Monday, 30 December 2013

Box of Bloodied Water - Assassin's Creed Black Flag VERY Special Edition

   The specialist of all, in fact, because it's one of a kind.
   I had seen lots of people on 9gag hiding GTAV in lots of marshmallows in September. We'd pre-ordered the game, so my boyfriend already knew he was getting it, and when, so while it was a nice idea, it couldn't be done. But, I did bank the idea in my brain box!
   Shortly after all this, I remembered Assassin's Creed 4 was coming out at the end of November, but Koruth said he wanted it for the PS4. He didn't expect to get the console until some point in 2014, because it was so expensive. Though I did so well over Christmas with Peaches and Pebbles I knocked the lot of it out at the beginning of November, and I gave it to him for his birthday today. He was most pleased! Unfortunately he isn't the type to show that enthusiasm for anything other than one thing in particular, and that makes it difficult for someone like me who loves giving people gifts and loves seeing their reaction. But I know that he does like it, and he is happy.
   Anyway! I got AC4 for the PS4 after preordering the machine, and it came in some time ago and hid in the wardrobe. And I began to plan my ultra special Box of Bloodied Waters edition of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

   First of all, I got a wooden box. I wanted blood splatters on it, and that was easier said than done. I don't tend to kill people, so I have no idea off of the top of my head what blood splatters typically look like (at least in any realistic way), so I took a bottle of red paint that was almost empty and shot it at the box. It didn't work too well - acrylic paint and blood are not really very similar in terms of thickness. Still, I did my best, and applied darker red paint to some areas.

   Next I painted the inside of the box. I went from blue to black so it was similar to deep waters, but I had the intention to fill it with blue as well when it was all done, so it wouldn't just be that. I think it came out really nicely actually ^^ the blood came out okay, but the only bits I really like are the bits that run down the sides. Still, I did my best!

   Next I made my plaque. I had actually gone around to lots of people on Etsy asking if it would be possible to cut a piece of metal for me, but every one of them turned me away either because it was too big a piece, or they didn't want to do just one. They all suggested I try myself with a jeweller's saw. I did not. Instead I stuck to something I knew: clay. I actually free-hand cut the clay instead of using some kind of stencil, and as always it was a needle I used because I have no tools for clay at all. I was and still am very surprised with how well it came out! It's not perfect; if you look at it portrait ways you can see that the rounded parts come further out on one side than the other, but it's not meant to be looked at that way ^^ from a landscape view it's actually perfectly acceptable and you'd never really notice.
   Another reason I decided to try it with clay was because I had actually been practising the lettering. Initially I had planned to just write 'Box of Bloodied Waters' onto the box itself, but it didn't work very well and I needed to cover it up. I should have expected the bloody ink to bleed. That was entirely my mistake. But I didn't want to have to push my practised lettering to one side, so I engraved it into the clay with a needle. I filled the lettering in with black because I wasn't sure what sort of coverage spray paint would give, but it gives awesome coverage. If anyone is interested - because I know I would be - I used Rust-oleum Metallic Brilliant Finish Chrome. I had read about lots of different paints but none of the silvers were much good. Chrome is brighter and more silver than silver, but it certainly isn't any kind of mirror. If you're looking for a silver spray paint, get chrome.

   I then screwed it down to the lid, and that was that! Then came time to fill it. In truth I had wanted to fill it with blue sweets for water, and a few pockets of red for blood, but I couldn't think of any blue sweets he likes, and any that were red were more like pink. Nuisance! Though my solution was simple enough: use blue and red cellophane bags. I got packs of 30 for £1.50 on Ebay and that did just fine. In the end I used 750g of marshmallows, 500g of Millions, and some gummy dolphins.

   Along with Assassin's Creed 4: Skull Edition, I also added £18 worth of Riot points for League of Legends, and a set of 'Nothing is True/Everything is Permitted' rings I found on Etsy by EriCreations. They look a lot better in person than in the image, and I was really chuffed with the quality to be honest. I could have had the bands in gold, silver and so on, but they were for Koruth so I thought black would be best, and I could have had the lettering coloured too, but I felt that black on black was best given the nature of Assassins :P

   So, I wrapped up the game, painted a little wooden box for the rings to go in (which you can see 2 pictures up), made a little pillow for them and put them in the bottom of the box.
   I used about 300g of marshmallows and 2 blue cellophane bags to create a sort of marshmallow sheet to hide the gifts, then I made 5 red pouches totalling 500g of Millions and put the 450 Riot point cards in them, and made lots of bags of 3 marshmallows so that there'd be lots of 'water' as well. I finished it off with some gummy dolphins as fishies ^^ it was a very heavy box in the end, you really underestimate the weight of marshmallows!

   Then I wrapped it up in brown parcel paper, because I wanted it to stand out from the other gifts and make it look a bit more relevant to the game, which is set in the golden age of Piracy, so around the 1700s, late 1600s I believe. I also added a wax seal I bought some time ago from the amazing Katrina Alana on Etsy to it as well to make it a bit more special.
   He was surprised by it, though he was more interested in the game, but at the end of the day it was just about presentation ^^ I like to put the effort in and had loads of fun doing it.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

And Back To WoW.

   Yup, my business is all finished for Christmas. After a very long and very busy November and December rushed off of my feet filling in orders, I'm finally able to relax, and it feels good. I had loads of fun with my shop, I realise how lucky I am to be payed for crafting, but it can get tiring, and I'm glad to be done with it now until the new year.
   I managed to get the Emerald Hippogryph - yes, I recruited myself, just like I did for the Obsidian Nightwing, but none of my friends are gamers, and none of them are at all willing to pay for WoW and all the expansions (despite the Vanilla-Cata edition) and then the monthly subscription after it, but nevermind. I only did it because it was on sale - this mount ended up costing me £13, which is £4 less than an average Blizz store mount, and £7 less than the Enchanted Fey Dragon (which is so worth the money - I was worried I'd be disappointed with it once I got it, but I'm not!).

   I've been doing a lot of archaeology. I love it, I really do, though I have little idea why since it's so repetative. The only idea I have is that it gets me all across WoW and into all of the different zones, zones I've not been in for ages, and that's nice ^^ But I get bored and distracted and so on so it's not surprising that I give up eventually, or grow bored, but it's the one thing that I'm always eager to return to when I think of it.
   I managed to clear the Vrykul, Nerubian, Orc and Draenei digsites last week, and get all of the rare items (and, I presume, the normal ones too - I never actually thought to check achievements...well that's something else for me to do, isn't it!), and now I'm working on getting the last single rares from Troll, Dwarf and Night Elf. Once I've done that I'll go back to Mogu, Pandaren and Mantid. I'm a little sick of the sight of MoP, but only because I've been out there for so long and not in the other lands, and it's nice to have a change, but so far I've not completed a single MoP rare, though I have at least discovered the Mantid's sonic gun thingy.

   I also got this shot of Zes'qua on the Timeless Isle - I'm pretty sure it's a bug. I've only killed her about three times so I can't remember but I'm pretty sure she's not supposed to die like that, but I think it's quite a pretty shot! :D

    I'm getting back to WoW now, anyway. My sales came to a stop today, and I'm (kind of) pleased for it, because yesterday was my last posting day this year. They'll start up again soon, but to nowhere near the extent they were during November and December - but I have learned a lesson: don't base the current year's success off of the one before. I tripled everything this November and December compared to November and December in 2012, and while I doubt that I'll triple everything again next year, I had better be sure I have loads of stock and supplies, just in case. If it's even just as busy as this year, at least I won't have to panic and overnight supplies from overseas. Ouch. But, I can say that, while some people did purchase too late to get their purchases in time for Christmas, I did get everything out of the door by the deadlines and within the shipping time frame stated on each order, so I'm very happy ^^

   Is everyone else ready for Christmas?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Rotten Helper Box

   I don't know what the rarity of this item is - in fact I didn't even know it existed until I got it. I presume it's a new addition to the Winter Veil world event this year. I got it on my second go - I took Atherya out, did the daily, wondered why I was doing it because I thought I had everything, but I had already gotten Spinegrinder to Tirisfal Glades, so I decided to just carry on. When I came back, I turned in the quest, opened the box and there was a flash of blue! The Rotten Helper Box.

   The little freak has a board with a nail in it, and he mounts up on a reindeer when you mount up. Sadly, it does not fly, which I find a bit odd to be honest, but it's quite awesome that he gets on a little reindeer! Good luck everyone else on obtaining this pet!

Monday, 9 December 2013

It's That Time In The Expansion...

   On my server, at least, it's quite dead. There's little to do to keep me interested. The Timeless Isle was amazing, but I felt it got quite repetative. Not so much that I'll complain about it, but enough so that I can't be bothered to log on just for that. And given that I don't have any friends on my server, I've got no one to play with, and also given my little business, I've had little time to anyway. I still have a long to-do list including JoJo's watercolour (it'll get done, I promise!), and Christmas planning is also taking up a lot of my time.

   I've not managed to do anything new for the WoW Crafting Challenge - while my shop's been doing well, Christmas shopping has taken the lead and I've not had the money, time or imagination to work on anything new. I have things that are half-done, and I'm planning to pick it up again in January when things have settled down, though I am also hoping to make a Winter Veil specific piece in time for Christmas, but I haven't decided what yet. I've never knitted a day in my life, so that knocks out the Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater! If I could, I would! Also, rather surprisingly, everything that I was selling from the challenge has, in fact, been sold, and quite quickly, too - both maps, the bag, the jewellery, and I've sold the sewing pattern for the bag twice, too. I'm quite surprised!

   I'm looking forward to the new WoW expansion, but it looks like it's probably still quite a way off, which bums me out a bit. I went about recruiting myself for the recruit a friend too, while the game was just £4, but I've not gotten around to buying the second month of game time on the recruited account. I'm not too interested in any of the pets that are available - they might be rare and only previously available in Asia, but they just don't do it for me. I'm only interested in the mount - it's gorgeous!

   Is everyone else ready for Christmas? I got my proper Christmas shopping knocked out a month ago, but started buying things like decorations and working on my chocolate topiary tree for the family with more Lindt and Ferrero Rocher like last year, and I'm also working on smaller ones for my 4 year old nephew.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

WCC: Night Elven Jewellery

   This week's crafting project was one of the harder pieces simply for the pressure I put on myself. And because of that pressure, it didn't work out too well.
   I make and sell my own jewellery for a living - and I am selling these. It's where most of my livelihood comes from, and so it had to be on the list, but because of that fact, I really felt like I had something to prove, so much so that it's the first project on the list that I made two attempts at.

   First of all I'll go over my more successful piece. I have to admit, I'm not 100% happy with it, but it isn't the sort of thing I've done before.
   I made it based on Night Elven culture. The silver coloured piece has purple gems in it, and is in a delicate shape and is covered in silver vines, flowers and leaves. It wasn't easy to make at all, but I'm not happy with them. But at the same time, it's not the kind of jewellery I usually do.
   I made it as a pair of earrings and a matching necklace, which, yes, is for sale. They took about two days to make because I was fretting for most of that time, worrying about their outcome and what people would think, but in the end, the money I've made from my jewellery speaks for itself, so I suppose this piece doesn't really matter. But that still doesn't make me feel much better about it.
   They're made from polymer clay, so they're strong enough, but they're not metal. Originally I was going to make them out of silver clay, but I can't get access to a kiln to finish them, plus silver clay alone is about £42 for about 10g. So I decided to go for far less valuable clay.

   The first pieces I made, I made a month or two ago, and are based on Gilnean culture. I'm not happy with them, mostly for the skulls. They're not clean enough - I know that skulls wouldn't necessarily be clean, but that's not what I'm talking about. I mean the skull itself seems a bit dirty and doesn't have a good finish, and it's for that reason, mostly, that I put them aside and decided to try again. I want to get rid of these pieces but I'm not really sure they're worth anyone parting any money for in my opinion. They're made from polymer clay too, but because they're not a solid mass like the Night Elven ones, and are mostly made up of thin pieces, they're a bit more delicate - not as delicate as they could be mind you, but they couldn't stand up to too much fiddling with. If they were simply going to hang somewhere sort of ornamentally, then I would be happier to sell them, but I'm not sure what they'd be like to wear, since the circular one especially is so vine-like.

   Either way, no, I'm not 100% happy with this week's piece, but it's the best I can do given what I'm used to making. If anyone is interested, the Night Elven pieces are for sale here, and if anyone is interested in taking the Gilnean ones - both or either - off of my hands, then let me know what you're willing to pay. As ever, I'm used to shipping worldwide, I know what it will cost to ship it wherever you are, so there are no restrictions like that for anything. First come first serve - I may decide to remake the Night Elven ones if I happen to get a small demand for them - such as, if 3 of you wanted them, I kept the templates so I could make them again if need be with little trouble. But there's only 1 set listed on Etsy for now.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

I Failed - But With Good Reason!

   Trying to do NaBloPoMo on two blogs at once was a big thing to take on, and unsurprisingly it didn't work out. A Blackbird's Epiphany has only gone one day this month without a post, but The Wyvern's Tail has gone far longer. Fortunately, I have a good reason for it.
   Peaches and Pebbles, my Etsy shop, exploded with sales lately. I've made more than double this November what I made last November and I can scarcely believe it. One of my products also ended up on the front page of Etsy for a while and that landed me a lot of attention, and a lot of sales. Sure I've not made anywhere near as much as other sellers on Etsy, but for me, it's been intense. So, blogging here and playing WoW has had to take a backseat while I try to keep on top of orders and custom requests and I'm only too happy to do it.
   I also rather surprisingly sold my Imbued Netherweave Bag and one of my two hand-drawn ink and bamboo MoP maps!

  I have been doing things on WoW, though - as I said, I got Atherya to 90 a week or two ago, and I finally got Daeaye exalted with the Klaxxi (dailies can be such a grind sometimes, so I gave up on it for a while). I also got myself the Fey Dragon mount as soon as it was available (not the pet, or the bundle, though, because at the time my money was tied up in products and creation). It looks freaking awesome and I'm not remotely disappointed by it.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

WoW Wishlist

   Everyone has a wishlist with Christmas around the corner. I've posted my real ones (one realistic, one not so much) on my personal blog, but I thought, since it's easy to write about yourself and I need to post every day this month, I'd put one together here.
   So I've put together a WoW-relevant wishlist for today's NaBloPoMo.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

WCC: Imbued Netherweave Bag

   This was not the biggest project, but it was probably the most expensive. For the most part, I had half of my materials lying around for all of the projects, but all I had on hand already for this one was a needle and thread. I had to buy in the rest of the materials, which set me back about £15 to £20, and it was all stitched by hand.
   Originally, it was going to be a Netherweave Bag, but because I couldn't find any fabric of the appropriate strength in the right colour (and I don't get on well with dying fabric) I decided to go for an Imbued Netherweave Bag instead. The reason for this was because not only did I find the perfect fabric, but it was in the most perfect shade of purple. Also, because it's imbued, I added special shimmery two-tone organza as the bag's lining, to make it look vaguely enchanted. Also, all I had to go by for this was the tiny icon ingame. Not an easy task, but if you look at it for long enough you begin to figure it out.

   I'm not going to go into too much detail here, because not only am I selling the bag here, but also the pattern for making the bag here too, both of which can be found in my Wyvern's Tail Etsy shop, which will just be filled with my projects. I need all the money I can get at the moment, given that my camera is on its way out and needs a lens replaced (luckily I photograpphed all of this weeks ago). The shop only accepts Paypal at this point, but if any of you would rather pay by card then let me know and I can list it in one of my other shops that does accept cards.
   It has a metal clasp, several linings of fabric including a water-resistant one, and two side pockets. The silver stitching is decorational, but it does help to strengthen the existing stitching, as fine as that already was. It's about 30cm tall by about 20cm wide. It's not huge, and the straps aren't adjustable because, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to do it.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Monday, 18 November 2013


   Lots has been going on! Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium received my necklaces recently, and they'll be up on sale this week I believe. I won't see a penny until they either all sell out, or the 22nd of December gets here - whichever comes first.
   I'm also only a handful of sales away from meeting my Christmas target (money earned, not sales made), but the closer I get the more I question whether or not it'll ever actually happen! You know how when you obsess over something time can pass so much slower.
   On the plus side, I've finally got a few new products up! Well, two, but they're animal jars and people seem to like them. These two are leopards - an Amur and a Snow Leopard - and are 12mm big in 3cm glass jars. I'm quite pleased with them but definitely more so with the snow leopard ^^ unfortunately, because I'm running low on jars, there are only three of each of the leopards available. (by the way, readers here get 20% off with the code WYVERN20 - just in case any of you are still Christmas shopping. Hey, we have to do what we can for business, right?)

   I've been ill with a rotten cold for a week now, but I've been feeling more creative than ever. Fortunately I have lots of scrap bits of crafting materials left over from other projects or failed products so I have all I need really. Except the things I want to make I have absolutely none of the materials for. But such is life. I'm focusing on Christmas shopping for now, anyway.
   I'm also very grateful, because my DSLR's lens broke about two weeks ago (a gear had broken so it was making an awful grinding noise whenever it tried to focus - definitely not good) and it was off of warranty so I couldn't get it fixed. Dad tot he rescue, he surprised me with a new and more powerful lens. I told him off, quite seriously, and told him at the least he should have kept it for Christmas, but he kept saying no. Thinking about it, I'm not sure I could survive on the run-up to Christmas without it...

   I finally got Atherya to level 90. It was tough because it was my fifth run-through and while I was excited to do it all again initially because it had been a while, in the end it got very tiresome. I've still got my Pandaren Monk at 85 but to be honest, I think she might end up neglected. And when Warlords comes out I'll probably use the level 90 character boost on my level 46 rogue, as well as giving her a faction change. I struggle to get excited over playing Alliance characters unless they're somewhere I've never been.

   How's everyone else been lately?

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Entry 30: The Heat

9th Day of Summer

   I did sleep, albeit not that well. But it's better than nothing. The vision I gained from the idol yesterday became more vivid in my dreams, and expanded into chaos. I don't know if it was the vision that became clearer, or if it was just a dream and I filled it all in myself, but it was horrific never the less. I saw people die over and over again as fire flowed over them, and just as the flame passed, another one rolled over them. People kept getting up, even after they had already died, only to burn again and crumple to the ground. And even then, they rose again.
   I've got chills just thinking about it. I've noticed my attention has been slipping more and more lately. While in the past I'd have spent far more time in the ruins, curiosity getting the better of me, I couldn't handle it for more than an hour and a half before getting tired, stumbling and getting quite bored.
   I haven't been sleeping well even before last night, and I've barely been eating, either. I need to get out of this place. The heat is just too much for me. I'll make for the south as soon as I'm able.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

Saturday, 16 November 2013

WWC: Bamboo and Ink Map of Pandaria

   I took a week off of the WoW Crafting Challenge last week - while I had something ready to post for it, I decided to put it on hold and do a little Blizzcon coverage, since I have to post every day this month, and that's not always easy to do! Keeping a few things back seemed like a good idea. Though I still ended up missing a post because I had little to talk about regarding the second day of Blizzcon.

   This time I decided to try cartography. Of course it's not real cartography, since I didn't go around and lay out the landscape mathematically and geographically like a real cartographer would have done, all I really did was redraw the existing map of Pandaria.

   I made two maps, and they're both made out of bamboo, and drawn by hand with brushes and Indian ink. I used the continent map, zone maps, and the game itself for reference, though I made a few mistakes here and there due to doing some parts quite late at night, and the fact that I can't remove the ink once it's on the wood, though I did draw it in pencil first. For example, because I did these maps so long ago before announcing the project and in preparation for it, I had drawn the Isle of Thunder in place using the old shape of the island. I did my best to fill it in as accurately as I could when it was finally revealed, however, so you can kind of get your bearings, but it is still one of the bigger mistakes.
   It was a conscious decision to not add the Timeless Isle to the map, however. While there is certainly enough room to do so, I decided to leave it out for the simple fact that the island keeps moving, and subsequently disappearing. If it had been added to a map, that map would quite suddenly become incorrect one day, which would be a real problem if the island resurfaced on the coast of the Dread Wastes, for example. So I decided to leave it out.

   I had toyed with the idea of drawing in the main roads with gold ink, but decided that, while the gold wouldn't be too obvious, the metallic shimmer would certainly catch the light and would make the map far too busy. I am a little disappointed with the red ink. I was going to use it for accents but it wasn't red enough, so it ended up just around the decorational corner.

   The maps aren't perfect. They could be tidier, but at the end of the day, as a whole, they're not bad at all. I drew in the big dungeons and the Temples, and both maps are quite similar, but they do have differences. I'm not really sure why I decided to do two, but they are both for sale here, if anyone is interested. This shop only accepts Paypal, but if you'd rather pay by card instead then let me know and I'll list it in another of my Etsy shops that does accept cards. The reason I'm doing it this way is to keep my shops tidier, but just drop me a line and I can adjust things.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

Week in Pictures

Excuse the picture quality. My DSLR is more or less dead now thanks a broken gear in the lens, and it's going to cost more than I expected to fix or replace it. So instead, I've been using my 7MP compact digital camera lately, so there will be some differences in picture quality.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Stuck For a Post

   So! Hello! How are we all? How's WoW going for you? Yes, I am stuck for a post today, so I decided I'd just talk to you guys.
   What have you been up to lately? On and off WoW? Did you go to Blizzcon? Did you have nothing to do with it? I bought the virtual ticket, but, I'll be honest, I spent 5 minutes watching the stream before I got bored with it. I was spending time with Koruth, so I was busy doing stuff or sleeping while the panels were actually happening, so all the info I needed, really, was already up on MMO Champion the next morning. I've never been too interested in panels, Q&A and stuff anyways. That's not to say that I don't appreciate the time, effort and number of people that goes into making the game, it's just that I can't really appreciate the panels themselves. It's like comic books or manga. I'm incapable of looking at the pictures. I just want words! I get through them within half an hour - I read Death Note volume 1&2 in an hour. I did enjoy it, though.

   There's a cat cafĂ© opening in London this year and they're stocking some of my necklaces. I sent them the products on Friday and they'll be up for sale on the website very soon. I'm quite excited. I've been stocked in a shop before - a little shop in Tokyo sold a few of my rings - but this is exciting because it's on a much larger scale. Though, Tokyo was an awesome opportunity, too! It's just that I'm used to making 93% of my sales (minus Etsy and Paypal/Direct Checkout fees), and now I'm only going to be making 60%, but at the same time, I am a very greedy little lady. But odds are, anything I sell with them I wouldn't have sold anyway, so I still end up making more money.

   Is everyone looking forward to Christmas, or are there a few Scrooges amongst us here? It's easily my favourite holiday. I don't care for any others. I'm not a partier, I'm not religious, so there's not much to interest me. Halloween bores me, Easter bores me, Valentine's day is nice but it's still quite dull. It's Christmas for me, also because my birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas day and 9 days after my boyfriend's birthday, so it's a short period of time jam-packed with exciting celebrations, and I always go out of my way to make it special for the whole family by buying special presents, decorations, food - last year I made a topiary tree out of Lindt Lindor and Ferrero Rocher. It's not much at the end of the day because we don't have lots of money, and, unlike my sister, I hate asking anyone for any. I try to make my money as honestly as possible. Plus Christmas has been even more exciting over the past two years because my shop keeps me busy - though I'd still appreciate more business. But not too much or I won't be able to breathe. I do it all myself, afterall - product making, product photography, pricing, listing, paying bills and fees, packaging, branding, shipping, customer service, SEO and advertising. So too much business will be a bad thing, and I have no one who has a steady enough hand, good enough eyesight and enough patience to help me make things. Though, I suppose, if things got a bit much I could also get my best friend involved over Christmas and pay her. She's unemployed at the moment (of course she has far more going for her than I do), we don't see eachother much, and she is genuinely interested in what I do, so I'm sure she'd appreciate it a little bit.

   How has everyone's jobs been going? Raids? Family? 

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Thoughts on Warlords of Draenor

   Initially, I thought it was stupid. And in truth, I kind of still do. I really hate how they're taking a chunk of WoW lore - the best WoW lore - and are messing around with it. I get that it's an alternate history, but it's still messing around with things we know.
   But, looking past all this space/time travel nonsense, it could be a good expansion. I'm extremely excited about seeing Draenor as it used to be, that's perhaps the best part of it. But I really think that, regarding Durotan, Grom and so on, it's going to be a case of 'meet your heroes, get disappointed'. Which, in a way, is inevitable. We love Grom because of how he redeemed himself (and he was pretty badass) but he wasn't a hero until he killed Mannoroth. Durotan wasn't a hero until he rejected drinking the blood, and he died a martyr. If there is no blood of Mannoroth, which there won't be, odds are these guys are not going to be the characters we're expecting. But, that is to be expected. If they are all still heroes then I'll be disappointed.

   I like the Garrison idea, but I wonder, when they say that you can pick your zone, if that means that you can choose from any of Draenor's zones, or if they mean certain plots within your faction's zone only. I'm hoping it will be the former.
   I'm excited for the new character models - the Undead male looks good so far, so I'm excited to see the females, I just hope that the females have as much exposed bone as the males do, and they don't try to feminine them up too much. Dead is dead. Work is currently going on on the female Troll, and they have also said that they will be updating the Blood Elves and Draenei - I hope this is true, and not just a miscommunication. That will leave Goblins and Worgen as the oldest character models, but by comparison, they still look great, so that's hardly a problem.
   I'm loving the 'toys' tab as well, I wonder if they'll be accessible account-wide or not, but either way, I'd love to get it all out of my bags and bank (assuming you can destroy/consume them like mounts but still keep them in your toys tab). I like to keep a few toys in my bag for funsies, but they do eat up bag spaces. Also quest items will be nice to get rid of, but I don't feel it's as necessary as the toys tab, but at the same time it's not a game-breaking feature.

   I'm curious about this dragonfly mount that was mentioned briefly, but if it's going to be anything like the MoP release, it'll probably be a Digital Duluxe/Collector's Edition mount. Going by the art that was released, I believe it will be the dragonfly creature I showed on the blog the other day, as it has dragonfly wings, even if it does have a scorpid tail.
   And while it's not relevant to the expansion, I'm pleased to see that the Enchanted Fey Dragon will be a store mount. I am disappointed because it means it will be everywhere, but I'm not because I really want that mount regardless, and it's totally obtainable, so that's great.

   But back to the expansion: I'm completely torn. On one hand, I'm disappointed. I don't feel we have any business messing around with timeways, and regardless of whether the Aspects have lost their powers, I think it was a pretty brainless move to turn to us mortals for help with such  an effing delicate thing. Seriously. Maybe Nozdormu has already started going crazy and is using our involvement to get us to mess things up on purpose in the hopes that we can prevent all the shit that's happened in Azeroth's past.
   I also had hoped that this could be the last expansion - level 100, 10th anniversary and so on, with the perfect opportunity to just bring that mad Titan back. But this is a filler expansion if ever there was one, and I was convinced that MoP was a filler. It just feels like it's no longer moving forwards - it's not even standing still, it's just going backwards now. I hadn't noticed how much I had wanted WoW to end now, before the game is completely ruined, but it looks as though it's going to be destroyed before it ends. And it has to end, otherwise Sargeras will never actually be defeated, or be successful in his minor goal over Azeroth - although 'minor' isn't quite the case, since Azeroth has 'defeated' him in the past, it's also probably partly a pride thing now, with a personal beat with the world.

   On the other hand, however, like I said, I'd love to see what Draenor looked like before it was destroyed, and there are a few interesting features being added that I'm also excited about. I just hope that the garrisons don't require anything from raids. I realise that they've made raids accessible (too accessible, along with many, many other things), but I'm still unable to do them, and I can't be the only ones. Just because they're accessible doesn't mean people have the time or attention to dedicate, and neither does it mean that everyone will be good at them. Some people will be prone to mistakes and will bring teams of people down because of it.

   Still, I've said before that I thought Cata looked great, but I really didn't enjoy it, and that I thought MoP looked stupid but it turned out to be incredible. Only time will tell what I'll really think of this expansion, and what we'll all think. But, as always, we can prepare for lots of blog posts and forum threads from loads of haters complaining about how stupid it is, or what they don't like about it and why, or throwing around wild speculation and treating them as fact. I'll do my best to sit quietly and just wait. Although, I am concerned about the time frame. I find it highly unlikely that Blizzard is planning to release it next winter given that it's already Patch 5.4 and that they've confirmed there will be no 5.5 - they'll lose even more subs if there's no new content, and it's always bad late in the expansion because people get bored. So, logically, I think they're probably further along with making it than they're letting on, because if it was really that long, then they would have to make a 5.5 just to keep us interested. So if a 5.5 does end up coming out, then the expansion is a long way off. I think we could be waiting until the summer. Either way, we will be updated when they can give us a proper answer. Better they say nothing until they have a definitive answer than say "early spring - no, late spring - no, early summer - no, whoops, sorry, autumn it is!" It's better that than getting our hopes up. 

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Monday, 11 November 2013

Entry 29 - The Ruins of Thaurissan

8th Day of Summer

   The heat was greater than it's been out here yet. The ruins are close to the Blackrock Mountain, and so the further through the ruins I went, the hotter it became, and with few sources of water nearby, I had to conserve what I had until I could get back to the camp. And though I did pass through the mountain itself, and I should be able to remind myself that it could be worse, the heat is intense enough to push that thought from my mind. Regardless of how hot it was in there, it doesn't make it any less hot out here than it is.
   When Stebben Oreknuckle, one of the Dark Irons at the camp, heard I was going out there, he insisted on coming with me. I put it down to yet more creeping Dwarf behavior, but I feel a little embrassed to admit that, actually, he was quite interested in his own work. Still, I was grateful for his company. He was constantly on guard while salvaging any golems we passed by, and after half an hour or so I saw why. There were more Dark Iron Dwarves walking around the ruins, intent on spying on and attacking Chiselgrip where possible.
   We were attacked a few times, and once I even managed to fend one off before  Stebben noticed it was there. I was very proud of myself.
   But the ruins really are something else. From the camp they appeared so petty and disappointing, but when I actually got close to them I could appreciate them much, much more.
   Every brick is severely burned, coloured ashen grey from the fire of Ragnaros. The ground is still hot, almost eerily so, despite the mountain to the north, as if it would still be burning hot whether the mountain were there or not.
   I can still see the structure of fireplaces, which is virtually the only reminder that these piles of rock once resembled homes, but the most distressing view comes from the bodies. The bodies of Dwarves who died in the blast, but instead of being obliterated, they were solidified. A pyroclastic flow Stebben called it, where the bodies had been encased in searing hot ash, and cooked from inside it. It sounds like a horrible way to die, but he then went on to tell me that they wouldn't have died from it. The sheer heat alone would have killed them long before the ash took hold. Either way, it is a shocking site. These bodies, trapped in the throes of pain, have stood here for three hundred years.
   We went further into the ruins, and I found a...well I'm not sure what it was supposed to be, an idol of some sort, but when I picked it up, a vision flashed before me. I heard a voice belonging to nothing I've ever heard, threatening something, and I saw panicked faces, faces that had seemed so sure, so certain, but were transformed into ones of horror as they ran around. They didn't run for long, however. It seemed, in fact, that there had only been a few seconds to panic before fire filled my vision and the idol in my hands crumbled to dust. I'm able to more eloquently explain what I saw, though I don't remember what I heard. It was a jumble when I was witnessing it, it's only been after my mind was able to recover that I've been able to distinguish anything.
   Oreknuckle asked me what happened, what I had picked up, and then what I had seen. He seemed to know that such things were out here, and had told me not to pick anything up - I don't recall him saying that, but, knowing myself, even if I had heard him I'd have picked it up anyway.
   I suffered no ill effects from the idol, however, but the vision still sends me reeling. Now that I'm soon to go to sleep, I can see it clearer again. I wonder, in fact, if I'll be able to sleep tonight. I feel as though I have seen ghosts.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Blizzcon Recap - Day 1

   As all of you know, yesterday was the first of the two days of Blizzcon. If you were able to attend then I envy you greatly. For those of us that didn't, here's a recap of the WoW-based info released from Day One.

   Warlords of Draenor is the next WoW expansion.
   However, it has nothing to do with the Burning Legion, so, in essence, my speculation was more or less completely wrong. Blizzard have also said that they have 'many more expansions lined up' so the game will continue for years yet - though whether people are happy about this is a foggy subject. I know where I stand on it.
   It is, instead, travelling back in time and seeing Draenor before it was destroyed. This aspect I am excited about. The others, not so much. You will also reach level 100 - that's an extra 10 levels this expansion, rather than the recent 5 in the past two. Hopefully there will be enough content to keep this interesting, and hopefully keep levelling perhaps three characters still a bit fresh. It's inevitable, however, that we will find it tedious after a few run-throughs, and that's the danger of alts. So, as ever, prioritise well.

   New WoW Character Models are coming.
   They'll be released with the new expansion, but that raises questions: how long did it take Blizzard to work on 25% of them, which was when they shelved them a month ago? Did they lie and have been continuing work all this time, or had more than 25% done? Is it actually a quicker job than they've let on? Or do Blizzard count their percentages the same way your PC does when it's running an anti-virus scan? Either way, they are simply upgraded versions of the currently existing Vanilla races, and we're not likely to see any real changes in terms of design, meaning the Undeads' rot is still stupidly symmetrical, and male Orcs are still likely to be hunched while the females stand tall. Still, only the male Orc, Gnome and Dwarf are previewable at the moment.

   Other races have a few screenshots of the progress so far but they aren't officially previewable yet. I'm actually quite excited about the Undead so far, though they're still symmetrical, but the detail on the bone actually looks great. I'm excited to see the females, and Spinegrinder's future.

   You'll be able to boost a single character on your account straight to 90.
   I'm not sure how I feel about this. This is aimed more at new players - if they only just started playing then they'll have to wait for a long time before they can experience Warlords of Draenor, however it also seems to make many things redundant. It means they'll be able to get heirlooms easily with barely working (ie 1-80) for them, so any other characters they make can rocket to 90 as well and they won't experience the game, despite being first-time players; they won't understand their classes and will faceroll and try to raid immediately without knowing how anything works; they won't experience any of the past content which has had hundreds of hours of work gone into it by so many different developers and designers, and won't be able to appreciate the new content the way we will. However, for those of us who have played the game properly several times through, it does mean that we can raise a character that we've been meaning to level but can't be bothered again. I plan to race change my Worgen Rogue to Undead and boost her from 42 to 90.

   Player housing, to a degree, will be taking place with your own garrison.
   This appears more like a minigame in its arrangement, as if they've added an aspect of Warcraft to WoW - build your base and upgrade it over time. It's also got the SWTOR feature of having NPCs do quests for you - though I'm 100% certain that they cannot do actual quests in your place. The houses look delightlful, I think, when they're level 1, and by the time they're level 3 it's a bit too much. Of course upgrading your garrison will yield better rewards, but I have to wonder whether the rewards are worth it. I might just make it look pretty on an alt, assuming each character has its own garrison. Though all we've really seen so far is the Alliance's garrison in Shadowmoon Valley. The garrison will be movable, and you can, apparently, pick the zone you want it in, though whether that means actual zone, or just means plot within the same zone, or simply building plots in a single allocated area, I don't know. But apparently over the next expansions we'll be able to upgrade it further. This is a long-term project, clearly, and other players will be able to visit your 'home', but likely by invitation only.

   Dragonfly Mount

What does this mean? Does it mean Fey Dragon, or does it, more likely, mean this thing?

    There is a lot of other info, and you can find all of it on MMO Champion. I picked out the bits that I found most interesting. And anyway, here's the trailer for the new expansion. Enjoy.

NaBloPoMo November 2013