28 May 2011

The Innkeeper's Daughter

"It's just a rock."

"It's not just a rock."

"Would you two quit bickering and make yourselves useful?" Akabeko rifled through the tall stack of historical and cultural accounts of Dwarven culture she had borrowed from the Silvermoon library.

The "rock" in question lay quietly on the desk. Akabeko had assembled it after finding its three pieces in a digsite in Loch Modan. She had separated them from the general rubble when she discovered their curious power - that is, they imparted a fragment of emotion to her when touched. The first time her fingers had brushed a fragment, she abruptly found herself confused and angry without reason. The second shard had made her cold and bitterly lonely. Since then, the feelings had oscillated between white-hot rage and inconsolable sadness. Akabeko gently touched the stone now and was surprised by a quiet brooding.

"Let's get back to work," she finished, handing her two companions a book. Most had already been sorted into the 'useless' pile.

"I can't read Dwarvish," Maurene countered peevishly.

"Oh, fine," Akabeko sighed, hunting for a book in Common for the undead to peruse. She took the Dwarvish book herself and opened her dictionary. Iharu was already thumbing through a Thalassian-language account of Dwarvish history.

"So remember, it's a large-ish gray rock, no signs of paint or lacquer, found at an old homestead in Loch Modan. It has some sort of innate magic about it. It's possible it was used in some sort of magic ritual."

The room was silent but for the rustling of pages and distant bustle of the Drag. Akabeko was particularly careful with the Dwarvish book, as it was very old and made for hands much smaller. Maurene shut her book with a soft snap and reached for another, also in Common.

Akabeko jotted down some notes and set her book aside as well. "My Dwarvish isn't the best, and I know I'm missing some ideas, but generally, it seems that although dwarves revere earth and stone, they don't - or didn't - use ovular rocks in any notable ceremonies."

"I think you're right," Iharu said slowly, flipping a few pages. "Although they did use items made from rock - crowns, anvils, steins, and the like - raw, unsculpted stones were not used."

"So it's not a ritual item..." Akabeko murmured. "Perhaps a maverick spellcaster? Or a dwarf from a different region or culture, a traveler perhaps-"

"Did you know that hearthstones used to be actually chipped off the hearth?" Maurene interrupted, a finger holding her place in Myths of the Eastern Kingdoms. "Can you imagine lugging around a crumbly bit of the family furnace? A family with lots of children probably had no hearth left at all!" She chuckled hoarsely, hunched over the book.

Iharu was halfway through an impressive eyeroll when she remembered something. "I did find a curious tome in the library as well." She extracted a book titled The Big Book of Rocks from her pack and flipped eagerly to the table of contents. "The rock may not have been used in ritual, but it may be connected to some other form of magic!"

"Good point," Akabeko agreed. They each returned to their books. Akabeko mulled over the new information - were the rock some sort of connection to a location or even a person, the emotions it broadcasted could be a conduit for the feelings from or with regard to that place. A token of love, from family or lover, a token of loyalty, perhaps for a king or master. She was about to voice these ideas when Iharu spoke again.

"This book has a brief chapter on hearthstones, the first of which are attributed to the dwarves. Nowadays, they are mass-produced and spelled to connect the holder to the location, but before they used to be made and bestowed with considerable ceremony. Then, there's a 'whimsical origin myth' like it's just a story, but..." the paladin trailed off, eyes flicking to the stone.

"What does it say?" Akabeko prodded.

Iharu began, speaking haltingly as she translated into Orcish, "According to legend, Bryher Stonekeeper ran a prosperous tavern near Loch Modan. His daughter, Keelin, travelled far from home, eventually developing the kind of reputation that embarrassed her father. Bryher made a deal with a gnome warlock to keep his daughter close to home. The warlock turned Keelin into a hearthstone, so that she would always return to the inn."

She raised her eyes to Akabeko's, which were wide with shock. The druid remained silent, looked away, and swallowed.

Oblivious to the chilled silence, Maurene supplied, "They mean because she was sleeping around."

There was no response. Akabeko tugged uncomfortably on a braid.

"You know, like, having sex with a lot of people," Maurene continued helpfully.

"I don't understand," muttered Iharu, shaking her head in disbelief.

"Well, when a man and a woman love each other - although really, it's more like when they feel like it, even if they aren't even married-"

"No, I get that," Iharu interjected irritably. "I mean, I don't understand why that's grounds for death."

"Just like it says, she was having sex with lots of dwarves and it embarrassed her father!" Maurene summarized matter-of-factly.

"Why would her father even care about that?" Iharu cried. "If my father kept track of all my sexual exploits he wouldn't have time for anything else!"

Maurene laughed, a short, dry sound that was more like a bark. "You elves are so fond of your debauchery."

Iharu threw up her hands. "I'd worry about the crippling magic addiction before I'd condemn promiscuous sex!"

They began to argue loudly, but Akabeko remained quiet, gazing at the stone. She felt cold to the core, sick with the roiling combination of rage and sadness. A life, a complete being with thoughts and plans, subjugated by a controlling father, trapped inside an unmoving stone. An inanimate object that would never disobey or embarrass a father was more important than an independent daughter. Were dwarves really so barbaric?

The cacophony of her thoughts blended with the external argument, until she exclaimed, "What am I supposed to do with her-the rock?"

The pair stopped fighting. Maurene began, "We aren't even sure that this is the rock from the tale. It's just a myth, it says!"

"What else could it be?" Iharu countered, "Since when do perfectly ordinary rocks get angry?"

"If the dwarf woman is dead, then it's said and done. But the rock certainly has...unusual characteristics that suggest something of her still lingers. How could I in good conscience throw that away, or lock it up in a cupboard?"

"It's just a rock," repeated Maurene.

"It's not just a rock," Iharu retorted.

There was an expectant pause. Finally, Akabeko reached for the stone and slipped it in to her bag. She felt it hum with curiosity as she closed the small pocket.

"She may not be able to roam freely as she likes, but perhaps accompanying me on my travels may serve as a suitable alternative."

25 May 2011

Day 8: Ten things about Beko

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 7: red cow rise?

1) I am really short. So much so that upon meeting a guildie for the first time, his immediate reaction was "I did not expect someone who plays a tauren to be so small."

2) I am really sensitive to sound. I hate explosive sneezes, cicadas chirping, and other repetitive sounds like constant wind in my ears or humming. Active listening is very important in Japanese, which listeners do by constantly making reactionary noises like Hmm, Oh, really? I see, and so on. Some people are a little...too active, and literally hmmmmmmmm the entire time another person is talking. Sitting through that constant drone always puts me on edge.

3) None of my guildies or RL friends know about this blog. (Or at least, I haven't advertised it to them...)

4) I have never played a male character past level 10. I just can't remember that it's me!

5) I am a huge procrastinator, and since leaving college have almost completely lost my love of learning. Without deadlines, I have a difficult time studying kanji or vocabulary lists. This makes me very sad.

6) I crack my fingers and toes constantly. One day my fingers will probably fall off, but I'll be glad because I'll likely have crippling arthritis at that point.

7) I put on makeup around 3 times a year. That's more frequent than I get my hair cut!

8) If I had discovered Star Trek: Voyager in middle school I would probably have a secret folder of JanewayxChakotay fanfic somewhere on my hard drive.

9) I handwrite almost every post before I type it and publish. This is mostly because I don't get a school-issue laptop and my macbook won't play nice with the wireless, and partially because I genuinely like the feel of writing. Also, my handwriting is totally great, even though I can't write in cursive anymore. I keep all my in-progress posts in a special binder along with my reference sheets for stats, gear, boss strats, and achievement notes.

10) I love showtunes and karaoke. My BFF and I used to get together to play and sing duets. In college, the Japanese club went to karaoke once a month, and we always sang together, although we had to abandon all but the most popular of English songs since the selection was mostly Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.

Go to Day 9: The Hunt Begins

23 May 2011

Goblin journal: Children's Week

Children's Week...it was something I never really put much work into on Kezan. Sure, we had it marked on the calendar, and the orphanage ran events to generate a little coin, but I usually just sent my yearly donation and went on with my life. It's not like we had many Kezan goblins fighting and dying and leaving behind children anyway. Most engineering failures only take one half of parents anyway. I would know! This year, I found out that on the mainland, they really go all out! I followed the flyers to the Orgrimmar orphanage and in short order the Matron had hustled me inside and set me up with a young orc lad named Logal. Kind of makes you wonder what kind of people show up to help - they didn't ask me many questions about myself or my intentions!

Logal was a sweet boy, loud, fun-loving, adventurous, and prone to scratching himself and picking his nose. Rather like me when I was a girl! I liked him immediately. He explained what little he knew of his history: he was born in an internment camp, though liberated before he could really remember it, and his parents killed, mother and then father, fighting in skirmishes for Thrall's Horde.

This is the only button I haven't pushed yet.
The first thing he wanted to do was visit the Rocketway in Azshara. Having spent a fair amount of time using it lately, I was happy to oblige. It's always good to support young minds interested in engineering! I buckled him into the tiny passenger seat on my turbotrike and set off for the secret lab. I was a little worried about night elf bandits, or even just irritable wildlife, so I stuck close to the road and kept an eye out while Logal whooped and shouted at everything we passed. Talk about an aggro magnet! I couldn't imagine intentionally taking a child into active combat...

We made it safely to the end of the Rocketway and walked around for a while checking out the other vehicles on-site. Logal was curious about everything. Only about 80% of the contraptions were even lethal, so the engineers let him run around. When we boarded the rocket, he took the main controls and wasted no time at all experimentally hitting buttons. We shot off along the track, and Logal activated each of the special boosters one by one. At some point we completely disengaged from the track and spun out, but Logal got things under control again in no time. We made it to the nearest access tower out of breath and disheveled. Logal looked pretty pleased with himself. I was so proud of him!

At first I thought I should get him back to the orphanage for the night, but he assured me that the goal was for the kid to spend all his time with an adventurer. I guess if they don't care who's taking kids around, they don't care how they spend their time. We slept at the base of the access tower, Logal bundled in my extra blankets.

The next day was...Cairne Bloodhoof's funeral, if you can believe it. I hadn't been planning to go, but apparently Logal really looked up to the Chieftain and wanted to see him off properly. We returned to Orgrimmar and boarded a zeppelin to Thunderbluff. IT was crowded - it seems that everyone wanted to honor the old tauren. Logal met some other orphans on the ride to swap stories.

In Thunderbluff we hitched a ride on a caravan heading to the burial site. Well, not burial. I don't know much about tauren funerals, but they had Cairne's body wrapped and placed on a bier, surrounded by important possessions, which they burned! Can you imagine how valuable those things must have been?! The mind boggles!

When the rites began, Logal swears he saw old tauren ghosts appear and talk to Cairne, but all I noticed was the wind. At least I think Logal enjoyed it, as much as you can enjoy a funeral. There were people everywhere, including druids, so he stopped trying to pet the "hunter animals" pretty quick.

The funeral went on for a long time, as people celebrated Cairne's memory, so we got a hammock in the inn at Thunderbluff. Singular hammock; it was very crowded. Hammocks aren't really made to sleep two, so I ended up underneath. Only got stepped on once when Logal got up to use the bathroom...

After that was even more travel. We caught an early zeppelin to Orgrimmar, then switched immediately to another headed for the Undercity. Logal wanted to meet Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen. It was both of our first times to visit the Eastern Kingdoms. I was incredibly surprised to see the gloom and fog of Tirisfal Glades. I didn't know what blighted land would look like, but it can be summarized as unnaturally green, smoky, and artfully decayed. The same goes for the Forsaken, and their sewer city! Green and stinky.

We explored the Undercity (and by explored I mean got hopelessly lost). I can't read or understand Gutterspeak, so we were really on the kindness of anyone who could speak Orcish. Finally, a guard agreed to show us the way to the throne room. Although, come to think of it, there wasn't a throne. Maybe undead don't get tired of standing. Sylvanas was nice enough to Logal. He told me later that he had wanted to ask why her body still looked so nice compared to other Forsaken. Probably good that he didn't.

I decided to take the overnight zeppelin back to Orgrimmar. Neither of us were really keen on spending a night in a city inhabited by zombies, Horde or not.

Logal seemed fine after his trip to the Undercity, but I stopped by the new ice cream shop in the goblin slums and got us both a big Cone of Cold. Logal sure enjoyed it, and it made me feel a little more relaxed (not that I would ever admit to being scared of a few Forsaken!). As it turns out, Logal is not good with milk products, so after that rather tense hour I got us some Dragon Kites to play with. Good thing it never rains in Durotar or I might have had to contend with lightning, too!

I definitely developed a soft spot for Logal. He listened eagerly to my adventures on Kezan and the Isles and told me about his life in Orgrimmar. His friends, his fears, his dreams, his favorite toys and games... I forgot what it was like to be a child. He may not have parents to give him the attention that he deserves, but I hope he still manages to hold onto what he wants out of life and get it someday. I would hate to see someone as bright as Logal become a peon.

It was soon time to get Logal back to the orphanage. On the way, I bought another toy, this time a big foam sword rack that all the kids could play with. We set it up outside and let the kids run wild in the street, smacking each other with the brightly-colored weapons. Ah, youth. I was sobered to see goblin children running around amid the orcs. It's not like I didn't intimately understand how they had come to be in Orgrimmar, but still a shock.
Come and take a look at your gift!
Logal disappeared inside, only to return with a colorful snail in tow, which he then shyly offered to me. I felt kind of miserly, accepting a gift from a child too poor to even buy himself new clothes, but the Matron quietly reminded me that the orphanage could not afford to care for both children and their pets.

I did feel a bit sad to leave Logal in the orphanage again. At least he wasn't alone, and I'm sure they get taken care of just fine. Still, I'll put them on my yearly donations list. Maybe I can visit him again sometime!

20 May 2011

Day 7: red cow rise?

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 6: Akadesko

I took a long time deciding on a name for the blog, although this was one of the first names I came up with. Since this is a general gaming blog, I wanted something that suggested the main personality behind it without explicitly declaring a single focus. Red cow comes from Akabeko and creates alliteration with "rise". Rise comes from Thunderbluff, the capital city of Aka's race, and refers to the Hunter, Spirit, and Elder Rises. You could say that the red cow rise is my personal haven in Azeroth.

I write it uncapitalized because I'm flouting the patriarchal standards that dictate writing norms!! Just kidding; it's because I like how the words look all fitting the same height and width. It's more aesthetically pleasing than Red Cow Rise in my opinion. :)

Go to Day 8: Ten things about Beko

16 May 2011

Akabeko the Insane

Insane in the Membrane
Last week, I became officially Insane. I made sure my Insane buddy was online, then turned in the last of my lockboxes. He really deserves a ton of thanks for not only providing advice and motivation, but generously donating his leftover Darkmoon card mats and even farming lockboxes for me!

I wish I had kept track of fun tidbits like gold and time spent doing things. (It's probably good that I did not) I can say that I bought librams for 50g or less and Pristine Black Diamonds for around 100g; I installed Gathered specifically to farm Blood of Heroes, although now I use it for more typical farming.

Bloodsail was my first rep, achieved on September 24, 2009. Then, even though my plan had been to salvage goblin reps first, I procrastinated and had to avoid goblin towns. Gadgetzan bruisers are particularly persistent, for the record. I got frustrated running Dire Maul and switched to pirate massacre, which was not a good idea. Soon I was back in Dire Maul and finished Steamwheedle in record time. Of course, by then I didn't need librams anymore, so I sent them to my Insane buddy and felt like I was helping him at least a little bit.

I leveled inscription and herbalism on a DK to make me Darkmoon cards, and a rogue to farm lockboxes. I made quite a bit of gold from pickpocketing and remember, that's only half I had to farm for myself! I tried one round of half-looting the lockboxes, but I don't recommend it.

My buddy sent me a fun emote macro he made to randomly emote something indicative of his mental state after completing the grind. Although it's old news for a lot of other "the Insane"s out there, I'm still really excited I finally finished this grind! It took over 1 year, 7 months to complete, so I feel like I kind of avoided the Insane-making part. Still, it accomplishes a goal that I planned and executed, and I join the good company of others who have it.

I wonder what the grind is like post-Cata? :)

14 May 2011

Day 6: Akadesko

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 5: Vanity Item Powers, Activate!

Whilst getting my desk in summer-mode, I took the opportunity to get a before and after shot. You'll notice how unusually clean it is after the blankets are removed >_>;;; You may be surprised to learn that I sit on the floor. I have a floor chair and some cushions with no backs, but for the most part sitting on the floor doesn't bother me. The blankets keep the heat from the table heater in during winter, but in summer they are, of course, way too hot. Plus they soak up dust like nobody's business. This is the only place in my one-room apartment that the kotatsu could fit, ever since I got a mattress for my fold-out bed. The table blocks half of my balcony door, but having the space means I don't have to sleep on a futon which makes my hips happy, so it's worth it.

As you can see I have a sweet "dual screen" setup, and some  DIY-fab wrist wrests. What! The edge of the desk is hard on my delicate joints!
Here's the original akabeko, hanging with Capybara-san, a glass angel from Hawaii, and my trusty authenticator.
I forgot to reinstate my gryphon plushie, but at least the pile of keychains is still there.
Go to Day 7: red cow rise?

10 May 2011

[Shared Topic] The next class

This week's Shared Topic at Blog Azeroth comes from Shadowfox of Death Knights Don't Blog, who asks:
What are your ideas for the next class in an upcoming expansion?
It is with great pleasure that I announce the newest class in World of Warcraft. Meet the chell, an inspired and unique combination of pet and totem class. Chells use guns exclusively (after much forum QQ, this will be changed to"all 2-handed weapons"). Their weapons can be modified in a way similar to runeforging by two class-specific buffs known as apertures. Each is a stat buff, combined as the player sees fit.

Chells prioritize intellect, agility, mastery, and spirit. Hit, expertise, and crit are important lesser stats. Their playstyle consists of managing various pet and totem-like abilities and their respective cooldowns, similar to the old 6-9-6-9 paladin cooldown system The three talent trees mimic warlock and mage trees, in that there are three different ranged-dps playstyles, each prioritizing different abilities and pets. These are known as Orange, Blue, and Heart.

Special abilities:

Fall Boots: The chell can fall from any height and avoid fall damage.

Companion Cube: A permanent pet obtained by speccing into the "I'll never abandon you" talent in the Heart tree. The Companion Cube provides a passive DPS buff for those in the chell's party, and provides DPS primarily via creating a jump pad and using it to fling weighted cubes at the target.

GLADoS: A temporary pet replacing the Companion Cube. It provides a DPS-buff aura and casts a special attack which summons confetti and cake. The cake then releases a deadly neurotoxin. This has a 1% chance of wiping the raid (this will also be removed after much QQ).

Turret: The chell can summon up to 2 turrets at a time. Similar to Shaman totems, the colors of the turrets determine what kind of damage or buff they provide.

Rocket Launcher: A channeled ability causing AOE damage.

Incinerator: A targeted ground AOE that causes fire damage.

Laser Beam: A channeled ability that can be directed via a refractor cube.

Light Bridge: A self-shield ability.

Endless Loop: A snare that traps a target in an inescapable portal loop.

Release Cube: A stun that drops a weighted cube on the target's head.

Repulsion Gel: Coats the chell in blue gel that increases her damage.

Propulsion Gel: Coats the chell in orange gel that increases her haste.

Portals are used to move the chell around (similar to a mage's Blink), direct a pet or totem to switch targets, or move an ally or enemy. They are baked directly into chell abilities to avoid spellbar bloat and overusing macros.

Guess what I've been playing lately? Wheatley ILU!!!

09 May 2011

Guest starring on the GGW podcast!

Now that Blogger has deigned to load the compose box for me, I can link you to this week's Girls Gone WoW podcast, a very good podcast in it's own right, and now greatly improved by my fleeting presence! Please check out episode 14 here. Of course, I am too afraid to listen to my own voice, so I'll just fondly remember our conversation, held at 6AM as I hunched over my bowl of Cocoa-kun Crispies. Yeaahhhh.

07 May 2011

Day 5: Vanity item powers, activate!

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 4: Oh, darling

As much as I love random flavor items like the Dancing Brazier or the pony keg, they take up a lot of bagspace, and I often forget to use them. I especially like utility items, like Jeeves or MOLL-E, but in particular I find items that transport you to other places to be fascinating. With wormholes, rings, and tabards, you can plan a trip around load screens rather than flight paths and zeppelins.

I decided to make a list of all the items I knew of that could be used to transport yourself to another location. Please comment if you know of any I missed!

Things to take you home:
The Innkeeper's Daughter (requires 150 archaeology) 
Ethereal Portal (TCG item)
Ruby Slippers (from the Wizard of Oz scene in Karazhan)
Scroll of Recall (requires 25 inscription)
Scroll of Recall II (requires 200 inscription)
Scroll of Recall III (requires 350 inscription)

Things to take you to civilization:
Shroud of Cooperation (requires honored guild rep and A Class Act)
Wrap of Unity (requires honored guild rep and guild level 15)
Cloak of Coordination (requires honored guild rep and Master Crafter)
Signet of the Kirin Tor (one of four stat combinations)
Boots of the Bay (reward from the Kalu'ak Fishing Derby)
Ultrasafe Transporter: Gadgetzan (requires 250 gnomish engineering)
Ultrasafe Transporter: Toshley's Station (requires 350 gnomish engineering)
Dimensional Ripper - Everlook (requires 250 goblin engineering)
Dimensional Ripper - Area 52 (requires 350 goblin engineering)

Things to put you out in the world:
Wormhole Generator: Northrend (requires 415 engineering)
Argent Crusader's Tabard
Blessed Medallion of Karabor (quest reward upon defeating Illidan)
The Schools of Arcane Magic - Mastery
Potion of Deepholm
The Last Relic of Argus (requires 300 archaeology)
Direbrew's Remote (a rare drop from the Brewfest daily boss)
Hellscream's Reach Tabard / Baradin's Wardens Tabard (purchased at honored rep with 40 Tol Barad Commendations

Go to Day 6: Akadesko

06 May 2011

Small Fries

I've, uh, done that Twitter thing, finally. After all my resistance, I'm just too interested in new ways to play online to avoid it any longer! Find me @redcowrise!

Also, I am being interviewed on the Girls Gone WoW podcast at 6am (my time) this Sunday morning. They are a really fun group with laid back podcasts, and they needed ladies to chat at! Hopefully I won't make too much of an ass of myself. Or, best outcome, I do, and you all get to enjoy it!

04 May 2011

The tan epidemic!

Find out what popular items in your bank could harm your alt's leveling experience, tonight at 11!

I don't like using heirlooms, and I am annoyed that they are such great point-sinks for capped toons. Furthermore, I regret the heirlooms I have already bought and can't think of reasons to purchase any more.


I leveled both my paladin and warlock wearing their respective shoulders and weapons. This was two years ago, when the old world was still old and leveling slightly less interesting. Even at the time, it felt pretty OP.

I transferred to Nagrand and rolled a priest and a rogue. The priest inherited the warlock's gear, now including a robe, and the rogue got PVP shoulders and chest. I recently bought PVP shoulders for my hunter and shaman.


Stop and smell the roses

Because of all the heirloom pieces (except for weapons) have an XP bonus, you can get a total of 40% bonus XP gain while leveling. I've talked about my experiences leveling recently, and I can assure you that even in nothing more than a loincloth and party hat you can outlevel your quest chain in no time. Add heirlooms to that mix and you'll be changing zones every 20 minutes, or trudging through grey quest chains.

At the moment, my problem with leveling too fast is that Azeroth recently got a very serious makeover. Quests everywhere were re-imagined and much improved. Things are new and exciting, and I relish my time on lowbie alts as a good way to see the world with fresh eyes. I'm not trying to rush to 85 because I'm more interested in finding out how my old favorite quests have been revamped, and what new ones have been added. I'm not ready to leave Azshara yet, but halfway through the 3 major quest chains and everything is green or grey! I don't need any help leveling at lightspeed because it's so easily done anyway. Manfriend even told me that he avoids logging out in inns now so he doesn't get any rested XP bonus, and he's avoided all heirlooms save the weapon. Even with that, he whispered me on his goblin, "How is it that Azshara has brought me all the way to level 23?"

Are we too OP?

I generally disagree with the elitists who gripe that WoW has become too casual-friendly because 1) allowing for more satisfying gameplay with less time required is a good thing and 2) many of the changes that require 85 mains benefit long-term players.

However, I do think that there is a point at which questing becomes so easy that it's not as fun. This is of course relative not only to different people's opinions, but also individual players' moods. At level 85, Aka has a lot of opportunities to overpower content. It's fun to tromp through Ulduar, remembering the screaming terror of heroic Mimiron at level. It's even more fun to blow through Kara or MC practically auto-following the rest of the group because everything dies before you can get a cast off. Also because you have important facebooking to do. Those things are fun because you know that those raids were a challenge - would still be a challenge if you were at level. Grinding rep, on the other hand, is not a challenge. Mass murdering pirates outside Ratchet would be time-consuming at level, but not challenging. Doing it at 85 is no great feat, comparatively; it merely takes less time. That sort of OP isn't satisfying or fun.

At level, however, I would like at least a little challenge. By level 20 I have a good assortment of spells, and I want to push all the buttons! At level 60 on my rogue, I can hit 3 spells and tab out, secure that the mob will die before I've taken any damage. On my level 20 mage, I can cast 2 spells, and if that doesn't kill the target, my Water Elemental Bubbles' next attack will. I don't want 5 minute fights, where an overpull means certain death, but I would like to use the rotation I have cobbled together!

On the catwalk

The last point may be less important for other people, but it is something I notice. If you wear heirlooms, your outfit never changes. There are some beautiful pieces of gear in the game! Or if not beautiful, at least hilariously terrible. Getting quest gear is a grab-bag of fun, because those pants you get might be barely-there leggings, or the robe an intricately-patterned dress. Changing gear is one of the very few opportunities you have to see your toon look a different way without paying for it.

Not only is changing gear better than being stuck with the same silhouette for 80 levels, but some of the heirlooms are terrible things to be stuck with! The skull caster shoulders and staff look wonderfully demonic on my warlock, but on a priest they are out of place. DKs don't look at home in gleaming silver and gold plate. The PVP leather shoulders are pointy and ugly (there, I said it).


The good news is that if you don't care about
  1. reading quests,
  2. following quest chains,
  3. playing dressup, or
  4. occasionally being challenged by mobs,
you will love blowing through content with a full set of heirlooms. If the only use of a character is for level 85 content (or farming lockboxes in lonely Burning Steppes), then heirlooms are the best choice for the job.


So what do you think? Do you use heirlooms? Why do you like or dislike them? How many do you have, and where do you store them when done leveling? Should I get over myself and deck all of my alts out in full heirlooms??

01 May 2011

Day 4: Oh, darling

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 3: A wild noob appears!

My best WoW memory is the friendship I had with the pally healer from my first guild. We were great friends and talked frequently via text when not playing. At the time, my RL Horde friend and I referred to each other as "darling", and since I had become accustomed to using it, I used it on the pally as well. To differentiate, he became mandarling. We shared the joys and sorrows of our days, made inappropriate comments in gchat, and delighted in /RW spam. (I miss /RW in party chat SO. MUCH.)

In game we had incredible synergy as healers. He and I two-healed everything our guild raided up to the Ulduar-era, partially because no one else wanted to heal, and partially because there was never a need for a third healer. When pugging, we would link the healing meters to each other, laughing as we dominated more than half of the healing split between three. (*toot toot* that's my horn) We were an unbeatable team, and I miss not only his companionship but the joy of healing something considered beyond your ability, especially in a casual raid setting. Since then, I have yet to connect to someone as well as I did with my pally friend.

Go to Day 5: Vanity item powers, activate!