The Sinner in Me: A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

The shared topic this week was suggested by Noahdeer of Be MoP.

We all know of the Seven deadly sins (Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Gluttony) and we all succumb to aspects of them at one time or another, but is there one particular sin that affects you more than the others when you play World of Warcraft? 
Are you a bit too prideful about your armor set? or Do you look upon someone with envy when they have a piece of armor that you don’t have yet? 

My downfall has to be Pride (and not just because I happen to love this picture):

Pride by Erte from his series on the Seven Deadly Sins

If you’ve never seen his work before, it’s definitely worth a look.

In both pleasure and business I have a driving need to be good at whatever I do. Partly perhaps because in WoW, I tend to play healers and in the real world, mistakes at work could have horrific consequences for those I’m supposed to be helping. It’s not that I think I’m better than everyone else but more that I’ve built my own mental barriers around not making mistakes and around being a fast learner. I find it hard to cope with failure or with not hitting my own admittedly high standards. After all, what’s the point of doing something if you can’t be proud of whatever you achieve at the end.

On the other hand, Sprout’s greatest sin has to be Wrath… usually brought on by people who spam “Lol let’s lose fast” or turn up to pvp in the equivalent of a lovely red dress and then whine about the healing. It makes her see red very fast and everyone who has ever played on a pvp server knows that red=dead. It’s just a shame you can’t always apply that to your team mates. This ties back in with Pride, because I (through Sprout) get angry that my team aren’t even attempting to play properly and are effectively making me look bad. I know that’s a slightly screwed way of looking at things but the habits of a lifetime are hard to break, especially when they help get you promoted.

A few of my favourite things: First loves and endearing stories

This close to the end of an expansion, my mind always starts roaming back over things I’ve enjoyed in the current and previous incarnations of the game so today I want to talk about my favourite five man vanilla and TBC dungeons. It’s a combination of things, the atmosphere (scenary and any storylines/quest chains) and the mechanics of the fights which draw me to specific dungeons over and  over again.

Vanilla

The Deadmines

You never forget your first, whether that was your first kiss, first shot of horseradish vodka, first lover or first ever WoW dungeon. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, it was your first and that makes it special. It will colour your views of everything which comes afterwards.

We got lost finding the instance and then spent ages wandering around the tunnels before the dungeon proper thinking we were awesome because stuff was dying. When we finally made it through the loading screen there was this sense of WOW…. and that was before we even got close to the the whole boat in a cave bit. The fights were varied and fun, the loot was the best we’d see up until that point and the fact that you could get a rolling pin and two mini-pets made it even better.

The story line behind the instance has always struck me as a fairly poignant one too. I spent much of my childhood not far from Hamelin, the town immortalised in the tale of the Pied Piper and there are definite similarities between that and the story of the Defias, one which could serve as a warning to anyone planning on not paying for services rendered.

The Scarlet Monastery

When I rolled my first Priest, we were levelling as a threesome. Me, the now Mr Harpy on a Druid and a friend playing a Rogue. We had picked a server at random and so were levelling quite happily by ourselves. This involved ganking as many fellow questers as possible (If a Troll Shaman called Ada is reading this.. sorry) and seeing if we could three man most of the levelling dungeons at an appropriate level. This worked like a charm until we encountered the final wing of the Monastery, where Whitemane and co really didn’t want to go down easily.

Whitemane has remained one of my favourite dungeon bosses and I’m really glad that the revamp didn’t see her replaced with a pale imitation. There is something endearing about her fanaticism, her eye makeup and her love for Mograine that makes me feel slightly bad every time I kill her.

Plus she has a Benediction which clearly makes her awesome! Also every time I cast resurrection, a gleeful little voice in my head yells “Arise my champion”.

Scholomance

I love horror movies despite the fact that I have an over-active imagination and am prone to nightmares even if I’m not watching people being slaughtered in inventive ways by homicidal maniacs in haunted houses, thus Scholomance and I were always going to be a match made in heaven. Again it’s an instance I encountered fairly early on because I needed the mana potion recipe which was only obtainable by completing the quest chains there. Then it became a staple of my pre Molten Core farm as I and my guildmates worked on collecting our dungeon sets.  The arguments as the warlock in the party always wanted to do Jandice and the tank didn’t, people getting locked out of the Kirtonos fight and the yell of “Schools in session” which always sent a frisson of excitement down my spine as I prayed I wouldn’t be the one getting portaled into a room full of skeletons.

I wrote about my love affair with Scholomance back in 2009 and reading back over that post, my feelings haven’t changed at all. In fact whilst I like the re-make (although it’s bit like beloved films, a part of me is yelling “WHY WHY WHY!!!!”), I feel the spirit of the place has gone. The Eva Sarkhoff quest chain was both chilling and heartbreakingly sad at the same time and I feel it’s removal lessens the Scholomance experience.

The Burning Crusade

Caverns of Time: Old Hillsbrad

Saving Thrall and wandering about in the past, what’s not to love about Old Hillsbrad. Now that Southshore is destroyed, I make pilgrimages to the dungeon to sit in the Inn and mingle amongst the villagers listening to their chatter. I watch little Sally Whitemane running around, carefree and happy not knowing what the future will bring. I’d also love to make a human character who looked like this:

The story is a good one too, trying to stop someone messing with the time line and of course, I love the “disguise” element of the dungeon, seeing my Nightelves and Draenei turning into humans. Thrall versus the armourer never fails to make me smile either even though I know it’s coming.

Shadow Labs

My favourite board game when I was small was called Labyrinth and of course, I loved the the David Bowie movie too (he was my second ever crush after Daley Thomson) so my excitement towards Shadow Labs was building long before TBC was actually released. The first actual run was a little disappointing but as I healed run after run helping my guild attune themselves to Karazhan it grew on me. I particularly enjoyed the second boss, Mr Mindcontrol because of the chaotic nature of the fight. It was like a smaller scale precursor of the Faction Champions. Shadow Labs was also the source of one of my greatest triumphs when myself, Mr Harpy on his warrior and a warlock guildmate managed to three man most of the instance in the first few weeks of the Burning Crusade (at a time when most people were complaining about the difficulty of the instance and the randomness and nastiness of the 2nd boss in particular.

Next time I’ll be explaining why my favourite picks of Wrath and Cataclysm probably aren’t everyone else’s cup of tea.

Blue and White: Frozen Delight

I’ve been looking for an outfit for my Mage’s frost spec for a quite a while now. I keep finding items that I love by themselves but just don’t seem to work when slotted into an outfit.

Then I picked up that new robe from the Scarlet Monastery and had the beginnings of an idea.

This was followed by a touch of experimenting with the new version of MogIt, which proved my suspicions about a certain hat, shoulders and belt correct.

Then, flicking forward into the MoP section of MogIt I came across this amazing looking weapon. It just seemed to tie the whole outfit together and with it’s huge globe of water on the end, it’s the perfect choice for a Frost Mage.

The weapon will definitely have to be a work in progress but then there are plenty of other off-hand/main hand and staves which would fit the bill in the mean time.

 

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: I believe!

Last week’s shared topic caught my eye for a number of reasons but I’ve been so distracted I failed to get a post written in time. However that nagging desire to put pen to paper refused to go away so better late than never, here’s my contribution.

Canon refers to the actual events and characters that exist in a fictional world. Headcanon refers to any situations or characters that are imagined by fans of said fictional world. Sometimes they are silly, like the fact that Garrosh’s favorite treat is lemon squares. Sometimes they are serious, like positing that tauren store grief in the lungs. For my writing, I’ve come up with a lot of headcanon. Got a theory about a torrid romance between your favorite auctioneer and the patrolling guard? Given any thought to where mounts and pets go when they aren’t summoned? Do you know how your characters do their laundry, or what Baine Bloodhoof does in his free time? What are your headcanons, and where did you get the idea?

Suggested by Akabeko.

Long before I actually rolled a Gnome, the Longberry sisters fascinated me. I used to follow Bimble around Ironforge buying apples from her as an excuse to engage in conversion.

With time she and her sister Ginny morphed from being innocent fruit and reagent vendors into something slightly more sinister in my head. Instead of just helping the inhabitants of Ironforge get their vitamin D, something they clearly need large amounts of since they live underground, Bimble and Ginny are actually Gnomish spy-masters in the pay of SI:7. Shipments of fruit come in from all corners of Azeroth and hidden within the crates of sour green apples and heavy moon harvested pumpkins come reports of troop movements and blood stained battle plans. So if you happened upon the right code word next time you buy your juicy pomegranates straight from the Twilight Highlands, who knows what information might fall into your hands. Of course the consequences for messing with such things might be lethal, after all everyone who has ever read Christina Rossetti should know the perils of purchasing fruit from small creatures.

Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”
from the Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti.

I’ve also been running Violet Hold quite a bit recently. On Sprout I still needed to kill Moragg and since I went to school with a girl called Morag who I didn’t particularly like for a number of reasons, I really wanted to tick that off (to be fair, I was far nastier to her than she was to me, including “poaching” the boy she liked in 5th year by making sure he danced the last dance of our summer ball with me rather than her. It later turned out he was afraid of dogs so that relationship really didn’t work out but that’s another story).

One thing has always bothered me about the Violet Hold. What crimes did these “dangerous” prisoners commit? Can they possibly have topped the terrible things that we the player base have done and if not, why are we swanning around in the Kirin Tor’s tabards whilst they languish in magical prison cells. Thus to sway my own guilty feelings, I started coming with possible offences for these monsters.

This chap above for example might not look particularly ferocious when trapped behind a forcefield but meet him face to face and you’d soon be singing a different tune. His line of “Free to–mm–fly now. Ra-aak… Not find us–ekh-ekh! Escape!” is purely diversion, he doesn’t want to escape, he wants to eat your face with a side order of salted eye chased down by a pickled egg.

Moragg might look like a typical demon, the sort of thing you warlocks can make friends with these days, but secretly it loves nothing better than watching people get down and dirty. This was going fine until the demon happened to come across this:

The tiny gnome peered over the railing into the secluded Dalaran courtyard.
“The view from the balcony is amazing.  You have to come see!”
Armor legplates creaked as Marcus walked over, taking in a deep breath as he absently scratched his scruffy chin.
“The Hero’s Welcome is no slouch.  And there’s something in the room that might interest you.”
Tavi bounded into the room, pausing only a moment before jumping onto the massive bed.

from A Steamy Romance Novel: Northern Exposure

What happened next had a profound and rather disturbing effect on the poor creature. We’ll never know what exactly caused the outburst but once the demon was distracted (you really don’t want to know how much blindweed that took), the body count was in the hundreds.

I actually spend far too much time coming up with stories both for my own characters and those they encounter. I suppose I feel that all of them, from the one line baddies we slaughter on a daily basis to the passing NPCs deserve a story of their own and without the words to sing it themselves, we need to tell for them.

Trying to Survive without MogIt (and failing!)

I’m secretly squeaking with glee at the thought of getting my hands on all the new Mists gear for transmogrification purposes but in the meantime I thought I’d share some of my Transmogolympic outfits with you. Rather than show all my nine outfits, I’m going to stick with the ones that my characters might potentially wear at some point.

The javelin – modelled by my Troll Druid.

  • Unwavering Stare
  • Shoulderguards of Assimilation
  • Wild Draenish Vest
  • Weavers of the Unending Tale
  • Warchief Kilt
  • Hellion Glaive

Horse riding – worn by my Worgen.

  • Master’s Hat
  • Soulstealer Mantle
  • Drakeweave Raiment
  • Frostwoven Gloves
  • Gaea’s belt
  • Astralaan Pants

Archery – Bloodelf style.

  • Bow of Taut Sinew
  • Helmet of the Inner Sanctum
  • Mantle of the Sea Wolf
  • Netherstalker Armor
  • Gordok’s Gauntlets
  • Stillwater Girdle
  • Kilt of Dark Mending
  • Steadfast Stompers

Cycling leathers – rocking and rolling with my Night Elf Druid.

  • Greensight goggles
  • Veil of Turning Leaves
  • Marshwarden’s Tunic
  • Artic gloves
  • Wildevar Belt
  • Daggercap Trousers
  • Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Footguards of Alacrity

Of these, the equestrian and the cycling are probably my favourites. If I go Draenei with my monk which is a distinct possibility then I’ll definitely be working on farming her the cycling set.

In the meantime I’m currently trying to match up a belt and shoulders to go with my new robe (Scarlet Monastery, drops from the gentleman who replaced Doan and whose name I can’t remember).

We casters really need our version of the Death Knight starter zone belt, one that doesn’t overlap any fancy designs on roles. Any suggestions would be received with open arms.

A few of my Favourite Post-Patch Things

In no particular order:

1. Basilisks

I thought these would be a bit like crocolisks, i.e. really annoying as pets with their skittering little legs running after you but somehow their garish colours and whiskers have grown on me.

Staying with Hunter’s pets, up next is something I’ve been wanting to tame ever since they were first introduced with the Burning Crusade.

2. Water Striders

3. Being able to name my mini-pets. I’ve still got a long way to go figuring out names for all of them but I love being able to show a bit of their personality through a proper name.

4. Scarlet Monastery.

The re-make reminds me of those wonderfully bad Hammer Horror movies I grew up hiding behind the sofa watching re-runs of. I particularly like the fact that you have to pretty much “stake” Whitemane to try and ensure she stays dead.

5. Spectral Guise. Perhaps not for the reason that Blizzard would like to me to love this talent though. It has saved me a couple of times by cancelling spell casts but because it doesn’t work like true “stealth”, your pets remain visible and for some reason my Darkmoon Balloon drifting along seemingly by itself amuses me no end.

6. Glyph of Disguise.

Here we see my rogue masquerading as a rather fetching Harpy. Unfortunately it only lasts five minutes and breaks in combat but for idling there is nothing better.

So what is everyone else excited about this week?