Friday, December 4, 2009

Have the forsaken been forsaken?

Patch notes always manage to annoy me. Of course they do, I am a warlock after all and even though I am now far more in tune with other character classes understanding their soft spots and where they could use some help seeing the stale and uncreative changes to the warlock class never put a huge smile on my face.

But this is not about warlocks... at least not specifically. I make it about warlocks because I happen to be a warlock of the undead variety. So chosen back in the day for the race defining ability 'will of the forsaken'.

Will of the forsaken is an absolute godsent for any warlock especially in the northrend PvP game. Together with the standard PVP trinket undead warlocks can break snares twice and happily port back to their circle of magical 'there will be a warlock here soon' glowiness (you know the little green circle things where rogues like to hang out).

But the PTR patch notes for 3.3 tell us a story of foreboding doom:

"Will of the Forsaken now shares a 45-second cooldown with similar effects, including the Medallion of the Horde, Titan-Forged runes, Insignia of the Horde, etc."

Which in essence means that your race defining ability now shares a cooldown with quite a few silly little pvp trinkets that are available to pretty much anyone with the gumption to cap a few towers in Hellfire peninsula or do any other moderated form of pvp.

So no matter what kind of undead you are, come 3.3. your PVP trinket will be useless. After all it's not like you can exchange racials nor do you get the option to change race after such a modification so the only real thing left to do is hunt for a new trinket.

Perhaps this is the great equalizer, a cheap little trick to snuff out the value of yet another racial to bring it in line with the collection of other marginally useful racials.

But to this here warlock, whom even with a spec that is literally built for survival it's a significant kick in his non-existing nuts (organic stuff does not stay attached post death).

I can stomach the fact that I have to go look for a different trinket, in a way it's a relief not to have to go for the pvp trinket anymore but losing yet another defensive cooldown is hard especially when you know you're reliant on it for your survival.

My warlocks future looks somewhat bleaker for it. Now rather than to trinket out of the rogue stun, port back to my circle and WotF out of the rogue stun from the rogue that's surely there I get to recapture those lovely moments all us warlocks know where we get bursted down from 100% to 0 in the duration of a single stun.

But hey, maybe we can hit the sacrifice button from our otherwise useless voidwalker before the second rogue gets to us. Or perhaps they got bored waiting on that big green glowing blotch on the floor for a warlock to appear. Or maybe we can get that 1000+ resilience we're going to need to just live through the initial stunlock burst sequence so we actually get to cast something. Or maybe I'll just stay in the tree I've been sitting in casting dots at the passing crowds.

On the bright side it may, in the long run, result in a few less undead in the world and we'd all be better of without so many of us trying to develop a new plague to turn us all into forsaken (in which case all of y'all will get our spiffy racial).

WotF much?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Post Pilgrim's Profit

With the pilgrimage over and most pilgrims having achieved their pilgrim title there's a large slew of people that have figured out that the harvest festival was a tremendous boon for those looking to train their cooking skills up to 350.

And while you probably saw your profits plummit to an all time low if you're selling raw food (yes there's a market for that) you can now rejoice in a very brief period where people want to equip their newly created level 350 cooks with something more than just a bit of skill.

They have just spent a few minutes looking at their achievements and figured out that with a recipe or 100 more they could score yet another few of those brilliantly useless achievement points for their characters to show off.

And like anyone else rather than traversing half the WoWverse on foot they'd much rather pay a highly inflated AH price for a good set of recipes which is where we come in to make some quick gold.

So I decided to strip down my mage completely bag content wise (a male naked Belf isn't exactly my cup of tea) and send him off to distant land to collect inane amount of recipe's to mail them to a temporary banker character for storage.

I am not going to plot a route for you but here's an overview of more or less all cooking recipes you can get your paws on: recipes

I ended up charging quite a decent sum for each recipe based on their cost price (ranging from double to triple value) and was able with some trade advertising (to create some awareness) and a night's worth of sleep to shift approximately 80% of what I was trying to auction off.

That said I was always able to sell cooking recipes but it seems that after the harvest festival the margin's have gone up a little and the amount of repeat auctions seems to be dwindling.

Of course without a doubt this clever stroke of profiteering will not go unnoticed so I am sure there will be a merry go-round of undercutting going on soon if anyone else is willing to go through the hassle of collecting all those cooking recipes.

Fortunately it is quite the hassle (I didn't bring the mage for nothing) and so hopefully the increase in popularity of cooking recipes will stay in our favor for a while.

Now if you will excuse me I have a cookbook or 200 to compile.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One bridge too far

I pity the fool... who thought that was actually a good idea. Now let me start by saying I don't have any issues with Mr.T.
In fact when I was 8 years old I watched A-team on a regular basis and remember enjoying it quite a bit; But when it comes to MMORPGs you have to be careful not to rip the fabric of spacetime.

And by that I mean, you simply need to take care that whatever you introduce into the world is in some way shape or form related to the world's lore or people therein. If it's not, and you're suddenly presented with something that is so obviously not of 'this world' it is simply put the end of immersion.

Here you are fresh out of the starter zone ready to take on the world and you run into a guy trying to pawn some grenades off on you that have no purpose other than make everyone around you look twice as ugly as they did before. Not to mention the fact that if you're horde that particular night elf will look horribly out of place despite his obvious non-wow demeanor.

I say nay, if you are to introduce a quasi celebrity into a virtual environment it has to fit. I could've seen ozzy as a warlock leading a small army against the lich king and thought to myself 'sure, why not' but to have 'Mr. T's' alter ego standing at the exit of the starter zone just makes me wonder why.

Why are you standing there? What is your purpose?
Why are you handing out grenades instead of grills?
Why would I want to look like you?
Are they going to make the next class a 'mohawk'?

I like frilly things. I love giants that fart big green bubbles and pop them with their finger, I tremendously enjoy thrall and all the other characters that show up repeatedly throughout the game. I even like haris pilton and other introductions of semi famous people in interesting ways and even Ozzy's short introduction to wow was worth some giggles.

But Mr.T the night elf mohawk computer hacker that hands out cosmetic surgery grenades to anyone 'who believes'?

I'd rather french kiss a kodo.

Theres a lot of room in this world for fantasy and fun and there's nothing as funny as a well placed 'real life' reference... but if it's not done right it just ends up being a clear break from immersion, a reminder of what is going on out in the real world that we tried to get away from by playing in the first place, in short: one bridge too far.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Review Time

The last 6 months I had more or less dedicated my progression to my various lowbies (of which, I am sure you won't remember, had quite a few) and since it's now officially a tradition (sadly lacking a name) it's time to take a look how NoobDing is doing with it's character progression.

Taking a swift look back to a post in may we can see that I was doing an average about half a level a day there and about 198 levels to go to the magical mark of 800 levels or 10 level 80's if that makes more sense.

With the Cataclysm looming in the distance which would tack another 50 levels onto that number I am quite interested to see how I got on over the last six months and how much I have left to go.

The last status in march (number in brackets denouncing the increase since my review before that):

Capsize - lvl 80 undead warlock (+10)
Capstone - lvl 80 blood elf paladin (+10)
Capricious - lvl 70 troll hunter (+6)
Capibara - lvl 80 tauren druid (+12)
Capone - lvl 43 Orc rogue (+0)
Capeesh - lvl 34 Orc warrior (+3)
Capacitate - lvl 44 undead priest (+9)
Capitulate - lvl 58 Blood elf mage (+18)
Capow - lvl 50 Tauren shaman (+15)
Capsickle - lvl 63 Orc Death Knight (+8 from 55)

And with that the magic numbers for november 2009:

Capsize - lvl 80 undead warlock (capped)
Capstone - lvl 80 blood elf paladin (capped)
Capricious - lvl 71 troll hunter (+1)
Capibara - lvl 80 tauren druid (capped)
Capone - lvl 70 Orc rogue (+27)
Capeesh - lvl 67 Orc warrior (+33)
Capacitate - lvl 70 undead priest (+26)
Capitulate - lvl 72 Blood elf mage (+14)
Capow - lvl 70 Tauren shaman (+20)
Capsickle - lvl 72 Orc Death Knight (+9)

A total gain of 130 levels which is still not quite a level a day but definitely a solid improvement. The most interesting part of this is that I am now only 68 levels away from being fully capped which at the current averages and my tendency for laziness over the holiday puts me at fully capped status in march/april 2010. Will it be enough time to hit fully capped before cataclysm? Hard to say...

On the less analytical side I have to say that I had a horrible and I mean absolutely horrible time levelling my rogue. Normally I'd blame the fact that I make a better ranged person than a melee person but the absolute lack of healing potential has made levelling my rogue an arduous task. Using stealth helps but tends to slow the killing down. On the other hand not killing things right away on a rogue is a sin you can only fix through resetting the entire battle. And that despite the fact that he's dragging around a good 4 heirlooms which should make him at least gear-wise superior to any mob on his level.

Joining the list of now less popular characters is much to my own surprise the priest. There's something about the priest that strikes me as sluggish and inefficient. Perhaps the spells don't lock in place like I want them to or the killing speed is just too mediocre but I can rarely motivate myself to pick him up despite loving the shield spells.

The hunter together with the warlock and paladin have received a lot of 'alternative love'. While the hunter is now proudly running around on a venomhide mount and has a good chunk of exploration completed the warlock and pally decided to lift themselves in some good old deadly/furious gladiator gear which really upped the survivability for my warlock tremendously (in pvp, the only place it really is an issue).

The druid is off in dreamland considering a tanking set that he'll probably never get together and the mage has been sent to the mines to crank out titansteel bars on a daily basis.

Overall in the last 6 months the biggest personal surprise was the warrior. Whilst in the beginning his self healing and staying power were lackluster at best now at level 60+ with some gear on him I can really tell the difference as he tears through things with few delays.

I finally understand all the wayward comments about how gear dependant warriors really are (although I suppose they meant protection) and by that I mean I finally understand they didn't mean you have to be all epicced out but with some decent gear on the warrior can go from pacifistic turtle to no holds barred rampaging warmonger... wish someone would've told me earlier.

All in all I've gotten a clearer understanding of what each character entails... and whilst I am still a natural warlock I am definitely looking forward to putting those last 10 levels on most characters especially to see if the rogue and priest will redeem themselves somewhere along the way.

And you? How are your alts doing?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Pilgrim's kitchen

I wasn't really impressed with the current pilgrim's event that's currently running on WoW but I do admit to having a fair bit of fun doing the pilgrim's peril quests which on the one hand had me standing peacefully amongst allies at stormwind and on the other had me in a fierce bind in auberdine resulting in quite a few corpse runs.

In the end I can really take or leave the holiday but it's a nice way to keep busy till christmas and the title seems easy enough to achieve.

There is however a hidden benefit to the whole festival in that you can quite easily train your cooking from 0 to 350 at nearly no cost and minimal effort.

To do that simply buy the bountiful cookbook from any of the pilgrim's bounty vendors at a festival and learn the first of 5 recipes. You can leave the rest in the book unless you already have the cooking skill required to save some space.
Make said recipe till you can learn the second recipe from the book and move on till you're done with them all.

The items you'll want to cook with are at the festivals in Undercity, Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff freely (I tend to go in that order too) for sale from any ole vendor (or one of those vendor buckets). You can pick up and do the pilgrim dailies at the same time if you like for some easy xp/gold.

For the last recipe item you'll have to head into your starter zone and kill wild turkeys that only spawn during the event. There's an achievement attached to this as well so expect quite a bit of traffic around the area.

And that's pretty much it. I suppose I could've gone into more detail but I have faith that you get the general idea and will figure out the rest on your own.

Happy cooking

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trade This!

Trade is a wonderful tool. It allows the more socially oriented business (wo)man to create a nice income, allows for quick sales of obscure items and every now and then you manage to get a real deal off of someone whose just too lazy to AH their goods.

Unfortunately only about 20% of all chat traffic on the [2. Trade] channel resembles actual 'trading' or selling / buying of items or services.
The rest is, by lack of a better word, utter abysmal crap. Endless arrays of barrens escapees filling the channel with anything from high quality conversations about their school life right down to ye ole [dirge] spam which is still alive and kicking on my server for some obscure reason.

I'd almost be inclined to join the first guild that actually uses the recruitment channel for guild recruitment but considering they're just trying to buy some guildies (euhm recruit some members) I can give that a pass as useful trade information.

But mild ranting aside it seems to me that there is actually a very simple way to ensure, at least for the most part, that trade is indeed about well... trade.

What I suggest is simply that trade is put in a pre-fixed format. Next time you hit 'trade' to advertise one of your wares in you should receive a nice simple little popup.

In this little popup we find a number of dropdown lists (comboboxes or whatever you may wish to call them) and a few 'link' fields.

Basically you would be able to select one of 3 activties: WTT, WTB, WTS
and a few items perhaps up to 5 in the format of [quantity] [item link]

From the quantity dropdown you could select any number (i.e. from 1-100 or make a field that only accepts integers as input) and the item link box would allow you to insert an item link and an item link only.

By preventing the actual 'tradee' which is us for all intents and purposes to just type in whatever we come up with we would then be forced to simply select if we want to trade, buy or sell and also be forced to simply put in an item link and how many we want to sell (1 by default).

If the item link field doesn't accept anything but item links (or skill links etc.) and the quantity isn't modifiable beyond whats there to be selected there's really no choice but to use trade what it was made for in the first place.

Sure you could embelish it with an item search function or allow for more than 5 items to be offered up at the same time, maybe a color selector or whatnot to make your text stand out but that's the basic concept.

And with that you would end up wiping out all the mindless chatter, at least some of the guild recruitment spam (not dirge spam I suppose) and most gold sellers would be looking for a new way to sell us their illegal goods.

A big win in my book, since I rather like the chatting once in a while, but also the actual trading. I just think they would be better off in separate channels so I can choose to opt out of one or the other.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The hidden danger of chilled meat

Chilled meat is good, chilled meat is yummy stuff that once upon a time when the cooking dailies still took an obcene amount of it was a valued commodity.

Those times are over, we know it... the dailies have been adjusted and chilled meat is, well still useful enough to keep around but hardly worth the time selling it.
By now we all have a moderate supply of it stashed away somewhere... because we remember those days it was worth something and are quietly holding on to our supply just in case they add something that will use the stuff.

I thought I had a moderate supply myself... I though meh... I have a stack or 3 roaming around somewhere, until one day our only active guild mage (no pun intended) denoted that she had '412 chilled meats'.

412 chilled meats is enough to prompt me to look how much of the stuff I really had lurking around in the ancient freezers that are my various banks and I came up with: a little under 30 stacks (I rounded a bit, I am not going to count them you know) of chilled meat. That's almost 600(!) chilled meat.

So unless there's an event around the corner that will need a hell of a lot of northern stew or some such I say to you: Beware the chilled meat... you could be stashing enough to get through a cataclysm without knowing it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fur and Fury

Having spent the last week at the SAPTeched and suffering from a generally busy work arena the last few weeks I didn't get around to playing much wow. So little even that I managed to miss the better part of Halloween which is too bad since I was all set up to go for a vicious Rant on how people kill the quest giver in the starting zones, park their oversized orange mammoths over waterpools and what not.

It was a particularly ranty rant which is always nice to do once in a while so I am a little sad I missed the opportunity to let Halloween meet my broadside.

Of course like any good rant it sticks in your system till you let it out so I found something completely different to rant about. Something in a field I previously knew very little about (and probably don't know nearly enough about as it is).

It all started a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted to do something new with my druid. Sure it was nice being a tree and frankly I haven't played any healer type character that's more fun to play than a tree druid whom can literally roll hots over half a raid without breaking a sweat... but when it comes to actually doing something other than healing, healing specs always seem crippled.

You can't kill things... unless you think killing something means applying the single dot you have and then outhealing the bastard's damage.

So I decided I'd look into some bear specs. It combined a lot of the survivability the average tree has with just that much more damage to make trying out the whole feral tree appealing.

And with that I started jotting down an outline for a spec and afterwards started digging for gear. It took me about 20 minutes before I started wondering where all the bear-tank gear was. It took me another 10 minutes to realize that there was no such thing as bear-tank gear. Bear tanks wear DPS gear...

Nothing around that really looked like it could improve damage mitigation... clearly my little furball was just meant to take hits, soak them up and pray for heals before the soaking capacity stopped.

With nothing out there in terms of gear I began to wonder how this would impact the bear tank population on various servers. After all without specifically designed bear tanking gear it means the bear tank is in direct competition with DPS of all types for most of his/her gear.

I never looked at a rogue's DPS gear and thought... hey that stuff would be nice for my bear tank but apparantly I should've all along.

Frankly I never had looked much at non-bearform bears at all... and now that I survey the few bear-tanks my server seems to have I must note that most of them look like they recently stumbled into the leftover bin at some wayward fashion show.
When they're out of form at least... when they're in form they pretty much look like a bear ... which is uneventful in itself.

I didn't shelve my plans for a bear tank but I do have to wonder how appealing a bear tank really is when your gear makes you look like a fashion accident and you have to compete with DPS to get it. And that's outside of 5 man performance which looks like it consists mostly of 'swipe swipe swipe swipe' activity.

Looking at it from a distance I think bears need something... if nothing else something that will allow them to reclaim their identities as tanks rather than an afterthought to the whole 'lets just gear a plate tank' conundrum.

That said, did anyone actually see a bear tank in the last months? I've seen maybe 3 in the last weeks... and that's nothing compared to the oodles of platewearing tanks (mostly pallies) that seem to be all over the place.

Is the bear tank heading for extinction?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The saddest Inn in WoW

I was flying around in outland the other day following a set of dailies that back in TBC seemed to make a habit out of having you fly from one edge of the continent to the other.
And as always when I fly from A to B this rarely seems to happen in a straight line as I tend to take my time and look at some of the features in WoW (the designers did some nice work in a lot of places after all).

Just like everyone else I find some places more appealing than others. Sometimes this is dictated by the quests are laid out together with the flight points (It's good fun to quest in DK starter areas because the quests are nicely chained) and other time the zone just has a lot of visual appeal.

And despite all the credit you can give designers for coming up with what is an excellently done static world sometimes there are places you come across that make you go: hmmmmm

I found an Inn, it was in a well populated area on a crowded bit of rock in shadowmoon and this particular Inn has to be, without a doubt, the saddest Inn I have ever seen.

When you come up to this particular Inn everything seems to be fine at first. It's kept in the usual orcish sense of crooked but sturdy with a fair set of spikes and the guards in front of it suggested that there were a fair few bar brawls there after hours so it would be a merry crowd.
You could even see a mailbox sitting out front and Horus, the innkeeper, glaring at you with a glint in his eyes.

The first steps into the Inn crush the hopes of a nice little rest in the Inn, Horus is indeed the only person in the Inn, furniture of any kind oddly absent and the stench of urine hangs in the air.
Not only that but you immediately notice that you're not getting that restful feeling that you always get when you walk into an Inn area which might be contributable to the dragonmaw peon that just spawned and is now blindly hammering away on the Inn's wall for some odd reason but producing a significant amount of headache inducing noise.

I watched the Peon hammer away, producing nothing for a while and decided to go mail some of the loot I had gathered questing over to an alt so I wouldn't have to lug it around which brought me to the dilapidated mailbox outside.
It had looked fine from a distance but clearly this mailbox had been decomissioned ages ago as instead of the usual glimmer of arcane energies that emenate from a mailbox there was only a small squicking sound and a puff of smoke coming from opening as I dropped my item in.

I fished around in it for a while with my arm but gave up hope... I decided to log out in this dysmall Inn and move on to another character. Perhaps I would be the first and last guest here. *queue 20sec logout time*

Visit Dragonmaw Base Camp in Shadowmoon if you want to take a look... although by Medivh I wouldn't know why you'd do that.

Seen any other (non)interesting places lately?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The little rogue that could

It was one of those days, one of those days I had specifically set aside to level a lowbie because I had been wasting my days in various PVP battle grounds pretending to be a raid leader and providing the crowd with intelligent sounding but, most likely, wrong tactical advice.

At any rate I was happily marching my priest out of undercity to catch a blimp to some obscure place or the other when a strange object caught my eye.
There, only a yard or 10 outside of the undercity gate sat a bunny. The obnoxiously fluffy kind that's just asking to be turned into kibble.

I started winding up my mindblast only to cancel it halfway wondering why the little bunny had an alliance tagging which would result in me being instantly pvp flagged. What's the harm I wondered for a moment, after all I wasn't even 10 yards outside of a city filled with enough horde to field a mid-sized army.

Being the defensive player that I am I decided against turning that bunny into a light afternoon snack, moved a bit off the road and sat down and waited...

I didn't have to wait long before a fellow member of the horde galloped out of the gates and without any thought dismounted and gave the bunny a good whack before I even managed to utter the words: 'possibly not the smartest idea'.
Not a second later the hordie that had decommisioned the bunny lay on the floor, quite dead, possibly quite confused about what happened and I saw a well dressed rogue (mostly furious gear) sprint off and fade into the darkness.

A few minutes later he clearly had decided to return as he unstealthed, dropped a new bunny decoy and vanished right before my very eyes.

I suppose at this point I could've gotten a high level alt, perhaps a prot paladin to dispatch the rogue... or even just stand around and warn fellow horde about their impending demise but I felt a strange attachment to the rogue. After all, how much more rogue can you get than that? Sneaking deep into enemy territory, armed with a set of decoys and then slaughtering anyone stupid enough to get pvp flagged by killing the decoy?

You have to admire that kind of dedication in some way shape or form. By the time I was done thinking about what to do about the situation the rogue had dispatched 2 more horde members and the horde had fielded a small team of level 80 characters that was combing the area with heavy aoe.

I saluted quietly into the emptiness and secretly wished the rogue all the best in his future adventures before logging out. And after I had logged back in on my warlock I had a good chuckle at myself for wishing a rogue well as a clothie after wishing doom on them since... well forever.

Doing creative things, no matter how sick or demented they may be is worth something and I thank the little rogue that could for displaying that tiny little bit of 'out of the box' thinking that should serve to inspire us all.

After all, when is the last time you did anything out of the ordinary?

Can one (wo)man change the world?

WoW servers in general make for very interesting social structures, there's a great many people on a real and only a few seem to stand out.

Whether it is the griever constantly spamming the trade chat with lines that summarize a whole world of stupid in one go, the guy who has been selling and buying wares for so long he's practically part of trade or the illustrious leader of some obscure high-end raiding guild that is just known because his guild happens to be 'the most progressed'.

Despite the few good shining examples of people that deserve to stand out due to actually having achieved something (as far as one can achieve anything while playing a game anyway) there always seems to be a negative connotation to the World of warcraft.
Whether it is the person calling the guy with a question a 'stupid nub' or just some guy with 5th grade spelling making a terrible attempt at correcting someone's 3rd grade spelling in a very unfriendly way.
Or perhaps it's the guy who comes in and mines your node after you've painstackingly cleared out all the mobs only to proceed to tag your named mob kill on a 15 min respawn timer before you can close into combat range after having sat there for 15 minutes because some jackass stole your mob rather than grouping up for the kill.

The problem with things we percieve as negative is that negative things are substantially easier to remember than acts of random kindness. A strong emotional response helps to commit things to memory and negative impact generates a stronger emotional response.

That isn't to say nothing good ever happens. Getting your rear-end saved by some druid who was just flying by seeing you struggle with an elite or getting fully buffed in while you're just standing in a battleground guarding a flag does happen but in the end it seemed like those were a few solid rocks in a sea filled with grief.

At some point I grew tired of all the nonsense. The endless e-peening, the random insults about spec, gear, arena points, missing achievements, dps averages, the pointless trade spam and the generally grievous behaviour: I disconnected. I left trade, I made my own guild with people I appreciate and I simply stopped associating myself with most people that couldn't produce a legible english sentence (or a dutch or a german one, I am not that picky after all).

I wondered where all the good people had gone whilst I enjoyed my stay in my jade palace knowing full well what happened with all the good people. They had done exactly the same. They had disconnected themselves from most things they didn't like, they learned not to get involved or ignore them and went on their own merry way leaving the world to fester associating only with their own guild or even just a sub-group in their own guild.

I decided to make a change, the disconnect wasn't doing anything to make life anything more tolerable. I decided to answer the simple questions that come by in trade, to toss out a few dozen buffs every now in then as some form of good will and even started actively helping people without going particularly out of my way. For the first time since I started playing I joined /help, granted, the channel was empty, but if anyone had any questions that required help at least now there was someone available in /help.

Can one person change the course of a realm? I don't know. Perhaps I am too idealistic to say no, dreaming of a world where we can more or less get along without stabbing each other in the back.
I am not asking for some kind of utopia where it's all love, fluffy bunnies and hugging trees but a realm where when push comes to shove you can feel like you can trust your fellow faction member, where you can lock ranks and fight side by side to fight a common enemy without having to wonder what bastard is going to roll need on something they can't use anyway or how you'll be left in the dirt because someone so an opportunity to earn x gold/honor/marks/emblems instead of helping a fellow horde out for the 30 seconds it would take..

In the end: if a handful of grievers can make the world a worse place, then why couldn't a handful of good people make the world a better place?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Warlock survivability build

Well with all the whining going on about warlock survivability and even cataclysm promising no hope when it comes to upscaling the survivability of the warlock I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

Quite frankly since I did my best to complain about various warlock problems whenever I had the chance I thought it fair to take a look at the situation and come up with some kind of build that should be able to withstand a bit of a beating.

The build, how else could it be, is hardly what anyone would consider a standard warlock build, it's not highest in DPS, it's a pretty lousy instancing build and odds are you'll get kicked out a raid the second you even try raiding with it.

It's about cold hard survivability: letting go of all those lovely damage oriented skills and supplanting them with the few mediocre survivability talents a warlock has.

In the end my primary concern was to create a warlock build that would allow the warlock to take the battle to the enemy in a bg setting rather than spending the entire bg waiting on healer rez timers (aka the warlock watercooler).

Before we dive into the why lets take a quick look at the build I am proposing:

Or alternatively dropping the 10% physical damage mitigation for a lot more room in the affliction tree:

Clearly this is nothing like the average cookie cutter spec. We dig deep fairly deep into both affliction and demonology to pick up a few key survivability talents and then top it off with a little more damage reduction from the destruction side.

A quick look at the build will identify the focus areas: Mobility through instant cast dots, draining capability through various drain talent enhancers, boosted survivability through voidwalker sacrifice, improved shielding, master demonologist (in case of the first build) and molten skin.

We're completely ignoring the high tier options from the various trees because they generally add very little to survivability and whilst increasing the damage output is good it is not what we're looking for with this build.

The additional issue with some of the high tier talents is that they require you to stand still to cast which, as a warlock, is most likely the last thing you want.

Destruction apart from nether protection, molten skin and shadowfury stun offers very little in terms of protection so we take what we can get in this case and spend the 8 points to top off molten skin.

Playing the build

The build focusses on mobility and generally relies on having a voidwalker available. While the voidwalker himself adds very little to the battle (other than a good way to occupy people's pets) his primary purpuse is to be sacrificed. Demonic brutality will ensure that you get the benefit of a 10k damage absorption shield every minute which is something even a discipline priest wouldn't scoff at and your voidwalker makes an excellent dump for soul link damage. Try not to lose him, you'll miss him when he's gone (or are voidwalkers female? hmmm).

The trick is to stay mobile. Drop your demonic circle on a ledge, preferably somewhere elevated and focus your combat around your circle. If the battle moves away from your circle the first thing you should do is move your circle. Not having a teleport available when things get too tricky is what causes most warlocks to die.
Dropping your circle on top of a wall means you'll have a nice place to return to to lick your wounds... leave the dying to the lesser mortals.

Spread your dots around, don't worry about trying to kill single targets, instead spread the corruption, use your curse of exhaustion and even throw in the occasional seed of corruption. Non-instant cast spells can be used occasionally but don't focus on trying to spread those around unless you have a lot of breathing room.

You're not a single target combatant but you have the potential to be worse than any catapult in large groups. If you do get caught out on your lonesome use your fear liberally, drain and bubble up as much as you can, you'll be amazed how frustratingly hard to kill you can be and sooner or later someone always comes by and saves the warlock.

Last but not least remember that drains are your friend. People often say draining is a lousy way to dps but personally I think doing damage while getting a bunch of hitpoints for free which can easily be converted to mana is priceless.

On stats

There's not much to say about stats. As a caster you get very little choice in the stat department and whilst I would love to say stack up on armor it's really not an option for us. Instead focus on stamina and spellpower like an ordinary warlock.
The choice between crit, haste and spirit is a bit of a toss up. Haste clearly does nothing for you except lower some GCD's which is nice but hardly crucial. Spirit vs crit is a debate in itself and I simply put to you to go with what you appreciate more. Personally I have a tendency to run with fel armor 99% of the time and spirit translates very nicely to spellpower in that way but as said crit vs. spirit is not a debate I am willing to take on.

Resilience as always is a good choice for any bg'ing warlock. 500 of it should be easy to obtain but you'll really start to feel the difference resilience can make once you get above 700.

All in all I have to say I am quite pleased with the builds. The second build was my attempt to irk out just that more damage without sacrificing too much mitigation and it seems to be working out well so far. While the damage still remains lackluster the combined effort of my pvp trinket, the demonic circle, a much needed defensive proc with the voidwalker sacrifice and the healthstone means that I can survive the initial burst of most of anything.

In the end these builds gave me what I wanted most out of the battlegrounds: The ability to /smile at a rogue and mean it.

That's something isn't it?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

For the Horde: Wintergrasp 102

Welcome to wintergrasp soldier. If you have not yet done any wintergrasp battles I would suggest you go out and taste the flavor before returning here to get a few more ideas on what YOU can do to turn the entire wintergrasp battle in your faction's favor (this is not a 101 after all).

Today we will focus on the finer points of Wintergrasp looking at a few specific tips and tricks that can seriously alter the course of a WG during the battle.


While NPCs generally add very little to a WG battle they do add rank when you kill them. The more rank you have the quicker you will be able to produce some kind of useable vehicle for the battle. If the battle starts and you're not getting the enemy contact you'd like to rank up scour the planes for NPC's to rank up on. It's not as fast as enemy players but they can help rank up in a pinch and theres a bunch of them at most bridges.


Paratrooping is the fine art of dropping into wintergrasp via parachute when the battle begins. Paratrooping can have a 1001 and one (yes, 1002) applications to the creative minds and they can help turn the battle in your favor in no time.

Paratrooping comes in many shapes and forms but here's a few interesting options:

1. When on offensive drop into wintergrasp via parachute and take out the fort gun towers. More often than not high stacks of tenacity means that you can take out a gun long before you have to seriously worry about more than one enemy coming after you. Every gun they lose means longer life for your siege vehicles.

2. grab a few guys and parachute into the fort when on offense. If you can hit a less populated area you can put the wringer on the enemy right from the start and even start working on those walls. If you can get enough people together to parachute in you can control the battle right from the get go.

3. Mages use your slowfall... you'll have no greater happiness than pulverizing your foes while still in mid-air.

4. Drop in and camp the defenders graveyard. They will have to shift back some forces or be stuck there for a few minutes fighting you. The graveyard is surprisingly easy to camp with a few DPS and a tree healer.

Towers, Towers, Towers

Despite popular belief wg is all about the towers. When in offense you must have defense to protect your towers and the rear workshops. You need at least 5-10 people to put up a solid defense and you need just as many to put up a solid offense to take out the towers when defending the wg.

A southern tower represents 10 minutes off of the WG timer. If you're on offense you cannot afford to lose that time, if you're on defense you cannot afford to wait around that extra time.

Put as much pressure as you possibly can on that southern area in offense or in defense. People will not rally to your cause so you will have to take it upon yourself to go down there.

Breaking things

There's more ways than one to break things in wintergrasp. The RRPGs available at every workshop are insanely good at taking out siege vehicles and yet I rarely see them used. Even though they're horrible to aim they can also be shot into walls...

Engineering bombs and sapper charges can be used to damage walls and gates just the same so a large group of engineers can put pressure on walls and towers long long before the first catapults start rolling out of your workshops.

Dealing with Tenacity

If you have tenacity things are looking in your favor. Be aggressive be out there but don't forget to have a goal. Just running with the masses killing things will not get those walls or towers destroyed.

If you're dealing with oponents that have a tenacity buff ... CC. Crowd control them. Sheep them, do what you must to keep them busy. Rather than disabling a single person with your crowd control you're effectively eliminating a whole group of players with a single CC. Use your CC... I know you still have the button somewhere.

We strike from the west

If you ever been in defense of WG you already know that your ressurection spits you out on the east side of the fortress. As a result it's terribly easy to defend the east side of wintergrasp from incursions because you have a constant stream of fresh bodies and vehicles at the east side.

Attackers come from the west. An attack from the east is 100% more likely to fail than anything you would throw at them from the west side. If the west side is solidly defended then barge in through the front door.

The east side should only be attacked to form a distraction or if you want your side to be stuck in a long drawn out battle with an eventual loss.

Understanding catapults

Catapults are generally weak but fast vehicles. They do have a significant advantage in personell destruction that should not be underestimated. Laying down noxious clouds of gas on enemy turret positions will deter the enemy from standing there and casting spells at you. Fling your barrels over the walls and you can start inflicting damage to the enemy without them being able to do anything about it.

While siege vehicles are often prefferred a catapult or two can wreak havoc to tightly packed groups of people... say the ones defending a fort. Catapults also fit through the doorways of towers.

And that's it for wintergrasp 102. I hope you have learned a few new things soldier, or at least are willing to use the things you already knew.
In the end a group of 5 coordinated people is infinitely more powerful than the raid full of honormongers.

Now, to battle!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walking the beaten path

It's always interesting to just stand in a major faction city to observe people. Whether it is just to look at some specs and gear combinations or to see people whip out various items they just found while cleaning the bank there's always something funny, something sad and something interesting to see.

And while I sat there on the roof of the bank in Org I noticed something peculiar, something that without knowing and having lived the life of a wow gamer for a while would've struck me as odd.

So odd that had I just joined the game just now I would've stood there puzzled looking at all the people running from the AH straight to the mailbox by the bank.

There they were... whizzing into the AH and to the mailbox at the bank and back, like they had done for days, weeks, months and even years in the past....
whizzing out of the AH... right past a mailbox that was introduced in one of the last patches straight to their old familiar mailbox which is without a shadow of a doubt at least twice as far from the auction house as the one they just ran by.

And there we had it... people had become so accustomed to doing things in a certain way that even when they could clearly see the new mailbox sitting right there next to the AH they still took the time to travel to the one just a dab further away.

It makes me wonder what else we miss along the way. I am not one to walk the beaten path often but it took me a solid day to ween myself off of the old mailbox onto the new one. And so even I begin to question if my fairly unique playstyle is not simply the result of how I played so many MMORPGS before wow and even wow itself.

Has all this practice and experience with wow in fact made us blind to unique playstyles and new experiences that we could have if we just did things 'differently'? I'd like to think not, I'd like to think each and every one of us is playing our way because we want to play the way we play.

But then there's the masses of people running back and forth from the AH to the mailbox they have been running to for the last who knows how long. A throng of ants following an invisible pheromone trail laid by themselves and others too easy to follow and too hard to break away from.

Are you still loyal to your mailbox?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Retribution PVP - putting the FU in Fun

Between my seemingly now standard 10-12 hour workdays I have been looking for ways to gear up some of my 80's a little to at least get them out of their blues and into something a little more epic.

The problem with running up to 12 hour workdays is that once you log in you need to know right there and then what you're going to do and whom you are going to do it with (no sexual inuendo intended).

Despite the relative easy of instances these days it turns out that getting a group as a blue geared paladin of any type can be a bit of a time-consuming challenge and so I turned to the age old gearing standby: PVP

And since I was and mostly still am fully dressed in the standard set of PVP blues I decided to go with Retribution as my primary pvp spec. Even as a blue geared ret paladin the burst is crazy enough to be able to take down most of anything.

Still as Retribution PVP there's still a few challenging classes. A good warlock is without a doubt capable of kiting the life out of me (quite literally), frost mages can pretty much snare me till I turn blue (also quite literally) and a good frost dk will definitely have the advantage over my blue geared ret pally even if it is only on the basis of lots of snares and interrupts.
Thankfully most warlocks these days are destruction in the BG's so there is only a minor worry that you'll be dotted up and CoEx'ed until you expire leaving the frost mages as biggest issue.

To try and address the whole issue of being easily kited I decided to put the FU in fun and looking towards gear that will keep me from being kited as much by frustrating the hell out of anyone who tries to lock me down in such miserable ways.

My answer to the problem was simply: Frost resistance (and liberal use of hand of freedom)

The 3 primary gear items for this goal are easily crafted (Icebane) starting you off with a chestpiece (115FR), some boots (86FR) and a belt (86FR) that together provide almost 300 Frost resistance (FR). Slap on your frost resistance aura at that point and you're sitting at a massive 400+ Frost resistance.

Incidentally 400 Frost resistance is about where you'd want to be to be resistance capped. Read a previous post of mine here on that topic.

The icebane set definitely has some disadvantages (losing crit/hit/resilience) but there is a decent amount of stamina on there and some sockets to make up for the biggest losses you may have taken.

You can also slot some gem slots with infinite spheres but at a moderate +5 resist all you can ask yourself if this is really worth it over some hit/crit/other gems.

Last but not least it's worth mentioning that there's a couple of rings such as the titanium frostguard or frozen eye that can be used to swap some gear around without losing any frost resistance over it.

Looking back at a day+ or so frost-resistance combat I can note a little less burst and some loss in resilience which is hardly noticeable. With frost resistance aura up however I can now pretty much mitigate a significant portion of frost dk damage and almost completely shrug off frost mages which previously were a huge issue.

Combining this with various engineering trinkets I am currently trying out and it seems like trading in some damage for oodles newfound mobility is paying off quite handsomely.

Perhaps once I have access to better PVP gear I will have to re-evaluate using the icebane set in favor of something else but in comparison to the pvp blues and even some of the earlier PVP gear sets icebane's tradeoff in damage vs resistance definitely puts icebane ahead of anything I have seen so far in terms of survivability.

If nothing else I can heartily recommend giving it a try simply because the overall material requirements to craft a frost resistance set is laughable by today's standards.

Now if you'll excuse me I have some frost mages to giggle at.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flash users -> update now

Funny how time flies when you're just playing the game and not paying attention to your blog.

I could bother you with the latest and greatest of patch 3.2 which has been available to us for a while now but other than the mount changes I can honestly say I didn't take a closer look yet. For some reason securing logistics to get all my characters mounted up as far as they can go took a little longer than anticipated.

Nonetheless there is a little something I encountered that you might want to take care of before it costs you your valuable wow account.

A recent vulnerability in flash player which is commonly installed on most PCs means that the flash player of certain versions have become somewhat prone to become carriers of key loggers.

I am not going to bother you with details, but since I saw some problems related to it on a corporate level I'd think and go ahead and issue a warning to my 4 readers (although those might just've died in the chairs they are sitting in, remind me to poke them with a stick later):

Go update your flash player at or go read more about it by following this link here: Link

Be aware that it will try to install the google toolbar as well so if you don't want that don't forget to uncheck the related checkbox.

Uninstalling flash isn't really an option since it's used by quite a few websites and they will happily tell you that you need a flash plugin when you don't have one.

Normally I leave security in the hands of the individual people but this one has such a high chance of being abused by various crackers (this is not a racial slur, go look it up if you disagree) to break into your wow account that I decided to break my usual stoic silence and give you fair warning.

There's been a few reports here and there for this vulnerability but since this one can actually be abused to drop a keylogger in your system my opinion is that you can never repeat it enough.

It won't make you cracker-proof but at least you eliminate one more risk.

Back with something more wow-like soon... don't worry.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Will BG XP bring PVE to PVP?

With 3.2 sitting in the background loader and my low level warrior slowly munching it's way through a few dozen quest mobs I started to think about one of the newer features that will be introduced with the next patch. To quote the allmighty patch notes:

Battleground experience has arrived!
Players will now be awarded experience for completing objectives and actions that yield honor in Battlegrounds (honorable kills not included).
Players who do not wish to gain experience through PvP can visit Behsten in Stormwind or Slahtz in Orgrimmar - both located near the Battlemasters in either city - and turn off all experience accumulation for the cost of 10 gold.
Disabling experience gains will prevent a player from gaining experience through any means available in the game.
Players with experience gains turned off who compete in Battlegrounds will face off only against other players with experience gains turned off.
Behsten and Slahtz can reinstate experience gains for players, for a 10 gold fee of course. Any experience that would've been accumulated if experience gains were not turned off cannot be recovered.

No indication was given by blizzard how much XP you actually stand to gain other than it being less than questing xp. Given the fact that HKs do not yield XP it leaves only a handfull of objectives that will actually give XP per BattleGround.

Add to that the fact that different BG's have different amounts of objectives for which I assume the XP gain will be balanced enough to not favor certain BG's right from the get go and I have to come to the conclusion that we really don't know anything at all yet.

But let's not jump the gun here. If BG XP is 'poor' than most people will ignore it for the large part and the net result will be is that we simply won't have to deal with overgeared twinks in lower brackets anymore which you may or may not find helpful.

If however BG XP all of a sudden becomes a decent way to level up your character, or if nothing else provides a suitable alternative to questing all day then we should expect to see an increase in Battleground activity.

Unfortunately much like holiday event achievements the people going into a bg for the purpose of levelling their characters will be there for just that: The XP

They will stick to objectives that give decent xp like glue rather than focussing on the absolutely vital (*caugh*) task of exterminating the enemy. In fact I can see this giving rise to a whole new slew of win trading where people will cap an objective only to stand there and wait for it to be capped back so they can re-cap it just for the purpose of xp.
You know those people in BG's that would rather do the turn-in quests or sit there and fish all day long? Just imagine that, only far far more of them.

There's some merrit to the idea of course. Why should people that are primarily interested in PVP be bothered with such trivial things as gaining XP through questing when they can just cap,recap and rerecap things ad nauseum. But the worry I have is that BG XP will either be completely trivial or worse, good enough to merrit scamming and abuse.

There's also a social aspect to the whole change. Sure, people flock to 'free xp' like flies to crap (euh... moths to light) but will someone who is primarily interested in PVE even consider PVPing for XP? Will the hoped for larger numbers in the battlegrounds materialize if you throw a handful of XP at the issue?

So the question for the time being seems to be: Will BG XP bring the PVE crowd to PVP and if it does how long will it take before someone gets the bright idea to win-trade WSG?

And what about you? will you BG for XP if it's decent enough XP?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We don't need no stinkin damage

So the warlock Q&A has been answered. I am not going to bore you with details because there's really nothing concrete in there except some vague promises that things will improve for warlocks. Looking at the 3.2 patch notes it puts me in a somber mood to see that the actual warlock buff doesn't come from changes to the warlock talent tree itself but indirectly through a resilience change.

Resilience will be changed to a flat damage reduction across the board. Since previously both our dot damage and later our dot crit damage was taxed by resilience the change effectively means warlock damage will be higher relative to the damage that everyone else is doing.

The problem however never was our damage (not in pvp or pve). Warlocks left alone can output a significant amount of damage well capable of causing significant havoc in the enemy ranks.
The reason why warlocks fair so poorly in PVP at the moment is purely down to survivability of both the pet and the warlock (and maybe that darned felpup spell interrupt missing all the time).

While some changes to pet scaling will hopefully help the pet to stay alive longer (possibly even 3 whole GCDs) the actual issue is still with warlock survivability itself.

Warlocks don't live long enough to deliver their damage because their ancient high-stamina drain tanking capability has been stripped down to nothing and they received no other relevant buffs to their survivability (if anything the constant fear nerfing is really doing them in now defense-wise).

This makes warlocks easy targets for any melee that can manage to keep stepping on the warlock's toes, so easy in fact that a decent melee will maybe need 5-10 seconds to tear the warlock to shreds healing applied or not.

I see the signs on the wall though... if you keep buffing damage now to the point where the damage starts having an impact once again and only then address the survivability you can have a guess what will happen.

My thought on the current situation of the warlock class, beyond that the whole class is really poorly designed and could use at least some 'vision' is that we really don't need all the extra damage they're alloting us.

I never wanted to be a glass cannon... I wanted to apply my dots and then by the good graces of high armor (for a caster) / high stam and a few solid life-returning abilities live long enough to see my dots slowly ticking away on the enemy before having to re-apply them.

I don't envy anyone in charge of class balance but it seems to me it's harder to balance a class that was not blessed with a clear vision of what the class should/could be.

Perhaps it's time to delve deeper into the warlock design...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Corpsevertisement recycling your local graveyard

In an interesting turn of events I recently noticed that a lot of the corpsevertisements as they are used by larger gold-selling companies these days are actually using a list of 'standard' person names.

Take a closer look at the corpses on the floor next time and you will usually notice that there is either a fully qualified person name somewhere in the middle or at the start of it followed by a sequential random string of characters.

So DEBBIEDESGFDE and SUEDESGFDF are good examples of this scenario. Check out your local corpsevertisements and see if you can come up with anything interesting.

It does make me wonder whether the gold seller on our realm (presumably the same as on every other realm) can then be called out on being from at the very least an english speaking country given that all the names are clearly from an english subset. Or at least I didn't see any gustav's or dmitri's in there...

Interestingly enough making gm tickets for the corpsevertisement will actually get it removed... not that it doesn't re-apply itself after a while but it definitely gets removed by some hapless GM who clearly has to remove the entire damn thing by hand which may provide you some short term entertainment while bank sitting.

I wonder if it's a bad sign for a blog to be reporting on virtual advertisements...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Become your own worst enemy

Not too long ago blizzard announced that they're working on a system that will allow you to change factions for a price (and not a gold one at that). Much like many other character customizations it will now be possible to literally become your enemy changing yourself into a race of the opposite faction that can carry your class.

That said it will still not be possible to change your own race within your own faction and even switching to alliance from horde and back will not allow you to actually end up with a different race (the system remembers your previous race).

So there we have it: You can turn your Tauren Shaman into say a squid shaman (ok ok draenei for all you pro-squid folk) and back but there will be absolutely no option to turn your tauren into an orc shaman.

I have to admit this confuses me a little. I can understand the reservations blizzard may have in letting you change your own race to a certain extend because they assume that people will then always switch to the race with the 'best' racials.

But on the other hand I find that concern to be somewhat of a moot point. I am sure there's a certain amount of people that would switch for the purpose of racials but given the overall state of racials the number of people will definitely be less than 10% of the population.
Add to that the fact that people value different racials and the net effect will be very limited in terms of racial shifts (maybe a few more undead) meaning that it won't upset the race balance but will result in a nice little cash flow for blizzard.

This and the general thought that by allowing a faction switch you will still more or less be able to pick the best racials (except they'll be in a different faction and from a limited selection of races based on your class) and the whole thing becomes more of a faux argument than anything else.

Honestly the primary drawback for faction switching I see is that a lot of hordies I know would switch to alliance purely to escape the dysmal economy we have due to a 3:1 alliance:horde size difference. Which in turn would result in the already bloated alliance faction to become even bigger. Now I don't mind a bit of a tenacity buff, but being outnumbered 4:1 every place you go might be a bit over the top.
Maybe only alliance will be allowed to switch factions since they're traditionally the larger faction on most servers.

I don't know how big the percentage of people is that would dish out for faction changes, I am sure a fair share of gold sellers, scammers and grievers will find the option enticing (assuming it's cheaper than a realm transfer) but even then it'd be interesting to know how many would choose to become their own worst enemy by switching sides.

Would you?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Corpsevertisement, anyone need an undertaker?

Well the past weeks I've been in a complete fire festival haze disregarding most of anything else including about 500g in returned auctions that I probably should've checked before the timer on them expired.

Still compared to the 10+ levels I managed to scrounge up through honoring/desecrating fires I'd say 500g is a paltry sum.

Suffice to say I spent a lot of time travelling and when each of your characters passes through Org or whatever other capitol city you may prefer you can't help but notice the immense amount of corpses littering the ground spelling out some obscure gold-selling site (and the fire festival has tought me that even the alliance capitols are covered in corpsevertisement).

I am not against creative advertisement... after all if I had a script that'd drop 50 corpses from the sky spelling out something you'd probably see my name written across the barrens more than a few times (or maybe someone else's if it attracts the banhammer).

The problem is that

a) it never gets cleaned up: You have to see the damned graffiti each and every day and no GM really seems to give a hoot that it's there

b) you can't make use of the advertisement because the second you actually go to the advertised site and buy their goods you're breaking the TOS and may find yourself getting banned at some time in the future, even if it is months or years further down the line.

So basically we're looking at little more than what is often referred to as 'jailbait'. Something that entices you to break the law and will get you banned but is still there and awfully tempting (for some).

I am always a little surprised that blizzard doesn't at least try and do something about it like automatically delete corpses in town after 2 mins forcing people to rez at a healer. In the end it kind of feels like the advertisement is being condoned making people think they might as well buy some gold only to be punished by blizzard who is basically exposing us to the advertisement in the first place.

Thus I would like to propose that players are given the option to remove those kinds of corpses themselves, especially considering the fact that no one else does it.

Give me a torch to set them on fire, allow me to incinerate them in a flurry of fireworks or at the very least give me a shovel that'll make it possible to burry corpses. You could even have some fun with it and throw together an achievement for it that leads to a nifty title like 'the undertaker' after you burried your 1000th corpse.

Make it only useable in town and it doesn't strike me as something would be able to abuse too easily and I would happily spend 5 minutes of my time deleting the corpsevertisement even if it is only to see them fall from the sky again a few minutes later (make the gold sellers work for it at least).

I hereby volunteer for the position of undertaker. I'll be needing a shovel, some tomb-stones, a wicked evil accent, some dark clothes and maybe a hurse of some sort...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fire Festival - maybe?

Well I was all set to jump into the fray when the fire festival hit last sunday and one of my chars was looking forward to getting a nice chunk of fireblooms for that illustrious fire pet they have on offer for 350 odd blossoms.

So I go out into the wild only to find out that I was unable to complete any of it due to having done it last year. *mutters*

Apparantly you're only allowed to celebrate summer once in a character's lifetime so while most of my characters are stuck in springtime or even winter I resigned to having to do one of my other characters first. Hopefully after 2.5 billion angry GM tickets blizzard will figure out that not all is right with the world.

Eventually I noted they did indeed post a message on the startup screen indicating they are aware of the issue so I look forward to seeing a day's worth of work go down the crapper because blizzard had to 'revert' to fix the issue (I know I know, I'm jaded).

In the end I did manage to get my mage all the achievements except slaying ahune on my magus which I had to pass up because it was getting late and I have a distinct lack of guildies I can force to help me with him.

Having run through most of the achievements behold a list of random tips for the poor lone hordie:

1. When doing some desecration in kalimdor and you have to hit azuremyst, blood isle and teldrassil as a horde note that you can take the ferry from auberdine (darkshore). You need to run straight through the town into a building before you can hit the docks so best thing to do is to wait in the water till you see the ship coming and then make a mad dash for it. (from the top of my head->) The left boat takes you to stormwind, the boat straight through goes to azuremyst and the boat to the right goes to Teldrassil. Note that azuremyst and teldrassil have multiple fires to be desecrated... don't forget one or you'll kick yourself repeatedly.

2. Most alliance are not interested in you whether you desecrate fires or not. The ones you have to watch for are usually level 80 with a really really bored look on their face (death knights mostly).

3. When stealing flames from enemy capitols note your chat text. You will just get the lootable dropped in your pack after clicking on the fire. If you find yourself clicking on the damn fire a dozen times without receiving an item check your pack: odds are you have it already (don't forget to right click it to activate the quest).

4. Save your blossoms for the fire festival outfit! you need the outfit to do one of the achievements and the darned thing is soulbound eating up some 400 blossoms at that. (reader comment: you can get a refund for the shoulders [and shoulders only] and get your blossoms back if you return them in time).

5. Once you have the blossoms for 40 torches you can do the torch tossing in dalaran achievement by yourself (although you really only need 10-20ish torches for the achievement). Simply bind the torches to a key and then click on yourself so you catch your own torches. The cooldown on the torches is almost nil so 40 torches in 15 secs should be cake. (reader comment: you can recycle torches between alts [although I just tossed mine to a guildie]).

6. You can steal torches from other players when they juggle (with storebought torches) by standing right on top of them (usually slightly in front). They won't like you for it, but if you're desperate for torches...

7. If you can't seem to get the torch catching right because you can't see the torch when you throw it use the following macro which allows you to zoom out further: /console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 5 or SetCVar("maxCameraDistance", 60)
If it doesn't work twiddle with the numbers... (reader comment: You can also watch the shadow of the torch you are throwing, if you stay 1 or 2 steps ahead of it you should be able to catch it that way too. OP comment: Note that undercity isn't a good spot to do this due to ground obscurities, ORG works quite well in this regard if it's not too busy).

8. Always walk sideways when in crab disguise... otherwise you're pretty obviously not getting into the whole crab thing properly.

9. Do your exploration achievements at the same time as putting out / honoring fires, you're there anyway.

10. You only need to do the fires in azeroth and outland for the achievements... anything more is just extra xp / blossoms

11. If you do torch tossing and torch catching on all your characters every day it'll net you a solid chunk of xp for literally no effort (both quests take maybe 5 mins per char).

And there we have it, the fire festival in a nutshell. Despite the rather annoying bug that doesn't allow my warlock to participate I'd say one of the more fun events in wow.

Happy juggling, let me know if you need some more info and I'll see what I can conjure up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

3.2 change summary

Well it looks like the next patch is going to be a whole new ball-game in terms of transportation. Mount requirements and cost are going down accross the board, we're looking at extensions to and for the argent tournament and there's even a new BG in the making.

For those of you that haven't checked up on the patch notes for 3.2 yet and actually read noobding instead (catering to really small audiences here) have a look at my summarized version of all the news out there in regards to 3.2.. As usual in no particular order:

1. The argent tournament colloseum will be completed and will include new 10 / 25 man raid dungeons available through an unlock system
2. Mount requirements are going down across the board. Epic land mounts at 40, normal mounts at 20, travel abilities at 16 and regular flying at 60 and the cost has been slashed for mounts as well (we're talking hundreds of gold less, hold off on collecting mounts for now).
3. A plethora of class changes and profession changes and with a little luck shamans will be the happy owner of a new totem management bar and hopefully a little bit smoother gameplay.
4. New heirlooms a few of which will come with additional xp bonusses that stack with the old one now allowing for up to 20% faster xp generation.
5. An upgraded squire that you can use as a bank/vendor or mail.
6. 2 new quest hubs in icecrown
7. Isle of conquest battleground added supposedly a bit of a spin-off of Arathi Basin's location cap concept.
8. A zeppelin that will go from TB to OGR (horde rejoice)
9. New portals connecting capitol cities to the dark portal and a flight path from there to shattrath

That's the crux of the changes without highlighting particular classes or professions. I am definitely holding off on commenting on those since they're never carved in stone. And since there's no warlock changes announced I really have nothing good to rant about anyway.

If there's a particular topic that strikes your fancy let me know and I'll see if I can conjure up some details

Monday, June 8, 2009

Basic item gold value (vendor)

We all know this situation: You finished up a quest, look at the rewards and decide nothing in there is worth anything to you so you just want to take whatever vendors for the most gold.

Even though the situation has become rare sometimes we don't have an addon readily available that will tell us what vendors for the most (usually after a patch comes by and makes your addons go up in smoke).

And since I couldn't find a decent listing I decided to simply figure out the basics myself and come up with the below tables of what sells for the most at vendors.

Before we dive into the actual table it's worth noting that the value of an item in terms of gold is mostly based both on stats and on ARMOR value (DPS in case of weapons). Since most quests give items of approximately the same item level it's rarely worth looking at how much value stats add to a specific item.

As a result this leaves armor as primary determination (we'll get to weapons in a bit) and the general rule of thumb is: The more armor, the more gold.

This already pre-determines the first thing you can look at when determining what's worth more. From most to least:


Now besides the obvious list there's another that determines value based on type. I could go into the nitty gritty of things but in the end it's based on observations over a day's worth of auctioning and vendoring and some data I found regarding calculating the armor value of an item. Again from most valuable to least valuable:


In case of armor this means a plate chest is worth significantly more than a mail chest but conversely a mail chest is going to be worth more than some plate boots.

Deciding between close matches is going to stay hard without an addon like auctioneer but in the end it's purely a matter of armor calculations. Generally though if you just cut the table in blocks of 3 (or so) then you can assume that a mail item from block 1 is going to be worth more than plate items in block 2.

It doesn't always work that way but 80% of the time you should get a better result than just picking up whatever plate item is in the list. When in doubt simply look at the value listed under armor and pick the highest.

Weapon gold value is calculated purely on their DPS values.
That means the higher DPS the more gold a particular item is worth. And you guessed it: that makes 2handers of any kind top of the foodchain when it comes to making money. Overall the table looks mostly like this from most to least:

guns, bows and crossbows
Thrown and off-hand

Knowing that the only real question remaining is how the weapon gold values fit in with the armor type gear.

Here is what I came up with:

(weapon) 2 handed [staffs are top of the pool here]
(weapon) 1h anded
(weapon) Wands, guns, (x)bows
(Plate) chest, legs
(Mail) chest, legs
(Plate) head, shoulders, feet
(Leather) chest, legs
(Mail) head, shoulders, feet
(cloth) chest, legs
(Leather) legs, head, shoulders
(Plate) wrist, waist, hands
(cloth) cloaks, head, shoulders, feet
(Mail) wrist, waist, hands
(Leather) wrist, waist, hands
(Cloth) wrist, waist, hands

I would like to ephasize at this point that these are ESTIMATES! Working off of this table has worked quite well for me so far but if you really want the most out of your quest reward choices you should probably look into downloading an appropriate addon.

But what about trinkets, shields, rings and other shiny things?

Currently I have no idea. After compiling the armor and weapon table I honestly had enough of compiling the data and I am still quietly hopeful that I'll just find a full list online somewhere.

Generally it seems that rings and necklaces are at the same level as leather legs, heads and shoulders. Trinkets I still have no idea and shields are right up there with other top of the line plate items (And thus generally a good pick).

Well lets hope this will be of some help to someone somewhere otherwise I just wasted an hour or two scribbling down numbers on a piece of paper ;).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Outland outable at 66

I had rested my death knight for a few days to get back up to the maximum rested xp.

I had a plan... granted, it wasn't any kind of cunning plan nor a particularly impressive one but I had a plan nonetheless.

So one dark dank evening with my level 66 DK sitting in shatt I decided I had had enough of outland. I had spent about 8 levels in the place after the DK starter quests had put me on 58 and decided the level 69+ mobs in the howling fjord would be easy enough for my nigh-indestructible blood DK.

I hopped on the zepelin in undercity, arrived shortly after in vengeance landing, took a quick note of the fact that there were no quests for me to pick up (start at 68) and headed off into the wilderness to do something that has always been regarded as an inefficient way of progression:

I started grinding mobs.

It didn't take long for my DK to light up like a christmas tree having gone from nearly no experience gathered to a full level's worth in what seemed to be a fairly short grinding session (I should've timed it).

I scratched my head for a moment wondering what happened. You'd think that straight forward grinding shouldn't be able to keep up or even come close to questing in outland but it did remarkably well.

Why I wondered... and the answer was simply: double xp.

The xp you gain for killing a normal mob in northrend is approximately twice as much as the xp you get from a normal mob in outland. Given that outland quests give approximately 10k xp per completion you're looking at 5 extra kills you'd have to make to make up for a regular outland quest.

But grinding generally also means you don't have that annoying travel time from and to the various quest locations.

In other words, the travel time in outland to complete quests completely negated the advantage questing in outland had in comparison to just plain grinding northrend mobs.

The additional advantages are obvious: Even though you go through rested xp like crazy (which is of no consequence to the altaholic that is me) your income practically doubles since you're all of a sudden getting all kinds of northrend valuables. You start collecting greens that you can almost immediately put on once you're done with your grinding session and you get all kinds of resources that are in fairly high demand (meats, borean leather, frostweave to name a few).

I had effectively ruined my stay in outland with spoils of war that should've been completely out of reach.
I settled on grinding the rest of the way to 68 when the northrend quests would become available and opted out of outland on my DK on a permanent basis.

For most of my more powerful characters this means I can enter outland at 58 and leave at 66 provided I have a full 1.5 bars of rested xp to grind out some mobs in northrend (something that is rarely an issue if you have 10 or so characters).

To a certain extend this is kind of saddening. Outland has become little more than a mandatory stop-off on your way to northrend lasting a mere 8 levels from the time you step foot in deathknight peninsula.

I had always enjoyed outland for what it was, but there's no real motivation to level there past level 66, not if you take into account how much less money / xp you will be earning while there.

I already have seen most of the quests and storylines and I am sure I will return to play them all again on one char on the other, but I would've much rather experience the place fully without that nagging feeling that I am going at half-speed collecting stuff that has hardly any value.

So much for outland?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How did dual-spec impact your gameplay?

With dual spec now having been around for a while and us probably being well on our way to get tri-spec or triple spec further down the line (call it prophecy if you will) there's pretty widespread yet seemingly minor changes to adapt to the option.

Most guilds seem to have undergone a short period of loot rule adjustment to deal with the whole main-spec / off-spec concept of dual speccing.
There were some pros and cons listed here and there about dual speccing but in the end most have settled on a main-spec / off-spec / not-specced concept and built their loot rules around that.

I had expected more really: guilds forcing all the classes with healer capacity into a a dual specced healer role, refusals to spec your second spec for the guild resulting in widespread drama, hefty complaints by pure dps classes that really only have another dps spec to spec into.

None of these seem to have materialized. The cost of dual spec is not prohibitive enough to assume people don't have dual spec yet at 80 and so it almost seems like dual spec was introduced and absorbed wholely by the wow community at large without too much fuss.

Bummer really... nothing like a broken system to bring all the classes closer together and end some age old class rivalries (or at least put a damper on them for a while). Although I suppose it's probably wrong to wish doom and gloom upon the system just to have something amusing to blog about (or is it?).

Personally my dual speccing adventures usually ended up with me having my usual spec as main spec and the dual spec is usually relegated to being a 'test area' where I throw fairly random stuff together to see what it does. Oddly enough my re-speccing cost have gone up significantly since dual specs were introduced because now I am in a perpetual state of having 2 specs I am not entirely happy with.

I still consider carrying extra sets of gear largely a waste and my dual specs tend to feed off of what is already equipped... but in the end my primary problem with dual specs is not the concept but the fact that I always forget I have it.

There's nothing like standing at a meeting stone waiting for that healer to arrive to fill up your party and not remembering that your moonkin is also a tree... or alternatively when I do remember repressing the thought that I might as well heal the thing and get it over with rather than standing around like a stupid dps waiting for a healer (because I don't feel like healing at that time).

That said, now that we have dual specs and no obvious problems (obvious as in even I noticed) have arised I have a feeling we'll soon be looking at tri-spec at the cost of 2k gold.

Maybe dual spec was just an elaborate gold-sink after all. So then dear blog connoiseur: How did dual spec impact your gameplay?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Is endgame gold worthless?

I did inventory the other day. Outside of the infinite amounts of junk I have smeared out all over my alts I noticed that I had about 10k in gold laying around.

With my hunter, mage and death knight still a ways away from level 77 I quietly acknowledged the fact that I wouldn't have to worry about where the next 2 or even 3 epic flyers would come from.

In fact this time around I wouldn't even have to liquidate any of my assets and can reasonably expect to have another 5k gold through prodding around on the AH for maybe an hour every couple of days long before any of my 3 higher level alts gets to 77.

So looking at the current state of my characters and looking at purely what they 'need' in riding skills to get epic riding and epic flying I am looking at a grand total of almost 50k gold for all my alts left to gather (10 chars in total).

That 50k gold includes everything all my characters could ever want from riding and that is assuming you see epic flying as a requirement rather than a nice to have.

50k definitely sounds like a lot... but given that I already have 10k of that number and it took me about a month with very little effort on the AH to get 5k I could realistically achieve the 50k mark by the end of the year without putting any significant effort into making gold whatsoever. Significantly less if I just devoted a month or two to gold making activities.

I considered putting effort into the gold making process but then it hit me: Assuming you've already bought all the epic flyers you could possibly need and your professions are maxed what is there really left to buy?

A mammoth?
A chopper?
A couple of flimsy rings?
A gigantique bag?
Soap on a rope?
Some other random vendor stuff?

Most of everything else is either tied into some kind of badge/seal/token/honor/rating system or doesn't require gold to get but instead requires effort a.k.a. time. Worse still there is nothing that would allow me to trade in my gold to save some time in that regard.

So what does one buy once one has bought all the 'essentials'?

There's no gold sink big enough that would keep taking your gold and paying you off in a way that you would want to repeat it indefinitely (i.e. gold -> honor might be a start).
Repair and travel cost barely factor in at this point. Sure repair costs can be painful if you have no gold income from anywhere and you run instances all day but that's really a choice you make when you choose that particular lifestyle.

Gear comes from instances, from badges or from honor and arena rating none of which I can buy with gold. Titles come from achievements which translates to effort rather than gold and anything cosmetically interesting seems to come from an obscure trading card game which only kind of comes from gold... if you were allowed to sell gold for cash.

That indeed leaves a rather paltry selection of mounts, rings and arbitrary vendor junk...

So depending on the amount of alts you have there is actually a virtual cap on how much gold you can have before it becomes essentially nothing more than a little number on the bottom of your main bag. And even that number will stop climbing at 2^31 copper because even blizzard thinks that by the time you have that much gold you really should quit or seek help or some such thing.

So, did I miss something or is endgame gold really worthless?

Monday, May 25, 2009

WoW light - now with less flavor

As it turns out levelling a fire specced mage gives me a lot of time to think on stuff and whilst scorching boars in deathknight peninsula I contemplated the progression of wow over the period that I have been around.

Mind you, I've only been playing this game for euh... about a year and a half or so which to the seasoned wow veteran probably means I am still a noob crawling around in his diapers. But even given my relative short stay with wow I can see a clear move towards simplifying things.

On the one hand there are simplifications that make life a lot more pleasant: Longer self-buff durations, dual talent specialization, gear managers, a myriad of ui improvements right down to simple things like being able to stay mounted in the water (not that I don't want to bash my head against the table whenever I see a swimming cat mount) or color-blind modes for the color-blind.

But in all this simplification I wonder if we're not starting to lose some flavor as well.

Take for example the 'flavor text' that has been disabled for the most part on existing NPC's. You were at some point in the past able to see a simple flavor text that an NPC would use to introduce him/herself with or to give some kind of story vibe to the area you're in. Now, all flavor texts are skipped automatically and apparantly (or I simply can't find it) come hell or high water you won't be able to make the flavor text appear again.
This rarely leads to problems but it sometimes seems like we're missing out on something, something not crucial but still conducive to understanding why the hell we're out here collecting x or killing y.

Another one of those examples is the absolutely gorgeous druid epic flying quest line. You can still pick it up, and most of us that remember it will do so for our druid alts but at this very moment there's generations of druids growing up that will never experience this quest simply because they can buy the epic flight form from the vendor.

There's dozens if not hundreds of other examples that indicate the loss of 'flavor' in this regard and I am starting to wonder if the new wow, the more user-friendly variant, didn't at some point trade in depth and immersion for convenience.

How far are we really from getting a quest helper built into wow that will simply show us what we have to do and dispense with all the storyline around it?

Where do we draw the line between something that is convenient, user-friendly and immersive and something that is... well progress quest?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Is blizzard playing with warlocks?

Following a postlink from our good friends over at I decided to take a look at the newly created Q&A thread about the warlock class.

You can take a look at it here but anyone who plays a warlock already knows the issues and has known of most of the issues since the wrath beta.

Everyone playing a warlock... or playing against warlocks on a regular basis knows our pets are soft targets, knows that most melee classes are ridiculously hard counters to warlocks and know that warlocks are about as squishy as they come. With our 2 second fear (yes, it only lasts 2 secs if you throw on some dots and it's not like you can cancel the dots for max fear effect) and no escape mechanisms other than a short-range teleport we're literally snacks for anything melee. And there is the age old issue of soul shards still taking up a full bag, all our minor glyphs being practically useless and yadiyadiyadi QQ whine whimper... *sigh*

We've known all this, in fact we've known it for so long there were even decent post in the oboards for a while indicating our dismay where other classes even chime in and agree. And you know your class is doing poorly when you're being pitied by other classes.

Blizzard has done quite a bit with the warlock class since wrath but none of those have really addressed the core issues and the latest Q&A thread strikes me as something I would put up in a forum simply to give people the impression that there is someone out there who cares.

It's not all fire and brimstone of course, overall there are warlock builds out there that do ok in PVP and a good affliction build will definitely hold it's own in any raid situation (apart from killing trash) but still... the Q&A is up to 12 pages now and all blue has said was 'keep up the good work'.

The question the whole thread raises with me is not so much whether blizzard cares or not (they're not going to give up just yet after all) but whether or not they're actually serious when they put up a Q&A like that.

What do they hope to learn from the trolls on the blizzard forums that they couldn't find out themselves if they read a few dozen threads on the arenajunkies and elitistjerks forums?

To a certain extend it seems that due to not having posted on the warlock forums for a while they decided to just toss something up to keep the masses occupied for a while.

So what say you? Is blizzard playing with warlocks or is that thread actually going to be more than one huge pile of QQ about issues that we knew about for almost 6 months now?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's in it for the new guy?

Not too long ago I took my warrior out for a spin in 1k needles and after 9 or so characters levelling through there I figure I know the area pretty well. And still something was different than the last 8 characters I put through there... something was very different.

It wasn't the half a trillion new graveyards that would practically spit me out next to my corpse whenever I died. It wasn't the increased run-speed while dead, or the incredible leveling speed or even the fact that I was happily sitting on a mount at level 30... no:

It was the silence... the silence was absolutely deafening.

I had spent a solid 2 hours online and hadn't run into anyone all the time I was out questing. I went to 1k needles and there was nothing (Except loads of ore numnums). I went on to hillsbrad foothills to find a whole lot of no one... out of curiosity I even took a peek at stranglethorne vale and found [6] players. 3 of them level 80s that were obviously lost, on their way to Kara, grinding bloodsail rep or... well... lost.

I didn't see anyone out there outside of Booty bay... but /who clearly stated they were there.

I decided to take a look at the LFG channel for my level bracket, looked at the blank list for a while and decided to just go back to questing.

I've been a bit of a loner for most my wow existence. I like crowds of people, I enjoy the social atmosphere lots of people bring to the table but when it comes down to sticking my blade in things I always preferred to be by myself (or in exclusive company).

But what if you're not the loner type? What if you just bought wow and expected to see teaming masses of people all over the place? Expect to run dungeons in groups, explore the world and do cool things 'with' other people?

What if you really wanted to see all there is to see in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor in the way it was meant to be seen (not some bored level 80 burning through an instance leaving a path of corpses [and you] in his/her wake)?

Are you well and truly hosed? Can you even expect to see a 'real' player before you step foot in deathknight peninsula? Is it really going to be good for a new player to have his/her first contact be with some poor soul's DK alt?

After all this time I always figured WoW would die a certain death from a collapsing economy (mudflation) or suffer defeat at the hands of unmanageable numbers (large number syndrome) but looking at what the game is now it seems like there is a new danger forming. New player frustration.

Sure, levelling is faster than ever... but would you really want to play an MMORPG for 55 levels (which is still going to take a while to get to) if you're surrounded by the overwhelming feeling that you're either completely alone or so late to the game that you'll never catch up?

I am not sure I would... back in the day when I started Azeroth was already a bit of a wasteland... but there were still people, they were annoying and talked a lot of nonsense but they made places like the barrens feel alive...

Now the barrens are just that: barren.

So whilst I am glad that my lowest level character is level 34 which puts me at least well on my way out of azeroth the question begs to be asked:

what's in it for the new guy?

Friday, May 15, 2009


As you can probably make up from the title I picked up my priest again. Since some patch or the other completely wiped my talents (again) I decided to opt-in on the shadow tree. Having previously levelled as a smite build I decided to heed the call of all the so-called experts who dare claim that shadow levelling is so much better.

Well it isn't... at least not from where I am sitting. Sure the mana management and health management are somewhat better and the damage appears to be mildly ahead of ye ole smite build but if your rotation looks something like:


You really start to wonder whether all is right with the world. Sure you can toss in a few dots every now and then but in the meantime you're reliant on mindflay which seems to be cursed with an extremely short channeling period: meaning I do little more than mash the damned mindflay button all day long.

This is in stark contrast to my smite build which I had previously used which involved mostly the spamming of smite. And yet spamming smite is infinitely easier on the fingers (and probably my 1 button) than that cursed mindflay.

I managed to mash mindflay for a solid 10 bubbles before I decided looking cool was a really lousy tradeoff for carpal tunnel syndrome.

I really don't know what Blizzard was smoking when they thought up the idea of having shadow priests go through this misery but I am fairly certain it was infinitely more funny to them than it is to me.

So in order to save my keyboard and prevent me from slipping further into insanity I will opt-out of shadow again and go back to smitewanding things... even if it is supposedly inferior (at least I'll be able to still use my hands when my priest gets to 80 and I won't feel like jabbing my eyes out in the process).

Mindflay much? I bet you do...