Friday, November 7, 2008

Can we get some gear balance this time?

From IGN's WotLK "preview":

So how soon will you be replacing all your gear from Burning Crusade? We'll have to wait and see.

Heck of a preview there. Thanks guys.

Still, this does raise the part of BC that bugged me the most. After my first major WoW hiatus, I came back determined not to buy BC until I'd finished a few things on my old TODO list, like up my rep with the Thorium Brotherhood, grab my Pattern: Lava Belt and Pattern: Molten Helm, and make PHAT LOOT!

Luckily I came back just before BC's release, and I managed to cash in, but just barely. Aside from a little naive buying, prices for Old World craftables dove like there'd been a housing bubble after BC arrived. And after buying BC, I could tell why. The quest loot was so phat, there was no reason to keep my hard earned craftables and purples around any more.

Burning Crusade forced players to upgrade. I should argue that in more detail, but for now I won't. The bottom line is that BC provided unique shortcuts to power that did not, imo, greatly improve gameplay. Instead, it created another system of virtual ghettos back in WoW's Old World. Endgames shifted. Years of development time for instances, etc, rendered worthless. Those new to WoW or who hadn't seen the OW end game had no real incentive to go back.

There were options. Create mobs that have a new attack type or one for which there was little resistance gear in the OW, kinda like fire resist was used in the original. Keep the progression of items natural, and ensure items (other than just epics) continue to have some important value in the future. Here, I'm thinking about something like the Illdari-Bane items -- perhaps there's a mob in the WotLK that can only be damaged by items that specifically harm demons by 150 or more points. Bam, you're dropping Wrath folk back into BC storylines. And, honestly, there's no reason not to put some check in the game that can tell when level 75s are dropping in to grab the Lexicon Demonica from Grandmaster Vorpil and up the difficulty a bit.

I realize the achievement system is supposed to help fix the obsolescence issue, but so were heroic dungeons. I'm not optimistic that WotLK will be much different, in practice, than BC (though honestly it's no big loss to me this time. Aside from the blood elf zones, I didn't find much in BC that I couldn't do without).

In a strange twist, complete obsolescence isn't a boon to the publisher, like it is when Microsoft kills Word 97. Here, there are rendered instances, ready for just a little tweaking before they're efficiently eating up monthly fees from addicted ur, happy players. I hope Blizzard gets it right this time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Repeat after me: You have a problem.

I've still got a 60 day card sitting on the bookshelf. I've promised myself I'm not going to play until Wrath, and even then not until mid-December. But then The Molten Core was released.

Yep. You guessed it.

It was lots of fun, though after some time away I'm pretty sure it needs a bat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm not alone

From MacMerc:

About the only game that became so addictive for me that it started to negatively affect the other aspects of my life has been World of Warcraft. I came to the realization that I was spending too much time leveling up in my artificial, digital life and not nearly enough time achieving and contributing with my real life and I finally gave it up. I still miss it. Even though the quests were repetitive and meaningless, the learning of new and imaginative abilities, the interactions with other players, and the friendships I developed made the game very enjoyable.

Well said. This is why I have a 60 day game time card sitting at home, begging to be used. And to think I spent about $100 extra on my laptop to get a video card that would play WoW easily. *sigh* The trials of an addict.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Will Return Nov. 13th

It's called "Part-time" for a reason, I suppose. Man, you get a lot more free time when you're not playing, though seeing at least five laptops on WoW at the local coffee shop this evening didn't help the addiction much.

Inside Mac Games News: Wrath Of The Lich King Coming November 13th:
Blizzard Entertainment announced today that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion for its award-winning subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game), will arrive in stores on November 13 in North America, Europe, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Russia, and November 14 in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Roots indoors?

Well, this sorta changes everything, doesn't it?

There were some details of class changes (sorry its incomplete, as I mentioned I missed the start of the presentation) but from what I recall:
Entangling roots will work indoors!
"Flourish" was mentioned but I didn't catch what that did ...

(emph mine)

Rawr: Dr00d gear optimization utility

While googling around to find a list of WoW enchants in XML, I stumbled over Rawr, an application that is designed to help optimize your gear. Here's the description from the site.

Rawr is a program for comparing and exploring gear for Bears, Cats, Moonkin, Warlocks, Mages, Retadins, ProtWarriors, and Healadins, in the MMORPG, World of Warcraft. It is currently in public beta testing, and is being developed by by Astrylian, of US-Eonar. Rawr has been designed from the start to be fun to use, and helpful in finding better combinations of gear, and what gear to find.

It's a Windows app, written in C# for .NET, and at least marginally works in OS X using the Mono project (and, therefore, I assume, Linux). I've played around with it a bit, but have yet to be particularly impressed with its "Moonkin model". The upgrades seem to be all about upping damage without any real consideration for anything else. They should call the model "Clothkin," because that's what you end up with for upgrades. Oh well.

Still, it remains in development, is open source, and I suppose I could get in there and write a Panzerkin model... Might be worth your checking it out, so I thought I'd pass it along!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hello, hardware

WoW on my iBook doesn't look quite this good (see screenshots). I've retired my Windows tower in the interest of space and in the interest of stealing one stick of its RAM for the Mac Mini, but this kind of detail is making me think about firing it back up. I miss it. My Vostro (with a slightly upgraded video chip) is choppy at times for no good reason, which also stink0rz. Argh, I miss good hardware. It makes WoW a different game.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Attunements made you do your homework

Here's a longish quote from Part-time Druid (huh? Sounds familiar; luckily I think I predate the blog) called "Removing Attunements BAD!", posted in Feb, quite a while before I started ranting that the new, advancement-friendly WoW is a bad idea. Here, the Part Timer shows there are practical reasons to keep things as difficult to attain -- self-training.

So, Black Temple will be open for anyone who wants to enter come patch 2.4. Surely there are hardcore raiding guilds everywhere bemoaning this development, angry that basically anyone with an account can now tread on “their” turf. Well, I can’t evade that argument. It’s true. I can now get together with 24 other guildies and hit Black Temple. It should be fun for us when we wipe in about five seconds, and the fun will surely continue as we wipe over and over and over again. You see, the point of the attunements to these major league instances was twofold. One, it required a good deal of coordination and determination to complete the necessary steps. Two, the “hoops” you had to jump through FORCED you to prepare yourself for what was to come gear-wise.

One might find the same argument works even for new players who blast through the lower levels too quickly.

Friday, June 20, 2008

WoW Blog Itemizer

Pre-alpha USE AT YOUR OWN RISK software!!!!

Okay, here's a really ugly, pre-alpha, not ready for primetime application to help those of us who can't stop blogging about World of Warcraft. Right now, it's Mac-only, though any Mac that can play WoW should be able to run the WoW Blog Itemizer without any trouble at all. The benefit is that you can type a bracket "[" and the first few letters of an item and *poof*, up it pops. If you see the item you want, hit "return" and it'll fill in and you can keep typing. Once you're done with your blog, you'll be able to hit "Alt-D" or press the button at the bottom left to put it all in your clipboard, which you can then cut and paste into, say, Blogger's "Create Post" window. Instant WoWHead supplied mouse-over item information.

Things to remember...
* It doesn't save right now. Cut and paste and save into a text editor often if you write a long post.
* It doesn't update the item list, so items Blizzard adds that aren't in there won't show up until you manually update the item list file (btw, you *have* to keep itemlist.xml in the same folder as the application for now)
* It IS case sensitive.
* It *doesn't* get item color right (green, grey, purple, orange, blue).
* No spellcheck. No real amenities at all, actually.

That's enough for now. I'd be interested in hearing if you give it a shot. rufwork (at) gmail dot company. Enjoy.

Download it here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cheaping the WoW experience to entice new players?

I was reading WoW Insider today and was intrigued to hear that lowbies can get mounts at level 30 instead of 40 now.

This prompted a response from Zarhym [a Blizzard forum mod, iirc] 'Allowing players to purchase and ride mounts at level 30 does not at all diminish your prior accomplishments in my eye sockets, Ithnin' This was followed by a post explaining that new players may get their mounts ten levels sooner, but they have ten and soon twenty more levels to go through before they reach the endgame. The majority of responses in this thread are supportive of the change.

I'll disagree, as you might have guessed already from my Take the Nether off the AH post. It's easier to level with a mount. That's why we all buy them. The world contracts when you've got a way of getting places 60% or 100% more quickly, and that means it takes less time to to whatever it is your character needs to do.

To level a new character, you still, generally speaking, have to pass through the same content to get your experience as you did when WoW was first released. Now Duskwood, one of the more memorable zones in my leveling below 40, will have all sorts of folk riding through at breakneck speed. That makes Duskwood easier, and cheapens the time I spent there, and I was there a while.

(And if memory serves (it might not), haven't the experience requirements for leveling already been cut considerably? Certainly attunement's been shut down, which stinks.)

But here's my main gripe: Blizzard had already found a way to make leveling easier for your alt characters. It's called starting your Death Knight at level 55. My highest level alt is level seven. I don't care much for the lower levels. I'll certainly be giving a Death Knight a shot, though, even though they sound like a moonkin-like hybrid (non-squishing magic using tankable) in many respects. A Death Knight is already going to be powerful enough to run the content I remember enjoying. Heck, if you just start me off strong enough to adventure in Duskwood, I'd probably play alts more.

Does the Death Knight cheapen the game? Arguably yes, but in a much different way than making mounts cheaper and more available or reducing XP needed to level. Now experienced players can create a special class of alt char that doesn't have to lowbie grind. We've solved the problem that Blizzard must have seen when BC came out. Sure, Blood Elves and Draenei are k3wl, but I didn't have much fun blasting mana eels or whatever they were for 7 hp a pop. The Blood Elf starting levels looked spectacular, but I couldn't leave them and quickly got tired of snarking around -- and heck, my main saw the same architecture in Outland. Many other veterans must have been similarly unimpressed with the new alt experience. Okay, Death Knight in and problem (hopefully) solved.

So the main reason to make lowbie leveling easier, imo, must be to get new players involved more quickly. This suggests that the endgame (and near endgame) content must be much more enjoyable than the lower level questing to new players. Is the motivation that if you can get players new to WoW to endgame quicker, they're more likely to stay and keep paying?

Instead of cheapening lower levels by playing god with leveling economics, why not do like you did with the Death Knight -- put in the development time and change the game. Put in instances for level 5 characters, perhaps. Have lowbie PvP battlegrounds. Allow people to level in PvP until level 30 or some such. Now traditional leveling is still an option, but you've got the flash that's needed to keep some of your new revenue stre... ur, players.

If you don't simply introduce new routes in the same vein for leveling lowbies but instead starkly change the lowbie game experience, you might find more veterans starting over too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Take the Nether off the AH, blogging items, and Illdari-Bane

A belated, quick update... First, thanks to terroxian for the comments. I'm glad the Druidic Helmet of Second Sight panned out well. I'm annoyed that wearing it means you've got more pats and mobs to worry about in Shadowmoon Valley, but otherwise it's a nice headpiece for the short questing that's needed to bag it.

I'm still playing, and recently added a Windhawk Belt to my proverbial arsenal. It would seem the best pre-instance drop armor set a balance druid can pick up is the Wyrmhide reputation gear combined with the Windhawk set. There are five pieces to the Wyrmhide, but you gain both set bonuses with just four. This is good, because wearing the Windhawk Hauberk means I've got to drop my Wyrmhide Robe. Luckily, if I replace the Druidic Helmet of Second Sight with a Wyrmhide Helm, I'll keep the Wymhide's awesome Starfire proc.

I also found out that Primal Nether isn't BoP any more, and one can grab some at the AH for about 85g, iirc, on Proudmoore. I've got mixed feelings on that change, as it makes it very easy to built the Windhawk set without running instances. Take, for example, the Illidari-Bane Mageblade I just bagged. It's not a bad weapon against demons, and remains a good improvement over my Seeker's Gavel for those demon mobs, but it's really nothing insanely special. (Contrast this with the Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian that I just "discovered". It's a very old world, level 60 item that still beats the pants off of what I'm carrying, including the Seeker's Gavel, Seer's Cane, and Braxxis' Staff of Slumber, all on their own respective turfs). Sure, it's an Old World epic, but you get the point... To get it, you had to run Naxx like mad, certainly a very time consuming and memorable experience. The reward -- an item that remains useful 10 levels later to a certain degree that has an especially impressive animation and some in-game procs, like a mob that comments that you're carrying it -- matches the work it took to earn it.)

But what makes the Illidari-Bane Mageblade special is the memorable quest chain that went with it. It's also a pretty k3wl looking weapon; the geekiestly impressive I've got. It's a good reward for those patient enough to wade through what's required to get it, which included four instance runs. I'd never run so many instances in so little time as I did for this one decent but not spectacular weapon. Enjoyable, memorable, fun.

Now that Primal Air isn't so difficult to get, it takes some of the memorableness from my pursuit of Windhawk.

Oh well.

One final bit -- the reason this post is so WoW Head item information floater heavy is that I wrote a quick app to make slapping items into posts a heck of a lot easier, promising myself I wouldn't post again until I had a rough version of the app done. I wasted waaaay too much time digging up item descriptions and numbers in past posts, time I could've been running dailies, right?! So here we go.

Right now it doesn't check on color, which explains why an epic item (Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian) was blue, not orange, when I first posted. I'll hopefully be fixing that and adding a few more minor features down the road, like saving your files, posting directly to Google, spellcheck, etc. Still, so far, it's an enjoyable app to have. I'll clean it up a bit more and release a Mac version of what I'm using right now into the wild soon if this post works! My luck requires that I find out that someone has already created a better version of exactly this app soon after I post, however. ;^)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Testing tooltipping with balance druid helms

I'm mostly trying out the Wowhead tooltip, but the helms aren't selected by random. Each is a pretty easily attainable helm for balance druid helm

Druidic Helmet of Second Sight
Exorcist's Wyrmhide Helm
Wyrmhide Helm

Thottbot's Helm of Second Sight
Thottbot's Druidic Helmet of Second Sight, but possibly with a wowhead tooltip. Nope, no luck.

Course as nice as tooltips are, they don't really do much for letting you compare stats at a glance, do they?

Note to self: q2 is green. q3 is blue.

Tooltips a-comin'

From Wowhead's Wowhead Tooltips: FAQ & Guides:

Have a guild site? Blog? Personal website? Page on Geocities with pictures of your cat?
By the power of Wowhead...

We are pleased to announce a new, easier than ever way that users can implement Wowhead mouseover tooltips to item links within their pages! :)

Please be sure to follow all of the steps very carefully:

Step 1: Add this piece of HTML code anywhere on your page:

<script src=""></script>

Step 2: Smile and pat yourself on the back at a job well done!

I still use Thottbot for reading user comments, usually on quests, and WoWWiki for reputation guides, but Wowhead has slowly made its way in as the place I go for item info. With this nicely done script, I think we'll start seeing some hovering tooltips on panzerkin soon.

Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker

Fwiw, you can get good info from the Armory if you use Firefox (Safari's no go -- more specifically its for me right now) with links like, but you'll have to parse the XML yourself. That is, I'm not aware of any tooltip html functions at Blizzard's site.

In other news, I found my crappy healing gear isn't likely good enough to get through Shadow Labyrinth during this, my third run through. Luckily our main tank's mother made him stop playing (I doubt he argued; I'd lost him (but only him!) twice already), opening up a slot for a guildie to bring in his priest. The OT went MT, I rolled from heal to DPS, and we finished up with just one wipe at Murmur. Got the Demon Book from Vorpal (sp?), so I should have the +185 dmg to demons dagger after running Mechanar soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yay, Druidic Helmet of Second Sight

Welp, finally went for the Gorefiend quests and bagged my Druidic Helm Tuesday. It's a nice enough helm, with decent heal/dmg bonus and three gem sockets. I'm not sold that it's better than my Stylin' Jungle Hat for Panzer nor my Nature's Wrath for Boom, but it made it into my farming outfit. First head armor item I've had with those danged antlers. And why does Jal's facial hair go away when he puts it on (see far left in pics below)? Must be related to the Second Sight.

The most fun part was when the 5 man all got to the mountain top to wait on Vel'khur and someone remarks, "We don't have a tank." I said, "I'll do it," the same way I said I could heal when we had four, and went bear -- but only to build confidence. When Vel'khur came back around, I swapped to Moonkin. Okay okay, the first time I missed him because I forgot the goggles, but the second time, I got on panzerkin gear, pulled with Starfire, and started wailing.

It's incredibly easy to tank a single mob as a moonkin, of course. Very easy to out-DPS everyone by Wrath spamming, Starfiring, and proc'ing a few trinkets. The shammy, iirc, kept me at 90+% health (I didn't realize shammies healed, honestly. Casual gamer, folks) and we knocked down the undead dragon easily, as in the picture, above.

Course it was hard to see jack with five folks, totems, and a summoned demon all sitting on the pinnacle of a small mountain.

Interesting on the Gorefiend quests is that my treants couldn't see the dead things, as they weren't wearing the goggles. That stunk, and I almost got myself into trouble aggroing too many mobs. Barely soloed the horsemen, and only got two down, which was embarrassing, but the trunch dropped and all was well.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome, Windhawk Bracers

Welp, I finally leveled my leatherworking, farmed even more mats, caved and auction housed the last three Primal Airs, and created Windhawk Bracers, the only item of the Windhawk set that doesn't require a Primal Nether and, therefore, a little instancing to craft.

So let the mathes comparison begin. Rather than trying to go theoretical, let's just slap up a screenshot comparison of Jal's stats with the Windhawk Bracers versus Murkblood Bracers of Nature's Wrath, the latter worth 115 armor and +42 nature damage.

So here are the changes with the Windhawk with a vendored +4 spell critical yellow gem, all stats listed while in moonkin form:

Nature damage: -10
Health: +220
Mana: +285
Non-nature spell dmg: +32
Healing: +52
Crit %: +1.14
Mana Regen: +10
Armor: +220

I'm not too worried about the base stat changes not listed above, as their practical usefulness should be reflected in the stats.

So here, it's a nobrainer. I lose 10 dmg per Wrath, but gain pretty seriously everywhere else, including +1.14% crit, which is another (381 to 429 + 745) * 1.14% = 13.11 damage already for my wraths, on average. The Murkbloods aren't better even with wrath damage, their speciality area. So out go the Murkblood Bracers to the vendor. Sad to see 'em go.

Other nature's wrath items aren't so obvious, I don't think. I've upgraded a few slots since I last took stock. My helm gives +81 nature damage, iirc. That's going to take a disproportionate increase in stats to beat (realizing there's no Windhawk headpiece). Chest is currently giving +75 nature damage, and the Dragonhawk version gives +81; will the Windhawk Hauberk beat that? Its intellect bonus is just 12 more than the bracers, and spell dmg just 19 more. Can that beat a +39 nature damage increase on the chest relative to bracers? It'll be closer, I think. We'll see.

Again, for general use, the Windhawk armor has it all over "of Nature's Wrath" gear. I'm here looking specifically at burst damage, as that's the most important thing when doing PvE outdoors, when you can root most anything, and when filling the DPS slot in a 5-spot instance. Your drinks are going to outweigh mana regen bonuses for PvE and 5-spots, and armor shouldn't matter too much if you root melee mobs and have good tanks.

And you can't come close to beating the price of the Nature's Wrath gear at 8-15g a slot. That's less than many daily quest rewards!

Here's what a full set of Windhawk needs, according to gajackson at

18 Heavy Knothide Leathers
48 Wind Scales
34 Primal Airs
6 Primal Mights
3 Primal Nethers

+ 3 Yellow gems (or compatible) total
+ 3 Blue gems (or compatible) total

+ whatever you are going to choose in the way of endgame-ish AKs, enchants, etc.

What's the better causal gamer buy again? All of the above for 3 pieces of armor, or less than 100g for 400+ DPS?

The Windhawk bracers beat out Dragonhawk Bands even for adding damage to wrath, so, farming already done, they're in for all of my outfits, panzer, boomkin, and hybrid. It's my first purple armor since I made Lava Belts for the Old World. I just wonder if completing the set is going to be worth it, or I should save the time and effort to run instances until the WotLK shows up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

WotLK interview: Yes, we know you're bored

Haven't had any time to play for two days, but here's an interesting quote from Behind the Blue Curtain: Discussing Wrath of the Lich King with Jeffrey "Tigole" Kaplan:

The MMO Gamer: Probably the number one complaint I hear when speaking to the "average" WoW player, someone who logs in an hour or two a night, maybe raids with their guild on the weekend, is that once they hit 70, their day to day existence in the game consists of either farming for primals, grinding reputation, or doing daily quests. They seem to feel that's slightly monotonous.

Do you personally believe that's a problem in the game, and, if you do, do you have any plans to address it in Northrend?

Jeffrey Kaplan: I do think that's a problem, and I think it's a very true statement, what you said. What I really hope is that hitting level 80 is not the end, but just a milestone, a very momentous milestone.
The daily quests that I've really enjoyed lately are things like the fishing daily, the cooking, the battleground, the dungeon dailies, because they have randomization in it. So you don't feel like you're in a set pattern of activity every time you log in. I would rather players do daily quests for money than farm primals, which is a very repetitive sort of behavior.

So, I think we can do things to smooth out what feels like a grind, and make it not the same every day that you log in. I think that's when it becomes an issue, when you log in and do the same activity every time, because certainly when you're leveling up that’s not your experience.

And we all like "very true" statements, not just those that are "fairly true." ;^)

Look, the dailies are nice, and though we all know dailies are just about making it rain cash to make raiding more accessible, they really aren't a good answer to the end game boredom. I mean, look, what Kaplan's saying, whether he knows it or not, is that they're going to turn on the gold faucet and pour cash all over those who don't like farming so that only those insane enough to farm by default have to wax a million Enraged Air Spirits for Primal Air. Prices on everything will go up as the faucet opens wider, and soon everyone will be part of the never ending virtual economic bubble. Reminds me of Mobutu printing Zaires, where daily inflation approached the single digits.

The problem is that the daily quests really aren't all that exciting. They don't particularly engage a larger storyline. Though they change in character slightly, they really are still, "Kill X of Y and get Z gold," mechanizations. The bottom line is that dailies are bribes in virtual currency for you to keep playing. Maybe it's time to make some alternative to grinding, farming or questing, that allows soloers to access instances in a more satisfying way.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are you a WoW addict?

From a guest blog on a randomly Googled up site called Soul Kerfuffle: The View From the Top (the search was 'warcraft abandoned quest progression'):

60 levels, 30+ epics, a few really good "real life" friends, a seat on the oldest and largest guild on our server's council, 70+ days "/played," and one "real" year later...
To illustrate the impact it had, let's look at me one year later. When I started playing, I was working towards getting into the best shape of my life (and making good progress, too). Now a year later, I'm about 30 pounds heavier that I was back then, and it is not muscle. I had a lot of hobbies including DJing (which I was pretty accomplished at) and music as well as writing and martial arts. I haven't touched a record or my guitar for over a year and I think if I tried any Kung Fu my gut would throw my back out. Finally, and most significantly, I had a very satisfying social life before. My friends and I would go out and there were things to do every night of the week.
Blizzard created a game that you simply can not win. Not only that, the only way to "get better" is to play more and more. In order to progress, you have to farm your little heart out in one way or another: either weeks at a time PvPing to make your rank or weeks at a time getting materials for and "conquering" raid instances, or dungeons where you get "epic loot" (pixilated things that increase your abilities, therefore making you "better")

Scary because it's true, right? I remember during the first month of my second long hiatus from WoW (the one in the middle of this blog), I couldn't stop thinking about it, even doing a good deal of research for what quests and recipes to run and bag once I got back. It really felt like I had a bit of withdrawal. No doubt that this is an addiction. The question is what the real damages are, and how one can accurately measure them.

And now, back to figuring out where I was on the I see dead Draenei quest line before the hiatus... *sigh*

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gimme a chilli chese dagger A PLENTY!!!!

WARNING: This is a true blog post, with logic all over, messy html, and no real conclusion. That said, today we're talking daggers.

I've started in on the Capture the Weapons quest, and thanks to a guildie managed to down Makazradon, having soloed Morgroron a while back.  The end result of the chain is the Illidari-Bane Mageblade, a dagger that ups spell crits by 20 points and spell damage to demons by 185.  I'm not sure it's worth it, as my Bringer of Death gives me +121 as is against every mob, but some demons did own our guild plus a couple of pick-ups when we hit the Terrace recently.  And it was a nice break from farming...

Anyhow, on the Illidari-Bane Mageblade page for Thottbot, there were links to "better" daggers that themselves had links in the comments for yet still arguably better daggers.  I thought I'd include a few here.

First, the
Illidari-Bane Mageblade.
Illidari-Bane Mageblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
31 - 100 DamageSpeed 1.60
(41.3 damage per second)
+12 Stamina
+11 Intellect
Durability 65 / 65
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 20 (0.9%).
Equip: Increases damage done to Demons by magical spells and effects by up to 185.
Item Level 115
Disenchant value: 30 Gold 14 Silver
Vendor value: 9 Gold 7 Silver 91 Copper
Source: Quest

Score: 43.0  (Customize)
Thott <Afterlife>  Live (2.4.1)

Now a few "alternatives."  Let's see if we see a theme.
Nathrezim Mindblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
24 - 124 DamageSpeed 1.80
(41.4 damage per second)
+18 Stamina
+18 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 23 (1.0%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 203.
Drops in Karazhan
Score 1.4     Vote: [-] [+] by Fire00F1Y, 1.3 years ago
Drops off Prince Malchazaar - 2nd to last boss in Karazhan and evidently hard as crap
Talon of the Tempest
Binds when equipped
Main HandDagger
25 - 122 DamageSpeed 1.80
(41.2 damage per second)
+10 Intellect
Yellow Socket
Yellow Socket
Socket Bonus: +3 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 9 (0.7%).
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 19 (0.9%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 194.
Score 1.7     Vote: [-] [+] by delther, 1.3 years ago
This drops from doomwalker just outside the instance entrance in the black temple... 2k AoE, 20k crushing damage yummeh

Vengeful Gladiator's Spellblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
16 - 116 DamageSpeed 1.60
(41.3 damage per second)
+30 Stamina
+20 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 17 (1.3%).
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 18 (0.5%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 247.
3150 Arena Points

Merciless Gladiator's Spellblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
18 - 112 DamageSpeed 1.60
(41.2 damage per second)
+27 Stamina
+18 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 15 (1.2%).
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 18 (0.5%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 225.

2739 Arena Points
To this, one might add the Gladiator's Spellblade, which takes twenty Eye of the Storm Marks of Honor and/or 25200 Honor Points. I'm a casual gamer, so I'm not sure how those work.

The theme? Three of the four (four of the five if you count the last), are all BoP and require some really serious gameplay. I realize the Bane is only good for demons, but what can I do? Where can I get a better weapon as a part-time gamer? I'm not sure there is one. The daggers, above, are not alternatives. They are daggers, sure. They increase spell damage. But finishing up Kara? Not in my immediate future. Nor are the battlegrounds, though that might be a more realistic opportunity.

I suppose taking down Doomwalker might eventually be a possibility, since there's no instance to run and only one boss to bring down.  Also, that Talon is BoE, so for a few thousand gold I could just buy the danged thing.  Not sure either is short-term possible, however.  I think I've got about 400g right now after the LW respecs, which stinks.

Finally, why mess with this when you've got a decent staff that's doing only 60 points less damage bonus than the Talon or Bane?  Well, do remember that 1.) 60 is more than zero and 2.) You then get an off-hand slot as well for more +dmg.  Not to mention the Talon has double sockets.

So having written another blog to think aloud, I suppose, I'll finish up the Bane line of quests, though it looks like it's going to require a run through two dungeons.

Long quest line
Score 41     Vote: [-] [+] by GandalfSC, 1.2 years ago The Hermit can be found at 77,38 (in Terrokar Forest)
This quest then follows into the following dungeon quests:

Fresh From the Mechanar  (The dungeon is the Southern Instance of Tempest Keep in Netherstorm.� 82, 70) You will need a flying mount to reach this location and no you can not be summoned.

The Lexicon Demonica  (The dungeon in Auchindoun's Shadow Labyrinth, the Southern instance of Auchindoun in Terrokar Forest. � 39,73) For this one you must have the Shadow Labyrinth Key

Who says this is a game for idiots?  Reminds me of the Pokemon Game Guide I got paid to write, though.  Seriously, in thirty years (if not next year), what good is all this information and hours wasted going to be?  And this time, I'm not even clocking some coin.  *sigh*  ;^)

EDIT: Note to self, solo half the instance requirement:
The Mechanar: Overcharged Manacell Solo - 20070324, 2:40 @ 640x480
Contains bonus feature, Sixty to Seventy in Seventy Seconds
Right-click, save-as: 36.7MB -- 2.1Mbps

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Triviawizard is for real

Today while running around IF with my bank toon, I stumbled over a good-sized gathering at the Proudmoore IF mailbox. Up on the wall was Triviawizard, a level one gnome in fancy clothes spouting out random, well, trivia questions. I noticed a lot of people guessing, and started making smart-alecky remarks of my own for laffs and cetera. Once I heard from the 'gnome that there were prizes, however, I starting whispering to see if he was for real.

He was! For every question, the first person with the correct answer got 25g. No joke. I answered two before he took a break and got 50g cash money. Not bad! Even without the prizes, it was a fun diversion. With, it's a pretty cool and very memorable little addition to the game o' WoW. Thanks Triviawizard!

Learning gems

I've got two pieces of gear in my standard sets now (panzer, boomkin, and healing sets have been standard, though I'm inching towards a healing/boom hybrid set recently) that have sockets, and I figured with the new daily quest money I oughta fill them in. Originally, having gone Scryer, I figured I'd just vendor some 2g gems from the "Fence" outside of the Shatt inn, but after doing a little research at WoW Gem Finder, thott, and wowhead, I hit the Auction House first.

In brief, the move panned out. I've now got every blue or red socket filled with this thing (aka "Royal Shadow Draenite"), which on Proudmoore was going for less than 2g per gem. Heck, +7 Healing +3 Spell Damage and +1 Mana per 5 Seconds for 1.2g? Not bad, and I finally get the socket bonuses on my items.

So if you've been thinking about socketing gear but either thought you'd replace the piece(s) in short order or were too cheap to shell out for lowbie gems in an attempt to save up for blues & purples (or if you're worried about both), stop. Go to your AH with a few gold and socket up.

In other news, my last week has been mostly spent farming. I don't know how you farmers do it. I'll post more about it later, but I'm generally trying to make my way to creating the BoP Windhawk armor set, which apparently is as good a set for moonkin as you can get without raiding or instance running. Being able to make it requires me to respec my specialization to Tribal Leatherworking (100g) and gathering a ton of of mats. I also turned out to have only gotten to LW 360 before my "hiatus", so I've been trying to level up LW last night and today, which hasn't been fun.

So yes, I've decided to go boomkin with my BoP items instead of Panzer for the time being. Huge cred loss if you call your site "," yo, but I've already got pretty good armor/stam gear for bear and Panzer and figured I'd go DPS for instances, which is where my guild is lacking.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

History of Proudmoore and the Briefe and True Account of the Purpose of Dailies

This post from Lukov on the WoW Forums does a super job of succinctly describing the Proudmoore server, which just happens to be where Jal lives. From it, I found this section just interesting enough to blog about in particular (though anyone interested in Proudmoore should take a quick read):

Server Economics:
As a day 1 server with a well entrenched raiding population, the server suffers (or benefits, depending on your perspective) with inflated prices on many items. This is much more obvious on Horde due to Alliance, as the population imbalance results in a limited supply with a similar level of demand.

Do your dailies and you'll be fine for cash, even with 4 nights of raiding a week.
(emph mine)

Well, at least we've come clean. I've been a little upset over the inflation that the dailies have caused since my return, even if it means that I'm up over 450g now playing on a very part-time basis. I'm not sure how I feel about it in this context, though -- specifically that the dailies aren't so much about bribing players to stick around until the expansion, but are rather so that more casual players can start raiding without knowing where to go for cash. Now, if you've tried a daily quest or two, you darn well know where they're printing hats of money.

In other news, I decided carrying around only one idol, and one that was only useful for those few minutes I'm in cat form and decide to attack, was sooooo lvl 58 and that I should start hunting up a new one. Enter the The Idol of the Avenger. No, it's not too powerful, and I'd rather have one of the Moonfire idols, but here's the key -- this one is a simple quest reward that doesn't require 300 riding skill (5000g) and running a heroic instance or whacking random trash mobs. It requires only a good, fixed amount of time, which is apparently something resembling 2-4 hours. The gold is about as good as running dailies to boot.

Now, every Wrath I cast is at least 25 points stronger. Woohoo. When you're a Wrath-spamming boomkin, every bit helps.

Idol of the Avenger
Binds when picked up
Equip: Increases the damage dealt by Wrath by 25. 

Oddly, I mostly ran the quests related to getting the idol in panzer mode. Melee mobs still seem more sustainable when panzer'd up. The picture, above, was when I'd just about put the sustainability theory to the max, as I cycloned one last mob to sneak in a Healing Touch.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Swappin' Idols

If you didn't realize you can [now?] swap idols like you can now swap weapons, without any cooldown penalty, well, realize it. The following macros and ones like them should help a ton when shift happens.

EDIT: Science adds a useful comment...
You actually do encounter a GCD from swapping, but on casts longer than the GCD (such as Starfire), there is no penalty, but on instant casts (Moonfire), you encounter a slightly longer GCD due to the idol swap.

So be a little more careful than I and the following post make it sound like you should be; there are times when the global cool down (GCD) will effect your spellcasting, mainly if you jump to Moongoddess without pausing in between (more important on raids, I suppose).
end EDIT.

Re: Ivory Idol of the Moongoddess
Score 4.3 Vote: [-] [+] by Vartharazun, 5.0 months ago
You can use every single different Idol for every single different spell you cast without causing any sort of GCD delay.

#showtooltip Moonfire
/cast moonfire
/equip Idol of the Unseen Moon

#showtooltip Starfire
/cast Starfire
/equip Ivory Idol of the Moongoddess

#showtooltip Wrath
/cast Wrath
/equip Idol of the Avenger

Copy and Paste these macros for pve moonkin pwnage.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spirit, smear it

Here's some text-ige from WoWWiki on spirit:

With the exception of primary healers, most notably holy priests and restoration druids, most players tend to consider Spirit to be the most useless Attribute, since it is only good for restoring Health and Mana.

... the small increase in Health regeneration is nowhere near as great as restoration through food or bandages.

Now why is this any different for mana? The regen from drinks is a level of magnitude more important than spirit regen.

I find that when I'm in boomkin mode that I'm out of mana much too quickly for mana regen to be worth much, even md5 regen. Wrath is a very cheap spell at 255, but when your battles last less than 30 seconds, typically, you'd need 8 mana regen per second to make any difference worth mentioning. So I'm usually maxing out damage rather than mana regen when I'm picking out boomkin gear

Innvervate is useful, as it allows full spirit regen during battle, and I can use it to keep a steady stream of wrath & moonfire coming down. That's about the only place spirit seems to be horribly useful for me. Even Elune's Touch seems to be more helpful than mana regen without innervate.

What am I missing?

I'll post later, but for this week, I've mostly been running Isle dailies. This has given me the opportunity to get really used to fighting the same mobs. I notice that it's easier to boomkin the warlocks, but it's more sustainable to panzer the meleers.

Sustainable, as always, means how much time I have to take recovering between mobs. With panzer, I can quickly bandage and continue, and with the right timing, using innervate and treants to keep the party rolling. With boom, I'm typically going down for drinks and food (with a shadowmeld) between each mob. So boom's not sustainable; panzer, at least with melee mobs, is.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cheap balance/moonkin DPS staff

Found the following staff on the Auction House for 32g today, and there were five others from 32.3 to 80.7g. For 32, it's a deal. As you can tell from my screengrab (click for readable size), my previous balance weapon gear stunk. This is a bit better.

The Bringer of Death
Binds when equipped
106 - 196 DamageSpeed 2.40
(62.9 damage per second)
+32 Stamina
+31 Intellect
Requires Level 70
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 121. 
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 42.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lightning Capacitor

Hello, Boomkin item. Saw this walking around on a Demonic Reich player today.

The player also was carrying a Saga of Terokk in the off-hand. Look, I know that's good, but as far as wrath spam burst damage, even this boss boon isn't as good as my cheesy Slavehandler Rod of Nature's Wrath. Which means I really, really need to figure out why extra Intellect is good.

Throw less dots.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zul'Aman, soulbound Leatherworking, and additions to the Moonkin blogroll

Okay, Zul'Aman stunk. I couldn't go anywhere. I like to scout out instances solo before running them, judging about how difficult the first pat or two is and going cat to get the layout down before playing. No luck here. It's a raid instance, so I got a guildie to group me so I could drop by, but then there's this danged door that won't open unless you have 5 party members banging on some gong. Thanks, Blizzard. Perhaps I could do the "die and get by" trick that allows you to enter a few other keyed instances, but I didn't see a good ledge nearby nor any mobs to aggravate. Lots of wasted time. Ran to the Shattered Sun to do a few dailies.

Welp, I finally remembered my goal before I took my seven month break: Make the specialist leatherworking soulbound set. Unfortunately, elemental leatherworking's soulbound set is essentially for feral druids (and rogues, etc). I'm not into respecializing, as that runs me 100 gold. Here's the down-low from WoWWiki:

First you must unlearn your current specialization. To do that, go back to the original quest giver for your Leatherworking specialization and pay 100g  to remove your specialization (this cost varies depending on your level, 25g  at 49 for instance. See herefor more.) You will lose only patterns that require that specialization. Note: you will not lose any patterns available prior to The Burning Crusade since their specialization requirements were removed when the expansion was released.

You can then learn a new specialization by going to Narain Soothfancy and reading a book. He is located north of Steamwheedle Port in Tanaris. The book on his table will teach you either the Dragonscale, Elemental or Tribal leatherworking specialization skill.

Seriously? Now anyone can dream up a Helm of Fire that I spent what seems like years repping to get? I know they don't sell for crud any more (though I did bring in a few hundred gold before the market crashed out), but this is horrible. And now I just read a book to respecialize? Tempting, but I'm only at about 220g right now. Part-timers don't carry much cash.

And then there's the question of if a panzerkin should be purely into balance gear, which seems almost clothkin-esque. How does the feral gear spec out if I supplement with +nature dmg or more traditional balance fare? Looks like Primalstrike might be something to get simply to help when you're wailing with your staff. "Equip: Improves hit rating by 12 (0.76% @ L70). Equip: Increases attack power by 108." Not too shabby.

Here's a post to thottbot that talks about feral/rogue gem choice for the Primalstrike vest.
Re: Primalstrike Vest
Score 0.75     Vote: [-] [+] by Ethral <The Gladiators>, 6.1 months ago
Yes, if you decide to keep your primalstrike (it won't hurt you at all) you will use it until Tier 4, and unless your guild is already working on Magtheridon, you're probably 2+ months away from getting it.

You should be slapped for not having hit rating in that chestpiece as a Rogue.

For a yellow socket you want:

+8 Hit Rating


+4 Hit Rating +4 Agility

Blue: (depending on what you need more)

+4 Agility +6 Stamina
+4 Critical Strike Rating + 6 Stamina

While I'm at it, here are a few new moonkin druid blogs I've dug up and need to read a bit to get back in the swing of things. I've already started into a few, but haven't gotten too far. (enjoyable read!) (post on joining a raiding guild) (looks like a pretty serious raider) (starting the moonkin gem research) (he'll be back)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Off the wagon

Well, fire up the WoW Insider blogroll, because I'm finally off the wagon. Not the most panzer-ific shot, but it looked cool dropping the hurricane on some Zaxxis-ites. Took a while to remember how to play, I'm afraid. I forgot about my treants for about an hour or so, and, having rearranged my action bars so that I could have a bear/cat soloing bar and a separate panzerkin PUG bar, I forgot where my healing spells had been placed. "4" no longer threw in a healing touch, which is how I'd had it since I'd first learned the spell.

Not real sure what's next. I accidentally did a Scryer rep quest forgetting I needed to save them until *after* I'd passed Honored. *doh* Right now I'm running Griftah's quest to see what's happening at Zul'Aman. Resting in the Eastern Plaguelands chapel for the time being.

Hopefully more fun Panzerkin info to follow.

Friday, April 11, 2008

WIll the death knight bring me back?

I'll probably be back before the next expansion, as my EVE Online trial is out, my month of UO reminded me why I quit (43 months in), and I'll be about done after 14 days if City of Heroes isn't worth much. So I get excited when I see Blizzard is learning to do expansions right this time.

From WOW Insider:

We know that the DK will start out at a relatively high level. It is not known exactly what that level will be; probably somewhere between 50 and 70. My guess would be 55, if that turns out to be the level of the DK-unlocking quest. The stated reasons for DKs starting out high-level are that players are tired of the early levels...

Not only am I tired of early levels, I don't have an alt over level 7, I don't think. Start me at 55, though, and I just might enjoy it. That's worth a shot.

I'm looking forward to the Death Knight. I played a few Blood Elves and Draenei, but the fact that the starter missions are geared to newbies made it less than enjoyable. At 55, you're pretty good at the game already, so even if you group up a bit, that should make for a fun run.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No more phone booths required

Getting close to ramping it back up, I think, so I figured I'd leave this note to self:

Outfitter Add-on at

Outfitter allows you to create multiple outfits and equip them with a click of your mouse. You can layer outfits, create outfits optimized for a particular attribute (ie, fire resist or maximum defense), and have outfits which automatically equip based on events like mounting up, stealthing or changing stances and forms.

I use a fire suit, a wrath-centric suit for cheap-o DPS, a healing set, and a typical raiding set. This could save insane time once I crank Jal back up.