Warning – this post contains reference to sensitive content involving abuse and situations involving children. Please proceed with caution.

I’m a bit quieter than usual this month as I am spending the vast majority of it interstate for work. I was hoping that I would have some time to finish off some posts before I left, but as is usually the case, I didn’t really get enough time before hand to do this. Right now I’m writing this post as I fly form Hobart back to Melbourne (home) for a few days before heading off again. (edit: well, I started writing this post on the plane! Finished the last of it off at home.)

It’s interesting being out on the road for extended periods of time like this. It’s a lot harder to keep up to date on what is happening in the community. I’d pick up bits and pieces here and there about game patches and hot fixes, and little things every now and then about the races to world first for mythic Dazar’alor. (I saw Method won the race this morning while I was sleeping – huge congrats to them!)

Yesterday, though, was something else. We had been driving from Launceston to Hobart (for those who don’t know Australia – you know that little island that’s kinda tacked on to the bottom of Australia? That’s Tasmania. Launceston is at the top and Hobart is at the bottom). I had been looking every now and then at twitter and saw a few posts that seemed a bit sad, but I couldn’t really see why. It was only when we arrived and I was checked in to my hotel room that I learned the horrible news about Elvine (***WARNING* this link here takes you to a media release explaining what happened but it contains graphic information about despicable acts involving children. Please proceed with caution***).


There’s something strange about hearing horrible things about a person that you “kind of know”. For some people, they genuinely knew him in person, but for a lot of us it was more distant. Elvine was a part of the Warcraft community for a long time, streaming and writing guides etc, so he was a familiar face to a lot of people. And that has had a really strong impact on the way the news has been taken.

The shock in the community has been palpable, and brutal to say the least. I want to say upfront, I am genuinely sorry for people who are affected by this news. It’s hard not to be. The cause for arrest is nothing less than despicable. But the ripples it has caused throughout the Warcraft community has also been extraordinary. Those close to him seem to be feeling almost a sense of responsibility for the situation. That perhaps they should have picked up on some signs along the way that might hint at what was lurking beneath the surface.

But, for as many messages I’m seeing from people who were in complete shock, I’m seeing almost as many messages from people saying they felt something wasn’t quite right. Others still, terribly, had personal experience of his behaviour.

It goes without saying that not a single other person is responsible for what has happened here – no matter how close you may be to another person, you will never know what it in their mind and heart. People who do these awful things are also extremely good at hiding them, of only showing the world what they want to see. Please know none of this is anyone else’s fault but his.

And that is the reason I wanted to write this post. This awful situation has made people take pause and planted a seed of doubt about those around us, questioning their actions and wondering if there’s something they’ve missed along the way that could suggest something terrible beneath the surface. But I think instead of this, we need to come together.

What has happened here are the acts of a (sick) minority – not the majority. This is a time that we should be remembering what the Warcraft community is best at- being there for each other in the rough times. Supporting those who are struggling and upset, offering an ear or a laugh or a virtual hug to those who need it. Just being there for each other. It’s something that we are actually very darn good at.

This article by Vicky Schaubert on the BBC website had the most uncannily perfect timing. It tells a beautiful and moving story that is familiar to so many of us. It explains what World of Warcraft (and other online games) mean to us, and just how real our friendships with each other are, no matter how far we may physically be from each other.

This is the story that I want us to focus on and remember. Keep this in your hearts. Know that at the end of all of this, there is more good and more beauty in the people around us than not.

Be good to each other.
xo

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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

I’ve been working hard since my last post to set everything up for me to get a bit braver and be more serious about my streaming.

Like I mentioned in that post, I’m going to start streaming some non-WoW content. Because of this, I’ve made the decision to move away from having my pandaren shaman be my “face”. It was a tough decision, because my pandaren has really been the embodiment of my personality for almost as long as I’ve played WoW. But that right there was the problem. So much of what I do creatively at the moment has been so focussed on WoW that trying to do something outside of it has been extremely difficult. WoW has been my clutch, and despite it opening so many doors for me in terms of friendships and content creation, it has also been holding me back. So my pandaren had to go.

cinder_unicorn_at_laptop

I thought a while about what I wanted to be outside of my pandaren. I am not even a little bit attractive, so showing my real face and body is out of the question (I do not have the self esteem to deal with that at all). The answer was obvious in the end – a unicorn! Well, a chubby unicorn anyway hehe. While looking for inspiration for what she might look like, I came across the perfect depiction of me. She’s chubby, sassy, and she games. 😀 There’s actually a whole series that I’ve purchased that depict her in so many different ways. (I can’t wait for Christmas!!!)

I have been madly making graphics and updating everything to have my new unicorn persona. My name won’t change – I’m Cinder now until the day I stop gaming. Despite having only recently revamped by twitch stream, it really didn’t suit the new persona. Thankfully Streamlabs have some really great set ups built in and free to use. I’ve gone all out on this. It has sparkles!!! It might be girly and silly, but I truly don’t care. I’m really having fun with this. I even made new emotes and badges (though I will say this was the hardest part – I really love the totems Sirius made for me).

Here’s a little peek at my twitch page…

unicorn_stream

Cute, huh?!

I have a friend helping me get a capture card for my PC so that I can hook up our Nintendo Switch and stream some games from there. I also had a look at some games on Steam (and was promptly disgusted at some of the games suggested to me there.) I’m even considering getting Discord Nitro to try out some of the games they have on offer. In the meantime, I’m focusing on getting a proper schedule going, starting tomorrow night. I’ll probably stream some WoW first… might even brave LFR (oh my!). Onward and upward! In the meantime, if  you’re interested in coming to hang out with me while I stream, you can find me here – https://twitch.tv/cinder_streams

Anyways, I wanted to share the new Cinder with you all. Hope you like her!

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

WoWScrnShot_100618_145054

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

WoWScrnShot_092318_140445

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

 

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

It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in one of these challenges (which is pretty hilarious given I’m one half of the team that runs these things… ) I’m aiming to do better with these challenges, though, so here I am.

I chose this topic for the challenge because I wanted to see some more positive posts around the place. Pre-expansion patches are always difficult; people are upset about class changes, addons stop working for awhile… the general sense of upheaval can really get to people, and it’s been showing in the community. My hope was to see some posts that focused on the good stuff. And here is mine.

The topic is in two parts – My Top 3 Legion moments, and then What I’m most looking forward to in Battle for Azeroth.

Part 1 – My Top 3 Legion moments

Ok firstly can I just say that Legion has been absolutely incredible with the amount of content it had. We had artifacts that had class customised scenarios to go with them, class order halls and class mounts and customised quests to get them. We had 5 raids, 13 dungeons, 7 new zones, and world quests on all of them. There were pet battle dungeons, and the whole mythic plus system, and secret mounts and pets and toys to discover… there was so much to do! And it was all incredible. So choosing only 3 favourite things is really hard, guys, just know that.

Shameless plug, but a couple of weeks ago I was a guest on Rolling Restart with Rho, and we talked a lot about the amazing things Legion gave us. It was a really fun show! You can check it out right here.

But I must stick to the topic, and choose 3 favourites. So, this is what I’ve come up with.

Cutting Edge Argus

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This is easily one of my highest rated moments in game. Cutting Edge kills usually are for me, because we invest so much time and energy in to getting these kills. We work our butts off and argue and cry and get frustrated, but we keep trying. Cutting Edge, for me, has always been about overcoming all of that to succeed. To kick butt. To feel accomplished. Doing that with a ridiculous and hilarious bunch of people fills me with joy, and makes me super sappy. (For what it’s worth, I re-watched that kill video again just now and it still makes me tear up. Such a good feeling!)

Cinematics

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Without a doubt, a huge highlight for me in Legion has been the cinematics that were so effortlessly weaved into so much of the game, from creating new characters, to levelling in each zone, and taking down raid bosses. The cinematics did such a wonderful job of pulling together all of the pieces of story in the expansion, helping us all make sense of what was happening.

I found this fantastic video on YouTube that shows all of the cinematics in Legion, from beginning to end. All up it’s nearly an hour long – how incredible is that?!?! Really puts it all in to perspective. And also reminds me of just how many times I’ve cried my eyes out in this expansion, holy moly!

Uuna

I’m going to preface this by saying that there were SO many NPCs and stories and side stories that I got attached to in Legion. Runas the Shamed in Azsuna, Ysera’s demise in Val’sharah,  Thalyssra in Suarmar and Mayla Highmountain in… well, Highmountain. All of them were so beautifully portrayed in this expansion, and made it such a wonderful story to play through. So in a way, this section is for all of those characters.

But really, one did stand out a lot. Uuna. I know I have written about her before, but this little quest line really was such a highlight for me.

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I loved that this wasn’t compulsory- that it wasn’t part of the main story. Though in a way, it really was. She was just one of the countless victims of the Legion. A tragically sweet and innocent victim at that. And so we go on a completely heartbreaking journey to save her from never ending darkness. Oh my gosh, it really is just so, so beautiful. I’m so glad I was able to save her. And I can’t wait to take her on my next adventure.

Part 2 – what I am most looking forward to in Battle for Azeroth

This is always a tough topic. New expansions hold so much promise. We know there’s going to be a whole bunch of new content coming. This pre-expansion content and story has already ripped our hearts out and caused so much divide in the community (not just Alliance vs Horde, either!) There’s so much to look forward to! Here are a couple of my favourite things…

Leading ladies

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Like everyone else, I have been living for the Warbringer series. Seeing the stories behind these kick ass women has been so wonderfully heartbreaking. I’m terrified, but I have faith that Blizzard are going to do these ladies justice by having amazing stories for them in Battle for Azeroth. And I can’t wait to experience it!

New Allied races – now with curves!

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I am absolutely with Ann here– I simply cannot wait to see the Kul’Tiran race – these ladies have curves! They got booty!

We don’t know what classes the Kul’Tiran can be yet, although it does look like they will be able to be druids given all the druid forms that have been datamined. I am really hoping they can be shaman. Firstly, so few of the allied races can be shaman at all, which is really frustrating. But more than that, I WANT TO BE KUL’TIRAN! I’ve never considered race changing from my pandaren. I love her dearly, and always will. But the Kul’Tiran… they’ve got something going on that just really sits so well with me. Maybe I will change my mind once I’ve played through the story in BfA… but for the time being, I would just love to be a kick-ass Kul’Tiran restoration shaman. *fingers crossed*

New raids

This one really goes without saying, doesn’t it? I’ve been so restless these past few weeks as the expansion has come to a close and raiding has ended. I miss it so much. I miss the challenge and the learning and fighting and tantrums. lol I cannot wait to see what Blizz has in store for us in raids in BfA!

 

So that’s my list! Do you agree? Check out what other people have put on their lists over on the main post at https://zandcindersblogchallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/28/topic-36-farewell-to-legion/.

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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

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
– Emily Dickinson

I’ve had this poem swimming around in my head ever since I read the latest official Warcraft novel, ‘Before the Storm’ by Christie Golden. Every time I think about the book, I keep thinking about hope, and what it means to lose it. And what becomes of the person who does.

~*~*~SPOILER ALERT for ‘Before the Storm’ and some Legion-end specific content.~*~*~

before_the_storm_coverIt was the latest episode of the Rolling Restart podcast during which Rho and Ben Bumhoffer talked about their opinions on the book that I got to thinking about my own thoughts and where I thought it was all going. (Side note: Rolling Restart is one of my favourite podcasts, by the way. Comes out every fortnight, and Rho gets some awesome people on to talk about random things.)  And it was during that podcast that I realised I had ‘Hope is the thing with feathers’ in my head since finishing the book.

For me, ‘hope’ was such a prevalent theme throughout the book: Sylvanas’ hope for the future of her people, the forsaken, and Anduin’s undying hope for peace between the factions are the two first obvious instances. But it went so much deeper than that. Magni’s hope that Azeroth herself would survive; Grizzek and Sappronetta’s hope for each other… everyone’s hope that Azeroth might survive, and the people living upon its earth would see out their days in peace.

Isn’t it hope that keep us going each day? That gives us a reason to wake up in the morning and go about our day? Hope that, if things are not good, they will get better; or if things are well, they stay that way? I feel like every part of this book played with the notion of hope; what it means to have it, and what happens to those who lose it.

And I suppose that’s why I keep coming back to this poem.

Anduin

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One of the criticisms I have seen of the book has been the character of Anduin and his relentless pursuit of peace. As if peace is a weakness, a youthful innocence that is not becoming of a king, and something to be ashamed of. As if wanting to be good and happy and kind, and wanting that for others, are character flaws. They are not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. How strong must your heart be to believe everyone is capable and worthy of happiness? How sturdy your soul to know peace is possible? And how brave must you be to feel all of this, when your own heart has just been broken in the most horrific way. The fact that Anduin is still capable of love and compassion and hope after everything he has been through (not just the recent obliteration of his father) is a testament to his resilience as a human being.

There’s a nobility in being able to see past the darkness around you to give light to others. And it’s for this reason I believe Anduin is one of the strongest people in the Warcraft universe. But it is also for this reason that I am terrified for him.

Until now, Anduin has embodied the theme of the poem- his hope is deep inside him, and it sings, sings, sings. But it’s this line that troubles me:

And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird

‘Sore must be the storm’. In a very literal way, we know a storm is coming because the book is quite literally called Before the Storm. We also know a storm is coming because it’s what triggers events in Battle for Azeroth. But what else will it trigger? Will Anduin’s little bird of hope be ‘abashed’? Or worse, silenced?

There were so many times that I cried during the reading of this book. I felt like my heart kept getting broken over and over again. Most of the time it was because it seemed like Anduin was being repeatedly punished for his hope. I cried as he publicly said goodbye to his father, and then as his servent, Wyll, passed away, and especially so when he watched in horror as the hopes of his people were destroyed and their family members murdered. Each betrayal would be enough for most people to crumble. But he just.kept.going. And still, at the end of the book, there his hope is, singing away.

But what if what is to come is too much? What if it’s the last that his hope can take? What becomes of someone like that? Well, I think they start to become like my other favourite character…

Sylvanas

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I am not saying Sylvanas is without hope. Far from it. In some ways she is almost just as hopeful as Anduin. Maybe even more. Because if you want to talk about a survivor, Sylvanas is the Queen of them. There are few people in Azeroth who have been through and seen what Sylvanas has. She has literally been born and reborn and reborn again, and that changes a person. (Quite literally in Sylvanas’ case). Sylvanas could never have become the Queen she is today if she were without hope.

But Sylvanas has a different kind of hope. To go back to the bird analogy, I think Sylvanas’ hope is a screeching bird- Loud. Constant. Desperate. It’s a bird that’s weathered the storm.

One of the things Ben said in the Rolling Restart podcast was about Sylvanas being protective of her people. Almost like a mother. It’s a great thought, because what is more fierce, more determined, than a mama bear protecting her family? It’s this protective nature that seems to drive so many of Sylvanas’ actions. She wants only to keep her people safe. The difference with her hope, though, is the way she strives to achieve this. That desperate bird calling inside her is why she takes such drastic, and sometimes cruel actions to do what she believes is right for her people.

In a way it even explains why she was such a cold-hearted bitch to her own people as they prepared to meet their still-living family members. She wants to help them, to let them ‘live’ forever. To give them a future better than the extended rot they face. She knows that if her peoples’ families reject them, they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives… and she doesn’t want that for them. She is desperate to protect them from their own hope. The trouble will be if she becomes desperate for them to love her… but that’s another topic for another day.

When we talk about criticisms of Before the Storm, most of them are around how Sylvanas is portrayed in the book, as being another villain; another Garrosh to defeat at the end of Battle for Azeroth. I find it disappointing that people are not looking deeper than this… but again perhaps another topic for another day. Suffice to say, if people believe Sylvanas to be so one-dimensional, they are missing some of the most interesting parts of her character. We need to remember- she’s not human. Her reasoning is different. Her motivations are different. Her hope…

It’s Sylvanas’ hope for her peoples’ future that makes me believe that it’s entirely possible for her to talk away from them so that they may be lead by the new ‘undead-but-in-a-pretty-way’ Calia Menethil. I don’t know how this would happen, but I believe it’s possible. I believe Sylvanas could sacrifice herself, knowing her people could be taken care of by Calia, who is now one of them.

Or maybe I’m wrong, and Calia’s situation will be the final straw for Sylvanas, and will tip her over the edge of being protective, and becoming all out vindictive instead. (An Undead divided, even?)

Regardless of what is to come, what Before the Storm did for me was show me just how much Sylvanas loves her people, and how her hope for them and their future is what motivates her. And even though I don’t agree with her methods, even though I cried my heart out as she had her own people murdered… I understand. Her hope still screams.

After Before the Storm

I feel like I could write about this book for days. How I became an emotional wreck reading it. How I loved the interracial relationship, and how I held my breath as they fought to survive. How I felt like I was being punched in the gut over and over again.

But I won’t.

Instead, I’m going to read it again. Because I really, really enjoyed this book. But most of all… most of all I felt proud of my King, I felt a better understanding of the Banshee Queen and I am full of hope that Battle for Azeroth is going to rip my heart out again with an amazing story.

 

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

What a big weekend! Achievements and mounts and pets – it all happened!

~*~*~*~Note there are some class campaign and class mount story spoilers in this post for Death Knight and Rogue.~*~*~*~

This weekend I managed to tick of a lot of things from my bucket list, and even a few that weren’t there.

First up, my little warrior dinged 110.

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She’s still got a long way to go to get through her campaign, but at least for now the “hard” part is done. This just leaves my demon hunter to get to 110, then all classes will be at max level!

After completing the Death Knight campaign last weekend, it was time to get the class mount. I have to agree with the general cohort here and say that the Death Knight campaign is definitely one of the best, if not the best campaigns of all the classes. They nailed the class fantasy with this story. I felt down right evil throughout most of it, and was squirming in my seat when I was being asked to do some pretty wretched things. It was brilliant.

Then yesterday I went off to do the class mount story, and that was also brilliant. I really enjoyed it! It’s down right creepy having the Lich King constantly pushing me to do evil things in my ear… but do them, I must. For the mounts, of course!

I really enjoyed the scenario for this quest, as it took us to a place that we’ve not really been to before (whereas most other mount stories just take us to old world places. Which is great! But this was a nice change). The cinematic at the end was absolutely BRILLIANT. I got some amazing screen shots of my DK in that! The Death Knight stuff really is excellent, so if you’re even a little bit curious about it, level one up and go for it!

 

Today (Sunday) it was my rogue’s turn to complete her mount quest. The Rogue class campaign was ok… the trouble is that I just really don’t like rogues as a class, so the overall experience was tainted for me. Levelling her was so painful because I died a lot, and I just didn’t find it fun. Don’t get me wrong, it was still interesting, but let me put it this way- I didn’t take any screenshots of the campaign at all. That’s how uch fun I didn’t have doing it.

I did, however, take some screenshots of the mount campaign because that was quite good. Although truth be told, felt a little rushed. The basic premise is that we go do a favour for Ravenholdt, and he gives us a mount in return. The quest line really has nothing to do with the mount (whereas most of the other campaigns make the acquisition of the mount a big deal). Still, the quest line had me sneaking in to Horde cities to kill random targets. Which was tough because I don’t pvp, and these were not instances of the capital cities- it was live. So not only did I have to sneak past guards and what not, I had to dodge other players, too. I did alright, though, and got through it relatively well. Which is great, because truth be told, the rogue class mount is right up there on my list of favourites. I absolutely LOVE the raven models. And the fact that there’s four of them makes it even better!

 

It was after getting the first rogue mount that I started looking at my mount count, and adding up how many I had left. With the first raven, it brought me to 294, and the second raven (for having concordance on my outlaw spec) brought me to 295. Only 5 mounts needed to get to 300 for Lord of the Reins achievement and mount. Ok, I can do this! I quickly did a world quest for some Artifact Power to get my Assassination artifact concordance as well. Done – 296. The fourth was subtlety, which I didn’t even have the artifact for. So off I went to unlock the artifact, then went an killed the world boss for enough AP in one go to get concordance rank 2! And that made mount 297.

So then I had a think about which other classes had mounts for specs that I didn’t play. First one that came to mind was paladin – I didn’t have the tank artifact or mount. So off I went to get that artifact. Killed the world boss again and bamn! Concordance and mount for ret paladin done- 298. (I also discovered there are glyphs that allow me to change my Divine Steed ability to use one of the class mounts instead of the racial mount. This was an AWESOME discovery as I really hate the giant elek I run around on mid-fight!)

My next thought was my warlock. The mounts were a little different for this one- the first mount you just get for completing the campaign. The second you can buy with order hall resources, and I’d already done that too. The last mount, however, was a drop from a rare on the Broken Shore. I’d been stopping by each day waiting for him to spawn without any luck. Figured I’d see how I go again today… wouldn’t you know- there was the rare! I killed him and BAMN! Mount 299 acquired! ONE TO GO!

I was thinking and thinking and then I remembered my hunter! I still hadn’t unlocked the Survival artifact, nor its mount. So I went to unlock survival. I did it as BM as much as I could before swapping over. Was a little tricky in some parts, but got it done. Again, went and killed the world boss for 5 mil AP and there it was- mount 300!! Except for some reason it didn’t ding on my hunter. It happened when I swapped over to my paladin instead. Lord of the Reins is finally complete! I really didn’t think I’d get this done for a bit longer yet. But I’m very pleased that I have. 🙂

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LORD OF THE REINS!

Because I was on a roll with everything, I went and unlocked all the artifacts I hadn’t done yet that awarded a toy or pet from Power Ascended. The best one was the Death Knight, as there was an adorable whelping for each spec that I picked up!

All in all it was a very busy but productive weekend. I only have the warrior class campaign and mount campaign to do, as well as finishing off levelling my Demon Hunter to 110 and doing all her campaign and mount quest line. I’m almost there! 😀

By the way, if you’re wanting to find out which classes have bonus pets or toys or have more than one class mount, check out the Class Mounts guide on wowhead.

I’m not very good at saving money in real life, but I’m a little better at it in WoW (mostly because we don’t have to pay rent or anything in game hehe). I’m not the greatest at making gold at all; I don’t have the time or the patience. But I do make enough to support my raiding requirements, and every now and again am able to keep some extra aside.

There’s a world quest on the Broken Shore that Khadgar gives us, to find some Kirin Tor Coins that he’s managed to drop on the ground. When we find one, we get a very short buff that leaves a sparkling rainbow trail behind us when we walk. It’s the most beautiful effect, and have wished for a toy that would give that same buff. Turns out there is one.

The Mad Merchant is a rare NPC spawn in Dalaran, and oh boy does this guy clean out your bank. He only sells 4 items, the cheapest of which is 250,000 gold (yes, a quarter of a million). Thankfully, that cheapest item is the Prismatic Bauble, and it gives that same buff from the world quest, only this time it lasts a little bit longer, and can be used every 2 minutes.

I LOVE IT.

I took my little Void Elf Warlock out for a run in the snow with it- isn’t is beautiful?!

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So now I’m broke again… but I think it’s worth it 😀

xo

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

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Part two of Topic 29: the 2017 wrap-up double challenge bonanza! 

The second challenge topic we had for December, to help wrap up the year, was to show one favourite screenshot for each month. I like this challenge, because I love taking screenshots (I have almost 3000 just from this year alone!!!) but boy is it a tough challenge choosing only one picture for each month. (ok so I may have cheated a little with the collage up top….). There’s so much exciting stuff that happens! BUT, a challenge is a challenge, so here we go.

January

There were a lot of beginnings in January (aside from it being the beginning of a new year). Firstly, this is when Pit Crew was born. It was supposed to be a new start for our raid team. And whilst things didn’t quite turn out that way, I do have fond memories of our first night in Nighthold, which also opened in January. My screenshots folder is PACKED full of pictures of the raid. It really was beautiful. January was also my first time in Karazhan, and also when we got our Arcanist’s Manasaber, for helping out the Nightbourne.

The screenshot I’ve chosen to share, though, is from my order hall. I chose this pic because it shows one of the things that I love most about WoW- the little things. These two NPCs are actually part of ~*~*SPOILER ALERT~*~*~ the restoration shaman artifact quest line. They’re not here all the time, they just stop by from time to time. And they are just adorable. Adelee is trying to teach Grash how to dance. It’s absolutely adorable. And like I said, is the little things that I love about this game. 🙂WoWScrnShot_011817_180459.jpeg

February

February gave me Experiment 12-B, completed Brawler’s Guild, a ghost moose, and a bunch of raiding achievements. It was also the month I wrote about being harassed online, and was also the month someone in game randomly saw me and whispered me to tell me they enjoyed my blog.

The pic I’ve chosen to share is from when I get my Arcane mage hidden artifact appearance. This whole quest chain was hilarious. And I just adore farmer Cinderlily with her sheep followers!

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March

We went back to the Broken Shore in March, I “discovered” places in Dalaran that have always existed (I’d just never seen them!), I got extremely lucky with loot drops (hidden appearances, legendaries and mounts, oh my!), and bought myself Yu’lei. I also spent a bit of time levelling my priest, got all my hidden appearances for my mage, and took a whole bunch of screenshots of the Cathedral of Eternal Night. I also wrote a few posts in March, my favourite being where I designed my own zone in WoW.

This pic for March, though, is of myself with 4 other lovely ladies I’m so fortunate enough to call friends. Each month (or as often as we can!) myself, Leeta, Natanie, Miggi & MrsO all get together just just hang out in chat and play some games together. Sometimes we run dungeons together, other times we’ll do invasions or old raid runs or even try our hands at Overwatch or Heroes of the Storm. But no matter what we do, we always have a great time, and I’m so glad to know them. ❤

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April

April was “quieter” because I got a new job, so had less time to play. But I still managed to squeeze in an awful lot! It was the month of mounts: I got my fox mount, the Valajar Stormwing, the Leywoven Flying Carpet and I found the Long-Forgotten Hippogryph. We also got to solve some riddles to get a new (to be honest, pretty ugly) mount!

Other than all the mounts, we killed a whole bunch of mythic bosses in Nighthold, and I spent a looooong time bashing my head against the Mage Tower challenge (and not getting it at that time!).

The most fun thing that happened in April was the Inky Black Potion. Everyone went bananas for it, and it’s not hard to see why. I flew all around Azeroth and took a LOT of screenshots with that potion.

We also got to play with baby murlocs, in what was one of the most adorable micro-holidays of the year.

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May

I spent a fair bit of time with my paladin in May, getting her levelled up and finishing her class hall story. We had two micro-holidays that I attended- the Spring Balloon Festival, and the Glowcap Festival. It was also the month I got my Ratstallion mount, and when we started working on mythic Gul’dan.

During this month, we also learned of a little murloc pet, Squirky, who could be captured off the coast of Azsuna, on a very small island full of very strong murlocs. I was extremely lucky when I went to get a Squirky of my own- the lighting was absolutely spectacular, leading to the picture below. I think it looks like a painting. Those cotton candy clouds are just divine!

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June

Class mounts became available in June. I really enjoyed the quest line to get my shaman mount. Oh and what a mount it is! I also headed off to get my mage her class mount, too. I took part in the Running of the Trolls for the first time this year, and it was a lot of fun. Our raid team killed mythic Gul’dan AND mythic Helya – and all of this is just in the first 2 weeks of the month!

I spent some more time levelling a priest, brought Dog to Dalaran, and helped save Chromie. I also followed the clues to get my own Sun Darter Hatchling (which I wrote about here). Tomb of Sargeras took up the bulk of June, though. I took SO many screenshots of that raid. I really enjoyed everything about it. It felt like it had a proper story that contributed to the overall narrative of the expansion. I loved that completing the raid changed the physical world around us. The picture I’ve chosen, for me, represents everything we’re fighting for this expansion- our home (for me, Stormwind) and to stop the Burning Legion.

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July

In July I got to raid with my lovely friends Zee & Neuro again for awhile (though the poor things really did not have a good time with us… things were not great at the time 😦 ) I got myself a Wild Dreamrunner mount and the Paladin and druid class mounts. I even went to visit Faeb, just to say hi. It’s also the month I got my beautiful new PC, Alice!

The highlight for July, though, was hands down *finally* completing the Mage Tower challenge on my resto shaman. I had given up for quite some time as I had gotten so, so frustrated with it. But I stuck to it, and finally got the darn thing. And I felt very accomplished indeed.

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August

We had the Trial of Style in August, and it was a LOT of fun, and I managed to get the Remember to Share achievement, which gave me yet another mount.

However, without a doubt, the biggest thing to happen in August was going to Argus. Not only did we get to explore this world we have heard so much about… but we got to see a whole other side to Azeroth. It hit me right in the feels, this pic.

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September

Another month of mounts, artifact challenge and hidden appearances, and of course, raiding. But easily the most defining moment in September was, after hours of running and and searching a seemingly endless maze, finally seeing this treasure box at the end of it all (and of course getting the Lucid Nightmare mount). I had intended to write about my experience getting this mount, but it was also around this time that my blog went down for extended maintenance, so I didn’t get to. For what it is worth- I absolutely LOVED getting this mount 😀

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October

I ran with gnomes, got more hidden artifact appearances, and got my little priest her class mount. It was a lot of “alts” time that month, just ticking off the achievements.

We also had Hallow’s End, where I got to fly around like a sexy maniacal pumpkin! WoWScrnShot_102017_221050.jpg

November

It’s always all about Blizzcon in November, with everyone flying around in their Blizzcon class mounts. It was also WoW’s birthday, so of course there was lots of alt-levelling here, too, including getting my Monk her class mount.

November was also the month that the guild fell apart. Again. It was particularly sad and painful this time around, because we wanted it to work so much. But some personalities just don’t mesh well, and we split up and went our separate ways.

But on a happier note, November had the Moonkin Festival, which was ADORABLE. I loved having my very own moonkin squad! 😀WoWScrnShot_111217_225231.jpg

December

And here we are at the end of the year. December has given us yet another stunningly beautiful raid, Antorus. Again, a fabulous raid that really brings the story together. It’s also the first raid with our rebuilt team, Realm. So far, things are going really well, I think. It’s not perfect, but the imperfections aren’t as sour as they were previously. The people are great. Just so great. I’m so fortunate to have such a wonderful group of people in my life. And it’s for that reason that, even though history shows otherwise, I think we’ll work as a team. I have to have hope that it will.

So I end this series with a hopeful picture for you all. WoWScrnShot_121017_134442.jpg

 

Like I said, this was hard. There are far too many picture to choose from each month. But if I chose them all, we’d be here forever. I hope you liked the images I chose, though!

So that’s it for December, and 2017! Thank you to every person who has ever stumbled across my little blog, and an extra special thanks to anyone who has liked or commented. It means the world to me that you read my silly words.

May 2018 be full of love and hope and laughter, and all the things that make you happy.

xo

PS: Ok one last one because I can’t help myself! I just really love this pic!!

illidan

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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

This week one of the most anticipated micro-holidays finally rolled around- the Trial of Style. A micro-holiday all about transmog!!! It really is a lot of fun. It does help to go in prepared, so I thought I’d give those who haven’t had a go yet a quick run down of what to expect, and some tips to help you along.

How does it work?

The Trial of Style is a very short scenario with a random group of 6 players, during which everyone plays dress-ups and we vote on who wore it best.

To get started, go visit your friendly transmog vendor in a capital city (the transmog vendor on the Grand Expedition Yak does not seem to know about this event… poor fella). Choose the option to queue for the scenario and wait a couple of minutes.

You’ll be teleported to one of the rooms in Magisters’ Terrace. A timer will immediately start counting down while the hosts introduce the event. At the end of their introduction, they will announce the theme for the competition. Once you know the theme, you have 2 minutes to create a transmog to suit it.

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Transmog vendors and barber chairs can be found to the left and right of where you zone in. (Changing your appearance doesn’t cost anything in this event, so don’t worry about going broke!) Everyone is dressed in smocks so you can’t see what other people are creating in advance.

Once the two minutes are up, it’s a round-robin of fashion, as you go up in pairs to show off your creation. Those who are not in stage vote on who they think matched the theme best. In the end, three winners are announced and brought up on stage (although everyone gets some form of prize for being there).

Here are some pics of some of my placements (forgot to get any for my paladin!)

The rewards from the event are tokens that can be used to purchase transmog sets for your armor type, so one each for cloth, leather, mail and plate. There’s also a shirt that you can purchase if you manage to win one of the scenarios. If you don’t manage to place in your scenarios, don’t worry- it only takes 4 attempts to get enough to buy one of the sets. Note: you can only purchase a set that you can actually wear. For example if you are a mage, you can only buy the cloth set. You cannot buy a different set type for an alt.

Tips

There are a couple of things that might be handy to know in advance of going into this.

  • One of the themes is called “Tabard Time”. Make sure you have a tabard available in your bags so that you can use it as part of this theme, otherwise you’ll be a bit stranded (though not all hope is lost. My druid got 3rd place in the Tabard theme without having a tabard, because others did have one either!)
  • Remember you can transmog your weapons, but only to matching weapon types i.e. one-handed swords can only be transmogged to other one-handed swords/axes/maces etc (depending on what your class can wield)
  • If you want to transmog to a different weapon, grab yourself a very cheap weapon from the AH to keep in your bags. That way you can quickly equip in the scenario to give you more transmog options.
  • Toys can be used! I used the “Stolen Breath” to make my breath all frosty to help finish off my “Winter Wear” transmog set, and I think it worked nicely. I never got to do a theme that would have made my Blazing Wings useful… maybe next time 🙂
  • If you are so inclined, you can pre-plan your transmogs, making it a lot less stressful. The wowhead guide for the event has a full list of all of the possible themes you can get. Create and save some sets in advance to help take some of the pressure off.

My biggest tip, though, is to just have fun! I had some really amazing groups that were such a laugh. There was one group in particular who was really chatty which was nice, and they all had bloody awesome transmogs! It was so hard to choose who to vote for! It’s also a great way to get some transmog ideas. 🙂

I was pretty happy with out how I went in the end. My shaman got third, second then first for the 3 that she did. My paladin got a third and a second. My mage got a second and a first place. My druid had the hardest time because I have so little leather gear, but she managed to get a third place in one of hers, which was nice.

Good luck to anyone entering it! It’s still going for a couple more days yet, so you’ve got a little time, but don’t leave it too late!

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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~*~*~*~*~ Potential spoilers ahead.~*~*~*~*~

EDIT: adding more pics of little things like this as I find them. See them at the bottom of the post. 

This latest reset has seen a few new things appear in game. For those who have not yet killed Kil’Jaeden on Normal or higher difficulty, the skies would have been empty for them. Until today. Today, Kil’Jaeden became available in LFR difficulty, and to coincide with that, Argus appear in the skies for everyone to see. And the world has responded.

Today when I logged in, I noticed the Doomsayers were back.

They are handing out their pamphlets again (though not sure if the achievement is still available). They seem a lot more smarmy than usual, too.

But then I noticed other things. On Krasus’ Landing there were clumps of NPCs hanging around Kirin’Tor guardians, demanding answers.

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There were clumps of draenei huddled together…

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Investigations were being held on the edge of the platform, and Kirin’Tor Guardians were on high alert patrolling the outskirts of the city.

I wandered into the main areas of the city, and there are draenei everywhere. (That dude walking around with the book- I wish Cinderstorm could do that!!)

The citizens of the city are afraid, and as a leader, they are coming to me for answers. Which right now, I don’t have.

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We know we are headed to Argus soon… Very soon, judging by what’s happening in game right now. But other than that, I don’t really know what’s going on. And I LOVE it. It’s been really great not looking at PTR patch notes- for the most part I don’t know much at all about what’s going to happen when we get to Argus.

It’s fun speculating what will happen, knowing I’m probably completely wrong. One of the things that I found really interesting about the Draenei NPCs is some of the wording they have been using. One said to me “By the Light’s blessing, our path begins anew.” And it made me stop and think…

I was reminded of the scenario in the Exodar with Prophet Velen and Rakeesh and all that unfolded there, with us ultimately destroying Velen’s son. At the end, Velen announces he is done, and he is going home. Home, being Argus. And I just couldn’t help but wonder… did Velen know what Illidan was up to? Did he help Illidan?

It’s interesting times, for sure! For me, I love this part, where the whole world around me is responding to things that are happening in game. It really adds to the immersion. Their sense of doom and fear is driving me to keep fighting. We’ve all come too far to just roll over and let the Legion win. I can’t wait to see Argus!!

 

EDIT 1: So I just went to the Alliance bank in Dalaran and came across two goblins, Pixxy and Shnivel, emptying out their loot from the bank…
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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. 🙂

 

 

Cast your minds back to Blizzcon, November 2015, when Legion was still in our future and we were grabbing at any and all sneak peeks at what was to come. During one of the presentations we learned about artifact weapons, and some of the appearances were shown. And me, well I fell in love with what they showed for restoration shamans:

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That one on the right- that’s the one! ❤ (image from Wowhead- http://www.wowhead.com/news=249811/legion-artifact-weapon-guide-early-alpha)

I absolutely adored that appearance on the far right. So when Legion came out I eagerly looked to find out how I could get it. And it wasn’t there. It wasn’t the hidden appearance… it wasn’t even a pvp appearance! I’m was disappointed, but figured that it would come into the game eventually; I’d just have to wait.

Then patch 7.2 came out, and with it, the Mage Tower challenges. And there it was- my appearance! Gated behind a challenge. And a bloody tough challenge at that. But it was a solo thing that I could work on by myself and in my own time, which is just how I like it.

So I went in there when the challenges first opened, and had my ass handed to me. It was *hard*. But that only made me more determined. So I kept trying over and over again, getting a little further through each time. Then things got to busy and I missed the last 2 times the Mage Tower was up.

Until this time.

I went in last night to see if a new trinket I got would work on the NPCs (side note: this was worth testing because a trinket from Nighthold, Perfectly Preserved Cake (which gives a shield to nearby players), didn’t actually work in the scenario. The new trinket I got is The Deceiver’s Grand Design, which allows you to put a shield on a player that does some good stuff.) Turned out, the trinket not only worked, but it kicked BUTT. (probably aided by the fact that I got extremely lucky and got a 940 version of the trinket…). I got pretty close to defeating it last night, but I was too tired, so went to bed.

This morning I got up and went straight back in there. First pull is always crap as I get back into the swing of things (and I wake up lol). Then second pull I made a big mistake in the middle section of the fight. I recovered well enough, but it shook my confidence a bit so I ended up not doing so well in the last phase with all the adds.

And then the last pull. The last pull I was doing pretty well. I remembered to put on my healing rain legendary boots (because I just personally found them really helpful with the Tier 20 4-set bonus) and I just took my time with it. I got through the first phase really well with some a lucky fixate going on one of the NPCs instead of me. And I didn’t get hit by a mana sting in the last phase, so I got through it well. Then I sat around for a little bit while I waited for the heroism debuff to wear off.

The on to phase 2. The dps boost we got in 7.2.5 really helped this not be such a panic. I was able to get through it all with about a minute to spare, and that was with me really taking my time and healing myself to full between each mob. Then I waited again to make sure all my CDs were available going in to the last phase.

The last phase was the hardest for me, I think. Not the boss, but the bit before that, where the boss is drawing in mobs from around the edges and you have to heal them up before they get to him. I had issues with line of sight, so they were more almost halfway to the boss before I could start healing them, which made it trickier. But I paid attention to the advice on wowhead and used my Ancestral Guidance for the first wave, and my ascendance for the second, and I was able to heal a bunch of them up. So when that phase ended, I only had 4 mobs to deal with. As soon as they spawned I dropped a cap totem to stun them all, then AOE’d my butt off to get the bad ones down. Then it was left to just the two guys that fixate and hit the crap out of me, but a spirit link helped manage that a bit better.

And then before I knew it, I was facing the boss for the first time. By this point I still had healing tide available, and even better – my resurrection ability. I was glad to have done the Nightbane fight previously as well, so I was able to manage it quite well. I popped hero, then hit the crap out of him. I died right at the end, but ressed in time to hit him one last time and he died. And I had done it! And I squealed with joy.

Honestly, there is nothing more satisfying than being pushed to frustration and anger over a challenge, and then defeating it. It sounds strange, but I tell you, it just makes the adrenaline that much sweeter.

Now… about that elemental appearance… 😉

So the secret finding community has been at it again, and with the launch of 7.2.5 they discovered how to get the gorgeous Sun Darter Hatchling pet. It’s quite the puzzle, and incredible of them to have figured it out!

If you would like to get your very own Sun Darter, check out the comment on Wowhead with all of the instructions. I took a few screenshots along the way.

So before you head off to start this adventure, you need to be prepared with a whole bunch of random consumables. The comment has the full list. Most can be purchased from the Auction House, but some required some adventuring. Thankfully I already had the Gordok Ogre Suit on an alt, so I only needed to get me Scotty’s Lucky Coin, Noggfenfogger Elixr, Winterfall Firewater, and some Dire Brew. Most were straight forward (although Scotty was tricky to find!) But the Dire Brew… argh. I have always gotten so damn lost in Blackrock Depths, and this time was no exception. I was running around that place for almost an hour just for this. I was most frustrated! But I got there in the end.

The other sticking point for this was the Major Nature Protection Potion. All of the other potions were available on the AH for a reasonable price, but the Nature potion- well that one was selling for 10k and up. I just couldn’t justify it. I understand the reasoning- you need to be exalted with Cenarian Expedition to purchase the recipe, and some of the mats can be tricky to get… but still. 10k was a bit excessive. So I looked in my guild list to see if anyone in guild had the recipte. There was 1 person, but they weren’t on very often. Even still, I went off and sourced all the mats for the potion, and waited for them to log on. They did not. In the end I looked on the AH and saw the price had dropped to 5k, so figured stuff it, and bought one. lol

So off I went on my adventure! I had never ever been to the part of Azeroth that this cave was found in. I personally found the area really magical. There was just something about it that said “adventures happen here”. I think I’ll just go back every now and then to sit around. It’s a beautiful spot by the sea.

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Once inside, you are immediately stopped by a wall of fire, shortly followed by a wall of fel. This is where all of your potions come into play.

Once you are through the fel wall, it’s time to turn into a skeleton. I had bought 20 Noggenfogger Elixrs in case it took me awhile to change to a skeleton, but wouldn’t you know it? Got it first go. So I snuck past the first gargoyle…

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I then came to a fork in the road. The instructions said to go to the vined wall first, so that I did. Using Scotty’s Lucky Coin I turned into a sprite, and was able to freely pass through the wall, to collect a stone from the puddle inside. Once back out and in front of the blue wall, I used the stone and got all wet! But I was able to pass through onto the next area.

This is where the Dire Brew got used, and I turned into a Dark Iron Dwarf. I was able to dance right past that guard with no worries at all!

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The path then split into 3 options. First we had to go up a ramp to a purple wall. Using an Ethereal Oil, I was able to pass through the wall to what lay beyond. This part was the part I was most impressed with. Inside this room was a strange stone with a hole in the middle of it. The idea is that you need to put your arm in the hole to get a special buff. But your arm has to be the right type and size. The secret finders figured out that if you use the Gordok Ogre Suit and Winterfell Firewater, you’re just the right size! And shove my arm in, I did.

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Out I went, and this time faced a caged wall. I drank Pygmy Oil until I turned into a Pygmy and could run through the bars. Inside was a myterious cube that wanted to see “an amusing heir”. Well my perky pug in a princess outfit would do just the trick! Second buff received.WoWScrnShot_062717_143006

Then it was through the last wall that was now opened up. It was kinda creepy inside. There was a plaque to the right which I clicked on. Then swapping a few buffs over, I walked across the water to click on the Oddly-Colored Egg- and the Sun Darter Hatchling was mine! 🙂

This was just so much fun to do. I hope that the secret finding community had a great time figured it all out! 🙂

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I’ve spent a bit of time this weekend attempting the mage tower artifact challenge yet again. I put in about an hour or 2 each time the tower is up in an attempt to get the artifact appearance that I have been wanting since I first saw it on beta.

This weekend I got the closest I’ve ever been to getting it done – up to the very last boss – before I failed miserably. I’m progressing a little more each time. Truth be told, I was sure I’d get it this weekend. I was able to get through the first stage easily each time I tried yesterday, and everything that I had read and watched for Resto shamans indicated that the first phase was the hardest for us. So I felt really good being able to push through that multiple times.

But such is the way when you’re unwell, I had to stop and rest when I was on a roll yesterday. I figured it would be ok, I’d be able to pick things up again today, (Sunday) and get it done. I felt even more confident about it because I had managed to get my 52nd trait last night, which unlocked the final new Concordance trait (woot!). I also managed to pick up a few great pieces during our heroic farm clear last night, including a tier helm that managed to titanforge AND have a socket! This was really great news because the only gem slots I had in my gear were on a couple of legendaries, meaning I was locked in to having one or 2 set legendaries so I could have the 200+stat gem. But now, I can have that in my tier helm, and can swap through whatever legendaries I like. Huzzah!!

Anyway, given all of that, I had another crack at the challenge this afternoon and I *sucked*. Like, terribly. I don’t know what was going on, but I just couldn’t push through that first phase again. So I’m sitting here sulking and feeling sorry for myself. I only gave it half an hour because I just wasn’t doing any better. I’m just marvelling at how one day I can be doing brilliantly, and the next, sucking super hard. Here’s hoping after dinner I pull my shit together, because we’re onto Mythic Gul’dan progression now! SO exciting!!

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Anyways, this was just a bit of a ramble really. Just reflecting a bit on how much my performance can change based on how I’m feeling.

Truth be told, I’ve been feeling pretty lost in WoW lately. No, it’s not from lack of things to do, or not enjoying the game (because there is plenty to do, and I still completely love the game!). Once again it’s how I’m performing in raids. And it’s at the point where I’m seriously at a loss as to what to do, and wondering if I should even bother.

I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong anymore. Previously there would be all manner of excuses as to why my performance as a healer sucked – I didn’t have the right legendaries, group composition really makes a difference, I’m not using the right stats, I just need more gear blah blah blah. But whilst I don’t have all of the legendaries that I want to be using on my resto shaman, I do have some very good legendaries that should do just fine. And I have plenty of gear with the right stats on it (not that stats are supposed to matter all that much any more). I’m working my way to my 51st trait, which isn’t as high as others, but it’s still pretty high overall.

I’ve looked at logs and seen what talents people are using. I do know one big problem is that I don’t use Cloudburst Totem as a talent. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that it makes my framerate drop to 3 (and given my UI settings are already set to 3 in raids, I can’t drop it any lower – I have difficulty seeing some abilities as it is). So I can’t use it without it causing some issues. (I’m really hoping I’ll be able to buy a new PC in the near future!!) Might just have to try again.

I look at logs and I suppose a consolation is that Druids just seem to be kicking ass at the moment. And it also doesn’t help (me) that the other healers are just fucking awesome. I guess my problem is that I don’t know if it’s just me doing the wrong thing, or if it’s my class being lacklustre. It just feel like my heals don’t do a lot unless everyone stays low for an extended period of time. But they all get topped up so quickly, so my mastery doesn’t get a chance to kick in. This expansion was supposed to be about bringing back triage healing, but instead it seems the fights are just unforgiving – if people fuck up they get one shot, rather than just getting really low, allowing us to heal them back up again. It’s just back that old ping pong healer bars again, and as a shaman I just feel useless. I’m back to being a walking CD.

And I’m not writing this to get anyone to “fix” things for me or say things to make me feel better, I just need to get it out of my head. I can’t figure out if it’s going to get any better for me. And if it’s not, what does that mean? Do I just stop healing and go hit things instead? Or do I heal on a different class? What? I really am just feeling awfully lost. I found myself going back to this post where I was hypothetically thinking about what class I’d play if I couldn’t play my main and I landed on druid or mage. But what if it’s not the class? What if it’s just that I’m shit? Do I just stop raiding? I keep coming back to moments like this, and Bume is really lovely and helps me out, but I don’t feel like I’m getting any better. Instead I just feel like a burden.

It makes my brain hurt. And in the meantime I just feel really blah. So instead I’m bumming around levelling up an Alliance priest because their spells are pretty and it makes me feel better.

 

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?

Like so many other people, I have been running around taking screenshots using the Inky Black Potion. What a wonderful addition to the game that little potion is!! For those of you who haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, it’s a potion you can buy from a vendor at the Darkmoon Faire that will give you a buff for 2hr that makes the world around you SUPER dark. It.is.incredible. So of course after raid last night I went around seeing what the world looked like in the middle of the night.

One of my favourite things about this potion is that it quite literally is making me see Azeroth in a whole new light. Some places really came alive in the darkness. Others just became down right terrifying. Some became so dark you could barely see in front of you. It really was incredible. It also helps me see why Blizzard don’t make night as dark as this. Yes, it’s awesome, but it has a lot of gameplay issues in that some things you quite literally can’t see. Anyone who is even slightly vision impaired would have a really hard time playing at all. So I’m really glad that it’s something we have the ability to try out and toggle on and off as we please. 🙂

I want to go to every continent and raid zone to try it out. In the meantime, here are some of my favourite pics so far:

I also played around with water walking and headed out in the middle of the ocean to use my spells in the dark.

 

 

This week has been absolutely jam packed with stuff to do in WoW. It’s been an absolute blast! But since patch 7.2 Tomb of Sargeras dropped live earlier this week, I’ve been disappointed to see my timeline so full of negativity. There have been waves of anger and complaining coming in at every direction, and it has been making me really cross. It was starting to bring me down. And I could write up a post to whinge about player behaviour (again!) that no-one will read or will think applies to them, but I’m not doing that this time. This time, I’m going to fill your timelines with positivity and all the brilliant things that are in the game at the moment.

But I will say this. For those of you who say the patch is a waste of time, or that there’s nothing to it or that “this, that and the other” is stupid, please remember:

  • You are responsible for how you play the game
  • You are responsible for your own enjoyment of the game
  • Please stop blaming Blizzard for things that you actually have control over.

Get out there and have some fun! And if for any reason you can’t find it please have some consideration for those of us who absolutely love this, and who you are bringing down with constant negativity.

Now, on to the good stuff – a bucket load of screen shots and adventures!

Deliverance Point

Patch 7.2 started for us Aussies on Wednesday morning, and when I logged in Khadgar was there, ready to start the charge to take back the Broken Shore. So off we all went, flying to our doom on the most stunning mount I’ve ever seen!! (I am holding out hope that this mount will be a drop from the Tomb of Sargeras raid. Please, please!!)

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Pretty sweet ride to the Broken Shore if you ask me!

It was eerie going back to the Broken Shore. This was the place that so many of our allies fell. This is the place where the leader of the Horde was mortally wounded. This was where we lost our King. When we landed, and the demons were running around without a care, I hated them all over again. I took far too much delight in cutting them down, as we made our way through the shore.

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We met our fair share of cocky demons who think they’re tough cookies – I quickly put them in their place. At once point we even got to go up on one of the ships, which was brilliant. The floating fel-green image of Dalaran in the navigation panel made me sick to my stomach, though.

We managed to get ourselves a little settled in Deliverance Point. I actually really love this space. It is exactly what I imagined an impromptu battle station would look like – tents posted in a common area for food, shelter and healing. Guards everywhere to keep the area safe, flight paths to get us around, and the vendors with all the goodies!

But what I absolutely loved best of all about Deliverance Point, is that it was tailored to me as a shaman. (And to you and whatever class you may play). The guards protecting the area are shamans and elementals – the barriers are made with totems. There’s even a healing triage in a healing rain circle that is monitored by Morgl the Oracle (who is very sassy indeed!)

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Totemic power ftw!

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Elementals to help keep us safe

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I absolutely LOVE this banner!! I want it as a toy

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Dagg the Ogre is in that pond in the middle!

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There he is! Hiding out in the silliest of ways as always 😀 

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I really love how busy and purposeful this space feels

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Morgl the Oracle and other resto shamans healing people up….

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… while the druids over there have a snooze!!

I’m looking forward to seeing the buildings as they are completed. At the moment their are construction sites that in a really nice touch, are as complete as their progress shows on the architecture table! (i.e. the table says the mage tower is 40% complete, and the building itself looks to be about 40% complete)

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40% of a mage tower

Stronger Artifact weapons

I spent quite a lot of time exploring the rest of the Broken Shore, but I’ll write about all that in another post. Because one of the other big things that needed to be done before raid that night was to unlock the new artifact weapon traits. I ended up doing both the restoration and elemental quest lines to unlock both of those weapons (my enhance weapon isn’t ready for them yet!)

The restoration quest line sent me off to Bradensbrook where things are going bad. The Legion have been riling up the poor ghosts in the area, and they are hell bent on “protecting” everyone from the “demons” that we are. It was a little tough only because there were quite a lot of mobs around and I had to do it in resto spec for the healing, so my damage was quite low. But I got through it, and watched as the poo head organising it all ran away like a coward. (Though I understand now that these quests are the precursor to the new solo challenges for the artifact skin, so I am PUMPED about that!)

I went back to Khadgar and his crew and they were super grateful. So much so that they made my artifact even stronger, and gave me a whole bunch of new traits to go and get.

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It’s a fact that you have to glow when you get more powerful #ItsTheRules

Because my artifact power was previously maxed out, I was able to get my weapon up to 39 traits straight away. Then between all the AP you get from questing and the fact that the questing itself also opens up Artifact Knowledge to give you SO MUCH ARTIFACT POWER I was able to get to trait 40 before raid on Wednesday. It was a good feeling! My goal is to work pretty hard to get all of the brand new traits as soon as I can (which if I’m really lucky and work hard I can maybe get done before raid on Sunday?)

I wasn’t overly thrilled with my new traits initially. The one that has 4 ranks just makes my Spiritwalker’s Grace (which allows me to cast on the move) last 2 seconds longer for each point (making it 8 seconds longer overall). But last night when we were back on mythic Krosus I took the Graceful Spirit talent, which makes the cool down of SWG 60 seconds. With those 4 points going in, it meant I was able to cast on the move for more than half of the fight, which was actually really, really nice (though I do miss my fart talent!!)

I also went off and got going on my elemental artifact empowered. The quest for this one was quite different, and involved a lot more puzzles and mind games than hitting things. One part of the quest line has you trying to figure out which combination of 3 runes you need to activate to “do a thing” (I don’t want to give anything away!). There are books laying around with clues in them, and you have to piece it all together to get the right 3 (and only the right 3!) activated. I will give this tip, though, for anyone who hasn’t done this yet – you need to speak to the guy when you have activated the 3 runes. I got it right the first time, but didn’t speak to the guy because I was expecting something to happen straight away, so I thought I’d done it wrong and started over again. So save yourself some time and talk to him!

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See? Glowy and powerful! 

So far I’m really enjoying the patch, and I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds each week! There are already some really awesome world quests, there’s loads of treasures to find and rares to kill, and the new dungeon is really cool! And eventually we’ll open up the Tomb!! Oh my gosh I can’t wait.

Have fun everyone!

 

This evening I was pottering around Dalaran. I went to visit Nomi who had burned some of my food (though was kind enough to save some of the ingredients to give back to me!). I wandered out of the kitchen and noticed a door I had been running past all expansion. Of course I had to go see what was in there. I expected it to just be a small room or something. What I found instead was a fully decked out beer garden!!

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Cheers!

Seriously, how awesome is it?

There is a small patio with a little table and chairs for those who like a quiet corner for a chat…

The main beer garden itself has loads of space for all your mates, food galore, and two lovely ladies available to serve you a range of alcoholic beverages. There’s even a hearthstone set!

The building you can find this behind is called A Hero’s Welcome, and is Alliance only.

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A Hero’s Welcome

To find the beer garden, take the door to the left (you can see Nomi in the kitchen on the right!)

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Nomi is in the kitchen in the door to the right. The beer garden is accessed through the door on the left of the bar. 

The rest of the inn has some interesting things in it – there’s a crate of hearthstones just laying around, some… questionable artwork, really lovely ceiling work in the bedroom, and at the top of the building, a lovely sitting area that overlooks Dalaran.

I love finding things like this. Especially in areas that I’m in on a daily basis. Sometimes you just have to not do the same thing you do every day to notice these extra bits and pieces.

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 week our topic was suggested by contributor TheBMatt, and you can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here.

I doubt this will come as a surprise to anyone who follows my blog or twitter! I actually have 2 races that really bug me that I’m going to cover in this post. Keep in mind though, this is from the generalised perception of these 2 races. There are always going to be outliers and characters of these races that this doesn’t apply to.

And obviously first and foremost, the race I absolutely passionately hate without exception are the demons. DUH! That’s a no brainer, so we won’t go there for this.

Orcs

I know, I know. Like, I know. But I just don’t like them. Over the years I have managed to look past the way they look (I really like what Blizz did with the model updates) but I just can’t get past their aggression and warmongering. Everything is a fight, everything is a challenge. They would rather draw blood without question than analyse a situation first. It’s a bit like the stereotype in action movies – shoot first, as questions later. I really hate it. They’re angry all the time and pick fights for shits and giggles. It’s just not for me. And having them so prominent for so much of the game… did my head in. (Yes I KNOW this is all “orcs vs. humans” and that’s just how it is.

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He just looks so grumpy!

I get frustrated by Orcs as well that they would rather fight than make a home. Yes, initially it was all about them being displaced and trying to find a home. But that was a long time ago now. And rather than trying to do something with what they already have, they go be shitty and stab people instead. Which is why their whole aesthetic just bugs me – everything looks temporary. The buildings look rushed and like they were built for quick dismantling (which they are), but even their clothes… and the attitude. They are cranky and aggressive and unstable, and it makes me feel the same way when I’m in zones surrounded by orcs.

Goblins

There are a lot of things that I admire about Goblins – their resourcefulness is exceptional. But it comes at a cost. It sounds so petty, but the thing that drives me up the wall about Goblins is just how dirty their areas are. They are all smoky and oily and greasy and argh. I feel like I need a shower whenever I’m around them.

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Seriously?! Who on AZEROTH go swimming in that filth?! It’s just not sanitary!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love how creative and ingenious goblins are. But why does it always have to be all smoky? I cringe at the damage their creations cause the Azeroth environment!

The other issue I have is how money hungry they are. Which again, isn’t necessarily something bad, but it annoys me. All the swindling and undercutting and sneaky-ness. If one more goblin makes a “I’ve got the best deals in town” remark, I might lose it.

 

Ok so I’m stopping this here, because this whole post just makes me sound like the giant goodie-two-shoes square that I am lol. (My boyfriend has pointed out that I don’t like races with green skin… how awkward! I disagree, though – Kermit is AWESOME!)

The thing that I like about the fact that I don’t like these races, is that it’s a lot more reflective of the world, and actually helps with immersion. There are people in real life that I don’t like for various reasons. But we all find a way to exist on this planet together, the same way we interact with the races we don’t necessarily like in WoW. It’s all part of existing. 🙂

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ok ok, maybe Goblins aren’t toooooo bad… 😉

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I have been extremely lucky this evening. For some time now, anyone who has listened to any of the podcasts I do will have heard me whinging like a giant sook about not yet having the hidden appearance for the my restoration shaman weapon. I mean really whinge (I’m a big ol’ baby!) But I wanted it. I really, really wanted it. I went so far as running in there on my own on normal today, killing everything very slowly on my own in the hopes of being able to get it. No luck.

Lately I’d been taking to running the dungeon on heroic at least once per day to increase my chances, racking up the bad luck protection. After raid tonight, I went and queued once more for an attempt. And I hit the motherload. Because not only did I manage to get my hidden artifact appearance, but I ALSO got a legendary FROM THE SAME BOSS!!

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Hidden appearance AND legendary from the same boss! Talk about extremely lucky!

I was giggling like a maniac. Like, really. I kinda lost it for a bit. I was so, SO excited to get my hidden appearance finally (now I can work on the last tint I need – 200 dungeons using it! *gulp*)

Here we are learning the new appearance:

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The only downside is that the appearance doesn’t suit the new transmog that I recently purchased well at all. I’m hoping I’ll have an elemental appearance that will suit it instead! In the meantime, this is what I’ve gone with for my resto set, using the hidden appearance:

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I’d like something better, though I don’t have anything in my wardrobe that I like yet – need to get some lucky drops in older raids for what I have in mind.

Then there’s the legendary. WoWScrnShot_032217_225615

To be honest, this wasn’t high on my list of “wants”. I was leaning towards the bracers or gloves being my next preferred legendary (not that you get to choose!) But it seemed RNG-sus had something else in mind for me. Something that might just help us with the boss we are currently progressing on. See, for the last couple of weeks our guild has been bashing our heads against mythic Krosus. We’ve hit enrage quite a few times and just missed out on the kill – our dps just isn’t quite up there yet. We’ve been mighty close, but just missing out. Now these legendary boots certainly aren’t going to help with meeting any dps checks, but given that there are great periods of standing still, and I have my healing rain up for almost the entirety of that fight, these boots are going to come in very handy for helping get some extra healing out on a fight that is really rough with only 3 healers.

The legendary works by healing people standing in my healing rain, 10% increased healing from my healing spells. Obviously this requires people to be standing in my healing rain for it to be useful. Thankfully, on Krosus, we do spend a lot of our time stacked up together in the healing rain, so this could really come in handy.

Tonight I have been exceptionally lucky and got 1 item I wanted, and 1 item I needed. I am extremely grateful. Here’s hoping I get to post again tomorrow night with a Krosus kill shot!

xo

As usual, my mage was one of the first alts I levelled once I had a spare moment to do so. I do like my mage a lot – she was my first ever toon, and the first toon I raided with, too. She’s been a whole bunch of different races and has dabbled with both factions. Right now she’s back to being a human named Cinderlily (named after Lily Potter). I keep switching between the 3 specs because I can’t decide which I like better. So naturally I had to get the appearance for all 3 specs! And today I got the last one I needed.

~*~*~*~*~ SPOILERS AHEAD ~*~*~*~*~

Arcane

My arcane appearance was the first one I got. I was so unbelievably lucky with getting this one. I had just ported into the Mage Order Hall when a little dialogue popped up saying something about a Volatile Sheep. I frantically searched for it but couldn’t find it, only to remember that I hadn’t done all the bits before that part of the acquisition anyway. (the dialogue pop up is a bug – it will pop up for almost everyone in the order hall when someone else gets it). I decided right then and there that I needed to go get started on that appearance because I’d probably have a long time to wait.

I went and found the guide on wowhead, then trotted off around the Broken Isles polymorphing everyone I needed to. From there it would be RNG, but that was ok, at least I’d started the process. I figured I’d be in for a bit of a wait. So you can imagine my surprise when only a few days later the volatile sheep spawned for me! I was so excited! I clicked him until he exploded (HILARIOUS!! So bummed I didn’t get a pic of it exploding, though…)

This is what it looks like with RNG smiles upon you and the Extremely Volatile Sheep spawns for you in your Order Hall.

This is what it looks like with RNG smiles upon you and the Extremely Volatile Sheep spawns for you in your Order Hall.

Then it was off to Stormheim to find the next Volatile sheep to click on. There are loads of places this little guy might be hiding, but RNG was my friend again, and there he was, right near the Valdisdall flight path!

The sheep are getting angry now...

The sheep are getting angry now… Except silly me didn’t get a pic of the sheep AGAIN!!! (I was just so darn excited)

The next part of the chain takes you Elwynn Forest. What follows is an absolutely hilarious series of events. For me, this bugged out – RNG had blessed me enough that day, and the scenario would not trigger. Thankfully everything worked out after the server reset and I was able to to complete the quest. It really made me laugh so much!!

At the end of it, I got my sheep staff!

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One sheep staff acquired!

Of course I immediately had to test it out and sheeped a nearby wolf. The sheep burst into life and quite literally screamed. I laughed until I cried – it’s SO damn funny!!

Of course I had to make a new transmog to match my “shepherd” ways, so here’s my Farmer Cinderlily transmog 🙂

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Fire

The second appearance that dropped for me was the fire appearance. This one is hands down one of my most favourite artifact appearances in game out of all of them. I love it! It’s relatively easy to get, in that it’s a random drop from mobs in Suramar. I didn’t go out of my way to farm it – I figured if I didn’t have it by the time I Was done with the Suramar story line that I’d spend some time farming it after that. But as luck would have it, I didn’t need to do that. The appearance dropped off a random mob while I was cleaning out Thalyssra’s house.

I made sure I was in a safe place to learn it (and in fire spec, of course!)

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Look how beautiful it is! 

Frost

The frost artifact is one of the more frustrating appearances to try and get. Like the arcane one, there’s only 1 chance per day that you can get this by being in certain places in your order hall. For the frost appearance it’s running down the stairs to your mission map. I had been tracking this appearance chance every day for a really long time – it was the first one that I wanted to get, but was not having any luck with it.

Then today, whilst chatting away with Z, I zoned into my order hall, ran down the stairs… and there it was! The summons. I went through a portal and ended up in Frostfire Ridge where I was given the frost appearance. ❤

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The Frost hidden artifact appearance. 

I just love the blue and fire together – is so beautiful!

So the hunting for my hidden mage appearances is now complete. I still don’t have all 3 on my shaman yet (the restoration one just doesn’t exist!)

I’m not sure what to work on next… I might go a little crazy and try for the Corrupted Ashbringer! 😀

The Real Neat Blog Awards are doing the rounds at the moment, and the lovely Z nominated me – thanks Z! 🙂 I love things like this because it helps people find some great new blogs to read, and gives a bit of an insight into other authors.

real-neat-blog-awardThere are 3 things involved as part of the award:

  • Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the seven questions your nominator has provided.
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers and create 7 questions for them

The 7 questions Z gave me are:

If you couldn’t blog about WoW anymore, what would you blog about?

I’ve had a blog/journal of some sort since I received a diary on my 12th birthday from a friend I no longer have. (I still have that original journal!) I’ve always managed to find something to write about, even if I did have big gaps in between. Usually I just write about what’s going on around me, which is how my WoW blog came to be – I play WoW a lot so it makes sense to write about it.

But if I didn’t have WoW anymore, I’d just write about something else. Without WoW I’d have a LOT more free time to do other things I enjoy, so I imagine it would probably be a photography blog or movie/tv blog. Or even a different type of gaming blog, because let’s face it, I love the games!

What’s the best and worst thing about blogging?

The worst? Feeling like you’re talking into a void. I often find myself thinking “why do I bother doing this?” because a lot of the time I’m just talking to myself. But that’s usually my self-doubt talking (that voice really needs to be quiet!!). I try to ignore it and push it away, because that voice is just rude.

As for the best thing about blogging? Getting comments from people who have read what I have to say and then share their perspective. I enjoy the conversations (it’s why I like podcasting).

What’s your favourite achievement in WoW?

Hmmm this is a tough one. I think probably (finally) getting Loremaster would be up there as my favourites. Having said that, I’m constantly adding new goals and achievements to the to do list – I have a soft spot for them all, really. 🙂

How long have you been playing computer games?

Since I was a kid. My brother and I had a Commodore 64 with the old tapes in them. I remember one summer we were suffering in crazy heat. It was a summer of a haunted house, French-style cricket in the backyard, undercooked 2 minute noodles with WAY too much cheese, and the Commodore 64. We had it hooked up to our TV. We’d load up a tape and then wait AGES for it to load. They took forever. Half the time they wouldn’t work at all! My favourite was old school frogger. I still remember the sound effects to this day. It was one of the few things my brother and I did together that didn’t cause arguments.

After that we got into console gaming. We had a Sega Master System (Alex Kidd ftw!!) then a Mega Drive (that underwater Labyrinth zone in Sonic the Hedgehog still haunts me to this day!). Then we moved to the Nintendo side of things and got a Super NES. I remember the summer between primary school and high school, listening to Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill album while making my way through Donkey Kong Country. Later, when we had a Nintendo 64, Bomberman would become my jam, as well as Super Mario 64. Good memories 🙂

If you could have one day to do anything in, what would you do?

As lame as it sounds, I’d do anything with Thor. We’ve had some lovely adventures together in the past, so I’d want to do another with him. Maybe grab a boat and sail somewhere awesome. Or jump on a plane and end up in some lovely remote location. Somewhere away from the city for awhile, I think! 🙂

What’s your favourite food?

It’s a tough fight between lasagne and ice-cream. Om nom nom

Where do you prefer to go, Mountains or Beach?

I want to live on a mountain by the beach – best of both worlds! I like the isolation of the mountains, but I love the smell and the sounds of the ocean.

I choose you!

So the next part of this is to choose 7 bloggers and create questions for them, but everyone I would have nominated has already been nominated! So instead, I’m going to share some of my favourite blogs that I read. Check them out and say hi! 🙂

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 week’s topic is “If you couldn’t play your main anymore, what class would you be?”, and you can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here. Z’s post about this topic can be found right here.

Every time there are class changes, there is always a class that feels more put out by them than any other. That’s not to say that their frustrations aren’t valid, it just tends to be how things play out. The latest class to be feeling the class change pinch are hunters, with a LOT of hunters out there extremely frustrated, and some already dropping their class that they’ve played for years in favour of something less “broken”.

It’s a sad time for anyone who feels their class has moved beyond something they can connect with, and I feel for anyone who has to go through it. For me personally, I don’t think I’d stop playing my shaman at all. It’s too much who I am. But you never know what could happen. I think if I had to change my main it would be a really sad day.

First things first – to heal or not to heal?

For those who don’t know, I main restoration shaman and play either spec as off spec (though focus more on elemental these days). I am assuming that whatever changes make me consider changing class are so substantial that I couldn’t play any of the other specs either, and that shamans are completely off the table.

I think the first question I’d have to ask myself if I wasn’t able to play a shaman anymore, would be whether or not I wanted to remain a healer. And I don’t know the answer to that question. I really love healing. A LOT. But I think a lot of that comes down to how well I gel with the restoration shaman class. The only other healing class I have enjoyed so much has been holy paladin. However the Legion changes to holy paladin have really changed that. I miss holy power and Holy Radiance as a spell. So I don’t think I could play holy paladin again for healing spec unless things changed back.

I’ve never been able to get on board with priest healing or druid healing. Which leaves monk heals. I have played a monk healer, and did quite well with it at the time. However I feel monk heals have changed style far too often. I’d be terrified they’d be getting changed yet again. So I don’t think monk would be it for me either.

Unless a new healer class is brought in (PLEASE?!) it looks like I’d probably not heal on another class.

To tank or not to tank?

I’ve not seriously tanked before, so this is a tricky question to answer, but still worthwhile to think about. I have tanked very casually as a Death Knight, and have a tendency to level my monk on a tank spec as well. But otherwise, that’s it.

I think tanking is a high pressure role to play. Don’t get me wrong – healers are high pressure too, but there are fewer tanks, and mistakes are pretty obvious. I think it would probably get a bit boring at times, too… maybe?

I do like the idea of having a tanking off spec available, so I’m going to say maybe to this for now.

Ranged or melee?

This used to be an easy question to answer – always ranged. I’m terrible at melee. I hate having to chase after bosses and it always feels so crowded. But then I played warrior during the Legion invasions, and it was a LOT of fun. And I levelled my paladin entirely as Retribution and I actually really enjoyed it. So in theory a melee class may not be off the cards.

Raiding?

I think this is the bigger question of all, that would impact my choice. Whether or not I’m raiding with this new class would determine whether or not I play a class that I could excel at, or whether I just choose a class because I think it would be fun to play. My biggest difficulty is that I’m not actually great at any class (including my shaman). I try, but it doesn’t seem to matter how hard I do try, it’s never usually enough.

With that in mind, if I were to raid with a new class, I would need to make sure I enjoyed it as well, for those days when I just flat out suck. I’m also not a huge fan of having to min-max all dps specs, which tends to be what happens when raiding with pure dps classes.

The final result?

You know, this is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Shamans just really click with me, so trying to choose a new class is really tough. I was hoping that laying out my thought process above would help make the decision easier, but it kinda really hasn’t…. lol

Ok, I think… I think if I had to change, it would be to either…

Druid

or

Mage

Druid because it gives me the option of any playstyle – tank, healer, melee or ranged. And they have some of the most BEAUTIFUL transmog in the game! I’m quite fond of my druid, I just need to be better at playing her. I play her as Balance, and I enjoy it a lot.

And mage would be another option, too. I always find myself falling back onto playing my mage. She was my first ever toon, so I’m quite attached to her. I find that I usually manage to find a spec that sits well with me eventually each expansion, so I think she’d be a viable choice, too.

Ok, well that ended up being a lot more difficult than anticipated! What about you? If you had to change your class, what would you change it to?

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In my last post I mentioned there had been a bunch of guild drama that had happened recently, and I tweeted last week about the guild ending. It’s sure has been a busy time!

I don’t like to talk negatively about other people or anything, so I’m not here to bitch about individuals. But I did want to talk a little about some of the things that lead to the situation, and what’s happening moving forward.

The thing about guilds for people like myself who play a fair bit, is that (regardless of how completely naff it sounds!) they are like the family you choose to hang around with. You spend a lot of time with them – they’re there to run world quests with or pvp with or raid with; they were probably there when you had that sneaky log in on Christmas day to pick up the presents underneath the Winter Veil tree, and they were there when you logged in, hungover, on New Years day. And even if you don’t actively play with all of your guild mates, they are the ones who are there to congratulate you when you ding your achievements you’ve been working so hard on, or when you get that rare mount or legendary – they’re there to beg you for it (but also cheer you on!).

At least, that’s what being in a guild has always meant to me. And judging by recent events, it’s a shared perception held by many.

But what happens if this isn’t what your guild is like? What if  your guild doesn’t cheer each other on? What if they have different priorities to you in game? What if your personalities completely clash?

This is essentially what happened with the previous guild. One of the troubles with having quite a few people in a guild and raid team, is that you’re a little more likely to come across people who have different personalities to you. I think this was one of the bigger issues that I personally had with the old guild. I don’t understand why people just don’t be nice to each other, or just not be dicks to one another. I mean yes, I can be a bitch at the best of times, but I don’t like to bring other people down just for the hell of it. And there was a fair bit of that around, especially towards the end. Maybe it’s the old lady in me, but the way I see it, WoW is my hide-away from the rest of the world. And I as it stands, there’s already too much negativity and hatred out in the real world – it doesn’t need to be in game.

Another big factor (and this was a main factor for many other people) was a different approach to raiding. There was a big divide in the raid team about what the highest priority should be for a fight. One side felt that mechanics first was the way to go, and the other side felt pumping out the best dps etc. was the best approach. It’s probably easy to figure out which side I fell on (all about the mechanics, baby!). It’s a difficult divide to resolve, especially when it’s split so evenly between players.

So between those 2 main factors (and a few other bits and pieces), it was decided that the raid team would end and the guild would cease to be.

This led to the next issue – what about raiding? What about a new guild? What do I do? Pretty quickly a new guild was formed that consisted of the people who all had the same feeling and approach to raiding. One by one people came on board for a new team that was all about focussing on the mechanics of fights, having a good time, and focusing on a more mature approach to the game. Pit Crew was born.

To me, this split has been the best thing for everyone. From what I can tell, everyone in the old guild has already found a new home, which is really great. What this whole experience has showed me, is that it’s just so important to be happy where you are, and happy with the people you are spending time with. I’m sure people who have moved on will be relieved to stop hearing me going on about running away from things instead of standing in them for extra dps, and vice versa. I think this is a good outcome for everyone. And I genuinely hope everyone is a lot happier.

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New beginnings – Pit Crew heading in to Nighthold for the first time.

We hit a few things together last Sunday night, but didn’t really do a lot. Our first real raid night was Wednesday, as we headed into the Nighthold to take down Gul’dan.

Here’s hoping for a long and kick ass raiding future for us 🙂

I’m stealing Z’s blog idea and posting a screenshot from each month of 2016 as a way of saying farewell to it. You can read Z’s end of 2016 post here.

THIS IS REALLY HARD!!! I keep finding a bunch for each month 😥

2016 has been… well it’s been a bit of an up and down year for me. I left a guild of amazing people to pursue a higher difficulty of raiding, which has been a bit of a shift in mind-set to say the least. It’s paid off, though, and I’m happy to have gotten Cutting Edge on both Archimonde and Xavius this year.

For 2017, my plans are to try and find a better balance between all the things I do, and spend more time enjoying what I’m doing.

January

This was when I was doing all of the starting zones for each class that I hadn’t done before. I enjoyed this a lot 🙂

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Best disguise ever!

February

February was a busy month, with me spending a fair amount of time levelling up my first druid. During this month I also got Shadowmourne for the first time, and had my first Girls Gaming Night with Leeta, Navi, Miggi and Mel. But the biggest highlight for this month was without a doubt, getting the Proven Healer title in the Proving Grounds.

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I did it!

March

During March I completed the Field Photographer achievement, and have a bajillion screenshots! It was also the month I decided to leave Deadline to raid mythics. I also finished levelling my hunter through pet battles, got Navispammed! and spent a LOT of time taking loads of screenshots of the Gilnean starting experience. I still love that place.

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Gilneas

April

Looks like April was when I created my mystery new monk! Huzzah for answers to that one! hehe But most exciting – Cutting Edge: Archimonde! I got thrown into that fight a lot sooner than I expected, so it was quite nerve-wracking!

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May

So I have no screenshots from May. I’ve lost a whole month of pics. Either I didn’t take any screenshots for the whole of May (YEAH RIGHT!!) or I’ve lost them somewhere during my attempts to get my Mac Bootcamped. Buggered if I know where they are! Thankfully WordPress has some in my gallery, so that will have to do for May. From memory May was spending a fair chunk of time on the beta, and of course, raiding.

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June

I finished levelling my monk in June – it was the last time I levelled a toon in Draenor. I also got me the mount from mythic Blackhand, and found (and helped!) my first real newbie!

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July

July was a great month – Legion was in sight, so of course we were all spending hours in our garrisons fishing up turtles 😀 I got to kill Ra-Den for the first time, and took a million pics of my vuhdo and UI setting in preparation for the “destruction” of the pre-patch.

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“I will defend this city with my life”

August

The Legion arrived, everyone breathed a sigh of relief that we survived Warlords of Draenor, and WoW had what can only be described as the best launch ever. I am still in awe of the moment Legion went live and nothing went wrong. ❤

I can’t just pick one screenshot here, sorry. Damn near impossible. There are two sets. Firstly – saying farewell to 2 heroes – Varian Wrynn and Vol’jin. I took these pics the night before the Broken Shore dropped. I knew we were going to lose them both, and I couldn’t bear to not say goodbye.

The second picture I chose was one that, to me, represents the best thing about World of Warcraft – playing with a bunch of people, regardless of faction, and coming together to kick some serious ass. For me, flying around from demon to demon during these invasions was an incredible experience, and a wonderful way to get us ramped up for Legion. And also level a bunch of toons REALLY quickly! 😀

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September

In September alone I took almost 500 screenshots. (Yeah… I have a big problem!) September was a very busy month of levelling and getting ready for the Emerald Nightmare. But most of all for me, it was about exploring a new world, and discovering all of its secrets.

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October

October was all about mythic Emerald Nightmare, levelling my mage, hunting for books and Pepe, and running with gnomes! And having my heart broken by this fellow…

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November

I started getting more into getting achievements done during November, and found myself staring at dots and lines, searching for orbs, helping celebrate WoW’s birthday, and getting Elegon to give up his goods. November was the month we got Xavius Cutting Edge achievement. And I spent a lot of time just roaming around taking pics of all the beautiful scenery.

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In the Halls of Valor

December

My paladin found Ashbringer, Winter Veil came to Azeroth, I unlocked class halls for all my toons, and spent a lot of time in ICC raids looking for pets and clothes.

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I hope that everyone has a wonderful New Year’s celebration (not matter what you do!) and may 2017 be filled with all of the things that make you happy.

xo

Thursday night was our last formal raid night for the year. With most people being unavailable for Christmas/New Years/family time it was our last chance to try and get at least one mythic boss down in Trials of Valor.

We’ve been working on Mythic Odyn for a couple of weeks now, but realistically only had about 2 and a half to 3 full nights on him thanks to doing additional mythic EN clears for more gear and skipping a raid night due to attendance boss (thanks Christmas!). We went in on Wednesday night feeling confident we’d get the kill given the nerfs that had been applied to most aspects of the fight.

Maybe that was our problem… maybe we were a little too confident, who knows. Anyway, we did not succeed on Wednesday night. It was a bit of a blow to our confidence, I think. It sounds cocky and stuck up to say, but we really should have been able to get Odyn down before the nerfs. Having the nerfs applied and still not getting him down was not a great feeling.

We didn’t expect to be raiding on Thursday. There were a few people who had already said they couldn’t make it, so we weren’t holding our breath. By some miracle, we ended up having enough people on to try again on Thursday night. It was another solid night of work on this boss. We were getting frustrated – on our first pull we had 1% left to defeat him, but wiped. It felt so close, but it ended up taking the entire night to get him down. In true Ominous fashion, it happened on the last pull of the night. But we got there!

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I actually really like this fight, frustrations aside. There are a lot of things that drive me nuts about it. And even though it’s quite a chaotic fight, it’s chaos I can control (unlike Cenarius) so I enjoy it a lot more.

Turns out our enhancement shaman was recording the fight! So if you want to check out how we did, here’s the video:

Healing wise, this fight goes from not a lot to do, to complete burn all you mana and do what you can oh my god we’re all going to die. I’m rolling in crit at the moment and can’t even burn through my mana pool. Even still, I didn’t chain heal my butt off – I was trying to be smart about my chain heals now that I have  Focuser of Jonat, the Elder . It can stack up to 5 times, making my chain heal pretty powerful (especially when combined with other talents.)  I had been doing pretty well for most of our attempts. Of course the on the kill my heals were lower *sigh* But at least I was alive at the end, so I had that going for me.

I have to say I was disappointed at the end. Most people weren’t thrilled with getting the kill. Some people just seemed down right annoyed, and I found that really disappointing. I understand the frustration, I really do, but isn’t half the fun of raiding the excitement and satisfaction of getting those kills for the first time? I love stupid nerd screams – they have so much joy in them. If you’re not feeling that after a defeating a boss, doesn’t it just start to feel like work? I dunno.

Anyway, mythic Odyn is defeated! I hoping we get at least Guam down before Nighthold comes out. Helya would be nice, too! 😀

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 week’s topic was suggested by Elgaric, and you can read everyone’s thoughts on how WoW has changed/impacted their lives on our website here. You can find Z’s post about the topic right here


So I think the initial intent of this topic was to talk about the dos and don’ts of pugging, and how to run one. But I haven’t done that for such a long time, so I’m just going to write about my thoughts on the current state of pugging. It’s quite a ramble – I just woke up from a super long nap and I’m quite dopey still! 

I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with pugging. It’s usually with good cause: I won’t pug into groups for the longest time, but along will come a question or something or other than convinces me that I need to, so I’ll find a random group to do it with and things will more than likely go well. So I try another, and another. There will be some ups and downs, but you tolerate them because you have a goal you need to accomplish. But then it just gets too much – you end up in a run where no-one knows what they’re doing. But worse than that – they don’t listen to anyone  or communicate with anyone until they decide to yell at someone for being a moron (and they usually do this in a very colourful way ) and I get reminded for the umpteenth time why I don’t join pugs and stop doing them again for awhile.

Faith and manners

Which is where I am at the moment. I find pugging to be an experience in faith in humanity. Dramatic, I know! But accurate. You see, when you join a pug you have faith that, at the very bare minimum, they are polite. Now this might not seem like it should be the base level of a group, but it is. You see, you can have someone who does terrible dps or stands in all that things or goes the wrong way. But if you can tell them politely “this is the way to go” or, “please don’t stand in the green stuff on the ground – it’s really bad” and they politely respond with “oops! didn’t know that was the way” or, “thanks! This is my first time in here” then you’ve got people that you can work with. What you can’t work with are the people who don’t bother to respond at all, who then run off and pull a million things in the dungeon and quit, or start complaining that no-one was healing them when they pulled 5 packs of mobs in the opposite direction to where we need to go – those are the people that you’re going to have a bad time with. And unfortunately there seem to be a lot of them out there.

I always start a random dungeon/LFR etc. just by saying “hi”. You know you’re probably going to have a bad time of things when no-one responds (though to be truthful not always, to be fair). I’m not expecting full conversations about the ins and outs of everyone’s lives, but if you can’t be bothered saying hi, it makes it tough to ask if we can go kill some extra boss for a quest, or try and trade gear you don’t want or let a tank know to turn the boss around because aiming a dragon’s breath towards people is just not what you do…. Plus, you’re spending a bunch of time with these people – is it really so hard to just say “hi” back?

About a month or so back now I ended up in a random mythic +5 with our raid tank and 3 pugs doing Vault of the Wardens. It’s not my favourite dungeon to say the least, but I figured that at least with my raid tank there it would be ok. It was an experience and a half. Unfortunately the 3 dps we were hadn’t done a mythic dungeon at that level before, and their dps was quite low. I’m not sure if they’d even done the dungeon before on any other level either. So we missed all of the timers for it (the dungeon took 2 hours I think in the end?) It was pretty painful. BUT the 3 guys dps-ing were incredibly lovely. They were apologetic for their low dps, and asked for tips on how to improve for the next time they tried mythic +. They thanked us repeatedly for sticking with them and helping them out because “people just don’t do that anymore”. Sure it was a long and slightly painful couple of hours, but I would trade that for a quick dungeon with douchbags any day. And I felt bad for them, because they had obviously had a bad time of things in the past with people being impatient or just plain rude.

So yeah for me, a base level of politeness is all I ask for in a pug. And it hasn’t be there for awhile, which is why I haven’t pugged for awhile. I haven’t even gotten the attunement to go into Karazhan yet, let alone run it.

PuGs vs. Random Group Finder

For me, I’ve found group attitude tends to be different for complete pug groups (say for Mythic dungeons or something that just can’t be done in the random group finder tool) vs. using the random group finder tool. Maybe it’s the difficulty level that makes it feel different? I don’t think so, though. Ok so maybe this is just me, but has anyone else noticed the (general) attitude difference between PuGs and Random Group Finder groups? For me, most of my experiences in PuGs (other than the one I mentioned above) have proved to show more aggression, frustration and rudeness than Group Finder. I feel like the person who creates a group and pugs it out has a sense of “ownership” which can be great if they are good working with other people, but I feel it generally leads towards more of a sense of entitlement and frustration. It feels like there’s an attitude of “this is my group, and if you’re no good I’m just going to kick you because I have the power”. Or maybe that’s just me.

What I do find in equal parts funny and sad is when you do end up in a good pug, everyone is so grateful, and falls over each other with thanks and praise for being such an amazing group. Isn’t that just a little bit sad to anyone else? That basic manners and a good pug run is such a rarity that we are almost in a bit of a state of shock when it does happen?

Pugging is better with friends

I feel most comfortable pugging with friends. I really do. It’s a no-brainer, I know, but until you’ve changed servers and factions as your friends, you really start to feel how important it is to play with people you know. There are a couple of people in my guild who are lovely and I’ve done runs with them and we generally have an ok time of things (though again, these are pugs and we’ve had some doozies!!)

The point is – if you have friends or people you like to pug with, hold onto them for dear life! It makes all the difference in the world.

 

Anyway, that’s my ramble about pugging. It can be tough. Sometimes we just have to tough it out and join them whether we want to or not (and I WILL finish off the attunement for Karazahn, and might even run it!). But do remember this – it doesn’t take anything to just be polite. Say hi to your group, offer help where you can. Or if you don’t feel comfortable with that, just listen and go the right way. 🙂

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. You can read everyone’s thoughts on how WoW has changed/impacted their lives on our website here. You can find Z’s post about the topic right here

This week started the 12th birthday celebrations for World of Warcraft. It’s crazy that a game this old is still this popular, although I understand it. The topic we chose for the challenge this week is an opportunity to take a step back and look at how this game has impacted our lives. Because let’s face it – WoW can have a massive impact.

I started playing back at the end of Cataclysm in early 2012, shortly after Thor and I moved in together. He introduced me to the game, and I haven’t looked back. From day 1 at had be around the throat. This is what I did now.

Nothing has really changed, and I’ll be honest – sometimes I wonder if it’s a good thing. All of my spare time revolves around WoW. All of it. I start up WoW as soon as I get home and generally play until I go to bed. I write a blog about the game. I record 2 podcasts about the game. I buy all of the stuff. I’m a good little consumer. Sometimes it worries me, if I’m perfectly honest. I am terribly addicted to the game. If I’m not playing WoW, I’m tweeting about it all day every day; I’m reading articles about class balancing or raid strats or guides. And I do it during work hours, too.

There are honestly some days where I wish I hadn’t started playing the game at all.

But would I change anything? Honestly, probably not. (Except maybe how much I do during work hours!)

Because despite the all-consuming nature of WoW, it is one of the best things to happen to me (after Thor, of course!) The way I play WoW, it’s not only about the game. In fact, the game itself is probably about 65-75% of my WoW-ing. World of Warcraft is so much more than the game itself (oh but what a game it is). It’s also about the friends that I have made and this great big, beautiful community that I’ve become a part of.

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Without WoW I would never have met Z, who is truly one of the loveliest people I have ever met. And whilst we don’t see each other face to face very often, we email each other quite a lot. She is one of the few people in this world that I can be completely honest with, not matter how stupid, sad embarassing (probably because there are some stupid crazy similarities between us!) So for my friendship with Z, I will always be grateful.

And that’s not to mention the multitudes of other friends I have made through this game. And my podcasts! Klor, Neuro, Spazz and Sirius are some of the most beautiful people I know, and put up with me being completely random or cranky or very sweary. And my lovely gaming girls, Leeta, Natanie, Marie and Mel, who make me realise that I am actually capable of having friends with females, and whose monthly catch ups are a real bright point for me. There are SO many other people that are part of this wonderful WoW family, and I am grateful for them all. ❤

One of my favourite things about WoW, though, is that it’s something that Thor and I do together, and I really value that. I seen far too many relationships where people don’t do things together, and it makes me sad. We raid together, which has definitely taught us how to communicate better and have patience with one another! We also run random old content together and world quests, help each other out with professions etc – it’s just something we enjoy playing together, and I love it so much.

On a personal note, I’ve talked about my anxiety previously. WoW has really helped me to work on that a lot, to the point where I believe that if I didn’t have WoW, I would have turned into a complete recluse by now. WoW helps me have a space where I can vent out my frustrations by blowing up bad guys, but also forces me to interact with people in a way that I feel safe in. There is a distance between us, which makes it so much easier to deal with. That’s not to say that I don’t have anxiety anymore – that’s not going to go away any time soon. But WoW does is allow me to still interact with other people, and give me courage to do the same out in the real world as well. Since playing WoW I have become better at confrontation and finding ways of approaching and dealing with conflict, whereas previously I would have run away. I stand up for myself now, and am getting better at it all the time.

And of course, there’s the fantasy side of it all, and getting to live in this remarkable world that has been created. I don’t know about other people, but when I read a book I enjoy, I find myself wishing I could experience the world that the book was set in. Getting to see what was on the other side of the bridge that a character didn’t go over in a book, or seeing what a place looks like at night time instead of during the day when it was set in the book. WoW lets me do that. WoW has a story that I would have read and enjoyed without the game. It’s fascinating! So getting to experience it first hand, and feel like I’m making changes to that world… well it’s just incredible (and a little god-like in ways, too!)

So for me, I am always going to be so grateful for World of Warcraft and to the people who created it and work on it every day. I don’t know what the future holds – maybe there will come a day that I won’t be playing the game any more. But I know that I’m going to look back on this time of my life and be immensely grateful for it.

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It’s been quiet around here lately – I apologise for that. Initially it was due to my partner ending up in emergency and needing surgery that kept me away from my blog for awhile. Then, when I sat down to write yesterday, the election was happening, and I watched a country unravel, and I watched my friends get more and more terrified. We could feel it from here in Australia. Our hearts wrenched with yours.

Now, it seems awkward to talk about anything that’s not related to the election. It feels like there’s a grieving process happening right now, and talking about anything else would be disrespectful. People are hurting. People are afraid. This election result has seen the darkest anxieties come to life – the fear of being persecuted, of being made to feel “less than”, of being hunted, seems like a reality. And it’s hard not to feel completely weighed down by the feeling.

But you need to get up. Breathe. Take a step. Then another. Keep going. Keep breathing.

Because you know what the best part of this situation is? You are not alone. Everyone is in this together. You can see plain as day that you are not alone – there are millions of people who voted with you. There are hundreds of millions more people around the world supporting you. My twitter feed has been bombarded with messages of love and support for those who are afraid and upset and who feel alone. You’re not alone. Find each other. Stand together. Keep going. Keep breathing. The world needs you. The world wants you here. People around the globe are watching, and we’ve got your backs, America.

Keep going. Keep breathing.

Please be good and kind to each other. If this outcome was what you wanted, accept your win graciously, and recognise that many people are afraid of what may happen to them because of this result. If this outcome was not what you wanted, please remember we are all human beings, and recognise that people wanted change and saw this as the way to achieve it. There are ways that everyone can work together. But that can’t happen if you’re laying down.

Get up. Breathe. Keep going.

You are not alone. You can do this.

 

Tomorrow I will be returning to my regular gaming posts because, I too, need to keep going. My heart is aching for my friends, and I could fall down the ditch. But I don’t want to. So I will be here, putting my little drop into the Blizzard gaming community so that people have somewhere to go if they need it.

Much love to you all.

xo

My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about it. This week’s topic is a bit different – this week we’re talking about ingame persona vs. real life persona. You can read Z’s post this right here.

There’s something about being in your own safe home with nothing but the glow of a screen to keep you company that offers a sense of security and confidence that is not otherwise afforded. In some ways it’s like when a surgeon puts on his mask or a police officer puts on her uniform or the actor puts on their costume – the “real” you is hidden away, and you start playing the role the mask gives you.

We see it all the time online, where the freedom of appearing to speak into a void with unseen consequences causes people to put on the mask of online vigilante. Some people say things they wouldn’t say to people if they were standing right in front of them, but when they’re mere pixels on a screen and the online mask is on, the new persona comes out and the behaviour changes, and suddenly making inappropriate and threatening comments are the norm.

This is obviously an extreme example of what happens when we live a life online, and not everyone behaves the same way. But the point is that, for a lot of people, the person they are online is not the same as the person they are in real life. In some cases it can be seen as a negative difference, in others it can be positive. I feel I fall into the positive changes.

Under the mask – the “real life” Cinder

The real life me is difficult to explain, especially to those who have not had similar experiences. But we’ll try anyway!

The short version is that during my final year of high school I suffered severe anxiety and became agoraphobic. Which basically meant for me I had a lot of difficulty leaving the house and being around people. My school was great and found ways to work with me to help me graduate, and I in turn found ways of coping with my anxiety so that I didn’t fall back in to being fully agoraphobic, and found ways to leave the house to go work, even live overseas for awhile.

My anxiety is a struggle to deal with every single day. The easiest way I have of explaining it is actually with a WoW quest. Remember in Mists of Pandaria there was a quest with a fellow named Mudmug who  was in Valley of the Four Winds? He had you run around the water areas to fill up a vial that kept leaking. (It’s this quest here for those who don’t remember). That broken vial is me, and the liquid inside it is the energy I have to interact with people (or be out in the world). It is constantly depleting. Some things make me deplete more than others. I am (probably unsurprisingly) massively introverted. (My personality type is INTJ-T which you can read about here. I’m around 90% introverted). Being around people exhausts me. Crowds are the equivalent of tipping that vial over and pouring the contents out. I don’t cope well. Getting on the tram each day to go work, speaking to anyone, talking on the phone (oh god phone calls), sending emails, buying my morning coffee, going out to dinner with friends – all of it depletes that vial. And some days I don’t even start with a full bottle. Being with Thor helps (it is nothing short of a miracle that I found someone who understands my anxiety and helps me deal with it. Thor is my rock, as corny as it sounds.) He understands when I don’t have it in me to go to the movies or the shops or even outside the front door. But he also helps to keep the vial from getting empty when we are our in the world. It really helps.

Things that help me energise essentially involve me being alone. Things like reading or playing WoW or watching movies or just sitting staring into space – they all help me keep calm and able to leave the house again the next day.

 

Essentially the real me, if it were up to me, would live in the mountains by a stream with some books and pen and paper (and good internet access!). And I’d be totally ok with that.

It’s hard to explain this to people who have not had anxiety or who do not understand introverted behaviour. People don’t understand that if I’m upset or frustrated or angry, I’d rather be alone. People will say things like “go spend time with your friends” or “just smile anyway” or “just be positive” or “these things happen for a reason – it’s what you do next that matters most!”. It doesn’t work like that. Statements like that, while well meant, upset more than they help, because they say “you are broken and what you do to try and function in the world is not enough, and you are not right to feel the way you do”. Sometimes it upsets me; sometimes it offends. A lot.

The real me likes to have a laugh, (over)thinks a lot, tries to be creative and just generally tries to be a decent human being. I’m just better at doing those things on my own than with/around other people.

The Cinder that leaves the house

Obviously, I’m not a hermit. I still have to function in the world – I still have to go to work and pay bills. And I do like to venture out to the movies and things like that. I don’t like to miss out on everything. So I needed to find a way to do that. And it comes back to what I used to do in high school – I would act. I would put on a mask and pretend to be someone else to help me get through the day. All the while that vial underneath is getting emptier and emptier as the day wears on. Sometimes I do alright – I can do the pretending just fine, and deal with it all when I get home. Other days I’m not so great and don’t get too far (or out of bed).

The Cinder that leaves the house is not the real Cinder. Just a functioning one. 🙂 It’s the Cinder that people at work know. Sometimes it’s the Cinder that even my friends know (depending on how well I know the friend).

The online Cinder

Which leads me to who I am in WoW and online in general – the third Cinder, if you will. The online Cinder is who I would prefer to be in real life. Both my in game characters and who I am on my blog and in my podcasts – that’s who I would like to be in real life. Funnily enough, my online self is actually a lot closer to my real self than my day to day self is (i.e. the Cinder that leaves the house)

My characters in WoW are all representations of who I am, even with some of the negatives. My shaman in particular really embraces the split personality types that I have – the carer who wants to help and protect those around her, and the fighter who will stand in front of blades if it means doing the right thing. And already, every character I have played in the game is different to my real life self in that they talk to a LOT of people. They do everything they can to help, they stand up to fight when they’re afraid, they are good and they are kind. Mostly, they are strong.

The way I interact with people online is different as a result. My characters give me confidence that isn’t always naturally there. I have learned to channel my inner Cinderstorm and speak up when I want to say something and contribute to discussions and share things. Being in a raid team has really taught me how to work better with others and interact with them to achieve something. Because I’m doing that in game, I’m doing that in teamspeak as well. I’m also more confident in game to speak up for myself when I disagree, or even getting angry at people who are being dicks.

The other reason I’m more confident online is that people can’t see me. They’re judging me by my personality and my actions rather than how I physically look. Given that I am overweight and not an attractive person, I find that people interact with me very differently face to face in real life. There are automatic assumptions made about who I am as a person because of how I look. I’ve learned to ignore it, but it’s draining. In WoW and online I don’t have to worry about that because people can’t see me. It’s very freeing.

I think other things that also help with online confidence is that I’m talking to people who love what I love – they love this game. Sure it’s probably for different reasons, but having something in common with someone else is a big step towards making interaction a little easier. Doing the podcasts also really helps with this. No-one wants to listen to me be a robot. So I put on the “online Cinder” mask and do the best I can to be interesting and entertaining for people – I try to be the me I would like all the time. And yes it is exhausting – the energy is always dripping out of that vial – but it’s a different kind of exhausting. It’s draining but in a more satisfying way.

Changing

The overall point is that, yes, I am somewhat different online to what I am in real life. But I am trying my hardest every day to work towards being more like my online self. I will always be very introverted (that’s never, ever going to change) but I am trying more and more to be who I am online in real life as well. I’ve found at work I have more of a voice – I will stand up for myself if someone is being bossy or a bully, and I’ll make suggestions for alternative ways of doing things if I think they’ll be better. And it’s good.

When it comes down to it, I have a lot to be thankful for WoW. Not only because I’ve made some wonderful friends all over the world, but it’s helping me be better in the real world, too. And I like that. 🙂