Saturday, April 26, 2014

Let's Get Serious

I hope everyone can agree, regardless of personal opinion toward flight vs. non-flight, that flying fundamentally alters how content is approached in a world where the gameplay exists wholly on the ground.

The PR exercise of 'making non-flight attractive' continues apace, in anticipation of Warlords.

Even the Marketing Department got the memo this time around.


Look closely and yes, this steed that got everyone excited HAS NO WINGS. It's a Mechanical two person mount if I am to believe the cryptic accompanying text and that means Refer a Friend's going to get a not unsurprising reboot in the next few months... the question then becomes what you'll *actually* get as incentive. Oh, and I have no doubt you'll be able to fly on this. Just don't expect to be able to to in Draenor in 6.1. Anyone want to bet there might well be the promise of free 90's attached to this deal along the way?

Yeah, didn't think so.

However, what this should now indicate to anyone paying more than scant attention to the way Warlords is being handled is that, like it or not, this is on Blizzard's terms. They are not going to back down on the no-fly, they are not going to be rushed on development timescales, it really will be ready when its ready, and it is not as if there is no historical precedent for either. There are bucketloads of both, and if the plan is as it appears to return us to TBC with a modern twist but to do it without the seeming convenience of circumnavigating content by just flying into it and flying away, there may be more to this move than simply reinforcing the desire that flying is now not an option. In fact, there's a paragraph of explanatory text I think everyone really needs to read:

In Draenor we’re designing max-level content, portions of zones or zones in their entirety that will be dedicated to max-level gameplay—and not just the top of a cliffside, or some dailies in the Vale. There’s a harsh change in how the game plays between leveling, and when you hit max level. Hitting 100 and instantly switching everything you do to raiding or Arenas is pretty abrupt, and we want to try to keep that questing experience available at max level with something more robust than daily quests. We don’t think having all of that content inside buildings, or constantly challenged by sky cannons, or with magical no-flying smoke, or within some kind of dismount bubble is the most straightforward or best solution to the ultimate issue in that World of Warcraft is not a flight sim, and that's just not what the content of the game is about. Even at level 100 there will be no small portions of the game world intended to provide relevant content even to max-level players. These zones may even unlock over the course of the expansion, or the content in them will progress in story and scope throughout content patches. Content has to be designed with the expectation that there either is or is not flight, and approaching ground-level content from the ground offers more compelling gameplay. Raids, dungeons, and PvP continue to disallow flying for this same reason.

That last statement is the killer in all of this: it may not just be your Garrison that has an intrinsic relationship with your progress in game this time around, it could be ALL the content in the ENTIRE expansion, and if that is the case then keeping people on the ground isn't just a convenience, its a part of the progression mechanic. That's a fairly big admission by Bashiok, even though he is quite careful not to confirm anything concrete because, as we know, that's not how Blizzard ever operate. However, if this *were* the way forward for content it will encourage people to start from Step One and not think they can turn up late and simply pick up at the end. At least part of the incentive here seems to be that if you start this journey there is now the real possibility it will feel far more cohesive than it did in previous expansions. There is, of course, another possibility which might actually benefit the player that turns up at patch 6.3 and starts from scratch: if the content doesn't unlock and then remain static, and you do that by travelling, then that's a HUGE step forward in keeping the game current. In fact, that might be part of the Holy Grail for Warcraft rediscovered right there.

Isle of Thunder. Hints of what was to come?

The Isle of Thunder was an exercise in unlocking progression for this who turned up first, but anyone who turned up late didn't get nearly as an immersive experience as the rest of us. If I read Bashiok's comments correctly, what if Warlords was being designed to unlock content ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS? That means that it wouldn't matter when you started a zone, you'd always be there at the beginning and wouldn't turn up late and find everything just in place without explanation. So, when you arrive for the first time you'll unlock the content even if half the server's already done so, and the game will remember your individual progress for EVERYTHING and not simply the quest areas. There's a massive downside to this however, and that's that there'll be no more getting your high level mates to drag you through a zone, because it could mean that everyone is phased to everyone else, regardless of their progress. However this would finally put pay to zone desolation like we see in Blades Edge with the Ogri'la. You could be in a zone and have people in different phases, unaware of other people playing until everyone's relative 'position' matches up.

It would certainly have the effect of making the game feel fresh to the solo player.

Extinct marketing material.

However, and this is crucial, there will be those who will not see any benefit in what is being suggested, and won't look at the long term consequences of this action. All they will continue to see is what the removal of flying prevents them from doing. I'd urge everyone to read Bashiok's complete statement at least once, if only to understand that the guys who make the game really do grasp the issues, but this is not negotiable. The choice then comes down to players. If you can't understand what's being asked of you, or you just don't care and think this is a way to make more money out of players, time to unsubscribe. Seriously, stop letting these guys take your money and go do something else. If you do this and then continue to complain about it, don't be surprised if the people still playing stop listening and move on.

For those of us who remain, this is the right choice overall for the game.

Friday, April 25, 2014

To Build a Home :: What I Know

Time to get REALLY serious :D

Okay then, time to stop mucking about. This morning's post has but one aim: to collate together EXACTLY what we currently know about Garrisons in one place. There's a very good reason news sites won't confirm too much: there's no actual evidence to support ANY of this stuff as yet. All we have is Tweets and Alpha data, and most sensible sources will (quite rightly) not commit themselves to objective reporting until there's an actual Client to work from.

You should know however that we LOVE to speculate around this Parish. Heck, we've done pretty much nothing but since the feature was announced in November. So, this morning we'll collate here what we *think* we know. As a result, please bear in mind none of this is final and is (undoubtedly) subject to change, probably if enough people complain they don't like it :P

Don't you worry @holinka. I've got you covered.


  • The patch of land onto which you build your Garrison is presented to players after the first 'hour' (your playtime may vary) of interaction in Draenor. They are your prize for helping push back the flow of Iron Horde, and should be awarded by (currently in Alpha files) Yrel if you are Alliance and Durotan if you are Horde. Oh, and it appears they are named after you:

  • You will have a standard set of buildings both for Horde and Alliance. At least the map icons for both of these exist now in game files:

From Wowhead. HORDE BUILDINGS!11!1

However, as I've not seen anyone able to anything close to a working model of *anything* with an actual Blizzard UI attached, this feature remains to be implemented. Therefore, there is a great deal that we can only speculate on as a result.

Not!Horde Buildings :D

  • There *should* be a Questline (certainly suggested by Alpha files at this stage) that establishes your Garrison in either Frostfire Ridge if you are Horde or Shadowmoon Valley if you are Alliance. At present, this is where you will remain, at least until you have a Tier 3 Garrison (and we can only assume that means ALL your Buildings are at that level,) and that's *probably* going to take until you reach L100. After that, there appears there may well be a chance you can relocate to somewhere else:
Ask and you may yet change the plan.

However we have established, at least for the process of levelling, you will (at least for now) remain tethered to your starting zone:

Just so you know.

  • Your Garrison can become a vital part of your levelling experience, but only should you choose it to be so.
Insert moral quandary here.

This is quite important: although it is apparent that Blizzard would really like you to 'do' Garrisons as you level to 100, they are aware that making *anything* mandatory is a red flag. So, if you're reading this and thinking 'stuff that I wanna run dungeons to level' you will be able to do just that until you max. However, I can personally guarantee that you will be missing out on things that have never happened in Blizzard MMO content before. Most of this feature appears to be being custom built from the ground up. Personally, I'd like to be a part of the group that experienced this entire shebang from the word 'Go.' Even if it isn't as awesome as I hope it will be, it is different and a clear attempt by the designers to address some of the long-term issues that have existed with questing in game. I think, as a result, their work deserves my attention at least once.

  • Your Garrison is intrinsically linked with ALL Primary and Secondary Professions in Warcraft.

It was four, now ITS MORE.

We established earlier in the week that if you use all the plots associated with Professions 'buildings' in your Garrison, this will give you six professions at your disposal. That would mean, with an alt and a main at your disposal, you'd have access to (pretty much) everything Professions will have to offer in Warlords. However, there has been the suggestion that this will not give as much as having the profession on your actual character, so until we see exactly what that means for everyone, this is another one of those grey areas we can only speculate on. There is also a number of other permutations to consider: you'll need a Lumber Mill pretty early in your travels if you want to build your Buildings faster to begin with, so expect there to be some quite serious Garrison Theorycrafting going on in certain quarters.

  • Your Garrison is staffed by a bunch of Followers whose job it is to not simply work in your buildings, but go on special Missions where you have a chance of finding COOL THINGS.

Brann Bronzebeard. Frankly, he owes me one. Plus, he looked bored in the Vale :D

This is the bit of Garrisons which looks really exciting, and you don't do anything *really* except choose the people who take part. Followers will offer to join you in a style similar to the means by which you get companions in Diablo 3: you'll fight with them, or help them, and this is their way of paying you back. Each has a unique set of abilities, many will have a Professions specialisation. When they're not working your patch for stuff, you can send them out on Missions. This is still a MASSIVE grey area (as of this morning only two Missions are accessible from the Alpha Client) but it will work like a Scenario, or a 5 Man, or even a Raid at max level in terms of the number of followers you can utilise to complete them. You pick people to send to complete a task, in a location. Those people all have specific abilities that will affect how they and their compatriots will perform this Mission, based on who you choose to begin with. Some will have bonuses to group effectiveness, others will have a greater usefulness against a specific mob type. Pick the right people and you could be coming home weighed down with loot, pick the wrong ones and you come back empty-handed... or at least, that appears to be the theory.

However, there's no actual evidence to support any of this. You'll just have to hope this stays as it was promised at Blizzcon. The Alpha files certainly suggest that's the plan, but until we see it... standard disclaimers apply.

Commit this map to memory...

  • Certain Buildings will provide the player with useful bonuses, but you cannot build them all. This should therefore allow the Garrison to be a unique feature on a player by player basis.

This is the area that has created the most speculation amongst my sector of the player base. The Gold Making sector are (quite justifiably) looking at the potential for particular combinations of Professions dependant on what your 'building' offers you on a daily basis. there will be players who don't really care how they place buildings and just run with what they think looks best. There will be those already considering running all 60 alts through them just to see how many combinations they can create... We are aware that there will be benefits to the individual, quite apart from the potential for Achievements (and they will be there, despite that aspect not even being visible in Alpha as yet.) Suggested rewards thus far include a mount speed bonus and a cost-free daily resurrection (not available in raids) and it is possible, over time, these may integrate in the same way Draenor Perks will. Again, we will have to wait for a playable client to know for certain.

As Wowhead have been able to build a 'Garrison Calculator' based on what we already have in terms of buildings and positioning, it is fair to say that part of the process is considerably more advanced than anything else. I can't offer you such technical mastery, alas, you'll just have to make do with long-form rambling broken up with pretty pictures instead :P

  • Your Garrison will have its own Resource.

There's a better than average chance that your Lumber Mill will be providing this 'Material' for you, and therefore you may wish to ensure you build that first before anything else.

  • Daily Quest Hubs will exist in your Garrison. Currently, this will include Fishing and Cookery.

Artist's Impression :D

It wouldn't be an Expansion without SOME dailies, now would it? Cookery and Fishing are pretty much staples of the game to begin with, and Alpha Files have told us that assuming you have an Inn and a Fishing Shack on your property, you'll have access to Daily Hubs at Tier 2 (with probable additional quests for Fishing at Tier 3.)

There is also, very importantly, the Menagerie building which will unlock specific Battle Pet options and appears to suggest there will be Pet-Specific Missions. This may allude, at least in later patches, to a place where Pet Battle Dailies could well be collected from. No, I have no evidence at all, BUT YOU CAN HOPE.

  • Your Garrison will need to be defended because it will come under attack from enemy forces.

This one came as something of a surprise when it emerged via PAX a few weeks ago, but there are files in Alpha which do indeed suggest you'll be forced to defend your Garrison from time to time from marauding invaders, and success or failure will affect the production rate of your Buildings as a result. However, don't panic, you won't need to stop your 5 man and rush back 'home' if this happens:

'Working on the mechanism'

Again, nothing definitive exists to demonstrate this but a number of Alpha patch files have appeared which may well be spells and abilities you will need to use to 'defend' your patch when the time comes. 

  • This feature uses new technology Blizzard has had to specifically create to allow the Garrison to function.


It has been admitted in interviews that because of the nature of the building placement in game, Blizzard have had to redesign their code to accommodate NPC movement when (potentially) every player could locate their buildings in a different space. These NPC's will also /wave at you when they pass you in your 'home' and apparently /dance too (though I'd point out they should be doing that on their own time and not mine :P) This is going to have a lot to do with why we're not seeing a working client at present, and I for one have absolutely no problem with that as long as we are kept constantly updated with what's going on, which has been the case at least with Alpha client information. 

Let's hope Blizzard present everyone with more definitive Garrisons information in the near future. Certainly going to make my life easier if they do... :D 

  • At least one building will be customisable by players in-game choices.

There have been many Tweets that suggest that players will be able to 'customise' areas of their Garrison not simply by the placement of their buildings.

We know therefore that certain areas will be using player 'statistical' data to display favourites. There is a better than average chance that your Town Hall, which has no set 'use' in terms of material production in the Garrison files and is placed in the same spot regardless of player choice, will be where the majority of this 'customisation' will occur. As to exactly WHAT you'll be able to choose from: again, we'll have to wait and see.

  • There are still MANY MYSTERIES in your Garrison as yet undiscovered.

We have an entire building (the Workshop) of which we know NOTHING about. Then there is the Trading Post, which may allow players the option to collect items from across the map or indeed trade with other players. Then there is the Salvage Yard, which 'turns other people's trash into your treasure'... 

We're also promised Vendors, Blueprints to upgrade buildings (a ton of which have been datamined in the last week) and much, much more, which is pretty much being added to the game on a daily basis.

Many of these buildings (and I suspect a proportion of functionality) may never see final release, but we note them all here to reiterate this is VERY MUCH a work in development, pretty much in front of our eyes. I for one welcome our new Transparency Overlords...


If you're reading this and think I've missed something, PLEASE add it in the Comments and I'll make sure it gets added with your particular citation as thanks. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ALPHA :: Green Door

Wasn't just me then ^^

The problem with a brilliant idea? Someone has to actually execute it.

I did a massive reorganisation of Twitter yesterday, and moved a bunch of Blizzard Dev accounts out of my personal Twitter and into the feed for my news podcast. As I did, I came across this post linked by @Celestalon. Its premise is wonderfully simple: you make a game about Doors, and instantly you want to do everything with them. You need them to be shiny and awesome and capable of 101 brilliant things... but that's just your idea. Putting that into practical production? Slightly different, and often by making your door Green in certain circumstances will restrict it from doing 101 other things you might have wanted. Then it becomes about compromise, and nowhere was that more apparent than with Mr Stockton and his 'levelling flow' that ended up being a bit of a flashpoint in this parish yesterday. However, The Mumpster never promised us a moose like the other guy never guaranteed we'd have Garrisons movable. At no point did anyone actually confirm *anything*, because after ten years they never *really* do.

With every brilliant idea there are always potential downsides.

However, we should all be very aware of an often-overlooked truth: we're not the designers.


If you can separate the person from the concept, there's a lot of mileage in understanding *why* we may have been tied to a zone with the Garrison. I have to say although the whole 'levelling/possible narrative flow' thing is a good enough reason on its own, I suspect there are a large number of practical coding considerations at this early stage in having everything tethered to a single point in Warcraft time and space. If this isn't actually finished yet (and 10g says they're building it as you read this) then they'll want to actually have the entire thing working in once place, consistently, before they even consider moving it elsewhere. That would mean that we *might* see this happen later in the game, and indeed that possibility has already been discussed via the medium of Twitter:

Rule #2: Never discount a possibility.

With every brilliant idea there'll always be someone who thinks you're having a laugh.

We've already considered those people who won't want to use this feature, and there will likely be an increasing number of those as time goes on. It will have something to do with this being perceived as 'mandatory' content even though there is absolutely nothing here, thus far, that says you'll require it for endgame. The inherent problem, of course, is that levelling is mandatory at this stage, but we have already seen a new willingness by Blizzard to circumnavigate even that obstacle with the L90 'boost.' It's probably worthwhile saying this now, long before the indignant cries begin, but you WILL see L100 paid character transactions well before this next Expansion has run its course. Even at this stage there will be someone considering those options, and running the spreadsheets, because ultimately this is business, and if someone like me can work that out, there's already a person in Blizzard doing the numbers.

So, if you're smart and patient, just give it a year. Come back, buy your 100 and away you go. Welcome to the Disposable Generation.

Rule #3: You won't please everyone. Pick the largest sample.

The fact now that we're seeing tweets where it's being made clear this is optional should be enough to reassure those who want no part in this that they can walk away. However, and we have iterated this before, that's not what Blizzard will want or indeed hope for. They will now try their level best to make this feature as attractive as they possibly can. The whole 'moving' thing will be an issue, of course it will, for Anne's observation above alone, quite apart from the aesthetics. The fact that new players can pay for an expansion plus a character boost and have two toons with every profession is probably quite attractive if those professions have any actual value, and this is where we drift into one of those mist-shrouded parts of the Draenor map where we have absolutely no idea what's going on, and won't until Blizzard reveal their hand. If Professions have been totally devolved from combat usefulness (with the possible exceptions of Alchemy, Cookery, Fishing and Enchanting, discuss please Goldmakers) then does it matter what you do with a Garrison anyway? It will if those four have a value for Raiders, and I've seen Enchants and Potions already in Alpha files. The key then becomes if this is an individual responsibility, or if raiding guilds could assign 'mules' to cover the Garrison tasks for their teams.

Needless to say, until they're ready and Blizzard hand over the facts, we just won't know.

There's also one final possibility to consider in all of this: if, as a solo player, you want to prepare yourself for End Game currently it's a pretty thankless task, and can be extremely expensive to boot. If the Garrison offered individuals the right combination of factors to be able to quickly and easily prepare themselves for raiding and be self-sufficient at the same time, this would become a very attractive proposition indeed. Mandatory would vanish, and essential would appear in it's place, and you'd have people happily levelling their Garrisons knowing they could provide their own food, flasks and enchants without the need to ever set foot in an Auction House again. Certainly the possibility for this is here, especially as all professions are now devoid of an advantage to take for individual bonuses. This morning, with my cuppa in hand, I see myself wanting Alchemy, Herbalism, Enchanting and access to the Fishing Shack as a matter of priority to make sure I'm ready to Raid and be self-sufficient the moment I hit 100. Tomorrow, that might change, it all depends on the information we have to hand. 'Playing' your Garrison may end up as more fun than speculating on the Auction House.

With every brilliant idea there are often a number of unexpected consequences...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rebellion (Lies)

When your frame of reference is small...

Writing about something that doesn't exist is sometimes a fairly soul-destroying task.

When you don't know that your World is round because no-one's proved it, life is a considerably simpler concept. It's the basic conceit in 'The Truman Show': the primary protagonist has no idea he's in a TV show until he discovers he can't leave the 'world' he's trapped in, when his view of existence is challenged by a desire he cannot reconcile. It is often the same when you write about something you don't have, but know MIGHT exist: I'm well aware that parts of Warcraft that I've come to love and enjoy are about to change forever, but I have no idea what that actually means. All I have to work from currently are scraps of information from a client that doesn't function for me because I'm not in a position to make that work. I rely on other people for everything, most of whom aren't even aware that I'm here doing just that. That has, in recent weeks, been something of a frustration, and that boiled over last night when I 'listened' to the man who's altering my gaming experience pronounce a key part of the process they'd promised has been scrapped because it didn't fit the current plan.

The problem is, I still have absolutely no idea what that current plan actually is.

In charge.

Someone was kind enough yesterday to compliment me on what I'm doing, to tell me that I'd fired their enthusiasm for a feature which I've been clinging onto like a life-raft since it was announced in November. I found myself thinking why that was last night, and the answer was easy to supply: this is what I've wanted from this game since the word go. Having six professions on a Main would have been absolutely fantastic at Launch, and I don't just mean because of the bonuses that would have given me. The process of having a character who doesn't just beat bad guys and save the planet, that has depth and can allow me to do many things and not simply exist at max level has long been something I've really wanted. I'm aware that my ideas and views won't mesh anywhere near as closely as the people making the game, but I've accepted that, and I suppose I've even used this Blog as a way of wish-fulfilling my way along with changes that will never happen, but I could imagine would be possible as a result.

The problem then comes with my expectations versus the truth, and the longer I have to go on without actually understanding what that is, the more frustrating it will become.

I'm well aware 'what I'd like' is of little significance in the Great Big Map of Azeroth. I'm not a PvP Person or an End-Game Raider after all. I don't command a five figure Twitter following and can motivate thousands to push for a particular cause. This is a very small niche I inhabit, and I could probably name everyone else who exists in it with me, and to them I owe a debt of thanks I will never be able to repay for support in the last few months. Without your site visits and encouragement on social media I suspect I would have withered up and died by now, because the hard fact remains that my interest in the World of Warcraft isn't going to make anyone a fortune via clickthroughs or be enough to radically change the way the End Game is played. These are not the interests that earn thousands of dollars on Twitch or motivate 'Faction Pride.' I am very much minority and although on most days that's something I'm proud of, there are other days where it makes me want to cry, because it always seems that those interests are the last thing that ever get addressed.

It's a Pile of Balls.

I'm also acutely aware that whenever I start a post like this someone will read it and immediately pronounce it as a 'angsty teenage rant' and at least in part be right. Yes, this is entitlement rearing its ugly head again, even if it is a very small, non-consequential part of a very large whole. If I wanted to be 'popular' I could sell myself in very short order to do just that, but I don't. I want to be happy doing these things I love, and I want things like Professions and Questing to be what EVERYONE wants to do, not just me, because I think it should be possible if it is designed well. What I forget, and I did it again yesterday, is that not everyone sees the World the way I do, and that's the bigger issue, it has NOTHING to do with the game or indeed anything else. This isn't about Blizzard's delaying tactics or other people's disinterest. This is about how I see it all. I'm frustrated I'm living on crumbs and that all the sensible people stopped caring and went to do something else.

Blizzard will tell me what I need to know when they're ready. If that upsets me, that's nobody's fault but mine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ALPHA :: Words


Sometimes, you find yourself wondering whether you're playing the same game as the people designing it are actually selling everyone else. That's certainly been the case over the years when Professions often appeared as something of an afterthought. This time around, however, that's probably as far away from the truth as it could be possible to get. Professions are in your face, from the word go, thanks to the Modern Wonder of Garrisons (is there anything they *can't* do?) which, according to that there Mumper Bloke... you'll be able to pick four out of a possible twelve Production or Gathering professions to utilise.

Yeah. FOUR. At least it was when I first wrote this post at lunchtime UK time. By teatime, we'd gotten two more, assuming I'm interpreting this subsequent tweet correctly:


This just gets better and better...

The problem remains however that with such 140 character assertions over something as complicated as Professions is, frankly, HUGE. There is very little (if any) evidence to give us anything other than the basic facts, or what indeed it will mean for all of us who carry ten years worth of Patterns around on a couple of characters because you couldn't do this until now. Needless to say, there are some fairly important questions that need to be asked as a direct result of this statement.

  • Will you be able to disenchant items using your Garrison? If so, how do you level your skill to the maximum (presumably required) of 600 if you don't have the skill BEFORE you choose the Enchanter's Study as an option?
  • The same goes for any gathering skill you could now gain using the same method.
  • Will you be able to retroactively gain patterns from old Professions? Will people even need to?
  • What are the OCD Completists going to do? Will there be counselling?

My gut reaction was (at least at lunchtime) that you'll want to take all three gathering professions plus Enchanting if you don't give a stuff about the Garrisons and just level them for a steady and uninterrupted income for the entirety of the Expansion, with the option to DE everything you don't need for same, but we don't have this confirmed, and until we do I'm betting you'll need to hold that skill personally and NOT have it as a Garrison' standard.' Of course, now we have an extra two to add to that... well, the sky is probably the limit, really. It will depend on what the phrase 'pretty similar to the normal profession' actually means ^^


In fact, based on this, I suspect this would be my levelling order:

P: Leatherworking + Skinning PLUS Enchanting + Fishing + Inscription + Engineering
K (Mage): Enchanting + Tailoring PLUS Inscription + Herbalism + Blacksmithing + Mining
W (Warlock): Alchemy + Jewelcrafting PLUS Enchanting + Mining + Fishing + Herbalism

Of course, if Enchanting doesn't give the DE Skill then there's no point in having it for the Lock or the Hunter, and then I'll probably take Skinning on one and Mining on the other. In fact, the World has become a VERY interesting place in the last 90 minutes...

The starting bit is the key.

What you need to bear in mind with all of this however, is you won't get your six professions from the word go. What you get, as the map here clearly shows from the Alpha Client, is two plots (marked with the 1's) on which your first two Professions buildings will go. Now, this will provide the new player with an interesting dilemma, ESPECIALLY if Enchanting allows you to DE as you travel. Does one pick complementary professions to go with existing ones, or do you pick ones you don't have? Suddenly, all those years of Skinning appears to have come to fruition because if I want to assign a worker for Skinning, he goes to the Barn. As the Barn is provided to you for free as a starter building you'll presumably be able to use that and begin Skinning immediately. I had thought this might give you an advantage, but (of course) I'd forgotten that Miners will have a Mine for raw materials. One presumably also assumes that the Herb Garden, which is the only Building so far in game files you have to repair, will be providing Herbs for those who require them as well, evening out the playing field for all those professions. You have to assume therefore that the Barn will provide Tailors with some kind of source of Cloth as well, as they are the only other profession who require gathering but don't expressly have it built in as a profession.

Thank you to the various people who pointed this out. You should still do skinning, as raw materials sell REALLY well, as a rule :D

However, what it does mean for my Enchanters, who already have the skill regardless of obtaining it from the Garrison, is that there may be no need to initially specialise in the skill which would allow me to pick two completely new professions to Specialise in for additional gold/materials for others. There will therefore be some VERY interesting choices to make when this feature does finally appear for testing...


[*] If I can assign a follower to it, and I can, I assume it counts as something that can therefore happen offline.

Like To Get to Know You Well

Introductory Gubbins, LET'S GO!

Hi, I'm the Godmother, and you might remember me from such social networking sites as Twitter and Facebook. I'm here today because I want to alert those of you reading this Blog who haven't yet considered doing something of their own in this particular vein that, starting next month, there's an Initiative being aimed just at you. YES, YOU.

It's true: people like me are going to try and persuade you that blogging about your particular interest isn't just a great idea, it's something you really should start doing right now.

Okay, you have my attention. Now what?

The thing about Advice is... well, it's like having an Opinion, which is pretty fundamental for any successful Blogger. Both these things with capital letters are important and at the same time tricky things to pin down: what suits one person won't fit another. Just because you can do something doesn't mean it'll work for the next individual you speak to, and this makes trying to persuade people that Blogging is for them often a pretty thankless task. However, there is one thing that overcomes all of these potential issues, that will allow you to get away with a lot of stuff you might normally be frowned on for entertaining. That quality is ENTHUSIASM, and it is my specialist subject. I know an awful lot about staying cheerful as a a Warcraft Blogger, especially as there are some really rather unpleasant individuals hiding in the trees in Elwynn Forest.

With enthusiasm, pretty much anything is possible.


That's also where the lovely people at the Newbie Blogger Initiative come in: this will be their third year of existence and their brief, according to the website, is pretty simple:

  • Promote aspiring game bloggers. 
  • Establish a friendly support network to nurture those bloggers. 
  • Create an on-going community for bloggers that’s available 24/7/365.

That's not all there is to it however, there's lots of cool things going with Steam and mentoring too, but the fact remains that the first step remains very much yours as a person to take. I'll tell you now, this is not the easy 'stick some words on a page and walk away' task it may often make itself out to be. There could be tears, and anger, and disbelief too. All those things have happened to me, but you are different, and so you may well discover that writing was what you were born to do and your blogging career will be born in both warmth and brilliance. For what it's worth, I started this blog five years ago as a way to help me reconnect with the world after the birth of my kids. Early last month, I received payment for the first article I'd written for a Warcraft website. After five years, my blog has become a way for me to stand up and say, proudly to to the world, that I'm a Writer for a living.

Okay, I'm not buying a gold-plated Aston Martin any time soon, but it's a start.

Writing is YAY :D

I wanted to contribute to the NBI effort, and so my initial attempt make contact with the powers that be... well, it was a bit of a disaster, all told. I managed to upset someone by being *too* enthusiastic and forgetting the basic rule above. What is right for you may not be right for someone else. If there was one piece of advice therefore I'd offer to anyone wanting to start Blogging for the first time, that would be it, and after that I'd remind you that people will see right through you if you're not anything more than 100% genuine. They do, trust me on this, and that's why if you decide to take the first tentative steps into the blogging world, it is really rather reassuring to know that you are not alone. 

That's where the NBI come in. Go see them now. They have cool stuff for you too. You won't regret it, and it'll give you a chance to make .GIF posts like this.

What are you waiting for?

BLOGGING IS... the Future!

Monday, April 21, 2014

This Week, I Will Be Mostly ::
Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

Something appears to have gone wrong... ^^

I did 4 levels on my Druid yesterday. IN A DAY.

Needs Werk.

It began simply enough: my son wanted to level his Hunter to 90. My Druid was just into 86, my husband wanted to level his priest. So, with some dual screen fernangling we made a 4 man and off we went across Pandaria with P at the helm, running dungeons and piling up quest rewards like they were going out of fashion. Finally, son dinged on the Timeless Isle with me acting as destruction expert. I left my husband at 89 and went to bed, to find he ground the last two hours and now has his Priest from 85-90 IN A DAY. I'm very tempted to let the Druid gain rested for the last half a level she has and then grid out to 90 on Island reset on Wednesday.


That means next up is the Dwarf Hunter, who'll I'll be strapping to the back of a two person rocket later. Then we'll go kill ALL THE RARES and sweep up ALL THE CASH and if this fella can hit 90 this week then that only leaves the Palalalaladin at 85 of the main family and then finally, FINALLY I'll have everyone who began the Expansion at 85 max levelled. There then may be a small moment's pause for celebration once that happens. This then leaves the following to do stuff with:

  • Human Hunter (50 summat) to 90,
  • Draenei Hunter (20 summat) to 90, both by 'traditional' levelling methods.

After that, there's nobody else. Blimey. I'M ALMOST DONE :O

Human Hunter, YOUR TURN COMES.

What this does mean, of course, is that the Alpha Client can go live WHENEVER THE HECK IT WANTS NOW. Assuming it doesn't, and I reckon that could be construed as a fairly safe bet, that will mean that I will be forced to gear everybody to a better standard while I'm waiting which could then get TERRIBLY complicated. I can see lists being written as a result, but frankly anything that stops me having to do Archaeology is fine by me. There's basic provisos like using Timeless Coins for weapons, and making sure everyone has decent rings and trinkets, which will require some Island Time in the evenings, but it shouldn't be utterly impossible to get everyone to a reasonable standard. That's one of the overriding advantages of two accounts and dual boxing.

Needless to say, WATCH THIS SPACE for further developments :D

Sunday, April 20, 2014

ALPHA :: Stupid Girl

The Hunter Philosophy?

I'm here this morning to talk to you about LOOT.

It used to be a joke, in this Parish and others, back in the day. Hunters could use just about anything, and often did, especially when it came to random drops in Dungeons. It didn't matter whether there was strength on your polearm or not, it was a Polearm, and as a result, IT WAS HUNTER LOOT. The only three exceptions? Wands, Shields and Maces, but that didn't stop the more mercenary Hunters giving those items a NEED roll if there was a quick buck in it. Why am I reminding you of this now? Because of this item of interest in the recently-updated Alpha Client Notes:

Stats that are not useful to your current class specialization will be grayed out in the tooltip rather than green, and will not be counted on your character stat sheet.

Of course, this change is actually rather brilliant, because it will mean those people without a clue no I cant's say that how about stupid people who roll need on anything regardless no can't say that either any item has potential use if you can wear it. Of course, this means everyone will want to be a Paladin or Warrior in Draenor because that means *technically* there's only wands, daggers and staves you can't roll Need on with a clear conscience... but there is a way to make sure this doesn't happen, and that's by making everything class-specific. But that's not perfect, because of Spirit on gear for casters... however, what must be said, is that this change actually is going to be quite useful for those of us forced to endure the Joy of Random Grouping. Because we've all met that player who's attempting to tank with nothing enchanted or gemmed and with half their gear utterly inappropriate for that spec. With this change, that Tank will at least have the game helping them out by automatically making sure the gear that's equipped is being useful, even if they picked it just by rolling Need on every item from Ragefire Chasm to Stormstout Brewery because it had a higher iLevel than the item they were wearing.

If you think Blizzard is moving away from a situation where it favours random players, think again. Also, iLevel beats stats right now for FAR too many people, and that perception also needs to change as a matter of priority.

Everything Must Go... or summat.

Because of the fairly fundamental nature of this change (and you should go read about it here via WoW Insider as you don't have to wade through what is more than 33 pages of stuff in which to do so) its going to be applied retroactively to all our current gear (which one assumes is also going to lose its gemming and reforging as well as the benefit from professions boots at the same time, but this is not as yet clear) which IN TURN is going to come as something of a shock one assumes to those people not paying 100% attention. You know, the people who are still expecting to get a new Race in Draenor ^^ BECAUSE this is so major, and because it is going to impact so hugely on everything ANYONE does in game, this too is going to contribute to the 'when is this Expansion actually launching' timeline which does at this point appear to be stretching ahead of us like something that is particularly elastic at this point. Getting people's heads around this however will take some time. From the notes:

New secondary stats added:

Bonus Armor: Increases armor.
Multistrike: Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire an additional time, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing).
Readiness: Reduces the cooldown of several class abilities with long-cooldowns.

Hit and Expertise on all items have been replaced with these 'uiniversally useful' second stats

Mists of Pandaria and Future Items.

Dodge and Parry have been replaced with Bonus Armor. If an item had both Dodge and Parry on it, it has been replaced with an additional useful secondary stat.
Head, Chest, Hand, Wrist, Waist, Leg, Feet, Weapon, Shield, and Off-hand items that had tanking stats (Dodge, Parry) or healer stats (Spirit) have been replaced with a different universally useful secondary stat.

Warlords of Draenor Items.

Plate Armor pieces will always have Strength and Intellect on them.
Mail and Leather Armor pieces will always have Agility and Intellect on them.

However, what is not clear is whether this has been extended back to *all* items from L1 upwards. If it hasn't, there still could be a problem in re-educating the playerbase. This change *appears*  to work on the assumption that people will automatically boost themselves to 90 and not bother to level 'traditionally' any more, which I'm pretty certain is as far away from the truth as it may be possible to get. If all those *useless* stats still exist on the pre-90 gear, then there is still the potential for players who level that way to completely fail to grasp the good work Blizzard is attempting to do here (and believe me when I say I know what's what's happening.) Therefore, I think we could do with some clarification on this point. Whenever is fine.

In a nutshell.

This change is undoubtedly a good one in the long term, because what it does is take away the uncertainty from equations that people clearly find confusing. Making things simpler and easier is never a bad thing, after all. However, what also needs to happen is for players to understand that entitlement should not be the default state from the moment you walk into a room with a group of random people. How Blizzard fixes THAT issue... well, it's probably not even their problem to begin with. What is disappointing is that this solution, although clearly a step in the right direction, isn't tackling the key issue with the playerbase that could perhaps be better served by a rating system once you leave a Random. After all you don't need everything that drops in game, not even Hunters do any more.

However, this is at least a start.