Category Archives: World of Warcraft

#IceCrownChallenge, or ROFLstomping for charity (@ArcaneRatsel)

One of my very good vague acquaintances, Arcane Ratsel on Twitter, organised a charity event for the American Society for the Prevention of Suicide. After a pointed look from Ariciel, who still occasionally reminds me of that time in Shattrath on the elevator, I took her into Icecrown Citadel to basically paint it red. This is her story. It is picture heavy, so proceed with a thought to your bandwidth.

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A sunny day in Redridge

A sunny day in Redridge


“So. Which of the soldiers do you think is cutest?”

Nægling looked at Ariciel with a strange frown on her face.



Honestly, if you didn’t know her better, you’d think Ariciel’s eyes light up because someone is shining a torch in her ears. Also, she loves winding people up. Especially a rewarding paladin such as Nægling.

Well that was fun!

ani_aricielSo… Having joined the Heroes of Azeroth, we finally got round to running a few dungeons together. Lining up for the action this evening, were Petrius the Warrior, Seashell the Mage and Ariciel the Beartankdruid. This, ladies and gentlemen, was a roflstomp, even for Ariciel in her shoddy trousers. We started out in the Stormstout brewery, and got to battle a bewildering number of Virmen, Hozen and Ale-mentals (yes, I do see what you did there, I just didn’t think it was very funny).  The ghostly Pandaren lying around there were just as sloshed in death as they were in life, and hardly seemed to miss the mortal coil they’d just shuffled. After that, we went through the Jade Temple like a whirlwind.  Finally, we pushed through the Mogu-shan palace and started the mother of all bar fights.

Let’s be clear on this, we were ridiculously over-geared for this run, and we could pretty much ignore any of the game mechanics. Still, this was our first run together as the Guild, so it was nice to see how people reacted and worked. Next time, heroic? By that time, I should also be able to arrange for voice comms.

And another thing, I noticed that I had forgotten to install Threat Plates after the system reinstall. Must rectify this as soon as possible.

All in all, a nice relaxed and fun introductions to the interesting and educational places in Pandaria. Would run again!

Eyes I dare meet in dreams

A while ago, I asked someone what would happen if ever she met the characters she wrote. Her words were: “They would murder me. To death.” So I thought on it and 2600 words just happened…


It was the middle of the night, and the Chronicler lay fast asleep, safe in his home. A light shone, voices were heard.

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Bannog is back!

Bannog of Caer BannogWell, that’s one problem solved. Bannog is now sporting Timeless gear from top to toe, and a shiny new pole arm. I’ve now also taken the trouble to gem and enchant everything in sight (which is a bit of a bloodletting). Then I came back to the Timeless Isle to try out what effect this has on his performance.  All I can say is, he no longer needs to be ashamed in the face of his girlfriend, as yesterday, Recount showed he’s pushing twice as much DPS as she is, in some cases shooting up to 100K DPS. And he should, being a dedicated hacker. He can now take on the fire-cows at the end of the bridge, if sufficiently buffed with those Timeless Isle buffs. Now and then, though, he still runs out of rage, especially with the shield cows. This is no doubt due to him not doing enough white damage. I suppose this is a good indication of what he’d do in a raid. So now I suppose it’s Griggin’s time to gear up. It’s been such a long time since I played Griggin that I am not even tracking his actions in WeakAuras. That’s on the todo list for tonight, I think.

Ariciel rides again.

I am cautiously optimistic about the setup of my new portal into Azeroth. I have the three most important apps: Firefox, PuTTY and WoW, so I can read my email, write my stories, and play. I thoroughly recommend having all your real data on a network server. It pretty much lets you destroy and rebuild your computer at a whim without losing data. The only thing I really lost is the settings to WeakAuras, which I use on Bannog and Ariciel to keep track of which of their spells and abilities have come off cooldown.

Ariciel is a tank, and she’s starting to feel quite comfortable on the Timeless Isle. There is this progression from the wild animals to the ghost Pandaren, to the Yaungol, to the BIG Yaungol, to the dragons that fly around the upper areas and so on. She can confidently take on the Burning Berserkers. She still hasn’t got her Timeless Trousers. Do they even exist?

She’s now much more powerful than Bannog – oh how the times have changed. It used to be that she couldn’t follow her big Human love into dangerous places, because she’d just be a bother. “The Druid, the Shaman and the Mage” was all about how she set out to change that, and now she has. Bannog is now the squishy one.

Bannog has gear problems, which eats into his DPS. Where Ariciel can just outlast her enemies and whittle them down, the tactics for an Arms warrior are “Kill them before they kill you”. And you need to hit hard to do that. He’s also got rage problems, which I suppose are related. I’ve read up on his rotation on Icy Veins, and I don’t think I’m doing much wrong. So… Nose to the grindstone, keep earning money for those repair bills and hope for the right drops.

Happy New Year, now let’s play… oh.

First and foremost, happy new year everybody!

So what have I spent the first few hours of 2014 doing? Well, I’ve finally updated my gamebox to Windows 7. It was starting to fall over at inopportune times, and I reckon the issue was too many updates and driver issues. So ran a full backup to my little NAS box, then did a fresh install to get rid of all the accumulated cruft, and set the user interface to “optimised for performance” because the new “glass” interface is ugly. Install Firefox. Install virus scanner, wanna upgrade? No. Wanna install Chrome? No. Press here to upgrade. No. Upgrading’s nice! I’ll start the upgrade for you, shall I? No.

And then of course, the whole point of this machine, install WoW. So download the client, run the installer, start WoW, 22GB of installation files to download. And I hit “go”, happy in the knowledge that it’s after midnight, and therefore this will be a freebie from my provider. Yay!

Go to sleep while my new improved computer downloads WoW for me so I can have a run round Azeroth in the morning and wish friends happy new year and stuff.

Apparently, Microsoft and I have different opinions about what constitutes “activity”. I think a computer that is downloading stuff is active. Microsoft doesn’t, and puts the damn thing to sleep after 30 minutes of not typing.

Download now at 16GB.


Ariciel on the Timeless Isle

ani_aricielSo Ariciel, after the server transfer, finally made her way to the Timeless Isle. She’d been there before, teleported there by Chromdormu (unanimously voted the cutest Dragon aspect ever), took a look, and flew right out again. This time, she’s there for a bit longer and she’s enjoying herself.

The first thing she did was go to Beastie Square and have a chat with Kairoz. Oo! Quests! She loves quests. Honest, she read “Lord of the Rings” once, and when she got to the bit in Rivendell where they have to lose a very powerful ring and not kill anyone, she looked at me and went “With that power I would have power too strong and terrible. Really? Noobs!”

She’s had to remind me of the old adage: No Quest No Hack. After slaying many buffalo, it’s a bit disappointing to see that blue exclamation point over Emperor Shaohao’s head and to be told, “Oh if you have some time, haha, my little joke, do be a dear and kill twenty of these bothersome bovines would you?”

It’s taken me a while to see this island for what it is: Raid prep school. All the things you find in the island are also in raids. For instance, the Burning Berserkers up by the flamewalker’s path have this Burning Cleave that will typically one-shot anything that’s not a tank. When the floor starts bubbling, you run like mad. Ariciel can afford to miss that once, and blow all her cooldowns. Then there’s the Gulping Frogs. They drop stacks of poison on you that instantly kills you when it reaches ten. The very definition of a DPS check. Ariciel, though she’s not too shabby in the defence department, is pulling only about 20K DPS at the moment. She’s staying away from the frogs for now. And then there’s the rare spawns. They hit like express trains, especially Cinders. Which forces you to cooperate.

People are quite helpful on the Timeless isle. Ariciel has had people chipping in shooting at the bulls when she’d gotten herself in over her head. She’s jumped in at times when others were in danger, pulling mobs off hunters who’d made an aggro mistake. The whole island is a sanctuary except for the landing points, so there isn’t even much Horde vs. Alliance going on.

But we all know why we’re in it. Loot. Ariciel is now sporting a very fetching set of new leathers. Except for a pair of pants and a pair of shoulders. She’s got a new stick for hitting people with. The treasure chests are fun. How to get into inaccessible places by fighting seagulls.

The Timeless isle is fun!

What have I added to the WoW Universe?

There’s this trend in FanFiction that you have to be completely faithful to the original setting, and not put in anything that the Creator would not. This is no doubt inspired by the many fics that include new gods, dragons where no dragons should be and the offspring of creatures that would at best be different species, and at the worst have a distinct predator and prey animal relationship.

I’m not in much danger of doing that, actually. My stories are mostly about people. I tend to stay away from the big events. The Blizzard characters in my fic tend to be innkeepers (Saelienne), trainers (Mathrengyl Bearwalker, Grif Wildheart), medical staff (The ladies at “First to your aid” in Dalaran) and the like. The main reason for that is that I like to be free. If I write a story about Varian Wrynn as an old man, and Blizz kill him off, then where would you be?

Still, I do have a few things that I have put into the hands of my characters that don’t exist in the game. Here, based on nothing but my hazy memory after a hard weekend’s work, is an incomplete list.

Qrovna: In my stories, Qrovna is a drink enjoyed mostly by the engineers of Exodar. The active ingredients are Skethyl-berries, amazingly 110% alcohol by volume, and a big dash of cynicism. It is basically a cure for Life. The name comes from a Usenet thread where people were applying ROT-13 to the names of various Linux distributions, and speculating on what those words might mean. Qrovna is the ROT-13 for Debian, and one of the respondents thought it sounded like something vaguely Scandinavian distilled from potatoes and Diesel oil. I adopted it more or less as such. You do not delicately sip Qrovna. You toss it back in one go, trying to avoid any of it touching your taste buds.

The Belltower and Rifle inn: English pubs have a tradition of being named “The Thing and Other Thing” – “The Fox and Hound”, for instance. Draenei engineers are perennially grumpy people, having to deal with industrial grade stupidity day in, day out. The sentiment is often expressed after a particularly fine example that the engineer wishes to climb up a bell tower with a rifle, and permanently fix a few people’s problems for them. This is expressed in the name of this well-hidden secret inn on Exodar. You need to be a fully-maxed-out engineer to enter it. It is the only place Mareva calls home.

Yeti fur sleeping bags: In-game, people just curl up on the cold hard ground. Ariciel makes sleeping furs lined with the fur of Hillsbrad mountain yetis. They are marvellously warm, incredibly soft and almost large enough for two people.

The rooms in the Stonefire Tavern in Ironforge: In my stories, the Stonefire Tavern is rather more up-class than it is in-game. It’s got several dozen rooms, most of them strikingly similar to hotel rooms you may find on Earth. They have showers, designed and built by the Ironforge Gnomish Network for the Implementation of Thermal Energy, IGNITE. In the Crown Room at the very top is a ten-foot-wide round bath made of gold that due to the efforts of Mr. Griggin Steambender will fill up with bubbling hot water in under a minute. One of the receptionists, a Mr. Smolt, bears a striking resemblance to the host of QI.

Stetson’s assassin’s crossbow: For plot reasons, I needed to have Stetson shoot someone from a great distance. I settled on a range of 250 yards, which is actually more or less what an Earth crossbow can do. Treating it more or less as a sniper rifle.

Steambender’s Relaxing Steam Bath: O dear… Griggin’s re-invention of Loyly – better known as the Sauna or maybe a Turkish steam bath. It has two settings – one nice and warm, with a nice bracing cold shower afterwards. The other setting is “STERILISE”, which is to be used to get rid of the buildup of skin flakes, and whatever else may drop off a Dwarf when cleaning. Quite capable of boiling a Dwarf alive, and for that reason the control is outside under a lid. It is not to be used when people are in the bath. Guess what happened. Interestingly, the machinery was re-purposed when Griggin moved to his present home in Stormwind. Its fearsome nozzles are pointed at his front door, and during the zombie plague, he was able to use it to great effect against unwelcome undead callers. He has never yet used it against double glazing salesmen, but logic suggests it would work quite well.

The castle of Caer Bannog: The Redridge home of the main character of these stories – Bannog of Caer Bannog. The castle is not named after him, he (and his great-uncle, and his great-grandfather) are named after the castle. Bannog’s job as the second son is to go out into the world and win renown for his home. The name is, of course, taken from a certain movie. Caer Bannog is small, home-like, but still built as a fighting castle, not as a mansion for some lord or other. The men and women of Caer Bannog are generally friendly, level-headed, and practical people. Gerrig the Ancient, son of Garth, built it with a good eye to the difference between Inside and Outside, and ease of maintenance. It has a secret tunnel under the moat to a nearby small cave, that leads to an inconspicuous room inside. That room can be turned into a tiny little hell of fire if anyone unwanted finds the tunnel and gets through it. The tunnel can also be flooded in an instance. A later addition to that tunnel is a modified Steambender’s Doorstep Sanitiser. Griggin has also installed a hugely over-powered Optimal Prime OP-5000 steam and water pump, and a beautiful bathroom.

The Optimal Prime line of water heaters and steam pumps: Today’s yoof may think that I have named this after Optimus Prime, of Transformers fame. I have not. In fact, both Optimus and my heaters are named after the Optimus kerosene stoves, the favourite of many a camping trip. You light the things by putting a flammable paste into a little cup, setting that on fire to heat up the element. Then you pump like mad to pressurise the fuel container, turn on the tap, and an evil jet of yellow flame shoots out to set your tent on fire along with its occupants who then run round screaming in the authentic camping experience. Griggin’s OP range of heaters were invented by him and Marvin Sprocket, who by accident found out that you can use the crystals un Un’goro Crater to heat water, more or less forever. The current top model, the OP-6000X (Experimental upgrade from the OP-5000), can supply a small town with hot and cold running water.

Steambender’s Kill-and-obscure smoke bombs: These are very useful if you are a rogue in need of a quick getaway. A metal ball with a Big Red Switch, they will explode with a fierce bang that may or may not be fatal to anyone near. Then, they cover the area in a blanket of smoke that you can only see through with a matching pair of goggles. The first model of these was made with a ten-second fuse, which caused some confusion. You see, gnomes, having only eight fingers, make all their calculations in octal. Given that the numbers eight and nine do not exist in the Gnomish numbering system, this led to customer dissatisfaction when used by those who expect those numbers to be there. So now, they have four second fuses.

The Darnassus Temple Choir: Is there any religion in the multiverse that does not at least produce music? I think of music as one of any church’s redeeming features. So there’s a choir in the Darnassus Temple of the Moon. They are amazingly good, able to sing the most complex pieces, with a beauty that freezes the heart, and drops it to the floor in shimmering crystals. They are routinely sent out into the world as goodwill ambassadors. They have a more than casual relationship with the Stormwind Male Choir, who live in Stormwind Cathedral, and are in the same league for quality. Lirael, one of my characters, is one of the star sopranos in the Darnassus Temple Choir.

So. There you have it. My additions to World of Warcraft fanon.

So close…

Griggin dinged 89 last night, on the quest for the Red Crane. He’s starting to get proper scary, as a Warl;ock should. So I’ve been looking up things like rotations for demonologists, and basically, it’s not what I’m doing at the moment.  My “rotation” at the moment is:

  1. Either send in the Wrathguard, or corrupt something from afar, have it come to me, then send in the Wrathguard.
  2. Play keepy-uppy with Corruption and Shadowflame (curse of the Element lasts much longer than any foe).
  3. Shoot shadowbolts at it till Molten Core procs
  4. Get maybe one or two Soulfires in before…
  5. Enemy go thud.

Soloing is not really the optimum way to practice your rotation. I haven’t had to worry about sustaining DPS at any time from level 85. Also, my home guild (Azeroth Buccaneers) is not really existing much at the moment, so I have nobody to dungeon with.

I’m a bit wary of starting with LFG or LFanything. Maybe I’ll go for Loremaster instead, or try to max out Engineering like in the stories.