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.