Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oh I Say...

How did that happen???

Number of alts at 85 = Two.

It was a real slog, alternating Twilight Highlands and Uldum, but W the Warlock is there at last. Her gear is an utter mess so there now needs to be a fairly long period of slogging through Tol Barad, Therazane and heroics to get something approximating a decent set. If I'm sensible I ought to aim for an ilevel of 350 in anticipation of 4.1 and the new 'Tier 2' 5 mans. This should come as a decent distraction to add between the forays into the PTR in the coming weeks.

The next person even close to max level is M the Rogue, who's gear is even more than a mess and has made it to 84 on the back of about four quests and many, many hours of gathering XP. I think we'll focus on one at a time...

Friday, February 25, 2011

PTR 4.1 :: And In Other News

1. I have a pet on PTR I didn't get when it was released. The Warbot is the reward from the Mountain Dew Game Fuel promotion that happened in the Summer of 2009 which, if you were quick in the EU you could go to Battle.Net and claim a code for. The pets were removed for 'contractual reasons'. Someone should tell this to the EU PTR server. I wonder if Loup found his French Guild... ^^

2. Tier 2 Heroics Gief Moar! ZG and ZA, when implemented, will reward double the number of Valor Points currently available for 'normal' Heroics. Money is the same, however. Is this Blizzard's way of making them even more attractive than they undoubtedly will be come release?

3. Engineering on PvP realms could be a Bonus. Part of the STV questline requires you to follow a 'trail' into the forest. This trail is marked currently by smoke flares (of course this could simply be temporary) It does make me think that on PvP realms engineers could get creative and lay 'alternate' flare trails to lure members of both races to their doom in well-crafted ambushes... the possiblities are endless!

This ends today's infodump from the PTR, stay tuned tomorrow as I see if I can find any sign of the promised changes in Coldarra, the Caverns of Time and beyond...

PTR 4.1 :: It's Not Ready Yet!

WARNING! Some of these Quests may not yet be complete...

Having never been lucky enough to Beta test a Warcraft expansion, I have no idea just how 'not ready' new content can potentially be when it gets thrown out to the masses to play with. Needless to say, having taken the new L85 STV Gurubashi Trolls questline as far as it can currently go in 45 minutes today, it's apparent there's some work to be done. Spawn times are horrendous, there's little or no quest tracking active on the STV maps and the [PH] prefix is pretty much everywhere. Saying that, the new quests do a pretty decent job of re-introducing the Gurubashi to the region, where you'll meet some familiar enemies plus some new ones to boot. If like Harrison Jones you're not a fan of snakes, it's going to get messy. Unless of course you're a skinner, in which case on the first few days of the new patch at least, you could be making quite a lot of money... [*]

At least we know there's GOING to be a reward... ^^

You're sent to STV with a mission, to find an elusive fella called Ghaliri and to discover more about why the Gurubashi have suddenly made a reappearance into the area. When I came to the end of the line at the Explorer's League camp in Southern STV I'd not only been munched by snakes but had a close encounter with a giant panther and an infeasibly large number of very angry trolls. I'd also been taken to the area behind ZG which, having flown across the area many times whilst levelling Archaeology, I found myself wondering when it would be used as a quest area. This makes me wonder that the other large, seemingly 'waiting for something' areas in game I've discovered while flying will be making an appearance... I should check out that large flat plateau near Hyjal...

The 'introductory' quests will come as no surprise to anyone who did the Twilight's Hammer stuff pre-Cataclysm, should provide a decent amount of coin for your troubles and sets the scene for some major butt-kicking in ZG, when the instance is finally ready. Watch this space for updates...

[*] Assuming of course that they eventually give the snakes some loot and make them skinnable...

PTR 4.1 :: If It's That Easy...

Instant Guild Application, just add mouseclicks...

Having arrived on the PTR guildless, I noticed a new icon on my action bar almost immediately after logging: clicking on it calls up the following (new) feature: Looking for Guild. I'll be honest here and say I had to suppress a chuckle when I first saw it: devolving how you'd spend your time in Guild to one of three buttons seems at least to me somewhat laughable. There's clearly no provision for anyone with alts (only your current online roles are highlight-able) and I'll be actively testing later how much descriptive text you can enter in the Comments box before running out of space.

It's clear that Blizzard takes it's commitments seriously, and knows that a lot of content's simply going to go by the wayside if you don't belong to a Guild. Giving people the opportunity to at least have a way to find somewhere to hang their hat is laudable. However anyone who's run a Guild at any point will know just how hard it is to find the right people to fit into the very unique dynamics that this can throw up. The chances of anyone being able to show their abilities and strengths on a single page is slim to none. On the flipside, being able to tell if someone could cause an issue or not fit in on the strength of this little information... well frankly, it's a minefield. I realise this feature is only at the initial testing phase but I for one can think of a few ways that Blizzard could actually make this feature work to the benefit of more people.

The main one that springs to my mind would be to build a Looking for Guild 'template' on the Blizzard website. This would link all your current character information, allow you to write a not-restricted-by-space-ingame CV for yourself and (if it were linked to your character) there surely must be a way to 'link' this to your LFGuild application in game. With the amount of information now available via statistics on what any single character has done it might be nice for any Guild Master using this service to be able to access a player's paper doll and recent activity in game via this service as well. I think it's going to be a prerequisite to provide details on whether a character has recently left a Guild or transferred servers too, and I am sure there also has to be a way to log this, even if it only happens from when the service starts up. I'm not advocating we get five years worth of stored data on Guildie Applicant X but some idea of why he's looking for a Guild if he's 85 and been playing since Vanilla would certainly be an advantage.

If only getting asked to join a Guild was this easy all the time...

It's genuinely encouraging to see Blizzard taking on board the task of improving the general game environment, and no-one will deny how useful the LFGroup queuing system has become since it's introduction. Whether trying to repeat this with Guild recruitment is a good idea though will remain to be seen: I'm going to watch the development of this feature with a great deal of interest on the PTR as a Guild Master who's always on the lookout for new people to join our ranks. I wonder, can Blizzard pull off the (seemingly) impossible and make this feature viable?

PTR 4.1 :: And So it Begins...

WARNING: Spoilers will be occuring in all posts marked with the PTR 4.1 header. You have been warned!

As soon as I logged to the PTR this morning (quiet /cheer as I discovered that both my characters and the two premades had copied) this new quest popped into my log. I had planned to pop to Hyjal first and see if there's any changes yet around the Firelands area, but the game has other plans. I foresee a trip to STV in my future...

Security in Stormwind Harbor's been pretty casual since Cataclysm started. First it's mercenaries docking, and now the Trolls have turned up! This is Bwemba, and she'll be the one who asks me to investigate the newly-resurgent Gurubashi threat, plus take a trip to Fort Livingston in STV for further instructions. I'll see you there!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


... that the day I choose to do a bunch of RL stuff, we get hit with a bunch of new stuff to digest.

I'll leave this monster to download then, and we'll see where we are on my return...

[EDIT: back from RL and it's another 5GB before I can start. Blimey, what's IN this Patch?]

Edited Highlights

Ok, so I've cleaned up the mess of squee on the floor over there, now let's take a quick precis of what's to look forward to in 4.1 (PTR Client downloading as I type, P and W copied to the PTR) In no particular order we find the following:

  • Pet Collection Achievements for 100/125 pets.
  • New awards for eating/drinking Azeroth consumables (100 food/50 beverages)
  • At least five new minipets (though two could be TCG ones looking at the names)
  • SEVEN new mounts (three flying, four ground) with most presumably linked to ZA and ZG.
  • LW craftables finally get a socket (and the inevitable stat changes)
  • Absolutely NO Warlock spell changes, but a free hug instead (I'll take a look at the class changes in detail later)
  • New achievements for ZG and ZA.
  • Achievement for 30 Tabards.
  • 40 Reps correctly gives you The Exalted, 50 correctly awards a new achievement but no title.

WoW Insider also informs me that I'll be able to tame a Hydra in 4.1, but there's no indication whether that means it's a BM Exotic or if the rest of us poor saps will get a look in.

Our Fishing correspondent demands however that this new change gets it's own section:

Thank the Light for common sense. Catching the bloated fish (approx 1000 casts for each, if you were lucky) was a lure too far. I'm one fish on each achievement away from having these two, it's now an added incentive to get out and prepare myself for their arrival!


Yes, it's true. Zul'aman's a 5 man dungeon in 4.01. Zul'gurub's going 5 man heroic as well :O

Excuse me while I wander off and disintegrate with the awesome...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moneymaking : 101

In the first of an occasional series, The Godmother shares some of the secrets that keep her bank balance healthy and her interests liquid, as she makes money in Warcraft without the use of anyone else's fancy-shmancy guides. Today's suggestion does however require some help from the Blizzard Server Hamsters...


Last night, something broke on the EU servers. It could have been the hamsters, some over-zealous Maintenance Monkey might have pulled a plug early... we will never know. However at about 8pm UK I was unceremoniously dumped from the game. My husband however remained, and watched as Guildie after Guildie succumbed to ridiculous lagspikes and eventual disconnection. All the while he continued his Shaman alt's levelling, oblivious to the fact that he was about to find himself in the most envious of situations: unless your Guild's a vanity affair or has less than 100 members it is VERY unlikely you will ever find yourself alone at peak times. If you do, the LAST thing you'll want to do is be levelling...

You need to be farming.

The only other time that farming for raw materials is ever as good as this is in the first 30-60 minutes after a weekly server reset. If you're lucky and arrive to find your home's been booted up ahead of time then you can guarantee that the one thing that everyone else is doing having logged on is plundering Azeroth's raw materials:  herbing, ore, fishing... even grinding mobs, if you're alone (in relative terms) anything you do will be easier. However in the case of a server issue, when you know that people can't get online and you're already there, it's gotta be gathering all the way. Of course this does hinge on one key fact, that you have a gatherer online at the time, because the last thing you want to do is have to switch characters and find you can't get back in. Last night, my husband was in that enviable position. It was time to let him in on the secret.

You need to be ready to sell immediately.

My Husband's Shaman is a Herbalist/Alchemist, and last night I laid it on the line for him in very simple terms: forget doing quests, get yourself to somewhere where you can gather herbs and do that until a) you get bored or b) your arms fall off. If there's less than five people in the zone you go you're quids in, if not go move to a zone where that's the case. As an Alchemist there's the bonus of additional amounts of gold to be made via a) potion production, b) transmuting the Volatile Life you'll pick up while herbing and c) simply picking the herbs off the ground and sticking them on the AH. The key factor in all of this, the one factor that you can't underestimate enough, is TIME. All the people who would have been selling, who would have gathered while you are doing quests, they're all swearing at the login screens on their computers or have given up and are playing on the XBox 360 instead, but they'll all be back tomorrow and if you can replace all the stuff they would have farmed with your stuff, then you're going to be quids in. Don't stockpile stuff for your own use later, it's just not worth the use of the precious time you have.

You need to do some market research.

This does not mean talking to 100 Gnomes. It requires five mins at the AH with a good old fashioned pencil and paper. It should involve you selling stacks at below the current market average, because if you're the only one who's gathered all night supply will briefly dip and the amount of raw material available will be temporarily diminished. Don't be greedy and know what's selling. My husband gathered Whiptail and Twilight Jasmine along with Cinderbloom from Uldum and the Twilight Highlands and converted them into flasks, Mythical Healing Potions as well as selling stacks. he took 15 Volatile Life in Uldum and converted it to Air (top seller) and put those up as well. Needless to say on logging in this morning before going to work he was considerably richer than he was the night before.

Of course, if you don't have a gatherer available in this situation, but you do have a bit of spare cash knocking about, this is also a very good time to do some AH speculation. You could buy up the cheapest stacks of raw materials and relist them to make yourself a profit. You could check for cheap armour, vanity pets, even enchants but if you go this route I'd suggest a decent auction house addon to start with. You could farm mobs in high turnover areas for volatiles too, safe in the knowledge it's unlikely a bunch of people will turn up and try and muscle in. If all else fails, you could go fishing in Tol Barad for Sealed Crates :D The key again is making the most of the time advantage over everyone else.

Not So Bad.

Doing 2k more than the #2 dpser = Priceless.

After the much-publicised hotfix 'o' DOOM this morning to Marks dps I felt it only right and proper to go and see just how bad things were going to be for my main spec. As you can see, on Algaloth at least, reports of it's demise have been exaggerated. To make the most of things however I did hastily adopt a new rotation:

To 80% I alternated hard casts of Steady Shot with Aimed Shot whilst keeping a Serpent Sting ticking via Chimera. When we went below 80% I took the hardcast out of the rotation completely and simply waited for my Aimed Shot to proc via Ready, Set, Aim. So it was Steady all the way with Chimera refreshing Serpent when needed, and judicious use of my pet's Call of the Wild ability with Rapid Fire (plus the wonder that is Readiness) made for a pretty decent showing. Oh and yes, I had a flask and a foodbuff on. I'd feel naked without them.

The fact that I've personally seen an increase in dps with this 'nerf' is in no small way a result of the quite massive buff Aspect of the Hawk has received across all three specs. This does mean however I'll be stance dancing in a lot of fights whereas before I might have simply fought with Aspect of the Fox. No matter, in the Fel Firestorm phase of Algaloth I can move and keep a rotation going where (as was the case today in this PuG) I saw many people just running without trying to dps at all. I'm not bothered if it's a net damage loss in the short term, if I can still keep hitting my target then it's gotta be a good thing regardless.

I should probably take a look at glyphs as a result of this change, I wonder if it would be judicious to return to Rapid Fire...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fishing for Fun and Profit.

Happiness is a bag full of containers... :D

Regular readers will be aware of my fishing love. Having started in Vanilla, I am well aware of the benefits to be reaped from the use of rod and line. With the advent of Cataclysm, Fishing's taken a bit of a backwards step however: gone are the days of Dalaran dailies with exotic rewards and special fishing buffs. Instead we have a daily quest that covers 1-85 with as much excitement attached as a wet Longjaw Mud Snapper. Putting the Turtle Mount into the new content's fishing pools isn't going to cover up the fact that
Fishing's returned to being very much a Secondary Profession. The one bright spot however can be found in Tol Barad (the new money-making capitol of your server) in the form of the Sealed Crate.

A quick look at the Wowhead link for the crate's contents reveals a positive treasure trove of goodies on offer: ore, leather, herbs, volatiles and even healing and mana potions. With up to a full stack of Embersilk and eight Heavy Savage Leather possible from a single box, you really should be seeking these out and hauling them in whenever you spy Shipwreck Debris around the Peninsula. Fishing these will count towards the That's a Lot of Bait achievement for your Guild (as they come from pools) and you'll also have a chance to pull up Azshara's Veil or Volatile Water from the pools in place of a box 'o' goodies. Be warned however, you'll only get a maximum of two successful casts per pool, but the respawn rate is high enough for you to keep grabbing them in a decent timeframe. The above bag represents sixty minutes work in Tol Barad this morning. As to the spoils... well, all in all, not bad at all:

If you're questing in TB and you have a fishing skill, remember you're guaranteed to catch something if you fish in a pool, regardless of skill. If you pass a patch of Shipwreck Debris, you'd be a fool to keep going. After all, you never know what might be hiding inside!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Virtual Pets!

Skinning other people's spiders for leather comes good...

Grinding is never fun, all told. Grinding for non-combat pets is an incredibly hit-and-miss affair. a 1% drop rate could mean the first mob you down, of course or the 1000th, and there's a patience required that goes beyond the the normal 'I need X of these things to drop.' The Fox Kit drops from the Baradin Foxes in Tol Barad and I've been working on getting one since I was able to enter the zone, approximately twenty-three days ago. It's not been a solid grind of course, but it has meant that whenever I was able to go and do dailies on the Peninsula I've been actively seeking out the foxes to kill. I've garnered enough commendations not only for the Rustberg Seagull but the dragon mount, and I'm perilously close to the spectral ground mount to boot. Needless to say, this one has been a long time coming.

This also means, according to Breanni's excellent WarcraftPets resource I'm in the Top Ten of active pet collectors for my Realm who are registered on the site. If you're going to be obsessive, I say, do it in good company...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And That's That.

Yesterday was DEFINITELY a Good Day.

Number of Reputations at Exalted = 55. Frenzyheart started it, plus the Mercenary of Sholazar achievement as a bonus (oh and the Frenzyheart Brew to boot!) After that it was off to Silithus and another run at C'thun, and perhaps the best bonus I could have gotten for all those runs for reputation:

WTB Moar Hot Rod Red Mounts in Game :D

Thank you to everyone who was with me who refrained from hitting their ./roll buttons. I will find a way to repay you :D

Then it was a quick trip to the Black Temple, where we only needed to clear to the Shade of Akama to throw me into Exalted with the Ashtongue Deathsworn. This also means the coverted United Nations title for the Guild (and another pet if you're lucky enough to have Exalted reputation.)

I'm going to have to do those Fishing achievements next, aren't I?