Raiding in WotLK.

I read an interesting post this morning from the Greedy Goblin. In it he makes several good points about the life cycle of a guild. He points out that, in The Burning Crusade at least, guilds tended to reach a certain level of progression and stagnate there.

If I am reading it correctly he states that the leadership and it’s attitude were the primary cause of the stagnation. Therefore, he reasons, that once you personally are done with an area of progression you should move on to a guild that is at the level of progression that you are looking for.

For example, you managed to get all the gear you need from Kara while the guild was still working on the instance, it would be time to /gquit and move on to a guild that is doing the early 25 man content. In this way your personal progression would be sped up quite a bit. The reasoning is that while you may be leaving the guild you are not preventing others from following you up the progression ladder, so no one is hurt in the deal.

My thoughts are a bit different on this subject, then again seeing the last boss of TBC go down was never one of my goals. Would I like to down Arthas in Wrath? Of course I would. Will I? Possibly, we shall see.

I think that the stagnation of guilds in The Burning Crusade was more brought on by design decisions within the game than anything else. In my opinion, the stagnation of guilds was brought about by two things, format change and lengthy attunements.

The attunement system was designed to be a time sink. Since some folks were not able to dedicate the same amount of time to grinding out the key to each level of raiding people started getting left behind. I know many people who will say right out that you are not a “real” raider unless you have done your attunement quests. Personally I think that’s a bit silly, especially now.

Take my priest Morham for example, He has never done the Kara key quest. He has not done the attunement to SSC. He has not finished the attunements to BT and MH. On the other hand he has healed his way through Kara enough times that he is exalted with the violet eye just from the rep from mob and boss kills. He has taken down Magtheridon several times and Gruul more than a few as well. He has logged a few trips to SSC as well, with a few boss kills under his belt there. The quests did not make or brake his ability to do his job in raiding, just effected his ability to go.

Where the attunements were a time sink that caused the stagnation of an individual, the format change from 10 players in Karazan to 25 in Mags, Gruuls, and SSC was the real brick wall for many guilds.

I have seen many guilds go through an endless cycle of gearing up people through Kara and badge gear only to have people slowly trickle away to higher progressed guilds. Was this because the guild had failed to advance? No, it was because the guild was tasked with getting 25 – 30 players geared and ready for 25 player content with only Kara and heroics to gather gear from. Many of these guilds would lose their better geared players to other guilds that were more advanced causing them to repeatedly have to start over with gearing up.

Do I fault the players for leaving? No. They want to progress through the game not farm Kara for 6 months until everyone has finally gotten their drops. As I said it was not a failure by the guilds or the players, it was a failure in game mechanics.

Fortunately I don’t think it will be the same in WotLK. The addition of both 10 and 25 player versions of complete paths of raid progression was not an accident. By doing that and not placing lengthy attunements or rep grind requirements on access to the various instances they have taken away one of the wedges that drove guilds apart, instead replacing it with a reason to stick together.

In short, I think in WotLK guilds will become more of a place to stay and progress together, rather than stepping stones to ever more advanced content.  Will some people stay while others go? probably. Will new people come to fill the gaps? Most certainly. Will I still be there when it’s all said and done?

Yes.

Thats stability, and in my book it’s a good thing.

Professions professions

Professions, Professions. What to do….

I sit this morning pondering A conversation I had yesterday with a friend of mine I can’t link to. Not because he wants to be all anonymous and stuff, or that you wouldn’t get a chuckle out of hearing him talk about the game. He just does not happen to have a blog (that I know of). His take on the Internet seems to be one more of “log in, play, log off”. Anyhow, i digress.

We were talking yesterday about what professions we intend to take in the expansion. The things that came up most was the question of which professions are “must have” and which are just fun. Which ones are money sinks *cough* Enchanting *cough* and which offer the best benefit to their crafters.

 

 

Going through my feed reader this morning I also spotted an excellent article on this topic by Shia of Bananna Shoulders. You can check it out HERE. Just remember to come back, I am not done babbling yet.

Back yet? Good. Here is what our conversation boiled down to. There are three reasons to level a profession (that I can think of). I will take a brief look at each one.

Cash 

First, I see leveling a profession as a way to make money. However depending on the skill some are simply not very good at it. In order to make money with a profession you must either have a limited source item such as a dropped pattern, a cooldown such as a transmute, or simply be a supplier to others using a gathering skill. If you don’t have one of those three things people leveling their skill and crafting for free for the skillups will forever keep prices of easy to get items down. In short, you will never make back your investment in leveling the skill.

An Edge

Second, I see a profession as a way to get the end game advantages that are only available to the practitioners of a given skill, such as Bind on pickup crafted items and stat bonuses. My own Primal Mooncloth gear comes to mind as a good example, it is the reason I leveled tailoring on my priest. I also see that coming up with the next patch even the long overlooked gathering skills will have specific buffs. Need more crit? level Skinning. Need more health? Mining might be for you.

Synergy

Third, Taking a profession because it just kind of “goes well” with another. Mining feeds Engineering, Blacksmithing, and Jewelcrafting. Herbalisim feeds Alchemy and Inscription. Skinning feeds Leatherworking. Tailoring and Enchanting often go together since neither require a specific gathering skill. Its all about making everything work together, allowing you to farm up your own materials and saving you money and aggravation.

 

So what to do? It depends on your style of play. Are you forever strapped for cash? Looking to make money without spending a ton? Find a profession that will give you a good return on your investment. Think gathering professions or perhaps Alchemy for the transmute cooldowns.

Are you spending your time in raids, arenas, battlegrounds, or anywhere else that the extra “edge” would truley matter? If so find the best combination to give you the buffs you want, regardless of cost.

You might be a person who could not conceive of leveling a production skill without having the gathering skill to support it. Perhaps even having multiple characters with all the right skills to work together. An example are the characters of the friend I was talking to. His two highest level characters are a Rogue with Mining and Engineering and a Paladin with Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting. For him its all about making everything work together.

You could even be like me, leveling more than one character trying to strike a balance between all three.

Farming, Dreams, and Herbie things.

I have tried many things to avoid expansionitis, even so it is creeping up on me.

There is so much I could be doing, it seems like the expansion is coming on like a freight train. I know I don’t need to level my professions right now. there will be plenty of time later to do it.

You see, I have things planned out in advance as best I can. It’s a fault of mine to plan things out. I only have so much time I can put into playing and I want to do the best most efficient job I can in that time. I would like all my professions to mesh well with one another while still working well for the class they are on.

 

My priest Morham (70) has tailoring for the bags, spellthread, and crafted armors as well as  enchanting for the ring enchants (and to disenchant random stuff for the team).

My hunter Drupadi (70) has herbalisim and skinning and will either stay that way or end up as herbing/mining, she is the one character I invested an epic flying mount into and she is my gatherer. Drupadi’s motto within the team “I farm hard, so you don’t have to”

Another upcoming hunter Dechion (34) is intended to be my raiding hunter. He is currently herbing/skinning for cash while leveling, but it is planned to go with alchemy and inscription once he is done leveling. Drupadi can feed him materials.

The warrior I just started Alenore (18) is taking mining and jewelcrafting, supplying her own raw materials and gems for the group she will fit in nicely. I don’t know what my intentions are with this toon for endgame, or even if she will make it that far. I can say that those professions would help out well once I get there.

The final piece of the puzzle will be my death knight. I have played the class in beta and really like the mechanics of it. I am not sure of the tanking style since I have not done that yet, but as dps I am having a blast. Since I will already have a miner to supply metals (if I don’t level Alenore I will just drop skinning on Drupadi) This toon will be a blacksmith/engineer.

 

What does all this tell me? And what does it have to do with the title? Paitience, I’ll get there.

Last night I had been pondering the synergies between the different professions that my characters have (or will have) and started making lists up of all the stuff I will have to have on hand to level my skills. I decided to start farming up herbs towards both alchemy and inscription just as I was dozing off.

At 3am I snapped awake, wide awake. You see, I had to go check the list and see what I needed next. I was getting ready for Wrath by farming herbs in my dreams.

Something tells me I should start loading down my bank toons. If not for easy leveling later, at least I can get a good nights sleep.

 

Note: and excelent guid to inscription leveling was put together be Siha of bananna shoulders and can be found HERE

A leveling guide to alchemy (that I think is good, but then again I wrote it) can be found HERE.

7 random things I learned this week

Ever heard the saying “You learn something new everyday”? It has always been a particular favorite of mine, even when I was in school learning until my brain hurt. 

Just over the last few days I have picked up on enough things to really make clear how much I do not know about Warcraft. I figured I would post a few of the things I have picked up on this week.

 

  • Healing for Coriean Direbrew goes a lot easier if I don’t use renew. Prayer of mending and the very occasional greater heal or flash heal are more than enough to keep up. Since I don’t have HoT’s ticking when the adds spawn they don’t aggro to me. Might seem like common sense to long time healers, but I am new at this.

 

  • Refer a friend is not as evil as I first thought. When I completed the starting zone on my new warrior alt the daughter I had referred (who is now level 12) dropped 5 levels on me and brought me to 12 as well. There is a substantial gear penalty for not doing the quests I should have however.

 

  •  Especialy when poking your way through a new class you should pay attention to your gear. I realised after getting repetedly hammered by same level mobs that my warrior was still wearing a mix of cloth, leather, and mail that had dropped in her questing up to 7. She was totaly undergeared and it showed badly.

 

  • Even as a warrior I can still finish off runners with a bow, I need to keep a good one on hand. Having a thrown weapon for pulling might be a good addition to my bags, just in case I run out of arrows without a hunter nearby.

 

  • While doing some reading this morning I found out that I have a warrior specific quest for my various stances. The first of these was availible at level 10 and I have yet to do it.

 

  • I think the best way to get a Kodo to drop from the brewfest boss is to bring with you 4 people who already have it. I don’t know about you, but I am almost positive he looks in everyones bags so he can drop something you all already have.

 

  • The Death Knight starting zone is an area that gives rested XP. I plan to create one on the day Wrath launches, watch the intro video, and park him where he lands for at least a week. I think starting out with a level and a half rested would be nice.

Thats about all the randomness I have for you right now. Have a great weekend and may the loot be with you.

Profession additions I would like to see

It seems this weeks shared topic  revolves around a subject I have actually written about in the past. Namely if I could have one thing my profession could do, what would it be? It just so happens that I have more than one character with more than one profession, so I will take a few stabs at this one.

Enchanting:

Oddly, they have already included my biggest wish with the new inscription profession. Namely being able to make “enchanting scrolls” I can not only sell these in the Auction house, but I can send them to my own alts as well as put them in the guild bank. I am not always online when someone needs an enchant. Way overdue in my book.

If I could ask for one thing though it would be to add a bit of fun to the game with it. There are already crafted and dropped items that have a random (“of the whale” for instance) attached to them. How about a wand that had many different effects, some silly, some functional, and even a few that would just leave you scratching your head. Have them all randomized with every cast.  Something like the Wand of Wonder from my old pen and paper rpg days. (Wand of Wonder, because you always wonder what it will do.  pat. pending, void where prohibited, limited charges available, your mileage may vary)

Tailoring:

This time I will ask for a bit of something. Give a tailor the option to add a “bag extension” to my silly little 16 slot backpack. Yes I know that my vanity pets, heroic badges, mounts and such are finding new homes in other tabs, but we are soon to be at the point that I will be able to craft 22 slot bags, why would I stick with a 16 slotter?

Engineering:

Engineering has come a long way from it’s “nice goggles, but mostly useless” money sink of The Burning Crusade. There are many really nice new recipes coming in Wrath, my favorites being the crafted ground mounts (chopper FTW) and the Goblin army knife (half a bag saved on tools carried). What I would like to see falls right in there with the engineering tradition of useful but dangerous.

I want new jumper cables. New cables that always work. Instead of giving them a 50% chance to resurrect their target, have them always work but give a 90% to electrocute and kill the engineer using them. Functional, overly complex, and potentially deadly to the user, now that’s what engineering is all about!

Inscription:

No I am not yet an inscriptionist , nor do I play one on TV. I have read up on it a bit though as I do intend to have one (probably my Death Knight, like everyone else). There are some amazingly functional glyphs out there. I am looking to add a few, only available to the inscriptionist that would just be plain fun. things like these.

  • Inscription of “travel ‘o city” (Shaman) – makes all totems appear as glowing garden gnomes.
  • Inscription of “carebear” (Warlock) – makes the purple skulls in shadowbolt appear as smiley faces.
  • inscription of “dancing” (mana users) – All companions names appear as “Five second rule”. This way they can /dance with it.

Now I am not saying that the upcoming profession changes are not “good” or “useful”. If anything they made choosing a profession harder by making them all good (props to Blizz for that). What I am saying is that putting little funny things in the game won’t change the balance. The only thing I can see it doing is putting a smile on peoples faces, and last I checked this is still a game….. fun is what its all about.

Gearing your fresh 70 hunter for WotLK

I have temporarily paused my hunter gear list, and will be starting to rewrite it for level 80 shortly. However I have not gotten very far considering that although I am in the Beta I have not gone through all the quests nor seen all the drops. The data I have to work with is incomplete. I will however be working on it and will post when the first portions are ready.

I get more traffic checking out my profession guides and gearing lists than anything else, so I figured I would put something together to help those that are just hitting 70 and wanting to gear up a bit prior to wrath. One thing to keep in mind is what you plan to do for the next 41 days. Yes it’s that close.  I am going to set this list up assuming that (like me) if you are just approaching 70 or just recently made it you likely will not be using this character for much serious raiding prior to the expansion. If I am wrong and you have specific questions drop me an email through my about me page and I will do my best to help out.

What I am focusing on is building a set of gear that is easy to come by and adequate for both doing a few dailies, a few instances, or just general farming. I look mostly toward this because that’s what I plan with my hunter. What I am truly going for is a decent set of gear that will help me level through Northrend towards 80.

The first thing I will look at is bind on equip greens. Both the Netherstorm (level 70) and much easier to find Talhide (level 68)   “of the bandit”, “of the monkey”, and “of the Falcon” greens. These are perfectly fine for the tasks I plan to ask of them, and involve little effort to get. I could have a full set of gear waiting on my hunter to be ready for it sitting in the bank.

Will it be the best in slot gear? Nope, not even close.

Will it be shiny and purple on my character screen? not unless your monitor is set up wrong.

Will it get the job done for the next few weeks? You betcha.

Is that what matters? To me, yes.

Are there other things I could look for? Questy things? Blues? Rep stuff? Yes, Yes, and Yes.

Here are going to be a few of the easier to get items that are not boe greens, I’ll put them by slot. I am going to purposefully avoid group quests (unless easily soloable), rep items that can’t be farmed up using daily quests, and BOE epics. I don’t plan to put money into epic gear I will only have for a short time. Once again thats just me. Any thing I get that needs gemming will also likely only see green quality gems at this stage of the game.

So here is what I plan to hunt for given time.

Helm: Coif of the Wicked (quest reward, Destroy Naberius in netherstorm)

  • 490 armor
  • 26 agility
  • 39 stamina
  • 52 attack power
  • 10 mana per 5

Neck: Necklace of the Deep (crafted – jewel crafting)

  • 21 agility
  • 20 stamina
  • red socket
  • red socket
  • +3 hit rating socket bonus

Shoulders: I really don’t see anything easy to come by beyond the greens listed above.

Back: Delicate green poncho (quest reward, bring me the egg in Negrand)

  • 66 armor
  • 14 agility
  • 14 hit
  • 28 attack power

Chest: Breastplate of Rapid striking (BOE world drop – auction house)

  • 619 armor
  • 40 agility
  • 20 intellect
  • 20 hit rating
  • 46 attack power

Wrist: Felstalker bracers (crafted leather working)

  • 283 armor
  • 18 agility
  • 11 intellect
  • 38 attack power
  • blue socket
  • +3 stamina socket bonus

Hands: Surger’s hand wraps (quest reward, delivering the message in netherstorm)

  • 367 armor
  • 20 agility
  • 15 stamina
  • 11 intellect
  • 5 mana per 5
  • 40 attack power

Waist: Girdle of gale force (BOE world drop – auction house)

  • 32 agility
  • 20 intellect
  • 6 mana per 5
  • 28 attack power

Legs: Scales of the beast (BOE world drop – Auction house)

  • 513 armor
  • 30 agility
  • 22 stamina
  • 23 intellect
  • 60 attack power

Boots: Boots of the Skybreaker (reward from Enraged spirits of air, Shadowmoon valley)

  • 404 armor
  • 16 agility
  • 22 stamina
  • 15 intellect
  • 48 attack power

Rings: Amber band, Almandine ring, Alexandrite ring “of the bandit”, “of the monkey” or “of the falcon” (All are BOE world drops – Auction house)

Trinkets strength of the high chief (reward from words of the high chief in winterspring)

  • 50 attack power

Core of Ar’kelos (reward from Ar’kelos the guardian in netherstorm)

  • equip: 52 attack power
  • on use: 200 attack power for 20 sec (2 min cooldown)

Terokkar tablet of precision

  • equip: 22 hit rating
  • on use: 140 attack power for 15 sec (1 minute cooldown)

Also at this time the Brewfest boss is dropping several trinkets that are similar to ones going for 41 badges of justice, if you have a chance run a few times and see what you come up with.

Ranged Weapons Velanos longbow, (BOE world drop – auction house)

  • 66.4 dps
  • 10 intellect
  • 10 crit rating
  • 22 attack power

Adamantite rifle, (crafted – engineering)

  • 60.0 dps
  • 12 agility
  • 22 attack power

Truestrike crossbow (requires shattered sun offensive – revered)

  • 66.3 dps
  • 10 agility
  • 12 stamina
  • 6 intellect
  • 20 attack power

Two handed weapons: Crystalforged Waraxe (BOE world drop – auction house)

  • 90.4 dps
  • 50 stamina
  • 27 crit rating
  • 80 attack power

One handed weapons: The Sunbreaker (requires shattered sun offensive – revered)

  • 71.9 dps
  • 14 agility
  • 12 stamina
  • 11 hit rating
  • 26 attack power

As I said at the outset, this is far from an inclusive list, merely something to go with while waiting for Wrath to descend upon us.

Seasons change.

Some time ago I wrote a comparison to The Ant and the Grasshopper.

I talked of how some folks were stockpiling gold and materials in preparation for the upcoming expansion. I looked at how some were more interested in just having fun in the now and counting on the future to take care of itself. Looking back at my opinion of things then I realised my outlook was very different than it was roughly 4 months ago when I first posted.

 There is a grasshopper inside me. This side of me understands that one day people will be leveling all the way from 1 to 80 (and beyond) in one long stretch. The game designers know this as well. The early zones have to be set up so that a fresh 70 in quest greens will have a good chance at questing and leveling there. In short I am ridiculously over-geared for the quests I will be doing. This is the side of me is that keeps telling me to just run, play and have a good time.

Then there is the ant. His voice has been getting stronger and stronger lately. It whispers in the back of my mind, telling me that things would be so much easier later if I just did a little work today. “Remember the death knight you plan to level? Well he will need cloth for first aid, ore for blacksmithing, gold for training and flight skills.” It reasons. I know I have limited playtime, I understand and expect that most of my friends and guildies will make it to 80 before me. The nagging voice tries to convince me that my work now may help me keep up later.

So that is how I find myself this morning. Sitting at the computer, notebook close at hand, listing how many stacks of linen cloth and copper ore I will need in the bank when winter gets here.

My favorite buff in WotLK

I play a priest as one of my primary characters, you may think I might be excited about the upcoming changes to the priest class. Really, not so much. The style of healing will be a bit different with the loss of downranking. Dancing with the 5 sec rule will become ever more important with the elimination of chain-potting. The biggest change to the priest really is that they really don’t change much at all.

Our biggest strength was always the versatility the priest brought. Now with the new spells other healing classes are getting that is somewhat deminished. Taking away the priest racials was an unexpected and unnessacary slap in the face. If they are going to go down that road why not just take away all racial special abilities. Nothing to make them different, just more of the same. My priest excites me less and less. He will make it to 80, but likely won’t be the first of my characters there.

I also play hunters. I have two at level 70 and one on the way up actually. I enjoy the way they play even more in the Beta. I feel that you can tell a lot about a hunter by the pet at their side. Now with every pet in the game being capable of performing reasonably well there cam be a lot more choice than before. Gone will be the days where 90% of what you see would be cats, ravagers, and windserpents. Actually now that I think about it Blizz took my priests versatility and gave it to my hunter.

I have also been playing a death knight in the beta. Although I find the quests early on to be very morally wrong I do understand the character development reasons for them. That does not mean I condone having me kill innocent villagers while they beg for their lives. There should have been another way to achieve this. The sad thing is there really are people like that in the world. When I am playing a game I don’t want to be reminded of that. As far as buffs they are so new the price tag is still hanging off them, we will see how they shake out later on.

This brings me to the real reason I am so excited for Wrath to hit. I love to solo. I enjoy going out grinding for hours while listening to my favorite podcasts . It is pretty common for me to only head back to town when my bags are full or my quiver is empty. That brings up my favorite buff in wrath, clams will now stack to 20 ! Yes, no more throwing away valuable vendor trash to clear my bags every 30 kills. I can stack ’em up until I get back to town.

Of WotLK Beta, SSC, and yummy grilled cheese

My weekend in a nutshell.

Started downloading the beta on Friday morning after work (I get home at noon) and found out that if I am downloading that onto the laptop, updating the 2.2 version of Wow on the desktop, and apparently running the background downloader for patch 3.0 on two computers at one time, The lag on my poor little router made killing random level 10 mobs really hard on my daughter. Now that I think about it though the mobs had no trouble with attacking her….

/sigh <cancel download>  planning to finish after Fridays SSC.

Speaking of SSC, we went in and pounded on Lurker repeatedly. It was to no avail though. Through a series of really odd bad luck type happenings we kept almost getting him. A good example of bad luck was getting caught by the spout while completely underwater. One second I was tossing renews on those in range to help with the damage from being in the water, the next my Spirit of Redemption  was flying across the instance.

All in all I had a good time, the guild I have found myself in seems to be a good bunch of folks. As always I would have preferred to see the boss go down, but either way I was raiding again. I was having fun in the company of good folks. As far as I am concerned that’s what it’s all about.

With SSC over I called it a night and restarted the beta download. Finally done downloading by mid-morning I started the install….. and went to lunch still waiting for it to finish.

Started it up when I got home, yea for patches! (insert comments about spending 6 hours watching random stuff off of the Tivo) Dinner has come and gone but the downloads are done. Log in, find my characters right where I thought they would be. Create a Death knight, but don’t log into him yet. Spend some time just poking around Shat setting up castbars, speccing my characters and pets, comparing some things in my bank to live to see how spellpower seems to stack up. I may post about that later.

Sunday I logged in to the beta and decided to give my Death Knight a try. The quests early seemed interesting and the design of the area was nice. I made my was through about the first 4 or 6 quests before the lag just got too bad to deal with. Overall the mechanics seem a bit complicated. I suppose that they would seem simple in time though. I’ll give it a shot today after work when most folks are either in class or have not gotten home from work yet.

I had two things happen to me while making lunch. The first was probably the cause of the second, but I digress.

I was thinking about Wow in general, in particular how testing the Beta might effect me later on. I have three level 70 toons right now, another rapidly on his way up (31 this weekend, Yeah! no more sore feet). I will also likely level a Death knight after the initial wave of them has gone through. As it sits now I will already be leveling 5 characters through Northrend.

I think that will be plenty. I do believe right now that I will not be heading to Northrend at all. I will test things about my class in Outlands, I will tinker around with my Death Knight until I see how he plays after the starting zone. I don’t want to spoil it for myself before I even go there “for real”.

The second thing that happened was probably a result of me thinking more about the game than about cooking lunch.

Lunch was grilled cheese for me and ravioli for the kids. As a little side I was making up some garlic bread for them since I already had the griddle hot for my grilled cheese. I did not even notice until it was all said and done. I sat down to eat and found my sandwich had a whole new level of yummy going on. that’s when I realised I had used the garlic on them too when I made the garlic bread for the kids.

I could almost see the orange text saying “Dechion has discovered a new recipe <Garlic Grilled Cheese>”.

Lightning strikes

Apparently Blizzard loaded uo a machine gun with Beta keys and fired it square into my new guild this morning. Fimlys , myself, and at least one other that I know of for sure found a surprise in our mail this morning.

Now I just have to get everything set up and get my character transfers done. Catch you on the flip side.