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.