Friday, November 20, 2009

We are Family!

Yes, I'm standing on a box... so what if I'm short!

You know I think it's high time I properly introduced the Family 'o' Alts to you good people. After all, as we have established, it's going to take a LOOOONG time to work our way through Icecrown to Cataclysm, so I think we'd better work out summat to do in the meantime. So, rather than start with the main, let's begin with the first character on my account list when I log...

Name: W

Class and Spec:
Destro Lock. If I'm honest I don't know how to play anything else, she's been flinging fire since the Dawn of Time. I am perhaps not the most imaginative of players in this respect: when I find a spec I like I tend to stick with it, and I'm not one to change because another way of playing is proven to be more damage-effective. I play the way I enjoy.

Alchemy/Jewelcrafting. Yes, this is not perhaps the most effective of combinations but it was borne from neccesity when TBC hit. W was originally Alchemy/Herbalism but I needed someone to level JC when it appeared and she was the most logical choice. I then created M as a gatherer to compensate. She's hopelessly behind on her Epic Pattern gathering, which I suspect will be a project as we wait for Cataclysm, but her Alchemy is pretty comprehensive. As established yesterday she's Transmutation specced, which as has also been proven can be very helpful as a way to make money.

Achievement Points:
3230. My last Achievement? Tastes Like Chicken \o/

W is my most advanced alt in this regard, with 20 Exalted reps thus far. She's very close to her next five as well, so I suspect as part of Operation 'Is Cataclysm Here Yet?' we'll knock those off. She was my secondary character through most of TBC (spending a lot of time in Karazhan.... ah, memories...) and as a result is considerable more rounded and far less shallow than her other siblings.

First on the list is to obtain W a new flying mount. It's going to be a Aether Ray (or possibly several) because there's not enough of them around in Northrend and it helps knock off the last 5k of Skyguard Rep I need for Exalted. After that we have a bunch of reps that need 8k or less to finish off, and as an exercise in going back and having some different content from Northrend to indulge in, this sems like a decent idea. I was never a huge fan of Outland I will admit but going back to it now is actually not as galling as it was when it was the only alternative to Azeroth. I'll take the time to check what recipes I'm missing in the process and see if I can't try a bit of farming on the way.

After that I really need to take the time to do the Daily JC Quest, to occasionally prospect a stack of Titanium (for the powders to get the JC Tokens) and to keep an eye out for the odd Damaged Necklace on the AH. I'm so many patterns missing it's really rather depressing how many tokens I'll need to catch up. I really hope they do something with this system come the Expansion.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Daily Grind

People play Warcraft for many different reasons. Despite what some may think it's not just about the Endgame or the Arena Glory, or even the Achievements. For some people, it's all about the Economy.

I've known a lot of players, over the years, who've been in it just for the AH. Famously there was one guy in our Guild who, at one point, was the maker of just about every Hide of the Wild worn on our Server. All he would do with his character when online was to farm the mats to make them, and then auction them onward, after which he'd use the cash to speculate. I am aware that he had over 20,000 gold to his name at one point, and this is back in the days of Vanilla WoW when money like that was truly a fortune to be owned. However the day came when the Expansion was announced and he realised that as soon as Outland appeared, he'd have nothing special to offer. Instead of going and finding a new recipe he gave up and shortly afterwards sold his account. Apologies to the person who bought it, because I reported you to Blizzard and got you banned. In the end I understand why he did it, but it didn't make it right.

Oh yes, and I hate people who buy or sell accounts. But I digress.

We have at least one professional AH speculator in Guild at present (waves at the Boomer, who I know is reading) and I am well aware how addictive a pursuit that part of the game can be. However my interest in market speculation isn't so much as a way to make loads of money, it's to make some, enough to put a small nest egg aside come Expansion time for anything special that may drop on the AH. Ideally I'd also hope to find enough to be able to make a Chopper for P (as she's the mount alt) and to provide the last three of my professions family with Epic Flying in time for Azeroth's expansion into the air. As Summer came to an end and it became clear Icecrown would be a while in coming I began to formulate a plan.

It began with a cheese and ham pancake, a large glass of fruit smoothie, and a piece of paper:

Yes, I have two accounts. One is used by my son as well, but in the main I've taken it over in an attempt to forward my vision. More by luck than judgement I ended up with all three of my miners on the same account, which is where the first seeds of my plan began to germinate. I had a HUGE number of available transmutes, most of which lay completely dormant on any given day. Checking the AH, Titansteel was then selling for 180g a bar, and it occured to me that for the sake of a small amount of planning and some rudimentary organisation, I could be making far more money than I ever could from Daily Questing and do it in a fraction of the time it took. With two kids to look after, it's not like I'm getting loads of free time anyway to start with. So, with the result of 'make cash, sensibly' in mind, I began Phase One of The Plan:

1. Get my Engineer to 80, so I would have a Miner with a Mote Extractor to exploit natural resources to the maximum.

Some people do herbs, but I've mined a great deal since Vanilla and somehow it feels more comfortable to me. In the main it involves flight paths that are a lot simpler and easier to remember without any special addons, and as Gas Clouds are very often on the same paths as mining nodes, there is a lot to be gained from the combination of Engineering and Mining. There are 3 routes for any potential Strip Miner to follow to get the maximum chance of Titanium: Sholazar, Wintergrasp and Icecrown are my destinations of choice as they include lucrative Cinder Clouds in WG and Steam Clouds in the Basin.

If you're an engineer and you don't have a Zapthrottle Mote Extractor, shame on you! There's a ton of cash to be made on our server right now from the Outland motes, which in the main lay unfarmed and are selling on the AH's at pretty decent prices. If you don't have one, go do the quest in Zangermarsh sharpish. Seriously, even if you only ever pick up the clouds you pass by on a normal day's travel, it ends up being a good investment.

Meet my Engineer G, the BM Hunter. He was 72 at the start of this process, he's now 80 and able to do pretty decent dps, but I'd be lying if I said his main job isn't anything other than to act as my primary gatherer. Once he was set, and with a decent pet to distract mobs (or Hordies in WG) it was time to organise the network he would supply to, and how I would minimise the time I spent gathering the mats.

2. Create a L1 Bankalt on my Second Account, with access to my Main Bank on Account #1.

Guild Banks are great for hoarders like me. I've had a Vanity Guild Bank since it was possible to do so, with three tabs pretty much permanently full to bursting. For daily quests and rep items that aren't Soulbound, it's by far the best way in my opinion to make space on my alts for the stuff they need to keep at any given time. Creating a L1 bankalt on the second account with access to this central repository means nothing important is ever more than an account switch away.

I'm keeping my two bankalts seperate at the moment: the Gnome above is the one holding the cash for this particular project, and is basically a conduit between my transmuters and the AH. The Hunter (and GM of the Vanity Guild) has his bank full of the major items I've collected via all of my professions. There is a third hunter too, stationed at the Booty Bay Neutral AH, who is there to watch for bargains. Literally minutes of thought have gone into this, you know :P

3. Establish a Daily Routine.

So, this is the basic plan I started with.

a) Mine 18 Titanium.
b) Gather 3 Eternal Fire, Shadow and Earth.
c) Create 9 Titanium Bars.
d) Send 3 bars, and 1 of each Eternal to the other two miners on the same account.
e) Transmute 3 Titansteel Bars.
f) Send the bars to the Bankalt.
g) Sell the bars.
h) goto a :D

It was simple and I hoped it would not take long to do. It utilised all my CD's (which I was doing nothing with anyway) and it depended on a set of mats I thought would not be hard to find. As it stands now I can gather all of this stuff with little hassle in 30 minutes, and I find it far more enjoyable to do so than rolling through the Tournament Dailies, so in that regard it's a job well done.

However, what the above simple list does not take into account is daily fluctuations of mats available to gather. Some days it's more Titanium or Saronite, others it's less, and this is where planning comes into it's own. Making sure I have saved enough mats for the next day's transmutes for instance has been a worthwhile exercise as has been the process of selling some of the Saronite gathered to obtain the Eternal Shadow and Earth. The rest has gone towards bullet production for both hunters, and means I can send bullets to Guildies as well.

It's not just those two eternals however I'm getting excess of, there's also the Fire and Air that's a by-product from the Titanium and the clouds... and then there's the gems. With Frozen Orbs a pittance at the AH, the Gnome Banker's been buying one a day and sticking it in the Vanity Bank so it can be transferred to my Gnomish Jewelcrafter/Alchemist. As she's Transmute-specced, so she's been sent spare Eternals too, to take advantage of her seperate (and mostly unused) Epic Gem Transmute. The proc rate on Transmutation Mastery is mostly suck, but yesterday we hit paydirt with 4 Cardinal Rubies. Suddenly I'm quite happy about my spec :D

Add to all of this my Tailor who's happily churning out cloth every 4 days, which currently is going towards making sure my mage and my priest have decent L80 sets to slip into come their eventual levellage. After that, it'll be items I'll add to the daily listings.

Now I'm not going to say how much money I've mad from all this so far, and it's been running since I last updated, but all I will say is this: I've exceeded the amount of money I was able to make previously, and that took me several months to aquire. This is a great system for me and it's far more enjoyable than anything I've done previously to make cash, and all it needs to work is a brain and a bit of organisation.

If only I could make money in Real Life this well...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh I Say :O

As we're now getting closer to the release of 3.3.0, we wanted to talk about our plans for access progression within Icecrown Citadel. Icecrown Citadel is going to be broken up into four distinct sections: The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls. We plan on releasing these four sections of Icecrown Citadel over time and not all immediately when patch 3.3.0 goes live. At this point we can't give precise dates for these release dates as they are determined by when patch 3.3.0 goes live. Once dates are known with more certainty, I'll update the community so they can plan appropriately.
The rest of the statement is here.

To be honest, on reflection, this isn't a big surprise. They have to make this content last, possibly until the Summer (depending on what goes down with the pre-Cataclysm events) The fact they don't know yet when this will all be phased in is however a bit of a surprise. I would have thought by now they'd have a handle on their timescales...

I find myself wondering what the Hardcore Guilds will think of this. They ARE FORCED to do the 10 mans of these dungeons before they can attempt 25 man, which is possibly the most significant development we've seen since the introduction of 10 man raiding. Things will be made deliberately easy for those late to the party with a raid-wide buff that will be introduced once all four wings are open. Yes, it's the Sunwell all over again, but this time it's forcing everybody to do things in the same order, in the same timescales. I'm not sure that's a good or a bad thing.

Part of me thinks this is going to be really rather hard. I do hope that's the case.

All Change! (Redux)

The short answer concerning my absence involves remodelling the computer area at home, some long-overdue RL admin and a nasty head injury (I had my scalp glued back together, which was an interesting experience) Now all that is done, we can return to the business at hand.

There will be some changes in the next few weeks, and as they happen, in the background, is a long-term in-game project that I've been working towards for some time. Although I have no problems with using Dailies as a means to make money, it's not nearly as much fun (in my eyes anyway) as making cash with my Professions. So, after some faffing and re-organisation I now have a very satisfying way of producing cash and using my large family of Alts at the same time. Expect a post on this as soon as I've reinstalled my graphics programme on this PC, which is now running Windows 7 (another part of the absence involved upgrading my computer's OS)

The biggest news however concerns a return to my Main Character of Old.

P has been Marks specced forever, and I doubt I will ever change, however bad the dps may become or however unfashionable the style is to play, because when all is said and done I'm a Marks Hunter at heart. So, P will return as my Avatar of Choice (see installation of graphics package above) and there will be some changes as a result.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if my creaky old disks will load into my shiny new OS...

We Interrupt Our Real Life... return to posting here. Explanations will be forthcoming, in the meantime I need to post a small but VERY vital piece of information from the latest PTR push:
To be honest I didn't think we'd see any new ammo until Cataclysm for Hunters, so two new recipes for Engis is great news both for moneymaking and for Hunters generally. The increase in DPS they bring... let's look at the numbers:

Old Ammo = 67.5 dps New Ammo = 91.5 dps

That's not too shabby, even by my own Dodgy Theorycraft standards.

Better start stocking up on some mats :D