Post Patch Positives

And perhaps the odd negative.

First up, I’m “Fabulous”. Who knew I was hoarding that many items of clothing. With the exception of my Shaman, everyone else is hiding shoulders and is likely to be doing so for the foreseeable future. I’ve also found so many things I didn’t know I had like the scythe off Ahune and the Blessed Leggings of Undead Slaying.

The changes to the Toybox have given me lots more bag spaces as well as the Robo-Gnomebulator.

Gnome Hunters…every baby Gnome I encountered at the start zone had a mechanical Bunny in tow.

Snow has decided to go back to her roots. The achievement for Benediction has made her very happy, even to the point that she let Sprout transmogrify Anathema.

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Playing a Holy Priest today though felt a lot less fun than yesterday. Now part of that is definitely the content I’ve been doing, we did heroic UBRS as a Protection Warrior/Holy Priest duo and then did a couple of the Pandaria raids with the same combination. Mana really wasn’t really an issue even when someone pulled all the first packs of UBRS at once (glares in Warrior’s direction) so I had the talent which lets your single target heals refresh renew. That meant for virtually all of it, I had to cast renew once per fight, then flash heals interlaced with smite spam, holy fire off cooldown and loot.

No inept Shadowfiend, no mind sear, no shadow word pain, no power word shield, no fear and no mind vision. I didn’t think I’d miss them but I do. Obviously raid/pvp healing will need more than those 3 spells to sustain a fight but I liked having a tool box bursting at the seams with spells.

The removal of Basil the inept Shadowfiend probably hurts the most. Not because he was needed for damage or mana but because I have fond memories of his ineptness during raids. In an ideal world, we’d get a cosmetic glyph which lets Holy Priests summon an “inept shadowfiend” which would bounce around being useless for 10 seconds on a minute cooldown.

On the plus side, getting Mind Control back gave me a big smile. I never felt I could justify the talent point on something so specific but it’s fun for duoing five mans at the appropriate level and it’s a great source of amusement in PvP.

Finally no more gold missions at the Garrison makes me very happy, okay it essentially paid for my mobile Transmogrification Yak but feeling I’ve escaped them even if it’s temporarily is a wonderful feeling.

Pre-Patch Nerves and “Fond” Farewells

Knowing the Patch is going to come and knowing exactly when the patch is coming have turned out to be two entirely different things, at least in the Harpy Household.

My plan for Wednesday morning has entirely centered around transmogrification and the long awaited Wardrobe feature. Can I imagine using “the Fabulous” title on any of my characters…absolutely not but from the little Beta testing I’ve done, the ability to hide shoulders along with cloak and helm makes me very happy. Especially because I love some of the older cloth robes and they just don’t have shoulders which match perfectly.

In fact my only bugbear is the way they’ve changed the mechanics behind the “hide” feature. Having to return to a Transmogrification NPC whenever you secure a new piece of equipment is for want of a better word annoying. I know in the grand scheme of the game, it’s a very minor problem and one that perhaps 75 percent of the player base won’t even see as an issue but it grates for me.

So I finally gave in and purchased this:

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It’s probably an accurate representation of the luggage I take for even the smallest trips too.

 

I’ve exchanged all my garrison resources for gold, I’ve mailed out all the bind on equip gear which my bank alts have been hoarding since the Wardrobe system was first mentioned and I’ve taken farewell pictures of Snow’s Chakras (I know I hated them, hated the giant “I’m a holy Priest come and try and kill me” targets on you in PvP, hated the noise they make whenever you switch but I’ll still miss them).

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Technically I’m ready for the dawning of a brand new age but despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy Draenor, I can’t escape that tinge of sadness.

Excitement builds

I’ve been testing things on Beta and on the whole, have found myself falling in love with the game again. Of course there are things I don’t like (Snow has massive class hall envy for example) but that was always a given. Unless I designed the game myself, I was never going to like every aspect and if I designed it, there would be a lot of very unhappy Ret Paladins, Death Knights, Arms Warriors and Frost Mages out there.

Anyway, here are three screenshots which highlight the completely random things I’m especially excited about.

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Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

I’m a creature of habit. My first Onyxia kills took place in vanilla, before flying mounts entered the game. As my then Guild tag acted as a sort of red rag to a Tauren (Orc, Troll and Undead too), we used to meet in Theramore and then either ride through the Marsh or make our way across the water slowly.

Now whenever the urge to kill her crosses my mind, I still go to Theramore before flying off to her lair.

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Things have changed somewhat since we used to gather, chatting by the main gate. An army of 40 players all in our glistening armour, looking more unified than we ever were (actually it was more like 38 because every raid had at least two players who needed summoning from somewhere…normally Gnomes). There is however still a beauty to be found amongst the ruined stone and gaping crater. I know it’s only a video game and yet, I can’t shake that feeling I have of loss whenever my character stands by what used to be the Theramore Tower.

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This story however has a happier ending. Much to my surprise, wrapped up in the usual Onyxia loot (Hunter/Druid…somethings never change), I discovered a mount. For once those fickle Gods of RNG smiled on me.

Recovery takes many forms

So whilst I haven’t been playing WoW recently (and have decided that I need to wait until I hand in my final piece of coursework at the end of May before re-subscribing), I have been doing other things.

One of the few pieces of useful advice I was given after I was diagnosed with Post-natal Depression was to try and get out as much as possible. So we have been all over the place exploring castles,

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Edzell Castle in the sunshine

looking at neolithic ruins and geocaching. Essentially trying to spend as much time out in the fresh air as humanly possible and I  must admit it’s working. My son adores being in the woods and on beaches and I look surprisingly suntanned.

I have been dabbling with some games though as it still rains quite a lot. Dragon Age Inquisition is still on-going although I’m struggling to get back into the story. There is no denying how beautiful it is but I’m just finding something lacking, perhaps because they’ve got rid of all the Mage Towers.

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I dived back into Hearthstone too and finally no doubt years after everyone else I beat a certain spider.

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Then because we visited Doune Castle recently which doubles for Castle Leoch in Outlander, I’ve started reading the book with a view to possibly watching the series once I’m finished. Given the “mind fog” I’ve been in since my son’s arrival I hadn’t actually heard of either the book or the TV series until I got talking to the lovely Historic Scotland ladies as well as some American tourists who didn’t recognize the Catullus quote on the “Outlander” merchandise and thought that “basia” must mean “love”.

I briefly contemplated pretending to being much smarter than I actually am before admitting that I first came across “da mi basia mille, deinde centum” whilst reading Jilly Cooper of all people. Fair enough I was only 10 or so at the time but still.

My final piece of coursework for the University course I’m doing is handed in 10 days time and then the plan is to resubscribe and attack the Toybox list with a view to completing as much as possible before Legion goes live. I think we are going to pre-order so I’ll also be figuring out what character I want to use the boost on as well as deciding if I’m going with my Priest or not.

For the TL;DR, I’ve recovered about as much as I’m going to (still slightly mad) and I’m back, excited about Demons, changes to the PvP system and nursing a desire to slaughter things.

Running Away – A Short Story

Running away is easy, it’s the coming back which is hard.

“Here”, the once Priestess took the bottle offered by the Undead. The liquid was cold with an acid tang, burning like shame as it slid down her throat. She shook her head slightly, unused to the alcohol, feeling colour rush to her cheeks as the miscreants of the Dark Moon Faire surveyed her with amusement.

“So”, this time the voice belonged to a fellow Night Elf, although this one clearly hadn’t been anywhere near Darnassus for a long time. “What are you running from? Oh don’t be shy dear, we’re all running from something. Me, it’s not my fault that he died from a dagger in the back. No one joins the Faire unless they’ve got a guilty secret, something dark and delicious hidden inside just waiting to be unwrapped like a square of shiny chocolate or a Winter Veil gift”.

“I’m not running from the Law”, her tone was more judgmental than intended or wise. Once a Priestess of Elune, perhaps always a Priestess.

“Poor you”, this time it was a Gnome that spoke. “Running from yourself is the worst kind of running. You think you’ve found space, a moment’s peace from the demons in your head so you collapse on the grass, take a deep breath and then you see them, tramping across the meadow all tendrils and tentacles. You can’t outrun you…not even with Gnomish engineering. We’re afraid of the hand on our shoulders, the handcuffs of iron, the noose, the brand. You…you’re afraid of you”.

Drawing herself to her full height, the Priestess wrapped the shadows around herself like a shroud, breathing in the darkness to steady her thudding heart. “Hit a nerve, huh?” The Undead and the alcohol were back, “I’m not great on advice but if you can’t escape the monsters in your head, maybe it’s time to confront them. Although if they’re real demons as opposed to metaphorical ones, you might want to go somewhere else before letting them out. Wouldn’t want collateral damage now would we”.

The bottle, still seeming full despite having made many circles of the fire lit crowd found it’s way back into her hand. Closing her eyes, she let her mind wander back to the days before. The taverns after battles, drinking to forget and at memorials, drinking to remember. Those she had saved and those she couldn’t. The losses like knives in her skin, branding her with failure. The lovers, gone but not forgotten. Pained, dust in Theramore, broken bodies everywhere, blood pouring through her fingers as she tried to channel the light. Then rage taking her unaware, catching in her throat, squatting on her tongue so the only notes spilling forth were birthed in tendrils of shadow, searing all before her.

She recalled asking those around her, how they dealt with so much death. Her sisters in blood and her sisters in arms had shrugged, smiled and carried on. Her sister, once a Sentinel, now a Death Knight had sighed not meeting her eyes, her never still fingers sliding up and down, down and up her rune blade. Her lover, a Sentinel still had laughed, kissed, pulled her down into the bed ignoring the blood smears on her armour, immune it seemed to the stench of death surrounding them. Returning to Darnassus in search of answers, the Priestesses there, safe in the Temple miles away from skin puckered with stab wounds, slashed by axes, burnt by fel flames told her the old lies. Discipline, focus, Elune’s work…watch words to live by, if you’re miles from the front line.

The final straw, it wasn’t so much a straw as a moment’s clarity. The enemy changed, Horde, Old Gods, Monsters of every stripe and colour but the injured and the dead did not. From soldiers who mostly knew what they signing up for to children caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, her magic had soothed, healed and given life. She had fought until she could barely stand, until her voice was hoarse with whispered prayers, she had given everything in service to her Goddess and in return had asked for nothing.

Until that day, having collapsed in bed exhausted and drained of magic, she awoke filled with rage and a shadowy emptiness. Had, dragging one foot in front of the other walked away from her responsibilities, from her lover and her friends, from her sister.

Running away is easy, it’s the coming back which is hard.

 

Yes, beneath the illusion there might be some grains of personal truth in this. Madness can and does sneak up upon all of us, it hides in the most innocent of places, twists things beyond recognition and makes monsters out of memories. Post-natal depression is to put it politely a Bitch. 

When Worlds collide

I paid a visit to the Kirkwall Chantry recently…somewhat disappointed by the lack of men in armour wielding broadswords but it was a really beautiful building.

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It did however get me thinking about different game worlds and how they reflect on the world around us. There are some similarities between Kirkwall the real place and Kirkwall the virtual one, both are located by the sea and both have religious buildings as a focal point but there is a distinct lack of chains (at least in the areas we visited) in the Scottish version.

Looking at art work like this, (one of the loading screens from Dragon Age II).

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It doesn’t require a huge imaginative leap to contemplate that perhaps the designers also had the “real” Kirkwall in mind with it’s Cathedral named for  Magnus Erlendsson (St Magnus) when they decided to call the “City of Chains”, Kirkwall.

In fact, the Orkney Islands seem full of virtual gaming references as seen in the picture below:

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Here we can clearly see a Gnome leaving a Dwarfish dwelling (or not).

I know it’s been a long time since I posted last and if I’m being honest, I have no idea if I’m back. It turns out that I was “not prepared” for Post-natal depression, in fact I imagine it was the real world equivalent of fighting C’thun, Ragnaros versions 1 & 2, the Lich King and 4 Horde raids all at the same time whilst in the Suppression rooms from Blackwing Lair.

In an ideal world, I would like to start posting at least once a fortnight (folder full of drafts, half written stories and I’m still finishing the last Dragon Age) and intend on returning to the game at some point prior to the next expansion going live. In the real world…who knows.

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