Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Blizzcon 2015 Charity Dinner


Blizzcon 2015 was my:
  • first trip alone
  • first trip outside of Canada since I was 16 years old
  • first airplane trip
  • first Blizzcon
That was a lot of firsts, but I did it and survived!

The whole experience was fascinating in many ways and I won't go into detail about it here because that would be boring.
So here's a few highlights:
  • Met a bunch of people I had only talked to on Twitter and made new online friends.
  • Met for the first time a guildie and friend that I met back in Vanilla.
  • Got to personally thank Dave Kosak for Mists of Pandaria.
  • Got a hug from Anne Stickney.
  • Got to talk to a bunch of developers (and had a bunch of opinions vindicated).
  • Got to make crowd voices for the upcoming Arena mode for Heroes of the Storm.
  • Was in the crowd for the Opening Ceremony.
  • Stuffed a delicious large wiener in my mouth, thanks to The Viking food truck.
What made the trip extra special is that after missing out on the regular admission tickets, I decided I had to go to Blizzcon that year by all means necessary, and that meant purchasing the expensive Charity dinner ticket.
Which I did because I had put money on the side in case that situation came to happen.

The Charity dinner

The main reason I'm writing this post is because I didn't find much information online about the Charity dinner event, so I didn't know what exactly I should expect and how to prepare myself accordingly.
So here's how it went.

(Keep in mind - this is what it was like for me at Blizzcon 2016 and I was told it was pretty much the same as the previous years, so they might pull a switcheroo in the future to refresh the formula.)

The setup

The reception was at one of the Hilton reception rooms, the typical big rectangular reception room you expect to see there.
Before entering, you had to be registered and get your Blizzcon badge manually verified at the entrance - just like most con-goers got checked during the day at the convention center.
And inside the room, you had lively music happening, the lighting was in hues of blue, and the place got pretty crowded in the first couple of hours.
You had a setup of little round tables with chairs spread around the edges of the room, and an open bar on 2 opposing sides.
And in the middle and the back of the room you had several tables with cold and warm good tasty foods. (Keep in mind that it's a charity event, so don't expect the cheap tasteless sandwiches.)
So it's a standing room kind of deal, with optional chairs here and there.

The crowd

As for the people - you have 3 types that show up there: the charity people, the devs and the players.
You'll spot the charity people very quickly as they overly dressed up as if it were a gala and feel a bit out of place from the thousands of con-goers that are crawling in the Hilton.
The devs are easy to identify as they either wear their special Blizzard-only shirts and/or wear a name tag.
Which leaves the rest of the people as players, and you have the usual representation of gamers - from regular people of all ages to the extremely stereotypical (there's not too many of them though).

I'm mentioning this because the question I frequently see online and don't see many answers for is: Is there a dress code?
The answer is there is no dress code.
But given the quick description of the peoples you'll find there, you can guesstimate that "not too casual wear" is what I saw people wear.
The stereotypical gamer dudes were wearing their worn-out black-turning-grey-from-over-washing gaming t-shirts, and the ones I was close to had elected to not shower that particular day.
Some people came really dressed up as if it was a gala.
Most people were casual chic.

The event

An hour after the event had started and all the people that had lined up were inside, the speeches happened, to thank everyone for being there, to remind everyone that their monetary contribution is going to an actual good cause, and to enjoy the evening. (With a special note to the introverted / not outgoing people not to hesitate to talk to any of the Blizzard people in the room. It may not seem like something important to note, but for socially awkward Me it was the gentle nudge that I needed.)

And that's the occasion to meet any of the Blizzard people you want to talk to.
You want to ask a question to a dev?
Don't want to feel the social pressure of managing to ask a question at a public and recorded Q&A?
HERE'S THE TIME.
GO FOR IT.
Just... keep the forum-type questions in the forums - the guys there don't feel the need to be harassed about whiny complaints. (Or just turn your complaint into a "Can you explain why you...?" and there's more chance you'll get a genuine good response to that. It's communication basics to not be aggressive to the person who you're trying to get an answer from.)

I talked with Jason Huck, the campaign designer for Starcraft 2, and with Legacy of the Void coming the following week, it was the perfect guy to talk to.
He confirmed a bunch of information that I already knew, but I wanted an update on how things were working internally: how stories were created in Blizzard in general, how Starcraft stories were shaped and broken down into chapters, the difficulty of making interesting campaign scenarios, the value of multiplayer versus single-player campaign, etc.
I chatted for a while with Dustin Browder, lead designer on Heroes of the Storm, and found out we had a similar background in theater!
I also discovered that he's actually really cool and not at aaaaalllll like the person you see on stage at Blizzcons as it's the old theater reflexes coming in where you want to project your voice as much as you can if you're in front of a huge crowd (I can relate).
Had a quick chat with Josh Mosqueira, the then-lead designer for Diablo III, found out he worked in my town for 4 years and I geeked out a bit about the new Season 4 stuff (and made him really happy about a few points I brought up about the system).
I asked a bunch of tiny systems questions to Ben Brode and Jason Chayes (about the difficulty of the Blackrock Mountain adventure, and me asking about an in-game achievement system) and Yong Woo (about their automated testing systems, the possible pitfalls, and what happens when they encounter Turn 2 or 3 opponent-crushing combos).
I said hi to Nethaera, saw Ion Hazzikostas and Mike Morhaime but couldn't talk to either of them because a swarm of people were surrounding them constantly, and had a quick glimpse of the elusive Chris Metzen who showed up for 5 mins just 20 feet away from me and then disappeared from my view before I could end the conversation I was in.
There were a bunch of other devs that were walking around but I didn't get the opportunity or time to talk to them, but I've spent 4 hours there and most of it was spent in conversation with someone working at Blizzard.
It was worth all the Canadian money I've put into that ticket.

Here's another tip: if you see someone you want to talk to - go to them, because you never know if you'll spot them ever again in the evening or during Blizzcon.
The crazy thing about the Charity event is that is also happens typically the day before Blizzcon begins, which is also the day where all the big parties happen.
We had at the same time the Wowhead party, the Con Before the Storm party, the Blizzard Influencers party, and a couple of other significant ones that I don't remember.
So it'll naturally happen for someone to get bored of one party and naturally go to another where they have people they want to see or people that want to see them, etc.

And when you felt like leaving the event, you could grab your goody bag and print that were on a set of tables in one corner of the room where they were all piled up.

That's all I had to say about this!
Hope this is going to be something handy for anyone wondering what the Charity dinner is like.
If you've got the money to do it, it's totally worth it!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whatlords of Nothing

(That's the closest title I could come to something remotely clever, shut up.)



I've been silent about the Warlords of Draenor expansion because I didn't know what to make of it.

After it was revealed at Blizzcon in 2013, I wrote a post (WHYlords of Draenor) detailing why I was feeling so unsure about the upcoming expansion, and now that I've played through the entirety of it, I want to address all those concerns before I step into the Legion expansion.

People have already debated the Pros and Cons of Draenor to death - mostly because we've all had a lot of time to do it.
I'll just address my personal concerns and not go into topics that have been covered incredibly thoroughly.

My personal Pros:
  • The leveling experience was the best they've ever done (XP gains, the cinematics, the voice acting).
  • Treasures were a fun addition.
  • There were some good sides to the garrisons feature.
  • The artwork was fantastic, as per the Blizzard norm.

My personal Cons:

It was a lore detour
Even though Mists of Pandaria originally felt to some players like it was an unnecessary detour, as we progressed further into the story of the expansion, we discovered that everything tied up to matters that were very important and close to home and all ended up being a part of the overall story of World of Warcraft.
We beat up the remnants of an Old God, freed many peoples of its influence, ended up with factions in turmoil and Wrathion telling us that we needed to rebuild the final Titan and prepare for the incoming return of the Legion.
These matters, along with a handful of previously unanswered still on the table, were on the table and it was up to the writers to decide which story thread was going to be picked up next.
Instead we addressed none of these concerns, extended the Garrosh storyline, and came back with a replacement Gul'dan.
Nothing else has progressed in the overall story of World of Warcraft during Warlords of Draenor.
Which in retrospect feels like we've all collectively wasted our time.
That does not feel good.
It feels like we've lost our focus and went into a tangent that was unnecessary - kinda like a bad season of a TV series.

Warlords lore went nowhere
I was expecting interesting lore reveals but what we got is a series of "what ifs" and stories that weren't really that interesting or compelling.
People were labeling this as "the Draenei expansion" but they didn't have much to do besides being the people that lived in that land, and I've found them to be as interesting as the usual 2nd or 3rd race we encounter in an expansion and have a few quest lines with but end up not being incredibly important (like the Jinyu or the Hozen).
Surprisingly, the Arrakoa storyline was the most interesting and compelling thing we've played in the expansion and that story itself didn't even connect with our fight against the Iron Horde!

What we've learned is null and void
You might say that we did discover new information about the races' past and how they lived on Draenor, and that some devs mentioned that we could take mostly everything as canon.
But we can't.
We cannot add all this knowledge into the collective story of our timeline and take it for granted because this all happened in an alternate timeline.
At any point in the future, if we bring in some facts taken from our experience in Warlords, anyone at Blizzard can pull out the "It happened in an alternate timeline" card as a reason to explain or retcon some details to make their job easier or for whatever reason.
It's convenient for them as it gives them some room to develop any story they want, but it's inconvenient for the players.
"You remember all the stuff that happened when you were there? Well forget about all of that because it never really happened."

Missed timey wimey potential
This is a very minor point, but people were excited about the potential time-travel stories and awkward/funny moments that stem from this expansion.
Among the more popular ones: Thrall meeting his parents, Maraad meeting himself, Garrosh meeting his father.
Now while some of these encounters happened, barely anything at all was done with that and no character development (even internal development) resulted from this.

Nothing happened in our timeline while we were gone
Some players suspected/dreaded that events might've happened in our timeline because the Best of the Best were in Draenor and any of the aforementioned potential threats that could crash down on us could take this very advantageous moment to make their move.
But no, nothing happened.
Much like in a movie where a group of bad guys will attack the hero by walking towards him in single file, our enemies waited in the wings for us to return from our expedition.
Vol'jin's Horde was also something that could've been explored.
It was mentioned multiple times that the new Warchief would have the difficult task of mending relations and strengthening the Horde and turning it into something that fits the current needs of the Horde post-Cataclysm and post-Garrosh.
But we had no development on that front either and Vol'jin turned out to simply be the Warchief that held the seat to pass it to the next one.
Which is a shame because they wrote a novel to give him a solid backstory.

No tension + no threat = no engagement
What was the best moment of Warlords of Draenor?
The introduction scenario.
We fight the Iron Horde head-on, zig-zag our way through Tanaan, see all the Warlords, escape their forces, gather allies, destroy the Dark Portal while the Iron Horde is literally cutting us down and swarming onto us, and then make a wild dash to the docks, steal one of their boats and land in our starting area.
That was tense, that had energy.
And then we set up our base.
And the rest of the expansion happened.
The real tension and sense of foreboding could've come from the threat of keeping us trapped in the alternate universe, keeping the pressure on us and making sure we couldn't go back, or the Iron Horde finding new ways to invade other worlds or try again to get to our own timeline.
That Black Gate Gul'dan opened would have been an interesting plot point if we had known about it before going into Hellfire Citadel.
It would have been a motivation for us players to press on without delay and sabotage Gul'dan's plans.
But there wasn't any clear and present threat to us once we built our garrisons and the expansion just became a series of things we did while being there.

WHYlords of Draenor?
So what was the point of Warlords of Draenor?
What did it contribute to the overall story of Warcraft?
We got an alternate timeline Gul'dan in our original timeline.
That's it - that was the point of this expansion: it was to get Gul'dan back so he could get the Legion back on to Azeroth.

I gathered through various interviews and posts that something went wrong when they developed content patches for Warlords.
I don't know exactly what, but we know that Grom Hellscream was meant to be the last boss of the expansion and the WoW team changed their minds about that and had to change the content they had been working on.
I would guesstimate that Gul'dan's presence was meant to be felt throughout the expansion, but not come at the forefront as we've seen in patch 6.2, and in the end after beating Hellscream we discover that Gul'dan managed to find a way to travel to our timeline.

The difference here is the level of subtlety this story element is told.
What happened is that this twisting of events made the Iron Horde and Hellscream incredibly weak and useless as threats, instead of the mighty adversaries that we were meant to battle in a final confrontation while Gul'dan skulked in the shadows.
And what we got was a weird situation where we became friends with Grom and Gul'dan is the Big Bad Evil that gets away and we'll end up finally killing in the following expansion (*cough* Like Garrosh *cough*).

So I understand that things might've gone wrong in the development process, but the end result that we got certainly transpired that, and that didn't feel good - it felt awkward.
We went from "Let's stop Garrosh" to "Let's stop the Iron Horde" to "Fight the Burning Legion".

And in an alternate timeline situation, what ends up mattering is how the original timeline is affected.
With the rules that we have here, the only thing that matters for our timeline is the sum total result of what goes in the alternate timeline and comes back from that alternate timeline.
We went in - we came back.
Our forces went in - the ones that didn't fall in battle came back.
Maraad went in - he didn't come back.
We met allies in Draenor, trained them, made an army with them - they aren't coming back with us.
Yrel and the gang - they aren't coming back with us.
Gul'dan - made it back to our timeline.

So Garrosh finally died, we lost Maraad and Admiral Taylor, and gained a Gul'dan.
That's what mattered in the end.
That's the result of Warlords of Draenor.

The future is bright green
Legion looks promising, mostly because it deals with threats in our timeline.
The situation is serious and dire, and during the Legion invasion event we understand that this invasion means business, and in the Broken Shore event we see that the threat of the Legion is scarier and more lethal than it's ever been.
I just hope that the WoW team isn't front-loading all the drama, tension and threat, only to remove it when we travel through the Broken Isles, but I am crossing my fingers for an interesting and engaging expansion.

I want Legion to make me forget that Warlords of Draenor was an expansion that existed for practically nothing.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Legion pre-patch Q&A



First things first:
  • Remember to update your addons
  • Remember to check the "Load out-of-date addons" checkbox in your character screen

How do I hide my helm / my cloak / my shoulders? The option to hide isn't in the Interface menu anymore!

Short answer: Go to a Transmogrification NPC. When you'll select the slot for your helm, cloak and shoulders, the option to not display will be the very first one at the top left.

Long answer: With the appearance collection system, they decided to take these options from the interface menu and put everything related to your character's appearance in with the Wardrobe, because another thing that they've done is do a pass at un-cluttering the game's menus that were getting filled with too many options.
Yes, it does come at the very minor inconvenience of not being able to not display your helm whenever you want, but it makes sense as a system and there's multiple Transmogrification NPCs spread at key places in the game now plus the Yak mount.


Where are the Demon Hunters? I've pre-ordered Legion, why can't I create one?

Short answer: Be patient, keep an eye on your WoW news, they could be available at any time between now and August 19th, but don't expect them in the first 2 weeks after the patch.

Long answer: This pre-patch contains so many changes to the existing game, the developers want to play it carefully. First they'll fix all the broken things (there's always broken things on a live server, no matter how much testing you can get in), then make sure all the class changes are okay, the numbers are balanced, they do hotfixes and patches and make sure everything is stable - and then they'll flip the switch to allow Demon Hunters to be created.


What's the point of pre-ordering anyways?

You get to create a Demon Hunter before players who will buy their copy of Legion on or after launch day. You'll be able to play their starting zone and then be able to play the rest of the game content. So, you can already start farming your Blades of Azzinoth from the Black Temple if you want. It's just a head-start for your character to be ready and jump into Legion content when the expansion goes live on August 30th.


What's the time limit to pre-order?

Game goes live on August 30th, so any time before that is a pre-order. (Don't ask me about Collector's Edition - I don't know.)


I'm looking for "this spell" or "this ability" and I can't find it anymore. Where is it?

The pre-patch introduces huuuuuuge changes to classes and specializations, so if you're not finding your usual spells or abilities, it's possible they've been either removed or moved to a different spec. For most people, this is the beginning of an entirely new way to play all of your characters. I'd recommend you take the time to read everything about your specs in-game and maybe have a look at the Legion class guides that are posted on Wowhead before you make a decision on what to choose.


I'm not doing enough damage / My character feels broken / I'm not healing as much as I used to / etc.

It could be many things:
  • these are new specs and we all need to adjust to them;
  • don't worry about the numbers because these are Legion numbers and we aren't playing the expansion yet, which also means we're not wearing Legion gear and don't have Legion full abilities;
  • could be that the way that spec is played now just isn't your cup of tea so maybe look at a different class or spec.
I say: don't cry wolf just yet about how your class/spec is "broken" because maybe it's not.


Where's the glyph tab? Where did my glyphs go? What's happening with my cosmetic glyphs?

The glyph system as we knew it is removed from the game.
BUT cosmetic glyphs still exist, not exactly the same ones, but you'll be able to use them by applying them directly on your spells in your spellbook.
And Scribes are still very useful, don't panic, don't go changing your profession without looking into what you can do now.


Where do I get my Artifact weapon?

That's in the Legion expansion, not the pre-patch.


Why did my hunter receive a polearm in the mail?

Survival hunters are now melee and their main weapon is a polearm. So if you want to try it, the devs are giving you a weapon to try it, because trying to melee with a gun or bow isn't quite as effective.


Where's the Demon Invasion event?

It's not in yet. Same explanation as I gave earlier for Demon Hunters.
They are meant to start happening around the 2nd or 3rd week of August (but no later than Aug. 17th) and will last up until Aug. 30th when Legion launches.
Important thing to know: there are things you can get from this event that will never come back again.
There's transmog sets, a mount, a pet, 16 unique weapon appearances, toys, feat of strength achievements - get them while you can when this will be active.
(Check out this guide for more info)


What about that Broken Shore event?

That is the intro quest for Legion. It will happen when Legion goes live. EDIT: Communication of that info got screwed up somewhere at some point and it was live when the pre-patch landed.


What happened to all the gold missions I used to get at my garrison?

The gold has been replaced by garrison resources.
Same thing goes for the Jewelcrafting follower daily quests.


Some of my mounts and pets in my collections are in gift-wrapped packages - what the hell?

They're trying a new thing for you to easily find your new mounts and pets you've received either as gifts or that you bought from the in-game store. It used to be they were added to your collection and you'd have to take a long time to find out where they're hidden in your collection. I think it's cute, but give your feedback to the developers!


Might as well add these questions if you have them in the future...

OK imagine that you can create Demon Hunters now - your questions will be:

I'm looking at the Character Creation screen and I'm not seeing Demon Hunters anywhere - how do I make one?

Only Night Elves and Blood Elves can be Demon Hunters for the Legion expansion.
(Also check if you've pre-ordered Legion.)


Why only them?

Because of Demon Hunter lore (I'm not going into that here).


Will other races be able to be Demon Hunters in the future?

Developers have already thought of that and hinted that now that Night Elf and Blood Elf Demon Hunters will have been roaming on Azeroth for a while, it certainly would make sense for them to end up teaching people from other races who would want to volunteer to become Demon Hunters. So most likely yeah. In a patch this expansion? Don't think so, it could be possible, but I wouldn't keep my hopes up.


Hope this answers all of your burning Legion pre-patch questions!
If I've forgotten anything that you think might be a popular concern, let me know and I'll add it to this post!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Worgen, the Darkmoon Faire and the Wardrobe




Public Service Announcement from the Intelligent Warcraft Players Association: put the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide in your bags.

Darkmoon Faire and Legion go together like moldy cupcakes and Ecto-Cooler.
The main thing that's important about the Darkmoon Faire right now is collecting Darkmoon Prize Tickets for the upcoming Wardrobe feature.

Why?

Because Wardrobe
Soon, you'll be able to collect appearances for your Wardrobe that you can only collect at the Darkmoon Faire.
  • Two class sets
  • Gilnean-themed appearances
  • Darkmoon Faire-themed appearances
The two class sets
You can purchase them from Barum and Baruma for a whopping total of 520 tickets per set.
The original point of the existence of those sets was to be able to purchase transmog versions of the old classic vanilla sets because it's no longer possible to obtain them since the Cataclysm revamp because they've removed the quest chains.
So that's why there's no sets for there for Death Knights, Monks or Demon Hunters.




Gilnean-themed appearances
You can get those from Chester - the semi-hidden NPC that most people don't even know exists.
To collect all his 5 items, you'll need 355 Darkmoon Prize Tickets.
















Darkmoon Faire-themed appearances
You can buy them from Gelvas Grimegate
But there's also a random chance of getting the cloak from the Darkmoon Game Prize boxes that you get from doing the dailies.
Some people also sell both items on the Auction House.
















That's a lot of tickets!
You can get the tickets by doing the dailies, doing the profession quests, killing Moonfang, but most importantly by turning in the quest items.
Turning in all of them gives you 80 tickets and that's a lot compared to everything else you can do to get tickets.
You can only turn them in once every Darkmoon Faire, but it's worth it.

From looting bodies in PvP:
From looting in dungeons:
Or you can buy them at a ridiculous price at the Auction House.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
If you don't use the Auction House option, the key is to have the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide in your bags.
You get it - you keep it - do not ever remove it from your bags.

You get it from either the first breadcrumb quest (quest) that invites you for the very first time to the Darkmoon Faire, or you can get it again from Selina Dourman - which is the very first NPC you come across when you enter the Faire.
Ask her about the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide and she'll have an option to give you another one.














My recommendation is: have this item in your bags for all your toons, all the time.

What happens is: you're running around with your toons, doing stuff left and right, and then suddenly you get the loot window pop-up for a Darkmoon Faire item, and then you're the only one to Need or Greed on it, and you loot the item!

Usually, no one else in my groups has the Guide in their bags and can't see the the item when it drops.
So that means either more free tickets for me or free bunches of gold when I'm putting these items on the Auction House when the Faire is live.

Free gold! Free tickets!
All you have to do is have the Guide in your bags.
You're a winner by default!
So do the intelligent thing : put the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide in your bags.

This has been another PSA from the Intelligent Warcraft Players Association. You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Getting Rid of Draenor Items at a Profit

Another expansion is about to end, subscribers new and old are filling the servers, and begins the time-honored tradition of cleaning the bags of all your characters.
This time it's a little bit different because of the new things to come (which I've covered in my previous post), but the old standard remains: what to do with the items and materials of this expansion which will soon become almost obsolete.

So let's take a look at what you can do with your Warlords items in the most profitable or useful way we can think of.

Alchemy

If you still have Alchemical Catalysts and have alts that have different professions, I'd recommend dealing with those last.
You might need some of the Sorcerous elements to craft items with your other professions, and you can convert the Sorcerous elements into other types of elements with Alchemical Catalyst as a reagent.
So just to be safe, put Alchemy at the end of your To Do List.
Otherwise, the most profitable way to get rid of that reagent is to craft Draenic Philosopher's Stone and sell directly to vendor.

Possible Auction House profit-makers:
  • Draenic Water Walking Elixir could be useful to keep on the AH considering the new restriction that will be added to the Water Strider Mounts. But also the Angler's Fishing Raft will now be turned into a Toy. So it's a bit of a gamble.
  • Draenic Water Breathing Elixir could also be useful on the AH, but keep in mind that unless someone finds a great need to breathe underwater for a long time, the cheaper and short-lived Water Breathing Elixir could end up still being the preferred option.
  • Draenic Swiftness Potion is the fastest speed potion in the game so far. Currently there should be a metric ton of them on the AH, but it could end up being a profitable money-maker once everyone runs out of their stock (a few months into Legion).
  • Transmorphic Tincture will still find some use amongst some players. It may not be an incredibly profitable market, but there will be buyers. (Note this is worth making only to make profit on the AH, as material cost to vendor is higher than vendor cost of the product itself.)

Blacksmithing

After crafting all the plate gear and weapons and shields to add them to your Wardrobe, apart from the Soul of the Forge pet, there's nothing else to do with your Truesteel Ingot than to craft some more of those pieces and put them up on the AH (like everyone else) or sell them to vendor.


Enchanting

Draenic Dust: turn it into Enchanted Dust and sell that to vendor.
Temporal Crystals and Luminous Shards: they cannot be sold by themselves, so unless you want to keep some, you'll have to make enchants and sell the enchanted scrolls to the vendor (or the AH - good luck!).
BUT keep a stack of 20x Temporal Crystals on the side - you'll need it to collect a weapon enchantment illusion in Legion.


Engineering

Gearspring Parts are easy to get rid of as you have a few options: you can craft Toys and Pets to sell on the AH, as well as a gun and some goggles that can be used for the Wardrobe.
But if you're looking for quick profit, craft Hemet's Heartseeker or Megawatt Filament and sell those to vendor.


Inscription

If you don't care about the Wardrobe system:
If you care about the Wardrobe system:
  1. Craft the Warlords weapons and off-hand item if you don't have them already on your account.
  2. Exchange any spare Warbinder's Ink at an Ink Trader to be able to craft other items with a special appearance. (Be careful: many craftable off-hand tomes share the same appearance - don't waste materials!)
  3. And then follow the section above and craft Card of Omens and stock up on other Inks.

Jewelcrafting

The most cost-efficient way to get rid of Taladite Crystals is by crafting gems and selling them on the AH as long as you can make a decent profit out of them.
If your profit on gems is 20g or less or if you're not a Jewelcrafter, you're crafting rings (not necklaces) and selling them to vendor.
Note: With the pre-Legion patch, the daily Jewelcrafting follower mission at the Gem Boutique has its reward switched from gold to Garrison Resources.


Leatherworking

After crafting all the leather and mail pieces to add them to your Wardrobe, apart from the Riding Harness mount, there's a few things you can do with your Burnished Leather.
Obviously, you can try to sell some extra pieces on the AH (along with everyone else), and you can do the same with Inscription, Skinning and Mining bags, even if their popularity and usage should be decreasing with everyone's bags being practically empty post-Legion pre-patch.

As a side note, keeping a Tannery post-Warlords could be interesting if you have any toons to level.
If you didn't already know, a Leatherworking follower attached to your Tannery can craft tents for you.
When placed down, these tents will give any character in your party a 60 min buff that makes them well-rested and have a 10% boost to all stats.
Even though you can't sell them on the AH, they are BoA, can be stacked by 5, and there's a bunch of them that can be crafted. (No, you can't stack the buffs)
So maybe keeping some Raw Beast Hides on the side to make those could be a good idea.


Tailoring

After crafting all the cloth pieces to add them to your Wardrobe, apart from the Creeping Carpet mount and Elekk Plushie pet, there's nothing else to do with your Hexweave Cloth than to craft Hexweave Bags.
Whether you send them to alts or put them up on the AH, that's the only way this cloth can be really useful.
You could also try to sell the craftable cloth pieces on the AH, but so will everyone else.


Meats and Fish flesh

Go into Cooking, cook your meat and fish flesh, sell the food to vendor.
Be sure to cook the food that requires only the meat or fish flesh as materials, or else you'll reduce your profit margin.


Felblight and Savage Blood

If you have them, put all of them up on the Auction House as soon as you can.
Their only use is to craft upgrades for Warlords items, so let players buy them from you and that's as much profit as you'll ever be able to make.
If that's not an option for you, you can sell them directly to the vendor.
Note: Felblight will be purchasable from the Primal Spirit vendors.


Primal Spirit

Use them with your crafting professions or buy Savage Bloods with them and try to squeeze out a profit at the AH.


Sorcerous elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water)

These are practically worthless on the AH because we've been swimming in them throughout Warlords, so use them with your crafting professions, and when you're done with those you can sell them to vendor.


Draenic Stone

Best bang for your buck is to turn it in at your mine work order NPC and get some ore from it.


Draenic Seeds

If you care about the Wardrobe system:

There are 5 cosmetic weapons that can be bought from an NPC in your Herb Garden for 500 or 1000 Draenic Seeds and a few thousand gold for each item.
Pro tip: If you have alts with herb gardens, you can spread the collecting effort around to purchase the weapons.
Be careful! All these weapons are BoP, so be mindful that the character purchasing a weapon is able to wield it so it can go in your Wardrobe.



If you don't care about the Wardrobe system:

Use your Draenic Seeds at the Herb Garden work order NPC.


Apexis Crystals

Go to your base in Tanaan Jungle and see Ravenspeaker Thelnaas of the Order of the Awakened.
Buy Baleful pieces from him, use them, and vendor them.


Bags and Crates of Salvage

Bag of Salvaged Goods: should be opened right away.
Crate of Salvage: should be opened ASAP before the pre-patch so you can sell the follower armaments to the vendor while they still have considerable value.
Big Crate of Salvage: should be stashed and opened only after the pre-patch is on live servers.
While they do contain follower armaments that will be worth a few copper, the other items will be very useful for either your or other player's Wardrobe (what you want to keep or sell on the AH is up to you).
Right now, until we can afford to delete things from our bags, it's not worth opening the crates and cluttering your already-cluttered bags.
Note: the soulbound class sets that come from these crates will still drop from them.
It's been confirmed by Blizzard devs that the crate contents will remain unchanged with the pre-patch.


Timber

Unless you have a Lumber Yard and are still using the Timber to get Garrison Resources, delete that Timber because you don't need it anymore.


Ogre Waystone

Keeping a Mage Tower up now that Warlords is over is a good idea so you have a bunch of portals for quick access to the zones you want.
Ogre Waystones should first be used to open up your 3 portals and then be used at the work order NPC standing right outside the tower.
I'd still keep the leftover Waystones tucked away in your bank (you can now afford the bag space for it!), just in case you kill more ogres in Draenor in the future and want to either change your portals or continue plunking them at the work order NPC.
The extra Apexis Crystals don't hurt and if you get some Mission Completion Orders you could go to your garrison mission table and complete some quick missions for profit.


Iron Horde Scraps

After you're done collecting all the pieces of all the sets for your Wardrobe (remember - these pieces are Bind on Account, so you can buy them and send them to your alts even if the character that buys the armor cannot wear them), their is only one profitable way of getting rid of all those pieces.
It's the Scrap Meltdown daily quest that rewards you with follower armaments (which you can vendor only for a few copper when the pre-patch is live) and 15 gold and change.

For that, you need your Level 3 Dwarven Bunker/War Mill for the NPC with the quest to appear.
The only problem with this is if you think it's worth rebuilding it if you don't have it already in your garrison.
If you don't have a big stockpile of Iron Horde Scraps saved up on your toon, you might be spending more rebuilding the place than you'll be getting out of the daily.
(Rebuilding up to Level 3 - assuming your toon already learned the plans - would cost 950g. To break even with the cost of rebuilding, you would have to complete the daily quest 62 times by turning in 1550 Iron Horde Scraps.)

However, it might be interesting to keep that building up in case you either have not finished picking up all the cosmetic sets for your Wardrobe or if you want to continue collecting Scraps when revisiting the dungeons in the future and make a quick 15g here and there.


That's it!

With this cleanup out of the way, your bags should be emptier and your pockets should have a bit more than chump change, and you'll have made the most of it with just a little bit of time.

As for the rest of your bags' contents, take the time to read my previous post before you chuck everything to the vendor or you might regret deleting items you'd want back.

If there's anything you feel I've forgotten in this post, leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cleaning up your bags before Legion? Read this before you start!



You're logging on to Warcraft, and whether you've been playing all this time or just now coming back to play through the Legion expansion, you're looking at your character and inspecting your bags and thinking "Okay it's time to clean up".

WAIT!!!

Before you throw anything away, there's 4 things you have to be aware of before you're doing any of that:
  • some items are being changed to toys
  • a mount is rewarded from Toy collecting
  • we're getting a new Wardrobe system
  • you could potentially make a lot of gold with the toy and Wardrobe systems
Now if none of these things interest you when playing Warcraft, then fine, go ahead, this won't be of any interest to you.
If these things do interest you, my hopes is that this will help you understand what's happening with all of this as soon as the pre-expansion patch for Legion hits the servers, and do this with the information that is currently available at the moment.

Toys

On top of adding new toys to the expansion content, the devs are changing some items from classic WoW onto Warlords of Draenor and turning them into toys.
These toys, once learned, will go directly in your Toy Box, won't be in your bags, so hooray for more bag space!
But not just that - you can get a free Mechanized Lumber Extractor mount if you complete the new achievement to collect 300 toys (achievement to collect 300 toys).
Wowhead has been keeping an updated list of the items from past expansions that are targeted by that change and you can find it at the following link:

Some items you can get directly from vendors - I recommend you buy those at a later time, but pay attention if they're hidden behind a requirement like reputation.

Some of them drop from rare mobs and the drop rate is not 100% on these mobs, so if you're going to collect those toys, I'd recommend you start working on that ASAP because you might have a lot of competition - starting right now - but even more when this information will be widespread.

Some items you can get from quest rewards.
Of course the first step is to figure out if you've already done those quests or not.
If you need help with that, you can use the Wowhead Profiler tool and go look at your character's completed quests.
Or you can use an addon like Quest Completist to browse for the info in-game.
If you've already done the quests and got rid of the quest rewards or achievement rewards - do not fret!
They can see what achievements you've completed and the discarded items will immediately be added in the Toy Box (they've done this before when they introduced the Toy Box).
And as for quests, it should work the exact same way and you should be credited for previously completed quests.

Where it gets really interesting is that more Engineering items will be turned into toys.
This includes the Blingtrons and all teleportation devices.
And if you know your Engineering skill, you know that in classic WoW and Burning Crusade, there were teleportation devices for both gnomish and goblin engineering skills, so you might have to either switch from one to the other or level yourself a second Engineer.
Either way, I'd recommend you do it before prices of materials blow up sky high in the auction house when the pre-patch arrives.

Remember that the Toy Box system is account-wide, so you only need one of your characters to have the item in their bags or to have completed the required quests for it to count for your entire account.
These changes to toy items are currently scheduled to take place when the Legion pre-expansion patch is on the live servers.
And please keep in mind that some of these changes might be reverted at the last minute for whatever reason - we've seen this happen for Warlords of Draenor - so don't be surprised if it happens here too.

The Wardrobe

The new and much anticipated Wardrobe is scheduled to arrive on the live servers with the pre-expansion patch as well.
I will try to explain the system as clearly as I can, because it can quickly become a mess.
The point of the Wardrobe system is to collect item appearances in a collection system to let players transmogrify their characters (and also free up some bag space).
If you've played Diablo III since the Reaper of Souls expansion, you've seen how the system works, but there's a few tweaks that are applied specifically for World of Warcraft.

How do you collect item appearances?
When you have an item in your bag that your character can equip, you'll have the option to add the appearance to your Wardrobe.

What are the rules?
The rules are: your character has to be able to equip that item.
So that means it has to be the right armor proficiency for your character and has to be the correct class if there's a class restriction on the item.

Let me explain this again.
You can only put items in your Wardrobe that are of your armor proficiency.
So you can't just go in a dungeon on a death knight, collect all the gear, stash it on your bank and void storage and think it's going to unlock all the item appearances of all the items you've collected.

This means that, while cleaning your bags, if you find some items you've been keeping and they're not soulbound, you like their appearance, but that character can't equip them - move those items over to a character who can wear them.
Also, there's no point in keeping items on characters that can't equip those items.
Like let's say a cloth warlock-specific item on a priest - even though it's a cloth item, the class restriction will make you unable to add it to your Wardrobe from that priest character.

So that's it for the rules. We've got all grounds covered for that.

One other detail to note is that when the Wardrobe system goes live, all the items in your bags, bank, void storage that follow these rules will be automatically added to your Wardrobe.
Every other item you get after your character's logged in will have to be manually added.

Tabards

Tabards will be added to the Wardrobe - but be careful which ones you want to throw away if you're currently looking for bag space.
Again, there's guide for Tabards on Wowhead that is very useful.
Won't go into the details of collecting them, but I'll just remind you to be aware that some of them are locked behind reputation levels and others can only be bought with a certain type of currency that you have to obtain through several means. (The longest one to take is the Apron from Mists of Pandaria where you have to first obtain the Cooking School Bell item to summon Nomi and then summon him to do his daily quest until you've maxed out reputation with him. Can take a while.)

I will mention though Tabard Vendors can be a quick one-stop shop to check out some tabards you will be able to buy again, as well as restore select tabards that have been discarded (some from achievements, some from special events - there's no set rule for all of them, so peruse the guide and be careful because not all of them can be restored).
Note that not ALL tabards will be displayed there - some of them can only be found at faction quartermasters.

Vendor gear

Speaking of quartermasters - think of all the gear that you can get, not from dungeons or raids, but that can buy directly from vendors.

Just think about that.

There's a looooooooooot of gear vendors in this game.
And we're not just talking items that you can buy with gold.
Some items are locked behind a special type of currency, level of reputation, etc.
Think of all the cool faction-themed items that are on vendors at the Argent Tournament.
Think of all the armor recolors that can now only be bought at the Darkmoon Faire for tickets.
Think also of the special items that are Darkmoon Faire-themed that you can only buy at the Darkmoon Faire (a lot of you probably forgot those even existed).
Also - while I'm talking Darkmoon Faire - most people don't even know this NPC exists, but there's a vendor with Gilnean-style items that's at the Darkmoon Faire (vendor with Gilnean-style items that's at the Darkmoon Faire), and of course is selling them for quite a big amount of tickets.

Think of all the PvP gear that you can buy with Honor.
There's been many seasons and lots of gear.
If you're thinking of doing that, there's lots of groups out there who do runs for quick and easy Honor points - you should consider that and maybe start collecting those pieces right now if you've got the bag space for it.
On top of that, Honor and Conquest points are going away in Legion because we're getting a new PvP system, so if you've got points lying there you might as well be using them! (Don't worry - we'll still be able to purchase all that old gear with a new PvP currency.)
Also, if you're thinking of collecting as many pieces for your wardrobe as possible, I hope you've saved a lot of gold and are taking full advantage of the gold missions from your garrisons.

Crafted gear

Moving on - think also of all the gear that can be crafted.
Think of all the professions in this game.

Again - think about that.
Try to encompass all the crafting professions in your brain at the same time.

If you don't have certain patterns or plans, you will first have to farm for them or buy them in the Auction House.
And then you will need crafting materials.
My pro-tip for everyone: if you aren't already doing that, keep ALL your crafting mats from ALL expansions, load up all your reagent banks, even enchanting materials because some of them are required in other crafting professions.
This is to be sure that you are prepared to craft your own items for your Wardrobe, but also to craft items to sell on the Auction House to make that sweet Wardrobe money, and also to sell the materials are stupidly exorbitant prices when the Wardrobe is added in the game because other players will also try to start their collections, get their Wardrobe achievements, etc.

You think that current items in the Auction House that are being sold for transmogrification have a high price?
You ain't seen nothing yet.

And if you've played in classic and Burning Crusade WoW, there's a chance that some of your crafters have access to plans or patterns that aren't available in the game anymore.
Which means that you can create items with a special appearance that not everyone has access to.
To you I say: happy gold-making!

Shirts

Another addition to the Wardrobe: shirts!
Some shirts can be crafted! And not a lot of people know about that! (Auction House profit opportunity right there!)
Same advice here - save your mats.
There's a handful of shirts that are crafted in Classic WoW with linen cloth, silk cloth, mageweave; but also a handful of lumberjack-themed shirts were added in Wrath, so keep that Frostweave cloth.
Besides that, most shirts can be bought from vendors.

If you are a collector/completionist, you should be aware that there's a bunch of shirts that can be currently obtained at the Brawler's Guild.
I'm saying "currently" because according to the WoW devs, the Brawler's Guild will be going into "hiatus" when Legion arrives. What does that mean? Will it return? Will the rewards still be there if it returns? Will the NPC that currently sells the shirts still be there even if you can't brawl? We don't know!
The thing to remember is: if you want to collect those shirts, go do Brawler's Guild now while it's still there.

If you want more info on all the shirts and how you can obtain them, again Wowhead has a guide about it (Wowhead has a guide written about them), so go check it out.

Concerns and expectations

There's more details about the Wardrobe system that we don't have answers for (at least at this point in time).
The WoW devs have said that all appearances for all the items of all the quests we've completed will be automatically unlocked when the system goes live (and that includes items that we didn't choose when we had to pick a quest reward).
We know they can do that for quests that are currently in game because they've added specific item and quest tracking since the Cataclysm expansion.
But we don't know if they're going to be able to unlock item appearances for all the quests that are currently unavailable - more specifically all the quests that don't exist anymore because of the Cataclysm revamp.
Answer's still in the air, they've got some background work to do, it's not a question of them withholding information from us, it's them figuring out if they have a complete and fully working solution to this question or they've looked at every possibility and tell us that it's not going to be possible to do that for every player or at all.
Now that's the biggest concern that we don't have an answer for.
There's a bunch of other minute details about certain specific items that we probably won't know what happens to them until the Wardrobe is in the game.

My expectation is that maybe they won't be able to have everything all figured out when the Wardrobe system goes live, but I'm patient.
Players will ask their questions and point out certain items and the devs will figure out something or give explanations, hotfixes and patches will be applied until almost all items are taken into account.

My main concern for all players right now is just to let you know that you shouldn't be deleting anything from your bags that can't be obtained anymore or that would be a pain to try to obtain again.

I hope all this info dump is helpful for some of you out there and also that my information is correct! (Please leave comments if anything has changed or is wrong and I'll see about correcting that.)

Now go make some spreadsheets and have fun!


To sum everything quickly:

  • Don't throw away hard-to-earn gear or future toys
  • If you want to collect toys - start now
  • Move the BoE gear on toons that can equip that gear
  • Tabards - if you throw some away, make sure you can get them back; if you want to collect them, check out the Wowhead guide
  • Vendor gear - lots of it locked behind reputation or special currency
  • Keep all of your crafting mats
  • Do Brawler's Guild right now to get the shirts
  • Collect PvP gear if you have the time to farm

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pre-Legion Level 100 Character Boost: What's In It?

Got a Level 100 Character Boost on your account but don’t know what to expect? Even though Blizzard did a write-up on that (https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/7623) I feel it’s missing a few details. I’ve used the boost last night (pre-Legion pre-patch) and here’s what I got. (I’m covering the Alliance side only here - sorry Horde!)

  • You log in at the front gate of your garrison.
  • You’ve learned all levels of flying but for Draenor (unless the account-wide achievement has been unlocked on your account).
  • You have in your quest log the quest chain to go to Tanaan. (The article says “Some quests and NPCs will be unavailable after a character boost until you unlock Tanaan.” but I haven’t seen anything missing yet.)

Your character has:

  • 500 gold
  • 4x 22 slot bags + The Backpack™
  • a full set of green level 640 gear
  • all previous items are waiting in the mail
  • 300 garrison resources

Your garrison is already at Level 3 and comes with:

  • 8 followers at level 90 (except for one at 91)
  • Level 2 barracks
  • Level 2 lumber mill (however, you can’t collect lumber until you’ve done the Tanaan chain)
  • Level 2 storehouse
  • Level 2 (crafting building for your character’s gear proficiency)
  • Level 1 herb garden
  • Level 1 mine
  • 1x empty Large, Medium and Small plots (Salvage Yard can be immediately built without having to do the Spires of Arak chain)

If the character you’re boosting is level 60+ and has primary professions, they’ll be boosted to 700 along with First Aid (so excluding the 3 other secondary professions - Archaeology, Cooking, Fishing). But keep in mind that all professions work differently in Draenor (you can work with all professions from Level 1 so there’s no reason to go back to level with items from previous expansions) and all have a training item that can be picked up to max the level cap to 700.