Saturday, August 18, 2012

Farming Today: Learning a New Kind of Shuffle (Part 2)

I forget sometimes there is more to life than simply gathering...

Yesterday I gathered the herbs to make the Glyphs both my Druids needed to complete their sets, whilst setting up a list for the three not totally-glyphed Hunters. I also spent more than my normally-allotted time on Twitter, where (amongst other things) I was educated by the wise and clearly more enlightened @wenchmagnet (find his website here) on something that, now I have investigated it further, is a thing of UTTER BEAUTY. Although it probably does not count itself (technically) as farming, it has been a very useful way of me taking a lot of stuff that was just lying around on alts doing 4/5ths of bugger all and, very effectively, turning it into cash and raw materials I can use to make more money come Pandaria.

At it's core is the use of Elementium, Obsidium and Pyrite Ore, which is very cheap right now on my server, so at least for the time leading up to Pandaria it has some merit. The entire 'principle' has its own webpage to boot. Go check it out for yourself.

My immediate interest for this wasn't in prospecting ore, far from it. It was the fact I've prospected a lot of ore in the last couple of months simply for red gems and I kept all the remains in the hope it might become useful, completely failing to grasp that I could convert 80% of it into items that could then be DE'd for mats, for very little outlay. In the end, yesterday afternoon, I made 110 items of Jewellery on the Lock Jewelcrafter, skimming off the blue quality items for AH sale. I kept all the dust and combined it with all of the cloth I'd stockpiled from farming Grisly Trophies in the last few days and have a decent addition to the Bag Stockpile. The Essences all went on the AH last night and, satisfyingly, all came back sold this morning.

The Imbued Netherweave Bag market continues to hold steady...

This left about 400 ore sitting across various alts: gathered from Darkmoon Crates, from Tiny Treasure Chests, simply gathered if  I was on the way to Silithus or stockpiling the TB Dailies. There were stacks of bars too, and after about ten minutes of faffing I gathered enough mats to make up 14 sets of Stormforged Shoulders:

Blue items. Cost to me = 0g :D

One of my overriding concerns with the lack of action in dungeons dropping blue items was getting raw materials to help my Enchanters get a five point head start once Pandaria hits. With the L25 Guild Perks I'm lucky to have these 14 shoulders equated to 16 shards, so that's one (hopefully) five point enchant for both ladies come the Expansion. This makes me very happy, as it is a key piece of faffing I was able to complete without the need for spending any money at all.

I'm not committed enough to ever make this kind of wonderfully planned 'shuffle' into a full time job (and as @wenchmagnet pointed out yesterday via Twitter I doubt this late in the Expansion its a good idea anyway), but knowing it exists does open a new avenue for me. At some point in Pandaria someone is going to work out a similar equation for the raw materials available. When they do, I hope they are generous enough to share it with the rest of us poor saps. I'm never surprised that even after seven years there are things about this game that I don't know, or that when I'm told about them I go slackjawed with wonder.

The wise woman never thinks they know all there is to know, and learns at every possible opportunity. Every day really is a School Day.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Farming Today: Learning from My Peers (Part 1)

Farming in Three Dimensions. May cause headaches.

Over the next few days I will be giving props, snacks and NUFF RESPECT to the people whose Gold Making blogs I read and without whom I would be considerably poorer than I am now. The Gold Blog Industry's a pretty cut-throat place, it often appears to me. I'll freely admit there are some elements of it that I don't really 'get' either, but when it comes down to face to the keyboard farms, I AM SO THERE.

This morning's farm comes courtesy of the fabulous Khalior (and their site, Khalior's Tentacular Junkpile) (find them @Khalior on Twitter) who used an area in Vashj'ir to help their Guild complete the 'Skinnin' for a Livin' achievement) If you want to know where this is, I'm making you go visit the site (and saying nothing more here) but needless to say, with the obligatory Potion of Treasure Finding applied, it is a fine spot to spend sixty minutes of prime grinding time.

Many items: LONG screenshot! Plus Runes for next month's Faire :p

One hour's grinding yielded the following:

  • 84g in grey trash (which in itself makes this farm fairly awesome)
  • 23 lockboxes. The key here is the respawn rate, pure and simple, which means you're killing a lot more mobs who, in turn, have a chance to drop boxes. This fact alone will mean this place will be where I do all the Skinner's Grisly Trophies for the Faire, or infact where any skinner goes if I want to use a potion before Pandaria.
  • 10 Strangely Bloated Stomachs: this is something of a revelation. Normally never get nearly as many doing max level mob farming. This is added awesome for Dreamcloth CD's :D
  • 56 Deepsea Scale. I was looking for a place to farm scale, as I suspect it will be a good moneymaker both leading up to the Expansion and subsequently. This place is fabulous!
  • 195 Savage Leather. KER-CHING!
  • 3 Savage Leather Scraps ^^
  • 36 Murglesnout
  • 11 Fathom Eel
  • 20 Deepsea Sagefish
  • 5 Algaefin Rockfish: all of which have value as either AH sales for those people levelling cookery (who don't know much about it come Pandaria) or grinding food for my family.
  • 4 greens (of which two will sell on AH, others to DE)

Opening the boxes and the stomachs yielded the following:

  • One additional green saleable item
  • Volatiles: 8 life, 19 fire, 6 air, 7 water, 4 earth
  • 96 cloth
  • 11 elementium and 5 pyrite ore
  • 1 elementium lockbox (inside which 26g and 2 saleable greens)
  • 63 gold

I'm very happy with that haul, as my plan was just to see how many mobs I could do in an hour. In terms of simply leather this should be a hugely profitable circuit, now we have to send everything to the AH and see what we get...

Thanks go to Khalior for the tip, even if 3D farming does give me a headache!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

...and over to our Pet Battle Newsdesk

Pets will still be merged on MoP launch, but instead of placing them in your bags or mail they will be placed directly in your pet journal. You will be allowed to have more than 500 and 3x per pet during this process. Any pets that are flagged as unique will be merged into one and also placed in your journal. (Unique pets are from Achievements, Pet Store, Promotions and Guild) You will be able to cage any pets that are tradeable and you can release anything that you have more than one of.

A few examples:

A account has a total of 6 Wolvar Pups across all of it's characters. On merge the account would have 6 Wolvar Pups. This would be the only time an account is allowed to have more than 3x of a single pet.
A account has a total of 3 Murky's from BlizzCon 2005 and 4 Nuts from the pet collection achievements across all of it's characters. (both unique pets)  On merge the account will have 1 Murky and 1 Nuts. Hope that helps clear things up.

This response (to a question on the US Forums) is quite significant for Pet Hoarders everywhere, especially those of us rocking multiple alts across many accounts. Sadly we don't know if all six of those Wolvar Pups will be cageable (and by definition sellable) but this is great news for those of us who have amassed collections across multiple accounts and were concerned the harder to find/gain pets might vanish when the system went live.

We also know that any pet currently flagged as Unique is likely to be untradeable. This should give those of you who would like to see what's worth speculating on for 'future investment' a decent idea of what you'll have to play with.

The biggest question as yet unanswered, as the Transitional Patch Notes indicate we'll be getting our new Pet/Mount interface and account-wide pets in a fortnight, is whether we'll be able to 'cage' anything ahead of the  Expansion proper. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see...

Change Your Game.

I've deliberately not been anywhere else or read any comments about the Cinematic before seeing it. I'm kinda glad I did.

In anticipation of the Expansion, I went and bought a text I've wanted to read for a very long time: 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu. Needless to say, it is as relevant today as it was when it was first written, and one statement rings particularly true in the light of my first watch:

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
The Alliance and the Horde have been fighting each other a long time, and in the face of new enemies, they have shown an ability to come together as an effective fighting unit (as was the case with Deathwing) We see here that, faced with an unknown enemy, they'll do pretty much the same. The thing is... this time, this isn't an enemy. The cinematic isn't teasing us for a Big Bad, or promising that both factions will be beating each other up across a selection of new locations. It is all about the unknown quantity.

Pandas are going to change EVERYTHING.

I loved how the 'mists' cleared as time went on. I recognised the Starting Area for new Pandas as we panned over it. Most important of all, I acknowledge that both the Horde and the Alliance have a lot to learn from this new race... the question then becomes, do we have anything to teach them?

I hope we do.

Oh and sorry Gnomes. Maybe next time :P

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paddling Like Crazy...

I caught a Sagefish and it was THIS BIG... from Wikipedia :D

There is no escaping it any more. Blizzard announced yesterday that Patch 5.0.4 hits the US on August 28th. That's TWO WEEKS from today for us EU types. There is no more time left to serenely glide across the vast array of things I want to get done in time. Change the lightbulb, adopt Battle State Russet, and START PADDLING WILDLY!

With consideration I've not done badly on my initial cash plan: I have enough saved for a Yak, most people have a decent enough nestegg, and everyone is in better shape then they were the last time I did a Bucket List post. P's got the Theramore Questage all done, there's a comfortable number of Vanity Pets in storage, I also have a well-thought out selling strategy for items come Pandaria's release. What needs to happen in the last two weeks? Well, in no particular order:

  • Glyphs: Three alts are now fully covered. I have a list to my right that covers both Druids and the Lock, but I'll need to radio out for some more Lion's Ink and Ethereal Ink to complete those orders. I will (ideally) have every 85 covered before 5.0.4, meaning minimum faff time when choosing new Talents and Glyphs.

  • Cash: Some people are, it must be said, very well off. Others are not so much, and to those I will focus my attention in the next fortnight. There will be mat gatherage. There is likely to be instance farmage. However, I am NOT going mad. Summer Holidays dictate that 24/7 farmage will not happen. Needless to say I will be reading the Gold Making blogs with interest.

  • LFR/LFG: Yes, it is a bloodbath right now. However, it is Valor. I will be doing my best to give as many people as possible 4000 'points' to start them off right in Pandaria.

  • Professions. Still have one more Darkmoon Faire to do, and that will cap everyone's Primary and Secondary skills with the exception of Fishing. IT CAN WAIT.

  • Tol Barad Dailies: Time to start stacking these for XP stockpiling.

There is also likely to be some last minute Scholo runs, some mount farm failage, some classic raids, some faffing for no discernible gain and an AWFUL LOT OF #TEAMFAFF PANICKING ON TWITTER. You have been warned!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to NOT Join Our Guild : Episode 25

MEL (Cher's father): You mean to tell me that you argued your way from a C+ to an A-?
CHER: Totally based on my powers of persuasion, you proud?
MEL: Honey, I couldn't be happier than if they were based on real grades.

From the movie 'Clueless'

Being a GM can, on certain days, be a bit of a trial. Especially if, as was the case yesterday, people don't get that you often can't argue your way to what you want, however hard you try.

My husband was whispered (ironically whilst we were fighting Julak-Doom) by a random person wanting to join us based on our Guild Advert:

Of those 17 requests, only one has any actual written accompaniment :(

My husband's not stupid, and passed the guy over to me. I like the concept of  a pre-application 'verbal' interview, because this often is as an effective a tool as getting someone to fill in our Guild Application form (the questions from which I've posted here before) As it transpires, as soon as I asked Mr Random to let me check out his alts and I mentioned the application process, he got a bit grumpy. He commented that he thought our application above was misleading, that a 'casual' guild shouldn't need to do anything other than just invite him. I politely pointed out we have the process to ensure that people wanting to join us aren't trying to exploit our L25 status for easy levelling (or indeed for anything else), thanked him for his time and then DC'd (note to self, sort that problem out with Alien Respawn) When I returned I thought nothing of it, until he whispered me again.

...and then he logs off. Classy.

If there is one thing that will (regardless of my best efforts) get me annoyed its someone accusing me of not being a decent individual. A wiser woman would have walked away at this point, but sometimes I find myself thinking that actually, no. Just NO. It is not 'disappointing' that I won't just invite you on spec. These procedures are in place for a reason, to make sure that people understand what they are getting themselves into. It isn't just about our Guild's checks and balances, it becomes as much to do with the person feeling the Guild is a place they would be comfortable being a part of.

And then the discussion began, and he argued that I'd been rude. I explained I'd DC-d, and that my position hadn't changed. He tried to reason that I was being rhetorical and 'vague' in my explanations, and I realised that whatever I said, unless I simply invited him, he wasn't going to stop. So, I decided to be as clear as I possibly could.

Then we got to the nub of his gist:

Hooray for Chatter, up-scrolling ftw :D

Hmmm. 'not comfortable applying for guilds that require to know me as a person', eh? I think putting him on ignore at this point is a good idea, but we get a bit more banter before I do, because (to my detriment) sometimes I don't like to leave the stage until I make a point. Yes, I know I should walk away, and yes I KNOW this makes me no better than the Other Guy (TM), but we are all human, and I'm here to present a fair and balanced view of what transpired. Therefore, I freely admit I took a swipe at him before I left:

I deserve everything I'm going to get from now on... ^^

...and so it began. He logged his (assumed) main, from a L1 Guild to poke me, and I responded that our guild was not a place to bring an alt while a main remained somewhere else. When my ignore removed his ability for the last word, he resorted to that classic staple, the L1 alt:

Add your own caption.

For the record, I'd like to state I am not here for the power trip, for the followers, or indeed for anything that involves me feeling like I'm at the top of a pile. Our Guild runs on respect, co-operation and collective imput, which is why no one person is simply capable of inviting anyone, and why we have an application process that allows a number of people the choice of inviting people to join us. Even family members, friends of existing members and spouses are asked to fill in the application.

If you have to resort to cheap shots in order to try and get me to keep fighting, you've done your job of convincing me you're a waste of time. Well done :D  I'm sorry, but you can't join us. Them's the rulez.

If anyone thinks I was unfair to the person concerned, or have any queries as to how I dealt with this situation, I'd be very interested to hear them.

If you'd like to join us, give me a shout :p

Monday, August 13, 2012

17 minutes of PURE AWESOME!1!!11

There I was, flying across Twilight Highlands, on my way to farm some Dragonscale, when a Guildie pokes me: how do I feel about rare spawns? As this guy's been levelling a Hunter I assumed he was talking about the Spirit Beast spawn, and maybe he needed me to guard it while he switched alts. As it transpired, it was summat a little larger...

It's okay, Silver Dragon, I GET THIS GUY'S RARE!

I knew nothing about Julak-Doom before I started: there were two Horde in the area, who immediately engaged as soon as four of us were together, and after that it was one huge blur. We tried as four and wiped, so I called my husband in from recording music in his Man Shed to bring some DPS. However, this proved ineffective because of the Dark Whispers debuff (MC ftw) and despite my best efforts to Wyvern Sting and Trap when it wasn't me we wiped... well, a lot. Then hubby decided to go get the Pally Tank and our second DK became a Shammy (as above) and things improved considerably. I was also able to not be MC-d for over three minutes which allowed a massive amount of static dps time, which shaved a good amount off our total required.

After that, it really was only a matter of time.

There. You sleep now...

The final kill took 17 minutes. He dropped his spell power dagger (which I won and donated to our Priest for his shadow spec) a Strength cloak (which I also won and I'll donate to my Pally) plus a JC recipe. It is the considered opinion of the five of us wot downed him that the game needs more fights like this, and that it really is worth running headlong at mobs like this until they die, regardless of the number of wipes it takes to dispatch them.

I'll be getting 1000g out of the Guild Bank shortly to give everyone 200g to cover repairs, and to congratulate them on a job well done. I've not had that much fun in AGES... :D

Prep Time : Leatherworking

P's Leatherworking Bag is (almost) sorted :D

Part of my personal Preparation for Pandaria involves stocking to begin levelling professions without needing to actually be in the starting area. I know this won't be the most efficient levelling approach, but I also know there will be some items I'd like to have standing by without having to a) having to grind any mats and b) resorting to the AH (which I've done in the past). Even these 'obsolete' enhancements will cost extra come the Expansion, so it makes sense to have some made and stored in my Vanity Bank: so much the better if they can earn me some skill points in the process. I am focussing with P on the Dragonscale Leg Armor, as I have (potentially) three hunters who will have use of them as stand alone items. P herself will learn her soulbound patches, which this time around will scale in power as her skill increases. For everyone else...

I've given up trying to skin Pristine Hide from any mob (the last one I saw was probably about six weeks ago) so instead I've been using 10 Heavy Savage Leather to trade for one Hide from the Leatherworking Supplier in Old Town Stormwind. I'll probably do a quick circuit of the Twilight Highlands today for one last stack of Dragonscale (with L25 Guild Perks it doesn't take long at all to gather twenty) and then I think I can tick P off this portion of the To Do List.

I may (if time permits) try and fill in a few recipe holes: P still needs a couple of Armour Patches from heroic mobs in the Outlands, for instance: though I think the missing recipes from the Sunwell may well remain so for some time...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

First Things First...

I predict a large amount of vegetable-related farming in my future...

It occurs to me that I have placed scant little thought to the question of what EXACTLY I am going to do once Pandaria goes live.

For many people the answer is simple: you level to 90, you do all the dungeons, then you try and beat all the raid content. This is (of course) all very well and good but news emerged yesterday that the amount of XP you'll actually need to progress from 85 to 90 from the beta has been increased by an estimated 55%. With the emphasis very much on using questing to gain reputation, a part of me is wondering how practical it will be to try and cover every single quest in every zone before moving on. This is before considering the need to gather raw materials for crafting... In fact, the more I think about it, the more options are available aside from simply doing a quest 'grind':

  • The Jade Forest (already regarded as a bottleneck) is teeming with skinnable mobs. I could simply skin for a few days and have done with it, although this is not the best XP gain ^^
  • I could bring in a miner/herbalist and simply XP via gathering.
  • Similarly, I could XP purely via Archaeology, assuming the big numbers I was seeing in early beta remain constant.
  • I could get to 86, go start a Tiller's Farm, and never leave, save for the occasional bouts of fishing :p
  • I could forgo levelling altogether and simply focus on Pet Battles until I was at a high enough level to capture and battle pets in Pandaria.

The fact I can sit and consider five different alternatives to simply going out and sticking my nose to the Quest Grind keyboard comes as a welcome surprise. I am going to be spoilt for choice, which means that I could utilise more than simply a couple of alts in the early weeks to act as more than raw material feeders. On top of the requirements of basic XP there are other issues to be addressed: the changes to feasts, the location of specific crafting recipes for raid readiness, the use a Farm will be to long term progression across the family, the specialisation (possibly) of one alt simply as a Pet Battler... suddenly my head hurts with all the potential possibilities.

Clearly what I need to do is make some decisions. Fortunately the overriding advantage of letting a million or so people beta test your product is the sheer weight of information 'out here' with which to prepare with, and that is what I intend to do over the next few weeks. Needless to say, my results will be posted here, and hopefully this will help you to make your important choices in reference to where you go and what you one Pandaria finally goes live...