Archive for April, 2008

The Daily Grind

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Scarpia made a great post the other day about the new dailies, and I just wanted to take a minute and offer a couple more tips I’ve discovered regarding them. I’ve had a lot of free time this week so I’ve been able to do almost all of them, and here are a couple things I’ve figured out. All these pointers pertain to people who don’t have an unlimited amount of time to do dailies, but still want to make a pretty penny; if time isn’t an issue, you can go ahead and take your sweet time, doing all of them. But, who is so lucky? Anyways, a couple more tips:

  • Tip #1: Do all the quests (except the gathering ones) with a buddy. This is probably the best pointer there is, and I know Scarpia already mentioned it, but it’s absolutely worth bringing up again. Killing quests go twice as fast with a friend, and you’re less likely to get ganked (probably the biggest time waster of all). I often just invite whoever I’m by that I see questing, and say hello once they’ve joined the group. Or, if you fly to the Isle from Ironforge, you can start asking in the general channel as soon as you zone in. Either way, this is the biggie. If you want to do the gathering quests, I recommend doing those solo. The drop rates sort of suck, and it takes twice as long if you’re waiting for a buddy to get his 4 Mana Remnants, too.
  • Tip #2: Play Zone Defense. Another big time waster, which you’d never think about, is looting. Kill a mob, run to him, loot him, kill the next, run over, loot him too, etc. You’ll save a surprising amount of time by standing in one spot, pulling all the mobs you can reach over to you, letting them stack up, and loot them all at the same time once there are no more mobs that you could easily hit. This way, not only are you regenerating health and mana faster (since you’re out of the 5 second rule longer), but it’s just more effecient.
  • Tip #3: Don’t forget to blow coolddowns and trinkets all the time. The faster you’re killing a mob, the faster you’re finishing quests. Sometimes we only go into all out DPS mode when we’re all jazzed up for a boss fight; don’t forget you can super nuke regular mobs, too!
  • Tip #4: Never touch the Horde. Unless you’ve got an extra 30 minutes to burn, and enjoy being camped, don’t pick fights. If you see a menacing hode near you, you can even DoT up his mob, or help him out for one second. They like that. You could even wave. I know I know, I die a little inside every time too, but whatever saves time by keeping me from being ganked, right?
  • Tip #5: Pick all the quests up at the same time, and cash them in together. Once you’ve decided how much time you have that day to do dailies, pick all the quests that you’re going to do up for that zone, and only cash them in once you’ve finished them all. Running back to an NPC to cash in one quest, when you just have to run back to him 2 minutes later to cash in at the guy standing next to him is another time burner.

Hope those little pointers help. Is there anything you do to make your dailies go faster? Any other little tidbits you’ve found speed up the process?

Patch Notes 2.4.2: VOID REAVER FIXED, void reaver alarm FTW

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Void ReaverTHANK GOD! A patch is on its way. Official notes are up. And the biggest news of all, void reaver is fixed so that his arcane orbs produce combat log announcements.

This is so important. Here’s some background. Since patch 2.4 launched void reaver stopped announcing his orbs. He also stopped turning towards players whom he was targeting prior to launching an orb at them. Since you only have about 3 seconds after an orb launches to get out of 18yrd range from the orb’s detonation point, for guilds working on ssc, and just starting TK, this was the death knell of their t5 shoulder farming - my guild for instance. We were pretty good on void reaver’s 10minute timer, but, we were’t pulling it off if we lost 3 or 4 dps half-way through the long fight.

The key to taking down void reaver on EZ-mode is a little mod called void reaver alarm. It announces when and where the orbs are coming. It also gives a crystal clear display on a palyer’s ui showing exactly how far away they are from the future detonation point. Unfortunately, it only worked based on combat log announcements, which got all messed up in 2.4

To make a long story short, Void Reaver becomes a mechanical wuss again because combat log announcements for arcane orbs are coming with patch 2.4.2, allowing a void reaver alarm fix. Woot.

Time is Money: Mastering the Auction House: Inflation

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Vision dust inflation AH snapshot
Time is Money is a Raider’s Progress feature bringing together information from various wow web resources, but mainly, my own experience as I attempt to play wow efficiently while enjoying incredible wealth. You know how Uncle Scrooge from Ducktales used to swim around in that enormous vault filled with gold? Like that.

The wow-ers over at woweconomist were keen to point out a phenomenon that is obviously taking place on our server, inflation, which occurs when more capital is injected into the economy. This is why americans are getting extra checks this tax season, to inject more cash into the system and to cause inflation to bring the value of the dollar back up. So with everyone and their mother grabbing 100g+ every day in their dailies, as well as getting more gold from farmable raid material, things are heating up. But, inflation is a major opportunity to make some serious gold. I have found that the high price for many of my items is now the standard going price, with many noobs still dropping things in the AH at the low-side of prices from several weeks ago. Here are some specifics:

1. In addition to prices going up, demand for large prismatics couldn’t be higher. When that armory unlocks, all of a sudden everyone needs 15 shards. But since all this is happening relatively soon, it’s easy to score shards still for around 24g. Grab that. You can safely post in the 30g range, or play it risky and try controlling to push upwards around 32,34g.

2. Prices for all power-profession leveling are also locking into their higher prices. Heavy Leathers, large radiant shards, vision dusts, and dream dusts have been some serious winners for me recently.

3. Twink items see the boost. Zealot blades in the 80s. Scarlet chestpieces solidly at 180g+, and twisted chanter’s staffs hitting 120g pretty easily.

I’m not saying you couldn’t sell at these prices before. But now you don’t have to wait around to flip these things. Inflation is pushing the average value up, so plan accordingly.

Time Is Money: Phase 3 Dailies, 100g in well under an hour.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Sunwell dailies no naga
Time is Money is a Raider’s Progress feature bringing together information from various wow web resources, but mainly, my own experience as I attempt to play wow efficiently while enjoying incredible wealth. You know how Uncle Scrooge from Ducktales used to swim around in that enormous vault filled with gold? Like that.

OK OK. Dailies aren’t as bad as I made out in my previous post, even in the new area, Isle of Quel’danas, despite yet another bitchy post. But, there are a couple of criteria that either make or break the reasonability of dailies as a viable gold making strategy, especially on PVP servers.

Take a friend.

What’s great about the new area is that many of the quests are twice as fast with friends, because they involve killing a certain number of guys. Don;t understimate the amount of time you spend drinking or eating. WIth a partner, this time becomes non-existant and can double your turn in rate.

The other reason is for protection. On a pvp server, you will get attacked as a solo dude because whatever mob you are working on will take your health down enough giving anyone that gets the jump on you an easy advantage. With a partner, the tables are turned, and further make gank retaliation easier. Even just one friend is significant daily gank deterrent. You may still get ganked, but it will certainly be less.

Skip brutal collection quests

This includes the naga quest and sometimes the mana remnants quest. If you are solo, mana remnants isnt that bad. If you area group, it will take as much time as 3 of the other non-collection dailies. The nage quest is brutal under any circumstances. Just avoid it.

My circuit is now:
1. fires over skettis (then take direct flight to BEM)
2. wrangle aether rays
3. play simon
4. hearth to shatt
5. get a guildy. if no guildy yell around on the island or see who is getting ganked trying the first mana remnants quest
7. all of QD except nagas
8. take the scroll quest reward back to shatt
9. fly to shatter point
10. nail the hellfire quests (only if i’m feeling it, they take a bit longer)

* for mana remnants and reactivating sentries, run all the way to the most southern point of the island. For some reason no one goes there.
* If there is a persistent ganker try skipping ahead to other QD quests. people tend to start with the mana remnants one and move gradually to bombs and then ley lines. Mix it up to get away from any losers.

Craftable items after 2.4: Nether vortex upgrades for priests and others

Monday, April 21st, 2008

sample patterns

One of the great things about 2.4 has been the rapid upgrading of any SSC t5 content raid group. In a previous post I introduced the world of crafteds that are relatively new territory, and criticized many people’s excitement as being unwarranted due to the sunmote requirement for many of the items that are associated with the 2.4 content. But, more interesting than 2.4 rep recipes, and in addition to the badge reward items, are all the TK, and SSC craftables that can now be made with ultra cheap, 200g (at my AH), nether vortexes. Find out what progressed guilds can make. Here’s what’s on my list:

Belt of the long road. This was some dream item that appeared in the top of the wowarmory breakdown for +healing and you never expected to see it because of its low drop rate on SSC trash. This thing is amazing. Throw a few gems in there and youve got a belt with +105 heals and +33 spirit. AMAZING. Cost, 2 vortexes and some waters and lifes. You can fish 10 waters up in an afternoon, hovering over elemental plateau and only logging in once an hour when you check your email. Every alchy in your guild has 10 lifes sitting in the bank. But lets say you buy everything - vortexes at 220g a piece, something like 700g. THATS IT. Or, thinking in terms of badges again, 30 badges and something like 300gold. Now try finding a boss before BT that even drops a healing bet, and there you have it. This item is one of those not-to-be replaced items. Take that weak kara belt and chuck it out the window. Cincture of will? This thing is like an extra 40 heals AND 8 more spirit. That’s chump change for that stat increase. GET IT.

But dont be greedy. Boots of the long road? not worth it unless you’ve got the nether’s eating up your bank space. Luckily, i did. There are a lot of great boot drops in raids to come and the kara boots you are prolly toteing are not that bad compared to the boots of long road. Not a big enough up when those badges could go to killer 2.4 badge rewards like the chest or getting the figurine made.

Tales from AV Weekend

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

This past week or two, I’ve been on a bit of a PvP kick, spending a lot of time in BGs, doing the BG daily, and getting my 10 arena matches in. Normally I’m not one for PvP, since I don’t like the fact that any BG you join is a crapshoot as to whether or not you’re grouped with 9-39 other guys that either know what they’re doing, or AFK in the entry room. With so much up in the air, I could never really get past doing two or three in a row.

But I’ve been looking into what non-raid-related things I can do to upgrade my gear, and the arena Season 2 and Season 3 spellblades are pretty incredible, even for PvE. Both weapons have spell hit (always welcome), better Stam and Int stats, and anywhere between 32-54 more spell damage (with sunfire factored in, since I didn’t get it for my dagger), which is a huge jump for one item. I’m currently using the Prince blade, which has been ok so far, and I know there are better drops in the raids we’re doing, but I’m a strong believer in taking the initiative as far as upgrading your own gear goes. If there’s something that can be done to get a better piece of gear, you should do it - you just can’t bank on being at the top of EPGP versus 3 other mages, 1 elemental shaman, and 2 warlocks.

But here’s the problem: mages sorta suck at PvP, and are not very good in arenas. I would really love the Season 3 blade, but with my current level of PvP gear, there’s no way I’d make it to an 1850 personal rating. And when Season 4 comes out, Blizzard has already said that the personal rating requirements will remain in place on the Season 3 items, albeit lowered. So even if the Season 3 blade needs a 1750 or 1700 personal rating, I’m still worried it’s too high for me to get to. Like I said, I’m not a serious PvPer, and the people I tend to do it with aren’t either, so they aren’t all pimped out in arena gear. It’s going to be tricky.

So, in an attempt to remedy this, I’ve been trying to get some Honor points to get some more PvP gear, hoping that I’ll be able to add a little more to my arena teams and get that personal rating up. This is where AV weekend came in. (more…)

Hm? What was that? Oh yeah, level 40.

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

That’s right, kiddies! Time for another shaman report. This time I’m happy to report a satisfying ding 40! Woot!

Well, I should actually say that in fact I’m level 43, and here’s why I’ve refrained from blogging about it up until now; the big big perk that every enhancement shaman is waiting for finally happens at level 40 - Dual Wield! But the catch is, which I realized rather quickly, is that not only does your hit rating suck without those couple extra talents for the extra +hit with dual wielding, but if you’re anything like me, you were probably using a big bulky 2-hander to level up until that point. Therefore, I had to spend a solid hour just auto-attacking mobs with my new 1-handers trying to get my skillpoints up. Even then, I’d say it wasn’t until level 41 or 42 that I reached the relative skillpoint max and starting hitting mobs for a respectable amount.

But, lemme tell you, it’s pretty badass to finally get to dual wield! From what I’ve read theory-crafting-wise, at least for leveling, Dual Wielding and using a heavy hitting 2-hander gives out roughly the same amount of DPS, but as one guy said, “Let’s face it - it’s more fun to watch your guy swing two weapons rather than one.” He’s very right. The level 40 bracket also brings Stormstrike, which is an added little bonus, as well as your giant elephant mount (man, do you miss a mount when you don’t have one anymore…), and the ability to wear mail. Basically, level 40 is where the real party begins. I know I’ve said that with every 10 level bracket so far, but honestly, this is the one where I feel like I get to settle into my shaman. Get to know him, if you will :)

Leveling from 30 to 40 was probably the quickest bracket yet. Quest Helper got updated relatively quickly after patch 2.4 came out, and I was busy checking out Magister’s Terrace and the new (more…)

The Leveling Blues

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

“It was another normal, beautiful day on the harbor. The seagulls cawwed as usual, hunting for scraps among the tossed aside bits of fishermen bait, children ran among the wharfs, and a light, salty sea breeze came off the ocean. Nothing had ruffled the status quo of the harbor for quite some time; nothing since stories of the monster of the deep. No one knew when it would return, or if it had been mortally wounded that last encounter and died somewhere, far out at sea. Still, no weather-worn fisherman wandered out for his daily catch without at least looking over his shoulder for that wretched, dangerous beast.

Then, out of the calm of the blue, the first warning signs came. The fog began rolling in, spurring Ol’ Jim McKindley to grease up the lighthouse wheel and shine it to sea. The birds stopped chirping, and an uneasy still came over everyone at hand. Suddenly, out of the mist, that awful, monstrous fin came rolling in from the waters, and everyone who saw the sight knew it had returned. “Man the cannons!” “All hands ready!” “Be sturdy, chaps!” The beast had emerged!! Reering it’s hideous head, it was clear it was here for revenge - taking monsterous bites and charge after charge to the docks, the men scrambled to their….”

Oh, sorry, did you want me to keep going? I was just recapping what I stumbled upon the other day; perhaps one of the coolest quests I’ve seen in WoW. A truly original quest that not only took me by complete surprise, but broke Blizzard dreadfully monotonous row of fetch me this and kill 19 of these quests.


Keyboard layout for mages

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

This must be pvp directed.

kayboard layout for mages

Oh, Those Were the Days….

Friday, April 4th, 2008

With all the buzz about Magister’s Terrace right now, and guildies just chomping at the bit to get in there whenever they can, I’ve found myself reminiscing about some of the older 5 man instances. At least on our server, it’s almost impossible to find a group for anything for your level unless you either want to buy a run-through (lame), so there’s hardly any opertunities any more to run the old instances. On my shaman I’ve been leveling, I was able to throw a group together for 2 stockades runs in my early 20s, but that was it. So much for Gnomer, Razorfen Downs, Uldaman, Mara, or any of the instances that once upon a time people ran through. It’s a shame, really, and something I view as a huge failure on Blizzard’s part. Every expansion that they throw at us will continue to make older dungeons obsolete; Shadow Labs will be the new Blackrock Depths once Lich King gets here, and Kara will be something you solo your friend’s alt through when he hits 70.

Anyways, instead of writing about the flaws with the constant raising of the roof by Blizzard, I thought I would take all of us on a trip down memory lane. What was your favorite instance back before the expansion, or even before you hit 60, or 70? What was the first raid or PvE-oriented experience you had in WoW that made you say, “…yeah, this is pretty great.” For me? Shadowfang Keep.

SFK was the first instance that not only required you to trek into some uncharted waters (”Where am I supposed to run to?? Hey, come back! Lemme follow!”), but it was the first instance that had a really great “dungeon” vibe: You’re in a castle, there’s a huge variety as far as the types of mobs you’re fighting, there’s a mini-story line, you have to take part in events (opening the cell so the guy can unlock the main door for you), and all in all, a pretty great place. It was also the first dugeon that starts dropping some really nice loot for your toon, giving you your first sense of what an “upgrade” feels like.

SFK was definitly my favorite old-school instance. If I had to pick a second best, it would probably be Stratholme. Same type of deal: huge variety in mobs, events that take place (getting locked in that little sewer grate area), the first multi-phase boss you see, and frankly, the first instance that requires people to actually play well. In a group of all level 58-59ers, Strat was hard! I miss that. Too bad that as the days tick by, we’re getting closer and closer to saying goodbye to every interesting instance and game element that Blizzard introduced in The Burning Crusades. Here’s to hoping that Wrath of the Lich King makes up for it.