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.

Happy Panda Day!

Hey, WoW players of the United States! Guess what? IT’S PANDA DAY! Mists of Pandaria is finally here, and today, I want to know all about your panda plans. I, for example, will be making the slow level push to 90 and doing a lot of exploring out in Pandaria. I shall also (maybe) be rolling a panadaren shaman. But what about you?

Are you planning on rolling a pandaren? Or a monk? (Or a pandaren monk?) Are you going to set forth and explore Pandaria? Try to get a server-first level 90 character? Craft like a fiend? Roleplay your heart out?

Leave a comment below and let the world know!

Tales From the Front

Hello, everybody! Long time, no see! It’s been about a month since my last post. I hope everybody’s doing well and hasn’t given up on my little corner of the internet.

Since I last posted, things have taken a much different turn than I expected. Race changes went on sale (GASP!), and Adaret, whose story has been done for quite some time, got changed into a blood elf as opposed to a pandaren like I had originally planned. The short version of the story is that Thyanel, my old main, lives again, though as a priest and not a paladin as she was originally. I missed her so much, and I’ve slowly been getting back into the swing of playing her.

On the roleplaying front, chaos has occurred amongst the Harbingers of War (my beloved RP guild). ICly, we’ve been stationed in Hillsbrad Foothills, supposedly helping the Forsaken as punishment for something that happened long before any of my characters joined up. None of us have been particularly happy about it (the majority of the unit consists of trolls; what did we honestly expect here?). However, finally, we were supposed to move to Hammerfall out in the Arathi Highlands last night so we could help slaughter the Alliance out there. While the trek went without incident, we were greeted at the little Horde outpost by a trio who promptly arrested our guild leader. While it was planned OOCly (I can only assume), I completely didn’t see it coming at all, and felt just as outraged as Jinaki, my druid, did. Currently, we’re trying to figure out what’s going on, and one of our officers has temporarily been appointed guild leader, so we’ll see what happens there. Needless to say, however, I’m excited. RP again!

The trek, however, made me realize that I never actually obtained the raptor Jinaki rides ICly in the course of me rerolling her multiple times. Thyanel has, once again, been running the Argent Tournament dailies to fund it, since mounts are account-wide now and she’s been exalted with the Crusade for ages.

Speaking of account-wide mounts, however, patch 5.0.4 dropped when I wasn’t looking! It’s taken me awhile to figure out what talents work best for my playstyle, and while I still haven’t quite solidified them, I’ve found a workable set for shadow priest PvP. Thyanel has been participating in a lot of that lately, mostly to fund obtaining a Swift Warstrider and a set of armor for transmogrification purposes.

Also, the Glyph of Shadow Ravens is best glyph ever.

I think I’ve waited my whole life for this glyph to exist.

Guild Wars 2 also came out, but I’ll be touching on that in a separate post entirely. Today, this is all about World of Warcraft.

How about you, my dear readers? What have all of you been up to lately? Any game… anything at all! I want to hear all about it!

A Hobbit’s Tale

Today, it occurred to me that I don’t talk about LotRO as much as I probably should. It may seem like a strange realization to come to, but, after all, I hold just as much love for Tolkien’s Middle Earth as I do Azeroth or the galaxy at large. In fact, I probably hold more love in my heart for Middle Earth than I do any other fantasy world currently in existence simply because I grew up with the stories. I remember stumbling upon my uncle’s boxed set of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and initially thinking they looked interesting. Because of my interest, my uncle would tell me what the books were about, and we’d write stories about what happened after the War of the Ring was ended up in his loft. Once I could actually read, I confiscated the books and read them in the early hours of the morning while I waited for everybody else to get up (he promptly bought me my own boxed set of the books, including the Hobbit, as a Christmas present). When the films came out, I naturally dragged my uncle along with me to go and see them, because, really, I couldn’t imagine anybody else going with me. He even bought me the extended edition DVD sets with their decorative boxes and little statues. To this day, I proudly display the Argonath bookends (though one of them sadly lost its hand) and the Minas Tirith box on my dresser.

Given all that, I’m sure you guys can imagine that when I discovered there was an MMO based on the books that held so many memories for me, I squeed like the dork I was, downloaded it, and played the hell out of it, though altoholism sunk it’s teeth into me very early on and I had a character list full of several characters that I’ve never really touched. They’ve since been deleted. I abandon the game every so often, but, in the end, I always come back to it, and I know that Middle Earth will always be there waiting for me.

It’s strange to think of how things would have been different if LotRO was the game that sunk its claws into me ages before Azeroth ever did. Pen and Shield might not even exist! I’d still be blogging, but the blog might have been titled something different, something hobbity (for I’m a hobbit at heart), and I’d be blogging under the name Anthyllis Greyburrow, the name of my main, a hobbit minstrel on the Landroval server. Speaking of, it occurs to me that I have yet to show off a picture of my girl, so… Meet Anthyllis!

Anthyllis says, "Hello, everybody!"

Anthyllis is, naturally, a hobbit of the Shire, who was fascinated by the stories of Bilbo’s adventures. Curious by nature, Anthyllis wanted to see everything Bilbo had seen, although the rest of the Greyburrows didn’t approve. She, however, was not to be deterred and set forth to Bree. Unfortunately, she didn’t exactly make it there. She got sidetracked by being attacked by brigands, seeing a Black Rider (scary stuff), and then getting sucked into the fate of Middle Earth while more hobbits were off bringing a ring to the elves and beyond. At that point, she was a bit too curious about the rest of the world to turn back. Besides which, all of this might make a good story to tell someday!

Unfortunately, LotRO is one of those “occasional” games for me, so poor Anthyllis only seems to get love from me every so often. It also doesn’t help that the game gets a bit lonely for me sometimes. Anthyllis is kinless and there isn’t random green text to keep me company as I go out and quest in the world. It’s hard finding a guild or group of people who are okay with you disappearing for several days at a time as you try to balance your free time between three different games and they won’t remove you due to inactivity. In spite of all that, though, I’ve been rather dedicated to LotRO over the past few days, putting in several hours worth of time to finally get Anthyllis to level 30 and hit the end of Book 2 of Volume One of the epic storyline. I’m very excited to keep going, though I’m getting little tired of fighting corrupted trees that decide to uproot themselves and attack me. I swear, they’re everywhere

The Meme of Sixes

Apparently, there is a meme of sixes going around. A good number of the Warcraft blogging tweeps I follow have apparently been tagged to participate. The rules are simple: you go into your image folder, go to the sixth subfolder, and choose the sixth image in that folder, then tag six other to do the same. Some of us decided to take this a step further and make the whole thing a bit more involved. Even though I hadn’t been tagged to do it, I was incredibly tempted to go and do it anyway. To be honest, I didn’t even think anybody would tag me to do it. Pen and Shield is still in it’s own obscure corner of the internet, after all, and I get maybe a handful of readers here, if that. So I suppose you guys can imagine my surprise when Lilpeanut of Heal Over Time tagged me to do the meme I’d been thinking about doing. It’s always nice to find out more people than I think read this or, at the very least, know about it.

So, since Pen and Shield covers multiple games now, I decided to personally take things a step further. Not only are we going into my Warcraft screenshots folder, but also my SWTOR and LotRO screenshot folders. I guess I like madness? I don’t know. Continue reading

Noob Tales

Although I’m not quite certain how this all started, when I returned from work today, I discovered my twitter feed full of various stories from everybody’s noob days in World of Warcraft, told in 140 characters or less. Amused, and taking solace in the fact that I wasn’t alone in my various noob moments (some people having very similar stories to some of my own), I decided to contribute a few of them, myself. It was in the course of contributing a few stories that I recalled an incident from my early Warcraft days in Burning Crusade. Unfortunately, telling this particular story would take up more than 140 characters, so I decided to preserve the tale here, and I encourage others to do the same. After all, none of us started out automatically knowing how things worked. We sort of made it up as we went along and prayed they were right. Unfortunately, sometimes things got a bit messed up along the way…

My first serious character, as many of you know, was a blood elf paladin. Back during the days of Burning Crusade, around level 20 or so, all paladins got their class quest for an epic item. In the case of the blood elves, it was the gorgeous (yet now obsolete) Blood-Tempered Ranseur. However, being that I was completely terrified of dungeons, I avoided the quest. It took me watching multiple blood elf paladins sporting that weapon out in Hillsbrad for me to determine that I had to have it for myself, if only as an RP weapon. Discovering a friend of mine still needed to do the quest as well, he and I, thinking the suggestion of having 5 people in our party was just that (a suggestion), set off for Blackfathom Deeps on foot. (This was back in the days before you got your first mount at level 20.)

However, we quickly discovered a problem. As both of us had been questing out in the Eastern Kingdoms, neither one of us actually knew how to get this dungeon. My friend had maps, but I figured if we followed the road, sooner or later we’d find it. After all, how hard could it really be to find an instance? We had to run off the road in a few places (mostly to avoid patrolling NPCs who would have eaten us for dinner), but we kept running until we got closer to the Darkshore/Ashenvale border.

Then, in the distance, we saw her: a night elf PC. I can’t recall her class, nor do I know what level she was (all we got was a skull at the time, which meant she was infinitely higher than either of us combined), but my friend and I knew one thing with absolute chilling certainty: she saw us. We both froze where we stood on the road and quickly started yammering at each other in party chat. She had seen us. If we ran, she would pursue us and slaughter us both mercilessly. I started to panic on my end of the screen. What did we do?

And then my friend came up with a plan. “Maybe,” he said, “if we remove our weapons, she’ll see that we’re not on our way to raid Darnassus or one of the other Alliance cities!” (Opposing-faction city raids were still a big thing in those days on my server, even before achievements came into the picture.)

So, with our plan in progress and the night elf on her huge-ass epic riding kitty stopping just by our side, we stripped off our weapons and bowed politely to the night elf. She said something, not that either of us could understand it, and she just… stared at us for a good few minutes. However, it soon became apparent that she had no intention of moving.

“Now what?” I asked my friend in party chat.

“I guess we just start walking?”

It was a valid suggestion as any. So my friend and I both set up our characters to walk instead of run and we continued down the road, our new night elf friend in hot pursuit. I continued to panic in party chat (“Why is she following us? OH MY GOD WE’RE BOTH GOING TO DIE HERE! …will our guild avenge us if we do?”). But then something amazing happened. The night elf started to ride back the way she had come! She paused a few times further up the road to see if we were still heading in that direction, but then she eventually disappeared out of sight. Needless to say, my friend and I were both incredibly relieved.

Unfortunately, we didn’t wind up finding Blackfathom Deeps that night. However, it wasn’t until after I had logged off for the night that I learned my friend and I had never been in any danger at all. PvE servers don’t automatically flag you for PvP when you entered contested territory. Unless we were PvP flagged, the night elf couldn’t have killed us at all! All our panicking and flailing had been for nothing whatsoever. Needless to say, I felt a bit silly, but at least I got a good story and a good laugh out of it.

What about you, my friends? Do you have any fun noob stories to share that you can’t tell in 140 characters? Feel free to share them here, if you’d like (or just laugh at mine).

Through Their Eyes: Kadsura

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a bit strapped for ideas lately, so, today, I decided to let one of mine do the talking. Everybody, meet Kadsura (she prefers Kadi, thanks) Steamgear, goblin shaman, today talking about, well, being a goblin and a shaman.

You know, lately, I’ve been getting tired of the same old thing. No, really, I mean it. Kezan was okay, I guess, and the Lost Isles were— Well, let’s just say that “interesting” is too nice of a word for them. I mean, there were plants. Lots of plants. If you’re into that sort of thing. And things that wanted to eat us. And, you know, Gallywix being kind of a jackass, but when isn’t he?

Did I mention the asshole wanted us to be mindless idiots working in his damn mines? Yeah, I don’t think so. I’m way too good for that.

Ah, hell, I’ve lost my point.

Oh. Right. Blah, blah, blah, same old, same old, yadda yadda…

So, right. I decide to try something new! Awesome! But then people say to me, “Kadi!”

I say, “What?!” Because nine times out of ten, they’re just trying to mess with me.

They say, “Kadi, the hell are you being a shaman for? There’s no profit in it?”

And then I look at them like they’ve been snorting kaja’mite. Yeah, the same stuff we turned into Kaja’Cola back in the day. Gives you great ideas, but the high only lasts for so long. Snorting that would probably give you a hell of a rush, though.

…right. I’m a goblin and a shaman. Tangents. I like ‘em.

Now, look, I like gold as much as the next goblin. Makes the world go ’round and all that. I do my part! I go out into the world and gather up things to distribute to the Horde (for a price, of course; Momma didn’t raise no fool and I don’t do charity unless you twist my arm). Problem is that all the gold in the world isn’t going to be worth a damn thing if the world falls apart. You can’t take it with you, and, for that matter? Uh, hello? World falling to pieces here. We kinda need to hold it together.

So, yeah, I could lie and tell them that I’m just doing it to honor Thrall. I mean, that guy’s probably the best shaman I’ve ever seen not that I’ve seen many, and he did save our butts. Admittedly, he left that idiot Gallywix in charge, but not every decision the guy makes can be a great one.

The point is this: save the world today, turn a profit tomorrow. Only the way the world will hold is if we do it ourselves, you know.

I swear, sometimes I think I have to do everything around here.