Interesting Times

I’ve changed raiding guilds on Whisperwind. I moved to Whisperwind for a couple of reasons, the biggest one being that I felt very alone on Ysera. Jackoby and Yawondergirl are both good people, and I enjoy our Wednesday night runs around the old world of Azeroth, but they don’t talk a lot when they’re doing their own thing, so it was quiet any other time.

I also thought I wanted to raid again, and I was very right there. I had completely forgotten how much I love raiding. Even the very different raiding environment of today as compared to vanilla is exhilarating. Also, it’s 2-3 hours of spending time with good people. At least, it is if you have the right raiding group.

But, Reloaded turned out to not have the raiding environment I wanted. They also stopped raiding for the summer, after a variety of struggles which I won’t go into at this point.   Because of these struggles, the very talented Hawtpocketz has started a new guild, which I leapt to without much of a look back. I say “without much” only because one member of Reloaded’s raiding team asked me what was up, and I told him. He’s now part of the new guild. There are certainly many good people in Reloaded, but the struggles were endemic to the nature of the guild culture.

My toons remain split between two guilds. The raiders (Breige and Gurdrid) are in the lofty raiding guild Rubber Ducky Society. The remaining dwarves reside in Drunken Fish, Matty’s little guild, though Breige and Gurdrid did both make a brief stop in DF to provide a couple of crucial tick marks on the Classy Dwarves achievement.

I do still have three dwarves to move from Ysera over to Whisperwind, but those will occur slowly. Sveala, being level 90, and having changed race thanks to Matty’s generosity, will come to DF representing the shaman of the Wildhammer clan. Sruith, at level 83, will bring her shadowy self along, and possibly join RDS. I’m still not sure about that. Finally, Muirri will come to DF to take over the bank toon responsibilities from Aingrit. When those are done, I will have 10 dwarves on Whisperwind, representing each class a dwarf can be.

The next task will be getting a lot of leveling done, since I only have 4 90’s. And then there will be the professions. I’ve decided to take my previous completion of all of the professions a step further. Not only do I intend to have every profession at max level, I also intend to have each specialization represented, meaning I will have two engineers and three alchemists.

The plan at this point is to do the following:

  • Alchemy (flask) – Grianna
  • Alchemy (potion) – Eirid
  • Alchemy (transmute) – Sveala (already max)
  • Blacksmithing – Gurdrid (already max)
  • Enchanting – Aingrit (already max)
  • Engineering (Gnome) – Saoire (already learned)
  • Engineering (Goblin) -Kemodhne
  • Herbalism – Eirid
  • Inscription – Sveala (already max)
  • Jewelcrafting – Aingrit (already max)
  • Leatherworking – Breige (already max)
  • Mining – Gurdrid (already max), Saoire (already learned)
  • Skinning – Breige (already max)
  • Tailoring – Grianna (already learned)

In other news, I’m working on moving my blog to a new URL and blog title. It’s quite thoroughly still under construction, but I could use the expertise of one of my graphics editing friends. If you are willing, send me a message at shoryl at gmail dot com, and I will share the details.

The Clan of Three Hammers: Stubborn

This is the fifth part of the series. HeroHonorLoyal and Tradition are the previous installments.

Stubborn. If there’s one thing everyone believes about dwarves, it’s that we are stubborn to a fault. Stubbornness, however, is borne from our other, more tasteful traits – Loyalty, honor, tradition.

Being stubborn is about following through. Getting it done. Being there through thick and thin. Facing hardship head on. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but rarely will a dwarf not try. I know stubbornness is what brought about Moira’s rise to power, and also what keeps the Council both working and at odds with one another.

I spend the majority of my time out and about in the Dwarven realms, doing what I can to help others tough it out and make it through these trying times. When I am in Ironforge or Stormwind, I hear of the other kind of stubbornness. That born of arrogance and greed. The kind that makes you selfish.

As I watch the Horde turn on their leader, I can’t help but think back to the Cataclysm, and Moira’s return to Ironforge. Both struggles were born of stubbornness, yet the outcome is vastly different . Moira learned from her mistakes. Garrosh refuses to admit he makes any.

The Clan of Three Hammers: Tradition

This is the fourth part of the series. HeroHonor and Loyal are the previous installments.

Tradition. Traditions teach us, they give us comfort. They bring us together. They give us commonality. Sometimes they give us purpose.

Tradition is not just handed down. We make our own traditions – toasting fallen comrades or greeting one another with words from a meaningful shared experience. These traditions are just as important as those our grandfathers taught their daughters who teach us.

I spend much of my time these days in Halfhill, where tradition is steeped in the pure waters from the Vale, and harvested from the earth. The rumors are that the waters are at risk. Endangered by a man who hides his ambition in the traditions of the Warrior Horde. By a man who has abused those traditions so completely that his own people turn away from him.

Other shamans pass through Halfhill, interested in this place for the exquisite cooking or magnificent plants that can be grown. Trolls, Tauren, even Orcs. They hide their traditions, fearing that outsiders will think they support the man who flaunts those traditions. They speak in hushed voices only with those they know. Passing messages, to be sure. Making new traditions.

The Clan of Three Hammers: Loyal

This is the third part of the series. Hero and Honor are the previous installments.

Loyal. One thing you learn young in the Wildhammer clan, as a Doyle, is that we fly together. No Doyle, and no Doyle Gryphon are ever left behind. But things were changing in the Highlands. The Twilight Cult was getting more active. Out of Loyalty to my home, I was asked to leave it.

Loyalty is not just the oaths you make, but how you feel in your heart. Brawls broke out everywhere in Ironforge when I arrived, and all of them were about Loyalty. Loyalty to our leaders, both living and dead. Loyalty to our homes, to our traditions.

I spend my days in Ironforge, my truest loyalty stripped from me while I was away. But I am a Doyle, I will live as a Doyle and die as a Doyle. I hear tales from the heroes of Pandaria, of Garrosh and his misplaced loyalties.

In the high mountains of my homes, I imagine the gryphons flying free, untethered to dwarvish loyalty. And I hope they are happy.

The Clan of Three Hammers: Honor

This is the second in a 10-part series. Hero is the first part.

The Light teaches a great deal about honor. Dwarves as a whole consider themselves honorable. But honor is more than respect. It’s doing the right thing. It’s how you know you’re doing the right thing. In times like these, there is so much shadow it’s hard to see the Light, and we must look closely to find the honorable.

Honor is defined more by what you will not do, than what you will. At Stonard, not killing those who do not bear arms against us. At the Wrathgate, standing beside the Horde rather than fighting them. Letting Maev take the final blow against Illidan. And at Orgrimar, discerning between those who follow Garrosh, and those who would stop him – regardless of previous alliances.

I spend much of my time in quiet contemplation, speaking with Lorewalkers and Shado-Pan to understand what the Sha are and how best to heal the Vale. But my heart seethes at the wonton destruction caused by one man whose sense of honor has abandoned him.

The Clan of Three Hammers: Hero

This is a 10-part series.  The Clan of Three Hammers: Hero, is the first installment.

Hero. I’ve been called that. I don’t think it’s true, until I reflect on what I’ve done. What I’m doing now, sitting in this shrine turned inn. It’s a strange time we live in, and stranger still the things I’ve seen.

A broken world where the plains remained largely untouched. Our own world torn asunder by the one who should be keeping it. A frozen continent overrun with undead, whose very thoughts are driven by a madman. A place where negative emotions are manifest.

Heroes are defined by their deeds. Heroes do what needs to be done, sacrificing themselves to the cause. Am I a hero because I stood in front of Illidan and walked away when he did not? Am I a hero because I’ve face Arthas? Am I a hero because I chased Deathwing to the Maelstrom, and there, ensured he did not return to the earth?

I spend a great deal of my time on the terrace, looking out across what was once one of the most beautiful places in Azeroth. The changes were caused by one man. Am I a hero because I believe he should be stopped?

Across the wasted pools of the Vale is the Temple of the Moon. There, those who would call me enemy make their temporary home. Those who were led by the man whose lust for power is so great he will stop at nothing. I imagine that across this field is another hunter. An orc, perhaps, or a troll. And she gazes across the devastation and her heart aches just as mine does.

 

OLRG: What do You Want?

So this evening, the Old Ladies (and the men and young women who like us) went to Firelands, so that Fandral could be a Ninnie and not give Momo the staff; and then we headed to Naxxramus in an attempt to complete the 25-man achievements.    This brought us to a conversation about what achievements are out there that people would like to get…

So, my dear readers, put it in the comments – what achievement, what raid, what boss, what…ever you would like to tour with the Old Ladies. Current content is allowed, but we will have to see if the gear level of the participants will allow.

Anyway, I will put together a pretty spreadsheet for Matty so that we can be a little more robust in our offerings. I might even go read a strat or two about achievements. :)

My list is here, feel free to crib from it, or just jot a thing or two down.

The Choice is Upon Us

You probably know by now that Blizzard has started the pre-orders, and with them, the free level-90 boost.  If you don’t, you either don’t play WoW and read my blog for some strange reason, or you live under a rock and I’m not sure how you got to my blog in the first place.  (but I’m flattered)

Anyway, I’m not pre-ordering just yet (Friday at the earliest, possibly a bit longer than that), but that doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about what I want to do with my boost. My original thought was to boost Shoryl the Tauren. But… Shoryl’s specific function is to see content from the Horde point of view, and I don’t want to do that at max level. It just never feels as engaging that way.

So my next thought started a conversation with my wife about my cadre of Dwarves. After confirming that the only class that a Dwarf cannot be is Druid; I am left with 10 classes to choose from. Hunter and Paladin are out of it since Gurdrid and Breige are already level 90 dwarves.  For boosting existing characters, there are  Muirri at 85, Sruith at 83, Nemain at 59 and Saoire at 29 on Ysera, or Grianna at 28 on Whisperwind. I don’t have a dwarf shaman or warrior (Sveala and Oquae are both Draenei), or any rogue.

I’m pretty unlikely to boost any of the characters on Ysera at this point, and Grianna has a full set of heirlooms, making her less of a pick.  On the other hand, since I’m not planning to move Shoryl from Ysera to Whisperwind, I could finish out Nemain’s single level, move her to Whisperwind, and make her my JC/Engineer (more like make her an enchanter and continue with the idea of Grianna taking up the mantle of JC).  Having a level 90 rogue has its own appeal, as well; except that the job of said rogue would be picking locks.  Since I have only once almost gotten a rogue to max level, this has a personal appeal, except that I’m not sure I want to play one.

I think my decision is between boosting Nemain and moving her, or creating a rogue from 1.

There Must Be Ogres

Ogres are a metaphor, but it’s a long and drawn out metaphor.  The short of it, though, is that there must always be some group of creatures, preferably humanoid, and with interesting loot tables, who must die a lot to achieve something interesting.   As I look back at past expansions, I discovered something about my opinions of the expansions, so let’s take a look, shall we?

In Vanilla, it was the Timbermaw. Getting rep with them was necessary for tailors, leatherworkers, and inscriptionists to get very beneficial patterns.  While Raiders didn’t necessarily care until the Opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj (The patterns, as I recall, were nature resistance gear). Completionists of all stripes, of course, were interested in either the patterns or the reputation.

In Outland, it was Ogres, specifically, those in Nagrand. They dropped beads which could be turned in to the local faction (Kurenai for Alliance… um Maghar for horde?) to get your talbuks. That was six mounts! You could get other stuff too, but mounts! And cool ones, at that. The nice thing about these ogres, though, is that there were four excellent grinding spots, spreading out the people trying to kill ogres.   Sonaira and Shoryl spent hours collecting beads to get their talbuks.

In Wrath, the closest we ever got was up in Icecrown, but it was all tied to dailies, so wasn’t the same as the go-round-in-circles-kill-everything zen of the Timbermaw or the Nagrand ogres.  And I didn’t like Wrath as much as either of the previous expansions.

Cataclysm, likewise, had no good solid grinding things. There was Tol Barad to try and get a fox kit, but the problem there was not enough foxes, too spread out, and too low of a drop rate (also, a really boring loot table otherwise); and like many people, I think Cataclysm was the weakest of expansions by far.

Enter Pandaria.  Not only are there dailies associated with the Mogu, but they are humanoid, and have quite a nice loot table that includes cloth and greens and two other very interesting things: The most directly interesting thing is the Skyshard. It has a very low drop rate, but 10 of them give you an epic mount that most people won’t ride much. (I like mounts that I don’t have to think about who might ride them because they add to my count without adding to my random mount macros.)  But a slightly more interesting thing, because it’s more frequent and has an element of surprise to it, is the Ancient Guo-Lai Cache key.  This key lets you open a box in Guo-Lai. The box holds a nice little sum of gold (I think 30-60 is the range) potentially a BOA token to get reputation with the Golden Lotus (I have a toon that is exalted with them and never done a daily!), and chances at crafting mats or greens. Additionally, there’s a reasonably good chance that you’ll get another box – Treasures of the Vale. In that could be more gold, as well as some interesting things like Skyshards.

In addition to the Mogu minions, there are rare Mogu, a mantid, a couple of elementals, and some animals  who can drop the Treasures directly. The best part of them is that they’re not all that hard to kill.  Top it all of with 5-6 good grinding spots, and most people bored out of their minds from the Golden Lotus rep grind, and you once again have a lovely place to go and just kill all the things.

There are more ogres in Pandaria, too. In the forms of dinosaurs and all manner of things lost to time. So there will be lots of good grinding for quite a while yet.  The downside to the two islands, however, is much less interesting loot tables. Instead, you’re collecting lots of things. It has its own mesmerizing quality, though.

Now what is that interesting thing I talked about? Well, quite simply, my favorite releases of the game all have ogres. I didn’t care for WoLK, even though it was the  height of the subscription base. I’m not into goth, or undead, and I didn’t play Warcraft, so I have no previous dislike of Arthas or the Lich King. I did love the Titans stuff, but it was spread about and in raids I was unable to see as current content. During Cataclysm, I turned heavily to altitis due to disinterest the fractured story and the fact that all of the endings were in raids. Nothing was solved outside of raiding at all. And a big chunk of the story happened in those raids, too, so all the story lines were left hanging for me.

Pandaria has three versions of ogres, all different, and all with alluring rewards at the end of the long grind. That’s awesome! So I’m sure I’ll have toons grinding their way through those ogres even as we move into WoD. Hopefully they have ogres, too.

 

Visiting Whisperwind

About the same time as my post about possibly leaving Higher Authority, I had a little conversation with Matty about a guild called Reloaded. They’re on Whisperwind, they’re pretty good sized, she’s in the guild with one of her toons, and there’s this other blogger there too, whom I’ve been connected to via RealID for some time thanks to Blog Azeroth.

So, I thought I’d take a gander over there and see what I could see, and created Grianna, a dwarf mage. I spent an hour or so playing while Matty looked for someone who could get me in the guild, but no one with the right authority was available. The next time I logged in, I’d just missed Logtar, but another guild member was able to give me the guild invite. I played for a while and watched the conversation in guild. It was a lovely mixture of congratulations as various people earned achievements (as well as brief snippets about them, and even some gentle ribbing) and a real honest to goodness conversation about the weather (really, what else is there to talk about right now?) Everyone was friendly and decent, and used complete words and understandable sentence fragments. Even though I was soloing as I leveled, and not talking much, I felt connected. And that felt nice.

Last night, they were doing a Flex raid. Having not been able to connect with Logtar, I signed up for the raid on Grianna, knowing full well that I’d be playing Breige. But I wanted to let him know that I wanted to attend, and this was my best way of doing so at the time. Besides, it amused me to sign up for Seige of Orgrimmar on a level 17 toon.  Shortly before raid time, I dinged 20. That in itself says something about how much I was enjoying playing on Whisperwind. While I was busy leveling, someone put out a call for the Timeless Isle weekly stuffs, though chatting was a little quieter.

Once I connected with Logtar before raid, I switched over to Breige, and the invite was sent. Vent information was found, after something having to do with Bogota, Columbia (that wasn’t the vent info). We started in Wing 1 just to check out how our makeup was going to work, and it went smoothly, except for the trash right before the Sha of Pride, which sounded like a strategic error, and we were quickly dispatching the Sha.  So then we headed to the 3rd wing, and things were a little rough around the edges there.

In a way, since I’m looking at this guild as a possible good fit, it was nice to see how they handled the wipes. Adjustments were made, mechanics explained. Everyone sounded patient, and no one seemed particularly worried that we couldn’t do what we had set out for. Many successes were had and some gear was acquired. For my own part, I picked up two upgrades to Seige LFR gear, and two upgrades to 502 gear, included in those four pieces were two tier tokens, so now I have a two-piece set.

All in all, I really enjoyed the experience, and am seriously considering Reloaded as a new home for at least Breige.

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