Friday, 31 August 2012


Patch 5.0.4 fails to mention anything about archaeology changes. It is not uncommon for some changes not to be included in the patch notes and are sometimes considered to be bugs or just undisclosed new features. It was widely talked about that archaeology would have less flying and that instead of 3 fragments per digsite there are now 6. What was not mentioned, is that I have noticed that at skill level 500, each Artifact solved now only rewards 1 skillup point instead of the usual 5. I have not completed any rares in this time but for now instead of being max level I am sat on 505 with another 20 digsites to visit.

Somebody on MMO Champion was claiming that only the 45 fragment artifacts gave a skillup and that the 35 fragment artifacts gave no points.

I can only suggest that this is a bug and that nobody could possibly be so cruel as to extend my torture by another 20 digsites.

Computer Age

I am a computer engineer. I have fixed computers and software for a living, for nearly 20 years it has been most of my working life. I love interacting with them and like a PC Doctor I have developed a sixth sense for when they are struggling with their workload and will attempt to upgrade, fix, repair, and replace when necessary. One aspect of computers that I never fully grasped is the Graphics card. Under normal usage it will either display and image or it will not. Everybody is aware of the resolution control and the fact that images can appear squashed or fuzzy or in most cases crystal clear, depending on sight some like the images big and others like the font and icons so small you can barely read them. Business computers are relatively straight forward, but not so the home gaming computer.

I bought my first PC when I left University and started work. It was a DX2-66 a pre Pentium machine with 4MB of memory and an 80 MB Hard Drive. All the games came on floppy disks in those days, 7 disks for Windows 3.1 and 30 disks Microsoft Office if memory serves me right. Since those days I have updated my PC at a fairly uniform every 3-4 years and my current PC is coming around to it's 4th Birthday.

On Patch day (5.0.4) I spend the whole evening in Stormwind crafting and in the Auction House. Yesterday I managed to get out of the city and headed to Northrend in search of herbs and digging up relics. I noticed for the first time when landing near Crusaders Pinnacle that my screen was very jerky. Landing was awkward and turning was very slow. The Framerate which used to 30 FPS in Stormwind and a standard 20 FPS elsewhere was hovering closer to 10 FPS. Northrend should be fairly quiet and in theory should have less rendering to do. I turned the remaining 2 settings that are not currently on low to the minimum settings and the framerate returned to 20 FPS.

The terrain in Azeroth is now fairly standard with no plants and grasses showing above the main contours, it is playable but it is pretty poor to look at. On patch day we all noticed how the game was much brighter and sharper, but now we know there is a downside to this improvement. The minimum requirement for your hardware has just gone up. Cynwise seems to be having an even worse experience than myself and as rendered a 2008 Macbook unusable. 4 years maybe the cutoff period for hardware. The following show the recommended spec for Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria:


Windows XP 32bit (SP3), Windows XP 64bit (SP2), Windows Vista 32bit (SP1), Windows Vista 64bit (SP1) Windows 7:
Dual-core processor, such as the Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 X2
2 GB RAM (2 GB for Vista users)
3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability with 256 MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600 or ATI Radeon™

Mists of Pandaria

Windows 7 64 bit
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2
Nvidia 8800GT
AMD 4830 512MB

My System

Windows 7 64 bit
AMD Athlon 64 X2
Nvidia 8500GT

In theory my system is good enough with the possible exception of the Graphics card. I was already investigating alternatives yesterday and as usual it is a veritable minefield of options. The plans are for a budget card which will provide 30-40 FPS on medium settings. I have settled on the NVidea 630 and the AMD HD 6670. They appear to be of a similar standard and price, around the £50 mark.
Testing under Cataclysm conditions showed the AMD HD 6670 at a sensible 1280x1024 giving 37.3 FPS. If I get anywhere near that, I will be more than happy.

There is so much bovine excrement around Graphic cards, about having to buy the best, for more than the price of a good gaming rig. in 18 months the best will have been superceded and will cost 25% of its original valuation. That £50 card was cutting edge once.

I will do some testing at the weekend and maybe I can save somebody else the enormous amount of time I have spent wading through this macho bullshit.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Apologies from me, I am feeling a little sheepish after a night spent making money instead of investigating the joys and improvements brought to us in the new patch.

Last night was the result of 3 months meticulous planning and it consumed the whole night in a frantic chase for gold. I only had one plan and if you have read any of my posts you will realise that it was a day for Scribes to shine. The general consensus is that Scribes are greedy and charge vast sums of money for very simple crafting activities. The reality is a different story completely.

Inscription and Jewelcrafting both require a large amount of effort in order to be completely useful. Jewelcrafters spend months doing dailies to acquire the recipes from which they can accumulate their wealth, Scribes have the roadblock of research, which is a daily activity to discover another Glyph. In general the glyphs that every scribe knows are sold at less than cost price and the research is where the money is made.

Scribes take a stack of 20 herbs and crush (mill) them 4 times to create 8-12 pigments. These pigments are then turned to inks (2 pigments in each ink), then inks are turned into glyphs (3 inks per glyph). In terms of costing per glyph I use the following model

20 herbs = 10 pigments.  10 pigments = 5 inks.  5 inks = 1.666 glyphs

so if 20 herbs = 20 gold then each glyph costs approx 12 gold.

There are about 400 glyphs available in game including the new monk glyphs. So if a scribe makes 5 of each one then he will be carrying a stock of 2000 glyphs. If the scribe puts 2 of each kind on the Auction House then that is 800 glyphs which need to be placed manually one at a time. Thankfully Trade Skill Master a certain amount of automation.

The evidence from the beta was that most of the glyphs would have a direct correspondent in the new patch 5.0.4 but not wanting to waste 12G and the time and effort required to stock up all the glyphs before the expansion I opted to stock up on inks instead. The process of making in the region of 1500 glyphs was a back breaking couple of hours.

The difficulty of mass production and the time consuming effort required to make and sell glyphs acts as a barrier to entry. If this was not bad enough the biggest barrier to entry is the other glyph sellers. Every few minutes 90% of your glyphs would be undercut, and then they would be undercut by someone else. It carnage and chaos, and with so many glyphs and so few bag spaces I ended up utilising 1 scribe and 4 AH mules to cancel, collect, and repost the glyphs.

In 5 or 6 hour period I was able to increase my treasure trove by 10,210 gold. Was this really a good use of my time? Not sure, it was weeks in the planning and it was a one off event, the aftershock will keep me involved for at least a week. This will give me time to digest the changes in the game, without rushing headlong into instant gratification. One of my targets on the run up to MoP was to increase my wealth by 100,000 gold, I achieved over 10% of this target in 5 hours. I have used up my entire supply of inks and have no suitable way to replenish my stocks without farming them myself.

The prices on my server for glyphs ranged from 200 gold down to 30 gold for the cheapest. The day before the patch, the average price was about 20 gold each. With a little research people could have saved themselves a small fortune by buying early. What surprised me more, was why they didn't have all the glyphs learnt already.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Goodbye Cruel World

Goodbye cruel world,
I'm leaving you today.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
Goodbye, all you people,
There's nothing you can say
To make me change my mind.
Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
How long have we waited for this day to arrive? Whilst I am disappointed that Theramore is not going live in patch 5.0.4, it does allow everyone a little time to get familiar with the class changes.
In the spirit of the occasion, what are we going to miss about the Cataclysm? In the words of Eric Idle, "I mean - what have you got to lose? You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing!"
Seriously though what was Cataclysm all about? Taking the patch notes as a guide I am going to review the major parts of the expansion.

Patch 4.0.1



This was a game changer and allowed for most people to become hit capped and to stack the minor stat of choice. Win

Flexible Raid Lock:

This system provided the opportunity for a character to defeat each raid zone’s encounters once a week. A character may now complete the encounters during the week with different raids of either 10 or 25 players. At the time this seemed like a good idea to attempt to curb the raider excesses of WotLK. The result was the near death of 25 Man raiding and takes away choice from the raider. Many raiders make up for the shortfall now by doing LFR which appears not to be intended use of LFR. Of course LFR did not exist at this point in the game. Lose

Patch 4.0.3a


The Shattering of Azeroth:

"Without warning, the corrupted Dragon Aspect, Deathwing, erupted from the stone heart of Deepholm, the domain of earth within the Elemental Plane. Jagged fissures were torn across the earth, and monstrous waves pummeled coastal regions. From Thousand Needles to the Blasted Lands, the surface of Azeroth was reforged through violent upheavals. Now, the Horde and the Alliance must defend their homes against Deathwing and his minions, burdened by the unsettling fact that the world as they know it has changed... forever."
A large part of the expansion was the changing of the landscape and the leveling experience from 1-60. However much you might have loved the old world, this was very much needed. Vanilla WoW was jaded and the process for new players leveling from 1-85 presented very different experiences between the expansions. Since the Shattering, it is the Outlands that now looks like the jaded tired world.
For those that enjoy leveling and sampling each zone, the leveling experience is too streamlined now and experience points are awarded for mining, herbing and archeology. Any venture into an instance will take your level up by at least 1.5 levels. Win

New High Level Zones:

Hyjal, Vashj’ir, Deepholm, Uldum, Twilight Highlands, and the PvP/Dailies zone of Tol Barad. Much has already been written about this zones already, the usual comments are that the phasing let to a very linear leveling experience, Uldum had way to many cut scenes, and Vashj'ir was long and tiresome with very poor mapping for the cave entrances and the difficulties of 3D combat. The general consensus is that the zones were not interlocking and resulted in a very disjointed experience. Lose

Two New Playable Races

The Goblins and Worgens have proved to be very popular. Worgens in particular have managed to capture about an 8% share of the Race makeup according to WoWcensus. Goblins on the other hand have continued the trend of the unpopular smaller races at 5%, which puts them on a par with Dwarves but above Gnomes. The new zones were generally well received. Win

5 Man Heroic Dungeons

Blackrock Caverns, Throne of Tides, Vortex Pinnacle, Stonecore, Grim Batol, Tol'vir, Halls of Origination and the remade Shadowfang Keep and the Deadmines. Not one of these is fondly remembered, and for those that can still remember the hassle of leveling through normal versions of the 85 instances to get the gear to finally attempt the Heroics, which were set at too high a difficulty for the iLevels with people in greens and blues and the changes to healing (anyone remember Triage?).  Lose


3 new introduction Raids were introduced, Throne of the Four Winds, Bastion of Twilight, and Blackwing Descent. The pattern of difficult healing, increased use of crowd control and the small numbers of people able to work through Heroic Dungeons gave these raids a slow start. The normal versions were hard and the Heroic versions are killers. 3 raids gave plenty of options for the raiding community. Draw


2 new Battlegrounds, Battle for Gilneas and Twin Peaks. Although these new BG's had a sticking resemblance to Warsong Gulch and a cutdown version of Arathi Basin they proved to be very successful. Win
Tol Barad the new version of Wintergrasp, proved to be desperately unbalanced, and early trading for uncontested wins was a big problem with this battle. The zone in the end for all Blizzard's manipulation proved not to be as popular as Wintergrasp and is probably the reason why there is no equivalent in the MoP expansion. Lose

Rated Battlegrounds

"Rated battlegrounds will be an alternate way of earning arena points, arena rating, and other rewards. There will be a limit on how many points you can earn each week through this method, and the amount of points able to be earned will be based on your rating. The higher the rating the more points you can earn. Points will be awarded after each win and you will not suffer any rating loss. There will be 2 types of ratings: personal and (internal) match-making."
The biggest issue, with the rating systems was getting a rating in the first place. Finding groups was difficult and established groups would eat up fresh new teams. The Principle behind it was good and it provided an alternative to Arenas for the accumulation of Conquest Points. On the plus side it made the normal BG's more competitive. Draw


Archaeology the new secondary profession started off very popular and very quickly wore people down. This is a very grindy profession with lots of flying time, inaccurate quadrants and an inability to deal with digsites on multiple levels. Rewarding to Lore nerds but most of the rewards were cosmetic, vanity or appeared too late in the game. One particular issue was not being able to find digsites in Uldum for the canopic jars. Lose

Guild Advancement and Achievements

This proved to be a big motivator for joint Guild activity. 25 Levels and lots of lovely perks for being in a high level guild. This was possibly a one trick pony and the co-operation it brought will be difficult to recreate in future expansions. Most Guild banks are now overflowing with riches from the invisible tax levied on all monetary loot. This resulted in alot of Guilds offering very attractive repair bills which served to help with one of the Guild achievements. This also now presents a barrier for people to leave Guilds, and will in time stop new Guilds from flourishing unless they can find a niche. Draw

Patch 4.1.0


5 Man Heroic Dungeons

Rise of the Zandalari - reintroduced former Troll raids into 5 Man Heroic Dungeons. The newly reworked dungeons were Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub. Only Players with a minimum average item level of 346 or higher could access these dungeon via the Dungeon Finder. This was a further problem compounded by the original 5 Man Heroic Dungeon strategy implemented by Blizzard. A large percentage of the player base could not achieve 346 without cheating with PvP gear, this then caused further problems with players trying to PvE with PvP gear. The difficulty level was set reasonably high, but the real problem was the length of time it took to complete. Lose

New Quest Chain: The Zandalar Representative

This was a short quest chain to introduce the Troll Heroics. Making use through phasing, in the now under utilised area of Stranglethorn Vale, it provided the lore as to why you should help smash a few Troll skulls in the new Heroics. Win

Patch 4.2.0


The Regrowth and Molten Front

"A large assortment of all-new daily quests and rewards are now available in Hyjal, where players can help the Guardians of Hyjal push back the allies of Ragnaros and establish a forward operating base in the Firelands! In order to partake in the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quests, players must have at least completed Mount Hyjal up to and including the quest Aessina's Miracle. Once this quest has been completed, players should speak with Matoclaw in the Sanctuary of Malorne to take part in the Regrowth efforts."
The Molten Front was a nice idea badly implemented. The idea was to provide extra end game content that was not PvP or Raid orientated. It was an idea based on the Argent Tournament Grounds of setting up a hub for dailies. Also it allowed for the first time in the expansion a chance to obtain decent Epic items.
The phasing was badly implemented and created spoof mining nodes and herbs and the leveling process was quite frankly long and tedious. It required daily activity and took weeks to complete. The zone has been dormant ever since, and it was just too damn mindnumbing to drag all your alts through the same process. Even if there was Blacksmithing and Engineering plans available. Draw 

New Quest Chain: Elemental Bonds

"A New quest line is now available to level-85 Horde and Alliance characters, bringing brave adventurers to Thrall's aid. The Call of the World-Shaman, the quest which will point players toward Thrall and The Nordrassil Summit, can be obtained at the Earthshrines in Stormwind or Orgrimmar."
A nice quest chain to help Thrall, which sets the scene for the new Firelands Raid. Win

New Raid: The Firelands

"Located within the Elemental Plane, the Firelands is an all-new 10- and 25-player raid featuring normal and Heroic difficulties! Battle-hardened veterans of the Horde and Alliance now have an opportunity to strike at Ragnaros the Firelord and his loyal servants by venturing into their domain via Sulfuron Spire in Mount Hyjal."
A difficult level Raid in which many over geared raid teams still cannot defeat Heroic Ragnaros. The trash in the Raid is very heavy and a trim down would not have gone a miss, but overall it was challenging and interesting but with too many barriers to entry in terms of gearing. Draw

New User Interface Feature: Dungeon Journal

"A host of dungeon information is now built into the user interface via the all-new Dungeon Journal. This feature can be accessed via a new button in the Navigation tray from anywhere in the world. Boss background story, encounter details, abilities, and loot can be viewed with the Dungeon Journal for all bosses which have been integrated into the new system (this includes bosses for all Cataclysm dungeons and raids). Additional dungeons are planned to be incorporated in future updates."
What is often forgotten about Cataclysm is the huge improvements in the UI. The Dungeon Journal is like having an in game WoWHead. The downside to this is the little oiks who always say, "I hope the Sword of Uber Warrior drops off the 2 headed Zaphod Beeblebrox". Why people need to know what loot is on which boss is beyond me? Can they not have a little mystery in their lives. Win

Patch 4.3.0


New 5 Man Heroic Dungeons

End Time, Well of Eternity and Hour of Twilight, these 3 Heroics had the feel of WotLK Heroics Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflections. They were short runs and gave good loot  and allowed people to skip the Firelands Raid and jump into the Dragon Soul Raid. Well designed and finally providing the length and challenge that is expected of an Heroic Dungeon. Win

New Raid: Dragon Soul

"Players have the opportunity to take the fight to Wyrmrest Temple and beyond, assisting Thrall and the Dragon Aspects as they seek to bring an end to the Black Dragonflight once and for all. 10- and 25-person raids will get to take on Deathwing himself, with three levels of difficulty to consider and epic gear to claim."
This Raid turned out to be shortest challenge of any Raid I can remember. The Normal version was considered to be too easy by many and the real challenge was by doing the Heroic version. Should normal be achieveable in the first few weeks of an expansion by non hardcore guilds? Draw

Raid Finder - LFG

"This new grouping feature allows players to quickly and easily form a pick-up raid for a specially tuned version of the current tier of endgame content: the Dragon Soul raid."
LFG is one of Blizzard's best features, like the Dungeon Finder before it, however in practice this in the hands of the player base turned into a hellish nightmare. All content can be seen by all players, the problem is how enjoyable that experience is. Draw



"This new feature allows players to customize their gear like never before: copying the appearance of one magical item onto another.. You’ll find Transmogrification, Void Storage, and Reforging vendors in Cathedral Square, Stormwind and The Drag, Orgrimmar."
This is the one feature that nobody ever expected to see. It was not even on anybody's wishlist until we actually got it. Win

Void Storage

"In addition to the bank, players will now have access to a new "deep storage" system, allowing characters to free bag space by setting aside coveted gear. You'll find Transmogrification, Void Storage, and Reforging vendors in Cathedral Square, Stormwind and The Drag, Orgrimmar."
What to with those items you kept from travels around Azeroth? all those Tabards that we keep and never use. Void Storage has been another quality of life experience that we never expected. Win

Darkmoon Faire

"Make your way to Darkmoon Island during the first week of every month to take in the new Darkmoon Faire, complete with new quests, shows, games, recipes, toys, balloons, souvenirs, snacks, beverages, achievements, and titles."
The Darkmoon Faire was old and tired and in need of an upgrade or removal from the game. It was used only to pick up your trinket in exchange for a completed set of cards, or by the occasional Goblin buying cheap herbs and selling frogs. The Faire has very quickly become tiresome but with 5 skillups on offer is a very useful place to visit once a month. Nice idea with not much content, I think its time to implement the Killer Rabbit. Draw


In summary this was a very poor expansion in most peoples opinion. Some of the minor improvements have proved to be the most important, like Transmogrification and Reforging.
The difficulty settings have been up and down and have probably settled at the level of Dragon Soul for the foreseeable future. The game has been short of end game activity and many have taken to PvP for something to do, and others have left the game, some for good and some will return.
We know the direction for the game for the next expansion is one of a more casual nature, with different options at end game. Lets hope its as good as it sounds with more options all round.

Friday, 24 August 2012

If I Were A Carpenter

More bags, more bag space. What about the professions? I don't claim to be an expert on the subject but the following is based on previous expansions and what you can reasonably expect to happen to your stash of mats.


Scribes are set for a busy couple of months with the new Glyph changes for patch 5.0.4. If the research is correct or nearly accurate then most Glyphs will revert to the new version. The Inscriptionist shows the full table with only 3 Glyphs being orphaned, whether this works out is up for debate, I lost a few hundred gold in previous Glyph changes. If you need to double check then I can recommend the work Illume has done on the subject. I am of course to double check the hundreds of Glyphs available across 11 classes. The Glyph market is very active at the moment, and on my server there are over 50 pages of Glyphs on the AH. The pricing on these will go out the window based on the popularity of new Glyphs.

Blackfallow Ink will become worthless after the patch drops and will no longer be the trading ink for lower kinds of inks. Only Colossus Smash uses this ink, so sell off your stock if you can, or else trade down, normally for Ink of the Sea which is used in 31% of all Glyphs. The rare inks are practically useless, unless there is a plan to use them in cataclysm shoulder enchants which is highly unlikely.


Ores and Bars will undergo price fluctuations. Right now there will be a rush to sell and the price is likely to floor. If you have the bank space then hold onto them, then the price will return in about 12 months time when the supply is restricted.

Cataclysm PvP gear and Ebonsteel Belt Buckles will have no real demand and the Heavenly Shards will also fall in price.

Volatiles will also lose value and will never fully recover in price.


The leather tends to hold its price reasonably well after the initial sales rush. The scales tend to plummet in price and the demand will never return. Sell your Blackened Dragonscale if you can. Pristine Hides are likely to plummet in price as well.

Cataclysm PvP gear and Leg Enchants will have no real demand and the Heavenly Shards will also fall in price.


To borrow from the Consortium, segment your market for the bag sales. People will want bigger bags for leveling and something economical for the Baby Pandas.

Netherweave bags for the poor
Frostweave bags for working class
Embersilk bags for the middle class
Illusionary bags for the upper middle class
Royal Satchel for the super rich

Cataclysm PvP gear and Leg Enchants will have no real demand and the Heavenly Shards will also fall in price.

Chaos Orbs will be falling in price, possibly snag some cheap ones and make Dreamcloth, which can be used to make Illusionary Bags. 


Keep making those pets:

Lifelike Mechanical Toad
Mechanical Squirrel Box
Crashin' Thrashin' Robot
Tranquil Mechanical Yeti

Pets are going to receive a huge boost with the new pet battles, but on the downside if you have a pet already on one of your characters then it is magically going to appear on all your characters. Make your mind up which way the wind is blowing on this one.

Scopes, if they are still available will only be used by Hunters in future. The rest of the Engineers mats are for personal use only. Only other engineers will be interested and that is a very limited market.


All enchanting mats should be falling in price at this stage of expansion. Hypnotic Dust and Celestial Essence will become valuable again in the future but now is not a good time to sell. Heavenly Shards will become extremely cheap and will never be really useful again unless one of the Cata enchants is better than the MoP options. Not very likely but it has happened before.

My advice would be to use the Heavenly Shards on the first few skillups of the new expansion. If you are feeling daring and have the bank space you may even swim against the tide and snag some Dust and Essence for future sales.


Jewelcrafting is slightly more difficult to predict as the pattern from WotLK was changed in favour of Epic gems being only available to Raiders. WotLK had been a free for all with Epic gems being very cheap and available to everyone. Prospecting and Transmuting provided a steady supply of uncut epic gems. These epic gems would later be very expensive during Cata, because you needed to be level 80 to utilise the Cata gems. This may be the case this time round but in the case of Rare gems not the Epic version.

Common gems are probably only worth vendoring


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Empty Rooms

Not empty rooms it's empty bags we are going to need whilst leveling those 5 new levels. According to WoW Insider we are going to be getting this new quality of life improvement next week, but what is it?

"AoE looting will also be rolled out with patch 5.0.4. Gone are the days of clicking corpse after corpse. As of 5.0.4, you'll be able to simply click one glittering corpse out of the giant pile to loot all of them at the same time. And your computer mouse will breath a quiet sigh of relief." WoW Insider

When this was first mentioned as a possible new feature, it was already available in a few rival MMO's and the implementation was different in each one. Implementation needed to establish the size of radius and the amount of loot that could be picked up in one go. I have not read anywhere in the beta notes the answers to what Blizzard finally settled on. Judging by the comment from WoW Insider it will just collect everything within a reasonable radius.

What to do with all this lovely loot? This is where the extra bag space will come in handy, but I am guessing if everybody is bad as me that 2/3rds of their bag space is filled with items that we carry around just in case, or those vanity items that everybody pops out during a break in the raid. One useful addition from this patch is the account wide mounts, and in particular the Reins of the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth. All my alts will now get the chance to pop this beauty and be able to vendor all the junk items. Don't forget there is new updated version in the Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak providing you have a spare 120000 Gold kicking around. I might just stick with the mammoth for a bit.

Steps to Decluttering

  1. If you have multiple characters then get an addon like Altaholic, it will keep track of how many of a given item all your characters have got and whether it is stored on their person or in the bank,
  2. Clear out the bank, work out which expansion the items are from and make a judgement whether it is likely to go up or down in price when there is a new expansion. New races mean that people will leveling professions at the same time.
  3. Novelty items do you need them - I know I can turn my entire into a Pirate or a Ninja from the wands gained in Hallow's End Holiday. Get rid of them you know you want to.
  4. Reputation items - are you planning on turning them in someday soon? if not sell on AH or just vendor if you can't be bothered. Why are you keeping 250 Marks of Sargeras?
  5. Food - Get rid of that stack of Chilled Meat and Mystery Meat. What is Mystery Meat anyway? Whatever it is my local Indian Takeaway seems to make good use of it.
  6. Potions, Flasks and Elixir - Can you make use of them in the new expansion? If so stack them up and spread between your characters. I know that some of my characters still have Guru's Elixir on them, and all of them have Flasks of Endless Rage, Pure Mojo and Frost Wyrm
  7. Scrolls - When was the last time you used one of these, yet we all have them in our bags and banks. Get them vendored now.
  8. Stash away your favourite Transmog gear and vendor the rest, maybe even consider selling your PvP gear unless of course it is part of your transmog outfit.
  9. Repeat the steps 2-8 in your bags.
  10. Bank everything that is not absolutely necessary for life on Panda Island
I found the following quote from a Real Life professional declutterer (is that even a word):

"When we clear the clutter out of a space, people breathe a sigh of relief. The mood changes instantly. People feel lighter, more serene, more focus. The effect is profound, even when people say they don't notice it."

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Baggy Trousers

Everybody is spending the next few weeks dusting down their characters and making preparations for the Mists of Pandaria expansion. I am still trying to level my alts professions, but it looks like time is not on my side (regardless of what Mick Jagger might say). Now is the the time to concentrate on sprucing up my bag space, especially for the new feature of AOE Looting (is there not a better term for this function yet?).

Traditionally I always carry too much junk on my person, this will consist of raiding consumables (flasks, potions, and elixirs) food (cooked and raw materials) drinks (casters) PvP gear (for when I need to a Superman change into my underpants) and gear for off-specs. The biggest single problem is usually the crafters who always have a plethora of raw materials so I can whip up that off the shoulder number at a moments notice.

Profession specific bags which have the benefit of extra slots are a pain in the backside when you have a mixed bag of goodies and there is nothing worse than the "Inventory is Full" when your crafting bag is half empty. There are 2 anomalies to this the ammo bag and soul shard bag. The Abyssal Bag was originally designed to carry 32 Soul Shards and was later converted to a 22 slot normal bag and was cheaper to make than the equivalent 22 slot bag from the WotLK expansion. The Nerubian Reinforced Quiver was a 22 slot ammo bag which was converted to a 20 slot normal bag. Shards and Ammo are no longer in the game (thank god) and these anomalies can still be used. With Cataclysm the choices for normal bags was the Embersilk bag (22) and the Illusionary bag (26).
The Tattered Hexcloth Bag is a 24 slot unique quest reward and the Portable Hole is sold by Haris Pilton in Shattrath.

The easiest option for enlarging your bag and bank space would be to fill every slot with the 22 slot Embersilk bag, the current price on my server is around 250G with the mats costing 120G. So a quick calculation if I actually needed to update all my characters bags and bank space would be:

10 Characters x (4 Bag spaces + 7 Bank space) x 250 Gold =  27500 Gold at AH crafted price

10 Characters x (4 Bag spaces + 7 Bank space) x 120 Gold =  13200 Gold at DIY price

So it would appear to be worth the extra effort of crafting yourself. Now the Illusionary bag is a different kettle of fish, due to needing 8 Dreamcloth. This was originally an issue with only being able to craft 6 Dreamcloth a week and Dreamcloth being BoP, now it is possible to craft plenty more depending on the quantity of Chaos Orbs in your possession. To purchase from the AH Illusionary bags seem to priced around 3100 G which makes them a better option than purchasing 1 Portable Hole for all your characters unless of course you want the achievement.

The new MoP bag is the Royal Satchel and will have 28 slots. It was originally data mined as only being a 24 slot bag which was not bind on equip. These are unlikely to be available in game for at least a few months, unless you want to sink all your money into buying 2 or 4 extra bag slots.


If you intend on selling bags on the run up and including the first few weeks of the expansion, then the Consortium has got a battle strategy, which involves making different bags by segmenting the market from the Poor to the Super Rich. Foo believes that it is likely to be Embersilk bags that will be the big seller based on historical data of the previous expansions.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lip Up Fatty

Grinding Professions at the weekend, by which I mean Archaeology, took my Gnomey Warlock into the Swamp of Sorrows to pick an abundance of herbs and the fossils lying on the beach. Not really taking any notice of the chat channels, however I noticed a lengthy whisper asking me to join a level 25 guild for fun and social chit chat.

At this point I started to have second thoughts about my guild status on the Warlock. Sure enough I am revered with the same guild where all my characters reside. At this point I started to get angry that somebody would try to poach a random max level stranger wandering around in an old zone with nobody else in sight.

Since when did guild member poaching become acceptable? I know some of the rules of MMO etiquette have diminished over time especially in WoW. My wife was once accused of poaching members of our former guild, and that was considered to be heinous insult especially as it wasn't true.

The guild leveling system has largely killed the guild hoppers due to the loss of perks, and very few new guilds seem to get out of the starting blocks.

On a similar subject Scott Johnson from the Instance (and other things), was arguing in this weeks podcast, that the reason we keep playing WoW is because of the friends and social connections we make whilst playing the game. For some people this may be the case, but like many others I have seen friends and acquaintances fall by the wayside as they leave to play other games or reintegrate themselves back into society.

Of the many companies I have worked there was only one with any serious WoW players. This allowed me to blow off steam and discuss various aspects of the game. Now I play a single player game in a massively multiplayer online game environment and get to blow off steam in this blog. The newly anticipated changes will ultimately make it a more enjoyable game for the lone wolves amongst us.

Anyway, back onto topic, are there any taboos/etiquette left in the game any more. In the Blizzard hints section of the loading screen, they still have pearls of wisdom, "It's considered polite to talk to someone before sending an invite or opening a trade window."  How often do people obey that little one?

The other day somebody bothered to say "excuse me, where did you get that cat from?", I replied that it was from Winterspring, then all I got was radio silence. Now is it so difficult to be polite and use please and thank you? I know I am on a European realm and many people are speaking a second language, I am terrible at languages, but I always learn the greetings and how to say please and thank you, it is just common courtesy.

Does anybody remember a time when people would leave you alone whilst mining a node or picking a herb? This problem used to only occur at the start of a new expansion, then it spread to Sholazar Basin and to a lesser extent to Icecrown. The Cataclysm expansion was even worse, and now it rarely seems to happen at all. Is this because nobody grinds for mats anymore? I can guarantee in 6 weeks it will be like the January Sales chasing every yellow dot on the map with a large pack of gatherers breathing down your neck.

So go out there and play nicely it really isn't that difficult to be civil to those around you. "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all".

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Danger Danger High Voltage

Yes very funny, which one of you has been a Porno Dating site. After leaving a comment for Navimie, I seem to have got several links. I won't give them the pleasure of disclosing the site. Good job I was at home at the time.

I think some of you need to get out a bit more.

Friday, 17 August 2012

I Predict A Riot

The Excitement of a new expansion is very tangible, I can almost smell the excitement in the blogging community. At last we can say goodbye to the least popular WoW expansion and move out of the confines of Stormwind or Ogrimmar (assuming that is where Horde hang out). Shattrath was lag central and Dalaran was a big improvement but forcing us to share only 1 major city was a bad plan. A larger percentage of people used to do their trading in Ironforge if memory serves me right and it was located in a far more central position than Stormwind, Darnassus or the Exodar.

I can safely say that I have no idea where the new city hub is going to located in Pandaria, but it is safe to conclude that the Alliance and Horde are not going to be sharing a Neutral City. Now if it sounds like I have no idea about Pandaria, then this would be quite correct. I might have owned a beta key but this was only to sample the delights of the Panda race and the Monk class. The new cinematic only hints at the rivalry of Human Vs Orcs (read in Alliance Vs Horde) and  Klepsacovic hit the nail on the head by suggesting that the enemy is really the Panda who is more than capable of mincing our derrieres. This is the point where the Americans will cheat and napalm the whole of the Jade Forest.

Having taken a 2 week Olympics Holiday I have finally caught up with all my reading, and to be quite honest, I have no idea what is going on. I understand that there is expansion coming out 25th September and that the customary pre-expansion launches 28th August (29th for Europe so they can iron out all the bugs on the 28th for the real release in Europe -  poor North America being Europe's guinea pigs). The big news yesterday was that we can play all races with the exception of Pandas with patch 5.0.4. Now I thought that was the case right now so maybe it wasn't such big news. Perhaps in tomorrows breaking news Hunters can use Pets in patch 5.0.4.

Every expansion has dropped without me having the faintest idea what to expect. I remember walking through the Dark Portal several weeks after everybody else and then saying, what next? At least I was warned not to run head first into the Burning Legion battling on the steps of the Dark Portal. I had heard enough to run down and to the left to get the first Gryphon out of town.

WotLK dropped and I was ready with everybody else to hop onto a boat to Northrend. I was also aware that there was 2 starter zones for both factions. I simply followed the masses and caught the boat in Stormwind Harbour with 300 other people crammed onto the decks.

Cataclysm was just there, with new expansion we all knew to start out in Stormwind and Ogrimmar. With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that a new expansion should be based on a new continent with all the fun of being able to freely explore the new interlocking zones without cut scenes, lengthy flight times and portals.

The new expansion brings a host of new features, lands to explore, new races to discover, a new class to play, and new class mechanics. I understand the game philosophy and the contents, but none of the specifics. At level 70 I didn't need to know what happened in Grizzly Hills, this to me is the joy of the new expansion and I am looking forward to it with great anticipation.

I know we have Pet Battles, and Farmville to waste a great deal of time. Likewise with hundreds of new dailies to fill in the time when not raiding or waiting for LFR. Alts will become a genuine play style with shared pets, mounts and achievements. The rest I gloss over at the moment and await the chance to discover in my own time.

12 more days to the pre-expansion I can't wait. I predict a riot.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sunday Bloody Sunday

"When fact is fiction and TV reality, and today the millions cry. We eat and drink while tomorrow they die". U2

Adventuring in Stranglethorn Vale is not what it used to be. In the old days you could level for weeks in the place and invariably die if you ended up in the Southern part at too low a level.

Now it is Archaeology central especially if you want to unearth those Troll artifacts.

I thought I had seen everything in the game, but now I have seen a level 85 plummeting to her death just as I am picking up herbs. I did have to double check to make sure she was dead. Perhaps she should take up engineering and make a parachute cloak.

I seem to remember that Gnomeaggedon used to like practising free falling as a block of ice.

Breaking The Law

“Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind”  Douglas MacArthur.

In the last few months I have accumulated a number of traffic violations. One of these offences was speeding on Motorway (usual speed 70 MPH), and I was caught by an average speed camera doing 65 MPH. Unfortunately for me it was on a stretch of the motorway that reduces down to 50 MPH. I had never before driven through this zone in anything but Rush Hour traffic and as consequence never needed to worry because if the Traffic was doing 50 MPH this was a good day indeed. My offence was to go home early suffering with toothache and the desire to get home as quickly as possible. I paid the fine and decided that trying to explain to the police that I was distracted by my toothache would result in a far worse crime of Driving Without Due Care and Attention.

My other traffic violation was a parking fee for not returning to my car before my 3 hour ticket expired. It was not intentional I just didn't have any more change to stick into the meter.

I have been a licenced driver for 26 years now and have never before had a traffic violation. Have I changed my behaviour? No, not really I have always driven slightly above the speed limit and in particular I am very careful and mindful of my speed on motorways especially around contraflows. When you obey the law by sticking rigidly to the speed limit, it really sticks in your craw to see other people flagrantly ignoring the rules and zooming past you in the outside lane. Deep down you want them to be punished for flouting the rules, you know there are speed cameras in the area and that they are bound to be empty, but you know if you tried the same tactics that every speed camera in the world would magically fill itself with images of you breaking the law to be beamed directly to a police computer.

Now I know I have ranted about Blizzard's rules before, I know that I have never read the ToS or the other 2 annoying screens that need to be agreed to whenever a new patch is released, but the reason why we don't read them is because we know that they are there to protect the company from doing anything they want and having the law back them at the same time, but also because the majority of us have no intention of doing anything offensive (ok this statement is up for debate).

Rules are often in place not to rigidly enforce but to support any decisions that are made relating to them. We have seen Blizzard react swiftly to exploits (Ensidia Ban), and to do nothing about botters and gold sellers only to have a FBI style raid and remove 99% of all known germs in one fell swoop.

The original UI was very poor for reporting non conforming behaviour and if memory serves me right, the only option was to report for spamming or to fill out a ticket. Patch 4.3.4 now allows anyone to right click on a portrait and report for a multitude of sins. The question is how much does Blizzard care about the stuff we report. If they can't be bothered to action when things are quiet (9 months without any major content), then what are they going to do when they unleash a sloth of Pandas on the world. If you report a player, then you do not get a response with the action they have taken, it would be time consuming and not always in our best interest to know how Blizzard manages these reports. The issue is, if there are no visual clues of Blizzard actioning these reports, then what is the point of us bothering to fill them in, and if they not bothered then why waste the development time on the UI changes.

So what is it that is currently eating Bob? This is in essence my 3rd such post on the subject of Naming Policy, (here and here) and still I see no activity on Blizzard's side. Only once have seen Blizzard force a name change on someone and that is only because I added them to my friends list.

The current twosome are still my best friend Billgates and his guild of Microsoft, and the very offensive level 85 Shaman Mykhunt. The latter is of course derived from the film Porky's and involving a prank call to a bar asking if they can speak to a Mike Hunt (much guffawing all round especially if you are in early teens and male). In many ways the homage of the prank calls in The Simpson's is far better. In the whole of the English language the C word seems to be most detested especially by women.

I reported my Shaman friend over a week ago, and at the end of the day he has managed to level to 85 without upsetting anyone else, or maybe Blizzard just doesn't care about their own naming policy.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Sorry Real Life finally caught up with me, and I have had a busy time trying to stop my 2 children from turning into Phineas and Ferb. It was the first 2 weeks of their summer holiday, and in an attempt to make it better than last year when I was unemployed for the whole of August, I have run around and filled their days with trips out. Luckily this year coincided with the London 2012 Olympics and Team GB have done the nation proud by collecting far more medals than a small island deserves. Hats off to Jamica who now officially have the best sprinters by a mile.

I have also managed to play some WoW in between the trips out and the Olympics and today proved to be a fruitful experience. Not only did I manage to get 3 LFR's completed without any hiccups but I also had a very interesting experience.

In the last of the 3 LFR's on Friday night, (yes, I know I said never do LFR or LFD at a weekend) I ran my Death Knight "Blamebob" through the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple. I have had severe issues getting Plate armour drops for my Warrior and Death Knight in all expansions so much so that I usually don't even bother trying. According to the stats I have run LFR 6 times on my DK and 4 times on my Warrior. In total that is 9 runs with 4 bosses in each dropping 4 pieces of loot, now if my maths are correct that is 144 drops without picking up a single Tier piece.

Run number 10 yielded my first Tier piece - the Gloves (Gauntlets of the Corrupted Vanquisher) from Warlord Zon'ozz. No sooner was I celebrating my win, I got the whisper, "Please give me the Gloves". No, bugger off was my first thought. I ignored the first request hoping he would go away. "Please I need the Gloves to complete the set", Yes, I understand it is difficult to get the missing piece of any set. "Bob, you already have the gloves can I have the token", No, have I missed something? I check my inventory and I see Time Strand Gauntlets, iLevel 378, that is not the Tier Gloves, they are a quest reward from End Time.

There is something slightly odd about my Death Knight in that I can not click on item links or reply to whispers. This is the only character which this applies to and I am guessing it is a faulty addon or a corrupt profile. I finally figure out a way to speak to my unwanted admirer, sensing that this is like Michael Palin's old ex leper, from the Life of Brian. I explained that the Gloves were not a Tier Piece and would he kindly sod off. The old ex leper took his queue to end the conversation and we moved on to Yor'sahj the Unsleeping. In a rare lucky streak Yor'sahj decided to donate his trousers to my Death Knight. The old ex leper sensing his moment pounced again in the hope that my luck would make me more benevolent towards him.

In an attempt to cut the begging short, I decided to let the Raid know that today was my lucky day after weeks of bad luck. That is the point when the Raid turned very surreal, the responses consisted of "Well done Bob", "Bob for President", "We Love Bob" and lots of other equally silly quotes. Funnily enough it developed a life of its own and it was like another part of the Life of Brian, when Pilate and Biggus Dickus are offering clemency for one of the criminals scheduled for Crucifixion.
I half expected to see "Release Bob".

I decided the best cause of action was to avoid further scrutiny and make sure I didn't die to any of the frosty spikey things that Hagara likes to chuck at people. "Oh look Bob's going wild", head down try to stay alive through the tears of laughter and embarrassment.

Hagara The Stormbinder dies and offers up a further blessing to the RNG gods, Shoulders of the Corrupted Vanquisher. I paused long and hard before pressing Need. Several left the raid after saying "Bye Bob". This time and kind of much to my relieve I didn't win the Shoulders. The old ex leper started a campaign demanding that the unfortunate soul who had won the shoulders should donate them to Bob, because it was the right thing to do. It was time to beat a hasty retreat and thank everybody and disappear back to the anonymity of my own realm.

This was a singularly unique occasion when the WoW community really came alive and did something spontaneous. I am still laughing as I write this.

Thanks All it was a good night all round.