Thursday, 2 January 2014

2013 Wrap up!

Greetings my fellow friends, raiders and bloggers alike! Another year is closing the doors behind us and 2014 is now here. 2013 was a real bumpy ride with some ups and downs and I wanted to share my experience with you. My blog has taken some gradual changes overtime, Starting from the Alliance side, now Horde, From Gnome too Troll... talk about a drastic change! A number of guilds I was lucky enough to raid with, blogs and podcast's I have taken part in and visiting Sweden a number of times to meet my guild mates who have become my closest friends. Some of these I wish to share with you guys, so sit back, Grab your finest brew and lets take a little trip down memory lane.

So this was were it all began, a simple gnome, tanking heroic raids with the servers (was) top guild. Was not to sure what to blog about and in some sense, still don't! However with the first stepping stone out the way and actually proceeding with the idea of blogging my adventures, it soon became something much larger. A few more posts were starting to appear around the interwebs such as my nostalgic posts of old dungeons/raids and stories of past adventures when I was a new player, too basic guides on how to tank some of the fights throughout Mists (Normal/heroic). Knowing other people shared the same interests as me and was keen to read more was the real factor for me to continue. I love going back in the history books and writing out such events, World Of Warcraft will always have great memories for every player and I just wanted to share those with you!

 As the weeks went by, A monk podcast was born, from a number of great players. This was when my interest in blogging really changed. I was rather knew still to this sort of thing, but I also knew it was something I really wanted to explore and understand..

The show of monks, for monks within the World Of Warcraft. A fantastic show that I still enjoy listening too. The first episode that was released around the same month I created my blog and to me it just felt perfect to really reach out to them, speak to the members and become apart of this community. As all wow players know we share the same bond, we have all had our bad patches within the game were even logging on was effort, but with my blog, and this podcast it really rekindled my love for both writing and Playing WoW. Listening to their discussions on the Monk class, raid encounters and such really gave me the idea to write my own short guides as well as tips and tricks on specific encounters. The members of the Podcast stand out all on their own and I really wanted to speak about each one of them.

Chaithi - Raider leader and lead host of The podcast. A humorous chap and a vast knowledge of the Windwalker Monk in particular. His witty comments, podcast skills are great and I really think this chap will help make the monk community shine.

Sunnier - Heroic raider and co host, A fantastic Brewmaster monk. Her knowledge and Ideas behind the class are brilliant, Her blog is as well known as us British folk's love for tea. The go to spot for Brewmaster guides and related topics (trinket comparisons) as well as mentioned on Icy Veins. Unfortunately Sunnier left the podcasting team but will always be remembered!

Naoyuki - The brother from another mother, the other half the Mistweaver Collab, A really great guy who I have spoke to a number of times. A brilliant Mistweaver with a love for the same music as me! That's always a good start! His understanding of the class, again is incredible. :P I just think he needs to create a Vaylen Monk shirt now!

Daikatsu - The Healing Extraordinaire! and the other half of the healing Collab, The only chap I listen to when I want the answers to Weaving. His knowledge of his spec is like the others, awesome. With a Methodical approach to each  idea the devs through at him about Mistweavers he will always seem to give you the right answers. A writer for Blizz master and to me, another important part to help push the monk community out there. /salute.

Ayr - Good ol' Windwalker from Japan! The Kung-foo Master! Ayr's understanding of class mechanics is second to none, I have learnt so much when making the switch from Brewmaster to Windwalker from just listening to his tips and tricks on the podcast, the way he explains things was really what pushed me to try out WW more full time and drop the tanking. Thank you good sir for your rather long winded explanations of things, Wouldn't be the same without you there buddy!

KptnCrunch - The new Brewmaster in town! After Sunniers departure a new Brewmaster was needed to take her place, This chap stood up to the task and is doing an awesome job. A really Great player who's currently progressing on to Garrosh Heroic. Also co writer for Simcraft, with great understanding of his class, Im looking forward to hearing more ideas from him! GG!

So as you can see, a great bunch of people to listen too, their ideas are fantastic and really do make this Podcast shine. For me their Podcast was what really pushed me to continue my work and become apart of the monk community. This then lead on to one of the most memorable moments for me this year. Too be featured on their show! This was when I was raiding a fair bit on my Brewmaster so naturally I wanted to be apart of it. Video below is the full episode of the Brewmaster Roundtable! Despite the nerves and being the only British player there and knowing my accent was standing out like a sore thumb, I pressed on and really enjoyed it!

After this, I was lucky enough to have Sunnier feature on my blog, with a question and answers section on Teir 15, her ideas and thoughts behind the expansion and other mentions such as favorite dungeons, raids and encounters etc. I was so happy that she wanted to take part in it, I was always a huge fan of her blog: it was an honor to ask such questions and get great feedback! Thank you Sunnier!

Full Q&A with the Brewmistress:

You still here guys? Great! Just a few more points I want to highlight to wrap up this Year, so just in case, grabs some more brew, sit back, relax and enjoy some more stories.

With ideas at this time flying through my brain on what to blog about next, I took the idea of a play through/lets play series I saw online and Started my own level 20 - 90 healing guide as a Shaman. In each post I mentioned the spells I had learnt, dungeons I had ran with a little touch of the lore all the way through the levels. This helped me really reach out to the other communities and had a number of great Shaman healers offer advice and such, and I think this is were my blog really took off. This then lead to my 85-90 leveling guide, one of the more popular posts on my blog.

Guide can be found here:

Being able to share my experiences as a new player to the Restoration Shaman, others could learn from me too. In the space of a month, and by the end of the leveling process my views had grown tenfold, this was a great thing for me because it then enabled me to write some other guides and it become such a joy when people were contacting me in game and such, asking for advice and me even asking others for advice too! A great feeling and one that I will continue to strive for!

Then came the giveaways! Not really expecting anything but nonetheless I tried them out and boy was I shocked by the response. As I have said before, I always have had a passion for two things, Writing and helping others. A way I could reward people in reading my blog was to give away some TCG cards. Fortunately, I'm a huge collector of the Loot cards and books so giving back to the community was a great feeling for me.

So blizzcon 2013 was coming, the tension on the new expansion was brewing.. I was lucky enough to do a commentary of the whole thing with the Monk Mediation folk and it was a great time! Despite my lack of english on the forums and got the Twitch stream temporarily locked down, We were back up and running, and discussing the future of WoW. We had some really great discussions and a little nerd time with Daikatsu about the lore involved and such. Was great fun! Would love to do it again, just be a little bit more careful what I say in the Forums. :P /Naughty British troll.

Because Of WoW..

With such a crazy year, I have just one more thing to mention and share with you guys.. My trips to Sweden to visit some guild mates who have now become life time friends of mine. If You don't wish to see any IRL pictures of backdrops and my ugly face then please scroll down to my little thank you to you guys! :3
As I was saying! This was my first holiday away on my own, as well as my first holiday in 12 years.. Not much of a jet setter am I?! :P anyway, 3 visits later, I have had some great memories of that place and of the people I have met there! My home of homes, the guild of guilds, who unfortunately disbanded.. Forced Intent.. I love these guys and this really was a *Because of WoW* Story. Below are some of the pictures of each visit. A truly beautiful place and incredible people!

The short little British guy making his way out to Sweden was one of the best ideas ever! Plenty of drinking, gaming and partying! The most recent trip I took My girlfriend along to meet them and as predicted, she loved it! We hope to make Sweden our home in the future, so hopefully a lot of great blogging moments to come!

I just want to take the last part of this post to say a quick thank you to everyone who has supported me through out my little journey. I have met some incredible people and with your support, I hope to keep doing this for as long as possible! Writing is my passion, and hopefully in a few years be doing it for my job, but hey enough about me... A quick thank you to those who have helped me so far!

- The guys from Monk meditation for your work on the podcast and great banter on Twitter. /salute.
- My life long friends from Forced Intent over in Sweden, you guys are everything to me! /salute.
- The monk community for all your great feedback, words of wisdom and help. /salute.
- Tauren Think Tank podcast for making every week, more enjoyable. /salute.
- Most incredible Girlfriend and Best friend a brit could ask for. Without her support, I would not be were I am today. /Hug.
- Team EQ, the guild I now call home, your banter is awesome and I love you guys!
- Ragnaros EU, For putting up with me. /cheer.

This year, I have a ton install for you! More guides, WOD server first race to 100, Tactics, Garrison guides, short stories, the balance of gaming and healthy living and more!
Thank you all again, I hope you all have a prosperous 2014 - Vaylen.

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