Friday, 17 October 2014

Alt Apreciation: Week 7, Priest

I waited a couple of extra days to make this post as I wanted to get a picture of my Priest before and after the patch. Priest has been my main played class since the game was released.

  Most of that time I have played her as a healer although necessity has forced me into Shadow for raiding at some points due to the makeup of the raid team I was part of at the time.

For Mists of Pandaria, I have remained Discipline although I am anticipating that I will be sporting a dual healer spce for Warlords of Draenor. This could prove a challenge for me as I don't think I've played Holy properly since sometime at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King and much has changed since then.

I love the new character graphics changes. I had worried that I wouldn't like the default face that my main character would convert to and would have to change it at the barber shop, but as it turned out, I quite like it! The reason that Priests are my favourite class, are the focus on healing. While other classes can heal and (depending on class balance at the time) can often do it better than a Priest, no class matches it for sheer diversity of heal spells through the two healing specs. I've enjoyed Discipline in particular since it was overhauled to focus more on mitigation than heals as I like the idea of stopping people from being hurt in the first place.

As this is my main class, I was already at max level so I decided to focus on getting the challenge modes to gold before the patch actually arrived. I really don't like the look of the transmogrification armour award that it gives to Priests. Its truly ugly, so I won't include a picture of me posing in it!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Alt Appreciation: Weeks 5 & 6, Monk & Paladin

I'm back!
I seem to still be in one piece with another scar to add to the collection (much larger than planned, almost covering the entire of my lower leg). Still waiting to hear if I'm now cancer-free, but I've recovered enough to be back at the computer. I'm getting tired a lot more often than normal so I'm still ending up needing a lot of rest, but hopefully I'll be back to my usual self by expansion time.

As I missed two weeks of alt appreciation, I'm adding them together in the one post as I managed very little other than tidying up their UIs.

Cinnamai & Erik the rat

The monk I levelled to 90 is a lovely Pandaren named Cinnamai. I created her to heal with (yes, no surprise there) but I never managed to really get into the feel of the class so she has ended up mostly unused as one of my crafting army. In fact, she has probably been one of the biggest contributors to my gold fund in the past months as her enchanting scrolls sell very well.

Her transmog is a collection of green quality quest rewards from relatively low level quests (below 60) as I wanted her to look as plain as possible.

Quenhild & Erik the cooking bot

I do actually have another quite high level Monk or my main server which may seem odd as I never quite managed to find them comfortable to play. I just couldn't decide if I wanted to have a Pandaren or Dwarf Monk so I levelled them both to 80 before deciding on the pandaren purely because the professions I'd picked up onher were more use to me at the time. My Dwarven Monk, Quenhild, I think I actually prefer now though and I wish I'd chosen the other way around. She's still there though in case I fancy levelling her up instead!


Alasen and...Erik!

My Paladin has a strange place in my heart. I find her tedious to level so every expansion she seems to be the last healer to level up. Then by the time I have her at max level I run out of time to actually do anything useful with her in a group. Maybe Warlords of Draenor will be the expansion this behaviour changes?

Alasen is one of my very few Draenei characters. I quite like the transmog set I planned out for her too. Its rare for me to have skimpy outfits on my characters, but this is a set that very few people seem to use as its not as revealing as some of the plate bikinis. The colour also matches very nicely with Erik the Li'l Tarecgosa and its nice to show that pet off occasionally.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Alt Appreciation: Week 4, Mage

I have realised this week, that a lot of the alt characters I pushed to higher levels are actually Pandaren this time around and not as many Dwarf wenches. I must rectify this! The choice hasn't been because I favour the Pandaren models (although playing with the much better range of hairstyles may have side-tracked me) but more to do with the profession combinations I had on a given class at the time. If I look across my entire account I have many characters, certainly several of most classes and many are Horde as well as Alliance. I am however favouring the characters from the same server and faction as my main character for this, and it does seem to be more Pandas than I had realised.

This is Brennah, and as you can probably tell, a Frost Mage. I do much prefer playing Fire Mages but with mot much time and lower levels of gear, Fire Mages struggle a lot as their current design leaves them very dependant on getting lucky with numbers. However, switching to playing Frost spec, did give me the challenge of a new Transmogrification set. I really do like my characters to be dressed in plainer outfits rather than the flashing shining tier pieces that many players favour, so I am so glad that its possible to alter the appearance now. Brennah was named for a very wonderful friend of mine that never played WoW. It just made me feel a little closer to her to have a character named after her in my game. She does have a bit of a love of anime though, so I think the choice of Pandaren race in this case was apt.

She is pictured above with Erik the Pandaren Water Spirit, one of several water themed pets that occasionally accompany her, and of course, her Water Elemental (which we know would be called Erik if they let us name it).

She usually uses the Silver Covenant Hippogryph as her mount of choice, although occasionally the Swift Windsteed sneaks in just for a change.

I do find it annoying that when I choose to play my Mage I am constantly interrupted with whispers form people begging for portals. It feels very invasive and always interrupts whatever I am doing, whether I choose to help or not. I think this may be why I don't play my Mage as often anymore. Brennah is also my tailor and one of my enchanters, which comes in very useful for helping out my cloth-wearing main character. She was already level 90 at the start of this week, so I have spent most of the small amount of time I had working on her transmog set and setting up her UI to be ready to use for levelling in the expansion.

Collecting Invisible Illnesses

I have made references in some of my WoW posts recently to having more health complications than usual, but I haven't really gone into it in any detail. This is more from a wish to pretend it isn't really any worse than from a desire to keep things hidden.

This month, on top of the ME/CFS and irritable bowel syndrome, I was diagnosed with cancer. As cancers go, this isn't a heavily aggressive type that will invade my whole body. Its a soft-tissue sarcoma located on my left leg a little below the knee. Since the beginning of June, this tumour has grown from a barely discernable pea-sized lump, to its current size a little larger than a golf ball.

I have been going back and forth to a hospital in London that specialises in cancers for seemingly endless tests and scans and on 30th September I will be admitted for surgery in the hopes that the tumour can be removed entirely.

I am actually a lot more worried about what surgery will do to my current level of ME/CFS symptoms than the cancer surgery itself. I've had to consider many things that probably don't become an issue for people being admitted to hospital. As my condition is made much worse by an increase in sensory input, even a short stay on a hospital ward is a problem. Bright lights, other patients with visitors or medical practitioners talking to them, regular nurse observations...the list is almost endless. Each of these things take a little bit more of my very short supply of energy. My energy levels will be low already with the travel to central London, as well as from the surgery itself. Even with dark glasses, ear plugs and eye masks I am likely to deplete my energy stores incredibly quickly.

Then there is the general anaesthetic itself. Patients with ME/CFS often react badly to anaesthetic and I've had to supply pages of information about types of anaesthetic that cause frequent problems with ME/CFS, as well as things that need to be checked before surgery to prevent chances of heart failure or breathing difficulties. Its been rather overwhelming and Mr Wench has been incredibly stressed and worried as well as myself.

I worry that the short stay in hospital and the surgery I will receive will cause my body to relapse and drop to a more severe level of ME/CFS. It happens often to people in my situation and can last for years or even be permanent. Its all out of my control and as the days tick past towards the surgery I find myself wondering just what quality of life I will end up with once I return home.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Alt Appreciation: Week 3, Hunter

This week turned out to be a terrible one for getting time to play on alts at all. Some recent tests at the hospital not related to M.E. came back with bad results, and my server's instance lockouts were all wiped by Blizzard in an attempt to correct s problem with the server. For me this was a terrible blow as we had been extending our team's lockout on garrosh heroic in the hopes of getting him down before the 6.0 patch. My health doesn't allow me to have vast amounts of time for things that require concentration such as raiding so having to go through bosses we haven't worked on in a week or two proved slow work.

Even my sea turtle likes to pose for pictures!

My hunter is named Ellywick, for no specific reason other than I liked the name. At the start of the week she was at level 87 and I managed to push her to level 89 after a trek through Kun-Lai Summit. She is also a gatherer which is unusual for me (mostly as I don't often have a chance to send characters out just to collect resources), with skinning and herbalism professions.

Something about the Hunter class has always appealed to me. I find myself chatting away to my pet in my head and it almost feels like I am never quite alone in the game. I find hunters are rather easy to play to a level of at least average competence and require little thought to rush about in the world on their own. The pet adds a large margin of survivability that isn't present in some other classes.  That being said, I do feel that it takes at least as much work as other classes to play very well, especially in a group. Because of this I feel it has had a lot of bad press over the years when people learn enough to solo and quest and then try to take that level of understanding straight into an instance. Personally, I play mine almost exclusively solo as that is the way I get most fun out of the class.

Ellywick has a bit of a thing about turtles. She has several turtle mounts to choose from (the sea turtle is my favourite but as it is so slow I don't get to use it often), as well as a turtle hunter pet named Kevlar. She has several little turtle companion pets (all called Erik, I know you aren't surprised by now) and her transmogrified set is designed to look like small turtle shells on her shoulders and green scale elsewhere. I do have a bit of a soft spot for this outfit actually!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Alt Appreciation: Week 2, Druid

Its been a tougher week than I anticipated with very little time online, so I managed to devote very little time to my Druid after all.

Let me introduce you to my Worgen Druid, Seara. I always enjoyed playing Restoration and Balance Druids. Most expansions have seen the Druid as my 'go to' alt when I branch away from my main character for an evening. I seemed to lose interest in playing Druid a lot when the mushroom spells were added though as for some reason that I just can't put my finger on, it reduced the level of fun for me.

This being said, my Druid was still one of the first character I took to 90 this expansion. I find it hard not to smile when I see a moonkin. There's something about them that is both scary and amusing at the same time.

My Druid did originally start out as a Night Elf, but changed races as soon as Worgen were brought into the game as I just don't like playing Night Elves. I have a few Tauren Druids on various servers too but this is the one I think of when I think of Druids.

She is pictured here in her usual transmogrification set which is made up of  low level green items. I know it won't surprise you to see a plain outfit on one of my characters! I do love the hat with this one. It suits the Worgen model very well. Pictured with her is her usual choice of pet, Erik the Moonkin Hatchling. He's just so much fun to dance with. If you've never tried it before, next time you spot that pet, target it and dance with it!

My online time with my Druid this week has been mostly spent on making her UI neater and doing a bit of crafting as time has been so limited. I feel a little bad for neglecting her this week but she usually gets more time than my other alts and as always, my health should come first.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Alt Appreciation: Week 1, Death Knight

Riding the Icebound Frostbrood Vanquisher
Death Knight was always going to be a difficult class for me. I struggle quite a bit with melee classes anyway as it always feels that my view is restricted when playing something up close and personal to the opponent. I've had this problem when playing tanks and melee classes since the game was first released so I never really expect it will suddenly vanish and that I will love them.

Posing with her Unborn Val'kyr, Ellinde

Let me introduce you to Brynwen, my Dwarven maiden Death Knight. When I first created this character, I adored the way she looked. Actually, I still do. She's my little goth dwarf! She sometimes is accompanied by her pet Frosty but usually she has the Val'kyr which is one of the few pets in my menagerie not named Erik. This one is named for a dear friend of mine that tends to favour playing Holy Priests.

I've looked into many transmogrification sets for her and found many that I like, yet never one that actually seems better than some of the original starting armour the Death Knight is supplied with, so I tend to keep that instead. As you may have realised before now, I'm not really a fan of big flashing armour sets. Very few tier sets apeal to me and I find myself often choosing sets made of crafted items, random green items or quest rewards.

At the start of this week, my little goth maiden was level 82...I hadn't neglected her totally. I started out working through the Deepholm quests as she's a miner/Blacksmith and I thought a bit of extra ore couldn't go amiss. She's actually my only Blacksmith, so I really will need to get her levelled up to 90 as soon as possible or she will not be able to gain any of the new recipes in the expansion, which means I'd be cutting off all income from Blacksmithing. I moved on to Twilight Highlands after Deepholm as I love the Dwarf quests there and rarely get to do them. It was a lot of fun really. I managed to get her to level 85 and have moved her off into Pandaria ready for the nect time I play her. 

The actual gameplay of the Death Knight I really don't like much though. I feel that the runic power and runestones system doesn't really add more challenge to the character, just more annoyance. I find it cumbersome to work with and that it offers little enjoyment for me in return. Still, she's cute and makes me smile and I can't bring myself to delete her!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Alt Appreciation

Last year, Laeleiweyn over at World of Lae had the wonderful idea to suggest an alt appreciation week. Each week for eleven weeks, people would fix on one class and celebrate that class with posts, pictures, live fact anything they could think of to highlight that class for a week. At the time it wasn't possible for me to join in, but as its 11 weeks until the next expansion, it seemed the perfect time for me to try it myself.
My plan is to dedicate each week to a different character and tell you about it at the end of each week. The schedule I will be working to is as follows:

It seems such a  lovely way to keep the interest going for the Mists of Pandaria expansion while we await the release of the new Warlords of Draenor content. Feel free to join me in this endeavour, its all for fun! Please add a link to Lae's original post about the alt appreciation week if you do contribute though. Credit where its due and all that.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

What classes as "fat"?

I realise it has been more than six months since my last post. I've been struggling with a major health flare up from the M.E. and trying to still balance a little bit of World of Warcraft into the mix. Something had to give, and the most sensible thing was this blog. I'm feeling a little stronger now and plan on posting a bit more regularly if my body can manage it.

The incentive for today's post comes from a comment that I saw in WoW chat. It wasn't the first time, in fact I've seen similar comments very frequently in the past month or two. The comment was referring to Pandaren and Dwarf being "fat races".

Obviously, anyone that reads this blog will know I am a fan of the WoW Dwarf race, but my objection to them being referred to as "fat" has nothing to do with my appreciation of them. I couldn't care less if they had huge great beer bellies or were stick thin (both of which would probably look a little odd), I like them because they are Dwarves. I am also one of the people that was very pleased to see Blizzard openly saying that they felt the Pandaren race should be more of a plump look given their culture's fixation on food and cooking. Far too many races with anatomies that look like they would snap if they tried to move in this game.

The trouble for me is that if Dwarves are openly viewed as fat, this only highlights the way our society is viewing body types. It is particularly disturbing as Dwarves are a muscley build with washboard flat tummies.  I dug out a midriff-showing transmog to highlight the physique for anyone that doesn't usually  get to see Dwarves (I know, they are often overlooked).


As you can see from the above images, they do have well-defined hips and boobs, but there's no fat there at all. Not even a tiny bit!

It doesn't matter whether you like the Dwarf race or whether you don't. It doesn't matter if you find them attractive or ugly. If we allow people to keep saying that this is "fat" then we are all responsible for the self-image problems that the more impressionable players take away from the game. That may sound like an exaggeration, but its the little things like this that build up to create a whole picture and go unnoticed until its too late.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Once again, a Millionaire!

Today I decided to do things a little differently to celebrate reaching the first of my finance goals for this expansion.

Still with the 100k on the second account.

Okay, maybe I'm a little excited to be back on track again. Grand total for this week is 1,046,175g. The good news is that I'm now all ready to start working on the next million. On the flip side I owe a lovely lady a new mount!