Topic 22: WoW soundtrack

This fortnight Z and Cinder’s blog challenge asks “What is your WoW soundtrack?” (suggested by Kamelia et alia).

I tend to play with sound off, mostly because usually Mr Harpy and I play together and if we both have sound enabled it’s really annoying, especially if we are doing different things. I know headphones is an option but then I couldn’t be able to hear the littlest Harpy if he has an nightmare and it feels a bit antisocial. The benefit however is that I have my own mental sound track for several of the zones and dungeons.

Then the door was open and the wind appeared

From the moment I watched the Death Knight start zone video for the first time, Blue Oyster Cult started singing “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in my head.

Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew and then disappeared
The curtains flew and then he appeared… saying don’t be afraid
Come on baby… and she had no fear
And she ran to him… then they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodbye… she had become like they are
She had taken his hand… she had become like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper

I have a sneaking fondness for musicals despite not being able to sing myself. Whenever we did AQ 40 and we were waiting for such fun things as shield wall cooldowns when learning fights, my mind would wander off and quite often it got stuck on “Playing with the Big Boys” from Prince of Egypt.

But first, boy, it’s time to bow (Bow down!)

 

And just to show we feel no spite
You can be our acolyte
But first, boy, it’s time to bow
(Bow down!)
Or it’s your own grave you’ll dig, boy
You’re playing with the big boys now
Playing with the big boys
Now!
Due I think to all the world pvp I took part in, the Barrens always makes me think of “Fernando” by Abba.

Can you hear the drums Fernando?
I remember long ago another starry night like this
In the firelight Fernando
You were humming to yourself and softly strumming your guitar
I could hear the distant drums
And sounds of bugle calls were coming from afar

 I’d definitely “do the same again”.
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Together: A Screenshot A Day

As I failed horribly during the August version of this, I’m trying harder in September.

Day 1 – Together

together

Together we can do anything! Including killing Commanders in the Barrens. As there were only two of us it did take a while but we got there in the end. As it turns out the melee ones are actually easier than this dead lady for a dps Monk and a healer Monk. It also helps to know what her effects do before you start the fight as I didn’t see the 450k from her totems coming until I was rather dead.

A rare thing: Humar the Pridelord

This is for Euphyley over at WoW Rare Spawns who is celebrating her first blogging anniversary.

My favourite rare spawn in game is this fellow here, Humar the Pridelord.

Way back in vanilla, my husband started playing a hunter as an alt with the eventual intention of making it his main for a period. As he levelled he started looking around on the internet, researching pets and looking for interesting ones to tame. That search took us to Petopia amongst other places and in the end lead to the Barrens. As a low level Night Elf hunter on a Horde heavy pvp server this was not an easy plan, however he persevered and was rewarded by a loyal companion who kept him company for a long time. Then when I came to make a hunter of my own, I followed in his footsteps, running from Theramore up into the Barrens to tame my very own Pridelord.

There was however a problem, back then levelling pets was horribly painful and because certain pets had different attack speeds, sometimes you just had to let go… a process which always left me feeling devastated.

———————-

The hunter and her shadow, a huge black feline slid through the forests of Ashenvale, instinctively keeping to the shade. Their passage was silent, paws and feet making no noise as they glided over twigs and heaps of dead leaves. As they neared the border with the Barrens, the Night Elf slowed her pace, her unease translating itself to her companion. The cat whined softly, rubbing his head against her leg. “Sshh”, she reached down and stroked his thick fur, “almost there boy, almost there”. In reply, he licked her hand, his tongue rough as bark.

They picked their moment, waiting until the Orcs guarding the rampant were distracted by a party of young Trolls, arrogant and brash on their first trip to Ashenvale. Moving in tandem like a well oiled machine, they worked their way deeper and deeper into enemy territory. The cat scouted ahead whilst the Elf shadowmelded beneath the heavy squat trees. Had any eyes seen them, it would have been clear that this was an old familiar pattern.

On a hill over looking the Crossroads, they stopped for food and to gather their strength for what was to come. Thick steaks for the cat, donated by a dinosaur whose curiosity had done him no favours and dumplings from home for the hunter. After they ate, they stretched out and gazed down at the busy town beneath them.  “Remember all the fun we had here boy?”. The cat purred, rubbing his head against her. “Hunting all those cowardly Horde. There was that warrior, the Troll, we chased her half way to Orgrimmar didn’t we”. He growled, showing a touch of fang and she smiled, patting him. “You liked the taste of Troll didn’t you boy”. The two of them lay in companionable silence, reliving their glory days, as they stalked living prey across the barren landscape of their memories.

As dusk fell, an observant watcher would have seen two moving shadows drifting towards Ratchet. A hunter, her violet skin and height marking her as a Night Elf walking lightly in the pawprints of a large black cat who ran a little ahead, turning back every minute or so to make sure she was still there. As they covered the dusty ground, the hunter’s thoughts returned to the first time she had followed this path. That nervousness in the pit of her stomach, the tension in her grip on her bow, both feelings she had thought were long gone came swimming up from the dark depths of her memories. Sensing her distress, the cat paused for a second, licking her hand to reassure her.

Just above the Goblin settlement of Ratchet, they came a halt, pausing to listen to the sounds of drunken partying mingling with the drunken yells of the dock workers loading ships for Booty Bay. Closing her eyes for a moment, the hunter let her thoughts drift back to the days when she too had frequented those parties, waking up to a throbbing headache, foreign sheets and the golden eyes of her cat, regarding her and her new friends expressionlessly as he guarded her belongings from quick fingered thieves.

“Almost there boy, almost home”. The cat whined in agreement and led the way, past gnarled and twisted trees, their thick branches providing the only shade and through thick grasses which cut at your legs, flicking back like whips. Before she realised it, they were back at that spot, the right place under the right tree. Sitting down, their backs to the broad trunk she tried to put her thoughts in order. Stroking his fur, she found herself gazing down at the white marring the thick black coat. In her head, the white hairs melted into snow and the temperature dropped as the parched earth grew a snowy blanket. Out of the shadows, the bridge at Dun Baldar crystallised into being. The acrid smell of gunfire caught the air, the heavy thud of war drums and the twang of her bow strings replaced the Goblin sea shanties but most importantly, the large feline shape at her side, the shadow which tied all these memories together bounded like a kitten through her subconscious.

Ragged breathing pulled her from the safety of the past, “it’s alright boy, you’re home now”, blinking back tears from her silver eyes, she held him close. She felt the last rough stroke of his tongue across her hand, one last goodbye before her friend slid into the realm of memories and dreams, leaving her alone beneath the open sky. Digging the grave was easy, leaving him in it, far harder. Looking down at her closest friend, so small and somehow diminished in death, she found herself cursing her race, condemned to keep leaving those she loved in the cold damp earth.

Walking away, followed by nothing but her own lengthening shadow, she wiped away her tears. Then before beginning her descent into Ratchet, to the tavern in which she intended to drink until all this was just a bad dream, she looked back. There in the half light, she saw him again, standing proud before the tree. A sea breeze caught the branches, shifting the light and revealing nothing but long grasses, shattering the mirage. “Goodbye old friend and good hunting”, raising her hand in farewell, the hunter, her heart breaking headed into town alone.

——————–

Now of course, it’s a different story as all my hunters have more than enough room to house him. That emotional bond with my virtual pets is just as strong however, the one thing guaranteed to make me mad in pvp is to persecute my pet. You can /spit spam me until I’m drenched or laugh at me until you cry and you won’t get a reaction. Hurt my pet though and you better be ready to die, over and over again.

“Will you come and join the dance?”

The title is borrowed from Lewis Carroll

Real life has hit me pretty hard the last couple of weeks, what with having to relocate for my husband’s job, looking for somewhere to live in a city I’m completely unfamiliar with as well as dealing with job interviews for myself. So when I read this post by Matty from Sugar and Blood I knew I had to respond.

I was thinking it would be cool to do a “road trip” or mount-rally sort of thing. Go from here to there, and do things, and take screenshots, or something, and not fly.

Also, I would like to know your favorite places of ‘former glory’ in the game, or a moment where you did something and it was a pivotal moment for you in game, something your character would tell his/her imaginary grandchildren if it could.

—-

As a child, I would sit crossed legged at the feet of both my Grandmamma and my Great Grandmamma listening to their stories. Sometimes they would re-tell the fairy tales they’d grown up with, Baba Yaga and her chickenfooted hut chasing children through the forests was a personal favourite or they’d recount details of their own lives, stories of a world so far removed from what I knew, it might as well have been fiction. They introduced me to books I’d never heard of, in languages I couldn’t even pronounce the name of, let alone speak. Thanks to them, whenever I use eggs in the kitchen I crush the shell into tiny pieces so no witch can ever use it as a boat. I never leave a white table cloth on over night either. Little reflexes, that once learnt stay with you forever. You might not believe the why but you still do it all the same. They taught me to cook, everything from goulash to crispy apple doughnuts, yorkshire puddings flecked with herbs to delicate macaroons and left me with a life long love of poetry. Without their stories, both true and fantasy I wouldn’t be me. I think that’s partly why this prompt stood out, what we choose to tell and the reasons behind the choosing say so much about us.

—-

It’s the little things that stand out the most. The heat, oh the heat. Emerging from the last fringe of trees that shelter the border between Ashenvale and the Barrens only to be scorched by the afternoon sun. Barely out of the shade and yet already, I could feel the sweat pooling at the back of my neck, trapped by the heavy weight of my hair. There were whispers that just like the gentle Lady Moon favoured our Night Elf friends, the angry Sun sided with the hot blooded Orcs and Taurens who made these barren plains their home. Already our party was nervous, tensions rising like the temperature as we headed deeper into enemy territory.

My own father told me when I was your age that war and courtship have much in common. You and the enemy dance, one move after another. After a while, you come to know each other, to fall into a familiar pattern like lovers. Step after step, you waltz together whilst all around you, buildings fall, broken down by shot and shell. You pirouette over rotting corpses, spin over wailing women and keening children but all the while your eyes never leave your partner’s.

As a child, I thought it nothing more than the drunken musing of a man who went to war and never quite came back, not whole at any rate. There though in the Barrens, with our tents and our tensions and the heat, I found myself wondering if there was some truth in it all.

I couldn’t sleep, too hot for that. Even stripped down to my shirt I felt as if my skin was boiling. That at any moment, I’d erupt like a volcano, steam and blood spurting from the wound. Looking for some shade, I wandered a way from camp and that’s when I heard the music strike up. The first dance was beginning, it’s beat that of war drums, of callused hands smacking against stretched hides. As I listened, staring up at the full moon, the tempo changed, the beat building up and up until it just ….. stopped. Ending abruptly, it’s challenge offered, “Dare you come and join the dance?”. As I made my way back to our encampment, I knew they’d heard the music too. Our move came to the sound of armoured men, boots beating time in the dust, in the shrill shriek of swords being pulled from scabbards and in the orders being yelled.

The overture was almost at an end, soon all we were left with was screaming and then silence drifted through the Barrens like tumbleweed.

—-

When I first started playing WoW, battlegrounds and the honour system had yet to be added. The only PvP available was rough and ready and random. At the time I played on a PvE server, partly because I wasn’t sure what to expect from a PvP server, with hindsight I think I imagined some massive orgy of frenzied players drunk on blood all slaughtering each other all day long (as it turns out the reality was rather disappointing). They say that the first time is always the sweetest and as with my first kiss and first flight, my first tentative steps into player versus player combat stand out like they happened only yesterday (even though the screenshot below will be seven years old in nine days time).

At the time, Crossroads was pretty much a home from home. There was something exotic about the Barrens, a thrill of danger about it. If you got caught out, there was no where safe to run, no guards to protect you, no sanctuaries to hide behind. Sometimes we were the pursuers, swamping the town like rising flood waters, impossible to stop because of sheer numbers. Then the music changed, perhaps someone hit the flight master or maybe the guards swarmed us, either way then we’d be running for our lives. Spreading out like fragmented bones rolled from the bag. Hiding in the shadows beneath trees, running to earth like frightened rabbits as we sought safety in the tunnels. There was something fluid about the whole affair, battles were lost and won in a heartbeat. One minute we were triumphant, kings of all we surveyed, next we were desperate and hunted, resorting to ressing inside Taurens.

From Ashenvale to Orgrimmar, we weren’t constrained by anything as small or insignificant as a map, we fought, we played and then we, winners and losers danced on.

That was what drew me into WoW. I honestly think that if the only PvP I’d ever been exposed to was just that of Battlegrounds and Arenas, I wouldn’t be writing this now. Of course as with all things, those halcyon days came to end, destroyed by the introduction of battlegrounds. Our server had a much higher Alliance population and so whilst the Horde got instant queues and could premade, we had hours of sitting around outside Warsong Gulch hoping we’d get lucky. In the end, we decided to try out a PvP server and quickly discovered that this time around, we had the instant queues and the premades but still my heart belongs in the Barrens. When I finally decide that this is the end, that’s where I’ll be, sitting in my old vantage point, looking down over Crossroads remembering the good times.