The Weather Outside…
This morning I am going to try really hard to keep my blog post somewhat brief because I have weather to deal with outside. Throughout the day yesterday it kept snowing and while the ground temperature was too warm to cause it to stick permanently to the ground, it has managed to coat every other surface… like our vehicles. So before this morning is up, after I finish up my blog post I am going to have to go out there and deal with the mess. I am not looking forward to it, because last I checked the temperature and the wind were both still insane. As a denizen of Oklahoma I find it far easier to deal with warm temperatures in excess of 110 than freezing temperatures. So yesterday when it was in the 20s with an insane windchill… I was not a happy camper.
In fact I got out yesterday morning to get breakfast, and then did not leave the house at all once the weather started in more insanely. I had a grand old time hibernating either in my office under a blanket or downstairs on the new laptop… under and even larger fuzzier blanket. This combined with the fact that I seemed to have at least one cat on me at any given time kept me fairly toasty warm, or at least toasty in the ways that counted. Unfortunately today I will have to brave the cold and head out into the world. I am absolutely not looking forward to the commute now that there is “ice” on the road ways… because even the potential mention of it causes folks to drive insane. The biggest thing I am not looking forward to is waiting on my jeep to thaw out this morning and melt some of the snow.
Yrel Is Awesome
So far one of my favorite parts about the Warlords of Draenor expansion is the character of Yrel. In part because she evolves along with your hero through the course of the game. For an alliance player she is the person driving the narrative forward, and many times your partner in the thick of the battle. What makes the character interesting is you watch her evolve over the course of the content from a very frightened Draenei who does not believe in herself and her abilities. Over the course of the storyline there is a key moment where you try and bolster her spirit, and from that point onwards she evolves. With each trip into battle she becomes more and more of a badass. So while in the above screenshot she looks a bit doe eyed… that quickly changes into a woman of determination and strength.
I don’t think the experience of exploring Draenor would be nearly as interesting to me were it not constantly moved forward by interactions with Yrel. When the early cinematics were released I assumed this game from an alliance players perspective would be all about Maraad and his returning to his home land. While I like the character of Maraad just fine, I feel like they made the right choice to switch focus and center the story on the much more interesting Yrel. The thing the Warcraft universe needs more than anything are some strong female characters that play center stage, and not supporting characters. Yrel so far does a really good job of being that sort of character. Terran Gregory and team have done an amazing job with the in game cinematics, in making this entire experience feel so much more movie like.
Taking it Slow
At this point I am trying to stop and smell the roses whenever I have the chance. While the list of level 100 characters keeps increasing in guild, and the call of high level content is there… I am trying to take it slowly. That said the game seems to be conspiring against me, in that I am level 95 and have yet to make it out of Gorgrond. There are just so many things to see and do in the landscape and my compulsion to completely every quest, kill every rare mob and gather every treasure… is ending up leveling me more swiftly than I had expected. I remember having the same basic feeling when I was leveling in Pandaria the first time as well. The only negative is that my desire not to skip content means I am going to have to do a lot of questing at maximum level to attempt to gear myself. The problem I ran into with Pandaria is that in order to get into the dungeons you really needed that quest gear from Townlong Steppes and Dreadwastes. At this point I will ding 100 well before I have set foot in any of the later zones, so I am likely setting myself up for the same issues.
Thanks to Final Fantasy XIV… I did something I never thought I would do in World of Warcraft. Yesterday afternoon I queued as a tank for a random dungeon… in fact I ran two of them back to back. Overall the experience was not nearly as bad as I would have expected it. Sure I had one jackass in the first run that laughed at us as we wiped to something… but the majority of the time it went nice and smoothly. Equally shocking was the fact that apparently Warrior tanking is a muscle memory task because I could still do it instinctively. Granted I set up my hot bars much the same way as I have always set them up for years. My fingers seemed to know precisely what to do at the right time, and honestly I found it an easier experience than tanking with a Deathknight. It felt natural, and as the dungeons ran on I started doing things a lot more confidently. Maybe the warrior tank inside of me really still is there, and was just waiting to come out again. I look forward to ping ponging around dungeons with charge as the role begins to feel more natural. Essentially Belghast Warrior tanking is open for business… and if you need a tank holler.
This morning I am thankful that House Stalwart in World of Warcraft on the Argent Dawn server… continues to exist in spite of me. While I founded the guild back in 2004, it has been years since I have controlled the destiny of this plucky guild. In fact there are many times that I have actively tried to recruit players away from World of Warcraft into other games. In spite of my constant attempts and my white panel van full of candy… the guild still exists as strong as it ever was. Over the last few nights we have had almost 30 people online, which is pretty damned good for a guild in a game that had been in a state of decline. While I set the motions into action that started the guild and gathered people there… it is the people themselves that keep it going. Every so often I will take back the reigns of the guild, and do a few tweaks here and there, but largely it is the people themselves that have kept the ship moving forward.
I also want to thank my good friend Rylacus. He claims that he is just a “Bel Proxy”, but he has been all too gracious about wearing the crown when I am not around. He provides the guild a sense of stability that I have not been able to since the launch of Cataclysm. He is as much guild mascot as he is guild leader, and I appreciate the effort he has put into it. He is also really damned good at denying my candy, as I have only ever gotten him to follow me into one other game. He is all about his characters in World of Warcraft and the progress he has made with them. Since both he and his kids play the game, he is as firmly rooted in it as anyone I know. He still keeps trying to give me back the crown, but his willingness to wear it means so much to me. He keeps things moving forward and makes sure the train never completely derails. It has taken me awhile to reach a point of accepting that the House Stalwart that exists today is not the House Stalwart I created… but is in no way less awesome or less interesting. The guild has evolved beyond being a cult of personality dedicated to its leader, and has become a chain reaction that sustains itself. I am thankful to no longer be needed to keep the fire going.