28 September 2011

Gratuitous Post of Yourself (GPOY)

Time for a gratuitous Beko post! I mostly disappeared under a rock in August, but now that the weather is (slowly!) cooling off and I no longer feel physically compelled to watch the next episode of TNG (just kidding, and now I am also engrossed in BSG) I have been getting back into my WoW groove.

I actually started doing my dailies again, which means I finally finished up my Molten Front chunk of achievements and got my sweet new mount! I really wish you didn't have to do so many intro dailies just to get to the final stage each day. I just wanna help my birdie buddies! (By the by, did you know that if you jump off the edge near the Talon druids, they will catch you and fly you to the other side? Don't ask how I know this!)


I am nearly finished leveling JC on my paladin, although it is someone hampered by the mountain of items I craft and then need to DE, AH, or straight up vendor. Now I'm scrounging for more blue WOTLK gems to push myself into Cata levels. I saved a lot of grief by having some honor lying around which I used to by patterns from Wintergrasp - although I did have to wait days for it to change hands. On my bank alt, I'm trying to keep up with my humble bag and pet business, which is a slow and steady sort of race. Especially when every other month or so some asshole crashes the netherweave bags market! I also have been wanting to play my mage, but since I'm so behind on the Goblin Journal entries, I'm holding off.


What an interesting and long-awaited development! It's definitely teamed up with Void Storage to cause me plenty of heartache. A guildie asked me what I would do with Beko's outfit; to be honest, I have no idea! I do have a fair amount of sets in my banks, lovingly collected and assembled into the most fashionable of druid leathers. But which to wear? Whatever I don't wear will likely go into storage along with my rare tabards and priceless artifacts. But, knowing me, I'll want to change my look more often, since I'll still be wearing my actual gear anyway. Then again, will I be able to appreciate the current tier's look if I cover it up with T3? DECISIONS. Even more troubling is the wealth of nontier gear sets available to me. There are so many blogs providing good resources and lists for gear. Too many options!!

The one thing I don't understand is the ban on legendaries. I get that legendaries are freaking hard to get. But so is grinding old gear! Most of my MC rep grind was done alongside gear and legendary chasers - we both spent a bajillion hours grinding various drops. I even helped them with other parts of questlines! So why can I show off my Cenarion duds, and the guy with Thunderfury has to leave it in the bank?


Speaking of tier gear. So I know that the inspiration this time around is "wear your new Cataclysm class spell." Unless of course you're a warrior in which case it's "look like a total fucking badass because YOU ARE DEATHWING." It's not that I think the spell being translated into gear is a bad idea, and in fact it could be a very awesome idea, but when you're compared to THE DESTROYER himself it comes up a little short. Warriors get to look like they ripped off Deathwing's armor plates and bolted them to their bodies, and druids look like they just got dug out of a lakebed in Zangarmarsh. I don't know. Tell me how to like this new tier!


Worgen are getting some horses to ride! I guess that means they don't have to do that awkward hunched over running business anymore. I think you know how I feel about mounts, so I have no problem with this addition. I am a little disappointed in the model they used, however. Sure, worgen are former humans, but couldn't their horses be even a little different? Maybe I can finally get my worgen past level 13 and get her a mount too.


So it looks like I will still be missing Wednesday night, the first day of our weekly raiding schedule, due to scheduling conflicts. That sucks a lot, but at least I think I'll be able to make it to Thursday, Sunday, and Monday if everything works out. Having missed so many raid nights for the past few months has left me feeling a little overwhelmed with my character progression. Although I did take the time to make myself a gear list, I haven't been paying very close attention to it, so even when I finished my dailies grind I had to be reminded to check for gear upgrades. Bad Beko, no cookie. :( At least we are very close to downing Rags (having 2-shot Majordomo, which felt a little cheap to me) so hopefully I can be present for that.

The new raids, however, hnnnggg. The pictures look so ominous and amazing. I really love that we are returning to Northrend, especially since all of the changes to the world took place on Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Despite, you know, Northrend being part of Azeroth. A few bosses have pretty good backstory, as well. In Firelands I felt genuinely interested in Alysrazor, Staghelm, and Ragnaros, and all the other bosses were just fiery pixels with sweet loot. Reading the stories for the the new raid, however, I feel like a higher percentage have a good story or reason to be involved. I'm looking forward to doing the new heroics as well! (Nozdormu wants us to destroy a "mysterious dragon known as Murozond"? GEE WHATEVER COULD THAT MEAN)

One thing that feels unfinished, however is a final encounter with Neptulon in some capacity or another. So far, we have taken care of the air and fire elemental lords, and made an ally of the earth. We need some conclusion with water! Especially since the last time we saw him, he was being carried off for who knows what nefarious purposes! Maybe the Neptulon conclusion can be the awkward little raid that will be smushed in the downtime between Dragon Soul and the next expansion.


OMG. YOU GUYS. First off, I expect a bottle of champagne and some complimentary minipets the moment I get to the Faire, due to my exceptional relationship with Darkmoon. I'm so so glad they decided to expand this fun little flavor event. The Faire always seemed like this random, forgotten event that cropped up every once in a while and was important to the small percentage of people who either want to go Insane or get their fleeting BiS trinket. Now, there will hopefully be more intriguing and consistent reasons to visit, and it's fun carny atmosphere can last all year round!

25 September 2011

Brewfest: Drink! Brawl! Drink! Brawl!

Back for a refill? Here is the second part of my Brewfest research:

If you haven't become a bierleichen (beer corpse) and still have your legs under you, grab the quest resulting from your successful defense from the Dark Iron attack and turn it in to get some Brewfest Prize Tokens! If you want to take the fight to the man responsible, queue up for the daily dungeon. Each day you fight Coren Direbrew, you will be awarded with a rare-quality Keg-Shaped Treasure Chest that potentially contains a rare item such as Direbrew's Remote, a Great Brewfest Kodo, a Swift Brewfest Ram, the Tremendous Tankard O' Terror, or Direbrew's Bloodied Shanker. Defeating Coren at level 85 awards justice points, gold, and a chance at the following: Coren's Chilled Chromium Coaster, Petrified Pickled Egg, Mithril Stopwatch, Brawler's Trophy, Bitterer Balebrew Charm, Bubblier Brightbrew Charm (say those 5 times fast!). Be sure to actually loot the body the first time you fight him during the holiday for the quest item!

By doing the many quests associated with the holiday, you can save up your tokens for fabulous prizes! First, let's look at the sweet duds you can get. There are 4 colors of Brewfest Hats, which resemble the Tiroler Hüte. Since goat hair was very expensive, the more hair in the tuft on the hat, the wealthier the wearer. I guess all of us hat-wearing folks are pretty fancy! Brewfest Regalia is based on an outfit of shirt, suspenders, and lederhosen, completed with Brewfest Boots. The Brewfest Dress and Brewfest Slippers are based on the dirndl, apron, and shoes. If you are looking for a fashionable and useful piece of headgear, switch out your Brewfest Hat for a pair of Eyesight Enhancing Romance Goggles.

Lederhosen and dirndl
After buying your festive costume and Brew of the Month club membership, you may have some leftover tokens for the Pony Keg, Keg Pony, or Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm. The Pachyderm is a minipet similar to the Pink Elekks you have to zap for a quest, and like that Elekk, can only be seen by players when they are intoxicated. The concept of "seeing pink elephants" as an alcohol-induced hallucination was originally written about in an autobiography when describing a drunkard: "the man whom we all know [...] who sees, in the extremity of his ecstasy, blue mice and pink elephants. He is the type that gives rise to the jokes in the funny papers." Perhaps the cutest of all the references is from Dumbo, when the titular elephant takes a drink of champagne and has a vision of Pink Elephants on Parade.

The other minipet for this holiday is the Wolpertinger, which comes as a reward from a quest. Although you always receive the same pet every year, it is now vendorable so you don't have to feel bad destroying the tankard. A wolpertinger is a creature from Bavarian folklore said to live in the alpine forests. It typically has wings, antlers, fangs, and a tail attached to the body of a rabbit or squirrel. The best way to catch a wolpertinger is for a beautiful woman to expose her breasts to it, causing it to become intoxicated. It is similar to the North American jackalope, which humorously is also fabled to be lured by leaving out whiskey, intoxicating it and making it easier to pursue.

nom nom nom
So you've done all the quests and played dressup, which must have made you hungry, right? Oktoberfest has a slew of mouthwatering foods, from chicken to pork to bread to fish to cabbage to cheese. I'm hungry just thinking about it. Brewfest features a surprising array of food, some of it year-round fare and some of it holiday-specific. The cheese vendor will sell you Spiced Onion Cheese (obatzda), the bread vendor will sell you The Essential Brewfest Pretzel (brezn), and the sausage vendor will set you up with sausages of all kinds: Dried (the icon makes it look like Beutelwurst), Succulent, Savory, Pickled, Spicy Smoked, and The Golden Link (likely Gelbwurst). Brewfest is missing other kinds of meat like fish and chicken, and also sauerkraut.

As far as drinks go, Brewfest has you covered for all kinds of fermented fun. The Thunderbrew vendor can set you up with their Stout and Ale, along with Thunder 45. Their Barleybrew rivals offer Clear, Light, and Dark. T'chali's Voodoo has an interesting (troubling?) selection of Brewdoo Magic, Jungle River Water, and Stout Shrunken Head. Drohn's Distillery has significantly less amusingly-named beer: Small Step Brew, Long Stride Brew, and Path of Brew. Last but not least are the Gordok ogres with their Mudder's Milk, Gordok Grog, and Ogre Mead.

The Brew of the Month Club keeps you swimming in bubbles all year round. Looking at the buffs (or debuffs) that drinking each provides, we can guess at what some of them are referencing.
January - Wild Winter Pilsner - The Beast Within
* Triple Rock Winter Pilsner is brewed in California
February - Izzard's Ever Flavor - Gassy
* a combination of Willy Wonka's Everlasting Gobstoppers and his Fizzy Lifting Drinks; Iz'zard is an ethereal in Shatt'rath whose body is pink in homage of comedian Eddie Izzard
March - Aromatic Honey Brew - Honey Touched
* Honey is typically used in mead, but also for some beers
April - Metok's Bubble Bock - Bloated
* Maibok or Helles bock, a more carbonated springtime beer
May - Springtime Stout - Flower Child
* hippies! (E. S. Kelley's Springtime Stout is a discontinued beer)
June - Blackrock Lager - Internal Combustion
* referencing the location of Blackrock and similar drinks like the Sulfuron Slammer; some lagers are so dark they are called "black beer"
July - Stranglethorn Brew - Jungle Madness!
* Welcome to the jungle, indeed
August - Draenic Pale Ale - Summon Pink Elekk Guardian
* Delirium Tremens Beer, a pale ale featuring a pink elephant on the label
September - Binary Brew - Speak goblin/gnomish binary
* Binary Brew is a blog devoted to brewing
October - Autumnal Acorn Ale - Watched
* Acorn Brewery is a brewing company, and this thread explores using acorns in brewing
November - Bartlett's Bitter Brew - Nauseous
* There are several Bartlett's in Azeroth, 3 human and 3 undead. My guess would be Daniel Bartlett, since he is a trade supplier, and I would definitely describe the forsaken as "bitter"; Bitter is a type of pale ale, with variations of session/ordinary bitter, best/regular bitter, and premium/strong bitter.
December -  Lord of Frost's Private Label - Chilled
* Who knew Ahune brewed his own beer?

22 September 2011

Brewfest: Someone try this super brew!

Do you like beer? I know who does - the citizens of Azeroth! Brewfest is a dwarven-centric holiday coinciding with the Bavarian Oktoberfest. It begins in late September and continues for 16 to 18 days, up until the first Sunday of October. In keeping with the festival it mimics, Brewfest is a "time to enjoy the fermented fruits of the harvest: pretzels, cheese, and booze!" It features a wide variety of themed food and drink, festive clothing, minipets, daily quests, fun vanity items, and a daily boss dropping level 85 loot.

Oktoberfest began in 1810 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It was originally in the month of October, but was moved back to September to take advantage of nicer weather. Now, the end coincides with German Unity Day on October 3rd. It is held in Theresienwiese, shortened to Wiesn, and is the world's largest fair. Appropriately, Brewfest holds the Guiness World Record for the Largest Virtual Beer Festival. In Azeroth, revelers should go to Orgrimmar or Ironforge to participate in the main events, but all major cities feature beer gardens outside, and one quest requires traveling to each.

Since its creation, Oktoberfest has expanded to include an agricultural festival, horse racing event, a parade, and an official opening ceremony with the first keg-tapping by the incumbent Mayor. Horse racing has since been removed from actual Oktoberfest, but Brewfest incorporates these elements with reference to the previously mentioned "fermented fruits of the harvest," quests involving Ram Racing (no doubt in honor of the booze-loving dwarves, rather than human horse mounts), and a speech, followed by a keg-tapping at 6:15 AM and PM by Gelbin Mekkatorque or Vol'jin. Being present for this event rewards a 2 hour, 10% experience buff.

Brewmaiden! Beer me!
Only beer brewed within Munich city limits is allowed to be served at Oktoberfest, and one beer is chosen as the official Oktoberfest beer. These seasonal beers are unique in that they contain more sugar and have a higher alcohol content (from 5.8 to 6.3%) than typical beers. Over 30 breweries and other vendors set up tents to feature their fare during Oktoberfest, and we can similarly find Brewfest-only food and drink that will disappear after the holiday ends. Brewfest features 5 different breweries: Drohn's Distillery (orc), T'chali's Voodoo (troll), Barleybrew (dwarf), Thunderbrew (dwarf), and the neutral Gordok (ogre) Brew Vendors. Strangely, the Shatt'rath Brewfest tents have a neutral goblin who will sell Thunderbrew to Horde players, but the Drohn's vendor present will not sell to Alliance players. Ogre vendors will sell to both factions regardless of location.

Oktoberfest photos from here.
The Weisn area is populated with tents, 14 large and 20 small. To give you an idea, large tents can seat anywhere from 1000 to 8500 people inside, and up to 3500 outside. Small tents can seat up to 450 inside. Each has a unique atmosphere created by the music, food, drink, and special events that attracts patrons. Brewfest has no seating to speak of, but it is festively decorated with each distillery's tent and related keg, revelers of all races, and assorted tents for other food, drink, or quests. Players can use their commemorative beer stein to sample the distillery brew, even if it's technically a higher level. Of course, the penalty for this is immediate vomiting. Drinking from the kegs does not count for the related drink achievement. The kegs can be sampled by cross-faction players if you are so inclined. The distillery kegs are very important, not only because they provide samples, but also because they are frequently under attack from Dark Iron Dwarves!

That's right; the Dark Iron are still dwarves after all, and they can't stand to see the law-abiding Horde and Alliance citizens enjoying an alcohol-related festival without them. I wonder what Moira has to say about this? Anyway, every 30 minutes, they erupt from the ground in their dastardly mole machines and immediately begin an assault on the three supply kegs in the festival grounds. Players can fight back by grabbing mugs off the sample tables, chugging them (it's a sin to waste alcohol!), and chucking the empty mug into the fray. Don't worry, there's no need to aim or reload; revelers will helpfully toss you a refilled mug, and using the item in your bag will automatically drain it and chuck it at the nearest Dark Iron. The attackers have an incredibly irritating knockback, so try to stay out of the fray, unless of course you see a massive tankard on the ground! Walking over this will provide you with a buff, in which you spin uncontrollably and stun any Dark Iron you run into, making it easier for your comrades to pick them off from the sidelines. Fortunately, this is for game-related purposes only, as Oktoberfest has no intentional brawling or attacks.

This holiday awards a total of 11 achievements for 110 achievement points. WoW Insider and Wowhead have their very detailed and helpful guides up for this year, so get started early and start collecting tokens! Saz has a wonderful list of things you can win, buy, or otherwise hoard here. Bottoms up!

This article became so long that I split it into two!

19 September 2011

Pirate's Day: Avast, me hearties!

September 19th do be designated as Talk Like a Pirate Day. It was created in 1995 by John Baur and Mark Summers after livenin' up a racquetball game with some scurvy pirate lingo. After celebratin' quietly fer several years, they decided t' write t' humor writer Dave Barry for a signal boost. He wrote an article about their holiday, and it exploded from thar, because as he so astutely noted: "talking like a pirate will infuse your everyday conversations with romance and danger."

In WoW, Pirate's Day do be the Azerothian equivalent, with the Dread Captain DeMeza, the Scourge o' the South Seas, invadin' Booty Bay fer one day only. Players can speak t' her t' be transformed into a Dread Corsair and temporarily join the crew for the one related holiday achievement. John and Mark do be present as secondary characters under their respective nicknames: Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy. Captain DeMeza do be most likely a reference to the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, although thar be very little information about her.

Here be the section about Linguistic Background from the TLAPD wikipedia entry:

Actor Robert Newton, who specialized in portraying pirates, especially Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney film Treasure Island, and in the 1954 Australian film Long John Silver, and as the title character in the 1952 film Blackbeard, the Pirate, is described as the "patron saint" of Talk Like A Pirate Day. Newton was born in Dorset and educated in Cornwall, and it was his native West Country dialect, which he used in his portrayal of Long John Silver and Blackbeard, that some contend is the origin of the standard "pirate accent".

The archetypal pirate grunt "Arrr!" (alternatively "Rrrr!" or "Yarrr!") first appeared in fiction as early as 1934 in the film Treasure Island starring Lionel Barrymore, and was used by a character in the 1940 novel Adam Penfeather, Buccaneer by Jeffrey Farnol. However it was popularized and widely remembered with Robert Newton's usage in the classic 1950 Disney film Treasure Island. It has been speculated that the rolling "rrr" has been associated with pirates because of the location of major ports in the West Country of England, drawing labor from the surrounding countryside. West Country speech in general, and Cornish speech in particular, may have been a major influence on a generalized British nautical speech. This can be seen in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance, which is set in Cornwall; although the play did not (originally) use the phrase "arrr", the pirates used words with a lot of rrr's such as "Hurrah" and "pour the pirate sherry".
Keep in mind that there do be many a swashbuckler lookin' fer PVP on the high seas. T' talk to the Dread Captain, assign a keybind t' yer Interact With Target command. That way, ye can salute the captain without firin yer cannons at another player. Arrrr!

16 September 2011

The Leatherworkers [Tier 11]

Crouched behind a prickly bush, the orc shifted with a grace surprising for her bulk. "'How much worse could it get?' he had to ask," she grumbled to herself as she moved quietly. A nettle poked into her side. Blowing out a soft breath, she tried to settle into stillness again.

Across the clearing, her companion was just barely visible as a dark shadow in a small cluster of shrubs. He was much closer to the trap they had set. The meat had long since begun to collect flies, and the fruit stank unapologetically. Fortunately, despite the sun, the upper reaches of Mount Hyjal remained cool even in summer.

Minutes passed. The orc was slowly stretching a limb cramped from hours of waiting when she first heard the shuffling in the trees. After more scritching and snuffling, an enormous bird entered the clearing and went curiously to the pile of food. Neither of the leatherworkers moved as it circled the offering, sniffed appreciatively, and began to eat.

The first time the orc had seen this kind of bird, she had laughed despite herself. Completely land-bound, with stubby wings on an enormous body, and two long, powerful legs, the bird was quite a sight. It was prized for its lovely - and more importantly - magical blue feathers. This one had not been plucked in quite a while and looked relatively normal. The orc kept her face grim, remembering the feel of the bird's foot cracking into her ribs as she cackled helplessly that first time.

Suddenly, the tauren exploded out of his hiding place, armed with ropes to net and truss their quarry. The orc sprang into action as well, helping him wrestle the bird to the ground and tie knots. After several breathless minutes, the tauren was sitting securely astride the subdued creature, which was hissing and scrabbling ineffectually with its claws. Even with his steel-enforced leather gloves, the tauren kept his hands well behind the creature's snapping beak.

"Now for the fun part," the orc said dryly. She reached across the tauren, separating the silken feathers. After a moment, she selected one, held her breath, and gave a sharp tug.

The bird squawked indignantly and began thrashing anew. The tauren rode this out patiently, checked the ropes were not fraying, and kept the head under control. The orc was already looking for another suitable feather. Another tug, another squabble. An hour passed before the orc had enough feathers for one piece. She sat back on her heels and exhaled, but stood and began gathering her materials when she saw the miserable tauren still astride the equally miserable bird.

The feathers were pressed carefully between two oiled strips of cloth, then wrapped awkwardly in a stiff leather roll. This she slung on her back before summoning her mount - a harnessed wind rider trailing a curious sling. The orc draped the sling around her companion and tightened the securing straps. She climbed onto the mount before asking, "Ready?"

He merely grunted, and she guided the wind rider into a low hover. The straps to the sling pulled taut, and the tauren grunted again as he was awkwardly tugged up and down. "Hate this part," he muttered, and began to saw tiny cuts into the rope. Immediately, the bird resumed struggling, snapping several restraints. "Getting the head..." he called, then quickly slashed the primary restraint and threw himself away from the bird. At the same time, the orc spurred the wind rider up, and it lifted both from harm's way. Incensed, the bird sprang to its feet and snapped at them as they skimmed above the trees.

The tauren bellowed in irritation and shouted, "It clipped my hoof!"

13 September 2011


Yesterday was my one year blogiversary! It comes at an awkward time, when I haven't been playing very much lately due to a ridiculously busy summer schedule followed by a nearly uncontrollable urge to work on my current writing project (alas, it is not for this blog). I've also been making my way through Star Trek: The Next Generation, although when I get my cable for my fancy new TV even that won't stop me! The one good thing about taking a break is that now that I'm getting back into it everything feels fresh and new again.

As an unintentional gift, my Harvest Festival post was recently linked on WoW fucking Insider, which I discovered when I went to check the stats on my blog for this very post. So, thanks guys! Hope any new visitors learned something!

Perhaps it's cliche, but I have definitely learned a lot over the year, and I have some favorites from my trip down memory lane:

  • My various note-worthy achievements
  • The Goblin Journal series: I didn't think that Sprinkie's stories would amuse me so much, but they have quickly become one of my favorite pieces to write
  • The 2 memes I participated in were really fun, both as group projects and as a constant source of writing prompts
  • The mostly-solemn and rather personal snippets from Akabeko's life
  • The wonderfully creative Shared Topics suggested by bloggers at Blog Azeroth
  • Being interviewed on both Girls Gone WoW! and Waffle Bites

In general, I'm really glad to have a place to post my deep warcraft thoughts and share my triumphs (and screenshots!). I'm even more pleased that people are actually reading!

I tried googling various permutations of "blogiversary + event + celebrate" but all I got were pictures of cupcakes and contest giveaways. Sadly, I don't have anything worth giving away, but if you drop me a comment with a post request, I'll come up with one for you, too! Barring that, ask me any question you like!

Some stats from the year: 141 published posts, 5 pages, 284 comments (about half of them mine), 22,262 all-time pageviews, 10,870 US viewers, 40% Firefox users

11 September 2011

Goblin Journal: A dream come true

I skipped out on the summons to Stonetalon Mountains and returned to Orgrimmar to get ready for my trip to Booty Bay. There were auctions to manage, training to catch up on, and networking to be done. Aside from collecting my auction earnings, I generally avoided the non-goblin areas of Orgrimmar. Then again, it's filthy and smelly and even though it makes my heart clench with longing for home... I don't want to be there. We've set up little more than shacks and patchy tents - that's fine for roughing it in the country! - but we are better than that. I want us to get our collective act together and make something more of what remains of the Bilgewater Cartel!

While I was in the city I got another surprising piece of news - a candidate interested in apprenticeship! I had gotten a fairly decent stream of applications after posting my advertisement, but most failed in the early stages. Then, since revealing myself as an environmentalist, the apps have all but dried up. Until now! She's young, surprisingly so, but she survived the exodus from Kezan and the Isles and has been befriending animals in the Barrens or something. I know, kind of weird (and here I can barely get on with my water elemental), but she has a good head for figures that can only improve with age. That, and I'm low on options. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to meet her before I left for Ratchet, so I'll have to make my initial assessments based on her written responses.

The trip to Ratchet was uneventful. I managed to catch a caravan from the city gates to the Southfury River that borders the Barrens. We passed through much of the surrounding marshland and I was glad I hadn't tried to take my trike through that. The orcs told me that it had all been desert, but the Cataclysm caused the river to flood. All that standing water baking in the sun stinks!

At the river crossing, I had the option of driving my trike through the Barrens, following the road to the Crossroads and then to Ratchet, or shelling out for passage on a tugboat downstream. The prices were outrageous, but my good mood meant I only haggled a little. Soon, we were chugging along at a good clip, watching the banks rush by and wildlife wander aimlessly about. When the sun set, the passengers went belowdecks and awoke to sounds from the docks. I like the water just fine, but mostly from a looking perspective and not from a pitching, rolling boat perspective, so I decided to spend the day in Ratchet and set sail for Booty Bay in the evening, when all the sailing would be done overnight.

Ratchet is one of the cities run by the Steamwheedle Cartel, so I was eager to see how they do business. Although most of the main tasks - auctioneering, banking, vendoring - were managed by goblins, there were a handful of other races managing their affairs. Although they are a neutral faction, many goblins were half-wary of my affiliation with what has traditionally been their major competition. I stopped asking questions about their trade and tried to just soak in the atmosphere.

Then there was another boat ride, which my stomach is begging me not to remember. But, soon after that! I was stepping off the boat onto the docks at the famed port city of Booty Bay. It was...glorious. How can I even describe it, Journal? I must have stood there gaping for years while the dock exploded with workers hauling cargo to and from the ships. The docks reek of fish - it gets better as you go further into the buildings - but the whole city is covered in a permanent aura of salt. That's relatively familiar, although I am continually surprised by the lack of underlying smog.

Because it's built against a long, rocky coast directly over the sea, the buildings have mostly grown up along the cliff rather than out. I stayed on the ground level at first, wandering aimlessly from shop to shop. I haggled, bartered, and negotiated with the best, and even picked up some new tricks! There are enough skilled vendors to make any goblin sigh. Weaving through them are guards - Booty Bay Bruisers, they call them. These toughs really drive home the fact that this is a pirate town. I've always considered my business a fair one, but what with all of this roughing it as a mage, I'm beginning to wonder just how pirate-y I've become.

And yet, they seem a little more open than Ratchet. I found myself in the inn for a drink and a chat, and once they recognized I was a mage from my robes, I was swamped with quests! I'll never turn down a parchment if it guarantees gold - or something of equivalent worth - but I held off leaving until I had really explored the city.

Then, it was down to business. Pirate business. I met with Baron Revilgaz (who, by the way, is the only man to make me reconsider relationship of a romantic nature), and he immediately set me to infiltrating the Bloodsail Buccaneers. I had to do all manner of menial tasks to rise enough to get close to the information and people that I needed, but fortunately I'm not so old that I can't swab a deck or dive for clams! The longer I was among the Bloodsail, the more relaxed I became about my treachery being discovered. The most terrifying moment was when they asked me to bring them the head of Fleet Master Seahorn. We had to sacrifice one of the milk cows to get a tauren lookalike head, but the Bloodsail know so little about tauren it worked like a charm.

When I finally returned to Booty Bay to warn the Baron about the impending attack, I was significantly greener than when I left. Working abovedecks all day will do that! We dispatched of the attackers with few casualties, and I got to spend my evening dining with the Baron himself. I'll leave the rest to your imagination, Journal...

07 September 2011

Harvest Festival: Honor the Fallen

WoW’s take on a Harvest Festival is an interesting departure from most other versions. It is for the residents of Azeroth to “set aside time to honor the memories of the fallen and to pay tribute to those whose memories are most dear.” In keeping with the name, celebrants eat many foods associated with the harvest in the west. There is a short quest to honor said memories of the fallen.

The Harvest Festival in WoW, spanning a week in September, coincides with the Mid Autumn Festival (also called the Moon Festival or Zhongqiu Festival) in China and Vietnam, and Chuseok in Korea. Although harvest festivals are celebrated in the west, none appear to be as big an event as those in China, Vietnam, and Korea. The point of the celebration, as suggested by the name, is to recognize the autumnal equinox, the harvest moon, a successful crop harvest, and the coming change in seasons. In Azeroth, however, we honor Uther Lightbringer for his many and varied contributions to defending justice and the Light, and Grom Hellscream for his bravery in confronting and defeating Mannoroth, thus relieving the orcs of their blood curse. The Harvest Festival in WoW, although timed to coincide with seasonal and agricultural events, makes zero reference to them. It is a memorial holiday.

The Mid Autumn Festival features many elements that recognize the moon, namely with the folktale of Chang’e and Houyi. In one version, they are immortals living in heaven who are banished to Earth. Houyi, wanting to return to heaven, commissions a pill that will restore their immortality. Although only half is needed to regain immortality, Chang'e becomes curious about it and accidentally swallows the whole thing. She then floats to heaven and lands in the moon, where she found companions in the resident jade rabbit and woodcutter. Vietnam has a similar story about a man who is whisked away to the moon, so children on Earth light lanterns to guide him back. Lanterns are also common decorations in China, and moon-viewing is a popular activity. Mooncakes and pomelos are typical fare, and Dragon or Lion Dances are performed. Chuseok focuses less on the moon and more on the harvest, along with ancestor worship. Many people return to their hometowns and feast on special dishes. They also visit family graves to offer food, drink, and the year’s crops. The origin for Chuseok has been attributed to either the harvest moon or a military victory, which could possibly tie in to the Azerothian version, however thinly. At least Azeroth's version focuses on ancestors and making offerings. Western celebrations of the harvest differ by country. Canada and the US celebrate thanksgiving festivals later in the year which have religious origins but are celebrated nationally as a secular holiday, whereas the British harvest celebration remains religious. Western harvest festivals feature feasting and worship.

Azeroth's Harvest Festival feast table draws from the western version, in that the foods mimic typical fare one might find on a Thanksgiving table. Players can partake of Harvest Boar, Harvest Fish, Harvest Bread, and Harvest Nectar while seated at a feast table outside of a major city, and upon completing the one holiday quest Honoring a Hero, they receive a cornucopia that conjures food similar to that of the feast. Players are very much encouraged to give thanks; the only disconnect is that they are giving thanks to one of their faction's major heroes rather than the farmers who produced the meal they are enjoying. The items that players leave behind reflect their race: orcs - bottles, troll - white candle, tauren - totem, forsaken - black candle, blood elf - vase; human - roses, dwarf - stein, gnome - gadget, night elf - purple candle, draenei - relic.

This holiday has no repeatable or achievement components, so it's a very relaxed way to get into the swing of the later months, which are chock-full of busy holidays in Azeroth. If you're looking to buff up your food and drink achievements, be sure to drop by and sample from the feast table outside of Orgrimmar and Ironforge, and don't forget to do your faction quest and receive your required reading! (BONUS: the Horde book is written entirely in haiku!)

04 September 2011

Day 15: A Fairy Tale Image

Thus concludes Saz of World of Saz's Through Your Interface: 15 Days of Screenshots challenge. You can find more participants here.

See Day 14: Place Swap

Thank you for indulging my month of relaxed posting! I had a lot of fun thinking about appropriate screenshots for each prompt.

02 September 2011

Day 14: Place Swap

Thus continues Saz of World of Saz's Through Your Interface: 15 Days of Screenshots challenge. You can find more participants here.

See Day 13: A Fond Memory

I realize I am probably going to tauren hell for this, but if I could switch places with one of my characters, I would probably switch with my night elf. She's a priest, but in this case I might make her a druid >_> The reasons are many: she is tall, which is something I have never been, and the night elf is a more appealing model than the human. The Alliance overall has more appealing faction cities where I would like to live. Night elves live for a long time, which means plenty of adventuring, and they also have sweet face tattoos and really ripped arms. Here are some fun adventures Littleclover has had over the years:
Yeah this is a little angsty actually.
Having a nice chat with my BFF's guild charter-signing level 1
Getting all the achievements.
A neat shot captured by Multishot (25 Fish)
Go to Day 15: A Fairy Tale Image