter brings everything on your wish lists.

MerryWinterVeil

As for me, it seems that Grandfather Winter came early this year because Mr Bigglesworth is already ticked off my present list. Although in this particular shot he does seem to be trying to distance himself from a tastefully dressed levitating carol singing Gnome, can’t imagine why.

*Yes I’m afraid of my Mother and with good reason I assure you. She makes Sprout’s PvP bloodlust look like a lazy afternoon picnic.

All I want for Winter Veil is……

A couple of weeks ago the Blog Azeroth shared topic was

Winter Veil is around the corner and it’s time to sit upon Greatfather Winter’s lap and answer the important question, “What do you want for Winter Veil?” Is it that expensive grand expedition yak? a nice transmog custom outfit? or a Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock?

What is on your Winter Veil wishlist?

suggested by Noahdeer.

Having been both a good little Gnome and a good hard working girl, I’d like my stocking to divulge the following this Winter Veil.

  1. Mr Bigglesworth. As a little girl, I had my own pet cemetery moments (at least in the sense of wishing that the dead didn’t have to stay dead) and even now I still in my deepest dreams find myself wishing for undead pets. Since I suspect my childhood dog, his bones bleached white isn’t going to come tapping down the corridor, I’ll take Mr Bigglesworth as a substitute.
  2. An end to Dailies. Yes I get the whole “don’t do them” argument but they are there sitting in quest logs and with reputation bars not maxed laughing at me.
  3. More time to actually play. What with my commute and with my work load, time outside work not spent asleep is remarkably precious right now. At this time of year especially, there are so many other demands on those fleeting moments that I’m struggling to find any time at all in Azeroth.
  4. This one basically leads on from 3. Ideally if every thing goes according to plan, in the new year, we’ll smash the nasty commute into little pieces which then will hopefully allow me much more time to do other things like finish the 100 plus drafts sitting waiting to be finalized, to possibly find a guild to do some raiding with and to complete all the other little projects sitting half done, like my Tree of Life cushion.
  5. Come up with a Winter transmogrification for Sprout who is still wearing a semi matching set of PvP and PvE gear all collected from MoP and held together by a tabard of all things.

Of course I wouldn’t say no to “Peace on Azeroth and Goodwill to all Gnomes” either. Garrosh’s bloody and battered head in my stocking would be greatly appreciated too.

The Wanderer’s Festival – IntPiPoMo

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy

With so many of the WoW festivals revolving around killing and death, the Wanderer’s festival is a real breathe of fresh air. There is no big bad to slaughter, no towns to save, just a leisurely Sunday beach party focusing on celebrating exploration and dreams coming true.

The party starts with the celebrants emerging from the jungle, some carrying lanterns which they take to the water’s edge.

Once released these glowing beacons float out to sea, drifting out to explore.

I find myself returning week after week just so I can sit on the beach watching the world go by.

I love the idea of a regular festival and/or event that happens all year around and really hope it’s something that Blizzard develop further at some point. So far we have the Wanderer’s Festival with it’s hatchling and of course the Darkmoon Faire but perhaps the market at Halfhill could expand into a proper market on a Saturday with twice as many stalls, some selling unique items and recipes. Maybe those enterprising Goblins in Booty Bay could set up a Fish market to help fund the rebuilding project or the Vrykul could host a little gathering once a fortnight to help draw people back to Northrend, obviously we’d have to dress up to avoid being on the receiving end of a pointy spear but the opportunities could be endless.

Happy Hallows End

Beware of Gnomes and Goblins and other such beasties!

Trick or Treat!

As the nights draw in and all Hallows Eve slides through the shadows, getting closer and closer, Ambermist of Battlechicken challenged us to describe how our characters would dress up for a spot of candy acquiring.

If your character were going Trick or Treating in Azeroth, Tyria, or wherever they call home, what would their costume be? Tell me all about the what and the why and if you can find a picture of it or something similar, please post that with it–I’d love to see!

We tend to dress up as what scares us the most and for Sprout, the bogeyman under the bed and the monster lurking beneath the bridge has always been a Troll. Thus this Hallows End, she will be found cavorting around demanding sweeties whilst dressed as an evil little Troll creature, complete with pet snake to hiss on demand if people aren’t generous enough in their candy sharing.

Give me sugary snacks or I’ll let my snake hug you!

A few of my favourite things: The MoP Edition

The sheer quantity of “fun” items released with Mists has me both amazed and struggling for bag space.  Do I really need a golden banana, probably not but who knows what the future holds. Throwing away a cask of beer could be risky, for all I know I might end up stuck half away up a mountain with nothing to drink at some point soon. Therefore I thought I’d talk you through my favourite silly stuff so far.

So in no particular order, here are my favourites to date:

1. Tuft of Yak Hair

This lets you summon a rather large yak and ride him around the Dread Wastes for a minute or so. You can’t control his speed, only direction.

2. Oddly Shaped Horn

This is basically a Mushan version of the Yak Hair, you get three charges which summons a very large Mushan and get to ride around on it’s back for a little while. Totally pointless but rather fun.

3. Ruther’s Harness

This is the reward  from a  Goldilocks type quest and he’s become my good look charm in battlegrounds, although recently given the sheer number of premades featuring warriors and holy paladins, he’s not been that lucky.

4. Shushen’s Spittoon

It might be rather naughty of me but the second I saw this, my mind immediately jumped to possible pvp implications. If there comes a time when the /spit emote just isn’t enough, deploy this one their unreleased corpse and spit away to your hearts content (of course I’d never do something so …. bad).

5. Silversage Incense

Even angry little gnomes need to find serenity somewhere along the line.

6. Autumn Blossom Tree

You grow these on your farm once you’re honoured or above with the Tillers. Each tree only lasts 3 minutes but I think they’re rather pretty.

Right now our policy is basically if it moves (and even if it doesn’t) kill it and see if it gives shinies. What items are you currently hoarding away and why?

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