Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The End is Nigh!

For those that stay in touch with Warhammer Fantasy you are probably aware that over the past 5 or so months Games Workshop has drastically progressed the Warhammer world's timeline. It has been akin to a Game of Thrones episode; death, destruction, drastic change.

While most people who are interested in such things are up to date with the story, I was away in Europe for the Glottkin and and Khaine instalments. As such, I missed those books, and more importantly for my own completionist tendencies, the hard back version of these books. As such this post won't be so much about what has happened, because for one I don't know exactly, and for two, because I have gone to great lengths to stay as uninformed as possible about the story progression after Nagash, and I don't want this to be another spoiler filled post out there on the web.

What I want to talk about is some of the rumours that I have heard regarding 9th, and through this, what Warhammer means to me. This is something that I had been thinking about for a little while now, but Greg over at the Hoodling's Hole helped crystalise some of my own feelings about Warhammer.

Overall I am excited about the End Times - the progression of the story is exciting, although I wish I was in a position to be enjoying all the scenarios, new models, and new rules. Some of the joint armies sound like they could be quite fun to play with. However, I do have some fears regarding what may happen come 9th.

There have been rumours that 9th will be a game where, due to the great cataclysms the world has gone through, various armies will be amalgamated into others. The current legions lists are toted as being an example of how this might pan out; chaos all together, undead together, humans and dwarves likely to be joined, and so on and so forth. There are a few outliers in this model (lizardmen being the big one) but I'm not going to delve into that side of things. My concerns come from the fact that I really really like having more army books rather than less. I like the extra rules, the extra fluff, and the extra models that can come with separate army books. It also allows for more individual and characterful differences to be highlighted between armies. A prime example of this is Bretonnia and Empire: one is based on feudal French knights, and the other is more Germanic in nature. With the possible amalgamation of armies some of these characterful differences might be lost, and the potential range of models for use may decrease.
This fear primarily stems from the fact that I own a partially painted Bretonnian army, and I have never had a chance to really play with it. With the destruction caused by the End Times, and the rumours surrounding 9th, I worry that my opportunity to play with my Bretonnians shrinks bit by bit. I recognise that I could still play with them using 8th edition even should new editions come out, but if I'm honest with myself, I like to be playing what is current.

There have also been rumours of Warhammer including rules for a skirmish game, similar to the way 40k is from what I understand. While I have no particular issue with that being added into the existing format, if it were to replace the current model I would probably move away from Warhammer completely. The reason I play Warhammer, rather than 40k, is that I like the aesthetic of large units being manoeuvred around a battlefield. Having to plan movement in advance is something that greatly appeals to me; it is hard to react quickly with units should they end up in unfavourable positions because a large unit takes time to change its facing. I imagine it is similar to how armies would have reacted in medieval times, and given that I prefer medieval fantasy to science fiction, Warhammer Fantasy in its current form is more appealing to me than 40k.

All I can really ask for is that Games Workshop don't destroy the game I love. I can only hope that they are as invested in their product, its story, and its history, as I am. Whatever the future holds I will at least give Games Workshop the courtesy of trying their game, with as little pre-judgement as I can. Until then I will keep garnering the enjoyment it gives me now, and hopefully I will be able to play with my Bretonnians just a little before their future is revealed. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015


Apologies one and all! Life rather suddenly become busy for me and something had to give for a while, which ended up being this blog; it wouldn't quite work to stop playing WoW but keep blogging about it now would it.

In an effort to bring me back into the fold the guild leader of my WoW guild - Frostwolves (Saurfang) - nominated me as one of her 'Liebster' victims. The way it works is that a blogger will give 5 other bloggers 11 questions to answer. Those nominees must then answer those 11 questions, provide 11 facts about themselves, and then put 11 questions to 5 other nominated bloggers. I'm not sure if I know any other bloggers to nominate but at the very least I can do the first two parts! So here we go, the 11 questions from Navimie of The Daily Frostwolf:

1.  Who is your favourite villain and why?

I think my favourite villain would have to be Agent Smith from the Matrix. While never truly evil, he is hell bent on riding the Matrix of its human interlopers. This coupled with his ability to evolve and adapt make him one of my favourites.

2. What sport do you wish you were really good at?
Basketball. This could be in part from watching some basketball anime recently, but it is also a sport where there is both significant teamwork, and opportunity for individual excellence. On top of that there is the capacity to out-think and out-play an opponent. Otherwise it just looks like fun!

3. Tell me who is your favourite Disney character and why?
Rapunzel from Tangled. Apart from just being an excellent movie I like her boundless optimism, her adventurous nature, her non-judgmental acceptance of people, and her abilities with a frypan!

4. If you were granted one wish of anything you wanted, what would you wish for?
Invulnerability. I would want the ability to go anywhere, do anything and not be harmed by it. I would also want to live for a long long long time. Both of these stem from the fact that I want to know what is out there in the universe, and to explore the depths of our oceans. Both are unknown and full of potential wonder, however both have huge risks involved. The pressures in the deep ocean are immense, and if anything goes wrong death is the likely outcome. Similarly out in space if something goes wrong no one will be out there to help, you are on your own. Also space is huge.  There are suns out there that would take over 1000 years in a jumbo jet to circle, so even if we could currently explore the depths of space, it would be an exploration as a species, not as individuals as the time frame is just too large.

5. What is the dumbest thing you have done in regard to your computer?
I was building my computer from parts for the first time, and had just finished screwing everything in. Sam and I plugged it in, flicked on the power, and nothing happened. In my ignorance I thought that maybe the switch on the power source itself needed to flicked as well. So I flicked the switch, there was a pop, a smell of smoke, and the sinking feeling that that I had just made the problem worse.

6. If you had the ability to go back in time, who would you want to meet and what would be the one burning question you would ask them?
I've never really thought about this kind of thing, which is might be stange given that I did a history degree. If I had to choose I would probably want to speak to Terry Pratchet, and to ask him how he developed such an interesting way of viewing the world.

7. You have won a Nobel Prize! What do you wish you won the prize for?
Creating a successful model for a world government. Following on from question 4, if we were to ever colonise other planets we would need a structure that allowed for the whole of the human race to be governed - the reason for governance being that if we wanted to maintain our societies ethics and morals while such vast distances from Earth it would be necessary to have governments in place. As our species spreads further and further national boundaries and governments would become mroe insignificant, and governance on a global scale would become more efficient and necessary. In order to achieve something like this without conflict would require huge obstacles between cultures being overcome. There are obvious ones such as Isreal and Palastine, or the USA and China, but there would also be future concerns such as how does Africa fit in to something like this. Should they ever rise from their third world status would the be mechanisms to afford their representatives a say, and the influence they deserve. The EU is an interesting prototype in this regard, and how they come out of their own financial difficulties will be telling on the underlying strength of their model.

8. Which would be more devastating, loss of hearing, loss of vision, or loss of both hands.
I think the loss of both hands would be the worst. I prefer doing things to talking to people, and I like a level of independance. Should my hearing go I could still write, type, paint, and play computer games, it would just be a less fulfilling experience. In the case that I lost my sight I could still play music with others. However if I lost my hands I could no longer paint, type, play music, or be independant - I would have many more difficulties in every day chores such as cooking and cleaning, or even hugging my girlfriend. I think the loss of both hands would easily be the worst.

9. In World of Warcraft, who would you like to see as a boss encounter one day, and how would you design that fight.

I would love to fight Genn Greymane, the faction leader of the Worgen. Every time I see him on the loading screen he makes me want to play Worgen, so it would be fun to fight him, and to get loot that could make me look like him!

While I'm not sure on the specifics I think I would want the fight to involve the worgen curse somehow. I'm thinking that it would be a no tank fight, whereby DPS has to manage threat in a way that allows pretty much the whole damage portion of the raid to be attacked by Greymane at some stage. I think I would achieve this by having Greymane place a stacking debuff on a player he aattacks, maybe once every 5 seconds. While Greymane himself would only do nominal damage, this debuff would reduce healing by 15% or so per stack, and if you reach 5 stacks you are transformed into a Worgen, essentially being mind controlled and attacking your allies.

The way to beat this fight would be to use tools such as fient, feign death, BoP, vanish, tricks of the trade, misdirection, and others, to transfer threat from player to player. You would also need to make good use of personal defensives for the later stages of the debuff. For normal I would not make the DPS requirement too high as inevitably the weaker DPS classes may end up being benched for a  fight like this, but I think threat is something that has become fairly irrelevant in today's WoW so this would be a chance to explore it again as a fight mechanic.

10. What is the most embarrassing thing you've said to someone you wanted to impress?
Thankfully I seem to have erased most embarressing things I have said from my memory, but one embarressing thing I've done that springs to mind involves when I was first getting to know my now girlfriend.  We met playing in a youth band together, it was auditioned each year so I hadn't met her previous to rehearsals starting for the year. After a couple of weeks we started hanging out after rehearsal (after 9:30pm) before heading home. In the second week of this I was feeling particularly energetic and in the mood to impress and I suggested we climb a tree.
So up I went, climbing particularly well I must say, and we ended up sitting on a branch roughly 3m off the ground. We sat up there for 30 minutes or so, swapping stories and such, and then decided it was probably about time to head home, so we needed to get out of the tree. I was still feeling particularly bold and thought this would be a good opportunity to further impress with a smooth, athletic dismount off the branch. It was only as I started swinging under the tree that I realised this tree had quite large thorns! In my haste to ascend the tree I had managed to miss this crucial fact, and it was now quite an issue.

As I swung underneath the branch, with my hands and legs over the top holding me on, I managed to get some of my clothing caught on thorns. Initially I had planned to release my legs, hold on with my hands, and then drop the reduced height to the ground, being careful not to roll my ankle on the roots at the base of the tree. These thorns caused me to hesitate, and wonder how I was going to dislodge myself. My as yet not girlfriend asked, with a mixture of concern and humour, if I needed a hand getting down from the tree. As some of you males out there may understand, this was like a red rag to a bull; there was no way I was going to accept any assistance getting out of this tree! I spent a couple of seconds seeing if I could dislodge my clothes easily, but nothing was willing to move.

Now I swear this was a case of my brain skipping my conciousness and sending directions straight to my limbs, but rather than continuing to work my clothes loose my body decided that the best course of action was just to completely let go, so thats what I did. In front of the girl was trying to impress I failed to dismount elegantly from the tree, and instead clumsily fell like a stone, straight onto my back from a height of about 3 metres. Thankfully I didn't have to endure the ignomy of injuring myself on top of all this, and in the end it all worked out, but that would be the most embarassing thing I can think of doing while trying to impress someone.

11. You've been chosen to go onto a game show! Which game show would you go on?
 It would have to be the Block. While I have no particular interest in going on a renovating show, my girlfriend is dying to go on it, but I don't wish to apply until I actually know something about renovating. So if I had the choice it would be the Block, because while I have no particular game show I want to go on, I would be in trouble if I chose differently!

11 Things you didn't need to know about me.

1. I'm a Law and History Graduate, recently returned from a year in the UK and currently  looking for law related work

2. I've been in a relationship with my girlfriend for over 6 years now. She was the first girl I ever worked up the courage to ask out, and despite her being the only girlfriend I've had I have never wondered if the 'grass might be greener' so to speak.

3. I don't drink carbonated beverages. Ever since I was young I have always retched at the feel of bubbles on my tounge. Testing of this occured in the form of coke being left out for three days to go flat; no success, it tasted as bubbly to me as a freshly opened can. For some reason this also applies to guiness, which my Irish friends assure me has no carbonation. This preference of mine has led to my girlfriend canvassing my family and friends to see whether I should be forced to drink champagne at my wedding; its a losing battle for me but I shall endure until I prevail!

4. I don't really know how to make friends without my twin brother around.

5. I love reading, thought it tends to be in a fantasy genre. My favourite authors include, Robert Jordan, Terry Pratchet, J.R.R. Tolkein, Branden Sanderson, and Terry Goodkind.

6. I enjoy reading rules. Whether it is different class abilities in WoW, Army and Rule books in Warhammer, or a 200 page D&D supplement, I love thinking of the different ways rules can interact, and on a surface level, what combinations are strong.

7. I am currently learning how to play the saxophone.

8. I prefer Alliance to Horde. My very first character was a dwarf, and my favourite two races are Dreanei and Worgen. I've always been more of a 'good guy' kind of person, and while I hold great admiration for characters like Thrall and Cairne, and have very fond memories of them from Warcraft 3, I still prefer the Alliance. However, despite this preference, I have been a member of the Horde faction since Wrath of the Lich King. Initially all my real life friends were Horde players so I swapped over, and since then I have just ended up in Horde guilds.

9. I like looking at the stars and just taking in the moment.

10. I think very factually; I don't tend to believe a persons story on face value, and like to know the circumstances surrounding it. This is odd in that I also tend to automatically trust what people say, and struggle to disbelieve them. I guess the two can be reconciled with point 4; While I think the best of people I also know they can get things wrong, thus any inconsistencies are honest (as opposed to malicious) mistakes, so while no one is actively lying, often people are incorrect despite their best intentions.

11. I worry about being a nuisance to others - I normally won't push my own interests for fear of creating inconveniences to others. This also transfers into job-hunting - my base assumption is that people don't need any more employees and that me dropping in applications is annoying for them. Looking at it objectively I can see that there are huge holes in that methodology, but I still cringe initially when thinking about it.

Questions for others
1. Dogs or Cats?
2. Are you a grammar Nazi?
3. Is skydiving your kind of thrill, or is it just a foolish way to risk death?
4. Lawyers; societies leeches, a necessary evil, or welcome members of the community?
5. Where is the best place you have ever visited?
6. What is the appeal of clubbing?
7. What would you prefer - money, fame, or power?
8. If the Prime Minster of Australia came to you offering to give you his or her place in government (and the relevant party had no objection etc etc) would you become the Prime Minister of Australia?
9. Do you like being the bad guy/girl?
10. Karaoke; Super fun or a mortifying experience?
11. What song title best describes you?


I'm afraid I don't have any specific nominations, however instead I would invite anyone who reads this blog to answer the questions, and then post in the comments section with a link - it's up to you if you want to participate, and I would be very interested to see anyone's answers!

Friday, 6 February 2015

The unexpected generosity of guild mates

This post will be a fairly short one, but I just had something really nice happen to me so I thought I would share.

I logged on to WoW, as I normally do, and I had mail. How exciting, we all like mail! I don't tend to use the Auction House all that often so I knew it wasn't a failed auction or something like that. I figured I must have missed something and the handy dandy postmaster was returning it to me. In the end it was neither of these but was mail from my guildie Luxy!

I wouldn't say I know Luxy really well but we did our dungeon hero achievements together, and she is part of the regular group of people I check with when doing challenge modes and other 5 man things. I do know that she is an avid achievement hunter (she currently sits at  23,135 achieve points!), and is quite the pet battler.

In this mail she had sent me 100 chocolate cookies, which for those that don't know they are used in the achievement 'You'll feel right as rain'. I was really touched by this because Luxy had gone out of her way to peruse the achievements I hadn't obtained yet, seen that I hadn't eaten a bunch of cookies yet, and then went out of her way to make them for me! Consideration and effort went into a totally unexpected and unlooked for present, and for that I was touched and very grateful. It is nice having guildies who see you as more than just another body to raid with, and through her doing something like this, I am more motivated to pass on the consideration and kindness.

Have any of you out there in internet land experienced something similar? If you haven't perhaps you could be the starting link in something nice! :)

Thanks Luxy :) you made my day

Monday, 2 February 2015

WoW Goals Week 3 - Failure

Well hasn't this week just gotten away from me. Failing my Warhammer goals and now failing one of my WoW goals AND being late with the others. I definitely over-estimated the amount of time I had to do these things this week. Between Australia Day, work, musical commitments, raids, one of my best friends leaving to Melbourne for 2 years, and staying with the girlfriends mum in Busselton (country town 2.5 hours south of Perth) I just ran out of time. So let's see how we went:

Goal 1: Late!

The first goal for this week was to level my cooking to 700. It was the final profession for me to max on my warrior. In the end I did achieve it, hooray! However I did it this morning, rather than before yesterday so in the end it was late. Funnily enough I had everything I needed to max it out, I just didn't take the 3 minutes needed to move some fish around and finish it off.

Goal 2: Late!

Similarly to levelling cooking, I just never got around to fishing up a storm until this morning. Once again after 25 minutes of fishing I walked away with 80 more Enormous Blackwater Whiptail and a shiny new achievement. It was done this morning, so once again, late.

Goal 3: Incomplete!

Unlike the other two goals that were late, I never got around to finishing my Classic and Burning Crusade legacy raids. There was always something else more pressing to do! In the end I did 40 man Ahn'Quiraj, so that was 1/4 finished. It will be something I shall have to come back to but it won't be a carry on goal for next week I don't think.

Extra Credit

Finally, during my WoW travels I picked up a few more achievements, so here they are:

For next week the plan is to turn this slump around and smash out three new goals in time! The lucky goals are:

1. To achieve revered with the Steamwheedle Preservation Society - I want their follower! Currently I am 7000/12000 so a little bit of time farming rare's and Nagrand drops should do it.

2. Another Angler Achievement, this time it shall be Abyssal Gulper Eels feeling the sting of my mighty hook.

3. Finally, I have never completed any of the 'to all the Squirrel' achievements, so I am going to start with the Azeroth version: To all the Squirrel's I have loved before'.

No bonus's this week, I need to get some tasks completed first!

Due date - 8th February 2015.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Warhammer Goal Month 1 - Failure

So apparently three models are not as 'eminently doable' as I had originally thought. My first monthly goal was indeed a failure, however there were still some valuable things to take out of it.

1. I may not have painted that much, but I did get some painting done. This is more colour than this guy has seen for 18 months, so while I didn't achieve as much as I had planned, some progress was made. 

2. What painting I did, I quite enjoyed, which is great!

3. One of my weaknesses is agonising about how something will turn out before I have actually done anything, so I made an active effort to just get some paint on the model in general, we shall see how it all turns out.

4. I want to work on my blending through multiple thin layers. All the red on the model is just the one red. I used a wash over the top, and then started blending back up to the original red - the best example of this is on the spiky foreleg guard on the beasties front left leg.

For next month I am going to roll over this goal and see if I can get these guys done. I am enjoying painting them at the moment so as may as well keep going with it.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

WoW Goals Week 2 - Complete!

My apologies to anyone who reads this, I have not been particularly on top of posting this week. I have three different draft posts I am working on at the moment, but I haven't managed to get anything finished. However my WoW goals for the most part are a different matter.

This week was a bit more intense in what I was aiming to achieve. I was aiming to:

1. Unlock the Pet Menagerie,
2. Get the Fire Ammonite Angler achievement,
3. Max Archaeology
Bonus. Complete my Draenor Dungeon Hero achievement
Extra Credit. Guild Rated Battlegrounds

Lets see how it all went!

Goal 1: Complete!

This was the big one for this week. While I (read: my girlfriend) did some Pet battling in MoP, I never got that far with it.

Check the date - I told you I didn't get far

So getting my pet menagerie was more than just beating Gorefu, Gnawface, and my favourite, Carrotus Maximus. I needed to raise a team first to compete with. My first step was to get some Level 25 pets, and the closest ones I had to that were a Leopard Scorpid, my Spirit of Competition, and a Mac Frog. When I mentioned to Navimie, pet battler extraordinaire, what I was doing, she elicited a groan and immediately gave me some advice on the kind of basic pet line-up I wanted. While I haven't quite got to that point I did raise an Iron Starlette to 25, and in the end I took out those pesky pests with my Spirit of Competition, an Iron Starlette (did anyone else think this was a bird before playing with it?) and a Leopard Scorpid. Hooray!

I earnt myself the Keepin' Busy achievement, and finally obtained all the buildings in my garrison.

I really enjoyed the pet battling experience, so expect to see some more pet battling achievements crop up in the future!

Goal 2: Complete!

Once again I found the angling achievement to be quite painless. 15 minutes with fire ammonite bait and some +200 fishing bait netted me over 50 of the blighters. Yet another step towards unlocking my level 3 fishing hut.

Goal 3: Complete!

Archaeology was also quite enjoyable in the end. Similarly to pet battling, I have a lot of achieves to pick up here in the future. Picked up the Diggerest achievement as a bonus, yay!

I actually managed to screenshot this one in time, improvement!

Bonus: Complete!

This was the achievement I was really looking forward to getting, and myself, Cptsars, Navimie, Crooked, and Luxygaga all got it together this week. I am in the process of writing a more detailed post on this so stay tuned!

Extra Credit: Failed

We didn't end up getting the numbers for rated battlegrounds, but no matter, it is just something to keep an eye on for the future.

Week 2 additional achievements (I think I will call this part Extra Credit in future)

During my time on WoW this week I got a few random achievements, so I may as well make mention of those also.

WoW Goals for Week 3

My girlfriend gets back from the UK tonight, it is Australia Day tomorrow, and I am back at work now so my WoW time is going to be slightly more restricted. I also need to crack on with my painting goals so this weeks challenges are going to be on the easier side. That being said, my goals for this week are:

1. Cooking to 700. It is the last profession I need to round it all out.
2. The Blackwater Whiptail population will be affected this week once I am done with my Blackwater Whiptail Angler achievement.
3. I will do my Classic and Outland raider achievements - I need BWL and AQ40 for Classic, and Karazhan, Mt Hyjal, and Sunwell Plateau for Outland. I'm a bit shocked I haven't done these so I best rectify the situation.

I won't set a bonus goal for this week as I think it will only encourage me to spend more time on WoW and less time painting. It will also give me more time to finish those blog posts!

Lets see how it goes, due date Sunday 1st February 2015.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

WoW Goals Week 1 - Complete!

So in actual fact I completed these a few days ago, but I have been busy trying to write a post on music that I didn't get around to posting this until today, however given today was the deadline perhaps that is a good thing.

As a refresher, my goals were:

1. Finish my PvP set on my Warrior.
2. Finish my Stables quests
3. Complete my Sea Scorpion Angler achievement
Bonus: Level my Rogue to 96.

Goal 1: Complete!

I have capped my conquest, bought shiny gear, and have at least 600 ilvl PvP gear, or a better option (the belt) in the rest of the slots. There are some small upgrades here and there to make, but everything is PvP now.

Goal 2: Complete!

Still working on my screen shot reflexes, but here are the achieves from my achievement tab.

Goal 3: Complete!

And finally, my angling achievement. This was nowhere near as time consuming as I feared it might be.

Bonus: Complete!

I went a bit overboard with this one, as I have really been enjoying the rogue, so rather than get to 96 (so I could get my salvage yard) I am at 99, and half way to 100, which will probably happen later today.

I guess I should set some goals for the next week. Last weeks goals in the end were quite easy to achieve, so I think generally I can set slightly more intensive goals, bearing in mind that I don't want to push myself too hard and burn out. This week my girlfriend is off playing a concerto in the UK (which I am SUPER excited about, but I can't go to watch which is sad) so I have more free time to get WoW stuff done. Bearing that all in mind, this weeks goals are:

1. Unlock the pet building in my garrison. This may sound simple, but I never really started pet battling in MoP before I quit, so I need to raise a few pets to 25 before I can even start. I suspect it will take a little while, but I'm looking forward to doing it - the pet battling feels like a big road block in my achievement hunting at the moment.

2. Get my Fire Ammonite Angler achievement.

3. Get Archaeology to max level.

Bonus: Complete my Draenor Dungeon Challenges - I am a huge fan of these achievements, and myself, Cptsars, and Navimie (of the Daily Frostwolf fame - she may get a post in the future) have been slowly working through them, though we have been hampered by my inability to find time. I really want to get this done this week, but it is in the Bonus section because it involves coordinating other people.

Extra Credit: I want to start doing some Rated Battlegrounds, and I would especially like to do some with my guild. I believe there are quite a few people that would be interested so this is a reminder to myself to ask around and see if a guild night of it could be organised while Erin is away.

Deadline for all of these is Sunday 25th January 2015. Let's see how I go!

Music and Me

Not my picture, but hopefully the site I grabbed it from won't mind.

As the picture may suggest, I am a trombonist - that is, I play the trombone. I don't think anyone would disagree particularly strongly with me when I say it is not the most elegant, nor the 'coolest' instrument out there. Quite often I have wondered why I chose it over something sexy like a saxophone, or something extravagant like the trumpet or piano. These musings are only intensified by my masters level saxophonist girlfriend playing super cool saxophone concerto's and the like. However, I always tend to come back to the same reasons for why I like the trombone and why it suits me. But first, some history of me and my 'bone'!

I live in Perth, Western Australia, and the primary school I went to had a music program that began in year 5. Prior to this we would play the recorder in classes and such, but come the end of year 4 we would get the exciting opportunity to pick three instruments (in order of preference) we might like to play in the Junior band for year 5. My twin brother had drums as his number one option, and then some other things further done. Spoiler alert: he got to play drums/percussion, but that is fairly irrelevant to my story. I considered picking 'cool' instruments like the drums, and my dad hoped one of would pick the saxophone, but in the end my top choice was the trombone. Without much foresight, my only criteria for picking the trombone was that it was big. I wanted a big case to carry around. While I don't regret that decision, I have always found it curious that that was my criteria for choosing an instrument.

After that the normal course followed; I had lessons, sang in school choirs, played in Concert Band and in Year 7 we were allowed to join the Swing Band. For me the Swing Band was always the most exciting ensemble to play in; I just really enjoyed playing in a big band.

A big band traditionally follows a 5/4/4 setup; 5 saxophones (2 Alto, 2 Tenor, 1 baritone). 4 Trombones (3 Tenor, 1 Bass) and 4 Trumpets. It then has a rythym section consisting of Bass (Usually a Doublebass, but can be Electric), Drum Kit, Piano and a Guitar (somewhat optional, it was introduced into the standard line-up a little later). This setup can change depending on the era the music is from, and also what the composer of a piece decides to write for. Vocalists also sing in front of Big bands, for example Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble.

I kept up my musical ways in High School, getting involved in all the various school ensembles. While I enjoyed the classical side of things, I found the freedom of Jazz to be much more inviting. However, because I was scared to improvise I preferred playing in a Big Band as opposed to a small combo. While at High School I considered pursuing a music based career, however the big sticking point was that I just didn't enjoy practising. I struggled to actually sit down and do scales, or work on a piece, or anything of the sort. If I were to go the University to study music then this would be quite the sticking point, so I decided to keep music as a hobby, and steer clear of the pressure to practise. This aversion to practise also meant that I was quite the terrible student; while I was happy to go to lessons I never really practised or prepared anything for them. During this time I improved primarily by playing 11 hours a week in bands before and after school - While I didn't like structured solo practise I could spend hours playing with others.

After school I kept playing with professional and amateur Big bands around Perth; I was good enough to play in professional Big Bands, but my individual playing was weak, so anything exposed was dodgy. A few years ago I was asked by one of the bands I was in whether I might like to try Bass Trombone.

For those that are unfamiliar, a Bass Trombone is like a normal trombone except a bit bigger in every way. It also has a bunch more piping on the top of it that can be opened with a couple of valves near the left hand. By being bigger, and by having more piping for the air to travel along, lower notes can be played, hence 'Bass' Trombone.

A non-soloist position, playing lower notes with some meat behind them? Hell yes! So life was proceeding like it had at school, I played in bands and improved that way, but I still did no practise. This all changed when I went to the UK last year. My girlfriend, Erin, was off to do her Masters in the UK. I had just finished my Law degree so it was perfect timing for us to go together and live abroad for a year. I didn't take any trombones with me, but I had a scholarship to buy a Bass Trombone whilst I was over there. In the end I wasn't able to buy a Bass Trombone until the end October last year, and then we went travelling around Europe until December before flying home to Perth. What this meant was that for a whole year I was surrounded by amazing musicians, with no way to play. For the first time I was motivated to practise, and I couldn't!

So this leads me to the here and now, and what I want to achieve with my music. First of all, my technique is terrible - because I was an unreceptive student I never put in the time to get my embouchure and technique right the first time. Now that I have spent some time away from my horn I want to relearn it right, rather than going back to my old habits. Secondly I want to play some classical Bass Trombone repertoire. It dawned on me that I know far more about classical saxophone repertoire than I do about trombone repertoire; a heap about saxophone, and nothing about trombone. This situation is a bit shameful, so I would like to rectify it. It also has the secondary goal of making me play in more solo situations, a weak point in my playing that I want to overcome. In this case I won't be setting weekly or monthly goals, but trying to provide general updates on how things are progressing; where my technique is at, what music I am looking at and the like.

For those keen readers who noticed I haven't said why I like the trombone, well here it is. The trombone is the workhorse of a band. It supports other parts with its mid-range sound, and fills out the inner parts of compositions. A great trombone section should be present but not necessarily distinguishable from the other instruments. We provide the meat and potatoes while other instruments get to be the gravy. We support everyone else and make them sound better, without needing the gratification of the crowd. I like this because it is similar to how I like to live my life - I don't always feel particularly comfortable in the spotlight, but I like to support others around me in whatever they are going for; to be reliable and dependable is where I get my kicks. For a boring person like me, the trombone is just perfect!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Where I'm at: Warhammer Fantasy

I was first introduced to Warhammer by a friend when I was 13. We went down to Games Workshop, had an introduction game, and picked out 40k armies we would like. My friend chose the Sisters of Battle, my twin chose Grey Knights, and I went with Space Wolves. Being the jobless teenagers that we were much of our time was spent proxying games on the floor of one of our bedrooms, gazing longingly into the pages of White Dwarf wishing we could have a setup like theirs; beautifully sculpted terrain, immaculate models, all on a glossy mag designed to show off Games Workshops wares.

While I enjoyed my time playing 40k, I found that my heart was really drawn to fantasy. The ranked blocks of infantry, the large units, the outstanding heroes, the magic, monsters, the fantasy setting of the Old World, and the clean and bright colour palette all called to me much more than the grim, dark, war-torn future that is 40k. After scrimping and saving birthday moneys and the like I bought myself a box of Bretonnian knights and was hooked and haven't considered 40k since, much to the dismay of my Space Wolves.

As is wont to happen with teenagers that play with toy soldiers, the pressures of attracting the fairer sex tend to weigh heavy, and I stepped away from and back into Warhammer multiple times. Often this migration would occur in tandem with World of Warcraft; as I became more enthusiastic about one, the other would be neglected.

While I have for the most part kept my finger on the pulse in regards to Games Workshops releases, it wasn't until 8th edition was released that I started to make more of an effort to finish an army. While I still liked my Bretonnians I had never got that close to completing a fully painted 2400pt army. I also found the prospect of painting different heraldry on so many different knights intimidating, so I took the opportunity to start a new army. In the end I chose the Daemons of Chaos; they had great colours, cool background, and the potential for creating a themed army (my preference was Nurgle).

Since then I have been in and out of the hobby, I really enjoy listening to podcasts (such as the Bad Dice Podcast, the Dweller's Below, the Watchtower, and Heelenhammer), but I don't seem to finish anything. Similarly to my WoW post, I am hoping to use this blog as a vehicle to achieve some goals. I started to going to tournaments and the like, so my first goal is to have a legal 2400pt army to use. I have a swathe of half completed projects so my monthly goal (to be achieved by the end of January) is to complete my unit of Bloodcrushers. I have done some conversion work on them already (basic green stuff and repositioning), and they have been undercoated, so in reality this is a painting goal. Painting is definitely my weakest point so hopefully a simple, hopefully easy, goal will help my motivation.

It is a bit hard to see, but their bases have been designed to slot in in a certain way

This one is going to be tricky to keep together, currently the rider is bluetacked on but I will need to find a more permanent solution.

I'm thinking I will need a better camera and a light box at some stage, but this will have to do for the moment. 18 days to finish painting this lot, that should be immensely doable right?

P.S. Hopefully I can find a way in the future to format pictures nicely. That white space is horrible!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

WoW and I

My history with the World of Warcraft has been a love/hate one. At times we have been as close as two newlyweds on their honeymoon, at other times we have loathed each other, pretending the other didn't exist. Well, perhaps that isn't fair on WoW, but I have certainly felt that way at times.

We first met in 2005, maybe six months after the game was first released. I had been a big fan of Warcraft III and so the idea of getting to delve deeper into the world of Azeroth was an exciting one. My twin brother and I went out and bought a copy, eagerly installed the game, and then made our characters and dived into the World of Warcraft.

I was a lowly dwarf hunter with my best friend (wolf) Loki by my side. Leveling was an agonisingly slow experience and I almost gave out in the early 40's. However we pushed on, hit level 60, joined a raiding guild and had a great time in Molten Core, Zul Gurub and Ahn'Qiraj.

Come 2007 we were very excited by the release of The Burning Crusade. Those first steps through the Dark Portal and seeing the skies above Outland were phenomenal. By this time I had changed to playing a Feral druid, and was having a good ole time. Some friends from Vanilla, my brother, and I, all got stuck into Karazhan together. It was my first experience main tanking and raid leading, however after a while I became burnt out and stepped away from WoW; it was affecting my studies very badly and I needed to get myself back on track.

Since then I have returned to WoW at the beginning of each expansion and then left it, for various reasons, part way through. While initially I left because of my horrendous WoW/life balance, I have generally left other expansions due to burning out from raiding. I tend to put in alot of hours at the start of an expansion, to be as prepared as I can for raiding, but after the first tier I would find raiding a chore rather than fun. My aim for WoD is to avoid making this mistake. With that in mind however, I still want to achieve things while playing, I still want to spend time trying to improve, and I still want to play and enjoy the game. So my hope is that by blogging about my experiences, and by setting weekly tasks for myself, I can actually continue playing through the expansion and enjoying all it has to offer.

I'll detail in a future post where I am at currently, but for the moment I have these things that I want to achieve by Sunday 18th January 2015:

1. Complete my PvP set for my warrior; I need a Cloak, Bracers, a Ring, and a Trinket.
2. Finish my stables quests; Advanced Husbandry & The Stable Master
3. Complete my Sea Scorpion Angler achievement.
Bonus: Level my rogue to 96.

Let's see if I have I underachieve this week, or if I smash my goals by making them too easy!

Friday, 9 January 2015

D-Day: Welcome to my world

Greetings Ladies / Gentlemen / Bored People / Internet Creepsters, and welcome to Arelion's Realm!

My name is Alex and the goal of this blog is to give me a place to practise writing/vent on the things I do and like. I imagine that while it won't be a daily blog, there will hopefully be 4 to 5 posts a week. At the same time I am hoping to use it to make me set goals and attempt to achieve them, as well as having a record of the progress I've made and the things I've done. I envision this blog will focus on four main things:

                            1. My adventures in the World of Warcraft
                            2. Painting and gaming with my Warhammer: Fantasy projects
                            3. My musical exploits, and
                            4. My weight loss/fitness progress.

Over the next week I'll expand a bit on each of the above, and start setting some goals for myself.

While I am an avid blog reader I have never ventured into the realms of blogging myself. As such for those that spectate through my struggles I hope you will bear with me as I learn to screenshot, edit, format and such along the way.

So sit back, grab some popcorn and drink of choice, and relax.

Welcome to my world.