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It's not easy being green.

It's not easy being green.

Some of the kind folk in Thunder Bluff asked me if I would accompany them on a supply run to Camp Mojache, Feralas. I tried to find an excuse not to go, but the tauren have a way about them that makes them seem needy. Not needy in a weak way, but in a way that makes you just want to hug them and tell them that it will all be okay. But it never really is, is it?

The centaur haven’t been harassing the transport caravans from Thunder Bluff lately, but you never can tell when one of those wretched centaur has managed to round up a few of his bloodthirsty friends. The tauren requested that I scout ahead for them.

The trip took a couple of weeks. The worst part was probably the lack of any good bathing spots. I am pretty sure we all smelled like jungle gorillas when we finally rolled into Camp Mojache. I was swimming naked in Wildwind Lake before I even bothered to greet anyone.

In spite of the fact that there is the constant threat of attack by gnolls or Grimtotem clan people, the jungle of Feralas is one of the most serene places I have ever been. This is mostly due to the military guidance of Rok Orhan. That is one orc woman to be reckoned with.

It has been warm but not excessively humid. On the occasions where there has been rainfall, it was cool and pleasant.

I have been here now for several days and I’ve been able to get some thinking done. That wasn’t the purpose of my visit (Cairne promised me a hundred gold for assisting) but it has been a welcome by product.

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The night that the bluffwatchers brought Zane Cinderhoof’s corpse back to Thunder Bluff was the second worst night in Elsinne Starsong’s relatively short lifetime.

Zane Cinderhoof was a young tauren carpenter who was responsible for much of the upkeep on Thunder Bluff’s Elder Rise. While Elsinne rested in Elder Rise some months back, recovering from injury, she befriended Zane, who was often nearby making repairs on various tauren structures. The tauren had a strong oral tradition, and Elsinne would be amazed at how much knowledge the young Zane retained.

Zane and his younger brother Iram had recently taken the perilous journey from Mulgore to Desolace to buy a couple of tamed kodo beasts from the goblins. They had taken a couple of bluffwatchers with them for safety, but only at their mother’s insistence. A few hours before reaching their destination, the group was ambushed by a group of centaur.

For her brief seventy-two years of life, centaur were little more than mythical creatures to Elsinne. This was so until she landed on Kalimdor and saw them for the first time. She was horrified by their hateful spite and capacity for brutality as she watched them from safety during her wanderings through the Barrens and Thousand Needles.

These centaur had been exceptionally savage. Attacking the tauren group from behind, they made easy work of the younger Iram Cinderhoof. Barely an adolescent, he was unable to put up much of a fight. The centaur had taken hold of Zane before the bluffwatchers had time to react. There had been six centaur, but they were not able to match the abilities of the two bluffwatchers that remained. Two centaur were killed before the others fled. Iram was no longer recognizable; the inflamed stomping of the centaur had mangled him. Zane had been run through several times with incompetently fashioned spears. Out of dignity, they buried Iram where he was slain.

Elves were often very prejudiced towards others and, after leaving Silvermoon, Elsinne fought very hard to remain free of that elf inclination. She watched the bluffwatchers through tears as they carried Zane’s body to his mother’s door. She listened in anguish as the mother’s cries pierced the night air. Perhaps all of Mulgore heard her.

Elsinne was there when Arthas marched on Quel’Thalas. But she knew that the Lich King’s minions were nothing more than mindless puppets. Elsinne was no fan of the Scourge, but she had no deep seated hatred for them. They were weak, poor souls under the control of an insane human. She could destroy Scourge on sight, but there would be no emotion behind it, just necessity. But these horrible centaur, they did this of their own free will. The rumors of their boundless ferocity were true.

The tears gradually stopped flowing, and suddenly Elsinne felt heavy with heat within her breast. This was the fever of hatred, unadulterated abhorrence that Elsinne had never felt before.

I spent a good bit of time this weekend reading World of Warcraft lore and also visiting the blogs and websites of other role-players to see what their characters were all about.

Many of these characters had some lofty goals and aspirations, in most cases based solely on an incident that occurred to the character in some time past. One common “purpose in life” that I run across is: vengeance against the Scourge in general or Arthas in particular. The character’s life was destroyed by the Scourge, and likely a large or meaningful part of their family was destroyed as well. This gives them the drive to press on until one day Arthas is destroyed.

I have run across other characters who want to live out some general purpose – perhaps serving the Dark Lady or Tyrande Whisperwind without question because in some way their character owes Sylvanas or the night elf high priestess their lives. Still more characters are crusaders of some kind, perhaps keeping their homelands free of demon taint or wandering elementals.

Elsinne, my character, doesn’t have a purpose at all. I don’t know if that’s good or bad in terms of role-play. As I have indicated in days past, she is an admirer of Sylvanas Windrunner but she does not share her goals and ideals. Elsinne is from Quel’thalas but she has no deep loyalty to Silvermoon. She wishes that she could have left it under better circumstances, but she is glad that she left. She is a member of the Horde mostly in name only. The Scourge invasion has left her largely emotionless when it comes to anything political. She sees little point in drawn lines and boundaries. They seem to create more problems than they solve. Elsinne isn’t interested in being ruled by anybody.

This is why she gets along so well with the tauren in Thunder Bluff and can usually be found among them. They just want to survive, not scheme and conquest. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she stays out of trouble. She often leaves Mulgore for months at a time, adventuring and making her way the best way she can. On occasion she has been known to get involved in local problems, whether it be for coin or genuine interest.

The bottom line here, I guess, is that Elsinne isn’t “epic” and she’s okay with that. She’s never been on any adventures thus far with any major players. In fact, she’s only ever met less than a handful of people who could have been said to have any real influence at all. Elsinne doesn’t want to change the world, though she does recognize that there is plenty wrong with it.

Habit 1: They Should Never See You Coming. You are not a brawler. As cocky as you might be, you cannot go toe to toe with some armor wearing beast. Your best bet is taking him down from behind. If he survives, he’ll scream something about honor, but honor is for losers. Honorable people get killed. Honorable people are taken advantage of.

Habit 2: Be prepared. Too many rogues get killed every year due to lack of preparation. It does you no good to bravely descend into a pit after some lost treasure if you are bitten by a venomous snake and die two hours later. Locals can usually tell you about the general area. Ask around. What are the dangers? It doesn’t matter if they can remember your face. You’ll likely not be back.

Habit 3: Integrity is meaningless. I’m not saying that you should go out conning people for a living, but remember that you are not contractually bound to people, either. You’ve got some people out there (night elves) who think that you should do things just out of the goodness of your heart or sense of responsibility. In order for you to remain emotionally detached, you need a tangible reason for doing something, not an ideological one. And sometimes it’s okay to say you will when really you won’t. Appearing to be a pushover is an invitation for people to come gunning for you.

Habit 4: Poison is your friend. Not often, but every now and then you’ll run across someone who is quick enough to escape you. They’ll run and scream and draw attention to themselves and ultimately to you. A little poison in the blood flow usually stops that from happening. Many spiders have died to bring you this excruciating poison. It’s a shame to waste it.

Habit 5: Feel free to use and abuse your friends. I’m not one of those people who will tell you that everyone in the world is untrustworthy and that you need to live in a hole in order to be safe. There are plenty of people that can be trusted, even with your life. Use this to your advantage. If there is an enemy that you know you will not be able to deal with alone, bring a friend. You might have to make up a reason to get her to come along, but they’ll get over it. That’s what friends are for.

Habit 6: Disable, disable, disable. Usually, you will be called upon for a job when brute force has failed. Straight up fighting isn’t the answer. Don’t get caught up in the distraction of fighting everything to the death. A well-placed blow to the head, knee, or forearm is usually enough to remove threats. Fight dirty. There is nothing wrong with throwing sand in someone’s eyes. Leave the clumsy gladiatorial fights to someone else with nothing better to do.

Habit 7: Don’t get angry. You won’t like it when you’re angry. Losing your cool is also a guaranteed loss of focus. It leads to carelessness, clumsiness, and—if you don’t stem it—death. Don’t respond to meaningless taunts and don’t try to get even. If you find yourself beginning to boil over, go settle down.

Be safe.

sylvanas

I mentioned on a previous occasion that Elsinne Starsong deeply admires Sylvanas Windrunner. She always did, even when Sylvanas was ranger-general of Silvermoon. Elsinne always desired to have leadership and tactical skills that were even half that of Sylvanas. Sure, she was pretty quick with a dagger, but Elsinne was a klutz when it came to leading people. Being forced to lead, she turns into a stammering idiot. She met Sylvanas once some time ago, shortly after she left Silvermoon. The queen of the Forsaken barely paid Elsinne any attention at all, but Elsinne will never forget standing face to face with one of the most amazing people in Azeroth.

Why did I choose to play a blood elf? I’d been Alliance for four years. What in the world would make me choose to go to the other side. There were a few things. I’d never done things from the Horde side so there was essentially a whole game’s worth of new content. I’d never heard their side from their point of view. The final nail in the coffin was me was this video. Blind: The Craft of War.

It’s not a new video, but the first time I saw it was three or four months ago on Vimeo (it’s not hosted there anymore).  The then Wowinsider had a link to it. It’s an awesome machinima and I love the song, Hide and Seek by Namie Amuro. If you’ve not seen it, check it out. If you have seen it, watch it again.

I’ve been severely limiting my time in the game lately, and I’ve noticed that I am actually getting more accomplished, not less.

In the past, when I’ve logged on with no official “quitting time”, I would get some things done but it was easy to lose focus. I might go off in this direction to skill up this profession or walk down in that direction for no good reason in particular.

Elsinne has been moving right along with just playing for minutes at a time, generally 20-30 minute chunks. I am cheating, however, since I am using the Jame’s Horde Leveling Guide add-on, which helps tremendously. She’s already very near to dinging level 17.

Not having professions to level has removed a good bit of distraction. And so has ignoring achievements entirely. I am finding that I am able to make a steady enough income just off of green drops and profession materials that I can sell at the auction house.

I did break from this playstyle a bit this weekend, however, when I decided to enjoy my first official bit of role-playing on Earthen Ring.

Elsinne was strolling into Silvermoon for important rogue business when she was approached by a very large orc.

Orc: You there! Elf!

Elsinne: Can I help you, orc?

Orc: Yes! I was looking for someone to be my servant. You’ll fit nicely.

Elsinne: A blood elf servant to an orc? Have you been eating bad Dalaran cheese?

Orc: What I ask of you is no different than these meaningless errands you’ve been running up until now.

Elsinne: What I have done has been with selfish purposes. I owe them nothing nor am I bound to them. I have a plan.

Orc: Oh, really? What is your plan?

Elsinne: My plans are my own. You’re a long way from home, orc. Why are you in Silvermoon?

Orc: I was exiled.

Elsinne: /laugh

Orc: I am earning my way back to my people.

Elsinne: Good luck with that. I need to speak with my trainer urgently. I bid you good day, orc.

Orc: Very well. I will find someone else to earn my gold.

I would later run into a blood elf mage whose character apparently was touched in the head. He would scream crazy nonsensical things about the scourge randomly throughout the city. Supposedly he was driven insane by his magic addiction. He was definitely into his character, that’s for sure.

So I lost focus for a bit there, but it was well worth it and I wouldn’t mind doing a bit more RP when I get the chance.

The recent departure of Big Red Kitty caused me to do some serious reflection about World of Warcraft. I had not yet reached the point that I was ignoring or neglecting family members while making podcasts and videos or raiding (Raiding? What’s that?). But I had reached the point where I would be flying around Storm Peaks on my green proto drake (Thanks, Oracles!) hunting for the time-lost proto drake.

Why?

Wasn’t the time-lost proto drake exactly the same as the green proto drake except that it wasn’t green but more time-lost colored? Was it really necessary that I run through the Scholomance quest chain in order to get the skeleton key so that I could read that one last book and get the Well Read achievement? Why did I go all the way back out to Netherstorm to buy pets for some goofy pet collecting achievement? Lord have mercy, Jesus, how many days in a row did I brave shark infested waters to feed fish to the lazy and horribly ugly sea lion so that it could find it’s equally hideous mate? I don’t even want to talk about how long I sat there trying to fish up Old Ironjaw (I finally did!). I took the death knight out to Westfall to hunt down Edwin Van Cleef. For ten lousy achievement points.

My reflection brought me to this conclusion: None of these things were at all fun for me. None of these things changed the game one bit. I enjoy [most of] World of Warcraft, but it was high time I cut out things that were largely unnecessary and unenjoyable wastes of time.

It was then that I decided to start over. From scratch.

I created a brand new blood elf rogue on Earthen Ring. I’ve never seriously tried horde before. I played an orc hunter once to about level 24 or so on another server, but most of that time was spent in the barren wasteland known as, well, the Barrens, and I don’t think even that was enough experience to let me know what playing on the horde side is really like. I have no horde characters on this server and no way to be a sugar daddy to myself. I’m going to have to earn everything.

And I am earning it without the use of professions. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, my rogue is only going to be able to do first aid. No skinning, no mining, no herbalism. No dressmaking, no meth labs, no way to make bendy straws. My rogue is going to exist entirely off of what she finds lying around and nifty quest rewards. I am going even further out on a limb by not leveling in a combat spec. I once got a gnome rogue to level 30 with a combat spec in what would be the most boring 30 levels of my WoW career. Nope, this time I am going assassination. I know, I know. It doesn’t have the sustained DPS that’s recommended for leveling. But playing a combat rogue to me just doesn’t seem very … rogueish. It’s more pirate-ish. And I don’t want to be a pirate (though they do get cool hats).

I’m not doing anything in this game that I don’t want to anymore. I don’t need to grind rep for vanity pets. I don’t need the extra special shoulders from the So-and-so faction, especially since all my characters end up in PvP anyway.

So if you’re on Earthen Ring and you see a lonely blood elf rogue slithering around happily hunting for quest targets, that’s me.

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