Monday, April 27, 2009

Noblegarden: Nobility in a day

Who'd thought that becoming of noble blood didn't take years of arduous labour under some king or the other trying to prove your worth for all eternity or even a quick marriage into a royal bloodline.

No, Instead it turns out that with a few hours of picking up brightly colored eggs even the lowliest of jenkins can become of noble birth.

For those of you unfamiliar with the noblegarden event I can summarize it really quick by saying it's the wow-variant of easter involving mostly exclusively picking up (not so) brightly colored eggs from your respective starter zones.

Yes, starter zones, you remember those places you haven't been to in the last month or 12? Areas like brill, razor hill and falconwing squary are now brimming with life.

But enough with the inane babble and lets go on the fast-track to becoming a noble in a day. What we're after is the title 'the noble' which is available through the new noblegarden achievements of which you have to complete the following (if it's not listed here you don't need it for the title):

Blushing Bride
Kiss someone wearing an Elegant Dress while wearing a White Tuxedo Shirt and Black Tuxedo Pants.

Eat 100 Noblegarden Chocolates during the Noblegarden celebration.

Desert Rose
Use Spring Robes to plant a flower in each of the deserts listed (check the achievement for locations).

Hard Boiled
Lay an egg in Un'Goro Crater's Golakka Hot Springs as a rabbit during the Noblegarden celebration. (just go there as a rabbit or bring a friend that has a rabbit transformation branch and stand around there for a few minutes as a rabbit)

I Found One!
Find a Brightly Colored Egg.

Noble Garden
Hide a Brightly Colored Egg in Silvermoon (or stormwind if you joined the other side) City.

Shake Your Bunny-Maker
Use Spring Flowers to place rabbit ears upon females of at least 18th level. (note the level requirement and the 5 minute cooldown on the quest item)

Spring Fling
Find your pet Spring Rabbit another one to love in each of the towns listed.
(basically just go to all the starter towns with your pet out and run into someone else's pet bunny)

The achievements themselves are fairly self explanatory but I added a few comments here and there. All the items you need for the achievement are purchasable from the easter candy vendor.... but...

The first thing we have to realize is that any of the needed items can also randomly be found when opening brightly colored eggs.

The second thing we need to realize is that the drop rate for whatever we want at the time (pray for the pet) is abysmal so we'll need anywhere in the neighbourhood of 200-300 brightly colored eggs. That's a lot of eggs my friends and so pick a starter area that's fairly quiet for your egg hunt. Falconwing square in my case was pretty quiet.

Pick up the 2 quests available for the easter event and then look around. Eggs spawn all over the place but respawn in the same spot quite often. Eggs like stuff to spawn in, spawn next to walls and generally any crevace or crack they can find. Observe the spawning pattern for a while and then stand at a spot where you can see 3 or more spots where eggs appear and then just stand there until they spawn.

You can run around like a headless chicken looking for eggs but that will actually result in you finding 'less' eggs than you would by just standing there and acting cool waiting for a spawn.

Yes, it's spawn camping, no it isn't exactly on the morally up and up but you need 200+ of the damn things and the sooner you're done the better for everyone.

Incidentally you also got a egg basket which next to a spiffy fashion accessory can also give you a 60% run speed buff in the egg-finding zones which is just what the doctor ordered for staying ahead, or at least at the same speed as the competition.

Crack open all the eggs you find. Eggs don't stack but the chocolate inside them will... every item from here on in is a great find but what you're hoping for is some spring flowers, a bunny pet and a robe that allows you to plant flowers. The tuxedo pants and shirt are needed for an achievement (the kiss) but are only 25 candy from the vendor so I myself opted to buy them at the time.

The trick is not to buy anything from the vendor until you're pretty sure you don't need to collect any additional 'brightly colored eggs' which is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 200 - 300 depending on your luck (I've heard of someone finding everything they needed in the first 50 eggs... normal people will need more eggs... luck-challenged people like myself should just go for the 300 mark).

That's all there is to it except a quick trip around the world for the various achievements... but primarily it's all about collecting eggs.

A perfect title for anyone who has a few hours to burn or just can't seem to get a hold of a title at all.

Argent Tournament: Dealing with Valiants

With my paladin stuck knee-deep in the noblegarden event (more on that some other time) which seems to mostly involve an infinite string of picking up not-so-brightly-colored eggs I started musing on how to continue levelling my druid.

Now at a healthy level 78, the xp/hour through questing is good but has the unfortunate side effect that in order to progress him I am literally taking time away from all my other lovely alts.

So I decided to put my druid through the initial quest chains for the argent tournament and while the first couple of days of dailies hardly proved to be a challenge the next set of dailies can, but don't have to be, a bit of a pain in the arse.

I am talking about duelling valiants. No, they're not difficult to beat in general (after the first time) but the trick is to beat them fast so you can be on your merry way to do other things.

So here's my simple approach to defeating valiants quickly:

1. Charge up your defend to max (3) before you initiate the duel
2. Accept the challenge, you'll note that the valiant will 9 out of 10 times start to move away from you so open with a ~CHARGE~
3. After the charge curve around (I mean curve, not stand and turn, just make a smoothish half circle) and close the distance between the valiant and you, if you can, spam your ~SHIELD BREAKER~ ability to see if you can get a shield breaker in before you get close to him
4. At melee range priority 1 is to keep your ~DEFEND~ up at max (you shouldn't be needing to defend much, just make sure the buff doesn't drop off if you're at max defend) and spam ~THRUST~
5. You will notice after a short stint of melee the valiant will try to get some distance between him/her and you. When that happens go back to nr 2 and rinse and repeat the entire cycle.

What doesn't work:

1. Keeping your enemy at range. Valiants don't seem to have any significant cooldowns on their abilities which means they can ~SHIELD BREAKER~ and ~CHARGE~ you quite a bit if you keep them at range
2. Melee combat with anything less than a full stack of ~DEFEND~ is really bad for your HP
3. ~SHIELD BREAKER~ before ~CHARGE~ doesn't always work and when it doesn't it usually leaves you open to be charged or otherwise attacked by the valiant.
4. Starting out without a full stack of ~DEFEND~ really puts you behind since you'll be trading in a lot of damaging attacks just on building up your shield.

On a side note: Should you ever fight a gnome valiant note that their defend icons are really really tiny so can be somewhat hard to see.

The 'strategy' seems to work quite well on any NPC you can joust including the lieutenants you have to kill in the scourge area in the southern part of icecrown (daily).

There's not much to it, but I've seen some people break a bit of a sweat over the valiants so I thought I'd throw this out there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Warlock hate runs deep

A lot of times I am struck by sheer amazement on how much hate people harbor towards classes that either counter them or that they simply do not play. More often the reasoning doesn't make sense but obviously human beings are more than just compilations of rational thought.

Still, the guy who decided to complain about the fact that soulshards can be gotten from training dummies these days and calling for a hot fix might've just gone off the deep end.

Bug, perhaps, game breaking in a fashion that it needs hotfixed: hardly

Read the original report here

Oh ... did I mention you can get soulshards from training dummies? I didn't did I... well you can, bugs are a beautiful thing.

You can also trigger your lightweave cloak enchant off of fel armor life ticks which really makes me appreciate the little bugs that seem to prevail despite any horrendous fear nerfs that seem to abound every now and then.

Also in the 'not so latest news' section it seems that warlocks and rogues are actually now the least popular classes at level 80, death knights and paladins taking the top 2 according to wow census.

Still despite all the negativity the warlock is quite decent to play as affliction in 3.1... I wouldn't want to try and pvp with it still (perhaps as destro) but if blizzard ever lets warlocks back into the drain tanking game via a boost to the health returns I'd actually be quite pleased.

On the other hand it's probably better to wonder what'll get nerfed next.

Friday, April 17, 2009

10 Random 3.1 facts

3.1 has brought a multitude of new content and in-game changes which you can undoubtedly tell by the myriad of bugs, the overloaded Blizzard support lines and the somewhat random looking realm crashes.

Still all in all I'd say the 3.1 patch went in rather smoothly considering its massive size... on the bright side the 20 minute patch download on my machine gave me ample time to take a closer look at the patch notes for 3.1 and there's a lot of interesting stuff in there.

I am sure you already encountered or read about your particular class' changes (I know I read the warlock changes first) so today we devote our post to the topic of changes that have been implemented for the convenience of players that no one ever seems to notice until you accidentally run into them:

1. Your land mounts mysteriously learned to swim, mind you not all of them do it very elegantly.
2. You can dual spec at level 40 for a 'mere' 1000 gold.
4. You can turn an option on in the interface menu that allows you to allocate talent points in your talent screen without actually allocating them until you press save (or learn rather)... that way you can change your spec multiple times until you're happy with it and then save it... This option is NOT turned on by default...
5. Bored? turn on the color blind mode in the options menu.
6. Try pressing 'ALT' while hovering over an item...
7. Turn on all the quest objective tracking options in the interface menu and even useable quest items will display in the objectives screen. Very handy if you don't have quest helper.
8. Your hearth timer got cut down to 30 minutes... no you really haven't been playing that long yet.
9. Horde mount vendors got a few new mounts to show for. Go to ogrimmar, bloodhoof village and brill and get your 3 mounts if you're still looking for some.
10. If you hapen to be in the area of feralas and see sprite darters go give them a good whacking, slim changes are you will find yourself a sprite darter pet (something previously only available to the alliance)

There we have it... 10 more or less useful and interesting facts from the 3.1 patch notes.

As always after each significant patch it pays to just run through all your options menus and visit your various class and profession trainers to pick up on all those things that have been added with the patch.

There's a lot more in the patch notes that may be of interest to you and I could've easily made it 20 random facts... but then you might as well go out and read the actual patch notes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

patch 3.1 (gold making) preparations

There's been a lot of chatter about the 3.1 patch, the next content patch and there has been a lot of speculation on when we can actually expect to see the patch on the live realms.

On that topic MMOChampion and various other sources have reported that the noblegarden (easter) event in wow has been undergoing significant changes in 3.1 adding quite a few new achievements for the celebration.

Considering the feverish work on the noblegarden event and corresponding achievements it's reasonable to assume that these changes are intended to go-live for this year's easter celebration rather than next years.

The noblegarden event according to the ptr's in-game calendar is scheduled to start on the 26ths of this month of our lord Medivh (or elune if you are of that persuasion).

While the date isn't carved into stone (few blizzard PTR changes are) it's very much reasonable to assume that in order for the event to start in a more or less timely matter we can expect patch 3.1 to hit a few days before that date at the latest.

So that leaves us about 2 weeks of preparation for the 3.1 patch.

Preparation indeed. 3.1 will bring new content and with new content the raiding scene will suddenly spring to live again coming out of the drudgery of endless naxxramas runs strapping on their best buff-foods/ flasks and whatnot to go out hunting the newest perils of ulduar.

And that my friends is where the money is. Demand for high-end consumables should shoot up in the first few days / weeks of the new content patch after which we will most likely observe a (temporary) increase in enchanting requirements.

So that means if you're looking to score a quick bucketload of gold now is the time to buy up all those cheap materials and go to crafting various raid consumables in the faint hope that that stuff will sell after the patch hits.

It better... otherwise I'll end up still sitting on my 1.5k northern spices and I'd have to dump those on the market for cut throat prices (Although there is a certain charm to a level 80 warlock bank toon pissing off whomever is playing the food market for a few weeks). I wish I could convert 10 northern spices to 1 cooking award, oddly enough even reasoning with the vendor doesn't make it so.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Epic pimpage?

Happy april fool's...

In keeping with Blizzard april fools hereby my absolutely serious response to the thought of mount customizations.

Apparantly for a 'small fee' (I wonder what that means... small... small on a 'I make money like blizzard scale' or small as in 'I just turned level 30 and bought my mount kind of small') you would be able to customize your mount in what seems to be a great many ways.

If the pictures would be any kind of indication it would end up being a true who is who of possibly somewhat too creative customization jobs. Now I am not saying anything about taste (to each his/her own after all) but I am somewhat reminded of when ultima online freeshards strapped on a way to color your gear in a billion colors (and your mounts, furniture... etc...).

Lets just say what started out as a good idea quickly turned into a psychadelic mess with colors splattered all over the place (I remember neons and pinks being odly popular... next to black... lots of black).

A bit of customization could be great stuff... but I am not sure sabrecats with cannons and exhaust pipes would really fit into the landscape well.

Still, I am quite amused by the kodo hat and could see myself splurging on an enhancement piece every now and then but there's this nagging feeling that this is going to go horribly wrong in one way or the other.

Flipping the tables once again I wonder how many warcraft lore fans would die a little inside when they see a sabrecat with a cannon strapped to it's shoulders gallop by (no? how about a pink sabrecat with a pink cannon then?).

Well, you tell me, epic pimpage or epic fail... obviously I am indecisive but at least some of it seems like a good idea and some of it really doesn't.

I wonder what my mount would look like if I could deco it any way I wanted...

Did anything good on this fine first of april then?