Archive for the “General” Category

Once you’ve leveled a team to 25, and you’ve worked your way through the Grand Master Pet Tamers quest chain, you’ll have unlocked a wide variety of daily quests.

Some of those daily quests will award a Sack of Pet Supplies, which among other things can contain Battle Pet Bandages (Bind on Account!) and any of the Flawless Battle-Stones to let you improve a pet of the correct type to rare quality. There might even be a Porcupette!

If you’re at all like me, you have some pets you’d love to make rare. Some of them are super hard to get pets, like the Minfernal or the Nexus Whelpling. Others are ones that only come in Uncommon quality or below, like the Thundering Serpent Hatchling.

I want as many shots at Flawless Battle Stones and Bandages as I can get in the shortest possible time, so I’ve worked up a system for doing all of the other Daily Grand Master Pet Tamers, using as few different pets as possible, all with a one shot so I don’t have to waste any time with that silly rezzing stuff.

I hereby present to you my system.

Keep one thing in mind. These are pet battles, with nearly infinite variation in successful styles, due to the difference in pet breeds, speeds, quality and weaknesses. What I may have chosen might not be nearly as powerful against a given opponent as another pet you like to use. What my choices represent are ones that are based off of pets I have, like, and have been proven to win every single time. So, by all means, if you have a different team you use against a particular pet tamer, share it below in the comments. I’ll certainly enjoy trying it out!

 

The list of 8 pets I use, along with the selected move set.

AquaticMirror Strider (Water Jet, Cleansing Raid, Pump) – The Mirror Strider is one of several aquatic pets that share the same moves, so don’t worry if you don’t have this exact pet. I chose this one because you can find them at near max level in The Jade Forest fairly easy. Having an aquatic with these moves is the key.

AquaticEmperor Crab (Surge, Healing Rain, Whirlpool) – Crabs are fairly common to find, I chose the Emperor Crab because you can find them at nearly max level in Pandaria, less time to level one up. The Surge always goes first, and the Whirlpool does a big chunk of damage.

MagicArcane Eye (Focused Beam, Drain power, Mana Surge) – The Arcane Eye is another one that is fairly easy to find, the spawn in a big group around Karazhan at different times. I like Mana Surge because, even though it takes control of your character away for 3 consecutive turns, it does massive damage when it hits, and can clean the clock of pets weak against magic.

MechanicalDarkmoon Zeppelin (Missile, Decoy, Bombing Run) – Okay, since this one you can buy at the Darkmoon Faire, it’s easy to get but a pain to level since you have to start from 1. BUT. OMG. Decoy drops two distractions that completely nullify your targets next tow attacks. Against a pet that Swarms, not so hot, but against a pet that has one big massive attack and two defensive ones, it’s insane. Plus, Missile consistently gets big damage hits, and Bombing Run is great for a finishing blow.

FlyingBrilliant Kaliri (Quills, Predatory Strike, Cyclone) – I don’t really have a favorite flying pet. I am using this one simply because Quills can do multiple hits, and Predatory Strike is also strong against opponents weak against flying, so there are multiple strong attacks to choose from. Everyone who Pet battles should have one, since it is a reward for capturing 125 unique pets from The Menagerie achievement. On my son’s account, I actually use the Amber Moth instead, with Slicing Wind, Cocoon Strike and Moth Dust, and it works just as well.

Beast – Spider, any old Spider that has (Strike, Brittle Webbing, Leech Life) – Spiders can be found all over the place, and almost all of them have these three moves. Brittle Webbing is insanely powerful against Critters that have swarm-type moves, since the bonus damage is per hit, and every hit of a swarm counts. Plus, If you canst Brittle Webbing, then Leech Life, then a Strike and another Leech Life, you get two heals in that do double healing. It really extends the longevity of your Spider. Easy to find a high level Amethyst Spiderling in Krasarang Wilds.

ElementalPandaren Fire Spirit (Burn, Immolate, Conflagrate) – Okay, so this one can cost some money on the Auction House. Sue me. This pet is ridiculously effective against Major Payne, which is the only pet battle I use an Elemental on. If you have a Lil’ Ragnaros, it is even more powerful due to being a slower pet, BUT requires real world money to buy from the Blizzard store. All attacks are strong against mechanical, while being an Elemental means all Mech attacks are weak against you. Suck it, Major Payne!

HumanoidAnubisath Idol (Crush, Stoneskin, Deflection) – yes, this is another one that is either a pain in the butt to farm solo (in AQ 40), or can be bought for a few thousand gold on the Auction House. I bought one myself a long time ago, and I have never regretted it. Crush hits like a freight train when it connects, Deflection can negate big hits when times right, and Stoneskin gives you great survivability against Swarming pets or DoTs.

 

The Addons I find most helpful.

The addon which is key to my technique is PetBattle Teams, on Curse. This addon allows you to set up multiple pre-selected teams of pets, name the team, choose the pet abilities and then lock them in place, preserving your tactical choices.

I also use the following addons to help me in managing my collection, identifying Pet Breeds, finding new pets and upgrades in the zones I am in, and dominating in my battles;

Battle Pet BreedID
Battlepet Count
CollectMe
PetJournal Enhanced
Pet Tracker - I truly LOVE this addon, and I don’t know how I lived without it.
Pokemon Trainer

I will show you an example of the joy of Pet Battle Teams.

Uldum team - small

If you take a look on the right of the normal Pet tab of the Mounts and Pets window, you’ll see that Pet Battle Teams has added a frame showing teams. At the beginning, you won’t have any teams, but by pressing the “+” button at the bottom of that side frame, a team will be created. You can drag and drop pets into it, in any order, and when you choose the abilities in the main frame, it will be in the team.

Right click over your team, and you can choose to name the team, and to lock it so all of your choices, including Pet Abilities, will be saved and won’t change when you move stuff around in the normal interface later.

 As you can see, I have created a different team for every Daily Grand Master Pet Tamer, set the order and Pet Abilities, named them and then locked them.

I then distributed alts around the world, so doing tamers such as Major Payne or Trixxy is simply a process of logging in, fighting, logging out and switching alts. The longer you go, the more Bandages everyone gets, the less downtime waiting for rezzes.

Daily Grand Master Pet Tamers

This list of tamers that can drop Sacks of Pet Supplies was compiled by ElsaFC and posted on Wowhead. Thank you so much, ElsaFC!

Kalimdor:
Stone Cold Trixxy – Winterspring (66,65)

Eastern Kingdoms:
Lydia Accoste – Deadwind Pass (40,77)

Outland:
Bloodknight Antari – Shadowmoon Valley (31,42)

Northrend:
Major Payne – Icecrown (77,20)

Cataclysm:
Obalis – Uldum (57,42)

Pandaria:
Courageous Yon – Kun Lai Summit (36,74)
Seeker Zusshi – Townlong Steppes (36,52)
Wastewalker Shu – Dread Wastes (55,38)
Mo’ruk – Krasarang Wilds (62,45)
Hyuna of the Shrines – Jade Forest (48,54)
Aki the Chosen – Vale of Eternal Blossoms (68,41)
Farmer Nishi – Valley of the Four Winds (46,44)

Spirit Tamers:
Thundering Pandaren Spirit – Kun-Lai Summit (65,94) (not described)
Whispering Pandaren Spirit – Jade Forest (28,35) (not described)
Burning Pandaren Spirit – Townlong Steppes (57,42)
Flowing Pandaren Spirit – Dread Wastes (61,87) (not described)

 

Test Your Might

Kalimdor:

Stone Cold Trixxy – Winterspring (66,65)

On Stone Cold Trixxy, the pets you fight are all level 19. I do not have a special team I use for this fight, instead I have a pet in the level 13 range as my first pet to get XP, then usually my spider and the Darkmoon Zeppelin, or whatever. Sometimes I have Anubisath Idol and Emperor Crab up. As long as your team has a few 25′s in it, I’ve never found it to make much difference. I keep an alt in Winterspring just for this tamer.

 

Eastern Kingdoms:

Lydia Accoste – Deadwind Pass (40,77)

On Lydia, again the pets you fight are level 19, so as long as at least a couple of your backend pets are 25, you can have something to start with in the level 10 – 13 range to get bonus XP. Just remember, when leveling pets, the pet has to survive, and it has to use a pet ability at least once in the fight. Even if it misses, it counts. So, as long as your pet gets off one shot (or heal, or buff) and gets swapped out immediately, if it lives, it gets XP.

 

Outland:

Bloodknight Antari – Shadowmoon Valley (31,42)

BloodknightAntareteam

 

For Bloodknight Antari, I use the Darkmoon Zeppelin, Emperor Crab and Anubisath Idol.

Darkmoon Zeppelin has to survive one shot from Arcanus, and then can drop Decoy, use Bomb, and repeatedly Missile until dead. Just as soon as Arcanus dies, swap in your Crab, drop Whirlpool and then Surge to victory. When Jadefire dies, bring out the Anubisath Idol. Use Stoneskin, and then all that is left is to Crush repeatedly. With the right combination of pets, this fight is pretty straightforward. I keep an alt out here just for this fight.

 

Northrend:

Major Payne – Icecrown (77,20)

MajorPayneteam

For Major Payne, I use the Darkmoon Zeppelin, Burning Pandaren Spirit and Emperor Crab.

The Darkmoon Zeppelin opens first against the Bear. I try and drop Decoy first (taking three unopposed hits from the bear, since the bastard stuns you and you forget what you were doing. Damn bears. Deadly!), Cast Bomb once Decoy is finally up, and then attack repeatedly with the Missile. I have never failed to down the bear if I Decoy first. The Zeppelin almost always dies before the bear is dead, but then after the Mechanical rez I’ll drop another Bomb. The straight damage from the bomb kills the bear, and the bomb will drop on the next pet as a parting shot. As soon as the bear dies, and the mechanical ostrich swaps in, I swap the Zeppelin for the Burning Pandaren Spirit. The ostrich is weak against elementals, and with Immolate followed by Conflagrate, the Ostrich might just die right there, two rounds. With the bomb dropping, you might even finish it off with bomb after it rezzes.  Immediately swap in the Crab once the ostrich dies, open with Whirlpool and then pound away with Surge. You’ll usually end the fight with all three of your pets still alive. I keep an alt out here, too.

 

Cataclysm:

Obalis – Uldum (57,42)

Obalisteam

For Obalis, I use the Darkmoon Zeppelin, Arcane Eye and Spider.

The Darkmoon Zeppelin starts first, opening with Decoy. God, I love Decoy. Follow that with Bomb, and then repeated Missiles and you should down him with a few hundred health left, and not even needing your Mechanical rez yet. When the moth comes out, it will immediately do that Cocoon Strike thing, so don’t waste a cooldown. Missile, then Missile again. You’ll probably die from Moth Dust, but at least you made it use up it’s big cooldowns on a pet that can rez, and get off a last Missile. Swap in your Arcane Eye, use Drain Power, and then Mana Surge. You ought to be able to get the moth down far enough before you die that your Zeppelin will have Decoy off cooldown and can finish it off, or low enough for your Spider to get the job done. The moth is the hard part, because your Spider with Brittle Webbing and Strike will destroy the beetle, and Leech Life can bring your health back up if you come anywhere close to having problems. I keep another alt out here. Yes, I have a lot of alts with nothing better to do than hand out in out of the way locations.

 

Pandaria:

Courageous Yon – Kun Lai Summit (36,74)

CourageousYonteam

For Courageous Yon, I use Arcane Eye, Spider and Darkmoon Zeppelin.

The Arcane Eye is up first against Piqua. Piqua will Squawk, and then do Lift Off, so it’s a wise idea to start with Drain Power to lower his damage, and then save your big hit for after Lift Off completes it’s cycle. As soon as he has landed from Lift Off is a perfect time to start Mana Surge, since he’s going to Flock at you, and you’ll both be locked into three rounds of mutually assured destruction. Flock him, right? Once Piqua is dead, the bunny will come up, and it’s time to bring in your Spider for his moment of glory. Poor bunny. Between Brittle Webbing making his fast speed attack hurt him more than you, and your big Strike, it’s not going to go well for him. Finally, Bleat the goat comes up, and I just fire off a Brittle Webbing, get off a Leech Life to whittle him down, and try and eat the big Headbutt with my Spider. Then it’s time to swap to Darkmoon Zeppelin, Decoy, and finish him off with Missiles.

 

Seeker Zusshi – Townlong Steppes (36,52)

SeekerZusshiteam

For Seeker Zusshi, I use Emperor Crab, Spider and then Brilliant Kaliri.

On this fight, I start with the Crab. I’ll open with Whirlpool, and then pop Renewing Mists. That way, I can just buckle down and Surge for as long as it takes until the rock dude be dead, mon. I hate the snail, so when it comes up, I drop a Whirlpool on it, recast Renewing Mists (which persists through pet swaps), and then bring out my Spider to kill him. Use Brittle Webbing, Strike, then use a Leech Life to ensure you can survive the Dive he’s about to do. Once he’s dead, cast a Brittle Webbing, Strike a few times until you eat the Pump. You really do NOT want your bird to eat a fully charged Pump, it can easily one-shot you. Although, if it does… you can always bring in your almost-at-full Crab. Right? Still, if your bird lives, Predatory Strike HURTS that pumping sucker. Quills for effect, and enjoy.

 

Wastewalker Shu – Dread Wastes (55,38)

WastewalkerShuteam

For Wastewalker Shu, I use the Brilliant Kaliri, Mirror Strider and Darkmoon Zeppelin.

Brilliant Kaliri is up first against the crab. I like to get Cyclone going, then cast Predatory Strike. Quills repeatedly to finish off. Once Kaliri dies to your foes, swap in Mirror Strider against the crusher, cast Cleansing Rain and Pump. This will get your Water Jet nice and powerful, and let your second Pump come close to finishing it off. I’d like to say that I do something fancy against the powerball-crazed porcupine, but all I do is pop Decoy and then Missile until he’s a puddle of goo.

 

Mo’ruk – Krasarang Wilds (62,45)

Morukteam

For Mo’ruk, I use Darkmoon Zeppelin, Arcane Eye and Brilliant Kaliri.

Start with Darkmoon Zeppelin against the worm. Decoy at start, then cast a Missile. The grub will poison you as you cast Decoy, and then Burrow next, so if you Bomb you’ll automatically miss and waste a 3 round cooldown. So Missile first, then after he has burrowed, cast Bomb. Missile until dead. When the moth comes out, I like to keep the Zeppelin in, get off another Bomb, and then a Missile to soften it up. Once Zeppelin goes down, bring out the Arcane Eye, Drain Power and then Mana Surge. As soon as the moth dies and the turtle comes out, be prepared to eat a Headbutt. I usually don’t waste time, I swap in the Kaliri right away, Predatory Strike and then Quills until dead.

 

Hyuna of the Shrines – Jade Forest (48,54)

Hyunateam

For Hyuna, I use Arcane Eye, Darkmoon Zeppelin and Brilliant Kaliri.

Arcane Eye is up first against Skyshaper. I like to start with Drain Power to give me the best advantage, and then Mana Surge. Unlike other flyers, Skyshaper won’t do annoying Cocoon Strikes, so you can unleash three rounds of Mana Surge without fear of wasting one. As soon as the snake is up, swap in the Zeppelin, and drop Decoy. The snake will Burrow, so you won’t be wasting a shot. Now, yup, Bomb and then repeated Missiles. Dor the Wall comes last, and first thing he’s going to do is Headbutt you, doing massive damage and maybe stunning you. I like to leave the Zeppelin in to take the hit, give your Flying pet a better chance of surviving to lay out all the damage later. Here is the sneaky trick, though. If your Zeppelin survives, then Headbutt is the ONLY offensive move Dor has, and it’s on a long cooldown. If you drop Decoys on Dor, then you can attack unopposed for 6 or more rounds, while that one Decoy eats the occasional Headbutt. It’s crazy. But if you don’t want to do that, your Flyer should have no problems finishing Dor off.

 

Aki the Chosen – Vale of Eternal Blossoms (68,41)

MasterAkiteam

For Grand Master Aki, I am NOW using a low level pet to level, the Anubisath Idol and Brilliant Kaliri.

This strategy replaces the one I used to have, which was close to the same except I used a Spider to wear down the first enemy when it wasn’t necessary – the Anubisath Idol can destroy the first two enemies, and almost get the third as well. So, use a low level pet to XP in the first spot, and proceed as follows, as described by Sol (thank you Sol!);

Start with low level pet that can survive one stampede (btw note that lvl 10 for some reason is the optimum XP gain, I don’t know why).

Swap in Idol. Idol casts Stone Shield. Idol proceeds to Crush cricket until the cricket is dead. It will take zero damage and be at full health by the time it kills the cricket due to the human racial.

On the dragons first attack, Deflection on the lightning storm, then Crush (and refresh Stone Shield) as necessary.

On the aquatic, refresh your shield as it burrows, then Deflection the burrow. Crush away, you can always predict when it will be burrowing and refresh your shield then, and if you reflect the burrow damage, most of the time (unless you were unlucky against the dragon and got to low health) Idol will be alive at the end.

 

Farmer Nishi – Valley of the Four Winds (46,44)

FarmerNishiteam

For Farmer Nishi, I use a low level pet (that has at least 200 health, to survive a single Sunlight), Mirror Strider and Darkmoon Zeppelin.

This strategy is not my own. It was written by Sirinad in the Wowhead comments, and it is so flawlessly perfect I’ve simply used it without change ever since. Brilliant.

Enemy pet 1) Enemy starts with his Sunflower. Start with your low level pet. Attack once; you’ll get hit by Sunlight. This is the only time your low level pet should get hit. Then, swap to your Mirror Strider.

A) Use Cleansing Rain; this strengthens your attacks and mitigates the enemy’s healing ability.
B) Charge Pump
C) Cast Pump, does damage
D) Charge Pump again
E) Attack with Water Jet, finishes the enemy off

Enemy pet 2) Enemy swaps in the Turnip.

A) Cast Pump, which was charged from the previous pet. It hits him before he burrows, which he does on this turn.
B) Charge Pump (enemy is burrowed)
C) Cast Cleaning Rain (enemy is burrowed)
D) Cast Water Jet; combined with the damage they took from the first pump, this should kill them.

Enemy pet 3) Enemy brings in the worm

A) Cast Pump, which is charged from the previous pet. Enemy hits you with Goo.
B) Charge Pump, enemy Burrows
C) Cast Pump. This is where it gets a bit random. Normally the enemy’s burrow will hit you and bring you down under 100 health. While it is very rare to die from it, a crit will push you over. If you don’t die, the Pump will kill the enemy, game over. If you do die, just bring out any mechanical pet (I use Darkmoon Zeppelin) to finish off the last 800 damage.

 

Spirit Tamers:

Burning Pandaren Spirit – Townlong Steppes (57,42)

BurningSpiritteam

For the Burning Pandaren Spirit, I use a leveling pet that is at least level 10 – 12 to survive Cyclone, Anubisath Idol and Emperor Crab.

I’ve written the strategy I use in more detail elsewhere on the blog, because I use this fight as my quick leveling routine. I have never completed the quest for the Spirit Tamers, because once I do, I can only fight the Burning Pandaren Spirit once a day. That will be a sad, sad day.

Anyway, Start with your leveling pet out, get off a single action/ability, dragon casts Cyclone. Swap to Anubisath Idol, dragon lifts off. Cast Deflection, dragon misses with big shot. Crush repeatedly, depending on your hits and misses, you’ll either obliterate the dragon and get stomped by the burning spirit, or you’ll kill the dragon just in time to have Deflection off cooldown and get to use it against the burning spirit, then cast Stoneskin and keep plugging away. Sometimes I die early, a few times my Anubisath has lived all the way through to destroy the wasp at the end. All comes down to lucky Crush hit chances.

So, when burning spirit comes out, he Conflagrates first, which hurts like hell and can one shot your Anubisath. Can, not necessarily will. If you can survive that, his next action is a self-heal, even though he hasn’t taken any damage. Then he does a small attack on you… and sits for a few turns, waiting for things to come off cooldown, giving you several uninterrupted whacks at him. If your Anubisath lived, pound him with Crush until he wakes up and kills you. Otherwise, bring out your crab, Surge him to death, and then when the wasp comes up, cast Shell Shield, Renewing Mists, and slowly Surge your way to absolutely unstoppable victory.

 

As I have not completed the Pandaren Spirit quest, I do not have my own personal pet list or strategy guide for you in fighting the other three. Not right now. Sooner or later I’ll have all the pets I want leveled, and I’ll finish it. When I do, I’ll complete this list. Or, a patch will come along and break it. One or the other.

Thundering Pandaren Spirit – Kun-Lai Summit (65,94) (not described)
Whispering Pandaren Spirit – Jade Forest (28,35) (not described)
Flowing Pandaren Spirit – Dread Wastes (61,87) (not described)

I hope that this guide has in some way aided you in seeing you don’t need to level a million pets, or have a stable of super-rares to enjoy success against the Master Pet Tamer dailies. With just a handful of carefully chosen pets, you can quickly run through 12 masters every single day, for your chances at Battle Stones, Bandages and if truly lucky, a Porcupette!

For more guides on the pet battle dailies, teams to use and strategies to win, checkout the WarcraftPets forum thread, and for a great team to take on all the Beasts of Legend, check out Josh’s guide on the Game Diplomat!  Thank you to Renala and Katzbalger for the links!

Comments 21 Comments »

More items have been revealed that will be coming to the existing Blizzard cash store.

MMO Champion has a lovely write-up with videos and pictures of the new stuffs.

There are lovely helms with animation that are purely for transmog, and some cute functional items, one for playing on a teeter-totter and another item that gives mounts to a whole raid.. temporarily, I’m sure.

This is causing me to stop and re-evaluate my position on the store concept.

Er, wait.. why?

Here is what my true, inner-gut reaction was to the new items that were revealed.

“Wow, those helms are incredibly cool. That ice helm in particular is just amazing. And the hitching post to give your entire raid team the look of a thundering army on top of the same horse model? What a neat concept.”

“But why are they putting such cool items with excellent art assets in a store to buy instead of in the game I already pay for? If they’re going to be spending development resources making a LOT of super-cool items in a short period of time, I expect them to be included in the game somewhere to find or earn.”

That was my true reaction. I could lie, but that is how I felt, and it made me question a few things about my attitude towards the game itself.

I’ve long said I love World of Warcraft for what it is, and you’ll have to pry my account from my cold, dead fingers. Or, y’know, close the servers down. When the last fortress on Azeroth is overrun, I’ll be the one lowering the Alliance flag.

What I didn’t realize was how much the monthly subscription fee was a part of my ‘WoW for life’ attitude.

Items for sale aren’t new to the game. That’s the funny thing. There have long been really cool items that you can only get by spending extra money, in some cases massive wads of cash, just to add them into the game we pay a subscription for.

I had no problem with those, so why would this be any different?

It all comes down to what I’ve felt was an unspoken agreement between me as a monthly subscriber and Blizzard as a content provider.

I will continue to pay my subscription fee every month, and in exchange Blizzard will continue to have their development team focused on creating and releasing fresh content for me to enjoy.

When we ask for more features, such as player housing, if the answer is “We are using those resources to create more quests instead, we prioritize our development resources on what will benefit the majority of players in the game, new quests for all or limited content for a few. You have to choose between the features you want and new content”, I accept that answer at face value.

When I suddenly see a flood of cool, fresh new items that have beautiful art assets/designs, and those items are going to be only for those who spend real cash money on them, I get irritated.

Those items look quite a lot nicer than a lot of what I see in the game. Sorry, but it’s true. There is some very nice art in there. There is genuine effort going into making those specifically desirable over items in the game.

The reason I’ve enjoyed the items previously in the Blizzard cash store has been their scarcity. They are few, and there has traditionally been a long time between new item releases.

A single pet design dropped in the store has never bothered me, when it’s both optional AND couldn’t possibly use up that many resources to make. A single pet every 4 months isn’t gonna kill anyone, and could even be a nice chore passed off to an intern. No worries.

If they are going to ramp up the design and production of a bunch of items that require unique art design and special coding, enough not just for three cute items in a Trading Card game run but a slew to populate a new store, I’m going to have a problem reconciling the use of those development assets on store shit instead of the game I pay for.

If you’ve got those assets available, then it is a conscious choice to use them for store stuff for added revenue instead of the content that has been asked for over the years, such as player housing.

No real changes here to what I do. I’m not rage quitting or even remotely thinking about it. Still paying to play the game, still having fun.

I can feel the quake, though. In my mind, we had a deal. I pay to play, you put the majority of your effort into stuff to drop in the game for me to enjoy.

I pay the money for the new expansions, for three accounts. I never cancel or suspend any of my accounts. Over the lifetime of the game, that’s been some investment on my part, and I’ve had my fun out of it, no question.

The deal has worked well, for both sides I think.

If you put in a cash store, I’m going to look very carefully at how much development time is going into the items there, and I’m going to be comparing, in my mind, the quality and style of those items over what is being added into the game for subscription payers.

If I start to feel that the best and brightest A-game materials are being reserved for the cash store, I’ll revisit my part of our agreement.

The quality of the game I play has been solid, never had any reason to complain, and I’m not starting now.

Just a fair warning. I’ve played other microtransaction driven games, I’m cynical as all hell about how they work based on actual experience, and I’ve got my eye on you.

Comments 15 Comments »

I’ve been feeling a trend. Not among the game, no.

Among a part of the community.

I was listening to last weeks Convert to Raid podcast when it hit me the hardest.

Preach was a guest on show #99, he has a Youtube channel where he posts vids about the game. He was there mostly to talk about a recent vid he’d done about game accessibility and community apathy. As an experiment, he took a level 90 bank alt, geared up through heroics and LFR, with a twist.

The twist?

He intentionally did zero dps, and as a capper,he stood in the fire. All of the fire.

The point?

Supposedly to see how a brand new player would see the game, what the game was designed to teach them to improve their performance, and also to see how the community would welcome such a player.

The hosts were gushing all over Preach, and all I could think was, “This whole thing reeks of bullshit.”

Preach made some points about how horrible it is that he would make a level 1 alt, and he would immediately get invited to a guild, such guilds wanting nothing more than to take advantage of new players who don’t know that guilds want low level players for no other reason than to have levelers feed their coppers into the guild coffers.

Another point made was that, as a level 90, by using every trick currently in the game for gear boosting and factions, he was able to get from 90 and no gear to having completed Throne of Thunder on LFR and killed Lei Shen after just a day. To paraphrase his point, “I saw everything the game had to offer in just one day at the level cap. Why bother joining a guild or trying to do normals? If you describe a normal raid, it sounds too much like work.”

Hey, so you’re a player who knows nothing about the game or how to play, but you’re also a player that knows every trick to gearing up and getting to the next LFR gear threshold fastest? Fucking bullshit.

And the final point… he was doing zero DPS, and standing in every horrible thing to be an active pain in the ass and make healers suffer, and nobody ever, ever said anything to him about it. Nobody offered any suggestions on how to be better, nobody raged at him, everyone ignored him completely… even in heroics. And that means the community fails.

My opinion is, this was nothing more than a way to get attention and buzz and get people talking about him, so I guess congratulations, because here we are.

The underlying assumptions are just bullshit.

His conceit requires we assume a player who has reached level 90 with no idea how to play a character at all, no idea that standing in things is bad, no guilds, no friends, nothing but a single player game of WoW, isolated and alone.

And then this player, having reached level 90, now for the first time asks in trade chat “How should I prepare for raids” and then follows the only advice he is given, to “Gear through heroics, then do LFR.”

Underlying assumptions. If we start with them weighted heavily enough, I guess we really CAN prove whatever the hell we want.

You know what I did?

I decided to test the first underlying assumption. That the community is full of apathy and nobody will help anyone, and those level 1 guild invites are evil.

I made a level 1 alt on a different realm, chose a name at random that was vaguely fantasy-ish, and started playing. No heirlooms.

Within 10 minutes, I had a guild invite and accompanying whisper.

I accepted the invite, and was greeted in a friendly way by several people.

I said, “Hi! Thank you. I’m really new to the game, um, can anyone tell me where I can find something to tell me what these buttons do?”

Guess what?

Holy crap, did I get a lot of help.

It turns out, people seem to know an awful lot about this game, and shocker! They are not only willing to share that knowledge, but they seemed very happy to be able to give advice to someone that didn’t already know it all.

I got suggestions of visiting Wowhead.com to be able to see what my specific abilities do, a suggestion to visit Tarou on Youtube to see many guides to current content, a warning that most of the videos were guides to help make gold in-game but lots of other stuff too, suggestions of MMO-Champion for the latest news, and one person took the time to take me step by step through my Spellbook and teach me how to see what I have, what specs and Talents are, how to move them onto my bar and move them around, and finally, a suggestion that I pay attention to the level 3 quest I will get that has me test an ability on a training dummy, and how I should remember that because when I get new abilities, I can put them on my bar, go to one of those training dummies in any city, and try them out.

I was also introduced to addons, DPS meters, and where to go, the Curse website, to find them.

So, an anomaly, right? I just happened to find the one guild that invites brand new players that is helpful, normally they are all evil and such. It was a fluke.

Maybe it was because I made a Draenei Hunter, and everyone loves more Hunters. Or knows they need all the help they can get.

Maybe there is a Hunter Outreach Program, people who watch for new Hunter players, and intercept them to stop the noobs.

Stop the noob. Almost sounds like a public service announcement, right?

So I went to a completely different server, and this time I made a Night Elf Warrior.

Within 15 minutes of normal playing, I got another invite to a guild.

This time, I didn’t take it. I was noobish right from the beginning, asking what the invite was for, what a guild was, etc.

They were patient, talked to me for a bit, assured me they were helpful to new players that were leveling, and I accepted the invite.

Same thing. Bunch of people, this time over 25 people online in the guild, many of whom said hi to me and ‘Welcome!’.

I said hi and admitted to being brand new, asked for help/advice, and was again drowned in a deluge of link suggestions, Youtube guides, and websites.

Amusingly enough, one of the suggestions was I should visit Preach Gaming to see his guides on how to play your class at max levels for a good idea of not just abilities, but their use in the game, addons and UIs.

So, what do I get from all this?

I get that if I were indeed that level 1 brand new player, and I did get that guild invite, and I didn’t have a preconceived impression of such guilds as selfish or evil and discarded them out of hand, if I actually gave them a chance because I wasn’t trying to build a completely bullshit point by ignoring inconvenient facts, then maybe I might get some interesting suggestions on how to learn more about playing the game. By talking to new guildies and interacting with the guild, its even possible I might make some casual acquaintances that would like to run stuff WITH me.

They might even grow to become friends, and allow me to enjoy some of what an MMO can be.

So what about the other end? What about helping people in LFR who aren’t doing as well as others, the lack of outreach, community apathy?

Here is the thing.

If I see someone in LFR, and that person is doing zero DPS, I know that in order to do nothing, nothing at all for DPS, that person has to be working hard to intentionally not touch anything.

It’s not a question of not knowing what to do. Unless that person played as a pacifist to 90 and only did Fedex quests, they have buttons that eventually kill things. To do zero, they are either on follow, which breaks on damage, or they are actively choosing not to use them to be trolls.

I have seen players like that before. I’m going to make a wild and crazy assumption; you have too.

I don’t offer them helpful suggestions, instead I put them on ignore for the worthless trolls they are. not even one point? That takes skill, yeah, um fuck you troll, bah bye /ignore.

That’s not even taking into account seeing him standing in ALL the fire.

So that just throws out anything he did in heroics or LFR. Why would you do that, and assume anyone would reach out to you to help you perform better? You’re being an asshole in a way that takes an effort. Completely worthless results.

It was only when he started to do Rogue DPS without poisons and to Rupture to be on the meters but low that he started getting any data worth a shit, and even then, how many runs were those? And again, why does he think that other players are responsible for watching what the fuck HE is doing instead of focusing on their own performance and duties?

Do you do that? Do you spend half your play time in LFR looking at each person on the meters to judge for yourself how he or she is playing their character, looking for people who need you to tell them how to play?

If so, please put Bigbearbutt and Buttflame and Beartrap on Azuremyst-US on ignore. I never want to see you, in any content, ever. You are an asshole. Focus on playing your own character, unless of course you think you fucking know everything and exist to tell other people how to play, which again, put me on /ignore.

I liked how he had to make the point that other people were lower than him on the meters. /facepalm.

To buy into what Preach is selling you have to agree with his underlying assumptions… and the key assumption to me was, new players are too introverted and shy to ask anyone in an MMO anything. Ever.

New players apparently need someone to be assigned as their friend, to tell them these things.

Worse,  in Preach’s world new players aren’t capable of finding anything for themselves. They don’t look anything up, they’ve never heard of Google, they don’t look for guides, they are oblivious to anything and everything having to do with WoW, except for the login screen.

Is it that he does videos where he teaches everyone how to play their classes? Does donning the mantle of the great teacher mean everyone else is an idiot? Does he get so many stupid questions that he thinks everyone but him are stupid?

The thing that struck me the most about it was how the crew of Convert to Raid just thought it was the best thing ever, so awesome, they couldn’t stop gushing about it.

I have a big problem with so many of his conclusions, but the one that annoys the most is that the community within WoW has failed him and let him down, because nobody else took the time to see what he was doing, approach him in the LFR raid, and offer him advice on how to improve his DPS. To point out that if he equipped poisons he would perform better. Nobody took him under their wing and helped him to fly.

It is Looking For Raid. It isn’t Looking For Friends.

It is not Blizzards responsibility to build in a Looking For Friend matchmaking service.

Despite that, they actually DID take a stab at this in the recent past, or is it inconvenient to the narrative Preach is selling to recall the Guild Mentoring Program? If that wasn’t a “Looking For Friend” trial program, well, it was the next best thing.

It is not the responsibility of Blizzard to help new players make friends. Blizzard makes the MMO, and if anything, tells people “If you bring the friends you already know into the game with you, you get rewards like boosted leveling, teleporting and mounts! So go get your friends hooked too!”

You know what I took away from his video?

What I learned was you can be an intentional troll, and in some LFR groups some people have stopped spewing forth the venom and hate of Cataclysm, and instead they grit their teeth and work harder to get a victory despite your trolling.

People are indeed focused on accomplishing the mission and moving on in LFR, because it is a place where you are there for yourself. You are presumably not there with friends or family, and you are not there for progression. You enter LFR to obtain Valor, item upgrades to help in progression raids, to keep pushing on your Legendary questline and to hone your skills and improve your own game, unless you think you already know it all.

If you’re going into LFR looking for opportunities to teach other players how to play their classes, well, just damn.

LFR is just not the place for that. A huge go go go mission focused environment? A place where, just as Preach said, people are there to get the job done, and are generally moving too fast and are too successful to even leave a minute or two free without something being pulled.

That’s not a situation where you even HAVE the time to open a dialogue with a complete stranger from another server to broach the topic of playstyles and potential improvements.

You need a place where, after the raid, you can talk to the person you’d like to help in a non-stressful environment, and do so without being accusatory or threatening or derogatory.

Oh shit, look at that, Flex Raiding incoming. How about that.

Flex Raiding, easier than normal, harder than LFR, and designed for you, a group of friends, AND any pugs from your server that you’d like to bring along to help because loot isn’t competed for, it’s individual.

Guess what? By making it a mode that is good for forming pug groups on servers, it provides an opportunity for new players who haven’t raided before to join a group where people could actually see them, talk to them on the server after the raid is over, and have a lingering conversation on improving performance without publicly calling someone the fuck out.

I will say it one last way, and hope I get through.

If your expectation is that the player is not responsible for trying to improve their own skills, if you expect that the game and the experienced players within the game are responsible for seeking out under-performing players in the wild and take the steps to approach them and coach them, then you’re fucking delusional. 

Helping other people is nice, but it’s not your job. Your job is to have fun on your own terms without hurting other people. Anything beyond that is gravy.

I’m going to conclude this with facts.

I went to Google, and typed in this simple search phrase; “New Player Warcraft”.

Top result?

World of Warcraft Official Forums New Player Help and Guide thread.

Yeah, it’s so damn hard for new players to find information about how to play the game, or get better. It’s just terrible.

Oh, if only a new player had a resource on the internet to help them! Oh, if only someone would make a website! Or a Youtube channel! Or a twitch stream, or a twitter account, or an official forum, or guilds, or or or…

Fucking get a grip.

What are these new players…. Amish?

If you require Amish to play the game to fulfill the requirements of your argument, I think it’s time to fall back and regroup.

/drops mic.

Comments 24 Comments »

Ah, progress.

Remember back in the bad old days when gold sellers were everywhere in game?

Oh, those evil gold sellers! Just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting account, hack it, loot all your stuffs, and all your guild banks belong to us!

It’s so nice that all that went away, right?

Or, at least it all got a lot quieter. Subtler. Whispers and Battletag friend invites and calendar hacking.

Of course, with all the hate directed to gold sellers over the years, funny how little rage or attention I see get directed towards gold buyers.

Without an eager market with money in hand, services that cost money to provide go away. Like website hosting and the buying of WoW accounts to spam people with gold seller crap.

It’s a time honored formula. People have websites and accounts that collect gold (or are receiving accounts where hacked characters can send gold), and there are the mules farming gold making items and the people hacking the accounts to loot.

You want to buy gold? Then you find a website (following the link from that spam you got in your friends list yesterday will help) and if you trust them enough to give them your money, your real money, and your character name and server, maybe they mail you golds.

Or maybe you are tired of being level 34 on your main, or on your alt, and you want to be level 90 right now to raid with your friends. Or maybe you suck at PvP, you’re so bad you’re ashamed, and you wish there was a way you could just be famous for PvP without having to actually DO the PvP.

You go to one of those websites, and now comes the true moment of faith. You give them your real monies, and your account name and password, and trust that they will play your character FOR you, winning in random battlegrounds, earning loots, making levels.

All supposedly without trolling everyone on your server, joining guilds to try to loot their banks, using your character to farm golds for their other customers, whatever.

There have to be people who think that sounds good, otherwise how are these people still in business? And make no mistake, they are still in business.

But they’ve gotten smarter about it. We’ve gotten smart, we’ve gotten authenticators, closed off some of the more outright larcenous ways of getting something for nothing by hacking our accounts, so they have to entice customers by addressing the biggest concern you can have;

Faith that they’re not using your account for evil shit.

I got an email from someone looking to advertise, looking for a marketing partnership, as I often do. A good rule of thumb for me is, if someone contacts me thinking they can advertise on my website, that means they’ve never visited my website. Um, no ads. No paid reviews. You either haven’t visited my website, or you really think highly of your gold making guide, don’t you?

So the email I get today is for one of these marketing ad partnership blah blah blah. As usual, I don’t reply to it, but I do check out the link.

Prepare to get your mind blown.

They aren’t really gold sellers, they’re more than that.

They focus on the whole “we take over your account and play your character for you” market.

Want to own in rated battlegrounds? Buy their service and they’ll hook you up. You’ll be leet in no time!

Want to be level 90? They can power level you!

Want to have that ultra rare mount that takes a complete raid achievement of all heroic modes and achieves? They’ll get it for you!

Just make an account, give them all your infos, no problem they’ll hook you RIGHT up!

And while they’re doing it…

They provide you with a link to the live stream of them playing your character.

Yep. That’s right. So you can have absolute faith in them, they live stream everything they do while on your character, and you can watch on your special channel and see everything they do, everywhere they go, when they’re pretending to be you.

….

JUST WHAT THE ‘SQUIRREL FLYING OUT THE NORTH END OF A SOUTH-BOUND MOOSE’ IS GOING ON OUT THERE?!?!

I can’t even… I’m trying, and I can’t believe it.

There is so much to discuss on this, and I’d love to delve deeper into the whole idea, maybe we can do that in the comments, I don’t know.

What I do want to know is, who out there doesn’t have the time to play their character, but does have the time to watch a live stream of someone ELSE playing their character?

How have we finally gotten to the point where someone is willing to pay someone else to have fun playing their character, ans watch them do it?

Holy bacon on a stick, Batman!

Oh my God, is this how professional sports got started? First we enjoy playing the sport, then we got older and had free time, money and careers but didn’t have the athletic skill to play anymore, so we started sponsoring other people to play at higher skill levels while we watch and drink beer and admire the game we used to play ourselves?

What comes next?

Do we start betting with other non-player spectators on our favorite PvP players that we’re already paying to play for us? Is that it?

Where do I find my cyber-bookie, and what are the odds on the DeGei vs Gulvan pet battle deathmatch? Can Rades and Vidyala host the event with AngryOrc giving color commentary?

Just WTF, people?

Comments 14 Comments »

Are we really going to go through this again?

Francis sits down and opens his browser to the homepage to catch up on the latest news from MMO Champion.

“Oh my God, WoW lost 1.3 million subscribers since last quarter! I knew it, I knew it! I’m bored, Bob’s bored, this dude I hang with in guild is bored, so WoW MUST be dying, it’s all over, this is the death spiral down the toilet bowl, I bet Blizzard won’t ever even put out a new expansion, because WoW is so dead! I knew it, I’ve been saying it since Pandaland released, this game sucks, man.”

Joey wanders into the room, holding a Red Bull. He’s been Francis’ roommate going on four years now, and he’s used to hearing shouting coming from the game room. Joey sees Francis has MMO Champ up on the screen. Again.

“Hey Joey, are you going to go to Blizzcon this year?”

Francis spins his chair around, scraggly facial hair bristling in frustration. “No, the damn tickets were sold out 5 seconds after they went on sale, and I couldnt’ hit refresh fast enough to get in the queue. Totally sucks, man. I so wanted to go and get drunk with the rest of the guild, most of them are going to be there.”

“Whoa dude, the rest of your guild got tickets?”

“Naw, but a bunch of them are going anyway, there’s gonna be a lot of parties and stuff with people that play. All sorts of parties away from the con. I ought to go anyway, man, like, I might be able to meet Anne Stickney and get an autograph!”

Ahem.

Let’s get down to the core fundamentals, here.

“WoW is dead”, and “Blizzcon tickets sell out in 5 seconds” are not necessarily mutually exclusive headlines.

Still.

A reasonable person might want to take a deep breath, and try not to read too much into the subscription figures. Just maybe kinda possibly.

When something like subscription figures are released, you have a fine example of news that can be used by anyone to trot out their own personal opinion and spin some kind of bullshit about the numbers proving whatever they happen to believe in.

Before you get too caught up in the whole thing, here’s what I think we could all stand to do.

Stop, take a nice cleansing breath, and ask yourself this simple question.

“Am I having fun playing WoW?”

If the answer is yes, then congratulations. The numbers don’t mean shit to you. You can go. Toddle off, have fun, see you in game.

If the answer is no, and you want to blame something outside of yourself for the lack of fun, then congratulations are also in order. Now you’ve got some numbers to ‘prove’ that however you feel about the game, there are 1.3 million other people out there who share your feelings, and that’s why they quit.

Oh yeah. World of Warcraft is dead. Stick a fork in it.

And while we’re at it, for those of you going, have fun at Blizzcon, I wish I was able to join you! I’ll be watching from the streaming online video feed, so wear a bear tank shirt for me!

Comments 14 Comments »

World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®