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Back when I used to post in the  comments of WoW Insider a lot, the discussion used to come up that what we really wanted was for Blizzard to update the character models. There was always one commenter who vehemently disagreed with this conversation, stating that she absolutely did not want Blizzard to update the models, that she would be furious if they did because she was sure it would not look like her character anymore, and that she would want the option to keep her old model. I always thought she was crazy, especially since she played a human female, which I by and large thought looked like crap. I mean, any improvement is good right? Anything had to be better than the dated, pixelated mess that we’d been looking at for years. There was no way it could possibly be as bad as she was making it sound.

So. Today I’d like to say, “I’m sorry Ret Pally Jill.”

I no longer recognize my druid. She is not my character anymore. She’s tan instead of cream colored, her face is totally changed for the worse, her hair is brown instead of black, and her fur texture is so heavy handed that she looks quite masculine. Her nose doesn’t resemble a cow’s nose in the slightest, her mouth is open all the time, and her braids clip into her boobs when she breaths.

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Where is my wise, intense druid?

Her body is quite beautiful and I think her animations are okay. I’m happy that her fingers are articulated instead of weird blocky sausages. The fanboys tell me I should be happy with this. I wish I could be. I wanted to love the character updates. They were hands down the thing about WoD that I was most excited for. In a time when very little about WoW has me excited, there was this. Finally, I would have the tauren I’d always imagined in my head, one that didn’t look like a rushed, uncared for mess with a squashed spider on her forehead.

Even after a long, thoughtful thread of feedback about tauren female, they still went live with issues that make me cringe. Blizzard didn’t respond to concerns about character models at all, so I’m not really sure why I’m surprised about this, but I am. There is so much about the model that I dislike, but to someone who doesn’t care about tauren, it apparently seems nitpicky. I will just say that the revisions done to female tauren reek of laziness and a lack of caring for the original model. How else can you explain why the unique spotted skin we used to have is now just a copy of the males’ “spotted” skin?

This is what this feels like to me. Suppose you have a cherished memento, something that a friend made for you, like a mug from when they took a ceramics class. It’s a little uneven and the paint job is messy, but you still love it because it reminds you of your friend. Then someone breaks the mug. They buy you a new one, a hand crafted thing that they found on Etsy. It’s sort of the same style, and the color is off because the person didn’t really look that carefully at the mug they broke. It is, however without a doubt, a far more beautiful mug. But it’s not your friend’s mug anymore.

I really never thought I’d be so bummed out about something like this. I’m a bit surprised that I am, to be honest. There are way more important things in the world to be upset about. But the fact is, I don’t really want to play this character anymore, and she’s been my main since I started playing WoW. I like the revisions to the troll females, so I could always race change her, but I hate feeling like I have to pay real money just to enjoy my character again. And no, I don’t think this is part of some evil plan by Blizzard to get more money out of us. Just stating that I don’t want to do it. And besides. I like the lore behind Tauren. Not that I dislike trolls, but that’s not the story I want for this character.

But really, there’s nothing I can do. It’s Blizzard’s game after all, and I have to live with their decisions. I still haven’t pre-ordered WoD, and I’m seriously considering not doing so, because I’m so unenthusiastic about it. But I miss my friends and I miss my guildies, and I want to play with them again.

I just don’t know if I’ll be doing so on my druid. And that sort of breaks my heart.

 

 

(To all of the femtaur’s from the feedback thread, I’d like to give a heartfelt /salute. I’ve enjoyed your comments over the past few months, and I hope you can find some happiness in your new character.)

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Those boards you see are the boardwalk, swept up and away as far as the bayside of the island.

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The streets were covered in about a foot of sand in some places and nearly every car in the town was totaled.

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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!

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So the other day, I was mindlessly leveling through Zangarmarsh on my hunter while listening to a podcast about writing. No one from my guild was online, and I was still half asleep from having stayed up way too late the night before pvping. I was about to go turn in a mess of quests when a message window popped up. I read the message first, then the name, then blinked.

Navimi? That couldn’t possibily be like…Navimie, could it? Not Navimie from The Daily Frostwolf. Why on earth would she be visiting me?

As it turned out, it was that Navimie. And for reasons that I still can’t understand, she was visiting me. I was being Navispammed!

I quickly switched over to my druid and took her to my favorite zone, Storm Peaks. It’s long been one of my favorite places in the game, mostly because I love mountains and the music there is amazing. Plus I know from past experience that the light there is good for taking screenshots. We started chatting and I’m sure I sounded completely ridiculous because I was quite starstruck. Navimie! Visiting me! And there were no guildies on for me to squeeee about it to.

We talked a bit about RP, which is always kind of strange for me. I often times don’t know how people will react to RP people and if they believe the stereotypes, like that we don’t know how to play the game or that we’re just interested in eRP or that we’re weirdos with no life outside of our fantasy world, but Navi seemed very cool and curious about it. I was all flustered, so I’m sure I wasn’t making sense, but it was fun to talk about all the same. I seem to remember that one of the reasons I started blogging was to be a good representative for the RP community, so this was very nice for me.

I probably should have summoned her on Koralie as well, since my pally has more fun toys than Fayasha does, but it didn’t even occur to me until after she had logged. But all the same, it was such a nice thing, and it actually totally made my day.

Thank you Navimie! I’m so glad I got to meet you “in person.” :)

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Contrary to popular belief, this is actually true. 90% of the time (made up percentage) it’s easier to be respectful than to be a dick. This goes for real life and WoW life, professional life and personal life, and everything in between.

I work retail. I haven’t always worked retail, but the economy being what it is, it’s very difficult to get a job in the creative fields. So retail works for now, and it lets me do something I really enjoy, which is study human interactions.

And let me tell you something. Those interactions? A lot of the time they make me sick. It’s hard to say where I’ve seen people be treated worse, in the retail environment or in a PUG raid. I’m going to say PUG, but only just. It’s amazing the sort of things that people say to those lowly retail employees that they’re buying things from despite knowing nothing about them. I’ve had coworkers who are smart as hell be called stupid for no good reason. One of my coworkers had a woman tell him that he was useless and should be her landscaper (said coworker is Latino).  I’ve had to give hugs to crying coworkers after they’ve been cursed out by some person they don’t even know because that person didn’t get their way. It’s depressing.

And the worst of that is, it has a cause and effect. When you ruin someone’s day, chances are, they’re going to ruin someone’s day in return. Plenty of the arguments that my husband and I have are not, in fact, about the dishes, but about the fact that he had a shitty day of work because someone he didn’t even know  acted like a dick to him at work. Is it fair? No. Should people be able to rise above that? Of course. But the point is, negativity breeds negativity, and it’s awfully difficult to fight against when it’s a constant thing.

Which brings me to WoW. I was in an LFR the other day. I don’t need any of the gear from LFR. My pally has almost all of the gear she could want out of regular DS and I’m really only there because I need the valor to convert to conquest and because I like playing my pally. I generally pass on everything, even the healing off spec stuff that I would sort of like to have. I don’t care if there are people in there pulling low healing and DPS  numbers, as long as we’re not wiping. And yet there were (of course) people in /raid spewing such seething hatred for those at the bottom of the DPS meters. These same people bitched about loot the entire time. These same people tried to troll newer folks during the ooze fight by calling out the wrong color to kill. Or they pulled extra groups of trash. Why? To make their epeens bigger?

Guess what? Doing stuff like that just makes you a dick. And again, contrary to what  popular society and especially the internet would have you believe, that’s not a good thing. Saying things like “I’m an asshole and proud of it,” means that you enjoy treating other people like shit. What does that say about you? Human beings are social creatures. Even the introverted ones (like I tend to be) generally feel better when they have positive social interactions. That’s why having friends or a loving family feels good.

Respect has always been a big thing for me. I might be snarky and sarcastic, but I generally try to go into situations believing that the person I’m interacting with deserves some measure of respect. After all, I don’t know their story. All I know is that they’re a person, just like me. And that goes for pixelated people too. Behind every blood elf or orc or tauren there’s an actual person sitting there with a real life and real problems that they’re probably playing WoW to escape from, if only for a little while. Who am I to ruin that for them just because they weren’t sure which ooze to DPS first? In fact, it’s when people start acting like disrespectful dicks that I lose my respect for them.

Here’s something that I’ve come to learn in my adult life. Being nice to other people almost always is easier. There’s this belief that if you want to get your way, especially in situations with strangers, that you have to be a jerk about it. I just don’t think it’s true, at least not most of the time.  Most of my coworkers will bend over backwards for the customer who is nice to them and, you know, treats them like a human being. A lot of people say things like “oh but if you’re nice, people just walk all over you and take advantage of you.” To that I say…bullshit.

You can be firm about things and still not act like a dick. You can explain why something is wrong without tearing everyone else down. And in situations with random people that you’re never going to see again, how hard is it to just shrug things off and let it go? Or, even more unbelievable, give people encouragement or real advice? Guess what? It’s just as easy to type “Stack please,” as it is to type “OMFG STACK YOU FUCKING NEWBS.” Seriously. It might just even be easier.

And that’s the thing. When you have respect to other people, they’re more likely to turn around and be the same to others in return. Just like negativity breeds negativity, respect breeds respect. If you accept that there’s a real living person on the other end of those pixels and actually treat them that way, they’ll turn around and do the same. And maybe next time when it’s you taking your undergeared alt through something, you’ll get that positive vibe back.

The most fun random groups I’ve had are when people are actually friendly. I’m not talking about chatting the whole time or anything like that. But someone saying “whoa, nice DPS,” or “I love your transmog set!” or even “Hey guys, thanks for the painless run!” always feels better than someone spewing out hate the whole time. Carrying on the good feelings that come with positive interactions can make your day that much better and easier too, since you have something to feel other than anger or frustration. And I’ve always had to really question how happy it really makes someone to act like a dick. I don’t think those after school specials about the bully who really just wanted love are too far-fetched in this case.

We have this saying at work. We call it the feedback bank, and the idea is that when you give people positive feedback (for things they deserve that feedback for) on a regular basis, it makes it ten times easier to give them negative (yet respectful) feedback later on. The idea is that if someone knows that you respect them, they’re much more likely to take criticism you might have because they know you just want them to be better and that you respect them enough to help them with it. It would be nice if people treated their WoW life the same way, whether it be between guildies or just random pugs. And besides, making someone’s day by giving them good feedback makes you feel good too. Helping someone who needs help makes you feel good. WoW is at it’s best when it shows how positive human connections can be made through a silly online game. Realizing that there are connections between people, even if we’re only in an instance together for 30 minutes feels good. And if you don’t believe me…

I still remember the name of one guy I was in a group with when looking for group first launched. The group was largely fail, but this one guy was nice. He didn’t curse anyone out, despite obviously overgearing the content. When he died due to a tank fail during a fight and I threw a brez on him, he whispered me to thank me and then complimented my healing. And then he said, “The worst thing about these random cross realm groups is meeting cool people and not being able to add them to my friends list. Look me up if you ever switch to my server!”

The worst thing about the group wasn’t that we wiped on an easy boss. The worst thing about the group wasn’t that the shadow priest was doing less DPS than the tank. The worst thing about the group was that a connection that was made couldn’t be continued.

If more people in WoW, and really the world at large, would think like that, we’d all be a lot happier.

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The other day I was going through the AH, looking to see if any interesting looking shields were available for my level 60 resto shaman. The shield that I would love to have for her isn’t actually available unless I want to race change her to Alliance then back again. My shammy is supposed to be part of the Horde Navy, so running around with a ship wheel on her back seems appropriate. Alas, it’s not to be.

As I was flipping through the available shields, I happened to see a Zulian Swirling Shield listed for a mere 100g. Clearly the person listing it didn’t realize what an amazing transmog piece this is, as demonstrated on Water Bender, Mist Weaver. I knew it had to be worth more than 100g due to the transmog market alone and I bought that thing and sent it off to my bank alt, considering what to do with it.

I should stop now to say that I suck at the Auction House. I just don’t have the interest to be good at it, and therefore most of my gold comes from doing dailies and randoms. This has always been enough to sustain me just fine, though I can’t get the higher priced vanity items and mounts that I like. I’m okay with that though. I always think that I’m going to somehow use my professions to make money, but I never do it. I’m just not interested in the buy low/sell high nature of the AH. There are other things I’d rather do with my time.

Transmog had slightly sparked my interest more in the AH, mostly because I had a huge collection of BoE gear sitting on my bank alt from years of questing that I think I intended to use to “level enchanting.” Since that never happened, I decided to send it all off to my Alliance alt before I transferred her to Wyrmrest Accord  to put up onto their AH since it tends to be better than Argent Dawn’s. I’ve made a nice little profit so far, enough that I can fund my alts there to get them flying and decent sized bags. But still, it was never enough to get me to want to try to do much else with it.

Until that shield. After I found that shield so cheap, I decided to look through the rest of the AH to see if there was any cool looking gear priced low. There was. I bought that too. It didn’t feel like a waste of time either, because I like looking at pretty gear.

As I was buying up all this gear, I had flashbacks to last summer. I was visiting my grandmother and we were watching American Pickers together. She used to be a bit of a picker herself, and I always remember the wonderful things she would find at yardsales and flea markets when I was growing up. My entire collection of Star Wars toys was due to my amazing grandmother, who would find buckets of them selling for $5 and buy the entire thing to bring home to me. I’ll never forget when I was 8 and  she called me to say “You have to come to my house right now, I got you something neat.” I jumped onto my bike and sped to her house and then was totally extatic to see that she found me an Ewok village. My grandmother was a cool lady.

Anyway, she loved American Pickers. I think she might have had a crush on one of the guys, because when we would both stay up late playing out respective video games, we would either watch that or Phillies games. And the best moments were when she would turn to tell me about some amazing little gem she found at a yard sale 40 years ago that ended up being worth thousands of dollars when the person only wanted $50.

I could almost hear my grandmother sitting next to me when I was looking over this bag full of transmog gear that I bought cheap on the AH. It’s not quite as cool as finding a giant owl umbrella stand for $5 or a Tiffany lamp for $35, but it still felt fun all the same. And it gave me a little connection to the grandmother that I lost around this time last July.

I doubt I’ll ever be an Auction House maven, but it’s a fun little thing for me to play with, especially since it reminds me so much of my grandmom. So yeah. If you see a feisty redhead with a name like Charlotte on your realm, watch out. The Azerothian picker is there to find rusty pieces of pixelated gold. I might not be making too much of a profit, but I still think my grandmother would get a kick out of seeing her namesake running around laughing about people who are silly enough to sell their Arachnidian Robes for 50g.

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So it’s been a pretty exciting WoW related week for me. On Monday, my wonderful husband gave me an early anniversary present, which is an all new gaming rig. Goodbye 6 year old iMac with all the graphics set to low. Hello ultra graphics!

We’d been talking about building me a computer for months, but I guess he just got the itch to build a new machine. Last week he told me he was ordering the parts and what case did I want? Not bad at all considering his general feeling towards WoW is “loathing.” I’m feeling like a real gamer now with my set up and I’m really excited to play some games that I couldn’t before because most companies don’t release things for Macs. Now all I need are some pink lights inside my case and I’ll be set. ;)

Computron…My precious.

I had no idea WoW was so pretty. And yeah, I know the game’s graphics aren’t that great, but I don’t think people realize just how bad things looked for me. The first thing I did when I got everything up and running was join an LFR. Previously, doing an LFR meant that my computer showed me maybe one frame per second as I blindly clicked around Vuhdo hoping that maybe I was healing someone. Now? It’s like night and day. I had no idea there were so many ground effects in this game!

After my group wiped on Morchock (yes really), I decided to go do something more fun, so I flew around looking at different zones to see how things looked. I had no idea there were floaty pebbles all over the place in Derpholm. I had no idea you could actually see details in Uldum beyond “more sand.” Twilight Highlands is…still kind of boring, but at least it’s a detailed boring. There are flowers growing all over the place! Even Orgrimmar is pretty! I’ve always said that Vortex Pinnacle is one of the most beautiful places in the game, and as it turns out, and I had idea just how true this statement is:

I’m not going to have to do nearly as much work doctoring my screenshots so they look nice enough to post on this blog anymore.

Tuesday morning while I was working on getting my UI all set up again, I randomly clicked over to battle.net and LOW AND BEHOLD! There was a release date there for Mists! Two months away, which seems like just about enough time to get most of what I need to done. Of course, then I sat down to look at my list of things to do and um…well maybe not.

Fayasha Druid

  • Actually finish of feral set/stop forgetting to roll on agi stuff during DS
  • Finish t11. Seriously. I never killed Cho’gall or did Throne because I happened to miss the night that my guild took them down and then we never went back again.
  • Kill Rags.
  • Somehow find people who want to do that old content.

Koralie Paladin

  • Collect current season pvp set (2 3 4 out 7…hope they don’t remove this from the game when the expansion drops or I’m screwed)
  • Firelands dailies every day
  • Tol Barad Wolf
  • Finish off current story plot so she can move onto Pandaria without issue

Tenian DK

  • Possibly work on stocking up on leather and ore for putting up once everyone is trying to level up professions on their new pandaren and monk alts

Kariki Priest

  • Finish leveling inscription
  • Get gloves and belt for transmog set
  • Try to get the rest of t13

Katalinia Warrior

  • Nothing. She’s such a neglected toon which makes absolutely no sense since I actually really like her.
  • Oh wait. Continue getting trolled by the Oracles for their stupid green protodrake.

Fayliana Hunter

Jasael Pally 2

  • Tank? Maybe. Doubtful.
  • Finish leveling mining
  • Maybe level blacksmithing depending on how much I hate myself

Letana Rogue

  • Undecided if I want to level her to 85

Ayamei Alliance Warrior

  • Learn to play arms
  • Finish leveling JC
  • Firelands dailies
  • Figure out backstory/RP on her

Adeiran Alliance Rogue

  • Hit 85
  • Level professions
  • Figure out backstory/RP on him

I see a lot of leveling professions here. I actually really loathe leveling professions (in case that wasn’t completely obvious) so we’ll see how that goes. My non-character related goals are:

  • Redo guild forum
  • Possibly build an entirely new guild website, if I can get others on board with helping out
  • Figure out how to spark interest in guild RP again
  • SAVING GOLD, NOT SPENDING IT ON TRANSMOG
  • Finish writing my post about DS vs ICC
  • Continue trying to get the Azure Whelpling. Cry when I realize I have close to 6000 kills, yet no adorable blue dragon to show for my efforts.

Less than sixty days before I can say goodbye to this expansion and all of the stuff about it I haven’t enjoyed. I’ve got a lot to do. It’ll be interesting to see how much of it actually happens!

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Pixelated Guilt: Changing a Main

I did something today that I might come to regret.

I’ve never really loved the name of my main toon. I chose it because it seemed like it suited her, and didn’t give much thought to it beyond that. Over the years of playing WoW, her name has become my name. But it doesn’t suit me. I don’t like it when people call me that. And so today, I forked over the $10 for a name change. And now I feel guilty about it.

My main is almost the first toon I ever made. I say almost, because there was one other toon before her, a night elf druid with the name of Faylina. I instantly fell in love with this character. I liked her long purple hair and her athletic looking body. Her name suited her well, and it suited me too. I’ve long used variations of my middle name, Faye, as identities online, and I didn’t see a reason for WoW to be any different there. As I ran through Teldrassil, I felt a wonderful connection with this character, even though I didn’t know much about the lore of Warcraft or anything about MMOs in general. I was just looking for an escape into a pretty fantasy land for a few hours, and I thought I had found it.

A few days later, I told my friend I started playing WoW, and he said something to the effect of “No, don’t do it! Save yourself now! Don’t let yourself get sucked in by that game.  But if you’re going to play, roll up a horde character on Argent Dawn.”

“Horde?” I asked. “But if I want to be a druid in the Horde, don’t I have to be one of those weird cow things?”

“They’re Tauren!” my friend replied, sounding quite put out by my words. “And they’re the greatest race in WoW, totally noble and honorable, and…hang on, I’m going to re up my account.”

Since the prospect of having a friend to play with was far too tempting, the next time I logged in, I switched servers and went to Argent Dawn and then clicked on the tauren for the race selection. I chose druid again for class, of course, and then I stared at the bovine avatar, a little line probably appearing between my brows.

“You are not a Faylina,” I told her. “Faylina means graceful fairy or elf. You are none of those things.”

The name that I was so fond of didn’t suit this new character, and it felt wrong giving it to her. I wanted to RP in WoW. The whole reason I started playing was that I wanted a creative outlet again. I didn’t know much about these tauren things, but I could see from the background on the character selection screen that it looked like they were part of some sort of Native American culture. My then boyfriend (now husband) is of Native American descent, so I really wanted to do the right thing for the culture. This character couldn’t be Faylina. She had to be something else. I went to a wiki about WoW and read about the Tauren and their culture and their language. I read that:

The language of the tauren is often harsh and low sounding, which is reflected in the names of their children. The last name of a tauren is usually a family name, handed down through the generations.

So I sat there typing out names, choosing to start one with a K, since that sounded harsh and I tend to just like names that start with that sound. Another site had suggested that female names have “round” sounds in them, so I thought O’s would be the way to go. And after messing around for awhile, I finally came up with Koloma. It suited the character. Ko seemed like a cute nickname for her. And most importantly, the name was actually available on the server. I hit done and zoned into the world, blinking at the plains of Mulgore and trying to decide if I liked it compared to the pretty night elf forests I had left behind.

Having a friend to play with was a good draw though, and so I stumbled my way through Mulgore and then the Barrens, leveling slower than I’m fairly sure anyone has ever done before. My friend eventually met up with me, playing a cute little blood elf paladin girl, and I felt a little jealous of how…not clumsy his toon looked. But I was getting used to my tauren girl, even if she did look goofy when she ran or emoted.

A few days later, I got a text from my friend.

“Hey,” it said, “Were you being unintentionally hilarious, or did you know that Koloma means ‘snort’ in the Makonde language?”

“Uh….” I replied. “Unitentionally hilarious, but that kind of fits, huh?”

We both laughed about it, and a few days later, I made this picture.

What I didn’t realize when I gave my character this name was that it would eventually become my name as well. WoW is my first MMO, and so I didn’t really understand things like instances or raiding, or that eventually I would be talking to people on Mumble and they would actually be calling me Koloma out loud. For her, the name is perfect. For me, not so much. When people talk about Koloma doing something, there’s always a disconnect there. It doesn’t feel like they’re talking about me. It feels like they’re talking about my awkward but awesome tauren druid whose name means “to snort.”

I came to realize that forcing myself to be Koloma felt just as wrong as forcing her to be Faylina. It’s not fair to make either of us be something that we’re not. And so I went searching for a new name, one that would suit us both. I looked up actual Native American names, ones that I could modify to include a little bit of myself. After searching through, I found two that I thought would work, Aiyana and Ayasha. Fayana, I discovered, is a name for some sort of fanfic shipping couple from some supernatural teen show that I have absolutely no desire to be attached to. Fayasha, on the other hand, seemed safe. I quickly reserved the name on my server, and then sat there for a month, trying to figure out if I really did want to change it. For some reason, changing Koloma’s name made me feel guilty.

Okay, I know she’s just pixels. I know that she doesn’t actually exist and have feelings. But for whatever reason, I feel like I’m betraying her somehow. It’s why I didn’t turn her into a troll, despite generally liking that model better. I can’t even change the color of her fur to get a different cat when I’m in kitty form. How did I think I was actually going to be able to change her name? She and I have been through so much together! We survived Barrens chat and the Scourge invasion before Wrath dropped! We experienced our first pug and discovered the need for a decent guild! We found that a mix of rest, cat, and balance talents do not make for a good leveling experience and then found out about the wonders of dual spec! We killed the Lich King! We killed Deathwing! I’ve written stories about her! How could I go and change her identity like this?

But in the end….I’m not Koloma. I’m me, and I want her to reflect that too. Fayasha seems a good compromise, and it’s not that hard to go back and replace Koloma for Fayasha in her stories so she’s still the same character.  And rather than “to snort,” Ayasha means “little one.” It’s ironic and appropriate, because in our raids, my druid is always the tallest toon, yet in real life, I’m probably much shorter than all of the people I raid with.  So despite the weird guilt I felt, I typed in the name, then loaded up WoW and  stared at my toon for a little while, trying to imagine her in game. “I think we can both be Fayasha,” I told her.

And with that, I hit the “enter world” button, ready for both of us to be ourselves.

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