The Holy Paladin’s Plea

Dear Blizzard,

I have many characters, but my heart belongs to the craft of holy paladin healing. In an attempt to reclaim my love for it, I have rolled a little paladin and intend to level her as a healer. However, as I am leveling her, I have noticed a bit of a problem. It has nothing to do with quest content or anything like that. No, the content is lovely. What I have noticed, however, is a lack of healing mail and plate in the early leveling range.

Do you have any idea how hard it is for us to find gear that is not leather or cloth with +INT on it in the 10-60 level range? It’s next to impossible, at least until we hit level 40 and elemental/resto shaman are capable of wearing mail, when we can (finally) have access to mail gear with intellect. Right when we receive a bonus for being decked out in plate.

Now, I understand that out of all the plate-wearing classes in all of Azeroth, paladins are the only class that might even so much as look at mail/plate with +INT on it. Even then, it’s only the one spec that truly utilizes it. However, some of us fully intend to level as healing paladins. Most of us intend to do so through the LFD tool you provided us with. We work best when we have the proper gear to do our job with. We can’t take advantage of the bonuses you provide us with if we don’t have access to the gear in the first place.

Some people might argue that it doesn’t matter at lower levels. If you were to ask me my opinion, these individuals are liars who have never had to heal an entire dungeon with the incorrect gear. It’s painful. Yes, a lot of people at lower levels are decked out in heirlooms anyway and it hardly matters, but what about the people who are fairly new to the game who don’t have a higher level character to get the heirlooms in the first place? Besides, the whole point of leveling through the dungeon tool is to get us used to our toolboxes so we can learn what works and what doesn’t in various situations. Everyone else has the benefit of the proper gear for their class and spec type. We do not, and it makes me sad.

I know you don’t have anything against us personally, Blizzard, but it almost seems like you do.


Siege of Orgrimmar

All right. It’s been a few days. Now that the excitement of the very first Garrosh kill on both factions has died down — well, sort of; a lot of us are still very much excited about it, and congratulations to the guilds of both factions who successfully brought him down a couple of days after the patch dropped — let’s talk about the ending of the Siege of Orgrimmar!

Warning! Warning! Spoilers exist below the following cut. For those of you who have managed to remain spoiler free, and for those of you who want to keep it that way until you guys manage to take Garrosh down yourself, do not click the cut. This will be your only warning!

Continue reading

A Letter

Dear World of Warcraft,

It’s been over a month since I had to cancel my subscription to you. However, in the past few days, I’ve come to an interesting revelation. Do you want to know what it is?

I can’t do it.

I tried. I genuinely tried. And it worked for a little while, but the longer I tried, the more I realized it wasn’t the same. Of course, then Blizzard put out the 5.4 trailer, and it hit me just how much I really missed the game.

It isn’t that I didn’t have other games to play. The problem, though, is that they aren’t you. They don’t capture my attention quite the same way. You are the one I love, totally and completely, and despite the amount of free-to-play games out there on the market, they don’t really compare to you.

So I’m coming back, Azeroth. Are you ready for me?


P.S.: Let’s try getting this blog back the way it should be, shall we?

Let’s Go to Weatherstock!

Well, I did it! I finally got to live the dream and attend Weatherstock! I wasn’t able to be there for all of it, unfortunately, as apparently my internet connection couldn’t handle it, but, truthfully, I wouldn’t have been able to have been there for all of it, anyway, as it ran a lot longer than it was supposed to and I had only really allocated enough time for the original runtime. I need to remember to plan for that for next year.

For those of you who missed my previous post about it, this year was the fifth year of Weatherstock. It’s a ridiculously large concert on the Landroval server of LotRO that takes place on top of Weathertop. (Where else?) Various in-game bands come together to perform and compete for various prizes, and it’s all organized by the amazing Lonely Mountain Band kinship (who actually has several bands under their banner, none of which are eligible for the prizes). It was a lot of a fun and hopefully I’ll be able to make it for next year.

Of course, I had to find Anthyllis’ prettiest dress in her wardrobe first. If she was going out to a concert, she had to look nice, after all.

Anthyllis' best dress

All dressed up and ready to go!

Well, okay, maybe it’s not her prettiest dress, but it’s certainly her favorite.

By the time I managed to log in and get all prettied up, folks were gathering at the Forsaken Inn out in the Lone-lands, so naturally, that had to be my first stop. Well, after I lowered all my graphics settings so nothing would potentially get fried.

If you do decide to attend Weatherstock in the future, that’s the one piece of advice everyone gives you that I will heartily recommend for everyone. Make sure your graphics settings are set as low as humanly possible. Once everyone’s up at the concert area and the initial lag has been combated, then (and only then) should you try to bring your graphics settings back up. Not every graphics card can handle it, and this is definitely not the time to test the limits of your computer.

Trust me on this, guys. This really isn’t the best time to try to test your computer’s limits. Bad things may potentially happen if you do that during this.

Anyway, folks weren’t kidding when they mentioned the epic lag that comes hand in hand with this event. The closer I got to the inn, the more lag I was hit with, and it was all due to the pre-show concert up there. By the time I got there, a sizable crowd of people had already gathered, and it turned out more were on the way. The closer we got to the beginning of the concert proper, the more people there were.

Look at all these people!

And that’s not even everyone, either. There were already folks up on the mountain at this point.

The crowd just kept getting bigger!

Eventually, night fell in-game and it was finally time for all of us to begin the mounted procession up towards Weathertop. This was where the epic lagfest definitely kicked in. Take at least a hundred people on mounts all heading in the same direction, and, really, you can only be hit with lag. Fortunately, Harperella, our procession leader and announcer for most of the event, had a wonderful suggestion for us: put the rider in front of you on follow. Turned out that’s what I had to do in order to move anywhere.

I’ve always thought my computer was fairly decent when it came to certain things. It isn’t exactly a top of the line gaming system, no, but I always thought it handled lag pretty well.

That was up until the mounted procession.

The mounted procession up to Weatherstock!

The mounted procession up to Weatherstock! You can even see Harperella in the front there. She’s in the green.

We all started joking about reduced awareness hitting us all at that point in time, and believe me, it hit all of us. That was seriously the best shot of the procession I could actually get. There were a lot more of us behind the main herd. The only problem is that we just couldn’t see them.

Reduced awareness will do that, sadly.

We finally managed to make it to Weathertop mountain where I slowly discovered following certain people when lag was involved was not the best of plans as the lag caused me to loop a bit and I wound up falling over the edge of the path leading up to the mountain and losing the main pack. I didn’t die, fortunately, as I didn’t fall too far. However, as I understand it, there are a few who might in the climb up. Fortunately, the LMB crew was prepared for that and they offered resurrections to those who might have plummeted to their deaths while trying to follow the pack. They even informed us of the areas where the lag would hit us the worst. Eventually, however, we made it to the top, where there were even more people waiting for us.

Look at all these people!

Look at all these people!

Before I continue, can I just say that I really commend the Lonely Mountain Band kinship for all of this? They had all of this all planned out. They had people offering escorts for lower-level characters to get to the top of Weathertop. They had people willing to ‘port people over if they were running late. They had a crew organized to keep all of us safe from the vicious crebain that surrounded the mountain. They even had vendors going so our characters had food, drinks, and even pipeweed for the event.

The last I knew, there were over 500 players in attendance, and some of them weren’t even from Landroval. Folks from other servers will roll lower-level characters specifically to come to this event. We even have performers from other servers!

All in all, for the almost four hours that I was there, I had a lot of a fun. I got to listen to some awesome in-game music, some of which was actually composed by the bands themselves (so major props to them) and others that were just a whole lot of parodies or lyrically adjusted to fit the setting (“I can’t get no~ catfish action~”). I had a ridiculous amount of fun at this, and I’m definitely hoping I’m going to be able to attend for all of Weatherstock next year.

The Shades performing to a crazily-sized crowd!

The Shades performing to a crazily-sized crowd!

Seriously, if you have the opportunity to go or to attend one of the miniature concerts leading up to the event next year, go. You will definitely not be disappointed.

A Light in the Shadow

It’s been a week since my subscription to WoW lapsed, and while I miss it, I’m trying to do a bit better and not let it impact me too much. To try to combat this, I’ve been playing a lot more LotRO lately, and I’m finally coming to the end of Volume One of the epic quests. I know I don’t need to do them, but I feel like I should completely finish with the Angmar plotline before I even think about looking at Moria, although I am excited to finally see it.

So Anthyllis has finally hit level 50, making her the highest-level character I’ve ever had in LotRO, and she even completed Books 1 – 8. Apparently, once you do that, you get a new title!

Anthyllis proudly rocking her new title

I had no idea this was actually a title I was capable of earning, so when I discovered it, I was beyond excited and immediately switched Anthyllis’ title from “Song Warrior” to “A Light from the Shadow”. I’m proud of my accomplishment.

In other exciting LotRO news, I’m finally going to be able to attend Weatherstock this year! Now, for those of you who don’t know, Weatherstock is an annual in-game concert series on the Landroval server hosted by the Lonely Mountain Band kinship (who are really awesome people). Bands from various other servers come to compete, and it’s generally a good time all around. This year, it takes place next week (July 20th, to be exact) from 1pm to 5pm (EST) on top of Weathertop (hence Weatherstock). There’s even an escort for the characters that are too low-level to safely make it to the top on their own. So if you’re elsewhere and want to check it out, roll a little character on Landroval, get them through their various starting quests, and make the trek to Bree to get prepared.

I’m excited, because in the two (almost three) years that I’ve been playing, I’ve never actually been able to attend. In previous years, I was only able to listen via various livestreams, but I want to be able to see it in person. Expect pictures, guys. :)


Paying Respects
Some decisions are harder than others to make and are infinitely harder to tell people about once you’ve made them. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t one of them, and it breaks my heart to have to say this. It really does.

Let me get kind of a personal for a minute. Money has been really tight for me lately. I work a retail job that doesn’t really pay me a hell of a lot; I’ve said that a few times here, I think. Unfortunately, paying for my World of Warcraft account generally takes up most of my paycheck with barely enough left over for gas to get me to my job. I actually made this decision back in March, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything about it here at the time. It was too painful. However, I need to say it now.

As of today, my subscription to World of Warcraft has run out. Until I either get a new job or find some other way of supplementing my income, I might not be back to Azeroth for awhile.

Now, what does this mean for Pen and Shield? Not that much. Nothing is really going to change here. I’ll still be updating with various gaming-related things. There’s just going to be a lot more from my other gaming experiences (LotRO, Neverwinter… maybe some Rift if it turns out I like it) until I can afford WoW again. There may be some Azeroth-related writings here, though, since it’s definitely not goodbye. World of Warcraft was my first MMO experience. It’s still very much a huge part of my life and I have no intention of losing that ever.

So, Azeroth, I’m not saying goodbye to you today. For today, it’s just “see you later.” I’ll be back, and you’d still better kick just as much ass then.

Happy Independence Day!

For those of us in the United States, it’s our Independence Day! In WoW, it marks the beginning of the end of the Midsummer festival (as a reminder to all, it ends tomorrow), so I hope you guys bashed Ahune to death while you had the chance and got everything you were hoping to get from him!

I don’t have a lot of time today, due to various 4th of July traditions and a barbeque later, but I wanted to wish those who celebrate a happy Independence Day and leave you guys with this (still very amusing) bit of machinima created four years ago by Oxhorn. Enjoy!

And don’t forget to catch the fireworks in-game tonight, guys! They’re always spectacular.

Time to Stomp-A-Shrew!

It’s that time again, folks! LotRO’s Spring Festival has begun once again as of yesterday. It’s very exciting.

The Spring Festival is not all that different from years previous. However, we do have some new things. We have new cosmetics, though I warn you right now, dear readers: that new robe is not flattering on anyone. You can actually obtain the Steed of the Jester (last year‘s surprise horse) if you gather enough flowers. But, this year, we also have a brand new horse!

The newest addition to the LotRO stables, the Lissuin Steed

The newest addition to the LotRO stables, the Lissuin Steed

He’s a pretty guy, isn’t he?

The Lissuin Steed will set you back 40 spring leaves, but, not only that, you can also buy his gear for your warsteed! Unfortunately, unlike the Yule Festival, you can’t buy a box that has all the pieces. If you want them for your warsteed, you’ll have to do a bit of shopping. The caparison and leggings can be obtained from the various Spring Festival quartermasters or at Hengstacer Farm, I believe, for 20 spring leaves apiece. The halter and saddle, however, are at the vendor in Bree near the Boar Fountain for 80/80/80 flowers apiece from that flower-picking daily.

As I understand it, the cosmetics can be dyed, but as I write this, I’m not sure how they look when dyed. Unfortunately, Anthyllis is only level 49, so I definitely won’t have the opportunity to try for myself, and I’ve been scouring the internet for a picture. Unfortunately, I’ve so far turned up empty-handed, but I remain hopeful!

I’m Attacking the Darkness!

My first exposure to roleplaying (apart from games of make-believe when I was younger, of course) was in high school. A friend introduced me to the Dragonlance novels, and I was promptly hooked. It was only after I had been reading these books that I learned about Dungeons and Dragons, as I discovered Dragonlance was a D&D setting. Intrigued, my friends and I formed a little D&D group of our very own. I remember very little of our actual plots, as we tended to derail them quite a bit and upset our Dungeon Master in the process to the point where he threatened to set a never-ending pack of wolves on our characters in order to get us to move forward.

The Dungeons and Dragons love continued through to college, where my college friends and I would meet weekly on Saturdays for dungeoneering exploits, and even after, where I participated in an online Shackled City campaign with some of my internet friends. It wasn’t quite the same, due to the lack of dice rolling, pizza, and generally hearing everyone’s voices, but it was fun nonetheless. Unfortunately, due to circumstances entirely beyond my control, I no longer have people to play with.

Until now.

You see, new MMOs seem to be popping up quite a bit lately, from Star Wars to whatever else you might be able to think of. Dungeons and Dragons, however, has two to its name: Dungeons and Dragons Online, and most recently, Neverwinter. I tried DDO in the past and was unimpressed with it. Compared to LotRO (as both games are made by Turbine), the graphics seemed ridiculously sub-par, and I wasn’t entirely fond of slinging my weapons around every time I tried to left click on something.

Neverwinter, however, is a whole new ball game. It will immediately make you think of Neverwinter Nights (both one and two), and it rightly should, as they exist within the same world. I’d give you a proper timeline as to where Neverwinter falls in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve been searching for this information for two days, and I’ve come up with zip. I have no idea where this game falls in the Neverwinter timeline. What I do know, however, is that it’s fun.

Character creation is incredible. I come from World of Warcraft, where character customization is virtually nil. Neverwinter, however, takes the Guild Wars 2 approach to character customization. While you can choose a preset look to run around with if you really want to, you have the option to customize the look, therefore making your character feel like yours. Case in point, meet Kathra Mineshadow:

Kathra Mineshadow

Kathra Mineshadow, Devout Cleric, at your service

Kathra here is dwarven devout cleric of Moradin. She can heal, but she’ll also use the powers granted to her by Moradin to kick your butt. She’s generally unapologetic about it, but, then again, she’s also seen some things in her time. She knows she wants to keep her friends safe, and they’ll always be her priority. Well, they would be if I could wrap my head around how healing is supposed to work in this game.

The controls do take a bit to get used to, especially if you’re coming from other MMOs, but you get into the swing of it easily enough. There are a few other “drawbacks”, I suppose you could call them, but they’re mostly minor. For example, I miss a lot of the puzzles that come with playing Dungeons and Dragons in a tabletop setting, but it may be that I have yet to run into them in Neverwinter. The quests themselves seem to be a standard MMO fare, and they probably contribute to an overarching story, but so far, I have yet to see anything that links these quests to what we had to contend with in the tutorial zone. I’d really like to see all that tie together eventually, but Kathra’s only level eleven. I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see.

My favorite bit about the game so far, however, has to be a system called the Foundry. Now, the Foundry is a way for players to create their own Neverwinter-based adventures and share them with the rest of the community. I actually played a couple last night, and it was really entertaining. Mostly, I was fascinated that we could take the world and shape it as our own, if only for a little while. Not only that, but you can come across some pretty awesome bits of gear in those things, all of which seem to be randomly generated, but typically geared towards things your class can actually use.

The game itself is currently in pre-launch/open-beta-but-no-actual-wiping-is-happening-so-they-say, so if you don’t mind ridiculously long queue times, I highly encourage you to go check it out and draw your own conclusions. It’s also free-to-play, so if you’re like me and money’s tight, that’s incredibly convenient. Regardless, you really can’t go wrong with a D&D based game. Well, I don’t think so, but my bias is showing.

What about you, dear readers? Have you checked it out yet? What do you think about it? If you haven’t, are you going to?

Happy 6th Anniversary, LotRO!

LotRO fireworksLadies and gentlemen, my good gentle hobbits, today, we begin two weeks of celebration for Lord of the Rings Online, for this is it’s sixth birthday party. Some might say it’s a bit excessive for a party to last for two weeks, but when you love a game as much as it’s players do, sometimes that just doesn’t matter.

As for me, I’ve only been playing this game for two years, but what a great two years it’s been. In that time, I’ve played with the game’s cosmetic system, and while I’m nowhere near as good as Hymne over at Cosmetic LotRO (my favorite LotRO cosmetics blog), I’m having fun with it nonetheless. I’ve seen so much of the world that means so much to me and I know there’s only more for me to see. I’m so excited about that. I’ve even gotten a chance to go visit Bilbo’s trolls! So what better way to celebrate all of that than with fireworks and beer battles?

This year’s party really hasn’t changed too much since last year. You can still gather invitations that may or may not include ponies in the envelopes (we’re not sure yet; stay tuned). You can still shoot off fireworks, play courier and run gifts all around Middle-Earth, and even knock people around at the beer battle! If you choose to go beer battling, just don’t let your opponents knock you out of the ring or you’ll be disqualified. There are a few differences, such as the anniversary mounts no longer requiring horse race tokens to obtain them (every single anniversary token you earn can be put towards those), and if you want another shot at collecting invitations, you can spend five mithril coins (our newest currency item) as opposed to the tickets of last year to have another go. However, this adds up really fast, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it if you’re saving up for something.

Like cosmetics. I seriously spent a hundred mithril coins yesterday on pretty cosmetic gear sets off of the mannequins in Bree. Don’t judge me.

If you’re looking for a proper guide for the anniversary party, you’ll want to go visit A Casual Stroll to Mordor for that. Their guides are always the best. And now that you’ve been properly armed, maybe I’ll see you in-game for the party!