Saturday, September 08, 2012

Welcome to Alternative Towers

The Ambassador, she is spoiling us!

I've meant to do this for a while, and now it's done.

Alternative Towers is my latest Vanity Guild. I'm out of space, and it seemed like a good idea, and as a couple of people have asked me whether I had a guild named after the Webby...

One of the advantages (for me at least) of sharing everything across one account is the fact my L1 Bankalt not only can look stylish, but can have a ridiculously inappropriate title to slum around Ironforge with. I suspect that this won't be my only 'branch' either, and that other Alternative Towers regional offices may spring up over time. If you see a member of our friendly staff on your travels, feel free to say hello, pop in for a cup of tea and some Chocolate Fudge Cake and be assured you've found a friendly place for a chat!

I'm also rather pleased that Black Embersilk Robe finally found a worthwhile recipient...

Friday, September 07, 2012

A Small Empire to Begin With...

Another Hunter, A Different Server... :D

I owe a fairly large debt of thanks to the good b├╝rgers over at WoW Insider. Quite apart from the fact they have given the Pet Database a wider audience, the site comes up with interesting nuggets of information on a daily basis, and that's not an easy task I know (from personal experience) One particular piece, which snuck under the radar in early August, has had me thinking the last few days: it suggests, assuming that the conditions on beta remain when the game goes live, that it could be possible to use pets to earn money on multiple servers. 

The concept is very simple:

  • All your vanity/battle pets are now linked to a central 'stable' which you can access regardless of what server (or faction) you are playing on.
  • Once you learn how to 'cage' a pet it can be caged anywhere, ON ANY SERVER.

Caging is the key here: because once a pet is caged, it's bind-free and can be sold. Assuming this remains intact once the game goes live, I will be able to:

  • Sell my spare pets from my 'main' on her server's AH
  • My Horde alt on the same server will be able to sell spare pets as well (once caged)
  • My L52 Hunter (see above) on Server B will be able to sell spare pets
  • The L1 Horde alt I make on the same server... and so on

The potential for this is quite staggering, and (I suspect) may force Blizzard to stick a level cap on a character's ability to cage. Even with this people could still pay to server transfer to the most densely populated servers for the sole purpose of access to their AH's... On the flip side, this would allow my 'stable' access to pets being sold across multiple servers, if I were looking for a particular BoP pet to add to my collection.

It would also (theoretically) allow me access to the Black Market Auction House for pet sales across multiple servers. Let's not go there just yet.

The hunter I just introduced above has lived on Server B for a while, and has sat largely idle since she was transferred there. She has a small amount of money, and suddenly she's a Person of Interest. This gives me the option with my extensive pet surplus to sell on a secondary market, not flood my primary market, and see if I can establish a Small Business Empire that spans two servers.

Really, it has to be done :D

Adventures in Nerfed Content

Now loading the past. I remember it well... (from Wowwiki)

I am now officially 4/8 DS Heroic.

Now before I get a slew of 'doesn't count, content is nerfbatted' responses to this statement (which I am rather pleased with) I should qualify a couple of points:

  1. Yes, I KNOW it doesn't count. That's EXACTLY why it's awesome.
  2. I love NOT being relevant, or first, if it means I have tons of fun in the process (and last night I really did enjoy myself in DS for the first time in I don't know how long) and I can raid with a bunch of people similarly having a whale of a time.
  3. Nerfing existing content serves a VERY important role, perhaps more important than anyone who strives to complete it first will ever really grasp.

Let me take you back, if I may, to the Golden Days of TBC (TM) In those days entering Mount Hyjal in the game world was punishable by a three day ban (I know a Guildie who did, he vanished soon after) The arrival of the Battle for Hyjal therefore was highly anticipated, but as a Guild we were nowhere near capable of making it past the first boss... until the nerfbat swang with the major set of class and ability changes that foreshadowed the arrival of Arthas. When it became apparent just how a) easy things had become and b) overpowered (in relative terms) we were, it would have been rude not to go and cut a swathe through the entire place... and we did. That night is still talked about by some people in Guild to boot, remembered as an awesome evening of madness, Epic maces (you should know the one, we had two drop) and the Guild being truly capable for the first time of conquering 25 mans. This set us up for Naxx in Northrend and probably what was the Golden Age for us in Second Tier Raiding.


It's been a lean expansion for us, all told, but we've consistently pulled out a 10 man team for everything, and DS on Heroic last night was possibly THE BEST THING that could have happened to us in terms of consolidating our team dynamics. Fights (I suspect) that would have taken weeks to learn were distilled down to a couple of basic instructions (kill little tentacles first, then work upwards, make sure the purple blob always dies) and off we went, merrily outgearing what we found but at the same time revelling in a different way to do fights that LFR has ingrained into our subconscious. For those who were rewarded last night (NO HUNTER LOOT WHAT'S THAT ABOUT) they're items that will last a couple of weeks into the Expansion if they're lucky... but really, that wasn't the point. The Achievement points were largely academic as well, as I think about it... it was all about the teamwork.

As a Guild Leader perhaps the most difficult thing to instil into a team of people is motivation, especially at the arse-end of an Expansion. One of the reasons my Guild has been together as long as it has is the fact we all know how to get on with each other, and we're pretty good at accommodating each other on bad days. Last night, no-one had a bad day. Our second healer (who's normally one of our best mages) played an absolute blinder and no-one was carrying anyone else, everyone bought a solid and decent performance to Dragonblight, and it showed. Getting 4/8 at the end of the evening makes me very enthusiastic for the ACTUAL HARD CONTENT that's coming, and that everybody will be giving it their best shot when the time comes. I think, last night, everyone exemplified what our 'Smart Casual' moniker really means, and I am very proud of them all.

Tonight we'll be wandering into the Firelands, I suspect that too will be an awful lot of fun :D Suddenly Pandarian raid content cannot come soon enough...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

IT'S ALIVE!!!1!!1!!1111!

Click here to access the Database proper.

Yes, I'm finally done. The Minipets Database is LIVE!

This is an alphabetical listing of all the pets currently available in game (and those that will be available when pet battles go live in Pandaria). This includes balloons and kites (which can't battle, but are included for completists everywhere), plus some pets that have been removed since the last beta build. There is also a spot for Jacob the Test Seagull because I didn't have the heart to delete him and I hope, maybe one day, he will return in some form. That means, as it stands, it's a list of 504 pets. However, you only get to have 500 maximum in game, so DON'T PANIC!

In time I will update this database with co-ordinates and pictures of EVERY pet I capture, thus building a complete picture of where to find what in Azeroth and beyond. This also shows (as of right now) which pets will be tradeable and which pets will be classified as Rare (giving an increase to HP and Speed) Please note, this information is NOT confirmed and is subject to change on Expansion release. As soon as I have confirmed details on Rares and trades staus, it will go into the database.

I intend to keep this list as current as possible, so please check back often. The site has it's own URL ( for your browsing convenience but you can also access it via the graphic at the top right of my webpage here or via the special Pet Battle page I've set up (link also on the right of the homepage) There will also be, in time, a map of all zones and the level pets you will find in them, plus a list of all the Master Pet Battlers and their locations, plus which pets they will put up against you in their fights!

I'm looking forward to lots of people pointing out mistakes and corrections to be made (as its just been me working on this for the best part of two months on the data entry side) Please feel free to message me on twitter (@AlternativeChat) or leave notes in the comments if you see summat that needs fixing. I'll be right on it!

Finally a huge thanks must go to @caerphoto (Andy) on Twitter whose coding makes this whole thing look wonderfully professional and without whom this entire exercise would never have happened at all. Thank you, Andy!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Still Alive!

Apologies for No Actual Posting [TM] today but in good news, the Minipets Database is almost ready to roll. I'll expect an hours work in the morning on cleaning stuff up and then we'll begin the process of integrating everything into the site. I decided today that this work was more important than actual blogging, which we will return to in the morrow.

To all the people who back in May (bloody hell) who offered to help roadtest the thing, your chance will soon be here: am looking forward to hearing what's wrong, what doesn't work, and what I need to do to get everything ready for Pandaria... :D

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The View from the Back...

Suddenly all that planning is worthwhile :D

This is my Mogging Hunter. She is so called because her mog outfit is the single most viewed thing on my entire website ^^ It transpires all the work I did getting her gun to match her gear has paid off now the Nessingwary 9000 sits on her back, and I have to say an outfit I was really pleased with before is one I think is utterly awesome now. I'm missing Mog It right now and am really hoping an updated version will be appearing sooner rather than later, especially as I have a problem with the Blokie Hunter and his choice of firepower:

It's not working. It's Dwarven sure, but its not working...

I like the gear my Hunter's currently wearing (PvP gears from vendors in Outland with various odds and ends thrown in) but the weapon is going to be an issue. I'd normally turn to Mog It for inspiration but with it causing a festival of LUA errors when I try I sense I'm back to World of Wardrobes for the time being (unless any of you good people know better of course!) It may seem like a lot of effort but I'm more than aware of the number of hunters who are having trouble getting the outfits they want, and I'd like to make a real effort with my favourite class, because I spend so much time staring at their backs when playing.

Looking at it, World of Wardrobes do't yet have a Gun section completed :( Right, its back into game and onto Atlas I go... ^^

Monday, September 03, 2012

Every Day is a School Day... :D

Today, I learnt that, as a Caster, I can benefit from Expertise in 5.0.4.

The item in question. I was confused.

I'd taken my first trip to the excellent Ask Mr Robot site, looking to see if they'd updated everything for the new patch and I could add 'reforge all the things' to my growing To Do List for the next few weeks. I decided to use my Warlock as the test subject in this, and was happily reforging my way down the changed items when I hit the Infinite Loop and was immediately troubled: EXP? Surely that can't mean Expertise?

One point of expertise decreases the chance that melee attacks made by the player will be dodged or parried by 0.25%. (WowWiki Definition)

My definition of expertise comes from the early days, and looking at this instruction I could only conclude that I'd unearthed some kind of bug. I did what I would normally do at this point with any site that I knew was active via the wonders of Twitter, I sent the Mr Robot minions a tweet:

Seven hours later (which is IMO a bloody good response time for anyone who doesn't know you from Adam), my tweet was replied to:

Melee-lock builds, you say... NO DON'T GO THERE!

If you're a caster, I'd strongly suggest you check out the 5.0.4 changes Mr Robot has rolled out. This includes a handy Venn Diagram which shows that a combination of hit AND expertise isn't just of benefit to melee classes any more. There's also interesting factoids like racial weapon bonuses counting towards hit (that I wasn't aware of) plus a bunch of actual numbers of what 1% of any given stat converts to. Seriously, go read, you will learn stuff. I did, and I promptly retweeted my enlightenment to my Twitterati followers. I'd like to thank Mr Robot for retweeting me in return, which is undoubtedly the most people any one of my random ramblings has ever reached.

Thank you for educating me, it is greatly appreciated, and I'd urge anyone who needs help understanding what needs to go where in the reforging department to give the Mr Robot site a look-see.

This Week, I Will Be Mostly :: Three Weeks 'Til Pandas Edition

... realising I actually need to give EVERYONE a new spec...

Even though this week has been officially deemed Pet Week (see yesterday's post) there are still stuffs to consider to return everybody to a workable standard. Hence, additional things To Be Dun In Game include the following:

  • Giving all 12 L85's a spec, even if I don't intend to do anything with them for a while.

  • Standardising the UI design I made across the family, which will include making sure everyone has a) the Traveller's Tundra Mammoth and the Sea Turtle on their action bars b) HS in the same place b) Oh S$£! buttons in the same place. I'll also make sure all three hunters UI's are the same (even if the specs aren't) and that even the bankalts have a new UI. It's not easy standing in the AH looking cool, you know ^^

  • Finishing the missing glyphs for the Hunters, and then moving on to the rest of the family with glyph holes.

  • Beginning to make lists of what basic supplies will be needed for the A Team as they go out to Pandaria.

  • Now that the Darkmoon Faire is fixed, I can go get some more pets to put on the Resale Pile (TM)

  • If all that isn't enough, I need to programme some 10 mans for the Guild...

However I intend to start this month on the health front the way I mean to go on, and THAT means what while my husband has a few days off and is providing childcare, I'll be off to the gym with my Fitbit in tow...  so if you'll excuse me, off to try and knock off some more weight!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A Woman After my Own Heart...

I could MURDER a brew... :D

Tomorrow is the final day of the Summer Holidays for my kids, and marks the last day my son will not be a Grammar School Boy. His father is rejoicing that, for at least the next five years, he'll be the one wearing the tie and blazer every morning and NOT his Dad. It also marks the three weeks to go mark for the Expansion, and this means it is time to shift the entire ALT: ernative Towers Organisational Behemoth into high gear. Imagine it, if you will, like an enormous MegaYak, packed with useful stuff, slowly wobbling it's way to the 25th where its legs will give out and it'll end up in an unsightly heap. Until that happens, it is time to make some plans.

Next week is Pet Week. That means FINALLY competing the Pet Battles Database entry and the process of beginning to find pets and co-ordinates that will be of use when the system goes live. It also will be the week where the Website itself gets some much needed organisational love, so keep an eye on things as we go to watch me try and convince you that I know my CSS from my HTML. No, I'm not buying it either. You can also expect some re-iteration of Things To Do Before the Expansion Hits, and more than likely some pointers to how other people are preparing for the inevitable.

The week after is going to be Toon Preparation Week, as I finally commit to who is going out to bat first in my levelling A Team (Murdock is DEFINITELY in) and we get them fit and healthy for the fight that lies ahead of them. The final week of course co-incides with the release of the 'Attack on Theramore' Scenario so I suspect by that point it'll be just blind panic liberally sprinkled with repeated runs through that until my eyes bleed AND I have all the loot I want, whichever comes first.

Needless to say, this is the most motivated and excited I've been about an Expansion since Vanilla turned into TBC and I realised the potential beyond L60. Frankly, the 25th cannot come soon enough! For now however, if you will excuse me, there an enormous bucket of tea with my name on it after a PARTICULARLY exhausting RL Day... :D

The Bunny has Landed... :D

L93 Boss. HANDLE IT!

The Darkmoon Rabbit has arrived ^^

Currently the Faire is borked on EU servers (and I assume elsewhere) with only the Faire quests active. However, a small fluffy bunny with 174 million health has materialised in the Darkmoon Cave, and by the number of corpses I found when I arrived the group that finally nabbed him had wiped a few times.

The key here is numbers, with the boss at the level he is, and us being the level we are currently. It took two groups to down him, but if you weren't in the group that engaged, NO KILL. If your bunny is grey, it's a bad day. Needless to say, when we're at the same level as this guy it will be a far easier kill, but you'll still need a full raid of 40. Oh, and yes, you get an Epic Pet as a reward if you're the lucky roller :D I wonder if its tradeable? ^^

I see dead people ^^

Yes, I'd like this pet. Yes, I'm quite happy to wait. Plus, I'm REALLY glad I don't live on a PvP Server ^^