Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Passing on Brew Fest

This short story is dedicated to Hawkeye. Thank you for your patience and your questions. Sorry it took me so long to get this posted!

Wrinkling her nose in disgust Daraia quickly made her way to the Ironforge Auction House, deftly dodging drunken patrons hawking beer. "How could I have possibly have forgotten it was Brewfest?" she muttered. "Hopefully I can just get my business done and flee back to Dalaran."

"Daraia! Just the person I wanted to see, I knew you couldn't avoid me forever." A heavy gauntlet descended on her shoulder with a thud only to be removed with remarkable speed. "Blast it all, why do you have to keep weapons there?"  Turning Daraia couldn't keep an evil grin from her lips as she observed Amalt shaking his injured hand. Then she got a good whiff of him.

"Good Light Amalt, what happened to you?" Waving her hands before her nose Daraia backed away from her friend. Eyes widening in horror. "You REEK!"

"Oh that." Amalt replied dismissively. "I was helping the Thunderbrews deliver some stock and there was a bit of an accident."

"Say no more." Daraia interrupted with a laugh, "I have helped them in the past. Why they insist on THROWING the barrels at people is beyond me."

"Yeah, well my new cologne isn't what I wanted to discus. You were saying some pretty interesting things the other day during that incident with the Stickhead's addition to your Tea." Amalt chuckled at Daraia's thunderous expression. "No you can't get at him. Last I heard he was going on an extended visit with his menagerie to see his brother Firager in Darnassus. Something about not wanting to risk any of his precious babies to your wrath while he was away."

"I swear you are in the wrong profession Amalt." Daraia groused, glaring at the grinning paladin. "Besides, you should know I have little to no memory of anything I might have said, so if you have any questions you should be directing them at Therigwin."

"Yeah well, the Big Guy isn't being very forth coming. He starts sputtering every time I bring it up, then the next thing I know we are under attack. It didn't take me long to figure out it was a deliberate diversionary tactic." Shrugging Amalt continued. "So I figured if I asked YOU while in the middle of somewhere relatively safe, I had a better chance of getting a straight answer."

Daraia couldn't help but laugh at Amalt's reasoning. "Ok, so what has you eaten alive with curiosity?"

"You made the comment that the last time you got drunk you woke up married to Therigwin...." Amalt trailed off watching Daraia closely.

"Oh no, poor Therigwin. No wonder." Daraia leaned against a wall as she laughed. "Oh Amalt...you WOULD want to know all the gory details." Wiping tears from her eyes Daraia straighten and attempted to compose herself. "Honestly Amalt it really isn't that interesting. When Therigwin and I first met he was a healer. Heck just about EVERY paladin was a healer back then. To make a long story short, I had gotten injured and Therigwin gave me something for the pain. Well, you saw how I react when I consume alcohol. The problem was that while under the influence I happened to confess my true feelings for him after MONTHS of denial. Lets just say that one thing led to another and my comment wasn't ENTIRELY accurate. "

"Oh come on Dar, you got to give me more than THAT!" Amalt whined. "I have waited this long, and you have no IDEA what all Therigwin has thrown at me in his attempts to keep from answering my questions."

"Really Amalt, this was YEARS ago, why does it even matter?" Laughing at Amalt's woebegone expression Daraia relented. "Fine, when I was more coherent he informed me that I had agreed to marry him. He has always felt somewhat guilty about that. It wasn't on purpose, but he DID take advantage of the situation. You know how he is."

"That's it?" Amalt complained.

"Fraid so. Told you it wasn't worth all the fuss." Tuning Daraia headed out of the Auction house.

"Hey, where are you headed off to now?" Amalt questioned chasing after her.

"Fleeing back to the questionable peace of Dalaran. I had forgotten it was Brewfest this week. I can't STAND this holiday. I mean it's origins are noble enough but what it is at present leaves much to be desired." Shuttering she marched towards the flight master intent on escape.

"What do you mean? How can you not like Brewfest!"

"Amalt, Brewfest has become nothing more than an excuse for people to get so plastered they can't even see straight. The only reason they don't get into more trouble is because their mounts refuse to move if they start acting like to much of an idiot. Light help any fool who happens to own one of those Gnomish or Goblin crafted choppers that can't refuse to function when their owners are unable to see straight and start running into things causing endless heartache." Shaking her head Daraia paused to allow a set of rams race by, their riders calling out advertisements for Barleybrew and Brewfest. "I don't know if you have had much contact with Merla, the priest, but she is actually a Wildhammer, who married a Bronzebeard. She was the one who told me how this whole silly thing got started and believe it or not it had little to do with getting drunker than skunks on a cold winters night."


"If you haven't noticed the Dwarves don't have a lot of open water due to the colder temperatures outside. They found if they added other ingredients to melted snow it not only purified it but added flavor giving them more liquid. Well, give them enough cold winters and they came up with various beers. Of course each clan ended up setting up their own Breweries and declaring them the best. Being  Dwarves they decided they had  to figure out who was indeed the "best". High King Anvilmar established an annual contest each fall where each clan would present their best offerings. Of course after the  War of the Three Hammers the contests were forgotten. Then the Barleybrews decided to revive them as a marketing tool to the other races. Since the Thunderbrews pretty much had the corner on the market to the Bronzebeards they needed a way to tap into the non dwarf races. What better way than a beer festival?"

"Huh, so you mean this is nothing more than a huge sales pitch?" Amalt asked, scratching his head.

"Well isn't it obvious?" Daraia asked, turning to her friend as she reached the flight master. "I mean they have tents set up at all the major capital cities, both Alliance AND Horde. They practically SHOVE the stuff down people's throats. Beer in and of itself isn't bad, it is what you DO with it. And this is just one huge over indulgence fest. I'll pass thank you very much." Swinging her leg up she mounted her gryphon. "I'll see you in Northrend! Hopefully my business with the Darkmoon Faire won't bring me back south before then." With one last wave she flew off.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cataclysm Date?

I have been informed by Amazon to expect my Collector's edition Cataclysm Expansion to arrive on November 29th. Makes one wonder doesn't it? Early November or Late?.....Come on Blizz Con give us a sign!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Evil Box of Wires....

My love/hate relationship with my computer is a thing of long standing duration. The interesting thing is whenever there is a problem I immediately assume it must be due to user error where as the Platewearer starts looking for hardware and software issues. These past few weeks have been a nightmare as I have been dealing with the stupid thing. Any time I attempt to write something of a longer length than a few paragraphs I can not be assured it will save it. I can not have more than 3 windows open at a time with out it becoming almost inoperable in lag. In addition I am suffering from random disconnects while on line. Needless to say it has caused me no end of an amount of grief. We have finally determined that I just need to update my operating system to Windows 7 which hopefully will be arriving within a few days.

Hopefully I will be back soon. Typing up a short story for Brewfest only to discover that three fourths of it never saved is depressing. In addition it is impossible to do research for any Know your Rogue Lore pieces when I can't keep any windows open without my computer locking up. It has also kept me from being able to spend ANY time on the PTR or even much time doing more than farming herbs. I have decided that time spent flying circles around Sholazar Basin in just may give you a swirly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I was Robbed!

Some of you may remember way back in Vanilla wow days when you could build reputation with the Wildhammer Clan in the Hinterlands by turning in Troll Necklaces. Back then it was a repeatable quest and reputation grinders (like me) farmed those silly trolls for hours in the mistaken hope that come the Burning Crusade we could get a discount on our Flying mounts. However when Burning Crusade arrived the Wildhammer reputation tab disappeared, (along with all that reputation) the reason being that since the Horde did not have an equivalent reputation it really wasn't fair. (Understandable but it still sucked.)

Well come Cataclysm the Wildhammers are back, and so is their reputation. They will even be presenting us with some nice Pants and Gloves. I am just crying because I have to get all that reputation back all over again....why can't they just retroactive it? Sigh....I know...I know...it won't take me long once I figure out how to do it but it is still annoying.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Holy Grails

I was recently reading a book in which the main character was assisting Sir Galahad in his quest for the Holy Grail only to discover that rather than it being a physical object it was in fact an IDEA. The Grail was different things to different people and it is actually the journey to FIND the Grail that brings about the real impact. This got me to thinking, "What are your "Holy Grails" in World of Warcraft or do you even have one?"

Collectors seem to be the ones with "Holy Grails" more often than not, or at the very least lasting ones. Raiders will have "sort term ones", that elusive "best in slot" item every one is after that just won't drop seems to be quickly replaced when the next upgrade presents itself. Collectors however seem to hold on to their "Holy Grails, expansion after expansion. Farming, farming and farming some more in hopes of finally obtain that illusive object.

For my mount farming partner his "Holy Grail" has been the Hyacinth Macaw. He has been attempting to get that brightly colored bird since Vanilla with no success. With Cata's release date now looking like early November he is getting rather desperate. Auction house prices on our server run anywhere from 25 to 50k for the silly thing and he has only recently discovered the wonders of the triple digit bank account so purchasing one is out of the question (He still is paying me back for the loan to get his 100 mount achievement.) When another one of our guildies (who also happens to be a pet collector) managed to pick one up for a few thousand I thought he was going to eat his head set in envy. I was rather proud of him when he managed to congratulate him on the great find in a civil tone and still heal him during the raid.

The Plate Wearer in the family went through a similar experience with his "Holy Grail". My husband always wanted the Corrupted Ashbringer. Lets be honest, I don't think there was a Paladin or Warrior around during Vanilla and Burning Crusade who didn't want the Corrupted Ashbringer. The funny thing was WHY he wanted it....Not because of the stats, not because of how it looked, NO, why did my beloved spouse want this green glowing weapon? Because when you would go into Scarlet Monastery (one of his favorite haunts for running lowbies) all of the Npc's would bow down to you).....yes, he is an ego maniac....I love him anyway....sigh. The BEST part was when we went to Howling Fjord and did a quest where you retrieved a "Sacred Artifact", delivering it to back to a certain Paladin who likes to run around poorly disguised. When my poor spouse realized that he had actually had the PURIFIED Ashbringer in his possession (if only by association) I thought he was going to go through his computer screen. I think the only thing that made it bearable was the fact that: 1. it was going to one of his Paladin idols and 2. he couldn't use it ANYWAY.
I have another friend whose "Holy Grail" is to be a part of a World First, or the very least a Server First. In his quest to achieve this he has bounced from sever to server, guild to guild always looking for that elusive golden cup that will provide his desire. As he is young and relatively unfettered it gives him more freedom to pursue this objective.  However he is repeatedly surprised at the negative fallout that often occurs as the result of his single minded focus on his personal goals. Why are "friends" upset that he is unwilling to consider THEIR desires before his own? It is a completely foreign concept to him's mind as he chases after his Grail, unable to understand how it is the way he is choosing to pursue his Grail that is causing it to stay forever out of his reach, closing the very doors he so desperately wishes to open.

For myself it is not an object but a title with Ravenholdt Manor that stands as my "Holy Grail."  However the closest I can get is the "Insane in the Membrane" achievement, so I have been slowly picking away at that. Only Darkmoon Faire stands in my way now, meaning I am farming herbs, to create cards, to craft Darkmoon faire decks, for endless turn ins, as that is the only way left for me to gain reputation with the faction. In the back of my mind is the slight panic that I will not be able to complete this before my goal time of Cata. Real life can do that to you.

At times the task, as with Sir Galahad's, can seem insurmountable. I just have to decide how much to do I really want this? The thing with "Holy Grails" is that part of it is luck, part of it is determination and part of it is separating fact from myth. Knowing what needs to be done to achieve your goals rather than just chasing windmills or bemoaning the fact that your desires are out of reach is key.

The other thing to consider is that few of those goals are ever achieved alone. Like Galahad your quest is best accomplished in the company of friends and companions. They will lift your spirits, give you the tools you need to reach your destination and at times offer a shoulder to cry on when it all falls apart. What is even better is that when success is yours, how much greater when shared with friends? How many hunters have you known who have desired a specific Spirit Beast? Farmed it for HOURS, and then had a guildie, or friend say "Hey! It's here! I got it, come get it, I have it tagged for you!" Or for our healing lead it was numerous runs through Magister's Terrace for the Phoenix Hatchling.

Once you have achieved your "Holy Grail" how did you feel? Does that item, achievement, whatever still mean as much or was is it the memories, the journey, the feelings it evokes that truly have come to be what matter most? On the reverse, has that item that you thought would be so fulfilling come to be nothing more than an empty cup? An empty vessel whose promise was so much more than actual reality? Now it does nothing more than gather dust, or perhaps has even been cast aside, that which was once the focus of all your attention, is now nothing more than trash cluttering up your bank and bags.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Operation Gnomeregan and Zalazane's Fall Event

The Operation Gnomeregan and Zalazane's Fall Events went live yesterday. My intent was to blog about them YESTERDAY. However circumstances conspired to thwart my intentions.

First of all it was the beginning of the school year for the minions which meant that I spent the entire day running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (For some reason our school district does not believe that Kindergartners should be bused for the first day of school.) This means you must transport them both to and from school, then stand around while they are IN school, avoiding any OTHER children you happen to have in the same building. (My first grader is of course directly across the hall from his brother which I am sure will be great during parent teacher conferences, not so wonderful while playing dodge-um.) My Middle schooler got released from school 30 minutes before his younger siblings only to return home and find it empty, so he sat next door informing our amused neighbor and her daughters about what a horrible mother I was because I forgot that HE had a different schedule than his brothers so I had gone out for a movie while THEY were at school. (Don't I wish.)

Once all the Minions had returned home I sat down for MY home work. (Yeah, first day of school and they EACH brought home a STACK of papers for ME to fill out.) My oldest even had one marked "Parent's Homework assignment Due Friday."  Lovely. You would think by now they would have finished with all the forms but apparently the government has come up with some new ones they want us to sign. By the time I waded through all of those it and the rest of our evening routine of supper, family time, bedtime routine, etc. My eye was watching the clock like a hawk.

The kids were in bed (sort of, we kept having to chase them back from time to time) and we FINALLY got to log on. It WAS a Tuesday night which for us usually meant doing the weekly raid. Thankfully it was something quick, Sartharion Must Die! So I headed over to my mail box, picked up the quest and headed out planning to finish Operation Gnomeregan then head to bed. Yeah, me and every OTHER person in Elder'Thalas. This meant that the quest givers were swamped, causing some of the quests to bug out completely. I ended up posponing it after spending a good hour looking at this:

Hopefully with all the kiddies in school and another good majority of people at work I can finish this event quickly and quietly. I have to admit though I am kinda disappointed. I don't know....I guess I was kinda expecting something...More? Maybe something more in line with the Argent Tournament or the Pre-Wrath Event. It just feels like the Gnomes and Trolls got short changed (no pun intended.) Perhaps it is because we have been hearing about this for so LONG and now it is getting swept aside by all the Cata hoopla.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Library and Other Mementos

In real life as well as in game I can be a bit of a pack rat. This is offset however by the fact that I do have my limits. Once things reach the point of "Clutter" I get overwhelmed with what my Husband calls "Purge fits" where I start going through and asking myself "why do I still have this?" This week's Blog Azeroth shared Topic from Feraltree was "What mementos have you kept and why?"

Through all the purges, all the levels, the expansions, one thing has remained, carefully protected, tended and at times added to. My Library. It all started when I got my  A Steamy Romance Novel while Pick Pocketing in Outland. I had just suffered a hack and lost my previous treasures of tier gear and other items. As a result those novels have always held a special place in my heart as a pick me up. In addition to that I recall tormenting certain former guild members with them by reading them aloud over vent. Along with the original I also have the A Steamy Romance Novel: Forbidden Love (which is my favorite of the series) and A Steamy Romance Novel: Northern Exposure. If we were ever to get character housing they would need their own special place of honor in it.

Closely related to my library is a off hand item I have that I got this expansion with my new trade Inscription called Rituals of the New Moon. I actually have five of them as each will transform you into a different variation of wolf. It looks like a book, but as a rogue I can't really use them since I really have to have a weapon in my off hand and while hitting someone over the head with a book SOUNDS like a fund idea, they really are not one of our weapons of choice. I still keep them as mementos however. From time to time pulling them out to play at being a shammy.

Two other highly treasured pieces in my bags are my Orb of the Sin'dorei and Orb of  Deception. I actually carry these two with me at all times. The main reason is that I have always hated the human dance moves so whenever a dance party breaks out it is nice to have other options. The same with our jokes and flirts, they are just BAD. As much as people complain about racials I just wish they would fix our lameness in those areas. I know, I know the rest effect game play rather than aesthetics but still, most likely it will get fixed about the same time as the human male hair lip.

I have so many "Costume" pieces from all the seasonal events I don't even know where to start. I try to tell myself I am not a clothes horse but then I just have to gloss over the Bloodsail Buccaneer's Uniform and Admiral's Hat. Then I have my Undead Slayer's set, Argent Warhorn trinket, Haunted Memento and Monster Slayer's Kit from the Zombie invasion, do EACH of my characters REALLY need a full set of these? Apparently so.

Then I have my other little "trinkets" and I don't mean just the Barov Peasant Caller, Defender of the Timbermaw, and Seal of the Dawn. I still have my Banner of Provocation and Extra-Dimensional Ghost Revealer from when I was working on my Darkmantle gear back in Vanilla. There is also my Seal of Ascension, Scepter of Celebras, and Mallet of Zul'Farrak. Why do I keep these? Once they were used to summon things or open specific doors. Now they are pretty much useless trash....but I can't seem to toss them. The big reason being I remember just how much time and effort was invested in obtaining them in the FIRST place.

So while I might be able to justify keeping my Decahedral Dwarven and Worn Troll Dice for nights we do RP raids. I may even get away with my Happy Fun Rock, Voodoo Skull and Huge Snowballs saying I need them for ammo against annoying guild mates. Why do I keep all this stuff? Because sometimes just looking at makes me smile. Seeing them brings back the memories of when I first got it, or playing with it lighten the mood. That is why these items are called "Mementos" and why some Pack Rats stuff their bags full of them.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Can't Drive

"Where have YOU been?!?!" Daraia bellowed as soon as I logged on. I knew she would be a little irate since the last time I had visited was when we did AQ 40 for our "Fun Raid" night meaning her bags were still full of dead bug parts and she was wearing level 60 gear.

"I had some family things I had to deal with." I reply absently while attempting to recall what all my key bindings were and how to maneuver using my trackball.

"Well that is no, OUCH! Hey! You ran me into a WALL!"

"Sorry, out of practice, give me a bit, I am sure it is just like riding a bike."

"A what?"

"A bike. Kinda like a Mekgineer's Chopper but with no engine."

"How do you ride THAT?"

"You pedal it."

"How do you attach the flying goblin?"

"Not Peddle, pedal with an A. It means you move it around using manual power."

"Why would you want to do that?"

"Some people find it relaxing and it saves money. Now hold still while I find your gear and clean out your bags." She scowled at me, waiting impatiently, suddenly finding herself no longer sporting Bloodfang but her current 264 gear. Sighing mournfully she re sheathed her weapons. "What's wrong?"

"I just looked so much better in the old stuff...I know I know, I am much better off in this but still....a girl can have a little bit of vanity now and again. Are you going to go run me into walls some more?"

"I have to do a refresher some time."

"Can't I just take a taxi?...Right, your to cheap....sigh...I am going to sporting some lovely bruises by the end of the day."

"What can I say? You can't drive?"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Going through the Reader

One of the worst problems with "forced vacations" is that you don't get the opportunity to keep up on your reading. My routine was to sit down after breakfast and see if anyone has some new posts up before either working on something of my own or logging into Wow for a quick round of dailys. So for the first time in FAR to long I opened up my google reader to see what everyone had been talking about for the past month.

Of course Cataclysm is still the main topic of conversation. No huge surprise there, as we still have no concrete release date, speculation is still rampant but Blizzard is holding firm to a 2010 release date which is encouraging. Some are already getting rather sick of all the speculation and info release as with any Beta things change on a daily basis so any work done now will most likely only have to be redone by actual release. Some are getting more anxious with each new tidbit and becoming more bored with the current content as they wait.

A great many of us are leveling alts or stockpiling in anticipation. So over all the blogging world has entered that Pre release rut. Quiet and boring as to be expected. A few little updates here and there stated "yes I am still alive, no I haven't left the game, please don't give up on me yet, excitement is to follow, soon we will all be writing the exact same gear lists, leveling guides and drooling Blizz Con.

Except for one little corner of controversy.  I can always count on Adam of the Noisy Rogue to keep things hot. As he says, "He the one Rogue who can't shut up."  While every one else is wandering off, playing Starcraft or taking vacations, Adam is as usual setting off fire crackers and watching the usual suspects go off like roman candles.(Since he lives in Italy maybe there is a connection?)

Let me give you a little back ground here. When I first start blogging Adam was one of the first who encouraged me to keep at it. Adam is a Anti-Theist where I am a Jesus Freak. (I would most likely have to toss a bucket to him as close association with me would cause him to hurl greatly.) Adam uses his blog to express his views, no matter HOW controversial they may be because he LOVES to invite conversation. Considering he runs a Pub in real life I would think that would be a helpful skill to have. My blog is pretty focused on just In game topics. I was a Social Worker with Institutionalized Delinquent Adolescents for a decade before I became a stay at home mom. So the tendency to keep my private life separate from public life kind flows naturally from that.

What I found interesting was the response Adam received for his most recent controversial rantings (it isn't like this is something new, he does this type of thing all the time, it is rather what he is famous for). First there was the rather graphic nasty name calling that was directed not only at Adam but some stretched so far as to the entire ROGUE CLASS, going further into genders and then down hill from there. Now believe me, just looking at our dissimilar back grounds you should be able to guess that I seldom hold the same views as Adam on things but the whole thing struck me like a Salem Witch hunt down to the shunning and Mob mentality.

How often do we see that in our MMO communities when we start to bring the real into our fantasy? Recently I did a Shared topic in which I included a Short Story and I got an e-mail asking me about my PERSONAL views about alcohol consumption, it kinda took me aback. (Don't worry Hawkeye I will answer the question in a later post.) Now that isn't to say that I haven't had my own share of venting about how Blizzard has handled some of their female leaders. (Don't get me started on Jaina Sobmore...) Adam would LOVE to just keep it all at bay. While I can understand his feelings, as more and more people invade our fantasy, it is harder to keep the "real world" from slipping through the cracks.

One thing I keep in mind is that some people seem to actually ENJOY being offended (they would NEVER admit this in a HUNDRED YEARS) but they NEED to be enraged about something. Being a "victim" gives them a sense of power and entitlement. I know I know that seems a counterdiction but it is true. By being the "victim" they no long are "at fault" for anything that has happened. Someone ELSE is to blame for all of their troubles. It gives them all sorts of power and freedoms as well as energy in their "anger" over their "victimization". I personally can not live that way but I know many people who do.  Ask yourself this, "Are my Pug groups ALWAYS bad? Then what is the common denominator?" Because I have to be honest with you, I don't have that many BAD pugs. Attitude really DOES matter.

Some people write blogs looking for followers, to make money, for a variety of reasons that to me seem silly. Adam and I both write because we ENJOY it. This past month seems to have been a rough one for him during a time when everyone else has been "vacationing" in the pre Blizz Con slump. Hopefully the next few weeks will be filled with some more genuinely exciting information so fellow bloggers will behave with more rational and less like rabid wolves. If nothing else Adam succeed in giving them something to talk about. I know I am personally looking forward to getting back into my routine, my fingers have been so twitchy and my brain is a jumble of ideas.