Flask Half-Empty

ramblings about warcraft, other games, & randomness

Category Archives: the flask is half full

Shared Topic: Introducing RL Friends

Just two bear buddies on a zeppelin :D

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic brings back some very happy memories for me! Frinka from Warcraft Street asks:

Have you ever tried to introduce real life friends to WoW? If yes, how did it go? If you never have, why not?

There’s been a couple of times where I’ve introduced WoW to real life friends. The best memory of introducing people from outside of Azeroth was when I recruited my younger sister to play. At first, I let her try out a couple of characters on my own account, but then she enjoyed it so much that I just bought her an account of her own along with Burning Crusade so we could level together quickly and enjoy the fun of Recruit-A-Friend! We tried out a couple of cute Tauren druids at first and had fun rolling around the Barrens as two silly bears, but she decided on being a Tauren hunter in the end because she enjoyed the pets and Tauren lore/story.

It was really nice bringing her to share adventures in Azeroth with me. In real-life, she’s like a best friend to me (even though we have a seven-year age difference!) and it was interesting getting to talk to her about the game and having someone to talk to about the game even out of game. When she started playing, I was at a small break in between raiding guilds and was pretty close to burning out due to the end-of-expansion humdrum. It was very relieving to have someone familiar (outside of the game) to come into a world I knew well and for the two of us to spend time exploring, finding amusement in the smallest things in-game, and overall just being carefree and having fun.

Here’s just a couple more screenshots of some of the fun times!

Halloween silliness!

Just some silly mask and floating time with my sister and another close Tauren friend! :)

“What’s that thing floating in the moats?” “Boats!!? Cool!!!”

My sister’s been on WoW-hiatus for a very long time now, since she’s been busy with school. Even though I don’t have as much play time nowadays, I hope that we might have time to mess around in-game again in the future. She always had her eye out for the small, interesting things in-game that I would otherwise miss and always reminded me that “it’s just a game!!” and kept me sane if I were to stress out about something. :P

Fun times, fun times. Maybe again someday…

Starstruck: a bit of fangirling and a lot of realm pride

<Kumpania>’s 6th year anniversary few months back — enjoying fireworks w/ friends in the guild!

Seems like I’m a bit late in joining the popular topic! It is a fantastic one, and I’ve wanted to dabble into the subject since I saw it posted on Blog Azeroth. In this week’s Shared Topic was suggested by Dragonray, who asked:

Are you starstruck by anyone? Does someone in the community respond to a post or a tweet and get you all speechless because they actually responded? Is there anyone you are waiting to have respond directly to you? Is there someone that you would like to chat to, but are too chicken? Am I the only one who puts other bloggers on a pedestal?

I’m still a newbie to the WoW blogosphere and have only just begun to engage more with the community outside of the game, so I’m definitely starstruck by everyone I meet and get to talk to! It’s a pervasive feeling for me, since I feel incredibly humbled (in a good way!) by all the interesting and neat people I find, whether it’s here on my journal, on other people’s journals, in forums, through Twitter, and more. I jump up and down whenever I get a tweet or a follow, and I smile myself giddy like a fool whenever I get a comment or like or an RT or discover I’m on someone’s blogroll. From other newbie bloggers and veterans alike! To have people actually reading my ramblings? Whoa…! To get to talk directly to some of the people I really admire and am constantly amazed by? Awesome!!

When I joined in the MMONBI in May, I’d set out decidedly that the main purpose of this blog would be mostly self-reflection and a place to jot down memories of my adventures. I’ve mentioned before about having moments of introversion and skepticism, especially when it comes to gaming communities. Starting out this blog, I wasn’t sure how much I’d actually throw myself out there and be able to engage with other people. Well…it’s now July, and my standpoint couldn’t possibly be any more different! The WoW community outside of the game is incredibly contrasting from within the game — the people I’ve been lucky to meet and talk to have been so thoughtful, funny, clever, insightful, and all around friendly and approachable. Sure, I’m still tentative about commenting at times, but I think that’s inevitable considering all the amazing people I’m surrounded by in the community. There’s too many people to link and mention, so I’ve (finally!!!11eleven) gotten around to making a proper blogroll of just a few of the blogs I try to keep up with the most as of now. Yay! :)

I think it’s important for me to mention that I’m often starstruck when I’m on my server, too. Having been on Turalyon for the past four years, there’s been a fair share of neat things happening and moments where I’ve said, “Whoa!! That was on Turalyon!” or “Hey, he or she is from my server! That’s awesome!” It’s little stuff like these that make me feel at home here and reluctant to roll alts on other realms (despite having a full page of characters — ack!!) And while they may not be super “internet famous” or anything, I sure do feel a bit starstruck knowing that they’re from my home realm and are players among all of us. So I’d like to introduce a few of my hometown idols to you all! (While trying not to feel too stalker-ish, of course…! And um, on the unlikelihood that any of these people would ever stumble upon my blog…I’d might die of embarrassment and hope they wouldn’t find this creepy and fangirlish! *shuffles away*)

Kripparrian, World 1st WoW Ironman!

One such Turalyonite is Kripparrian, a troll hunter who was the first to reach level 85 on the WoW Ironman Challenge! When I first heard about the challenge, I didn’t give it much thought besides thinking to myself that it would be incredibly hard and patience draining. I’d forgotten about it soon afterwards, until I saw on my Twitter feed some time much later with a tweet from The Daily Blink asking if anyone knew how to get in touch with the world first WoW Ironman so they could make a poster featuring him. And lo and behold, Kripp had rolled on our realm to grind out the challenge! It was pretty cool to discover that he’d been doing the challenge right there on Turalyon while I’d been playing and I didn’t even know it. It also spurred my own interest in going after the challenge too. Although, I’ve had to reroll once already and haven’t had much progress since…*cough* Moving on……..

Scarab Lord Grayson!

Next is Grayson, from <Fusion>! I think Fusion had quite a reputation back in TBC/WotLK when they hit several World Top 10/20’s and realm firsts. They and their Alliance rivals from were known by everybody on the server and with many other hardcore realms/guilds worldwide! To me (since I don’t raid anymore), they were like hometown teams we all rooted for, you know? :P In Cata, many from the previous two top guilds retired and some remaining people transferred over to Ally to form , which still kept in the US Top 10. But I mention Grayson specifically because I actually got to talk to him a couple times! He is the Scarab Lord of Turalyon, showing that he’s been on the realm since back in the day of opening the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. So cool! I got the off-chance of talking to him when he had advertised on the realm forums for specific class/race combinations to flesh out his Stay Classy achievement on his level 25 bank guild to get the last bank slot. It just so happened that undead warlock was one of the last few combos he needed and I had a lv 80 one I wanted to level cap, so it went from there! Well, I didn’t really get a lot of time to talk with him since he wasn’t often on and I was just there to leech guild perks while doing the job…but it was still pretty cool and to know that he’s just a regular player too! (Albeit insanely wealthy and has a level-capped guild bank full of mysterious stuff and rides a Black Qiraji Battle Tank to boot! Ha!)

Nadina’s Diablo 3 Monk Cosplay, Picture by FiveRings Photography

And finally is also another old member of Fusion, Nadina! :D Not only was she kind of a hero in my eyes because she played a hardcore, competitively raiding holy paladin (my main spec/class back then), but she was also the winner of the 2010 Blizzcon Costume Contest for her Diablo 3 Female Monk cosplay (and multiple times as runner-up in previous years)! There was a ton of celebration on the realm forums when she was announced a winner. Everyone was so proud!! Since then, she’s continued cosplay and even has a cosplay facebook page. There are lots of neat costumes that she’s been working on, some most recent ones being Vanessa Vancleef and Riven from League of Legends! One of the pictures in her “Future cosplay ideas…” album is Nausicaä from the Miyazaki film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Boy, if she were to cosplay Nausicaä, I might die of happiness! (It was my favorite film as a child and even now!) I believe she is now a team member of Cryptozoic (the company behind the WoW TCG). Her in-game paladin was also made into an actual card for the TCG named Nadina the Red — pretty awesome, huh? Now if I could only stop buying TCG packs for collecting and actually start playing…

But there you have it — all my fangirling for now and quite a bit of realm pride. :P I really do recommend checking out Nadina’s cosplay page though, Zerina Cosplay, because not only are her costumes extremely gorgeous and detailed, but you can see how dedicated she is to the games and gaming community as well! She sometimes does little raffles for WoW TCG loot codes on her fan page, so that may be something to look out for if you like those kinds of things! :)

Tell Me a Story: Overheard in the Desert

When the MMO NBI month ended in May, Ambermist from Tastes Like Battle Chicken was kind enough to continue her challenges with monthly themes! This month’s topic was Tell Me a Story, where we were to write about something that’s happened to us or that we’ve witnessed in the games that we play. So let me tell you a couple very random and silly snippets of my adventures in Azeroth’s lovely deserts!1

Looking across just a corner of Uldum…

When I came back from my year-long WoW hiatus last winter and started playing Cataclysm, I immediately knew my favorite “new” zone was Uldum. The desert feel, architecture, and scattered oases were awesome! Not to mention the Tol’vir history was just fascinating. There was something in the sun, sand, and pseudo-Egyptian themes of the area that made me really fond of the place. I’m sure that like many other kids, I had that short-lived obsession or phase with Egyptian gods and goddesses during middle school! But that hardly seemed to answer the question of why I felt so nostalgic and “at home” every time I visited the deserts of Uldum.

Lately, I’ve found myself reminiscing the “good old days” where I used to play a lot more regularly and spent hour upon hour doing the silliest of things. Feeling nostalgic might be my way of feeling burnt out on the expansion, but I know can’t be alone in thinking so. I was browsing through my old journal a couple of days ago in hopes of finding old screenshots to use in upcoming flashback posts on this blog, but they had all been deleted or replaced via Tinypic. Instead, I noticed a lot of my old, happiest memories were of when I had just started playing WoW, especially while leveling in Tanaris! There must have been something about rolling around in the sand and sun that’s stuck with me all this time!

The (Not-So) Great Boat Game

Entrance to the Caverns of Time

Back in Burning Crusade when I was leveling in Tanaris (early 40’s), I was running around exploring and was so curious about the entrance to the Caverns of Time and what laid inside! But my curiosity was quickly buried when a swarm of red names (I played on a pvp server back then) started gathering around the summoning circle, and I hid in one of the boats nearby to just watch as the Horde raiders prepared themselves.

The boat game of doom!

One of my closest friends in-game was kind enough to bring his higher-level gnome rogue, Auto, to sneak around with me in case any of the Horde were to spot and grief me. Like myself, he was easily amused by the silly little things in the game. And so we suddenly found ourselves in a contest to see who could jump from one wooden beam in the derelict, sand-trodden boat to the other end. It was terribly hard, and with me and my track record with stairs and steps and jumping of platforms (I’m looking at you, Thaddius), it did not bode well. Auto gleefully jumped back and forth between the wooden boards, while we both laughed at my failures of getting in the right spot to jump over! (I call cheating with his short gnome-ness and easier maneuverability!)

Suddenly, all I heard over Ventrilo was, “Great…I’m stuck.” I turned around, and dear Auto had somehow gotten himself into a weird glitch where he was pinned between the wooden beams!

Ninevi: Quick, use your Hearthstone!
Auto: It’s on cooldown!!
Ninevi: Use the auto-unstuck tool! (Oh, the irony…!)
Auto: I did! It moved me a whole 2 inches and turned me in a different direction! And now it’s on cooldown…

Running around the boat to look for an escape!

A great few minutes elapsed, as he frantically wiggled his short gnomish legs around the wood beams in desperation to set himself free. It was hilarious. I wish I had pictures. Thank goodness the Horde had gone into the Caverns by then, because they would have taken the chance to roast us sitting ducks for sure! Or maybe they would have stopped dead in their tracks and laughed at the strange sight. Half of Auto’s head (fully pink-bearded and all) was visible, and from in between the beam, two short little legs were seen running furiously in place and in vain. It was too hard for me to keep from laughing out loud!

Auto: I don’t know what to do!
Ninevi: Me neither…hmm, wait! Maybe you can duel me! And it’ll let you Shadowstep out of the spot?
Auto: Okay, let’s try it…maybe it’ll work.

…it didn’t work. And somehow, I’d lost much of my health (just one accidental swing from him was ouch!) and to make matters worse, I was also stuck in the boat.

Ninevi: Oh no, now I’m stuck too…!
Auto: Great…I’m still stuck in a boat.

Soon enough, we had another guildmate (Val) who was in a nearby zone, and he wanted to see what all the fuss was about and why we were making such a ruckus in the chat channel. We invited him to group and waited patiently for him to come by and join in the fun, but it must have been at least 15-20 minutes or so of silence and more frantic wiggling in place before we finally heard something from him.

Val: Guys, I still don’t see you…
Ninevi: ………(lol)
Auto: VAL. YOU. ARE. AN. IDIOT!

The tone of Val’s voice was so innocently lost that it didn’t help me and my nonstop laughing about the terrible situation, and although Auto was laughing as well, I’m sure he was actually very worried about possibly having to submit a ticket to get us moved. Val finally did find us, and thankfully he and his rowdy imp didn’t get caught in the boat as well, or it would have been a snug crowd in between those planks! But unfortunately for an increasingly cranky gnome and four furry paws, it was getting late in the hour, and we were still stuck and without a useful cooldown. So we decided to part ways for the night and return in the day to hearth back home and out of the deathgrip of the abandoned boat!

And we’ve never tried to play another jumping game since…

Of Bagels & Ogres

Being distracted by jokes while sneaking around ogres is dangerous! The probably sensed my ROFL-ing…

Bagel you say…? Me no likey dead pink fish on bagel…

And finally, a very random conversation I found saved in my old journal from when I was doing the ogres questline in Tanaris…

Guildmate: Found breakfast! Apparently they have bagels in Bladespire…that’ll go well with my coffee! :D
Ninevi: What, they have bagels??! I want one…
Guildmate: Bagels are weird, lol. They annoy me! O_O
Ninevi: LOL Why?! Bagels are omnomnom…
Guildmate: COMPACTED BREAD!
Ninevi: WHAT
Guildmate: NO…RUBBER BREAD.

I…I don’t really know. But since then, whenever I run across ogres anywhere in-game, I always imagine them hiding lox and bagels in their pockets! (And secretly hope that they’ll drop some as loot one day, and I can eat it…omnomnom!)

Randomness aside, I guess I really am a bit notorious amongst my guildmates for digging around the deserts for archaeology fragments and spamming Archaeology nodes in Gatherer in hopes of finally finding just the right canopic jar one day! I’m sure they’ve called me out on playing in the sand when I should be doing something more productive like fishing for feast mats or working on other professions, but I usually just continue digging around, goofing off, and soaking up sun… :P

1 I realized after writing this post that it was kind of a terrible idea to think about sun and heat, after a week of weather in the 100+’s (and devastating wildfires throughout many places!) If only the blazing heat and sunshine were as lovely and nice as they are in-game. Sending hopes & prayers to the families affected by the fires recently! :(

Off-Topic: Photoset – Traveling, Botany, & Heritage

Note: This post is off-topic and contains lots of photos!

Oh my…it’s been a couple weeks since I posted, hasn’t it? I’m not doing so great on keeping up with this new blogging thing! *scolds self* This month’s been super busy, and I’ve been on travel for the past two weeks or so at conferences for work (ASM/ASMCUE 2012) in San Francisco, CA. Such a beautiful city and lovely weather! It was super nice to have 60°F weather and sunny skies instead of constant summer thunderstorms and mid-90’s like at home. Despite being mostly busy with presenting at the conference and visiting all the exhibits (omg, all the automated lab machinery on display was AMAZING…) I did get the last day to go about the city and do some exploring! This was maybe my 3rd or 4th time in CA, but first in SF. It’s so different, and I loved it! I like taking pictures, so I wandered through downtown, Chinatown, and Golden Gate Park with my camera, trying to avoid the overly-touristy places and hide from overwhelming crowds since I was alone. And I got to see some things that are really dear to me – gardens, nature, heritage, & culture.

So instead of me rambling more, I thought I’d share some pictures (even if they’re off-topic from this blog…!) :P

Some aerial photos I took while in flight!

 

Hazy, sloped city!

 

“Fear Head” by Roman Cesario, Mitsu Overstreet and Roberto Gonzalez @ Tenderloin

 

Not sure of artist(s).

I live in the suburbs, so street art is always something I look forward to when visiting cities. :)

Historic San Francisco cable cars! :D

 

Is the street tilted…or am I??

 

Such colorful houses :D

 

Some random noms: egg tartine w/ fresh tomatoes, dim sum, green tea bubble tea, 馬拉糕 (ma la gao)

 

Some more random noms…gyoza, “mother & son” sushi roll, chicken paratha fold & gulab jamun, fish tacos!

 

Various Chinatown scenery, shop fronts, street art

Going to SF Chinatown was really an amazing experience. I’ve been to different ‘towns around the US (Atlanta, New York, Chicago, & more) but SF Chinatown was HUGE. Just entering and being among all the shoppers (regulars & tourists alike) was really very humbling, and it made me nostalgic for Taiwan, where my family is originally from. SF Chinatown is really a city within a city, the oldest and largest community outside of Asia. The sights, the smells, and the sounds brought back memories & made new ones, and I was kind of sad I had nobody to share it with except me & my camera! But now I can share some pictures with you :)

Religious sector, bakery & roasted duck/bbq

 

Dried goods & herbal medicine stores, cake shop with all sorts of flavors

Seeing all the dried goods/herbalist stores reminded of my grandfather, who I guess you can say was a real life herbalist and apothecary! (Oho, I snuck a WoW reference into this OT post! See what I did there?) He had a small eastern medicine and herbal store in his own home in Taiwan, and he was really active in tending his gardens and flowers. I wish I could have bought a little of everything, but just a few grams of many of the dried goods were so expensive!

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

I guess here is where I get a bit nutty and druid-y! I majored in environmental science/ecology in college, and I’ve always kind of had an obsession with plants and botany…(*spam heals Regrowth to watch leaves falling*) so going to conservatories, botanical gardens and the like excites me like none other and turns me into a major nature dork. I kept texting my friend Pneu while spazzing out about all the flowers and amazing plants, and I’m sure I was probably very annoying! D:

Just some of the hundreds of photos I took of the gorgeous flowers & greenery…

There were also some really neat pitcher plants, and I couldn’t help but keep thinking…”Oh look, it’s a Victreebel…!”

Raptors in the conservatory?!

 

Stegosaurus! :D

 

Oops…

 

Japanese Tea Garden

 

Adorable gift sets.

 

Succulent garden @ SF Botanical Gardens. I love succulents! :3 I wanted to buy them ALL and take them home with me!

 

& going home…(with crappy phone pics lol)

So that’s it! I’m back home and waiting for my next big adventure to start (ie: grad school — eek!) and hoping to have more time to write more on-topic stuff here, as well as finish Diablo 3 and get ready for Mists! :P And it’s Midsummer Fire Festival already, so I hope to make a post about that sometime soon, too. Lots to do and little time.

If you enjoyed my photos, feel free to visit my Flickr (homepage) – or the specific sets: San Francisco or Golden Gate Park for a lot more pictures. Thanks for reading or browsing! :D