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The Light, the Dark, and Lady Vashj

Laid Back

Laid Back Dungeons ended up being a laid back raid instead last week. I wasn’t in the mood for current content; and am looking for only a few more pieces for my sword set for Gurdrid. Since she’s carrying a sword right now, it seems to be a good one to work on.

So Tyledres and Gurdrid stormed Serpentshrine Cavern. Hydross went down with almost no sploosh.  The Lurker Below was dead fish pretty easily. Leotheras the Blind became Leotheras the dead.  And then there was Fathom-Lord Karathas. Who killed Gurdrid, but not Tyledres. Much like the last time I was in SSC, where the raid killed him, but the tank died.  After the Fathom-Lord, Morogrim Tidewalker was a walk in the pond. I don’t think we really needed to clear out his murloc minions first.

We were then at Lady Vashj, who has an annoying mechanic in phase two, where you have to pick things up off of mobs that have to be killed really fast.  But we were one-shotting mobs, shouldn’t be a problem, right? Until the fear-masters (Coilfang Striders) came along and feared us all over the place. We attempted twice, the second time trying to ignore one side of the room so that we could get to the tainted cores faster; to no avail. Lady Vashj may have won, but next time I’m bringing a shadow priest with me.

Site Update

I think the site update is pretty well completed. Widgets are in, and I’m pretty happy. I have a page to write for the guild; but otherwise, I’m pretty satisfied with my new look.  The blog name got shortened because of spacing issues. Now that little grey bar makes so much more sense. Also, the subtitle is more readable.

I’ll be trying to continue to work on my blogroll. I added both the Amateur and the Godmother to the page this evening.

I know I haven’t been the best at blogging recently; this is due in varying degrees to the site redesign; being at once too busy and not busy enough at work (it’s odd, I know); and an utter and complete adoration of Mists of Pandaria – so much so that I want to be playing, not writing. Also, there’s laziness and procrastination.

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An Order To Become Friends

When a knock came at the door of our guild house, those few of us sitting in the common area were unsettled. Who would bother us at such an hour? Certainly not an applicant. Something else must be afoot. Shoryl answered, her sword hidden from view behind the door. I slunk low under the table, prepared to pounce. Sonaira seemed to be polishing her shield. It was not something she did except after battle.

A page in the livery of the House of Wrynn stood outside, “Is this the Guild House of Higher Authority?” he asked. Shoryl nodded, and opened the door wider. I lay down under the table as the boy came inside. He brought a scroll out of his coat, “This is a call for all those able bodied and of 85 seasons to come to the castle. More information is in the missive. Shoryl, Sonaira, and Gurdrid, King Wrynn has asked to speak with you personally!”

He wanted to speak with the paladins. Not just the human ones, but all three of the paladins who made up our upper ranks. I yawned loudly, startling the boy a little. Shoryl said, “We’ll wake Gurdrid and we’ll be along to the keep as soon as we are able.”    The page nodded, and ducked out into the night, likely to summon more heroes.

I padded out from the table and changed back to my elfish form. Shoryl looked at me and said, “Go and get Gurdrid, if you would.” Sonaira was already putting on her armor, and Shoryl had taken the polishing cloth down from its shelf above her family’s ceremonial armor.   “And when you’re done, get yourself ready, too, Kerridwen.”

“Who’ll stay here to keep things…” I began to ask. I didn’t really want to go adventuring. Being a druid was harder than many thought. I hated battle. The senseless death.  The smells of blood and fire. Shoryl just stared at me, “all right.” I responded glumly as I climbed the stairs to get the sleeping dwarf. Hopefully they would get whisked off in a hurry to do whatever the King’s bidding was, and I could take my time following after. There were plenty of things I could do from Stormwind that would assist them!

As the three paladins left the guild house, Shoryl shot a look over her shoulder, “Wake or find the others. Give them the page’s message!” It was a momentary diversion, finding everyone could be challenging, as the members of the guild were spread all across Azeroth, and a few were on Draenor as well.

~~~

It had been 10 days since Sonaira, Shoryl and Gurdrid had left for what seemed to be a new continent. They’d sent mail, saying they were on an important mission. Gurdrid was faring very well in the new land. I had been rallying the others, always coming back to the guild house to take care of whatever general business there was, trying to get out of following along.  And then a page came late in the evening with a missive for me from King Wrynn.  I was to go to Pandaria. I was to find his son. Why me? Had Gurdrid and the others failed – certainly they’d been looking for the King’s own son? Had something awful happened to Anduin, and Varian wanted a little known druid from a tiny guild to blame it on?

Unfortunately, I had sworn my allegience to the Alliance, and as a daughter of Elune I had to answer the specific summons. I could no longer pretend to support from home.   And so I reported to the air ship, and began my tour of duty. 

The flight to the uncharted continent was uneventful until the last moments, when we discovered Horde gunships and a base of operations. The orders went out, and I found myself on one of those flying contraptions, bombing the Horde. A brand new continent to explore, and all we could do was blow up our age old enemies?   When the order came in to fall back to the airship, I was more than happy – but then the ground assault was started. I would have taken to my own wings then, but the air currents were different. I wasn’t sure I could actually fly. So I took a parachute and went over the edge.  The warring continued in the same old manner as it had for generations, until Operative Rell was overcome by some strange force.

Moments later, a huge serpentine dragon carrying a native of the land arrive. The native admonished us for bringing our negative emotions with us, and I saw their manifestation all around. I fought my way to the nearby village, where I began to learn of the tranquility that ought to be in this place. A tranquility that I longed for.  At that moment, I vowed to do whatever I could to change the course of what we were doing to this land.  

For the moment, though, trying to stop the Horde was the best I could do. They’d stolen cubs of the locals away, and so I agreed to a mission to stop them. That mission went well, except the stupid flying contraption got shot down on my way out, leaving me – a druid who should be perfectly capable of flying on her own – floating to ground in another parachute! The indignity! 

I spoke quietly that evening with some of the locals, learning how to pick their herbs correctly, as well as discern their ores from the normal rocks of the land. And I learned of their great dynasties. I longed to explore this new land. But I had a duty, and this duty I must fulfill.

The following day was spent looking for Admiral Taylor, and when I did find him, I learned of the Hozen and the Jinyu. The Hozen are monkey-men, and attacked us on sight. The Jinyu a more tranquil race of fish-men, whom we were able to help to some degree. Once Admiral Taylor was found, we went about befriending the Jinyu. While I was helping them re-acquire familial artifacts from the hozen, Rell and his team of operatives went scouting.  When they came back, Rell was near dead, but they’d found Amber, another operative. They explained what had happened; and Rell gave me an order that, even though he was a fellow Night Elf, I had to refuse: Befriend the Jinyu on behalf of the Alliance. 

It wasn’t so much that he asked me to befriend them, for I would certainly help them in their struggles. But arming them, preparing them for a war with the hozen – with the Horde – I wanted no part of. Had Rell not learnt from his own taint on the docks? The Sha would destroy this place if we continued to make war. No, I would have no part of that… and so I disappeared into the wilderness.

First Impressions

You may have gathered from my last post that I think Pandaria is gorgeous.  I still do. I’ve already taken more screen shots of the world than I have in any previous content. Ok, so part of that is because I’ve only recently started taking screen shots at all. But still.

The World

I am so instantly immersed in the world; even starting with Varian’s anger at his son disappearing.  I’m even pleased that Captian Taylor got promoted. He was a pretty good chap in Vashj’ir.   The lead in; that includes an Admiral who has it in for the Horde for what they did to Southshore; and the moments that include payback, as it were, for Theramore are important to get me riled for the war.  And then there’s the beauty of the world. It’s so enjoyable.

 Questing

We did have a bit of trouble initially with the mechanics of aerial combat and too many people being around, so Taoiseach and Ardrhian went about their start.

Garrosh is not making friends among his elite. Where Varian is sending in a crack unit, Garrosh is making you part of his war machine. And worse, Garrosh’s plans involve conquering the new continent, even though he has no clue what’s there.  Varian… wants to find his son.

I haven’t gotten much past learning Anduin’s fate on the Alliance side, either on Shoryl or on Gurdrid; but the story is unique. The Alliance are complimented for precision. And hey, we did a nice little quest hub and picked up another exalted reputation – sadly it’s not one that counts towards United Nations. 

But I look forward to questing – something that wasn’t so true in the last two expansions.

Dungeons

I went and ran a random dungeon on Gurdrid last night, and got Stormstout Brewery. It was mayhem, which I suppose makes a certain amount of sense. Sadly, people still seem to think you know your way around and what the trash does even if you say at the beginning you’ve never been there. The people I was with made it a lot less enjoyable than I would have preferred. 

The insides of the dungeons do look interesting, though. I actually spent a little bit of time looking around after I was done with my dungeon – at least in the safety of the last boss’s room.

Pet Battles

My weekday mornings have been taken up with pet battling.  I have collected 9 rares, and defeated a few of the pet battle masters. I’m leveling three pets I plan to cage and sell. I’m thinking about level 10 or so.  These are all pets that I have multiples of, so I’m hoping I can get at least a little bit out of them.  I really need to start reviewing the AH to see what levels I want to target for various pets. 

After I pick up all appropriate pet count achievements, all the snakes and most of the bugs are going to go. If I have to buy or catch them again, so be it; but I don’t want to keep having to scroll through them. Or look at the stupid Adder every time I open my pet window for the first time.

In Summary

I’m enjoying Pandaria. I’m enjoying Pet Battles. I’m enjoying inflated AH prices.   I’m hording my money, and really need to get Shoryl started on her all important quest to sell jewelled panthers to people who have too much gold.

More Good from the Mists

There are a ton of things to talk about when it comes to the Mists of Pandaria changes. I’m excited by many of them, certainly. Scenarios, no limits on dailies, account-wide achievements, pets and mounts. I’ve already discussed my excitement for these things. I’m not on the Oh Noes Talents bandwagon, either – but I play a paladin. Give me a major patch that paladins didn’t see a significant change in, and I’ll buy you a beer (you have to come to the not-currently-frozen Midwest to claim your prize.)

But there’s something very near and dear to my heart that did change with the patch, and that’s guild experience and guild rep.  At this moment, Sveala has earned the guild over 9 million experience. She’s level 83. She’s also significantly on her way to Exalted with the guild; something that no other toon of mine has reached before level 85 – and without the guild tabard to boost her on her way.  Removing the caps on experience and reputation with guilds is going to be very beneficial to small guilds and new guilds alike.

Additionally, the reputation and experience gains do not appear to be linked to the level of the character like they once were. Sona has been playing her little priest (who is level 62) and has already earned the guild 660K experience. There’s no way a level 62 toon could make that kind of a dent in guild experience without some changes to the way experience worked. I’m looking forward to the boosts provided by the dwarven dungeon crawl dwarves – who will likely be seeing the boost tomorrow.   We also compared guild reputation gained for quest turn ins between these two toons, and it’s exactly the same, where the little priest had previously only seen 10 or 15 points of rep per turn in upon reaching Outland.  These kinds of changes are going to make it easier to get our levels, especially for guilds like Higher Authority, which is only just barely not a vanity guild, since many of our members play very occasionally.

As far as the changes to guild perks go, I am sad to see Have Group – Will Travel disappear, even if my guild didn’t have it. I suppose one could argue that that kind of convenience thing could be used to advantage on PvP servers, but it was just so darned convenient for RealID raiding and dungeoning. Heck, I don’t know where half the raid entrances even are!  Blizzard could give us back that PvE boon by putting the summoning stones just inside the instances, with the quest givers. (I wasn’t the one who thought of this, it was someone in the Laid Back Raids – likely JD himself.) Otherwise, however, my little guild isn’t affected currently by the changes, so something we didn’t rely on is what was taken away.

It’s not all sweetness and light over here, though. I noticed when running Sveala through a dungeon, that the leave dungeon option goes away for the last person in a PuG. That’s particularly annoying when you want to turn in quests, and everyone else just drops the group!

I’ve been looking at overhauling all of my character’s UIs – a daunting task with now almost 7 level 85 toons (thank goodness for profiles!) and the 10 toons on Ysera for that account filled up.  Each UI has a little thing that needs to be a little bit different, whether it’s space for Vuhdo on Sveala or a prominent space for my pet on my hunter.  But I’m taking advantage of needing to update all of my addons as a time to look through them all and see what I really need and what I don’t.   I may talk about those in another post, but I am by no means an addon expert, so I may leave them for others to talk about.   Having just gotten an excellent video card when my computer went on the fritz, I’ve got even better graphics than I did before – to go with my 23″ monitor that I replaced the old one with a month or two after we got the other new video cards.

Oh, and for those of you who might be interested in connecting up with me for either Laid Back Dungeons, or just to chatter periodically, my Battle Tag is Shoryl#1300.

Bucket List Update – The Deadline Approacheth

September 25.

I had several goals in mind for getting prepared for Mists.  The majority of them are complete.

Shoryl – Check

Shoryl has maxed her engineering.

Oquae – Mostly Done

Oquae is level 85, and both Tailoring and Enchanting have reached 500 points. While I would still like to get those to 525, it’s not as high of a priority. She’ll be able to start in on leveling Mists content.

Sveala – Still Working

Sveala is level 71 now. Her Inscription is currently maxed at 450. Even with three heirlooms and the guild perk, leveling has tapered off a bit. I’m hoping that with the announced drop date, we’ll get some people returning to the game.

Gurdrid – Some New Desires

I’ve added a couple of things to the list for Gurdrid. I don’t know how attainable they are in the time available, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try:

I’d like her to finish up in Tol Barad. She needs a total of 215 commendations (Spectral Steed and Rustberg Gull), and has around 140 now. At an estimated 18-24 per week, she ought to be able to get that done without too much difficulty.

Red Drake! Also known as completing Glory of the Hero.  She’s got a long way to go for that. Hopefully there will be some willing friends, and some time to work on it.