I had played Blizzard games many times over the years (I would have said I preferred the Real Time Strategy games if you asked me) I liked playing head to head with family, a pastime (and a blog article I've been working on) that went back years. Diablo II was a favorite in the house and when World of Warcraft was announced at the end of Warcraft III I hoped it would be something like that game in execution. The cheapskate that I am refused to even entertain the idea of paying for a game on a monthly basis, so I dismissed it as a possibility even if it was something I might like.
Meniere's, made the idea of spending a few dollars a month for game access seemed like a bargain. I'd be doing my friend a favor and I had already asked him to shave my head earlier that year as a symbol of support for his going through chemotherapy again. A request to join him in a game I secretly wanted to play anyway was easy in comparison.
So we started playing. Almost from the beginning I got off on the wrong foot in the game. I had no idea that the two factions could not talk to each other or play together. I created Horde toons (a Tauren Warrior & Undead Warlock) on a server he was playing as Alliance (in fact, he only played Alliance) so he had to make new toons to play with me. My daughter only wanted to play Night Elves (her favorite race from WC3) and she had already created a toon on another server that I just had to join her in playing. Being fond of Rogues from Diablo, I created a NElf Rogue (female, of course. All rogues are female) to play alongside her druid. I quickly created a whole slew of NElf characters with the intention of playing all classes as NElf, only to discover that not all classes could be played in all races. That lead to the Gnome mage Brenelbur and his evil warlock twin, but that was when the plan got out of control.
I hatched a scheme to level one toon (character) of each class, and I would do this for both factions, with a genuine attempt to play all races and both sexes for each race with at least one toon. When I mapped this all out, there were nine classes, which Blizzard expanded to ten with Wrath of the Lich King and eleven with Mists of Pandaria. There were also fewer races, with Worgen and Goblins being added as playable races in Cataclysm (Draenei & Blood Elves having been added in Burning Crusade, along with Alliance Shaman and Horde Paladins. I started playing at the end of this expansion of the game) so I had to skip a few race/sex combinations. This was made easier on the alliance side, because I saw no need to play humans in a fantasy game. I could play that in real life by turning off the computer.
When I started this quest, this scheme of mine, I really thought it would be no sweat to complete. A few months playing, and all done. Then the new classes and races were added, and the levels increased, and I began to wonder if I had even been sane when I came up with this crazy idea.
With the announcement of the release of Warlords of Draenor this November, I knew the time to finish this quest of mine was now or never. Ten more levels on Twenty-two toons would probably be more than I was interested in doing, and I really didn't want to fail. So, earlier today I finally leveled my twenty-second toon to endgame, level ninety. A late birthday present for myself, and a nice way to close out the favor I started for a dear friend who logged off a few years after we started playing. I'd like to offer a heartfelt thanks to Bear, wherever he is, for making me take up this silly game. I think it has kept me sane, if this is sanity.
One of the things that has improved over the years I've played this game has been the website. The last time I tried to do a toons & servers update, I had to clip photos from screenshots for each toon. This version may be more boring to read, because I won't be adding photos for all twenty-two toons, but it will be significantly easier to write. The links for each name will lead to the stat page for each of my toons. Better than clipped art, it is proof that the toon exists and represents an example of how it is set up, and what it looks like currently.
My main Horde toons are still on Terenas, although the server is really a backwater in the game and it limits my ability to play content that is limited to the home server. Blizzard has been working to combine servers and content, so this might not be a problem much longer. Of course, I could just level new toons on other servers, and that process technically has already begun. However, these are the eleven I count as main Horde;
- Olaventa - Orc Shaman (Herbalism, Inscription) from the lowly also-ran who started out as a male with a different name, this toon has graduated into becoming my raider. Shaman are excellent healers, and when your secondary talent is Elemental (not as much DPS as enhancement, but respectable) you can essentially use the same gear to level as damage & healing and not feel that you are letting anyone down by doing so. Olaventa as a character had a serious crush on Thrall when he was warchief of the horde. She's not forgiven him yet for leaving us with Garrosh as a leader. My scribes both wanted the Loremaster title, so they each completed every quest for their faction up to Mists of Pandaria. This toon has also completed all the quests for that Expansion, making her the most played, most experienced toon that I have.
- Uroga - Orc Hunter (Skinning, Leatherworking) Both my hunters I play just for fun. I collect pets with them, and not much else, although their professions are part of my overall scheme to explore different class/prof combinations.
- Rakudaga - Troll Druid (Herbalism, Alchemy) I deleted the character I started with this name and created a new one of the same name (the name fit a Troll better anyway) for the new racial combination of Troll/Druid that was offered in Cataclysm. Druids are my second favorite class after shaman these days, and some of the best tanks in the game. Still, I don't tank with them, I take the same minimalist tack with them as with other classes, combining balance and restoration which allows me to double up gear for leveling. I used to hate male Trolls in game until Mists of Pandaria and Vol'Jin. Now I'm starting to like them.
- Rasmuerta - Troll Deathknight (Mining, Blacksmithing) I've had a problem motivating myself to play Deathknights after Wrath of the Lich King. I mean, what is their motivation, as characters? "OK, life (or death) goals achieved, now what?" Still, they remain one of my favorite classes, and the only class I'm comfortable tanking with.
- Tanath - Blood Elf Mage (Mining, Jewelcrafting) My only Blood Elf. I just couldn't get into the story behind the Blood Elves. They remain my least favorite race in the game, weirdly. They are amongst the most frequently played by other players. Mage is one of my favorite classes, but this mage doesn't get played very often. Just enough to get her to level 90.
- Creavishop - Undead Warlock (Tailoring, Enchanting) The third toon I ever made, and still my secondary raider for this server, because he is my enchanter and I'm always looking for materials for his work. Warlocks are liberating to play. Demon summoners and associated with evil in the lore for the game, they remain essential for any well-rounded raid group. Still making containers for all the toons on the server, and not getting enough gold for his work as far as he is concerned. His plans to take over the world are taking longer than he thought.
- Eugennah - Undead Rogue (Mining, Engineering) Rogues, which were amongst my most looked-forward-to classes to play, have not turned out to be one of my favorite classes. Now that locks have been removed from regular game play (no more keyring) their essential role in-game has been left behind. Pick-pocketing isn't nearly as much fun as it used to be, with more and more NPC's in game reporting back as having no pockets to pick. Bummer. Eugennah hates her bony elbows and knees, and doesn't like Undercity at all. She took over Engineering from Uroga so I could see how that might assist a Rogue in play. Her survivability in encounters seems better than Eieloris, my other Rogue.
- Raspallia - Tauren Paladin (Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting) This toon was created as an experiment testing out the benefits of combining creation professions and their extra-beneficial perks. I also discovered the joy of PvP healing as a Holy Paladin. There really isn't a better class to play as healer in a PvP situation, and survivability for this paladin is much better than the other Paladin who combines Blacksmithing and Mining. Those perks are rumored to be disappearing in the next expansion pack.
- Tharthurm - Tauren Priest (Tailoring, Alchemy) Tharthurm was the name of my first toon; but I really wanted my warriors for both factions to be small females, so the Tauren warrior was deleted, and I gave his name and look to the priest that I could make as a Tauren for the first time in Cataclysm. Tauren are my favorite race, in theory. In practice I don't like the movements that Blizzard created for the models. I want to like and play them, here's hoping the improved modeling in Warlords will make that more pleasant.
- Rastarsha - Goblin Warrior (Mining, Engineering) The addition of Goblins as a playable race created a quandary and a opportunity for me. I could finally actually have a Goblin engineer and could have a warrior on the horde side that would echo the stature of my alliance warrior. But I had to delete my first toon to do it, and I had to decide on either female or male, since I couldn't do both. Pigtails decided me, although you can't see them on this toon. Goblins, like Gnomes, are amusing. That is why you play them.
- Jainrasig - Pandaren Monk (Skinning, Leatherworking) All my monks are Pandas, and all of them are named Jain. There was a Bodhisattva of a similar name, and what Firefly fan can resist naming a character Jayne? RAS is for me. I've looked forward to playing as a Panda since I first started playing World of Warcraft, having loved the heroic character that was available in WC3. They took long enough to give them too us. The Pandaren lore is some of best World of Warcraft, in my opinion. I'm going to miss playing Mists of Pandaria come November.
Muradin server was home for several years, even though I started out playing on Terenas. Because my family and friends were playing Alliance, my toons there were developed much faster than the Horde toons. We found a welcoming guild on the server named "of the Emerald Dream" and were happy there until one of the raid healers took exception to my allowing my daughter to play the game while she was still drugged from having her wisdom teeth out (of all the things to pick a fight over) so we left and created our own guild, which I still run (on several servers, just not very successfully) even though I'm almost the only player left in the guild, now. Frosty Wyrm Riders is max level (25) on Muradin, I just don't raid with that guild.
- Tarashal - Night Elf Druid (Herbalism, Alchemy) This is the toon I keep coming back to. I started out focused in Mists of Pandaria with my Horde toons, determined to level and raid first as Horde with my adopted guild there. Before the year was out I was no longer raiding with them although still in the guild, three different raid teams having formed and dissolved in the process. Raiding in Mists is far harder than any other expansion pack, and this has shown through in the rapid dissolution of formerly sound raiding teams that had lasted through Wrath and Cataclysm. Even the raiding guild that I was part of on this server lost several players we had relied on for years. Because I had started out with a different guild and faction, this toon did not make it into the raiding group which is most advanced in the content for this expansion. Still, he has the best gear of any of my toons, and has completed more of the content than any other toon except for Olaventa.
- Eieloris - Night Elf Rogue (Skinning, Leatherworking) With her fondness for Dwarves, which she deems "Just the right height", Eieloris still has more 'backstory' than any of my other toons. That only matters to me in the end; still, I really do enjoy playing this toon and would play her more if I hadn't discovered how much I like to PvP heal as a Paladin.
- Rasputing - Draenei Paladin (Mining, Blacksmithing) Also the name of my Monk character in Diablo III, the wife named this toon when I created it, the first in a long line of RAS characters. I really didn't like Paladins at all until this expansion pack, and it was only when I took the Tauren Paladin into Battlegrounds that I discovered how much fun it was to PvP heal as one. By that point I had leveled this toon to 90, and he had a hard time getting the gear he needed to match her in PvP. Now that they are almost equal, I really can see a benefit in combining creation professions as I did with her. I'll have to wait and see what Blizzard does with Professions in the next expansion. Draenei are, in my opinion, the only good thing introduced in Burning Crusade; I tend to skip that entire area of the game when I level characters (easily achieved by taking up archeology at level 60) but the Draenei move the way the Tauren should move.
- Raslinda - Draenei Shaman (Mining, Jewelcrafting) I try to remind myself that the game is fantasy when presented with differences between the sexes like are present in the male and female Draenei. Split hooves vs. solid hooves? Looks more feminine, only represents a million years or so of evolution. She does look good moving, and the action animations for the female Draenei are some of my favorites.
- Rasmortis - Worgen Deathknight (Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing) Worgen represent the race I'm most ambivalent about. I like the animations, but I never understood why they had to be added to the Alliance, other than as a race to balance out adding Goblins to the Horde. Having said that, adding them gave me an excuse to change Mortis from human, so there went my only human character. I really do like the way he looks in his black PvP armor transmog. If I had more time, I'd play this class more often.
- Hellice - Worgen Warlock (Tailoring, Alchemy) This is actually my second Worgen Warlock named Hellice. I leveled one to 85 for my son at the end of Cataclysm, and gave it to him as a present. I like the name, icy-damnation. Perfect for a warlock. This was the last toon to level to 90, because she had to start from one at the same time as my Pandas, and they were going to be leveled before she was. Warlocks are just fun. That's all there is to it. Mind if I suck out your soul and use it as a weapon on you? Doesn't matter, she'll do it anyway. Worgen are damned to start with, that is the nature of their affliction. Why not warlock as well?
- Juverna - Dwarf Hunter (Mining, Engineering) Named for Ireland; he, like my Horde hunter just collects pets. I know, I know, they are great DPS machines in this version of the game. I don't care, hunters are solitary. That is why their best friends are animals.
- Keslingra - Dwarf Priest (Herbalism, Inscription) Just between you and me, this toon I specifically made to resemble the wife, giving her the red hair I know she really keeps hidden under the blonde; and I say that just because when she reads this she'll be furious and there's nothing I enjoy more than having her angry at me. This toon taught me the value of playing a priest, which I never expected to enjoy playing. Shadow Priest has finally turned into a DPS specification worthy of the designation, and priest healers are the strongest healers in the game. Since she is also a scribe, that means I completely every quest with her for the Loremaster title just as I did with Olaventa. Lots of experience playing this toon. She is the current guild master for Frosty Wyrm Riders.
- Brenelbur - Gnome Mage (Tailoring, Enchanting) This was my fifth toon created (after Tarashal) and I blame/credit him with starting me off on this crazy venture. He wanted to be a NElf and I resisted changing him to one after that race/class combo became available; but it was the frustration of not being able to make NElf mages that set me on the course of approaching the game the way I have. He is my secondary raider on Muradin (enchanting materials, yet again) and the character I play most often after the druid and shaman. Still love the Gnome laugh after all these years. Joke all you want about Gnome punting; after taking this mage into battlegrounds recently, I have to say that mages have a ridiculous ability to keep other players frozen almost indefinitely. Try punting me when you are frozen in place, you big green monster. I'll just laugh and blink away.
- Rasmillia - Gnome Warrior (Mining, Engineering) Watching making of documentaries for films that I'm a fan of, I hear comments like "it was my favorite scene, but it just didn't make it to the cut" a lot. This toon started out as a male named for one of my favorite SF characters. But he needed to be a she, and she had to have a different name. I should have just duped the name Rastarsha, but I stole Starsha from a guildmate and I didn't want to go flouncing around her server with her name tacked on to one of my toons; so millia for warrior (Milly for short) never mind that another guild mate now has a toon named Milly. I think she'll understand. I really, really wanted her to have the pink pigtails. That was a must; that and dual wielding two-handed weapons. I admit it, I am easily amused.
- Jainrasig - Pandaren Monk (Skinning, Leatherworking) Yeah, same class/profession combination as my other Monk, breaking my changing pattern. I really hadn't expected to have an eleventh class to have to deal with. When it came down to brass tacks, they both needed to make their own leveling gear, so they both ended up as skinning leatherworkers. The daily quest that is available to Monks makes leveling much faster. The Monk class itself is quite different from the other classes. I can't say I know what I think of it yet; which is too bad, because it will be different soon. Classes always change with each expansion.
I will really miss Pandaria, even though I haven't enjoyed raiding through it very much. Chen Stormstout was my go to hero for Warcraft III. If I could hire him in a map, he was on my team. His quests in the Valley of the Four Winds are essential for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the lore of Warcraft. Unfortunately they have taken out the additional quests relating to him that were part of intermediate expansion content; but that is why it is important to play through the game as it is offered, and not as it exists as preserved as part of future content. I do wonder how they will include Garrosh in quest lines that used to rely on him, since he will no longer be the warchief of the horde after this expansion. A good portion of those quests will have to be truncated, or they will simply be left alone to stick out like sore thumbs calling attention to content that should have been updated but was not.