Saturday, June 16, 2012

Facerolling Old Content for Profit and Pleasure :: The Argent Tournament, Part the First.

Even back when this content was current, I was on my own... ^^

Patch 3.1. Blimey, those were the days. No-one had even considered a fiery end to the world back then because Arthas was going to turn us all into frozen lollies or mindless drones (and possibly both). In the halcyon days of Wrath, there was nothing better to do than joust... and ironically, that's still the case. Every day, for quite some time now, I've been going back to the Tournament to earn the currency that matters, the Champion's Seal, that will buy me not only mounts but BoE pets to use as investment currency for the onset of Pandaria.

Starting out is actually the hardest part, because it involves jousting. It's taken me from 3.1 until now to get good at it, so be warned: if you have a problem with vehicle-based combat, this is going to be tough going. If you can make it through the first three days, you're laughing. With the help of my recently-dinged Hordie for screenies, let us break down what you will need to grasp.

Stage 1: Aspirants. Getting the Hang of Poking Things.

The Starting quest-givers in the Horde tent. Mogging gear needs work, guys ^^

Once you start at the Tournament, your options are pretty limited. It will be three days before you can start on anything constructive in terms of collecting stuff, and another five days after that before you can get access to any pets. So, that's EIGHT DAYS of doing quests for no discernible gain: if you are the kind of person who gets frustrated easily and isn't overly patient, don't say I didn't warn you. Assuming you are in for the long haul, you'll spend the next three days with these guys above (or their Alliance counterparts) They will offer you an initial set of three quests:

  • Mastery of Melee
  • Mastery of the Charge
  • Mastery of the Shield-Breaker

These are all designed to get you savvy with your mounted combat skillz, and are really rather boring until you grasp that you'll need to do these repeatedly to progress, so it really is worth taking the time to learn how to use them all.

My mounted combat bar. Appearance may vary :D Feet are optional.

I can't teach you how to joust (but check the comments for some top tips from pro jousters!). I've only just grasped it myself, so all I can do is point out how important mastering the basics will be to succeeding (and thus raking in seals) as you go along. Mastery of Melee helps you use ability one on the bar (Thrust), Mastery of the Charge is for ability three (Charge) and Mastery of the Shield Breaker is ability two (guess what its called ^^) This is the basis of your time on whatever mount you find yourself with: at the start you have training wheels and basic mounts only, but as time (and your reputation) increases, you'll get more choice. Ability four is the other ability you need to grasp: Defend. It stacks up to 3 times and the number of stacks is indicated by the number (and colour) of shields around you:

  • 1 Charge = Red
  • 2 Charges = Yellow
  • 3 Charges = Green

This is how you defend yourself against the NPC's you will fight, and its never really made clear anywhere in your training how important the shields are, until you come to fight someone else and not the targets. Keep 3 charges up AT ALL TIMES: this equates to a 90% damage mitigation. You will lose a shield charge every time you charge or are attacked. Refresh as soon as the ability comes off cooldown.

Ability 5 is important, but only at the end of a fight. It's a one minute CD self-heal. Use it when OOC to keep your mount (and by definition yourself) alive.

In your first three days, you will earn cash for your efforts, plus rep with the Silver Covenant faction you're aligned with (I'm not sure whether you get Argent Crusade rep as well, I'll need to start a new toon to check this and so will update tomorrow). This rep is important in relation to the quests that will open up to you later and the seals you can access for pets: if you're coming to the Tournament at 85 and you've not done Northrend quests (or indeed are not yet exalted with the Crusade from the questlines in EPL) you may wish to look at ways of increasing your reputation with both factions in tandom.

After three days of learning the ropes by repeating your basic skills (plus a choice of one of three 'find me a sword by doing x' quests that you'll see again in Part Two) you'll be sent to a section of the Tournament to complete Up to the Challenge where you'll need to show you grasped all the basics and defeat an NPC jouster. I'll let you into a secret, this took me four hours the first time I did it. If you can't progress though this the next bits will be hard work so its worth making sure you're comfortable with what is being asked of you.

You'll also be given a side quest (The Black Knight of Westfall/The Black Knight of Silverpine) which is worth completing not just for the extra cash but for the reputation. Once done, you'll come back to this once you make it through Stage Two, which we'll look at tomorrow.


It can be quite disheartening when you start out, especially as you'll be waiting for a week to see any discernible progression for your efforts. Needless to say, it is worth sticking with these early days. Certain tournament pets are selling in excess of 5000g on my server. I'm sure they'll be worth more when the expansion hits because there's no-one else on my server right now doing these dailies...

International Pro-Celebrity Faffing.

Today, it has been all about the Bucket List.

A ding is still a ding, regardless of where.

The Horde Hunter is 85, and after a day of pretty much solid back to back Heroics is up to 348 ilevel. Gear is a total mess, but I made a ton of cash and when gear is decent it will get some love. For now I will cope with variable quality LFG and if I can pull 12k in this gear you can moan at me all you like for the lack of attention on my outfit, especially if I'm carrying your sorry ass.

Oh, and it really isn't the healers fault if the dps stand in crap and die because they don't move. I'm sorry, I was eating some bread at the time ^^

Then, when I'd done all that, it was finally time to sort out the new Support Network.

Redefining elegance in STV. Hordie needs some shades.

As the first Horde pet has rolled out of the Argent Tournament, I realised it was time to reset the STV Neutral AH Team. There were 11 items in total on the AH this afternoon, so I doubt I'll have any issues with transferring stuffs, and now both L1's have appropriate baggage to store stuffs when not doing the Shuffle between factions. The Hordie will be stockpiling items for my Horde Rogue to DE (looking increasingly likely that Goblin lass will make it to 85 before the Expansion) but for now they'll be moving any high value items across for sale.

It's been a quiet day otherwise, but I still intend to put the Druid into storage tomorrow...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bloody Old (and Proud)

Once upon a time...

Today's been rather a splendid day on Twitter, if truth be told.

One of the topics that has surfaced, via is in reference to character age. He is asking people when they achieved their first max level toon: for some people that means a 70, an 80 or an 85. Not here. We go back to 60, and that is, as I discovered today, quite a long way.

P, who is still my Main, became a L60 Dwarven Hunter on September 8th 2005.

My husband had beaten me to the punch by a full week. I am at a loss to remember why (I thought it might be because I was levelling the Lock, but it transpires she didn't exist until January of 2006) but I'm pretty certain I levelled in the Burning Steppes, farming dragons for Leatherworking. This made me go off and see if I could unearth an old screenshot... I can go back three years without too much of an issue, but before that... I have to head to the garage. Watch this space.

Needless to say, if you want a crankly old git who's played this game since the Dinosaurs really did roam Un'Goro, I'm yer lass.

Get orf moi land! :D

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pre-Weekend Faffing :D

Yes, I would like to keep this quest reward...

I have been faffing everywhere today, not simply in game. As I started attacking the Giant Mess that is our house right now it occurred to me that I could do a lot worse than put a load of stuff into storage... and that's not just the contents of drawers and what's on hangers. There's a fair number of 85's who aren't likely to see the light of day until Pandaria, at least not with the frequency of the main and the money making alts. Thus, this weekend I have decided I'll be storing some of my characters away until the Expansion.

I'll do a proper post on my Packing Rituals tomorrow, but for now I took my first alt to be stored, the Gatherer Worgen Druid, and looked at her Quest Log to see what I could reasonably complete in a day and what would need to be dropped. As it transpires (and the above screenie shows) she was two-thirds of the way through the three quests that reward the Mechanical Chicken: needless to say, that one was worth knocking out this afternoon (and netted a fair bit of leather as I chose to kill yetis and whelps in Ferelas) Tomorrow I'll set about the business of seriously packing her up and putting her away.

Tonight however I suspect I'll simply do a Circuit of Disappointment on the Hunter and then collapse in a badly-organised heap... :/

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

[BETA] I am Legend(ary)?

...aaaand the arguments in Guild have already started... :D

Behold this hastily-screencapped portion of today's MMO Champion website. I already know what you're thinking... ^^

Gone are the days when it took three years to grind a Legendary Weapon (looks at husband's Thunderfury) By the number of people grabbing the Firelands Legendary over the last six months, its a fair deal easier to snag one than it ever was. However, if this potentially Legendary Questline can reward ANYONE with an orange at the end, I think we MIGHT have a bit of a problem...

The state of LFR should be enough to set alarm bells ringing in everyone's heads right now: the shallow end of the Player Pool's going to go mental over this possibility, and trust me when I say THEY WILL ALL WANT LEGENDARIES. Intentional caps, because they will, and that means this questline needs to be fulfilling a fairly strict set of criteria:

  • You have to log in every day for a year. WITHOUT FAIL. Miss a day and you have to do the 'You Failed at Consistency' Questline which requires you to kill 100 mobs in 15 minutes to spell out the word 'I R NOOB' with the bodies.

  • You'll need to fill in FOUR Fit and Proper Person questionnaires on Blizzard.Net before you're even allowed to commence Wrathion's quest line. Expect to have to provide a blood sample too, plus references.

  • GM's will have to option to permanently tie you to their Guilds for the duration of the quest. Fail to log to grind for a week and all your gear will de DE'd and all your belongings will be equally divided amongst your Guildmates as restitution...

You may think my rules a tad Draconian, but you know what? This is how it should be. Take away the random drop chance of the Thunderfury, but if you offer the quests to everybody, the colour of the item loses some integrity. Legendary does not mean everyone has one, even if everyone wants the chance to own one. It means sacrifice, and it also means selflessness.

What we really need to know now is just what Blizzard is planning in terms of endeavour.

This development in terms of gameplay isn't actually that much of a surprise, if I'm honest. This could be seen as effectively eschewing the collective aspect of the game (which has been losing significance since TBC, if I'm honest) in favour of focussing on the solo play aspect. Blizzard's change to loot rules this time around also indicates that it understands that an environment like LFR requires the removal of individual decision making in terms of gear rolls. Does this mean that Blizzard is pushing people away from LFR and demanding that they be part of a Guild in order to take part in the Legendary quest-lines so they can loot items from 10/25 man normal content?

If they are, this could be a masterstroke to re-energise raiding. However, as a GM for the last 6 years, I know deep down this plan is doomed to failure. They can't make generic items to collect part of a /roll, it will NOT WORK. That move has the potential to split many, many guilds wide open, and trust me it would. Anyone without a Legendary will want an equal chance to snag one, and the onus therefore must move off the collective decision completely, and move totally onto the individual's desire to own the item, and the time they are prepared to put in to do so.

Time must be the key.

That means the only other realistic method of obtaining a Legendary is a MASSIVE solo grind, which might just work, if the conditions are correct:

  •  It should take months to get your Legendary. In fact, you shouldn't have it until the last boss of the Expansion. You should need to defeat the last boss of each Raid Patch in a normal group to even qualify to wield it. You can do it in a PuG if you're not in a Guild, but you will be forced to complete every raid instance on Normal difficulty somewhere.

  • When the new Expansion launches, you should start a questline that updates your Legendary stats and skin to match the new Expansion's baseline ones. Make your Legendaries scalable, and while you're at it allow a special level of customisation to maintain its unique allure.

  • If you already own a Legendary, you should be allowed to update that to new stats, whilst keeping an original copy. If you're lucky to snag a Legendary drop whilst doing classic raids, there should be a way to enter the grind too.

  • Put all the responsibility on the individual to complete the item. Don't make it that you can buy anything, take gold totally and completely out of the equation and push towards rep-based, daily-restrictive grinds that force the individual to log for a specific number of times in order to complete the elements.

My overriding concern at this stage is how the kudos of owning a Legendary has been gradually eroded since Vanilla. If Blizzard can introduce a questline SO EPIC that it returns the Orange item to its rightful place as the thing you really had to work for to own, then Pandaria will be even bigger a success as it already has the potential to be...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Darnassian Nightsaber. Gonna look good with my Rogue's grey mogfit.

Today I finally had enough Crusaders Seals to start making a dent in the outstanding Tournament Mounts. I suspect this will become a popular ride for my Dwarf Rogue.

This then leaves me with the following outstanding mounts:

  • Ironforge Ram 
  • Stormwind Steed
  • Quel'dorei Steed

which will require a further 300 Seals. I will be up in Icecrown for some time yet. It will also get me to 138 mounts, after which my options begin to further narrow. The Grand Ice Mammoth from the Sons of Holdir still remains unpurchased, so I'll save for that while I grind, making 139 when I'm finally done.

That then leaves a select group which I can a) attempt to solo farm or b) will require some help:

  • Azure Drake Mount & Blue Drake Mount (Malygos)
  • Blue Proto Drake (Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, Skadi)
  • Dark War Talbuk (Halaa PvP)
  • Raven Lord Anzu (Heroic Sethekk Halls)
  • Twilight Drake (25 Man OS3D)
  • Ultramarine Qiraji Battle Tank (Archaeology)

After that we're talking Meta Achievements, Time Machines or Lottery Wins, and I doubt any of those are likely to materialise any time soon. 145 mounts looks as if it is the achievable cut off point.

No, I've not considered the TLPD. I'm just not going there :D

PEnnsylvania Post 1000

This is my 1000th Post. I warn you, it may get a little long.

I have two abiding memories of my paternal Grandfather: he was huge (it took two extra pallbearers to carry the coffin at his funeral, when my son was less than a year old) and he loved Glenn Miller. As a child one of the first cassettes I remember owning, apart from the Hits of Walt Disney, was 'Glenn Miller, A Memorial 1944-1969' and for a long time I believed the man whose songs I still love to this day died when I was three. That was until I was told a story.

I should point out that my memory as a kid is sporadic at best. As I've worked on my writing over the last year I've made an effort to try and go back and remember with better clarity but there are large chunks of my life that simply don't exist in enough detail. This incident however persists and it makes me think that as a result it might actually have happened as I remember it. My paternal grandparents lived in a small council house in the town where I was born, and we would visit them weekly until my dad got a job that meant we moved away. Then the visits would become more sporadic: I can still remember being able to sneak into the pantry of their kitchen to steal sugar cubes to suck, a sofa that always smelt funny and the day on one of those trips that my Grandad told me he had seen Glenn Miller the day he disappeared.

Miller played his last concert on August 27th 1944 at RAF Twinwood Airfield in Bedfordshire, an event my Grandfather claimed to have seen and which, he said, had affected him greatly for the rest of his life. I know that he was attending Glenn Miller Orchestra concerts up until my grandmother died, and it was an obsession to him that I can only now fully begin to comprehend. However, it was on December 15th 1944 that Miller left Twinwood for the last time, where he had been based since arriving in the UK, in a single-engined UC-64 Norseman, USAAF serial 44-70285. He is still listed as 'missing in action' to this day, though there have been various theories as to his demise. My Grandfather told me that cold and misty morning he'd seen the plane leave, and that Miller's disappearance had made him desperately sad ever since.

I am aware that my maternal grandfather served in North Africa during World War Two, but I have never checked the validity of this particular story. The problem with Big Grandad you see was simple: he loved to spin tall tales. He could lie with such conviction, and with such embellishment, and he often did. He once kept a commercial aeroplane on the ground for an hour whilst the cabin crew searched for the dog they could hear, which was infact him barking. There was a not lot to like about him (I discovered) as I got older but this story remained untainted, untouched, and for a long time I couldn't work out why. I also went through a period of believing that lying about yourself is a great way to be more popular, until I was hit by the harsh realisation that if you tell enough lies, it becomes impossible to work out what is actually real any more.

That is when I first grasped that the truth makes the best stories, and that the only way to have a history is to create one for yourself. When I finally saw 'The Glenn Miller Story' in my 20's the last scenes were worryingly reminiscent of the one my Grandfather had painted and only then did it occur to me that he could have fabricated the entire thing as entertainment. It would be easy enough to check the validity of his claims even now, but I remain reticent to do so. The tale of the tale has become another story in itself. Whenever I think of my Grandfather I find myself thinking of the film 'Big Fish' and that, like it or not, his influence has become a large part in the shaping of my own life as a writer.

I've spent 1000 posts talking (in the main) about one subject that makes me happy, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who's come here to read, to comment, and to join me on the first steps of what I hope will be a long and exciting journey. I come from a family of storytellers, after all, so I'll do my best to keep you entertained with the truth as I see it.

After all, you can't beat a good story :D

Monday, June 11, 2012

Paying it Forward Time.

I think I can comfortably state, unless there is a miracle of Biblical proportions, that Mists of Pandaria isn't going to launch on the date I stated it would. I could wait and hope, but the more I look at the evidence the more I come to realise I was being falsely optimistic in my assumption that late July was doable. As a result, I have a bet to consider.

The plan had been to settle it with some video, but I have the chance now to do something far better.

My twitter friend @wowmartiean, with whom I arranged the bet, has been through some tough times of late. He's currently without a job and working hard to make a name for himself in the fairly cut-throat 'video commentary' world. It occurs to me I'd like to help him out if I can, and I was wondering how I could do that when circumstances dropped a little extra money in my lap. He had joked with me via Twitter that one of his friends had suggested that if I lost, I bought him the Collectors Edition of Mists as my forfeit.

I've decided I'm going to do just that.

Joe, if you're reading this I've sent you a DM via Twitter to request your Paypal details, and as soon as I have them I'll be sending you what I believe you'll need to buy the Collectors Edition this time around, plus a little extra on top. I know how hard you work to do what you do, and I hope this will go some way towards making you realise that sometimes you just need to have faith in yourself for everything to work out just fine. I hope you'll enjoy playing the game, and you can have all the added extras on me.

I hope this means you'll let me off getting myself ganked in Orgrimmar as a result...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

So Much to Do...

Recycled Image. It still looks nice though... :D

I'll happily admit I've spent the weekend faffing.

Half term for the kids ends tomorrow, and I hope next week to return myself to some semblance of normality after our break. I realise that I need to put together a play plan to maintain a measure of sanity whilst we wait for Expansion News (TM), that's going to combine a reasonably constant level of activity without making me feel its a chore. In terms of levelling, I find myself with the following left to do:

  • Horde Hunter to 85 (84 currently, professions maxxed, waiting for rested to extend to 85)
  • Paladin to 85 (82 right now, needs a fair deal of work)
  • (Possibly) Maxxing the Horde Rogue depending on available time.

P will begin tonight knocking off the last of the Kalimdor Quests so I can finally finish all the available content. After that, I have a routine planned for whenever I log to maximise the gold potential if I don't have the urge to grind for cash/farm raw materials:

  • Log any alt
  • Go to Dalaran
  • Do Fishing Daily
  • Go to Tournament
  • Earn Seals (for mounts/pets depending on alt)
  • Run Utgarde Pinnacle for mount
  • HS to SW
  • Fly to Shattrath
  • Do Fishing Daily
  • Go to Sethekk Halls for mount

Most of my alts are at a reasonable level with Tournament to make this viable: Fishing Dailies will provide Water Walking Potions and Deviate Fish (which always sell well) Miners will get ore, herbers flowers, plus there will be cloth for bags: all will be piled and sold. It doesn't matter which alt gets the mounts either any more, which should give me a chance to faff on a number of people. The Lock could do with inserting JC Dailies into that routine, the Main Druid is eight points away from max fishing, and the Horde Hunter could do all those while waiting for LFG's to level. All told, this seems the most effective use of my time in terms of subsistence playing.

There are then other (less pressing) projects to consider:

  • Mogging Outfit for Horde Hunter. Suspect this may involve farming in Scholomance :p
  • Making some Choppers to 'position' in the Vanity Guild bank.
  • Farming soulbound pets to stockpile once Pet Battles go active.
  • Bag production using Karazhan and Icecrown humanoids.
  • Stockpiling cloth for First Aid and Dreamcloth transmutes
  • Stockpiling raw materials for professions levelling.

As to what happens in Guild, I think we're going to have to play it by ear. Its been a very quiet weekend (because a few people are away) and I hope we might be able to get some current content running before everything changes, but I'm not going to get upset at the lack of activity. There is plenty to do, after all... :D

I also need to get the Minipets Database up and running properly, and give the website a once over.

Looks like I won't be lost for distractions...