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Adventures in World of Warcraft Shadowlands

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Bastion Statue

We’re taking a break from our scheduled book content to give you a gaming post. This is, of course, in celebration of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the new expansion to the game I have been playing for 15 years, like some loon with game Stockholm Syndrome.

Even though I have not played for more than a year – and though I actually missed the (first) release date announcement for Shadowlands – I had to come back. More out of habit than anything.

I reactivated my subscription a couple of days before the Shadowlands launch, so I would have time to do the pre-patch content. I’ll sum it up like this:

“Not much is going on here, I’ll just–ARRRRGH, ZOMBIES!”

…Which brings us to Shadowlands.

Basically, Sylvanas steals the Lich King’s hat, breaks the world, and then kidnaps a bunch of Horde and Alliance leaders, forcing us to do something about it.

It sounds lame when I tell you about it, but the cinematics are pretty damn cool.

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Cinematic Trailer

By the way, is nobody feeling guilty about leaving Bolvar sitting on a block of ice since 2009…? If we’re going into the realm of the dead to rescue Jaina and Thrall, surely we could have at least tried to find a way to save the Highlord from the Lich King’s influence without everything going to hell (literally).

He seems cool with it, though.

Cool, heh…

Yeah, I’m just going to roll with this, and not edit out unintentional puns. You have been warned.

The Maw

World of Warcraft Shadowlands The Maw

I don’t have that much to say about our intro into the Shadowlands. We go in, we kill some poor, tormented dead people, we find Jaina and the others rather easily… and then completely fails at rescuing them. ending with Anduin sacrificing himself to save us.

Damn it, Anduin, why do you think we went here to begin with?!

Oribos

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Oribos

We arrive at the center of the Shadowlands, and amazingly we’re not executed on sight. We meet the Arbiter, who’s supposed to be judging every soul entering the Shadowlands, but she’s been sleeping on the job and allowing everything to go… well, to hell.

And, really, what is up with these shady as fuck headless traders everywhere? The inhabits of Oribos admits to having no concept of possessing stuff, so what are all these foreign traders doing here? Where did they come from? Why don’t they have heads?!

I think I need to go lie down…

 

Bastion

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Bastion Statue

Bastion is the first leveling zone we get to. There’s a lot of blue people there.

My initial impression of Bastion was that it was reeeally pretty. Utterly gorgeous, really. And then…

“Owl creatures… There are owl creatures here…”

These ‘stewards’ seem to have been created from my nightmares. They’re ridiculously cute and eager-to-please, with squeaky, happy voices, but I have lived with a cute-looking owl for far too long to fall for the innocent facade.

Obviously, these things are the main villains of this expansion.

 

Maldraxxus

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Maldraxxus

The Kyrian of Bastion were very welcoming.

The Necrolords in Maldraxxus threw me into a free-for-all melee within five minutes of arrival.

Different attitudes, you know.

I liked Maldraxxus. It’s the kind of place where everyone – from tough warrior women to slime-obsessed plague doctors that lost their minds long ago – can rise through the ranks.

The crazy necromancers trying to kill you is just part of the deal.

 

Ardenweald

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Ardenweald

Ah, Ardenweald… A beautiful, tranquil forest filled with happy Fae and… you know, the horrible corruption that makes everyone go insane and kill their friends.

Happy people makes for poor quests.

Speaking of quests, could I please get the option to say no when I’m traveling through an empty forest and happen upon a crying girl asking for me to help her sick granny? My only thought was that this was a trap.

It was indeed a trap.

My last comment on Ardenweald is this:

Oh my god, ghost otters! <3

 

Revendreth

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Revendreth

This place is all vampires and gargoyles. I love it.

Also, I’m really digging the Venthyr’s fashion sense. If you’re going to be arrogant assholes involved in corruption, you should do so while looking fabulous.

And you should definitely get a crossbow… Even if you might end up in a three-way crossbow stand-off where you all eventually shoot each other.

…If anyone asks, that wasn’t my fault.


If you want to know what Covenant I ended up with: I went Night Fae on my mage. I’m not entirely sure why, but I cackled manically throughout the entire “Azeroth play” quest and I couldn’t stop. It’s not like the comment “You can’t just stab a planet!” is even funny, but for some reason it had me in stitches.

I’m a bit broken.

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The Bookish Owl – War of the Spark: Forsaken by Greg Weisman

War of the Spark Forsaken Greg Weisman

We’re back in MTG territory with War of the Spark: Forsaken by Greg Weisman.

This was the follow-up to War of the Spark: Ravnica, which I read in my quest to learn more about the Magic: The Gathering universe after I joined a Ravnica-themed Dungeons & Dragons group. This book mainly focuses on the necromancer Liliana Vess, and since I’m fond of both bitchy women and necromancers, I have no complains about that. It’s also a redemption story, meaning it’s not all doom and gloom.


War of the Spark: Forsaken
by Greg Weisman

Return to the multiverse of Magic: The Gathering as the hunt for Liliana Vess is on in the aftermath of the War of the Spark.
 
The Planeswalkers have defeated Nicol Bolas and saved the Multiverse—though at grave cost. The living have been left to pick up the pieces and mourn the dead. But one loss is almost too great to bear: Gideon Jura, champion of justice and shield of the Gatewatch, is gone. As his former comrades Jace and Chandra struggle to rebuild from this tragedy, their future, like the future of the Gatewatch, remains uncertain.

As the Gatewatch’s newest member, Kaya aims to help write that future. In joining, she pledged an oath to protect the living and the dead, but now that oath will be tested. The grieving guild masters of Ravnica have tasked her with a grave mission suited to her talents as a hunter and assassin—a mission she is ordered to keep secret from the Gatewatch. She must track down and exact retribution on the traitor Liliana Vess.

But Liliana Vess has no interest in being found. Forsaken by her friends, she fled Ravnica after the defeat of Bolas. She was hostage to his wicked will, forced to assist in his terrible atrocities on pain of death—until Gideon, the last one who believed in her goodness, died in her place. Haunted by Gideon’s final gift, and hunted by former allies, Liliana now returns to a place she’d thought she’d never see again, the only place she has left: home.


War of the Spark Forsaken Greg Weisman

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The Bookish Owl – Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights

Dragon Age Tevinter Nights

Let’s get geeky with Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights!

This is a collection of short stories from the Dragon Age universe by several different authors. So many, in fact, that I’ll just list them at the end of the post, instead of at the top like usual.

As regular readers will know, I’m obsessed with the Dragon Age games and the lore behind them. So I had to read the antrology that’s clearly meant to create hype for the upcoming fourth Dragon Age game.

And guess what? I’m hyped.

The stories turned out to be much darker than I expected, but that is in no way a bad thing. There’s also some funny moments between all the horror, and I think Lessef from the story An Old Crow’s Old Tricks might be my new favorite character of all time. A tiny old lady, who’s a scary and professional assassin one moment, and the next jumps onto her servant’s shoulders and yells “Onward, to cookies!”

Definitely what I needed, after the nightmares The Horror of Hormak gave me…

Tevinter Nights include the following stories:

Three Trees to Midnight by Patrick Weekes
Down Among the Dead Men by Sylvia Feketekuty
The Horror of Hormak by John Epler
Callback by Lukas Kristjanson
Luck in the Gardens by Sylvia Feketekuty
Hunger by Brianne Battye
Murder by Death Mages by Caitlin Sullivan Kelly
The Streets of Minrathous by Brianne Battye
The Wigmaker by Courtney Woods
Genitivi Dies in the End by Lukas Kristjanson
Herold Had the Plan by Ryan Cormier
An Old Crow’s Old Tricks by Arone Le Bray
Eight Little Talons by Courtney Woods
Half Up Front by John Epler
Dread Wolf Take You by Patrick Weekes


Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights

Ancient horrors. Marauding invaders. Powerful mages. And a world that refuses to stay fixed.

Welcome to Thedas.

From the stoic Grey Wardens to the otherworldly Mortalitasi necromancers, from the proud Dalish elves to the underhanded Antivan Crow assassins, Dragon Age is filled with monsters, magic, and memorable characters making their way through dangerous world whose only constant is change.


Dragon Age Tevinter Night

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Top Ten Tuesday – Non-Bookish Hobbies

Witcher School Archery Class

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, and for once, the prompt is not book-related.

It’s Non-Bookish Hobbies, and while I don’t think I can list 10 of them, I do have quite a few.

…And they’re all ridiculously geeky.


Cosplay

Yes, I enjoy dressing up as fictional characters. It’s frowned upon to be pretending to be a dragon at most workplaces, so I do it in my spare time instead.

I make most of my costumes myself, literally pouring blood, sweat and tears into them (as well as some burned skin). Every once in a while I “cheat” and raid a thrift store in order to put together an outfit, just so I will have something comfortable to wear once I get tired of people knocking into my horns at conventions.

Dungeons & Dragons

The heading says Dungeon & Dragons, but I really play a long range of tabletop RPGs. Currently, I have been roped into campaigns for D&D, Vampire: The Masquerade and Dragon Age RPG.

Of course, these terms will mean nothing to non-geek readers, so in short: I’m still pretending to be a fantasy character, but instead of flashy costumes, I’m using flashy dice.

Dungeons and Dragons Player Book and Dice

LARP

I’m seeing a theme here, considering this is yet ANOTHER hobby where I pretend to be a made-up character. But hey, at least this one gets me out in the fresh air!

And quite often beat up in a forest in Poland…

(For non-geeks: LARP stands for Live Action Roleplaying.)

Cat School Witcher School Season 4

Gaming

Surprise, surprise, I also play a lot of video games. My favorites are fantasy games like World of Warcraft, The Witcher and Dragon Age, but every once in a while I’ll also exercise my God-complex in The Sims.

Demon Hunter Level 1

Archery

Not much to say here. I just like to shoot stuff.

Witcher School Archery Class

Falconry

Since I couldn’t really put “I own an unruly owl” as a hobby, let’s go with ‘Falconry’. I know I have some pictures somewhere of me training various Harris Hawks, but since I can’t find them, we’ll just have to feature aforementioned unruly owl.

Owl Bite

While it bothers me not to be able to find ten things for a post titled “Top Ten Tuesday”, I simply don’t have time for anymore hobbies if I’m ever going to get any work done. So this is it!

Any of you guys share my passions? If not, tell me of your hobbies, since I so rarely get the chance to talk about things other than books in my comment sections.


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book (usually) blog prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. They’re a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to discover and connect with other book bloggers!

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The Bookish Owl – Hard in Hightown by Varric Tethras

Hard in Hightown Varric Tethras

Time for some nerdy noir with Hard in Hightown by Varric Tethras!

(Also known as Mary Kirby… considering that Varric is a video game character.)

For those of you not familiar with the Dragon Age games, Varric Tethras is a crossbow-wielding dwarf as well as a successful writer of multiple genres.

Basically everything I aspire to be. Except maybe for the dwarf part… but if it’s a requirement for getting the crossbow, I’m willing to invest in a stepladder.

Hard in Hightown, a noir detective story and Varric’s most popular book, is mentioned in Dragon Age II, and you can find all the individual chapters around the world in Dragon Age: Inquisition. So it’s really just my nerdness that made me buy a physical copy. But this one has illustrations!

I do, however, think they could have made the story a bit longer when they decided to release it as its own book. But I enjoyed it, even though it’s short and rather predictable. Sometimes it’s nice to just read something like that.


Hard in Hightown
by Varric Tethras

Prolific dwarven author and heroic companion of the Dragon Age games, Varric Tethras brings us the collected edition of his breakthrough crime-noir drama, Hard in Hightown (with help from his trusted human confidante, Mary Kirby)! This volume is beautifully illustrated by Stefano Martino, Alvaro Sarraseca, Andres Ponce, and Ricardo German Ponce Torres, with a painted cover by E.M. Gist!

Twenty years of patrols have chiseled each and every stone of the Kirkwall streets into city guardsmen Donnen Brennokovic. Weary and weathered, Donnen is paired with a recruit so green he might as well have leaves growing out of his armor. When the mismatched pair discover a dead magistrate bleeding out on the flagstones, they’re caught up in a clash between a shadowy organization known only as the Executors and a secretive group of Chantry agents–all over some ancient artifact.


Hard in Hightown Varric Tethras