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.
It all started out innocently enough, as these things often do. A new expansion. New mounts to be had. And then, I saw them. Panthers. Glistening panthers made of jewels. Shoryl had to have these for her collection. Not just one, oh no, but all five! And so our story begins. Shoryl reached level 90 a bit later than I had anticipated, after both Gurdrid and Breige.
She set out immediately upon reaching that height to acquire the favor of the Cloud Serpent trainers, even though the Serpents themselves were old news, as it were. After a few days of toiling for them, she had the patterns in hand. She knew the key – the Orb of Mystery. She also knew the other things that would create the structure. The gems she would need to acquire, the ore that would need to be smelted and transformed. She called a meeting of key members of the guild: Gurdrid, who could collect and smelt the ores. Sveala, who could perform the transmutations required. Breige, who would lead the active acquisition of funds, and Oquae, who had a goldmine in her ability to make adventuring packs. Even Muirri, who had stayed in Ironforge to do the Guild’s business, was asked to assist, selling those things of interest that were acquired.
Gurdrid set out at once, gathering a great deal of ore. When it wasn’t in need of smelting for Sveala, all of the ore went to Shoryl to be prospected for gems. So much raw material came in, it was impossible to count it all. She toiled relentlessly. Hundreds of crates of ore were sent to Shoryl, until she had acquired 40 of each type of gem: Wild Jade, Sun’s Radiance, Primordial Ruby, and River’s Heart.
All the while, Gurdrid smelted trillium when she could, and ghost iron whenever there wasn’t enough trillium. Sveala took these bars and transformed them into living steel. Had it all been created from ghost iron, the steel alone would have required 3,840 chunks of ore. Even when the steel needed for the panthers was completed, bars were still sent her way to be transformed and sold. Orbs of Mystery are quite difficult to acquire, and thus are exceptionally expensive.
During this time, Breige showed great initiative in going out into the world to find rare things to sell and performing tasks for the peaceloving Pandaren as an adventurer for hire.
In doing so, she brought in necessary resources – especially by befriending the farming community of Halfhill, and in particular Farmer Yoon. He allowed her to grow amazing plants that could pull ore right from the ground, or catch the slightest tuft of wool from the air. With the sheep she acquired from befriending Chee Chee, there was always plenty of wool to be gathered.
Ore, of course, went to either Gurdrid to be smelted, or directly to Shoryl for prospecting.
The wool went directly to Oquae, who also toiled for Farmer Yoon, planting the enchanting Songbells, and harvesting from them the curious motes of harmony. With these, and the wool, she created Imperial Silk at the nearby fields, and in turn, she made Royal Satchels, which fetch a high price at auction. The bags, and the occasional silkworm or moth, were sent to Muirri, who had an excellent working relationship with several auctioneers throughout Alliance territories.
Muirri, of course, sold the extra steel, the satchels, and any other interesting things the others could find. She kept careful watch over the funds acquired, and when there was enough, would send it to Shoryl.
Shoryl had found a goblin with a ready supply of the orbs of mystery, but he wouldn’t let them go lightly. She was pleased, however, that he wasn’t aligned with the Horde, and was willing to do business with her, regardless of the high price he charged. Still, in a demand market, the sole supplier of an item is sure to have excellent profits. So she was stuck.
The trick to the Jeweled Onyx Panther, of course, wasn’t as simple as the others. It required that the jewelcrafter first create one of each of the previously crafted panthers, and then fuse them together artfully. The resulting mount, however, is definitely a sight to see!
When all was said and done, Shoryl once again called together her team. She congratulated them all on the hard work they had done, and how selflessly they had given of their time and skill. Muirri provided the record of funds earned for the incredible number of 8 orbs required to get all five panthers, a total of 144,000 gold. In addition, Sveala created 32 bars of Living Steel, all of which came from ore smelted by Gurdrid. Shoryl herself provided the gems, though mostly through ore mined by Gurdrid or farmed by Breige.
After all that, the Grand Expedition Yak doesn’t seem so expensive, does it?
I’m a bit of a list maker. I like to know what I need or want to do. This has become a bit more of a habit since I have started to have a bad memory for these things. Getting older sucks. But sometimes… lists, they are scary. Sometimes having it all written down makes it hard to see what to do next. Sometimes it’s too much.
Case in point. I just made a list of everything I would do in WoW every day if I had no other responsibilities. It looks like this:
- Inscription Research x2
- Living Steel Cooldown
- Silk Cooldown
- DE collected greens
- JC Research
- Argent Tournament Dailies
- Magnificence Cooldown
- Klaxxi Dailies
- August Celestial Dailies
- Farm Leather as needed
- Farm Herbs/Ore as needed for cooldowns
And none of that includes Wednesday night Guild Randomness, or Thursday night Dwarven Dungeon Crawls. To be fair, I raid on most Tuesdays and frequently on weekends, and I can usually get more than one in on those days. Since Blizz has not implemented bonus Valor for raids at this point, it doesn’t matter so much when I do them at all. For Scenarios and Dungeons, though, getting bonus Valor definitely has its advantages. So if I could, I’d do at least one of those each day.
But a whole lot of those things, you say, take only a few minutes. (And really, all those profession things – most people don’t have all those professions). And that’s very true, the list in and of itself isn’t that bad. But the length of the list is what is daunting.
And here’s another thing that intrigues me. How many other games that people play do they make lists for? Really, playing a game is about fun. So, to make myself feel better about my list, which looks a vaguely like work, I thought I’d talk a little bit about why I do these things:
Inscription and JC Research: I don’t like paying for my glyphs and gems off the AH. Auction House purchases can keep you in the poor house, and I have things I’d like to purchase with my gold, like mounts! Also, the random process adds something to it: What will I learn today?
Silk and Magnificence Cooldowns: I find it fascinating to learn what I’ll discover, and also whether I get a silkworm. The items from the patterns have also been selling well.
Living Steel Cooldown: This is mostly for money, or, at the moment, for guildies. It’s also fun to see if I’m going to proc a second bar, though I have terrible luck with that when I’m trying to make it to do something with.
Farms: Gurdrid is currently farming motes, but will go back to farming for rep when she’s done making a couple of pieces of gear. Breige is strictly farming for rep right now. I find farming amusing and relaxing to do, so as an added method of getting things I want, it’s quite worthwhile.
Argent Tournament Dailies: This is literally a means to an end for me. I want the mounts from the Argent Tournament – some for the mounts themselves, but mostly because they’re an easy way for me to get to the next mount achievement, and the KITE!
The rest of Breige’s activities: Breige doesn’t strictly have to do the dailies. She could head over to the Isle of Thunder and jump in there. She’s got good enough gear to get into the next raid I haven’t seen yet, and really, the point of the gear is to get to the next raid for me, not the gear itself. But, I want the achievements that go with the dailies, so I’m doing the dailies.
Scenarios and dungeons are another thing that are a mix between fun and profit. I like doing them, and bonus valor and rep are always a plus. So I try to get them in on days that I want to do group content. I will always opt to do these with guildies first, given the choice. (And will often do many scenarios in a row with guildies, but only one or two with strangers)
Raiding is something I’ve missed for a long time. I haven’t raided since vanilla, and I wasn’t going to raid on a tank, so Gurdrid was out of the question. I decided on Breige to try and see if I’d like playing her because of Bear’s comments about his hunter, mostly. And I’m finding that I like ranged DPS more than I ever expected. Even more surprising is that having a pet doesn’t completely suck all the time. I have no idea whether I’m a good hunter or not, but I try, and I try to get better. And I like doing it.
Farming Leather, Ore, and Herbs as needed: This is really a support clause. If I want to do other things, I need these resources, and it’s generally cheaper to farm than it is to buy. So I opt for farming, mostly.
Auctions: I think this goes without saying. You make more money selling things on the AH than vendoring them, so Auctions it is.
Muirri: My little monk is closing in on 85 quickly. The monk playstyle isn’t one I would want to use as a main, but I am enjoying it. She’ll likely become my bank toon and hang out in Stormwind doing fishing and cooking dailies once she reaches 85 and nets the guild their achievement. But I almost always have one toon I’m actively questing on, for when endgame gets boring. It’s a great breakup of activities.
The nice thing that this list does, though, is reminds me why I do what I do. Why is important, particularly for the things that I don’t like doing in and of themselves (mostly, that’s the Argent Tournament dailies.)
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.
This is just a brief update on how things are going around here. The blog has been quiet the last week due to the lack of the computer with all the pictures for my planned posts on it.
That being said, my beloved computer is currently on the bench at the repair shop getting diagnostics done. It’s a sad state when I live in the headquarters city of one of the largest US computer dealers, and there’s a full week’s wait at the “little” places just to get diagnostics done. Yep, that’s how much we trust the big place to do it right… So, tomorrow I will be doing one of three things, hopefully early enough in the day to be raiding on my own computer tomorrow night: 1. happily working away on a functioning computer because of an easy repair I felt I could do myself (this means bad fan, or bad memory being the culprit); 2. grumpily playing on Sona’s computer as we let the computer guys do more work on my PC; or 3. Trying desperately to get WoW up and running on a new PC.
As I mentioned before, While getting a new PC is always fun, getting it after a week of annoyed waiting (I’m sure I’ve been awful to live with) and two days before a major patch is not nearly as much fun.
Update: The PC was back in action for JD’s laid back raid last night. And I just need to mention that even at level 85 with level 60 content, sometimes you need to listen to your raid leader and/or main tank. I was personally a bit fed up with the 10+ minutes of taking down the puppy packs because people wouldn’t follow directions. Especially when I warned folks beforehand.
I’m sure you’re all wondering what this has to do with chairs? Well, I’ve been waiting over a month for my replacement recliner to get here. It comes on Monday, and I’m exstatic. The thing about this chair is that it’s the only chair in the house that fully supports my back. Since I have significant back problems, this is hugely important… and I broke my old one a month ago; after a frantic 8+ hours of shopping for a replacement, Sona and I found one… but at the price of having to have it done up custom, which they said would take 8 weeks for delivery. It’s coming in at the beginning of week 7; only a few days shy of the target date.
These two things coming together, along with the Mists pre-patch on Tuesday have me pretty excited for the future, which is making me impatient this evening.
So, I spent some time leveling Sveala. She’s now level 81, so there’s a good chance she’ll make it to 85 before Mists goes live. Her inscription is at 503, which is where she needs to be to start using Mists mats, as well. The next stage, for times when I don’t feel like leveling my sixth toon to 85, is to work on getting alchemy up on Sveala, so I can switch Kerridwen over to mining (and herbalism) It just makes too much sense to have a druid as a dual gatherer.
As far as blogging goes – as soon as we know what’s going on with the PC, we’ll know more about what I’m going to need to do to get going with the blog. For now, I’m hoping that starting on Monday or Tuesday, I will be catching up with the Mogolympics posts I haven’t yet made.
I’m a list maker. Sometimes I make them in my head, sometimes I build fancy spreadsheets, and sometimes you get to see them as they come forth from my brain. My lists are sometimes lists of dates, like the updated Laid Back Dungeons page, which now has August’s “schedule” on it. Really, it’s more of a list, with some dates that will be adjusted based on how many runs we get through each week. After all, I initially expected 2-3 dungeons, not 3-4, which is what we’ve been managing.
But I have other lists, too. There’s my bucket list, which is now nearly finished. Gurdrid has completed our Tol Barad goals, setting herself up to smoothly leap into Mists. While I’ll be working on Glory of the Hero for her via the Laid Back Dungeons, her only other goals involve transmogrification. We’ll get to that in a moment. Oquae will be making a trip to the Darkmoon Faire, along with everyone else, to complete the profession dailies. I’m holding off on that with Sveala until the end of the week, because she’s level 74 now, and will actually benefit as soon as she rolls over to 75, and can get into working on her scribbling again.
Then there’s Gurdrid’s mog list. She has three sets all designed, which she wants to get completed. They are her sword, axe and mace sets – in green, blue and red respectively. I’m teasingly calling her the RGB tank. List-wise, she needs to visit a total of 8 raids and 7 dungeons to complete all of the sets. I’ve posted her green set, for which she already has the sword.
You’ll see her blue set after the after the mog olympics, as I used it as a part of the competition. There’s a story there, but I’ll be waiting for the post. Surprisingly, that one’s the most complete, with Axe, Shield and belt already acquired.
The red set was just finalized this morning, and I’ll be posting it sometime later this week, in all likelihood. This set is to replace the Dark Iron set you’ve been seeing her in. That one is the most likely going to be the last set I complete, mostly because it uses more Cataclysm pieces than any of the others.
With Gurdrid’s outfits completed, there are other toons clamoring for gear. Two more toons have Mogolympic fever, wanting sets I designed either for their class or on them (and therefore class appropriate)! Oquae is getting noisy about wanting her spikey set; and Shoryl is defying all expectations and requesting an update. She expects to be getting a bit dirty when the Mists part, and the Lawbringer set requires just too much polishing. She thinks something more gold and less silver is in order. Sveala has kept quiet, but she’s probably waiting until she has the clout to bring it up. I’m not mentioning to her that Sruith has a set already designedI (by Cymre), and I’ll be designing for my Monk as soon as Mogit has a live update, so that I can use quest rewards as desired.
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.
So, on one of the blogs I read (and now I can’t find it!), someone mentioned trying to play a bit differently than the “typical” mindset of hurry-up-and-level so you can get to where the game begins. And, if you’ve been following me on twitter, (or been reading my comments) you know that I’ve been racing two of my guildmates to level 85.
I want to give you a little bit of the history of my playstyle, so you can see that this is actually some pretty serious outside-the-box playing for me. Like many other bloggers, I’m an altoholic. I have four level 85 toons:
- Shoryl, who is cohort to Sonaira, and my face for Azeroth.
- Breige, a hunter, who I thought I might like to spend time dungeoning with, but who ultimately I find too fiddly to learn to play. She is my bank/AH toon.
- Kerridwen, my druid, who was my first toon to level through the new 1-60 zones. She got each of the Loremaster achievements in order (Kalimdor, EK, Outland, Northrend, then Cata) and stayed in the areas to complete them before moving on to the next. Because she overleveled most of the content, I failed to learn to play her well. I was intending for her to be my solo achievement hound. But now she sits, does her transmute when I can remember to do it, and farms herbs when I need them for Sruith’s inscription.
- Taoiseach, my first max level toon, Shoryl mark I, and now a blood elf. She’s intended for me to see the Horde content. Someday she might actually get to it.
I have a full stable of lower level toons I actually intend to play.
- Oquae has my Zhevra. She was supposed to be my next max level character… before Breige and Kerridwen… For that matter, before the move to Ysera. She’s the only toon besides Taoiseach that made the move.
- Margueryn is my baby warlock. I was inspired to start a new lock by Poneira of Fel Concentration. I plan to level her when I want to level again after this big push I’ve been on with Gurdrid, using Pon’s advice. (I also plan to level her on the TV, so Sonaira can watch while she’s doing other things)
- Sruith is a part of the dwarven dungeon crawl – there’s a great out-of-the-box levelling method!
- Sveala is a shaman I was working on leveling for the purpose of giving our guild healer, Suthine, a break. But she’s rather stalled at level 50, due to other projects.
- Vijin is one of many attempts at a horde toon – one that may never make it, but we’ll see.
- Gurdrid. My third paladin. Who is in a race to level 85 with her two guild mates.
As you can see, I generally created my toons to fill specific needs of either the guild or my playstyle. I didn’t create Gurdrid to race Jack and Yaw to 85, it sort of ended up happening. I created Gurdrid because I love me my pallies; and Shoryl is tied to Sonaira, because we’ve learned if we play them separately much, we don’t connect well. I decided to spec her prot so I could dungeon some… you see, I’m impatient, so I don’t do dungeons on my dpsers unless I can team up with a healer or tank.
So I started playing my baby paladin on December 19 (based on when she got her Collector’s Edition feats of strength). Less than two months later, I’m going to have a level 85 prot paladin. This is the fastest I have ever gotten a toon to max level, even when that was what I was going for on Taoiseach in her Shoryl days. I’ll admit that part of it is because I’ve already got two toons with the Loremaster title (Shoryl got EK and Kalimdor before the Sundering; and Kerridwen has the new version of the achievement)
I’ve even been contemplating taking Gurdrid on a path towards Raid Finder; which would get me back into raiding at all for the first time since BC. But, I’m still undecided about that part. Gurdrid will be my new achievement chaser – particularly since a few achievements (namely the pet and mount achievements) will likely be easier with a tank that PuGs. I also intend to use Gurdrid to help guildies get in dungeons for either power leveling or just to have fun getting some gear. While I encourage people to take the time to do dungeons with at level groups, sometimes that doesn’t fit into their playstyle for various reasons. And I like blowing up low level dungeons anyway. 🙂
How do you play outside the box; or even outside your box?
In any other gaming environment, changing characters means starting the game over. In MMOs, you get lots of opportunities to assist your new characters: BoA gear to level faster, the ability to provide your other characters with money, items, or raw materials.
Lots of people complain about “having to” do this or that thing on their alts. I think that’s a whole lot of hooey. You don’t have to do anything on your alts. If you want to do something on your alt, like, say, raid, then certain things are expected of you, yes. But one presumes that very few people have the time in a week to devote to raiding with more than one toon at a time. And those few people choose to raid on more than one toon. I don’t have sympathy for people who say you have to do anything on your alt.
Having alts does not have to mean that you pursue the same content on all of your alts. Let’s take a look at all of my toons.
There’s Shoryl. I’ll call her my main for this exercise, because she sees a significant portion of my dedicated play time. I make decisions about what I’m going to do with her for long-term goals, and I pursue those goals. She has some milestone achievements, like Loremaster of Kalimdor, Easter Kingdoms, Outland and Cataclysm. I’m still pursuing Northrend, but I also have other goals for her. I’m spending a lot of time on Outland reputation achievements right now, and just recently got Leading the Cavalry.
There’s Breige. She’s an 85 hunter, and I enjoyed solo leveling her, but I’m not a very good hunter player – I don’t understand half of what she can do, I don’t understand 2/3 of what her pets ought to be able to do either. She’s got maxed skinning and leatherworking, and is honored with the guild, to provide my little tiny guild with those two professions for Working as a Team. Right now, she’s my auction house toon because I don’t have any particular goals for her.
There’s Taoiseach. You’ve heard the stories about Taoi and Shoryl. Taoiseach has a few achievements under her belt that Shoryl may never attain. I play her when Sonaira isn’t available, as Sona and Shoryl are a pair and only occasionally pursue separate activities (usually revolving around profession dailies). Taoiseach doesn’t see much play time, but she’s an alchemist and is currently my cash cow with her truegold transmute.
There’s Kerridwen. Kerridwen is level 67. She already has Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. I rolled her to run through the brand new 1-60 stuff. She’s also got skinning and herbalism over 300, has just reached 300 with cooking skill, and is working on 300 skill in fishing. Next up? 300 skill with archaeology. I’m guessing she’ll be near 70 before setting foot in Outlands, but that is where she will go next. She’s not about playing hard content. She’s about seeing the game. Maybe not “as it was designed to be played” but seeing it, and taking the time to savor it. She’s also a solo toon.
There’s Sveala. Sveala is my third attempt at a shaman, and she’s leveling primarily using the dungeon finder. She’s a healer, which is helping her queue times. I’m working on her to eventually give our guild’s only other healer a chance to bring his warrior out to play once in a while.
No, I realize none of my toons are particularly uber. Back in the day Taoiseach (then Shoryl) was somewhere in the middle of the pack of raiders, which was a smaller group of people than it is today. I got burned out. I would be 100 times more burned out if I had to spend all of my time getting all of those toons up to level 85 post-haste, then get them geared in the current gearing system and then also try to find time to raid with them.
Yes, I get why people don’t want to do that with all of their toons. But they don’t have to. Because it’s a game. Not a job.