September 4, 2012 – 8:08 am
I’ve spent a little time in the last week revisiting old zones. A lot of these places feel like old friends now lost to time, places once loved and populous that now host only those speeding their way through.
The boat to Northrend (which I still ride just for fun sometimes)
The original Azeroth is like that too, though it’s changed so much that a lot of my old haunting grounds are gone or changed. (While I love what’s happening in Eastern Plaguelands, it just doesn’t feel quite the same as it used to. Call me a nostalgic old fart.)
Shortly, the Cataclysm zones are going to meet the same fate, home only to those speeding through on their way to the new Pandaria zones, unlikely to spend any time in Twilight Highlands (which, though probably 1/3 too long, is one of my favorite places in Cataclysm, alongside Vashj’ir). And I’m wondering if I’m going to feel about these zones the way I feel about some of the old zones from previous expansions.
I can go back and quest in Outland or Northrend and still feel some of that pull that made those places special. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel that way about Stonecore. Maybe Vashj’ir – something about the water and the totally different environment there made it magical in a way that other zones weren’t (though I’ll admit that the story didn’t keep me interested enough to completely finish the zone on more than one character). Somehow I doubt I’ll take the time to go back and fly (swim?) around and take screenshots though, the way I seem apt to do in old expansion zones.
It’s a bit cliche to say “every new beginning is some other beginning’s end” (and I’m probably dating myself a little with the song reference, but whatever), but it’s a bit of an odd time in WoW right now. The leveling got easier, presumably to speed people along to cap who are looking to change mains or add new characters to their arsenal for Pandaria (see: Annie Mae). There are Pandaren in Stormwind, though they don’t interact yet.
And everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop – the World Event that’s going to bring us fully out of Cataclysm and (hopefully) back to the roots of the original games that seemed to just work better. Even the loading music sounds more like the original WoW.
I’m trying to push Annie Mae through the zones for one last hurrah, but I’m finding it hard – repeatability wasn’t a strong point of Cataclysm. Still, I’m trying to see things with fresh eyes before we all get distracted by the new and shiny that is on its way. I have a Pandaria goal list, and I’ve mostly met it. Now it’s just the last bit of leveling (Annie is closing in on 83) and waiting to see what the Peace Summit will bring.
If you asked, I’d say I don’t really have any established rituals for seeing out an old expansion, but I’m wondering if maybe I do. Maybe that last list of things to get done is my way of preparing for the new things on their way.
August 31, 2012 – 11:09 am
**Before I post this, I suppose some introductions are in order. I don’t believe Duugvilder has made an appearance on the blog yet, but I expect we’ll be hearing a bit more from him as time goes on. He and Annie Mae were not supposed to be more than friends, but sometimes things work out very oddly. Even for little cowgirl gnomes. Today is his player’s birthday (Happy Birthday!) so I thought I’d get this story started in his honor today. We’ve written this together and hopefully there will be more stories about them in the future. Probably getting into all sorts of trouble. They’re trouble by themselves, so together? Watch out!**
The first thing Annie Mae did, upon realizing that she might actually be free of the cave, was blink squintingly at the sky. Damn, but it was bright out here.
The second thing Annie Mae did was decide that she was never again eating another mushroom in her life, even if it meant starving.
Her stomach growled.
This lead to the third thing, which was an intense craving for a bear burger. The kind with gooey cheese and grilled onions and thick slices of ripe summer tomatoes that you could get from street vendors in… in Stormwind.
“Fuckitalltohell. Where’d I leave my damn horse.” Meg, having some sense, was nowhere to be found.
So she walked back to Nordrassil, idly wondering if Duugvilder could cook bear burgers. And if he’d even remember who she was, for that matter.
* * *
“I’m sorry, miss, but you’re in no fit state for portal travel. You need to regain your strength.”
“I’m a gnome. I live underground all the time. C’mon, I can go!”
“No, you can’t. Not until you’ve had a few good meals and look a little less like a starved trogg.”
“I DO NOT LOOK LIKE A STARVED TROGG.”
Annie stared at the elf towering above her, a bowl of something wretched smelling in his hands.
“Fine. What do you have.”
“Soup, made from mushrooms and fresh greens. It will be a nice easy thing to eat.”
“Not eatin’ that.”
“Why ever not? It’s delicious.”
“Still ain’t eatin’ it. You got any bear burgers?”
The elf sighed and put the bowl of soup down on the little table in the room Annie Mae was “renting”.
“I do not have any bear burgers. With the great Bear spirits so nearby, we do not encourage eating bears here.” He changed tactics. “Is there anyone we can contact for you, to perhaps encourage you to actually eat something?”
“Dunno. I’ve been in a damn cave for a long while. Maybe Duugvilder? He might still live in Stormwind. Dunno. You’ll have to look him up. It’d be good to see him. I bet he could make a bear burger…”
* * *
Duugvilder – ahem, PROFESSOR Duugvilder – was finishing his work for the day when his teaching assistant, a studious-looking Gnome named Finbar, rushed into his office. “Master Duugvilder, sir…I have a message for you! It looks important! It came from a Night Elf!!!”
Duugvilder smiled at his overexcited protegee and extended a hand to take the scroll that Finbar was waving at no one in particular. The boy finally caught himself and handed it over. Duugvilder took a moment to savor the feel of whatever material the sender wrote upon, as well as the subtle, smoky hints of Cinderbloom that found their way into the cloth like paper. “Whoever sent this currently resides somewhere in Mount Hyjal. Nordrassil, most likely, as that is the largest and most secure of the Night Elf territories.” He smiled again at Finbar, unrolled the scroll, and started reading.
“Greetings, Professor Duugvilder,
I hope this message finds you healthy and well…”
The letter read friendly enough, at first. But as Duugvilder got deeper into it, the message took on a far more worrying tone. The news became darker and more troubling, the words starting to blur until only the most basic of comprehension could be made…
“Severe malnourishment and dehydration…
“…asking for you…bear burgers…”
As he struggled to make sense of what he had read, and to control the emotion the words evoked in him, he could feel the air around him getting warmer, dryer. The room was starting to feel smaller. His breath was coming in heaves, and tasted of a desert he hadn’t visited in quite some time. Steady, Duugvilder, he thought to himself. This will not help you, nor will it help heal Annie Mae. You must be calm for her. You will go to her, if only to be by her side.
He looked at his student’s shocked and fearful face, and knew that disaster had narrowly been averted. “Finbar, I need you to cover my classes for the next several days. Cover the next five chapters of the text, and issue a test if I have not yet returned. I have business to attend to in Nordrassil…”
“Master, what is it that could upset you into…?” The boy could not finish the thought.
“A loved one was injured and I must go to her.” Satisfied with the answer, and not willing to provide a lengthy explanation for what the assistant had seen with Annie in need, Duugvilder left the office, making his plans as he rushed to gather his clothing, armor, and weapons. Stormwind had a portal that took one directly to Nordrassil, so he could be by Annie’s side in short order. But his more immediate order of business would take him into Elwynn forest. Annie apparently craved bear burgers and, by everything Duugvilder held dear, his love would have what she desired. Even if he had to empty the woods to provide it.
Duugvilder found what he was looking for at the Eastvale Lumber Camp. They had a ready supply of bears – too many bears, in fact – and he was able to quickly procure some meat. He stopped by their local market and got some tomatoes as well; what looked to be the end of the funny colored, striped ones that so often came from the farms farther out from town.
Next stop, Miller’s bakery, for sourdough rolls, sweet and almost pungent smelling; then, a quick trip by Trias’ Cheese, and he was pretty sure he was ready to go up to Nordrassil.
He made one final stop to the small, single room that served as his apartment in Stormwind; although he had finally built a house for himself (and, soon, perhaps for Annie Mae, he found himself thinking) just outside of Redridge, he kept his original home as a base of business. Being close to docks, portals, and banks served him well in his professions. He collected what cookery he had, as well as a scroll he hoped he wouldn’t have to use, and made his way to the portal that would reunite him with Annie Mae.
Comments Off on Warm Bodies in RP
August 30, 2012 – 7:30 am
With the new patch already out, there’s a lot of potential RP in the works to deal with the upcoming world event for Mists of Pandaria. I know on Feathermoon there’s at least a (doomed) peace summit, plus myriad other RP opportunities that will crop up as the tensions increase. Which, of course, means trying to figure out where I fit into the bigger scheme of these events – often large events that are being run by other people.
I’ve said before (and Falconesse has said) that RP happens WITH you, not TO you. But it can be hard to figure out how to make yourself fit into a one of these events (especially one that you didn’t organize).
Obviously in any large group event (even one with “only” 10 people), there are going to be a few people who take center stage, just as in a theater production. But even the extras have “parts” – and if you find yourself as a member of the peanut gallery at an event, it’s not the job of the organizer to make sure you personally feel like you’re involved.
You end up having to make your own participation.
This is, of course, way easier said than done. When the chat reel is flying by at the speed of gnats on crack, and your character is potentially out of his/her element, and especially if you’re in a group of people you don’t RP with every day, it can be easy to just let your eyes glaze over and zone out.
Which is fine – some events you’re just there to be a warm body, and it takes a number of warm bodies to have a good crowd.
But when you don’t WANT to just be a warm body, and you’d rather not be chatting over RealID while you idly watch the chat scroll by, how do you get yourself involved?
Remember the golden rule about RP happening WITH you, and work on creating your own experience of the event.
See if you can create a side conversation – in whispers or a small party – to have a little bit going on that’s related just to your character.
Try not to make a disturbance unless you clear it with the organizer first – obviously at pub night, this doens’t matter, but at a large event with some level of scripting, if your character busts out the Macarena in the middle of someone giving an empassioned speech, you end up looking like a total doof.
React in character in an appropriate way. /boo and /cheer, stay involved in what’s going on. Everyone loves a supportive audience! (/burp and /fart not recommended)
Try not to get sucked into side conversations that don’t necessarily have any input from your character. Remember that in a noisy bar or a big crowd you can only hear the people nearby to you, so while it’s good that everyone works in /say, you don’t have to respond to everyone. You’ll have a better time if you can have some personal interaction instead of constantly shouting ME TOO across the event.
And in all cases, remember that if the big actors at an event don’t notice your character specifically, it’s not because they hate you, are ignoring you, or think you smell/have cooties. The big players HAVE to be keeping up with that chat roll, and they may simply not have time to react to outside conversations and still be participating in the overall story that’s playing out.
Most of all, have fun. Big group RP is as much like going to a theater as it is like active RP. You can make your own fun on the sides, but there’s a big, hopefully plot-advancing story going on in front of you. A story that you want to include in the bigger story that you’re building for your character.
Keep the big picture in mind, enjoy the little RP, and you will still have fun.
Comments Off on New Patch, New Armor
August 28, 2012 – 7:30 am
Today is 5.0.4. I have no idea what I’m doing.
Instead, here’s Aely in her new transmog set:
This is mostly Wrath PVP gear, plus an Argent Crusader’s Tabard. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to updating my addons.
I hope WoWScribe still works.