“Hrm, not like Siori ta send fer me at this hour. Won’er what the lass wants…”

Tumunzahar strolled into his destination, where he found his Guild Leader sitting at a table in the corner.  The way she was dressed you would never suspect she was the kind of person responsible for the kind of things she’d made a living doing.  He was about to head to the bar for a pint first when the glare from those white eyes of hers made it clear there was something urgent.  He sat down across from her.

“Good evening Tumunzahar.  How is life with the Explorers’ League treating you?”

“Lemme see…ah dig, an ah dust.  So just fookin’ ducky.”  He preferred she get to the point, though he was always respectful of her not to say as such.

“Well, then…I suppose I bring good news for you then.  You’ll be putting down your duster for the foreseeable future.”

He raised an eyebrow to her.  “Fer what reason might that be?”

“Well you see, Tum…seems there’s quite a bit of conflict brewing between the Horde and Alliance in the new lands we’ve heard about.” 

He looked at her.  God it was near impossible to read that Night Elf!  “Th’ Alliance and Horde have conflict everywhere, Siori.  You’ve not summoned me fer a weird meetin’ at a weird hour any other time.”

“That’s because I was never resigned from the front lines.”  She paused, and Tumunzahar thought he saw a slight dejection in her posture before she corrected herself and continued.  “It was always me who called upon you.  As an ally and a friend.”  She passed a writ across the table.  “I’m not the one doing the calling this time.”

Tum looked down at the parchment, reading it over.  As the news sunk in, his brow hardened.  “Hrm.  No more dustin’ and diggin’ then.”

She smiled wryly.  “Guess not.”

With that he stood up, rolled the piece of paper up and stuck it in his pocket.  He gave his Guild Leader a courteous bow and made for the door.  Just before he left she spoke up.

“And Tum?”

“Aye lass?”

“Enjoy Pandaria.”



Tumunzahar in Pandaria?  Is the sky brown?  Have I joined Twitter and Facebook?  Well, the first one is a yes but the other ones remain definitive no’s in my world.  Heck, me and Mists of Pandaria was a definite “no” not more than a week ago.  But, a funny thing happened a couple of days ago.  I’m minding my own business at work and I get an e-mail from the Mrs. telling me to check my hotmail.  “Oh crap, it got hacked again” was my initial thought as that’s happened a few times this fall.  However, that wasn’t the case.  So as I looked over my Inbox I was horribly confused as to what she was getting at.  Checked my sent folder, nope, no recent messages sent out.  Check my Junkbox.  Hrm…what’s this now…


Mrs. Amateur: “It’s from the Bloggers.”

Well now.  That’s one way to get me into Pandaria it would seem.  All jokes aside, I’m pretty taken back by this.  I don’t know who all this includes, though I have my ideas who might’ve put it together.  For anyone who did contribute, thank you.  Sincerely.  I really don’t know what else to say right now.

Inevitable Question

20 Dollars Very Soon

So, I caught wind via WoWInsider that World of Warcraft’s prices are going to be slashed for Black Friday at a varying number of retailers.  If you haven’t seen the information for yourself, the Battle Chest will be 5 bucks, Cataclysm 10, and Mists of Pandaria will be 20 dollars. 

I honest to goodness thought to myself, “how long before someone asks me if I want it or if I will get it?” 

Turns out the answer to that is two hours, and Mrs. Amateur.  For anyone wondering, the answer is still no.

Paramita’s Choice

“Everyone in my Horde earns their keep.  You and your friends will be no different.  Do you understand this, Pandaren?

Paramita stood firm and looked the Warchief in the eye.  “You mistake me, Warchief.  For you know nothing about me.  To spare any further misgivings, allow me to enlighten you.”

“Discipline and patience.  These are the things we Pandaren are taught early on.  However, the masters tried to teach us patience is knowing that you may fail, but maintaining balance and doing it again and succeeding.  That is a fool’s way.  Patience is waiting until the precise moment where one gets it right the first time.  Such was the way when I grasped the flame from my Master.  He was impressed, which only showed me his misguided age.”

“Rather than waste time on the weak minded students, I chose to simply prove my point.  If it had to be at their expense, so be it.  I was not going to be stifled by holding back.  My Master told me I needed more discipline.  He did not understand it was discipline that I adhered to.  I would hone myself the way my ancestors would be proud, not half way.  Life isn’t about finding yourself, Warchief.  It is about creating yourself.  We each have a path before us, but it is we who choose the trials we must face and the trials we must overcome. ”

“I chose to enter the Temple of Fire.  Chose to seize what mattered to me.  It was my right.  The flame would originally deny me, underestimating my own inner fire.  The discipline to know what was rightfully mine for the taking.  I had spent my life training for the day I would begin carving my path.”


“Every day I swam, I ran, I meditated. I maintained physical and mental discipline. All in preparation.  The day came where I found that path.  The very island I called home was in pain, and I soon saw why.  It was a ship -an Alliance ship.  It had crashed upon our homeland.  The first survivor of the crash we encountered was a…Tauren.  Korga Strongmane was his name.  He and other Horde members had been prisoners on that ship.  We helped them, and others helped the Alliance who caused the mess in the first place.”

“We removed the ship from He Who Gives To All, but the wound was deep.  Fortunately, some of your Horde assisted myself and the others as we used all our strength to heal the island.  Eventually, we were successful.  A short time later we had all gathered in the Temple of the Five Winds.  Some of my disillusioned brethren chose to travel back with the Alliance.  Ji Firepaw felt the Horde could use the assistance of our people and went with your representatives.  I joined them.  I did not do so to provide assistance, or diplomacy, or any other such nonsense.  I am here because it is where I belong.  So you talk about earning my keep.  I think you should concern yourself more with whether or not your Horde can keep up with me.”

“You have a pride that borders on arrogance, cub.  You would be wise to curb it in the presence of your Warchief.  Now if you’re finished, meet me in the Valley of Honor.”

Not long after, Paramita found herself before the Warchief once more.  He was standing before a set of gates.  It looked like a small Coliseium behind him.

“You are fierce enough for the Horde mentally.  But the question is, can you actually fight?”

The doors opened and Paramita found herself before not one, but three vast creatures.  She turned towards the Horde Warchief who was wearing a well-suited smirk at this point.  Paramita’s eyes closed to a point and she glared for a moment before turning towards the trio again.  A few of her people were inside as well, including Ji Firepaw.  She didn’t care.  Garrosh Hellscream wanted to see what her people could do in combat and she was going to prove what she could do.


After all was said and done, the creatures had fallen and not a single Pandaren was injured.  Paramita found herself before Garrosh Hellscream and his throne once more.

“You’ve more than proven your worth, in battle and in heart.  Few would be willing to leave their homeland to join the Horde.  Fewer still would be willing to face a charging Magnataur in combat.  Welcome to the Horde Pamarita.”


Xi’Shuei Goes To Stormwind

Hello!  My name is Xi’Shuei.  My friends call me Shuei for short.  Up until recently, I had spent my days in my homeland.  It was commonly known as The Wandering Isle, but we knew him as Shen-zin Su -a giant turtle who provided all the life around us.  My family referred to him as He Who Gives To All.

My family consists of Umma and Appa, as well as my brother Hiroim, or “Ironbelly” (he’ll eat anything), and my sister Paramita.  Hiroim is the oldest, as Paramita and I were twins.  Despite being sisters, we don’t really have very much in common.  We have always walked the same mountain, but on completely different paths.

This is a picture of my best friend, Meilei.  She’s a Monk (!) and this is a picture of the two of us from long ago.  During our schooling, we would often spend a few hours outside, helping clean up the vegetable fields.  She’s fierce and loyal, and to this day it is quite common to see us side by side.

So now that you know a little bit of who Xi’Shuei is, let me tell you about the day I came to the city of Stormwind.  It was a very special day for me, and yes Meilei as well.  We had learned enough of the Alliance and the Horde, and through the teachings of Master Shang Xi we Pandaren were to choose who we would bring our services to and share our wisdom with.  I am still glad Meilei and I came to the same decision.

We arrived upon the city in the hours of moonlight.  It was both massive and majestic.  Anya informed me we were to make our way to the “Keep.”  We had no map, but a quick survey of the area made it quite easy to discern its location.  We strode through a lovely series of statues, a collection of gallant looking individuals.  One could not help but sense an aura of pride which consumed the area.  We paused to pay respects and feel the spirits and their wisdom.  After our brief meditation, we proceeded through the city.

We observed the many, many, merchants of the city with such a wide selection of goods. And such wonderful scents coming from the kitchens!  More than one in our party had to give their chin a wipe.  If time allowed, we would most certainly be visiting some of these kitchens following our visit with the King.

We carried on for a little while longer before we found ourselves passing through the long corridor that marked entry into Stormwind Keep.  The vast number of guards cast a foreboding feel about the place, as if violence could take over at any moment.  We later learned that more than once in the city’s history that is exactly what happened.  After being asked to wait a moment, we found ourselves in the presence of King Varian Wynn, leader of the Alliance.  After several formalities, he asked us to walk with him!

It was during our stroll through the garden of the Keep that his lordship shared with us the history of the city, as well as the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde.  Several of my companions would later say they felt King Wynn to be abrupt and harsh in his views.  While I agree with that perception, it seems to be the King has been through much during his rule that would do nothing to quell the rage that has been fed over the years.  Truth be told, I feel sorrow for him having to carry that burden on his shoulders.

Where was I?  Oh yes!  The walk.  As the walk concluded, Varian Wynn informed us if we were truly to become members of the Alliance we had to understand what that meant.  Where the Alliance stood against the Horde, we were to do the same.  This meant our fellow Pandaren who had chosen the path we did not were now the enemy.  One or two tried to question the King on this matter, but it was made vehemently clear this was not an area where deviation would be permitted.  Contact with the Horde was forbidden.

We walked some more and learned more about the Alliance itself.  The other races were all intriguing, particularly the Dra…Dra-nye I believe he called them.  They seemed outsiders to this world in much the same sense we were.  To find out how they adapted to the world was of interest to myself and a number of others.

When all was said and done, King Varian warmed to us a bit and said his soldiers informed him of our…proficiency in combat.  Why was he looking at me when he said that?  I was much fonder of the Fire Spirit’s teachings than hand to hand.  Monks such as Meilei were much more suited for the…why was he handing his swords to his squire?  He wanted to spar!  WITH ME?!?!?  The first impression of our people in combat, and the he was selecting me.  It did not go well…

I didn’t mean to knock him off his feet.  I mean, from what teachings I remember he had very good form.  His blocking had a fluid motion to it.  It was just that he leaned briefly on his left leg long enough for me to strike with the Quaking Palm (it’s the only strike I remember) and well, suddenly he was on his back.  Most of my comrades had gone quiet at this point, and several of the guards had started to step forward.  What had I done?

Moments later the King was laughing wholeheartedly.  He was pleased to have been briefly bested in such a way!  He explained he chose me over the clearly more proficient appearing members of my people on the basis that things are not always as they appear.  As well, if I could hold my own with him then he would know just how good our best were.  I was flattered, but still blushing that I had knocked the King of Stormwind on his backside.  I wonder how many people can say that?

Yes, the visit to Stormwind was breathtaking and memorable in so many ways.  And after all was said and done, we were officially welcomed into the arms of the Alliance!  Here’s a picture of Meilei and myself just moments after the swearing in ceremony!

Forty Thoughts On A Friday

Saintvache, with Navimie and Cymre
  1. Despite my lack of fondness for the whole Fall of Theramore, I’d still like to take Saintvache and see it Horde side.
  2. It can’t be any worse.
  3. I’m hoping to do a post on “how I would have done it.”  If you’re going to criticize, it’s always nice to present an alternative.
  4. Speaking of Saintvache, he’s got a date with Arthas Saturday night.  8pm EST time.  Kingslayers indeed.
  5. I’m also looking forward to Sunday’s LBR on Alliance side.
  6. Farming a BoE green that has a 0.5% chance of dropping sucks.
  7. I had to explain to someone once that killing 200 of said mob will not guarantee the drop.  S/he didn’t understand the idea of individual random results vs. cumulative.
  8. I’ve got two more Posthumous chapters almost ready for publishing. 
  9. Once again, I surprise myself with where things go.
  10. Now I just need to work on the in-game version of Liam.
  11. He’s 30, after 5 levels of farming the same rare in Wetlands. 
  12. Man, do I have a plethora of hatchlings to sell.
  13. Speaking of which, anyone trying to auction cut gems at this point is just throwing away gold. 
  14. Unless someone asks for it, don’t bother.
  15. I just remembered Tome reserved a name on my Server for her Panda.
  16. That’s assuming at this point she chooses Pandaria over Tyria.
  17. And speaking of which, I forgot to tell my Mac friends that Guild Wars 2 is now available to them. 
  18. I owe Matty for that one.
  19. All Mogolympics prizes have finally been awarded.
  20. Now I just have to work on the site some more.  Thank goodness for Draynee’s help because I’ve done very little myself.
  21. This is the last weekend of WoW Cataclysm.
  22. Even those of us not buying the expansion will feel the effects from Mists.
  23. People are just frothing for pet-battles.
  24. I should’ve gathered more pets to sell.
  25. If you’re buying pets, and you’re on multiple servers…do the smart thing and compare prices.  The realm with the most money doesn’t mean you need to spend the most. 
  26. Same for mounts. 
  27. Learned this week the Choppers are considered two different mounts and can’t be shared cross-faction.  Understandable, but disappointing.
  28. I’ll be getting a Jewelcrafting Panther before I get another chopper.
  29. I determined this week Formula: Enchant Chest – Greater Stats has finished paying for itself.  It was 19k I didn’t really miss.
  30. I was hoping to be back over 200k on my one server by now.   Damn recipes.
  31. I wonder how far I’ll be able to level my Jewelcrafting when Mists goes live.  If I don’t have to go to Pandaria to train, I’ll be “all over that.”
  32. The same could be said for all my Professions, really.
  33. I’m glad the “Stay Classy” guild achievements stayed at 85 (including the Monk).  Just Pandas need to make it to 90.
  34. After Liouxpold hits 85, I have no idea who will be next.
  35. I wish VoA wasn’t server restricted.  When we have Wintergrasp, no one is interested.
  36. Just remove the Wintergrasp requirement already.
  37. Speaking of annoying…if cross-realm zones weren’t bad enough, I had the “Confection Sugar” quest in Stormwind today.
  38. That Cooking daily takes an hour at the best of times.  Having three times the people running around the city doesn’t help in the slightest.
  39. At least the powers that be were smart enough to remove the fishing tournaments until that gets sorted out in the cross-dimension nonsense.
  40. Oh well, should be dead again on Tuesday.

The Theramore Mop

I’m not going to call it the Fall of Theramore, because in all honesty it wasn’t.  Not by a longshot.  For all the hype and possibility, it was barely even a “quick cleanup of Theramore.”  Also, I refuse to refer to it as a pre-Mists event either.  That’s not what it was and Blizzard has made it clear it was never meant to be.  But having now done the scenario, there’s a clear reason it was never on the PTR.

Had Blizzard put this out to the players to test under the label “Fall of Theramore,” there would have been the exact outcry we’re already seeing.  This way, they could throw it out there a week before Mists of Pandaria hits and hope to Illidan that people forget about it when all the new shiny comes.

I wasn’t there for Ahn’Qiraj.  I wasn’t even there for the Dark Portal.  But I was in Stormwind when the Lich King’s forces invaded, when the plague swept over the city, and then when the Twilight Cultists caused a whole mess of grief leading into the Cataclysm.  The point to be made here, is that Blizzard has knocked it out of the park with the epic feel of each pre-expansion event.  Not only are we not getting one, what we got in its place is a piece of lore farce.

Alliance side, you just go and show up.  You know nothing about what has happened, save for a single cut scene.  Even that would suggest it was the Goblins who are responsible for the attack.  Yeah, Jaina’s mad at the end and you can tell that anger is directed at Garrosh -but unless you read the book you have no clue as to why.

And there lies a big problem.  Blizzard has let the book set up Mists of Pandaria instead of doing it themselves.  Unlike previous expansions, where players learn in-game just what many of the major issues and stories are, we really don’t have the foggiest unless we go buy the book.  You need to spend more money on the side if you really care about the story at all.

I don’t think I would be nearly as frustrated with that if not for the fact we have had zero new content in ten months.  That’s a year Blizzard had to work on Mists of Pandaria and its subsequent buildup.  Except there is no buildup.  We got a great cinematic (even if not for me), but the more I pause and look…the more it feels like in the steps towards Pandaria we players are watching from some far off land, instead of being the driving force -the Heroes that we are.

Yes, I’m honestly beyond disappointed in Blizzard’s lack of effort in even bothering with a buildup to the expansion.  We got a trailer and they hope you read the book.  That’s it.  Who knows?  Perhaps those of us passionate about such things are in the minority and the developers feel it’s a waste of time.

On to the scenario itself.  I’ve made my content thought clear, but let’s look at the mechanic and execution.  Everything is pretty straight forward.  It’s clear what you have to do, where to do it, and if necessary how to do it.  My first group had an Arcane Mage, a Frost Mage, and my Holy Priest.  The one Mage died during Phase 3, because he wasn’t paying attention to the Horde’s targeting machine.  Otherwise, it was challenging but we could do it.  I imagine that had to be one of the worst build variables possible and we did it.  That makes me think that the level of failure will be very far and few between.  As an introduction to how the system works, it clearly succeeds.  It will be interesting to see how the scenario mode is implemented throughout the game post-Mists launch.  The idea is interesting, if not long overdue in my mind.

Do I think the player base needed this scenario introduction right before the expansion’s launch?  Not at all.  If that was truly the purpose, then why was there an ilevel entry?  That one really baffles me.  Fine and dandy you had to be 85 to take part in the first place, but then you’re going to cull the participants even further?  *head shake*

Any of the issues people have with the so called “Fall of Theramore” would be somewhat acceptable as an individual issue.  But there’s just too many things here that combine to disappoint people in a big way.  Nowhere have I seen anyone stand up and applaud the developers for delivering on this one.

When you combine this end result with the fact it was never even on the PTR, you have to wonder if Blizzard knew what the response would be, and pushed it through anyway.  The idea being that players would have a week, tops, to experience it before all the new and exciting features came into play.  The hope that most would even forget about their frustration over what was presented to them by Winter Veil.  They’re probably right.

For me, the scenario play is easy to understand and it executes as it’s supposed to.  As the prelude to Mists (not event, just essentially the stepping stone storywise), though, the Fall of Theramore feels like someone took a dump on my front porch.

Patch 5.0 -Called It

Property of

Yes, I’m that smug sometimes that I like nothing more than to toot my own horn.

I mentioned it in passing with a few other people and then flat out said why on The Twisted Nether at the beginning of the month that patch 5.0 would drop the week of August 27th.  My rationale was that Mists comes out September 25th, and while they’ll want to give players a few weeks of adjustment…Blizzard has a knack for trying to take the wind from other games (and I don’t blame them).

So, when the stars lined up, I suggested 5.0 would come that week because that’s the same week Guild Wars 2 launches and World of Warcraft will want to pull as many of their own players back to the new stuff rather than have them check out Guild Wars 2.  Like I said, from a competitive standpoint it makes complete sense.

Please be aware that with the release of the pre-expansion 5.0.4 patch on Tuesday, August 28, all raid lockouts will be reset. This means that you will not be able to extend a raid lockout beyond the week before the patch release.

That came out yesterday, surprising many people in the process.  Like I said, it gave me the chance to go neener neener, told you so.  That’s because some days I’m ten years old…or just wanted a fun little break.

Oh, look…I see some Hammers being thrown.  I should probably keep a closer eye on that..