All I want for Hallows End is ….

Tomorrow heralds the start of my favourite WoW holiday, Hallows End and I’ve got my fingers crossed that these two little no longer alive kittens have made into the festivities. I know the game is already loaded with cats, especially when compared to dogs but still.. you can’t have too many ghost cats can you?

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In fact I could forgo all the other bits and bobs, the apple ducking, the skeletons hanging on cupboards and even the Headless Horseman if only they make it into the game this year. Please Blizzard, after all I’ve been a good little Priest (honest!).

All Grown Up – Wildberri

Wildberri is my third level 90 and certainly the alt who has benefited the most from Lae’s Alt Appreciation. Leveling especially through Pandaria has been an interesting mix of doing stuff we either hadn’t done before or hadn’t paid enough attention to.

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Who let the Sha out? …. oh wait, that might have been us.

I’ve also (and this came as a huge surprise to myself) got sucked into pet battling in a big way. Not only have I acquired a lot more level 25 pets but I’ve finally managed to beat all the tamers up to and including Grand Master Aki. In fact quite a bit of my leveling has been done through pet battles as I’ve meandered across Azeroth. I even managed to tame one of these:

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Which definitely has to be a contender for the best looking battle pet in-game.

Now that Wildberri is 90 however it’s time to focus on transmogrification. I happened to pick up these pants from the auction house for 2g and thought they would be the perfect starting block. Blue is a great colour for Shamans and given that Elemental Shamans tend to be a target (after all, no one likes the thunderstorms and other freak weather occurrences which tend to happen when they’re in the vicinity), I thought I’d go for dressing as brightly as possible. If you’re going to be a target you might as well be A TARGET!

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Ultimately I think I’m aiming for something like this:

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I love the blues and bronze tones working together and the purple in the pants matches her skin tone. I just need to find the time and the luck to farm up the RNG pieces.

Next I think I’ll focus on sorting out her gear and generally getting used to playing dps again. I tried the proving grounds the day she dinged but had already consumed several large glasses of wine and my concentration was not the best. Bronze healing and bronze dps was easy enough but I got distracted by bronze tanking and hit a wall of frustration when my healer refused point blank to heal herself. By the time I decided I needed to rethink my tanking tactics it was too late to try again however I’m going to do it one way or another, after all I have a sort of taunt and a shield… what else do tanks need?

I’m also hoping she can take over from Dulca when I hit the wall in the Brawler’s guild but at the moment my Mistweaver monk still does more damage than her so that might be a while off (not sure if it’s purely gear or lack of practice playing the Shaman on my part or just the fact that Mistweavers do silly damage atm) but with gear she’s bound to over take the healer.

Mini Post – Giving into temptation

It seems that like Oscar, I can resist everything but temptation.

As soon as I heard that the Enchanted Fey Dragon was available on the Blizzard store, I did my best impression of the Alterac Brew-Pup and turned my big sad eyes on Mr Harpy.

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The Brew-pup drools in an adorable fashion too as well as whines for attention. In fact I’m not sure which I like the most, the mount or the pet but I’m glad that Blizzard have finally given us a proper dog and all for a good cause as well.

How Sprout got her Squash

The Wyvern’s Tail is hosting a lovely little Hallows End competition and it being my favourite time of the year and all, I couldn’t resist joining in. I know it’s meant to be all about the screenshots but Sprout is one of those gnomes incapable of using one word when 37 would do roughly the same job.

Duskwood always has dangers lurking in the restless dark but this is never more true than at Hallows End when the veil between worlds is at it’s weakest. So without further ado, I present Hallows End Sprout:

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The old covered bridge, cobwebs hanging from it’s timbers lay directly in front of her. Parking her mechostrider, Sprout closed her eyes for a moment letting the warnings flood her mind. “Don’t ride through Duskwood after dark”, “Fly to Redridge… the path is shorter and safer”, “Stay another night and leave in the morning, don’t be foolish little Gnome” and then once they realised that her mind was made up, the raft of more practical suggestions. “Don’t leave the road whatever you do”, “Don’t stay on the path, who knows what monsters walk”, “Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the way ahead, never look back”. It had seemed as if every one in the Sentinel Hill hostelry had some opinion, from the Innkeeper herself to the workers fixing the roof. Whilst the details differed, everyone agreed on one particular point .. entering Duskwood in the twilight was suicide.

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Dismounting, she swiftly checked the machine over, breaking down could be a dangerous disaster. Once Sprout felt secure in her ride, she double checked her bags. Melon juice, check; flask of hot bean soup, check; Dwarven Mild, check and finally a loaf of freshly baked bread. Whatever happened in those dark woods, she wasn’t going to starve. Starting her engine, she eyed the forests of Duskwood unhappily.

As the mechostrider leapt forward onto the bridge, for a moment Sprout feared that the planks couldn’t take the strain. That any second, she and her precious machine would be plunged into the cold dark water below. Despite their warped condition, perhaps a sign of lack of use, the bridge held and now she set foot in accursed Duskwood itself.

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Sprout had heard many stories from passing drunks in the Inns about Necromancers, ghouls and other such monsters who lurked off the beaten path in the many boneyards and resting places of the forest but being a Gnome of reason and sense, she knew these were nothing but idle superstition and an blatant attempt to impress or at least she had known this whilst safe abed in Stormwind. However curiosity and pride got the better of her, how could she return to the University without at least having explored a corner of the map. Turning her headlamps on full, she steered away from the road and up a steep incline, coming to an abrupt stop overlooking a graveyard. A graveyard crawling with things which her rational brain couldn’t quite interpret.

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The mad dash towards the path seemed to take forever and never had a Gnome seen a more welcome sight than cobbles, fences and lamps lighting the way. Promising herself to stay on the straight and narrow, Sprout set off once again for Darkshire.
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The only way forward seemed to be to keep her eyes fixed firmly on the horizon, that way blinking eyes in the undergrowth, giant spiders and big black wolves could all be edited out of the picture before her brain fully processed it and indeed Sprout proceeded some way in this fashion.

It was at this point disaster struck, heralded by a noise which chilled the blood just around a bend in the road. A scream and then a rough munching sound as if something large with many teeth was gnawing on bone could be heard up ahead. Tightening her grip on the mechanostrider, Sprout considered her options. By the sound of it, there was nothing left to rescue and so riding towards that noise would be the equivalent of desert serving itself to whatever was snacking in the dark. That left the forest flanking either side of the path, both sides were dense with trees and no light  penetrated those black branches. Resorting to what might be called logic in a less dangerous situation, Sprout decided that going north hadn’t worked out previously so this time she would try south.

Pushing her way through the trees she found herself in a field full of what she quickly recognized as corpse weed although she had not seen such lively specimens before. Quickly picking her way through the open ground, out of the corner of her eye she spotted something glowing. Something which on closer inspection turned out to be a Jack o’lantern abandoned but yet still lit. Looking around she could see no movement in the clearing and taking a deep breath she turned away from the gruesome pumpkin and rode towards the road.

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As she resumed riding along the road, a distinct silence lay blanketed over the wood. No longer could she hear the wolves howling or the shrill shrieks of the owls, instead it was just her own blood pumping and the rattle of her engine. Then from behind she though she heard a slither, a slippery sound of something unnatural sliding along the cobbles and with her heart in her mouth, Sprout looked behind her.

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That accursed Jack o’lantern was following her on long legs of twisted roots, it’s unholy grin fixed on her. Closing her eyes, Sprout gunned her engine and rode as if the Devil himself in vegetable form pursued her.

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It was only on reaching the outskirts of the town itself that Sprout dared to glance behind her and thankfully the road was clear. No glowing eyes, no long and twisted roots, no animated orange flesh, just an empty highway stretching out behind her. In her gratefulness to be safe and secure within the town, it never occurred to her to check the pumpkin patch which lay alongside the road but then who in similar circumstances can say they would have done different?

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Parking her mechanostrider, Sprout made straight for the Scarlet Raven, trying hard to not look at the jack o’lanterns carved everywhere for Hallows End.

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Once inside and parked on a stool by the fire with a hot toddy, she discovered that the locals were entertaining themselves by telling ghost stories. As the warmth seeped through her numb body, she found herself listening with interest to the tale of the Carved one. “Once upon a time”, the barmaid said, “there was a little boy who loved Hallows End more than any other time of the year. Every year he and his father would carve a Jack O’lantern for their field but then came the year of the Dark Riders and something horrible happened out at their farmstead. In the morning, a search party found only blood and that cursed pumpkin still lit even with the candle inside burnt down to dust. Ever since that night, on Hallows End a bewitched lantern appears in that field searching for souls to lure to their doom and every year it claims at least one victim”.

It was at this point, Sprout decided that she had heard enough and retreated to the safety of her room, upstairs and only accessibly by passing through the busy bar. As she readied herself for bed, she muttered about stupid superstition and ghost stories being just that, something parents told their children to frighten them onto the straight and narrow. Nothing something a Gnome would waste time partaking in.

After all… ghostly Jack O’lanterns… whoever has heard of such a thing.

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A Brawling we will go

Entirely by accident I found myself in the Brawler’s guild yesterday. I wasn’t planning on doing anything as messy as stepping into the ring but then I realized that I was completely alone. The rest of the server were either running around on the Timeless Isle or busy hanging out at the Darkmoon Faire in search of Moonfang related goodies, therefore if I fell flat on my face with my silly Mistweaver DPS, no one would know. So with my heart racing, I spoke to that Worgen gentleman and waited. A mere heartbeat later I was in the ring, waiting for an oversized crocodile to eat me alive. Surprisingly he didn’t although I didn’t notice this until I was ported out because I was too busy staring at the chomp cast bar. Heart in my mouth, I queued up again and again and again, ticking off ranks 1 through 4.

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So I’m now the proud owner of Clock’em, ok it’s months after everyone else but I did do it specced as a healer which has to count for something right? Can I get all the way to rank 10 as a Mistweaver? I suspect not, at least not without some major gear upgrades but I do intend to try. I also need to see if it’s doable on other classes as Sprout would love to be Brawler.

Moonfang and Modern Manners

At midnight server time last night I and quite a few others were loitering in Goldshire waiting for the stars to align and those pesky Darkmoon folks to hurry up and drag their island into position. Once the portal was up, it didn’t take us long to spawn Moonfang and slaughter her.

It was only afterwards whilst I was kiting around a pack of hungry wolves angry at their Den Mother being so horribly murdered in front of them, that I started to think of the implications of the way in which we’d zerged her down. No grouping up to kill means that many people are purely focused on themselves and their loot which is why during my dance of potential death I got sworn at by a “corpse” who wanted ressing NOW!!!1!. I didn’t really have the time nor the desire to point out that I’m not a Druid (even though I’m wearing Wildheart knock offs) and thus can’t res whilst wolves are trying to eat my toes. I know people have experienced issues on the Timeless Isle if they release during a kill but asking someone who is fighting not just one wolf but an entire pack is stretching it a bit. However my issue doesn’t just lie with him but with the twenty to thirty others who were quite happy to loot and either play with their new toys or mount away whilst I struggled to survive. It didn’t matter that I’d helped to keep them alive during the fight nor that my current predicament was purely down to class mechanics (this is one place where passive healing as you nuke is a pain in the neck), they got what they wanted and as we weren’t partied up, I might as well have been invisible to them. My second kill highlighted another issue with this new system. As I and a handful of others were busy fighting elite mobs, there were around fifteen other people sat on mounts at the spawn point demanding we hurry up and kill things because as one person put it he had “limited time”.

WoW is a multiplayer game and almost every aspect of it works best when we cooperate and play together. Yes there were a few exceptions, including a sub 90 Mage who almost died horribly trying to get that pack of wolves off me but it felt like we were a disparate bunch who would have been just have happy soloing wolves in Duskwood if they happened to drop decent rewards.   Yes, this system works great for people like me, whose anxiety and shyness makes grouping akin to stabbing myself repeatedly with a knitting needle but I feel that the game could ultimately suffer because of it. It feeds into that toxic behaviour we’re so fond of discussing because when you don’t “need” other people, for many there is no point in treating them fairly or decently.

That said, RNG has treated us rather well as you can see from our little wolf family screenshot below.

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I also like the fact that there seems to be no limits on about the amount of loot you can potentially receive per day. Given that the Darkmoon Faire is such a temporary event I think restrictions would be annoying and from my experience at least, the drop chances seem quite high and I’m up to two pets and an item which turns me into a baby wolf for 10 minutes out of every hour and which more importantly doesn’t break on combat.

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I love Moon Moon’s animations too and now I just need to find a better name for him.

For Matty – A Mrs Whitworth Doodle

I’ve been experimenting with various crafty things in honour of the Wyvern’s Tail’s personal challenge and as usual inspiration struck in the strangest of ways. It’s been a very long time since I picked up a pencil for anything other than scrawling a shopping list on a piece of scrap but this quick little sketch almost drew itself.

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At some point I might have a go at refining it into something a bit more polished (or at least something which takes longer than 2 minutes to achieve) but then on the other hand I might not.

For those of you not yet introduced to the wonderful world of Mrs Whitworth, I suggest you hot foot over to Matty’s blog and get reading… otherwise, well, it’s almost the season of the witch and who knows what might happen.

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