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, Warcraft, Warcraft Writing

Warcraft Guilds I’ve Loved, Lost, and Remade

Sriset modeling the Rawr Flex tabard.

When I started playing World of Warcraft in 2008 on my blood elf hunter, Sriset, I didn’t know anything about guilds. Once my older brother stopped playing Warcraft, I was left to quest alone, but I was okay with that and I’m still okay with that. However, there’s something to be said for being in a guild.

The first guild I joined was called Đark Đreams and its guild leaders were a husband and wife who said they lived in Perth, Australia. They both seemed very nice, but I remember most of my communications were with the female leader because she was on more often than her husband. I no longer remember their names anymore, but it was a good first guild experience. The female guild leader started calling me Sri and it stuck.

Sri’s blond days. Showing the Dark Dreams guild name.
Still blond Sri. Wearing the Dark Dreams tabard.

Unfortunately, for personal reasons, the guild leaders had to stop playing World of Warcraft and announced to the guild that they would be disbanding Đark Đreams. Despite more than one offer to take over the guild, the leaders were insistent on deleting it. Not wishing to lose the online friends I’d made in Đark Đreams, I volunteered to start a new guild and invite as many current members of Đark Đreams into it as wanted to join.

Stepping up into a leadership position was not really something a slightly introverted person such as myself had ever done before. But I didn’t want to lose everything Đark Đreams had meant to me, so I mustered my courage and went about creating a guild name and getting my guild charter signed by several members of the now defunct Đark Đreams.

I took a long time thinking of a name for my guild and I eventually came up with Firelight Shadows. I had a whole long paragraph or poem that went along with why I chose the name, but I didn’t save it anywhere that I can find. It had something to do with sharing stories amid the dancing firelight shadows at night after a long day of adventuring. It was much more poetic and well-written than that I imagine.

Getting that first guild charter signed was one of the most nerve wracking experiences I’ve ever had. I believe I had five signatures of former Đark Đreams members and then needed five more to complete the charter. Atop her hawkstrider, I took Sriset through Silvermoon City, Eversong Woods, the Ghostlands, and I believe Orgrimmar asking for signatures, offering gold for them, and then traveling to meet the willing signers.

I created that first guild before the shared realms started, so the only people I encountered were actually in my realm and therefore able to sign. I’ve started a few guilds since the shared realms started and I’ve found it more challenging, but obviously not impossible.

When I finally had all the names I needed for the charter, I went to the tabard vendor and put the finishing touches on the tabard I’d taken forever to design. Then Firelight Shadows was born and my time as a guild leader began.

My blood elf warlock, Salxi, sporting the Firelight Shadows tabard (and a rather horrible outfit).

Firelight Shadows had a decent number of active members for some time, but that eventually dwindled as people had less time to play. Even so, I enjoyed playing with my guild mates and helping them whenever and however I could. For my ridiculous ability to become hopelessly lost quite often, I earned the nickname Perpetually Lost Sri.

When my father died in the autumn of 2009, my desire to play the game dwindled. My desire to do anything I’d previously enjoyed dwindled. I played for a while after he died, but eventually I just didn’t want to anymore. A friend of mine took over the guild and promised to keep it going, but she too had to take a break from the game and eventually Firelight Shadows became lost to me forever.

My friend eventually started a new guild when she discovered Firelight Shadows had been taken over by other guild members. She called it Vengeance of Shadows and she made me co-guild master when I started playing again. I enjoyed playing in her somewhat active guild, but it just wasn’t the same as having my own guild that I’d made from scratch.

Eventually I made another guild and after a few name changes, settled on Rawr Flex. Why that name? Well, rawr flex is something I often say to my children and text to my friends when I’m feeling especially fierce after accomplishing something. Plus, it was a guild name that didn’t exist yet. I just checked again in fact and I’m the only one who has any guilds by that name.

Oooh! So strong! 😉

Right now my daughter and I are the only active members in any version of my Rawr Flex guild and I’m okay with that. It’s nice having the guild bank and other guild perks. Even if my guild is never more than a handful of people, I’m just happy knowing that it’s mine and that I always have a place where I fit.

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

My Journey Into Azeroth

Old screenshot of my blood elf hunter and her corehound pet. Pre-transmog days.

The first character I ever made in World of Warcraft was a female blood elf hunter I named Sriset. The name was one I’d created for one of my many fantasy novels and I figured it would be a name that wasn’t in much use. I was apparently right because I checked the armory before writing this and there are only two characters by that name: my level 120 hunter, and a level 54 blood elf hunter on the Aerie Peak realm, whose information isn’t accessible.

Recent screenshot of Sriset in Sin’dorei heritage armor.

But how did I come to Azeroth in the first place? What sucked me into World of Warcraft? Well, that story is one of family and my father, brother and oldest daughter will forever be interwoven with it.

The story begins in 2008 when I was in my early 30s and a stay at home mom to my two daughters. I loved being a stay at home mom, but I often found myself with downtime that could benefit from something new to do. Little did I know how much a part of my life that “new to do” would soon be.

In December of 2008, my father was in the hospital recovering from another “episode,” which is what the medical professionals called the mini strokes he’d been having since his first stroke of a few years previous. My middle older brother had come home to help my mother with my father and while we were talking in my father’s hospital room, my brother asked me if I’d heard of Warcraft. He’d apparently been playing the game for a while.

My response to the question was that I’d seen some commercials for the latest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. That was really all I knew about it, but my brother suggested that I should download the trial and start playing with him. So that’s what I did.

I’m not sure if the original realm I played on is the same realm my hunter is on now, but I know her name was Sriset and that she was a hunter. I’d created a hunter I think because my brother also played a hunter and told me that having a pet made it easier for a “newb” to survive. As I love animals and have always had real-life pets, having a pet in a game sounded great to me!

The details of my first experiences playing World of Warcraft are fuzzy now that it’s been so many years, but I remember thinking how beautiful the blood elf starter area of Eversong Woods was, how pretty the music was, and how my brother kept hopping on his mount and charging on ahead. I had trouble keeping up with him, not just because I wasn’t able to ride yet, but also because of something he called “lag.”

Eversong Woods music

It wasn’t long before I was “addicted” to World of Warcraft and decided to go out and buy the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I remember installing the new expansion and seeing the new-to-me loading screen and hearing the Lich King music. To this day, whenever I hear that music, it gives me tingles. I’m listening to it as I write this and I have chills. That expansion will always be my favorite and I feel nostalgic whenever I play in Northrend.

Wrath of the Lich King cinematic trailer – still gives me chills watching it!

Although I’ve taken various length “sabbaticals” from the game, I still have that original blood elf hunter named Sriset – or second incarnation, I’m not sure – and for the past several years, I’ve played her regularly. Her appearance has changed over the years and Azeroth too has changed since I started playing. To continue my journeys in Azeroth, I’ve created many more characters including my second “main” of a night elf rogue named Syaine.

My night elf rogue, Syaine, dancing it up at Norwington Estate.

My oldest daughter grew up watching me play World of Warcraft and a couple of years ago I let her take over my second account, which I’d created and never used more than a few times. She was ecstatic to be able to play finally and since then we’ve shared many adventures together in Azeroth. Her favorite expansion is Wrath of the Lich King, she suggested I start reading the Warcraft books with Christie Golden’s “Arthas: Rise of the Lich King,” and she loves to quote, “My son, the day you were born, the very forests of Lordaeron whispered the name, Arthas.”

Playing World of Warcraft is something I do for fun and something that has brought me even closer to my oldest daughter. But I always spend ample time in the real world doing real world responsibilities and partaking in real world fun. Nonetheless, there will always be space in my heart and time on my schedule to journey into Azeroth and see what new adventures await!

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

Why I Create and Play Male Warcraft Characters

male draenei warrior from world of warcraft
My draenei warrior, the first male character I created.

For several years, I only created and played female characters in World of Warcraft. As a woman, it was just my preference to play female characters.

When my oldest daughter started playing World of Warcraft a couple of years ago, her first character was a male troll and she proceeded to ask me, “Why don’t you ever make male characters?” So after a while of hearing that question repeatedly, I decided I’d create a male character to play.

The first male character I created was a male draenei warrior. I already had several female draenei, so I thought it was time to see how the experience of playing a male draenei differed.

I customized my male draenei’s appearance, went through the random names until I found one I liked, and then began my adventure in male character playing. I immediately enjoyed how powerful and intimidating the male draenei was. I admit, I’m a woman who’s attracted to such types of men.

What surprised me though, was the “softer” side of my male draenei. Some of his error emotes felt surprisingly patient and calm, which contrasted the fierceness of his battle style. Although male draenei are well-muscled and quite built, they move with surprising nimbleness and grace.

My draenei warrior battling a siren.

After playing that first male character for a while, I proceeded to make additional male characters. My daughter obviously had been right to suggest that I make male characters. As of today, I have a variety of male characters, both Alliance and Horde races.

My night elf druid in Uldum with Salhet.
My void elf warlock and some night elf huntresses in Stonetalon Mountains.
My night elf demon hunter in Drustvar.
My lightforged draenei mage and his water elemental in Elwynn Forest.
My blood elf demon hunter in Zandalar.

While I still enjoy playing my female characters and probably statistically play them more often, I play my male characters quite a bit. I like the deeper voices, emotes, jokes, and flirts. I get a sense of calm when playing my male night elf druid. I feel powerful and fierce playing my male night elf and male blood elf demon hunters. I feel like a rocker dude playing my void elf warlock. I feel at peace and yet also in darkness on my male nightborne priest.

My latest male character is a lightforged draenei mage and I’ve found it interesting that his voice is different than my draenei warrior. The emotes sound like the voice actor who does Turalyon, but with the familiar draenei accent. He’s very powerful looking and intimidating for a squishy.

Have I found the social aspect of playing a male character different? A small amount, yes. While I would occasionally get whispers on my female characters, I found I got more on my male characters.

The nature of the whispers was different too. On females, it tended to be flirting or just assumptions that I was a man playing a female character. On males, it tended to be compliments such as “nice transmog” and “damn, dude!” when I took my level five draenei warrior all the way from Azuremyst Isle to Goldshire to level in Elwynn Forest.

My nightborne priest in a transmog I received compliments on.

Honestly, I enjoy playing both male and female characters, but when I’m playing a male character I feel kind of “sneaky” because I’m pretending to be something I’m not. That’s really the point of playing a game though, to be something you’re not, to do things you can’t in the real world, to experience adventures that take you outside the mundane daily routine. Plus, watching my male characters quest and fight isn’t hard on the eyes either. 😉

Outland, Questing, Warcraft Writing

Bloodless Bonechewer Orcs of Hellfire

My nightborne rogue reached level 60 the other night and I happily took her out of Hellfire and into Zangarmarsh. I don’t know how other players feel about Hellfire, but I’m not fond of it and I only quest through it long enough to get flying and escape to the next zone.

One of the first quests in the zone on the Horde side asks for 12 samples of blood from the bonechewer orcs. The orcs are plentiful along the Path of Glory, but as I’ve discovered, apparently many of them are bloodless. I killed what seemed like 50 orcs for those 12 samples.

Fortunately, the orcs pop relatively quickly but there’s always other players from both factions killing them, so it can still take some time. Plus, the stupid orcs always “run away in fear” so my rogue had to shoot them, chase them, or both.

Quests such as these with a high mob spawn rate but low drop rate are nothing new to World of Warcraft. I imagine all players sort of expect them. Now that my rogue is in Zangarmarsh where she has to kill more mobs that don’t always drop the quest objectives, I’m remembering that this trend is just going to continue through Outland.

However, as frustrating as the lack of drops and sometimes shortage of mobs can be in Outland , I find it less annoying than what I’ve encountered in some areas of the Battle for Azeroth expansion. On both Horde and Alliance sides, there are zones where the mobs seem to respawn as fast as you kill them. Great if you’re farming something, not great if you’re low on health, trying to take a breather, or you’re done with the quest and trying to exit the area.

I’m sure every expansion has its pros and cons and I’m not hopping on the “BFA sucks” bandwagon. I just wish there was a happy medium somewhere. It seems like there’s got to be some sort of “magic algorithm” that could reveal what works best and then be implemented. Then again, algorithms can also ruin perfectly good systems, so perhaps it’s best to leave things be.

Regardless, I don’t expect any of the game play to really change and perhaps that’s the charm and appeal of World of Warcraft. You know you’re going to have grinding quests and that mobs are going to press your frustration buttons, but you play anyway because that bit of grumbling is part of the fun.

After all, it’s just a game, not real life, and you can turn it off whenever you want. Or you can use killing the bad guys as a way to blow off steam from real world issues. Either way, all quests eventually come to an end and fade into memory…well, at least until you’re leveling your next alt and it all comes flooding back. But maybe that’s just me. 😉