Pandamonium: Shadow Priest Edition

Everyone, meet Thyanel’s beta panda shadow priest, Hahani! Say hello, Hahani!

Unfortunately, despite her happy-looking face, Hahani is incredibly disappointed with me.


Well, thanks to a comment left on my previous post regarding the Mists of Pandaria beta, I realized I had been incredibly remiss in my shadow priestly duties. Pictures of the adorable pandas are all well and good, but how do the priests look in Shadowform? As a shadow priest, you spend the majority of your time in Shadowform. It’s not enough to like how you look outside of it; you have to like what you see in all your shadowy glory, too!

So, Marc? This is for you.


A Major Milestone

I’ve mentioned in the past just how much I love Middle-Earth. When I created my hobbit minstrel, Anthyllis, I used it as an opportunity to take everything I loved about the world and put it into a character. I decided that, as a hobbit, she had grown up listening to Bilbo’s stories and ventured out into the world to see some of the things he had seen and to possibly happen upon some interesting adventures of her own. After finally hitting level 42 a few weeks back, Anthyllis is now officially my highest level character in LotRO. Being at this level, however, it meant that she got to venture into the Trollshaws, go to Rivendell, and even meet Elrond!

And this isn’t even all of Rivendell. It’s gorgeous, though, isn’t it?

One of the things I personally love about LotRO is the fact that the major lore characters are right there. You can talk to them, you can quest for them, and, sometimes, you can even adventure with them. At the current point Anthyllis is at in the epic quest chain, the Fellowship has yet to leave Imladris, so the entire Fellowship is still right there in the city, and, yes, she’s happily visited them all. She even got to run around a bit with Gimli last night when they ventured out to destroy an evil dwarf.

However, despite this, it wasn’t quite enough, and I found myself incapable of describing why that was. The entire time, I couldn’t help but feel like something major was missing. I had gotten to see quite a few major landmarks so far. I got to see Weathertop earlier, and the Ford of Bruinen where the Ringwraiths were swept away by the river in the Fellowship of the Ring. I had gotten to meet the Fellowship. I had even met Bilbo! So why didn’t it feel like enough? Something was missing, I just wasn’t sure what.

As Anthyllis continued to roam through the Trollshaws, however, she happened upon a man further down the Bruinen river, who informed her that his grandparents lived in a village that had been raided by trolls, and he, for reason, wanted to find out what had become of them all these years later. It turned out their names were Bert, Tom, and Bill. It took me a minute or two before I remembered The Hobbit and why those names were so significant.

The quest-giver was talking about Bilbo’s trolls.

Once I came to this realization, I had Anthyllis mount up and ride for Rivendell, almost frantically trying to remember where Bilbo was in the Last Homely House. If anybody knew where they would be, he would. Fortunately, it didn’t take me very long to do. He quite happily regaled Anthyllis with the tale of the trolls (apparently, it’s her favorite) and even told her where they were. So, enthused, she set out immediately for the clearing where the three trolls were still frozen in stone, and I as the player, couldn’t stop squeeing for at least ten minutes while I took all the pictures ever.

Anthyllis, however, was finally able to see something she had actually grown up hearing about, and could not have been happier. What could possibly top seeing Mister Bilbo’s trolls?

Anthyllis is so excited to finally see something amazing from Bilbo’s stories

Cosmetically Equipped: Concerning Hobbits

One of the things I love about Lord of the Rings Online is the cosmetic gear system. Let’s face it, guys. In any MMO, you pick up gear as you go along in the world and, unfortunately, some bits look better than others. However, it’s all the same. In the end, we’re usually stuck wearing gear that makes us look like clowns. Fortunately, LotRO gives us a way to combat the clown gear by giving us access to dyes, but then we have a new problem. Some parts of whatever we might choose to fall in love with just do not take dye, and if they do, they can sometimes look worse than before if you like using a specific dye color with your character and said dye color clashes with the bits that can’t be dyed. For these troubling moments, I am eternally grateful that we can have another set of gear overlayed on top of our questing gear while still getting the stats from it.

For the curious, yes, dear readers, you are now witnessing my secret love: cosmetic gear.  It’s no secret that I like my characters to look good. Even if I wasn’t a roleplayer, I’d still happily use a system like this. I feel like every character has an outfit for anything they do, even if it’s just hanging around with guild/kinmates. You don’t have to look like a hodgepodge of different armor styles all the time, after all. There’s a reason why addons like Outfitter, back in the earlier days of WoW, were so popular, as these allowed us to easily switch between our questing/PvP gear and that pretty dress we got during the last holiday or the matching armor set that was gathering dust in our bank. I jumped for joy when WoW came out with transmogging, but I still think it pales in comparison to LotRO’s cosmetic system.

I’m still new to the ways of cosmetic gearing, as the majority of my outfits tend to be simple things. I’m also still somewhat in the “EVERYTHING I PUT ON MUST MATCH” phase. Once I began to figure out how the cosmetic gear system worked and I had options apart from the cosmetics that came with the Rise of Isengard expansion, I realized I needed something for Anthyllis to wear when she returned to the safer areas and she wasn’t out and about questing. She needed what I decided to call a Hobbit About Town look, something she could live in. After messing around a bit, taking into account what Tolkien himself said hobbits favored for colors, and going through the mish-mash of a wardrobe that I had, I finally came up with something I loved.

Admittedly, yes, it’s a very simple cosmetic outfit as I didn’t have to worry about footgear (what self-respecting hobbit would wear shoes, I ask you?) or gloves. Despite that, I cannot think of a better look for her. Anthyllis is very attached to this hat, and it’s part of every single outfit I piece together for her whether you can see it or not (the exception to this being her questing set as the scrolls from the Map-Maker’s Travelling Pack clip through the brim). I even got a compliment on it the other night when I was loitering around Oatbarton! The pieces, in case you’re wondering, are as follows:

Head: Plumed Hat, dyed Umber (Quest Reward: Into the Shadow / Medicine of the Elves)
Chest: Robe of Leisure, dyed Ranger Green (LotRO store)

In this entire process, though, I realized something very important: I need to clean out the wardrobe. There’s so much stuff in there and I think I just started throwing things in there without knowing if I really wanted them in there or not…

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