Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Difficult Second Spec

I have for some time resisted the temptation to give P a Secondary Hunter spec. The 1000g price tag was the major issue (especially as I have more than one active hunter and the price will be reduced to 200g come Expansion) but after seeing this list of pet abilities from the Beta, I realise that I'd be utterly foolish not to have BM at my disposal at release, especially considering the range of potential raid buffs that would bring. Of particular interest are:

  • Heroism via the Core Hound
  • Stamina buff via the Silithid
  • Increased Physical damage via the Worm
  • Spirit Mend via the Spirit Beast... yes I may actually have to go and try and train one ^^

I think it will be fair to assume that a serious Raiding Hunter will need to have both specs at their disposal and the full range of BM pets trained to be considered at maximum utility, and to do all that when I could be working towards 85 would be a waste of good levelling time. So, this weekend I will be putting my money where my mouth is (as P is my 'main' and serious raider) and persuading someone to come to MC with me to get the 'proper' Core Hound (after all I remember when vanilla Ancient Hysteria could decimate an unprepared raid :p)

MMO's article this morning also throws some details via Mr G. Crawler on the actual process of Archaeology. My initial concern when I read that dig sites spawn and despawn as a mineral node would was that it's going to be a heck of a bunfight in the early days for artifacts, but it transpires that the sites are phased to you:

Remember, the thing you uncover is yours. There is no competition with other players and nobody can gank your node.

Thank the Light for that.

Uncovering an artifact begins a research project \o/ Collect fragments from dig sites which are then combined to make an artifact: these will have a rarity value and you are (as always) at the mercy of the RND as to the item you might gain from your investigation. You can only have one race's artifact being worked on at a time (Note to Self: I'll need to hire an assistant. Wonder if Daniel Jackson is free...) but you can have up to a maximum of four projects on the go simultaneously (one for each continent you'll find items on) As that currently covers Azeroth, Northrend and Outland one assumes that once Cataclysm drops you'll get a fifth project to oversee. As to what you'll get from your labours:

Some artifacts are rare. These always make a blue or purple item. Many of these have no in-game power and are toys or for flavor. Some of them are actual weapons and armor. The latter items are all bound to account. They aren't heirlooms in that they don't scale, but you can pass them around. So if you are level 80 and you find a level 60 axe, you can always have another character use it when they are level 60. You will never get a rare artifact more than once.

Blimey. FINALLY Blizzard acknowledge that some of us could use stuff that drops from characters on other alts. That's HUGE NEWS, especially if (like me) you have vast masses of people levelling at different rates. I hope that this is the start of a considered shift towards BoA itemisation, especially with the difficult items for Seasonal Events.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Get Fresh at the Weekend

Please to be enjoying moar wonderful cheesy pop whilst we discuss the weekend's activities!

Last Weekend was, I have to be honest, pretty awesome on the Gold front. The family earned enough for an epic mount with change, and my Shadow Priest (77, 78 coming up fast) will be taking possession of the skill and a Cenarion War Hippogryph as a bonus. I'd like to do the same for the Palalalaladin (75, needs rested to do the grind to 76) so that means spending a bit of time today doing the groundwork. I'm not seeing any slowdown in sales of Outland ore (in fact the reverse seems to be true) and the Leather market remains encouragingly robust. It seems pointless to break a winning formula so we'll do a couple of ore runs and some DM Farmage this morning and see what that can pull in.

On the Horde side, Thorium and Mithril are the big sellers currently, so I think I'll also see if I can find some time to send one of my Red Team around Un'Goro. I can tie this in with my daily quest to gain another Ravasaur Mount for the Hunter, which has the potential to bring in some leather to boot.

I hope you have a good weekend doing whatever you may be in game :D

Blaming Dr Jones

There's a couple of excuses for cheesy pop this weekend, here's the first. The reason? Well, I can officially announce my first Cataclysm Goal: totally owning Archeology.

When I was at Secondary School there was a boy I really liked, but everyone else thought he was weird. He loved history, and as a result we studied together for two years. He went on to become a fully-fledged Archaeologist, and I remember thinking (as this was about the time a certain Dr Indiana Jones became ingrained into the public consciousness) what an absolutely cool job it is to dig up the past. The future may be shiny and exciting but without a solid understanding of the past we have no idea of what we are and what we have gone through to be here.

When Blizzard announced the Archeology profession there was a not unreasonable amount of squeeing from this corner. As the details of this profession have begun to emerge that squeeing has increased significantly, until this morning when I fired up MMO Champion to discover the following datamined achievements and (ho yus) associated titles:

Quite aside from the continuing homage to the Indiana Jones movies, there are three titles I would be very happy to have on any of my alts. The last one especially appeals to my sense of making sure the past is accessible to everyone: as a wise Fox one said (many, many times) the truth is out there, I just need to dig it up :D It's also becoming apparent that there are some lovely rewards on offer for any budding Archaeologist, which may even include an AQ mount for our troubles.

Is the Expansion out yet??? ^^

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Where Were We...?

Ah yes, Warlock Love. The Great Week (TM) gets better and better, as it transpires.
#1: Fishing to 450. Sorted.

It was going to be Fish Feasts but a quick peruse of the AH showed me a stack of Dragonfin selling for 80g. Yes, just the one ^^ Never one to turn down the opportunity of a quick sale I threw up my stacks with a sensible undercut and watched them purchased before I even made it back to Ironforge's Bank. Moral of the Story: What I think is a realistic price is inevitably Far Too Cheap. No matter. That's two alts fishing maxxed (Druid next, makes mental note) and that's 150g for 30 minutes effort. Works for me.

#2: Reputation Situation.

Number of Ogres slaughtered for belongings = 161
Number of Obsidian Warbeads in belongings = 50

Amount of Reputation gained in one hour's farming = 4110, which means that I'll be Exalted by Monday (or thereabouts) If only all rep grinds were that simple and that easy to rationalise. You know, I may be an insane crazy person and go do the Netherwing Grind next...

#3: PvP Gears.

Dame Fortune is often a fickle mistress, Gentle Readers. However when you get a week like this, it does all seem to stack with you. Rolls go your way. Famous dead people offer to bring you back to life.

[Promise I won't mention that again... ^^]

I have two out of three items secured. My new shoes are the Relentless Gladiator's Treads of Dominance which Koralon the Flame Watcher was good enough to drop yesterday in 25 Man VoA (and which I was the only roller on) while I finally snagged enough wins in WG itself this morning to pick up the Titan-Forged Cloak of Ascendancy. Just the belt to go then and I'm sorted, but it's going to take a bit of work to get everything gemmed and enchanted (eight gems needed and four enchants and that's before the last upgrade) so I'm ready for some PvP practice pre-Expansion...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Perfect Day

#1: Save Gnomeregan.
#2: Kill Lich King (see achievement widget)

We're alive and he's dead. Go Guild!

#3: Complete Weekly in under six minutes.

HUGE Grats to everyone else who can now hang 'the Kingslayer' after their names. So what if we're after the party, we did it in the end, and you guys are awesome. It's something special to have completed the content like this.

I even got a little something for my troubles... :D

Stand Back Luv, I'm in Charge...

Me and the Gnomey Recruits, ready to roll...
Yes, I've done it (see my Achievement Widget). Actually, I've done it more than once to see how much XP the levellers are likely to get for completing it, and it's well over 150,000 (so we'll be running it with everyone eligible as a result) I'll also have a crack at the Echo Isles event tomorrow and then I'll pass final judgement. For now, have some pictures :D

Speeding away from Gnomeregan after a successful Recon mission!
Even though I knew it was coming, there was still a moment of squee when I met this guy:

The final fight, without giving anything away, will remind anyone who's done it of the Battle for the Undercity. The difference was for me the sheer number of other people at 9.30am this morning who were ready to roll into defence for the Alliance...

One or two people turn up to retake the city...
You're going to enjoy it, so make sure you do it at least once. There's a snazzy trinket as a bonus but (sadly) the final reward isn't that great. Still, we're on the road to Cataclysm now, and with the final seconds of this event before you end up in Ironforge you'll see Blizzard is taking the cut scene in new directions. Roll on Expansion!

Things To Do in Maintenance

I've sorted out the beginnings of a family slideshow for the site, which you can see running right now. I'll take some better screenies as a next step and suspect I'll concoct a few albums for a bit of variety.

Next step will be to produce a set of character biographies.

./taps fingers impatiently. Is the Server up yet?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

And So it Begins...

The Battle for Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles is live on US servers, and will be with Europe after maintenance.

Give you three guesses where I'm going to be tomorrow... :D

World of AWESUM

There's a standing joke in our Guild: it's not an Expansion worth anything without a Hunter ability that starts up making us equal and ends up being nerfed (to the GROUND, baby!) I'd put sizeable amounts of money that this is going to be the one that gets mullered, which is a real shame because Camouflage looks, quite frankly, AMAZING. I'm already looking forward to hiding in bunkers in AV and screwing people (SO many places to hide, Aspect of the Beast on and you can't even track me) However I'm wondering what the applications could be in a PvE situation, and this is when I really REALLY wish I was in beta so I could try it out... no, it's ok, I will survive.

I'm already predicting the howls of protest too, most of them coming from Rogues who, for the first time, have someone who can sneak up behind THEM and turn them over. As a wise man once said: Tough Jubblies!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Matters Arising (Plan B Edition) :: September 6th

Once Upon a Time, a Girl had an Idea about what she'd like to do with her family of alts prior to Cataclysm. Then one day she realised that the reason why she'd stopped wanting to play her alts for a while was precisely because she'd made the plan to begin with. It was time to think about things another way. Instead of lots of faffing, she decided to throw the old idea out the window and simply pick an alt she fancied at the start of each week and do some stuff with them, as well a bit of levelling on the side. This week, Plan B centres around W the Warlock.

This Week's Objectives.
  • Level Fishing to 450. W's the closest to maxxing the skill of all of the family, with only only nine points left, so I'll combine that with grabbing some Fish Feast mats in the process. At the back of my mind I have an insane plan to get as many characters as possible to 450. Yes, I am that mad.
  • Complete one of my reputations currently at Revered. After the announcement about ZG, I think it might be the Zandalar Rep that gets the first nod, as it's entirely possible I can solo enough of the instance to actually get this done. However there is the option to go and kill large numbers of Ogres to sort out my Kurenai rep (and combine it with a bit of farming on the side) One of these should be doable in a week, just need to decide which one.
  • Do some work on my PvP gear. I've grabbed a couple of very nice items via VoA across the last few months (including 270 legs) and I think it might not be a bad idea to upgrade some of the L200/213 items to a higher level. I can nab an easy cape upgrade if I stick  myself in a few WG's (for instance) and as I'm hoping it's an AV Weekend upcoming that would help contribute some honor towards new boots and a belt. Then all I need to do is transmute some decent gems and I'm set with a second alt prepped for Rated BG's.
I've also made a conscious effort to ensure I do the daily JC Quest to grab some of the patterns I miss (which appears to be most of them) If I can manage all that this week I'll be both happy and impressed.

Over to the Dark Side.

It's not just the Lock getting love this week however: I pulled out my Priest yesterday (who has a hastily-concocted Shadow spec and a great deal of TBC gear still to replace) and I've finally moved her past 76. With the new level comes the Daily Tournament Quests and access to the Holdir questline. I reckon with the rested I have and a few well-placed Daily Randoms I can stick another level or two on this week, which means I'd better start thinking of crafting some gears for two 80's not one. The Pally should also get an outing (I hope) so here's a reminder to myself to keep an eye on the AH for some midweek bargains, especially those two hideously-overpriced Zom's Cracking Bulwarks that were still up for sale this morning.

And Finally...

I have an idea for a video. I've gone so far as to storyboard it, now all I need to find is someone to make it with me... *flutters eyelashes at husband*...

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sooner Than You Think

Largely overlooked by the big news sites, I picked this up via Livejournal: there was a Cataclysm Q&A at the recent 2010 Gamescom which includes some VERY interesting information regarding the patch that will preceed Cataclysm, known as 3.9. The key details (and I quote) are as follows:

  • Patch 3.9 will introduce the Cataclysm world event, which will begin taking place and culminate a few weeks before the expansion releases, with the Cataclysmic destruction actually taking place at that point.
  • The new race / class combos and 1-60 content will be available before World of Warcraft: cataclysm launches.
  • The servers will come down when the event culminates, and when they come back up you'll see the intro cinematic and all of the updated Azeroth will be available.
  • Blizzard is still trying to decide whether Archaeology will come out before or when World of Warcraft: Cataclysm releases.
  • 80-85 content and the Goblin and Worgen races will not be available until release day.

This is VERY interesting news for anyone who fancies the prospect of a Tauren Paladin (for instance) and would like to do this before setting out on levelling a main. The new 1-60 content for the existing races is significant to say the least and if we are to get a chance to play it pre-Expansion then I for one will give some serious thought to putting one more alt on the list.

More importantly for the Professions Geek in me, and as I was speculation as was the case with Jewelcrafting in TBC, we could yet see Archeology before the Expansion. If Blizzard intend to release the 1-60 content I reckon they'd have a hard time hiding it: we could have stuff to dig up as well as levelling...

What now remains is to see if the Battle for Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles is tied to 3.9 or whether that may be appearing even earlier...

Cataclysm Preparation 101 :: Before You Roll...

I know you don't want to think about it, because as soon as you do you'll start getting frustrated THAT CATACLYSM ISN'T RELEASED YET!!!!!!! but there will come a point when you'll need to decide whether you're going to take the plunge again and level yet another alt. For some I know this has already started, mostly because it will require either the deletion of an existing alt or (GASP) the purchase of a second account. I'm not in that position, I got my second account a while back (yes I know, I'm that sad and I love this game that much. I referred myself and got a free Zhevra. Go figure.) Whether it will be a Worgen or a Goblin, there are things you could do with thinking about now, even before your character is created...

#1: The Name's the Same.

TY to J for pointing out the deliberate mistake.
Pedant's Corner will always be yours... :D
The fact that many, many people went and reserved what they thought were the good/funny/clever Worgen and Goblin names a long time ago is beside the point. Your name is going to be better than theirs anyway. Mine however is sadly predictable, but that's me all over. Putting up a L1 placeholder is not a bad idea generally if there is a name you find that hasn't been taken and you'd like to keep, because there's nothing worse than having your heart set on one and finding someone else has gone and snaffled it. If you do find something you like, time to do this sharpish. When that's sorted, consider what to wear...

#2: Choose Your Weapons.

I assume at this point you've chosen the class of your Worgen. If you haven't, you can pick from the following:
which frankly is a pretty comprehensive list. It will come as no surprise to anybody that I'll be rolling what will become my fifth Hunter, and as a result I'll be needing some spiffy Heirlooms to help me on my way.

The Great Big Bag of Heirloom Gears
on my Bankalt...
The benefits of levelling with as many bits of heirloom gear as you can is not to be underestimated: shoulders plus chest alone offer a hefty 20% bonus to XP across anywhere you can earn it (including instances and battlegrounds) and as they have no durability stat, they cost nothing to repair. Most importantly, if you're thinking of levelling a Goblin Heirlooms are Bind to Account, so you can send yourself these regardless of faction. WoWWiki has an exhaustive list of heirlooms and their points of purchase and also lists which enchants can be placed on them. I'll be enchanting my Sharpened Scarlet Kris and Venerable Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge with +15 agility apiece and my Champion's Deathdealer Breastplate with +4 All Stats. Don't make the mistake I did the first time I bought an heirloom: my hunter can wear the mail heirlooms without being level 40, they start when worn at L1 as leather and then 'upgrade' automatically to mail as you grow: same is true for Shaman, Warrior and Paladin items. Don't forget a trinket (or two) while you're at it, as they are pretty much non-existant until the 40's anyway.

#3: How many Times have I told you, Come Prepared!

To level quickly requires lots of time out in the field. Even Blizzard have realised this and there will be some spiffy new mechanics in place as you level this time to make sure you don't need to keep running back to quest givers on multi part adventures. So, it's going to be REALLY important that you have decent bags this time around. However you may not be totally sure you'll want to level your alt, and the last thing you want is to blow a load of money on 20 slot BoE bags if you're going to give up at L28. This is where Vanilla Bags come into their own.

This set of nine have been in the family over five years: the Traveler's Backpack does not bind to you, and drops with a decent frequency in the 50-60 range dungeons. Equip your new Worgan with these and you'll have eighty slots to keep you going, and no loss of cash if you decide to ditch the alt along the way (just send them to your bankalt to await your next project) . If you can't get these to drop for you (and you can't find them on the AH) there is a craftable alternative in the Mooncloth Bag which any Vanilla-trained Tailor should be able to knock up for you. Remember that Felcloth you got out of Knot Thimblejack's cache? Two of those makes a Mooncloth... :P

Even if you do nothing else to prepare for Cataclysm, getting your alt a decent start is going to make levelling quicker and easier, and means you're more likely to actually reach 85 in the end...