Tag Archives: druid

10 Years, 10 Questions

There’s a lot of reflecting going on in the World of Warcraft community, from the things we love about WoW to this massive project from Alt:ernative Chat: 10 Years, 10 Questions.

10 years, has it really been that long? 8 years for me, now–hard to believe that one game can hold collective attention for this long. I guess asking “why” is a natural step!

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Because it was epic. I watched my then-boyfriend raiding Molten Core and listened to him explain how he was playing with other actual people, each person with a different role; a different task. I thought that was incredible, and I wanted in.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

The same character I main today and have mained since day 1: Ambermist,, druid. I started out as resto, leveled some as feral, resto-raided through BC (if you can call it that, I was pretty awful), and then switched to moonkin, which I’ve been doing since Wrath.

It’s funny, I get a lot of crap when I forget to buff stats, and that’s been an issue since the inception–I remember my husband saying, “Wait. You have one of the strongest buffs in the game and you aren’t even using it?”

Buff Stats!!1!

Some things don’t change.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

I wish I could say there was some thought involved, but there wasn’t. I picked the faction my husband played; that said, I’ve never been unhappy being Alliance!

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

8 years of memorable moments and I can only pick one? I don’t think I can do that!

My first guild raid–Gruul’s Lair. I remember seeing the invite popping up on my screen and having a mini freakout, followed by a whisper from the healing lead, “Heal the tank and don’t panic.”

Every memorable moment–raiding through BC, those achievements I just had to have, my legendary staff, shenanigans with guildies, becoming an officer, the last half of heroic Siege, even Challenge Modes–started with that invite.

CMs

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

At this point, I must sound like a broken record, because every time this comes up it’s the same answer: raiding.

And yes, it has always been the case. I got sucked into WoW because raiding looked like the most fun thing I could imagine in a video game, and that hasn’t changed. I play to raid.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

It changes, there’s never one place that I’ve stayed since the beginning. The bank area in Dalaran, the clock tower in Stormwind, the tallest hill near Halfhill, my perch or the stoop in Shrine–each of these areas has been a place for me to park.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

Oh dear. Hang on.

90s Played

The calculator tells me that’s about 588 days on my level 90s. Holy crap!

I have played since September 2006 with a 9 month break in 2011.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Yes, I definitely do, at least the first time through a zone.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

All of my regrets are related to people in the game, not the game itself. Times when a miscommunication or misunderstanding led to a parting of the ways or when friends ended up being not the friends I thought they were, those are the things I regret.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

At different points in time, it has had different effects. I had to back out for almost a year to get some stuff in my life together, for instance; but there are a lot of things I’ve learned about myself, people, and communication as well.

Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just a good time. ;-)

- See more at: http://www.alternative-blog.net/2014/09/time.html#sthash.yofgrt2P.8qPRhAkd.dpuf

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Assorted Thoughts: A Month In

We’re almost a month into Mists of Pandaria; doesn’t seem like that long, does it? We’ve tilled our farms, we’re earning our rep, we’ve stepped into some heroics or LFR or raids, and we’re starting to get a feel for this expansion.

So far, I dig it. I was never overwhelmed and blown away, but it’s like the whole expansion sneaked up behind me and surprised me with little bits of awesome. I’m enjoying the expansion as much as any other at this point, and that’s saying something, since MoP had me concerned from the get go.

Wanderer's Festival

Here’s a few thoughts from my experiences so far; how have yours differed? What’s going on so far with you, or what’s demanding your attention?

About Those Dailies…

I like dailies. I really, actually do. They’re a great way for me to get things accomplished without being chained to my computer for 30+ minutes at a time. I can stop in the middle, go hang out with my kids, answer the phone, chat with a friend, and when I come back, I’m right where I left off.

I will say that unlocking Shado-Pan and August Celestials made my head spin a little. Shado-Pan is probably my least favorite group of dailies, mostly because my Pandaren companion hasn’t learned to Shadowmeld and Swift Flight. We’re working on it, though.

Healer Rehab

In order to raid, my guild needed more healers. I’ve certainly healed here and there along the way for particular fights, but I haven’t been a dedicated healer since Burning Crusade. However, the biggest problem I’m having is one that I’m sure a lot of healers have had this expansion: healing as if the way we use mana hasn’t changed.

Even though I know exactly what I should be doing, I end up falling into old habits when the damage starts getting high, and pretty soon I’m watching the Innervate cooldown. I’m going to have to keep working on making new habits.

The good news is, I actually enjoy healing again (SHH, don’t tell anyone). It’s been long enough that it doesn’t feel like the same old, same old way it used to feel.

Plus, I’m a tree again. That alone is enough to make it worth it.

You Can Dance If You Want To

Guilds & Priorities

Right before and right after an expansion hits, it’s not unusual for a guild to go through some growing pains. Some people move out, other people move in. This time, though; it was a big deal for me. Several people I’ve raided with for years were unsatisfied with 25-mans and decided to leave to join a 10-man guild. It’s better that they did this in the long run than be unhappy, but I find that I miss them quite a bit.

It’s led me to think about what my priorities really are when it comes to raiding. Do I still care as much about 25-man content as I thought I did? I don’t know right now. Do I need the “epic” of 25-mans (bigger raids have always felt more epic to me; I know not everyone agrees) or could I be satisfied with a 10-man?

With that group went some of the people I consider my closest in-game friends, and perhaps just as importantly, the ones that took me seriously as a player and to whom my opinions mattered. I’ve discovered that particular aspect is more important to me than I realized. I’m interested to see what happens in the next month or so as we progress, and how I ultimately decide my priorities. Right now, it’s still unclear.

Raiding is still fun; that much hasn’t changed, at least!

Second Tree from the Left

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5.0 Patch Day Mayhem

Best advice I have for pre-patch is read all the blogs. See the bottom of this post and the comments for resources, posts, and guides. If you have one, please link it!

Here’s the problem. In the past, I did patch days like everyone else does patch days in the blogosphere. I talked about my class, I wrote guides, I talked about all the changes. Here’s what I’ve decided: there are so many people doing that way better than I would.

So instead, we’re going to amble down the path of the many, many half-finished blog posts I’ve written about this patch and Mists and the game in general. We’re going to hit each point as succinctly as possible (which means this post will go on forever…) and, yeah. That’s the plan.

Point 1: Where I Stand on Mists of Pandaria

When MoP was announced at that fateful Blizzcon, I looked at my husband and said, “You have got to be kidding me. Pandas? They’re going to base our entire expansion on an April Fool’s joke?” Later came: “Who am I fighting? What will I be raiding? What is my purpose?”

I would never completely discount something without seeing it first, but my initial response was slightly more than reserved, slightly less than annoyed. Internally, I gave Blizzard this challenge: you’re going to have to sell me hard on this one.

For months, no matter how interesting the news came out, I dismissed it. Over and over again I brushed it off, sneered, or sighed at “monk” this and “pandaren” that and “Horde” this and “Alliance” that.

Then I played the beta. I wanted to play because it was beta, not because my mind had changed. I wanted to see it for myself. This was it–the moment Blizzard would have to sell me on Mists of Pandaria.

Ambermist in Astral Form in Mists of Pandaria Continue reading

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Week 3 Challenge: What’s My Main Again?

Week 2 Recap

Last week, I posed the question “Why do you do what you do?” There were a bunch of responses, all with slightly different reasons for choosing activities or games. I’m listing them below; go ahead and check them out!

And, of course, it’s never too late–if you want to do either of the previous two challenges, go for it and link me your post in the comments!

  • Why Do I Do What I Do Bee Do (Bloodthorne) – TJEdgar explains why he blogs and demonstrates how everything is better when it’s set to music.
  • Battlechicken’s Challenge (MMO Compendium) – Sometimes, each character we roll has a different purpose and personality–this post includes a whole collection!
  • Week 2 Challenge (Flask Half Empty) -Ninevi reminds us that our reasons for playing the games we play are not one-dimensional.
  • Week 2 Challenge (StarShadow) – I love bows–the shooting kind, not the hair kind. Great screenshot mash-up here of the thrill of adventure.
  • NBI: Why Do I Do What I Do (Brazokie’s Blog Space) – From the process of creating a character to blogging about them, Brazokie shares the why behind the what.
  • Why Do You Do What You Do (Shards of Imagination) – This is a look at the uniqueness of MMO gaming as a hobby, from exploration to community!
  • Why I Stealth (Casually Vicious) – Why be a ninja? Why not?!
  • Why I WoW (Image Heavy) – Sometimes it’s the little things that make the game worth playing. A simple “hi” is sometimes just enough!
  • Why Do You Do What You Do: Guild Leadership (Neri Approves) – Guild Masters take on massive responsibilities–why? This is a GM’s perspective on taking on the job.

Week 3 Challenge

Most of us invest a lot of time in one (or two, or three…) characters in the games we play. For me, this is Ambermist, my druid moonkin. She is the reason this blog exists at all.

I’m sure it sounds strange to anyone who hasn’t experienced it first hand, but she has a personality and a story. I’ve “known” her for 6 years. She is, in some ways, my alter ego.

Your challenge this week is to tell me about your main (or the small handful of characters you feel most attached to). This might be their backstory as you’ve imagined it, or how you imagine their personalities. It could be how they relate to you–are they your flamboyant side, or do you channel your thoughtfulness through them?

Maybe explain why you chose them or why you keep coming back to them. What would they say if I asked them to tell me about themselves?

Whatever form or idea that takes for you, the challenge is this: Tell me about your main character(s).

Bonus ChallengeTomorrow I’ll finally be writing some of my thoughts about blogging (I know, I’m a terrible slacker). One of my biggest cornerstones is  community. The gaming blogosphere is huge and very community driven.

One of the vehicles through which this community communicates (say that three times fast) is Twitter. It’s not for everyone, but if you can plug into it, it will help you connect in ways you might not have realized. Your bonus challenge is this: if you don’t have a Twitter account, make one! If you do have one, find 3 new people to follow this week. If you haven’t already followed me, you can count me as one of your three. You’ll find me here: @battlechicken.

I can’t wait to read about your main characters! Remember to give me a link in the comments so I can include you in next week’s post!

P.S. I am so sorry for the cheesy title, but I just could not resist. 

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Screenshots & Reactions from MoP Beta

First off, let me point you to a couple of thoughtful posts about druid beta stuff I read this week, because this will not be one of those posts:

No, my post will be about, as the title suggests, random reactions to things I experienced in beta since it stopped crashing every two minutes. With pictures, of course.

Pandaren Starting Zone

From the Wandering Isle

Pandaren Starting Zone

Temple area from the Wandering Isle

Jade Forest

The Arboretum in the Jade Forest

The exact words that came out of my mouth when the above screenshots were taken: “Ooh, that’s pretty!”

Glyph of Stars

Astral Form using Glyph of Stars

Okay, I was all for keeping my moonkin form, but I have to admit these stars are cool. I might change my mind.  

Level 85 Mistwalker Monk

Level 85 Mistwalker Monk casting Soothing Mists

Created a premade monk for my husband to play with. Could that guy look any cooler?

Pandaren Rogue

Level 85 premade Pandaren Rogue

Pandaren Rogue about to STAB THINGS…

Pandaren Rogue in the act of STABBING THINGS.

I’m asking for a race change for my rogue when it’s my birthday. I’m not kidding. 

Pet Jounral

Pet Journal – Pet Options

Wait, what? I can rename my pets?! Meet Botty, Shivers, and Chili. 

Glyph of Stag

Druid Travel Form with Glyph of Stag…and a warlock.

This is both extremely awesome and terribly awkward. 

Tree Form Dancing

Celebratory tree form dancing, don’t mind me.

Glyph of the Treant

Tree Form Healing in Temple of the Jade Serpent

Tree Form Healing

Tree Form Healing in Temple of the Jade Serpent…again.

Tree form. Tree form. I’m a TREE. OMG, I MISSED YOU TREE FORM! I missed you so much, don’t you ever leave me again. I’m going to hug you and squeeze you and name you George! I love you, George! /flail. /squee.

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The Expansion is Ending?

In Trade yesterday, someone mentioned that the expansion is ending. Someone replied, “what do you mean, ‘the expansion is ending?'”

Mists of Pandaria is around the virtual corner. Some guesses put it as soon as June, some as late as September, but regardless of when it comes, we’re wrapping up Cataclysm. We’re in the last tier of content, we’ve killed the Big Boss, and Blizzard has repeatedly confirmed there will not be a filler raid between now and MoP. Further, beta started this week. The door is closing.

I don’t do postmortem breakdowns. There are plenty of MUCH more qualified people doing that (specifically, Blizzard itself). I’d feel remiss, though; if I didn’t go back and ruminate a bit on what Cataclysm was for me and figure out how to wrap it up in proper style.

Story

I’m going to be honest, even if it’s a bit fangirl-ish: content-wise, I loved Cataclysm. My introduction to World of Warcraft lore took place in three parts, or more correctly, one story in the parts: War of the Ancients. Knowing that I would get to team up with and face off against the characters and dragons I’d read about put me on the edge of my seat for the expansion.

I enjoyed every raid. Really. Okay, I didn’t love Throne of the Four Winds, but I adored Blackwing Descent. It was everything I wanted the first raid to be. The fights were fun (okay, maybe being a moonkin on Atramedes when Lunar Shower still rocked made it a little more fun, but still) and everything felt fresh again. I needed fresh after months and months of Icecrown.

Although I took a several month break from the game and missed the introduction of Firelands, I’m glad I got the chance to see it. I never got to see Ragnaros in Molten Core, at least not when he was the Big Boss. I liked the environment and the fights, even if the instance and I had our disagreements. Plus:

I mean, even I can’t argue with that.

I grinned all the way through the 4.3 heroics, despite the fact that I don’t like the Tyrande’s voice acting (not because the acting was bad, but because I don’t feel like it fit the character). While seeing Deathwing meet his “end” was a little anticlimactic since I fought him in LFR before we ever got to him as a guild,  I still liked the encounters and the story.

My Raiding Experience

I started out on a great foot when the expansion began. I knew that I knew my class, and I proved it over and over again. Even when things got rocky and the guild I was in switched to 10-mans, I did pretty well in every role I was asked to fill (which often ended up being healing).

The only thing I wasn’t completely comfortable with was tanking, but this is where I have to give a shoutout to the awesome people of Ephemera who encouraged me to try and gave me  ample opportunity to practice. They were persistent and non-judgemental, and I love them for it.

After my several month break, I returned, ready to raid again. Things had been in a bit of an upheaval, and I ended up returning to my guild Chi Cerca Trova while I got my feet wet in Firelands. What a culture shock. I’d never taken a lengthy break from raiding like that, and it took me a while to get my bearings straight.

Even now, I don’t feel like I’m back to where I was. I struggle to see the numbers I want to see. I get irritated with myself for not performing the level I feel is acceptable. Right now I sit in a place of deep frustration, and if I can’t find a way out of it, Mists might see me taking on a new role or even a new class. Tastes Like Death…Knight? Tastes Like Holy Priest?

I intend to moonkin to the best of my ability until this expansion officially ends. Time (and beta) will determine where I go after that.

What to Do Now?

We’ve got 3-6 months before we’re standing in line at Gamestop to pick up our copies of Mists of Pandaria. It sounds like a long time, but in Warcraft time, it’s not really. What are you doing to pass the time until we’re rolling our monks?

These are the things I’m doing:

What are you doing to say goodbye to this expansion, and are you ready to step into Pandaria?

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Maybe I Could Like Mists of Pandaria…

I’m reading through WoW Insider this morning catching up on all the newly released Mists News, and I picked out some of the things that stood out to me. All of the quotes and information I’m getting come from WoW Insider’s coverage of Mists, so you should check out the whole thing (it’s a lot!).

The Tillers are hardworking, salt-of-the-earth types who provide the rest of the pandaren with their food, but they’re too busy to take care of some local problems, like the virmen. Help them out and you can become a Tiller too, complete with your own plot of land. Yes, you heard right — your very own farm.

 When I was leveling in Westfall, someone mentioned “farming.” At that time, I asked my husband how I could get a farm, and he laughed. Well, they’re 6 years late, but I CAN GET MY FREAKING FARM!

Wait, did I just say beer elementals? Yes. In fact, they’re called “alementals.” This should give you a pretty good idea of the more light-hearted feel of this zone. While it’s not necessarily true that you won’t run into more serious threats in the Valley of the Four Winds, as a Blizzard rep said, “I’ve saved the world a bunch of times. I’m OK with saving the beer right now.”

That last quote, FTW.

While the art was not completed for the press preview, the developers did reveal that the reward for collecting all of the gold medals was a unique mount styled after the qilin from real world mythology.

I love mounts, I like achievements, and I like being challenged. Bring on challenge modes, I say.

The artifact sits in the center of the map. Whoever claims the artifact must hold onto it as long as possible — a difficult task, since not only is the opposing team trying to kill you and recover the artifact for themselves, but the artifact also causes a constantly increasing amount of damage over time to its bearer. The longer you hold it, the more dangerous holding it becomes. Once the bearer of the artifact dies, it falls to the floor and another player of either faction may pick it up.

 [...]

 The Silvershard Mine uses the Payload ruleset from Team Fortress 2. Players must escort a cart of resources from one end of the map to the other as quickly as possible. The cart only progresses forward when its owners are standing near it. The opposing team must stall the cart’s progress as much as possible to prevent a timely capture.

This is AWESOME. I can’t wait to get into these battlegrounds. I love new objective mechanics. I’m a dork like that. I hated Isle of Conquest, though; these sound much better.

To respec, you no longer return to your class trainer and pay a lump sum of gold. You swap out talents exactly the same way you do with glyphs right now. You purchase an item, spend that item to clear a tier of talents, then pick the new one. If you only want to change your level 45 talent, then you only change your level 45 talent. Forgetting one does not cause you to forget them all.

Regardless of how I feel about the new talents (and I’m still meh on them right now), being able to change just one point without going to a trainer is a huge quality of life change. Yes, I realize this wouldn’t be possible in our current talent system. NO, I DON’T CARE. /QQ.

…the appearance options are broken down differently. You choose a category (such as Hair), and then that category expands into a full-sized bar on the screen. That bar is filled with thumbnails displaying the various options.

 [...]

 Additionally, in the bottom right-hand side of the screen, there is a small gameplay video for your chosen class so you can see a little bit of how the game plays in action before you settle on it.

I like this a lot. The character customization process has needed a little love. Not that I’ll find time to make more characters…or will I?

Chris Metzen kicked off the Mists of Pandaria press event by explaining the tone and narrative goals of the expansion. Players have voiced concern because Mists of Pandaria does not have a clear, global threat in the vein of the Lich King or Deathwing.

 [...]

 Mists of Pandaria itself, the game that comes in the box, will be a full, contained story. The entire arc of Mists of Pandaria will be there when you install the game, before any content patches at all. The content patches will be treated as sequels to that story.

 [...]

 While the steps taking us there are still unknown, Metzen did reveal that the war waged in those patches will reach a massive conclusion: We will lay siege to Orgrimmar to remove the mantle of warchief from Garrosh Hellscream’s shoulders.

This was one of my chief concerns when they announced the expansion, so I’m glad to see it addressed straight out. I like the idea of having a complete story and then adding to it. And who doesn’t want to go overthrow Garrosh? I’m down.

…you will be getting an 11th character slot for your monk.

While I’m very glad I will be able to roll a monk without deleting anything I currently have, I’m a little disappointed. They had talked about doing a 50 character limit but not limiting it per server. I’d like to see that, or a much larger server cap, like 15 or 20. I’ve played on the same server for 6 years. I know people there, I’m not currently keen to roll elsewhere.

This is now what will make me roll my Pandaren. I only play female characters (I can’t get used to the way male characters walk. Sorry, guys. I still like you and all, you just walk funny), and I am THRILLED with this model. I can’t wait to create mine now.

I didn’t spend a lot of time actually playing a druid, but I did hear a bit of interesting news while I was playing other classes, so I hopped onto my premade druid to find out for myself. I was able to confirm that, yes, there are some minor glyphs druids are going to absolutely adore. Here they are:

  • Glyph of Stars: Transforms your Moonkin Form into Astral Form. This glyph essentially makes your character appear as a spirit instead of a moonkin. You look very nearly like you do while dead — but people can see you this time. And your armor, for that matter.
  • Glyph of the Orca: Transforms your Aquatic Form into an orca. This one is pretty straightforward. Remember those orcas in Northrend? Yeah. Much better than your weird snarling rubbery seal.
  • Glyph of the Chameleon: Gives you a random appearance when you shift into Bear or Cat Form. Essentially, this one gives you a random coloring every time you shift. Great for breaking up the monotony of locked-in bear/cat coloring.
  • Glyph of the Stag: Transforms your Travel Form into a stag that other players can mount. Yes, that’s right. Your pals can ride you while you’re in Travel Form, and you’re also a stag instead of the clearly-inferior cheetah.
  • Glyph of the Tree: Lets you transform into Treant Form.

 So these basically own, right?

Breaking this down one by one:

    • Glyph of Stars: I actually like my moonkin form, but I understand why those who don’t would love this. And who knows, the option of switching back and forth might appeal to me. It’s an option, and since they’re minor, it’s not like we have anything better to stick there. Might as well have something fun.
    • Glyph of the Orca: YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I love that.
    • Glyph of the Chameleon: Also yes. I will absolutely get this if I end up going feral, which is actually on the table right now.
    • Glyph of the Stag: HOLY CRAP. Putting aside all the “mount” jokes, this is ridiculously awesome. Yes, Michael Sacco, this basically owns.
    • Glyph of the Tree: Like permanently? I can go back to my favorite tree form for good? I CAN SINGLE-HANDEDLY BRING THE TWIST BACK TO MY GUILD?!!! Sign me up. Done. Sold. I like the aesthetic of the new tree form, I really do, but my in-game identity was that treant form for 3 years. I miss it.
Other tidbits: I’m looking forward to pet battles. I don’t care if you think they’re childish. I played Bejeweled when it was an in-game addon (anyone remember that?).  I think it’s going to be a blast.

The new zones look and sound cool. I’m eager to try them out.

Have I warmed up to Mists? I think I have. I’m not on the edge of my seat like I was for Wrath and Cata, but yeah, I’m ready to see what it’s all about.

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