Jun 3 2010

The Story of Daniora

I’ve had a few internet names over the years, and most of them have been based around my interests at the time and abandoned as soon as those interests changed.  I have finally settled into my more or less permanent internet persona of Daniora (pronounced dan-YOUR-ah).  It’s the name I go by pretty much everywhere, and it adds a consistency to my internet presence that I’ve never had before.

Names are particularly important to me.  I’m not entirely sure why.  Any time I have to come up with a name for a character, it takes me ages.  If Brian and I start characters together in WoW, he is almost always level four or five before I’ve even settled on a name.  I don’t have a list of names that I regularly return to.  Each character is named individually, based on their background.  I scour the web looking for names that are from a particular ethnic background that I think fits or that has a meaning that matches some characteristic.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Many of you may know Daniora as my Blood Elf Warlock, but that’s not where the name originally came from.  She started life as Zingaran Pirate in the Conan pen and paper RPG.

There she is, 11 wisdom and all.

I hadn’t really intended to play.  I wound up at one session of the game and was suckered into playing an NPC for one part.  After that, the DM, my dear friend Sam, enticed me to stay by saying I could play a pirate.  Well, I figured, what the heck.  I was in.  It was a fabulous excuse to buy more books and hang out with people.  The Zingarans are a gypsy-like people, so those were the names I looked at when choosing one for my character.  I chose the male name “Danior” and added the “a” at the end to make it feminine.  The meaning of “born with teeth” seemed to fit my vicious little pirate.

I loved her.  She was tough, and she had to be; she was the only female in the party and lived in a world where women were more or less just expected to be naked and/or lamenting. Looking back at her sheet, I can’t help but notice that in addition to her high rope and balance skills, she could also play the trumpet.  I seem to remember that being some method of piratical communication, but so far removed from the game, it just looks funny.

It was my first roll playing experience, and I was a bit self conscious about it.  Especially because everyone in the group I was playing with were hardened veterans. My shining moment of roll play came when Daniora had stayed behind to guard a prisoner we had captured while the others went off for something or other.  When they returned, Sam prompted me to describe what they were returning to.  I said, “I’m sitting in a chair drinking from a flagon of wine. The prisoner is huddled in the corner, rocking himself back and forth and muttering softly.” That really did say everything about Daniora and how she operated.

In the end, I didn’t play for long, and never really got to use my pirate skills (we were mostly traveling across the desert.  I tried to get the other players to carry a boat along with me on it so I could get my skill bonuses, but that didn’t go over too well).  It was fun, and Sam is a great DM, but the sessions were a little long for my liking and it was hard to be enthused about spending all day every Saturday engaged in the same activity.

I had played World of Warcraft back when it first came out.  I remember having to buy the discs at the Mac store since all the regular stores were sold out (both Mac and PC were on the same discs). I made myself a human warlock, but back in vanilla, leveling was a grind.  The people I was playing with soon far out-leveled me, and I was left to face the mechanical harvesters of Westfall alone.  I quit after that.

When Burning Crusade was being released, the new group of friends I was hanging with were all getting back into it.  They loved it so much that I thought I’d give it another try.  New account, Horde side (boy, did that make a difference!).   Because the people I was playing with all had other characters, they all decided to level blood elves.  I figured leveling with everyone else would be easier, so I picked a blood elf too.  Besides, say what you will about them, but they are addicted to magic.  That’s pretty awesome.  I remembered really liking the idea of the Warlock class, so that’s what I made.

When it came to a name, Daniora just seemed right.  Really, I probably thought it was a shame to let such a great name go to waste, gathering dust on a lonely character sheet. For a long while, I was the only Daniora on the Armory.  More have cropped up since then, and I wonder how they got to that name. My choosing it seems so random, a masculine gypsy name made feminine, it’s hard for me to imagine how someone else could find it too.

I like this picture because she looks bored. She almost always looks bored.

Daniora and I have been plundering the lands of Azeroth and Outlands together for over three years.  Some players are alt-aholics, I’m a main-aholic.  I’ve tried playing other characters, but I never get very far.  We’ve gotten Loremaster together, ground out a lot of nonsensical reps, scraped together a fair amount of gold.  A lot of people lose interest in WoW because it’s not really story driven, there’s a lot of repetitive questing and the like.  I have stayed rapt because I adore my character.

When I started getting into Twitter and posting on forums, I wanted a name that I could use for all of them.  At first, I had a lot of trouble finding a name that wasn’t taken.  I had my distaste for reusing names to contend with, but Daniora tends to be odd enough that it’s available everywhere.  Besides, most of the places I was posting were WoW related, so one could do worse than be associated with their main character.  In the end, I could have done worse than pick the name “Born With Teeth” to stand between me and the internet.

Apr 15 2010

[WoW] That’s Loremaster, baby!

Last night I achieved. I achieved hard.

That’s right, Loremaster.  It took several months of dedicated work and a lot of help from the internet. I had been rather enamored with the random dungeon finder, but as a DPS, I usually have a little wait.  I started working on Loremaster mostly as something to do while I was waiting for my turn in the queue.  Working through the lower level zones in Azeroth will really give you a sense of acomplishment, and that was when it started to look like a far less daunting task than I had originally anticipated. I also figured that if I was going to do it, I should probably get it done before Cataclysm.  There’s no telling what changes are coming down the line for that.  I already got Master of Arms and Did Somebody Order a Knuckle Sandwich since those will definitely be becoming Feats of Strength.  So, it was headfirst into Kalimdor.

Kalimdor sucked.  That’s all there is to it.  For being a Horde dominated continent, it sure is hard to reach that quest count.  I think Silithus was the biggest problem.  There were a fair number of quests that I was holding on since they required stupid amounts of work (Kill a million guys to get their outfits.  Use 5 outfits to get one crystal, use 10 crystals to get this other thing).  I knew from all the research I’d done that this was going to be the hardest part, so I got it over with first.  The rest really was a piece of cake.

I tried out a bunch of addons that were reported to at least help with the finding of missing quests.  The one that finally did it for me was the Wowhead Profiler.  This combined with their client made finding missing quests much easier.  I think that what they’ve done is that in order to get more people using their client to record drops etc, they’ve added the quest tracking functionality as an incentive.  Well, lemme tell you, it works fantastically.  Granted, WoW itself doesn’t always record that you’ve completed a quest when you have, so that information isn’t being reported to the Wowhead client.  For the most part, though, if there’s a quest on your unfinished quest list that you’ve done before, it may look familiar.  I used the list of quests mostly to located quest givers that I hadn’t yet visited.  Because the quests are in alphabetical order by quest title, it can be hard to locate the first quest in a chain that you still have to complete.

While I was working through all the zones, I also had the Seeker achievement tracking up.  It’s strange to note the differences between which quests count for Loremaster and which count for Seeker.  In the end, I wound up getting Seeker with four quests left for Loremaster.  I know other people have gotten Seeker well before that.  For a while, I was on track to get Loremaster first.  I’m not entirely sure what’s going on there, but I’d be interested to know if anyone else is noticing the same thing.

Now, however, it’s on to some rep grinding for us.  We need some rep reward mounts to fill out the stables. I also want to make sure that I hit up all the old world dungeons before the big boom.

Loremaster Daniora

Daniora and Thoothun hangin' in Dalaran.

Apr 9 2010

Gerp and Henry inspired projects

Now that these have been sent off and received by their intended target, I can make a post about the projects that have been keeping me busy for a while now.

I need to preface this story with a little background information.  For those of you who don’t know, Scott Johnson is a very talented comic artist and podcaster.  His shows are always of the highest quality and unbelievably entertaining.  I’ve been listening to all of his stuff for a while now.  He plays World of Warcraft, and his main is an Orc hunter named Gerp whose favorite pet is a tiger named Henry.  This has spawned all sorts of things, like the Obey Henry movement.  I’m a huge fan of Scott’s, which is where this crazy story begins.

Just before Christmas, I was working on some gifts with fleece.  I got this crazy idea in my head that I could make a pretty good Orc hat.  Oddly enough, that’s a perfectly reasonable thought for me to have on any given day.  Then I thought of doing a tiger scarf rather in the style of the old fox stoles.  You know the kind.  The ones with the feet that dangle off the end and such.  Now, I have ideas like this all the time.  Projects that I could do tend to flit in and out of my mind while I’m working on other things.  This one was different.  This one stuck.  I found myself thinking through the construction problems and details that would need to be worked out. I imagined what it would look like finished.

I got a basic hat pattern so that I wouldn’t be working completely blind.  I chose one with a band at the bottom that would serve as the separation where his mouth would be.  I got myself some screenshots of Gerp off of the Armory (which was much easier now that it’s new-and-improved with 3D goodness) and got to work.  The braid was pretty easy, the ears were a challenge.  I got plastic doll eyes and gave him eyelids (which I thought was rather brilliant, if I do say so myself).  All in all, other than a few snags, it came together pretty smoothly.

Detail of the Gerp Hat

The finished product.

He’s even got the sweet braid down the back.

Back detail of the Gerp hat

Sweet braid!

Alright, hat done.  The scarf proved to be much simpler. They tell me that tiger striped fleece exists.  It does not exist at any of the area Joann’s Fabrics, so I was unable to acquire it.  Besides, it was not quite the right colors for Henry.  I cut a big long piece of fleece and sewed all the triangle strips along it.  I made the little feet to hang off the ends.  To keep the scarf from getting too bulky, I opted to do a flat head and tail with only the ears sticking up.  Sadly, my pictures of the scarf aren’t quite as good as I would have hoped, but you’ll get the idea.

Overview of the Henry scarf

The scarf in all it's glory.

His face turned out a little sweeter than I expected, but I think it’s a little bit precious.

Henry's sweet face

So sweet!

On one of the episodes of The Instance (Scott’s World of Warcraft podcast), he mentioned that he wished there was a Henry plushie.  This was right after the Blizzard release of their new plush line.  Since Brian gave me a book on making fleece animals, I thought I’d try my hand at a tiger.  Now, again, I didn’t have any tiger print fleece, which is what they used in the book, so I had to improvise and add the stripes to the fabric pieces as I went along.  There are a few spots where they’re a little strange, but I think it turned out pretty well in the end.  I even printed out a custom “Obey Henry” tag.

Henry Plush with tag detail

And he's extra cuddly!

I had an absolutely fabulous time working on all these projects.  It was great to have a focused outlet for my creativity and something to fill the time.  And it was all worth it knowing that I was sending it to someone I knew would appreciate them.  Along the way, I figured out that the only possible fate for these items was for me to send them to Scott himself.  He got them today, and I’m really excited that he liked them so much.

Scott with his presents

He wears it well.

I’ve put up a flickr album with all the pictures of this stuff.  I’m excited to move on to the next big thing.

Oct 7 2009

[WoW] Homegrown Figure Print

The Instance podcast had a contest this week to make your own FigurePrint.  I had a ton of fun, though there were definitely a few setbacks. Behold, Amelinda the Blood Elf warlock of AIE.


I found out yesterday that the cut off for entries was today.  So it was a long night last night and I wish I’d had a bit more time.  But I’m really pleased with how she turned out.  Because of my issues with indoor lighting, I had planned on taking the photo outside.  I woke up this morning to pouring rain.  Fortunately, rain stopped and the sun was out just long enough for me to get some great shots.  I took a bunch in the garden, but the best ones came from the wall of the cemetery across the street.  Very appropriate, I thought.  I’ve got some in progress shots as well as the finished ones in an album for your enjoyment.  Just click the image above. The in progress ones stop abruptly when I realize I only have one more day to finish.