The Lazy Scribes Guide to Preparing for Mists

“Time is money, friend.”

How often have you heard that? Have you ever stopped to think about it?

Time is money.

More specifically, time is a resource.

It’s finite. For each of us, it has a beginning, middle and an ending.

Time is the one resource we have we simply can’t grind to get more of. I try to spend mine wisely.

When I’m playing World of Warcraft, I see it as time I am spending in exchange for relaxing fun. I do find a lot in the game to be fun, but one thing I’ve never enjoyed is pursuing the acquisition of wealth in the game just for the sake of wealth.

To me, gold is something to spend in exchange for things that are fun. Gold sitting in the bank, to me, is gold wasted. If I’m hit by a car tomorrow, that gold is equal to nothing but air unbreathed. It is a potential unfulfilled.

That usually leaves me with about as much gold as I need to do the day to day stuff, along with normal gear purchases and whatever. I may have enough lying around to buy that 10,000 gold dagger that catches my eye on a whim, but if I want something larger, like a motorcycle, a vendor mammoth or a Sandstone Drake, I’ll have to save up enough to hit that goal, then get back to the fun.

In fact, throughout all of Cataclysm, whenever my gold got to between 6k to 12k, I’d go out and find something to buy to have fun. Mounts, pets, gear upgrades for alts, leveling professions, whatever. I never let it accumulate, and it may take a month to build up again from raiding and questing and selling neat stuff I come across, but like unsightly weeds, I always whack it back down again.

“What the heck does that have to do with Inscription?”, I hear you cry.

Simply put, I am a max level Scribe on my main with every Glyph.

I spent the time learning and discovering every Glyph for many reasons.

First, completing a collection IS something I find rewarding in the game. Especially when there are rewards for completion. Pet and Mount collecting, with extra pets and mounts at certain goals, is a brilliant hook to get me in.

Second, once you know how to make a Glyph, you always know it. And, if they change a worthless one in the future to something cool, now you know the new one. If you learn them all, then you know them all. Period. If someone comes up and asks, “Do you know how to make…” I can just cut them off and say, “Yes, give me a second and I’ll make one for you.”

Third, I get to have great shoulder enchants without grinding Therazane rep. I refer you to my earlier “hates to grind” comment. Score!

BUT… while I have a maxed out Inscription, I do not use it to master the Auction House!

Cutting to the chase of Inscription in Mists

If the following describes your position, then I might have some advice for you.

I have a Scribe, and I can make every Glyph currently out there, including having trained all the new Monk Glyphs that the trainer has available right now. Until the expansion comes out, I’m good. Right?

I can make Glyphs for myself, my friends, and with all the recent changes Glyphs are in huge demand.

But… I am not a Glyph auction house deal maker. I don’t live and breath Glyphs on the AH, obsessed with buying low, selling high, and undercutting by 1 copper. I do not use the Mobile Auction House app on my phone. I don’t even know how. It often seems every other Scribe is a money making master, but me, I’m just in it for the shoulder enchants, man. I don’t understand all this Scribe High Finance stuff.

I just like being able to make Glpyhs for my friends and myself.

But it’s such a pain! There are all these different levels of Glyphs, and they take all sorts of different kinds of inks, and you never know what Ink you’ll need for the Glyph your friend wants when they start an alt, respec, or change Talents around.

What to do?

I want to be ready! I don’t want to go farm stuff every time someone wants a Glyph.

I could go out and farm lots of different kinds of herbs in all the zones where they can be found to get the inks appropriate to each level.

OR… I can get a shitload of the latest herbs, mill them to make the latest Ink, and use those to buy the lower level Inks whenever I need them.

DING DING DING we have a winner! So for all of Cataclysm, I’ll just stockpile Blackfallow Ink, and whenever anyone wants a Glyph, a quick stop by Jessica Sellers in Dalaran and I can buy whatever low level Inks I may need. Sweet.

Oooh… I LIKE farming herbs on my Druid! It’s so soothing after a rough day to load up a Lewis Black album and swim laps around Azshara in Orca form, herbing away.

An hour of swimming later finds a calmer Bear milling a few hundred herbs into Blackfallow Ink, and there are extra Volatile Life to ice the cake!

But wait… when Mists of Pandaria comes out… won’t there be a new Ink? What will happen to the purchaseable Inks from the seller? What will happen to my Blackfallow reserves?

FINALLY… The Chase!

As of Patch 5.0.4, if you visit one of the Ink traders, it SAYS that you have to use Ink of Dreams, the new Mists Ink, to buy the old Inks right now.

LIES!!!!

Yeah, it says that, but it’s more a herald of the changes yet to come. As of right now, despite what it says,¬†you CAN buy the old Inks with your Blackfallow Ink. Just ignore the tooltip window.

But holy crap, folks. Time is running out! It was almost too late, and the clock is ticking.

Right now, if you’re sitting on a bunch of Blackfallow Ink, ready to buy whatever you need in terms of Inks to make the Glyphs you need when you need them, when Mists comes you will have to go out and get the brand new, hotly desired new herbs, and then piss them away buying old Inks to make a Glyph.

To hell with that!

Can you imagine it? There you are with your brand new Panda Monk, and you go to make your Glyphs, and your Blackfallow is no good. There you are with a max level Scribe, forced to either buy your Glyphs off the AH at the high prices, go out and farm the low level herbs, or go out and farm the new high level herbs… but use them to get Glyphs instead of leveling your Inscription and getting new stuff. Or making awesome Feral Druid Staves. *cough*.

Hell NO!

No, when Mists comes out, you’ve got much better things to do with new herbs than buy old Inks.

So, here’s what I suggest you do.

Buy up a stockpile of all of the old Inks RIGHT NOW, using Blackfallow Ink, while it’s cheap and easy to get.

Here are the existing old Inks, and how many Glyphs each are used as reagents to make:

  1. Ink of the Sea – 125 Glyphs
  2. Ethereal Ink – 68 Glyphs
  3. Lion’s Ink – 49 Glyphs
  4. Midnight Ink – 45 Glyphs
  5. Jadefire Ink – 37 Glyphs
  6. Celestial Ink – 23 Glyphs
  7. Shimmering Ink – 22 Glyphs
  8. Blackfallow Ink – 1 damn Glyph (Colossus Smash)

The key lesson to remember is, it takes 3 Inks to make a Glyph. So you’ll want to buy the old Inks and stockpile them in quantities of 3.

I made this list so as to figure out, in rough terms, which Inks are more likely to be needed than others. I could do a really scientific analysis of the most popular Glyphs by spec and Talent, but you know what? I don’t care THAT much. I just want to be covered for the opening months. And I’d rather not buy 60 Shimmering and find out later I only needed three, and run out of Ink of the Sea four Glyphs in.

After making the Ink list, I checked our Auction House.

Sure, I’ve got some Inks, and I like farming herbs in Azshara, but how much are they to just buy?

The following herbs are milled to make Blackfallow Ink; Cinderbloom, Stormvine, Azshara’s Veil, Heartblossom, Twilight Jasmine and Whiptail.

Of all of them, the average price, if any was available, was between 2 and4 gold PER HERB.

Except for Cinderbloom, which averaged about 70 silver an herb. Stacks sold for about 15 gold or so.

Remember that whole “time is money” thing?

To me, I would rather spend 15 gold than spend the equivalent amount of time farming 20 herbs, when I’m not in the mood to swim around, and when I’ve got the money. Granted, I’ve farmed about 400 Stormvine and Azshara’s Veil doing leisurely Orca loops in the last few days, but I wanted to really stockpile some stuff. ūüôā

See, there was over 1,000 Cinderbloom in our AH. There was, but not anymore. Some herb sellers got a sudden influx of business, and God bless them for it.

Now, a bunch of milling and buying later, there are a shitload of old Inks in my bank, and I’m really not out much gold at all.

There is one other thing, of course, that you can do to prepare.

Just go ahead and learn every Glyph that is available for your characters. Take ’em all, even the ones that sound useless. You never know what Blizzard might turn them into, somewhere down the road.

I’m not saying buy enough old Inks to last until the end of Mists, you know. I’m just saying, stock up enough so that you’re good to go in the short term, until such time as Ink of Dreams feels as cheap and easy to get as Blackfallow is now.

This really is the Lazy Scribes Guide. No tips on making money with Glyphs, I wouldn’t know where to start. Just my strong recommendation that you think ahead and buy the old Inks now when they’re still easy to get, so you don’t waste time later on when you suddenly decide you want to make something and it’s too late.

Oh, and on a parting note – now is a great time to tell your friends and guildies that if they want Glyphs, speak up now and you’ll accept donations in modern herbs as trade. Once the Expansion goes live, if people come up expecting Glyphs, well, unless they’re good friends, they’re going to find out you’ll be happy to make them… and you’ll take the NEW herbs in trade. ūüôā

Adam Holisky had a great idea!

I thought I had a great idea.

I was wrong. I actually channeled the great idea Adam Holisky already had.

I was walking with Cassie and had this great idea for an engineering pet that allowed you to Transmogrify your items on the go.

As I explained my idea and how fun it would be to Cassie, she informed me that she’d just read something like that on WoW Insider. And the version she read was well-reasoned and made a great deal of sense, as opposed to my half an idea vision of what would be cool about it that hadn’t been thought all the way through yet.

Oh.

Well, fine.

I still like the idea, because it makes so much sense to the profession.

But she was right. What I started with was a vision of “How cool would this be” and followed it back to how we could get one.

See, here was what I was thinking. Keep in mind, this is purely a “How freaking cool would this be” vision, not a completely thought out “how would I code this into the game so people couldn’t exploit/cheat/kill others/ruin the game with it” thing.

My vision was simple. Bring back profession quest chains to get cool recipes.

In this case, instead of the Wrath of the Lich King Jeeves model, where you had to go farm droids until the Jeeves pattern dropped, you would actually have a quest available from the Transmogrification vendor, who in Stormwind is Warpweaver Hashom.

The quest would be to go and perform some services for this individual, services of a max engineering nature. And I’m not talking about “go and craft me 15 crysteel tubes”, I’m talking about go into hazardous areas and obtain hard to find ingredients that the Warpweaver requires for his services.

This could be as simple as going to various zones and farming drops from mobs that you have to combine, or giving you an item that, when you kill certain mobs, drains essence from them that goes into your inventory. The kind of thing we have certainly seen implemented in game before.

The idea here, though, is that you do a bunch of favors for this guy, and in exchange, at the end of it he gives you access to a recipe that would allow you to spend the money and time and crafting mats to make yourself a transdimensional beacon that would call him. If you activate it, a portal would appear and the Warpweaver would walk through, and would be willing to do this because, although a mercenary at heart, he owes you one. Plus, when you transmog stuff, you still have to pay him. So, it makes sense to me that he would as a reward give YOU a recipe, that YOU would do all the work to create the item from the recipe, and in the end it gives you an item that can call him and he has the choice of ignoring your call, or stepping through, and if he does step through… in the end, you are giving him even more money.

So it is a quest chain, a gold sink, a time sink, it’s tied into your profession, and in the end you have an item that you can use to summon the transmog vendor.

Here is where the fun bit comes in.

I personally miss the days of misfiring Engineering items. I always thought that was hilarious, and a prime reason I enjoyed having so many Engineering characters.

Sine we are talking about an item that would be sending a beacon through transimensional time and space, calling for the Warpweaver… how fun would it be if there was a small chance that, instead of the vendor responding, instead a tentacled horror tried to come in through the portal? Just lots of tentacles coming in, and you had to kill them all to reset the portal for the vendor to appear?

I can see it now… “Hold on a second, let me call for Hashom… WHOOPS!” *whack whack whack* “No problem, happens every once in a while, think I’ve got a bad dilithium crystal in the frequency pack, not to worry, we’ll soon have this all sorted out. “*whack whack*.

“There! Now let’s try that again, shall we?”

I do miss those chances of amusing failure… I used to take pride in my parachute skills whenever the teleporter to Tanaris malfunctioned… and I knew where I would land by heart.

Adam Holisky did a better job of thinking it through, but I still like my vision of it in action. ūüôā

Exploring Enchanting Alternatives

It’s been an enchanting few weeks in the BBB household.

Cassie and I are playing a priest/paladin pair through the levels (we’re now 81!), and she decided to go Tailoring and Enchanting. I’ve also recently server transferred my old level 78 priest over, who was at the time maxed level in Jewelcrafting and Tailoring… when Wrath of the Lich King ruled the servers.

On my new server, I already have a max level Jewelcrafter, with epic recipes and stuff, and I ran out of the need for Truegold cooldowns months back.

What I don’t have here is an enchanter. Nice to finally have my tailor back to make bags, though. Spending money on bags in the AH is a crime against the gold gods.

Two enchanters to level simultaneously.

Have you seen AH prices on enchants and mats? Holy crap, right?

The low levels are fairly easy, and in Outlands it was extra nice, because with transmogging, running instances over and over to get gear meant a steady flood of greens to send off for disenchanting. No worries.

Once Cassie and I hit the Wrath of the Lich King level of enchants, it all went wahooney shaped.

Why?

Well, I wasn’t¬†being very imaginative, for one thing. I was stuck in the traditional wisdom, running along the ‘what everyone knows’ groove.

Everyone knows that it’s best to level Tailoring and Enchanting together as you quest, because you can take the cloth you get from killing mobs, make stuff to increase Tailoring skill, then turn right around and disenchant it for the mats to increase Enchanting. Synergy, which is a fancy word for “these things complement each other well”.

Along those lines, I started farming cloth, researching who had the best drop rates for cloth, and I even took my (now level 82) priest back to Northrend to quest for rewards to disenchant. Yay.

If I ever got to higher level, I could start shattering materials that result in tons of WotLK mats. But you’ve got to level past needing the WotLK mats to get the spell to¬†be able to shatter them, damnit! Grrr.

So be it. Cloth, cloth, cloth.

Amusingly enough, it took The Daily Blink to snap me out of being so stupid.

Right along the time I was getting fed up and dreading questing for the next month in Northrend just to get greens, along comes this pair of hilarious comics showing the pain we were feeling, and exploring alternative methods of gathering up the cloth we needed to level enchanting the traditional way.

It was the idea of exploring alternative methods of farming that got me finally thinking.

Farming cloth for tailoring for disenchanting is certainly one way…

But since when are Tailors the only crafters that make greens?

I am such a dumbass.

I have other characters. I have max level Herbalists, Miners, Jewelcrafters, Blacksmiths, Scribes… surely SOMEBODY can make SOMETHING useful, so I don’t have to farm all this damn cloth!

I looked to my Blacksmith, and asked him… what can you do for me in Northrend greens done dirt cheap?

My Blacksmith had an answer.

If I farmed Cobalt Ore, which is plentiful in Zul’Drak, then one Cobalt Ore smelts into one Cobalt Bar, NOT the normal two ore per bar BS.

There is one delightful item, the Horned Cobalt Helm, that costs only 8 Cobalt Bars to craft, and is a level 75 green. As most of you may know, the *5 point in items is where a crafted item goes from small return on D/E to a larger return. Any green from equippable level 75-79 will give you more mats per disenchant on the average than a level 71-74 item.

So, whether it’s ore or cloth, it’s still farming. The difference is, I can take my max level Blacksmith with fastest flight off on a route around Zul’Drak, and after a measly hour of farming easily be able to craft over 30 high level Northrend greens to disenchant. As opposed to grinding mobs or quest rewards? Oh, yes please!

Yeah, Cassie and I blew through Northrend in a single night of ore farming.

But then we had two enchanters looking for Cataclysm mats.

OMG, right?

Ah yes, but can my Blacksmith make anything now? I like farming the new ores.

Hmmm, before I check on that, why not see what kind of stuff my Jewelcrafter can make? I vaguely remember leveling JC by crafting rings and necklaces.

HOLY SHIT!

It turns out that Jewelcrafters can make rings and necklaces, all right. And the mats are a JC vendor jewelry setting costing a couple gold or so, and two green uncut gems per crafting. There are four recipes in total;

Jaspar Ring (ONLY ONE Jaspar)
Alicite Pendant (2 Alicite)
Hessonite Band (2 Hessonite)
Nightstone Choker (2 Nightstone)

Finding these four recipes in my crafting list was like being hit by lightning, but in a good way. Kinda like, hmmm. Getting a few beers in and then hitting a roller coaster. Dazed, a little woozy, but thumbs up!

The reason these didn’t really register was you needed two per point, and the resulting item’s enchantment is completely random. So, when¬†I leveled I made them but also focused on cut gems for most points per gem.

Fast forward to now, when¬†I prospect ore I’m looking for the blue quality gems, and these greens are either worthless, or can be used for the daily JC quest. I don’t save only the gems needed for dailies, I don’t look that closely at it. I just stuff gems in my JC bank. How many? Well, I typically keep about, oh FORTY of every kind of green gem before I start vendoring the leftovers. I figure, 40 of any given green quality gem is enough, right?

You use 3x Jasper for the Ogrezonians daily, 3x Zephyrite for the Nibbler daily, and 3x Nightstone for the Present for Lila daily.

I had mats on hand to craft 80 green items to disenchant just out of what I had lying around in my bank, and I don’t even want to think about how many greens I could have crafted from vendored gems over the last year.

I like farming ore. Did I say that already? It’s true. It’s like Hobbes saying “Smock”, I just like farming ore. Smock, smock, smock. It IS a good word when you think about it.

The way we level these days, the accelerated pace of it, it can be so damn hard to gather mats at the same pace we level. It’s good to know that if we do make new alts, the ‘traditional’ methods of feeding the fire isn’t the only way to go.

I could wish I would have checked earlier, but I’m damn glad I didn’t think of it AFTER we hit max level!

I truly hope that someone out there thinking of leveling an Enchanter will be helped by my experience in this, and I also hope that anyone wanting to make a little cash off a Blacksmith or Jewelcrafter keeps in mind some of the non-obvious ways your cast off mats can make money.

Green quality gems are far more valuable than I thought!

Impressively professional

This is a Bearwall about professions. I don’t really know why, it just kept growing, so I guess why not. Let’s start the new year off with my first resolution… I’m just gonna roll with it.

As with most players, part of my enjoyment of the game post expansion has been in leveling professions on my main characters. As I’ve pursued profession upgrades, a few thoughts came to mind, and I’d like to share them with you, and also see if anyone would like to share their own impressions with me.

As with most players, I had a lot of characters entering Cataclysm that were level 80 with (previously) max level professions.

This is purely speculation, but I am guessing that one of the more common ways of handling professions across multiple characters, is¬†to initially¬†play your favorite character first,¬†and along the way level that character’s professions as you go, as and how you happen to come across materials.¬†You know, as an accompanyment to the natural playing thing.

Maybe you come across “Miracle¬†Node Spawn¬†Day”, that magic moment when it seems like every time you move an inch in the zone, you see another Ore node or Herb pop up, and you kind of mentally shrug your shoulders and figure Blizzard is trying to tell you something, and go farm while the nodes are a poppin’. But mostly, you’re questing and grabbing stuff as you come across it.

After a while, though, you get excited at leveling your profession, you’ve gathered a passel o’ mats, and you get to leveling… but you come across some mats you sure do wish you had more of. But wait! If my x leveled their profession up, they could make some/transmute some!

This brings in the alternate characters, where you decide to level them just enough to get their profession up to a useable state, and then abandon them again until you’re done having fun on your mains.

It’s just a guess. I know from seeing the first day announcements that lots of people felt it was awesome to powerlevel professions right from the beginning, before moving on to anything else. And I’ve seen lots of Assistant Professors out there, and even a few people advertising making Vial of the Sands on my server, which takes max Archeaology AND having found enough jars to get lucky on the recipe drop.

Amazing diligence in profession leveling.

Oh, and if you’re on Kael’thas-Alliance side, a character named Truth is the one advertising Vial of the Sands the most… for only 3,000 gold, plus you buy and provide the mats.

Maybe it’s just me, but 3k gold ain’t that bad a markup for such a unique item like the Vial of the Sands. Not when I’ve been selling the De-Weaponized Mechanical Companion for 1300 gold, and they sell as fast as I put them up on the AH. At least, they were… I ran out of things to spend gold on, so I stopped making them.

Regardless of how you’ve done it yourself, the fact remains I have a LOT of (previously) max level professions spread amongst my characters, and while playing and checking things out, I find myself thinking about the state of professions… and wondering why things seem so off balance.

There are three classes of professions – the Gathering professions, the Primary Crafting professions, and the Secondary professions.

The Gathering professions are all wonderfully straitforward. Or are they? You get to go out and gather raw materials, right?

The implementation, though, seems odd even here.

Herbalism… you harvest Herbs. Simple, right?¬†The end result is an Herb, plus at max level a chance at Volatile Life. The Herbs are used as is, no further processing needed by the harvester; the end user has the ability to turn it into the form they need, Milling by Inscription and as is by Alchemists.

Mining, you harvest Ore, and a chance at some other Volatiles as well. Right away, it’s a different story than herbs. The end user might want the ore smelted into bars… or might not, if they are a Jewelcrafter looking to prospect for gems. As the Miner, do you put raw ore on the auction house, in case a Jewelcrafter needs it, or do you smelt it first? If you smelt it, then JCs can’t use it, but maybe people without a high enough Smelting skill trying to powerlevel Blacksmithing or Engineering will buy it up.

Skinning then goes the other way. The Skins you harvest from animals often come in the form of scraps… but the Skinner can’t convert them into the useable Leather, the end user with Leatherworking does. In the Wrath cycle, this meant that Skinners had to have a Leatherworker to take scraps and convert them so they could be sold at the Fur Trader in exchange for the most valuable pelts that sell great on the AH.

I mean, we’re not even at crafting professions, and it’s kinda all over the place, isn’t it?

What fascinates me is, Blizzard is helmed by some incredibly careful, thoughtful people. So, I don’t look at this and see it as an inconvenient mistake. I see it as an intentional variety by design… and I try and decipher the underlying intent.

Is it to keep things fresh and different? If so, that’s a good enough reason for me, but I do wonder. I’d love to know.

But about those crafting professions.

Let me give you a humorous example of thinking too damn hard when it comes to crafting.

One early Engineering item you can make, Electrostatic Condenser, is supposed to give your Engineer the chance to get some extra Volatile Air whenever they mine a node, skin a beastie or harvest an herb.

Volatile Air is a major choke point for leveling engineering. So, all excited, I make one and rush out to do a mining sweep.

In real life… not so much. Oh, I’m sure it’s fine for casual Engineering once you are at max level, and you are just gathering as you go, but when you actually want to level fast, the extra Air is just not nearly enough. I spent one afternoon mining for a few hours, slack time¬†on the server getting¬†lots of nodes in Deepholm, and I think I was seeing 2 Volatile Air for about every 15 nodes. You mix that into mining during peak times, and it’s a pretty rough drop rate.

Here’s the funny bit.

The thought occurs to me, “But wait! Maybe the drop rate is better on one of the other gathering professions!”

Ah yes, of such insidious thoughts are painful acts founded.

Immediately, I had to test this theory, which meant taking my Rogue, who, for reasons that seemed perfectly valid at the time, is a max level Engineering/Skinner, and level her to the point that I could skin enough in bulk to test the Volatile Air harvest rate.

About the time I was in Mount Hyjal and jousting against what looked like mounted¬†buzzards, it occured to me that something is off when, in order to level a profession on the character I enjoy playing right now,¬†I’m somehow playing on my Rogue instead in order to¬†skin lots of Volatile Air. I need my head examined.

Cutting it short (ha!), I leveled my Rogues’ Engineering to the point that I could make the Volatile Air harvesting doohicky, and then went to what I found to be my personal favorite fast leather harvest point; Sethria’s Roost, which can be found in Mount Hyjal around coordinates 31/80. The dragonkin are skinnable, are on an INSANELY fast respawn timer, and most players coming through right now are in such a rush to level and blow past the content that they don’t bother hanging around to skin, even if they can.

I leveled my Skinning from nothing to damn near max in one go right there over the course of less than an hour, and what I discovered was, while it FELT like the Volatile Air dropped more in the strange bloated stomach, the truth is it only seemed that way because I skinned a lot more mobs in a short period of time than I was usually finding ore nodes. I was making it up in volume.

So, Volatile Air is a choke point.

So what do I do next? Cassie tells me her main character, an actual max level 525 Alchemist, can do element transmutes, and if she does it in Uldum, she can turn Volatile Life dropped from herbs into Volatile Air, on an almost 1 for 1 basis. Plus the chance to proc some extra random Volatiles!

So we do that for a few days, and she helps feed my Engineer.

But wait! I¬†have a 450¬†Alchemist… my Enhancement Shaman.

Next thing I know, I’ve herbed enough on my Druid swimming around Vashj’ir that I can easily¬†level my Alchemy on the Shaman to the point that I can park her out at Uldum to make me Air.

But then I look at my Shaman’s Alchemy at 510, and realise that in order to continue leveling Alchemy cheaply, I could do repeat transmutes of blue quality gems, so the next step is to mine ore on my Hunter to send¬†to my Priest to prospect for gems to send to my Alchemist to transmute into blues… and the Dream Emeralds can then be sent to my Hunter to make Gnomish X-Ray Scopes.

Finally, I realize… this needs an intervention. OH MY GOD. Somebody, stop the insanity! All I wanna do is just play my Hunter, where the heck did the Priest come into the picture? What? ACK!

To bring my point around home, you look at how the different professions can feed each other, and it’s just amazing how deep you could get into this if you wanted to. The interconnectivity, the synergy between professions really impresses me even more with how canny Blizzard has been. And each profession works similarly to the others, but is still very different.

They’re not¬†equal, mind you. Some professions, like Blacksmithing ,¬†Leatherworking, Enchanting and Tailoring once again have mile long recipe lists you can purchase for expensive mats. Engineering is, what you see is what you get. At least, so far. No surprise new recipes from end game vendors in Twilight Highlands for Engineering!

Then there are the poor Jewelcrafters, who once again end up having to buy their recipes using Tokens obtained from daily quests.. and not having access to that until Twilight Highlands is finally unlocked.

I’d be unhappy for my JC, except I was able to make a pair of some kickass fist weapons for my Enhancement Shaman to use almost right away, so hey, I’m good.

I wonder… why did Jewelcrafting get to be the bitch of the professions? Can anyone explain that one?

Inscription is just as bad at first if you didn’t have it to begin with, but they didn’t add any more Glyphs in Cataclysm. Glyphs don’t get superceded by new expansions.¬†(Wait… an update. Yes, there are a small handful of new Glyphs since 3.0.3, a few through Books of Glyph Mastery, a few from minor research, a few from major. But there’s only, like, 6 or 7 spread across multiple methods of learning. Added for accuracy.) So Inscription is just fine now, making items and books and Darkmoon cards. And Origami Rocks. ūüôā It’s turned into another “fun” profession.

With how SOME professions only really get started at max level, I think it explains a little bit more why Cataclysm (or the patch right before it) introduced such a massive change in leveling professions; the inclusion of special recipes that can grant MULTIPLE skill points with one crafting.

You know, like this;

I love this change. I really do. It adds so much to the overall strategy of leveling a profession.

Plus, it’s a brilliant move for the overall economy. The items that are linked to bonus skill points are generally very expensive in terms of mats.

In the old pre-Cataclysm days, when given a choice between a dirt cheap piece of vendor trash to level a profession off of, or an item that would be useful to others players but expensive to make in mat costs, most players would go with cheap, dirty and vendored stuff.

With the addition of multiple skill points per crafting on making¬†the ‘good’ stuff, it encourages at least some players to¬†think about leveling by making the good stuff, and then recoup their expenses¬†by selling the crafted¬†items on the Auction House… where other characters might finally see something at their level they’d like to have.

Very nice innovation to encourage a livelier Auction House at lower levels. Bravo! And of course, the need for better mats just encourages a more lively market for such things, right? 

There are problems, of course, it’s not perfect. I’m sure everyone has at least one little pet peeve with their favorite profession that they wish would get changed.

I know that for me, my pet peeve is the Goblin Barbecue.

I had imagined that the Goblin Barbecue was going to work like a reuseable hibachi or grill, on a cooldown. You make the item once, and then after that, you’ve got it, but you have to use it at the right time. Kinda like Jeeves.

Unfortunately, what we got was a pretty expensive to make single use food item, with the bonus that everyone in the party can use it, but the downside is that it’s not going to have as good a stat boost as the actual high level Cooking food. So, it’s not going to see much play in raids, and it’s kind of expensive to use in pugs, but just right for 5 man runs with friends. It’s not exactly a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but I sure had higher hopes for a fun item.

Was a hibachi with a one hour cooldown really that overpowered? I’d be happy to have had a much higher initial materials cost up front for a food item for my group that wasn’t quite as good as a max level Cooking recipe, but that I could reuse once an hour. And it would¬†have been just fine with me¬†if, after making the¬†Goblin Barbeque, each use of it required some form of high level meat.¬†Much like the High powered Bolt Gun, in fact.¬†

Of course, the little voice in my head then goes on to say, if you have a barbecue, and you use a type of meat evey time you use it… can you set it up like a Paladin’s Seals and Judgments, so that each type of meat used does a different thing? I mean, something light like Grilled Talapia might give you a¬†Haste buff because it doesn’t fill you up with a heavy feeling, some serious protein like Steak or Ribs could give you a Strength buff, grilled vegetables could give you Intellect or Hit Rating (improved eyesight, dontcha know), and of course… ¬†Death Fire Habanero spice-rubbed pork loin stuffed with chiles would give you massive Spellpower boosts. From the flames smoking out your nostrils. ūüôā

Tanking food? Why, grilling a flank of a big bear’s butt provides the tanking buff. What, you had to ask?

That idea makes me so excited… but what we got was a single use food item. The Goblin Barbecue uses metal bars each time, but is apparently so flimsy it’s disposable.

It makes me a sad Bear. My one pet peeve… I wanted to hold regular cookouts, damnit!

Now, the thought occurs to me that maybe they kinda toned it down so that a cooking item that awesome wouldn’t be given to Engineers only. Maybe there was a teeny bit of “Okay, it’s cute, but max level non-Engineer cooks shouldn’t¬†have to look at Engineers with envy over cooking stuff.”

Well, fair enough, fair enough. My answer to that would have been,¬†“Why not make it like other Engineer and Alchemist items, or Enchanting items?”

Change it to an item that Engineers can make, but remove the Engineering skill level requirement? Just leave a 525 Cooking limitation. Then you could have your group food recipes require a Goblin Barbecue to make, with the addition of your own raw food materials per use. Then anyone could enjoy grilling for their friends, regardless of their crafting or gathering professions.

My one pet peeve aside, as I said… I’m very impressed with the state of professions. The improved multiple skill point system while leveling is, all by itself, a really fun advance. It adds a lot more depth to what used to be a grind.¬†

What are your thoughts? Are you having the same kinda fun… or are you feeling stressed out by something concerning professions?

Professional Pain!

Woo.

Call me the buzzkill…

I’m here to remind you that soon, Professions will have higher limits, and new recipes.

So, in honor of our upcoming grinds, I’d like to take this moment to look back on the profession fun of days gone by, and give everyone a chance to weigh in on what they consider to be the most painful profession to gain useful recipes for, once you’ve hit the max.

What, you thought I was gonna talk about painful professions to level? Oh c’mon, that’s so last year.

“But Bear, in my day we had to walk uphill to farm ore, in the snow of Icecrown, BOTH WAYS!”

Get over it. Shake it off, you ninny.

No, let’s have fun debating what the most painful profession to get all the useful recipes for¬†is.

As a person with, count ’em, four max level Engineers, I’ll do my part and kick Engineering to the curb. It’s dead easy. There are only a couple recipes to grind for, hell maybe only the one, Jeeves, if you decide not to¬†count the rep grind for the Engineering Chopper.

No, I’m thinking more along the lines of how you can whip up your Jewelcrafting to max in a few days of ore mining, and then be stuck for months as you do the daily Jewelcrafting Quest to get tokens to buy recipes. How many recipes do you need? The answer is, how many alts do you have?

Or how about Inscription, where you get to max and have fun making your Darkmoon Cards, only to realise you should’ve been doing not one but TWO daily researches, for both a Minor AND a Major. Have fun the next few months, and make sure you’ve got lots and lots of nice, tasty herbs to destroy. Oh, and don’t go on vacation, it’ll put you behind by a week.

Or how about everyone’s favorite, Enchanting. You grind and grind and grind your way up, and the higher your level, the more expensive every point is… and those Greens you used to sell for good coin get D/E’d straight down the drain to feed your voracious appetite for mats. And just when you’re nearing the end… they make your Disenchanting automatically shared among a group of four strangers. Ain’t those Blizzard cats some funny folks?

Every profession has it’s story, has it’s own hook for singing the¬†leveling blues.

What I find curious is how some professions are damn expensive, but the only thing throttling your getting all the recipes is how deep your pockets go.

Enchanting? If you’ve got the money, honey, you can get the skills. Just dump all your cash into buying Greens, D/E, rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

Leatherworking? Technically, if you feel like buying enough leather to trade into Artic Furs, well, go for it. It’s silly, but not TOO bad. Well, okay, it’s bad. Just not as bad as it used to be. Now, it’s more like a sharp whack in the forehead with a rubber mallet rather than a swing in the nuts from a sledgehammer. It feels good, but only by comparison.

How about Inscription? That must not be too bad, right? Nope, if you want all the Glyph recipes, buckle up buttercup, you’re in for a bumpy ride. Every day, two new recipes, one Minor, one Major. That’s it, thanks for playing. Try our home game!

Jewelcrafting isn’t far off, either. Your Epic Gem recipes do indeed come from the daily JC quest, but Blizzard was almost fiendishly cruel in the upgrade patch. Now they dangle the possibility of leveling faster in front of you… if you, oh I dunno…¬†just farm enough Titanium Ore to prospect. It leaves you feeling that you’re somehow being lazy if you DON’T turn thousands of gold worth of raw ore into dust.

Letting Alchemists transmute the Titanium BARS is almost grinding salt into a JCs wounds, isn’t it?

Oh, and I’m sure as bad as Blacksmithing is to level, there’s no crying at the end game leveling now that Miners can smelt Titansteel endlessly without regard for cooldown sillyness. Why, take an Alchemist making Titanium Bars, and an Engineering Miner farming the Primals and smelting Titansteel, and you’ve got a great combination to feed a leveling Blacksmith.

Not that any of us are so far advanced in the game that we’ve got multiple, or even ALL, max level Professions scattered amongst our characters. Oh, heavens no.

So, what’s your take? What do you personally feel is the most painful Profession to level once you finally hit those last few points and want to get cracking on making something useful?

Notice I don’t even mention the confusing hell that is Tailoring and cloth specialising and variations at end game, or the fun of tokens that is Cooking. ūüôā

Gotta give Cooking a big thumbs up, simply from having so many easy to get to daily quests.

As you think about it… of all the many and varied systems Blizzard has implemented in professions to learn new recipes and advance them… which do you like the best? And why?

No really, why? If your answer is you like the hardest because you’re into pain, well, that might be fun to know. ūüôā

And of course, that leaves us wondering… will any of the professions SWAP recipe leveling methods once Cataclysm comes to town? Will Blizzard decide they like one more than the rest, and just use that copy/paste?

Oooh, that fun and easy Engineering might turn into the white whale! Ahoy there, Ahab!

The BBB is hiring!

Hold up, don’t get too excited.

I ain’t hiring for the blog.

I’m not even hiring for anything game related.

I’m hiring someone for a real job.

Networking is one of the ways in which people are supposed to get good leads on positions that may be available. Consider this post as part of your network.

I have an opening for a 3rd shift Machine Maintenance Technician that I am looking to fill as soon as possible. This is a new position that has been created to fill my department’s growing needs.

The candidate I am looking for needs to be skilled, experienced and love what they do. Machine Maintenance Technicians are the investigative detectives of a production facility. People come to us with problems they just can’t solve on their own, and ask us to make all things clear and restore hope and order. Oh, and get things running again so we be making money.

This is a real posting for a position in my department. I expect to act this upcoming week on all initial phone screenings and begin arranging interviews.

If you are, specifically, a qualified and experienced Machine Maintenance Technician available for 3rd shift work in the Minnesota Twin Cities metro area, go to the bottom of this post to view the required qualifications.

If after reading the list of qualifications you feel you are qualified and experienced, and the position interests you, please email me at tigerlordgm@yahoo.com and I will send you the link to the posting.

All resumes are to be sent in following the link, the same as all others we are considering. Resumes sent in using the posting link will go directly to Human Resources, will follow our established corporate HR procedures, and the hiring process will follow all appropriate rules and regulations, local, state and federal.

This is not a method to bypass anything, it is simply an opportunity that is available for someone with the right skills and experience, and having been the subject of a layoff myself in the not-so-distant past, I want to make sure I do my part to get the word out. 

The window for sending in a resume will close on 5/7/10, so if you are interested, act now.

Continue reading

Fishing for fun, feeling weird

This last weekend was a very strange one for me.

Out of the blue, without warning, I suddenly wanted to go fishing in game.

I’ve got no freaking idea why.

I still don’t understand it, and yet when I get home I’m looking forward to logging in and doing the fishing dailies for Dalaran and Shattrath.

It started innocuously enough.

Friday, I think it was, I decided to start doing the fishing daily in Shattrath every day, in the hopes of getting Crocolisk in the City. I’ve been told that the drop rate for the old Bucket pets from that one daily quest was drastically increased in a recent patch. Like, a 50% chance of a drop.

Suddenly, I’m logging in and hitting Shat to fish.

Hey, it’s not that bad. I’ve got a whopping huge fishing skill of something like 225 to start, but pop a +100 Fishing Skill Aquadynamic dealiebob on there and we’re good to go.

Fishing for pets, it turns out, is a gateway drug.

From there, I started doing the Dalaran fishing daily.

My cooking is already maxed with most of the recipies, including the Fish Feast, but I never made any fish recipies unless Cassie gave me the fish. I never fish. Ever, ever, ever.

Well, now that I’m fishing, my guilt comes rushing to the surface.

“You know, Bear, you’re a Fish Feast mooch. Everyone else brings a Feast to groups, and you never do. You’re not pulling your weight in Fish.”

Hey! I bring my own Blackened Dragonfin!

“Yeah, but when you’re healing, if nobody brings a Fish Feast, you don’t use food.”

But I don’t know where to get the fish. That’s a lot of fish.

“Oh shut up. What, you’ve never heard of Wowhead? Go find the maps, and go get some fish.”

Fine. /fume.

I did both dailies, and then started asking where in Wintergrasp people get those damn Fish Feast fish.

Myrx came and showed me a spot, and next thing I knew, I’d fished enough to make 3 Fish Feasts in Wintergrasp.

But that ain’t enough. Oh, heck no.

Off I go again last night, after spending the day out and about.

I’ve got a bigger, more ambitious plan.

This time, I’m going to fish up 30 fish of each kind from where their pools spawn about Northrend, and make 15 more Fish Feasts. Ninety fish. Let’s go!

Grizzly Hills first for some Glacial Salmon pools. Done. Next!

Sholozar Basin for some Nettlefish pools. Done. Next!

Borean Tundra for some thingiemabobs. Musscl… scuttle… whatever the hell they are. The fish!

25 fish in, and BOOM!

I fish me up a Turtle Mount!

That’s right, yes I did. I got the Turtle Mount.

Me, the guy that has only one character that has ever fished, and that fishing skill after five years was LONG stalled at 225. And I only got that far because I felt silly that Cassie had maxed fishing skill in Burning Crusade and made it look easy.

I’ve got a Turtle Mount.

It’s almost embarrassing.

That didn’t stop me from riding it around Dalaran for a half hour last night, though. ūüôā

He’s sooo cute!

I’d post a picture, but I’ve been told I need to do a movie. So I’ll do that instead, lol.

I ended the night with a fishing skill of around 314 – 315 and I STILL want to fish some more!

Where will it end?

What’s next… PvP?

I think I’ve gone crazy.

Professions, Gathering revisited, and idle rambling

This will be a long post, because we’re in the middle of two holiday seasons here in the States, and that generally means people are sitting at work, over lunch, bored off their ass and waiting to go to New Years parties.

So I have three sections. I talk about Professions some more, I talk about Gathering techniques, and then I ramble on about readers.

I hope this provides you with some measure of distraction and enjoyment.

Yesterday, I spoke a bit about Professions.

My opening point was that everything you really want for PvE can be purchased somewhere, so you are free to choose Professions that you enjoy, Professions that excite you.

I approach my Professions, personally, as a means to both have fun, and to make useful stuffs for me and my friends. It also used to be a way for me to get advantages in playing my class in raids, but these days not so much. So while I absolutely appreciate that some folks look at your Professions strictly as a way to make money in the game, and I totally respect that, it’s not what I do. So you’re never going to get those protips here. There are plenty of other websites that are devoted to ways to make $$$ fast, and this ain’t one of them. My focus, now and forever, is on having fun in the game, as I see it.

Now, I do mention things here once in a while concerning making gold, Professions and stuff, because I would rather have more time to have what I think of as fun, and less time spent grinding or farming. Even though doing daily quests is a good way to consistently make money, I don’t like doing them because it requires I spend time grinding dailies that I could be spending doing fun things.

I do like farming for Ore and Herbs, though… because I love flying around mindlessly jamming to tunes, swooping in for loot and flying off. I find it relaxing. It’s almost evil, how much I enjoy just flying around swooping down on an Ore node or Herb frond, listening to music, for hours on end. Especially as a Hunter, since my pet keeps the mobs off my ass while I harvest.

But aside from my weird love of fly-farming (as opposed to fly-fishing, which just annoys me), I would rather spend my gold on things that someone else has spent their playtime getting and putting on the AH. I do not begrudge spending gold on what someone else farmed. They took the time to gather it,¬†playtime that¬†is quite valuable to me. They chose to spend that time farming. I didn’t make them. And since what I want is right there, at a price I can afford, and it saves me the TIME of farming it myself… well, buy it now and move along, little doggie. If the prices for items I want on the AH rise high enough that I think it’s approaching theft, ’cause it doesn’t take THAT much time to farm the bloody thing, then I’ll go get it myself. But if the price seems to me to be worth spending so I don’t waste precious game time doing my own farming, and I have the gold, then I will.

Because to me it’s not about making more money than anyone else. It’s about having enough money to do the fun things I want to do. Period.

If I have everything I want already, I don’t farm gold. Because I don’t need it. I’d rather play.

I walked into Wrath darn near flat broke, because prior to Wrath I had everything I could have possibly wanted.

Now, there are lots of things in Wrath that I’d like, for myself and for Cassie. She has a Hunter and a Rogue that need lots of epics, I have a Hunter, a Druid and a Priest that need lots of epics, and so I am actually doing things to make money… only what money I feel I need, to get what I want.

I talked yesterday about enjoying Jewelcrafting and Inscription and Engineering, because I am delighting in being able to make things we can use, the Nesingwary guns, the Mammoth Cutter ammo, the scopes, the gem cuts, the epic rings, the scrolls, and the trinkets. And those things are not just for us, but my guildies, who do not take advantage of what we can craft, but what can you do?

As soon as I had made for myself and Cassie the epic Nesingwary guns, I started sending all my spare ore to my Jewelcrafter to prospect. I have something like 14 stacks of saronite ore in the bank now, and 20 titanium bars in the bank, because my JC has at least 10 of each kind of blue gem in the bag already, so I just don’t need any more right now to provide for future guildie needs… not that guildies ever ask for cuts.

I did not sell Dragon’s Eyes on the AH until well after I got what I felt were the most critical rare gem cuts for Rogues, Druids and Hunters. I only just got the Titanium Impact Band recipe, and made one for my Hunter, and I’ve got three Dragon’s Eyes in the bank towards one for Cassie’s Rogue. Once I have made a ring for her, I’ll save tokens to get the first of the two tanking ring recipes… and make the tanking rings too. I know a few JCs that have the recipes, but why not just get them myself? I don’t really need the gold right now, and I like being able to make the stuff myself, and for anyone in the guild that needs it.

I just don’t sell ore, I don’t sell gems, I don’t sell food. I don’t sell herbs, because what I don’t use in Inscription Cassie can use to make Flasks and Pots. We use it to make stuff, and if we don’t have to make stuff, I stockpile it against the day we DO need to make stuff, and if the stockpile is big enough? Generally, I stop farming it.

What I do, is make those things I don’t need that my Professions provide, that take only a little bit of time, and sell them. The Titansteel is made every single day. I farm the ore, I farm the Eternals, I store it in advance… and after 5 days I put a stack of 5 up for 1100g. That’s free money as far as I’m concerned. Once I’ve made some epic rings, I can assure you those Dragon’s Eyes are going right back up on the AH every day. Why not? Unless a guildie needs a ring, of course.

If a guildie said to me, “Could I use your Titansteel cooldown, I’m trying to save for a such and such…” I’d just send them the Titansteel itself. I tried to do that with Falromord, and he refused to take my bars.

The gold economy is a means to an end for me, I use it to fund having fun. It’s not the end in itself.

BUT! I darn well know there are some folks who LOVE the economy game, love playing the AH, love racking up insane levels of gold.

I have absolutely nothing against it. Not at all, I can totally see the fun in it. There is a joy to be had in manipulating market conditions, buying low and reposting to fair market value, or cornering a market and posting all at high levels and watching for those that lowball, grabbing theirs as well and posting high. Lurking to see if someone will catch on and try and bust your bankroll. On our server, Bankofzerg is famous for being the controlling force behind the Alliance AH economy. Has been for years. Is he a goldseller front? Is he a machiavellian overlord of gold? Who knows? But Bankofzerg is famous simply for the percentage of AH business traffic he controls. I hear his name dropped in random conversations all the time.

I just happen to see tons of other things that, for me, are even MORE fun in the game.

I know I do not do what is smartest to make the most gold. But I do try and make what gold I need to have fun, in the shortest amount of playtime, so I have time to do other stuff.

So when I talk about stuff like this, it’s not to brag about how much money I’m making. I figure everyone has the same capability no matter what Profession they happen to have at the moment, since everyone can choose to drop a Profession that ain’t working and take something else.¬†Lord knows I have dumped so many maxed-out professions in my time for something else, that I wish there was an Achievement for having 5 or more maxed-level Professions on one character.

Windshadow alone has been a maxed Enchanter and a maxed Tailor in Burning Crusade, a maxed Engineer (twice), a maxed Miner (three times), a maxed Herbalist (once and holding), and now almost maxed in Inscription. Six maxed Professions for one toon, and that in Burning Crusade terms.

Windstar was a Engineer once, dropped it, and is one again.

Do you know, neither my Hunter nor my Druid can make the Mote Extractor, because once you drop Engineering, you can’t do the quest that gives you that recipe again?

Fortunately, Mote Extractors don’t bind, you can mail them around your toons. Whew!

Now, I know you may not enjoy your Profession for it’s own sake, you may have it for a money making enterprise. You may expect certain things from your Profession, and in the new game, you may feel disappointed that you’re just not getting what you want out of it.

But may I humbly suggest, and this is just me talking, but if you currently have a Profession or two that you hate, that you actively despise, a Profession that has you cursing Blizzard, that has made you bitter and whose rewards seem meager and vile, a Profession that does not meet your needs in the game…

CHANGE THE DAMN THING!!!

Okay, moving on.

A few thoughts on Gathering 

I mentioned yesterday that I have, amongst my two flying characters, Herbalism, Mining, and Engineering for mote farming.

I’ve talked about it before, a long time ago, but I think it bears a refresher course.

I find it convenient, when playing, to sometimes set aside time just to farm. Dedicated time spent cruising to tunes, following a routine, swoop in and grab dat Herbage, and move-move on-on.

To facilitate mindless farming, I use an entire suite of various addons, each providing me something the others cannot alone.

The litany of addons?

Cartographer (for the base map that I use, compatible with QuestHelper, Routes, and all addon marking.)
Fubar 3.5 (for easy access to my RoutesFu menu.)
Gatherer
GathererDB (provides a comprehensive database of all nodes of Mining and Herbs on Wowhead. Very complete. Import this into Gatherer.)
GatherMate
GatherMate_Sharing
GatherMate_Data (I use the GatherMate suite of addons, with all Mining and Herbs shut off, to provide me with my updatable Cloud nodes for Engineering farming.)
Routes
RoutesFu

Routes is a truly remarkable addon, and it still works great. It is completely compatible with Cartographer farming data, Gatherer and GatherMate. When you set up a new route in a zone, you can select exactly which data, from what addon source, you want included in the route… and then you can choose what color to make the route. You can shut some off so as not to clutter your screen or minimap, or you can make them all different colors so you can see what is what and leave them all up there. You can certainly mix and match, such as Mining and Steam Clouds for a Mining Engineer, for example.

I personally use Gatherer as my source for Mining and Herbalism node routes, because GathererDB is an incredibly complete source for nodes and I like the Gatherer interface, and GatherMate for mote Clouds since it grows it’s database and learns as you find gas clouds of your own.

I also go into each addon and turn off node marking, since the route lines themselves serve as markers for me. I have found that with so many addons, sometimes the node markers can actually obscure the golden dot of the node itself. Slows ya down, trying to figure out if that is really a node there or not on the map. Can’t be having with that!

routemap.jpg 

As you can see from the picture I’m using as an example, I have three routes setup in Sholozar. I have a green route for farming Adder’s Tongue, a red route for Steam and Fire Clouds, and a light blue route for Ore.

See? Isn’t that awesome? A nice route right there on your minimap that you can use to follow and look for nodes.

Now, you might ask yourself, “Isn’t he shooting himself in the foot by posting this? Isn’t he afraid of more competition?”

Well, no, I don’t think so.

And that brings us to talking about you, my readers. The few, the proud… the demented.

First, for one thing, ain’t that many folks read this blog. I mean, c’mon, it’s nice to think so, but there are a lot of servers, and the chances that more than 3 or 4 people on any one server read this blog are fairly remote, I’d think. You’re not gonna crush an economy by sharing gathering tips with 3 or 4 folks on a server.

For the other thing, I have noticed that I have two main groups of folks that seem to read my blog.

The majority of readers are incredibly nice, come from all walks of life, and mostly seem to have two common bonds; a love for and enthusiasm for the game, and an appreciation for the same weird sense of what passes for humor around here as I have.

Druid love is optional ūüôā

Then there is the other group. The ones that come here to bitch about theorycrafting and jump on my and anyone else’s mistakes in comments, and stroke their own egos. I keep hoping they’ll leave us alone, to be honest. And with my not posting a ton of theorycrafting, with my leaving WoW Insider so as to stop drawing some of the¬†immature fanbase they seem to cherish and nuture in their comments in the quest for greater pagehits, I think that group has begun to¬†die out.

See, I think of those of you who have stuck with the blog as my friends, peers, fun folks to hang with and geek out together and generally feel free to be just as flaky as me. Not, as some people seem to think,¬†as master and servant, teacher and student.¬†No, you are fellow travelers along the road of geekdom. I ain’t here to educate, just to share and write and have fun.

Because that’s what we are, fellow travelers sharing our joy and enthusiasm for the game. I don’t write for ANYONE except you.

I try not to be judgmental on any aspect of the game we play. I’m judgmental on lots of stuff, but not on that. And there is a good reason for that.

Everyone’s got different interests, different backgrounds, different priorities, different ways of enjoying playing the game. I don’t see any of them as being inherently better than the others, or having more validity or being more important aspects of the game. Some undoubtedly take more effort, preparation or time commitments than others. But time is something that some folks don’t have available for such things. It does not mean that people who DO spend the time are better than those who do not, or vice versa. Not to me. They are both just playing the game as their lifestyle and interests permit them to. Period. Raiders, no, I do NOT think your playstyle is more special or important than roleplayers. Nor do I think that you are better players than those with a more casual playstyle. You may think so, but I do not share that opinion. Nor do I think that people who love PvP are less important or deserve less respect than people focused on PvE. Nor do I think people on PvP servers are more leet than those on PvE servers. It’s not better, it’s just a different emphasis on aspects of the same game.

And no, I do not think that those people who spend hours on theorycrafting the math behind why things work in the game are special or better than other folks, or smarter either. OMIGOD, not in the slightest. Because in truth, anyone can do so. There is nothing unique in the ability to manipulate numbers. It takes time to gather data, a definite investment in time and effort, and I appreciate those who make that effort to share some guidance on how things work, and choose to provide tips based on research to help folks that have not made that effort to better succeed in the¬†game.¬†I just don’t think doing it makes someone better or smarter¬†than other players, thank you very much. The majority of people that play a video game for entertainment just choose¬†not to spend hours gathering data and doing maths. That’s not part of the playstyle they enjoy. Some folks do; again, everyone enjoys different parts of the game.

I do laugh hilariously at folks that make calculated assumptions, known in professional circles as scientific wild ass guesses (or SWAGs), and then spend time deriving detailed mathematical models for how things will change based on those SWAGs… and then rant about it. It’s a subset of the genre that really amuses the living heck out of me. Yes, I am petty in this regard. It’s a weakness, a defect in character I choose not to work on.

But I don’t judge people based on what kind of game, what kind of playstyle they enjoy. Why the heck would I?

I just judge people based on how they treat other people, on how they act. I reserve the right to rant at those I personally perceive to be asshats all day long, but never on how you like to play the game.

When I had the pleasure to meet some readers last November, I asked what they enjoyed doing in the game the most… not to judge them, or to decide who to talk to. I wanted to know because I only play a narrow part of the game, and I love talking to people that play different parts of the game I never experience. It’s fun.¬†It’s geeking out on enthusiasm for the game, and I love it.¬†¬†

Those are the readers I love, the readers I try and encourage, the vast majority of kick-ass nice folks I wish I got more of a chance to chat with in the comments and via email.

You know, the folks who are probably only reading this blog while at work, over a lunch break in between webcomics, and comment from work, and when they get home are too busy actually doing stuff and having fun to post a comment.

God bless you, keep it up. ūüôā

Anyway, I think we’re alone now. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. I think we’re alone now… the beating of my heart… Gah! Okay, hold on, gotta get that song out of my head…. /cry. Quick, someone cue up some Ramones, I wanna be sedated after that.

There. Sorry.

Now,¬†with this blog being, essentially, as asshat-free a zone as I can possibly make it and still have a free flowing exchange of ideas…

You’re my friends.¬†OF COURSE I want my friends to get the most benefit out of their farming time. Of course I do! What am I, Ebeneezer McDuck over here? Hoarding the Ore and Herbs? Mine! Mine, I tell you!

Nah, I want you to go out there and farm what you want to farm, as efficiently and quickly as possible, so you can get it done and move on to playing! And if the farming happens to be what you like best, well, you probably already use those addons and far, far more.

Just do me a favor, and don’t go broadcasting it to the heavens. See, the gold farmers undoubtedly already know all about it, but maybe that jerk that wants to fight you for each and every single Titanium node, whether you have already started mining it or not, doesn’t.

So instead, just share the addons with your friends, and make sure everyone you know that’s a friend of yours is getting the most out of their gathering professions, and do your bit to compete with the goldfarmers on a level playing field. And hope that the Titanium node jerkoff doesn’t know about that sweet mining spot in Icecrown where you always find that one overlooked node.

Have fun, and I’ll see you in game!

Professions = 99.5% awesome

First, before all the incredibly cranky people twist around what I’m saying, allow me to be clear about this; I think that the new system of acquiring Profession recipes is 99.5% better than the old way. Okay? This ain’t a QQ. It’s a discussion. A musing. A rumination.

So when you read what I have to say, keep in mind… I’m talking about that teeny, tiny little 0.5% amount of annoyance.

So, if life is so rosy, what is there to be annoyed about?

Well, let’s recap.

In old WoW, for our Professions, speaking entirely in general terms, we knew going in that when we chose a Profession, we were going to have to level it up by making lame stuff that won’t sell. If we were lucky, we’d make stuff we could have Disenchanted, or we’d have one or two items we could make while leveling that would be in demand at the Auction House, or might be useful for a day or two.

For the most part, we knew going in that the recipes we learned from the trainer were crap.

At the uppermost levels of the Profession, the trainer would have some recipes that might be useful, especially if you weren’t a raider. And there might be some tasty stuff that cost a fortune in mats that only the person with the Profession could use, BoP.

And we knew that the bulk of our recipes from then on out came one of two ways; as a lucky BoP drop in an instance or raid, or as a random BoE drop that we’d probably have to pay a fortune for on the Auction House.

Yes, some always came from a particular mob you could go spend some time farming, but for the most part, if you wanted to really be a solid practitioner of your Profession, you had to drop a ton of gold, raid your ass off, or both.

This, of course, left non-raiders screwed.

How many people here, with a Profession you invested time and effort and money in, had to search in Trade chat for someone with the same Profession, just to get that enchant or crafted item or gem cut you really wanted to help your DPS or Heals or prepare for raiding?

How many people ended up having to go to the Official WoW Realm forums asking to be given a name to hunt down, looking for that rare person from raiding guilds that both knew the recipe and was willing to craft it?

I know I certainly did. Several times.

I always tipped very well, but the fact remains that I had to go find someone else who had a recipe I knew I would never have the chance to see.

Fast forward to now.

Almost all, if not all, recipes come from either the trainer, or from doing some soloable activity. It may take time, it may take a lot of time, especially for those with a random chance like Transmutes and Discoveries… but the only thing standing between a player and maxing his/her Profession and collection of viable recipes is time and individual effort. Not raiding progression, not random World Drop recipe chances in the AH.

Now, you can have your Profession, and be in a small comfortable guild of friends, and have that satisfaction that comes from being the person all your friends can go to for the enchants they want. Or the Blacksmithing items. Or the Gem cuts. Or the Potions or Elixirs. Or the Cloth. Or the Epic Guns and ammo. Or the leather gear.

Damn, that’s a satisfying feeling, isn’t it? To have a Profession, and be able to make what people want?

It’s freaking awesome.

BUT.

But there is that 0.5% annoyance.

What could it possibly be?

Why, I’m glad you asked. I’ll be happy to tell you!

It is the lack of something to satisfy the Primal Collecting Urge.

I have a bit of the collecting bug. That means that, while I do enjoy the acquisition of something, I love the CHASE, the pursuit, the planning, the stalking, and the pounce on that item even more.

Not that kind of stalking. shhh.

I get an item, and I’ll enjoy the glow for a moment, bask in the warmth of a successful operation… then file it away and move on to the next pursuit.

With the current design of Professions, that Primal Collecting Urge is going partially unsatisfied.

The daily pursuit is still there. The leveling. The acquiring of items needed to do dailies or perform transmutes. Recipes to gather tokens to obtain.

But that small part of the chase, the rare as sin recipe drop, is mostly gone.

For small pet owners, we’re talking about knowing that, somewhere out there, is the Emerald Whelpling. And someday, someday you are going to plan out your hunt for that Emerald Whelping, and spend a number of days if necessary, but that baby will be yours. Oh yes, yes it will.

But not today. Today, you have other things to do. Busy with quests, or real life.

But in your heart, the Emerald Whelpling hunt is lurking… biding it’s time. Waiting for the day. ANTICIPATING the day.

If you’re not a collector, you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about.

Now, I DO NOT want to change things so that there is a single recipe that is the ‘best’ recipe for any purpose that relates to raiding or PvP, that comes from an exclusive style of content. I don’t want to see any rare recipes that drop from 25 man high end raids or really high Arena rating that you’ll end up trying to get crafted in the Trade channel.

What I’d like instead, are rare vanity drops from regular or difficult content, hard to acquire recipes… that do not have an effect on raiding capability, and also would not take the place of a regular raid item. Drops that you can solo. A hail mary drop, that you can actively plan on hunting ‘when you have time’.

There are so many things that could fill that category, of vanity drops.

Would you like to speculate on some possibilities? I know I would.

The rules would be simple. It can’t be something that would materially affect, in a positive way, raid progression or PvP victory. And it should if at all possible be something that would only benefit the one that picked it up. The Profession version of the small non-combat pet.

My idle imaginings include….

Engineering recipes for neat new mechanical pets. What in particular? Hehehe… one word. “Mechagodzilla”

Tailoring recipes for dyes. A dye you could create that, when applied to a piece of gear, tints that gear slightly towards one shade, or changes one part of the flare towards that color. It would allow you to tint your gear towards one unifying color scheme, to make mismatched pieces blend together better.

Another Tailoring possibility that already exists is a parachute you could use like a spell, and once used, you could scavenge it for cloth scraps the way Engineers could when using Targeting Dummies.

One last Tailoring idea from me… war banners. War banners in the style of Japanese Samurai frmo some of my favorite movies, that would be mounted on a pole rising from the character’s back, proudly displaying the tabard colors of the player’s guild waving over his head.

How about Enchanting, where you could create new vanity Wands… like a wand that had limited charges, but could turn someone into a Frog or a Bunny or another specific change. Not more costumes… real shapechange wands. Mess not with the affairs of wizards, dontch’a know. What, do you WANT to be turned into a frog? Of course, they could NOT be used on an enemy NPC, or when in Combat.

Another Enchanting possibility is quite simple… auras. Some enchants continue to sell well, even though their combat benefit is negligible, sinply because they have pretty glows.

So formalize it! Make Enchanting recipes that don’t have any real in game effect… they just provide neat glow effects, or sparklies, for weapon or gloves or helm or cloak, etc etc. Similar, I think, to the Embroidery concept, I’d think.

I’m just curious… am I the only one that feels this way? That even though it’s really darn awesome the way things are now… I wish thre was still the stupid rare drop chance waiting out there, somewhere. Keeping the anticipation alive.

Even if you don’t agree, let me know… use your imagination, what neat non-raid or PvP affecting craftable recipe drop would you love to see?=

Undecided about Professions?

So am I.

Yeah, I know, sorry. You saw the title of the post, and thought maybe I could guide you in what to take for your Druid.

I honestly don’t know, anymore.

I personally think that the Professions¬†don’t feel¬†complete.

Some Professions feel like they have been looked at carefully, the Gathering Professions for example each have their main use, plus one neat bonus.

We can discuss which bonuses we think are more valuable, Crit from Skinning, a passive

Health bonus from Mining or a proactive HoT (Lifebloom) from Herbalism… but still, each Gathering Profession has some fun.

But the others… it just feels strange.

Okay, take Cooking. In Dalaran, there is a repeatable daily quest you can do that will give you a Dalaran Cooking Award. These Awards are currency, get entered into your Currency tab, and it costs 3 Awards to buy Cooking Recipes, available from the Dalaran vendor. Recipes like Tracker Snacks. These recipes are also drops, but if you are missing a particularly desired recipe, you have a way to get it.

Likewise, Enchanters have a vendor they can visit in Dalaran, Vanessa Sellers, who will sell new Recipes in exchange for Dream Shards. Not an item from a daily quest, Dream Shards are the new Large Prismatic Shards, obtained from Disenchanting higher end blues. Pretty nice enchants, too. So there are Trained recipes, and Enchanters can also D/E stuff and buy recipes.

And what about Inscription? Again, there is a method, other than the Trainer, that Inscription can use to get new recipes, such as Northrend Inscription Research.

Leatherworkers can make a lot of awesome stuff, such as the Durable Nerubhide Cape, Trollwoven Spaulders and the entire 8 piece Eviscerator set…

Do you know how you get a lot of those awesome recipes?

A vendor in Dalaran, Braeg Stoutbeard, sells them in exchange for Leatherworking items such as Arctic Fur and Heavy Borean Leather.

So you’ve got Trainer recipes, and then you have a selection of recipes you can acquire by Skinning.¬†

Oh, and did you see those items? Bind on Equip. The Bind on Pickup for LW seems to be Leg Armor like the Frosthide Leg Armor. Nice? Absolutely. No question. (Sorry, Riverwish pointed out the Leg Armor is sellable as well, it just makes your item soulbound… just like using a new scope does. Now Leatherworking confuses me more than ever.) So Druids, Hunters, Shamans and Rogues will all be able to fill out items by pestering a Leatherworker. Not bad, right?

Do you see a trend here? It seems pretty consistent, right? 

I mean, Alchemists get Northrend Alchemy Research… Jewelcrafters have a LOT of recipes they buy from Tiffany Cartier using Dalaran Jewelcrafter’s Tokens from daily quests… they all seem pretty consistent to me.

You get some recipes up front from a Trainer, and then later on, as you USE your profession, you can pick and choose other recipes from a vendor to target your needs first, and fill in the gaps later.

It is a smart, multi-tiered approach. I like it. 

But then let’s look at Engineering…

WTF?!?

In the new expansion, there are a selection¬†of self-only enchants… quite a lot of gear that requires Engineering skill to use… the new Goggles of course… you can make Scopes and Ammo to share, and there are Epic Guns eventually you can sell, and boy those Overcharged Capacitors are in high demand…

But every single recipe is available directly from the Trainer, except for the Motorcycles (which are Rep based). 

What you get from the Trainer as you level, is what you get. 

The Motorcycle, the Tanking gun and the DPS gun, the Mana and Healing Injectors, the Scopes and new Ammo machines… these are all going to sell. No question.

But, in comparison, it seems very strange. Engineers are totally up front from the Trainer, and what you see when you browse his inventory is it. No questing or drops or seeking more stuff elsewhere.

It’s an awesome profession, especially for Hunters. The Mark “S” Boomstick is Bind on Pickup, equippable at level 73 and is a teensy bit better than the 150 Badge Crossbow… the Goggles are pretty awesome… you still get to farm¬†Gas Clouds…¬†it’s not a bad profession at ALL.

But it still seems damned strange.

And then there is Tailoring… again, neat, but what you see from the Trainer seems to be it. Very strange.

Blacksmiths can create Sockets in their own gear… adding a couple sockets is pretty amazing for customization, if you’re min/maxing your stats¬†it might be considered the most flexible raiding choice at the moment. But again,¬†everything they learn seems to come straight from the vendor, and most of the rest of¬†it is BoE… ¬†

It’s just so strange. Why do some professions seem to have been given more consideration than others?

Is it because some have more desirable BoP powers than others? Are the Blacksmith sockets, Engineer Goggles and Mote Extracting, and Tailoring Cloak embroidery considered that OP?

Ah well….

What to do? What to take?

I have no idea. The BoP leg armors of Leatherworking are a nice addition, certainly… ¬†but so are the BoP Trinkets of Jewelcrafters, the BoP self-enchants of Enchanters, the Self-only Trinkets of Alchemists, the self-only Goggles of Engineers, the sockets of Blacksmiths.

For now, I just can’t analyze which might be the most fun, AND the most advantageous for my Feral Druid. Not yet. I need more time to see how things shake out.

So what am I doing?

Well, my Priest is still a Jewelcrafter/Tailor at the moment… BUT, with the expansion, my Jewelcrafter is now not necessarily important. After all, those recipes I have right now are all worthless compared to even the lowliest Northrend green. So I could drop it if I wanted something like Enchanting. Maybe I will, now that enchants can be shared with Inscription… and being able to D/E all the stuff you get questing from 70 – 80 would be sweet.

My Hunter? Engineering / Mining. Now and forever. The profession is awesome fun for the one that has it. The trinket teleports, the mote farming, the guns and scopes and ammo and goggles and motorcycle and self-enchants…

My Hunter is played for FUN first and foremost… and Engineering is fun.

But my Druid…

I was an Herbalist / Engineer. I took a long, hard look, and decided that while I love Lifeblood too much to abandon it… I could NOT decide what else I wanted. And I did not want to try and level two Engineers.

So I dumped Engineering Sunday evening… and spent the last two nights leveling Mining on Windshadow.

Last night, I dinged 300 Mining in Silithis, and logged out in Hellfire, ready to fly/farm my Mining the rest of the way.

Dual-Gatherer.

No matter what direction I go, I’ll at least make some money leveling, and feed Cassie’s Herbalism and Windstar’s Engineering… and when the time comes at 80, I’ll figure out where to go then.

I am so sad… I love making stuff… I just have no idea what to take on Windshadow.

I’ll figure it out. I just hope I don’t decide at 80 that I should have taken Enchanting.

I know I’ll be asked…. how did I go to 300 mining in two nights?

Easy, really… Darkshore routes for Copper and Tin, smelting for the points, then in the middle of Tin moving to Barrens… then from there, getting Tin and Silver and smelting Bronze for skillups, move directly to Badlands for circuits of Iron and eventually Mithril. Once Mithril gets near 200, moving to Searing Gorge for more Mithril, and grind up to Dark Iron Ore. Get a ton of Dark Iron Ore, from farming BRD and the AH, and then go into BRD to learn Dark Iron smelting, and smelt it all. (I got 25 points that way, it stays Orange to 300).¬†Once dinging 275 from Small Thorium and Dark Iron, I pop out to Silithis and farm the Hive Mounds for the Ooze-covered Thorium Ore.

Sigh.

I am grateful that most stuff is BoE now, so a Leatherworking set isn’t make or break.

But it does make choosing a profession that much harder, when you have multiple toons and are undecided.

Gahhh!!!!