Monday, September 29, 2008

More money? Yes, please

We all know that in order to get by in life it takes money, and that's true for living in WoW as well, even though you can get by with pretty little of it. However, being an altaholic and having to finance every new alt can be a little draining, especially when you don't have a 70 to do dailies with. This is where this post comes in - this is going to be about how I make money. Note the italicized "I". This is what works for me, doesn't take too much of my time and suits my playstyle. YMMV.

A Brave New World

So I've just rolled on a new realm. Maybe it's because there's a new one, maybe I want to try out a PvP realm again, or maybe I just ran out of room on the current one I'm playing. First order of business is to get enough money for some decent bags. There aren't too many options here - get to level 5, take 2 gathering professions, and start selling the mats on AH. And, you know what? Just doing this, and putting up greens/blues you come across as you level should be more than enough for learning skills and getting your mounts at 30/60.

But What About Having Fun?

So, yeah, that's enough but probably not enough to "live large". If you want to get yourself the occasional gear upgrade from the AH or have a crafting profession, you're going to need something extra. For me, that "something extra" is made up of 2 parts:
  1. Buy recipes/manuals from traders and sell them on AH - while this can be very lucrative, I don't want to spend too much time running around getting this stuff. When I get to a "new" place with a character I buy 1 or 2 of whatever I can find there and send them to my bank alt. It's not such a big profit, but it's something.
  2. Resell low-priced rare weapon/armor - there's a very large potential here, depending on how safe you want to play it. For me, I usually only buy things that Auctioneer thinks are priced at less than half of what they should be and whose average price across servers is high enough*. Usually, I can find 1 or 2 items worth buying a day, with the profit for each being anywhere between 10G and 200G.
As with any investment, you have to know the market. For recipes, it means knowing that Formula: Enchant Chest - Minor Mana isn't going to sell no matter how cheap you can get it. For armor and weapons it means knowing to avoid items that are easily craftable (especially JC rings), items that you can see multiple auction of despite being "Rare", and maybe most importantly - items that you got stuck with before and couldn't sell.

The Bottom Line

What's the bottom line? What can you get from this post? Well, nothing much, probably. Everything I talked about here today is fairly common techniques, and it is far from being an exhaustive list of how one can make money. It is, however, what works for me in the sense that I can make enough money for what I need and doesn't take too much time. Feel free to try it out (at your own risk) or make suggestions for improvement (also at your own risk. /grin) if you like, but don't expect any revelations here.

* This helps to avoid cases where Auctioneer prices are skewed, which happens a lot.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My very first WotLK post!

Messing Around

Alierah's made it to 35. Not a very exciting level, except for neing able to equip the Gurubashi arena trinket, and train artisan enchanting. I managed to find some cheap Vision Dust on the AH, which got me all the way up to 220 - the highest I've ever gone with enchanting. I've also done some more BGs and got a nice Senior Sergeant's Insignia. Considering I didn't have any neck item before, it's definitely an upgrade, and both the spirit and stamina are good for me, so yay.

And I still haven't been able to find a group for SM, which is kinda strange. SM is usually a pretty popular instance, with very nice drops. Probably has to do with the time difference and the fact that it was the middle of the week. Hopefully, I'll have better luck over the weekend.


Everyone's talking about WotLK, quite understandably, and whether or not everyone get it doesn't even seem to be a question - of course they're getting it. And, you know, I don't blame them. It's very easy to get excited about a new expansion for a game that you really like but is starting to get old. So I went* to pre-order it, and was at the check-out screen when it occured to me - I'm not sure I really want it. /gasp

Since I've been trying to figure out the reasons for and against buying it. The "against" column is pretty simple - why waste money for something that won't really do me much good? So that's not too much help, it just means I have to think about what I'd be getting and whether or not it's worth it. OK, what am I getting? What's new in WotLK?
  • First, and most obvious, raising the level cap. Not much use for me right now, considering that I don't even have any 70s yet.
  • New leveling areas, instances, raids - well, same thing. Without a 70, I won't be going to Northrend or Dalaran anytime soon. Hell, I don't think I've seen half of Outlands.
  • Inscription - coming in the next patch so it will be available to everyone, regardless of whether or not they get the expansion. The same is true for the new talents and trees.
  • Death Knight and DK starting areas - A new class is, indeed, a nice benefit for an altaholic like me, and I enjoy questing in new areas. However, ihis seems to be the only actual addition that I'll be have access to if I get the expansion.
So in essence I'll be paying to get Death Knights, and trying to level in their starting region along with the rest of the world - lag, difficulties getting to quest mobs, you know the drill. Do I really want that? I mean, at the very least, I could wait a while until the DK starting zones "settle down", and maybe even get a 70 by then. That seems reasonable, doesn't it? I guess so. Now, if I could only control my impulsiveness and actually manage to do that, that would be awesome...

* Well, metaphorically went, since it's an online store.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So what have I been up to?

Ooh, how time flies... It's been almost a week since my last post, which is bad. So here I am, with a brand new post.

So what's new this past week? Well, first my WoW instability issues seem to have been solved. I still had a crash after I finished downloading the patch data, but a quick "repair" seems to have done the trick. So now I can, once again, actually play the game.

Melting Faces

Most of my time in-game was spent on Alierah - she's 33 now, has a purple chicken, and is at around 210 enchanting. She's also been doing some BGs and Brewfest dailies, and having quite a lot of fun all in all - I think I'm starting to dig this whole Shadow Priest thing. I also wanted to get some SM done, but managed to end up in a group with a shaman and 3 other priests twice. Needless to say, not having a tank was painful*. Oh, and I managed to get the Gurubashi Arena chest one time - it was 6AM server time and I was the only one in there. Surprisingly enough, it's the first time I've opened the chest and it didn't have bracers of any kind in it.

Let The Experiment Begin

Other than that, I've started my "no pet hunter" experiment. Nopet the Tauren Survival Hunter has actually done the pet taming quests, but hasn't tamed a permanent pet for traveling through Azeroth. I really wonder how it will go with him - can he make it out there, how hard will it be, and what does it mean if he can? For now, things haven't been that difficult, but then he's only 13 and just finishing up with Mulgore. For most of that you can't have a pet yet, so it's not surprising that things are still going well. We'll see how he feels in 10 levels or so.

But even in the little time I've had with him I've already had some insights into technique, gear, talents, etc. While I originally thought I'd have to stack up on Strength for melee, it seems that Strength and Agility both add 1AP per point, while Agility also adds RAP and dodge, so it still seems much better all-around. I would, of course, have to stack more Stamina than usual since I have no pet to tank for me, and using cloth is out of the question but that's not unexpected.

The other "big" insight was about shot order. While it's not usually much of a concern, since you usually get over the get-as-many-shots-as-you-can-before-mob-get-in-melee-range at level 10, but since I won't have a pet it becomes quite important.

Most hunters I've seen around, start the fight with Concussive Shot, to slow down the mob and buy them some time. That's obviously a good idea, but I have a couple of problems with it. First, it starts off with an instant ability. Of course, I don't have Aimed Shot or Steady Shot or anything that takes time to cast, but the way it works is if you start with an "ability" the first Auto Shot happens a "shot" after the ability. But since the ability is instant anyway, there's no reason not to start with Auto Shot and stick the ability right on top of it, gaining an extra Auto Shot in.

The next thing I've noticed was that if you do the Concussive Shot - Arcane Shot - Serpent Sting sequence, the mob gets in melee range just before that second Arcane Shot goes off CD. That's a shame, as an extra Arcane Shot would be a nice bonus to the ranged damage, so I tried to see if I could do anything about that. As it turns out, if you start with an Arcane Shot, and then fire off the Concussive Shot, you can still squeeze in the same number of Auto Shots (at least with my current gun - might be different with other weapon speeds) and have Arcane Shot off CD just in time to fire another one before introducing the mob to the business side of your axe.

Of course, there are also some things I'm still undecided about, too. Should I, in fact, be going down the Survival tree (which is the most melee-oriented of the three), or should I go with MM so I can do the most damage up front**? Is it worth the mana to start the fight with Aspect of the Hawk and switch to Monkey when the mob gets in melee range? Or maybe Monkey isn't worth it at all, who knows? So, yeah, I've got plenty of things to check and to play around with, so it looks like it'll be a fun experience.

* For other people, mostly, as I made sure I generated less threat than everyone else and ran out when it was obvious we were going to wipe.

** BRK would probably have a fit if he saw an MM hunter with no pet. =)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When the world hates you

It seems like these past couple of days, the world in general and of Warcraft specifically don't like me very much. Ignoring all the non-WoW related stuff, here's a recap of the last week or so:
  • Somewhere around last week, the WoW Launcher announced that data for the next patch is ready. Since then, it hasn't been doing a very good job downloading it - I usually get really good speeds for patch downloads, but this one is at around 20% and changes between not downloading and downloading at a whopping 3K/s.
  • WoW has recently decided that it would be appropriate to randomly freeze at the character selection screen, be it right after login or when logging off a character. Though it seems highly unlikely and I can't find the connection, it started at about the same time I started downloading the patch... I think I'll just stop downloading it on my PC and get it on my laptop instead, and hopefully the problem will work itself out after the patch. For now, the whole thing is very annoying.
  • Monday night the Internet in my apartment just stopped working. Very surprising, considering that in the 2 years I've lived there, not only have I not had a problem, but the connection was so good that to this day I'm still not sure exactly how fast it is. Now, the connection itself is not "private" (it comes with the apartment), so there's no tech support to turn to or anything. Then, yesterday, it seemed to work but with fits and starts. I guess it's a good thing I'm supposed to be moving soon-ish.
  • When I did finally manage to log in to WoW, and get past the character selection screen to play around with Alierah a little more, nothing seemed to go right. I intended to get to Ashenvale to quest a little, and kept forgetting to do things like going to the bank, or actually putting everything I'd intended in it, or buying food, or repairing or a million of the other kinds of things you do when you're in a capital city.
  • Even questing didn't go as smooth as usual, starting with Sharptalon. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, Sharptalon is a level 31 Hippogryph. Kill it, loot its claw and start a quest. Together with 2 other named mobs in Ashenvale, they make up the local "Tauren hunting quests". Now, 31 is pretty high, but usually you just have to take him on close to the Undead, uhmm... Reasearch post? I don't know what it is. But anyway, with the NPCs' help it's a piece of cake to kill it. So that's what I did, except that apparently I didn't do enough damage and so couldn't loot it when I was done.
  • Next I went tried to do Torek's Assault - you have to escort a group of Orc warriors and help them take Silverwing Outpost, while making sure Torek doesn't die. Quite easy, if you know what you're doing. Except that, for some unknown reason, Blizz decided to make Torek PvP flagged, and just as I was in the last fight inside the outpost, and almost done with the quest, a stupid NElf hunter runs in and kills all the raiders. Quest failed. I suppose I could've metled his face to pay him back for his kindness, but really didn't feel like it, so I just moved on.
  • Finally, another quest called Vorsha the Lasher. You escort an NPC called Muglash to a little rock out in sea, extinguish a brazier, fight 2 waves of 3 Naga, and then a Hydra, all the while having to keep the NPC alive (of course). Again, not too hard if you know what you're doing (eat/drink between the waves, get the healer first, etc.), and if the quest isn't bugged. But last night WoW decided it would be fun to send the second wave out again together with Vorsha. While I happily killed them all, leaving them in a smoldering heap of melted faces, Muglash died and I failed the quest.
At that point I pretty much decided it just wasn't my day, and called it a night. Didn't even hearth - just logged off right there on that rock. And, of course, WoW froze again at the character selection screen. /sigh

So, yeah, the world hates me. I'm just hoping it finds somone else to hate that's more ammusing soon.

One last thing - due to recent changes at work (nothing bad - not that it got busier or anything) I'm thinking of switching to a 2-3 posts per week schedule, instead of my post per weekday. I'll give it a shot and see how it feels.

UPDATE: So I'm downloading the patch on my laptop from work using a "normal" Torrent client (uTorrent), and it's downloading at an average of 500KB/s. Hooray for fast Internet. Hopefully, that should solve my first 2 problems. In case you want the .torrent (and not some mirror that who knows what file you'll actually be getting), go into your WoW dir, open "Cache" and you should find a .torrent there. Have your way with it. ;-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oops, I did it again

Had a long weekend here in Japan, which is just perfect for starting a new alt... So in comes Alierah, my new Blood Elf Priest. She's also a tailor and enchanter, although I still haven't gotten any advantages out of either of them.

As expected, I'm going down the Shadow tree for now, trying to find a good way to manage more than 1 mob. Single mobs are a piece of cake, and I practically don't have any downtime, but 2 mobs or more are a little problematic. Not that I die or anything, it just feels a little "random" - I don't have a plan for casting and killing more than 1 mob, and just go with whatever's off CD, so that's obviously not the best I could do. Well, guess it's time to hit the books.

Also, despite her shadowy take on life, I really had no problem healing anything from RFC to SFK even when I was a little low for the instances. That's good, at least. And with all the instance running, I have gear that should last me for quite some time (in case I have trouble finding decent PUGs) - Robes of Arugal (no belt, though), Feline Mantle and Slime-Encrusted Pads to name a few.

The long weekend even gave me time to go into some BGs, with a roughly 50-50 ratio, so it wasn't too despairing. I guess my biggest problem with it was that although I tried to do my part and heal the people around me, they hardly ever took the time to actually help me stay alive. I also got a chance to do a Mana Tap jump-shot on a hunter that was chasing me* one time - I just love the irony. /grin

So last night, I parked her back in Tarren Mill, after going through some of the quests there and training my level 26 skills. I guess next stop is SM. And that's about it - I have some other random stuff that happened this weekend, but I can't remember them right now, so they'll have to wait for tomorrow.

Ha, tricked you. You though I was done, didn't you? That'll teach you not to trust me. Anyway, I had this crazy idea to try and level a hunter without a pet. Why? Well, why not? Call it an experiment. Not sure if I'll actually go through with it, but if I do you can be sure you'll hear about it.

* That didn't change the fact that he killed me, but I did manage to last long enough to bring him back to the farm to die, and cleared the lumber mill for someone else to take. Then again, no one actually took it, so it just means I died so some other people could get an HK. Hmph.

Friday, September 12, 2008

So what's so bad about inflation anyway?

I've recently started reading some WoW "economic" blogs (how come I haven't heard of them before? Well, expect an update to my blogroll soonish), and while there's quite a lot of useful information there, there are also inevitably some things I don't quite agree with. One of these things is that inflation is usually considered a bad thing. Now, I suppose in the real world it is, but we aren't talking about the real world - we're talking about a game where despite many similarities, the economy is very different from a real one.

The general argument behind the "inflation is bad" opinion is that assuming you have a certain amount of gold and prices are inflated, you will be able to afford less on the AH. While it is a valid argument, it assumes that the amount of gold you have doesn't inflate along with prices. But, unless you only have the money you take off of dead mobs and from things sold to a vendor*, that assumption just doesn't hold. Whether you grind for items to sell on the AH, sell your trades, or just play the AH, inflation means you can get moar gold. Theoretically, your own capitol should increase at roughly the same rate as the inflation rate.

On the other hand, vedor prices are constant - no inflation there. That means that with inflation essentially making gold cheaper, anything purchased from an NPC essentially becomes cheaper. That means training, mounts, 42-slot bags and even the "everyday stuff" like food and drinks.

I also believe it's a good thing for "newbies"**. True, they won't be able to afford things on the AH, but I think there isn't actually anything they'd need there. And if they are buying things on the AH (I'm talking about buying things to use, not playing the AH), they don't stand much chance to have enough money anyway, so the inflation won't hurt them. If they're smart, however, and get gathering professions, inflation means they can make more gold for selling Silverleaf, making it that much easier when it comes time to fork over the big bucks for their mount.

I'll tell you who inflation does hurt, though - people who have bought their gold. They paid for 10,000g hoping it'll cover the epic mount for their power-leveled 70 and still be enough to maintain their raiding for a while, and now they're finding that their money is quickly disappearing. But you know what? I can't say I feel too badly for them... They can just buy some more.

* And let's face it, that population is pretty small. Not only that, but those people probably don't buy anything on the AH either, so any inflation of AH prices won't effect them in the least.

** Not necessarily actual newbies, rather chars starting out on a new realm without a level 70 who has mountains of gold.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here we go again

I've been having a lot of fun lately playing Cawti, but I'm getting that itch again... I need to make a new alt, but I don't want to give Cawti up* just yet. I've invested quite a bit in Cawti - leveling BS isn't cheap, and I think Pally skills are more expensive too. Another problem is that, for some reason, I want it to be a priest - but I know that I don't like leveling priests**.

And with all that, knowing myself, that isn't going to stop me. I'll probably have a new priest up and running around Azeroth by the weekend. But actually, maybe the fact that I don't like leveling priests will work in my favor here - if I get sick of him/her/it quickly enough there's a good chance I'll come back to Cawti. Decisions, decisions, everywhere I look...

Oh, and a mini-rant. Just something I have to get off my chest. What's up with the Mithril Order quests? I mean, practically all the other Blacksmithing quests have you make stuff and give you a pattern in return. They're a waste of money, but at least you get to level up your BS while you're at it. But no, these quests just have you dump obscene amounts of Mithril (along with some other materials, but let's say that's negligible) for the patterns. Back before TBC, that quest line was required for anyone wanting to specialize in Armorsmithing, but now that there is no Armorsmithing it becomes even less justified. Now, I know what you're going to say - "so skip 'em". But that's the thing, I just can't. For some reason, I just can't seem to be able to skip class or profession quests. And with Mithril going at 30g a stack on my server right now, it'll easily cost 300g (along with the other materials) to do these quests. So bummer. Hey, maybe that's why I want to start another alt...

Well, guess that's it for today. Now we just wait and see what happens.

* It's just what inevitably happens. I mean, when was the last time I played Mokla or Enara? And I'm not even talking about alts on other realms.

** Not that there's anything wrong with them. It's just that whenever I try it inevitably comes down to soloing or healing instances. I don't like face-melting soloing (at least as far as I got down the tree, which isn't that far), and doing instances is a whole other bag of problems.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Deja Vu

I spent a large part of last night just running Cawti around Azeroth (well, her horse was running, at least) and getting some new flight-paths. Being my highest level Horde alt so far, there were quite a few places I've never been to before - Stonard, Kargath and Camp Mojache*, to name a few.

The last place I decided to go was Raventusk Village in the Hinterlands. I've always liked that area - most people seem to ignore it so it's usually pretty quiet, I like the scenery there, and there's some nice ore. So I landed in Tarren Mill, set forth up the path to the Hinterlands, remembered not to run into Aerie Keep**, and made my way to Raventusk. Finally, I reached the graveyard on the cliff, and went down the path to the beach. After trying to get a tan on my pale Blood Elf complexion (didn't work, BTW), I headed south to the outpost and suddenly had this overwhelming deja vu.

Except, I've never been there before. Ever. I can probably count the number of times I've been down to that beach on one hand, and never have I had any reason to go south towards the troll outpost. It wasn't till later, long after I had logged out for the night that it hit me - that scene, heading to an outpost on a beach, with the sea on my left and a towering cliff on my right brought back memories from Guild Wars (I tried to find a decent map of GW to find the name of the place I was thinking about, but couldn't, so I guess you're out of luck). So I got to reminisce a little about "the good old days", before I knew what grinding meant.

Actually getting to the village was a little anti-climactic, though. Although the area is "officially" for levels 40-50, at 42 I was too low for any of the quests and was surrounded by "silver" exclamation points***. Oh, well, it's all about the journey...

* That's if you don't count the numerous times I was riding through Feralas on an Alliance alt and missed the path going around it, running right into the guards and being introduced to their axes.

** Although, it is possible that being such a small place they still haven't heard about Blood Elf Paladins, and would have mistaken me for Alliance. Still, I wasn't in the mood for checking.

*** Silver my ass. It's no more silver than the usual quest marker is gold. It's just plain gray and yellow!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Leveling and gear-dependence

Being an altaholic, and one that does his research on the classes I play, it's not uncommon to run into comments along the lines of "that class/spec is very gear-dependant" and that got me thinking. I mean, we all know WoW is very much based on gear - if you can afford to twink your level 19 rogue with the best gear available at that level range, you should be able to beat another rogue who just uses the items s/he come across*. However, at least as far as leveling is concerned, leveling up has a much more noticeable effect on your performance**. So what's the deal here?

I think it only really"clicked" now that I started the AoE thing with Cawti, as her class/spec combination seems to be very much gear-INdependant. With most other classes, every multiple mob fight is something that requires consideration, care, and likely the use of cooldowns. With Cawty, running up to 2-3 mobs at the same level (or even 1 level higher) is a situation where there's almost no chance of dying. And then I look at how she fights - my health gets leeched by Seal/Judgement of Light, I usually get enough time outside the 5-second-rule to regen mana, and a lot of the damage I do is based on reflective damage rather than actually hitting. Oh, and getting hit is a good thing for her, since it can proc Redoubt and Reckoning.

So let's see - I don't need that much Stamina, since I hardly lose health. I don't need much Intelligence, since I hardly lose mana either. I don't need Strength, since the damage I do with my weapon doesn't make that big a difference, and I don't need Agility because dodging is for sissies. Arguably, the only stat I really need for soloing on my own is Spirit so I can regenerate enough mana. But let's assume for a moment that I do have all those bonuses. What happens then? Well, I could either take on higher level mobs or I can handle bigger groups, because I would be more "efficient"***.

Now, for other classes (or specs), things aren't that easy. Even 1-on-1 fights leave noticeable lacks of health and mana. If your gear isn't good enough, you'll be spending a lot more time eating/drinking than actually killing things, and if taken to the extreme you could even die - requiring to either get decent gear or play with lower level "toys". The problem with that, however, is that XP gain is normalized according to level - if you can't handle same-level mobs your leveling will be that much slower, and probably won't be much fun.

So now the big question is, is there actually a class/spec that really has problems with same-level 1-on-1 fights, and that can't handle 2 mobs with cooldowns if they're not equipped properly? Good question****. I guess if you're leveling as any healing spec, it might very well kill you. Rogues with certain specs might also have problems in this area. Warriors? I don't know, maybe.

One final unrelated note to self: Just leaving the window with the post in it open while going about my other business does not publish it... /doh

* And, if not, you really need to learn how to play. Some people just aren't meant to PvP. I think I'm actually one of them.

** Of course, this is a generalization. But someone who gears himself with bonuses to the "right" stats, even if they don't step one foot into the AH, it's pretty much true.

*** Take less damage, use less mana, kill things faster.

**** Which I don't know the answer to, so don't hold your breath.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random weekend happenings

Quite an eventful weekend, as far as WoW is concerned - I got Cawti through all the different parts of SM, pretty much cleared out all the quests in Desolace and Dustwallow Marsh, and dinged 40*. I also had a chance to set foot into WSG and we actually won. Imagine my surprise. Also, it was quite the educational weekend.

For starters, I noticed that my mount costs mana - not a lot, but still. In WSG when you're constantly mounting and dismounting chasing someone with a stupid flag it gets annoying. Not sure if it's worth forking over the cash for another mount, but annoying nonetheless.

Second, something that I found highly ammusing, but that will have no effect whatsoever on anyone's game - you can HS while eating/drinking. Not only that, you'll still be eating/drinking after you've been teleported to the inn (assuming there's still time left). I wonder if that was intentional.

Third, I learned quite a lot about this whole AoE thing. Especially that it can be really fun when you pull too many, or get too many adds, or runners bring in too many adds, or whatever, regardless of whether or not I actually survive the encounter.

Fourth, while possible that Murlocs aren't the brightest race in Azeroth, I really don't understand how out of a pile of 8 corpses, I only managed to find one head. On the same note, having dragons withhold their Searing Tongue, but drop a Forked Tongue is just plain ridiculous. How many different tongues do these things have?

Uhmm, whatever's next, I lost count already. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. If you're a Warrior who's geared in the finest AH blues available for your level, but still want me to tank for you, and then go on to Whirlwind your way through the instance with huge crits stealing aggro on every single mob, don't blame me when the healer dies. If you're an asshole to boot, it doesn't help. That, however, should not be reason enough to be an asshole myself and take it out on someone else (who, although in the same guild as said warrior, was nice and did nothing to deserve it). So, Cyzti, I'm sorry I didn't go to the Armory again with you guys to finish your quest. If you ever need a Pally for anything at all, give me call.

Got me some nice plate as quest rewards, but I'm still far from replacing everything. What's a good area to quest for some pieces, now that I've cleared Dustwallow? I'm not really sure. Guess I'll hit the other 35-45 zones (if there are any left) and try to find something.

I guess that's almost everything, so one final thought - things are actually going pretty well for Cawti right now, making me wonder if she's The One. Will I finally make it to 70? Will it be before WotLK? Who knows... I guess time will tell.

* Which is kind of anti-climactic now, with mounts being a level 30 thing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Strangest Thing

There I was, got home yesterday evening and was getting ready for a nice evening of WoW - I had my coke, my dinner, everything one needs to play. And then it happened - I logged on, got to the character selection screen and just didn't feel like playing any of the characters there. So I tried another realm. And another, and another. Nope, not one character that stood out and said "I'm sick of this inn, I want to go out and kill stuff".

Well, alright, if that's the way I was going to be maybe I should just make a new character. Tried that on a Horde server - nope, no idea what I want to do with it. Tried an alliance one, but still no go.

So what the hell is going on? I don't know, but I give myself till the weekend is over to do something useful in the game (and find something to write about while I'm at it). Only one problem with that plan - I just got Afrika and Disgaea 3 which are both excellent in their own way, so it's going to be a tough weekend. Well, you know what they say, what doesn't kill you...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This Is Not A Post

Uhmm, yeah, I really don't have anything to talk about today... I didn't get to log on last night, so I don't have anything new, and I need to go over my Warrior and Rogue mappings before continuing my Nostromo series. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Paladin AoE

Now that I've had some time to try out my new build (this is what I currently have at 31) I figured I'll make a post about it while I still can*.

What You Need To Know

The base of this spec revolves around the use of Seal of Light to regenerate health while taking as little damage as possible and reflecting as much damage as possible. That means Retribution Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary and Righteous Fury (talented, for damage mitigation) should be up at all times, and talents that reduce damage taken (especially ones that let you block more, as it will reflect damage with the blessing) or ones that allow you to attack more often (for more damage and more chances to heal through the seal) should get priority.

Since we're basing this on Seal of Light and Blessing of Sanctuary, this only becomes an option at 30. That usually means a respec, since even if you level as Protection there isn't much point in using a main-hand/shield combination so far, and a lot of the talents go toward improving blocking. That can be a good thing, though, since if you're going to respec anyway you can experiment and do whatever you want with those first 20 talent points.

What I Like

It really does work pretty well - run into a bunch of mobs, make a train, then start beating on them one by one while refreshing your seal every 30 seconds. It'll take a while, but you'll finish the fight with your mana and health pretty much full. Doing the "mastery" quests in Stranglethorn was never this quick - you can finish them in 2 or 3 "pulls".

Slight variations are easily accessible. If the blessing can't keep up with the damage you take, judging the mob you're currently whacking should be enough to get you back on your feet. If it's going too slow and you have mana to spare, feel free to throw down a Consecration for some more damage.

What I Don't Like

Of course, it's not all fun and games here - the spec has its downsides, and while I am only starting to use it, there don't seem to be any new spells or talents that would make such a big difference in playstyle down the road. I'll get some damage mitigation, some more DPS and some more healing to improve fights, but there is nothing that addresses the real problems that bug me.

For starters, you just can't handle ranged/caster mobs very well. With only 1, you can run all the way up to the mob and kill it first, but with more than that you'll be taking a lot of damage that won't get reflected or trigger any of your talents. For casters it's even worse, since even if you get close, they still cast instead of melee attacking you, so you're still in trouble if you don't kill them fast enough.

I guess for casters the best solution would be to just switch back to your 2-hander and take 'em 1-on-1. Not ideal, obviously, but the shield is completely useless against them anyway, so you might as well do some more damage.

Now, this isn't such a big problem if you're grinding - just pick melee mobs to grind on. But who wants to do that? It's boring... Especially if you consider that I don't have any hordies over 30, so I get to see a lot of quests for the first time.

Second thing that bothers me is - it's so boring. I mean, make sure you have the right aura, Righteous Fury and you Blessing are up, and charge in. Other than refreshing the seal every 30 seconds, you really don't have to (and in a lot of cases shouldn't) do anything else. I mean, I've only just started so I'm OK with it so far, but I don't imagine it'll last very long. I guess I'll just have to see.

Is That All There Is?

Well, yes and no. Yes, that's pretty much it for soloing. No, I have no idea how well it would work for tanking (or healing). I guess the added threat from Righteous Fury should cover for the lower DPS and the added reflective damage will definitely help threat generation, so I think it'll be fine. On the other hand, taking less damage means I don't get healed as much which means I don't regen as much mana from Spiritual Attunement. Guess I'll just have to try it and see.

Now it's pretty much it - feel free to ask questions or make suggestions, and I'll keep you posted if anything changes**. Also, luckily enough, Darkmoon Faire is getting extended maintenance today, so I'll probably be starting an alt on some other realy while I wait for it. Maybe a Holy priest, just for healing instances, who knows?

* Before 3.0, that is. Who knows how talents and skills will change then? Well, obviously, the people in the Beta, to some extent, but they don't count. *grin*

** Not that you care, but how am I going to keep up my post-a-day routine if I have to talk about meaningful stuff?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Some Days It Just Doesn't Pay To Get Out Of The Inn

Last night I logged in briefly hoping to do some catching up on my Blacksmithing. Horde blacksmiths have a quest chain in Orgrimmar (Barbaric Battlements, On Iron Pauldrons and Trampled Under Foot) which is pretty much where I was on my Blacksmithing so I figured I might as well go ahead and do them.

Having spent most of Cawti's money on skills and respeccing, I had to do my shopping with my banking alt, and trying to scavenge mats (like Medium Leather) from other alts. Usually, it's not really a problem, but I kept getting side-tracked and forgetting stuff - I logged onto Mokla to check if she has any Copper Ore or Medium Leather, but only remembered to send the leather. I logged onto my bank alt to get stuff from the AH, got the attachments from the mail and forgot to send it to Cawti. Thank god there isn't a 1-hour delay until mails with attachments arrive, but still logging on and off takes a lot of time and is really annoying.

And then, when I thought I finally had everything I needed I discovered I was missing 1 Copper Ore (and the AH only had full stacks). I mean, seriously, it's just 1 ore - can't I just borrow it? I'm good for it... But, no, they wouldn't go for it, so I had to run out of Orgrimmar and find a vein - more time down the drain.

Finally, after finishing all 3 quests (well, not actually finishing them - stupid things have a level requirement, so I just made all the items) I learned how to make the Green Iron Hauberk and was happy that I would be able to replace my Shining Silver Breastplate when I ding. But, surprise surprise, I forgot that you need a Green Leather Armor to make it. I checked the AH, but no luck there - I'm hoping to find it soon for a reasonable price.

Before logging off, I took a little time to try out my new spec. With Seal of Light and Blessing of Sanctuary, I can definitely see this working out although I've got some serious mana problems. I'll have to test it out some more before deciding, though.

And that's it for today. Stay tuned for, uhmm... stuff.

Monday, September 1, 2008

So Soon? But I'm Not Ready Yet...

As I'm sure no one but me actually remembers, Cawti started out a Protection pally. Then, at some point in her 20s I decided to try out Retribution for a while until 30 or so. So far so good - I paid the 1g for the respec, and watched as things started dying faster. Also, doing quite a few instances, I've had a chance to tank and heal and I can do a pretty decent job of both - I guess the spec doesn't matter as much as gear for now, and I do have different sets for different occasions.

So first off, having done all these instances (a couple of SFKs, WC, BFD, RFK...) and the relevant quests I got some pretty neat gear, often long before I could actually use it. I had to wait 4 levels to use my Tusken Helm, and 5 to get the quest from the Small Scroll. I've also done some more Blacksmithing, and am now wearing Green Iron Leggings and Boots.

Most importantly, I'm now 30 which has a lot of implications. First, I can Summon Warhorse (although I'm still considering getting a Chocobo). Second, I have Divine Intervention - should come in very handy for using on my tanks. Finally, with Blessing of Light, I can probably do pretty well AoE grinding so it's time to switch back to Protection.

And that's where the dilemma starts - as we've all heard by now, patch 3.0 (pre-WotLK patch) is "coming soon". While the patch itself is not a big surprise, the fact that it's coming so soon is. And, going by past experience, I think it's pretty safe to assume we'll all be getting a free respec (since the new trees will be so radically different than the current ones). So why waste 5g for a respec that'll only last a couple of weeks? Not to mention that I don't even know if the AoE spec is still viable with the new talents*. Having known myself for, oh, at least 2 weeks, I can say I'll probably go ahead and respec anyway (despite common-sense suggesting I shouldn't), but I might just switch to playing another character for now, who knows?

* In case you haven't noticed the distinct lack of talking about WotLK around here, I don't go for all that Beta frenzy. I haven't even opted in to the beta, despite recurring mails reminding me that I can. I just prefer to play my games when they're ready instead of having to keep track of all the changes and dealing with all the bugs in Betas.