Leveling: Slow & Steady

I will continue to write the zone overviews upon their completion. But just a quick overview of my whereabouts today.

Leveling

Micromantica is in the middle of Tiragarde Sound – 3/7 of the main questline is complete.

My plan now is taking turns in leveling: one zone Alliance, one zone Horde. The first toons to come to 120 will naturally be Micromantica and Schlitzchen. The others will follow.

I’ve decided to go in the following order: Drustvar -> Vol’dun -> Tiragarde Sound -> Nazmir -> Stormsong -> Zuldazar, so expect my posts in this order.

It’s not quite the time to explore all the little things, and there are so many! I’ve described a funny questline in comment for Gracie’s blog – you are given a task from one of traders to kill dino pests, and then you got turned in one with loa revenge! So you can’t quit the dino state and have to repeat Zul’Gurub experience, sneaking the guards as a dino pest and eventually biting the trader quest giver in the butt :)

In Vol’dun, during small azerite mining goblin operation, the goblin mining shredders quote the Starcraft unit responses! In the pipe, five-by-five! Comment if you read the quote in exactly the Dropship’s pilot voice in your head :)

Leveling feels fun so far. I got used to Frost Mage slower fighting, and I’m cool with driving through quests with her. Adding some AoE thinking really helped.

The key goal today is thorough exploration – I need to shove my nose in every corner. Not only to get the achievements you’ll need for Pathfinder, but also make the alt leveling a lot easier. I’m looking for shortcuts, rares, treasures, side questlines – everything of interest. I’m checking all the side questlines to see if they are worth doing on alts (and if they are really side questlines).

I’m not in a rush at all. I stop for fishing, for examining the house interiors, talking to NPCs and stuff like that. Come on, we have two years of expansion ahead of us.

I also queue to the corresponding zone dungeons when questlines lead me there. The quest there ends the storyline and you get a big azerite gem too! Dungeons provide miserable experience, but they are vital for lore, so probably a must for alt leveling as well. They are relatively quick and easy to run, bosses don’t pose any trouble so far. I got one gear drop per dungeon, so this is also a nice bonus.

Scrap-o-matic, or whatever this hell machine is called, I remember about it. As Micromantica is an enchanter and a tailor, I save cloth drops to scrap for mats, and disenchant everything else (plates, mails, leathers, weapons, rings and trinkets). Of course I could scrap them too to aid my alts with their professions, but they will have to work for it themselves :) Hek-hek-hek.

I’ve established one more base in Zandalar – in Nazmir swamps. I liked the Louisiana bogs very much, but the dark grounds and blood troll villages around raid temple, I already hate them. Let’s see how Schlitzchen will do there questing.

Broken Isles, compared to the Battle for Azeroth’s Zandalar and Kul Tiras, frankly feel like an utter dump, filled with boring outcasts and best be forgotten like a bad dream. Now confirmed: in Legion, I liked the gameplay, but I hated the environment. BfA feels too close to exploring Northrend, Draenor or Pandaria – so cozy and nice. The ambience is overwhelming, I’ll be happy to spend there my next two years.

So far, sooooo good!

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Vol’dun Overview: Serpents and Jawas

Vol’dun is a northwestern desert location of Zandalar. It is a dead land – well, considering it’s a desert, it’s no surprise. Once a verdant jungle and a jewel of troll empire, it is now considered as a place to go and die by trolls, an exile to Vol’dun most likely means death to them.

By briefing, you are informed that an unwelcoming general Jakra’zet (who advised the king to throw you down from the capital pyramid on your arrival) is plotting something in the reclusive sands. You are out to investigate.

Mild spoiler alert: the overview can’t be done without mentioning certain characters and areas, but major plot points and twists won’t be given away. 

Vol'dun

The most notable and the coolest thing in Vol’dun is that it is an open area. They were scarce in Legion, and our eye certainly needs a rest from time to time – from forests, slopes, turns and such. Zones like Tanaris, Valley of Four Winds, Silithus – they may not be welcoming sometimes. But certainly an option to see your destination through half a zone is bribing.

Yet again, the zone is pretty straightforward in questing. Upon your very arrival you are blasted from your mount, and then devote the whole quest achievement to finding your companions and investigating the general’s plot.

There are certain side questlines – you help the vulpera locals in their activities, or help goblins to mine some azerite, or befriend a village of tortollans, but they are not on the way, and you have to go discover them specifically. Also, there are none auxiliary fill-the bar quests – considering how many there were in Drustvar, in every hub, it is surprising. This all made me a bit less than level 113 upon completing the main questing. Compare to Drustvar’s 114.

Like in Drustvar, the main questline leads you right to the dungeon entrance with a final quest there – a nice tradition from Legion. The queue appeared to be surprisingly short – 2 minutes for a dps, so I also walked through a dungeon in the morning. The mechanics on normal are… normal, that is, solved on spot without extra preparation. The end boss is somewhat rare – it’s a boss for healers! We had no troubles clearing it through, no deaths, no aggro rips from the tank.

Of course we’re fighting local flora and fauna in the desert, but the main course is vicious snake people sethraki. I’m awed by how Blizzard elegantly made humanoids out of serpents – granted that real cobras have no limbs, they look surprisingly natural with their arms and legs, while keeping the vicious, agile and swift vibe of initiate snakes. There’s little to none troll presence here, only ruins of the past.

The other people you meet and work with are vulpera. Your goals match to an extent, as you both want to fight sethraki (evil sethraki, there are two factions), but otherwise they are pursuing their own goals.

You would first think the fox vulperas are like goblins, because they are a trader race, and share the model skeleton. But basically… they’re Jawas from Tatooine in Star Wars. They don’t buy or produce, they are a scavenging race. Much like Jawas, they are looking for scraps and occasional treasures, they put everything they find on sale. Much like Jawas, they have no cities and live in caravans and cave hideouts. Yet, unlike Jawas or Goblins, they are generally quite good-natured and quite valorous if driven to the edge. They know their profit, but they don’t put it in front of everything.

While I was complaining about Drustvar’s lack of awesome characters, Vol’dun has plenty. You grow to like your Zandalari companions from the capital which are brave and determined in your common investigation. Once you befriend a sethraki (the same that Alliance befriends during Vol’dun outpost questing), he’s your sage-type guide to the history of the lands, but also a skilled and powerful conjurer.

And vulpera are surely not your plush toys. They are very independent, they are willing to pay you to do some job and not afraid to speak of it (not your normal ‘oh waily-waily, good stranger, help us out of mercy’). But you can’t kill kawaii of course. When you are saving vulpera kids… Let’s just say I cried my eyes out because cute.

  • And just wait till you play it – or watch it on Youtube if you haven’t got a Horde toon – search for the ‘Dolly and Dot’ song. It’s no lore or spoiler, it’s just a piece of conversation that you hear on your caravan way between questlines, but oh my god this is a zone highlight. A must to see and hear (and to join Dolly and Dot Cult immediately after).

I was skeptical of the popular idea to make vulpera an allied race, but now that I played through the zone, I must say they’re definitely worth it. This stern, survivalist and kawaii race would make an awesome addition to the Horde.

vulpera

Upon doing exploration achievement, I’ve discovered a tortollan fishing village, an Ashvane expedition, and an Alliance camp – the latter is situated right where Micromantica founded it. So your bases are officially in the lore of both factions, no phasing here.

Conclusion

The zone is great in many ways, and frankly I can’t find any drawbacks there. The strongest points are:

  1. Great and immersing desert ambience both for eye and ear
  2. A detective, adventurous questline which ends with a cryout to the epic To be continued…
  3. An awesome insight into unique desert cultures of past and present
  4. Whatever you thought of vulpera, you’ll change your mind upon getting acquainted with them, and you can’t help to like them
  5. Excellent villains of sethraki (even if not all of them are villains)
  6. Many side questlines out of the way – they don’t distract and exhaust you on your main journey, but they are a great addition if you want to explore and add up to lore (and XP).
  7. Simply great: 10/10

P.S. Small trivia: there is a hostile sethraki NPC named Fangcaller Sraka. “Sraka” is quite a rude synonym for “ass” in Russian (literally: the thing that poops), so I had some fun killing her :) At least the name fits, she’s a real “sraka”. In localization, she’s “Sarka” of course.

Drustvar Overview: The Witching Hour

Drustvar is the western zone of Kul Tiras, the land of miners, farmers and sturdy warriors. The lead-in briefing is investigation of what happened to the Lord and Lady Waycrest who were absent at the latest council, so you set out to unveil the mistery.

Mild spoiler alert: the overview can’t be done without mentioning certain characters and areas, but major plot points and twists won’t be given away. 

It’s an extremely rare occasion when Blizzard doesn’t have multiple storylines running in one location. Remember Val’sharah – where you first thought would be “Emerald Nightmare”, but then wooden imps and faerie dragons, crazy moonkins, furbolg villages, ghost night elves and non-worgen Gilneans come to mind.

Well, Drustvar is ALL about the dark legacy of the past largely exploited by modern day witches.

Witches. Witches, witches, witches. Throughout the whole Warcraft history we haven’t got a single proper witch – a classic one. This is very strange, as witches have always been an important part of every IRL nation’s folklore. The closest we’ve ever come to that was a pandaren jade witch in Jade Forest of Pandaria who turned travelers into stone, and it was just a couple of quests.

Now we have them in full as if Blizzard wants us to excuse the developers for their previous absence. Classic looks. Classic cackling. Classic attributes – mind control, hex amulets, disguising, hexed people and twisted mostrosities, with a heavy enhancement on wicker twig magic (due to dark Drust people legacy). Throughout the zone, from the very start to the very end you’ll be fighting witches and their servants. And you even participate in the wrongly accused classic witch trial!

Some attributes of a victorian horror are present too – take a dark cult led by a nobleman, creepy children and their tea parties etc. But in the end this all is intertwined with the very same witch theme. The limerick is precious:

Drustvar-1

The zone is actually not that dark. Surely you start in creepy villages, woods and cemeteries that bathe in creepiness, but you are quite soon sent to the more opened shorelines border with Tiragarde Sound. And then, after a while, to mountainous regions in the west which vividly remind of the most welcoming sunny winter/not-so-winter zones like Grizzly Hills or Highmountain.

Which doesn’t make the questlines less creepier. Like I said, witch theme is tying the whole zone.

The questline is immersing, grimdark and has some serious plot twists.

There are lots of side questlines, more than you can imagine, and frankly I completed the zone in exhaustion. When I have to make the last step into the heart of evil, and I just can’t make it. Maybe we could have a couple of “something completely different” for side quests, maybe it’s my mage leveling issues (it was tiresome unlike other classes), maybe it’s all together.

Drustvar-2

The weak point of the zone are its characters. We lack the ones that we admire and want to follow to the end. Most of the characters you meet are just… okay. They play their part, and you forget about them immediately after the questline is completed. They just don’t stick in mind.

Lucille Waycrest is notable with her personal tragedy and appealing inability to fight. It’s so natural that not all are warriors, but Blizzard normally fails to refuse fighting skills for major characters. Here we literally have to protect her, she’s neither a warrior nor a sorcerer, while at the same time being the central character of the plot, making up plans and making us move forward. It’s a new thing, and it’s quite fresh and appealing. Normally if you have to protect someone, it will be some crazy scientist or explorer, a joke played for laughs and a butt monkey. Lucille is certainly a strong character, and not a whiner, even if she lack might and magic skills. A hero scholar/noble. Yet she lacks a certain zest that would make us love her to the bone.

I would definitely note the “body-positive” Kul Tiran woman which accompanies us through Crimson woods, one of the local guards. Now that’s a girl which has some salt in her! :) Too bad she modestly steps aside after her part is done.

A notable thing is Kul Tiran druids. This is where we have a chance to fight alongside for a while. Strange though, when they lead us to get acquainted with the head druid, the questline just… ends. But he answers our questions! It’s very educational, and I think all the main issues about them being Kul Tirans, wicker forms and all are answered. The lore is most sufficient.

Drustvar-3

Drustvar has some awesome background sounds rolling. The music is victorian and eerie, and in the moments when it’s silenced you hear what I call the next step in ambience. Woodpeckers in daylight and owl hooting in the night, as long as many other sounds, are very much immersing.

I advise playing the first part of Drustvar in the night, and proceed to the mountains in the daylight.

Drustvar-4

Trivia: Our Journey Begins

This will be the post about initiate first day experience in the new expansion. Later on, beginning today, I will review the wonderful new zones upon their completion and when I have the full picture – spoiler-free as possible. But for now let us discuss the launch day.

First of all, I didn’t see the launch itself :) It started at 1 a.m., and my bedtime is normally at midnight, so I was yawning, rubbing my eyes by 11 p.m., and eventually just decided to start all fresh and new in the morning :) Besides, I’m not a fan of hundreds of players swarming around a single questgiver. It somehow ruins the immersement :)

I awoke at 5 a.m. though. With a total confidence that I need to get a bit more sleep. Reading few internets in bed and then trying to sleep again, I was still awake by 6 a.m., so I was like what the hell, I got up, started a kettle for a nice hot cup of tea, and rushed forward into the new expansion.

The introductory questlines were awesome. With Magni and Heart of Azeroth, Blizzard clearly learned the lesson of Aggrammar sword short cinematic. People just love their character in the highlight! And not just a highlight, a beautiful one.

I shot every toon of course, here’s some examples:

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The following scenario is also a well-learned lesson: once you play through it with your faction toon, the alts may skip it and immediately land either in Boralus or Dazar’alor. Which I did. Scenarios were actually quick and fun, and the Hordies do not need now to sneak through Stormwind like in Beta, they’re landing right at the sewers entrance.

Cinematics reveal us more about Jaina and introduce princess Talanji, the new character. Talanji is a very active political guide for the Hordies, and she will actively help us. Jaina’s currently in jail and will not be seen for a while. But placing her at the loading screen is a hint that she will resurface soon enough, and we must put our best efforts to help her.

Getting Started in BfA: Alt Edition

The game goals on the first day for all my alts were very clear. I went through the following routine:

  • Get Heart of Azeroth
  • Put on the azerite piece of gear and choose the first trait
  • Play through or skip the travel scenario
  • Do the city introduction quests
  • Bind hearthstone to a tavern
  • Choose the first zone to level in
  • Get the quest for 100 War Resources from Wyrmbane or Blightcaller
  • Learn two primary professions + cooking and fishing, in case of Micromantica  +archaeology
  • Do the scrap quest and get this achievement.

Now all my toons are set and ready to explore.

Boralus and Dazar’alor

The cities are so amazing, it’s like each of the factions got their own pocket Suramar. There’s so MUCH going on there. I didn’t even start proper sightseeing yet! In Boralus, I’ve never left the small Tradewinds enclave yet because everything is conveniently located there. And it’s barely 1/6 of the whole city. In Dazar’alor, you have to run around, because it’s a pyramid which requires three flight paths in the city alone!

I will definitely devote some time merely for city tours with no other goal. For now, it’s just the bare necessities.

Leveling

I’ve completed Drustvar in full with Micromantica. It was a pretty tiresome trip, and now that I started little questing with other toons, the reason is: it was mage.

Seriously, Baisa the Marksmanship Hunter started the very first few quests in the same Drustvar, and she just wipes out all the enemies in her wake, like a flametorch. Schlitzchen the Enhancement Shaman now did what looks like 25% of Voldun, and it’s a merry ride, the battles are quick, fun and engaging, and I progress quite fast.

With a Frost Mage, it’s just exhausting. I’m not having troubles with enemies difficulty, mark you. I soloed the “suggested 3 players” quest bosses with no to little sweat. Several deaths were explained by my rushing nature – trying to shortcut through a dozen of enemies, pulling lots of them, falling and stuff like that. Normally I cope with 2-4 mobs at ease. But gods, how exhausting it is to pick them out one by one. I definitely need to switch to AoE thinking.

Also, Drustvar has extra fill-the-bar objectives in almost every hub – and I haven’t seen that in Voldun yet. Micromantica diligently cleared up everything that came in her way – bonus objectives, side questlines, treasures, rares, she even cleared one digsite and did some fishing. It was plenty! And with our Legion experience we practically see how quests will become world quests in the future.

All in all leveling with Frost Mage reminded me of 7.3.5. alt leveling towards Pandaria content 20-80. I need my spell arsenal at the ready, I need my rotations, and it’s not a one-shot thing. Which is good.

Also, you get lots of quests during one take. Usually it’s no less than 3-4 to be performed in the same place. If you happen to get just two quests, or some of the mobs in your questing area do not drop quest stuff or don’t go in the counter, but you have to kill them anyways on your way, rest assured you’ve missed another questgiver. Search better!

Drustvar in full provided me 114, and I went to explore the mission table/Zandalar expedition thing.

This is cool that our champions for missions will be no other than faction leaders, like Falstad of Wildhammer dwarves or Umbric of void elves. They will be few, they will be important, and they will all be used – not like when in Legion we had to put some of them away. In other words, garrisons got some extra improvement. They also kept “class order hall” upgrades – Alleria provides these garrison/life improvements for the Alliance.

I don’t quite get how travel and outposts will work. I tried establishing a foothold in Voldun, and I have now a camp there where I can travel by ship. The strange thing is that we became friends with snake people sethraki, and the Horde are their friends too, I saw the Horde players communicating with them in the same place… Isn’t that strange for a faction war?

Zones and Ambience

I haven’t seen all of it, or even half, but I enjoyed exploration at large where I’ve been.

I liked the creepiness of Drustvar, it’s best be played at night time. Even without the music, you’ll hear the owls hooting and all the night sounds (in daylight you hear woodpeckers). Drustvar itself provides not only the victorian horror villages and dark woods, but also a snowy and cheerful mountain range. Voldun is what we longed for: finally an eye can relax at the sight of open space, and for that it’s precious.

The lands easily maintain this feeling of exploration, of learning about new cultures and how people live – in fact, everything that I enjoy in game and also in my IRL travel. There are so many small things to notice, admire and explore – even if they are not in quests. This started in WoD first, enhanced in Suramar, enhanced even more in BfA. Just enjoy it! The amount of work done by Blizzard to make these lands alive is overwhelming.

Finally, me and my wife are fans of hearing different accents when watching cartoons, series or movies. And Blizzard did a great job providing it. The awesome mix of African and Carribean with trolls, and a heavy British version with Kul Tiras. It’s just a mere pleasure to hear, and with all the voice acting. I’m a fan of Taelia’s voice – I could listen to her speaking like forever. The last time I was so excited about a character speech was Yrel in Draenor – to an extent that I wrote a personal gratitude to the voice actor in her Facebook.

What’s Next? 

My first and foremost goal now is obviously leveling my alts and exploration with no rush. There’s a lot of work to be done – to make both continents our home, to put our noses in every crner and learn what is happening in this new exciting world.

The secondary goal is preparing for the Uldir raid which opens for me in the middle of September (LFR 1st wing). That means gearing up after 120 – I guess I have lots of time for it.

Next post: Drustvar review! 

P.S. If you somehow thought that “We need their navy” is merely an empty excuse our questing and the new lands… well, just compare the standard boats of Stormwind and a standard Kul Tiran boat in the harbor. We do need their navy.

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P.P.S. I’m laughing so hard with my Tauren Druid’s face! It’s like when Beavis and Butthead are being briefed about anything of importance. My moose girl is not stupid, but she takes all the pompous talk exactly as the duo. She will also mock the speaker if something seems funny – and in the most serious moments too. Just look at her:

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Errh… Speaker of de Horde? Whatever you say :)

BfA Launch Hype Commences… Now

We have 7 hours left until launch, and we’re almost ready. What are your game activities during the past weekend and the upcoming launch night?

Here’s mine:

I’ve deliberately not played a lot during weekend and devoted much of my spare time to watching The Terror series till the end. It’s about a mysteriously vanished expedition of British sailors in 1840s, a mystical thriller based on real events, and it’s a very atmospheric piece of art from AMC.

When I actually logged in, I’ve run both Air elemental plane dungeon and raid in Uldum with all of my toons for dungeon mounts. No luck heh :)

I covered the few remaining dungeon achievements in WoD – it’s been a nostalgic and fun ride.

I’ve taken my relatively fresh Highmountain druid for a map spin and opened all the Azeroth map with her, including the time-travel Silithus, Teldrassil, Tirisfal Glades. Just because it’s a must for all my toons. It’s been a great help that Draenors, Pandaria and Northrend were already covered as a part of leveling experience. I also kept flying into random Alliance camps by habit and found myself surprisingly dead :)

I’ve checked my professions lists on alts and found them completed at 800. Woo-hoo!

Today in the morning I’ve finished composing a new track for my band. One to go to complete the next album writing!

For the evening, I have a #BirdofFriendship event planned. Like in WoD’s last hours, the same guild offers a heroic Argus kill to everyone that wants a free mount :) I’ll try to fit in.

When done, I’ll be running with a dwarf shaman – just leveling a bit for fun sakes from level 1, dreaming about my upcoming Dark Iron!

I have a day off for tomorrow, and with EU launch at 1 a.m. I may see how this all goes and probably go to bed very soon to start fresh in the early morning.

I’ll be the one admiring every next grass leaf and views, carefully reading the quests and enjoying the adventure! A busy day awaits us, and it’s important not to get lore overdosed like it was in Legion. Slow and steady.

See you on the other side!

Goodbye, Legion!

This is the last day of a vibrant expansion. It’s no review, as I previously wrote one. this is not the “best moments”, as Z & Cinder urged us to list them. It’s a farewell.

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The question is: what feelings will I have looking back at the expansion behind our shoulders? What could possibly make me return? And will I be missing the Broken Isles?

Legion is the strangest expansion if you think about it. It’s a gigantic work on WoD’s mistakes. Garrisons turned into welcoming party enclaves, keeping all good and relieved of all bad. We got beautiful scenery. We got the most solid end gameplay, both with repeatable dailies/dungeon re-runs and epic new lore questlines served in small portions in the course of weeks. We got a totally epic and logical lore provided in raids. We got epic lore characters of the past returned and solved. We got cozy and enhanced Dalaran to hang around. Many life improvements. Finally, we had an epic pet boomstick to care about throughout the expansion.

All this normally qualifies to name Legion the best expansion ever. And yet, I’m not attached to the expansion where all the events have happened.

First, I come to the end exhausted. Every other player chooses his own poison, of course. Most of the players would name artifact power/legendary grind here, although it’s never been a slightest issue to me. Leading 12 class alts and keeping them up with current raids was not boring or tiresome to me as well – they had their own cozy halls and unique questlines to go, unique experiences and unique class sets to collect. I’m not complaining about achievement hunt, working towards reputation – this has always required some effort and a sense of completion in the end.

My exhaustion choke point were paragon reputation rewards. I did them throughout the expansion, trying different strategies, quitting, and picking them up again. The last paragon mount dropped in July, and I wasn’t even happy about it. The limit has been reached. It didn’t matter at the time how awesome, convenient and replayable was the whole quest and reputation system in itself – the paragons sucked out every drop of blood from my toons.

Second, the zones were not pleasant to be at. Every square meter was effectively used to pluck in another world quest, which made the zones swarming with enemies. There is little to none places you could hang around or see some scenery, and slopes over slopes didn’t help much either. Even when we got flights, there was no chance. The very few enclaves where I liked to hang around – just for hang around sake – were the Highmountain central hub, Lor’lathil and class order halls/Dalaran. Every other place felt like it was pressed against some awkward slopes, hard to get to and surrounded by hostile creatures. Throw in my general dislike to the overwhelming elves, elves everywhere, and you’ve got it.

Broken Isles is not gonna be my best continent to be at. Not the place where I want to return and chill for a while. Not the place where I discovered any new culture, explored and felt myself an adventurer. It’s gonna be the place where we went as combatants. It was a brutal campaign, a needed one, a successful one, but not the place where I had some happy moments.

Lots of bad things could be told about Draenor gameplay… but it was a nice place to be at. When yesterday I had a Draenor dungeon tour to acquire the remaining achievements (spoiler: the meta-achievement is mine!), I’ve compared my experience to Legion and thought that it was nowhere close. I enjoyed revisiting even Gorgrond’s stony gronn wastes, set aside the pensive Spires of Arak, lush Nagrand, cozy Shadowmoon, delightful Talador with a funny mushroom piece or Frostridge eye candy of peaceful tundra.

With BfA, I hold my highest hopes. Everything good from Legion will be there – and at the same time it’s promising to bring back the joy of exploration like we had in Draenor or Pandaria. Two completely different settings and lands to explore await us.

I’m keeping the Dalaran hearthstone of course. It’s the best traveling option yet. And when I’m passing by, I will stop at the edge of Krasus landing to spit down there :) Spit on the land of ruins, demon grounds, bitter and grim Broken Isles. It’s not the place to make them Un-Broken, it’s the place to be abandoned. For good.

Goodbye, Legion, goodbye, Illidan, goodbye, Argus and goodbye, all the wasted rocks. I won’t be missing you :)

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25 Random IRL Facts About Myself

So far, we have such a vibrant blogging community :) And I keep catching myself with the thought that I’d like to learn more about the people behind all the great posting. the About sections when they are present are normally not enough :)

I suggest a topic theme – tell your fellow bloggers about yourself. I thought that 20-25 IRL random facts would be just the right number – not too little to crave for more, not too big to get tired. Starting with myself as an example of course.

  1. I was born in a town of Kirov, a region center in European part of Russia to a family of history teachers. My dad teaches in a university, and my mom educates school kids.
  2. I moved alone to Saint-Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia, at the age of 17 when I entered a university. This is an unusual choice as most kids from my class went to Moscow or stayed in Kirov after school. I love the city of Saint-Petersburg since my trips there at the age of six, and I’m not thinking of moving ever.
  3. I have a day job as a search engine optimization specialist in an international corporation. Not what I was taught for in university :)
  4. I’m happily married – counting pre-wedding living together, it’s been 8 years so far.
  5. We have no kids – after several discussions, we are both firm in thought that our life is too awesome to make such drastical changes.
  6. But we have two awesome siberian breed cats to care about! We’re both cat persons, and before getting our first one we could spend a couple of hours over a bottle of wine and random youtube cat videos.
  7. My wife and I are travelers – every vacation equals exploring another countries – cities, not nature. We’ve been to almost all the Europe, Turkey, China, Japan, and we have an arm-long list of destinations to go.
  8. We plan the whole trip by ourselves, and we’re pro. See the whole Rome in one day? Check!
  9. I like to start learning foreign languages, although I’m fluent in English only. Yet my mind is trained to learn the phrases while on the road. I can read any French text without stumbling, I understand the general idea of Swedish texts if not all words, and I can detect the ingredients on Finnish cans and packs without translation.
  10. My life-long hobby project is a fantasy-metal band for which I do 80% of composing, 100% of lyrics writing and 100% of programming and playing keyboards. We fuse every style possible, aiming for delivering catchy, fast and dancing melody experience, while telling dark humor forest fairy-tales in lyrics.
  11. We’ve been to several countries outside Russia for gigs, recorded several full-length albums and have a decent fanbase all over the world, but frankly it doesn’t cover even half of band expenses :) Music for me is a hobby, and an outcome for my creativity.
  12. My third major hobby, aside from traveling and music, is WoW.
  13. High fantasy is my ever favorite genre, starting with Tolkien books in school days.
  14. My first Blizzard games were Rock’n’Roll Racing and Lost Vikings on Sega Genesis. Which I enjoyed. A lot!
  15. My first Warcraft game was Warcraft II which I played at Sony Playstation. An RTS with a joystick!
  16. I started blogging to share my thoughts and discuss the game I’m playing, as neither of my IRL acquaintances plays WoW.
  17. I’m heavily short-sighted – to an extent that I didn’t serve an obligatory year for males in Russian army. Later, I had an operation that allows me not to use glasses or lenses, but myopia stays (as they just adjusted the cornea thickness with laser).
  18. If I had to choose only three types of food that I would be eating to the rest of my life, this would be dumplings of every sort (russian and asian), potatoes cooked in every type possible, and “green” salads (includes dill, green onions, cucumbers, tomatoes with oil or sour cream).
  19. I eat healthy food, junk food is quite a rare occasion – probably once in three months. I’m a party-only smoker and a mild drinker, preferring beers and whiskey long-drinks once in a weekend. I detest every type of drugs, including pretty harmless weed. The reason is: alcohol brings out your essence, your true self, while drugs effect makes you something you are not.
  20. I’m worried about my extra weight (“extra” means not too much to be ugly or be called fat, but quite enough to be noticed). It’s the result of a sitting job, and quickly losing interest to any sports that I try :)
  21. I hate hot weather. Current 25-30o Celcius summer is killing me. The perfect one is 10-18 degrees tops, cloudy, no rain.
  22. I’m highly tolerant in every way possible, yet I enjoy intolerant jokes :)
  23. I cannot drive and we don’t have a car, as it’s just not required in a megalopolis like Saint-Petersburg with an excellent public transport system.
  24. I’m afraid of caterpillars. As in butterfly caterpillars. Amusing enough, my wife is afraid of another phase: butterflies, with all their flapping.
  25. I’m finishing this list and going home now :)

This is it! I’d be glad if you join me in the challenge, and you’re free to ask questions of course :)