In Which I Compare BDO, ESO, FFXIV, and WoW

Time playing games between my last post and now, with the underlying current of needing to narrow my focus for a return to work this month, has given me further insight and—you guessed it!—I’ve changed my mind about a few things.

Screenshot_20190117_151727

Oops!

I already caved and subbed to Elder Scrolls Online because I can’t stand craft materials NOT going into the bottomless craft bag. I pay Zenimax $15 a month to NOT manage a virtual inventory. Sounds kinda crazy when put that way.

And I am now inclined to sub to WoW for a similar reason. I thought I was smart by giving my starter edition level 20s a bunch of 16 slot bags and gold before my sub expired. Well, guess what? I can’t sell anything because I’m gold capped. I knew about the 10g gold cap but didn’t consider how inventory space would fill up because I couldn’t sell anything.

Subs aside, as compared in my previous post, more factors need to be considered when deciding which game(s) to focus on when I return to a full-time working schedule.

BDO vs. ESO vs. FFXIV vs. WoW

I made this comparison table to visually represent my thoughts about each game and rank them accordingly. My apologies if the formatting comes across weird for you. I’m not seeing an insert table option in the WordPress editor and ended up hand coding it.

Disclaimer: these are 100% my opinions based on my personal experience and filtered through my personal perspective and values. To somewhat qualify my experience, listed below are the years I started playing each game.

  • World of Warcraft (WoW) – 2004
  • Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) – 2014
  • Black Desert Online (BDO) – 2019
  • Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) – 2019

Please note: some features may have unlocks I have forgotten about, especially with ESO and WoW as I’ve been playing them longer than BDO and FFXIV.

Druid

BDO ESO FFXIV WoW
Can Haz Durid
Warcraft is the only one with an official druid class. You could build one in ESO and I suppose use the werewolf skill line to shapeshift and even play as a Worgen. In BDO you can pretend to be one as a ranger or witch and in FFXIV as a conjurer/white mage and maybe even red or black mage.

Character

BDO ESO FFXIV WoW
Build Customization ✔✔
Character Creation/Modification ✔✔
Fashion ✖✖
Racial Diversity ✔✔

Black Desert Online

BDO’s character creation is phenomenal, saving it from an because it costs to modify your character’s appearance and what they are wearing. And they can’t wear much, even if you buy all the $30 outfits for your class. Additionally, “armor” for female characters doesn’t cover much in order to show off the jiggle physics. Elves and humans are the only races you can play and classes are gender locked. As for build customization, there is none. Theoretically you can pick and choose skills to learn/use but you could be gimping yourself. What sets you apart from others of the same class is a higher character level with more skill points and better gear.

Elder Scrolls Online

ESO’s build system is extremely versatile, e.g., you can choose to completely ignore your class skills and only use skills from the Mages Guild skill line. I’m not sure if this is advisable, but it’s certainly doable. In character creation you can adjust individual facial and body parts. You can make a Bustopher Jones Khajiit!

Modifying your character’s cosmetic appearance can be done via collections. I’m not sure what is available to new players. My best guess is anything in character creation—makeup, tattoos, and jewelry—that was available for your race. You can buy more cosmetic options in the cash shop and can change the appearance of your gear once you have collected a few dyes/motifs.

ESO has cats, elves, a variety of humans, lizards, and orcs. You can change your race using tokens purchased in the cash shop.

Final Fantasy XIV

As far as I know there is no build customization in FFXIV. The fashion system, called glamours, makes up for this—once you unlock it—allowing your character to visually stand out from the crowd. And if you don’t know about it to seek it out, you may not unlock it for awhile. Glamours allow you to create outfits using the “glamour plate” system and you can change colors with dye. Did anyone else play with Fashion Plates as a kid? I’m certain it contributed to my dream of being a fashion designer when I grew up!

The Aesthetician (unlocked with a quest) can change a few cosmetics while Phials of Fantasia (purchased in the cash shop) can change your race, which some people seem to do as frequently as the weather changes. Like ESO, you can play cats, elves, a variety of humans, and a lizard-like race. There’s also the diminutive Lalafell and the Viera bunny girls. In character creation, the body parts you can adjust are height, chest size, tails, and ears. You can’t make a Bustopher Jones Miqo’te.

World of Warcraft

Like FFXIV’s Aesthetician, WoW’s barber shop allows you to change your appearance. Unlike ESO and FFXIV, you can change your character’s skin color with in game currency. WoW gets a whole extra for this. Race changes can be purchased in the cash shop. Once you have collected some gear/weapons in WoW, you can change the appearance of your gear but not the color.

WoW has the most playable races with pretty much everything the other games have plus pandas, goblins, trolls, werewolves, hooved and horned creatures with and without fur, undead, and now foxes. Build flexibility with class specializations is limited. Druids have the most options with four specializations, one for each play type: tank, melee dps, magic/ranged dps, and healer.

FOMO

BDO ESO FFXIV WoW
Login Rewards ✖✖
Pressure to Play ✖✖ ✔✔

Black Desert Online

BDO is horrible (or really good at it?) when it comes to making you feel like you are missing out. They have daily login rewards, daily loyalty rewards, a daily guild “allowance,” a daily event item collection—get x for being logged in for 1 hour each day, xx for 2 hours, and even more for 3 hours each day!—to the point that managing everything you are collecting becomes a daily chore. There are even incentives for leveling a new class: earn 10 billion silver for leveling the new class to 58!

To be fair, BDO offers many AFK activities—even character leveling—that can help you reach those daily /played goals.

Elder Scrolls Online

I have logged in to ESO each day—and not played—for the sole purpose of earning something that was rewarded after 20-something days of consecutively logging in. I don’t like this feeling and have tempered it by ignoring this feature.

Final Fantasy XIV

FFXIV has some kind of loyalty system in which you receive rewards for x /played days. They sent a set of cosmetic gear to all my characters and I had no idea why for some time. It was the 60-day loyalty reward! Even with that and a sub, I don’t feel pressure to play FFXIV. Perhaps because I’m a new player?

World of Warcraft

The pressure to play WoW is felt subbed or not, likely because I have a far greater time investment having played off and on (mostly on) for 15 years. There are no login rewards or incentives for daily play. I don’t count daily quests because they are a means to an end requiring you to do something more than logging in.

Gameplay

BDO ESO FFXIV WoW
Combat ✔✔
Grindiness/Repititiveness
Housing ✔✔ ✔✔
Lore/Story ✔✔
Open World Exploration ✔✔
PvP (forced)

Black Desert Online

BDO’s combat is amazing! There is no tab targeting or reticle that aims your actions. Just glorious mayhem that takes down whatever you are facing and is in your vicinity—lots of AoE. It’s very fun and it has to be to balance out hours of grinding. Even so, I get quickly bored with the repetitiveness.

I really enjoyed the housing system. You get furniture and profession tools as quest rewards and need a home to put them in. Many of the buildings in towns and cities can be rented as your residence and you can have more than one in different places. I had my own little villa with three residences around a courtyard; one served as a living space with a kitchen downstairs, another was my bedroom, and the third was my alchemy lab. You really feel like your characters live in the game.

I think there is lore. There is some story going on, but it’s confusing and disjointed. Perhaps because everything is translated from Korean to English. Some texts and dialog simply don’t make sense.

BDO is the only game of the four with forced open world PvP. My great dislike of becoming the victim of someone’s bad day keeps me from exploring the vast and beautiful world. Which is unfortunate because there is a lot to discover. There are no loading screens and it can take 30 minutes real time to travel from one part of the map to another. There is no fast travel. You can travel by foot, horse, or transport yourself and wait an hour until you can play that character from the new location.

Elder Scrolls Online

ESO gets all for Gameplay. The lore/story is vast, deep, and unique. It’s the only game where you can go anywhere you want as everything scales to your level. There are no game mechanics that require grinding. Any grinding is self-imposed, i.e., if you want to reach max level ASAP. It’s possible I’m wrong and have not yet come across anything that requires a grind.

Housing is great and there’s so many recipes to craft your own furniture and decorations. Players can get very creative decorating their homes! Each starter city has a free apartment available upon completion of an introductory quest. You can fast travel to your homes at no cost, making this a convenient and cheap way to travel across Tamriel.

Final Fantasy XIV

FFXIV is the only one where you can’t go wherever you want. Travel to other regions is unlocked through the main quest. Combat feels clunky and slow which makes fighting enemies feel very repetitive. And while I have yet to fully experience it, FFXIV does have player housing and a good story.

World of Warcraft

WoW is the only one without housing and my best guess as to why is because the game is so old it simply can’t be implemented. ESO went live without player housing but I think it was able to do it because individual objects had already been built as individual assets. I’m making a wild guess here, but it makes the most sense to me. And I’m not certain player housing in WoW does make sense. It seems weird.

WoW’s lore and story is good. It doesn’t get as high marks as ESO primarily because much of it takes place in books outside of the game. For me, it creates a disjointed experience and I’m not a fan of this approach—requiring me to invest time outside of playing the game to research and figure out what the heck happened.

There is an overall grindy/repetitive feel at higher levels, especially if you want something like unlocking an Allied Race. But this should come as no surprise as this element of gameplay has been part of WoW since the beginning. I think the grind feels better now as there are more interesting and entertaining aspects when compared to repeatedly killing the same mobs for hours on end for that one drop… or those five quest items as can be experienced in Warcraft Classic.

The Zandalari Troll rep grind to unlock them as an Allied Race was long and arduous but has me feeling more attached to Zen’Ijira than had the race been accessible to all with a new expansion. So there’s that interesting psychological feature. However, I’m not at all inclined to unlock the Kul Tiran anytime soon. I will eventually, just maybe not this year.

Monetization

BDO ESO FFXIV WoW
Cash Shop ✖✖✖ ✖✖
Loot Boxes ✖✖
While WoW does have the Blizzard Shop, it pales in comparison to the other games’ cash shops so it’s the only one that gets a for the cash shop. In BDO and ESO, the cash shop is available in game (not a positive) and requires you to buy a cash shop currency with real world currency. ESO scores better than BDO here because it provides some of that currency with a subscription. BDO does not have that option.

FFXIV and WoW do not have loot boxes. ESO’s loot boxes are limited to seasonal crown crates. BDO’s loot boxes are everywhere and nearly every facet of the game features their RNG gambling system.

Ok, time to score. Let’s make this simple:

 = +1
= -1

Scoring

BDO
(6 – 18 )
ESO
(14 – 6 )
FFXIV
(10 – 6)
WoW
(13 – 4 )
Druid -1 -1 -1 +1
Character -3 +5 +2 +6
FOMO -4 -2 +3 0
Gameplay +1 +9 0 0
Monetization -5 -3 0 +2
Totals
-12
+8
+4
+9

ffxiv_12102019_204948_406

We Have a Winner!

According to this, I should be playing WoW and ESO. That sounds about right and I was playing them before starting BDO and FFXIV last year. Well, that’s settled! With a very clear picture of which games to spend my time on, I need a clear picture of how to spend my time in these games.

As shared in previous posts about WoW, while I feel more lost with each expansion there is still a lot I can do and enjoy. I truly get excited thinking about playing level locked 20s in zones I haven’t experienced post-Cataclysm, collecting gear along the way. But I’m still toying with the idea of only playing druids. That would mean there’s no need for me to play other armor classes to just collect gear.

In a recent post, Gamescapist—a new addition to my blogroll—talks about setting goals for her characters in a way that they serve a specific purpose and their play time comes to an end. Gnomecore does this and it always seemed strange to me. Why waste your time on a character you have no intention of playing once they reach a certain point?

But I think I should consider their approach. I’ve been playing these games without an end… without an end. I’ve mentioned before how much of my playtime is spent doing things for the sake of it, without specific goals in mind.

It might be time to change that.

Preparing for 2020: Returning to Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

I intended to post an update on where I’m at with preparing for Shadowlands. While working on that post, it quickly became clear that it should be part of a greater and more general update on preparing for this year.

In between the time I spent with my Mom last year, I played games. We’ll set aside the fact that I didn’t spend my free time wisely and I didn’t even spend my gaming time wisely, i.e.: finish games I’ve been wanting to finish or complete goals in games I’ve been playing—I had all the time in the world and did not choose to do things in games that require big time commitments. Instead, I started two new games: Black Desert Online in January 2019 and Final Fantasy XIV in the summer.

2019-07-10_35978008

Returning to work next month is the most significant factor in preparing for this year, making it very easy to decide what I’ll do as I will no longer have the luxury of time. As a game subscription makes me feel obligated to spend time playing the game, we’ll start with game subs and see what each game generally offers without one.

  • Black Desert Online – no game sub, all content available
  • Elder Scrolls Online – all base content available, no level restrictions
  • Final Fantasy XIV – can’t play without a sub
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic – all base content available, no level restrictions
  • World of Warcraft – level 20 starter edition (I wish Classic was available!)

From a subscription perspective, you get the most from BDO, ESO, and SWTOR without one. Yet, if I were to choose a game based on paying a sub, it would have to be FFXIV because you can’t play it at all without one.

And that’s what I’m going to do. My one-year ESO sub expired this month as did my six-month WoW sub. I am not re-subbing to either because I don’t want to feel obligated to play them. I can happily play them as a non-subscriber.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

2019-09-08_419145733

I can’t deny that not subscribing to WoW is hard. It feels like a break up, but I have to be honest—the breakup started years ago. This is from a draft I never published in 2014:

Getting Worse with Each Expansion

For me, the result of each expansion has been an increased loss of connection with knowing how to play my characters, the game mechanics, and perhaps the game itself. I am less willing to spend time relearning how to play a class and feel like more of a n00b each expansion. So I play less, and less, and less. With MoP, I mostly played to see Pandaria, which I enjoyed very much as well as fun new features such as finding lost treasures.

—–

I’ve become one of those players that just doesn’t care as much anymore.

—–

So, after all this time with MoP, I have not stepped into any raid, which is a first for me. I haven’t even done all the 5-man dungeons or completed a single scenario. I’d rather get Timeless Isle gear and continue working on grinding old school reps and challenging myself by soloing old raids. Maybe a few BGs here and there.

It’s gotten worse! I didn’t check out the anniversary celebration. In fact, I logged off at the Times of Cavern entrance with the best intention of checking it out and… I just never did. I see people talking about essences and have no idea what they are, nor have I bothered to look it up and find out. The game described in Fiannor’s post sounds completely foreign to me. Despite all that, I truly am looking forward to Shadowlands and have formulated a rough plan for that, as well as the other games.

2020 Game Plan (tee hee)

2019-08-07_17868537

Black Desert Online

BDO has the best character creation and combat style! I spend more time creating characters, taking screenshots, creating graphics, and posting on social media than actually playing the game. I can’t commit to this when I am working.

I’ll play enough to keep my guild contract from expiring and will create fewer characters, using my solid foundation of templates for new designs.

Elder Scrolls Online

ESO has the best stories! I really messed things up with my “one of everything” approach to the point of feeling overwhelmed so I just don’t play. To correct this, I’ll recreate my beloved Zahra al-Nayyir on NA and focus on her. I’m undecided about subscribing for the upcoming Dark Heart of Skyrim DLCs. I should have enough crowns to play them without a sub.

Ironically, that post about Zahra references a post in which I decided to play one character in one game. Ha! I’m a lost cause.

Screenshot_20181215_174619

Oops! Not that kind of work! 😅

Final Fantasy XIV

FFXIV has the best transmog/outfits and screenshot tools. I haven’t played enough to evaluate the story, but I think it will be good. I am really enjoying it so far and am happy to subscribe. It’s new, different, and so far has a happier and lighter feel to it. Interactions with and between NPCs are delightful. I am leveling fishing to see more interactions between Sisipu, the acting guild master and quest giver, and Wawalago, the guild master in name. These two are hilarious!

ffxiv_01252020_220221_312

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Oh, SWTOR, I haven’t quite pinpointed why you aren’t a priority. You are a good game and I know I’d have fun playing you. It’s not you… it’s me.

World of Warcraft

I love the level 20 starter edition! I’ll play Zen’Ijira in 20–60 zones and dungeons, adding gear to my collection. I’ll also play a cloth, mail, and plate character to collect gear and to play through different zones. I haven’t played through any of them since Cataclysm changed them all and am looking forward to it.

I’ll subscribe for Shadowlands and play through the new leveling experience.

Returning to Work

2019-07-11_98576163 crop

This return to work is a new beginning with meaning. While economically, I need to work, I’m very grateful that the job I start next month isn’t just any ol’ job to earn money. It’s the start of building something with my husband and for our family. I’m very excited about it!

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you might wonder if what I say here will actually happen. You aren’t alone! I wonder the same thing too.

We shall see, won’t we?

Vanilla vs. Classic Warcraft

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

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.

Annotation 2019-08-16 155704

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.

WoWScrnShot_081619_142620

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.

WoWScrnShot_081619_131328

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!

WoWScrnShot_081619_142620 (1)

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: Orcs and Trolls

In a few short days—on Monday, August 12 at 3:00 pm PT (6:00 ET)—World of Warcraft players can create up to three characters per account in WoW Classic. It’s an opportunity to reserve names for three of your Classic characters: one main and two bank alts, amirite?

With decades of gaming behind us, many players have established go-to names for their characters in any game. The best opportunity to secure those names is when a game is new, which will be the case with WoW Classic. However, the more creative and rare your names are, the easier it is to use them at any point in a game’s life span.

My post on naming the prolific Elven races breaks down the method to my madness in coming up with unique names for my characters—check it out if you haven’t already. The methods described there serve as a foundation for my “name your character” posts.

Before We Begin

If you share my love of language, I highly recommend watching the Tolkien movie. While I don’t know how true it is, the movie is simply lovely. It helped me better understand my fascination with language when Tolkien discussed with his professor how language is the lifeblood of a culture. You can learn a lot about a people from the words they use to describe their way of living. I clearly missed my calling in linguistic anthropology!

One More Thing to Get Out of the Way

Aside from nostalgia and hoping for a reemergence of the player community prior to the introduction of cross realm technology, I’m playing WoW Classic because I want to return to an Azeroth where Vol’jin is alive and well. His death haunts me to this day and—this just occurred to me—could have played a part in my waning desire to play. I wanted him to be Warchief forever. Killing off a well-loved character in a living breathing virtual world will make that world a sadder place.

I miss you, man.

Ok then, my goodness, let’s get on with the purpose of this post.

Tolkien’s Black Speech

My inspiration for naming Orcs and Trolls came from learning that the Black Speech invented by Tolkien is similar to Hurrian. There aren’t many online resources or dictionaries for Black Speech as Tolkien didn’t care for it as much as the Elven tongues he created. And there aren’t many Hurrian resources or dictionaries either, likely because it’s considered to be extinct.

I use languages similar to Hurrian—Hittite, Akkadian, and Urdu—to create names for my Orcs and Trolls. I also use Greenlandic and Yoruba.

Dictionaries

Keyword searches.

Lexicons

Read through these lists or ctrl+F your way around using keywords.

Name Generators

I’m not a fan of name generators as I prefer to know what the name means. That said, the two linked here produce results that feel authentic to me.

Gods, Goddesses, Mythological Characters

If you don’t have time for diving deep into rabbit holes, finding a name from a culture’s pantheons and mythologies can be quicker and educational. These links are all to Wikipedia pages with name lists—super easy to ctrl+F for keywords.

Godchecker.com is a great site to add to your reference materials.

A little side note about Yoruba. I haven’t used it as much because, at this point, I have a healthy list of go-to names. I fell in love with it a few years ago when I first heard the French-Cuban twin sister duo Ibeyi in an interview on the radio. Ibeyi is the Orisha of divine twins.

If you never get a chance to see their amazing live performance, take a moment and enjoy them here and now. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Naming Conventions

For thorough character naming research, don’t forget to check the naming conventions for your character’s race and/or language. You might find a gem of a name like I did for my Troll Balance Druid in WoW: Zen’Nattari. Zennattari means “it is the new moon” in Hittite and Zen is a Zandali prefix for druids. At the time of this post, I have the only character in the WoW Armory with that name. I suppose a few more won’t hurt!

While naming conventions can be exclusive to the IP—like the gra/gro prefix for Orsimer surnames in Elder Scrolls—you can certainly mix and match between games and lore as you please.

You can use the naming conventions to further customize a name for your Orc or Troll. It seems to me that the Orc languages in both ESO and WoW frequently use the letter g while the letter z is used more frequently in the Troll’s Zandali language.

For example, let’s say you are creating a shaman. Performing a keyword search for lightning in the Akkadian dictionary gives us a good result:

ṣaraḫu (2) [Sky → Astronomy → Stars]  to light up , to flare up / to ignite quickly and suddenly (after having died down) ; Š : (demon) to make lightning flash , to make a firebrand flash

  • Orc shaman: Garahu
  • Troll shaman: Zarahu

Checking the WoW Armory for these names shows very few results for all three—Sarahu has 0 results. It’s a good bet that these names could be rare and unique in other games.

In Closing

I hope this is helpful. 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. Or give me some keywords and I can give you a few options!

—–

I realized as I was putting this post together that this series could benefit from a better-organized presentation. In fact, a one-stop page of links to resources may be useful. I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually.

More importantly, I hope you don’t mind the diversions of the movie trailer and tiny desk concert. They are part of how I experience language and culture, how it all connects for me and comes together as part of humanity. Art is its own language of expression and communication rooted in culture and human experience.

So. See you in WoW Classic?

2017 Bucket List Update 1

This weekend I worked on cleaning out my second account so I can cancel the subscription before the monthly payment is due. I’m deleting all the characters so I am not tempted to resubscribe. This includes the only level 110 on all my accounts; a demon hunter.

The hard part right now is “use what I have” as my characters are all over the place and some I no longer connect with. I had to remind myself of the bucket list I created last month because I started considering spending real money on character transfers and appearance/name changes on my main account. I will add a rule to not transfer or change any characters until after they have their first artifact.

I think, more than anything, this bucket list will serve as a focused guide so I don’t go off the rails and make things messier than they are.

Before I created the bucket list, one character on my main account had an artifact and now four have one.

Remaining characters are below, and for some reason the Armory isn’t displaying Kaeleigh’s or Nahualli’s transmog. I don’t have a Monk or Warrior. I planned to create them on Alliance, but I may create them on Horde. I really want an Orc Warrior!

I have spent more time playing ESO than WoW this past month. I’m enjoying the recent homestead release and am very excited about the upcoming Morrowind expansion. Zahra my “celestial druid” is level 30 now, but I’m also leveling a master crafter at the same time. Grusha gra-Tukmek is her name and she’s a level 23 Wood Orc Nightblade. Say hello!

I found that creating a back story for Zahra makes me feel more connected to her. She recently experienced an unfortunate incident where she was caught stealing and couldn’t flee from her attacker. Well, to be fair, an NPC defending their property. I panicked and made Zahra kill them. She got an achievement for being a murderer! I felt horrible and wished I could go back to a save to prevent this experience from becoming part of her history. I should have let them kill Zahra. It would have been more true to her character and personality; the one I created! Now she’s a murderer.

Maybe she should leave thieving to Grusha.

How Neat!

real-neat-blog-award

While posting my daily photos this week, I saw a few posts in my reader about something that is Real Neat. In catching up on what this was all about today, I discovered that I had been nominated by Marathal over at Deez Words. Wow! Thank you Marathal.

So what the heck does this mean? It means you get to learn more about the bloggers you follow! If nominated, you:

  • Thank and link the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer their seven questions.
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers and create 7 new questions for them to answer.

The most interesting thing I’ve learned about my blogging peers is some of us have been gaming a long time (Atari, Commodore 64), and they may be closer to my age than I would have thought! I always feel as though I’m older than everyone else.

Seven Answers for Marathal

1. In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, are you prepared?

No. I should probably befriend a few people who work at a morgue.

2. Have you ever had someone you never would have thought would ever read your blog, mention something you wrote?

I’ll say no. My memory is terrible and I’d like to think I would remember that!

3. Of course I have to ask. Alliance or Horde, but also, One Main? or Army of Alt’s.

Both, with a slight preference for Horde. Armies are organized, so I’ll call my failed attempts at building an army of alts my ragtag band of misfits.

4. Have you ever had the opportunity to attend Blizzcon, or some other large gaming convention.

Does a local comic con count? I went once, primarily to see Gigi Edgely who played Chiana on Farscape, one of my all-time favorite sci-fi shows. The line was long and I was short on time (aka introvert excuses), so I didn’t get a chance to embarrass myself. I saw her head! Wil Wheaton was there too. I saw his head as well!

5. Do you think Warcraft will ever end, and how do you see them ending it.

I think it will, but private servers may carry on. I have no thoughts about how it will end for everyone. I can’t even say how it will end for me. Overall, I play and care less.

6. What in all the years you have played games, has been your favorite to play.

Morrowind, Baldur’s Gate, and Arcanum hold that special nostalgic place in my heart. I think Vanilla WoW does too, and Pandaria – I loved Pandaria.

I’m really enjoying ESO right now, especially with the recently released housing feature and upcoming Morrowind expansion. I’m certain I would love Skyrim, but I don’t have time to spare for another game. I still need to play Oblivion! Maybe when I’m retired.

7. And a final one. Should Tauren be allowed to play Rogue’s. 😉

No. That was easy!

Mama Druid Nominates You

Please Answer These Seven Questions

  1. What is your favorite dish to make (baking, cooking, etc.)?
  2. Which companion pet from any game would you want as your own pet? If not a pet from a game, which mythological creature?
  3. Why do you blog?
  4. If you could travel to a place in a game (replicated on earth), where would you go?
  5. Outside of gaming, what project are you working on personally and/or professionally?
  6. What is the first (most important/urgent) undone thing on your bucket list?
  7. What’s your sign?

Coming up with the questions was the hardest part! Please everyone, feel free to answer any of them in the comments. It’s fun to learn more about each other.

Thank you for the nomination Marathal.

2017 Bucket List

Z and Cinder’s blog challenge this week – my first one! – is your 2017 bucket list of things you want to accomplish in the game(s) you play. I didn’t make much progress in the games I play during 2016. I think my bucket list for 2017 is simple enough to be achievable.

2017 in ESO

In Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), Zahra the “celestial” druid is level 27 right now; she was level 12 in September 2015.

  • I simply want to level one character to 50 in this game!

2017 in WoW

In World of Warcraft (WoW), I currently have two active accounts and a single level 110 between them. That level 110 is a Demon Hunter; she’s not on my main account and not one of my pre-Legion characters! Between not being able to decide which account to play and a very busy work schedule leaving me with little free time for gaming, or feeling so exhausted I couldn’t muster the brain power to make virtual decisions about what to do in a virtual world, getting any character to 110 in 2016 was an accomplishment.

I’d like to revisit some long-held, unaccomplished goals. Choosing one account will help, and that will be my main account. These goals help facilitate something of an account cleanup.

  • Level one of each class to get their first artifact.
    • My main account has three 100s, three in the 90s, two in the 80s, and one 60. It does not have a demon hunter, monk, or warrior.
    • I have my work cut out for me.
  • Use what I have.
    • What gets me in trouble is after declaring to level one of each class,  I then add “one of each race” too. Oh, and then each server needs to have characters with all professions, and they all need to have freckles and red hair! In 2017, the madness ends!
  • Learn as many recipes on characters who craft gear, and focus on one character for each profession regardless faction or server.
    • Professions on my main account are all over the place. I have several dual crafters and it has never worked out for me. I want each crafter to have the complementary gathering profession, so this means dropping a few advanced professions and leveling a gathering profession.
    • One thing I will never change: my main character, THE Mama Druid, will never drop enchanting. I didn’t know what I was doing in Vanilla and for some reason I dropped her leatherworking for enchanting. It was the biggest pain to level back then. She definitely has a few enchantments earned from rep grinds and some that may be hard to get or are no longer available. Her other profession is herbalism, which I love as a druid.
    • I’ll need to figure out who should be my leatherworker as two of them might have patterns that are no longer available. One might have to hang on to it for just that reason.

I think the first thing to do is sort out professions as my characters can benefit from leveling them in their garrisons while I work on other things.

Lower priority goals that may not be achievable:

  • Get flying in Legion.
  • Get the “Insane in the Membrane” title (need Ravenholdt and Goblin rep).
  • Get “the Beloved” title (48/60).
  • Get all Tournament mounts and pets.

The last three I’ve started and stopped over the years. It would be nice to put the nail in all their coffins. I hate grinding rep.

Wish me luck!

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”