Friday, November 04, 2011

The Chicken Dance!

Go look it up. You KNOW you want to :D

Dead Yeti's start at A, Robot Chicken at B. Gnome, get out of the shot!

With Blizzard's announcement that player's vanity pets will soon be able to battle each other, there will be those of you looking at the one or two pages of companions you own and wishing they'd done more work picking up the multitude of cute critters scattered across the game's continents. There are those of us too, with an eye on the Auction House, who know that this is the time to start exploiting our knowledge of the game to bring those pets that are the most desired (and the hardest to find) to you, for only a small fee :D At this point I should recommend the truly excellent Warcraft Pets which is a fabulous place to read up on exactly how many companions there are in game, and how you can get hold of them. I think it's safe to assume that some of the harder to find pets are likely to possess some of the more sought-after fighting abilities. With this in mind, I've been thinking about which of these cute guys are going to be the ones that will be worth the most as AH sales, and I think I'll start this occasional series of How To Cash in on the Minipet Thing with my #1 choice. Ladies and Gnomes, I give you the Mechanical Chicken:

The big thing to notice here is that this girl's not soulbound, even though you complete a set of quests to get her. There's only one major downside to grabbing her: once you've done the quests on a character you can't do them again. For an alcoholic like me this is clearly not an issue: I have at least six characters at the appropriate level who are capable of completing this chain. That's a lot of metal chicken to stockpile :D Getting her for an 85 is about three hours work, so you can knock this off in an evening. You'll need to kill mobs in three areas: Hinterlands, Tanaris and Ferelas. All mobs in this area have a chance to drop the quest item you'll require:


Once you have these, you'll be sent to the three locations where the Mechanical Chickens are lying, and you will be asked to escort the chicken to a safe spot so it can take off and return to Booty Bay. When I did this with P back in Vanilla the escorts were a proper challenge, but they have been vastly simplified with Cataclysm and even for an alt at level you should not have too much trouble completing them all easily. Once you complete all three and return to Booty Bay, you will be given a quest by chicken inventor Oglethorpe Obnoticus, An OOX of Your Own. That's all there is to it!

The savvy collector, whilst killing mobs to get this item to drop, can maximise the chances of making more money (and advancing reps) by picking the mobs they choose to grind. In Ferelas, for instance, I recommend killing the Noxious Whelps you'll find around Jademir Lake (surrounding Dream Bough) as they have a chance to drop a Tiny Emerald Whelpling (while you're there there's also a chance to get a Sprite Dartling but bear in mind both are pretty low drop rates and the latter is BoP [*]) If you have a skinner I'd also suggest taking the time to clean up after yourself for additional cash. If you have a herbalist there's tons of Blindweed here, if you're a miner there's Iron Ore as you travel. The key to doing these kinds of grinds isn't necessarily the number of mobs you can kill in an hour, is what you can gather to maximise the amount of cash you make as a result. Similarly in the Hinterlands there are lots of beasts to kill: if you can't skin I'd suggest picking humanoid mobs for their cloth drops (Trolls!) In Tanaris, killing the Southsea Pirates are a great way to help boost your Steamweedle Cartel rep... the clever farmer looks at everything as an additional income stream :D

I did a 'dry run' for this article with the Lock yesterday, and her chicken's currently up on the AH for a shade under 9k. That's not bad for three hours work, all told. Of course, that's only a profit if it sells ^^ Remember folks, having an item is no guarantee you will be able to sell it. However, with a pet this 'rare' you're looking at what I'd consider to be a fairly decent investment of time. As a result I'll be sending the family out in the next few weeks to pick up a few more...

[*] As Blizzard have announced this morning that Seasonal Pets are no longer BoP, there is a chance of pets like the Sprite Darter also being removed from Soulbound status. Should one drop while you're farming and you already have it, I'd STRONGLY SUGGEST keeping it just in case...


Hot news from the PTR!

I've wanted this change for a very VERY long time. This will allow the savvy AH-er a chance to 'stockpile' these pets so they can be sold outside the Holiday window. It will allow those levelling alts outside of the Festival periods to receive them. I am wondering if this will be extended to include pets that are drops from bosses as well.

Ironically this ties in very nicely with the scheduled post (about Chickens) that I was writing before this nugget popped up on MMO Champion. Clearly, as is the case with the Guardian Cub, Blizzard have acknowledged that people need to be able to get pets in lots of different ways. After all, if you're gonna create an entire mini-game around them, you need to allow people to catch them all pick up as many as possible...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Go Do Something Else.

I had a plan for a post today.

Instead, I am going to go out and not think about Warcraft for a bit.

I think, on reflection, this is the best idea for everyone concerned.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Just the One, Please...

Oh look. It's another Ingame Pet ^^

With the minimum amount of fuss, the Guardian Cub has popped up on the Blizzard Store.

I've bought one, for P, who is designated the 'pet collector.' As I purchased it this morning I dimly registered the fact that somehow the whole Vanity pet collecting thing has lost a little of it's lustre, at least for me. Yes, I'm sure it's impossibly cute and all, but it marks an important change in the way Blizzard fleeces me for cash uses my money. I am still not entirely convinced this move is a good thing.

I know I certainly wouldn't buy any to sell on the AH or give as a gift. If I did that, I'd send a pet that could be used across all the recipient's alts and not just the one character. that, in my opinion, would be a far better use of my cash.

Needless to say, I won't be buying any more. In that respect, Blizzard will not capitalise from this pet via my actions. Sorry boys.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Failure to Fly.

Last Year's Model. This year, at least 100% more UNOBTAINABLE.

I can remember this time last year lamenting the fact that P had failed to get the Horseman's Reins from Hallows End when pretty much all the rest of my alts had. In fact, I distinctly recall at the time making a comment about rarity value. This year, they sorted that issue ^^

I've seen two people in Guild get the mount this time around. I ran the Horseman Daily with every eligible alt and not one dropped. Nada. Zip. Of course, it could just be that I was spectacularly lucky last year with the drop rates. That fact did occur to me, but that would mean that there would be more people riding around on said mount, but I saw people complaining in Trade almost daily. Not the same people, I should add...

I then had the rather odd situation of my L80 Pally in Stormwind (on said mount) being whispered by someone asking me how it was possible I had said mount if I was only L80, when you needed to be L84 to enter the instance. The conversation went roughly as follows:

ME: I won this mount last year.
HIM: Last year?
ME: Yes, when it was Hallows End last year. I won it then.
HIM: Why aren't you L85 now?
ME: Because this is an alt and I levelled other characters first.
HIM: Pallys rock, you should level.

I'd already planned to do just that with said Pally this week. If random people in Trade are suggesting the same, who am I not to go along with the suggestion?

Monday, October 31, 2011

This Week I will be Mostly...

WTB Gnome Hunters, PST. They're so SMALL!

  • Organising my two current accounts. By this I mean a) deleting alts I know that I'm not going to play any more and b) stripping out loots on the bankalts for sale. Am crossing fingers that Guild Transfers will be available in Europe next week so I can change my Horde Druid to Alliance.

  • Changing the sex of my Paladin, and getting her ready to level to 85. After that it will be the #2 Hunter and then the Gnome Priest. Then I suspect it will be the #2 Druid (assuming that we have guild transfers ^^)

  • Hoping that the Darkmoon Faire appears on the PTR. ./crosses fingers

  • Attempting to write a novel in 30 days. I may, infact, be insane. We will see.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fings Aint Wot They Used to Be...

I keep his picture in my Bank, to help me remember...

There's been quite a bit of talk around the Blogsphere that I inhabit of late about how the Game gets things wrong: Big Bear Butt is having trouble getting the Hallows End plate helm to drop (and I know he's not alone in that regard) whilst that Grumpy Elf makes some very salient points about how Cataclysm missed the target. It's never easy to please all the people, as Blizzard must now be acutely aware, but the fact remains they're still 'doing the business': even if people aren't happy, they're talking about the Game. Any publicity is still that, after all.

It seems to me, when people are disenfranchised about the game generally, they do something which seems to happen in the Real World with unerring regularity: look to the past, where things were always 'so much better'. It's all very well referring to Nostalgia as an answer to any current malaise, but the truth is often a far less rosy picture than most people will tend to recall from memory. Vanilla WoW was not great, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it held one overriding advantage over the 'current' content: no-one had ever done things like that before. PvP, 40 man raids, an epic storyline covering two races full of hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS of different people worldwide. How did this game manage to eclipse everything else in such a definitive fashion? I reckon if Blizzard could find an answer to the question they'd already have it bottled and would be selling it to other game designers across the planet... My personal take on Warcraft's personal success has always been that it has the ability to be completely different things to disparate groups of individuals: it can accommodate both the hardcore gamer and the casual potterer side by side. You can simply play this as a fishing game, or as an Auction House speculator, or as a PvP-er... and there are thousands of points in between. Role playing, Heroic Modes, Achievements... the diversity the game has continued to foster and nurture are where the real successes lie.

It should come as no surprise therefore that The Panda Expansion has deliberately focussed on creating new avenues of diversity, considering the perceived failures in Cataclysm.  The difference this time is that Blizzard appear to be admitting that they are aware that their game is played in many different ways, away from it's original remit. They are providing a mini-game for the first time with the Vanity Pet Pokemon, they are adding Medals to Dungeons: these things already exist outside the World of Warcraft and are proven ways of extending a game's longevity. This is all well and good, but there is still the issue of how they will address many of the holes that have appeared in the existing content. Will there finally be a decent overhaul of the Professions system to cover the issues that exist therein? (Note To Self: Remind me to write a 'What's Wrong with Professions' post) Will Archaeology get any love at all and will it's potential be expanded upon or will it be left to gather dust? There's also the issue of how the much-anticipated D3 Auction House will impact on Warcraft, because I cannot believe that if that is hugely successful that we won't see some kind of  knock-on consequence...

None of this however matters to the Naysayers, those who feel Warcraft simply isn't as good 'as it was', and they're right (of course) because when it was great for them was the same time (I would suspect) that everything else was going well, when Real Life and the Game meshed in fabulous synergy. Nostalgia works best I think when you can be objective, when you balance the good and the bad. Some days I do miss 40 man raiding, I remember fondly grinding in Burning Steppes playing 'Spot the Gold Farmer.' Then I remember the less enjoyable stuff, and it occurs to me that over the last six years there have been parts of the game I'll never forget, and those are all wrapped up with the people I play with. Not the characters, the individuals, the people who have become my friends because of all this. Blizzard's greatest success is the community it has created, and when it listens to it things really get done. When it is dismissive and thoughtless however, it can cause untold damage. Even after all this time, they can get it wrong.

I hope that, with the Pandas, Blizzard really can demonstrate their ability to give people what they want without them realising they missed it. I keep my fingers crossed that they will address the issues that I think need looking at instead of simply giving people more ways to distract themselves. Whatever happens however I KNOW there will be those people who will complain that things aint wot they used to be: in shock news, I reckon it's a fairly safe bet that you're never going to be happy whatever Blizzard do, and if I may be so bold it's probably time you went and did something else. For the rest of us, I think it's time we had some more news on what we can actually expect to see in game in the next few months so we can prepare ourselves. It's looking like it's going to be a cold winter, and I for one am looking forward to Quality Entertainment [TM] ...