gaming, Player perspective, Warcraft, Warcraft characters, Warcraft Druids, Warcraft Videos, Warcraft Writing

Dream Away – A Tribute to Warcraft Druids

My Zandalari troll druid in mid-dance.

Here it is! The music video I made featuring my druid boys! I had a lot of fun making it and it was a learning experience as usual. I hope you enjoy it! I will warn you though that the song can be kind of catchy and might make you want to jump up and dance.

Thanks to a suggestion from Mother of Imps on YouTube, the video quality for my druid video is greatly improved compared to my last video featuring my hunters. She suggested I use Bandicam to record my game play, so I gave it a try. Although my frame rate still isn’t great in game (I use DSL for my internet), Bandicam does a better job of recording quality video when compared the stock Microsoft app on my laptop.

The song for this video is called “Dream Away” by Kalle Engström. It’s rather short and has a great dance tempo. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it on Epidemic Sound last year and have been known to play it on repeat to boost my mood. I felt it was a good choice for my druid video because the title “Dream Away” made me think of the druid’s Emerald Dream.

While druids can be known for their tendency to sleep a lot to enjoy the dream and recharge, my druid boys in this video aren’t sleeping. Well, not until the very end anyway. They’re having much more fun dancing to the beat and kicking butt with Lunar Strike and their other druidic abilities.

This video is also the first one I’ve completed using Movavi Video Suite instead of Windows Movie Maker. I downloaded a trial of Movavi a while ago and immediately found it easy to use and much more versatile than Windows Movie Maker. Movavi was having a sale on their suite so I got it and I’m glad I did!

The Movavi video program has an abundance of features that I’m still figuring out, but it’s fun to learn it all. With Bandicam, I record my videos in AVI form, which makes the video and audio into two separate tracks. Then when I edit the video in Movavi, I can easily adjust the sound of the original video or mute it altogether.

I muted the World of Warcraft sounds for most of the video and where you still hear them is where I left them audible on purpose. I felt it added a bit more flavor to certain parts of the video. For example, when the singer sings “I can hear your heart beat” and you hear my Zandalari troll give a defiant roar in game.

Tjoko versus a raptor.

I also played around with some of the transitions and visual effects in Movavi to see what they can do. One of the effects is the falling leaves on the screen when my night elf druid is taking the Dreamwalk to the Emerald Dreamway. I didn’t want to put in too many effects and make it overwhelming, but I’ll be incorporating them in other videos where they make sense.

Daxien casting Dreamwalk.

Although this video may have too much dancing and not enough fighting, I really love it and have watched it at least a dozen times on my computer. I even watched it on my phone before bed last night! Perhaps I love my druid boys a little too much…*wink*

Daxien dancing atop a structure in the Dream Grove.

Time flies when I create these videos as I’m constantly tweaking different aspects and finding I need to shoot different in-game footage. I’m learning something new about creating these music videos with each instance and I really hope to grow my audience just so more people can enjoy the upbeat music and stunning artistry of World of Warcraft game play.

gaming, Player perspective, Warcraft, Warcraft characters, Warcraft Druids, Warcraft Writing

My Love for My Druid Boys

Daxien and Tjoko, my druid boys.

Lately I’ve been showing my two druid boys a lot of love. I’ve been switching between my 100 plus level night elf druid, Daxien, and my level 20s Zandalari troll druid, Tjoko. I wanted to get the Fangs of Ashamane for Daxien so he could have the new feral form and I just wanted to have fun playing the Zandalari druid I’ve been waiting to make since Battle for Azeroth came out.

When playing my druids, I switch between feral and balance/moonkin specializations. I love being in kitty form and I find it does decent damage, which is why I played strictly feral for a good portion of leveling Daxien. As powerful as I know the moonkin spec to be, I just didn’t like the big, fat, fluffy, feathered moonkin form and therefore didn’t play it. That all changed when I discovered the Glyph of Stars!

I think I discovered it just browsing through glyphs in the auction house. I don’t do much with glyphs usually because they’re just cosmetic changes, but when I saw that Glyph of Stars gave a druid an astral form instead of the moonkin form, I was sold! I bought the glyph, applied it, loved it, and then realized I had to learn how to play the balance spec for druids.

Now I don’t consider myself an expert in any class in any spec, but I do the best I can to find a rotation that works for me. I played around with the balance spec as Daxien quested through Mount Hyjal and I felt it was more powerful and potent than the feral spec.

Daxien in astral form kicking butt in Mount Hyjal.

Plus, I liked how transparent my night elf druid looked. Being see through somehow went well with his short white beard and long white hair in braids.

I played Daxien as balance spec into Legion and only recently switched him back to feral because I like the new kitty forms given by the Fangs of Ashamane. I wish it was a kitty form I could have outside of feral spec, but I’m just happy to have it at all.

Daxien in the Fangs of Ashamane feral form.

While I’m not excited about doing the grind to 110 on Dax and then the unpleasant quests to unlock the class mount form of the big, fluffy owl…I mean the Archdruid’s Lunarwing Form, it will be worth it to me to have that new flying form. I already have a glyph that transforms my flight form into a sentinel owl, so a bigger owl sounds even better!

Daxien in sentinel owl flight form.

Since I was already familiar with balance spec when I made my Zandalari troll druid, Tjoko, I started him right out in balance spec. I loved the Zandalari moonkin form because it was less round and more dinosaur like.

A very jumpy Tjoko in moonkin form.

However, the constant hopping that form does during casting started to make me nauseous after a while, so I got Tjoko a Glyph of Stars too.

Tjoko in astral form.

I’m having a lot of fun playing Tjoko and I’m in no rush to level him because I know he’ll get there when he gets there. I’ve quested him in areas I haven’t necessarily quested in for a while such as the low level tauren quests in Mulgore. Since he started at level 20, he was already too high level for the starter quests, but I did them anyway to remember my days when I tried and gave up on more than one tauren character. I just couldn’t stand the rear scratching of the males and being a female cow just wasn’t for me.

Daxien and Tjoko have their own personalities because they’re from two very different races, but I like that they’re unified in the fact that they’re both druids. I’ve even made a new music video featuring them which I’ll be uploading tomorrow sometime. I tried uploading it today, but my internet is far too slow so I’ll be using the faster internet when I visit my mom tomorrow.

Despite the faction divide the current expansion seems to be promoting, I like to think that if my two druid boys ever met, they’d become great friends. After all, they were both created by the same slightly crazy, altoholic, Azeroth-loving woman. 😉

gaming, Player perspective, Warcraft, Warcraft characters, Warcraft Writing

Addicted to Warcraft Elves

My lovely blood elf hunter, Sriset.
My night elf rogue, Syaine.

It seems fairly obvious that my addiction to creating elf characters in World of Warcraft started with my very first character of a blood elf hunter. My first alliance toon was a night elf hunter I believe and among my 50 characters, the majority are some type of elf.

I’ve experimented with all the other races at some point and I do like the draenei and now the new Zandalari trolls, but otherwise it’s elves. Blood elves, night elves, nightborne elves, and void elves, I love them all!

I have too many to post pictures of them, but here’s a few favorite images of my plethora of elves.

My blood elf paladin in mid-attack.
My blood elf mage.
My nightborne shadow priest.
My void elf shadow priest.
My night elf druid.
My nightborne monk in mid kick.
My void elf warlock.

Why elves? Well, I think it’s their poise and grace of movements. I’m still disappointed that the nightborne don’t do the night elf flip because their jumping just looks awkward. Otherwise, the elves seem like the most lithe and maneuverable of races. Those traits aren’t necessarily traits I possess in my own body.

I’m obviously not the only player that loves elves as whenever I start a new blood elf or night elf, the starter area is full of brand-new toons questing around. Many of them are notably new toons of someone with a higher-level toon because they’re wearing heirloom armor. I have heirloom armor pieces as well, but I don’t usually put them on until I can transmog them to something more unique and appealing in appearance.

My newest night elf priest with an heirloom wearer running by.
My blood elf warrior in heirloom gear. Umm, no.
Much better after a transmog!

My oldest daughter thinks I have far too many elves and she’s entitled to her opinion. She’s happy that I’m enjoying playing the Zandalari trolls as a change of pace, but my first love will always be elves. It is a fantasy game after all and it’s fun to pretend to be something that doesn’t exist doing things not possible in the mundane real world.

gaming, Hati, Player perspective, Warcraft, Warcraft characters, Warcraft Fanfiction, Warcraft Hunters, Warcraft Videos, Warcraft Writing

Never Be Alone – A Tribute to Warcraft Hunters

The video is best viewed in HD. =)

As demonstrated and explained in a previous blog post, I LOVE creating music videos! I have several songs picked out for the various World of Warcraft classes and I’m eager to make videos for all of them. I’ll also be making videos to go along with my Warcraft fanfiction (an excerpt of which is coming soon!), but those will take longer to create.

This video features the song Never Be Alone by Basixx and it’s once again from Epidemic Sound. All my songs will be from Epidemic Sound as they have every genre I could ever want and more.

After listening to the song a few times, it made me think of hunters and how they’re never alone because they always have pets. That’s one of the things that drew me to creating a hunter as my first character, never having to quest alone.

This music video features my main character of Sriset, who is a blood elf hunter. I switch her between survival and beast mastery spec usually, but with the return of Hati, she’s been strictly beast mastery.

Also in the video is Sriset’s Alliance counterpart, a void elf hunter named Valressa. I play Valressa in survival spec and usually use her original pet of a void warp stalker to help her fight. I just got her to level 60 last night and it’s so nice having flying!

Once again, this video was a lot of fun to make and the more videos I make, the better I become at it. I’m starting to experiment with animations and different elements and I imagine someday these videos will seem amateur to me. But for now they’re the best I can do. I hope you enjoy watching!

gaming, Player perspective, Warcraft, Warcraft characters, Warcraft Events, Warcraft Writing

Fun at the Trial of Style!

This past edition of the World of Warcraft’s Trial of Style, was the first time I’d participated in the event. I’d heard about it and seen the transmogrifier asking about it, but I didn’t really understand what it was.

The reason I tried it this year was because of the compliment I received on my nightborne priest’s transmog a few months ago.

The transmog I received a compliment on.

I love doing transmog and I bought a yak to make it easier. I used to not care about mismatched outfits, but I think transmog can become pretty addicting after a while.

So with that little boost of confidence provided by that one compliment, I decided to find out what Trial of Style was all about. At first I thought you just talked to the transmog guy and some algorithm judged you, but as soon as I started doing it, I realized that’s not what it was at all.

The Trial of Style is an “instance” you queue for and once you get in, it’s your toon and four or five others competing against each other. A theme comes up and you then have only a couple minutes to come up with a transmog that fits that theme. Some of the themes I experienced were Epic Purple, Tabard Time, Make Me Laugh, and Winter Wear. You can find a full explanation of the event here:

I decided to do it on my nightborne priest first because his ensemble received the compliment. The theme he got was Winter Wear though and I really didn’t have the best cloth pieces for that. He didn’t end up placing, but I greatly appreciate that all participants receive consolation prizes!

I then competed on my blood elf paladin and she received third place on her second attempt when the theme was Winter Wear.

My blood elf pally’s third place win.

I continued competed on her until I had enough Trial of Style tokens to purchase the Amaranthine Path ensemble. Below is my transmog of the ensemble with some modifications.

Amaranthine Path Armor with some modifications.

I then took my blood elf hunter, Sriset, through the Trial of Style and she got first place on her first try! The theme was Faction Pride and the following images show her transmog.

I continued with Sriset until she had enough tokens to buy all three mail ensembles. I continued doing the instance on various alts, including my blood elf death knight. My daughter and I ended up in the same instance twice while I was doing my death knight. We placed third and second for Winter Wear.

I did the Trial of Style until I had all the ensembles for every armor class and that’s pretty much all I did while playing Warcraft during the weekend.

It was a fun and interesting experience and I’ll definitely be participating again if they have new outfits as prizes. I highly recommend it for other transmog junkies like myself!

gaming, Player perspective, Questing, Warcraft, Warcraft Writing

Zandalari trolls! At last!

Queen Talanji and my Zandalari druid.
My Zandalari shaman listening to his queen.

Yesterday was the day my oldest daughter and I had been waiting for since we first heard about Battle for Azeroth and the new playable race of Zandalari trolls. It was finally the day of the patch that would make the Zandalari trolls playable!

Yesterday was the day my oldest daughter and I had been waiting for since we first heard about Battle for Azeroth and the new playable race of Zandalari trolls. It was finally the day of the patch that would make the Zandalari trolls playable!

We’d had to wait longer than we expected to, but we were more than happy to group up on my blood elf hunter and her troll rogue and tackle the quest to unlock the Zandalari.

My blood elf hunter and my daughter’s troll rogue with Talanji and the gang.

The quests to unlock them were interesting and contributed more to the story, but I really didn’t need to be turned into a bug by Krag’wa! That was the most stressful part of the whole experience for me.

For that stress I blame Jani, the loa of discarded things. Wowpedia calls Jani a male, but to me that annoying voice of hers is female. Her quests turn you into a saurid and I’ve died many times doing them. My daughter does a lovely impression of Jani saying, “Silly Saurid, ya be dead again!” It makes me twitch.

Fortunately, I didn’t get killed while in bug form and I found the tests of Talanji by the remaining loas much more tolerable.

Good old Bwonsamdi looking for a bargain.

The end result of the quests was unlocking the Zandalari and I was FINALLY able to create the male shaman and male druid I’d been wanting to since I heard about the race being playable.

While my daughter plays the original style trolls, the constant hunching and crouching of the males make me feel like I’m hunching too. I never got into the female trolls. I made several toons of them, but I eventually deleted all of them.

My daughter came up with the names for my two new toons and I eagerly started them in the game. I had originally paid attention to what the druid forms of Zandalari were going to be, but when they kept pushing off when they’d been released, I gave up on them ever being playable. I was therefore pleasantly surprised by the moonkin form of my druid.

My Zandalari druid in moonkin form jumping for joy!

I’ve created shamans before, but the horde races that can be them weren’t really for me either. I can happily say that I love my Zandalari shaman and look forward to leveling him and finally fully experiencing the class.

My Zandalari shaman.

It might be unpopular opinion, but I miss when new races started at level one and had a whole starting area to quest through before going out into the rest of Azeroth. I’m not sure why Blizzard abandoned this concept, but they did and so I’ll adjust accordingly.

To have my Zandalari feel a bit more “at home” outside of Zandalar, I plan on questing them through the starter zones of perhaps the orcs and trolls of Durotar or even the blood elves of Sunstrider Isle. Considering how insignificant I feel on my blood elf hunter when I’m questing with my daughter’s troll, it might be nice to be a big troll among tiny elves. We shall see…

gaming, Player perspective, Warcraft, Warcraft characters, Warcraft Writing

Finding My Dad in World of Warcraft

My dad and I, circa 1994.

My dad never played World of Warcraft. In fact, he’d quite often grumble when I’d play Warcraft when he was visiting my house or I was visiting his. That’s interesting considering that he’s the one responsible for my interest in and enjoyment of computer/video games in the first place.

My dad was a software engineer but he was also quite savvy with mechanical engineering elements. He loved technology and bought one of the earliest personal computers, a Commodore 64. That computer gave me my first introduction to computer games. I remember playing all sorts of games on it, although I no longer remember their names, and a Google search proved too overwhelming to sift through.

Those first computer games led to games on additional gaming systems as I was growing up, including Sega, Nintendo, and PlayStation. My father continued playing video games, but they were always PC games and were usually war themed games or strategy games. I was into all types of games, but preferred ones that moved a bit slower and had a story, such as Legend of Zelda and the various spin-offs.

But as I said, my dad never played World of Warcraft. I think he might’ve enjoyed it if he’d given it a try, but he didn’t really have the desire to. Perhaps if he’d known about it before he had his strokes, he would’ve been more open minded and less grumbly about me playing it.

For a long while after my dad’s death I felt guilty about playing World of Warcraft while he was around. I felt I’d wasted time when I could’ve been spending it with him. But I eventually realized that playing Warcraft was my way of escaping the reality of an unhappy marriage and also an escape from dealing with the sadness of how my father’s physical and mental health were deteriorating. It was a coping mechanism and it was certainly less destructive than other outlets.

Now, almost 10 years after my dad’s passing, that guilt is gone as I’ve realized I can’t change the past. One thing he always wanted was for me to be happy and World of Warcraft certainly contributes to that happiness. Another thing he always wanted for me was to never give up on my writing and Warcraft has provided me the inspiration to write more frequently than I have in decades. This blog is an example of that.

Then a funny thing happened a few weeks ago as I was playing my low level lightforged draenei mage named Caruun. I realized that the character reminded me of someone. The broad stature, the laugh, the behavior, and the ornery nature of his water elemental all struck a familiar chord with me. I soon concluded that Caruun reminded me of my dad and my entire perspective on that character changed.

While writing this, I went back through my screenshots because nowadays I always take screenshots when I create new toons. When I looked at the date that I created Caruun, it was October of 2018, the nine year anniversary of my dad’s passing. I only vaguely recall doing that now that I’m trying to remember. On that day I think that was my father’s spirit at work coming to life during a time when I miss him keenly and feel deep sadness.

Caruun in the Xenedar receiving this orders.
Caruun during Love is in the Air. My dad was an old-fashioned romantic.
Caruun on a horse. My dad started riding in his 50s.

As my dad was an engineer and loved tinkering with things, Caruun picked up engineering and mining as his two professions. I then became very focused on leveling up that profession for the first time ever on any of my toons. One of my other toons, a void elf hunter named Valessa, had mining as well and I mailed her surplus of materials to Caruun. That development led to an interesting thought for my Warcraft fanfiction and deepened my association between Caruun and my father.

Caruun working away with his hammer. My dad was great with tools.
Caruun and the first explosive sheep he built. My father would’ve loved building something so cute but dangerous!

Would my father have been a mage if it were possible? Yes, I think so. Why? Because as pointed out by Kalecgos in Christie Golden’s novel, “Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War,” magic is just a form of math. I bet my dad would understand the workings of mage spells inside and out from a mathematical standpoint and that it would work perfectly with his engineering intelligence.

Whenever I play Caruun, I feel close to my dad’s spirit now. While I see a lot of my father in Caruun, he also has his own personality and backstory. Being from the world of Argus, Caruun is unfamiliar with many elements of Azeroth. He’s learning about new creatures and races and cities and it’s all very fascinating for him. However, his constant curiosity and slight confusion tends to annoy his water elemental, who my daughter helped me name Slosh McSloshers, and therefore Slosh never looks happy and occasionally burbles off elsewhere.

Slosh and Caruun teamed up, doing damage!
Caruun: “Where are you going?!”
Slosh: “Peace out. You’re on your own.”
Slosh: “Okay, fine, I’ll come back and help.”

While other people might find it odd that I feel like I’ve found my dad in World of Warcraft, especially when he never played the game, it makes perfect sense to me. I always believe that my dad’s spirit is close by me and I feel like he influences some of what happens to Caruun and Slosh in the game. Those happenings have also inspired me to delve further into their adventures with my writing and that’s something my father would definitely approve of!

Stay tuned for The Adventures of Caruun and Slosh McSloshers! =)