The Dream

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(Image not related. It’s just what happen when you run a WoW screenie through Deep Dream.)

This is not World of Warcraft related, even though Velen does have a cameo. This is just how my brain works … all of it is written as is, without editing.

Just a short preface: I often don’t remember my dreams. About once or twice a month though, my brain makes a “memory dump” and those tend to be very graphic, with smells and sounds and even the feeling of skin and pain.

There were a number of Very Sexual Details involved as well but I decided to leave them out. For, uh, obvious reasons.

So, as I went to sleep earlier I found myself in a strange and slightly worrying land … Somehow I ended up in a relly posh restaurant. The reason was simple: I had been drinking with GRR Martin and a guy dressed in black leather, but Martin forgot his backpack and wallet. As I was skint – and Martin surely is not – I agreed with the Black Leather Man that if I returned the backpack and wallet I would surely get a reward. Off I trotted, once I managed to climb out of a window because the apartment, where the party had been going on for quite some time, was crammed with leather sofas covered in plastic. The crackle as you sat down was not very pleasant, tbh, so I know why Martin left.

I made my way through a city of shadowy buildings and somehow managed to get pass a burly bouncer. While I’m waiting for a Maitre D (however you spell it) to tend to me, This Guy With Stary Eyes walks up to another guest and, well Stares at him. It was a really scary guy … Tall dressed in bearskins, he had a knitted hat, too! He just – stares.

Then he started urinating on the poor guest, a rather posh young fellow, who needless to say got a bit upset. The Stary Scary Guy pulled a knife and started stabbing him in the chest! Once the posh guy was dead the Scary Stary Guy left the scene, trailing footsteps of blood behind. I had hid behind a vending machine filled with French Cuisine (it was a very posh restaurant) but since no one else bothered with it I thought that …

Maybe I should at least tell a waiter about the dead body. And the blood. As it turned out, I managed to find a security guard that looked like Velen, but in a uniform, but he simply brushed me off with a “we will deal with one problem at a time!”. Outside, meanwhile, a tourist and his young teenage son had fallen asleep in the middle of the street, both of them disappointed that the restaurant wouldn’t let them in even if they promised to shoot everyone.

A cleaner and a Bouncy Bot dragged the corpse out into the street because “the guests are complaining about the trash”. Also, they thought the green rain outside would somehow raise him from the dead. The rain did not.

I decided this place was weird. So I grabbed a cat and ran; I’m not sure where the cat came from. I was going to make it home, still with Martins backpack slung over my shoulder, but then he showed up and thanked me for returning his possessions. He called me a cab, but no traffic except police cars was allowed on the streets because of a “murderous maniac”. It turned out the Stary Scary Man was no where to be found, so the police reluctantly agreed on letting thousands of cross-country runners take a detour through the city. Meanwhile, I was still carrying the cat, who told me there were more cats in a house not far from where I was standing.

We made our way across football fields, dodging quarter backs carrying swords (!), and snaked our way through roadblocks – put up there, just so traffic wouldn’t run all the runners over. Somehow we found our way to the building complex where there were more cats, but SWAT teams had cordoned the site.

“Can’t go in there. This is cosplayer country!”

Half-naked young females with cat ears etc etc was hunched down behind the windows, carrying lasers and AR-15’s. Apparently the cops didn’t know how to blow up buildings – but they had a production team from Hollywood ready. Harrison Ford turned out to be an excellent demolition man … The building went BOOOOOOM and I scurried into cover behind armored trucks, trying to keep the cat calm! I ran into a field, across a highway and eventually reached a nice park where everyone came to bury their iPads. There was even gravestones. Blue one’s.

I managed to beat an old lady half to death with my iPhone and steal her can of tuna. The cat was pleased and said “Now you’re the Stary Man.”

Then I woke up.

Dear WoW Insider

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You taught me something important: You’re a part of this game. Once upon a time there was a very nervous boy who listened to the 1337s. The nervous boy did his best to copy what he read but no matter what he did things rarely worked out. Elitist Jerks was an awesome forum. The knowledge hidden within the sometimes patronizing posts was an absolute goldmine – but the way it was presented scared the nervous boy.

You’re either on top of the game or you’re nothing.

One day, the nervous boy was eating a kebab. He clicked around here and there and somehow he ended up on a site he had never even heard of. He had gone to Thotbot, he had gone to the Official Forums, he had gone to sites that made his antivirus yell “OH NO YOU DON’T!!!”. The site he ended up on was one of those buddies that your mother would be proud of. My, she would give them milk and cookies. This site, had in its comments and articles a simple message:

You’re a part of this game.

That’s how I met WoW Insider. This was years ago. I started playing World of Warcraft around 2008. As many others, I looked upon the people in their shiny armors straight out of whatever raid that was current. As many others, I thought ‘this is what I have to do’. As many others, I soon realised that I would never become what Those People were. I don’t function that well in ‘team sports’. I blame high school (but that’s a completely different story).

As many others, I thought I had to be hostile to play this game. I read comments all over the place in the years to come, somehow trying to convince myself to become a “raider”. The problem was, I had no friends in this game of ours.

Wow Insider changed that.

Before WoW Insider, I read MMO Champion, Wowhead, the forums, Elitist Jerk (again). Over and over I saw the same thing: 1337. The one thing all those sites except WoW Insider taught me was:

You’re either on top of the game or you’re nothing.

I’m used to being nothing. I’ve been a nothing all my life. I’m so fucking 1337 at mediocricy you can’t touch me. I was complacent with being the one who never went into a dungeon until I was 80 and could roflstomp everything unless it was current content. I got the Kingslayer title less than a year ago, just to give you a pointer at how I play.

Now, see … the introduction of Dungeon Finder and later Looking For Raid, LFR, changed things. But more importantly – WoW Insider changed my mindset. I realised, from the multitude of people commenting, usually in the Queue, that I didn’t have to be All – or nothing. I could be something, because there’s room for everyone in Azeroth. Which, of course, is solely Blizzard Entertainments idea – and a mighty fine idea it is!

But this post is not about Blizzard (even though WoW Insider wouldn’t even exist without World of Warcraft). This post is about WoW Insider. I stumbled upon them years ago, in 2008 or -09. For several years I simply lurked. People just knew so damned much! All that knowledge was, well, intimidating. Between the in-depth articles on warriors and lore and raiding and whatnot, there was a simple message hidden:

You’re a part of this game.

Over time, I started to realize that you didn’t have to be 1337. There were so many people playing this game we love, this hobby of ours, this internet dragon-killing philatelists society (before the internet people who collected stamps were wieved, buy some, as just as weird as we are). This outpouring of ordinary people investing time in something they cherished and felt was important was simply astounding. I had’nt realised how big it was, World of Warcraft, until I came across WoW Insider.

Hardcores, casuals, trolls, lurkers. Moms, dads, singles, couples. Hetero, bi, gay, trans. Vanillas, doms, subs, switches. Girls, boys, women, men. Dads, mothers, grandparents. Brothers, sisters, cousins, strangers. Haters, lovers, poets, warriors. Soldiers, oh so many soldiers; americans, brittish, french, swedish. Europeans, americans, south americans, asians. Englishmen, britons, russians. Dragons, ponies, giffers, orcs, draenei, belves, nelves, goblins, dwarves, worgens, inquisitors, Monty Pythonists, pop culturists … on and on and on and on.

Humans. All of you. Humans. THIS is WoW Insider. In the Queue following the news of AOL rumors, people started posting selfies. The orcs and the trolls and all the avatars had faces. I rarely get so moved that I burst into tears from something I see on the internet, I have the often spoken of “thick skin”, but dammit!

Without the staff none of this would be possible. We commenters would not be the band of brothers (and sisters) that we are without you, the WoW Insider staff.

Rossi, with your passion for warriors you made me fall in love with this game (fuck man, you made roll a warrior! Several times!). Sacco, though you left WoW Insider – you talked to me. Stickney, Ziebart – all of you: You talked and still talk in a way that I, a nervous boy, can listen to. You’re like that great teacher I had, the one that actually made me who I am. You have never patronized me. You have never trolled me. you have always stated the facts. You have had the courage to stand up for what you believe in – be it the state of the warrior or some other more volatile opinion. You have improved me, I dare say – you, and all the commenters of your site, has made me a better person.

WoW Insider showed me that there was more to World of Warcraft than killing internet dragons. You showed me, through personal editorials and comments and the multitude of various posts you did before the cutbacks a year or two ago, that behind the gamer there is a person. You have a tone of personality, of intimacy, that I have never seen anywhere else. Food recipies, beer brewing bravado, how to loose weight or else it might kill you – all of that played an equal part in me simply falling in love with “your” site. The fount of lore knowledge you all possessed was a gateway to just how big this game is! Blizzard themselves couldn’t do a better job presenting lore as you did, WoW Insider. There’s been many nights that I’ve been fighting a desire to sleep, just to catch your podcast. Time zones be damned!

I made myself public on WoW Insider around 2010. That’s when I started commenting. Just a few things here and there. At first I was … well, bit of a jerk, I think. I can’t remember, honestly. I didn’t post any comments on a regular basis until you integrated with Twitter (whenever that was). That’s when I started taking off. Over time, I started to develop a sort of friendship with some of WoW Insiders regular commenters. I live half my life on the internet. Most of my social life is virtual. You, you guys and gals, you are my friends, though we have never met.

Thank you, WoW Insider, for making this possible.

This is not the end. I’m sure your fanbase – and your connections – are working on a solution. You are a pillar of the WoW Community and if you fall, there will be dark days ahead. So let’s end on a WoW related paraphrase:

There must always be a WoW Insider.

#savejoystiq #savewowinsider

Others on the fate of WoW Insider: Sportsbard , World of Matticus , FecklessLeader , Apple Cider Mage , Captain Cakewalk , Growing up in Azeroth , Battle Pet Round Up , Lib Feathers and many more to come when I find them.

Losing my words

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“This screenshot is here because, well, why not?”

This is a non-WoW related post. It is also a fair bit personal. In a way it could be interpreted as what happens to a draenei who end up on a different world, with a different language. But most of all it’s closer to a farmer, who once in the 19th century emigrated from Duvemåla Socken to a country far, far away.

You ready? Here we go!

I’m swedish, born and bred in what some people of the world call “paradise”. I grew up talking swedish. I learned how to read and write in swedish. I published a novel in swedish. I’ve been talking and reading and writing swedish for at least 44 years (I’m 45, btw). A year ago, give or take, I had the opportunity to be the translator of Joe Devers “Lone Wolf”-series, from english to swedish, a complete restart of the Lone Wolf-brand for a predominantly swedish market, for the first time since the late 1980’s. Needless to say I jumped on this opportunity.

I’ve been reading english on one monitor and writing swedish in another monitor for more than a year now. There’s a lot of Lone Wolf-material to be translated. At first I didn’t even think about it – but this is probably something that has been … growing on me. For years.

I’m starting to loose my native language.

Case in point: I’m doing this rather personal blog post in english, a language that should be foreign to me. But it isn’t. In fact, I have an easier time writing this than I have working on a personal project, a novel, in swedish.

I love words. I’m in love with the word. I have always been. When other kids tried their hardest to be a part of the soccer team (or the thug squad), I was deep in thought figuring out Tolkien, le Guin, Lovecraft and Strindberg. When other students tried their hardest passing the math test, I ditched class and hung out at the library (yeah, that wasn’t smart but insanely fun). I started writing “creatively” when I was seven. Writing kept me alive, in a very real sense, all through a teen chased by bullies and later on – through a terrible time of suicidal depression.

Writing keeps me alive.

But here’s the thing: Up until now I have never ever experienced this feeling of … lostness. I have lost my native language. Words that once came to me like flies to a heap of dung (well okay, I’ve never been great with metaphors) now are … lost. Or at the very least reluctant.

Swedish words, that is.

More often than not as I write I find myself writing a word in english, before I delete it and then write the same word – in swedish. Sometimes. not always, I actually have to try to remember what the word is – even though I know it, in my mind, in my very bones.

My bones talk english.

This is what scares me. I have never ever set foot in either Great Britain or the US, or any other english speaking country, yet english feels more native to me than my native language. Have I lived in a virtual english-speaking world so long that I have become an involontary immigrant to one or more countries I have never visited outside the internet?

Truth be told, I believe that is so. I’m losing my roots. My language. I’m starting to feel like Wilhelm Mobergs character Karl Oskar Nilsson, från Duvemåla Socken, who in the 1850’s emigrated to Amerika och såsmåningom changed his name to Charles Nelson. A man who didn’t “lade in veden”, but “puttade in veden” (as his wife Kristina put it).

The section above is exactly like my brain functions, right now. I’m glancing at, and listening to the lines of, an american movie on one monitor as I write this. I’m flipping over to a text in swedish (a daily newspaper) from time to time. The news article is about a certain right wing party in Sweden. In another tab another article, this one in US english, is open – that one is about the things going on in Ferguson.

Here I am, not knowing what language I should interpret the information in. At times I have to stop and look up am english word, what it means in  swedish, a word that I know the meaning of – because I … well, not actually forgot … but hesitate … What does it mean in swedish? Some five years ago I woul have done the exact same thing for an english word.

This … worries me. In a sense. Yet, in some strange way, it also comforts me. Because while I might loose one language, I’m gaining a new one – and maybe I can fuse the two together because one can never truly loose the native language.

But I am a little bit worried. Here’s a fun fact, by the way: I did write that as “lil'”. I guess I’ve listened to too many americans. I am worried for my words. It’s not nationalism – I am not the nationalistic kind. It’s more of … well … heritage. Honor. In a very metaphysical way it feels as if I’m letting my parents down. They taught me to speak, think and read in their native language. Yet here I am – a digital immigrant. I’m a man who in a sense does exactly what Charles O Nelson, near Kitchisaga Lake in Minnesota, a man born in Duvemåla Socken, Sverige, once did.

I’m losing my native words.

A bleak future of unreal raiding

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This is a rant.

You have been warned.

It’s with slight dread I see what’s on the horison. LFR – chaotic as it may be at times – suited me fine. I have no interest in “real rading”. Reasons are many, among others an almost chronic stress level, occasional panic attacks, slow reactions and a self confidence wich at times reach rock bottom. I am not a raider, I don’t want to be a raider. You certainly don’t want someone like me dragging down your progression.

Ah, yes. Unreal raiding – because as you all know, LFR isn’t “real raiding”. I’m a terrible cynic, of course.

Horridon

The player I am
Once I hit a gear level I’m comfortable with I’m fine. Done. Right now I’m comfortable with mu iLvl 542 on Vassannah and 540 on Shuanna. It is enough for the content I usually do. I walk the lonely road of soloing stuff instead of having to endure “team play”.

I don’t care about reaching the next hamster wheel of gear because I do not care about progression. That doesn’t mean I’m not taking care of what I do. I’m not lazy, I want to improve – but I do it on my own terms, in my own way. I don’t rely on other people and I certainly don’t expect welfare epics.

I consider myself skilled enough to play my main classes. I might not be the most optimal player, but I make do. I’m good enough for flex (should I ever want to go there). I will be good enough for the Warlords of Draenor “normal” (wich, as far as I understand, is the current flex).

I ran my LFRs for a reason (outside the legendary cloak gotta catch ’em all sigil hunting). LFR is a tool wich gives me the ability to aquire “raid equivalent” gear. This, so I can seek out the challenges I enjoy on my own terms (or in company with a select group of people who know and understand why I sometimes become the despondent defaitist without yelling “noob!” … unless they mean it in an endearing way). I more or less stopped running LFR right after the boost to 90-disaster. The stress was too taxing.

Timeless Isle fixed the lack of “gear progression”. On Timeless Isle, even if it is a grindy business, I play on my own terms. I’ve grinded out the Shao Hao-rep on both my paladin, Shuanna, and my warlock, Sharenne. I have the mount. I also found a metric ton of Burdens of Eternity along the way. With valor points upgrades I thus reached an iLvl I hardly didn’t even dream of. Heck, I’ve even killed Ordos (something I never thought I would do)!

The iLvl, especially with the legendary cloak, is more than enough for most advertised flex raids. I don’t intend on signing up for any. I don’t “need” better gear. I’m confident and comfortable with what I have. I don’t need the stress of trying to function in an environment that is more challenging than LFR with a bunch of strangers. Even if they are more skilled.

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Second rate players
I don’t care what other people say. Heroic raiders with their epeen showing or wannabee hardcore raiders with delusions of Method grandeur – their words and slurs don’t affect me. Neither does the sometimes terrible atmosphere of LFR.

What I do mind is getting branded as a second rate player by none other than Blizzard. I’m sure it’s not their intention but their actions so far has devalued the kind of player that I am. End game doesn’t have to be cutting edge to be challenging. Forcing people, such as me, into content that will likely be too challenging for me to complete will devalue the game itself. I don’t want to run Warlords of Draenor normal raids (current flex difficulty). I don’t want to be punished either. If I choose to stick with LFR I will be punished. The increased drop rate of gear doesn’t make up for it. The gear will still be sub-par – and more importantly: It WILL stigmatise players such as me.

You know it will happen. A wek into Warlords of Draenor and Anyone who use LFR will be berated, bullied and told to jump of a cliff. I trust Blizzards decisions around game development and design. I do not trust the community, not for a second. The tradition of bullying is too ingrained in the very fabric of the community for it to not affect the LFR decision. Even now people jump on “weakness” like they were competing for a “fascist of the month”-award – and not just in LFR). Dungeons, battlegrounds, world bosses. You know the shit’s going to start flying after the first “seriously?”. Tone of voice is rarely conveyed through text, of course, but there’s a certain tone to it nevertheless.

It’s started allready, by the way. Just take a look at MMO Champions comments.

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Upstairs and Downstairs
I fear this is exactly what will happen: There will be an even clearer distinction between “upper class” and “lower class”. The decision regarding LFR – especially on the subjective matter of art assets – is putting down the groundwork for an in-game class war. Normal raiders will berate LFR raiders. Heroic raiders will berate normal raiders (“normal” raiding will probably be called “dumbed down” or “welfare running”; it certainly won’t be “real” raiding). Mythics, well … to be honest I believe the minority of raid ready and raid skilled mythics will do what they do now: Stick to their own game.

As usual, it’s the tail of pretenders that will form the stormtrooper squads of virtual self-proclaimed dickwads. The changes to the raid structure, LFR in particular, will cater to the crowd who feed off entitlement and disrespect – the bullies, to put it bluntly. The system will cater to the crowd who regard empathy as a weakness. The kind of player who deem himself (or herself) “too good” for the rest of the crowd. Those who think themselves to be “hardcore”, the Call of Duty-crowd. Those who spend most of their time dead or AFK spewing insults into chat. Don’t think for a second “normal” raiding will be a good ol’ raidteam boy scout outing where we “make new friends” (the “make friends”-mantra is well worn out by now).

It will be savage.

An angel of shadow

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Dearest Vassannah, little did you know you would grow into one of the most important virtual characters of my life (a position shared with heros such as “Shepard”, out there among the stars, and your sister, the troubled paladin). Once upon a time you were nothing but an alt. Once upon a time you would have opened an inn, come level 20.

But heroes prevail.

You’ve come a long way since those first careful steps out of a pod on Azuremyst. Little did neither you nor me know you would become – a hero. You grew on me, like moss on a stone. The class that I never could master. The class that always went OOM. The priest of darkness. The priest of despair. The shadow priest.

Then Deathwing came. In more ways than any of you can imagine.

Dearest Vassannah, it was, in truth, not just your ass or your waist or your boobs that turned me. Sometimes what’s inside is more important than the sex appeal.

You were an object, once. Eyecandy. A paperdoll of pixels. A wet dream. But then you grew on me. You ventured far beyond Ashenvale (where most of my priests start their careers as innkeepers). You turned my head.

You came alive.

As the Mists of Pandaria parted and the schlaraffenland of ghost iron and green tea leaves opened up to bloodthirsty orcs, curious gnomes and wayward draenei – YOU were my guide. As your sisters struggled through mercenary missions and terrible hardship – YOU prevailed. YOU achieved what not one else could achieve. YOU achieved what I will never achieve. YOU are the hero.

YOU. Are. Legendary (as of 30-04-14).

Me? Well, you know, Vass … I’m a failure, more or less. I’m raid trash. But you know what? YOU gave me this peculiar thought that maybe … I am wrong.

In a way you became a life saver. Therapy. If I could come this far with you, a bunch of pixels kept alive in my own imagination, then what can stop me but the Sha that lives within us all?

Dearest Vassannah, my troubled shadow priest with dubious morale. In a way, you are a reflection of myself. I can’t sport a legendary cape, far from it. So I let you carry the wings of an angel. And carry them well you do. You know what, Vass?

You saved my life.

Almost a year ago during one of my long walks I came to the conclusion I had failed the legendary quest of life. Maybe it was time to delete. Un-sub. I had failed at life. I had failed my partner. My family. My friends – those I have. I had failed almost everything. It’s a very melodramatic thing to say, I know, but … I had not failed you.

You are a patient draenei. Should you ever be a human you would likely by the partner I have (a wonderful lone wolf woman with a patience akin to that of the Old Gods). You and her – both of you. Both of you saved my life (though she still doesn’t know it), that terrible day as I watched the speeding cars and trucks and …

walked into traffic.

They missed. By Gods grace or an unsually lucky RNG – they missed. I reached the sidewalk on the other side of the road and that’s when it occured to me: You’re not done.

Strange that, isn’t it? A virtual spacegoat held more sway, at that very moment of despair, than the very real human I do love. Allthough it might not be obvious.

Dearest Vassannah. You have earned your wings.

Thank you.

A Lone Wolf at Gothcon XXXVIII

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I haven’t paid Azeroth a visit for a few days – a much needed break. A vacation from the routine of rep farming. A chance to do something completely different. In my case, the different was a games convention, held anually in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I’m still a bit in both shock and awe, to tell the truth. I’m not a very social person. But as chance have it and fate decree off I went. By train. And taxi. Since I’m also a very comfortable guy I even had an hotel room (the conventions own dorms didn’t appeal to neither me nor anyone else in my posse).

It was actually a “working trip”. The very reason I even went there in the first place was the chance to finally meet the person behind the words wich I’ve spent a good deal of time translating from english to swedish: Joe Dever, the author of the immensely popular game books about the solitaire hero, the kai monk Lone Wolf in the fantasy world of Magnamund. These days it’s also a digital game, you should totally check it out – http://lonewolfthegame.com/.

For the first time since the late 1980’s Lone Wolf is coming back to Sweden in a brand new edition (illustrated by, among others, the fantastic swedish illustrator Lukas Thelin).

I’ve been working with translating an abundance of material for quite some time now and meeting the creator was fantastic fun.

Parallell to my work on the Lone Wolf series – including a roleplaying game – I’ve been keeping up with some older projects; writing virtually all the texts to expansions for the leading swedish roleplaying game, Western (Western: New Orleans, and Western: New York). On top of that I’m still fiddling around with a novel, occasional short stories and trying to keep up an appearance on at least Twitter. Social media is not my forte. I’m probably lacking in a number of social areas (I do have Facebook but I honestly can’t remember when I last checked it).

Mr Devers swedish translator, yours truly, is a lone wolf (that’s a pun!).

The swedish version of the first installments in the Lone Wolf saga is scheduled for release this summer.

As for Gothcon, it turned out to be a suprisingly inspiring convention. I spent most of the time at the Western sales booth of course but managed to snag some peeks on other stuff as well.

Most of the time was spent talking to people (I guess that’s the true reason for conventions; using your voice, not your fingertips) but in the lull between “stuff” I ended up with a rough draft of, erhm … a “thing”. 60 thousand characters in 48 hours – I think that’s pretty good. Especially when you consider the surroundings; balancing a laptop on a table filled with magazines and books and coffee cups, people milling around everywhere.

All in all it was a much needed break from the daily routines.

The Lich Kings pet draenei

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Oops.

Yep, that’s “me” by his feet. The reason I’m there is because of an idea. Likely the most crazy idea I’ve ever had in my history of World of Warcraft.

I’m rep farming, inching my way to 60 exalted reputations and the title “the Beloved” (I allready have “the Exalted” on my mage, btw). Because, well, what better title than “the Beloved” for my oldest Alliance love interest, my oldest character, dating back all the way to 2007?

Shuannas reputation adventures began in earnest about three weeks ago. I had a flying start with more than 40 reputations at revered. I couldn’t even remember where and when I got so many.

It’s interesting going through the list of reputations. It’s sort of a historical document of her career. With a quick glance I suddenly remember how the early days of Shuanna actually were. There was a lot of questing involved – and, once I hit level 80, a whole lot of nothing.

Wrath of the Lich King offered one end game experience and one alone – raiding. Since I still don’t like the concept (I’ve never been much of a “team player”) you can imagine what happened. It was the lack of things to do other than rolling an alt that eventually led to Shuanna being benched for … gosh, it must be four or five years now. I haven’t played Shuanna, the troubled paladin, since about the Ulduar patch. Back in the days I was so far from any raids it never ever occured to me that I might, one day, also become a Kingslayer. I’m still working on it, by the way. But as you can see I have come a long way since the early days. Yes, I’m late to the party but I don’t care. I’m in no hurry. Besides, there is always a Lich King.

What better way to prove it to myself (and the guildies) that “Shu” is back than snagging a much coveted title, the Kingslayer? It even goes well with the evolving backstory of hers. Shuannas adventures – and misadventures – in Northrend is the very reason she’s a bit crazy. When all is said and done the Kingslayer is left with only nightmares and the terrors within.

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Wohoo! I saved the world!

Following a few weeks of running really old content I eventually ended up in a pretty good reputation place. Almost all Burning Crusade reputations save the raid rep’s, like Ashtongue, are done. I still have the really long grinds left – Consortium, Netherwing, Kurenai etc. Apparently I didtched Outland as soon as the Lich King appeared. Most of those old reps were at friendly or honored. With all Northrend reps save Ashen Verdict, Kaluak and the Oracles done I’ve started on the Cataclysm ones. Those are a bit tricky.

Shuanna was a banker throughout Cataclysm and only leveled to 85 through fast questing, skipping enormous chunks of content. As such I didn’t have any reputation above Friendly. The same goes for Mists of Pandaria reps, by the way. So right now I’m grind up reps through Pandaria dailies and running Cataclysm heroics on my lonesome. While farming reputation for various Cataclysm factions the other day I found myself in a tight spot. I had run out of dungeons for the night. All Cataclysm dungeons except Throne of the Tides was on cooldown. Bugrit!

I made a list of the reputation list. A spreadsheet of reputations still needed. It’s a lot easier to see what I need than scrolling through the somewhat cumbersome list in my characters window. That’s when I realised I had completely missed out on a Northrend faction – the Ashen Verdict. A quick research trip to Wowhead later – I knew it was raid rep but couldn’t remember wich raid – I took a deep breath and …

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Entering the Dread Citadel.

Marrowgar went down in a cloud of frozen bonedust. Lady Deathwhisper barely had time to whisper. Kor’Kron troops and undead ghouls was cut down without remorse. I was starting to get into a nice flow there – when the Gunship Battle happened. “To think you have come so far only to perish here!”, to quote the Scarlet Monastery boss … I was actually annoyed enough to stick through it. Seven times. It was with a tremendous sigh of relief I finally pulled it off after som digging through Wowhead comments and Youtube videos (the music of choice for those videos … urgh).

Deathbringer Saurfang hit the dust. So did Festergut and Rotface. The vampires of Northrend was due for a stake and proved to be a lot less scary than they looked. I did run into some trouble on Valithria, but with some inventive healing and silent curses I got through the roadblock with only two wipes. I really hope they nerf that boss. I’m lucky with heals and all but for DK’s, or warriors … I honestly feel sorry for the “no heal but self-heal”-classes.

I avenged the fallen in Pit of Saron with a quick strike to the neck of Rimefang and did the same to Sindragosa. then I spent an hour getting lost. As it turned out I had forgotten to open a few valves and completely bypassed Professor Putricide. Once I made my way back to the mad scientist Professor Putricides good news turne sour. I trod back through the empty castle, feeling a bit like Titus in Gormenghast. Eventually I found a portal and …

Unfortunately it was almost 4 a.m in the morning. Ahem. I accidentally positioned myself way wrong and had quite an interesting, albeit deadly, trip through the skybox around Icecrown. But, alas, if I had come so far I wouldn’t stop because of a silly mistake. So – first thing I did before work was to finish off Arthas.

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Much ice. So cold. Wow.

Or so I thought. Everything was just fine and dandy. Green lights across the board. In nice new transmog* armor straight from the forge of Icecrown Citadel itself I ventured out of Dalaran, into the citadel. A few quick portals later I ended up side by side with Fordring again – and commenced the dance. This time I was prepared of the nasty knockback and positioned myself in a perfect spot.

The fight started. Arthas the Lich King must have been quite annoyed at the perky paladin, back from the future. Adds came and went, ground was defiled but the king was hard pressed. Wich is when I started to notice how the green connection bar started to turn yellow. Then red. Then, just as I was knocked back sent sailing up the stairs to the Frozen Throne, lag reached almost 4000 MS followed by a very unfortunate disconnect. When I logged in again I found myself in a most troublesome position.

The Lich King had a pet draenei**.

Edit: But not for long … After some troublesome wipes – trial runs, lets call it that – I finally got what I ventured out to get. Now Shuanna of the Exodar is truly a Kingslayer.

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* I snagged both Blade Scored Carapace and Deathforged Legplates from Deathbringer’s Cache. For once I actually found some Wrath of the Lich King-armor I actually liked. It will be the base for my second version of the Dark Paladin, eventually. Stay tuned for future transmog post.

**If you, during your adventures in Northrend, come across a ghoul with horns, that’s probably Shuanna. I doubt she’s good enough to become a death knight.

Virmen in the machine

Or:

My brain is not a disc priest

613px-VermingThe Thunder King is coming to Sweden. At least he seems to have extended his terrible ozone smell to parts of the nation. To be specific – about right over my head. The air is stale, there’s a sort of yellow tinge to the light if you look at it from the corner of your eye. The air is heavy – and my head throbs like the Masters never ending drums – Bam bam bam Bam!

In other words, I can’t stomach doing what I’m supposed to do (this week I’m writing about brothels – but not here, mind you!). Aspirin (sort of) keeps the thunder king at bay, at least inside my skull. So have some faith in this winding sort of bloggery now … I’m not sane.

I better keep on topic. My brain is not a disc priest. My brain is almost as unruly as a pack of virmen (that’s an natural state; editing something sometimes takes longer than writing it!). This becomes more apparent the longer a text becomes. Case in point – The Story.

I’m about to embark on Part 9 of The Story. What I perceived as a leisure time short story “project” has grown into something … I’m not sure yet. It’s almost as if there is a Sha of Preposterousness (I know there’s a Sha of Happiness, so why not a Sha of Preposterousness?) I think I’m one of the first recorded victims of the Dread Powers of the Shas. Just what is the word for plural Sha anyway? One Sha, two Shites?

See! There it is! the virmen pack! Crazy ideas surging forward across the lush fields of creativity like a zerg attack. Biting the ankles of poor hapless writer victims. “We’re Rowdy!” the ideas scream. but you know what?kobold

I would rather be chased and harassed by a pack of virmen ideas than an over-protective kobold keeping the Light of Ideas close to its forehead (mounted on top of a leather helmet). “You no take candle!” doesn’t ring as true and good as “We’re rowdy!”.

Anyway!

The short story got away from me. the story became … reanimated. This usually happens when I don’t have a set deadline for a project. Or when I don’t need the Writers Discipline. the Story (working title “I want to be alone”) is more of an experiment. Stream of Conciousness. At least it used to be …

38 pages later (that A4 pages mind you, not Legal) I’m nowhere near an epic conclusion. that’s 18.000 words, close to 100 000 characters. Here’s the scary part:

I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE ALL THOSE WORDS CAME FROM!

wickedwitchoftheeast

(An unrelated scary (?) image of a flying mage in “underwear”)

The Story is quickly growing to the size of a raid boss. to make matters worse – it’s a raid boss with quirky mechanics. Massive AoE insanity and obliterating melee one-shots … ok, not really. The thing is, I have no idea where “my brain” wants to go. Maybe I should start thinking about it, but … just where do we go from here?

I’m trying to sort out the dramatic need and all the other little things. The process of writing is almost organic in its nature, wich is why my brain really should be disciplined. On the other hand – trying to reign in this wild stallion of a stream of consciousness-story … can it be done? Should I do it? Will it bow down in front of me? Or kick my head in? To quote one of the characters from Oliver Stones JFK“It’s a riddle hidden inside a conondrum.”

I’m going to leave The Story alone. See where it leads me. Instead I’m trying to sort out just how to present it. The Drop Down-menu is getting longer. More virmen-like. As if the code behind it all jumps around yelling “We’re rowdy!”. As if there’s  virmen in the machine.

Uncluttering my desktop step by step

Once in a while I save a comment I’ve made. My dekstop is littered with Notepad-files. Why I do it? Well, I’m a hoarder (not a horder!). Sometimes I think I’ve been witty and saves it for posterity. Besides, I still havent figured out how to access my comments history on mostly WoW Insider.

The important thing for a new blog, some say, is material. I’m in no short supply of it. As a side effect my desktop becomes less cluttered. Wich is nice. So – let me give you an insight into the process of developing a product such as World of Warcraft.

This is not the truth, btw. Think of it as Office Space. There’s a reference to it in the text, as well.

*

Sometimes things takes a bit of time. First there’s someone who reads your post and writes up a PM. Then the PM is delivered to Huck, who compiles it into a brief for Frank, who prints out the brief in time for Meeting A. Then Frank needs to find Milton for the stapler. Then Frank has to call security since Milton threatens to burn down the building if someone touch his stapler. Then Frank staples the brief and sends it to the Next Level.

Bill, at the Next Level, brings the brief to Meeting A, where due to a lucnh break and then Meeting B Franks brief is postponed to a later date (“When?”, says Frank, and his boss replies “Soon”). At Meeting C, at afore mentioned “later date”, Franks brief is looked at and put in a “to do” list. Also in this list is things like “nerf mages” wich always takes precedence over anything.

At Meeting D Franks brief is ok’ed (in the dok’er) and sent to Middle Management. There, the brief is compiled into a XML document and fed into a “patch list program”. This enables Sharon to bring up Franks brief at Meeting E. Wich is followed by Meeting F, wich in fact has nothing to do with Sharons brief but rather why Milton failed his sensitivity training and called her Something Very Bad. At Meeting G Sharons brief is ok’ed and sent to Senior Middle Managment Programmers And Designer Workshop Committee.

Lisa, a up and coming programmer, thinks that the proposed UI element don’t work with the “general graphic feel”. This is solved at Meeting H. Meeting I is postponed to a later date (“soon”) while Senior Middle Managment Programmers And Designer Workshop Committee works on the latest nerf to mages.

At Meeting J it is discovered that Chuck never went to Meeting I, wich of course was caused by Chuck being at Meeting K, wich involved people from Senior Middle Managment Programmers And Designer Workshop Committee and the Upper Management Senior Staff (see meeting L).

Tim is adviced to “come up with a game plan”. since Tim is a programmer, his proposed plan is renegged by the Graphics Design Team (UI Elemements) and gets involved in Workgroup A, who at Meetings M-P and follow-up Meeting Q is whisked away by a Mysterious Beeing called Q (that was his meeting). Once back, the altered plan is sent to Jean Luc.

Jean Luc piques the interest of the evolved brief at a watercooler meeting, wich then turns into a staff meeting, wich in turn leads to Meeting R. It is decided that since there’s parts of both code and UI, as well as potential Intellectual Property questions – given the origin of the idea – that Legal should take a look at it. Before Mike, the lawyer, can ok the project programmers and graphic artists are re-assigned other development projects, usually nerfing mages. Mike ok’s the project.

At Meeting S the project is given a green light, wich of course leads to Meeting T where Rover the intern questions the term “green light” (since Rover actually is from Mars and finds “green” to be a racial slur). At Meeting U, a sensitivity training meeting, Lei Ping blurts out something Bad and is fired.

Meeting V decides to hire Olof, who once he’s settled in ask for an up-date on routines. In 3 concurrent meetings, W-Y, Olof is briefed on all things important. He can thus attend Meeting Z, wich finally gives the relevant information to programmers, coders and graphics artists.

1 minute 30 seconds later the change has been implemented, awaiting the next patch.

2 years is actually pretty fast. Dance Studio is still looking for the stapler.

Head canon ftw!

You know what the best thing is about not being able to play World of Warcraft? You have a lot of time on your hands. That’s the best thing.

I’m no time manager. I have trouble managing when to get up (sleep-ins are a prevalent thing in my life, much to my more disciplined sides chagrin). So, since I’m technicallty unable to actually play World of Warcraft, the backburner business is taken care of.

This blog started in 2012. It’s been more than a year since the first post. As you can imagine a lot of things has happened in Azeroth, so this is still not a strategy guide. If you want the latest news on BiS or whatever, don’t continue.

I’ve gathered all my toons on a non RP server (EU-Saurfang, should you happen by). I won’t server change until it’s free and besides: I kinda like it there. The guild is a great bunch of casual and friendly people. Some of us are so casual we’ve gone full circle. Uhm, that’s me, that is. When I’m able (I really need a new computer) don’t be suprised if you see me on 10-12 hours. Of course, I’m not always active, but hey! I’m still there.

As things are, I haven’t visited Azeroth in-game since december 2012, so that’s why my iLvls seem low. Also, I don’t raid. Much. Unless someone ties me to a chair, surronds me with kindling, strikes a match and whispers in a threatening tone: ”Ready to raid, punk!?”.

I have a sort-of idea with this project. It will be a form of living narrative for my stable of mains and alts (and the occasional banker). You won’t find pro-tip posts or the like. More like … uhm … ramblings? A sometimes hilarious head canon? Yeah, something like that.

The “short stories” above (The Family) is the story of a slightly dysfunctional draenei family. All sisters. Touch wood; you never know, they might get a brother eventually. Most likely their mother will show up instead. After all, I had to do something eith all the stuff I’ve thought about while spending time with all of my characters.

They’re a strange bunch … not exactly the finest examples of upstanding Exodar citizens. I know for a fact that Zavannah isn’t welcome anymore (sure they let her in, but the guards tighten their grip around their hammers and the bag vendor faints). Well, not really – that only happens in my head.