Tag Archive: blogazeroth


Stays together!

Hey guys, it’s just me, Tarinae from A Healadin’s Tear bringing Sionel and all of her readers the Christmas gift of blogging goodness! Sadly, I will admit that I had not stumbled across this blog before but that is the best part in participating in events like Secret Santa, I always find more to add to that overflowing reader of mine! While I was sifting through the older posts to see how I wanted to approach this, I noticed a couple of topics kept reoccurring…guilds & PUGs.

Being a guildmaster brings a certain level of responsibility, you could call it expectations if you want; you have to ensure the solidarity of your guild the best you can. What I have discovered I revealed to you in the title…The guild that plays together, stays together.

I don’t mean that you only play with your guildmates or that every living moment you’re logged in, you are in the guild. But what I have noticed is that most people, trolls excluded, join a guild for the sense of community that develops within them and you cannot have this without trying to do things as a guild…together.

Learning content, wiping, succeeding, looting, achievements and so much more mean something different when you were working with friends and not “gogogo” or “zomg pull moar!” which is the type of scenario that Wrath birthed.

PUGs at the moment are on a unprecedented level…they’re challenging but the world is full of QQ, because 85% of the world doesn’t out-gear them yet; the debate rages on with the fact that a portion of the Azerothian population feel Wrath was too easy and want something new, but the remaining fraction still wishes that Cataclysm is a repeat of Wrath.

Wrath bred a new breed of WoW players that expect this game to be significantly easy, less challenging and leaves out the long-lost and long-loved mechanics like Crowd Control. But you can avoid this irritation; you can get what you want out of heroics or instances just by running with your guild…because they’re like-minded. They’re a community of people that see the same things in WoW that you do…that’s why you’re in it, right?

But it doesn’t even have to be the latest end-game content that you’re running; it doesn’t have to be a wipefest because… there is a whole world of expansions past that now offer guild achievements that you can run together. You don’t feel that heavy burden to PUG those last 2 two spots for Molten Core because your guild can handle it and your guild is going to have fun.

But hey, you don’t even have to run instances or raids to build a strong community of guildmates and friends. I am a strong believer in parties…Winter Veil parties…Hallow’s End parties…nothing is better than carting your guild over to Stormwind for caroling or see what your guildmates will show up in for a costume contest! Those are truly the days your guild will remember!

So now I must be off to do my guild-mastering stuff in-game, I have been on Holiday vacation, and as the end of 2010 comes near, I wish you all a Happy New Year (I’m sure that is somewhat politically correct!) and safe travels if you’re not in Azeroth that evening!

Sionel edit: Tarinae kindly provided this post well before New Year’s, but it hasn’t made it here until now. While I hadn’t come across her blog previously either, I completely agree that discovering new people to read is one of the nicest things about this kind of project. Thanks, Tarinae!

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The end of an era always tends to bring on a spate of reminiscences and bewailing the disappearance of whatever we most loved about said era. In the spirit of the times, therefore, I’ve been doing a little meditating on the idea of a home in Azeroth – and, being possessed by the lunacy of Hallow’s End, Blog Azeroth has elected to use the idea as a shared topic this week.

Here’s my original trigger question:

What does ‘home’ mean in your book? Do you have a particular home in Azeroth – a place you feel you belong, that you know like the back of your hand, or that you feel more comfortable in than anywhere else? Would this be different for different characters or different factions, or is there just a place that really resonates with you? Do you think Cataclysm will prompt you to find new and different turf, or will you be heading back there first thing to see what might have changed? If it is destroyed, how do you think that will affect your experience of the game, or your characters’ lives? Or do you think the whole idea of having a home doesn’t even really apply to a game?

 

This is a topic that’s close to my heart for a whole lot of reasons. I haven’t seen my own real life home in a long time, and probably won’t for a long time yet, but at heart I’m definitely a homebody (in spite of a life spent traveling). For that reason, I often will look for somewhere that ‘fits’ to use as a sort of base of operations – whether in a new city or in a computer game! – and, of course, I’m hardly alone in that. There’s a distinction in WoW, though, between a functional home and an emotional home…or at least, there is for me.

I originally became more familiar with the more traveled places, of course. If I had to choose the area I know best, it probably would be Darkshore (after leveling several night elves and draenei). The city I’m most familiar with? Probably Stormwind or Orgrimmar, no surprises there. My favourite place to look at? Ouch, that’s a tricky one. The jury’s still out on that one, maybe I’ll know in five years or so…but I’m guessing Storm Peaks or Stranglethorn Vale would probably be up there. Certainly Azeroth is a beautiful place. Functionally, I guess Dalaran and Stormwind/Orgrimmar share the honours – Dalaran for the shops and the portals, the others for the auction house. There are, after all, only so many places you can sensibly use to conduct all the practical micromanagement that is life in WoW.

‘Emotional home’, though, is a different story entirely. Stormwind might be practical, but homelike? Not really. Auberdine is familiar, but, well, a bit…dreary (is it only me who feels a cataclysm might improve it? *ducks*). And Stranglethorn Vale is a bit hot and humid really – I never liked the tropics that much.

Looking up toward the village

I will certainly admit that most people probably wouldn’t consider Desolace as their favourite place to spend time. In general, neither would I – with the exception of Shadowprey Village, tucked into a little strip of land ‘between the mountains and the sea’. I didn’t actually discover it until quite a while after I had started playing WoW, because Dhak never went to Desolace while leveling (and in any case would have been unlikely to visit a village full of trolls!); it wasn’t until my hunter got sent there in search of bloodbelly fish that I even had a reason to visit. When I did, I didn’t notice it much at first, being rather focused on finding the quest mob and then going for a swim to collect shellfish for him. It wasn’t until I was twenty feet underwater and actually opened my eyes and looked that I realised that actually, the seaweed and sea-floor were quite lovely. And then I surfaced and turned and looked back at the village, and fell in love – just like that.

The love affair was confirmed after I swam back and had a better look at the place. It reminds me subtly of my real home (which is nowhere near the sea) – the only explanation for this I can come to is that the air is clear and it’s tucked into the shadow of a mountain, but I think it’s something in the atmosphere. This is possibly fanciful, but I reserve the right to be fanciful in a blog about Azeroth! At any rate, an elusive something there makes me feel safe and happy, which after all are two major and necessary qualities in anybody’s home. The buildings are quaint and pretty, and you can get up toward the sky; this is terribly important for me as I have a love of flight and the sky that borders on an obsession. But above all, it just feels right. I can wander around there for long periods of time, just looking – even though I’ve seen it all before.

From the top floor of the inn

My horde characters, once they’re level-appropriate, tend to return there at regular intervals. I have one character on a RP realm who hails from there, and she is always pathetically glad to get home and away from the rest of the world. Being in such an out-of-the-way spot, too, it’s rare to meet another player – which for my introverted self can be a good thing at times.

But now, of course, Cataclysm is coming. And while I’m looking forward to it in the main, I’m getting more and more worried about what it’s going to do to the places I like – in particular, this place.

I think Rhii expressed it best in this post just after the Cataclysm cinematic came out. She’s more bothered by Freewind Post and Auberdine biting the dust, while for me the gasp came when I saw that wave hovering over Booty Bay – how dare he? From my understanding of things, Shadowprey Village will survive Deathwing’s arrival, at least in the most part, but just about the first thing I do when Cata hits will be to log on one of the characters who’s there and make sure he hasn’t touched a single thing, directly or indirectly. And if he has…if he’s drowned, burned, dislodged or otherwise destroyed anything in that village…well, just the idea of that is what gets me feeling really murderous toward a certain large, black dragon.

Home sweet Desolace. Who’d have thought?

Llani, from Pocket Heals, has supplied us with this weeks Blog Azeroth shared topic (which I might be posting just a little bit late). She asks,

“What takes the longest to choose, is the first thing people see, and is the one thing they always remember about you and your character?

Your name.

How did you decide upon the name for your character(s)? Did you delve into Norse, Greek, or Roman mythology? Did you choose a name from one of your family members? Did you mash the “Random” name generator button in vain until you stumbled upon something you liked? Is your name a play on aspects of your class, using spells or other traits? Did you play around with syllables, vowels, and consonants until you found something that you loved?

How long did it take you to come up with your name? Do all of your characters share the same ‘theme’ or naming convention? Have you ever run into someone who had a similar name? How did you feel? Does your character have a partner with “the other half” to your name (such as “Salt” and “Pepper”). Do any of your characters have a “themed” guild that goes along with your name? Do you have a nickname that your guild, friends, or significant other has given your character?

Has your character name become your online persona, or maybe the other way around?

Do you have any tips for naming your characters in WoW, or any other game? Resources, name generators, mythology websites, sources of inspiration, etc.

If you are an avid roleplayer, how was your name decided upon by family/friends? Did your character choose the name later in life or were they given it at birth? There are whole stories behind naming/birthday celebrations that I am sure are floating around out there.

So much can be said about names. What does yours say?”

 

Wow. I could go on for hours (but, to everyone’s relief I’m sure, I won’t). And not to disagree with the Bard, but I’ve always felt that the name you choose for a character has a significant impact on how you feel about them and, by extension, how much you want to play them.

Warning: wall of text in 5…4…3…2…1…

Names, for me, are very important – perhaps because I’ve never cared much for my own real life one! While I have occasionally been known to use a random name generator or look at baby names (or adapt obscure book character names *cough*), as a general rule I simply invent them. This can at times be a long process, since I won’t stop until I actually have it right. If the character is important, it can go on for days or weeks before I’m happy enough to actually settle on one…and, of course, they usually end up with nicknames as well. In the interest of answering some of the questions Llani puts, I thought I might write about the process of choosing a name for one of my real characters.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been considering names for a character I hope will be very important – she will be sharing the ‘main’ honours with Dhakeilh when Cataclysm comes out. Dhakeilh, while lots of fun and definitely a going concern, is on an EU server; this has certain disadvantages when attempting to find a raiding guild if you live in Australia and everyone raids while you’re at work/at church/asleep. Therefore, I have decided that the most sensible thing to do would be to develop a second character in a place where, when someone says ‘Monday evening’, that actually translates to ‘Monday evening’ in my time zone!

No doubt I will say a great many things about this new character in due time, but in a post about names, I’ll (try to) keep it relevant. This character will be a worgen and a druid, and is intended to be a tank, so I want a name that doesn’t look ridiculous hanging over the head of a generously proportioned bear or a humanoid wolf; however, she will also be female, so I’m not going to call her ‘Grarh’ or ‘Maulpow’ either. Her name will need to be something that’s easy to say, doesn’t shorten to anything obscene or stupid, doesn’t contain any English words (it’s a name, not a charter document) and must be something I like the sound and ‘taste’ of. So much for the initial considerations.

There are certain combinations of letters and sounds I like (k, t, s, dh, y) and others I really don’t as a rule (p, g, b, u). Female names, to me, should sound feminine; I almost never create characters with names ending in ‘ok’ or ‘um’, for instance. I will admit to an enjoyment of odd combinations of letters that we don’t use in English, but all of my characters must have names that are pronounceable by the normal person and easily typed, without weird characters or clever accents.
That all sounds terribly regimented, but it doesn’t work that way in practice – getting this far only takes a few seconds. It’s the next bit that’s time-consuming – finding a ‘base’ syllable or sound that I think suits her, and then playing with additions and changing letters and so on until I come up with the perfect combination. I’m doing this as I write this post, so I have no idea what her name will be either, but it should be interesting to find out!

‘K’ and ‘t’ go together well, and they both suit a combative sort of character. Shying away from the Kate/Katrina names, perhaps I’ll put them in the middle of the name – Akata works as a starting point. Serendipity being what it is, I typoed and added a ‘j’ to the end of that, which actually I rather like, so now we have ‘Akataj’; if she were going to be a mage of the Kirin Tor I might stop there, but I think something a little softer is needed for a druid. Aekataj? No, not quite right. Akhataj? Still evokes a mage, though it’s closer. Akhyatajh? Too complicated and rather affected, though I’ll admit I like the sound of it. Actually, I have too many characters with ‘kh’ in their names already, so perhaps I’ll shift away from that a little; also, ‘A’ is one of my more common starting letters. Changing those two things, we come up with…

Kahatya? Too evocative of kitty druids, which this one likely won’t be, and of Russians, which I’m not (I already have a Nadezhda who gets all sorts of whispers in Russian, which I don’t understand). Unfortunately, I keep getting drawn back to the complicated but pretty ‘Akhyatajh’ I dismissed just before; did I mention I have a weakness for strange combinations of letters? Every now and then a name just grabs me, and that seems to have happened here, so I’m going to disregard the previous comment about similarites to other character. Maybe if I remove the A, thus coming up with Khyatajh? No, that actually makes it paradoxically harder to pronounce. Perhaps I’ll get rid of the last h instead…or not…no, I will.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. If you made it this far through a maze of rambling and stream-of-consciousness babble, I’m very impressed! At the end of a convoluted but enjoyable process of name generation, and in spite of the fact that she won’t actually exist for another two months yet, I would like to present…

Akhyataj

This week’s BlogAzeroth shared topic (proposed by RestoDude) is about helping out your groupmates – protecting and assisting the other members, and so on. While I think the original topic may have been meant to refer to abilities or strategies ingame, in a multiplayer game like WoW it’s equally vital to consider ways to help and support your groupmates in a social sense.

White bear!

Qanala - level 19

This girl essentially exists because I want to tank on Dhakeilh and am too much of a chicken to start learning at higher levels (and also because I fell in love with the white druid forms. Different topic!). Most of her time is spent tanking instances, more or less ineptly, and a run through Shadowfang Keep this week is where we meet the shared topic.

I find tanking very intimidating. I know I’m not alone in this, judging by the huge number of other posts and comments out there saying the same thing, but that doesn’t make it any easier to check the blue box (take the blue pill…?) on the dungeon finder and frantically hope your groupmates will be at least civilised, if not friendly. And, of course – as with everything – as I get more intimidated, I get less accurate with my reactions and more flustered. This has on occasion led directly to wipes, which always make me reach for the Whip of Self-Flagellation and, of course, tends to perpetuate the cycle.

The contribution of the other group members to a tank’s mental state is perhaps obvious, but bears restating. An experienced and confident tank can of course shrug off the comments; after all, he knows what he’s doing, and if they don’t like it, screw them. For less confident tanks, though, the group can make all the difference to their comfort level and, therefore, to their performance. There is a world of difference between the group where the refrain is ‘gogogogo…pull faster…pull bigger…come on failtank’ and one where not much is said, but the underlying attitude is ‘take your time, do it right, mistakes happen.’ A group doesn’t have to be a mutual admiration society with compliments every twelve seconds to maintain a supportive atmosphere.

Not being entirely oblivious, I realise this is a very optimistic and idealistic attitude to WoW – particularly as applied to PUGs. However, the abovementioned SFK run, which was a PUG with four complete strangers, showed me that it is possible; not once did someone complain about the tanking, the healing or anything else, even though both myself and the healer were new at our roles. As a consequence, a group with no members over level 20 dealt with the instance with a minimum of trouble, and I zoned out at the end feeling over the moon. I could tank!

I question whether that instance would even have been possible for me to tank with a group that pushed me to pull faster, or spammed party chat with demands for heals. This group wasn’t chatty or overly friendly, just quietly supportive and occasionally patient. Is a tank (or anyone else) responsible for her own performance? Absolutely. Can the group members contribute to or detract from that performance just by their attitude and presence in party/raid chat? Without a doubt.

So, many thanks to Edaedia (priest), Gnomophobia (warlock), Floor (mage) and gnome-rogue-whose-name-I’ve-forgotten-sorry!, for a fun and confidence-building run –  and for the reminder that sometimes the best thing we can do to help and assist others in our group is to be nice.