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.

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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.

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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!

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Warlock City

There are often projects that get started in our little world of Minecraft, but sometimes due to the undertaking, they don’t move slowly, or nearly get abandoned.  Sometimes though, there will be a renewed interest and then it all fires up again, and a forgotten project becomes a priority and sometimes reaches new heights you never imagined.  Recently, we had a few more friends join our Minecraft server and as they explored the world we have modified and created, they came across some of our old structures and projects.

Before there was even the land of Egypt, there was another city.  We just called it “swamp city” because it was built in the swamp biome.  It was just a few structures on stilts in the water SE of Stonehaven.  It was intended to be a trading post of such.  But It never got much attention, since we were still actively working on Stonehaven and then moved to Egypt.  In fact, it pretty much sat there, untouched until just a week or so ago.  When we undertook the massive Great Stonehaven Railway project, which I will highlight in another post, we were attempting to connect Stonehaven to “Canada” as we called it.  But since we discovered Canada by running through the nether and opening a portal, Canada was REALLY far away.  So the rail project would take some time.  Laying rail across massive continents takes time, especially to add the boosters and light the track, and build bridges and tunnels where needed.  So I decided to connect the first leg at least, to connect to the “swamp city”.  This was actually the first time I had been back there in ages, and it was just as I remembered.  Small, and not much happening.  I added new building for the train depot, and then spruced it up a bit so that should anyone actually show up there, it wasn’t too bad.

Our lovely lady-friend from WoW joined us on the Minecraft server and we had told her we were working on a new project.  She found the swamp city and thought that was it.  It was not (yes, another post coming on the actual project) and I told her she was to do with that city as she liked.  She started to spruce up the place and to build some defenses because zombies were a problem.  She also filled in more of the boardwalk so that fewer villagers would fall through.  I came by to check out this new improved city, and somewhere along the line, we actually named it.  Because our friend plays a warlock, we named it Warlock City.  It actually made sense.  A temple with a portal to the nether, swampy gross trees, and undead everywhere…Warlock City, it was.  We decided to give Warlock City a purpose, being built on the water and our recent interest in adding boats to cities, we made Warlock City a port town, that also seemed right as it would attract unsavory types.  So without much further chatting, I give you, Warlock City.

The humble beginnings of Warlock City are still present.  Wood houses on boardwalks make up most of the city.  They are fairly small and not much in them.  Below you’ll see the entrance on foot to Warlock City, some of the street views of the city, the Temple, and the farm.  Note that it’s raining.  I swear it rains there more, it’s appropriate.

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You might have noticed the flags and the boat in the background.  I started to tinker with flags back in Stonehaven, and to separate Warlock City from the main Capitol, I gave them different flags in blues, green, and grey.  You see that on the boat from Warlock City too.  A port town of course would not be a port town without a tavern and a hotel.  Bocat built the tavern and though I demanded prostitutes, none of the villagers in there will trade me anything but gems for chicken flesh…perverts.  She always does a nice job decorating, with carpet…and cats.  The first three images below are the tavern, and the last three are the hotel.

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Okay, enough with the buildings.  This is a port town, show us some boats!  I’m on it!  Of course there’s a lighthouse needed as well, I tried to give it it’s own style different from structures we’ve seen in other villages.  And of course, used flames to light the top.  The first boat is that of Warlock City (note the colors), and middle image is of the Viking Ship and behind it one of Stonehaven’s boats.  The Vikings were excited about opening trade…though they brought snow, ice, swords, and human heads in their chests…

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After doing the lighthouse, I was looking about the city and decided that the city needed some sort of military defense.  I decided to build a keep.

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The keep turned out great, and as you can see since the Castle Stonehaven, my building skills have hopefully improved.  There’s a lot of detail on this keep and it kinda also looks like a mansion.  I figure it’s dual purpose.  When building the keep, I noticed that at night, mobs would spawn inside it because I hadn’t gone back to add lights.  So, I didn’t.  The only lights are outside the front gate and inside the prison in the basement.  It turned into a haunted mansion of sorts rather than a keep.  I figure it’s an old military keep that has long since been abandoned to this lawless community.  Below are some pictures of the inside, and the prison.

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Maybe one day, we will reclaim the keep.  Or maybe it will stay a source of vile undead at night.  The Warlock City has made some drastic improvements.  It was not however “our current project”.  We haven’t finished that yet either, and now that I have learned of patch 1.7 and it’s potential release date before the end of the year, I am not sure it will get done.  But there will still be a post on it and there will be a post on the Great Stonehaven Railway too.  And hopefully one last post featuring some of the smaller projects that never finished.  But for now, I’ll leave you with one final picture of Warlock City.  It’s lovely, for a place of villainy.

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Norse Village

Yikes! Work had me so busy again that I forgot to do the post about the Norse Village. At the end of the last post, there was a teaser photo of our boreal/tundra village. The bridge that the rails pass over on their way to the village.

The Norse Village was a project long overdue. I had seen some ideas on the internet long ago and finally got around to building the buildings in Minecraft. So I have to admit that the Norse Village is much inspired by what others had made. We just tinkered around and made it kinda our own. So again, here’s the bridge as you enter. The sign in the middle of the bridge indicates that the rail is leading towards the Norse Village as symbolized by the Ice Block sign.

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The Norse Village consists of three basic building types and one tower style, though hard to see in these images, you can see the three main types, a standard small two-story house, a larger three-story, and the one level more study utility building, though the last style was also used in some more residential buildings.  These three styles are mimicked around the city with slight variation to shape and size.

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For example, the large barn and the monastery on the hill use the more industrial style (third style) building as noted below.  The barn ended up being a very large building complete with indoor beams to support itself.  Below you’ll find the barn and last the monastery on the hill.  Mixing stone block types as well as the use of fences for details made these buildings require more diverse block types for one structure than any others to this point in the game.

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The last picture above also shows the bridge leading to the monastery at night and the temple in the foreground.  You may have also noticed some of the larger buildings in the background in some of the above pictures.  The second style (that larger three-story structure) because the main model for the larger buildings in town, including the town hall, hotel, and library.  Those because massive works and ended up looking like glorious pieces of work that we were quite proud of!  These goliaths included up to five floors and many dormers and dragon-style roof ornaments of much larger proportion than seen on the smaller buildings.  Again the clever use of fences add much detail to the buildings that give them a really neat feeling.

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That last picture shows the train station in the foreground, that building was the first in the city and set the bar for all the others.  To the right and in the distance you see this villages monument, the large watch tower/lighthouse?  We’re not really sure what it is besides awesome.  The large tower on the water was used as a model for the other towers around town.  They all look beautiful, especially at night.  The detail seen on the buildings is carried even to these more military type buildings.

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You might have noticed something in the background of the night-time tower image.  Yes.  Your eyes are not playing tricks on you, that is indeed a Viking-style ship!  Bocat constructed this beauty one day and it was a complete surprise!!  It looks amazing!  She built that amazing cat temple and then this beautiful ship…I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of her Minecraft structures!!

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It does look like those zombies love it as much as I do!  Of course we can’t leave you without a peek into some of these structures.  I’ll say this about the Norse Villagers, they certainly are more well read than any of the others!!

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So that’s our Norse Village, it turned out amazing!  Clearly we’re getting better at this as we go along, but then again, we did have some amazing inspiration from the internet.  We’ll leave you with a few parting shots of the overall village to get a feel for it.  We didn’t put a wall around this village like we did with the town of Stonehaven (Castle town) and Little Egypt, the hilly terrain would have made it very difficult, plus we felt it would have ruined the ambiance of the city, which by the way, is amazing when it snows.

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There are a few other surprises about the Norse Village, well the area near it, but we’ll cover those in another post.

The Land of Egypt

The great thing about the Minecraft server vs single player is that you can see your world, Google-map style. With this ability we were able to find great places to build cities. There was a great spot of desert near an Ocean biome that looked great for an Egyptian-themed city on the water. With a crude idea of what the city would look like, the first plaza was layed down and the city started on it’s way to majesty.

First Plaza

This first plaza, pictured above set the tone for the theme of the city.  Use of different types of sandstone and dark spruce wood.  You’ll also notice that in this first plaza we introduced the market canopy.  You’ll see these around different parts of the town.  The first color used was blue.  A few times we’d use them as ways to indicate where you are in the city.  Jungle trees were also planted to look like palms around town.

This city was definitely more about style than function.  It was about making cool looking buildings and there were plans for monuments as well…but before we got to that, we added some temples, a palace, and a windmill to pump water to the farms.  Though it doesn’t move, it did look nice.  It’s probably the wrong style windmill, but we didn’t care.  🙂

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In that last picture you can see how the city spread and how we continued to make use of the market awnings.  You may also notice the pyramid in the background, we’ll get to that.  But with this city, we also took a little more care to decorate.  We gave many of the houses little rooftop gardens or planters and spent time on the insides of the houses as well, noted below.

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After we got the main city down, we started working on some monuments.  Egypt was known for many great works so we couldn’t resist doing our own versions.  Doing a pyramid was a must, below is the outside followed by the inside.  It was a huge base and didn’t extend as high as I thought it might, but looked really great with the beacon of power coming off the top.

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Another one of the great works of Egypt was the Lighthouse of Alexandria.  With some help searching how others tackled this monument, we did our own version.  The lighthouse was build almost entirely by hand, no Creative-Mode, we only jumped to creative near the top to finish-up.  We think it turned out beautifully, set on the island just off the city.

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The lighthouse was a beacon for the city and though there were not boats anywhere nearby, nor docks…it served if nothing else as a great way to view the city, especially at night.  While I set to work on adding more houses and expanding the ever-growing city.  Bocat was working on a project of her own.  And if you ask me, it turned out to be one of the coolest things in the city!  I present to you, the cat temple!  Are you surprised?

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The pictures don’t really do justice to this monument.  It’s hard to get a good shot of it to give you an idea.  But you can see above the cat sitting on top and below a reflecting pond.  The eyes light glowing slightly to provide an eerie feeling!  The cat temple caused one last expansion to the city and a larger plaza put in.  Below you’ll see the larger plaza, two pictures of the new storehouse, and the entrance to the city from the west.

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We love how this city looks at night.  It has a very different feel to it than the scorching feeling it gives during the day.  😛  Here’s a shot of the city at night.  As you can see, this city has a different feel to it and we worked a bit more on some fancier buildings and monuments.  A little more detail can go a long way.

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You’ll notice that there are two train tracks running in and out of the station in the lower center of that last picture.  One leads back to Stonehaven (Castle town) and the other leads to a brand new village, something we only recently finished working on!  I’ll leave you with a teaser shot of where that train line leads.  But after one more shot of the Cat Temple with Bocat standing in front, after all she rules over the Land of Egypt and all it’s citizens and allied towns.  She often tries to thwart the King of Stonehaven…but she hasn’t succeeded yet.

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I’m guessing you might figure out what’s coming next…and when I mentioned earlier that a little detail can go a long way…wait until you see what a LOT of detail can do!

Stonehaven

As mentioned in the previous post, Bocat and I play Minecraft from time to time and we have this small 4-person server we play on.  Minecraft is a glorious game that allows you to create your own world, while still adding in some elements of it’s own (zombies!!).  I’d like to take you on a little tour of our server.  We’ll start in Stonehaven, this was the first settlement.  We found a village and added to it in a Medieval style fashion, mostly in houses to increase the number of villagers, but we also added some functional/purpose buildings but instead of telling you about the city, I will show you…

Stonehaven was the first of three cities that we currently have on the server.  The lack of detail on the buildings allowed them to be constructed fast and cheap and the city grew rapidly.  Here’s a picture of one of the first street up to the water well which was there when we arrived.

Street

As the city grew, some buildings were added to have a function…like the museum, church, library and bank!

Museum Inside Church Library Bank Inside

Those were all sort of cosmetic buildings…I mean you don’t really need a bank in a game without money.  Some buildings actually had function around town.  There was the automatic chicken egg collector, the main storehouse to keep things organized, the stables, the rainbow wool emporium, and the crops!

Chicken Storage House Stables Sheep Emporium Agriculture

The main attraction in Stonehaven is the Castle.  It is the largest building in Stonehaven and was a major undertaking.  There was actual planning versus just laying down some bricks and seeing what happens.  It turned out very nice…here are some pictures of the entire castle, the courtyard, master bedroom, and the castle den.  There are other rooms as well, a throne room, dining hall, and a bedroom with a balcony.

Castle Castle 1 Castle 3 Castle 2

Stonehaven is not architectural or detailed beauty.  But it was out first city.  The others start to really bring a little more to the table.  We’ll visit the other cities soon.  I’ll leave you with a parting shot of the city at night.  This is what Bocat and I work on when we aren’t killing Vermen.

Stonehaven at Night

Oh!  And guess who’s house this is!??!

Bocat House

End of RAF

My friend and I have been doing recruit a friend for some time now.  It ends July 3rd.  We will have made 3 level 80s in that time and possibly one more.  Die hards could do more, but since he can’t seem to get WoW to connect at home, we’re basically limited to whenever he can come over to play.

Having played a hunter on my second account before, he started with a hunter, but at level 20 we tried something else.  Hunter is good for starting players, but he wanted to try something not ranged.  So he rolled a paladin.  So to compliment his choice, I picked shaman (enhancement).  And so the two Draenei were off and running.  He did well as a paladin and leveling as protection didn’t hurt him either.  We didn’t do any dungeons as I’m not so cruel to toss someone into tanking on their second toon ever.  After they hit 80, we started in on new toons again.  Worgen this time.  He decided to go with a mage, and so I picked druid and would level as boomkin.  Two spellcasters seemed like a good idea plus I had the options to heal.  Recruit a friend (RAF) works best in my opinion if the two characters are the same style, ranged or melee.  Last time I did this we leveled a rogue and boomkin and it was a mess.  Because if the boomkin pulled aggro, the rogue was left chasing mobs.

The worgen did many more dungeons and I switched to healing at level 60 for instant dungeon queues.  The levels 60 to 80 were crazy fast.  And so with nearly two weeks left we decided to push for one more, spending weekend marathons playing.  We’re on one of those now.  He wanted to try a rogue this time, melee is good for him, in my opinion.  And so he made a gnome rogue.  So then…well…I did too.  So there we are Brobert and Respighi the gnome rogues.  We both are leveling as subtlety.  I wanted to try assassination, but since sub gives faster run speed in stealth, I figured I better sub too so that I could keep up!  Today we start the day at level 69.  I am sure by mid afternoon if not sooner we’ll be level 80 and off to the final toons.  I’m not actually sure what those final toons will be.  He might go back to that level 20 hunter for the sake of starting at level 20, or we may find ourselves running on new toons.  Time will tell.

All I know is that there’s a little paladin waiting in the wings to absorb all these levels.  Linus might pick some up too and be level 80 in no time too!  Free levels are great!!

Now I just need to decide who gets the two seated rocket!

Aside from the power leveling of more alts than I need, Bocat and I have been playing on my private minecraft server as well as the kid that I mentor and a few others.  We’ve really created some awesome cities for a bunch of rookies. We have great plans for things too after the next patch and they introduce a few new things.  You can see a map of it at:

http://minemap.verygames.net/server8633/Stonehaven/#/132/64/616/-1/0/2

Trout over and out for now!  Keep on gaming and enjoy the summer!

The Right Class

About 10 hours of play and we’re up to level 45 on Smetana and her leveling companion Nychaareht.  Yes, that’s right, my friend named his toon after an anti-smoking gum.  Awesome.  I guess not everyone has such classy tastes in names as me.  😉

We’re flying along though!  I’ve done recruit a friend 3 times now?  4 times?  I can’t even remember.  But I had forgotten how quickly you level and as a result how horrible your gear is.  When I hit level 31 I was still using both weapons I got in the start zone.  Yeah, I was rocking two maces…one did 6 and the other 9 DPS.  AMAZING!! 

Admittedly I looked up quests where I could get new axes since I’m leveling as enhancement again.  And so I might have been favoring myself a little, but heck, he’s playing a paladin, they don’t need any help with all their awesomeness, he pretty much kills things with exorcism and avengers shield before they reach him anyways. 

Things seem to be going pretty smoothly, and I think class choice has made a difference for him.  Whenever I introduce new players to the game, I always try to encourage them to try out different classes.  Sometimes the description of a class isn’t how you imagine it.  So instead I try to focus on what the classes can do.  Are they ranged, magical, melee?  Do they tank, DPS, or heal…or all three?  After they try a new class I try to pay attention to what it is they have trouble with or succeed at.  For my friend that I’m playing with now, he had tried the game as a hunter previously.  It was…difficult.  He seems to have trouble with depth perception in the game so was ending up with mobs up in his grill, which is bad for a hunter.  He also struggled with shot rotation and would burn focus by spamming serpent sting, either failing to understand how it worked or just feeling like if he was hitting special shots, it must do more damage.  He started with a hunter again this time around, but instead we tried beast mastery, that seemed to work much better for him!  But still I wasn’t convinced hunter or even a ranged or DoT class was right for him.

I suggested that since he sometimes has trouble with depth perception and how close he is to monsters that if he played a melee toon there would be less threat when one is really close to him.  Melee like that, they need it, so it seemed like a good fit for him.  After reviewing the melee classes he went with paladin.  I was a little worried because there are lots of “weird” things with paladins – holy power, seals, hands, blessings…it’s enough to make your head spin.  But then I thought about my paladin…I use one seal, one blessing, and the last time I used a hand was…well before they were called hands.  I could be a bad paladin, but I can get things done for the most part and sometimes even tank dungeons!  

By far the hardest part to teach about this game is gear.  I swear that every person I have introduced to this game gets hung up on one stat.  Armor.  Yes, armor.  If I had a quarter for every time I heard “Do I want to equip this?  It has 30 more armor.”  Seriously, Blizzard, please just remove the ‘stat’ armor from the game.  Just make it hidden and passive or something.  It’s very hard to convince people that armor is ignorable (for most classes) especially when it’s the first stat on an item.  This is not the first person I’ve had to explain this to.  I remind them that there are three main stats in the game:  Intellect, Agility, and Strength.  All the others are minor stats and will ‘naturally’ come with the gear.  For leveling purposes, choosing the item with the greater amount of your classes primary stat is the safest way to go when choosing gear.  Second stats are considered if that stat has a tie. 

The paladin is working out very well for him, aside from remembering to refresh the stupid seals and blessings he’s doing well and can hold his own.  He’s better at figuring out when to use heals on himself, but holy power still is a mystery.  There is only one ability that consumes holy power until past level 40+ and that is a healing spell.  So it’s hard to know the purpose of holy power if you’re not healing.  For a prot pally, they really should give that shield bash thing at a much lower level so that a paladin understands the purpose of holy power a bit earlier in the game.

Still, he’s doing well.  There are quests that we’ve done where I say “you know, you died doing that on your hunter” and this time he did it perfectly.  I know that it’s partly the experience he’s gained and the skill set with the game, but I think a lot of it has to do with class.  Finding the right class for your play style is important to your success.  This is why all my spell casters make it to max level before any of my melee.  For me, it’s a better fit. 

Long post is long, but as a chronic altoholic with now two accounts and 20 characters on the same server, I do recommend that people try different classes and specs.  It may take some time to find the one that is just for you.  Or…maybe you never do and you have 20 characters on one server.  😉