Character: Koralie

The other day, someone asked me about my gravatar picture, so I thought I should probably give some credit where it’s due and also show off the entire thing.

The picture is of my paladin, Koralie, and it’s drawn by my good friend Sapheire. As I mentioned the other day, my paladin has been involved with an RP storyline that has been going on for about three and a half years. Saph writes the DK in that story, and along with being a great writer, she’s an amazing artist as well. She’s been nice enough to draw Koralie a few times over the years, and this particular drawing is one of my favorites.

Saph totally nailed her looks and personality perfectly in this drawing. I loves it.

I’ve always referred to Koralie as being my punk-rock pally, and there’s a very good reason for that. While I got into this briefly on my characters page, I’m proud of this character and wanted to feature her on her own.

Usually I’m not a fan of paladin type classes in RPGs. I tend to gravitate towards things like rangers and druids and thieves instead. Running around in heavy plate armor and calling down on holy power was absolutely never appealing to me. I had very little interest in playing a pally in WoW because of this. In fact, I think the paladin was the seventh class I tried to play, with only the warrior and DK left untouched behind it. I even tried playing a priest before I tried a paladin.

Wrath was a good time for paladins though, and my guild decided to launch a blood knight storyline that I decided I really wanted to be part of for whatever reason. Maybe because they looked cool on their chargers wearing their tabards. Maybe because I had pretty much failed at roleplaying on my druid. Maybe because I just wanted to have a good excuse to play a blood elf without feeling guilty about wanting to play the “pretty” race. In any case, I rolled up a paladin, named her Koralie after a French artist that I like, and set out into the world trying to figure out who she was.

When I first started playing around with her, I thought she would be a typical paladin. As I did some more research into the blood knights though, I realized I could do something more interesting with her. I started thinking it might be interesting to play a paladin that wasn’t just a typical lawful good personality. I wondered if I could even pull off such a thing in a believable way. And I wondered what it would take to have a character with more neutral tendencies turn into a holy knight (remember I was playing her in Wrath after they stopped doing the whole “suck a naaru dry” thing).

As I often do, I looked to people in my real life for inspiration, this time an old boyfriend of mine from college. He was decidedly a punk. Looked like a punk, acted like a punk, had very punk beliefs and tendencies. And yet, he was in the army. When I first met him, it had a lot of trouble understanding these two sides of him. He seemed like the last person in the world who would want to enlist, considering his general distaste for authority. Eventually one day I asked him about that, and his answer was simple, but made perfect sense.

“I lived about ten blocks from the World Trade Center when the planes hit it,” he said. “I woke up and walked outside and saw the fire and watched them fall. I had to do something.”

So writing a paladin with punk tendencies seemed more that possible. After all, I knew one in real life. When pushed by horrible external events, they can be faced to adapt in spite of their long-held beliefs.

And so that’s what I did with Koralie. She’s a rebellious woman who spent her life on the wrong side of Silvermoon’s law and then lost everything when the Lich King attacked Quel’Thalas and destroyed it and the civilization that the high elves knew. The character that I started playing in Wrath had only just begun to drag herself out of a depression that defined her for several years. When she managed to feel something again, what she felt was anger and an overwhelming need to pay the Lich King back. She was extensively trained by her father during her childhood to become a ranger, and she had absolutely no desire to follow in his footsteps. And so the blood knights were the best way for her to have her revenge.

Over time, Koralie’s character had taken on a life of her own with the help of regular RP from Saph, whose DK is Koralie’s closest friend and an integral part of her story. Having a DK friend might not seem the most appropriate thing for a paladin, but despite being a knight, Koralie retains much of her “eff what authority and society says I should do,” personality. And we’ve written some epic scenes for them, including one telling the story of the final battle against the Lich King at the Frozen Throne. To this day, it’s probably one of my favorite things that I’ve written.

Creating a compelling character made me want to play Koralie as well, and I discovered while playing her that I vastly prefer playing a melee dos class to a caster or ranged. Though my druid is my primary main, Koralie is my favorite toon. I obsess about her DPS and transmog and mounts, and chances are if I’m doing something in-game that isn’t healing a raid or leveling an alt, I’m probably playing Koralie. Though the druid will be leveled first in Mists, Koralie won’t be far behind, and I hope to have her hit 90 before the end of Brewfest.

One day I hope to take Koralie out of WoW and develop a whole new world for her basic character and story and write an actual book. I’ve already probably written a thousand pages about her, and I’d really like to see where her story would go outside of Azeroth. We’ll see! I’m pretty awful at world building, but in this case, it might just be worth a shot.

Once upon a time when I first started playing WoW,  I mentioned to my friend and WoW mentor, Mikoh,  that I thought kodos were kind of stupid looking and that I wished I could ride around on a wolf instead. He assured me that this was possible, but it would be annoying since I had to get to exalted with Orgrimmar. But he mentioned that I could also get one doing PvP and that it would be “a lot easier.” Then he asked me if I wanted to do Warsong Gulch so I could start earning up the marks I would need to buy a wolf mount. I said sure, because I’m vain about things like mounts. And so, unknowingly, I threw myself to…well…the wolves.

I should stop right here to say that while I’ve always been pretty good at video games, my skills go right out the window when it comes to playing against other people, unless it’s in puzzle games or rhythm games or Mario Kart. In fact, I am so bad at player versus player stuff that I’m pretty sure my badness got me a boyfriend while I was in college because he took pity on me while trying to play Marvel vs. Capcom and sat behind me with his hands over mine on the controller, trying to show me what the hell to do. My friend once knifed me to death playing Goldeneye because I was so bad at it. Seriously. I’m awful.

So going into Warsong Gulch with only remedial WoW skills and horrendous PvP skills was a painful thing. But it was still fun. Kind of. I mean I was a druid, so I could be a pretty good flag carrier, especially since I had my friend defending me the whole time. I thought that maybe I could get good at this, if I practiced more.

An early WSG victory. Terrible UI is Mikoh’s, not mine. 😉

Around this time, I was looking on Wowhead and saw a wolf mount that I really liked.  I told Mikoh that the Frostwolf Howler was pretty and he assured me that as soon as we were at a high enough level, we would start queuing for Alterac Valley so I could get my mount.

Did I mention that this was right around when Wrath launched?

So at level 58, we queued up for this battleground. I had no idea what the point of it was, but I didn’t hate Warsong Gulch or Arathi Basin.  Surely this couldn’t be that bad.

Except…a month after Wrath launched, Alterac Valley was filled with one thing.

Death knights.

Death knights with death grip.

Death knights with death grip with very nice armor that they got from their starting zone.

Death knights with death grip with very nice armor that they got from their starting zone that were still at that point totally OP.

GNOME death knights with death grip with very nice armor that they got from their starting zone that were still at that point totally OP.

I died. A lot. I died a lot to the point where it wasn’t even fun. Sure, I understood that PvP meant dying a lot, but I was literally getting ripped from one gnome death knight to the next every time I rezzed. It got so unfun that I eventually told Mikoh that I could do without the wolf and vowed to never set foot in that place again.

A year or so later, I was playing my paladin a lot and decided I had to get the violet protodrake for her. She was my miner, after all, so that 310% mount would be very handy. So I started working through the achievements, hating the PvP ones and generally cursing about them. Once I completed School of Hard Knocks, I pretty much stated in no uncertain terms that if I ever PvPed again, it would be a sign of the apocalypse.

And then came the Cataclysmic set. Never before had I seen such an amazing set of paladin armor. The details…the style…the giant metal boots and non-matching shoulders. The broken halo. It had to be mine.

I promptly forgot about wanting that armor and only about a month ago realized, crap. I had wanted to convert valor to conquest so I could get it and had totally slacked off on running randoms and LFR to get them. And though I didn’t think that Blizz would remove it come Mists there’s always that possibility. They sometimes do weird things with PvP gear. So I started working harder at collecting the points. I realized if I wanted to get everything before the expansion, I had to do some actual PvP to get it. So my friend crafted me the healie pvp stuff and  I reluctantly queued up for a random. It wasn’t quite as terrible as I remember, but it still wasn’t fun. I decided again that PvP wasn’t for me and figured I would just collect as much of the set as I could by doing PvE.

Then one night after a raid, the Alliance started to attack Orgrimmar. Usually I  just ignore them, but a couple of my guildies decided to get involved, and so on a whim I switched to my holy spec and shiny new PvP gear that I hadn’t really used for actual PvP.

And…and I had fun. It was fun swooping in to drop a Lay on Hands on my friend when he was about to die. It was fun standing in the back while the two of them killed the people who were trying to kill me. It was fun eventually chasing the Alliance halfway to the Barrens and “winning” the battle for the night.

This is OUR land.

I had no idea what to make of this.

Last week I realized I was just 100 conquest short of being able to pick up my chest piece, so I shrugged and queued up for a random battleground again. We won. There was actually teamwork. Chat wasn’t filled with swearing or douchbaggery. I glanced at the scoreboard at the end and….holy crap, I had topped it on healing? What the hell was going on? I don’t like playing as holy OR doing PvP!

So I queued again. This time it was Twin Peaks. We won it in about 5 minutes, netting me an achievement. My heart was pumping and I immediately queued again  and got…

Alterac Valley.

In a stunning turn of events, we lost horribly and I decided I was done for the night, but something really odd was happening. I kept thinking about PvP. In fact, after I logged off I started looking for information about gemming and PvP holy builds. I signed back into WoW to tinker around with my UI to make it work better. Then I decided that I’d officially gone mad and went to bed. Because I hate PvP, right?

The next day the same thing happened. I queued, we won, and I think I did pretty well. People were staying alive anyway, and I wasn’t dying too much. I started to remember to use some of my awesome pally tricks to stay alive longer. And since I’m healing, I don’t really care when I do die. I’m a healer. That shield on my back is actually a giant bullseye. Of course people are going to kill me. But man is it fun to annoy them to hell and make fights drag on and on until my teammates show up to defend me. My personal moment of victory? When a gnome death knight could not kill me no matter what he tried. I was sitting at my desk giggling like an evil villain the entire time.

So…I guess I like PvP? I don’t have any other explanation for why I’m sitting here reading up on strats for all of these battlegrounds that I swore I didn’t care about. I just thought I should give you all fair warning. If I’m having fun PvPing, the end of the world must be just around the corner.

And yes…I did eventually get my frostwolf.

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.

Hand’s down, transmogrification is my favorite thing Blizz did in Cataclysm. Almost a year ago when they first announced transmog, I couldn’t believe that all of my packrat ways were finally going to benefit me. I’ve always collected interesting armor and staves and swords and whatever else for my toons. FINALLY I would be able to use them again! Never again would I have to wear a WWE belt against my will. Let’s just say I was excited.

A year later and I love this feature just as much as I did then. I recently posted a page giving the run down on all of my characters, and it was kind of funny how much I stressed out about their outfits. Hey, I was introducing my toons to the community. Had to make sure they look good, right? Anyway, I thought I would also post the outfits I’m wearing here because dressing up is fun.

The moment patch 4.3 went live, the first thing I did was run to the transmogrifier and change everything into the full t6 Thunderheart set. It had long been one of my favorite druid tiers, and I love that it looks like it was designed with tauren in mind. I kept that for a good long while, and switched it up on occasion so that I wore t8, t13, t7, and some other creations in between. The other day I got inspired to go back to t6, but with a twist:

Head: Thunderheart Helmet I love this model of tauren ladies. Helms often look so silly on them, and the bird’s head look covers up some of the awkwardness and hides some strange thing with textures as well

Shoulders: Shoulderpads of the Forgotten Gate These shoulders are what inspired the set. I really liked rogue t12 and was kind of sad that I didn’t have one to play. When Fay got these shoulders, I was happy because they have such a neat model, but sad because I would never see them in her kitty spec. Yay for transmog making them relevant!

Chest: Thunderheart Tunic Happens to match the shoulders very well, so I decided to just use it again

Waist: Belt of Primal Majesty The obvious choice

Hands: Loramus’ Gloves I don’t really like the way the bulkier glove models look on tauren ladies since they’re already so broad. I tried a few different glove models and was a little sad to realize that the ones I really wanted where a Cataclysm quest reward that I deleted a long time ago. Happily, a pair of gloves in some of the revamped low level quests worked just as well!

Staff: Origin of Nightmares One of my favorites, and matches the whole bird theme of the set quite well.

You can try it on here.

Not one of the most creative transmogs out there, but I like it all the same!

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.

Hey Blizz, I heard your subscriber numbers are down. Well do I have an idea for how you can make up some of that lost revenue. Inspired by Big Bear Butt’s post about the WoW Megablocks I thought of something I want even more than an giant XT.

Please make a Karazhan chess set. I’m not comfortable begging, but I really think this would be a good idea. You already made Warcraft Monopoly, which I guess was cool and everything, but the chess set would be better.

And I don’t want an Alliance versus Horde with Thrall and Aggra versus Varian and Jaina chess set either. I want a replica of the one from Kara. I want Laine and Blackhand and necrolytes and clerics. I want wolves and chargers. If you don’t feel like the chess set fits in with your current design themes due to the out of date armor, okay. Maybe redesign it a bit so that the orcs have 100% more spikes on their shoulders. But really, you don’t have to. I’m fairly sure at least a million WoW nerds out there would buy it as an exact replica. Hell, I want one, and I don’t even play chess.

But if I could have a Karazhan chess set, I might just learn how.

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.

Azerothian Pickers

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.

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. 😉

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
  • 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!