It was the best of times – A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

The Shared Blog topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is as follows:

I know we heard the word “Throwback” many times around the net, but as part of World of warcraft expansions. I want to know what is the best expansion in game that really highlights a lot of your accomplishments in game especially that the new upcoming expansion is coming its nice to look back it could be the one when you started playing with your main character, getting a cool mount, being in a great guild, or your very first screenshot in game if you still have it or being in PvP battlegrounds or Arenas, even your raiding experiences back in BC or PRE-BC, Cataclysm, etc. You can be creative how you want to do this it could be storyline, poem, screenshots up to you it is pretty much a throwback experiences you can share to everyone.

Suggested by Amerence.

For me this has to be a toss up between the original game and Wrath.

When I first started playing, it wasn’t long before I found myself in a hardcore guild fighting for and indeed winning server firsts on everything from Vael onwards all the way to Naxxramas mark 1. Despite there being over 40 of us, despite there being a fair number of giant egos and quite a few times when I would have liked to kill at least one person in the guild, there was also a sense of pride in our guildtag. We played on a PvP server and it was more often than not a case of attack one and get swarmed by the rest of the guild.

Also of course there was the newness factor, I’d never ever played anything multi player besides first person shooters across a LAN with friends so suddenly raiding with 39 other people from across Europe including Russians from Vladivostok who would get up early to raid before work felt amazing.

Getting my Benediction as the second Priest on our then server and of course getting the only C’thun kill  (no one else killed him until the Burning Crusade) naturally rank high on my list of things achieved in the days before “achievements” but it was the silly things which stand out more. The long drawn out fights between Southshore and Tarren Mill, getting rank on my little Warlock before she was level 60 when the pvp system first came out and of course later on, same server Alterac valleys. The conversations in Priest chat, like the one which put me off eating seaweed for a very long time and doing things like drunken LBRS runs with 3 dpsers all desperately trying to beat each other by pulling as much as possible and no tank these are the things which stand out.

Selling the clothes off my back to buy my first mini pet because I hadn’t found the auction house and 40 silver was a lot of money back then, to me at least. Not to mention many of my favourite outfits are based around gear which has been available since the start, the Devout set, the Wildheart set and the Robes of the Guardian Saint are three examples which quickly spring to mind.

Wrath didn’t have the newness factor but it had several elements I enjoyed. First up a proper end boss, demons really aren’t my thing and the Sunwell didn’t exactly have the happiest of memories for me. Then there was Ulduar, quite possibly my favourite raiding instance of the entire game. As with the original game I was raiding at a fairly high end level and enjoyed completing for things like server firsts and also ticking off what were then hard achievements. When we got A Tribute to Insanityit felt like killing C’thun all over again especially given that we usually wiped to stupid on something. It also brought me my favorite 5 man of all time, the Halls of Reflection. Call me weird if you want, but I rather like being chased through frozen halls by a man with a very large sword (and based on what I found when I went and read WoW fan fiction with the  mature filter turned off) I’m apparently not alone.

There was the nakedness bug

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and Gnomes in the fish feasts. I got my one and only legendary, although I have to admit the lack of RP was slightly disappointing even though some of my guild kindly tried to improvise for me. There were flying carpets and real story telling. The Wrathgate chain for example still makes me teary eyed.

Ultimately though, there has been one constant to my journey across Azeroth.

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Mr Harpy and given that he’s currently in the process of leveling warrior number 3, this shot of us snuggling on a beach in Silverpine way back when our adventure was just starting seemed appropriate. I’ve enjoyed the vast majority of my time spent exploring this strange new world and am looking forward to everything that this new expansion brings.

Furtive Father Winter: The Perfect Present

I returned home yesterday after a couple of internet-less days to discover this awaiting me in my inbox.

the harpy's nest

 

I’ll admit I was a bit stuck when I got your name. Which of your many toons was I going to draw?!  In the end I decided to try and make a night elf harpy holding Benedition since I remember reading somewhere that it was one of your favorite items. I hope you like it.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll keep this brief. A massive thanks to Tyledres from Frost and Claws for this amazing Furtive Father Winter gift. You basically nailed it as I love it to bits.

Proving your Worth: Why Class quests had value

Cymre put up an interesting post a while back about the old AQ Gates quest chain which got me thinking about a couple of my favourite and now removed quest chains. Then when I was attempting to clear out my drafts folder I came across this. A post I started in November 2009 but never got around to finishing or publishing (before now) plus it is Druid week and thus ever so slightly relevant (at least the first paragraph is).

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I’m currently re-running the Swift Flight form quest on my second druid. The experience has left me  feeling a little saddened and humbled. Why aren’t there more of these awesome quests scattered through the game. Why don’t all classes have the opportunity to discover more lore about their class? I had to use virtually all my spell book, from hibernate to cat form, to remove curse to moonfire. I visited places I’d never seen before, like the pink frosting masquerading as water outside the Barrow Dens and the river border of Azshara and Ashenvale. I came out of Sethekk Halls feeling like a proper grown up Druid.

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Back in Vanilla, I had the pleasure of doing the Benediction chain and I watched the Gnomeling do his Rhok’ledar (I was there for moral support and to kill any Horde who looked at him funny). Both were amazing chains but when you compare the Priest/Hunter epic chains to the Druid model, there are a couple of crucial differences. The Druid one doesn’t rely on RNG. I got lucky, my Eye dropped from our very first Majordomo “kill”. However I knew Priests who had to wait months for that chest to stop yielding leaves, conversely, my guild got Eye after Eye and so our Hunters were epic bowless. Putting the two parts that both Hunters/Priests needed on two different raid bosses meant that in order to experience your epic class quest you had to raid. For Priests especially, getting the Eye of Shadow on my server was hard. One guild (mine) tended to get 95 percent of all the Lord Kazzak kills and when you factored in the fact that we had something like 12 raiding priests and numerous priest alts, it took a while for them to filter onto the Auction House. Yes, you could farm it from those horrible demons in Winterspring but doing so as a Priest solo was hard and the drop rate sucked. That’s actually how I got mine, farming with three other holy priests and a resto druid until 4am – roots, smite, smite, smite, smite, wrath, roots, smite, smite, smite, smite, roots, wrath, wrath, wrath and so on. Painful doesn’t even begin to describe the experience. To be fair we started out with a bunch of dpsers but they all went to bed early. Not sure if that was because they were bored or because they had to get up early in the morning and we healers soldiered on.

So if any future class quests were added, I think that Blizzard should follow the Druid model and make the chain easily available to anyone regardless of how they choose to spend their time in-game. Availability obviously has to impact on the reward, but the rewards could be cosmetic or fun or even powerful at the start of the expansion but wilt over time. If something is easily obtained by say all warriors willing to spend a few hours running quests and probably doing a dungeon or two, I can’t think of any reason why it couldn’t be comparable with the first tier of raid weapons. It would provide a different gearing path and help factor out RNG for people trying to get their first set of gear together. As for dealing with the different specs, Benediction/Anathema was an awesome way of doing that and it would be nice to see Blizzard implement that on other stuff.

Which then got me thinking, Blizzard originally added quite a few class based zones. Think Ravenholdt hidden away in the hills, compete with its poison garden and staffed by persons of a dubious nature. Or Fray Island, the fight club of WoW where warriors would brawl to prove their worth and receive Berserker Stance. Then there is the Moonglade itself, the tranquil valley in which druids of both factions can meet, watched over by the Cenarion Circle. When Cataclysm rips a path through the world as we know it, WoW’s very own disaster movie, I really hope that areas like those get a bit more love.

Also WTB a Priest hideout where Erinys can sip honeymint tea and debate the finer points of religion with other Priestly types. Although I suspect we might as well just rent a battleground or a graveyard because given the diversity of our faiths, someone is bound to end up dead.

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Returning back to 2013, clearly my crystal ball was a bit out of tune. When Blizzard added the latest class quest (the epic Rogue one), they made it require a raid boss and so much for embellishing those class areas…

What I loved about all three of these quests was the fact that they made you think about what it meant to play that specific class. Not only in terms of playstyle although all three required you to explore your spell book, perhaps the Druid and Hunter more so than the Priest, although plenty of people I knew did take Holy Nova especially for the quest but also from an RP perspective if you wished to indulge it.

With the Priest quest, you had to merge the dual nature of the class by acquiring both the eye of shadow and the eye of divinity before striking a balance between them.

You have come for redemption, yet you yourself do not realize this… Do you?

From a roleplay perspective, when I look back on all the terrible things my Priest(s) have done since that day in EPL, I remember this:

I never stated that you were here to redeem yourself, priest/priestess. You are here to redeem me and the innocents murdered while trying to escape Stratholme. My spirit and the spirit of those lost are bound here, cursed to endlessly relive our own tragic deaths.

and consider the slate wiped clean. I really would love to see the quest chain added back into the game, possibly with the Eyes being available through the Black Market.

I also loved the fact that you had to do it by yourself otherwise the “Cleaner” would come and squish you underfoot.

Be warned, you must complete this task alone. It is recommended that your allies remain at a distance. Interference by outside agents will result in a most severe punishment.

Although that plus the fact that Eris Havenfire would yell, alerting the entire zone Horde and Alliance alike that some brave Priest was attempting the quest did make it easier for the opposing side to grief.

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Therefore it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the main aspect of the next patch which I’m really looking forward to is the “Proving Grounds”. Yes I’d rather have the storytelling and romance of class quests but given that Blizzard understandably wishes to design for the masses not a percentage, I’ll happily settle for that.


If they love you, they’ll kill Demons for you: A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

The shared topic this week is

What is the nicest thing another player has ever done for you in-game?

courtesy of Frinka of Warcraft Street.

Immediately one thing stood out but first you need to know the background. In November 2005 I was in a 40 man raiding guild which was ripping itself apart from the inside. Founded on very open terms with no GM and lots of Officers by a bunch of escapees from an ultra strict dictatorship guild (when the GM accuses your boyfriend of stealing you away from him on the realm forums…. you know you made the right choice), we were struggling to get along. My now husband was our Raid Leader and there were whispers (behind his back of course) of a “cult of personality” and “brain washing” to explain away why the majority of the guild looked up to him and not the rest of the Officers. I was caught in the middle as both our Priest Class leader and the girlfriend of the RL, people would whisper me complaining about the other Officers as well as the other Officers whispering bitching about my partner. All in all, at times I felt like just walking way, I was sick and tired of dealing with tantrums, whines and just general obnoxious behaviour. It really felt like I was running a kindergarten rather than helping lead a raiding guild. We had two tanks who both needed their hand holding half the time, one who famously sat down on Onxyia and just gave up and one who deleted his gear regularly, who usually had to be talked down by me.

This night in particular we were working on Majordomo and despite the usual hiccups and whines, we managed to defeat him. Now we were the fourth guild on the server to do so but apart from the server first guild who got an Eye on their first kill, the server seemed to cursed to only get the Leaf so we were both surprised and pleased (at least those of us who weren’t hunters) to see the Eye of Divinity gleaming away at the bottom of the chest. No one contested it going to me but that’s where the next snag arose. The server’s top guild had a monopoly on Kazzak as well as an army of priests, there was no way I could get the Eye of Shadow that way. I was just going to have to chance my luck in Winterspring versus those nasty elite demons.

So after a quick pull on Ragnaros to get a feel for him, a group of us headed off to Winterspring. It was already late, past midnight and most people had both families and jobs in the morning. The clock chimed 1, 2, 3 and still we were at it with no luck. Our tank went to bed, as did our hunter and the rest of the dps which considering that they had to be up in the morning was fair enough. That left four of us, my now husband on his resto druid, me on my priest and two of my fellow priests. Four healers versus those fairly nasty elites. We rooted and we smited our way around in circles, killing mob after mob and getting nothing. Four in the morning came and went, four thirty.. five am and had anyone been watching they would have seen four forlorn figures running around killing demons. Someone said those immortal words “just one more” and dotted a Felguard. We killed it and there it was.. my Eye of Shadow. The rest is a blur, hearthstoning, flying to the Plaguelands and completing the quest.

As it turned out, I was the second Priest on the server to compete my staff and when that guild finally burnt itself out and a bunch of us were “headhunted” by the server’s top guild, I was able to repay one of those priests who spent all night farming demons with by gifting them an Eye of Shadow from our guild bank. They are the reason that my Benediction is so important to me, sure it’s great to have because you can’t get it any more but their efforts and their time means far more to me than a sparkly staff.

If you’re reading this and you know who you are, <3.

“They Can’t Take That Away from Me!”

The Blog Azeroth shared topic this week is:

What are the top three items on your main that you just love for sentimental, fun or silly reasons and would hate to lose? Tell us a story, what makes them so special and as always illustrate with screenshots

Suggested by Cymre

I found this a little difficult because my current “main” has only been my main for the last six or so months. Thus I’m going to cheat slightly. For the vast majority of my WoW playing time, my main has been the same class, just not the same character. So here are my top items from the banks of my three Priests, the things that I’d hate to lose (and yes, I can’t count either :D).

Erinys

  • Benediction was an obvious choice for Erinys. Looking back I think that receiving it was one of her defining moments, the second she started to develop a personality of her own and become something slightly different to just an extension of me.
  • Next up, her Val’anyr. Now I’ve had a love hate relationship with my legendary ever since the first shard was master looted into my bags. On the one hand, especially in light of what they have done for other legendaries, it seemed like an after thought. No RP and no flavour. On the other hand, I only joined the guild which gave it me two weeks before Ulduar was released and as soon as one of the officers who had been with the guild for considerably longer had his, I was given the next one. Being picked for something over other people who have been around longer is always a lovely feeling.
  • Finally her Frostwolf trinket. Over the years, Erinys has spent an awful lot of time in Alterac Valley, in fact all my Priests have and this is a memento of that time.

Sprout

  • Dreamseeker Dandelion. Sprout loves this off-hand. When I was a little girl, my Grandmother was really into the language of flowers. From never putting red and white roses together unless you want their colours to be recreated in the blood and bandages surrounding a loved one to sending us laurel leaves and white heather before exams to bring us good luck. So this always makes me think of her.
  • The Darkmoon Balloon is one of my favourite pets. I love how “Children of the Corn” Sprout looks running around in PvP with this trailing in her wake.
  • I’ve also had a lot of fun popping down my Romantic Picnic Basket. It adds a certain style to the proceedings when you’re camping someone.

Dornröschen

  • Dorn was primarily a PvP character but she needed something else to wear for the odd Molten Core and ZG runs. So I went in search of the Truefaith Vestments pattern. Lots of Stratholme runs later, it was mine. I think it’s up there with the Mooncloth robes as a definitive Priest robe.
  • Battle Tabard of the Defilers. General Dornröschen is exalted with all three of the original battlegrounds but AB was the hardest to get therefore she wears their tabard with pride. In fact she’s the only one of my character who actually wears a tabard outside of rep farming. The fact that it matches her favourite pet and hair colour is just icing on the cake.
  • Royal Seal of Eldre’Thalas. This is the trinket which came out of the Priest version of the Dire Maul book “Holy Bologna: What the Light won’t tell you“. I always wondered just what Shadow Priest Allister felt the need to tell us. Something along the line of “healing sucks, go shadow and melt faces” perhaps. Back in Vanilla both Dorn and Erinys spent a lot of time in Dire Maul, farming mp5 gear as well as helping our MT get his sword so again it represents a lot of happy WoW memories for me.