Basic Family Camping Gear List

Hello again,


Yes I’m still looking out the windows at the snow and thinking about summer.

Since my last post it occurred to me that backpacking is far from the only camping activity that folks might be interested in. In fact, most folks that are interested in it likely already have a good amount of camping experience. Not everyone has had that opportunity.

With that in mind I decided to make three lists of gear instead of one. All of them will be made assuming that money is tight. Yes, more expensive gear might be better, but so long as safety isn’t compromised I’d rather folks get the chance to actually do some camping with cheap gear than wait for years saving up the cash to get started. Especially those with kids, they grow up so damn fast. Make those awesome memories now, while you still can.

That’s why my first list, which will be the bulk of this post, will be designed for a family of four that’s interested in getting into camping for the first time at a local campground or state park. Since its a campground I think we can assume access to clean water and bathroom facilities. Depending where you go there may even be electricity.

The second will be assuming a pair of adults that will also be camping somewhere near their car. Again we can assume that they will be at a maintained campsite with at very least water and bathrooms available. The gear for them will be very similar, but a bit different than the family that we will talk about today.

The third will be for that same pair of adults, but now they are going to be going backpacking. That brings a whole new pile of gear into the picture. Weight and volume of gear matter far more. We will also have to worry about access to water and restrooms.

Alrighty, lets take a look at what kind of things we are going to want for our family campout. We will divide it up into a few groups of gear.


We are going to need somewhere to sleep. Since we have four people we will be needing something that will sleep at least that many. In a perfect world we would pick up a giant 8 person tent, but considering we are just starting out we will go small. Figure the main thing the tent is for is sleeping, it will be… cozy.

Ozark Trail tent

After a good bit of looking I ended up coming to the conclusion that the best bang for the buck here would probably be the Ozark Trail 10X8 five person tent for $50. My daughter has one, so I’ve seen it set up and find that it’s a good little tent. There is enough room for a queen sized bed and then some. Come to think of it, it’s not much smaller then the computer room I sit in as I write this.


So, we have somewhere to sleep. tell you what, the ground gets real uncomfortable real fast. On the plus side, I know from experience that a queen sized air mattress will fit in that tent with a little room to spare. At $20 for the mattress I think its worth it for the much better nights sleep you’ll have.

Air Mattress

Depending on the time of year you might very well be able to get away with just bringing along blankets and pillows. (Bring twice as many blankets as you think you’ll need)

If you choose to go the sleeping bag route you can go any where from the inexpensive $20 bags that are good down to about 50 degrees all the way up to hundreds for bags rated for below zero. If summer camping is where you plan to start the cheap ones will work. They will even suffice for spring and fall if you don’t mind sleeping in sweatpants and a sweatshirt.

sleeping bag

One last thing, the cute little bags for kids are usually not very well insulated. They are better suited for sleepovers at someone’s house than actual camping, at least in my experience.

Cooking and Food Storage.

First off, I like to store any dry goods in a plain ‘ol plastic tote. Those are pretty cheap at perhaps $7-$10 depending on which one you get, assuming you don’t have some around the house like I do. (I use them as laundry hampers as well as for storage)


Then again, we are talking about car camping here. you could always store your dry goods in the trunk to keep critters away and save a few bucks on a tote.

For cold storage a cooler is the way to go. I use a pair of basic 48 quart Igloo coolers, one for drinks and one for perishables. If you are just starting out one should do you just fine, even none if none of your food doesn’t need to stay cold and you don’t mind warm drinks.

These can be had at the local Wally World for all of $19. The only difference between this one and the ones we have used since the kids were little is ours are blue.


For cooking I suppose it all depends what you plan to cook. My only real input here is that you should have at least one decent sized pot to heat water for washing dishes. Granted, it would come in handy for making a pot of chili or some spaghetti as well.

The best source I have found for pots, pans, silverware, etc to add to my camping gear is the local Goodwill. One could likely outfit a whole campsite for $20-$30 assuming you chose not to just use some of your normal stuff from home.

Campfire Stuff

There is really not much to say on this one. A good lighter, some folding chairs, perhaps some hot dog pokers. Sticking with the walmart theme, since I still have their website up in another tab, Basic folding chairs are $7 a piece. Hot dog sticks come in at $2 for a four pack, lighters can be had at the local gas station for about a buck.


Now, firewood is likely to be another expense. Anything from those $4 five hour firelogs from the hardware store to buying split wood on site. Depends on where you are, what you want, and the campground rules. One thing I like to do for fire starting is to get one of those fire logs and cut it into roughly 2″  thick hockey pucks. I then wrap the pucks in waxed paper and they make real easy fire starters.

Fun Stuff

Depending on your families tastes, perhaps a board game or some cards. a Frisbee, and sportsball of some type to toss about. Basically the kinds of things your family finds fun.

As much as I love to sit out after kids are asleep and the fire has died looking at the night sky, I’ll be the first to admit a flashlight comes in really handy around camp.

For starters my kids were big on a combination of flashlight tag and shining lights in peoples faces when talking to them, though your mileage may vary.

Either way you will want to be able to see in the dark, whether if its just to find your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night or to chase the kids around the camp.

I found two that tied for the best deal and both kind of surprised me. Four LED flashlights and two LED headlamps plus the 18 batteries it takes to fill them all for $10. Headlamps come in really handy if you are trying to work on something in the dark and need your hands free.

flashlightThe next lacks the utility of the headlamps, but I think more than makes up for it in sheer volume of stuff. Ten of those same LED flashlights, and the thirty batteries it would take to run them all, for the same $10.

flashlight 2

I honestly expected to spend more for the batteries than for this.

Not So Fun Stuff

You definitely need a first aid kit (about $10 to $20 for a premade basic kit, or variable depending what you get if you build your own)

first aid

Some basic tools. A hammer for tent pegs, pliers for various things, maybe a screw driver or two, some leather work gloves to act as pot holders and for general safety when working with the campfire, and of course some duct tape. Never leave home without some duct tape.

duct tape

Garbage bags, cleaning supplies for doing dishes, toilet paper in case the campground runs out, hand sanitizer, and of course bug spray.


Honestly that’s my basic list of things to get started.

We have a shelter that cost us $50, a $20 air mattress, we can bring blankets from home, a $19 cooler, four folding chairs for $28, assorted pots and pans from the goodwill for another $25 or so, some hot dog sticks for $2, $10 for some flashlights and batteries, a plastic tote for another $10, then $20 for a basic first aid kit, and lastly a buck for a lighter.

That’s a guesstimate of about $185 to get started for a family of four.

Granted, that doesn’t include food or bug spray or any of the other consumables, and assumes you’ll use some things from around the house, but this would be enough to get you started.

Like I said in the beginning, it’s better to get out there and start having fun with the cheaper gear, you can always upgrade later. Memories with the family, you can’t go back and redo it.

See you by the fire,


Where Dech Ponders Getting Back to Nature, or Possibly Plans his Midlife Crisis

As those who have followed this site for a long time know I am very fond of outdoor activities. You also know I write about what is on my mind, not just about WoW. (which I’m not even playing at the moment)

Many years ago as a teenager I was into backpacking and canoe camping with my scout troop. I didn’t have to do much of the planning and I had my parents around to provide me with the gear. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Fast forward to my late 20’s and My wife and I would take our kids car camping at least once or twice a year. It was a lot of fun, and something we still enjoy.

As I got back into scouts as a scoutmaster I found that most of the camping done in our area is also car camping. Well, that’s fine, the families loved it, the scouts had the advantage of a big ‘ol trailer full of everything that you could think of.

One thing I have found that I miss is the feeling of camping with a small group, off the beaten path, with just what we carried in on our backs.

Well, my kids are grown now with my youngest being 18. I’m not getting any younger, but at 45 I’m still in good enough health to hit the backcountry a few more times.

So perhaps a year ago I started looking into what kinds of backpacking was available near me, and what kind of gear I would need to get back out on the trail.

Holy crap is there a lot of gear out there compared to what was available when I was a kid. There are also a lot of opinions on what to buy and what to avoid.

I have started making a plan and making a list.

As I go I’m planning to post more on what actual choices I’ve made and my reasoning behind them.

Getting Started

My challenge here is twofold. I need to have appropriate gear or the trip will be miserable at best, unsafe at worst. On the other hand, I don’t know if the rest of my family will be interested in going more than once, so I don’t want to invest a ton of money in gear.

Now, even if we never backpack again there are several things that could easily pull double duty when car camping. Lightweight sleeping bags are a good example. Those will work for camping whether from the trunk of the car or in the backcountry.

I figured the first things to pick up were what my old scoutmaster once called the “Big Three”. My pack, my shelter, and my sleeping system (sleeping bag and sleeping pad).

So here we have where I am now. Researching gear and planning purchases in such a way as to make the trip safe and enjoyable while not having to take out a second mortgage.

Seriously, A quick look online shows that there are some tents alone that go for several hundred dollars and only sleep one person. I could easily get a pack full of gear costing upwards of a thousand dollars per person. That’s simply not in my budget.

Next time I’ll get into my choices for the big three. If you have any ideas fire away, I’m all ears.

Upon further consideration…

Yesterday I put up a rather long post about what I see as some of the reasons for the disparity in the amount of tanks and/or healers available in the game. The post did not draw a huge amount comments, but it did draw some pretty insightful ones.

After reading those and doing a bit more thinking on the subject some of my opinions are somewhat changed. I thought of simply putting this all in the comments, but it actually deserves its own post.

Remember when I said I might hijack some of your comments for further posting?

I wasn’t kidding :)


In yesterday’s post I broke it down into four categories, mostly to help me keep my thoughts in order. I did, after all, write that before I finished my morning coffee.

Today I am going to go about it just a bit differently..


TheReaper brought up a few good points last night.

In my opinion tanks are far easier to gear than any other archetype in the game.
Are you defcapped? Yes? Stack stamina. No? Get more def rating.

Avoidance automatically increases with gear and unless you went really wrong somewhere threat generation isn’t much of a problem either these days.

There are certain encounters where a specialized set of gear comes in handy, but those are usually hardmodes that I don’t worry about on my twink (even though I have successfully tanked all raid instances in the game and my paladin is currently sitting just shy of 5400 gs).
On my rogue however, gearing is a nightmare. What stats do I look for?
Sounds complicated? Well, it gets worse…
Expertise pretty much trumps everything until you hit the dodgecap (26 expertise).
Hitrating is imperative up to the poison hit cap, which differs depending on: specc, group composition, available debuffs, race and weapon. If you wanted to really squeeze every last drop of dps you might need up to 5 different sets to hit the different hitcaps.
Hitrating raises your soft crit cap, its great if you reached the cap, pretty bad if you didn’t.
Agility/critrating are good until you hit the soft crit cap, but fall behind AP/haste above it.
So every time I could get a new piece of gear I have to pull up my spreadsheet, see if equipping it would bump me over my soft crit cap, regem/reequip hitrating accordingly, figure out if the upgrade is still worth it at that point and so on.
 Sorry for the wall of text, but gearing a dps class is by no means “easier” than gearing a tank or healer.
Gearing becomes difficult when you try to maximize your effectiveness, I want to do that on my rogue, so its hard, I don’t want to do that on my paladin, so it appears easier to me.
Someone with a pally tank main and a rogue alt would probably react in the exact opposite way.


I will admit that when I look back at it with a more critical eye I see that I may have filtered my perceptions of the complexity of gearing through the lens of my experience. Then again, I think we all would.

Today I am both properly caffeinated and looking at this from a wider perspective. The relative difficulty of gearing any character for a specific role will be different for different people. It will also to a large degree depend on who is doing the gearing and why.  

First, how familiar are you with the class and role?

If you are gearing a character class you are familiar with for a role you are familiar with it will be a lot easier. Like any other task, it will be easier with experience. The more you do something the easier it seems.

Secondly, What are you gearing for? The reasons you are gearing up will also influence not only your gear choices, but how in depth you need to go into “perfecting” your gear, spec, and play style.

For instance, I enjoy battlegrounds on occasion, but have no desire to do arena. My gearing for PvP would be simplistic in comparison to someone who was playing on a top rated arena team. Someone who levels up and decides just to stay in 5 mans will have less of a need to min-max their character than someone who plans to see Arthas fall in Icecrown 25.

As TheReaper said, Gearing becomes difficult when you try to maximize your effectiveness.

There are the absolute basics like he mentioned about gearing a tank, and I mentioned about gearing a hunter at one end of the spectrum. At the other there are calculators, spreadsheets, stat weighted gear sorters, and just about any other thing you can think of to help min-max. I suppose it’s really about how far you want to go down that particular rabbit hole.

Fortunately (in my opinion) the stats are planned to be streamlined in Cataclysm which should make the learning curve a bit less steep when deciding to change how much you choose to focus on a given role.


A few people touched on the social aspect.

Isa wrote (in part)

… While a different game design could make tanks and healers less obvious points of failure, and thus less scary, I think it’s this social mechanism you’ve mentioned that drives the shortage, and not the design. In other words, I believe game design can be a solution but it’s not the real problem.

Greysmoke wrote (in part)

… There does seem to be a pervasive idea that once you hit 80, you should know perfectly whatever role you’re playing, so if you’re wanting to switch from dps to heals or tanking, you’re either going to take a lot of abuse OR you’re going to have to rely on friends and guildies to see you through the learning curve. And it seems to be much worse for tanks than healers, in my experience. …

Humans are for the most part social creatures. That is one of the big reasons Wow is so damn popular. If I got this level of enjoyment out of a solo console game I would have saved a bloody fortune over the last four years. Hell, if I were not a social creature I would not be writing about it and you folks would not be here commenting.

One of the things many people fear in a social situation is rejection by ones peers. They may not admit it, or even consciously know it, but it will influence their decisions.

The steeper the learning curve would be to achieve success the fewer will be willing to climb that learning curve. The greater the cost, or more visible the failure would be, the less likely people are to take the risk.

This can be lessened somewhat by being able to practice alone. Target dummies and random critters out in the world do a good job of that for Dps classes. Battlegrounds (especially AV) can be a good training ground for healers.

I have yet to find a way to “practice” tanking in a way that does not involve running a five man.  Of course, having said that someone will come by and tell me how to do it now.

The only ways to eliminate that would be for Blizzard to somehow put in the ability to practice tanking into the game, or to eliminate the distinctions between tanks, heals, and dps. Somehow I think that the simulator is more likely in Wow, and eliminating the distinctions is more likely to happen in the next generation MMO, but that is a whole other post.

As Isa said, game design can be a solution but it’s not the real problem.


The more I think about this the more I think it boils down to two major reasons for the disparity.

The first is the fear of failure, particularly of public failure and the ridicule that can go with it.

That goes a long way to explaining not only why people tend to not play the single point of failure roles, but why many that do will have periods of “burnout” where they drop that role in favor of Dps. Whether actually performing the tasks to play the role well is more difficult or not, the perceived stress coming from the fear of failure will get to some people after a while.

I know there was a time when I took six months or more off healing and went shadow on my priest, just because I was tired of getting blamed for choosing to throw my heals on the tank who is holding the boss and letting some idiot that was standing in the bad die.

*note to all:  if your feet are on fire… please move.*

The second is the ability to practice and improve ones performance outside of a group setting.

How much “soloable” content that can be practiced on may not be a factor, but I do see a direct relation to role choice. It may be coincidence, but then again it might not.

  • Dps

Training opportunities include everything from “kill ten rats” quests, to target dummies. There are lower level instances to run solo or in a group, battlegrounds to fight in, mobs wandering the countryside, in short it’s a Dps paradise.

By the time people leave their starting zone they have the beginnings of a grasp on Dps. Unless you heal or tank instances as you level every character is a Dps’r all the way to the level cap.

Most training opportunities, most common role.

  • Healing

Training for healing is a good bit harder to come by. Since the only way to learn group healing is to heal groups your choices pretty much boil down to healing instances, healing raids, or healing in PvP. I suppose we could throw in the odd group quest while leveling that requires a bit of healing, but honestly most can be solo’d by a Dps class.

That’s pretty much it for healing. Sure there are a few times here and there where you can learn healing outside of running instances and raids, but not much at all.

Much leaner training opportunities, much fewer players in the role.

  • Tanking

Training for tanking is simple. Run five mans, or run raids. That pretty much covers it. Perhaps a few group quests would count here as well. I can think of no ways to practice holding threat and managing cooldowns as a tank in a group other than being the tank in one.

Could you go practice your rotation of a target dummy, or random mobs out in the world? Sure.

Will that show you whether you would actually be holding aggro against high output Dps? No.

Will that get you practice in using your “oh crap” buttons at the proper time? No.

There are a very few skills you could actually practice, such as line of sight pulling of casters, but there is really not much you can do without a group.

Least amount of training available, fewest people willing to step into the role.


I don’t see these things so much as a reason people will not roll a tank or a healer. I see them more of a reason that tanks and healers both will tend to find groups of friends while learning their trade. Friends that will help them out and not give them a bunch of grief as they learn the ropes of that role.

Once a person has done that why would they want to run with strangers? Why take a further chance of getting crap from people you will never see again in favor of rolling with folks you know you can depend on? Why put yourself out there in a spotlight ready to be criticized if someone pulls aggro or stands in the fire?

In the bigger picture I don’t really think that there exists a disproportionate number of Dps. I simply think it much more likely that people choosing the tanking and healing roles are less apt to run with strangers. The are a lot more likely to run with those they have had good luck with before.


The next time you are in a pug 5 man and one of the players says “Hey guys, My gearscore is low and I am new to this role. How about you help me learn the ropes?”

Are you going to be one of those that just bail and leave that person hanging, or will you be one of those that says “Thanks for the heads up, we can do this.”


Think about it.



My Priests Christmas list of purple pixels

Last night I did something on my priest I rarely get to do.

I healed.

I healed not for a random group of keyboard turning, face rolling, fire standing idiots, but for a group of guildies that were having fun. Wether we wiped or not (preferably not) the whole group stayed upbeat and cheerful, even joking around as we rebuffed.

There was no finger pointing at all. Discussion about what we could do differently, yes. Bitching, no. (or at least was done with the mic off if it happened.)

It was the first time in a while that I remembered why I actually enjoy healing.

The only thing I did not like was seeing people go down faster than I could keep up.

Was the fact that we were running TOC (normal) with two of our DPS  not yet 80 a factor?

Possibly, but it is a 75+ instance. It should be doable, particularly with an 80 healer and tank.

I got to thinking this morning (sitting in a quiet office drinking coffee waiting for something to break will do that to you.) I got to thinking how I could improve myself to make runs more smooth for those whose lives are in my hands. I thought of two things I can work on.

Experience is one. I am rusty, and it showed last night. More than once I had to think about what heal to throw. That kind of thing used to just happen. I would be watching the health bars and would just be hitting the right buttons at the right time. That was missing a bit last night, although I started getting the rhythm back by the end of the second run.

The folks I ran with (did I mention they were awesome yet?) told me I did fine… but I know better. Like anything else a person doesn’t do frequently I was just a bit slow. I was a half step behind playing catch-up.

The only thing I can do about that is heal more often. Practice is the only cure for being rusty.

The second thing I can do some work on is my gear. Most of my healing set is crafted stuff I picked up when I hit 80, along with a few odds and ends I got from Naxx pugs and heroics. Lots and lots of shiny new loot has been added to the game since then.  So I sat down this morning and worked up a shopping list of sorts.

Gear I could get without running a raid instance that would be an improvement over my existing kit. I found that with a very few exceptions there is gear out there that will make my job a lot easier.

Now, being the list loving blogger that I am I decided to convert the chicken scratch in a tattered old notebook into a post. Now here is how I chose what I was putting down.

Everything listed in order of preference

Anything that has a duplicate the badge cost of something listed as better will be excluded

Everything has to be available through Crafting, Vendors, Questing, Badges, or 5 player instances.

The numbers in front of everything is more a note to me than anything else, it is the difference between what I am using now and the item in question. All figured using the Wowhead default setting for a holy specced healing priest. 

The few places where I had no real upgrade outside raiding  I went ahead and listed a few similar items to what I have that would fit the list. I know some folks might use this as reference. I also included what I am using in every slot at the moment.

See something I am overlooking? By all means let me know.


0.85 Cloak of Kea Feathers  (Valor – 25)

0.09 Whispcloak  (Tailoring BOE)

Currently wearing Kurisu’s Indiscision  (TOC heroic)


3.51 Valens Robe of Triumph  (Triumph – 75)

3.10 Royal Moonshroud Robe  (Tailoring BOE)

1.99 Valens Robe of Conquest  (Triumph – 50)

0.70 Embrace of Madness  (TOC heroic)

Currently wearing Robes of Mutation  (Naxx)


Currently wearing  Serene Echoes  (Naxx drop)

 -0.05 Saviors Slippers  (Tailoring BOE)

-0.22 Slippers of the Holy Light  (Valor – 40)


2.50 Etched Loop of the Kirin Tor  (vendor, but a bit expensive)

1.51 Renewel of Life  (Valor – 25)

1.39 Band of Channeled Magic   (Valor – 25)

Currently rearing 1.02 Wicked Witches Band (Headless Horseman)

Currently wearing 0.00 The Horsemans Seal (Headless Horseman)


2.78 Valens Gloves of Triumph  (Triumph – 45)

1.68 Valens Gloves of Conquest  (Triumph – 30)

1.55 Touch of the Occult  (Conquest – 28)

Currently wearing Spellweave Gloves  (tailoring BOE)


5.59 Helm of Clouded Sight  (Triumph – 75)

4.01 Valens Cowl of Conquest  (Triumph – 50)

1.39 Gaze of the Unknown  (TOC heroic)

0.88 Elder Headpeice  (An’kahet heroic)

Currently wearing Deadly Gladiators Mooncloth Hood  (I had the honor to spare, and no luck with drops)


4.82 Valens Leggings of Triumph  (Triumph – 75)

3.35 Valens Leggings of Conquest  (Triumph – 50)

2.75 Legwraps of the Master Conjurer  (Conquest 39)

Currently wearing Cyanigosa’s Leggings  (Violet Hold heroic)


4.06 Mariel’s Sorrow  (TOC heroic)

3.07 Spectral Kris  (TOC heroic)

0.96 Warmace of Unrequited Love  (Nexus heroic)

0.82 Dagger of Lunar Purity  (TOC Heroic)

Currently using Titansteel Guardian  (Blacksmithing  BOE)


2.25 Frozen Tear of Elune  (Conquest – 19)

1.70 Symbol of Redemption  (TOC heroic)

Currently using Titanium Spellshock Necklace  (Jewelcrafting BOE)

Off hand:

Currently using Urn of Lost Memories  (Naxx)

-0.11 Faces of Doom  (Inscription BOE)


0.17 Wand of An’kahet  (An’kahet heroic)

Currently using Rod of the Fallen Monarch  (Azjol-Nerub heroic)


2.56 Valens Shoulderpade of Triumph  (Triumph – 45)

1.51 Valens Shoulderpade of Conquest  (Triumph – 30)

Currently using Valorus Shoulderpads of Faith  (Naxx)


1.56 Talisman of Resurgance  (Triumph – 50)

0.20 Je’tze’s Bell  (BOE world drop)

0.12 Darkmoon card Greatness  – (Quest – Darkmoon Faire)

0.00 Currently using Darkmoon card Illusion (Quest-Darkmoon Faire)

-0. 07 Egg of Mortal Esscence  (Heroisim – 40)

-0.11 Tears of the Vanquished  (TOC normal)

Currently using Mender of the Coming Dawn (Quest reward)


2.30 Sash of Potent Incantations  (Conquest – 28)

1.57 Cord of the White Dawn  (Tailoring BOE)

0.45 The Confessors Binding  (TOC normal)

Currently using Sash of Jordan  (BOE world drop, oddly enough it actually dropped for me while leveling)


1.72 Royal Moonshroud Bracers  (Tailoring BOE)

1.14 Bejeweled Wizards Bracers (Tailoring BOE)

Currently using Bindings of Yearning  (Naxx)


This morning I was doing some thinking…

You can stop laughing any time, honest.

As I was saying, I was doing a bit of thinking today about this wonderful game we all play.

Be advised, this post is largely the ramblings of a tired and somewhat cranky individual. Feel free to mark as read and move along.

I, along with many others from what I have been reading, am suffering from a bit of a funk within the game. As I sat here this morning thinking about the book I am attempting to write for NaNoWriMo something hit me.

A similarity between the two.

This month I took something I love to do for fun, writing, and by placing goals and check points on it essentially turned it into a job. I am discovering a lot about myself by doing the project, and that is the real goal. However, I am paying very close attention to my attitude towards writing.

If I get to the point where I don’t want to sit down and create anymore, if it starts to feel more like taking out the trash than a relaxing thing I do for fun, I am pulling the plug.

How is that in any way similar to Wow you ask?


I have limited playtime, so what I have been doing is basically a priority list.

  1. Check my banker / AH toons to see if it’s time to scan or craft more glyphs. If it is,  then scan, craft, and post.
  2. Check cooldowns on Inscription reasearch and Alchemy transmutes, use if they are up.
  3. Do the Jewelcrafting daily if not done yet.
  4. Farm Mageweave. (EDIT: It occured to me that some might take this the wrong way. I am farming Mageweave, and later Netherweave, to level tailoring on my priest once 3.3 goes live. The Mageweave I have farmed up for the Raid for the Cure event is completely seperate from this.)
  5. Check time on Wintergrasp, do it for the stonekeeper shards once a week per level 80. (for the gearing of my upcoming Worgen Druid with BOA’s, should be done in 2-3 more weeks)
  6. Run a heroic if I have the time (and a group just happens to be forming)
  7. Stand in Dalaran and chat with guildies.
  8. If all else fails level fishing/cooking on yet another character.

It used to be that I would simply hop on an alt and happily level it up. Now I find myself playing a waiting game.

Waiting for Blizz to put forth the features they mentioned.

The new LFG tool will be excellent for those times I have just enough time to run something but there is not a group forming at the moment. I am looking forward to that.

As soon as they announced the future ability to send BOA’s cross faction I immediately lost all interest in leveling my Horde side Hunter until I can send him a Tome of Cold Weather Flight. There he sits in Dalaran patiently letting the Auction House pay him to level Inscription. After all, he will sit there for a while I think.

Alliance side I am down to one alt that needs some more leveling before getting parked until Cataclysm. My level 19 Shaman will get to 20, and then wait for the rest of the group. Myself, my mother in law, and two of my kids, are going to level a group solo to 20. We will then level up those alts only through instances, and only with each other.

I already have my Priest, Hunter, and Death Knight to 80. They are done gearing up outside of instances.

My Shaman, as I said, is waiting for the rest to catch up. Since at least two of them will be rolling Worgen that plan is on hold.

With one character simply holding a name for my upcoming Druid and three others being Banker or AH toons I have no plans to level any of them.

It boils down to this:  Wow, at least for me, is in a holding pattern.

What does that have to do with writing you ask?


Logging in to Wow is starting to feel more and more like taking out the trash. More a list of chores to do than something I log in and do for the fun of it. 

Lately I have been more about preparing for the future and less about having fun now.

I do have one character slot still open, perhaps it’s time to lose myself in an alt for a while.

I would have to start a new one.

I wonder what I should roll.

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.

My pre-Naxx Hunter gear

A quick note to those that Google has sent my way: This post was originally written in December of ’08 and a few things have changed since then. I have a post up now that is updated for 3.1 (soon to be redone for 3.2). The info here is still good for the most part, but you may want to check out the other as well. It can be found HERE.


A bit over a week ago a wrote up a post on what I was wearing when I hit 80. In that article I mentioned that I was going to try to get my hit rating up, my crit rating up, and generally increase my survivability for a raid environment.

As always I looked for ways I could get to where I wanted to be without relying on instance drops. Unless, of course, they are BOE and I can farm the Auction House for them. I also decided on a change in professions, dropping a very profitable Herbalisim in favor of a pretty much equally profitable Mining. Just selling everything I did not need that was mined while leveling my profession allowed me to buy all the dropped BOE’s on my list, and what I did keep was the majority of the mats for the other craftables.

I am not saying that this is for everyone, however it worked for me. I had every piece of this gear minus the cloak (which should be coming in the mail sometime soon) before ever stepping foot into a heroic instance. With a decent shot rotation I was able to put out over 1800 dps per recount in Heroic Violet Hold last night. This was with my farming build and an untested shot rotation, specced for instancing I should be able to put out a good bit more.

This is the gear I currently have equipped.




Head  Swiftarrow Helm  (crafted Leatherworking)

With an Arcanum of ferocity on it from Cenerion Expedition (34 attack power 16 hit rating)


Neck Choker of the Betrayer  (quest reward from Betrayal in Zul’Drak)

Gemmed with a Jagged Forest Emerald


Shoulder Virulent spaulders (crafted Leatherworking)

With the 26 attack power glyph from the Aldor


Chest Razorstrike Breastplate (crafted Leatherworking)

With +8 to all stats


Back  Ice Striker’s Cloak (crafted Leatherworking)

Enchanted with Major Agility (+22 agility) 


Wrist Eaglebane Bracers  (crafted Leatherworking)

Enchanted with +38 attack power


Hands Rusted-link Spiked Gauntlets (BoE boss drop from Naxx, picked up in the AH)

Enchanted with Precision

Gemmed with a Delicate Scarlet Ruby

Waist Belt of Tasseled Lanterns (BoE world drop, got it in the AH)

Equipped with an Eternal Belt Buckle for the extra gem slot.

Gemmed with one Jagged Forest Emerald and one Perfect Jagged Dark Jade . I plan to replace the Perfect Dark Jade with a Vivid Forest Emerald once I get the Ebon Blade head enchant.


Legs  Giantmaim Leggards (crafted Leatherworking)

With a Icyscale armor kit equipped


Feet Dragonstompers (crafted Leatherworking)

Enchanted with Icewalker


Trinket 1 Fezzik’s Pocketwatch (quest reward from The Last Line of Defense in Icecrown)


Trinket 2 First Mates Pocketwatch  (quest reward from The jig is up in Howling Fjiord)


Ring 1   Signet of Bridenbrad (quest reward from Light within the darkness in Icecrown)

Gemmed with a Perfect Deadly Citrine that I picked up dirt cheap in the AH.


Ring 2 Ring of Indignant rage (quest reward from The assassination of Herold Lane in Borean Tundra)


Ranged Nesingwary 4000 (crafted Engineering, expensive but worth it)

Gemmed with a Rigid Autumn’s Glow  

Equipped with a Heartseeker scope


Melee  I am dual wielding Savage Cobalt Slicers

Both are enchanted with Greater Potency (+50 attack power)


My gear, like everyone elses, is a work in progress. 

I am still working on rep with the Knights of the Ebon Blade for my Dps head enchant, they also have some shoulders at revered that I would like.

I am also working on rep with the Argent Crusade. Originally for the Zombie Sweeper Shotgun at revered, I am now working on the Polished Regimental Hauberk at exalted.

While I am at it I might as well work on Sons of Hodir (I need to start that one) for my shoulder enchant.

Then possibly work on Kirin tor for a set of boots, unless something drops for me before that.

That helm the oracles have a at revered would be a bit of an upgrade.

After I am done with all that…….. yeah, you get the idea.


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