Guild – Petoholics Anonymous Because you can never have too many pets Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:57:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1574202 In Raiding News… Tue, 01 Nov 2011 19:53:33 +0000 So it occurred to me that after my post about a non-guild raid group, I should give everyone an update. Since blogs are suppose to be updated on a regular basis… *cough*

Anyways, let me start at the beginning. I began by scraping most of the requirements that I had listed previously and wrote up a simple macro to spam in General chat.

Want to raid but don’t want to leave your non-raiding guild? Tired of PUGs and want to raid at the same time every week? I’m putting together a regular raid group for people who want to have crazy fun while killing big bad bosses. PST for more info

I was actually surprised by the turn out that I got. After using it irregularly for only two weekday evenings and a Saturday, I got 7 people who were interested in the idea as well as the weekend raiding times. So I set up the first raid for that Sunday and between them and my guild, I had 16 confirmed players.

We ended up clearly all but Chimaeron and Nef in BWD on the first time. I had to sheepishly admit over Mumble that I hadn’t read the strats for half of the bosses because I didn’t want to go in with high expectations in case we failed, so I had assumed we wouldn’t get this far this fast.

Chimaeron proved to be a thorn in our side as it took us 3 raid nights to get him down. But every night everyone agreed that they wanted me to carry over the raid lockout so we could make our attempts again and again. It was a relief for everyone to finally see him die.

It was still early in the night and everyone was in high spirits so we continued onto Nef. This also took us several tries for several reasons: switching which tank goes on which boss (hey, maybe a pally would be better for Ony since she has a shadow debuff!), switching out players because my healer fell asleep mid-pull (WTF?), a tank learning that you need to constantly be moving when kiting the adds on phase 3 (oops, my bad), etc. Because of the player switches, I ended up bring Saraku to tank, which I was perfectly happy with because Niqora had already gotten the achievement anyways.

Each time we were making progress though, until he finally keeled over and gave up his dragon-flavored loot. Which was a good thing too because Kazi (who had been healing me) had died and I was out of cooldowns. I <3 Kazi’s shammy heals. Plus I think he died because I dragged us through Nef’s flame breath but THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT.

We have killed the dragon! ...Again. Was Blackwing Lair merely a setback?

We have killed the dragon! ...Again. Was Blackwing Lair merely a setback?

So now that BWD is done and over with, we’ll be continuing to BoT this weekend and see how far we get. I suppose it’s back to reading strats for me.

Things that I’ve learned from this:

  • MS/OS/Greed rolls are the way to go. If only the items that dropped were useful for anyone. (Cloth drops when we have a single mage who’s geared to the teeth. Why, RNG?)
  • Generally I’m pretty open with varied strategies but sometimes I need to set my foot down. On Chimaeron, I was originally going to go with a Break tank and an offtank that takes the Double Attacks. The tanks didn’t like this idea because of all the taunting and wanted to try taking 4 breaks/switching or taking 1 break/switching. That didn’t work out so well because the tanks kept dying. >.< Eventually I insisted on my strat and it worked out. Not to say I R RAID LEADER, I IS ALWAYS RITE because lord knows 9 heads can be better than 1.
  • I can’t multitask. Or at least not very well. Trying to call out when to taunt on Chimaeron, calling out when to collapse for System Failure, and dpsing at the same time does not work. I have to let others take responsibility sometimes.
  • Everyone will be whispering me when it comes to raid invites. EVERYONE.
  • I’m expected to know everything about every encounter, including trash. What, do I look like some sort of leader to you people? >.> Unfortunately with my poor memory, it’s impossible for me to retain all the information I just read and we will be essentially winging it the first time. Once I know how to “do by doing”, life gets a lot easier.
  • I’ve never been nitpicky over talents and gear, and I will generally bring anyone who wants to fill a slot. However, I have found some limits. A death knight tanking in all PvP gear? Sorry, no. A warrior tank alt in blue gear because “this character could actually use the upgrades”? Also no. Maybe it seems callous and I shouldn’t be picky but what I’m worried about here is the fun AND success of the raid as a whole. Wiping over and over again because of bad gear is not going to get us anywhere.
  • You can find some freaking awesome people this way. There’s a healer who insisted at the beginning that she wasn’t geared enough and should probably be replaced, but she has been fantastic at her job and a pleasure to play with. She has also signed up and shown up on time for every raid so far. I want to keep her forever.
  • Our mage refuses to die, even when I order him to just wipe it. Except when he’s kiting adds, then he dies all the time! (Still love you, Keys.)

Things that I still need to work on:

  • I may need to get better at scheduling regular breaks and making sure people know that there shouldn’t be AFKs in between. Or I at least need to get people to TELL me when they’re going AFK. Seriously, is it too hard to type “brb bio” or “brb baby”?
  • Getting some folks to sign and be on time is still a bit of a trial. :-/ Unfortunately (or fortunately), I haven’t had any people warming the bench to take their places. At least it hasn’t lead to any drama yet.
  • It can be really hard at times to keep everyone’s spirits up. What can I do short of breaking out into a comical song about how we should keep trying again and again?
  • I’ve had both non-guild and guild members who have signed up multiple times and not showed altogether. I should probably just not invite the non-guild people again but what about the guildies?
  • I’ve got to learn a better way of absorbing strats. So far Tankspot videos have not been cutting it.

As a side note, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time ever so I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be posting here much, if at all, in the month of November. Nice to know for once that I’ll be busy ahead of time, eh?

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The prodigal blogger returns Mon, 26 Sep 2011 21:00:53 +0000 I was missing Wow so I bought a month’s worth of time, telling myself that this would be the test to see how I feel about the game. That was over a month ago and I’m still here, still enjoying it.

The strangest thing of all was that I had really wanted to play my baby rogue. Yep, I came back because I wanted to play an alt. I’ve barely ended up spending any time on her since, as the rest as been filled with all sorts of other activities on other characters.

I realized how much I missed my characters. When I went on hiatus, I sort of thought of them as taking a break too, that they were world-weary like me. But then I came back and discovered that my quiet, gentle Niqora had become angry and was pacing like a caged animal. She wants to shoot things in the face, particularly Deathwing and Garrosh. Saraku’s gone to new levels of awkwardness. Aroqin is hitting on everything that’s male (okay, that’s not new but it’s happening a lot more often). Niqo’s son Tuyok is growing up, getting stronger and bolder. Here I thought they were all resting peacefully but it turns out that time as been marching by for them as well.

I’d missed the familiar sights and sounds, the music, the lore I know at least marginally well. I missed the crazy roleplaying and the silly jokes. But most of all I had missed my friends and was elated to see that they had missed me as well. It was kinda awkward coming back to the guild I had been a part of for 2 1/2 years and see a bunch of people that I didn’t know. But I think I’ve found my place in it again.



Yep, making immature jokes at the expense of my guildmates (especially the guild leader). But hell, that’s what ALL of our jokes are like and I love it!

So, this is letting everyone know that I’m not dead (yet) and that I’m truly enjoying my play time. And all while still playing Minecraft on the side (ghasts are the bane of my existence).

So let all know that Faeldray has returned and that my new warcry shall echo throughout the halls: FOR THE LEADERSHIT!

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Different priorities Wed, 18 May 2011 21:31:55 +0000 I’m technically still on hiatus since my WoW subscription is still cancelled. But there are some things I really need to get off my chest because the fact is I’m losing sleep over them.

I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of what caused me to leave WoW in the first place. As tempting as it would be to drag certain names through the mud right now, I know I’m just thinking that because I’ve transitioned from the hurt stage to the pissed off stage, and I’d regret my actions later. What I will say is that tensions had been high and still on the rise in my guild, and when I get frustrated, I frantically try to fix things. There were some miscommunications that occurred which lead to me receiving one nasty message, the kind that I would never expect to hear from a friend. I was completely shattered by it and spent a few days after trying not to burst into tears randomly, and resisting the urge to crawl under a rock and die. My trust was broken then and I still don’t know if it can be repaired.

It was all a big giant mess and still is, to the point where the shockwaves seem to have shaken up the guild despite me rather silently disappearing. I don’t know where my friendships and futures lie with a lot of people and while some of them are optimistic, I’m afraid I can’t be. At least not for another good while.

But personal issues aside, this s$#@storm made me realize one thing that I believe was a major underlying stressor. To understand this, let me give you a brief overview of my playstyles over the years. When I first started WoW, I would only play hunters, rolled them sporadically on several servers, and essentially did everything solo. Then I was drawn to roleplaying and eventually join my guild, which was medium-heavy RP guild at the time. We’ve been always prone to rolling alt upon alt and chatted a lot so we began to tack on words such as “casual” and “social” to describe us. In Wrath is where we made our first ventures into raiding, at first in conjunction with another guild. I was reluctant to go to these at first because I didn’t particularly like the other guild and found them kinda boring. Soon we had enough members to break away from them and form our own raids. Suddenly…raids were fun. There were bumps in the road of course but we raided for most of that expansion, leading to one of my proudest moments where we killed the Lich King together. I didn’t care that we did it with the full buff; I didn’t even care what he dropped. Just the joy of doing it with my friends, while it was still current content, was the part I liked the most. Somewhere along the way going into Cata, we had picked up a number of people who didn’t roleplay so we stopped calling ourselves an RP guild. But we weren’t a hardcore raiding guild either, because we didn’t particularly care about hardmodes or achievements. So we began calling ourselves simply a casual guild.

Anyways, the word “casual” unfortunately has different meanings to different people within my guild, which I think is why this whole mess happened. I happened to come across a very old post by Matticus that really struck me as what I’ve been trying to say all along. Here’s the excerpt in particular:

From my various experiences and chats with other guilds, casual to THEM means:

Not reading up on strategy before hand
Not listening to the raid leader
Not paying attention or having any kind of situational awareness

And they wonder why they have such a hard time in SSC and TK.

This is what casual means to me

Not spending more than 6 hours a night raiding
Not spending more than 3 days raiding
Not being stupid while having fun

1 definition describes a guild that is struggling night after night in T5 instances and wonders what they have problems. The other is having a blast exploring Mount Hyjal and Black Temple.

If you add to the first definition “not bothering to sign up/show up for raids” and “long-time members feeling a sense of entitlement without putting in the effort”, then that essentially summarizes the majority of our members. They’re certainly not all like that by a long shot, but the ones who do enjoy raiding and are good at it keep telling me, “We’re a casual guild, not a raiding guild.”

Their definition of “casual” is a guild that doesn’t necessarily raid. My definition in more in line with Matticus’s, being a guild that doesn’t raid hardcore. Since we were able to before ourselves in Wrath, I’ve been of the opinion that there’s no reason why a guild like ours shouldn’t be able to raid.

I’ll admit it, one of the main things I want out of WoW right now is raiding, to see that content while it’s still current. And I think one of the reasons I fought so fervently for it was because it’s one of the few things I can do in game these days, and the only thing we do as a guild anymore. We have too many non-RPers in the guild to have large RP events. Cata heroics are a horrific boring grind that can leave you locked in them for hours on end. I have 4 level 85s and I have no urge to try and gear them all thanks to said heroics. All 10 slots on my server are taken up by alts and there’s only so much new content you can see before level 60. Raids were the one thing I could do with my guild that were new and shiny and challenging. Only now, even those aren’t being done, because we’re “casual”.

I know I should have realized this before as it’s been said to me many times in the past that we were a “casual” guild. I guess I was so attached to my online family that I didn’t really want to see that our priorities had taken different directions. But now as certain bonds have been shattered and others tested, I wonder if any return to WoW for me will require a new beginning.

I want to be in a guild where roleplay happens frequently and raids are scheduled every weekend. I don’t care about how many boss kills they’ve had or hardmodes, I just want to see Deathwing dead at my feet before the next expansion rolls around. I want to be able to shoot the breeze with guild members, play my alts to death in the downtimes, and maybe, hopefully form some of the same bonds I did within Bloodriver. I want an online  family who has the same goals as me…the only problem is, I don’t know if I can find that again in Bloodriver or on any other server.

Only time will tell I suppose.

Are you the right person for the job? Tue, 08 Mar 2011 18:57:09 +0000 As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m an officer in my guild Bloodriver, and I have been one almost since its creation over 2 years ago. Over that span of time, I’ve seen many many members and even officers come and go for various reasons. It’s my personal belief that the officer position should go to the people who are willing to go the extra mile for the sole sake of the guild, not for their own personal advancement. It’s a job, not a prestigious title or an admission into an inner circle. Following that line of reasoning, I always try to be fair with my input about who I think should join our ranks. And yes, if I thought a close friend/family member/significant other wasn’t up to the job, I would say so.

The other night, we had an officer meeting to decide, among other things, who should be our raid leader. We had decided on a RL at the end of Wrath but he’s been unable to play due to real life responsibilities. Now, this was something that I had thought of before. I had led many of BR’s raids in the past; in fact through some of Ulduar, all of TotC, and the beginning of Icecrown Citadel. I had received comments that I was a good RL. And when asked for nominations, my name was thrown out there with two others.

I don’t know who actually nominated me because it certainly wasn’t me. I’ve come to realize that I’m what I call a “reluctant leader”. I will take up the mantle of leadership if I must, but if there is someone more capable and willing around, I will happily pass the role over to them. I am much better at supporting the true leader, whether it be by providing my opinion (and I’m not afraid to give it even if it contradicts theirs) or just being generally helpful by researching, gathering consumables, etc.

Maybe I was a good raid leader before, I don’t know. What I do know is that there were times where it would stress me the hell out and when I stress out, I retreat into myself. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly the best leadership quality to suddenly become silent over Mumble and become irked by every little screw-up.

The point is that I looked at myself critically, dispelled all illusions of “maybe it’ll be better this time”, and decided that I would not be a right person for this job. Instead I nominated and voted for the guild member that I thought was most suited for the job. Unsurprisingly to me, other officers thought the same thing and he was selected as our raid leader. I have complete faith in him to do his job too. He has past experience as a hardcore raider, and is known for cutting through the crap and telling people like it is, while still keeping things fun and boosting morale. I think we’ll do great with him and I’ll always do what I can to help him out.

Knowing when you’re not the right person for it, that’s another item for me to add to my list of officer qualities.

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When do you tell a guild member no? Mon, 24 Jan 2011 18:32:03 +0000 Say you have this hypothetical situation. You’re in charge of a guild raid and since these are your friends, people you know who are kind, your looting system is just random rolling. You’re still master looter but anyone who wants an item can /roll and whoever is the highest gets it.

These are the people who will argue over loot in the fashion of “You take it, you need it more” “No, it’s okay, you won it fair and square so it’s yours”. It’s not uncommon for this to go on for several minutes, your guildmates are generous people.

So everything should go smoothly right?

Then say that a vanity item drops. Everyone can use it, and it’s not super rare but certainly not everyone has it. So several people roll on it and one wins it.

Now say that winner can’t use it right away when others who rolled could have. And say that their character won’t even been their main anymore in a month or so, as they have already announced they’re switching mains. What if this person has also been known to roll “need” for an off-spec item that another guildie could have used for their main spec?

This person has been in the guild for a long time and certainly doesn’t seem to be malicious, perhaps they’re simply unaware of how they appear. But either way, their actions can come across as rather greedy to other guildmates.

What would you do in that situation? Can you teach a grown adult how to think of others instead of just themselves? Or were they perfectly within their right to take something within a guild that’s more like a family?

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Back from the holidays Mon, 10 Jan 2011 20:03:30 +0000 While my vacation technically ended back on January 3, I’ve been terribly busy with this major work project, and my free time has been filled with playing WoW and what relaxation it can bring. But! Prior to that, I had quite the fun and relaxing holiday vacation.

As I mentioned before, Kazi flew all the way up to the Great White North to spend his holidays with me. He got to meet my family (which went rather well, there was minimum interrogation) and got his arse kicked at pool by my cousins. Although I didn’t get the chance to take him snowmobiling or sledding, both of which he had never done (such a Southern boy), we had a great time with my family overall and he did get to eat all the Ukrainian food he wanted. 🙂 For my birthday we went out for a movie and supper with my family, and for New Year’s we went down to Spar Games and played video games with the owner, the owner’s friend, and my brother until late into the night. Oh yes, and pigged out on way too much Chinese food. We probably shouldn’t have ordered 11 dishes for 5 people…in our defense, we were expecting more people to show.

For presents, Kazi bought me a new power supply for my computer, The Shattering and The Zombie Survival Guide books, and the only girly gift of some special hand lotion that I had just been too lazy to get myself. Geeky presents for a geeky girl, and I love him for it. 😀

The rest of the days were mostly spent relaxing: watching movies, playing Munchkin, eating out, those sort of things. We honestly barely touched WoW, as my computer is the only one that can run it reasonably well, which Kazi can attest to from attempted to heal a dungeon on my brother’s computer. It was really sad for him to have to go back home, but in the very least, he could use his own computer again, heh.

Where do I hit level 85? Of course in some musty old tomb surrounded by bugs...

So it’s only been in the past week or so that both of us have really returned to WoW. Niqora is of course level 85 now and through quite a bit of leatherworking/rep grinding and a handful of dungeons, she is geared enough for heroics and has completed a few now with Bloodriver. Her main spec may be BM but for dungeons, she’s usually found in Survival for the better traps and Wyvern Sting to help with CC. It’s become a standard now for her to Camouflage (as I announce over Mumble “I’m the predator, b*tches!”) and begin pulls with a Freezing Trap and a Wyvern Sting if needed. The Lock and Load proc from trapping has led me to plead to our tanks “Can I trap this one pleeeeeease?” Having said that, BM is not without its uses as for two boss fights, I’ve pulled out a tanking pet and have successfully offtanked some adds which have been particularly troublesome (I’m looking at you, High Prophet Barim).

I want to say this about Cata dungeons: I really do appreciate that skill and CC are extremely helpful if not required in a lot of them. It really shows who knows their class and plays them well. But dear lord, do they have to be so long? If I want to do a heroic with my guildies, it should not take us 4 HOURS like it did one night. Most of the dungeons take us at least 1 hour, usually 2 or 3 depending on the difficulty. I want to run dungeons but I don’t want to spend a single evening on just one. I believe that’s what’s led me to feeling a little burnt out already on them. Me, who would run Wrath heroics all day for several days in a row.

Another thing that I’ve been grumbling about and I’m sure every leatherworker is doing the same is the distinct lack of good places to farm leather. Unfortunately there is no equivalent of Sholozar Basin in Cata. The best I’ve been able to find is the Cradle of the Ancients in Uldum, at least after they nerfed the stone bats in Deepholm and the tigers in the Lost City.

Between farming leather, dungeons, and questing with Kazi the rest of the time, I am honestly feeling a little burnt out on Niqo at the moment. I’m sure it doesn’t help that all this work was to make sure Niqo was raid ready, only to hear that half of our raid time will be absent for one reason or another and so it might be a while before we actually raid. I understand the reasons behind all these breaks but it leaves me a little crestfallen, you know?

So as such, it looks like Niqo will be moving at a slower pace now, leaving more time for alts that have been poorly neglected. I’ve also had an odd hankering for some RP lately, something I haven’t really felt strongly since Bloodriver began raiding in earnest in Wrath. Like a guildie pointed out, it was probably because raiding just took up so much time and effort. So now I’ll just have to try and shift my focus a little off raiding until we can get everyone back in, and onto RP and alts. Not that I can really complain about something like that. 😉

With any luck, in a couple days you’ll see Kazi post a new RP story I know he’s been working on. From what I’ve seen, it’ll turn out to be another excellent piece from him. 😉 I’ll try to keep things more up-to-date here (as I always loosely promise with no real changes :P) and if I can find the time, I’m going to try and wrap my head about the events of The Shattering and find Niqo’s and Saraku’s place within it.

Until next time, happy hunting, folks!

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The world literally falling apart can keep you busy Tue, 14 Dec 2010 20:33:37 +0000 I realize it’s been getting close to a month now since you heard from me and I can assure you I’m doing rather well. Doing better than just well actually. I’ve been keeping busy at work with a major project that’s actually quite interesting (albeit frustrating at times) and when I haven’t been dissecting and piecing together code into something resembling a coherent website, I’ve been playing lots and lots of WoW as you can imagine.

As of the Shattering, Kazi and I took full advantage of the new race/class combinations and rolled a bunch of alts. I now have a new tauren priest (who ICly is Anuniaq 2.0) who is being protected by Kazi’s new tauren prot paladin. I kind of scoffed originally at the tauren pallies’ racial mounts but I find now that they’re growing on me more, the level 20 ones more so than the level 40 ones. After some half-hearted grumbling, Kazi convinced me to try out smite healing on my disco priest and I have to say…I thought healing was interesting before, smite healing makes it even more fun! And more amusingly, I’m often 2nd or 3rd on the DPS meters thanks to heirlooms and spam-smiting. 😉

I also rolled a troll rogue (after a failed troll druid who only made it to level 5) to go with Kazi’s orc mage, only to decide I want an orc warrior instead to instance tank. So the group then evolved into my warrior, Kazi’s mage, and one of our friends who we managed to convince to finally make an alt,  so he created a troll priest to heal our sorry arses.

Saraku has joined the ranks of holycows as I switched his race to tauren. There will be some RP stories to come about all of that once I go out and buy The Shattering novel and figure out what the hell happened in the year (or is it 3 years?) since the Cataclysm actually happened. I really do wish they hadn’t glossed over all of it in-game. I feel like I’ve missed whole sections of my characters’ lives, especially Niqora’s.

Once Cataclysm actually came out, I was saddened to find out that my Collector’s Edition preorder was shipped on December 7, instead of arriving on the 7th. Despite me protesting that I’d be fine without it for a couple days, Kazi bought me the digital version and I was able to play that night because of him. What a sweetheart. <3

The first thing I did was buy old world flying and archaeology so I could begin my digging frenzy. Because of Kazi’s work hours, we weren’t able to play until the weekend and we had decided beforehand to quest together on Niqora and Kazimierz. So we spent the work week leapfrogging each other in experience through archaeology/mining/cooking and fishing dailies until the weekend. Then…we quested our hearts out together. 😉

So far we’re just shy of level 84 and have made our way through all of Vash’jir and the majority of Deepholm. The quality of the quests have just floored us and the scenery is completely and utterly amazing. Getting a free seahorse mount is epic. Being able to play as a naga both made us wish that nagas were a playable race. >.> And the cut-scenes in some of the quests are a fantastic idea! Both the zones have just been…wow. And I am eagerly looking forward to seeing the other three. All of our alts will likely be put on the backburner until we’ve at least gotten to level 85.

As a guild, we’ve managed to max out Bloodriver’s leveling every day so far, and we’re not by any means a large guild. Quite a few people are already at level 85, so Kazi and I are hoping to catch up with everyone this weekend and start running dungeons with them to gear up. I’m also really excited to start raiding come January, as we’ll be splitting our raids into casual raids that are open to everyone like before, and progression raids that are made of select members who have proven their skills and who will tackle current content. I am definitely ready to wipe over and over again in the name of progression. 😉

There’s a debate currently going on over which loot system we should use for our progression raids. We’ve been using Suicide Kings in the past and I’ve seen very little complaints about it. However, DKP has been suggested for the progression team and it’s been met by some backlash. It seems that half the members have never been in a raid that used it and the other half that has thinks it’s a horrible idea. I personally have never seen it in use so I’d gladly welcome any comments about DKP here.

As I only plan to get even more preoccupied as the month wears on (including Kazi coming to spend Christmas/my birthday with me! GLEE!), I wouldn’t expect too many updates here. There’s just too much to do and so many things to see right now!

Grace Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:22:31 +0000 At one time, the Shu’halo warrior would have had little trouble dispatching the two centaurs that loomed in the doorway of the kodo-hide tent. Had she not been heavy with child, she would have been able to twist around and block the incoming slice behind her after she had smashed her shield into the face of the stormcaller. But she had not been so fast and the sword raked down her back and sent her crashing to the ground. She had enough sense to bring her axe down on the stumbling stormcaller as they both fell, the caster dead before they even hit the dusty ground. The remaining centaur let out a roar of rage and stabbed his sword down through the warrior’s shoulder, pinning her down as she screamed out in pain and then suddenly went limp. Growling his satisfaction, the centaur whirled around to face his true prey, a small group of young Shu’halo huddled in terror in the corner of the tent. At the front of them stood a lanky black-furred Shu’halo that was older than the rest but still a child, blue eyes steadily meeting the centaur’s despite her shaking legs betraying her fear. However, the centaur had been too preoccupied with the pregnant warrior to notice that this young one had snatched up a gun from nearby. The first bullet pierced through his shoulder and sprayed the tent wall behind him dark with blood. Too late he reached for his sword as a dune-coloured mass of claws and teeth leapt onto his back and dug his fangs deep into his side. Twisting sideways to try and rid himself of the lion, the second bullet cut through his rear flank and he went down, swiftly being finished off by a powerful rake across the throat.

The black Shu’halo dropped the gun as if it were a glowing red coal and scrambled past the centaur corpses to the fallen warrior. She cried out with all her might for help as her hands fluttered around in an attempt to stem the bleeding. But the wounds were too long and deep and the sword was still impaled in the warrior’s body, blood bubbling up around its edges with each wheezed breath the adult Shu’halo took. The young one’s body trembled as she screamed out again for aid, praying and hoping with every drop of her essence that someone, anyone, would hear her.

Niqora watched the Lich King’s body clatter to the ground with feeling nothing really more than surprise and a sense of finality. The world around her seemed to fade to mere background noise as her clanmates cheered, ghosts of those fallen spoke, and the ice crackled into being around Bolvar on the throne. In this numbness she vaguely heard herself reassure everyone that she was all right and simply needed some time to herself, Blacky circling around her in agitation the entire time to drive the point home. Suddenly her clanmates were gone and the only living souls remaining on the platform were the hunter, her pet, and Tirion. Both humanoids were lost int their own thoughts and might as well have been on different planets for all they acknowledged each other’s presences.

The wind was still vilely cold this high up but its edge had since disappeared, leaving it feeling almost empty. Niqora’s hoofs felt heavy and rung sharply against the stone as she took the few steps towards the center of her platform. All that remained was the shattered blade of Frostmourne, Arthas’s body having been removed sometime when the Shu’halo had been trapped in her own world. Weariness overcame her and she fell to one knee before the sword, not even daring to touch it. Blacky slowly inched forward to her side, stretching her neck out to sniff the air around the sword tentatively and then pull herself back with a whimper. Niqora’s hand automatically reached out to soothingly stroke the wolf’s fur. Frostmourne shone dully as her own memories of her friends and family slain by the Lich King spilled forth unbiddingly…and it was then that the tears came.

The warrior had lived only long enough to bear her child, a healthy little boy with the largest brown eyes. Niqora had overheard her mother talking with another druid later, telling her how the warrior had used all her strength and will to keep herself alive so her child could survive. Upon seeing and hearing the crying baby, she had let herself go knowing she had accomplished her final task, falling still and quiet with a gentle smile on her face.

It was many moons later that Niqora sat with her father before a small fire that snapped in response to the silence of the night. Cain had offered to watch the baby that night and after feeding it some zhera milk, it was now snoring softly in a bundle next to another baby, Niqora’s new sister Anuniaq. Niqora, unable to sleep from nightmares involving the flash of centaur blades, was watching the fire even more quietly, hugging her long legs to her chest.

“Each death diminishes us, Niqo,” her father’s deep voice said softly and smoothly as not to wake the babies. They had been sitting in silence so long that him speaking had surprised Niqora and she whipped her head around to look at him. It was in his eyes that saw sympathy and worry for her and she quickly lowered her gaze.

“That is why we can not live forever, why it is unnatural to,” he continued. “We must kill to eat, we must kill to survive, and we cannot stop others around us from dying as well. Death ages us. It makes our bones weary and our minds addled. But where there is death, there is also life. The beasts of the land feed on the plants and we in turn feed on them. And then one day, we shall grow old or be wounded and join with the Earth Mother, our bodies turning to earth and birthing new plants. The cycle then begins anew, and we can rest peacefully knowing that we will provide for our descendants.”

Niqora could feel his eyes follow her expression as she turned to watch the two sleeping babies. “So the more death we experience, the sooner we will die?” Her words surprised her with their weariness as soon as she spoke them.

She could sense Cain shake his head even though she could not see it. “The Shu’halo are long lived for a reason, my little Niqo, even with all the death we see.” He paused, the snap of burning wood the only sound to fill the gap. When he began to speak again, his voice was so soft, it was almost a whisper. “Honor your ancestors and friends since passed, keep them alive and happy in your memories. Make each kill as quick and as clean as possible, with respect for the life you have taken. Learn to forgive those who have wronged you, and learn to forgive yourself when you must slay to ensure your survival and the survival of your tribe. And then pass these words onto your children, and your children’s children when you are old and frail. It is in these ways that you will walk in the Grace of the Earth Mother. And while death may diminish our bodies still, her Grace will forever keep your spirit alive.”

Cain fell silent as he watched his eldest daughter simply stare at the two bundles beside them. The little boy suddenly yawned and squirmed a little before falling back into peaceful sleep again.

“His name Halruum, what does it mean?” she finally asked in a quiet voice.

Her father smiles softly and reached out to squeeze her shoulder gently. “His mother chose it herself. It means ‘life given’.”

Seeing Niqora blink quickly and hastily turn back to the fire with bright eyes, her father very carefully gathered the two sleeping bundles in his arms as not to wake them and carry them back to their tent. In the morning he would find his daughter sleeping peacefully before a dying fire, not a single nightmare haunting her dreams.

These many years later, her father’s words still echoed in Niqora’s head, just as they did now as she swiped her hand across her eyes. Memories of her husband, of other lives cut short at the hands of the Lich king flashed before her, and though they did hurt and weigh down upon her, she could now feel that the load was not as heavy. Only time would help soften the ache of the wounds now but there were other things to consider now. She could recall the dying words of Arthas, the last words of the ghosts, and the exchange between Tirion and Bolvar. She stood slowly without her eyes leaving the broken Frostmourne, though when she spoke, she was not speaking to it at all.

“I forgive you. May you walk now with the Earth Mother.” She closed her eyes and let her head fall a little lower as she whispered, “And I am sorry for what I had to do.”

It was in silence she ascended the stairs to the Lich King’s throne and stood uncontested before Bolvar seated upon it. Blacky tilted her head back and let forth a soulful howl, but Niqora had already said all the words she needed to.

Only the wind blew after that, and not even in response to what had been said. So the hunter and her companion simply left, never once looking back over the frozen platform.

It was so much warmer back in Mulgore that Niqora had to remove many of her fur layers from her armor and cram them into her packs. Blacky’s pink tongue lolled out the side of her mouth, partially from not being used to mild weather and partially from the rather pleasant mood she was in. Together they watched the windmills of Thunderbluff slowly turn in the lazy wind, merely the span of a small valley separating them from the structures. The hunter absentmindedly patted Brakk’s shoulder in thanks, her worg mount jostling a little under her happily.

Somewhere inside the Shu’halo city were Niqora’s mother, father, and younger sister, all of them keeping a watchful eye on her adopted son Tuyok. It was there that her family waited (our family she corrected herself as she glanced down at Blacky and Brakk), anxious for news of her clan’s raid into Icecrown Citadel. A sharp pain in the center of her chest reminded her that her husaband, Mysthowl, would not be there waiting with her and her hands involuntarily clenched Brakk’s reins. Blacky perked her ears towards the Shu’halo and whimpered softly, to which Niqora quietly murmured that she would be all right. She then realized that she truly believed she would be all right.

Keep them alive and happy in your memories. She knew she could never forget him, forget any of them, for as long as she lived. And she would never forget a warrior who had given so much to try and save a group of children not her own, and then give everything for one little baby. But she also knew she had ones who cared for her in Thunderbluff, in her clan, and standing with her at that very moment. Life and death were mere parts of a cycle, arms of a great turning windmill.

“We are home,” she said with a soft smile. “Let’s walk into it with Grace.”

Congratulations to Bloodriver for taking down the Lich King!

We all worked really hard on every fight in there, especially on the Lich King. It was tough sometimes but in the end, we did it! I am particularly thankful for those of you who helped us through the other bosses but couldn’t be there for the LK kill. Don’t worry, we’ll get him again for you guys too. 😉

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Neither gold nor glory Fri, 01 Oct 2010 17:46:57 +0000 I finally did it. It took me several weeks, mostly rep grinding, some of it due to the help required for raids not being available at five in the morning when I came home, but the Scepter of the Shifting Sands is now mine, forever in a place of honor in Kazi’s bank. After all the preparation, slaying trash in AQ40 for reputation, gathering the obscenely expensive materials and rare meats for that crazy gnome in Tanaris, hunting through hostile territory for book fragments and the epic Moonglade event with Eranikus, a single night of raiding finished the job: a quick Onyxia run, followed by begging our only semi-active rogue (we really could use someone who mains a rogue in Bloodriver) to accompany us to Blackwing Lair. Afterward, we trekked to Azshara to finish off Maws, and finally to Silithus to finish the chain for good. There was no epic event, at least not for us—the Scarab Gate had never been closed on Wyrmrest Accord,  as it’s quite young.

As my guildies (seriously, thank you guys! I couldn’t have done much of anything without your help) dispersed, I couldn’t help wondering…what drove me to do such a long, painful line of quests? There was essentially no reward; the dagger and robes I received during the course of questing don’t have unique skins, and the cost of the materials for the arcanite buoy was close to ruinous. The legendary mount and title are long past obtainable, no other items can be shown to others—the Scepter isn’t even an item that can be equipped and shown to other. Why, then, did I spend many hours of my own time and that of my guildies to finish this archaic questline?

I believe it’s my completionist desire, the same one that drove me to get Seeker and Loremaster, and which still propels me on occasion to keep questing on Kazi. I pay my money every month for this game, and I love it…and like every other game I’ve loved, I am doing everything I can to prolong the game. Which, I suppose, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in a game which continuously updates, but it keeps me busy. The questline has also tantalized me for a long time; I’ve written before on my fascination with the entire Ahn’Qiraj war effort event, and this questline was in many ways the focal point of that event. It’s also going away in Cataclysm—it’s been confirmed that the blue dragon which gives an entire third of the scepter’s questline is being removed, and it’s likely they’ll remove the rest as well. Regardless of why, it’s still a major thing I can check off on my ‘To Do’ list…now, to get that Eye of Sulfuras….

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Linkback: Totems 101 and Azerothian Diets Tue, 13 Apr 2010 19:24:00 +0000 The other day, I offered my dear Kazimierz an opportunity to move his blog from Blogspot to a WordPress install that I would be the web host for. After seeing all the customization I do for Petoholics, he jumped at the chance, which lead to a fury of activity including getting him a new domain name and customizing a theme to exactly the way he wanted it. I’m still making tweaks here and there for it but overall, I’m pleased with the way it turned out, and Kazi is very pleased.

He has written some great posts, including a very interesting one about the possible culture cuisines that the races of Azeroth could have. For those of you interested in lore or roleplay, I highly recommend that you take a look at it.

If you have any interest in playing a shaman, he also wrote two very well summarized articles about enhancement and restoration gameplay. He is very skilled at playing both of those specs (even though he doesn’t like to admit it 😉 ) so he knows what he’s talking about.

Please give him a visit and let him know what you think of his posts and shiny new theme!

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