Patch 8.3 Visions of N’Zoth dropped in WoW last week, and I have to say I’ve been having a complete blast! I really enjoyed the storyline to get our cloaks and unlock the visions and take us around Azeroth. I thought it was a good way to explain (in not so many words) why N’zoth’s corruption wasn’t over the whole of Azeroth (yet). It’s been a great journey.

Part of that journey has taken us to Uldum, and back to Pandaria to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. This week the Vale has the major corruption, so everything is dark and purple and there are tentacles everywhere. And of course there are Pandaren everywhere that we are trying to help (as well as fighting back the tentacles!)

Over the past few days I’ve been spending a lot of time in Pandaria, and while there I started to notice something. I was missing the Pandaren people. I was missing being a Pandaren myself. It kinda hit me randomly to be honest. I imagine part of it is the nostalgia of it – Mists of Pandaria was my first expansion that I did from launch to completion, so I will always have a very soft spot for it. And I do love the Pandaren race – I love their chill but playful approach to life, their appreciation for the world and what happens to it, and I just love their fluffy tummies. All of this was hitting me like a tonne of bricks during the N’Zoth invasions, and well… this happened…

I race-changed my shaman back to Pandaren. Oops!

I didn’t make the decision lightly, despite the spontaneous change. I opened and closed the in-game store so many times trying to make up my mind. But I think in some ways it has been building for quite awhile.

I loved my Kul Tiran, I really did. I had been looking forward to having her for so long. I loved her curves, her strength and even her accent. I also loved their totem design (that was funnily enough one of the big reasons I didn’t want to change – the Pandaren totems are probably the most boring of all the shaman classes). But despite all of that, I wasn’t connecting with my shaman when she was Kul’Tiran.

There were lots of little things that niggled at me – firstly, the female Kul’Tiran dance is stupid. Sorry, it just is. This was abundantly apparent during the New Years celebrations in game when the Auction Houses turn in to dance parties – everyone is in there being all goofy with their fun silly dances, and here I was throwing my arms around in short ballet poses. It was silly, but not in the fun way – in the way that was super daggy.

Secondly, she was so serious all of the time. Even when she was trying to be funny telling jokes she was still really gruff and… well, serious. Even her laughter was too much – booming and almost a little patronising sometimes.

Thirdly, she pulled the stupidest faces when trying to take selfies. I really struggled to find good angles for her when taking pics, to the point where I gave up. Which accounts for the lack of picture updates I’ve been doing. Poor darling was not the most photogenic being…

Lastly, some of my favourite transmogs just didn’t work on her. Belts always seemed too small and shoulders seemed WAY too big. (Though she did look cute as heck in her Wumpus Onesie!)

Because of all of these reasons, I felt a little self conscious with her, like she didn’t quite fit in (despite being so freakin’ awesome!)

Here’s the kicker – all of those reasons that I didn’t connect with my shaman as a Kul’Tiran are all faults I feel in myself. I can’t dance to save my life; I look bloody awful in photos, I’m awkward as heck, my anxiety makes me super serious and cranky, and I just feel like I never quite fit in anywhere. She was just a little bit too much like me. (Not that I’m super strong or kick-ass like she was!)

In a game that I dive in to to escape from the world, I found I wasn’t able to fully escape because I just kept seeing parts of myself in it.

The things I liked about being Pandaren were that she was a little like me (chunky and quirky) but had traits that I wanted in myself – to be cute but fierce, funny, able to chill out and have fun, not take herself too seriously… All the things I struggle to be and do.

It’s been an interesting revelation for me to say the least. I’ve always known how important it is to have characters in the game that people from all corners of life can relate to, but I never really realised how important it was (to me at least) to have characters in game that I want to be, too. It’s that fantasy element that allows us to separate ourselves from the games that we play, that helps us to escape, that can make a world so much more immersive. At the same time, we need to see the characters that represent us, too.

I think World of Warcraft is a far richer game for having Kul’Tiran in it – seeing women with curves that aren’t just giant boobs is so important. And I will always have a special spot for them in my heart. But for now, I need to play someone that embodies traits I don’t have in myself, so that maybe they will rub off on me.

Halloween! And what better place to spend it than at the happiest place on earth – Disneyland!

Disneyland was at the top of Thor’s list of things to do while we were in the USA. He’s a big Mickey Mouse fan, so of course we had to go. Personally, I was just curious more than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney movies, but Blizzcon was still top of my list of things to look forward to. In the end, it was SO much better than I could have ever expected!

If you haven’t been to Disneyland in California before, there are 2 parks – Disneyland Park (which includes all the old favourites like Fantasyland, Tomorrowland etc.) and then there’s California Adventure, which has a lot of the newer stuff in it like Pixar stuff and the Haunted Mansion. In between the two parks is a general admission area which includes Downtown Disney. You don’t need a ticket to visit Downtown Disney, and it includes some really amazing stores – the biggest Disney store ever, the Disney Dress store, and a whole bunch of other places.

When we were sorting out tickets I was a bit confused about how it all worked, not having been there before. But knowing now, there are ticket gates at the entrance to each of the two parks, so the tickets you get need to match the park you are going in to. There are loads of different ticket bundles, from single day passes to one park, to multi-day passes that cover both parks. In the end we got a 3-day pass which would allow us in to one park on each day. Day 1 (Halloween) would be in the Disneyland Park to see all the Halloween stuff, Day 2, California Adventure, then Day 3 back at Disneyland Park for Galaxy’s Edge. This plan worked out really well for us, because we found we didn’t see everything we wanted in Disneyland Park on the first day, so it was good to know we had an extra day there up our sleeves. (We also avoided Galaxy’s Edge like the plague on this day, but more on that later!). What you do for your own trip will depend on what you are wanting to see. But here were our adventures.

Day 1 – Disneyland Park

I don’t think Thor slept much the night before, he was so excited. And I have to admit, I was too!

We had both brought Disney-themed t-shirts for us to wear to the parks so that we would fit in at least a little. I wore my Winnie the Pooh “No Bothers Given” t-shirt, and Thor wore his Tee Turtle Han & Chewie shirt (which doesn’t seem to be available anymore, sorry!) I’d forgotten about my shirt, though, and as we walked through the ticket gates we were greeted by an employee, and then he very seriously whispered to me “ma’am, you have poo on your shirt”. I freaked out, and then looked down and realised… I’m sure the guy must make that joke 50 times a day, but it cracked me up.

We had made a list of things we needed to buy while we were at Disneyland. Things like salt & pepper shakers for Thor’s Mum (as she collects them), birthday gifts for my nephew and my friend’s baby, Christmas decorations (I do a Christmas decoration trade with some family members each year, so every year our tree is full of beautiful memories of family and friends), and of course Mickey ears for both of us. And a whole bunch of other stuff, too! So with that list in mind, we walked through the gates.

Honestly, it was immediately overwhelming. We had no idea where to go, and my neck was hurting from just looking at everything and getting completely and utterly distracted! There were people everywhere, though thankfully not as many as I was expecting. We gathered ourselves and started making some plans. First stop was to have a look in some of the stores to see what was there, and to look for some ears.

The stores were really something else. Who knew there was this much Disney-themed merchandise?! And SO many different ears! Holy moly. A great tip we got from Battle Panda and Hooblie before we went was that not all stores sell all things that are available. And that some items might only be found in one store. Also, because it was Halloween, there were special in-park-only Halloween themed items. Of course we wanted everything!! But decided to just have a look and purchase things at the end of the day so we didn’t have to carry them around all the time, and also to help us stop overbuying (we didn’t succeed very well at this during our entire trip, though!!)

One thing we did get right away, though, was some ears. Thor was initially planning on getting a pair of Chewbacca themed ears, and they weren’t in the first store so he waited. I, though, wanted some sparkly Minnie Mouse ears – I just adored them! I had to stop myself from buying 12 pairs of ears, they were all so great. Eventually in another store we found Thor’s Chewie ears, but they seemed to be for kids and unfortunately didn’t fit. We were really disappointed and headed off to a different store to re-think what he might get. On the way he saw the most spectacular thing – a man was walking by with Fantasia Mickey themed ears! Thor ran up to him asking where he got them, and we were pointed in the direction of the store. The ears were perfect for Thor – completely ridiculous and charming all at once. I think we made an adorably silly pair, indeed! 😀

The only other goals we had planned for the day were to go see Mickey Mouse in his house, and to see the Teacups ride. But before that, we realised we were both pretty hungry as we hadn’t really had breakfast (excitement, nerves, you know!) so we wandered in the general direction of some food. Looking on the map we saw there was a Pizza Planet in Tomorrowland, so we headed there. The pizza slices were huge and delicious!

Side note here: obviously, as you will have noticed from our pictures, Thor and I are on the large side. Because of this, we didn’t expect to be able to go on any of the rides, as we figured we would be too large for them. It’s for this reason that none of our plans included any rides because we just didn’t think we’d get on! But we were mistaken, and there are loads of rides that we were absolutely fine for. It was a wonderful surprise and really made us feel welcome in the park. I think next time we go we might plan for a few more rides 🙂

After some food we went on the monorail to see a bit more of the park to get a better idea of where we’d like to focus our time. We ended up in line with a gentleman who’d had quite a few drinks, but he was pleasant enough. And when the monorail arrived he asked the attendant if we could sit in the very front section (which was closed) and they said yes! So we had a fantastic view as we were hurtled around the park. The man was chatting away, asking us about where we were from and all that. He was delighted to hear we were from Australia, and shared some drinking stories with some Australians he’d met previously. He was quite amusing to say the least, and certainly made for an entertaining ride!

After our monorail ride we headed towards Fantasyland and found the Tea Cups ride! It looked like so much fun. We stood watching for awhile, then figured stuff it, let’s see if we can fit on the ride. We got in line and when we could, asked the attendant if we’d be ok to go on – they said no problems at all! And they were right! It was eventually our turn to find a cup and in no time at all we were spinning spinning spinning. It was glorious!! Thor figured out if we turn the thing in the middle we spin even faster – you can see the very moment he figures this out in the video below – he get a devilish grin on his face haha!! (and also sorry for the small swears in that video!)

We wandered around some more… Thor tried his best to become a King, but alas it was not his time.

We found ourselves on Mark Twain’s riverboat at one stage, which took us on a gentle trip downriver. It was a beautiful day for it! And the boat theme continued shortly after as we found ourselves in front of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Again we figured we’d try our luck, and hopped in line. (I should point out here – it was not a busy day at Disneyland. Lines were relatively short so we weren’t losing much time by trying our luck!) The ride was SO great! We were both far too wrapped up in it all to take any pictures, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was a good time. 🙂

By this point we realised it was close to time for a parade, so we caught a train back Main Street…

On Main Street we set ourselves up on a curb and waited. We made the mistake of being on the sunny side of the street… it was a pretty hot afternoon by that point so we got a bit burned, but it was worth it to be up close to all the characters.

Then it was time to take Thor to see Mickey Mouse. I think he’d kinda been putting it off a bit all day, and I think he was a little nervous, but we had to go! So we made our way to Toon Town to find Mickey’s house. This area of the park was absolutely adorable. It really looked like we were in a cartoon world! Everything was so bright and… well, bendy looking. It was fantastic!

The line to Mickey Mouse started out the front of his house, where we are told Mickey is out back working and would love to see us. The line to see him snakes through his house and through the backyard to his studio out the back. Every room is his house is designed to suit a cartoon mouse! The attention to detail was incredible. Some of the areas would animate, too! The chickens out back clicked away and bobbed their heads, and strangly, so did the carrots in the garden… hmmm.. I got a real kick out of seeing the mopbucket from Fantasia there! As we went through the studio area there were prints from some of the earlier cartoons and “props” hanging from the ceiling. Then right before the room to Mickey was a big theatre with rolling Mickey Mouse cartoons. It was all done so well, and was very effective at keeping kids (who have been in line for 40 minutes by this point!) relatively entertained.

Finally, it was the moment. I don’t know why I was nervous to see some random person wearing a Mickey Mouse costume, but I was. Most of all, though, it was pretty emotional for me seeing how excited Thor was to see Mickey Mouse. I think Mickey Mouse is one of those things that throws us right back to when we were kids, to a time when things were simpler because we didn’t really know what was going on… that innocence that kids have that we all lose as we get older and more cynical, you know? Seeing Mickey brought all that back for both of us, and so it was a pretty emotional time.

Afterwards we got some icecream. Once again we hadn’t learned our lesson about portion sizes and foolishly (?) ordered an ice-cream each. We didn’t finish them, but they looked amazing!!

By this point it was starting to get late, and we needed to head back to our hotel to get ready for the Con Before the Storm party! But not before getting some nighttime Halloween pictures 🙂

All in all, I really enjoyed our first day at Disneyland. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the happiest place on earth, but I would agree that it is a magical place. SO many people were dressed up, either in fun t-shirts or costumes or onesies. It made the whole place feel so much more fun. And everyone (for the most part!) was just nice, you know? Like we all recognised this is a shared experience and we all just want to have a good time. There were so many times people would offer to take a picture for someone else, and phones/cameras would be handed over without concern for them being taken. It was a really nice feeling. You could ask someone a question and they would be so glad to tell you the answers. I dunno, it was just really nice, you know?

Anyway, that’s it for day ONE at Disneyland – two days to go! But first, BLIZZCON!

There were so many things I was looking forward to about this trip, from Blizzcon to Disneyland to seeing Hogwarts in person. But one of the things that was right at the top of that list was getting to visit Blizzard HQ.

Thanks to an amazingly kind friend, we were given the opportunity to visit the mothership – to see where all the magic happens. To say I was excited about this was a massive understatement. I mean, this face of mine below of me losing my shit was an understatement for how I was feeling inside!

So, we go there by Uber, and I was jittery the whole way. And then we saw the gate and oh boy…

We got dropped off at the gate then walked in, and there’s the Orc in all his wonderful glory, RIGHT THERE. It took all of my effort not to sqeal. Well, ok I squealed, but hopefully not too loudly.

Once inside we met up with our beautiful friend, Marie, who was to be our guide for the afternoon. After handing over the piles of gifts we had, we headed off to lunch at the campus cafeteria. I don’t know if it’s like other workplace cafeterias…? I’ve only worked in small organisations really. But to me, any place that makes pizza in front of you is a winner by default.

With our meals in hand we sat down and caught up on all the happenings. I kept getting distracted by the moment. I mean, here I was, surrounded by all of these amazing, talented people who work on the games that I love so much. And you know what I noticed most of all? They were just like me. Everyone was dressed in Blizzard gear or clothing that was “them” rather than “corporate”. And everyone seemed… happy? Ok sure it was lunch time and there’s food, but like, everyone seemed happy to be there. Like they had a purpose. Don’t get me wrong, some people looked like they had a lot on their (work)plate, but noone looked like they were just done with everything and was ready to walk out the door. You could feel the energy in the air, it was remarkable.

With lunch done, we started on our tour. For those who are unaware of what happens on these tours, there is a museum that has exhibitions that change every now and then, there’s amazing statues all over the place, and other places around the campus to visit. But before you go anywhere, you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (of course!), and they let you know where you can and can’t take pictures. All of which is fair enough. ESPECIALLY 2 days before Blizzcon! The secrets in that building, oh my gosh.

Because of where you can and can’t take pics, there’s quite a lot here that we experienced that can’t be shared, but there’s still plenty to show…

The Blizzard museum had just been updated to celebrate Hearthstone! Even though I don’t play the game very much at all, I do love all the artwork. And it was amazing to see how it all started out. Definitely a fantastic experience to check out.

After the museum we headed in to area where we can’t take pictures. So let me paint some pictures with my magical words 😉 Our first stop was a peek in what looked like one of those scenes of NASA with rows of people at computers all facing a whole bunch of screens. This was, of course, where the servers were all monitored. They also had a great interactive display talking about how it all works and what happens when something goes wrong. I kinda wanted to throw Tim Tams to everyone in there because those folks work bloody hard to keep us in game. It was fascinating to see it all in person.

One of the main things you notice when walking around the corridors is that there is Blizzard artwork EVERYWHERE. There is not a bare wall, and it’s beautiful. The halls were filled with creativity – you could feel it oozing out of every corner. If I had all the time in the world I would have just slowly wandered from wall to wall, gazing at it all… probably would have been there for a few days if I’m honest. It was very inspiring stuff.

One of my favourite places to visit during the tour was the library. Oh my gosh guys it was everything you’d want a nerd library to be! There were all the games you could think of, there were cozy corners – there were even doggos in there, because there were a few employees at one of the tables playing a game together! How awesome is that? Everything was decorated for Halloween, too, so it had the spooky old library vibe going on. And even better – we got a treat! I spoke to the librarian (who was an absolute sweetheart) telling her I wanted her job and pls can has? And obviously not, but she was lovely hehe. And then she offered us Bizz bookmarks! eep! We got one each…

Then we were off again. We went around and checked out all the statues… you can’t see in the pic, but the Tyrael statue wings GLOW omg. It was my favourite of them all. Although Gorehowl was pretty awesome to see in person – that thing is flippin’ HUGE!

We were also really lucky and got to visit some of the WoW dev work areas. There was so much here that just blew me away. Firstly, again, all the art of the walls. Ahh!! Secondly, everyone had really personal work spaces. Some were really decorated with their favourite things – others looked like a nerd had exploded in there. It was AMAZING. But my favourite thing here – every person we met in the halls stopped and said hi and was just so darn friendly to us strangers. It wasn’t the usual “polite nod, half smile walk on” kind of situation; people would smile and say hi, some asking about our trips over here, what we were looking forward to at Blizzcon… I just wanted to hug everyone for being so nice! (I reckon it’s also because Marie is such a darling to everyone, too!).

The other thing about this area is that there were a few walls that we noticed were covered in black cloth. SECRETS! Having seen the reveals now, it was all obviously Shadowlands stuff, but seeing those covered up walls got me so hyped at the time. Eee!!!!

Eventually we had to go and let Marie get on with her day. We were SO grateful to meet Marie for the first time, too, after talking and playing together all these years! What an absolute treat our time there was.

On a personal note, the whole experience at Blizzard HQ was really inspiring for me. For those of you who follow me on twitter you’ll know that I’ve really been struggling with my job a lot lately, and I’ve just fallen in to a bit of a rut. I’m not working in a job that I enjoy, and I have so much creative energy just going to waste. I’ve felt like I’m stuck, and that this was really as good as it was going to get. But after that tour and seeing how a workplace can be… it was truly inspiring. The people there seemed to really enjoy being there. They seemed to care about what they were doing and wanted to share it with people. And it made the whole campus buzz with an energy I’ve never felt before. It was the kick in the butt that I’ve needed to get me out of this rut. I want to work at a place that inspires me like that; that encourages me to be creative, and makes me care about what I’m doing. And while Blizzard would (obviously) be where I would want to do that, it doesn’t have to be there – but it certainly isn’t where I am now, and I need to change that.

Anyway, back to our holiday! After our HQ adventures we headed back to the hotel. Unfortunately the cleaners arrived shortly after we did and they kicked us out, so we checked out the pool… it was way too cold to go in, though (it was quite a windy day). Thor decided to go for a walk to get some things we missed from the day before while I just lazily stayed at the hotel watching Netflix lol. I shouldn’t have left him unattended, though, because he came back with unicorn magic Snack Packs! They were actually pretty amazing… the blue tasted… well, blue.

Eventually night came, and on twitter I could see people were starting to head to the Hilton lobby. This was the thing I was most nervous about, because I don’t drink, and I’m awkward as heck. But I also knew it was where a lot of people would be hanging out, and I’d heard many stories about people having some amazing non-Blizzcon times at the lobby. So we forced ourselves to head over.

I was as awkward as expected. Everyone seemed to be in their groups and so we felt a bit out of place really. We grabbed a drink from the bar and kinda stood around for awhile. Eventually, though, I recognised a face – Terran Gregory! And then all at once I was terrified. We had brought Tim Tams with us to give out to people, but I was too scared and shy. But Thor forced me to take some over to Terran because he knew I would be kicking myself later if I didn’t. So I swallowed my terror and went over to Terran and said hi and gave him Tim Tams and he was SO lovely even though I was such a dork and he took a picture with us that cracked me up and I did it! I thanked him for being amazing, and then set him free to be bombarded by less weird nerds than me. But it was great. 🙂

We also saw the amazing folks who made the Eyes of N’zoth. Darn it I can’t remember their names, but they looked incredible. They also had dressed up Pepes that were amazing! We gave them some Tim Tams too, but then we headed off because that was our quota of being brave. (Well, mine anyway). And by this point I was pretty emotionally exhausted after the HQ tour. That, and we needed an early night, because the next day was Halloween at Disneyland!!!! stay tuned…

PS – I totally forgot to mention that we saw Ion Hazzikostas TWICE while we were at Blizz HQ! Once in the halls of the WoW dev area, and then secondly as we were leaving. Except I was stupidly trying to look something up on my phone at the time and missed him! Bah! So we didn’t get to say hi and/or thanks, but we did see him, and he was glorious 😀

We ended up packing our suitcases a few times to help shuffle the weight around. We had a few big boxes of gifts to give to people while we were in the USA, and then of course we needed to pack clothes, which was interesting because we needed to pack for potentially hot California and really cold Yosemite. So it was a lot of trial and error!

The longest Monday

I don’t know how I managed to sleep on the Sunday night before we left. I think being completely exhausted from work helped a lot! Once I was awake I was well and truly awake, so we had our showers then headed off to catch the bus to the airport.

I like to be at the airport early. I’m not a good flyer, so being there with plenty of spare time helps me to calm down. Having said that, Thor will never let me live it down because we got there so early we couldn’t hand in our bags and check in. Oops! (it was only 10 minutes too early!!) We had a few dramas – for some reason when we tried to put our bags in it said we had 2 too many (which we didn’t). It got fixed fine, but then when we went to put our bags on the conveyor belt thing, the whole thing shut down! Something happened when the man at the booth next to us put his bags in, but the timing of it was unnerving.

So we passed through security no worries and find somewhere to have breakfast. It was only at this point that I started to calm down a little and realise we were on our way to America! eeee!!

Eventually we headed towards our gate, only to find another round of security. Well, kinda. Blocking our path to the gate was a temporary table with some people sitting at it, checking our tickets. Everyone was going through fine, including Thor. But of course it got to me and I was asked to a different area for further processing. Ummm ok? Anyway, it turned out they were doing some new extra security stuff and my ticket had been flagged to go through the process (we think this is why our bag situation got borked at check in). Nothing drastic, but I did have to run around with my little compression socks, looking like a fool.

So I passed through yet another security check and we’re waiting at the gate when next minute my name is called over the loud speaker. I have never been upgraded to business class on a flight, so my heart leapt at the thought that this could be the moment! But no, it wasn’t. I was being called so they could check I had gone through the extra security. Well poop.

Flight 1 was from Melbourne to Auckland and it was uneventful. But I will say this – Air New Zealand has great planes. We paid a little extra (like $15 per ticket) to have a pair of seats together at the back. The pair was the whole row, and we did it because we’re both big people, so this way we were only squishing on ourselves, not random strangers. It was the best decision. The seats were perfect. I could even cross my legs in front of me I had that much room! (And that never happens given my size and height!). So if you fly Air NZ and you get the opportunity for those pairs of seats, do it, they are brilliant.

Our stop over in Auckland was for 5 hours or so. It was a lovely airport. There was loads of art leading us to the international transfer area, and then in the terminal itself there was lots of nice stuff to look at.

We found ourselves a couch and parked there watching netflix on our ipads with the the free wifi. Not the worst way to pass the time!

Eventually it was time for the big flight to LA. It was a doozy. 12 hours all up. I did manage to sleep for a little while. Thank goodness for inflight wifi and downloaded Netflix shows on our ipads! By the time we landed we were pretty exhausted. And had arrived only a few hours after we left (time zones are weird).

Getting through customs was every bit as terrible as people say it is. Despite having visa waivers and being (apparently) able to have a faster process to get through customs, every single person there ended up in the 1 long line, waiting for 3 or 4 border patrol guys to check us all and let us in. It was actually stupid. We were in that line for well over an hour. I felt so bad for anyone who had a transfer, because they were in it too! I was baffled at the stupidity of the system. But it was what it was and we waited.

Then we started playing a game – spot the BlizzCon attendee! We noticed a few people popping up in the line wearing Blizzard shirts. Then we saw Preach and his family in the line… it helped us stay excited and focused. Despite claiming food products on our forms, noone asked what they were or to look at them, and we passed through customs and all the security stuff quickly and easily.

Getting to the hotel was a bit of a pain because I had not gotten around to booking a shuttle bus. Which wouldn’t have mattered because we couldn’t find anything at the airport anyway. LAX really wasn’t that fun lol Being so tired didn’t help either. But eventually we got on a shuttle bus to the hotel… and we were there! We were in LA!

As we were coming in on the plane I couldn’t get over just how massive LA was. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It was exciting, but in a way made me feel a bit claustrophobic at the same time! Being on the road was also as daft as people had said it would be, and the hotel ended up being further than we thought. But we made it in one piece.

We stayed at the Double Tree at Anaheim, and I will say this up front – they were fantastic. The rooms were really great, beds SO comfy, and the staff were amazing. Price-wise it was pretty good, really. It didn’t include breakfast, but it was so close to the Convention Centre that we didn’t need to pay for Ubers or anything, so had some trade offs there. So if you’re looking for somewhere for a future BlizzCon, we definitely recommend!

Despite how tired we were, we forced ourselves to stay awake, with the goal of going to bed at a normal time for California. So instead of going to sleep straight away (as much as we wanted to!) we forced ourselves to leave the room and go get some dinner. Thankfully there was a Denny’s across the road from the hotel that would give us our first taste of US food. We learned the hard way that serving sizes are really something else in the US. Thor had ordered a “sampler” plate, thinking it would have a couple of things on it… not the multitudes of food that it did have! And the sauces, oh my good lord they were the size of bowls of soup! I got a nachos for myself that I barely made a dent in. All we could do was laugh and try to learn from the mistake (hint: we didn’t get this right ever during the whole trip!)

With our bellies full and it late enough in the evening, we wandered back to the hotel for our first night’s sleep. To help make sure we stayed asleep we had a sleeping tablet each to knock ourselves out, and I have to say it was the best thing we could have done. We both slept solidly, and woke up the next morning at a normal California time feeling completely refreshed. Huzzah! No jet lag for us!

Tuesday

Our first full day in LA, and our primary goal was to get supplies. We didn’t want to be spending money eating dinner out every night, and we needed breakfast foods, so we headed off to a Target that we knew was nearby. We also needed SIM cards. Another lesson learned here… I had initially planned to have SIMs arranged before we left, but just ran out of time to get us all sorted, so we relied of getting things sorted out in Anaheim. It was a giant pain in the ass. Target ended up being a bust so we had to head off to try and find SIM cards from somewhere else…. but then they didn’t have what we needed. In the end we got the SIM cards from a small convenience store, but setting them up was bloody stupid too. Anyway, the moral of the story is to have this stuff sorted out before you go!

With SIM cards, bottles of water, breakfasts, snacks and foods all sorted, we headed back. It was a LOT of walking on this day, but I think overall it helped us get used to the time. And the sun wasn’t terrible 🙂

Once we were back near the hotel, we decided to have a bit of a wander down near the Convention Centre so that we could have a sneak peak at BlizzCon getting set up, and to get our bearings of the place. This was when I really started getting butterflies. It was nearly time for BlizzCon!!!!!

For dinner we had wandered up towards a nearby shopping mall (?) and found ourselves in a mexican restaurant. It was pretty good!

The mall itself was amazing – it had loads of Halloween decorations (which we aren’t really used to seeing back home) and also had loads of art around the place and fun lights and stuff. I liked it 🙂 Then on the way back we passed Bubba Gumps! That was something new for us.

Last thing for the evening was to put together all of our Aussie treats for people. We made some little goodie bags for friends we knew we would see, and packaged together some little Tim Tam packs for anyone else who wanted them. We also had a really big box of treats for a special friend and her team 🙂

All in all it was a busy couple of days, but it really did help us get settled in to a proper sleeping routine, and avoiding jet lag, which we were really grateful for.

I looked at the date today and realised that it’s just over 2 months until we head off to LA for Blizzcon and I am FREAKING OUT.

I have done nothing more for our trip since initially booking flights months ago other than thinking a lot about it. Not acting on anything, just thinking about it all. Freakin’ typical.

Our list of things still to do is pretty big:

  • sort out visa
  • buy Disneyland tickets
  • buy Universal Studios tickets
  • figure out what we are going to do for the 10 days between when we leave Anaheim and when we fly back home – including where we are going to stay!
  • sort out our flights over* (more on that below)
  • figure out what the hell I’m going to wear
  • buy comfortable shoes
  • figure out what days we’re going to Disneyland and Universal studios
  • figure out a day to go to the beach (it’s a personal thing – have to stick my feet in every new ocean I am near)
  • organise presents for US friends
  • make a list of people we need to buy presents for back home
  • $$$ do our taxes so we can pay for everything!!! $$$

Oh look, there’s so much more than that, but that’s just what is floating around at the moment.

Actually, one of the decisions we have been trying to make is around Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. I think we’re pretty settled on going to both of these places, but how we get there has been a bit back and forth. Initially we had planned on driving and doing a fun road trip, but then had advice from some friends who have driven in LA who said to avoid it at all costs. So then we started looking for flights instead. I asked for some advice on airlines for the trip (thanks friends for the input!)… but someone said we should just do a road trip. And honestly, I think that’s where our hearts lie. So even though it’ll be scary driving on the other side of the road and having the steering wheel on the left and all that, it looks like that will be our plan. We like adventures 🙂

So the flights thing. We booked our flights ages ago, which is fine. I got an email from our airline about a week or so ago now saying that the plane we were due to fly over on was one of those planes that was having issues with crashing all the time, so they need to send it away to be fixed. They are leasing a plane from someone else to replace the original plane. Now, I am all for not exploding on my flights so have no issues with the planes being changed – 100% in support of this decision. However it does put us in an awkward spot. We had paid extra to sit in some specific seats that were in a pair towards the back of the plane. We did this to help manage my anxiety over flying, but also because, in a row of just the 2 of us, us being large people wouldn’t impact anyone else (and again would help ease my anxiety). With being on this new plane we have been told seats are no longer guaranteed. While they will do their best, they can’t guarantee any special seats chosen will be available. If we paid extra and didn’t get what we wanted they would reimburse us. That’s all well and good, but I’d rather the seats. So I need to call them to make some arrangements. It’s just triggering my anxiety a bit (seeing a theme here?!!) but I just have to do it.

It’s slow going, and really getting to the point where we have to make some hard and fast decisions. I think this weekend will be quite busy with planning!

cover photo by Joseph Ngabo on Unsplash

Oh lordy.

I’ve been quite sick all week this week. It’s just a cold, but it’s been a big one. I’ve been off work for almost the whole week (thankfully being able to work from home), and am still recovering now (I sound like a hag! It’s actually kinda funny lol)

Despite being quite ill (and having no GPU at the moment… but that’s another story) I still showed up to raid on Wednesday and Thursday evening to help the team get another Jaina mount. It was pretty rough going, but hey, you gotta help the team out, right?

After our mythic Stormwall Blockade kill on Thursday night, some Slimy Kelpweavers dropped. I checked and they were an upgrade for me, and I won them. I promptly equipped them, as we got on the boat to Jaina. While we were waiting for the rest of the team to zone in, I checked my character screen to look at these Kelpweavers in a bit more detail.

But they were gone.

Instead, on my wrists where the Kelpweavers should be were Icebinder’s Bracers. Huh??! I searched my bags – no Kelpweavers. Then all of a sudden our GM was unable to speak in Officer chat. While he was trying to sort that out, I decided to hearth out to see if I had accidentally sold the wrists to a vendor when I repaired. So I get in to the inn – nup, nothing on the vendor. I brought Thor over and showed him – Icebinder’s on my character, but no Slimy Kelpweavers in my bags! He agreed he couldn’t see the wrists either. I decide to log out and log back in again to see if that would help.

So I log out… and can’t get back in again. Then the GM gets booted too… and a whole bunch of other people. Ahhh ok there are server issues. Crap! The server issues must have deleted my gear!! Ok this is making some sense. (Kinda?)

Once I get back in to the game I double check – still no wrists. But at least now I have an idea of why. So we eventually go on to kill Jaina and give out another mount, and I head over to Support to lodge a ticket.

Clearly there was a mistake here, but it’s ok! The Blizz Support team haven’t let me down yet! They can fix it!

I went to bed confused (and coughing) but hopeful it would be sorted out.

I received a reply the next day:

ok great! So it looks like it’s fixed itself overnight. Huzzah!

I log on to my character to check… but no. There are those Icebinder’s Bracers still on my wrists. And the only other wrists I have are Ape Wrangler’s Wristguards in my bags. This doesn’t make sense! I even did an Ask Mr Robot string for best in bags, and it had listed “Icebinder’s Bracers” in the wrist slot, and didn’t even have the Slimy Kelpweavers as an option to equip! They were clearly missing.

I took some screenshots to show the bracers I had on, and the Ape Wrangler’s Wristguards that were in my bags, and then sent off another reply:

(My favourite part (now) in that reply is my comment “I promise I’m not going batty!… I’m not being completely stupid!”. Yeah ok Cinder! Jokes on you!)

I was completely baffled by this point. Why could they see something on my character that I couldn’t? Did my character have an issue with getting loot? I was so paranoid about it that I did mount runs on an alt instead of her, just in case there was a bug that would make my loot disappear.

This morning I have another reply from Blizz… and honestly, it’s the most polite reply I’ve ever had, but I am absolutely certain behind the scenes they were either laughing their ass off at me, or rolling their eyes so hard at the stupid.

Here is the final reply in this saga:

Yeah… they were gloves, not bracers. *facepalm* And yes, they were most definitely on my character. In the hand slot, where they belong. I’m pretty sure my ticket is stuck up on a wall of “stupidest support issues” at Blizzard…

Clearly I’m sicker than I thought and my brain is a bit broken. Excuse me while I shamefully crawl back in to bed and die of embarrassment!

xo

Note: there are no spoilers in this post for Avengers: Endgame or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This is a safe space!

What a week it has been! With all the public holidays happening over Easter and ANZAC day, I decided to fill in the blanks with personal leave to get 10 days off work for a mini-break – I really needed it! But I tell you what, it has turned out to be one hell of an emotional week.

The bananas week started on Monday, which was my 8 year anniversary with my partner, Thor. But before we got to celebrating, I guested on the Girls Gone WoW podcast, which meant a 4am wake up call. Eep! But it was so worth it. EJ & Raven are justt so lovely, and we had a good laugh. (You can check out the episode here.)
For our anniversary, Thor and I spent the day binge watching Umbrella Academy on Netflix, which was so great. Aside from it being a great show, it was nice to just spend time together doing nothing else.

Tuesday I went and visited a lovely friend of mine to have lunch with her and her partner and their gorgeous new baby. This was probably my most chilled out day all week, to be honest.

Wednesday was where things really ramped up. At 8:45am (which is generally far too early for a movie!) Thor and I were sitting in a theatre ready to watch Avengers: Endgame. I will not spoil anything here. Suffice it to say it was an emotional experience, as I expected it would be. It was truly fantastic though, and well worth the early start to the day to avoid spoilers.

Then came Thursday. Our anniversary present to ourselves was to go and see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play that is currently showing here in Melbourne. We bought the tickets months ago. They were not cheap, but as a mad Harry Potter fan, I figured it would be worth it to experience this. I was not disappointed. For those who are unaware, the play runs over 2 showings. We saw Part 1 on Thursday, and Part 2 on Friday. I was in tears just arriving at the theatre. I mean, look!

To be fair, most things makes me cry. This in particular was always bound to have me in a mess – to see this amazing world Rowling created come to life in front of us… well I didn’t really stand a chance.
The show itself… it wasn’t without flaws, don’t get me wrong, but it was genuinely magical. Well worth the ticket price, and then some. Being able to experience the world again was just amazing. I highly recommend it.

But the emotions didn’t stop on Thursday night. We got home after seeing Part 1 of the show, and I was way too amped up to go to bed any time soon, so stayed up a bit to level my paladin in WoW. And wouldn’t you know it – Blizzcon 2019 dates finally got announced!! 1-2 November, with a special community day on the 31st (the Thursday before the con itself). EEEEEEEEEPPPP!!!!

What makes this Blizzcon so special is that this year, Thor and I will be attending! We will be making the trip from Australia to LA. We’re making the most of it, planning to be there for 20 days. So far we have planned Blizzcon (of course!), Disneyland (of course!), and Wizarding World of Harry Potter (of course!). Now we are just working on the rest of it. There’s a travel expo coming up in a week or so that we’ll go to to see if we can get some good deals. But anyways, that was Thursday.

Friday was Part 2 of Cursed Child. Again, no spoilers, but I was openly weeping during parts of it.

Come Saturday, I’m pretty exhausted but still seriously pumped for Blizzcon. I had organised accommodation around 2 months ago for the dates I guessed Blizzcon would be – thankfully I was correct! – so we were already ahead with somewhere to stay for the convention and Disneyland. But what we hadn’t sorted yet, and why I’ve been so desperate for the dates to be announced, was our flights.
Unfortunately flights that we had been looking at were already gone and almost doubled in price. So I spent a big chunk of Saturday looking at what was available, checking times, legroom etc. In the end we settled on an airline and flights and we think we should be pretty good. Most importantly, we booked the flights. That was a big expense, and hence the overwhelming moment of the day. But I did feel good to do.

The other adventure on Saturday was my passport. I lost it. Well, temporarily. It was funny, because last time Thor and I went on a big trip together there were a lot of dramas with his passport/s and everything was fine with me. This time around he knew exactly where his was, and he’s good to go. Me? I had put mine in a really stupid place and couldn’t find it for the longest time. And then when I did find it, I saw it was expired. Thankfully not too long expired so the replacement process should be pretty quick. But it’s nearly $300 for a new one, and I could have done without that expense!

Today, Sunday, it seems things have calmed back down again. I levelled my paladin and she dinged 120, but other than that it’s been a pretty cruisey day. Tomorrow I am back to work and basically will be super busy until this trip. But it will be worth it!

I’m going to track all my Blizzcon prep and posts as best as I can, and will make a little sub-section on my site for awhile for anyone who wants to follow along on these adventures. In the meantime, I’ve already made a countdown for our trip!! Check it out!

I hope everyone has had a great week!

xo

Tomorrow patch 8.1.5 arrives in World of Warcraft, and with it comes the much-anticipated allied races of Kul’Tiran humans and Zandalari trolls (along with a WHOLE bunch of awesome content!) I am beyond excited (as usual) for new WoW content. But I will admit I’m feeling bittersweet.

Since I first learned of the Kul’Tirans being added to the game, I’ve known I wanted to play one. The idea of having a larger sized female model in the game with hips and a butt and a thick waist, who is still strong and powerful was something I couldn’t pass up. I promised myself that if they could be shamans, I would race change my main character to be one. And as luck would have it, shamans were announced at Blizzcon as a class that Kul’Tiran’s can play!

In a way I have been dreading this day for awhile. It sounds melodramatic, but my pandaren shaman was my first toon that I ever really connected with. She has been so good at embodying what I wanted from a character in a game like World of Warcraft. She has been strong, but kind, fierce but lovable. But these aren’t traits that are unique to being a pandaren – they are what I want from a female with curves who isn’t just comic relief or “that fat friend”. So I guess in a way I’m taking this opportunity to make a point.

Maybe it’s stupid to make a statement like this, but right now, for me, it’s important. I need to see a woman in game who kinda looks like me who isn’t a complete mess, who gets up and kicks ass and fights for what she believes in and doesn’t let others’ opinions of her appearance stop her from doing what she wants.

So tomorrow, once I have unlocked the quests, I will log out from my pandaren shaman in the place that made her happiest – her little home at Sunsong Ranch, overlooking the beautiful Valley of the Four Winds.

But for now, it’s time to farewell my pandaren self. Here’s to some amazing moments 🙂

And look, I’m not silly. I know that if I’m too sad not being my pandaren any more, I can always change back. 🙂

Are you creating a new Allied race toon?

It is New Year’s Eve. 2019 is on the other side of this day, and as is customary, people are making resolutions in the hopes of making the most of the year to come. I am one of those people.

2018 was a pretty ok year for me. It was tough, but I won’t complain. Resolutions-wise, I did quite well (check it out). Outside of myself, though, I noticed a trend that just got worse and worse as the year wore on. 2018 seemed to be the year of negativity. The year that it became “cool” to be a dick. The year of entitlement. Of focusing on the negatives, abusing people because of them and arguing “accountability” to justify their actions. Honestly, it’s been sad.

It has been a really hard year to be a Blizzard fan. Even more so in the last 2-3 months, where it seems that if you don’t hate everything Blizzard does, you’re wrong, and either an idiot or a shill. Which is such a sad mentality to have, and one that has honestly been getting me really down lately. I’m seeing it in popular personalities who have been long-time fans, I’m seeing/hearing it in other podcasts, and I’m seeing it all over twitter from random followers to friends. It has honestly been making me really, really sad. (And personally, I think they are wrong.)

What does this have to do with my 2019 resolutions?

This time, I’m not making an arbitrary list of things to do in game and calling it ‘resolutions’. I want to do something more than that. I want to do something that can help other people who may be in the same situation as me – who are bogged down by the constant negativity; who may not feel brave enough to be a small voice of positivity in a crowd of hostility. And that starts with me.

So, my only resolution for 2019 is this:

Be the positivity you want to see in the community.

I know it sounds wanky. I’m not actually very good at motivational speaking/typing 😉 But what it means is this – if I want to see more positivity in the world (both in gaming communities and the world in general) then that needs to start with me being more positive, more often, and loudly.

How am I going to do this? Well this is where a list comes in:

1 – Celebrating successes – loudly and often
This is about giving credit where credit is due. Pointing out the positives and celebrating them. I need to be doing this every day.

2 – Take “problems” for what they are
I think the most important thing about what I’m wanting to do is really reiterating that this is not about just rolling over and ignoring things that are “not right”. It’s not about turning a blind eye and pretending everything is ok. This is about looking at problems for what they are, and weighing them up against everything else.
Game lagged for a sec? Not really a huge drama.
Someone wants to bomb a country and kill everyone in it? Yeah that’s definitely a problem.

3 – Being constructive with criticism
Linked to number 2 above, this is about recognising when something isn’t right, and finding the best way to express our issues. It’s about gauging an appropriate response- the proportional response– to a problem. It’s speaking in a way that is respectful to the people the problem involves to help find a solution, not to embarrass, humiliate, bully or threaten. Avoiding escalation – trying to solve the problem, not make it worse.

4 – Be patient, be kind
Sounds like a no-brainer, but this one is going to be the hardest. Because this isn’t just about being nice about the things you like- it’s about being patient and kind to the people you disagree with. Seeing a message telling someone to “go kill themselves” over a bug in a game is enough to rile anyone up. But me telling that person to “fuck off” (as much as I would like to) isn’t going to help. Maybe reporting them on twitter and telling that person their behaviour is unacceptable is a better response.


I know it sounds fluffy and silly, but I really need this. There are so many things in the world now days that are worthy of our anger and frustration. And that alone is exhausting. But it seems like that’s all we know how to do now. We know how to complain. We know how to be mad. We know how to fight. What we’re losing sight of is how to be thankful for what we do have – how to appreciate the good things with the bad and expressing that gratitude.

So that’s my goal. I know it’s hard to measure, but that’s ok. I’m going to try, and I hope others do, too. I hope that I can help other people feel confident about talking about the things we love, and I hope that infects everyone. I want to be drowning in positive vibes! I will be doing my part on twitter and in my streaming and gaming in general. 🙂

I wish everyone a 2019 full of happiness and love.

xo

Blog header photo by Roven Images on Unsplash

Another year is coming to a close. It’s always a time for us to look back and reflect on the year, to celebrate our achievements and say goodbye to perhaps some of the sadder moments that have happened.

For this post, I’m going to take a look back at my 2018 bucket list to see how I did. And of course for the next post, I’ll set myself some goals for 2019.

Looking back on 2018

I tend to get to this time of year feeling a bit sad. Sad that I probably didn’t accomplish or achieve nearly as much as I would like to have. But that’s not the best way to think about things, is it? Because when I look back on my bucket list for 2018, I actually succeeded quite well indeed, despite the roller coaster that was my guild in 2018.

Let me touch on that quickly, actually. Those who have followed my blog or twitter this year will know that it has been quite the year of ups and downs when it came to my guild.

The short version is that after the high of getting Cutting Edge with mythic Argus, we made the decision to push harder going in to Battle for Azeroth. Looking back now, we all agree this decision was our downfall. I wrote a lot about this in this post, and then this post. What I didn’t end up writing about is how we came back together again.

What I didn’t end up writing about is how we came back together again.

As I wrote in my last post about all this, I moved servers to a new guild to trial as an elemental shaman. And I have to say, I got damn lucky. The team I trialled with were so lovely and kind, and extremely patient with me while I tried to figure out how to be dps instead of heals. They were extremely kind to me, and I’m so grateful for that. But in the end, as tragic as it sounds, the lure of old friendships called, and I ended my trial to try, yet again, with Realm.

Looking back on this past year, as tumultuous as it has been, there is one common thread throughout – friendship. Oh I know, it sounds so lame. but it’s true. The people in Realm are people I consider to be friends. I am glad to have them in my life. A few weeks back we had an in-game Christmas party that was loads of fun, and really struck home how much I enjoy spending time with these fine folk. It turned out, for me, friendships were far more important that raiding, and I’m completely ok with that.

The 2018 bucket list

At the beginning of 2018, as I do most years, I wrote a bucket list of things I wanted to achieve. You can see this post right here. I didn’t write it at the time, but in the back of my mind I’d had the bucket list from the previous year in mind, and wanted to make things a bit easier on myself. Although looking on it now, I really failed at that! This list wasn’t nearly as easy on myself as it could have been… but it was definitely fun. So let’s see how I did.

Make a list of every pet and mount available in Legion and get any that are missing (That are not RNG dependent).

Well I suppose technically I fail by default because I never made that list! BUT, I’m pretty sure I did get a lot of them. I got Uuna and finished her quest line, and then later go Baa’l when he came out in BfA. I finished the Family Familiar achievement as well as the Family Fighter achievement, getting pets from both of those as well.

I found Lost Mail and felt like Harry Potter as I got the Mailemental pet (and Katy Stampwhistle toy!)

I was also really lucky with mounts, getting the Shackled Ur’zul mount from Mythic Argus! AND I managed to complete the Lord of the Reins achievement! I was very fortunate all around, I feel.

Were I did fail (other than failing to make the list at all, haha!) was not getting the pvp mounts. They were easy gets, but I didn’t do them. There’s still a chance of going back, but to be honest, I can’t see myself doing that any time soon. But overall, I think I’d call this a pretty successful bucket list item complete. 🙂

Finish getting all of the class mounts

DONE! You can read all about it right here. This was an epic undertaking, but one that I’m glad I did in the end (not just because it helped a lot getting Lord of the Reins done!) It gave me a chance to play around on all the classes, to see if any of them really tickled my fancy for an alt. They didn’t… but I’m still glad I had a go at them all again for awhile 🙂

Get more Mage Tower appearances

This was tougher than I expected it to be. My original list of appearances that I wanted to get were:

  • Enhancement shaman
  • Discipline priest
  • Holy paladin
  • Frost Mage
  • Arcane Mage
  • Retribution paladin
  • Restoration druid
  • Protection paladin (though I honestly don’t see this one happening at all)
  • maaaaybe affliction warlock

What I ended up getting….

Shaman – Restoration, elemental and enhancement
(these were no-brainers – I absolutely had to get all of these.)
Mage – Arcane, fire and frost.
Yep, I got all three! I was pretty pleased with myself for that one 🙂
Druid – Balance and feral.
Yeah you heard me, feral. How could I not get disco kitty? It’s easily the best appearance out of all of them. I didn’t, however get the restoration appearance. I’ve never healed as a druid, and that darn scenario is hard.
Priest – Discipline.
This was tough. I’d never played Disc properly before. But I pushed through, because I really loved the appearance.

The Disc priest appearance was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though. It was a tough fight, and by that point I had started to resent the amount of time I was spending trying to finish these, so I stopped. But, I had set myself a goal of getting 8 (maybe 9!) appearances, and in the end, I actually did get 9 appearances. So I’m going to call this one a win, too. 🙂

Stream more

This one was very generic, but I needed it to be (for this year at least).
I managed to get Affiliate status a few weeks after making my bucket list, so that was a nice bonus!

Overall, yes, I technically streamed more. And to that end I can call it a win. But I certainly have a long, long way to go. Will all the raiding dramas this year, I was unable to have a regular raiding/streaming schedule because I kept associating one with the other. It has taken me awhile to separate the two, and branch out to stream other content. I’m still getting my feet with this, but I will get better.

What I have really enjoyed about my streaming, though, is finally settling on an identity. I love my little unicorn self! I’m really enjoying updating my graphics for the year… helps to keep things interesting 🙂 It also helps me to focus on the streaming itself, and not necessarily the games that I’m streaming (if that makes sense).


So, that’s my year! Honestly, I can’t complain. I know that I am a very fortunate person. So for all the difficulties and struggles I face, I know there are people who have it so very much harder than me, and I need to remember that.

I’m pleased with what I’ve managed to achieve this year, both in game and out. I hope you all have had a great year, too! Keep an eye out of my 2019 bucket list post, coming very soon….

Wishing everyone a very happy holidays! I hope your days are filled with happy hearts and happy tummies. ❤

Thank you to all of you for simply just being here; for reading my blog or liking my tweets, watching my streams or listening to my podcast, or just generally being an amazing person to know. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such lovely, talented people. ❤

xmas_cinder

 

 

It seems to be that the more adamant I am about writing more, the less I do it. It’s like the universe listens to my plans and says “Nup! Not today!” and I get ridiculously busy. Which is how I find myself in the middle of December all of a sudden. When did that happen?! I’ve been travelling a fair bit for work over the past month running workshops and the like, which is, to put it mildly, exhausting. I don’t travel well at the best of times, let alone when it’s for work and I’m stressing about a presentation I have to do when I land. Suffice to say my life has just been a bit overwhelming at the moment, meaning I haven’t written blog posts and I haven’t been streaming.

On the plus side, Christmas is two weeks away, and I’m having two weeks off! *block your ears, universe!!!* I’m determined to stream a whoooole lot during that time off to make up for the lack of streams of late. But before that, we’re having a guild Christmas party that I need to prepare for!

Which occurs to me… I haven’t written that I went back to Realm lol Side note! I went back to my old guild. The plan is for us to try yet again in 8.1, but taking a much more relaxed approach to the mythic raiding. I have hope. 🙂

Anyways, we’re having a Christmas party this weekend, because I just thought it would be nice for us all to get together and be stupid together. I’m going to do organise a scavenger hunt and Dalaran darts and a drunk raid and just silly things to have fun with. I even bought prizes! Half of the big box of goodies I had delivered recently was stuff for the Christmas Party.

R_xmas_C_prizes

Anyways, that’s where I am at the moment. Give me two weeks and I’ll be around a lot more!

xo

It’s been 2 lockouts since Realm disbanded. It’s been weird not raiding. I played a whooole lot less. The break was nice in a way, but to be honest one of the main reasons I wasn’t playing as much because there just wasn’t anyone else around. It got very lonely very quickly, and it was seriously bumming me out.

On Thursday (with some help from the lovely Lemon) I changed my status on Wowprogress to “looking for guild” to see what would happen.

I had some decisions already set in stone:

  1. I was staying Alliance. I just dislike the Horde aesthetic so much that I don’t want to go back to it. Also, almost all of my toons are Alliance, and I just don’t want to have to faction change them all just to raid.
  2. I was probably going to have to move to Frostmourne in order to find a team. It’s a very Alliance heavy server with a high population, so lots of Alliance raiding guilds. And all the other servers are far too quiet, so if things didn’t work out I’d be stuck on a server with few options.
  3. I was staying shaman. I’m too attached to my shaman ways.
  4. No increase to raid time – 3 days max of prog raiding. Ideally, 2, but that’s pretty hard to find.
  5. No downgrades – I wanted to find a team within 1 boss prog of myself.
  6. The guild I end up in has to be a good fit people-wise. That’s what made raiding with Realm so amazing – the people. I want to be able to dick around with people and have fun and joke around with each other. And kill bosses.

I got a btag friend request the next morning, and well long story short, I’ve moved servers to Frostmourne and have a trial in a guild. AS ELEMENTAL. Yep, this shaman’s shooting lightning for awhile.

This was a big decision for me. I’ve been a healer for as long as I’ve raided (minus 2 weeks where I tried to be dps back in WoD), so raiding as a full time dps will definitely be a change. But I think it’s going to be a good one. I’ll still always have my healer spec there if I’m ever needed to heal, so that’s not going to go away. There are some changes coming in 8.1 for elemental shamans that I’m hoping will help make the spec a bit better to play… but we can only wait and see.

The thing that really attracted me to this guild was the recruitment person was really lovely, answering all my stupid questions. They also apparently watched some of my streams, which made me feel better because firstly, they know I’m a girl, and secondly, they have seen me play, so they know what they’re in for. They don’t mind me streaming raids, either, which is great. And lastly, something that will either be fantastic, or terrible, their raid times start and finish earlier. I’m a little nervous at the start time being 6:30, as sometimes I haven’t even left work until that time. But if I can get to work earlier and leave earlier, it will be fine. Which means slightly earlier nights, which I think will be good for my tired old self.

I’m obviously terrified. I’m always terrified of putting myself out there, especially knowing people will be watching and scrutinising. I’ve said that they just need to let me know if I’m not cutting it – I’d rather know sooner than dragging it out, because I don’t like letting a team down. But I just have to try my best. It’s all I *can* do. If things don’t work out, at least I gave it a go.

So! Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that I can actually pull this elemental thing off, and that these guys are a good fit! 🙂

xo

It’s been hard to start this post. Or any other blog post for that matter, if I’m being completely honest. But this one, I don’t really know how to start. I know the things I have to say, but putting them in order is proving difficult. So how about we make a deal and pretend this is the middle of the blog post and flow on from there. Let’s give it a go.

The past few weeks (or months, really), haven’t been the greatest for me.

The guild crash

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Unrelated to the below (but in a way still very connected) my guild fell apart for good. We tried to keep it together but it was too much to try and push through. The gap between strong players and weaker players was becoming bigger and bigger. The in-game workload for officers and the GM was far too much, and the payoff wasn’t there. It was a really tough call, but it was the right decision in the end. So as of last week we stopped raiding mythic, and the guild officially went casual, with a social heroic run planned for every Saturday night so we could all still spend time together.

This week was the first week without raid, and it felt weird. Tonight was the first casual Saturday raid… and we only had a handful of people come along. So I really don’t know how that’s going to go in the future. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty sad at the moment.

For me, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do. Raiding has always been a favourite thing for me in game, so to not do it feels weird. But trying to find another raid team… well I dunno how I’m going to go about it. I’ve never had much confidence in my skills as a raider. I do know that I’m not terrible. I do mechanics, I heal while I do them, and I try my damn hardest. It’s the same as when I try to apply for jobs – I know that I can contribute well, but I’m shit at selling myself. Especially with raiding. Logs are a thing, but my numbers always look shit because I hate overhealing, and I make sure I’m focusing on doing mechanics first and foremost.

And this shitty lack of confidence in myself doesn’t help when (now) ex-guildies are getting offers left and right from other teams wanting them to join. I haven’t had anything. Which is petty, I know, but it just reinforces that shitty feeling about myself not being good enough.

I’ve been looking on the forums to see what guilds are after, and I’m not finding any at the level I want to be at who are looking for restoration shamans. (Well, Alliance guilds, anyway). There’s a high chance I’m going to have to go Horde if I want to keep raiding, and that on its own is not at all appealing. I’ll need to give it some more time and thought, and hope something comes along.

Then there’s…

The anxiety

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There are a handful of things that I am good at in life, but the thing that I am the very best at is pretending that my anxiety isn’t as bad as it is, and that it doesn’t affect me as strongly as it does. I’m very good at putting on the face that the world needs to see on me, and pretending that everything is fine. I can laugh and joke and make others feel great, and I do it in an attempt to hide the panic that grumbles inside me on a constant basis. I’ve become very good at it. So good at it that people don’t believe I have anxiety at all, and when I bring it up with doctors, they laugh it off thinking I’m just being melodramatic or joking around.

And yet.

I struggle to sleep, laying there as my body tingles with terror, restless and exhausted all at once. If I am lucky to sleep, I wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks so intense they make me gag. At work, I go to the bathroom for a short moment of solace, squeezing my legs in an attempt to calm the roaring in my ears, to breathe, to focus. It’s exhausting. And over the past few months, it has gotten worse, to the point where it’s crippled me. I’ve not been functioning properly. It’s affecting my health, my relationship, my friendships, my streaming and gaming; everything that is important to me.

I bring this up, because firstly, I wanted to explain my absence (noted or not). I wanted others who may be feeling the same way to know they aren’t alone. And I wanted to be accountable for trying to get better. It has taken awhile to build the courage, but I went to the doctor again this week (a different one) and insisted they help me do something so I can stop feeling like this. I have referrals for a psychologist, and some anti-anxiety meds to help me get out of this funk. I’m not going to let anxiety get the best of me.

What’s next

So then what’s next. Well, I’m starting to feel better, which is why I’ve written this post. And I’m taking steps to keep getting better. I don’t know what the future is going to hold for me and WoW. I know I will continue playing, but I don’t know to what extent. I had a great chat with Neuro after our Battletagged show on Tuesday, and he was telling me about how much more he’s been enjoying WoW since he stepped down from raiding. So maybe there is hope for me outside of raiding.

One of the things I’m saddest about though, with everything that has been going on, is my streaming. It turns out that I really, really enjoy streaming. I’m terrible at it, and I don’t think I’m interesting at all, but I just enjoy playing games with other people. Thor (who I just don’t deserve- he’s so freaking amazing) has been incredibly patient and wise, and we’ve been talking about what I might do. And it became obvious – I just stream something other than WoW. We looked in to what I might stream, and there a whole bunch of games on the Nintendo Switch I’d enjoy playing, and of course Steam and even Discord has a bunch of games now. So I’m looking at getting a capture card and expanding my gaming options.

I’m still ironing out the finer details, but some changes are on their way. I want to get back in to a regular streaming schedule. I will (of course!) still play and stream WoW, especially if I manage to find a new team, but between that, I’m going to try some other games. This also means that I’m going to do a bit of a “re-branding” of myself. Whilst I love my pandaren Shaman, I need to move away from the strictly WoW focus. So keep an eye out for some fun new things in the very near future.

Look, if you’ve made it this far through my post, thank you. Thank you for sticking it out with me when I disappear for lengths at a time. Thank you for reading this post and helping me feel like I’m not alone. You’re amazing, and I’m grateful for you.

xo

 

Topic 40 of Z and I’s fortnightly blog challenge is all about getting to know the people behind the blogs. As usual, I’m late with my post, but better late than never! So! Here are a bunch of random facts about me!

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1. How do you drink your tea?

I like English Breakfast tea, a bit on the stronger side, with milk and honey. Really not a fan of fruity/herbal teas. I’m trying really hard to enjoy green tea… slowly getting there!

2. Favourite dessert?

Far too many things to mention. Right up there, though are Apple Turnovers. proper ones, with delicious fresh cream and flaky pastry om nom nom
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3. Favourite season and why?

It depends on where I am in the world, but anything that’s on the colder side. I like cool weather with blue skies and gentle breezes and jumpers and socks and scarves and also rain and changing trees and new flowers… bit of everything really. Just as long as its not hot!

4. What cheers you up?

I use music to help a lot of the time. I have specific playlists to boost my moods, and some to help me get out of funks. Other playlists are there to just rid out the low times. And if all that fails, Thor is always the first to cheer me up with his silly puns and snuggles.

5. Dogs or cats?

Both. I’d love one of each, and I’d love for them to be best friends 🙂

6. What’s your dream holiday?

Hmmm… somewhere new, where I can take loads of beautiful photographs, have somewhere to have a picnic with Thor then just relax and read/nap the afternoon away. Somewhere away from people!

7. How many kids do you want?

None.

8. Favourite weather?

See question 3. But also, rain.
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9. What would your last meal be?

Thor’s chicken soup, for two reasons. Firstly, its bloody delicious, and it always helps me feel better when I’m sick. But secondly, if it’s Thor’s chicken soup, it means he’s there too ❤

10. You can spend 24 hours anywhere, any year, where do you choose?

Honestly, I don’t know a god answer for this. All of the moments I would like to see would be greatly impacted by my presence, and I wouldn’t want to change them. If there was a way to see dinosaurs without being eaten or messing up the future of the world, then I’d see dinosaurs.

11. If you were a ghost, who or where would you haunt?

Many of you know that I have anxiety. I’ve had it since I was a kid. I remember my Mum was going out to a friend’s birthday one night, and I was losing my shit over it. I was scared something terrible was going to happen to her. So she made a deal with me. She said “if something happens to me while I’m out, and I don’t make it back, watch the clocks. I promise if I die, I will change the clocks to a silly time, and you will know that I’ve passed away but that I’m ok and that I love you.”. It seems ridiculous, I know, but it calmed me down and has stuck with me always.

So, to answer the question, if I were ghost, I’d go to my Mum’s house and change her clocks to silly times, just so that she would know that I was ok, and that I loved her.

12. What is your family ancestry?

Oh man we are so white. Our family history is pretty much all in England. Apparently there’s the very tiniest sliver of Spanish, but everything else is English. Pretty boring really. (My old boss has Viking blood in her!!)

13. What scares you?

I have anxiety – everything scares me lol

14. What are you most grateful for? 

Oh it’s corny, I know, but I’m most grateful for Thor. He believes in me when I don’t or can’t. And holy crap is he an amazing cook.

15. Dream job? 

This question is haunting me at the moment. since turning 35 I’ve been having a crisis about what I’m doing with my life. A big issue is that I don’t know how to answer this question. I don’t know what my dream job would be. All I know is that it’s creative, flexible with location and hours (i.e. I don’t have to get up at stupid times in the morning) and it satisfies me. I mean if I could do anything, I’d be a full time writer/photographer.

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one of my favourite photos I have taken

16. Do you believe in aliens?

Yes

17. Favourite sport?

I don’t like sports. Esports I can get on board with, though.

18. How do you relax after a long day?

By blowing up internet pixels in WoW 🙂

19. If you could meet one historical figure, who would you choose and why?

Honestly, I’d love to meet Jo Rowling. She gives me hope that there’s still time/a chance for me to be a proper writer.

20. If you had to be a teacher, what subject would you teach?

Fun fact: When I was in highschool I wanted to be a music teacher. We had to do compulsory work experience in our senior years and so I shadowed a primary school music teacher and a high school music teacher. I didn’t want to be a music teacher after that.
If I had to teach now, I’d probably teach English.

21. Describe your perfect day

Waking up in a little cabin by the beach, a soft breeze coming in through the window, blue skies outside. I’d hang out with Thor, read, go for a swim, play games and just not have a care in the world.

22. Describe yourself in a sentence

Undecided.

23. What makes you laugh the most?

Thor. And animals being derpy, like this one here.

24. What superpower would you choose?

Teleportation. I’d love to be able to travel anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted. Would make for a super fast commute home, too! 😀

25. Favourite animal?

I really do love owls. But honestly, animals in general are pretty neat, don’t you think?

26. Biggest accomplishment?

I’ve had my writing published once, and that was kind of a big deal, but also not at the same time because it was a uni thing. I’m proud of myself for getting on a plane to randomly nanny for 4 children in England… it was hard but I survived it and feel I’m a better/stronger person for doing that.

But I honestly don’t feel like I’ve reached my full potential yet.

The end! We made it! 

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Those of you who follow my twitter account will have seen that this past week was quite the rollercoaster. I’m personally still reeling a little bit from everything that happened (though I am overly dramatic, I know).

On Wednesday, Realm as a guild ended. And then on Thursday, it didn’t. Confused? Well, it will make sense. But to explain properly, I need to go backwards.

At the end of Legion

Realm as a guild technically formed at the end of the Tomb of Sargeras raid in Legion, though was made up of people who had been raiding together already for at least a year, some even longer. We went in to Antorus as a new team, determined to get Cutting Edge Argus. Which we achieved. We also managed to be the top ranking Alliance guild on our little server, which we were pretty proud of. We ended Legion as Titanslayers- strong and ready for Battle for Azeroth.

A few weeks before BfA came out we held a guild meeting to start making plans for raiding in the new expansion. We were having troubles trying to figure out our roster as it had suddenly grown to almost 40 players – waaaay too many. We needed to make some decisions about what type of team we wanted to be so that we could build the right team. So we asked everyone what they wanted from BfA; did we want to work on mythics, but bring through lower performing players (effectively being a “friends and family” mythic raiding guild) or did we want to push harder, be tougher about who came to raid and try for faster progression. The agreement from everyone was that we wanted to push harder. We were in a good spot- we had loads of players to choose from, and we all wanted to be better.

Going in to BfA

Going in to BfA everyone (including officers and GM) were dropped to trial rank. Our GM was re-chosen to lead us all, and new Officers were voted in (myself included). We had requirements about what level people needed to be at for raid, and agreed for the first few weeks of Uldir, we’d add in an extra night of raiding to help get us ahead.

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Our first week of Uldir was great with us getting Heroic G’huun down, giving us Ahead of the Curve in the first week. We were pretty stoked. The following week mythic opened, and we managed to get TWO mythic bosses down in addition to a heroic re-clear, giving us a bit of time to work on mythic Zek’voz.

And then last week happened. We cleared through heroic relatively quickly, as well as re-killing the first two mythic bosses, giving us days of attempts on Zek’voz. But we struggled. We didn’t get the kill. And worse than that, we felt like we were going backwards. On Monday, we had a really bad night, with many people under-performing and even more people getting extremely frustrated at both performance and lack of progression.

Here’s the thing about mythic raiding. It’s really stressful. There’s a lot of pressure to be performing to a super high standard. If you don’t meet that standard, you make mistakes, and mistakes mean wipes. For some people (like me) I like the pressure. I like the stress of it, I like wiping and failing, because we we do win, when we nail that delicate balance and we all figure out the dance together, the victory is so worth it. I love that feeling of accomplishment when it all just falls in to place and we win as a team. I love the nerd screams. I love our failed kill screenshots. I love it all. But it is really stressful. And you have to feel like you’re getting the payoff for it to be worth it.

Monday

After our rubbish night on Monday, the Officer team had a meeting, and our GM confessed he was done. He’d had enough. For him, as GM and raid lead, the stress and pressure is multitudes higher than for anyone else, and after that night it just got too much. The payoff wasn’t worth it, and he needed to step down. At that time he wasn’t 100% decided on what to do, and our meeting was to try and figure out what we could do. Could someone else take on lead? What would be the consequences of him stepping down? Who would step up? What could we do? I went to bed that night in tears – I could see the writing on the wall, and I was devastated. I could only imagine how our GM was feeling, too 😦

Tuesday

At the end of our meeting, one of our officers (and top dps) decided it was time for him to move on to a higher progressing guild (which he has found, and I’m super happy for him). We had suggested our GM think on his decision a little more and get back to us, but on the Tuesday, we also lost a tank. Then the Wednesday morning, another dps.

I spent a lot of Tuesday talking with the GM and other officers about the whole situation. It’s always a hard decision. I won’t go in to any specifics of our conversations, but a lot of what was making the decision so difficult came down to just how much the GM loved the guild and the people in it, but also just how stressed and worn out he was with it all. Being GM and raid lead has got to be one of the most thankless tasks out there. It’s so much work and effort to keep things running. And even with officers helping with bits and pieces here and there, and with talking to the team and asking them to take issues and concerns out of raid, it doesn’t stop those things from happening. It drives me up the wall, and I only experience it a little. It’s nothing compared to what a GM has to put up with.

Wednesday – the break-up

A team meeting was held on the Wednesday night (instead of raid) and our GM announced he was stepping down as raid lead, and that the future of the raid team depended on what everyone else wanted to do. People were asked to think on it for a bit, and let us all know what their plans were – did they want to stay and try and fill in the gaps, or did they want to move on to another team. No grudges would be held, we just needed to know so a decision could be made. In the end, too many people said they would be moving on without our GM in the leadership role.

So we came back together for one last team meeting with everyone… and our GM announced there were too many people looking to move on, so this was it…. and I bawled my eyes out (as did he, the poor thing). It was a horrible, emotional moment. I was genuinely heartbroken. I’ve been in guild break-ups before (far too many, actually) and they have always been hard. But this one felt different. This one really cut deep. It really felt like a relationship breaking up. I couldn’t imagine not spending each week with these people, laughing and yelling and struggling with these people. We all had good and bad times together… I didn’t want that to end. And yet here we were.

The fallout was… interesting. Once the meeting was done, people kinda just took a breath, and then decided to go run heroic Uldir together. I was a mess and sat out, but stayed in game because I just didn’t really know what else to do. But no-one gquit or raged or ranted. Everyone was just… sad. Overnight a couple of people faction swapped to join other friends in other guilds, but it wasn’t in anger. It was quiet and kind.

I posted about it on twitter, and had so many beautiful and amazing responses of support back from people. I was genuinely overwhelmed. But still heartbroken. I went to bed that night wondering what on earth I was going to do. How was I going to find a new team? Who on earth would take a shaman to a raid right now? Did I still even want to raid? And even worse… did I still even want to play WoW anymore?

Thursday

I went to work on Thursday exhausted and mentally drained. No-one at work really understood it (one person even kind of scoffed at the situation) which didn’t really help. I felt sad, and tired, but added to that, I was also sick to my stomach. Our GM was feeling almost instant regret about the decision, and it made me feel awful. I felt I had given him bad advice about everything. (My focus was on making sure he was going to be ok with the decision he made, and to not feel guilted in to sticking around if he didn’t want to. You know my mantra – WoW is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.) Thursday morning SUCKED plain and simple. I had lost my guild, and felt like I had been a bad friend to someone who has been exceptionally kind to me. I was not having a good time.

But then Thursday afternoon happened.

Thursday afternoon, our GM logged in to game, expecting the guild to have emptied, and instead still found it full of people. They didn’t want to go. This was their home, and they wanted to stay. That coupled with our GM’s regret… and well, the guild un-broke-up. Our GM posted in our Discord a really heartwarming message saying the guild would be staying together… and then I cried again as people cheered and left sweet messages and were just everything we didn’t want to leave behind. The thing that makes this guild so special is the people in it. Sure, we all fight and bicker and give each other shit, but that’s what families do.

We went back in to finish off the heroic clear on Thursday night with a renewed sense of togetherness. We also managed to one-shot the last 3 bosses on heroic and the first mythic boss, which just goes to show how much better peoples’ performance is when they’re in a good mood! 😀

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The aftermath

Things seem to be calm, now. The people who had faction changed managed to have them reverted (thanks Blizzard!!!) and came back to the guild as soon as they could. We ran our usual normal run on Saturday night, which went surprisingly well. And tonight’s mythic run, though thwarted by the attendance boss (thanks NRL grand final!), was smooth and successful.

Most people understand why things got they way they did – we pushed too hard. Raiding 4 nights a week was taking it out of people. The constant feeling of pressure was overwhelming for a lot of people, and it was wearing everyone down – not just the GM, but everyone. So we’re taking a step back. We will continue to raid mythic level, with the goal of getting Cutting Edge each tier. But not at the expense of the team.

The whole thing feels like a really sappy daytime romantic comedy in a way. But whatever it was, we’ve come out the other side of it, and I feel like in a way, we’re almost a bit better for it. Those who wanted more have moved to a place they can get that progression, and everyone else back here is on the same page. I’m grateful for this crazy bunch of beautiful people. Here’s to many more raids together as a the silly, dysfunctional WoW-family we are. realm_logo_on_dark_grey

xo

I really love a new pre-patch. There’s something about it that makes me feel like I’ve got a clean slate. It’s a new beginning which means new opportunities to kick butt in game and have new adventures.

It’s also an opportunity to have a bit of a spring clean and a makeover, which is exactly what I’ve done. I’ve not changed a lot on my website. Most of the things I did were to prepare my raiding killshots pages for Battle for Azeroth and archive the Legion ones. I also changed some pictures and some slight changes to the landing page. The biggest difference, though, is my new site logo!

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Back when I became a twitch affiliate I needed to get some sub emotes designed. Of course I immediately thought of the incredible Sirius, and commissioned her to make some totem emotes (which are absolutely ADORABLE by the way!!) I loved them so much that when it came time to spruce up my blog a bit, I decided to use them here, too. (and you guys should absolutely check out Sirius’ art on her website over at https://supersirius.net)

The biggest changes, though, were on my twitch stream.I’d been wanting a change for a little while, and the launch of Battle for Azeroth’s pre-patch was as good an excuse as any.

I found a neat theme that I liked that was also highly customisable called Stonefire from Nerd or Die. I just love it. (Helped that it was super decently priced, too!!) I made the theme a deep blue to show my Alliance allegiance.

Obviously it looks better when it’s live because it’s all animated, but you get the idea 🙂

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been busy with over the past week or so. That and, of course, getting used to all the class changes. As of writing this, there’s just over 3 weeks to go until Battle for Azeroth launches for real!!! I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!!

xo

I’ve been wanting to do something for my guild for quite some time. Sure, we’ve only been together (in this form) since the end of Tomb of Sargeras (so since around November/December last year? And to be fair, I’ve been raiding with some of them for the whole of Legion. ), but in that time I’ve grown so fond of my guildies. And I wanted to say thank you.

Thing is, the past few months have been a bit rubbish. Well, truth be told, the past year hasn’t been the greatest (work situations are just the worst for making you feel crap!) and raiding with these folks has been one of the few things that has kept me sane (that, and of course, Thor). Raiding with Realm is something I look forward to each week. I love these guys to bits. Even when we yell at each other. Even when we’re apes (ok, maybe especially when we’re apes). When we’re killing bosses together, or playing hide and seek in Dalaran, or fudging our way through mythic+ dungeons & bgs… it’s all just been so much fun. Pulling together and getting our Cutting Edge on mythic Argus the other week really was the icing on the cake of what was already an amazing expansion.

So I’ve been wracking my brains for what to do. And for the longest time I knew precisely what I wanted to do. But… well, I don’t have the talent to do it. (I maaaaaaayy have re-written the lyrics to ‘Part of your World’ from The Little Mermaid to tell the story of someone who wants to raid with us 😀 But I can’t sing for shit!) So I was back to square one.

Then the other day, when I was doing my WoW screenshots archiving, it occurred to me that I have a lot of screenshots. (Seriously… a LOT). And I had already been asking guildies for pics of themselves for me… so I decided to make a mosaic of all of us (and a whooooole bunch of pics from Antorus) into a wallpaper using our guild logo.

And so with the help of AndreaMosaic I made this…

Realm mosaic wallpaper V2_4k

UPDATED: added some more raider pics to it cos some people were missing in the first one 🙂 

The original is big enough that you can zoom in and see all the individual pictures pretty well (not perfect, but well enough!). If you want to have a look, check out the fullsize version of the wallpaper here. Here are some snippets:

I know I’m a giant sap, but I’m an older lady now, and I’m very fond of the people that I chose to spend so much time with each week. I just want them to know how appreciative I am that they put up with my cranky moods and my nagging for screen shots and silly wee wee songs and inappropriate jokes (though, I’m the tamest of them all, I swear it!). I am so thankful for these people who have stood up for me and come to my defence when trolls came to my stream; who have become facebook friends and not run away screaming when they see pics of me; who don’t make fun of my terrible kill videos; who are there for a chat in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep; who are just good fun people to be around (even when I’m not).

So Realm – thank you for being amazing. I am so looking forward to kicking ass with you all in Battle for Azeroth. ❤

xo

P.S. Here are some closeups of the guildies who sent me selfies ❤ (All the pics below are in the mosaic)

Well hi there, friends. Today I wanted to take on a little peak behind the curtain, and show you where I am when I’m writing/streaming/talking to you all. It’s take awhile… in fact, it’s take the whole time we’ve lived in this apartment, so about 4 years? But finally – FINALLY I have all my gaming/nerdy paraphernalia together! I’m pretty excited about it.

A few weeks back we finally had the extra cash (and time) to go down to Ikea and buy some more shelves. We then had quite the adventure moving old things out of the study to empty it so that we could build the shelves, and build my new desk, then move Thor’s desk back in (and toss my old one in the tip). Our apartment is quite small, so it’s a really strategic Tetris game at times, moving our furniture around. With things set up in the study, it was then a case of getting all the bits and pieces from the random boxes and shelves around the apartment, and bringing them together to their new home.

And now it’s done! This is my little corner! On the shelves themselves, the top shelf is for all the stuffed Warcraft toys (I’m determined to collect them all!). The tall black thing on the left is a fan… so it has to wear a fun hat hehe. The picture on the wall there is from a scene of one of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who (The Doctor’s Wife), which was written by Neil Gaiman (and also has Matt Smith, who is my favourite Doctor). On the far right of the top part is some beautiful artwork by the amazing Frenone, a token I got from the Australian Legion launch, and a Doomhammer necklace.

First shelf, top left, has more WoW goodies. Draped over the side is the amazing alliance scarf that the beautiful Natanie knitted for me ❤ ❤ Inside are collectables, mostly from Blizzcon boxes. To the right is the Star Wars shelf. To the right of that again is miscellaneous funko pops, including Wonder Woman, Thor, a Weeping Angel and Zoe from Firefly. And to the right of that again are all my theatre programmes (and a Singin’ in the Rain umbrella! <3)

Second row from the top we have my Collector’s Editions (just Mists and Legion so far- Battle for Azeroth will be added soon, though!) plus the 2 of the Chronicles books, and other Warcraft books. Also that long thin box in there- that was a Kris Kringle gift that I god a couple of years ago from a friend at work. Inside is Warcraft cookie cutters!! I haven’t used them yet… I really should.

To the right of that is more miscellaneous stuff, including a Harry Potter letter writing set (including wax seal!!), some of Thor’s Back to the Future collectables, a Doctor Who sonic spork (lol) and some Princess Bride cards. To the right of that is pretty much hidden by my monitors, and mostly contains random bits of nothing, although does have my Firefly – Still Flying book, and agraphic novel about Eminem (it’s freakin’ awesome). There are also two “books” that I wrote when I was in primary school. I’ll show them to you all one day 🙂 Lastly on that row are other stuffed toys, which are guarded by E.T. He’s currently wearing bunny ears… anyway, he talks what you squeeze his hand. He belongs to Thor, and even though we don’t really have room for him, I just can’t bear for him to be thrown away. So we always make room for him.

Lastly above my monitor is a signed print of the Firefly cast, and stuck to that is a pic of the amazing Joss Whedon (yes… I’m a massive Joss fan-girl). On my desk I have a replica Doomhammer, and because I am all about the Alliance, my Blizzcon Alliance coaster, and an Alliance notepad, which I use to make my raiding notes. And of course all my lighting is blue at the moment 😀

So that’s about it for the fun stuff. The rest of the shelves are stuff related to my writing (research books etc.) an old typewriter, and general storage. I’m pretty happy with everything. Under the desk I’ve currently got 4 big boxes full of stationery and shit. I’ve ordered some printed fabric to cover them… will show you when it arrives 🙂 But otherwise, I’m happy with it all.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed this peak into real-world Cinder 🙂

xo

I have been working on this darn post for weeks now and haven’t gotten around to finishing it. I should have added “write my bucket list post” to my bucket list. Lame.

So 2018 is a big year for many reasons. The most obvious being that World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Battle for Azeroth will be coming out. awww yeah!

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BfA’s release this year actually makes a bucket list a little tricky to do, because the release date will impact just how much I can get through. For the purposes of this bucket list, I’m going to assume that BfA will release on September 21st (which is the latest it can release, according to the pre-order). Obviously if BfA comes out a lot earlier, I’m not going to be able to achieve everything I want to… but we’ll see how I go. So, on with the list!

Make a list of every pet and mount available in Legion and get any that are missing (That are not RNG dependent).

To be fair, I think I’m most of the way through this, though there are obvious mounts that I am missing. Namely the pvp prestige mounts. There is at least 1 that I absolutely definitely have to get, and maybe even a 2nd if there is time. With the pets, I need to get Uuna and do her little quest line. I also need to get the new Mailemental pet, and need to finish the meta pet battle achievement on Argus (which thankfully is a lot easier than Family Familiar, but will still take a decent amount of time).

Finish getting all of the class mounts

At the time of writing this I have warlock, warrior, rogue, demon hunter and death knight left to go. The warlock is at 110, she’s just very slowly making her way through the rest of the order hall campaign, and will then move on to the class mount quests. The Rogue is at 108, so not too far off dinging (slow as she is) but my warrior, demon hunter and death knight I’ve not even started. And given how busy I’ve been lately, this is actually going to be a bit of a challenge to get done. But I will!

Get more Mage Tower appearances

When Battle for Azeroth launches, most of the artifact skins will remain. That is except for the Mage Tower challenge appearances, and the 15+ mythic keystone skin. Which means I have some work ahead of me! Below is a list of all the challenge appearances I want, in order of preference. The enhancement shaman one I’ve just been lazy about. Disc priest I’m just crap at… the rest I haven’t even bothered trying yet. But I do love their appearances so would really like to be able to get them done before they go away. The 15+ skin I’m less concerned about- that one would just be nice to have. 🙂

  • Enhancement shaman
  • Discipline priest
  • Holy paladin
  • Frost Mage
  • Arcane Mage
  • Retribution paladin
  • Restoration druid
  • Protection paladin (though I honestly don’t see this one happening at all)
  • maaaaybe affliction warlock

The one thing I am very glad about is that the Balance of Power appearances don’t appear to be going away, so I’ve decided that I won’t focus on doing those on any toons yet. That will be a future Cinder problem.

Stream more

I’m cheating a little with this one, because technically I’ve already “achieved” this, but I do want to stream more. I also want to be putting together more videos (though I would also like either some decent video editing software for my PC, or a better place to put my Mac so that I can do my editing work more easily!). I’m enjoying streaming, even though it kinda goes against all of my personality traits. But it’s nice having people around when we kill bosses 🙂

So that’s my list. I looks short, but each of those things is pretty time consuming. I’m genuinely concerned about my ability to get through all of these, given that March is hot on our heels, and let’s face it, Battle for Azeroth is more than likely going to come out earlier than September 21. But we will see how I go!

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How is it that a month has passed since I wrote in here? Usually this happens when I’ve spent a lot of time out of the game and have just been busy with work, but that’s not the case this time (although the being busy with work is definitely true!).

Anyways, it’s been awhile, so I thought I’d best do a catch-up post to let you know what I’ve been up to and what I have planned.

Alpha

So first up, probably the biggest reason I’ve been writing less in here is that I have been streaming quite a bit. It initially started to stream our raid nights, which was fun and all. But then this happened:

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For reals! This was me at work when I got the email. Followed shortly after by tears.

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I’ve been spending a bit of time in the Alpha running around and seeing how things are, reporting bugs and typos in quests and what not. And I’ve been streaming it, which has been quite fun. I don’t have a lot of viewers on raid nights because it’s a silly time in the US, but when I stream on weekends there are more people around, and it’s really enjoyable. I’m not a great streamer; I don’t show my face (because no-one needs to see that!) and I ramble a lot and get distracted, but hopefully it’s a little entertaining to people.

The other weekend I had a great time hanging out in alpha with some lovely friends in chat. We go to experience a terrifying quest line that just freaked me out so badly. It was scary and hilarious. I made a video about it, which was fun! It’s over here on YouTube if you’re interested. (WARNING: contains Alpha spoilers).

Streaming

Between streaming all the raids and now the Alpha as well, I’ve been clocking up a decent amount of streaming time. And somehow have managed to get a reasonable number of followers and viewers… enough that this ended up happening the other day:

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This basically means I’m able to have subscribers and stuff, which is kinda cool! I don’t actually expect this to go anywhere, but it is kinda fun 🙂 I celebrated by setting up a new overlay for my stream and making some new panels to match. I’m trying to get better at streaming, but I know I’ll never be anything interesting. I’m just doing it for the fun 🙂 If you want to stop by I’m over at twitch.tv/cinder_streams. (note: I will always say if I’m streaming Alpha so that if you’re not wanting spoilers, you can avoid them).

Podcasting

I KNOW! This was completely random, but we’ve started up Battletagged again. This time it’s going to be a lot more casual, with episodes being recorded when we have something to say (rather than trying to stick to a strict schedule). It’s just me and Neuro at the moment. We talk about it a bit more in our first episode back. We’ve got a new website address – Battletagged.com.au – but everything else should be the same. We’re back up on Stitcher and iTunes. Have a listen! And if there’s anything you’d like us to talk about on the show, let us know. 🙂

Raiding

Raiding has been going ok. We had a rough time with Kin’garoth as well… for awhile we just weren’t really using a strat that worked for us (one of the challenges of there being so many different strats available for a boss!) In the end we got there though, with a strat that seems weird, but it’s what works for us, so that’s good!

After that it was Varimathras which we managed to get down really quickly actually.  (I still need to make a kill video for it- oops!!) This week we went back to do a re-clear which took us awhile, but we do have a whole night to work on Coven tonight, which is going to drive us up the wall, but should be do-able either this week or next week.

Work

So real-life stuff. Well, I got a promotion- huzzah! That was nice. But I has also meant that my workload has increased quite substantially. At the moment I don’t mind tooooo much.. it’s been really great the past week actually because part of my work requires us to do public consultation to get feedback on what we’re doing, and then check in again with everyone at the end to make sure we did what people wanted. I’m at that end part now, with checking in, and I’ve been getting some really lovely messages back, saying how impressed they are with our work etc. It makes all the extra hours worth it, you know? (That and I do honestly feel like the work I do has the ability to do some good in a small way, so that’s great too). Anyway, all of this has meant super busy days at work, which some people have noticed because I’ve also been neglecting twitter!

Anyways, that’s where things are at at the moment. I have to finish off my bucket list blog post (which is part way written… but might be December by the time I finish writing it! lol) I also want to do some posts about the alpha and the class changes and things like that… I just keep running out of time to do all the things I want to do. Gah! Why is sleep a thing, eh? Or maybe I could just be younger so I could deal with having less sleep. I hope everyone reading is doing well. I promise to keep trying to write more often!

xo

I’m currently in the middle of a different post, but I saw that the Blizzcon2017 schedule was released today and just had to squee about it for awhile! Seriously, the hype is oh so real.

Blizzcon schedule now live

Blizzcon schedule now live

Blizzcon this year looks AMAZING. There are so many panels that I’m planning to watch, that I don’t know if there will be enough hours in the day.

One of the more notable differences to the schedule this year is the inclusion of an extra stage. This means more panels, which equals one happy Blizzfan! The addition of this extra area has meant that some of the panels that Virtual Ticket attendees haven’t been able to see in the past, are now on stage and being recorded for us. The stages also have new names to show the focus each area has.

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Blizzcon 2017 stages and their names

The stage I’m so excited to see is the Heroic stage. The panels on this stage are everything I could have wanted to see, and more. Panels on this stage alone include:

  • LoreCraft- the art of storytelling which is all about the writing side of Blizzard games (and area that I am just so passionate about!)
  • SoundCraft – and interactive Blizzard sound demonstration which has is described as being a live demo of how some of the in-game sounds are made!!
  • Exploring the Wide World of Blizzard Careers – because who doesn’t want to work for Blizzard!
  • Stay Awhile and Listen – this has the following description: Everyone at BlizzCon has their own unique story to share about how Blizzard has impacted their lives. Hear from four different storytellers as they narrate their touching, funny, and memorable experiences live. AMAZING! I can already tell I’m going to end up in tears watching that.

The stage also has a bunch of art-related panels, and some coding and programming panels, too, which will be so great for anyone who is wanting to move into that area.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!! the Epic stage is described as the Community stage, and it too has some excellent panels listed, including an Author Showcase, LIVE recordings of The Instance and AllCraft (I’m with Rho- had no idea this existed…and me personally, I wouldn’t be calling this a podcast…but should still be interesting non-the-less), a panel with Geek & Sundry (ZOMG), a panel called Living Blizzard – Pursuing Your Passion (which, for someone like me, sounds amazing and will probably make me cry)… there’s also two panels about getting into cosplay.

Already, this is more hours of visuals than I’ll have time to watch, and we’re not even talking about the main events here!!!! In the announcement of the schedule, Blizz mentioned that the Opening Ceremony, which is usually held on the main stage, will actually be presented across the multiple stages. This sounds brilliant, especially for physical attendees- not everyone can fit into the main stage to watch it. This way, they will have a bit of live action at whatever stage they end up sitting at. And as a Virtual Ticket holder, we just get a darn awesome view of everything 😀

Clearly I’m more than a little excited about it all. More excited than I have been in past years, actually, mostly due to the additional stages and all the creative panels. It’s right down my ally in terms of things I’m really interested in. I’m extremely grateful I’m not the only person who enjoys this stuff, and even more grateful that Blizzard recognises this and does some presentations for us. I’m expecting an announcement about the closing act in a few weeks’ time. Here’s hoping it’s someone fun! The one thing I did notice was that the cosplay competition wasn’t listed anywhere. I’m wondering if it’s the panel currently titled as Community Night, or maybe I’m just blind.

Anyway,  if you want to check out the schedule for yourself, and start flagging the panels you want to see, go check it all out at https://blizzcon.com/en-us/schedule#fri-nov-3.

What are you most looking forward to checking out at Blizzcon??

Oh my goodness what a month this has been! Back at the end of August when I finally made the decision to move my blog to somewhere more permanent, I had no idea how long it would be until my blog was safely in place and available to post to. I expected a weekend of setting up and getting comfy before I would be able to post… but a month passed in a flash.

It’s been, well, pretty stupid to say the least. Firstly, work has gotten really busy. As many of you know I started a new job a few months back now, and about a month ago things really picked up in pace. I finally got my own project to work on, which has had me working later and completely flat out while I’m at the office, so doing sneaky blog work during my lunch break was impossible.

And then the move itself. The plan was to move over to wordpress.org. I had spent ages researching different hosting options, found the template I wanted to use and was all set. But I hit roadblock after roadblock; posts wouldn’t export properly nor would they import properly over to the new server, the template seemed to cause problem after problem… nothing seemed to work the way it was supposed to, and not matter what I did, I couldn’t get things right. It was all just a complete and utter nightmare. So much so that I even considered just forgetting it all and closing my blog. But I really missed writing in here, so that wasn’t really an option.

In the end I didn’t go anywhere. I set myself up on a paid plan at wordpress.com and just rebuilt here. Yes, it’s more expensive, but I know it works, and I have loads more storage space (which was one of the big reasons I needed to move in the first place).

But I tell you what, what horrible timing this all turned out to be! The past month in WoW has been AMAZING! Argus is absolutely everything I could have hoped for and more. I’m having so much fun running around there doing all the quests, experiencing some amazing lore and those cinematics!! SO AWESOME!! And then there was the lucid nightmare, and our raid team is back up and running and even this weekend alone has been eventful. And my poor blog challenge with Z has been awfully neglected while I try and get all of this blog stuff sorted out. Just terrible timing for it all.

BUT! I’m here again, and more excited than ever to be playing WoW and SO glad I have a place to share all my adventures again.

I hope you guys like the new layout! Something a little different 🙂 The front page was interesting to put together. I’ve also added some new pages, including a better looking Raiding Gallery, and a brand new Art Featuring Cinder page…which is kinda self explanatory.

I’m going to try and play catch up a bit and get some posts together about bits and pieces that have happened over the past month, as well as get up to speed on Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge and get some new topics posted. In the meantime, keep well!

xo

Hey guys just a quick heads up. I’m making some changes to my website over the coming days/weeks, so things might look a bit weird around here… hopefully I shouldn’t break anything!! But don’t freak out if I do, or if things look strange or broken or whatever. I’ll get it right at some point!

I’ll let you know when I’m back up and running properly. In the meantime, if you’re looking for other WoW blogs to read, go check out Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge (#ShamelessSelf-Plug)

See you laters!

xo

 

Hey, what a surprise, I’m behind on posting responses to our blog challenges! That is so unlike me! 😉 Clearly I have a lot of catching up to do, and rather than starting at where I last left off, I’m just going to go in any darn order that pleases me.

So, Topic 23 asked why I blog about WoW.

I’ve been writing in blogs/journals since I was 11 years old. I got given a diary from a friend of mine at the time, and sporadically wrote in it when I felt I had something “important” to say. When we got our first computer, one of the first websites I came across was Open Diary, and over the years maintained at least, sometimes multiple, journals on there. I made some really wonderful online friends there, some of whom I’m still friends with today. Eventually I got a LiveJournal account, but it didn’t really gel with me at all. It was “too cool” for me, and so I found myself moving back to good old pen and book.

When I moved to England, funnily enough, I didn’t write a lot, even though I was having a lot of adventures at the time. Instead, I took a lot of photographs, which in some ways replaced my words for awhile. One thing that did happen while I was over there, was that I found myself doing more creative writing, working on a story idea that has been floating around in my head since my last year of uni.

Coming back to Australia, I had a whirlwind of study and moving interstate and finding work in Melbourne and settling in here, and I didn’t write much. And then I met Thor, and, because we were on opposite side of the country, all of time was spent talking with him, and I didn’t need a journal. And then he moved in with me, and introduced me to World of Warcraft. And well, we all know how that turned out!

It doesn’t matter how long I stop writing for, I always come back to it. I love it. It’s what I studied at uni, and it’s what I always seem to fall back on. So when you ask why I write about WoW, it’s because I can’t help but write for starters. And secondly, it’s because so much of my life is about WoW. I spend a lot of time playing the game, and interacting with the people I have met through and because of it. I write about WoW because there is so much to write about, because there are so many stories to share, because I still just need to get words out of me.

One of the questions that seems to pop-up alongside why you write about WoW, is who you think reads about WoW. Who is your audience? And this is probably the part that will be a bit weird, but my audience is me. If you look at my past and see how I have written, it’s always been for me. For my blog, it has to be for me. Because if it’s not, I stop being truthful. I start censoring myself, worrying I’ll offend someone who might be reading. And I don’t like that. I don’t like the dishonesty.

So as rude as it sounds, I’m not bothered if people don’t like my blog, or if they don’t like what I write about or how I write it or what I have to say. This is my little corner of the internet to use my words how I want to. And if people like that, if people enjoy what I have to say and want to come back to read more, that is so immensely flattering and kind, and such a wonderful bonus to this whole thing. I appreciate each and every person who comes to my blog and reads it or likes it or comments on it- it’s a beautiful feeling! But it’s not the driver for this blog. The driver is me, and will continue to be me, and my adventures with WoW.

🙂

PS: For anyone who is looking for new/more WoW blogs to read, check out our Bloggers page on the Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge website. It’s a list of anyone who has ever participated in the challenge. You might find someone new to enjoy reading!

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Well, I find myself here once again where the team I’m raiding with has crumbled. We had been losing a few people here and there over the past couple of months for a whole bunch of different reasons. I’m not sure what happened, but this last week something snapped, and we were done. Through a combination of real life issues and people wanting a change, we dropped enough to not have enough people on the team to raid anymore.

It’s not a new story, and it’s not a story that we’ll never hear again. This is what happens. And even though I’ve been here so many times before, it doesn’t get any easier. Before raid on Wednesday we all logged on and had a chat about what everyone’s plans were. There was talk of server transfers to try and rebuild the team on a more populated server (and then further discussion about what the server might be); there were talks of staying put and pushing through it; there were talks of finding other teams, of going our separate ways… and of disbanding entirely. In the end, some people decided to move on, which in turn made other people also decide to move on to other teams rather than waiting for the numbers to come back up again.

There were no hard feelings towards the people who decided to leave for other teams. I totally understand it. Things weren’t perfect, and some people had really good reasons to go, but it still makes me sad. *shrug* It is what it is, and I truly hope everyone is happy wherever they end up.

In the meantime, there are 10-13 of us who have decided to stay and try and rebuild, rather than moving the guild to another server. Our team is 5/9 mythic… past the halfway mark of Tomb of Sargeras… so hopefully we will be able to attract some good players in time to get mythic Kil’Jaeden down. (Shameless plug! Here’s our recruit thread on the forums.)

For now, I’m just feeling sad. I know it’s (hopefully?) not my fault, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling like rubbish. Being in a guild and raid team like this always feels like a second family. We all spend so much time together, and we argue and celebrate wins… so it just feels weird everyone not being together any more. But like I said, it is what it is, and it will probably happen again. In the meantime, I’m holding out hope we find some more awesome players so we can get back to killing internet pixels. 🙂

 

 

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks now, but I ended up putting it off and putting it off because of all the drama that ended up happening.

Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I finally bought a PC to replace my Mac. I did this because it had gotten to the point where I couldn’t play WoW properly at all- I would have UI settings down as low as they could go to help try to get my frame rate above 12 (which didn’t always work), which also meant that I was unable to see boss mechanics properly. I was having a really miserable time all around. So I finally bit the bullet and decided to get a PC.

Research

This was all new to me- I haven’t had a PC for YEARS. I’d been using one at work, of course, but they were all pre-built and I didn’t get a say in what their guts would be like. This time around, I was in control, and I wanted something that was going to kick butt. So the researching began. It was almost the end of me. I just didn’t understand all the bits and pieces and what was supposed to be better than other bits and what was compatible with what other bits etc. It did my head in. I am extremely grateful to my guildies, to Klorithor, to Spazz and of course to my partner Thor for putting up with my millions of questions as I tried to get a handle on all the specifics.

Klor had got me on to a really great site that listed everything and would let you know if anything didn’t go well together. He had also sent me a list of all the bits and pieces to build one, which was so awesome. In the end, that formed the basis of what I what I bought. Except I may have boosted a few bits and completely blown my budget in the process!

So here are Alice’s guts:

  • Intel Core i7 7700K
  • Gigabyte AORUS Z270X-Gaming 7 Motherboard
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming 8GB
  • Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Corsair Hydro Series H105 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply
  • Seagate Barracuda 2TB
  • Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass Satin Black
  • extra LED strips! 😀
  • ViewSonic VX2757 27in FreeSync Gaming Monitor

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Adventures

So with everything decided upon, I jumped onto PC Case Gear’s website (they came highly recommended by multiple people) and started ordering the parts. By the time everything was sorted out and in the cart it was almost midnight on the Friday night. Which meant that I wasn’t likely to get it until around Tuesday. And I wanted it NOW.

Shipping was also coming to around $100. Given I had gone WELL over my budget, I was looking for opportunities to save some money somewhere. The store itself was a bit outside of Melbourne city- couldn’t get there by public transport, but close enough to get there by car for a short time. We had some frequent flyer points available, so decided that we would use them to hire a car for the day on Saturday to pick up all the parts. Good plan, right?

Well…

Here’s a side note that is important for this story. I am a pretty fortunate person, I know that. I have many good things that happen to me through a combination of hard work and a whole lot of good juju from the universe. But to counter that, every now and then I have days where every single thing you can think of would go wrong. And there was nothing you could do about it. Unfortunately, you are about to witness one such day.

When I put the order in (just after midnight!), I chose the pick-up option. The order confirmation email said “thanks for your order! We’ll let you know when it’s ready to pick up.” And this is where I started getting worried. On the Saturday, the store was only open for 4 hours- 10am-2pm. And I didn’t know if my order was going to be ready for pick up on the Saturday. To add to this, the invoice clearly said “Orders will only be held for 24 hours before being returned to the shelves”. I was in a dilemma- if we hired the car for Saturday but the order wasn’t ready to be picked up until Monday, the hire would have been wasted (and the money). If the order was ready to pick up on the Saturday but we didn’t have the car, we couldn’t go and get it. So we were a bit stuck!

“Not to worry,” I thought, “I’ll just call them when they open at 10 in the morning to find out when they thought it would be ready for pick up, and we can go from there.”

So I have a pretty restless night’s sleep on Friday night. It was like Christmas Eve! I was going to get my shiny new computer parts the next day, and it was going to be awesome. Of course I woke up quite early. Too early. 6am too early. On a Saturday! Lucky I had WoW to keep me company, though. I left Thor to sleep and went and levelled up my priest to kill some time until 10am when I could call, all the while checking my emails every 2 minutes to see if the golden ticket had arrived that would tell me it was time to get my loots!

It’s almost 10am when figure I should get the details together to make the phone call. So I bring up the invoice for the confirmation details, and I go onto their website and the contact section to grab the phone number. Except there isn’t one. They didn’t have a phone number. Well shit! I figured it was time to get Thor involved, so went to talk to him about what we should do. Do we keep waiting until the email arrives, getting more and more worried about time frames as time wears on… or do we just get a car now and drive down anyway and try our luck? We went back and forth about it all for awhile, but in the end decided, stuff it, let’s just get a car and try our luck.

I checked my email again quickly to see if the email had arrived, and there it was! It was time! By this time it was a wee bit before 11:30am. That meant we had 2 and a half hours to go pick up the hire car and drive down to the store. No worries- the store was only 30 minutes away according to google maps, which meant 2 hours to go pick up a hire car. We could get there by 2pm, easy.

Or not.

We quickly get all our stuff together- Thor is getting a map printed with directions to the store while I’m booking the car to pick it all up. Despite the fact that the service has been available for YEARS, the car hire company just doesn’t deal well with using the frequent flyer points for car hire. The man I was speaking with was SO lovely, though, and worked him bum off to help us, which was really nice. So everything is being processed and we’re almost good to go, he just need to confirm with the venue that they have the car needed and we’d be on our way. I’m on hold for a short time, when the fellow comes back to let me know that the venue around the corner from us has no cars available. Not just the type that we needed- none at all. Argh!!!! BUT there is another venue a little further into the city that did have cars available- could we get there easily enough? Sure! Just book it and let’s go.

We leg it down to the tram stop to get the first of 2 trams we’d need to get to the car hire place. I shit you not, it was the slowest tram ride I’d ever been on. They got EVERY single red light, and on one occasion, thanks to a slow passenger, we got TWO red lights.

It was during this tram ride that Thor was looking for ways to help me be calm and not freak out. (He’s amazing and keeping himself together during stressful situations). So he was just holding my hand and generally saying lovely things. When the passengers were being slow, that’s where he came up with “put your shit in the freezer!”. It all stemmed from “calm down”, to “calm your shit” to “cool your shit”… and of course how does one cool their shit? By putting it in the freezer! It became our motto for the whole endeavour, and worked a treat.

Finally we get to our first stop, jump off the tram and wait for the next one. Time is ticking away… We make it to our second stop, and start walking to where the car hir eplace is. Oh but look- there are roadworks! And even though we only need to walk 10 meters down that path, we have to go back the way we came, cross the road, walk down and cross the road again to get to the street we needed.

We finally made it to the car hire place. By this point it was somewhere around 12:30/12:45pm, and even though Thor was doing his best to keep me laughing with ‘putting my shit in the freezer’ my patience and hope was almost gone.

Up we go to the counter with the booking information. Despite the fact that we had just been through the whole process with the people on the phone, they couldn’t figure out the system to process it with the points. People came in after us and left before us as they were trying to figure out how to process it all. By this point I said “just forget about the points- take my card and we’ll just pay for it. We’re really late and need to get going”. But they kept trying. Eventually they got it. But then the car that was allocated to us wasn’t there…

Finally we are handed the keys and we can head out. It’s a wee bit after 1pm by this point. Technically we should have been ok. I sent an email through their contact form on the website given there was no number to call, in the hopes that someone would see it and would know we were on our way…

Remember how I said there were roadworks nearby? Well, they did a terrible job of putting up detour signage. So when we pulled out of the car park, we followed the road signs that said right turn only. Ok, all good. Oh… it’s a right turn on to a blocked off road, and we have to turn around… into a giant line of traffic of other people who were having to do the same thing.

Bless Thor. He is such an amazing man. He was driving, and did such an amazing job of navigating through the city as best as he could to get to the store. And I was a bitch. I was a total downer who had given up, and he just kept going, being patient and calm with me.

In the end, we made it to the store at 2:10pm. We ran up to the doors in the hopes they were slow to close… and got there just as the team were walking out the front door to go home. We’d missed it. I asked what would happen to my order given the 24 hour window would be well and truly done by then, and they said it would still be there on Monday morning.

So the day was just pants. We were heartbroken to get there just as they were leaving- felt like a big slap in the face from the universe! We decided to go get some lunch and figure out what to do next. In the end we decided to extend the hire on the car for an additional 24 hours so we would have it for the Monday morning (it was still cheaper to pay for that than for postage!). But right then the afternoon/evening called for a slow drive home for icecream and movies on the couch.

Of course, with this being one of those days I have where everything goes against me, we had issues when we came back home- someone was parked in our carpark. Which sounds minor, but it’s a giant pain in the butt (that and we pay for the damn thing, so it’s ours to use!).

On the plus side, it was nice to have a car for awhile. The next day we ended up going for a bit of a drive to where we think we’ll need to move to later in the year when our lease it up, so it was good to see what areas we liked and didn’t.

Monday morning rolled around and I was very fortunate to be able to do a work from home day. I got up extra early in the morning to get some work done before we headed back to the store. And there she was in all her pieces! She got safely buckled into the car (the case was in the boot) and off we went home to put her together.

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The build

I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll keep saying it- I am so, so lucky to have Thor. He spent hours on that Monday putting Alice together for me. And even better, for you nerd types, he took some pics along the way, which you can check out below.

I was so nervous throughout the whole thing. I had no concerns about Thor’s ability to build it- I was just terrified that something would be broken in the box or wouldn’t work properly. The whole PC world was so new to me (I’m used to just taking a Mac out of a box and using it!) so I was nervous. I was actually really glad that I was working from home that day because I could pop in every now and again and have a peak, but could just hide in the study and get semi-distracted with my work.

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In the end it took a few days to get settled in. Windows didn’t install well the first time, so we had to do that again, and then of course there was downloading all of the drivers and apps for all the bits and pieces that were in her, which was all very new to me- don’t things just work!? 😉

I was also have a lot of issues with my monitor, and how things looked. You see, I came from a 5k imac that looks AMAZING. And I was going to just a normal every day monitor, which, although not entirely rubbish, was just very basic. And so now I see pixelation were I didn’t before, and it was very jarring at first. Again, Thor with his infinite patience played around with settings everywhere and eventually got things to a point where they looked pretty good. But I will be saving up for a 4k monitor, for sure! 🙂

Alice

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So this is Alice. I can change the LEDs with a press of a button, which is loads of fun 🙂 When we move I would like to get a bigger desk so she can sit somewhere properly. But for now she’s great. It was quite the adventure to get to this point, but thanks to unwavering patience from Thor and him helping me keep my shit in the freezer, we got there in the end.

For what it’s worth- as I mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons I bought Alice was because I couldn’t see raid abilities, frame rates sucked and it was all around a crappy time. Well, I can now have my settings at max all the time. I drop them to 8 for raid just in case, but I really don’t need to. Frame rate is beautiful, I can see everything- it’s wonderful. 🙂 So even though it was all a bit of a drama, it was worth it.

 

My lovely friend Zeirah and I have turned our weekly blog challenge into a public blog challenge for anyone to participate in. Each week there is a new topic for everyone to write about and share. This topic was put up to help get some great positive posts out there, to remind people why the love WoW. You can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here.

I really struggled with this topic, which is why it’s late! I thought long and hard about which areas in WoW reminded me of home….

Could I see my current home in the docks of Stormwind?

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Or could my childhood home on the beach by the mountains be found in the far northern parts of the Jade Forest?

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Was the small country town where I was born be found in Westfall?

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Or my temporary home in England, could that be found in the outskirts of Gilneas?

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The truth is, there is nowhere in Azeroth that reminds me of my home. And that’s just how I like it. For me, WoW is an escape. It’s somewhere that I can go to get away from the real world, to explore different worlds and different lives. And I am incredibly glad that none of those little worlds in WoW reminds me home. I would hate to imagine my home being destroyed by demons. And I would hate my Azeroth world to be overrun by “real-life” troubles. So for me, nowhere in WoW reminds me of my home, and that’s just how I like it.

My lovely friend Zeirah and I have turned our weekly blog challenge into a public blog challenge for anyone to participate in. Each week there is a new topic for everyone to write about and share. This topic was put up to help get some great positive posts out there, to remind people why the love WoW. You can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here.

It’s funny, I’ve put off writing this post for awhile. Not because I don’t have anything to love about WoW, but because there is so much to love and I’m finding it difficult to pin down only a few things to talk about. Like Ann, I just love it all and could go on for days. But I won’t! I’ve chosen a few things to talk about, but this by no means is everything I love. Hands down one of the biggest things is obviously the people I have had a chance to meet through WoW. And the characters and the story will keep me coming back for years to come. But I want to talk about some of a couple of other reasons. 🙂

The music

The music in WoW constantly breaks my heart with its beauty. I went looking for a favourite piece to share with you guys for this post, and here I am crying my eyes out just listening to it already! (I know, I’m a sap!)

Some of my favourite memories from WoW are because of the music. I loved all of the music in Mists of Pandaria, but the moment that stood out for me randomly happened the day after the Vale of Eternal Blossoms had been destroyed (good one Garrosh!!). I was kinda just afk-ing in the zone, just looking around at all the beauty we had had a part in destroying and feeling really awful about it. And then the music came in… the music had changed. When the Vale was pure and alive, the music was sweeping and beautiful and generally what you expect from such a stunning zone. When it got destroyed, the music changed. It still had similar themes, but they were sad and quiet, like a wounded song bird. I cried, I truly did. It was just a small thing, but it was the final straw for me. I felt so terrible about what had been done there – it was destroyed in so many ways.

More recently… well, we’ve had quite a lot of heartache already in Legion, haven’t we? So of course the music is just going to rub salt in the wounds of our already breaking hearts. The first time I knew the music was going to kill me in Legion was in the Broken Shore was of course during the Legion cinematic trailer.  But the real clincher for me came in the Broken Shore cinematic…

It just… oh man, it just gets right in there. It starts out well enough, all dramatic and action-y while everyone is fighting, but it starts to change as everything goes downhill, getting more and more tense. That moment when Varian realises he’s not going to get on that ship to freedom, and music softens as Varian asks Genn to give his son the letter… and then it sweeps up into this huge damn heroic moment as Varian lets go, and falls to battle to the death. It’s heroic as fuck, there’s no other way to describe it. But then, he defeats the demon, and the music stops, and in that tiny breath of silence we have hope, a tiny feather of hope that maybe, just maybe, he might survive, even as we hear the motors of the ship flying away. And then the demons come, and he’s a hero again, fighting until his very last breath until we’re at the feet of Gul’dan, and he’s saying that Varian has died for nothing, but we know otherwise, and Varian shouts “For the Alliance!” and the music confirms it – he’s a hero until his dying breath. And god that music, the way it works at that moment… my heart feels like Varian does as he shatters into a million pieces. #cries

We get to hear bits and pieces of those themes throughout Legion as we run around the world and to the raids and experience the important quests and what not, and every time my heart twinges.

I mentioned the original Legion cinematic earlier – re-watching that again to write about this music I realised that the other music I wanted to write about was actually featured very briefly in that! The other big music moment I had in Legion happened quite by accident again, and it made me cry as well (I’m sensing a theme here…) Obviously the death of Varian has hit me pretty hard, so I have a soft spot for this.

It happened shortly before Legion launched, and I was flying in Stormwind from the Keep to the Mage area where the Demon Hunters were hanging around at the time. Those who know Stormwind well will realise that in doing so, I flew right over the memorial to Varian, Lion’s Rest. I stopped to look and pay my respects. And then this happened:

I don’t know what it is about this piece, but it pulls on all the heartstrings. (And those darn lyrics don’t help, either!) It seems a beautiful farewell for a fallen warrior. ❤

Anyway, as you can tell, I have a thing for the music. It’s always so fitting, and really helps me feel so immersed in the game. One of my favourite parts of any new expansion or zone is hearing the new music that comes along with it. If you haven’t done so, I recommend turning the music on in game while you’re running around doing your World Quests and what not.

It’s beautiful

I mean, come on…

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Shadowmoon valley.

Shadowmoon valley.

Being a hero

This is a big one for me. One of the questions that Leeta asks her guests on Behind the Avatar is whether or not they play male or female characters, and why that is. When I first read that question it got me thinking about why I always play female characters. Of course part of it is that I’m female, so I want to play someone like me (hence a chubby pandaren suits me just nicely!) But it’s become more than that.

For me, in my real life, I feel like a lot of it is out of my control. I feel like I’m not good enough, and I feel like I’m not talented or useful in any way (hello anxiety and self doubt!). But in WoW I am so much more than that. I am strong. I’m (somewhat) intelligent (why did I have to set Gul’dan free again at the start of WoD?!?!). I am a hero. A hero! I get to wield strong weapons and use the elements to hurt or heal, and I love that. And despite it not being real (I promise I’m not throwing buckets of water on people in real life in an attempt to heal them!!!) I have found that as a result of me being a hero in WoW, I have more confidence to try things in real life. I feel empowered, and sometimes I even feel strong. And that to me will always bring me back. That and to me, there is no better sound in the world than the quest completed sound!!

 

So those are some of the slightly different reasons why I keep coming back to WoW. To be honest, I’ll probably end up doing posts about my thoughts on the other reasons as well, but for now, this is it. 🙂

What are your reasons for coming back to WoW time and time again? Why do you love it? Leave a comment below, or join the blog challenge!

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About 2 weeks ago I managed to pick up a casual job thanks to an old boss and some awesome friends. Getting back to work has been really great – knowing I’ve got money coming in again to pay bills is a big load off my mind! But it does come with the downside of a lot less game time. Even less than last time because I actually care about this job, so I’m not being cheeky writing blog posts and what not during work hours! But even with less time in game, I’ve still had a really successful couple of weeks.

Mythics

We’re doing pretty well with our progression, getting 1 new mythic boss down per week. Since getting Krosus down a couple of weeks ago, we’ve successfully managed to continue getting him down each week, which gives us 4 mythic bosses on farm. From next week we’re stoping the heroic runs altogether and starting mythic from scratch so that we have more time to spend on progression bosses when we get to them, which is great.

We got Spellblade down the week after Krosus, and then last weekend it was Tichondrius’ turn to go down.

We should have had Botanist down tonight as well, but thanks to Easter and WoW server crashes being the attendance boss from hell, our raid night didn’t end up happening at all. Hopefully we’ll get him down on Wednesday so we can start the long slog on Star Augur.

Team wise we’re doing really well. We’ve got the numbers which is awesome, and we’re all really gelling together quite well. There’s tense time of course, but that’s part and parcel of mythic raiding, I think. It’s just about making sure that at the end of the night we’re all still mates. We’ve got a great little healing team as always, though really need a strong swing healer to fill gaps for us when someone is away. But otherwise, things are going really well.

Riding around

I’ve been pretty lucky with some new mounts lately. Firstly, I finally got my fox mount! I do love it so much, though I think my pandaren shaman is a little too big for him, so I think I’ll use him on my night elf toons instead. 🙂

Then after raid last week I was so lucky!! Thor was flying over Azuna and asked me “what’s an Ephemeral Crystal?” I spun around and asked if he’d seen one. I immediately flew to where he saw one, and off I went. (Thor wasn’t really interested in the mount, and he knew how much I wanted it, so I hunted with his blessing!). It only took me about half an hour to find all 5 crystals needed to get this beautiful mount!

Then of course there was a Mind-Riddler’s Worm, which the WoW secrets discord group had been hunting for since Jeremy Feasel sent out a series of cryptic tweets. It was really fun to watch the whole thing unfold. I had joined the server just to follow along – people are amazing!!! I knew they’d figured it out when my notifications for the server started going bonkers. It was such great work on their part! There’s a great guide on how to get this mount for yourself – shouldn’t take too much time, especially if you have some friends with you to help make the old raids part faster. It’s such a funny looking mount, but I had to get it! I loved that when I got the final piece that rewarded me a mount, there were loads of people just hanging around on them, floating on these strange worm things in solidarity. So much fun.

And then lastly there was of course the unlocking of flying on the Broken Isles. And so now I have a whole other level of exploring to do from up in the air! 😀

March of the tadpoles

Another micro-holiday came along. This was one I was really looking forward to – March of the tadpoles! Seriously, is there anything more adorable than baby murlocs?!?! No, I didn’t think so. 🙂

So for this micro-holiday, we were able to go see a whole bunch of the more adorable little baby murlocs running around. And best of all, we got to befriend one for the day! Every single baby murloc that was there had a different name, and it’s very own little personality. I had such an awfully hard time choosing which murloc to adopt – I wanted them all! I didn’t want any of them to feel left out! There were some running around really fast like hooligans, having so much fun; there were others there were just hanging out chatting; there was even one little guy that just kept “fainting”! He was hilarious, and I nearly chose him… but then I thought a lot of people would choose him, so I didn’t. I wanted to choose one that no-one else would. (I blame this song that my Mum used to sing to me as a kid for this whole feeling sorry for the “runt” of the litter thing I have!)

In the end I found a little guy hiding in a corner under water. His name was Bloop, and I loved him straight away! He seemed like me – too shy to hang out with everyone else, but still kind wanting to be a part of things… at least from a safe distance.

We went on some adventures together, and in the end he gave me a little present – a Wet Rock. I’ve kept it in my bank for safe keeping. ❤ It was a wonderful little holiday!

Questing all over the world

The rest of my time has been spent on the Broken Shore and around the Broken Isles in general doing World Quests. I want to do a whole separate post about the Broken Shore world quests, but in the meantime I’ll just say that I love them, and I’ve been having so much fun with them!

As well as the World Quests, I’ve been banging my head against the wall that is the healer’s solo artifact challenge. I’m so determined to get it!!! But no luck so far. In time, in time.

 

So that’s my big catch up post! What have you been up to?

It sure has been quiet around here, hasn’t it? To say things have been chaotic in my life right now is a bit of an understatement, and it has obviously been affecting all the “extra-curricular” things I do in my life – this blog included. I have finished up at my last job and am working hard to find myself another in its place, which is incredibly draining, at times depressing, and incredibly time consuming. And in addition to that, my Nan is incredibly unwell at the moment. So much so that I flew up to see her in case things got worse and I was too late. It’s very much a “wait and see” situation at the moment – she could go either way.

Anyway, all of those things combined with still trying to maintain a raiding schedule has just thrown me for a loop, and my poor little blog has suffered. But I am getting things back on track today, so expect some catch up Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge posts to head your way very soon, and hopefully some more regular updates.

Thanks for being patient with me!

xo