[OOC] Day One Impressions

I’m only level 104 and ready to be done with leveling. The zones and models are very nice (with the exception of my artifacts and braided-ass bear form), but the questing still suffers from the on-rails, Chosen One, no-choices that plagued WoD. There isn’t ever a single quest that gives you so much as a conversation option to say or do anything besides what is presented to you. Even if it only changed the story in minor ways, this would go a long way toward putting the “RP” back into MMORPG. One that particularly bothered me was in the aftermath of the Horde’s Broken Shore scenario. There wasn’t even an option to refuse what I was told to do — I’m sure my character isn’t the only one who might take exception with what was going on.

Running around on the ground sucks. Hunting for cave entrances sucks. Trying to find the one path that takes you where you want to go sucks. I’d hoped they figured this out by now, but it seems not.

I think one of my biggest barriers to enjoying Legion is the alt thing, that I’ve touched on before. Legion is extremely unfriendly to alts, due to the amount of grinding and repetition required. To even step into the new zones, you need to: do the Broken Shore scenario (I’ve heard that you can skip it on alts, but I don’t know if this is true. I didn’t have the option when I took my Horde mage, but this was prior to launch), do the Dalaran introduction quests, and then do your artifact scenario and set up your class hall. These vary in length depending on class. They do seem to have been properly scaled though, I (a very bad mage) was able to do mine with really awful gear. And then, if you want to do any dungeons, you need Friendly rep with each questing faction, which means you need to quest through every zone. On every alt. Then, on top of that, Blizzard thinks everyone enjoys running the same dungeons over and over and over (and over… and over…) so you get to do that, too. I hated Mythic dungeons in WoD, and only did them to complete the achievement, so I’m already feeling the dread close in at the prospect of being stuck in these awful dungeons for two years. I really haven’t enjoyed any dungeon since Wrath, and the WoD ones were especially awful for the most part. My other big thing is removal of player choice and agency, the game telling you how important you are at every turn. (Seriously, the next NPC who calls me Archdruid is getting punched.) It especially loses its impact when you’re in the class hall, surrounded by 50 other super important world-savers. They really are just re-skinned garrisons, too. Yeah, there’s other people there, but the mechanics are still the same, and are still un-fun. I can’t get rid of followers I don’t like, nor do they have any interaction outside of when you recruit them. Well, mine showed up once in a scenario to be useless and die. You must accept the weapon and weapon type you are given, which you must use for the duration of the expansion. Many spells and abilities were taken away, or made into talents.

Everyone else seems to like it right now, but everyone liked WoD at first, too. I guess we’ll see in a few months.

 

[OOC] The Last Day of WoD

I’m spending the last day of Warlords taking alts to the invasions for the easy XP. I’ve already managed to get all of the 90-somethings on my active account up to 100 that way in the past couple of weeks. Also working on getting the lowbie RP alts to 20 (the starter account cap) so they can at least ride and use the yak mount for transmog.

I am definitely not sad to see WoD go at all, it’s certainly the most unhappy I have been with WoW. The only reason I’m still here at all is the other people I play with, whether my two raid groups or my RP buddies. I do have some attachment to my character, too, it would be very hard to give him up after 10 1/2 years. I was cautiously hopeful for lots of neat Draenei lore and story possibilities, but none of them really ever happened, and the “alternate Draenor” concept made it messy and confusing for existing characters (especially Draenei), storywise.

Unfortunately I haven’t been very impressed with Legion either. So much so that I barely spent any time at all on the beta, because I just wasn’t interested enough to log in. Sure, the zones and models are pretty, and — very importantly — it’s not about orcs, but I am not sure if the core systems are a good idea. For one, I don’t like artifacts, at all. The class changes are overall a negative to me, many classes and specs I formerly enjoyed I can’t even stand at all now, and every single class I feel that I’m missing things I used before due to the prune. I am also really not happy about being forced into mythic dungeons. I didn’t enjoy them in WoD, I very much doubt I will enjoy them in Legion either. And while I don’t really dislike Demon Hunters, they are not something I was clamoring for and will be nothing more than another alt to run old raids with. Maybe if they’d had a ranged spec, but I’m not sure. I’m taking a “wait and see” approach, perhaps I’m wrong and I’ll totally love Legion but I kinda doubt it. I am certainly keeping my SWTOR account active, though.

I guess I will miss logging into free gold on my alts. I had hoped I could leave them parked in garrisons for two years, but it was not to be. I mean, they’ll still be in their garrisons, just they won’t be getting any money from it. At this point, because of the artifact nonsense, I have plans to level only one or two alts. (It was only one, but fire mage is tempting me!) Otherwise, my main Legion activity will probably be transmog farming with my stable of 100s. So pretty much what I’ve been doing all summer anyway.

[Story] Story a Week 34

[[ Prompt: A story about loneliness

I have two characters who are very lonely, and both are undead! Sora, the mage, and Stormpelt the worgen. I chose Stormy because she’s needed to help watch over Feathermoon while Ornasse is away. ]]

They had all forgotten about her.

Stormpelt had roamed the woods for a long time. How long exactly, she could not be sure. She did not have to sleep, so she could not count the days easily. In this dense forest, the seasons ran together — it never got very hot in the summer nor very cold in the winter. It was either wet, or not wet. She could not feel the cold, though she enjoyed laying out on a warm rock in the afternoons. Stormpelt could not remember how many times she had done that.

Sometimes she saw others, but not often. If she got too close to the town, she’d see the ones with the sharp things. Stormpelt didn’t like those, so she was careful to avoid them. There were others sometimes, the big ones that smelled bad, but she could not remember the last time she saw one of them. The most interesting were the small people, in their makeshift camps. Once Stormpelt came across one as she roamed, and she had to stay and investigate because she had never seen anything like it before. They had food hanging out, meat and fish and berries drying on racks, and though they looked delicious, Stormpelt had no need of them. She found a place to rest and waited for them to return. What she saw surprised her. They were covered in fur, and they smelled warm and alive. They chittered excitedly to each other, eating together around the fire. Stormpelt felt a stab of emotion — she wasn’t exactly sure what, at first. Remembering her own pack, guilt for what had happened since then, a desire to be among these small strangers. But if they were like any other living people, they would not want her there. They would snarl and show their weapons and shout at her. No matter how much they might be alike, there would always be that one difference between them.

She had almost been welcomed, by the leaf-person and his mate. He had saved Stormpelt in the fire place, tended to her burnt paws and brought her back to safety. Stormpelt could tell that they were still wary, but they had been kind to her. She remembered how they used to wash her and comb her hair. They had a tiny pup, and Stormpelt would help watch over him while he played. He must be a lot larger now. Stormpelt wasn’t sure she would recognize him now, but she would surely remember his scent. But she hadn’t seen them for a very long time, since they had arrived here in the forest. They lived in the town, safe inside the strong buildings, but Stormpelt was not allowed there. Had they forgotten about her? It was likely so. They had their own lives — real lives, not the strange version that Stormpelt had, somewhere in between alive and dead. She longed to see them again, not only to see that they were safe, but for that sense of belonging. It was the thing she most missed about her pack — aside from Frostmoon, of course.

At least she still had Grub Grub. He, at least, had never left her. She withdrew into the cool darkness of her den, curling around herself. Grub Grub liked the warmth of summer, he was more active and hungry, and searched her open paw for the berries she had brought him. Berries weren’t his favorite food, he preferred meat, but he hungrily ate them, all the same. Stormpelt had just laid her head down to rest when she heard the whisper of feathers outside her den. She perked her ears curiously.

“Worgen?” a voice called, and Stormpelt’s heart leapt. It was the leaf person. He hadn’t forgotten about her after all.

[Art] Old Kitty

Just a doodle while doing invasions ~

oldkitty

[Story] The Breach

The sentinels were arming.

At first, Ornasse tried to explain it away to their usual routine, but there was no mistaking the wary energy of the outpost. Armor was being repaired, weapons sharpened and polished, the great war-glaives inspected and tested. And then there had been the letter, requesting the aid of all experienced druids to report to Moonglade as soon as they were able. The words were chosen carefully, speaking only of a “rising threat” that was rumored to be present on both continents. Nowhere did the words “demon” or “Legion” appear, but they were foremost on his mind — and he’d already heard them whispered among the sentinels. He had been so young then, a lifetime ago, and the details were lost to time, but he remembered the feeling of fear and hopelessness. While he was reluctant to leave his quiet and comfortable life in Feathermoon behind, this was important. If he ignored the summons, those who went to fight in his place might die from their wounds. And what if everyone refused to go? Ornasse did not want to imagine the outcome, demons scorching their way across Kalimdor, leaving only smoking ruin behind.

He had expected Kelanori to protest more, perhaps insist that she stay behind with their son. But she had always had a very practical mind, it was one of things he most admired about her. Farahlor would be safe with Phaa, a draenei who lived in town and had always loved children. Ornasse did worry about a direct invasion; if all the sentinels left, the town would be vulnerable. It was a risk they would have to take, as it was impossible to bring the child along with them. And if anything should happen to either of them, at least he would be well cared for. There was Tathariel as well. He didn’t know if she’d received a letter or not. She was one of the new generation of female druids, barely a decade of experience. But he supposed the Circle could not afford to be picky at a time like this. Would Jaellynn permit her to go? He would have to care for their young child alone. Ornasse would have to go and visit them to be certain. Kelanori wanted him to speak to her brother, too. Terivanis was not much of a druid, but he had proven valuable at the Molten Front. He might have got a letter as well. He would be eager to prove himself; Kelanori was right about that.

As the sun dipped behind the verdant hills, Ornasse spread his wings and set out over the ancient forest. He wanted to see for himself if there were any demons in the area, what kind they might be, and how many. There had been small pockets from time to time, that was no cause for alarm. But the rumors spoke of vast structures rising out of the landscape, demons pouring out of them without end — in places where they’d never been seen before. He also wanted to find the worgen. Since they had come to Feathermoon, they had seen very little of her — she wasn’t comfortable in the town, nor were they welcoming of her. The forest surely reminded her of home. If Ornasse could find her, he would ask her to watch over Farahlor and the rest of the town, make sure that no demons got too close. He felt a little guilty in doing so; she was not a trained animal, after all, but he knew she would be eager to help. And she was already dead, so there wasn’t much risk to her.

His breath caught in his throat as he entered into a clearing; a green crystalline spire jutted up from the tangled growth below. The earth around it was charred and cracked, thin green smoke pouring from it. It was all true. They were here.

[Art] ToV Doodles

Over the summer I raided with my friend’s guild, since my own had stopped for the expansion. They were so nice and fun, I’m sad that I probably won’t be able to go with them again for a while because our raid nights are the same. Maybe a bit later in the expansion I will be able to!

Here’s two little quick drawings I did of the raid leader and one of the other healers!

tov_bubblestov_stoned

[Story] Story a Week 33

[[ Prompt: A story set 100 years in the future

I decided to do elves because, well, they live a long time. This story is about Fairsong Academy and Narise, who is currently a baby. ]]

Narise Fairsong walked down the empty hallways of the academy, making sure that every last little detail was in place. In a few short days, the new first-year students would be arriving and settling into their rooms. The hallways, now silent, would be buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm. The beginning of the term was always her favorite time of the year. Many students stayed over the summer; many of the scholarship students simply couldn’t afford to go on holidays, others wanted to get in the extra study time. Narise always scheduled some short trips to help them pass the time, trips to the library in Shattrath or Dalaran, day trips to elven ruins or the beach. Things to help the students feel more at home, but it had helped to bolster Fairsong Academy’s reputation as one of the finest schools in the region. She’d had to turn away some of the applicants because there simply weren’t enough rooms for them. The main building, which had stood for hundreds of years, had been carefully maintained and restored. It held the main lecture rooms, and the practice rooms for the older students. The instructors and staff had their rooms there, as well. On the grounds, several buildings had been added on, these were the residential buildings for the students, as well as the lounges and practice rooms.

It was Narise’s first autumn running the school on her own. For the past decade, she had assisted Hethurin with the supervision and instruction of the students, and Terellion with the book-keeping, hiring of staff, and correspondence. She was confident that she could do it all by herself, but grateful that she could ask them for help if things got too muddled. Malwen would be only a short flight away, too, working at the hospital in town with their cousin. Things would go well, she was certain of it, though she could feel butterflies in her stomach.

In the sun room, she found Renner at an easel, working at a painting. It didn’t look like much yet, but Narise could tell that it was still in its early stages, just abstract blocks of color. Renner didn’t seem nervous at all, and why would he? He had seen all of this before. When Hethurin had told her about him at first, she thought he was trying to tease her, but it had all been true. When she was old enough, she attended his lessons and learned about chronomancy first-hand. And while everyone else grew old and frail and tired, Renner always looked the same. Narise liked talking to him because he could show her things from the past, things she had been too young to remember, or just happy times that she wanted to see again. It was as if he took those vague memories and made them vivid again — a bit like the painting he was working at, only it took much less time. She remembered the time that an infernal fell through the roof and made a big hole, she remembered the time when the river flooded the grounds and there was a huge puddle for weeks, sitting in classes with all of the other children and passing notes between them. And of course all of the parties, her other favorite times of the year. Everyone was always so happy, and the grounds always looked so beautiful decorated for the seasons.

Soon all of the students would be here, the returning students anxiously studying for their final exams, the new students just learning the basic foundations of magic, the wide-eyed scholarship students grateful for the chance to be there at all. They would all become part of the school in their own way, and it a part of them. She was excited for it to begin.

[Art] Druid Cuties Merchandise

This week I received my sample merchandise from RedBubble and Acorn Press!

First up are the vinyl stickers that I ordered from RedBubble. These are the “medium” size and are around $6 each. The quality is really nice and since they’re vinyl, you can peel them off and re-position if desired.

stickers1

Here’s the German Shepherd on my car!

stickers2

While they are a little slow because they have to manufacture your item after you order, the quality is really nice and I’ve been happy with everything I bought from RedBubble.

Here are the sample charms that I got. I got some one-sided (back side is white) and some double-sided. While I really like the double-sided, they do cost more to get made so I’d have to charge more for them. These guys will be up on Etsy once I get more of the clasps for them, probably $6 for the one-sided and $8 for double-sided.

catcharms

If you like this design, there are lots of items with it in my RedBubble shop, there’s also a Troll bear, Tauren deer, Worgen crow, and moonkin.

 

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Sath’alor’s Journal

[[ Starting Legion story stuff with our characters! Like WoD we’ll probably just pick and choose which aspects we use because the lore is kinda… iffy in some parts. Demons have been spotted in the Ghostlands! ]]

I wanted to think it was a joke at first, but Hethurin doesn’t make jokes, at least not like that. He came to show me the flyer, and to ask if I wanted wards made around the building and the cabins. The way he explained it, Aeramin had shown him how to do it properly. I guess all that messing around with demons was actually useful for once. The paper said there are reports of demons showing up everywhere, in places they’ve never been seen before. In some places, there are a lot of them, and structures are there, too. I’m not sure why demons would need structures, but I’m sure it can’t be a good thing. Hethurin’s wards should keep them away from the immediate area, but we have to keep the rest of the forest safe. In the morning I’ll call a meeting and tell everyone what’s happening. I’m going to increase patrols for the time being. I’ll take one too, as long as someone’s there to watch the boys.

I’ll have to tell Nessna tonight, too. The thought of anything happening to her — or to the boys — ties my stomach in a knot. I know we can’t be exempted if there’s a call to fight, but I’ll write in hopes that they keep us here in the Ghostlands. Someone has to be here to protect it, and my rangers are well-trained and know the area well. I hope it’s enough. I know what Nessna will say, because we’ve talked about it before. She’d say it’s better to go and fight, because if we don’t, there will be nothing left of our home. I can understand that, but at the same time… I don’t want to go through that again. I don’t want her to go through that again. Too many elves died last time, Vessen included. That shouldn’t have happened. Nessna should have been able to be happy and not go through all of that pain and sadness. When I went, I didn’t care if I died or what happened to me. But I do now. It would kill me to lose any of them, I don’t think I could take it. I’ll take them and hide, if that’s what it takes. I don’t know if Nessna would let me, though.

I told Hethurin we’ll patrol up by the school, and the day patrols can check the town as well. I don’t know how the town people feel about death knights yet, but maybe they won’t mind if they’re killing demons. I haven’t seen any yet. I don’t know what kind they are. I hope they aren’t the really big ones. Even so, I guess they’d die just like anything else. I don’t know long all of this will go on, either, I don’t think anyone does. I’m hoping for the best, but I’m still afraid.

[Story] Story a Week 32

[[ Prompt: A story about a curse ]]

A screech like metal on stone announced the drake’s arrival into the clearing. Uldred watched it descend anxiously, the great leathery wings folding up over its back. Its prey was alive — stunned, but still moving. He’d made that mistake the last time he sent it out; the drake had swallowed it whole like a snake. This time, he’d waited until after the drake had fed before trying again. They shouldn’t be disturbed here. Uldred had searched for days for the right place in the forest. He hadn’t seen any of the giant insects here, nor the stalking reptiles, and there were no paths or villages close by. And there were small trees to tether the subject to, just in case.

The drake stood over its prey, its burning eyes watching Uldred intensely. He rubbed the smooth scales of its forehead. “That will do nicely. Thank you.” The drake was so huge now, grown rapidly from feeding off the creatures in this very forest. It was hard to imagine him as the weak, scrawny whelp he had been, on the edge of death. He still couldn’t understand how a creature that appeared to be undead could grow and thrive, either — but that was research for another time. Uldred’s subject was finally here.

Book knowledge and practical knowledge can be much different, and curses in particular were something that must be studied first-hand. But Uldred had little luck cursing small animals — often, they didn’t work as expected, and of course he could not ask the subject to describe what it felt. An aware subject, capable of speech, was required. Certainly there were dozens of people that Uldred would have liked to practice on, but most of them still lived back in Stormwind. Someone would surely notice if something happened to them, and he didn’t have a suitable place to work, either. For all its quirks, Shattrath was much better. Especially out here in the woods, away from the guards and the prying naaru. Uldred still wasn’t sure if they could know everything that happened in the city, but it was better not to risk it.

Seeing the bird people in the market had given Uldred the idea. He knew they had small settlements all around the walls of Shattrath. They were capable of speech, though rough, and no one would blink if one of them were to go missing. He wouldn’t even have to capture it himself and worry about being seen or attacked, the drake was large enough to carry one off — they were much lighter than they looked. The one that the drake had brought looked thin, too, or perhaps that was an illusion caused by the disarray of its feathers. It was alive, but the trip in the drake’s mouth hadn’t been easy. It stirred and, seeing the drake again, moved to get up. Its broad snakelike head struck and seized the bird again in its teeth. “Hey! Easy now,” Uldred said, frowning. He didn’t want to have to find yet another one. Quickly, he picked up the rope that he had left in the middle of the group of trees, and bound the bird’s hands with it. He’d had to research that too, and Uldred still wasn’t sure he’d got the knots properly, so he tied extra, just in case. The bird’s claws and beak looked sharp enough that it could probably cut through the rope, given enough time. So Uldred had to work quickly. The drake snapped its jaw and tossed its head before lifting off again, probably to find something else to eat.

The bird person’s small black eyes fixed on Uldred with a harsh glare. “Why,” it hissed, the feathers around its head rising. “Let go!”

Uldred didn’t answer, picking up his small notebook. Which one should he start with? There were so many, it was difficult to choose. Fireos? No, that would be too dangerous with trees around. Petrifesco? Maybe, but the subject would be unable to speak. Horribilius? Too loud, would surely attract attention. Arachiteus? Uldred scratched his chin thoughtfully. Hopefully it would attract only normal-sized spiders, and not the immense ones that lived nearby. It was worth a try. Carefully, Uldred recited the spell, sure to get every syllable correct. All magic was dangerous if done improperly, but especially curses.  He held his breath, watching.

Nothing happened.

Frowning, Uldred read over the spell again. He was sure to speak clearly, and in a firm tone. That was important for spells involving demons, it couldn’t hurt here either.

Still nothing. The bird’s eyes flashed, as if it was laughing. As if it knew.

Flustered, Uldred tried the spell on the next page. Then the next. None of them would take. Did the bird have some kind of magical protection? Or — the thought came to him with sudden clarity. Was the bird already cursed? It seemed fine, in fact it seemed to be gloating in Uldred’s frustration. Uldred snapped the notebook closed and stuffed it into his pack. All that research, wasted. He would have to find another subject, but he didn’t know where. He called for the drake, Naxitarius. This one would have to be taken care of.