Wednesday, February 25, 2009

540 Defense or maybe not

My pally hit 80 last night somewhere in sholazar basin in fact it was an oracle daily that did the trick. Of course I immediately aborted questing and ran back to the nearest bank to don my titansteel gear that I had crafted not too long ago. Between the boots, the helm, the shield and the two icebane epics (girdle, chest) I had hoped I would have enough slots / raw defense rating available to hit the elusive 540 defense cap.
After socketing in all the defense gems I could find, slapping on the right enchants and sidegrading some of my rings, basically doing everything elfingly possible on a low budget I was severely dissapointed to see that despite focussing 100% on defense/defense rating I only hit about 520 defense.

I figure I will reach the no-crit defense value of 540 with a little work (better gems, better enchants and some trinket/ring/neck adjustments) but in the meantime it seems that working with defense as a stat is very restrictive to what else you can possibly do in terms of gemming enchanting.

So there I am at 520 defense and I can't help but thinking that defense rating is somewhat hard to come by through pure questing/crafting. Sure, the items that do have defense rating on them usually have quite a bit, but it also takes a massive amount of defense rating to become uncrittable.

I suppose it's the mechanic that bothers me. You NEED to be uncrittable; not being uncrittable is hardly an option if you're being slapped around by some raid-boss unless you can soak up a lot of damage and have a healer or two that never heard of the words 'out of mana'.

Compare this to say a warlock where you stack spellpower till there's no tomorrow. There's no real set minimum there... you can go into an instance with a warlock that has 0 spellpower and it's not going to wipe the raid if the rest of the group can compensate for it.

You can't really compensate for a tank who is being crit regularly unless your healer is better than the content you're doing (as if it wasn't hard enough to find a healer in the first place).

That being said, my warlock in his paltry crafted gear does sufficient damage (by most scales) and still has plenty of room to gem/enchant outside of the box.

It's somewhat dissapointing, I had hoped to be able to stack some strength in there for some block value and general oompf but instead I will have to consider defense a top priority to the detriment of literally everything else.

Be that as it may, my paladin is officially done and will soon find his place in my scheme of solo-ing/duo-ing instances giving the old war veteran warlock a nice run for his money despite his obviously less than perfect un-critability.

Looking on the bright side my character sheet now says 'very good' in the frost resistance column with the frost resistance aura up and a quick test with one of the few frost mages left on my server resulted in the frost mage immediately re-speccing to arcane out of sheer frostration (pun intended).

The conclusion would be this: If you don't have a good chance at defense gear via raids/5mans (not everyone can play hours at a time) you're going to have moderate difficulty in hitting that elusive defense value of 540 and you will actually have to work for it a little (i.e. do more than just rely on Blacksmithing to bail you out like I did).

All fixable if you instance a lot, but in the meantime I will divert my attention to my next levelling victim: The druid (and yes I'll be posting something a little less personal and a bit more useful in the near future :P)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whose next?

With my paladin sitting at a mere 1.5 bubbles away from 80 and Ulduar prepping it's arrival to tear the bored masses away from mammoth banking I can't help but feel a little worried that nothing will quite top the levelling experience I had on my paladin.

I've always been the levelling type. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the occasional instance (especially solo/duoing them) but without the XP bar as a constant motivator and the knowledge that all gear eventually becomes obsolete I tend to forget my maxed-out characters in favor of a new levelling challenge. Well in all honesty I am just not enough of a gear hound to run instances ad nauseum.

But the paladin was an amazing experience. Having played him as protection for 99% of his levelling process and the brief but interesting venture into the world of the schokadin BG action I have to say it's going to be difficult to top the experience.

Paladins have massive amounts of defensive options, a solid way to do aoe and since the advent of wrath even protection paladins seem to hit like a truck.

So the question is: what's next?

I am still under the solemn impression that eventually all my characters will be reaching 80 at some point in time but what I have no grip on is what character to play right now...

My druid is sitting at level 73 quite happily munching away at some dailies, my hunter is not far behind at level 70 spending his time spanking his monkey (nono he really has a monkey as pet) and trailing a ways off we find the deathknight whom I had a fleeting love-affair with about a month ago.

It turns out I rather like the defense plate affords me so I am inclined to play my deathknight/warrior for this reason and see if I can come up with at least a moderate AOE spec for them... but I see so many deathknights that I am almost sick of the class without having played it and my warrior is so low-level that it'll be a while before he can throw his weight around.

If I look at 'needs' then I really should play my shaman or my priest for either inscription or jewelcrafting since it would be awfully convenient (not to mention profitable) to have those professions up to par.

If I am looking at the next 'best' thing I would have to go with the mage for some serious AOE potential... but going from a plate class to a cloth class is going to require some mild adjustment in strategy.

I could go on forever, each class has some advantages and disadvantages but it seems like the paladin so far is a very well rounded class that's going to be hard to top.

I need me some inspiration! So tell me friend, how do you pick your next alt?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why Bigger bags won't solve your problem

As a warlock in the wonderful World of Warcraft you learn to do a few things very well. You learn to deal with the fact that in WotLK you couldn't pvp if your life depended on it, you learn that being nerfed isn't the end of the world and thanks to soul shards you learn the most important thing of all: Inventory Management

I read a blogpost by Larisa (over at pink pigtail inn) detailing her woes with inventory management and decided it would be interesting to see if we can make inventory management a little easier for those who are continually fighting the bag space monster.

Let me start by saying: Bigger bags won't solve your issue. If you have a full bank now, you will most certainly have a full bank even if you stuff it full of 22 slot bags. Why? Because you're a disorganized packrat, that's why!

That's not to say it's bad being a packrat... I myself am a horrible packrat with a bad knack for collecting darkmoon cards, old world materials and even a fair set of white items. I swear that stuff will come in handy one day... yes it will... *nods forcefully*

The trick is to come up with a system that works for you, that takes away your need to analyze the situation and to keep you from thinking: 'what in the blazes am I going to do with this item?'

And for that you will need: Alts

If you don't have any alts consider rolling up a few death knights. Being as they start at level 55 they make both excellent bankers as well as profession slaves (something to power level professions on).

Of course any type of alt will do but if you're not into alts DK's only need to be levelled out of the starting zone and will make great choices.

Next it's time to run all your alts to the nearest bank and buy up all your bank slots and fill them with netherweave bags which go at a mere 8g a pop. If you can afford bigger bags then more power to you but realistically 16 slot bags should be ample space to store all your crud in. If you can't afford the bank slots yet just buy them as you go along.

If you have significant packrat ambitions then you might want to consider starting a guild on one of your alts and buying some bank tabs. Note that this method is expensive but may be a good long term solution to your storage problems.

So now that you have your alts, and they are all slotted up it's time to do the simple trick of assignment. Here's an example:

My paladin (incidentally my blacksmith) is responsible for all my ores/bars
My Druid (my alchemist) is responsible for all my Herbs/potions
My hunter (the leatherworker) is responsible for all my leathers/hides
My priest (friend of jewelcrafting) is responsible for all gems

The trick is to pick a responsible alt for each of the professions available. If you have dual gathering professions you can consider to store raw materials on that character and then send them off to the alts with crafting professions when needed. Last but not least pick an alt responsible for general crapola. Every now and then you come across an item that's interesting but not part of a specific crafting profession, that's where the 'crapola' alt comes in (hearts of darkness come to mind).

Got your assignments? Yes? Write them down... not in any orderly fashion, don't worry about that. Scribble them on your desk for all I care, the fact that you're scribbling them down in the first place will help you remember.

Now, we have alts, we have bankspace, we have bags, and we have a assigments.

The next time you go questing and your bags are full you simply follow these steps for each item you find:

1. Can I use it now? Use it!
2. Can I send it to an assigned alt and use it later? Send it!
3. Can't use it now? Can't use it later? Sell it!

Stop thinking about what to do with those things, use, send, sell the second you hit town. Let your alts worry about sorting out what comes in.

The last and final stage of Inventory management is dealing with all that junk you've been sending all over the place. I do my inventory management on fridays (no idea why) but you can do it on an incidental basis if you like. Just do it before your mailbox timer runs out otherwise it'll go straight back to the character who sent it in the first place.

I have a simple 2 stack policy on items. I will keep no more than 2 stacks or two items of the same kind. Two stacks are enough to supply an immediate (crafting) need. Anything else gets sold by the alt responsible for the product (that way you know what happened to that ore you sold).

The only exceptions to this rule is if you're stockpiling stuff for powerlevelling something or anticipate that you can sell it for a nice profit somewhere further down the line.

Not sure what to do with what you found? Send it to the crapola alt, that should be the only alt with any real bank-space issues and yes, you will have to sort through the crapola and decide what to do with it sooner or later.

That's all there is to it, the length of this blogpost belies its simplicity but it's a simple system with very few drawbacks.

So let's recap:

1. Make alts
2. Buy (Netherweave) bags and all bankslots on each alt
3. Assign materials to the alts (i.e. all ores/bars to the paladin)
4. Use, Send, Sell after you're done questing
5. On regular intervals (a week, two weeks) clean your alts mailbox keeping 2 stacks of each mat in total or two items of the same type (make exceptions if needed)

What you gain is an overview of where your stuff is and a general indication of how much of it you have but more importantly you can clean your bags out after you're done questing without having to do any inventory management at that time because you can simply send off whatever you have to the correct alts.

Incidentally you also build up enough stock to supply your crafting needs rather than having to buy it from the AH. Especially on low-pop servers a lot of items are simply not available on the AH when you need them... there's nothing more frustrating than being 1 mat short of what you want.

There's other ways to manage inventory... possibly better. But this way works for me so feel free to use it and modify it to suit your own needs.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grizzled fun

With my wow time being a tad restricted lately I decided to mill around a little and set my characters up in a place where they can just snag a few dailies, and end up with an extra bubble of xp and some spare change.

To kick things off I decided it would be interesting to play around with the PVP dailies over in grizzly hills simply because there's 4 of them and they're pretty easy for the rewards they give (about 5g, 250 Warsong Hold Rep and 20k+ xp each).

Unfortunately like most pvp areas that offer any kind of reward there's the occasional enemy presence. And as luck would have it the enemies always seem to be level 80, sitting on large flying mounts preying on innocent low-level noobding alts.

Granted, on my protection pally at level 77 in now halfway decent blues I generally can either manage to kill them (the proverbial rogue slaughtering themselves on my shield) or run off... on my level 73 druid however this is a completely different matter.

It turns out that feathers make for really poor armor vs. level 80s and worst of all is that even if you do get a full starfire spell off it usually misses. Add to that the frustration of the enemy always parking high up in the air waiting for victims and I was about ready to call it a night.

I decided to just jump into the nearest shredder whenever I heard any ominous wing-flapping sounds and thats when I discovered the mighty 'short-circuit' ability that you get when you climb into a shredder.

At first glance it looks like a simple shaman-like chain lightning spell but it turns out to have 3 significant benefits:

1. it dismounts the target
2. it has significant range
3. it has a massive push-back effect

My first victim was a hapless mage flying around on one of those lovely flying carpet thingies. He was pretty high up and definitely out of range of my standard spells when I noticed that my short circuit ability was more than happy to fire.

It did and boy did that mage fly. I couldn't see where he landed but considering the fall damage scaling and him being knocked off way outside of the blue sky logging ground he definitely went splat.

Another unlucky dragoneer found himself innocently flying over the logging ground apparantly just passing by. Incidentally he was still flagged (I suppose he had just finished his dailies and was heading home). He too had quite the flight as he got knocked off his dragon and landed smack dab in the middle of a pack of warsong offensive grunts which consequently pummeled him for whatever life he had left.

All in all I managed to eradicate about 4 level 80s that tried the air superiority game which is very pleasing when you're playing your level 73 druid in full greens.

Now go have some fun, those shredders are hilarious.

Monday, February 9, 2009


It turns out that getting a new job completely ruins your blog posting routine and wreaks havoc on your wow playtime and it looks like it'll be a while before everything is back to normal (if that was possible here anyway).

I normally refrain from getting my personal life out on this here blog so enjoy this rare view on my personal life before I manage to get all those little wow-related posts that are floating around in my head onto the blog.

As you will have figured out by now I recently switched jobs. It was a voluntary switch at that so by the end of the month I am hopefully looking at a grossly inflated paycheck, am already enjoying my new car and am waiting for a spiffy new phone, internet dongle and who knows what I'll need to be able to do my job here.

Even the 'here' scaled up nicely. Where I previously was stuck in an office in the same place behind the same computer day in and day out I now find myself all over the place with different computers. All over the place being mostly the Netherlands from what it looks like. Which without traffic can easily be traversed from north to south in about 3 hours worth of driving... double if you're crazy enough to try and drive anywhere during prime traffic time.

Just like everywhere else we're supposedly in a recession, or economic downturn of which I am not feeling much of anything considering I now have work piling up on my desk. Still, housing prices are steadily dropping and the bigger companies are starting to feel the churn in their profit margins.

Mind you if the just got rid of a few CEOs, who despite the downturn still make enough money to make it seem like they're doing brilliantly, they probably could afford to keep whatever staff they're firing in the various places.

It's easy to throw around blame at this point so I am not going to. I was never a fan of the bush administration, or banks... but then again I don't really like my dentist either (or maybe it's the porsche sitting in his driveway) instead I try to make whatever headway I can by making the most of the situation.

After all, dropping housing prices are nice if you don't have one, a collapsing job market may even be to the benefit of the service industry... as for your pension fund collapsing....

...well no surprise there either since that was going to happen economic crisis or not, at least for people my age.

Things aren't going well, but dutch people seem to retain their usual 'what time is it anyway?' kind of optimism. I am hearing less positive news coming from across the pond over in america but to europeans that just means that we'll be ordering our electronics from there now just to save some precious euros.

So? How are you? How is the 'recession' affecting you? Didn't cancel your WoW account(s) yet did you? ... didn't think so.