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

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

Our list of things still to do is pretty big:

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

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

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

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

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

cover photo by Joseph Ngabo on Unsplash

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Tomorrow the gates of Azshara’s fabulous Eternal Palace open, giving us a brand new raid, with loads of new boss butts to kick. And with it (hopefully) will come some answers as to the next part of the Battle for Azeroth story.

I for one am so pumped for this! I have some ideas about what could be cool to have happen, though I should say I’m pretty garbage at predictions, so this is all likely to be a load of crap, but it’s fun to think about!

PATCH 8.2 spoilers ahead – if you haven’t done any of the Nazjatar content, including watching the intro cinematic, and you don’t want to be spoiled, please turn back now!

My theory comes about from a different interpretation to the intro cinematic for Patch 8.2. Taliesen (from Taliesen & Evitel) did a really great overview of the intro cinematic that I strongly recommend you watch (here’s the link!)

One of the things Tali brought up in that video is Azshara’s vanity. She spends so much of that cinematic admiring herself in the reflection of the waterfall that it would appear she has a pretty high opinion of her appearance. But I can’t help but wonder if all that water gazing is for a different reason.

Taliesen made a great comment – for someone who’s palace is under the sea, why is her chamber not full of water? He argues that surely it’s far easier for her to move her tentacly body through water than it is to wriggle around the place, and he’s not wrong. His conclusion, though, is that the room is devoid of water so that Azshara can have her reflective waterfall-mirror, so she can gaze upon her beauty.

Here’s what I think.

Azshara was a hottie, and she knew it (why else would she have statues of herself everywhere, if not for everyone to bear witness to her beauty?). I can’t help but wonder what she thought about being turned in to the tentacled (albeit still disturbingly hot) monstrosity that she is now. Sure she has power and her life, but I can’t help but wonder if she was happy with the trade off. I personally think her chambers were not filled with water because she prefers to think of herself as she was, and looking like an elf. And I think she was staring at her reflection so long in the waterfall because she was saying to herself “soon you will be yourself again”. Because I think she’s going to screw over N’Zoth.

Ok ok it sounds lame putting that in words – to suggest Azshara has been waiting, plotting and planning for years just because she got ugly sounds pretty weak. But for someone who, for her first life, was fawned over for her beauty as much as her power, this would have been quite the shock. I mean, she’s popping up all over Nazjatar to taunt us with a wine glass in her hand! Clearly she has a drinking problem having turned to in a lush, pining over her lost youth like a quarterback who broke his leg before the big game and watched his life pass before his eyes…

But in all seriousness, it wasn’t just Azshara who was transformed like this, and really it’s got nothing to do with how she looks. It was that her people – almost every single one of them – were made into these hideous creatures against their will, trapped in their underwater tombs for years upon years. And yes, they survived, they live, but at what price? What kind of life is one hidden away in the deep dark depths of the ocean? Is that really a fair trade? Those who weren’t turned in to naga are ghosts who don’t even know they are dead – why do they linger if not to be saved as part of Azshara’s true plan?

See, I can’t help but wonder if the prisoner that’s going to be released at the end of this raid is not N’Zoth as he hopes, but Azshara and her people. Perhaps Azshara will come good for her people and help them rise to power again as themselves, and not these serpenty versions of themselves. Maybe she will make up for her past mistakes. I mean, we’re potentially pretty screwed if that does play out – Azshara at her full power and potential could be devastating to us all. (Though the alternative of N’Zoth being set free is undoubtedly worse). Or… maybe she’ll just want a quiet life with her city raised from the depths and everyone living happily ever after.

Maybe not.

Either way, I think someone is getting stabbed in the back tomorrow. And all we can do is be the stupid pawns we are, failing to stop anything from happening because we really are just far too daft for our own good.

Whatever happens, I hope everyone loves the new raid!

xo

PS: There will be some screenshot posts coming up in the future. I’ll be doing some of the new raid, but also Nazjatar as a whole and of Mechagon. My GPU died at the beginning of June and I had been running WoW on the built-in graphics card, which was absolute garbage. Everything looked crap, and it broke my heart. I ended up buying a replacement GPU while the old one was being fixed. Definitely the right call because now I can actually see the water in Nazjatar! But also, the old one is still going through the process of being fixed, and I couldn’t have raided without something in place. Anyway, expect some pictures in the near future!

I’m going to be honest here – I’ve not looked too much in to what’s coming in 8.2. Not in any real depth that is. (Please don’t tell my raid lead!!!) Mostly because 8.2 is a biiiig patch with some really, really exciting stuff coming. Nazjatar!! Mechagon! New mega dungeon and new raid and pet battle dungeon and essenences and transmog and then there’s everything coming with the 15 year Warcraft celebration… holy moly! So much exciting stuff to come!

The point is, even still, after all this time, I still like there to be a bit of a surprise with everything. I really like that feeling of discovery, of learning something new and experiencing something for the first time. I’ve been pretty time-poor the past few weeks/months, so decided that I’d not dive too deeply in to 8.2 until I had to. As usual, this has been glorious. And if my GPU wasn’t at the PC docs getting fixed at the moment, I’d be thoroughly giddy with excitement.

But that’s only part of what this post is about. Today we’re here to talk about why ignorance is bliss.


One of the big things coming in 8.2 are essences. Essences are these little things you can add to your Heart of Azeroth neck that empower it with either major or minor abilities (depending on what level your neck is and where you equip it). There are a whole bunch of different Essences available, usually broken down by role. So there are dps specific, tank specific and healer specific essences, along with a bunch of essences suitable for whatever role you play. The wowhead guide for this is, as usual, amazing, and very nicely laid out – definitely worth a look.

I’ve been really excited by essences. I think they are going to help with making our classes feel a bit more interesting for the rest of the expansion. I like that there is a wide variety of abilities that these essences give, so if you’re a healer who chases mana, there’s an essence for that, or if you’re a tank who likes to dish out damage while they protect everyone, there’s an essence for that.

Essences are easy to swap in and out – you just use the same Tomes that you use to change talents, and you change essences on the fly to suit whatever fight you’re about to come up against. Great, right?

There’s an essence I’ve had my eye on for awhile now, because to me it just looks really interesting. It’s the Life-Binder’s Invocation essence. (Even though it’s changed a bit throughout it’s time on PTR).
At rank 1 (the lowest rank) it does the following:

Minor Power

  • Rank 1: Your heals have a very high chance to implant a Seed of Eonar in the target for 12 sec.
    • Seed of Eonar: If the target takes damage, the Seed bursts, healing them for 4,132.

Major Power (2.1 sec cast, 3 min cooldown)

  • Rank 1: Implant 30 Seeds of Eonar divided over allies within 30 yds.
    • Seed of Eonar: If the target takes damage, the Seed bursts, healing them for 4,132.

To me, this sounds kinda cool. I have so many heals that go out passively as a restoration shaman, that I think the Seeds should apply pretty often. It just means lots of really nice little passive heals going out on a regular basis that could help avoid outright deaths, you know? And the major power, with the ability to plant a bunch of seeds on purpose to a whole (mythic) raid team is brilliant for preparing for a big burst of incoming damage. I’m also curious if it could feed our cloudburst totems, too, because that would be awesome (though unlikely)!

And then there’s The Ever-Rising Tide essence, that gives you a random int buff or mana regen when you cast your heals. There are some really fun looking DPS ones as well, including one where you set up a beacon somewhere, then teleport to that location and do a huge burst of AOE damage. How awesome does that sound?!

There are loads of really fun abilities here, and so many that you could mix and match to suit your boss fights or what your preferred play style is, and I think that’s awesome. I like that Blizz are giving us options to personalise our playing experience, letting us choose abilities that we want to use, to customise our characters our way.

Or are they?

Well, firstly, yes, they are, of course. It’s not really Blizz that messes this up, though, is it? It’s us. You see, when push comes to shove and all of these essences are being used by thousands of people in the next week, we’re going to start to see a lot more data about their effectiveness for different classes and situations. And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to learn that, as usual, there is a “best in slot” combination of essences that will make your numbers look great. Essence A for your major and essences B and C for your two minors will be the best combination in conjunction with X, Y, Z traits on your azerite gear, and using this specific set of talents. Once that’s learned, that’s what will be expected of you, and if you’re not using that specific combination of gear/talents/essences/traits then you’re just not doing it right.

We gripe and moan about our characters being boring and loot not being meaningful etc etc but at the end of the day, that’s a load of shit. There is already a lot of loot out there that’s interesting, that impacts our play style, that can help us feel unique, but we choose not to use it because there’s always a “best in slot” that “must” be used for us to feel competitive.

I mean, Blizzard just can’t win.

We want class/spec uniqueness, but if our toon doesn’t have an ability that another class has, there’s hell to pay!

We want loot that feels rewarding and interesting, but we’ll ignore anything that isn’t going to bring us to the top of the meters.

We want spells and talents and extra abilities that engage us, that make us feel powerful and strong and impact our game play… but we stick to the talents and traits that make us perform highest.

And on top of all of that – we want everything to be balanced between all classes.

Yeah, ok.

A lot of the frustrations we have are brought upon ourselves, because of our choices (oh the irony!). Sometimes (maybe most of the time) what is fun, isn’t what is powerful. And if you have to make a choice, you’re going to choose what is powerful over what is fun, because that’s what gets you in to the Mythic + dungeons and the raids and killing bosses.

We say we want choices, and we do! But our actions say otherwise. And I think we really need to start being a bit more accountable to that. Yes, it would be amazing if we could have a plethora of choices that were all equally, beautifully balanced. But that’s not going to happen.

So what’s all this got to do with being ignorant? Well, everything. If we didn’t see numbers – if Details or Skada or other ways of ranking our performance against others weren’t a thing; if there was no such thing as “best”; if we couldn’t see all that, and didn’t know… don’t you think the game would be more fun to play? We’d make choices based on how fun something was, or how powerful we felt doing something (regardless of whether or not it actually was powerful). Wouldn’t that be great?

But here’s the confession – it turns out that it’s looking like the numbers on the Life-Binder’s Invocation essence make it really not so strong. And so even though it looks like a fun essence (to me), if I start simming my character and the numbers say it’s too weak, I just won’t be using it, because I’ve got mythic bosses to kill, and I need to be as strong as I can. But I’m sitting here wishing it was a week ago when I had no idea that this essence may not be all that strong, and I could just focus on how fun it might be.

Can’t I just go back to a being ignorant? Please? I was having more fun then.

xo

P.S – I realise this won’t apply to people who either really aren’t bothered about min-maxing, or who aren’t doing high level content or who are happy just doing whatever they want. I hope you love all the new essences and traits coming in 8.2!

Oh lordy.

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

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

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

But they were gone.

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

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

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

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

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

I received a reply the next day:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the final reply in this saga:

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

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

xo

I think I need to learn to stop making plans. I’m never good at keeping them. Although this time it was less my doing, and more things happening to me that changed my plans.

I had planned on spending a lot more time in the WoW Classic Beta over the past few weeks. Instead, I’ve been experiencing the amazing world of Virtual Reality. You see, my amazing partner, Thor, surprised me for my birthday by getting me a new Oculus Rift S. He surprised me further by wrapping the thing in balloons!

Up until this point in time, I’d never tried VR. My biggest concern was how ill it might make me. I get really bad motion sickness at the best of times – I struggle to play Overwatch and many other first person shooters because I just want to hurl the whole time. We also have an extremely small apartment with little to no room to move. However, Thor went around measuring our spaces and figured with a bit of creative moving around, there would be plenty of space to use the Rift.

There are already some amazing games to play in VR, and even some incredible experiences. But what I’ve wanted to do since the very day I saw it, was play Beat Saber. The premise is simple – the controllers in your hands become light sabers. You use those light sabers to slice boxes to the beat of the music playing. It is SO addictive. Ridiculously addictive.

There are multiple levels of difficulty – Easy, Normal, Hard, Expert, Expert+. You get scored on your combos (how many blocks you hit correctly in a row) and another score on your performance – how you hit the blocks, how close it was to the centre, correct wrist flicks and follow-through etc. The completionist in me wants 100% combos on everything, with at least a rank A on everything (though an S would be better!!)

If you’ve never seen or heard of Beat Saber before, check out this video of an absolute pro, OtterWorldly, playing a custom Expert+ map of Lindsey Stirling’s Shatter Me. It is absolutely unreal, especially given it’s the first time she’s seen it! (I am nowhere near this level!)

**WARNING this video has flashing lights**

I have played Beat Saber almost every single day since Thor gave me the Rift. It is genuinely a workout when you do it – especially as you get to more difficult levels. I love it. And best of all, it doesn’t even make me a little bit nauseous! (Skyrim VR on the other hand – ooof). Right now I’m somewhere between a Hard and Expert level, depending on the map.

One of the other things that makes Beat Saber so great is the community around it. These amazing people create mods for the game which can let you change the colour of your sabers and the lighting of the room and all sorts of other things that make the game a unique experience for you. But best of all, you can make custom maps for any song you like. The game itself comes with about 10 songs I think, and there are a couple of expansion packs (an Imagine Dragons pack released earlier this week!!). But you can burn through them all pretty quickly. There is a huge community around making songs and maps at a bunch of difficulty levels, making the game last just that much longer.

Despite me feeling like an uncoordinated noodle, and having zero dancing skills, I’m actually able to do alright in this game. It’s extremely satisfying, too. It’s great for those bad days at work. Normally I’d blow things up in WoW – now I’m smashing blocks with a light saber. The hardest part for me is being on my feet for so long in bad shoes. I’m getting some pretty gnarly knee and lower back pain, so I need to sort out getting a proper, decent pair of sneakers to wear when I play, because really the only thing stopping my from playing longer is the pain, not any exhaustion. Stupid limited body!

Other than that, I’m still raiding in WoW. We got Cutting Edge on mythic Jaina a little while ago. I’m so proud of our little team! I put together a pretty full on kill video for it, too…

Our raid lead got the first mount, then us officers rolled off for the order of the following mounts – I got mine third. It’s such a beautiful mount!

At the moment we’re not stepping in to Mythic Crucible of Storms. It’s such a rough raid. So each week we’re just going back in to Battle for Dazar’alor for a mythic reclear, and to give out as many mounts as we can.

Otherwise, it’s mostly same old around here. We’re all hanging out for 8.2 to drop in WoW… there are some really awesome things coming there! The small peeks I’ve had of Nazjatar are amazing. Mechagon is going to be fantastic, too! I think my screenshots folder is headed for an influx of pics… 🙂

I hope everyone is keeping well!
xo

Last week I was fortunate to learn that I had been granted access to the World of Warcraft Classic Beta servers. Anyone who’s followed my blog knows I’m a bit of a nerd, and a big part of me loves to contribute to these early access servers. I like feeling like I’ve helped contribute in some small way to the game. So I was thrilled to be given the chance to do this again. Even more so this time because, in a way, playing WoW Classic is like playing a whole different game.

I’ll be doing multiple posts on my WoW Classic experiences and thoughts. This first post will just cover my initial observations – how things are different in Classic vs. Retail and what I found interesting. Expect future posts with more opinions and thoughtful discussion.

I started playing WoW at the end of Cataclysm, right around when Firelands was in full swing. I have only known Azeroth as it is now – broken apart and forever changed by Deathwing. I’ve always been curious to know how the world was before that time. How did it all look before it was ravaged and destroyed?

Knowing I’d be playing Alliance when Classic does go live (a simultaneous worldwide launch on August 27/28!!!), and knowing shamans were a Horde-only class, I decided to start my beta adventures as a Tauren shaman.

The first thing I noticed when making my tauren was the lack of choices in facial expressions. This wasn’t at all unexpected – it’s a super early version of the game, and this is part of it. Just one of the many luxuries we have in current WoW!

It was raining when I zoned in, and I have to agree with what I’ve heard from many people before – the weather effects were better then. I don’t know what it is, but the rain in that screenshot is just loads better than what it is in current WoW. The sound of it was incredible. It really helped add to the atmosphere of the zone.

There’s no guidance for the game. You zone in and there’s a person in front of you to do your first quest, but that’s about where the help stops. Quest givers aren’t shown in the map or mini-map. If you have to collect parts from mobs (like teeth from wolfs or something) there’s no indicator on the map of where these wolfs might be. Then when you (finally!) do get the parts, you don’t get a direction of where to go back to hand in the quest. The best you get is a small yellow dot (like how herb nodes are shown on the mini map in current), but even then that only shows up when you’re close to the NPC so isn’t reliable. What it all boils down to is this:

you actually have to read the quest text

And it’s fucking brilliant. It’s hard, but it’s so great having to read to figure out where to go to kinda be in the area of where some mobs might be.

And there’s so much running around. SO much running around. Which I don’t mind at all, because I just love to explore.

And there’s a lot of dying. Well there was for me at least. I didn’t mind too much because there was something really beautiful about the spirit realm. It’s different to live – it seems…. spookier? It’s hard to explain. But I find current corpse runs are beautiful, but the world is clear. In Classic, there’s less visibility – you can’t see a lot of what’s around you until you’re close, and there’s something really cool about that. It really does feel like you’re in the afterlife, frantically trying to reunite yourself with your body.

Combat is hard. For a couple of reasons. First one being that classes are completely different to how they are on live. I made a shaman, but you get spells from all specs, and you pick and choose where to put talent points in… it’s a big mash up of different (and customisable) builds. It’s really interesting.

The other reason combat is difficult is because everything costs so much mana, and you have no health. I’m used to pulling mobs with lightning bolts and dropping an earth shock and just spamming lightning bolt and lava burst until the thing was dead. In Classic, you can’t do that. There’s just not enough mana available to cast that many spells. You need to make sure you have enough mana available to heal yourself (god help anyone without a self heal!!), and if you’re battling humanoids, you have to make sure you have enough mana left to cast a spell when they run off, or they will run to their friends, and you will die. A lot.

With the abilities I have available to me now, I’m dropping a defensive totem that helps me take less damage. I’m casting a lightning bolt to hit them from a distance and get them running to me. They get a lava shock and a fire totem and then I wait. I right-click on them to punch them in the face until they die. (And that’s also making sure I’ve already got my lightning shield on and my weapon enchant on!)

And that’s another thing – you have to level up weapons! I started off being able to use a mace and a shield and that’s it. And I had to learn to use them. It’s an interesting concept because it means that your combat varies as you try to level up new weapons. To level up your defence, you have to literally get hit in the face (well, avoid getting hit in the face at least!!). To level the mace (or any other weapon) you need to be in melee range, right click the mob and just auto attack it down, and sometimes that will grant you levels on your weapon. This slows down combat significantly, but it also makes you think about what you’re doing, and making conscious decisions about what to do next. It’s very interesting.

I should also point out that you can use other weapons (for shamans we can still use 1h & 2h axes and maces and staves and daggers) but in order to use them you need to go to a trainer to learn how to use them. When you learn it, you start at 0, and sometimes you’ll just fail miserably as a result. It’s a very interesting concept.

Health wise, we have none. Same as mana, it’s a finite resource that you have to pay so much more attention to. You actually need to make sure you have food and mana water on you at all times, otherwise you’re pretty screwed. And don’t be surprised if you need to eat/drink after killing just 1 or 2 mobs. Don’t expect to live if you accidentally pull 2 or 3 mobs, either.. like I did… a lot >.<

The other finite resource is gold. It is really scarce. I don’t think I went over having anything more than 36 silver at a time (buying Iced Milk instead of Mana Spring water certainly didn’t help me there!!!) It makes for an interesting layer of complexity to the game. You have to make decisions about whether or not you’ll buy that health food to help save time between pulls, or will you just wait it out and save the money? Got 5 spells your class trainer can teach you – great! But you can only afford to purchase 2 of them. Which do you choose?

The hardest part that I’ve found about Classic is how fragmented the quests are. I don’t really know what the story is. I think I lost the thread somewhere and I’m not too sure where to go to pick it up again. Which is what it is and I’m not complaining 🙂

So instead of trying to figure out the “right” way of playing the game, I just decided to start doing my own thing and go exploring. It has been such a strong desire of mine to see the world “as it was in the beginning”, so I set off to do just that. I took a zepplin to Undercity to explore around there, and met a very different Sylvanas.

Then I headed off to Silverpine to work on a random quest I’d picked up in Thunder Bluff. Silverpine was absolutely beautiful. I don’t remember it looking as it does (I’ll have to check in live!) but I did like it. As I was walking around I noticed some magic looking effects in the distance so of course I chased after them to see what it was. I didn’t get far because there were too many mobs, but given where I was I’m pretty sure it was Dalaran. And not just any Dalaran – a Dalaran in a bubble still on the ground. Maybe?!?! I decided I’d try to get there… but failed miserably. Darn mobs 7 levels higher than me! I’ve got another idea in mind of how to get there next time I’m there, though… 😀

I know it wasn’t the “right” thing to be doing in the game, but it was what I wanted to do. It was how I wanted to adventure. I wanted to explore and see the world, and so I did. And that for me is what the root of all games is – playing the game your way. It’s something I’ll touch on further in future posts…

I don’t have the nostalgia that others have about Classic because I just wasn’t playing then. For me, playing Classic isn’t about reminiscing about a time in my youth that I’m longing to get back to. But that doesn’t make my excitement for Classic’s release any less valid or dim. I honestly cannot wait for this to be released. I cannot wait to experience the old stories, see the old world and just play the game because I want to, and how I want to, and not because I feel obligated to level fast to raid.

I know this won’t be for everyone, and that is how it should be. But this is right up my ally. And I can’t wait for August 27

xo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope everyone has had a great week!

xo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you creating a new Allied race toon?

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

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…

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Then there’s…

The anxiety

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

And yet.

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

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

What’s next

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

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

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

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

xo

 

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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website

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…

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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!!

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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.