Quick alert, remember that when patch 6.0 goes live, Justice Points and Valor Points are going away.

If you have Justice Points on you right now, please make sure you spend them quickly for the best benefit. If you WANT Justice Points and the things they can buy, it’s very easy to farm them fast by running normal Pandarian instances. Each boss kill gives you quite a lot (more if you have the guild bonus) and normal instances can pop fast. If you have solid LFR or Flex (or better) raid gear on your character, they fly by.

A few tips on spending Justice wisely;

Heirloom Items are currently bought with Justice Points. DO NOT spend them on Heirlooms right now, when patch 6.0 goes live you’ll be able to buy all Heirlooms and upgraded Heirlooms with gold. GOLD. So don’t spend Justice on these.

You can upgrade blue quality weapons with Justice, but honestly, why would you want to? If you need a weapon upgrade that bad, consider going to the Timeless isle and farming Timeless Coins to buy one of the epic weapons there, they are a better deal.

You can purchase Honor Points with your Justice Points. This can be a great deal for you, IF you don’t like to PvP.

More on Justice to Honor.

500 Justice Points will buy you 250 Honor Points at a vendor in your faction capital city.

You can buy PvP mounts with 2000 Honor Points each, so for every 4000 Justice Points you can buy a nice PvP mount. Looking for a few more mounts? Don’t pass these up!

There are many cool looking PvP armor sets that you can buy with minimal Honor Points. The old sets are discounted heavily. You can find a really nice list by looking at Transmog sets on Wowhead.

On some of those PvP sets, especially the Outlands ones, you can exchange normal PvE tier tokens for the PvP armor version. That means, for many Outlands PvP armor sets, you can run the old raids solo, get tier drops, trade those in for PvP versions of the armor, and only need Honor Points to buy Boots, Belt, etc. Doing this saves you quite a lot of Honor Points on building a set.

I just wanted to give you this heads up. Don’t forget to use ‘em before you lose ‘em.

Comments 5 Comments »

I had a dream last night, and I blame an overload of cooking challenge shows. We watch a lot of them. Top Chef, Masterchef, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, etc.

The one thing my wife and I have always wondered is, just how honest are they? The judging is purely subjective. Sure, we can see how a dish looked, but we have no earthly idea how they tasted. The producers can influence the judges to pick based not solely on taste but also on who would generate the most drama to keep viewers butts in seats for the next round/episode. And who would know? Even when they have multiple tasters, most of the important eliminations rely on the judges alone to decide.

Who can say? I sure don’t know how they taste, and I don’t really care what someone else thought of most food. I think most people are idiots anyway, what do I care what they thought? I’ll be the judge of who should have won! Except in TV cooking shows, of course, I can’t be.

Okay, moving past my throwing down the gauntlet and accusing cooking competitions of being unethical, dishonest and biased, let’s get to the show I was in last night… in my dreams.

Top Tinker

In my dream, I was in a massive room filled with workbenches, similar to the openness and size of the arena of Masterchef. Gordon Ramsey was the judge walking around exhorting everyone, so you can see I am indeed insane.

I was one of the contestants, standing at my workbench, but instead of culinary ingredients, I had bins filled with electrical parts, wires, breadboards, small motors, gears, etc. Instead of chef’s knives and cuisinarts, I had soldering iron, o’scope, multimeter, etc.

I wasn’t a contestant on a cooking challenge. I was competing in a tinkering competition!

Ramsey was calling out, “You have thirty minutes to build a battery powered vehicle that can travel at least 15 feet, using only the materials in your bins. At the end of the thirty minutes, we’ll match all of your vehicles in a head to head race, and the fastest vehicle to cross the finish line wins! Tinkers, your time starts now!”

Oh shit.

I looked up at the main floor, where on Masterchef you’d see the example dish or whatever, and saw that a track was laid out, level and flat, with lanes marked out by slats of wood high enough to keep cars from going off track and bumping into each other. So, I could see I had to build something that used batteries for power that could fit in a channel about 12” wide, could go fast, and wouldn’t get slowed down by sidewall drag, so right off I knew I’d need to put some roller bumpers on the sides too.

But it’s gotta use batteries but be faster than everyone else and have enough power to keep up that speed to make it across the finish line! I started rummaging on my workstation. What do I have for parts?

All we had for batteries were 2 ‘C’ cell batteries, so I started scrambling to sort through the bin of small motors for a good match, thinking about making a thin frame of aluminum slats for lightness with rigidity, and then I woke up.

Um.

It was a good dream. Would have liked to have seen what I came up with.

Now I can’t get the idea of a Top Tinker show out of my head, so I’m dumping it all on you. Based on personal experience, fifteen minutes after this post goes live I’ll never think of it again.

I keep thinking about how much I like the concept. Instead of a cooking competition, have a tinkering competition!

One thing you can’t argue with, the viewers at home will certainly know exactly who won. You lose some of the suspense when you can see who won immediately without having to wait for ten minutes for the judges to reveal who they picked, but how satisfying would it be to spotlight what was built and how the builds performed in competition?

How especially awesome to hear the challenge and think of what you’d try, since so many things in tinkering can be done multiple ways.

Yes, I just now realized I’m describing a variation on a Junkyard Wars show, without the large scale builds or dependence on quality of scrap scavenging. Damnit. No, it took me until now to make the connection.

Still, I’ve been having a ton of fun the last half hour imagining the kinds of things benchtop tinkers could be challenged to make in head to head challenges.

“Your fastbuild challenge, using the parts on your bench, build a 1.5kHz tone signal generator. The first one to get the correct signal to register on their oscilloscope wins.”

I know, I know. I’m sure it sounds boring to those not of the Radio Shack set out there, but I also thought of a variation on the show, one that might be a bit more fun to watch, but it’s obviously not the one I was dreaming.

How about this for an actual show;

For a working title I’d call it “The MacGyver”, but there is no way you could name a competition after an actual adventure TV show, even if everyone knows what MacGyvering is but few still alive remember the original show the term came from. Maybe call it TechnoTrap.

It would still be a tinkering show, ideally sponsored by Radio Shack because come on, but it would have a theme; technology, gadgets, and super spies.

You would have a scenario related to the Hollywood idea of superspies, James Bond gadget wizardry stuff, and the challenge would be related to building a gadget out of parts for getting out of the scenario.

The skills needed would include electronics design and breadboarding on the fly, but I think challenges including a slightly more complex version of the Lego Mindstorm robot building, manipulating drones and remotes/servos, all remote controls, all those twists could add some variety.

Okay, like what kinds of challenges?

Well, as an example, you are a prisoner in a cell, with bins of stuff just like Tony Stark in his cave in the first Iron Man. You have a cell door you could burn through, except you don’t have a striker to ignite your hand torch.

There is a prisoner in the cell next to you, and he has a striker, but there is no way to get it.

There is a mousehole that connects the two cells through a stone wall. You can’t just make a long stick to poke through, because there are a couple of gentle bends.

The challenge is to build something that will negotiate the mouse tunnel to the other cell, through at least two gentle turns, so that the other prisoner can put the striker on it/tie the striker to it and then send it back to you.

Or another example, you are in a hotel room, and on the other side of the wall a group is having an ultra secret meeting talking about their drug cartel money laundering. They are discussing how they get their money out of the bank, but you can’t make out what they’re saying.

The challenge? Use the parts in your tech kit to build a microphone with amplifier and speaker so that you can amplify the sounds from the other room through the wall loud enough to make out what they’re saying. Listen in until you hear them state the password they use to access their account. Then YOU enter that password into your laptop right there. Fastest one to enter the code wins the challenge.

Another idea for a challenge, take a drone with camera, modify it with remote triggers, servos and stuff so that you can add a small dart launcher to it, and shoot a stuffed target simulating you shooting a dart filled with sleeping toxin into a sentry from around the corner.

I’m sorry, I know it’s a goofy idea for a show, but I keep having fun with it. There are so many different fun challenges you could come up with to test someone’s innovation with parts, skill at design and building, knowledge of electronics and tinkering, and imagination at coming up with a way to get the job done.

And when you watch the show, damnit you’d know if someone succeeded or not!

On further consideration, maybe I shouldn’t describe my dreams anymore. This can’t be coming off as the thoughts of a sane person.

Top Tinker, damnit!

Comments 6 Comments »

Okay, so that was a lot faster than I expected.

Honestly, it’s been so quiet and the Firelands group has been so small for so long, I assumed there wouldn’t be that much interest.

My gmail says otherwise.

Thank you to everyone that emailed me or tweeted or commented that you’d like to do Glory achieves.

I can only focus on one group at a time, but if you are still interested on being a sometimes member if someone can’t make it, I’d be delighted to add your battle tag.

If we finish this faster than I expected, we can always start trying to do 10 person raid achieves up to and including Mogushan Palace. Why not, right?

Again, thank you, and the Glory group is full. If I haven’t talked directly with you via gmail already, then I’ll be talking with you about being an alternate very soon!

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We have about two months left to go before Warlords of Draenor is scheduled for launch, and our world of opportunities changes again.

I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like me as soon as that expansion comes out all old farming hits a wall of “I don’t care about old shit anymore”, replaced with new expansion “Oh look new shiny, must have new shiny.”

For example, currently each week I am trying to run Eye of Eternity and The Eye three times for chances at the Azure Drake, Blue Drake and Ashes of A’lar, and I’m also doing Argent Tournament dailies to work towards the eleven(!) mounts I am still missing from there.

Yeah, I expect that to stop when WoD goes live.

For me, realistically these next two months are the last time for a year or more at least for me to do those last few things I always meant to get around to.

Two months and ticking.

What I’d really like to get cleaned up are two meta achievements in game;

Glory of the Pandaria Hero (with a Crimson Cloud Serpent mount reward)

Glory of the Cataclysm Hero (with a Volcanic Stone Drake mount reward)

These are both 5 person team achievements, don’t need too many friends to do, but somehow I’ve just never gotten around to doing it.

I’d like to at least complete those two 5 person instance metas before WoD. So here is my proposal.

I’m looking for four people who will commit to joining me for doing these, start to finish. It doesn’t matter if you have none of the achieves yet, or some of them. We get a team of five of us together, we compare notes on what achieves we’re missing, we bloody well go get it done.

I’ll coordinate.

I know that at the time I talked about this on twitter, @Rivenhomewood said she would join me, but I hadn’t talked times or schedules or what have you. This is the tricky part…

I would really only be able to do this in the evenings, Thursday, maybe also Friday. And by evenings, I mean around 7 PM Central Standard Time for a few hours. So I’m looking for some folks who will be slow and steady with me for one or two nights a week, a few hours each time.

Doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up when you’re talking old 5 person instance achievements.

So what do you say? If you’re interested, send me an email at thebigbearbutt@gmail.com and tell me.

And act fast, I’d like to do the very first achievement run tomorrow night shooting for that Glory of the Cataclysm Hero first.

I hope to hear from you!

Comments 2 Comments »

Pull up a chair my friends, and let me share with you a tale of adventure… yes, adventure, but adventure shadowed by woe!

The story may be warmly familiar, but if you stay with me to the end there is a lesson to be learned within.

On an evening much like any other, a small band of misfit wanderers joined together. The purpose of their gathering was to enter the exciting Firelands, land of fun and frolic.

Firelands! A name that once spoke of endless hours of toil and grinding desperation, but now inhabiting that blessed ‘sweet spot’ for raiding; too easy for serious raiding, just difficult enough to need more than one person, lots of goofy mechanics, cool looking transmogs, and the possibility of super-cool rare mounts. Who could ask for more? Do a barrel roll!

Indeed, Firelands is now a place that is a joy to engage, taking only a scant handful of friends to romp merrily among the murderous minions, but having a bounty of potential rewards. Not least of which, of course, is that most wonderful of raid oddities, a Legendary weapon that multiple classes can use, that has little if any element of RNG, and that has so many stages lots of people can be doing it all in the same raid!

These few, these few, this band of misfits had fought together many a time before. MANY, MANY times before. I mean, seriously, that Legendary chain seems to take a coons age to get through.

Moving through that chain is kinda like trying to move a kidney stone. Lots of screaming and yelling, all out of proportion for the itty-bitty thing you get out the other end. And while it’s really important to you, nobody else really cares how the progress is coming. No, really. They don’t want to hear about it.

Of all of these friends that had gathered together, four had been there the longest.

There was Baddmojo, the Rogue, the tank in leather and the queen in red. Known chiefly for his alcohol consumption, Baddmojo could be counted on to be right up in the face of anything you cared to name, first to fight, warbling his mighty battlecry, “Cloak of Shadows, Cloak of Shadows, blood and souls for my Cloak of Shadows!”

Baddmojo is also known as the master of “where did he go, how the hell did he get to the next boss already, I didn’t know you could fly from Alysrazor direct to him, WTF.”

There was me, of course, the Warlock in spite of myself. Ever in pursuit of that next dribble of Smouldering Essences. What weapon do you have equipped, Bear? What’s that, Bear, did you fight a boss with your legendary staff-in-training equipped again? GG, Bear. GG. Did you remember to switch weapons, Bear? Did you, Bear? DID YOU? OMIGOD WHAT IS SO F’ING HARD ABOUT REMEMBERING TO SWITCH WEAPONS, BEAR?!?

By the way, did you remember to switch weapons back, Bear?

Then we had Elynea the fair, Elynea the Deadly Druid, Elynea of the everlasting hunt. Elynea, who has been on almost every single Firelands run with me, and every single fricken time the fire kitty staff has dropped, she has lost the roll to another Druid that came on our run for the first time and never, EVER came back again. And yet, she hasn’t yet killed me with the powers of her mind through the internet.

Tesh, I’m looking right straight at you, buddy. Firekitty staff ninja.

And of course, our course core foursome of diehards would not be complete without Aldyrr.

Aldyrr the Hunter. Trapmaster. Finder of rare pets. Talented multi-tasker and all around great guy.

Or is he?

There we were, once more unto the breach, facing the rocky chunks of magma, flames shooting into the skies.

We were so close. SO CLOSE.

For me, the road had been long, but I was finally nearing the end of the very last collection phase of the legendary questline. Smouldering Essences, that was my game, and the hunting had been good. 208 of the 250 were in my pouch already, and tonight would get me almost the rest of the way. If not tonight, then on our next visit ‘twould be a certainty.

And might not the mistress of chance smile on me yet tonight? The odds were long, but they could fall my way and this could be the very last night of chasing the chain, and the first day of being bound body and soul to the might of a majestic blue dragon for all time.

It could happen. It probably wouldn’t but IT COULD HAPPEN.

Never piss on the fingers of fate, they might wash their hands of your RNG chances for the future. Semper Fidelis. Always Faithful. It could happen. If not this time, then cheer up, next time for sure!

This was to be a special trip, my son was joining us after many months away from the game on his mighty Warlock Wooffie, and Elynea had brought her daughter along for her first full Firelands fun.

Also, and this was new, we would finally take a serious look at the Penitent achievement for Staghelm. I was sure, with the proper coaching and the use of /kneel macros we would get that one down, after our many half-assed attempts on previous weeks.

We began to kill the many, many trash needed for Shannox to get riled up, and it was so chaotic with summonings and late visitors and invites and scurrying around that we very nearly facepulled Shannox before I ever knew he had spawned.

Accidental boss kills are never a good sign, but first down and time to get a move on. Beth’tilac next, Bear which weapon do you have equipped? The right one? Good furball, here’s a cookie, keep it up.

Time to face the spider, my son wants to go up topside, being on the spider’s web is something he enjoys and remembers fondly it seems. I say sure, the more the merrier, I watch as it seems the entire group goes up top, and I’ve barely given the trash down below a glare and a scolding before Beth’tialc comes tumbling down, the web… comes tumbling down.

Loot, mount up and almost everyone dashes off to the next boss (magma!) as I swap weapons to my baby-almost-legendary and wait out the 30 second cooldown before I can drain the cold, dead corpse of it’s Smouldering Essences.

12… 11… 10… 9…

Beth’tilac disappears.

huh.

Wait.

WAIT.

WAIT ONE MOTHER (^)*(&^)& MINUTE HOLD THE PHONE WTF OVER!?!

WHERE THE FUCK DID MY SPIDER GO?

I SAID WHO STOLE MY MOTHER FUCKING SPIDER IN THIS MOTHERFUCKING RAID?

I look across the suddenly vacant space in shock, to see a lone Hunter standing there, looking back at me.

Standing there.

Hands full of spider leather.

SPIDER. LEATHER.

Aldyrr skinned my Beth’tilac. 

SKINNED HER WITH MY SMOULDERING ESSENCES STILL ON HER COLD, DEAD CORPSE.

Spiderthief, I name you. Trapmaster, Pet Finder, and now Spiderthief.

I’d call you a base, deceitful leather whore, but I’m actually afraid of what that would do to search engines and my traffic. Also, Leather Whore sounds like a pretty cool job description now that I think of it, I used to do leathercrafting, some of the stuff people would ask me to make I coulda put that on a business card, “John Patricelli, Leather Whore.”

I turn to my wife, I turn to her and I say, “He skinned her. He skinned Beth’tilac! He skinned my spider! I could have finished the quest tonight but HE SKINNED MY ESSENCES.”

And she looks at me, eyes devoid of sympathy, Cassie looks at me and she says, “Well, there’s a lot of leather on one of those. Also, you never would have finished the quest tonight. Get over it.”

Really?

Sigh.

Well, fine, but I can pout and write a really long blog post all about it, can’t I? That’s what mature adults do when they get all pouty over a video game, right?

oh, they don’t? they suck it up and move on? hah, you ain’t been around here much, has you?

Dedicated with loving respect to my buddy Aldyrr, make sure you go cheer him up on Twitter, his handle is @jhdesynz and I just know he’d love to hear from you.

The moral of the story, the lesson, the key thing to take away from all this, is… if you’re doing this chain watch out for your buddies, now that Baddmojo knows Beth’tilac can be skinned he announced he’s going to be using that knowledge for evil from now on, I’m telling you, watch your friends, they’re not to be trusted with this kind of power.

Comments 9 Comments »

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