Dorrie the not so little Witch

I went through a brief phase of Warcraft burn-out but am slowly rediscovering my love of the game thanks to my little Warlock. I suspect I might have to redesign her face post Warlords but I’m having tremendous fun dotting things to death.

WoWScrnShot_042914_213440
My plan was to follow in the footsteps of my original character, also a Warlock, at least as much as I remember where I quested back in 2005. Darkshore has long been one of my favourite zones, one I’ve skirted through post Cataclysm but according to my achievements never completed and that journey is proving surprisingly tough.

The devastation wrought on my much beloved zone along with the corpses of favoured quest givers has left me growling at my screen, wishing I could slaughter those responsible over and over again.
WoWScrnShot_042914_215956
From those first few quests in which you find yourself hunting for survivors in the surf, finding your arrival is often only seconds too late, the zone sucks you in with it’s storytelling. Plus even now, in it’s broken, burnt and battered state, there is a beauty to it.
WoWScrnShot_042914_223458
Dorrie is now level 20, proud owner of a slightly singed Demonic horse and looking forward to her next challenge. I’m semi tempted to have a go at soloing Shadowfang Keep to get her first scythe from the Warlock quest. I imagine this is doable with the capable assistance of her faithful Voidwalker and should be fun to try. Ultimately, her aims are green fire, a proper witch hat and one of those scary Demons with lots of arms. It will be interesting to see if she gets there, especially as I don’t intend purchasing flying skills on her.

Long Weekend Away – Photo Heavy Post

This is totally not a WoW post although I’ll be happy if my Garrison ends up resembling a few of these castles in their heyday.  Mr Harpy and I have just returned from an idyllic couple of days away wandering around in the great outdoors and these are a few of the pictures we took in the process.

Edzell Castle

DSCF1312

 

Falls of Feugh

WP_20140425_14_01_26_Pro

 

Drum Castle

DSCF1341

WP_20140426_13_04_19_Pro

I never thought I’d end up saying this but now I love wandering around the walled gardens far more than I do clambering up spiral staircases and staring wide eyed at suits of armour. The walled gardens at Drum really are beautiful especially as you have to wander through a wonderful wild area before you find the wall with the wrought iron gate set it in.

DSCF1333

 

Crathes Castle

DSCF1354

 

IMG_0880

IMG_0853

IMG_0847

IMG_0861

If you’re ever passing through Scotland, I’d definitely recommend stopping off this way and taking a look for yourselves.

Nothing Gold can Stay: April’s ROYGBiV entry

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

I’m not a massive fan of yellow in any shade so I struggled slightly this month. Should I go for delicate virtuous lemon or brassy golden plate, what about shimmering leaf shaped Aureolin leather or soft vanilla. I bounced back and forth, unable to make a decision until I hit upon this, that slightly unusual pairing of mustard skirt and top the same shade as a field of sun ripe maize held together with a river of violets. The off-hand had to be the Lei of the Lifegiver, not only do the colours match perfectly but I always think of tulips and daffodils when I think of yellow, those bright flowers which herald spring and a posy ties the whole thing together perfectly.

WoWScrnShot_042314_200943 WoWScrnShot_042314_200948 WoWScrnShot_042314_200955 WoWScrnShot_042314_201000

  • Helm: Soulcatcher Halo
  • Chest: Greater Adept’s Robe
  • Shoulders: Mystical Mantle
  • Cloak: Darkmist Cape
  • Gloves: Soulcloth Gloves
  • Soulguard Girdle
  • Replicia Magisters Boots
  • Arachid Dagger
  • Lei of the Lifegiver

 

The Gnome and the Changeling

I know I’m terrible at dealing with change and no amount of expensive courses my employers send me on will alter that. Growing up I lacked stability, having to shift house and school far too often in the wake of my father’s job and it’s left me craving solid foundations with the bare minimum of surprises and spur of the moment changes.

On the back of this, I was always worried about my reaction to the remodeled WoW characters but now that I’ve seen my Gnomes as they might be courtesy of WoWhead, I’ve found myself desperately wishing that instead of a 90 boost, we were getting free character redesigns. I’m fine with my rarely ever played rogue (on the left hand side) because she has a decent mouth but the other two….

“It’s never my own little daughter,
It’s never my own,” she said;
“The witches have stolen my Anna,
And left me an imp instead.

    “Oh, fair and sweet was my baby,
Blue eyes, and hair of gold;
But this is ugly and wrinkled,
Cross, and cunning, and old.

From the Changeling by John Greenleaf Whittier

gnomesforlife

I tended towards the serious Gnome face, adult, mature and sensible which is not what these new images convey. In fact I’m struggling so much with this because I hate being negative. I want to be excited, to be enthusiastic about the changes but the way my characters look is important to me, especially with the long established ones. Yes, things change. I definitely don’t look the same as I did when I was four or even fourteen anymore but looking back at those photos, you can still tell it’s me. The shape of my face, the curve of my lips, the blue of my eyes and the way in which I wrinkle my nose like a cat when I yawn. I could understand it more if I could recognize my evil little ganking Gnomes in these images but I can’t.

I’ve been trying to level Dorrie the little Warlock as a side project but now I’m struggling to motivate myself because I don’t want her to go from this:

WoWScrnShot_042014_221716
to this:

Dorrie

Although I she’s only got to level 13 so I suppose I could start from again from scratch.

Sproutling might have to undergo a race change because my evil little Priest does not look this, although at least she has Shadowform to hide behind.

Sproutling

It’s the mouth that I struggle with, reminding me as it does of an unfortunate boyfriend whose lips were equally rubbery and wide. Her hair on the other hand is fabulous. Possibly I will get used to the look but it’s left me decidedly nervous for the rest of the unveilings. I know there are plenty of you who will think I’m being ridiculous and perhaps you’re right but I’m the sort of person who has a panic attack if anyone suggests the crazy idea of going to the milk aisle before the bread aisle in the supermarket.

Liebster Love Part 3

Here are the answers to the next 22 questions I was asked as part of the Liebster Lovage.

Liebster-award-rules

Amerence’s Questions

  • When did you start blogging , What it’s all about and why? My very first post was in June 2008, which looking back is a surprisingly long time ago. I’ve blogged about various things including food, books and computer games but writing about Warcraft has definitely taken up the bulk of my efforts.
  • Post your most favorite Screenshot of all time!

#17

  • Favorite city in WoW you hang out to and why? I spent most of my time hanging out in Stormwind, it’s got easy access to all the amenities plus the different districts mean that regardless of your mood, there is somewhere to sit. 
  • Do you play other games besides WoW? Any console you using besides your PC? At the moment I play WoW, Hearthstone, Transport Tycoon Deluxe (nothing beats building a transport network when it comes to chilling out), Dragon Age Origins and a couple of app games regularly. 
  • What’s your favorite Trasmog gear? My Benediction teamed up with the Virtuous set.
  • How many WoW characters in game do you have? Do you equally play them a lot? I have a lot, around 45 I think but I tend to only play a few at any one time. 
  • What’s your current achievement score? Whats the most favorite one and why? 14100. Choosing a favourite is tricky because all of them conjure up memories, some positive and some negative.
  • What was the most memorable experience since you started playing WoW? The two most positive experiences which stand out are getting my Benediction and killing C’thun for the first time. On the memorable for all the wrong reasons side it would be have the various guild dramas I experienced, especially during the original incarnation of the game and then in The Burning Crusade. GM’s “hacking” guild forums to read your personal messages to other guild members being just one example of “interesting” behaviours.
  • How many total deaths of critters do you currently have? What are your thoughts about these creatures since they can battle now with your own Pet collections too. On my mostly main, 7605. I suspect most are casualties of Holy Nova and Mind Sear.
  • First word comes in mind when you think about WoW and why? Time sink. Yes I know it’s not technically one word but hey… 
  • Warlords of Draenor is coming up soon, its the new expansion everyone is talking about, What are your expectations and why? I’m hoping it will grab my imagination all over again. At the moment I’m struggling to find a reason to log for longer than half an hour at a time. I don’t enjoy PvP much at the moment, random battlegrounds are really hit or miss with far too many premades going up against pugs. I can’t raid due to my self loathing although how I’m expecting the expansion to fix that, I’ve no idea and there is a limit to how many characters one wishes to level. Plus the few character slots I have left on my server are already earmarked so I’m a bit hampered there.  

Sofia at Altoholic Anonymous

  1. What other games do you play? Dragon Age, Dragon Age II, Transport Tycoon, Diablo III, Harmony Isle and various other app games which catch my interest.
  2. What else do you like doing apart from gaming? Reading, sewing, sketching, cooking, gardening. Our garden was a big factor in selling the house to us and it’s fast becoming an obsession. I’m actually excited that my father-in-law is going to give me some tomato plants. I already have strawberry plants sitting in the green house waiting warmer weather and I can’t stop adding to my herb collection.  My latest plant related interest is trying to create little gardens in tubs and plant pots and I’m working on a Gnome garden at the minute. I’m planning on painting a stone to resemble a cottage, adding a bit of height at the back and possibly some blue/green glass to suggest a pond. Then it just needs a little path and my Gnome’s home from home will be done.gnomegarden
  3. What is your best WoW (or other game) memory? Comprehensively owning my brother in law at Age of Empires not just once but twice. He’s never asked for another go… I can’t imagine why.
  4. What is your favourite colour? Azure blue, the colour of tropical seas.
  5. Read all the lore or speed level? Read it all. I’m usually the person running into walls reading the quest text whilst the rest of the group are off slaughtering things.
  6. Are you a one character kind of person or an altoholic? I’m trying to become a one character person at least until I’ve achieved everything I want to but I’m not convinced that it’s possible.
  7. If you could design one aspect of WoW, what would it be? Quests. Long complex quest chains of the sort that Blizzard probably never wish to see again.
  8. Horde or Alliance? Alliance for real (as opposed to undead) horses, Gnomes and the Deep run Tram.
  9. Do you have any pets in RL? Not any more but I grew up with a slightly mad spaniel.
  10. What inspired you to start blogging? Reading other people’s, realising that I had enough screenshots to paper the house and knowing that I desperately wanted a reason to write regularly but that I lack the discipline to do that without a proper purpose.
  11. What is the first video game you ever played? Harrier Attack. I can’t remember how old I was but I know it was Christmas time and despite everyone telling me that girls couldn’t play computer games I demanded a go because it had Harriers in it.

 

Grumbles about Garrisons

Don’t get me wrong, Blizzard most definitely had me at “Mage Tower” but there is a distinct hum of rebellion in the air.

library

If Garrisons are going to be such a part of our new lives on Draenor, then we need to love the aesthetics. My first character was a Human, a Warlock with a temper which belied her innocent bovine smile but she’s been the only Human I’ve managed to get anywhere near the level cap. My last attempt, a Paladin languishes in the Redridge Inn picking flowers and wondering what she did wrong. I play Gnomes, Elves, Dead Humans, Orcs, Aliens with hooves, anything in fact apart from Humans and yet, it’s Human architecture being forced upon me even on a brave new world.

We knew we wanted the Garrison to feel like a big new feature, but we also wanted to keep it familiar, like bringing a piece of home to Draenor. There is just something about running into Stormwind or Orgrimmar that evokes that sense of faction pride

(From here).

Yes I have an idea of just how unreasonable it would be ask the development teams to create unique artwork for every building but then why couldn’t certain buildings reflect different races? For example the Jewelcrafting one could be based on something Draenic and for the Alliance, your flower garden could take on a Night Elfish feel. You’d still have the same number of buildings to design but it would allow those of us who aren’t particularly keen on granite, stone and wood (or spikes and red banners for the Horde) to have a tiny place to call home in this savage world.

We (or at least I) already have a clear idea of where my characters reside and whilst I know that the Garrisons are meant to be front line encampments on dangerous and foreign soil, so that things like Mentzelia’s home from home as shown below really wouldn’t work, it’s hard to shake free from those ideas.

WoWScrnShot_021514_152217

My second and perhaps more serious concern stems from beginning to realise just how important these Garrisons are going to be. I hate being told what to do. The second someone strongly suggests I should carry out a specific course of action my hackles come up and the pig-tailed brat masquerading as a devil on my shoulder sticks out her tongue. I must admit it surprises most people that I manage to work for an organisation very much into hierarchy but what I don’t think they (including my boss) actually realize is that 99 percent of the time I do what I want. Luckily this currently mirrors official policy fairly closely so my inability to follow anything which sounds like an order isn’t particularly obvious. Show me a line and my automatic response is to cross it so yes, perhaps a chunk of this is motivated by the fact it’s not going to be optional like the farms.

I’m also not a great fan of single player content in WoW and I can’t quite shake the concern that if questing and leveling is linked so thoroughly to your Garrison then this will play a part. I really didn’t enjoy the single person scenarios leading the story line on the Isle of Thunder for example, primarily because doing them as a undergeared healer hurt. Of course the obvious response to that would be “spec damage” but at the end of the day, being forced into a spec you don’t enjoy playing takes the fun out of something just as much as struggling to do it because you hit like a wet kitten. I rarely play alone and certainly when it comes to leveling up through an expansion, that’s definitely something me and Mr Harpy do together. However we’re both interested in different things, he’d like his Alliance garrison to be covered in spikes and dripping with the blood of people silly enough to come around to borrow the sugar. I want gardens and a little bridge over the river. I want a wreath on the door and somewhere to reflex, whereas he’s more likely to spend the minimum amount of time he can there because unless you can grow your own Horde to kill… he’d rather be out in the “real” world.

Am I being negative? Sure I am. I have a chest infection and a tendency to think the worse at all times, it’s part of my coping mechanism. I want to love the Garrisons because they have Mage Towers full of books and a garden but that’s also tainted by doubt. Perhaps it will be just like that other game with a Mage Tower in it, I start out determined to do one thing whether that’s not date Alistair or not love Garrisons and the opposite happens… who knows.

Screenshot20140416222157039

This is definitely not a portent of things to come!

One thing likely to win me over is customisation. The devil is in the details. Give me a tiny Hearthstone board and NPCs playing it in my Inn because I play Hearthstone sometimes. Let me grow some plants for artistic value rather than their ability to be grinded into potions. Give us the chance to reflect a tiny part of our character’s personality, not just in things like the mounts in the stables and what battle pets we have lying around in the shade but in the books, trinkets and followers we have.

 

 

 

A Holy Priest’s Thoughts on the Alpha Information Overload

Having given myself time to take in and digest the Blizzard released and the data mined Holy Priest changes, I have to admit I’m feeling pretty positive about Holy Priests going forward into Draenor. Yes, everything is subject to change but there are some definitely well overdue positive notes in amongst the lists of information released so far.

Changes to Chakra

I think this change is long outstanding but if I’m being honest, I’d argue that it doesn’t go far enough. There is still a penalty for being in the “wrong” chakra, albeit a much reduced one. The addition of the new “perk” will help, after all that’s why I hate switching from my PvP gear to PvE because I miss the reduced cooldown on chakras but if Blizzard want us to be constantly and actively switching depending on the fight, then they need to make that as hassle free as possible. In my ideal world, chakras would lose both the glittery “I’m a Holy Priest, come spank me with your over sized sword” look and ditch the healing increases to single target/aoe at the same time. On that topic, I’d sell someone’s soul for the ability to glyph away from disco lights around my feet, if the Boomkins can do it… why can’t we. What about red, yellow or blue wings depending on your chakra or halos? Something delicate and subtle not smack you in the face and ruin your screenshots brash.

  • Chakra: Serenity now increases healing of single-target spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
  • Chakra: Sanctuary now increases healing of area-of-effect spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
  • Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.

Quality of Life Changes

  • Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests can now be on the same target, and can be on multiple targets from the same Priest.
  • Angelic Feather, if cast on players, will always prefer the casting priest over others, then pick the player closest to the targeted location. If there are no players where it is targeted, it will still create a feather that can be picked up, as before. Additionally, when collecting multiple feathers, the duration will be extended, instead of replaced.

These two make me oh so happy. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for the former to be added to the game but will make a massive change to any raid with multiple priests.

Changes to capping

  • Halo and Divine Star now follow standard AoE capping rules.

The thought of seeing Divine Star no longer hitting all 40 people awaiting the gates of AV opening makes me slightly sad but I know it’s a needed change.

No Longer Instant Cast

  • Prayer of Mending
  • The level 90 talents, Cascade, Divine Star and Halo.

I can’t say I’m particularly concerned about these particular spells gaining cast times. The first Prayer of Mending tends to go out before combat begins anyway and fitting subsequent ones into a routine shouldn’t prove hard.

Removed Altogether Spells

  • Divine Fury has been removed. (Made obsolete by the removal of hit)
  • Heal although just to confuse things Greater Heal is now going to be known as Heal.
  • Holy Nova (Becoming Disc only)
  • Hymn of Hope – I think we should throw a party for the removal of this one. If Blizzard wanted us standing still whilst we channeled to regain mana, they should have left the five second rule alone.
  • Shadow word Death – becoming available only for Shadow Priests. There was a time when I would have been heartbroken from a PvP perspective but they’ve changed this spell around so much anyway…. plus we might be getting a “glyph” to do much the same thing.
  • Void Shift – I’m a bit surprised at this one only last one expansion but then we already have Guardian Spirit as an “eek” cooldown.
  • Inner Fire – Out of all of these spells, this is the one I’m saddest to see bite the dust. I suspect I know why it’s going but still I almost hope it’s baked into the class. I know there is something fundamentally wrong about cloth wearers having more armour than monks/druids in leather but priests don’t have the same level of mobility and with the cutting back on instant casts it’s all a trade off.
  • Inner Will – Can’t say I used this much once the glow from the first few weeks of Cataclysm receded. 
  • Pys-fiend – This talent is being replaced by Fear which will no longer be baseline. There were some excellent uses for this, namely placing to fear people into the Alterac Valley boss room when they weren’t quite ready but then Spectral Guise and Fear works just as well. Everyone is going to lose some CC and out of that particular tier of talents, this would be my choice to go as it almost mirrors a spell we already have, especially compared to mind control and void tendrils. 

 

New Additions

Glyphs – These are the ones which right now claim to be available for Holy Priests. Again the labeling may change as the testing progresses.

I can’t say I’m squealing with anticipation for any of these but then my love affair with glyphs died ages ago. I keep forgetting to switch them and then bemoaning the fact that I don’t have x or y for a specific activity. For PvP, I do rather like the idea of Shadow Magic assuming it A. makes it to the live game and B. is available for healers.  Redeemer I will be refusing to learn on principle because glyphs to improve my performance once dead offend me by existing.

Level 100 Talents

The first thing I love about the 90 talents is that they’re different depending on your spec. These are the Holy versions.

wordsofmending
clarityofpurpose

savinggrace

I particularly find the idea of the last one interesting, given that it appears to be a trade off. Sure, you’ve got an instant “eek” spell but there are consequences for spamming it. Perhaps rather than reducing the number of instant cast spells, that’s how they should all work, cast too much and suffer for it.

Perks

The datamined lists from both WoWhead and MMO Champion for Holy Perks appear the same. Therefore I can only imagine that Penance is a place holder for Holy. These spells which we’re randomly going to gain on the road to 100 are purely there to boost our existing spells. Out of all these my favourite has to be Enhanced Chakras which personally I feel should be baseline anyway but given that it’s not, I’m glad the current 4 piece PvP bonus is staying on in a renamed fashion. The one aspect of these perks I really don’t like and I know it’s temporary is that we’ll gain them in a random fashion en route to 100.

 

PvP Thoughts

Happy Moments.

  • All players now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance to glance, when fighting creatures up to 3 levels higher (bosses included).

We  might be able to glyph to break certain types of CC.

Concerns

Holy will no longer have any way of stopping multiple enemies from capping flags as Holy Nova won’t be available to the spec and our level 90 talents won’t do damage. Yes, we’ll have fear if we talent for it but that’s got too much of a cooldown to much use.

  • CascadeDivine Star, and Halo no longer heal allies but are instant cast for Shadow Priests, or damage enemies for Discipline or Holy Priests.

General Thoughts

Couple this lot with the changes to Healing in general and yes it’s going to be an interesting road ahead but I don’t see anything here which has me going “What are they thinking?” I know a lot of people are still scarred by those first months of Cataclysm but by the same token, the amount of healing certain abilities and spells were spitting out was ridiculous. Not to mention, even playing as  a Healer, the amount of sheer health certain classes could put whilst running around in circles is frustrating when you’re trying to kill them.

After all, it should be hard to argue with statements like

 We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

and

However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs. 

Whether they’ll manage to balance this across all five healer classes still remains to be seen but mostly I’m pretty positive at this point. Sure it’s impossible to know until we actually start testing but we’ve always survived before.

All information pulled from MMO-Champion, Blizzard and WoWhead.