The Disqus transition and some blogs for your perusal

First off, happy holidays to everyone who celebrates at this time of year! I hope your day(s) were enjoyable/tolerable and any allergic reactions to the ubiquitous soap-related presents were kept to a minimum. (Also that you did not lick any gifts trying to puzzle out if they were soap or food. Thank you Lush for that particular experience.)

Secondly, thank you so much to everyone who's been visiting and commenting on the blog, adding it to their blog rolls and retweeting my posts on Twitter. The number of hits Touch of Death received this month is double last month's traffic, and it's exciting to know there are people out there reading what I've written and enjoying it enough to come back (voluntarily, even). Double love goes out to commenters for turning my rambles into discussion.

Which leads me to a site note: Touch of Death now uses Disqus for its comment threads. Blogger's default system is perfectly functional and all, but the comment form loads through an iframe so I'm unable to edit the look and feel of it to match the rest of the site. This, of course, is unacceptable. Thus: Disqus.

Unfortunately, while Disqus has copied all the comments over so nothing has been lost, existing comment threads have been broken by the switch over. Much, much more annoyingly, all the links back to each commenter's blogs have been rudely severed. So I thought I'd do something to make up for that.


Shared topic: new raid pets

If a future patch adds more raid-dropped pets like those introduced in 5.1, what pets would you like to see? What raid and boss would they be available from?

Topic suggested by Effraeti of Awaiting the Muse

This is an interesting question not only because it's a nice creative outlet, but because it has me thinking all about which bosses stand out from the rest and why. What makes a boss memorable? How do you encapsulate it in a pet?

I'm not much of a designer, but I've picked out a few of my favourite bosses, each memorable for a different reason, and taken a wild stab at imagining up a pet for them.


The haunting of Sunsong Ranch

Farmer Yoon is not alone, and I don't mean that as a terrible lead-in to he's got you, best friends forever!

I've noticed this a few times on the inn-to-farm run my sad, neglected alts make most days. There's something shadowy on Sunsong Ranch, right by Yoon himself.

It's a little easier to see in-game because it's moving, but hopefully you can make out the slight shadow in that screenshot, between the witchberries and the carrot.

Investigating this proved difficult. As soon as you cross into the phased part of Halfhill, the ranch itself, the shadow despawns. It despawns more quickly than Flying Serpent Kick can handle, which is saying something. That skill can handle most things.

My investigation tailed off, until my most recent silliness reminded me that I have a priest, and that priests have Mind Vision. What better way to investigate the haunting of Sunsong than with the Yoon cam?


Art: Forceiswithyou's Nyxrinne

I would word now, but sometimes those are overrated.

Nyxrinne by the excellent Forceiswithyou, who kindly threw sketches to lucky WoW_Ladies in the build up to her finals!




Today I am on a boat. The living soldiers don’t particularly want me below deck, and the crew don’t particularly want me on deck, so I volunteered to sit up in the crow’s nest on watch. They would have refused this as well, I think, if I had not pointed out that I need very little sleep. So little that I can feasibly stay awake for the duration of the trip, and avoid polluting their deck altogether.

That appeased them, so now I am up at the top of what is essentially a very tall pole, which pitches a lot when the water fusses, and takes the brunt of the wind at all times. I don’t mean that as a complaint. Those things are now my primary defence from the rowdiness below. No-one will come up here to pester me, so I can write as freely as I want.

I cut off the other day because Awende interrupted. She came down from behind me, calling Nyxrinne! Walking dead girl! Then she cut off because I had turned to look, and she had seen my robes.

I had put on my apothecary garb between witnessing the orc guard at the inn and sitting down in the Cleft of Shadow to write because it is comforting to be in uniform, even when the uniform is tied to a cause I don’t support in full. There are Forsaken in Orgrimmar who have gone over completely to the Horde, and cut ties to the Forsaken and thus really humankind in the process. I was repulsed by the idea of being mistaken for one of them.

I admit, writing this now, that it was not a particularly logical decision at all. It was more a sign of how nervous I had become.

Nevermind. I waited to see what Awende would do. For a moment, that was nothing more than stare. Then she scoffed.

‘The way you were talking, I shoulda known. That’s some dark company you’re in with there, Nyxin.’

‘I’m looking for a cure,’ I said.

‘Whatever it takes, yes? I think you’ll be wasting your time. What Bwonsamdi has taken, he won’t be giving back.’

This is roughly in line with what I have heard for as long as I have been Forsaken, from all different sources. It did not surprise me to hear it, but I was already under the weight of whatever complicated thinking was going on in the back of my head, so her words did bring me lower.

‘We’ll see,’ I said.

She came and sat next to me. ‘So then, did you come here to sit right in the chest of this Horde?’

‘I don’t know what that means,’ I said. I was sullen.

‘Right next to its beating heart.’ She thumped her chest like a pulse with one hand, and pointed with the other to a nearby tent.

It was a warlock hut. I could see in through the sides, it was that poorly maintained, and there was an orc working on his runes inside, drawing them out on the floor in green fire. Two more were watching, too far from us for me to hear their comments.

‘They’re the ones enjoying Garrosh’s loving care,’ said Awende. ‘They led the march on Theramore, the Horde made strong with demon might. Your people call that history repeating, I think.’

‘Don’t,’ I said.

‘What’s the matter, walking dead, tired of truth already?’

‘Yes,’ I said. I drew my velvet sleeves taut around my knuckles. ‘It’s this place.’

Where her tone had held bitter vitriol, now there was some gentleness. ‘Tired of the sight of us all slipping under, like your people slipped.’

‘Just tired.’

‘Come with me,’ she said. ‘There’s warships setting out for a whole new world. I don’t say a lot of this won’t come with us, but I do say a lot more will stay behind. Come. Let’s see if Bwonsamdi’s grip stays as strong past the mists.’

Two things are probably very clear already: that she did not think the loa’s grip would lessen at all, and that I agreed to go. What I do not think anyone would anticipate, because we did not, was that Awende’s presence on the boat was protested even more than mine. So much that she was not allowed on at all. She is for now my lone companion in the crow’s nest, as a frog I am keeping wrapped up in my cloak for the warmth I cannot provide. It is a strange turn of events that one of the Forsaken is trusted over one of the Darkspear. I will have to work out why.

We are due to reach land in two days, where we will set up a base of operations. I am not sure what Awende means to do then, as a stowaway whose race will not have changed and probably not become welcome simply because we have arrived. What I do know is that we bring almost as many cannons as people. The Horde is bringing war to this new land of Pandaria.


Miriah's epic adventure

So, I woke up at quarter to five in the morning because my brain is a crime against humanity. Because my brain is a crime against humanity, I couldn’t then get back to sleep, so I decided I wanted to do some rare and relic hunting. Nyxrinne, I felt, was far too well-equipped for such a venture, so I hopped to my old main, Miriah, and started out.

The main advantages of being Miriah are as follows.

  • Miriah is on a dead PvP server.
  • Miriah is still in her old Cataclysm sets.
  • Miriah cannot fly.

This makes for a lot of untouched spawns, the ability to pounce on the competition and wrestle them off cliffs, a lot of gear to upgrade, and a lot of Actual Exploring to be done from the ground.

I basically blitzed through every single Jade Forest rare, because they were all kind enough to show up to my party. Krasarang and Four Winds were slightly less obliging, but surrendered after a few circuits and tea breaks and a brief stint questing to make Miri colourful.

Apparently 'colourful' isn't a desirable look for a priest of the Forgotten Shadow.

She picked up epic leggings, amongst some solid blue drops, and I became increasingly arrogant. What about crossing the wall and taking on the mantid, I thought.

But it became clear that first there should be yaks.

Image heavy and ridiculous beneath the cut.


The pets can do the work

I’m knackered at the moment, right down into my bloody marrow. My new job is physically demanding and I’m pathetically weak, quite simply.

I did expect to be tired, but not in this way. When I was worn out by academic work or the teaching I was doing during my work experience placement, I got much more into beating the snot out of internet dragons incarnations of inner strife in my downtime. Now that it’s physical exhaustion I have to deal with, eh. My reaction times are down and my attention span is shot.

Not that it was ever that great, but, you know.

I’m still excited about Nyxrinne and about Mists, not to mention the new patch (which I’ve yet to explore at all, if that gives any concrete evidence of this exhaustion business). I’m just not firing on all cylinders, which makes LFD and LFR lacklustre to me: I play both to see how far I can push my gear this week. If I can’t do a good job of that, I don't enjoy the instance.

So, well, I’ve been checking out the aspect of Mists I’d ignored in favour of levelling.

Here follows an exhaustion-zombie pet ramble of questionable value. (Needs more brains. Not enough brains.)