General

A brief interlude on memorability

Not to spam y’all but sorry apparently I have a lot of thoughts from the past 5 years to get out?  (Or I’m just in a thinky mood today)  I’ll probably try to leave the other post I’m working on for later in the week.

Anyway, earlier this morning, in a fit of slightly sleep-deprived nostalgia, I tweeted at a handful of my old (remaining) blogging circle, letting them know I still deeply appreciate the roles they played in my life 6-7 years ago.  I didn’t get everyone, and a lot of the people I wished I could tweet have been out of the scene (and off the twitters I knew) for years now, but it was all sappy and emotional and hopefully when they wake up and see those tweets, they’ll feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

Then I went looking for old guildies from waaaay back when, the friend’s guild I had been in on Ysera before I hooked up with Apotheosis, the guild I’d been in when I’d first discovered my love of healing, and who actually GAVE me my fruity fruity nickname.  I thought I remembered Hano still had some friends from that guild in his current guild, so I looked him up, then looked at their guild roster.  I only recognized one name out of the many I skimmed – the guild leader.

It’s a newer guild that formed after some drama had apparently imploded the one I’d known, and one of the handful of guys I talked to semi-regularly had started a new guild with a lot of the same people.  I saw an oldish recruitment post that had his battle tag, and I added him on a whim, so that later today I could say “I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I have fond memories of being in a guild with you 7 years ago, and I just wanted to say hi and thanks for helping me out when I was a nub.”

What actually happened was he was already online, and after I did my whole “I’m sure you don’t remember me, I was a friend of Hano’s and played a dk named aislinn in your guild during wrath” speech, he said “of course i remember you!”

Of course.

I had never raided with these guys, I wasn’t SUPER social with most of them, and I was there probably less than a year total before I transferred Lisan over to E’T and largely left my dk to languish, and this was seven years ago.  And yet he “of course” remembered me.

Never underestimate your memorability, y’all.  Just because you feel like you couldn’t possibly have made an impact in some way doesn’t mean someone won’t remember you (and fondly!) anyway, almost a decade later.

I fucking love this game. :)

General · PvE

The times they are a’changing

It’s weird to think of how much this game has changed since I first started playing in late 2008.  Between 2008 and 2010 when I started blogging, I didn’t really notice any changes that were made – I wasn’t particularly great at playing the game, and I mostly just mashed buttons until things died and hoped for the best.

2010 was when I started paying attention.  Late 2009 I started reading WoW blogs, and in early 2010 I decided to make one of my own.  It’s never had much of a focus, being a distinctly PERSONAL blog vs many others that had a purpose of some sort, however odd or vague, but it was mine, and in it I documented my discovery of healing and how much I enjoyed it, my first foray into raiding, and a lot of the ridiculous stuff I got up to with my friends.  Even some of the community drama that went around got mention.

But man, looking back at my old posts I’m mostly struck by how much the game itself has changed.  Looking at Lis and how even in +int heirlooms (the cloth chest and shoulders, bc it was SO EXPENSIVE to get heirlooms at all) she was regularly stopping to drink during dungeons – these days on the rare occasions I heal (though I’m trying to get back to it), when I’m wearing heirloom gear it’s rare to actually need to PAUSE, let alone drink.

Looking at when I helped Megs (the ever lovely @whatsatotem) take down Attum the Hunter and she didn’t get the mount, but I got a nice cloak that lowered my int a tiny bit but gave me mp5 that was worth it bc i needed that mana regen, because spirit wasn’t a thing yet.

Talking about how levelling Lisan from 1-80, largely through dungeons (which gave quicker XP gains, especially if you were a tank or a healer and thus rarely had a proper queue) took me six months, despite almost exclusively playing her, because the XP gains for former end-game content (45ish-60, 60-70) and current end-game content (70-80) was so much slower than the same ranges are now.  (in contrast, I am over halfway to level 80 on my warrior that I rolled literally 3 days or so ago.)

I know there’s a lot of talk in some circles about how the game is too easy these days.  I don’t know about end-game content as I haven’t been active in endgame since mid-Cata (and even then it was just heroic 5-mans, not raiding), but as far as the game on the whole, honestly?  Yeah, I think it is, but I also think it’s a good thing.

Seriously, like… yes, I think endgame things like raiding and level-cap dungeons and so forth should be challenging (and have multiple difficulties like heroic/mythic/etc for people who need even MORE of a challenge) bc that’s the point of those things.  But just playing the game?  Levelling and questing and picking your stats?  That shouldn’t be hard.

And it was hard before, at least if you didn’t have all the requisite knowledge of the tropes and conventions that were the foundation for World of Warcraft, make no mistake.  Remember talent trees?  Before they were phased out entirely (which i’m completely neutral on honestly – I like the new system but the old way didn’t bother me in and of itself) they had simplified it and added a little tutorial thingy when it unlocked.  And I was so glad for that, because it meant that no one would be in the position I was in once upon a time: with absolutely no idea what you were supposed to do and no one to give you advice, and putting points willy-nilly into ALL THREE TREES because that meant you’d be sort of an all-around median rather than specialized, and that was good for levelling… right?

It’s easier to figure out what stats a class uses and what stats they don’t, which is great because that way it’s less likely that you’ll get someone like baby 2008 apple playing for the first time as a warrior, looking at the stats and saying “well intelligence says it improves mana, which is what you use for spells and abilities, but i don’t have mana, so I guess it must improve my rage!” and proceeding to wear int leather and mail.

It’s also easier to not die, which I see as a good thing, especially for inexperienced and new players, or players who have disabilities of some sort that make it hard for them to have super-snappy reflexes.  It lowers the threshold for failure and allows for more people to be able to enjoy it.  Like… yeah, it lowers it for everyone because unlike a single-player game, you can’t have one person playing on nightmare difficulty while another plays narrative difficulty, but like… why shouldn’t the person who wants something easy and low-stress be allowed to play?  There are places for the nightmare difficulty people – it’s called endgame mythic raiding.  And if that’s not hard enough… idk, lower the quality of everyone’s gear so you have to try harder?

Maybe it’s a controversial opinion these days, I honestly don’t know, but by and large I am happy with the changes Blizzard has made to WoW to make it more accessible and fun for people who aren’t necessarily able to play above casual mode.

The game has changed a lot.  Sometimes I miss how it used to be – if I had the chance to timewalk an entire server back to Wrath days, I probably would take the option for nostalgia alone.  But in the end… I kind of like the changes I’ve seen, and I’ll judge the rest of it when I come to it. :)

General

Nostalgia and a Plan

Hello friends and followers! aka probably the 3 (i’m being optimistic) people who will notice this post go up because I’m somehow still on your blogroll that you somehow still actually check.

So way back in the early spring of 2010, I started a blog. It was a little blog, it wasn’t anything fancy, but I was making friends on twitter and on other Warcraft blogs (which were a pretty common sight at the time) and I wanted to be part of the Cool Kid’s Club.

I don’t know if I ever was, tbh, but I definitely had some cool-ass friends, and it was great. After about a year of blogging and having fun with it, I actually got my own website! It was an exciting moment, and I had a lot of fun with it, and I continued blogging for a while… until my hosting ran out and I didn’t actually have the money to keep paying it. Which was probably okay, because I hadn’t posted in months, and really a lot of my favorite blogs were also slowly dying off it seemed like, and I wasn’t really playing anymore, so it made sense.

In 2014 I briefly (and far-too-optimistically) said I was back!!! It was GREAT!!!! I made… one post.

Whoops.

So it’s been seven years since I first created this blog. It was the light of my life for a while, and there were so many good WoW blogs for me to follow, and people commented on my posts and I commented on theirs and I was ALL OVER twitter like all the time…

Well, things have obviously changed in seven years. I’m pretty sure the phenomenon of the WoW Blog has fallen largely by the wayside – obviously there still are some, but most of the ones I’ve seen still operating are meant for raiders. I don’t know of anybody just posting about what they’re doing, maybe writing a little fiction, complaining about the dungeon finder, and excited when they reach a new milestone. I mean, hell, maybe they’re out there and I just don’t know about them, but most of the blogs I loved are gone.

Not all of them, of course. Rades over at Orcish Army Knife hasn’t QUITE given up the ghost, it seems (though his last post was in November of last year). Kurn’s blog still exists, though it seems to mostly be guides and also hasn’t updated since November. From Draenor With Love has ended, Manalicious hasn’t updated since 2015, Big Bear Butt posted his goodbyes in February, and most of the blogs I used to follow had been gone by the time I briefly tried to come back in 2014 tbh.

Which brings me to the ever-important question: what am I doing posting here? I’ve spent 450 words giving you a history lesson in my own personal blogging history (some of which you probably already know) and I have no point. I’ve not even really talked about WoW, just WoW blogging, and that’s not really the same, is it?

Well, I don’t know. I think I mostly just missed this. I missed my blog. I missed having a place to ramble about things that my wife doesn’t particularly care about and I don’t feel like echoing back and forth with my partner. I missed having a reason to try weird things in order to have something to talk about. Twitter is great and all, but it’s so short form, and you can tell I like words, right?

My plan from here on in is to try to blog about WoW as long as I’m playing it. That may not last long – I don’t have a lot of spare funds these days, and no real focus. I don’t have a guild to talk to and most of my friends who used to play rarely do anymore, if at all. I’m not raiding, I’m not usually running dungeons, I’m not doing any sort of end game content. But I still love the world. I still love the game, and I’m still creating and playing characters who might have something to say in fiction. I might post most of my screenshots on twitter these days, but you can’t stop me from reposting them here and writing little stories about them if I want. ;)

So here I am. I’m still Apple, all these years later. And this is my WoW blog.

Obviously posting here again won’t recreate the community that I adored, but I’m hoping that maybe some of you will follow my rambling anyway.

General

Holy Crap What Is This????

Apple is BACK ON THEIR OLD BLOG?????

Well, yeah. Alas, I no longer have my own domain, but that’s okay. I’ve been out of the blogging game for ages, I’ve been out of WoW for ages, and it was a happy part of my past, right?

Except I’ve been back for about two months now – in the game, not blogging, obvs – and you know what? I miss this. Not that I tend to have much to talk about, you know, but hey! I never did to begin with, either. ;)

So, what HAS Apple been doing? Moving to Oklahoma City, for one. Getting increasingly creakier for another. My girl and I got officially and legally married! Not that Oklahoma recognizes it, of course, but last year in NY we got hitched and it rocked.

In-game, I cleared out my alts. Like, down to about 7! I’m further up again, but it was nice to clear out the alts I was never going to go back to. On the down side, I think I deleted my priest who had my cloth heirloom helm, shoulders, and chest (and the staff) in her bags. Dammit.

Lisan is still 85. Mollie is just over the line to 88. And SUMMER, my hunter who was stuck in Outland for like a year and a half, is a couple of quest turn-ins away from 89! Go figure. My one panda (a monk, of course – her name is Roxy) just hit level 40, and I will be shrieking happily over panda monk levelling in a later post because man that shit is OP.

I started a new twitter account, and then summarily renamed it back to my oldold account, before it became @windandstardust. @AzerothApple is BAAAAAACK, yo!

Y’all know you missed me.

General

Iko!

So, I originally got my ukulele last year when I was doing a songwriting challenge. Now, I’m shit at writing my own songs, but I don’t think I’m too bad at singing OTHER people’s songs. And I decided to fiddle around today (as I do sometimes) and record myself. This is done entirely with my own vocals and my ukulele. Yes, even the percussion.

Iko Iko!

…yeah, this is what I do when I’m not playing WoW. ^_^;;

ALSO! I will be moving soon to my VERY OWN WEBSITE! :D Which will be revealed, y’know, soon! So keep an eye out for that, once I get it all set up. ;)

General · PvE

Getting back into my WoW groove

Well, last night, I was going about my business, thinking about making supper and reading, when I got a tweet from Ose.

“APPLE come do OS2D 25!! <3"

Followed shortly by, "You know you would like to roll on the Twilight Drake. :P"

She meant OS3D, which I guessed was the case, but I laughed and said “sure, why not?” (to her great glee) and logged in. There was a long period of waiting and adding more and more people, during which one of our priests, Num, decided that Lifegripping me (other people, too, but I was the only one who seemed to get indignant about it, lol) all over the place was the best plan. Especially since I couldn’t figure out what was going on at first. BUT that was okay, we zerged it with no problem at all, being all in lv85 gear (and most if not all of them raid-ready), and when the Twilight Drake dropped, we all rolled need… and I won with a 96. SCORE!

After that, I admitted to a few of the people left in the chat that I’d told Kurn I was stepping down from the raiding lineup for now. Some… good-but-potentially-stressful-and-drama-inducing things are happening at work, and my life is full of lots of different kinds of stress atm, and I just don’t have the energy to devote to getting geared up in a short amount of time. What I’m going to do is just… do it slowly. Spend a couple hours a day on randoms/dailies/whatever, maybe more if I’m up to it, or less if I’m not. Get there in my own time. And then when I’m ready, I’ll reapply as a raider. It’s sad and disappointing, because I was really looking forward to it, but… I’ve only got so many spoons. And in normal, low-stress times, I’ve got plenty of emotional energy for things like the grind of gearing up (see: my scramble to gear for end-of-Wrath ICC raids, though that was somewhat less involved), but right now, I have precious little to spare, and I don’t want to waste it on something that would stop being fun before I even had a chance to start.

STILL! No biggie, I’m sticking with the guild in a non-raiding capacity for now. I told them, they all were sad (I love my guildies, just sayin’), and then they talked about doing Heroic Stonecore. And I said I’d come if they gave me a few hours to raise my ilvl. To which they declared that Walks could heal, I could go into my (oh-so-crappy) ret spec, and try not to die, and they’d get me a piece of gear or two, hopefully. It was interesting, fun, and I died on every single one of the bosses (I was SO CLOSE on the last one, too, but then a surprise rock one-shotted me), but I got a couple upgrades and had a lot of fun.

After that, Ose and Hulrok and I ran MgT for a shot at the Hawkstrider mount for Ose’s main (since she only has it on an alt), and the Phoenix Hatchling dropped, and since they both had it, it was MIIIIINE. :D So! The Twilight Drake, the Phoenix Hatchling, AND my first Heroic, all in one night. It was a pretty good one.

Hope today’s just as fun, and hope I have plenty of stories to share with you guys now that I’m starting to play again.

General · PvE

A new year in Apple-land!

Well, granted, it’s a new year EVERYWHERE, but this post is about MY new year and what I hope to do with it. :)

My first real exploit for this year is going to hopefully finish the post for my Blog Azeroth secret santa recipient. If he sees this blog post, he’ll probably know it’s for him, as I’m sure he’s probably the LAST person to not have theirs, but I’ve been… I don’t even know. It’s supposed to be a funny post and I can’t seem to get the funny. I’m halfway through and have my draft and research tabs open, and hopefully today or tomorrow I’ll be able to get it done.

This week is also going to be the week of “quests, rep grinding, dungeons, Heroics, gearing, alchemy, GO GO GO.” I have to do quests to build up my gold again (really, I shouldn’t have gotten 310% flying until I was gemmed and enchanted and had Alch. maxxed, but I am bad at thinking of stuff like that, and I wanted faster flying for my cross-continent archeology expeditions. Stupid Apple.) so I can afford the mats I’m going to need to get my guildies to enchant and gem me. I need to quest and reg. dungeon in order to up my gear ilvl so I can actually get INTO Heroics so I can grind for rep and gear. I was SUPPOSED to be raid-ready by Tuesday. Why am I not? Well… I bought Dragon Age: Origins on sale from Steam as a Christmas present for myself. And after spending a LOT of time (even if it wasn’t all on Lis) playing WoW since launch, it was a bit of a relief to play something else, and then it was so interesting, and the thought of logging into WoW to deal with the horrible state of Lis’ gear/alchemy/rep/gold was making me want to never log in again. So I took a little longer, realised it was almost January, and emailed Kurn about it. She was really nice about it, though I expect I’ll be nagged ALL WEEK this week – see, I have the week off, and I’ve decided that I’m going to use this time to get myself as ready as I can – hopefully with NEXT Tuesday finding me raid-ready and not logged out in my crappy Ret spec/gear that I’ve been using to level because it requires less drinking and thus less buying of drinks.

But that’s starting Monday. Today, I play Dragon Age for the last bit I’ll have until I’m raid-ready.

Speaking of Dragon Age, I love this game like burning. I, of course, made a Dwarf named Lisan. She was a Casteless, a bit idealistic, hated the life she and her sister had to lead. When she joined the Grey Wardens, she was determined to help save the world. And without fail, she’s tried her best to do the right thing. Which, sadly, included helping to put her lover Alistair on the throne, despite the fact that she knew he’d have to leave her if he was king. We’ve just finally passed that part, and she’s taking comfort in her friendships with Leilana and Zevran at the moment. Alistair will make a good king, she thinks. She wishes she could’ve been selfish enough to keep him for herself instead, but… well, like I said – she tries to do the right thing.

BUT, because I’m both an altophile and because I have to play through at least ONCE where she gets to keep him, I’ve rolled Lissa – a similar but not identical Dwarf of noble blood, who will want to keep him from that at all costs, because of the horrible betrayals and manipulations she suffered during her own stint as princess of Orzammar, which led to her joining the Grey Wardens in the first place. I’m not going to focus on her game until I’ve finished Lisan’s, but it’ll be interesting to see how the differences in personality and history influence her decisions in the game. :D

ANYWAY, folks, that’s my life and my new year. Hope your holidays were wonderful, and the coming year better than the last. :)

General

Ambermist in Azeroth (Guest Post)

Red is just not my color, but here I am anyway, one Battle Chicken in full Secret-Santa attire. Apple is safely tied up in my Santa sack (pipe down in there, would ya?!)—feisty one, she is!

When reading through Apple’s posts, one of the things I liked most is the care and thought she puts into her characters. Just one paragraph from “It is done” post made me feel like I had some insight into the mind of her paladin:

Not that she didn’t want him dead, of course, but it wasn’t necessarily a cause for celebration – it was something horrible that had to be done. Yes, Arthas had become evil, and done horribly bad things, and was beyond redemption, but… he was like her, once – a young Paladin who perhaps wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility thrust upon him, just trying to do his best in the face of horrible atrocities.

I’ve written Warcraft fanfiction and poetry, but I’ve never taken the time to get to know my own character. Apple’s got me thinking: who is Ambermist, anyway? How does her mind work through the many decisions she has made on Azeroth’s—and more foreign—shores? How does she feel about the things she has experienced: the gruesome and the touching?

I have to tell you, it was a lot harder than I thought. You would think after spending as much time with this character as I have over the past four years that I could talk about her easily, but getting to know her well enough to describe her to you has been an entirely new adventure, and I appreciate that this turned into an opportunity to meet Ambermist in a new way.

Let me tell you about my good friend and one of Azeroth’s heroes…

——————————————————————————————–

She never even gave any other way of life a thought: Ambermist was destined to be a druid. It came naturally to her. Nature spoke to her even before she began to study druidism; she could hear the soft whisper of yearning coming from the seeds below the ground, eager to sprout and the cheerful song of a flower bursting into life.

Although their ways were different, she felt a great kinship with the priestesses, and the moments spent in the temple in the light of Elune were almost as peaceful as the ones spent seated in the wilderness, eyes closed and mind open.

The call to help Azeroth came early and often. Ambermist, encouraged by the nature from which she learns, lost much of the racial superiority often lingering in Night Elves, and actually finds great compassion and companionship in the races with which they are united under the Alliance banner. When the call came initially, she was ready and eager to aide, and has since answered every summon, showing up in the front lines attacking the enemy, and remaining behind to heal the wounded as they arrive.

That is not to say that she hasn’t had reservations. Flying into Icecrown sent chills through her body more violent than the cold carried in the wind. The chill in Icecrown was unnatural, and her hesitation to spend time in a place where nature had been grossly abused and silenced tripled upon entering the favored place of the Lich King.

If she hadn’t seen the terrible events of the Wrath Gate unfold before her eyes; if she hadn’t felt her heart break as Bolvar and Saurfang met their deaths, she may not have come. But the anger that welled inside of her as she felt Northrend calling out in pain and the deaths of a thousand heroes before her was enough to bring her face-to-face with the Lich King himself and to see him defeated…and replaced.

The battle against the Nightmare took much out of her. She felt uncomfortable about tapping into their beloved World Tree, but she trusted Staghelm. To discover that she had been so greatly misled had weighed on her for a long time, soothed only by the return of Malfurion, the leader she had hoped for all along.

And now this. She had felt Azeroth groaning and trembling already. The very roots of the grass and trees in her home of Teldrassil cried out the warning to her; the wind carried messages of fear and pain. When the Earthen Ring called for her and warned of an impending disaster, she was neither surprised nor complacent, jumping into action immediately.

Nothing could have prepared her for the emergence of Deathwing into Azeroth, and Ambermist’s heart sank at the disaster he wrought upon the land. She put her sadness and anger to work for her once again, asking nature to come to her aide as she pushes through this suddenly unfamiliar territory under the shadow of this aspect of death.

She will not rest until she has seen him fall or met her death at his hand—Azeroth will be retaken. The land itself demands it.

—————————————————————————————————

Thank you for letting me hijack Azeroth Apple and get a glimpse into my character in a way I hadn’t before. I’ll now return Apple to you–you’ll find her under the tree; she’ll be the cute one with the bow!

It’s a little late for a proper Merry Christmas, so I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

–Ambermist the Battle Chicken (Tastes Like Battle Chicken)

General · PvE

The New Adventures of Old Apple, Pt 2

So, clearly I fail at updating in a timely fashion, clearly. So! The state of the Apple, so far!

Computer

My shiny new computer is AMAZING! I can’t turn the graphics up TOO high without dropping down to 15ish fps, but that’s better even than on the old mac, so that’s good. I have the Good settings turned on, mostly, except for water effects and shadows, which I’m keeping at “low” and “fair”, respectively, and I get about 60fps most of the time. :) It’s very nice. So far, it seems like she’s going to work for me just fine.

Lisan (and the new zones)

Oh, my darling Paladin. Well, she hasn’t hit 85 yet, but she is 84. And, lo and behold, she’s actually acquired an offspec! Ret, of course, because I’d be shite at Prot. I’ve collected a little gear set that’s probably deeply shitty, but consists of plate stuff that has +str or +hit or other things when there wasn’t anything I could use for my Holy set. Her Holy set is also coming along – I managed to let go of her old boots finally, which I’d been holding on to for the minor speed increase. I’ve replaced most of her raiding gear, but not all of it – and her raiding set is going in the bank for posterity: “this is what I raided in back in the Wrath days”. ;) Once she hits 85, I’m going to go finish leveling her professions (I never did do that, oops) and Archaeology.

As far as the new zones go, I adored Vashj’ir and Hyjal – both had interesting storylines and quests that kept me interested, and I loved the look and feel of the zones. Then I went to Deepholm. And… eh. It’s not HORRIBLE, but it’s also not GREAT. It feels claustrophobic to me despite its expansiveness, and I honestly wasn’t having fun. So after I discovered Therazene (I think?) and getting my rep up to “Friendly” through the first quests, I said “fuck this noise” and hightailed it back to Stormwind. I did the quests with Anduin that lead up to Varian sending you to the Twilight Highlands, and then booked it over to Uldum. Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to do much there yet, but I’m already enjoying it more than I was enjoying Deepholm.

Alts (and more Alts)

Okay, breakdown by name, race, and class, and how they’re doing:

Chromatic (Gnome Priest) has actually been race changed. She is now Charité the Worgen Priest. And level 40. I’m not sure the race change is going to stick, though. I keep looking at her and going “eh, I’ll play her later” when I used to be really excited to play her as a Gnome. So. We’ll see.

Josephîne (Worgen Druid) has been temporarily abandoned in the name of levelling Lis, mostly.

Summer (Belf Hunter) has not been played in ages. Poor Summer.

Geneviéve (Worgen Warrior) is level 12 and in Darkshore. I’m actually having fun playing her so far. A warrior.

Twîzzle (Goblin Priest/Mage) I can’t decide which I want her to be, yet. On one server (ThoBro) she’s a lv 5 priest, and on another (E’T) she’s a lv 1 mage. I’ve been mostly busy playing Lis, to be perfectly honest, so I’ll probably come back to her once Lis is good to go. That said, isn’t Twizzle the greatest name for a Goblin?

I love the Worgen starting zone/quests, and I like what I’ve seen so far of the Goblin zone/quests. They’re both quite fun in VERY different ways.

In conclusion…

Cataclysm: IT’S AWESOME!