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20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge: Day 1

So, I’m jumping on another bandwagon: 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge. I know I’m coming to this party quite late, but that’s the joy of blogging – you get to do things when you want to for the most part. (At least, if you’re not writing guides or theorycrafting).  In some ways, it’s a theme with tiny guilds, anyway. We do old content raiding if we want to see the raids, because we don’t have the bodies to do it when it’s relevant…  Anyway, without further ado, we’ll start with Day 1.

Introduce Yourself

Hi! I’m Shoryl, guild leader of a tiny guild called Higher Authority.  I’ve been playing WoW since early 2005.  I’ve always had a paladin main, though there have been three different paladins filling that role: Shoryl-turned-Taiseach, then Shoryl, and now, sort of a cross between Shoryl and Gurdrid.  I play Gurdrid more because Shoryl is tied to Sonaira, my partner’s paladin.  I raided in vanilla, tried to raid but was behind my guild’s curve in BC, and chose not to raid in Wrath or Cata. I’m a cross between an altoholic, an achievement junkie, and a rare hunter. I tend to really enjoy content that other people find repetitious – possibly because after a while it becomes zen-like.

In real life, I’m in my 40s, and an accountant for a bank – not that I actually do any accounting now, because my job really entails more of the maintenance stuff (like updating databases and writing procedures).  I also have a wonderful partner who blogs about not-WoW, has a gajillion hobbies (to my half a gajillion, for the record) and generally lets me do whatever I want with most of my time. She’s absolutely wonderful.   She doesn’t play WoW as much as I do, but that’s ok.  She plays a prot paladin.

As I mentioned, I have half a gajillion hobbies, which include WoW, origami, cross stitch, philatelly (stamp collecting), and very minimal scrapbooking.  I also like to get out and see the wonderful city I live in, with orchestra and Broadway Across America season tickets each year; as well as a few local plays, other concerts, and area events thrown in for good measure.

Then and Now

Vidyala of Manalicious, has come up with another Meme after the 6th Screenshot Meme that went around, Then and Now.  And I started thinking about a lot of the thens and nows that there are for me.

When I first started playing, back in, uh, 2005, it was my first online game that wasn’t text based. Seriously. (Diablo II, which I played with my nephew, was my first cooperative video game.)  One of my housemates bought WoW when it was first released. I watched him play it, and after a bit, lamented that my PC wouldn’t run the game. It was so pretty, unlike all the grim FPS games I’d seen people playing.

I worried that I wouldn’t be very good at a realtime game, as well. I still don’t have the fastest reflexes, but I am a heck of a lot better at it than I once was.

Anyway, so he sold me his computer when he got a new one, and I was able to start playing. I had no clue what I was doing. He’d shown me Molten Core, and a bit of Orgrimar, but I had rolled on a different server because I was not about to start playing on a PvP realm.  I’d learned that some other folks I knew played WoW, and they played on Thunderhorn, so I rolled there. And Alliance.

Then my friend’s guild blew up, and he decided to come hang out on Thunderhorn. He got his new Alliance toon to 60 before Shoryl made it there. But in those days I didn’t know about sites like Thottbot and Alakhazam. I had no clue about Elitist Jerks, or many other sites. And then he dropped a bomb. We could create a PuG group for raiding. The thought! The epicness! I could be one of those folks who sported matching gear! That would be sooooooo coool!  And we did get it going. We drummed up enough interest to run a 40-man team.  And he told me, privately, as we looked at the hodge podge group we’d created, that he wasn’t sure we could do it. He and one healer were the only two in full sets of blue gear. I had only one blue item on my toon. Those were the extremes of gearing.   But we did it. We killed not only Lucifron that first night, but managed, with only one tranquilizing shot, to also kill Magmadar.

That was the beginning of the creation of a guild called Chosen of Valhalla, which I didn’t actually join at its inception.  But here is the earliest picture I have of Shoryl from that time, blended into a sig file with my army of alts behind it (all of whom have been lost in the bit stream…)

By the time this image was created, Shoryl had gone to retribution.

And there’s the now, on my third server. Running a guild for the second time. Not raiding. And still loving more minutes of my play time than not. First, I give you Taoiseach, who is the same toon that was once Shoryl. Now a Blood Elf, and languishing because I have other, more interesting things to do just now


And finally, the Shoryl who is my guild leader toon. The one who almost carries on the old Shoryl’s personality, in a Mogged set of her predecessor’s claim to fame. Tier 1 (with embellishments).

Shoryl, in the only tier set I've ever owned when it was relevant. Sans bananas.

So there it is – unlike many people in the downsizing of raiding content and creation of LFR, I’ve stepped away from pursuing raiding, not because of raiding itself, but because there are other things, more personal, that take me away from that particular dedication to the game.

A Toon for All Occasions

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?

When You Love a Paladin

Higher Authority has a rule in its charter:

Do also keep in mind that every guild member must have a pally alt. While we don’t expect that alt to be in the guild, or on Ysera, or even an alliance toon (and we won’t verify its existence) we will tease you mercilessly if you don’t claim to have one.

GurdridThis does, in fact, go for the officers, who all have pally mains. I’m not sure if Suthine has a pally alt currently, but Suthine used to be his alt.  Sonaira’s pally alt is now a Hordey. Like Taoiseach, she got converted as soon as she had her second paladin to 85.  But being the Guild Leader, there’s a bit of overachievement that seems to have to happen. I now have 3 paladins.  My newest one is Gurdrid.

Gurdrid is a departure for me. I’m leveling her Prot. Her personality has already started to come through. Being a dwarf, she’s rather no-nonsense. But, she has her quirks. Her cousin is a hunter (yes, I do give my characters history. No, I don’t RP.) and she has started to seek out rare beasts. So far she hasn’t hunted them exclusively, but since she’s not yet into her 40th season, I think it’s understandable that she still wants to learn her skills first.

I’m loving protection. I’m loving instant dungeon queues. I’m loving taking almost no damage in the world. I’m loving soloing 2-man yellow quests (Myzrael, I’m looking at you). I’m taking to tanking prot better than bear tanking (I still haven’t tried warrior tanking, or DK tanking).  I generally don’t even mind the go-go-go DPS.

Very First Rare KillShe already has quite a collection of rare kills to her name.  Early on, in Dun Morogh, she ran across Timber.  Timber probably set her on the path of hunting rares.



Grizlak died before I got a good image.

The Mosshide Chieftain

In Loch Modan, she found the kobold Grizlak, and the gnoll Sagepaw.  Wait, does that make her the leader of the Mosshide? Eek!




In Wetlands, she found three rares: Leech Widow, Gnawbone and Mirelow.





When she moved on into Arathi Highlands, her luck continued with finds of the ogres Ruul Onestone and Foulbelly; as well as the troll Numar the Slayer (or should that be slain?) and the kobold Geomancer Flintdagger.






Almost immediately after arriving in the Hinterlands, she located Old Cliff Jumper, marking her second worg kill.

(note: pics added 1/3/12)

Love-Hate Relationship with the RNG

Almost everyone thinks they’re the most unlucky player ever when it comes to the ubiquitous RNG; and I’m no exception. It became a joke in my old raid group that when Shoryl finally got her Lawbringer Boots, that we would finally be stable. Shoryl didn’t get her boots until mere weeks before the three allied guilds created a new raiding guild that would be fed from the others. I guess we became a stable raiding team.

Recently, however, I’ve been reminded of the curious form of Murphy’s Law that is the RNG. Sonaira and Shoryl have been running the Coren Direbrew fight in an attempt to get Shoryl the two mounts. Day after day, there was no luck. Then yesterday, Sonaira opened her keg, and had not one, but both of the mounts in it. And another epic on top of that.  She put on one of the mounts only long enough to get the achievement, while I sullenly purchased some hops to get my achievement.  I’ll admit I was happy for her, but because of how you get those mounts, she couldn’t offer up our normal method of dealing with pets and mounts. She gets the pets first, I get the mounts first. Nice and easy when there’s a roll involved.

A year ago, Shoryl got a Sinister Squashling. Kerridwen also has one, and so does Taoiseach. Taoiseach has had to destroy at least  one. Neither Arianrose nor Sonaira have a Squashling. She has been mostly gracious about it. But I also quickly change pets whenever my random pet summoning addon summons the Squashling. There’s having the pets, and rubbing her face in it. I try not to do the latter.

Currently, one of my guildies is running Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, working on creating Sulfuron, Hand of Ragnaros. He originally ran it for the raid achievement, got the left binding of the Windfury, and decided he might want to make that.  Last week, he got the Eye of Sulfuras. He’s got everything he needs for the Hand except the Blood of the Mountain and Sulfuron Ingots. Even though he’s run Molten Core at least a half dozen times (probably more, I haven’t been keeping track), and Blackwing Lair several times, he has only managed to acquire one Blood of the Mountain, and it wasn’t even out of a Dark Iron node, which is where the majority of them purportedly come from.

And he’s seen at least two pairs of Lightbring Boots drop., but not on the run I went with him on. ‘Cuz I’m sure I’m going to get my Lawbringer boots for Transmogrification last. (Or… something. I’m not going to make predictions on a project I haven’t started yet.)

With all of this, you might ask where the Love part of the relationship with the RNG comes from? Well, have you ever looted an Epic BoE off of a world mob and gotten a bunch of gold off the auction house for it? I have. Or, and this is one of my favorites, I was working on my skinning and trying to get Arctic Furs to make my Chopper. I got my 525th point, and my 2nd fur on the same skin.  These things make us love the RNG. For a moment.

Altitis isn’t about Uber Alts

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.

A History of Altitis

When I first started playing WoW (in February of 2005), the friend who got me interested in the game suggested that I try to play several different classes before I settled on one. I took that a step farther. I started 10 characters – one for each class (yes, that meant that I had a Hordey out there, too, not just my Alliance toons.) The first toon I settle into a truly loving relationship was Shoryl. (yes, I know, Shoryl is my second paladin. Wait for it already!)
Shoryl was a human paladin. She was easy to play. She provided me with hours of enjoyment, and she had the name that had, in other circles, come to supplant my given name. The other toon that got a lot of my time was a druid named Caitlinn. My shaman got very little love, partially because she was horde, and I knew nobody who played horde-side, and partially because those totems were just way too confusing to me.

As I mentioned in my introductory post, I raided in vanilla, but before I resigned myself to healing, I tried valiantly to play retribution. Back then, I didn’t know much about the online resources available. Eventually, though, I gave in to healing, and got pretty darned good at it, if I must say. My 40-man group, which started out as a PuG, would go on to complete AQ-40, and nearly complete Naxxramus – though I stopped raiding while we were still getting confident about Blackwing Lair.

We’ll skip the drama that happened, but then I found myself on a new server, with an impending new expansion, and a level 60 paladin who’d gotten probably 80% of my WoW time. Caitlinn had been left on the old server, where she still languishes at level 50. I’d been playing a new toon, though, whose name was Unsocial. He was a night elf rogue, and I purposely made him look like a nice purple Wolverine. The name was intentional. I wanted him to be a solo toon. He didn’t even quest, because he didn’t like to be told what to do. (No, I do not RP, but my characters still end up with personalities.)

Once again, when BC launched, I took Shoryl right out and started the grind to 70. Unsocial would languish while I worked on getting my girl up and ready to raid, but raiding didn’t happen for me. For starters, I tried to go retribution again – and while it could have worked had I been dedicated enough and willing to PvP, it was a nightmare for itemization, and not something I really wanted to do. But I did go Shockadin during that time, and had a heckuva good time with it. I didn’t end up raiding much at all in BC, partially because of my poky leveling style, and partially because of personal things giving me less in-game time than my guild.

Enter my second attempt at a Shaman. I was sure that this time it would stick. My little Draenei, Peilla, would become an elemental shaman, since Shoryl couldn’t buck the healing gig and go ret. But alas, it wasn’t to be. I ditched her in the 50s. Unsocial made it to 70, and then I discovered I hated all the fussiness of playing a rogue. During this time, my sweetie leveled her first paladin. We did crazy stuff with our two pallies, like 5-man world quests, all by ourselves.
Then, it was time for Wrath of the Lich King to launch. We intended to level our pallies together, to keep the synergy going, but that would not come to happen. I went ahead and leveled Shoryl on my own – and yes, she was ret! Wrath was a huge alt-time for me. I didn’t care for Northrend much, so I spent all kinds of time on other toons, and ended up with several in their mid-40s.

During Wrath, we also talked my sweetie’s parents into playing. And somewhere near the end of Wrath, they decided to change servers from the one we were on. Since we weren’t having very good luck finding a guild we liked, we decided to go check out the server they had moved to. We created pallies: Shoryl and Sonaira. And as we leveled, and talked her folks into starting a guild, we decided we wanted to bring our 80s over to the new server as well. But I didn’t want to delete Shoryl. So, Shoryl (prime) had to get a new name. And her name is Taoiseach, which is gaelic for prime minister.
Eventually, as these things happen, I took over the guild that the folks had started (which we had encouraged them to do), and so now Shoryl is the leader of a tiny guild called Higher Authority.

I still have my alts. Taoiseach is also level 85 – my paladins are both retribution. I have a hunter at 85, a druid in the midst of gaining the Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms achievement (before heading to Outland), and my third attempt at a shaman – though she’s going to be a healer. And I don’t plan to raid this expansion.