Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kill 50,000 Rats



I once heard on a podcast, the specific one escapes me, that if there was a quest to throw a sack of kittens off a cliff players would gleefully do it if it rewarded a companion pet. Critter Kill Sqad, the guild achievement which awards the Armadillo is proof of just how true that is. I have never killed a critter for amusement before. . . I’m up to about 20,000 now. In the spirit of mercilessly slaughtering critters in the name of cuddly pets I’ve got a few great tips for you.

Cheesing It

The only thing that keeps this achievement within reach in a short amount of time is that if you are in a group with guildies and near each other each guildie will count towards the achievement. So if you have 5 guildies in a party within close proximity to each other 1 dead squirrel will count for 5 critters killed towards the achievement.

Instant Respawn=Win

The best place that I have found to kill critters is the Ironforge side of the Deeprun Tram. The respawn here is instant. For maximum rat pwnage positioning is important. In the above picture I am standing in the best spot that I have found. It is on the far platform of the tram, slightly to the right of center as you face the entrance and about one floor tile away from the wall. I found that this spot allows you to hit all 3 spawn points and almost never will cause you to be out of line of sight. If you recruit guildies into helping, as you should, you can have them on the other side or on the middle platform, or just afk if they are lazy, as every guildie present makes for more kills.

Macro-ing for Success

I’m useless with macros, but even I can make a macro for this. Before you make your macro you will need to consider what spell to use. The best spell to use is one that is instant cast, on no cooldown, not a DoT, and costs as little mana, if applicable, as possible. As a warlock I used Fel Flame. The reason a DoT is not ideal is that your macro won’t switch to a new target until the DoT actually ticks and kills your target, making it a bit slower. You can also just have your pet attack them, although this will be a bit slower as you have to wait until your pet can run to the target. My macro looks like this:

/tar Deeprun Rat

/cast Fel Flame

Just insert the name of the spell you will be using or /petattack if you are going that route. Wanding, throwing, or auto-shotting are also good choices for a spell if you are unfortunate enough not to be a warlock. If you are a mana user bring drinks, but once again this only applies to our non-warlock friends (lifetap ftw). The only thing left to do is guilt your guildies into coming and find a good TV show to watch as you spam your macro. Using this method, with me as the main rat killer and anywhere from 1 to 6 other guildies in the group at various times, we managed to earn 20,000 kills towards the achievement in an hour.

Other Places

I also tested two other locations suggested by wowhead commentors. The respawn rate is very good but both areas have a variety of kinds of critters, thus preventing a targeting macro, and require me to aoe, which ran me out of mana so fast that it wasn’t very efficient. However I suspect that these places might be very good for other classes, mages and priests in particular, who have an instant aoe that can be used on the move.

Zul Gurub – Coordinates 83, 35. No longer a raid, a variety of snakes here have instant respawn.

Eastern Plaguelands Cave – Coordinates 4,36. All sort of critters line this cave and the entire cave respawns within a couple minutes. Especially if you have a group of guildies this place could rack up the kills quite easily.

The best part of all of these places; the critters are gross creepy crawlies, not cute, fluffy bunnies so there is no guilt involved.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WHALE SHARK!


This is the crazy huge demi-god thingy-ma-bobber in Vashj'ir. I was inside it. Gross right?



This is a whale shark, and no, I did not go up and poke it, contrary to appearances I am not an idiot.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Final Checklist

Here is my final checklist for Cataclysm. I am not going for a server first, but I do want to do some efficient leveling. Your mileage may vary depending on class/spec, leveling goals, wealth, or just how much of a planner you are.

Professions

Do as many of the daily cooking quests on as many characters as possible to provide recipes and meat for my main cook.

Have Wrath materials for the first few skill ups. Park my characters next to profession trainers so that I don’t forget to train professions in my excitement.

Obtain relevant enchants. Gatherer Angler Leather Herbing Gloves

To Pack

These are merely suggestions and all items, depending on your class/spec , professions, or play style certainly will not apply to everyone.

*denotes items that will give a few skill ups. If you have this profession you might wish to have the materials on hand and wait to craft them.

Flasks*

Runic Mana Potions

Runic Health Potions

Situational Potions (I’ll be taking Wild Magic)

Heavy Frostweave Bandages

New food and water

Buff Food

Fish Feasts* (Great if you plan on doing dungeons, worth it even if you don’t to get a few cooking skill ups, even if you end up eating the feast yourself.)

Drums of Forgotten Kings*

Runescrolls of Fortitude*

Your fishing outfit plus lures if you plan on doing a bit of fishing for leveling or profit.

Any relevant reagents

Bots/mailboxes if you are an engineer

Herb/skin/ore bag if you will be gathering a lot.

Enchanting rod/skinning knife/mining pick/etc…it would be bad if you accidently forgot these things in your bank.

Miscellaneous

Final Bank/Bag clean out

Organize bank alt’s guild bank tabs

Post auctions the night before for levelers/rerollers

Clean out quest log

Clean out mailboxes

Finish any crafting of items you are planning on selling (I’m looking at you damn netherweave bags)

Complete 25 dailies if you are hardcore like that.

Respec/Reglyph – it might be advantageous to take a look at your spec and move a few points around to form a more leveling oriented build rather than a raiding build. Glyphs are also a great thing to change when going from raiding to leveling.

Put all of the consumables I’ve packed on my bars so that I don’t forget that I have them.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Recipe Lottery

With the slew of new levelers, both now with new class and race combinations and next week with goblins and worgen, there will be a unique opportunity out there. I am talking about recipes, specifically recipes that are world drops. If you fanatically collect recipes for no particular reason, like I do, then you know how frustrating it can be to collect those low level green recipes that have a minuscule chance of dropping of any mob in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, I’m looking at you Lesser Block and Star Belt. But with so many more people leveling, world drop recipes will actually start appearing on the Auction House. In fact I recently acquired the Shadow Hood pattern for 1 gold, I would have paid thousands.

For Collectors

Collectors like me should always be on the lookout. Check the Usable box and search the recipe section often. You might even want to advertise in trade that you will pay for any recipe you don’t have and link your tradeskill, although this may cause you to pay more because you have tipped them off that these are of some value, at least to you.

For Auctioneers

Familiarize yourself with what recipes are world drops. Either add them to you snatch list or take a look at Ackis Recipe List mentioned below. Most world drops you find will be posted for a pittance by people who don’t know what they are worth. You can flip this for a nice profit, although only to collectors so it might take a bit to find a buyer.

For Everyone

If you aren’t looking to collect yourself or profit off of others collective tendencies the one thing you should do is do your research. If you happen upon a recipe take a minute and look it up so that you know what you’ve got. I do a literal face palm when I think about all of the things I vendored when I was but a nub, don't make the mistake of throwing these potentially valuable recipes away.

Ackis Recipe List

I've raved about this addon before, but I'll mention it again. This great addon will give you a menu of all the recipes you don't know and where to get it. Even if you are not a collector you can use it to determine what recipes are world drops.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The End Draws Near!



With the elemental invasion in full force and the release of patch 4.0.3 the reality of the end of the world as we know it has really hit home for me, forcing me to kick it into high gear as far as the nitty gritty of Cataclysm preparations go.

/Shakes Fist

WTF people! The other day for the first time since I began to call myself an auctioneer I didn't sell a single auction. I would guess that this is because everyone just standing around in Stormwind or Ironforge waiting for the next invasion, something I myself am guilty of, but come on people, not a single auction?

Anyway, while I've been camping the city for the elemental invasion I've taken the opportunity to get some of the mindless chores done that I need to do in preparation. Remember patch 4.0.3a is coming either this week or next in my estimation. When that drops you will be able to roll the new class/race combinations and the world will go BOOM! When that happens you aren't going to want to waste your time emptying out your bank or crafting countless bags. So stop trolling trade and get cracking! Here is my list of things I've been getting done while chilling with Varian, hopefully it will remind you of some things you had planned on doing before the apocalypse is upon us.

  • Crafting - I've been turning my massive stock of netherweave and frostweave bolts into bags in preparation for the impending onslaught of re-rolls.
  • Cold Storage - I've moved some of the items that I've been stockpiling for later resale in the expansion (Wrath pets, pimp staffs, etc) into the bank of shelved alts for cold storage and moved items that I will be sending to new alts or selling right away to my bank toon's guild, thus trying to make things as organized and accessible as possible.
  • Crafting/Organizing Leveling Consumables - I've been pre-crafting items I will want for leveling that will not provide any skill ups like Runic Mana and Runic Health potions and Firecracker Salmon. For items that can get me a few skill ups once the new profession levels become trainable, like fish feasts and flasks, I have been sending the right materials to the right characters so I can quickly craft and go.
  • Winter Cleaning - I've been getting rid of anything which I don't have a specific use for, especially on my main's bank. Likewise my two 80's that I will be taking to 85 have had their bags cleaned out so that vanity items and the like which I tend to carry around have been banked in order to have as much room for leveling as possible.
  • Winter's Veil Preparation - When Winter's veil comes around you are going to want to be out experiencing the new content, not farming Small Eggs. If you plan on profiting on Winter's Veil get your stockpile of Small Eggs, Winter Clothes, and Winter boots ready to go.
  • Lurking on the AH - I've developed an unhealthy addiction to compulsively checking the AH for any goods that are getting dumped at low prices, usually by someone cleaning out their banks for Cataclysm. It's not healthy, but it can net you some sweet deals.
  • Stockades - It started as a way to get some wool cloth for Winter Clothes. Now I just randomly farm Stocks while waiting for the invasion. It takes a grand total of 7 mins and wool cloth goes for a nice price on my server so it might be worth a shot if you are bored.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get it Now!



Mount collectors everywhere are frantically farming Zul Gurub for a last chance at the coveted Tiger and Raptor mounts, but there are a few other mounts while not officially going away (at least not that I’ve heard) will become either much harder or much more annoying to get once Cataclysm comes.

The Blue Drake

This is the one mount that I suspect will in fact become impossible to obtain, but not because it will be technically removed from the game. The Blue Drake is a reward from the extra bag of goodies that you receive from completing Heroic Oculus. However you only get this bag and a chance at the mount if you are RANDOMED into Oculus. You do not get the bag if you enter the instance through the physical portal or if you select Oculus in the dungeon finder, it must be completely random. Considering that I cannot queue for a random BC heroic, I don’t expect that you will be able to queue for a random Wrath heroic, and thus the Blue Drake will become unobtainable. The only way to farm this mount is to queue for random heroics over and over again until you get Oculus. Wowhead lists the drop rate at 5%, but in my personal experience it doesn’t seem quite that rare.

The Blue Protodrake

This has a very small chance of dropping from Skadi the Ruthless in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle. Depending upon stat inflation in Cataclysm and your class you might very well be able to solo this on heroic at 85, but if you are a clothie your best bet might be queuing for Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle everyday and crossing your fingers.

The Black Drake (10) and The Twilight Drake (25)

While at 85 you will probably be able to down Sarth 3D with fewer than 10 people, getting a group together maybe difficult and this seems like a mount that might be at risk for removal although there is no official word. With ICC gear Sarth 3D is very doable, but I would still recommend going with a guild group and avoid pugs.

The Polar Bear

White This mount is the bane of my existence. While this mount will still have the same 1% drop rate from the bag rewarded by the crazy blue ladies’ daily quest after Cataclysm, if I don’t get it now I don’t see myself going back to Northrend every day to get a shot at it.

Argent Tournament Mounts

Like the White Polar Bear nothing is really changing to make this more difficult to obtain except for the fact that post Cataclysm you are unlikely to want to spend your time doing Wrath dailies on a continent you never visit anymore. Besides most people are searching for something to do in Wrath’s closing weeks and the ample gold the Argent quests reward doesn’t hurt either.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10 Things You Forgot Are Awesome


(I saw the Lich King! He hurt my face :( )

With the recent patch we got new system and quality of life changes like improved raid frames, overhauled character, profession, and guild panes, and fancy new water textures. This made me think about other past updates that have now become so common place that I have almost forgotten what it was like not to have them. So while you are struggling with bugs or class imbalance as a result of the latest patch just remember what it used to be like.

The Dungeon Finder - perhaps the single greatest addition to WoW ever. Do you remember having to spam trade everyday, fly there, summon, only to have to go back to town when your healer drops group? Good times...

Mounts and pets are spells - Collectors rejoice! In the pre-Wrath patch we no longer had to use up precious bag space storing our mounts and pets. Now where is that tabard ring?

Built in quest helper - This is a godsend to noobs. I remember thinking how strange it was that my boyfriend insisted on install this addon called Quest Helper. Why wouldn't the game just tell me where to go? Well now it does.

30 min hearthstone - If you are Alliance and not a mage I'm sure you've been stuck on godforsaken Kalimdor waiting for your heartstone cooldown to be up.

Achievements - Love them or hate them, achievements are here to stay. Achievements not only give neat vanity rewards but they provide motivation and rewards for all of us completionists.

Barber Shop - Character customization in WoW still is unbelievably sucky, but this makes it suck slightly less.

Enchanting Vellums - Whether you are an enchanter or not you have to love vellums. Enchanters get to put their wares on the AH and make actual profits instead of relying on tips and our customers don't have to shout in trade and hope they don't get ripped off when they need an enchant.

The Calendar - What did guilds do before you could schedule events on the calendar. No, seriously, that's not a rhetorical question. What did they do?

Linkable Tradeskills - So, simple and yet so awesome.

Dual Specs - Hybrids rejoice! Dual specs make for personal variety and raid composition flexibility.

Now when all the newbies show up with Cataclysm you can tell them how tough you had it, "back in the day."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Millionare To Be: Go Forth and Conquer!

This is the last in my short series about how to prepare to become an Auction House master for Cataclysm. We have covered bank alts, proffessions, identifying markets, and buying and selling. My last bit of advice is two-fold. First I want to address addons. In my opinion the only addon you need is a good inventory management addon. Arkinventory is my preferance. However most auctioneers will disagree with me and make use of things like Quick Auctions, Postal, Auctioneer, Auctionator, and many more. These are great addons that can automate your buying and selling process and provide you with great information, however you can easily be fooled. It is actually a gold making strategy to post items for ridicously high prices in order to distort other people's Auctioneer values then lower the price which some sucker will snap up thinking its a great deal because Auctioneer told them so. The only other thing that I will say is that it doesn't matter what the price is historically, it matters what the price is now and if you don't understand this addons can sometimes lead you astray. With all that said, if you are a person who likes addons by all means go ahead and experiment. Just be sure that you understand what the addon is telling you and avoid potential pitfalls by being overly reliant upon them. If you want to know what addons to use or how to configure them go visist Marcko at Just My Two Copper, and take a look at his posts. This leads me to my second point...Read! While at JMTC read the posts, read old posts, read the forums, visit the sites on his gold blog roll. Read constently. While you can pick up great practical tips to try yourself (although with the expansion on the horizon many may be out of date) the most important part isn't the specific tips, but to learn how an Auction House master thinks. Once you understand the mentality you'll be sending in your own gold making tips in no time. Good luck and good profits!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Its The Little Things



(Also... Ulduar is awesome.)

So patch 4.0.1 hit me like a ton of bricks last night. My addons are broken, I have to relearn my key bindings, being near the fancy new water causes me to literally see double, and I have to fight the loading screen boss every time I log. But instead of bitching I want to talk about the tiny little changes that made me smile.

  • The character selection screen now has animations. Scared the crap out of the first time I saw it it, but a very nice addition.
  • Druid herb picking appears fixed. It used to be that often even if you were right next to the ground when you tried to pick an herb it would say you can't do that while flying. After about 10 laps around Sholazar I haven't had that problem once.
  • Earthquakes! Earthquakes are everywhere. It makes me giggle with excitement every time.
  • My minions now have a special fly-out menu. Its fancy.
  • You can now track more than one thing on your minimap at a time. It is awesome sauce.
  • When you talk to a flight master the map that comes up is now bigger. I don't have to go grab my bifocals when trying to pick a flight point anymore.
  • The guild interface is sexy. Seriously, its so sexy its almost inappropriate.
  • Reforging. Technically this isn't a little thing but I originally wasn't very interested in it. Turns out that it was very useful for reaching the new hit cap. It is a much better idea than I thought.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Millionaire To Be: Assignment 2.... Also, /Squee!

Cataclysm release date is officially set for December 7th /happy dance. And now on to preparing to take over the Auction House when December 7th finally comes. Now that you have a stylish bank alt named something clever like MoneyPenny and a guild bank to store your wares we are going to move on to professions and how to evaluate and utilize them. There is no more sure fire way to make gold than to have max level professions, but you need to know what and how to sell your goods in order to cash in. This exercise is designed to help you evaluate, understand, and maximize the professions you do have. I will use tailoring as an example as it is a profession I know well.

First take your professions and make two lists for each. The first list is those items that max level characters will want or need. These are typically items that have high demand as well as high supply. Generally these items will give a medium to low margin. For tailoring my list looks like this:
  • Starter Epics - these are the item level 200 chest and back pieces that all tailors can make
  • Raid Epics - by raid epics I mean those epics with item levels higher than 200 which are learned either by a recipe drop in a raid, like Merlin's Robe, or from having Ashen Verdict reputation, like Deathfrost Boots
  • Spellthread - spellthreads include both the expensive ones made with eternals as well as the less expensive ones made with crystallized fire or life. Both levels will sell to max level characters.
  • Frostweave Bags - while these can technically be used by a character of any level most alts typically get netherweave bags to begin with and frostweave bags also use top end crafting materials so I've placed them under max level sellers.
  • Glacial Bags/Specialty Bags - some people will pay a premium for the 4 extra slots offered by glacial bags and many people use things like herb bags, enchanting bags, etc.
  • Moonshroud/Ebonweave/Spellweave - these specialty cloths are typically boughten by non-tailors in order to make the epics above.
  • Starter PvP Gear - In Wrath all armor crafting professions can make a set of item level 187 blue quality pvp gear. This was very profitable at the beginning of the expansion. In Cataclysm we will be able to make a new level of pvp gear each arena season, prolonging the profitability of selling crafted pvp gear.
Next make a list of items you think there may be a market for that are for low level characters or are part of niche markets. These are items that typically use BC or vanilla materials. Generally there is low to moderate demand and low supply, with margins ranging from medium to astronomical. Using tailoring as an example:
  • Shirts - playing to vanity can be a huge money maker. I sell every kind of shirt you can think of. An average shirt costs me about 1 gold worth of materials and I sell for between 25 and 55 gold depending upon the desirability of the shirt.
  • Tuxedo Pieces/Wedding Dresses etc - just like shirts these vanity items are nice sellers, particularly to other bank alts. I like to inspect bank alts to keep up with the latest bank alt fashion and sell accordingly.
  • Netherweave Bags - practically ever new toon out there will buy four of these.
  • Select Crafted Blues - Blue armor can be a very tricky market, but with a bit of experimentation you can find those pieces that do sell to characters seeking to upgrade a piece of gear that is lagging behind the rest of their gear.
  • Robes of Arcana - This is used for a warlock quest chain which results in a blue quality quest reward. Knowing little tricks like this can provide steady income.
Now that you have done this for all of your max level professions its time to apply some critical thinking.

Time – Obviously as Cataclysm becomes imminent this affects the value of certain items. Starter epics for example are not likely to sell when people can pick up much better gear through badge farming. However once the new expansion drops people will spend thousands on the new starter epics. Always be aware of how the lifecycle of expansions and patches will affect what you should be selling.

Server – Consider your server. Are you on a high, low, or medium population server? Is your server an RP or PvP server? These things will affect what and how much you sell. On an RP server there will be a bigger market for vanity items. On a quality raiding server raiding consumables, item enhancements, and gear will be more popular.

Profit Margin – How much are the materials for an item on your server and are these materials readily available? What can you sell the item for and how much compettion will you have versus demand. Also consider the deposit price. Things with low or no deposits you can afford to relist if you are undercut or you are selling rarer items that might expire a few times before they sell. For example, on many servers the flask market, once a powerhouse, is close to zero profit with increased supply, the rise of the price of materials, and vicious undercutting combined with a relatively high deposit cost. You would be better off selling herbs than making flasks on many servers.

The first step in using professions to make gold is understanding your professions. I hope that this exercise has helped you to think about what items you can sell and what items you should sell. Identify a few markets you wish to try, start off with two or three, and experiment. Be sure to track your costs and profit. Next week I'm going to talk about addons and resources.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Shopping Spree

I have a dirty secret. My bank is full of items for all the new Cataclysm characters which I plan to sell at absolutely outrageous prices to meet the enormous demand of new levelers. But don't worry, I'll take everyone else's gold and tell you how to avoid getting gouged by people like me. The answer is simple; buy now. For the most part its a buyers market out there and most things that alts need for leveling and professions will skyrocket along with demand come Cataclysm. Depending on how committed you are to a good bargain you can do this several ways. You can just buy out any reasonably priced item you will need for your planned alts, items that you think will rise in price once the expansion releases or you can do what I do and make use of bidding. I will never understand people who list a stack of gems for 30g buyout but 50 silver starting bid, but people do it and you can take advantage. If you are not using an Auction House addon that finds bargains for you just follow this two step process. First search for the items you want and sort by lowest bid. Bid on anything which would be a steal should you win the auction. Second sort by time left on auction. I go through all auctions labeled short and medium because it is likely that you will win these auctions. I bid everyday but the best times to do this is on Monday night because many auctions will expire over maintenance day, allowing you to win the auction without competition, or Sunday night. Sunday night is good because the high volume of weekend players will mean more auctions, which will be expiring as the weekend comes to a close. Here are some things to pick up for your new alts.
  • Bags - every character needs bags and these will undoubtedly rise in price once the expansion comes out.
  • Profession Bags - if you want a Mammoth Mining Bag or the like keep an eye out and you can usually find someone dumping some of these profession bags for cheap.
  • Enchants - Pick up scrolls for any heirlooms that your new characters will have, alternatively you can keep an eye out for cheap mats and have a friend create them for free.
  • Profession Leveling Mats - this is the biggest one. If you already know what professions your toon will have, look up a profession leveling guide and look for bargains on the mats you will need to level from at least 1-300. It may be that the exact details of the leveling guide will be out of date with the changes to professions, but it will still be well worth it. Even if you are planning on taking a complementary gathering and crafting profession its still worth it to look for materials because nodes will likely have fierce competition with all the levelers (not to mention high level characters farming for their alts with 310% flying) and the worst thing that happens is you have extra materials which you can resell, in all likelihood for more than you paid for them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Millionaire To Be: Assignment 1

As promised I am going to attempt to help those of you who are interested into getting into the mini-game of gold making and Auction House pvp. The approach that I am taking to this is to get you started on the right path so that when Cataclysm launches you can truly begin to rake in the gold. This is not to say that you cannot start now, but as the expansion winds down it is more difficult for everyone, even AH masters, to make gold so I want to lay the ground work in the weeks/months leading up to Cataclysm to get you prepared to be rolling in it later.

Your assignment for this week is to get a bank alt and a guild bank. If you already have both of these things then good for you, come back next week. Are you gone? Good. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a bank alt with a guild bank. Buying, posting, and storing all of your items in one place will greatly increase your efficiency. First things first, what class is your bank alt going to be? Some things to consider;
  • for the widest variety of fashion choices a dk is best as he/she can wear a wider level range of items and can wear all armor classifications
  • If you are willing to level your bank toon a bit Shaman, hunters, mages, and druids all have low level abilities to help you run from the AH, bank, and mailbox faster (ghost wolf, aspect of the cheetah, blink, and travel form)
  • While you can certainly get your low level toon to any major city with death runs or ports, you might want to consider dwarf, gnome, or human simply because of the proximity to the best cities to park your bank toon in.
  • When naming your bank toon you might want to avoid naming it something that can easily be identified with your main characters, as you generally don't want your bank toon's AH reputation mixing with your raiding reputation.
Once you have your bank toon made you need to get a guild for it. Even if you cannot afford to purchase the bank slots right now, still make your guild right away as I predict it will get even harder to get guild signatures once guilds become a much bigger deal in Cataclysm. Go to the starting areas or the major cities and advertise for guild charter signatures. Make it clear that this is your own personal bank and that people will be removed once the guild is formed. Between 5 and 10 gold is typical to offer for a character signature, but the more you offer the faster you can get it done.

Next get bags for you bank toon, including their personal banks (frostweave if you can afford it, netherweave if you can't) and purchase as many guild tabs as you need/can afford. Finally we get to the best part of a bank alt, fashion! Didn't you know that the cooler you look the more gold you make? If you really want to get into customizing your bank toon a quick google search for bank alt fashions will show you what items others like for looking stylish. The final step for this week is to mail all the items currently on your other toons that you plan on selling or storing long-term to your bank alt. Then mail the majority of your gold to the bank alt, leaving each character enough to cover their normal expenses of course, and you are set. Come back next week for assignment 2.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nerdgasm!



Fear not, I'm still steadily working on some gold guides for the aspiring Auction House mastermind, but I just had to share my new favorite addon, Ackis Recipe List. This is an example of an addon that does one thing, and does is beautifully. Ackis Recipe List will scan your professions and generate a list of recipes that you have not yet learned. It sorts those unknown recipes by either the zone they are obtainable in, or the way you obtain them; drop, vendor, trainer, reputation, etc. It will even provide coordinates. And for those of you who do all your shopping on an Auction House alt, you can view the professions of all of your toons that the addon is enabled for.

A word of warning however, for the completionist super nerds (like me) this addon could cause some unhealthy obsession. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that I only knew about 60% of the available recipes of both my main's professions. There used to be a famous enchanter on my server who had every single enchanting recipe in the game. That feat, combined with his catchy advertising slogan, made him the most famous person on my server. He has since left, but he inspired in me the notion that it would be very satisfying to have my professions 100% complete. However I've never put this plan into action 1) because it would be hard to figure out which recipes I was missing (a problem which this addon solved) and 2) because there was no real reward for doing so. If there was just 10 achievement points at stake for 100% profession completion I would so do it. The beauty and the problem with Ackis Recipe List is that it gives you a nice little bar showing your recipe collection progress, and as evidenced by my ridiculous reputation grinding, I can't resist filling up a bar. So if you are looking for an excuse to never go outside again, pick up Ackis Recipe List.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Can't Make Gold! /faceplam


No Gnome Haters Allowed!


Blogging about acquiring gold in WoW and auction house pvp is all the rage these days. One of the best WoW communities on the net, Just My Two Copper, is all about amassing astronomically amounts of gold to feed your little goblin soul. As I’ve mentioned before I dabble in gold making. Right now I’m sitting on 80k liquid and a large stockpile of materials to sell come Cataclysm. I really enjoy being a minor force on the Auction House and of course never having to worry about gold is a plus too. However, inevitably when guildies find out that I’m realatively loaded they bemoan how they are always broke and ask how they can make gold. While I have developed my own gold making strategies I find it difficult to communicate them to others, but I’m going to give it a shot. This post is going to be about making gold for the truly gold impaired. This is not a post on how to become gold capped or how to become a master of the Auction House. Instead this is for those who are continually broke and can’t fathom how anyone can even have 10k gold. Therefore some of the strategies I am going to suggest are not necessarily the most gold per hour and will be poo-pooed by serious gold makers. However they are effective and can get you your epic flying with a bit of breathing room if all you are interested in is living comfortably and not becoming an Auction House mastermind.

Addons – I have a secret. I don’t use Auction House addons. This is a source of great shame for anyone who considers themselves a gold maker. I used to have the ubiquitous Auctioneer, but I hated scanning and I didn’t utilize most of the functionality, so one day it broke and I just dumped it. Now things like Auctioneer, Auctionator, or Quick Auctions are absolutely great addons that can really aid your gold making process, however they are not necessary, especially not for the casual gold maker. So my suggestion is this; if you consider yourself an “addon person,” that is you have a fair number of addons, you enjoy them, and are not intimidated by addon set up then go ahead and pick up Auctioneer or Auctioneer Lite. If you like to keep addons to a minimum, skip the Auction House addons.

The White Rule – The first step to making gold is not to vender valuable items you have picked up out of ignorance. A simple rule is that if it is of white quality or better, look it up on wowhead. The average price that wowhead gives is semi-useful, but also read the comments. Many things are more valuable than people realize. For example, did you know that Dreadfang Venom Sacs are used when you want to change from Scyers to Aldor? Or did you know that the recipe Enchant Shield: Lesser Block while functionally useless is one of the rarest enchanting recipes in game and a profession completionists will pay thousands for it. Unfortunately what usually happens with these items is that some unwitting person will either vendor it or put it on the AH for a pittance of what it is really worth. So if an item is of white quality or better make sure you are informed about its possible uses before getting rid of it.

The Lazy/Stupid Rule – Many people in WoW, as in life, are either lazy or stupid and you can take advantage of this. The easiest way to do so is to visit your friendly npc vender, buy the things they sell for a pittance and resell for up to 1000% profit. The two main categories for this are pets and recipes. Pets that are sold by a vender, either in your local cities, Dalaran, or out in the world, will absolutely sell on the Auction House for more than you paid for them from the vender. The only catch to this is that this is a fairly popular technique, so start with just a few pets and see how the market is on your server. Another way to exploit venders is to resell rare spawn recipes. Most will easily double your money and some like Frost Oil or Large Prismatic Shard with sell for 5-10 times what you paid for it. So have a look through Wowhead and pick out some venders to exploit. You can also sell recipes that are not rare spawns, although your margin will typically be less. Other applications of the lazy/stupid rule include selling items needed for holiday achievement, reputation items, and quest items.

Farm Smart – Markco of Just My Two Copper frequently says that crafting is more gold per hour than farming and he is right. However for those without access to capital, multiple crafting proffessions, and knowledge it can be hard to capitalize on this. Therefore if you have the patience to farm do it, just farm smart. By farming smart I mean don't just randomly go out and collect things. Consider your proffessions, any achievements you are going for, and the value of the items relative to how difficult they are to obtain. For example, many people farm Northrend herbs. However low level herbs, pretty much mageroyal and higher, often sell for more than Northrend herbs at this point in the expansion. So you smartly decide to go farm low level herbs, but there are many places you can go to do this. If you are farming smart it means that you will go farm herbs in the Barrens because all mobs in that zone have a chance to drop Recipe: Deviate Delight, which sells for 1000g on my server. Another example of farming smart is say you want to farm some runecloth, either for yourself or to sell. Stratholme is a great place to farm this however you want to farm it with your toon who is a tailor/enchanter instead of the one who is an herber/miner in order to disenchant and sell all of the drops.

Opportunity Cost - Opportunity Cost sounds complicated, but its not. It is however essential to maximizing your profit. For example you have an herbalist/alchemist. You gather herbs, make them into flasks, and think that minus the cost of the vials you have made pure profit because you farmed the herbs yourself. Wrong. Instead you need to see how much gold you could have made had you sold the herbs instead of using them to make flasks. Depending on the market, raw material can sell for more than the finished product. Basically opportunity cost boils down to this; how can I get the most possible gold for the materials I have?

These are just a few thoughts designed to help the chronically broke. If, however, you are interested in making gold becoming a real part of your game play, but aren't sure how to start check back later as I am currently putting together some posts designed to prep a novice auctioneer for becoming an AH mastermind come Cataclysm.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Wrath Retrospective - Factions Part 1



Random body is random, just like this screenshot.

I love faction reputations. I must fill all those little bars! Wrath had a host of factions and ways to gain reputation with them, some good, some not so much. So without further ado lets get started. (note: As always, this is from the Alliance perspective)

The Kalu'ak - This is by far my favorite faction of Wrath. These little guys manage to be cute and venerable at the same time. In my opinion this is the way a reputation grind should be done. There is an initial quest chain that tells you the story of the Kalu'ak and gets you started on your reputation grind. The daily quests are quick and relatively engaging and even spread out across different zones. For me these guys are a joy to rep up with.

Sons of Hodir - Sons of Hodir is a close second for my favorite faction of Wrath. The quest chain to become friendly with Sons of Hodir is just plain fun, full of flavor, lore, and crazy blue ladies. The dailies are numerous and varied, not to mention bordering on pornographic. I mean who doesn't giggle when completing quests named Blowing Hodir's Horn, Thrusting Hodir's Spear, or Polishing Hodir's Helm? For those who want to power through them with gold there is also the option of turning in relics or everfrost chips. A great change that they made half way through the expansion is that the shoulder enchants are BoA so that if you don't want to you don't have to repeat the grind for your alts.

The Oracles/ Frenyheart Tribe - These guys are truly hysterical. They could have just given you the daily quests, but the addition of your oracle/frenzyheart helper who likes to insult you while completing your dailies is genius. I also like how the quests vary from day to day. The only thing that sucks about them is that the Oracles get all the good rewards. It seems impossible that Blizzard didn't realize this, but I can't figure out why they would do this. However its worth doing both of them just for the entertainment value.

The Alliance Vanguard - This is a type of meta-faction under which are four individual reputations; Explorer's League, The Frostborn, The Silver Covenant, and The Valiance Expedition. Running heroics without a tabard that grants reputation will give reputation through exalted with these factions.

The Frostborn/The Taunka - Other than the fact that the Taunka are the counterpart to the Frostborn I know nothing about them, so on the Frostborn. These guys have a great opening quest line with a big lore reveal upon completion. Unfortunately the awesome sauce stops there. They offer no daily quests or turn in opportunities. The only way to get exalted with them is to run Heroics without a reputation tabard equipped. That is lame.

The Explorer's League - There is so much potential with this faction, its sad that they did nothing with it. Some quests will grant reputation with the Explorer's League, but they have no rewards or daily quests. It's probably not going to happen but I would love to see the Explorer's League tied into archeology in Cataclysm.

The Silver Covenant - These guys have absolutely zero personality and I have no idea what they are even for. However the quests you do for them through the Argent Tournament aren't too bad and the rewards are good.

The Valiance Expedition - This faction is sort of the default faction of Northrend. Not too exciting, although most quests grant reputation with them.

Next time Part 2.






Monday, August 30, 2010

Wrath Retrospective - Raiding



I'm going to start this post with a big fat disclaimer. I am not really qualified to comment on the entirety of Wrath raiding and I am definitely not qualified to discuss how it measured up to vanilla or BC raiding, as I was but a nub in the BC days. To give you some perspective on my raiding experience; my first ever boss kill was Onyxia (the level 80 version), I finished about half of Ulduar before we completely out geared it, I completed ToC although much later than most guilds, and I am currently 8 of 12 on ten man (although my guild is 10 of 12) and 6 of 12 on my occasional 25 man.

Now that that is over I'll get on to what I do have to say about Wrath raiding. Ulduar was is by far my favorite raid. The setting and lore behind it was incredibly epic. The fights were varied, and even when you out gear it, a wide variety of entertaining and challenging achievements can help to beef up the difficulty level. As for Naxx, I don't really have feelings either way. I know that some people were upset at Blizzard's re-purposing of this raid, but if it allowed them more time for the developers to focus on other things than I am fine with it. It also was a good starting raid for new raiders in that the difficulty level wasn't too high on most bosses, but there was a wide variety of mechanics to help indocrinate new raiders. Moving on to ToC, I think most everyone agrees that this was a bit of a failure as a raid. From the no trash, one room style to the four different raid lock outs ToC left many feeling bored and burned out. The fights themselves were actually quite interesting with Lord Jaraxxus being the only boring boss. I have to admit that when ICC first came out I thought I would never down a single boss in the place. Eventually, about the time of the 5% buff, my guild began to make slow and steady progress in ICC. The so called "pity buff" is a bit controversial, but I firmly support the buff. Blizzard learned from BC and buffed players instead of nerfing the raid and did it gradually. The pity buff helps a greater percentage of players experience if not finish the raid that culminates all of the expansion's story lines. And while the buff is certainly very helpful, it does not make things "easy mode" as some people allege. Anyone who has been in a pug who can't seem to CC Lady D's mind control, or where the melee attack the blood beasts knows this. Finally we come to the red headed step child of Wrath raiding, Ruby Sanctum. I love the idea of bridging the story in Wrath with the upcoming Cataclysm in the form of a raid, but for whatever reason no one, at least on my server seems to give a crap about RS. My guild attempted it once, and I haven't seen a single person getting together a group for it in trade. It seems to have slipped entirely under the radar for reasons I don't quite understand.

Having successfully become "a raider" in Wrath I am looking forward to Cataclysm raiding. Changes to lockouts and the way that 10 and 25 man loot works have been talked about to death so I will leave that alone, except to say that I generally am in favor of the change, but I understand why some people are upset. Instead what I want to talk about is the relatively newly released detail that raiding in Cataclysm is returning to the BC style in that raids will be in the 4-7 boss range, with the first tier of raiding consisting of 3 medium size raids. In my opinion this is a great change. For non-hardcore progression guilds like mine it is difficult to nigh-on impossible to finish a 12 boss raid. While we do have a core group of raiders the remaining spots are filled with more casual raiders and therefore we almost never save raid lock outs making it extremely hard to progress through long raids like Ulduar and ICC. One raid in Cataclysm will be about the perfect amount of raiding for one night for most guilds. In addition it will provide much need variety. So thats my 2 cents, happy raiding!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Achievements and Pavlov's Dogs


(Today's screenshot is actually slightly relevant to today's post, /cheer! It was taken while getting my recent Karazhan Achievement.)

The other day I stumbled across a new (to me) blog called The Underachiever where the author is documenting his efforts to earn every single achievement in the World of Warcraft in a single year. It seems like an impossible task, but he is doing well so far and I wish him the best of luck. After reading all of his back entries it got me thinking about the relatively new achievement system in WoW.

The achievement system was implemented with the 3.0 pre-Wrath patch, along with things like UI updates to get everyone ready for the new expansion. Some people went crazy with it, becoming the quintessential achievement-whore. Others enjoyed mocking the achievement system and anyone who would stoop to /hugging someone before they release just to get 10 virtual points that you can do absolutely nothing with, except perhaps stroke your epeen. I was somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed browsing through them, and going out of my way to pick up the occasional achievement, but I as time went on, I switched mains, began raiding, and pvp-ing I have grown more and more addicted to that magical dinging noise and flash of light when you get an achievement. It doesn't matter if its something as ridiculous as My Sack is "Gigantique", as time consuming as Guardian of Cenarius, or as difficult as The Champion of Ulduar, the feeling when I get my achievement is addicting.

Of my lengthy list of things to do before Cataclysm I'd estimate that about 75% of them have something to do with achievements. The question is, why are fake points so alluring. Outside of the occasional vanity reward, there is no tangible reason to pursue them. To answer this question, let's go to my favorite blogging format; The List, with Bullet Points!

  • Part of it is all in our heads. First of all its called an "achievement," the name itself makes it desirable. And I know I'm not the only one who craves the beautiful noise and graphic an achievement brings.

  • Achievements also allow us to distinguish ourselves from the crowd by going after a particularly difficult/rare achieve or title.

  • Another great feature is that it allows a certain level of character systemization. Whether you play on an rp realm or not, the kind of achievements and titles that your character earns can help to define what the character is all about.

  • While raiding is usually considered the end game activity of choice. Many players can't or don't want to raid. Achievements give them something to pursue and earn at end game, instead of killing internet dragons for their purples every week.

  • The last reason, and most important for me, is that achievements provide an incentive, however small, to do something I've always wanted to do. Before achievements I always wanted to become exalted with random, mostly useless factions like Timbermaw hold, or complete all of the Classic Dungeons I missed while leveling. Achievements make pursuing those activities go from waste of time to worthwhile. Isn't it amazing what fake points in a virtual world can do?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Random Pimpage



(As always, screenshot unrelated)

Today I want to draw your attention to two awesome, yet not really related things. The first is the awesome videos of Jesse Cox, or OMFGCATA, over on Youtube. He makes great Cataclysm beta videos with real time voice overs that are laugh out loud hilarious. He real life job is that of a voice actor and it shows in the voices he provides for the characters. He has a series on the beginning worgen, goblin, troll, and gnome starting areas, and he is currently filming his way through all of Mount Hyjal. Other videos of note include the "Don Quoixte" quests in Un'goro, Garrosh's "You are Dismissed" storyline, and of course the most bad ass quest of all time, Punching Deathwing in the Face! He also posts mash-ups of random requests he receives. Unless you are some sort of anti-spoiler goof-ball, go subscribe!

The second pimpage I have today is an addon called GupPet. It's a simple addon that calls and randomizes (if you want) your mounts and non-combat pets. When you first set it up a button will come up that you can click to call mounts/pets, unfortunately its hideous. However you can turn the button off and easily bind call/dismiss pet or mount to a key. In the mount pane you can choose which mounts you want it to use and which ones you never want to see again (I'm looking at you felsteed). If you really want to get into it you can select which mount or mounts you want to use for cities, battlegrounds, or zones. When you press the key you bound mount to it will automatically call an appropriate mount; flying mount if you can fly, ground mount if you can't, and even the turtle mount if you have it and are in water.

Non-combat pets have a similar functionality. I choose which pets I want to use and which ones I don't and it will automatically call me a pet whenever I don't have one out, no button required. This is the feature I got this addon for as it's a shame to spend all the time and gold collecting pets that you never bring out. You can choose how long you want a pet out before calling a new one, and set limits on pet calling for when you are in a raid or battleground.

This addon also comes with a great little feature called "Collect Me" for both mounts and pets. In the Collect Me tab of the interface it shows all the pets or mounts you haven't collected yet. There is even a filter option off to the side so you can hide pets or mounts that are no longer attainable, require loot cards, require pvp, etc. The absolute best feature however is that when you mouse over a vender that sells a pet or mount, or a creature that has a chance to drop a pet or mount, it will display it on the tooltip. There have been several times since I've installed this addon that I've discovered a vendor or creature that dropped a pet that I would have had no idea about if it wasn't for the addition to the tooltip. The only downside is that I now feel compelled to kill any whelpings or oozelings I ride by, convinced that this time they will drop their damn pets.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Making Gold for the AH Impaired

As we gear up for a new expansion many people are squirreling away a gold supply in preparation for whatever gold sink the developers throw our way, or just to ensure you can pick up the fanciest, shiniest, new things in the expansion right away. Playing the Auction House has become quite an elaborate mini game for many, and even a majority of the fun of WoW for some. I enjoy the game of gold making quite a bit myself, but I know that many of you just don’t have the time or interest in seriously playing the auction house for maximum profit. For you I offer some ideas for picking up some pre-Cataclysm gold that anyone can do without any special knowledge of markets and the Auction House. Many of these methods I’ve paired with achievements to keep things fun.

Turtles All the Way Down – I just recently picked up this achievement myself, and along with my shiny turtle mount I also easily netted over 1,000g. The elusive turtle has a very small chance to be caught in pools of fish in Northrend. Even if you have never fished before you can do this because you will never catch junk when fishing from a pool. In order to better locate these pools its best you go get Fish Don’t Leave Footprints first. Generally the most profitable fish are Glacial Salmon and Dragonfin Angelfish so these are the pools you should be fishing in. Selling your catch until you find that adorable turtle mount will earn you a tidy sum.

The Argent Tournament – Remember that place in Icecrown, with the ponies and the jousting where all of your server was everyday 2 patches ago? Well get your butt back there. If you aren’t a Crusader, get working on it. If you are a Crusader, go do your dailies. The plethora of dailies in close proximity, plus the option to choose more gold as a reward for some quests make this an easy and garunteed way to pad your bank account. Additionally you will be earning all those Argent Crusades badges which you can either turn into gold by buying the pets and selling them or pick up things like the argent pony, heirlooms, and mounts if you want.

The Soul-Crushing Grind – If you are prone to psychological self mutilation go farm up one of those ridiculously rare companion pets and sell it. While this can be mind numbing it’s not too bad if you are watching T.V. or listening to a podcast. Prices will vary widely but some very rare pets that sell for big bucks are the Captured Firefly, Hyacinth Macaw, Disgusting Oozeling, and the various Whelplings.

Loremaster of Northrend – If you have a lot of unfinished quests in Northrend you might want to go back and finish those up. I could give you a huge list of nerdy reasons why you should be a quest completionist, but I’ll just stick with the one; it’s a gold mine. Let’s do some rough math for a second looking at only the Icecrown zone. In order to earn Icecrown: The Final Goal you must complete 140 quests. We’ll say that each of these quest reward 13 gold at level 80. 140 x 13 = 1820. Then let’s just guess that half of these quests also give an item of gear as a reward. The vendor price of these gear rewards varies, but I’ll assign it a conservative average of 10g each. 70 x 10 = 700. That’s an estimate of about 2500 gold from the zone of Icecrown alone! Add to that quests in other Northrend zones and any herbs, ore, gems, or leather you gather along the way and you’re looking at a very nice chunk of change.

P. U. G. –ing – That’s right, I said pugging. Running random heroics, especially at the breakneck speed a well geared group will run them these days can earn a nice sum of gold. Obviously tanks or healers can just chain them. Dps-ers can sit in the queue while you work on one of the other gold making strategies above. Running your first random of the day will get you 26g and 2 frost badges, all additional dungeons that day will earn 13 gold and 2 triumph badges. The gold for completing the dungeons can add up quickly especially if have tank or healer queues. The disenchanted mats, or vendor price if you’re unlucky, will add to your gold gain. Add in vender junk and any leather, cloth, herbs, or ore you gather and the gold per hour starts to look pretty nice. On top of that you will accumulate a slew of badges, and assuming you don’t need the gear, those badges can be turned into heirlooms and or epic gems to sell.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wrath Retrospective - Quests

In Wrath the overall questing experience was greatly improved. The addition of two starting zones not only helped to handle the initial wave of people leveling, but also provided choice and variety. One of the biggest, though often overlooked accomplishments, was quest flow. Each zone had several quest hubs that lead you neatly from one to the other. This not only makes questing less annoying and more efficient, but it also helps the zone stay fresh longer as you uncover it bit by bit. There were also practically zero quests that had you traipsing around the world. For the most part this is a welcome change as spending half your questing time on flight paths is not fun. However I do enjoy the occasional change that leads you across the world. Admittedly this might have been somewhat impossible considering that we were supposed to be isolated up in Northrend, but I hope that some nice long continent crossing chains filled with lore will be making a return in Cataclysm.

Phasing also make its first appearance in Wrath. For the most part it is a great technology, allowing you to feel as if you are really making an impact. My favorite use of this is the very tiny use of phasing in Sholazar Basin that creates a flight point at the Nesingwary outpost once you help a gnome repair his plane. The downside of phasing, most notably in Icecrown is that after the initial wave of leveling it is almost impossible to find someone in the same phase as you to help with the numerous 3 and 5 person quests. This also makes completing the Icecrown part of Loremaster a huge pain. I hope they learn from this in Cataclysm and do not make difficult to complete group quests part of phasing.

Vehicles quests were also utilized in Wrath. For the most part I feel like they got the amount of vehicle quests just right. Enough to spice up the leveling experience, but not so many that you feel like you’re never using your own abilities. From the information I have seen coming out of the Cataclysm Beta I am a little concerned that they are going overboard with vehicle quests but all we can do is wait and see about that.

Overall questing was a great experience in Wrath. Each zone had great flavor and story lines. Easily the best quests as far as story goes were in Icecrown. Unfortunately many people, I would guess a majority, never came close to completely the zone due to the fact that they were 80 before even finishing The Storm Peaks. It’s a shame that such a great zone flew under the radar.

Here is a list of my favorite quest chains in Wrath, Alliance side of course.


10.Finding the Ashbringer - Rescue the Ashbringer and return it to a disguised Tirion.

9.Sholazar Reclamation - Work with the Avatar of Freya to beat back the Scourge.

8.Frost Dwarves - Gain the trust of the Frostborn and uncover the identity of their king.

7.Paladin/naruu questline - A touching quest line in which you attempt to rescue a paladin on death's door.

6.Discovering where humans came from - Witness history and the birth of humanity... or get wtfpwned by the Lich King if you wander too close.

5.Guru of Drakku - Do an evil troll's bidding and see the Lich King again.

4.Wrathgate - This is obviously the most universally memorable moment, but the quests that lead up to it, including observing the past events of Arthas and his men when they arrive in Northrend also stand out.

3.Being a crazy blue lady - Fighting for the love of a giant creation of the Titans while throwing any other blue bitch who tries to take your man off her drake = win.

2.Oracle/Frenyheart - The comic relief of Wrath of the Lich King. I can't tell you the number of times I have laughed out loud while questing for these guys.

1.The Heart of Arthas - I'm not going to spoil it, just go do it. Terrifying and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Real ID, What You Can Do

I'm against the changes that will make our real names, first and last, available when we post on the official forums. I won't dive into the reasons as I have already enumerated them on the forums. Instead I would encourage you to spread the word as we wait for Blizzard to finally respond to the record breaking amount of feedback they have received (over 40,000 on the U.S. forums alone replies plus the thousands they have deleted as of right now). The best chance we have to really make a difference is to grab mainstream media attention. Here are some ideas:

1. File a complaint with the ESRB, this is the easiest, quickest thing you can do

2. Contact your senators, representatives, governors, etc. A quick google search will give you an easy to complete form in which to voice your concerns

3. Contact federal agencies in your country in charge of things like privacy, commerce, and internet regulations.

4. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

5. Submit a news tip to national news organizations. Include a brief explanation and an outline of your concerns along with a link to the thread in the official forums.

6. Write letters to the editor of newspapers, local and national

7. Comment, digg, tweet, and email articles already out there including those posted on blogs as well as major news sources.

8. Talk to your guildies and in-game friends. Make sure they are aware of the situation, the consequences, and what they can do about it.

8. Share these ideas on the forums. I've suggested these things twice already, once it was deleted, but people still saw it before it was removed.

9. Most importantly, don't give up. The worst thing we can do is let it fizzle out. Continue to spread the word and make sure that your voice is heard.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heirloom Enchanting

This screenshot is of the islands off the southern coast of Tanaris. It has nothing to do with today's post. I just wanted to show it off. Now, onto creating an heirloom enchanting empire.


What Are Heirloom Enchants?

Heirloom enchants are the best enchants that can be placed on a level 1 item, most people leveling alts with heirloom gear, which is soon to be everyone come Cataclysm, pick up these enchants to enhance their heirloom weapons and chest pieces. Depending upon the materials, the desireablity of the enchant, the rarity of the recipe, and the amount of competition you have on your server selling these enchants can be quite profitable and the prices will only rise during the weeks before and after the launch of the expansion.

Preparation

Currently heirloom enchants sell fairly well. I generally sell 3-6 a day on my medium population server. However, if you really want to capitalize on the huge wave of incoming alts you need to start working on a stockpile of the enchants you plan to sell. To do this the first thing that you need is a scribe. If you don’t have an inscriptionist then get your bank alt to at least level 5 and pick up inscription. At skill level 75 you can learn to make Weapon Vellum I. It is very important that you have your own supply of scrolls as Weapon Vellum I is often scarce to nonexistent on the AH, and when it is available it is often expensive. Depending on the price of low level herbs you may also want to farm your own herbs to make your scrolls. Armor Vellum I is less expensive on the AH, but you might as well make your own anyway.

Secondly you need to decide what recipes you will be picking up. Keep an eye on the AH for what each enchant is selling for and if you have any regular competitors. Some recipes are easy to pick up, while some of the best ones are very difficult, involving very low drop rates and in some cases, reputation grinds. Everyday check to see if anyone is selling any of the BOE recipes, you could get lucky and pick one up from someone who doesn’t realize how much it is worth. Other than that, pick your poison and get grinding.

Thirdly, if you plan to stockpile you are going to need a huge quantity of materials. For the sake of your sanity do not farm every single material you will need. Get to know the AH, buy cheaper and readily available materials and farm those that are expensive or have limited supplies.

The Best Enchants

The following are the most popular/ best in slot enchants for heirlooms. They sell for the most money, this also means the recipes are a pain to get, but having at least a few of them is essential to building an heirloom enchanting empire.

Enchant Weapon Crusader – Very popular enchant, although righteous orbs can be a bit expensive/illusive. This is a pain in the butt to get although with some patience or some luck very doable for anyone. Low drop rate off Scarlet Archmages and Scarlet Spellbinders in Eastern Plaguelands around 54, 23. 4 Large Brilliant Shards 2 Righteous Orbs

Enchant Weapon Fiery Weapon – Melee who don’t get crusader will probably be picking this up. 15-20% drop off Pyromancer Loregrain in Blackrock Depths, fairly easy to farm, but often readily available from the AH. 4 small radiant shards 1 essence of fire

Enchant Weapon Spellpower – very low drop rate off bosses in Molten Core. 4 large brilliant shards 6 greater eternal essence, 2 golden pearls

Enchant Weapon Healing Power – Drops off the same mobs as the Spellpower Enchant although this enchant has 1 less spellpower. However, due to the rarity of these recipes, consider yourself lucky no matter which one you get. Unless you are extremely lucky, or really love Molten Core your best bet is to find it on the AH. If you do manage to get either Spellpower or Healing Power however you will make yourself a boat load of money due to its extreme desirability and rarity. 4 large brilliant shard 4 Greater Eternal Essence 4 Essence of Water

Enchant Chest- Greater Stats – very low drop rate off many outland mobs as well as elite old world mobs, not really farmable, best to get from AH. 2 large brilliant shards 6 illusion dust

Enchant Chest Major Mana – trainable 8 illusion dust

Enchant Chest Major Health – limited stock from Qia in Everlook. 2 small brilliant shards

Slightly Less Popular Enchants

These enchants won’t sell in the same volume as the above ones but they will sell, especially if you advertise them (more on that later). The advantage of these is that you often have less competition.

Enchant Weapon Lifestealing – 10% drop off Spectral researchers in Scholomance 4 large brilliant shard 4 essence of undeath 4 living essence

Enchant Weapon Icy Chill – 4% drop off of Anguished Highborne in Winterspring 4 Small Brilliant Shards Essence of Water Essence of Air Icecap

Enchant Weapon Agility- Requires Timbermaw Hold Honored. 4 large Brilliant Shards 4 essence of air

Enchant 2H Weapon Agility – Requires friendly with Timebermaw Hold. 8 large brilliant shards 4 essence of air

Enchant Weapon Mighty Intellect – Requires revered with Thorium Brotherhood, rare but good, probably better with stat changes coming in Cataclysm. 6 large brilliant shards 5 greater eternal essence 20 illusion dust

Enchant Chest- Stats - trained, this is worse than Greater Stats but many people will take this enchant because it is cheaper and more readily available. 1 large radiant shard 3 dream dust 2 greater nether essence

Materials

As I stated above, pick and choose what to buy and what to farm in accordance with availability, price, and your own mental health.

Large Brilliant Shard- 56-65 blues

Small Brilliant Shard- 51-60 blues

Small Radiant Shard- 40-45 blues

Greater Eternal Essence - 56-65 green weapons

Greater Nether Essence – 46-50 greens

Illusion Dust – 56-65 green armor

Dream Dust – 46-55 green armor

Righteous Orb- Stratholme

Golden Pearl – these really suck to get and are usually exspensive on the AH although it’s a good idea to check for any deals frequently. Low drop rate from Big Mouth Clams which can be farmed from Naga in Feathermoon Stronghold or Dustwallow Marsh.

Essence of Undeath – Eastern Plaguelands or Stratholme

Living Essence – Dire Maul or Felwood

Essence of Fire – many places, Burning Steppes, Un’Goro Crater, and Blackrock Depths to name a few

Essence of Water – Eastern Plaguelands by the lakes, or fished from Patch of Elemental Water in Azshara

Essence of Air – Elementals in Silithus

Icecap- an herb found in Winterspring

Making The Sale

Reminding people that you can enchant your heirloom items can significantly increase your sales. 1-2 weeks before Cataclysm comes out, make a macro that tells people what heirloom enchants are and includes links to the ones that you have for sale on the Auction House. This can be especially helpful if you are selling some of the less popular ones since you can alert them that they are viable heirloom enchants and are now available on the Auction House, for a fee of course.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bye, Bye NDA

Last night I screamed like a little girl as I saw the Cataclysm NDA was lifted. I then stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading through all the juicy tidbits, frantically pressing refresh on MMO Champion. Like many people my endgame activities have been reduced to a weekly ICC raid and some occasional pvp as I eagerly await Cataclysm's release date which finally seems within view. However, strangely the impending expansion has made farming, grinding, and doing generally repetitive, dull tasks exciting. I've already detailed my ongoing quest for Loremaster and The Seeker, which I am still enjoying immensely, but I've recently added such seemingly worthless goals of being exalted with Timbermaw hold and Thorium Brotherhood, farming rare pets, and creating a stockpile of 100 enchanting scrolls of each type of heirloom enchant to my To Do Before Cataclysm list.

Now the question is why does the coming of an expansion make these time consuming and less than rewarding tasks seem so appealing? I think the answer is that these are things that I've always wanted to do, but always felt they were too time consuming to fit into my play time. Now with less things I have to do to participate in endgame I don't feel guilty about spending my playtime farming Molten Core for Thorium Brotherhood reputation drops. The implementation of achievements is also a big part of it as well. I'm not doing these things for the 10 achievement points, although that achievement whoosh sound is very satisfying. Instead achievements, combined with the time to complete them, are just the excuse or justification that I need to do some of the things I've always wanted to do. I'm currently compiling an in-depth list of all the things I want to accomplish before Cataclysm along with detailed notes about how to go about it. Yes, I know, I am a giant nerd. I'm sure that many of you have similar lists, so you know, glass houses, stones, etc.

Speaking of lists, I also have a giant list of Cataclysm and pre-Cataclysm blog topics that I want to do, but I've been holding myself back, trying to wait until we are closer to the release date. With the NDA drop, I'll hold back no more. Prepare yourself for a slew of prepping for Cataclysm posts. For next time I'm planning an honest to goodness guide about preparing for the rush of heirloom enchant demand that is fast approaching.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tips for the Aspiring Loremaster

The picture above is where you collect the letter than begins the obscure yet touching quest line that anyone interested in either achieving Loremaster or The Seeker or just exploring the classic WoW before it goes the way of the dodo should do. As I've mentioned previously I recently have reinvigorated my quest to get the Loremaster and Seeker achievements before Cataclysm comes and I am having the most fun I've had in game in a long time along the way. If you're interested in completing these kinds of achievements or simply taking a farewell tour of Azeroth I have a few tips that might come in handy.

1. Wait for Inspiration - I would really encourage you not to just start plowing through quests because you feel that you have to. Instead let a moment of boredom, raiding burnout, or nostalgia give you the jump start you need to get started. While there will certainly be grindy and painful moments along the way the experience should be largely enjoyable. If you find you hate it, or dread the thought of working on it, don't. I know many people feel like they need to get this achievement before Cataclysm, but the fact is you don't need to do anything. Its a game, only pursue things you enjoy.

2. Choosing a Zone- There are two good options for where to go first. The first is to go to a starting area that you haven't done. While not the most exciting of areas, staring areas are great because the quests are quick and generally don't send you all over the continent. You can knock out a whole zone in one easy sitting and get the ball rolling. The second idea is to pick a zone that you haven't spent much or any time in while leveling any of your characters. It will give you a sense of adventure and discovery that the achievements are all about. Zones I found that I have barely touched in all my WoW time (alliance side) are; Feralas, The Badlands, The Burning Steppes, Blasted Lands, Searing Gorge, Eastern Plaguelands, Western Plaguelands, Desolace, Azshara, and Silithus.

3. Preparing - Before you set out for a session of questing be prepared. If you look up the zone you are going to on Wowwiki there will be a link to an article just about the quests you will find in that zone. In that article there is often a list of materials that you will need to complete certain quests as some quests require things that are not dropped by the mobs in the area. Its a good idea to hit the AH and pick those up before you go. Cleaning out your bags is another important step. Put extra gear sets, consumables, mats, etc in you bank and vendor any junk. One thing to keep in your bags is your fishing pole, more on that later. Remember to turn on 'track low level quest givers ' on your minimap. Finally make sure your quest log is mostly empty.

4. Questing - I'm sure you know how to quest efficiently. I'll just say two things. First, many old world quests send you all over the world. If you get a quest that requires you to go to some far off place its a good idea to just continue working on the quests you can complete in the zone and then journey to that far off place either at the end of your session or at the beginning of the next. Secondly, and most importantly, READ THE QUESTS! Yes, it will slow you down at bit, but the reward is worth it. These achievements are about learning about and exploring the world. You can't do that without reading the quests. Its fun, I promise, just try it.

5. Profiting - A great bonus of doing these achievements is that they can net you a nice amount of gold. In Outland and Northrend the quest reward gold alone will add up quickly. I heard somewhere that by just completing the Icecrown zone if you combine quest rewards and vendoring the items you receive you can make somewhere around 1,500 -2,000 gold! As far as old world goes the money comes from all of the various crap you will be collecting. If you take the time to loot all of your bodies you will collect a crap ton of old world cloth that you can either sell or save for your Cataclysm alts. If you have an enchanter old world enchanting mats go for quite a nice sum. If you are a skinner, herbalist, or miner prepare to hit the jackpot. Collect any nodes you see and you will find that many of these old world mats go for obscene prices. I sell rugged leather for 50g a stack. Pretty much if an item is of white quality or better check the price on the AH before you vendor it. Things like pearls or old world meat can sell for much more than you think. Additionally, check vendors for any recipes you might be able to sell and if you don't mind a little fishing, some old world fish are quite lucrative. I'd suggest that you have a bank alt set up so that you can mail all of your finds to that toon and continue questing uninterrupted.

6. Understanding the Difference Between Loremaster and The Seeker - Loremaster requires you to complete a certain number of quests in each area whereas The Seeker requires a flat 3000 quests completed. Although the number of quests needed for Loremaster is less than the number needed for the Seeker most people complete the Seeker first. This is because the quests that 'count' towards The Seeker don't always count towards Loremaster. The general rule is this, quests that take place in a dungeon, are a daily quest, or are a holiday quest count for The Seeker but do not count for Loremaster. Daily quests only count towards The Seeker the first time you complete them.

7. Tools - Many people use EveryQuest in combination with LightHeaded to make sure they are getting all of the quests in an area. Personally I haven't installed these yet, although I'm sure I will when it gets down to the nitty gritty of collecting those last few quests. If you like to be very organized and methodical though I'd suggest them. If you haven't already, search through the user interface options and turn on a feature that will put an exclamation point over an item in your bags that starts a quest. Also visiting the Wowhead comments or other like sites can provide great information and encouragement.

8. Being An Achievement Whore - If you are so inclined you can get a mountain of other achievements along the way. I'd encourage you not to get bogged down in this however unless you are really enjoying it. Do it if its convenient or fun, don't do it if its sucking the fun out of the experience for you. I'm not going to link every achievement that you can do along the way because it might make be burst into tears. Instead here are some suggestions for categories of achievements; Exploring Achievements, Fishing Achievements, Cooking Achievements, Reputation Achievements, Classic Dungeon Achievements, Pet Achievements, Loving/Killing Critters, The Key Achievement, The Well Read Achievement, and I'm sure there are more.

Finally remember to stop and smell the virtual roses while taking a screenshot or two before the world is torn asunder in Cataclysm.