Friday, September 16, 2011

Dress You Up! :: 3 Colours Red

Perhaps you're the woman I never met...

In the second of our series, it's time to take a look at how I'll be mogging my Warlock come the (potential) awesomeness that will be 4.3. Dressing a bunch of alts is proving quite a problematic exercise, if truth be told and I'm doing my best to find a different approach to each outfit. This one began with the mask, which I picked up whilst doing Archaeology on P, which is pretty rogue-ish but as cloth is only suitable for casters. I decided to go for a quite complicated visual ensemble yet all of these items were sourced from my server's AH in the space of an hour. Mogging does not need you to step foot in an instance.

Side on, we see the predominant colours in this ensemble.

The shoulders in this outfit (Felstone Mantle of the Sorcerer) are what I used to co-ordinate the rest of the pieces, using yellow, grey and red as the matching accents. This is further complimented on the gloves and the bracers and the brown piping on the cloak is mirrored by the shoes and shirt. I'm not a great fan of the more complicated tiers and am conscious that an outfit like this can suffer from too many colours, but I'm happy that this finished look isn't too cluttered. Robes sadly have a habit of looking squashed and truncated on Gnome frames, but I think this one (Simple Robes of Stamina) looks natural and relaxed. It's a good thing that I no longer need a tabard... ^^

The weapon on this outfit is the only thing I'm not 100% happy with and I think I will be doing some further investigation of the numerous online resources that are popping up for mogging options to find something  a bit more impressive. Weapons are, I am finding, a great starting point for mogging and my druid has something utterly wonderful in that regard to use... but more of that as we go. For now, here's a list of the items I've used in this outfit for reference. Roll on the 4.3 PTR!

  • Rockwurm Hide Handwraps of the Sorcerer
  • Serenity Belt
  • Buccaneer's Cape of the Owl
  • Bloodwoven Mask of Stamina
  • Simple Robes of Stamina
  • Outlanders Boots of the Prophet
  • Felstone Mantle of the Sorcerer
  • Brown Linen Shirt
  • Taijl Quarterstaff of the Bandit
  • Arcane Bands

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is That All There Is?

Back in the old days, even the Junk was worth summat...

Inspired by Nostalgia (TM), I would like this morning to lament the state of Daily Quest Rewards in the Secondary Professions.

Utterly disillusioned by Molten Front dailies (and I know I'm not alone in that regard) I have found myself returning to Northrend with an increasing frequency to not only re-run the Argent Tournament (Crusaders Seals = Alliance Pets = KER-CHING!) but to revisit the cookery and fishing quests. There is, in P's case, no actual need to do these: I have all the relevant Achievements covered, I'm maxxed skill-wise. So, why bother?

It's the Goodie Bags ^^

I suppose, after so long being a slave to the RNG, I've become accustomed to the random nature of rewards. The problem with the current rewards in the Alliance capitols is simple: they're rubbish. The junk you can get from the Fishing Bags might have the occasional touch of flavour text but there's no happy surprises to be had like the Porcelain Bell, for instance (or the New Age Painting, or any of the other items that had an above-average sale price) When the Bags made their first appearance in TBC it made the Daily an absolute joy, and part of me thinks I should go back and say 'hi' to Old Man Barlow in my daily runabout as well. Many of the items that dropped in his bags have a huge value even now to the L1 Banker Brigade, and the Fish Hooks (not BoP like the Glow Worms) are very useful for helping alts level their skills.

I've been fishing a long time. I maxxed my skill back in Vanilla. I am, in that regard a sad git well aware of the monetary value of rod and line (it helped purchase my first epic ground mount, back when flying was but a dream) and I wish that people could be encouraged to take up the profession with something more exciting than a 7th Place Fishing Trophy as incentive. Before someone mentions it I am aware that Blizzard stuck the Dalaran Fishing Rods back into the loot table, but I don't think it's much fun getting a sparkly reward and then discovering you need another x skill points to be able to use it. Rewards need to be more carefully considered and not hastily re-hashed from other places.

I think the entire Secondary Profession grind could so with a significant overhaul: getting Cookery Tokens at L10 is all very well but being totally unable to purchase anything with them that will help you raise your cookery skill seems utterly pointless: how hard would it be to allow people to buy a stack of meat/fish for an appropriate-low-level recipe for a token? How about some new 'fun' recipes for lower levels that don't make you traipse all across both continents looking for a special ingredient? How about introducing a variant of the Chef's Hat, for instance? The offhand Rolling Pin that is Cookie's Tenderiser is just BEGGING to be used in some variety. If you want to recycle why not give Chef's a portable stove (using the Goblin BBQ as a template) which could give a unique variant of the 'Well Fed' buff? You could give us special tabards that would return us to the Trainers...

It would make logical sense to do this overhaul in an Expansion, and as Archaeology Dailies have been mooted for some time now all three of the Professions could be attacked in one hit. A lot of this disparity is wrapped up in the progression nature of levelling through two continents, and I hope that if Blizzard's plan is to rationalise the questing mechanics from 1-85 for consistency the same will eventually be true for recipes and quests related to them. In the meantime, I'll be spending some time travelling and revisiting the old Dailies from all four continents, and seeing what surprises I can turn up in those daily reward packages. After all, it's cheaper than buying Fortune Cards from the AH...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

4.3 News :: 10 Reasons To Worry About Looking For Raid...

I've just returned from my annual dental examination. As I sat being poked by my very attractive Polish Dentist it occurred to me that perhaps I'd been unfair on my initial judgement of the Looking for Raid system. Things won't be that bad. They have the potential to be much, MUCH worse. As bad as X rays and clean-ups that leave your gums bleeding, if I'm honest.

Knowing what most of us do about how LFG currently functions, and that the system is far from perfect, here's ten reasons why I'd be very worried indeed about joining that particular queue come 4.3:

1. They say Fifteen Minutes, but They're Lying ^^

Getting five people to click the green tick on a ready check can be a trying task, especially during the weekends. Getting twenty-five people to do the same has the potential to be utterly disastrous. Waiting times as a result are only ever there as an extremely rough guide. When someone rejects the queue you reset and after that, it's anyone's guess. I can see, in the early days of LFR that it won't take that long to get your 25 together, but when it comes to checking whether they're all in front of their keyboards at the same point... hands up how many will be alt-tabbed reading Facebook?

2. So, You Came Here as WHAT, Exactly?

One of the strengths of the LFG system has to be it's ability not to stick people of the same class in a five man, thus making loot rolls (allegedly) less stressful. Put 25 people in the same situation and I'm betting that lines are going to get blurred really, REALLY quickly. Tanks rolling on dps loots for OS? Dps deciding they'd like that tank loot ahead of the Tanks? Healers getting shafted on spirit gear because the dps needs the Cataclysmically Epic achievement? If the loot system we're using in LFR is the same as LFG then it's all going to happen. That's why Master Looter was invented, with the vain hope that the person you put in charge has a conscience and will do the right thing. This is my biggest single issue with any Random Raid Generator: you cannot account for individual greed. You'll just have to hope that the other 24 people came with a conscience.

3. Tanks Pull. I said, TANKS PULL.

There's a lot of trust when you group with random people. You have to hope they understand that the Tank is the one who leads the pace of the instance. You also have to pray that Hunters have autofire and sticky targeting turned off and that the Locks and Warlocks understand how to make their pets behave. Actually, anyone is capable of the crass pull: mages getting too close to polymorph a mob, not noticing the patrol steaming towards you... anything is possible.

Explain to me how in 25 man people like that aren't going to make a raid collapse in short order?

4. BRB 5 mins, Dinner.

This one bothers me a lot, actually.

Random afk's are all very well in five mans, and the Vote to Kick system comes into it's own when you only have one person to remove. What happens if a fifth of your Raid go afk? Are you REALLY going to need NINETEEN other people to sanction the removal of a player... How will you accurately police when people disappear? You've also got to hope that the system won't be giving leadership to a guy/girl who's also afk when you need someone to re-queue you to replace the guy who just went to help his brother move some furniture...

5. With a Little Help From My Friends.

You're in a Guild, there's 18 of you and you fancy doing 25. LFR will be fantastic for you if you fancy some (not top notch but OK) upgrades and a chance to meet up with Deathwing. It might also be fabulous for the seven random people who come to help you, assuming you in the bigger group all have morals and scruples. What's to stop a large majority group from arranging to roll on all loot before you start and to distribute it through the Guild at the expense of the randoms who joined? What's to stop the larger group from refusing to co-operate if any of the other seven cause a problem? I cannot see Blizzard making this interface and limiting the number of people who can join as a Group, and as a result there is the potential for mob mentality to have a serious bearing on how everything is done.

Yes, I know I'm making large and disparaging assumptions about groups of people. No, that's not a good thing to do. The sad fact is, I've seen it done in 25 Man PuG's.

I don't think a need/greed roll will ever cut it with a bunch of people you don't know.

6. Boss Tactics.

You all know how to do this boss, right? How many people haven't been here before? ALL OF YOU?

Right, who clicked healing again? ^^

7. Who Doesn't Understand?

In the US I am guessing this might not be as big a deal, but in Europe I know from bitter experience that this can be a major issue: not everyone is using the same language. I've been in five mans with people who clearly know each other and are fluent in their tongue but seem loathed to take mine on board as being relevant. How will the LFR system deal with the vast number of language servers on the European realms? Is everyone even going to want to use English to communicate?

They don't now on English-speaking servers, and this seems to be the fault of those of us native English speakers who can't grasp their language to begin with :( I'm really sorry you don't like the rules, but they are there for a reason... oh hang on, they've gone afk... ^^

8. When it All Breaks Down...

You're at the final phase of the 'easier' Deathwing encounter Suddenly there's a massive fight between the tank and the healers and loads of people leave. Or do they?

If you spent a couple of hours wiping to get to the end of the LFR Instance you're really going want to keep the ID so you can finish it, right?

How are you going to deal with the troublesome people who won't leave and you can't kick because your ability to remove them is on cooldown? What if that's you?

9. Don't Mention The Achievements!

This one's bothering me far more than it should. Maybe it's because I think the games pushing more and more towards being a way to instantly gratify those who are used to the XBox version of achievements or maybe it's just the Sad Old Git in me coming to the fore.

Thinking about it, actually completing an instance using this system might be far more of an accomplishment than it first looks. Maybe there should be more achievements.

10. And After All That...

Yay, you completed a 25 man raid. However, it's not proper raiding. Let's be clear about that.

This will introduce players to the content and mechanics of the fights so that they are more prepared for an actual raid.

Tell me, what was the point in doing all that again? ^^

We need more information on how all this is going to work. WTB [A Decent Explanation of What The HELL is Going On], PST!

4.3 News :: Say That Again...?

Rogues will get a legendary dagger and exciting quest line to go with it. The lore for the dagger has not been decided upon yet.

Rogues, eh? The class no-one can ever find on my server when they're needed for a Baradin Hold Class Run. The class I know no-one in my Guild plays as a main. The class that even seem to have vanished from PvP (at least when I play it) Is it time to invest in more leather to make gear at the AH as a bunch of people drop stealth and finally do those last five levels? Is this Blizzard's way of reminding us they don't hate melee after all? More significantly, I am sensing an AWFUL LOT of QQ about this, most of it coming from melee Shaman... ^^

However, this revelation pales into utter insignificance when placed against the following nuggets:

  • Looking for Raid tool raids will be easier than normal raids using a new level of difficulty (Looking For Raid).
  • The Looking for Raid tool will only work for 25 man raids, not 10 man.
  • Players will get different achievements and loot from doing Random Raid mode, no normal mode achievements or perks will be gained.
  • This will introduce players to the content and mechanics of the fights so that they are more prepared for an actual raid.

This new tier will become the place where EVERYONE who wants to get better gear for their alts can go to experience all the great things that Raids bring: random afk-ing, bad play, fights over the less than proper gear and the inevitable meltdown as people realise this is another gimmick to allow people to get free stuff without effort just a pale imitation of proper raiding. I had wondered how Blizzard would work around the Legendary Quest item drops in Firelands using the Looking For system (how does a computer work out if you're rolling main spec/off spec without a serious reprogramme?) and it appears that their solution to the issue is simply to take the loot out and make sure people know this Isn't Proper Raiding, So That's OK.

The repercussions of this choice are, thinking about it, frankly HUGE. Will the new loot for this tier be the same skins as the normal loot but with lesser stats? What about the 'different achievements'? So what if they're not Normal Mode, they're ACHIEVEMENTS WHICH I MUST HAEV11!!!1!!! And why oh WHY OH WHY are we doing this in 25 Man mode only? Surely you want to introduce people to raiding in an environment where they will not be allowed to sit back and let other people do the work. I know 25 Man's hardly slacking but really... people are going to be carried, and learn nothing, because it happens. 10 Man would make more sense because it would mean more people are likely to gain something positive because you all have to pull your weight.

Ironically the post that MMO referenced all this from has mysteriously vanished. Maybe this is an April Fool's Joke that missed the original date?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scared Now!

I have had for some time an issue with accessing via Firefox. As a result I have Chrome installed exclusively for this purpose, and was slightly perturbed this afternoon when I loaded my profile for P to be met with the following:

Aye, he's a fine lookin' lad an' all but HE'S NOT A GIRL. I even logged on quickly just to check summat untoward had not transpired, and I am still as I was in game.

Still, it makes me think what my (mostly female) family would look like if gender-transposed...

[EDIT: Pretty certain this glitch is a result of wearing the Pirate Hat when logging out, making the game think I'm male... ^^]

That's Torn It!

Before patch 4.3 is released, we want groups who are working on Heroic-difficulty content to be able to get as close to Ragnaros as possible, and we want players who are tackling normal progression to be able to experience as many of the encounters as they can. To achieve these goals, we’ll be toning down the difficulty of both normal and Heroic raids through hotfixes in the coming weeks. In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released.

Well, there's a surprise. It took us a couple of weeks to blitz through the content post 4.2, it makes logical sense to put the nerf in this time before the new content to allow people a chance to gear for Deathwing.

I can see a lot of people being hacked off by this but for the more 'casual' raiders this is fantastic news. Everyone has a chance to start on The Big Chin of Doom on the same page. So what if some people may have only just started it while others are rereading the same passages for the nth time...?

This also makes me wonder when we can expect to see Patch 4.3 live on Servers. I see early December being bandied about after calculations on Legendary Staff quest item rates changed. With the class review stuff that popped up yesterday, I'd say it's time to make sure I have some 85's copied on the PTR this week...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are you Going to Equip That?

WTB [Reset Button] for Unfortunate Loot Issues...

It appears that last night, while I was in bed, there was some Drama in Guild.

In six years I have experienced just about every variety of Drama there is going, including most notably being told by an ex-Guildie and his partner that I was suffering from a serious mental disorder and should be hospitalised because of my judgement. Needless to say, that slice of lunacy ended in tears. It shouldn't have happened, and could have been avoided (with reflection) but with the people involved there was, thinking about it, a measure of inevitability that it did. Some people just attract conflict.

I think we all know someone like that. This post is not about me them.

In my experience of PuG-ing, both 5 Man and Raid (pre 10/25 lockouts), the mouthy ones are never the real issue. The biggest dramas inevitably result from the people you least expect. Whether it's the lucky stiff who gets an item accidentally Master Looted to them and decides to make a run for it, the individual who chooses to roll on an item that is UTTERLY inappropriate for them but would be an upgrade and reward the 'Epic' achievement, or the up-to-that-point quiet and polite person who loses the roll on an item which he believes should be his/hers by right and then rages in Raid until they are summarily ejected, it's the Purple Loot that drives people crazy only slightly more than blowing the Achievement you ALSO managed to ruin by going afk where you did. Weapons and Trinkets especially remain A Big Deal (especially in Firelands with so many BiS items being BoE drops) and having heard about the particular issue that caused my husband hassle last night I feel it is time to re-iterate something that should be far more common knowledge than it is. Blizzard won't care if your loot is ninja-d, unless you have a set of loot rules that they can look up to prove you were.

It's terribly simple: if you want to make sure you're safe in a PuG, make the Leader state in Raid how any loot will be distributed BEFORE YOU START. Take a screenshot when they do for good measure (unless of course you're in a Raid my husband is running, whose loot rules run to over 25 lines. He'll expect you to link the item you're upgrading before rolling or he'll ignore you. In that case you may need several.) So, should your Raid Leader (or indeed anyone else) pull a fast one, when you ticket Blizzard to complain there is a very good chance you will get your item back if it were taken from you. If you don't, it doesn't matter how much QQ you waste in Trade or anywhere else, you're out of luck. You are the author of your own destiny in these situations. If your Raid Leader refuses to do this, it's time to leave, however good the group might look. If you stay and it all goes Pete Tong, you have only yourself to blame.

With a cross-server LFR Interface being mooted it's becoming more and more essential that you take care before you join any PuG. For the grief it might save you, it's hardly an effort.

Just remember to equip that BoE as soon as you get it. No-one likes a greedy git.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This Week, I will be Mostly...

Yaaaarrrrr! YAAAARRR!!!  *cough*  You get the idea...

During the next seven days, I will be mostly...

  • Wearing my Burgy Blackheart's Handsome Hat for anything and everything. I will also be combining it with my Vrykul Drinking Horn for GIANT GHOST GNOME ACTION.

  • Doing moar achievings on my Warlock who, quite amazingly, is now doing 20k in boss fights in Random Heroics. Have done a bunch of Cookery-related gubbins at the weekend I think we might try and knock off some Heroic TBC Runs for Dungeon dingage.

  • Collecting moar Volatiles on the various Family Miners. Trugold sales are decent and constant right now and using the CD's seems like a good way to generate the moolah. W can use any spare Elementium stacks for prospecting and for stockpiling gems ahead of 4.3.

  • Levelling my second Jewelcrafter (B the Pally) so we have MOAR GEM OPTIONS.

  • Using less capital letters in all subsequent Blog posts. YOU WISH11!!!11!!!