How do you solve a problem like Ceniza?

But baby, you always look hot...
But baby, you always look hot…

Ceniza, my dear, keep trying. I talked Hawtpocket into letting me take Ceniza into the first two wings of SoO normal, and with her mixed bag of gear and her human’s many struggles trying to make Fire Mage viable, she hobbled along. She managed to get some upgrades, but until it’s tier, it’s toast.

toast
Ceniza’s spells…with jelly

Oh , and that Black Prince buff? Lies. All lies. She needs six seven more Titan Runestones, the heart of Lei, exact change for bus fare, soliloquies with dragons, four Celestial beat-downs, lint from a bumblebee’s bellybutton, and a stern talking-to before she gets that cloak. Why do I even want it? It doesn’t really matter. She’s always been the afterthought-mage, but still tugs at my heart. She lights match after match to get that pyroblast to proc, and then slips on ice and misses the target. She has a lot of pride, though, and is meaner than a warlock, so watch out. She’ll get that cloak, and in due time. Just you wait.

 

Three.

Mr. and Mrs. WoW provided the most epic, elite, toughest challenge for us all: come up with the three best things without one iota of moaning, complaining or bitching. Though admittedly I like a little spicy sausage along with my syrupy waffles, and never do anything all sugar sans spice, ever, I’ll try. It might hurt. It may sting. But like a bandage, best to just rip it off and deal with it. Man up, Matty!

1. Other WoW Bloggers.

Friendships know no boundaries or political allegiances...
Friendships know no boundaries or political allegiances…

This is my true community – without friends like Tome and Navimie, Erinys, Dahahka, Plaid, and many more: all encouraging and inspiring me, not sure where I’d be. Well, I do know. Very sad.

Me. Without. You.
Me. Without. You.

2. Information.

I vote "Best Pun In Azeroth." Charles Dickens would approve.
I vote “Best Pun In Azeroth.” Charles Dickens would approve.

Anything I want to find out about Azeroth is only a Google search away: think of the legions of passionate theory crafters, moggers, bloggers, vloggers, and occasionally joggers who fill our bandwidths with whatever we want to know. And yet, its paradox haunts me: all these players sharing what they love, and yet still feel shame when telling a friend or family member, and feeling like a complete nerd, and not the good kind either. I was in a dungeon the other day and a young player confessed he doesn’t even tell his dad he plays, he has a ‘rep’ to maintain, and was from New Zealand and plays rugby, hates basketball, and is now living in Colorado. I learned all this in fifteen minutes while killing ghouls, zombies, and banshees. Not a bad way to spend time.

In any case, Azeroth is kind of like living in Washington State. We want people to know how beautiful it is, but we don’t want them to visit.

3. Bonds.

Little ones, big ones. Little ones that lead me on butterfly chases and I discover the most fascinating things, such as one friend’s addiction to scented soaps, even when I tried to steer her toward Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs. The other day I treated myself to three scents, all based on their descriptions:

Aeval-190x147 Anathema-190x147Dragons-Blood-500x390

 

 

 

 

And I wonder why I am always broke. But what woman doesn’t need a dabble of dragon’s blood? 

The Big Bonds: friendships that have lasted years, knowing that my surface-level conversations maybe carried out in someone’s head later, just as I think about them. It fascinates me, this digital narrative.

Did I pass the test? Pass the pepper, please.

RTMT: Regrowth.

Regrowth photo by Matty
Regrowth (Photo by Matty)

I don’t know about this Azeroth place anymore.

I am beginning to understand why players stick with maybe one to three solid classes/specializations: truly and deeply specializing takes hours of intense scrutiny and practice. I am feeling somewhat a restoration druid ‘failure’ these days: I have the gear, and yet I still can’t produce the healing potential Momokawa possesses. One HUGE issue I had the other night was I tried to use Clique, and it was an abysmal failure. Well, it wasn’t: I was. I didn’t take the time to try to understand it, and it disrupted my targeting. That’s an understatement.

Matty-Shack 2018
Matty-Shack 2018

Sitting here trying to decide what kind of player I want to be, after all these years: do I want to focus on one or two characters and dig into raiding? Do I want to go more solo, play with my Garrison?

Not this Garrison...
Not this Garrison…
...this one
…this one

I don’t know. Don’t judge me, please –it could happen to anyone–but in my own little Matty-shack a mouse family has moved in (I have called in professionals to help them move out), and the wisteria vines engulfed over the eastern facade, growing into the crevices of shingles, denying their shoots of sunlight, producing pale whitish-yellow chlorophyll-depleted tendrils. In other words: I better look after my own garrison, instead of a make-believe one. I envision a not-too-distant-future where I’m sitting at my keyboard adding a pet or lighting sconce to pixelized castle while around me are mouse parties and Sleeping Beauty style thorny vines.

The mice didn't seem to have any trouble...
The mice didn’t seem to have any trouble…

Warlords of Draenor is going to be huge. Garrisons will be awesome. The story will be fine, and Draenei will have a role to play. It’ll all work out, and is not worth any iota of stress or concern.

Then why am I starting to wake up again at 5:30AM with headaches? 

I see your Raid Leader and raise you a Ragnaros!
I see your Raid Leader and raise you a Ragnaros!

Here is what I do know: summer is drawing to a fast close, and this summer has been wonderful for me. I consciously did nothing. I read one book (and I loved it, every word). I watched Game of Thrones repeats on Netflix. I played Hearthstone like a old card shark. I sat like Margot Tenenbaum (without the cigarettes) and relaxed as if it was my job.

Not a bad way to spend summer...
Not a bad way to spend summer…

I had a great time yesterday goofing off with Starre in Blackwing Lair on various characters, and made a Red Knight ensemble for Luperci:

dragon shield

red lupeSo mice, take notice: pack your little cheesy bags and get the hell out of Dodge. I know you’re not like Cinderella mice and will not sew any dresses or make pearl necklaces for me, so scram. I’ve got other things to do than worry about you.

Like go get a kitten.

PS If you’r bored, take this gamer quiz.

OLRG: Cootie Shots!

cooties

Well, once again the Old Ladies kicked ass, although it wasn’t the old ladies per se, but the young lady, Tyledres from Frost & Claws helped us out with the very last achievement. We were doing it right, and had the right idea, and with her insight and mine, we figured it out easily. It was truly teamwork. Oh, necrotic plague — you are indeed Arthas’ cooties.

Plaid Elf from Plenty of Paladins, Helke, Luperci, (yours truly), Tome, and Tyledres
Plaid Elf from Plenty of Paladins, Helke, Luperci, (yours truly), Tome, and Tyledres

So, PlaidElf, Tyledres, Helke, me as Luperci, and Tome went in, and hurt some icy ghouls and mean dragons. If there is anything else anyone needs in the 10-man version, please let me know.  It felt good to get this out of the way, and complete my salt-and-pepper shaker set of icy dragons:

blood icy ponies

Mataoka has been busy cleaning up old reputations, and stands at 57/60 for her Beloved title:offensive

I am trying to keep a big scope perspective on the November 13th date: there will be much, much to do, and my tendency is to neglect my real life over my fantasy one, but I simply cannot sustain this. I am bracing myself, humming a mantra repeatedly, “Do not worry. Do not stress. Real life over Azeroth. Repeat.” Erinys at Harpy’s Nest made a comprehensive to-do list I may emulate. I needs me ponies!

chieves

Luperci got a new pretty ax with a little face on it:

Frost Giant Clever
Frost Giant Clever

…and as usual, fun was had by all. It’s cool because we Old Ladies have different styles, but somehow they meld together well. For example, Helke shared one of her favorite shoe designers:

Damn, girl...don't drop your ice cream cone on these...
Damn, girl…don’t drop your ice cream cone on these…

And I walk a mile in these:

All the better to sneak up on you, my dear...
All the better to sneak up on you, my dear…

Onward, Old Ladies! Remember anyone can join us at anytime – drop in for an achievement or two or ask if you need help finishing up something. No one needs to panic. We have cootie shots and stylish shoes.

Postscript: I met my dear friend for breakfast and pedicures yesterday morning, and she strongly urged me to read the current book for our next book club meeting. Considering I hadn’t read the last three, I decided I would do my homework so I wouldn’t be kicked from Book Club:

mountains

 

 

 

 

OLRG: Clean Up In Aisle 6 Edition

lady and dragon

Okay, ladies (and gents), time to clean up some of those nagging achievements! Ice Crown 10-man, and then switch to 25 if we need, and then, see whatever else needs cleaning up or has potential for a mount-drop (Throne of Four Winds, perhaps!) Please look over your own achievement list and jot down anything you’d like to do. We got this.

I’ll be around this afternoon as usual–

skip to about 3:21-3:22 in the video – but this hunter did this solo

Minority Report: Orcs

Orc and Draenei
Orc and Gnome

It’s too damn early in the morning and I haven’t made coffee yet, so this will be incoherent gibberish. What else is new? Everyone is loving the new and improved Orcs. The Horde has the new mount, Orcs won the new model redesign, possibly even out-distancing Dwarfs’, and they are the feature of Warlords of Draenor.

They even – yes – even get a second chance.

A second chance to be good? To behave? No, smash kill smash without the fel-blood hangover.

Everyone is excited. Everyone is happy. Everyone–and here comes Negative Nancy...but…

Me.

I can’t help but ask, where are the Draenei and Night Elf races journeys for healing and redemption? Where will their stories lead them? Will they be offered the Green Goo of Deals-with-Demons Kool-aid and get to make a choice? Will this bring back their loved ones, or will they just have to watch the scenes play out again? Are they just background noise for the Orcs now? Is everyone background noise for the Orcs now? 

You may be thinking I don’t like Orcs now – not true. I really like all races – each one has both redemptive and unique flaws that potentially create well-rounded narratives. (And thank goodness I don’t depend all my narrative fantasies on Blizzard: I would never play. Mattel didn’t give me stories for my Barbie dolls – I made them up, and elaborate ones they were indeed.)

As I have mentioned, I sometimes envy those who not only understand the intricacies of lore, but also have a vested interest in sides/allegiances. I don’t dislike Horde anymore than I prefer Alliance. I responded to characters, not politics. And I still feel the same. But perhaps we humans are a bloodthirsty species after all: just read the chatter and comments whenever Jaina is doing whatever it is she does; she’s the ‘worst mage’ is one of the kinder comments. And when the peace-loving family man Thrall is confronting Garrosh, well he’s called a wuss among other things. Peace? Peace is for chumps. What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding? Everything.

Last relic of Draenei lore...
Where they buried your lore, princess…

Mataoka wandered around Auchidoun yesterday, and purposeful Draenei spirits walked to their own destinations. And this is where you will realize what an idiot I am: until young cub pointed out it is a maseoleum, a graveyard.  One Blizzard player asked, where is the Draenei lore? There is no Draenei lore anymore. This relic took Mataoka to, of all places, Fray Island: she found herself in a tower watching an Orc and Troll fight.

landed me

fray island

The expansion looks incredible, and I am going to enjoy it: I just had to get this off my breastplate. I have valued From Draenor With Love’s series, especially their slant on friendships between Orcs and Draenei. Both races were abused by unmitigated power, as all the world’s inhabitants are. Here’s a cup of cheer to wish them both a better future. But I have my doubts: I’ll speak softly and carry a big pole arm. Better yet: a big pencil, and write my own stories.

/dies of cuteness

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am when Navimie sent me an e-mail telling me Sleepingfox was accepting commissions again for her perfect, adorable, and amazing chibis:

Mataoka
Mataoka
Zeptepi
Zeptepi
Haanta and Sweater
Haanta and Sweater
Momokawa
Momokawa

I stared at Momokawa’s for full ten minutes. The details in her shoulders, (the Mantle of the Haunted Forest may be one of my top three most-loved designs in Azeroth) her beautiful, kind face–I love it. Zeptepi’s image is from one of my favorite posts (which of course now I can’t find). It’s about love, redemption, and healing. Mataoka was tough: to show her in her healing gear, sins washed away with the power of the elements, or in her Kor’kron set, fiery and ready for retribution? At her heart, she fights with maces and axes, and will stand hoof-to-toe with anyone who hurts her or her family. Haanta is shown with her first love, Sweater the Bear. Sweater is enjoying his retirement, eating honeycomb and grubs, and getting his belly rubbed.

Now, I realize Sleepingfox has been doing this for awhile. She is incredibly talented, of that there is no doubt. I submit this for consideration: when you are creating art for clients there is another level of professionalism and talent that must be recognized. It’s not easy to please others. To me, she is the consummate artist: using her talents to bring joy to others, too, and understanding their vision while incorporating her own interpretation. Well done, very, very well done.

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

"Squirrel Nuts Stirring Up Drama"

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