Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Blessing Disdained

This is part 5 of Serisyna's story. For previous installments, please click the Storylines link to find them. Thanks, and enjoy! ^^

The grotesque sight of the zombie before her, gripping her powerfully, paralyzed Serisyna from head to toe. Again, she wondered if this were some horrible nightmare that she were watching from afar. The zombie leaned in close to her, perhaps intent on taking a bite out of her, and probably would have done so if the hum of a blade hadn’t neatly separated the zombie’s head from its body.

Serisyna wasn’t immediately sure what had happened, even when the monster’s head bounced to the ground next to her feet. The rest of the rotting body collapsed, and she looked up to see Terrence with a sword in hand. He whirled around to face the other two ghouls, who were staring blankly at their fallen companion.

“Light damn, you stupid girl! Move!” Terrence snapped back at her, holding his blade towards the zombies. They seemed to hesitate at the sight of a weapon, but only briefly. When he didn’t wave it again, they began shambling towards him once more, arms outstretched. “You’re not supposed to let them get that close!”

Trembling, Serisyna backed away, realizing that her strange vision must have kept her from noticing the trio of ghouls until it was too late. What’s wrong with me…? she wondered, distantly. I could have died… What is it that I’m seeing?

A zombie finally flung itself at Terrence, but with a neat sidestep, the Deathguard dodged the clumsy advance. Bringing his blade over and down, he nearly cleaved his enemy in two, right across the back. The body separated as it hit the ground, and Serisyna found herself staring at the top half trying to crawl across the ground toward her. With a furious kick, Terrence knocked the head off, and it moved no more.

But the last ghoul wasted no time in taking advantage of Terrence’s preoccupation, and pounced upon the Deathguard eagerly. Wide-eyed, Serisyna could only shriek as the ghoul sunk its teeth deep into the Deathguard’s shoulder, making him stagger. Terrence swore with pain and tried to shake the ghoul off him, while at the same time trying to keep his balance.

“Terrence!” Serisyna cried, unable to remain idle at the sight of her companion in danger. Without thinking, she raised her hands as if to claw the zombie off of him. “Get off him, you monster…!”

And before she could register what was happening, the surge of light filled her once more, and manifested into a mighty attack. Terrence yelped in surprise, the blast sending him flying to the ground as the ghoul was consumed by the light. It only had time for one last, confused moan before it fell to the ground lifelessly, more ash than corpse now. The light had nearly disintegrated it.

Serisyna stopped short and gasped.

Again… this light…

“For gods’ sake, woman, watch what you’re doing!” Terrence practically exploded, from where he had been thrown by the intense attack. “If you hit me with that, I could be just like him!”

She glanced over at the charred zombie and shuddered. “I-I’m sorry…” she whispered. “I didn’t mean to do that…”

Heaving a sigh, Terrence got back to his feet and attempted to dust himself off. “You’d better learn how to ‘do that’ and quick,” he growled, though his tone was more grateful than scathing this time. “Next time you might kill me.” He paused to glance at the gaping wound the zombie had opened up in his shoulder, and winced. “Damn it all…”

Serisyna came to his side, filled with concern, and placed her hand gingerly over the wound. “Does it hurt?” she asked, curious. She was certain it must, but she wondered how much so. At any rate, she wished that it would heal somehow; she didn’t like the thought that he had gotten hurt because of her inattentiveness…

“I’m fine, I’m fine. Sheesh, you’re like a regular mother hen—OW!”

A small aura of light had formed around Serisyna’s hand, stinging the both of them and making them each recoil in pain. But as Terrence looked at his shoulder, he saw—to his surprise—that his injury was starting to heal, before his very eyes. It gradually closed back up, and soon it was as if the brief fight hadn’t taken place at all.

“W-what happened?” Serisyna asked, meekly. “Did I hurt you again?”

For once, Terrence didn’t have a snappy comeback to her question. “Um… actually, no,” he said, showing her the site of the injury. “I think… maybe you healed me.”

Her eyes lit up at that. “Healed you… You mean you’re ok,” she exclaimed, almost sounding delighted.

Terrence stared at her, as if trying to come up with something dismissive or chiding. But instead, he settled for a mere nod. “Seems so… Well, what do you know. Thanks.”

Serisyna’s lips curled into a brief, yet lovely smile. She attempted to curtsey, though she wobbled a little with the stiffness of her joints. “Thank you, for protecting me,” she replied. “If it weren’t for you, those ghouls would have killed me for sure.”

“Don’t mention it. If I was supposed to let everyone die that got attacked by ghouls, then I wouldn’t have much of a job,” Terrence muttered, his brief moment of gratitude over. “But don’t keep getting into trouble.”

“Sorry… I won’t.”

The pair continued down the road in silence, until they found themselves before the steps of the chapel itself. Serisyna could see, past the broken, wooden doors, several other Forsaken within, seated in ruined pews or talking to one another. Terrence nudged her forward. “Ladies first.”

Uncertainly, she stepped forward, and entered. A few candles flickered along the length of the chapel, but most of the light came from a broken stain-glassed window, allowing the moonlight to spill into the musty chamber. As Serisyna’s soft footsteps echoed through the chapel, the various individuals within—robed Forsaken and armored Deathguards among them—ceased their talking, and looked up at her suspiciously. She might have backed away from their empty, harsh stares if Terrence hadn’t been behind her to guide her forward. She meekly approached the man at the front of the chapel and managed another curtsey.

“Hello,” she whispered. She could feel his burning eyes glare at her, making her skin tingle. Within her heart, she felt his intentions were as dark as his gaze.

Terrence nudged her again, making her straighten up, and muttered, gruffly, “Shadow Priest Sarvis, this is Serisyna. She just woke up. Mordo thought you might have a use for her… talents.”

Serisyna peeked up at Sarvis again, nervously. From where he stood behind the cracked, ruined pulpit, the Shadow Priest cut an imposing image in his red robes and black miter, both bearing a strange symbol. The flesh on his face was stretched tight, giving him a permanent, skull-like grin crisscrossed with various scars and stitching; clearly, he’d had much reconstruction done on his undead body.

“Talents, you say…” Sarvis looked Serisyna over, making her shiver. She was starting to become uncomfortable with people examining her. “And what, pray tell, do you have to offer in the way of talents, my dear?”

Giving Terrence a brief look, she replied, hesitantly, “Well… I’m not sure why… but… it seems I can command the… the Light.”

She could practically hear everyone in the chapel scowling at such a thing. “The Light?” repeated Sarvis, eyes narrowing. “The Light that abandoned us, you mean? Foolish girl, what good is such a hateful talent? The Light burns us. It can bring nothing but destruction to the Dark Lady’s design. Get out of my sight.”

“Wait,” Terrence interjected, as a female Deathguard stepped forward to reach for Serisyna. “That’s not true. Hard as it is to believe… the Light could be useful. I’ve seen it.”

Sarvis’s gaze moved slowly, from a frightened Serisyna to the spiky-haired, resolute Deathguard. “Useful? How so?”

Terrence spoke quickly, encouraged by the painful way Serisyna’s hand gripped his wrist in fear. “She… can disintegrate our enemies. The Scourge fears the Light too, you know,” he explained. “She turned a whole ghoul nearly to dust just before we got here. And… she can heal with it. No, really!” he exclaimed, at Sarvis’s frown.

“The Light can’t heal us,” a frail-looking, undead woman nearby murmured, although Serisyna caught the faintest hint of hope, flickering briefly within her soul.

“I swear to Sylvanas, it’s possible. I was attacked by a ghoul, and she healed the injury. It’s gone. Yeah, the Light still hurts a little, but I think if she learns to control it… she can do it for everyone.” Terrence looked at Serisyna, almost glaring, and she could practically read the unspoken words in his eyes:

I’m reaaaallly sticking my neck out for you. Don’t let me down.

Serisyna nodded, determined not to let Terrence’s kindness go to waste. “Yes, Shadow Priest. I know it’s strange… but my Light can help us. Let me have a chance to show you,” she pleaded. “Let me prove my dedication to the cause. To… to the Dark Lady.”

Sarvis didn’t reply, but his gaze continued to burn into her. Perhaps he was trying to read her just as she tried to read him, and his dark, unforgiving soul…

“…Very well. A fresh, out-of-the-ground wisp of a girl like you cannot be too dangerous, I suppose. Even with your precious Light,” Sarvis practically spat, mockingly. “Prove yourself here, and I might let you live. Shay. You’re in charge of the Light-girl. Put her to work.”

From a corner of the chapel, seemingly out of the shadows, a thin Forsaken woman suddenly appeared. She was bound in ragged, form-fitting leather clothing, and wore a dagger on each hip. Her long black hair, though dry and shabby with the ravages of undeath, was relatively lovely, as was her face—pristine, save for a few minor rot marks. She saluted the Shadow Priest by crossing her arms over her chest.

“For the Dark Lady,” she replied, looking at Serisyna with a surprisingly gentle smile. “Come on then, girl. Let’s get you equipped to work. No rest for us. Not anymore.”

With a hesitant bow to Sarvis—still sneering at her in utter disdain—Serisyna turned to follow Shay outside. Though grateful to get away from the harsh Shadow Priest, she could not help but wonder what was to come. Would she be able to prove herself… or would these trials be meant to kill her?

From behind her, as if reading her mind, Terrence gave his own foul, yet reassuring mutter.

“You must be the luckiest damn girl in the whole Light-damned world.”

A few fun end notes:

Shadow Priest Sarvis is a quest giver in the Deathknell chapel, and is also the leader of the Cult of Forgotten Shadow there, making him a powerful individual. My description of him in the story is purposefully different from his appearance in-game.

With the changes that have occurred to the undead starting areas due to the Shattering, I suppose it's worth pointing out when this story takes place. Serisyna was leveled through the old Vanilla starting areas, so much of this story will be based off of that, not the current incarnation of Tirisfal Glades. I estimate that the story takes place about a year or so prior to Wrath of the Lich King, so sometime during the events of the Burning Crusade. Not that any of the major events of BC affect Serisyna, save for the inclusion of the blood elves into the Horde.

Shay is an original character, though she is based off of an actual player character that I had the brief privilege of playing with, back when I first rolled Serisyna.

As always, comments and critique are welcome! I hope you enjoyed it! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Farstrider Training – Beast Mastery Glyphs 4.0

Out-of-date for Mists of Pandaria. Will be updated in the future!

Glyphs are an easily overlooked aspect of a character, since glyphs aren’t an item one normally obtains from leveling. They are only available from the Inscription profession, so the only ways to get a glyph is if you have Inscription, you know someone who does, or you purchase the glyph from the Auction House. They also aren’t really essential to your leveling experience. Many of them help—a lot—but you can get by without them decently, I think. (That’s not to say I recommend going without them, but don’t spend all your gold trying to buy them either!) Finally, people can’t see your glyphs in-game, therefore being unable to comment on them unless they go out of their way to look you up on Armory.

But even if they’re mostly optional, any good player knows that every little bit helps, and leaving your glyphs empty at end-game is especially foolish. But what to choose? There are an awful lot of glyphs to choose from! And how do you put them in? Hehe, well, I guess that’s why you’re reading this, right? To find out!

For the truly inexperienced, I’ve broken down glyphing into a few easy steps:

Step 1: Open your glyph page.
The first thing you want to do is browse all those glyphs! To do so, open your talent page, and click on the Glyph tab on the bottom. You will see a pretty picture of various circles arranged on a book-like page. To the right, you have your list of glyphs (marked in red in the picture). There are three types of glyphs—Prime, Major, and Minor—and you can have a maximum of three of each once you are max level. More glyph slots unlock as you level up. If a circle is raised and reacts when you hover over it, that means you can fill it with a glyph.

From the list of glyphs, you can browse through all available glyphs for your class, read their effects, and see what you might like to have! If you have already learned a glyph, it will be colored in the list (marked in purple). Otherwise, it will be faded until you pick up a glyph and learn it permanently (marked in white). Unlike before patch 4.0, once you learn a glyph you will have it forever! You can only have the normal three of each glyph type active, though.

To switch an old glyph to a new one, you’ll need Vanishing Powder (for level 80 or lower characters) or Dust of Disappearance (for over-level 80 characters) in your inventory. The number you have in your bags is displayed where I've marked in yellow in the screenshot. You can either make these with Inscription, or purchase them from an Inscription supplies vendor. This makes switching glyphs (especially between two vastly different specs) much easier! No need to keep buying glyphs every time you switch specs; just buy some dust instead!

Step 2: Choose your glyphs, and go get them!
Whether you make your own glyphs, get them from a friend, or buy them from other players, you’ll need to obtain the item first before you can use it! Once you’ve obtained the glyphs you want, simply right-click the item in your bag to learn it, just like a recipe.

Step 3: Put that glyph in!
Once you know a glyph, you just need to right-click on it in the list on your Glyph page, then click on an empty circle to fill it with the appropriate glyph of choice. After a brief cast time, you will inscribe it into your magical book (or whatever it is you are inscribing into…). Ta-da! You now have the effect of that glyph.

Cerylia’s Beast Mastery Glyphs

As mentioned, glyphs are something of a personal choice, but there are still glyphs that people will recommend as must-haves for one spec or another. Here is what Cerylia’s glyphs look like (or will, once I pick up the last one I want—my glyph supplier doesn’t know how to make it at the moment), with my personal “must-haves” for Beast Mastery bolded.

Prime Glyphs:

- Glyph of Kill Command – This reduces the focus cost of Kill Command. You should be using this ability every time it’s up, so reducing its cost is going to help you overall.
- Glyph of Arcane Shot – This is a BM hunter’s main attack, so boosting its power is a good idea. :)
- Glyph of Kill Shot – While not useful in short fights, this is really quite helpful in long fights against bosses and other elite enemies. It refreshes the cooldown on Kill Shot if you fail to kill the enemy with it.
- Other recommendations: Rapid Fire, Serpent Sting, Serpent Sting
- Do NOT take: Aimed Shot, Chimera Shot, Explosive Shot (we possess none of these abilities as BM hunters)

Major Glyphs:

- Glyph of Bestial Wrath – Our signature move! Reduces the cooldown on this ability, which means we can use it more often!
- Glyph of Mending – Heals your pet for 60% more when you use Mend Pet. Since I solo or off-tank with my pet a lot, this gets a lot of use for me. As BM hunters, we also tend to rely on our pets more, so I recommend this one if you think your pet gets hurt or dies too much.
- Glyph of Misdirection – If you use MD on your pet, its cooldown is immediately refreshed. Essentially, you can constantly redirect threat to your pet! Excellent for soloing or off-tanking with the pet.
- Other recommendations: Any of the other glyphs may be useful in place of Misdirection or Mending. Glyph of Disengage is another useful one I've seen other hunters taking.
- Do NOT take: Wyvern Sting, Silencing Shot (we don’t have these abilities either!)

Minor Glyphs

- Glyph of Feign Death – A must-have for any hunter. Reduces the cooldown on this oh-so-important ability. It gets us out of dire situations and drops aggro in group settings. Why wouldn’t you want to be able to use it more?
- Glyph of Revive Pet – Not as useful, but I chose it because it seemed more useful than the other ones left. Basically prevents pushback from enemy attacks while casting Revive Pet. You’re normally a bit of a sitting duck anyway if you’re standing there casting Revive Pet… but hey, at least you might get your pet revived in time to save you!
- Other recommendations: The only three other minor glyphs for hunters are... well... minor. Pick whatever you want to go in the third slot. We have Glyph of Aspect of the Pack (increases radius of Aspect of the Pack's effect), Glyph of Scare Beast (reduces pushback for a fear spell that works only on beasts; I haven't used this spell since I was level 30...), or Glyph of Lesser Proportion (reduces the size of your pet slightly).

Well, that’s Beast Mastery hunter glyphing in a nutshell! Not too hard, really. What types of glyphs do you use on your hunter? Are any of them especially good for boosting DPS or performance (particularly on the prime glyphs)? I’d be interested in knowing!

With that, that concludes my basic guide to Beast Mastery hunter in WoW 4.0! Of course, if there are additional things I feel the need to make guides about, I will certainly write more posts in the future.

(By the way, I really like Halduron. I just RP him uniquely. xD)

Check out the rest of my Beast Mastery guide for 4.0!