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, 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! =)

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. 😉