Black Desert Online 2020 Calendar Contest Screenshot Submissions

Black Desert Online (BDO) holds an annual calendar contest for players to have a chance at their seasonal screenshots be included in next year’s calendar. Players can submit up to three screenshots in each seasonal category: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Halloween, and Winter. BDO staff then chooses one from each player’s set and that one will be voted on by other players. Check out the 2019 winners.

To help players with submissions—or new players like me who didn’t know about this annual contest and who haven’t been taking screenshots with it in mind throughout the year—BDO changes the season in game for a few days. Once the Halloween decorations are taken down, cherry blossom trees are added for spring, then tulips for summer, autumn leaves for fall, and rain changes to snow for winter. That means for winter you have to either chase the snow or stay put and hope it will eventually snow on your chosen photo shoot location.

BDO’s screenshot tool is, well, it’s a tool in and of itself. It takes some practice to learn the controls, and then even more practice to use them in a way that gets good results. It can be time consuming, especially for n00bs like me. The hardest part is selecting three images from the hundreds taken for each season!

I’ve learned a lot these past few weeks and even started using Ansel—just yesterday, in fact! There’s a lot you can do—the 360° feature is super fun—and I can’t wait to try it in other games. Disclaimer: outside editing isn’t allowed for this contest, so none of my submissions were taken using Ansel.

So, with that lengthy preamble out of the way, these are my submissions. I missed Spring because I was grinding Zandalari reputation while the Darkmoon Faire was in town. 😁

Enjoy!

Summer

Autumn

Halloween

Winter

How an Archdruid Kills Onu

A recent “Know Your Lore” article—A personal anxiety about Shadowlands—got me thinking about how I play World of Warcraft. As discussed in my Preparing for Shadowlands post, I basically do things “for the sake of it.”

Matthew Rossi, author of the “Know Your Lore” article, and many other players stopped playing Horde in Battle for Azeroth. So why is my Tauren Druid (Aubari) attacking other druids, fellow Cenarian Circle members, in Darkshore?

Guys, I made her attack Onu. I even hesitated. I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed that I hesitated and went through with it. I turned my Tauren Druid into one of those Horde members that does things because they are told.

For me, these tweets perfectly describe how I felt coming from Legion.

Why, indeed. Why would Archdruid Aubari have anything to do with the burning of Teldrassil, going back and warring in Darkshore, and killing an Ancient of Lore?

So. Along the theme of cleaning up my account in preparation for Shadowlands, I think the why for my characters is important. Taking a character inventory was a great start. But even now as I play Battle for Azeroth, what can I do to move away from a “for the sake of it” style of play to one that is more meaningful?

This 5-minute video explains the importance of starting with why, and how it differs from starting with what. If you are interested in the full TED Talk, you can watch it here.

Playing in BfA I am focused on what, then how, and why is nowhere to be found.

  • What = unlock Zandalari
  • How = do what Wowhead’s Battle for Azeroth Attunements says

What I haven’t considered is the cost to my character’s why. For Aubari, a servant of nature, is helping Sylvanas turn people undead and robbing them of their afterlife (I’m assuming) worth an alliance with the Zandalari?

If I go down this path, won’t I then be creating a new set of potentially prohibitive rules for myself? But isn’t that what a roleplay game is? I think I’d rather play the game with character specific limitations than as a digital reward/achievement system with a “do all the things” approach.

Something comes to mind, from a comment made by Kamalia regarding older vs. newer characters. Like her, I have stories in my head for newer characters while my older characters were just played “for the sake of it.” My connection to my older characters is derived from play time, not through an affinity for their story.

Aubari is my oldest character (she started as a Night Elf in 2004). Without a personal story, she—and any character for that matter, even myself as the player—can easily succumb to a minion mindset. Go there, do this, and oh yeah, for the Horde!

But… why?

Ignoring why leads to an Archdruid killing Onu.

Preparing for Shadowlands: Taking Inventory

I watched the BlizzCon 2019 opening ceremony with Elloa and her followers on Twitch. It was a far better experience than watching it alone. Several days later what stands out most for me is the Diablo IV cinematic (that team should be making movies) and enhanced character customization—FINALLY!!!!

Separating eye color from face options… I mean, it’s not really something to celebrate in 2019 as so many other games have had a separate eye color feature in character creation for years. I’m simply pleased that Blizzard finally recognized character customization is important enough to enhance.

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I was on a bank alt named Accountbound who—you guessed it!—only holds account bound items: gear tokens for all armor types that range in levels from 90–110 and various account bound reputation tokens, most of them dropped by the Zandalari Warbringers. Will these types of things have their gear requirements lowered when the level cap is reduced for players?

This got me thinking about preparing for Shadowlands and ways I could clean up my account. I thought it might be a good idea to take inventory of the mess I’ve created over the years. Are you ready for this?

WoW Retail Character Inventory

I have 60 characters across 12 servers:

  • 10 are on a free-to-play sub account
    • 2 of these are guild inviters… for guilds with myself as the only active player
  • 9 are class trials who are extremely super-casually farming the Zandalari Warbringers
  • 5 are bankers

That leaves 36 actual characters of which 13 are Alliance, 23 are Horde, and:

  • 1 is level 120 (Horde)
  • 1 is 112 (Alliance)
  • 2 are 110 and have not stepped foot in BfA
  • 17 are 60–103
  • 15 are below level 45
    • 6 of these are level 20; either a new Allied race or I keep at 20 to play when I’m not subbed
    • 5 of these are below level 10
      • 2 of them are name savers

Diving into which classes I have, let’s first remove all those 20 and below because with Allied Races level 20 is the new level one. That leaves us with 24 characters. Of those, I have:

  • 6 Death Knights
  • 2 Demon Hunters
  • 4 Druids
  • 2 Hunters
  • 1 Mage
  • 0 Monks
  • 1 Paladin
  • 1 Priest
  • 2 Rogues
  • 1 Shaman
  • 2 Warlocks
  • 2 Warriors

There’s a lot of baggage here! Some characters—mostly the Death Knights—exist because they were created to play with family who started on other servers. Guess what? They don’t play any more.

Clearly my long-time goal of having one of each class on Alliance and on Horde hasn’t panned out. There are several boosted characters I don’t play who were boosted for professions I don’t use. I’m not going to get into professions. Just know there is only one alchemist and one engineer and they are not on the same character.

I suspect this mess is a result of shifting focus several times over the years. It started as one main for Alliance (Druid) and one for Horde (Hunter), then one for each profession, then one of each race/class with the most rare combinations (e.g., dwarf rogue), and now one of each armor type.

It seems to me that the purpose of this style of play is “for the sake of it.” I think this mess is also indicative of my tendency to start but not finish things, in games and life. Had I not performed this task of inventorying my characters, I may not have recognized these patterns. Perhaps this history of disconnected play style has contributed to my disinterest in playing the game.

And now I must question, is my desire to unlock the Zandalari and Kul Tirans only “for the sake of it?” I’ll have to think about this. They have druids… but other than my main level 120 druid, I have only leveled one other druid beyond 80. Although, I did have all those mental restrictions (one race/class, one for each armor type, etc.).

While leveling another druid those mental restrictions would nag in the back of my mind, eventually convincing me to get back to whichever “for the sake of it” attempt I was working on.

What if I disregarded them and ONLY played druids?

Interesting!

There’s plenty of races who can be druids now. Oh, that reminds me: pretty please Blizzard, make this a playable druid?

While I’m not yet ready to make any big decisions and continue to ponder this new possibility, there are smaller things I can do now. I think I’ll start by cleaning out Accountbound’s banks and bags.

October Gaming Update

Oh my word! It’s been more than a month since my last post. I didn’t realize that much time had passed.

I must apologize for my inconsistent content. I don’t focus on one subject/topic and may come across as being all over the place. It’s probably because I am. I often publish posts declaring intentions of doing x, y, or, z in this game or that game… or even in my life (flashback to the “getting healthy” and “photo-a-day” post series that fizzled out) and either never do them or change my mind… a lot.

So with Warcraft Classic, what I intended to do and shared here in the blog isn’t what has actually transpired. I have found myself playing my original Night Elf druid, the one I lost when Blizzard updated character models and who no longer exists in retail.

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Just today, she completed the quest to learn aquatic form. I spent a lot of time swimming around continents exploring in Vanilla. Swimming around the top of Kalimdor—from Darkshore—is how I discovered Azshara back then!

I’m leveling her without a care for what’s best. She’s a caster—a nature mage!—and a tailor so she can make her own gear, and bags. She picks herbs and flowers in the wild and sends them to a rogue alchemist-in-training.

It’s really nice revisiting how Azeroth was before the cataclysm. Arriving at the intact Auberdine and talking with the very much alive Gwennyth Bly’Leggonde feels like coming home.

I’m doing other things in Classic, but not sharing them yet in case I might change my mind!

In retail, I updated my Lady Worgen.

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I also obtained the Tauren heritage armor set. I haven’t applied it yet, so not screenshots of Aubari wearing the set. I do love being able to summon my spirit guide! I only wish it would stay around a while longer.

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I even made another attempt at working toward getting the Zandalari as an Allied Race. I thought I was working on the Tides of Vengeance requirement but it turned out to be Ready for War. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m so confused about what I should be doing. Having to look up guides to know what to do is ridiculous. What am I missing in game? I feel dumb that I can’t figure it out on my own and I get overwhelmed, frustrated, and lose interest.

As retail is—to me—more of a to do list type experience, an IN GAME checklist type interface that shows you how to progress toward a specific goal and where you are as you progress would help. Or maybe it’s there and I’ve missed it? Or maybe…

too old - Kimmy

I’ll figure it out eventually and get around to unlocking Zandalari. Especially with the Shadowlands expansion coming and those glorious new character customization options! Did you see those? Unlocking Allied Races is a good thing to work on between now and then. As is cleaning up my account.

I’m working on a post about that, so stay tuned!

In Black Desert Online, I’m taking a break from creating characters. Primarily because I don’t want to use a value pack, a 30-day “buff” that increases your xp gains and allows you to customize your character, among other things. If I have a value pack running, I’ll feel obliged to play so I don’t waste it.

If you aren’t following me on Instagram or Twitter, here are a few from my recent Tamer class set. As it turns out, they are all elfkin! The left side is in character creation and the right is in game. They can look different in game, so I like to show them side by side.

Click/tap on the image to learn about their names, and for more pics.

Ducks In A Row Collage Tamer Niobe

Ducks In A Row Collage Tamer Aziza

Ducks In A Row Collage Tamer Parisa

Ducks In A Row Collage Tamer Titania

Meet My Warcraft Classic Alliance Crew

In planning for “name day,” the only Alliance character I thought of creating was a Night Elf druid. Same as when I played Vanilla. But I wanted to start Classic differently than how I started Vanilla.

Sometimes what you think you want isn’t what you need or should do.

I’ve been thinking about why I haven’t played Classic as much as I expected. Certainly one reason is the game is not new to me. Black Desert Online and Final Fantasy XIV are new and it’s been fun exploring new virtual worlds and their systems.

So. Along those lines, and within the framework of Classic, what’s new to me in Warcraft?

  • Gnomes—I have never leveled one beyond 20.
  • Warriors—I have never leveled one beyond the mid 40s.

Having never played a specific race in 15 years is kind of a big deal and deserves a big deal solution. How about a family of gnomes?!?! May I introduce to you, the Itty Sisters: Bapitty, Bipitty, Bopitty, and Boopity!

gnome Collage square

For some reason, I have more ideas about who these itty-bitty gals are than I did with my Horde crew. Bapitty is the eldest and naturally a warrior as she tends to take charge of and boss around her younger sisters. Bipitty and Bopitty are fraternal twins born with a strong affinity for magic. Boopitty quickly learned how to take advantage of being overlooked as the youngest; her older sisters don’t know the half of what she gets up to.

I haven’t worked out much else yet, but this certainly is a fun start!

Oh, we can’t forget the reincarnation of the one and only Mama Druid. Maybe it’s not a bad thing to bring her back to life. After all, I did have a hard time feeling connected to her when the character models were upgraded. She wasn’t the same character and I eventually race/faction changed her to Tauren.

It’s weird seeing her again.

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Her name is a mashup of the names she’s carried through retail: Liuna + Selenyx + Lunosa. Lunoselenyxa has the maximum amount of letters so the i from Liuna was omitted.

The remaining crew member is yet to be created. If I feel like I need a Paladin, she’ll be a dwarf with the long braids that fly every which way when she casts. I love that animation!

I really hope the reason I haven’t been playing Classic much is NOT because I’m crazily indecisive and can’t settle on a faction/race/class to play. Who knows? Well, hopefully I will after making an attempt to bring something new to the old and familiar place that is Azeroth.

In Black Desert Online news, I’m running a poll on Twitter and Instagram to help me decide which class to make templates for next. Valkyrie is currently in the lead.

Cast your vote in the comments or take the poll!

Azeroth vs. the Black Desert and Eorzea

I’m disappointed in myself. I’m not playing Classic Warcraft as much as I expected. I thought I’d lose interest in creating character templates in Black Desert Online (BDO) once Classic launched. I thought I was playing FFXIV as a filler until Classic launched.

Classic launched two and a half weeks ago. I haven’t stopped creating templates for BDO and my Miqo’te will hopefully reach level 20 before my one-month sub expires in a few days.

In Classic, my druid is level 13 and I haven’t played her all week. My hunter has been level 9 for two weeks. Apparently my plan for him to tame all the pink pets isn’t exciting enough to make me play him. And it’s not for lack of time. I could play all day and theoretically have a character in the 40s by now.

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So many snack breaks

While traveling in game via flight or auto running I would tab out to BDO and work on a template. Time would get the best of me and I’d be be logged out of Classic and back in a queue. So I’d not bother to requeue and continue working on that template or play FFXIV.

I feel bad that I haven’t been playing. I was SOOOO excited for Classic. Maybe I chose the wrong classes. Classes I’ve been playing for 15 years may simply not be interesting enough to keep me logged in. Maybe it’s Azeroth. I know it too well!

I’ve certainly enjoyed my time in Eorzea; researching or looking up things as little as possible to enjoy discovering new things as much as possible.

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Nefeli Bata in FFXIV

Creating character templates in BDO nicely complements my passion for character names—which is an actual field of study (onomastics)—and it’s been a fun way for me to bring interesting and unique names to life. If the study of names interests you as well, check out the blog Onomastics Outside the Box. Hmmm… I must be a hobbyist onomastician!

One of each class I have created, their name, and its meaning are featured below. You can see the others via BDO Templates in the top menu.

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I’m not quitting Classic. I’m just surprised and a little saddened that my interest in playing it has waned, prioritizing it lower than games I started playing this year.

One thing that can’t be relived from the Vanilla era is the lack of competition for attention and from other games. The market and media are saturated and we only have so much time to attend to any of it and I’m choosing to spend my time in new and unfamiliar digital worlds.

But not if Azeroth looked like this.

tenor