Friday, December 31, 2010

It's About Time

Happy New Year, all!

So, hailing in the New Year on a good note, IMO.

I finally "beat" PVZ up to my personal standards, which is to say I completed all of the achievements I cared to, in this case, that being all of them.

I've finally gotten my worgen into a guild, so hello +5% more XP. That isn't the only reason, either - it's a reasonably solid RP guild, and most of its members seem to be somehow attached to this nice plotline I've managed to more-or-less accidentally tangle myself up in. All in all, a good thing.

I've finally, finally gotten past level 50 and completed EPL - wow, the Plaguelands sure have changed - so now I can work on actually burning up levels again. With a Pocket Healer to my Tank!

And hey, last but definitely not least, I've finally, finally, finally, finally gotten employed somewhere. Hello Real Job, hello Disposable Income, I have so missed you both.

Life is good now. I just hope to vague, ill-defined gods and/or goddesses that next year isn't a repeat of this year.

New Years' Resolutions: I'm going to stick with it this time. I really am. The art and the writing, everything.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Aion Reminiscing

So, Aion: The Tower of Eternity. I did that for a while, when I was still convinced I could break my horrible World of Warcraft addiction. While I'm thinking about it (en route to EPL from Stormwind), I figure I might as well talk about it.

I have an odd fetish for winged humanoids. It's a probably unhealthy fascination, what can I say.

That's why I ended up buying Aion, that and the fact that half of my old guild was seriously considering wandering off there, and then did so (only none of them could agree on a server/faction combo).

On top of that, the story was fairly well-written, translated, and localized into English. In fact, even during the Closed Beta I don't recall seeing any Engrish, really, and there were cutscenes everywhere so even the literacy-impaired could get an idea as to what's going on, and what they were supposed to do (quests were often introduced with a cutscene).

So why am I not still playing it? It was a solid MMO, not entirely different from WoW actually. This is partly because, it seems like, all MMOs are EverQuest clones, just prettier. And oh, Aion was beautiful. One of the more recent patches for World of Warcraft improved that game's graphics to the point where it reached 'on par for minimum settings Aion.' At maximum settings. However, this beauty made Aion a graphics hog, and given that it's a PVP-heavy murder-fest (fortress battles going up to about 100 people a side), in real combat it's rare to be able to have your graphics max'd and still be able to move. Like, at all. Minimum settings for Aion also included turning off everyones' character models. (Shift + F12, if I recall correctly?)

So there's been an expansion (for free, unless you care overmuch about purchase-exclusive minipets) called Assault on Balaurea. It bumps the level cap from 50 to 55, and, I gather, is supposed to try to help resolve the game's other issues (I wouldn't know, I never tried the expansion).

What were those other issues, anyway?

Well. Last time I played, anyway, it was a grind-fest. (Predictable enough for an Korean MMO.) Given what I know of FFXI, Aion isn't as bad as it could be, but the grind is painful, with few (mostly repeatable, kill-some-mobs-and-take-their-stuff) quests.Well no, that's not true. The early levels offered an ease familiar to WoW. 1-10 is set up so that just questing is sufficient to level you, 11-20 can be done with minimal grinding in the interim. It's only after level 20 (out of 50) that the curve starts becoming more of a drag. Quests started thinning out at 20, becoming incredibly rare around 30, when you could start entering dungeons. I made it to 44 - within a month or two of the endgame, I swear! - and quit.

Beyond that, well, I'm not much for being ganked while grinding. Especially when you lose experience for dying in PVE, and the PVPers will do their level best to make sure you suffer a PVE death - and you lose honor points for dying to the PVPers, as well. Any time I'm forced to just lose my time and effort because someone at level 50 feels like being an (expletive removed), well ... the only good news, such as it is, was that you couldn't level down, and could buy your EXP back. At generally-speaking, exorbitant prices.

Maybe I've been babied by WoW. But I'll take a totally revamped, super-speedy leveling experience over standing around in the same zone - the same fifty feet of the same zone - for five hours and making 2/20 (with five separate +EXP gain buffs) bars because there are no quests and no one needs a 'ssin. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Outlands Rant

So today I'm going to rant a little bit about Outlands, since I only have ten levels until I get there. (Avid RPer means that the sheer amount of time I've spent on World of Warcraft does not indicate what level I should be.)

Hello, Outlands. How are you today?

My biggest problem with Outlands is there is no choice involved in going there.

You reach 58 (60 at the latest really), and you pretty much have to go to the Outlands to be appropriately leveled for the content you're visiting. Once in OL, you pretty much have to go to either Hellfire Peninsula, or if you're daring, Zangarmarsh. From there it branches out minutely.

Since the demons have been beaten back there's almost no logical incentive (storywise) to bother going to OL. It bears no real threat to Azeroth anymore.

But you still have to go, if you're questing.

This bothers me, to say the least. There are also no alternatives offered whatsoever with the Cataclysm except maybe, maybe doing what I've been doing since 25, which is to say questing out a green zone and ending up five levels above the mobs I'm killing. I'm starting to think I should take my heirlooms off and see if that makes it easier for me to not outlevel things - but given the rarity of me actually going out to level, I need as many boosts as possible.

I also still need to join a guild.

The reason I say this is, even RP guilds have mostly cracked level 2 or level 3, since even avid RPers tend to want to see content, if only to incorporate it into their storylines (not to mention those who take levels into account in RP conflicts). Therefore, getting +5% experience is a fairly trivial matter, regardless of what kind of guild you want to be in. And like I said, any boost I can get, no?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Zen Gardening

So, on and off I've been playing Plants Vs. Zombies, I think I might have mentioned that a few dozen times. It remains fun and engaging, oddly enough, especially poking around with the plant combinations I'm forced into thanks to my crazy neighbor, Dave. I have successfully gotten the [Dont Pea in the Pool] achievement as well as the [Nobel Peas Prize], [Morticulturalist], and [Better off Dead] achievements.

So I've gotten many, many, many plants for my zen garden, having played the puzzle modes and etc. more than is strictly necessary. I didn't realize quite how profitable the zen garden could be until I found my entire daytime section full up with plants, all of them spawning coins at once. This led to me getting my tenth plant spot, which ironically makes it easier to complete adventure mode for my New Game Plus since again, Crazy Dave steals three slots and they're not always strictly useful. He's craaaaaaazy after all.

This led to me purchasing the snail from him, which collects coins for me in my zen garden. I simply was producing too many coins, to the point where clicking after them became problematic.

The snail is ... pretty well useless, however, until and unless you feed it chocolate, at which point it scrambles about the greenhouse like a snail possessed, collecting coins at an acceptable, if not superb, clip.

Since I'm working on collecting all of the zen garden plants, I discovered something else about the zen garden which easily bumped it up to my top pick for money-gathering in PVZ: Fully grown plants not only generate a lot of coins on their way to becoming 'fully grown,' but they also sell for a nice chunk of change (about 3k for Marigolds, which are buyable, and about 8k for every other plant I've seen so far.)

I have this theory, and this theory goes: yay, zen gardening!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Ghost of Winter Veil

Seasonally-Appropriate Greetings to you!

So, now that Christmas is officially more or less done with, back to the grindstone!

Christmas was pretty good for me, over all, and I've even got a rather amusing anecdote from mucking around yesterday. Since I've got an anecdote, time to share an anecdote!

On my way to finishing out [Merrymaker], I had to do [Let it Snow] - which I, personally, finished up in the Trade District in Stormwind, as a Blood Elf Death Knight. I lived exactly the length of the snowflake cast timer for my last requirement, which was a Draenei Priest. Thanks again to all the friends who laughed, loved on my corpse, or rolled baby gnomes to assist in my quest.

[Let it Snow] has been done for a few days, for me, but it brings me to what happened yesterday.

'Twas the morning of Christmas and all through Orgrimmar, all the 1337 kiddies were whining because Greatfather Winter apparently had yet to put out the presents for the Horde (Alliance got theirs early.)

It was 8AM, and I still hadn't gone to sleep yet.

"Well," says I. "I could stay in Orgrimmar and whine until Blizzard (who've all gone home for the holidays) fixes this, or I could go on an adventure." Being the intrepid young level 80 Death Knight that I am, on this particular character, I decide to go on the adventure. I mount up my dragon, turn her into a reindeer, and catch the zeppelin to Undercity. From there, I'm on my way to Ironforge.

In Ironforge, the presents are already laid out, while in /Trade the Horde players are still whining a bit about their lack of gifts. I can see the exclamation marks of receivable quests! Hooray!

And then I die, horribly, because the guards are level 85 and there's a mass of Alliance players camping the presents, too.

So I run my scrawny ghost up the streets of Kharanos and into Ironforge again, making sure to resurrect myself behind the pile of presents. Maybe if I use the ticking one as a gaily-wrapped shield I'll survive long enough to open them, I think.

I did, and I did. Three achievements received in Ironforge, and the fourth, [Breaking the Sound Barrier], when I ate the resurrection sickness and hearthstone'd home.

The only sad part of my trip?

When I got home to Orgrimmar, the presents had finally been laid out.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

There Has To Be An Easier Way

So! You might have noticed that there are new ads on the site - Amazon, specifically, and I am told that the ads will gradually become more relevant as time goes on. Given my fascination with World of Warcraft and Plants Vs. Zombies, I've noticed that the Google ads have become pretty consistent - we'll see. Give them a click if you see something you like, anyway. (How to Become Werewolf? What?! I want to click it but I'm expressly forbidden.) There's also a donation button, and that is there because if you've got a few pennies to spare, you can help keep me in inspiration and new content (read: More WoW. Potentially other games too. Books, even! Leave a comment and I'll consider it anyway). Also because my diet right now consists primarily of ramen noodles, and we're cutting corners on every bill possible.

That's all I'm going to say about that; it's a hard economy pretty much everywhere.

That said, I've got a fistful of things to talk about, today!

First off, one of my friends linked me to this interesting website. It's supposed to analyze the content of your writing and tell you what famous author you write like. I plugged in the content of a post I've had on RP-Haven for a while, because I was curious as to what it would say.

I write like
Lewis Carroll
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

So that's pretty cool. I don't know if it's accurate or not, but sure. Of course, you could comment here on your opinion on that, if you like - or not, don't worry one way or another.

I also did a bit of art recently for another friend of mine, who is the reason I have Cataclysm at all (or rather, she made it so I didn't have to choose between eating and a soul-consuming addiction). Happy Christmas again, Ashle.

On to the intended topic of this post! The links are for the less Warcraft inclined, for an idea of just how long a trip this ended up being.

So, I've gotten my baby Worgen to thirty-seven last night, having finished up North STV. (Baby raptor! Cuuuute!) Checking the Hero's Call board led me to believe going to the Western Plaguelands would be an awesome idea.

The only problem is, I'm Alliance right now, and I have no idea how they're supposed to get there.

The route's pretty simple if you're Horde. You trot off to Grom'gol (where this guy is), take a zeppelin north to Tirisfal Glades, and then walk east until you're there. Usually then you get killed by a welcome bear or something.

For the Alliance ... I actually really don't know. I imagine there's dragons somewhere.

So, I decided to head north to Stormwind and then take the tram to Ironforge, since I didn't have that flight point yet. So far, so good.

There's no fast travel to anywhere further north though, and I'm not even forty yet. No fast mount for me! Well, no problem. I see a couple of dig sites on the way there, so I figure I'll check them out.

The first, most important thing I learned is that I should never attempt Archaeology on my low leveled characters. I say this, because I came across a digsite with five distinct layers. From the top to the bottom is pretty much sufficient to get the [Going Down?] achievement ... or die. Mostly die. And there are raptors. Fossilized. Moving. Raptors. They were trying to kill me, with the assistance of gravity.

So, I'm not trying that again. Well. I'm lying. It's still pretty fun, just decidedly more lethal than doing it at 80 with flying.

Anyway, so I pick up two digsites in the Wetlands, one in Arathi, and two in Hillsbrad. This takes up about half of my night. Then I think to myself, "Hey, I'm in the area, I might as well do Peacebloom Vs. Ghouls."

So that takes roughly the other half of the night, and now my Worgen has a singing sunflower. So that's awesome.

From there, it's on to Silverpine. I remember Silverpine. It's pretty awesome to do the quests there, and I thoroughly recommend it as horde. As Alliance ... well, surprisingly I didn't run into any significant threats to my wellbeing, but I wasn't stupid enough to stick around and find any either. Running Wild through Silverpine I didn't have too many troubles, but running through Tirisfal Glades, I discovered that certain quest hubs should be avoided (specifically the tiny, innocuous post on the road south of Brill where this chick is) because they kill you. It hurts.

The Bulwark is less neutral than I remember, and significantly more lethal, but finally, finally my Worgen has a flight point to Andorhal.

Wait, Andorhal?

I guess WPL has changed pretty massively.

I'll have to check it out later.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Other Things Not To Do While Flying

Because friends don't let friends fly their dragon while drunk (in World of Warcraft anyway).

You'd think that speaks more to the dragon's sobriety than yours - I mean, it is a fully sentient mount and all. I would think it doesn't want to die. Unless maybe it's a bronze dragon, at which point it gets to the end of the fatigue bar, dumps you off, and teleports through space and time to go home. Then it wouldn't die so much, huh?

Anyway, so I was trying to think of something else to do in between Archaeology digsites, since we've established Plants Vs. Zombies is right out, when I came across this wonderful idea. Which is to say, my computer is beastly, and I can run The Sims 3 in the background.

So I do that, and I boot up an old save I barely remember anything about because I just don't ... really ... do The Sims 3 that much anymore. I've been meaning to do a legacy challenge justice, but it just hasn't really worked for me. It's the short attention span thing, I think. This old save isn't actually that old: the Sim in it turns out to have become a moderately famous vampire, in Riverview. She's a 'retired' firefighter, since firefighters mainly work during the day, and vampires are somewhat flammable.

She's also pregnant.

So I walk her through the pregnancy, pick some fruits and vegetables and generally, things are going peachy.

Then the babies happened. Babies, as in twins. As in why on earth did I ever think the fertility treatment was a good idea? Friendly Sim babies - which one of them is friendly - are monsters. Soul-consuming monsters. My poor Sim. She's also not married yet: she decided to seduce the maid, which wasn't really especially hard, being a mind-reading vampire with the Master of Seduction reward.

So, the babies. They never really stop crying. One mood meter fills out, another drops, and it's all my Sim can do to stay conscious. They're screaming and bawling about how they're tired, and they just used their diapers, and they're hungry, and they're just. So. Lonely. For the entire three-day period that my Sim has had these babies, they have not shut up long enough for her to even get the 'nap' moodlet, and believe me when I say that my Sim started trying to stage an organized rebellion against God just to get some shut-eye. I actually felt bad for her, and she's just an amalgamation of code strung together behind a very painful-looking assortment of pixels. That poor woman.

Then they grow into toddlers and I realize why they're such unholy monsters. They've been literally draining their mother of every last drop of energy, running her ragged.

The two rather-odd looking babies?

Are also vampires.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hilarity Ensues

Oh wow.

So my friends communicate almost entirely through RealID broadcasts, it seems, and in doing so, they have been going on and on, endlessly, about this ... thing they'd discovered all together, because hey - just because they really care, whatever they get, they share. Right? Right.




I hadn't ever heard of it before, so one of them links me it, and I begin reading like the endless pit of ravening I am. In all it took me a couple of days because I have the attention span of a flea on drugs. Not that I'm ever on drugs, mind. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

So ... this collaborative story-thing answered a question I didn't even know I had, which is, "Why is there an NPC named Tednug with a Cat - Scratchfever walking down this particular path?" Not that I didn't kind of get the joke and laugh a little bit myself regardless before I caught the reference. But now it's just so much better. With harpies. I'm just a little bit saddened there isn't a TVTropes page for it yet, after apparently a year later.

I also discovered a nice little bit of fanfiction through TVTropes the other day - a slightly Alternate Universe Firefly piece called Forward. I'm not finished yet, but it's something on my To Do list. My biggest 'gripe' with it, such as it is, is it bringing characters who canonically died horribly back from the dead - and I can suspend disbelief for that. There is something that feels just a bit off in places - but overall, I find it fairly true to the series.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Okay, so this last few days, I've gotten some pretty good blogging done, but it's all in a notepad in my room. Forgive me.

In the interim, I'd like to confess that I have a problem.

Not just any problem. An achievement problem.

I first really noticed that it was a problem in my all-time favorite horrible, horrible addiction World of Warcraft. I say this, because my Death Knight, who is never getting played again after this holiday is out, is an inch away from 310% flying via [What A Long, Strange, Trip It's Been]. Three achievements away, actually, as of this writing. Waiting in queue for half an hour when the average is supposedly five is awesome.

Let me repeat that: I'm about to complete one of the longest, most annoying achievements in World of Warcraft ... on a character I'm never going to play. Again. Ever, pretty much.

Does ... something seem a little bit wrong about that to you?

Then I noticed that I'm also like that in other games. Not to the frothing extent of 'must play with other people to get the wide variety of non-soloable achievements in Fable II' or anything, but if I can solo it and I'm in the area, I tend to do it. Like, for example, doing a daytime level exclusively with mushrooms on Plants Vs. Zombies. That was ... painful. I'm going to go with painful, moreso even than doing a nighttime level with only daytime plants, because after I'm done building up sunlight, all of my mushrooms get evicted on night levels ANYWAY.

Why put myself through this?

Well, it's fun, I guess. I mean, there's a sense of accomplishment and I pretty much play games specifically for that sense of accomplishment. Even if it is fictitious, it still warms the dark places of my heart. Plus, in games like Plants Vs. Zombies, it gives me something to do for a lot longer than just 'finish the game.'

On the topic of sense of accomplishment, however, I want to mention that I'm more or less doing about half of the art and half of the scriptwriting for this comic Mom always wanted to write. You should check it out. It's pretty awesome looking if I do say so myself.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hello Redridge!

So, Redridge Mountains. It's been a while since I've been here. The last time I was Alliance was the earliest parts of the Burning Crusade - I've got a level 70 Human Priest, but she's probably never getting played again.

Things have definitely changed. For one thing, I don't remember the Fel Reaver-like elite wandering around. Nor do I remember the quest line that had me controlling said elite.

The bridge got fixed, so that's awesome. Took them long enough - what, five years? If a bridge in real life was out of commission for five years there'd be a riot! And more construction required. That would be a problem.

Running Wild is probably the most awesome 'mount' I've ever had the privilege of 'riding.' Innuendo aside, I can't think of a single mount that hasn't been done before that actually fits the Worgen. In Gilneas, you ride horses, or you walk. Given that we already have a human race and said human race has horses, yeah. Running Wild is also completely free. A Worgen Druid needs never purchase a mount, for any reason other than 'it looks cool' or 'I felt like it.' And popping out of Running Wild straight into a Charge is glorious.

I think I've finally discovered my place in WoW. I don't really feel comfortable as a caster, nor at any kind of range - between the rogue I played all of last expansion and the warriors I'm only now leveling, I'm in heaven.

There is something truly beautiful about walking up and punching things in the face until they die.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Edit, March 2: How the hell did I miss the post title being misspelled?  Double-u-tea-eff, mate.

There's just no simple way to translate this all into printed text. Nonlinear thought tends to be difficult that way.

Just a simple free-write to get the creative juices running in a pseudo-productive way.

((Edit: Now with a textual translation!))

Or: Thinking about thinking about thinking

It is sometime after six AM as I fold myself into my bed, heavy faux-fur blanket nearest to my skin and I think my bloodflow must be very poor as my feet are radiating cold.

No wonder they refused to put needles in me.

I want an orange/clementine
When I'm done writing

Visions are flashing into my head as I reminisce - my reoccuring dream and y'said
Falling / Falling

Too many connections
Tangential thoughts
Outlining words now to show their disconnect

Thoughts proceed in nonlinear fashion.
Bad enough it's noticed, problems with facilitating communications and tangential thoughts blocking coherent lines of reason
    ^ snorted off dead hookers
drugs < lines > thoughts

memes and movie quotes

Rule 34

More tired than I thought
Cycling back, old thoughts return
Stomach queasy
Sleep deprivation
I think in circles sometimes - FREE ASSOCIATION

she has her lucid periods, we're hoping to improve on them
- What use do we have for a psychic if she's insane?

Have to write it down

Sleep, Interrupted (butterfly girl)

SLEEP Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep.

I am an amalgamation of memes
No thought is original
There is a playlist of music in my brain. Tonal values, vowel sounds more than words.
I can't focus on my own words

If you are near to the dark I will tell you 'bout the sun
- But it does not mean a thing to you
- It's in you, not in me

Black sun, blue sun

Blood on a smiley face, Roar-Shock
Dogs _ A pretty butterfly

Bloody day.


Sleep, Killer.

Fragmented reality


thoughts > cocks > dickerdoodles > lol > 8==>


I thought what I'd do was I'd pretend to be one of those deaf-mutes

Ghost in the shell - fragments of code

AI - I, Robot


Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In-Character: Dreaming of Things

((I may have mentioned this at some point, but I am an avid roleplayer. This particular post is an in-character look at probably my most favorite new character - a Stormwind human, bitten by a half-feral Worgen. Forgive the awful accent, it makes me giggle a bit inside.))

"'Allo, Poppet."

I made a friend today, I think. Her name is Miranda, and she is nice.

I am leaning on her because I am tired, and very cold besides. I turn to look at her, and I am smiling, with my very human mouth. Only, she is not there - it is HIM, instead. I am caught, the rabbit before the wolf, and I cannot look away.

"You're real pretteh, yeh know tha' roight?"

I am kneeling now. There is blood everywhere, limbs and fingers and toes. A lower jaw ripped from a face, skin and muscle, lip and teeth, all together in my hand. The tongue remained with the rest of the skull, and that remained with the body. Although I barely know her, I realize somehow that this maimed corpse belongs to my new friend.

And I know that I have killed her.

"Kill you? Now whoi would Oi do a thing li'e tha'?"

He is above me, his long, sharp teeth sunk into my shoulder as he does unspeakable things to my body. He is not a man, although he walks upright: fur sprouts from his skin, inky and blank, and his eyes glow with crimson. Bloody crimson ... so much blood, I am drowning in it, I think. I do not want to die. With all that I am, I do not want to die.

"Oi need you aloive."

I am one of them. I can see my fur clearly. It is a muddy, brownish color, covering hands that end in claws like scythes.

I do not understand what is happening to me, the changes I am going through. I hold my stomach, as the pain is most intense there. Looking down, I see my abdomen swelled and bloated, and I am confused. The pain is intense, and with the first splash of red, I realize in dawning horror what is happening to me. Tiny teeth housed in soft, furred muzzles chew their way out of me.

"Moi children, love."

I wake up, trying not to scream. It is all a dream.

My hands come into view, and I realize they are paws.

"'Allo, Poppet."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Introductory Thoughts - Vashj'ir Rant

Okay, so having discovered that Gilneans get a tree on a tree so they can ... uh ... piddle on a tree? Filled me with rage. That said, I took my Worgen to Stormwind and quit in a huff. (I'll be back soon, though, the RP as a Worgen is quite interesting.)

That said, I rolled out my hunter again and started poking around in Vashj'ir. It's ... interesting. I am, more and more, seeing elements in World of Warcraft that seem ripped from Aion directly. Oh, Aion, how I loved/hated you.

First off, there are cutscenes just about everywhere, for everything. That was one of the huge selling points for Aion, and although these aren't voiced, and World of Warcraft lacks the super-sharp awesome models Aion offered, it was jarring to me to say the least the first couple of times I got thrown into one, and left me with a distinct feeling of Deja'vu.

But then I get to Vashj'ir. Oh, Vashj'ir. How I love/hate you, as well.

This whole 'three dimensional world' thing is interesting. We'll go with "interesting." On the one hand, it's fascinating to see a billion dots on my minimap - being a hunter - yet no enemies ... until I look up. It's interesting and neat that we're seeing terrain built around that whole Z Axis thing.


Little things about this frustrate me. For instance, without any frame of reference, my depth perception goes into such disarray that I often have problems telling if a monster, box, or NPC is even in front of or behind me, unless at extreme distance. Not realizing that a certain number of boxes - which I needed to find, in order to progress through the zone - were not on the ocean floor, but instead floating about in the water wasted easily fifteen to twenty minutes of my time, and then locating those boxes wasted even more. Hello, three dimensional environment. I sure did miss Aether Gathering a lot.

Wait, no I didn't.

The only good side of this is that there's no such thing as a flight timer / breath timer in Vashj'ir - more on that later - and that 'good thing' is offset by the fact that mobs are floating around in the 'air' along with you. Ambush from above, anyone? The groundbound existence every World of Warcraft player has gotten used to has also handily trained most everyone not to look up - a habit that, you know, players being human, we have already well-ingrained.

In regards to the breath timer thing: It ... hurts my immersion, somewhat, to be just floating around at the bottom of the sea, with only some magical spell attached to me, allowing me to breathe and talk underwater (without being crushed by pressure). Moreover, other people being able to talk underwater - and me understand them - well ... it just hurts me a bit.

That being said, all in all Vashj'ir isn't really unenjoyable, I just have some gripes about the more annoying parts of three-dimensionality and unrestrained movement, as well as Blizzard's handwaving your survival 20,000 leagues under the sea. Or, however many anyway.

Oh, also, the Whale Shark is kind of intimidating.

As is this massive shellfish, which is also kind of a zone. All to itself. Imagine if it just suddenly started attacking people ....

Monday, December 13, 2010


Thoughts disorderly, forgive me for that.

I think I am becoming sick from being outside in the snow and cold. Some coughing, and my throat is gummy.

That said, I have things to talk about!

Firstly, I am still trying to work out something efficient to do in between being at a digsite and being at the next digsite. It turns out the in-between parts of Archaeology are very, very boring - specifically the travel time inherent in going from the topmost end of Kalimdor and the southernmost points of it. The old world is very, very large, which is something you rarely think about until you're taking a flight from Silvermoon to Booty Bay, or mounting up to do the same. Last night I was reading other peoples' blogs and comics, which is a hobby of mine. The night before that, it was Plants Vs. Zombies.

Plants Vs. Zombies is not a very efficient way to spend long travels in World of Warcraft. I say this, because it's very engaging and even intense at times. For a very simple tower defense game that even pauses when I click out of it, it's incredibly hard to tear my mind and attention away when I get in range to need to steer my drake again. This leads to me hovering somewhere out in the Veiled Sea while my fatigue bar slowly creeps down, a Giga-gigantaur lurching toward my house and having consumed all of my attention by smashing the entirety of my bottom row of plants. Crunch. Crunch. Ruuuaaaaaarrrrggghhhh.

This brings me to Peacebloom Vs. Ghouls, which is engaging in its own way, a smallish version of Plants Vs. Zombies integrated directly into World of Warcraft as a small series of quests up in Hillsbrad. It is very fun, and a reasonably solid port of the concepts, even if sometimes the zombies attack plants in their column rather than their row, and occasionally my peashooters will shoot diagonally. And there are no potato mines. I miss potato mines terribly when I don't have them.

Between the two, I have for two or three nights running not seen the morning sun at all, and with Plants Vs. Zombies, I stop even making progress with Archaeology. (After the 150 range, Archaeology also really slows down quickly.)

Having enjoyed Archaeology for a while, I am willing to say it is quite addictive and engrossing. I reached level 81 on my hunter without ever once setting foot into the new Cataclysm zones.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First Snow

I shove my way out the screen door, pushing snow aside with it as a makeshift shovel, while in my other hand the real shovel hangs useless.

I can't see my neighbor's house; everything is white, and besides that I've left my glasses off for now - they'd be useless before five minutes was out.

I'm wearing two layers of everything - two sweatshirts, two sweatpants, two pairs of socks, even two hoods over my head, with my thick winter coat. Inside I was boiling - out here I'm only barely warm, and snow is stinging my face, the wind whipping the second hood off my head as I struggle to hold it up. No, I think to myself, this isn't Northrend. At least I won't see any zombies.

We have about four inches of snow drifting in places, while others show bare ground: the snow is falling sideways, winds tearing at everything and creating unpredictable patterns. I suppose that evens out to two inches, after all.

The storm isn't over. It's just begun.

Seeing my neighbor, bundled up so that he's unrecognizable, I call out to him. "Nice weather, huh?!" He seems to like long walks. I can't imagine this one's pleasant, though.

He laughs, and I can hear him call back a faint, "Yeah!" before he's gone.

I dig out our small porch and down the front staircase, scooping off each stair carefully. Snow here now means ice here later, though trying to clear anything completely is a losing battle.

Making it down the sidewalk, I discover our newspaper buried halfway into the drift. Rain, sleet, snow or hail, I suppose - that's postmen, but our newspaper carrier seems to have a similar philosophy, so I run to throw the paper inside. I had only one thick pair of winter gloves, and my fingertips are starting to hurt from the cold. I have to remove my winter coat to peel the gloves I have off, then put a second, thinner pair on underneath. I should have done this from the start, I think.

Bundled up again in all of my clothing, I make it down to the front gate. The latch has frozen together, and it's difficult to pry it open. The chain link fence groans eerily as I drag it open.

Mom is seriously thinking of driving ten miles or more to make it to work in this. Apparently the interstate is completely closed, and no one knows how the back streets look. Given the wide stretch of open country that path runs through, I suspect it fares no better.

It takes everything I have to get the front walkway cleared, and a path out to our car as well.

The snow is still falling when, defeated, I run back inside, and the paths I've cleared before are already filling up.

Closing Thoughts on Gilneas

Last time we were talking about the Worgen in World of Warcraft, and my utter love and fascination with Gilneas.

So, having finally finished the Worgen starting zone, I've got some thoughts about it.

I first saw Gilneas as a Blood Elf running through the destroyed remains of the countryside, as worgen insurgents slowly reclaimed every Forsaken outpost I came across (ending in what appeared to be a messy phasing bug where we tried to raise a Gilnean human into undeath, possibly because I did Shadowfang Keep before these quests.)

Upon rolling a Worgen, however, I got to see Gilneas City in its full glory, to watch the countryside shifting under the onslaught of the Cataclysm and the war looming on its fringes, while the curse ripped the human survivors apart from the inside. It's well-written and interesting throughout, and unlike almost every other race, new Worgen players are literally forced to endure the hardships of their own race: it's impossible to leave Gilneas until you've overcome your curse, not to mention the entire invading army.

In fact, the only thing I didn't much care for - the only thing which made the experience the least bit unenjoyable - was the bugs.

The entire zone feels a bit buggy, from one of the very first quests where you're given a dog to hunt worgen (With alarming frequency, I found, the dog would leap at a worgen as commanded, then neither attack him nor unveil his presence. Very frustrating.) Then as one of the final quests, you have to follow a relatively quick-moving NPC to a Cathedral to spy on your enemies. Only if you do it wrong, or don't catch up in time, it seems that your enemies don't spawn, while the NPC despawns. Maybe I just have an awful sense of timing, but when the quest log says only "Follow an NPC who left an hour ago, good luck!" it's difficult to work out the in-between steps. Given Blizzard's habit of leading players by the hand, that was rather unexpected.

Regardless though, the zone is otherwise well-polished and fascinating, and I strongly recommend Worgen if you're going to roll a new alt for the Cataclysm.

Friday, December 10, 2010

World of Worgen

Okay, so we've established I'm a huge World of Warcraft nerd.

One of the huge changes I've been excited for since basically forever has been the addition of worgen. I actually was one of those people who roleplayed a worgen long before it was ever announced as a playable race.

So I'm giddy for this, and I mean, I play Horde. All of my mains are Horde. For the bloody Horde. I've picked spider eggs off of living-ish bears against my better judgment and in the face of extreme nausea for the Horde.

Despite this, World of Warcraft delivered on my admittedly high hopes.

The worgen starting zone is epic, and I say that in the most literal way possible. It starts with you, as a human, desperately trying to fight off the worgen incursion, progressing through to you as a worgen trying to fight off the Forsaken onslaught. Anything more than that would be spoilers (hint: they join the Alliance), but with a phased world that actually seems to respond to your presence that spans easily at least your first fourteen levels (with heirlooms), Gilneas truly writes an epic tale, as far as MMO standards go, even making me curious exactly what happens in the goblin starting zone that could even begin to compare, though I've heard both compared favorably.

Now if only they weren't Alliance ....

Why Hello There

Well hello there.

My name is Nekhs – or well, it isn’t, you might have guessed that – but we’re just not at the right point in the relationship to give out my name to you.

Let’s see – a little about me. I’m a horrible, horrible World of Warcraft nerd. One of the few female gamer nerds, at that, so one more reason to avoid the whole real name thing, yeah?

Anyway, I’m really not very good at talking about myself, so onward with what I’m going to talk about tonight, which is Archaeology in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

Holy crap. This is actually kind of fun.

Archaeology is simple. You train it in one of your faction capital cities, and then you look for shovels on the world map. These are your dig sites.

On the zone map, your dig sites will show up as big, reddish blobs. Go to the big reddish blob and use your new ‘survey’ button. A surveying kit with a telescope and a light will appear. The telescope indicates direction, the light indicates distance. If the light is red, you’re some distance away, if the light is yellow, you’re closer, and if the light is green, you’re practically on top of the artifact.

Archaeology is ultimately a very simple game of hot and cold. It’s remarkably fun, though. At this point I barely care that I’m making things, or what I’m supposed to be making. That is my compulsive side showing, unfortunately – I simply must gather more of these little fragments, and I don’t really care how I get them.

Once you get the fragments, however, you can use them in order to craft items via the archaeology journal. The archaeology journal is rather confusing, but essentially, the bar at the top is your current archaeology level, and when you're viewing a race in your journal, the bar on the bottom is how many fragments you have / how many fragments you require. Clicking the tabs on the right will reveal the races that you have fragments for - once you gather fragments from a race you'll begin a racial project, and once you have enough fragments to complete a project, you can click 'solve' to finish the project out.

Most Archaeology projects at first are gray vendor trash items, but some of them later on yield vanity pets and even bind to account epics. I want that fossilized raptor hatchling, but I expect the hunt for it will take weeks at least, especially since I'm lazy.

Archaeology alone has brought fun back to my World of Warcraft.