Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Birth of a Tank

Over the weekend I was able to try out tanking on my paladin for the first time, and it was quite the experience. I should probably provide a little history and background information before jumping into the meat of this post.

My main is a space goat enhancement shaman whom I raid with and love dearly. I enjoy playing melee DPS, but the issue is that shamans are often overlooked for raiding if you are not spec'd resto. For whatever reason, it seems everyone hates DPS shamans unless they need heroism/bloodlust for their raid. When not running with my guild, I seem to have the roughest time PUG'ing raids or heroics on my server. Since I have no interest in healing, it didn't leave me much choice but to roll another class, so I created Grettir.

Triv and I have been leveling as a team since we rolled these alts. He's been taking care of the support role as a resto/balance druid and I'm keeping the baddies from smacking him around too much as a protection paladin. Because we have been sticking together throughout our leveling, it can seem a little slower seeing as we only play when we both have free time. Trust me: it raises his ire when I start to pull ahead in experience gained. Though, I don't think it should really be considered my fault that Blizzard has made all those lovely buckets of candy available for us players.

I'm starting to ramble… So, we finally made it to the Outlands last week and after running around grinding quests for a bit we decided to break up the monotony by putting together a PUG for Hellfire Ramparts. We picked up a warlock and a death knight right away after sending out a request for DPS, followed by another death knight shortly after. The first death knight that had joined instantly dropped out of the group once the second came in. I guess some people are afraid of competition… kids these days.

After a few minutes of waiting for other responses we decided to four-man the instance and went in to get ready. I thought it amusing to find that I was actually getting nervous at the prospect of screwing up and wiping the party. For me this was all new and exciting as I really had no idea what to expect. I had only been through this instance once or twice before when I was bored and out farming achievements on the shaman, so I didn't really remember much of it since I had sped through. Also, I started playing after Wrath had been released, so I missed out on a lot of The Burning Crusade content.

Once everyone had the appropriate buffs, it was time for me to bite the bullet and pull. I am sure the others were sitting there thinking, "WTF is this guy waiting for!?! L2Play noob!" Of course when I did muster the cojones to pull, everything went fine making my worries seemingly unfounded. As a result, this made the ol' ego inflate just a bit, and I thought to myself: Shit, this stuff is easy-peasy. You probably know where this is heading…

A few pulls later I ended up not realizing a patrol had walked in between two groups, which in turned had me pulling all the mobs, and we wiped. I felt like a total douche as I threw the obligatory "my bad" out in party chat. The warlock dropped from the party and the DK just laughed it off. We ended up pulling in a warrior the DK knew and were able to complete the instance without any more problems. Afterwards we ended up going through the instance again for gear. This time it was quick and painless with no wipes, so I started feeling pretty good about it again.

From there we headed into Blood Furnace and that turned out to be a bit tougher as I hadn't ever run the instance before. I only screwed the pooch once in there. After we downed The Maker, I ended up accidently pulling a patrol in the hall behind his room which cascaded into three or four more other mobs rushing us.

It was pretty late after we completed BF, so we called the group. They both said if we were going to be running more instances to ping them if they were on and they'd be more than happy to tag along. I thanked the two for putting up with my noobish tanking ways and was waiting for some harsh criticism, but the warrior just laughed and gave me a couple of pointers. The main suggestion was that I should learn that Righteous Defense is my friend, and the other was to watch my bubbles. The latter was completely my fault as I had just switched a key binding around for a new macro. My brain was sure that Hammer of Wrath was at that location, so I had bubbled a couple of times on accident.

Overall it was a great experience and I had loads of fun learning a new role in the game. Tanking has also taught me a few things about playing a better melee DPS as well. Every DPS should know to stay out of the fire, but seeing it from the tank's view elaborates on the why. Controlling your threat is another skill that I don't think enough people pay attention to either. When I was tanking Nazan in Ramparts the DK with us ended up pulling aggro away from me at the wrong time and was summarily roasted quite thoroughly with dragon breath. This also made me realize that I need to be aware of my threat levels to make sure I am keeping aggro well enough that DPS isn't ripping it away from me.

The instances were also a great source of experience, especially with only the four of us. I have the heirloom +exp items equipped and was almost 150% rested before we started the runs. I was getting around 1200 exp from each regular mob killed, but don't remember how much more the bosses gave, if any. We also completed Weaken the Ramparts and Heart of Rage which rewarded 25k experience each.

From those three runs, I went from level 60 with 75% to next level to level 63. Not too shabby for two to three hours of played time.


Race Change is now LIVE

Race changes are now available.

Quoted directly from

The new World of Warcraft Race Change service is now live. After purchasing a Race Change for a character, a player can choose any race of their same faction that is compatible with the character’s current class. For more information on the Race Change service, please read the FAQ , or visit the Race Change page to get started.

Just staying on top of things for the readers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Raid Courtesy

I'll begin with a quote, one of my personal favorites.

Henry Wheeler Shaw (Josh Billings) once said, “Genius ain't anything more than elegant common sense.”

  1. Show up early

  2. Be fully repaired

  3. Have appropriate elixirs/flasks/potions (this includes mana pots and health pots)

  4. Have appropriate food

  5. Have a full night's worth of class reagents (candles, anks, soul shards, etc.)

  6. Have all appropriate gear equipped or in bags (bear set, heal set, dps gear, resist gear, tank set, etc.)

  7. Have taken care of IRL necessities before-hand (potty break, dinner, slip the kids a Valium)

  8. On Vent, Teamspeak, Mumble, VOIP and/or responsive to spoken or in-game communication

  9. Have read the tips/info/bossfights from places like Wowwiki, Bosskillers, Tankspot, etc.

  10. Have appropriate weapon buffs if applicable (mana oil, sharpening stones, poisons)

  11. Have the appropriate Mods installed and UPDATED

It's a simple list really. I felt the desire to post this list because my last article focused so generally on raid and guild success. I feel the above are common courtesy and should be easy for any player to follow that wishes to raid. Let's discuss them for a bit.

Show Up Early

I've placed this as the number one rule because I feel it's simplicity mirrors it's importance. Showing up early helps to ease raid and guild tension. You have time to gather food, check your enchants and gems, buy flasks/elixirs, repair, etc.. It also allows you be be at the instance ON TIME. People are taking the time to come together as a group for a common goal. Have respect for them as they should for you.

Be Fully Repaired

Common sense guys says, “Hearthing out after the third trash pull to repair is rude and wastes time.”

Have Buff Items

I am combining a few points here because they are so closely related. Above they are broken out singly because for some reason certain people need everything spelled out in detail. In order for you to be as successful as you possibly can be, you must be buffed appropriately. To fail to do so will prevent you from being as effective as you can be. Bring extras, having more than you will need is always a good idea. I could go in to never ending detail regarding the types of buff items you can use and who needs to use them when but, that make's for a very dull monotonous read. If you need to find out what these items are for you, spend some time researching at Elitist Jerks or some other such site. Better yet, ask your guild, that's what they are there for.

Class Reagents and Set Gear

Have them. Use the time that you allowed yourself by showing up early to make sure you have an adequate supply. Again ask your guild members if you are unsure about the amount or type you need to carry. If you are a person that is expected to perform multiple jobs, carry the correct gear with you in the event that it may be needed. * Note: I have apparently always pronounced Reagents incorrectly.

IRL Responsibilities and Necessities

We all have RL issues outside of WoW. If you plan to raid try to take care of as many of them as possible before hand to prevent them from affecting the raid as a whole. It's understandable that not all issues can be taken care of before hand or even prevented. It's just a courtesy to everyone else to try to minimize them as much as possible if you choose to raid.

Vent / Teamspeak / Mumble / VOIP

If you have the ability to use one of these programs, please make every effort to use them. They allow for faster and more precise communication. However, I understand some guilds do not use them. At any rate you need to be responsive to whatever type of communication you use. Try to avoid stepping away as much as possible. <personal rant> One of my personal pet peeves is the never ending wait for someone constantly going afk for periods of time to do whatever it is they do. Honestly I believe this one thing has taken days from my life.... waiting on others to come back from some unknown place to continue to run. </personal rant> * Note: I like Mumble.

Know the Fights

There is a wealth of information available to you on these interwebs. Dozens of websites provide strategies to you so that you can move ahead confidently and perform your role in a raid. These help to prevent unneeded wipes and frustration. As a player that wants to raid and progress this should be one of your top priorities.


While some people don't use them, I do. They help you to increase your potential when used correctly. Mods like Deadly Boss Mods are almost a must for most raiders. I can't even begin to touch on each and every mod you can use to help your play. This is where your guild and research are your best tools.

It is a matter of courtesy to be sure. But, it's more than that, it's a recipe for success. Take the time for "elegant courtesy" and let your "genious" shine through.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Leadership Vs “Guild PUG”

Often raiding can be the catalyst that leads to guild destruction. Raiding however you look at it requires effort. This effort has to come from every member of the raid. What I mean is that everyone has to invest time to learn the fights, work on their rotations, adjust their gear, enchant, gem, and on and on and on. If you plan to play end game content then you are forever preparing and putting effort into that goal.

This is where raiding makes or breaks guilds and players for that matter. When you invest time and effort into getting to end game content you now have an emotional bond to it. Nobody likes to fail, and even the best prepared group can fail if it's not lead properly or made up properly. In my mind there is a guaranteed way to produce failure every single time, lead poorly or follow a poor leader.

This is a trap that guilds often fall into. They want to raid and they want to get everyone involved so they try to use what I call the “Guild PUG” method to forming raids. This is where a guild tries to schedule a raid that they should be able to complete. They send out invitations to the guild as a whole via the in-game calendar and only commit to specific people that are guaranteed shows every single night. Most of the time these people are in-game friends and possibly the guild core members. They are considered above the rest even if it's only subconsciously. The rest of the guild does not receive any sort of commitment. Raid night comes and for the first few weeks more than enough people sign on and the “core” people then pick and choose who they want to go based on who showed. After a few weeks though people start to show only sporadically, some even PUG raids instead of signing up for guild events because they cannot get a commitment.

This guild philosophy completely backfires. Why is this? Well, first and foremost there was no leadership. A raid leader should try to get as strong of a team a possible and commit to them as they commit to him. A guild is simply the extension of that. People have a vested interest in their character, they leveled and prepared themselves for end game content and cannot get a commitment if they are asked to commit themselves because everyone is trying to make everyone happy. The reason that I call this the “Guild PUG” is that in essence it's the exact same thing as putting a random group of people together for a raid who are not in your guild. It's also because people can PUG and get the same commitment that got from the guild.

So you may ask, “How do we get everyone involved if we only take certain people?”. It seems counter productive to make a “team” of raiders when you want to get everyone involved doesn't it. My thoughts on this are that's it's a foundation to build from to get to the point of full inclusion. I'll explain.

Here are some guidelines to follow to improve your success and happiness relating to raids and guilds.

  1. Create a regular schedule for raiding and guild events.

  2. Develop governing rules for your raid and guild and enforce them.

  3. Create ranks to sort players into categories for raiding*

  4. Select officers and leaders based on merit not friendship

  5. Set your raiding goals and develop a plan to attain them.

  6. Share every last bit of this information openly with guild and raid members.

  7. Implement a team structure for raiding.

Committing to a team allows people to plan their attendance as well as the guild being able to do the same. When I know that on Tuesday at 7 server time I am going to be stepping into Ulduar and the stated goal for the raid this week is Hodir Hard Mode then I can plan on that event and prepare for it. I know who my team members are going to be and we can as a group learn the strategies and tactics and make the attempts with the same shared knowledge. I also know that I need to continue to perform or I can lose my weekly spot to another person preparing for the same thing. This other person is an alternate and possibly a member of team 2. Alternates and secondary teams are where you get your involvement. An alternate is an understudy, they are expected to learn the fights and be available to come in and make attempts if needed. They are expected to pick your brain and find ways to improve their play to continue to progress. Secondary groups come into being when the guild has a large enough membership that they can begin to think about fielding a learning team or a second progression team. Guilds often progress and leave old content behind, they no longer run Naxx or whatever. Secondary teams can be a mix of experienced players and raid prospects. It's a solid way to get less experienced or dedicated members involved and it's a fantastic way of finding new talent and developing it. With time you can build to bigger and better things.

Guild and raid rules serve to make everyones life simple. People know exactly what to expect and exactly what they need to do or not to do. This only works if they are enforced for every member of the guild or raid and not selectively enforced. For example if you have a “ Loot Council” and the weight system is based on class type and progression need, you need to adhere to it, don't suddenly say “well let's just roll for gear tonight because I'm feeling lazy.” Setting expectations for guild members and living up to them will probably be the single biggest thing you can do to improve your happiness quotient in the guild or raid. I hope I was able to demonstrate that committing to guild members is just as important as them committing to you. Leading with a stated goal in mind is absolutely necessary for success.

Point three is entirely my own opinion. I've found that people like earning things. When they have a goal to become a regular raider they dedicate themselves to learning what it takes to be that raider. If you have guild ranks that show a players achievement in the guild it is considered a badge of honor. I can't begin to tell you the number of times I have heard people comment about getting a guild rank, whether it be from initiate to member or pre-raider to full fledged raider. It's something that the people you want around you will want.

As for sharing everything with your members. It's simple, when people are informed and lead by people with integrity and charisma they perform better and “follow” by example. A group tends to emulate it's leader.

Don't become a dead guild and “Guild PUG” your way there. Even if you aren't a guild or raid leader, you can help do these things by starting to follow them on your own and sharing them with your guild-mates. Start implementing the things you can in your own groups. When you run a 5 man group you can set loot rules, player jobs, and stated goals. For example you might be trying to get the “ Amber Void” achievement, inform the group of the stated goal, educate them as to how to accomplish it or where to go to find that information. Let them know that one of the members needs a certain item if applicable; or let them know you are an enchanter and will d/e anything not needed and at the end of the instance or chain of instances you will distribute them evenly or allow open rolling. Finally educate them to make them better. You will find people gravitate towards you and your methods. You may be able to get your guild to silently adopt these practices.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Resto/Prot Leveling and Instance Fun

Yesterday was my first experience as a healer in an instance. Let me say first, that it is an entirely new game to me. I think I had more fun last night that I can remember in recent history. I'm not specced as a healer, but I found a druid can do alright through say 70 without it.

Grettir, the other other of this blog is a Paladin, I am a Druid. We rolled these alts because we had grown tired of the never ending search for PUG's as DPS. We wanted to have a little say in the direction of our gameplay. One day we decided we should each run one of the hybrid classes, that way we could decide to DPS, Tank, or Heal. I've always liked being a healer, even as far back as the MUD days. Grettir had absolutely no interest in healing so we decided to try to level together as a Prot/Balance combo. These are fast becoming our mains and we knew that would be the case. We are now dedicating more and more time to these characters.

Leveling this way is not as fast as solo. I'll be straight up and honest. We did not level slowly by any stretch of the imagination but we probably could have leveled fast solo with solo builds. This is however an ABSOLUTE blast to play. There's just something cool about seeing twelve MOB's surrounding Grettir while I hit him with a few HoT's then burn them all down with Hurricane. There have been times where we took on huge groups like this and they were all two to three levels above us.

Well, last night we decided to take the plunge and see how we did in our new roles in an instance. We were both level sixty at the time. I put up a quick add on main in Hellfire Peninsula and we eventually ended up with two DPS, a DK and a Lock. We decided to try to four man the instance since we could not find volunteers for slot five. Like I stated before I am not specced resto, I have a hybrid Balance build designed to work as a support character to Grettir. I have done some reading and have been told I should be able to heal the instances up to seventy. We began and right away I knew Grettir had found his calling. I barely had to heal him compared to what I thought I might. We were marching through pulls and he wasn't losing aggro. Granted, he had some learning experiences and he will be writing his own article from a paladins perspective but we pretty much marched out way through Hellfire Ramparts. We lost the lock and replaced him with a warry and ran the instance again, even smoother. We then decided to try for Blood Furnace and had a pretty smooth run there.

I decided last night however, that I should probably invest the money to dual spec and build a healing spec for instance runs and do it the right way since I plan to be a healer for end game. This way both Grettir and I will learn our jobs as we move towards Northrend. I'm sure we won't learn everything we need to know until we actually encounter end game content but we are both enjoying the process. I would recommend leveling with a friend to anybody who has the patience to experience the game in that manner. We have both stepped out of our comfort zones with these characters and it's been the most rewarding Warcraft experience I have had.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Game Should Be Fun

Last night I went out to play as a sub on my friends Pool league. I love playing pool. It's a fun game for me. League players don't always see the fun in the game and take it way to seriously. Thankfully my friends team would rather drink a few beers and enjoy a few games than to get to serious about themselves. I won my first game which is amazing to me as I am not a league quality player but then of course proceeded to lose my last 3. Meh, no biggie, we had a good time and shared some beer.

I bring this up because upon arriving at home I was hit with a ton of in-game drama. Some people are simply not having fun and it's bringing the game down for everyone. I've spoke of it before here but for those who haven't followed this blog from the beginning I will touch on it a bit to bring everyone up to speed.

Leadership is/was lacking in Raid Naked when it came to raiding. I ended up leaving the guild because of some issues with this and other personal things. I tried to express my feelings about the direction of the guild but seeing as I had given leadership of the guild itself to my friend and these were his friends I felt it best to step aside and find myself a new home be it solo play or in a new guild. I found my happiness again. I enjoy the game again as much as I used to and I don't dread logging in for raid night.

I am still in touch with my old guild and it seems now that I am no longer the only person who was feeling this way. I found myself intervening and offering suggestions for stabilization and change. Amazingly enough they are now using some of them and I think they will find their happy place again.

So in my mind, there are a few things that help make sure that the game stays enjoyable for you and your guild.

  1. Have a clear and defined goal and a plan to attain that goal.

  2. Set grounds rules and never waver from them. Enforce the rules you set for yourself and the guild fairly for every member of the guild, even the newest or even the least liked.

  3. Be ready to openly discuss issues and willing to try new ideas to address them.

  4. Moderation, take everything in moderation. Allow time for a life outside of the game and use it.

  5. Never take yourself or this game to seriously. The key is to understand that it is a game.

I would love to hear some of your suggestions or comments on what I've already posted.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Interview with Grettir - Gamer Extraordinaire

I think our readers would like to know a little more about us. In this article I will be interviewing Grettir discussing his gaming origins. If you as readers would like to expand on any of this, please feel free to use the comments sections and fire away.

So, Grettir, can you tell us a little bit about your early experiences with video games? When were you first introduced to video games and what immediate effect did they have on you?

Well, the first video game I remember playing was an old pong machine the Grandparents picked up at an auction when I was around four or five years old. It fascinated me more than any of the other toys that I played with at the time, or remember for that matter. I had played some arcade games (Joust, Donkey Kong, etc) and loved them, but since I was so young, I couldn’t play them with any regularity. My meager allowance didn’t provide enough to supply my developing gaming habits.

However, October 18, 1985 was the date that solidified gaming as a cornerstone part of my life. I was at friend’s house visiting and his cousin showed up with the most amazing machine I had ever seen in my life: The Nintendo Entertainment System.

By the gods, it was so beautiful I was floored. I remember that day so vividly it is uncanny. The best thing about this was that my father was there to witness the glory. You had better believe my excitement mounted when he told his friend he had to have one.

Shortly thereafter, we had the console at my house. The immediate effect: obesity, acne and agoraphobia.

That's funny you remember the date. I remember when you first got the NES. Did you start to develop favorites when it comes to genre or play style? What were some of your favorite games and why?

Actually that is just the US release date for the NES. I would be hard pressed to remember the exact date the revelation occurred. I just know it was shortly after the release as it was fall and cold outside.

When I got the console, we only had the Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cart that came with it. So, until Christmas rolled around a couple of months later, it was pretty much all Mario except on the weekends when we (my little brother and I) were able to rent a game.

The first game we rented was Legend of Zelda which I enjoyed it a lot but since it was a rental, I could only progress so far in the game. I didn’t really get a chance to finish the game until I received it as a gift later that year.

The other game that impressed me was Metroid. It wasn’t your normal side-scrolling space shooter where you were just in a ship mashing the fire button while dodging an insane amount of objects. This game let you explore an alien world while upgrading your abilities and weapons.

So early on, I took a liking to adventure games that only grew when I began to play games such as Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, Ultima and Destiny of an Emperor. I enjoyed these because they actually had a story to follow, and seemed to require at least some intelligence as you would need to solve puzzles, etc. This differed from games like Contra where it was a spam fire and dodge bad guys the entire time. Not that there was anything wrong with that game at all. Still a classic in my book.

Well, that leads me to my next question. I already know you have a love for rpg style games. In the early 90's I believe was when you got your first PC. You and I began to surf BBS's ( bulletin board systems) where we were first introduced to text based multiplayer games. We also soon found MUD's ( multi user dungeons). Can you share a little bit about your memories, feelings, and experiences during this part of your gaming career?

Well the first text-based game that I spent exorbitant amounts of time on was Nethack. I always wanted to play the game with other people in the dungeon, so when I found the world of BBSs and MUDs I was insanely happy.

The first MUD I played was Tele-Arena. It was a pretty simple MUD on a local BBS that I enjoyed, but still didn’t have a multitude of players or content. It wasn’t until we ran into a MUD called Ruins (The Land of Ruins) that I knew I had found my niche.

It had a decent user base comprised of mostly good people to interact and run with. There was a pretty good selection of classes that you could play which were decently balanced. The world itself was large enough that you could run it without being too worried about all the zones being overcrowded. Weekly group quests that rewarded the players in gear or in quest potions kept the game exciting and gave the grind to 100 more of a reason other than bragging rights.

One of the parts I enjoyed the most was the clan system which lent the game more of a community feel as I still talk to some of my old clannies to this day.

I ended up playing that game off and on for about eight years until it finally went to the wayside.

Yeah, I'll admit I think I could easily be drawn back into the text based game. There's something about the creativity and thought that made it unique. As a final set of questions, can you tell us why you think those text based games eventually spawned games like The World of Warcraft? How has WoW expanded on text based gaming and where does it fall short if at all?

It was only the natural evolution of the genre. The popularity of MUDs can be easily attributed to the fact that you didn’t need a beefy machine to run it. It only required a telnet client and internet connection. As the internet became more readily available at higher connection rates, and computer prices dropped, more people were able to start playing graphic driven games.

The MUDs were often times user created and driven only through volunteer work. They usually “employed” one or two part time coders and a handful of world builders who were never able to guarantee their 100% devotion to the game. So a lot of the MUDs rose and fell without much notice.

Blizzard has been able to expand upon the old text based games because they have the resources available to create such rich and complex worlds. They also are able to offer the user a much more advanced interface that is user friendly enough that it can attract people instead of deter them as the text based interface did with MUDs. There is extensive lore to draw the players in where MUDs rarely had a decent history written, if anything at all. While most MUDs had an abundance (sometimes too much) of classes and races, they rarely had abilities to match. The MUDs I played didn’t have any kind of a profession system either.

WoW also has a vast user base that provides a lot of opportunity for cooperative game play or versus game play if that is more to your liking. While this is advantageous for a number of reasons, it also can be a hindrance sorting the good eggs from the bad. It also is hard to find the same camaraderie that I had back in the old days.

That pretty much is the only thing I find lacking…

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I think we'll add a few articles based on what we've discussed here. I think it's important to understand the history of the MMORPG and gaming in general to have a true appreciation for it's current incarnation and it's future possibilities. Thanks again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Farming – Understanding the Value of your Time

Gathering professions are the backbone of Warcrafts economy. Farmed/Gathered items are the basic materials used in the crafting/manufacturing of consumables/wares/textiles. To this end it is a steady income for the gathering inclined player. It may not have the big money fast capability that some crafting professions have and it will never compete with the market players (AH Camper, Goblin, etc...). It is however a safe and steady stream of cash that can be counted on and has little to no risk to the player. A lot of people poo-poo the gathering professions for this fact alone, however without gatherers how would we ever craft consumables?

The fact that gathering is not a high cash flow profession should not dissuade you as a player from utilizing it to it's fullest potential. Gathering professions can be broken down into gold per hour (GPH) numbers that can be counted on and are steady. Gathering also allows the quester/leveler to supplement their income while traveling throughout Azeroth. That said, they are a very solid choice for many players and as thus they need to be addressed as a viable Job. I use the word job because in essence that's exactly what they boil down to. Imagine it this way, comparing it to real world terms you are in fact a Farmer. A farmer has fields they tend, they plants crops in these fields and when the crops mature they harvest them. The farmer then sells these crops to the Manufacturer for a fair market price. The farmer is paid for their time. The time invested to plant, care for, and harvest their crop. As a gatherer in Warcraft you need to assign a value to your time or at least define that value.

The value can be calculated by finding the market value (Auction House price) of the item you are gathering and then determining how many of those items you can gather in a specific amount of time. This will give you a basic idea of the GPH you can expect to realize. Demand contributes to this number rising or falling. If the product is in high demand, prices will rise. If the market is saturated, prices will fall. Thus, it is important to diversify your time between different types of materials and stay current with market trends. For instance you may find that Tuesdays are absolutely fantastic for selling Northrend Herbs (they are btw) because people are crafting elixirs for raid night. You may also find that Monday is a poor night for sales in general (not always true), and weekends fluctuate highly depending on how much stock is available on the market. Once you can define these patterns based on your server to can then invest your time as the market dictates thus keeping your GPH high.

People who are leveling are by far the best served farmers. They gather as they move through the game and sell their product on the market while retaining and growing their wealth at a slow and steady pace. They do no sink their funds into crafting professions that they may not realize any return on their investment until they reach much higher levels. They realize immediate returns on their time while gathering and often times are never left wanting for gold to fund their other endeavors. Their time is dedicated to the purpose of leveling and gathering is truly synergistic to that end. The synergy is time. Often times people look at gathering professions as simply a means to supplement their supposed crafting profession. They do not take into account that their time is worth gold. Often they think that simply because they farmed it, it was free. It is a common misconception then that these are synergistic professions. They are, only loosely. If you fail to account for your time being worth money you will under value your product and that's where the synergy is lost.

My advice is to value your time properly, pick professions that you will utilize well with the time you plan to invest. If you are not one for working the auction house and spending large amounts of your time camping and undercutting your competition, or you don't feel the urge to farm, take some time to think about your money earning strategy then choose what works best for you. Farming may be slow and steady but it has very little risk and is a solid choice for those whose time may be dedicated to being something other than an Auction House Camper or Goblinistic Market Dominator with high risk

While both of these have their merits and produce with the proper investment of time, each person must decide for themselves if that investment is to their liking and fits their personal playstyle.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Arduous Trail to 80 – Gold, Skills & Mounts

Today I would like to focus on how to acquire all the loot and skills you’ll need on your trek to that pedestal otherwise known as level 80. There are a lot of great times awaiting you at end game, but there are also a lot of associated costs lurking behind all the shiny new content. Artisan and cold weather flying, dual spec’ing, gemming and enchanting your gear are the major setbacks you will be facing at the end of your road. Since you’ll be acquiring new gear rather quickly, those last two costs will be repetitive for some time.

Begging for gold is oft times one of the most “heard” spam on the general or trade channels. Yes, folks, beggars aren’t confined to the entrance of your local corner store out there in meatspace, they are also found “spanging” on these channels. If you’re not a hobo in the real world (and I should hope you’re not if you play WoW,) don’t try to be one online. You will be looked upon with just as much derision and contempt as those lonely souls shivering on the streets.

My advice: Get a job!!!

Fortunately for you, Blizzard was kind enough (or cruel enough, depending on how you feel) to include professions in WoW. These can be extremely useful in funding all of your adventures in Azeroth and beyond if you choose wisely. At level five, they are opened up to you to make your selections.

You may cry out in distress, “There are so many!!! How could I ever decide which to choose?!”

Easy there fuzzy little man-peach, you have found a kind and welcoming place…

Crafting versus Gathering

I’m sure that you are itching to start hammering away on a piece of copper or bronze at the forge or to start stitching up a fine new wardrobe, but hold on for a second. Ask yourself this: How is a crafting skill going to benefit me at low levels? Really, it’s not going to do much for you as you will need to buy the materials to craft the items which will get expensive quickly. The other option is to farm for them extensively, a boring and time consuming process.

In my experience, crafting is vastly more beneficial once you hit 80. Granted it is nice to not have to spend a lot of time once you hit 80 leveling trade skills, but in my opinion it is no different than grinding out quests or farming to build up gold.

If you choose two gathering skills, you will have more raw materials to dump on the auction house to amass your wealth. Personally, my first jaunt up the level ladder I chose Mining and Skinning. This allowed me to hit up all the ore nodes I saw as well as skin all the mobs I killed. With stacks of leather and ore ranging from a couple of gold to upwards of 20 or more a stack, I found it was extremely lucrative to sell all that I gathered. You’d be surprised at how fast you accumulate materials just while questing.

The other gathering profession I would recommend is Herbalism. I haven’t done this starting fresh, but while leveling up Alchemy I found that the prices of low level herbs were far greater than expected. Peaceblossom on my server (Icecrown) at that time were selling for around five gold per stack. The less frequent drops of Earthroot were selling for one gold each! I know that may not seem like much to veterans of the game, but for new players without the bankrolls of alts backing them, it is a quick and easy source of income.

Look at the auction house to find out what the selling price of ore and herbs are, and select the profession that looks as though it would be more profitable. You can’t really have both Mining and Herbalism as you can only have one “Find Mineral/Herb” selected on your minimap at once.

I would suggest using the Gatherer addon to assist you in finding nodes. Link:

The Vendor is Your Friend!


While questing you are going to be seeing a lot of gray items known as vendor trash dropping off mobs. Don’t make the mistake I did and ignore those items! Even though they don’t sell for much, dumping a few bagfuls to the vendor will definitely add up over time.

To avoid filling your bags too quickly, I would advise using some of the gold gained through selling of materials to purchase some bags. I would recommend buying Netherweave Bags. They are a relatively cheap 16 slot bag that will help alleviate the worries of inventory management. Alternatively, you can buy the materials (Bolt of Netherweave x 4, Rune Thread x 1) for the bags and ask for a tailor to craft your items. Remember to tip your crafters!


Some items that drop will have white names. These items are usable in the different skills available to players such as cooking and first aid. They will vary in price, so you’ll the find most worth coming from the items that can be cooked and the cloth that drops from mobs. You can use the cloth drops to level first aid or sell it on the auction house for others to use. Depending on the type of cloth, it can go pretty quickly there.


There will also be times that mobs will drop uncommon items whose name will show up as green. Unless these are beneficial to your character, you have the choice to vendor the items, find a friendly enchanter who would be willing to disenchant your items or sell them on the auction house. This all depends on how much time you are willing to spend. Obviously selling them to a vendor will be the quickest and you’ll have the coins in your hands right away. Finding an enchanter is going to take a bit more time (plus a tip,) but you’ll then be able to sell the disenchants on the auction house. You can always sell the item itself on the auction house, but that can take a lot of time and luck sometimes.


If fortune doth truly shine upon the brave adventurer, you will see a blue rare item drop. These can be worth a lot of money depending on what it is. If you do find a mob with a rare, take the time to do a little research to see what it may be worth. Check the auction house to see if there are any already listed, go to sites like to check to see what their suggested buyout price is or hawk your wares on the trade channel to see if anyone bites.

He Who Quests Shall Be Rewarded

In addition to the warm, fuzzy feeling (I play Alliance, so your feelings may vary) you get for helping out your fellow citizens of Azeroth, quests are sometimes rewarded with items and gold. This will be a pretty big source of income throughout your travels.

Sadly, you will not be able to use all of the items that these benefactors bestow on your for completing their tasks. Some will just not fit your class and others simply won’t be an upgrade. Since the gear obtained from quests is soulbound, you will not be able to have it disenchanted. In these cases the rule of thumb I follow is to select the piece of gear that can be sold to the vendor at the highest price and not look back. Plate and two-handed weapons are going to be the big money. In the lower levels, it may not be that much, but it scales with your level fairly well.

In conclusion

The last piece of advice I have is to be wary when purchasing gear upgrades on the auction house. A lot of times you’ll find an item that looks like it would be a great fit to your gear only to end up replacing it a few quests later. Again, the only thing that is really going to save you from yourself is to do some research to find the best gear for your class and level.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Laugh

This video is old but it still makes me laugh. You just have to appreciate messin with newbies.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The death of WoW?

Is Warcraft dying? Is it soon to be another Diablo II, fun but no longer played?


I think I have been seeing the signs of it for awhile now. In my opinion Blizzard has been moving away from what made it great in the first place. It's no longer really an achievement to get to 80 (or 60 and 70 back in the day, somehow 60 was soo much harder). The sad part is, that it IS an achievement, along with getting a pet and sitting near people getting honorable kills. It's no longer a game that requires team effort and play.

Let me explain what I mean by team play. PUG thy name is Terrell Owens. I remember when teamwork was encouraged in WoW. When you had to apply to guilds and work hard for a raid spot. Today you can spam the Trade Channel or simply wait for someone else to spam the channel and hop into a Pick Up Group and successfully clear an instance (generally you "can"). If you have a good gear score on WoW-Heroes or WoWArmory you can have your choice of runs. Now it will be said that in order to get that gear you must first do something to get it so it's not as if people don't earn it. Well, that's true to a point. They invest time. With time you can get pretty much anything you want in WoW and never do anything but PUG. There are a few things that I think have caused this and they started in BC and have since morphed into something altogether different. Emblems.

Originally emblems took a bit of time and effort to gain. You earned them in raid content or from doing the daily heroic. Doing the daily heroic wasn't as simple as it is now. Now people do heroic chains. Back then, heroics were hard for new 70's, now you earn emblems from heroics, daily regs, daily heroics, raid content, picking your nose, etc... So a new 80 can begin to run heroic chains and within a week or two have quite the set of emblem gear including tier gear. You no longer have to run raids and win rolls. Now there is good and bad to this and a lot of people will argue that it makes content more accessible to the masses. It does. I just think it diluted the game.

Emblems aren't the only thing that have diluted the game. Trial of the Champion has diluted the game in ways I have never seen before. Regular ToC drops epics. That alone should tell the entire story. You can farm regular ToC and gear up a new 78 with epics in a single day. People who have never seen a raid are now raid ready and are completely clueless.

Instead of people having to learn how to play their class for end content they are being fed gear and content. I think Blizzard is trying to appeal to a more casual player. They are trying to get away from the haves and have nots. To address the feelings of achievement they have introduced Hard Mode achievements. In my mind these are simply little things that flash on the screen and then are gone. Yes, it's nice to do something that is difficult and that you had to work for. Why not let the game be that way instead of making the sense of accomplishment come from doing it with 8 players instead of 10?

The reason I began this little post was because 3.3 hit the test realm and the notes on it hit as well. The new 5 man takes ToC and puts it on steroids.

I began playing MUD's when they were simplistic text based games and a group of 2 or three guys worked really hard to write zone descriptions and room descriptions, to build MOb's (Mobiles, or Mobile Objects... your choice) and set Pop rates. They would set respawn times, MOb difficulties, gear rating, class balance, etc.. EVERYTHING. 3 guys. To learn your class was an achievement, there weren't calculators and spec analysis. To learn each new zone was an achievement. When WoW came out, it was the first MMORPG to capture the same feeling I had when I played MUD's. Honestly I missed the text based games, the creativity and unique ideas that were required to help make a MUD evolve is missing. Blizzard has steadily moved towards a product that is simplified for the masses when I would love to see the innovation and creativity as a focus instead. I want to have a sense of accomplishment. I want to be challenged by the game instead of rewarded for my time just because I spent the time.

I love WoW still... I'm just a bit disillusioned and want to be challenged again. I hope 3.3 can do this, the patch notes are not good indicators at the moment. There's always hope.

I found another post with the same title as mine when searching google, "Death of WoW" it provides a good argument for the other side of my little rant some of the readers of this blog might appreciate his opinions as well, it's good reading.

Hello, my name is Grettir and I am an addict...

To be blunt, I love video games. I have been involved in a sordid affair with them since I first laid hands on a pong paddle. Interacting with the television simply astounded my young, impressionable mind and I was forever blessed (read: ruined) with a passion for all things gaming. This passion has taken me through decades of console and PC gaming in pretty much every genre out there.

How I came to play WoW can solely be blamed on Microsoft.

To elaborate a bit, my opinion of MMOs post-MUDs (Multi-User Dungeon for the new people) was ruined by Ultima Online. A friend of mine had told me that it was the type of game that I would probably enjoy expending loads of time and energy into. Seeing as how I was trying to put my addiction to Counter Strike behind me, I went ahead and gave it a try. In short, I called my friend a liar, and avoided MMOs henceforth.

Still doesn't explain how Microsoft is at fault I know...

In the years after that I slowly migrated to being more and more of a console only gamer. When I was given a free Xbox and PS2 (broken, but I managed to repair them at little to no cost,) it seemed to seal the fate of my PC days. Moving to another state drove the final nails into the coffin when I sold my PC to assist in financing the move. This was all about four years ago.

So around two and a half years ago when Triv tried to talk me into playing WoW, I was pretty much a console only player. I had my 360, and as far as I was concerned that's all I needed. Well, I guess I still played games like Civilization and Rome: Total War on my mail machine at home, but that box couldn't handle anything more demanding.

Triv is nothing if not persistent. He continued to badger me to start playing WoW, telling me how much I would enjoy it, etc. I held firm to my console superiority for a few reasons:

1. He kept saying how similar it was to a MUD we both played extensively. I thought back and remembered how much time I had sunk into that game, and shuddered.

2. Even though I wanted to build a new gaming PC, I am a frugal bastard in some ways and hate spending money.

3. I didn't really want to pay $15/mo for a subscription fee.

4. The game had been out long enough that everyone I would be playing with would be so far ahead of me that I felt I would constantly look like a noob since I, uh, would be one.

There are a couple of other reasons, but I'm bored with writing that list.

So, around five months ago, my third Xbox 360 threw the dreaded red ring of death. I was stuck waiting three weeks without any kind of gaming, which made me start to itch immediately. I am as I said above, an addict.

Who is there to come to my "rescue?" Triv.

He's worse than a pusher trying to get a new client. I again stood firm stating that I had no desire to play.

I said I didn't have the money at the time to get a new computer to play the game. Triv said it would play fine on my laptop. Remember I installed it when I was up there?


I said I wouldn't be able to afford the game. Triv said don't worry, I have keys from an old multi-boxing account that I don't have any characters on or use any more. You can have that.

Double damn.

I said I couldn't activate the account until the following week. Triv said, I can sport you the first month.

So, I buckled down and started downloading the game.

Sigh... in hind sight, I should have just tried heroin.

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