Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Traditionally in times of lack of content, I turn to PvP as a stop gap. I am not particularly good, but I do at least try to improve and make things as easy on my team mates as possible. The Grumpy Elf is currently embroiled in the PvP side of the game. Gumpy's take on the current status is that CC is far too long in duration and that healing is OP.

At the end of last year in an attempt to get a second character through the Legendary Cloak quests, I got well and truly stuck at the PvP quest The Lion Roars. In my end of year post I stated that:

"My thoughts on PvP are that CC is totally out of whack. On a bad day my Shaman was never out of CC, whether it was Fear, Sap, Silence or trap, it was shockingly bad. My own CC is the Toad which seems to be on the longest cooldown in the game. Chain CC is very bad for the game."

Looks like I was not alone in my thoughts. There is no fun in PvP when you are never in control of your character which is something that was highlighted by the Blizzard team in the recent Interview "WoW Source: Warlords of Draenor PvP and Class Updates". I stated that that my Shaman was able to use Toad so infrequently and the duration was a matter of seconds, but I could be feared constantly for up to a minute. It does appear that changes will occur in this area in the near future.

5 Weeks ago Cynwise wrote a piece on "Faction imbalance in Random Battleground PvP". It is an interesting take on the Horde is better at PvP scenario. The chances of winning in a battleground is greatly improved with Communication and Co-ordination. If only 5 of a team of 15 PvPers is communicating through Vent, or Mumble, the chances of victory are much improved because the core team is stronger. The strongest opposition teams that I face are the ones that work together, move together and most important stick together. They defend the Healer and attack the opposition Healer. I must confess that my own abilities improved dramatically when I installed the addon "Healers Must Die" which if memory serves me right, adds an arrow or some indicator above the head of the Healer.

I might be oversimplifying the battleground situation, but in my opinion the Horde excel at the strategic battle and the Alliance at the big pitched battles. Communication is vital for strategy but the Alliance can all clump together and create an immovable object they can all move around in one big army without any thought. If you operated like this in Arathi Basin you only ever own 1 or 2 of the 5 objectives and as a consequences would lose. Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest have a much higher win ratio for Alliance.

Flag Capture is a Horde winner everytime especially Warsong Gulch. For some reason the Alliance fare better in the similar Twin Peaks. I can only think the terrain is less even. It took at least 25 attempts to win my first Warsong Gulch, which incidentally was an emphatic 3-0 win for the Alliance.

In my experience, the better geared I am the better chance of an Alliance victory. I guess what you see in PvP is only your own personal experience. If your gear tips the scales slightly in either direction you are going to see skewed results. On the old weighing scales you would get a fair amount of swaying if the weights are similar, but if the weight is too heavy one side or the other the scales would slam down and become immovable.

Random PvP is not fair, and I think it is fair to compare with motor sports, in particular F1 (Formula 1). In F1 the cars are all different, and each constructor will end 2 cars into the race. The constructors are not all equal and some will have far larger budgets, the best project managers, the best designers and the best technicians using the best testing equipment. The drivers are all so close in terms of skill, weight, size and driving ability that providing the cars are reliable the best car will always win. Sebastian Vettel, has won the Championship for the last for years not because he is considerably better than his rivals, but because he has the car and the best team behind him. Many people would like to see the best drivers in identical cars and see which driver would come out on top.

In Horse Racing they try to make a level playing field by handicapping:

"These are races where the Handicappers try to give each horse an equal chance of winning. We do this by giving the highest rated (or 'best') horse in the race the highest weight to carry; and reducing the weight carried by inferior horses."

This I believe is the kind of solution that Grumpy is advocating:

"Not much blizzard can do without upsetting the apple cart.  However, I did mention something in my random thoughts that I think has some serious potential.  Just give the individual player an incentive to keep queuing up when they lose instead of getting frustrated and quitting.  Buff them, buff them well, for each loss and sooner or later, if they stick to it, even the worst team will beat a good team through overwhelming buffs they received from getting their asses handed to them so often."
Most PvPers are more intune with the F1 scenario and this is the reason that they cap their Conquest gear as soon as possible, so they can bully the noobs in the Honor gear. It is not about being better it is about bigger and stronger (more time available).  If Blizzard wanted to create even Battlegrounds they would cap the iLevel of the gear for each Battleground. If you are undergeared you will get a buff and overgeared your stats are nerfed or normalised. The question is, "What is the reward for taking part/winning if gear does not matter?".

Perception also plays it part in PvP and I was always surprised to see figures showing that Tol Barad and Wintersgrasp were more even than the battles that I had attended. If random is indeed random, then your battleground win ratio should 50:50 but even a small deviation to 45:55 will give the impression that Alliance always loses.

With careful consideration I think Random BG's should be handicapped and Rated BG's are where you can show off your gear. In reality, Rated BG's will become full of gear capped players, creating it's own form of balance.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

In this game, I often set myself targets. Some are straight forward  achievements others are slightly more obtuse. For the end of this expansion I was expecting to gear my alts to a minimum of iLevel 500 and to get all my professions to at least 500 skill. In reality this means to level fishing on all my characters even though there is no benefit having more than one fisherman in the team.

Yesterday I finally got lucky and obtained the last Burden of Eternity needed to fully gear all my characters. It was touch and go and I used up 150 keys before I finally managed to get the Burden to drop. I could see another 3 weeks of doing tasks that I would rather not do stretching ahead. Now I am free to do something else, but as I mentioned yesterday I have yet to find that filler activity.

All my gear on all my characters is upgraded with valor, and it is striking that the iLevel ranges from 537 - 540, even though they are essentially wearing the same gear. The standard list of gear is comprised of:
  1. Burden of Eternity Gear upgraded to 543
  2. Weapon costing 20,000 Timeless coins for Timeless Isle 497
  3. Tier (Normal) Pants and Gloves upgraded to 561
  4. Crafted Belt upgraded to 561
  5. Time Lost Artifact Trinket
Why two weapons of the same iLevel as the 2 hander would make an average 3 iLevels difference unless the shirt and tabard have a bigger weighting. One item I can upgrade is the Trinket from Operation:Shieldwall, but other than that the options are limited until I can start doing Ordos on a weekly basis.

The profession list is starting to look very healthy indeed, and with plenty of 5+ skill ups available from the Darkmoon Faire, it looks like even this is going to be achievable before we step into Draenor. All skills are now up to the current content which at least means that any fishing will be profitable.

Professions are one aspect of the new expansion that I am keeping a keen eye on. At present they are not very engaging, and if anything the concept of doing cooldowns for discovering recipes and materials turned into a huge flop. Being able to cover all professions with 3 characters and the Garrison will devalue the goods that we can produce for the Auction House. I am interested to see what the Gold Farmers make out of this change, or are simply going to see a mass of Enchanters and Transmute Alchemists.

After much expense purchasing or the crafting of 44 x Royal Satchels, I am getting close to the new expansion, even if Blizzard are not. The Bank spaces are not looking quite as good, but several of the less important alts have plenty of space to stash new resources.

I have clawed back 25K Gold in about a week, but I am still down on my original amount of 375K Gold, and probably a realistic target of 500K Gold for the start of Warlords of Draenor is very attainable.

Slightly more embarrassing is the Total game time at a stunning 516 Days. What could I have achieved in my life if I was motivated by something other than a computer game. A cure for Cancer?

Monday, 28 April 2014

A Horse With No Name

Can anybody remember the 10th or 11th September 2013? Does it seem like a long time ago? Just in case you are wondering what these dates are, they are the patch dates for North America and Europe, on the days when we last witnessed new content in game. Nearly 7 months have passed and still there is no sign of a Beta being opened. As always Alternative Chat (Formerly known as The Godmother) has beaten me to it, with a post entitled "Like Clockwork" and I am fairly sure she is going to add additional thoughts to this concept. The idea that we are stuck in "The Space Between". I was having the same thoughts this weekend when I logged in out of habit and not out of entertainment. I was looking at the Login screen and wondering which character to click on, and more importantly what was left to achieve.

I originally thought the Timeless Isle was going to be empty after a month, but much to my surprise I am still eking out the last of the gear available from the island. My warrior requires one Burden of Eternity and then I can happily sail off into sunset. My Warrior as had more than his fair share of bad luck playing the casino on the island. Most of the time I have been able to convert 30,000 Timeless coins into a Burden of Eternity except on my warrior who fails on regular occasions to unearth the Burden from a chest. Now that I need only to assemble 5,000 more coins and find a spot of luck and it is "game over" only this is a MMO and we don't have a "game over", we just get stronger and find more gear and treasure until they shutdown the realms and turn off the lights.

Blizzard have left us for far too long with too little to do, that we are bound to unsub, and to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before.

If people are bored now, what is it going to be like in another 6 months time. I am starting to think that we have finally found the WoW Killer, and the answer is Blizzard itself.

We have had long gaps between content before, but we managed to find activities to keep ourselves occupied. Doing raids on multiple characters, completing all the content from the current expansion, doing retro raids with others or solo. For some reason this feels very different.

In the end I chose to solo the Black Temple (as recommended by R) and some Pet Battle Achievements. This is scraping the barrel and it will not be long before I am making that difficult decision as to whether I stay or do I go.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Farmer John

As revealed yesterday, I am in need of a fresh supply of gold to replenish my war chest for the next expansion. One thought that I have had about the next expansion is that money will not be as freely available to the budding entrepreneur as in previous expansion. The Garrison is said to provide an extra couple of professions per character. The result in my opinion would be to make people more self sufficient and this in turn would drive down demand for crafted services.

Other aspects of that will have an effect on your ability to make money are connected realms, more people increases the size of the market, but with no product differentiation, price is king. The more sellers the more possibilities that the market can be swamped with undercutters. Blizzard are streamlining the amount of gemming and enchants that are undertaken every time we are rewarded with a new item of gear. Enchanters and Jewelcrafters are going to be fighting over slim pickings. Glyphs have finally seen the end of the road, and there is talk of Glyphs being key abilities that are handed out at appropriate times in the levelling process.

During MoP and previous expansions the levelling process for multiple characters will generate a large cache of resources, which accrue as part of the process. This tends to set me up for the whole expansion with only the occasional need for topping up. The exception to this rule is that I have struggled with supplies of Windwool Cloth, and Trillium Bars during this expansion. I have transmuted a large quantity of Ghost Iron Ore. Since Patch 5.4 I have rarely killed any humanoids outside of LFR and as a result have often needed to buy Windwool cloth from the Auction House.

Back in December with time on my hands, I decided to renew my acquaintance with the Sunsong Ranch and it's 16 plots of loveliness available to 11 characters. The reality was different, the bulk of my characters were levelled at a time after I had deserted the farm for more interesting pursuits. As a result it was important to upgrade the ranch to 16 slots on all 11 characters, 176 slots available for ore, herbs, cloth, leathers and the now mostly defunct Motes of Harmony are all available.

Having hit exalted with the Tillers 12 months earlier and with a Tillers commendation, it is fairly simple to run the remaining characters through the process. Every plant that is harvested is a large amount of reputation x2 for the commendation. The stumbling block is the mini quests to get the Tillers to help you clear the 3 extra plots. The process will take several days but not very much effort to achieve.

Everybody knows that the Sunsong Ranch is a good little earner, but can you remember why you stopped do it every single day? The answer is very simple, just take a look at the picture below. It is not stage managed, just what I created by random last night. It is fairly typical  of the sowing process.

The answer is that it is very boring. Yes, I know I said it, and the rewards for such little effort are brilliant, but it is so damn boring, even with the mechanical help from the automated Irrigation, Pest Control and a Plough (Plow). Some of the tasks are less mundane than the others and I will try to prioritise my own dislikes.

  1. Bursting Crops - Instantly become harvestable the moment they're planted. (Rarely happens)
  2. Parched Crops - Use the Irrigation system (2 clicks for the whole farm)
  3. Infested Crops - Use the Pest Control system (2 clicks for the whole farm)
  4. Runty Crops - Grab the plant and jump up to pull it out of the ground a little. (Does not always work first time)
  5. Tangled Crops - Grab the weed constricting the crop and run away, pulling it out of the ground.
  6. Smothered Crops - Grab the weed smothering the crop and pull it out.
  7. Wiggling Crops - Pull out the Virmen from the ground and kill it.
  8. Alluring Crops - Defend them from incoming birds.
  9. Wild Crops - Hit and bite the plant into submission while it wrestles you.
Why does killing substandard Virmen and incoming Birds annoy me so much? I think it is the lack of reward, in the same way that killing creatures in Scenarios offers no loot. It is just an irritant something that needs to be addressed before you can do the good stuff. I would rather have to loot the bodies and collect 8 copper than the empty feeling of killing something for nothing. I have saved the best to last of course the Wild Crop, the tentacle bashing Triffid, which is a keyboard mash to get your counter up to 50. It was much worse in the previous incarnation and can now be completed with the need to only interrupt twice.

None of the above things are bad, it is just that we don't really want to do them for nth time. This is what Garrisons needs to avoid, when we become master farmers we don't expect supersized crops attacking us every time we plant, or why would a master fisher need multiple casts to cast into a fish pool, or alternatively why does it take so many traps to snag a Battle Pet. Random is ok, it has its place in computer games, but that means that on occasions nothing happens or we manage to do it right.

Dailies are still the whipping boy of this expansion, but I get a feeling that we will miss them when they are gone. I remember Dave Kosak, bigging up the daily quests for the Firelands during Cataclysm. Dave talked about the changing landscape, the growing tree and the random dailies. Can anybody really say that those quests were random. The issue is that the were maybe 16 quests but they got grouped into 4 so the random chance of getting a particular quest was not 1 in 16 but 1 in 4 and the result is that the quests become stale, and even worse the same quests are available for all characters on a given day.

Yesterday R. decided to leave some comments, for which I am eternally grateful. The start of R's comments was that "Grind and fun aren't mutually exclusive",which of course we all know they are not. My point was that I have enjoyed doing Pet Battle (much more than I was expecting), but my current goal is to beat all the Master Pet Tamers. I have an army of Rare Level 25 pets, but my next challenge requires me to level a particular class that needs a particular spell that I have not currently got and I will need to level for 10 levels to continue my objective. The fun is beating a Master Pet Tamer, the grind is the 25-30 meaningless fights to level one Pet so that you can beat the Master Pet Tamer.

Grind is not tied up with fun, but it needs to associated with reward. If there is no frequent reward the grind is perceived to be without fun. Although removing the grind is not always the answer as reminded by Matthew Rossi in a recent post about the Mistakes of Warcraft. In particular I refer to the Raid without trash - Trial of the Crusader. Prior to this experiment every Raider would argue why do we need trash, until there was no trash, and then we all wanted the trash to return.

I am guessing that the Sunsong Ranch is actually an ok place to hang out for 5 minutes everyday, but it is not suitable to drag 11 characters for up to an hour clearing the same repetitive tasks. Maybe it is myself who is abusing the system by having multiple characters doing the same tasks over and over, but when the rewards are this good, is it any wonder that we try to get away with it.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

I Gotta Feeling

Oops, what have you done Blizzard?

17:15 CET on European patch day. This is 7 hours after the weekly maintenance should have finished. Ultimately this affected every single European Realm and they all needed to be rebooted. That equates to a lot of angry customers Blizzard. Can we expect a free day? would we notice a free day when the next bill arrives, that it is a day later. No of course not but the gesture would be nice.

Oops this was obviously a serious problem and possibly related to the increasing complexity of the Blizzard portfolio.

As it turned out with all Europeans logging on late evening, all the Celestial fights became condensed into a much smaller timeframe and as a result I was able to LFR and pick up 2 more Titan Runestones. I can now chance my arm or alternatively wait until next week, either way I can almost smell that Legendary cloak.

Money (That's What I Want)

In recent weeks I have been working towards mothballing my characters. In preparation for a new expansion, I take my characters as far as possible and then sell off all the expansion specific resources. The idea is to make space in my bags and bank so that I can fill them with impunity during the early days of Warlords of Daenor. The process normally yields a large amount of money, as I sell off large quantities of herbs, ores, gems and enchanting mats which I have been accruing for the last 2 years. If you need a mental image, imagine 11 smaller versions of Smaug rolling in Dwarven gold and gems (as seen in the Desolation of Smaug).

This expansion I am starting from a new low point, having got interested in Pet Battles to fill the void in my game time. This prompted the loosening of the purse strings on top of the purchasing of 44 x Royal Satchels (I did make some myself) and the result is that I spent 100K Gold in a few short weeks. The biggest expense was the Jewelcrafting mounts Jade, Sunstone, and Sapphire Panthers. The Ruby and Jewelled Onyx are too expensive for my tastes. The largest single cost in the process is the 18K Gold for the Orb of Mystery. The comment below comes courtesy of WoWHead:

"It will only cost 280k (252k with guild perk) to make all of the mounts that use this as a reagent. (including the 4 extra panthers for the Jeweled Onyx Panther.)"

It will only cost 280K, so what are you waiting for, go and make 5 mounts now. The Royal Satchels at least have a benefit, providing additional storage, I have plenty of mounts I don't use already. In case you are wondering how much Royal Satchels cost on my server, I only buy when they are less than 3K Gold but of course that soon adds up. Lets guess that I made 14 bags and bought the rest that would be a mind boggling 30 x 3000 = 90K Gold. Now I have done the maths I am pleased that I only overspent by 100K Gold.

I am not destitute by any means, but I have an irrational need to recuperate the money I have used from my nest egg. The problem is I am unsure the best way to make money at this point in the game. Google will throw up all kinds of suggestions but in my opinion some are time sensitive or are just plain wrong for myself.

  1. Heroic 5 Man
  2. Tiller Farm
  3. Pet Battle Dailies
  4. Daily Profession Cooldown
  5. Levelling Alts
  6. Solo Old Raids for Battle Pets
  7. Auction House
  8. Fishing
  9. Transmute
  10. Enchanting
  11. Shoulder Enchants
  12. Dailies
  13. Scenarios
  14. Bags
  15. Potions
Plenty of suggestions to have a go at, and I see some immediate problems.

Heroic 5 Mans

Apparently they are really easy. I have not done any Heroic 5 mans for at least 12 months. In my opinion as much as I like to do 5 Man content, I have no plans to start at this stage in the expansion

Tiller Farm

This is something that I have toying with for several months and unless you want to switch off now with TL:DR then I will save this another day.

Pet Battle Dailies

I am not quite up to this stage but I will be in a few days. Expect a post in the near future.

Daily Professions Cooldown

In my opinion the value in the cooldowns disappeared months ago, Living Steel and Imperial Cloth still have a value but the Belt and Pants combo that was available to Tailors, Leatherworkers and Blacksmith are not worth the effort and the mats.

Levelling Alts

Already plundered this rich vein of gold. Any new alts would be on another server, unless my Realm was connected in during my sabbatical, in which I can create another 10 character and a free level 90. A quick check reveals not yet, but a plan is now being hatched for such a time when I can.

Solo Old Raid Content for Battle Pets and Mounts

This was of immediate interest to myself and I quickly ran 2 hunters around Karazhan which was a lot of fun, but it was not very lucrative or rewarding. I still cannot solo Chess even with the nerfs. This is something that I might dabble with in the future.

Auction House

Very vague and I am afraid not very helpful. I have been, unable to offload Glyphs or Gems in recent weeks and Battle Pets sell even worse. Even Del Boy could not sell my surplus stock. I have rarely dabbled with the AH since my addon broke, and I was unable to get to grips with the new version.


Yes it might provide a steady income, but I am not prepared to do that much fishing.


Living Steel, one a day is not going to make me a Millionaire any time soon


This is one profession that I have never made much money on, with exception of selling D/E'd mats. One of the websites suggested the following as a good stable of enchants to start off with.
Enchant Gloves - Superior Mastery
Enchant Chest - Glorious Stats
Enchant Boots - Pandaren's Step
Enchant Cloak - Superior Intellect
Enchant Gloves - Superior Expertise
Enchant Bracer - Mastery
Enchant Chest - Mighty Spirit
Enchant Boots - Greater Haste
Enchant Chest - Superior Stamina

Shoulder Enchants

A limited market but a useful idea for using up spare Inscription inks.


I think somebody is having a laugh at my expense. I thought the entire player base had enough of Dailies after this expansion. 


Who stole the loot out scenarios? In my opinion Scenarios are good for a couple of runs. Which unfortunately makes them bad rewards for Developer time/playability ratio. Not sure it is a money spinner.


Specialist cloths have been on my hate list since WotLK having to visit a location to make one cloth a day is too much devotion. My Tailor seems to be one character without a bag full of Motes of Harmony. Another big mistake by Blizzard not making them BoA and then not using them at all in later recipes.


Never really made any money from potions in any expansion, and it is unlikely I will start now, even though I have a mound of herbs.


I intend to make 100K as quickly as possible, and my first step is to stop spending. If any of these methods make me a fortune I will report back after I have made my first Million.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)

I have started playing catch-up on the WoW blog sites, and have encountered some bad news on the way. BBB has finally decided that WoW is not offering his family the value for fun of running 3 accounts at a time of no new content. BBB does not state any intentions to return or to continue to write, but the smart money is that a WoW blog, with no WoW content will soon dry up. Thanks BBB for all your stories, you will be missed.

Rohan at Blessing of Kings has been on a 3 month sabbatical, but thankfully is now back and churning out the content.

***Update*** It appears I am very much out of the loop and the Grumpy Elf is almost retired except for the Monday Random Thoughts. Things really are looking bad unless Blizzard decide to put a shift in.

I have read several pages of WoW Insider, at breakneck speed, mostly because not all the content is WoW based, which is rather odd for a site dedicated to World of Warcraft. Maybe they should be Blizzard Insider (but without any of that StarCraft nonsense). They have a requirement to get articles out on a given time frame, and the result is that often articles are niche, irrelevant, already known or just plain news flashes. Every so often they do a really good article at a time that you want it.

Yesterday I wrote a small section on the Legendary Questline, with an update and link to WoW Insider - How to get a Legendary on a Boosted Level 90. The guide is clearer and more concise in its content than the original Icy Veins guide, with the removal of the additional information when we knew nothing of the content, and the way the guide needed to be updated with each patch. What is important is that I learnt 2 new titbits.
  1. Echoes of the Titans This is the last leg of collecting quest items from LFR. You're close to your cloak now! You just need 12 Titan Runestones. These items drop from the last two sections of the Throne of Thunder Raid -- Halls of Flesh-Shaping and Pinnacle of Storms -- as well as the first two wings of Siege of Orgrimmar. Both Lei Shen and the Sha of Pride are guaranteed to give you a Runestone every week, the other bosses are random.
  2. The Emperor's Way Now all that's left is to defeat all four of the August Celestials on the Timeless Isle. If you happen to hit this leg of the chain on Tuesday after your server reset, you should find piles of people merrily fighting the Celestials one by one. If you have not, then go to your friends list and hit the raid tab. At the top, you'll see a button that says "Other Raids." Click that, and select the option for the Celestials, adding yourself to the list. You should receive an invitation to a Celestials raid within minutes. It doesn't matter what time of the day it happens to be. I completed mine at 2am, and I didn't have to wait more than a minute, maybe two in between invites. Make sure you note which Celestials you currently need on the raid tab, when you add yourself to the list.
I was partially aware about Lei Shen but I did not think it applied to the Titan Runestones, only to the Secrets. The Sha of Pride is the wing that I actively avoided, due to the fights not being exciting or even worse not being suitable for "24 other cockwaffles" (Thanks to Grimmtooth for that one). Wings 2 and 3 at least have a Hunters weapon available. The result was that I am only on "the other bosses are random." section.

The Celestials I have been picking off only when my Realm and Faction was doing the fights. This method is hit and miss, but the joining other Raids gets the task done in minutes.

World of Warcraft is a complex game built up on layers of information, and often the game and developers fail spectacularly in conveying all the features. Too much information is often just as bad as too little and technology generation have invented the expression TL;DR (too long; didn't read - in case you are as old as me). I am aware that Blizzard have produced a 30+ page document on the Warlords of Draenor features and rationale, but how many people have read it.

It is often stated that the drafting of the US Bill of Rights at 462 Words is a masterpiece of concise document writing. This compared to the thousands of pages that are generated by the European Union is a perfect example.

I have played the game for over 8 years and still only know about 90% of the content and features in game. A good analogy would be how much of MS Excel plethora of functions are used by most users? I am guessing that a large percentage lie unused not because they are not useful but because people are not aware that they exist or that the instructions are just too convoluted.

Now that I am enlightened I should be able to obtain a Legendary in 3 weeks maximum. Who knows I might unsub when I have run out of things to do.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?

Sorry, big apologies all round, the real life patch that dropped last year, caused a huge change in my mood, lifestyle and my willingness to read and write about the World of Warcraft. In the 5 months since I last wrote anything sensible on this blog, not a lot as happened in game. There is no new content and a lot of hot air. I even stopped reading other peoples blogs so in reality I have no idea what is going on, but I get the feeling I have not missed much. My only sources of information have been the Godmother, The Instance Podcast and occasionally WoW Insider.

The good news is that I am back in employment after suffering an enforced vacation over the month of December. This was not a good time for me and the people around me. I might have been rather unpleasant to live with for a period of 6 weeks and the effect of not being able to provide a good Christmas for my wife and children.

After several months of attending terrible interviews, I was asked to go and have a chat with a local company, situated about 10 minutes walking distance from my house. I was late Friday afternoon and started work on the following Monday morning. Not only is work very close to home, but there is talk of Business trips to exotic European locations including Paris, Madrid and Milan, it sounds like a fashion show, but in reality the company makes rivets

In my absence I have mentally written hundreds of posts, but I have not had the time or the focus to give them the attention they require, but I am hoping that recent changes in circumstances will allow for resumption of usual service.

The low point in between expansions is a strange to start writing but that is exactly the point that I picked up my keyboard 2 years ago. There is still much to discuss and I wanted to pickup the baton laid down by the Godmother and her faffing campaign.

Faff means - "To spend time in ineffectual activity". It is an English word derived from the North of England and is commonly used only in the UK. There is a time when I would have described the bulk of my game time in Azeroth to be "faffing about". I would love to support the Godmother but I have made a discovery that on the surface our activities may appear to be ineffectual, but in reality the opposite is true.

With additional time on my hands in December I decided to organise my game time so as to make optimum usage of short periods of play between job applications. The result was a spreadsheet to monitor my key goals and routines, and I remembered in the process that the Godmother had already created The Ultimate Form of Faffing. The result is the antithesis of faffing and results in huge improvements in the attainment of objectives. The activities might be inconsequential to anyone else but this is anything but faffing.

In my own form I highlight the following key activities:

  1. Darkmoon Faire - Monthly activity for 5 points of fishing skill.
  2. Weekly Timeless Isle Quest - Collect 50 Epochs for 200 Valor
  3. Celestial Bosses - Leg and Gloves (Now dropping 550 PvP gear)
  4. LFR Siege of Orgrimmar - Just in case they drop secrets and titan runestones for the Legendary Quest.
  5. Warforged Seals - Pickup 3 bonus Seals or 40+ Gold not a lot of effort (weekly)
The matrix was ultimately a tick box of which characters needed what activities in any given week. I can quickly logon to any alt if I find a Celestial Boss has been attacked without wasting any time. 90% of Celestial Boss kills occur on reset day and armed with this information it is possible to chain kill for between 5 and 11 characters in a two hour period. Prior to having a spreadsheet I would logon to the wrong character and miss the end of the fight on far too many occasions.

The idea that end game is all about Heroic Raiding, Maximising Honor Kills and the accumulation of gear is only partially right. Every player has their own agenda, and with a lack of new content we are left to do achievements, clear out our bags, and put our characters into stasis waiting for a date sometime between September and December when we can experience something new again.

The development time for Warlords of Draenor is not a surprise that is would take around 12 months from Blizzcon to a release date. The only surprise in the MoP expansion was the time of expansion dropping to the first major patch. Everything else is firmly in Blizzard timelines of 2 year expansions. The time from last patch to new expansion is bad for both player and Blizzard. Killing Deathwing for 12 months was not fun, and the same is going to be true of Garrosh. What makes matters worse is that he is going to escape (oops spoiler).

Recently I started to do Pet Battles, fundamentally because I could not face another night of waiting around for a LFR. LFR is set so damn low in terms of gear that the only reward possible is the dropping of bits for the Legendary Quest. The RNG for these items is sickening low, leaving me doing something I don't want to do, for a very slim chance of a 8% advancement in one quest. Fully flexible raiding cannot come round quick enough in my opinion. In case you think I am over doing my sob story, I have killed 60+ bosses in Siege of Orgrimmar in various Raid types for 5 Titan Runestones. I would prefer to know that I am required to do 4 Raids a week to achieve one Runestone than a random system that can churn out 4 rewards in a row and then nothing for 3 months. Random is useful for some aspects of the game, but for others we need to see definitive rewards for our toils.

For all the talk of a welfare Legendary, I respect anybody with one cloak, never mind multiple cloaks on alts (Kudos to Grumpy).

Catching up my reading I found How to get a Legendary on a Boosted Alt. Apparently I have been doing it wrong for months.

Anyway back to Pet Battles, when does something stop being fun and turns into just another grind?