Transmogs: For the Alliance!

As well as seeing Hamilton (which was amazing oh my god!) over my pseudo-weekend in the middle of the week, I decided to double up on making a new transmog for my human paladin, who for all intents and purposes in RP is just a warrior (for now), but I prefer playing a paladin in PvE.

To give a little background, my “paladin” is part of the People’s Militia, or is it the Westfall Brigade since Wrath of the Lich King? It doesn’t matter. She’s a farm girl who joined the People’s Militia back when they were still a bunch of angry farmers fighting the Defias with pitchforks.

However, since getting tooled up by Stormwind and sent to Northrend to help out the NPCs have been given a visual overhaul and I was delighted to find that I could acquire the set in game for my character.

I won’t explain it. I will let pictures do the talking:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That makes two that I have made in the past week, as those who read my last short story might have seen the other Alliance themed transmog I made on my hunter. Regardless, I will also link them here as this is a patriotic Alliance-based transmog post. Glory to our king!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Personally, I am quite happy with both of them as while both sets are very Alliance themed and both gals wear the Stormwind tabard, neither set resorts to using the Stormwind Guard cosmetic armour set from Warlords of Draenor. They are more fitting this way as neither are part of the official Stormwind military; one is a farm girl turned People’s Militia fighter while the other is a bard and freelance scout.

I think this weekend I will start work on another piece of Warcraft fiction involving my human “paladin” and her half-sister (my human rogue). While they are not on opposite sides in terms of Alliance and Horde (as both are humans), they are diametrically opposed in their beliefs. Not a great relationship to have during the Feast of Winter Veil, when families should be spending time with each other and celebrating this happy, festive event.

Happy Feast of Winter Veil!

Just got back from Hamilton!

Seriously, that musical is amazing.

25394755_10156062837264175_6778330015293495650_o

Only photo I managed to get. Photography during the show was prohibited!

I took a trip up to London to meet up with a friend and go for some ramen, before heading off to the theatre to see Hamilton, the musical about the founding father of the USA, Alexander Hamilton.

I have just got out and suffered a surprisingly packed train (considering it was around 10:30pm when I got on the train and it’s a weekday) and got the bus home, showered and I am now sitting in the warm and preparing to head to bed.

However first I need to talk about the spectacle I just saw a few hours ago.

In short, it was AMAZING!

To break it down, act 1 follows Alexander Hamilton’s journey from nothing, through the American Revolution and becoming Geroge Washington’s right hand man, while act 2 focuses on his downfall and the political intrigue that surrounds him. While my preference is act 1, act 2 was also incredibly well performed!

So, I’ll start with what I liked:

The music. Of course I loved the music. It’s a musical. A musical that I love. I got the shivers multiple times through the performance because I loved it so much. It was amazing. I loved it. Act 1 got me pumped.

The emotional performance. This is an aspect that I loved about it as the sadder moments brought me to tears where just listening to them never did. I found myself crying when Phillip dies, when Eliza burns Alexander’s letters and the ending. Act 2 made me cry (in a good way, similar to how MGS makes me cry. I get emotional).

The cast. No, really, the cast were fantastic. I felt like the vast majority really filled their roles incredibly well. They were charismatic, silly when it suited the tone, serious when things got darker and their singing voices were great. I loved everyone, but I will, however, name favourites:

  • Lafayette/Jefferson: The actor who played these characters was probably my favourite, or at least top two with the next. For me, he really stole the show with his performances and had me chuckling at his relatively over-the-top reactions and dorky “happy dancing” at points like when Hamilton supports him over Aaron Burr.
  • King George: The King was incredible. He wasn’t kidding at the start when he told the audience to enjoy “his” show. I think everyone in the audience loved it when the King came on stage to sing his parts. He filled the roll perfectly and really made me smile every time he came out on stage.
  • The Schuyler Sisters: All three Schuyler sisters were great. Especially my main gal Peggy, the good girl amidst her two sisters who want to go out into the city to watch all the guys at work (work!).
  • Laurens/Phillip: Less so for his performance as Laurens, but more so for his performance as Phillip Hamilton, Alexander’s son. He made me chuckle when he rapped for his father, then ran up and gave him a hug, but simultaneously made me cry after he got shot in his duel and died in his parents’ arms. I was crying like a baby in that scene…

However, this leads me onto what I didn’t like about it. Believe me when I say that my only gripe is very minor, as I did really enjoy it, but nothing’s perfect: Hamilton was largely upstaged and out-shone by the rest of the cast. I felt like Alexander Hamilton, who is meant to be very charismatic, just lacked the charisma of the other big characters like Jefferson, Mulligan, Burr, King George or Washington. He could sing well and he had some stage presence, but next to some of the others I just felt like the focus was taken away from him, the protagonist, because the rest of the cast had more presence.

All in all I LOVED it. It was amazing and I’m so glad I went. I think in total it cost me about £100 including train fares and ticket prices, but not including the money I spent on merchandise. What can I say? I needed a shot glass that reads “I am not throwing away my shot!”

Totally worth the cost and I wholly recommend it.

Busy week! (and not because of work)

Well, this week was way more amazing than I originally expected. I honestly have been a bit out of the loop recently with new-ish job and searching for something better, so imagine my surprise when I realised that the Overwatch League pre-season has now started. I’ve been waiting for this for a while and now that it has launched I will be following it fervently. However, the majority of the matches are at times that I just cannot be awake for due to time difference, so I will be viewing the VODs the next day; 2am is not a time I can do on a work night!

So far, I was actually surprised with what I saw. Teams looked rusty by comparison to some of the matches I have seen before in tournaments such as APEX in South Korea, or even some of the matches from Contenders Season 1. With added context it makes a lot of sense for some teams, such as the Shanghai Dragons who didn’t have one of their primary dps players in the country until the day before their match against the titans in Seoul Dynasty. Also, I find myself in a difficult position of wanting to support London Spitfire, but I have been a long-time EnVyUs fan after they went to Korea won APEX season 1; my attentions are therefore split between the London Spitfire, as my local team, and Dallas Fuel as the team I have already supported all this time.

Hearthstone 2017-12-08 20-00-15-151

But this week didn’t stop there. I also came to the realisation that Kobolds and Catacombs released this week for Hearthstone as well. Now, I’m not a huge Hearthstone player, mainly just using it as a game to play during the morning and evening commute, however I will say that I love this expansion. As a filthy casual who loves my PvE content, I have been loving the dungeon runs so far and somehow managed to succeed on my first try as paladin. I don’t even play paladin much in Hearthstone, but amusingly I main a paladin in World of Warcraft, so maybe that’s why I decided on impulse to make my first dungeon run as a paladin; either that or I just decided I really felt like having Liadrin as my hero. Always loved Liadrin as a character…

My hammer burns with holy fire!

Hearthstone 2017-12-08 19-55-16-277

Blast From The Past!

So, there I was, sitting at my desk and contemplating my life, asking myself the important questions like what am I doing with my life? Why does it have to be so damn cold in the UK right now?

But I had the most important question pop up during my musings and I could not ignore it any longer: What happened to my old World of Warcraft account?

So I opened up the battle.net website, went to the customer service section and opened a ticket concerning my old account and if it would be possible to get it consolidated under my current one. I ended up having to give what felt like my life story to a representative and trying my best to answer some security questions that haven’t been relevant in 11 years (seriously, what was my favourite movie back then? War of the Servers? Rambo? I even asked my mother if she knew these answers because I sure as hell didn’t!). In the end, I got access to my old account as it had been merged into my current one. What was the result of this?

Firstly, I am super pumped for vanilla servers. Just seeing my old characters reminded me of how much I used to enjoy the whole experience, before heirlooms, before dungeon finder. Seeing my old characters in their ramshackle gear, as well as my old level 19 twink, brought back that sense of achievement and the struggle that came with playing a holy paladin at lower levels.

Secondly, I realised that I hold a key to some extreme money making. I logged in to my level 16 blood elf mage and saw it. The incredible opportunity. A relic of the past, lost in the cataclysm…

Robes of Arcana

Did someone say… NO LONGER AVAILABLE?!

Mix this with some transmogs that I earned, including a tabard appearance from the olympics, and I am now in one of those nostalgic moments. There’s project60 that I know is going around, but I think I will just let this feeling stew and develop until vanilla servers are properly implemented. I will either play a night elf  or a human, and I will play a priest, hunter, mage or paladin. Sorry Horde, without blood elves you have nothing I wish to play; I was always an Alliance player back in vanilla and I don’t intend to change that.

I do wonder what chocolate flavoured World of Warcraft would taste like…

Feeling deflated (somewhat)

Well, that was unexpected. I was really looking forward to running my session this week; my maps were made, my encounters weren’t too deadly as my PCs are still fledgling adventurers that I don’t want to kill with my creative boss encounters. I planned for a bit of moral ambiguity, which amusingly took me to a conclusion I didn’t think my players would take, and was super pumped to run the session. Everything was in place. Everything was wonderful.

There were obviously good points. There was some good tension between the players when I faced them with a moral dilemma concerning some captive aliens. I was honestly not expecting one of the players to free the Nurian captive and give her a vacc suit so she could escape the facility and survive on the surface of the toxic planet. The player who decided to try and uncover the planet’s history from the primitive patterns on the wall was another fun aspect, as I got to explain some of the lore behind this specific planet they found themselves on.

However, if everything was great I wouldn’t be feeling so down.

My players are not ideally suited for sticking together. I don’t want to railroad, but by this point it is starting to look like I may need to step in and provide some looming threat to keep the group together. The out of character tension was unfortunately thick this session, with players getting in each other’s way, causing more conflicts to spark up. While some of these in character conflicts are great and I love the crew dynamic at times, some of them seem to bubble over a bit too far and get uncomfortable.

One of the players also hated the more dungeon crawly aspect of the job. There were a series of caves the players had to go through and the enemies continuously failed their morale checks (as they were really crappy, but numerous. They were meant to swarm the PCs, but kept failing morale checks and ran away). I can agree that this dragged on a little, which is why at the end I just stopped doing morale checks and just made them fight to the death. The sole reason I kept the NPCs as these small pack animals was because I don’t like killing off players, unless they deserve it, that is, and that meant their morale score was utter garbage. I will be upping the difficulty now that my players have mostly hit level 3 and will be catapulting my players into the conflicts plaguing the universe a bit more. I can appreciate feedback, in fact I love it. I need it. As a writer, I need good feedback and the same is said for GMing, however after the level of planning I put in this week it has left me a little bit deflated. Also, only one of the PCs actually examined the walls in any detail, though was let down half way through by poor rolls. I had a lot of planetary history planned and no one even tried to find more out about it, but still decided the adventure was boring.

I was going to have the PCs stalked on their way back from these caves and subsequent facility they had to go into to help this trainee psychic complete his trials, hounded by Eridak hunting parties who remained on the planet surface after the war with the primitive natives and the aliens who lived on the surface before it was turned into a toxic wasteland. However, by this point I just wanted it to end. The energy of the group was depleted and I had already grasped that there was both negativity and tension running high since mid-session. I didn’t want to continue by this stage; quite the opposite to the start of the session.

I’m going to keep soldiering on for now. I will take the feedback to heart, but I’m certainly not doing any planning tomorrow. I just don’t feel like it. Maybe I’ll play some World of Warcraft, or maybe I’ll write some fiction. It’s my 2nd day off of the week, so I’d better make it a good one!

Also, it’s 3am in the UK. I think I should go to sleep…

Planning, planning and… ooh, planning!

I was going to write some fiction, I really was. I had a little adventure to send my little Blood Elf on and everything was planned out. It was going to be amazing.

Then I remembered I run a Stars Without Number game every Wednesday.

Then I remembered I needed to make a map for said Stars Without Number game on Wednesday.

Then I realised I would need to make a whole two maps for said Stars Without Number game on Wednesday.

And I like dynamic lighting.

Then I had busy days at work so I couldn’t build maps or write fiction in between calls as they were just constantly coming in. Working customer service in an arguably understaffed department is really not fun on busy days…

Anyway, I’ve spent a lot of my free time planning for this week’s Wednesday game and it’s going to be amazing! I can’t wait to run it; it’s going to be fantastic. Now, I know my players are out there, so I won’t spoil anything just yet, but it’s going to be great. Probably a bit less RP than last session, as the job my players have taken on is going to involve combat and last session saw no combat at all. We’ve got all that to look forward to, plus some mysteries of a toxic planet to uncover, some caves to explore and some new people to meet! All to help a psychic nerd pass his finals… and 50k credits.

Also, the last “boss” of the job is both dangerous and utterly useless at the same time. I can’t wait to see how -that- pans out…

However, I would feel bad not giving at least a sneak preview of what I’ve been working on in terms of fiction. Here’s a snippet of the first piece of Warcraft-based fiction I have written in literally eight years! I feel so incredibly rusty since I haven’t really written in a universe or setting that isn’t my own design for quite a while.

Military life is a difficult one to leave. I thought I could do it, I thought I could leave that life behind and join the civilian workforce; maybe I could’ve become a priestess as I wanted to all those years ago, before my little sister left and Father pressured me into becoming a paladin. I honestly tried. I tried to pick up the smithing trade to earn a living. It wasn’t that it was difficult, I understood the basics of it pretty well, however I felt useless. I didn’t feel like this was a way for me to repent for what our order did after the Sunwell was destroyed by the Scourge; what we did to that Naaru.

Watching

Stay tuned to find out what’s going down in the Arathi Highlands and why I have an edgy screenshot of my Blood Elf kneeling on a rock. Also stay tuned to learn of the antics that will go down on Wednesday when my players get into the heart of this job they have taken!

Also still going to try and reorganise this website so it makes sense and maybe update some things (not the 40k tactics. I haven’t played in about a year or two).

I also need to think of a witty sign off… >.>

Oh yeah… This exists

It has been one of those times I guess. I went to university to study my journalism MA (which I smashed!) and I learned how to write all professional-like. However, this actually pushed me away from blogging, rather than embracing it. I really enjoy writing when there’s no pressure and I really enjoy just unloading my thoughts onto a page rather than obeying a proper news writing structure with all the bells and whistles.

Now, however, I am back into the real world. My supposed enjoyable time as a student was taken with other responsibilities, so I’m a little bummed I didn’t get that student experience one last time, but that’s neither here nor there. Now I am back in a customer service position (which is really boring, but I really needed the money!) like my previous job, which leaves me with a good expectation of my responsibilities and routines.

So first: I plan to get back into writing fiction. This applies to both extended universe stuff, as I have gotten back into World of Warcraft in the past few months, and my own original items. I have properly written the first chapter in my fantasy novel, so I am hoping to get that finished at some point… I’m awful with deadlines though.

Blood Elf.png

I main a paladin and Blood Elves have been my favourite race since Warcraft 3!

Second: I plan to lose weight. My workplace literally has a gym in the building, so my laziness won’t stop me, and starting on Monday I should be running home from work at least every weekday (I work weekends. It sucks).

Third: I plan… something. I just wanted three things in this list.

For now, this is all. As the title implies, I only just realised I am still paying for this domain and I feel like I should really get back into writing and blogging and all that stuff. Just coming to the end of my “weekend” and not looking forward to the joys of customer service for the next five days, but I’ve survived it so far. What’s another couple of months?

Save me…

Game of the Week – Going on Hiatus

This is a pretty short post. I have decided to put this on hiatus for the moment for five reasons:

  1. I am currently doing a Journalism MA. It is a wombo combo with an NCTJ qualification. I am largely on top of things (which is really nice for once) apart from my shorthand. Therefore, I am dedicating more time to shorthand each day to remedy this.
  2. I am overweight. I want to remedy this as well. I live in a coastal town and would like to wear a swimming costume without feeling horrible. I am a very self-conscious individual and this has gone on too long.
  3. My mother is getting a hip replacement, so I’ll have more responsibilities helping out in that regard for the next 6 weeks or so.
  4. I am running a Stars Without Number game in a sandbox style, so I have a decent amount of preparation work to do with that. I might start writing something to do with that instead, though it depends on time.
  5. I want to get a novel published, so I am receiving my novel projects! Novels take time to write…

Apologies for this, but it’s kind of difficult to write a Game of the Week article when you’re not really playing anything. I think I played about 3 hours of Final Fantasy VII last week and that’s about it!

Boop! How Blizzard Stole Me From My Guild

It was another one of those weekends where I sat in my room and wished I was elsewhere. These are far too common.

This weekend saw Blizzcon run its course at the Anaheim Convention Center in California and it may come as no surprise that, as a poor student, I was not present.

Blizzard announced Sombra and released a new cinematic while I was having a serious conversation with my SWTOR guild on Friday night. As a part of the guild leadership I am expected to be integral to talks about matters such as “where shall we take the guild?” “what kind of RP events can we run?” “how can we solve these problems that we have?”

However, Blizzcon saw that my attention was firmly away from the Skype call I was in, causing me to make incoherent excited noises over my microphone as they aired the “Infiltration” animated short; by this point I had already labelled myself a Sombra main. I just dropped from the call with a quick “sorry, but Sombra just happened.”

Also, the Overwatch World Cup came to an honestly predictable finish, with South Korea taking the gold without dropping a single map. Russia took silver, unable to stand up to South Korea in the finals, and Sweden, one of the favourites to win, took bronze. I don’t want to say I called it, but… I totally called it!

I’m not a huge Blizzard fan, as I don’t find any of their other games interesting (World of Warcraft doesn’t count as I only really like MMOs for role-playing), so the only other thing that I followed was the cosplay, which as usual was totally on point. Unfortunately, due to being a starving student, I do not have any pictures. However, it has spurred me on to design my own cosplay for some conventions.

I mean… there was someone dressed as a murloc…

Things are… looking up(?)

Wowowowowowowowowow.

That’s the best way to describe the past two weeks. I haven’t done a post in three weeks, I know, but it’s been… interesting. I already wrote about how I am no longer a teacher and how I am rather pleased about that due to various reasons that I have already ranted about. However, I also have a new job. This is the wowowowowowowowow part. My friend’s family helped me out and I managed to get a job, a corporate job, where I, for once, can leave the office after my shift is over and not have to worry about work in the slightest until my next shift. The corporate structure suits me way better than the teaching structure did, and I know what I have to do to advance. It’s a lot more logical than teaching where, to move up, you basically have to become a deputy head and then a headteacher. That’s right, I have officially become a wageslave and I love it! I mean, I always have been the corporate type when it came to cyberpunk, after all. Only this is reality, which is less dystopian which means that I might, possibly, maybe… actually have a future.

Speaking of which, I’ve had cyberpunk on the brain lately. I would be lying if I said that my new job had nothing to do with it, the new corporate environment has had my mind wandering during my breaks; “I could turn that into a plot device” and “I could adapt this sort of environment for my fiction” are two thoughts that have been cropping up, as well as the increased awareness of how the modern corporate world works; the insights that this is giving are wonderful and I plan to fully apply my new knowledge to my fiction, and I have definitely been thinking cyberpunk over the past week or two. I have been in a swords and sorcery fantasy mood recently, due to my D&D games being my favourite, however this rather large new development in my life may have tipped me back towards cyberpunk. Inspiration can come from any source!

One game that I have been looking at, continuing on from the cyberpunk feel, is Sindome. Sindome is a multiplayer, text based RPG with an emphasis on RP set in a cyberpunk universe that draws inspiration from cyberpunk heavy hitters, such as Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Total Recall and Judge Dredd. The game takes place in Witmore City, a typical cyberpunk city flooded with inequality, violence and corporate influence. I gave the game mechanics a quick read over and, whilst I do like my 3d interfaces, I felt like I could deal with the text-based system that the game was using. Everything looked fine and dandy… until I realised that your character is always available. When you log out, your character goes to sleep, but time doesn’t freeze. I can see how this would really help immersion, and the generic job system helps to accommodate for that, however this is a real problem for me. Some of you will know that I hate it when I have to live a game, when a game becomes like a job to maintain. I just do not have the time or energy to dedicate in such a way, nor would I want to. For me, this is a massive shame as I really loved the idea of Sindome. I really loved the setting, I loved the aesthetic, I loved the job system, I loved that it didn’t shoehorn me in to playing a certain type of character and that I could be a corp if I really wanted to. I was really looking forward to making my corporate cyber-jockey and fleshing her out, but this singular feature stopped me in my tracks. If I have a busy month of writing, work or other gaming, which is very possible with Overwatch on the horizon, my character’s rent runs down on their apartment or coffin or whatever I have used for them to sleep in, and eventually they get dumped on the street, all whilst you’re working through a busy time at work. I can’t stress how disappointed I am about this, as I would have absolutely loved to give it a shot. Maybe I’ll write something based in Whitmore City as a compromise, as the setting is great and I’d love to have a play around with it.

The other game that I mentioned is Overwatch. In the last few weeks I made the fatal mistake of watching three of the cinematic trailers and the hype train has come into the station. The cinematic trailers, not the gameplay ones, are like Pixar with teeth. They’re incredibly well done and really show case the characters well; albeit only Tracer, Winston, Reaper and Widowmaker (with a bit of Zenyatta, but all he does is get shot!). The cinematics are expertly done and, as I said, it just feels like watching Pixar with teeth. The voice acting could be a little bit better, as a lot of people have slanted Tracer’s voice as annoying, and as an English woman I can verify that nobody speaks like Tracer…) and Widowmaker sounds sort of French, but sort of not; I find it strange, at least. The hype that has built around Overwatch now has grown for me and I’m just glad I only did this a month or so before release, so I only have a month to get through before release. Oh, I cannot wait to play Overwatch. I’ve already decided on five heroes that will be my main ones: Tracer, Mei, D.Va, McCree and Mercy; however I will play all of the heroes at least once. Except maybe Bastion. How can people find Bastion fun to play? All you do is sit in a corner and occasionally left click! I’ll never understand some people…

I’ve been toying with the idea of running a Stars Without Number game, set in my own sci-fi universe too. It would be my first foray into GMing a game, though with the recent developments in my life I am really liking the idea of something cyberpunk. The main problem I have with that is that cyberpunk systems that I’ve seen are Cyberpunk 2020, which is horrendously broken, and Shadowrun which has a load about magic and fantasy races which I wouldn’t be looking at including. I know Cyberpunk 2020 better, but I think Shadowrun with house rules would be better, honestly. It would mean that I would have to learn a new system though, so there’s that. Decisions!

Finally, concerning The Old Republic, I have started to upload some videos to my Youtube channel. Nothing too fancy, just some galactic starfighter gameplay since I saw one of the other pilots that I like doing the same. It’s interesting for me to see a gsf match from another perspective, and it’s really helping me to up my game. Similarly, it’s giving some of the other members of the community a brief look into how I play and I’ve gotten a few pointers from people who are undoubtedly better at the game than me.

It’s been an exciting few weeks for me, and my future is looking up for the first time in at least a year, though really it’s looking better than it has for about three. Onwards and upwards!