A starters guide to World of Warcraft pet battles

A starters guide to World of Warcraft pet battles

This isn’t the first guide out there but in honour of the first pet battle weekend in WoW I decided to finally get off my behind and put together my own one. I’ve been an avid pet battler from the start, as has my Pokemon loving fiancé Chris, and I hate seeing people avoiding this fun addition because it looks too complicated or overwhelming. With a whopping 752 pets overall currently in game it’s easy to see why people might find that, or not have enough time. So this guide is written in hopes of dragging a few more players into the fun that is pet battles :)

 

The Basics

Pet Families

There are 10 pet families – a family is basically the term used to describe a type of pet. The 10 families are: aquatic, beast, critter, dragonkin, elemental, flying, humanoid, magic, mechanical and undead.

Knowing a pets family is an important starting point for pet battles as different families are stronger/weaker against each other. For example, a critter will take more damage from a beast, but will kick ass against an undead. Here’s the full list for you:

  • Aquatic – Strong against: Elemental
  • Beast – Strong against: Mechanical
  • Critter – Strong against: Undead
  • Dragonkin – Strong against: Magic
  • Elemental – Strong against: Mechanical
  • Flying – Strong against: Aquatic
  • Humanoid – Strong against: Dragonkin
  • Magic – Strong against: Flying
  • Mechanical – Strong against: Beast
  • Undead – Strong against: Humanoid

Just as a pet family is strong against another family, they can also be weak against them which means they do less damage against that particular family. In game you can find out these information by hovering your mouse over the pet family icon in your pet journal. As seen in the screencap below an Aquatic takes more damage from an Elemental (which is strong against Aquatics) but it will do less damage to an Undead.

strengthweak

This is probably already seeming a bit complicated, so when you’re starting out in pet battles my advice is to concentrate on using a pet that is strong against it. For example, if you want to battle a critter pet in Elwynn Forest you would be best using a beast. Weaknesses are not entirely unimportant but they are something you will learn to incorporate the more you play.

 

Passive Abilities

Each Pet Family has a passive ability, exactly like race passive abilities in game. They are:

 

  • Aquatic –  Harmful damage over time effects are reduced by 25% on Aquatic pets.
  • Beast –  Beasts deal 25% extra damage below half health.
  • Critter – Critters break out of crowd control effects more quickly.
  • Dragonkin – Dragons deal 50% additional damage on the next round after bringing a target’s health below 25%.
  • Elemental –  Elementals ignore all weather effects.
  • Flying – Flying creatures gain 50% extra speed while above 50% health.
  • Humanoid – Humanoids recover 4% of their maximum health if they dealt damage this round.
  • Magic –  Magic pets cannot be dealt more than 50% of their maximum health in one attack.
  • Mechanical – Comes back to life once per battle, returning to 20% health
  • Undead –  Undead pets return to life immortal for one round when killed.

Taking note of these abilities is important because it gives you an edge in a battle, helps you survive and can also cost you a battle if you’re unaware of them. For example, even though an Undead pet will only be alive for one round after reviving that could be all it needs to kill your pet.

 

Abilities

A pets abilities are not always the same as their family, but the good news is the same rules apply for families as they do abilities. You may have a Beast pet that has elemental abilities, which means it is strong against a Mechanical rather than Critter. Keep in mind though that the family rules still apply – so the Beast will still take heavy damage from a Mechanical, it just has more of a fighting chance against it. Here are a few examples of pets from one family who have abilities from a different one: Fel Pup (Beast with Elemental & Undead abilities), Moon Moon (Beast with Magic abilities) and Sunreaver Micro-Sentry (Mechanical with Flying & Elemental abilities).

Abilities have the same icons as pet families so when you’re battling a pet check its abilities first. Different abilities open out as your pet levels. At level 1 it will have one ability, the next at level 2, then level 4, level 10, level 15 and finally level 20. As your pet gains new abilities check what you have and swap their abilities as wanted/needed. To do this drag a pet to a pet battle slot (if a pet is already in that slot you will simply pop the new one in on top of it – don’t worry, you’re not deleting a pet :) ) and then click on the small arrow below its ability and the other ability will pop down:

abilities

You can check what a pets ability does and what it is strong against by hovering your mouse over it, like so:

ability2

As you can see here the Blazing Firehawk pet has an ability called Fire Quills which is an Elemental ability and therefore strong against Mechanical and weak against critter. You can still use it against any other family but you will do more damage and thus give you a higher chance to succeed when using it against a mechanical.

Rarity

This tends to be something people forget about when pet battling, especially in PvP battles. Rarity isn’t just a thing that makes your pets look prettier or more important, like gear in WoW rarity means your pets are better and stronger.

There are four different rarities (from highest to lowest):

  • Rare (blue)
  • Uncommon (green)
  • Common (white)
  • Poor (grey)

You cannot change a pets rarity by leveling it, the only way to change a pets rarity are through pet battle stones. You can now buy Pet Battle Stones to level a pet up to Rare, however, this is done with pet charms from your garrison’s Pet Menagerie and requires a selection of level 25 pets. Also your pet collection will grow to be quite large so I really do advise trying to farm for Rare pets.

Keep in mind that you wouldn’t go into a Raid with grey gear, so likewise, don’t go into a pvp or tamer battle with grey pets. A Rare pet up to 2-3 levels lower than a Grey pet will most likely win – even if it is weak against that pet.

Starting Pet Battles

Now that I’ve explained the basics you are ready to start pet battling! But where do you start? Well first of all you need a few pets. As I said there are over 700 pets and you need to be realistic; you are not going to necessarily be able to start off with the best pets. Many you need a high level (3 pets of 25) to be able to get them. However – at the end of this guide Chris and I have put together a list of pets that we personally rate above others. Most of the time pet guides and players list their top pets and they can be hard to find, especially when you’re just starting out. So when we put this list together we chose pets that can be caught, bought and then an honourable mention for other pets. We highly recommend checking out the ‘bought’ list for those of you starting out and have hardly any pets. All you need is some gold, sometimes some rep and bam you have a full level 1 team ready to go :) Once you’ve gotten into them you can then use our ‘Catch’ list to build up your collection.

So with that in mind if you have absolutely 0 pets then go check out some vendors or the AH. You’ll find some pets on the AH are super expensive and if you’ve got the gold then it is your choice, but if not then don’t worry. A lower price in the AH does not mean the pet is rubbish, it means it is EASY to obtain. The highest priced pets are often ones from rares, raids and TCG cards. For vendors I recommend checking this list here on WoW Wiki.

Pet Teams

You can have a maximum of 3 pets in a team and you must choose their abilities before you start a battle. In a battle you can swap between these 3 pets as many times as you wish, but you cannot add new pets or new abilities. As you get more experience you’ll find certain pets compliment one another and for higher level pet trainers, such as Garrison Menagerie and the Celestial Tournament, you will need to have a team that works well together. But for leveling and the easier pet trainers you can pick whatever pets work for you :)

Types of Battles

There are three types of battles available in World of Warcraft:

Wild Pet Battle – You can access these by clicking on a wild pet in a zone. Enable track pets on your mini-map and they will show up as little green paw prints. You can battle pets for experience to level your own pets or to catch a pet (see more below).

Pet Tamers/Legendary Pets – There are tamers (also referred to as trainers) all over the place, varying in levels. They have a set team of pets with a set choice of abilities. For most you will need to tailor your pets accordingly to beat the tamers team. Low level tamers can be beaten very easily by using higher level pets, so it can be easily to use a team of lower/same level pets and then one higher level pet to ensure pets get experience and you win the battle easily. In Pandaria and Draenor you will also find Legendary Pets which show up on your mini-map as a yellow paw print. Like pet tamers they have set abilities, however, you are fighting one boss pet rather than a team of three. Like pet tamers you will need a team that can combat the legendary pet.

There is one exception to pet tamers having the same pets and abilities every time and this is Eris, a wandering pet tamer who can visit your garrison. She has a selection of different pets, of different rarities and different abilities each time.

PvP Pet Battle – Before you run away at the mention of PvP take a moment to read what I have to say 😉 I’m not a big PvP fan but I LOVE PvP pet battles. First of all you can PvP with pets of any level, not just level 25 (the max level a pet can be). The higher level a pet is the increasingly harder a PvP battle will get because more abilities open up. So if you’re scared of some of the higher and more powerful abilities and thus getting your ass handed to you, I suggest playing with a low level team. Even a team of level 1s. You will be matched up with someone with pets in the same level bracket as you. Sadly, some people take advantage of this system and have 2 low level pets and 1 higher level pet. So sometimes you will get a bad match, if this is the case I would advise just quitting it. Unlike dungeon queues you don’t get a debuff for leaving a pet battle so you can just queue again.

Pet battles are also a lot slower than normal PvP because you have to take turns. This means you can plan your moves and the more you play and experiment with pets the easier PvP becomes. You’ll begin to recognise pets and their abilities and even anticipate what the other player will do. They’re also (almost) completely anonymous! You can’t see the players name, level or even faction in a battle. (You can see pet names though, so it is possible to “recognise” a player in that way).

Catching Wild Pets

There are various ways to collect pets in World of Warcraft; buy them from vendors, from faction reputation, professions, quests, completing achievements, promotions (i.e. TCG), drops from raid bosses and catching them in the wild. Pets also come in four different rarities (see above) and as mentioned, I strongly advise farming for a Rare quality of a pet. Some of these are easier to find than others and sometimes it is just about luck – to find out if you’re looking for a difficult pet check the comments on a pet on WarcraftPets.com. If you’re looking for a Rare pet get a friend to come with you and you can check twice as many wild pets.

You need to complete the achievement “Newbie” (raise a pet to level 3) to be unlock the ability to trap pets in pet battles (note: you can only trap pets in the wild, you cannot trap pets in tamer battles). To catch a pet you need to battle it in the wild and lower its health down to 35%, only then will it become catchable and your Trap ability will flash.

 

trap

 

As you can see here my trap is a “Pristine Trap” and this is because I have unlocked it by completing additional achievements. The traps go from Trap —> Strong Trap —> Pristine and you can read more about them and the relevant achievements here.

Using weaker abilities

I feel that it is important to mention that there is a use for weaker abilities – catching pets in battles. It is very easy to kill a pet when you are trying to catch it. It is extremely frustrating so I recommend having at least one pet that is weak against it. A pet strong against the catchable pet can easily crit and kill a pet if it’s under 50% health.

There are a certain ability found on the Terrible Turnip pet called Weakening Blow which will not reduce a pets ability below 1 health point. This is very useful for catching wild pets as it prevents you from accidentally killing the pet.

 

Leveling Pets

There are multiple ways of leveling pets and you’ll find different people recommend different tactics for getting the most experience. To start with lets cover the basics; you can get experience from any battle (except a duel), this includes pet tamers and PvP battles (I find these excellent for low level pets, you can gain a level per battle when they’re low). There are various items you can use to increase the experience your pet gets; Safari Hat, Pet Treat and Lesser Pet Treat (all of which stack). Gaining experience only causes your pet to gain levels (and thus new abilities) and does not affect their rarity in any way.

Pet Tamer Tactics

After spending many hours grinding pet battles in MoP, Chris and I picked up a few tricks along the way. For example, you can use very low level pets on certain pet tamer battles. It all depends on what pet you want to level and the pets you are fighting. Lets take the pet tamer in The Jade Forest as our example; Dor the Wall (the Turtle) has two non-damage abilities which means you can swap a low level pet (also called a ‘carry’ pet) in for a round (make sure you hit the opposing team and/or take damage, you need to be active in the battle to get XP), hit Dor and then swap it back out again. For this battle you need to do it after Dor has used his damage ability otherwise your carry pet will simply die.

The perfect carry pets to level in battles like this are Mechanicals and Magic pets due to their family passive abilities. Mechanicals revive when they die and Magic pets can only be hit for 50% of their health.

 

Addons

Like all addons there are various available for pet battle related things and our top two are:

PetJournal Enhanced – I cannot live without this addon, it makes a pet battlers life so much easier by giving you tonnes more filter options.

Rematch – Following closely behind PetJournal Enhanced is this one; a way to save your teams. You can name them, put them in folders and also use the target feature which means the right team loads as soon as you click on the right npc/pet. Saves a lot of time when you do a lot of pet battles!

Collectionator – Shows you what pets (and mounts and toys) you are missing and where/how to get them. This little addon has shown me a few I’ve forgotten so it is always worth checking when you’re looking at a large collection!

Random Companion – A cute little addon that randomly changes your summoned companion – great if you have 100s of pets and want to a range of them :)

Pets to Buy – An addon for Auctionator that creates a shopping list auto-matically for the pets you do not own.

 

Our Pet Choices

Now to the fun part which took us about 45 mins of  debating to decide 😛 Here is our list of the best pets available divided into three categories: Bought, Catchable, and Honourable Mention. We made this list based on our experience, the usefulness and versatility of the pets. We also made it with new pet collectors in mind which is why we divided the list into Bought and Catchable. Bought pets can easily be bought from vendors or the AH and while they may vary in price, they are all easy to obtain and give you a great team of level 1s to get you started. As you grow your collection you can add to it by grabbing some of the Catchable pets from the wild. And finally the Honourable Mentions are our favourite pets which aren’t so easy to get hold of but we seriously advise getting them especially for higher level teams such as the Garrisons and especially the Celestial Tournament.

[C] designates Chris’ choices and [H] designates Heather’s (aka me) choices.

 

Pet FamilyBoughtCatchableHonourable Mention
Humanoid[C] - Anubisath Idol
[H] - Rotten Little Helper
[C] - Flayer Youngling
[H] - Kun-Lai Runt
Mini Tyrael
(Nearly impossible to get but we love him!)
Flying[C] - Blazing Firehawk
[H] - Azure Crane Chick
[C] - Any Moth
[H] - Skywisp Moth
[H] - Chi-Chi, Hatchling of Chi-Ji
(Great abilities especially for PvP!)
Dragon[C] - Chrominius
[H] - Crimson Whelpling
[C] - Emerald Proto-Whelp (I strongly agree with this too!)
[H] - Nexus Whelpling
Sprite Darter Hatchling
(We both use this pet almost daily in battles, it is fantastic and so easy to get!)
Undead[C] - Stitched Pup
[H] - Fossilized Hatchling (From Archaeology but can be bought on AH)
[C] - Restless Shadeling
[H] - Scourged Whelpling
Unborn Val'kyr
(It may take a while to find one but it is the staple of many pet team combos)
Critter[C] - Gu'chi Swarmling
[H] - Snowshoe Rabbit
[C] - Any Rabbit/Hare
[H] - Rapana Whelk
Squirrels (Their nut barrage is fantastic)
Magic[C] - Netherspace Abyssal
[H] - Lunar Lantern
[C] - Jade Oozeling
[H] - Arcane Eye
[H] - Gusting Grimoire
(Great in low level PvP battles)
ElementalPandaren Water Spirit
(Hands down one of the best pets out there for team combos)
[C] - Fel Flame
[H] - A Shale Hatchling
[C] - Lil' Ragnaros
[H] - Blossoming Ancient
Beast[C] - Zandalari Anklerender
[H] - Sunfur Panda
[C] - Elder Python
[H] - Alpine Foxling Kit
[C] - Moon Moon
[H] - Darkmoon Monkey
Aquatic[C] - Magical Crawdad
[H] - Pengu
[C] - Emperor Crab
[H] - Dancing Water Skimmer
[H] - Any Water Strider!
Mechanical[C] - Lil' Bling
[H] - Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling
[C] - Cogblade Raptor
[H] - Fluxfire Feline
This was the hardest family for us to decide on so we'll simply say most Mechanical pets are fantastic. There are some weak ones, but we suggest having a mechanical in your teams when leveling pets or starting out.

 

Afterword

And that is the end of the guide :) I hope it was useful to you and if it got you pet battling, even better! If you have any questions please leave a comment and we’ll get back to you – please note that comments debating or arguing with our pet choices will be deleted. It’s not that we believe we’re right and you’re wrong, it is because this is a guide for starters not a debate for experts :)

Please share it if you enjoy!

Let’s Talk about Star Wars

Let's Talk about Star Wars

Most people that know me are well aware of my obsession love for Star Wars.  I was first introduced to the universe when I was about 7 or 8 and I fell in love with it. Several years later I bought my dad the original trilogy (OT) on VHS and ended up watching it myself – and again, and again. I went through a period in my teens where I was watching it every day. The only other fandom that I’ve watched that much is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I bought the PC programs that took you ‘Behind the Magic’ and I devoured every book I could get my hands on. The Expanded Universe grew and grew and a lot of the characters found a place in my heart. I am still reading them, currently working my way through the Fate of the Jedi series and the Legacy comics. I much prefer the OT than the prequel, and while I don’t dislike the Republic time period I still have yet to read most of the books (and all of the comics) set in that time.

New Movies & The Expanded Universe

So naturally the announcement of new movies was exciting. Yet there was this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I held on to the belief that they wouldn’t throw out an entire universe, a host of amazing characters and the hard work of many authors. Yet they did. The EU was gone from canon. I honestly didn’t think it would happen despite all the nay sayers. So it hit me pretty hard when it was announced. Yet I am still excited about the new movies and the new novels. Admittedly that excitement is tinged with a LOT of caution especially as everything has been wrapped up so much. There have already been a few changes released in the new Marvel comic series such as this bombshell (WARNING: SPOILER!) which worry me. That one pretty much rocks the entire core of one of the most known aspects of the universe. That relationship happened, it was in the movies, it IS canon. Don’t screw with me Disney!

Speaking of what is and isn’t canon. At first the KoToR and SWToR games were canon and then they weren’t. I’m actually more annoyed with that then I am with the entire universe being thrown out. In a video game you immerse yourself in a universe and now it’s pretty much ‘well, you’re in the universe, but you’re not IN the universe’. Umm, what? I still love the game but I have to admit that does taint it a bit for me. I no longer feel like anything my characters do has a bigger role. Not like in World of Warcraft; in WoW my characters are champions of the Alliance, and are recognised as such, especially in Warlords of Draenor.

 

Disney

A lot of people had a problem with Disney taking over, sighting that there would be a lot of changes (which there have been) and that Disney would, well, disneyfy everything Star Wars. I sort of found that last one funny considering Disney have had Star Wars in their theme parks for YEARS. There has always been a connection there, and in the once place that is the epitome of everything Disney, Star Wars still remained Star Wars. I have visited Disneyland Paris several times in the past and loved the Star Wars experience. Plus there’s the whole ‘Disney are buying up everything OMG!’ – at the end of the day, why is this a bad thing? Capitalism and conspiracies aside, a company as massive as Disney buying out a popular fandom means lots of new merchandise. We’ve already gotten a new tv show, new books, new comics. It’s only going to get bigger.

 

My Thoughts on the New Movies

Let’s start with the stand alone, Rogue One. Like any good Star Wars nerd I heard the title and immediately knew it had to be a Rogue Squadron movie. From the description released, it sounds very plausible; “A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans“. The trailer doesn’t show much either other than a TIE fighter and the Death Star, however, “Rogue” has a long history in the Star Wars movies as well as the Expanded Universe. “Rogue One” in particular is the call sign for the leader of Rogue Squadron. It appears in The Empire Strikes Back and therefore is most definitely canon. The new Trilogy certainly hasn’t forgotten it’s X-Wing Pilots, with the trailer and photo shoots including them. The question is; just how much of the Rogues will be what we already know? There is a hugely popular novel series dedicated to the Rogues and their exploits (you can’t call them missions, they are exploits for sure). Their motto is “doing the impossible” and let’s be honest, securing the plans for the Emperor’s new toy is up there on the list of impossible things to try to accomplish. A lot of the original Rogues were in the OT; Luke, Wedge, Wes, and so forth. Those character exist and better yet, they are cannon! While we know Luke won’t be in it – this is set before A New Hope remember, back in the days when Luke was just a moisture farmer on Tatootine – but Wedge and the others were with the Rebellion before Luke came along. I honestly don’t see how they could do a movie called Rogue one and not included any of the Rogues we know.

Plus, it ties in with the new trilogy – Poe Dameron is an X-Wing pilot and described by the actor playing him as “the best fricken pilot in the galaxy” – while myself and my fiancé (and I’m sure other fans) are thinking ‘well dude, you got a LOT to live up to with that statement’, it certainly FITS with Rogue Squadron. They are the best of the best. In the EU Rogue Squadron is a squadron with a legacy, one that exists for generations and quite often the children and grandchildren of the original pilots end up in Rogue Squadron at some point. So, could Poe be a legacy? It is possible that one of his ancestors was one of those in the original squadron, possibly even on the mission to steal the Death Star plans. Star Wars and Disney like continuity and they want to grab the attention of a whole new audience. While Star Wars nerds know about Rogues and their long history, a lot of people have just seen the movies and probably have no clue who Rogue Squadron even are. So setting Poe up to be this type of character would help them lead into a movie based solely on an elite squad of fighter pilots.

I am certainly excited about Poe, not just because I’m sure Rogue One is a Rogue Squadron mission but because this photo of him looks awesome. He has the sexy badass starfighter pilot look down to a T. In regards to the other characters; I was originally convinced that Daisy Ridley’s character was Han and Leia’s daughter. I am still rooting for that possibility, but what we already know about her doesn’t necessarily fit right. It could be a total throw off and she’s estranged from her family, but we’ll need to wait and see. The one that is bugging me the most is one of the characters we know absolutely nothing hardly anything about (there’s been a new leaked photo in the last 2 days) about; Domhnall Gleeson’s character. Leaked photo aside, I’m not convinced that this isn’t Luke’s son. Perhaps I’m just clinging on to the hope that Mara Jade (my favourite character ever) makes an appearance in the new movies. But it seems odd to me that this red headed young man has been hidden from us so much. No name, no details, nada. He obviously has a BIG part to play if his character details are being so well hidden. I won’t spoil the leaked photo, but lets just say that the assumptions people are making from it don’t necessarily add up. That’s just one possibility out of many.

Speaking of Luke – again, we’ve hardly seen much about him or the Jedi in the new film. The trailer gave away the whole Sith thing, so naturally we know about Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver. Kind of hard to miss that there’s a Sith after that trailer. But Jedi? The whole Star Wars universe focuses on the relationship between the Sith and the Jedi and c’mon, it’s called The FORCE Awakens. So yes, there will be Jedi. So far no one has been named as one, other than Luke and we see Leia holding a lightsaber in the trailer – we don’t know if she’s just being given it for the first time or if she’s a trained Jedi by now. You might be thinking ‘well she’s a Skywalker, of course she’s a Jedi!’ but as seen in the EU Leia’s ambitions are very different from Luke’s and I don’t see them straying far from that. So I definitely believe that Domhnall Gleeson’s character is more likely to be a Jedi than a member of the Empire.

In regards to the EU, there are only a handful of characters I’m sad to see gone and hope they incorporate them somehow in the new movies/new canon. Obviously, Mara Jade, as mentioned. And some of the Rogues, specifically Tycho who is a partner in crime of Wedge and Wes. The later are already canon and it just doesn’t feel right now having Tycho there too. As for the Jedi characters; Corran Horn. He’s a Rogue as well and his entire history is just fascinating – we need more Jedi families. I love the Skywalkers, but there’s so much potential for Jedi legacies in there. There are many other characters I love, don’t get me wrong, but I’m content with them staying in the EU and not being reincarnated. It’s a very big and complicated universe and if you start trying to fit in some characters, it breaks because others are missing.

I think that covers pretty much every thought I have so far regarding the new movies. I’ve yet to watch Star Wars Rebels because I’ve not even finished the Clone Wars series yet and I know they lead on from one another (at least one character anyway). So there will probably be more in the future as I catch up on the new stuff coming out. I will leave you with this handly link to a list of how the new timetable of movies, novels and comics work out.

It’s a 2.2!

It's a 2.2!

Yesterday I got my degree classification for my English Literature MA (hons) and it was a 2.2! In my previous entry I wrote about how bad I expected the result to be and honestly, I was not expecting a 2nd at all. I stared at the screen for several minutes before the hyper hysterical reality hit me and I have been on a high ever since. I am just so happy. I am extremely proud of my fellow students for getting their 2.1’s, I know how hard they worked for them – but I’m not jealous. A 2.2 is beyond my wildest dreams for four years that have been emotionally and physically difficult. I almost gave up this year, considering the idea of resitting my final year and I’m really glad I didn’t now. I’m still waiting for my individual module marks, but it is most likely my creative writing dissertation which boosted my final mark. I seriously doubt my exam results were that good.

 

They say you can do anything if you believe in it, if you put the work in and I finally feel like that is true. I had health problems during my first degree, however, they were mostly in the final part of my final year. I had to get an extension for my dissertation and that probably cost me a 1st. I was and still am overjoyed with the 2.1 I got, just as I am with this result. There are always going to be ‘what ifs’ and sometimes, especially when it’s due to health reasons beyond my control, it is easy to get lost in them. What if I hadn’t been so ill? What if I’d not missed so many classes? At the end of the day I am very lucky that it doesn’t matter. I’m already accepted into a Masters so the result didn’t matter – wait no, that is incorrect; it didn’t matter to my career, to my future. To me personally it matters. I would have been satisfied with a worse result, yet I would have felt terrible. Like a failure. Everyone around me would have told me not to be so silly, that even just completing a second degree with my health issues is a marvellous achievement – and they would have been right. I still would have felt bad. I still feel bad about my A-level results all those years ago despite holding two undergraduate degrees now.

 

Last time I got my degree classification I had just come out of a bad relationship, and while I was proud of myself, my future was completely up in the air. I had this awesome degree, loads of knowledge and experience in my mind and no idea what to do with it. No confidence to do anything with it. That was 8 years ago, and several months later I would make a choice to return to a game I still play today, the MMORPG World of Warcraft, after a chance meeting at my cousin’s wedding. There I met Chris, the amazing and loving man who has helped me through this degree and built my confidence up one bit at a time. I still have bad days, they will never go away, but I have hope and I have love. This time I am surrounded by love and support, people cheering me on and wanting me to do well – for myself.

The future is bright; Post Graduate

The future is bright; Post Graduate

I’ve been trying to get my brain to function well enough to write this since my exams ended two weeks ago, but thanks to a raging sinus infection it has been delayed. Usually the post-exam entry is me panicking about my exam results, especially as these are my final exams. I’ll admit I am a bit, but not nearly as much as I should be. BECAUSE I’VE ALREADY been accepted to study a post graduate course at  University of Strathclyde in Information and Library studies! I was literally jumping for joy when I was accepted, and since I already have a 2.1 degree classification I was accepted straight away. I’m also the first one in my family to get to Post graduate, and it has been a very hard won victory for me personally. So yes, I am feeling very proud of myself. I’ll feel even more so when I’ve actually done it of course, and I’m excited to enter into a new realm of career possibilities! The course itself is a mixture of information, law, computer labs, individual and group coursework and exams. I’m sure there will still be some essays in there, but it will be nice to be doing some lab work as well. The law side of things is different, however, I’m hoping my background in sociology helps with that.

 

It meant that I could go through my exams with a certain reassurance in regards to my future. I didn’t flunk my exams, but knowing that if they did go tits up it wasn’t the end of the world was very freeing. The exams went ok, with the exception of the last one – my body finally screamed ‘I’ve had enough!’ and flung a tantrum. So the end of the second question ended up a rambling mess and I had to leave early due to a pounding migraine. Our results usually come out in a few weeks, and I’ve heard rumours of the 12th June being ‘the big day’. Honestly, I’m not expecting a great classification. This year has been insanely difficult and the year before wasn’t exactly a peach either. I wouldn’t have gotten through it all without an amazing amount of love and support from friends and family, that’s for sure. Honestly, I am most looking forward to finding out my dissertation result, because it was my first original short story work that has been looked at critically. AKA a big deal.

 

I have more to write about (such as summer plans) but it will need to wait for another entry, my sinuses are making my brain go mushy again. I will finish on this note though; since my last exam I have successfully stuck to a strict diet! Now just need to add in the exercising :)

Need to do x, y & z

Need to do x, y & z

While thinking about writing this entry I couldn’t help but think ‘I really need to get better at blogging’. It’s a thought I had just under a year ago, and many times before that. There are so many things I need to do, so many I have done and the last year really has just felt like an ongoing list of things I need to do. I guess that is what life is about, moving from one thing to another and on a positive note at least I am progressing. It’s especially important that I remember that right now because since September I have been quite seriously ill. Not at death’s door or anything like that, but my god did I feel like it a few times. I caught the flu and for three weeks it was absolutely awful. I’ve only ever had flu one other time I can recall and I had the same reaction. It’s why I am such a big fan of the flu vaccine and have been getting it since I was 16. Unfortunately the flu vaccine isn’t a cure, and every year the doctors need to choose which flu strain they think will be the most prevalent. Apparently this year they made the wrong choice and one of the other strains turned out to be more widespread, so my flu vaccine did nada.

 

As if flu wasn’t bad enough my body decided to add to the fun; I developed tennis elbow in my left arm and had sinusitis. The flu took such a toll on my body that I developed became post viral which basically means my immune system got smashed to bits. For a while there I had pretty bad fatigue and every day I’d get up for an hour or less before having to collapse into bed with crippling fatigue. I’m still feeling post viral, which basically means I’m really run down, have not been able to concentrate for more than 15 ish mins at a time (end of term essays were great fun…), and generally feeling really crappy with every symptom under the sun. I’m  slowly regaining my health back because I have exams in May and being able to concentrate for 15 mins at a time ain’t going to cut it in a 2 1/2 hour exam.

 

I missed pretty much all my classes, including the creative writing workshops I have been looking forward to for years. Fortunately I managed to persevere and got my dissertation completed, as well as all my assignments on time. The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult and stressful, but I did it. Now just my exams and that’s my final year over with and I graduate. What I’ll graduate with is yet to be seen. I had planned to go into teacher training, however, my Maths GCSE grade doesn’t quite cut it up here in Scotland. I could go to college for a year, struggle with the one subject I find terrifying and still not get the grade. I’ve also had time to think about it and have decided for various reasons not to pursue teaching. My dissertation supervisor, the author Laura Marney, was very supportive of my writing and teaching takes an awful lot of time up. If I want to seriously pursue my writing I don’t think I have the time to do both. So I am applying for a postgraduate course in Library and Information studies which leads to working in libraries (duh) as well as publishing.

 

At present I am coming to the end of my ‘week off’ before hitting the revision. I really enjoyed the selection of texts from my term 2 courses, Children’s literature and Science fiction, to the point that they both added a pile of more books to my ‘to read‘ list. I’ve also registered with our local library at last, which is handily located at the end of our road 😛 So I am catching up on some much needed reading for pleasure :)  Also playing some WoW and catching up on various online projects.

10 years ago I was preparing for my first degree

10 years ago I was preparing for my first degree

… and now I’m preparing to go into the final year of my second degree. Since my last entry I’ve completed my exams, gotten the results, been on two holidays (Tenerife and then Norfolk) and moved house! My exam were results could have been better and definitely reflected the amount of classes I missed, but they could have been worse. I passed and no resits so I am heading into my final year – and I am beyond relieved to be doing the creative writing dissertation rather than the “normal” dissertation. I have absolutely no clue where I’d even start with that.

 

I’ve already had my classes confirmed and will be studying these alongside the creative writing dissertation; Children’s Literature, Popular Victorian Literature and Science Fiction (wooo!). I’ve not got the reading lists yet but I have started some prep reading which so far includes H.G Wells’ Time Machine and The Beetle by Richard Marsh.

 

I start back at Uni around 20th September, and in mid-August I’ll be back volunteering at the high school for one day a week. I’m also working on the university campus again this summer as a Frontline Assistant for registration and enrolment (the same job I did last year) and I’m currently in the middle of the training for it. It’s great to see some familar faces from last year and meet some awesome new people too, so really looking forward to it again.

 

Our new flat is awesome and we just moved the cats into it, and I’m happy to say they are settling in absolutely fantastic. They are loving the space and it’s great to have them around again, rather than poor George being stuck downstairs away from us (our desks were in the same room as the bed, which he likes to pee on…). In two weeks they’ll be able to go out in the gardens (both front and back are fairly large) and they’ll have a blast. There’s a tree at the end of the garden as well which I know they’ll be climbing when they’ve settled in. There are dogs on either side of us though so they’re going to need to get used to that, but it’s a good thing as we’re planning to get a dog in the future so this gets them used to it.

 

This is just a quick entry to update you all about stuff, more updates coming soon and maybe a topic or two of discussions.

Summertime

Summertime

The post exam entry is always a nerve wracking thing to write because reflecting on myself in an exam isn’t easy and I worry about being too over confident, about jinxing myself. They went ok, pretty sure there is no failures in there. As for actual marks? We’ll see.

So that is the end of year three and there are no resits in sight for the first time in 3 years. It is a glorious feeling knowing that my summer is completely free. It’s even better knowing that I go on holiday soon for two weeks in Tenerife. I can’t remember the last time I was away for two weeks. One week always feels too short, so really looking forward to the longer break – and after this year it feels very needed!

I have a lot of things I want to do this summer; explore, make home made ice cream, write, online projects – and I’m doing my best to do things in my own time without getting totally overwhelmed. One thing I do plan to do is blog more often; hopefully once a week and I have a growing list of topics I want to write about. The biggest of course being the new Star Wars films and the debunking of the Expanded Universe – but I won’t get into that now. It deserves and requires it’s own entry. So while I have lists of things to do this summer I am trying to spread them out and not stress when I don’t get things done.

I will still be working in the school until about the 20th June when the year ends and all going well will be back in August for the new year. I need to confirm it with the department head but I really want to continue doing it if I can. I’ve gotten so much out of it and I love it.

2014 so far

2014 so far

Where to begin? As you can probably guess from the lack of posts since December it has been a busy and chaotic 2014 so far. Health has been up and down, lots of changes and moving home. The later came as a massive shock and couldn’t have come at a worst time. We’re all settled in now though and life is moving onwards. I am currently in my exam period for year 3. All assessments have been handed in, although I’m waiting for grades for them still. I have 3 exams; two from Semester 1 and one from Semester 2. I was fortunate enough to have the exam gods bless me with one exam a week, which gives me plenty of time to revise for each one individually. The downside? The Medieval Literature one is first up. It’s not too bad; it’s just the translation part of the exam which has me pretty nervous. I’m not to bad reading Medieval English – in my head. But I need to write it down in modern prose… not so easy. The other two are a matter of re-reading, remembering themes and planning questions.

 

At the beginning of the year I was invited to choose a Word of the Year by Haley. To read more about this idea see this useful blog post. Googling word of the year gives you a range of different websites; dictionaries mainly but also spiritual and it isn’t specific to one religion. For me it’s spiritual, it has it’s roots in Paganism but this is something you can do whether you’re religious, spiritual or not. At the end of the day it is about positivity, making steps towards something better for yourself.

 

Change

 

That is my word of 2014 and it has so far been an apt choice. This year has already brought about some changes, whether I’ve wanted them or not. I chose it because I knew this year I would be starting two things which would have big influences on my life; teaching placement and creative writing dissertation. I’ve been at my placement at a High School since February, initially starting for just the required 25-30 hours for my Humanities in the Classroom module and then being invited to stay on for the rest of the year. I’ve also been offered the chance to return next year, which I would love to do, but I need to take into consideration that it will be my final year and that means insanity in general. Plenty of time to decide about that anyway :)

 

I am absolutely loving my time at the school. I really lucked out and have had the opportunity to work with an awesome department full of supportive and friendly teachers of all levels and styles. It really helped to be working alongside two student teachers currently working on their PGDE as a lot of the work they had to do, I was also doing i.e. reflecting on lesson plans and working with certain classes. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I can finally say ‘I found it’! That thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I’d love to end up an author full time, but I’m nearing 30 and it’s time to settle down into a career that will last. It has been a long time in coming but I have finally found it; Teaching. After the first day I had fallen in love with it.

 

I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it physically but another change, a positive one, is that my Physio is working. I have the loveliest Physio and cannot recommend the team at Glasgow Physio Center highly enough. They’re awesome :) I have a 30 min session every week in which is usually spent 15 mins working on my problem areas with massaging techniques and stretches and then 15 minutes pilates. I’m hoping to move up to 30 mins pilates over the summer.

 

This should hopefully break my lack of blog entries record now. I have a growing list of topics I want to blog about so I’ll try and get started on them soon! :) At the moment I’m getting over a bug that I’ve had for 3 weeks – yep my entire easter break, which sucked – and during my recovery I have gotten addicted to pinterest thanks to Haley and Claire. You can find me over here.

 

 

 

And just like that it’s December…

I don’t even know where to begin. That is what happens when you don’t blog for several months at a time :-/ /facepalm. Let’s start with the simple stuff; I’m now 28, I am just finishing my first term of my honours degree in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. My birthday was lovely with a great night out with friends and spoilt rotten as usual. The notable presents include a brand new gaming pc which is awesome – my last one was on it’s last legs and was dangerously overheating constantly. It has been great to be able to finally play games on high quality and see them all in their beauty. The downside was windows 8 which is slowly growing on me; the handy way to view pdfs while keeping other windows open is very useful for studying and essay writing. But the lack of a traditional start menu is just ick.. that got changed straight away thanks to an addon.

The other notable present was tickets to see Nickelback live at the new Glasgow hydro. I’m still a little annoyed at the level of sneakiness employed by my fiancé Chris to ensure I didn’t get the tickets for him. During a concert related discussion in the summer he swore blind that he really didn’t want to see them, even though they were one of his favourite bands. That’s how early he was planning this! Yes, I am a very lucky girl to have someone who puts so much effort into presents and knows me so well. The concert was on 27th November and we had amazing seats. Right in the middle of the first tier facing the stage. And the concert was fantastic!

University has been a mixture of good and bad, the bad mainly being health related. It has been a constant struggle with a lot of things going on but despite that the grades for assessments have not been too horrific. My first two assignments, an essay for Medieval Literature, and a mid-term for Victorian Literature, were rushed to say the least. I ended up with a C1 for the essay which was far far better than I imagined and a B3 for the mid term. The mid term was a mini-essay comparing two recent articles on one of the texts we had covered. The aim was to evaluate and summarise while showing our own voice and the later I did pretty well according to my tutor. I am currently working on the second essay for Victorian Literature which is due next week, and I’m really enjoying it because we got to create our own questions. It feels less stressful and more of a fun challenge compared to previous essays we have had. My question is “The emerging voice of the late Victorian ‘new woman’ in the work of Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle.”.

I have no exams for either modules until the spring, so that just leaves this final essay. I am supposed to have two and I have chosen not to do the second one for medieval literature. As much as I would like to refine my essay, to gain a better grade, I have realised that I would be mainly doing it to prove something. To prove that I am capable of better and that despite missing so many classes I can still do well. But who do I need to prove this to? By choosing not to do the second essay – the best grade of the two essays is chosen – I am saving myself a long period of stress before Christmas. A C1 for something worth 25% is pretty good and right now I would rather relax and get better. Next term is going to be as difficult, if not more, because I will be also doing a teaching placement. This time also gives me the chance to start looking for that placement and also preparing my reading for term 2 so I can get ahead.

My health has not been disastrous, and some of it has been improving. Primarily my hypermobility syndrome because I have been seeing a private physiotherapist who has worked wonders with me. I have begun to get better muscle strength and have been working my way up from the lowest weights to about the 3rd now. And I FEEL better. I am actually able to walk now without having to constantly use my asthma inhaler due to the pain, and I don’t have to stop every few minutes. After 8 years someone has finally been able to offer me hope and help to something I thought would never get better. It’s a long journey and the next step is to begin to loose some of this weight now that my body can actually handle exercise again.

Once that essay is finished that is me done for christmas and we’re going away for it this year. We’re visiting some relatives in Harrogate before spending the Christmas period with both families in London. I also get to see my best friend who is pregnant and expecting in January! I am so excited 😀 I’m taking part in three secret santa this year; the TFL one, one over at Obsidian Butterfly an RPG I’m in and the RPG secret Santa we’re running over at Distant Fantasies: RPG Resource. We’re also currently working on a massive move and overhaul of Distant Fantasies which should be ready for the new year.

This will probably be the last topic for 2013, I may sneak another one in after Christmas. But if I don’t; I hope you all have a wonderful holiday period and new year!

All Change

All Change

In the past few weeks I’ve had to change my class timetable several times, so the post I previously wrote about classes is now pretty much null and void. One of the changes I had expected; Creative Writing Dissertation is for 4th years or 3rd years doing a general humanities degree. Since I am neither it means that I don’t need to take it this year. The good news is that I don’t need to resubmit a portfolio next year; I just need to email to say I’m still interested. While I was looking forward to it, I have to admit I am a little glad of the delay. The last year has been very difficult and while I’ve been planning my novel out in my head, I’ve not actually touched it for months. So a year of getting involved with it again will really help :)

The other change is that I am no longer taking comparative literature courses. I received a very unprofessional and condescending email from one of the senior lecturers. There was a specific bit where my disabilities were mentioned and that is all I am saying. I felt extremely uncomfortable after this and have therefore chosen not to take the courses. I’m disappointed because I was looking forward to them, but the bad outweighed the good. It has actually worked out in my favour because it meant I was taking an extra course due to the weird 20 credits for comparative literature modules, where as english literature ones are 30 credits. That means two courses per semester, where as with the comparative literature I was doing 3-4 – the comparative literature ones lasted 2 semesters. Each english lit course is just one semester. It likewise has given me a much nicer timetable; I’m off both wednesday and thursday, with one 10am lecture on fridays.

So what am I actually taking now? I’m still taking Victorian Literature. This term it is accompanied by Medieval English Literature:

On this course Honours students will have the opportunity to explore texts from the period of Chaucer’s lifetime, when English literature exploded into life. The texts selected will be contextualised within the fourteenth-century cultures and societies within which they were produced and received. Themes and theories covered will be based on topics such as authorship, patronage, sexuality, gender, piety, personal identity, historicism, legend, medievalism, audience, manuscript production. At the end of the course, assessment will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability (1) to translate and comment on select passages of late medieval literary texts; (2) to discuss and locate select texts within the culture, society and linguistic and literary milieux in which they were produced; (3) to discuss the approaches and techniques available to and used by critics and commentators in the interpretation of these texts.

 

For those of you who don’t know; I did my history of art dissertation on manuscripts. Apocalyptic manuscripts to be precise. I also really enjoyed a manuscript based course I did in third year, so this is essentially looking at manuscripts from the opposite side; literature rather than art. I also took a previous medieval studies course during the same degree, so I figured this would be building up on knowledge I already have.

In term 2 I still have Humanities in the classroom, and now also Modern Literature 1945 to Present.

This course offers an opportunity to study the key writers, genres and movements of the immediate post-WWII period through to the contemporary moment. Through an extremely varied programme of lectures and seminars, students are introduced to a range of literary texts (poetry, drama, novels and graphic novels), placed in relevant historical and cultural contexts and critical debates. Students will be encouraged to read widely in order to understand the diversity and innovation that characterizes contemporary writing. Lectures will address the impact of a range of important cultural and political concerns (e.g. war, racial and ethnic diversity, national identities, changing attitudes to sex and sexuality, ecological crisis) as well as changes (and continuities) in the forms and genres through which writers have engaged with these issues.

I like my literature the opposite way to my art; I prefer modern literature, especially this time period. Plus getting to study Angela Carter, Neil Gaimen and graphic novels is just awesome.

The class changes are not the only changes. For the past month and a bit I have been working at my university as a part of the enrolment and registration support team. And as of today, that job is officially over :( I really enjoyed the job and met some amazing people who I intend to stay in contact with. It just feels so weird now that it is over!

I also had my assessment with the private physio and wow, just wow. I don’t remember ever not feeling some sort of pain or discomfort, and she did some nerve work on my arm/shoulder/neck where there is pressure on the nerve. I felt pain free for a while and it was blissful. She was lovely, so understanding and not at all judgemental. So I’m just starting a new period in my life; she’s the first person in 8 years to actually help me battle against my hypermobility syndrome. I have my first proper appointment on monday, and I just hope I can go. All that time around freshers has inevitably given me Freshers Flu. I’m due a new flu vaccine and it only covers the most popular forms of flu, so this one has managed to slip in under the radar and I feel terrible.