Archive for January, 2014

Return of the Meta Raid

Posted in Words from Behind the Curtain with tags , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2014 by Garrosh Hellscream

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Hi, folks.  Averry here.

I’d originally wanted to save this announcement until after I’d posted the rest of the Paternity story (or, maybe more accurately, “Can of Worms, Part 1: Lid Be Gone!”).  The comic is taking longer than I’d planned to finish, though (I had a grade-A “back to the drawing board” moment with the artwork this week) (hey, literally! I didn’t even plan that!) (yes, I do like parentheses, thank you very much), and I want to make sure I give people enough lead time.

So, the point: I’d like to revisit the Friends-of-WCB Meta Raid, and see about turning it into a regular thing!

So, here’s the plan.  Readers, bloggers, lurkers, and various and sundry others are invited to a Flex raid of Siege of Orgrimmar, the closing weekend of each Darkmoon Faire.  I figure that once a month is often enough to make it a fun ongoing event, without being so frequent that it becomes a burden on people’s schedules.  I’d like to shoot for Saturday nights, with Sunday possibly being a backup and/or spillover date if we ever decide to be ambitious and continue on the next night.  Same as the original raid, we can plan on starting around 8:00 PM Eastern time, and go until…well…until we fall asleep or get sick of each other.

Since this weekend marks the beginning of February’s Darkmoon Faire, that means we would be shooting for Saturday, February 8 as our next raid night.  And then, if all goes well, continue on each month as the faire comes to a close.

Thanks as always for reading, commenting, and generally coming along for the ride.  More from the Warchief soon…as soon as Gurtash stops messing up this drawing of…erm…oops.  Spoilers.  Never mind.

Be seeing you,

Averry

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Paternity (part 1)

Posted in Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by Garrosh Hellscream

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Picking up where we left off last time

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30 Days of Character Development #2: Ben-Lin

Posted in 30 Days of Character Development with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by Garrosh Hellscream

[Each week, a post will profile one of the blog’s many supporting players.  See the first profile for more details.  Feel free to chime in with recommendations for other characters you’d like to see more about.]

 

benlin_profileName:  Ben-Lin Cloudstrider

Occupation:  Counselor, specializing in meditation and stress/anger management

Age:  57

Race:  Pandaren

Class:  Monk (retired)

Group affiliations:  Horde (member), Huojin Pandaren (member), Shang Xi’s Academy (former student)

Known relatives:  Ting Cloudstrider (daughter), Dewei Cloudstrider (son), Kenji Cloudstrider (husband, deceased)

First appearance:  “Anger management

Key posts and plot points:

  • Ben-Lin met Garrosh – along with many other blog notables – while conducting an anger management seminar in the fittingly titled “Anger management.”  The session proved…less than productive.  Since then, she has continued to meet with Garrosh in an attempt to teach him to better control his temper.  (Admittedly, visible results have been questionable at best, but let’s be fair – she had the deck stacked pretty heavily against her.)
  • Traveled with the Horde expedition to Pandaria and accompanied Garrosh on his first trip to Tian Monastery (“I think I can remember your name”, “Shock the monkey”, “Getting around with the Shado-pan”, and “The geometry of shadows”), where the Warchief first encountered Elder Couldfall.  She also joined Garrosh on a follow-up journey to Tian to recruit Elder Cloudfall’s aid in “Moments of transition.”
  • Worth noting is that Ben-Lin appears to be one of the only people capable of making Garrosh stop and listen with any regularity (such as “ordering” him back to bed while he was sick with the Pandaren flu in “A sniffly Warchief is a cranky Warchief”).  Evidently, the Warchief has trouble holding his ground with greatmotherly women.
  • A few behind-the-scenes notes for those who might be interested: Ben-Lin is a veritable walking bundle of science-fiction referentiality.  The name “Ben-Lin” is a deliberate nod toward another even-tempered mentor figure – and, in fact, the name was largely chosen specifically to set up this joke:
    ben_panelHer last name, “Cloudstrider,” was likewise meant to parallel “Skywalker.”  (Also worth noting – the names of the two pandaren who have become mentors of sorts for Garrosh: Cloudstrider and Cloudfall.)  And, lest the Babylon-5 fans among you feel neglected (I know you’re out there!) – Ben-Lin’s outfit and, to a lesser extent, speech patterns were designed to be reminiscent of the B5 character Delenn.

In her own words:

What is your most prominent physical feature?

I have been told that my eyes are fairly distinctive.  They are violet, which is highly uncommon among pandaren, and held by many among our people to be a sign of inner balance.  This was pointed out to me many times as a small child, though my parents would likely have held me as a counterexample at the time.

Describe your happiest memory.

Ironically, the passing of my husband Kenzi.  This is not to say that I wished his death, or that I do not miss him dearly.  He was some years older than me, and had been in poor health in his final months.  The night he died – he knew the end was close – we sat and reflected on our life together.  There was no sadness or regret.  Each memory served only to remind us how much more this life had given us than we could ever fairly have asked.  He held my paw, and thanked me for making him young, then passed away peacefully.  I did not feel grief.  I felt – and continue to feel – grateful.

Is there one event or happening you would like to erase from your past?  Why?

No.  I believe that every step of our journey is a part of what makes us who we are.  I have had misfortunes and hurts, as do we all, but they have all left remainder that has helped to shape me.  Without any one of them, I do not know who I would have become.

C3_4-5Can you define a turning point in your life?  Multiples are acceptable.

There are two: my coming to Shang Xi’s Academy, and my departure from the Wandering Isle to begin a new life among the Horde.  Each marked the beginning of a new adventure.  The first began in my youth and opened a world to me of learning, friendship, love, enlightenment – all of which are, of course, different words seeking vainly to express the same thing.  I look forward to discovering where the second will take me.

How are you with technology?  Super savvy, or way behind the times?  Letters or e-mail?

I am almost comically inept with most machinery.  Much of it is new to me; having lived almost my entire life on the Wandering Isle, I was not in a position to keep up with the latest inventions.  This is likely for the best.  Given my poor skill level, exposure to the latest technologies would only have provided me with new and better ways to embarrass myself.  Letters, most certainly.  I do not have the e-mail.  To this day, I know the internet only by reputation.  (That reputation does not, by and large, inspire me to investigate further.)

What does your bed look like when you wake up?  Are the covers off on one side of the bed, are they all curled around a pillow, sprawled everywhere?  In what position do you sleep?

My bed tends to be relatively tidy, and I make it each morning after rising.  I sleep on my back; I am a very deep sleeper, and usually do not stir very much during the night.

Are you an early morning bird or a night owl?

An early morning bird.  I wake each morning just before dawn.  Wherever I live, I always take care to have a window that faces east, so that I may watch the sun rise.

Are you a good cook?  What is your favorite recipe?

I cannot say that I am an expert cook, but I am told that my wildfowl ginseng soup is quite good.  I wish I could have inherited my father’s skill with the steamer; I often miss his steamed crab surprise.  I have tried many times to recreate it.  The result often tries even my discipline over my temper.

C4_2-1What’s your preferred means of travel?

I prefer to travel by foot when possible.  If not, I am adequately proficient in the use of Pandaren kites.  I prefer not to employ animal mounts, as I suspect they have destinations of their own that they would prefer over mine.

Do you have any irrational fears?

Is there any other kind?

What might your ideal romantic partner be?

My years of study and meditation tell me that it is unwise to cling to some imagined ideal; such perfect fantasies serve only to impoverish our appreciation of the reality before us, beautiful often precisely for its flaws.

My heart, however, tells me: Kenji.  Again, I am grateful.

Are you superstitious?

I am a mother of three.  Hardly can one say that, without having spent many hours with crossed fingers.

How do you smell?  Do you wear perfume or cologne?

Though my sense of smell, I would venture, is unremarkable, I do have a sensitive nose, which most perfumes tend to irritate.  My one compensation is that I often let snow lilies soak in the water before washing my fur.

 

[OOC note: Running a little behind on posts after a bit of a trying week.  Luckily, there’s a lot in the pipeline, so we should have some relatively rapid-fire posting this week, including, yes, the follow-up to that last little freakout-inspiring nugget.  Also stay tuned for news and announcements concerning the return of the Friends-of-WCB meta raid!]

Homecoming

Posted in Comics, General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2014 by Garrosh Hellscream

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So now that things are kind of under control in Pandaria, Malkorok and I have been taking a few days to travel back to Orgrimmar and check on things there.  So far it’s been one damn thing after another, all the way down to Orphan Matron Battlwail giving me a few dirty looks, for what reason I have no idea.  I swear, if I leave town for any length of time, everything goes right down the tubes.  It never ceases to amaze me how many of these people turn into a bunch of Dontrags and Utvochs if they don’t have me there to cut their meat into little pieces for them.

Center stage, though, is Eitrigg.  I left him minding the store while I was in Pandaria, and no sooner had I boarded the ship than all that crap started going down with Mokvar.  I had a good long meeting with Eitrigg earlier today about just what the fuck was going on, and he tried explaining his reasoning for Iffy Decisions A through G, but honestly I’m starting to think age is starting to catch up to him.  I’ve got another meeting lined up with him later in the week, and I’m thinking I may have to arrange a little more…support before I head back south.  I’ve already talked to Overlord Runthak about taking over military command directly, and beyond that, I’m thinking Eitrigg could benefit from having a Kor’kron overseer or two assigned to him to do a little, well, overseeing.  Overseer Elaglo’s been doing some good work on a couple projects, so I’m thinking he might be in line for the call.

Anyway, I’ve got a bunch more people I need to touch base with, but our old buddy Liadrin is in Orgrimmar and has been asking to see me — not to mention I’ve had Spazzle in my ear yammering away on her behalf, about some big important thing she needs to discuss with me.  So I figured I should see what’s up with those two.  We hooked up outside Grommash Hold right after my debriefing with Eitrigg.  Luckily, Gurtash’s hand is healed up enough that he’s able to get back to doodle duty…

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* Horde agents, with aid from within Dalaran, stole the Divine Bell from Darnassus, as accounted here.

** As Garrosh notes, Jaina did indeed get a bit upset about this.  Spazzle reported on the purge of Dalaran here.

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* Liadrin arrived in Orgrimmar and met with Spazzle here.

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30 Days of Character Development #1: Spazzle

Posted in 30 Days of Character Development with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2014 by Garrosh Hellscream

[A few weeks ago, Rades and Vidyala over at From Draenor With Love came up with a pretty neat use of the “30 Days of Character Development” meme that’s been floating around.  Rades and Vid answered a selection of the questions, in character, in a pair of posts that offered a look at their Azerothian namesakes.

I loved this idea, and so, with a grateful nod and salute to Rades and Vid, I’m going to kick off my own variation.  My take is going to be spread the original 30 days over 30 weeks, with one post per week.  Each post will highlight one of the supporting (or not-so-supporting) characters in the blog.  I’ll include a selection of the original 30 questions, answered, a la R&V, in character, plus an assortment of additional information.  Those among you who, like me, grew up poring over comic book compendia like the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe may see a definite influence.

In the process, I think I may be able to give a few entertaining tidbits on some familiar faces, provide new readers (and old) an additional shortcut for getting a sense of who’s who, and also compile a sort of “blog bible” of character information (something I’ve been wanting to get around to for a while, for my own reference).

Every week (I hope!), you can expect to see one of these profiles.  While it’s possible that they may end up with a set day, I don’t plan to lock it in quite so tightly; much more likely, I’ll use the profiles to fill out the week’s posts without (hopefully) breaking up the main continuity too much.  Feel free to chime in with whom you’d like to see featured!  (Yes, Repgrind, I know.  We’ll get to Faranell eventually, I promise.)]

 

spazzle_profileName:  Spazzle Fizzletrinket

Occupation:  Tech consultant to the Warchief, part-time blogger, Earth Online guild leader

Race:  Goblin

Class:  Shaman (enhancement)

Age:  27

Group affiliations:  Horde (citizen), Bilgewater Cartel (member), Fizzletrinket Technologies (a tech startup that, admittedly, hasn’t been particularly active since the development of the TranslationMaster2000; owner)

Known relatives:  Khizzara Whizzingcrank (cousin and blogger namesake)

Earth Online notes:  Current guild leader of <Warchief>, appointed by Garrosh while the Warchief is stuck with an unreliable wireless connection in Pandaria.  Also administers <Warchief> guild web site.  Main toon MrBadCrumble (class unknown).  Had attended three straight EarthCons until missing this past year’s, due to being too busy freaking out over one of his friends being killed (this one didn’t take), charged with treason, banished from the Horde, and killed again (this one evidently did).

First appearance:  “LOK’TAR OGAR!” (first mention); “Spazzle Speaks” (first guest post)

Key posts and plot points:

  • Spazzle first introduced Garrosh to online gaming in “Earth Online”, set him up with a wireless network (which Garrosh historically calls “why fly”) in Grommash Hold in “Doing some gaming…”, and brought him along for a trip to EarthCon (at which Genesis Entertainment revealed their plans for the “Land Down Under” expansion) in “EarthCon.”
  • After Garrosh created the Earth Online guild <Warchief>, Spazzle set him up with an addon to save a record of guild chat in “Welcome to [Warchief]”, the blog’s first guild chat log.
  • In “Spazzle Speaks: Shamans United!”, Spazzle encounters Thrall on the way to the Echo Isles, where they discover the Kor’kron occupation.  After the Echo Isles are freed, Spazzle maintained secret contact with Thrall and Vol’jin, as revealed in “Spazzle Speaks: The Gobin is Always Greener on the Other Side of Guild Chat” and “Spazzle Speaks: Tours of Duty.”
  • After being banished from the Horde, but before disappearing to locations unknown, Mokvar met with Spazzle in “Spazzle Speaks: Parting Gifts” to entrust him with custody of his recall totem, a shaman relic connected to the Astral Recall spell.  While Spazzle was holding the totem, its elemental energy fizzled out – something that would normally only occur as a result of a shaman’s permanent death.  This development is first covered in “The Goblin is Always Greener” and further explored in “Spazzle Speaks: Dead End.”
  • As shown in several of the guild chat logs, Spazzle has become one of Ji Firepaw’s closest friends in the Horde since the disappearance of Mokvar.

garroshgurtashIn His Own Words:

Describe your relationship with your mother or your father, or both.  Was it good?  Bad?  Were you spoiled rotten, ignored?  Do you still get along now, or no?

My father and uncle both died when I was little, in a freak giant-rampaging-robot-gorilla accident.  I won’t bore you with the details, we all know how those go.  My mom and aunt split a two-family duplex-in-a-box and raised me and my cousin Khizzara together.  We weren’t rich, but we weren’t exactly hurting for money after the robot gorilla settlement.  So I guess Zzara and I got pretty accustomed to getting the toys we wanted.  Maybe spoiled, a little?  I didn’t really learn to be too independent until I had to.  Mom didn’t make it out of Kezan when the Cataclysm hit.

Who do you trust?

Khizzara – she’s more like a sister to me than a cousin.  Mokvar, despite everything.  Ji.  Thrall.  I trust Garrosh and Vol’jin both, in their way, but I think they both have some serious blinders on.

Can you define a turning point in your life?  Multiples are acceptable.

Definitely the Cataclysm.  I lost my mom, as well as my home back on Kezan.  It led to me meeting Thrall, becoming a (fairly crappy) shaman, joining the Horde.  And then of course there’s everything that’s come with moving to Orgrimmar and starting to work for Garrosh.  So it’s really easy to divide my life into two periods, B.C. (Before Cataclysm) and A.D. (After Deathwing).

How are you with technology?  Super savvy, or way behind the times?  Letters or e-mail?

Oh man!  I’m all about the newest tech.  Some days I’ll burn up a whole afternoon, just tinkering around, trying to come up with my own advances.  They…usually don’t go completely to spec, but still!  I’m generally a lot better with electronics than with machinery – if you’re building a robot, I’m totally the guy to design its brain, but you probably shouldn’t come to me first if you need to install a new arm.  E-mail, definitely.  My handwriting is pretty terrible because I type so much more than I write by hand.

C18sampWhat’s your desk/workspace look like?  Are you neat or messy?

Organized chaos.  It looks like a giant mess, with piles of stuff on top of piles of other stuff, but I know what’s in all of the piles.

What would your cutie mark be?

Um… Am I supposed to know what that means?

What’s your favorite comfort food, favorite vice, favorite outfit, favorite hot drink, favorite time of year, and favorite holiday?

The pandaren have these noodles that are really great comfort food, plus they only cost…like…five copper a pack.  I don’t know how they turn a profit on them.  Favorite vice is probably…I don’t know…wasting waaaaaaaay too much time screwing around on the internet.  There isn’t one outfit that I like best, but I’m pretty fond of a bunch of the t-shirts I have.  Earl grey tea.  Autumn, right when the leaves are starting to turn.  Hallow’s End.

If your life were a genre, what would it be?

Definitely a comic book.  And that’s even before you figure in the Gurtash factor.

 

[One last OOC note: The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed that the comic panel excerpted above (featuring Spazzle with Garrosh and Liadrin) doesn’t look familiar.  Consider it a preview — Gurtash strikes again in another day or two!]