Thursday, September 18, 2008


With the realization that I wasn't spending any time developing skills/strategies and great sadness (actually not too much, really), I finally waved goodbye to my Mage. He's not gone for good, but in terms of priorities, he's definitely fallen off of the totem pole. Any character that I can just let go without gaining even a smidgen of Arena points on Monday night probably, just probably, isn't on my 'important' list. As such, he's been backburner'd.. Amani War Bear and all... and I spent 10,000 gold on that furry beast of burden!

Apologies for all you Mage readers out there (all 1? 2? LOL), but my days as a Mage have faded into the setting sun (which, incidentally takes 5 seconds to fully fade away)

I have started devoting some time to a Priest alt, with the intention of speccing as another PvP healer. I'm level 58 already, specced shadow and have every intention of leveling to 70 prior to the release of WotLK. Priest and Druid PvP capabilities are surprisingly similar, as they both function primarily through instant spells, however where a Druid directs the flow of the battle through crowd control and distance, a Priest excels through dispels, Mana Burn, and capitalizing on poor positioning (Psychic Scream).

We'll explore (as I level up on 'off' days) Priest-ly issues and tactics in PvP, hopefully to a high level.

Who knows, I may not have enough time/energy to really learn 2 classes to the level I want to play a. Buuuut, just to be on the safe side, in the event that Druids get nerfed to hell , I'll have a back up healer to melt the mana pools of bad casters everywhere.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shoulders... sort of... plus, a rant!

Last night's foray into the arenas started something like this:

(All paraphrased, as I'm not pro enough to Vent record)

Me: Hey, you want to do some 2's?
Warrior: Yeah sure, I've been thinking about it all day, after last night. .. (note: all we ran into last night was Shadow Priest/Rogue)
Me: Ok, let's queue up. What do you think our chances are of getting Shadow Priest/Rogue?
Warrior: I bet that's what we run into first.
Me: I'll take that bet. I'm thinking Warlock/Druid.
(Gates Open)
Me: Priest... Rogue... waaaaiiit... Shadow Priest! F&*%!! Way to jinx us!

(As an aside, every time we've gotten close to a 'milestone' rating, one of us has mentioned it, thus jinxing us, thus leading to a loss. Every damn time)

Well, after 12 games, we finally hit 1950 and stopped for the night. Warrior got his Vengeful shoulders, so now, aside from his totally ghetto Stormherald, he looks like a proper Warrior. No more fly away Merciless Shoulders! We'll probably continue the march towards weapons tonight, and hopefully we'll run into alot of bad Rogue/Priest and bad Warlock/Druid teams.

My 3's Shaman picked up his S3 Offhand yesterday as well and we're looking to push our rating even further now that he's got some serious weaponry. I can't wait to see how much damage he can crank out with WotLK and the new and improved Shaman Enhancement Talent Tree.

I also got a new piece of gear in a Heroic MgT run after our 2's run. Vial of the Sunwell finally dropped and I've been itching to get my hands on it to see what all the hubbub is about. The reason for nabbing it is that I am trying to find a reasonable second trinket solution to surviving double dps without completely gimping myself, by equipping Battlemaster's Perserverence, only to run into a drain team. Vial seems like a pretty awesome trinket, with that on demand 2k heal (or less with Wound Poison). However, it also has a pretty beefy 15 Mp5 for those long matches. I'll give it a whirl, because it HAS to be better than my current standard trinket: Seaspray Albatross. Which, incidentally, is essentially a dead albatross hanging from my neck against double dps teams.

Sadly, my Mage has gone to the wayside, as I am finding, with my nightly arena on my Druid, that I don't have time to play him. I wish I had alot more time and some consistent arena partners to play with on my Mage, as all of the WotLK Mage changes are looking incredible! Sadly, with no steady arena partners, I'm essentially relegating him to an AH mule. He does help me move an incredible amount of gems, however, so all is not lost. I am kinda pissed off that I didn't get any arena points on him last week, but, on the flip side, unless I get a real serious team, he'll never get any of the S3/S4 weapons/shoulders. I'm okay with this, as there's only one more piece of Brutal gear for me to get (legs), but with the expansion coming, I'm rather disillusioned with the returns on effort, especially if I don't play him regularly.

Honestly, it sucks. I put in a TON of effort into this character, starting him right before S4 started (70 in 6 days /played without the Recruit a Friend PL). From then till now, I have toiled over:
20Resil Medallion and 45Resil Medallion
All Guardians (Boot, Belt, Bracer, Ring, Neck), Vind Ring, Boot
S2 Staff, Helm, Shoulders, Legs, Chest, Sergeant's Heavy Cape
Brutal Helm, Chest, Glove
Leveled JC to 375
Revered with SSO for Helm Enchant and Crimson Serpent Trinket
60 Badge Cloak, Icon, Witch Dr. Wand
Revered with Sha'tar for Helm Enchant
Exalted with Scryer for Shoulder Enchant
All Epic gems

It just seems so sad to grind a character out, but have no one to play with...

Of course, my Priest and Rogue buddies left the game/server, so that could explain part of it... punks....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Planning for WotLK

Disclaimer: Everyone has theories on what to do for the expansion: farming gold, saving materials for leveling professions, etc. and as much as I'd like to think that what I'll be doing is the best approach, I'm sure there are some things I'm just not considering.

***Warning: Longish Post***

So, without further ado, here's Chu's plan for the expansion, optimized towards PvP but with some focus towards money making and possible small team raiding (10 mans), especially since the release date is about 2 months out.

Research: Research everything that the Blizzard unpaid volunteer testing team (aka Beta testers) have generated about factions, reputations, professions, quest rewards, 5 man drops, badge rewards and the starting raid (Naxx 10 man).

Much of the preparation work is in this step. It is important to know what faction reputations are need for which classes because reflecting upon the Thrallmar rep grind has me still convulsing at the thought of more Shattered Halls runs. There are some reasonable rep rewards that may be readily available if focus is given towards progressing that faction rep. At the same time, knowing which professions to level/relevel based on their synergy with my character classes is equally important. Trying to level a new profession such as inscription without a bank full of pre-farmed herbs would be prohibitively expensive.

Drop wise, Quest rewards/5 man drops aren't nearly as important, but it is still a task that is of reasonable importance as there are some quest rewards and 5 man drops that are viable long into the future. Look at the Idol of the Emerald Queen if you want a good example. Heroic Badge gear is something more towards long term future planning, however if there is any good PvP gear there (aka PvP Cloaks/trinkets), some effort should be directed towards acquiring a steady income of Heroic Badges. The same applies towards the first 10 man raid. Aside from rep rewards and just plain fun (I can't believe I said that), there may be some good weapons/gear that will fill in the starting Honor/Arena PvP sets.

Honor Grind:
It is likely that Blizzard will not do a clean slate wipe of Honor gained through honorable kills/bg objectives, so going into WotLK with less than 75k honor is not an option. At the same time, going into WotLK with less than 100 badges may be permissible, but should be maximized.

Gold/Other Grind:
Inflation is an inherent aspect of the upcoming expansion, much like TBC, and the value of gold will drop dramatically. If you can think back to pre-TBC times, grinding 100g felt like a chore and spending 500g for a BWL drop was an enormous expenditure. With the advent of dailies and quest rewards at level 70, gold has been greatly devalued. There are three schools of thought when it comes to using your gold: 1) Spend! 2) Invest! 3) Save! All are viable strategies.

The first seeks to get as much value out of the gold NOW, while it still has value. Proponents of this strategy argue that quest reward and random drops will easily make up the gold supply on the way to 80 and there's no point in saving money when it will have a fraction of its current value in a few months. Buy that Amani War Bear now! Buy those Gigantique bags! Advocates of the Invest strategy recognize that inflation will make their currency worth much less and as such, will invest in commodities such as herbs, profession leveling items, or leveling plate gear (for all those baby DKs). The last group will just Save their entire bankroll for WotLK and use its liquid buying power to obtain items they need quickly.

I plan on using a hybrid of Invest and Save, bringing with me a bank alt full of herbs, a good amount of uncut gems, and enough materials to level alchemy very quickly. The herbs are to both powerlevel Inscription and to sell at a marked up price for those who didn't think ahead. The uncut gems will be to level Jewelcrafting quickly and the alchemy mats will be for my new baby Deathknight. Why alchemy? Well, Blizzard is essentially giving everyone a free moneymaking alt. It shouldn't take too long to level a new DK from 55 to the min level for max alchemy specialization, thus providing me with a means to transmute for a profit every cycle. There are obviously other materials throughout TBC that should be collected for fast leveling (Netherweave Cloth for First Aid, components for Cooking, etc) and those should also be acquired prior to WotLK release.

I also plan on bringing a sizable bankroll to possibly buy world drop recipes off the AH that may be profitable in the long run, however, it is unlikely that these items will be available for purchase until the majority of the server population reaches the high 70's. I am part of the "I Will use the AH to Gouge You" Jewelcrafting 'Union' with a majority of the rare gem cuts and as such, I know the value of rare recipes.

Right before the expansion release, I'm going to also complete, but not turn in, 25 quests. If there are turn ins for other quests that I don't have to pick up, I'll collect those, too and hold on to them. The idea here, naturally, is to turn in all 25 quests as soon as humanly possible the moment I get back into the game after the expansion comes out for a decent jump in XP. While I'm not keen on racing to 80, I don't see any reason not to have a sizeable xp boost (approximately 250k XP) so that I can get ahead of the curve. If I can get to a zone before the masses do, I'll have an easier time finding quest mobs/items, thus making it easier in the long run.

Recruitment: News has leaked that there are going to be 10 man instance bosses that drop PvP gear (while Lake Wintergrasp is under your faction's control). While this doesn't mean a whole helluva lot to your average PvPer, Bliz has also stated previously that they will be focusing more on PvE in this expansion. This means my little PvP group will have to recruit some like minded PvPers who are capable of getting some PvE gear to help with some 10 mans. I'm not entirely estatic about having to PvE, but I think a 10 man focused group can accomplish a lot, while still PvPing a majority of our in-game time.

Leveling Gear:
Leveling as a healer is probably one of the most mind numbing experiences possible and while grouping or leveling via instances is preferred/possible, there will be times where I will have to scratch and claw (lolmangle?) my way through some kill quests. As such, acquiring an offset of gear for the purposes to leveling will be very important. I haven't yet decided if this set will be Feral or LazerChicken, as I have average gear for both, but it should be complete and ready to go once we near xpac release.

Purge(?): While prices are still reasonable for many items, with the announcement of WotLK, various prices will start to tumble as people start purging their banks/etc. It's a great time to buy items, as long as you know you can either use them in any of the above preparation steps or turn around and resell later. One example of this the comparison of Greater Eternal Essence prices before and after the expansion. Many people dumped their entire store of GEE's prior to TBC, and yet theyre incredibly expensive right now as anyone who tried powerleveling enchanting will tell you. There is a strong case for saving TBC materials for the horde of baby DKs itching to level their professions. As such, keep an eye out for great deals as people panic and purge. In this case, our long term investment isn't a short term investment gone awry.

Well, that's my list of things to do prior to the expansion. It's not short, but honestly, a little preparation goes a long way when it comes to game play ease, especially if you want to get into activities you find enjoyable as soon as possible.