October 2, 2020

Rain - This One's for You

I'm saddened to be sitting here writing this post after being gone from this blog for over a year. I meant to write something sooner, but other things got in the way. We always mean to do more things or say more things, and I'm currently in remorse about both of those right now.

This past weekend I found out that I lost a long time Warcraft friend. A lot of people knew her as Rain or Rainbow, sometimes Lucaya, sometimes Swifteagle. Many of her characters were beautiful night elves. She loved collecting battle pets, and despite our separate factions, this is how the game brought a friendship to us.

I first met Rain in 2013. Mists of Pandaria was the expansion at the time, and Raiding with Leashes was first added to the game. If you're not familiar with what that is, it's basically an achievement to collect a bunch of pets from old raids. Some of the pets have a much lower rate of dropping and can be frustrating to get and take multiple weeks. Rain originally reached out to me to see if I'd be willing to trade some of my duplicates for some of her duplicates. Of course I accepted, and the two of us began messaging, eventually moving to Battle.net friends where I also met her wonderful wife Dark.

Eventually we became Facebook friends as well and began learning a little more about each other's life. In December of 2013, I was in the middle of moving apartments when she and her wife surprised me with pets from the Blizzard store that I didn't own. I was so grateful, I even named the two pets after their nicknames. Almost two years later, I was embarking on another move which was a lot more stressful. I had also taken in a stray cat from the house I was staying at and she had kittens that I had to do something with. Rain helped me remain calm through all the beginning steps of a first time cat owner from getting the cat spayed and finding homes for all the kittens. I would always send her pictures of my cat and little updates on how we were doing. That was what our last conversation was about, 2020 and how things would be better.

Another holiday gift from 2018

Life happened. Expansions came and went. Sometimes I was playing; sometimes Rain and Dark weren't. Sometimes they were playing, sometimes I wasn't. In all the years that I knew Rain, I have hardly any screenshots of her or us despite talking regularly. We played mostly on opposite factions, but none of that ever mattered. I have regrets that we didn't meet up more often and we didn't run more raids and dungeons together. The one image I do have of us is camping a rare spawn on the Timeless Isle. What did that NPC drop? Of course a pet!

I've said it several times on Twitter, and I'll continue to say it again and again - WoW is so much more than just a game. Many of us have forged so much through our many years of playing. It’s a place of friends, family, love, happiness, and home. Of course we have lost some of those people in our adventures, and it’s good to have reminders of all the good times.

Rain was a beautiful person and my life is so much better because she was a part of it. She will be sorely missed. I want to leave you all with a quote taken from her WarcraftPets page which I think is so important for us all to remember - Be kind and stay true to ourselves:

"Be kind to all others as well as yourself, or you'll drift like a boat out on the ocean."

July 24, 2019

Hello Warcraft My Old Friend. I've Come To Login Again.

How did this place get so dusty? This feels emptier than the mage class hall. I'm joking; there's more people there than here. It's sad that it's creeping up on a year since I've posted here. Real life gets in the way, but mostly that's because I haven't really been keeping up with Warcraft lately. Battle for Azeroth started out so strong for me, but the story quickly fizzled out and left me overall bored. I put the game down for a bit and shifted focus on other things I wanted to get out of the way. Until a week ago...

There it was, beckoning me to return - 3 free days to experience some of the new patch! I had said before that I wasn't going to come back until 8.2.5 when the promised new worgen models and heritage armor would be (should be) coming out. I'm not going to say no to free stuff though. So I saved my play time until the weekend where I knew I could sit down and devote a few hours to checking things out.

Upon logging in, it feels like home. No other game has ever given me that feeling. It's almost like second nature at this point. I could probably stop playing for a year or two, login, and still get that exact same feeling. Ahem, anyway, I picked up all my new stuff after checking Arathi and Darkshore for rare spawns of course, then I was on my way to Nazjatar first.

It's beautiful, but you don't need me to tell you that. The environment and artists really did capture the feeling of being underwater without actually having to worry about swimming around. However, as someone who didn't have flying unlocked, it was definitely obvious that the zone was designed with the purpose of flying in mind. I did have a much better time navigating around once I had explored all the zone, unlocked the flight paths, and unlocked my whistle. My favorite area there was Zin-Azshari. Maybe it's because it reminded me of being back in Suramar or something?

The world quests are world quests. I did an entire days worth of them, but none were hard or annoying. I've heard there are a few that aren't that fun, but the ones up on the day I played were good. I joined in and killed a few rare spawns and the world boss there. I took Neri as my companion, but I quickly regretted it because her mount kept making sounds like a cat hacking up a hairball.

The next day I focused on unlocking Mechagon. When it was previewed, I was a lot more excited for that place than Nazjatar. I actually enjoyed the intro quest to this zone more and absolutely love the mechagnomes. Sadly my happiness died quickly. I wasn't exactly sure what to do? I did a few quests where I collected some items to turn in, and killed some rare spawns that dropped patterns. It felt a lot like the Timeless Isle with lots of rare enemies popping up all over. I found it much easier to navigate on a ground mount, so that was very nice. I'm still unsure of what to do there, and when I do return, I will be looking up a guide.

I know 3 days isn't enough time to even scratch the surface of what the patch introduced, but nothing I experienced made me want to actually STAY currently. I felt myself falling back into old habits with checking pet battle WQs and see which ones are up in the Legion zones because I still need paragon mounts. Ugh. Well, there is one thing that made me feel bad. That little direhorn hatchling that slept since the beginning of BfA is now able to be raised into a mount. I felt bad about leaving my child of Tocali, but I logged off right by him so when I return I will be able to feed him right away.

And so life continues on. As I said earlier in the post, I do plan on coming back when the new worgen models are added. I'd like to have more to blog about because I do miss writing here. Hopefully that changes in the future. So I leave you with some questions. Are you still playing WoW and if so, what do you think of the current patch? Which zone is your favorite? And are you looking forward to Classic? That's going to be a whole post to dig into another time!

September 7, 2018

Battle for Leveling

It's been a few weeks since the release of Battle for Azeroth, and I have finally completed leveling my Horde and Alliance character. As with most recent releases, I usually take my time and try to read each quest and understand the story to the best of my ability. This was a special expansion for me, because it was the first time I decided to level up my Alliance character first. This decision came around because my initial thought was that I would enjoy those zones much more than the Horde zones. I definitely wasn't wrong, though both sides had some really enjoyable things and the not so enjoyable things.

I'll talk about my Alliance experience first. I quested in the order of Drustvar, Stormsong Valley, and then Tiragarde Sound. Drustvar was amazing and made me even more excited to have a Kul Tiran druid. The entire zone is spooky from ghosts to witches to scary pig men! Everything about the area was perfect, and I don't think I can say enough good things about it. Stormsong was beautiful, and I loved the quest line that brought you through the Tidesages story. One of my favorite random quests is located on a little island off the coast in this zone. It follows the tales of the drunk pirates Hook, Line, and Sinker. I won't spoil anything for you in case you didn't do it, but you do get an achievement for completing it. The only area I really hated here was Briarback Kraul as I thought it was a pain to navigate through and figure out what level you had to be on to turn in a quest.

Tiragarde Sound was my least favorite Alliance zone. I loved the intro with Flynn Fairwind, but toward the end of the zone I found the quest really tedious as you're just helping all the different settlements around the area. The Norwington Estate is a really beautiful place to hang out though. It has a beautiful view of the zone, and some fun quests that allow you to ride horses to gain the appreciation of the people at the party.

Sadly I wish my Horde experience was a bit better. I decided to go in the order of Vol'dun, Nazmir, then end with Zuldazar. While I've never really been a fan of trolls, I found myself very disconnected from the Zandalari and just the Horde in general recently. My experience in Vol'dun was alright. I didn't really hate or really enjoy anything about it. Meerah along with Dolly and Dot made it a fun experience. I also enjoyed the sethrak definitely more than I thought I would. This place had another of my favorite random quests. It's located in the Whistlebloom Oasis and has you helping out Rhan'ka to open up the Goldtusk Inn.

Nazmir was a lot more fun and definitely my favorite Horde zone. I loved visiting each temple and seeing the different Loas and learning about them. They were each unique and interesting, and I'm curious to see exactly what Bwonsamdi may want in the future. I saved Zuldazar as my last area, because I watched my boyfriend quest through it a bit, and I already knew I wouldn't enjoy it. Surprise, I didn't, and it was my least favorite zone out of everything. The most interesting part was the quests that send you to  the Amani and Sandfury tribe areas in the city where you encounter some bosses from Zul'Farrak and Zul'Aman. Another redeeming part about the area was it introduced me to Jani, the Loa of trash. I want to talk about him and some of the other Loa later on, so I'll dedicate a post to doing just that.

Out of the two major cities, I find Boralus easier to navigate. With Dazar'alor having way too many stairs, I often just find myself using slow fall and jumping off incorrectly, or just porting back to Dalaran to get my stuff done. As far as the Heart of Azeroth necklace goes... ok I guess? Azerite gear is also not that interesting to me nor is gathering up azerite power. I also don't like the command table as I don't feel any of the rewards are really worth it anymore. I hope these are two things that aren't going to keep following us forward. Sorry to all those who enjoy those things. *waves* I'm hoping as the expansion goes by I become more comfortable with it and find my place. Despite my critiques, I still have high hopes and look forward to what the next parts of the story bring to the table.

July 20, 2018

Not My Warchief. Not my Story.

This is a post I've been thinking of since the very beginning when the story for Battle for Azeroth was announced. I was one of those people who decided to wait before jumping onto the bandwagon of disappointment, but the closer we get to the expansion release, the more annoyed I get with the direction the story has decided to take. This is going to be more of a rant post, so I understand if you want to skip it for something a bit more cheery. This post may also contain small story spoilers for Battle for Azeroth. If you don't want to be spoiled, please skip over this one.

I realize hearing this coming from someone who has mained an undead for pretty much ten years is going to sound really stupid, but please hear me out. I have never been a fan of Sylvanas, and I don't like how fans of her always try to make her questionable actions seem justified. She has never cared about anything more than herself and her people's survival - even if those people may not want to be raised to live their life as undead. I still cannot wrap my head around the choice to make her Warchief of the Horde, a move I'm sure Vol'jin would never pick. I personally think they still missed a great opportunity to use Legion manipulation and Varimathras to convey this, but we didn't get any of that. We received a dead Vol'jin just to make things fair on both factions (I feel Varian's death over-shone his therefore cheapening it), and a new leader that left many scratching their heads.

When I became interested in roleplaying a few years back, I took this into account when I wrote Velgana's backstory. While I don't roleplay her, she deserved it for being my main for so many years. A quick breakdown is that she's not happy where she is, but she tries to make the best of it and even acts as an informant when she can. While I understand Warcraft doesn't allow special exceptions for the player, I still don't understand all the choices the writers are making. I guess it doesn't matter because they will do whatever they please, but as a consumer I have the right to be annoyed by it. I don't have to play the game, but since it's one of my pleasures outside of real world things, I will. I play both factions, but this is the first time I'm embarrassed for the Horde. This is also the first time I'm considering leveling up my Alliance character first.

Despite everything that's happening, I don't agree with the burning of Teldrassil. We don't truly know who started the fire, but I'm hoping it isn't an already hated character such as Greymane. I don't think he'd ever hurt his people like that, but that's just my personal opinion. I also don't agree with the slaughter of civilians as they try to escape. How can you blame a retalliation attack on Undercity at that point? I don't agree with what I've read is happening in Stormsong Valley in Kul Tiras. I cannot see the Horde army standing behind Sylvanas doing exactly what Garrosh did to many of them (especially the Darkspear) a few expansions ago. Is Blizzard setting Sylvanas up for another Garrosh-esque story? I hope not. Are we going to jump in and blame the Old Gods for corrupting minds once again? Can we not have something better? The rehashing of old tales gets stale, and I think many of us are itching for more variety at this point. I don't know what else to say about this all except that I'm just disappointed with the direction this all seems to be taking.

I've thought about this over the last few months, and I'm not sure if I'm still jumping the gun or if I'm just growing out of WoW's story. I love World of Warcraft, but I'm not sure if this story is for me anymore. It will be interesting to see if my mind is changed after experiencing the questing first hand and how things progress during each patch release. Stay tuned because I will revisit this topic in the future as the expansion plays out.

March 14, 2018

Battle for Azeroth

It's been way too long since I've written a post. Something similar to this was supposed to go up around the announcement of Battle for Azeroth at Blizzcon. How about we have another watch of that amazing cinematic. I'll post it here so you don't have to go searching for it. Here you go.

Let me say that once again Blizzard's cinematic department has hit the ball out of the park. Previous to this one, my favorite cinematic was the from Wrath of the Lich King. It has now been replaced with this one. I play both Horde and Alliance, but I have never been a fan of Sylvanas. I do really liked seeing her screeching banshee form, and I wish that would get added in game for when the opposing faction tries to kill her (or maybe if she becomes a boss, heh heh.). However, Anduin wins this one for me. Tossed into a war and struggling to fit into his new role as King, he shows off his powers by mass healing most of the Alliance there, including Greymane. Though he's a priest, he's no pushover, but he definitely doesn't fits the role of warrior either. I love seeing a more emotional side to a masculine character, and I hope Blizzard doesn't turn him into a ruthless killing machine. I believe in the upcoming book leading into BfA, we will learn more about the decisions of both factions that lead them to the events in the cinematic. It's said that Horde may be the cause of the first strike, but all details are still too fuzzy for me to start pointing fingers.

I finally had a chance to look through most datamined things since Alpha started. New expansions always have me worried. I know what you're thinking, "Vel, it's still too soon!". You're right, but it's never too early to show some concern for my favorite game. I just never want to go through another Warlords type expansion. The biggest complaints I've seen have been some threads on Reddit about the quality of the Nightborne model. Some people think they look way too different from their NPC counterparts and that the true Nightborne look was lost in the process. Were these models tossed out too soon so that players could experience the new level scaling? Who knows. I haven't purchased the expansion yet, so I haven't had a chance to see them up close for myself. I will say that I am disappointed in the allied races. I only speak for myself, but they are something I never really wanted. I personally would have been much happier with more added customization options to our current races along with that long waited update to the goblin and worgen models.

Quiet contemplation
I am a little worried on the questing in the new zones. I usually play through the story first as Horde, then follow up on my Alliance character. This is the first expansion that I'm considering doing this opposite because the Kul Tiras zones seem much more interesting to me than the troll area of Zandalar. I'm also concerned that each questing experience is only three zones per faction. It doesn't seem like much, though I'm sure once everything is in place, it will feel much larger. I usually never have complains on the zones or questing. Those have always been a pleasure.

I don't have enough information about other things I'd like to talk about, but I'd love to know more about warfronts. The gear from them look amazing and what was teased at Blizzcon looked really interesting. In fact, I've been impressed with most of the gear so far. The questing sets from Kul Tiras are perfect island themed, and the gear from warfronts look like a direct throwback to the Warcraft RTS games. There's so much more I can sit here and speculate on, but I'd rather wait until closer to launch where we hopefully know more. So how do you feel about Battle for Azeroth? Are there things you are excited for or things that concern you? If you pre-ordered, how are you liking the allied races so far? If you got into alpha, do you have any comments about your experience? Leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!