Saturday, October 06, 2012

Missing the Shot

Instead of the normal money shot... ^^

It has been a while since getting to max level took me completely by surprise.

Last night I threw my well-considered 'let's do this by zone' levelling plan out of the window. I deliberately ignored half-done quest lines in both Karasang and Kun-Lai and instead decided to get swayed entirely by shinies. Having seen the start of the Klaxxi questline in the Dread Wastes, and having picked up a Ghostcrawler tweet telling me Dread Wastes quest rewards would help in my push to get heroically-geared, off I went. My ding caught me completely by surprise, as I was totally engrossed in the plot of the zone.

I have to admit, I have no idea what ilevel I need for Heroics, and at this point I'm not really getting too stressed at throwing myself into anything until I can get my head around the sheer number of blue !'s that suddenly appeared when 90 ticked over. I ignored the Quest hub completely in the VoEB, instead going first to the Lorewalkers to hand in my Pristine Artifacts and pick up the 'solve a dig' quest and then over to my farm. As expected, my 'Discover Valley of the Four Winds' achievement co-incided with me picking up the dailies for the Tillers, all on a completely separate level (only accessible with flying) It seems quite clear from my cursory zoom around very early this morning that the dailies seem to take advantage of height as well as mobs that are, at least for me, a challenge to kill in the way I've been used to. A lot is going to change I suspect now I'm maxxed.

Pet team needs work too... :D

I've not looked at pet battles since late last week. The only thing I'm selling atm is Living Steel while it still commands 1000g a bar (though last night I did stick some of my bag stockpile up to have it sell almost immediately) I'm doing my best to get as many people farming as possible but STILL I don't have all the alts in place doing this because, quite frankly, this has become the Mother of all Time Sinks. Having too much to do is fantastic after so much time with nothing but the problem inevitably is finding the ability to sort everything when I have an awful lot of Real Life with a greater priority. Today I have decided, I'm going to FINALLY get myself to a position where everyone is farming, where I have enough raw materials to support a couple of days Living Steel/Imperial Silk and where I can feel comfortable that I'm maximising the time I'm NOT online by using gathering resources to the best of their ability.

Once that's done, maybe I can start working out what I need to start running Heroics properly ^^

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Out of Left Field...

I had a completely different topic on the go this evening, until this popped up on Twitter:

Needless to say, this stopped me in my tracks.

The original post is here, the summary is deceptively simple:

  • Any single character earns Revered reputation with a faction.
  • All other characters on the account begin to earn double reputation for that one same faction.
  • The Revered character earns double reputation as he or she works toward Exalted.

It took me a moment to work this out: why (with the changes to would it be significant to amend the reputation grind? Rep titles (in the main) are account wide, so this isn't why the change has been considered. This has to be gear-related.

As I'm not yet at 90 (89 last night) I've really not looked at the Faction Gear in any great detail but this morning I killed a mob in the Dread Wastes whilst I was fishing my Nat Pagle Fish (TM) and found myself meeting the Klaxxi for the first time after a drop and a quest pointed me to their Quartermaster. A cursory glance at the rather awesome mail items available (all rep-tied) makes me think that this change HAS to be linked with the way reputation 'grinds' have been tied to end-game gear.

However, there is the issue not simply of Faction rep to consider, but the newly-introduced 'individual' reputation NPC's. Will this change mean that once you gain Revered with Nat Pagle, all other alts on your Battle Net account will be afforded the same priviledges...? This might not mean much for fishing accessories but as far as the Tillers are concerned (raiders, I'm looking at you) would this mean a possible increase in speeds for maxxing out farm productivity?

The consequences for my account are not unsubstantial: I make it 53 reputations at Exalted (currently) It should make picking up holes in my recipe lists a lot easier, give me more options for mogging if the grinds are less tedious, and allow the OCD obsessive in me a quicker way to get all those lovely rep bars filled to maximum...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Needs More Stuff!

Just your typical day outside the Stormwind AH ^^

There's rather a lot to do right now in Pandaria.

Quite apart from levelling, gearing for Heroics, actually running them and then possibly doing some raiding, there is a vast wealth of New Stuff To Make (TM) There is the behemoth that is Training Cookery (no I'm not doing one branch at a time, its all or nothing, you know me) We have the cash cow of Transmutation, the possibilities for Spirits of Harmony (THREE on P :O) and the sheer amount of stuff just lying around on the ground, waiting to be harvested. Just how many plates can one dwarf and her compadres keep spinning simultaneously, I wonder?

It takes me a while to process stuff, even on a good day. It's been a week, but the pennies are finally beginning to drop.

Only need Tailoring done and my Panda gets Heirloom legs. Make it happen people!

I'm pretty pleased with the progress of the family's tradeskills: P's another night's worth of farming mats away from maxing most of the Cookery branches without spending a penny on the AH. The lock has both Alchemy and Jewelcrafting maxxed, the Druid's 10 points from capping her Alchemy and the same with Herbalism. Engineering's in the mid 60's. Inscription is complete on the Priest and Enchanting is not far behind and all of this has been accomplished without spending a ton of money. In fact, looking at the addons, I'd say I've shelled out about 3k tops on extra mats to get this process to the point it is now. The most I dropped in one hit was 1500g on 3 Golden Loti to make the last points in Jewelcrafting, the rest has been odds and ends.

The vast changes we're now seeing with professions has a lot to do with this, of course, added to the frankly insane respawn rates raw materials have in Pandaria. I've not even considered buying a pair of 'See Extra Stuff' Goggles yet and am assuming their true value will happen when I have a 90 gatherer and the rare stuff becomes the main concern. For now all I need (in the main) is in the Jade Forest with no worry I'll have to fight anyone for a spawn. I've got myself ready to turn Ghost Iron to Trillium with no CD, and then to convert that to Living Steel for crafting, after which I suspect the AH will call. I'll only make flasks for raiding, the rest of the Golden Loti are likely to be sunk into select farming missions with the Potion of Luck in tow. Once I'm settled and comfortable with the family, then I'll turn my eye to the business of making some money. Needless to say, I've already told you how much cash you can make from your farm. Once you're 90, its not just vegetables you can harvest either. That's another story for another post... :D

This is only three bags, and some of that is soulbound ^^

Then there is the stuff that was left behind, that I've not had a chance to process: pets, old mats (from clearing out alts bags) and all points in between. When I checked my bankalt this morning after a week of not daring look at how much there was to sort, it wasn't as bad as I thought, but it took a while to put everything away. I'm glad I left the pets a week or so for the market to settle, and it is clear I'll need to consider a new strategy in reference to how I sell. Plus I have many more AH's than I had before to check for stuffs...

Typical. I turn up late Tuesday night and they're shut :(

A cursory visit this morning confirmed things are working again, and if you have 80k to spare an Arcanite Ripper may be yours... the question then becomes whether I'll get swayed....

Monday, October 01, 2012

Not Only, But Also...

Kun Lai Summit. An impossibly beautiful vista.

I'm writing a review of Pandaria, one week in, as part of what I'm hoping might become a permanent gig for a Proper Grownup Website, and I find myself unable to pin down exactly what it is that has made the last seven days probably more immersive an experience than any of the previously released expansions. I've woken up with the Jade Forest musical 'themes' in my head for the last three days, and I'm more than aware of the fact that the rest of the people I'm playing with are having real trouble working out what to do next. Some haven't even made it to levelling at all, instead choosing to pet battle, or make a farm, or both. It doesn't help matters that two of our primary tanking-types has effectively vanished, I believe with a number of people we thought would return who have instead decided to move their lot over to GW2. It's easy to forget in the almost constant stream of complimentary press I'm seeing currently that other games are still available, and being played as an alternative to Pandas.

For every person who has come back to Warcraft, there are those who have departed, and right now it is difficult to accurately ascertain exactly how many people are playing to begin with. @oliviadgrace highlighted an article on Warcraft's disappointing retail sales which has subsequently been updated because, amazingly, the original writer singularly failed to consider the impact of digital downloads. This makes me wonder: how many people will download the game but never end up playing it? I'm betting far more than would make the effort to walk to a shop or order online: I've still not made it past the loading screen with GW2 simply because I don't possess enough hours in the day. I will be cancelling my TSW sub for the same reason this month and both of these games were digital purchases: don't get me wrong, I'd really love to play more of both but in the end its not realistic. However I've parted with cash for both of these, both sit on my hard drive. How many people have bought Warcraft digitally and are in a similar situation to me with these other games?

More importantly, what kind of people are likely not just to be swayed back to the game, but perhaps tempted to try it for the first time...? I know of at least one person reading whose mother has been tempted by the look of Pandaria: I am sure there must be others. The pet battles and farm aspect is making the most unusual and unexpected individuals drop everything and immerse themselves... and we've not even looked at 10/25 man raiding yet. Challenge Modes are still the Great Unknown Quantity: people are doing five man heroics in less than 15 minutes :O How hard are they? Is their challenge aspect enough to sustain interest through an entire Expansion? Will they be made progressively harder? How many people are seriously gearing up and considering going for a Server First this time around? There are still more questions than answers this early in the 'day': all I can do is judge what I see and what I'm hearing. I'm yet to read anything other than an overridingly positive view of MoP (if you can point me at negatives, I'd love to see them) but after just seven days we're still very much in the Honeymoon period...

There are still too many variables to consider in my small sleep deprived brain. For now my biggest problem is stopping myself cleaning up every dead, skinnable mob left behind by the levelling masses in the Jade Forest and valley of the Four Doobreys. I made 1500g at the weekend without killing a single mob that way and frankly, the never-ending stream of raw materials shows no sign of reducing. Money's just lying around, ON THE GROUND, and I need to be making it. Once that dries up, it might be time to start considering more of the long term implications of this black and white fluffy invasion... :D

Not Part of the Plan...

Contests and I... well, here's the thing...

I haven't forgotten about this contest, honest. I just don't seem to have the best of luck when I try and give stuff away to you good people ^^

On the morning of the closing date, I'd received two entries. I left the contest open a couple more days in the hope there might be a late flood (or that my ISP's mail service was having a moment) and one more appeared. As I had three awards made, I decided to award one to everyone who took the time to send me an entry. I'm still waiting for a snail address from Sarriss to send the award off (it really doesn't matter where you live :D) but Farli and Cutaia will have their awards sent in the mail this week. Thank you for taking the time to send an entry in guys and I'm sorry you didn't have more competition!

Sarriss: Bear with Loot.
Farli: many bugs! handle it!

Cutaia: Attractive AND Functional!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fishing Gets Interesting

Fishing WITH A STICK? IN PANDARIA? Surely you jest!

It is something of an understatement to say that Fishing has been awarded some major love in Pandaria.

Having lost a weapon slot, Fishing has also become a bit of a faff, especially in areas where mobs are likely to munch you (which in the new world is just about everywhere) Suddenly the 'basic' fishing ability of stick and twine (or being able to fish without a pole equipped) has come into its own. As every catch from a pool is guaranteed, I've been making sure I fish only in pools in full DPS gear, using the twig so that if I end up in combat I can kill fast and go back to the matter in hand. Skill bonus don't matter in a pool, only the contents do, and with the numbers of fish I'll need to catch to level cookery, I have been fishing for a while.

A healthy balance of practical and personal :D

The only key difference to this plan has been to catch the two 'daily quest' fish I've unearthed in open water (see previous post) which I'll only do when safe from attack and with the full fishing gear on. As with life, its all about knowing what tools work well for which task.

There's also a couple of comments to be made on what exactly you're fishing up at present:

Not all fishing pools are this impressive. Trufact.

I am reliably formed by the statistically-savvy @elsanglin on Twitter that Pandaria's crates yield approximately 0.3 Black and White Trillium each. However, having spent seven years at the mercy of the RNG I also know that some days are luckier than others, and by the stack of both I have I'd say I've benefitted from some random fishing love. However I do know the rate at which I'm fishing up Motes of Harmony is comparable to the rate at which they drop from mobs at present, which makes fishing a viable substitute for grinding.

I'd hope that the Darkmoon component of the chests might be replaced in time, that we might see a variation of the Sealed Crate, perhaps a Pandaran Sealed Crate, with more useful items than the food and drink we're currently pulling from the water. For now, they're vendor trash, one of the very few things actually being sold in the first weeks of the Expansion... :D

The Joy of Not Knowing

Ooh look, Valor Points :O

Perhaps THE best aspect of the entire Expansion thus far is the element of surprise.

I was a bad beta tester: I realised quite early in that the desire to do stuff ahead of everyone else was rapidly diminished ahead of the need Not To Be Spoilt. By far the biggest element of satisfaction I have derived from this game over the years has been the sheer excitement to be gained in riding around and discovering stuff on my own. That's why there was no post yesterday because that's what I did: I filled in as much of the map as I was capable of on horseback, taking in the scenery along the way. I killed a rare at Kun Lai Summit, I died more times than I care to remember hurling myself off cliffs, but it was GLORIOUS. Part of me misses the days when there were no flying mounts, I realise, as I grasped I can't achieve exploration achievements without one. No matter, it will happen eventually.

I did a stupid amount of stuff over Friday and Saturday, but again I deliberately avoided levelling because I'm rather enjoying that experience with my husband (and I think by the annoyance I detected when I picked up a quest he didn't have, the feeling might be mutual) Instead I fished, I pulled more alts out to Halfhill, I hunted for Lorewakers Scrolls, I gathered (and killed the same Rare again in Jade Forest that I did two days ago) and, probably most importantly in terms of logistics, got P installed in the Valley of Eternal Blossoms. The lack of an AH there makes me rather happy, meaning the Bankalt network really will come into its own in the coming weeks. I shudder to think how much crap my Dwarf MegaBanker has to deal with right now, but that's a problem for another day.

Professions wise looks remarkably healthy: I have Leatherworking, Skinning and Alchemy maxxed. Mining on the Mogging alt is also maxxed and because I have now discovered Potion of Luck takes THREE Golden Loti I think maxxing herbalism and getting her on a daily round trip is pretty much essential. The Alchemy discovery mechanic is excellent, and I think that ought to be the way you find things out in other professions too, variations on the theme of the same basic recipe. That's going to mean a shedload of raw mats to be shipped to everybody, of course, so the Mogging Hunter will have her work cut out, and she's already well over halfway to 86 just by picking stuff up. She also has a fetching (and matching) Water Strider pet :D

Again, 10 points for the pet naming reference.

The joy at the Nat Pagle fish catch last night as I was gathering mats for the next tier of the 6-pronged cookery specialisation makes me really rather glad I never went ahead and wrote guides or invested heavily in being organised during beta: the joy of discovering it with everyone else is worth far more than the knowledge in advance. This is one of those rare cases where I reckon that kind of head start would have made this far less of a joyous experience and far more of a chore, and I'm glad I didn't decide to tread that path. For now, I'll predict I'll see 89 tonight or tomorrow (and with it the chance to biff Coren for those trinkets) and after that... well, 90 will come when it does, and then we'll see where we are. Needless to say this is the slowest I've consciously levelled anyone in game during the first days of an expansion, and its the least prepared I've been to boot.

I'm absolutely LOVING it.