Friday, November 2, 2012

Mythbusters: Jogu Edition (Only listen to the Drunk Fish)

Previously heard on Power Word: Gold episode 47... (skip to the 01h25min mark)

Meet Jogu.

Jogu is a jinyu with a drinking problem - which is an hilarious but unfortunate issue for a fish-person to have.
If you talk to him, he'll be able to divine what plants will give bonus crop rewards on the next day, because he's got super gardening powers.
(There's a fee to talk to him, depending on the level of friendship your character has with him.)

There are a bit of rumors, confusion and miscommunication about how exactly that whole mechanic works.
So here's a little experiment I've conducted with my 6 characters that have access to a farm.

Day 1
All my characters go talk to Jogu and pay the fee to get to know what the bonus crop reward will be.
All my characters are told the same plant will give it.
That day was Scallions.
I've asked a guildie what Jogu told him - it was Scallions as well.
All my characters planted Scallions.
The next day, all my characters got +2 bonus Scallions when they picked them up.

Day 2
Only my main talks to Jogu and pays the fee to get to know what the bonus crop reward will be.
That day was Green Cabbages.
All my other characters don't talk to Jogu.
I've asked a guildie what Jogu told him - it was Green Cabbages as well.
All my characters planted Green Cabbages.
The next day, all my characters got +2 bonus Green Cabbages when they picked them up.

Day 3
None of my characters talk to Jogu to know what the bonus crop reward will be.
I've asked a guildie what Jogu told him - it was Green Cabbages again.
All my characters planted Green Cabbages.
The next day, all my characters got +2 bonus Green Cabbages when they picked them up.

Day 4
None of my characters talk to Jogu to know what the bonus crop reward will be.
I've asked a random person at Halfhill what Jogu told him - it was Pink Turnips.
I've asked a guildie what Jogu told him - it was Pink Turnips as well.
All my characters planted Pink Turnips.

Day 5
All my characters got +2 bonus Pink Turnips when they picked them up.
After 5 days in a row of getting the same results, I'm fairly sure I've got the whole system down.

The bonus crop reward:
  • gives a bonus +2 of that plant per crop
  • works across all characters
  • works across all players on your own specific server
  • works without any of your characters even speaking to Jogu, as long as someone passes the info along to you
There is no such thing as "an invisible Jogu buff".
There is no such thing as the bonus crop "working only sometimes".

Jogu timing issue
There is a small, very annoying, but crucial detail that some people aren't aware of, and it can make them think that Jogu doesn't work 100% - and it's entirely Blizzard's fault.

Farms start a new day at midnight server time.
Dailies reset later, at a different time. (Usually 3am server time)

Here's the kicker: Jogu's advice resets with the dailies reset and not the farms reset.
So in order for Jogu's advice to work, you have to talk to him after dailies reset.

It's stupid.
It's really friggin' stupid.
And I'm sure there's a perfectly logical reason as to why all of this is planned this way.
But it still feels as if you were to wake up at midnight and start your day, only to find yourself waking up again at 3am like nothing happened.
Like if you were in one of those trippy sci-fi fucked up thriller movies where the character spends his time going from dream sequence to dream sequence and it's harder for both him and you, the viewer, to make the distinction between what's real and what's a dream - only to be sucker punched at the end by a bad script writer that tries to convince you that all of this never even happened in the first place and you yell at the scream for the rest of the evening.

Does not - make - sense.

Other types of bonus crop rewards
There are random actions that can happen when you plant a seed and when you come collect a plant.

When you plant a seed, you have a random chance to get a Bursting plant, which you can collect on the spot, then re-use the soil spot immediately to plant another seed.
It is a random chance that has nothing to do with Jogu.

When you come collect your plants when midnight clocks over, there is a random chance that some of your plants are Plump, which means that you will collect a certain number of extra plants from it.
It is a random chance that has nothing to do with Jogu.

I think these two occurences are what confuses certain people into thinking that Jogu might be responsible for those things happening or not.
That somehow Jogu gives a lucky buff that makes Bursting or Plump happen.
It's okay because the Tillers and Pandaria Cooking and Farms aren't very properly explained in a way that makes it very comprehensive for everyone to easily grasp and understand.
I like the tutorial quests with Farmer Yoon - those were great to make sure you got how all this worked.
But they could've helped just a liiiitle bit more and this kind of situation and confusion wouldn't be happening.
But it's okay because now you know the facts and you can pass the knowledge on and strut into the sunset like a pimp.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Encore of random tips for Pandaria

I guess you guys really like those, so here we go again!

Darkmoon Faire
The first few Faires that happen after the launch of an expansion are always busy, mostly because of the trinkets you get for turning in the decks made with inscription (either cards made once a day or whenever you can).
However, this is the first Faire where you can get the full advantage of the revamp and work on the monthly quests they give you.
It's +5 skill points per tradeskill and the tasks they have you do are incredibly easy.
And it's not something to laugh at when you could use the new MoP mats to some better use.
If you're not maxed out with your primary or secondary tradeskills, it's definitely worth making a little side trip with all of your toons.

PS: You'll probably forget it, but don't forget to bring 5x Simple Flour before you go (or grab a bunch to sell to people on-site).

Tradeskill help from the Blingtron 4000
Some Engineers have already crafted the handy Blingtron 4000 already.
Inquisitive minds will have noticed in the tooltip that he gives a random present to people each day (to level +80 characters only).
What is mighty interesting about that is that the present has a chance to give a Fire Spirit, which gives +3 skill points to both of your primary professions (if they're not already maxed).
So if you're in your main city and you see a blue daily quest icon appear on your minimap, chances are someone dropped a Blingtron (he stays up for 10 mins).
It's an 8% drop rate, so don't feel too bad if you don't get it - someone will be looting a Party G.R.E.N.A.D.E., and you'll be dancing your worries away!

Cataclysm Revival
It looks like some Cataclysm markets, after sinking completely, have been left wide open.
Gold-makers should take the advantage of resetting those markets, being very careful that a lot of people that log late in the game will try to (unknowingly) crash the market all over again.
It that happens, it will take a lot of effort to make a stand and keep the prices from falling too low, but there's a way to claim a foothold on these few markets.
And it's certainly important to do it, as the spotlight is shining brightly on crafting leveling right now.
(Note that the enchanting market of Cataclysm will probably take a few more weeks before we can delve into it seriously a.k.a. make ridiculous profits out of it.)

Guild Standards - the buffs that everyone forgot
No, it's not a way to make gold - it's a way to get rep and XP faster.
The guild vendor can sell you 3 standards that give out respectively 5%, 10% and 15% buff on rep and XP gains while killing monsters.
So you might want to look into this when you're farming mobs, running dungeons, etc.
Personally, my standards are almost constantly down all of the time.
Take note that they have a big cooldown on each one of them, so you should try to maximize their use as much as possible: put them down in the middle of your killing spot or room.
The range of the buff is remarkably big and no, the buffs don't stack from multiple standards.
Here's a very detailed explanation of what works and doesn't work, if you're so inclined to know.

Lookin' buffed.

I know that a lot of people are turning to gold-makers to know what sells and what doesn't.
I know that they want to know that if you sell Item X for Price Z it will equal W Gold (where W is TONS of goooooooooooold).
But the truth is that gold-makers can only get a feel of what the worth of items could be like.
What it comes down to is what's happening on your server, and the beginning of an expansion is the best time to try some experiments on the Auction House.
You'll never know what you'll end up catching!
And maybe, in the end, you'll have discovered your own little niche market.
Who knows ? You'll know.
Have a little fun. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More random tips for Pandaria

You asked for it - so here's more!
If you didn't - sorry, here's more!

Pandaria Alchemy
Potion of Luck is the new Potion of Treasure Finding - same trick applies: use it for leveling, farming, grinding rep, etc.

While we're on the subject, Alchemy is incredibly easy to level and complete.
You just need an afternoon of herb farming and you're good to discover all of the new recipes.
If you need help to find out which ones you're still missing, grab AckisRecipeList and you're good to go.
Golden Lotus, however, are a pain in the...flask... to find.

Engineering items
For those of you who don't have an Engineer or don't play around with it regularly, one thing that is important to know about this profession is that complexity makes for a part of it's charm.
People might say it's also one of it's major problems, but I don't think they understand what the kit and philosophy of the profession.
It's complex and that's the whole point about it.
It's tinkering and gathering all sorts of different pieces, getting some parts, turning them into other parts, which become parts for a new item.

That being said, it doesn't mean that you can't make life a little easier for the leveling Engineers by making sure they have fresh supplies in the Auction House at all times.
That's why I always sell Bolts.
Bolts and Bolts and Bolts because that's the bread and butter of every new Engineering tier and they need tons of them.
Also: for different reasons, totally unrelated to the fact that buying the ores or the bars might be cheaper options for them, some people will buy Bolts at whatever cost you'll post them.
And also: there's tons of other items that Engineers need to level their tradeskill.

Burning Crusade green gems
If you follow me on Twitter, I've been mentioning Consortium gems a lot, and well first I'm sorry for spamming you about it.
I know it's not a way to make piles of gold, but it's one of the few times when those green BC gems get their prices raised and they're just there for you to grab
Sell them before people crash the markets again at 1g per gem...

Adamantite and Jewelcrafting
Mercurial Adamantite is needed for Jewelcrafters leveling through the BC content, and it's so easy and cost-effective to make profit out of it, especially if you're the only one doing it.
These days the Adamantite Ore on my server is less than 5g/stack, so there's no excuse.
Buy, prospect, craft, post and post the green gems as well.
You can also sell the Adamantite Powder you get from prospecting, just to make sure you cover as much of the market as you can.

Pandaria Archeology
This is just a simple warning to everyone who's thinking of selling the new archeology keystones.
We have Pandaren and Mogu ones and although they're new, don't expect to make the same kind of profit you would make with the Tol'vir ones.
If there's any other reference for pricing, you should look at the Draenei and Orc ones from Outland.
They come from one expansion, they're the only 2 that people are going to be picking up, and there's a lot of digsites.
So they're not going to be rare and people are not going to be fighting over the keystones.
And like the Draenei and Orc archeology projects, the Pandaren and Mogu projects aren't incredibly hard to complete.
Heck, a friend of mine completed everything except a couple of grey items all in a single day.
So the advantage is : you can do your own and totally skip using the keystones.
The bad side is : not humongous profits.
But for people who don't have patience and have handfuls of gold, they won't see the difference.

Pandaria Jewelcrafting
Having less than 90 Designs to discover at the rate of 1 Design per day makes me a really friggin' happy Jewelcrafter.
If we went at the rate of Wrath or Cataclysm, I'd still be trying to get all these Designs a year from now.
Anyways, Elvine posted this on Twitter and I think it's mighty interesting.

Elvine specified that it's designed for PvE gemming only, but that's really what's interesting to most people.
Also, this link might interest a lot of people.
I'll let the more knowledgeable people talk about it.

Important Beginning-of-Expansion Tip
Be on the lookout for all raw items that sell more to the vendor after transformation.
People are emptying their banks!
And there's a lot of profit to be made in there, if you are so willing as to take the time to look into it.

Last tip : Save this link
Keep this link handy.
No really.
You'll need to go read it a lot.
Just click on it and bookmark it.
I'm not kidding - I keep referring to it a dozen times a day for guildies and myself.

Remember to enjoy the expansion! ^_^

Friday, September 28, 2012

Grab bag of random tips for Pandaria

Choose how to get to level 90
As far as I can tell, you have 2 options in gold-making right now at the beginning of this expansion : get to level 90 ASAP or farm your way to level 90.

If you get to max level, you're going for gold-making by crafting items to put on the AH.
You could also make gold by selling the BoEs and mats picked up while running dungeons.
(By the way, that's the quickest way to get to max level.)

If you farm your way to level 90, you're going to have one advantage: you'll have picked up a lot of Motes of Harmony by killing mobs. That will give you a head start on crafting.

But you could argue that getting to max level and wearing max level gear will make killing mobs faster, making also gathering faster - and you have flying on top of that.

Questing ?
Unless you are a die hard fan of lore, questing can wait.
Personally, I've always reached max level first, and then I started questing, because the quest XP gets turned into 2x gold rewards.
Moar profit is teh winz.

Farming farm dailies
In your gold-making priorities, getting a farm started should be at the top.
Mainly because you can start gathering mats in advance but mostly because it's gated by dailies.
Dailies mean early birds get gold-plated worms.
It's the word, from what I've heard.
The Godmother wrote a very detailed post on how to start it and make it work.

Mist-Piercing Goggles - get a pair for the extra loots.
Lifted from the Wowhead comments:
The Mist-Piercing Goggles are more than just a name. Out in the world you will find small patches of mist scattered around, up against trees, along cliff edges etc. If you have these goggles with you, you will be able to see the herb or metal that is shrouded by the mist.
As the tooltip says, you do not need to have these equipped to see through the mist, simply having them in your bag is sufficient.
Once you know what you're looking for, you'll start to see just how many mist patches there are in the world. These will be a significant increase to gathering.

Use your server's low and peak times to your advantage.

Off time: I run around a lot.
I've reached 600 Mining in record time, only running around in the Jade Forest. A few more days like that and my Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting and Engineering will running full steam ahead.

Peak time: I go where people are.
There's a few spots in the Jade Forest, but the ultimate killing grounds I've encountered so far are in the Valley of the Four Winds.
There's 2 main places where it's skinning galore because of quests and fast spawning mobs, and a few little hubs here and there that are a bit unoccupied but someone can leave a whole trail of corpses to skin from (like the Silken Fields).
Just get there when the waves of players are hitting the spots and skin as quickly as you can.
After all, you're helping get rid of the corpses so more mobs spawn - they should all be thanking you!

Know how to use NPCScan
A lot of rares are around the world and you have to kill them when you can because there's a lot of people that can tag them before you do.
Best thing you can do is to have NPCScan installed.
To automatically populate NPCScan with all the Pandaria rares (and also all the old-world rares, because why not), install NPCScanEx and follow the instructions (which is just "click this button").
And to reset you rare cache every day, I wrote a little article with step by step instructions on how to make that happen with 1 click of a button.

Selling pets
You can cage and sell pets that are not wild pets.
However, remember in which circumstance you got certain pets.
Some of them cannot be gotten again and therefore their value should be skyrocketing.
It's a whole new market and prices are yet to be set in stone, so allow yourself to have fun but be sure to not be too hasty in getting rid of some rare pets that could be worth 10x what you think they're really worth!

Be careful with the AH at the beginning of the expansion with non-current items
People are impatient to make gold.
Some will flood the AH with non-Pandaria items and will either boost their prices or lower them just to get rid of them.
Use caution and good sense.
Both with the items you are posting and their auctions.
Remember: just because you used to make a profit out of certain items before doesn't mean that you will be able to do the same now.
An expansion changes the way that the game is played, both in leveling characters and professions, to crafting and gathering items.
Sometimes it's good to buy, sometimes it's good to sell, and even sometimes it's good to not do anything at all!
You be the judge - use your gold-making knowledge wisely.

Last tip: Having a friend that has a level 90 toon that can fly you around is also pretty handy to have! ^_^

That's all I got for today - remember to take the time to explore and have fun!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Patch of Chaos

This will be a patch of chaos and confusion, where Trade and Guild chats will be full of questions about what's changed, what hasn't changed, what will change once Mists launches.

The Auction House
Imagine a catastrophic event.
Think of how people react after the event has happened.
There's usually 3 types of reaction.
  • Some people will panic and do rash things.
  • Some people will be under the shock of what's happened and will move slowly and cautiously.
  • Some people will be in a catatonic state, will do nothing, stand in place and watch the rest of the events unfold until they feel safe enough to return to normal.
Same kinds of actions happen in the game after every patch, but especially after pre-launch patches.
You can learn from this, use caution, and manage to make some gold out of this without falling into the traps of ultra-risky investments.

The Auction House is at its' most uncertain in these times, for both buyers and sellers.
Prices will skyrocket and plummet on a whim, but you can have the advantage on all of this because you get to decide the price that items will go for.
It may not stick for very long, and other auctioneers may not follow your bluff, but if a buyer manages to believe the new worth of the item, you may be incredibly lucky.
It's a sequence of events that happen in your day-to-day auctioneering, but compressed in a short amount of time.
Depending on how you react and how the rest of the server reacts, you may strike several gold mines or end up with lumps of coal (which go straight to vendor).

As you can tell, all of this is not unexpected.

I'm here to help... somewhat.

I can't tell you the prices that items will go for, but I can help you make sure that the patch transition goes as smoothly as possible.

I've covered this already and I'll be repeating myself, but this time I'll do it more extensively.
So it's kinda like version 2.

  • Clear your cache - An important part of making sure you won't have any database conflicts. That means deleting everything that's in your WDB folder.
  • Clear your auctioneer data - "/auc cleardata ALL" I believe is the right command line, but I'm the kind that likes a full complete reset of everything. So I prefer to delete and reinstall all my addons. Speaking of which...
  • Update your addons - Curse and WoWInterface are the usual places people visit.
  • Follow gold-makers on Twitter - Link to Power Word: Gold's Gold Blogging Directory - all Twitter info is posted there for everyone - There are more wonderful and helpful people out there, but you'll have to find them. Some very helpful tips (almost) in real-time can make you some extra gold that is only available on Patch Day.

Pro-Tip #1
  • When you log on for the first time on your characters, do it without addons.
  • Then open up all your tradeskills one after the other.
  • Between each skill, give the game time to populate your tradeskill UI. Basically, it's downloading (and synching with the new expansion) all the info for your character. Everyone's doing it at once, so give it a few moments to get everything right.
  • When that's done, then you can re-log with your addons.

Doing it that way reduces the chance of problems between Blizzard's data of your character and the data being interpreted by your addons. Also, if you see something isn't working, you'll know where the issue lies.

Pro-Tip #2
Make sure to log out your character(s) in a city other than Stormwind or Orgrimmar.
You'll reduce your lag, you'll reduce everyone else's lag.
Remember that when you log on, not only does it load the data for your toon and the world around it, but also everyone else's toons, including all their armor, their glows and enchants.
On a patch day, that can take a toll on your game and your dainty patience.

Pro-Tip #3
AOE looting is in the patch.
Expect people to run dungeons until Pandaria launches.
Lots of dungeons.
Be aware that a lot of people will dump in the AH all the stuff they loot.
Prices will vary, be careful.
Also, people might come to the conclusion that their bags become really full really fast.
So they might need bigger bags. (**HINT**)

Other info
Here's the official Patch info from Blizzard (may need an update once it's live)

WoW Insider wrote a more reader-friendly list of What's In and What's Out

Lore reminder
Between now and the release of the expansion, take the time to check out the Rogue Legendary quest chain videos that Blizzard has created. Wrathion has an important role to play in Pandaria, so here's everything you need to know about him and where he comes from.

PS: Do you have any other tips to share for patch preparations?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Quickest Skinning Cataclysm Spot

I know it's quite late in the game to be bringing a Cataclysm skinning tip, but it may be helpful for alts or for any of the reasons I'll mention later.
Hey who knows?
"Might come in handy" is the point.

Please note that the objective of this is to get a quick number of mobs skinned, not to get a max number of  skins. (I.E.: If you're running after this achievement.)
If you want to get a fast number of Savage Leather, but that's not as quick as this place and you can be crowded by people doing dailies, go farm the spiders in the Molten Front or the crocolisks in Tol Barad.

Everyone that's looked into skinning spots in Cataclysm knows that a great way to start off if you're looking for leather you can skin yourself, is to go farm the crabs in the starting zone of Vashj'ir.
While this is a good idea, there's a few cons about it.
The crabs are really spread out all over the place, their respawn time is a bit meh if you're trying to farm as many of them as possible, and people that are trying to do the quest there might be a bit angry at you for killing everything in sight.

I tried the crabs but I wasn't satisfied.
I thought "There must be a better place to do that somewhere in Vashj'ir that does not have those inconveniences".
And I found it.
It's not too far away from the crabs.

The mobs are Famished Great Sharks and they're found swimming in a bunch just before a naga quest zone.

  • Because there is a quest attached to them, Blizzard has set them to be on a fast respawn timer. Farming alone, there are always 2-3 sharks up at all times, even when I hurry to kill everything as fast as possible. Sometimes you even get the double and triple spawning mobs on top of each other.
  • You're not in the way of people who try to do the quest, as they only need to cast the mind control object on a single shark to be good to go.
  • The sharks swim quite closely to each other, so you don't have to move around a lot to go from target to target.
  • Have a chance to drop 77-79 greens and 80-81 blues.
  • If you have your NPCscan addon, you might catch Lady LaLa - she spawns in the naga area nearby and drops a healing trinket.
  • 20% drop rate of Deepsea Scale from skinning them. Which isn't shabby, though not the prime mob you'd want to farm if you were running after that. You can craft some easy nice blue chests and level 80 shoulders that usually go for a very nice chunk of gold on the AH from leveling toons.

  • 50% chance to skin Savage Leather Scraps instead of Savage Leather. So you're going to end up with a ton of scraps. (Some people consider this a bad thing because omg they have to convert the scraps into leather... /end sarcasm)
  • Fighting in 3D. If you really don't like it, you better not try this. Or try it. Because you don't have far to swim to reach all the mobs, you might actually get used to it eventually.

On a Raid Finder geared Frost Death Knight, I average 250 kills/skinnings per hour.
Just make sure you have a lot of bag space and some Potions of Treasure Finding handy.
If you need a vendor and you don't have a mammoth vendor handy, head to the cave nearby - there's one that can help you with that.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Spirit of Disharmony

The Prisoner - One of my favorite shows of all time ^_^

In Mists of Pandaria, gone are the different elements that we'd farm or transmute or collect to be able to craft this and that.
Blizzard has understood that a great imbalance of the different elements as well as farming spots and difficulty to acquire them has been causing more trouble than actually solving some.
So they've simplified the equations all around.

At time of writing, in the Pandaria Beta, 10 Mote of Harmony can be turned into a Spirit of Harmony.
This is used in a few of the high level crafting recipes.
Motes of Harmony - so far - seem to be a world drop off of every possible mob in Pandaria, leveling the farming capacities.
No more farming locations or best mobs to grind to acquire them - just kill mobs and wait for them to drop.

The big catch is: they are Bind on Pickup.
Which means not possible to transfer from toon to toon to use in crafting.
Your crafter will have to get out of the city, go out in the world, and kill stuff.

Blizzard had seen the situation before.
People got their alts leveled just enough so they could learn the current tier of recipes from the trainer, and then sat there in the city as other toons sent them mats.
They crafted, they flooded the AH with their items, some people ended up having the upper hand because of extra wealth or extra playing time, and some people never got the chance to do anything with their craft even though they played constantly on their main toon.

So Blizzard tried to gate the content by limiting access to materials.
By doing that, main toons could grab the materials and craft items and be limited to that for a while.

It's called giving a fair chance to everyone to make money.
You'll always hear me say that letting other players make their money should be very important to you because once they have their wealth, they will spend it on your items, and you will benefit in the end.
(Feel free to disagree)

They've tried to gate Frozen Orbs by making them BoP.
A few patches later, when the majority of people had consumed the content and a lack of the crafted items was starting to show, they lifted the item gating, turning them BoE, and a new boost was given to those markets.
They've done this again in this expansion with Chaos Orbs.
For my part, I'd say they were very successful with that tactic and we can expect them to repeat it.

The other time they've gated crafting was at the beginning of Cataclysm, when high-end materials and recipes were sold by vendors in Twilight Highlands, which could only be accessed if you were at least level 84.
The crafting alts were suddenly bound to be leveled to have access, so they could craft and make money.
It still gave enough time for people on their main characters to have a leg up on most people's crafting alts.
I wouldn't say that the experiment had been totally successful, and the proof of that was that the gating was removed in patch 4.1, to the community's surprise.

So Blizzard did what they always did: they learned from that experience and tried to find another kind of solution to implement a material gating mechanic.
And so we come to the reasoning of instead of gating the material behind a zone or an NPC, let's hardwire the gating into the material itself.
Therefore, the Motes of Harmony are Bind on Pickup and I can expect a rather low drop rate.

Hey people - this is what you wanted.
And Blizzard agreed.
You don't want to spend your time locked inside your capital city ?
Well now you'll have to explore, run around, kill mobs.

Of course, not to be too punishing, they've removed the component of Spirit of Harmony from a lot of the beginning (white/green items) of Pandaria crafting (there was a big patch with the changes, but of course I can't find it now...).
But most of the rares and all of the epics will require Spirits of Harmony.

So expect farming.
Expect a lot of whiny complaints in the first few months of the expansion.
Expect tons of farming.
But make sure you remember how terribly easy and boring crafting is currently.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I wrote 3 posts you'll never see

I wrote 3 posts you'll never see.

The first one was tracing my history of playing WoW and finding out why and how I went through different phases of addiction, rejection and compulsion when playing the game.

The second post was talking about how moderation gets a bad rap from people who want you on board with whatever they promote.
It discussed the different ways to defend moderation, why it's a good thing, and how it could be applied to your life.
(There was also a bit where I pointed out the fact that following Zarhym - Blizzard moderator - on his Twitter account helped to inspire moderation in me.)

The third was laying down some suggestions for a Warcraft "cure" to remove false pretenses of self-imposed slave labor and leave only the fun aspects of the game to be enjoyed.
The prominent point of the whole deal was to remove/deny the existence of the Achievement System.

But I stopped as I was writing the third one.
Had a brief moment of clarity when I realized that all this was ultimately uninteresting.
As Chuck Palahniuk wrote: "The most boring thing in the entire world is nudity. The second most boring thing is honesty." (Invisible Monsters)
Although very informative in a "personal info diary" kind of way, I wasn't bringing anything new to the table.

It's hard to keep ourselves honest when we're writing.
But we do it almost automatically.
We use exaggerated qualifiers, we add shades of colors where there were none, we glorify the way we act, the way we think.
We become imbued with a degree of righteousness that's equal to how moralizing we want to be.

I deleted the posts.

I'm not a victim of WoW or Blizzard or the sole responsible of feeling the compulsion to log on.
The game is really fun and I need to enjoy it with moderation.
Not be all "Woe is me, I can't stop myself from playing."

I was claiming I was going to play less, only 2 months away from the launch of an expansion ?
Yeah right.
I've never been so eager to log on right now than I was during the course of the last year.

The future is always a blank slate.
You discover your path with every step you take.
No matter the nature or the color of your intentions of what your future should be, you have to deal with the cards you're given every single day.
It's not about how you plan to react, how you plan to be, that will determine your future.
It's how you deal with things right now.

So as I was tearing to pieces the sheets of paper on which I wrote a month and a half of work, I learned a new writing mantra.
Stop fooling yourself.
See yourself as you truly are.
Work your way from there.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Omens: Raid Finder, May-June Auctions, Pandaria

While I'm both enjoying the summer and dealing with all different sorts and types of pressures, I do manage to sell a few things on the AH.
Even though I'm going through this "I'm gonna quit gold-making" thing, I still have to keep some cash flow happening until I'm done with some guild achievements.

The one I'm working practically solo on is the crafting achievement.
I found it a tad odd that people would still be buying the 359 epics this late in the game, but they are, and at a steady pace. (The healing plate eventually sells, but I had to keep a Paladin's faith that someone would buy them.)
The main reason being Raid Finder.

The Raid Finder Issue
People buy the epics to boost their iLevel to get into Hour of Twilight Heroics and grab a few other pieces to get into Raid Finder as quickly as possible.
And people are doing that for all their alts right now.
Tons and tons of alts in Raid Finder with blue gear and no gems or enchants.
I can understand the decision: why spend a bunch of gold to reforge and gem and enchant gear that might possibly be changed by a better piece that might drop at any moment now?
Unfortunately, the side-effects are that you have undergeared people everywhere.

I got first-hand experience of that during the last 3 weekends where DPS checks such as Ultraxion and Madness of Deathwing turned out to be experiments in patience and frustration.
For the first time, I witnessed bosses reaching their Enraged phase.
For the first time this weekend, I haven't finished my weekly Raid Finder on some of my alts (which I gear and enchant properly, mind you).

From now on, we can expect that type of phase to happen in the future of the game.
Especially because Raid Finder difficulty will be integrated into every future raid.
Remember that.

But that doesn't keep me from cranking out the epics left and right - and I've reached the landmark of 300 of 500 crafted epics.
I'm trying as much as possible to put 2 of each at a time on the AH but mats prices are the barrier sometimes.
There are days where I can't find any Heavy Savage Leather to convert into Pristine Hides, no Truegold for less than 500g a bar, no Chaos Orbs for less than 100g.
That slows down my production quite a lot.
I'm trying as much as possible to make a profit out of them, but I'm also happy if I break even with the cost of mats and the AH cut.
I've also got my Guild Master to hand me over some of the Essences of Destruction that were rotting in the Guild Bank to craft a few sets of epic bracers and share the profits.
And, surprisingly again, some people are still willing to pay 5-7k for high-end craftable epics this late in the game.

Hey, I'm not complaining as an auctioneer.
But as someone that just wants to get through Raid Finder, this is frustrating to no end.

Meanwhile, I've been taking advantage of the lack of auctioneers to throw more items than ever on the AH.
I took a wild gamble with the Green, Blue, Purple Ribboned Wrapping Papers from Winter's Veil and posted them at 50g each.
A day later, someone had bought 15 of them. That was a surprise.

Also, I've been throwing all sorts of cooking meats and fishes and sometimes buying all of the competition, resetting the price, and watching the money come in.
Bear Flanks from bears in Winterspring works incredibly well for me.
Doing the cooking daily in Shattrath also gives you meat and fish that can be easily thrown on the AH.
Fish sells more on my server, probably because quests will inevitably get people to kill beasts that drop meat, and there are now ways to level fishing without ever stepping into Outland, so there is an added rarity to them for people who try to power-level their cooking skill.
But you can also just use the AH to manipulate prices to your advantage.
I usually don't stay too long in control of a specific item and move on to another one because some people are quick to notice drastic price hikes, move in and cockblock until all their stock is gone.
These auctioneers overdo it sometimes.
Hey sometimes they drop control of a market specifically because there is no competition!

I keep selling White Kittens - thanks to NPCscan.
I managed to sell 2 of my 3 Mechanical Chickens I've farmed and stockpiled - all at 12k a pop.

I keep prices for all of the Rare quality pets at a steady price and I don't budge, however low the undercutting festival goes.
Take Elementium Geodes for example: people undercut each other at around 200-300g and I keep mine up at 900g.
Well, believe it or not, sometimes all the competition's auctions expire and mine is the only one still up there and sometimes people buy from me.
The next day the undercutting festival is still happening and my sale went under everyone's radar.
That happens for practically all of the pets I post.
Some people feel Mists of Pandaria coming soon, so they're willing to sell everything at the lowest price possible in order to make a profit, ANY profit before some items drop in value.
Different perspectives for different people.

I've sold 2 Haunted Mementos for 10k each.
I've bought a ton of Frozen Orbs a few months ago at 10g each and I've been buying Eternals in Dalaran to sell them at 60g each - mostly successful with Air and Fire (I'm trying to raise prices of all Eternals, but some people insist they're worth 20g each... /sigh).
I've also been running a lot of BS dungeons for transmog and quests completed achievement, so a lot of greens with good stats have been finding their way onto the AH, along with tons and tons of Netherweave Cloth.
Depending of the day and competition, I can get the cloth to sell at 40-50g per stack, but I sell usually at 10g per stack.
(Yeah, yeah, I know Netherweave Bags, etc., but that market has enough steady competition and I don't want to get stuck with a stock of bags that don't sell.)
Also, since I've been doing quests at all levels in the game, I've been picking up a stream of items to dump on the AH and everything's been selling quite steadily.
I see a lot of alts running around.
I'm just providing items to boost and fill the gaps.

Some very smart people have been steadily raising the price of the Waterlogged Recipes since Blizzcon, from 300g up to 900g, and I'm expecting them to go even higher when Pandaria hits.
I've now started to contribute to the effort with a couple of posts and I've been checking for the 2 easy fishing quests in Dalaran regularly to get a few more.

Stockpiling for Pandaria ?
I'm not really stockpiling for Pandaria.
I simply end up with bits and pieces left and right of items for crafting and leveling that are not very hot on the AH right now, so I stick them in my alt Guild Bank and wait.
Everyone's asking which items should they stockpile.
My answer is: anything you would need now to level anything up to Cataclysm levels, you should stockpile, especially anything to level professions.

The pickle is always how to gauge the current expansion items and how they will fare, not only in the transitional period of one expansion to the next, but also in the future of the game after that.
Because once the current expansion is in the past - unless Blizzard makes changes to crafting - everything stays pretty solid.
You can look at BC and Wrath crafting and the items required are set in stone.
You can determine which items will be in demand, which will be rarer than others, which will give you the best return on investment.
You can do this by yourself - no need for a professional gold-maker to help you plan ahead.

But what about Pandaria mats?
Well, right now most gold-makers are taking bets on everything.
Will Chaos Orbs be worth stockpiling?
What about Embersilk Cloth?
What about the different ores?
What about green gems?
What about Archaeology Keystones?
Go look at the info, research what the items are used for, guesstimate.

I could go through the whole lists, but as I'm trying not to stockpile for Pandaria, I'll let someone else do that instead. ^_^

Now if we could have a release date anytime soon, I'd be quite happy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Downward Spiral

I got what I deserved

I'm quitting gold-making.
Not right now, but soon.
Meaning I'm getting back to normal usage levels of auctioneering, like a simple commoner.
I've proved to myself all that I wanted and I'm still tinkering with things left and right (meaning I still have things to sell and a stockpile to get rid of come Pandaria), but soon I'll be shutting down the big factory to downsize back to the weekend bazaar and lemonade stand.

In fact I will tone down everything WoW because I can't go on with it being so integrated in my life.

This revelation came to me once I've finally accepted the truth about the game: I am never going to beat it or finish it.

Yeah - I KNOW.
Just... shut up for a second and let me explain...

More effective than 'Stay awhile and listen' IMO

First things first : in my mind, you can (sorta) beat the game.
The Achievement system is the biggest part in me thinking that.
It's just a question of ticking all the boxes until none are left.
In my mind, that's fairly simple.
(There are other things beyond achievements, but I'm not getting into explaining that.)

My problem is: I always finish what I start.
It's one of the ways I'm a retentive asshole.
I work better when I have deadlines, time schedules.
Give me a meter that goes from 0 to 100% and I can tunnel vision myself into completing whatever objective I have in front of me.
I can map out different strategies, try to min/max everything, and give progress reports on a regular basis.

But now the number of things to accomplish are just too great in numbers.
I've been a completionist in WoW.
Everything except raiding and PvP, I did - and there's a lot to do.
Sadly, I've been missing out on a lot of stuff and it's not everyone that wants to go back and try to get all those Icecrown and Bastion of Twilight achievements, or try to help out to get a Val'anyr or another Tarecgosa's Rest completed.
If I could solo all of this on my shaman main toon, I would.
If I had all the time in the world to do it, I would.
But I work, I have a sorta social life, and shamans go squish.

Looks big and buff - goes down like a sack of shit

So I'm giving up on the dream of completing everything in the game.
I've been trying to hold everything together, re-shuffling my priorities constantly to make the most out of every change and event that happened in-game.
I was good at that during Burning Crusade and Wrath.
But a growing worry started to cloud my mind throughout Cataclysm.
And now I look at the achievements left to complete...
The pile has been growing and the difficulty level and involvement time required is beyond my humanly non-raiding and non-PvP capacities.

I could make a list of all the reasons that are hindering me from accomplishing my incredible goal, but that would be like blaming the wind for blowing in my face: pointless, futile and doesn't do much in the overall scheme of things.

Browsing through the Pandaria info doesn't exactly make me joyful.
Yeah there's some cool and crazy stuff coming our way, but in an obsessive-compulsive way I'm seeing it as a huge pile of Things To Do.
Remember how everyone complained there wasn't enough stuff to do in Cataclysm ?
Well, you better be ready because there's enough things that make other completionists stare in awe and wonder and fright.

And that is what is ultimately causing the beginning of my disconnection from World of Warcraft.
Too many things to do, too spread out everywhere, with no logical way of me managing to complete everything within the time span of any expansion without sacrificing any part of my offline life.

Take a favorite example of mine : Jewelcrafting.
With a little luck (expected release date of Mists is not yet revealed at the time of writing) someone might be able to get all the Cataclysm Designs before Pandaria arrives.
I've missed about 2 weeks of the JC dailies, spent no tokens on Chimera's Eyes and I'll maybe still be doing these dailies after Pandaria lands just to learn all of them.
I know you're not meant to get all of them.
I know there's no special achievement or prize to get all of them.
But I'm still doing it.
Because I can.
Because I'm compulsive like that.
Because I have to finish everything I start. *twitch twitch*

Okay if you want the real reason behind this behavior, there's something about my dad having all sorts of projects that he started and never got anywhere with them, and a stream of events in my life that have been cut short or ended abruptly, and that's where I try to compensate for all of these things, but I don't want to bore everyone with my psychoanalysis.

This has made me remember my good old days of Before WoW.
Games ended.
They had no achievement systems.
An expansion popped up a year or two after the original release if the company wanted to extend the life of their property, but that was it.
I played the full game, I went online to check if there were secret levels and Easter eggs that I missed, and then I was done.

And that's something that I've lost and that I cared for dearly.
Unfortunately, there had been a series of bad experiences with rushed games that had me long for a good strong game that had enough staying power and re-playability to stop me from investing in gilded trash. (A bit like movies are)
WoW fell in my lap at the right point in my life (on so many levels).
Now it's time for the reverse effect to happen.
Don't get me wrong - I still absolutely love WoW and I'm a Blizzard fan for life.
But let's just say that the relationship between us has become way more symbiotic than I want right now.
There's a bunch of good games out there and right now I'm not even allowing myself the time to play them because of "X Y Z made-up paper-thin reasons", and that right there is just plain 'ol silly.
That means I have to scale WoW down as much as possible in order for me to get back to ''normal''.

But how exactly do you get rid of habits, ways of thinking, a whole series of pavlovian reactions ?
I've conditioned myself to be this way - there has to be a way to condition myself back.

Well, I mean, there is a method out there...
Okay, so...
So I guess I have to do this...

(Writes his name on a sticker, then sticks it to his chest)

My name is Khalior and I'm an addict.

To Be Continued.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Just a quick update post.
As you've noticed, this blog has been devoid of activity for a while.
I've been trying to ''beat Cataclysm'' before Mists arrive - or at least trying to finish achievements that I think will be turning into Feats of Strength soon.
When I'm not immersed in crazy ''Do ALL the Things!" mode, I've been generally busy with RL, actually taking care of myself through the unending insanity that is my day job.

So that's not a lot of blogging time, even though I have 2-3 articles pending for a few months now.

The truth is my life is mutating, going through another phase, always evolving, and I don't know where I will find myself when we will hit the shores of Pandaria.
The fact that we still do not have a release date also plays a lot into that.
I work better with deadlines and objectives than just randomly doing stuff for the sake of doing it.
I'll figure out what to do with this blog once we get that.

So hey I guess that's everybody's situation right now and taking a little vacation into Sanctuary is also a nice change of scenery.

Have fun and enjoy the break as much as you can!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Market Observations April 2012

Probably as crazy as this guy

Yep, I'm still alive and still slaving away at this "missed" expansion to catch up on as many things as possible.

While most people are talking about what to stockpile for the expansion, I'm looking at tendencies that are currently happening in-game, as well as what I'm touching on these days.

So now that the Beta is in function, it means the final game is coming soon in the next few months, so people are already wrapping up this expansion.
What does that entail?
It means finishing everything they haven't had the time to do.
And what is that?

Anything achievement-related is in full-on focus.

Reputation items are rising up in worth.
Someone even posted on our realm forum to request items to help with the Aldor/Scryer Feat of Strength.
I answered it by posting all I had at a very decent price (for me, that is).

People that didn't have them already are working on getting all the Legendaries they can get.
I see plenty of Trade requests for raid groups - with Shadowfrost Shards, Bindings of the Windseeker, etc. reserved, of course.
So keep an eye on any Blood of the Mountain and Sulfuron Ingot to flip.
Also, that means that a lot of mats and BoEs and Recipes will find their way to the AH - ready for you to use to a better purpose or to simply flip.

Also, Primordial Saronites have been very good to flip.
People are still running Icecrown for different reasons and post their Saronites for a few gold (I pick them up under 100g each).
You can use the Saronites for different uses: recipes, gear (to craft or transmute), and the Shadowmourne Legendary chain.
On my server I find that the general threshold is 300g per Primordial Saronite.

Glory of the Hero is also something I've seen requested a lot in Trade.
People are running Wrath Heroics and they get Frozen Orbs at the end, which they dump in the AH at a very low price.
I buy them and go see our friend Frozo in Dalaran, convert the Orbs into Eternals, and post those for profit. (The Steam-Powered Auctioneer is inside the building just beside him, so you can check the prices.)

Running them through dungeons, gearing them, getting them into LFR.

I'm selling Cataclysm 78-81 greens and loving every second of it.
Any green that starts at 150g and sells is... just lovely.

I've been working on the guild crafting achievement because I'm practically the only one working on it. (About to reach 200/500 - woot, kinda!)
Okay so I've done it wrong in my order of prioritizing my alts and their crafting and I am paying for it now.
I could've done like everybody and started crafting since the beginning of the expansion, but I wasn't feeling okay at all with investing a good deal of gold to craft an item and bank of the chance of it selling.
Now that I've reached a million, I feel quite different about it.
However, since I am quite late in the game, the items are not flying off the shelves, with the cost of crafted PvP items being much less than epic PvE gear.
I'll probably stockpile the excess and keep posting some of them throughout the next expansion.

Hey, do you have a Tailor that can make Dreamcloth?
I've been doing my cloth transmutes every week and have been crafting the 2 belts that cost only 4x Dreamcloth and they've been bought within 24 hours of posting every single time.
For a 800-1000g profit, that's really easy money.

Leveling all the professions they've left aside or working on some they have never tried before.

After I've reached my one million mark, I've been acting like a rockstar, spending my gold left and right and indulging in one of my favorite pastimes: buying crafting recipes for my alts.
The recent increase in old dungeon visits from the masses has made some ancient BoE recipes reappear on the AH and I've been paying excessive amounts of gold to get them all.
We all know that AoE looting will make tons more appear later in Mists, but I can't wait for that to happen, because I'm impatient in that field. (It's highly illogical of me, and I can't explain it.)

It wasn't enough for Ghostcrawler to announce the possibility of having an Account Achievement for having all professions maxed out, now that we know there are going to be bonuses and 4 different specs for Cooking, as well as the Jeweled Panther Mount coming from Jewelcrafting, so people seem to be leveling professions a ton more.
I'd suggest consulting WarcraftProfesional to see what people will be after and what's low in stock on your server for immediate suggestions on what to farm for.
Here's a few things off the top of my head to make gold out of Jewelcrafting levelers:
  • flip Damaged Necklaces (barking once in a blue moon about them can prod sales), 
  • Mercurial Adamantite is something you can make sure is stocked in the AH at all times, 
  • some recipes are found on vendors and you can make a decent amount of gold from them, and
  • go pick up your monthly gems from the Consortium in Nagrand !
Hey if you're in Outland, there's 3 vendors you can go buy Handful of Fel Iron Bolts from, as well as Adamantite Frames, and one of the vendors sells a much-coveted Khorium Power Core.
I can never keep enough up on the AH!

One last profession I want to mention is Archaeology.
It's on a lot of people's Cataclysm bucket lists - mine included.
You might want to hold on to the Keystones you pick up because discovering artifacts gives XP and some people will remember that at the beginning of Mists.
I still wonder if we will be able to keep 200 fragments for each race when we hit the expansion, so we'll be able to get XP right at the start (along with the 25 dailies we'll have saved).
If my theory holds up, people will want those Keystones stockpiled as XP boosts in the last weeks before the expansion (or as soon as the info is confirmed by a CM).
Hey even if my theory doesn't hold up, you can already start checking Keystone markets and start raising prices already as people are working on finishing Archaeology right now....

Oh and have you been doing your Dalaran fishing daily?
That Fishing Bag can contain a Waterlogged Recipe that gives gold, XP and 5x Cooking tokens.
My crystal ball tells me this will be in very high demand in Mists.
It's already going for 500g on my server and will only go up from now on.

Because everyone wants to be a beautiful and unique snowflake.

Things are not looking good on my server, so I'm catering to the people who are keeping the prices high by pricing my items not too low, but just low enough for them to buy from me and flip to their prices.
It's quick money and I don't want to dwell in that market as I have already enough on my hands.

...Okay, hold up, hold up, I gotta get this off my chest.
Transmog is fun and it was a cool concept of a market to define and I had a ton of fun figuring out how it could be used.
But now that lists were made with pricing, and then those lists were available to import into TSM, there is little left to do with it to make gold.
Everyone with the knowledge to set up TSM and import a list can work with it automatically and assume they're going to make money out of it.
The whole process of appreciating the artwork and finding sets and gauging prices has totally ripped (what I consider) the soul of what transmogrification is.
What killed it for me was witnessing a whole bunch of gold-makers imitating a successful one, saying "Hey if it works for him!...".
The scene of Springfield being littered with bars selling Flaming Moes after discovering the secret ingredient springs to mind.

/end rant

Keep an eye on the pet markets or keep working on them.
Prices of some are rising, vendor ones sometimes could use a little artificial boost (who knows? maybe other gold-makers will follow your lead...), crafted ones could either be stockpiled or sold right now, maybe checking the companions page regularly on the Undermine Journal could direct you to some good sales.

Not much else to report other than to remind you to expect that the AH will be virtually empty in the weeks following the May 15th release of Diablo III, so get some sales done before that date finally arrives!

How to clear your NPCscan cache in 1 click

Yes, I know that there's already someone that made video about it and that Jim's made a video about it.
I'm not wowing anyone with this nor is this anything new.
However, since there are still people having problems with it because some steps are not written or stated, I want to write here everything that is needed.

0- Make sure your game is closed.

1- Locate your Cache folder, then WDB folder, then select your localization folder (mine's "enUS"), and then you should be in front of a few files.

2- Open up Notepad and copy these lines in your document.
del creaturecache.wdb
del npccache.wdb
3- Use the Save As... option and save it with the cache files that are in the other window you've opened.
To do that, you need to:
- Use the drop-down menu to switch from "Text Files" to "All Files".
- Name it the way you want (I used "ClearCache"), but the important part is that you save it as ".bat".
So your file name should be "ClearCache.bat" and then click Save.
ClearCache.bat should be with the other files.

4- Right-click ClearCache.bat and Create Shortcut.

5- Copy/paste the shortcut wherever it is most convenient for you.

From now on, you can simply click that shortcut before you start the game and you're good to go!

Edit: You might have to reinstall this whenever Blizzard installs a new patch and wipes the database folder. But this only takes a moment to do and you can even save yourself a copy of the file and shortcut that you can copy/paste back where they're supposed to be!

Why do you delete npccache.wdb ?
Just in case you are (or will be) using NPCscan for more than just warning you about rare mobs that were automatically added in the addon.

For instance, when I'm in Stormwind I've set it to give me a warning for when Lil' Timmy spawns.
He's not a rare mob, but he spawns every so often in the day and will sell only one Cat Carrier (White Kitten) that can go from 50g to 400g (server dependent, as always), so it's first come first served with this NPC.

I've heard of other people using the addon for special and not-so-special NPCs, so adding that line covers you for that possibility as well!

Disclaimer: Not making any money or stealing any internet fame (lol) from this, so chill out before you state that it's unoriginal - I know already. It's more for my mental OCD sanity than anything else.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Task Is Done (1 million gold)

So here I am, at the end of the line.
1,000,000 gold reached.
I'm glad I finally got that achievement done.
I had started trying to reach 250k, then once there I thought I might as well go for 500k, and then things were going so well that I said what Old Jack always says in a situation like this.
Old Jack says "What the hell", and I climbed up to a million.

Going over this is possible.
I could try for 2 million, and it wouldn't be too bad.
I'm investing much more, risking more, and my cash flow is getting bigger and bigger.
But as I've said before, this is for me, this is to prove to myself that I can do this.
Sure, I could tune my gold-making to become more effective, to see things in the light of gold-per-hour.
But that's enough.
This is much more gold than I need to play the game.
(And I'm being paranoid about gold-related activities, as well.)

Gold sinks ?
I bought almost all of them back in Wrath.
And I have no intention on buying the Vial of the Sands mount because I swore I would get that recipe on my Alchemist. (I'm stubborn with this - so much that I have TWO characters with high-level Archeology: one being my main who has to have Everything and the other one is my alchemist alt.)
I'll keep a hefty sum on myself in case the rare luxury items pop up on the AH, but apart from that there's nothing I can do with all this gold.
Except give it to people.
Which I will do, in time, and I'm pondering the ways on how to do it without getting some auto-bans (insert Kraftwerk joke here).

Gold-making has always been on my mind.
Ever since I discovered the AH back in vanilla, it's always been an option for me.
Heck - back then anything I couldn't use was posted automatically on the AH.
Back then, I didn't have a disenchanter.
I'll always be using the AH, but now it's time to stop pushing for gold and start letting the others take some space.

But mostly, it's time for me to shift my focus onto the expansion I feel I've missed.
I couldn't be a part of the general feeling of having nothing to do.
I could not share any sort of disappointment towards PvE, PvP, daily quests, raiding, etc.
I was busy gold-making and blogging and researching and reposting auctions again and again... and having fun doing it.

It's time to focus, now.
I'm back to how it was before the gold-making gears started turning: there's so much stuff to do, very little time to do it all, and it all looks bright and shiny and demands my attention now now now.
I've slowly cleared through the new vanilla questing of Kalimdor and Patch 4.3 kept me from progressing in Eastern Kingdoms.
I want to clear my Cataclysm achievements (Heroic dungeons and all).
I want to clear as many guild achievements as possible before Mists arrives, because there's a Feats of Strength tab that is eerily empty and my little finger is telling me that it might start filling up with achievements that will be unobtainable.
I want to get back to farming the Ashes of Al'ar, the Onyxian Drake, the Azure Drake, that Twilight Drake from Sartharion 25-man that I've always lost the roll on (FUUUUUU), the elusive Time-Lost Proto-Drake, and farm Poseidus, of course.
Oh and a Vicious War Steed.
Yes, a ton of PvP is not only wished but dearly needed.
I really miss being an annoyance to hordies and make them run around far away from their groups (that's MY kind of trolling).

So yeah there's no rest for the wicked.
And I'm all wickedness and stuff, baby (...or something).

PS: Before anyone asks (if anyone actually cares, lol):
- I might write something about how I got to one million gold, but I need a bit of time to have some perspective on it, and besides I've been writing about it already;
- I'm not quitting blogging or "taking a break" from it;
- No I won't do a WarcraftEcon post because my ego doesn't need more self-glorified exposure than I already have here... and on Twitter (sorry to annoy the lot of you, by the way) and...
- Did I ever tell you about the time I told my friends that I was thinking about maybe starting a podcast ? They were horrified at the idea. Best to throw shinies at me like Diablo III to keep me occupied in my little corner.

*Yes, I know there's no gold cap achievement..

Monday, January 9, 2012

Patch & Timeline Speculation

Okay let's take a look at what the game will look like, if it's not already looking like this on your own server.

You have to anticipate that most guilds will have used the patch's content by the end of February.
Items will have already started a downward curb to the point where the high-end will stagnate, except for items to level professions up to 525.
From that moment on, the WoW players that will be online will have objectives that all deal with completion: leveling alts, professions, achievements, PvP, the works...
People that won't worry/care about those things will be offline.
Heck, it's even possible that a whole bunch of PvE players and raiders will take (or are already taking) a SWTOR vacation until the World Event happens.
Anyways, because not a lot of items will be moving fast, sellers might lose patience and simply dump everything on the AH for very low prices, and this will be the right time to snatch some very good deals (not necessarily to be sold right away, mind you, so make sure your items are quite rare/desired).

Now Blizzard has already announced that there will be a typical pre-expansion/World Event patch to put some changes in place, including the new talents.
We need much more info on this to be able to judge correctly what strategies to use specifically for this.
What changes will be in that patch ?

Pure speculation is found in the following paragraphs.
It's very possible that I might be completely off the mark.
In fact, I don't believe some of the stuff that I wrote, but it's just throwing theory up there.
Blizzard has been surprising us with new ideas this last year, so the doors are open for crazy wild allegations.

What won't be in the patch: monks.
So contrarily to the Cataclysm World Event, we won't be having 2 weeks of people power-leveling new characters through a revamped Azeroth - that will happen after the game launches.

What could change: glyphs, because of the new talent trees.
But will that lead to a possible glyph reset for everyone by default ?
Glyphmas II: Electric Boogaloo ?
Use your inks wisely...

Will the rewards for the fishing and cooking dailies change or will that all stay as it is - contents of the Crate of Tasty Meat as well ? (I think it will stay the same and we'll get all the new stuff in Pandaria, but I think it's still worth asking and checking when we'll get the patch.)

Will the changes to companion pets be implemented in that patch or at launch ?
I'm being cautious with my alts and not deleting or learning any new pets or mounts I come across, just to be on the safe side and see if they un-soulbind... (If that's even possible)

In the same vein, will the same thing happen to mounts ?
They said that account-wide mounts was conditional on the success of making pets account-wide.
Also, would that mean that some mounts will become BoE ?
I would expect dungeon and raids drops to remain BoP, but would the Green Proto-Drake from the Mysterious Egg become sellable ?
Would the White Polar Bear from the "blue chick daily" in Storm Peaks ?

But we know the big kerfuffle that will happen will be the official launch of the game and the World Event preceding that launch.
When these 2 will drop, Cataclysm stockpiles will be dumped in the AH by tons of players that will be reactivating/relogging, as they realize their toons, banks, guild banks are filled with items that are no longer current.
Gold-makers will of course be all over this and try to make the most of it.

What I'm trying to say (I realize as I am typing this), is that there is some predictability that we can already make some safe assumptions on.
But there is a great deal we don't know yet.
Most of it will start being uncovered once the Mists Beta opens.
When it does, keep an eye on the gold bloggers and tweeters for quick tips and suggestions on what to do with your items.

Two-month lull starts now
Now if my predictions are right, we'll get Diablo III towards the end of February/beginning of March and the Mists Beta at any time after that.
So unless Blizzard drops some preemptive Mists info bomb or apply a market-changing hotfix, we won't be getting any major gold-making info until then.

And until that happens or something really blog-worthy goes through my mind (like hitting my 1 million objective), I don't think you'll be hearing from this blog for a while.

Remember to make the most out of your play time and remember to play other games, because there's a lotta WoW on the horizon - even if it's shrouded by this crazy heavy mist, for some reason...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fact-Check : Blowing Mists' Myths

Okay so we've all read a lot of bullshit and complaining about Mists of Pandaria and I want to get some of that info straight, because normally there's the gut reaction concerns that appear first and then they get the right information and the fires die down.
But I still see some stuff being repeated, especially by the Holiday/returning players on Trade, and not seeing good enough answers by the normal players.
Apparently, I've had this "secret feed of information" that was separate from what we all heard at Blizzcon, or something.

And being a cheerleader for... well... everything I like, I'm gonna be totally pompoming my way to this expansion.

So here's a fact-check - I'll try to keep it simple.

First things first
The continent is Pandaria.
The race of pandas are called the pandaren.
Good: the pandaren.
Bad: the pandarens.
It's the same reason why you don't call the draenei "the draeneis".

I want to mitigate as many mistakes as possible.
I still cringe when people refer to scribes as "inscriptionists".

"Pandas ? What the ?"
Okay so I've seen every kind of back and forth about this.
Lorewise or not and blah blah blah.

FACT: Pandaren have been by far the most requested race by their customer base.
They kept saying that at Blizzcon and have been repeating it ever since.
You may find that hard to believe because there hasn't been any blue post on the forums about it for the past years, but they have the info, they have the numbers, they keep track of everything on their forums and they are the best to evaluate what the customers are demanding.
Even at the risk of being very unpopular to a bunch of fanboys, their major player base has been requesting panda-people.
Yes, you have to deal with that, whatever you might think about the subject of panda-people.
Not only that, but also players have been requesting them since Day 1 of World of Warcraft.
It's been such a demand that Blizzard had slated pandaren to be the Alliance race introduced in Burning Crusade (but it didn't feel right, so they switched with the draenei instead).

We have not met the pandaren.
We know nothing about them, except that they are orient-inspired people, they like beer and some of them are Brewmasters.
We still have to figure out who they are, what they want, their history (apparently, they used to be slaves of the mogu), the conflicts in their race that are bound to crop up.
This is all new, and really no one should be judging the pandaren until we have the whole story playing in a completed version of the game.

From 09:00 to the end of the video is the real info you need to hear and remember.

"Pandas don't fit in my conception of a fantasy world"
Indeed, pandas are not a part of your fantasy tropes.
Purple/blue aliens aren't either, but we have them in-game right now.
In fact, remember how adding the draenei to the game was going to "destroy the game" ?
Yeah, same stuff here.

A crucial part of development of any type of video game and the reception of the games by critics and gamers is immersion and Blizzard cares a lot about immersion.
Sure they throw in some goofy stuff along the way, but it's always ever in a small passing manner to bring some sort of levity to all the dark, heavy, twisted plots that are happening in their games.
You can count on the fact that they will have worked hard on making the pandaren fit in the World of Warcraft, and make them part of the environment.
Blizzard has always been very good at putting their own brand of twist to real life cultures and environments and include them in the games in a way that totally makes them fit in.
You can already see this in the expansion trailer : the vistas and buildings and environments look like different places that we haven't explored yet, but still feel like they are a part of the World of Warcraft.
I totally trust them with this and there's no reason why you shouldn't either.

We totally bought those characters when we encountered them in-game. (Ok I did a double-take when I saw a naked walrus guy for the first time, but it could not be unseen after that...)

...and I didn't hear any sort of cry of outrage when they showed us this artwork of a verming.

"It's a trogg-bunny! OMG that's for Alice in Wonderland, not in my WoW! And look at that weapon! Blizzard is too lazy to give them real weapons! Next thing you know, we'll be fighting with giant sporks, gg Blizz!"

"There is no Big Bad in this expansion"
Blizzard did not announce who the Big Bad was going to be.
Usually, the End Boss is the Expansion Boss, as in he's responsible or tied-in to almost everything that we experience in the new content.
With Mists, they don't want the whole scheme happening again exactly like Burning Crusade (Illidan), Wrath of the Lich King (The Lich King) and Cataclysm (Deathwing).
They want the focus of the storyline of the expansion to be on something else : war.

But all this doesn't mean that there won't be an End Boss to the expansion.
Technically, raids still need End Bosses, and this expansion isn't an exception to the rule.
In fact, we know there's an End Boss.
Ghostcrawler said so.
There are definitely villians in Mists of Pandaria. We just didn't want to put one on the "box cover" so to speak (we don't know what the box looks like yet of course). You have seen some of them, like the mogu. We know who the final boss is. Seriously. It's just too epic to share. Yet.
See ?
You can all stop panicking now.

"We're getting stupid Pokémon in WoW!"
Yes, now as you've noticed, they've been very very careful to not use specific Pokémon terms themselves, but let you connect the dots until it became overwhelmingly obvious.
"But that's what it is! Don't call it a Pet Battle System!"
I'm sure some lawyers would disagree with you, because they know the Pokémon lawyers are waiting for them to slip up.
They can use Pokémon as references, but the moment they directly attach the Pokémon brand to their Pet Battle System, they're done.

"We don't need the Pet Battle System anyways" and "It will go the way of the Path of the Titans and be scrapped"
Listen : you've asked for this.

Yes, you have.

All the comments about being bored in between activities in-game, when you have to wait for a friend or a guildie to switch alts, when you wait for your dungeon or pvp queue...
All the comments about asking for mini-games, like the Bejeweled addon, like many other fan-made addons...
This is Blizzard's answer to the general demand.
And depending on how that goes, there might be other mini-games added to WoW in the future.
(Maybe something to do with our mount collections ?)

It's also their solution to the fact that outside of WoW, there's been fans of Pokémon that have been asking for a Pokémon MMO for a very long time and the owners of the products have refused to even consider making it happen.
This is Blizzard answering other people's prayers and taking the advantage of a golden opportunity that's been left wide open in the world.
And on top of that, if they do it right, people that are not interested in World of Warcraft will join only for the Pet Battles.
And will probably stay for an amazing game they've finally discovered.

So, in short, people in game and out of game have been asking for that and Blizzard's simply delivering the goods.
They already have this impressive collection of companion pets that are just piling up in everyone's Companion tabs - might as well do something with that.
And it doesn't matter what the naysayers are blabbering about it: the people that are for Pet Battles are totally psyched about it, and because of that reaction you can be sure it's going to be fully developed.
And if you don't like it, you just don't get involved with that.
It's 100% optional.

If anything might be axed in all the stuff they've told us at Blizzcon, it's the PvE Scenarios. (Not fully fleshed out, looked more like a concept than something they were working on, most people weren't sold on the idea, Blizzard knows that PvP players have been asking for more maps so they might work on that instead)

"It's going to be a happy fluffy expansion for kids"
I refer you to the video I've embedded earlier.

There is one mistake they've made in the preview trailer: they've forgot to show us the pandaren kicking ass and taking names.
They forgot to bring the "Badass" in that trailer.
Every previous trailer has shown us some threat and a reply back to that threat, something that the player can see and go "I'm going to kick so much ass in that expansion".
That was clearly lacking and they are paying dearly for that with the negative reactions for the trailer.
A bit more of that in the trailer would have helped the perception of pandaren
But then again, most people forgot what Chris Metzen said when he stated that he needed to put the trailer into context.
"To contextualize what you are about to see... Get a picture in your head. The war that is coming between the Alliance and Horde: picture it as a storm on the horizon. The video you're about to see, the land you're about to venture through and experience, is much like the calm before that storm.
This next expansion set is set in a place that has been lost to time for close to 10,000 years. It is a land of balance and harmony and beauty and hope.
That is... until we arrive.
With all of our hate and our violence and our unending factional conflict, [...] the war that is coming for the World of Warcraft will be fought in this gentle place. [...] But guys, if that sounds a little "doom and gloom", sounds a little heavy, [...] guys it's just possible that the curious race we're gonna meet in this mystic land may just teach us a thing or two about who we are and why we fight." (underline emphasis by me)

The trailer didn't show us anything or anyone kicking ass.
But what they've been talking about throughout Blizzcon is that there's heavy stuff, there's going to be conflicts, and you know the usual stuff you find in a game called WARcraft.
There's going to be some fighting.

Here's a few things:

- Factional conflict: There's something to be said about them wanting World PvP coming back. Bringing back the World Bosses (which implies heavy griefing, especially from a community that has perfected the art of trolling), making the Horde and Alliance start on opposing ends of the starter region and having them "meet up in the middle", and the incoming "Theramore incident" are there to force conflict.
Alliance is already up in arms about the destruction of Theramore - and it hasn't even happened yet!
I certainly wouldn't want to be playing Horde during that expansion...
(If you are - we'll be meeting on the battlegrounds...)

- The sha: Oh I love this. "They are the living manifestations of the negative energy unleashed by the war brought to Pandaria by the Alliance and Horde." If this isn't dark enough for you, think of the consequences of having to fight things in Pandaria and having one of those things pop up behind you when you're done.
Think of all the angry characters that we have in the World of Warcraft and all the potential sha they could be releasing in this environment... Undead, orc, human, friggin' worgen, etc...
People that have been theorizing that Garrosh would step down from the Warchief post to let Thrall return, and then Garrosh would be killed because of his sha energy, either being killed by it or transformed by a manifestation of it that we would have to kill. (Either way sounds good to me! Death to the Horde!)

- The Shado-pan clan: What ? You've seen one of them already.
That does not look like a happy fluffy panda. Actually, I'd be ready to run away from it right now.
The Shado-Pan are different from the other pandaren clans being darker and sinister with a ninja-like culture dedicated to protect Pandaria and are in a timeless struggle with the Sha. I can see them bringing some much-needed seriousness to the whole "having to fight negative energies".

Everything else
And then there's a ton of assumptions that are being repeated left and right about the expansion and other misquoted stuff that developers have said during Blizzcon, but I'm not going to go through that.
Then again, here I am arguing the merits of a few ideas we were given about the conception of a video game that none of us have yet played in its final version.
What's definitely interesting about Mists of Pandaria is that we don't know what's going to happen.
There's going to be a ton of new stuff and lore and content and artwork and creatures and that already makes me excited to see what's coming our way.
And if you think that because there's new stuff that's being brought in means that Blizzard is going to forget all the lore that has already been established, and the PvP systems, and just all the stuff that currently exists in the game, then you don't know the company that you're trying to bring down.

For all the bad stuff that players are saying about Blizzard, don't forget that they are at their core a bunch of geeks just like us.
They love this game, they have the same kind of references that are close to their heart, they want to bring in the epic experiences and questing and fights.
And they are really trying to make the best game possible to please all the different crowds that are a part of World of Warcraft and the Blizzard family.
And it's because of who they are and what they are at their core that makes them so talented and keep bringing us such memorable games.

They're not paying us to like their games.
They're not paying us to play their games.
We play their games based on their own merits.
If really the ideas and concepts of Mists of Pandaria are so incredibly bad as the hyperbolic language used in the forums suggest, then people won't be playing it.

As long as it's for a good reason.

Feb. 5th Edit: Zarhym addresses some concerns and totally justifies all that I've written in this post

Bonus research info:

5 reasons you should love Mists of Pandaria

Concerns about Dreamworks and Kung Fu Panda (and consequently, you can apply the same rules to Pokémon VS Pet Battle System)

Current known lore about pandaren

Wowpedia article - Warning! It contains elements from the RPG books, which Blizzard has stated to be non-cannon until they decide to make it cannon, which means "wait until we re-work everything into our new storylines and then you can start lorecrafting".