Lake Wintergrasp

We hit 76 with the druid and shaman last night, one more level to go and we can fly again!

Ptoom ptoom!

Ptoom ptoom!

Despite seeing that giant cluster of red/blue stuff on the map everytime we flew near Dalaran, we didn’t really know what Lake Wintergrasp was supposed to be about except for something about siege battles. So when my wife found out that the next battle was supposed to start in 15 minutes, we decided to give it a try.

There’s a battlemaster/portal conjurer in the BG section of Dalaran that lets you know when the next battle is, and creates a portal to go there. This part is a bit iffy since the portal was there for Yannie, but when my druid went there it wasn’t but it popped up after a couple of minutes with the portal conjurer yelling something about needing reinforcements for Wintergrasp.

When you first zone in, there’s a flight path so pick that up straightaway. The whole zone is pretty big, and chock full of level 80 elementals so beware if you’re in the low 70s.

The initial part plays kinda similar to Eye of the Storm. One side is the attacker, and one is the defender. This might be determined by who last held control, e.g. if Horde controlled it then when it becomes contested Horde will be defending and Alliance attacking. Last night Alliance was attacking, so when we landed we were on the outside of the fortress. There were about 5-6 siege workshops scattered around the map, so first we rode over and capped all of those (similar to capping towers in EotS). 

With control of the towers, you can now build and pilot siege weapons. However, you first need to be promoted to Rank 1. This seems to occur as you kill enemy players. So basically, the first stage involves fighting on foot to control the workshops. After just a couple of enemy kills, you should get promoted. Killing more players/npcs then gets you promoted to Rank 2, in which you can pilot demolishers and siege engines, and then Rank 3 which apparently lets you pilot some flying machines but we didn’t get that far.

Building a siege weapon just involves talking to a NPC inside the workshop, and doesn’t seem to cost anything. We then trundled out over to the fortress and started blasting the walls, turrets, players, each other, basically everything. The Horde players were taking control of the turrets to shoot us and also built their own siege weapons to fight back. There is supposed to be a buff to the outnumbered players that increases their damage and hps, which might explain why some horde pally on foot hit my catapult for 8k per hit since Horde was outnumbered as usual. However, I don’t think this makes up for 13 Alliance tanks vs 3 Horde >.<

battle-city-1

Horde tank defending against the Alliance zerg

So long story short, after blasting Horde (and getting blasted back) for about 20 minutes we managed to break into the main fortress area, where the Horde were holed up. From what was being said in chat, it seems like there is a relic in the main room, and our objective was to take that relic. However Horde was not being cooperative and there was a protracted battle outside the room. With 3 minutes to go, somehow we managed to cc/kill the defenders and a stealthed rogue ninja’d the relic for victory. Guess rogues are still useful for something after all…

With control of Wintergrasp, besides the Northrend-wide buff a instance portal also opened up in the main hall in Wintergrasp Fortress, which I believe leads to a raid boss that’s tank and spank and drops T7 + arena gear. There are also portals in the hall to all the BGs and back to Dalaran.

All in all, very fun though it caused us to stay up past bedtime. Remains to be seen how popular this will be, though the benefits are really very nice for the winning side.

WotLK so far… Instances

Since we’re playing a tank and healer combination, we’ve also been able to do instances as we level with some of our friends. So far, all the instances are pretty much completely brain-dead easy though they didn’t drop much good gear anyway.

I’m thinking this may be due to Blizzard tuning the fights for heroic difficulty. Despite what some people think, the difficulty of a boss fight isn’t just about adjusting how many hps he has or how much damage he deals. Some mechanics become completely irrelevant and the fight changes completely if you just totally overpower everything, hence the wave of people zerging into BT and Hyjal after the 3.0 patch. So if the fights are actually tuned for heroic, in normal you pretty much just kill everything because the bosses don’t even get to use their abilities. The typical boss fight becomes:

1) WTFpwn the boss

2) If the boss summons adds, WTFpwn the adds

3) Go back to 1)

I was actually intending to go into further detail on each specific instance, but then I realised that each boss strategy from Utgarde Keep up to Drak’tharon could be summed up by the above 🙂 and of course, don’t stand in “X”, whatever “X” is. Even my crappily geared feral tank (about 20k armor and 16k hps, which seems very low for a bear) can easily aoe tank everything with no fear of dying.

WotLK so far… Borean > Howling

It’s been about 10 days since the expansion was launched, but it seems much longer… There’s been a lot of stuff to do, hence the lack of posting 🙂

Levelling

We’ve gone ahead with our plan to level my feral druid and her elemental shaman first, and it’s been really fun. The quests in the expansion are generally much more fun, and they are spaced conveniently in nice hubs too. The gear was not great initially and mostly went to either off-sets or vendored. The exception would be trinkets, there seem to be many more trinkets that do sort of cool stuff and I can’t resist keeping them all… in case, you know, I need them some day (uh oh… someone’s gonna clean up my bags again).

So far we’ve hit 75, kinda behind a lot of the people in our guild but we’ve been playing at a comfortable pace. We started initially in Howling Fjord, but somehow migrated over to Borean Tundra after being summoned there to do the Nexus. In my opinion, Borean Tundra is easier to level in than Howling Fjord, for the following reasons:

1) The ship just goes from Stormwind straight to Valiance Keep, without going on a sightseeing trip through the ravine like the one in Howling Fjord. Much faster. Especially annoying since we still hearthed to Shattrah since we hadn’t gotten to Dalaran yet.

2) Borean Tundra is spread out on flat ground, making it much easier to travel around. Howling Fjord is… well… a fjord. The howls are probably howls of frustration when you realise that you have to take that damn dwarfplane from the town all the way down the ravine and up again just to get to the dwarf encampment that overlooks the town on the cliff. And then you realise there’s a quest up there that asks you to get something from… the town.

3) There seem to be more flight paths and inns in Borean Tundra, that all lead naturally to each other. Makes it very easy to get to a mailbox or vendor to clean out stuff (as a skinner, I really really really fill up fast. I can’t resist skinning everything I run past…) Westgarde Keep in Howling Fjord is really kinda out of the way and makes you run there with no good reason besides “here’s a quest, go run halfway across the map and turn it in there”.

4) Much better dailies in Borean Tundra. There’s a quest to bring you to the lovable walruses (I don’t even know what the plural of walrus is… walruss? walri?) fairly early on, and it’s in a convenient location near a few inns/flight points. This makes it easy to do it every day while levelling. There’s also another daily near the Nexus (might be Wyrmrest rep, not sure) that’s fairly quick and easy to do. In comparison, the walrus daily in Howling Fjord requires going down to Kamagua on the other side of the map (which you need to take a lift down to… ) and is not as simple to do as it requires you to first get a bunch of tasty reef fish from schools that can be far out in the ocean, and then lure a seal to another. The zeppelin bombing daily from Westgarde Keep is, quite frankly, one of the dumbest dailies ever. You’d probably do it once just for fun but I will never ever do it again, its a complete waste of time.

So as it stands now, we’ve completed every quest in Borean Tundra and have moved on to Dragonblight, where we just hit 75 last night. Yannie got her Lava Burst spell, and Noork got Savage Roar but we haven’t had time to play with those yet. We’ve also been trying to do the cooking dailies every day to get a head start on collecting cooking awards and spices.

While my wife is tired or doing other things, I’ve also been levelling my pally. He’s recently hit 73 and is in Borean Tundra as well. Despite being “nerfed” ret pallies are still stupidly overpowered, 3 button presses in 4.5 seconds pretty much blows apart any mob. With Gift of the Naaru and Lifeblood, he pretty much never has to heal and he never runs out of mana. I just realised that I didn’t train Divine Plea until now, which gives him 25% of mana back every 1 minute. Geez. I don’t understand how people can complain about quitting because their ret pally was nerfed…

I’ve also been herbing insanely with my pally (there’s a lake in Borean Tundra where I went from 400 herbalism to 450 in about an hour while doing quests in the area) to give some herbs to Yannie for her to level up alchemy, and doing JC dailies and walrus dailies. So there’s lots of stuff to do, and we’ve only done about 2 zones worth of content.

(She Says) Baby Blizzard Bear

 Yesterday, Blizzard had an achievement and baby bear giveaway for logging on during the 4th year anniversary of WoW. baby-blizzard-bearImagin,e 11 million baby bears bound up in mail packages and delivered to each player’s mailbox. Good thing we picked them out quickly and gave them lots of fresh air and exercise (if running along a ground mount on a leash counts. Look at those furry legs go!). If Blizzard knows nothing else, they at least know that no one can resist such a warm bundle of cuteness!

I’m still trying to get my skunk from collecting 50 pets. Previously in BC, there were only around 45 pets you can get from vendors and quests. For the last 5, unless you got some from the non-recurring events like Collector’s Edition etc, you’d have to farm for them. Think those pesky firefly, whelpling and oozlings. I still haven’t given up on the crocodile pet though. I have one on the druid but it’s my shaman that is collecting pets now =_= Too bad pets are not account bound instead. 

In wotlk,  I’m also  working my ass for the walruses to earn from them the Pengu pet! Though at the rate they are collecting those wolvar pups from questing players, I won’t be surprised if they gave those out as extras eventually. Hmmm…where do you think they got those penguins in the first place??? mmmmmkkkay…. These walruses may be more sinister than their benign appearance led on. But shush, anything for my little Pengu.

(She Says) WotLK Thoughts and the Arbitrager

scrooge diving in goldPeople come into the expansion with different goals. 

For some, it’s a race to level 80. But it’s not for me. I enjoy the leisurely tour of the new content. I want to stop and read the quest text instead of skimming through in 2 seconds and go “ok, he wants some wolves killed. Where da wolfies? KEEEEEL”. I like the rolling greens in the new expansion which reminds me of Mulgore. Some of the new quest types with the siege machines are also quite fun. The quest groups I enjoy the most are actually the death knight ones. The story element of the quests are strong and quite interesting. Even if you do not intend to play a DK, I would still recommend rolling one to enjoy the story of how DK’s come to be part of the Alliance/ Horde.

There are also people who have spent thousands of gold power levelling their professions either for the title of server first or to command monopoly pricing as one of the only service providers of their profession. Most likely the former since I’m guessing the cost of their levelling will be hard to recoup. My crafting professions lie in neglect as I wait for prices to drop. Whatever raw materials I get now, I would rather sell at a premium to those powerlevellers.

Then comes my favorite activity in the expansion, making gold! I’ve been keeping an eye on the Dollar Signsauction house for mispriced raw materials. Since many people are busy levelling, the supply of raw materials is low. On the other hand, demand for most old world items have dropped dramatically as well. Primals for example are now going for 5g or less from 10-15g right before the expac. As there are fewer traders in the market and people are unsure of the new equilibrium prices, there is room for arbitrage. Your mileage may vary depending on your server but some of the things that are “hot” and has potential will be:

  1. Quest items i.e overcharged capacitator
  2. Things for Profession Skillups i.e leathers, gems, ores, cloth
  3. Things that help you level faster i.e health pots, elixirs, buff food

 Things in other categories such as non-combat pets have taken a back seat though this will surely make a comeback in the coming months once the levelling phase is over. A few factors will pull prices in different directions so I’m not sure how much prices will change at the moment but I’m wary of holding too much inventory of the wotlk items because prices will surely fall as more players hit the level cap and start farming for gold. This will be partly mitigated by inflation as dailies flood the servers with gold.  Unless blizzard puts in more effective gold sinks to siphon off the excess cash.

Opportunity Cost… a.k.a. Fallacies of Farming

The concept of opportunity cost is very prevalent in most economic theories, but seems to be very poorly understood in reality. In essence, opportunity cost refers to what a person “could have done” with the time spent performing an action, or what he “gave up” in order to obtain something.

“Time is money, friend!”

Despite being a concept that the friendly goblins of WoW try to drum into our brains every time we click on them, this still hasn’t taken root among the dessicated soil in the heads of the average WoW player. Time and time again, otherwise perfectly rational people seem to express the idea that “if I farmed it, I got it for free”.

Think again… just because you spent 2 weeks flying around farming ore nodes and primals for some epic craftable item, doesn’t mean you saved yourself a bunch of gold. You could easily have spent the same amount of time doing daily quests, and using the resulting funds to purchase all your mats off the auction house with a fair amount to spare. The same applies to farming for herbs to make potions and flasks before a raid, another favourite complaint. Due to the fact that alchemy specialisations allow procs for potions and flasks, the cost of potions and flasks will always be lower than those of the materials. Rather than farming the mats to make the stuff yourself, you’d be better off just buying the flasks and potions.

In a similar vein, be wary of guides which say that its a real money maker to do stuff such as farm primals and heroics for primal nethers, and then craft Epic Item X to sell on the AH for 2,000 gold. “BUT 2k GOLD!!!!!” you might say. The kicker is that doing so doesn’t earn 2k gold, it earns whatever the difference is between the cost of the mats and the time taken to gather a group to do heroics and win the roll on the nether. Which is probably considerably less, especially when you could probably sell the mats for a large proportion of the total sum and get more cash via other means than the cost of the nether. Sure, it’s still profitable, but it’s not as lucrative as it may appear at first glance.

“Bakers don’t grow their own wheat”

Another consequence about opportunity cost is that some people are better at doing things than others. In effect, some people have lower opportunity costs for obtaining particular items. This is how the economy works in real life. The farmer is good at growing vegetables, but he’s crap at making bread. So he sells vegetables, and buys bread from the baker.

So how does this relate in-game? Time and time again I’ve seen people ask “I’m a fire mage, I need someone to help me kill these fire elementals so I can make my Spellfire set”. Well no shit sherlock, that’s going to be tough on you considering they’re immune to 90% of your spells. Of course the geniuses in /1 will then tell him “You still have frostbolt lolz”. The point is, why does he have to farm fire elementals? He could simply go farm water elementals, blow them apart in 2 secs each, and sell the primal waters and buy primal fires. If you have to farm something that’s not BoP, do whatever gives you the most gold for your time and use the gold to buy whatever you were after in the first place.

This also applies to stuff like Aldor and Scryer rep tokens. If your character isn’t great at killing the ranged Sunfury mobs, then go kill the melee demons that drop Aldor tokens and exchange them for Scryer tokens with some other guy who’s got tons of them.

So in closing, just remember that Farming isn’t Free, even though they begin with F. Unless you just like farming… in which case knock yourself out, I’ll happily buy your stuff for cheap on the AH.

(She Says) What to Level in Wrath

So yes, I do have just about the same of alts as the husband. But only just to keep him company. Plus he technically still has his abandoned mage at level 55+. So that’s still one more than me! Most of my characters were companions to his character.

Druid (levelled with his warlock)

I’ve enjoyed playing a druid in my MUDD days so this was an obvious choice. Part of the reason I remember was also because druids were in short supply…. and they still were in the pve environment. I wanted to play a healer with some marginal capability for dps. But of course in the case of WoW, the resto druid puts our the most pathetic dps I’ve ever seen. As with his warlock, she is the best geared since she has been raiding for 2+ years up and decked with a full set of pvp gear and accessories as well. The removal of +healing and changes to Balance spec also mean that now I can deal decent dps with my current set of healing gear.  With the raid/group viability of moonkins, I may keep her as Balance-specced.

Shaman (levelled with his druid)

The shaman was the latest lvl 70 alt we have. I’m the healing compadre to his druid tank. I spent a long time gearing her up with badge gear because we were short on resto shamans for a period of time. Brainheal was too good to resist and I had wanted to switch main. That didn’t really happen and by that time I was somewhat burnt out even though we were so close to completing BT. The shaman has minimal pvp gear since she got onto the welfare epic train a little late.  But I did manage to save up a load of honor points which I was going to spend on upgrading raiding gear if I could switch mains.

So with that 67k honor points, I will begin my journey in Northrend with the shaman to eventually become my main healer. I feel like I want a change from the druid. In terms of healing, the shaman has more versatility even when not specced resto whereas many critical druid healing talents are talented. I’ve also not had the chance to explore the new druid healing spells.

Warrior (levelled with his pally)

My warrior is the 3rd 70 character. She was initially supposed to tank. In fact I did fairly well tanking 5-mans like Shadowlabs (keeping aggro on multiple mobs, running from murmur when he does his thing) but by the time I hit 70, most people were doing heroics. It was tough getting a group going and the rep required to do heroics was still revered so that closed a lot of doors for me. On top of that, I had to respec constantly to tank for pve and dps for pvp. We were also still gearing mains in Karazhan at that time, so I had a hard time gearing up as a tank. Eventually I gave up and made her a pvp character. Except I was kinda bad at it. Partly due to the lag (same problem as his rogue… “target not in range”x100) and partly because I’m a weak little keyboard turner… She has a full set of S2/S3 gear and a big blacksmithing mace. I may consider becoming a tank again.

Warlock (was levelling with his shaman)

This was my latest character that I rolled as a fun dps to play with his shaman. She’s a cute little gnome as well. But a bit neglected at the moment. Currently still level 58. This will still be one of my “fun” alts.

Priest (levelled with his rogue)

Just like his rogue, we had this character since pre-BC and the whole idea was to have a pvp character. She was my first dps character and was meant to be a shadow priest. Spriests were quite weak in BC except to serve as mana batteries in raid, so she was abandoned for a while. Later I respecced her as Discipline and we had quite a bit of fun as a RMP combi in 3vs3. Gearwise, she has a fair amt of spriest and pvp gear. Another “fun” alt to consider when I have nothing better to do =)

Conclusion

At this point my priority for levelling would be shaman->druid->warrior->warlock->priest. The shaman will be my main healer.  The remainder may still change depending on the feedback or to complement his choices.

(I really have to go hunt around for a nice set of avatars to differentiate our posts)