Saturday, April 07, 2012

[BETA] Bullet Point Update!

Time to play 'Spot the Fish' in this bag :D

The main points:

  • Fishing is Live on beta! Sadly, all fish seem to look like Shoveltusk Steaks at present, and there doesn't seem to be a distinction between fishing inland or in coastal waters. If you decide to fish instead of looking at big pink cubes and getting a headache, you'll be catching Redberry Mandarin, Golden Carp (well DUH) and Jade Lungfish. Let's hope Cookery's gonna catch up with this soon...
  • You now get rested bonus at the Drunken Hozen where I set my HS. Hooray!
  • Plump Intestines have had the Volatiles removed from them \o/ Sadly, they are only giving cash when opened. I look forward to Spirits in the not-too-distant...
  • Still nothing tameable for Hunters. Expect this will happen when we see the new Pet talents appear.
  • Crabs (which were not last time I checked) are now skinnable. I should go find some spiders...
Drops, not unsurprisingly, from Wasps.

We'll come to you with more news, as we have it... :D

[BETA] Archaeology Update!

This is broken. No, really, it is ^^

The rumours of Large Pink Cubes in beta can be confirmed by this reporter, who has now got a headache having to wade through them. However this is not about what's broken, this is about what appears to be fixed.

No sites left in the Jade Forest... :D

The secondary site I found when I first started digging is no longer bugged, and when excavated a third site opened up. Once that was gone... well I'll need XP to be re-introduced and access to the rest of the map before I can advance my skills.

What did I learn from my brief Archaeology binge?

  • Sites could be excavated SIX times (bear in mind I'm a Dwarf though and I have a racial)
  • First site yielded 48 fragments, second site yielded 43
  • I picked up two Pandaren Oracle Bones in my digging
  • None of the new icons or a logo for the Pandaren Digging are yet active in the Professions window. Each item solved only vends for 1g each, I suspect that will change.
  • Each solve gave me ONE Profession Point.

Part of me thinks this might be close to what we'll see Archaeology panning out when Live: lots more digging, each site will give you some gold (plus many of these items may give Lore flavoured rewards and we still have no idea as yet what high level items might/will be added outside Pandaria) but it will still be a 'grind'.

Needless to say, this looks greatly encouraging from the small sample... :D

The Pandaren Preparation Programme!

with thanks to my husband for the awesome logo :D

There is no thing that alliteration can't make more fabulous, and the upcoming Blizzard expansion is no exception. It occurs to me that it might be an idea to make the work I'm doing to get my team of 85's 'Panda Ready' into a handy guide for you good people: even if you're already certain of what you're going to do for preparation, I might highlight something you've forgotten. Therefore starting Monday, we'll be covering the following subjects:

  • Banks and Bags
  • Achievements and Tabards
  • Professions
  • Quests and 'Daily Stacking'
  • Preparing your Panda
  • Accumulating a Nest Egg
  • Odds and Ends

I'm also hoping that people can contribute their hints and tips via comments, so we can build this into a decent 'Go To' Guide for people wanting to know what they can do before the Expansion hits to maximise their time online...

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to finish clearing the decks of Darkmoon quests in anticipation of Noblegarden beginning tomorrow...

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Looking for the Cool Kids...

It's 1986, I'm 20 and this is as good as it gets :D

Success is defined, in it's most basic form, as the favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavours. You set out to do something, you manage it, you succeed. Back when Pretty In Pink was the film to watch (hey, there was flirting in the Computer Lab. THERE WAS A COMPUTER LAB :O) personal success was less about "showing them they didn't break me" and more about having the courage to be out in the first place. If there was a basement room as far away from cool as it was possible to get, that's where you'd have found me back then (and no, I'm not just being self-depreciating. I was woefully naive and unprepared for what the World was about to throw at me.) I often wonder how I'd fare if I was twenty now and I reckon the world I find myself in is a lot more geek-friendly than it was back in the 1980's. Mind you, back then we had James Spader before he went to seed. You win some, and then you lose some...

I had a couple of conversations on Twitter this morning: one on what it is to be cool, and another on how people determine their personal success in game. There are lots of finishing lines to make it to in Azeroth, after all: Glory of the Raider, 8/8 Heroic, Server First... or the first person to 150 Vanity Mounts, or to grab the Professor title. Any of these have the potential to bestow Coolness upon their recipients, depending on which of the Cool Kids' Tables you happen to aspire to sit on... though of course the really Cool Kids don't have a table with the rest of us (at least not one you'll ever get to see...) I'll stop there, because I have real problems sometimes taking myself seriously when I have a conversations with that particular C word in them. Being cool and having success are both horribly subjective states. On certain days, for instance, logging in at all can be considered successful. Saying 'thank you' when someone helps you out in Trade has the potential to be an immensely cool thing to do, if the world around you is slinging mud at each other. You have to take your victories sometimes when you can find them.

This week's been a lot like that, if I'm honest. There's a discussion going on that started with a request that I can both identify and agree with, and which was subsequently addressed on a wider forum which has produced a not-unexpected reaction. It was proof, if it were needed, that there is vast breadth of difference between what people consider acceptable and what is inappropriate in a Gaming Environment. I'm still desperately trying to work out where I stand on all of this, having spent the best part of two days trying to find an answer. The closest I've managed to come until this post was via Twitter:

Even though I can't tell you where my personal definition of Cool currently resides, I know deep down in the fabric of my being that trampling over people's personal feelings if they consider the objectivisation of women in gaming as bad and wrong is just NOT COOL. It's not just women either, it's anything/anyone that marginalises a person's rights. So what if it's just a game: this may be where people come to relax and unwind, but does that mean it has to ignore the basic codes of conduct that we live by? Reality is big and mean and horrible, yes we get that EVERY DAY on the news, but for an average early teen (for instance) if the signals that are sent by designers to those people playing aren't strong and decent ones, we could all be in a lot of trouble. I feel sometimes I'm an exception as a mother who actually watches what her son plays and takes time to understand how the world he inhabits is portrayed. I also know gaming companies always like to roll out the 'we have a rating on our games, you need to understand the complexity of the content' statement when people try and blame games for bad behaviour. The reality is far more complicated than I think a lot of people want to consider.

I recall the horrible feeling that resulted with the quest you'd get in Northrend from the Kirin Tor mages before you headed to The Nexus, where you'd be forced to torture a mage for the information he had. That quest remains, I still hate doing it, because torture even in a game is not something I can cope with. If Ji Firepaw's dialogue remains when the game goes live I'll do what I did when I played him first on beta: ignore it and roll Alliance. However, there might be a chance that dialogue will change as a result of this discussion being instigated. There's the key, right there, someone started it. Even if you don't agree with the sentiment there are many, many people who consider them valid. That should be enough to make the Devs consider a change. This isn't asking for a Mass Effect about face in direction or ending, it's not expecting that it will be done (at least in my mind), it is simply an understanding that words have a great deal of power, and when used well they have the ability to alter your World. What you say, and how you say it, defines what you are after all...

If this happened, at least in my mind, Blizzard will have done a very cool thing indeed, and I won't have a problem saying it. If I've also managed to make any sense with all this, I'll consider that a major success to boot...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

In which there is ACTUAL PLANNING.

139 Vendor recipes? I'm off to Northrend, aren't I? :(

I am informed there is an Expansion coming :D

With this fact finally registering after a couple of weeks there is now the realisation (yet again) I have EVERY PROFESSION on a Toon, and I'm going to have to level them all over again. Add to this that this time around I have one secondary profession (Cookery) which will have further branches of specialisation, and I realise there's no way I'm doing this without a plan. Most of my alts are maxxed on Cookery because I'm a sad completist. This means I can (potentially) send five alts down a specialisation path each. That could be worth a few gold if the items aren't Soulbound :D

First off I'm going to need more bag space.

Secondly, I should probably consider some other variables, namely:

  • Who's going to get levelled first
  • What Professions will be of the most use at Launch
  • What (if anything) will I want to be selling at Launch
  • What needs to be offloaded before Launch
  • Which raw materials I should stockpile to 'kick-start' each profession beforehand.

Whilst I ponder on this, I've made a list. This is all the family with the Professions maxxed, what professions they currently have, and what bag types/items they are currently using.

  • P (Skinning/Leatherworking)
    Skinning Bag, Leather, Volatiles
  • W (Elixir Alchemist/Jewelcrafting)
    Herb Bag/Gem Bag/Cata herbs and gems
  • K (Tailor/Enchanter)
    Enchanting Mats (Vanilla onwards) Cloth Bolts (same)
  • M [Rogue] (Engineering/Mining)
    Engi Mats (from Vanilla), Mining Bags, Cata Ore & Bars
  • N (Enchanting/Inscription)
    Scribe Satchels (inks from Vanilla), Enchanting Bag (Cata mats only)
  • S (Herbalism/Skinning)
    Herb Bag
  • M [Shaman] (Blacksmithing/Mining)
    Mining Bag (Cata ores), BS stuff from vanilla
  • M [Druid] (Flask Alchemist/Herbalism)
    Herbalism Bags, (Herbs from vanilla onwards)
  • G (Engineering/Mining)
    Engi Mats (from Vanilla), Mining Bags, Bars (from Vanilla onwards)
  • B (Jewelcrafter/Miner)
    Languishing in SW doing naff all.

There are two engis here so that I have access to both Gobin and Gnome Pets. There are two Alchemists to take advantage of transmutes and to give Flask and Elixir procs. I don't need two Enchanters any more, if I'm honest, but both have rare recipes that don't as yet overlap so I am loathed to reduce this to one. I had two before the days of Scrolls so I could enchant across two accounts... blimey, how did we ever manage without Scrolls ^^

Anyway I digress. I am considering levelling a third Alchemist for procs. I am also looking at swapping S's skinning skill for mining. I may yet dump an Enchanter altogether. What I do know however is that I have a lot of things I could be doing running up to the Expansion, and if I want them done I'll need to get started soon...

[GUEST POST] To beta or not to beta, that is the question

It's hard work writing this stuff every day, so I asked some of my friends if they'd fancy a swipe at the gig. This is the first of (what I hope will be) a regular feature. Welcome to my first ever Guest Post :D  Take it away Mr J (or T as he is known in-game...)


Hi, allow me to introduce myself. The Godmother has asked me to contribute a guest blog while she recovers from her intensive beta investigation; don't worry folks, she'll be back soon after a deserved lie down in a darkened room and a rub down with a damp copy of the Radio Times.

Greetings! Silly mage hat ftw.

Who am I? Well, I've known our hostess in real life for more years than I care to calculate (hint: decades), long before this 'ere internet thing was around. My gaming dates back to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum - Elite was my first gaming obsession - and our gaming paths have been mostly parallel over the years; unsurprisingly, it was a trial invite from her that introduced me to WoW (and the guild she runs) over six years ago.

So, dear reader, allow me to share a dilemma with you. I signed up for the Annual Pass as soon as it was announced, because frankly it was something for nothing; my subscription automatically renews anyway, so the freebies were exactly that - free. At the time I didn't really give any thought to the beta, because back then I was more concerned about real-life things (work, Leyton Orient's awful start to the season, stuff like that).

But then the beta started and as soon as the first reports started coming in, I started pondering about my own invite as and when it would appear. You see, I hate spoilers. Hate them with a passion. I hate being told something that spoils a surprise, I hate having plot foreknowledge in fiction, I hate anything other than a hint of what's to come. The classic example of this is my favourite TV show both now and when I was a nipper; a programme created and developed with cliffhangers in mind, whose creators fight a constant fight to trickle out information that whets the public's appetite to tune in without revealing too much. I nod 100% in agreement with that show's past and present showrunners, whenever they shake their creative fists at people who deliberately try to spoil it for others.

Careful now.

And now my beta invite has arrived, so the dilemma is real. Because I agree with the Godmother when she says that those with a beta access aren't meant to be there for their benefit, but to test and poke and see what breaks so that Blizzard have a better idea of what needs fixing and what can wait. Heaven knows we've all encountered broken things at launch in the past, where we've thought 'surely somebody spotted this in beta?'. Such as, finding that the Cataclysm enchanting rod pattern could be learnt but not made, then finding that some enchants needed that rod but couldn't be made, then finding that by the time one could make the rod, the enchants had gone grey. Yes, that one still annoys me, even today! I've asked myself what I'd do if I was offered the chance to see behind-the-scenes filming of Doctor Who, and I have to say I'd jump at it. My inner child would never forgive me if I didn't. But this? Is it fair on the whole point of the process to just potter about in a tiny corner of the beta, covering my ears and eyes going 'la la la, I'm not being spoiled'? At the risk of sounding melodramatic, but enabling me to use the following image, do I have the right to be that selfish if I'm signing up to be a beta tester?

The Doctor ponders on whether to reconnect the internet to the beta server

So is it just me, or is anyone else facing this dilemma?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

[BETA] ...and finally...

There's a full list of cookery ingredients up at MMO to round things up. Needless to say, as you've got multiple branches of the skill to max out this time around it might be a good idea to know what you'll be needing to collect... :D

  • Black Pepper
  • Mogu Pumpkin
  • Ox Ribs
  • 100 Year Soy Sauce
  • Sirloin Steak
  • White Turnip
  • Pink Turnip
  • Aged Pink Turnip
  • Tender Brisket
  • Minced Meat
  • Pheasant Breast
  • Forest Boar Meat
  • Raw Tiger Steak
  • Scallions
  • Tough Wolf Flank
  • Goat Chops
  • Juicycrunch Carrot
  • Rice Flour
  • Red Blossom Leek
  • Yak Flanks

I'm hungry after all that posting, I think I'll go off for some Yak Flanks and Aged Pink Turnip... :D

[BETA] And in Cash Cow News...

Caps from MMO. Giggling at potential for making money by me...

And finally, here's your moneymaker for the new Expansion. Jewelcrafters! Here's a way to take all those raw gems you can't sell (that is everything but red) when cut and turn them into something special. I reckon if you're one of the first people selling one of these kiddies you will be quids in, but over time you could have a really nice consistent earner. Needless to say, when you see it, you'll understand...

[BETA] Alchemy Items hint at Possible New Quests?

Screenie from MMO Champion.

Looking through the professions list I saw two items that caught my attention. One was the Silver Filigree Flask and the other is this Awesome Potion. The tooltip is rather confusing, especially as the Endless Master Healing Potion is marked as blue quality and with a different icon. However, if you look at the the tooltip for the Flask, things begin to make sense:

I'm REALLY hoping this could be the start of a trend...

I think both these items will be seeded in appropriate-level Instance loot tables. I'd bet they'll be one for a Mana potion too, and they will only be lootable by Alchemists, the same way that Jewelcrafters can pick up specific items currently for trinkets. I'm REALLY hoping this is the first indicator that all professions will be given additional quests whilst levelling... we'll have to see when we get more details on the other Professions.

If it is then it's a big step in the right direction :D

[BETA] Back to Basics

I woke up to MMO's data-mining of some ACTUAL PROFESSIONS INFORMATION, and once I had recovered from the shock (^^) I took a bit of time to digest what we were given. If you want the exhaustive list I strongly suggest you check out the relevant post: as I'm not a data miner but a commenter, I'll cherry pick some details from this post, most particularly what raw materials you can expect to be gathering in your early weeks on the Island. Time to start remembering what's going to be worth keeping and what can be vended... :D

Old icons but NEW HERBS \o/

So, Herbalism first. Here's the items you're going to be looking for:

  • Silkweed
  • Rain Poppy
  • Green Leaf Tea
  • Fool's Cap
  • Snow Lily
  • Golden Lotus (being shown as green quality by MMO)

As that Lotus is green it's unlikely this early on you'll be herbing them alone, I'm betting they will be a chance to drop with another herb(s). However, looking at what will be our new Volatiles list, that might not be the case:

  • Spirit of Spring (Living)
  • Spirit of Summer (Fire)
  • Spirit of Autumn (Earth)
  • Spirit of Winter (Water)
  • Spirit of the Season

There is also the Spirit of Harmony, which I've established is a random mob drop. Let's go out on a limb here: there will be water, fire, earth and living elementals on the new continent so I'll assume that they'll all drop at least one of these as shown above. The wildcard one is interesting, especially the tooltip: "Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter..." I'm betting this will be an actionable item from higher level mobs, possibly boss mobs, that gives a chance to drop a combination of Spirits. It could also be part of the Reward Cache you get as part of the new Bonus Roll system. Will we have Spirits of Summer and Autumn dropping from mining nodes? Will we get Spring from herbs? For that we need gathering implemented on Beta, and as of an hour ago my Plump Intestines from skinning were still yielding Volatiles. Perhaps on Thursday...

Next up, the Mining list:

  • Ghost Iron
  • Manticyte
  • White Trillium (Green quality)
  • Black Trillium (Green quality)

This is something of a departure: am gonna guess Black Trillium is somehow Sha-tainted ore (that's the Panda's version of corruption if you're not keeping up)  where as the White Stuff is the pure version. MMO are also showing a +15 Mining Pick in game files which will allow miners with a gathering enchant to get +20 and put them on a par with herbalists and skinners. Would love to know where this comes from... :D

Finally I can fill in the gaps on my Skinning list:

  • Tanji Leather Scraps
  • Tanji Leather
  • Heavy Tanji Leather
  • Prismatic Scale
  • Magnificent Hide (blue quality)

Looks like there's no Dragon Scale or equivalent as yet. Considering how many beasts I've skinned in beta thus far the Hide's drop rate looks as if it will be as low as in previous expansions. Let's hope I can swap Heavy Tanji for them as we can currently for Pristine Hides...

Needless to say as it stands only Skinning is currently active in beta and I think will receive some tuning before very long. If and when that changes you'll here about it... :D

Monday, April 02, 2012

[BETA] Notes from a Pandaren Island :: Day Two

As the lunacy of the weekend had died down a bit I thought I'd venture back to the Island.

Ooh look, new level.

Once you hit 86 you stop gaining XP, so I assume I'll be off again on Thursday morning (making a quiet mental bet we'll be getting weekly Beta Builds, on a Thursday. It's been the case for the last two ^^) when I also assume the World will open up a bit. First thing I check at 86 is Talents before remembering it doesn't work like that any more...

So no Glyph swapping until they give us Inscription, then...

I suppose if I'd thought about it I'd have worked out that Dust of Disappearance would be useless past 85: I'm rather glad I transferred my Scribe over before the rush, and a herbalist to boot... but we need recipes. At least I know what to look for. Also note that these tomes allow you to change a talent... :O

I have quested onwards for an hour and a bit this morning, and have reached the point that ANY screenies are going to give the entire Starting Area game away, so we will instead focus on what will now be referred to as the Grey Trash Drops of Mystery...

The most interesting bag I own :D

That pile of purple Prismatic Scales seem to be the equivalent of Deepsea Scales currently: they drop from crocs, eels and turtles in fairly consistent numbers, so I'd expect them to be a strong constituent in LW recipes. I've kept the four Plump Intestines unopened so I can open one every new Beta Build in the hope of stuff that's not Volatile. The stack of 11 Gumweed I suspect may be indicative of a move back to area-specific mini-buffs:

Useful resource = class specific, intelligent buffs :D

I also gathered the grey items so you can see the flavour text. Only one directly suggests vendor sale, so I am still holding out a hope there is more to these items than initially meets the eye:

Drop :: Basilisks

Drop :: Mistlurkers (obviously)
Drop :: Porcupines!
Go on, work it out ^^

Drop :: Tigers

Rest assured that we'll be keeping an eye out for overpriced grey trash drops as we move through the new world. I can pretty much guarantee you won't be hearing about this here anywhere else either :P

Yet again, I want to make a guild called 'Temp Weapon'

I will continue questing later, but for now I leave you with this. The meditation quest is a PIG. I'd suggest a change or some instructions at least or lot of people are going to get really, really cross :P

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Blimey Charlie!

I seem to have made it through to Round Three of Mog Madness.

I was really nervous all week, I'll admit. I'm not a big fan of contests. I leave the competitive stuff to the other members of my family and although I will admit I have my moments, it's normally replaced very quickly with a desire to go hide at the back. Looking at the proposed outfits as they appeared over the week on other people's websites I got even more nervous. You guys are GOOD, really very clever and see ways of combining things with other things that frankly I don't even consider. It was probably a good thing it was a mail outfit that I had to use, because in the end I've wanted something new for P that wasn't black, and that would go with my staff.

Looking like an NPC? Totally accidental.

My overriding desire when I make an outfit is subtlety. I'm not looking to stand out in the crowd, I'm just after something that makes me feel comfortable wearing it. I'm also quite keen on creating outfits that match with the 'personality' of the toon wearing them. P has always been about doing her job without fuss, and being able to meld into a crowd if required. I was frankly stunned when the judges suggested this could be an NPC outfit as a result. I'd done my best to make it look fluid and for the belt to be almost unnoticeable, which I think I achieved.

As I'm wearing it in game, with a staff...

For those who ask about such things, here is the item breakdown:

  • Nixod's Chain-Threshed Spaulders 
  • Knight's Cloak
  • Vicious Gladiator's Chain Armour 
  • Vicious Gladiator's Chain Gloves
  • Tortured Bracer
  • Blue Belt of Chaos
  • Nexus Strider Legwraps
  • Defender Boots

The next round should be interesting, as I try and build my outfits in game with the actual items, and The Wavemender’s Mantle looks like it has a fairly low drop rate from the Black Temple ^^

[EDIT: I caved and got Mog It. The Round 3 outfit is done and with the judges. You'll have to wait until this time next week to see it though... :P]