Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Shaman, adrift

Hello. My name is Mara, and I'm an altoholic.

With the advent of Cataclysm and the departure of almost everyone from Memento Mori, I have been spending more time with my alts. The new expansion introduced a multitude of new quests and revamped areas to explore. Therefore, in my limited free time, I have been off... y'know... exploring them.

Meet Ellannii, an eager young shaman of the Alliance. Her early levels were spent among the other fortunate survivors on Azuremyst and Bloodmyst Isles. She enjoys studying the floral life of Azeroth and the various ways in which they can be combined to strengthen herself and her allies.

Deathwing's resurgence into the world coincided with Ellannii's departure from her people's new homeland. She journeyed to Stormwind to assist with the Elemental Invasion and made her oath to Alliance.

Since then, she has earnestly served the Alliance in the Western and Eastern Plaguelands, the Badlands, and the Blasted Lands.

Now, however, her faith in the Alliance is fading.

King Varian Wrynn has called for all able bodied adventures to travel through the Dark Portal and assist those remaining in their never ending fight against the Outlands' demonic denizens.

As in all her previous missions, Ellannii responded instantly. On recommendation, she purchased a gryphon and learned how to ride it. She was told the Outlands are a dangerous place to be without an agile and airborne method of transportation. Despite preferring to keep her hooves firmly on the ground, Ellanni bought Kirna.

Proud and ambitious, Ellannii stepped through the Dark Portal with Kirna at her side... and into hell.

Over and over again Ellannii shook her head, trying to relieve herself of the sound of tortured screaming. Long minutes passed with Kirna standing placidly at her side, before Ellannii realized the screaming was in her head.

In her head and in the earth surrounding her.

Ellannii had been told that her people's home world was broken. But the knowledge that Dreanor was a tortured and devastated world could not compare with the screaming, agonizing reality.

As the screaming continued, Ellannii shook her head a final time and retreated back through the Dark Portal. The relative silence of the earth in the Blasted Lands was a blessed relief. Shaken and weary, Ellannii and Kirna set off for Stormwind to tender their regretful resignation to the King. As far as the little shaman was concerned, the Legion could have the remnants of Dreanor. She was never going back there.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A.D. Temple's Azeroth: Dustwallow Marsh

My journey, dear friends, begins in the noble city of Theramore.

Theramore is often thought of as a military outpost and is sometime referred to as Theramore Keep. It is true that Theramore is a well fortified island, strategically placed to monitor the desserts and marshes that the Horde sometimes call home.

The militaristic nature of Theramore extends back to its creation. Lady Jaina Proudmoore established the Keep with several military companies prior to the invasion of the Burning Legion. To this day, it remains the Alliance's strongest outpost in Southern Kalimdor.

The recent unpleasantness in Northrend led to the absence of the city's leader for an extended period of time. However, the people of Theramore are both loyal and industrious and, rather than the city falling into disarray without it's Lady, it has seen great growth.

The people of Theramore have been extending their Highway through the marsh, allowing people safe travel through this otherwise dangerous location. The marsh's stinking bogs and unfriendly denizens have claimed many an unwary traveler. Those that stick to the provided highway, now can be reasonably assured of safe passage.

The arrival of the Aspect of Death has done little to daunt the spirit of Theramore. Dustwallow Marsh was largely - but not completed - unaffected by the Aspect's re-entrance into Azeroth.

The changes in Theramore and Dustwallow Marsh are political in nature. With Thrall's departure from his position as Warchief - indeed his departure from Azeroth for awhile - has led to a resurgence anti-Horde feeling in Dustwallow Marsh. The uneasy alliance maintained by Lady Proudmoore and Thrall has been dissolved. Furthermore, the Grimtotems - a clan of of the tauren - have recently been exiled from their traditional home. Distinguished by their black and white markings, they have begun to settle - and cause problems - in Dustwallow Marsh.

Visitors of Dustwallow Marsh may begin, as I did, in Theramore on the island off the eastern coast. Alternatively, Mudsprocket still welcomes visitors from both the Horde and the Alliance in the southern region of the marsh. The Horde outpost in the area remains - visitors may find Brackenwall Village in the Northwest region of Dustwallow Marsh.

Brave Adventurers may be interested in visiting the Wyrmbog - the former home of Onyxia, the black broodmother. The Stonemaul ruins may provide visitors with some insight into the violent culture of the Ogre's. Or, history buffs may find Alcaz Island - the former prison of King Varian Wrynn - to be most interesting

The comic image at the beginning, the maps, and the image of Alcaz Island are from WoW Wiki and may be found in the following articles:

Information for this post was found in the above articles, the novel The Shattering, and BradyGames' World of Warcraft: Cataclysm game guide.

The remaining images come to you from my screenshot gallery.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Elephant

Or The Post that Hopefully Allows me to Revive From my Two-Month Funk

First, a quote from Wikipedia: "Elephant in the room is an English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.[1]

It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to concern themselves with tangential or small and irrelevant issues rather than deal with the looming big one."

When I last posted, Memento was looking forward to a guild-wide meeting to determine our path for Cataclysm.

My Elephant - the topic I have, thus far, been unable to discuss is the fact that Memento is no more.

There's more to it than that, of course.

We discussed a lot of things during our meeting. Everyone was there, which impressed me. Takk, Mord, Hippy, Ann, Militia, Batra, Sen, and myself. We talked about what we had and what we wanted.

At the time we all wanted the same thing. Sitting on the bleeding edge of a new expansion gave every one the bug for progression raiding. So we compared schedules and made decisions. Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons were to be for progression raiding. For three weeks, those time slots would be used for running heroics and gearing up. For learning how to work as a team in the big new world that is Cataclysm heroics.

Sen, being a full time engineer, decided to step down from his position as GM. The group chose a replacement... me.

I didn't mind the responsibility. Memento being a small guild, we made a few more changes. We ditched the officers idea and moved forward with our "open-forum" idea. Mord agreed to continue his role as Raid Leader and Militia volunteered to be the Recruitment Guy. I made us a new website and we were all ready to move forward.

Or so I thought.

We floundered through those first three weeks. Most nights we were forced to split up into who was eligible for heroics and who was not. I healed some normal dungeons those week - Disc felt pretty weak at the time.

Then a new, insidious idea began to spread through our happy-meal-sized guild. It would be so much easier to join the progession party if we were not actually a happy-meal-sized guild. But! Instead of recruiting... let's just join a different, bigger guild.

The idea did - and does - cut me like a knife.

But these were my guildies now and I had a responsibility to them. If, in the three week span since our last meeting, they had changed their minds about recruiting for Memento and preferred to raid in a larger, more established environment then that was what we would do.

We had a second guild meeting and decided to look for a new home.

There were some possibilities right off the bat. Militia has always raided on the side with Kaizen and we thought, for awhile, that they might be interested in "absorbing" our little guild.

But... I guess... people weren't willing to wait.

Hippy and Batra, whose attendance was always a little iffy, disappeared entirely.

Militia transferred his characters out of the guild and over to Kaizen without telling anyone.

Mord announced to me - over realID, one day - how totally relieved he was to not be the raid leader anymore. That being free of the responsibility had lifted a huge weight off his shoulders. He, too, had left the guild without telling anyone.


Let me go on record for saying it's not okay to leave a guild without notice. You may not want to give them your reason - and most of the time, you don't have to. You do have to say something.

It's not okay to ninja-quit.

It's not okay. It fucking hurts.


Time and a shift in priorities has done much to restore my equilibrium on the matter.

Mord went on to join Soulfire Tribe - a guild that successfully runs 25 man raids, 4 nights a week.

Ann joined him soon after - something I expected. As an engaged couple who has been raiding together for awhile, little else would make sense.

Soulfire has extended the invitation to the rest of us still dithering about in Memento. All three of us: Takk, Sen and myself.

I encouraged Takk to take the offer, even as I knew that Sen and I probably wouldn't. Memento has been our home a lot longer than its been a raiding guild, so we're comfortable in the small environment. Even if it's now a home for lost alts - its still ours.


I got a new job. The local university lost a visiting professor three weeks into the semester and needed a replacement in a hurry. I met all the necessary requirements. I jumped on it. I now attempt to teach 130 students the ins and outs of Object Oriented Software Development.

Sen and I are attempting to buy a house. I know that no one has ever said that buying a house is an easy thing to accomplish, but they certainly don't tell you that it's rather like playing dodgeball with screwdrivers.

Getting approved for our loan has added a whole new level of stress to our lives. Sen has since turned off his wow account. He has a major engineering exam in April, but he does plan on returning to the game "when things settle down again".


I've encouraged Takk to join Soulfire again, since spending time in our dieing guild doesn't get him any closer to his goal of raiding. He's loyal and stubborn and has stuck it out with us thus far. I suspect I will be moving my warlock to Soulfire with Takk soon.