Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Changes, and Why I'm not so Keen on Some of Them

So you don't like being Alliance.. or you're tired questing "For the Horde!' It looks like Blizzard may be offering to allow folks to switch sides,with an equivalent-ish character.
For a fee, of course.
At first glance, this seems like a REALLY good thing. ESPECIALLY for the more casual players. But then some of my more serious gamer associates started complaining, and in the process brought up some VERY good points. Well, there are multiple aspects, but it all boils down to one issue: Balance.
As I have mentioned in my posts about the BattleGrounds, the Alliance doesn't do very well in my Battlegroup. I think I had one win in 20-odd games.
Picture that type of lop-sided-ness on a PvP server, where you are always at risk of being ganked by higher level players. There, faction balance plays a crucial role in not only the BGs and Raids, but in the day-to-day questing as well. If there are too many of one faction, simply moving from city to your quest area becomes a dangerous proposition. If your Faction has fewer people, you are less likely to have someone around to help/prevent a ganking.
And if you are on a server that already has an imbalance, it will likely get worse, as people move to avoid it. If you're trying to do the "For the Alliance!" or "For the Horde!" raids, being on the low side of an imbalanced server will be brutal.
And with the proposed change, it could get worse...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Back in the Saddle, and out of BGs for Now

EDIT- Not sure why, but Blogspot is screwing up my formatting, so this could look strange. I had to use the "-" to force paragraph breaks. SORRY!
After one more loss last night in Warsong Gulch, I'm done camping at level 39. I will run through a few more times just to get the honor marks, but it will probably be as a level 40 or 41. I still want my Trinket and Protector's Sword.

I also learned something that is a bit of a "Doh!" thing for me:
Judge based on which seal you use.
So, for me, since I use "Seal of Justice" most of the time, I should be Judging with Justice. Why? Did you ever seee this little tidbit in the Seal description?
Unleashing this Seal's energy will deal 75 (or whatever number)
Holy damage to an enemy.

I never knew what that meant unti lI asked someone in a forum. I wondered; is it a proc? do you have to actually target someone else when you put the Seal on?
Nope: when you cast a Judgement for the correct seal, THEN it does the extra damage. So, cast Justice with Justice, Light with Light, and Wisdom with Wisdom. So obvious... *facepalm*
In other news, I picked up a couple recommended Add-ons: Pally Power and Recount.
Pally Power is an Add-on that is intended to allow pallies to keep everyone in the group/raid with the proper blessing, and keep it up to date. I can't figure the damned thing out. And now when I tried to minimize it, it went away completely, but still shows up on my other (non-paladin) toons. ugh.
Recount allows you to keep track of the damage you & other group/party raid members do. It's also a good way to measure DPS (damage per second) both during battle and as an after report. DPS numbers aren't really that important at lower levels, but they are a good indicator of how well optimized you are. Run one fight with one setup/gear/spell rotation and note your value. Then try a different routine and see how they compare. THAT is a huge deal. Also note that DPS values for Paladins will be different in PvE compared to PvP. (also note that DPS can't realy be measured in short fights, it should only be taken over a long fight)
DPS Stuff
For example, I soloed all the way thorugh Dead Mines the other night. I wanted to get some "greens" for my Enchanter to disenchant. (and it's low enough level that I wouldn't get any EXP)
In the longer fights, I was getting multiple 114 DPS results, with a couple of 131 fights. Shorter fights were in the 95-95 range. (Overall, I'd say I was getting about a 100 average)
In comparison, in my last couple PvP matches, my best average DPS was 52. (since BGs are so dynamic and active, I never took the time to hunt down my numbers, fight by fight) I had a couple in the low/mid 30s and one game was only 14.
If you are "in a fight" (your level indicator is replaced by 2 crossed swords) it is measuring time. And if you are chasing someone across the valley and not hitting them, you are spending lots of seconds doing nothing, and your DPS will drop significantly.
Aside from the dynamic running aspect of the PvP compared to the PvE, the biggest "loss" to DPS in a PvP fight is due to not having Exorcism. For me, Exorcism hits for 300-350 points, and it hits for 600+ when it crits. (which for some reason is almost half the time) If we take a rough average, I'd say my average is about 450 points per use. Since it has a 15 second cool down, that means I can cast it that often. 450 points every 15 seconds (450/15) is 30 damage per second (DPS) Not having this spell is a HUUUGE loss in damage potential in PvP.
When patch 3.2 is released, we will once again be able to use xorcism in PvP. The "hitch" is that it will require 1.5 seconds to cast. I believe it will be the same for PvP and PvE.
That means it will be on a 16.5 second rotation (15 second cooldown, + 1.5 sec to cast). Doing the same math from the previous PvE example, that means 450 points in 16.5 seconds, or 27.3 DPS. That's nearly a 10% loss. FUCK!!!! Now, since it's not all the damage I do - only part of it - the final loss in DPS won't be 10% (probably closer to 4%) but every bit hurts. After-all, Pallies, especially Ret pallies, are hybrids, so we are never going to be the best at anything, and this will hinder our cross functional "jack of all trades" abilities.
Yes, it will be a nice tool to help fight the ranged players, EXCEPT you need to stop for 1.5 seconds to cast it. Which means they can keep running (out of range), melee you to slow down the cast, or stun/interrupt it completely. Is it better than a sharp stick in the eye? Yes. Am I happy with the implimentation? No. Then again, I guess it's better to get it "pre-nerfed" than to get a neat new PvP toy/ability, and then to have Blizzard take it away again.
But it's going to really screw up the PvE damage I can do.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here Comes the Judge: Spell Rotation


This is where the rubber hits the road. And part 3 of this dig into my methodology is by far the most involved. this is partly due to the nature of it, but also due to the fact that PvE and PvP have some very different requirements (and limitations)


My spell of first choice in PVE is Exorcism. It’s instant cast, it's a Pally’s only “ranged” attack (30 yards vs 10 yards for regular Judgements) and, when it gets a critical hit (when it “crits”) I can hit for over 600 damage! WooHoo!!! Once Patch 3.2 hits, I'm not sure WHAT I'll do, because it will require a 1.5 second (interruptable) spell cast time. I will still use it, but it will completely FUCK my PvE playing.

Next is either Judgement of Wisdom or Judgment of Light. Since I’m usually more likely to be hurting for mana (also, I often quest with a healy Shaman which is mana intensive too), I usually use Wisdom. When the foes get a bit tougher, and I’m worried about health, I’ll use Light.

My usual fight consists of:

Exorcism – Judge – Judge – (Judge?) – Exorcism – Judge – Judge – (Judge?) … ad infinitum with auto attacks during the cooldowns.

If the guy I’m fighting is a Boss, or a tougher than usual character or if there are multiple mobs I’m going to be fighting at once, I will follow the above sequence EXCEPT I will use Hammer of Justice on the “baddest” enemy as soon as the enemy is within melee range. This stuns him for 4 seconds and interrupts any spells he was casting. This is to limit how much damage, and how quickly I take damage.

In cases where there is more than 1 enemy, (of any significant threat) I will cast Consecration just before they get within melee range (or, just as they get in Consecration range) I will still use the above rotation, but I will add Consecration into the rotation every time it comes off CoolDown (“CD”) I don’t really LIKE Consecration (It costs a TON of mana, and it doesn’t do THAT much damage) but it’s the only Damage Over Time (DOT) and only Area of Effect (AoE – affects multiple targets at once) spells Pallies have, and anything that shortens the fight (and how long we are taking damage) it’s a good thing. You are pretty much guaranteed to need to drink a mana potion after any fight where this gets used.

During these same circumstances, I will often cast Divine Protection right as the melee fight starts. It’s “only” 12 seconds and “only” reduces damage by 50%, but it’s a life saver. Due to the long effective CD (2 minutes before you can receive it again) I don’t use it unless it’s really needed. Divine Protection is “ok”, but it cuts YOUR attack damage by half, so, even though it slows how quickly you die, it also slows how quickly THEY die… and with multiple bad guys, that means you’re getting hit by THEM for more time. Bad idea. I will use Divine Shield when I need to heal (and still have mana left) but it's not ideal.

If I’m tanking, and someone else in my party is taking more damage than they can/should, I will cast Righteous Defense, to get them to attack me instead.

The only other odd or “quirky” spell I will use is Turn Evil. It sends evil (undead, demons AND MINIONS!) running away for 20 seconds. It’s simply a way of keeping multiple enemies from attacking you at once. It only works on certain types (listed above) so it’s very situational, but it does come in handy.

If absolutely needed (for escape, or chasing) and IF I have been iced in place, or webbed in place, I will cast Hand of Freedom on myself to be able to move.

OH! Healing! Um, I heal as needed. Even though Rets aren’t Holy, we CAN do a fair share of healing; on ourselves as well as any party members. Usually I leave most healing until after the battle is over, but sometimes, it’s mandatory to replenish during the fight. So here’s my “SOP” for in fight healing.

1 – Gift of Naaru: It’s a racial ability for us Draenei. At level 35-39, it heals 560 points over 15 seconds. It’s NOT a major “OH SHIT!” button to be used at the last moment. It should be “This fight is lasting a while, and I’m GOING to get low on health.” You need to be able to survive for 15 seconds to get the full benefit, so I use it a bit earlier than I feel.

2 – If I haven’t used it already, I use Divine Protection. It SHOULD have been cast already, but this is my time to check/make sure.

3 – I will use a healing potion now. I don’t use it first, since I might need to take a mana potion.

4 – If I can, I will cast Holy Light. (I don’t bother with Flash of Light for myself – you will probably lose more health than you gain during the casting time – Yes, Holy is nearly twice as slow, but can give you 4-5 times as much health)

5 – Lay on Hands (LoH) – the final “OH SHIT” button. The good news is that it SHOULD buy you lot more time to fight, heal, mana up, etc (and the spell gives you a little mana to boot ANNND reduces the damage you take for a time afterwards!!)

If someone else in the party needs healing, I will help if I can, but in PVE, I focus on tanking/DPS, so I will be slow at best. To be brutally honest, if it comes down to another party member or me being saved (especially if they are about out of mana, or there are a bunch of enemies left and the party member is squishy) I will save myself first. I can take more punishment and continue fighting, LoH myself if needed, and then resurrect them after the fight. If I save them, and end up dying myself, it can often mean a wipe.


The first, and most frustrating thing is that as of now (pre Patch 3.2) Exorcism doesn't work in PvP. Not even against Minions. (It will be re-introduced in PvP in 3.2)

As for how I fight, it really depends on the situation:

Killing an enemy flag carrier:

  • Hammer of Justice - Nothing slows a running flag like a 3-4 second stun
  • Judgement of Justice - The next best thing (in our arsenal) is this. IT will slow the enemy down so he can be caught more easily.
  • Consecration - Once the "dash" slows (if it does), I will cast this. It does slow damageto ANY enemy around.
  • Auto-attack - when sitting on CD, (which is a LOT of the time) I simply keep swinging my sword.
  • Repeat.

Protecting OUR flag carrier (me or someone else) - both are about the same

  • Hand of Freedom - Put this on as soon as carrier gets close to enemies.
  • DO NOT cast Divine Dhield. (at least on yourself, haven't tried it on others) If you cast it on yourself before you grab the flag, you won't be able to pick it up. If you cast it on yourself when you have the flag YOU WILL DROP IT!!! (not good)
  • Divine Protection has worked fine for me (but only protects 50%)
  • Cast Judgement of Justice (JoJ) and Hammer of Justice (HoJ) on any folks that get too close behind
  • I will cast consecration as I run simply to injur the folks chasing me/us.
  • Keep close to the Lay on Hands (LoH) to heal/save the carrier.
  • If I'm the protector, and not the carrier, I will sometimes drop back a bit, and hit the chasers, trying to get a "Seal of Justice" proc that will stun the follower.

Grabbing the Flag (in their base)

  • I usually drop from the blacony. I cast Hand of Freedom as I fall, I cast Gift of Naaru as I run (It's a "HoT" - heal over time) and after I grab it, I run like hell. I think Divine Protection works ok here.
  • I keep my finger/mouse on the LoH button so tha twhen/if I get low on health I can make it a little further.

General PvP Fighting.

This is the toughest, and the most variable. I will HoJ stun ranged attackers (Mages, Warlocks and Hunters) and Rogues (and theire damnable stuns) Then, once I close the gap, I just Judge, Consecrate and auto-attack.

For Melee attackers, I will hold off on HoJ, and rely on JoJ to stun them. I TRY to wait on using the HoJ until I need to heal.

Always try to fight in a group. Save team mates as best you can, but if the odds are 3:1 or 4:1 against, better hold off, unless there's incoming help as well. Because chances are, as soon as you engage in a 1:2 or 2:3 engagement, THEY will get help, and you get to spend 25-30 seconds waiting to respawn...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nuts & Bolts, Part 1.1

Just for those interested, here's a lits of my equipment, and their stats... Click on it to see an enlarged version that (when I previewed it) was pretty readable.

Buff, the Magic Retankadin...

So, in the last part(s) I described what equipment I use, and a basic explanation as to why. Here, I will describe what I am doing now and why I am doning it.

If either of you readers has a suggestion or some good info to share, feel free to let me know.

And now, on to:


Here is where I probably look more like what I believe a Prot/tankadin does… When I go into a (PvP) Battle Ground, here’s what I usually run:

Devotion Aura – Gives me (at my level) an additional 390 armor points (which seems like it might be a tanking preference)

Blessing of Might – increases my attack power by 85 – this seems like a solid Ret choice

And here’s why I love the faster weapons:

Seal of Justice – This does a little extra damage per hit, but more importantly, (to me) it gives you the possibility to stun each time you melee. (can only stun a target 3 times before they become immune) I have no idea how often the stun activates (or “procs” in WoW parlayance) but it rarely happens more than once or twice in a given battle, so by having a faster weapon speed, it gives me more chances to stun an opponent. While a stunned opponent is always nice, it’s even more important in CTF games like Warsong Gulch, where you are trying to save your flag, or protect your flag carrier.

I have played around with Retribution Aura (gives attacker damage when they Crit against me) a bit, but I seem to die more rapidly, so I’m not a big fan of it (though I will run it of another person in the group/party is running Devotion, since they can add)

I have also played around a little bit with Blessing of Kings. But I need to run some numbers (or just review results on my Character tab) to see which is really better. From what I’ve read, Might is best used for melee classes (Pallies and Warriors) and Kings is better for ranged damage (DPS) classes (Warlocks, Hunters, etc) I need to tinker around some more, but my gut points me to Might.


I run the same in most PvE areas as well. One exception to this is when I’m running PvE in a “lower” level area where there are TONS of enemies and I’m engaged by multiples at once. Then I will often use Blessing of Wisdom, since Consecration will get used more, and it’s a mana HOG!

My next part will discuss which spells (Judgements, etc) that I use, how I use them and what order I cast them

Till then!

*cue Puff the Magic Dragon, by Peter, Paul & Mary....*

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Same Old Story of a Retankadin: the Nut & Bolts.

(I had originally thought to do this all in one post, but after writing it out in Word, it was 4 pages long and still not done. So here's part 1)

So, I’ve talked about the BGs and I whine how I get trounced, aas well as how I feel I’m playing as a retankadin. And some other fluff. That said, I do actually put some thought into the game.

So what the F*** do I actually do? And how am I geared, functionally? And what tactics do I use? I have glossed over this a bit a while ago, but I’m going to get a bit more in depth to explain what I’m doing, with the hope that someone might find it useful, and/or if someone out there sees a major flaw, they could steer me in the right direction.

Here goes…


Overall, my gear is pretty much Plain Jane Pally (or Warrior) stuff: Highest armor value I can get, with an emphasis on STR and STA adds. I’m no theory crafter, but I would suspect, at my level, much of what I’m using is the same, whether I’m playing a Tank or a Ret paladin. The one difference from a straight melee class is that I will, if things look “good” enough, I will get stuff that excels in Intellect or Spirit, as long as it isn’t TOO bad for “normal”. (more on this later)

I love damage, so I am Spec’ed as Retribution (working towards the 0/14/51, or whatever the current talent tree preference is) I pretty much follow the guidelines for a Retadin, with one exception: I use “Sword & Board” – I use a one handed weapon (usually sword, but not always) and a shield. (My current talent tree is 0/5/24, and I'll get into specifics later.)

As I mentioned a few posts ago, my reasoning for sword & board is three fold:

- I gain about half of my current armor from my shield. (1408 out of a current [non-buffed, non ability modified] total of 2844) Or you could look at it as a 100% increase in armor.

- Shields represent one more item that can have adds & enchants on them, so I can have even more strength, attack power, or whatever. My current shield has +20 attack power, +9 strength, +3 spirit and +1 stamina. Benefits on top of bonuses!

- 1-handed weapons are faster, so you get more attacks in a given time. This is important for stuns, which I’ll talk about more in my Buffs (auras/seals/blessings) section. FIr Giggles I just added the "Fiery Enchant" to my sword, so it should be even better...
Armor & Other
As of now, I am running all Mail, aside from my Cloak. I have yet to any leather of cloth that gives me the stats I want (again, primarily STR and STA, with a dash of others) EVerything I have is green with the exception of my chest piece, which is Green Iron Hauberk, and a piece I was able to blacksmith myself. (total cost was about 10 gold for mats, and I sold a second one in the AH for 55 gold)
I could probably spend another 200 gold in the AH getting a few more points getting maybe another 100-150 armor points and such, but when I hit level 40, I will be able to wear Plate armor, so I will probably need to completely replace what I have anyway, so I am NOT going to do that.
The one thing I *might* look at replacing is my necklace., but there just doesn't seem to be much of anything that's really better. I get +2 STR, +2 INT, +2 AGI, +2 SPI and +1 STA. That's a total of 9 points, and realistically, I can use all the stat buffs since Pallies (Rets in particular) are very much a hybrid caster/fighter class. The one I would LIKE to get is Gazlowe's Charm, but until I run Uldaman a few times, or Stanglethorn or Barrens enough, I won't get it. (It's suggested AH value is 75 gold! Yikes!)
In the next section, I will talk about my Buffs (Seals, Auras, etc) and why I use what I do.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tanaris: A Whole New World

"Here" on Velen, we are starting to have a weekly tradition: while most other servers go back to normal after the weekly server maintainance, Velen gets to be one of the 10-20 servers that ALWAYS stay down for an extra 10-12 hours... "due to hardware issues". The last couple times it happened, I just hopped onto my XBOX 360 and played RacePro, or Quantum of Solace.

This week was different.

My girlfriend started a new charachter on a different server. We both had threatened to do it, before, but just never felt like it. This time we went with the "suggested realm" and both chose to be humans on Tanaris. And we both chose a character class we don't much care for: the Rogue. I was feeling REALLY odd, so I decided to do a first: do a little gender bending and make a female character. And in a fit of petulant nose thumbing at Blizzard, I decided to create a name that's likely to get reported, but gets me giggling like a 6th grader: Aureola.

I spawned into the starting area and there must have been a HUNDRED new characters running around, many with obnoxious names like mine (StayFree is one that I recall, but I didn't see Kotex...) And everyone was running around doing the starting quests, but it was, BY FAR, the most social, light hearted experience I've had in WoW. One guy (with a female character named Lauren) started a guild on the steps of the building there. It was a Gilligan's Island guild, with all the guild levels named after characters ("Skipper" was guild leader, and us peons were either "Ginger" or "Mr. Howell". It was a lot of random running around, helping each other out, and hysterical conversations.
It was fun to run around in a huge group of people, who were all just screwing around and having fun. No twinks, no PVP, no crude, nasty trade channel conversations, no 10 minute jogs to Lakeshire, with a 10 minute slog back... just a ton of fun. I even had a little fun learning the Rogue a bit (though how much can you learn in 6 levels...)

I think I have my own Tuesday evening tradition now...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Minimum Wage... Would Prolly Pay More...

I get bored easily... VERY easily, and one reason I've enjoyed WoW as much as I have is the ability to have fun doing so many different things. And one of thos e things (believe it or not) is farming minerals, usually Copper. Over the last several weeks I've started to notice a few things related to my farming that have been troubling me...
  • An increasing number of "best gold for your money, in your mailbox in 30 minutes" posts on the Trade Channel.

  • A slow, steady drop in copper ore & bar prices (Other minerals as well, but I have followed copper most closely) It started off in the mid to high 30's silver per ore (and around 25 silver per bar) and has now dropped to 20 silv per ore and a similar price per bar.

  • Huge amounts of copper have been flooding the market from a handful of sellers.

It's possible that these are not related, but I have a suspicious mind, so I kind of doubt it's cooincidental.

I really don't care if folks want to buy gold. ("Greedy Goblin", Gevlon, refers to this as Pay-by-cheat games in his blog) If people want to trade dollars for time, I'm actually fine with that. True, it will cause some inflation, especially in the rarer blue & purple items on the AH, but as a seller, that's fine with me. And honestly, I don't think they would really have THAT big of an effect on things (then again, maybe I'm being naive, *shrug*)

In point of fact, I think Blizzard is missing out on a fairly sizeable revenue stream by NOT doing it.

But one thing that is CLEARLY happening with the current setup, is the deflation in prices of all the more readily available/farmable mats. And that bugs me to no end. Far more than the other AH idiocies we all see (someone levelling a particular craft and flooding the market with 20 of a particular item, causing the price to drop by 70-80%)

Those are annoying but usually pass, if for no other reason than the "offender" usually levels up faster than me, and starts spamming items I'm NOT trying to sell...

But the farming for $$$ just isn't going away, and seems to be getting worse.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Might Think... I'd Learn My Lesson (and you'd be wrong)

But I keep trying, hoping, nay PRAYING, that I will eventually get better at doing BGs. And per my last brief discussion about it, I actually had a decent game the other night. (capped a flag!) Then we go in for a more game the other night...

You know the saying that sometimes your the windshield, and sometimes your the fly? Holy frikkin christ it was brutal. To the point we dropped about 6 or 7 minutes into it.

How Brutal?

For starters, there was a Tauren Warrior that was camping in our spawn (literally next to the angel thing), and even with 5 of us attacking him, I never saw him get below 50% health (I never saw a healer near him) and he was 2-hitting most of us and one hitting a couple. I "cancelled" my respawn a couple times, just so I could watch the guy work. It was like fighting a level 50 or 60. We could do a *little* damage, but it wasn't much... and meanwhile he just wiped us, spawn after spawn.

During those few minutes we hung around, the opposing team never even tried to capture our flag. They were just slaughtering us (presumably for the "honor") I can handle getting annhialated, but the fact that these assholes weren't even trying to win just made us quit out. (Suffering 5-10 minutes of destruction is bad enough. But waiting for them to "decide to finish" was just retarded. Games/groups like that make me wish there was a way to report game abuse of something.)

In the beginning, I was leading a mounted charge for their flag with 5 of us (my level 39 pally, another lower level pally, a 39 Shammy, and mage and one other) 2 Rogues, and something else hit us (I never saw what) and within 3-5 seconds, we were all dead. The last time I saw something like that was playing HALO 2 online, and someone bridged their connection (which paused all of our team while they killed us) Jaw dropping was an understatement.

Keep in mind, this was the first assault, so we were all "super buffed" from our wait in the start room. Keep in mind; my armor is ~ 3,400 normally (with my normal items and my stoneskin Devotion Aura) and I have ~1,800 health points. In a "normal/medium" battlegrounds I have lasted 30 seconds and longer in a 1 versus 5 situation. (yes, using Gift of Naru, Lay on Hands, Divine Protection , Hand of Freedom and potions) But here, I was simply a gnat to be swatted by these guys.

Disheartening to say the least...

(Note to anyone that hasn't done much or any Battleground fighting: before the game actually starts, everyone on you team is kept in a gated area and can't do anything but spend time putting good spells/buffs on each other. So, in theory, every person on your team will have every buff available from all the casters. This means improved armor, critical strike, reactive damage, speed, health, mana, etc. )

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Get by with a Little Help From My Friends... a "Solo Group Effort"

Balthazario doesn't belong to a "real" guild. It's a 3 person deal, consisting of me, my girlfriend and her sister. As such, there aren't a whole lot of established toons with highly skilled professions to work with. We each get our multiple personalities.

Balthazario is a miner & blacksmith
Wysywyg (level 11 Dwarf warrior) is a skinner & engineer
Bigmistake (level 10 Nelf Druid) is a tailor & enchanter
Plus a couple Horde alts I haven't touched in months (a 'Lock & Hunter)

The ladies each has a couple (or several) different alts that do leatherworking, herbalism, inscription & alchemy, with a little overlap with themselves and my skills

Do I like having all the different toons? Not particularly, since I really enjoy running around as my Ret-tank-adin. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, without having a full spectrum of skills/professions "in house" life can get pretty expensive...

My Green Iron Hauberk cost me 3g in mats, but I've sold the same thing for 55g, and it's one of the best "readily available" Mail chest pieces around. Not to mention the previous pieces I've made for myself (or I'm making for Wysywyg)

The Copper Bombs make a nice ranged "Area of Effect" (AoE) weapon for my Pally, and are also "free" levelling tools for my Engineer.

The free light, medium & heavy leather kits are also a HUGE benefit for the leather wearers.

I can't WAIT until Bigmistake's enchanting gets to be a high enough level to help out.

And, on top of that, instead of SPENDING money to get these benefits, you can actually earn a little spare coin. (though to be honest, the process of levelling some of the crafting professions can cost a fair amount of gold, if you buy the mats instead of farming them...)

And then there's the fact that with 3 players, and a dozen or so alts/toons, you need a place to store all the mats, finished goods, etc, etc, etc... Thie means having a guild bank. (fortunately we inherited a small, defunct guild with 2 tabs, which we have since expanded to 3 tabs)

It really does "take a village" (or guild) to have a fully functional toon in WoW. It's just that sometimes you have to be yourself, your "other self", and your "other other self", etc to make it happen...

And a little schizophrenia and OCD don't hurt either...
Edited for a couple typoes that were annoying the bejeezuz outta me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust: 11 Losses in a Row on Warsong Gulch

Seems like the story of my WoW life, at the moment...

(Sorry for the rambling here...I have a bunch of small things that tie in to my main thought, but are hardly worth their own post)
You would think that the random PUG nature of most Battleground (BG) fights would lead to a more random outcome. But, for whatever reason, the Horde always kicks out butt. While I'm not the best BG player on the world, I regularly end up in the mid to upper end of my team's score (with killing blows, honorable kills AND healing) Since I'm so "average", I doubt it's simply my being inept that is causing us to lose so much. The only thing I can say is that going up against teams of 3-5 Rogues, a couple Warlocks, Hunters and Druids seems to be a tough thing to beat.

The Rogues in particular cause my team (me) fits in most games. It seems to take 3 "normal" players to kill just one skilled Rogue. And if you have 2-3 skilled Rogues on the other team, (not to mention the REST of their team) it feels like you're playing short handed the entire match.

The "best" game recently was the last one. We actually had 2 flag caps (I GOT ONE MYSELF!!!) and had a fighting chance. In the end, the other guys just played better. This game was odd in that it wasn't a blow-out.

I'm not sure why wowarmory.com shows my current record as it does: 31 games on Warsong Gulch (WG) with 13 victories. Assuming the total number of games is correct, I've won 10 times: I have received a total of 51 Marks of Honor. I get 3 for each win, and 1 for each loss. If you do the algebra, that works out to 10 wins (which still feels better than I've done)

Anyhow, Balthazario is now a level 39 Paladin and should be at the "top of the heap" for the 30-39th level bracket. I am FAR from twinked at this level ( the only "NICE" piece of equipment I have is my shield:

Salbac Shield - A 1400 armor shield.

And as much as I would like to "twink out" and upgrade everything to the maximum so I could do better in WG, I have to save my money. At level 40 I get to use Plate Armor, which means that in another 20,000 EXP, every piece of armor I have will be way sub par.

The good news is that a couple pieces will be things I can make as a Blacksmith (plate helm and a couple mithril pieces) Blacksmithing for the win!!!

Also, on the topic of upgrading your armor & weapons: Scrolls of Enchanting are the bomb, if you can find the right one, for the right price. They are relatively new to the game, and they allow Enchanters to make an "Enchant to go". They don't have to buy armor/weapons, enchant them, and hope they guessed right.

You the buyer don't have to spend hours on the trade channel finding someonewith the recipie, etc to enchant the item you have. They simply put the enchant on a scroll, put it on the AH, and we the buyers, simply buy it and apply it to our item of interest. WIN-WIN!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Come on and Take a free Ride at the Darkmoon Faire

This past week I've been running around trying to do the "sorta quests" they have at the Darkmoon Faire. You go up to the vendors, and thay ask for stacks of various items and give you coupons in return. When you have enough, you turn them in for some random loot.

There are two types of loot you need for them: random drops from creatures like soft fluffy tails from Coyotes, or craftsmade items like Green Iron Bracers or Green Fireworks.

It was fun collecting some of the stuff, but the loot you got was often not really worth the trouble. Especially the 50 coupon prize: a 14 slot Faire box(bag)

I did manage to catch the little goober that was running all over the Fiare, and bought a few Treefrogs and a couple of the "play catch" balls he had for sale.

It also forced me to pick a profession for my Dwarf warrior Toon, Wysywyg (he's an Engineer) as well as get me to try to level up Balthazario's Blacksmithing. I never made it to skill 230 to make the Big Black Mace, but I made some nice headway...

I learned a few things about enchants, so I'll post some thoughts on that in my next post.

Till then...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

That's What Friends are For: Power Levelling

Mining Followup

Just remembered a quick tidbit I learned about mining: you can "share" mineral nodes with your friends. Multiple people can mine the same node (and get the experience) as long as there's still something left in the node (rock or minerals or gems)

I haven't tested this with herbalism, but I suspect it is the same, and it might even work for skinning!

See you at the Darkmoon Faire!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Still in a Cavern, Clementine; Lernin 'Bout Minin'.

Part 2 (after a 4 day break from work & play...)

Ok, From here on out, I will be talking primarily about mining & blacksmithing. I will try to point out similarities to other professions as things come up, but those will only be happenstance...

The Choice is Made. You paid you copper pieces, and now are an apprentice miner. What now?

Picking a second, Primary Profession

Depending on your preferences, there are three, possibly four, other professions that would compliment mining:

  • Blacksmithing - uses the ore you mine as well as the stone and most of the gems you find
  • Engineering - same as blacksmithing
  • Leatherworking - it's another "gathering" profession, and can easily be done alongside mining
  • Jewelcrafting - it uses the gems you find, but has no use for the metals or stone.

What you chose is up to you...

Herbcraft is another good gathering profession that might seem complimentary at first, but it can interfere with mining. This is due to one reason: both use the same resource: the "find" function of your minimap on your user interface (your "UI")

The find function can find EITHER minerals OR herbs (or old quests, or undead, or whatever you have spec'ed) but it can only show one thing at a time. If you are hunting one farmable, you can't be finding the other. (well, at least not with the help of the UI)

If all you are doing is farming (and not questing), it's actually not that bad in that you look for minerals on one "lap" of an area, then change to herbs for your next "lap". By the time you finish your second lap, the minerals from your first lap should have respawned, and you can keep running laps, getting more & more materials (aka "mats").

Overall though, in a "normal" usage, where you will quest some, farm a bit, and just run around a lot, it's best not to have herbalism & mining together.

And "ADD-on"s

One thing I STRONGLY recommend is installing the add-on called "Gatherer" LINKY (also, the included database is needed) It basically remembers where most of the mineral (and plants & treasure chests) are, and displays them on your mini-map as well as your world map.

It's not 100% complete, as I have found a few that aren't listed, and the add-on doesn't PREDICT what will be at a given place, only what has been seen there before. (Quite often mineral nodes don't stay the same. One time will produce silver, and the next may be tin, with or without gems) But the usefulness in helping you find your loot is invaluable.

Another great resource if you are so inclined, is the thenoobschool.com power levelling guide: LINKY Even if you aren't looking to go from level zero to level 400 in a week, it has invaluable tips, maps and suggestions. They also include a step by step guide (5 or 6 steps) for installing Gatherer.

Let's Get Digging!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Owe My Soul to the Company Store: Tips for a Mining Beginner (and other professions)

Part 1

As may be obvious, I have tried to slant this blog towards folks that are fairly new to WoW. I spell out all acronyms I use (I try to, anyhow) and provide as much explanation as I can, given my own "newish" point of view with WoW. With that in mind, I want to explain a few things to those folks that don't have someone around to explain things.

The Basic Basics:

Can you make some good money off of mining and the other professions? Yes you can, but it can vary widely. "Gathering" professions (mining, herbalism, skinning, fishing, etc) are profitable right from the get-go. You collect your stuff, and sell the stacks in the auction house. No muss, no fuss. (well, other than the occasional flood/glut of raws - especially from the professional farmers that sell gold for dollars over the internet) One note: low level fishing won't pay much at low levels, and your best bet is probably to just sell it to vendors...

That leaves the "Craftsmen" professions (such as blacksmithing, engineering, leatherworking, alchemy, and MANY others) I have only direct experience with Leatherworking and Blacksmithing, but I've read a good bit on other blogs (Alterac Volley among others) that all seem to say the same thing: Craftsman professions CAN be profitable, but depending on the item you make and your server, it can be a challenge at best. I would also say that they are NOT profitable at lower levels (ie, skill level below 150)

Some more in reading from wowwiki.com : LINK (note much of the information I cover here is present in some form at wowwiki, but is not always an easy read)

So Why Bother?

There are a few reasons to get into a profession. Some tangible, some not. The reasons would include:

  • Make some extra gold
  • Get "cheap" items that you can use
  • Add depth/playability to the game
  • Because every primary profession gets a special perk or ability.

The perks vary widely from profession to profession but they can be VERY useful:

  • Herbalism - "Life Blood" an ability to heal
  • Mining - "Thoughness" increased stamina
  • Skinning - "Master of Anatomy" an increased critical strike chance
  • Alchemy - "mixology" improved performance from all potions
  • Blacksmithing - Ability to add gem sockets as well as making Skeleton Keys (which open locked boxes)
  • Engineering - various goggles and other gadgets
  • Leatherworking - cheap leg & bracer enchants
  • Tailoring - some cheap enchants and flying carpet mounts
  • Jewelcrafting - epic gems and special trinkets
  • Enchanting - Ring enchants
  • Inscription - shoulder enchants and scroll of recall
The Not Quite so Basic Basics...

Professions are all "controlled" by your skill points in that profession. The more skill points you have, the more things you are capable of doing, and some things you simply can't do until you reach a certain skill level. With mining, when you first start, all you can mine is copper, and all you can smelt is copper. Later you can do tin, silver, iron, etc... At certain points, you will have to find a trainer before you can advance any more:

Zero - 50/75 . . . . . . . . . . . . .Apprentice
50/75 - 125/150 . . . . . . . . . Journeyman
125/150 - 200/225 . . . . . . .Expert
200/225 - 275/300 . . . . . . .Artisan
275/300 - 350/375 . . . . . . .Master
350/375 - 450 . . . . . . . . . . . Grand Master

(the range for the top & bottom of each level is because you can "level up" at the lower number, but aren't forced to. However, if you do not train at the top number, you will not advance any more without training)

There are also character level requirements that you must meet. For example to become a Journeyman Blacksmith, you must be at least level 10.

Also, every item you gather or make will have a relative difficulty based on the item and your current skill number:

Grey . . . . . . . . doesn't increase skill
Green . . . . . . . increases skill, but only a little (might need to make/gather 10-30 to get 1 skill point)
Yellow . . . . . . .moderate increase in skill: you get 1 skill point for every 1-5 items
Orange. . . . . . highest skill return. You get 1 skill point for each & every item you get/make
Red . . . . . . . . . you can't make/gather that yet

So, if you are trying to level your profession, it is much faster (per item made/gathered) if you work with orange/yellow items as much as possible.

Lastly, the color of the item/recipe has no bearing on the "color" of the final item. (ie, if an item is common, uncommon, rare, epic, etc)

More stuff from wowwiki.com: Beginner's Guide and Choosing a Profession.

Due to length, I'm going to pause here, and finish this up in Part 2

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Bad Sportsmanship Continued

My post the other day about jerks in PvP (the spawn campers and others) was done on a phone, and unfortunately, when I clicked "Save", it ended up publishing, and not just saving a draft. Doh.

So , I made a small edit, and just left it as it lay. However, I still had more to say and questions to ask, so here's the continuation:

As I mentioned a while ago, I play a ton of console games, such as HALO, Gears of War, Forza and others. With all the time I spend on XBOX Live (XBL), I see/saw a bunch of amazingly offensive assholes during games. Sexist, racist and any other nasty "-ist" or "-phobe"you can think of. If you don't have a group of friends to play with, I'm not sure there's a whole lot of value in playing long term. (unless you're one of those amazingly annoying assholes)
I know that you can /ignore idiots that won't shut up, but I wish there was more that could be done. On XBL I can "avoid this player" which (in theory) makes it so that you are less likely to get stuck playing with the jerk, but it DOES have one distinctly real world result: your "Reputation". Any time anyone looks up your gamertag (your "handle" on XBL) it shows your card (see below) that has your gamerscore (total points for your achievements) your recent games and rep(utation).

I have 5 stars (5 all white stars) which means I have a good reputation. People that act like jerks will have lower reputations, and are stuck with a bad reputation. It's your badge of behavior, good or bad.

In WoW, the /ignore is nice, but the bad apple will never realize they've been ignored, unless everyone on their server ignores them.

So how do we deal with this in the PvP portions of WoW? I guess make sure you have a group of friends when you play (be it just friends or your guild) so that you can avoid PUGs (pick up group) At the very least, try to bring ONE friend with you into the fray...