I posted a fairytale on my new blog that came from my favorite source of inspiration from WoW, the herbs in the game. It’s the tale of how rain poppies got their name. I’d actually like to make a whole collection of stories like this, making myself the Azerothian Sister Grimm.
I miss blogging horribly, but I haven’t been playing enough WoW to be able to write about it anymore. That makes me really sad, because I worked hard on this blog, and I enjoyed the people I met through it.
I decided to make a New Year’s Resolution to start blogging again, and to honor that promise to myself, I started an entirely new blogged called Among the Lights. I plan to talk about gaming, geek culture, design, and about general cool things I find online and off. I’ll even still talk about WoW from time to time I’m sure. Anyway, if you feel so inclined, please check it out.
Happy New Year, all!
I’ve been not around for a while, in the blog world or really, in game either. At first it was just a matter of timing. Right around when the expansion launched, I got super busy with work, and didn’t have a day off for about four weeks. When that finally died down, I had some time to level my main, hit 90, and deal with the immediate overwhelming nature of rep grinds, dailies, and trying to gear up. I was still making a go of it, despite rising frustration with the way things were designed because in general, I really do love Mists.
But you see, then I got completely derailed again. And since images really do usually speak louder than words, I thought I’d just show why:
The ocean is more or less my front yard. I live a block off the beach in a barrier island town that was right in the path of Hurricane Sandy. This is a picture that I took on the morning of the storm, about twelve hours before it actually made landfall.
You can see here just how close the water already was to reaching the dunes. The dunes are there to protect the town from storm surges, and slow the water from barreling into the streets and homes of the people who live here. Incidentally, the dunes you see there are completely gone now.
My town was among one of the hardest hit by the storm and my area of New York was crippled by it. Living on a barrier island, we couldn’t be surprised that our town didn’t have power, water, or sewage for nearly a month. But it wasn’t just us. It was everywhere. And despite evacuating my town, which was completely unlivable, we were still living without power for quite some time, staying with family, and generally feeling uncomfortable.
Needless to say, I wasn’t playing a whole lot of WoW.
Those boards you see are the boardwalk, swept up and away as far as the bayside of the island.
The streets were covered in about a foot of sand in some places and nearly every car in the town was totaled.
That boat…totally doesn’t belong there.
Anyway, it was a very stressful experience. And once power did start to come back on, I tried playing WoW again, as it’s always been my escape and stress relief. To my dismay, I found the game wasn’t doing much to calm me down. Dailies were stressing me out, and with a crappy internet connection and only my aging laptop to play on, along with no desk and no privacy, doing randoms wasn’t really that appealing either. Even reading through WoW sites started to upset me, as I realized just how far I was falling behind on gearing and, more annoyingly, getting irritated with people themselves. The final straw for me was when Blizz announced that proceeds from the Fire Kitten would go to benefit the Red Cross and Sandy victims. While most people applauded the move, there were of course those people bitched and got into flame wars about it. While also reading about coworkers who had lost everything and reading emails from my insurance company about how to go through the claims process on a totalled car (something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, btw) I decided I’d had about enough stress, real life or imaginary, and took a break.
Life is much better for me now, of course. We’re back home and I have a new shiny car and my town is slowly starting to rebuild. The Red Cross and National Guard have gone home as well, and things feel normal again. Plus, we were extremely lucky. The only thing we lost was my car, where others around us had their entire homes destroyed. And so I’ve been trying to get back into playing WoW, though I have to admit it’s more difficult than I would have thought. I’m no longer the know-it-all in /g telling people whatever information they need to know.
In fact, I honestly have no clue what’s going on in the game right now. I kind of feel like a newb. My main is completely undergeared, I haven’t run the majority of the instances, I have not yet caught all the battle pets, and I have no clue what’s going on in patch 5.1. I can’t tell you how bizarre it is to be the one asking questions! But it’s nice to have Azeroth to go to now that I’ve calmed down again, and there’s something very comforting about flying over Pandaria and seeing the beautiful landscapes Blizzard has made.
And, as it often does, the game has reminded me of just how much I do love my friends. They’ve helped me out with gearing, presenting me with crafted items to help me along. It’s a very overdue public thanks to them, but to Saph, Bim, Xall, and Tor, all I can say is thanks. And to Coups too, for keeping me company on a day when WoW was not where I wanted to be and hanging out with me in GW2 all day. I love you guys so much, and you’re the reason I keep logging into the game.
Anyway, that’s enough depressing stuff from me. I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time, and I guess I finally feel ready to get back to things now. And one of the nice things about taking a break from the game is that I had lots of time to write, and I have some fun stuff that I might want to share here at some point. I tried my hand at writing a Pandarian fairy tale and provided I’m ever happy with it, I’ll definitely be sharing it here!
I’m sorry, Kynsaia. The allure of pretty pandaren lady animations was too much for me. I turned you from a proud, strong orc into an adorable panda. I hope you can forgive me.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for good animations. I’ve been pondering turning my shammy from an orc to a pandaren for a while now and last night I just bit the bullet and did so. The pandaren dual wielding animations are just too good to pass up. And the casting animations? Equally amazing. It was between my rogue and my shammy getting the race change, and once my friend changed her rogue from a male orc into a panda lady, she made my decision easy for me. Beer keg totems it is.
The most frustrating part of the race change process was coming up with a new name for this lady. Apparently every single Chinese name is already used on Argent Dawn, mostly by people who aren’t even playing the character. I can’t really bitch too much about that though, since it’s possible I did the same thing for my windwalker monk that I haven’t had a chance to play. So I’m sure every person that tries to use Meifeng for a name is cursing me too. Still though, it was frustrating. I like the names of my toons to fit, and I like to stay true to their culture. I also have to like the way the name sounds and looks, so even if something had a cool meaning, I couldn’t bring myself to use it if I didn’t like the way it sounded.
In the end, I had to combine some words together to get a name I liked. I went with Jianying, which I got from combining words that apparently mean river and clever, which I thought quite suiting for a resto shaman. Of course, since I know nothing about Chinese, it’s possible that it has a totally different meaning, like “smells like cat” or something, but I’ll never really know. I do know, after a little more research, that this is actually a woman’s name, so at least I didn’t totally strike out there.
It was a little bit of a shock to go from my sexy looking orc chick decked out in her Engraved set to a rolly polly panda lady wearing it. I immediately decided that said set was far too sexy and I was going to have to reconsider her transmog immediately. Unfortunately, there were zero mail options on the AH. Apparently everyone’s too busy doing dailies or something to stock the AH with dress up clothes. My friend reminded me that these things called tabards exist though and huzzah! Problem solved. Now Jianying can set forth without too much fur showing.
The best part of race changing to a pandaren was the totally silly impromptu RP session that came from it. Two of my guildies, one a pandaren rogue and the other a forsaken rogue, wanted to see how my toon looked, so we met up in Orgrimmar.
Rinelle waves at the pandaren ladies.
Jianying boggles at Rinelle.
Jianying says: You need to eat!
Rinelle says: What?
Xingchi says: Oh my!
Xingchi says: Are.. are you ok?
Rinelle says: I’m fine… um, thanks?
Jianying says: You look as though you have grave injuries!
Rinelle says: Hmm, you could stay that.
Rinelle smirks slyly at the pandren.
Xingchi says: Your knees must be terribly painful! Oh and your toes!
Xingchi says: … And your fingers… And your… face…
Xingchi says: Oh my.
Jianying says: And….how is your spine cutting through your clothes like that?
Rinelle says: Really, I’m fine.
Rinelle lets out a long, drawn-out sigh.
Jianying says: I think you need some food.
Xingchi says: Maybe clothes from this land are not as strong as on the Wandering Isles.
Jianying says: Perhaps.
Rinelle says: Possibly. However, I don’t think you serve the type of food I’d be interested in.
Jianying says: Nonsense!
Jianying says: Everyone knows the finest chefs in all the land are Pandaren.
Rinelle says: Still, I’m sure the use the wrong… ingredients.
Jianying says: Well that is just silly.
Xingchi says: Perhaps farmers in this land don’t know how to properly grow fine crops.
Jianying says: We could custom make you food!
Jianying says: You just need to tell us what you like.
Rinelle says: Maybe you should talk to the farmers in Hillsbrad.
Rinelle says: They grow my favorite crops there.
Rinelle quietly snickers to herself.
Xingchi says: Hills… brad…?
Jianying says: Where is that?
Xingchi ponders the situation.
Rinelle says: Oh right… you’re new here.
Rinelle says: You take the zep over to Lordaeron and go south from there.
Jianying says: That sounds interesting.
Rinelle says: Stop by in Undercity if you’re feeling especially adventurous.
Xingchi says: Oh! One of those flying boats!
Jianying says: Those things make me nervous.
Xingchi says: I am not so sure I want to fly on one again.
Xingchi says: The one I traveled on crashed.
Rinelle says: What’s wrong with a zep?
Xingchi says: Set fire to such fine farmland in Pandaria.
Rinelle says: Don’t you use those balloony things?
Xingchi says: I have never crashed a balloon before!
Rinelle glances over at the orange balloon.
Rinelle says: Granted, you aren’t a goblin.
Jianying says: Besides, balloons are made by pandaren. Your zep-e-lins are made by those goblin creatures.
Xingchi says: I’ve always thought boats are meant for floating.
Rinelle says: Well they do… usually.
Jianying says: I’m half convinced those goblins want to crash.
Rinelle says: You may not be wrong on that account.
Rinelle nods at you.
Xingchi says: And fishing of course! And one can’t well catch fish to eat if sailing through the air…
Xingchi says: Ah… What I’d do for a nice plump fish right now…
Jianying says: I wonder if you could fish for birds.
Xingchi is hungry!
Rinelle says: Hmm air fishing. Sounds like something the goblins would like to capitalize on.
Jianying says: By the way, I didn’t catch your name.
Rinelle says: I am an agent of the Scions. You can call me Rin.
Xingchi pulls out a Boiled Silkworm Pupa and licks her lips hungrily.
Jianying says: Scions?
Jianying says: Who are the Scions?
Rinelle says: Have you not heard of us?
Jianying glances at Xingchi and then back at Rinelle. She shakes her head.
Rinelle says: We’re experts at… this and that. Best of the best and all.
Xingchi says: What is the trade of these Scions?
Xingchi says: Are you craftsmen? Warriors?
Rinelle says: You can stop by our hall over yonder. I’m sure they have something to fill your bellies there, if you’d like to stop by and meet the others.
Jianying says: Could probably teach them a thing or two about cooking, eh Xing?
Xingchi says: Oh yes. And we could have a feast at the same time.
Rinelle says: The Scions are made up of all sorts of people.
Rinelle says: Your cookery would be appreciated by most of the folks there. I’ll have to pass…
Jianying says: Oh, I’m sure we could figure out something to tempt you.
Rinelle says: However, that larvae you had looked more interesting than food usually is.
Xingchi says: Oh that is just a snack.
Xingchi says: But it is quite delicious!
Rinelle shrugs. Who knows?
Rinelle says: I’ll take your word for it.
Jianying says: I’d certainly be up for meeting some new people.
Xingchi says: Especially if they are strong.
Rinelle points out the guild hall building.
Jianying says: Though apparently I’m to go through some dark portal for some reason. Not sure what that’s all about.
Jianying says: Sounds spooky.
Xingchi says: Oh my, that sounds fun!
Rinelle says: There’s the place. Go on and have a look-see. I have my own matters to get on with.
Jianying says: Well it was good to meet you, Miss Rin!
Xingchi says: All right. Thank you, friend.
You bow down graciously.
Rinelle says: It’s been a slice, ladies.
Xingchi says: And please, get something to eat!
Rinelle creaks as she bows in return.
Jianying says: Yes. And perhaps a monk to heal you!
Xingchi agrees with you.
Rinelle says: Ha! Must be miracle-working monks!
Xingchi says: Oh yes, they are very skilled!
Rinelle says: I’m sure.
Rinelle waves goodbye to everyone. Farewell!
Jianying says: She seems nice
Xingchi says: Yes. A little odd, but probably due to the pain!
Jianying says: Yes, no doubt.
Xingchi says: I think I need to gain a few pounds after seeing that.
Jianying says: It can’t be comfortable to have your bones sticking out like that.
Jianying says: Oh yes.
Jianying says: How about some dumplings?
Xingchi says: Oh yes!
Xingchi cheers at you.
You cheer at Xingchi.
Totally ridiculous, but also totally fun. And poor Kynsaia the orc will live on too. She’s always supposed to have been part of the Horde’s navy. I’m going to reroll her as a mage and play her as an elementalist of the sea. And since I already have the First Mate Hat and Buccaneer’s Vest sitting in the bank, her transmog is already halfway done. It’s the little things.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged beer keg totems, orcs need a new model like whoa, pandaren, pretty animations, race change, random rp, shaman, silly, what the hell did I just name my toon | 6 Comments »
So I’ve tried leveling a worgen a couple of times, mostly because I like knowing the story of all of the races in the game. I’m generally pretty awful at leveling Alliance races though, and night elves and draenei are the only ones with which I’ve had much success. When Cataclysm dropped, I thought for sure I would be able to level a worgen because of the awesome Victorian vibe of the zone.
As it turns out, I couldn’t stand it, and my account is littered with various worgen across several servers, none of them above level 7. But today while flying through the Barrens on my paladin searching for a giraffe calf, I decided to check out what other pets I wanted to hunt down.
Wait. I should stop here to say: I didn’t play much of the beta. I also didn’t read much about the beta because I didn’t want to spoil Mists for myself. Going into Cataclysm, I read up about so much that nothing felt like a surprise to me when I got into the game. That was the last thing I wanted to happen this time around, especially since towards the end of the expansion, a lot of my desire to play WoW had left me.
However, since Mists dropped, I’ve had barely any time to play at all. Work has been totally kicking my ass. In fact, I only just hit 90 with Fayasha, my druid, yesterday. (This is also why I haven’t been posting at all, for which I have to apologize). So I should have spent today finishing up the Dread Wastes to get gear for her so I can start running heroics. Instead, I decided some pet hunting was in order.
Which brings me to that giraffe calf. I love how big this pet is. I decided it would definitely make a good friend for Fayasha, since she’s always the tallest one in a group, being a tauren and all. But since I’ve been focusing on leveling with the little bit of time I have to play, pet battling isn’t something I’ve been able to do. I’ve always loved searching for pets though, even before battling them was a thing, so I couldn’t resist the urge for long. I turned back to my old friend, Warcraft Pets to see what I might want to go looking for. And that’s when I saw it.
Immediately I knew that whatever plans I’d had for the day were going to have to be put on hold and one of those languishing worgens would have to be leveled. Nevermind the fact that I have professions to take care of, a secondary main to level, and a main to gear. Nevermind the fact that I have yet to level my monk or my pandaren. Nevermind the fact that Mists really is an incredible expansion. I needed to go back to do that Cataclysm content that I hated so much, just to have a chance at that bird.
Okay, I realize it’s nothing more than a recolored seagull, but you have to understand. I was 13 when The Crow was released and one of the most interesting field trips I remember taking in school was to the Edgar Allen Poe house in Philly. I’m pretty sure I had “The Raven” memorized at some point too, but I’ve long since forgotten it. Also, ravens feature rather prominently in one of my favorite guilty pleasure books. What I’m saying is, this pet pretty much had to be mine.
And so where everything else failed, the promise of a shiny new pet is what finally got me through Gilneas. It’s actually a decent enough starting zone, though it felt like it dragged on and on in parts. I still can’t take playing a worgen seriously though, and the only way I’ll probably ever play that character again is if I race change her to a night elf. But it’s great, because now that I have my amazing new pet. I can get back to all of those important things I’m supposed to be doing, like gearing up Fay. Oh wait, is that a baby ape that’s only available when it rains?
BRB, camping a rainstorm.
What happens when you give druids a new toy?
They have an impromptu dance party in Orgrimmar to celebrate.
Canon refers to the actual events and characters that exist in a fictional world. Headcanon refers to any situations or characters that are imagined by fans of said fictional world. Sometimes they are silly, like the fact that Garrosh’s favorite treat is lemon squares. Sometimes they are serious, like positing that tauren store grief in the lungs. For my writing, I’ve come up with a lot of headcanon. Got a theory about a torrid romance between your favorite auctioneer and the patrolling guard? Given any thought to where mounts and pets go when they aren’t summoned? Do you know how your characters do their laundry, or what Baine Bloodhoof does in his free time? What are your headcanons, and where did you get the idea?
If I were to write about all of my headcanon, it would probably be enough to fill a small book. Or at least an entire short story. Headcanon is actually one of my favorite parts of WoW. I like taking this world that we were given by Blizzard and fleshing it out in my mind to fill in the gaps, yet still make sure it stays appropriate to the world. I think it’s probably good practice for me, since I’m notoriously bad at world building. I love telling characters’ stories, but making up an entire world is daunting to me. WoW gives me just enough freedom and creativity that I can be creative and not get overwhelmed.
The world we are given is much smaller than the world my characters live in.
In game, the world is understandably small (even though as far as video games go, it’s actually pretty huge). But when you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense that you should be able to fly from the northern most part of a continent to the southern most in less than twenty minutes. Well, I suppose it could make sense, but that would mean that this is an extraordinarily small world. With the mix of cultures and history in Azeroth, the setting seems too small, and so I choose to ignore what the game tells us in this regard.
I’ve written about this before, but I think it’s worth talking about again here, especially since it tends to be one of those things where people who aren’t used to writing with me get a little confused. For example, I like to think that Quel’Thalas is much bigger than Eversong and Ghostlands would have you believe. Eversong itself I imagine taking at least 45 minutes to walk from Silvermoon to the river that divides it from Ghostlands. And Ghostlands I imagine being much larger and vast. I generally say that I think Quel’Thalas is about the size of New Jersey, which gives me the chance to write in places that don’t exist in game, such as villages, other Amani settlements, outposts, and many other things. In order for the elves to stay as isolated as they’re supposed to be, they would need much more room to nurture their exclusive society.
Along with this, I like to think that travel is much more difficult than it is in the games. I don’t really enjoy including portals nor long distance teleportation in my writing. I feel like traveling back and forth between contiments should be a huge time and financial investment, with voyages (by air or by sea) taking days if not weeks. I’ll continue with this idea in Mists as well. Once my characters go to Pandaria, they are going to be there for the long haul with very infrequent trips back to Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdoms, if there are any at all. Even though WoW is a strange mix of fantasy, sci-fi, and steampunk, I like viewing travel, at least, with a bit more of a primitive stance. It makes the world feel more real to me.
The Silvermoon in my head is much cooler than the one in the game
I love writing about Silvermoon. It’s such an interesting fantasy city, with arcane replacing technology and a culture that has slipped into decadence. I love imagining different little corners of it that the game never gives us.
In game, Silvermoon has no residential areas or places to live at all. In my head, there are more districts, and like the world, I imagine the city to be much much larger than it is in game. There’s a neighborhood for just the noble types, for the merchant class, and more. Koralie has a flat in Murder Row above an apothecary shop. In my head Murder Row is more of a neighborhood than a tiny street. Within it there’s plenty of crime, but also a lot of fun. I had this idea that Koralie, generally rejecting traditional Silvermoon society, probably would rather shoot herself then go spend a night out drinking at the Silvermoon Inn, so I made a tavern called the Alibi Room instead. It’s a rowdy place with loud music (think Irish pub music with a splash of rock and turned way, way, up). Typical blood elves would sneer at the place, but I imagine it being great fun. At least half the time that I write about Koralie being there, she ends up getting into a brawl, which everyone generally approves of.
I take my cues from other decadent societies, like the height of the Roman Empire to imagine the political climate of Silvermoon. Without their king and with a Regent Lord who never wanted the job, I imagine the political jockeying much be intense. I love writing about the corruption that festers beneath the city’s shining surface. From corrupt court officials to blood knight generals that are only too happy to use their purses to manipulate and control those outside of the order, the corruption of Silvermoon is one of the main plots of my writing.
The Blood Knights are another place where I have quite a lengthy headcanon. For all the development they received in BC (when I wasn’t even playing!) they haven’t received much since then. I think this is rather a pity, especially considering the plot of Wrath would have been a nice place for them to shine. And so I have an elaborate list of all the general, commanders, many knights, and more within the order, along with their basic personalities and the connections between them. With my main RP character being a blood knight, I really had to flesh out the order so that I could write about it. Traditional military or not, it’s still military. I wanted to stay true to that.
I find that for whatever reason, I end up writing about food and meals fairly often, which begs the question, “What does this culture eat?” For blood elves, I tend to think they’re cooking a lot of French type food, so I mostly pull from that cuisine when I need an idea for a quick meal. Though once I did write a scene where someone was cooking an elaborate meal of salmon with raspberry mead sauce which is definitely not French. Still sounds elfy though.
Similar to that, I like to imagine that an elf speaking Orcish is quite hilarious with their graceful accent wrapping over those harsh words. Say “Lok’tar Ogar!” with a French accent. No really, do it. That’s what I imagine Blood Elves sound like to the rest of the Horde.
The wonderful herbs
This is another thing I’ve mentioned before, but I love thinking about background for the herbs of Azeroth and Outland. In my head, peacebloom is similar to tobacco. Sungrass is similar to pot. Stormvine shares properties with eleuthero. And Azshara’s Veil got its name from when the Queen herself demanded that thousands and thousands of the gossamer petals from the delicate, short-lived plant be fashioned into an entire outfit for her. Imagine her fury when the servants were only able to make her a veil! I actually do intend to do the other blog I mentioned before about the herbology of Azeroth, just because I think some of the things I’ve come up with are amusing and could possibly help others who are writing about this world.
I could really go on and on with all of the headcanon rattling around in my mind. I’d be curious to know if this is something that only people who write about the world do, or it others who play the game make up strange little facts about it as well. Where are the best vineyards in Azeroth? Who makes the best chocolate? What sort of fairy tales do dwarves tell their children? Do you have a story for the nice tauren lady that repairs your armor? Maybe your goblin priest is part of the Church of the Coin.
Actually, hang on. I like that idea. BRB, writing down more headcanon.