Archive for the “Altitis” Category

Thanks to some serious help from the transmog experts in Elitist Jerks mumble chat Tuesday night, I discovered and obtained the final capstone on my Horde Hunter set.

I knew I needed that something, that piece of flair to touch the set off nicely, and I found it in the Vengeful Gladiator’s Longbow for 750 honor.

I am extremely happy with this look, the overall appearance really says ‘serious hunter’ to me.

Ebonsoul the Hunter

If you’re interested in putting together this same set, some of the pieces can be a pain to get and require patience and Auction House stalking, but it’s absolutely NOT gated by raid difficulty. All of these can be obtained from nothing more strenuous than running Heroics to get Justice Points to convert into Honor Points to buy the bow.

The set consists of;

Head – Stylin’ Adventure Hat – BOE hat crafted from a bind on pickup Leatherworking pattern.
Shoulders – Black Dragonscale Shoulders – BOE shoulders crafted from a bind on equip Leatherworking pattern.
Chest – Steel Breatplate (for the silver torc look around the neck and the lack of arm art) – BOE chest crafted from a trainer-purchased Blacksmithing recipe.
Shirt – Stylish Black Shirt – BOE shirt only purchasable from Lisbeth Schneider in Stormwind, which means you need to do some Neutral AH dancing to get it Horde side.
Undercity Tabard
Gloves – Ebonhold Gauntlets – BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Whelpscale Gauntlets (both faction quest reward) and Savage Gladiator Grips (BOP BRD drop) are alternatives.
Belt – Ebonhold Girdle – BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Devolved Drake Girdle (Alliance quest reward) is a lookalike alternative.
Pants – Ebonhold Leggings – BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Savage Gladiator Leggings (BOP BRD drop) and Sunstrider LEggings (Horde quest reward) are alternatives.
Feet – Ebonhold Boots – BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Savage Gladiator Greaves (BOP BRD drop) are an alternative.
Weapon – Vengeful Gladiator’s Longbow – purchased with 750 Honor Points from Kezzik the Striker in Netherstorm, either faction, you can earn 1500 JP from Heroic boss kills and convert to Honor to purchase at 500 JP to 250 Honor conversion. At the moment you get 100 Justice Points per heroic boss kill, and I got enough from just four heroic runs in one night.

I do love this set. I wonder, would it look as good on a human?

No matter how determined, every Hunter has someone to rely on to watch their back.

Watch My Back

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Sweetride

Just the best night ever, wow wait ’til you hear this!

So there I am, right? Brand new Hunter all set to take on the world!

I ran Throne of Thunder, got a cloak, then did the Celestials at the reset today and lucked out, got a nice PvP necklace, and those things are buffed way up, iLevel 550. Just the thing a gear starved newbie Hunter needs to break open the bonds holding me back from the GLORY that is LFR Siege of Orgrimmar.

But I can haz problem. My DPS, she is low. Very low. Like, still only 66k DPS. WTF, amiright?

Wait a minute, there is something I forgot.

Gemming and enchanting and reforging and all that shit!

My Horde Hunter, she has no support system in place. On Alliance side, I have every profession maxed and all the mats stored up for whatever. Horde side I don’t even HAVE a profession yet!

/Cry.

Neutral Auction House to the rescue!

When the thrill of cocaine loses it’s zing, you can always count on the neutral Auction House to stir the juices, as you put big ticket items up for a 1 gold buyout and pray it’s still there as you frantically flip account windows.

Did someone snag that 28 slot bag you had up for 1 gold? DID THEY?!?

This time I played the Neutral AH game and won. All my items made their way Horde side with nary a squabble.

Ta da! Enchants, gems (including the meta!), even a belt buckle and a scope or two. With extras, against that optimistic (or cynical) expectation that as soon as I enchant something, I’ll get an upgrade to drop that very night.

And reforging, yes reforging into proper levels of Hit and Expertise, no noob Huntard here, bars and macros all set up identical to my Alliance Hunter, I’m going to be the best damn brand new boosted 90 they ever did see!

Which ain’t saying much.

So many things to do just to be prepared for LFR without being THAT DAMN HUNTARD.

Reforged to optimal stats? Check!
Gems? Check!
Enchants? Check! Except for the bracer and the legging armor, those damn things are expensive. Save those for upgrades!
Pet in DPS mode and has GROWL TURNED THE FUCK OFF??? Checkaroonie!
Took my Talents? Check!
Used the right Glyphs? Check!
Macros, Focus Targets, Misdirection for Tanks, etc? Yepper!
Food and Flasks? Wow, really going down the ol’ list here, aren’t we? But check and check again!

Right.

Let’s do this thing.

I queued up for Siege of Orgrimmar LFR with a lump in my throat. What would I get? How long would I have to wait? Would I get the first boss, or would I be dropped into a failzone? Would I have time to prep, or would I be plunged into an orgy of add slaughter?

Seconds after queuing I dropped straight into the LFR.

Oh shit, failzone, here we go!

I appeared amidst a sea of purple explosions, yep, raid flailing to the trash surrounding the Sha of Pride. Kaboom! Kaboom! Run, you little bastards, run!

We got the trash killed and cleared, the dead risen, everyone to their places.

Everyone to their places.

Everyone to their places.

HEY! DUMBASSES! If you’re DPS, get the hell away from the tanks and go to the other side of the room!

Yes, Warlock, that means you. Do you heal? Okay, do you heal something other than your pet? No, lock rocks don’t count! Sigh, look, just get yer special snowflake ass over to the other side of the room. See that axe in the floor over there? If you can’t hump the haft, you ain’t in the right spot. Now git!

Oh, and drop some of those cookies.

Cookies.

Warlock rocks.

Drop a soul well, for the love of…

Warlock, and I mean you with the name in purple, you have a spell, you can summon a soul well. Perhaps you’ve heard of it or seen it before.

Tell you what, could you check through your spell book, see if you can find it in there? It’s okay, we can wait.

No, you didn’t have to learn it at a trainer.

You know what, that’s fine. It’s okay. No, really. We’ll run this without one, and when you’re done running in this, the most advanced group activity currently in the game, maybe you could take a few minutes and peruse your spellbook, see if anything looks neat to try for next time?

Whew. After the butt chewing that poor Warlock got, I’m glad I took the time to get all prepped and ready to rock, ain’t that right, Sweetbite? We’ll show them all we ain’t a Huntard, we may not have the best gear but we know all the right moves. We can do the Safety Dance, we can play pac-man if called on, we can do this.

We can achieve our goal; a run through LFR without being mocked as a dumbass.

The tanks pull and away we go!

It’s a Paladin tank on the inside, followed by fast action on the self-reflection, ooh pile up on the prison but wait! What’s this? Everyone swaps to the manifestation and it’s down, OMG it’s down, this raid is going to do it folks, this raid is going to get the Sha down, but oh no, what’s happening, we’re seeing bursts of damage to the raid, what’s going on, let’s take a closer look at the field.

Oh no, looks like some problems in the Bursting Pride area, the raid is having problems dealing with how to move out of stuff exploding at their feet. This could spell trouble.

Oh no! The raid is down, the raid is down, this is horrible, Bursting Pride has laid the raid low. And there go the recriminations, looks like some of the players are feeling a bit special and want everyone else to know it wasn’t their fault. Will the raid recover from this terrible blow to their fragile little egos?

Yes, yes it looks like most of the players are quietly rezzing and getting ready again. Perhaps we will see some healthstones, maybe, maybe, nope!

Nope, nope, nope.

The raid is putting it behind them, dusting off and getting ready for another try. They’ve only got one stack of Determination, this is very early days for weariness to set in. What’s it look like, how did they do on that first attempt? 5%? Oh, they’ve got it for sure this time, let’s see how they do!

Oh my, look at how smooth that performance was, second try is the charm, and the boss is going, going, yes dead without a single player loss, well done everyone and let’s divvy up the loot.

Look there, it’s all worthwhile, a fine trinket drop for our Hunter, congratulations all around, and a fine end with a strong finish. Well done everyone.

Now let’s look at the scoreboard and see how we did, and…

Wait, WTF?

HOW? HOW IN THE NAME OF ALL THE SEVEN HELLS DID I DO LESS DPS THAN LAST NIGHT?

61,000 DPS? HOW THE FUCK IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?

Wait, there has to be a good reason for this. Deep breaths, Bear, deep breaths.

Yeah, I’d like to Deep Breathe on something, damn hunter son of a Horde it’s true Horde sucks where’s a can i want to kick it grumble mutter grrr…

Huh.

Y’know, now that I think about it, I wonder.

Why did I never get any stacks of pet Frenzy? I have the button on my bar, but I never had any stacks at all. Normally I just wait until it’s at 5 stacks then pop it off, unless Rapid Fire or Heroism/Bloodlust is up, then I wait. So I’m used to it not hitting 5 on short pulls, but it should have damn well hit 5 on a 10 minute boss fight.

Is my pet broken? Did boosting my poor pet from 10 or whatever straight to 90 break her? Poor widdle spider, did Blizzard hurt you? ‘Cause if they did, I’m dumping your ass and getting another spider. Be told.

Hu-huh.

Wow.

let’s check the passives in my spellbook, what causes my pet to get stacks of Frenzy?

So… so, my pet’s normal attack causes Frenzy. Like, Bite and shit.

Bite. Why look at that, Bite is right there. At the top of my pet’s button bar where I normally keep Growl.

Turned off. With Growl right under it, also turned off.

I think I vaguely recall frantically clicking Growl off in that first Throne of Thunder, when I saw my pet steal aggro twice, and it kept dying. I bet it was Bite I was turning off mid-fight, not Growl. I must have clicked Growl of second when “it didn’t turn off the first time”.

Why, look at that. My pet went an entire raid boss without ever using the basic attack once. Not once.

And by that logic, I went the entire raid in Throne of Thunder without having any pet DPS either.

Boosted 90s. Clearly, this technology is meant for smarter minds than I, since even with hours of effort I still manage to FUCK THE WHOLE THING UP IN RAID.

GG.

Excuse me while I click this on.

Bite me.

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For those wondering if I were dead, I’ve been away on vacation. If you are friends with me on Twitter, you know full well where I’ve been, as I spammed you pictures of touristy locations coupled with pithy sayings all week.

I regret nothing.

While I was AFK, the Warcraft world went bugnuts with not one but TWO big things, the live release of the Hearthsteed and the pre-release sale of Warlords of Draenor with it’s included boost to level 90.

I guess y’all should take up a collection, send me off to vacation so Blizzard moves on it’s release schedule, right? Because it’s all about me, right?

Oh, probably just a coincidence then.

Anyway.

The Altmother talked about her trials and tribulations along the way to the Hearthsteed, so I won’t rehash all that. By now, you’ve either got your own or are well on your way.

I logged into Hearthstone, fired up the Hunter deck, and knocked out two wins out of four to get my mount achievement.

Yes, I got my mount after only two earned wins.

See, I don’t know WTF happened on that third win.

Started up, other player passed their turn, I dropped a dino card and on the next turn, they passed. And passed again. I steadily dealt damage unopposed as my opponent fielded no cards whatsoever, until I got the win.

No, I don’t know why. Did they recognize my player name and want to throw me a win? Were they a brand new player with nothing but 9 star cards in their hand? No bloody idea, but I felt really bad about winning a match feeling like either my opponent threw the game for me, or they didn’t know what they were doing and got crushed.

Without a chat function between players in Hearthstone, no way for me to ever know. I really hope I wasn’t playing someone like my son, trying to figure out what to do and excited to maybe get a WoW mount while some jerkoff dumps a horde of beasts on the field and swarms them.

Moving on. I played, I got the achievement and I felt no desire to continue. Hearthstone still feels like a good card game that does not entice me to drop real money trying to buy cards to win with. If I could buy specific cards I were missing to achieve a goal, like building a dedicated Murloc deck for grins and giggles (the lighter side of shits and grins), then it would hold me more… but have less potential for them to get money as folks flirt with the random odds. Once I had the cards I wanted, why worry about buying cards?

World of Warcraft, and the pre-order of Warlords.

Sometimes, I hate being right, as regards the wait for the expansion.

I assume everyone will now finally stop talking like we’ll be playing the expansion this summer? Fall to Winter time frame, and I still refuse to count Beta time as game time.

I don’t care if the Beta is released for everyone tomorrow, if what I do in the game is NOT persistent into live, it doesn’t count, and that goes double for when other people play and gush and post videos about how awesome this will be for the lesser mortals when it goes live but I still don’t have access.

It’s like the champagne room of your local nightclub, I guess. You’re supposed to watch as the special people go in, and envy what you think they’re doing and dream about the day you get in there too…. but in the end, it’s just a different room with the same people and products, only bigger egos.

Huh, that comparison was more accurate than I expected.

I have a confession; every time I get beta access to anything, I use it for maybe two days. As in, a half hour a day over two days. Then I don’t log in again until live. The first time I had Beta access I tested, really tried to find and report bugs. That was back when Beta was intended to have people find and report bugs, not when it was a reward for money received.

This all is coming out cynical. Funny, I didn’t know that was my mood when I started writing today. The things you discover about yourself when writing off the top of your head.

So why am I feeling so cynical and cranky?

Allow me to introduce you to my brand new level 90, courtesy of the boost to 90 from the Warlords of Draenor pre-order; EBONSOUL.

Ebonsoul the Huntard

I’m still working on the transmog.

Ebonsoul is my Blood Elf Hunter than I wanted to play as one of Sylvanas’ hunter patrols that are frequently seen in the Southshore region.

I think Ebonsoul is the perfect name for a Blood Elf Hunter devoted to Sylvanas. It is just so incredibly kitsch. Really, going for a name that is similar to Blackheart using pretentious synonyms, it doesn’t get more Blood Elf than that.

I think the Stylin’ Adventure Hat and Ebonhold set with a spiky crossbow says it all.

The character is great, I love playing Hunters and being able to use pets to reinforce a theme. Big black widow spider named Sweetbite? Kitsch factor 7, can do better, but good start.

I’d quested to level 15 before being boosted, had a full set of 496 gear from the timeless Isle waiting to send over, and by having two paid accounts mailing stuff across the neutral Auction House in Tanaris is a breeze.

I even moved over a full set of Glyphs. It’s nice to be able to move resources where needed for a new alt.

Cassie and I have a teeny level 1 Horde guild called Bacon on a Stick, so I don’t even have to worry about invite spam.

Everything is great. Wonderful. Freaking beautiful.

NOW I can play with my Horde friends, right?

Well, no.

No, see, the point of being able to play with Horde friends is that you’re having fun together, and being a burden ain’t fun for anyone. Before I could actually PLAY with someone, I need some damn gear upgrades.

Even with Timeless Isles gear, best I can do is queue for the Celestials, Ordos (no gear from either), and Throne of Thunder LFR.

I did Throne of Thunder.

At least, I tried to do ToT. A few times, now.

It turns out, my 77k DPS going all out as hard as I can is near the top of what is currently in Throne of Thunder LFR.

Seems that everyone ELSE in LFR is on a brand new level 90 with Isles gear as well.

But fun alert, the majority seem to be playing as if we’re all doing 200k DPS with mad heals and mechanics don’t count.

Horridon… I should record video of Horridon. It’s so bad it’s shocking. People really seem to be watching for when the majority stop working on adds at the gates, so as to be able to join the rush to abandon the gates and focus on Horridon… which works never.

I’m grateful that I was able to get a complete clear on my run in the first wing today, because I never want to see Horridon again.

I don’t feel real warm and fuzzy about having a cross-faction level 90 Horde anymore. I still need gear before I could be an asset to friends in their groups, but to get that gear will require pain. So much pain.

Oh, so much pain.

Fortunately, I have plenty of time to work on it, what with another 8 months before the expansion comes out. That’s a lot of time to run LFR for upgrades, so I should be able to get tooled up with no problems.

Or… my Diablo 3 Hunter is level 54. Not too far from level 60 and Torment modes, maybe I should give that a go some more today.

Perhaps I should hold off on Diablo 3. Is it a bad sign I dream of dual-wielding pistol crossbows? Or is it a worse sign that it’s a pretty good dream?

Ah, well. Ebonsoul the Hunter. Style over substance, scouring the land for those filthy warmbloods.

A fine way to spend an afternoon.

Any Horde groups in the US need a Hunter with no gear whatsoever? No? But with a resume like that, how could you resist?

On the positive side, any Ulduar or ICC groups will be right up my quarrel!

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This post is about crafting and reputations, but mostly about the unexpected generosity of the people we know.

As part of my “Pandarian Wish Checklist”, I’ve been going around doing all sorts of stuff.

I figure, once Warlords hits, I am not going to go back and farm things, level or hunt rare pets or seek out mounts or kill world bosses in Pandaria much.

If I have a pet that isn’t leveled or collected when Garrisons and Minions go live, I don’t foresee them getting much lovin’. They’ll be my established buddies, but they better be more cat than dog, if you get my meaning. They best expect to see me when they see me.

One of the things I’ve been doing is crafting stuff every day, using materials gathered on my farms. A few Sky Golems, plate armor for alts, working on the 28 slot bags and cloth armor on my Tailor, and weapons on my blacksmith.

Currently, I’m in the middle of daily cooldowns crafting Pierre, an Agility Sword (for my monk alt), cloth pants for my son’s warlock, and a 28 slot bag.

Plus seeking out Zandalari Warbringers to destroy. I love them, I get such a pirate rush from finding them, killing them, and stealing their big bag o’ plunder.

PLUNDER. No feeling quite like ganking a Warbringer, taking his big sack and finding it FULL of stacks of cloth for your tailor to use.

Anyway.

I was looking over my to-do list, and it occurred to me that one of my top, I mean TOP OF THE CHARTS to do items when Pandaria was first announced had gone undone.

When the buzz over Mists of Pandaria as an expansion first went viral, people were talking pandas, islands, whispers of legendary quests for everyone, all sorts of exciting stuff.

Me, I read Wowhead’s breakdown of the proposed engineering profession, and went nuts over one thing.

The Depleted Kyperium Rocket mount.

When I chose to have my warlock be an engineer, I specifically went Goblin for this mount. I don’t like Goblin engineering usually, because it’s all PvP bombs. Gnomes have fun gadgets like the Poultryizer. Where I come from, being able to turn your friends into chickens is a big draw. Only thing would be better is a Big Bessy Pig-O-Matic. You were once my friend, now you’re potential breakfast bacon.

Here we are waiting for the next expansion, and I’d never made the bloody rocket mount!

As I recalled, the big gate on those were three Orbs of Mystery, which had to be bought from a vendor in the Vale. I couldn’t remember much more, other than they were bloody expensive, and some folks were using them to bypass gold limitations on server transfers by buying them up and then flipping them on the AH of their new server.

So, how much are they stock before I go check for AH discounts?

What they are, is 18000 gold. Each.

The Depleted Kyparium Rocket requires three.

This reminded me why I never made any of the Jewelcrafting mounts either. Each one requires an Orb of Mystery. And you need one of all four chromatic mounts to make the insanely beautiful Jeweled Onyx Mount. That means the Jeweled mount is a minimum of 72,000 gold in Orbs, before you even count in anything else. Like living steel, or stacks of rare gems. 20 rare gems per mount. Plus Serpents Eyes.

18000 gold each. Three of them for a rocket mount.

You know, I could have had 56000 gold for a rocket a long time ago.

At least, I could have if I hadn’t spent EVERY DIME I’VE EVER HAD ON PETS.

Hundreds of thousands on pets. I checked once. Never again, some things we’re not meant to know.

But that’s okay. I can watch the auction house, I can maybe craft Sky Golems and armor pieces to sell to make the gold to craft the rocket. There is still time.

So there I am, bitching about the price of Orbs in guild chat because, hey, that’s a thing, when Rosin whispers me that she happens to have brought a bunch of Orbs with her when server transferring over. You know, to avoid that pesky gold cap. If I wanted to buy some at a discount, they’d let me have them for 15000 each.

For the record, I am referring to Rosin as her because her character in our guild is female. No disrespect intended. :)

I want to stop, and take note of this. That is 3000 gold savings off what they had to pay for the Orbs in the first place. That’s a big, BIG discount, since anyone wanting one of these mounts will buy an Orb off the AH for any price less than the full 18000 gold. There is no need to cut the price that much. This is a huge offer.

Of course, all my riches are in pets. I had to thank Rosin, and let her know that I’d be working at saving for that day, but it probably wouldn’t be soon. :)

Well, Rosin had a counter offer.

She’d always wanted a Jeweled Onyx mount. Did I have a jewelcrafter with the recipes for them?

Well, no, no I didn’t. My Hunter is my Jewelcrafter, and I’d stopped doing the Cloud Serpent reputation quests at honored. My Warlock and my son’s Death Knight were both exalted though, so I had the Commendation for double rep.

So I said I didn’t right now, but if she’d like the mounts made, I would be happy to go finish the rep off. Give me a week to get my Hunter through and we’d be all set.

I love having a reason to pursue a goal. Someone wants me to make something? Whoopie! I get to go do something for ME (learn recipes) and help someone else too!

Being able to fly a serpent on more than one character is a plus, too.

But Rosin wasn’t done.

See, her offer was, I go grind the reputation and learn the recipes… and she’d let me have her leftover Orbs of Mystery and some Living Steel when we were done.

Enough Orbs to, coincidentally, craft a rocket.

I certainly wasn’t going to hold her to that, that’s a ton of money for something lots of people can craft for you. On the other hand, friends do crazy things sometimes because they can, and they know it’ll really make your day.

Regardless, I had a goal. Get Cloud Serpent to exalted.

Did you know that the Crimsonscale Firestorm serpents that fly over the Timeless Isle can drop Quivering Firestorm Eggs that are worth a core 1000 rep to turn in with the Cloud Serpents? With guild rep and Commendation bonuses, that makes each egg worth 2200 rep. More if you’re a human.

That is twice the rep you get from the Onyx Eggs you can discover in the Cloud Serpent area, Onyx Eggs that I found out are heavily farmed. STILL.

Nobody was farming the elite Crimsonscale serpents, though. Not until I came along.

Wowhead lists the eggs as a 7% drop, and that feels about right. I killed quite a few Crimsonscales, and by the time I went from zero to 39 of the 50 weekly hourglass charging embers, I had 5 of the Quivering Eggs.

Those, plus doing every single quest available and all the flying quests actually got me from midway through honored to exalted in just one day.

I let Rosin know that I had the recipes, so did she really want the mounts made?

Yes, she most certainly did.

Time for the next hard decision. Quantity or quality?

See, there are five jewelcrafting mounts, the four chromatics and then the fifth epic mount. The fifth mount is made by combing the first four. The first four cannot have been learned to use them this way, and once combined, they’re gone.

So if you want one of all five mounts to ride around on, you actually need to craft TWO of each of the four chromatic mounts.

That there be a lot of Orbs of Mystery.

I had all the gems needed, the Serpents Eyes, the Living Steel, so the question was if Rosin wanted all five at once, or just the crowning Jewel of the mounts.

Ahem.

jeweledonyx - Unnaa

I think she chose… wisely.

Damn, that is one pretty mount. Just, really pretty.

Can you imagine a hunter with that mount, and the metallic cat pet? I know I can.

Rosin turned around, thanked me, and yep, gave me three Orbs of Mystery and a passel of Living Steel, too. She told me she had wanted to do something to be nice for my having written about bear tanking all those years ago.

That goes a good ways past being nice, and I really appreciate what a wonderful gift it was…

Because that means this is the mount that Rosin built.

depletedkyparium1

depletedkyparium2

I’m sorry, but I look at that, and the rocket mount still lights my fire.

I want to make machine gun noises while I strafe fields of sheep doing flyovers.

This is the mount that Rosin built, and the funny thing is, I know myself too well.

A couple years from now, we’re going to be at the tail end of Warlords of Draenor, and I’m not even going to be able to remember the name of our current expansion, or any of the bosses in the raids before Siege of Orgrimmar. I’ll have flushed most of it down the old age drain.

But I’ll remember Rosin and her generosity every single time I mount up and ride that rocket down just like Slim Pickens, and you can bet this mount is on my new short list of must-ride mounts.

At this rate, my only complaint is I’m running out of Wish Lists.

I gotta come up with something to keep me busy!

Maybe I should learn Cloud Serpent riding on every character? But who needs a serpent when I’m THE BOMB, BABY!

Yeah, that’s the last time I say that. Ever.

Rosin/Unnaa, thank you very much for your overwhelming generosity. Thank you ever so much. I hope you enjoy your Jeweled Onyx Panther and ride it in very good health. :)

Me, I have to find me a field of sheep to strafe.

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funny-pictures-bored-cat

Most things we do for fun are short. Get in, get fun, get out.

Sledding in the snow, dancing at the club, watching a movie, playing cards, target shooting, whatever. Short.

You get in, get your blast of fun and get out.

World of Warcraft isn’t about a short blast of fun. Blizzard is selling us a virtual world. Everything about WoW has to say, “Come join us, move into your new life in Azeroth. There is so much to do you’ll never want to leave. Or unsubscribe.”

The income expectations are all based on keeping your butt in that seat, resubscribing every month.

So the design goal has to be wrapped around things to do in Azeroth when you’re bored.

What I want to do is look at how the game design has changed while the player base continues to evolve into cynical flibbertigibbits that equate subscription models with grind models.

We have seen pet battles and collections added, and supported with daily quests and even a tournament. We’ve seen collectible pets added throughout the game, tied as drops to old and existing raids, and all BoE so the avid collector doesn’t have to be a progression raider, they just need to have sharp gold making skills.

This keeps you out there in the world looking for rare pets, doing quests, trying to get improved quality versions of pets you already have, a lot of activity to do. All short term, fill in kind of fun. BUT, there are so many pets that the process of seeking out rare versions of them and leveling them can take years. It’s not something that you can just grind out in a day. It’s a small rock that you push a little ways up that hill each day

Old raids were changed to make them easier to solo to officially add those into content you do when you’re bored. Alongside the old pets and the achievements you can unlock (many with mounts tied to them and even potential legendary weapon questlines), there are also old gear items to seek out for the fashionistas among us wanting a specific transmog set. With weekly lockouts per character, again, not something you can grind out. You can push that rock on one raid clear per character per week.

We have seen professions updated so there are incredibly powerful gear recipes (and pets, and mounts)… but you have to discover the gear recipes by doing a profession BOP daily cooldown. The mat cost is not the gate, no rare materials are needed. But you need a LOT of basic mats to make your daily cooldown every day. The gate for your crafting an item is time. Blocks of time in 15 to 30 day increments per day. You can easily make your own Sky Golem if you have a farm, an Engineer, a Miner and an Alchemist (for Living Steel cooldowns). You just need lots of time.

We have seen that farm system added where you can slowly unlock plots on a farm, then plant and harvest your own crafting materials to feed your professions… if you don’t want to grind for crafting materials, you can harvest your own, but only so much each day. In this case, an alternative to grinding. You can either grind your mats by flying around looking for nodes/sprouts, or you can get a small harvest every day, on each character that goes through the farming.

We have many, many factions, most with mounts, gear and tabards. Some with profession recipes. We’ve seen their reputation gated behind daily quests, which again gates you not by grinding but by time. Do a little every day and push that rock just a little bit further.

The Timeless Isle seems to be something new that is an anti-gate. Lots of sudden, instant gratification. Just pop on over to Loot Isle at level 90, plunder the chests and get geared up! Except your experience killing mobs can vary wildly depending on your class (hint – tanks and pet tank classes have a much easier time of farming elites) and of course those wonderful rare mobs die so fast that you pretty much have to be right nearby to get tehre in time. Still, it’s a lot of fun and a great change of pace… and once that initial burst of plunder is gone, there are still tons of rares to try and find, special loot, pet drops and other reasons for us to keep coming back day after day. And oh yeah, a reputation grind if you’re dedicated and want the Emperor’s mount.

Even in the most current raid, there is a reason to keep logging in and trying to clear the final wing every single week; Heirloom weapons that scale from level 90 to 100, gear that will be useful into and through the entire next expansion. They can drop from Flex as well as Normal, so for anyone that can raid with friends this is a strong incentive to keep coming back every single week for another shot. And if you don’t have alts, only one main, it’s still an incentive because your first Heirloom drop will be a weapon for your mains spec and class. Something you can use yourself when Warlords drops.

And finally, the big one. The grand ‘keep coming back’ path. The legendary questline that spanned the entire expansion, timed and paced perfectly with drop gathering and reputation grinding to reward a player that logged in and completed his objectives every single week for the entire expansion. The grand culimation of all of our efforts gave those of us who completed it a massively OP cloak, a special boss only we get access to that can drop warforged gear, and access to an isolated area that has a chest with a guaranteed Burden of Eternity to upgrade something instantly to 535. Rewards that are good right NOW, while there is still plenty of time to get use out of it while we wait for Warlords.

I like all of these things, but they paint a clear picture of what we can continue to see down the road.

I like how the farm gives you an alternative to grinding for crafting materials, as long as you are cool with the pace you harvest those mats. I expect the Garrison to continue this metered material pace, and give us a new collectable to seek out everywhere, our minions. Everything we’ve seen in pet collecting and battling we will see with our Garrison minions. More to seek out, collect, farm from instances and raids, rewards as quests, drops from rare mobs.

We can expect more factions to gain reputation with, and mounts and tabards at the end. I would expect more daily quests, but possibly with a difference. Right now, you can choose to champion a faction, and as you do a dungeon you get bonus rep with them. I would expect this system to be used for a daily quest hub somewhere, or with all reputation based daily quests, where you can champion a faction, and all daily quests done will cound to that faction.

I believe we can expect a new legendary questline, one that again unlocks over time and gives us an incentive to keep coming back and pushing the rock a little further each week. I would do it just becauze of how much I enjoyed the story development and the way it tied what I did through the entire expansion. The items and special boss? BIG BONUS.

I think we can expect more craftable special items, like the mounts and pets. But this time, less of the super-rare materials and more of the daily cooldowns using cheap materials. It puts the reward in the hands of anyone with patience and a dedication to log in every day to craft, instead of being exclusive to those that can save tens of thousands of gold.

I also expect more big ticket expensive items, to continue to give the big gold makers a prize to strut their stuff. Making gold and manipulating the market ALSO requires constant logging in and managing auctions week after week.

What all of these activities share is that there is an end goal to work towards, but you really can’t just grind it all out in a day or two. There are things you CAN grind if you like to, like Emperor reputation (or Black Prince rep), but most are designed to let you push the rock further towards each goal and then move on to something else, each and every day. Lots of different minigoals, with so many to choose from that there is something for everyone.

I really liked the pace and flow this expansion. I LIKE having a lot of little things I can do, and I’ve enjoyed having the farm to supply me with materials to feed my crafting without having to spend an hour or two flying circles for ore, and especially grind mobs for cloth.

Last expansion, at this exact same time, my main activity was circling through the Abyssal Depth endlessly, farming herbs on my druid while swimming like a dolphin. I swam for many hours, mostly listening to Lewis Black comedy albums while I gathered my herbs. I enjoyed it, but I can’t really say it gave me something I was excited to log in and do every day.

Say what you will, I feel things are a lot different now.

We do seem to have a very long wait ahead of us until we see Warlords of Draenor.

There is a new Diablo expansion that will release soon, as well as Hearthstone, and Blizzard would not release an expansion in competition. They stagger their title releases so each one has their fans undivided attention when products go on sale. Who knows when we might see Heroes of the Storm in there as well.

In the past, it has seemed from timing that Blizzard expects the release of a Diablo game or other property to occupy us as if it were a content patch for WoW. I don’t know if that is intentional, but there are gaps in WoW content to match the releases of other games.

Instead of just swimming around farming herbs, I have daily farming for mats, crafting, leveling pets, seeking out rares for ones I’ve got, old raids to solo for transmog gear, raids to do with friends for achievements, raids in Flex to try for a heirloom off Garrosh, leveling with Recruit a Friend, Timeless Isle wandering, Zandalari Warbringer hunting, and STILL so much more.

It’s a lot different. There are things to do, rocks to roll just a little further, and all of it is just different enough that each one stays kind of fresh.

I’m not excited at the idea of four more months without new content, but they are getting better at spreading things out.

Once we’ve got Garrisons, and our minion raid teams to begin to manage? Yeah, I can see that whole structure adding a lot more depth to ways we can fill our time.

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