Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rak'Shiri Tribute

Years ago, when I first decided to play World of Warcraft, there was a very specific creature that enticed me to play a hunter over all the other classes. I was so close to playing a feral druid because of the ability to change into a cat, but the Aqua Saber, Rak’Shiri stole my heart. I wanted this cat more than anything in the game, and was driven to make my dream a reality.

He was level 57 rare elite, and I only just starting, knew it was going to be a long grind, but never knew how long of a hunt. I envied the one other hunter I saw that had him (at least he said ‘This is Rak’Shiri, the rare one’), but seeing the saber up close, and right next to me made me even more determined.

I pushed and pushed, and eventually hit level 57, and the moment I did was out in Winterspring searching for my own Aqua Saber. It took a full week, and many devoted hours, but I finally did tame Rak’shiri after some intense moments involving falling off a cliff and fighting multiple sabers. That itself is a story in its own.

Ever since that tame Rak’shiri has always been a constant companion to my hunter, and a reminder of putting your mind and heart into your goals will pay off. He has become a part of Astratia’s character that I can’t envision her without him. He himself has taken on a character of his own, and even my guildmates and friends have come to recognize him as more than just a buff.

When I see Rak’Shiri I imagine a constant companion, never wavering. He emits the ‘strong silent’ demeanor, with a protective edge for his huntress. Bold, wise, and strong both mentally and physically, he’s a creature to be respected. His holds himself with pride, and has a regal air about him. He’s not an arrogant saber, but rather kind and charming to those he likes, and is a pleasure to be around for even those who are not his huntress. Though if you dare bring harm to any he cares for, he’s a deadly adversary.

Astra's Stables

With every hunter comes a stable full of beasts. Now a day, hunters are granted with getting twenty five stable slots. I’m quite happy with this major change as I (and Astra) hated to release pets. Back when I first began to play, we only had three stable slots to contend with, and one of those was normally reserved for taking on a wild beast to learn more advanced skills for your pet. We then were granted two more slots, which I was quite happy about, and eventually all five could be used for a permanent resident since we no longer had to take up a pet to train for skills. Pets finally got skill trees! Then, around the final days of Wrath, we were given a total of twenty five stable slots. I was squealing with joy! It was time to let the taming epidemic begin!

There has always been a mix of pets in Astra’s stables. Some were picked up after long enduring hunts, while others where whim tames that were grabbed for buffs. Despite the vast amount of pets, I can honestly say I recall every beast I have tamed. Each has made an impact, no matter how small.

Astra’s Current Stable: Listed in Groups

Group 1:  those who I couldn’t release, and have become an important part of Astra. These few have no chance of being released.



Amicus aka Cliff


Group 2:  This group is very important to me. There is very little chance these would be released. A couple may get skin upgrades in the future, but I can’t afford to lose them as a whole.








Group 3: There is still a bond, but it needs to strengthen. These few I’m working on building back up a bond with.





Group 4: These few are around as I try to rekindle or create a connection with. If they must, they can be released into the wild.



One of the defining things about a hunter is their companion beast that is always seen at their side; the hunter’s pet. There is a varying idea among the hunter community of the connection of hunters and their pets. Everyone has a different degree of the bond the creature shares with its hunter, and how it defines out. The beasts can be viewed as something as simple as extra protection and strength as well as a specific buff, or more intimate such as a creature with a bond to the hunter who is there as a guardian and friend. To me, there is always some sort of bond between the two, no matter how little it is openly expressed, or the beast would simply up and leave. Some hunters may remember when this was the actual in-game case. I view them as intelligent creatures with the mental capacity to understand things on a deeper level then basic commands, and as well are spiritually connected to their hunter, which overtime grows more powerful as the two come to respect each other.

Each bond between hunter and pet is formed differently. I don’t imagine we have an instant bond once the beast is tamed as the game mechanics lead us to believe. I do like to think in a few cases a minor bonding between the two can form instantly depending on the situation. However, at that time it’s more respect than it is an intertwining spiritual connection. The hunter challenge tames that were implemented make me feel as if I have earned some respect of the beast rather than just claiming it as mine. Though the more the pet is with the hunter the strong the connection can become. They learn to understand one another.

Mentally, the two can understand each other through the flow of emotions the other one is expressing, and what the mind is currently focused on. I don’t envision telephaty being involved when the two communicate; no spoken words or conversations are held between the hunter and beast. They are two individual beings that empathize with each other, and the stronger their bond is, the more sensitive they are to one another. Like any house pet that will cuddle up next to you when you are sad, become excited when you are happy, or become protective when you feel fear, the hunter’s pet expresses the same empathy, just more intensely. It is a process of learning each other’s behaviors over time, and slowly developing the ability to think alike, and understand one another.

Spiritually, the hunter and beast become knotted together. For the dedicated hunter and beast partners, the knot becomes tighter and more complex the longer the two remain together. They share the same flow of energy, and mold with one another. For those who are tightly knitted together, they can sense strong emotions over a greater distance as their spirits intertwine. The two connect like puzzle pieces, while remaining an individual in their own. This spiritual bond makes it easier for the hunter to call their pet from a distance when needed. It also allows the hunter to take on healing abilities through the mind, body and spirit, but only toward their pets. They share each other’s strengths, and grow off them.

Overall, I find a hunter’s pet helps to define the hunter in a whole. They are more than just moving pixels, and more than just a tool. They are a hunter’s partner, guardian and companion. Though I don’t role-play my characters, I do feel they have a character, and Astratia’s pets help to make up her own as a part of her.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I can’t recall the exact time I started playing WoW, but I estimated November/December of 2005. Truth be told, I had no intention of playing WoW, and was strongly set in my ways of refusing to play. At the time I was into another game on Xbox360 – Final Fantasy XI, an online MMO of the Final Fantasy series. Being stubborn, I refused to play despite FFXI’s slow decline in popularity in my circle of friends. It wasn’t until WoW was presented to me as a Christmas Gift that I caved.

Both WoW, and Burning Crusade were gifts, and my group of friends that played had even thrown in a pre-paid time card. Boy, were they persistent, but they did get their way with that. I couldn’t refuse such a generous gift. It also helped their case that FFXI had cursed me with an extremely difficult leveling system, and very little entertainment since none of my friends played it anymore. So, onto WoW I went.

Before even loading the game, I was given some details about WoW. My friend had described to me in detail the races, classes, and even different aspects of the games like parties, dungeons, and mounts. So, before the game was even put onto my computer, I had an idea what I wanted to play; A Night Elf Hunter.

So, why a Hunter?
I was told the hunter was one of the easier classes to play, but what truly won me over was the fact a hunter gets to have a tamed animal fight with it. Pretty much any animal I could imagine my hunter could tame it, and make it fight with me. I instantly asked about tigers (my favorite animal since I was two, as well as my Chinese Zodiac), and when the answer was yes, I was sold. I was going to be a hunter with a tiger. A very specific tiger that I’ll tell more about later.

And so, why a Night Elf?
Because we get to ride tigers! Duh!
Honestly, that was my main reason for picking a night elf… see the pattern here? Dranie were rather pretty, and were my runner up race, but overall the Night elf won because of their mounts (and blue hair!). Not to mention at the time I was still entranced by the handsome Legolas from Lord of the Rings, and the idea of a fare elf fighting with a deadly beast... It sounded awesome.

So, that’s when Astratia was created.
Her name may have not always been Astratia in game, but that’s how I’ve envisioned her. I won’t go into details of her old name before she was given a name change since for the life of me I can’t recall the proper spelling. I do know she will never undergo any such alterations again as currently she’s developed into a character of her own being J

From the start of the game, I was pretty clueless, but slowly learned through help of my friends. It wasn’t until around level 35-40 did I really start understanding that questing was the quickest way to level rather than killing beast after beast (ruminants of FFX1). I also learned around that time that there was specific gear intended to help a hunter be more powerful. So, I dropped my pretty blue and purple cloth dress intended for mages, and picked up some sasquatch fur gear that I complained made me look like bigfoot with blue hair. I look back at those times and think how funny I must have seemed, but thanks to some awesome guild mates, I was able to really start to play the part of a hunter.

Now as a powerful DPS, running through raids, killing Old Gods and Insane Dragon Aspects, I think back to remember these days and appreciate the help given, and continue to enjoy my Amazing Night Elf Huntress with no regrets.

That First Step

Welcome Readers, to Astratia's Hunt

Being new to the Blogging community, you will have to excuse my poor self-introductory. I wanted to write a blog about the many events that have occurred in the online game "World of Warcraft". Specifically, of my main character played in the game that has grown into a persona of her own. Inspired by the community at Petopia, I’ve decided to script this blog about my Night Elf Huntress, Astratia and her companion beasts, as well as different adventures had throughout the game.

I’ve always wanted to express myself about her adventures, and connections shared with her companions, and have only done so minimally over the years of playing. There are few people who share the same interest that I could express to openly (without spamming threads on forums Haha). So, I wish to document them, remember them, and hopefully entertain others that play the game here in my own blog.

I hope some of the reads here will be entertaining for you, and hope you enjoy some of Astratia's adventures.