c.e. taillefer

December 20, 2011

Blizzard Contest 2011 Winners!

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Early yesterday morning, Blizzard announced the official winners of the 2011 Writing Contest!

Winner:

“The Exit” by Danny McAleese

Finalists (in alphabetical order):

“Anatomy of Demons” by David Patterson
“Daughter of Lordaeron” by Marika Kermode
“Echo of Pride” by Martin Arthur Paul Wilson
“Reforged” by Anthony Dickson
“The Future of Lordaeron” by Tyler F.M. Edwards
“The Heavier Burden” by Erica Cargle
“The Stranger” by Walter Handloser
Honourable Mentions
“Ashes over Stormwind” by Ryan K. Stansifer
“Blood and Thunder” by Alex Boston
“Haven of the Windless Sea” by Celine Taillefer
“Iron Lady Down” by Joe Trela
“Isn’t Falstad Dead?” by Ian Casteen Bates
“A Mage’s Honor” by Geoffrey Walano
“Mending and Renewal” by James C. Reuss
“Pawned” by Ivan Carvalho
“Purity” by Tim Marrero
“The Short Happy Lives of the Southern Barrens Sapper Corps” by Nicholas Lampros
“Warrior’s Hands” by Allison Utterback
I’ll admit, there’s not much in the title of the winning entry to go on: it could easily be a WoW, Diablo or Starcraft, but if the past two winners are any indication, it will be excellent. On the forums, CM Daxxari said the following:

By way of explanation, our story contests inevitably prompt the innocent inquiry, “Can I post my story on my website?” This intonation regularly results in an altercation featuring a flurry of agitation, speculation, admonition, and inevitable degeneration into contention, to which it is my intention to add an adjudication which I hope will ease future consternation:

The stories can be posted, as long as they’re not used to directly generate revenue.

So, an author could use their story as part of a writing portfolio or post it on their website, and that would be fine so long as it isn’t used to generate income.

So if you submitted a story to the Writing Contest and would like it linked here, let me know! At the moment, any of the stories I’m aware of that have been posted have been linked above.

Congratulations to all the winner’s this year!

December 5, 2011

Dragon Soul 4.3 – One Week On

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As of tomorrow, it will be one week since 4.3 dropped, and what a hectic week it’s been.  Between racing to finish Nanowrimo (3000 words to go when the 30th rolled around; though that’s not even close to the dark-horse come-back one of the regional members made that day of 11k before midnight), getting my paladin tuned up for Firelands on Saturday night, and Darkmoon Faire dropping yesterday, it’s been one hell of a scramble.

It’s important that the tank looks and feels her best before stepping into Rag’s domain.

Of the major changes 4.3 introduced, transmogrification hit #1 for me, clocking in at about 12+ hours of running TBC content for gear (purple Judgment for my paladin, getting rep for my rogue’s Opportunist set), hitting up retro raids with my guild and farming up bizzaro items like Soul Essences for those hard to fill slots like gloves for my mage. For those of you who are driven to make as many sets as humanly possible, the addon MogIt is an invaluable resource. (Thanks to Cynwise for this tip!)

My mage changes clothes like she’s on America’s Next Top Mage, anyway.

There were also the new heroics to step into! And while the allure of i378 gear is strong, go in with a guild group if you can, take your time and see the sights, especially in the new Well of Eternity instance, which is one of our first (and possibly only) looks into old Kaldorei culture.  It’s also a great place to brush up on your Malfurion hate Tyrande accent occasional reminders that Illidan was a pretty cool guy, aside from that chugging demon juice stuff.  And of course the loot is excellent – nearly every caster in our guild is currently rocking a Foul Gift of the Demon Lord.

Darkmoon Faire opened yesterday, and it’s just as fun as it was on the PTR.  Just in case it wasn’t totally obvious, while I love raiding and dungeons, the flavour type events like transmog, archaeology and DMF have always been at the heart and soul of my WoW experiences.

I mean, it’s right there on my title.

 

Games! Easy profession experience for alts!  More new pets and mounts you can shake a Corn-Breaded Sausage at.  Reports on getting a Sea Pony have been particularly favourable towards 100 or fewer casts, so grab a pole and dip into the waters; the other fish are the same as from low-level fishing areas, so no need to be scared off. And of course, if you come across a Shipwreck Debris pool, you can’t catch garbage from pools! (But you might catch a Sea Turtle.)

Most of the games and items are detailed excellently in Apple Cider Mage’s guide to the Faire here, so I won’t rehash covered territory, but be sure to pick up your Adventurer’s Guide while you are there, because you don’t want to miss out on the extra tickets turning in artifacts can bring you.  At the moment, ‘appropriately leveled’ seems to be unclear; I was getting artifact quest items from dungeons as low as Blackrock Depths, but grisly trophies would only drop from green monsters and up.  But that includes monsters in high-level Wrath dungeons if you’re running those for gear, so be sure to have it on you at all times! (With Void Storage now live, no excuses for bag space being at a premium.)

The best part about 4.3, no doubt in conjunction with the goodies promised for annual passes, is that our guild roster is packed with people all day and night.  The end of each major patch brings fatigue and new ones bring out old friends again, and that’s been the best part.  Well, that and the pretty new gear.

Have you been enjoying 4.3? What’s your favourite parts so far?

November 17, 2011

Heart’s Blood, White Ribbons (Trigger warnings for rape)

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Whenever I make the statement that while I don’t believe men can be feminists, I do think they have roles to play within feminism, there’s inevitably one or two men (or women!) asking, “Well, like what?”

Guys, here’s your chance.

The White Ribbon campaign is an international awareness movement devoted to stopping violence against women. A lot of their promotional materials are devoted to educating and encouraging men to take up action against men perpetuating violence against women. Before the derailing penny gets laid on the tracks, let’s cover it:

Yes, men get raped too. Their assault is typically perpetuated by other men. Yes, women have committed rape – but they account for less than 2% of all sexual assaults committed, and this includes: statutory rape (teacher/student), abuse of their own children or abuse perpetuated on another woman. So of that already tiny percent, an even smaller percent is female-on-male abuse. Savvy? When I say his/he when talking about rapists, I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass.

Now, I often feel very strongly about violence against women, both for personal reasons and the more lofty goal of, “it’s fucking gross, don’t do that shit”. But whenever it happens within something you consider your community, you get reminded of how very far men have to go in telling each other not to rape.

One of the gold-making bloggers, Alyzande aka Gold Queen has been extremely candid in blogging about her recent experience with violence and rape. (TW for suicide at link.) Because she is a woman on the internet, being honest about her experience, people think this gives them license to be gross dicks about it, judging her or doubting her story.

Protip men: when I said there are things you can do to help feminism, this is a key one. Support survivors of assault. Don’t heap on the victim blaming. If you can’t help yourself from the latter, please kick yourself firmly in the nards.

BUT.

Some WoW bloggers have used this as an opportunity to spread love and support for Alyzande personally, as well as information and education on the international white ribbon campaign. I don’t know who initially made this image, but it’s perfect:

Click the ribbon.  Do one of the things suggested on the site, especially if you’re a guy asking “Okay then, what is my role in feminism?”  This is it. Do this.
October 30, 2011

Free to a Good Home: Core Hound Puppy

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That’s right! To celebrate my triumphant return from Blizzon 2011, I am giving one core hound puppy away to a lucky new forever home.

Which is to say, I’m giving away one of these bad boys:

Full goody bag list at Game Geex!

It’s a Vasco authenticator, and if you don’t have this in either key fob or mobile form on your smartphone, you don’t get an adorable minipet for free. But also, your account can be more vulnerable to hacking. WoW accounts are among some of the most valuable returns on hacking for gold-selling; don’t let your account become a statistic.  No excuses, this puppy’s free!

How to enter: leave a comment on this post between October 30th (that’s today!) and November 5th.  That’s all!  If you want to write a hilarious story about how aliens from outer space ate your authenticator, even better.  At the end of the contest, I’ll run all the comment entries through a random number generator and contact the winner to get shipping information.

I hear random number generators help prevent scenarios like this.
October 27, 2011

Son I am Disappoint

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I’m back from Blizzcon and in true con fashion, I came home with a tiny attached guest – the common cold.  So I’m sitting in my alliance hoodie with a box of tissue soul-bound to my hand.  In spite of the backlog of work emails sitting in my inbox, I’m actually glad for the respite and rest, even if it does involve nails in the back of my throat.

Blizzcon was a whirlwind of 17 hours days, goggling at gorgeous cosplay, being Canadian in an American’s world (“It’s in the bowl over there.” “Bull?” “Bowl.” “Bull??” “No, the bowl. BOWL.”) and awesome panels. But.

But.

(Trigger warning for suicide after the jump.)

Read more ››

October 20, 2011

Blizzcon, here I come!

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Hope to see you there!
October 8, 2011

A Reading from the Letter of Paul, to the Defias

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“Grace and Peace to you, Edwin van Cleef. Paul greets you in his own hand. I am thankful for you and your skillful work in rebuilding the city of Stormwind as a testament to the Light.
“I urge you to make amends for the grievous faults of your members, in smiting Tiffin Wrynn in the face with a rock. Do not put on the red bandanna of vengeance. Instead, don a mantle of peace. Wrap your brow in the Light’s pure strength. Was it not Bridenbad who taught us that the Light is stronger than death; the Naaru more powerful than the sting of the plague? Let King Wrynn send you alms, and let you put them forth to the poor of Westfall as amends for your crimes.
“Pray for me, and my amanuensis Anduin. Greet all the Defias with a kiss. I shall be with you shortly, after Winter’s Veil. Go with the Light.”

August 16, 2011

So many girls in here, where do I begin?

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The 2011 Blizzard Writing Contest has come around again, just in time for the weather to cool off enough to make writing on a coffee shop patio appealing.  There’s a number of things I’m hoping to see from entries, this year, but more than anything, I want to see awesome stories about awesome women.  I can’t hug every cat write every story, but there are plenty of women in the Blizzard lore that deserve face time by dedicated writers.

Heavy Hitters: These are the big name players, women who’ve already had their stories touched on in official books and lore.  They’re characters most people are likely to know and interested to read about.

i) Sylvanas Windrunner: we know who she is, where she came from, how she became the Banshee Queen.  What’s it like being Sylvanas without the Lich King?  How does she feel being cheated of vengeance at Icecrown Citadel?  Her experimentations with the plague, with the valkyr, and butting heads with Garrosh are all interesting depths to plumb.

ii) Jaina Proudmoore: is getting her own book via Christie Golden! Very exciting.  But in the meantime, there’s plenty to Jaina that can still be touched upon.  Studying in Dalaran, the only thing she really wanted to do.  The death of her father, and the role she played in it.  Keeping the human survivors of Lordaeron together while fleeing to Kalimdor.

iii) Tyrande Whisperwind: again, we got a glimpse of her recently in “Seeds of Faith”, but she shares billing with Malfurion.  She was the one, not the humans, who sent the ships to Gilneas’ aid.  She dealt with Fandral’s insolence for years and years.  When the Shen’dralar came out of their exile prior to the Cataclysm, she accepted them back, allowing them to teach arcane magics to the young night elves.

Other (but no less interesting) NPCS:


i) Sassy Hardwrench: okay, I am gnome/dwarf to the core.  But when Cata came out, I couldn’t resist rolling a goblin priest to experience the new starting zones.  Thrall? Trade Prince Jerkwad?  Snooze.  Sassy Hardwrench? NEW BFF FOR LIFE. She’s tough as nails, stands by your toon, and after losing everything by standing by your character, still manages to create a town named after herself in STV.  Sassy is no. 1 for my choice of women characters worth writing about.

ii) Maiev Shadowsong, Sayanna Stormrunner and the Wardens: With the Shadow Warden presence in the Molten Front, it’s as good a time as any to tackle the Wardens, particularly in light of their charge escaping.  How does Sayanna deal with that failure in light of a hero like Maiev who didn’t rest until she had recaptured or killed her own prisoner?

iii) Mylune: Come on, does this really even need explanation?

iv) Lorna Crowley: She’s a gun-toting, dog-training badass with a flower in her hair who becomes commander of the liberation movement for Gilneas.  She’s so badass she escapes both becoming Forsaken and Worgen.  Honorable mention and equal badassitude to Gwen Armstead, as well.

v) Stormcaller Mylra: this was a great expansion for dwarves and dwarven women – if you’re not a Bronzebeard, anyway.  Mylra’s one of the Earthen Ring shaman who helps you suss out what the deal is with the Twilight Hammer in Deepholm, and helps you fight an old god minion in Twilight Highlands.  She doesn’t hesitate to do what’s needed.

vi) Fanny Thundermar: Another Wildhammer dwarf woman, Fanny’s a prize catch for eligible bachelors due to her connections. But actually, she’s also a wicked fighter, and a woman who knows what she wants in a partner.  Plus, think of all the hilarious puns you can work in to shock UK and Aussie readers.

vii) Blood Raven: I’m deviating a bit from WoW lore because a) Diablo is fine too! and b) given my kajillion restarts of DII, I fought her more times than I’d like to admit.  Did you know she’s meant to be the corrupted form of the rogue NPC from Diablo?  The demon Andariel corrupted her and a number of her sisters after a trip to Tristram (nothing good ever happens there.)  Between her and Kashya, there’s lots of story fodder.

The Obvious Choice:


i) Your NPC: The greatest thing about writing in the Warcraft lore – and really, any of the Blizzard IPs – is that you have your own blank slate to work with.  Your character has performed all sorts of tasks, from mundane to heroic.  There’s surely a million stories to be told from them alone.

To all entrants in the Blizzard Writing Contest, good luck. Don’t ever doubt, don’t ever stop writing.