Gold and her birds….

What makes a perfect WoW day for you? Continue reading

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When the first one to wake you up on Easter morning is your guildie….

Around 3am this morning, through the haze of sleep, I heard a familiar three-tone noise.

Wha?  Huh?

I reached around for my phone, wondering who could possibly be messaging me at this time of the night, and why????

It was my dear sweet guildie, letting me know that SMC was overrun with fuzzy bunnies.

As a mom of three lovely children, I certainly expected to be up early this morning, definitely for some stealthy easter egg hiding, maybe even “woken up” by one of the kids, too eager to hunt for candy-filled eggs to sleep past, say 4am, or something like that.  I didn’t, however, expect that the first person I would hear from on Easter morning would be one of the guildies.

I had to chuckle to myself. You know that WoW has moved in and become an institution in your life when your guildie is the first one to wake you up on Easter morning.

To make it especially funny, we have a guild rank called “Fuzzy Bunny” for new members (usually no one is there for very long, as it’s a very limited level).  For a moment, I was scratching my head, wondering if he’d recruited a whole slew of new players to the guild. Once my head cleared, and I was a little more awake, however, I realized which bunnies he was referring to.

I am really looking forward to egg hunting with my friends and guildies, finding someone in a dress to kiss (preferably a male character, for the chuckles and screenshot opportunity), and getting the next step toward “What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been” completed.

Happy Noblegarden All!

Grats Thaum!

I ran into my friend Thaumaturge in Dal yesterday morning, and he had just turned 80, so it was DEFINITELY time for a screenshot! Grats T 🙂

Thaum is a friend that I met a while back, on a different alt of his, when his chat lit up the General channel in Hellfire Peninsula.  He was so energetic and engaging, that it brought me out of my shell enough to engage in some rare General chat myself. Also, I was so entertained by him peddling his big sack of blacksmithed items as “Santa Elf,” that I basically served myself up to the Hellboars for breakfast a few times, along with a nice side of root vegetables.

Yep, my attention was focused MUCH too much on the lower lefthand section of my screen…..so, after a few comments back and forth, he was promptly added to my friends list.

Thaum is one of many friends that provides support for a theory of mine, which I will call the “12 player” theory (cue atonal, science-ey music here)

I have hypothesized, that despite the claims of 11 million players(or more, I’ve stopped tracking the number), it seeeeeeems like there might be a much smaller number of actual players playing WoW, and they all just happen to have ZILLIONS of alts….. This came from me meeting people on one alt, and then getting random whispers from what SEEMED like zillions of their alts, saying “Hey, it’s me, XYZ!!! How ya doing?” You know how that happens?

So, my guess was that it was actually about 12 players, and they just must have some really amazing organizational and schedule management skills, in order to manage all those alts and raid schedules, bless their hearts.

With Thaum, the multiple-alt story went something like this. I was in Orgrimmar one day, looking for an ingredient for an enchanting rod. It was the ore, and all that was available were full stacks. Ouch, I really didn’t have the money to pay, and then wait while I sold the extras back.  So, I did what I so rarely do, and braved the Trade channel for a possible seller.  A character, let’s call him C, responded that he had two available, and would sell them to me.  Yay!  Hooray!  Success.

So, I had the typical trade chat and exchange with this person, well, except given that it was Goldslipper, it was probably a little bit more than the normal click.drag.click.exitparty.  I’m sure I said “Wowwwww, thank you sooooo much!!!  You have just made my day!”  Or something like that, and engaged in a little bit of small-town chat about why he had some sitting around, etc, etc, etc. I know we did go back and forth on the price a little bit, because I remember checking and he was asking a wee bit over market, but as he said, it was about convenience.  I shop at Walgreens, I know how that works.  You pay a little extra for the convenience of running to the nearest corner for the item you need N.O.W.

Fast forward a few weeks or so, and it was maybe a weekend evening, and this same character was talking in trade chat now.  He was asking a question about being a new 80, and explained to trade that he had just made 80 right then. Remembering his name from the ore purchase (and also because it is very cool and distinctive), I whispered, “hey, you might not remember me, but I wanted to congratulate you on making 80!”

C whispered back his thanks, and then after a few exchanges, he said “Hey, I think I know you on one of my other alts.” Turns out, he hadn’t been playing that Belf very much, the one I’d met in HP.  He’d been busy with others.  A full realm of others, I think.  Shortly after the night of meeting his second alt, I met a number of them, and frankly, they are now taking up such a large piece of real estate on my friends list that I’m going to have to look for some kinds of friends list expansion addon (has anyone figured out a way to create that one???)

When you play WoW, you run into a lot of different personalities, some of them being “just another player,” and a few being the ones that you quickly try to establish an excuse for friending. Whether it is their skill in a particular role (I am partial to nice tanks who have a steady pace and watch my mana), their sense of humor (some of the things players say have had me crying with laughter, pressing my face to the keyboard), or their unsolicited  generosity (the character who realizes that they have something that you could use, but probably can’t afford, on another alt, and goes and retrieves it for you, as a gift, or for a price that could only be considered a “donation”), you must simply have them as a friend, right away.

Now that I think about it, I think that Thaum fits into all of those categories,

AND he has some of the best character names (making clever use of X in several of them, which is just the coolest)

Anyway, this is probably a really really really long way of saying congratulations to you Thaum! Thanks for being a great friend in the game, and sharing your knowledge, humor and resources with me.  I am so happy to see that you’ve got yet another alt to 80, and I look forward to hearing of your successes in whatever you are doing with the rest of the alt family!

Btw, I think I can make 80 before your next alt.

Really.

Reading the Armory, A to Z

Last night I was chatting with a guildie, telling him that another guildie has a really cute name for one of his alts.

The alt in question is a gnome, and is called Anklegank. Don’tcha just love it??  There are 26 of them, so it definitely appealed to more than one player (as opposed to Goldslipper, which everyone in WoW has had the obvious good sense to avoid, as I am the one and only Goldslipper in the game…..that could be its own post, I think).

My little thrill with Anklegank’s name led me to reveal to my friend that I absolutely LOVE the naming creativity that goes on in the game, and that I would be the geek who would be able to just sit and go through the Armory, A to Z, looking at all of the character, guild and arena team names, giggling and appreciating the inspiration that folks have when they come up with them. Oh yeah, I’d probably have to get out the Ibuprofen after looking at a lot of horribly botched spellings and other bad ideas too, but finding the gems might be totally worth it, no?  Tauren alone have inspired a wealth of amazing names…..the things you can do with the idea of cows, I never would have guessed.

Then, I needed to leave the computer to warm up some pasta for my older daughter, and the REALLY crazy idea struck.  If any of you have ever been pregnant, or had a wife that was pregnant, then you just might remember the whole “baby names” experience.  Ring a bell?  Huh?  You know, hours paging through one, or maybe a small pile of books that contain names and their etymologies, classified in whatever method the author chooses (i.e., classic, charmed, geographical, ethnic, created, etc, etc, etc…..), all to help you decide what is the best name for your little one (cue ray of light and angelic music here) who is about to grace the earth with his/her presence.  One of my personal favorites was the Anne Geddes one, because of the cute photographs of babies in little outfits, but I digress…..

What if, my brain said, Blizzard (or someone) created a special-anniversary type of book, of all of the coolest names in the game?  Wouldn’t that be totally cool?  And it could involve little vignettes or discussions with the players about how they came up with their alt or guild or arena name, and maybe some backstories for the rp’ers and things like that, and cool screenshots, and all kinds of stuff like that…….   Stupid? Crazy?  Cool?

My brain nearly fell off of its seat, waving its hand in the air to volunteer for the job…..

Okay, so now that you know that I love names, if you find a really really good one, you must come here and tell me about it, kay?  (Not that I am hunting for comments, but, well, yes, I am hunting for comments and I don’t want to have to write a post called “Will Dance Naked on Org Bank For Comments”, so please go find a cute name and come comment about it here)

Joyous Occasion

In WoW, there are experiences that are so unique that they will be etched into your memory.  For us, definitely the first character creation video counts as one. Nothing will match how our jaws dropped as we watched the sweeping views of the graphic environment Blizzard had created. We were in total awe. The first flight on a windrider was unbelievable too. Riding from Orgrimmar to Thunder Bluff, I think, passing over dinosaurs and other creatures, mouth open; if I had control over the windrider, there would have been a huge gapers delay in traffic from Org to TB. The first instance definitely qualifies; feeling lost in RFC, wondering how many more slimy monsters there were left to battle, and if we would make it through, dying constantly despite the efforts of my big fuzzy higher-level tauren friend. For more experienced players, I’m sure there are all kinds of special experiences, and for many, the ultimate memorable moment will be the first time they slay the Lich King.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to participate in a roleplay event that will be added to my personal collection of special moments.

I was saying hello to a friend of mine, one who I’ve known since very early in my time on Moon Guard. As backstory, I’d followed him around in Warsong Gulch, healing him while he carried the flag, one of my very first days on the realm. After we were in the BG a few times, I chatted a little bit with him, and then afterward, added him to my friends list. Over the months, I’ve heard updates on his RP, guild, ventures in PvP, and a little bit about his girlfriend’s broken arm during the summer.

We hadn’t chatted a ton recently, just hellos and goodbyes, when I inquired if he might be interested in a Sunwell Plateau run, and he said that he couldn’t, because he would be getting married ICly at that time.

Married!  How incredibly exciting! I, of course, asked if I could observe the wedding (not being an actual RPer myself), and he said he’d check with the bride. Sure enough, “Joyous Occasion” soon showed up on my calendar.

There is an entire blog post that could be written about the process of PREPARING for an RP wedding, of course. The outfit selection, the consideration of whether it would be good to have a companion for the event, the worry over whether I would know what to do, and when. In the end, after hours of poring over the auction house for possible options (well, my daughters did most of the poring, they are seasoned AH shoppers), my date (a dear guildie/friend), daughters and I decided that my Lovely Blue Dress would do just fine, and that bare feet would probably be the way to go, since there were no pretty shoes in the AH (and I did even inquire in trade about whether there were any beautiful dress shoes for female characters). My date needed a few enhancements to his outfit, and so I bought him a black shirt and some black dress shoes, and we were set outfit-wise.

I can honestly say, that as the event approached, I had butterflies in my stomach. We were to be summoned to the Isle of Quel’Danas in raid party. Would I know anyone there? What would it be like? What would the ceremony be like? My friend had indicated that they’d spent nearly a month in the planning, so I presumed it would be very special.

It was.

From start to finish, the event unfolded in a way that was both true to lore, but also so realistic feeling, creating a sort of golden bubble of warmth and happiness around all who attended. This might sound a bit over the top, but it is the only way that I can describe it. It had that REAL feeling that you experience when you go to a wedding where you care deeply about the bride and groom, and are genuinely happy to see them united in a way that they have created for themselves. True joy.

The RP began with the guests arranging themselves around the lawn near the archway where the couple would conduct their ceremony. As my companion and I strolled near the lake, the personalities began to emerge, while pre-ceremony small talk commenced. The couple with a small child, bantering back and forth, occupying him, shifting him from one parent to the other, doting yet practical; the war-weary orc, with his worg-pup, whom he instructed about the goings-on; the gallant best friend, suave, handsome, self-assured, still single, but likely to be following in his friend’s footsteps soon;  the younger Blood Knight, looking up to his hero, gushing with praise-filled exclamations; the priestess and her friend, with a unique, almost sister-like relationship, commenting in off-handed ways to each other; a more realistic collection of guests could not have been scripted.

Just before the couple arrived for the ceremony, we were all requested to approach the archway, and informed that the raid would be eliminated to avoid unnecessary chat. We drew close, gathering around the arch, and waited for the ceremony to begin.

The young couple arrived, along with the priestess, and began a touching, well thought-out ceremony that, by the end, had me reaching for the sleeve of my companion’s shirt in-game, and the tissues, in real life. The priestess introduced the bride and the groom, explaining that while they were an unlikely match (a Blood Knight and a Ranger), they were here today to express their love and be joined in a life together.

The ceremony included all the nuances of a real wedding. Glances, touches, not a single opportunity for emotional expression was missed, in my opinion. Even the ceremonial elements had clearly been given a fair amount of thought. The bride and groom had their hands bound together with a blue cloth for a portion of the ceremony, to symbolize their union. They gave each other gifts which were family heirlooms, symbolizing the joining and continuation of their families, and respect for their elders. The vows, which were incredibly touching, invoked the feeling of connection that was developed over decades of joy AND hardships between the couple, and their inability to imagine a life without one another. Before the wedding, I did not know how creative my friend might be in RP, and was happy to see that he is very creative, open and free with his emotions. I had met his bride, perhaps once in a brief conversation at a mailbox in Shattrath one night, and so I didn’t know her at all. During the wedding event, she was charming, sweet and gracious, all characteristics becoming to a bride.  After the wedding, my conversations with her have convinced me that she is all of those things regularly, not just on wedding day.

As the ceremony came to a close, and the couple kissed each other tenderly, the guests began to cheer and celebrate, and fireworks, drinks and a Delicious Chocolate Cake were presented for the group to enjoy.

As I left, so that I could do a few things before needing to log out, I uttered my first and only statement during the event, wishing the couple well and thanking them for letting me participate in such a beautiful expression of love and joy.

It is almost impossible to capture the feeling of this event in words. It is a warmth, an aura that can surround a situation. It made this experience so very special, to both myself AND to my daughters, who were watching along with me and having me read the entire ceremony to them, some portions repeatedly. My 5yo son was floating in and out of the picture, occasionally shouting out “have they gotten to the kissy-kissy part yet???”  As we shut down the computer, we all agreed that it was an amazing experience, one of the best things we’d ever seen in the game.

It was several weeks before I understood the full sweetness of the event. I’d been fairly busy with real life, just squeezing in dailies here and there, and starting to get into the holiday achievement season, when I ran into my friend and his bride, on separate occasions. I mentioned to both of them that I was drafting up a blog post, and wondered if it would be okay with them if I did so. Both of them were encouraging, looking forward to reading it.

I remembered at one point my friend had mentioned that he played WoW with his girlfriend, and so I asked him if the wedding had been with her. Yes, in fact, it was her. He then explained to me that they had met, IC, ON THE GAME, and after some OOC conversations, they had decided to get to know each other in real life. Things had progressed, and now they are dating; he’d just flown to visit her several weeks ago. He was disappointed he couldn’t be with her for Valentine’s Day, but they’d been together and it had been great.

Priceless, another beautiful aspect to the story of the RP wedding….it makes me want to go get the tissues again, and snuggle on the sofa with the girls, watching The Princess Bride.

Thank you again, my friends, may you live in wedded bliss for the duration of your elven lives, AND, I look forward to the baby shower, hopefully soon!

Learning Chinese with my new friend…

About a week or so ago, I was beginning the “Love is in the Air” quests in Orgrimmar, when a little level 2 troll opened a trade window with me.  Into the window, he put one of the heart candies, which was sweet, I thought.  Not having any idea how much it might be worth, I threw him 2g in return, and said thanks a bunch, assuming I’d probably never see him again.

Even sweeter when, about a half hour later, I sold the candy to a player that was too busy to go and quest for it himself, for 30g.  Gotta love the game economy, right?

Being the player that I am though, I realized that the exchange wasn’t quite fair, and so I added his name to my friends list, hoping that the next time I saw him on, I could send him some additional gold.

The next time I saw him on, I said “Hello X!” in my usual style, and explained to him that he had given me the heart, and that I had sold it for much more than I’d given him.  He responded to me that he didn’t speak English, and then logged off in a little while.  Over the last week, as I’ve bumped into him, I’ve said hello, and with very brief interchanges, have established that he is Chinese.

This morning, in what was a really touching conversation, I said hello, and he said “I need to go to baed,” and so I said “nighty night.”  He then told me the words for hello and goodbye in Chinese, and so I said “Zai Jian, my friend.”

He then told me that “wo de peng you” means ‘my friend’ in Chinese, and so I said to him “Zai jian, wo de peng you.”

I doubt that I will be translating these anytime soon, but it was a really sweet little conversation, the kind that makes the game special for me.