A Tale Begins

•August 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The tavern is smoky. Thick swirls of deep blue and violet float twistingly up from several braziers. Occasionally, one coalesces into the form of a leaping stag and then collapses back into restless shifting. The few bar patrons ignore the wondrous images in favor of staring deeply into mugs of mead, brows darkened by faraway thoughts.

Behind the counter, a disinterested orc mindlessly cleans the same mug he has been holding for the past half hour. Finally realizing the chipped ceramic in his hand is not getting any cleaner, the orc grunts and places the mug beneath the counter before shrugging his way to a wobbly stool.

Amidst the smoke and silence, two sharp eyes observe the ponderous path of the aging orc, studying. The eyes flicker around the room, taking note.

Younger orc, brown skin, not green, different family. Holding paper, slightly crumpled, only near edges, not a note, picture, eyes misty, family picture. Holding mug, probably ale, back to picture. Holding something else, small, dark, braided, could be hair, distinctive knot, definitely hair, from lover, probably dead, maybe just away. Takes a drink, forearm shows acid scarring, fought burster, wife did not survive, left home to find new start, has not let go.

The swift eyes get up and cross the room. “Try to live anew to honor your fallen wife. She would want you to be strong.” The orc peers up dazedly and tears begin to stream down bronze cheeks. A soft pat on the shoulder and the eyes slip out the door. Swiftly leaping stags shimmer and vanish back into ceaseless smoke.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

•August 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

… there is a land of milk and honey, with free and high speed internet available anywhere.

That land is not this land.

[Evil corporate ISP] still has not provided the service that I am supposedly paying them for. I was assured by a sales representative that my parts were on their way. The silly thing is that I know they have modems in a big pile hidden away in a back room only a few miles from me, but they chose to ship me one from four states away at great expense at the last minute.

Idiots.

I’ll be back round after Wednesday. This week’s shared might get a bye from me since it isn’t particularly interesting (small friends guild, no raiding or anything). Perhaps a special Spilled Ink to make up for my absence…

The System Is Down

•August 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well, [local ISP] is still being garbage and not sending me the equipment I ordered a week ago in order to set up our apartment internet. Therefore, no WoW, therefore no screenshots, therefore no article today. Blegh. As soon as [local ISP] stops being ridiculous (read: totally f-ing horrible), I will be back at it.

Baggy

•August 10, 2011 • 3 Comments

Blog Azeroth – Shared Topic for the week of August 8th, 2011
Shared Topic Idea: Bags

Hi guys, I had been thinking of this for quiet sometime now, we all know that since Vanilla days. the Soulbound items cannot be send to any of your characters in game unless these items are Bind on Account nor some cannot be sold to vendors, top of that Every expansion, patch after patch either we still have Old tier gears that we don’t like to dispose/disenchant even some old content trinkets that I myself like to keep (To think I still have my Carrot on a stick trinket), and for sure most of you feel the same way about Keeping them or just want to add to your collection of gears, but everyone has its own opinion about this for sure…

So I like to ask you… Would it be worth a try to suggest to Blizzard to extend the capacity of our Bag and Bank item slots? Or do you think the cost of just tailored Bags (22-30slots) will do the work? Or Is it just not worth the time to even be mentioning these non sense about the Bag and Bank items capacity? I am just as curious as you are to know because honestly Items are getting piled up especially the soulbound items. Is there any other options for the Soulbound items to go somewhere or something it may not be right now but how about in the future? Honestly, My bank and Bag slot in one character is getting really full and that excludes the consumables you carry for raid. Please share your opinion about it You can also post up a your current screenshot of your bank and bag items! with your response. Thanks!

- Amerence

Bags. I have often droned on about my love of completionism and collecting. As a result, it should not be terribly difficult for you to intuit that my bank is rather cluttered. Despite having a full set of 20-slotters filling my bank’s extra slots and mailing every non-soulbound item possible to alts, I still have barely enough room for my trinkets.

Now, if this weekend had not been entirely taken up by moving, and if my new apartment actually had an internet connection (coming soon!), I would be able to go through and enumerate some of the more interesting items cluttering my bags. As it is, that will have to wait for a Spilled Ink segment sometime in the future. For now, I will attempt to recall a few of the better or more standout items.

Gear
Everyone is nostalgic about their gear, at least a teeny little bit. Back when I started, I was pushing so hard and quickly to get to max level and run dungeons with my friends that I didn’t notice my first purple. Now, however, I have a little more appreciation of the cycle of gear acquisition. Cataclysm’s release was my first chance to watch a new expansion unfold. Two points stand out in my memory.

First, just before Cataclysm, I was racing against the clock. Part of me was intent on getting Insane in the Membrane, although after the revelations about the reputation requirements I put that aside (but might have some news on that nowadays!). Another part of me, a part that won out in the struggle for attention, was focused on getting my horse from Baron Rivendare. After weeks of effort and 82 attempts, I finally got that mount.

The sad news is that shortly thereafter I decided to grab up a set of gear that would be likely hitting the shelf for good: the dungeon sets from classic WoW. For those of you not in the know, back in the early days of World of Warcraft, the gear grind was a bit different. Instant random dungeons were a distant dream and talk of justice points would cause confusion. Gearing for raids was a different beast. Blizzard, however, decided to offer players a set of gear for each class that would offer some good entry-level raid stats in order to bootstrap oneself into full endgame.

Thus was born Dungeon Set 1. Scattered across a variety of easier 5-10 man dungeons were pieces making up an 8-part set. After time and patches, this starter set of gear was looking a little aged as a means to get into raiding (which had moved on from the original raids). Blizzard saw a need for some upgrades and decided to allow players to improve their dungeon set gear through a series of quests. After completing all of them, your Dungeon Set 1 became Dungeon Set 2.

(Now, it is important to note that this is all me going off my recollection of reading Wowhead and hints from conversations with friends. Some of my comments above may not be exactly accurate, for which I dearly apologize. If you have a correction for my historical timeline, possibly with some first-hand accounts, please feel free to comment down there at the bottom of the page.)

Anyway, I slogged through the dungeons one by one and acquired my first dungeon set. I have pictures of it somewhere, but again, tech is a little off this week. After I had the first set, it was an easy (albeit somewhat time consuming… again) matter to get the arcane reagents required to perform the upgrades. I also have some screenshots documenting all of that hidden away… maybe Friday will be a photo-stravaganza!

The short of it is that the second set still takes up 8 slots in my bank. I am quite proud to have that set from the early days of the game with my character. Although I was not there when it was relevant, it still gives me a sense of history and grounding for Aliera.

Second (whew, first was six paragraphs ago!), with the turning of Cataclysm I was a little more careful, at least with Aliera, to keep account of my first epic piece. As a nice bit of advertisement, Archaeology provided my first Cata purple: Tyrande’s Favorite Doll. Being a profession junky, I spent a lot of time right off the bat working on digging up artifacts and was fortunate enough to get this little trinket fairly early on. It has served me well up to now and with my extremely laid-back heroic/pug-raid forecast will probably continue to serve for quite some time.

Holiday
By far, most of my bank is full of crap from holidays. Stupid outfits, silly trinkets, idiotic hats, I have it all. Aliera had A Long Strange Trip and still retains nearly all the achievement-related gear and goodies. Most of these should go the way of the waste bin, but part of me wants to hold on to them for some reason. Nostalgia is hard.

The Arcane
Before I run out of words, I just want to quickly mention that amidst all the gear and trinkets crowding my vault, a number of ridiculous and nigh-useless reagents cling to virtual existence. While mucking around with Insane, I kept a hold of a bunch of Skin of Shadows and Frayed Abomination Stitchings. At the time, those were reserved for turning in librams for Shen’dralar reputation. Nowadays, their usefulness is… lacking. But they are probably going to stay. Why? Because I like my keepsakes.

Okay, so turning back to the actual discussion at hand. With all this clutter in my bank, do I feel like I am cramped for space? Well, yes and no. Obviously, Aliera’s bank being full of goofy items makes it rather difficult for her to have any working space for reagents that are current. My personal bags are usually at least 20% full at any given time just with working ingredients for this and that, some potions, cloth, etc. etc. Put a PvP set in there, and two of my bags are already gone.

I do manage alright with this, but it requires a bit of alt management and occasional log-on-off-on sessions. Gorynel, my trustworthy Paladin, is the cornerstone of my banking. His personal guild bank is fully kitted with 6 tabs, all full of ore, herbs, skins, and miscellaneous other items that I wish to hold onto. His personal bank is also full to overflowing with various Inscription cards, heirloom gear, and the like.

I have often heard the discussion about the basic 16-slotter backpack needing a facelift for Cataclysm and beyond. As much as I would appreciate another 4-8 slots in my personal bags at any given time, those 4-8 are just not that noticeable against the vast requirements my army of characters require.

Just a bit of quick math: I have 10 characters. Say I went crazy and got 24 slot bags in all the extra bank spots for all of them. That would be 1680 slots across those characters. Add to this the automatic bank space along with a full 6-tab guild bank (that’s 280 for all the regular banks and 588 for the gbank). Another 4 to 8 slots across all 10 characters is a measly increase, one that would not make the difference against the 2500+ that I already have access to.

Obviously, the further on in game you get, the less bank space matters. The easiest way by far to add more bank space is to create a mule alt and use their bank. For any max level character, kitting up an alt with a full set of 16-slotters costs at the most 150g which can be easily earned within an hour or two of daily questing.

So in the end it does not really matter. The old 16-slot backpack can stay or get an upgrade, but my banking will not hinge on it. Perhaps with the loss of the keyring, a couple more spots are on the horizon, but I am not going to hold my breath. Are you breathing?

Moving

•August 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well, it’s that time again. I was moving over the weekend and my internet is not yet up at the new place. As a result, I am running behind this week. I will try to organize myself and get something scheduled up for tomorrow regarding this week’s shared. Look for me then!

Identity

•August 2, 2011 • 4 Comments

Blog Azeroth – Shared Topic for the week of August 1st, 2011
Shared Topic Idea: Identity and Affiliations

How does your character define themself? What part of their identity is most important to their personality and self-presentation?

In meatspace, we have so many affiliations, it’s anyone’s guess whether we consider ourselves a tuba player first, or a student, a Gators fan, a New Yorker, a mother, a nerd, a liberal. Our identities are comprised of so many different aspects of life that it’s hard to tell which parts different people will choose to define themselves.

In game, there are less game-related ways to identify. You can identify as:

your class – your spec
your race – a particular subgroup (Mag’har, Wildhammer)
your faction – a faction other than Horde/Alliance

- Akabeko

Aliera is in many ways a reflection of myself. I imbue her with my drive to collect and complete, my aspirations for conquest, my quiet love of crafting and creating… lots of c-words. As Akabeko so sagely indicated, it is difficult to say just by looking at someone which particular facet they call their core.

Outside of the game world, I am a gamer, a boyfriend, grandson, brother, uncle, a baker, a tennis player, a mathematician, a brand new engineer-in-training, all in parts. But behind all of it, the piece that makes me me, the core that centers my essence is music. I am at all times and in all things a musician.

In this particular way, Aliera does not have much of a chance at mirroring my real-world self. Music is not a part of the game in a way that translates. I cannot run into Orgrimmar, head to the bardic vendor and pick up a lute in order to train the minstrelsy profession (though I wish I could!). I cannot, during a boss battle, pull out a simple recorder and play a tune to encourage my party (or drive them to such anger that they destroy our foes if only to attack me afterward).

So Aliera takes other parts of my being in greater part. My love of stories and adventures is high on the list. I completed Loremaster prior to Cataclysm and have it in mind to go through again in the first few months of the autumn this year.

Along the way, I have displayed my love of collecting. Items, pets, mounts, and reputations are all fair game when I play. 62 little followers and 97 bigger ones (ride-able ones) tag along on my journeys. I have collected 370-some patterns for Tailoring and have every possible recipe for Inscription. 42 organizations, groups, and species hold me in the highest regard. I have united disparate and warring groups and honored all manner of festival and holiday. There are 31 special titles associated with my name and I have championed 29 causes by displaying their banner proudly across my chest.

Through all of this, however, Aliera has maintained a sure and defined core much like my real self. Aliera is, in all things and times, devoted to and empowered by the art of affliction.

I return to this story often when thinking about Aliera, so I am certainly repeating myself, but back when Aliera first shimmered into existence in Eversong I knew absolutely nothing about what I was getting into. My friend hooked me on the game and helped my pick out a class by giving brief descriptions.

Warlock immediately grabbed me. And not just any warlock, but Affliction. I was entranced by instant-cast DOTs and shadow, by sucking the life out of my enemies to empower myself, by enslaving demons to be my deathly companions. Over the past few years I have dabbled in Demonology and Destruction, but never really cared for the playstyle of either. To be perfectly honest, I felt a little dirty playing as Destruction, like I was betraying myself in some way.

And so, Aff has been the core of my Warlockian identity since the start. In boom or bust, Haunt remains my top talent and Sruuzhem the felpup has stayed faithfully at my side. After Cataclysm passes by and the next expansion looms, so long as shadow and fel has a place in the Warlock community I will check the box labelled Affliction.

Meaty

•July 26, 2011 • 4 Comments

Blog Azeroth – Shared Topic for the week of July 25th, 2011
Shared Topic Idea: Making a WoW Cooking Recipe IRL

Have you ever attempted a WoW cooking recipe IRL? Have you found someone else’s recipe and tried to follow it? There have been folks that have used their own Unidentified Cooking Utensils to produced recipes and some have worked better than others. Share yours! Or perhaps you can follow a recipe. but not create one and there is this fascinating recipe that you need created for you by someone with the right skills? The reverse might also be a consideration: What IRL foods are missing in Azeroth?

- Kallixta

*sounds of clicking keyboard* Let’s see. Ok, food this week. Off to Wowhead for some inspiration. *clickity click* Hmmm, that looks pretty tasty… that too. Wait a second. *click clack* Oh dear. I think I need to lie down.

15 minutes later

Alright so my introduction was a bit dramatic. I did discover something interesting about World of Warcraft from this shared topic though. WoW has a grand total of about 200 recipes (some of which are Alliance/Horde overlaps). Assuming the Alliance and Horde recipes are slightly different due to local ingredients, an Azerothian cook could have each saved in their compendium for just the right occasions. Now, out of those couple hundred recipes, some take more ingredients than others, some require exotic alcohols, and some even require elemental substances. But almost every single one requires meat.

Looking back at my history with cooking (Aliera has gathered nearly every single one of these recipes and lacks only those available to Alliance from quests), I am sure that hundreds of stacks of meat have been turned into tasty, grilled meals. And, being a strongly omnivorous individual in the mortal world outside Azeroth, I am just fine with depictions of meaty goodness in my game.

But there is a gotcha. For the past eight months I have been sharing my life with a wonderful girl who has the unfortunate situation of being vegan by necessity (she has been vegetarian for the majority of her life and recently has developed issues with milk making her quite ill). As a result, my eating habits have changed somewhat.

Now I am fortunate that she understands my love of the fleshy bits of animals and how good they taste when pan fried so I am able to continue eating meat. However, we do cook together and so I am much more conscious of the ingredients entering our food than in previous years.

So in looking through the list on Wowhead, I was somewhat startled by the obvious truth that Azerothians love their meat. I decided to look through the list and pull out all the recipes that I could make with my lady that we could share together.

There are nine of them, two of which are drinks, another three are dessert items, and of the remaining four, three are seasonal items and only last for short periods of time (no preservatives!). There is one main dish that serves as the year-round go-to for Azeroth’s vegan population. Runn Tum Tuber Surprise.

I have a knack for putting up with repetition. Filing papers doesn’t bother me, I am happy to slap stamps and labels on envelopes, and eating the same thing often is no big deal. But every meal of every day is just too much. So it seems I have found a facet of the game that Blizzard could expand upon. Please, Blizz, for those of us who are unable to eat meats and dairies due to dietary restrictions, can we get a main course salad or a pasta with tomato sauce? Anything but more tubers.

(As an aside, my girl and I are still thinking about opening up a little blog regarding our cooking and finding or making recipes that are vegan or vegetarian yet still appeal to meat and milk lovers. When that gets off the ground, a little segment on creating Azerothian delights might not be out of the question…)

 
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