Bed, bath, and oh screw it…

1-800-DEC-RATR
1-800-DEC-RATR

“Three-bedroom fixer-upper Pre-Raphaelite Mission style, post-modern debutante ball style kitchen, with war room and deluxe entertainment suite, southern view of Orcs and domestic and wild pet breeding facilities–For Let $15.95/month plus taxes. Call 813-555-MATY.”

Yeah, I don’t know. I really thought once I upgraded my garrison’s Lunarfall Inn to Level 3 it would be all chocolates-on-pillows-and-turn-down-service-with-free-bathrobes. Nope. The beds still have patched linens, and are too small, too soft, and too hard (do I smell bear?!) and no matter what time of day or night I stop in to check the bar tab receipts, Lunarfall lumberjacks and blackguards are drinking all my rum for free and pinching the wait staff’s fannies. The food is delicious, but every time I try to take a bite it disappears. I wish I had one master suite just for me, too–one that was mine to decorate, with a real big bed, Draenei style, and gorgeous furnishings. Hell, even the Weed Shack in Elodar is better appointed than the rooms at the Inn:

Momokawa is a weed expert. She's from Denver you know.
Momokawa is a weed expert. She’s from Denver you know.

Well damn. Can’t have everything I guess. While I was busy grousing about the shabby chic at the Inn, I missed my blog anniversary. It’s been four years as of Sunday since I’ve been writing this damn thing. And yet, no matter what, people all over the world want to see Tex Avery Wolf eyes.

And Draenei cup size?

/sigh

As of tonight, December 16, these are the top search terms:

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Theme song: Squeeze/If I didn’t love you

The talbuk goes woof.

Or: a wolf in talbuk’s clothing.

Lunarfall Inn: four stars!
Lunarfall Inn: four stars!

(This is the best clip I could get– nothing is working in Draenor right now.)

So I choose the Talbuk Ranch every time I get to Nagrand. I’m sure the siege engines are lovely, albeit not fuel efficient, but those talbuks have my heart. In fact, I find the siege engines a bit over the top when going back to one’s roots in Draenor: talbuks are the only choice.

I noticed, however, then when I say giddy-up, instead of a hearty-horsey snort, my talbuk growls like my wolves. I hope you can hear the sound in that clip, because it’s true. ALL TRUE.

Kate doesn’t believe it:

There are many things in Azeroth and Draenor that aren’t quite kosher, like wolf-accented talbuks. Would you believe that there are still female players who flirt and use sexuality to get things? It’s true, all true. Most of the time it just makes everyone feel awkward and confused. I love to read Dear Prudence, and wonder what she would have to say about this? Wait, I don’t need her to weigh in, I have my own thoughts!

We can’t extricate the RP from the MMORPG: it is role play. Role play is living out a character’s life, giving it context and conflict. In this day and age, it is time to acknowledge this is a viable and creative form of human activities. Dungeons and Dragons has been around since 1973, and if they allowed girls/women to play, it would have been even richer from its outset. (I’m sure they did, but yeah, you know. Women are barely allowed in comic book stores now, much less forty years ago). So now, we are all Blood Elves and Draenei and Goblins and Trolls, both genders, and run around a beautiful world and play as we wish. If adult players choose to enter an RP scenario or server, that is theirs to do. However, it feels awkward or uncomfortable when either a man or woman engages in aggressive sexual overtures.

While in Azeroth, feel free to allow your character(s) to have a “life:” interact with other players you know and trust, and try to give strangers some leeway in terms of the casual encounters in dungeon groups, etc. Our garrisons are ripe with opportunities to interact with our followers and NPCs– and trust me when I tell you I have some stories to tell. We have friends, and our friends speak through their faces of druids, mages, priests and paladins. There must be an influence of character when on the screen our real faces are layered under our on-screen personas, for better or worse. Mostly in my case, the better. I adore my Azerothian friends.

Till the next story- Matty

Play dead…

Haanta and wolf fake it till they make it...
Haanta and wolf fake it till they make it…

Oh yes, December.

December.

When every impulse I have is to pour kerosene over everything, toss a match, just to make it bright and warm. I went to my book club the other night, and forgot I was supposed to bring an ornament for an ornament exchange, and one other mom has managed to keep her pre-adolescent children believing in Santa Claus–in this age of Internet and non-believers. I was flummoxed. Not only did the ladies “win” at suburban mom-ming, but I didn’t even finish the damn book, and IT WAS MY CHOICE. I love it though, and will finish it, of course (The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.) The next one is not one I would ever choose, and am trying to keep an open mind, but think I’ll have to do the Cliff Notes again. Don’t know what Cliff Notes are? Think Spark Notes. Think cheating. Think the end-run around your sophomore English teacher. You get the idea. Life’s too short to read books you don’t want to.

I’m thinking the Romans got it right with that whole Saturnalia thing. I’ve got colleagues acting like emperors, and emperors acting like gods. Knock it off, people. Just trying to be cool and keep some modest amount of sanity. But I am realizing the older I get how uncool most people are. Like the warlock who had his void walker out, the tank kept dying, but I was the “bad healer.” I know I’ve lost it when I cuss out 12-year-old mindset players and rage quit an instance. The rage increases when I realize that I am now “locked out” of a specific instance though I didn’t even finish it, and can’t move forward with an achievement. Why isn’t there a special line for instances for working mothers whose eyes are twitching and they just need a chieve fix?

I also have realized how much I categorize people not by their Meyers-Briggs score, but what kind of character they would be in WoW: are they a sneaky rogue, an undermining warlock, or a kindly but shallow priest? Hmmm…think I need to write more about this later.

Tomorrow I have a class, and Sunday I have to work, and I have “break down and sob” from 6-9 Monday night, and then do a shot of Silver Patron tequila and see if Santa wants one, too. F*ck cookies.

This has been on my mind: What in Jove’s name did Nicholas due to deserve this purgatory? If you believe in Santa, please don’t watch. You’ll be sad.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/17911948″>39 Degrees North: Nicholas Was</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/39degreesnorth”>39 degrees north</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

100 Bottles of Draenic potion on the wall…

Two ladies to 100: two thousand more to go
Two ladies to 100: two thousand more to go

I was not expecting a server update this morning, but no matter – I am overdue for a post anyway.

Just a few notes here and there -

Prinnie nailed it with the whole shaman thing--my buddy Turk was feeling the pain of not being as empowered as before, and I hadn’t really noticed. In fact, even just the other night I healed a dungeon and got compliments on being a ‘great healer.’ I was in my groove, I admit. However, shaman healing has always felt slow as a glacier for me, but maybe Young Leet Druid’s advice about planning ahead is paying off.

Erinys at Harpy’s Nest has a great reflection on flying, or lack thereof, in Draenor. I completely agree: combing through the hills and scrubs of the lands has been wholly engaging; however, at some point I am going to want to stretch my dragons’ wings and fly again. Maybe a compromise? Fly-zone Fridays or something? Oh and I surprised CD Rogue yesterday with how much I HATE DRONES. But as I reminded him of all the times he turns out to be right about something, I am right about this.

But man oh man, my brain is toast lately: it feels as focused as a fly, (which is to say not at all), and keep feeling like I’m trying to nail thoughts down like nailing eels to a board. Not pretty. Maybe it’s this time of year, but I really need to act like a furry little animal and go burrow somewhere, and yet people keep expecting me to SHOW UP. Stupid people.

Oh well. Speaking of showing up – better go get some more resources so Zeptepi can finish building.

 

Machu Picchu, Raiding, and The Girl Who Has Everything

machu picchu

Let me just say this straight-out, up, and front: I am not ready to raid.

And I’m not sure when I’ll be.

For the better part of my playing time, I’ve been beating my horns against the cliffs trying to get on raid teams, trying to stay on raid teams, and trying to fit in and do well. “Hawt” has been my miracle worker. When others were gossipy and perhaps even petty, she above all has been incredibly helpful, supportive, patient and kind. And color me paranoid, but I don’t want to ‘be a burden’ to her and her raiding evening goals. She kindly took me along on Wednesday night for normal Highmaul, and my gear wasn’t even 630, so of course I struggled. Yes, peons, you may now call me “Queen of the Understatement.” /grovel

Everyone seemed nonchalantly confident in their gear level scores, and it’s obvious many of the raiders did the Beta inside and out, so it’s old news to them. I could hear it in their voices already, though – the gentle admonishment of when others made a mistake, when something was buggy or odd, and not quite right.

I am feeling so up-ended right now in Draenor, but here’s the thing: I love it. I love finding new and different ways to do things, love my garrison, and enjoy riding this train that on one side has the past, and on the other side of the windows the parallel past–it’s trippy and wonderful. Now that’s lore, baby! And Señor found the perfect gift for me — I guess in honor of being a good guild mate all these years, and found a stray Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth for me. He’s not in Draenor yet due to life stuff. Man oh man, he got that for me just in the nick of time: Draenor is hard on gear, ya know? Now I can fix it up anytime! And I am loving the dungeon run treasures you get from having an Inn–except may not:

monroe hey now

Takes out stains the hard way.

Victory or yeti whatever
Someone’s got their yeti on!

 

I have to ask though, who are you people? Who are you players who have the best gear two weeks out of the gate, the challenge mode Yeti mount, and seem to act like this content is months old already? Do you have a job, sir? I’m being facetious, and it’s not coming out as funny as I would like it to. It’s not funny because it’s actually pretty cool that players do plan, figure it out, and play well.

And you may be asking yourself, Machu Picchu? The hell? Well–

The other day I got an e-mail from one of those travel group tours, and there is an upcoming tour to Machu Picchu. That place calls to me: high in the Peruvian mountains, it sings: Matty! MaTaOkA!!! Come climb to the top, breath the thin mountain air, and see the world from a completely different point of view! And I realized that if I was to ever go to Machu Picchu it would take so much planning and yes, playing. I need to get in much better physical shape, cut back, plan, and make it happen.

love birds
We should all just be more like these love birds, and take in the scenery for awhile…Zeptepi just sat right now in their potato salad

 

So what does this mean? It means I am going to go on hiatus for December: I want to level Kellda, get her geared up, and enjoy Mataoka’s fun and success with all the other parts of the game. I want to go for a walk instead of getting gems and potions once in awhile, and never feel guilty for not being able to raid. My job is going well but it’s very busy now, busy because I created it as such –doing interesting things again, and trying to focus on CD Rogue, too.   My friends are still there for me in Azeroth, and I don’t want to let the raiding ones down while I figure things out. I can’t play like it’s the middle or the end of an expansion–it’s only the beginning, and I need to remember that. Takes awhile to get acclimated to the climate.

Oh, and look what enchanting dust can do:

pretty angel

Story Time: Allegiance

Warning: If you haven’t gotten a character to Level 100 in Warlords of Draenor, stop reading. 

Yrel
Yrel

Allegiance

By Mataoka the Shaman

-For a paladin-

The Light, and truth, equally burns.

Mataoka’s brother mused, “Ah, women – they never get along,” but she had known plenty of men who engaged in turf wars. This was not a case of simple female pride—something was very off about Yrel. Jealousies tamped down her instincts, however, dismissing simple signs and easy actions. She should have seen all coming, but her vision turned greasy and foul. She kept any further complaints about the new paladin “savior” to herself after his dismissal.

Jealousy—there is the strangest of emotions. It serves no purpose, and causes only damage. It is not the hate that burns villages, nor the love that creates life: jealousy eats and is never satisfied, destroys and leaves facades, loves fiercely but cannot create more.

In the distant past, an ancestry, Yrel’s branch grew on the family tree, a broken line, perhaps a cousin. Mataoka’s mother told tales of a great heroine who fought side by side with the bravest of leaders of Draenor: Velen, Nobundo, and Maraad. Mataoka imagined herself fighting by Maraad’s side, saving the Draenei, changing the course of loss and blood. She had personally met the Prophet many times, and felt his blessing upon her brow, though her heart and shamanistic rituals stood loyal to Nobundo most of all. Mataoka tolerated the Light because it was her people’s way, just as they tolerated her bonds with the elements.

To have a chance to save Draenor, to show herself worthy, to honor her mentor Nobundo—the redemption and glory! And just as in her dreams, here she was as an equal to Maraad, helping him find his way anew.

And when it began, Mataoka was ready.

The smell of burnt oil and sick permeated the air. The ground flowed with fel vomit, waste products, toxic and slow burning.

She attacked with Khadgar, Maraad, and Thrall before dawn, her spirit wolves at her side, more ferocious than ever, as if some ancient prey taunted them – they sought revenge like one and all – the time’s heat melted all boundaries between past and present, and in the razor’s edge of now, reclamation was theirs for the taking.

Everyone sought a second chance, it seemed.

And there in rags, in a cave, standing suspiciously over a dead orc warlock, whimpered Yrel. Her horns were unlike any set Mataoka had ever seen—thick, large, curved around her ears and chin. Through the generations why had no other Draenei received these horns? The singularity, the otherness made her suspicious. Mataoka defiled her true nature, before the past became the now, by changing her skin from lavender to blue to please her mother, to be more of a proper “Draenei.” To show the Prophet her birthright and allegiance. And here was Yrel with skin the color of an Azuremystian field, just as Mataoka once had.

Yrel’s manner seemed coy: “Oh, someone else is here!” Mataoka wondered why she was hovering over the dead orc…was she waiting a rescue? And then to say she was fine on her own, and sent Mataoka on her next mission. She didn’t even recognize a fellow Draenei! Yrel took charge immediately: ordered Mataoka to go with her to find her sister Samaara– including no recognition by any of the Draenei. Yrel kept off-handedly referring to her as “hero,” or “champion.” Yrel’s lack of acknowledgment gnawed on Mataoka. And the bones snapped, and splintered. And stuck.

Trapped in this new time, Mataoka couldn’t easily go back to Stormwind, or Azuremyst, though the songs in the trees and on the wind sounded just like home, it played false. She wondered if others heard the songs too, or did only she hear the songs of the past, clear as cathedral bells?

And the drumbeat of more orcs.

More orcs.

Relentless. Orcs.

Mataoka’s blades dulled, and her eyes faded. Her heart heavy with envy, and she grew fatigued. But though the world seemed a dream, and its inhabitants all ghosts, they would kill her if she let down her guard. The monsters proved satisfyingly easy to slaughter, but the real monster grew inside.

Every third step, she would see Yrel again: her armor improved, her status growing. She stood next to Maraad and the Prophet as a peer, taller than the others, again, in a swamp acting shy around the Prophet, “Oh, I am not ready to lead soldiers!” and the next moment ordering battle-hardened warriors as if she was born to it.

And those horns.

Yrel never called her by name, though Khadgar did, and sometimes even the Prophet. To Yrel, she was just another ‘hero,’ said with the commonality of Mataoka’s origins: low and common. Or at least that’s how Mataoka heard her.

“Many depend on you,” the Prophet said.

“Many have always depended on me,” she thought, “and I have never let them down. Where was this ‘savior’ at those times?”

Yrel’s accent was Draenei, but off somewhat. Mataoka couldn’t place it. It had a particular pitch that seemed sweet, but the stinger was still in the honey.

She said, “Prophet Velen is a great teacher, but he’s too serious sometimes! I would much rather live out the holy principles than read about them in a book, don’t you agree?”[1]

“No, I don’t agree,” thought Mataoka.

Yrel gossiped about Maraad, too; subtle things, little criticisms, and Mataoka knew no purpose for this ingratiating babble. She was not impressed, it did nothing to placate the hate, nor did it make her feel closer to Yrel. Who the Sargerei did this woman think she was?

And those Sargerei; oh how Mataoka envied them most of all, and felt the most shame for this. The magic and power the netherbinders wielded, consuming all with no mercy. Gul’dan’s black grip held all the power. They were Draenei with the powers of warlocks, the powers of Gul’dan, who surely was their destruction in this world, as he had been in all worlds. Power never lets go, and if the world has shown anything, those with the most get more. And those without simply die faster.

But she kept on.

 

Ner’zhul took Yrel’s sister, and on an alter of blood and bone, stole her life, her soul, and brought Yrel to her knees. If one of her sisters was on the slab, she knows she could have saved them, of this Mataoka was sure. Prophet, her sisters would never have gotten in that place to begin with! Her sister the priest, or the paladin! Ha! Mataoka would have like to seen Ner’zhul try to tie Luperci to a slab!

But her sisters followed the Light. No one ever spoke of rock and water, or fire and air. Being a shaman she was already behind the shadows, in the dusk of energy.

But the hate sank deep in the final moments, during the Prophet’s final apotheosis, he chose Yrel over her. Chose Yrel without hesitation. He placed the blessing of Light on her forehead, and her screams of protest scratched Mataoka’s scarred heart with their pitchy, fake notes.

She couldn’t respect Yrel, and she hated her, and she must know follow her. This was the only impossible thing she had ever been asked to do.

Nobundo – she would pray to Nobundo! Her father, her mentor, her guide—the one who owned all true wisdom and solace. Nobundo would guide her.

In this new land, she sought the elementals. Like her Dwarf friends in an ale house, there they were, right where they should be in Nagrand. Some things are dependable as the sun. She fought for the elementals, single-focused, determined, and felt powerful again. When Yrel couldn’t save Maraad, but seemed resigned to his fate, Mataoka hate increased. She carried with her the mark of sin from her hatred of Yrel, but she didn’t reflect, she didn’t consider, and she tried to move forward. The mark manifested itself as a dull blessing of Light on her forehead, dimmed and sick. As soon as she was finished settling the elementals, she would find a way back to the Exodar and speak with Nobundo.

In the center of the elemental circle, a young, handsome paladin Draenei stood.

And Mataoka sank.

There stood Nobundo, from the past.

Why hadn’t she considered this? All were ghosts, all were here…all were gone.

She spoke to him.

He answered he felt he was in a dream, and seem befuddled and a little scared.

There was no one now.

She wanted more than anything to go home, but there was no home.

I will tell you, dear readers and players, and all manner of man and woman, I wish I could tell you how Mataoka found her way back. I know she did, however, but as many things in life, there is no one moment where we are over our grief, unburdened by our regrets, or unchanged by love or hate. We never lose those things, hard as we try. Mataoka simply kept doing what was right, even though it was hard. Many times she faltered, and desired to join the Sargerei, or show Yrel for the fraud she may be. But then…

The moment. The moment, inauspicious and embarrassing: Mataoka realized Yrel could no more change her destiny than any mortal. Yrel didn’t see Mataoka because Mataoka was nothing to her, a shadow: the ghost was not Mataoka; the ghost was Yrel. She spoke to one and all like talking in a dream: it held no weight. Like looking at modern day Auchindoun, with the souls wandering, she was witnessing the future souls past.

Then Mataoka felt nothing but pity.

Yrel was beautiful, brave, and a holy warrior: Velen chose her, yes, but without the flesh and blood, the pumping hearts, and the unctuous, nasty part of living, there would be no redemption for any soul, living or dead. The Prophet knew this. Yrel, once and future savior would know no other path.

Mataoka went wolf form and lumbered quietly to the room of the garrison with the floor pillows, off to the side, away from the followers, workers, knights and lieutenants. No one was there. The pillows were made of the finest flaxseed linen, filled with downy feathers, washed in the clearest part of the warm oceans, smelling of salt, air, and water. Mataoka slept well and deep for the first night in weeks, and dreamed of running in the fields of Azuremyst.

matty sleeping by fire

[1] This is actual questing text during Shadow Awakens.

"Squirrel Nuts Stirring Up Drama"

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