Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So like one of my favorite blogging compatriots, Dechion, the first thing I did after getting the kids fed and put away for the night was log on and roll up my undead hunter, which was THE thing I was most looking forward to. Had a name picked out, bags and gold ready on my trusty bank alt, and even knew where I was going to train his main pet (a Lion that will be getting named “Akodo,” naturally). Ergo, Shigetoshi was born…or died…or both; and let me just say that the new “awakening” portion of the Undead creation process is fantastic. Levels 1-10 are completely updated with very compelling vignette stories, which I certainly appreciate, and immediately immerses you into the game experience. Compared to early leveling before, this feels much more like you inserting yourself into the canon story rather than playing an FPS until you get to Silverpine/Barrens/Westfall/wherever. For now, Shigs has a Darkhound pet, which is very not bad for leveling as far as ferocity pets are concerned.
Also, the scenery! The beauty of the environment is outstanding, and I was very happy with the way the early Brill/Tirisfal questlines were arranged. No more running halfway across the continent to do inane things with/to Gnolls or grinding 200 mobs for 8 moldy fingernails. Quest item drop rates are much higher, at least early on, which can only increase your sense of accomplishment if you’re just now picking up the game.
I could go on and on, but let me just finish up with a few nice things I’ve noticed:
• The faction-specific quartermasters. This is an outstanding addition. For 10 silver, you can buy a tabard for each faction in their major cities. Like the LK factions, these tabards will allow you to grind rep for that faction while in any dungeon. Once you hit Exalted, which shouldn’t take too long with your home city, there are a number of excellent blue BOP items for sale at low prices, and a 16-slot bag that runs a little over 1G is available at Revered.
• FPs in starter cities. Brill, Razor Hill, and the cow city all now have FPs to the capitol a la the Space Goat and Blood Elf baby pools.
• Cosmetic baby gear improvements. Your starting gear looks much more like a military uniform or Nordstrom’s off-the-rack stuff, rather than something from the Homeless-Crackhead-of-the-Month-Club catalogue.
• New Orgrimmar. My God, Blizzard outdid themselves here. I really wish Undercity would have gotten a facelift like this, but Orgrimmar is a beautiful sight to behold. It can almost make me forget that Hellscream’s dumbest progeny is now running the place. Almost.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Yes, a 40-man raid defense of Orgrimmar from the forces of elemental destruction infesting the world; because that's how we Silver Hand Horde roll. If there's a problem, yo, we'll solve it.
Having never been in a 40-man raid, I really don't know how you old-school folks did it back in the day. It's total chaos...but with more running and screaming.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Kusamoto, in particular, has a rich history, as he is my L5R alterego. I've been playing that game so long, in fact, they folks at AEG decided to give in and make him, and I, a part of canon. It's a nod at my peserverance and in a really strange way gives him, and therefore me, a kind of immortality most people can only dream of, so I am immensely humbled by the honor Shawn Carman and company have done me. So, here's my alterego, Kusamoto, in the card game:
THIS Kusamoto was NOT entirely "my" Kusamoto. He preferred healing over righteous fury, and more "white collar" pursuits, like Inscription and Herbalism, over the down-and-dirty professions like engineering or mining. While this originally came as quite a shock, it made perfect sense with the background I had in my head of a mid-level functionary's son forced into a role and profession he never really wanted. And now, he finds himself, by virtue of his skills in writing and oratory, as the political figurehead of an organization he is more than glad to let Katsuko run behind the scenes while playing straight man to a undead warrior.
Even though I had built the character along the same lines as my true alterego, he changed and grew before my eyes in surprising ways because of the same rules I follow when building characters, not in spite of them. It's frightening when that happens; when a character you have made, played, and were both mother and father to, suddenly matures into something you never expected. Frightening, but also very exciting. It means you've done your job in creating and raising him well, and now you are simply along for the ride.
So, this has been pretty wall-of-textish, but I hope I got my point across. WoW is, for all intents and purposes, a tabletop RPG in a lot of ways. Character creation and development is similar, and if you go out of your way to make interesting characters with breadth and depth, it will never get old, no matter what changes are made to the game, and you will always enjoy playing it.
OK, back to the really real world of waiting for my wife to be out of surgery. But let me ask everyone: Who is your favorite WoW character (NPC, your own, or someone else's) and why? I'd love to hear your opinion.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Ginawa got a horse!
DK Space Goat levels right in front of King Varian Wynn. Courtiers aghast. Film at 11.
And action shots like this:
That's a lot of fwoosh.
But I am very glad I was able to get this one. Kats would have never forgiven me if I'd missed this huge milestone in her quest for vengeance:
Teaser alert! More on Kats' first journey into ICC to come!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I have just one thing to say to any potential affiliates:
Sunday, October 31, 2010
It only took two years, but Tsurii finally got "the single coolest piece of loot in all of Azeroth." It has now been tricked out as his PvP helm...and so he can buzz the Alliance in WG while laughing maniacally at them.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
We have now defeated the toothless horseman 8 times between our 2 80s. We have received one (1, I, uno, eins) Loot Filled Bag that actually has loot in it. On behalf of the rest of the Corps, I would like to suggest the following name change be made to the Loot-Filled Bag immediately (please select the one that seems most appropriate to you):
- The Bag that Sometimes Contains Loot, but Mostly Just Irritates the Commander-in-Chief
- The Bag That Glitches Your Interface Causing You to Crash Out
- Moth- and Lint-Filled Bag
- Bag of Justice Points and Continental Frequent Flyer Miles
- It's Just a Bag, it Doesn't Have Anything In It. Please Don't Email Us Anymore
Or, as an alternative, you could actually have something show up in the Loot-Filled Bag, even it's only marginally useful, so that players have some sense of accomplishment. Candy, pumpkins, toothpicks, a rock (a la Charlie Brown), anything, really.
We appreciate the Justice Points, we really do, but getting all excited over a boss' stuff, only to find it totally empty, is anticlimactic at best, downright annoying at worst. We appreciate your taking the time to read this and make any appropriate adjustments.
Gen. A. Kusamoto
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Oh well. Time to catch up on Psych.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I can't wait.
But anywho...a lot has been going on with the team over the past few weeks. Firstly, we have a new recruit! He's a cousin of mine who dabbles in the dark arts...for informational and entertainment purposes only, of course. And for the sheer joy of tearing puppies into tiny shreds to summon elemental demons. Oh, and he has no eyes, but that doesn't stop him from doing some serious (spoiler alert! spoiler alert! heehee!) Book of Eli asswhuppin. 'Course...I'm better. I can do it without the blueberry...or the hocusy-pokusy frou-frou stuff. I gave him Katsuko's old clothes and staff so that he can get through the old world a little faster...plus, now he smells like a girl, which I find amusing. Hey, I'm dead; I get my laughs where I can.
Speaking of the girl, Katsuko was a little...um...miffed when she found out that a few of our buddies from Demon Knights rolled up and smoked His Licheyness a few weeks back. Miffed enough that she completely vanished for awhile. Not sure what's eating that kid. I mean, maggots are eating me, but I don't think that's her problem. But, she showed back up a few days ago with a lot of high-level gear and a very determined set to her pretty little jaw. It was hard to see behind her sparkly-new Hannibelle Lector Faceshield(TM), but I think it was determined.
As for me, I haven't had the chance to raid the remains of the Icecrown Empire State Building recently, but I did manage to find an armor vendor that had a belt better than the stupid girdle of "I'm wearing purples and you're not nyah nyah nyah" I yanked off the Black Knight's corpse almost a year ago. And I finally...finally...after going through it 500 times or so, got that whitchamacalit of souls in the forge to give up his shiny. 'Bout damned time.
Other than that, I'd been busy busting a move on Coren Direbrew once a day for almost two weeks. And you know what? HE DIDN'T DROP SHIT I COULD USE! Not one goddamned thing that was fun or needed. My groups must have summoned 300 barmaids and had a huge orgy the number of times I saw that stupid thing fall off his belt. His tankard? Shattered in a million pieces. The ram? Yeah, one of the Death Knights ate it. The Kodo rampaged and trampled all the dark iron dwarves in the hall next door after the troll accidentally gored it with one of his long-ass tusks. And yet, Kats' first run? The watch dropped for her.
Is Tsurii gonna' haveta' choke a bitch?
As far as fearless, and probably sexually deviant, leader goes...he's still stuck in the Badlands running Marudon and Uldaman over and over and over and...well, you get the idea. He's apparently seen enough cactus, coyotes, and buzzards to last him a good long while. I didn't tell him about Hellfire Penninsula...figured I'd let him find that one out for himself *evil laugh*
Well, that's all for now. My patch is done and I'm off to kill in the name of justice. And loot. OK, mostly loot. Late...
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
And, as my parents often demonstrated, rich in love.
I was denied nothing growing up in the outskirts of our magically-powered city, yet for all that I was not spoiled. My father often spoke of our duty as virtual immortals to guide the younger races away from the paths of self-destruction they virtually careened down at top speed. That duty, instilled in my from the age of six, as well as my apparent and sometimes frightening aptitude for the magical arts, led to a fulfilling apprenticeship with Magister Jaim Sunfury; one of the most respected practitioners of magic in our little empire. I learned quickly and gained confidence, all the while lovingly supported and encouraged by those whose respect I desired most.
It was idyllic. It was utopian. It was glorious.
It was fleeting.
For you know, you remember, what came next. How the plague ravaged Lordaeron, leaving most dead and some far worse; how the Orcs fell upon us in a fury of bloodletting and murderous rage; how the Scourge nearly wiped us all off the face of Azeroth; how our world almost ended.
I was still young and idealistic then, and remember the bitter, senseless arguments held in our courts, by our mages, by our military leaders, by my parents. Oh, everyone said the right things; the arguments were sensible and logical: Entrench, prepare, hoard, defend, parlay. The counterarguments were equally good, however: Attack, surprise, conscript, flank, never stop or capitulate. I remember the first gut-wrenching time I realized the truth, and all my idealism and naivete was swept away in one painful rush:
No one knew what to do.
All that ended when the Sunwell died. I remember. Gods, how I wish I did not.
The chaos. The pandemonium. The shrieks of my friends, some of whom I had known for years, as were traumatically severed from source of our knowledge, our morals, our sanity. I remember a few of them lashing out with their power at anyone and anything around them, burning buildings to ash with fireballs, freezing fleeing men, women, and children solidly in place with frostbolts, or simply tearing the object of their misplaced wrath apart with pure threads of the etherium. No description of this event in any textbook, or by any fanciful storyteller, can ever do justice to the awful certainty of destruction that hung over us all at that moment. That any of us lived was a miracle. That I lived, where so many did not, was something out of a tragic poem.
I remember heat, cold, screaming, than pain and disorientation as something cracked against my skull hard enough to send me flying into one of my beloved apple trees. I remember looking up through blurred, blood-filled eyes at the pink, red-veined blossoms. So beautiful, so ephemeral. I remember seeing the blast of flame inexorably marching toward them, flung in madness from a compatriot who had already torn his own eyes from his skull. My soul wept as the fire splashed against the trunk of the tree, setting it alight almost instantly. The blossom, caught in the conflagration, wilted and then crisped, raining ash in a parody of their natural life cycle. I remember knowing I was going to die, knowing that the fire would reach me soon. But somehow, the heat, the pain, the wonder of watching the blaze greedily devour everything it touched…it made me feel…feel…
Then movement and dizziness as someone plucked me from my addled reverie, swinging around enough to grant me a vision of Hell. The city was exploding, engulfed, tearing itself apart. I remember…I think I remember…my mother trying to trying to fight through the chaos to reach me, calling my name in anguish as she was pressed back and out of the main square by the mob. The last thing I remember that day was Magister Sunfury’s voice telling me to close my eyes, to not look upon what he would have to do to win out with our lives. I obeyed, fainted, and the world fell away.
How we survived in the ensuing years, and even thrived, still astounds me. We all became mana addicts to one degree or another, a poor replacement for the Sunwell’s influence, but were mostly able to control our vice and retain our wits. I prospered more than ever before as one of a handful of mages that had survived that black day. My skills were in demand, my tutors were delighted at my progress, if somewhat chagrined at my changed demeanor and total lack of self-preservation, but were ultimately pleased that I had finally settled on a sphere of mastery. I spoke little, made no friends, performed the functions of my profession, and lacking any other option, grew up quickly.
One day, Jaim pronounced me ready for combat duty, and I was assigned to cleanup detail in the ruined portions of Silvermoon City. “Cleanup” was a euphemism for execution of the wretched ones; Elves who, having lost their minds to total mana addiction, fled for the supposed safety of their fellows. Killing them was a mercy, and one I was ideally suited for. Our situation had made me cold, detached, calculating, and completely devoid of any compassion. I was less than a machine. I was a tool; nothing more.
And so I killed. As a tool, a weapon, an assassin. Again and again, I killed and felt nothing.
Until one day, returning from those fields of the damned, I was confronted by a particularly wretched-looking wretch. She might have been beautiful once, but now her Raven-black hair lay limp and matted against gaunt, filthy shoulders. Her wordless snarl revealed broken, rotted teeth framed by cracked and bleeding lips, wild eyes, and hate. She raised her makeshift shiv, a low growl building in her throat.
I sighed in irritation, calling forth the cleansing red and orange flame that had replaced all that was lost in my life, preparing to finish her in one quick shot. There was nothing to these once-proud Elves, after all. They went up like so much dry tinder at the lover’s caress of the fire. Almost a waste of power…but pretty to watch, at least.
The fire was never released, though, as my adversary’s growl suddenly stopped, her shiv lowered. I stared in sudden consternation as recognition flooded her eyes, her mouth dropping open in shock. The flame in my hands died as her voice, long forgotten and rusty with the harsh rasp of permanent addiction, whispered past her abused lips.
“K-Kats? Is it…is it…really you?”
I remembered…I remembered, damn you all! I had not truly forgotten, but buried that which was too painful to bear. No one, no one but…but…her…had ever called me that. Not my friends, not my father, not Jaim Sunfury, no one else. She had often chided me with the diminutive of my name when I was younger, teased me good-naturedly with it. I hated it, of course. I also loved her for doing it, of course.
When my voice came, it was barely a husky whisper, equally as unused as hers had been. “Yes. It’s really me. I’m…oh, I’m so sorry that…that…this happened to you. It’s my fault. My fault for not coming for you that day. My fault for running.”
She shook her head, dismissing my concern. The wild look to her eyes was gone, sanity returned. The hunger remained, but I did not delude myself into thinking that would ever leave her soul. “No, no, baby. It’s alright. It’s…a lot of us ran that day when we should have fought. I…I ran…I ran to find your father, but couldn’t. I don’t know where…how he…if…”
She trailed off, her eyes darting left and right, searching, beseeching. “The fire was everywhere. In everything. Everyone burned, or ran, or died, or became like…like…I am.” She licked her lips, and I tried to hide my distaste as one particularly putrescent scab broke open on her upper lip, pus and blood running freely, unnoticed. “But I’m better now, Kats. I am. I really, really am. I can control it. I can…be…who I was. I just…I just…need a few more crystals. Just one or two more and I’ll be right as the spring rain, you watch!”
Her smile as she lied to her only child was the most disturbing thing. I saw she believed it, believed it entirely. She was lost. She…my mother…wasn’t there anymore. Only this masquerade remained. The smile died as quickly as she had plastered it on as her clawed fingers reached for my jerkin, pulling us both down to the ground as she shrieked into my face.
“I need it! You’re a mage, so I know you have it! Just one! Just one crystal! Give it to me! Gods damn you, you ungrateful little bitch! GIVE IT TO ME NOW!”
Her voice broke. She degenerated into wracking sobs, head lolling on my shoulder and soiling my clothes with blood, mucus, tears, and who knew what. I sat, unmoving, unable to comprehend what was going on, unable to superimpose this creature on the smiling, lovely face of my youth, unwilling to face what I knew had to happen here.
And something else. Something was about to break loose inside me. Something dark and limpet, struggling to be free of the whirlwind of that dark place in my mind I had shoved all the memories that I could not, would not, dared not, let out. I couldn’t hold it back, couldn’t contain it. And with one soft, strained sentence from her, it was free to ravage my conscience.
“If your father were here, he’d make you give it to me. If he were here. If he were only here…”
And I remembered. All of it. All at once. Every face of every one of my victims for the past months. Every wretch I had put down, thinking it a mercy to execute them. For the first time, I heard their screams, their pleas as the fire took them. I remembered the faces of friends, rivals, entertainers I had loved as a child, political figures most of us had detested, minor royalty…and one face. One face above them all. His denials and shrieks had been long and loud. His rounded jaw melting in the heat of the flames, the spark in his light-green eyes starting to go out in excruciating spasms as the blistering heat contracted all his muscles. But most haunting, most jarring…the recognition on my father’s face at the moment his soul shed its charred vehicle.
Ironically, it was the pathetic, wailing thing leaning heavily against me that saved my life. I remembered an afternoon, and a conversation my parents had had with me right before I was to begin my apprenticeship under Magister Sunfury. My father spoke at length of our duty to minister wisdom and prudence to the younger races; my mother spoke of the compassion one must have in the course of those duties; both impressed on me the responsibility that was now mine. At the time, it seemed like one more speech, one more lecture, and I only half-listened, making the right sounds back at them by rote.
Now I understood, truly understood, what that duty and responsibility meant. It meant that no matter what I felt inside, no matter how hard it was to follow the path I had been set on in my youth, to turn away, to lay down and await oblivion, was more than just cowardice. It was treason.
And that’s why, as I held my mother close, my hand found the discarded shiv and brutally thrust it between her ribs.
Her fingers dug into my shoulder as she convulsively gasped in pain, eyes flying open wide in surprise. Gently, I leaned forward and reclined her against the hard, ash-laden ground. “I must release you from this pain," I said, surprised at how even, and hard, my voice was. "I have a duty, now, and I can’t turn my back on it for anything, or anyone. Not even the people who once loved me. I hope you understand and can forgive me. But even if you can’t, please…please be at peace.”
She couldn’t respond, of course. I knew my trade well, and had punctured her lung to avoid attracting the attention of others like her. She couldn’t scream, couldn’t curse, couldn’t berate or chastise, but neither could she praise or forgive. She just stared up at me, the rising and falling of her chest becoming more infrequent, more labored. Finally, after only a few minutes, or maybe an eternity, she took in an erratic, grasping breath, let it rattle out from her ruined lung…
I remember wanting to cry, but not daring to, as I turned and left the blasted portion of the city. The flame of a simple conjuration licked around my mother’s corpse as I strode away. I couldn’t just leave her for the vermin, rodent or bipedal. That much compassion, at least, I still had to give. Soon, her ashes would mingle with the torched remains of our legacy, but I would be long gone by then. When she died, the last vestiges of my old life expired with her. My previous duty had ended, and a new one was about to consume my existence.
It took less than an hour to pack my meager belongings, requisition enough field provisions to last at least two months, and leave the barracks behind with no one the wiser. The wretched ones, and the occasional abortive attack by the remnants of the Scourge invaders, were simply a symptom of the disease. I saw that clearly, now. The true threat, the enemy who had nearly destroyed us, the creature responsible for my never-ending pain, the Lich King, was now my target.
And striding toward the Ghostlands where a bloody road of revenge and justice were soon to begin, I remember my resolve, my all-encompassing fury at what he had done to all of us. Then, as now, I swore an oath to never stop until I saw the architect of our suffering laid low and bleeding at my hand. I held no illusions, no doubt that this quest could only end in my eventual death, but that seemed a small price to pay to become the tool of our vengeance.
Even kings can burn, after all.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Standing outside the dark portal...again...
I think I'm wearing her down...But why is her horse so much bigger than mine?
My first Epic Flyer; dropped for me in heroic Culling of Strat (in case you didn't know). His name is Mr. Blonde.
OK, enough for now. I'll figure out what exploits to put in here tomorrow. For now, hit hard and loot phat, peoples.