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 no 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!

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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.

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Never Forget

I had the opportunity to see the 9/11 Memorial last year. We entered the Oculus from the subway and looking up, it felt like we were in a futuristic cathedral. The experience of just standing there and being in the space is hard to describe. I was awestruck and also felt an immediate emotional weight from the loss and devastation that had occurred where my feet stood. Unimaginable. Yet, it happened.

Every September 11 the glass ceiling opens and at 10:28 am—when the second tower fell in 2001— the sun shines brightest. Architectural Digest has a short clip of the architect, Santiago Calatrava, explaining.

I grabbed a few pics on my phone before we hurried off to catch our flights.

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Walls of murals surround the exterior. Very New York.

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The structure’s exterior looks out of place, clearly distinguishing it from the towering buildings on all sides. To me, it looks like a rib cage or a skeletal bird preparing to take flight.

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I was sad we weren’t able to wander around and explore the area. I don’t know if I’ll ever be back. I was glad we saw it as we hadn’t planned on going at all. Stressing out about missing our flights was worth it.

—–

Eighteen years ago, I was a conspiracy-minded younger version of myself. Now, well, with nearly 3 decades of adulting behind me I can say I’ve seen how life-changing tragedies such as 9/11 come and go. Memorials are put up, people not directly affected by it remember one day each year—while those who lost loved ones are reminded every day—new policies are put in place, and life marches on.

Even within the Oculus, life marches on. As a transportation hub, people are rushing about as they make for their next destination. It’s a bit surreal, from a tourist’s perspective I suppose, to see hurried lives passing through without pausing or even looking up in awe.

You get used to a thing that’s always there and take it for granted. A building, a memorial, a loved one.

While Never Forget reminds us of the tragedy and horrific loss of life, perhaps it can also remind us to pause, pay attention, and not forget the things and people we take for granted.

Hug your loved ones today. Hug them tomorrow. Hug them as often as you can.

 

Throwback to the Worst Day of My Life

One year ago today, I was laid off. Half of my department was laid off.

Three weeks prior, I celebrated my 20-year anniversary.

It was unexpected. It was executed poorly. I cried.

Even as I attempt to write about it, I am still affected by it. Maybe I’m not as prepared to write about it as I thought I was, but I’ll keep going and see what comes out. I feel this may be cathartic in some way.

I know this happens to many people. And to some, multiple times over the course of their career. I still felt devastated by it, and consider it to be the worst day of my life. Which is probably why it was devastating… if being laid off from a place I worked for 20 years has been the worst of it, perhaps my life has been relatively easy.

And I think that’s true. Things have come easy for me. I haven’t really fought for anything I wanted in my life. I learned to expect things to come easily for me. I can see it now, reflected in how I haven’t finished many things I started. If it didn’t come naturally, or easily, I would eventually quit.

It’s reflected here in my blog. An unfinished 365 Photo Project, an incomplete Journey to Wellness… there’s so many things that, had I focused on and powered through to completion, I could be really good at right now.

At least I think so. This is where reflection can go wrong. What if your analysis results in the wrong conclusion? I suppose that’s part of living and being a human being. Learning from mistakes, making well intentioned “corrections,” learning from those mistakes, yada yada yada, and on and on we go.

The past year has been something of a sabbatical from what my life was. I haven’t returned to work. I unplugged from work-related people and social media. I gained weight and a personal understanding of depression.

I’m also gaining a better understanding of myself… my true and whole self; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Discarding the identities I’ve tried to live and discovering my authentic self is not coming easily. As I’m writing, I’m actually realizing—I did say this may be cathartic!—that this is all coming together.

Lack of a coherent sense of identity will lead to uncertainty about what one wants to do in life.

Source: Basics of Identity, Psychology Today

I have no idea what I want to do. It seems ridiculous that a person my age doesn’t know their authentic self, their life passion, and what they want to do.

I mean, I’d love to be a painter, but do I own any paint? Can I make a living at it? Ugh.

Figuring this stuff out is hard and overwhelming. It’s not coming easily so I quit. I’m sure my future self would like a word with me.

So, yeah. One year ago today was devastating. And as much as it hurt, it needed to happen. It was unexpected… an unexpected gift and opportunity.

Warcraft Classic Moments

Launch day was good for me. I was logged in and ready to go at character selection when the servers came online. I hit the enter world tab and beheld the wonders of layering.

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I was expecting to see multitudes. My best guess for why there wasn’t a horde of Horde is layering tech and being logged in when the server went live, essentially bypassing the login queue. I was lucky. Very lucky.

The only time I experienced a wait for any quest objective was for this one guy, who dropped this one thing. There was a line. People respected the line.

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People queued to login to the game, and then queued in line for a quest objective… everywhere. Each starter zone has the one guy who drops the one thing. And a cave.

Turned out I didn’t even have the quest when I got in line.

But that’s part of what makes the experience so enjoyable. All the “doh!” moments that decrease your efficiency to level. There are no heirlooms, no chauffeured mount, no icons on your map, no netherweave bags in the bank or on the auction house… nothing that is directing you to level as fast and efficiently as possible.

It’s refreshing. I’m here for it. It’s WHY I’m here, in Classic.

Day One was spent on my Troll hunter, Tuskadero. I started my Tauren druid on Day Two. The muscle memory is strong! I kept wanting to shift into cat form and use keybinds from retail. I got her to level 5 before realizing she had the wrong face. I recreated her and then created my Night Elf druid.

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I had an emotional reaction to the starter zone flyover. That music! Those purples and greens! All those trees! The emotional associations we have with memorable experiences are powerful.

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So there she is. A recreation of my girl. This one’s name is silly. In retail, I changed my girl’s name a few times so I combined them all to create a name for her Classic version: Liunoselenyxa. That’s Liuna + Selenyx + Lunosa. I’m seeing that I forgot the i so I’ll have to create her again before someone else snatches it. *tee hee*

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I spent Day Three on my Tauren druid, in which I was painfully reminded of the ridiculous amount of item collection quests when bag space is at a premium and how level 9 swoops are not to be trifled with.

The pain was eased by camaraderie of the like I haven’t experienced since, well, probably since Vanilla. It started with grouping for the Tauren version of that one guy who drops the one thing. We stayed in group to complete other objectives in the area. Two finished and we parted ways. Although the remaining party member was finished as well, they stayed to help me.

At first, it felt awkward. That “leveling efficiency” mindset was telling me to encourage this other player to leave so they could move on to the next town. I didn’t want to hold them up! Instead, I thanked them and let them know I appreciated the help.

We turned in the quests together, ran to the next town together, ran to Thunderbluff to learn herbalism together, and hearthed back to Bloodhoof together. It was lovely.

They logged off and I immediately encountered another friendly player, a few levels above me. We grouped for a quest and once it was complete, we remained in group and headed off in different directions as we didn’t have the same quests. More players joined our group and we kept each other company for a few hours, helping each other at times.

This was the Vanilla experience. The game was designed for these types of encounters. It was about the people playing the game. I’m so very happy players who didn’t experience this now can with Classic!

Vanilla vs. Classic Warcraft, Part 2

I didn’t realize this was a two-parter when I published the first post!

Well, I supposed I hadn’t formulated the ideas that are part of this post. I hadn’t watched a few streams or joined Classic server Discord and Reddit channels. Recent Twitter chatter had not yet occurred. Nor had Blizzard summarily dismissed the ClassicLFG addon. I don’t know if I’ll use any addons. I don’t even know what addons are available for Classic. I don’t want to know.

Orc Peon Work Work

  • I don’t want a gear plan.
  • I don’t want a leveling plan.
  • I don’t want a talent plan.
  • I don’t want a professions plan.
  • I don’t want a farm gold for my mount plan.

I don’t want to map out my entire Classic experience. I already know too much! When I have to start planning to play a game, that’s when I begin losing interest. I want to login—takes a long deep very satisfying breath—and p l a a a a y y y y y.

I’m playing Classic as if my druid on retail time traveled; like she was returning to her home town after being gone a very long time. I want to experience Classic from that perspective—going to a familiar place where things have changed a lot and your memory of how it used to be is foggy.

Thankfully, I’ve forgotten a lot of detail about Vanilla so my memory IS foggy!

I want my Classic experience to feel authentic. When I play my hunter, I want him to come across potential hunting companions in the wilds of Azeroth; there’ll be a story to accompany each pet he tames!

I’ll look up things when I need to know something, or to help pick up the pace in some area of game play. Just like I did in Vanilla.

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Source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/profession/herbalism

Which brings me to the fact that I’m glad Vanilla will always be Vanilla and I’m glad the Classic version of WoW will have its own name. And it will have its own experience. And each player, whether charting a path to phase 10 or stopping to pick the herbs, will have their own experience.

Because either way, the Classic experience will be memorable for everyone!

P.S. Oh, hey. There’s an actual Azeroth medicinal herb guide. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been an Azerothian herbalist for 10+ years and know nothing about the plants I’ve been picking. Bad druid!

Introducing Cally and Milly

Sharing the meaning behind the names for these templates wouldn’t fit in a tweet and I didn’t want to introduce them separately because they are twins! So on the blog they go.

While I’m creating a character I usually get ideas about who this person could be and I typically name them accordingly, or in a way that is connected with their class and abilities… or a physical feature.

In the case of the twins, I was looking for twin name pairing options and came across the Mapuche names Califuray (violet flower) and Mallipary (golden flower). Both twin’s eyes were brown, but one had purple-reddish hair. So I added a violet hue to her eyes and a golden color to the other twin’s eyes.

Meet the twins!

Califuray “Cally”

Millaray “Milly”

The witch twins are available in the NA in-game Beauty Album (family name: Basandre). Follow me (mamadruid) on Instagram and Twitter  to see when I upload new templates!

Black Desert Online Templates

I started playing Black Desert Online (BDO)  earlier this year. I had it sitting in Steam for awhile and decided to install it. I’m glad I did! I forgot it had interested me because the character creation system is one of, if not THE, best out there. I haven’t tried them all, so I can’t say for certain.

I have found that creating characters in BDO pairs very nicely with my obsession for creating/researching names. Virtually, I can bring them to life!

Once I complete a template, I add it to the in-game Beauty Album where other players can download and apply it to their own characters. Then I take screenshots and share them on Instagram and Twitter. Below are the most recent ones I’ve shared. To see them all (and their names!), I linked them below and added a page for each class under BDO Templates in the menu. I’ll update these pages and add new ones as I create more templates.

If you’d like to see other players’ creations, browse BDOTemplates.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

See more Witches!

See more Shai!

See more Tamers!

See more Sorceresses!

This compilation of WIP screenshots for my Sorceress—whom I’m still working on—is a great way to demonstrate BDO’s amazing character creation system.