Monday, September 13, 2010

Burning Crusade vs Lich King

Being a big World of Warcraft (WoW) lover, I am very excited about the new expansion coming out in a few months. Since my husband and I both play, we usually buy one copy of the regular edition and one copy of the collectors edition. The collectors usually comes with neat items like a mouse pad with the new map, an in-game pet, art book, sound track, etc. I love the in game pets and the mouse pad, so I usually get those leaving the rest to hubby. When the first expansion came out, I was more excited about the content of the game than the content of the box. The second time it was reversed.

I actually really love Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK), but it took me time to discover just how much. Part of the problem I think was because I hadn't discovered my voice in the game yet. I tried a few different races and classes before I found Tulips. She is a gnome warlock and my one true love. <3 It is important to find a character you like AND that you can play. As Tulips I was able to play through most of the zones and dungeons that the game has to offer. I found a new appreciation for the early areas I had played countless times as well as higher level places I had never been able to handle. This is actually important to the point I plan to make.

Once I had Tulips, I was able to actually play through the areas that came with BC. Before that I never seemed to be able to play on my own, and groups can be hard to come by. (Side note, holy priest is not very good for solo leveling.) I found it to be too challenging and frustrating to get past the first zone, Hellfire Peninsula. Because of this, I experienced what many call Alt-itis. It is when you can't stick to anyone one character and end up just constantly making tons of "alternates" over and over.

As you can imagine, when it came time for Tulips to head to Hellfire Peninsula, I was a bit hesitant. I take that back, I was extremely hesitant. I actually stayed in lower leveled areas as long as possible just so I wouldn't have to deal with that place. I am more than willing to admit a lot of my problems with Hellfire Peninsula have to do with personal taste. It is a crappy evil desert kind of place. I tend to shy away from most of the desert zones because they just really aren't my thing. But that gets down to my main problem. When you start out in BC you only have one place to go. The game at its core functions on variety. There are usually several zones for just about every level bracket, except when you hit level 60. Even WotLK has two starting zones.

As Tulips continued her adventure through the Dark Portal, I never really felt involved in the story. In the basic game you get quite a few quests that really teach and involve you in the story. In BC, pretty much every zone felt like grinding. Even the quests felt like I was grinding. Zangarmarsh is one of my favorite zones in BC, but it is also full of some rather dull quest. Most of the quests are repeatable to gain reputation with three of the new factions in the area, but they are just so dull to me. Kill this, kill this, collect that, kill this, collect that. And as I said, that is one of my more loved zones in the expansion.

WotLK is like more of a living entity. It interacts with you and evolves while you play. I'm not saying it doesn't have the grind and grab quests, but it isn't completely overrun with them. Most of the quests are there to involve you with the main boss of the expansion, the Lich King. From the very beginning you are there to learn about the Lich King and help take him down. In Howling Fjord, one of the first zones you can go to, you actually have a chance to see the Lich King just walking around. He has nothing specifically do to with that particular quest, but he is there just chill'n out. At one point, I mentioned to my hubby I had seen the Lich King on 3 different occasions during different quests and I was nowhere near the end game material.

Another nice touch is the whispering of the one of the Elder Gods. (You have got to love the Lovecraft shout out!) I will admit I still don't know much about them in the game, but after my run in with the voice I had to stop what I was doing and education myself. There is an area in Howling Fjord and supposedly in Icecrown ,though I haven't had it happen there, where a mysterious voice whispers to you. It looks a lot like whispers you get from other players, which is probably what confused me most when it first happened. The voice proceeds to tell you things like, "they are after you," and "kill them all before they get to you," etc. (Those are not exact quotes.) It happens to varying degrees to different players at different times. In fact, some people may never see it at all.

The evolution of the zones has the be one of the cooler parts of WotLK. If you play through properly, which I didn't, the first one is in Dragonblight. You get a cut scene and then the area looks all different. And screaming is added, lots of screaming. Once you get to Icecrown you discover a few cities and flight paths (used for travel) only after you prepare them. By this I mean that each has a unique quest chain to conquer said base and then you have access to it. It makes you feel like the world is actually changing around you. Before this, extra places were added to a zone after a maintenance day of sorts or a whole new part would be added to the map. The additions in Icecrown have more of an explanation without having to comb through patch notes.

In the end, I don't blame Blizzard for Burning Crusade. It may not be wonderful to me, but I think a lot of it comes down to personal preferences when it comes to gaming. The rest I brush off because it was WoW's first expansion. They tried some new ideas, some worked and some didn't. You don't get far in business if you don't take a few chances. Wrath of the Lich King showed they had learned from most of their mistakes. Then again, I know there are people out there who would completely disagree and say the BC was the better title. I did get some enjoyment out of BC myself, and a neat in-game pet if nothing else. Regardless, my heart belongs to WotLK. . . at least until Cataclysm comes out. ;-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Love Cake!

I love watching the show Amazing Wedding Cakes. I started watching it when I was going through the wedding planning process, but now that it is over I find I am still hooked. I love the idea of cake as an art form. Actually, I think any and all food can be made into a beautiful work of art. Don't believe me? Eat at a five star restaurant or one at Disney and you will see. Cake is particularly fascinating to me because you can do so much with it. Plus, I really love cake.

If you ever have the chance, check out the website I started going to the site to laugh at just how horribly wrong a professional cake can be. I mean, some of these cakes are just awful and I can't believe stores actually charge money for such disaster. (And I can't believe people part with their money for it.) But that is not the point I was planning to make. Every Sunday the site has Sunday Sweets, which showcases some of the most beautiful and creative cakes you will ever see. In fact, Cake Wrecks is what inspire me to get the wedding cake I always wanted.

Now that I have more free time on my hands, I have been getting a little more creative when I bake at home. Nothing too fancy, mostly because my cakes still come from a box. I figure baby steps. For example, layering a cake when you ice it instead of just plopping the goo on top of the cake while it is still in the pan. Soon I hope to start trying some simple decorating techniques. The husband even suggested checking out the cake decorating class they have at the local Micheal's Crafts. I am seriously considering it once I get a job.

What makes cake art truly different than most other food art is just how many possibilities there are. Cake can be sculpted like a statue, built like a monument, or painted like a great painting. OK, that last example kind of sucked, but you get the picture. You can do anything with cake. . . even eat it. :-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

For Gnomeregan!

Pretty excited about World of Warcraft after last night. When I first started the game, years ago, I swore I would never play a gnome. Turns out my favorite toon I have made is a lock gnome. Well, last night started the reclaiming of Gnomeregan. The quest chain was pretty silly, but still a lot of fun. I think I enjoyed it mostly because Tulips would love to have her home city back. I am geeky, I know. Unfortunately, the first attempt has fail. I am guessing there will be more as the new expansion gets closer. yay!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How I became Pixie

It is kind of funny. I have always loved mythical creatures, but never one more than the other. Until, that is, I was named Pixie. I have had this name for over 10 years now and it has served me well. So, boys and girls, let me tell you a story.

I transferred schools between the 10th and 11th grade. I had never been overly popular growing up. Like many people, I was quite the opposite. My first high school I had a steady group of friends and frienemies (or is it frenemy?). It was nice because most of the kids that attended were just as quirky as me. Even I loved my friends, I hated the school. I knew a lot of my friends would be transferring to their neighborhood schools which would leave me pretty much alone. I told my mom and she agreed my current school wasn't a very good fit for me. Unfortunately, she didn't think my default school would be a proper fit either. Our hairstylist had a son who was attending one of our county's newest magnet schools and was absolutely thrilled. So, guess where I got sent!

The first half of the year at my new school was dreadful. I can't remember specifics, but I doing remember just hating it. I wasn't making friends easily at all. I may have never been popular, but I was also under the radar enough to avoid some of the very basic drama that comes with being a teenager. I think I even broke down crying to my mom that I didn't want to go back. Then it happened. My two most important classes junior year- math and journalism. Those were the two classes I finally started making friends.

For those who don't know me, I can be a little much sometimes. It was much worse when I was younger, too. Imagine very loud, hyper, a bit socially awkward. It wasn't always pretty. Well, when one of my classmates in journalism would get annoyed he would say "shut up pixie". Seemed a bit odd to me, but it got the point across. Then my soon to be new friend, Matt, started calling me Pixie. This took me a bit off guard because until then I had heard it with an insult. My friends in math were friends with Matt as well, so I asked what was going on. It was then explained to me, "It is your nickname cuz he thinks you are cool. And it fits because you are tiny and hyper like a pixie."

Before I knew it, that was my new name. When my new friends would introduce me to new people I was Pixie. The future mother of my flower girl even pulled me aside my junior year to ask, "I'm sorry, but I was never told your real name. What is it?" That is probably when I knew I had achieved my identity as a person, funny as it sounds. It became my name outside of school as well. On-line, at conventions, even at bars and clubs. My parents even put the name on my Christmas gifts my senior year.

Off topic a bit, my two favorite stories about my name involves a friend from right after high school. Ryan was a friend of a friend I met at a party and we became close. (Not dating close, but still close friends.) He went as far as to introduce me to his family as Pixie, which isn't that odd since most of my friends did. When his sister was in town from college with her roommate it was the same drill. When introduced, her roommate looks me dead in the eye and asks, "Is that your real name?!? Were your parents hippies?" It was very hard not to laugh. Not long after, we are hanging at a pool hall as per usual and I get to meet more friends of Ryan's sister. Some included hot guys, so I decided to introduce myself as my proper name. His sister starts waving her finger and shouting, "No! Your name is Pixie! That is what I how I met you and that is how I know you! You can't be anything else." I know she was joking around, but at the time I was startled a little.

That is enough rambling for now. I really don't think I intended the story to be so long.

Dear Failbook

Never thought I would actually have something to submit to, but then I forget who I am related to. Just kidding, bro. I only got love for you. :-) But still. . . his status update today was made for that site. Maybe I will get lucky and make it to the featured page.

I am going to start blogging. . .

Well, I have decided to start blogging. (As if the title was clear enough.) I'm not really sure about what yet. I figure I just need to do more with my free time than WoW. Plus, the servers our down right now. I may take a cue from Marilyn and post reviews of things as they come up. Over all I think this is just going to be a very general Blog. I need an outlet to express my views on the games I play, movies I see, and news I hear about. I mean, I am sure my husband loves to hear me rattle off about God know what, but even he has his limits. ;-) Oh well, at least I have the first entry. We will see where this goes from here.