31 October 2010

[spoilers] Goblin starting zone: compliments

I may have criticisms about the goblin starting zone, but that doesn't mean that I don't also love it! It's a fun, non-stop action packed story filled with laughs and explosions.


When you first load up your goblin gal, the cast for the story is basically already there. You meet the main player Sassy and through questing encounter the supporting roles. As your quests phase the world, the characters change too, regrouping, offering new quests in reaction to the changes, establishing their personalities.

As you change islands, the characters move with you. The mad scientist from your old HQ is now experimenting with food sources. Sassy is still your loyal assistant. Your friends Izzy, Ace, and Gobber still back you up. Coach is still coming up with game plans.

It sounds really cheesy, but in the final scene of the zone, after you've defeated Gallywix (well, put him in his place) and gather on the boat with the whole cast, it's so touching to have everyone there. It half reminds me of the final celebration in Star Wars where Obi Wan pops in, or the end of Wizard of Oz when Dorothy wakes up surrounded by familiar faces. "You were there, and you were there..."

The whole zone plays like a movie, with foreshadowing, suspense, recurring characters, problem, and solution. I think this is added to by the fact that every quest feeds into a central plot. Even when you're killing 10 of X mob or collecting 6 of Y item, the underlying goal is to facilitate the Trade Prince gambit, or later, goblin survival. The subplots also react to major quests and changes, so everything feels cohesive.


This guy is the snarkiest little experiment to ever steal my heart!
Look how cute my bank is! Let's break it open and steal its contents!!
They're ridiculously good-looking.
 Some hilarious quests:

The scenery is beautiful.


Because you're the Trade Prince competition, you get to tool around in a totally sweet ride. I love this car! I can't even begin to describe how much I love this car. Before, I mentioned that I can't stop driving on the roads in the zone. Part of that is because of how awesome this car is. It has a radio tuner! It has an aWOOga horn! When you hit citizens, they are thrown out of the way and shout about you being a public menace! I'm going to stand by my opinion that this be the racial mount until my fingers fall off from typing it!

26 October 2010

[spoilers] Goblin starting zone: critique

I recently finished the goblin starting zone as a female goblin mage named Sprinkie. I have two major critiques about it, and I expect this post to be quite long. 

Your goblin comes into the world already well-known in Kezan. In fact, the entire 1-5 quest line stars you as the potential next Trade Prince. As much as I love my goblin, this seems a little overblown. My theory about quests is that something as personal as this can`t be shared by the entire playerbase (seeing as they are so personal). For instance, events like Wrathgate occur once in the storyline. My reasoning behind that is we all experience it as a group. So, for instance, on my server hundreds and hundreds of us gathered at the Wrathgate and experienced the event together, although not simultaneously from the players` POV. This of course ignores some game mechanics such as cross-faction player cooperation and communication, raid group limits, and physical size limitations.

The Problem
There are quests that lore-wise can only be completed once, and typically by a single character or small group. Take, for instance, The Lady`s Necklace. I highly doubt that Sylvanas makes a habit of returning to her former home and losing a family treasure so that level 13 belf warlocks can conveniently return it to her. This quest, in the lore of that realm, can only be completed by one belf lock, or perhaps a small adventuring party featuring some pallies. This would totally destroy my Trade Prince issue except...

One Point of Contention 
The next Trade Prince
The one reason I think it is still easier to ignore multiple people doing "once only" quests than the goblin Trade Prince quests is because not everyone will complete "once only" quests. However, every single goblin, simply by virtue of being a goblin and advancing through the unavoidable plotline of the starting zone quests, will assume the same role. And these aren`t lowkey roles, either! You aren`t just finding missing people in the woods or killing the evil leader of some level 10 baddies. You`re the chief competition for Trade Prince, the leader of your entire faction!This makes every single goblin automatically well-known to every other goblin. Furthermore, by being the rescuer of Thrall, you are even more publicly recognizable. 

The Trade Prince problem can be solved easily. Make Sassy Hardwrench the candidate, and the PC her helper! The quests can be changed to reflect you doing the work for her rather than yourself. I think that being even one step removed from Nearly Leader of the Goblins makes the plot more available to our not-yet-hero characters.

The player romance with the NPC Chip Endale is a product of poor storytelling and irritating assumptions about the player. For starters, there are a total of 3 quests related to this subplot and they are nearly 10 levels apart.

Story? What story?
Get gussied up
When the first criticisms of the goblin boyfriend/girlfriend questline started showing up, I was expecting it to be closely tied to the plot and resolved quickly. When I first logged in, I didn`t even notice Chip and Candy standing behind Sassy. Then a level or two later, Chip`s giving me a quest to get some new duds, and oh btw I`m your boyfriend. Huh? That`s it? So I did his quest, the end. The entire rest of the time on Kezan, I had no reason to interact with Chip. I took quests from Sassy and other notable NPCs, I tooled around with my friends, and I kept thinking, "When does the rest of this problematic quest happen?"

Let it be known that I have the memory of a goldfish. I can pick up a quest, read it, complete it, and by the time I turn it in I`ve forgotten what it was. So when after Chip`s initial quest you see neither hide nor hair of him until the sandy beaches of the Lost Isles, it`s easy to forget. And even then, there`s no reason to talk to him because he offers no quests. Upon seeing him, I was reminded of that subplot and went to have a chat. That`s when I discovered that Chip had dumped me for Candy. "This is it! Time to take revenge!" I foolishly though, expecting resolution. But no, not yet. Without any acknowledgment of these events by you or anyone else, you move on to bigger and better quests.

I'm with Candy now

But I`m still waiting for the revenge part?
She stole your man!
You spend many levels saving the goblins and generally being an extreme badass. Finally, it`s time for the showdown with Gallywix. Honestly, at this point I was suspecting that they had totally removed the problematic finale with Chip, because there was absolutely no reference to Chip or Candy at all after seeing them on the beach. In my goldfish memory, the pair was ancient history. And for good reason - the quests I`ve been doing are light years cooler. Except - surprise! - before you can go after Gallywix you`re charged with killing Chip. Who? Oh, Chip! That ex-boyfriend guy from 5 levels ago! The reason given is that not only is he working for Gallywix, but he dumped you! Are you gonna stand for that? Apparently not! Not only that, but you have to take out Candy as well, ostensibly for now dating and working for Gallywix, but mostly for dating your ex-boyfriend.

Going out with that tramp!

Heartache and betrayal
From a storytelling point of view, to suddenly bring back two up-to-now totally unmentioned characters and then suggest that their betrayal of you hurts enough to warrant killing them is just lazy. It`s made even worse by the fact that the pair defecting to Gallywix`s side is a much more compelling drive for revenge from a goblin`s perspective. But in both of the quests, that huge fact is mentioned in passing, and the romantic issues are played up. Despite, you know, a complete lack of reaction from you when this first comes up and no mention of the characters to keep them tangentially related to the plot. [troll spoilers] In the troll starting zone, you get a buddy troll who periodically interacts with you. Because he frequently checks in, it establishes consistency and camaraderie, and his quest-related death makes much more of an impact (and also is extremely predictable. Sorry, buddy!).

Yo, baby.
"Baby"? Don`t you "Baby" me
Romantic relationships involving my character are something I never want Blizz scripting. Even if it`s all for appearances and business success, make it strictly about business. By giving my character a boyfriend, Blizz assumes that 1) I want my character in a romantic relationship and 2) my female character wants a male partner. The romance in the relationship is unnecessary and awkwardly executed, and serves only to make presumptions about what players would do with their characters.

Let`s work it out
If Candy/Chip must absolutely be attached to the player character, make them our assistant rather than lover. Hell, let us choose which to work with when we pick up the initial quest! If there must be romantic overtones, let Sassy be the jilted lover. Following along my earlier suggestion, with Sassy as an ousted Trade Prince, now spurned by her lover who does the unthinkable by aiding the competition, it`s now your job as her plucky assistant to take the pair out! They could be sharing your trade secrets, after all! I don`t think killing NPCs for romantic reasons should be off limits, considering just about every problem in game can be solved by killing something. I do, however, think care should be taken to avoid slut-shaming, cuz that shit ain`t cool. I think the fact that you kill both your lover and his lover makes it easier to handle, but I`d like to take out the references to Candy being a tramp, and downplay her romances deserving punishment in favor of emphasizing her associations with Gallywix as deserving of revenge.

To make this a cohesive story, make more overt allusions to the pair`s betrayal as the plot advances. Deep feelings of betrayal after nearly 10 levels of ignoring the betrayers is completely unbelievable.

I think these easy changes could make the goblin plotline a lot more believable lore-wise, while still being fun. The whole experience is a blast, and I didn`t like to be jolted out of it by constantly questioning how every goblin could share Trade Prince and why I needed to kill my pretend ex-boyfriend and some lady I don`t care about.

Stay tuned for a massive picture dump of all the totally awesome stuff goblins can do!

Looks like the Horde...
...just got a new breed of goblins

24 October 2010

Master of Wintergrasp

Master of Wintergrasp

I finally finished my Master of Wintergrasp achievement. It was a lot of fun to do and made me much better at PVP than before... My philosophy is still "run in, branches flailing" but I definitely improved my reaction time and CC abilities. I even had fun dpsing a bit, as I never used tree form in PVP. On the way I also got my 10K honorable kills achievement. It was one of my less proud Wintergrasp moments, as I was parked at the east wall eating a snack while the rest of the raid diligently racked up HKs for me.

10 000 Honorable Kills
There were other hijinks while spending the last 5 minutes of each battle diligently farming the graveyard. Much like my 10k achievement, it was easier to sit at a romantic picnic, surrounded by mole machines and mailboxes, and accumulate honor.

A romantic PVP picnic
Of  all the achievements that make up this meta, the one I am the most proud of is Wintergrasp Ranger. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to kill people in some of the locations if it were a 1 on 1 battle. What I did first was go to locations actually frequented during the battle. I would wait for tanks to show up to destroy the towers, then help defend them as allies came in to take them out. When the tower was destroyed I would follow the tanks to wherever they were headed next and try to pick up some more kills on the way. The workshops were easiest to get, obviously, while the Cauldron of Flames was the hardest. I found that the only good way to get any kills was to go there immediately after the battle had ended when the weekly was Fueling the Demolishers.

Wintergrasp Ranger
Unrelated to Wintergrasp, but a big deal nonetheless, is that my paladin got her Crusader title! Although it took me ages to level her, I missed out on all sorts of delicious rep opportunities by questing as efficiently as possible. The Argent Tournament maxed out all of my horde reps, and I only had to turn in a few writs at the end to get the last faction to exalted. Now I just need a Crusader's pony for her and she will be complete :D


21 October 2010

Grid, QQ, And You

When I was a wee little healer and I had just dinged 70, the healing lead in my guild directed me to the raid frames addon Grid. It's extremely customizable and has pages of plugins to further tailor it to your preferences. Because it was the first addon I used for healing, I had not had any experience with the other options. I'm quite attached to Grid, so when I updated it after the patch and was unable to get my hots to display to my liking, I decided to try to make it work before starting to learn another healing addon. Wall of text inc!

Halp halp!

In particular I used GridStatusHots, a druid-centric plugin designed to show my hots on a target as colored squares that change colors based on how much time is left in their duration. For instance, Regrowth would appear in the bottom right corner as a dark green square at first, turning to light green halfway through it's duration, and yellow in the last 3 seconds. I was also using GridStatusLifebloom, a plugin specifically designed to show the number of stacks of LB on a target (given as red, yellow, and green for 1, 2, and 3 stacks respectively) and the time remaining. The problem is that both of these immensely useful addons now refuse to play nicely with the updated Grid.

Quick Fix


StatusLB hasn't been updated in forever and a day, but it was an easy fix since Lifebloom is now restricted to one target only. Let's dive into the Grid settings and have a look. Using only the default Grid options, we can put a big Lifebloom icon in the center of the target's frame.

Status > Auras > Buff: Lifebloom > check Show if Mine, check Show Duration

Indicators > Center Icon > check Buff: Lifebloom

As you can see on my grid, it shows a white number indicating the stacks of LB, and the dark/light contrast in the icon shows the duration. Also I should add that if you want to watch other druid's hots in addition to your own there's no need to check Show if Mine. Personally I find it incredibly confusing, but I could see it being situationally useful if you had two druids keeping LB stacks on two targets and wanted to make sure you didn't overlap.

Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Wild Growth

This is where I would normally bust out StatusHots, but since that isn't behaving I've gone with GridIndicatorCornerIcons. What this does is give you eight spots, two in each corner, to place icons of your choice. The default shows things like dungeon role, lootmaster, buffs and raid marker, but I specifically want it to replace the colored squares I was using to track my hots.

Frame > Icon (Corners) > check Enable Icon Cooldown Frame

While you're on this page take the time to check the Configuration Mode box and move the Icon Top/Bottom Left/Right Corner sliders around to make your icons big enough to see. You can change how close or far away from the edges of the target frame they are with the Offset X/Y-Axis. Be sure to uncheck Configuration Mode before you move on, because it keeps those sample buffs visible.

Rejuve and Regrowth are the main hots that I want to keep track of, but since I've freed up a corner spot from LB I decided to add Wild Growth for shits and giggles. It's not in the default Auras list for Grid, but you can very easily add it!

Status > Auras > type Wild Growth under Add New Buff > click Okay

As you can see I've already done this and it's in the Auras list to the left. Now go to Buff: Rejuvenation, Regrowth, and Wild Growth and check Show if Mine and Show Duration like we did for Lifebloom. My plan is to put each hot in it's own corner, using the indicator the closest to the edge. For instance, Rejuve goes in the top right, using the right indicator of the two. 

Indicators > Icon (Corners) > Top Right Corner Icon (Right) > check Buff: Rejuvenation

Then do this for Bottom Left Corner Icon (Left) for Buff: Regrowth, and Bottom Right Corner Icon (Right) for Buff: Wild Growth. Now all of your hots should be set! Let's see it in action.

Three stacks of Lifebloom, Rejuve, Regrowth, and Wild Growth

Curse and Poison and Magic, oh my!

I haven't gotten a chance to see these bad boys in action since the patch. What I usually do is, using the default Grid colored squares, put them all in the upper left corner. 

Indicators > Top Left Corner > check Debuff type: Curse, Magic, Poison

It's unusual that they all occur at the same time, and if they do, you can set the levels of importance for each. All of the debuffs are set at a default priority of 90 out of 99. If you don't change it I'm pretty sure that they layer alphabetically. The only time I've really dealt with multiple debuffs is during Yogg-Saron, in which case I was first cleansing the debuff on top, then cleansing the second that was revealed after I cleansed the first. As in, see a curse on someone, decurse, the curse square is gone and now I see the poison square, abolish poison.

I think I can probably get along with this same system, but now that I have the nifty corner icons I'm thinking about using the top left right and left corner icons to show my poisons and curses. For now I will hold off; I don't particularly need to see the icons, since the color is enough of an indication, and I've made the icons pretty big so I can see the durations on my hots.

General Grid WTFery

If you are completely new to Grid, my advice to you is to turn off options. There are a ton of options because Grid is good for many different types of players. Think about what sort of buffs and debuffs your class cares about and how you would like to see that information displayed. Like I've outlined above, I want to see debuffs I can cleanse, and where my heals are and what they are doing.

General Recommendations

Starting with the Frame menu, you can start changing the look of Grid. I recommend enabling the Center Text 2 Indicator so that you have two rows of text to provide information. My Indicators look like this:

Border: Aggro Alert, Your Target
Healing Bar: Incoming Heals
Center Text: Unit Name
Center Text 2: Death Warning, Debuff: Ghost, Feign Death warning, Offline warning

The Layout menu offers more customization for the look of Grid, with the border color and the padding and spacing of the frames themselves. The scale slider is nice, because if you get all the proportions how you like them in the frame, you can scale the entire thing bigger. I cranked it up to 200% to take these screenshots.


That was my impromptu Grid customization guide. I am by no means an expert (as evidenced by the fact that I can't make StatusHots and Grid play nicely), but hopefully this helps someone with the same problem who is still clinging to their traditional addons. Some of us fear change, and that's ok. If you have any comments, suggestions (corrections!), or questions feel free to leave me a message.

19 October 2010

Healing without leaves

I have two goblin starting zone posts lined up, but the beta keeps giving me the bird when I try to log in, so I've been unable to get the last few explanatory screen shots that I want. Jumping ahead, let's talk about how I'm faring with my tauren gal.

Who have I been reading?

Beru's Q&A on Falling Leaves and Wings

Lissanna's Resto guide on Restokin

Keeva's spec/FAQ guide on TBJ

RestoDude's RestoGuide

Spec and Glyphs

I poked around on all the specs offered in the list above and came up with the following to cautiously test my mana pool and new abilities.

I would like to include Nature's Cure and Blessing of the Grove and max out Nature's Majesty. I'm still thinking about Fury of Stormrage and Malfurion's Gift, but only for the chance of Lifebloom proccing Omen of Clarity, and I'm not sure how much I'll want that at 85. Perhaps a lot. I see Genesis looking delicious in the second tier of Balance, but I'm not sure how I would juggle points to get down there, so I'm not going to worry about it until later.

Having done a handful of heroics and two raids, I think I'm ready to get rid of Furor and invest those points in something else. With what I have on me now, it's unusual if I dip below 75% mana, and that's with Rejuve spam and much generous casting.

With the changes to Regrowth, I switched to the Lifebloom Prime glyph. In Major glyphs, I stuck Healing Touch in instead of Innervate because I don't expect to do much innervating for a while. Minor glyphs are what they are. I just can't get enough of that fast Aquatic Form! With glyphs, because of the distinct lack of options, it seems pretty easy to pick what you should use. Well, to be honest, when it comes to specs as well it seems that just by avoiding PVP stats I can make myself a good PVE build and avoid picking a terrible spec simply due to what's available.

Gear, Gems, Enchants

This is the part where I reveal exactly how lazy I have been. (Hint: very, very lazy) It's actually more of a to-do list than anything.

To get my leather specialization, I need to replace my Circle of Ossus with the Belt of Petrified Ivy. Then I will need gems for that and also for my Idol of the Black Willow. I'm not sure if I will be replacing any of the other gems that I already have socketed - although I would not be opposed to replacing some of my gems with Int/Haste to get haste-capped, I'm not sure if I want to spend the time and money to do that scant weeks before I start replacing these sick purpz with quest rewards.

As far as reforging goes, I'm considering playing around with spirit pieces to see if I can't eke out some more haste, or see what this mastery business is all about. This is mostly encouraged by my current lack of mana problems. I think I can get away with losing some regen in favor of getting closer to haste cap!


I am feeling the hurt left behind by lack of a long hot from Regrowth. Before the patch I would load up the squishies and healers of a group with Regrowth before say, Bonestorm or BQL's fear. Then, as I was running willy nilly around during said phases, I would Rejuve anything in range and LB people in particular trouble. Now, I feel like I only have one hot - obviously that's not true, but Regrowth's hot is kind of a joke, and LB is restricted to one person. Fortunately, I was able to fully retrain myself in tonight's raid to not only stop casting it on more than one person, but to keep in rolling instead of using it for free mana during OOC procs.

Regrowth replaces Nourish as my quick top-off. Nourish and HT are excruciatingly slow (it's ok, other healing classes, you can laugh), often either too late to save someone or needless overheal. For now, HT is still relegated to my NS+HT macro, or if I happen to hit the wrong button and have the time to watch it go off. I feel like I'm missing a medium cast, medium heal spell. I'm still keeping Wild Growth on cooldown and tossing Rejuve around on DPS in addition to keeping it on the tank. I feel less inclined to cast, having only the useful Regrowth and the cumbersome, overzealous HT, and yet lacking in hots. To be honest, I don't always know how to spend my GCDs. I find myself lacking instants or quick casts, but wasting time and mana when I try out the longer casts. I guess the idea is to spam Regrowth...hopefully I can retrain myself to do that soon.

Efflorescence is a mixed bag...I like planning where to drop it in the same way I plan where I use WG. Unfortunately, because of that, I feel wasteful when I use Swiftmend on a ranged target all by her lonesome and end up with a useless healing circle miles from the raid. Also, I'm not sure if it includes overheal in the percentage it heals targets standing in it for. For instance, if the melee is taking damage but the tank is topped off, a Swiftmend on the tank that heals for 1000 won't create much of a healing puddle. If it doesn't take overheal into account, it would obviously be better to SM a low-health melee, but sometimes you don't have the GCDs to prep with a Rejuve and then SM. 

Tree of Life now seems very foreign to me. It's still on the class bar which tempts me to click it, but I always remember at the last moment that if I do it will blow the cooldown. Incidentally, cooldowns like this have always confused me. In fact, I try to avoid on-use trinkets in favor of equip style effects because I never know when I should save the cooldowns for! It's not the same as being dps, where most long cooldowns should be saved for bloodlust or a time-sensitive phase. I'm torn between macroing it to a spell like Lifebloom or Regrowth to ensure it gets used once in a while, or putting it somewhere unobtrusive on my bar to save for some phase in some boss fight that puts out lots of raid damage.

Raid Frames

Grid, my current raid frames of choice, has updated, but I still need the capabilities of status hots. I did get an update for GridStatusHots, but it won't actually work when I turn the buffs on. This is very sad, because the hots plugin uses colors in the corner dot indicators to show when the hot is about to expire, which I find more visually useful than a numerical display. Grid itself will show the hot buffs, but as one uniform color for the entire duration of the hot, and without regard to who cast it (even if I specify "My Hots").

Because Lifebloom is now single target, I've set it to central icon display. It shows stacks, and very dimly duration (the icon is rather small). If I can get PowerAuras to load without crashing everything I might make a duration alert for myself (to be fair, it could be any number of things causing me to crash, including but not limited to: addons, mobs, instances, usable items, unusable items, logging in).

I'd love to have it show me who is affected by Efflorescence. I never had space for a WG indicator before, but I added it to my buff indicators this week and it's really surprised me with the range of affected targets! Sadly, Eff. doesn't appear to create a buff when standing in it, so I'm not sure how or if I could get Grid to recognize it.

Standard UI vs. Grid
I opened the Blizz raid frames to check them out. I like a lot of what they are doing, and there are indicators for useful things like range, offline, dead, mana/energy/etc, and buff indicators. It even shows my hots - although the countdown is still not clear enough. My biggest complaints are that the buffs obscure the health bars sometimes, which makes me nervous, and the frames are enormous. I have them set to the lowest possible size and a ten man raid still takes up so much space! I'm curious to see if mod authors will (can?) make addons for these new frames, and if that will make them worth switching over to.

Other Patch Comments

It's Hallow's End now, so I've been spending lots of time taking my various alts around for their candy buckets and trick or treating on Aka to try to get A Mask for All Occasions. I've also been taking advantage of the Invocation of the Wickerman reputation gain buff by turning in my junkboxes for Ravenholdt and inscription decks for Darkmoon Faire. I'm still doing ZG and MC regularly and also working on my Ally priest, who just got shadowform! Yaaay!

Addon updates are coming in slowly but surely; I haven't lost any major ones fortunately. However, there has been a huge change regarding buff mods - you can no longer right click to cancel buffs using any mod! If you use the extremely limited standard Blizz buffs you will still be able to right click to cancel, but that's it. The idea is to prevent addons from auto-cancelling buffs, but that's a far cry from looking at your list of buffs and manually removing one that you don't want. I've read some semi fixes to get around this change but I'm hoping that they will fix it so that even if mods can't cancel something without your input, you will still be able to right click it off yourself.

15 October 2010

Who would accept a druid who could not change her shape?

Akabeko slipped under the surface of the water, holding her breath and looking around at the waving plants on the lake floor. Her armor lay at the base of a tree on the bank, carefully lashed together. She let herself sink, holding her breath instead of shapeshifting as she normally did. The water was cold but still bearable. Snow would not come to the plains of Mulgore for a few moons yet.

Something is wrong. She felt different, strange. Not necessarily less powerful; she could still feel the Earthmother and still sense her spells. She cast one experimentally, feeling it curl around her like a comforting embrace. Still potent, still effective.

Expelling the last of her breath, Akabeko kicked to the surface. Now floating on her back, she stared unseeing at the clear sky and began to cycle through her spells. Lifebloom, rejuvenation, regrowth, swiftmend, wild growth, nourish, healing touch, tranquility. The air crackled with energy while the water was lit from within and above by the spells.

Then she tried to shift, as she always did, effortlessly into tree form. It didn`t work. Her heart stopped cold. The power, that indescribable ability that let her change her physical form as easily as breathing, was blocked. Shifting forms hadn`t been a conscious task for her for many seasons, but now she concentrated, focused as she had when still learning. The residual effects of her spells surrounded her and twinkled out.

The knowledge was there. Buried deep, but accessible. Akabeko struggled towards it, trying to remember the path to her bark, her leaves, her roots. The seashell necklace she wore, originally a token used to connect her to her tree form, lay lifeless and heavy on her chest. It was like swimming through thick honey or forcing a too-large button through a tiny hole. She pushed and swam, mentally cramming herself through the buttonhole, taking great powerful strokes through the honey.

And then she changed. There it was: her body, her bark and leaves and roots. And with it, power. Energy. Almost uncontrollably she began to cast, the spells exploding out with such force that she was rocked by both exhilaration and terror. Staring into the infinity of the sky, suspended weightless in her horizontal world, Akabeko cast spells so powerful that the water sloshed and churned, the air snapped, smelling of ozone, and her branches quivered in exultation.

As soon as it had begun, it stopped. She returned unceremoniously to her tauren body, to her normal abilities. The power she had gained evaporated like mist, and she felt too exhausted to seek it out again.

Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes. Have I lost my body? she thought, unaware that she had also whispered it mournfully aloud. She could still feel her spells, knew she was still as strong a healer as before. But... Am I no longer a druid? Is the Earthmother punishing me? A profound sense of loneliness welled up within her, and she shut her eyes against the sky. Who would accept a druid who could not change her shape? She rolled over suddenly, shifting into a seal and surging towards the bank. On the bank she flowed into a cheetah and sped off across the plains, vainly fleeing the emptiness where her body had been.

13 October 2010

Goblin Journal 4

I found the rest of my associates. A few had managed to break free, but most were still completely out of it, slaving away mining kaja'mite in the volcano. You know, the one that was erupting. Exactly how, I ask you, is it profitable to lose your entire workforce and stock to a natural disaster that you can avoid? As it turns out, all my associates needed was a quick shot of Kaja Zero to get their minds back in working order. I had a bit as well and feel fantastic! We busted out of the volcano in no time after we got our thinkin' on.

At the base of the volcano we discovered where Gallywix had gotten off to. In addition to sabotaging his plans, Izzy talked me into killing Chip. To be honest, I had all but forgotten about him. I mean, I haven't even seen him since the beach! And even before that, we barely interacted except for that fashion advice he gave me for the party... I guess we had really grown apart. But as Izzy pointed out, Chip also started working for Gallywix. We had a contract, and it didn't end just because Kezan blew up!

From there it was time to deal with Gallywix's slave pits. I rescued as many captured goblins as I could find, and took out even more Steamwheedle thugs. Also, Sassy wanted me to kill Candy Cane. I don't know her all that well, Journal. Sassy kept telling me that Candy stole my man away, which I guess is true, but I couldn't understand how killing her would be profitable for me... Then Sassy reminded me that Candy now works for Gallywix, and as my formal rival and current nemesis, it's practically my job to take out all of his associates!

While I was dealing with the slave pits, they got a footbomb uniform rigged up to take on Gallywix. Hehe. I'm really, really good at footbomb. Marching up to Gallywix and kicking his weenie little rig's can made my day! I felt like a million macaroons. The only thing that really stung was Thrall believing that sniveling weasel and reinstating him as Trade Prince! Hellooooo? What about me? I've pretty much shown that I can make a buck while still saving the collective lives of my associates! What more could you possibly want in a Trade Prince?
Eat footbombs, Gallywix!

So, this is it, Journal. I'm back to being just another goblin. Thrall has given me some paperwork to deliver to some Garrosh character in Orgrimmar. We are just about to set sail and find out how we can fit into the Horde. It's time for me to get my empire back in order!

10 October 2010

Goblin Journal 3

I made it safely to the next island and we got our Town-In-A-Box all set up. Everybody's starving so I've been running around finding bigger and better eggs to feed them with. We started with clucker eggs from the wild cluckers on the island, upgraded to raptor eggs, and finally tried a giant egg from a giant chicken on the island. I think that was definitely a net loss. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Gallywix disappeared somewhere with some of our supplies. How rich.

Easy, little fella
From there it was really just problem after problem. Vicious naga infestation on the island? I get to be the one to deal with it. Take out the big ones, replace some of their flags with the Cartel's, oh and kidnap some of the young'uns. I'm not particularly proud of it, Journal, but I lured away some of the baby naga (cute little tykes, really), to use as a bargaining chip for a peaceful surrender. I would have much preferred to use cold hard cash, but as you may have noticed we are fresh out, and I don't even know what the naga consider valuable. At any rate, me and Ace headed out with the little guys and ended up in a heap of trouble when we discovered that some creepy faceless guy was controlling the naga in the area! Yeesh.

Ace: "I...gotta go!"
Then, just when I think I can take a break, as I'm getting back to the T-I-A-B, there's an invasion of pygmies!! No--really! And they have been carrying off other goblins and turning them into zombies with some weird magic! So then I get to run up the volcano, strap on some flamethrower boots, and incinerate what used to be my business partners! Well, I burn through all the zombies and take out the leaders of the pygmies. But do I get a break? Ohhhh no.

I'm blasting off again!
Now I get rocket boots to launch me up into the caldera of the volcano. Hobart's got some plan to destroy the big volcano-turtle that the pygmies have been feeding goblin sacrifices to. Naturally, it involves rockets. In the caldera of a volcano. Well in case you can't do the math, when I blew up the turtle the volcano decided to blow as well. Fortunately, Sassy came to the rescue (What did I tell you? Best investment I ever made) and got me out of there.

And do you know what we found when we got out of there, Journal? All the surviving goblins back at the T-I-A-B were missing, captured and enslaved (AGAIN!!!) by Gallywix. So we met up with Thrall and his orc buddies on the coast, and instead of getting to take a break, I got to deal with the Alliance. In the most explosion-y way possible. They promised me I would get ride to where my associates are being held, but it's gonna have to wait until I've had a good long rest.