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I have my own reasons for seeking vengeance. Arthas murdered my people and turned me into this...monstrosity.

I have my own reasons for seeking vengeance. Arthas murdered my people and turned me into this...monstrosity.

Eventually, we (and by we I mean you) are going to get our chance to take down Arthas. Selfishly, I wish it could be a 5-man instance because I will never have the time or desire to gear up through raiding for the purpose of participating in the 10 or 25-man that will feature Arthas’ demise. But, make no mistake; it’s coming.

And, as you know, there isn’t anybody in the Warcraft universe that wants Arthas more than Sylvanas Windrunner. Sure, there are millions who want him taken down – from beings like Kil’jaeden all the way down to some lowly peasants whose families either became Scourge or were killed by them. Sylvanas burns for revenge and I think it would be a bit of a slap in the face to her if she isn’t directly involved in his tortuous demise. Sylvanas would never give someone a quest to go snap Arthas’ neck. No, she would want to do that with her own cold hands.

The least Blizzard could do is allow for the raid party to get Arthas down to 1% and then, after somehow being delayed, Sylvanas strolls in and shoots an arrow right between the eyes. Or, more likely, she drags him off to Undercity where she can make him suffer before killing him.

What do you think? Will Blizzard shut Sylvanas out of the Arthas raid?

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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.

There are three classes that I have always wanted to have a high level character for but I simply do not have the intestinal fortitude to level them. Every other class I have either level capped, got into the 70s or, at the worst, high 40 or low 50s.

The three offenders are Mage, Warrior, and Shaman.

Mage: I have tried no less than four times to level a mage. Four times! Each of them I have gotten to level 18. It’s a pain for the entire process. I do not have fun, I hurl snowballs at mobs, spend an inordinate amount of time drinking (both in-game and on the outside), make it most of the way through whatever 10-20 zone I am fiddling around with, and quit. I know that most classes are fairly similar in the early stages; they give you a small set of abilities to work with here and there. But I don’t know what it is about mage. I just do not enjoy it. I want to. I just don’t. I have had a couple of mages tell me: Just wait until you get to level 30! Then things will really take off for you! 30? Are you kidding me? I probably will never try again, but I would have liked to have had the strength to pull a mage off.

Warrior: My record for leveling a warrior is 27. That was the first character I ever played in the game back in 2005. I hated every second of it and it caused me to quit the game. I came back six months later with a warlock and became WoW addicted. I loved every second of my warlock. After playing a few more characters, it occurred to me that maybe the reason I hated warrior was because I was doing it wrong. I had been brand new player when I played it and I didn’t really understand the talents or the abilities or anything. So I created a new warrior. 24 was the limit that time. This time I read up before I started and I understood how to play a warrior. No, this time I just didn’t like it. It might have been all the deaths. I don’t know about high level warriors, but low level warriors are bad for dealing with adds and if you don’t have decent gear, life will be incredibly painful. Casters made me lie awake at night and cry, especially if there were two or three of them. I felt like every other class I played had a way to effectively deal with casters, even if there were more than one. I made a lot of corpse runs with those warriors.

Shaman: My record is 16. I know, that’s not even worth mentioning. That represents something like three hours of playtime, four at the most. How could I hate shaman after those levels? I can tell you why I didn’t like playing shaman. It had nothing to do with difficulty or enjoyment. I just couldn’t get a grip on what I was, exactly. Was I a caster who could sometimes hit you with a stick? Was I a melee fighter who could occasionally heal myself or electrocute you? Was I completely useless without the totems? I think the totems lost the deal for me. I didn’t feel complete. Hunters had pets, but they could do pretty well without them. Warlocks had pets, but they could still be pretty deadly without them. But the totems were a must and I felt too dependent on them. And I had to keep dropping them. Over and over. Walk a few yards, drop some totems. Walk a few more yards, drop some totems. Mad props to anyone who could handle that. I couldn’t. In the shaman’s defense, I will say that it was my first ever shaman and I was living the life as a troll shaman out in the Barrens and the Barrens is just one of those zones that depresses me. I’m not sure that Westfall or Ghostlands would have made any difference.

What classes have you had trouble with in your time in WoW?

The question came up on Twitter today, as presented by Xandarr2112 of The Experienced Noob blog. It was whether or not people should be able to start new characters at level 55 instead of having to do the long slog from 1-80.

I will admit that a few months ago, I was a mild supporter of this idea. I had a few high level characters and had not started a toon from level one in nearly two years. The thought of plugging along for months to get from 1 to 80 sounded like crazy talk. I, too, was one of the people that felt like it doesn’t take that long to learn how to play a toon.

But after looking at it from a completely unselfish viewpoint, I don’t like the idea and here’s why:

Solo PvE is the easy button. For most classes, you can get through the solo content from 1-80 pressing the same 3-4 buttons over and over and maybe you have an OMG cooldown to use every now and then. If that was all the game was going to be then, sure, have everyone start at 55 or even 70 for that matter. But when you start at a high level, you have a crapload of abilities and skills thrown at you that you will have absolutely no experience with. No problem for solo PvE, but rolling around in 5-mans isn’t really the time to start experimenting with your forty or so strange and unusual buttons thinking that everything will be okay because you read the tooltip or you read an entry on wowwiki.

Leveling up is really much, much quicker than it used to be. I got my first level 60 (before the cap was raised) way back in 2006. I thoroughly enjoyed playing that warlock, but leveling at times could be a bit brutal. But since that time, they’ve increased quest experience, given us mounts at level 30, added more quests, decreased the hearthstone cooldown time, and gotten rid of nearly all of the elites that used to stand in our way.

There’s an awful lot of help if you choose to accept it. Currently I am leveling Elsinne using the Jame’s Leveling Guide add-on (in conjunction with Carbonite) and I can tell you that leveling is a breeze. The guide tells you exactly when and where to go somewhere to fully maximize your leveling speed. Now I’ve gotten from level 1-33 in a month, which may seem a bit slow. But keep in mind, I only play about 45 minutes per day (and sometimes not at all on the weekend). So for me to have easily gone from 1-33 (I am actually 2 bars from 33 at the time of this writing) in a month with sparse play time, I can honestly say that Blizzard has made leveling completely stress free.

It actually does take a while to learn how to play your toon properly. As you learn new abilities, you must apply them in various situations to see how useful or useless they are. The way Blizzard has designed the talent trees these days, there almost are no bad builds anymore. This leads to lots of room for more experimentation and not necessarily having to have a standard cookie cutter build from a list of a possible two or three builds. When you get new abilities or spells, see how they fit into your current rotation. Is this something you can use in certain situations? Is this useful for when I have pulled too many mobs? When I need to escape? When I need to do extra damage? How does this help my party members? Is this ability a total waste and does it need to be removed from my bars completely and never spoken of again? Does it work with my playstyle at all?

Lastly, and probably most importantly when it comes to Blizzard’s wallet, there is the need for Blizzard to draw in and keep new players. If everybody is fiddling around in Northrend kidnapping Wolvar babies, there won’t be anybody in Stranglethorn Vale or Thousand Needles or Badlands or Eastern Plaguelands. New players would not be impressed and would have no incentive to keep going. Every zone I have been in since starting at level one has been full of people at my level and I have never had trouble getting a group when I needed one (unless I was on at some crazy time like 6AM).

Speaking of Wolvar babies, did anyone actually ever find out what the Kalu’ak were really doing with those pups? After you’re done “preserving” the Wolvar, it’s never really spoken of again. Was there a special camp where they were being raised by Kalu’ak nannies? Were they being secretly eaten? Were they being used as bait for the fishing boats? Someone must know …

“Three days,” Elsinne Starsong muttered softly to herself.

Elsinne crouched down behind a dying bush, squinting her eyes against the dust-filled wind. Normally, Thousand Needles was not a very windy place. But every now and then, especially during the late winter, cold and violent winds would sweep in from the Barrens to the north and then down into the canyon, bouncing bitterly between the mesas. The tauren people of Freewind Post and Darkcloud Pinnacle were unaffected by these winds since the chilled air was so heavy that it drafted straight down into the bottom of the canyon, sparing the folk that lived in high places. But for the inhabitants that made their living on the ground, it could be a major annoyance.

It was certainly annoyance to Elsinne. The unclouded night sky was beautiful to behold, but it allowed the warmth of the day to escape. The night winds seemed to claw straight through her clothing. This was the third night of waiting.

Elsinne had great respect for the tauren folk as a whole and she spent much time with them in Thunder Bluff. It was there that she met Melor Stonehoof. He was a well known hunter of beasts who had great pride in his skills. But it wasn’t enough that he rambled on for hours on end about the ways of a hunter. He felt that every adventurer would be a little better off in life if they knew how to hunt. Whether that was true or not, Elsinne didn’t care. She had no desire to pursue loathsome animals.

But one evening Stonehoof offered Elsinne something she could not resist—the Talon of Vultros. She recognized by sight that it was the legendary dagger. Some said that it was a literal talon, ripped clean from the foot of a giant carrion bird that supposedly roamed the abandoned farm lands of Westfall. Others said that the bird tale was a children’s bedtime story and that the blade was crafted in the Eastern Kingdoms by the hands of humans. She didn’t know how it came to be in the possession of Stonehoof and she didn’t care. She wanted it. All she needed to do, according to Melor Stonehoof, was to get rid of a vicious hyena called Steelsnap that roamed the northwestern edge of Thousand Needles. If getting her hands on that blade only meant killing some dirty mongrel, she was up for it. How hard could it be?

That was six days ago. It took her three days of traveling to arrive in Thousand Needles. The next three days and nights, she would wander the dry floor of the canyon, hunting for this beast.

After a few more minutes of muttering to herself passed, she caught a glimpse of a shadow moving about sixty yards away. It was moving towards her, this figure which was slow and low to the ground. Moments later, fighting the dust in her eyes, she was able to make out two more similar shadows. These were smaller, but similar in shape. They followed the larger shape obediently. As they drew closer, the dim starlight revealed them to indeed be hyenas, the larger one confidently and slowly leading the pack, sniffing and huffing every so often.

Even closer now, Elsinne realized that this Steelsnap was no ordinary hound. The top of its head was four feet from the ground and its muscular body appeared as though it would burst through the hairy skin at any moment. Unwilling to wait until they reached her, she slowly moved towards them, staying low and silent in the shadows. The wind was hard in her face now, but welcome because this meant that her scent would not reach them before she did. When she was within ten yards of them, she tossed a rock behind them. As they turned to see what caused the sound, she pulled her weaponry from her sides, dagger in her right hand and sword in her left.

In a flash, she was on Steelsnap himself, right arm around his neck, knife at his throat. Before the other two hounds had a chance to react, Elsinne had sliced the blade across the breadth of his throat. Steelsnap howled in pain, but to Elsinne’s surprise, the cut had not nearly been deep enough. The beast bled, but was not disabled. He was now, however, considerably more angry.

One of the smaller hyenas charged into her left side and drove her savagely into the ground. As its jaws snapped at her throat, she clubbed it in the side of its head with the hilt the sword in her left hand. It fell unconscious on top of her as she felt the pain of a hundred nails being driven into both of her ankles. Steelsnap had his jaw locked on her right foot and the remaining smaller hyena the other. They pulled her quickly from beneath the unconscious beast.

She shoved her sword into the neck of the smaller hound with all of the force she could muster. It broke through the other side as the hyena bayed in pain. Steelsnap released her foot and charged for her throat. Elsinne immediately pulled the bloodied sword back, twisting her body to the right, blocking her head and neck with the sword. Steelsnap caught nothing but sharp metal in his mouth as he bit down, blood from his gums spraying into Elsinne’s face. Steelsnap jumped back with a yelp.

Elsinne stood up painfully and with some difficulty, warm blood beginning to ooze into her boots. Realizing now that Steelsnap was probably twice her weight, she couldn’t resist him charging and jumping her. She would go first. She ignored the piercing pain in both her ankles, and ran as fast as she could to towards Steelsnap, with a scream that she was sure was coming from somewhere else, not inside of her. Steelsnap went back on his hind legs, completely unfamiliar with being on the defensive. Just as she reached him, she jumped straight up into the air, further disorienting the beast. She spun into a tight ball over his head and landed behind him, burning pain shooting from her feet up into her thighs. She plunged the dagger in her right hand into the back of his neck, which caused a small cry to come from the beast but little else.

This was one tough puppy. Before she was able to pull the dagger from him, he had turned on her. She shifted deftly to one side as his jaws came down where her face had been. The sound was dreadful, tooth slamming against tooth. With her now free right hand, she pulled a small ball from her belt and threw it forcefully into the ground. Smoke poured forth from the ball, filling the air with dark clouds and the smell of bitterness. Steelsnap howled and began to cough and convulse. The smoke burned his eyes as he barked. Disoriented, he felt the dagger pulled from the back of his neck.

A high pitched blood elf scream caused him to wince painfully in the smoky darkness. For a thousandth of a second, Steelsnap saw faint stars reflected on the sword blade before it tore straight into his mouth and down his throat. Blood rushed into his lungs as he felt a smaller blade come down directly between his eyes, piercing his skull. The last thing the dog saw before life left him was a pair of dim green eyes staring back at him.

A week later, Elsinne sat at the edge of Lake Stonebull removing bandages from her dusty feet. She dove into the water, as much for relaxation as cleanliness. After thirty minutes of swimming lazily in the lake, she returned to the edge where she had left her clothing and other belongings. Only now there was a box among the other things. Hoofprints led away from the lake and disappeared over a hill. She opened it, slowly revealing the Talon of Vultros. She sighed with satisfaction as she held it up to the sunlight. She went through a great deal of pain and suffering to get this blade. She smiled as she decided she would go with the story that she ripped it from the foot of Vultros himself.

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.

It’s taken me a little while to put together a little back story for Elsinne. Thanks to alot of help from my buddy Arrens, over at Through the Eyes of Death, I was able to put this little bit of info together.

Even though she couldn’t make a fireball out of thin air to save her life, Elsinne Starsong was unimaginably agile. During her younger years she was constantly scolded for balancing on furniture and jumping around on rooftops. These artful displays went completely unappreciated by anyone until one day she met Elara. Elsinne was on her way home from the futility of arcane school one evening, walking carefully but effortlessly along the top rail of an iron fence. Elsinne gave little thought to this; it was a mindless activity. Elara, a petty thief who lived in Murder Row, was impressed by Elsinne’s almost musical motion.

Elara was a good twenty years older than Elsinne, but they became friends. Elsinne always had a bit of a rebellious streak and this played right into Elara’s hands. For some years, they would get themselves involved in mischief and petty crime. They’d never be discovered. Elara would eventually become part of a rogue society that operated out of Murder Row. Elsinne couldn’t join—her family would disown her in a heartbeat—but often Elara would meet with Elsinne in secret and give her private lessons. Elsinne always trained fast and often ended up performing even better than her teacher who had official training. The main lesson that Elsinne took from Elara was that of efficiency. Do what needed to be done. No more, no less. Nothing fancy. No showboating. Showing off is what gets people thrown in prison or killed.

As with most other surviving blood elves, Elsinne’s family was destroyed during the Scourge invasion. Her brother’s body, though, was never found. She searched for it for weeks after the Scourge had been driven back, but there was no sign of him. If it can be said that there was an upside to any of this, though, there was now nobody left to continue to push her towards arcane arts that she never had the aptitude for. She was free to leave the oppressive, authoritarian Silvermoon City without feeling that she was disappointing anyone. She left Silvermoon directed only by the winds and largely motivated by the desire to stay alive.

Other Interesting facts about Elsinne Starsong
Age: 72

Favorite color: White

Favorite activity: Swimming/Bathing

Favorite place: Mulgore (for meditation and Lake Stonebull)

Favorite race to deal with: Tauren—they appreciate peace and living simply, efficiently

Fears: Bears (also has a logical distrust of druids by extension)

Dislikes: orcs for their perceived savagery, humans for their recklessness, authoritarian societies (blood elf in particular), cold weather

Admires: Sylvanas Windrunner for her ability to inspire, lead, and command (Elsinne desires these abilities herself)

Friends: Elara

Family: None

Elsinne didn’t get much play time this holiday weekend. She took the weekend off and spent it trying to teach some tauren at Freewind Post how to play cards. She told them she would help them with their centaur problem, but only if she could win some gold off of them first. She has that chicken mount purchase coming up! It wasn’t easy, what with their giant hairy fists.

This weekend, in what I like to call the “real world” I spent a day in a rural town called Buena Vista, Georgia. There isn’t much to Buena Vista. There’s a lumber mill and … well, that’s just about it other than lots and lots of trees.

The people who live in this town pronounce the town name BYOON-A-VISTA. I found that disturbing, since quite clearly it should be pronounced BWEN-A-VISTA, right? I mean, I didn’t take two years of Spanish in high school for nothing! And yet the locals insist that it is called Byoona Vista.

So—here’s my question. Is the correct pronunciation of a word what you think it should be or what the locals say it is? If you say it the way you think it should be, is that being a bit uppity or snooty?

It reminds me of the people who pronounce jalapeño as HALLA-PEENA when ordering at the fast-food drive-thrus. That man has been saying Halla-peena his entire life. Who am I to tell him that’s HALLA-PENYO?

Or am I getting all worked up over nothing but a “to-may-to” or “to-mah-to” thing? Maybe it doesn’t matter what you call it as long as the person you’re talking to knows what you’re talking about.

Language is a funny thing.

Elsinne has pretty much robbed the tauren at Freewind Post blind by now. They’re pretty peaceful folk up there, and I shouldn’t have left here there for that long to take advantage of them. I’d better go check on her.

post41

I steal things. It’s what I do. I’m a rogue. Sometimes the people I take things from are alive when I take them, sometimes they aren’t.

I don’t need a job. I don’t want a profession. I decided when I created Elsinne that the only profession she would need is first aid, and that was for survivability purposes. Can you imagine a rogue sitting in a shop making sewing boots or jackets for people? I shudder at the thought. What if I need a jacket for myself? Then I’ll take it from somebody else.

Elsinne hit level 18 last night and I have been having great success at the auction house thus far just selling things I’ve stumbled across in my travels. I’m above skinning dead animals. I refuse to pick flowers. And I’ll die before you catch me digging up rocks for money. I’m just selling cloth, glasses of ice cold milk, or uncommon weaponry I find on people. And it’s been working out.

I’ve got about 35 gold right now, which is pretty impressive since I haven’t been farming drops or anything. So far pickpocketing hasn’t gotten me much more than health potions, but it’s fun to take a troll’s thirteen copper, the only money they have in the world, and then shank them afterwards.

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