Monday, 30 September 2013

Timeless Melody


Timeless Isle, are we still visiting it on a daily or weekly basis? WoW Insider asked the question as a breakfast topic over the weekend and the figures are shown below at the time of writing.


Are you still participating on the Timeless Isle?
I'm still farming it every day. Must. Have. Coins.
1092 (20.9%)
Not as much as I used to, but I'll still camp some rares.
1675 (32.1%)
I just do the weekly quest for the valor points.
1081 (20.7%)
I'm done with the Timeless Isle.
1371 (26.3%)

To be quite honest the choice of answers was not very well thought through for instance, "Not as much as I used to, but I'll still camp some rares." - 32%  answered yes which in my opinion is just madness to visit for Rare bashing.

The answers should have been more like this

  1. Farming every day for Rep
  2. Occasional visit whilst waiting for LFR or Raid to start
  3. Doing Daily/Weekly quests for Valor
  4. I have bled the island of loot and coins and dislike the disorganised chaos, and will never return.
I have run all my max level characters through the starter quests and I have 3 characters running the dailies for valor and coins, and I get a small amount of rep at the same time.

The daily quests are kill 20 Elites and answer a stupid lore question (no rush we will wait until you can answer one). The weekly is kill 5 Rares and obtain 50 Epoch Stones.

If you go every day and kill 20 Elites, you will automatically complete the weeklies in 4 or 5 visits.
What is the point of obtaining the 50 Epoch stones on a Tuesday or Wednesday and having nothing to do for the rest of the week.

I have noticed that after 3 weeks the Celestials are rotting away. They might as well appear on reset day and then take the rest of the week off. The Grumpy Elf pointed out that people are complaining about getting upgrades because they are essentially PvP pieces. WoW's complexity means that it is difficult to keep ahead of all the changes, and not everyone uses news sites or fan blogs, but it easy enough to compare gear and see if it is an upgrade or not.

I am still playing the Burden of Eternity lottery and winning, with an average of 30,000 coins converting to 1 Burden, which is better than the suggested 1 in every 100 keys.

100 keys X 500 coins = 1 Burden of Eternity (several armour drops and 15-20,000 coins) or 50,000 (guaranteed Burden of Eternity).

The sample figures are low but I think it is still worth the risk, and besides it give me an extra chance to get iLevel 496 trinkets of which I am still about 5 missing.

Going through the comments from WoW Insider I noticed this one:

"The biggest flaw with the Timeless Isle (are you listening, Blizzard?) is that you can see all the sights and sounds on your first trip to the island. Given the nature of the island, from a lore perspective, it should really reconfigure itself from day to day or week to week, constantly offering different sets of challenges and content."

Oddly enough this echoes the post from the Godmother who has been faffing around the subject for a few days now:

This is not sarcasm or abuse directed at Blizzard. Your Island of Free Things is lovely, but I for one would like to return to having some structure and direction in my life. I'm sorry I said that Dailies were boring and repetitive, and this proves the point that you don't know what you have until it's gone.

Could we go back to 5.2 now, please?


It would appear that some people like a bit of order in their lives and not the freedom of creating your own adventures. It is pretty telling that I have stuck to the small number of Dailies and Weeklies on the Isle to maintain my own interest.

I have always stated that Blizzard like to swing wildly between opposing views.

"Everybody hates dailies" Blizzards response ok we will give you new content with no dailies and some weeklies.

The complaints going through this expansion are not so clear cut, or are they in black and white, in summary it looks more like this.

5.0, 5 new levels, one new class and one new race. End game is Rep based, with small amounts of valour awarded for doing dailies.

  1. I have to do dailies to earn Valor and Rep, Valor is useless without Rep and vice versa.
  2. The gear is stuck behind Rep vendors so I have to do all the rep dailies and there is no shortcut to the exercise.
  3. Two of the reps are stuck behind another rep grind
  4. Can you stop giving us dailies.
5.1 offered more dailies but they had a good story running through with normal Scenarios and solo scenarios.

  1. This is a good mix of storytelling and dailies, but I am still a little jaded from all the dailies from 5.0
5.2 Blizzard offer more dailies along with closed content and solo scenarios plus and Island full of Dinosaurs.

  1. Blizzard we like this zone but we are now on our 3 patch with more dailies, can we take a break
5.3 Only content provided is a little story telling and a weekly.

  1. Blizzard you taking the piss, we said no dailies, so you give us weeklies is this a joke?
5.4 Blizzard give the world a free form Island with some dailies, some weeklies and some exploration. In addition because we have been so mean so far to alts and dual specs, you can have an Island full of loot.

  1. Overload, I don't know what I am doing anymore, Blizzard please can you give me structure back
What everyone failed to realise at Blizzard is that 5.1 and 5.2 are the correct ways to provide dailies. The problem was the amount of pain endured for the first 3-4 months with 5.0. This is the burnout zone, and we need to have various ways to gain rep not just from dailies, and don't like the idea that all the gear and recipes are hidden behind rep, we don't want to feel that content is mandatory. Rep should not be per character or it should be easy alternatively it can long and grindy but it is account bound.  Guess what, we can even have a mixture of different types of rep grinds.

The Timeless Isle is a counter balance to all that went wrong leading up to this point in the expansion. It is not a future indication of how expansions will be done in the future, it is just making sure that we have no excuse for not taking down Garrosh Hellscream.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Welfare Mothers



Welfare Epics 
"Epic quality items in the video game World of Warcraft that are obtained through grinding PVP. These items are generally on par with the highest quality items in the game and can be easily had by anyone with only a minimal investment of time. No skill is required to obtain a Welfare Epic."
Urban Dictionary
As WoW gamers we have all encountered the concept of Welfare Epics and the original source is believed to be from the Blizzard Developers during a Blizzcon 6 or 7 years ago. It is the source of much angst over the years, but oddly the debate has not even fizzled, during the expansion with the most Welfare Epics the game as ever seen. Not only that we have a so called Welfare Legendary.

The idea was that the Legendary item would be available to everybody who put the effort in and would stretch across the entire expansion. To this effect it has achieved what it intended, weapons available to a class or type of class used to throw the game balance out completely. If you can't remember think back to spell casters during Firelands and Rogues during Dragon Soul.

The argument against the MoP implementation was that everybody would have a Legendary, which would make the Legendary, not very Legendary. Did the end of the world happen when 5.4 dropped? no of course not. Does everybody now have a Legendary? I think the answer is quite resounding no. In an attempt to judge the progress of my own guild, I was able to find 11 Legendary cloaks on the top 100 Roster. My guess is that this corresponds exactly with the 10 man raid team plus 1 extra which I think is an alt, meaning 1 person could be bothered to drag an alt through the LFR week after and maintain the Raiding on a main. Hats of to that man.

What about me? I can safely say that I am behind the curve and moving in steadily in the slow lane. I am however pursuing the dream just at my own pace. My progress so far in summary:

  1. Exalted with Wrathion (I mean Honored) how can you play the game and be
  2. 10 Sigils of Power and Wisdom - this was a stumbling block but I completed months ago. It was a pain doing the older LFR's when the world and his wife were in Throne of Thunder. Doing Sigil runs when all the gear drops are vendor trash.
  3. Sha of Fear - this took longer than expected, because every LFG in the second half of Mogushan Vaults was already at least one boss down. When you queue for an hour to be thrown into an ongoing raid the immediate response is not to queue up again for the same thing to happen. Not sure the Gems in the virtual weapons worked too well as an expansion feature.
  4. Revered with the Black Prince -  yes next
  5. 3000 Valor - This proved to arduous because of the timing was a few weeks before patch 5.4 dropped and I was focused on Levelling alts.
  6. Warlord Bloodhilt and PvP- This leads my current status.
The choice was Horde commander or PvP? Lets do Horde commander and then get some new PvP gear and knock out a couple of wins.

On my previous visits the Kor'kron cannons could not hit a cows arse with a banjo. Now they require dismounting ASAP and moving from the land site. Storm your way to the fortress and kill Bloodhilt, yeah no problem.

Action stations, pet runs in dies very quickly and Bloodhilt strangles me one handed with both feet off the ground. That is not quite right, lets visit Wowhead.

"If you attempt to kill this guy and your group is wiping DO NOT run away. He will haunt you for life."

Group what the hell are they talking about?

"Since his health has been significantly nurfed I was able to solo this on my 510 Survival hunter."

Phew, that sounds better, he can be soloed. Instructions that followed are a page long. Ok this might be a bit harder than expected.

"Send your pet to the boss and stack up really close.
If you stand far away the boss does an ability called Chock em' Out which will kill you."


Ok, stand in melee range, thank god minimum range is not an issue any more.

"Had a 351k turtle with me (ilvl 514 BM), Glyph of Mending, Animal Bond (not really needed) and Spirit Bond kept him alive for the whole fight, so there's no need for Exhilaration or Merc Contracts. :P."

Pet seems to need a bit more protection than Tenacity Pet alone was providing. I decided that it was time to make a BM pet Tanking spec with my old PvP second spec.

Out went Aspect of the Iron Hawk and in came Spirit Bond. Dps loss for pet and hunter survivability.

"While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 3% of total health every 2 sec."

Nice 3% not to be sniffed at. What about Glyphs? Animal Bond and Mending. Ok good to go.

The new Tanking Spec worked a treat. Not really a scratch. Which considering the 3 previous attempts had been abysmal failures. Some times this game is about planning and less about skill. The fight can go on for 10 or 15 minutes, at the end if I am still alive then I have won.

Now I need to test my Pet tanking spec on the extra boss in the Jade Temple, it is a tough to solo that guy as well. Some of these Blizzard tricks require you to complete on the first few days of the release, otherwise you are left to solo group content.

Welfare Legendary, is not something I hear being mentioned these days. I think most people have had to work hard or endure some rough nights to get them.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Don't Let It Bring You Down


I have spent 2 weeks solid in the Timeless Isle, writing about the Timeless Isle and generally just thinking about the Timeless Isle. It is about time I moved on to wider subjects, thankfully the Godmother has provided some inspiration, into the problem with crafting.

What is the problem with crafting? To examine professions it is important to breakdown exactly what we are talking about and trying to compare apples with apples. The following categories are my attempt to make sense of the situation.

Primary Profession

Crafting

  1. Tailor
  2. Blacksmith
  3. Leatherwork
Enhancement

  1. Enchanting
  2. Jewelcraft
  3. Inscription
  4. Alchemy
Fun

  1. Engineering
Gathering

  1. Herbalist
  2. Skinner
  3. Miner
Secondary Profession

  1. First Aid
  2. Cooking
  3. Archaeology
As an Altoholic, one of the driving forces behind having a full stable of Alts is so that I am self sufficient, no need to beg in guild chat for a Glyph, an Enchant, or a Gem. I simply have one of everything with a stockpile of raw materials which is supplied by several other Alts who level with two gathering professions.

During The Burning Crusade, flying and mounts cost an absolute fortune, and the only sensible way to make money was through crafting, and gathering. Most of my spare time was spent farming Knothide Leather, Thick Clefthoof Leather and primals. I would do mining circuits, fishing for motes of water, killing demons who stood in the way of my motes of air and don't forget the mad scramble that was the Elemental Plateau.

Crafting was not something we did by walking into the Auction House and hovering up all the spare stacks of raw materials and then making mass production line in the way that Jewelcrafting and Inscription became, Leatherworking, Tailoring and Blacksmithing were hard core, you farmed for the mats you made the item and then you would wear the item, spare mats could be sold and maybe if lucky you could sell the odd item with the extra obtained from farming. 4000 Gold was not something you would find at the back of a settee, it was earned. According to Wowwiki the cost of all the riding skills (with exalted) is 10843 Gold. Even with 11 characters I can pay that without blinking, never mind that those costs have been dispersed over an 8 year period.

Times were hard during Austerity WoW, but there was a pride in crafting your own gear. I spent hours trawling through the Moneymaking blogs looking for the next big idea, I even spent hours trying to farm Whelps in the hope of getting my own baby whelp, not to keep of course but purely to sell.

Wrath of the Lich King saw a huge upswing in available Gold from Dailies, Inscription and the Saronite shuffle. Money would never again be a problem for those that didn't spend on very expensive mounts and pets. Money is the main issue with crafting, because buying mats is never a problem again, if you can make 2000 Gold per day from selling Glyphs why would you go farming for Leathers.

All professions should carry an equal value and why should Mining have a stamina or strength buff, when the primary reason for mining is to sell the ore and make huge amounts of money. Crafting is so much harder than gathering and should come with a suitable bonus to compensate, not that I am advocating that all Plate Mail wearing melee classes should be Blacksmiths, that would lead to cookie cutting uniformity.

Engineering was never a money maker, and one of my first characters was an engineering/enchanter who had no money and had to borrow constantly from the other characters. Engineering has a horrible crafting system which involves levelling up on rivets, bolts and various forms of explosive. It involves constantly carrying large stocks of these items in order to craft any item. In some respects it would make more sense if instead of 20 rivets, that the raw material of ore or bars would qualify to make the final product. An example of this would be the Mechanical Squirrel Box instead of needing

1x Copper Bar + 1x Copper Modulator + 1x Handful of Copper Bolts + 2x Malachite could use
1x Copper Bar + (1x Copper Bar) + (1x Copper Bar + 2x Copper Bar + 2x Linen Cloth) + 2x Malachite

It would use the actual item first and then use raw material afterwards when the finish part is no longer in stock. When levelling you would have 100's of Copper Modulators and Copper Bolts, but now I would have to go up and down the recipe list to make the constituent parts. It is not much fun, and this is were people have historically made money in the game. Most of the teachings from JMTC and other Gold sites are based on doing things that other people do not want to do, because it limits the time playing fun part of the game.

During WotLK engineers thought they had it made when Blizzard finally gave them a mount which they could sell. The Hog and Chopper were very popular, but due to the cost of the raw materials nobody was willing to give a big tip on top. I have made only two such mounts in the 4 or 5 years since the recipe became available.

Jewlcrafting was a very popular money spinner during WotLK and Cataclysm because the recipes were hidden behind dailies. Anybody wanting all the recipes would have to wait several months to obtain them all. I famously got all the epic cuts from Cataclysm but could not use them until near the end of the expansion due to the low supply of the uncut Epic gems available only from Dragon Soul Normal and Heroic, poor old LFR.

Inscription has often used research to unveil the Glyphs, this lack of supply/competition caused huge prices for the popular and mandatory Glyphs. Scribes have made huge sums of money at various times during the game and by my reckoning there have been 3 Glyphmas periods around expansions and game design. Anybody who was willing to juggle a stock of around 400-450 different Glyphs deserves the fortunes that they made. I would personally spend months leading up to a Glyphmas event, buying inks, milling inks and making a stock of the most popular/highest value Glyphs. It was very rewarding but not very satisfying. The only way to even attempt to handle so many Glyphs involved numerous macros and Addons, hours spend micro managing the settings to save hundreds of hours posting at the right prices.

Tailors have always had an issue with collection of wool and cloth. Leatherworkers and Blacksmiths have always had gathering skills attached to them to maintain a steady supply of raw materials. Cloth is used  for First Aid and as such is available to everybody. This puts extra strain on supply but Tailors have the bag making side of the business to make sure the Gold continues to roll in. Netherweave Bags still make a profit after 3 further expansions.

In theory Blacksmiths should have a good time with the ability to forge weapons, but invariably as with this expansion they are only ever of an introductory nature. Scribes have been able to craft Epic staves and the poor Blacksmith only a iLevel 463 Blue. Ultimately some professions are worth more than others, and in this case Spell Casters are more fortunate than melee class, who are more fortunate than Hunters and Engineers who can only craft a iLevel 450 Rifle.

Ultimately it is very difficult to make the professions all equally valid, but in my opinion the ability to craft an Epic weapon for Blacksmiths, Engineers and Scribes is just plain simple.

Mists of Pandaria expansion has introduced to fast track systems for levelling two profession Blacksmith and Cooking. Cooking was an obvious choice with the emphasis on Chinese food and it is my assumption that many alts do not have the secondary professions. Not wanting to blacklist people from the new content, The Farm and the new Way of cooking skills they created levelling from 1 to zen in a few minutes. The Way system, the Trainer and now the Noodle cart, are now overkill in my opinion and no doubt they will be left to rot next expansion. Blacksmiths apparently had some major obstacles to levelling, but why just single out this profession for some fast track attention. Do we really want people to level up professions quickly? Should the process be as tough as when we did it? Does a scribe want a new kid on the block who can get all the recipes in less than an hour?

Fishing like cooking received some attention, but nowhere near enough. Fishing is still the worst profession to level by a country mile. El wrote this:

"Leveling 1-600 requires about 1800 successful catches. This will take about 7 hours (assuming 4 catches per minute). I strongly advise that you do not attempt this in one continuous sitting - it may damage your health."

This is someone who personifies in game fishing. El and Nat Pagle are the two people mostly closely associated and yet one of them is worried about our health from prolonged exposure to a fishing rod.

The Anglers was nowhere near as successful as the Tillers and 3 quests offering 3 extra skillups per day, when it was probably quicker to just get your rod out every time you encountered a fishing pool.

WoWinsider recently asked if people still used bandages, and when levelling some classes I find it invaluable, Rogues and Warriors might be able to regenerate some health but they still have a reasonable amount of downtime.

Archaeology has proved to be better in MoP than it was in Cataclysm, but for me it lacks any kind of dynamism. It is merely perfunctory and gives some additional XP whilst levelling.

I agree with the Godmother that crafting needs to be overhauled but to be honest I am unsure of its role within the game. The UI does not function as well as it good and the crafting professions do not stay relevant throughout the expansion. The learning process is slow but ultimately it gives some relevancy providing that the materials can be gained by all and not just the raiders. One item per month is a taking "Slow down, take it easy" message to extremes.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Viva Las Vegas



Hidden away in a cave on the Timeless Isle is Master Kukuru. A Hozen who sits in a cave surrounded by treasure chests. His job in life is to sell keys to adventurers who have spare Timeless coins on their hands.

Scott Johnson described it as, "The most addictive feature ever introduced by Blizzard", and the Godmother coined the phrase, "The island where you exchange coins for treasure. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG."

I had previously avoided the cave in an attempt to save up my coins for a big purchase, but soon discovered that the accumulation of coins is slower than you might think. The object of my affection is the Burden of Eternity and to obtain one of these through hard work will set you back a whopping 50,000 Timeless coins. In 2 weeks I have amassed a total of 30,000 coins so I am guessing that I can knock one of these out every three weeks or so.

The shortcut is to play roulette with Master Kokuru, but is it a risk worth taking? My character with the next highest number of Timeless coins was my Shaman with a stash of 7,500 coins. I decided that it is possible to obtain 50,000 coins on one character but to try it each week on multiple characters is burnout material.

7,500 coins will buy you a grand total of 15 keys and this is what happened when I gambled the family silver.

15 keys gave 3 items of armour and enough money to buy 9 keys
9 keys was converted to 7 keys so by round 3, I was at less than half of my original stake
7 keys yielded 1 armour token
5 keys was dwindled down to 4 keys
4 keys was halved to 2 keys
2 keys bought 2 further keys
2 keys bought 2 further keys
2 keys yet again bought 2 keys
2 keys finally converted into 1 armour token and a Burden of Eternity

In summary, 7,500 coins produced 5 armour tokens and a Burden of Eternity against the stonewall certainty of 50,000 coins converting to 1 Burden of Eternity. Am I hooked? you bet I am.

The next highest character could only muster 5,000 Timeless coins buying 10 keys.

10 keys became 6
6 keys became 4
4 keys remained 4
4 keys became 3
3 keys remained 3
3 keys remained stuck at 3
3 keys finally yielded 1 armour token
1 key remained 1
1 key opened to reveal a busted flush.

The first attempt allowed for 48 keys for the sum of 7,500 Timeless coins and the second 32 keys for 5,000 Timeless coins.

Using a rough calculation I divided 7500/48 = 156.25 and then 5000/32 = 156,25 on such a small sample it is rather disturbing to see the exact same figure for both experiments.

The first experiment shows what I assume is a very lucky streak and the second is a very poor reward for the amount of coins.

It was widely reported that Blizzard were being very generous when the patch dropped and it is less certain the risk factor that they finally settled on.

My character is sat on a nest egg of 30,000 coins or 60 keys, is it worth the risk or should I settle for the guaranteed upgrade?

Google revealed a series of experiments on Reddit with real mathematical chance percentages. The gist is are you feeling lucky punk?

In case you need to go into rehab after a night spent with Kukuru, there is at least a place to go for those poor unfortunate souls with no Timeless coins left to rub together.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Suicide Is Painless


Having plundered the Timeless Isle for iLevel 496 gear, I have now set my sights on Burden of Eternity. The Godmother showed the world (well me) where I could acquire a guaranteed drop of Burden of Eternity for the Burning Chest.

The Godmother suggested that the route one is over the broken bridge:

"I can personally confirm shoving a non-cloak wearer in your Chopper sidecar and bringing them over will work, so that should mean a cloak-wearer with a Mammoth or any 2 person mount which works as ground transport should also be safe."

This is a great and much easier route but it does require somebody to help who A) has the Legendary cloak and B) has a 2 seater mount. I tend to play as Bill No Mates, and so onto the solo route:

"If you don't have a friend with a cloak, don't panic: finding an Albatross and hitching a ride can get you there, as will using a flying mount."

I have discussed the Albatross and how much I hate the mechanic, so much so that I wrote a post yesterday that will probably never see the light of day (due to its high level of toxicity). I have refined my method for thumbing for a Taxi Albatross and it involves being picked up at the point near to Kairoz. I stand on a rock next to the stairs to the Celestial Arena and it works for all classes (so far):

Timeless Isle - showing the Billy No Mates route

I have modified the map provided by the Godmother and have added point X which is the Taxi rank and point Z which is the Albatross drop off point. Apparently you can still craft things on the flight around the Isle so utilise the time for making bandages, milling herbs or whatever takes your fancy. If you have not already completed the Quest Rolo's Riddle then now is a good time to get to the third instalment of the quest line.

Having killed the Albatross to get off (sorry to hear about feral Druids not being able to attack in Cat/Bear form - welcome to life as a BM Hunter with minimum range and fighting in vehicles) head in an anti-clockwise direction (loot Rolo's Chest, if applicable). Go round as far as possible then drop down (heal yourself) and drop down further. Swim to the bank and find a route out of the water. Loot a Firestorm Egg and a Fire Poppy (it will add to your achievements if nothing else). Mount up and go full speed avoiding as many Fiery mobs as possible, ride straight through the gap in the wall at point C (Not Point B) and head straight towards the chest. Loot chest and die.

I have done this or variations on a theme on 6 Characters now. Hunter died several times in the process, Mage died once using a slower approach, all the other died at the chest except for the Rogue who stealthed all the way there.

Thankfully Blizzard never introduced perma-death so yes I think it is worth doing a suicide mission for iLevel 535 and 2 armour tokens. Reports suggest that this chest is one off item, but I think it is worth checking if it is a weekly respawn. I think it might be worth the repair bill.

-------------------------------------------


Last night I finally decided to visit the Pet Tamer. I have attempted before whenever I see a Master Pet Tamer around the world. A quick bit of research revealed that I need to start in Stormwind. The intention was only to get the starter training not to butcher all the surrounding wildlife. In the end I had to force myself to stop.

I am starting to see the attraction, but I still have too much stuff to do in other parts of the game. Perhaps Pet Battles should be available on handheld devices similar to Hearthstone. Some people might end up trapped in World of Warcraft for all of our waking life.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Baby Can I Hold You


After the comments on yesterday's post, and thank you for your comments by the way, I would like to make a slight retraction about the state of crafting. My main is a Skinner/Leatherworker as you might expect from a Hunter, and in general Leatherworking as always been the ugly step child of the crafting profession (with the exception of Engineering). Blacksmiths make armour and weapons, Tailors can make armour and bags, Leatherworkers can make armour and little patches to put on your legs.

The usual pattern is fro expansions is 2 Epics and PvP gear, and recipe drops from the current raid content which needs materials from the current raid content. If the Leatherworker is not doing regular raid content then you are stuffed. Simply skin animals and sell on the Auction House. I assumed this still to be case until I read the comments from R.

"Regarding crafting, I have to respectfully disagree with you on that point, during 5.0 only raiders had access to the patterns but in 5.2 and 5.4 the process has been entirely democratized. Kill a few mobs, get a recipe, do a daily crafting cooldown that also gives you a random recipe and once a month you can make an item. I have L87 toons on remote servers that are able to do that, there's absolutely no raid requirement and raiders don't have significantly better access. Really, they don't have any better access unless they're willing to sacrifice a likely very expensive DE mat in exchange for saving a single day of crafting."

I decided to check what it was that R was talking about, I knew I had a new recipe for Hardened Magnificent Hide, but I did not remember seeing any other recipes in all the kills I have made on the Timeless Isle. Sure enough I have a recipe for Mail Agility Legs requiring 21 Hardened Magnificent Hide. I can make 1 a day and I have an abundance of leather at the moment. I can have a new pair of 545 Mail Legs for my Hunter. The mats are very reasonable but 21 days to craft them!

I have to say this is a rather awesome surprise, I have no idea how many recipes there are at present to collect because my usual font of knowledge the Crafters Tome is not updated yet.

TenTonHammer states that there are recipes for Legs and Waist (Pants and Belt) for all roles, so I can only assume the droprate is not brilliant.

"They are item level 553 belts and pants.  Tailors have a DPS and a Healing set available, Leatherworkers have a melee and caster DPS set, as well as a tank and healer set, while Blacksmiths have a DPS, Healer, and Tanking set available to them."
 
---------------------------------------
 
Yesterday, I decided to follow the advice of the Godmother in search of a Blazing Chest. I roped in Oov for some assistance, and we sat in his chopper, and made our way to the broken bridge, stopping twice to kill Jakur of Ordon, and Cinderfall.
 
The trip across the gap in the bridge went without a hitch, with the one exception that Oov carried on into the Courtyard were I was forcibly ejected back to the Celestial Tournament area (oh bugger). The next attempt resulted in an unexpected meeting with Archiereus of Flame. He apparently drops a Burden of Eternity, and I was still on my way to find the Blazing Chest to get another one.
 
This time we ran round the outside of the courtyard and encounter several fiery guys who did not want us to pass. Fortunately there was another group clearing the way.
 
The Blazing chest yielded a ring and a Helm, which with the exception of my weapon are the weakest items in my inventory as predicted by the Godmother.
 
"This could be a massive co-incidence, but those two Timeless Loots co-coincided exactly with my two lowest iLevelled items currently equipped. Similarly when I looted on my Mage."
 
I think it is no co-incidence and the Godmother was spot on with her original observation.
 
Having now got two Burdens of Eternity in my bags I was worried about losing one. The Godmother wrote a small aside:
 
"[Oh, and for those of you curious, you can not simply loot but use more than one Burden of Eternity in a week. P's chest loot gave her a second. I have no idea if they stack however... :P] "
 
This seemed to conflict with the Grumpy Elf's Monday report, which is too long to even find the relevant section. Needless to say you can collect 2 or more Burdens of Eternity in a week and you can use them all in the same week. I think that the random Burden of Eternity (world  island drop) can only happen once per character.
 
Armed with two new shiny pieces of equipment I wanted to try them out. I did a Scenario for Valor, the Jade Temple in a futile attempt to do the Noodle cart quest, and a LFR.
 
The LFR was rather uneventful except for dropping of the strangest weapon I have ever seen, Durumu's Baleful Gaze.
 
 
The upgrade of a weapon from iLevel 480 to iLevel 502 appears to add an additional 50% to my DPS. I thought it was because I was doing it wrong not that I didn't have a decent weapon.
 
 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Land Of Confusion (II)


The Timeless Isle is it good, bad or indifferent? To be quite honest I am not sure.

I have run the zone 10 times on different characters now and I only feel totally at ease on 2 of the characters, my main Hunter and the utility and hard hitting Elemental Shaman. All the rest felt weak even with their new found wealth of gear.

I was originally feeling good at about the zone when every other chest or chest wielded gear tokens, but after thought provoking posts like this from the Godmother. Oddly though the Godmother is growing into the zone and I am growing wearier.

I decided early on that the best course of action was to do all the starter quests and then stop at the 50 Epoch Stones, which is the point where it starts to get grindy, The recommended Great Turtle Hatchlings for the Epoc Stones seemed to have been nerfed and in the end I proceeded to do mostly skinable creatures, Turtles, Snakes and Cats were the order of the day, and special thanks to Oov for all the waiting whilst I made good use of my skinning knife. I mostly did my solo content as part of a duo, it just seemed less stressful and with 2 eyes peeled on Rares it proved to be nice easy content. Kilnmasters are still a pain in the butt even for 2 people, which explains the rep parties going on around the isle. Now I might be completely wrong but I cannot see the value in the Shaohao Reputation, except for a serpent dragon mount. The sheer number of hours required I think I might pass on this one. If anyone can explain the 5 masks other than as vanity items, then I would be most grateful.

Back to the Godmother and her first impressions, she wrote:

"Part of my brain, the massively cynical portion, wonders if they had a meeting for 5.4 before it was instigated and had a whiteboard where the Devs wrote down all the things they'd done wrong in the game this time around, and right at the top, in capital letters, someone wrote 'GIVE ALTS FREE STUFF TO MAKE MAINS FEEL BETTER.'"

This is a design plan, and it got me thinking why are they doing it? Yes, it is a mid-expansion gear reset, and yes, Alts have it tough this expansion, and yes, Mains are struggling with off specs, but what is it for. My only explanation is just like in Cataclysm, when Heroic 5 Mans were tough, and the Zul's were horrible, ultimately they gave  us a loot fest in the last patch which they called it Looking for Raid and the Dragon Soul. Large number of people had killed Deathwing in the first month.

MoP is the first expansion to have multiple tiers of LFR, and to be brutally honest the iLevel of the gear in LFR is shocking at 502, so introducing a loot reset at 496, just below the ToT LFR, then people will be able to catch up in ToT and be able to move onto Siege of Orgrimmar as quickly as possible. Blizzard has developed a policy of "Leave No Man Behind", and everyone will get to see the last Raid and the fall of Garrosh before the next expansion. The plan is slow, slow, slow open floodgates. Rohan discussed the issue dual specs to do anything in the MoP expansion:

"Until 5.4, I never realized just how much I resented the way Mists of Pandaria was turning out. I play a healer, and it just seemed like so much of Mists was healer-unfriendly. There was all this neat new content and game modes, and I had to switch to Ret to do most of it."

The Timeless Isle will alleviate some of this pressure and the loot fest is not all about Alts, it is designed to get some of those Healers and Tanks available. This was probably the single biggest failing of the expansion. If it is hard to get gear for one spec, then it is damn near impossible to do it for a second spec. The latter waves of 5 Man Heroics always gave the chance for someone to say, "Can I need for my Off-spec?".

The Godmother questions why crafting was not used, and in my opinion the crafting model is being left to rot, with only raider having access to high end patterns and the inevitable materials which have raw materials more valuable than the crafted item. I used to love crafting but I think Blizzard have long since killed the design for anything other than starting gear at the beginning of an expansion. Why spend huge sums of money on an item that will be replaced so quickly? The odd BoE item available for spare Valor tokens was a better solution for those with either excessive amounts of Valor or with spare Gold to lavish on Alts.

The Timeless Isle is currently crammed with people, but what is it going to be like when they produce the next such island when connected Realms are in place? Is the zone worth going to back to every week when the server resets so that we can do the weekly quests? I am guessing that if Battlefield:Barrens is anything to go by, this island will very soon be deserted, and the only thing left is queuing for LFR again.

The Grumpy Elf is turning towards the meta game of Timeless Isle Achievements, the chances are that you will not have completed too many by accident, but you will be a good chunk of the way to getting the right ticks in all the boxes, like kill one of every type of mob, find every Treasure chest available.

The Godmother has moved on to the real interest in the Timeless Isle and that is the collection of Burden of Eternity, this will move your gear on significantly from the iLevel 496 to 535. If RNG is required then some of us are already screwed, but as the Godmother points out, there is one chest that is guaranteed, unfortunately it is a one shot item and can only be looted once ever.

There seems to be some discrepancy in reports about how often certain chests can be looted, and I am guessing that this will not be resolved until reset day and we can try and loot them all again.

Last week I had a moan about the Albatross as a method for getting around, and it appears I am not the only person. The forums were full of vitriol for the new system and most of it surrounded the killing of an Albatross when fully laden with travelling hero. Blizzard fixed this little problem with one of their daily fixes, but apparently the griefers have not stopped killing Albatrosses to stop other people using them. I personally waited for 5 minutes for an Albatross to fly by and then discovered that I had no spells with which to attract its attention on a Paladin. I am sure this is not the only class lacking in a long range damage spell. Anybody who can help on this matter I can guarantee your advice will be greatly received. I have yet to time the length of the journey but the speed and the route are just plain crazy. Can somebody please get some engineers from Northrend to rig up some ski lifts?




Friday, 13 September 2013

Like A Rolling Stone


I confess, I got it wrong. The Timeless Isle is brilliant for gearing alts and ultimately it will result in a gear reboot, with every character able to get around iLevel 500 without too much of a problem. My initial thoughts was that a main character would be able to kill all the nasties and then send the gear home. Whilst this approach is possible it is not the quickest and smartest route. The best way is to send each of your Alts to the Timeless Isle so that at the minimum they can spend an hour there and do the initial quests.

Day 2 saw the Guild raiding, they sensibly left it a day after the patch, which left me soloing Timeless Isle on my Hunter. This time the pace was so much slower with 90% of the Island uncovered and explored. Having seen some of the achievements I decided to try and fill in some the gaps, by killing mobs I had previously ignored and searching out new types of Treasure Chests.

This resulted in a lot of platform action, of which I do not excel, like balancing on a yardarm on the pirate ship and tightrope walking across 3 different ropes at differing levels. The things we do for treasure.

There are certainly a lot more quests than I was lead to believe. Icy Veins in their overview describe questing as:

Questing. There are a few quest lines that take place on the island, including the last part of the Mists of Pandaria legendary quest line. There are also two daily and two weekly quests, and a cooking quest line that rewards you with the recipe for crafting a raid cauldron that provides +300 food to everyone in the raid.

I suggest doing all the starter quests on each character and then just doing the two dailies and  2 weekly quests on your main. I got stuck on the cooking questline, but thanks to Icy Veins I now need to do The Temple of the Jade Serpent to kill the Sha of Doubt. There are so many Sha's that I lost track of the location of this one. Icy Veins suggests that you should stay in the instance:

"After killing the Sha, do not exit the instance, because you need to turn in the quest to the scroll in the same room as the Sha. Also, try to get the tank to stay with you, because the next quest, Bad Feeling, Worse Result, requires you to kill an elite mob on the balcony at the end of the room where you fought the Sha of Doubt. To defeat this mob, just avoid all things thrown at you."

Another useful piece of advice is killing Great Turtle Hatchlings for the 50 Epoc Stones. I was finding the going quite slow, so this should speed up the process no end.

The one thing that I have really noticed about the Timeless Isle is how easy it is to die, unless you have got your complete game face on. R yesterday mentioned in the comments about the huge Frogs that leave a nasty coating of venom which will continue long after they have died. The frogs themselves are not a difficult fight, but I only noticed a problem when I sent my Cat into attack to find it had expired on the floor. There are other mobs that will charge and remove your health bar to around 25%. The difficulty level is definitely there, and I am starting to think that Blizzard is unsure about solo and group content. Grouped the content is very easy, solo you need to be careful. Which one do you want us to do Blizzard?

 Icy Veins gives suggestions about where it is safe to farm for Rep, and I am starting to think they have got a good point. The Rares seem easy enough so why not let the whole zone have group loot or Rare tapping.

BBB yesterday made a good point about the new minimap Rares appearing, in Pandaria and not just in the Timeless Isle. On a brief sojourn to the Isle of Thunder, I was able to snag a Rare without having to go out of my way to look for it. This will be a huge benefit for anyone still visiting the Island. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Sugar Sugar


Sugar, ahh,
Honey, honey.
You are my candy girl,
And you got me wanting you

The Archies

This song has been bouncing around my head since the Grumpy Elf described the Timeless Isle as,
"Coins and gear tokens drop like candy.

Sitting at work and waiting for news of the new patch is rather painful and surprisingly few bloggers managed to write up their experiences, I guess they are still working out what to do with all the Candy Loot.

 I was fretting yesterday about how to get to the Timeless Isle, but I should not have worried, with Blizzard using the incoming message as soon as you enter the Vale. A quick teleport and you are stood opposite the new Flight Path attendant.

Blizzard described the experience on the Timeless Isle as, "Open-world adventuring at your own pace.", but does this adequately describe the zone. There are quests to guide you along your first tentative steps, which is like having stabilisers on a child's bicycle, but ultimately you feel compelled just to roam and see what the world contains. Certainly there are lots of things to click on and treasure chests lurk in dark corners. 

The mini map will draw you attention to any new activities in your new vicinity, like rares and treasure chests, so keep an eye on the map and the other eye on the screen, because respawn rates are rather crazy at the moment. The difficulty level of the island was described by Blizzard as:

"Being able to take on large creatures by yourself also means that long after Patch 5.4 comes out, when the number of people visiting the island dwindles, you’ll still be able to bring new characters there and engage with everything it has to offer."

Having read Grumpy and the fact that he died several times, mostly to PvP but the point remained that this Island may contain some hidden nasties and the answer is definitely in the affirmative. If you take iLevel as a reasonable indicator it might shed some light on Blizzard's statement. If Grumpy is 536 and Bob is 504 and a new 90 is 458, then I predict some problems. Almost everything is 90, 91, 92, Elite or Rare, which would mean that unless your new level 90 can simply drop threat at a moments notice then they are going to become well acquainted with the Spirit Healers and Graveyards.

I usually run my Hunter as Beast Master with a Ferocity Pet, but it soon became obvious that it would be hard to keep my pet alive this was. Pet Tanking is the new methodology and possibly a respec is required to generate some additional healing from Spirit Bond. In some respects I am tempted to do the Isle on a Blood Death Knight, all the gear is BoA so what does it matter which character brings home the bacon.

With so much iLevel 496 gear dropping on the Isle, it makes me wonder why I was so obsessed with the Battlefield:Barrens, I could simply have taken 6 weeks off WoW, enjoyed the summer and come back to the the game in September refreshed.  The Justice points that I have been carefully collecting are almost useless as well. The best gear available with Justice is the gear formerly with the 5.1 Operation:Shieldwall vendor which oddly enough offers iLevel 496. Why spend the Justice points when you can wait for a drop? At the current rate I should be able to clothe all my characters in less than a month, and maybe as short as 2 weeks if lucky with the right drops. So far on my Hunter I am a magnet for boots of any material and mail Chestpieces. These are great for converting to Epic items and either vendoring or disenchanting, the price of Enchants is set to nosedive.

The area is considerably smaller than I was expecting but then again a quarter of the zone is only open to the Elite Cloak wearing brigade who are fortunate enough to have done those LFR chores week after week. I do not begrudge anybody who was patient enough to complete the Wrathion quest line. What is more of a concern is the stupid idea for getting to the highest parts of the zone in the mouth of an Albatross [*], that takes the longest route known to man and who moves slower than the average gastropod. No wonder the peaks have treasure chests on top, nobody can be bothered to wait that long. In some respects the Pandarians should telling us to slowdown, and should be more British in asking people to queue in an orderly line.

In recent weeks I have been rapidly using up my supply of Exotic Leather, and even started farming it with Raptorleaf seeds at the Sunsong Ranch. The Timeless Isle provides a multitude of corpses, including snakes, bulls, crabs and cats. The number of people with skinning on their mains is probably quite small and this leaves a huge pile for the discerning skinners amongst us. The extra bonus is the Timeless coins that drop from skinned corpses, makes it a double win.

With all this Timeless coinage arriving in my pocket, and everybody on the Isle wanting to sell me something it is like being at a Bazaar. Never wanting to foolishly part with my money, although I did buy some keys, (I couldn't resist) for the cave with treasure chests in it (I felt like Indiana Jones trying to choose the Holy Grail). I have discovered the following list from Battle.net forums:

Mistwalker Ai, Located in the Celestial Court



  • 496 tokens for 7500 coins
  • 476 Weapons for 10000 coins
  • Burden of Eternity 50000 coins
  • 535 Trinkets 50000 coins
  • Mogu Rune of Fate - 2500 coins
  • Time Worn Journal - 500 coins
  •  
    Mistweaver Ku - Shaohao Rep
     


  • The scroll of challange is used to summon a group of elite mobs that are rather hard to kill. It is used as a part of the Shaohao questline.
  • Vanity Masks - Friendly - 100 coins each
  • Scroll of Challenge - Honoured - 500 coins
  • Time Lost Artifact - Honoured - 7500 coins, 476 trinket that ports to the Isle
  • Harmonious Porcupette - Revered - 7500 coins, battle pet
  • Celestial Defenders Medallion - Revered - 2500 coins, transforms you into a "celestial defender"
  •  
    Speaker Gulan
     


  • This guy sells a "censer of burning agony" for 7500 coins. When you activate this you become pvp flagged to all players. When you kill a player you are rewarded with a "bloody coin" which can be spent here
  • Black Ash - 1 coin - Reduces targets healing taken by 90% for 10 seconds
  • Pouch of White Ash - 20 coins - trinket that increases pvp power and resilience by 5641 for 30s
  • Fire-Watcher's Oath - 50 coins - Transforms you into a Yangol
  • Reins of the Ashhide Mushan Beast - 500 coins - A mushan beast mount.
  •  
    Blizzard describe the currency rewards as:

    "The currency of the Timeless Isle is Timeless Coins, which players can use to purchase Mogu Runes of Fate, additional BoA gear, pets, mounts, and some just-for-fun items. The island also contains a new faction—one that forges a mystic bond with the lost Emperor of Pandaria, Shaohao himself—that will grant you access to even more cosmetic rewards. Gaining faction with Emperor Shaohao isn’t gated, but it does require battling some of the most ancient and powerful creatures the island has to offer."

    If the coins are merely for spending then, I believe that a 535 Trinket would be my number one priority at the princely sum of 50000 coins, with a Mushan Mount coming in a close second.

    I nearly forgot that there is a new faction, and a fully Exalted reputation bar is always a reasonable motivator for many players. I am not sure whether this zone will have the legs to last for any considerable time and I expect it to be almost deserted in about 6 weeks, but for now, I am happy to collect my daily candy.




    [*] Apologies to the person who was enjoying his slow ride to China, before some stupid Hunter attacked the Albatross that was carrying him.

    Wednesday, 11 September 2013

    What's New Pussycat?


    What do we know now that patch 5.4 is a day old? Well for those of us in Europe, we can only go on the murmurings from the US servers and those of you lucky enough to have got some game time under your belt. So here is a roundup for what to expect. Big Bear Butt is exploring the wide open spaces like a modern day David Livingstone or Christopher Columbus. The Godmother is going to fill in forms for all her many offspring.

    We have not heard from the Grumpy Elf but he has already foretold his plans for yesterday.

    Kaliope is of course giving some sound advice regarding crafting, it seems to involve smacking around the local inhabitants. This is good advice so I will repeat it here:

    Blacksmiths: - Farm Pandaria mobs until you get the Balanced Trillium Ingot plans - craft one!

    Engineers: - Farm Pandaria mobs until you get Chief Engineer Jard's Journal and learn the recipes from it. Pop your Blingtron daily for a chance at the new Lil Bling pet!

    Scribes: - Farm Pandaria mobs to collect new Glyph recipes as well as the Crafted Medallion of Tenacity.

    Leatherworkers: - Farm Pandaria mobs for the Hardened Magnificent Hide recipe as well as the Drums of Rage recipe.

    Tailors: - Farm Pandaria mobs for the the Celestial Cloth recipe and craft one to learn a random Crafted Malevolent recipe.

    Cooks: Visit the Timeless Isle to start the quest chain for Noodle Carts! I'm sad to say that I was not able to put this post together in time for the patch. I got stuck on the stupid Jade Temple boss and could not kill him. Unfortunately on the PTR player gear was scaled down to 463 inside the 85 dungeons. I have no idea if this will be the case when 5.4 goes live.


    I am guessing that most of my Alts are going to get at least a little playtime depending on how long it takes for the recipes to drop from "Farming Pandaria Mobs". To be brutally honest I know there is a Timeless Isle and a starter Quest, but I have no idea where it is or how to get there. I get the feeling the game might have some serious arrows pointing me in the right direction, similar to the Darkmoon Faire arrows.
     

    Monday, 9 September 2013

    Ready To Rock


    A new week and the countdown begins Tuesday and Wednesday will see Patch 5.4 install itself on our computers. With plenty of new material to go at. are you Ready to Rock?

    Blizzard have made it nice and easy for the transition and you can find their guide here, they have even done a preparation for the new patch. I have spent a full month preparing for Wednesday and it is only now I am starting to ask myself why did I bother.

    Without a time constraint we all probably spend a little time dawdling or faffing about, but if you are given a date for completion, then we all get on with it, even if you leave it to the last minute. "Homework must be in on Tuesday", "I want that report on my desk at the close of play today", we have all been there and we know what the punishment is likely to be for failure to comply. WoW has no punishment, but we apply our own rationale, complete with rewards and punishments One such example is:

    The conversion rate for Justice Points to Honor Points have changed. The conversion rate is now 500 Justice per 250 Honor (up from 375 Justice per 250 Honor).

    If I don't do it now and end up converting at a later stage it was cost an extra 150 honor/justice to convert, is this the end of the world? no of course not. It is the equivalent of doing a weekly shop at several different supermarkets to get the best price. It is nice in theory, but the usual result is that we just visit one conveniently located supermarket and buy everything from the one shop, mostly because it is just easier.

    The main thrust of my preparation is to do with the acquisition of Justice points, which involves dailies, scenarios and the occasional Heroic 5 man on multiple characters. When I need a break I have been completing fishing and cooking, and for some stupid reason I need to complete the "Way of" on all my characters. Getting to 600 is not sufficient I need all the specialisms and all the Banquets. The cooking process needs lots of different fishes, so I go off and do fishing, and that leads to daily Anglers quests. I guess I just get easily distracted from my main focus.

    With a new patch, Blizzard releases the new code weeks in advance, so we end up playing some hybrid game with the client and server slightly out of sync. The result certainly in Europe has been for logging on issues, disconnects, poor framerates, terrible lag spikes, and the game just hanging. All of this bodes well for the incoming patch. The environment needs to be stable before you make changes. You wouldn't do open heart surgery if a patient was running a fever.

    In another useless bit of preparation, I installed the latest set of addons. I say useless because even when the addon heroes have had several weeks testing their products  on the PTR, it turns out that the Live version is slightly different or the impact of thousands of people on a server causes unforeseen problems. The Tuesday of a patch release is filled with Blizzard hotfixes and Addon updates.

    The only addon that caused any problems was TradeSkillMaster which apparently is a whole new beastie. Needless to say I can now no longer do mass Glyph updates on the Auction House, which is probably the main reason that anybody would use the addon in the first place. Fortunately Euripides has come to my rescue, and I will give it a go tonight or just bin it off.

    I have said it more than once, but it still stands, I am glad that the European Realms have an extra day to fix all the bugs.

    Friday, 6 September 2013

    Photograph


    Yesterday I took possession of a new work computer, which I have syphoned from another project. This is one of the perks of working in IT, but the problem I have is moving all my junk onto the new computer. It is not just the applications that need uninstalling from one machine and reinstalling on the other, it is the data that I have been hoarding over the last 2 years.

    It was during this process of reassignment of my data, that I opened Dropbox. For those of you not in the know Dropbox is:

    Dropbox is a file hosting service, that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and client software. Dropbox allows users to create a special folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox then synchronizes so that it appears to be the same folder (with the same contents) regardless of which computer is used to view it. Files placed in this folder also are accessible through a website and mobile phone applications.

    My main use of this function is for updating WoW addons. I can download at work and drop them in a folder and then pick them up at home. It was really impressive when I first encounter this technology, but it is fairly old hat now that everybody is talking about cloud computing. The previous method was using FTP servers which was rather unpleasant method for the average user.

    I discovered in my addon folder that I had copied my WoW screenshots, into a Dropbox folder, so for want of anything better to post here are some screenshots from Bobs's World. 



     This is from my time levelling my Panda Monk through the Eastern Plaguelands. This area is vastly improved since the Cataclysm and I particularly enjoyed the Caravan quest hubs.



    A trip down memory lane, who can forget the starting areas in WotLK. the Lich King expansion utilised quite a number of gimmicky quests and the use of vehicles. The one above is from the Howling Fjords and ends in the giant leap across half the zone to get to the next hub. The other notable quest from the area was firing yourself across a chasm on a harpoon.



    A 3 part screen capture from the Cleansing quest where you leap off the mountain after killing a carbon copy of yourself.


    A chance to act like Crocodile Dundee. This was my favourite zone in WotLK, it was full of skins, ores and herbs, what is not to like about this area.



     Flying around Azeroth is something we have to do to get from A-B, but sometimes the beauty of what is so familiar is lost on us. "WoW's graphics are outdated", maybe the engine is ageing, but I like the cartoony feel to the place, and it is not without detail and certainly not with beauty.

     
     

    This is a sequence that made me laugh, and in the end is quite difficult to capture. The scene is from Duskwood and the Vul'Gol Ogre Mound. I was simply trying to level Archaeology at the end of the last patch. The Ogre runs headlong at a level 85 Hunter saying, "Me Crush, You Die". The hunter in melee range merely looks at the Ogre with contempt and the result is a dead Ogre.


    This is from my recent experiment at Tanking on my Blood Death Knight. I kind of wish that Skinning was a Secondary profession, or that we could have 3 Primary professions.


    Another scene for the Barrens and my mage was having a bit fun with the Kor'kron Outriders. Some of these Hunters sit astride a Battlewolf which I polymorphed into a cat. The cat runs around aimlessly and the Outrider is left trying to outgun a mage at distance.



    Every so often it is possible to capture glitches in the system, this one looks something out of a scene from the Matrix.


    Oi put that kite away!, you will not find any wind in this Inn.

    Tuesday, 3 September 2013

    Feelin' Groovy


    The Godmother is hosting Hunter Week and this got me thinking about the changes that are upcoming in the next patch. Just in case you don't play a hunter (and to be quite honest why not?), they are nerfing hunters by doing away with the single best cooldown in the Hunter's arsenal. Below is the list of changes:

    Hunter
    General
    • The following Hunter pet abilities no longer cost Focus to use: Dash, Dive, and Charge.
    • Arcane Shot now deals 125% ranged weapon damage (up from 100%) and had its focus cost increased by 50%.
    • Counter Shot is now a baseline interrupt ability learned by all Hunters at level 22.
    • Deterrence now has a 3-minute cooldown (up from 2 minutes) but has 2 charges.
    • Disengage now has a cooldown of 20 seconds (down from 25 seconds).
    • Explosive Trap had its overall damage decreased by 30%. Proportionately, more damage has been removed from the initial damage than the periodic effect.
    • Hunter's Mark now has a duration of 20 seconds while in PvP combat (down from 30 seconds).
    • Readiness has been removed.
    • Revive Pet no longer requires the Hunter to have line-of-sight to their pet.
    • Stampede damage dealt by pets when the ability is used outside of an Arena or Battleground is no longer reduced by 75%
    Beast Mastery
    • Beast Cleave's range has been increased to 10 yards (up from 8 yards).
    • Kill Command damage has been increased by 34%.
    Marksman
    • Aimed Shot now deals 450% ranged weapon damage (up from 350%).
    • Binding Shot is no longer a Marksman Hunter ability and is once again a talent.
    Survival
    • Explosive Shot damage has been increased by 27%.
    • Explosive Trap no longer shares a cooldown with Black Arrow but can no longer activate Lock and Load.
    Hidden away in the middle of these changes is Readiness has been removed. 


    I am not a 100%  sure, but  I think this was originally a Marksman Spell and was made available for all Hunter specs for the MoP expansion. I am guessing that this one spell made Hunters the kings of PvP in this expansion after years of being hounded out of battlegrounds. Hunters used to suffer from a terrible affliction called minimum range, where the weapon changed from a ranged weapon (Gun,Xbow, or Bow) to a melee weapon. This left the hunter with 3 offensive spells, auto, wing clip and tickle me with a feather. This was a severe problem if a warrior could ever close enough to hit you. Rogues would generally stunlock you to death and it is the main reason that PvP hunters permanently sat on a Ice Trap. With MoP all the abilities were aligned for the first time, no minimum range, Readiness, and a viable Beastmaster spec. Hunters had a massive prolonged burst damage, with the ability to drop all cooldowns and then do it all again.

    The problem with cooldowns especially of the 5 minute variety, is that you always want them available, just in case. In a raid you either use it a the start of the boss fight or during the burn phase, and in PvP you have a Win button, but then for the next 5 minutes you have no emergency button it is already gone. For the good players out there they time these cooldowns to perfection, and for the less experienced we waste them or at least waste part of it. In the worse case scenario, we hold onto the emergency button for an emergency that never comes. It is for this reason that I will probably benefit more from the changes than a good player.

    A good player was able to stutter step and strafe when movement was an issue, this issue was removed in the last expansion and the Aspect dance became a thing of the past. My timid use of cooldowns affects my DPS output across all characters, and so my Hunter will probably only see the buffs to Arcane Shot and Kill Command, but I will need to weave more Cobra Shots into the rotation, which also means that I am less likely to have Serpent Sting ever drop off.

    I hate the fact that PvP affects PvE in this way, and I feel sorry for the Hunters that can use Readiness properly, but in general this move will probably be a good step in reducing the number of Huntards we encounter, although the term Huntard seems to have dropped out of popular usage. No more running out of ammo, forgetting to feed our pets or rolling on every item.

    The complexity of Hunters is being diminished all the time and the phrase "Easy to play - difficult to Master" will just become "easy to play". Now Blizzard needs to tackle the Spell bloat that afflicts Hunters.