A Myriad of Amazing Gifts

Hey, I hear there was this patch thing?

Actually, the MMO Melting Pot keeps telling me that the only topic of discussion consuming the blogosphere is Guild Wars 2. I dunno, I guess I don’t read enough blogs. The whole time I was away, my feed was crammed with dozens of posts each day about the patch and World of Warcraft.

That’s not a knock, for as someone on Twitter said to me, “We’re too busy playing Guild Wars 2 to write about it. Now shhh, I’ve got hearts to fill.”

I don’t even know what that means, and I’m fine with that. Hooray! Multiple MMOs in the house, and they’re all good!

Whoopee! Now WoW will be peaceful and happy, with nobody in Trade talking about how bad the game is, right? They all left to have fun in GW2? Right?


We came back to town around midnight last Saturday, so we had, oh, the afternoon to install the patch and figure things out before the ICC achievement raid Sunday night.

Two out of three computers in our house patched and optimized and installed just fine. Can you guess who got the crash?

I started the process at midnight, went to bed, and when I got up 6 hours later, it was still stuck on Downloading Tools.

I made the big, terrifying life-draining decision – nuke the install from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

I went to Battle.net and installed the client clean through direct download.

Holy shit, people. A single 20 gig download client, fast playable install, no bugs, no worries, and the damn thing runs clean and fresh like a dawn raid on the Keep on the Borderlands.

Crap, the Mists patch I downloaded for my previous install was bigger than the whole full client download. Yay and stuff, and life goes on!

Fortunately, you’ve all been in the game enjoying the patch for almost a week now, so I don’t have to worry about dropping any spoilers. I get to post a first impressions roundup guilt free!

This has been a patch full of many unexpected gifts.


First, the obvious. Account-wide shared mounts did NOT work as advertised. They were better.

I didn’t have anything excluded that I was told would be. PvP mounts from Honor Points, and the mammoth drop from the Wintergrasp PvP raid? All shared. Every single one.

The X-53 rocket mount? Shared. The Swift Zhevra? Shared. The Zhevra! I specifically saw a comment that the mounts from recruit-a-friend weren’t going to be shared, yet there they are.

Now that I have all the mounts to compare, I can say with some surprise that my all time favorite is the Brewfest Kodo. Happy time, and isn’t it nice that even though the only character I have that ever won it was on another server and hasn’t been played in a year and a half, all of my characters can now enjoy it?


The pets, I knew what was coming, but it was still fun showing Alex that he can rename pets. Also, he was finally able to get the Creepy Crate shared on ALL his characters.

One surprise for me was to see pet collecting trends revealed in pet quantity.

For example, Cassie has done the Jousting quest in Mount Hyjal on all her characters. Without exception, every single one has chosen the more attractive Blue Mini Jouster pet over the Gold vulture-looking Mini Jouster. Without exception.

Having something like 12 Blue Mini Jousters and not one Gold? That’s hilarious. Errr, I mean, ouch! Gonna have to do some dailies, dear! Just ten more days!

Love you!

Of course, I wish I could cage them already and hand some of my duplicates over to Alex, but give it time. On the flip side… if I can’t actually train pet battles yet, take it the fuck off my trainable skill list, mmkay?

On the other other hand (or tentacle, pseudopod, whatever), you can now buy the pet from the special Mountain Dew promotional event, PLUS the red and blue robot battle fuel, from Jepetto Joybuzz in Dalaran. I have the pet already, on a lot of characters… and it’s nice to know I can stop hoarding the 20 red and 20 blue fuel… on every character. Every. Character. You can just go in the store and buy it now. Go figure.

Hey, as long as we’re adding old stuff long gone from the game, how about adding the secret vampire boss (Prince Tenris Mirkblood) back to Karazhan this Halloween so people can have a shot at the guitar axe and Vampiric Batling? Go for the hat trick of awesomeness.

Me love you long time, Blizzard. LONG TIME.


This one… this one is a mixed bag of blessings.

Six digs per dig site? Twice as many artifacts for the same amount of travel time, right?

Feels a bit like too much time in one spot… because I have nothing but Night Elf dig sites in Kalimdor. Screw Night Elves, can I please get some Tolvir love? Grrr.

On the even less gifty side, please stop asking me if I’m really super sure honest and for true sure every single time I want to solve an Archy puzzle. Yes, I know I am at max skill, stop asking me if I want to go to a trainer first when there aren’t any upgrade trainers yet, you twit!

On the other hand, if I were to forgo the immediate gratification of knowing what I got… I could stack up fragments now for a series of future solves, for faster leveling. Right?

At least, I could if I had the ‘put off til tomorrow what I may be prevented from enjoying because of the car that hit me today’ gene.

Eat dessert FIRST. Geez, people, think about it. We could get hit by a meteor and join the dinosaurs tomorrow, I want to get that level NOW.

After all, when I die, Saint Peter will ask me what level I reached on my Druid, and if I have to say I didn’t fully complete my rare Archy solves in Cataclysm, TO HELL I GO!

Class Changes

Ahh, the big one.

I’ve been playing my Hunter in the ICC raid, so while I checked out my Guardian Druid first, I couldn’t linger. I had to be pr… no, screw that, I ain’t sayin’ it.

I had to be ready to rock.

So on to my Hunter I went for the real firsties.

Huntery Stuffs

Not reading about changes beforehand is a dual-edged sword. On the positive side, things are fresh and new and filled with wonder.

On the down side, I have to rely on having a brain to figure this shit out cold. Whoops! And I also need to find some alternatives to up sides, down sides, other hands and inner paws. Willing to buy a vocabulary, STAT!

For my Beastmaster Hunter, I had a good time choosing talents. Even the choosing was fun. They all sounded so… tasty.

I looked over my choices, and all I could think was, gee, they took all the neat toys the other two specs used to get, and let me cherry-pick whatever I wanted. And I get to keep MY special exotic pets! Are you shitting me?

I get a spell interrupt! Just, WTF is up with that!

Did I reforge into mixed Expertise and Hit? No, no I did not. It was ICC, I didn’t reforge shit. But I did choose my Talents, without guidance, based entirely on what sounded cool.

I specced a Hunter, and I liked it!

I chose Posthaste, because I use Disengage all the time as a fast positioning tool, and having a boost of run speed is all win in my book. I’m always positioning myself, like on the boat in Dragon Soul, to be ready to Disengage laterally out of a bad AoE. I used my Disengage A LOT on Festergut and Putricide, and damn, was it fun!

I took Silencing Shot, so no longer will I be looking stupid when it comes time to ask, “Who can interrupt the Queen?” The answer is now, “ME! BOOYAH!”

I took Aspect of the Iron Hawk, because, well, lazy. One less cooldown or GCD sounds pretty nice about now.

Thrill of the Hunt would almost sound like another lazy choice, except I had a hunch about that one. I mentally did the math on how a 30% proc chance from abilities that use Focus would translate into 3 super-fast cheap Multi-Shots, and snatched it fast. I’m a Beastmaster, I pop Kill Command and Arcane Shot all the dame time.

It paid off in spades in ICC. I was proccing those three extra cheap Multi-Shots and Arcane Shots constantly. Including off of Multi-Shot. At one point, Cassie whispered me to ask me what it was like to do over 40k DPS. I said I wouldn’t know, I didn’t have Recount installed. :)

And finally, I chose Blink Strike. Oh my. Oh, my my my.

It’s Sunday, I’m in love.

Instantly teleport my BM pet behind the target to do a big nasty CHOMP out of it’s butt?

Oh, hell yes.

Now, I haven’t tested it yet for variables. The tooltip for Blink Strike says the chomp is 600% normal damage. By normal, I can assume that means damage unaffected by current Bestial Wrath status.

But I’m willing to find out. For Science!

For the Glyphs, nothing really sexy, not like there was for Death Knights or Druids. Best I could come up with for fun was Marked for Death, so I automagically put Hunters mark on whatever I’m shooting at in the moment. That was nice, removed a /petattack macro with that one.

Still, the feel of the BM Hunter in the raid was unchanged. It felt exactly as BM did before the patch to play… ONLY BETTER! Enhanced! The way it should be, and with no minimum range!

I’m in danger of switching mains.

I kid, I kid.

Guardian Druid

I had a rocky first tank run on my Druid today in Heroic End Time. But that is for another story, and you have to start somewhere, right?

Oh, and it helps to have a healer who actually heals, instead of stays in DPS gear and shadow spec.

I knew it wasn’t going to go well, when I zoned in to Ruby, said “hi, I need a sec” because after the first pull I saw my Tidy Plates had me set to DPS mode so it was reversed on threat tells, and the healer pulled the boss for me while the addon pages were covering my screen.

Let’s just say that after he flat out told us he refused to heal me on Murozond because I was in kitty tier gear(!) and we booted him from the party in the first minute of the fight, we STILL managed to win it while 4-manning it, without a healer, with Alex and Cassie in the team, and an awesome Shadow Priest named Sutralas – Blade’s Edge, who I swear was still DPSing while throwing me heals, AND popping the Hourglass. Although everyone was handling the HG when they could.

Let’s also add that it’s nice to have a ton of defensive cooldowns and Heroism ready to go after every Hourglass activation, hmm? Still, we did win… with a healer that had the shittiest attitude I’ve seen in a while booted from the run before the first HG click. :)

Yes, I know he got his same chance at loot after being kicked, but it must have pissed him off to blame me for being in kitty gear and unhealable, and yet we didn’t wipe after booting him. We somehow managed without any healer at all. Burn? Perhaps a teeny bit, yes.

Idiot, I warned the group up front I needed a few seconds to adjust on the fly, it’s not like we had any trouble at all on the first two bosses. Despite having the healer pull for me. Grumble, grumble.

That Sutralas, what a nice person. And it was so funny and cute, they told me before we dropped group that I shouldn’t take the criticism from the healer seriously, I was a good tank! Very nice person, and it was so cool to see another player offering encouragement and kind words to someone who had just had to deal with… well, idjits.

Anyway, the Druid is a story all it’s own. Gonna need more time to fine tune things like button positioning.

Sure wish I had a Druid blog to write it up on, huh?


Death Knight

My Death Knight was the most unexpected gift, of all of the changes.

The last time I logged into my Death Knight pre-patch, I had about 40% XP left to go before dinging 85.

When I logged in this morning, I had exactly 1 XP left before dinging. ONE.

I just kinda looked at it, shook my head, assumed it was a typo, killed one trash mob and ding. WTF?

So from there, surprise! Guess, I have a new 85… that will sit until AFTER the expansion comes out to gear up. :)

In the meantime, my Druid is a max level Scribe, what goodies does the DK need?

Holy crap, you can get a Glyph to make your Army of the Dead summon a wide variety of random undead! Wait, let me check it out… and yes, yes they look SWEET! Oh no, they didn’t… a Glyph to stop the Army from TAUNTING?!?!

Okay, all straight DPS Death Knights, from now on if you group with me and I’m tanking, you BETTER have that fucking Glyph active when you pop Army or I boot your ass from the run. Be told.

OOH! And a Glyph to make my Unholy perma-pet look like a Leaper!


And then… the rush left me.

What to do now?

Oh, I know… let’s make an alt. We’ve got our eleventh character slot, fill that baby up!

But what to make…


Warlock?!? Can’t make a Monk, can’t make any Pandapeoples… so what about I make the one class I don’t have that a Panda can’t ever be?

This time… this time it’ll be different! You’ll see! This time I’ll make a Warlock, and take it right to the top! And it’ll be a Gnome!


And didn’t I hear the Succubus was supposed to be a guy if you had a female Warlock? Let’s try that out! So a female Gnome!

Yeah! Do it!

What was that definition of insanity? When you do the same thing over and over, and expect to get a different result?

And I have just the name! Blackrack! ‘Cause her heart is all black and evil, pumping behind her, well, that, you know… her rack.

Yeah, whatever, I’m running out of name ideas.  Bite me.

Shit, that reminds me, I have to try and reserve OldDirtyBear.  Yeah ODB yeah you know me!

So, a female Gnome Warlock.

I said bite me.

I started it up, I had my Heirlooms as usual… and you know what, this wasn’t so bad.

The DPS was pretty powerful, in fact.

And is the Imp actually HELPING? Wow, it almost feels like the Imp is putting out some damage, that’s fucking new.

Okay, ding level 10, let’s see, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS DEMONOLOGY ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

I don’t know what the hell they were smoking, but at level 10 as Demonology, I got Metamorphosis. And auto-attack is ranged chaos bolt thingies. And you get a resource that, like, refills as you KILL SHIT.

Alex looked over at what I was doing, and about had a cow right there.

So, I deleted my level 10 female Gnome Warlock (I said bite me, Gnomer) and we both made brand new Worgen Warlocks, or as Alex calls them, WWs.

Then he asked about my gear, so I showed him where to buy cloth heirlooms from the Guild Vendor, and that is when I tanked a heroic on my Druid to get him the JP he needed to buy the chest heirloom from the JP vendor.

He got Cloak, Helm and Chest. Not bad in one day. Off we went, blasting stuff together as WWs.

It’s crazy. Blueberry at level 8? Drain Life Drain Life Drain Life…

Alex loves Drain Life. He loves the idea that at level 15, he’ll be able to get an AoE Drain Life replacement.

At level 10, he became enamored of Metamorphosis, and can I just say, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve never killed shit in the Worgen starter area that fast in my life.

We did encounter a small amount of confusion with terminology.

I had to inform Alex that it is not, in fact, entirely appropriate for a nine year old to be saying he enjoyed, sigh, “sucking that guy”.

No, rephrasing it to “sucking the life out of that guy” is not much better, thank you.

In fact, and this is a sort of testament to how sheltered the language in our house can be in certain ways, he was unaware that the term “suck” could have negative connotations… meanings other than those normally associated with Hoover vacuum cleaners.

I had to let him know that he is never to say that he sucks anything, or sucks AT anything, because suck can be slang for ‘loser’, and if he were to say that he, oh I dunno, “sucked a guy so hard last night”, well, the other kids may start laughing at him and saying he admitted he was a massive loser, and we all know where that heads. I break out the baseball bat and go visit other kids dads for a ‘chat’.

Or the police come to have a little chat with ME, and rightfully so.

Oh, the baseball bat? Don’t beat the kids, beat their parents, I always say. I believe in the trickle-down theory. Shit trickles downhill.

Yes, I avoided mentioning to him what else suck can be used to describe. I’m not stupid.

While I don’t think there is anything wrong with it from anyone of the appropriate age TO anyone of the appropriate age, regardless of gender so long as both are into it, call me a prude all you like, he’s nine. He can wait on that discussion for a bit while he enjoys his Pop Tarts, Phineas and Ferb, and Legos.

And yes, sigh, “sucking the life out of that dude”.

At least I had him reflexively saying “draining” instead of sucking by the end of the night.

We were both also level 14 and almost through the entire Worgen starter area. Still feels ridiculously overpowered, and some of the neatest class toys at low levels I have ever seen.

It makes me wonder. Is this what all the classes now feel like to start at 1st after the patch? Ridiculously overpowered, full of neat toys, lots of the ‘good stuff’ right up front?

I know that I’ve tried Warlocks many times before, and I’ve never seen anything this… well, neat in the game before at level 10.

It almost felt as cool as the first time I ever played the game, on my very first character, and I had to travel to Moonglade and approach the Great Bear Spirit to try and learn how to be a Bear.


I know, right?

Shit, I’m serious, I was wondering what I was going to do for fun until the expansion came out, but this is just amazing.

So… anyone else having unexpected good times?

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

A new post up this morning at WoW Insider struck me as being damn timely.

The article, written by Josh Meyers and titled “Has the early Cataclysm gearing model failed?”, takes a look at the intent of early Cataclysm leveling, of gating content by iLevel, and then touches on whether it has held up or not this late in the expansion.

It’s a good article, one I found especially timely since I am actively working right now (well, when I’m not at work-work) to do everything I can to subvert that very gearing model he describes.

You play the game and get a character to level 85, and what do you want to do?

You want to go do the fun stuff.

For those that want to PvP, there are fairly new craftable PvP blue items, full armor sets as well as jewelcrafting rings and necklaces to get you started.

Clearly, the powers-that-be realized that the PvP arms race would make it painful to get stuck right in. So they added new gear as a stepping stone.


Because in PvP, there is no ‘working your way up the difficulty ladder’, no ‘easing into it’. When you zone into a BG, it’s gametime, baby and you’d better bring your ‘A’ game or find out what it looks like in first person to be teabagged by a Moonkin’s big feathery butt. Everyone else is in their best earned gear, and whether god or grunt, it’s everybody for themselves. No artificial gating of content, it’s just you, your computer, and the cold, harsh reality of survival of the fittest.

Been this way several expansions now for PvP, clearly they like how it’s working for them. Well, Burning Crusade brought PvP blues bought at the rep vendors, so it’s only been two expansions now with the crafteds. My bad. But they saw how the BC model worked, and changed it up the next time.

On the PvE side… by this late in the game, I don’t care how cool the starter heroic instances started out, everyone is sick of them as a gearing necessity.

Is it great to be able to level by running instances? Yes. Is it great to be able to do instance quests? Yes. Is it awesome that as you level and have fun in even the normal instances, you get Justice Points towards end game gear? Hells yes, sweet incentive.

Is it cool to do them and see the story and learn to play an unfamiliar class or role in the end game group content?


But I challenge anyone to say that they find it FUN to have to run the expansion starter instances in heroic mode at level 85 on every new character to grind the gear upgrades and Justice Points needed to unlock higher iLevel content.

And I won’t even go into how much sheer joy is to be had in considering having to grind rep to get epic shoulder enchants or gear on your fifth character, even with Tabards.

So, we try and subvert it, to a greater or lesser degree. Are we to be blamed for trying to bypass the system as intended?

Or, and I’m just throwing this out idea there, is subverting the original gearing process exactly what Blizzard expects us to do, and is precisely WHY we have things like the new high-level BoE epics from the new heroic instances dropping like snowflakes in winter?

Crafted epic items, auction house BoEs, new heroic instance quest rewards, the Thrall and Aggra Elemental Bonds questline that gives a nice cloak, etc.

Is being subversive simply the game working as intended?

I think so.

Look at the facts.

I’ve played the game the way it was meant to be played on three characters now, my druid, warrior and hunter. Leveled, geared, got crafting skills, reputation grinds, all that stuff.

I am damn glad to have done it, too. For example, I am proud to have a character maxed in every rep, plus exalted with my guild.

When I have new characters come up now, I don’t have to worry about head enchants because I’ve got one character with max reputation on all factions, and that character can buy the enchant and mail it over.

For weapons, I can gather ore, transmute Truegold, gather or buy Orbs, and use my epic Blacksmithing patterns from rep to make some iLevel 365 weapons… or buy cheap Beermug maces, BoE epic drops from the new instances, etc.

I can craft rings, necklaces and armor that, while intended for PvP, is good enough to get into new content and get the job done, but just crappy enough for PvE that I’m going to want to get rid of it as soon as bloody possible.

I even have BoE gear of incredible power that I can earn on my max level characters through Valor Points, to feed down to my new alts.

But what if I don’t have max level characters to feed my new alts, characters all decked out and done with the content?

Working as intended. If you don’t already have all the content done and maxed on anyone… Blizzard wants you to get out there and do it all, at least once.

In my opinion, the only truly glaring weakness right now is that the epic level shoulder enchants purchasable from rep with Therazane is not bound to account, and the ease of getting that rep has not been reduced the way the Sons of Hodir were towards the end of the expansion.


I’ve been preparing my Rogue for max level, because I truly do not want to do a single original heroic, not a one. I want to ding 85, equip gear, and step into a 4.3 Dragon Soul heroic.

To that end, I’ve been seeing how far I can game the system on my Combat Rogue, and how cheaply.

Slow main hand weapon, fast offhand are the Combat preferences.

A Tremendous Tankard O’ Terror goes for about 800 gold on my server, so I bought one. Oops, Cassie had 8 in her bags, and I actually had one I forgot about in my Hunter’s bank. Stupid of me not to check, but point made.

For an offhand, my blacksmith crafted the Brainsplinter, using all personally farmed/transmuted mats. Done.

For a thrown weapon, maybe due to lack of demand the Thorns of the Dying Day are going for a mere 300 gold. Done again.

Sure I’m going to want to upgrade as soon as I can… but these aren’t pure crap, either. These are all weapons that, in terms of stats, would have been great before 4.3 shipped.

For armor… well, there is the obvious.

My max level characters have taken a week off from upgrading their own gear with Valor Points to donate the Bracers of Manifold Pockets and the Rooftop Griptoes. If I was wealthy, I could have easily bought them instead, they get advertised in Trade Chat as Valor boots or bracers, your choice, 5000g or 6000g golod all the time, YMMV on your server.

Still, I wanted to go as cheap as I could as far as I could.

As I said before, once I reach level 85, I’ll be able to do the Thrall and Aggra quest chain, Elemental Bonds, to get the iLevel 365 cloak, Mantle of Doubt. I could simply craft the new iLevel 377 PvP leatherworking cloak Vicious Fur Cloak, but I’d vastly prefer lower iLevel but more PvE oriented gear.

There are 17 item slots to fill, and already 6 are at 365 or better at level 85, plus one quest chain I like to do anyway. :)

I then did dip into my own pockets, and bought one item I’ve been repeatedly tempted by at the auction house. I got the Nightblind Cinch belt for 7000 gold. Maybe they saw me coming, but an upgrade THAT huge means future Valor Points don’t go to a belt, they go to things like necklaces, rings and trinkets. I’m willing to pay it, and be glad.

The rest of the slots ALL have iLevel 377 PvP items that can be crafted with leatherworking and jewelcrafting if I wanted to, but let’s go one step further.

What about the Molten Front?

Yes, yes, I know. Craft some PvP stuff and go have fun, get upgrades in one day that outstrips what you’ll earn after 45 days of Molten Front dailies.

There are still two things to keep in mind.

First, after only three days you can unlock the Molten Front area, and purchase Matoclaw’s Band from Zen’Vorka.

Second… my Rogue is a skinner, and the spider area is a skinner’s paradise. I’m going to want that anyway, so why not at least look at what I get after those three days, right?

Where I’m going with all this, is really that it’s too damn easy to craft or otherwise acquire high level items to bypass the starter heroics for it to have somehow slipped past Blizzard’s attention that we can do it.

No, I think it’s working as intended, and I like the fact that I don’t have to just equip PvP gear to beat the iLevel restrictions, I can go for lower level gear but with better overall stats if I so choose. And I DO so choose.

As I said before, I just think there are a couple areas that could be finished up, like the Therazane rep shoulder enchants being made Bind on Account.

What do you think? Is this all some cunningly designed master plan to give us lots of options and choices, or is it a failure of the Blizzard gearing model?

Patch Night Did Not Go As Planned

It was a night of surprises for BBB.

It turns out, this is funny, but it turns out that a little knowledge can be a bad thing.

I knew just enough to be dangerous to myself, but not enough to plan properly. And I just know I drug some of you down with me.

Lemme back this bus up to the WTF dock and start from the beginning, okay?

I was very hopeful when I logged in last night.

According to reports, “smoothest patch release evar.”

Well, hell, that sounds promising.

Patched up, logged in, set Load Out of Date Addons to on, pick a character and login.

I picked my Paladin. Of all my characters, my level 71 Paladin was the one I was most excited to login, because I had the entire delicious set of Level 60 PVP gear to transmog into.

Loading bar started, and at the 10% mark stopped. Total system freeze.

Um, what?

Hard shutdown of WoW, login and try again. Freeze, same point.

Okay, maybe it’s Northrend. Let’s try Stormwind, and a different character.

Login, crash on loading.

Back out, reboot computer, check MMO Champion and WoW Insider and Twitter.

Nope, everyone else in the world seems fine, WTF?


I updated addons, but not all were updated. I wonder…

Login, disable all addons and try again.

I’m in!

And now the hunt begins…

Which one of you little pricks is crashing my WoW. I gots playing to do!

It turns out, FuBar no be good no more meng, nor is the Fubar2Broker alternative I’ve been using getting update love.

This… this is a crisis.

I can do without a lot, but there is no way, NO FREAKING WAY I can do without a Fubar/ChocolateBar style band at the top of my screen that lets me mouseover an expandable Guild and Friends list. I need to know, at a moments notice, who is online and where they are at any given moment.

That’s right, I keep tabs on everyone. I’m watching you!

Not really. But if I suddenly get the urge to whisper Matheo or Ursimage, I want to be able to mouseover the guild list in a hot millisecond to see if they’re busy in an instance or a raid first. Opening pages of windows and scrolling through the guild roster? Hells no. This will not stand!

Oh, the addon author quit WoW two years ago, according to Curse. Hmm, I guess it will stand.

A quick scan of Curse addons to just go whole Chocolate for LDB (LibDataBroker) and Broker shows there are LDB Friends and LDB Guild. Do these replace my old GuildFu and FriendsFu? Will they plug into my ChocolateBar?


Okay, crisis averted, I don’t have to quit WoW just yet.

Moving on… Paladin time! Let’s get ready to moggle! And only an hour and a half of the night lost.

I’ve tried to stay spoiler-free, so Ursi tells me the Mogging Vendor is somewhere around the outer ring near SW Cathedral. A quick flight overhead shows me a massive crowd around a little door. Uh huh, fresh baked cookies? Nope, that would be the new vendor hut.

Time to mog! I pick my Field Marshal item, I go over to… wait, WTF do you mean I cannot use that item appearance for transmogging?

Just… just hold the f’ck on here.

Moggin’ has been on the PTR for months. (In my mind, rhymes with hoggin’.) There have been blue posts, articles, FAQs, WoW Insider in-depth articles. This must be a mistake, someone would have said something if this was intended. A bug, certainly.

Er, no.

Bashiok said, LAST NIGHT;

The items out in the world (Marshals, Grand Marshal’s, High Warlord, etc) that use the level 60 PvP art are un-transmogrifiable (including the item level 115 stuff that shares the name from Burning Crusade).

In Area 52 a set of vendors has replaced the PvP Vendors who used to live there. Grex Brainboiler, Krixel Pinchwhistle, Tini Smalls, Kezzik the Striker, Big Zokk Torquewrench, and Leeni “Smiley” Smalls. These vendors sell new, transmogrifiable versions of the classic armor to players who have the Feat of Strength for Legionnaire/Knight-Captain or higher under the old PvP system.

There was a bug with the Feat of Strength granting access to these items, but was hotfixed within the last couple of minutes. If you meet the criteria log out and back in and you should be able to access the vendor.

The design intent with the Feat of Strength achievement requirement was specifically to limit these particular art styles to players who earned them through the OG (and relentlessly difficult) PvP honor system, while keeping the door open to reward them to more people in the future.

In a future patch the items sold by the Area 52 vendors will also be renamed ‘Replica of’ to be more consistent with the items sold by the Darkmoon Faire – they’re currently exact duplicates of the original items that allow transmogrification, which is obviously a bit confusing.

Potentially related, since he’s in the same area, Kezzik the Striker sells inaccessible Season 1 Gladiator’s, Season 2 Merciless Gladiator’s, and Season 3 Vengeful Gladiator’s gear to all players, as the majority of that gear didn’t have restrictions.

Have a nice day.

As an existing rule this does not irritate me, not at all.

I said when I posted about it in the first place, the level 60 epic PvP gear was very difficult to obtain at the time, and I would completely understand it being made difficult to obtain or restricted to those that had really earned it back in da day.

What does torque me a bit is that this comes out of left field to me. My Paladin did not exist when the “Feat of Strength” and the PvP associated with it happened, so I can’t even go back and try it earn it the ‘right’ way. Not that I would have without knowing moggin’ would exist someday in the future, but still.

It’s nice that the only people who can sport those iconic looks on their modern gear are the folks who earned it, but it sure would have been great if I had seen a FAQ, WoW Insider article or mention somewhere that you might as well not get that gear, you won’t be able to use it.

I’m sure this is my own damn fault.

This is of course what I mean about ‘a little knowledge being a dangerous thing’. If I hadn’t been skimming the news reports to avoid spoilers, I probably would have seen a blue post or FAQ that said this somewhere a while back. They even added new vendors in Area 52, they must have said SOMETHING about it while the PTR was going on. I just didn’t see it, because I wanted to hit the new instances and raid cold and fresh.

So, I has a sad.

There is good and bad to this.

The good is, I get the thrill of the hunt. I get to find a new set I want, set goals for how to get it, and log in with a purpose. That’s always fun.

The bad is, I’ve looked at all the Paladin gear sets, every single one, and none of them with the exception of Lightbringer really says “Paladin” to me with style.

I know a lot of people like the Judgment armor, and I agree, it’s very nice. But it’s not for me. To me Judgment armor is very cool to look at, but it speaks more to the Warhammer 40K religious ethos; the fighting force charging into battle, a heavily armed and armored holy warrior at their side to oversee the consistency of their spiritual faith… and apply an attitude adjustment with a chainsword where the faith seems to be wavering.

Very cool, kick ass concept, but that’s not MY Paladin.

MY Paladin is a holy warrior that heads into the teeth of the dragon proudly armed with sword, shield and faith, braving flame and claw to protect the innocent and defend the weak.

Others may strap on heavy plate armor and go forth to battle, and they may be brilliant generals leading armies on the field or small unit commanders destroying the enemy through fire and manuever, or even solo berserkers tearing into their foes and leaving gobbets of flesh hanging from the spikes of their bloody axes.

What sets MY Paladin apart from them is the aspect of faith, and how he lives his life and fights his foes under the influence of that faith. Faith in the light, faith in justice, faith coupled with a desire to lead by example and be an inspiration to others on the field of battle, faith that it is his duty to ensure that the light SHALL overcome the darkness.

MY Paladin isn’t a gritty anti-hero wearing black and red plate, big spikes, curving trophy horns, skimpy chainmail bikinis, or worse yet, camouflaging his beliefs and hiding in the bushes, waiting inside his mud-coloured armor to lunge out and slip throats.

The Warriors and Death Knights can strap on evil-looking blood-drenched heavy plate decorated with skulls and tentacles and spiky bits all they like. They can wield massive weapons and deal brutal damage to their enemies reveling in the gore. At the end of the day, their strength does not flow from the conviction of their faith in the light.

The Paladin trusts in the Light, and he (or she) polishes his armor until his cohorts are gleaming. You need gleaming cohorts to be a Paladin. It’s a fact. (That’s a Terry Pratchett joke, btw).

Lightbringer is great looking armor, probaby better in some ways than Field Marshal, but when I originally browsed the armor sets for the Paladin and saw that Field Marshal set, with it’s gleaming gold, silver and blue, and above all the gorgeous matching Aegis shield, I fell in love.

Well, looks like my Paladin gets jilted at the transmoggin’ altar.

I wish I would have known. It would have been nice to not get my hopes up, to have my expectations set that high.

I won’t miss the armor itself quite as much as the shield. I do so love that shield. I’m level 71, and I’m still using that level 60 Aegis shield. I don’t want to give it up.

That’s okay. Life goes on. *sniff*. I’ll do fine without it. *sniff* *sniff* I didn’t want it that much anyway. Mean old armor.


Okay, seriously though, it will be fun as hell to take a tanking paladin into the raids necessary to get Lightbringer. And, hey bonus… Cassie is leveling her Disc Priest healing with me… so once we hit level 85, it’ll be time to grab a few DPS friends and see us some old school raids!

Oh yeah, and I also ran two of the new 5 person instances last night. I’d talk about it a little, it was smokin’ good fun, but I’ll give the patch a few days so folks don’t get anything spoiled.

For anyone that was foolish enough to follow my advice and got your own level 60 epic PVP gear for transmogging… I’m sorry. I apologise for steering you wrong.

But look on the bright side.

Ain’t nothing stopping you from wearing it as an ‘about town’ set just like before, and fooling people into thinking you’re a PVP god!

Unless, you know… you really are.

Today Ragnaros, tomorrow the Old Gods?

According to MMO Champion, Deathwing will arrive tomorrow, and depart in a blaze of glory about 4 hours later, most likely. Okay, I’m kidding.

I know that it’s like this every time we get a new content patch, but it sure does feel like the raiding guilds have about exhausted what the Firelands had to offer.

Poor Ragnaros has died many, many times now, hard modes have been trounced, and Legendaries have been dissiminated.

Lots of Legendaries, from the chart MMO Champion put out a week ago.

You know the Firelands have been out for a long time when even *I* have killed Ragnaros!

Strange Days.

Deathwing will arrive (officially) tomorrow, and we will begin the process of getting geared up and experienced enough in his ways to destroy him.

Seeing the entirety of the Firelands and taking down Ragnaros has led me to think about the various mechanics of the fights and all that is required to match them. How did we get here, and where do we go from here?

In looking back over the years, the one distinguishing feature of content releases is the Skill Level arms race.

When Vanilla WoW first came out and we hit end game, did anyone envision where we would someday get? Maybe we should have.

With every expansion or content release, the challenge for Blizzard grows.

The mission? Design content that is challenging AND fun.

It’s got to be difficult enough that it will take a while to learn, but not so difficult that it breaks the spell we are under when we pursue ‘progression’. If the difficulty includes too much grinding or random chance to succeed, then people lose interest.

It has to remain somewhat challenging even after the path to success is learned, to keep interest alive once mastered.

It’s got to be unique enough to be fun, for a given value of fun. Plus loot, new loot of ever higher ilevels.

Now, it’s got to be all that, plus it’s got to last long enough that the next content release has time to be designed, programmed and tested for release.

Sounds daunting, but that’s just one side of the arms race.

The other side are the players.

Over the years, I have watched in amazement as the player base has built tools to arm themselves in direct opposition to the Blizzard Design Team.

Granted, I’ve taken part in this myself, but it’s still amazing to me what has grown.

As fast as the content is developed, the players build tools to help them beat it.

Website forums for theorycrafters and class experts, individual blogs, web-based optimization tools like Ask Mr Robot or World of Raids, combat log parsing tools, addons, addons, addons, geez I mean Deadly Boss Mods represents a force-multiplying escalation all on it’s own.

As the content gets more challenging, the players rise to the challenge, get better prepared and more experienced. Teamwork, by necessity, improves.

The next round sees more complex mechanics… and the players improvise, adapt, overcome, and then craft new tools (or improve old ones) to speed it up and make it easier.

As with any arms race, there is collateral damage.

Oh yes there is. How would you like to have to design a brand new MMO in this landscape, where the majority of MMO players have been hardened in the fires of 7 years of Azeroth raiding?

And of 7 years of Trade Chat?

Blessing of Kings is taking part in the SWTOR Beta, and todays post highlights a fun fact; chat trolls using story point spoilers to try and ruin your game.

As an MMO developer, how do you arm yourself against this type of scenario, when your opponent (the player) has had 7 years (or more, counting how long the genre has really been out there with Everquest and others) of experience on you?

A new MMO nowadays has to come up with a solid concept, and then design a game not for what players expected and would have enjoyed 7 years ago, but for what people are used to seeing, and subverting, now. Within a week of launch it will have to face the test of the cynical and jaded MMO gamer, whose expectations get higher every day.

Deathwing is doomed, but even as the patch warms the servers in pre-load position, content developers are hard at work preparing the next payload for delivery, aiming at a moving target. They have to design for the players, as they think we will be at that future day, after we have absorbed the lessons we learn from the Deathwing raids.

Isn’t it amazing? This is what it means to be part of a game experience as it evolves, and growing with it. And we get to go back with our modern, up to date characters, and visit the content that was designed for the player of yesteryear whenever we’d like, to remind us of how far we’ve come.

I love it. Yes I do.

The new patch comes tomorrow, and despite the rise and fall of Deathwing, the one thing I think I am most looking forward to is the resurrection of raids to go into old content, to satisfy those transmogging urges. Getting friends together willing to do Serpentshrine Cavern or Black Temple or The Eye should be easier than ever before.

At least for a few months. :)

Where will the developers take us next year?

Who can say? It depends, at least in part, on how well we adapt to and overcome what Deathwing has in store for us.

You have to wonder, do the developers of other MMOs watch and even play WoW, just to get an idea of what the modern, experienced raider learns to handle?

Isn’t that a trip?

I for one am glad to be part of the journey, wherever it’s taking us. My concern is, in order to come up with ever greater challenges to fit the lore, someday soon we may find World of Warcraft has hit the same wall many of our long-term pen and paper RPGs hit, once the characters reached level 25 with all the epic items that entails.

Where do you go when the players are looking to kill the actual gods and usurp their place to find some kind of challenge? Do you face down the Old Gods, bring forth the terrors of the outer darkness, face an invasion of demons from space?

Oh wait, been there, done that, got the tabard.

Where do we go once we’ve killed Deathwing?

Apparently, once we’ve killed the gods themselves, the only foes we will have left to fear are the most powerful beings known to Azeroth; our former allies.

But in pitting Horde versus Alliance as the core of the battle… can there be any resolution at the end?

This is a drama post!

This post has the potential to unleash rage and drama in those that read of it. You’ve been warned.

Nooo….. it’s not about the new BOE Blizzard store pet. Well, not MAINLY about the new Blizzard store pet.

As Steven Brust might say, one word on the new pet.

It is a pet. It will be in the Blizzard store. When you buy it with real money, dollars, euros, yen, what have you, it comes to you bind on equip. You can trade it. You can presumably wrap it in that pretty wrapping paper and mail it to a friend.

You can sell it for gold on the Auction House.

Yes. A Blizzard-sanctioned method of turning real money into virtual gold. You pays your money, you gets your in-game gold. And, depending on pet prices on your server, you takes your chances.

My comment is; so?

A few years ago, I’d probably give a shit. These days, the only victim I see is the account hacker that wants his virtual gold to be the only option you have to buy with your real money. And really, screw The Hacker.

The only point of interest I have in the project is to see how much your $10 will eventually be worth in virtual gold, based on the demand for this pet by people who don’t want to spend $10 of their own real money to get it.

My wife is one of those folks who will pay 20,000 gold for something, and that’s okay, but she already pays $15 a month in real money on the game, be damned if she’ll pay more. And more power to her.

I’m sure your opinion will likely differ, and thus, drama potential one.

But no, that’s not the potential drama I really wanted to talk about.

I was reading Officers Quarters on WoW Insider tonight, and a comment Scott Andrews made touched off this little fireworks ‘splosion in my brain housing group.

The Raid Finder is not just for the guildless. Guilds can also take advantage of this new feature in several ways. The first and most obvious is that it will allow your raiders to get practice time on bosses for your own normal-mode raids. Since you don’t get locked to the instance using the finder, you can see the mechanics ahead of time and still raid with your guild in the same week.

I read that, and for a moment, the aforementioned fireworks went all ‘splodie. Then I felt my brain actually jump the track (over the shark, most likely) and spin aimlessly for a little bit. I failed my SAN check, I tried to disbelieve the reality of the text I had just read, but I rolled a 1. Epic fail.

Scott clearly has spent some time thinking about this topic, and already internalized this, but I’m slow and I’ve been busy.  So maybe I’ve missed the discussion somehow on my feedreader. It’s possible, my feeds have been whittled down to a bare smidgen.

Is Blizzard really just about to release a tool that hardcore raiding guild officers will be able to use to require their members to raid hour after hour after hour in ‘does not count’ practise sessions to fine tune their performance before attempting a boss fight in a raid ‘for reals’?

And nobody has said squat?

Sure, I know that the loot drops won’t be as good as a ‘for reals’ raid, and I know that it will be easy peasy lemon squeazy mode, but it’s still the bare bones of the real raid, and as the game progresses, it’s still a tool that will continue to grow with the patches and expansions.

How did this slip under the radar?

If you were an officer in a hardcore raiding guild, and your guild was shaky on the mechanics of movement, target prioritization or mechanic flow for a particular boss encounter, are you telling me you would NOT have your raid members get in a few hours practise where it won’t count against your weekly attempt?

I’m sorry, maybe nobody cares anymore, but it wasn’t that long ago that players in hardcore raiding guilds were complaining bitterly about having to run both 25 person raids AND 10 person raids every single week in order to maximize their possible loot drops and point/token earnings. I believe quality of life and balance between game time and real time were becoming factors.

This may not be in quite the same ballpark, but it has the potential, in the first few weeks of any new raid, to be even worse. That raid team that really, really, REALLY wants to smoke the raid bosses first week… well, how many hours are they prepared to spend running the raid on what will be, for all intents and purposes, Practise Mode?

True? Not true? Molehill that just looks like a mountain?

You tell me.

Transmogrifying – now with less Legendary

Just a quick update, on my last blog post I specifically rushed to the awesome idea of a Rogue being able to go back, get the Warglaives, and finally raid with them.


A Blue commenter has specifically remarked that Legendary weapons will NOT be allowed to either have their image be changed, or to supply their appearance to another item.

My editorializing will now begin.

How completely frakkin’ stupid! If the whole point is that you have to possess the item in your own inventory, then why in the hell would you NOT want to be able to display that you have a legendary? Why?

Are Legendaries SUPPOSED to rot unused and unseen in a bank?

Just… on top of the greatest news I’ve had in a few weeks about the game, to drop that bombshell of just STUPID is amazing.

And I don’t even have a Legendary!

Gear Gathering – It’s on like Donkey Kong!

I don’t even know where to begin, but since that’s a beginning, let’s roll.

Today, we are told, I’m still not believing the words I’m typing, that patch 4.3 will include Gear Transmogrification.

You’ll be able to change the current appearance of your gear to match the appearance of any other comparative type of gear.

Plate shoulder to plate shoulder, leather chest to leather chest. Possibly even two-handed staff to two-handed staff, and one-handed swird to one-handed sword.

This feature, no I swear to you I am not kidding it’s been confirmed by Blue post on the official forums, goes hand in hand with the new Void Storage, which apparently is intended to have about 150 inventory spaces… for the storage of your old gear.

Items you put in Void Storage, according to Blue posts, will have enchants, gems and crafting identifiers removed. It will be put in the digital equivalent of long-term cold storage.

The subtext here? You will have to possess, currently, an item of gear in order to be able to apply that gears’ appearance to your currently worn gear.

Maybe it will have to be placed in Void Storage to have the pattern be available at the Transmogrifier Vendor, that sounds very reasonable to me. It would make Void Storage a form of “recipe list” for appearance patterns.

Holy shit. Just, holy shit.

Do YOU want to PvP or raid in the armor sets, the MATCHING armor sets of yesteryear? Do YOU love role playing and having cool outfits, and regret having to wear a cobbled-together clown suit to achieve performance?

Well, kiss the clown suit goodbye, my friends, and say hello to a whole new game of planning your special outfit and then going out there and GETTING IT.

Did you always want the twin Warglaives from Black Temple, but once Cataclysm came out and the Legendaries were obsolete as effective gear, you lost the fire in your belly to get them?

Have you always loved the Blackened Defias set, and wished you could wear the whole thing and still be as effective as everyone else?

Just… holy shit.

I know that my first thought, my very first thought was, “I need to transfer my Rogue to my new server, so when this change goes into effect I can be wearing my full Dungeon Set 2 while raiding. With the twin Season 1 PvP swords.”

I know it probably seems stupid to you. Maybe I’m one of the odd ones, getting excited about this.

But just holy shit! I am!

I am excited as hell to go back and review the appearances of every set in the game, decide which appearance I would LOVE to have for my character, and then go out there right the hell now and start working on building it.

How about you? Are you like my Rogue, and have a freaking insane kick-ass set ready to go for your favorite character, just waiting for this to go live? Do you have twenty?

Are you like my Warrior, who intentionally leveled Blacksmithing and acquired every single recipe and built the full Imperial Plate set and kept it, just for a “Worgen about town” outfit, but it’s really nothing all that special?

Or are you like my Druid, who has nothing waiting in the wings, because I was always in forms and it didn’t matter if my gear looked like I failed clown school?

It’s such a simple thing, and yet, our view of the game is what we see around us. We see other players around us, all the time.

When every player you see will be able to look exactly how that player wants, I think it’s going to have a major effect on the world. Instead of people wearing random crap, everyone will have a choice, and who among us doesn’t want to make our own decisions and USE those choices?

Kick ass, Blizzard.