Friday, 27 June 2014

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

The Gaze of the Black Prince is on us, and this week he finds me mostly doing PvP. Anybody remember the School of Hard Knocks, were everybody including PvPers said do not mix PvE and PvP in the same content. The Lion Roars is the quest line when all Alliance people, stick their hands in the air, wave a little flag and meekly surrender.

My Warlock of Destruction, has been out of service for 3 weeks waiting to collect 3000 Valor (Thanks Blizz, that one works well), and is now intent on making use of the buff, which successfully helped in the collection of Titan Runestones to the tune of no additional stones, only the guaranteed drops. The original MoP raids now drop Sigils like candy but not the Titan Runestones (and yes I am now in the last 2 ToT and the first 2 SoO). Gemmsy (Warlock of Destruction) strode merrily off to confront Warlord Bloodhilt. I very much enjoyed the Grumpy Elf's dalliance with the Horde but I fail to see how exactly Bloodhilt hits like a wet noodle when he ate his way through 3 Voidwalkers and I needed to fix myself up with Siphon Life.

My Warlock of Destruction is equipped with 1 piece of Conquest gear and 3 pieces of Honor, so weighing up the relative advantages of PvP Power over high geared PvE, I decided to go for the PvP option. I have never PvPed with a Warlock so apart from the usual rotation and a Fear Spell I was completely in the dark.

The first Battleground to pop up was Temple of Kotmogu, I have been here a few times now and still do not understand how the orbs work, but I did notice that the score was ticking along nicely. So nicely in fact, that my screen was filled with:

Who says the Alliance do not know how to PvP? Well everybody really, but this was definitely building up my hopes for the Silvershard Mines. How absolutely and utterly wrong I was. For anybody who has not done this Battleground on Alliance, you can not be believe how bad this can get. Anybody who can do PvP puts this on a Blacklist, and the entire team is made up of people in PvE gear, who really do not want to be here and have not got a clue what to do. I have witnessed hundreds of defeats in these caves, and I wish there was an achievement for hitting 100 defeats in a single battleground.

What are the tactics and why are the Alliance so bad? There is no point me even trying to talk my way though this, so lets pin down the salient points with my friend Google.

  • You want to own 2 carts most of the time.
  • You don't have to guard them all the way to the dump point, but you get a little extra if you do.
  • Don't fight in the road ... be inside a cart circle ALL the time -- or, be at the depot waiting for a cart.

  • Because the capture points are at the ends of the mine tunnels, the middle area of this battleground is of little use.  Unskilled players will tend to congregate in the middle and surround carts as they leave the terminal. Rather than engage in a huge melee, from which it may be difficult to pull out and follow the carts, your team may want to control the ends of the corridors and wait for the carts to arrive.

    The alliance tend to congregate in the middle and still get annihilated by a superior organised Horde force. My personal playstyle for PvP is to cover my back. There is nothing worse than defending an attack from in front and behind at the same time. Fighting in the middle leaves a 360° Line of Sight, a ranged character or sneaky Rogue will love to attack that exposed rump.

    I am curious as to whether the Alliance are stronger at a certain time or if the Horde gets better the closer to my bedtime. There are many variables to research and I can expect to see at least another 20 defeats before I can clear this task. 

    I think Blizzard with their box of stats should release the winning percentages for all Battlegrounds. They will not of course, because we all know that WSG is Horde and AV is Alliance and now we know that Silvershard Mine is also Horde, and they deliberately target it for the easy honor kills but who can blame them.

    Wednesday, 25 June 2014

    Blood Money

    2 Months ago I wrote about my coffers being a little on the empty side. I had spent 100,000 Gold on Royal Satchels and a few of the Jewelcrafting mounts. Whilst not exactly feeling destitute I decide to replenish my treasure trove before the next expansion. I even read that there is no new super bag size to replace the Royal Satchel so get them now and make more use out of them before the expansion.

    My conundrum was the best money making options at this point in the expansion. I did compile a list but I can safely say I did not get round to trying them all. The time limited buffs required a change in play style and so the 110,000 Gold that I have collected in 2 months is basically down to not spending and making a few more sales .

    The following is based on my findings:

    The Tiller Farm, whilst my intentions were good, I discovered for a second time that the Sunsong Ranch is very much like breaking rocks in the hot sun. The rewards are undeniably good but the effort is soul destroying (Obviously there are no rewards for breaking rocks, but it is certainly soul destroying - and besides I just wanted to use the line from the song "I Fought The Law").

    Pet Battle Dailies, was something that never really took off. In order to complete the mega daily circuit needs a vast array of max level pets and a crib sheet to cope with the elementals and Epic Bosses. This was at a time when Pet Battles was becoming less like fun and more like an RNG nightmare. I may come back to this one at a later stage but I am time starved with Limited Time Buffs and the Football World Cup (not the World Series - this is a competition that actually involves other countries).

    Daily Profession Cooldowns, have been used when I remember to actually press the corresponding button. The iLevel 553 items are not big sellers but it is possible to get the occasional nibble. The Leg pieces are fairly useless due to the ease in which the Celestials like to furnish people with Normal Tier Leg and Hands set, but the Belts provide a decent upgrade for a freshly boosted level 90. I have managed to sell on average one a month of the Gorge Stalker Belt at the princely sum of 5,000 Gold each. The difficult part is nipping back to Stormwind to place the Auctions in the AH, which I normally did once a week and for the weekend market. Plate Leather and Cloth versions never got made due to a poor daily routine.

    Levelling Alts and Dailies, is not something I need to do, but I have been doing some reputation grinds, like the Tillers, Operation:Shieldwall, Kirin Tor Assault and the Black Prince. Trips to the Isle of Thunder were made whilst waiting in queue for LFR. The Isle of Thunder is quite fun now that we outgear the place. Most classes can solo most of the Rares, but with nobody else on the Island you will need to find them yourself. Running the weekly solo Heroic in the hunt for Treasure chests is still fun to do. I am not sure why some repetitive routines retain their fun aspects and others feel like pulling teeth. I guess dealing with Virmen or opening Treasure chests there is no comparison.

    Glyphs, have become my go to method for money making. The loss of the easy to use TradeSkillMaster addon, coincided with a decline in Glyph sales. The only problem was that I had a bank full of Glyphs that only a handful of people need and with a large sales force eager to undercut but 1 Copper ever time you dared to refresh your stock. The market is now as slow on the sales side as the demand. Prices have gone through the roof but sales are few and far between. There is no point in vendoring glyphs so I weekly post my glyphs in the hope of 2 to 5 sales a week. I have long since written off the cost of the glyphs so any sale is considered to be pure profit. I would sell the lot for 1 Gold each if anyone was mad enough to take me up on the deal.

    Heroic 5 Mans and Scenarios, was an idea that never materialised so I cannot comment on it's viability.

    Bags, have always been a constant good seller. Netherweave bags and their 16 slots have been a popular seller since TBC. I have continued to make them off and on whenever I come into contact with the cloth. This bag and the current largest will always be the most popular of any expansion, the current largest is the Royal Satchel at 28 slots is difficult to make due to the reliance on a specialist cloth, requiring 12x Imperial cloth. Purchasing 30+ Royal Satchels was one of the reasons why I was running low on funds, so it was kind of ironic to include a few sales in my method for recovering my fortune.

    Potions, was something I intended to use in attempt to reduce the bank space occupied by herbs and Golden Lotus. I made Flasks for all my characters did some transmutes and then got bored. The result was that I decided to sell my Golden Lotus. Guess what? it is still a big seller even at this stage of the expansion. In early June, I made a brilliant discovery and thanks to Balkoth I wrote about here. The finding was the Spirit of Harmony vendor Krystel, who will swap Spirits of Harmony for any raw material that is required in MoP. I have used most of my Spirits of Harmony to buy 2x Golden Lotus per Spirt of Harmony. At an AH price of 50 Gold per Golden Lotus I have been selling large quantities every week during the Month of June.

    Cooking Supplies, some ideas require a bit of work but they can really pay well if you find the right market. With the Timeless Isle and the endless slaughter of Turtles, Flamingos and Crabs, we have all got bulging bags with meat that nobody wants. The price is less than a gold per item for Raw Turtle Meat, Raw Crab Meat and Wildfowl Breast. These can be bought up cheaply and included into your own stock of materials as part of a trade for the repeatable quest Replenishing the Pantry. With the Ironpaw tokens, it is possible to buy a bag of 25 vegetables. 100 vegetables on my server can often go for over 500 Gold per 100. In case you are struggling with the maths that is trade:

    80x Raw Turtle Meat (<80 Gold) for 100x Juicycrunch Carrots (>500 Gold) = 420 Gold profit

    There are other costs involved like buying the baskets but there is gold reward (2 Gold) for completing Replenishing the Pantry. It is a mindless task and one that I can only stomach once or twice a week. It may be less hassle to farm vegetables at the Sunsong Ranch but what else can I do with all that Raw Turtle meat.

    Timeless Isle, is still the land of purple drops. I remember laughing when I read about Alternative Chat needing her husband to point out that you do not have to vendor all the Epics, and that with Alts it is possible to send all the Plate armour to a plate wearer to open and then vendor. This can convert a 5 Gold drop into 25 Gold vendor trash. This is provides a weekly income at about 1,000 Gold per Month which pays for a few repair bills.

    Monday, 23 June 2014

    Big Log

    In June 2012, I wrote a couple of articles about the lip service that Blizzard pay to their own policies. In 8 years I have seen the Blizzard ToS and EULA and various other things that we have to agree to have stretched to several pages. I have never read these terms of conditions, but then again I don't intend to intentionally offend anyone, buy Gold, use bots or deliberately cheat in any way shape or form.

    2 years ago I wrote, "Blizzard is relying on your own sensibilities, and the upshot is that if you don't mind, then Blizzard doesn't mind. In the end you get the game that you are willing to put up with."
    I have changed my mind on this point, Blizzard get exactly the game that they want. This was brought sharply into focus with Rob Pardo's, idea of writing fun games for Single, White, Straight Teenage boys. It is a cliché that gamers sit glued to their computer screens, consuming large quantities of Porn and Pizza. I am not the ideal person to champion Feminism and or Gay rights, but does it matter if a storyline contains Homosexuality, or female role models that are strong, and not just physically tough in a Red Sonja kind of way, or conform to strict stereotypes (the Harlot, the schemer, the emotionally weak and feeble woman, the lover scorned). Women are great and they come in so many varieties. If writing strong women into a story is too difficult, here is a radical idea, employ some senior women into your company.

    Why is everybody in Azeroth a fully paid up member of a fitness club, and why do woman characters have to have breast augmentation, slim waist and shapely buttocks. Fighting dragons whilst wearing a chain mail thong and a pair of large silicon breasts is not helpful for trying to swing a claymore above your head.

    November 22nd 2014 will see the 10th Anniversary of World of Warcraft.

    The world around us has changed. When the game came out, my daughter was still a baby, and my son was not yet born. The player base is essentially 10 years older, we have aged with the game.

    It is not a simple case of young gamers growing up with Minecraft, and then on their Twelve birthday saying to their parents, I want to play World of Warcraft now, that will be the base game plus 4 expansions. That is some barrier to entry right there, with no chance of ever being able to catch up to the current content (except for when Blizzard decide not to provide any new content for 12 months).

    The point I am trying to make is that Blizzard are still catering for a teenage white heterosexual male, when the real demographic is now a young adult, or in some cases middle aged with a family. Throw into this equation that some of these 7 Million are actually female or Lesbian/Gay/Transsexual. In some respect it is time for the Computer Games industry to grow up, because we have.

    I am not looking for a sanitised, ideologically perfect world that I can safely let my children enter without risk of contamination, but removal of some of the excessive swearing, offensive abuse and the ability for Blizzard to actually act on their own policies. The one area that I keep coming back to is this gem from the Blizzard naming policy:

    This category includes both clear and masked names which:
    · Are inappropriate references to human anatomy or bodily functions
    · Are pornographic in nature

    Last night a hunter in LFR mass rezzed a few of the dead, at this point I noticed the name "Labiaminora". Being a man of the world and one that as actually touched a real life woman, I recognised the first 5 letters and wondered why female genitalia is to be found nestled in an avatars name. Google informed me that we are looking at the component level of the female genitalia.

    In my opinion it is not big and its not funny, and I wonder what these people actually achieve by using medical terms/slang words/spoonerisms for genitalia. I would be embarrassed to have a Blood Elf Paladin called "Dickhead" and then having an issue trying to find a mature guild in which house my character.

    In my original post "Communication Breakdown", I highlighted a number of character names that contravene the Obscene/Vulgar aspect of Blizzard's naming policy. The list was just quickly compiled by me trawling the dark recesses of my teenage experience and checking the EU Armory. If I can do it I am damn sure that Blizzard customer service can do it.

    • Knobhead - 62
    • Dickhead - 28
    • Wanker -1
    • Dickwad - 1
    • Twat - 20
    • Twatchops - 2
    • Pillock - 70
    • Bairyhalls - 35
    • Fanny - 212
    • Hairyfanny - 10
    • Maryhinge - 62
    • Mykhunt - 9
    • Mikehunt - 109
    • Hairyballs - 84
    • Labia - 115
    • Labiaminora - 16
    • Labiamajora - 11
    • Bigtits - 87
    • Bigmelons - 40
    • Beefcurtains - 87
    The use of some of these words is highly misogynistic, and are designed to offend women. In some ways I hope you are offended by them, because Blizzard saw the sense to put a policy in place, then removed all responsibility of policing it.

    Pick a character from the list and report them, I can guarantee that Blizzard will not action or sanction the ticket. They do not inform you the result of your ticket, normally because there is no result.

    How anybody can ask for homosexual characters, and strong female leaders, when this company let the teenage player base get away with rampant misogyny. This is easy to police so what about Religious/Racial/Sexual harassment in game, I believe that Rob Pardo might see that as getting in the way of the fun.

    Friday, 20 June 2014

    Summer of 69

    Sorry for the lack of activity recently, but I am still waiting for Blizzard to give me a new expansion. I am not in the Alpha, besides I have no friends and my family are not interested, so no surprise there. I admire everybody who offers to help make the next expansion as smooth as possible, but I am not interested in the new content until it is polished and playable.

    No amount of testing could have predicted the disaster that Blizzard perpetrated on the Alliance at the launch of the last expansion. Just remember Blizzard have spent a year connecting our Realms so that we can expect more traffic than this next time around.

    Nobody could be so stupid to place thousands of people through a meat grinder  procedure after testing with only a hand full of people in an open beta. The point is how do you simulate a rush when every single character starts at exactly the same point at the same time?

    Today's topic is not about the new expansion, but as always with me is rooted in the expansion still in front of a disillusioned player base. Blizzard are trying to entertain the remaining troops with "Limited Time Buffs" as defined by the Grumpy Elf. It is only 18 days that I was complaining that the latest batch of Limited Time Buffs was making the game too easy. In many respects I miss those heady days, because it allowed me to use my time for useful pursuits, now I am locked into a cycle of trying generate 11,000 Valor points each. How am I supposed to make use of the current buff in those circumstances?

    The new buff is "The Gaze Of The Black Prince" a buff that that was datamined weeks ago but not implemented until this week. The limited period is from 17th June to 30th June, with the aim of helping people progress towards the goal of achieving a legendary cloak. A move that fully endorse and would love to spend more time working towards if I didn't need to max out my valor cap on all my characters.

    "Gaze of the Black Prince buff which will increase the reputation gained with the Black Prince by 100%. It will also increase the chance of obtaining items from his foes needed as a part of the Legendary Cloak quest line including: the Secrets of the Empire, Sigil of Wisdom, Sigil of Power, or Titan Runestones."

    As with all implementation by Blizzard there are a few snags along the way. I am currently working on 3 characters in the Legendary Cloak questline, a Mage, a Shaman and a Warlock. The Shaman stands to benefit hugely from the new buff, being on the latter stages of collecting 12x Titan Runestones. The other two characters will benefit not one jot by being on a 3 week sabbatical trying to accrue 3000 valor for Wrathion, in a part of the questline that makes no sense at this juncture of the expansion. Do not forget that both of these characters still have the Alliance equivalent of wading through treacle by having to do PvP for a PvE item. Blizzard in case you are listening, we will never forget or forgive for this faux pas.

    Just in case you need a refresher in English/French faux pas means "a socially awkward or tactless act, especially one that violates accepted social norms, standard customs, or the rules of etiquette." which most than adequately sums up my feelings. The Grumpy Elf in his role as investigative journalist highlight some of the problems facing both Horde and Alliance on this questline.
    The Heart of Valorous buff was part of the Azeroth Choppers vote and was applied for only 10 days.
    from Sunday 1st June to Tuesday 10th June a period that only actually included one whole reset day for the European realms, in reality it might as well have been available for as long as the Darkmoon Faire is open. The Gaze of the Black Prince does at least incorporate 2 Tuesdays and by virtual also 2 Wednesday so the lucky Europeans also get as much fun as the North Americans. I am guessing that those dates might even shuffle over by a day, due to EU realms only seeing the buff on Wednesday 18th June, so it is not totally unreasonable to see an end date of 1st July.

    A two week buff is so much better than a 10 day buff, than the 4 days would suggest, because it is down to the reset day and having 2 bites at the cherry not just 1 and a bit dangling at the front.

    Last night I thought I would take the buff out for a spin, and ended up half way through an LFR run and ended up in the Underhold for two bosses. Spoils of Pandaria and the terrible Thok the Bloodthirsty. I have no idea why I hate this boss so much, but I guess I do not fully understand the mechanics. I have seen raids well and truly on top of this boss and then within a few seconds it is a total wipe. Obviously some odd Tanky shenanigans going on in the engine room.

    Two bosses and two coins = 4 chances of a Titan Runestone and no additional Titan Runestones in my bag, then personally from my very sample I see absolutely no difference in the picture from before and after. Maybe I will get on roll in the remaining 11 days, but I am not holding my breath.

    We shall wait, and wait and wait (it is LFR after all) and see what the buff will bring.

    Thursday, 12 June 2014

    I'm A Lazy Sod

    I love Reset Day. The day I get to do all the same things that I did the week before. When stated in those terms I sound as conditioned as any of Pavlov's Dogs, hopefully I can keep the drool in check on Wednesday morning waiting for the servers to come online.

    My new routine is to get the time sensitive tasks completed as soon as possible. Since the discovery of the secret cross realm world bosses raid finder, I am able to do both Celestials and Ordos on all my characters in a sensible timeframe. I enjoy this part of the process, with the possibility of new gear and character advancement. The downside is that I have to share this process with 39 other people, and a large proportion seem to be either complete idiots or lazy gits.

    My biggest bugbear is the inability of people to wait or even turn up on time. The process from pressing the button saying "I want to kill a world boss, come and get me" to somebody picking you up like a cheap date in a singles bar, is less than a few minutes. I sometimes even get to kill some of the 20 animals for the Timeless Daily whilst I wait (but only a few).

    The point I am making is that wait is not long, so is it too much to ask people to actually be there when they say they will. For these lazy gits I would like to show to the court exhibit 1. The Time-Lost Artifact:

    I appreciate that this is not the glamorous item available to a max level character with it only being iLevel 496 and not being upgradable 4 times, but it does come with a useful ability:
    Use: Teleport yourself to the Timeless Isle
    In order to do Ordos you had to complete a quest chain stretching across 4 patches and multiple quests to obtain a Legendary cloak, but it too difficult to gather 7,500 Timeless coins to buy one of the most useful trinkets to teleport you to the only current content for a 12 month period.
    I appreciate that the Time-Lost Artifact is limited in that it transports you to the Celestial Courtyard and not all the way to Ordos, but we are equipped with ground mounts that we get at level 20 (angrily remembers getting 100% ground mount speed at level 60).
    It is not a long way to travel, so why does everybody need a summons? It is only since I started doing the weekly pilgrimage to Ordos that I noticed this new phenomenon, everybody shouting 123.
    Being a man of a certain vintage, it is possible for new trends to come and go before I am even aware of them. Google my ever trusty companion tells me that "123 means = I agree". The result is that one lazy git says,
    "I am too lazy/busy to ride a mount/teleport/buy an artefact, can you please haul my worthless carcass so that I can stand in the bad/propel everybody in the ranged group into the air/AFK, and then loot dead boss" and the next one is too lazy to say even that types "123" and then the next twenty people say the same.
    Along with this can't be arsed (CBA) attitude (I am learning), is a certain nastiness, aimed at Warlocks for not hauling their arses up the mountain so they can summon "Legolass" who is still in Stormwind dancing naked on the Mailbox or hovering the biggest mount possible over a quest giver to be a right pain in the arse (PITA). I can see why Blizzard removed Have Group Will Travel, but they just pour all that pain onto Warlocks, and now I believe they intend to remove Ritual of Summoning.
    The result of all this is that some people have started to embrace the lazy gits:
    Others are starting to rebel against the lazy bums:
    I am curious, am I just be a grumpy old git? or should I embrace this new laid back lifestyle?

    Tuesday, 10 June 2014

    Born To Be Wild

    Azeroth Choppers, 8 Episodes of utter garbage. The kind of nonsense Television that the USA revels in. Pimp my Motorbike would have niche viewing figures in single digits in the UK and I expect that the rest of Europe is equally interested.

    The concept was to design, and assemble two motorbikes that are Warcraft themed, one for the Horde and one for the Alliance. For the sting in the tail there was going to be a worldwide vote and the winning Chopper will appear in the game.

    Now here is were everything gets a little murky and if anything Blizzard have deliberately muddied the waters. Is the vote on the best looking Chopper, or is it this contest between Horde and Alliance? Does everybody get the Chopper, or just characters of the winning faction?

    In my opinion the best Chopper is the Horde but I have only Alliance characters, for which team do I vote. Worldwide the Alliance heavily outnumbers the Horde, so how can the Horde ever win if this is a faction competition?

    As everybody knows who has ever played the game, that Blizzard loves Horde. It is a minority mindset, we are less in numbers but stronger in adversity. It was laughed at when the teams were first announced that  Horde Warchief Metzen was going to represent the Alliance, whilst the gravelly voiced "For the Horde" Samwise Didier was going to represent the Horde.

    This was one vote that was always going to be as democratic as a North Korean Election. Everybody knew the result without watching Episode 8. The result was so rigged that nobody even commented on the Horde winning. It was a 100% turnout and the Horde received 100% of the vote. There was however one dissenter, but he is not the messiah he is a very naughty boy and will be punished accordingly.

    It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)

    Now that Valor capping is not very difficult to achieve, my free time as turned to trying to please Wrathion in the hope that he gives me more Cloaks of Awesomeness. The downside is that I am spending time doing things I don't really want to do, with people I don't want to be with.

    It is easy to think back at the time on the Wrathion Questline as being nothing more than the collection of Sigils, Secrets and Titan Runestones. The reality is that there are side roads that we would like to forget and I don't just mean having to PvP in the two new Battlegrounds, neither of which do it for me.

    One such side road is the quests surrounding the Isle of Thunder, Spirit of the Storm Lord:

    "Progress through the Isle of Thunder until you unlock the final courtyard. Obtain a Tempered Lightning Lance by thrusting the lance into Storm Lord Nalak and surviving long enough to siphon his power."

    Forging the Lance is a fun little scenario which is far from straightforward but is rewarding in it's level of difficulty. The part where you are required to upset a World Boss and expect to live is a little bit more tricky. First time through I was on a Hunter, which just like most activities in the game they are able to solo without any difficulty. The key is being able to drop threat, so that is excellent for Hunters and Rogues, but not so good for Elemental Shaman. I tried a few tricks that are posted on the forum, but I am guessing that Blizzard fixed them some time ago.

    I asked an eminent Shaman in my Guild and I expected some smart answer about casting this spell here and running over to here, then waving your pants above your head and then hand in the quest. The answer was very different, "Hang on I will log onto my Tank". I waited for awhile, my knight in shining armour soloed a world boss, and I ran away like a big girl's blouse, waved my pants above my head and then handed the quest in.

    It is hardly fair that some classes can solo and other need to get a mate to help them (Thanks Elogis).

    I have often stated that it is not wise to do LFR's at the weekend, but when there is nothing else to do, and you just need to kill one boss for part of the Quest chain, you think how bad can this be. The answer is worse than you can imagine. I was up to the quest Fear Itself:

    "Defeat the Sha of Fear in the Terrace of Endless Spring and acquire the Chimera of Fear."

    I normally like ToES it is a Raid which requires moving about 50 paces, down some stairs, and up some stairs and defeat four bosses in about 20 minutes. It's not the most taxing of instances and in particular the first boss encounter is a council style fight. I have done this fight many times and I attack the boss with the dwindling health bar. Icy Veins in it's guide states:

    The strategy for this phase can be summarised relatively easily.
    While this list is rather comprehensive, we will go into some more details in the sections below.
    We remind you that once the first boss is killed, the other two will be healed to full health. Therefore, there is no reason to try to cleave or multi DoT the bosses.

    Notice that it does not advocate which boss to kill first and it comes with a reminder that when the first boss is killed the other two will be healed to full health. This is not the Fallen Protectors (He, She and It) were they need to all die at the same time, but it does require some organisation or at the very least some communication.

    The LFR that I got lumbered in did less damage than when the Raid was current content, coupled with an inability to hit the same target. The see-saw action of the Raid resulted in a kill time of over 10 minutes.

    The elemental Protectors that appear on the stairs and will divide if not killed in time, kept dividing, and the Sha of Fear also took over 10 minutes to complete. Very painful indeed, but good practice to hone your rotation.

    Living Doll

    Goodbye Flashheart. Rest in Peace.

    Friday, 6 June 2014

    See The Light

    As a Blogger, I want people to come and read what I write. After all I don't get paid for writing, and I don't use adverts on the site. What you really want is to strike a chord with other people, help other people and hopefully publish something that is readable and enjoyable to other people. The best thing is when people take the time to leave a comment. Readers comments provide extra material for Bloggers, and at the moment we certainly need some additional stimulus (of a legal kind).

    Yesterday I wrote about Spirits of Harmony and how I believe they should have been Bind on Account from the start of the expansion, after Blizzard hinted that the next expansion will remove the soulbound status on these crafting materials.

    Balkoth in the comment section wrote about the design philosophy of Blizzard and how they want Alts to be fully rounded characters that are not fed by a well geared Main. My argument with quoting Blizzard design philosophy is that Blizzard sways in the breeze depending on what those magical stats reveal. It can be argued that Balkoth is absolutely right and that crafting restriction were placed behind Reputation vendors in Mists of Pandaria all the way up to patch 5.3 when Blizzard realised that nobody was playing alts and this was having a detrimental effect on the game and so they made Reputation gains easier, setup farming orders for reputation and in 5.4 gave us Loot Island so all our characters could easily achieve iLevel around 500 and with some work iLevel 540.

    Blizzard design philosophy does not sway gently in the breeze, it swings wildly in a hurricane and will deviate from one stance to the polar opposite, before eventually settling at a more moderate position in the middle. At present I have no idea what stance Blizzard are taking on Alts, Crafting and Reputation, but I sense a move towards self-sufficiency based on extra professions being available through garrisons, and with NPC's doing a proportions of our material gathering.

    Balkoth did raise an interesting point about selling Spirits of Harmony, I had stated that my gathering alts could not use Spirits of Harmony and neither could they post them or stick them on the Auction House, but they can trade them. This caused a light bulb moment.

    In the back of my mind I remember a vendor trading Spirits of Harmony, so a quick Google search on "Spirits of Harmony Vendor" gave the answers that the Alliance and Horde each have a vendor at the Shrine of Seven Stars/Two Moons.

    My new best friend is Krystel who is even called <Spirit of Harmony Vendor>. The problem with vendors is WoW is that you visit them on your first arrival to a new place and unless they sell something really useful or they are conveniently located for selling vendor trash then you will never look again.

    At the time Spirits of Harmony was hugely important in the game, and if anything I was farming them at the Sunsong Ranch not selling them. Now thanks to Balkoth I will be trading my huge stash for a variety of reasons.

    Some of these items I still have a huge stockpile like the Inscription Inks and the Enchanting materials and the Pandaria Herbs.

    Ironpaw Tokens I have been using to buy the much sort after food types, but Golden Lotus is probably a better money maker.

    Black Trillium Ore will allow me to do something with the huge imbalance of White Trillium ore that I have in my banks.

    Kyparite only had a short window in this expansion. Prismatic Scale is a fairly useless material that I trade daily for Magnificent Hide, it expands faster in the bag than weeds in my garden.

    Now that I no longer require prospecting, my stash of Serpent's Eye has dried up, so this will be a good alternative.

    This one vendor solves so many problems in the game, and it is typical of the complexity of this game that we don't always know what is in front of us.

    Thursday, 5 June 2014

    Unchained Melody

    World of Warcraft is a market leader in MMO's, it achieved this status by Blizzard borrowing the best bits from rivals, adding an existing story and giving the whole thing a lot of polish to make sure it worked well.

    WoW is now often copied by other MMO's so much so that, when discussing LotRO with a work colleague (A game that I have never played) it became obvious that we shared a common language and that WoW and LotRO shared common mechanics. One of the biggest failings of WoW is thought to be crafting, which lacks any kind of interest besides carrying huge quantities of raw materials and then pressing a button, wait five seconds and then the finished good jumps into your bag. Nearly ever new game is described as having a better more interesting crafting game than WoW.

    Cooldowns were introduced to slowdown the manufacturing process so that the Auction House would not be flooded with end game gear, gems, enchants, glyphs and potions. The following is a list of materials that have been used as a bottleneck:
    1. Motes/Primals
    2. Crystalized/Eternals
    3. Nether Vortex
    4. Void Crystal
    5. Frozen Orb
    6. Runed Orb
    7. Crusader Orb
    8. Primordial Saronite
    9. Volatiles
    10. Chaos Orb
    11. Living Ember
    12. Essence of Destruction
    13. Motes/Spirit of Harmony
    14. Blood Spirit
    This list is far from exhaustive and it is not a surprise that we have seen changes in design from one expansion to another, but there is differences in how difficult the different professions are. Jewelcrafting as been a popular money maker due to most the sought after products being very simple to create. Tailors during WotLK were required to make cloth in the correct location and only one at a time, a practice that was re-introduced for the Silk Fields. This is an interesting idea but in practice it is a horrible design with daily trips needed to make 1/12th of a Tailoring bag..

    Many of the crafting materials were only available from Raids, which meant that the materials were scarce and very expensive, with components costing more than the end product.

    Mists of Pandaria introduced two new concepts. The first was the soulbound Mote of Harmony which converted into the Spirit of Harmony and secondly the endgame daily cooldown. The cooldown system became obsolete in a matter of months, and whilst I applaud the efforts to make two pieces of raid gear available to all classes and specs, it was not current for long enough to be worth the effort.

    Since the introduction of Motes during the Burning Crusade, every expansion has used some variation of this design. They have always been sought after and everybody has spent sometime farming these items from elementals, herbs and mining nodes. They have always been big sellers on the Auction House for those willing to put in the effort (setup a gold farming bot). Motes of Harmony was the solution to the problem (if there was a problem), by making them Soulbound. I and many others have always been against this game design, and my personal preference is Bind on Account (Bind to account).

    The current system creates far too much wastage in the game, with gathering characters amassing huge quantities of a worthless item and other characters being starved of them. I personally have gathered hundreds of Spirits and Thousands of Motes, which are stockpiled for the day that I can sent them to my Tailor so that I can make lots of Royal Satchels from Song of Harmony which uses:

    5x Bolt of Windwool Cloth and 3x Spirit of Harmony

    Any further usage for Spirit of Harmony was squeezed out with the introduction of the Raid crafting items like Blood Spirits around patch 5.2.

    A post appearing in WoW Insider, suggests that Spirit of Harmony will become unbound with the introduction of the next expansion. This could and should have happened 9 months ago not in 6 months time. It just seems like Blizzard really do not understand the crafting side of the game. An influx of cheap cloth and Royal Satchels selling for half their current inflated price will make a lot of people happy as they gear towards the next expansion. Heaven knows we could use some cheering up.

    Monday, 2 June 2014

    Going In With My Eyes Open

    Just in case you had forgotten that David Soul of Starsky and Hutch fame, also had a singing career to rival that of that of the Hoff.

    Today I wanted to mention the graphical reworking of the Gnomes as announced on the 1 June. For some reason Gnomes seem to have a Marmite effect on people, love them or hate them they are in the game. We all know that they are really Hobbittses with shoes, but I am guessing the JRR Tolkien , machine will trample all over your belongings just for thinking about Bilbo Baggins and the rest of the Shire folk.

    I have so far been more than a little impressed with the work that art team have put together with the upgrade of our very dated character models, but I feel compelled to shout and scream at the new Female Gnome models. The comments on the Battle net forum got me thinking that Blizzard have really screwed up on the Gnomes.

    Before we venture into the problems lets first take a look at the picture below:

    I am aware that all the models have been snapped in their underwear, but the problem with this picture is that Gnomes bear a passing resemblance to children. This is not an area that Blizzard want to be exploring and too be honest I find the picture very odd and slightly disturbing.

    The next set of pictures are what I really want to complain about.

    They all look the bloody same, and those eyes are just spooky weird. If I didn't know better I would say they were modelled on Gollum.

    Wild staring eyes and weird looking children makeup, it is all very wrong indeed.

    Just in the interest of science I went back and checked the other races that are finished and they are great, truly brilliant, but the Gnomes are an abomination. Love them or Hate them these new Gnome models are just plain wrong.

    It's So Easy

    The topic that will not go away, and this is post number four on the subject of the new Buffs. From my post on the 14th May, we have subsequently had three of the four buffs drop into the life environment. The one buff missing is the "Gaze of the Black Prince" but judging by the title of todays post you might already have an inkling as to my thoughts on the subject.

    At present we have a number of buffs and the current effect on the is quite severe, the following is the ease of obtaining the valor cap on one or more characters. The cost of deed of valor is 3,000 Timeless coins so we can work everything else from that:

    • No buff - 3,000 Timeless coins = Deeds of Valor = 100 Valor
    • Valor of the Ancients 50% + Deeds of Valor = 150 Valor
    • Heart of Valorous 100% + Deeds of Valor = 200
    • Valor of the Ancients + Heart of Valorous + Deeds of Valor =250

    4x Deeds of Valor + Valor of the Ancients + Heart of Valorous  or 12,000 Timeless coins = Valor cap for the week.

    This quite frankly too damn easy, and we have moved from a situation were I rarely valor capped  but could earn 2,500 - 3,000 valor points on multiple characters in any given week to being able to Valor cap my entire army of alts in 10 minutes on reset day.

    Alternative Chat stated, that Heart of Valorous was a 10 day buff and this was confirmed by WoW Insider, the consensus seem to think it is to combat Wildstar but in reality it means you can get all your WoW tasks done in a very short timeframe and then you are free to do whatever you like, even playing another rival game as long as you maintain that subscription fee. If it was meant as a sideswipe at Wildstar then the intention appears fairly lame and Blizzard need to grow up a little. Already we have witnessed several weeks of Blizzard showing what a little boys club they are running.

    If you have the best product and the best customer service why do you need to steamroller the opposition, this is the games industry not an Election trail. Maybe the lack of any tangible expansion is starting to worry a few of the corporate suits at Blizzard HQ.