Friday, 11 April 2014

The Libester award (and some other..stuff)

Happy Friday guys!!

Well the first thing I saw when I logged on this morning was that I have hit 5000 pageviews, this is a relatively small number in comparison to some other bloggers I am sure but for me that number is pretty huge, considering when I started this blog I actually thought it would only be me reading it! At this point I would like to say thanks to Sunnier for helping me get it off the ground, and for taking the time to advise me on how to blog. 

I FINALLY finished my Ulduar transmog set, so now I look like a rogue that can wield a staff :D However I ditched the helmet because it's not very nice looking, and traded in my Deathblow X goggles, which can also drop from a boss in Ulduar!

The Libester Award. 

A big thank you to Vaylen for nominating me for this award!
Vaylens Blog is here and you can read more about the award here.

Rules to follow!
- Write a blog post about the Liebster Award.
- Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- Display the Award on your blog.
- Answer the eleven questions that the blogger has given you.
- Nominate up to eleven blogs who you think deserve the award.
- Give eleven random facts about yourself.
- Create eleven questions for them to answer.
- List the rules on your post.
- Inform the bloggers that they have been nominated and link them to your post

The questions I had from Vaylen:

- What made you start blogging and why?

I really enjoy writing as a hobby, and was inspired by Sunnier's blog originally. I spend so much time playing WoW I wanted to document some of it. I also wanted to be part of the monk community in general and most of us have blogs or columns of some description. It's a nice way to get information on your class and see other peoples ways of doing things.
- What class stands out to you the most and why?
My Monk of course!! I have got a 90 of pretty much every class in the game now except a Shammy and Mage and the monk is still the one I enjoy the most. I love the fact that you can fill any role and have an amazing amount of unique utilities. I also like the ability animations and the fighting style.
- If you could choose your top three raids what would they be?
Even though I am an MoP baby, i am a mogaholic so I spend a lot of time in old raids, a lot of which I would have loved to experience when they were current. My top 3 are: Firelands, Ulduar and Karazan.

- Your favourite location within WoW?
This spot. Right here.

- If you could re roll to any class, what would it be and why?
 For someone that has as many alts as me this is difficult, because I enjoy playing them all for different reasons. If I had to pick one, probably my Druid, as I love the versatility he offers for roles.

- If you had any tips for new bloggers what would they be?
Be yourself.
- Any post your most fond of?
- Most memorable moment in WoW?
Our raid team downing Garrosh on normal for the first time.
- Whats your favorite City in WoW?
Undercity! I am a hallowen nut so yeah, I love the creepy places :D
- If you could be any Warcraft Hero, who would it be?
- Do you like bacon as much as me?
I'm more of a sausage person myself :)

11 random facts about me:
1. I also play Warhammer.
2. I have a little lore story for each of my toons.
3. I suffered with depression.
4. I am obsessed with pirates.
5. I love Disney films.
6. My geographical knowledge is shockingly bad.
7. I am a Pastafarian.
8. I have OCD.
9. I am terrified of cows.
10. I have a low tolerance for unintelligent and/or ignorant people.
11. I like to study micro expressions and body language.

People I am nominating:

Sunnier -
Arielle -
Tzufit -
My 11 questions:
1. How long have you played WoW?
2. Are there any other games you like to play?
3. What was your first character and why did you pick it?
4. If you could have one spell from any other class on your main, what would it be and why?
5. Where do you like to AFK?
6. What's the worst "oops" moment you have had in a raid?
7. What is your favourite raid boss?
8. Do you have any pets? If so, what do you have?
9. Did you enjoy the legendary cloak questline?
10. Who is your favourite character in WoW and why?
11. Do you like Bacon as much as Vaylen?

I think that's it! Thanks again for all the support on my blog, and here's to another 5k views!!


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Step into the Arena

Hey guys!!

So, I know I haven't posted as frequently as normal these last few weeks, I've recently embarked on a journalism course and have been settling into a routine with that where I can balance that writing with my blog writing. I am just about all set up now though so hopefully I will be able to manage my time well enough to post more!

For this weeks blog I am going to be talking PvP, this will include, Battlegrounds, Arena, a short guide on gearing up and how I have found building. I have been doing PvP as a mistweaver and REALLY enjoying it, it's sent me a fresh new challenge and I've really learned more about my monk and her utilities. So, as always, grab a brew, and I shall attempt to impart my PvP learning so far.....

Where Do I Begin? 

The best way I found to get into PvP if you have never dabbled in it before is random battlegrounds. please note, these are A LOT more enjoyable if you have a group of friends with you, even though you can have a max of 5 people per group, it's far less stressful if you're with friends. There are a good few BG's that you can join, whereby you will either be fighting for map control, flag captures, or on some occasions, storming the enemy base and killing NPC's. In these BG's you will mainly be earning Honor points for your faction, you can earn as many of these as you like in any given week but you may only carry 4000 at once. You can also pick up Conquest points but only 150 for your first win of the day and 75 therafter, these are easier to pick up in arenas with a reward of 180 per win. The Honor points will be used as currency for the last seasons gear, so at the moment, that is the Grievous Gladiators set. This item set is 522 ilvl, and a pretty nifty transmog if I do say so, with some very pretty shoulders that have a blue serpent animation.The Conquest points are currency for the Prideful gear which is 550 ilvl, you can only earn 1800 per week unless you do rated BG's in which case the cap is 2200. There is no maximum amount of conquest points you can carry, unlike the Honor.

Gearing up.

The Mistweaver gear will often offer you a choice of two pairs of stats, either spirit and haste, or crit and mastery, they will offer other options for neck pieces and trinkets. 
Important note: as of the latest season beginning, you can currently obtain the latest Prideful gear from the Celestials, you can get the neck, boots, belt, back, wrist, legs, rings and gloves. It's entirely up to you whether you want to wait out weeks of farming all this or you can go the safer route and purchase the 522 gear with the honor from your BG's. The reason I say safer route is that if you were to start collecting gear now, you must bear in mind that most people already have full sets and you will suffer quite badly in BG's with no gear. 

The best order that I have found to collect gear in is as follows:

Trinkets: The Medallion of Cruelty (Extra Crit) Medallion of Tenacity (Extra Stamina) or Medallion of Meditation (Extra Spirit) first as it will remove any CC abilities once every two minutes, which is invaluable when you're a monk and already have nimble brew to get you out of trouble.Pick up your second trinket after this, again you will have a choice, you can either have a passive which will grant you int procs, or a useable one which will either grant int or stamina whenever you need it. The two trinkets together will grant you 5280 resilience.

Set pieces: Pick these up in whichever order you can afford. The set bonuses for mistweavers are; 2pc gives you 500 PvP power and when your renewing mist is dispelled you gain a stack of mana tea and 4/5pc grants you 1000 PvP power and when you use your thunder focus tea, you become immune to all silence and interrupt effects for 5 seconds.

Weapon: You can purchase your weapon(s) when you have earned 7250 honor points for the season, so keep an eye on how much you have earned and make sure you get your weapon as soon as possible, you may find that you get it after 2 set pieces.

Non set pieces: Boots, belt cloak and rings.

As I mentioned earlier you can obtain Honor from BG's. If this is not your cup of tea you can also convert justice points into honor (250H for 500JP). The other thing you can do if farm your relevant factions 3 PvP mobs for 250 Hp each, once a day. For Horde, these are in Krasarang Wilds at Lions Landing, and for Alliance they are in Krasarang again at Domination point.

So, what stats do I need? 

     I have tested a number of different builds, first off I went with my usual PvE build of all the crits and ints, with hardly any spirit. Needless to say in PvP, as soon as someone sees you chugging Mana Tea, you're going to get interrupted, especially in arenas. With the luxury of my tea being on hand whenever I needed it removed, I went for a higher spirit build so that I would not oom so quick. For battle grounds I run Spirit>Haste (to 3145)>crit>mastery. 
    However, upon stepping into arenas I discovered something totally bonkers....Mastery becomes useful. Actually useful is a lie, that stuff is the absolute tits, its FREE healing, that your team can run through at their leisure. Funnily enough when people actually WANT to stay alive, they WILL run through them, unlike in PvE where you can finish a fight with 100 little bubbles left, which I swear dps run around. 
    For my arena build I still like high spirit as mana tea becomes very hard to drink, particularly if you're doing 3's. I then run Haste (still to 3145) Mastery>crit. This seems to serve me enough spririt for minimal Mana Tea consumption, and enough damage to help my team out. 

Arena - being more than just the helpful healer. 

    As a Mistweaver you can bring some really nice utilities to a team. While you don't have any fears like priests and no major stuns unless you talent it, you have one thing a lot of healers don't. Damage. Particularly in 2's, you can help out massively by helping your partner with dps.

Talent choices: 
I go for; 
Tier 1 - Tigers lust, this is really nice for yourself or your team mates, particularly against frost mages.
Tier 2 - Chi wave is pretty much my default choice, a cheap, spammable multi person heal and damaging spell.
Tier 3 - This one I tend to switch between Ascension and Chi Brew depending on what I am against, if it's high damage (warriors) I like Ascension for the extra mana regen.
Tier 4 - Ring of peace is again my default choice, the leg sweep is nice if you're against a full melee team and you get targeted, but the RoP is more valuable as you can put it on your team mates to save them from damage and also silence healers if they are targeting them, as I play with a warrior partner I find this talent to be the best choice for us, although it may not be so useful if you play with a ranged partner. The charging ox wave is nice if you are against a full ranged comp but it does need aiming and sometimes in the heat of the moment it can miss and you've essentially wasted a CD.
Tier 5 - again this is situational, if I'm up against high physical DPS its dampen harm, however, against magic damage dealers like Warlocks and Mages, Diffuse magic is alot more beneficial. I have not actually tried healing elixirs but my personal preference is to have a controllable CD.
Tier 6 - I switch these two between RJW and Xuen, I tend to lean towards Xuen for ranged opponents and RJW for melee.

Life cocoon, being able to cast this while stunned can mean make or break if you're CC'd and your teamate is in trouble.
Surging mist, the less you have to target heal, the better.
Fortuitous spheres, really useful if you fall below 25% hp yourself, they can heal for enough to keep you alive without having to use a GCD.
All these glyphs are major, as the minor ones are not really helpful in any way.

Macros which have found useful. 

These are the current set of macros that I use:

/cast [target=party1] Detox - Targets your part member in the first frame slot and detoxes them. 
/cast [target=party2] Detox - as above. Note: As I now use decursive I don't find myself using these all that often anymore.

/cast [target=party1] Tiger's Lust - Frees your first party member from snares and roots.

/cast [target=party2] Tiger's Lust - As above but for your other party member.

/cast [target=party1] Ring of Peace - Puts RoP on your first part member
/cast [target=party2] Ring of Peace - You see where this is going....

/focus - This is the shortest way to set focus on whatever enemy you like.

/cast [target=focus] Paralysis - Casts paralysis on your focus target, bear in mind you need to be close enough to do this.

I shall endeavor to make some videos of arenas at some point, I'm trying to enjoy my spells like my healing spheres as much as i can while I still have them ;)

If any EU players fancy coming to Arenas with me then shoot me an invite on my battlenet which can be found in my contact page. If anyone has found themselves no longer on my friendlist I do apologise, my account was hacked a few weeks ago and I seem to be missing a few folk!

Oh, and here's a pretty thing I won on a random Firelands run :D

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Stormwind. Nynaevê's Story, Chapter Three.

    Nynaevê flew for a good few hours on the Hippogryph, after flying over nothing but sea she was eventually surrounded by beautiful forestry, with the odd quaint little building dotted around. Eventually the Hippogryph dropped her off on a small island, with not much but a dock on it. She turned to the Hippogryph and smoothed the feathers on the back of its neck, a way of saying thanks that Stephanos had taught her. The creature caw'ed in glee before gracefully taking to the skies once more, to return to it's master. She surveyed the isle before her, There are Three docks here....which boat must I take? As if in answer to her question, a deck hand from the boat stationed at the middle dock yelled "All aboard for Stormwind!!" Well that was a spot of luck! She hoisted her staff and small bag over her shoulder and trotted down to the dock. 
"One trip to Stormwind please!" She gushed excitedly at the deck hand.
"Hop on board Madam, don't mind the sailors, try not to fall off the side!" He gave a short bow and ushered her onto the ship. What a strange thing to say, why would I fall off the side? She saw immediately why when they set off, the ship was old and it lurched away from the dock, almost sending her onto her backside had she not been leaning on a crate at the time! 
   The trip was long enough that she could sleep. When she awoke the air smelled different and the pink hue in the sky had been replaced by a clear delphinium blue one. Nynaevê hadn't seen sky like this since Pandaria! 
"Laaand HO!" A yell from the deck hand in the crows nest made her jump.
"Alright boys, bring her in nice and easy now!" Yelled the captain.
THUNK!! The ship clipped the dock and almost sent her over again. The captain was obviously not the best sailor in the world! Still, i'm here in one piece! She thanked the crew and stepped onto the dock, looking up for the first time at her surroundings she was gobsmacked.

 What a sight! She hadn't really known what to expect but this surely surpassed any ideas she had come up with. Not knowing where to go or what to do, while at the same time wanting to go everywhere and do everything she made her way up the steps into the city. Everywhere she looked was busy, people seemed to be bustling about their daily businesses, and everyone seemed to know where they were going.  I will NEVER know my way round this place she thought, suddenly missing the serenity and hominess she had found on of Azuremyst. A distant memory of Lorewalker Cho came to her.

    The wise old panda was serving his special tea. For a time they sat in silence.
"It's funny" She exclaimed, the old Panda looked at her with inquisitive eyes, 
"Silence is funny?" He asked. "No, the way you can enjoy someones company, even when you're not talking". She smiled at her friend, and the Pandarens eyes lit up. 
"Ah, young one, you are understanding the beauty that silence can sometimes bring to life!"
"I love that about Pandaria" she sighed happily, "always there is so much peace."
Chos face went a little sombre, "This is true, but do not expect to find this peace everywhere you go, young Nynaevê. Some places are far from peaceful....but if you have inner peace, you will find happiness, even in the loudest of places."
    "HEY....MOVE!!!!" she was startled from her daydream by a new voice, she span round to face a very short and stout little man pushing a cart full of things that she had never seen before, she had to jump out of his way, lest she be hit by his cart. Snapping back to reality she supposed there was someone she could ask for directions, her tummy was grumbling and the sea air had made her very thirsty. She noticed what she thought must be a guard standing by an arch way, he was dressed in some very shiny silver armor. 
"Excuse me"she asked tentatively,
"Ma'am" he bowed his head courteously, "Can I help you with something?" 
She wasn't used to this politeness or formality! "Well, I'm new here, I'm lost, and I need food and drink, if you could show me where to go?"
The guard politely gave her directions to an inn where she would also be able to stay if needed, she thanked him and made her way deeper into the city, wishing she had written the directions down. 
 Eventually she found herself stood in front of The Gilded Rose inn. The innkeeper was a human, who introduced herself as Allison.
"I have a room spare, but no cook to make you dinner, though you might want to try the Blue Recluse for that" Allison showed her to a neat little room, where she put her bag before setting off to find the Blue Recluse. Trudging through the city, she saw the funny little man again with his cart, and was quicker at getting out of the way this time! She saw many shops, most of which had shopkeepers stood in the doorway, either talking to passers by or yelling to the shopkeeper next to them. One thing she noticed about Stormwind was despite its hustle and bustle, it really was beautiful city. The buildings were all old and finely decorated. There were lawns with perfectly kept grass dotted about, and many statues and fancy decorations. She finally arrived at the Blue Recluse. She almost missed it was hidden behind some trees in a small square type place, with a large central tower. 

      Stepping into the in she was greeted by a man.
"Afternoon!" he said brightly, "looking for something to eat?"
"Yes, and something to drink if you have it" she repllied hopefully.
"Well, you've come to the right place! I'm Steve Lohan, and this here is Angus" he motioned to a man who had just come out of a room at the back of the building. "Angus here is the finest chef in ALL of Stormwind, isn't that right Angus!" Angus said nothing, but smiled lazily and brandished a large knife looking object before going back into the room from which he had emerged. 
"Yes, we have food and drink here young...sorry, I didn't ask your name?"
"Nynaevê" she replied, slightly bowing her head.
"Wonderful!! Well Nynaeve.." He waved wildly at a man stood behind the bar, almost knocking the glass he was cleaning out of his hand, "Joachim, is my bar tender, he will fix you up with a drink right away!" Clearly Steve had a zest for life, I have never met someone THIS enthusiastic, but I think I like it!  poor Joachim managed to fumble with his glass, then he smiled and nodded to Nynaevê.
  Soon she was sat down with a drink and a hot dinner. Steve was very chirpy and asked her about a thousand and one questions. He was also very helpful, he provided her with a map of the city, and told her where she could try to purchase a mount, and hilighted a few other places of interest on her map. After finishing her meal, she chatted with Steve a little longer then started to make her way back to the inn. Night was falling on the city and everywhere, little torches were being lit on walls and buildings. By the time she reached the inn it was almost completely dark, and she was glad to fall into a nice soft bed.



Friday, 14 March 2014

Heroic progress is not as easy as it looks when you have two jobs.

     Hey guys, I've been on a fairly personal journey this last few weeks, and I'd like to take you with me.So, grab a brew (or water in my case) and put your feet up for five minutes, and indulge me while I try to compose something tangible to read.

   Ok, so, you know that back story by now, in case you don't, I was originally a brewmaster on my monk, did a horrendous job, found the site Sunnier's Art of War (Happy 3 year Blogoversary Sunnier!!) and learned how to do it properly. Since then I have gone from strength to strength, tanking all of Siege of Orgrimmar 10m normal with minimal difficulties, simming my own gear and completing the gold tank challenge in proving grounds. A few months ago, my Husband (Who plays a resto druid in our guild's main progress group) was away for work, and the group replaced him with our own resto druid from the guilds second raid team. I was asked to fill in as a healer. At the time we were progressing on Garrosh and working on getting from Thok onwards on farm. With the help of various different people from the monk community, I managed to get myself a UI set up, a build I could follow and some really good tips on how to fistweave and mistweave. From there I managed to act as a second healer with our shaman to our group and successfully healed bosses 1-13 on normal, on my monk. I switched to my priest for Garrosh progress as it is easier for me to play and raid lead on, I was still learning monk healing at this point and it was too much for me to focus on and often I would find myself making bad calls which in turn affects the team. 

    More recently: our full group is back together, we currently run 2 x warrior DPS,  a warlock, hunter and a mage, tanks are a paladin and a warrior/paladin who replaced me when I healed, he also uses his warrior for DPS (yes I know, 3 warriors looks crazy but believe me, when adds appear and those blade storms go get the picture.) Our current healers are a druid and a shaman, both fully normal geared with a few heroic pieces thrown in from where they have helped the main group on occasions. Then there's me....the tank/healer. As soon as we started heroic progress we realized that some of the fights would require a third healer, which we don't technically have, so once again, I was asked to heal. Me, healing heroic progress. My initial reaction was; (and excuse my french but) "Are you f*cking insane?" Don't get me wrong, I REALLY enjoyed my month or so healing but I was SO ready to go back to doing what I love the most!! But, on thinking about it, it was either we spent all night with oom healers and many many many many wipes, or I suck it up and give it a go and we just have half oom healers and only many many wipes. How hard can it be?

  Turns out, HARD. Healing heroics is the most challenging thing I have ever done. As a tank you can stick me in front of any boss with no tank swap required and I'll solo that thing, I find that sort of thing easy and fun. Stand me in front of Immersius heroic with my healing gear on and all of a sudden I've lost my voice and I need to change my trousers before we've even pulled it. My main concern was my output, my HPS is nowhere near as high as the other two healers, this is due to a combination of gear and skill (mostly skill). So I was massively worried I would look like more of a "3rd wheel" type of healer, and that I wouldn't really contribute much to the fight. Still, I tried my best and followed all the mechanics and healed my arse off and Immersius went down on the first night of Heroic progress for us. I of course finished up a gracious third on the healing charts, about 80k hps, with our shaman on 90 and our druid way up there on 135. Now, I am an advocate of numbers meaning little to nothing but I could NOT help feeling envious and wishing that I could pull numbers like that, Still, even with my modest healing, my over-healing was kept to a minimum, my buff uptimes were reasonable and the raid survived. So I was happy.

   For anyone interested, for this fight, I took tigers lust, chi wave, Leg sweep, diffuse magic and RJW. My glyphs are the surging mist, renewing mist and detox. I spent most of the fight maintaining my renewing mists and using some fistweaving on the little adds that spawn while the boss is active. I found the RJW to be very useful for clearing them up and healing the melee at the same time. 

  For me, Immersius on heroic was pretty intense, but then moving to the fallen protectors brought a whole new meaning to the word "DAYUM", because let me tell you, as a healer, that fight is INSANE. There is SO much damage coming out from literally everywhere you need to have 2 pairs of eyes and 2 pairs of hands to cope with it all. The mechanics for the fight have changed a fair bit and getting the group to adapt to the fight was initially quite hard, as most of these fights are muscle memory, so having to unlearn and relearn is not easy. Especially when you are unlearning taking and learning healing! Fortunately as I have tanked that boss I am well aware of the abilities of both Rook and He, and I knew what to expect damage wise from both of them. For the first 20 or so pulls I was mistweaving, this was because I preferred the vision it gave me of what was going on. however after a while, the tactics clicked into place and we started hitting an enrage timer. Not enough damage. So, I wondered if I could possibly make a difference by changing my healing style. To be honest I didn't think I would have that much of an impact on the DPS charts but hey, why not give it a go? After 2 attempts with me fistweaving instead the boss went down with 12 seconds to spare on the enrage. My 70k dps had been enough to secure the kill. Not only that, but afterward when I was looking at logs, I was actually pulling 120k HPS to go with that, again with minimal over-healing. 
   I'm finally gaining in confidence in my abilities, I've managed to bag a heroic OH and trinket for my healer spec so far, I now have my normal 4 set apart from a flexible chest, but I can live with that. I am really enjoying having two jobs in our raids, for Norushen and Sha we are using two healers so I have once again returned to tanking. Norushen went down after about 6 pulls and we are working on Sha this week, which is going well enough, we are starting to see the end of the fight now, a little more fine tuning and hopefully it will go down on Sunday. 

   One thing I have discovered is that over the past two months I have come to think of myself as a healer, rather than "a tank that heals a bit". I'm really proud of how far I have come in such a short space of time, and I am looking forward to more challenges, whether they be healing or tanking ones!! (Never thought I'd say that!) If you want to see me healing Immersius you can check out my You Tube channel , Since this was made I have minimized my screen info quite a lot, I realized while watching these back it was FAR too full of things, some of which were not really necessary, so hopefully for the next healing video I make, the screen wont seem as cluttered!

   So, thanks for reading, hopefully my ramblings have made some sense! I will try to get the next chapter of my monk story out this weekend, having had a fairly busy week I did not get enough time to dedicate to writing it properly, and I don't want to put a half-arsed version out!

Dark <3

Monday, 10 March 2014

On the E-Sofa with Dark - Special Guest Interview - Philippa Blenkey (Pip's Portraits)

Morning guys!!

As promised I am joined on my E-Sofa this week by none other than Philippa Blenkey, who runs the Etsy shop - Pip's Portraits.

I will be interviewing Philippa and finding out as much as I can about her and her fabulous drawings!

If you have not yet visited this fabulous shop, let me demonstrate to you exactly why you should just go NOW (read the rest first of course!!)
A guildmate of mine showed me the one that he had done of his warrior, I LOVE this style of artwork so it appealed to me immediately, so I got in contact with Philippa about having one...ok two...of my own drawings done. The result was epic, I sent these two pictures of my Hunter Lazeebow,  and my Monk Dark:

The result....

I literally "Squee'd" when I opened the email!! She's captured both characters beautifully and they are SO cute!!
I have some more of her work to show you, including a project of her own design, but first lets meet her and find out a bit about her!!
*Pats E-Sofa* 

Dark: When/how did you get into drawing/art?
Philippa:  I never really 'got into' art, it's something I've always done! My parents didn't think much to the 'stick them in front of the TV' approach to parenting and so my brother and I were usually kept busy with more hands on playtimes- for me my hands were on the pencils! I was very much an introvert at school and preferred to sit on my own making comics and creating new characters in my own little world. Someone once told me to become any good at something you have to be doing it consistently for 6 years; I've definitely been drawing longer than that! Drawing is amazing as a hobby though; because you've got all your old pictures that you can look back on and the improvements you made are right there looking at you; it's a great feeling of accomplishment to know you've improved and learnt new skills!

Dark: How long does the average character take you to do?
Phillipa: For the chibi characters; they take around an hour and a half to two and half hours depending on how focused I am; I am terrible at timing myself, I'm usually doing a few things at once! For the larger pictures I can spend a few days getting each piece done! The picture with my hunter and druid on their mounts fighting is really recent and took about 8-10 hours start to finish over the course of 4 days. My process is sketching, then inking (sometimes I do these together and sometimes they're in different sittings), then scanned into the PC and coloured on photoshop or I use copic ciao markers if I'm colouring by hand. I've really taken a shine to these markers; they're my favourite thing to use at the moment! So bright and vivid and blend-able!

Dark: Do you do special commissions? Or would you consider them? (like a whole raid team for example...NOT that i'm thinking about this, honest :D) 
Philippa: I'm open to trying anything! To be honest when you first said a whole raid team I thought "Oh God; 40 characters in one picture?!" Then I remembered that it's only ten now! I'm still in vanilla mode.. I always consider anything I would think of as a challenge or a big piece of work to be something I can have under my belt, so when it's finished I can think "yeah it was hard but we did it!" and also cheeky pieces like that look great in a portfolio; when I draw for myself it's not often a big full piece, it's usually busts with no background!

Dark: How long have you been playing wow?
Philippa: I've been playing WoW since 1st March 2006! I raided a resto druid in vanilla and then in TBC I raided much more seriously, I never had any alts until Pandaria and now I have five!

Dark: What is your main character and what drew you to this toon?
Philippa: My main switches between my tauren survival hunter and my worgen (used to be tauren) resto/moonkin druid. I started leveling alts when after years of playing druid I started to feel she was under-powered and not so fun to play, this is when I found my love for hunter!! Although recently I've been playing my druid as resto again in arena as I really want the pvp mounts! I started playing druid as I liked the whole idea of 'one with nature' I've always played support type classes and nature based heroes in other games and tauren druid was just so cuuute!! I switched her over to worgen at the beginning of Cata to play with some friends but I missed having a tauren (I am seriously a lady tauren fan), I originally wanted a hunter to get all the spirit beast pets as I'm a super avid pet and mount collector but the more I played hunter the more I enjoyed the laid back maneuverability of her; such a change of pace from druid!

Dark: A birdie tells me you are a transmog fan, are you looking forward to the potentially pretty weapons and armor when WoD comes out?
Philippa: Yessss! I love transmog; but mostly I love the old sets! I tend to prefer sets up to T6 (the last set of TBC) so none of the newer sets have really wowed me; I hope that with all the new character models and changes made aesthetically we will get some great new tiers that aren't brown. I'd love some bright coloured, shiny, flashy goodness! :) It would also be great if we could have some way the transmogs don't take up any more bag space because seriously I have full bags, full bank and full void storage! I can't take it! How's a druid to herb?!

Dark: Whats the easiest way for people to get in touch with you if they want a character done for themselves?
Philippa:   I check my email address almost daily and if you just want to have a look at some pictures my DeviantART page is and if you just want to chat on WoW my characters are Antileah on Turalyon (A), Applecore on Darkspear (H) & Keylah, Starscream, Elarah & Moonscream on Quel'Thalas (H). Or Just Antileah#2100 haha!    

A lot of time, care and dedication goes into this work, and I think it is worth showcasing, you can find Philippa's shop on this link----> Pip's Portraits 
So that's it for my interview!! Next month I shall be praying upon someone else to join me on my E-Sofa so beware!!  

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Azuremyst Isle, and Beyond. Nynaevê's Story, Chapter two.

    It was some weeks before Nynaevê even thought about leaving Azuremyst. During that time she made many friends, and helped out with many things. Arugoo, the little Furbolg had become so fond of her, he constantly followed her around, chattering away in his strange little language. One day, Nynaevê became so exasperated with not understanding what he was saying to her, she demanded that he at least teach her a few words so that she may have some idea what he was talking about! He looked up at her with his big eyes and simply pointed toward a totem. Aurren, watching with interest told her she was honored, and that the Furbolg were a strange and timid race, and not partial to teaching many others their ways. She was taken upon a journey of Arugoos ancestors, and learned that she was infact prophesied about by the Fuirbolg!! 
 "No wonder he took such a shine to you!" Aurren beamed at her, before asking her a billion questions about what she had seen.
    She was sent over to Bloodmyst isle, to help with the Sunhawk problems, she spent weeks there, gathering information, stealing missives and having them translated, she was even privileged to meet the Prophet Valen himself! She was much in awe of the leader of the Draenei, he was very majestic looking and spoke in soft tones, his words held thousands of years of wisdom, his eyes hardbound thousands of visions. Yet for someone so powerful and important he was gentle, understanding, and very grateful when the sunhawks were finally defeated, bestowing upon her a Tarbard, so that she may be considered a member of the Hand. 


 After a time, Nynaevê began to feel restless, she loved the Isle, particularly the Exodar, an underground city full of beauty and people. It just wasn't enough, she needed to see more, her adventurous side was yearning for sustenance, and although she had already taken part in the Sunhawk battle, things had begun to calm down, and all was normal again, she grew bored and started making plans to leave. Not really knowing where to travel to next she asked Aurren and Jaeleil for advice. Both of them immediately suggested that she travel north to Teldrassil, city of the Night Elves. At the mention of Elves, Nynaevê shuddered Not more Elven folk, they don't seem to like Draenei, why are they sending me there? As if able to read her thoughts, Arruen spoke;
"Fear not" he said with one of his broad grins "The Night elves are friendly to the Draenei, they too, have suffered great losses at the hands of demons, such as our own race." 
Nynaevê brightened, some common ground to go on at least! Always good to find when meeting a new race. Jaeleil spoke in her lazy manner;
"You should probably consider learning some trades before you leave, Nynaevê, you will not get too far in the world with nothing to offer people!"
"What should I do?" She asked, "I don't really know how to do much apart from heal people and help them!" 
"Go speak to Heur" Jaeleil smiled, I have a feeling he may be able to teach you something that you will find very useful!" She winked at Nynaevê before turning to tend another Draenei.
Very well the, she would go and see Heur!  She knew very little of the stout Draenei, other than that he was usually wearing scruffy clothes, and smelled of leaves. She nodded to Aurren and made her way across the watch. 
   Heur was kneeling down on the floor, tending to what looked like a weed in a pot. 
"Excuse me, Heur?" 
He jumped, "Goodness me girl are you quite mad?"
"Sorry, I didn't mean to intrude, I was told you could teach me something....if this is a bad time, I can come back later?" She was unsure that this had been a wise idea after all.
"Teach you something? Teach you not to sneak up on people tending their loved ones perhaps?" Loved ones? The plant????? Was this Draenei ill?? She shifted uncomfrotably.
"I am sorry, I have disturbed you, I will return when you're not busy." she turned to leave, and Heur rose swiftly and startled her by catching her arm.
"Now now, I am never to busy to teach young lady!! I was merely illustrating that one should possibly be quieter and more passive while around the children" Okay, that did it, this guy was totally mad.
"Children?!" Nynaevê couldn't help but exclaim. "I see no one here but us!"
"HA! Of course you don't!! Because you are not a herbalist...yet." He gave a grin that rivaled Aurrens. Now it makes sense, HE is a herblist, and he sees the plants as people! She recalled a day on Pandaria, not too long after her parents died. She was sat on the bright green rug on the floor of Yalia's hut, while the Pandaren pottered about making tea. She chattered away in her usual manner, and while the tea was brewing she had picked up a small pot with a spout on it, much like the one she used for tea, but this had a longer spout. She filed it with water and went over to the shelves where she kept her herbs 
"there there, nice drink of water for you makes you all big and strong!" Yalia had coo'd, at the time Nynaevê had thought she was speaking to her. But she was talking to the plants all along. 
"Madam?" She was brought back to reality with a shock as Heur spoke in his rather loud voice.
" Sorry, I was lost in a memory, forgive me" she felt a small pain when she thought of Yalia, she missed the gentle old Pandaren, her jokes and bright eyes always twinkling.
"I could see that!" Heur giggled, "Was it a good memory?"
"Yes" she replied, trying to brighten up, "It was about a healer I knew, who also had a fondness for herbalism".
"AH-HA!! Excellent! See, it was meant to be that you should come to me, so that now you can learn the ways, like your healer friend yes? We will also become friends, and I shall teach you many things, yes?" She had a feeling that Heur was going to irritate her slightly, but, she nodded anyway, and joined him when he motioned for her to sit. 
      Learning herbalism from Heur wasn't all that bad. He was totally insane but very knowledgeable, he taught her all sorts of things about gathering herbs and what their uses were, how to care for them and even how to transport them. She also spent time with Thoth, from the Exodar, who taught her about inscription. At least this way I can gather herbs and make use out of them! Bit by bit, she prepared to leave Azuremyst Isle. She felt a little sad, she would miss the friends she had made here, even Heur with his big booming voice and unusual habit of saying "yes?" at the end of nearly every sentence. Mostly she would miss Aurren, he had become a firm friend since the day they had met, they had spent many hours together, talking, working and pouring over all his manuscripts as he tried to translate them, with the occasional "help" from Arugoo. Yes, Nynaevê would definitely miss her friends!
    Packing a small bag with her her gathering tools, some food that Chellan had given her, and a strange necklace that Arugoo had bestowed upon her before scuffling away with his head down. She stood with Stephanos and prepared to climb onto the back of one of his Hyppogryphs. 
"You will need to buy yourself a proper mount when you reach Stormwind city" he advised. 
"You will not always find Hyppogryph masters like myself on your travels, and unless you plan to walk absolutley everywhere...." His eyes twinkled.
"I have no Idea how I will afford it" Nynaevê said, "I will have to save up some coin before I buy one I think!"
"That you will" he replied with a wry smile.
Jaeleil and Aurren were both seeing her off, she had been round the watch and said her goodbyes earlier that morning. Jaeleil embraced her warmly;
"May the light bless you, dear Nynaevê" she whispered. She watched a tear run down the beautiful Draenei's cheek before she wiped it away with a pretty purple cloth.
Aurren stepped forward and shoved a small bag into Nynaevê's hand, she looked up at him startled,
"What is this for?" she asked. He merely winked at her, gave her one of his grins, before embracing her for the final time. 
The Hyppogryph was seemingly impatient and stamped its hooves on the ground, she climbed on its back and looked over to her friends with a smile. 
"Hup!" Commanded Stephanos, and the creature gracefully took off, she gave a final wave back to the Draenei at the watch before they vanished from sight, and all she could hear was the wind whistling in her ears.



Sunday, 2 March 2014

ESO Beta *Spoiler alert*, A giant bug, and something quite exciting for next week!

Elder Scrolls Online.
So, I am clearly blogging on Sunday this week not Friday, no, I am not slacking, I had an Elder Scrolls Online Beta key again, this time with NO Non Disc' I figured, a weekend of filming cool game play, screenshots....and a wonderful review that I would struggle to finish by the end of the day.
Sadly. No. The game has consistently kicked me out every ten minutes or so (at best) so I cannot seem to play for long enough to really get my teeth into anything. I have managed to film a few bits of game play though, so I shall post that video at the end of this.

You start, once again, shackled and bound, keeping in with the recurring theme of starting any Elder Scrolls game in chains. I will not give away storyline, in case anyone is wishing to play the game themselves. Working through the first few tasks, it felt a bit like Skyrim, but something felt..."missing" I still cannot put my finger on what. The voice acting I must say is amazing, and they have REALLY gone to town with some epic actors and credit where it's due, well done for that, having Michael Gambon do the voice acting for your main mentor/game guide is as good as when they got Stephen Fry to narrate Little Big Planet. John Cleese also makes an appearance. *Spoiler* I have filmed some of this awesome voice acting, however it may be a game spoiler, though I tried not to include too much of the actual quest line.Most of the video I have made is footage of the different classes fighting, although I feel the actual combat for ESO was a bit "clunky" and didn't quite have the flow of previous Elder Scrolls games, even oblivion felt a little smoother than some of the animations for ESO. 

The questing, for me personally hasn't really done much yet, there have been no story lines that have really grabbed me, where I find myself finishing quest lines because I want to know what happens, rather than finishing it just to get the gold or reward at the end, which is what I have been doing so far. I don't like to keep comparing to old ES games but I found the quests and story's far more riveting in previous games than in ESO.

The graphics and scenery, I have to say are beyond fantastic, the detail and effort that's clearly gone into making it are outstanding. The landscapes are beautiful, the NPC's are well done, the animals are amazing and all the little tiny details are really really good. I was initially worried that it wouldn't be a "pretty" game but it really is. The character creation is far more open than previous games, there are a lot more options and the whole feel of it is more realistic. I have not yet come across any transmogging options, but I would hope that in the final game, this is a service that would be available. 

Overall I am leaning more towards the non excited side of the games release, I would hope that there is some good end game content to come and more enjoyable and interesting quest lines. Also, the game is currently really buggy, but I would assume that this is because it's beta and not a reflection of the final product. At the moment I cannot envision myself devoting a great deal of time to it,though I reserve final judgement for when the game actually comes out. I expect I will play it for a while but it will not likely take president over WoW.

Click below to see a short video I have made, it contains the voice acting and short combat scenes from each of the four classes. 

A Giant Bug.

Yesterday I was trawling through Petopia and I came across Cida who is considered a "Boss Wasp". Now, my little hunter has been running AQ for about 3 months trying to get the pink bow from Princess Huhuran. Finally, this week, it dropped and my AQ mog is complete! My plan was to go back next week and tame her as well just to complete the set. Anyway, browsing away I looked up the Boss wasps and saw the note by Cida "Stays larger than other wasps." SOLD!!!!!! I went and tamed him straight away and oh Em Gee he is ginormous!! I've also since discovered that some of the other pets stay larger than their similar models so have now made it my mission to go and capture all these oversized pets to make my hunter look even cooler than he already does (yes, that IS possible - but only just).

Normal Sized Wasp.....

.....aaaaand BOOM....look at this badboy!!

So yeah, he's pretty cool and has become my favorite pet to use for pvp as he has a rather irritating stun also.

Finally.....looking forward to next weeks Blog!!

Next week I will be showcasing the work of artist Philippa Blenkey, who sells her portraits on her etsy shop Pips Portraits I'll be asking her some questions and showing off some of her fabulous drawings!! See you then <3