Saturday, July 14, 2012

[BETA] Ah. The Goats.

Goats: is there nothing they can't do?

Today has been pretty much the Mother of all Busts.

I'd planned to play Pet Battles and report from the Beta, but the client refused to play pretty much point blank whenever I tried to launch it. Once I did get in (of course) the mechanic is irretrievably borked. The one screenshot I managed to get (from the Valley of the Four Winds) is at least of some use, and it tells me I'm going to need EVEN MORE GOLD for the goats available from the Tillers.

This was clearly the Game Gods way of telling me to go make some cash on Live, which I have, and I plan to have a report on that tomorrow. For now, before I get even more frustrated, I think its time for an early night...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

HOW Much...?

Mount prices are a killer...

I dreamt last night about my horse. I blame Father Ted.

When I woke up however a thought occurred to me: exactly how many mounts are available when I hit L90? More importantly, HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST ME? A quick check using Wowhead informs I can expect to pick up 26 (potential) mounts at max level in Pandaria, and that's just for starters. I'm going to make no bones about this, a straight copy/paste (with added faff) is incoming from Wowhead's beta site...

Dawnstone Panther
Emerald Panther
Ruby Panther

Each of these will be 'ridiculously expensive' When I say that, I mean that. Currently on Beta they cost 500,000g, meaning that
Jeweled Onyx Panther

is 1 MEEELION GOLD /little finger to mouth to purchase. That's not the whole story however. Completists are going to want ALL FIVE of these mounts along the line. Yes, that's a two million gold drop at current rates. You wonder why I'm farming until my eyes bleed... ^^
Reins of the Onyx Cloud Serpent
Reins of the Azure Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Golden Cloud Serpent
Reins of the Jade Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Crimson Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Heavenly Onyx Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Heavenly Crimson Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Heavenly Golden Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Heavenly Jade Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Heavenly Azure Cloud Serpent

Reins of the Astral Cloud Serpent

The Cloud Serpents are being considered in this house as the equivalent of the Netherwing Dragons back in TBC: You cannot access them until L90, and you only get them after a quest chain. They appear to cost 3000g before any faction discount, so assuming that remains constant at 20% this lot will cost 2400g each to purchase. However there appear to be three 'tiers' of mount (Normal/Heavenly/Astral) so am wondering if the 'normals' are the equivalent of this expansion's Mei Francis mounts and the Heavenlys are simply from the quest chain (still not 90 on Beta, if anyone can enlighten me please do and I'll change this) The Astral won't be cheap ^^

One of these is also available as a Guild reward, which I need to double check...

I'll be provisioning 24,000g for this lot on the hunter.

Reins of the Crimson Pandaren Phoenix
10g says this is a reward for Dungeon Achievements. Lets hope I can get one without having to buy it :D

Reins of the Blue Shado-Pan Riding Tiger

Reins of the Red Shado-Pan Riding Tiger

Reins of the Green Shado-Pan Riding Tiger

More reputation-based gubbins, and again 3000g before discounts. I'm going to need to learn my 24 times table... ^^ 7200g for these three...

Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak

Reins of the White Riding Yak

Reins of the Blonde Riding Yak
Ah yes, the Yak. 120,000g before discount, with two little brothers at 3k each to consider... 100,800g just for these three... ^^ Suddenly my modest savings are beginning to look completely inadequate...

Reins of the Crimson Riding Crane

Reins of the Azure Riding Crane
Reins of the Golden Riding Crane

Plus three cranes to finish at 7200g in total.

That means, if my shoddy maths is anywhere near accurate, I'm going to need to have hit the gold cap twice to even consider getting this lot in my gaming lifetime: a staggering 2,139,200g. Of course all this is subject to change (especially the Panthers)  but it is a quite sobering thought, considering we're not even done yet.

You're going to need the equivalent of Cold Weather flying to take off in Pandaria, which is currently 2500g before discounts. Plus, if you want to grab all 12 (six for L20, 6 for L40) of the Pandaran-specific Dragon Turtles they'll cost the same as normal ground mounts (80 silver for the lower ones, 8g for the higher ones with Exalted) which you will need to purchase them.

If you like to collect mounts and you're hoping to start doing so when the expansion comes around, I would take a long hard look at your bank balance this morning and consider whether you are actually ready for all of this. Even with the money I have sitting in my vanity bank I'm thinking it is time for some additional farming... ^^

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Think that says it all :D

Hobson's Choice?

If I were a) clever or b) awake I'd do summat funky with this. As I'm neither...

Blizzard came out of left field yesterday (can't beat a good baseball metaphor, because if I said they emerged from third man most of you would just look at me strangely) and announced it is establishing a Mentoring programme. Considering the amount of discussion there has been across the player base in relation to how the neophite learn the game, it seems a perfect reaction... except, is this really as great an idea as it first appears? Is this simply a Hobson's choice that absolves Blizzard from the need to do the work many people feel it should be undertaking in terms of new player education?

When people apply to join our Guild, we initially ask them 10 questions:

1. What's your favourite joke?
2. What's the best 5 man instance currently in game?
3. What has been the best show on TV over the last 25 years and why?
4. If you had a choice what would it be: cake or pie?
5. Should Blizzard put more crowd control back into dungeons?
6. Have you left Trade/General chat channels at any point, and if so why?
7. Who would you choose as the next James Bond?
8. What's the best change Blizzard has made to the game in the last twelve months?
9. Who was better: Blur or Oasis, or some random third band you may now name.
10. If you had to ask me one question, what would it be?

These questions have been refined over time to give myself and the officers a pretty good idea of whether the potential applicant will fit into the gaming environment we play in. As you can see, we're pretty relaxed, and our questions reflect the fact that in Guild at any given point the conversations aren't necessarily game-related. Being in a Guild isn't simply about playing Warcraft, after all, and I'd like to think as we've been going now since Vanilla, pretty much without a single piece of Guild-splitting drama to accompany us, that we grasp that it isn't simply a case of recruiting people based on their raiding experience. This won't work for everybody, and here is the first major problem I can see in terms of mentoring: managing individual expectations.

People joining Azeroth at this stage have been educated by MMO's and other games which have spent seven years trying to be as popular as Warcraft still is. They already have a basic understanding of the quest mechanics, that classes have particular skills, but the subtleties will undoubtedly elude them, and here is where being in a Guild would be a distinct advantage. However, it would need to be a group of people willing to spend the time teaching. With the current lack of new content this is a perfect time to start a mentoring programme, encouraging older players to roll new characters in an attempt to take new players through the content and teach them 'in situ'. However, in my personal experience, a great many new players aren't bothered to learn that much at all when levelling, and just want to get to end game as quickly as conceivably possible... often by borrowing other people's 85's or (gasp) buying an 85 on Ebay. I'd be interested to know if Blizzard has any plans to restrict those people joining the programmes by their level... ^^

Capped about 10 minutes ago. I cleared the window yesterday...

One of the biggest concerns I'd have with a mentoring programme would be maintaining a decent level of communication. I had my doubts when Blizzard introduced the Guild Finder feature, and although we have found a couple of people using it, in the main it is pointless, because of the reason shown above. People don't communicate. When you can't even be bothered to type 'Hi I like your Guild advert, would you consider me?' why would you think they have any interest in being involved to begin with? It is as much about the person wanting to be taught as it is those willing to impart their knowledge. However, there is a far larger issue that needs to be addressed, and that does have nothing at all to do with the game.

Many, many people entering Warcraft at this point in its evolution do simply not grasp they are becoming part of a community, which lives and breathes. This is not like joining an Xbox party, or playing on Steam. These things are still communities, but they lack a certain something that I think you only find in Azeroth, an intangible quality that games like Guild Wars 2 hope to reproduce on launch. Guilds doing mentoring will not simply need to pass on wisdom in relation to the game, but they may find themselves having to act as social mentors to boot, and that might be a far larger problem over time. An awful lot of the player base are under 18, many of them playing below the PEGI recommended age. Then I find myself wandering into a grey area I'm not sure I even want to start discussing without a lawyer and something with caffeine in it by my side...

There is no doubt in my mind that something needs to be done in terms of educating the new players in Warcraft, because they keep on coming. Making the player base accountable for itself is an admirable idea in principle, but there are an awful lot of variables to consider. I also think, like many ideas Blizzard have thrown out to the community over the years, this could have done with a bit more work in the early planning stages...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

[BETA] The Multicoloured MoP BoP

Welcome to my youth. Yes, it looked that bad...

In case you were not aware, crafting in Pandaria is going to be a vastly different animal to previous expansions. Levelling and selling items will no longer rely on having either an alt permanently stationed at the Auction House or the crafter themselves able to languish in the capitol city of your choice. The reason? A significant crafting material, as of now on the beta, is bind on pickup.

The basic materials...
...which combine to make this. From Wowhead.

I'm going to try and head back to the beta this week to see what the drop rates are on the motes, but Fox Van Allen in his Tailoring Preview this morning is describing them as 'healthy' The rate however is largely irrelevant, because unless your crafter is gathering them you can't use them, and that is HUGE: not only in terms of those people levelling, but in what you are likely to see on the AH in those early weeks. It also means I will need to deliberately pick and choose the alts I want to level early not on ease of play, but on what professions I am likely to need most.

If Leatherworking is any indicator as to the requirement for these items to level, you'll be able to make it to around 575 before you can start worrying. Any Epic item is going to have them as standard somewhere in the mix: as yet there is no indicator that shoulder enchants will require them but I'd not put it past Blizzard to sneak one in there. This should push more people out to the starting zones, and is likely to see a marked increase in what I can only describe as 'Old Skool' Farming methods. Yes, you'll be picking a spot with a healthy spawn rate (and the chance of additional materials if you're a gatherer) and doing it until your eyes/fingers bleed... Considering the demands for cookery materials I can see farming certain mob groups becoming very profitable, especially with a side of skinning.

The MoP Mantra (Forewarned is Forearmed) is especially relevant at this point: knowing that you'll need BoP materials will allow you to make choices with which alts are sent out first. For me, P's Leatherworking will be the main priority, but I'm going to want Shoulder Enchants to begin raiding, which means N the Priest is likely to be second out of the gates. As she has Enchanting with Inscription I suspect (of my two DE-ers) she'll be the one getting the most action. I'll require a gatherer too, as W the Lock will need to be working on both Jewelcrafting and Alchemy. That means a miner/herbalist: step up my RaF Mog Star Hunter. She can also benefit from P's LW castoffs...

It is at times like this I sometimes wish I only had one main to worry about... :D

Monday, July 09, 2012

...and in Movie News...

Image mashup via @Hypeable. Speculation is blogger's own.

MOVIE NEWS? Have you gone mad, woman?

Reports reach us via various sources that top eye candy actor Michael Fassbender has attached himself to a gaming franchise, and not just any old one. His own company DMC Film has signed a deal with Ubisoft for the star to take the lead role in a big-screen adaptation of the hugely successful Assassin's Creed. More significantly the project, which was initially being developed by Sony, is now back in the hands of the games company, who have created Ubisoft Motion Pictures specifically to handle the task.

Here is where I stopped ogling the talent and started getting REALLY interested.

Why would Ubisoft take back the reins from Sony? The answer, according to Variety, is simple:

Ubisoft execs now plan to stick to their initial plan and develop the film independently in order to maintain greater creative control. Last year, Ubisoft invested in launching UMP, headed by Baronnet, former CEO of Luc Besson's EuropaCorp, to adapt the company's games into films, TV shows and digital projects.
The French are a fiercely independent bunch. Most video-game adaptations are, let's face it, utterly pants (and I'm willing to discuss that at length, I am yet to watch an attempt that, in my opinion, truly captures the essence of its source material.) The fact at this early stage that Ubisoft wants to be the one with the overall creative control is very significant indeed. Ironically Prince of Persia, which is also an Ubisoft title, holds the international record as the #1 grossing movie (via Wikipedia.) Okay, it wasn't bad, but it could have been SO much better, and I think the gaming company's desire to be more involved at the early stages is good news for everyone.

I'd also like to bet good money that Blizzard are watching this turn of events with a great deal of interest.

The Warcraft movie's been nothing more than discussion for some time, despite having Sam Raimi attached to it. Anyone who's watched the Diablo 3 cinematics cannot fail to notice that Blizzard are pretty good at making mini-movies already, and frankly giving that job to anyone in Hollywood who's never heard of the franchise (and likely never even played the game) could be tantamount to creative suicide. Why not keep the entire process inhouse and simply approach a major studio to distribute your product when you've finished with the hard work? If you want to get the fans flooding in, and indeed create marketing opportunities for a whole new bunch of people who may have never even played your game, you'll need something that truly captures the spirit of your product...

My money is on Blizzard doing just this, and finding a big-name star like Fassbender to hook into the project to boot.The question then becomes who they'd look to bring on board, and whether they'd wait first to see how Ubisoft's gambit pays off. Needless to say, anyone considering buying into Blizzard would want to consider just how much money a big screen adaptation could make, especially tied in with the game itself... the possibilities could be endless.

Time to watch this space and see what develops... :D

Forewarned is Forearmed...

Twitter is quite a useful place to be, especially for tidbits of news such as this:

Green arrow means I retweeted this :D

My mate Navimie has already expressed her concern over fishing if this comes to pass... but this has made me consider a larger worry, which I know has already been raised by certain people, but bears repeating.


I'm looking at the Time Lost Proto Drake, or the camel figurines in Uldum, or that drake in Deepholm... or anyone wanting to complete Frostbitten, Bloody Rare or frankly any achievement which requires you to hunt down stuff that is harder than normal to find. All those zones potentially could be shared come Pandaria.

Suddenly, you might have a reason to log during the Summer lull.

The key to understanding what will be an issue is knowledge. It is time to get the word out: even if this does not come to pass, there's nothing wrong with working on the theory it could and if you want to start or complete what are some of the most awkward and frustrating achievements, this is the absolute best time to do so, especially if you live on a low-population server. There is no time like the present, after all. Get yourself out there this week and start hunting down those Rares, because this might be the last opportunity you have for reasonably unhindered access...

Thanks to @elsanglin for the tip, and don't say we didn't warn you... :D

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Not Totally Impossible...

Right now, I see more of this guy than Guildies. Sad but Truefact :(

Perhaps it is just co-incidence that the WoW Insider Breakfast Topic this morning tackles the question of how to make gold in-game. I know I can't be the only person who, last week, watched Blizzard stick the price of That Yak up to six figures, baulk, and then start wondering how I was going to afford one without selling a virtual kidney. Having set a (potential) 25k per character target it occurred to me I actually needed to find a way to make it happen. This week therefore has been rather a lot about investigating the possibilities.

I have already learnt some valuable lessons.

Despite loving to farm everything and anything with my hunters, that's often not the best idea. This has now been proven without a doubt to be the case in Deepholm where my mage is the #1 Best Choice to give the Troggs what is coming to them for inflicting such a hard time on those lovely Earthen chaps. I manage to net nearly twice as much cloth using the patented Potion of Treasure Finding method, plus enough Volatiles on the two trips I did this weekend to set K up for all her Dreamcloth CD's. That's cloth for thread or making bags, being piled up nicely for Pandaria, with sales of relevant L78-8- greens from the farming via the AH allowing for a generous contribution to the cause. Job dun!

Hunters it seems are best for providing raw materials, especially dusts and cloth inside lower level instances, where the time it takes to complete them (or where cloth scavenging does not apply) outweighs the use of the Tailor. Then I need one of the Enchanters I have (one on each of my two accounts) to be logged in to provide DE duties. I cannot emphasise enough how useful this is, especially if you have a toon who is quick to use as 'clearance' whilst the DE-er sits in Stormwind, grouped together. This is especially true for Northrend heroics, where Abyss Crystals have the capacity to be either sold as is or broken down into base materials using the Abyss Shatter ability. I made a tidy sum overnight via this means, and it has provided more bags for my stockpile.

Looking at my gold totals for the weekend's faffing, and with the knowledge that I don't think Blizzard will be announcing a release date any time soon, it is definitely time to make hay while the sun shines...