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!

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Vanilla vs. Classic Warcraft

 

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I hope you enjoy the little slide show of my druid’s transitions over the years!

In retail, I have played all classes and am most experienced with druids. My least played classes are monk and warrior; I’m not sure I’ve leveled either beyond 40ish so maybe they don’t count.

Classic felt like an opportunity to try something different. I was of the mindset that the difference would be playing a non-druid class as my main. But the closer we get to next week’s launch date, the more focused my intentions become.

Playing a non-druid would have been for the sake of doing something different, which doesn’t necessarily equate to enjoyment. I had a frost mage in mind, this lovely lady in fact.

Lybbestre-crop.jpg

I really want to play her and I eventually will. I simply can’t ignore my love for—and familiarity with—the druid class. Plus, Mama Druid NOT playing a druid?!?!

While my main class won’t be different than Vanilla, what will be different is the ability to “correct” mistakes with years of experience. Here are a few differences in Classic:

  • My kids are young adults (one is married!) and living their own lives, in their own homes.
  • I’m unemployed and currently have a lot of time on my hands. Am I spending it wisely? That’s for my future self to determine.
  • Horde will be my primary faction. I have all my Horde characters planned and haven’t even thought about Alliance characters.
  • My druid will decisively be an herbalist/alchemist and NOT dabble in leatherworking before foolishly taking up enchanting for the sake of alts.
  • Each character will be self-sufficient with their professions and NOT rely on other characters for materials. Boy, what a mess I’ve never sorted on retail.
  • I’m starting out with an organized guild and NOT trying a bunch of guilds, quitting all the ones that condone rape talk, until I find a good fit. This will also be a welcome change from playing solo for many years. Looking for a guild? Check out us “old timers“—Horde on Pagle and Alliance on Mankrik.
  • I’m playing on a PC and NOT this bad boy:

Needless to say, I’m getting pretty excited! If you intend to play Classic, what are your plans?

P.S. There’s an unplanned Part 2!

Name Day in Warcraft Classic

My three names are reserved!

This is my Tauren Druid, Aubari—same as my main on retail. I discovered her name down a rabbit hole some time ago. I got the meaning—she who restores dynamic balance through adjusting emphasis—from random Internet searching (i.e., I can’t recall how I came across that page!).

As described on the page, the meaning represents how we change the outer world by adjusting the one within; a very powerful perception shift that can improve many things in your life (and seemed like a good fit for me and my druid).

Aubari character screen

My Troll Shaman is Qila. Her name is Greenlandic and it means “she, who is asking the spirits.” Appropriate for a shaman, don’t you think?

Qila character screen

I love the male Troll animation for shooting bows so made this guy my hunter. His name is Tuskadero and he’ll tame pink pets and name each one Pinky for the name combo:

Pinky
<Tuskadero’s Pet>

Tuskadero character screen

I hope everyone got the names they wanted!

Name Your Character: Elves

I spend a lot of time coming up with character names. I have an 11-page Google doc of lists, ideas, and links to favorite resources. I have spreadsheets with multiple tabs; one spreadsheet is entirely dedicated to anagrams for a single name!

There is a method to my madness and the ultimate goal is to come up with a unique name that is rarely used. Regardless what game you are playing, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (WoW) Armory app/website is a great way to determine a name’s rarity. WoW has been around for more than 10 years and the Armory is essentially big data for character names.

I use a sliding scale to determine a name’s rarity. If there are 50 results, but only 5 of them are above level 80, I consider the name to be rare. My rarity threshold can depend on various factors and isn’t 100% consistent. Generally, more than 50 results means try again. Zero results is the ultimate win!

And yes, I suppose finding a unique name is its own game for me. Wanna play?

Let’s start with Elves. They are prevalent in most fantasy role-playing games. And you just may need an elvish name for the demon hunter you plan to play in August, or at some point in WoW’s Legion expansion. Sure, a plethora of name generators are readily available. But what fun is that when you can generate your own, and possibly with some meaning behind it?

Tolkien’s Elvish languages are a great source of inspiration. There is a vast amount of information, dictionaries, name lists, even scholarly linguistic studies influenced by Tolkien’s invented languages. All of them very long rabbit holes, so I decided on a single rabbit hole—the Tolkien Gateway—and used it to search for word and feminine name suffixes (sorry fellas!). The suffixes included here do not represent all possibilities, just the ones that I might like to use. If you geek about this stuff as much as I do, you might have more fun searching for suffixes on your own!

Time to Play

Using the first two initials of my first (al) and middle name (da) to create my very own name element—alda—I was pleased to discover that it is a Tengwar letter that also means “tree” in Quenya. Tree! Can you believe it? How fitting for someone who loves druids! A search for “alda” on the Tolkien Gateway also returns the following names:

In the Armory, there are currently 108 Aldamirs and 154 Aldarions and about 10-12 of each are max level. If I were in love with either name and either were available on my server, I may go ahead and use it in WoW or any other game.

I always take it one step further to see if I can get that win. Adding “a” to the end of each name returns 3 Aldamiras and 1 Aldariona. I may try appending some different letters to see if I can get zero results on the Armory and, more importantly, a name I like.

That’s pretty much how I play my naming game!

Applying a Name Element to Suffixes

Let’s say I’m not happy with any of the results so far. I’ll pull up my Google doc listing the suffixes I like from the Tolkien Gateway—yes, that’s a different Google doc than the 11-page one I mentioned earlier—and begin combining my name element with suffixes. If it sounds good and has few Armory results, it will become a final contender. If it sounds good and adds meaning for the character I’m creating, then it becomes an ultimate final contender.

Using a few suffixes listed below, some options may be:

Aldael (64), Aldaenca (0), Aldaeth (3), Aldaiel (0), Aldandil (0), Aldanwe (0), Aldanya (4), Aldasse (2), Aldaya (12)

The number of characters with these names on the Armory are in parenthesis. With 64 Armory results, Aldael, is out. I like Aldaeth, which would mean “woman of the trees.” I also like Aldanwe, which would mean “treeness.” Both are perfect druid and nature loving character names. They are made even more perfect by winning at my naming game—three results for Aldaeth and zero for Aldanwe!!

This can also be a great way to go about establishing a set of common names for multiple characters.

My Elf Hates Trees

If your elf would rather chop down a tree than hug it, clearly you need your own name element to play this naming game. If you don’t already have one in mind, you can try combining the first two letters of  your first/middle, first/last, middle/last, etc. If you want to remain “elvish,” some links are included in the suffix list below to get you started on exploring the Tolkien Gateway. You can also try any of the other Tengwar letters, explore the Quenya words or Sindarin words, or search this Quenya word list (going for the obvious with demon hunters, you can find “demon” here).

If you want something non-elvish, another option is to explore two of my favorite rabbit holes for name elements that are meaningful to you, the Nordic Names wiki and the Online Etymology dictionary. I’ve spent many evenings past my bed time on these sites!

Help Me!

My elf doesn’t live in Azeroth! If your elf is a mer or drow, look to their racial naming conventions for guidance and toss in an extra vowel or consonant or two (or three). The UESP wiki is a great source for mer (and other racial) names. The Forgotten Realms wiki has a brief drow language dictionary that can get you started.

I hope this has helped! If not, hit me up in the comments or on Twitter. I just might have the name you are looking for in one of my many lists or spreadsheets.

The Suffixes

dil: see -ndil

duinë: rare Quenya suffix used for rivers (of large volume)

el: feminine suffix

  • Ailenil = “lake”, ailin, and the feminine suffix -el

enca: meaning “without, -less”

eth: feminine suffix (Sindarin?)

  • Núneth is Sindarin and means “Woman of the West” (from annûn, ‘West’, and -eth, a feminine suffix)

iel: feminine patronymic suffix in Elvish languages. “Daughter of ____”

  • Uinéniel = “Daughter of Uinen”

ielde: feminine suffix in Quenya

  • Elerondielde = “Daughter of Elrond,” which is another name for Arwen.

ien: meaning “daughter”

iën: see -ien

ima: meaning “-able”

indë: feminine agental suffix. The masculine counterpart is –indo

issë: feminine agental suffix in Quenya

  • melissë = “lover” (“mel-” = “to love”; MEL)

mar: pl. -mardi, means dwelling. Although Angmar is a Sindarin name, the Quenya suffix -mar and the Sindarin suffix -bar come from the same root, MBAR.

ndil: added to names to indicate friendship, love, or devotion to an object, idea, grouping, course, occupation or spirit (Ainur) to which one is devoted for its own sake

ndur: is a Quenya suffix added to names to indicate faithful service or servitude.

: denotes a set of something

  • carcanë = “row of teeth” (carca = “tooth”|KARAK)

nil: see -ndil

nur: see -ndur

nwe: has two meanings:

  1. It is equivalent to the English suffix -ness. This can be seen in Manwe (“blessedness”) and Voronwe (“steadfastness”)
  2. It is a dual exclusive pronoun suffix meaning “we, both of us”

nya: pronominal Quenya suffix, 1st person singular possessive, “my” (e.g. tatanya = “my father”)

ssë: denotes abstract or locality

  • Vala = “angelic power, god” (valassë = “divinity”|BAL)
  • laiqua = “green” (laiquassë = “greenness”)
  • hande = “intelligent” (handessë = “intelligence”|KHAN)

vëa: an adjentival ending with the specific meaning “-like” in Quenya. The plural is –vië.

  • elvëa = “starlike” (él = “star”; the long é in él becomes short before the cluster lv)

wen: shows feminine derivation, usually as “maiden”

ya: Quenya suffix of endearment.

  • Anardilya = “dear Anardil”

Beta Spoiler: Trying Out Classes, Deciding What to Do in Legion

Playing beta has got me excited for Legion. I haven’t done much as I’d like to keep the element of surprise and awe intact when Legion launches. But so far, it’s fun! I’m trying each class to help me decide what I’ll do, and a few things are made quite clear:

  • There’s not much of a need to play multiple characters of the same class
  • Same as above, but for gear types: cloth, leather, etc.

I’m not sure if it’s a goal Blizzard has communicated, but with garrisons and flying in Warlords and now class halls and the new wardrobe in Legion, it seems as though they may be actively designing the game for players to focus on fewer characters. I suppose you could refer back to the introduction of Achievements as a beginning for this direction, if it is in fact a direction at all.

Or, it could just be me and my changed perspective. I feel like there’s a lot more work involved to get multiple characters to the max level. I leveled one character to 100. Then I used my free Legion boost on a level 92 so I could get one last profession to 600 for the guild achievement so my solitary guild could have access to the heirloom legs. I already had all but one of the heirloom legs.

That’s my gaming life. Woo! Go me!

Beta is far more exciting. It’s new, and shiny!

The first beta class I leveled to get their artifact weapon was a dwarf elemental shaman. I wasn’t prepared for the… I have no idea what it’s called, mini movie clip? Whatever that is that happens when your character gets their weapon. After the shaman, I was prepared and captured a few screenshots.

Hunter with Titanstrike & Hati

Gnome hunter gets Titanstrike, and Hati. Gnome hunter is new to the class and forgot to unholster her gun.

Demon Hunter with Aldrachi Warblades

Demon Hunter with Aldrachi Warblades

Druid with Scythe of Elune

Druid with Scythe of Elune

Rogue with Kingslayers

Rogue with Kingslayers

Warrior with Warswords of Valor

Warrior with Warswords of Valor

The three leather wearers are sharing similar looks (pieces from the scouting garb set) using the new Wardrobe feature. I hadn’t yet mogged the druid’s new legs… who started out as a Troll, by the way. A nifty feature in the beta is the ability to switch race and faction, making it easy to try out all the race/class combos.

At this point I’m planning to do something I’ve wanted to for a long while—play a caster troll druid. The druid class hall cemented that choice. Is it ever glorious! A close second is rogue, 99% due to their class hall. And she will be a Blood Elf because another thing I’ve wanted is a Blood Elf rogue, 99% due to their stealth animation.

I enjoyed playing the other classes—especially hunter, I always enjoy hunters—but I need to prioritize and have yet to play a death knight, mage, monk, paladin, priest, and warlock. Maybe Legion will be about doing things I’ve been wanting to do for some time.

I already started leveling my troll druid. The only heirlooms she’s using are the pieces without XP gains. I don’t want her to quickly out-level content. I’m leveling her by questing, primarily to finally experience zones changed by the Cataclysm and to pick up moggable quest reward gear.

I’m also in a guild (with more people than me, myself, and I) for the first time since Cataclysm. The Elder Council is an Alliance and Horde guild for players 35 and older. The majority of players are 40-59. It’s on a three-server virtual realm; with Legion, you could virtually have 36 characters on one server! So maybe I’ll finally create that stable of hunters, one for each race!

Pshaw! Yeah, right. In my dreams, or when I’m retired.

I’ve got to focus first, on that troll druid. Which is challenging because I’m still trying to get as much gold as I can on my two 100s. For what, I don’t know yet. Perhaps for upgrading heirlooms to 100. And then I get sidetracked by completing that one achievement that’s 99% finished… because squirrel.

 

But that focus… I’m amazed and inspired by Kamalia and her et alia. Her life is busy, yet her organized approach to doing what she wants actually works. Maybe THAT’S something I’ll try in legion.

Focus!

Introducing Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard “Celestial” Druid

Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard healer

Meet Zahra. She’s a Redguard healing Templar in the Ebonheart Pact. I have always enjoyed playing nature-type characters, usually druids, but there isn’t a playable class like this in the Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). There are NPCs—The Wyresses—who seem to be nature-type characters, but the abilities they display aren’t available to players. So I’m creating my own, using the skills available to me. Interestingly, there are skills similar to a balance druid in World of Warcraft; celestial type skills from the sun and stars.

Using character sheets from The ESO Roleplay Community, I came up with some basic information about Zahra. This is the first time I have developed an online character in this way and I’m really quite excited about it. While I don’t plan to openly roleplay (RP), thinking about and developing WHO my character is has added depth and meaning. This is certainly nothing new to experienced RPers. For me, choosing to focus on one character brought out the desire to make playing the character more meaningful.

Physical Appearance

Zahra is tall and thin. Her dark reddish-skin easily identifies her as a Redguard. Her broad shoulders and the black body paint on her neck creates the illusion of enhanced height and portrays a quiet strength. Her long limbs are often dusty and dirt can usually be seen under her fingernails.

Having spent some time with the Nords, she incorporated their way of dress (fur-lined clothing for warmth). I like to think of her gear looking something like this:

Her kind eyes are bright and smile at others on their own. Set against her dark skin, they can sometimes look like twin setting suns. Zahra’s dark reddish brown hair is shaved on each side to lighten the load of bearing heavy long dreads that are gathered down the middle of her head and upper back. Beads and leather ties are scattered down the length of each dread to help keep them in place.

Zahra wears loose-fitting clothing for ease of movement as she spends most of her time outside. Comfort and functionality is of the utmost importance and she can often appear a little messy. Visible to onlookers are several pouches in which she carries gathered plants. A small fox is seen trailing behind her.

Visual References

A collection of images I put together on Pinterest when thinking about what Zahra might look like. Some of the images represent how her younger self, varied methods of dress, and even her older self might look.

Personality

While appearing quiet, or even shy to some, Zahra’s mind is constantly at work observing and perceiving her surroundings and those around her. She listens, and learns more about others than they may know of themselves.

Zahra relishes being alone, especially in the wilderness amongst the varied natural settings of Tamriel. She doesn’t go out of her way to avoid being around others as it’s required to learn and do the things she wants. In fact, she offers help and support to those in need, whether it’s the sick and dying or a group of adventurers on a mission. She simply requires time alone to recharge after expending her mental, and magical, energies in the company of others.

She manages close relationships with a handful of people, wherever she happens to be when she’s staying somewhere for a long period of time. She doesn’t care to be known and purposely maintains a low profile wherever she goes… as best she can, that is. Zahra can’t help but stand out in some places, attracting the curiosity of locals. She does her best to minimize her presence when visiting new places.

Background

Zahra’s father died in Wayrest when she was young. Her mother returned Zahra and her twin sister, Zoraya, to Hammerfell. Her mother used her knowledge of plants to make a living travelling the desert in search of water bearing plants or potential oases and returning/reporting her finds to interested parties in the cities. The three would often travel alone or join up with other nomadic families and groups.

Their mother shared with them the basics of knowing what plants to look for, how to read the shifting sandy landscape, and the secrets different plant formations told the trained eye. Zahra loved bringing the plants she collected to the mages and tailors when they’d stop and stay at the cities. While her mother taught her the basics of identifying plants, the mages taught her a few of their magical properties and how they could be combined to create powerful potions.

Desert life was rough, although Zahra didn’t appreciate this as a child. It was always a special treat when they encountered Dwemer ruins—all those strange gears and little pots containing surprises for the twin girls! The sand was mesmerizing, shifting in whichever direction the wind blew. The stars at night were beautiful and served as a source of many bedtime stories. Fascinated by the many different types of people they’d come across, Zahra developed a deep respect for their different ways of living. Especially those suffering from hardship; she became drawn to them.

In their late teens, Zoraya fell ill (affected by the Knahaten Flu, but they didn’t know at the time) and as they were heading to a city to find a healer they were caught in a sandstorm. The minor healing potions Zahra had made did not help and her twin sister died. Zahra chose to believe that if she had known healing magic she could have saved Zoraya. She vowed to learn from the mage’s in the cities.

Zahra continued travelling the desert with her mother and when in the cities she spent time training with the mages, learning the schools of restoration and illusion, and practicing by mending and healing the sick in the infirmaries and temples. Illusion was practiced in the city streets, usually to hide and be unseen… and pick the occasional pocket.

During her mage guild visits, Zahra would sometimes overhear discussions about relics and tomes scattered throughout the land. Sometimes she’d witness guild expeditions being sent off to find one. She was most interested in learning more about Dwemer ruins and surmised that Morrowind had a good amount of them and determined that when her mother passed she would make her way there.

Currently

Zahra is now in Morrowind, having spent some time with the Nords in Bleakrock. She loved the snow as it reminded her of the sands back home. Eventually, she’d like to settle down in a Nord village. Until then, the mushrooms of Morrowind call, the fascinating cultures and stories of the Ebonheart Pact beckon, and the Dwemer ruins await her discovery.

General Information

Nickname: She uses her deceased twin sister’s nickname—Aya, modified from Zoraya—in impermanent situations where she doesn’t want to reveal her own name, but perceives others require an assurance of familiarity.
Age: Unknown. Judging by the few wrinkles on her face, she’s in her late 30s or early 40s.
Birthsign: Unknown.
Profession: Alchemist, Enchanter, Cook

Key Sources

Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard Druid

Time, the Cure for Altitis

For too long I have wanted to do all the things in whichever game I play. A big part of what appeals to me about MMOs is the ability to try so many different things.

Take WoW for example, I had lists of things I wanted to try:

  • one character of each race
  • one character of each class
  • one hunter of each race
  • one character of each class spec
  • one character for each letter of the alphabet (serious and sad)

I managed a few spreadsheets to plan and map it all out. It never happened. In 10 years of WoW, I completed zero of these lists.

Time happened.

Yet, when I started playing SWTOR, I did the same thing; mapped out characters and specs and professions and, oh my!

Time still happened.

And yet again, when I started playing Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) the spreadsheets came out and all the planning and mapping happened.

Ok time, I get it. I don’t have enough of you. Geez!

So this time—hur hur—I am scrapping my altoholic compulsions and trying my hardest to focus on one character in each game (WoW, SWTOR, and ESO), but…

…time is still happening.

So one character in one game and that game—for now, because I might be wishy washy and fear this may not stick—that game is ESO. That one character will be a druid because I love them so much.

What’s that you say? There aren’t druids in ESO? Well, that’s the beauty of ESO. You can pretty much build whatever character you want using one of four base classes. Also stealing. It’s beautiful.

Thank you time. Thank you for the limitations your limited supply put on me. I thrashed about not wanting to accept it far too long. I can’t do all the things. I just can’t.

That’s all the time (stahp!) I have for a post. Here’s a preview of Zahra al-Nayyir, my Redguard “Celestial” Druid.*

Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard Druid

* WIP, utilizing celestial type spells in ESO inspired by the Warcraft’s balance druid (but not a moonkin). She even has a story for RP-in-my-mind stuff!