Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Temple of the Lost Star

Trinity Tonks quietly made her way down the damp, stoney tunnel. Carefully she placed one leather booted foot down in front of the other, for the path before her was uneven and the torch that she held seemed to shed almost no light in the cursed pathway. Down and down she traveled, wandering further into a hidden tomb that had long thought to be only legend. Many adventurers had spent their lives searching for the treasure of this tomb in vain, only to have died in disappointment.

The slender, dark-skinned rogue moved her way around century old cobwebs and dusty animal bones with an unnatural grace. Further she descended down that narrow, stoney pathway. The air was chilly, a stark contrast to the dry, desert air of the entrance to the tomb. The sweat that had clung to the rogue's hair and trickled down her breast an hour before now chilled her to the bone, yet on she descended.

Several more hours passed and Trinity's torch had finally sputtered out. Her instincts told her to panic, but the young rogue managed to keep her calm. She continued on by touch, though she hadn't traveled far when the wall suddenly fell away from her touch.

A faint, eery singing slowly crept its way to her ears. Blindly she withdrew her daggers as the little hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Forward she crept, stone crunching beneath her feet. Suddenly a shaft of bright light erupted from the ceiling of the cavern, nearly blinding the rogue. Trinity blinked fiercely, trying to get her eyes to adjust. Surrounding her were tables laden with treasures and large, juicy fruits. The singing became louder as two rows of women clad in green feathers all but floated into the chamber from another entry point. Upon entering the chamber, one row of the feathered women floated off to the left, while the other two the right. Ending the procession was a large figure that had the body of a man and the head of a black jackal.

"Welcome to the Temple of the Lost Star," said the beast in a deep, growling voice. "We have been expecting you."

The demigod grinned. The rogue fell to her knees and wept.

I should have put something here when I originally posted. This random little story is brought to you by a challenge that Big Bear Butt threw down a bit over week or so ago. Some pretty interesting posts have popped up from it, so I definitely encourage you to check around for them!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Then and Now

A couple of weeks ago Vidlaya over at Manalicious put forth a really neat topic: your character then and now. This topic just oozes nostalgia, and I'm a sucker for the past. Long time readers probably know that already though.

When I first started playing World of Warcraft, I was pretty much Queen of the Noobs, if there ever was such a thing. I was one of those who put talent points in all three trees, insisting that points were well spent when put into the shorter cooldown duration for Reincarnate (I died so often you see, it was handy to have so long as I had remembered to restock my Ankh collection). I preferred to wear a shield instead of properly dual wielding, again in the mindset that it would help me live longer. Stats didn't matter to me, the only thing of value that determined if I equipped something was if it had more armor than my current item. CC wasn't an acronym in my vocabulary, clearing out mobs wasn't something I did well prior to going after a quest objective, and more than once I ran out of a cave with my eyes squeezed shut and a pack of bad guys on my tail, the whole while my brain screaming "NONONO DON'T LET ME DIEEEEE!!!!" as I continued to aggro more and more angry dudes with blunt weapons.

I had a lot of broken gear pieces while I was leveling up. Anything I looked at wrong seemed to kill me. Spirit healers were my bffs. Later on I'd become the good luck charm in my guild; the running joke was "If Saz dies, we got this kill in the bag." Generally, it was true. If I died within the first minute or two of an encounter, the group would get the boss down.

At some point during my rather lengthy leveling career, I learned to take screen shots. It became an obsession. Being the screen shot hoarder that I now am, I have hundreds upon thousands of images of young Saz from the days of the Burning Crusade. I have shots from my early raiding days up through the present. I am, however, incredibly lazy. Instead of digging through those thousands of images to find the perfect ones, I'm just going to post my handy dandy screen shot based video. It essentially shows Saz's growing up period (minus the little fiasco with a guild called Heaven's Blades...I think I was in there with my group for less than a week personally), from her days of wearing a shield as enhancement while leveling up because it would "make me die less" to popping achievements like candy on both Saz and Kelebek in the later months of Wrath. It's a video of my world from almost the time I rolled my shaman on Aggramar to the point where I was forced to quit for many long, agonizing months.

You can really see the changes in computers and my UI through this video.

Where that video stops is where I stopped with raiding and World of Warcraft in general for many months, at least actively. I still jumped online when I could, which was rare since I didn't have an internet connection in my house for the first eight months or so that I lived here, but my play time was pretty sparse. It wasn't until one of my friends graciously sent me her old MacBook (yes, the MacBook that I qq about from time to time when my current machine decides to shit out on me) and another lovely fellow decided to buy me Cataclysm in hopes that I'd be the third shaman on his podcast (sadly that podcast didn't live very had such potential!). Thus began my exploration of the shattered world.

Since rejoining Azeroth, I've had a few changes of guilds. I went from my beloved Battle of Serenity, which died while I was away, to a place called Easy Company. Alright, this switch came before I actually came back with Cataclysm, but it's where I was when I did finally come back. Unfortunately this guild too was pretty much dead when I returned, which was sad since I did actually enjoy the, well, company. I then migrated over to a guild called Too Soon Executus, mainly because I had a few friends that moved over there. Too Soon was were I re-cut my raiding teeth. TSE took me in, let me slay Firelands bosses with them, and they were great in their own right. However, I never felt like I clicked with them, nor did we quite do the progression that I craved. It took me a while to decide it, but I finally moved over to my current guild, Evil Deeds Inc. Mmmm, tasty heroic modes.

Today I'm very much a different sort of player/raider/shaman/whatever. The old Saz died to EVERYTHING under the sun of Azeroth, while the current version usually only dies when learning or forgets some vital piece of information randomly. Stat confusion/dismissal and random button mashing gave way to stat obsession and proper rotation. Content to merely step into a raid with real life friends has changed over to raiding semi-competitively with people whose faces I've never seen in person. Even in real life I am a light year's difference away from who I was that day that I rolled a little black skinned draenei shaman, that day when I was wondering "What the hell am I doing rolling an Alliance toon?!"

Yes, changes come. Some are good, some not so good, some are necessary regardless of their good/bad status for the moment. As it stands right now, I'm pretty happy with where my shaman is at for the moment. She's been the link to a certain kind of happiness for me for a very long time now; she was a thread to a blissfully unaware sort of enjoyment way back when, and she's the thread to a somewhat more competitive and aggressive type of enjoyment now. Inadvertently Saz and the world we know as Azeroth has challenged me and helped me in more ways than I can count. I hope for that trend to continue on for many, many years to come.

March 4, 2008

March 20, 2012

Fun Random Facts
- I have technically gone through six computers over the years; an IBM that gave my screen shots a square look, a 14" MacBook that I melted the motherboard in, a second 14" MacBook, a hand built machine that I kind of "stole" for a little while, back to the IBM, a third 14" MacBook given to me by a darling friend, and my current custom laptop.

- My UI has gone from ridiculous huge, to cluttered, to standard, to almost fancy, in that order.

- I have been in officially six guilds with my shaman, seven guilds in total if you count the guild that my druid is now in. Most took me several months to switch between because I hate making rash decisions.

- It took me roughly eight months to level Saz from 1-70. The journey from 70-80 took me about three weeks. 80-85 only took me three to five days, if memory serves. 

- I went from being an officer, to a recruit, to an officer/raid leader, to a guild master/raid leader, to "friend", to casual raider, to a full time raider who also founded Twitterland Raiding.

- I have always been main spec enhancement with Saz. That said, early on in Wrath while I was trying to lead my guild through a Malygos 25 kill, I readily swapped between restoration and elemental to help balance the group composition. More often than not I ended up raiding as restoration just so that I could actually raid.

- For the vast majority of my raiding career I have been what I call a "lag raider." Most of my raiding experience has been in the frame rates of less than 6. Did you know that you only need 2-3 fps to be able to move out of fire and still pull semi-okay numbers? I rocked that 2-3 fps like a BOSS.

- Due to my "lag raider" tendencies, I tend to strafe, back peddle, and often *gasp* keyboard turn. Why? Well, when you move at 2 fps and you try to mouse turn, things get pretty unreliable. You want to go left by a few degrees? HA, since you moved with your mouse, you just launched yourself 45 degrees to the right and ate the boss' cleave to the face. Strafing and making minor adjustments was always safer and more effective when things weren't predictable. I did however master lag flipping for Sindragosa.

- Saz isn't what I considered my first "main" from back in the day. I have a blood elf warlock named Lusi on Sen'jin that I had been working on when I was asked to come play Alliance on Aggramar. She had made it up to level 25 and until that switch, she was my pride and joy.

- My first character ever rolled was a rogue. I was terrible with her. All I ever wanted to do was run around and pick pocket mobs. I usually ended up in front of them somehow though, staring at their crotches. They never liked that, and generally I was swiftly dealt with. More than once I had been beaten over my undead head with a wooden plank that had a nail through it.

- My first shaman was a troll named Zarifruh, who was just shy of hitting 20 when I stopped leveling her. I tried playing her again a few months back; her gear was so atrocious that I could barely kill the grey level mobs around the Cross Roads.

- Saz was the first character that I rolled on Aggramar and has been my main since the day I rolled her. There had been times when I considered switching to my druid, Kelebek, as a main. I knew that deep down that I could never abandon Saz in any way, shape, or form though.

- While I've tried different hairstyles on Saz, none have stuck like her original look. The only thing that has changed about my shaman over the years visually has been her gear and hair color. Over the years I've experimented some with white hair, pigtails, and the dread lock look, but I always find myself reverting back to the old side part. The darker hair color that she rocks today became a favorite of mine the day that the barber shops became available.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The One That Started It All

I ran across this neat little challenge hosted by Cymre and couldn't pass it up.

Show us your very first screenshot from the game. Tell us about it, including the date, what you remember about the photo and who was in it with you. Do they still play?

I no longer know which screen shot was officially my first. Way back when, I used to rename my screen shots, thus their original file dates became a bit inaccurate. I've also gone through a few computers over the years, so a few images may have been lost in the shuffle.

I do however have a general idea which remaining screen shots are the oldest. Thus, I give you baby Spazm.

This is my mage on March 3, 2008. It was taken at the old inn located in Westfall. I think at that time I found her tailoring animations adorable, thus a screen shot.

Spazm is the second oldest character that I have on Aggramar, with Saz being the oldest. She is currently the lowest level character I have on my home server and usually takes care of all my banking needs. This image, plus several that I took shortly after this one of Saz, is basically what began my screen shot obsession.

You see, when I found out that not only could I take screen shots, but I could remove my UI from my screen shots as well, I started to go crazy with the feature. Everything became that much more adorable to me, that much prettier, that much more desirable to have an image of.  It started a craze that continues on today. I haven't tallied the numbers since last year sometime, but the last time I checked I was pushing 20k screen shots total. I'm sure I'm well within the 25k-30k+ region by now.

That guy in the background? No clue who the heck he was, or if he (or she in disguise) still plays or not. He/she is just one of many random folks who have made their unintentional appearances within my various shots.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Here's a little something...

Why hello, it's been a while again hasn't it? I assure you that I have not abandoned either this blog or my Feral By Nature project, I've just been really busy. Raiding has been keeping me pretty well occupied, as has the Twitterland Raiding site. Between weather knocking out power, computer reformatting, and a slew of other hindrances, I've fallen a touch behind on things.

There is some good news though! Due to the fact that I had to reformat my computer, I now have the ability to do things that I couldn't before because of a bad image or some such. Meaning, I can now properly edit video. I've even learned how to more or less make them good quality! The only major issues that have shown their head thus far since my machine was reimaged is me crashing (black screening completely, which Windows 7 recognizes as a blue screen event) every time I get east of the temple in Deepholm. Slightly problematic seeing as though I want Aeonaxx with a fierce passion. Last thing I want to do is find the bugger and despawn him because I crash... Besides that one rather large issue, my computer on the whole has been a lot less fussy. It's not perfectly behaved, but much improved.

Aaaaanyways, the point to this post. Not only have I been busy trying to pump out a few videos for Twitterland Raiding, but I'm finally getting around to putting some non-TLR related WoW footage. I still have much to learn, but I'm having fun so far.

The first video I've done up with the new format is of Path and I two manning Kael'thas. We do this every week as an arms warrior and resto shaman, and have been doing this for many months now. Still no mount, but we hope to see the bugger someday very soon!

If you'd like a few more details on how we pull that off, check the video description on the site itself. We could in theory pull that fight off in Kael'thas' room, now that Path is pretty decently geared on his warrior, but we've decided to just stick with what we know. Maybe someday we can be arsed to rework how we do things, but for now this works.

So yes, more videos soon I hope! I'm aiming to put out a few heroic Dragon Soul kill videos from my point of view over the next few weeks, so keep an eye on Twitter/Facebook/Youtube for those. Otherwise yeah, I'm going to get back to doing whatever the hell it was that I planned on doing tonight!