Taz’dingo!

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Woop! There it is! And here is a quick post in celebration.

I reached exalted last night and finished the Allied Race quest today. Sadly, I wasn’t made an honorary Zanchuli Council member. But the new one is in good hands! And boy does it feel really good to have completed this!

I’m glad I had the Tauren heritage armor set on hand—it was perfect for this epic occasion!

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I’d like you to meet Zen’Ijira!

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Her name is Zen (a Zandali prefix that means druid) + Ijira (derived from Ijiraat—shape shifters from Inuit mythology).

She kinda looks like my Darkspear druid! They both have purply skin with green hair.

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Here’s Zen’Ijira meeting her queen for the first time.

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I like how Talanji handled Sylvanus… and tells the new Allied Race character that Zandalar comes above all else. Zen’Ijira can get behind that.

Zandalar Forever!

Nearly Exalted with Zandalari

On my journey to exalted with the Zandalari, I check wowhead.com to see if I’ve missed any quests and lo and behold, there’s this whole Shadow Hunter series involving Vol’jin. YES! So I start that chain. I wore my Darkspear costume while assisting Talanji and Master Gadrin in escorting my favorite Warchief’s remains to a final resting place amongst the kings.

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The next step after this is a dungeon. Sigh. I haven’t ran a dungeon with other people in about two years, maybe more. So I sit on this for two weeks and finally get up the courage to queue. I read up on the tactics for Atal’dazar in the dungeon guide and go for it.

HOLY MOLY AND WTF?!?! That was a normal dungeon? We wiped on the first boss, Rezan. Got him on the second try and only one death the rest of the run. It was nuts. I used my feral regrowth on everyone at least once; many times on the tank.

A frost mage 100 item levels below me out-dpsed me. I do not belong in dungeons! Well, probably not as dps. Actually, probably not as melee dps. Ranged dps is better because I can see more of what’s going on. But I’m a healer at heart and I’m always looking at health bars.

With the ridiculous levels of mobility in this dungeon, I’d often find myself not hitting anything after glancing at health bars. Oops! The pack/boss moved… so much moving! I failed 13 GTFO alerts. No kidding! There was so much stuff to GTFO of! 23 were high—I’m not sure what that means. Sounds like more failing. I was the only person on that recount report.

I’m not sure I want to do that again.

Once we downed the final boss, I double checked my achievement to be sure it wasn’t a heroic. Nope. That was normal. Yikes! After everyone left, I donned my Darkspear costume and placed Vol’jin’s urn.

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All right. All right. I see you Bwonsamdi. Sure, I’ll meet you in your lair. But before I do, I need to run off to the Darkmoon Faire to get a reputation buff in preparation for this quest line. Y’see, I’ve been doing everything I can to earn the exaltation of the Zandalari and by my estimation I should reach my goal once I complete this quest line.

La dee da… hearth to Spirits Be With You, fly to the Great Seal, take the Thunder Bluff portal, off to the fair, spin around the merry go round, hearth to Dalaran, take the Orgrimmar portal, take the Zuldazar portal, fly to Nazrim, mount up and go see Bwonsamdi about Vol’jin’s spirit.

And that was it. Wait. What? That was it? Wowhead says there are more Shadow Hunter quests. Do I need to pick it up with someone else? Surely the game would have some clues for continuing this series.

Sigh. Time to Google.

The quest series picks back up with Bwonsamdi in Zuldazar. This disjointedness seems unnecessary, but OK then.

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Yay! I got to see Vol’jin! And then, boo! The next quest is in a raid. I can’t imagine what LFR is like if that is what a normal dungeon is like. What the heck happened to dungeons while I was not running them?

To be fair, that was just one dungeon. Maybe others aren’t this bad? But humans typically associate one bad experience to all the things from whatever it was they badly experienced. This is Psych 101. Why is making players feel bad an acceptable outcome?

Dungeons don’t have to be something players dread. I’ve done a few in FFXIV—you have to for the main quest—and they feel much better and more accessible. Anyhow, that’s a whole ‘nother topic for another post.

Light is at the end of the tunnel!

I’m at 90.9% exalted with the Zandalari. I don’t know if I’ll try LFR or not. I really want to complete this quest line but unlocking this Allied Race is painful and not at all enjoyable. I’m human. I prefer to avoid pain.

Unlocking the Nightborne was a much better experience. In addition to world quests and missions, there was a beautiful story line that gave Nightborne reputation. Are those content creators no longer at Blizzard? Not once did I have to step foot into a dungeon or raid, or even rely on outside sources to know what I’m supposed to do next.

Technically, I don’t HAVE to run group content for Zandalari rep. It’s merely out of desperation for sources other than limited world quests that grant pitiful amounts of rep—the missions, when they pop, are decent—that has me feeling like I am required to do things I don’t want to do. And now I have the added anxiety of expecting LFR to be 10x worse than a normal dungeon. This feels very bad to me. Earning Nightborne rep did not feel bad.

Back to the bright side!

With the Darkmoon Faire in town, I may reach exalted this weekend. And when I do, I better get a seat on the Zanchuli Council.

Wish me luck!

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 anymore.

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 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 rarest 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.

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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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!

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.

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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!

All the Shirts

Today is Free T-Shirt Day in Azeroth! This seems like a new event to me, but as I’m not consistently playing WoW I could have missed it. Thankfully I saw wrathofkublakhan of Coffee Cakes and Crits post about it and did not miss this one!

If you haven’t done it yet, checkout this overview in a comment on the Wowhead entry for the event.

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I haven’t played WoW in months, but I will login to add more shirts to my collection! I logged in with my mage for quick travel to the vendors that are selling free shirts. Their shirts are shown below in the red outline.

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The shirt vendors show up as a star on your map when in the zone, but only if that part of your map is revealed.

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I collected 22 new shirts; 15 from the shirt cannon guy and 7 from the vendors. I think Selis’ Silk Shirt looks great with my fire mage’s outfit!

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