gaming, Questing, Warcraft, Warcraft characters, Warcraft Writing

Déjà vu in Eversong Woods

My daughter’s blood elf mage and my blood elf warrior questing in Eversong Woods.

This past weekend I created yet another new World of Warcraft character, this time it was a blood elf warrior. I already have two warriors, a male draenei and a female nightborne, but I had yet to create a non-demon hunter or non-death knight version of a blood elf. I created the male blood elf warrior as research for my Warcraft fanfiction, so I could “live” his backstory, as it were.

On my brand new blood elf warrior, I did the quests in the starting area of Sunstrider Isle and got him to level six this past weekend. Then last night I decided to play him again for a bit. I have a few pieces of heirloom armor that I use for new toons, but the appearance wasn’t quite befitting a blood elf.

My heirloom armor as it appears once created.

To fix the wardrobe issue, I ran him all the way to Orgrimmar where I transmogged his gear into as much of the Sin’dorei heritage armor as I could. His belt can’t be transmogged yet, but I’ll live.

My blood elf warrior resplendent in the Sin’dorei heritage armor.

Amid my running back and forth, I asked my oldest daughter if she would be kind enough to get on her low level mage and invite my new warrior into our guild called Rawr Flex. She said she would and that we should quest together for a bit. I thought that idea sounded quite lovely and so I invited her to a group and started on my way to catch up with her toon in Fairbreeze Village.

My fabulous blood elf warrior dashing through Eversong Woods.

To go from Orgimmar back to Eversong Woods requires taking the portal to Undercity and then taking another portal from the Ruins of Lordearon to Silvermoon City. Not a horrible way to travel really, but at level eight with no riding, running takes a while. Plus, I hate Undercity and really don’t mind that it’s destroyed in Battle for Azeroth.

As I made my way through the streets of Silvermoon City and out into Eversong Woods amid the gently flying dragonhawk hatchlings gliding about, I was struck with a feeling of deja vu. The feeling grew stronger as I ran across The Dead Scar with its skeletal mobs called plaguebone pillagers.

A lazy dragonhawk hatchling flying by.
Nearing The Dead Scar filled with Scourge.

My running journey on my blood elf warrior was so familiar because I’d taken a similar journey when I first started playing Warcraft and I was running to catch up with my brother. Except then I was on my female blood elf hunter, Sriset, and he was on a blood elf male of some class I no longer remember.

Last night I was once again running to catch up to a family member, but this time it was my oldest daughter, a player I’m responsible for bringing into the game of Warcraft. She’s also a much better player than I and more enjoyable to quest with than my brother was because she waits for me and tends to get just as lost as I do.

My daughter’s mage playing “keep away” with her frost nova spell while my warrior attacks un-stealthily from behind.

It felt sort of surreal when I realized that 10+ years had passed since I first ran through Eversong Woods and crossed The Dead Scar. Back then I knew nothing of the lore of the blood elves. I didn’t understand what The Dead Scar was and I didn’t even notice that there was a broken gate into Silvermoon City where Arthas and his Scourge army broke through.

But this time, after playing the game for years and reading Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden, I knew the lore well and respected it.

My warrior observing the broken gate into Silvermoon City.

So much has changed in my life since my first character sprang to life in Azeroth over a decade ago, but last night reminded me that Warcraft has come with me on my journey and has now become part of my oldest daughter’s journey. I look forward to experiencing many more adventures in World of Warcraft and continuing to see Azeroth through fresh eyes with the help of my daughter.

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! =)