Posts Tagged “stories”

This is something that happened to me a while back so the details are pretty foggy, but for some reason I never blogged this and it deserves to be blogged, so:

I was playing my delightful Tauren Tree, the second resto druid in my arsenal (because I luff them), and I was… 62, 63?… at the time so I was in Slave Pens. Pretty standard run, things were going just fine and we were at that point between the second and final boss… you know what I’m talking about, right? All those billions of packs of Naga adds right as you get to that tunnel-ramp-thing that gets you to the druid who gives you the buff and all of that.

So anyway we get there and this segment was always a little tough, especially back in the day on heroic. Who remembers that?

*cane-waving*

Anywho, our pally tank picks up one too many packs and I get feared or something or other and the tank dies. We still manage to survive, but apparently said pally tank was too impatient to wait the ten seconds to get a rez in what had otherwise been a flawless run and wordlessly leaves the group.

This is followed by one of the DPS leaving the group as well.

So there we are, Me the Tree, an arms warrior DPS, and some other DPS whose class I can’t remember. He was a blood elf and I wanna say some sort of caster, but it’s not really all that important.

We re-queue and we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

…it’s been thirty minutes. No joke, cause I moused over the little icon and it said we’d been waiting for thirty minutes.

I was expecting the group to dissolve in a pile of “Well thanks anyway”s any minute now when the arms warrior, a lovely female orc, strapped on a shield and a one-handed sword. “Let’s clear trash while we wait,” she said.

So we did. Cleared trash. It was slow going and pretty healing intensive but we survived.

We got up to that final room with the druid and the last boss. We successfully freed the druid from his cage, killed the mobs that spawn when you do that, and got his buff.

We waited around for a few more minutes. Still no bites from the queue. The last boss in Slave Pens, who throws poisons and crap around and has always been a toughie, was looming in front of us.

I’m not sure how we came to the decision that we would give it a shot anyway, but we did. Arms warrior in Defensive Stance rushes in…

The first minute or so of the fight, I spent Tree-Tanking. Seriously. The boss was on me. I was Barkskin’d and spamming heals every cooldown.

Finally the warrior snags aggro. I couldn’t let down my guard; the warrior was squishy and this boss hits HARD and he hits EVERYONE with his AoE. I was out of mana so I popped Innervate. At this point the boss was maybe down to, oh, about 66% of his health or so. Yeah, this was gonna be a long fight.

Still we continue. I’m still healing on every single cooldown. It’s not long before I’m out of mana again (Tree druid mana efficiency sucks at this level) so I use a potion. I know, though, that Innervate isn’t gonna be ready next time I run out of mana, and the fight is still just as tough…

The boss is down to about 33%. I’m almost out of mana again. In fact, I’m down to my last two or three spells before I go OOM. I quickly plotted out in my head who best to use my final heals on and executed them… one last Regrowth on our pseudo-tank…

…I wince cause I know we’re gonna wipe now…

And suddenly something weird happens with the party frames and I blink, not really comprehending what happened, and suddenly the boss is down.

A few seconds later I realize that the party frames had jumped from three to five. The queue had finally popped and thrown our new party members right into the fray of the boss fight.

*blink blink*

…easy Goodie Bag for those two, eh?

Arms warrior sends me a whisper. “Sorry about you having aggro, I didn’t realize that my one-handed sword skill was still 1.”

All’s well that ends well.

Comments 13 Comments »

…comes from some other beginning’s end. ( – Seneca. Or Semisonic. Whichever…)

The account has expired, and I’m done with World of Warcraft for the foreseeable future. Having done everything I needed to do on my “mains” last night, I was actually in the process of going around and double-checking my lesser-played alts today for any rogue items in their mailboxes when I was kicked off of the server.

So wait, you’re coming back, right? When?

I’ve hesitated to say for certain one way or another because I don’t want to make any guarantees. At best I want to give myself a few months to get things sorted out. If needs be I’ll wait until Cataclysm and see how things are looking then. Let’s just give it the ol’ Blizzard “Soon“™

What about the blog?

As I said, I will keep blogging. Probably in more than one place, because apparently I’m an addict like that (or a masochist, take your pick.)

I’ve thought about it for a bit and although I initially figured I’d just keep blogging here, I think I’d rather leave Aspect of the Hare “as is”. That way, people who want to continue linking to me for guides and the like can do so without worrying about people having to wade through non-WoW stuff. Plus, if/when I come back, I can just jump right back in to a ready-to-go WoW-themed blog.

What I’m probably going to do is set up a couple of subdomains here and then when they’re all set I’ll make another post linking you all to them. Gimme a couple days and I’ll get back to you!

Also, if you have a LiveJournal account and want to read my somewhat less-structured and more non-sequitor rambles I don’t mind if you friend me over there, either.

Commissions?

Will continue, send ‘em my way! I’d like to think the fabled “Sitemeter Avatar Contest” will continue in some fashion also, though we’ll have to wait and see how things go once I get my “New Blog” all set up.

And now, roll credits:

Thank you…

…to BRK and Lassirra, without whom I would never have started blogging. Your blogs were inspirations that got me excited about the WoW-o-sphere and taught me how to play a hunter in the first place.

…to the WoW Twitterati for giving me one epic chatroom to rant, laugh, cry, and joke in, to bounce ideas off of, and inspire me to do crazy things like draw pictures or write books. I’ll still be around, don’t worry.

…to my guild, Order of the Rose, for being made of at least ten types of awesome. For dragging me around to their alt runs when I was an undergeared nub and then tossing me head first into their 25mans and hard modes, for passing gear and weapons to me, and for pulling together special raids just for me so I could get my Champion of the Frozen Wastes title– on not one, but two characters. For not just “letting” me raid as Beast Mastery, but for flat-out encouraging and challenging me to do so. Every outcast, non-flavor-of-the-month player should be so lucky.

…to my guild in Burning Crusade, the now-defunct but never-forgotten Entelechy. This is going to sound dorky and cheesy to the Nth Degree, but ya know what, I’m gonna say it anyway: you guys are some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I love that a good number of us have kept in touch outside of the game, via our forum or our nightly AIM chats, which is awesome because I know a lot of us have quit playing. I think back to the best memories I have of this game– Karazhan, countless Heroic Mech runs, opening all the graves in Zul’Farrak when we were all level 45, marching in on the Caelestis Templares’ cathedral twenty-strong– and I wasn’t doing it alone, but with you guys. May there always be Five Seconds to Evocate on Curator and may “Thundercats, Ho!” always ring through the hall before Shade of Aran.

…to Blizzard, for, well, making the game to begin with. I’ve been a BlizzHead since StarCraft stole my heart away in 1999, and it’s you guys and Nintendo more than anybody that have instilled a love of gaming in my soul. Being a citizen of Azeroth these past three years has been an honor and privilege. You guys are masters of making living, breathing worlds and characters. I was trying to emulate that solid real-ness when I was writing my book and inventing my own fictional world and characters, and if I was even half as successful as you with it, then I think I’m good. And if my book ever ends up published and with even a modicum of success then I’ll owe you a grateful hat tip.

…and finally, to my readers, for being the best readers that any blogger could ever hope for. It’s been almost three years of blogging and I can count the number of truly negative comments that I’ve received on one hand. And it’s because you guys are all amazing and mature and here to contribute to this little community. I have read every single comment ever posted here– every single one– and I wish I could go through and name names one by one and thank you all individually but it would take too long. Suffice to say if you have ever commented here I consider you a friend. Thank you for making me a part of your lives. I really didn’t deserve it.

If you’re going to follow me along to the rest of my blogging adventures, then I very much look forward to seeing you there. If not, it’s been a pleasure and I can only hope that something I said at some point made you smile or made you think. And I hope to see you again should I return.

Before I logged off of my characters last night, I tried to make sure I logged off appropriately. Tawbree, for example, is astride her new Epic Fiery Horse cause I did in fact manage to hit level 40. Tamaryn is in tree form, dancing away, with both trinkets activated and all of her HoTs ticking on herself.

And Tawyn pulled out Tux, her very first pet ever, and went on a little road trip. She went to Teldrassil, where it all began; she went to Azshara and explored the entire thing– including even more things I’d never seen before!– and then… then, she went home.

Bestial Wrath’d right before I logged out. That way she’ll be Bestial Wrath’d out there in Pixel-Land until I come back, and if I don’t come back, she’ll be Bestial Wrath’d until the servers go down.

I thought it was a nice touch.

Long past were the days when Medivh’s tower was much of a threat and adventurers flocked to the pass to donate their skills to the cause, but the few Violet Eye delegates that were holding out there did see the occasional visitor.

Archmage Alturus was on a first name basis with a few of these visitors, the night elf Tawyn being one of them.

“Back again, are you?” he asked, eyebrow raised.

“Ayep,” Tawyn replied tersely as she dismounted.

“What keeps drawing you here, really?” The Archmage was genuinely curious. “The time is past that we really needed you…”

Tawyn blinked. He may as well have asked her why fish swam and why birds flew. “Maybe it’s the ley lines under the place. I dunno. You don’t ask the gulls why they return to the sea.” She shrugged.

“Fair enough,” the mage replied. “And we could always use good scouts, I suppose. You never know if something new might pop up in there.”

“Good. I’m goin’ in.”

“Alone?”

“I’m never alone.”

It was then that Archmage Alturus saw the big gray owl with yellow eyes perched nearby in the shadows. As if in response, he took wing now and alighted on Tawyn’s shoulder as she opened the front gate. She stood there a moment, gazing inside, her eyes clouded a bit as if distracted. “We aren’t getting any younger I suppose, are we, Tux?” she murmured.

Tux hooted something in response and then the hunter and her owl went inside.

Comments 70 Comments »

“Ah, are these the villain’s tracks?”

“Indeed they are, Mr. Holmes.”

“Hoofprints? This rules out most races except draenei and tauren, but it’s most unlikely that a tauren would travel this far. Besides, here and here we see traces of moth dust found only in Azuremyst Isle. Now we can further deduce from his tracks that this villain moved around a lot, although it wasn’t to back up, rather, it was to get closer. This indicates that he is a melee class–”

“Or an uninformed hunter?”

“Unlikely, Watson. I see no animal prints or feathers.”

“A… fantastically uninformed hunter?”

“Very doubtful. As you can see, the surrounding ground is charred by holy fire…”

“A paladin?”

“Quite.”

“Brilliant, Murloc Holmes!”

“Elementary.”

Comments 17 Comments »

So, I love the new LFG. I think it’s one of the greatest things ever to hit WoW and I’m sure most of us can agree.

It has, however, led to a few interesting situations. My favorites thus far:

* Wound up in a group where everyone was speaking French. I’m not exaggerating. I couldn’t understand a word these people were saying. Oh wait, I understood one phrase. “Le boss”.

They were all from different servers, too, so it wasn’t like they’d all queued up as a group. Apparently I just managed to stumble onto the super-secret Québécois contingent of the North American WoW servers. I blame my Men Without Hats obsession.

I think they wanted to do more heroics afterward but I wasn’t sure, because I had no idea what they were talking about. So I said “thank you” and hearthed. Everyone understands “thank you” right? … hey, don’t look at me, I took Spanish in high school and Japanese in college, I have no idea how to say “thank you” in French.

I actually sent a ticket in to Blizzard asking if I’d somehow messed up my settings and was queuing up in another language without meaning to but apparently it’s a “known issue”. So. Now you know!

* Died about five seconds into Anub’arak in Azjol-Nerub (was one-shotted by the guy) and still got Gotta Go! Making it more impressive (and embarrassing)? I was the healer.

* Actually had to leave a Blackfathom Deeps group that I entered mid-run because I had no idea how to navigate the place and the group wasn’t coming back for me.

“But Pike, I thought you liked big epic sprawling instances!”

I do, when they meet at least one of the following criteria:

a.) are being led by somebody who knows where they are going
b.) are not being started in the middle with me stranded at the entrance portal
c.) are not a part of The Grand List of Instances Blizzard Designed Specifically to Annoy Pike.

The Grand List of Instances Blizzard Designed Specifically to Annoy Pike consist of the following:

Wailing Caverns
Sunken Temple
Blackfathom Deeps
Sunken Temple
Maraudon
Sunken Temple
Temple of Atal’Hakkar … oh wait.

(When BabyLock gets to the mid-40s, I think I’m just going to stop using LFG and quest until I hit BRD level.)

Ah, LFG. I do love thee, though.

In other news:

Comments 35 Comments »

So while my main account is out-of-commission, I’ve been dinking around on my second account, which is home to only a few little alties. The highest-level of them is a 61 tauren tree druid because just as I have an 80 Alliance Hunter and an 80 Horde Hunter, I also want an 80 Alliance Tree and an 80 Horde Tree, because that’s Just How I Am.

Anyways, the LFG tool has been great: as heals I can get a group within about ten seconds (in the rare event that “YOUR DUNGEON IS READY” doesn’t pop up immediately upon queuing). I’ve been doing the Random Instance thing near-daily, and all in all it’s been fun times.

Sooo today I queued up and got into a Ramparts group with three Death Knights and a warrior. The pulls start.

The first thing I notice is that pretty much everyone in the group is consistently taking damage. The second thing I notice is that nobody is holding aggro so half of the mobs keep ending up on me. Constantly.

“So, who’s tanking?” I asked after a couple pulls of this.

Three responses of “IDK” and one response of “everyone kind of is.”

/blink

“Umm, it’d be nice if we had a tank so I don’t have to keep spreading my heals out and running out of mana and pulling aggro as I do so,” I ventured.

“Don’t worry, I don’t pull aggro, I’m fury,” said the warrior as his health mysteriously plummeted like a rock.

At this point I was sort of tempted to tell the group “gotta go, house is on fire” or something, but I decided to continue on. How bad can it be, right?

Four wipes later we were at the first boss.

Lemme say that again. Four wipes later we were at the first boss.

It was here that somebody decided to randomly designate one of the DKs as a tank, and said DK said “ok” and then charged in with Blood Presence up. Halfway through the boss I realized I was Treetanking and since my barkskin + spam heals only go so far at level 61 I ended up kicking the bucket. Somehow most of the rest of the group survived, though, so it wasn’t entirely a loss!

We doggedly made our way up the ramp and into that big room that branches off to the two final bosses. I think we wiped another two or three more times in here but I’d lost count long before. It was here that I decided to pull up Recount out of curiosity: not only had all five people in the group taken roughly the same amount of damage, but I was sitting at a solid third at 20%. Tree Tank is 4 fite.

We took out that dragon boss first; miraculously nobody died, although yes, I was effectively tanking for a good portion of the fight.

After the boss went down and Hellreaver was distributed, one of the DKs said “ok see ya” and dropped group. A second DK– one who had spent the entire instance talking about how all of his gear was red, and subsequently not doing anything about it– followed suit. Three of us were left with one boss to go.

At this point I was kind of desperate; we’d somehow managed to get this far and I wasn’t about to quit now. “We can three-man it!” I said, exasperated. So we attempted to three-man Omar the Unscarred and failed miserably.

There I sat at the Spirit Healer, feeling a bit dejected. “Well, thanks for the group anyway,” I typed out in party chat.

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, the warrior decided that we could do it and started doling out helpful tips for the DK. I was kind of shocked, wondering if this was the same guy who moments earlier had told me that he never pulls aggro, but hey, I wasn’t going to question it, and we all agreed to give it one more try. The three of us got ourselves up there, standing in front of the boss, and then pulled.

…so, I don’t care that it was a boss in normal Hellfire Ramparts, this was the most intense WoW fight I’ve been in since Hodir or medium-mode Iron Council or one of those crazy fights. Because we were taking so much longer than usual to down the guy, Omar was pulling trick after trick out of his little magic bag; tossing people into the air, flinging curses around, summoning felhunter adds– you name it, he was doing it. I was spamming heals like my life depended on it, which it quite literally did, and more than once my screen was flashing red and I was sure I would meet my doom when somehow a Swiftmend would pull me through. I frantically Tranquility’d at one part and popped Innervate not long after. That was right about when, as expected, I pulled aggro and tree-tanked the boss for at least ten seconds. The DK eventually regained aggro, fortunately.

I was still spamming buttons and using at least one heal at every global cooldown, and it was here that I realized that not only was I almost out of mana again and had no Innervate to use this time, but the boss was sitting at about 15% health.

So I did what I had to do.

Popped a mana potion, ran up to the boss, and started tree-punching him between heals. The boss was still going nuts; cursing people, throwing people in the air, and doing crazy AoEs and I was tree-punching him.

And then somehow he went down. My mana was shot. The warrior was still taking damage from something; I had enough mana left for one Rejuvenation on him which managed to save him from certain death as we all sat around afterward with less than 10% health each. The WoW gods were apparently pleased with me because Crystalfire Staff dropped. I rolled Need and won it.

Then I took my staff and hearthstoned and went as far, far away as I possibly could.

The moral of the story is: Don’t knock Tree Punch, it could save your life someday.

Oh, and for the love of all that is good and holy, if you are putting yourself in LFG as a tank (or healer), PLEASE BE PREPARED TO FILL THAT ROLE.

x_x

Comments 31 Comments »

This is a blog post that started out as a couple of rants and then turned into me negating one of my own rants.

See, it happened like this…

I was cooking up this whole blog post about how I rather dislike the fact that Blizzard really pushes the whole Horde vs. Alliance thing. Like, that Twitter “battlecry” contest or the current photo mosaic thing. I don’t like it, because I love both Horde and Alliance. Why do they want me to choose between my babies like that? And why won’t they just let me say “FOR THE EVERYONE” or hold up signs of both faction emblems? Why can’t we be friends?

Then, that rant segued into a sort of ponder about how I have a hard time understanding people who are really die-hard loyal to one faction. Both sides have such great storylines and great races and great locations, and both sides have good days and bad days and good people and not-so-good people. I mean, I can understand “well, all my friends are [insert faction here]“, I mean, I 100% understand that. But what about the people who won’t even roll an alt on the other side? They’re missing out! I simply didn’t understand.

So I was in the middle of this all and I felt something on my shoulder. I tapped at it, but it didn’t go away, and I turned and saw this:

zendams-coolangeltux

sitting on my shoulder and giving me “the look”.

“Bwah?” I said, rather surprised (as you might expect). “Wh… who are you?”

“I’m Tux,” he replied. “And I’m the global collective conscience of Linux geeks everywhere. And you are being silly.”

“Me? Silly? Nonsense!” I replied in a rather miffed tone as I spun around in my computer chair.

“Look,” said Conscience-Tux. “You’re sitting here writing this blog post about how you don’t understand faction loyalty in World of Warcraft. And yet you whine and gripe anytime you have to use your Windows partition and you just LOVE coming up with excuses to show off screenshots of your Linux desktop and you get all defensive and noble and “patriotic” when people bash it, oh, and did I mention that your whole NaNoWriMo book is a freakin’ allegory for the Open Source Software movement? Hrmmm?”

“But, but, Tux! People just don’t understand!” I babbled. “They don’t understand the chills that go up my spine when somebody says ‘Free as in freedom’. They don’t understand the thrill of breaking and rebuilding your own operating system when you have to. They don’t understand the deep satisfaction that comes from solving a crazy computer problem. They don’t understand what it’s like to be the underdogs, tearing and clawing your way into using something as simple as a driver, and they don’t understand what it’s like to be a part of this great community and group effort…”

Tux held up a flipper to silence me. “Oh, and yet you don’t understand why some people have chills go up their spine when they hear ‘For the Horde’? And you don’t understand why people are loyal to their little virtual community? No, I think you understand perfectly well. Your heart has just already been taken. By a sexy flightless bird, no less.”

I sighed and then grumbled “Fiiiiiine, you win.”

“I always do. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be off. I’ve got an appointment with Richard Stallman in about five minutes.”

“Wait, you hang out with Richard Stallman too?”

“Oh, all the time. Why else do you think he’s so nuts?”

“Hrmm. Point taken.”

“Regardless, it’s been fun. And I hope you learned something from this little meeting of ours.” And with that, Conscience-Tux mounted up on his Gnu and disappeared into the air.

And so it came to pass that I was forced to adapt my blog post into saying, okay, die-hard Hordies (and Allies, though there aren’t as many of you running around), I getcha. It’s kind of a weird, roundabout way of getting you, but I do. …still wish I could say “FOR THE EVERYBODY!” though.

And that is how it went. True story. Even the part with the penguin conscience.

…what’s with the funny look…?

Comments 29 Comments »

The winner of the “400,000 Site Views” contest was Bloedhoorn, a tauren resto/kitty druid. This sort of presented a unique challenge to me because it meant I could write a story where druids were the focus, which I hadn’t done before. Anyways, as the character was being described to me, I was informed that Bloedhoorn spent a lot of time in tree form jumping around, dancing, and waving, which “comes naturally to being a Tree.” I really liked that last comment so much that I tried to see if I could base a whole story off of it. I also tried to incorporate Bloedhoorn’s love of companion pets. Hopefully I pulled it all off:

Bloedhoorn was in the form of a chocoloate-colored dire raven, flying high, high above Hellfire Peninsula. He rarely went to the Outland these days, so it was an unusual excursion, but he had recently been informed that a young druid from his home village who was following in his hoofsteps was in the area, and as he knew her family he wanted to drop by and see if she needed any assistance.

He circled Thrallmar a few times and then saw what he was looking for: A tree. A treant, to be more specific. Practicing her spells; wooden hands glowing with energy. Bloedhoorn smiled to himself and flew down and alighted next to her. He nodded his avian head and squawked out “Songlark, I presume?”

The treant looked at him curiously. It was notoriously difficult for a druid to speak much while in the form of a tree, especially if said druid was newer to the art and unused to having, quite literally, a wooden mouth. So instead, Songlark made a sort of grunting noise and nodded.

Bloedhoorn chuckled and effortlessly shifted into his tauren form. “I am Bloedhoorn,” he said, and bowed. “You may not know me, but I know your family well. I heard you were here and came to see if you needed any advice from a more experienced druid.”

Songlark digested this information and and forced her stiff mouth to work, although she was sure the words came out sounding a little funny: “It is nice to meet you.” She bowed back, leaves atop her head quivering.

“I see you were practicing before I arrived,” said Bloedhoorn. “How is that going for you?”

Songlark shifted back into her tauren form, where she would have more freedom to speak naturally. “I’m not sure,” she then admitted. “I don’t feel like I am doing all I could be. I know my basic spells– the ones all druids know. But very few tricks beyond that. I worry I may be… a hindrance…”

Bloedhoorn nodded. “I remember feeling that way, when I was where you are at in your studies,” he said. “We have some things to practice, then. But first, we must get out of this wasteland and go somewhere more fitting. Come!” he shifted into his stormcrow form, but Songlark remained stationary, looking a bit sheepish. “I… have not learned to fly, yet.”

Without a word Bloedhoorn then turned into a sleek cheetah. “No worries,” he said, as the younger druid followed his lead. “Now, come!”

The two dashed out of Thrallmar, and not much later they were among the somewhat ethereal woods of Terokkar Forest, both in tree form. “It is easier for a druid healer to practice when among real trees, where we can pull on the inspiration of nature,” Bloedhoorn explained. “Now, Songlark, I will show you a trick. We specialize in healing someone’s wounds slowly, over time, however, in an emergency, we can draw these energies together to heal all at once.” He was about to demonstrate when suddenly he paused. He thought he’d seen something move, out of the corner of his eye…

But then it was gone again. Chalking it up to a bird flitting about, Bloedhoorn prepared to cast a spell. But then, wait! There it was again! Something was moving in the forest.

“What is it?” Songlark asked, but Bloedhoorn held up a branch to silence her. Slowly he scanned the area with his eyes. Nothing but trees.

Trees…

One of them was moving.

A treant! Or more accurately…

“Another druid?” said Bloedhoorn quietly to himself.

It was! Another druid in tree form, watching them quietly. Songlark saw it as well, and the two tauren stared at it. It was downright unusual to see a druid in tree form out in the field, especially alone. And Bloedhoorn, being fairly well-traveled, immediately recognized it as not just any druid, but a Night Elf druid. He relayed this information to Songlark, who gasped. “Does she want to fight?”

“I would have a hard time believing that,” said Bloedhoorn. “One does not do much damage in the form of a treant, as I am sure you have learned already. No, let us take this slowly.”

He took a few steps toward the other tree, and waved. She waved back.

Bloedhoorn pointed to himself and Songlark, and then bowed. He was trying to get across the message that they were friendly, since he knew they would not be able to speak the same language. The other tree watched them intently, and seemed to understand what was being said because she nodded.

Bloedhoorn then pointed to the other tree and shrugged. It was his way of asking what she was doing there.

The other tree pointed to herself and said, “Tamaryn.” It must have been her name. Then, she began a series of wild gesticulations that absolutely baffled the two tauren. She scratched at her face with her leafy hands, then made a paddling motion, then pointed at the surrounding forest, and finally slumped over in a look of despair. When these gestures were met with a confused look on the faces of the other trees, she repeated them.

“What’s she trying to say?” asked Songlark.

“I don’t know, but I think maybe it has to do with it raining orange frogs?” Bloedhoorn guessed. “These night elf types are very unusual.”

“I can see that,” said Songlark.

Tamaryn appeared exasperated at this point, but then suddenly her face lit up, as though she had an idea. Suddenly she shifted into a sleek, dark bluegreen panther.

The two tauren jumped. Such an action was potentially threatening, afterall, since the form of a cat was frequently used to fight. But before they could react, the other druid turned back into a tree and pressed her hands very close together, as though trying to point out that something was being squeezed together… or perhaps…

“I KNOW!” Songlark said. “She is trying to say something is very small.”

“Hrmm…” said Bloedhoorn thoughtfully, his tree-face scrunched up in thought.

Tamaryn repeated this series of actions a few times: turning into a panther, then making the “small” gesture, and then pointing at the forest. And all of a sudden, it dawned on him.

“Small cat. She’s lost a small cat!” said Bloedhoorn. “And it is hiding in the forest somewhere. Perhaps she wants us to help look.”

Bloedhoorn held up a finger to the other druid, signaling her to wait. Then he turned to Songlark. “You use the swiftness of the cheetah to scout around this area. I’ll look from the sky.”

Songlark nodded and shifted into cheetah form. As she did so, Bloedhoorn became a stormcrow and flew high into the sky. As he hovered there and scanned the area with sharp eyes, he found several questions entering his head, the main one being why the other druid did not look through flight herself. He could sense that she was just as powerful and trained as he was. There must have been some reason why she was staying in treant form.

He flew a bit east; he saw Songlark searching every nook and cranny below him and Tamaryn also looking– still as a tree. Realizing this might take a while, Bloedhoorn took a deep breath and closed his eyes, trying to imagine that he was a pet cat that belonged to a treant. Where might he hide…

…in the branches of another tree, perhaps?

Swooping lower a bit, he flew between the trees of the Terokkar woods. He kept his eyes wide and his ears open, and it wasn’t long before he heard it. A quiet, barely perceptible “Mew…”

Immediately he stopped, wheeled around, and spotted a small white kitten perched atop a very tall tree. Its eyes were wide and it was staring rather nervously at the ground that was far below as it mewed helplessly. Smiling to himself, Bloedhoorn alighted on a branch next to it, gently took it by the scruff of its neck in his beak, and then fluttered down to the ground, where the night elf druid was waiting.

Tamaryn’s face lit up and she cheered as Bloedhoorn set the kitten down, which immediately ran up and hid in the branches atop Tamaryn’s head. A series of words tumbled out of her mouth, which Bloedhoorn didn’t understand, but which he assumed by her expression were words of gratitude, so he bowed at her.

Tamaryn bowed back, and then with a last wave, she walked away into the misty woods– still as a treant.

Bloedhoorn returned to tauren form and watched her go, rather mystified. At that moment, Songlark dashed up as a cheetah. “You found the cat?”

“Yes, it has been returned to its owner. I know why she was in tree form now; the cat appears to live on her head.” He scratched his scalp.

“Huh…” Songlark shifted into tauren form herself. “Well, that was an, uh… unexpected little diversion.”

Bloedhoorn chuckled. “What did I tell you, the Night Elves are a bit odd. You can’t blame them really; they’re purple, afterall. Now, where were we…”

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I’m pretty sure we’re all clear on the fact that I enjoy rolling hunters. I can’t help it. It’s relaxing. It’s nostalgic.

Alongside this, it means I have tamed a lot of pets in my WoW career. The level 10 pet is very important to me, because I consider it to be the pet that particular hunter will have their entire life– oh sure, they’ll tame others, and may even use others in raids or PvP, but all of my hunters keep their first pet.

And one of my little quirks is that I enjoy taming the… more challinging to obtain pets.

I’ve ran level ten Hordies to Teldrassil. Twice. Once for the owl and once for a cat.

I’ve ran a low level Hordie to Azuremyst for the moth.

I’ve ran a level 10 Hordie to Dun Morogh for the snow leopard.

I’ve ran a level 10 Alliance character to Durotar for a raptor.

A good chunk of those were on PvP servers.

I’ve also done safer but still lengthy trips on other characters: dragging a Tauren to Eversong Woods or Trolls and Blood Elves to Mulgore. (It has occurred to me that an unusually high percentage of my lowbie hunters are Horde. Hmm.)

This was all in my mind yesterday when I did something crazy and made a character on one of my non-”Home Servers”. Thus it was that I made a female tauren hunter (yes I have a billion of those, shuddup, Azeroth needs more, dangit! /shifty eyes) on Wyrmrest Accord, so I could say hello to Faeldray and Tzia, two people who have been a part of the Aspect of the Hare commenting community for a very, very long time and who both have awesome blogs of their own.

We hung out for a while and did some really nifty RP (which I may talk about later, in its own post), but always in the back of my mind as I did the tauren starter quests for the umpteenth time was what pet I should get. It had to be special, something that I could tie in to my developing character story, and preferably something I hadn’t ever tamed before.

Then I had an idea.

Snoeken (Dutch for “Pike”, albeit the fish and not the weapon =P) went on a little adventure.

First, the ride from Thunder Bluff to Orgrimmar.

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Taking the zeppelin to Undercity…

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And getting on a different zeppelin and going to a very scary place for a level 10:

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Howling Fjord.

Then came the ceremonial removing of all the clothes (except the shirt and pants– I’m a decent tauren!) and a deep breath…

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And then the corpse hop began.

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So, rez timer, we meet again.

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The run to Utgarde Keep wasn’t that bad though, and I soon found myself where I needed to be…

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Well well well, what’ve we got here?

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Brand New Birdie:

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The fishertauren and her sea hawk:

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My new druid-birdie has a few bugs, it would appear. He flies extremely low to the ground (as opposed to, say, an owl, who flies much higher), and when he flies after you, he remains leaned back in his “hovering” position. The way a druid would look if it was just flying in place. I’ve actually had this happen to me in my druid flight form, if I time myself carefully and jump right when I enter flight form. But it seems to be a perpetual problem for the Daggercap Hawk, and it looks kind of silly. In addition, he doesn’t “highlight” when you click on him, the way other things do.

Regardless of these issues, he is a gorgeous pet– and certainly unique, as well!

Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope Blizzard eventually fixes these issues, rather than conveniently deciding that a level 10 hunter shouldn’t have a bird from Northrend =P

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The desert stretched far and wide under the young druid’s hooves and she found herself sighing at this wasteland that she had come to. The goblins had plenty of tasks for young entrepreneurs, but few would help to test and grow her skill with the healing arts, which was her focus– no, most of the goblins asked for bandits to be chased off and roving animal bands to be culled.

She shifted effortlessly into the form of a dust-colored lion and stretched, as she did so briefly inspecting her claws– they were not as sharp as they could be. Neither were her teeth. She hadn’t studied feral combat at all, and she knew that as time went on and she dealt with more and more dangerous foes, this form would no longer cut it. She sighed again, shifted back into her tauren form, and muttered a brief prayer to the Earthmother as she strode into Gadgetzan’s inn.

That was when she saw him; a blood elf with a red lion’s mane of hair and a large, beautiful cream-hued moth fluttering next to his head. There was something about this elf that shook the druid as unusual, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.

She thought for a bit, wondering if she should approach him; these blood elves were somewhat unpredictable in their actions and many of her comrades at home in Mulgore had muttered their quiet disapproval of having to work with them. Still, she figured it was worth a shot, since there was no one else around at this time except for the goblins, and so she sat down next to him on the bench.

He immediately glanced up at her with expressive bluegreen eyes as she attempted to word her request in Orcish, a language which she still did not have a strong command of. “Hello, sir… I am a healer… would you like my help?” Mentally she berated herself for not being able to word that as eloquently as her mind cwas able to, but her thoughts were soon interrupted by the blood elf chuckling and responding– in Taurahe, no less– “I certainly wouldn’t mind some company.”

The druid found herself taken aback at his use of her language. She blinked as he continued, “Did you have anything in particular that you aimed to do while here? I have spent a lot of time here myself; I’m sure the goblins are sick of me by now.” He laughed a bit again– a friendly, good-natured laugh.

The tauren studied the blood elf; here she noticed what it was about him that had flagged him as “unusual”. Namely, instead of wearing the bright, polished armor and colors preferred by most of his race, he was dressed in practical and somewhat bland mail and leather garb, and wore beads and feathers in his hair. His weapon was a gun of typical Tauren worksmanship, and to top it off, his Taurahe, albeit having a foreign (but not entirely unpleasant) lilt to it, sounded fluent.

It was as though he had come from Thunder Bluff instead of Silvermoon.

All at once the druid relaxed. It was a mystery to be sure, but there was a down-to-earth friendliness in the blood elf’s face, and it was reassuring.

“To tell the truth I just arrived not to long ago,” she replied, glad to be conversing in her native tongue. “I am training to be a healer, though, and it’s getting hard to find such work when there are so few about…”

The blood elf nodded. “That’s unfortunate, but sadly, understandable. You’re welcome to adventure with me, though… I could use the company. Not that Chakapas here isn’t good company…” he reached up and gently stroked the moth’s furry face, and it chattered back happily. The elf turned back to look at the druid. “We’ll start you with the basics; this is a rough land. I know a good place where we can practice working together.” He stood up and brushed off his trousers, then extended a gloved hand out to the tauren. “I’m Althalor,” he said. “And you…?”

“Songlark,” the druid smiled.

So for Recruit-a-Friend I transferred my Sapling Tree (as opposed to the Full-grown Tree I already possess) over to my new account, specifically so she and the third hunter in my repertoire could level together. The main catch is that for the lowbie to receive bonus XP, the group must not be killing anything that is “gray” to either character, and for both to receive bonus XP, they must be within a few levels of each other. And currently, Althalor has a head-start on Songlark of some ten-odd levels.

Still, I figured I could find something in the middle of their respective leveling ranges and at least get Songlark started on her way.

Enter Zul’Farrak.

The mobs are orange (or red) to Songlark and green to Althalor. Armed with Spirit Bond and a Glyph of Mending, I was able to successfully solo the vast majority of the trash in that place, with Songlark obediently following along and providing Mark of the Wild and the rare backup heal, whilst soaking up all the bonus experience.

I experimented with a couple different computer setups, including this one:

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(Mega Man wallpaper is sexy and you can’t stop me from thinking so! *nods sagely*)

However, the windows were too small to do much work in, and since I was spending 95% of my time on Althalor the Hunter anyway, I eventually wound up making both windows larger and simply keeping one minimized. I didn’t full-screen either of them, to make it easier to swap between them, though.

Oh, and before you ask, it works flawlessly on Linux/Wine. /flex

By now I’ve toted Songlark through good portions of ZF, several quests in both Feralas and Tanaris, and also jumped onto Lunapike to run her through Scarlet Monastery a few times for Whitemane’s infamous hat (which failed to drop and then I got bored…) Suffice to say she was level 38 when we began this little adventure and she’s now a fraction of a bar away from level 43.

I like this Recruit-a-Friend thing. *cough* It feels super awesome to have both Hunter PewPew and Druid HoTs at my disposal– two of my favorite things!

It does feel odd, in another way, though. See, leveling is something I really enjoy doing. I even like leveling “the normal way”. So this would aaaaaallllmost feel like cheating, except that I already have a level 80 hunter (two actually) and a level 80 druid and I’ve leveled both Horde and Alliance characters to 80 at this point so it’s not like I’m missing out on anything new, ya know?

I don’t think I would actually ever use Recruit-a-Friend with someone who hadn’t played before, though… I’d level with them the old-fashioned way, I think. Personal preference, really.

By the way– I’ve gotten LOTS of comments about dual-boxing and programs to use and that sort of thing. I do appreciate all the advice, but at this point I have little interest in “serious” dual-boxing beyond sticking the druid on follow and having the hunter go demolish stuff. Not to mention, I have my doubts about how well various dual-boxing programs would work on Linux. Still, I will keep all the input in mind, just in case.

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There they were, high in the hills of Crystalsong Forest. Tawyn and Perezvon. They’d flown there atop the broad, red wings of Spirakistrasz, Perezvon the wolf enjoying the ride as he always did, ears flapping.

Tawyn had grown attached to him since nursing him back to health some time ago, but she had since discovered that they were not the best fit for each other. He was loyal, and he fought as hard as he could, and his howl was inspiring to her. But he lacked the pure unbridled storm that Wash seemed to possess, and the cunning of Eltanin and Tux, and the stealthy movements of Locke. Perezvon was a good friend, a companion– but Tawyn needed a fighter.

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They stood there and Perezvon wagged his tail a bit, as if to ask what they were doing out here. That tail, Tawyn thought. She was convinced by now that he was only half-wolf, and half-domestic dog. She was also convinced that he’d had an owner at some point, before her, which is why he had warmed up to her so fast– and it was time to return him to his home.

“Perezvon,” she said, in a gentle voice that none but her pets ever heard, “It’s time for you to go.”

The wolf looked up at her and blinked once or twice. He of course could not understand Common, but Tawyn’s training as a Beast Master had given her enough of a bond with her pets that she was able to get the gist across with little more than the tone of her voice. She looked down at him. “You were hurt, and you needed someone to fix you up. I think you are going to be okay now.” She looked back up at the horizon. “And I don’t know where your home is. But I know you know how to get there.”

Silence. The wind blew a bit, rustling some nearby leaves.

And then he was on her, licking her face, and Tawyn sprouted a lopsided grin and cackled, “Git outta here, boy… go home.”

And he did, running through the snow.

The last thing Tawyn heard was a furious howl.

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