Sunday, March 1, 2009

61. Ghosts, Bambina, Starting out Rping

Text for "Off the Beaten Path" as heard on Epic Dolls Podcast#61

I hope you are enjoying your journeys in the World of Warcraft. I love that Blizzard opted to change the policy and allow people to create a Death Knight on any server if they have at least one level 55+ character somewhere. Seeing how it can take forever to level a new character on a new server, this is really a time saver. I have been playing my Death Knight on the Perenolde server.

While leveling through Burning Crusade again, I was thinking how nice it would be if Blizzard allowed players who have registered both expansions the option of creating ANY character race at level 55. Wouldn’t that be great? You could play on any server with friends and not have to grind so hard to get to 70 or 80! Not to mention the time saver it is to cultivate a trade skill and funds.


As you know, its all about the scenery and things that are in the game to look at and visit for me. There are new players in Warcraft all the time who are just starting out in Azeroth. So here at Off the Beaten Path on Epic Dolls, I like including places from all over the Warcraft globe from the original game in Azeroth and Burning Crusade to Northrend, Wrath of the Lich King.

OUTLANDS – Burning Crusade
In Outlands, while leveling my Death Knight, I encountered a rather strange and spooky thing in Hellfire Pennisula at Expedition Armory. Due east of the ghost of Lieutenant Commander Thalvos (far south) is a group or throng of alliance ghosts, not the unyielding ghosts for the quests, these are other ghosts. You have to look closely though, they are nearly invisible and are grouped together off to the side. They run amok if you get too close and battle something. However, if you are still long enough they begin conversing with one another about not being able to return home and a few other things. You can understand them even as horde… I will leave the rest of what they say up to you and your explorations. Quest for Horde begins with Althen the Historian

AZEROTH – Main Game
While you are out exploring the original world of Azeroth, some of your quests may lead you to the neutral piratey town of Booty Bay. Don’t forget to visit all the shops including the more secluded and sneaky merchants out back behind some of the buildings. But if you are looking for an interesting picturesque spot to sit, cook, or look out at the water, then you need to sit atop the southern canon fortifications. Dive into the water, swim West along the southern shore, negotiate up the slight slope and hop down into the fortification wall. It has a great view of the water and boats coming in as well as the entire town of Booty Bay.

If you have found another cool spot you would like to share, visit our forums at Epic Dolls. Com and give us a shout out.

Got to love how Blizzard incorporates pop-cultural icons into their games.

If you are a fan of the Lost series, then you might enjoy a foray into Sholazar Basin Nothrend. There you can encounter the last Lost hatch complete with appropriate number series.

Well, and who can forget Siouxsie the Banshee (reference to a band) the Death Knight located in Ebon Hold, not to mention the deer running around in Grizzly Hills named “Bambina” who can be seen with the entire Disneyesque entourage. And if you need to get your history fix for the day, you can always visit the Tabard vendor in Dalaraan named Elizabeth Ross. Betsy is a derivative of Elizabeth, you get the picture.


Blizzard sometimes takes the pop-culture references to a new level. This humorous little horde quest is entitled “The Horse Hollerer.” Basically, you need to Scare 15 Highland Mustangs, the herd of free roaming horses in Grizzly Hills and return to Soulok Stormfury at Camp Oneqwah. What do you scare them with? Well, of course, A Flashbang Grenade.

Role Playing Tips
This episode’s RPing tips come from You may have peaked at 80 and leveling yet another character all the way seems overwhelming. You may be considering putting on a more creative hat and trying RP but aren’t sure how to begin. In the spirit of the intelligent babble blogging fame, Anna starts by asking the reader to pick one of your characters you are considering RPing with and answer some starter questions. Let your imagination loose and see what you come up with. Don’t get too hung up on the details, you don’t need to write an essay for each question, just a simple answer identifying your character will work.

Here are the questions to get the ball rolling for your character.
  • 1. What is your character’s name?
  • 2. Why did he/she pick his/her class?
  • 3. What’s the worst trouble he/she ever got into as a child?
  • 4. What is his/her favorite thing to eat?
  • 5. What does he/she have in his/her pockets?
Anna followed up the initial five questions with the next five…
  1. o When is your character’s birthday? Does he/she know?
  2. o What is your character’s favorite place in the world? Why?
  3. o What kind of sense of humor does your character have (if any)?
  4. o Is your character introverted or extroverted?
  5. o What just irritates the hell out of your character?
Knowing such basic and thoughtful information about the character helps you know the character more and can be a starting point for conversations.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

60. Mysterious Portals and Favorite quests

This text is from Stardancer's Off the Beaten Path as heard on Epic Dolls Podcast Number 60.


Mysteries of WoW….


What is with those two swirling instance doorways still in Stormwind over by Old Town?

According to Lore Nerds, these are relics of unfinished projects. The one in the canal was originally going to be the “Stormwind Vault” a sort of Prison meets Arcatraz-type of instance. Blizzard never really answered the inquiry about the barred portal at the end of the canal, but speculation has it that it was to be the entrance to player made housing. Some players who dug around in the player files found the remnants of the player housing.


Some wonderful players from the Epic Dolls guild recently shared their favorite quests of 2008 -Wrath of the Lich King…

Roswynn was happy to get the Loremaster of
Northrend achievement. In order to get this award, almost every single quest in Northrend. I would imagine that quite the story of the continent is told in great detail for that. Congratulations!

A lot of players felt that the Angrathar the Wrath Gate, was among the most interesting quests both for lore, story, and for the sheer quest of it. The Wrath Gate series leads to the entrance of Icecrown Citadel and the siege in the area leads to the first encounter with the infamous Lich King.

Another favorite quest is entitled, “The Admiral Revealed” located in the Icecrown quest series in Death’s Rise. In this series, you travel to New Hearthglen at the bequest of Lord-Commander Arete. You are to use the Lord-Commander's Nullifier to defeat Grand Admiral Westwind in Hidden Hallow, and you get to really see what he is about.You can obtain this quest series After Vandalizing Jotunheim, and starting with the quest To the Rise with all Due Haste! .

Paquita from Epic Dolls mentioned that riding around for “vehicle quests’ was fun and loved the quest where you get to ride around on controlled giants.
One such quest is from Gymer, the , in the Storm peaks. He has bequested that you ride on him to destroy 100 Scourge and kill Algar the Chosen and a few other badies.

He says:
My people have been decimated by the Lich King. The Scourge now use the corpses of storm giants to create mindless flesh giants, or worse, stitched together aberrations like Thrym.”
Gramaul of Epic Dolls stated that there was nothing more fun than spraying flaming death on opposing players in the quest entitled Vehicular Gnomeslaughter. Basically you are to Kill 100 players in Wintergrasp using a vehicle or a cannon.Vehicle, Cannon, Shredder, Fighter, Bomber.

Role Playing Tips

Tired of killing 25 of that and looting 40 skins of that for questing? Well, here are my top 5 quests with really great lore or stories…

5. Dragonblight and the series involving Wyrmrest Temple

4. Icecrown Quest Series

3. The Death Knight starting area chain all the way through to the battle of Lights Hope Chapel.

2. Grizzlemaw and Vordrissil in Grizzly Hills, Northrend/

1. The Ladies Necklace. If you are horde you know this quest well. It starts with an alternate quest taking you to fight the ghosts at Windrunner Spire in Ghostlands. One of the ghosts drops a glimmering necklace. This quest series requires you to turn the necklace into the Banshee Queen in UnderCity, where she graces you with her song… Lament of the Highborne.

Monday, December 8, 2008

58. Reflections on Northrend

This text is from Stardancer's Off the Beaten Path as heard on Epic Dolls Podcast.

Now that the initial frenzy has died down, I am taking a moment to reflect on the new Lich King expansion. At first, I started out on the West coast in Borean Tundra, which quickly became overrun with tons of other scurrying players. Fortunately, a friend informed me of the *other* boat… Alliance could take the boat that used to go to Ashenvale from Menethil Harbor, but that boat now travels to Howling Fjord, on the South Eastern Coast of Northrend. The coastline in this area forms Daggercap bay and according to history was the initial point that explorers came to to discover Northrend. (Horde players can take the zeppelin from Undercity into Vengeance Landing located farther north.)

The Alliance boat ride into the Fjord is much like traveling on a pirate ship and sailing into a secret harbor. It’s a sensational ride.The scenery in this zone is vastly different from other parts of Northrend, not so stark and frosty. It is green with tall pine trees, winding walkways, circling hawks, and wandering Storm Giants. I finally settled on this area as my starting zone.

I found the architecture of the reawakened vrykul (pronounced vrai-koul) people of particular interest. This would be Utgarde catabombs and the Keep. If you enjoyed the majesty of Rohan, King Theodan’s kingdom from the Lord of the Rings, be sure to visit this area and instance. It is really impressive. Traveling North from the Howling Fjord takes you into the area of Grizzly hills. This is more mountainous terrain, but still the ever greens stand tall and the Imperial eagles (bald eagles) that serenely inhabit the area.

The most interesting spot is Vordrissil. At first you don’t realize what you are seeing in this random mounds of giant bark and the like as you travel around the area on your tasks. Through a series of quests out of Amberpine lodge, you discover that the elves planted a world tree in Northrend, Vordrassil. But for reasons long forgotten, something went wrong with its growing and it had to be torn down and abandoned. Sometime after this, the furbolgs moved in, and fell victim to the same corruption that befell Vordrassil. Eventually, the quests begin to thread together a story of a fallen world tree. You pan out your camera trying to piece together the various areas where parts of the tree had fallen to get an idea of the enormity of its size. Definitely a quest series worth taking on.

Another interesting spot is located in Sholazar (pronounced SHOL-uh-zarh) Basin and is the avatar of Freya located near the Rainspeaker Rapids. She is the nature Titan’s avatar, a beautiful flowery construct which represents a particular Titan, Freya …and begins a series of quest which start at 77.


Here’s a nutty little quest located Whisper Gulch in Howling Fjord. Inside the gulch area are deranged explorers who are hostile to you taking sample of the tainted ore. While you are there, a series of whispers resound through the area, such as:
  • "Tell yourself again that these are not truly your friends."
  • "They have turned against you. Now... take your revenge."
  • "Give in to your fear."
With the latter being an audible voice being done by an actor.

Speaking of humorous little quests, the horde quest given by Plaguebringer Tillinghast called Green Eggs and Whelps, which is a take on Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. Tillinghast is working hard to understand the intestinal issues of the protodragons which ends poorly for the NPC.

Role Playing Tips
Story Nights

I have mentioned before that some of the most memorable role-playing experiences that I had were the open poetry/story nights which were held every Tuesday evening on our rp server. Lead by an extraordinarily devoted group of players (because they were there every Tuesday rain or shine), the story nights gave writers, poets, and lyricists the opportunity to use the game as a venue to compose and write. I know how hard it is to think about engaging in role-play when the world of northrend is so rich with questing and adventuring. However, maybe you are interested in slowing it down, kicking back with a character to relay adventures and mayhem in the nearest tavern.

“Think of story night as a gathering of folks relaxing by the fire, telling stories. You may have done this in everyday life at summer camp, vacation trips or just hanging out with friends on a weekend afternoon or at a pub on a weekend. We are talking about a gathering of fellow roleplayers around a virtual campfire in their role playing game of choice. Players are acting in character, swapping stories or just listening. This can be almost anything that fits the lore and genre for the game. Revamped fables, songs, short tales and even original stories by players who participate. There’s not really a “scripted” role-play here, it’s organic. So, you never know what folks will bring - but that’s part of the fun”.
Reasons for having a story night:
  • It’s fun! Listen, contribute or just hang out in character. It’s a different way to enjoy the game, even for non-rpers.
  • It’s a chance to RP! A great chance to just chill while still being in character. New role-players get their first “peek” at role-playing through these events.
  • Character development. Develop your character before or after the evening or through IC stories.
  • Networking. It’s a good way of networking with fellow role-players, meet new people, or to find out about guilds and folks.
  • It promotes Role-playing. Events such as these help others explore and develop role-playing and supports and promotes the role-playing community.
  • An opportunity to write and have an audience – if you write, you are writer. Storynights are great way to share your skills
  • An opportunity to recite poetry - sometimes a character has a poet’s heart.
  • Try your hand at subtle RP – experimenting with what your character doing or emotes while they listening. Such as, “Star listens intently to the story, frowning slightly to details involving piracy.”
Have fun everyone!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Northrend Day 2

This text is from Stardancer's Off the Beaten Path as heard on Epic Dolls Podcast.

Hello everyone, this is Stardancer of Off the Beaten Path- but if you have been in the expansion lately, with all the crowds in the new areas, you know its more like “the well-worn path”. Haha But seriously, this is what I am doing on Day 2 of the Expansion.

I decided to begin today with some basic quests from Valiance Keep area and ended up in some really interesting spots. One of quests took me to the ancient mariner ghostly area of RipLash Ruins. The added graphic tunnel effect on the screen added to the dismal haunted feeling – almost as if you could feel the fog and cold salt water on your face. My questing for the day ended up in the Fizzcranks Airstrip with the Gnomes who apparently had a “malfunction” while installing their water systems. I will let you read the quest and find out what the those wacky gnomes did now.

I did some sightseeing to, and traveled up a long broken highway at the very North eastern edge of Dragonblight that leads further north to tower over Crystalsong Forest. It appears to be an ancient Titan road, complete with Jotun the Curse Bearer who still walks the road, seemingly oblivious to the world around him. The large highway ends abruptly (sort of like a California highway after an earthquake) , but the view from this spot is worth the trip.

I mentioned on a previous episode that a quest given by Bishop Lazaril in Shattrath during the scourge invasion prompted you to speak with Tyrande Whisperwind. She mentions something about another world tree or “great tree”. Perhaps I have found it or maybe one like it in the West central area of Crystalsong Forest underneath the shadow of the city of Dalaran. All is not right with the rest of this forest though, and runes shimmer upon the bark of the Great Tree …is that good or bad? You will need to quest there and discover the story of the struggle over this forest and the life who reside there.

Special thanks to Kynas.

I have to admit, I did make a death knight and went through the entire quest chain. I wasn’t in the BETA, so this was my first time experiencing the new class and all quests associated with it. What made this starting zone unique from all the others is that you are inside an instance the entire time. The instance opens up other aspects or changes the landscape based on which part of the story arc you are on. The series ends with the Battle of Light’s Hope in which Fordring of the Silverhand battles against Arthus, the Lich King.

The Battle of Light’s Hope Chapel is a scripted event, sort of like being in a movie. The intent of it is to lead you through the entire story of how the Death knights came to be free. But from a graphical standpoint the Argent Dawn and the Death Knight regiments fight against one another was like watching 100s of cats run amok in a field. Trying to jump in and get involved was humorous. However, from a role-play or story standpoint, I had my Death knight kneeling down at the end with the other Death knight NPCs in defeat or reverence… the world of the Death Knights was going to change dramatically. Arthus was defeated at this battle.

Many players are trying to run quickly through the quests and level their characters. However, I hope you stop to read through the stories and listen to the dialogue that takes place. I found the entire experience from beginning to end interesting, fun, and often poignant.

Have fun everyone.

From the Game

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Northrend Day 1

Northrend Day 1

Hello everyone, this is Stardancer of Off the Beaten Path, and this is what I am doing in Northrend. If you didn’t know, my main character is a feral druid, named Stardancer.

When I finally got the expansion installed and updated (I won’t go into details about the trouble I had with that), I immediately took Star to Stormwind, boarded the boat in the new harbor and sailed to Northrend.

Arriving at the Valiance Keep in Borean Tundra, I knew there would be upgrades to tradeskills and the like, so I upgraded my cooking, fishing, alchemy, herbing, and first aid. Star is an alchemist, so getting those 5 or 6 new recipes right off the bat, made my day.

I stumbled upon a Stable Master south behind the barracks. Not sure why I felt the need to click on him being a druid and all, but I am glad I did. He gives you back quest pets you may have lost or gotten rid of. For Star, she got back her MiniWing that I unfortunately had to delete when space was a premium.

Most players I could see where busy in their starting quests. But for your's truly, I was already off exploring and started by heading due east of the Keep. Stardancer is currently making a home at Star’s Rest (an apt name in my opinion) in Dragonblight -- hanging with the Valiance Expedition and the Winter’s Sisters, the new winter dryads.

One of my friends pointed out the beauty of how the snow in these regions were graphically displayed… with bits of grass and rocks visible here and there. This reminds me of snowy terrain you would see in real life when the seasons of fall and winter are vy for the landscape.

Anyway, that’s what I am doing in Northrend…
Can’t wait to see what else I find for tomorrow.

Have fun everyone!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

55. Death Knights, Oh My!

Text for the audio segment "Off the Beaten Path" on Epic Dolls Podcast # 55

So, with the new patch and impending WOLTK expansion this week, feral druids are really coming into their own… and that me refunded talent points –TWICE--. Fun times.


I spent an evening in the Death Knight starting grounds exploring. While nothing resided there between the patch 3.0 and the expansion, it made for a great way to see everything unencumbered. If you haven’t had a chance, take the flight up to Light’s Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands and head into the area along the eastern coast behind Tyr’s hand in the region called Scarlet Enclave.

Above the towns of New Avalon and Havenshire is the looming floating Necropolis called Acherus: The Ebon Hold (ACK-err-us). It was once the stronghold for the Lich King until the battle of Light’s Hope Chapel. Now Ebon Hold belongs to the Knights of the Ebon Blade, Death Knights who are now renegade.

There are some interesting spots within the region of the Scarlet Enclave… including a light house and town areas that remind me of the ruins of Moonbrook in Westfall. Basically the area is the starting zone or newbie are for Death Knights. I always find it interesting that there is always a mine of some sort in newbie zones. Death Knights aren’t an exception. Haha.


Many of the old instances and dungeons may still be grey on your Achievement lists even if you know you have been through them a time or two already. It is worth gathering a group and dungeon-ing to attain the achievement associated with them. Also, while doing the heroic daily we encountered some frost lock boxes which until the expansion comes out can’t be opened yet. We are all curious about what could be in the box? Several other unusual items have been dropping as well, so for the next few days if you have time, I recommend visiting a few dungeons.

During the Scourge Invasion, Bishop Lazaril who stood near the Aldor wanted you to bring a Light-infused Artifact to Tyrande Whisperwind in Darnassus. Tyrande actually provided some rather interesting information about Northrend…it appears there is another World Tree being cultivated there. While she didn’t offer more information, that was enough to make sure to seek it out when Northrend is open.

Role Playing Tips

Death Knights offered some great advice and tips for role playing the new Death Knight class. He writes that Death Knights have a similarity to what the Forsaken had to go through with being undead minions then being free. The difference is that your body ended up at Acherus, the idea is to get an understanding of who the character was prior to being dead and reborn as a Death Knight.

He recommends the following:
  • Listen carefully to the opening narration that accompanies the creation process of your character
  • Read through the quests and listen to the conversations of the surrounding NPS who offer a great way to understand the mood and plight of the Death Knights.
  • And Death Knights can be unique and not necessarily another Arthas
Some ideas to help the character be unique are adding in particular quirks such as perhaps your Knight can’t stand holy ground or perhaps her past victims are ghosts which haunt her. He also wrote that Death Knights are examples of what are called "Byronic Heroes", flawed, or dark heroes such as Batman, Xena, or even Sirius Black from Harry Potter. These sorts of heroes have troubled backgrounds and carry a lot of emotional baggage from their pasts.

RpMadeSimple also states that in a role play capacity, past friends and associates may still define Death Knights as evil and have trouble seeing them beyond their association with the scourge. Trust and friendships may need to be reearned or relearned as the Death Knights tries to assimilate back into their subsequent faction.

Ah, an here’s an interesting little spoiler…
One thing that’s crept up since the Scourge Attacks and in Northrend are the Darkfallen. These are a mix of Blood Elf, Death Knight and vampire.

Have fun everyone!
See you in Northrend...


All music from the Game

54. Player's Most Creepy Places

Text for the audio segment "Off the Beaten Path" on Epic Dolls Podcast # 54

Patch 3.0 brought the most amazing changes to Warcraft in a long time. Stardancer, my feral druid character, is a ravenous attack cat –and is the way I envisioned her back when the feral druid talent was a pipe-dream. There were so many changes -- I am not sure where to begin! I have done everything from obtaining new hairstyles for my characters to working down the achievement list for Hallows End. My friends and I have been successfully heroic dungeon-ing lately and turning to each other to ask, “This IS set to heroic right?” The achievement list and new talents are among my favorite part of the new patch.

"Yes, Star…but what about YOUR World Exploration??"
you ask.
With the exception of a few slivers of horde areas (and Northrend), yours truly had explored everywhere on the Exploration Achievement list and then some. I am really looking forward to Wrath of the Lich King and all the new real estate offered for exploration.


On Epic Dolls Episde 52, in honor of Hollows End Creep fest, I presented my top five creepiest places in Azeroth. Thank you to all the posts and email sending in listener thoughts on the creepiest places in Azeroth….these are yours~

Coming all the way from Germany, Janic wrote in to tell us about the creepy Goldshire children. There are six children Dana, Cameron, Jose, John, Aaron, and Lisa which can be seen running from Stormwind or Northshire to head upstairs in the Leatherworking house of Goldshire. There are rumors about their significance, but their action is bizarre to say the least. Apparently, the children always form a circle with Cameron in the center and all face a certain direction depending on the time of day. Indeed, definitely creepy.

Paquita posted that the whole eastern plaguelands zone is among the creepiest spots. Yeah, there is nothing like armies of undead and diseased life to add to the entire ick-factor for adventurers Nitewind also posted with regard to the instance of Stratholme and makes a great Halloween adventure to revisit.
Stratholme is the Scourge capital, a city of evil and dark magic. Once a great human city, the mad Prince Arthas ravaged Stratholme in the Third War and the undead moved in soon after” --Wowwiki
Gramaul mentioned that the dim lighting and leper gnomes and trogs in Gnomeregan are pretty creepy.
“When the war against the Burning Legion ended, the Alliance discovered the reason for the Gnomes' sudden withdrawal. Apparently, an ancient, barbaric menace had risen from the bowels of the earth and invaded Gnomeregan. Knowing that their allies' priority was defeating the Burning Legion, the Gnomes decided to make their stand alone. Though they fought valiantly to save their beloved city, Gnomeregan was irrevocably lost.” --WoWwiki
Xtian posted that he really liked the ambiance for Shadowfang keep. I have to agree, where else can you get a creepy dark castle full of ghosts AND Werewolves? The mad mage Arugal is just as bad.

WoWwiki writes: “During the Third War, Arugal made these Worgen as allies but they could not be controlled and turned on him and the other soldiers. He went mad after this and now accepts them as his "children." His worgen run rampant. throughout much of the forest.”
Yeah… creepy.

Thanks to Roswynn for this next one which is definitely Duskwood and writes, “The Alliance zone right next to Karazhan. It holds Darkshire and Raven Hill. Stitches, the Embalmer, and his bride, Morbent Fel, Stalvan Mistmantle, and the ever irritating Mor'ladim. You go from the relative normalcy of Elwynn Forest and Westfall to the evil creepiness of Duskwood when leveling as an Ally. The change in atmosphere makes it very memorable. Most Hordies probably have never been there except when running through there on the way to raiding Stormwind.”

While you are in Duskwood, don’t forget to visit the Secret Garden of Knight’s Hollow.. You can reach it by heading towards Deadwind pass, taking the left behind the Horde Forsaken Tower – Beggar’s Haunt (NE of Darkshire), and following the trail up behind it.

posted that Desolace was pretty creepy. I hadn’t really thought of it that way until the mention of the Kodo graveyard which has a sad overtone. The feeling being there is one of being alone out in a desolate place. Admittedly, I discovered Shadowbreak Ravine for the first time not too long ago. After all these years playing, I never knew it was there, home to the burning blade casters, there is an entire area located south east corner behind the Magram Village.

Velanna and I both agree that Undercity is probably the most creepiest spot in Azeroth. Although with the zombie invasion, downtown Shattrath is looking pretty grim! But for the capital of the forsaken, its the rivers of green goo circling the city, the cockroach pet salesman, the walking nightmare stitches guards… Yeah… Undercity wins! Haha. Oh yeah, don’t forget to stop in and visit the new Sylvanas Windrunner.

I hope you are having a great time adventuring, seeing the world, and enjoying your new talents.

Have fun everyone!