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,


How to be a Merrymaker for Winters Veil

Winters Veil is upon us once again, and HERE is a guide to all your achievement related activities.

Should I have waited till today to publish it? Possibly.

Then again if you stop by often you already know that I rarely do anything that makes sense. So go, be merry, slaughter Greenches and throw snowballs at Thrall. Drink eggnog and holiday cookies. Have fun with the holiday. After all, Greatfather Winter is watching you.

You don’t want coal as a present again this year do you?


In other news the votes are in for what profession I should choose on my Priest. With a whopping 92% of the vote Tailoring wins hands down.

Inscription is gone from him now. I started leveling Tailoring already, getting it to 325 before I called it for the day. I already have the mats on hand to make it well past 400, which I will do later today.

Then I’ll start cranking out winter clothes with the mats I had left over from leveling.

That should be fun, or at least profitable.

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)

Well, at least its not a gear list.

Showing a surprising lack of judgment I was invited to go hang out with the wonderful folks that make up the Sidhe Devils Gone Wild podcast. I would say they had never heard me talking before, but there is always Vent. They should have known better…

Anyhow, It was a blast. If you haven’t heard it yet you really should go check it out. I had a blast making it and got a good laugh listening to it this morning. Even though I already knew what was going to happen.

Go ahead…. go listen. I’ll still be here when you get back.

Assuming you come back after hearing me babble like a clueless noob.

Nothing to do with todays post, I just found this hilarious. I should cook mine like this tomorrow.

Oh, wow. Your back.

Either you didn’t go listen or you’re a real glutton for punishment.


Um… Well I didn’t really expect anyone to come back, so I guess I’ll try to throw a post together right quick.

Ooo… I know I’ll do a gear list, those are always fun.

Then again, with 3.3 dropping any day now it would be kinda pointless.


How about a rant? Rants are always fun.

Then again, the only thing that has ticked me off lately is getting to 39/40 turkeys for the Turkinator achievement three separate times and missing out on the last one every time. Annoying and bothersome yes, worthy of it’s very own post? Not so much.


I could try to drum up some interest in my non-Wow blog, perhaps by linking the post about how I found a needle that had gone missing in my house, and the hilarity that ensued . Then again, no one wants to read about that. This is supposed to be a WoW blog afterall.  


Well, I suppose I could just send out a happy Thanksgiving to everyone, both in-game and out.

Yep. we’ll go with that.

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

I put my money where my keyboard was

There was a time in ages past when A blogger wrote a post about leveling Alchemy on the cheap.

In response to the comments on that post he decided to put his money where his keyboard was and see just how much it would end up costing.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Ok, Ok, I wrote the post like two weeks ago, sue me.

Anyhow, two weeks ago I took on the task of seeing just how much it would cost me in the long run to level Alchemy purely from the auction house. I did use some mats that I already had laying about, but I take their value into account. I also picked up a few more items once I reached 450.

After it was all said and done I had leveled to 450, specced for transmutation specialist, and gotten the materials for the final transmute quest at 450. In total I spent just under 1300G in cash and used about 550G or so worth of my own storehouse of materials. We will just call it an even 1900G to have a reasonably solid number.

Now, as of this writing I have only done two of the epic gem transmutes toward the quest at 450. I have three left to go before I can start transmuting Cardinal Rubies. My shopping list included the mats for making each epic gem once.

Here is whats left after over a week of listing.

Transmute spec really helped out on this one. I used fifteen of these to skill up from 435 to 450. I ended up with 19 of them after having it proc twice.  Since about half of these have sold for a bid and half on a buyout i’ll split the difference at 60g each and call this 420G once they all sell.

I also have a few flasks left over.

The flasks of agility and greater agility have been slowly selling off, but the earthen elixer and elixir of detect undead have not done so well. I am simply going to consider there a loss at this point. At best I could hope to get maybe another 10G out of these, but we shall see. More likely I’ll save the relisting cost and simply send them to my kids so they can use them on their small army of mid level characters.

Over all the strategy of crafting things that people would buy has worked out pretty well. I still have four epic gem transmutes to go over the next several days, and I am finding an average profit of about 100G on each one. That should put me at somewhere in the neighborhood of 800G still coming in from this project.

Another thing I did is to make use of the extra herbs that I bought for the leveling process. I did not waste their value by turning them into low level  potions. While those do sell I took a loss on every single thing I made until I started crafting at about 350 or better. Instead I used inscription to mill them into inks. In the same way as tipping an Enchanter to D/E a bag full of greens you have been carrying about you can find a friendly scribe and pay them to craft the inks.

Or simply put them back in the auction house, thats up to you. Personally I happen to have a scribe so I did it myself, then sold myself the inks at 80% of market value.

The idea was not to eliminate losses, that is not going to happen with low level stuff. The idea was to limit them to the point that the gains from the higher level stuff would balance out. So the question is, how did we do? We still have an estimated 800G coming back to us from the meta gems and the as yet untransmuted epics.

What do we have already?

I started with 50G to cover listing fees, when it’s all said and done I should end up with about 1980G from this little adventure.

So the answer to the question is:

While you might take a loss on some things, especially before about 350 or so skill, over the long haul you can make alchemy pay for itself.

I put my money where my keyboard was, and I’m glad I did.

Leveling Alchemy 1 – 450, on the cheap

Well Lets see here. Apparently I have this character that I would like to level Alchemy on. Now, like everyone else, I don’t want to spend a ton of money doing it. My solution is to farm up all my own herbs.

Now while this may seem self explanatory, my problem is that I have no Herbalist. One would think that this will leave me with no alternative but to buy all my herbs in the auction house. I figure at current prices it would cost me about 1K gold to level strictly by buying from the auction house. Thats a little on the expensive side.

Well, I will pick some up there if the price is right, but there is another way. By knowing in advance what I am going to need I can take herbalisim on the character who will be the alchemist and farm everything up before hand. Of course that means I need a shopping list.


Leveling Alchemy 1 – 450 on the cheap


  • Dont forget to train, it wastes materials. I know this from experience.
  • I am making the choices I am because of both skill up potential and resale value. If you are both lucky and patient you could scoop everything up off the AH when it is cheap and resell everything you craft for enough money to have it come out almost even. Even if you are not in it for the long term money anything’s  better than making stuff just to vendor it.
  • Alchemy Apprentice is 1-75
  • Alchemy journeyman is 75-150
  • Alchemy Expert is 150-225
  • Alchemy Artisan is 225-300
  • Specialisation in Transmutation, Elixirs, or Potions is available through a quest at 325 skill. Minimum level 68.
  • Alchemy Master is 300-375
  • Alchemy Grand Master is 375-450
  • If I think of anything else I’ll add it here.


Alchemy 1-60

  • 59 x Minor Healing Potion – 59 Peacebloom, 59 Sliverleaf, 59 Empty Vial
  • Keep the  healing potions, you will need them for the next step.


Alchemy 60-140


Alchemy 140-210


Alchemy 210-285


Alchemy 285-360


Alchemy 360-450

This should bring you to 450. congratulations, you can now do 5 of the 6 epic gem transmutes. Pick up the quest for Transmute: Cardinal Ruby from the Alchemy trainer in Dalaran and once you have transmuted one each of the other five types it will open up for you.

 Shopping list (keep in mind you will not get a point every time, I would overstock by 10-20% or so)

  • 74 x Empty Vial
  • 65 x Leaded Vial
  • 99 x Crystal Vial
  • 170 x Imbued Vial
  • 59 x Peacebloom
  • 59 x Silverleaf
  • 80 x Briarthorn
  • 30 x Bruiseweed
  • 15 x Mageroyal
  • 40 x Stranglekelp
  • 30 x Liferoot
  • 30 x Kingsblood
  • 45 x Goldthorn
  • 5 x Wild Steelbloom
  • 70 x Sungrass
  • 15 x Khadgar’s Whisker
  • 4 x Iron Bar
  • 1 x Black Vitriol
  • 4 x Purple Lotus
  • 4 x Firebloom
  • 19 x Arthas’ Tears
  • 40 x Blindweed
  • 75 x Golden Sansam
  • 40 x Mountain Silversage
  • 38 x Felweed
  • 20 x Ragveil
  • 101 x Dreaming Glory
  • 10 x Netherbloom
  • 40 x Nightmare Vine
  • 20 Talandra’s Rose
  • 70 Goldclover
  • 41 Tiger Lily
  • 24 Adder’s Tongue
  • 10 Icethorn
  • 40 Lichbloom
  • 10 Dark Jade
  • 10 Huge Citrine
  • 15 Bloodstone
  • 15 Chalcedony
  • 15 Eternal Air
  • 10 Eternal Fire

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.

Gearing my fresh 80 Hunter

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.


Today’s post was going to be an elaborate “gear up your fresh level 80 hunter” post. That for the most part is no longer required.

Wowhead beat me to the punch.

They now have the ability built right in to search their ginormous database of gear based on a weighted scale. It has default templates for each class and even takes your general spec into account when filtering gear. Basically it takes what I used to do over the course of several hours of stat comparisons and spits out the results in moments.

Drupadi is sitting at 80 now and has been able to use the nice crafted blues for two solid levels now. A few nights ago I sat down to come up with a basic gear plan for her. I  planned to use it both as the basis for today’s post and as a farming list for the crafted gear (much thanks to Fimlys for doing all my crafting).  That’s when I discovered the changes that had been made to Wowhead.

Even if I know what I am looking for I have always found it kinda pays to make a list of what and how much I am farming before I start, that way I don’t forget something inportant. Kinda like going to the grocery store , coming home with 2 bags of stuff, and realizing you forgot the one important thing you went to the store for.

So am I going to write a thousand word monstrosity of a gear post based on data that will be evolving over time, or should I just list a few things to keep in mind and send you (and myself) to Wowhead? How about I do both.

Hit rating is a good thing, all the potential damage in the world is useless unless you can put the rounds on the target. Otherwise you are just poking holes in the wall behind the bad guy. Remember, bullets cost money. Every time you pull the trigger is like throwing cash at the other guy.

According to the best info I can dig up right now you have a 6% chance to miss in heroics and an 8% chance to miss in a raid situation. At level 80 you will need 32.8 hit rating to equal 1% less chance to miss.

This turns out to be a hit rating of 196.8 (call it 197) for heroics and 262.4 (call it 263) for raiding. Unless you happen to be Dreanei like my hunters, then you need 164 for heroics and 229.6 (call it 230) for raiding because of the 1% bonus to hit racial. It works out something like this.

Hit cap for raiding

  • Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 230
  • Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 197
  • Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 164
  • Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 131
  • Non Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 263
  • Non Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 230
  • Non Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 197
  • Non Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 164

Hit cap for heroics

  • Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 164
  • Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 131
  • Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 99
  • Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 66
  • Non Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 197
  • Non Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 164
  • Non Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 131
  • Non Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 99

Just something to keep in mind while planning your gear.

I poked around a bit and here is what I came up with for myself. Keep in mind this is my farming character so I am only worried about hit rating to the “I can run heroics without missing every time I pull the trigger” level. I am also not looking at the items that require a long rep grind to get, those will come in time. As I said.. this is just my farmer. I am concentrating on easily acquired quest rewards, easy to get rep rewards, and/or crafted items that I can farm up mats for.

All that in mind, this is what I ended up looking like when I dinged.


Is there better gear to be had? You betcha.

Is there an easier way to go about it? Not that I can think of.

I have no illusions about this being “top end” gear. What I do see it as is a good place to start, better will come with time.

Here is the breakdown on what I had when I hit 80:


Head  Swiftarrow Helm  (crafted Leatherworking)

with an Arcanym 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)

Socketed with a Balanced perfect shadow crystal I picked up dirt cheap in the AH.


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 Cloak of the Agile Mind  (BOE world drop, I got mine while farming for leather)

enchanted with +12 agility


Wrist Swiftarrow Bracers  (crafted Leatherworking)

enchanted with +38 attack power


Hands Gauntlets of the secret agent (quest reward for Infiltrating Voltarus in Zul’Drak)


Waist Xevozz’s Belt (my one and only instance drop)

Originaly planned on getting  a Swiftarrow Belt crafted, and likely will for my next Hunter.


Legs Swiftarrow Leggings (crafted Leatherworking)

with a clefthide armor kit I had laying around on it (30 stamina 10 agility)


Feet Dragonstompers (crafted Leatherworking)

enchanted with 24 attack power


Trinket 1 Death Knights anguish (quest reward from Buying some time in Borean Tundra)


Trinket 2 First mates pocketwatch  (quest reward from The jig is up in Howling Fjiord)


Ring 1 Mildly tarnished ring (quest reward from doing you duty in Grizzly Hills)


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


Ranged Dragon slayer’s shortbow  (quest reward from Post partum aggression in Sholazar basin)

Personally I am still using the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix , but my next hunter won’t be running Kara to get one.

The Sunfury has a scope on it, making most early quest rewards a sidegrade at best. I can’t talk myself into replacing it quite yet, but likely will when I quest my way therough Sholazar basin.


Melee Whale stick harpoon (is the only rep item on my list. I was revered just by questing, almost by accident)

It is enchanted with +20 agility (because I am a nub. I misclicked when enchanting and did not use the +35 agi I planned on)


All this left me hit capped for heroics, with good stamina for solo work, and a reasonable ammount attack power. I have not gone and played at the target dummies yet, probably because I neither have or know how to use damage meters. (fellow bloggers: WTB post on how to use recount, or at least an email).

What I have done is go back and try soloing group quests. I figure thats a good gauge of survivability. I have been able to do every three person quest I have tried so far, but I could not heal through the damage in the Ampithetere of Anguish when me and Thwack the Gorilla tried a five player.

All Hallowed out

Well friends, it looks like another holiday is rapidly approaching. No I am not talking about International call in sick to work day on November 13th (at least its not a Friday), I am talking about  one of my favorite holidays, Hallows Eve. It runs from October 18th thru November 1st, so it is right around the corner.



Do you love the headless horseman events, the wands and masks, and eating candy till you get sick?

I certainly do. This year is even more exciting. Not only is it rumored that the headless horseman will drop a mount in the form of his horse, but for the truly nuts amongst us are now 13 achievements associated with the holiday. Completing all of them results in knocking a rung off the “what a long, strange trip its been” achievement and the title “the hallowed”.

I figured as long as I was taking notes for myself I would selfishly deny you a real post and put it up here where I can’t lose it. So in place of a real post, here it is.


The overarching achievement for this holiday is Hallowed be thy name. It is the one that awards the title “The Hallowed” (Must have for my holy priest). The requirements of this one are simple, complete all 12 of the other Hallows eve achievements. Oddly enough I plan to list them all here. Go figure.

Trick or Treat! starts out simple enough, Receive a handful of a candy from one of the Candy Buckets located in an inn.  Piece ‘o cake so far.

Out with it seems like a pretty simple one as well, simply eat so many Tricky Treats that you get an upset tummy. After getting tanked up at Brewfest, this will be second nature.

Bring me the head of… Oh, wait Getting a little harder to do now, this one requires you to be in on a Headless Horseman kill. You have to be a minimum on level 20 simply to walk into Scarlet Monastery’s Graveyard. Unless you can get a very understanding group you will not be doing this one unless you are 70. I do know of people that brought lower levels through last year hoping to have an epic ring waiting in the bank when they hit 70. There is enough to say about this one for it to rate it’s own post. I will try to have that written and up before the start of Hallows eve.

The Savior of Hallow’s End Calls for completing one of the “save the village” Daily quests, Either of which involve putting out the fires when the Horseman comes. 

Every 4 hours ( at 4, 8 and 12), the Headless Horseman’s “Shade of Horseman” will attack Kharanos, Goldshire, Azure Watch, Razor Hill, Brill, and Falconwing Square. He will start off by circling and lighting fires. Put out the fires and he will land to fight as a level 11 non-elite mob. Beat him up and take his candy.

A Mask for all occasions is going to involve both luck and persistence. It calls for you to collect all twenty of the flimsy masks. Although if you don’t get them all this year they will still be recorded towards next year. Too bad they are BOP. I really hate thinking that somewhere a random number generator is deciding whether I can got this one done or not. I guess I’ll just trick or treat a lot and hope for the best.

That Sparkling Smile seems pretty straight forward. Simply use a toothpick to show off your sparkling smile. Unless you are Gatetruby, in which case you can show off your sparkling upper jawbone.

Rotten Hallow has two different versions and they sound like a good bit of fun. Particularly on a PVP server. The Alliance version calls for you to ruin Hallow’s End for the Horde by completing Sergeant Hartman’s quests in Southshore. These involve crashing the wickerman festival in Tirisfal Glade and cleaning up the stinkbombs from Southshore.

The Horde version calls upon you to ruin Hallow’s End for the Alliance by completing the quests given by Darkcaller Yanka’s at the Wickerman festival in Tirisfal Glade. These involve going to Southshore, ruining the kegs with rotten eggs and tossing stinkbombs into the town.

G.N.E.R.D. Rage sounds like a good bit of fun also. It calls for you to get 50 honorable kills while under the influence of the G.N.E.R.D. buff. I will probably grab a stack of these and head off to do the battleground daily.

Check your head is another fairly simple one. Just Use Weighted Jack-o’-Lanterns to put pumpkin heads on each of the ten playable races. Sounds like a job for Shattrah outside the bank.

The Masquesrade could be a bit more tricky. It calls for you to be transformed by all 7 different Hallowed wands. Since you have to be in a party to use it on someone and cannot (if I remember correctly) target yourself, this will require a bit of cooperation with others. Expect to see people in trade chat asking to be transformed into a Bat or Leper Gnome. Still, easily doable.

Tricks and Treats of Azeroth is yet another with both Horde and Alliance versions. These are both simple and look to be really time consuming. It calls for you to complete the Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms and Outland Tricks and Treats achievements. Those in turn call for you to visit every candy bucket in the world. I won’t list them all here as you can find complete lists behind the link, but I did do a quick count and found 44 total for the Alliance and 47 for the Horde.  There is enough going on with this one to rate it’s own post as well.

As time consuming as this one looks to be it holds not a candle to our last challenge.

Here it is the big daddy of them all. You have spent the time, done the quests, killed the boss, ran all over the world, eaten candy till you turned green. Whats left you ask? Buy a lottery ticket and pray. The final achievement, and the one most likely to make or break your try for the title is Sinister Calling.

It sounds simple enough, just get two drops from the Headless Horseman. It sound easy until you realise that the drops are the Hallowed Helm with it’s 9% drop rate and the Sinister Squashling with it’s wonderful 2% drop rate. Not only do they have to drop for you, but you still have to win the roll.

Well, I think that enough of an overview for now. Look for a post coming up on the Tricks of Azeroth achievement as well as one for the Headless Horseman.