30 Days (April) – Favourite Horde Leader

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When it comes to her name alone, it’s like someone’s sayingMUFASA!I can’t even describe how I just instantly *clicked* with the Banshee Queen. We’re talking at first glance.  No lore knowledge, no nothing.  She was just a character that had that “it factor” from the beginning.  However, after I began to learn more about her I was just infatuated with the character but not in any sort of grandiose fashion.  Except for the part where I would love the Sunstrider Longbow.  That’s legit.

But getting the fanboy part out of the way, it makes sense that I was drawn to Sylvanas as vengeance driven characters have always been among my favourite.  Two of my favourite comic books are Ghost Rider (please don’t use the movies as a reference), and James O’Barr’s “The Crow.”  In the case of Sylvanas, she kind of got the back from the dead treatment that no one would want.  In the case of The Crow, Eric Draven is brought back to avenge the murder of he and his fiancee a year earlier.  In the case of Sylvanas, she’s brought back from the dead as the first High Elven Banshee.  You see, Arthas was pretty annoyed at having to fight the Ranger-General at almost every turn.  So after he slayed her with Frostmourne and she asked for the quick death she deserved, he instead brought her back right after she died.  Unfortunately for him, he would eventually lose control over some of his undead, she being the most prominent one.

So raising the Forsaken and becoming “The Dark Lady” it was Sylvanas’ post-life existence to track down Arthas and kill him.  There were twists and turns along that road, but we all know how Wrath turned out.  After confirming Arthas was dead, the Banshee Queen was actually at peace enough to end her after-life until the Val’kyr played “It’s A Wonderful Life” on her and showed that Garrosh would have a field day sending the Forsaken in as glorfied suicide bombers in any particular fight.  So, she continued on, and it’s in that time that she’s been one of those characters that really makes you think DTA: Don’t Trust Anybody.

It’s incredibly clear that Sylvanas will put the protection of her people (or even race, as she sees them) before anything else.  That’s the kind of thing people tend to appreciate from their leader.  She’s even gone so far as to find a means of extending the Forsaken population through her arrangement with the Val’kyr (keeping herself alive in the process).  But she also blatantly ignored the warning to stop using the plague.  Southshore is evidence of that, as is the Battle of Gilneas.  Which, makes you wonder what her true agenda is?  She clearly had no use for Garrosh and no one can blame her for that…but she didn’t exactly give Vol’jin a ringing endorsement either.   I hazard to guess the only Warchief she truly would have responded to would have been Lor’themar, which makes sense given the High Elf connection.

But he’s not and that’s where the mystery is.  You really do not know what to expect from Sylvanas Windrunner now.  It could be passive.  It could be chaos.  It could even be malicious.  Honestly, I just don’t care because what has already been done with the character has given me more than enough reason to care what she does and quite often cheer for her when she does so.  Doesn’t matter if it was right or wrong. Does that make it “right?”  Maybe not.  But not everyone roots for Batman.  Some of us cheer for The Joker sometimes, too.

30 Days (April) – Favourite Alliance Leader

Moira Thaurissan

Surprised? I know I am. Out of the two factions, I certainly knew this one was going to be the harder choice.  A good portion of the decision making process was more about elimination than support.  King Varian has certainly come around (a lot) since Cataclysm.  He’s become a much better leader, but he just isn’t quite there for me.  I also have zero connection to Velen.  I never have, and I fully expect that to change in Draenor.  For now though, he’s out.  Tyrande I’m a fan of, but she’s never overwhelmed me all that much either -in part because her husband gets pretty much all the attention.

Without elaborating on the others any further the question is “why Moira?”  To be honest, I always hated her.  From the moment you got sent into BRD to save her pompous rump from Thaurissan only to have her say “no, I’m staying” (or if you aggro’d the fight right you could outright kill her), she made me eyetwitch.  When Magni became one with the mountain and she snuck her way into power I was even more irate with her.  Any time I went past the council for any reason, I wanted to stab her.  Badly.

But the fallout from that is where things begin to change.  She made genuine effort to integrate the Dark Iron Clan into the mainstream dwarves, though it didn’t necessarily go all that smoothly.  However she learned something in all of it because she recognized what the other Clan leaders were doing and why and made similar sacrifice.  Despite her past, Moira starts to show the Queen Regent title is starting to become more than just that.  Blood In The Snow is where she takes her next big step.

If you haven’t done the scenario yet, I apologize in advance if you continue to read the spoilers ahead.  Still, you can’t tell her story without it.  Varian needs more help against the Horde and gets handed a nugget in that the Zandalari are going to help the Frostmane Trolls and attack Ironforge.  So thinking he can warn them and offer aid, they’ll provide the support he needs in return.  Only, there’s a hiccup.  The dwarves don’t trust each other for a second and one’s not going to offer to help fend off the attack and leave the others in charge.  Or that’s how it seems until Moira defies her male counterparts and offers the aid of the Dark Iron Dwarves and herself in order to defend the city.  After they successfully stop the Trolls the king tells Moira the others should be ashamed for not aiding and that she should be proud.  In a moment that is truly genuine she responds that she doesn’t want to shame anyone.  She was simply trying to protect the city and prove herself loyal as well.  Sure enough, the other two prety much hang their heads like scolded siblings even though no one suggested as much and the three Clans are pretty much unified now.

That’s right.  The one dwarf that nobody, including myself, wanted in power was the one to truly and genuinely unify the three hammers.  You really have to stop and think about it for a moment and realize the character transformation and growth of this woman (especially in a game that gets slagged for not having any dominant female characters).  Granted, it wouldn’t matter if it was a woman or man, the task itself is daunting.  At one point you’re in love with some crazy bastard down in Blackrock Mountain (sorry, but I’ll always consider Thaurissan as loopy), then you’re an iron fist over your entire race to the point people actually hate you, and now they genuinely love you and adore you for doing what a true leader is supposed to.  So in the end, there really couldn’t be any other choice.

Marching Into April

Whee

Hard to believe it’s already the end of March.  It really flew by.  At the start, of course, I put together a small list of things I wanted to try to accomplish.  For what it’s worth, after two weeks I looked like I was going to blow through things with the greatest of ease.  I had no problem getting Paramita to 45, or a Pandarian level for Liouxpold (he’s now 86).  Even Semblance.  I wanted to get her to 35 and ended up with a level 40 Warrior.  My successful attempt at cleaning up the Claws of Nature Guild Bank is also well documented.  Unfortunately, that’s where my accomplishments end.  Sure, I did get other things done unexpectedly, but not the other items on the list.

  • Junkshot only made it to level 15
  • Elcombe barely completed 1-2 Fishing Dailies, nevermind getting two levels.
  • Saintvache made it to 451 Herbalism.  Wow, I never realized how tedious that can be.  Never touched his Enchanting either.
  • I also didn’t make it to 2,500 daily quests.  I know I’m less than 100 quests from that goal though, so that one will come in April.

A couple of those I might’ve come closer to completing if not for coming down with something this past weekend.  All three of us in the Amateur household are suffering from it, though I think Mrs. Amateur has it the worst.  But the key is focusing on the things that did get done and moving forward and building upon.  So a quick to do list for April and then a little blogging exercise.

  • Junkshot (15) to 20
  • Liouxpold (86) to 87
  • Semblance (40) to 50
  • Boost my Engineers: Carrera (392), Semblance (185), Oddfodder (116), Vortmar (112)
  • Still get a friggin’ Alchemist started somewhere…
  • 2,500 daily quests should be easy to obtain at this point.
  • Saintvache to 600 Herbalism (again)
  • Maybe get my Albino Drake.
  • Get to level 20 in Hearthstone in April for the sexy Pandaren card backs.

We’ll see how things go this time around.  I already know a good chunk of the coming weekend is a write off, so I expect to be a touch behind the 8-ball.  Either way the important thing will be to once again focus on what I do manage to accomplish.

So now the blogging exercise.  I really don’t know where Mrs. Amateur found this, but it’s one I can definitely handle doing.  It’s another 30 days type of exercise, but the questions (to me) are pretty straight forward with good odds of being easy to answer.  How much elaboration comes with the answer is entirely up to the writer.  I know AmerPriest plans on doing it as well, and I would love to know if anyone else decides they’re up for it.

See you in April!

30DW

Laundering

Once upon a time we used to lament over the idea of creating a character on a different server.  In that universe, there was no cross-realm grouping via Real ID.  Heck, “LFG” meant rounding up a group of 5 (or full raid) on your own server and some days that took time.  More importantly, though, we didn’t want to “start over,” even if it meant playing with friends on their server.  My how the times have changed.  We can now group with who we want, when we want, where we want.  Heirlooms finally live up to the Account term in BoA, so our newbies are swinging hard right out of the gate.  Thanks to connected realms, we can now join a guild that isn’t even on our server.  That creates a bigger opportunity that most seem to realize.

Being able to be part of a guild on a connected realm allows for something very obvious: the ability to move goods across multiple servers.  Or, in a grander scale, gold.  To the best of my knowledge, no one has really taken advantage of this feature as of yet but it seems the kind of thing that is only a matter of time.  While the realms probably don’t connect full circle with each other just yet, that map probably isn’t that far off.  That essentially means getting your goods and money to wherever it suits you.

Now obviously the key to this is the guild itself.  If you’re part of someone else’s guild than this feature may or may not work in your favour.  Your best bet is to check with an officer or guild master to see if they mind, as you probably don’t have gold access for starters.  Even your tab access might be minimal, or there’s no room for such things.  Of course, if you run the guild yourself then the point is moot.

If you aren’t part of one, things can get tricky.  Your options are to either join a guild, and present a sound reason as to why they should allow you to perform such tasks (offering money, pets, or something else might increase your chances), or make your own.  If you make your own, remember you need to pay for the first tab.  This is where it might not be all that viable, because if you have to create a bank tab on each server in the chain, it’s going to add up.  But the fact is, it can be done.

As I say, I am surprised no one seems to be really taking advantage of this.  It seems to be tailor made for gold farmers to make transactions, and really anyone who frequents the auction house because you can work two markets from the same guild bank.  That’s huge because the markets can drastically vary, as we’ve discussed here many times.  It’s crazy to think that a few short years ago you couldn’t even message a friend on a different server and now there’s a strong chance you’re in a guild on a different server and have opportunities that were never thought possible.

Grounded In Draenor?

Surfnassus

For the better part of six months, there has been on and off discussion regarding the status of flying in Draenor.  The developers have said from the onset that it won’t exist out of the gate.  No, not in the sense that you had to learn it once you were level capped such as was the case in previous expansions.  We’re talking no flying PERIOD.  Patch 6.1 was the initial consensus as to when your characters could start learning to fly in the past dimension.  A longshot now is the idea we might never be able to fly there…then?….Draenor.

I honestly don’t see Blizzard doing this, even if I want them to.  The developers have several examples where they implement something and the player base cries foul so loud they backtrack.  Making a no-fly expansion would cause a huge uproar, plain and simple.  They can handle having to get to the level cap before they’re rewarded with such a luxury and they’ve been conditioned to receive that ever since the Burning Crusade.  I’m not going to argue the majority on this one, even if I would love to go an expansion without flight.

For quite some time now I have pondered whether World of Warcraft should ever have implemented old world flying.  The harvester in me says it’s a handy feature and going in a straight line to certain destinations is so much easier…but that was also before there were 2.000 flight paths.  Yes, I can certainly admit there are benefits to the feature.  At the same time, though, Azeroth feels so much smaller now.  The ability to fly anywhere and everywhere on your own just downscaled the magnitude of the world.  Even the scope of Pandaria changed dramatically the moment I was able to purchase flying.

Now I know what you’re going to say.  You don’t have to purchase the flying if you don’t want it.  This is quite true and until sitting down to write this post, I hadn’t even considered it.  I have some toons that can’t fly in Northrend because they didn’t spend enough time there, so the grand scale of it should have occurred to me.  So yes, individuals do have that choice and the wish of the few should not outweigh the wish of the many.  But sit with me for a moment and realistically discuss with me the negatives of an expansion without free roaming flight.

  • Takes longer to reach instance entrances. Most of the 90-100 is going to involve LFG dungeoning far more than walking in through the front door.  When it comes to raiding, once two are there the summoning can begin.
  • Takes longer to farm materials.  For certain folks, this will be understandable as rare mats are needed for things such as Alchemy or Blacksmithing.  But other than that, the problem is…?
  • Unseen beauty. A number of people enjoy flying over the zones and just taking in the beauty.  You’ll most definitely lose that scale of beauty, but you’ll still see the artistic efforts that were used to create such a lush land.

Are there really any more than that?  Truthfully?  These were the only three that I could think of and to be fair two of them are only negative because we’re so accustomed to the “now” principal in that we don’t want to wait for anything as a society.  In World of Warcraft it’s even worse because for the most part we don’t have to work hard for very much anymore.  Not at the level of basic necessities needed to play the game.  Raiding, PvP, or personal goals can dramatically change the scope of difficulty but for just playing the basics of the game much is almost handed to you from the moment you step foot in Azeroth.

But I’m strolling off into an unnecessary tangent.  Quite frankly, I will be incredibly surprised if there’s no flying in Draenor, ever.  Even holding off on it for a while is refreshing and yet surprising.  It keeps the scope larger and the fear slightly higher.  There’s not always going to be a safe way in and a safe way out.  I personally like these things.  As I said earlier, I have been contemplating flying in the old world and whether that change was for the better.  While I abuse it as much as the next person for its strengths, I think it was a mistake…even if it didn’t happen until the third expansion.  So if Blizzard wants to wait a patch or two into Warlords before we’re allowed to fly in Draenor, they definitely get a thumbs up from me.

Writer’s Chopping Block

Property of onrpg.com

If you didn’t catch the news earlier today, WoWInsider is making some changes.  Really, it’s more about streamlining and budget cuts.  In the announcement, there are no names mentioned.  Makes complete sense since there’s no reason drawing attention to specific individuals who lost their jobs.  It’s left up to each writer to choose whether to announce their loss and there’s only one that I’ve heard do so.  Fortunately, that gives me the opportunity to discuss her since she shared the news (which is where I first heard it).

Robin Torres happened to be one of my favourite writers on the site to begin with.  Whether she was talking about Drama Mamas, WoW Resolutions, or keeping the Community Blog Topic up to speed…I simply enjoyed reading her and felt she had a great “voice” to her writing that furthered that enjoyment.  I always appreciate the writers who speak to you as a conversationalist rather than an elitist, which can happen when discussing WoW (sometimes quite unintentionally), and that’s how it felt with her articles.

Of course, I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t mention the huge favour she did for this blog in 2012, drawing attention to the Transmogolympics with an opening article and then another for the closing ceremonies.  I didn’t ask her to.  I don’t know if anyone else approached her, but she did and it only increased the success of the project.  Without her and WoWInsider putting it under the spotlight for so many people to see, it may have been half as successful.  I’m eternally thankful for that.

So with a few conversations via e-mail, and on social media, I’m fond of Robin as a result.  Not in some creepy weird stalker way, just as a fellow WoW’er.  As I said a moment ago, I enjoy her work and can think of few others that I read as much.  She will definitely be missed.  So will the others, I have no doubt.  It may be time before we even hear or notice their presence lacking, but along with Robin I really wish them the best in future adventures.

#WoWScreenshot A Day Feb 02 “Favourite” and 03 “Something Orange”

KittiesTo this day, I think this remains my favourite moment in World of Warcraft.  Rounding up a bunch of friends randomly (well, as far as they knew) and handing out a Winter Veil present to each of them.  As you can guess by the back row, it was the Jewelcrafting Panthers. Alas, those who rolled alts on Runetotem obviously weren’t able to mount up with the rest.  It was something important to me that is really hard to describe.  Knowing how much each one appreciated it certainly helped.  I said it then, and I’ll say it now, I just wish I had planned it sooner so that I could have amassed more gold to get a few more made.

TaeFlameThis shot is of Mrs. Amateur’s Mage, Taelainne.  I had her call down the flame as one of three covers I did for her dice case (the other two were, of course, Arcane and Frost), to match the dice inside.