Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Firstly, thank you to everyone who wanted a Blizzcon badge on the basis of my other watercolour work and the quick badge of Millya I did. (I’ll be re-doing one for myself at some point, using actual references and a good transmog!) I am still working through my list of folks who signed up for a badge. If you’ve sent references, you’ll hear from me when I’m ready to get started on yours!

I’m really loving doing these so far, because it’s such a small painting it’s very fresh and immediate. You focus intensely on it for a few hours and then it’s done! Here are the first two I have done so far. They both have orange backgrounds because they are both druids. The next one I’m doing is a shaman!

Beru

This first one was for my friend Beruthiel of Falling Leaves and Wings. She has the extremely fancy (and elaborate) challenge mode druid armour.

Arielle

Arielle

This next one was for Arielle of The Inconspicuous Bear, also known as @riftmaker on Twitter.

If you are interested in a badge, you can send me your info via my post here (please use the form! it has been making it really easy to keep track of everyone’s info and I like that). The line isn’t too long yet and I’m getting them done pretty quickly so far, so the wait time should be fairly decent. I may wait to mail them until I have enough to print out a bunch of name tags at a time, but before mailing you will receive a high-resolution scan of your painting.

Thanks to everyone who has had positive things to say about the badges so far, I look forward to doing many more of them!

On the heels of the news that we’re going to Blizzcon, I became really excited about the idea of doing commissions for badge art. I am now accepting commissions for Blizzcon badges! With a twist: I’m not going to be doing them digitally, as lately I’m really enjoying working in watercolour. So the way that we (Rades helped) devised for the badges is like this: each watercolour will be a complete painting without any lettering on it. Included with your badge will be a name strip that will be placed overtop of your painting in its badge holder. Once Blizzcon is over – remove the name badge, and you’re left with a little piece of original, handmade artwork.

badgesinholders

This is what they’ll look like, cut out and placed in a badge holder. The background will correspond with your class colour. The name badge, as you can see, will be specific to your faction in one of four formats:

jakdf

Alliance – Type 1

sda

Alliance – Type 2

Horde01

Horde – Type 1

asdfs

Horde – Type 2

Watercolour Blizzcon Badges

Price: $40 USD – includes:

-miniature watercolour painting of your character to fit in a 3″ x 4″ holder, (shoulders up) with separate name badge printed on heavy cardstock, and a badge holder to keep it all together. (Lanyard is not included).
-digital file of your painting sized for use as an avatar or just to keep

The above price includes shipping within North America. For shipping outside of that area please add an additional $5 USD.

This price includes a basic painting of a single character. If you want something more elaborate (including weapons or a pet or etc.) the price will increase by $5 per weapon/etc.

I’ll assess demand and if a list is necessary I’ll put a list here to keep track of the commissions. If you are someone who was on my other commission list, those are on hold for a little while, but if you wanted a badge you will be given special priority for your patience.

If you’re interested, please fill out the form below and also e-mail me your character reference at puggingpally@gmail.com. Character references should be one or more screenshots of your character taken in good lighting and zoomed in on the torso/shoulders/face. I require payment up front (Paypal preferred). I’ll contact you about this as I begin work on your commission!

I don’t have a wide range of samples for these because I haven’t done them yet, but if you’d like to see some of my other watercolour work you can do so here to get an idea. Below are some more Warcraft examples, please keep in mind these are much bigger (4″ x 6″) and so have a bit more detail. (I can draw things other than draenei, I swear). ETA: I have added the three badges I’ve completed here as well.

Arielle

Arielle’s badge

Beru_display

Beruthiel’s badge

Timbersham

Timbersham’s badge

callios

paladinwatercolour

wcprogress05

painting

Blizzcon!

This was the first (and probably only year) that we’ll be able to go to Blizzcon. So far this year it’s been a lot of uncertainty related to my infertility stuff. i.e. “Can we go to Blizzcon? If this medication works and I am pregnant then I can’t…” etc. But today finally arrived and I know we are okay to go to Blizzcon so we were ready to get our mitts on some tickets!

Rhidach helpfully had written a “how to get Blizzcon tickets” guide on our guild forums that was fantastic. ETA: He’s since posted these helpful tips on his blog, too. Less helpful was the fact that both he and I don’t seem to handle stress well and so we were stress-cases. I was honestly jittery all day anticipating the moment when I’d have to be spamming F5 to try and get into the queue quickly. We were in Mumble with Rhidach, Voss and Theck. All of us on tenterhooks, waiting. Actually, Voss seemed pretty chill, but Rhidach and Theck and I all agreed afterwards that the moment itself had been intense. My heart started pounding the way it does when we are fighting a progression boss and you just know that you can kill it. I just kept hitting F5 steadily with my eyes fixed on the words “unavailable” and my cursor hovering ready for when the button should appear.

When it did I hit it as fast as I could and hoped for the best. It takes you to a new page and tells you how you did. I was number 33 in line! I think it’s some uniquely DPS thing, but I am super proud of this. SEE HOW FAST I CLICK.

I know of course that there is a component of luck too. I happened to hit Refresh at a really great time. The clicking was all me, though. All four of us that were in Mumble managed to get tickets at various times, enough that we had some extras. I am happy that I was able to resell those to Twitter friends (at face value) who weren’t as lucky with the queue. I don’t think buying four was greedy as I intended to make sure they got into the hands of other worthy folks rather than scalping them for ridiculous amounts on eBay as some unscrupulous people seem to do.

If you were someone who wanted tickets and didn’t get them, I’m sorry, I hope you have better luck on Saturday! I wish I had enough tickets to give to everyone. The Warcraft community (especially the people I know on Twitter) are so awesome and you all deserve to go. Plus, I’d like to meet you!

So now as for Blizzcon itself! I’m worried it’s going to be a chaos of people or I might not recognize people or miss out on meeting people I’d really like to meet. I’m not quite sure how I will manage that yet. I know that I definitely will find some way to identify myself/From Draenor, possibly a shirt or…I don’t really know. I guess a shirt would be the most obvious thing. Anyway, if you are going to Blizzcon and I know you at all (or even if I don’t) I would love to meet you! I’m toying with the idea of some FDWL stuff I could have on hand for other people but I’m not sure about that one yet. Rades and I have talked about it before but not with anything definite. Shirts would be too unwieldy and I don’t know whether anyone would even want them. If you have any ideas I’d be happy to entertain them! Fortunately, now the tickets are bought and there is still time before the actual convention to think about these things.

I’m so excited to put some faces to the names I’ve known so long, in some cases years, and to meet some new people too, no doubt. We’re thinking about extending the trip a little to head to San Diego, so we’ll see.

Anyway, the gist of this post: I hope to see you at Blizzcon! Leave me a comment or get in touch or something so I know who to look out for.

The Greatest Night

There have undoubtedly been rocky parts during Business Time’s transition to “casual” guild from “reasonably hardcore.” It felt really smooth back in Dragon Soul because we already had the entire place on farm, so it was no problem to reduce to one night a week and smoke through it. Then it wasn’t a problem to take a break altogether. When Mists launched, it was the first true test of our new reduced schedule (two days a week, two hours per raid for a total of four hours). We’d never tackled new content this way before. To me it was a raid tier of fits and starts. We progressed easily through the first four bosses in MSV and then slammed to a halt on Elegon for a lot longer than any of us would like. When we finally downed Elegon, we killed Will the same night. Moving into Heart of Fear, we hit another wall in the form of the second cyclone boss and we spent a good amount of time on him as well. Throughout this all, roster changes and recruitment were dogging us and making it hard to have a steady pace. When we finally got Tay’ak down, it didn’t take very long to kill Garalon or the council style fight and then we encountered our ultimate nemesis – Amber Shaper Un’sok.

I could tell you how I feel about this encounter design, but I don’t want to sour my mood. Basically, Un’sok is my least favourite fight EVER, in any expansion and any tier. We wiped to him more than any other boss in T14. But he did die, like all the others. Unfortunately he died at a time when it was starting to look like we wouldn’t have time to finish the tier. Patch predictions were for March, and we hadn’t even touched Terrace. It seems that two hour raids were taking their toll. I know there were many nights when it felt as if just a few more pulls would’ve made the difference between a kill and no kill.

We killed Empress Shek’zeer very easily (14 pulls total, I believe), and launched into Terrace with a vengeance. Everyone knew that we had to clear it fast if we wanted a chance to actually finish the raid tier as well as earn ourselves a feat of strength. I’m not sure if it was the urgency of knowing we had a deadline, but everyone really showed me what they could do. We one-shot Protectors and killed Tsulong the same night, cleared Lei Shi and spent some time on Sha of Fear during our second to last raid. Everyone knew that yesterday’s raid was our last chance to finish “on-time.”

The raid started out in the best possible way for me. We were all hanging around the summoning stone getting everyone there when our monk, Zhem, told me: “Millya, check your mail please.” Mystified, I checked my mail and there was a letter from him with a wrapped gift. It’s my birthday on Sunday and I am turning 30, but I wasn’t expecting a gift! The accompanying letter said it wasn’t just a birthday present, but also a token of appreciation for everything I do for the guild. I opened it up, and this is what was inside:

!!!

!!!

It’s a Jeweled Onyx Panther. My own VOLTRON. To say that I was flabbergasted is the most extreme of understatements. Honestly, I teared up a little bit. It seems that Business Time had been planning this for weeks, since the start of February. They helped gather the materials to make all four panthers using a communal spreadsheet and they made this for me. Oh man, I am tearing up again. I am overwhelmed and humbled. It honestly means so much to me, and not just because “ooh shiny mount” but because the mount itself is indicative to me of the power a raid group has. Not just to kill internet pixels, but to support each other and to be friends over long distances and different lives. We are all greater than the sum of our parts, just like Voltron and the Onyx Panther. We’re always better together. I can’t say anything more about this than thank you, thank you, thank you. Even when we’ve moved on and the servers are dark, you’ll always have a friend in me. You all are the true gift.

I promised them all a sappy blog post, which is something of a forte of mine. But honestly, the night just got better from that point on, this was only the BEGINNING of the raid after all! Because we went in and read Sha the riot act; it was only our second night seeing him and we all felt the pressure to perform and make this a cleared tier. We did it!

And Itanya set Ullariend on fire.

And Itanya set Ullariend on fire.

This was pretty much the best conclusion any of us could have imagined to the tier. I couldn’t stop grinning all night. I’m so proud of these guys (and lady). We are set to go into the next tier with a clean slate, if you will, and no obligations to this content. We will go back and get kills for some people who unfortunately missed them, but we’ll have a solid footing for the new stuff, too. Incidentally, we are still looking for a hunter to finish off our roster. We’re sitting at thirteen at the moment but we’d prefer fourteen. Even when our numbers dipped we didn’t cancel any raids in the past tier, but we’d like to continue in that direction.

You would think I’d be satisfied with a night like that. An amazing gift from my guild, a Sha of Fear kill just in time for patch day… but no, there was more yet to come! After the raid I realized that I wasn’t VP capped. After doing a heroic, I was still 95 points short. So Pargath, Zierlyn and I headed into LFR for the 90 VP. We chose Vault of Mysteries because that’s the only thing that Pargath hadn’t done. We waited a little while in the queue but it eventually came up, as they do. Spirit Kings was fairly uneventful and I thought the raid was going to be generally fine, until we got to Elegon.

It has been pointed out to me that waiting until Monday night before a patch to do my last LFR guarantees there will be shenanigans. I hadn’t considered this exactly, but it was only a minute or so on Elegon when we realized we’d be in trouble. Neither of the tanks was bothering to tank the adds that spawn and they ran around freely trying to kill people. We were able to get four spark “cycles,” but as soon as the floor disappeared, so did a number of our raid. (I want to say five, off the top of my head, including a tank). But okay, no matter, we could still do this. Until after the second add phase when our OTHER tank plummeted to his untimely death. We were heading into Elegon’s last phase, with no tank. You might think at this point we were guaranteed a wipe. I say: NEVER SAY DIE.

I hit Time Warp as we pulled and started DPSing Elegon as if my life depended on it (which it did). I thought that at least I could do enough damage to him and possibly keep him busy long enough with Mirror Images, Cauterize, etc. before my inevitable death. We might manage to kill him yet. Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you that I never died. Cauterize didn’t even proc! Sure, my health was crazy spiky, but the incredible healers in LFR (most prominently, a paladin) kept me alive. I TANKED ELEGON.

Hilarity ensued (you’ll have to click to read the raid chat from right after we killed him).

I TANKED THAT

I TANKED THAT

I was pretty proud of myself, haha, but really it’s the healers who deserve the props (and you’ll note that I said that, too).

elegon02

elegon03

LFR was suitably happy about the whole thing. Maybe I should just retire now on that note, the highlight of my illustrious mage career. Forget Krosh Firehand, I tank star dragons. I think it’s only fitting that I happened to be wearing the title Dragonslayer Millya at the time.

So that’s it – an account of the greatest night I’ve had in WoW in a long time. Possibly the greatest night I’ve had in awhile, period. I am really excited for the T15 content now. I hope there are no repeats of the Un’sok debacle. But mostly I know you can tackle anything with a group of friends, or barring that, exceptional healing strangers who can keep your berobed body from going splat!

Brawler’s Guild

WoWScrnShot_021813_120227

Back when there was a great furor about the availability of Brawler’s Guild invites, I didn’t really get involved. It sounded interesting in passing but not something I would really get into (I said at the time). As far as the invites themselves went, I could afford to buy one on the BMAH if I wanted to get one, but I figured “Why would I bother?” I had friends who were really into soloing PvE stuff and I knew that they would be all over it but it didn’t seem like my cup of tea.

I did end up buying an invite when they were available and then I sat on it for weeks. (Sorry folks, I really meant to use it, I wasn’t trying to be a jerk). I could never quite work up the nerve to actually go and do one single fight, though. Something about the idea of it just freaked me out, and it didn’t help that the first night I’d gone (the night I had the invite) I saw a lot of heckling and chatter. I didn’t want to be the focus of that potentially negative attention. Then I saw that Vosskah was brawling the other day and he was having a blast. I was quietly intrigued. I asked if he’d go and do the Brawler’s Guild stuff with me in case there were any hecklers or people being jerks. So we dropped by the tram on Sunday morning and I watched a few matches to see what the whole thing was about, and then put my name in line for a fight.

I didn’t know anything about each fight before it began, which I think adds to the fun of it. A few fights I had seen previewed as other people had done them which gave me some insight into how they operated. Most of the fights are similar to your average boss fight, especially the ones at early difficulty levels. This guy does this one thing that you get out of, or you have to to interrupt this other thing, etc.

The PvE stuff was fun, but on top of that I particularly enjoyed the little community that had sprung up around the brawlers gathered there. I was invited quite early on to a “buff group,” a raid that people hang out in and buff each other before their fights. They will also rez you if you lose a match (I don’t think it’s far from the graveyard but this is still a nice touch). Far from being hecklers, all the people I encountered that day were super nice and encouraging to each other. People would tell each other “Good luck!” and commiserate after a lost match or offer encouragement or strats to people who were struggling. Other random stranger situations in Warcraft could take a lesson from these Brawler’s Guild folks – this is not your regular LFG or LFR group. I did have one random guy, and I’m not entirely sure why – he /cheered at me (you get an achievement) after I had won a match, and then he /spit on me. I guess he wanted to make it clear he wasn’t ACTUALLY cheering for me, but had just wanted the achievement. Whatever helps you sleep at night, buddy! I gave him the proverbial WoW finger /rude and he didn’t bother me or say anything else after that. I don’t know why he did it and I don’t really care. He was the one dark spot on an afternoon spent with largely encouraging and nice people.

I had to stop for lunch somewhere around the middle of Rank 2 (I think). The last fight I did was a big dinosaur; think like the devilsaurs of old! He took a few chunks out of me but I emerged victorious. This was the first fight that had me yelping and hollering at my screen as I’m inclined to do. “Oh man! Whoa! Okay. AH!” (Gaming time gets exuberant around here. Mostly I only do this when I’ve pulled aggro from a tank). All of the other fights up until this point were reasonably easily kited, but this dinosaur was all RAWR and then CHOMP and he actually damaged me. From what I can tell, the difficulty level of the fights ramps up sharply by the time you hit Rank 7-8. A rogue in our little group was trying to do a fight where you’re facing a tiny robot and there are two sweeps of laser beams coming across the room the entire time.

This part is actually interesting because as a melee you need to jump the laser beams, DPS the little robot, and also avoid the tiny light balls that are swirling around. I had seen other people attempt this fight after having a priest give them levitate, and after the fourth time or so that the rogue died to it I asked him about levitate. His answer was very unequivocal; “I will not use levitate. I think it’s cheating.” That’s fair, and I completely respect that. Unfortunately this fight is seriously hard if you don’t use levitate and especially as a melee. Towards the end of our brawling time he wasn’t getting as far into the fight and I think he was starting to tire. He also pointed out that it’s tough to progress when you have such a long break in-between attempts – by that time the brawling line stretched into 10+ people and you’d only fight about once every half hour or so. I really hope he got the fight down, whether that day or a little bit later! I respected his commitment to doing it “properly.” (Confession, I may well use levitate when I have to do the fight myself. I think if they didn’t want you to use it at all, they’d have made some kind of ambient damage that breaks it. If you can bend the laws of physics, hey…!)

The Brawler’s Guild is probably the most entertaining thing to be added to the game recently (for me personally). It gripped me in a way that pet battles haven’t, which is nothing at all against pet battles. I like being able to face off against a big bad using my magely wiles and with nothing between me and the monster but some fireballs. I look forward to the next time I get a chance to drop by and move up in the ranks somewhat. If I can get to rank 7, I get an invite to give to a friend!

postersketch08

This is probably art you’ll want to click through to view if you want to see the whole thing in any detail. This is the conclusion of an EPIC odyssey of painting done for Kumineko on Twitter of all of his Warcraft characters. This took me ages to do and to finish. I’ve actually come to realize that huge commissions of this type are not the best thing for me. I tend to get bogged down in the details and lose focus. It could be something I choose to work on in the future, but for right now I think it’s good to know your limits!

CharacterPosterbyVidyala-Jan-31-2013

Here it is printed out and hung up. As you can see, it wasn’t a small piece either, having been intended to be poster-sized. TA DA. (Sorry, but that’s how I feel when I look at this photograph, haha). I’m glad it printed really well and I am proud of it, I just now know how much work such an image entails!

Tuesday Art Day: Elaina

worgen_large

Soo, long time no see, huh? This was an avatar I did over the holidays. It was a gift commission for a Secret Santa exchange. I think it’s the first time I’ve done any lady worgen avatars, so it was fun. It’s for @GGElaina on Twitter and was commissioned by @_anea.

As far as Warcraft goes, I’ll admit to you that I’m in a bit of an odd place. I’m still enjoying the game and raiding with my guildies, though I don’t find I have as much to write about in the blog these days (obviously). The time was I could barely get posts out fast enough. Of course I’ve never been a mage theorycrafter of much note but I usually had something to say. Going casual as a guild has meant some mental readjustments that way. It really meant taking a step back in many regards – there were some days I didn’t do dailies. I don’t use the maximum stat food, preferring to use feasts that the guild makes. As far as I know, that hasn’t hurt our raiding progression, but even our raiding progression isn’t a top priority as such.

We made further schedule readjustments, going from one night (three hours) to two nights again but shortening the raid to a mere two hours each night. It allows for a later start and an earlier end, which is honestly a relief. It makes my days feel less punctuated by World of Warcraft and more like “this is a fun hobby.” If I’m being honest with myself, there was a good chunk of time when WoW was less a hobby than a second job.

At this time last year I wasn’t sure I’d still be playing WoW; Voss and I wanted to stop raiding as much as we had and we were fully aware that Business Time might close up shop as a result. I’m really glad that it didn’t, though, and this reduced schedule and more relaxed approach has suited us very well. There’ve been times when WoW felt like the only thing that was going right. The danger in that, though, is that if you put too much stock in a video game you react disproportionately to probably minor things. At other times I would despair if our progression wasn’t “fast enough,” feeling that it was a reflection on me and that I was letting the guild down by not leading them better. So these days I try to have a healthy balance. WoW is a game I love to play and I’ve made great friends through it. I spend time doing From Draenor With Love each week and that’s more “WoW-related” time, and otherwise I have cut way down.

I didn’t exactly make any new year’s resolutions but if I had to choose one word for this year (as Alas described) it would be purpose. I’m trying to recognize my purpose in many areas of life and not to lose sight of it, and also to have some perspective about goals that may take some time to achieve. Having no control over things makes this more a necessity than a choice! Anyway, I spent about three days over the holidays working on this:

studio

This is my studio space, which is where I do non-digital art. As you can see from the first photo, it’s been pretty difficult to get in there and do anything for the past…oh, I don’t want to say exactly how long. But you can see to the right of the photo that portfolios and drawings are piled foot-deep there. Notice how on the right-hand photo those are mostly gone? I filled five garbage bags with old drawings and other detritus. The space is ready and waiting for me and it feels good. I won’t go into too much personal detail except that the past year has been punctuated, it seems, by illness or medical concerns, doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds and bloodwork. It’s tiring and it’s really interfered with my ability to work. The only thing I managed to be consistent about was From Draenor and my raid schedule, which I’m proud of but it’s not really enough. I also can’t remember the last time I did any art just for myself that wasn’t Warcraft related. I love the Warcraft universe but I also don’t want all my creative endeavors to depend on someone else’s intellectual property. It’s something to think about, anyway.

Don’t write me off your feedreaders just yet, I promise to write here as topics strike. I’m just a bit preoccupied at the moment. I’m starting up a personal blog at another url so that I can write about personal stuff without feeling like I am bombarding an audience who really wants to talk about World of Warcraft. That blog’s not up yet, but I will share the url when it’s ready if anyone is interested. It will likely be a catch-all for my other interests: art, food and cooking/baking, games (other than Warcraft), and also health stuff. I’d be happy to see some familiar faces reading there but I won’t be offended if you don’t. I’ve lost touch with some Warcraft folks over the years especially once they leave the game and it’s sad but expected. Sometimes our friendships can survive the loss of a shared universe and sometimes they can’t. I’m always happy when they do, though!

I hope you all had a great holiday and so far a good new year. I hope I’ll have more to share with you soon.

p.s. Due to the departure of a few good Business Time friends, we’re currently looking to recruit a ranged DPS, preferably a hunter or warlock. Hunter is the highest priority because right now we have ZERO and all that mail agility gear just rots. So if you are a hunter or an exceptional ranged DPS of any kind and you’re interested in a home for “semi-retired hardcore raiders,” check us out. Our thing is we still have minimum play standards to avoid frustrations that can sometimes accompany very casual raiding, but if you’re looking to push much hardmode progression we’re a bit over that. We just like to be casually awesome, kill some internet Mogu and have a few laughs. We raid two nights a week as mentioned, two of either Monday, Wed, or Thursday from 6:30-8:30 PST. Each week we look at signups and determine the days, so some weeks it’s M/Thurs and other weeks M/Wed and on a rare week Wed/Thurs (we try to avoid that).

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,353 other followers