Dressing Up For Draenor

As we inch ever closer to Warlords Day on the 13th, I find myself engaging in an end-of-expansion sort of ritual, one I’ve been doing since the Wrath era: taking last minute ‘school’ photos of my toons (semi-awkward, fancied-up sorts of affairs), as they stand at the end of one expansion, before heading into a wild, untamed new world where everything will inevitably change and they’ll look like they dressed themselves in the dark (in a clown’s closet no less!). Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve made an effort to find some transmoggable sets to put my toons in so they look reasonably well-kept after whilst questing in WoD, and I think I’ve reached some modicum of success. I’m in a happy place, and it’s time to do very last minute preparations: shoving everything into reagent banks, clearing out the last of the vendor trash/crap, grabbing some food for leveling purposes, redistributing wealth amongst my toons so they’re all reasonably comfortable for the foreseeable future (I never did quite make 200k–195k more like, which is fine for now).

So, without further ado, a Warcraft Yearbook of sorts (apologies if any of the screenshots look like crap–not my fault, they looked fine before :x). I’m so happy to be able to share this new beginning with the amazing people in this community (I’m always seeking the good people out while setting the baddies on fire), and with awesome friends I’ve made in the past eight years. I’m excited to be able to share it with you all, for everyone who reads this, and comments, who stops by my little space of the internet. I’m a very lucky mage.

If you see me stumbling about in Draenor, desperately trying to get a grip on things with a very persistent, blue Darkspear troll hunter in tow (The Husband), don’t hesitate to give a wave, or say hi–or even stop buy for a cuppa in my Garrison once it’s built (or more like conjured water and mana buns, but we’ll pretend that it’s tea ;D).

Time to go save the world–see you on the other side, brave adventurer. May the wind be at your back, your mana plenty, your quiver full, and your blade sharp.

Alyzabeth Dawnrunner–Hellscream, EU

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Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends, Once More

[Content note: I’ll take this opportunity to excuse my fairly long absence from this space. In August, my main PC kinda died; we’re 99% certain it’s a motherboard meltdown, and have been struggling to replace it since then, so I was without my own computer for a few months. I took that time as a break from WoW as well, since I was once again feeling burnt out. Last month I was able to get a reasonably priced PC to replace my old one for the time being, and I was able (and willing) to come back to Warcraft. Just wanted to throw it out into the nether, in case anyone was curious.]

As I write this, it is exactly a week until Warlords of Draenor releases. This time next week I should be patched up, and fingers crossed servers are stable (as of right now, in the EU…they’re not, to put it mildly). To say I’m well and truly ready is an understatement of sorts; I’m somewhere in the camp of ‘I don’t think MoP was horrible, but it’s been around for far too long’, and I’m able to tell I’m more bored than dissatisfied with this expansion. It was great in many ways (Pandaren are adorable), and kinda poop in many ways (I’m looking at you, gated dailies/rep/valor upgrades, those were terribad). I got this way with Cataclysm as well, and to an extent Wrath, and once I put some distance between myself and MoP, I’m sure I’ll be able to look at its content in a hazy, nostalgic, rose-coloured glasses sort of way.

But for the time being, I won’t be particularly heartbroken to leave Pandaria (at least until I level my next alt). I feel I’ve done just about everything I can feasibly do with the current content, considering I don’t raid with a guild or get too terribly involved in PvP. Much of the last…six months or so, I’d wager, has been on and off faffing (between breaks, of course). I can look back, as we look forward to WoD and say I accomplished much of the tentative ‘to do’ list I had in my brain. I got my mage Alyzabeth as far as I reasonably could; the only part that still bothers me is I was never able to get an upgrade on her gloves (they’re ToT knock-offs), but she’s sitting at ilvl 556, and that’s not too shabby. I’m happy. My alts are in a reasonably good-ish place, though I’m not stressing about their gear–it is what it is, and I’m sure I’ll find replacements in WoD. I got a full server of 90s; my last straggler, Spindlelegs, got 90 a few weeks back, and that makes 11 fully-functioning farms on Hellscream. I wasn’t quite able to finish getting off the MoP-era mounts I still need (namely the 120k Tundra Yak and the two engineering rockets), but I know I can go back to those once I’ve gotten properly stuck into WoD content.

That said, the next week is COMPLETE faffing around these parts. I have no definite plans, no Must Do list. The best laid plans and all that (I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s true–me and plans/commitments don’t really get along). I have managed to knock off a few things I’ve been meaning to do for literal ages, but kept being lazy about:

  • Finally managed to kill Sartharion & Malygos (25m) for my Champion of the Frozen Wastes title. Yes, I know this achievement is as old as the Titans, but I just never quite managed to complete it. Once I saw I only needed two bosses, I felt like somewhat of a dork and decided to finish it off.
  • Also managed to finish the Wrath-era dungeon achievements (namely, Occulus) to get my Red Proto Drake. Another thing I got super super close to finishing it off whilst it was current, but then got away from me over time.
  • Got a shed load of easy achievements out of Wrath and Cataclysm era raid material whilst trying to get easy money/cloth/items to disenchant for bags. If you’re sensing a trend here, it’s that I didn’t do much raid content before LFR was invented.

I’ll probably do more dungeon/raid crawling now that servers have reset for more gold and (possible) mount drops. I’d love to get to an even 200k gold on Hellscream before next Wednesday, but I won’t sweat it if I’m a bit short. I’m also grinding away at leveling another set of rare pets up to 25 so I have more flexibility (family wise) against various trainers; I’ve majorly slacked on my pets this expansion, and for some reason I have the urge to tidy that up while I have nothing else super pressing on my schedule. I’m quite close, and if I pull my finger out, I should be able to tick that off my bucket list before WoD.

Between Warlords, and the 10th anniversary celebrations later this month, and Blizzcon this weekend, it’s going to be a very exciting month for yours truly, and I’m desperately looking forward to the influx of new content to get tucked into. My mage is super thirsty for some leveling–she wasn’t born to be a farmer, and I’m eager to see how well she plays in proper leveling content after all the class changes in 6.0.2.

It’s exciting to be able to share this collective experience with so many people. Sure, I don’t personally know any of you face-to-face, but we share the Warcraft experience. So much of the community can be harsh, and toxic, but I’ve found some amazing people in the 8-ish years I’ve been playing, and feeling the proverbial buzz from so many people…I kinda can’t help but get carried along with it.

If you need me anytime between now and next Wednesday, I’ll be over here in the corner, brushing up on my frost spells and doing a right proper clear-out. I look forward to seeing you all beyond the Dark Portal–the Iron Horde doesn’t stand a chance with us around ;D

see you on the other side (yes, this was taken before 6.0, it's all red and icky now)
see you on the other side (yes, this was taken before 6.0, I know it’s red now x.x)

10 Years, 10 Questions

[A/N: this is based on the super awesome project The Godmother has started over on her blog, which was the perfect opportunity for me to tackle the writer’s block I’ve been battling recently–current players, ex-players, noobs, veterans, casuals–whatever your style, you’re welcome to participate. The more the merrier! Check out her blog for details, and general read-age, because she’s an amazing writer and has been a huge inspiration for my own blogging :D]

 

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Short version: I caved in to peer pressure.

Long version? A friend of mine at the time knew I was interested in MMOs (I was playing Guild Wars at the time, way back in 2006 or so?), and he mentioned I might like WoW. I was on the fence about it, mainly because it was a subscription-based game and I didn’t have any income at the time. I kinda sorta gave in when Christmas rolled around that year, and I found it for $20 at Gamestop xD He was kind enough to gift me with a few months game-time beyond my initial free month–and the rest they say, is history.

 

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

I can’t recall her name (it was something nonsensical, that much I know), but it was a wee human mage on Alleria-US.

 

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

For the most part, it’s the close friends I play with. Initially I rolled Alliance because my friend (the one who got me into WoW in the first place) was Alliance, and it was far easier for me to go play where he was–he was able to help me figure the game out, get me into his guild on Alleria, etc. When I rerolled on EU servers with my then-boyfriend (who’s now my husband :D), he was quite keen to roll an orc (and later an undead), so I went Horde to play with him (and let it be stated for the record, that us playing WoW together was vital to the survival of our 3 year long-distance relationship). Nowadays, I stick mainly with Horde because that’s where I’ve invested so much of my time and effort, and Alliance is just side projects/faffing about, really.

 

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

I’m going to cheat a little, and give two moments, because I just can’t choose between them xD

1.) The first time I ever logged into the game–EVER. I’ll never forget the sheer amazement and sense of awe I felt when I zoned into Elwynn Forest on a tiny level one mage. I remember standing in Northshire Abbey, trying desperately to take in everything around me–NPCs, other players, those scary ‘yellow’ wolves (who I was convinced were going to attack me). I didn’t even know how to use chat, I was that big of a nooblet. It was a brief moment of time when I had no idea what I was getting myself into, with no real concept of just how immense this world I had entered really was. I’ll never be able to recreate that moment (at least not in WoW; I do get that in other MMOs when I first play them).

2.) The time I spend raiding ICC with my guild during WoTLK. This was before the advent of LFR, back when I was in a proper guild (some of my best gaming days were with these people, before they abandoned the game during Cata). I can distinctly remember how much fun I had running with these folks, who were friendly and chatty and helpful, and how welcome I felt coming along on their 25 man ICC runs. I saw some amazing content that at the time, I wouldn’t have otherwise seen; I made some amazing friends during those months, and I find I’ll always have a soft spot for ICC (and WoTLK content in general I suppose) mainly because of those amazing guys and gals I played with.

 

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

My favourite aspect in WoW would most likely be ‘leveling projects’, I think, in which I always have an alt to fall back on to level with (I have a really bad case of altitis xD). I’m the type that can get easily burnt out/scared off by too much socialization–LFR and dungeons mainly, where I reach a point of sheer burn-out, or just stress. Having an alt to go level on, solely by myself (unless I choose to throw myself into LFD) is comforting, and I like knowing I always have something to do, even when my main is as complete as I can reasonably get her. I think I’ve been like this for most of my time in WoW (I’ve had altitis for as long as I can remember), but I don’t think I ever recognized it for what it was till this particular expansion.

(And I’ll also note: when I was playing GW1, I pretty much got stuck at level 19 or so because I couldn’t physically progress any further, at least playing solo with a party of mercenary NPCs, and it was intensely frustrating. A lot of people poop on how ‘faceroll’ leveling is, but getting stuck at X level and needing a party to progress isn’t particularly fun either xD)

 

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Every time I go to level an alt, I always do Icecrown, even if I could feasibly finish leveling to 80 in another zone, or in dungeons. I’ll forever be in love with that zone–the landscape, the music, the quests (especially Bridenbrad’s questline, that makes me cry every time and I make it a point to do it on every character), the lore…I always find myself back there at 77/78 to finish my Northrend questing off.

I always crey, every time :x
I always crey, every time :x

 

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

It’s a bit hard for me to get an accurate /played, considering I jumped from US to EU servers, but for the record, I’ve been playing since Christmas 2006, and fairly continuously. I think the longest ‘break’ I’ve taken is about 3 months? (the one I took earlier this year, actually)

 

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

This entirely depends on if I’m questing with someone or not xD If I’m by myself, and it’s a quest/zone I’m not familiar with, I’ll ghost over the quest text (I’m a fast reader!). If it’s one I’ve done a few times before and I’m more familiar with the quest requirements/lore of the zone, I’ll just grab and dash.

If I’m with other people, I almost exclusively skip it, just because I don’t want to hold anyone up whilst I’m reading.

 

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not being awesome enough to get Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest–it would of been perfect for my mage, and I probably would of sold my soul to the Burning Legion for it xD Alas, I wasn’t (and still am not) nearly leet enough to get anything like that, so it will be a Forever Regret of my gaming career.

 

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

Hands down, it’s been the friends I’ve met who I’m still extremely close to outside of the game. I joined an amazing guild during Wrath (Ebon Phoenix) and made a number of good, close friends who, even after they left the game (boredom, life changes, etc), I’m still in contact with via FB, or twitter. Sure, I might not have met any of them IRL (many of them are scattered about the UK/EU), but I consider them just as good friends as I would anyone face-to-face; these are people who have let me into their lives, and I’ve let them into mine, and we’ve forged amazing relationships outside of the game itself :D

have a random dancing blood elf hunter. because of reasons xD
have a random dancing blood elf hunter. because of reasons xD

Getting Back In The Saddle…

Story of my (DPS) life x.x
Story of my (DPS) life x.x

There’s no good way to reintroduce myself back into my own blog, so here goes:

I’ve obviously been…afk for a while. I hit a wall of sorts back at the end of January; I was planning a trip back to the States to visit family (where I wouldn’t have access to WoW for the duration of my stay). I was burnt out on my daily grind in WoW. I was in a funk of sorts.

It all collided into a delicious mess of ‘meh, can’t be bothered’ and just general malaise. So I made the decision to unsubscribe for a while to give myself a break. I’ve harped on about it before, but I don’t see the point in playing (and paying to play) if you’re not enjoying yourself…and I definitely wasn’t. I don’t take breaks very often, and this last one was the longest I think I’ve taken since I started playing in 2006.

All told, I was gone from WoW for about three months. I was meaning to resub once I got back home, but I kept putting it off…I just wasn’t feeling the urge to log back in.

So what did I do? I have quite a few games installed on my PC, and all F2P, so I dabbled a bit. I played an awesome dual lightsaber-wielding jedi in The Old Republic.. I indulged in my inner fangirl and rolled a Brienne (of GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire fame) lookalike in Guild Wars 2.–and there’s something absolutely satisfying about running around as a Norn covered from head to toe in plate and mail wielding a sword bigger than you are, taking no shit and tearing through Tyria.

I kinda somewhat really love my jedi knight. She's looooooovely.
I kinda somewhat really love my jedi knight. She’s looooooovely.
bro do you even lift? (also, this game is too gorgeous for words, screenies can't do it justice)
bro do you even lift? (also, this game is too gorgeous for words, screenies can’t do it justice)

(I’ll stop there, and save the fangirly flailing and rambling for another post)

That said, I recently resubbed–I’m buying game cards from now until WoD drops, since you can automatically apply them to your b.net account, and that way if I decide one month I don’t want to play, I don’t have to worry about a reoccuring payment coming out every month.

And I think that’s how I’m going to have to play it until the expansion drops this fall (by all reasonable estimations…and considering we don’t have a bloody beta yet, it’s likely IMO). I can’t promise I can stay fully engaged from now until then–or at least engaged enough to justify the sub cost. I know I’m able to walk away from WoW for bits and bobs of time and not have a problem getting back in the saddle…and it’s a good feeling. Liberating, really. I have no real plans right now, except to play it by ear. I’ve tried making bucket lists before of things I want to do before WoD drops, but those always work out super well (read: I don’t accomplish a damn thing on them), so I’m not going to bother.

What have I been doing in the past week or so since I resubbed?

awwww yea ;D
awwww yea ;D

For one, I finally sorted out my jeweled onyx panther. I’ve had the mats and the gold for ages, but never actually got around to putting them all together. I decided there was no time like the present, so this last weekend I shuffled money and mats around to my warlock, who’s my jewelcrafter. 76k gold later, I had a lovely new mount, and a bit of a hole in my pocketbook. I won’t cry too much, since by my best estimation I’m still sitting on 100k gold on the server, but if I can slowly recoop the costs via selling off my farm mats, then hey ho. But it’s not a concerted effort; I’m back to using the remote AH app to list auctions for super cheap, and make back whatever money I can before WoD.

dis is gorgeous
dis is gorgeous

I also managed to finally snag a Hearthsteed…with some ‘help’ (read: hand-holding) from a third party, who’s a total pro at Hearthstone (at least compared to me, Queen Nooblet). It really is a lovely mount, and is the perfect shade of blue for my mage. And considering it didn’t cost me anything, I can’t complain.

My shaman, Zanzeeli, finally got to 90 as well. It was a bit painful towards the end just because I’ve gotten utterly sick of Pandaria by this point, but questing is still my fastest method of leveling (I get dungeon anxiety whilst leveling, and my pet battling skills are abysmal). I dragged myself from 89-90 in one evening of rum and Pacific Rim (an amazing film by the way, if you haven’t seen it!), and she’s one day away from having a fully functioning 16 plot farm. By this point I’ll have 9 level 90s with 16 plot farms (not counting my Ally DK on Shadowsong), and you’d think I’d have mats pouring out of my ears–and you’d be right. 99% of everything is being sold in the end, though when we get closer to WoD (or at least when we have a drop date in mind), I’ll hide some mats away in my banks for safe keeping, just in case.

I have two Horde toons left on Hellscream to level: Wensicia, my monk and Spindlelegs, my warrior/bank alt. The monk is kinda sorta being leveled with my husband’s warlock, but the warrior is a free agent, and I blew through the first 20 levels quite easily. Last night I finished the storyline in Silverpine Forest, and I gotta say…I get into quite the mindset while playing a Forsaken. Like, I totally become Team Sylvanas when I’m playing Spindlelegs, so it was quite enjoyable questing through content I wasn’t super burnt out by (I think I’ve leveled through post-Cata Silverpine maybe once).

they just had to play lament of the highborne during this for max feelage
they just had to play lament of the highborne during this for max feelage

There’s not much left to do on my mage, Alyzabeth. I don’t have any goals with her regarding gear–it’s good enough for now, and I’ve got stuff to mog with. The thought of running any sort of LFR content makes me want to vomit all over myself, so I’ll avoid it for the foreseeable future. I may flick through her achievements and see if there’s any easy/entertaining ones I can get out of the way. Maybe more pet battling. Who knows. Like I said, I’m making no real plans, and just seeing where my mood takes me at any given moment.

*shrug*

*exit stage left*

I really did try...promise
I really did try…promise

On The Edge Of Nowhere

Before I begin my post in earnest, I have to mention this, because it’s just completely ridiculous and I’m not even sure how I managed it. But I did.

This last weekend I shuffled all my games over onto my external HD that I have set up, but was going relatively unused (1TB, inherited from my husband when he bought a newer model). I was clogging up my internal memory quite horribly (having Guild Wars1/2, Rift, Star Wars, WoW, Diablo, etc will do that to you). The ‘easiest’ way to do it was to do fresh installs on the external since pretty much every online game/MMO has an option to download the client directly from their websites. Had to reformat the HD itself to get it to accept Guild Wars 2 (which needed a NTFS platform, and the HD was set for Fat32) which was pretty annoying, but it got done. I patched all my games up again whilst watching back-to-back episodes of MST3k on Netflix (the best show ever, by the way). Then, I proceeded to uninstall ALL the games from my internal drive, giving me quite a bit of nice shiny space left over. Huzzah!

Till three days later, when I was messing about with my theme for this blog. I can’t seem to settle on anything, but sometimes if I go through my screenshots folder I’ll find something just by chance that will make for a good background or header…

Imagine my surprise when I find approximately five shots in the screenshots folder. Normally there are loads because it goes way back to when I first got this PC in 2010. Pictures from my time in Ebon Phoenix. Pictures from end-of-Wrath, and Cata, and everything in between. Most of them were kinda bullshitey, just random pictures I took while faffing about.

Muggins here forgot to back up her screenshots folder before deleting it from her internal HD. Completely and utterly forgot to do it. Years of memories lost because I was a complete dunce and forgot I even had a screenshots folder to begin with (this is why I love GW2 because their screenshots folder ends up in My Documents, so it’s hard to miss). To say I was mad at myself could be considered understatement of the year for 2014; the cats were privy to a string of curses that would make a sailor blush as I just sat at my computer, staring at a very weaksauce screenshots folder.

I can look back on it now and laugh I guess, because we’ve all been there–all done something so incredibly dumb, a ‘how did I even manage THAT?’ moment where our brains just up and fail us. If there’s an ‘up’ side, it’s that I do have some shots I put on FB which I can try to retrieve (‘try’ being the operative word here, since it might muck up the quality compared to the originals), and wordpress has saved what I’ve uploaded to use here on the blog. So there is some stuff left, but much more gone the way of the digital wind. There might be some really high-tech way of getting it back, but it’d require more effort and brainpower then I can muster–I’m a proper dunce I am :D

Arse biscuit.

And now on to your regularly scheduled programming:

I want this for a transmog. Seriously badass piece of kit...but unfortunately, it's only a disguise </3
I want this for a transmog. Seriously badass piece of kit…but unfortunately, it’s only a disguise

I’ve been working on pushing my shaman, Zanzeeli towards 90. Last I spoke of her, she was stomping all over the Outlands, and despite not having any heirlooms (I do things the hard way obviously, including leveling–I don’t really mind the grind most of the time), she made short work of Northrend. Cataclysm was a tiny bit slower just because urgh, Uldum, but lo and behold she dinged 85 last night mucking about with the shamans up in Twilight Highlands. Whilst working through Cata content, I’ve been trying to keep her gathering professions up to date, which is a bit difficult when you’re boosted through content at a faster pace than intended.

With most of my professions (okay, ALL of them) I try to use profession guides to keep me on track, and to keep me from wasting my time and efforts and mats doing ridiculous shite that won’t give me any progress. I also use them if I’m stuck in a spot with mining/herbalism/skinning and need a reminder of a level-appropriate grinding spot. This happened with my mining, where I was a few levels short of being able to mine elementium, which was getting super annoying since I seemed to be tripping over it whilst questing in Uldum. The guide I consulted suggested some spots in Vash’jir to go to level; normally I wouldn’t bother with it and just go to Mt. Hyjal, but 1.) I’m frankly sick of Mt. Hyjal, and 2.) I had already quested in Vash’jir and had flight points, plus it’d give me another excuse to use my sea horse.

So, out I went, trying to follow the path outlined by the guide. Long story short, I found myself in this particular bit:

Abandoned Reef
It had mining nodes…but not much else. No mobs. No quests. No NPCs. No battle pets. It’s just a spot on the map in Vash’jir that, at least to me, was unknown and unexplored. I most likely went far enough to get the exploration achievement for that zone, but I obviously didn’t go any further since all this was new territory to muggins here. It was completely empty, devoid of any obvious life*, on the very edge of the zone map.

Abandoned Reef 2

Can I put my Garrison right here? It's a good spot!
Can I put my Garrison right here? It’s a good spot!

And once I had finished with my mining, I just stopped and looked around, taking in this ‘new’ area. I realized that wasn’t something I was used to doing anymore; exploring, taking in the world around me wasn’t a part of my gaming experience anymore, at least in WoW. It was going from point A to B, running along the rails and never deviating from the course set out for me. I had stopped putting myself out there, exploring for the sake of exploration, just to find something new. It had been something I had done in Vanilla–back before exploration achievements (where it’s become more about ticking the objective off rather than consuming the content itself), back before you could fly in Azeroth–this is kinda sounding like I’m shaking a fist at Blizzard because they totes ruined the game. I’m not. They haven’t ruined anything, or else I wouldn’t still be playing, seven years after I started, with very few lapses in my subscription.

This is more a personal thing, where I’ve slacked. I need to make more of an effort to color outside the lines, to give myself permission (and ambition) to explore the world, no matter what expansion we may be in. Of course so much of it has lost that awe because I’ve been playing so long, and there’s a finite amount of what you can see, I’ve accepted that reality. But once and a while, there’s a spot that pops up that catches my attention like that, where I stop and smell the roses (metaphorically speaking, obviously).

That said, this bit of the map–known as the Abandoned Reef (according to WoWWiki) is a very comforting place for me and my shaman. I’d like to think she’s the type much better suited to a more solitary life, and you can’t get much more solitary than this spot. It’s calm, and serene, and you could just…float, just commune with the spirits, get away from all the distractions and anxieties that life likes to throw at us (and our characters!).

In short: you could send me to the Abandoned Reef, with this 8tracks playlist (http://8tracks.com/8cvetko/pure-chillstep) playing in the background and I’d be one very happy shaman. I’ve been dealing with personal issues lately, various levels of anxiety and depression popping up to kick me in the face every so often, so finding this particular spot in-game was quite apt timing, in the grand scheme of things. I found it just when I needed to. It’s now my place to just go, and to just be. Nothing about the past, nothing about the future, or even the present really; just existing for the sake of existing, floating along without a weight in the world.

That’s rare. And I cherish those spots, and those moments with every ounce of my wee troll heart.

This is Zanzeeli's heaven.
This is Zanzeeli’s heaven.

*A/N: I learned that the Abandoned Reef is where Ghostcrawler (the rare spawn) pops up. I didn’t see anything when I was out there, and I was on my shaman anyway, but Applecore might make a trip out just to see. I knew he spawned somewhere in Vash’jir, I just wasn’t sure the specific subzone. The more you know!

WoW Resolutions: 2014 Edition

Guilty as charged.
Guilty as charged.

In my real life away from WoW, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve had almost 30 years to learn that I’m absolutely rubbish at making plans, ones where I’m so convinced I’ll do X, Y and Z and I’ll be super organized and prepared and ambitious…and then I’m not. And then I get really disappointed in myself, and cue the self-loathing, and a cycle of beating myself up over stupid stuff. So, for the most part, I avoid them like the plague. I instead try to focus on just being happy in the coming year, whatever that might entail on a personal level, adjusting to the spanners that tend to get thrown in the works and muck everything up.

For the most part, I try to avoid making big huge sweeping plans in WoW as well. I’ll tell myself I’ll sort everything out and attack my goals with an almost surgical precision…and then I don’t, choosing to faff about with whatever takes my fancy at that particular moment. And then I feel bad because I’m not working on what I ‘should’ be working on.

See a pattern here?

That said, I was reading the most recent WoW Insider Community Blog Topic, which concerns WoW resolutions, and reading the comments and blog posts got me thinking about making my own resolutions in the game. I tried to avoid super specific goals and focus more on general Things To Be Accomplished, preferably before WoD drops (which is hopefully SOON).

Without further ado, and in no particular order:

1.) Be more engaged in the WoW blogosphere/online community. I’m a very shy, introverted person by nature, both IRL and online (in some respects–I’m quite foot-loose and fancy free over on my FB). I tend to scurry away from engaging with other people even in Warcraft; the bad encounters in-game far outweigh the good, and it’s been difficult for me to make battle.net friends or have anyone to faff about with in-game. That said, I look fondly on the interactions I see between my favorite WoW bloggers/personalities, and a part of me wants to chime in and sit at the table–but I don’t. I desperately want to try and resolve that a little; I don’t need to be a super social butterfly, but I’m also quite keen to get over my almost primal fear of other people. It’ll require lots of work, and unpacking of deep-seated issues, but I’d at least like to make a more concerted effort in 2014.

(And on that note, I try to read as many WoW blogs as I can, but I’m always terrified to comment. But I’m lurking! Hopefully that’s not creepy or anything *shame*)

2.) Finish getting my Hordies on Hellscream to 90. I’ve got 8 so far, with three to go–my shaman (who’s sitting pretty at 82.5), my monk (at 41) and my wee warrior Spindlelegs at 9. I’m not sure I have any particular order in mind as to which one to level per se; I just work on what class I fancy playing at any particular time. Most likely the shaman will be next just because the finish line is so bloody close. I’d love to get them to 90, with farms if at all possible, because it’s almost a compulsion of mine at this point.

3.) Get at least one Alliance to 90, if not more. This really shouldn’t be difficult at all, but I find myself focusing quite a bit on finishing up affairs on Hellscream, that if I work on Alliance on another server I’m screwing around or not being productive or whatever. I have a worgen DK at 86, so this goal is very feasible as it stands right now. That said, getting a few decently settled Alliance characters would be a huge bonus. The DK is on Shadowsong EU right now which seems to have a decent Alliance population, and if that continues I’ll most likely make it my ‘permanent’ home for Allies–this is always something I’m sore about, just because I’m stuck on Hellscream with an abysmal Horde population, and it sucks. Building up a few Alliance toons will also benefit not only my social life (hopefully), but it’ll be easier to farm for pets and mounts, and to buy things off an AH that is eleventy billion times more lively than on Hellscream.

4.) Don’t hesitate to play something other than Mage. I find myself afraid of stepping outside of that comfort zone, of really giving anybody other than Alyzabeth real effort and work. I’m taking baby steps with my hunter Applecore, taking her into LFR and flexing my brain a bit more in the process. Sometimes I get burnt out on Alyzabeth, and having a couple other toons who I feel comfortable playing with at max level would be nice. I’m thinking Applecore is a good second choice, since I’m vastly more comfortable playing ranged rather than melee, and Apple is SoO ready. That said, I would like to try and get better with someone like Yulianna (my DK) or Antebellum (my pally that just dinged 90, wheee!), for a change of pace when the norm gets to be a bit too boring even for me. Doing that means not tunnel-visioning my DPS meters, or letting performance anxiety get the best of me, and just giving it a shot–let LFR do what it’ll do, and knowing that I can always leave if it becomes detrimental to my mental health. With this goal, I HAVE to give myself permission to fail, if need be.

5.) Maybe not strictly WoW-related, but in the same hemisphere at least: work more on my WoW based fiction writing. A million good ideas, and brilliant scenes I play out in my head whilst trying to sleep. Nothing to show for it. I talk a good game about how I want to do it, but I don’t. That has to change. Many of my characters have backstories I’d like to flesh out, and again, it’s about confronting some very big fears I have, and just letting go. And, sharing what I write! I feel reasonably comfortable now with my blog writing, but I feel much more dressed-up and formal when it comes to fiction, hence the stage fright.

6.) Get Ashes of Al’ar. This is strictly RNG based, but by Riker’s beard I want it! Alyzabeth is the only toon I feel comfortable and capable on whilst solo’ing it; I know others run multiple alts a week through Tempest Keep…but I can’t. I just have to take what the WoW gods give me, but words can’t describe how badly I still want this stupid mount.

Again, these seem like quite vague resolutions to me, but it’s how I work best. Of course, I have some specific WoW goals in terms of achievements and such I’d like to clear up before WoD (achievements concerning Pandaria content at least), but I think this is a reasonable list to work with for now.

To those fellow WoW’ers who are reading, I hope you have an amazing and prosperous 2014 in Warcraft, and may you get all the mounts and pets and cool achievements and gears and golds you’re lusting after :D

 

Yes, I named my pet dinosaur after a Mexican dish. I was hungry at the time, and it sounded really good. (And ignore that DPS meter plz, not even in the top ten lmaoimgonnagocry)
Yes, I named my pet dinosaur after Mexican food. I was hungry at the time, and it sounded really good.
(And ignore that DPS meter plz, not even in the top ten lmaoimgonnagocry)

So Long, Wrathion! (And Good Riddance)

The range of emotions I experienced during the Legendary quest chain. There was no in-between for me.
The range of emotions I experienced during the Legendary quest chain. There was no in-between for me.

Alyzabeth dinged 90 on 8/10/12, according to my achievement date–so well over a year ago. It was then that she embarked on the Legendary quest chain, picking up a Mysterious Note and coming into the service of the black dragon Wrathion. Over the past year, she collected sigils and runestones and valor points and reputation and trillium. She flagged herself PvP and threw her squishy, magey self into the mercy of MoP’s battlegrounds, somehow squeaking out a couple nifty victories. She queued herself for countless LFR runs, sometimes finding riches beyond her greatest expectations (wow, two runestones in one week?! neato!) and very often walking away with nothing more than some spare valor that she doesn’t need.

There were weeks when Alyzabeth didn’t bother at all with it. The quests, in their varied stages, stayed in her quest log, mocking the mage. It was a constant in her life, something that she should probably get around to at some point but kept putting off. Eventually though, she’d complete another stage, and run back to the Tavern in the Mists only to be told by Wrathion that there was still loads to do, and Alyza was sent packing back into ToT or SoO to dirty her hands once again.

The moral of this story is that I don’t do well with ‘forcing’ myself to do things, certainly not on any sort of schedule. I can make lists, and the Best Laid Plans, but then I toss them all away and throw a hissy. I’m the type that does things in my own time, when my mood and anxiety allow me to indulge in certain things–LFR, PvP, etc.

Basically, I dragged ass all through the Legendary quest line. Plenty others raced by me and completed it as soon as they were allowed to, slaying the four Celestials on the Timeless Isle and getting their shiny new cloaks and all that jazz. And I didn’t.

At least until now.

Still need to gem it, but that's easy enough. New UI courtesy of Supervillain UI (http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info16837-SupervillainUI.html)
Still need to gem it, but that’s easy enough. New UI courtesy of Supervillain UI (http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info16837-SupervillainUI.html)

It required me to finally get my finger out, and to realise just how close to the end I was getting. It helped that my husband was on pretty much the same step as I was with his hunter, so he was able to encourage me, and give me some tips along the way. After helping Wrathion and Co. forge that stupid spear on the Isle of Thunder, I was sent to talk to the four Celestials in their respective temples, and to battle Wrathion in the Jade Temple; much like the solo scenario on the Isle of Thunder, I smashed my way to victory. There were a few defeats as I got a feel for what I needed to do (I’m very good at reading strategies, but not comprehending them until I actually get my boots on the ground), but with some luck and a few tricks I won. I then found myself with the ‘daunting’ task of defeating all four Celestials on the Timeless Isle; I say this is daunting since on Hellscream EU, Horde-side is quite tiny compared to the Alliance, so getting a group through more traditional means can be hard. I tried doing it the old fashioned way, but we only got three people together before people started dropping.

Bugger that.

I was then reminded that we have a nifty Raid Browser tool, and that it now includes world bosses–including the Celestials. It took me queueing up several times before I was able to get groups to defeat all four, and lots of back and forth between various servers (which is quite disorienting, not to mention depressing when you zone into another server and they actually have PEOPLE talking!). There were a few instances of accidentally getting flagged and steamrolled by the Alliance, but oddly enough I kept going. I just tried to let it go, to not get frustrated or disheartened.

I loves me some acheesements!
I loves me some acheesements!

And I did it! Alyzabeth’s very long journey came to an end last night on the shores of the Timeless Isle, in the heart of the Siege of Orgrimmar, and in the Tavern in the Mists. Hours spend collecting and button-mashing and running back and forth culminated in that tiny inn tucked away from the rest of the world where she received her upgraded cloak, a few handy achievements, and a very angry Wrathion (what a turd, seriously). Not only had Alyzabeth finally crafted her Legendary cloak, but she also managed to defeat Garrosh in LFR, something I had been struggling with for the past few weeks–yes, I know it’s old hat, but muggins here got groups that couldn’t get past the first boss. Technically that’s another weight off my shoulders, along with the Legendary, since I wanted to defeat Garrosh at least once before going into WoD.

It’s a tad bit bittersweet to come to the end of this journey. It was frustrating at times, triggering some long-held anxieties I have regarding this game (mainly the PvP aspect, but also just socializing and LFR and such). There were times where I wanted to wring Wrathion’s scrawny little neck when he sent me out on some stupid bloody quest (Lei Shen’s heart in particular, especially considering I had already been in ToT right before that). It may have taken me a while to get there, but it’s not necessarily about how fast you complete the journey–it’s about the journey itself. I stuck with something long enough when it was quite easy for me to just give up, and got my reward in the end. To more ‘hardcore’ players, it probably isn’t a big deal; there’s plenty of debate on the intertubes about whether or not Blizzard went in the right direction regarding this particular Legendary (a debate I’m not keen to throw myself into, by the way). But to me, and my wee mage Alyzabeth, it’s a pretty big deal. It’s something to cross off her bucket list, a heavy weight pulled off her shoulders heading into the next expansion.

oooooooooh! ahhhhhhhh! So shiny! Much impress!
oooooooooh! ahhhhhhhh! So shiny! Much impress!

 

I suppose the inevitable question is ‘what’s next?’ for her, and I’m not sure. I reckon plenty of faffing is in order, since there’s plenty of achievements she has left that could be done. She still doesn’t have Ashes, so there’s plenty more TK runs in her future. Pets need collecting. Alts need leveling. Golds need to be hoarded, farms tended to. There’s still some upgrades to be found in LFR, something I can do as and when I feel like it, without the spectre of the Legendary hanging over my head.

What a long, strange journey it’s been*. For now, it’s a rare moment where I’m quite chuffed with myself, and I’ll try to hang onto that feeling for as long as I can.

Time for her Riding Off Into the Sunset moment I reckon.
Time for her Riding Off Into the Sunset moment I reckon.

*Another achievement which I consider among some of my finest. Another example of sticking with something long enough, and confronting my fears (Children’s Week!11!) in order to achieve something I really, really wanted.

**Yes, I love my Time Lord set from Cata. It’s one of my most popular transmog sets, just because it has that funky steampunk-esque feel, and it matches, and I love the headpiece <3