Wake up and smell the future

Hi folks,

Just figured I would take a quick break from NaNoWriMo to throw in my two cents worth on the pet store.

Yep, the same damn thing everyone else is talking about.

I see people screaming about how selling an in game pet for real dollars is game breaking.

I see people complaining about various other account services as well, faction transfers and PvE – PvP realm transfers chief among the complaints.

I have read about how this is a horribly slippery slope. Apparently we will wake up one day and find them selling conquest badges for real money or something.

I have also read a few articles where the authors were extremely unconcerned. essentially saying “they are just pets, and pets have been for sale for a while. Just look on ebay.”

I suppose my take on all this is a little different.

I don’t see it as a way to separate the haves and the have-nots within the game, although to some extent it will. I also don’t see it as some kind of slippery slope that Blizzard might go sliding headlong down at any moment. I see all the changes that have been coming in the last six months or so as a window into where the future of WoW lies.

Since my brain is mush from the whole “Write a novel in 30 days while simultaneously doing everything else life calls on me to do” thing so this might come out a bit disjointed. Sorry about that.

We are all fantasy gamers here right? Well, lets take a walk down fantasy lane. Pretend for a while that you are an executive for a company. We will call them Blizz because I am too damn tired to make up a cutesy name right now.

You have this game, it is literally the cash cow for your business. 

Just like a farmer you will tend to that cash cow as best you can. As a farmer your job would be to milk that cow for as much as you can without causing it to dry up. After all if it goes dry you are hosed, but you don’t want to leave any milk there that you should have taken. 

Now as this executive you know about the next generation MMO, the one you hope will turn out to be the next cash cow. The last one is getting a bit long in the tooth after all. Now you have a few problems.

You don’t want to compete with yourself for subscribers.

You don’t want to just turn off the old game, after all there is money to be made there yet.

You have promised all along that you would never allow out of game purchases to give an in game advantage (a promise artfully broken by the refer-an-alt program, but meh.)

The logical thing to do would be to simply convert you existing game from a subscription model to a microtransaction / free to play model.  If you could pull that off you could run the new one on a subscription model without forcing your customers to choose.

Another advantage would be in having competition in the microtrasaction MMO market, something you sorely lack at the moment. After all, you don’t make games to make friends, it’s a business. The object of business is to make profit, thats simply the way it works.

Ideally you would figure out a way for players of your old game to get a bit of a leg up in the new one. Perhaps by implementing a points system for doing tasks within the game.  This would be a lot easier to implement if we force them to tie all their games together under one login, we should do that as early as possible to work out the bugs.

Let the points earned in the old game be useless there and only spreadable in the new one (selling only vanity stuff or BOA starter gear of course). That way people from your old game would feel like they had money in their pockets for the new one, what better reason to try it out.

Now, knowing that a straight shift would scare some subscribers away you come up with a long-term plan. Start integrating the microtransaction model into the game. Proceed very slowly and cautiosly, until by the time your new game is ready all the infrastructure is in place.

Once the new game is released you can then announce that you are graciously going to make the old game free to play, while leaving the microtrasactions in place to still make a profit. Most of those that prefer the subscription model will move anyway,  so you can always start selling epics later.

Sitting back you think to yourself, Good plan.

Lets do that, we’ll start with pets.

Everyone loves pets.

Winter’s Veil

So here we are, the lights in the pumpkins have gone out. The headless Horseman has gone back to sleep for another season, the cackles of his laughter are a fading memory.The air is getting crisper, the frost is starting to make it’s early morning appearances. Fall is here, at least where I live.  Just like the real world it’s time to start thinking about Winters Veil.
Yes, I know, I really should wait for after Pilgrims Bounty before I post this, but I figured all the stores are getting decorated already. I might as well go ahead and write this up for those that (like me) are trying for the Merrymaker title.

Particularly those looking towards that Violet Proto Drake from What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been.

For starters I suppose I’ll just list the achievements involved in the holiday. As you read you’ll see why I am posting so early. There are a few things you should have in order before hand, and some money-making opportunities for the prepared.

If you plan to do your farming in advance you will need the following to complete the achievements:

  • 6 Small Eggs
  • 4 Bolts of Runecloth
  • 2 Bolts of Woolen Cloth
  • 1 Copper Bar
  • 4 Rugged Leather
  • Cooking skill to 325
  • Quests completed to open the “Bomb them again” daily with Ogr’ila.
  • Everything else can be bought off of vendors in your capitol city.
  • If you plan to do the Tailoring or Leatherworking portions yourself the skill required if 250.

Now on to the meat of the post.

The Merrymaker meta-achievment simply requires the 12 other achievements to be completed. It rewards the title “Merrymaker” as well as counting as one of the eight achievements needed for What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been.

On Metzen! Save Metzen the Reindeer.

The quest for this comes from Kaymard Copperpinch just outside of the Auction House in Orgrimmar, or Wulmort Jinglepocket (coincidentally) just outside the bank in Ironforge.

You’ll receive a ransom letter about Metzen the reindeer and the two locations you can find him.

One will be in Tanaris over in Lost Rigger Cove at about 68. 41. The other location will be in Searing Gorge at 70. 34. In both locations he will have four guards ranging in level from 44-47. If you’re at a low-level you may want to bring friends to help. All you need to do is talk to Metzen and use the reindeer dust on him to complete the quest.

Scrooge Throw a snowball at Cairne Bloodhoof during the Feast of Winter Veil. OR Throw a snowball at King Magni Bronzebeard during the Feast of Winter Veil.

Fortunately snowballs are easy to come by this time of year. On a side note, a bank alt full of snowballs will make you a killing in mid summer. I bought my first ever ground mount that way.

During the holiday they can be purchased from your friendly neighborhood Smokeywood Pastures vendors. Engineers that were lucky enough to get the pattern can craft a Snowmaster 9000, which can turn water into snowballs. Last but not least, for the truly cheap amongst us (like me) you can gather free snowballs from the ground in Alterac Mountains. I figure I will have to spend some time looking for The Abominable Greench over in Alterac anyhow, might as well save money.

Note: Remember to pick up the quest “The Reason for the Season” from your Smokywood Pasture friends, which will lead you to talk to Cairne or Bronzebeard anyway. Don’t be like me and forget.

‘Tis the Season During the Feast of Winter Veil, wear three pieces of winter clothing and eat Graccu’s Mince Meat Fruitcake.

This is probably going to be the most annoying to finish, or at least the most expensive. The three pieces of winter clothing are:

  • Red Winter Hat / Green Winter Hat: These drop from bosses in some regular (or heroic) WotLK instances. The Red one is available from Grand Magus Telestra in The Nexus, and the Green one is available from Mage-Lord Urom in The Occulus. I plan to do the Nexxus so the hat will match my other stuff.
  • Red Winter Clothes (Alliance) / Green Winter Clothes (Horde): Tailoring 250.  The pattern is sold by the Smokywood Pastures vendors in Orgrimmar or Ironforge. Then again you will sometimes receive one in the mail after completing the Metzen or Greench quests. Makes sense to wait until after you’ve done those. If you get lucky so you can save yourself a few coins. Also I recommend farming the mats now rather than waiting to buy them in the Auction House. People like me will be making a nice profit from those who waited.
  • Mats for the clothes are Bolt of Runecloth x 4, Bolt of Woolen Cloth x 1, Red Dye x 2, Rune Thread x 1.
  • Winter Boots : Leatherworking 250. Same as the clothes. These can be bought or received in the mail after doing the quests, Farm the mats now, yadda, yadda, save money.
  • Mats for the boots are Copper Bar x 1, Bolt of Woolen Cloth x 1, Rugged Leather x 4, Rune Thread x 1.

Simply Abominable Complete the quest to retrieve the stolen Smokywood Pastures’  treats and receive a Smokywood Pastures’ Thank You.

You can pick up the quest for this from Kaymard Copperpinch over by the bank in Orgrimmar, or Wulmort Jinglepocket just outside the bank in Ironforge. Yes, the same ones you got “On Metzen!” from.

This will send you to Alterac Mountains  to locate a snowman 35. 72. He’ll give you a quest to kill The Abominable Greench, who spawns every couple minutes nearby. Unfortunately, the area will likely be heavily camped, especially early on in the season. Here are a few ideas to make your life easier.

  • Go early in the morning or late at night, possibly even putting this one off for a few days till the crowds die down. I plan to do this one last.
  • He has three spawn points: 30. 52, 29. 61, and 40. 73. Pick the one with less people camping him. He spawns randomly at any of the three, so just stick it out.
  • If your there with friends group up and all camp the same spawn point, your odds get much better.
  • Make a macro, and keybind to something handy. I use “x”, your mileage may vary. Here is the one I used, just add in your instant cast tagging shot. I use Arcane Shot on the Hunter, Shadow Word Pain on the Priest, and plan to use Death Grip (yank and spank) on my Death Knight. 

/tar The Abominable Greench
/cast [exists] WhateverYourInstantCastIs

 
Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho’s Use Mistletoe on the Horde “Brothers” during the Feast of Winter Veil. OR Use Mistletoe on the Alliance “Brothers” during the Feast of Winter Veil.

To get mistletoe, you need to emote a /kiss at the Winter Revelers inside any of the inns in the major cities. Like trick-or-treating you can only do this hourly. They will randomly give you some Mistletoe, a Handful of Snowflakes (needed for the achievement Let it Snow) or Fresh Holly (can be used in the achievement Fa-la-la-la-Ogri’la).

 This achievement is a bit different depending on faction. The Horde are a bit better off if you are already 77 or higher, where the Alliance have more running around to do.

 
Horde: There are 3 brothers to find. 

Since the only way to get to the airship is by using your flying mount I hope you are 77 or better with Cold Weather Flying. Well, I suppose you could be doing this on an alt and purchase the tome of cold weather flight for them, or even getting a summons from a friendly Warlock. Either way, you have to find a way up there.

 
Alliance: Here you get lucky, while there are a few more people to visit getting to them is way easier, especially for lower level players.

He Knows If You’ve Been Naughty Open one of the presents underneath the Winter Veil tree once they are available.

Just like my house as a kid you don’t get to open the presents until the morning of December 25th. On the plus side they will be there until the end of the holiday on January 2nd. For those of you (like me) who may not log in on Christmas day you can still get this later. Rumor has it that opening a present from a previous year will work, however I can’t test it since I opened mine all last year 🙂

With a Little Helper from My Friends Earn 50 honorable kills as a Little Helper from the Winter Wondervolt machine.

The Winter Wondervolt machines are located outside of Ogrimmar and Ironforge, with a nicely placed one in the center of Dalaran. Very similar to the G.N.E.R.D. rage achievment from Hallows End with one notable exception. One that makes it a true Pita.

The costume doesn’t persist through death.

Oh, and I feel sorry for Druids since it counts as a costume and is dispelled when you shape shift. I suppose 50 honorable kills isn’t too annoying, especially since we have two weeks to do it. Myself, I plan to go heal me a few AV runs, I need the honor anyhow.

Fa-la-la-la-Ogri’la Complete the Bomb Them Again! quest while mounted on a flying reindeer during the Feast of Winter Veil.

Note: Kaelynn  pointed out that you can now start the quest chain at the quest “The Crystals” and skip a lot of the intro quests. I have not confirmed this (since I already did all the pre-quests), but I take her word for it.

If you have done the Bomb Them Again! quest for the Ogri’la dailies you are pretty much set. Otherwise you will need to do a series of quests to open up the dailies. Unfortunately that puts a lot of new players (or newly leveled alts) in a place where they have to go back and work on rep with what amounts to a dead faction. If you haven’t done those pre-Ogri’la quests they start with Mog’dorg the Wizened. There is also a good guide to the questline in the comments for the Bomb Them Again! quest.

Also note that the group quests are now soloable, at least by a level 80.

Once you are done with that you need to get your hands on some Holly (Preserved or Fresh works). This can be a reward for blowing kisses or from the quest to save Metzen the Reindeer. They can also be bought can be bought from other players through the Auction House since they also are not Bind on Pickup. Doubtless someone will be selling their extra (I know I will).

Note: Once again Druids take it in the shorts. You will have to be on a real flying mount to turn this in. One good thing though, you don’t have to be on a reindeer when you are doing the quest, only when you turn in. So save that Holly in case you get dismounted, just use it right before turn in.

Crashin’ & Thrashin’ Gain 25 crashes with your Crashin’ Thrashin’ Racer during the Feast of Winter Veil. 

Note: As of 2009 this is no longer required for the meta achievment.

Christmas morning everyone should have one of these sitting under the tree. Um, use it until it crashes 25 times. Not quite as simple as waking up in the morning, but close.

Let It Snow During the Feast of Winter Veil, use a Handful of Snowflakes on each of the race/class combinations listed below.

  • Orc Death Knight
  • Tauren Shaman
  • Undead Rogue
  • Gnome Mage
  • Blood Elf warlock
  • Human Warrior
  • Night Elf Druid
  • Troll Hunter
  • Draenei Priest
  • Dwarf Paladin

You can get Handfuls of Snowflakes by doing a /kiss to a Winter Reveler in any major inn. There is a chance at getting Mistletoe or Fresh Holly as well, which will be useful anyway. It feels oddly like trick-or-treating again in that you can do this only once an hour. I plan to hit the inn every time I go past, just to make sure I have enough.

I personally plan to do this one the same way I did the Pumpkin on the head one from Hallows Eve. I will sit outside the bank in Dalaran, possibly running around town a bit. I suppose you could do this in a battleground or out in the world as well, but I am entirely too lazy for that.

The Winter Veil Gourmet During the Feast of Winter Veil, use your culinary expertise to produce a Gingerbread Cookie, Egg Nog and Hot Apple Cider.

Huzzah! another grind (well, maybe). This achievement requires you to have a cooking skill of at least 325.  The three recipes are available quite easily by either by purchasing them from the Smokywood vendors or as a random quest reward in the mail after whackin’ the Greench. I have also seen these recipes listed for fairly high prices in the Auction House, but that’s not really necessary.

Of all the ingredients you need the only one that you can’t buy right in your home city is the Small Eggs. Depending on where you are and what faction and level you are, check out the mobs that drop there Here.

The other option (and one I would frown upon) would be to buy them on the Auction House. There are people out there that will, so people like me will list them at hugely inflated prices during the holiday. I don’t do it because I am evil, I do it because people are willing to pay it.

As a side note you can’t get the achievement by simply having these items nor by eating/drinking them. You need to actually craft them! There are those out there who will list the cookies, cider, and egg nogg in the Auction House as well, hoping to get money from those who don’t read the tooltip carefully enough. That’s one I won’t do.

If you would also like to finish the quest Treats for Greatfather Winter  you will need a total of 6 small eggs.

A Frosty Shake During the Feast of Winter Veil, use your Winter Veil Disguise kit to become a snowman and then dance with another snowman in Dalaran.

You should  have received The Winter Veil Disguise Kit is a reward from completing the Stolen Treats quest. Remember, the one  to kill the Abominable Greench? It’s actually not a quest reward, but you should receive it in the mail soon after completing the quest. I don’t know offhand where the group of dancing snowmen will be, probably somewhere in Dalaran. I suppose I’ll just keep on the lookout while looking for people to throw snowflakes at.

Hopefully this helps a few people along their way to the title of Merrymaker.

*********************************

There is another holiday achievement that is not required for the Merrymaker title, I suppose I should list it too for those that may be curious.

BB King (Alliance)

Pelt the following leaders:

  • Cairne Bloodhoof
  • Lor’themar Theron
  • Vol’jin
  • Lady Sylvanus Windrunner
  • Thrall

BB King (Horde)

Pelt the following leaders:

  • King Varian Wrynn
  • High Tinker Mekkatorque
  • Tyrande Whisperwind
  • Prophet Valen
  • King Magni Bronzebeard

Just a quick note

Just a quick note on something of great importance.

Pink%20Ribbon

A guildmate of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  The guild, Sidhe Devils of Keal’thas (alliance) will be holding an event to both show our support for our friend and help raise money for further reasearch.

A whole lot more information (and a much better written post on the subject) can be found Here.

Please take the time to go have a look.

If nothing else, please have yourself checked as recommended by your physician.

I now return you to you originally scheduled NaNoWriMo hiatus, already in progress.

-Dech