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So… hi. Watch as I attempt, in vain, to sneak back like a person returning to a party after leaving in disgraceful circumstances.

Well, what’s been going on? Nothing much to be honest. The festival of alt-levelling has continued, both Girlpants and Wintersong are at level 60 and doing the steady grind through Hellfire Peninsula. Winters has reached both Mangle and Omen of Clarity in the talent specs while Teh Pants is gathering quest rewards for a switch back to Elemental.

Fenellafudge reached level 30 and became my first character to hit that level and be able to swan straight off to buy a cut-price mount. Now, you know how I said that blood elf mounts looked more comical than the grim harbingers of doom that, I imagine, they were probably supposed to represent? Wrong again. “I am a fearless hunting orc and, yes, ’twas I that beseiged and laid waste to your village. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to saddle up my demented, LIMPING dog and ride out of town…”. Darkspear rep is still on the priority-gather list, and heavens to betsy Horde get the rough end of the stick on mounts.

Also, look!

Anj was called back into active service for a farming run of Karazhan, seeing Nightbane and Netherspite for the first time ever and, over the course of about three hours, gathered twenty-one Badges of Justice, my own personal one day record by a long shot, as well as Gloves of Quickening. She even had a glimpse inside Zul’Aman, not as successful a run given that we fell flat on our face at the first boss due to tank problems. It still counts, and it’s very pretty.

Happy Lich King news of today is the revelation that certain aesthetic features of characters will be changable as well as the hair-styles. This is only good news because I’ve noticed for a while now that Wintersong has no facial markings and I have no idea what in the name of Elune was going through my mind when I clicked “Create Character” with that choice. It’s not right, it’s not on, and it will be changed.

Finally, am I the only person in the world that misread the “exotic pets” part of the extended Beast Mastery talents as “quixotic pets”? I was all ready to tame one of Azeroth’s moons. Stunned by a rogue who thinks I have no pet with me? Oh, you poor, sweet fool… WHAM! And you’ve just been moonstomped, along with everybody else in the zone.

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Every Alliance fire has been saluted, every Horde fire has been stamped on, flames stolen from four cities… That’s the Festival in the bag for Anj. Throw in earnings of over 500g, a pretty Crown of the Fire Festival to go with the dress and a Brazier of Dancing Flames as a stylish booty-shakin’ companion. Now to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labour, the warmth of the fires and that gorgeous bunting that gets attached to almost every vertical surface.

Dancing flames!

Incidentally, taking the city flames if you’re a night elf hunter: All you’re going to need is Feign Death and Shadowmeld. Mount up and ride into the city as bold as you like. Miss! Dodge! Parry! Should you get dazed and dismounted, hit the FD, wait for the grunts to go back to their posts and come out of that straight into the ‘Meld until the cooldown is up and go again. I went very early in the morning and Orgrimmar was still expected to be problematic but the troubles never came. Turns out there was a big Horde raid going on in Ironforge at the time. That will have taken care of a bunch of players who, as we all know, are notoriously unfooled by amateur dramatics. More fool them, I say!

While we’re being honest, as for the “in the bag” statement, well… There’s still fires at Brill, Booty Bay and Area 52 to do, oh and the Frost Lord because I like having tabards even though the choice is cruel! Red or blue? Blue or red? … OMG! No time for dancin’!

Blizzard’s efforts to ease the one to sixty levelling stretch without making it ludicrously easy have been admirable, and the current Midsummer Fire Festival offers a great bonus opportunity to boost up a few levels. Just with regular questing the (level * 10) damage buffs, +3% critical strike and +10% XP gain help you kill mobs a little quicker and gets you more of a reward for doing it.

Also, touring the worlds honouring your own fires while extinguishing the opposing faction’s is surprisingly rewarding. Caitlin’s shifted up to level 60, she’s on a brief hiatus now to fill up that rest time ready for Hellfire Peninsula and beyond, while Winters is sitting pretty at 40, waiting for the chance to get into a dungeon and try out tanking. There’s no real XP to gain for Anj but fire-work around Outland and Eastern Kingdoms, starting in Blasted Lands and heading steadily North, netted a keen 225g plus more than enough Burning Blossoms to get her a beautiful new dress. The Lunar Festival Dress is all very well, but you can’t expect a girl to wind down outside of battle gear with only one alternative wardrobe option. That’s just being silly.

Wintersong saw something amazing:

Outside WoW: RIP George.

Woot! Here’s an event I honestly never thought would come, Caitlin becomes my third character to reach level 58 and enjoy the crazy money and gear rewards that Outland has to offer.

First order of business was a mad dash to Shattrath to pick up the flightpath, a job made a hell of a lot easier by having a two-woman advance scout party already well-acquainted with the place and knowing the route from anywhere to anywhere else like the back of their hands, then three quests for Honor Hold to get a new top (replacing – omg – Pratt’s Handcrafted Tunic! That was from a Feralas quest, the better part of eighteen levels old!) and two new daggers.

And then… Back to Azeroth to tidy up a few left over quests there and get my level up to 60. It’s just going to make life a lot easier, and little less interrupted by death…

I’d just finished the Bride of the Embalmer quest with Girlpants, the first time I’ve done it and had a use for the shield reward (at least until level 34 when I can use my super-pretty, auction-bought, Alysha-enchanted Trickster’s Protector of Intellect), go away to cook some food, walk out of the Town Hall when I return and see this:

Hurray! Midsummer Festival! I loved this last year, not only because it was my first official WoW holiday (not counting Children’s Week). The decorations, the fires, the maypoles, the damage and XP buffs (yummers)… It’s just a beautiful festival, and with a very Glastonbury feel to it, since I’m not going there this year (boo!) I’m happy enough to have this instead. I’ll just cake myself with mud, maybe.

While we’re in a screenshot mood, here’s what happens when you get a little too big for your level 70 boots when soloing Zul’Farrak for cloth and stuff and entertain the idea of not pulling the crowd of mobs that spawn at the base of the pyramid in easy-to-manage chunks:

Oops. Sorry, Sergeant Bly.

Having a levelling hunter at the same time as one that is all growed-up, I’ve been tripped up too many times by not having everything on the same button. I’m used to where things are so much that I still press 4 for Kill Command on every critical strike despite being about forty levels away from actually getting it for Joot.

So I’m popping this here, to be able to synchronise both hunter’s action bars. A few explanatory tooltips have been added in case of any perverse interest from the few people that swing by here. Hi y’alls! I love you!

Does anyone else like to see other people’s UI set-up? It’s like bookcases, I love looking at other people’s bookcases. Along with hundreds of other forms of storage, it’s a testament to the inherent uniqueness of everybody in a world that wants everybody to think everybody else is the same. Ahem. The main action bar bit at the bottom is SpartanUI, isn’t it beautiful? Yes it has flaws but, hey, beauty without flaws isn’t beauty!

Three resto druids keeping us all alive in Karazhan, not the most varied healing team you could possibly imagine but, like SweetiePie by the Stone Alliance (and ev’rybody know they known for droppin’ science), they take the prize for the All-Before-Attumen Luckytime Summer Dance-Off!

Taking Moroes without a priest in the party was… an interesting experience. Being the only hunter as well, I impressed myself (even if it was only myself) with keeping the Blue Square trapped by running from the top to the bottom of the room and using Concussive Shot to help buy me some vital cooldown time. Go me, multitasking is all part of a hunter’s job!

Rub your eyes, blink a few times and maybe add a double, even a triple take. I’ve seen gold spammers set to <DND> (as if dealing with a flood of whispers is something they have to contend with on a regular basis), even one that for some unfathomable reason frames it’s four-line annoyance with a pair of ASCII-art feet, but this really takes the cake:

“Well, I suppose if you apologise for it, then it’s okay, have my money!”. Damn these gold-sellers! In fact, you know what? I’m going to say it, damn these gold-buyers for making it so lucrative in the first place! Bloody kids these days can’t cope with game if there’s no god mode…

Back in the days of GTA: San Andreas, there were audible squeals of delight when I discovered the “innovative” camera item for taking screenshots. In the many months I spent with that game exploring every single nook, cranny and easter egg (as well as proving, time and time again, why I should never be allowed behind the wheel of a real automobile), I think I racked up more time with the camera in-hand than any weapon.

And so, with greater draw distance being the source of unending impressment, we return to those halcyon days with a mini-gallery entitled “Got Any Ideas For The Cover Of The New Yes Album?”.

Did you know that from the Cosmowrench flight master it’s possible to see the imposing structure that is Tempest Keep looming over the shattered land? You did? Well, I didn’t. My apologies to Blizzard for spending so much time too underpowered to appreciate this until now.

Friday screenshots are a supremely overused blog ‘feature’ I’ve noticed. But, Sunday screenshots? That could work. That’s… innovation.

December 2017
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