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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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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

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Do I Play Too Much Heroes of the Storm? Why Yes. Yes, I do

Not many think much of Heroes of the Storm after Blizzard pulled the plug on its eSport’s scene – throwing in the towel and admitting to League of Legends that they win – but it’s still my MOBA of choice. Possibly because it’s less popular, meaning I have less 12-year olds shouting at me than if I went to LoL…

But I play too much. Waaay too much. Fair enough, I have been playing ever since the alpha, but as of writing this, I’m level 1167. 1167. You don’t even have to know anything about Heroes of the Storm or similar games to know that that’s too much.

But what can I say? It’s my go-to game whenever I just want to kick back and not think too much.

Heroes of the Storm

My favorite hero is Nazeebo. He’s at level 133 for me at the moment. You get to trap people with a ring of zombies, and then throw spiders at their head when they can’t move. It’s lovely.

But Nazeebo doesn’t have the best voice lines. And that’s one of the greatest things about trying different heroes in this game: the hilarious comments they make if you click on them. I’m “only” level 46 with Brightwing, but he’s my favorite adorable psychopath. He’s a small fairy dragon with a really cutesy voice, and he says things like this:

“I like happy things. Like puppies, and rainbows, and… Dead enemies.” (Voice going from cute to a ominous whisper at ‘dead enemies’)
“I will be very happy to tear you limb from limb if you continue.” (Said all cutesy)
“Let us make their insides, outsides.”
“It’ll only hurt untill you die.”

Adorable, right?

Johanna (level 49) is great as well. She’s my kind of sarcastic:

“Jokes? You’re expecting jokes? Fine, I believe I can accommodate.”
“A crusader, a paladin, and a templar walk into a tavern…and they all have a drink.” (laughs) “No?”
“Oh Akarat, bless this, thy holy flail, that with it, thou mayest smite thine enemies into tiny, tiny, unfathomably tiny bits, in thy mercy. Let it be so.”
“Some fellow mistook me for a templar yesterday. I asked him: have you ever heard me shout ‘GLORIOUS!’ He answered, ‘I have now!'” (chuckles) “He was a witty fellow. Shame he’s dead now.”

I’ve even gotten my friends to play with me now (they’re all League of Legends players, so it took a LOT of convincing), and I keep telling them they need to play with the sound on so that they can enjoy the voice lines.

That has now resulted in our healer being miffed that Imperius – who another in our team plays as his main – merely says “Do you expect thanks for fulfilling your duty?” every time she heals him. She’s now trying to get him to play a more polite character…


I just realized that, by now, I have a whole series of rambling posts about my favorite games. So if you enjoy my utterly random way of talking about games, I have posts on:

A Newbie Demon Hunter’s Search For Pants in Diablo III 

The Witcher 3 – A Few of My Favorite Quests 

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and the Powerful Desire to Punch Sokrates in the Face

and Favorite Companions in Dragon Age

The Witcher one very nearly makes sense… but you’re on your own with the rest.

 

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Favorite Companions in Dragon Age

Dragon Age Keep

You might not have noticed because of all the Witcher stuff I post, but I have a deep-seated obsession with Dragon Age. And not just because of the dragons.

(Though you can never have too many dragons.)

Since I haven’t been seeing a lot of my real life friends, I have abandoned any hope of productivity to revisit some of my virtual friends in Dragon Age: Inquistion. I have also been fighting dragons and yelling, “Take that, you flapping bastard!” with my windows opened and my neighbors might now think I’m beating up Artemis…

Anyway, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite companions across the Dragon Age games. It certainly wasn’t easy to limit the list to a manageable size, because all the characters in these games are amazing

(Except for Carver. He’s a little bitch. Oh, and Sera. Who is just… weird. And not the good kind of weird.)

Eh, warning: This post turned out more gay than I intended. Obviously it’s very hard to be both a Dragon Age fan and a homophobe, so you’re probably good, but I honestly hadn’t intended to go Full Lesbian while writing this.


Dragon Age Inquisition Grey Warden Alistair

Alistair

Even two games and many years later, Alistair still tops every Dragon Age list I’ll ever make. I remember confiding in a friend when I first started playing Origins that this game was turning me straight, and her reply was, “Pfft, even my fiance is in love with Alistair!”

It might say something about the sad state of my love life, but I can honestly say that I was more upset by Alistair dumping my mage Warden than I have ever been by a real life break-up, and I immediately went back to an earlier save instead of just accepting it.

But really, can you blame me? Alistair is just the most adorable bundle of awkwardness. He somehow manages to be so cheesy that he comes out on the other side as sweet.

Alistair: So… let me get this straight. You were a cloistered sister?
Leliana: You must have been a brother before you became a templar, no?
Alistair: I never actually became a templar. I was recruited into the Grey Wardens before I took my final vows.
Leliana: Do you ever regret leaving the Chantry?
Alistair: No, never. Do you?
Leliana: Yes. You may not believe it, but I found peace there. The kind of peace I’ve never known.
Alistair: It used to get so quiet at the monastery that I would start screaming until one of the brothers came running. I would tell them that I was just checking. You never know, right?
Leliana: I… no, I never did anything like that. I enjoyed the quiet.
Alistair: Suit yourself. The look on their face was always priceless.


Dragon Age Companions Morrigan

Morrigan

See, these games might be turning me straight, but I’ll argue that it’s only because Bioware makes characters like Morrigan straight in-game. My type has always been:

a. Bitchy women
b. Women who are no good for me
c. Women who look like they could beat the crap out of me

…and more often than not: d. All of the above.

(See sections ‘Vivienne’, ‘Cassandra’, ‘Isabela’.)

I’m getting sidetracked.

I have cosplayed as Morrigan many times and for years my text ringtone was her first voice line in Origins: “My, my, what have we here?”

Scared the crap out of my grandmother once I left my phone in the room with her while I was fixing her PC…

But really, Morrigan is the Bitch Witch Queen and not even Madame Vivienne de Fer can push her off her throne. As much as I adore Alistair, I will never tire of hearing the party dialogue between him and Morrigan, because our swamp witch is brutal in her mockery.

Alistair: So tell me, was the Tower of Magi everything you thought it would be?
Morrigan: Abominations running rampant? Templars ready to slaughter every mage in sight? Yes, it rather met all my expectations.
Alistair: You don’t think you might have been better off getting your training there? Instead of whatever your mother taught you?
Morrigan: You’re right. My mother didn’t nearly have as many abominations running about. That certainly would have improved my education.
Alistair: Hmm. I’ll give you that one.
Morrigan: I’m so relieved.


Dorian Pavus Dragon Age Inquisition

Dorian

Everyone’s favorite Tevinter moustache mage very nearly beat Morrigan for the second spot on this list. I imagine the battle was fierce and filled with devastating snipes.

Dorian is everything I want in a friend: Sassy, intelligent and completely and utterly gay. I am even willing to accept that he’s much prettier than me.

He’s also the only character to ever pull off that moustache.

Dorian: Varric, I want a new nickname.
Varric: What’s wrong with sparkler? Not colorful enough for you?
Dorian: You must know me better now. Or does the moniker you gave me five minutes after we met still apply?
Varric: I have the eyes of a story teller. It’s a gift.
Dorian: So, I’m a bit of light you stick in a window sill to impress passersby? All flash, no heat? Hmm… that’s actually pretty clever.
Varric: See? Embrace your place in the universe, Sparkler.


Isabela Dragon Age II

Isabela

“Pirates like booty. Both kinds!”

Isabela is our favorite inappropiate pirate. Also the best lesbian romance option across all the games, in my humble gay opinion. Josephine is a sweetheart, but she keeps friendzoning herself, and the rest are just not doing it for me. Isabela is so aggressive that I started a romance with her by accident. I thought we were just having a normal conversation and suddenly daggers were flying everywhere…

My favorite thing about Isabela is the totally inappropiate party dialogue you get when you bring her along. And Aveline and Isabela throwing insults back and forth is a display of the truest kind of friendship I can think of.

Aveline: I had trouble with another one of your women, Isabela. She stole from a… distracted client. You’re lucky she wasn’t jailed.
Isabela: My women? I am but a shepherd. And what free enterprise are you oppressing now?
Aveline: Theft is not enterprise.
Isabela: Opportunities insufficiently guarded. Victimless crimes.
Aveline: Except for all the victims.
Isabela: Details. Victimless details.


Sebastian Vael Dragon Age 2

Sebastian

I know this choice is controversal, but hear me out.

Whatever you say about Sebastian, you can’t deny that his introduction scene is badass. When the Grand Cleric tries to remove his notice looking for mercenaries to kill his family’s murderers from the board and he turns around and shoots an arrow through it?

That’s style.

Besides, if you ignore the stuff he actually says, and just listen to his very pleasant voice with the Scottish accent, he’s very enjoyable to have in the party. And it’s also rather funny to hear the other companions make fun of him.

Varric: So, Choir Boy, this usurper of yours is… twenty feet tall?
Sebastian: Not even close, no.
Varric: But he has claws for hands, right?
Sebastian: Fingers. Perfectly normal ones. If a little fat, perhaps.
Varric: He eats babies, though. And farts fire.
Sebastian: You’re not serious, I hope.
Varric: You can’t even pretend to be interesting, can you?


Cassandra Dragon Age Inquisition

Cassandra

Oh, Cassandra Allegra Portia Calogera Filomena Pentaghast – The sharp-tongued Seeker who secretly loves horrible romance novels.

Cassandra is one of my favorites because she’s badass, but still relatable. She has a horrible temper, but she is one of those rare people who will admit when she’s wrong and apologize for it.

I also need her to be gay so badly.

Cassandra’s is one of the few romances in Dragon Age that I have never tried out because I fear she might be reduced to some blushing damsel, and when I think of ‘Cassandra’ and ‘damsel’ in the same scenario… it’s always Cassandra rescuing some damsel in a tower by shield-bashing a dragon in the face.

Dorian: Tell me, Cassandra: did your family throw suitors at you?
Cassandra: My uncle did, waves of them – until I broke one’s arm. Then there were fewer.
Dorian: I must admit I never tried that.
Cassandra: It was an accident. Well… mostly an accident.


Varric Tethras Dragon Age Inquisition

Varric

I would be crucified by half the internet and at least two of my friends if I didn’t include our dear story-telling dwarf.

But really, he’s a writer with a crossbow; basically all I aspire to be, minus the chest hair.

Anders: What?
Varric: Just wondering if the feathered pauldrons are an essential part of the moody rebel mage persona.
Anders: What are you talking about?
Varric: I’m working on an epic poem about a hopelessly romantic apostate waging an epic struggle against forces he can’t possibly defeat.
Anders: What do you mean, “can’t possibly defeat?”
Varric: Well, it’s not a good story unless the hero dies.


Vivienne Dragon Age Inquisition

Vivienne

Madame de Fer makes the list because few appreciate her bitchiness and because she’s hella stylish.

What can I say? I got a thing for bitchy mages.

Blackwall: You must miss the comforts of your mansions, traveling with us as you do.
Vivienne: I miss them. I do not require them.
Vivienne: But please, continue to imagine me a pampered lady, if it makes you feel superior.


I think that’s all for now. Throw me a comment with which Dragon Age companion is your favorite, because I badly need excuses to geek out over these games with you.

And remember, kids: Swooping is bad.

(All screenshots shamelessly stolen from the Dragon Age Wiki)