Saturday, October 16, 2021

Forever in... well... you know****

A week or two ago, I was asked when I was going to get an alt to Outland. My response was that if I was going to get another toon to Outland, it was likely going to be a Horde toon. I'm not exactly sure why the people who asked were so surprised*, as I've not exactly been shy about Neve and Quintalan's existence. Maybe people just figured that I'd stay Alliance all the way or something.

But here I am, with Neve at L28, shuttling back and forth from between Ashenvale and Hillsbrad Foothills, and having a blast along the way.

One thing I have noticed, however, is that some of the Mage specific gear is similar to the Mage gear that Cardwyn accumulated, while other gear pieces are very different.

This particular robe, the Manaweave Robe, is familiar to any Alliance Mage who wore robes early in their career as part of Mage quests:

Don't get any funny ideas, Vor'el.

As you can tell, the Sindorei version of the Mage questline is quite similar to the Human one in that you get a Manaweave Robe, but the Forsaken version yields something quite different:

This is called the 'Lesser Spellfire Robe'.
I don't see anything "lesser" about them.

Does that robe look a bit familiar? Does knowing that the robe came from a Forsaken help? Well, for those who remember the Arathi Basin in-game map....

Theoretically, that's Jaina on the left.
No idea who the Forsaken on the right is,
but apparently Forsaken have a
real 'zombie rack' about them.

Yeah, that looks a helluva lot like the Forsaken Mage's robe.

And yes, I will grant anybody who noticed that yes, the Lesser Spellfire Robe looks a lot sexier than the Manaweave Robe.

Or even sexier than this "Social/RP" robe that drops in Silverpine Forest, the Dalaran Wizard's Robe:

Hmm... I think I need to get
Card over to Silverpine Forest.
Except that the Dalaran Wizards there
are all Green. Hmmm Neutral AH we go.....

But you know what? There's a quest around L27/L28 that has Neve shuttled over to Orgrimmar and talking to a Troll Mage there. I presumed that Neve was about to get the wand quest --after all, it was around that level that Cardwyn got her wand quest-- but it was a "go collect water from Xavian and we'll make a robe for you" quest. I figured that wasn't going to be too hard (it wasn't), and I ended up with this Nether-lace Robe:

Yes, Neve was in the Barrens
when I took that screenshot.
I miss Barrens Chat.

Oh yes, it's another sexy yet functional robe.

I think I see a trend here....


The ironic thing about this is that Neve has begun acquiring all of these RP-style robes as my opinions concerning these robes have begun changing. It's not that I've suddenly become a "cool dad" or "horndog dad" or something, but more that my kids' attitudes toward clothing has changed, and I've been dragged along for the ride.

For the longest time, the girls have worn t-shirts and jeans, and if they ever experimented with clothing it was out of my view. As Cardwyn's personality is a mix of my daughters', that kept Card's clothing choices kind of, well, blah. Function over form, I suppose. 

But they grew up, went away to college, and then when they came home for break, I started seeing items like this in the laundry:

Or a mesh version, but
this will do. From

Or crop tops, that would go like, well, this:

It's not like is going
to see a sudden uptick in purchases,
but you get the idea.

Or underwear or bras that definitely did not fit the "functional" end of the spectrum. 

If the girls thought they were going to faze me much, they underestimated me. I just kind of shrugged and dealt with it. I mean, I went through a"fashion revolution" when I was at university, which was amusing because right after I graduated the "grunge look" came into style, and my entire flannel wardrobe from 1989 would have suddenly been hip were it not replaced by stuff that my female friends had pilfered from their brothers' and boyfriends' wardrobes.**

But still, I never walked around with the male equivalent of sexy shorts/underwear.....


so your mileage may vary.

As you can see, the girls grew up and began to follow their own identity and make their own fashion choices. Which leads me back to Cardwyn.

It's one thing for me to say that Card's personality is a mix of the girls', but it's quite another to actually let that personality change over time. After all, Card was pretty sheltered growing up on a farm in Eastern Elwynn, and her parents had incentives to not attract attention to themselves either. But as time has gone on, she's been exposed to more and different cultures and ways of thinking. She's become an adult and has developed her own tastes. So while she still has a societal (and fashion) grounding in how she grew up, she's definitely expanded her horizons a bit. So.... while there are times when Card seems unrecognizable to me, such as wearing the Crystal Webbed Robe without a shirt underneath, I have to realize that my own children have moved on from their own starting points. What may look overly flirty and flaunt their assets in a way I'd never conceive of my wife doing***, it is only natural to them. 

And the same is with Cardwyn (or Neve or Az). Although to be fair, Az has always had a more open take on fashion and what is "acceptable" than Card ever has. And Neve... Well, she's not nothing to lose. She's confident, snarky, and glib in a way that the original Neve never was, but that's also a reflection of how my playing MMOs have changed in the 11+ years since I started her. Mage wise, Neve is very much the Yang to Cardwyn's Ying. Maybe there's a story there, how they met, because if Card ever made it to Outland, the possibility was there that two Mages of a different faction would join the same Outland faction (Scryers).


Now, about Briganaa...

She's kind of a tough nut to crack. 

Before anybody says "hey, she's your toon, dress her as you see fit!" I recognize that I'm probably agonizing over nothing. But for me, I want Brig's personality to be distinct from my other toons. 

At one point, while Brig was leveling in the mid-L60s, she was wearing some leg gear that I could only describe as Daisy Dukes. They were so short that I wondered why on earth Blizz still had her tail coming out a hole cut in the back of the shorts. Wouldn't it be easier, I reasoned, if Blizz just converted it to a skirt and not worried about the tail hole?

When I showed the (lack of) clothing to my questing buddy, she quipped, "So how does it feel?" We'd already had some amusement with the fact that Brig --as a Draenei-- was so tall that Humans were barely at an eyeball level to her breasts. But this felt different.

"I don't know," I replied. I don't really know what Brig would think about it.

"How come?"

"I think that's because I don't know what Draenei --in general-- would think about [those shorts]. Brig has her own personality, but I don't really know what that is yet."

And I still don't. 

I've seen enough Draenei NPCs interacting that I know they're not of a monolithic hive mind or something, but they've also been under siege for so long that sort of creeps into your head and affects everything you see. And, I must admit, I've seen some of the NPCs out in the field act occasionally flirty or sexy, but I know enough that they also have a sort of Pollyanna-ish attitude about them. You know, the sort of thing where if Brig ever came to the farm and greeted Card and her family with a "Good health, long life!!" Card would turn to the closest person to her and say "Is she for real?" And that presence, combined with that dance of theirs, and you'd be left wondering if the Draenei even understand what sort of vibes they appear to give off to the other races.

Those are the sort of contradictions that I have to work through before I can truly understand Brig better.

Because of that, fashion and Brig are kind of a black box right now. But one thing is certain, if you go to the Naga camp west of SSC and north of the Horde base, you'll see the female Naga wearing some sort of oversized leather dress. I took one look at that and thought "THIS. This is the sort of thing that Brig would wear when she wasn't fighting: low key, stylish, and practical." That Briganaa is both a Skinner and Leather Worker would make it a perfect fit for her as well. 

When you ask if you can have one, they
get all mad at you. Believe me, I've tried.


Oh, one last thing. This is something I've been working on for a while, and I don't know when the entire thing will see the light of day, so I figured why not and post a little bit.

As is usually the case, this is a work in progress, so it still needs editing and blah blah blah.  To set the scene, this is when Cardwyn finally reached Stormwind and is about to deliver her mother's warning to SI:7. The message is hidden, strapped to her arm and covered by the sleeve of her robes.

I picked up my pace and walked through the unmarked door.

Inside, desks were laid out in an orderly fashion with mounds of paperwork atop each, while people of all Alliance races read, marked up, and set aside one sheet of paper after another. If I didn't know any better, it looked to all the world like some large mercantile operation, organizing trading from far away locales such as Auberdine and Everlook. Portraits decorated the walls, with the occasional landscape mixed in for added flavor. Two adjoining rooms contained more desks and people, although there were primarily physical items atop each desk. On more than one desk I recognized vials similar to the ones the nameless Kaldorei used, and made a mental note to keep my distance.

I approached the desk closest to the door where a man sat, writing away. Judging by the paper he kept referencing, he was translating something.

"If you're looking for the Mage Quarter," he said in a bored tone without looking up, "you made a wrong turn. Go back through over the canal and head west, not east."

"I'm in the right place, sir," I replied. "I'm to deliver a message to the Vintner from Alice Gray."

He stopped writing, the hand with the pen hovering over the parchment. "And I'm to believe you about this?"

Mom had prepped me for this possibility. "Day or night," I recited, "rain or shine, Alice Gray always delivers the harvest to the Vintner."

All activity in the room came to a screeching halt.

I could feel eyes on me; only a fool wouldn't feel them now, but I kept my focus on the man before me. He carefully set his pen aside and looked up.

And promptly fell over in his chair.

"Light!" he exclaimed as he picked himself off the ground. "How is..."

I heard the main door close quietly behind me. If Mom were wrong, my day was about to get a lot worse. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an auburn haired woman whisper something to a coworker and run up the stairs in the rear.

The man managed to recover his wits in record time. "Well, if you've a message for the Vintner, then let's have it," he said after brushing off his clothing.

"I'm to deliver it personally, sir," I replied, certain that the man could hear my heart pounding in my chest.

The man cleared his throat. "Yes, well then. You see, the Vintner is a busy man, and if you intend to deliver it personally, you might have to wait a while."

"I can wait." If he thought I'd risk Mom's wrath by not following her instructions to the letter, he was in for a surprise.

"Yes, of course." The man returned to his chair and picked up his pen.

Dad's training came back to me. Never take your eyes off of an enemy, he admonished during a particularly hard practice session. They will try to distract you to gain an advantage. Don't let them. Keep your focus on them at all times.

As I stood there, waiting, the man tried returning to his work without success. "Begging your pardon, ma'am," he said after several failed attempts at writing, "but can you please sit down? I have this work to finish before the end of the day."

"I'm comfortable standing," I replied, "but I'll step back."

"No need," another voice interrupted. "I'm here."

A man dressed in black came down the stairs and approached me, followed by the auburn haired woman. His own hair was a shade lighter auburn color, with a matching mustache and goatee. What struck me the most, however, were his eyes: the color of a sun drenched pond, they were focused on me with an intensity I'd seen before only from Mom.

The man at the desk scrambled to stand at attention. "Sir," he began. "There's a--"

"--message for me from Alice Gray," the man in black finished. "I'll take it from here, Jasper."

"Yes, sir," the man saluted and returned to his desk.

"And you, Young Mage," the man in black added, "please follow me."
I followed the man up the stairs while the woman fell in behind me. At the top of the steps we turned right and headed into a relatively unassuming room. There were a few paintings on the walls, a large map of Azeroth spread out on a table, and a desk with several chairs.

And one small green man.

If there was a way to stuff more teeth into one crazed grin, I don't think it'd been invented yet. He was shorter than a Dwarf, and far more intimidating than a Gnome. He had pointy ears that stuck out from his head, but unlike the long slender ears of the Elven kindreds his were stout and thick, like the difference between a skinning knife and a throwing one. His eyes dripped malice, yet when he saw me he let out a howling laugh. "Was that Jasper I heard down there, Boss?" he guffawed. "I'd have given a lot to see the look on his face when he got a load of her!"

"Jasper needs to work on being less excitable," the man replied, "although I suppose he can be excused this time."

He nodded to the woman behind me. "Thanks for the alert, Sloan."

"You're welcome, Sir," she replied and turned to me. "It's an honor to meet you, Young Mage."

"Same to you," I replied, wondering what she was talking about. I hadn't done anything noteworthy.

After Sloan shut the door, the man motioned me into a seat. "Well, Renzik," he asked the green man, "What do you think?"

"If it were up to me, Boss, I'd say that some people, such as Jasper, need to do a bit more facial recognition training. Oh, at first and even second glance she's a ringer, but close ain't gonna win ya some gold at the Mirage."

The man nodded, scratching his goatee. "I guess it was inevitable that you'd come here, Cardwyn Songshine," he said at last.

Somehow, I was not surprised he knew my name. "You're the Vintner, I presume?"

"Yes I am. I'm Mathias Shaw, and this is Renzik, my lieutenant."

I think I was supposed to be impressed, but in some weird way my lack of knowledge made me bolder than I ordinarily would have. "Then this is for you," I replied, using a flick of the wrist to dislodge the letter from the leather device hidden on my arm. The letter fell neatly into my hand and I held it out to Mathias.

Mathias took the letter and turned it over a few times. "Renzik," he finally said, "I'm going to need some privacy. This is a personal matter."

*My questing buddy wasn't, for example, when I mentioned it. She knew of my fondness for Neve and Q.

**A whole lot of American Eagle was going on in my wardrobe.

***Dear, if you're reading this, go for it. Go ahead and blow my mind, I'm ready. (I think.)

****Yes, I shamelessly stole from a Gap jeans commercial. The commercial features Neil Diamond wearing Gap jeans, goofing around on a green screen. Finally he says, "Forever in, well, you know..." referencing his song Forever in Blue Jeans.

EtA: Added the explanation for the title.


  1. Ah, yes, all those lovely robes that I carefully collected for my Blood Elf Mage! I am amused by the synchrony between Neve's robe tastes becoming less conservative and your daughters casually revealing that, having left home, their clothing tastes have become more, shall we say -- decorative.
    Hehe, my Shaman is a skinner/leatherworker, too. I worked hard to make her some good stuff during BC!
    More Cardwyn is always a treat, and I am chuckling at her first impressions of a goblin!

    1. "Decorative" is a good way of putting it, that's for sure. I guess that means that even Midwesterners can develope a sense of fashion over time.

      Oh yes, the description of a goblin. That was the earliest part of this section, and it took me a while to get it just right. Glad you liked it!