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Archive for the ‘Shared Topics’ Category

This week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic post comes from Akabeko from Red Cow Rise:

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. ;)

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This week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic post comes from Effy from Effraeti’s RP:

Very simply:

How has WoW changed your life?

When I first started playing this game, I was not exactly in a happy place. I won’t get into the reasons why as looking back on it they sound somewhat trivial, but I had an overwhelming feeling of loss of sense of self. Too many things in my life had changed, and I wasn’t happy about most of them. And so while I downloaded WoW on a whim one day, looking back on it I had a very set goal.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved imagination. While I had plenty of amazing toys as a kid, my absolute favorite thing to do was make up different worlds and characters within them to in which to play. Some of this would be at school during recess where my friends and I made up a game about a secret world beyond a gate (that I think might have been between two posts of a basketball net) that could only be opened with a special key. For the life of me, I can’t remember the details of this world, but I remember it kept us occupied for at least a year. When I got home from school, I had another world that I made up in the woods behind my house, and I would spend hours playing out there alone. I was that kid running around in the woods, pretending that the fruit from the mayapple was magic or that the leaves from jewelweed had the power to cure more than the mosquito bites my legs often had. Fallen trees became elaborate bases, and the space between where the roots from them pulled up the earth became entrances to caves where vicious geredins (which I remember being something like goblins) lived. I’m not kidding when I say that this world occupied me for years, though it wasn’t something I ever remember telling anyone other than my brother about.

Growing up means you often stop “playing pretend” and so as a teen I would write instead, whether it was terrible poetry or fantasy stories about characters I made up. I remember one afternoon when I was a senior in high school when my boyfriend  came over and we took a walk in the woods. I started telling him about the games I played back there, and he surprised me by saying something along the lines of, “That sounds fun, why did you stop?” And then he picked up a stick and pretended it was  a sword, and suddenly we were running through the woods, pretending we were on an adventure, even though we were “too old” for that sort of thing.

Going to college in a city made such possibilities feel even more remote for me, though I was lucky that D.C. still had some good woods that I could go running in and feel some kind of peace. I wasn’t playing anymore, but I would still tell myself stories as I vaulted over trees or danced across rocks in creeks. A friend and I had an idea for a video game that we worked on building the world for, and I wrote pages and pages of stories about it before my course load got too demanding and I had to focus on that instead. But I was still okay, because I was studying graphic design and I could be creative, if in a different way.

After college, I moved to New York and fell in love with Brooklyn, where I was perfectly happy to embrace the life of…Okay I don’t want to call myself a hipster, but it’s more or less accurate. I heard about this game called World of Warcraft, and it sounded interesting but dangerous. I knew that games like Everquest had the tendency to suck the life away from people, and I was trying to establish myself in this new place and make new friends. I went out to punk shows. I played old school video games at an awesome bar called Barcade. I adopted the most amazing dog in the world and spent time in the dog park with her. I snowboarded a lot, getting me into the mountains and out of the city. I was really happy. I could be creative at work and then go write in my livejournal about my real life adventures when I got home.

But then things happened. I moved to a place I didn’t like. Life changed a lot and not in ways that made me happy. I was feeling really lonely, not because I lacked friends, but because I felt like I lost some part of myself. At the time, I couldn’t quite figure out what that was.

So when I downloaded WoW for the first time, it wasn’t that I was looking for a massively multiplayer online game to play. I just wanted an RPG to escape to, and low and behold, I could actually play on my Mac. I zoned into Teldrassil for that first time and just spent five minutes staring at it. It looked so familiar to me. It looked like that world that I had imagined so many years ago. It caught my imagination from the start, and I knew whatever else, I wanted to be able to write about that world.

After restarting as a tauren to play with my friend, I set about finding myself an RP guild. I didn’t realize then that RP on Argent Dawn was dying. After a few months of searching, I found myself a guild that I felt I could get along with after spending a month lurking on their forums. I went to their RP events as I worked on leveling up my druid, though I had trouble RPing on her. I could still write stories about her adventures and I did. When my guild decided to do some Blood Knight specific RP, I rolled up a paladin too, even though I never like that class. I came up with a personality for her that I could deal with, and started attending the events, even though I still felt shy and like I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. After an event one night in Brill, I went to Undercity, thinking I would check the AH there for some gear before logging off for the night. I happened to run into some people from my guild, still playing in character and got into a conversation with a death knight.

Almost four years later and we’re still writing that conversation.

Suddenly, I had a character to write about again and a world to play in that wasn’t real. I’ve written thousands (really) of pages about this character and this world. I’ve made up my own lore for things that Blizzard hasn’t fleshed out. I have an entire cast of characters with their own personalities and stories. And best of all, I have someone to share all of this with. As much fun as it was playing alone all those years, having a person to bounce ideas off of and write with has been amazing as well.

I happier now because I have a creative outlet again. I have somewhere to send my mind to when I can’t sleep because I’m stressed out about grown up things like bills and money. Dealing with loss has been easier for me because I have somewhere to send that grief that isn’t just internalizing it. As much as I love raiding and questing and collecting random things, I doubt I would still be playing this game if it weren’t for both my amazing friends and the world that my imagination has to play in. It’s not so much that it’s changed my life as that it’s given me back something that I hadn’t realized I lost. It’s let me be myself again.

Post script: While many of the responses to this topic are amazing, there’s one I want to mention in particular. This post on Confessions of a Grown Up Gamer is a must read. It made me cry, but it shows exactly what is right with World of Warcraft.

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This week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic post comes from Frinka from Warcraft Street:

Are you playing the MoP Beta? Why or why not? How much time are you spending there vs. the “live” servers?

I have access to the Mists beta (my sparklepegasus confirms this) but I spend very little time playing it, which I’m a little surprised about. I couldn’t wait for the beta. I was a little annoyed that I was in one of the last rounds of invites. And yet when I finally got my invite…I’ve barely logged on.

I’ve played around with it a little. I took a peak at the Pandaren starting zone (which was insanely crowded and therefore not fun) and I went to the Jade Forest to check it out, though I didn’t really do much. I struggled with my lack of desire to log on for awhile. I wanted to provide feedback, didn’t I? I would be a good beta tester. I’m a coherant (if long winded) writer, and I can express my frustration about things in ways other than saying “OMFG BLIZZ YOU SUCK.” I love this game and I want to make it better. So why was I not logging on?

In the end, I realized it’s because I love this game. I want to play the hell out of Mists when it launches. I want to get myself involved with the questing and the rep grinds and the pet battles and the dungeons and raids. And I just don’t want to spoil that for myself. Right now  in the live game, I feel like there’s very little to do because the content I have is 8 months old. I don’t want Mists to feel that way a month after it drops. It’s selfish. But I had to be honest with myself about it.

I mostly use the beta now to check random things, like if a certain quest reward will still be around or whether or not I’ll be able to get the Cataclysmic PvP set after the expansion drops. I downloaded the beta onto my new computer so I could ooh and aah over how pretty it looks and to take some screenies for this blog and for my guild’s website. But I’m not questing. I’m not playing around with pet battles. I’m not even playing around with the druid or pally talents. I’m not really reading up much about what’s happening in the beta (with the exception of Cymre’s fantastic posts about pet battles) and I’m actively avoiding spoilers because I just want it to be fresh and new.

I figure…I can experience all of this when the expansion drops, and I can savor it. Will I be a little behind on things on September 25th? Maybe. Will I be cursing myself for not reading up on healing changes? Probably. But at least I know I won’t also be bored. I don’t want to push for any realm firsts and my guild tends to take a pretty casual stance about getting ready for initial raid content. I’m fine with being a little slowed down at the start if it means I love this expansion as long as I loved Wrath. And besides. I have plenty of stuff to do on live before I can go to the pretty lands of Pandaria and start enjoying the content for real.

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This week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic post comes from Effy from Effraeti’s RP:

Professions are fun for some and a necessary evil for others.

Some of us have farming professions. Some of us have crafting professions. Some of us have a little bit of everything! Professions are leveled because they fit our style of play, help us in raiding, allow us to outfit our alts, and make us money.

What professions do you have on your main? Do his/her professions fit their personality? Why did you choose them? If you chose professions based on your character and not on gaming needs, would that change some of their professions they use?

I am AWFUL about professions. I have 7 max level characters and three more characters in progress. Of those characters, only 3 of them have their professions maxed because I HATE leveling professions. I think maybe it’s because my bags are in a constant state of crisis with being full. Or I just find it tedious. In any case, professions are decidedly not my favorite part of the game. I do them anyway though because I like torturing myself. And because I occasionally need to craft myself things. Auction House guru I am not.

I’ve found that the professions I have the easiest time leveling are the ones that have some sort of in character justification.

Fayasha Tauren Druid

Fayasha started out as a skinner/LW because when I first started playing the game, I had no idea about how useful professions could be and crafting my own gear as I leveled sounded like a good thing. As it turns out, it wasn’t very useful. I managed to level skinning as I went along because that was easy enough and once I got to 80 in Wrath I leveled my leatherworking just high enough to get the bracer enchant then I gave up.

In Cataclysm, I decided to change change from skinning to herbalism because really. Tauren druid. How could I pass that up? Leatherworking was such a pain in the ass to level that I didn’t want to drop it, so I kept it despite it not really fitting her personality.

I love herbalism for her though. I can image her trudging through Azeroth hunting down different rare herbs and studying them, trying to understand how they fit into the pattern of life that she finds so interesting. I can see her finding the herbs of Icecrown and meditating over them so she can understand how life could flourish in such a place. I actually imagine her walking around with a battered journal with her notes in it, collecting little local bits of lore so that she can bring them back to Mulgore to share with her tribe.

I’ve actually kicked around the idea of making another blog about this with her musings about the herbs of Azeroth, but I’m not sure how many people would be interested in reading the lore that I’ve made up for things like sungrass. :)

Koralie Blood Elf Paladin

Koralie started out with mining/herbalism, then I switched her to mining/JC once she hit 80 in Wrath. I needed a JC so I could stop getting gouged by the AH prices for gems and I wasn’t saying no the the extra strength from the jewelcrafting only gems.

In character, I thought that this worked well for her. Despite the fact that Koralie has a rather rebelious personality (I call her my punk rock pally) her mother is quite refined. It wasn’t a far stretch to decide that her mother made jewelry and probably taught Koralie something of it as well. I like to imagine her going to visit her mother and helping her with cutting the gems.

Koralie is also an alchemist, and this was a profession that was rather fun to write about her picking up. I’ve always written her as not being particularly academic, but following some bad experiences at the start of Cataclysm, she found herself having trouble sleeping. Her friend made her dreamless sleep potions, and after that she decided she wanted to learn to make them herself. As it turns out, she took naturally to it, despite not thinking it was something she could actually do.

The transmute is awfully handy too. ;)

Tenian Blood Elf Death Knight

Tenian is the victim of me dropping gathering professions on my two mains. He’s now my skinner/miner, two professions that are more or less awful for him. But he has quick flight and I don’t really raid on him, so it makes sense for him to have gathering professions.

I’ve always thought of Ten as being more of a blue collar blood elf anyway, having family in the builder’s guild and who worked on mining operations. Once I switched to mining on him, I decided he spent most of his life further south in the Eastern Kingdoms, mining rare ores and getting friendly with the dwarves. For this reason he has a fondness for their ale, and I always think of him speaking with an Irish accent (because clearly if you mix a blood elf accent with a Scottish accent, that’s the result). In Ten’s case, his professions influenced part of his backstory in a really fun way.

Kariki Goblin Priest

Kariki is an engineer and scribe because really. What else would a goblin priest be? She can blow shit up and then write people the bill for doing so. Goblin priests are the best priests. ;) She looks cute as hell in her goggles too.

For all of my other toons, their profession choices were mostly made for gameplay reasons or because I didn’t have that particular profession yet, but I do like trying to come up with reasons for why my they might have them. They’re actually a pretty fun writing prompt in that way. I’ve actually found that choosing a characters professions for gameplay reasons then justifying them in character can give an unexpected depth to the character. The night elf rogue I’m leveling on a different server is a herbalist/scribe because that’s what my friends and I were missing on that server. I justified it by saying that he’s a master at forgery. From there I decided that he’s just a master of disguise who spends most of his time adopting different personas to get information. Once I actually start roleplaying on him, I think this will be a really fun part of his character.

So I have a love/hate relationship with professions. Eventually I do get them leveled, but it’s always a struggle for me to do so. As with most things in WoW, storytelling helps me do them despite the fact that they’re boring. Maybe one day I’ll come up with a story telling reason to stop sucking at the Auction House and I’ll be able to make some gold too. ;)

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This week’s Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post comes from Frinka from Warcraft Street:

Have you ever tried to introduce real life friends to WoW? If yes, how did it go? If you never have, why not?

I think I might be the worst WoW ambassador ever. Any time I’ve attempted to get someone to play the game with me, it’s been a complete failure. I’m going to do the honorable thing and not  blame myself. Clearly it was the fault of the terrible starting experience prior to Cataclysm. I’ve tried to recruit my brother, mom, and a couple of friends, none of which made it past level ten. I might give my mom another shot in Mists though because I think she would find pet battles amusing. But the story of my biggest failure comes from the first one I tried to convince to play.

The first person I attempted to recruit was my husband, though at the time he was my fiancé. I thought for sure this would be a fun way for us to spend time together. I pestered him nonstop to download the trial and try out the game and after a few months, he finally decided to give it a shot.

“I’m downloading WoW,” he texted me one Tuesday night before I left work. “It’s taking forever.”

“You don’t have to download the entire thing,” I wrote back. “Just get the trial. And use one of the Recruit a Friend codes that I left sitting on your desk with stars and the server name and horde and sparkles!”

“No, I’d rather have the full game,” he said. He’s stubborn like that.

As I was taking the train home from work, I got updates from him on how the process was going, mostly consisting of “WTF why is this taking so long?” or “How big is this stupid game?” or “What’s an RP server? Can’t we play on a PvP server? That sounds like more fun.” I was still quite excited about the idea of playing with him, so when my train got in, I sped home on my bike and excitedly ran into my apartment and the office where our computers were. I loaded up WoW and was a little confused when I saw a download start to take place.

I did a little looking to discover that apparently that day was something called a “patch day.” I had no idea what that was, having only been playing for a couple of months, but I didn’t really care. My fiancé was going to play WoW with me. It was going to be awesome!

Except…we couldn’t seem to get into the game. And when we finally did, it crashed. And then when we finally got into it again…It crashed. He generally doesn’t have too much  patience for this sort of thing, and he was decidedly frustrated by the time he hit the character selection screen.

“What should I make?” he asked, clicking randomly on races.

“Make a forsaken,” I said. “You’ll like that. They’re creepy zombie people.”

“Sounds like fun,” he agreed. He chose forsaken, looked blankly at the screen. “Okay, so what class do I choose?”

I paused. I’d only really played my druid, paladin, and rogue at that point. Forsaken couldn’t be two of those classes. “Be a rogue,” I said. “They’re sneaky and nefarious, and you’ll probably like playing one.”

“A rogue?”

“Yeah. Like a thief from D&D. Come on, I know you played that when you were a kid.”

“Lies,” my husband replied as he calmly chose a warlock and started flipping through the character customizations. I was busy logging into the orc shaman I had barely played. I’d recently finished reading Lord of the Clans, and the idea of an orc shaman was just too awesome for me. Not that I’d really figured out how to play her yet. And she kind of sounded like a pig getting slaughtered every time an enemy hit her, so I wasn’t sure how much I liked her. But it was better than being one of those forsaken things, so I logged in and started making my way to Tirisfal from Durotar. At level 3 without a mount.

“Wait, did you actually choose the guy who’s missing his jaw?” I asked, glancing over at my husband’s screen. Really? The tongue hanging down out of the face guy?

“Yeah, it’s awesome.”

“Okay……” I replied, running away from a scorpid. After a few minutes, I managed to get to the zeppelin tower and boarded the ship to Eastern Kingdoms. Then the game crashed and I had to log back in.

“What am I doing?” my husband asked over the intro to the forsaken starting zone.

“Just…listen to what the guy is saying, he’s telling you a story.”

“The graphics on this game are terrible,” he observed. “My computer can play Crysis. This is an insult to my video card.”

“Just shut up and listen!” I growled, furiously trying to log back on. Argent Dawn is full, you are the 200th person in queue.

“Okay, now what?” he asked.

“Go talk to the guy with the exclamation point over his head,” I said, climbing down the tower in Tirisfal glades. It was then that I realized I’d never started a forsaken character and didn’t really know where to go. I shrugged and started running in what looked like the right direction.

“I’m supposed to kill 6 skeletons.”

“Okay, so kill them.”

“How?”

“Are you being stupid on purpose?” I asked. “You know how to play video games. Your computer can play Crysis, remember? Are you really telling me that you can’t figure out how to kill something?”

“This game is stupid,” he replied.

“Just hit your spells!” I exclaimed, running away from a plaguehound. I glanced over at him. “No, not with your mouse, with the numbers on your keyboard! No, stop hitting him with the staff, you’re a freaking warlock, cast a spell!” I’d gotten myself all turned around by that point but kept on running as I looked at the screen. “You have to stand still while you’re casting or your cast gets interrupted,” I added, finally just hitting autorun and going over to his computer.

“They’re hitting me though. I’m trying to dodge them.”

“You can’t,” I said helpfully. “Just stand there and let it hit you and hopefully you’ll finish it off first.”

“This game is stupid,” he said.

“No it’s not, it’s awesome,” I replied, going to sit at my desk again. My brows furrowed as I stared at the screen, trying to figure out where I was. Wait, why was there a bear chasing towards me. And what the hell was wrong with that bear?? He looked like a zombie!!!

Once at the spirit healer, I looked at my map and realized somewhere between yelling at my fiancé to cast spells and running from plaguehounds, I’d gotten myself completely turned around and ran into the welcome bears of the Western Plaguelands. I sighed, took the spirit rez, then started running back in the direction of the forsaken starting area.

“What the hell??” exclaimed my fiancé. A few seconds later, I was booted from the game. I tried logging back in, but it appeared the server had crashed. The general cursing I heard coming from my fiancé’s side of the room confirmed that he was experiencing the same thing.

“It’s a patch day,” I said through gritted teeth. “Things are going to be buggy.” I had no idea what that meant, but I’d just read it on WoW Insider, so it seemed like a good explanation.

Eventually we both made it back into the game, and I remembered that he could summon me using the RAF perks. “What’s your character’s name?” I asked.

“Lucifrluvsu,” he answered, hitting a skeleton with his staff.

I stared over at him. “Seriously?” I asked. “This is an RP server! You have to have an RP name!”

“What the hell does that mean?” he asked.

“It means it should sound like a real name!”

“A real name for a zombie. Okay,” he said, rolling his eyes. I glared at him, then invited him to a group. “It says that Kynsaia wants to invite me to a group,” he said.

“Accept. That’s me.” A few moments later, we were in a group together. I gave up on trying to explain what to do, and just went over to his computer and summoned myself. A few seconds later my orc lady appeared next to his hideous zombie guy.

“Is that you?” he asked. “Why are you so ugly? Why do you look like a dude with boobs?”

“Let’s just quest,” I said, picking up the quest he was on. “Wait, look at this,” I said, sending a /kiss his way.

“Look at what?” he asked.

“Look in your text box!” I said, sending him a /flirt.

“Oh,” he said. “How did you do that?”

“You can target me and type /kiss,” I explained. Finally, we were getting somewhere.

A few seconds later I saw “Lucfrluvsu brushes up against you and farts loudly.”

“You’re disgusting,” I muttered, sending a bolt of lightening at a skeleton. A few seconds later, the server crashed again.

“This game is stupid,” my fiancé said, getting up and going out to the living room to watch Law and Order reruns.

Needless to say, he never tried to play again.

Read more stories of getting friends to play!

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This week’s Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post comes from Frinka from Warcraft Street:

If it were possible, would you want Blizzard to put all characters in a single realm/game world by realm type — PvP vs PvE vs RP? Why or why not?

This was an interesting one to answer, especially considering I’ve definitely said on more than one occasion, “I wish there were just one big RP realm for us all to go to!” When I finally had to consider how having only mega realms would actually turn out, I began to realize that I didn’t actually think it would work, and for more reasons than just roleplay. Mega realms would affect everything, from PvE competition to the AH to keeping sane in a PvP world. I’m not convinced that the benefits would outweigh the costs.

All the RPs in one place!

So many times during my WoW career, my guildies and I have discussed how we would love it if there were only one RP realm, a halcyon place where there would be not a single character whose name references a bodily function or any variation on PwnsU. A place where people actually care about the lore! A place where we can RP out in the open, without worrying about someone taking off all their armor then jumping around our RP events naked! IT WOULD BE GLORIOUS!

Maybe.

My main server is one of the original RP servers. Perhaps there was a time when RP was rampant on the server, but that time is long since passed. Nowadays, Argent Dawn feels more like a PvE server with slightly better names. I know more non-RP people than not, and even my guild hasn’t done any serious RP in months. It’s sad. I think that a lot of the older RP servers are in the same boat. People join the server because they have friends there, not because they’re interested in roleplay. Slowly the balance starts to shift. Best case scenario is that RP just isn’t that common anymore. Worst case is that it’s actively griefed to the point where those who are interested in roleplay head to a new realm. And so it continues.

That’s why my friends and I have often said we wish there was just one realm for RP, so all of us who are interested in it are in the same place. But unlike PvP or PvE rules, it’s not really possible to enforce RP, not even with things like name reporting. You can’t exactly force a person who’s not interested in that sort of thing to do it. And eventually I suspect the same thing would happen on that single RP realm. People would come there to play with their friends, and slowly it would just morph into a normal PvE realm.

To be honest, this is why the cross server zones have me concerned as well. I will occasionally go play on other RP servers, just to see what things are like on them. Wyrmrest Accord in particular is one of my favorite places to go level up a random toon because there is just so much RP going on there, especially as compared to AD. I constantly see people sitting around in random taverns out in the world, having awesome in character conversations. Trade chat has a ton of RP guild ads in it. People will randomly start roleplaying with me while I’m out questing. It’s awesome!

Then I think about Mists and how people from that server are going to be forced to be out there with people from mine, and other RP servers where people don’t care about RP. And it makes me sad. There’s something really special going on there, and I would hate to see it lost.

When I spoke to my friend Bim, about this topic, she brought up another good point:

If there was only one place to RP in WoW, one might expect for everyone’s RP to be interconnected or at least have acknowledgment of one-anothers’ storylines.  But in reality, most attempts for realm-wide, centralized RP would be too unwieldy to go anywhere because of the sheer population.  There have been realm-wide RP events before but they were limited to the pop of one realm.
This is an interesting concern, and one that I think has merit. It kind of reminds me of whenever there is some sort of neat free event that happens in NYC that becomes completely unfun because of the sheer amount of people there. You wanted to watch the Halloween parade? Okay, but I hope you got there six hours early because they’re blocking off the roads and sidewalks after that. Oh, you thought it would be cool to go to the free Robot Chicken Rollerskating party? You’ll be waiting three years for skates and you’re only going to get about ten minutes in them. Having an entire mega realm full of people to RP with would be amazing, but I can’t even imagine how going to Stormwind or Silvermoon would be. Just /say chat alone would be chaos. People would be forced to do most of their RP in whispers or party chat just to avoid getting confused. And that would defeat the whole purpose of having a realm where you can RP out in the open.

One single RP (well, and RP-PvP) realm would be amazing if everyone really did want to RP. There would be enough people around that no matter what kind of RP you were looking for, you could probably find it. You could find guilds that wanted to both RP and raid. Or RP and PvP. Or just RP and RP. That part of it would be awesome. But those other parts? I’m just not sure it would work.

More like Lagrimmar.

One of the things I love about WoW is that I can play it on my aging iMac. Sure, I have to have my graphics set to low and my computer tends to freak out if I try to do something crazy like heal an LFR. But I can still play. Even with there being less people on RP realms than other realms, I cannot fathom what it would do to my computer. Actually, I think I have an idea. I’d get 1 frame per 12 seconds and then the entire thing would quit.

I think the technological accessibility of WoW is a big part of its success. I would have never played it if Blizzard didn’t offer the game for both Mac and PC. Eventually I realized that if I wanted to keep playing I’d have to install more RAM and actually update my OS, but since I already bought into the game, those decisions were much easier to make. If I thought I had to have a whole new rig just to get the game running when I first started playing? Forget about it. I would have gone and found myself some other hobby.

I don’t think there would be enough baby spice in the world to shrink all the idiots who would be sitting on mailboxes with their giant mounts. I fear the thought of trying to get a quest specific mob when competing with so many others. I have seen over a million WoW players jammed into one spot. It was called the Pandaren starting zone on the Beta. It was not a pretty thing. I eventually got so fed up with it that I logged off, and haven’t really done much with the beta since (though there are more reasons for that then just the terrible lag).

Even if Blizzard has the technology to make four realms per region work, I doubt that many of the players can do the same. With such a wide audience, it’s just not realistic to expect players to have cutting edge rigs that are capable of showing that many players all at once. Or you know. Letting you heal an LFR without slowing to molasses.

/eyes Newegg cart longingly and contemplates hitting the “order” button.

Where everybody knows your name

There are notorious folks on my realm. The trade chat idiots. The people who are getting the server firsts. That person that always hangs out by the same mailbox as you and keeps throwing a heavy leather ball at you while you’re not looking, leaving you wondering why your bags are full when you go out later to solo some old content. There’s a niceness about familiarity, both in WoW and not. Would it be possible to have a level of familiarity  on a huge mega realm? Well, sure, but it would be more along the lines of celebrity than community.

I think a lot of realms are definitely suffering from the opposite right now, mine included. It used to be whenever anyone went to my server forum and asked how it was, someone would immediately respond with “Argent Dawn is full, go away.” Now? AD is definitely not full. Horde side it’s actually a bit like a ghost town. Do I miss having tons of people around? Absolutely. And I actually think that you could probably get away with having a lot more people playing per realm than is allowed now. I used to live in a pretty well populated part of Brooklyn, but it was still a cozy enough community that the pizza place knew who I was and the guy who ran the bodega I went to knew the name of my dog. I knew a lot of people just by passing them on the streets every day.  But millions of people? At that point, you’re cramming the population of a city into a very small space, and I don’t want my play experience to feel like going to Times Square filled with tons of people I don’t know and who I will likely never see again. And I can’t even imagine the nightmare that it would be on PvP realms. While it would be great for them (I guess) to have more open world PvP, stuffing multiple millions of people into one place just seems like a constant gankfest. Barrens chat would never be clear of “The Crossroads are under attack!”

I think the idea of having four realms per region is an interesting one. It would definitely make the world feel more “real.” But I’m not really sure that’s what the game needs. I’m not sure if I want to deal with real world levels of competition in a game I use as a break from reality. I’m not sure if I want to deal with an auction house with that many people using it.  I’m not sure I want to see only four guilds in a region getting server firsts. I’m not sure I would want to deal with not being able to get away from people who piss me off because the only other choice is to play on a realm type that I don’t enjoy. I wish my realm had more RP and had some more  stuff going on with my faction, but not at the cost of those other things.

Check out some of the other responses to this topic from around the community!

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This week’s  Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post from  comes from Dragonray of Azerothian Life:

Are you starstruck by anyone? Does someone in the community respond to a post or a tweet and get you all speechless because they actually responded? Is there anyone you are waiting to have respond directly to you? Is there someone that you would like to chat to, but are too chicken? Am I the only one who puts other bloggers on a pedestal?

I’m having a bit of trouble answering this one, mostly because I don’t really blog or tweet enough to be noticed too often. Also, I feel slightly creepy admitting my fangirl moments over bloggers because well…I don’t want them to think I’m going to come and stalk them. I’m not! I swear! I just like your writing a lot.

That said, I actually did have a fangirl moment one day on Twitter. Allison Robert, the druid writer from WoW Insider, tweeted about something. I responded, and low and behold, she actually tweeted back! We then had a little conversation about tanking and how I shouldn’t be afraid of it, and I promised her I would attempt tanking that week (I didn’t).

It was a cool moment. I’ve long admired her writing on WI, and her articles usually cause me to crack up laughing at least a few times while I read them. She was the one who made me aware of the beauty of feral staves and got me attempting to collect them long before transmogrification became a thing. I probably have her to thank for love of druid T6 as well.

It’s interesting to think that getting a tweet from her caused a little fangirl moment for me. I feel like most bloggers are pretty normal people, probably not all that different than me. Okay, some of the awesome class bloggers are definitely better at math than I am, but for the most part we’re all just regular people who like to geek out about WoW enough write about it. I’ve always found the real life/internet life dichotomy to be an interesting one, and I think it’s fascinating to see what people both present with their online persona and what others may take away from it. There are people whose writings I read or podcasts I listen to that I think “I bet we could be friends if we knew each other in real life.” And then I feel creepy. ;)

Bloggers and podcasters tend to be an interesting kind of “celebrity” because through their writing and shows, it’s very easy to feel like you know them on a personal level. But there’s a weird disconnect there because they don’t know you. And I think that’s where this feeling of being a little starstruck can come from, regardless of the fact that these  people are probably for the most part normal with very normal lives.

In the end, people you admire tend to go onto pedestals, regardless of whether you know them or not. One of the guys I work with is an incredible leader and inspires people every day. He’s absolutely on a pedestal for me, and getting good feedback from him can lead to just as much of a starstruck moment as getting a comment from a blogger I admire, even though I know the guy. Maybe being starstruck is more about recognition from people you admire, rather that just being about people who are famous. Maybe it should be called Admirestruck. ;)

Anyway, on the off chance that Allison reads this, seriously.  Not creepy. I just really like your writing. You don’t have to worry about me showing up holding a boombox over my head or anything. ;)

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This week’s  Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post from  comes from Frinka of warcraftstreet.com:

What is the nicest thing another player has ever done for you in-game?

Oddly, I can sum up this question with an object from the real world. It’s a replica of the leaves of the Callery pear tree that survived the 9/11 attack in New York. I have this ornament hanging right next to the computer that I game on, and it symbolizes pretty much why I love WoW.

When this topic was posted, I tried to distill which moment in WoW that I’ve experienced was the “nicest.” The one that made my day or just gave me a smile when I needed one. And then I realized…I can’t just boil it down to one moment. The nicest thing that anyone has done for me is bigger than a moment.

I was very lucky to land in the right guild for me on the first try. When I see people talking about bouncing around guilds or having trouble finding the right one, I have trouble relating. I’ve been in only one guild since I joined WoW, and unless something really drastic happens, I can’t imagine leaving. The reason for that is the amazing friends I’ve made there, friends that I consider every bit as “real” as the best friend I’ve had for for 17 years. These are people who see me as a real person, not just a badly pixelated giant cow woman that is healing their face off during a raid.

They’ve done amazing things for me that are game related. They helped fund my epic flight when I was struggling to scrape the gold together to do it. They helped me get the freaking School of Hard Knocks achievement when I suck terribly at PvP and was tearing my hair out over getting that horrible thing done. They’ve mailed me the gold to get a mechano-hog, and come with me on runs through old content in search of that damn piece of transmog gear that won’t drop. They have written epic stories with me and been nice enough to draw me amazing pictures of my toons.  They are, in short, amazing guildies.

But that’s not what makes them so special.

What makes them special is that in addition to being great guildies, they are absolutely true friends as well.  They’ve stayed up late with me at night to talk about issues in my personal life that I haven’t really been able to discuss with “real world” friends. They send me texts to make sure I’m doing okay when they know I’m going through a rough bit. They helped to kickstart my creativity after it had been largely smushed by the stresses of becoming and adult after graduating college. Even after one of them quit the game (and broke my poor goblin’s heart!) he still checks up with me, even signing into Diablo after he heard that I had to put my dog to sleep to make sure I was doing okay. These people aren’t just guildies. They are friends. And that’s the nicest thing anyone has done in game. Being a true friend, when it’s so much easier to pretend that there isn’t a real person behind the computer. I think that’s the most that anyone could ask for from anyone else in WoW.

Koloma, with her “eat your damn food” face, drawn by Torolf

And then there’s that ornament up there. Over the winter, I had the chance to meet one of my fellow officers when she came to visit New York with her husband. We had a fun day of walking around NYC, doing the tourist thing, and finishing out the day with a visit to the 9/11 memorial. At dinner afterwards, she passed something wrapped in tissue paper across the table to me, and I was rather shocked to see that ornament within. She explained that it was a thank you for showing them around, and it meant she noticed as I was looking at it at the gift shop. I might have teared up a little, and whenever I see it, I smile. And it reminds me of just how lucky I am to have met such an amazing group of people through this silly video game.

But that’s just how my WoW friends are. They listen, they notice, and they act any other friend that I would have in the real world. And that honestly is the best thing in the world.

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So I’m going to try to get involved with Blog Azeroth’s whole Shared Topic thing.  This week’s Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth was suggested by Saga.

The WoW in-game music is awesome, but there are times (at least for me) when I’m listening to my own music instead. Are there any specific songs that you connect with WoW? Whether it’s tied to your own characters in some way or simply because it reminds you of WoW. Please share!

Music is very important to me and always has been, so this is a topic rather close to my heart. I tend to have a very eccelctic playlist, but there are definite trends and themes that tend to permeate all of my musical choices.

Raiding

For a long time, I would always listen the in game music during raids. I loved the atmosphere of Naxx and Ulduar, and the the music only added to them. During ICC there were many moments when I would call attention to a particularly awesome part of the music (Hey guys! Listen! They’re using a variation on the blood elf starting zone music! Oh my gosh did you hear that little phrase from “Invincible” during the start up speech to fight LK? GUNSHIP MUSIC IS WIN!!!)

For whatever reason, I stopped doing this during Cataclysm raiding, and I think the reason for that is that the music in raids is, for the most part….Not that great or noticeable. For all the time I spent in BWD, I couldn’t tell you a single stand out moment in the music. I listened to the Firelands music for the first couple of weeks, and then got bored and turned it off. The only raid I can think of with really distinct music is TotFW, and my rants about the wasted opportunities of that raid are best left for another day. ;)

But I need music to function, so instead of listening to the in game stuff, I generally turn to my old friend Pandora to get me through my raids. Pandora and I have a long history of me creating playlists and then screaming at it when it thinks that just because I wanted to listen to Metric, that I will also like Phoenix. No really Pandora. Thumbs down. I hate that band. Stop playing them.

For raiding, I tend to go back to my punk roots, and I have a playlist based off of one of my favorite songs ever, “Generator” by Bad Religion.

I chose that song to create a playlist from because it generally makes me feel like I can go out and take on the world. After some tweaking, I got Pandora to understand the kind of punk I wanted to listen to, and now I’m happily healing my way through Firelands with Bad Religion, Social Distortion, the Descendants, Rise Against, Dropkick Murpheys, Fugazi, and many more. And then I get wonderful moments when I mention what I happen to be listening to and one of the younger kids in my raid goes, “Who’s that?” and I can reply “Well, they’re this really great band that’s been around for….oh dear God, 30 YEARS I’M OLD.”

Character Concept and Music

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m and RPer along with being a raider. I love coming up with character concepts and personalities for all of the toons I play. Every one of my toons has some sort of backstory worked out for them, and even if I don’t RP on that toon in particular, I know their story and who they are. Toons that don’t have a personality I can’t get into playing, which is probably why my shaman is stuck at level 55, throwing me furious looks as I ignore her in favor of leveling my night elf.

Since both music and character concept are so important to me, it’s probably no surprise that most of my characters have a theme song that works along with their concept. When I first started playing my pally, I was having a real problem with her. I’ve never liked playing the religious lawful good type in any RP game, but my guild was doing some fun Blood Knight RP that I really wanted to be involved in. So I did a little research and realized that Blood Knights were likely the one brand of pally I could actually manage to play, and Kora was born.

My original concept for Kora was actually based off of an ex of mine. He was a total punk and very much a “eff you authority” type, and yet…he was in the army. Those two things were just so totally at odds with each other. How could someone who really believed all of the anti-authority stuff that spawned punk music have ever thought to enlist? His answer was simple. He was living in New York when 9/11 occurred, and it changed his outlook on a lot of things. And so, applying real life reactions to the fantasy WoW world, I decided I could also have a character who was very much anti-authority but after tragedy felt the need to grow up and change. Silvermoon’s complete destruction by the Scourge seems like a powerful motivator in any Blood Elves life, so I took the idea and ran with it.

Today, Kora is my most developed character and the one I love the most, even if she’s not my main. She is my survivor, and even though she may be a Blood Knight now, she’s still very anti-authority and hates a lot of what goes on in Silvermoon. While writing about her one day, I had my playlist on random, and a song came on that fit her so perfectly that it’s been her theme song ever since. Whenever I’m feeling a little lost with her character, I go back and listen to this song and it gets me back on track.

The hunt for rare pets

My rare pet hunting continues (141/150!) and I have spent A LOT of time killing stuff in Winterspring and Wetlands, searching for the Azure and Crimson Whelplings. I wasn’t entirely convinced those actually exist until I saw the Azure Whelpling show up on the Alliance AH for 999,000g. Seriously are people on drugs? Anyway, I will obviously not be spending that much for a stupid non-combat pet.

But that means my sanity is wearing thin as I reach upward of 4000 kills in Winterspring for an adorable blue dragon. At first I was listening to all sorts of music while I did this, but even that wasn’t working when I got yet another inert elemental piece rather than the damn pet. So I’ve turned to Audible instead.

Audiobooks can be insanely expensive, and Audible takes the sting out of buying them by signing you up for a monthly fee membership. Rather than spending $40 for a new audio book, you spend $15 a month and get one credit each month to download whatever you like. There are all sorts of other benefits to it, but the main one is preserving your sanity during horrible, soul sucking grinds in WoW. It also works well for hellish drives from New York to Pennsylvania when it takes upwards of three hours to go 30 miles to get out of the NY area.

Right now I’m listening to the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. I was originally introduced to this series through the podcast Writing Excuses, which Sanderson is on. I’ve always highly respected what he had to say about writing but never quite got around to reading his books. Audible gave me that chance. If you’re at all interested in reading epic fantasy and you haven’t yet checked out this series, I encourage you to give it a read or listen. The magic system that he uses is highly inventive, and it managed to suck me in pretty quickly. Plus, hearing stories told about an amazing fantasy world makes killing yet another elemental guy much more bearable.

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