Saturday, August 25, 2012

Important Patch Changes that AREN'T Tongue in Cheek...

There have been some significant changes to the VP/JP situation in the last 24 hours that may well get missed in the furious flurry of GW2 launch gubbins. The cynic in me thinks this might have been deliberate. Here is what has been inserted into the VP/JP conversion rubric:

With Patch 5.0.4 on August 28/29th EU
Valor points will be converted to Justice points, and Conquest points will be converted to Honor points.
  • At this time, you will not be able to earn Justice points or Honor points if the conversion puts your total above the cap of 4000 per type. 

Approximately two weeks after Patch 5.0.4

  • All Justice and Honor points that exceed the 4000 point caps will be converted to gold at the rate of 35 silver per Honor point and 47 silver per Justice point.
  • The cap of 4000 points per type will remain in-effect.

In effect this means that if you are above 4k on ANY form of currency come next week, running any kind of dungeon or raid boss is pointless for.. er... points. You are being forced to spend your currency if you don't want any kind of group activity to be a waste. The key here of course is that you have a two week 'wait' before your points get converted to something useful if you no longer need gear or your AH is already flooded with enchanting mats. If you haven't yet bought any Heirloom Gear for your Panda, this may well be the time.

There's also been some important qualification on the state of Theramore post-Scenario:

As a role-player setting up events based around the battle for Theramore, I would like to know if Theramore in the game world will be destroyed when the patch hits, or if it will remain intact until the scenario is released. If anyone knows, I'd love to find out!

Similar to the way Molten Front works, the destruction of Theramore will be phased. So the city will remain in-tact when patch 5.0.4 is released. Once the scenario is unlocked you'll play through it and, upon receiving the achievement, you'll see the aftermath of the attack whenever visiting Theramore.

You'll also be able to repeat the scenario if you wish by speaking to a member of the bronze dragonflight.

Does this mean everyone who was sad about seeing it destroyed can choose to live in a world where it isn't destroyed?

No, the destruction will eventually be permanent whether or not a player earns the achievement for completing the scenario. This will likely take place in patch 5.1.

Oh, and I presume the Mage teleportation spells will continue to work as is, with the player simply appearing in the Theramore ruins?

We've updated the zone to incorporate the changes that'll take place to Theramore. You'll still be able to quest through the zone once it's permanently changed in 5.1.

I feel the permanent incorporation of 'destroyed' Theramore into the game world is significant. The fact that the questlines will be altered to accommodate it sends an interesting signal too, and makes me wonder what else may end up being 'changed' with such speed (in gaming world terms) in upcoming patches if lore events dictate the switch.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to add up the points totals on my various characters and work out how much gold I'll earn on P once the conversion goes through... :D

Friday, August 24, 2012

The ALT: ernative Guide to the 5.0.4 Patch Notes.

It occurs to me, come next week, an awful lot of people will be genuinely surprised at the changes 5.0.4 will bring to the game. I am aware of all the hugely useful help guides currently being constructed by people out in the Blogsphere, many of which I fully intend to use come Wednesday. However, for those people who haven't even grasped the significance of what is coming, I have a guide for you. It is what you need to know in clear and concise fashion.

It also has its tongue firmly wedged in its cheek, before I get a barrage of indignant green-inked letters of compliant :P

Patch 5.0.4 Notes (Concise)

  • All your pets, mounts and achievements are shared across all of your characters. Except some of them aren't, more than likely  the ones you wish were. No PvP Mount for your bank alt, sorry. Enjoy what you have.


  • You should have done all the quests at Theramore. WE DID WARN YOU. In good news, there are shiny loots for turning up there late and moaning about how you didn't get enough warning things were going to change. It'll only need three people to help you as well. Just hope you're not all healers... ^^

  • AOE looting is in game. A backpack and four Penny Pouches NO LONGER CUTS IT as appropriate storage!

  • Battle Tags actually work, though the way that Battle Net's been up and down in the EU over the past week, perhaps it won't totally, you'll have to log in and find out. Either way, you're going to regret sticking your Battle Tag on Facebook... ^^

  • All Classes are broken beyond repair, utterly OP or just more confusing than usual, you decide. Needless to say for the next four weeks you'd be well advised actually SEARCHING THE INTERNET FOR CHANGES as opposed to laughing at memes and poking people via social media. Many people will become VERY RICH from Glyphs. Many more will QQ that Glyphs are too expensive. Again, don't say we didn't warn you.

  • PvP's changed completely as well. Frankly you have enough to worry about already, and you can't do Arenas any more until Pandaria. Leave this bit alone, for your own sanity.

  • NO NEED TO GRIND REP FOR HEAD/SHOULDER ENCHANTS. Go level a Scribe so you can stop moaning about Glyph prices.

  • No, you didn't log out with your relic or weapon in your backpack, Blizzard put it there. YOU DON'T NEED IT ANY MORE. Stop trying to equip it and telling people in Trade your character is broken. It really isn't.

  • The reason why nothing is working on your interface is because Blizzard changed it, your addons are out of date and many are just utterly borked. If your interface isn't working now, you probably installed new addons too early. Either way, this will also need some work. Yeah, sorry about that, but in good news this only happens every 1-2 years and once you've sorted it out you can leave it to gather dust again.

  • If all of this still doesn't make sense, log in your character and ask in Trade why everything is a) broken b) so expensive and c) that this expansion sucks. This won't fix anything, but it is likely to make you feel better, albeit briefly...

[EDIT: Blizzard, clearly realising guides like this are urgently needed, have now posted their own. You can decide whose is more useful... :D]

Thursday, August 23, 2012

That's Torn It...

Inside my head RIGHT NOW.

The last time I felt like this, unsurprisingly, was the week before The Sundering.

My brane is well aware of everything that needs to happen in all walks of my life, both Real and Virtual, but is not playing nice. It thinks its the dps' job to gather the bloods so it can tank them, yet it's just standing there, tanking badly. It is EXPECTING me to bring the blood to it so it can die without the need to drag Abominations about. There are clearly massive communication issues at play here, and if this persists I will be the one to die first because I am squishy and don't have plate to hide in.

This is not an optimal state of affairs, let me be honest.

My normal recourse in such situations is to get the notebook out, tear out all the old planning pages and make new ones, but even this last night caused a massive headache. Instead I decided that by far the best approach to the entire sorry situation was, in fact, to turn my brane off completely and go do some dungeons. This was exactly the Right Thing To Do (TM) and today I have become hugely productive as a result, proving a point (if I needed it) that being TOO organised is often as bad in its own way as not doing any. When your body tells you something, it is a good idea to listen.

This means, at least running up to 5.0.4 I will not get too stressed about anything at all if I can avoid it. I want to know where I stand with pets and can do nothing until the patch. I would like some idea of specs for levellers: other people are very kindly posting guides and I am making quiet notes. Everything else can wait: I will grind out my (three) hunter's herbs tonight and tomorrow, then start on the others and if it doesn't get done... well, I have a month after that, and new pages in my notebook to fill. I am doing myself no favours by letting history repeat itself. It is time to learn from the past and from my own shortcomings.

I am hoping that, by doing this, the creative part of my brane will still be talking to me after that horrendous wipe we the day before yesterday and understand that I need to be able to have good ideas more often than I am right now. Lying dead and refusing to take the rez IS NOT HELPING ANYONE, creativity. I know it makes you feel better, but sometimes it is not just about what YOU want... ^^

These artistic types, honesty ^^

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CONTEST TIME! :: To the Looter, the AOE Spoils!

This pile is not big enough. Yours will need to be larger...

A week from today, wherever you are in the World of Warcraft, AOE Looting will be yours.


To celebrate this fact, ALT: ernative Towers will be running a VERY SPECIAL CONTEST. A HONKING HUGE PILES OF SPARKLY LOOT Contest, if you will. So clear out your bags, brush up on your pulling technique (please, don't go there) and stand by for action!

The Objective? We want to see your piles. We'd like screenshots of your AoE Looting adventures, please, the bigger the better, and we'd like to be able to share them with the world at large (and the readership of this blog in general) We're giving you some notice of this for a couple of reasons, mostly because you may wish to spend some time thinking about exactly WHERE you are going to go loot. We've also given some thought as to how you can loot, and as a result we've got three categories you can aim to participate in, as follows:

Part the First: Most Gold Looted in one click from a 5 Man Instance.

We're excluding raid instances for obvious reasons, but they will still be eligible for Part the Third below. For this category, we're asking for the most gold pulled BY A SINGLE PLAYER from a five man instance (no help please, one person's efforts only!) You'll need to provide a screenshot including both a) the huge pile of mobs you are looting and b) the amount of gold they yield. Please note only 5 man instances are eligible in this category and NOT Raid instances.

Part the Second: The Biggest Pile of Mobs EVAH.

We've decided that counting actual mobs will be nigh on impossible, so we're going to have to go on looks rather than actual hard numbers. We're asking you to submit screenies of the biggest piles of mobs you can make, sparkling in anticipation of AWESOME AOE LOOTAGE. You can do this anywhere: raid, 5 mans, outside world... your choice!

Part the Third: Most Artistic Piles of Mobs in Azeroth.

Here's one for the Paladins: we like things to look neat, after all. We're looking for the most artistic piles to win this category. This doesn't just include the mob placement, location and background are just as important to us. Imagine your mobs as characters in an artistic canvas of LOOTING GOODNESS...

If you win, you'll be awarded with a lovingly-crafted Trophy to show to your friends!

Trophy may appear MOAR AWESOME in reality :D

Obviously, AOE looting isn't with us yet, it arrives in the US on the 28th and here in Europe on the 29th. As you'll have important things to do when the patch first hits we're going to give you some time to organise them first: The contest will open August 30th and will then close on Wednesday, September 5th (at midnight BST) After that, the winners will be announced on Friday, September 7th.

Please send your Screenies to the following address:

Here come the Actual Rules: Concentrate!

  1. This is a solo farming endeavour: please respect the contest rules by NOT doing this with others. If we suspect your piles may be artificially inflated by outside help, we reserve the right to exclude you from the contest.
  2. If submitting an entry for Part the First, please ensure your screenie includes your loot window with the amount looted clearly visible.
  3. Please ensure you provide a valid e-mail address with your entry as it will be used to contact you in the event you win.
  4. By entering the contest you allow us permission to use your screenshot on the site, submitted as is.
  5. No amendments or photo-shopping of screenshots is permissible in any way, with the exception of blanking out your character names and chat windows. We will be studying hard, and if we suspect this has taken place, we reserve the right to exclude you from the contest.

We're giving you a deliberate head start on this Contest, so you have some time to think about how you want to loot or where might be the best place to go to maximise your returns... oh and don't forget to clear your bags beforehand!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Passing of the Buffstick...

Me and some sword. No watery bints, honest.

In a week's time, the Hunter Buffstick will be no more :(

The enormity of this Pandarian change is only just beginning to sink in. NO MORE MELEE WEAPONS FOR HUNTERS. No need to annoy druids by rolling on polearms or staffs. Rogues get to keep daggers and axes and, after seven years, I only have a ranged weapon for company.


This is a big deal folks. No really, it is! I've grown up with Dual Wield! I remember the joy of finally owning a matching pair of weapons (ZG 20, eyethankyew) when buffsticks WEREN'T EVEN INVENTED ^^ In fact, the earliest screenshot I can unearth of P (March 21st, 2009) has her rocking twin daggers:

Agility enchants, we salute you :D

Wrath was the expansion that bought the buffstick front and centre, relegating dual wielding to levellers and Not!Hunters, and by the time the Argent Tournament was released I'd dumped the two handed approach altogether:

Me and some other blokes. They seem quite important. He has a buffstick too!

I really miss the days of dual wield, if I'm honest. I loved so much in Vanilla that if I ended up in melee range I'd transform into a whirling dervish of blades... then I learnt that Hunters didn't do as much damage that way. If I wanted to hit stuff close up I needed a Rogue or a Warrior. Shaman weren't even invented for Alliance back then... ^^ As time went on I realised the significance the buffstick bought to the table... and somehow they stopped being cool on my back, they just became a part of my gearing regime... and I suspect this was the point that buffsticks were only cool if they had an awesome proc.

Mog Hunter with BlueGlowyProcStic

When the gimmick on a stick makes it as desirable as the stick itself, it cannot be long before a change comes. I should have seen the writing on the wall far sooner...

As of next week there'll be no more Giant Hunters (TM) in 5 mans and raids. Once the buffstick goes you'll just have your gun/bow/crossbow for company. You won't melee ANYTHING, you're going to shoot it, and this may come as a shock to quite a few people. You've all met a melee hunter in dungeons in your time: once upon a time it was because they forgot to buy bullets/arrows. Then it was because their weapon was broken. Not any more: the comfort of steel or stick is about to be cruelly wrenched from your tightly grasped hands and you will NEVER get it back.


Just think about that for a moment, fellow Hunters, and take a moment today to think back on those EPIC WEAPONS of your past. Go raid your screenshots folder and find your favourite, stare at it lovingly (or post it in your own blog!) and take a moment to mourn the passing of something significant.

I, for one, am already quite emotional about the whole thing.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Farming Today: The Benefits of Multitasking (Part Three)

I've realised that I owe quite a debt of gratitude to the many people whose blogs I read on the subject of In-Game Farming, hence why this series is extending into the week as I work out who else I have to thank. Today's nod is twofold: I give thanks both to @TheOvercut (whose website is here) and @NevAHAddict (whose site is here) I took two key pieces of information from them over the process of a couple of weeks, and in the intervening period they have combined into one of my most enjoyable areas of farming. In fact, so much do I enjoy this that it has become a part of my weekly routine. It involves a spot in the Swamp of Sorrows, and a recipe from a vendor you only used to be able to see with a quest item from Scholomance.

This transmute is sold by Magnus Frostwake. Go find him today.

I have three Alchemists, and (up until a couple of months ago) I wasn't using their transmutes economically. I saw @TheOvercut mention on Twitter (via someone else's podcast as I recall) he'd heard this transmute was now freely available and worth investigating. Frostwake lives in the Blacksmiths at Scholomance, and up until Cataclysm was only visible to anyone who possessed a Spectral Essence (go look it up and marvel at how complicated completing Scholomance USED to be) The recipe is BoP, but it was simple to get all the Alchemists up there to collect it. This might seem a bit excessive for a Vanilla mat, but I know only too well how much Essence of Air is worth, as I've been farming it regularly for some time. At the heart of Vanilla agility enchants that work on Heirlooms it is a constant seller, and any way to make extra is always welcomed. After this, all I needed was a reliable source of water. @NevAHAddict supplied that for me and much more besides.

You are Here. Bring a Miner.

This area in the Swamp of Sorrows is where Nev sent her readers for Globe of Water, which is a very decent seller due to its inclusion in several Engineering pet recipes. Elementals loot tables changed significantly after Cataclysm: these mobs can drop the highest level essence possible for its level, for instance, but also lower level essences to boot. Therefore, Purespring Elementals can drop EITHER Elemental Water (base level) Globe of Water (secondary) and Essence of Water. Add to this an area where Thorium is plentiful and it makes perfect sense on a Monday to send my Shaman out with empty bags and one job: to gather 21 Essence of Water for a 'week's worth of transmutation.

He's looking at me funny, you know...

This 'circuit' has many, many benefits. With the exception of the Elemental Water, EVERYTHING SELLS. Thorium & Arcane Crystals either sell separately or make Arcane Bars (as they aren't on an Alchemy CD) Globes sell, consistently, and the Essences go in the pile for distribution to the three Alchemists. I've gone up a level as well, and have translated the farm into Nagrand, where I can fish Motes of Water and kill Elementals on the Plateau and use Primal Water to transmute into Primal Air when supply is limited. That however isn't a simple recipe purchase and only works for one of my three, so for now I feel this is a great way to increase the range of my transmuters.

Those two tips alone from my Twitter feed were great separately, but combined they have given me a really enjoyable way of farming and making cash. Never underestimate the ability to multitask, to mix and match ideas to fit your own farming style. If you enjoy what you're doing you're more likely to make more profit, after all :D

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It's a mount! No, I'M a mount!

Just when I'd forgotten all about it, my RaF Mount appeared. This is significant because a) we're into a whole new group of tens and b) its a two person flyer. However this one isn't a sharer, but I suspect that even considering that it will get some use come Expansion Time (TM)

Most importantly of all however it gives me an idea of what the Jewelcrafting mounts are based on. If I didn't already know that they were going to be insanely popular, I do now.

As an aside, one of the two friends I invited back to the game from Holland also gifted me a Spectral Mount. I already have this Alliance side, so I decided it would be a plan not to duplicate it on anyone else... so decided to chuck it at the Horde Hunter. I think this looks even better than the Gryphon:

So good, you can hardly see it...

The pictures really don't do it justice: it looks fabulous. Another reason (if I needed it) to have people on both side of the faction fence...