On Writing: 10 Types of Short Stories

A Notebook and Pen

My blog posts have taken many forms over the years – WoW-related mostly, from transmog to raiding to Best-in-Slot lists, but also short stories, personal thoughts, and school work.  I enjoy everything I write, but I have come to realize that my favorite thing (next to actual writing stories when I have the ideas) is writing about writing.

Recently, my very talented streamer and video-creator beau WoWMartiean got access to the current Alpha testing for Warlords of Draenor.  It has been interesting to sneak peeks over his shoulder, despite how adamant I usually am to keep my distance and not learn anything about WoW content before it is released.  Honestly, I think that has all been thrown out the window since 1) I live with him and 2) I am too damn nosy and curious.  I cannot help it, now I want to know about the changes to Mistweaver Monks and see every little bit of Draenor I can.

*****  *****  Spoiler Start  *****  *****

One of the things he and I have discussed so far is a new type of rare mob being introduced.  I am not sure of all the details, but Blizzard is referring to them as “vignettes” and they seem to be a rare with more complicated mechanics than a normal rare.

*****  *****  Spoiler End  *****  *****

This started me down an interesting train of thought… and I decided to write a post on the different types of short stories.

Defining a Short Story

To discuss the different types of short stories, first I should define a short story.

A short story is a piece of brief literature, usually written in narrative prose.  Short stories can be written in a variety of formats, but the most typical features a small cast of characters with names and focuses on a single, self-contained incident.  Short stories make use of a plot and other normal literary components, just to a lesser and shorter degree than a novel.  They also vary in length.

10 Types of Short Stories

Now that we know generally what a short story is, we can discuss the different types of short stories.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, since short stories come in a wide variety of lengths and styles.  But this is a list of the most common.

Anecdote

An anecdote is a short account of something interesting and amusing, which usually tells a story about a real person and/or incident.  Often, anecdotes are used to illustrate or support a point in an essay, article, or chapter.  They are very short, but have no specific limits.

From grammar.about.com’s entry for the anecdote, an example anecdote about Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“In [Ralph Waldo] Emerson’s later years his memory began increasingly to fail. He used to refer to it as his ‘naughty memory’ when it let him down. He would forget the names of things, and have to refer to them in a circumlocutory way, saying, for instance, ‘the implement that cultivates the soil’ for plow. Worse, he could not remember people’s names. At Longfellow’s funeral, he remarked to a friend, ‘That gentleman has a sweet, beautiful soul, but I have entirely forgotten his name.’ Perhaps most touching was his term for umbrella–‘the thing that strangers take away.'”

(Reported in Clifton Fadiman, ed., The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, 1985)

Drabble

A drabble is an exceptionally short piece of fiction, usually of exactly 100 words in length – not including the title.  The purpose of a drabble is extreme brevity and to test an author’s skill at expressing himself/herself meaningfully and interestingly in a very confined space.

A drabble example, by the lovely Matty, is available over at Sugar and Blood: Light as a Feather.  In fact, Matty has many drabble stories!

Fable

A fable is a succinct story featuring anthropomorphic creatures (usually animals, but also mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature) to tell a story with a moral.  Often the moral is explicitly told at the end.  A fable is similar to a parable, but differs most in the fact that fables use animals to tell a story but parables do not.

The most well-known example of a fable would be any of the many told in Aesop’s Fables.  The one I always remember the best is The Ant and the Grasshopper.

Feghoot

A feghoot is an interesting short story type also known as a story pun or a poetic story joke.  It is a humorous piece ending in an atrocious pun.  It can be very short, only long enough to sufficiently illustrate the context of the piece enough to lead up to the pun.

I found an interesting blog of all Feghoots.  This one is a good example and totally groan-worthy as the format requires: The Buck of the Draw.

Flash Fiction

Flash fiction refers to an extremely short piece of literature.  It has no widely accepted length, but has a debated cap of between 300 and 1000 words.

I found a whole webpage of flash fiction, called Flash Fiction Online.  It has a small section of fantasy and I thought this one a good example to share: One Last Night at the Carnival Before the Stars Go Out.

Frame Story

A frame story is also known as a frame tale or a nested narrative.  It is a literary technique of placing a story within a story, for the purpose of introducing or setting the stage for a main narrative or a series of short stories.

A few good example of a frame story would be a flashback within a larger piece or a quest within a larger game environment.

Mini-saga

A mini-saga is a short story told in exactly 50 words.  It is a test in brevity – about saying a lot with a little.

I found a fascinating “guide” to writing a mini-saga.  It has a few examples and the bottom is for filling in with your exact 50 words.  There was another page with good advice and a progressive piece as an example.

Story Sequence

A story sequence, also called a short story cycle or a composite novel, is a group of short stories that work together to form a longer piece, while still functioning as complete short stories on their own.

It would be hard to link to an example, but the best I can think of are several of the works of Isaac Asimov – the Foundation books and I, Robot (the original book, NOT the story portrayed in the Will Smith movie) in particular.  They are not a novel in the traditional sense, but instead a collection of short stories in chronological order that both tell small stories and one larger one.

Sketch Story

A sketch story is a shorter than average piece containing little or no plot.  It can be merely a description of a character or a location.  Character sketches are common, and a good way to build a character that will eventually be part of a longer piece.

I found this good handout about character sketches, including an example.  I wrote a piece a while back about writing character sketches.  I think Regrets, my original blog post and the start of my Shaman-Effy/DK-Effy stories, and the character sketch piece I wrote for creative writing last semester are both good examples as well.

Vignette

And finally, we come to the vignette, which started this whole post in the first place!

A vignette is a short, impressionistic piece that focuses on a single scene, character, idea, setting, or object.  There is little emphasis on adhering to conventional theatrical or literary structure, or story development.  It can be a stand-alone piece or part of a larger work.

From grammar.about.com’s entry for the vignette, an example vignette by E.B. White:

“The strong streak of insanity in railroads, which accounts for a child’s instinctive feeling for them and for a man’s unashamed devotion to them, is congenital; there seems to be no reason to fear that any disturbing improvement in the railroads’ condition will set in. Lying at peace but awake in a Pullman berth all one hot night recently, we followed with dreamy satisfaction the familiar symphony of the cars–the diner departing (furioso) at midnight, the long, fever-laden silences between runs, the timeless gossip of rail and wheel during the runs, the crescendos and diminuendos, the piffling poop-pooping of the diesel’s horn. For the most part, railroading is unchanged from our childhood. The water in which one washes one’s face at morn is still without any real wetness, the little ladder leading to the upper is still the symbol of the tremendous adventure of the night, the green clothes hammock still sways with the curves, and there is still no foolproof place to store one’s trousers.

“Our journey really began several days earlier, at the ticket window of a small station in the country, when the agent showed signs of cracking under the paperwork. ‘It’s hard to believe,’ he said, ‘that after all these years I still got to write the word “Providence” in here every time I make out one of these things. Now, there’s no possible conceivable way you could make this journey without going through Providence, yet the Company wants the word written in here just the same. O.K., here she goes!’ He gravely wrote ‘Providence’ in the proper space, and we experienced anew the reassurance that rail travel is unchanged and unchanging, and that it suits our temperament perfectly–a dash of lunacy, a sense of detachment, not much speed, and no altitude whatsoever.”

(E.B. White, “Railroads.” The Second Tree From the Corner. Harper & Row, 1954)

In Conclusion

I find all of these types of short stories interesting.  So much so that I would like to try my hand at each.  I am hoping to steer my fiction in a more personal direction, and start writing more pieces that take place in the fantasy world I created.  Some of these are very short pieces – which will probably take me longer to write than my usually pieces.  We shall see.

~ Effy

Are there any major short story types you think I missed?  Or do you have any good examples of some of the types listed above?  Please let me know!  I am always on the look out for good fiction!

#WoW30 Challenge: Day Five – One Expansion

WoW30 - Expansion - BC Illidan Wallpaper

Meat-Vendor’s prompt for Day 5 of the 30 Day Challenge is:

One Expansion

WoW30 - Expansion - BC Draenei Wallpaper

The prompt seems somewhat vague, but I assume it means to ask what is my favorite expansion.

The answer: definitely Burning Crusade.  Unfortunately, I did not start playing WoW until Wrath, so I never saw any of the BC content new.  I first saw it while leveling my Shaman through it.  But it contained all of the lore about my favorite race, the Draenei.  BC introduced them and the Naaru to me.  For this reason, among others, I wish I had been around through BC.  I also like the mobs and the zones and the dungeons and the raids – especially Karazhan, I would have loved to see that when it was current content.

I feel like the Blood Elves were a bit more prominent in BC than the Draenei, though.  This is one of the big reasons that I am so looking forward to Warlords – a second chance at seeing Draenor, a second chance to learn more about the Draenei’s past.

I already have story ideas for Warlords.  Though Effy may be starting to take a backseat story-wise, she will still be around, even showing up in different stages of her life when Ireenia goes to Draenor.

I look forward to seeing Draenor and all of the possibilities it brings.

~ Effy

WoW30 - Expansion - BC Dark Portal

#WoW30 Challenge: Day Four – Favorite Race

Draenei_Icon

Meat-Vendor’s prompt for Day 4 of the 30 Day Challenge is:

Favorite Race

A Draenei, by Linessa

A Draenei Female, by Linessa

Newsflash: Effy likes Draenei!

What?  That is not breaking news?  Oh…

Well, either way, the Draenei are my favorite race.  Perhaps you have gleaned this from some of my stories or perhaps from my two main characters, particularly my avatar, Effy.  But Ireenia has been moving up in importance in my stories as of late.

A Draenei Female, by Applesin

A Draenei Female, by Applesin

BTW, enjoy some great fan art I came across while looking for Draenei pictures.  I figured they would complement this post nicely.

What can I say about Draenei that would not be repeating myself?  (Not much, I suppose.)

I love their other-worldliness and how different they are from the other races.  I love their lore, as scattered as it is.  I love their tenacity.  I love their dedication to good and to the Light, despite the trials that block their path.  I love their ability for compassion and their capacity to defend themselves despite it.

I love that they are blue and have tails and horns.  It is the truth.

I love writing from their point of view and exploring their stories and lore more deeply.

I love my Monk and I really, really love my Shaman.

I love the idea of going back to Draenor and seeing where my Shaman lived before I was introduced to her.

A Draenei Female Hunter, by Tamplierpainter

A Draenei Female Hunter, by Tamplierpainter

Interested in Draenei lore?

Check out Matthew Rossi’s Know Your Lore post about the Draenei over on WoW Insider.

And check out Doronsmovies’ video about the Draenei:

And now…

Yesterday, we witnessed the moment all of us Draenei-lovers have been waiting for:

The reveal of the new Draenei female model for Warlords of Draenor!

New Draenei Female Model

New Draenei Female Model

Draenei Female New Model

New Draenei Female Model

My thoughts?

I think they did a good job of taking an already incredible model and refining her just enough.  I cannot wait to see the animations, because though her art update is subtle, but very elegant, I imagine it will make a huge difference in her movements and emotes!

Personally, I look forward to seeing her with the new cloak animations too, because I have always insisted upon hiding the cloaks on my Draenei females.  I cannot stand the awkward L-shape they make because of their tail.  Perhaps they will not do that anymore.

We shall see.

And I promise to get caught back up with the #WoW30 Challenge, but how cool is it that I was able to post about my favorite race right after their new models came out??  😀

~ Effy

What do you think of the new character models so far?

Warlords of Draenor: Alpha Patch Note Reactions

WoD - Title Bar

The Alpha testing for Warlords of Draenor has begun!  For most of us, that will not mean too much, except that the development of the new expansion is progressing.  Most of us will not hear anything until the Beta goes live, and perhaps longer out than that.  On the heels of the Alpha announcement came publication on the Warcraft site of the initial patch notes for 6.0.

There was a lot of stuff covered in the patch notes, but as a healer, a Shaman, and a Monk, I wanted to focus on my thoughts regarding a few things in particular.

Stat Squish

WoD - Orcs

Character stats have been squished into smaller numbers that are easier to understand. It’s important to understand that this is NOT a nerf as enemies have been squished as well.

I find it amusing that after everything previously published, Blizzard still has to preface that the “Big Stat Squish” is NOT a nerf.  They did a very good job of explaining exactly what the squish will mean for gear, characters, and mobs in the patch notes.

There has always been a big jump in gear from expansion to expansion – Wrath epics getting replaced within a few quests in Cata, for example – and this stat squish will even out a lot of those spikes in gear.

It’s no longer necessary for Borean Tundra quest gear to be nearly twice as powerful as Netherstorm quest gear, even though the two zones are only a couple of levels apart…

In order to bring things down to an understandable level, we’ve reduced the scale of stats throughout the game, back to as if they continued scaling linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 90.

I like this, because now while leveling, it will not be necessary to completely re-gear your character at 60-70-80 etc.  Gearing and leveling will be smoother.

Blizzard even addressed concerns transmoggers and achievement hunters may have in regards to soloing older content:

Players will deal bonus damage against lower-level creatures from past expansions, and will take reduced damage from them.

So all in all, I think the stat squish is being handled well.  I look forward to seeing it in action.

Retuning Healing Spells

WoD - Healing

This section was definitely the biggest focus of mine while reading the patch notes.

Before the Notes, Some Background

The transition between Wrath and Cata was a tough one for me, as a Resto Shaman.  Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed the change in healing mechanics – I am quite fond of the “triage” mentality – but as a Shaman, it was a most disturbing experience.  Honestly, I think Shaman performed as Blizzard intended when they made the healing changes, I loved the feel of it, but they were under-performing compared to the other healing classes.  I would watch the other healers in my guild fly through those early heroic dungeons with little down time, and in comparison the other guild Shaman and I would have to CC every pull, drink to replenish mana regularly, and still not be able to heal people standing in bad.

Because of this experience, I had some reservations going into Mists.  However, Mists swung the extreme opposite direction, and even early on in heroic dungeons I hardly had any issues.  Raiding was similar, and part of my reason for switching to a Mistweaver Monk hinged on the fact that Shaman healing was starting to feel same old, same old, and like all of the choices I used to have to make were no longer there.  I had certain buttons I had to push on cooldown to make my Shaman perform – period.

At least with my Monk, it was a completely new and different class, with different skills and healing styles.

Mistweavers had a rocky road through Mists, though.  Sometimes they were hot, and sometimes they were anything but.  I have spent the entire expansion feeling that my Monk would be better utilized in a 10man environment because of her skill set – particularly her spread-out, AoE healing style (Renewing Mist and Uplift).

I firmly believe that if anything gets changed with Mistweaving, it should be giving greater spread to Renewing Mist, even at the cost of a less efficient Uplift.  Nothing is more frustrating than seeing only half the raid with my HoT and not being able to Uplift on anyone who truly needs it – basically, feeling like I have to ignore half the raid.  I literally had to change my healing mentality to play a Monk.  There was physically no way to focus on everyone in the raid, and I had to retrain myself to focus smaller – usually myself, my group, and our tanks.

In addition, I think overhealing was a ridiculously awful trend this entire expansion.  Whether on my Shaman or my Monk, overhealing always ran high, and it ran high throughout the entire raid.  One of my goals as a healer through both Wrath and Cata was minimal overhealing – maximum efficiency.  I would keep up in heals, while bottoming out the charts in overheals, and that made me happy.

Overheals, and their ridiculous waste of resources, make me twitch.

Anyways, enough of my digression.  Onward to…

The Actual Healing Notes

One of our goals for healing is to tone down the raw throughput of healers relative to the size of player health pools…

…healers are [currently] able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them. Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like their groupmates are in danger of dying at any moment…

To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing player health. Heals will be deliberately less potent compared to health pools than before the item squish.

Basically, Blizzard wants to give healers back the feel of triage and eliminate the end of expansion bloating that leads to spiky damage boss mechanics.  They are confident the changes we will see in Warlords will result in a more gradual progression of gear and performance throughout the life of the expansion.

The other big thing that caught my eye was a mention of “smart heals”:

We want healers to care about who they’re targeting and which heals they’re using, so that their decisions matter more. To that end, we’re reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.

Yes, yes yes!  Thank you!

At first glance, my thought was, “Damn, just take out all of the ‘smart heals’!”  (I’m looking at you Renewing Mist.)  But AoE heals are in many ways “smart heals” especially when they are affected by caps on number of targets.

Mostly, I am pleased about the line “so that their decisions matter more.”  THIS.  So much this.  Give me back control of how I heal.  Give me back the choices.  No more of this “healing rotation” crap, because so often playing my Monk came down to casting Renewing Mist on cooldown, Uplifting as often as possible, and filling in with Soothing Mist.  Sometimes, it was so mind-numbing I could not stand it.  Especially to do all these things and know there was hardly any room for improvement.

Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We’ve taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we’re reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal.

…players will face a meaningful choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

Once again, yes, yes yes!  Give me the power to choose.  Make me think.  None of this crap where Shaman currently are more efficient to just spam Healing Rain than cast a single target spell or Chain Heal – even when only one person is standing in the rain!  For crying out loud, how did Healing Rain become the best single target heal??

Finally, we’re removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave…

This made me go, “Whoa, wait, what??”

During the triage period and even through most of the first tier of Mists, Healing Wave was my Shaman’s go-to filler spell.  It was efficient, and though it would not save anyone, it did keep those bars mostly full with good management.

However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs.

Alright, I am listening…  I have a good deal of trust in Blizzard and the goals they aim for.  So I am eager to see these changes in action, and learn what they mean to the healing classes.  (Particularly Shaman and Monks, but I play all the classes that can heal and eventually I know all mine will see 100.)

All of this discussion of efficiency may cause most healers to start worrying about mana regeneration and their mana pool. To allay those concerns, we’ve increased base mana regeneration a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels.

Once again, more changes with the hopes that this will make the beginning and the end of the expansion equally as enjoyable.

That’s a lot of big changes for healers: reduced throughput, a more deliberate pace, less powerful “smart” heals, weaker absorbs, fewer spells, and a new focus on efficiency decisions. We’re confident that we can apply lessons learned from previous expansions to make this the best healer experience yet: more dynamic, less punishing, and frankly a lot more fun.

Okie, Blizzard.  You had me hello.  Let’s do this.

Racial Traits

WoD - Racials

One section I kind of glazed over was the removal of hit and expertise.  I guess I understand the reasoning for this, but at the same time, I feel it is further dumbing down the game.  Prove me wrong, Blizzard.

But with all of these changes upcoming, an adjustment of racial abilities and traits seems obvious.

I was most interested in the Draenei changes of course:

Draenei

  • Heroic Presence has been redesigned. It no longer increases Hit by 1%, and instead increases Strength, Agility, and Intellect, scaling with character level.
  • Gift of the Naaru now heals for the same amount over 5 seconds (down from 15 seconds).

A retune of Heroic Presence, finally!  I like this change, since it means the racial of my favorite race will now actually make sense for my favorite specs (healing).  The Gift of the Naaru change is nice too – a faster HoT is always a good thing.

Ability Pruning

WoD - Abilities

We decided that we needed to make a strong push for paring down the number of abilities each class/spec has. That means making some abilities restricted to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that could be merged with others, or with base abilities.

However, this doesn’t mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay, or “dumb it down.” We still want there to be interesting decisions during combat, and for skill to matter. But, that doesn’t require complexity; we can remove some needless complexity and still retain the depth and skill variance.

This section was interesting, but rather than quote everything, let me suffice to say there are some good changes coming to all of the classes – in my opinion.  Have a look at the patch notes for all the details on each specific class.  I will keep this more general.

There are so many games now (including Diablo 3!) which use a very minimal number of buttons to accomplish a goal.  Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 are also good examples.  I like choice and depth, but it does not necessarily mean things have to be extremely complex.  If I played solely one character, and did everything on that one character, then perhaps I would be more inclined to want more buttons.  But I prefer to play a little of everything.

One type of ability that we focused on is temporary power buffs (“cooldowns”). Removing those also helps achieve one of our other goals, which is to reduce the amount of cooldown stacking in the game.

I cannot say that less cooldowns will break my heart.  At least, not less purely DPS cooldowns.  Life-saving cooldowns are another story, but it does not look like Blizzard is removing any of those.

Instant Cast Heals

WoD - Insta Heals

We’re still preserving the option to instantly heal, but are reducing the number of instant-cast healing abilities overall. Raid and dungeon encounter damage during high-movement phases will be adjusted accordingly.

This section was probably my biggest place of indecision.  I am not entirely sure how I feel about these changes.

In this section, they list some of the skills being changed, by class, and I found it interesting and worth mentioning that Shaman are the only class not having any of their spells changed.  (Because their only instant cast heals are Riptide and Unleash Elements, and it looks like all the healers are retaining their single target, instant cast HoTs.)

Class Changes

I know there are a number of classes and specs, but I am not going to go over all of them here.  I will only be focusing on the Mistweaver Monk and the Resto Shaman, because those are the classes/specs I play the most.

Mistweaver Monk

WoD - Monk

Mistweavers had a bit of a rollercoaster ride, veering between weak and strong over the course of the expansion. Most of our changes to Monks will focus on Mistweavers, to try to get them just right.

Amen.

Mistweaver Changes:

All abilities available to Mistweavers now have a 1.5 second global cooldown (up from 1 second).

  • Stance of the Sturdy Ox and Stance of the Fierce Tiger now reduce the global cooldown of the Monk’s abilities by 0.5 seconds.

Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer increases Haste from items by 50%.

Focus and Harmony is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks.

  • Focus and Harmony: Haste effects lower the global cooldown of your spells and abilities.

Crackling Jade Lightning no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.

Soothing Mist no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.

Thunder Focus Tea now causes the next Renewing Mist to jump up to 4 times (used to cause the next Uplift to refresh the duration of Renewing Mists on all targets).

Healing Spheres now heal an ally within 12yd (up from 6yd) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal healing, when they expire.

Detonate Chi is a new spell available to Mistweavers:

  • Detonate Chi: Instantly detonate all of your Healing Spheres, causing each of them to heal a nearby ally within 12 yards of the sphere. 15 sec cooldown.

I am really looking forward to playing with Detonate Chi.  I am very surprised and uncertain about the changes to Thunder Focus Tea, Soothing Mist, and to a lesser degree, Crackling Jade Lightning.  Because of the Stance changes (see below), I understand Crackling Jade Lightning, but I am irked about my primary single target Chi-generation being removed.  And Thunder Focus Tea sounds like a really gimpy version of what I WANT Renewing Mist to do.  Oh!  one whole extra target!

I suppose I will have to see these in play before I make hasty generalizations, though.

Another issue with Mistweavers is that of Eminence, which has never really played out how we had hoped. The intent with Eminence was to create an alternate play style to fulfill the fantasy of healing through dealing damage, since we knew a lot of players had that fantasy, and a new class was the perfect opportunity to satisfy that.

Having two play styles in one spec (Eminence, and traditional Mistweaving, healing primarily through casting heals) proved challenging to balance, because we don’t want players to take the best parts of both and stack them into an unintended superior spec. The most notorious of these cases was “Jab-Jab-Uplift”. In order to solve this problem, we’re giving Mistweavers two stances.

Stance of the Wise Serpent – This is the current Mistweaver Stance.  With the changes coming in Warlords, it will be our “Mistweaving” Stance.  Enveloping Mist, Renewing Mist, Soothing Mist, and Uplift will only be usable in this Stance.

Stance of the Spirited Crane – This is the replacement for our Tiger Stance (which never made any sense to me to even have, I only used it to reforge my Haste).  This will become our “Fistweaving” Stance.  Blackout Kick, Jab, Tiger Palm will only be usable in this Stance.

There are also more improvements coming to Monk Healing Spheres.  They will be smarter about not overhealing targets running through them and they will heal for 100% when detonating upon expiration, instead of 50%.

So many changes.  But I knew they were coming.  Blizzard said at the start of Siege of Orgrimmar they wanted to overhaul Mistweavers, but wanted to do it right and wanted to wait until Warlords.

All I can do for now is wait and see what all these changes will mean.

Restoration Shaman

WoD - Shaman

Restoration Shaman had the most passive and smart healing of any healer, and so received some reductions in that area, along with buffs elsewhere to keep them competitive. One particular change is to Mana Tide Totem, which we made less effective for other players, but still just as effective for the Shaman.

This change is kind of a big deal.  I have mixed feelings about it, because though it reduces some of a Shaman’s utility, it also reduces the chance we will be forged into mana batteries for the rest of the raid.

Restoration Changes:

Chain Heal now heals each chain target for 15% less than the previous target.

Unleash Life no longer increases the healing from Healing Rain.

Earthliving Weapon now increases healing done by 5% (instead of increasing healing Spell Power by a flat amount).

Healing Stream Totem’s mana cost has been reduced to 10% of base mana (down from 23.5%), and its healing has been reduced by 50%.

Glyph of Totemic Recall now only increases the mana returned from recalling your totems by 25% (down from 75%).

Mana Tide Totem now increases the Spirit of allies by 50% (down from 200% of the Shaman’s Spirit). It remains unchanged (200%) for the Shaman activating the totem, and it still ignores temporary Spirit buffs.

Conductivity is no longer triggered by damaging spells for Restoration Shaman, or by healing spells for non-Restoration Shaman.

After Mana Tide, the biggest thing that catches my eye in the Resto changes is the change to Unleash Elements and it no longer effecting Healing Rain.  This will make for a big difference – Healing Rain was always my focus with Unleash Elements, because it gave the most benefit.  Not to mention, Healing Rain has become so incredibly powerful in the Shaman’s tool kit, it is a matter of casting both together on cooldown.

It will sting, but I think it is a good quality of life improvement for Shaman.  It will give us a better opportunity to choose our spells, rather than spam Healing Rain.

In Closing

I am sure there are many more things I could touch on in the Alpha patch notes, but these cover my initial thoughts and reactions.  What it comes down to at this point is really just keeping an eye on updates and hoping for a Beta soon, so we can start putting these updates to the real playability test.

Please feel free leave comments, to agree or disagree, and bring to my attention any topics regarding healing, Shaman, or Monks I may have glazed over and missed.

~ Effy

State of the Raider: Life

Life

I find myself very full at the moment, and yet still feeling empty.

I have been in a strange place mentally for a while now – trying to juggle work and school and WoW and blog/writing and… personal stuff.  I do a fair job of juggling, I have been keeping all the balls in the air, but it makes me feel like I am not giving the due attention to certain things – especially now with some of the new duties I am taking on at work.

Love

On top of all of these balls, I once more feel like a failure at relationships.  <sigh>  I am half-convinced to never discuss who I am dating – or even the FACT I am dating – with any person or on any social media forum, as this seems to jinx it.  I think more than heartbreak, I am tired of having to explain, “No, we broke up.  Yup, single again.”

Add to this a lecture in Sociology last week that hit way to close to home – a conversation about Erikson’s Stages of Development.  Particularly the fact that I am in the Intimacy vs. Isolation phase of my life (and my birthday was last week, ugh).

I lean towards writing romance, whatever genre I am writing.  I know what I consider romantic and what I want (or what I think I want).  In fact, my counselor was always saying be careful not to get too wrapped up in the romance part, and too affected by the media’s portrayal of romance.  But I know I perpetuate the illusion myself.  I really believe that romance and passion has to be there at the start.  Friendship, yes, that is what ultimately makes a relationship last in the long run, but it needs romance/chemistry/passion too.

It makes me think of one of my absolute favorite quotes, from Meet Joe Black and said by Anthony Hopkin’s character, William Parrish:

Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without.  If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with?  Fall head over heels.  I say find someone you can love like crazy and who’ll love you the same way back.  And how do you find him?  Forget your head and listen to your heart.  I’m not hearing any heart.  Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back.  Because the truth is there is no sense living your life without this.  To make the journey and not fall deeply in love – well, you haven’t lived a life at all.  Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

On a related note, I found it strange to hear similar lines come from both the mouth of Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle and John Cusack in High Fidelity (you have no idea the number of romance comedies I have been punishing myself with).  Lines about the “right one” and how being with her feels like “coming home.”  I realized I do not really know what that means.  And it makes me sad.  I may have to ponder this more.

But the truth of the matter is I spend my life thinking that what I want is romance and a life partner, and in reality it seems I cannot seem to stand anyone in close proximity for any extended period of time.  :/

WoW

One of the areas I feel I am not giving enough attention is WoW.  Except for raiding, I do not even have the ability to log on most days.  And when I DO have a free moment, I am so mentally and/or physically exhausted I spend that free time either vegging in front of the TV or my laptop or sleeping.  For a while now, I have only been logging on for raids.  And logging on to raid has been a source of frustration, because usually there is some form of homework sitting undone while I try and focus on raiding.

And then, Wednesday night, it hit me – I do not feel as happy raiding as I used to.  I partially dread it, because I feel under-prepared since my only time on Ireenia is IN raid.  I have tried to do some research on improving my performance on my Monk, but my heart does not feel in it.  And the idea that I am not performing to my own standards or that I might be a disappointment to the raid is unbearable.

In fact, on and off for some time now, I have been debating and flippantly writing a piece about Effy, called “Outside Looking In,” explaining how detached I feel from WoW most days.  It is proving near-impossible for me to write.  Too painful.  I do not want to admit that I want to quit, that I am a failure as a raider, that one of the balls is going to drop.

But I did finally admit it (before here and now).  I have expressed my desire to step down as a raider.

I have not made any decision to cancel my accounts yet, but I also do not see me having more time to play than I do now.  Though, honestly, I am not sure how interested in Warlords of Draenor I am.  The biggest thing I am looking forward to is new stories and storylines – but is that really a reason to keep my accounts going?  I am not sure yet.  I know that I am thoroughly disappointed with the idea of “dumbing down” the game more.  The item squish is fine, but there was a dumbing down of talents and skills and stats between Wrath and Cataclysm, then again between Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, and now again going into Warlords of Draenor.  Soon, WoW will be playable on a console controller because we only have 5 buttons, and armor will be like in the first Guild Wars – meaningless as far as stats and only there for looks.  /mini-rant

So, since I fail at love and WoW, I am throwing myself deeper into my other interests – school, work, and writing.

School

I am going to school full time right now and focusing heavily on working towards my Technical Communications degree, while minoring in Web Design.  All my subjects are proving to be heavy doses of learning, despite the fact that I expected many to be just a polishing of my current knowledge.  But despite how much work it is, I am enjoying it, I am learning a lot, and I feel like I am moving in directions I want to go.

I am likely taking the summer semester off, but it will translate into more hours at work – summer is our busy season.  I might look into some online classes at Washtenaw, or some other sources of learning to broaden my writing horizons.  But come fall, I imagine my schedule will become more raid-unfriendly again.  This is part – but only part – of my reasoning.  It also has a lot to do with keeping my focus on learning and homework.  So many nights, I find myself stressed out that we have a raid and that this takes precedence over homework and sleep.  No more.

Work

I am taking on more and new responsibilities at work.  On top of my admin and customer service responsibilities, I am becoming more involved with our websites.  Additionally, I am becoming more involved with our social media channels and advertising.  The social media has been spilling over into my evening free-time as well, in research and implementation.

More about that part later, though.  I have a whole other post for that.

Writing

No worries about the blog.  It is not going anywhere.  I am not going anywhere.  I still plan to write, but it will likely be less WoW stuff.  I have plans to continue – and eventually finish – the Descending Twilight series.  I also have plans for a serial novel that will start on my blog soon™.  I have hopes for posting new story pieces that are not solely fan-fiction.  It is past due time that I started focusing on my original work.  I have the ideas, I just need the time.

I am working on a simple, brief email study course about writing better characters.  This, and I am setting aside a half hour of writing time every morning – the same time, everyday, a little bit earlier then when I usually get up.

Because the only way I am going to write more is by writing more.

And if there is one thing I have discovered – I am far more inspired to write when I am single and blah.  So I might as well take advantage, eh?

~ Effy

Warlords of Draenor Teaser

WoD Teaser StoryOne of the first things that came to my mind upon hearing the announcement of the new Warlords of Draenor expansion was the idea of my Monk, Ireenia, going to Draenor and running into a younger version of her “parents” Laz and Effy.

I figured it was only fitting to end the weekend on that very note.  I realize it is a little early to make such assumptions on the course of things, but I just could not help myself.  There was no way this story was leaving my head until it was on paper/screen.

~ Effy

Azure Gloaming

WoD Teaser Story 2

It was a confusing time.  Everything had happened so fast.  One moment, Garrosh Hellscream was on trial for crimes against all of Azeroth.  The next, he was fleeing into an alternate past with the intentions of finding and leading the “true” Horde.

Now, the members of Undying Resolution were also on the other side of the Dark Portal.  Here they sat, looking upon a world that was but was not the Outlands they had previously known and honestly expecting they would never be able to return home.  Following Garrosh had gotten them here, but it would not get them back.

The Temple of Karabor, known better to those from Azeroth as the Black Temple in another time and place, glittered like gemstones in the eternal moonlight of the Shadowmoon Valley.  It was a marvel of Draenei architecture, a small piece of their home on Argus, and it had become their home and their connection to the people of this world.

These Draenei.

Ireenia had hardly found the time to stop and step back and take it all in, and she suddenly realized she was awed by all of it.

As a young blue dragon, she had been born on and had only ever seen Azeroth.  Draenor was completely alien – the creatures, the landscape, and especially the sky.  The sky, especially this nighttime sky that formed a canopy over her head standing outside of Karabor, was breathtaking.  It made the entire cosmos appear as if it were barely out of her reach, inches from her fingertips.  Space and eternity so close yet so far.

Were she really a Draenei, and not just wearing the appearance of one, this strange planet would have once been her home.  It was the place where the Burning Legion had caught up to the outcasts of the Eredar race, those who had denied Sargeras’.  It was where the demons had corrupted and manipulated the Orcs into thinking the Draenei their enemy.

The Orcs who had nearly exterminated the Draenei.

Ireenia flinched as she thought of such things.  How easily those killed by the Orcs could have included her own adoptive parents – Lazheward and Effraeti.  Instead, they been part of the remaining Draenei to flee Draenor, crash landing on Azeroth in the sabotaged Exodar.

Then, eventually they went on to save her as an egg, and raised her as their own daughter.

As she thought of such things, and realized how homesick she was, Ireenia heard a pair of voices.  With pain tightening her chest, the woman thought them to be Laz and Effy.  With a grimace, she tried to dismiss the thought as a trick of her memories, but the voices rose again, and Ireenia still could have sworn they were the very voices she had grown so accustomed to from her earliest memories outside of the egg.

With a peek from the corner of her eye, Ireenia tried to catch a glimpse without being conspicuous.

Her eyes widening, the woman spun on her hooves, and took in the sight of her parents.  Both stood there, talking amongst themselves, very real and very much the two people she loved more than any others.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story is based on worlds and characters in World of Warcraft.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Jamie Roman AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Catch-up Lore: Warlords of Draenor

Outlands

Outlands

Draenor

Draenor

After a good deal more reading and watching of videos, I wanted to make a quick update post.

First of all, some questions answered…  Garrosh is going to escape his punishment and flee (possibly with the help of Kairoz from the Timeless Isle) into an alternate dimension/time line of Draenor.  His goal?  To cultivate the “real” Horde, the original Horde, and keep them from drinking the blood of Mannoroth, which Garrosh sees as the source of all the Orcs’ failures.

The Black Temple (Fallen Karabor)

The Black Temple (Fallen Karabor)

Karabor

Karabor

But more questions arise…  The Alliance city on Draenor will be Karabor (better known to us Azerothians now as the Black Temple).  Why not Shattrath?  Has Shattrath already fallen?

EDIT: Shattrath is occupied by the Iron Horde.  I hope to find out more regarding this, since this is already outside the “normal” known history of our timeline.

Fallen Shattrath

Fallen Shattrath

Shattrath

Shattrath

There are so many places I cannot wait to see on Draenor.  I cannot wait to personally compare them to the places I am more familiar with in Outland.  (I see a picture series in my future, similar to the few in this post.)

Fallen Auchindoun

Fallen Auchindoun

Auchindoun

Auchindoun

I happen to have a lot of interest in lore, but I know there may be many who may be less versed.  There may be those new to WoW or just unfamiliar with the storylines of the Orcs, Draenei, and Draenor.

Interested in how we went from point A to point B?  I came across an interesting couple of videos good to catch-up or even just to recap.

The story behind the Warlords of Draenor, by TheDDGuides

History of Draenor, by BellularGaming

Orc Warlords Lore, by BellularGaming

Warlords of Draenor Lore and Story (per Blizzcon), by BellularGaming

This last one is not “lore” but more speculation.  It was released by BellularGaming about a week ago, and I found it quite interesting.  Some of it ended up fairly spot on.

Warlords of Draenor Story Speculation – Time Travel, by BellularGaming

Trust I will be doing more research as I can.  For me, as a loyal Draenei, I see this is a kind of ancestry research.  It is like learning more about where Laz and Effy came from.

I hope you enjoy the information I found as much as I did.  🙂

~ Effy

New WoW Expansion Announced: Warlords of Draenor

WoW Accouncement - Warlords of DraenorI am not at Blizzcon, nor am I watching every moment of it on the Virtual Ticket – I am still too neck-deep in schoolwork – but the announcement of the new expansion is a BIG FREAKING DEAL.  So Amowrath was kind enough to fill me in when the new expansion was introduced at Blizzcon today.  At my first opportunity, I looked up the trailer on YouTube (thank you, again, Amo!) and watched what everyone at Blizzcon, or those with Virtual Tickets, watched about two hours ago…

My first reaction… Draenei, Draenei, Draenei!!

Once that started to calm (ever so slightly – I am still chanting “Draenei, Draenei, Draenei!” in my head), and I watched the video a few more times, I looked back over the “subtle” announcements of features toward the end of the video…

The very first and most confusing feature being…

WoW Accouncement - New World DraenorBut wait, what?  Draenor is not new.  We went there in Burning Crusade, and it is all blown up and broken.  Nothing what any of the videos scenes looked like.

I held my questions, and reviewed the other features…

  • Build and upgrade your garrison
  • New character models
  • Level cap raised to 100
  • New dungeons and raids, monsters, world PvP zone, items and rewards, hundreds of quests
  • Boost to 90 and play immediately

WoW Accouncement - Immediate 90WoW Accouncement - New Character ModelsSome interesting updates, especially the insta-90 and the new character models.  No more worry of “catching up” or people new to the game being too daunted by 100 levels to wade through to catch their friends.  It is a feature with both pros and cons, though.  For one, what will happen to all of the already near-empty older zones?  I imagine there will still be people who will level the “old fashioned way” but what an entirely new dynamic that will bring.  The updates to the character models (for all of the original races) is a much needed and much asked for update, and I cannot wait to see all of them.  In fact, I was just recently thinking on and discussing this very topic!

After looking over the video several times, I got back to one of my favorite parts about this whole thing already (Draenei, Draenei, Draenei!)…

WoW Accouncement - Velen

Velen!!!!!!

In fact, the first few seconds of the video had me literally clapping…

WoW Accouncement - Velen QuoteFINALLY!!  Finally, Velen is going to become a serious part of the story in WoW!!  Finally, all of his many prophecies will begin to take shape!!

“How?” is a question I am anxious to discover the answer to!

But but but, before I derail myself completely, back to the original “Huh?”

WoW Accouncement - New World DraenorAll of the shots do NOT look like the Draenor I am familiar with – Outlands.  Outlands is the remnants of a blown up Draenor, the same almost-fate of Azeroth during the Cataclysm.  Outlands is an alien and fascinating world, but it is literally in pieces.  So how is Draenor a “new world” and what are all these zone shots that look nothing like Outlands?

The description on World of Warcraft’s YouTube video of the trailer leads to even more questions…

Across Draenor’s savage jungles and battle-scarred plains, Azeroth’s heroes will engage in a mythic conflict involving mystical draenei champions and mighty orc clans, and cross axes with the likes of Grommash Hellscream, Blackhand, and Ner’zhul at the height of their primal power. Players will need to scour this unwelcoming land in search of allies to help build a desperate defense against the old Horde’s formidable engine of conquest—or else watch their own world’s bloody, war-torn history repeat itself.

Wait…  Grommash?  Isn’t he dead?  We just defeated his son, Garrosh.  Blackhand?  Dead too, betrayed by Doomhammer way back in the original orc and human wars.  And Ner’zhul.  What?  We know he is gone.  He became the original Lich King and his essence was destroyed by Arthas when he fully took on the mantle of the Lich King.

How can we interact with people who died before we ever visited Draenor back in BC?

So I followed the link in the comments to the Warlords of Draenor page, and found more questions…

Carve a Path Through History

It is the era of an Old Horde, forged with steel rather than fel blood. A union of great orc clans, the Iron Horde, tramples the planet Draenor beneath terrifying war machines. Azeroth falls next. Worlds uncounted will follow.

You must mount a desperate charge on Draenor – savage home of orcs and adopted bastion of stoic draenei – at this pivotal moment. Your allies are legends from across time; your fortress a foothold in an alien land. Lead the armies of one world against another…before the future itself is unmade.

SAY WHAT??  An entire expansion in THE PAST??  Whoa…

Is it possible we might stop the destruction of Draenor?  We might avert the fall of Shattrath?  We might keep the Broken Ones from ever existing?  We might save the Draenei from near-extinction?

<head explodes>

The possibilities are almost too much for me to contemplate currently.  I mean, first of all, to see the long-lost home of my favorite race (other than Argus – which I still want to see someday, Blizzard!) when it was still the beautiful planet they first came to.  To see Shattrath and Auchindoun and Karabor before they were destroyed.  To see what each piece of Draenor looked like BEFORE it was “Outlands.”

But then, there is the other half.  I have been interested in the Bronze and Infinite dragonflights (the idea of fictional time travel in general) long enough to know the consequences of changing the past.  Why are we going back to Draenor?  Is the Infinite dragonflight somehow still working to disrupt the pathways of time?  If we go back, are we just supposed to watch Draenor work through its intended history?  Do we have to see Shattrath fall?  Do we have to watch the genocide of the Draenei?  Do we have to witness the creation of the Broken Ones?  Do we have to stand aside as the Orcs destroy Draenor all over again?

If so, what is the point?  (Other than utterly tearing apart my heart!)

For now, I am full of questions, but I am also full of a great deal of excitement.  There is nothing more fascinating to me than the history and lore of the Draenei.

I very much look forward to the coming weeks, and the coming expansion.

Blizzard, you had me at “Velen.”

~ Effy

P.S. – Draenei, Draenei, Draenei!

WoW Accouncement - DraeneiEDIT: So after coming home, watching the trailer, and writing this post, I finally took the time to look around some more.  It appears the “how” of going to Draenor in the past is Garrosh escaping during his trial (at the conclusion of the Siege of Orgrimmar and his defeat) and finding someway to travel back in time.  He does this to try and stop the biggest event that he sees as leading to his failure, the orcs drinking the blood of Mannoroth and becoming corrupted.