Time for Transmog: Night Elves

Yesterday I posted about the transmogs for my three cloth wearing classes (there will eventually be more of those, but not until the new toons hit 90).  Today I will talk about the night elves, for me this is my hunter, Troutwort, and my druid, Sibelius.  Sibelius is wearing a matching set while Troutwort’s was completely crafted of low level quest items, dungeon gear from LK, and some other pieces that matched really well that I forgot I had.  I’ll start with Sibelius.



Sibelius is sporting the Stormrage Recolour.  He’s a Balance Druid and this set pulls both arcane elements in with its color motif while the patterns suggest nature.  This is perfect for a balance druid.  I looked at the original, but the greens and browns were too natural for a balance druid, in my opinion.  Druids though don’t usually get to show off their outfits, but fortunately I have the glyph that allows me to be in caster form rather than moonkin form.  Nothing against the giant owl, it’s just that I want to show off this outfit.   The hardest part of this set wasn’t collecting the pieces, that was fairly easy.  The hard part was the weapon.  Finding something both natural and arcane was the goal here.  Eventually after what seemed like hours of searching I found one and fortunately hadn’t done the quest yet, so I could still get it!  Yay!  I think the whole thing comes together nicely, even if some people in the guild said it was ugly or that it’s purple.  It’s not purple!  LOL

Head:  Moon-Crown Antlers
Shoulders:  Lunar-Claw Pauldrons
Chest:  Starry Robes of the Crescent
Back:  Perfectly Balanced Cape
Gloves:  Grips of the Lunar Eclipse
Belt:  Moonrage Girdle
Feet:  Stormrage Boots
Weapon:  Staff of Draconic Pacification



Troutwort’s transmogrification is by far my most favorite of all my toons.  I think partly because I made it up on my own, but also because it really came together nicely.  The interesting thing about wearing mail is that items under level 40 designed for warriors or paladins can be used in your final transmog, so you have access to stuff you wouldn’t have picked up while leveling.  Of course though, Trout leveled up so long ago that all the quests reset with Cataclysm and it didn’t matter.  I commented over on Bocat’s blog that I usually start with the shoulders and build the outfit around that.  I did exactly that in this case.  Some shoulders can be very overwhelming…I’m looking at you Windrunner’s Spaulders.  So I wanted to make sure they weren’t too big on a night elf.  I spent way too long looking for the right stuff.  But I picked something out…back in 2011, apparently.  I stuck to most of the original form, but there were a few minor tweaks.  Overall, I’m very satisfied.  I particularly like that it looks like mail, on almost every piece in this set there is the chainmail/scale look–I think that’s important.  I like him helm-free as well, I don’t think a hunter would wear a helm to hinder his good hearing.  Finally the crossbow fit in surprisingly nicely and sort of looks like he’s mounted a trophy kill on his weapon.

Head:  none
Shoulders:  Chillwind Pauldrons
Chest:  Chestguard of Bravery
Back:  Shroud of Reverberation
Gloves:  Gleaning Gloves
Belt:  Banded Girdle
Pants:  Abandoned Leggings (just who abandoned them?!?)
Feet:  Boneshard Boots
Weapon:  Amanitar Skullbow

More transmogs soon!  I’ve got the paladin and shaman yet…and the rogue, but he’s not finished so too bad…his items come from Naxx-10, which I can’t solo, so it’ll be awhile.

Time for Transmog: Cloth

Anyone in the guild knows that even before transmogrification came out, I had been collecting armor sets that looked good for no other reason than that.  Transmogrification was one of my favorite additions to the game, ever.  I haven’t really taken the time to ever post about my transmogs though.  And so here I will.  I’ll do one to three characters at a time.  Some of my transmogs aren’t anything more than Tier sets, but a few a piece meal that I put together myself.  Today I will start out with my cloth wearers.  My priest, Elgar, wears the T5 set, while the mage, Schubert, and warlock, Rossini, both have their own outfits that are made of different crafted or collected pieces.  Rossini’s is most unique of the three…or so I thought.



As mentioned, Elgar wears the priest T5 set.  You’ve all likely seen this set as it is one of the most popular transmogs among priests, additionally, Blizzard has used this armor set for NPCs as well, including Illidari Archon (Black Temple) and Archbishop Benedictus, from Hour of Twilight instance.  There are no real surprises hear for gear selections.  I think this is the prettiest of all the Priest Tiers.  The first time I saw someone with those wings I wanted them so badly.  The set is “holy” looking and has nice simple colors and patterns, complimented by the matching staff and a simple white cloak.

Head:  Cowl of the Avatar
Shoulders:  Mantle of the Avatar
Chest:  Vestments of the Avatar
Back:  Icy Cloak
Gloves:  Gloves of the Avatar
Belt:  Belt of Divine Inspiration
Feet:  Splinterfoot Sandals
Weapon:  Staff of Immaculate Recovery



Schubert is “hand-crafted” but still not very unique.  He uses the tailor-made PvP Pandaria set.  Schubert is my cloth toon most likely to be re-transmogged.  I haven’t found sets or items that really screamed frost mage, what sealed the deal for Schubert was when I got the staff he’s using on a LK run.  The staff combined with the shoulders were a good match that sort of pulled the whole look together.  It feels like a cold outfit, perfect for a frost mage.

Head:  none
Shoulders:  Crafted Deadly Gladiator’s Silk Amice
Chest:  Crafted Deadly Gladiator’s Silk Robe
Back:  Wispcloak
Gloves:  Crafted Deadly Gladiator’s Silk Handguards
Belt:  Crafted Deadly Gladiator’s Cord of Cruelty
Feet:  Crafted Deadly Gladiator’s Treads of Cruelty
Weapon:  Halion, Staff of Forgotten Love



Rossini is one of my most unique transmogs, the other belongs to Troutwort.  You find that one item and you build a whole outfit around it.  That item was Wicked Witch’s Hat.  I got it back when we raided Karazhan and saved it ever since.  The rest eventually fell into place and was a hodge podge of crafted items and just crap I happened across that went with his look.  The funny thing about him is that I don’t feel he’s very scary as a warlock, I feel he’s almost comical…this suits the character feel as he was also the “red-headed step child” so the outfit solidifies that sort of feeling that he’s not good at anything…until well, he burns your face off.

Head:  Wicked Witch’s Hat
Shoulders:  Jan’alai’s Spaulders
Chest:  Black Mageweave Robe
Back:  Dark Leather Cloak
Gloves:  Black Mageweave Gloves
Belt:  Abandoned Zandalari Firecord (Raid Finder)
Feet:  Vicious Fireweave Boots
Weapon:  Staff of the Skymagi

It wasn’t until after all this transmog though that I was leveling up another character and happened to see this guy, Magus Filinthus:


That’s right, an NPC wearing the same hat and robes as me!  D’oh!  So what I thought was unique ended up not being as unique as I thought.  At least there is Troutwort for unique!

More transmogs to come!


The Power of Bowie

The other day I was running around Redridge doing some mining for tin ore and someone mistypes “/who” in the chat channel.  I don’t know how other people’s brains work, but mine can be very tangential, someone says one word and suddenly I’m six topics away on a related story because of that one word, meanwhile the person I might be talking with is looking at me like I’m a crazy person because they have no idea of the 5 steps between what they said and where we are now.

Well, just that exact thing happened and from the mistype “who” my mind ends up going “who do?” and BAM I’m humming the words to “Magic Dance” by one David Bowie from the movie Labyrinth.  This started a horrible idea in my head.  And so as I continued about my adventure mining and pet battling, when I would enter a new zone I would simply type six words, and let the rest unfold.  Below is what happened…

STV Bowie

NSTV Bowie

BS BowieBurning Steppes actually made it further than anyone else with lyrics!

SS BowieI got a little overzealous there and typed too fast.

SW Bowie

WF BowieWestfall was amazing and the conversation launched into how amazing David Bowie was, for about 30 seconds, than as all Westfall chat does, it deteriorated pretty quickly with talk of nipples and Mr. Bowie’s package.

HF Bowie

Of course, it doesn’t always go so well, sometimes it’s crickets.

Bowie Fail 1

Bowie Fail 2At least they got the movie?  But come on, this was Elwynn, there are like a million people there, but obviously only one over the age of…25, 30?

 Of course, you can abuse the power of Bowie too.

Bowie Fail 3

Even though this was 4 hours apart, the people in Hellfire Peninsula still remembered.

So here’s to you Mr. David Bowie.  You still live on, in ways you never even knew.

Reise ins Labyrinth, Die

And here’s a link to the video/music should you have forgotten.



Stop Making Me Battle Lengendaries

Dear Blizzard Entertainment,

This note is for you and is specific to the game Hearthstone.  I love your game, and I really enjoyed it for awhile, and I still sometimes think I could.  It’s just one tiny thing.  I don’t have that many Legendary cards and certainly not what I would consider “good ones” and I don’t put them in my deck, so please fix your ranking system so that I don’t have to play other people with a Legendary or three in their deck, because then I lose horribly and feel that I never had a chance in hell, and that’s no fun, then I don’t want to play your game ever again.  And I certainly don’t want to spend money buying packs.

If you changed your matching system so that at least when I lose I would be losing to someone with a comparable deck, I wouldn’t feel so angry.  Instead I die to Legendary cards and then stop playing, possibly permanently because of the horrible experience.


Troutwort and alts

New Priest

So I’ve been playing a bit more of World of Warcraft again lately.  The Valentine’s holiday made me log in repeatedly just not to get the pink rocket mount…8-9 level 90s per day (the Paladin hit 90 during the festival) and still no mount.  Boo.  But I was also doing dailies during this time and finished up reps on a few more characters.  The problem with rep grinds is the dailies, I can’t do them all on all characters, even with the boosts, some factions are PAINFULLY slow.  So I choose to farm up rep with the farming quests and running a daily dungeon which is WAY more fun in my opinion.   I miss tabards that gave rep.  Those were genius and allowed me to gain rep on all my characters.  And all the rep too, right now, I basically chose one character for each rep and the others have no rep with them.  I tried to align it with profession patterns, but sometimes I wasn’t watching, whoops!  In short, I hate dailies and grinding rep, so I decided to make some new characters.

My boyfriend Jeff and I made some gnomes.  We are awesome, he made a warrior tank and I made a priest, and we’re a force to be reckoned with–well he is anyways, I just cast bubbles on things.  And since level 15, we’ve basically been doing dungeon after dungeon.  This has been both awesome and horrible.  It’s a mixed bag out there.  Between new players wearing all the wrong gear or in the wrong spec for what role they selected, which is forgivable, and very experienced douchebags who think they know their way through every dungeon and that we “aren’t going fast enough”, I’m left with a mixture of emotions including pity, frustration, and empathy.

There are some great players though, the ones that follow patiently and even though we’re level 40 something, still follow the rules of pulling groups, not standing in the bad, and such.  Some people are awesome too, like the priest who told me it wasn’t my fault after the feral druid pulled a group and died in 5 seconds then complained of no heals, I responded, “oh, I know, I’ve healed plenty of tools in my day, I know when it’s my fault” and the priest and I had a good laugh at the druid’s expense, who earned a nice spot on my block list.

I respect and appreciate those players, I don’t however, care for the following:

1) After just 10 seconds of zoning in and while people are still getting oriented and gathering up quests yelling out “stam buff”.  Seriously, do you think I just became a priest yesterday?  Do you think I haven’t cast that spell a million and one times?  Cool your jets, I’ll get you your damned spam buff once I’ve made sure everyone has zoned in.
2) DPS that pull groups.  Oh, now I know why you wanted the stam buff, you think it will help keep you alive longer when you pull the groups?  Jeff is nicer than I am, he often charges in and attempts to grab all the mobs; I look at my combat status, if I’m not in combat, I’m not healing that dumbass and I will gladly let him die.  Sometimes death is the only way people learn, I’m not healing your ego or stupidity.
3) People who don’t use their survival skills that their classes have given them.  Rogues please vanish; Hunters feign death; Druids, Priests, Shaman self heal; Paladin bubbles, etc.  Basically everyone has some sort of cooldown, use it.  Just because we’re level 30, 40, 50 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play smart.  Besides, let’s be honest, the only real reason we would ever even need those abilities at this level is because you pulled an extra group or went a different way than the tank anyways.
4) “I know the way!”  There are those types that claim they know the way too, and suddenly you’re at the end of Black Rock Depths when really you only needed to kill the Interrogator 100 yards from the front door.  Most instances don’t really have ways you can “get lost” but Wailing Caverns, Razorfen Kraul, and Black Rock Depths….bleh.  And someone always “knows the way”.
5)  Need.  Seriously people.  It seems like we should be WAY past this point already, basically, if you’re not going to equip the item as soon as you get it, don’t need it.  And why, WHY, there is even the need option for people who’s armor class doesn’t match the item, I will never understand.  I have lost WAY too many cloth belts to hunters, gloves to druids, and bracers to paladins; and like that quest in Halfhill says “THEY DON’T EVEN WEAR THEM!!”  It’s so frustrating.  And yes, I know that gear at this level is kind of trivial, will it make that much difference?  No.  But hey, I still like nice things too!!
6)  Go go go!  People that keep yelling to go faster bug me too.  It’s like they think we also don’t want to get the dungeon over with soon so that we don’t have to be in their annoying presence anymore because for whatever reason, they can’t be kicked for another 5 minutes.

Of course, I know the people reading this aren’t people causing trouble.  And anyone who does the things listed above is usually completely oblivious to what a dorkface they are being.  Maybe it’s because they are all 17 years old and I’m now “old”.  But damn it, just be nice to each other, play smart and be friendly, I still believe we should have some sort of enjoyment when we are forced to play together.

We did get to run a few dungeons with Bocat before she blew past us leveling her new priest.  I think she’s the only person with more priests than me.  😉  And of course dungeons are always more fun with friends, we even got a few guild achievements!  I’m just anxious to hit outlands, so I can start playing with idiot Death Knights who will surely use death grip inappropriately while screaming “Look mom! I made this guy come to me so I could fight him!”

Okay, I realize this is kind of a rant post, but honestly, I am loving leveling my priest, most the time the joy of healing my little gnome warrior > stupidity caused by other people, plus, it’s fun to see my ignore list keep growing!

Red Line

Last post I showed the track leading from our first permanent settlement in our new Minecraft world and so this post I’ll show you where it ends.  After we settled there was a lot of exploration to find new places to settle, interesting geography features that begged for settlement.  And there of course were always plans brewing in the back of my head.  We had very VERY successful Egyptian and Norse style cities/villages before so those would be repeated, but we also wanted to try a Southwest/Mission style and as you saw there was the start to a city in the trees.  We also made an attempt at an Asian village, which though successful was never finished given the impending update, and we tried a Mayan village too, but again, interest faded quickly.

In this new world though, while exploring, I came across a site for a new city.  And it was great, high in the mountains, a valley cutting deep.  A perfect spot at the end of the rail line, for this:


I think that this is one of the largest (most blocks) structures I have built, probably only rivaled by the lighthouse an Stonehaven castle of the last world.  It definitely is if you count the walls, towers, and gates associated with it.  And though it was a massive undertaking, it was the first thing I built in this new city.  You can see the valley and river below it and the mountains that extend behind it, there was just enough flat space for this.  When you arrive by rail you end up coming in on the bridge to the left in the picture above, you go under the large palace and come out crossing the bridge into the train station.  Being one of the last buildings I built, it had some features that were included in others.  One change I happened across while building was to add supports to the upper corners, it gave the rooms more dimension and a touch of detail.  And experimenting while building is what helps make the game more interesting.


And of course, I am a builder, so I build, build, build.  I leave the interior decorating to Bocat and Lyss.  But for me it’s the shape of the buildings.  Small buildings get repeated because there isn’t much room for variation, but once you start with larger two story homes and such, you have more options.  Just adding a balcony or widening the base by a few blocks can make all the difference.  Here are some of the buildings around town.

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As you can see, there are few buildings that look alike.  There are also a few buildings that have purpose.  Most I just build as housing spaces, just empty buildings as homes.  But some have larger plans.  Of course we had to repeat the pagoda style building in the center of town.  And pictured below that is the large great library.  And across one of the bridges we made a small farm.

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The valley and river cutting through this area allowed to play with some bridges and to separate the palace from the city, which I liked.  The bridges I think turned out nice too and added another decorative element.  And lastly, added in after all the other structures were completed, I put in a garden behind the pagoda.  This large garden is a place to relax and enjoy mother nature, I don’t think there’s a single type of flower missing from it. The final picture below shows it’s location relative to other buildings.

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So this was my first great project.  I then got distracted again by World of Warcraft and holidays, as well as finishing up some long over-due transmog stuff.  So I am working on that and a post about that.  But before I leave you from Minecraft for a little bit, a few parting shots of the new city, at night, because I love the way things look lit up at night.

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Oh, and I guess one close up picture of the palace.


Where to Begin?

It’s been a long time since I posted, as usual, work went crazy and I didn’t have time to.  But I have still found time for gaming.  I guess since I left off with Minecraft, that’s where I should pick up, though since then there’s been more Warcraft and also Terraria.

So when the patch came out that changed the world, some friends and I rolled a brand new server.  At first we got an island in the ocean.  Boo.  This was not what we wanted, so we re-rolled.  We were not going to play in creative for at least 24 hours so starting on an ocean island wasn’t ideal.  To give some authentic feel to it, and everyone had their own ability to turn it on and off when they wanted.  Sometimes it’s nice to play in normal mode.

Anyways, much to my pleasant surprise, our new starting zone was in one of the new zone types, the redwood forest looking zone.  It was great, to be honest, this was one of the zones I was really looking forward to seeing and was happy we started there.  Immediately we all got to work, made some tools, and everyone worked cooperatively to get us a place to spend the night.  We actually did pretty well, having 4 people all working toward the same goal really helped, and people doing all different functions helped too.




We made this nice little house.  It got spruced up a bit after we turned on creative mode, but for the most part, it’s in its original form.  After we kinda got settled, we decided to explore, looking for a place to really set down first roots.  We figured that this would be a nice little house for if others joined the server.  But it was time to explore, find some new zones, and build a more permanent settlement.  I had so many ideas for new building styles and to complete and recreate some we already did.  So much to do, so little time.

We then came to a clearing and a nice prairie zone.  We found a cave filthy with goods and looted it, I built another small cabin – little house on the prairie so that we could have another little resting point.  Then we picked up again and moved on.


This time we spent more time exploring.  We came to a little valley along the river.  It was hills on all sides and birch, enchanted, and redwood forests bordering it.  It was perfect to set up a more permanent settlement.  As two continued to explore in caves, bringing back supplies of needed cobblestone, I chopped trees and got to work on the structure.  Carefully counting out, I made the floor plan, it was huge.  Bigger than I thought.  But the design mimicked the castle in Warlock town.  I really liked that design, but wanted to make some improvements over the former model.  But I used the base design as a guide.  I continued to build and build and build.  Climbing up and placing bricks to jump on so I could build, hoping not to fall.  I forgot what it was like to build when not in creative mode!  But I did manage to finish the building structure, but not the interior decorating.

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After that though, I pulled the plug on non-creative mode.  I allowed myself to build again without having to run back for more trees every 10 seconds.  This also gave the ladies full access to decorating and they went nuts, even tried out some of the new stained glass in the throne room!

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We added some more buildings since someone had taken time to round up animals, and then we added some villagers, and a bunk house for the “staff”.  Ha!  It sorta looked like a compound mansion.  It turned out really nice.  But as usual, I can’t stop building.  So I went off looking for the next landscape to build.

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2014-02-03_11.14.43 2014-02-03_11.14.27Meanwhile, one of our server members started building using the new tall redwood spruce trees…I personally feel the structures are best viewed from the ground!  Here’s a sampling.  They are not, however, complete, but I think they look awesome!

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I ran off in another direction and started a BIG project.  It’s now complete, but I wanted to finish it before posting it.  It’s at the end of these tracks–we do love our minecarts!


The End of Stonehaven

It’s been over two years since Jele and I first started the Stonehaven server in Minecraft. And it’s amazing how much it’s changed and grown to include Norse, Egyptian, Medieval, and Asian style architecture and buildings. I never would have imagined it. But even though I’ve done posts highlighting the cities around the world we called Stonehaven, there are many other things that aren’t necessarily associated with cities around the map.

In Stonehaven, there was a sheep emporium. It raised sheep of every color for constant access to the wool. Built by a friend from WoW, this allowed us access to add some color to the extremely stone colored first city of Stonehaven.


Next is the Anubis Rollercoaster of Doom in the land of Egypt. Completely self propelled, it would start and stop after one loop, taking you up and down, around twists and turns, and into a little temple of doom. 😛



The Norse village also had a few surprises. One of the buildings had a train departure that would take you to the beach. There was this weird area near the village where there was a beach lake and it would rain and not snow there. It was an anomaly and so Bocat turned it into a beach area. Because who doesn’t love a winter beach?2013-10-24_01.38.37


Also near the Norse Village there was a big surprise. I had left for a week of vacation and when I returned, I read the new message board that Bocat put up in the Norse Village which claimed that villagers were disappearing! Upon further exploration, I saw this.


Yes friends, that’s a massive UFO. An amazing project by Bocat and the interior reminds me much of the halls of a Star Destroyer or Death Star in the Star Wars movies!


Mentioned a few times was the land of Canada. It started out as an exit portal from the nether. We didn’t know where it would exit, but it did on the edge of a snowy zone. Since we had just been working on the Norse village, I plopped a couple similar buildings to make a sort of trading post. This connected back to Warlock City and Chinatown eventually by rail. There wasn’t much to it besides the portal and a resting point, until one day someone added a flag…EPIC.


Speaking of the nether, we didn’t ever really show shots of it.  We didn’t do too much in the nether, but we had portals in all the major cities which were connected through the nether.  We built structures around the portals so at least you wouldn’t die immediately.  Below is the first portal to the nether from Stonehaven.  We learned that glass does not hold up against ghast attacks.


There were so many great things we created, from the most recent Pagoda to the first massive project, the castle in Stonehaven, we’ve come a long way. I’ll miss the world but look forward to the new world we’ll start this weekend given that patch 1.7 drops on time. The Viking ships, the Cat Temple and Lighthouse, and Warlock City…all amazing projects. I’ll never forget them and am glad that I now have screenshots of them, I’ll need them to reconstruct a few of the buildings or at least the building styles. We learned a lot and became much better builders! I’m looking forward to the patch and the new biomes and blocks and how this inspires us to create new cities. We have a few new players on the server too who have built some amazing things, so I look forward to their creativity too!

So with this final note, I say good-bye to the world of Stonehaven. So many amazing memories and laughter. So many epic projects. But alas, it’s time for a fresh start. I’ll leave you with one last picture of one of the best things in the entire game we created, that’s the Cat Temple. What makes the Cat Temple extra special is that Bocat did it 99% in normal mode. It was no small feat and I remember her working on it. Fighting away zombies and skeletons at night and working out the details of the cat on top. When it was finished, we were all totally amazed. I can only imagine what the “Queen of Egypt” will build in her next world.


Back To Minecraft

I might have mentioned that Patch 1.7 for Minecraft will change our world, literally, and everyone elses.  It’s a huge biome update and will make the world flow better as well as adding a bunch of new cool things and easier access to some things.  I’m especially interested in seeing the Redwood Forest Biome (I’m certain I will make Grizzly Hills) and the Mesa Biomes.  But we’re not there yet.  But when it comes it’s likely that Stonehaven, Egypt, Warlock City, the Norse Village and everything else will be archived and a new world started to capture the new Biomes.  We’re quite excited!  Prior to that though, I wanted to make sure I captured more of the things we worked on that have now been abandoned as Patch 1.7 nears.

Our latest project was a new building style and themed city, however, it sadly never finished because of our learning of Patch 1.7.  But I have no doubts that this building style will make it into our new world…just as the Norse Style will…and probably Egypt…etc.  I have recently been treating this like a practice world, and the new world in Patch 1.7 will be the real deal.  Anyways, I babble on.  Here’s some of what we started but never finished of the new city we never named…though I kind of named it Mulan, and yes, that’s probably totally politically incorrect, but…meh.  Instead of walking you through things, I’ll just post some pictures of our Asian architecture style buildings in Minecraft.  We did build a large Pagoda style and then many of the other buildings mimicked this building on smaller scales as residences or functional buildings.

We’ll start with the Pagoda.

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The pagoda of course at day and night since I’m a big fan of how things look at night.  We also constructed an Asian-themed boat as well, this was the second boat we ever made after the Viking ship and prompted the addition of boats at Warlock City.

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You can see how we used this similar style throughout all the village.  The tower structure at the end, intended to defend against zombie swarms, uses a stone structure bottom which would be more impenetrable.  For most the buildings we used red stained clay and marble.  Regular oak planks and stairs are used for the roofs.  We used a lot of fencing for details as we did with the Norse Village.  We used them differently though.  The fences were used around the tops of the building and then half-slabs placed over the top half so that they stuck out to give a detailed effect while hiding the fence shape.  Some of the buildings look a little “candy-cane” so that’s something we could fix in the future.

Lastly, we made a little green plaza area for the villagers, and invading zombies, to enjoy.

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We never did finish this city.  I envisioned some beautiful city walls and some other larger palace type structures.  Bocat did a great job with the farm pictured above with crops out front, so I also imagined we’d see more of those similar structures around an agricultural part of town.  It was a good start and I’m a little sad it never reached it’s full potential, but as I mentioned at the start, this is kinda like practice.  I’m sure the new server we start will have equally, if not better buildings!

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Review of Hearthstone – Beta

A little while back, Blizzard announced it was developing a new card game for play on computer and other portable devices (iPad, etc.) that would mimic some of the styles of WoW: Trading Card Game and Magic: The Gathering.  I recently got invited to the beta for this game and thought I would give it some play.  I was anxious about giving it a try as I have played both the games previously mentioned, but both games require other people who are equally as enthusiastic about the games and both games had some clunky play to the with rules, order of operations, and resources.  With Hearthstone, Blizzard attempted to create a game that kept the fun elements of deck building and card playing, while simplifying resources and the computer figures out all the rules for you and applies them.  So here’s what I think.

First off, this game is awesome.  I love the quick and simply play style, it’s easy to pick up and the rules are easy to follow-and if not, it tells you what you can and cannot do.  The game currently has 9 class decks to play from.  There are 11 classes in WoW, but in Hearthstone, monk and death knight are currently not represented.

Each of the nine classes is represented by a hero from lore.

Each of the nine classes is represented by a hero from lore.

The tutorial teaches you how to play using the Mage class, represented by Jaina Proudmore.  You go through some simple games and learn the basics, then you’re on your own.  The first thing recommended is to unlock the other heroes/classes by playing the NPC.  Once you beat a hero class you get to unlock it and then can use that deck to play.  Unfortunately at this time, you are limited to that hero icon/voice for each deck.  I’m hoping with future updates you will be able to choose other heroes of that same class as your hero icon, or even just generic icons…because I really don’t want to hear Jaina anymore, as much as I love her.  Your heroes also have XP which you earn from playing games, but after level 10, you have to play against humans to keep earning XP.  But at level 10 you also have unlocked all the basic cards for each class.  So if you really wanted to, you’d never have to play against anything but the NPC, but I suspect that would be boring.  I’m not sure if who you play against is based on level or not, since you also gain XP when you lose.

The quest icon will show a summary of your levels and show any active quests.

The quest icon will show a summary of your levels and show any active quests.

In addition to playing whom you like, quests will also appear and are rewarded with gold.  Gold is useful to buy new packs of cards for those of us that don’t want to spend real money.  So completing the quests gives me another way to continue to expand my available cards.  100 gold buys you a pack with 5 cards in it.  I have to give props to Blizzard on this for allowing the players another way to earn gold to purchase packs.  So many games are full of micro-transactions these days that it limits play and is a big turn-off.  You don’t have to have ALL the cards to have fun with this game.  And some of the early quests will give you some free packs anyways and a chance to earn more packs in the one time free arena play.  I won’t cover arena play here, but for a small cash fee or 150 gold you can enter the arena for a chance for good prizes.  You can earn gold, card crafting dust, or more packs based on how many games you win, but once you lose three games, you’re out with a small consolation prize.  The thing with arena is that you pick one of three randomly selected heroes for you and then build your deck one at a time by choosing again one of three cards selected for you at a time.  So one card at a time you build your deck from random cards which you then battle with…so I only really recommend this to people who have had some deck building experience otherwise it’s a waste of gold and money – potentially.

I mentioned card dust.  You can only have two of each card type in a deck, so you can disenchant extra cards into this dust which then you can spend to buy specific cards you know about.  I haven’t done this yet, but again, it’s another way for the player to gain access to some cards without having to spend money.  Of course spending money by-passes all that, but some of us aren’t prepared to drop buckets of money on non-tangible items…but then, some of us are (*cough* moonkin hatchling).

Hearthstone Minions

The deck builder is fairly friendly and allows you to create custom decks for classes.  You can play with the basic decks provided, but once you learn more of the game, and hopefully unlock some new cards, I highly recommend playing with your own custom deck.  The builder allows you to sort through your cards simply clicking to add them to your deck and presto, good to go.  When discussing with one friend I played against, our criticism here is that for those new to card type games, it would be useful to have the basic decks available as the start of your custom deck, that way you could pick and choose from there, giving new players an idea of how to build a deck.

Screenshot of a game, the paladin (top) has just played a spell giving himself +6 health.  Minions are in the middle, defenders shaped like a shield.

Screenshot of a game, the paladin (top) has just played a spell giving himself +6 health. Minions are in the middle, defenders shaped like a shield.

The play field is clean and colorful.  Cards have voices or spell effect sounds associated with them.  Turn based play is easy to follow and mana is used as a resource.  Each player starts their first turn with one mana and this increases by one each subsequent turn to a maximum of 10 (I believe).  There are ways that some classes can modify their mana pool for one turn, but this resource system is clean and you don’t have to stack a deck with resource cards (yay!!) saving more time for just picking the fun minions and spells.  The play field is also interactive, you can click on the cute little buildings and such around the board and little animations will happen.  I’ve jiggled the gem eye out of that Zandalari a million times while waiting for my players turn.  Speaking of which, each turn has a time limit, so it keeps the play moving.  Like I mentioned before, the computer does all the rules for you, so you don’t have to count health or mana or minions health, this speeds up the game tremendously.  And having played Magic: The Gathering on my iPad, this game just moves faster.

Cards are easy to read, a lack of complicated resources, the mana cost is displayed in the upper left corner of the card.  Text explains the card and if you mouse over a card it will further explain what it means for things like “Charge” or “Taunt”.  This mouse over feature keeps a rule book out of the game.  Attack power is in the lower left of a minion and the lower right has the health of a minion.  Spells don’t have health, but will cause effects like healing, damage, summoning minions, or modifying minions, for example.  Each class has specific cards limited to that class.

Naturally, since Elgar, my priest is my go-to in WoW, I decided to give the priest deck a try, and after some playing around with it, I have settled on a pretty good deck until I unlock a card worth replacing.  I don’t want to give away my whole priest strategy, but the priest deck has many modifier spells for minions.  They also have powerful spells that can outright destroy enemy minions, and the all-powerful 8 mana mind control spell, allowing you to steal a minion from someone else.  Play order becomes critical in this game, being mindful of what counters other classes have, like mage polymorph reducing even the strongest minions to mere 1/1 sheep and warriors execute, which allows you to destroy any minion that has taken damage.  Being mindful of these enemy cards helps you play better.

Again, I won’t spell my whole deck out for you, but I like to play a fast deck, which means powerful cards that cost little mana.  Here are some examples:

Cleric PW Shield Divine Spirit Inner Fire

Those cards listed there with just a total of 5 mana would allow me to turn that little 1/3 priest, into a 10/10 MEGA PRIEST!!  Plus, the priest heroes special ability is to heal, so if the takes a little damage, heal her up, and her active power allows you to draw an extra card when you do.  Whee!!  Now of course, the deck is shuffled, so the chance you’ll get all your magic cards in your hand at once to make it work out is, well, based on Blizzards favorite thing, the Random Number Generator.  But two of each card and a maximum of 30 cards means you’ll still have pretty good chances.  Sometimes you’ll get lucky, and you can turn a cheap creature into something awesome, allowing you to nearly one shot the enemy hero…as I did below…  Did I mention this game is awesome?

Hearthstone Mogu Win

So in summary, if you’re a fan of card games or ever have been, give this a try.  I’ll give it two thumbs up overall with the recommendations mentioned above – allow the user to choose their hero icons, and more importantly, allow the basic decks to be used for starting a custom deck for those that have nearly no deck building experience.  Thanks Blizzard for a fun little game to play!