Of Course There’s a Full Moon on Halloween in 2020

There’s no shortage of frightening things in 2020. This is the year that gave us a horrible global pandemic and the stressful new routines of physical distancing that come with it, murder hornets, double hurricanes, the worst economic crash since the Great Depression, locust swarms, and the most agonizingly awful US election cycle in my lifetime, to name only a few. With all of these awful things overwhelming our usual means of coping, it’s natural that people will look for ways of blowing off steam.

Holidays that let us shed some of the usual rules of polite society are one way people can get a break from the stresses of life. “Festivals of reversal,” as they are sometimes called, can be a psychological release as we get to leave ourselves behind for a day and become someone else. Halloween is one of the best examples of such a holiday for much of modern US culture, a day when the normal rules are relaxed, when adults get to be childish and children get to take candy from strangers.

This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday. What’s more, that night will have a full moon providing plenty of light for nighttime revels. In an ordinary year, that combination would set us up for some wild shenanigans on Halloween night. I’d be stocking the candy bowl and keeping an eye out for mischievous young hooligans.

But this is no ordinary year. This year, big parties and nighttime rule-breaking are more than just a neighborhood nuisance; they could spread deadly disease, overwhelm already stressed hospital systems, and leave a death toll in their wake. Halloween 2020 presents a concentrated version of the dilemma that has dogged us all year: the things we need most to psychologically endure this crisis—distraction from the reality around us, uninhibited human contact, an escape from stringent social rules—are the very things that prolong the crisis and make it more deadly.

I sympathize a lot with anyone who feels like they need the little vacation from daily life that Halloween offers, but I’m frightened of the consequences. Stay spooky, everyone, but stay safe, too.

Image: Grinning Halloween lantern by Kim Støvring via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Here there be opinions!

Joy to the World (of Warcraft) 14

Alunaria, over at Alunaria’s Avenue, has proposed a holiday challenge: stay away from the griping, grousing, and general grinchiness about World of Warcraft that’s all to easy to find these days and post something positive instead.

My final entry is for the music. Each and every expansion has brought a new twist to the main theme plus a sizeable selection of anthems and tunes for various scenes. Everything is incredibly beautiful, haunting, or exciting; rarely do I disagree with or dislike the game music selections. In fact, I often play WoW music when working or doing house chores. 🙂

The music from vanilla, however, will always have a special place in my heart. I especially love the Nightsong. Here’s an extended version:

Nightsong Extended – HD via shadowsnstuff on YouTube

 

* * *

As this is my final post for the positivity challenge, here are some concluding thoughts. (Be sure also to read Alunaria’s final experiment post!)

Yay, I made it! 🙂

I don’t think this challenge changed my thoughts of Battle for Azeroth much; since the launch, I’ve had enough other things on my plate to make following negative Nellies impossible. It’s good to know, however, which sites are safe and which I should stay away from.

My playing also hasn’t changed a lot, but a bit. I’m still new enough to the expansion that I have to actually pay attention when I’m questing. I’m starting to remember some of the tricks to particular quests and areas, though, so soon I’ll have to be on my toes to remember to stop and enjoy instead of brainlessly churning through the content.

What has changed for me after compairing the previous epansions to the current iteration is my appreciation of many changes in recent years. I already talked about the Flight Master’s Whistle, the gathering nodes and the landscaping; I also think the world of mass looting and the ease of scrapping. While I’ve never cared for the mission board quests that much, I find the BfA version smoother to operate and slightly more interesting. Most of the armor and weapons in Pandaria and Cataclysm I find too boring to look at, but BfA has a lot to like again. And the quest chaining has also become more interesting along the years, I think. And the cities! I love Suramar from Legion and both Dazar’alor and Boralus in BfA.

As a bonus, here’s my Night Elf druid’s Christmas mog viewable in the Wowhead Dressing Room:

WoW BfA Stormsong Valley NElf Flight Masters Whistle Dec 2018

Funnily enough both Erik and I accidentally chose the same staff (here’s Erik’s mog). 🙂

Finally, here are links to my preceding six posts:

Image: World of Warcraft screencap

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

Joy to the World (of Warcraft) 13

Alunaria, over at Alunaria’s Avenue, has proposed a holiday challenge: stay away from the griping, grousing, and general grinchiness about World of Warcraft that’s all to easy to find these days and post something positive instead.

(I had meant this post for yesterday, but I ran out of time. Oh well; here it finally is.)

The Horde side has Caravan Brutosaurs! If you hang out awhile in the city, you can see Dazar’alor drudges unpacking these brontosaurus analogues—people at the top of the saddle structure chuck baskets and boxes down, where others first pile them up and then take away.

WoW BfA Zuldazar Caravan Brutosaur

The same model is also called Roughneck; there are some traveling the roads west of the city.

WoW BfA Zuldazar Roughneck

The really awesome thing, though, is that you can ride some of them! There’s at least one rideable Caravan Brutosaur walking back and forth over the bridge that runs west towards the Village in the Vines from the stretch of land between the Great Seal and Tal’farrak in Dazar’alor.

When you mount, you get an action panel with two options: toss fruit to scare away saurid and other beasts, or hop off. I don’t yet know whether it’s only available during the Brutal Escort world quest; I have been able to ride the brutosaur and the fruit tossing worked fine, but I didn’t see any attackers nor were any other events triggered. I was on my level 114 warrior, though; maybe the rideable brutosaur is available below 120 but not programmed to do anything else.

WoW BfA Goblin Warrior on Caravan Brutosaur Jan 2019

It’s pretty awesome anyway—then again, the brontosaurus is my favorite dino. 🙂

Images: World of Warcraft screencaps

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

Joy to the World (of Warcraft) 12

One last holiday transmog for Alunaria’s positive WoW-ing challenge!

My blood death knight decided long ago to walk away from the grim, painful history she can’t remember and dedicate herself to fighting for light and righteousness, so she’s here to bring the holiday season to a close in her Gifts of Gold mog.

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

Joy to the World (of Warcraft) 10

Alunaria, over at Alunaria’s Avenue, has proposed a holiday challenge: stay away from the griping, grousing, and general grinchiness about World of Warcraft that’s all to easy to find these days and post something positive instead.

Leveling my new Dark Iron Dwarf through some of the classic zones has reminded me how much I love the new terrain and environmental design. It started getting noticeably less clunky in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.

Out of Cataclysm I especially appreciate Deepholm and Vashj’ir. While I don’t care for the monotonous coloring decisions in Deepholm, the design team carved out quest areas that felt distinct and made a really nice, varying zone in what is essentially a huge hole in the ground. And—though I struggled with having to move 360 degrees all round, not just on a level plain—Vashj’ir is simply gorgeous!

WoW Cata Vashjir Shimmering Expanse NElf on Seahorse

Pandaria I find a bit more hit or miss, but Jade Forest is lovely throughout.

WoW Pandaria Jade Forest Serenity Falls

Legion and afterwards is where the landscape design really blossomed. Several zones have self-contained questing areas side by side, each with its own micro-environment. Stormheim has some of the best examples of this concept.

WoW Legion Stormheim Runewood

Apart from the land shapes, Blizzard upped the flora designs. Tree models are more elaborate and more natural, and come in multiple different sizes. The druid classhall for one is fantastic!

WoW Legion Druid Classhall Xmas Gear Dec 2018

Battle for Azeroth adds even more detailing. The two player-character factions may only have three zones each, but they all have so much to explore. I can’t wait for flying to be made available so I can just ride around looking at the design.

As an aside, one of my favorite BfA features is the incredibly fuzzy bee mount in Stormsong Valley. 🙂

WoW BfA Stormsong Valley Bee Flyer Dec 2018

What are your favorite areas and why?

Images: World of Warcraft screencaps

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

Happy New Year 2019!

2018 was a tough one for us, but it’s almost done now—phew!

Two Candles for FIN Independence

May 2019 simply be better for you in any way you’d like to define it.

I’d like to finish with a quote from Executive Director and diversity educator Shay Stewart Bouley‏:

“Centering yourself and treating yourself with the love you give to others allows you to be in the work and have a healthy perspective. Less reactionary. I can extend grace when I’m well. I can see what’s real and what’s not.”

Stay safe.

Image by Eppu Jensen

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Joy to the World (of Warcraft) 8

Alunaria, over at Alunaria’s Avenue, has proposed a holiday challenge: stay away from the griping, grousing, and general grinchiness about World of Warcraft that’s all to easy to find these days and post something positive instead.

Remember how frustrating it used to be when everyone shared the same gathering nodes? Fights would sometimes break out over who got to mine a certain ore or pick a particular flower.

WoW BfA Mining Node Stormsong Valley

Since Legion (at least—was is also before that??) we’ve been able to enjoy individual nodes. That removed the only annoyance we might otherwise have experienced leveling our two humans together, since they both happen to be miners. Now we can both mine the same nodes, and they’ll still be available for others once we’re done.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the nicest changes Blizzard has implemented. (Then again, I’m almost ferociously against PvP.)

As a bonus, here’s my human mistweaver monk‘s Christmas transmog:

WoW Human Mistweaver Monk Xmas Dec 2018

Fortunately it was possible to mog her weapon into a torch and offhand into a sparkler. Both are at least a little more festive than weaponry. 🙂 If interested, you can have a look at the set in Wowhead’s Dressing Room.

Images: World of Warcraft screencaps

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

Joy to the World (of Warcraft) 7

Alunaria, over at Alunaria’s Avenue, has proposed a holiday challenge: stay away from the griping, grousing, and general grinchiness about World of Warcraft that’s all to easy to find these days and post something positive instead.

Today’s WoW session has reminded me how wonderful it is to have the Flight Master’s Whistle.

WoW BfA Stormsong Valley NElf Flight Masters Whistle Dec 2018

I love the speed and flexibility it brings before flying is available—meaning, if I don’t have very much time to play, I can still log on and do a quest or two. The five-minute cooldown is long enough not to ruin the gaming balance but short enough not to feel annoying.

The only way it could be better is if it were available below max level. Sometimes I forget and try to mash the button on my alts, but usually I just get a good laugh out of my mistake. 🙂

Image: World of Warcraft screencap

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.