Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working on rotations

With the Razer Naga, I've already added several spells into the PvE rotation, though I haven't done any of the requisite mathes. Solar Beam-ing a spell casting mob, causing them to charge you, followed by a Typhoon, is a fun way to aggravate mobs and keep damage down. But I Googled around a bit to see if anyone has The Right Way to rotate these spells I've now got at my thumb-tip.

Elitist Jerks seemed to have the best guide:

This is a compendium of information on raiding as a Balance Druid. It contains everything a beginner needs to achieve basic competence at raid DPS, as well more detailed discussion for people more interested in understanding the theory or more advanced play. The article is supplemented by the attached spreadsheet.

I haven't mathed up Starsurge, but I think it's to your advantage to cast even in the midst of an eclipse, something Jerks seems to agree with, though it's written just ambiguously enough I won't swear to it.

Casting Starfall during Lunar isn't something I'd considered closely enough. Good point.

EDIT: For some reason, I conflated Thorns and Roots, below. Honestly, I've completely forgotten about Thorns. In the Recruit-a-friend, I'm playing with a druid who is Thorning, and I caught the mistake. I should throw it onto the Naga rotation.

I may be underutilizing Thorns, which, since it doesn't set up melee mobs for Wrath-spams any more, has fallen off of my rotation in PvE almost entirely. Jerks suggests it does enough dps to keep it up. From outdoor only to ubiquitous use to nothing, it's been a real pain to keep up with Thorns. I'm also likely underusing Insect Swarm. I only use it and Faerie Fire for long fights in instances, though Jerks would have me believe that I should keep IS and scrap FF almost entirely -- "Faerie Fire: We no longer need to use this unless the raid is missing an Armor debuff." /shrug

Honestly, though, this is the sort of stuff that kills the enjoyment for part-timers like me, yet I'm just math-inclined enough (and efficiency worried) that I keep getting drawn back in. There's probably also a small tinge of worry that a PUG might get upset that I'm not using my skillz The Right Way. I don't know why. I've never been called out for not putting out enough dps.

And, honestly, for PvE, the fights are too short for maxing DPS and Innverate too good at keeping you at max mana for much to matter, afaict. Fire and forget.

In any event, Jerks' is a good guide, and the Naga really does change the way I play.

Monday, December 27, 2010

MMO-Champion BlueTracker

MMO-Champion BlueTracker:
Blue Poster
#3 - 2010/12/10 12:57:16 AM
12/09/2010 4:53 PMPosted by Bucktown

Why am I being treated as though i'm less of a customer than anyone else?

It isn't that, Bucktown. It is priority in queue is given to full accounts before ones listed as trials. Now I understand that you recently upgraded online but unfortunately you may have missed the warnings that trial restrictions may remain for approximately 72 hours while the purchase is processed.

The leveling restrictions are lifted immediately, unfortunately due to possible fraudulent purchases those other restrictions are not removed until the purchase is finalized. I am very sorry for what frustration this may cause, hopefully your purchase will process sooner rather than later.

/le sigh

I wish somebody had let us know about these trial account limitations mas sooner. There's nothing quite like watching yourself get within 40 waiting in the queue just to watch it pop back up to 80. We're about an hour in, and back to 74.

Recruit-a-friend, but don't expect to play unless it's down time! Too bad I decided it'd be better to stick with Proudmoore so that I could load up a twink.

Ding! 82

Requisite /played output:

Quick notes:
I've spent too much time going back and forth between Hyjal and Vashj'ir trying to decide where to level. Waaaay too much time. I like the story in Hyjal better, but thought I enjoyed the visuals with Vashj'ir. But after the quest line named after Stones songs (and perhaps they're covers of someone else? -- and note that I love the Stones; it's just the lack of imagination), I finally quit Vashj'ir and decided I'd run Hyjal to its finish. The seahorse combined with the stupid air cave and tired quests was too much.

A MacBook 2.26 GHz is approximately equal in hardware performance as my new tower with the old GeForce 8500 GT.

/timetest from SW to IF on Fair with the tower gave me:
Low: 7.1652
Max: 477.241
Avg: 47.169

with High:
Low: 2.438
Max: 210.373
Avg: 18.675

I'll post MacBook numbers later, but for now it's hosting the trial account for Recruit a Friend. Not sure if that'd be apples to apples.

Right now, I'm gaming with Fair settings on the tower with draw distance (the only thing that really affects gameplay -- Can I see the mobs/sparkly collectable?) set to Ultra. I think that's a fair enough compromise. Man, I'm tired of seeing GeForce GTS 450 give-aways on WoW Insider. I want a better card.

Ah yes, two links to share on the hardware front.
  1. Great review of all cards at each price "point" (I hate that term, price point. I understand it, but isn't "point" enough for casual use?)
  2. Great guest post on WoW Insider talking about upgrading your box to get ready to play. Heck, it even covers if your computer is stuck on AGP.
  3. Compare that super-useful post to this commercial for Nvidia masquerading as a hardware post at WoW Insider. ;^)

If I was buying today, I think I'm down to either the...
MSI R5770 Hawk Radeon HD 5770 1GB ($150 after rebate)
or the...
MSI N460GTX CYCLONE 1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB for $210

... depending on how serious I want to get about graphics. Honestly, the 5770 feels a little like a tide-me-over card, so I think I'll keep using my 8500 GT until I puke and then hit the GTX 460 (or whatever's the best deal with those specs when I finally give in). Still, $50 is a lot of Steam games on sale!

Back to notes:

Recruit-a-Friend levels you much too quickly. It's also crappy if you immediately quest together. The intro-to-your-class quests in Shadowglen, at least, cannot be accessed by a non-elf. I tried making a warrior gnome, thinking I would have access to the elven warrior trainer quests. No luck. You get two early, then no more quests until you take the road south out of Shadowglen, leaving the elf at level 7 and me at 5. Stuff's picked back up now that we're out of Shadowglen, though. Minor complaint.

Also annoyed with the inability to trade with a trial account. I completely understand why, but we've got one well geared twink with as much gold as she can carry and one poor gnome sap who barely has cash to train, much less overgear himself. Would it really have killed Blizzard to allow you to carry, oh, 20s from some benefactor, with your trial? We're already leveling like it's going out of style. I don't know that a few pieces of level-appropriate gear would be a serious issue.

I think that's about it. I feel like I'm leveling too quickly in Cat as well. I haven't had much time to play, especially with the new recruit a friend diversion, but when I do, I'm leveling pretty quickly, especially considering that I'm still running dailies and taking time to run /timetest, etc.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

New integrated vs. old discrete video cards

I've recently been playing WoW on my MacBook, which does fine (ob a huge step up over my iBook G4 from a few years back!), but not great. That MacBook also had a copy of Vista Ultimate on it that I'd been using with Boot Camp. I'd put away my dedicated Windows tower to save space during a move, and hadn't pulled it back out.

Enter Anandtech's System Buyers' Guide last month. I've built three systems now, and none of them involved me really canvasing every mobo out there. I usually rely on a combo of Anandtech, friends' input, and Newegg reviews. This time, though I have an older discrete video card (MSI's overclocked GeForce 8500 GT with 256MB of VRAM), I went ahead and got the budget board Anandtech recommended, which comes with ATI Radeon HD 4250 integrated video. I also bought the AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz they suggested and upgraded the Crucial RAM they had listed to something that looked like it was legitimately paired for dual channel use. The rest (case, power supply, hard drive, optical drive, and, of course, Vista) is all recycled from my last box.

Old as the hills card

I was suspicious that I'd wasted $10-15 on integrated video, but figured it was worth $10 of my time to go with Anand after I tried to find another board that was cheaper without. Nothing without integrated video in this price range absolutely jumped out at me from Asus or Gigabyte, which were the two brands that seemed to have the best reviews, or MSI, which I've used in a previous build and was suggested here by Anand. There was one with two PCI-E slots for SLI, but it had some northbridge compromises that seemed questionable, and the chances that I buy two video cards down the road is pretty slim. Chalk up the extra cash to not knowing enough about mobos, I figured, and got Anand's suggested budget MSI board.

But after playing with the new mobo and old card a while -- I finally finished up GTA:SA and messed around with GTA:IV some more -- I started wondering how today's integrated video matches up with three and a half year-old budget gaming discrete cards.

So here are the results. With Doom 3 with randomly selected video settings I felt were best, the 4250 integrated chip gave me 17.5 fps. With the 8500 GT, I got 139.4. I must have pooched some display setting, as I did edit the config file by hand to get widescreen on my monitor, but you get the idea (and I didn't feel like pulling the GT again). The 8500 killed the 4250. In GTA:IV's benchmark test, I got the following.

Integrated 4250Discrete 8500 GT
Average FPS: 14.71
Duration: 37.52 sec
CPU Usage: 40%
System memory usage: 56%
Video memory usage: 96%

Graphics Settings
Video Mode: 800 x 600 (56 Hz)
Texture Quality: Low
Shadow Quality: Low
Reflection Resolution: Low
Water Quality: Low
Texture Filter Quality:
Anisotropic x2
Night Shadows: Off
View Distance: 10
Detail Distance: 10

Microsoft® Windows Vista" Ultimate
Service Pack 1
Video Adapter: ATI Radeon HD 4250
Video Driver version:
Audio Adapter: Speakers
(High Definition Audio Device)
AMD Athlon(tm) II X4 640 Processor

File ID: Benchmark.cli
Average FPS: 30.42
Duration: 37.02 sec
CPU Usage: 77%
System memory usage: 58%
Video memory usage: 97%

Graphics Settings
Video Mode: 800 x 600 (56 Hz)
Texture Quality: Low
Shadow Quality: Low
Reflection Resolution: Low
Water Quality: Low
Texture Filter Quality:
Anisotropic x2
Night Shadows: Off
View Distance: 10
Detail Distance: 10

Microsoft® Windows Vista" Ultimate
Service Pack 1
Video Adapter: NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT
Video Driver version: 260.99
Audio Adapter: Speakers
(High Definition Audio Device)
AMD Athlon(tm) II X4 640 Processor

File ID: Benchmark.cli

That seems pretty telling. Though the GT seems to be plenty for Doom 3, it's pushing it in GTA:IV. To play with eye candy, I need a new video card. With the integrated video, though, I'm barely playing at all and the processor is downright bored -- 40% of the processor has anything to do. With the 8500, the processor's at least working a little at 77%. Once again, the GT is doing loads better than the new integrated chip.

I'll give WoW a shot tonight when I reactivate. Cat seems to be just enough of a push that it might give the 8500 a quick test. The GT looked great in Nagrand when I first bought it, but I didn't play much with it in WotLK, and basically stuck with the MacBook. I just hope I'm not dying for one of the $250 cards WoW Insider's giving away (a deal at $190 at Newegg right now though a reliable model will run you $210) once I do fire things back up.

Regardless, the real lesson is that hardware can make the game. For GTA:IV, the improvement is a clear one. GTA:SA looked great, but IV requires a multi-core processor, and these four cores plus the 8500 have proven a big step up over the MacBook (though I was too stupid to run a benchmark before blasting the Boot Camp partition). Here's to hoping I'm pleasantly surprised tonight.

And the secondary lesson is that integrated video still sux0rz. Almost anything discrete is a step up. If you're stuck on a box with integrated video, go to Newegg or, heck, eBay and grab whatever you want, and enjoy Azeroth anew.

And though I enjoy the relatively inexpensive nature of building, upgrading, and recycling towers, I did briefly consider Alienware's m11x during its Black Friday sale for $599. I think that version, however, had an even less powerful processor than the Core 2 Duo offered at $799 now, and I didn't bite in part because I already have a decently powered MacBook.

Regardless, the m11x has the NVIDIA 335M with a Gig of VRAM across the line. The size looks good and battery life for normal work, when you switch the 335M off, is pretty good. If I was considering a laptop purchase and played WoW, I would wait for the next hardware bump and then grab this laptop ASAP.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quick hiatus to administer exams

Why, oh why does year-end grading torment me so?

Remind me never to give the class the option to turn in assignments "on your own schedule" at any point in the semester. They do not take advantage of the situation. Rather, they only take advantage of the situation. /sigh It's been a couple of fun days of grading. With an exam given today and another Thursday, Jal's going to have to wait.

Amazing how many WoW bloggers and players have some foot in academia. One of our most active guildies is an interim principal, and Spinks apparently is doing graduate work (Lissanna too?).

The good news is that I should have a AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz Quad-Core waiting on me once I'm done. The MacBook, he tries, but he's really not up to serious WOWing (says the guy who was playing on an iBook and Mac Mini G4 not two or three years ago). I've thought back to the times I've been really impressed with WoW's scenery, and they're when I played in Auberdine at a LAN bar nearly five years ago, another "bar" almost four years ago in Winterspring, and when I got a new computer and flew through Nagrand, what, a year and a half ago?

Hardware really makes the game.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Eclipse and reconfiguring action bars

As any astute/obsessive screenshot studier can tell, after years of 2 is Starfire, 3 is Wrath, 4 is Healing Touch, and 5 is Moonfire, I've finally given in and changed. I've slowly been moving stuff around, adding Starfall, Insect Swarm, and Forces of Nature to the main action bar, and occasionally now swapping Travel Form (great for PvE escapes) with Moonbeam or whatever it is that silences folk. The new Eclipse dynamic plus the addition of Hurricane, Innervate, and Moonbeam to my situational rotation finally required an Action Bar rethink.

The Main action bar now has Starsurge at 2. Though the mouseover doesn't say what the dmg is, it's a lot. I haven't bothered with mathes, but I use Starsurge whenever it hits cooldown. It's my lead pulling shot the way Starfire used to be. Starfire used to be the choice because it had greater range than Wrath and because its slow casting speed didn't matter for the first shot. Now Starsurge's cooldown plus insane damage says it's the new "2".

3 stays Wrath. I wish I could force Eclipse to start off going Lunar, as I still want to smash 3 after 2, but for me, Starsurge seems to always give me 15 towards Lunar the first time through. Perhaps I should swap Starfire and Wrath so that 3 is Starfire, but I also like knowing 3 represents Wrath's speed. Anyhow....

Note: Actually 3 and 5 are macros that proc my spellpower trinkets and then cast Wrath or Starfire. This is an absolute must, folks. Macro-ing trinkets is the easiest dps upgrade there is.

4 is now Moonfire, which throws me off a little. I accidentally hit 5 off and on for a few hours. The muscle memory is scary. But the move down makes it easier to think of [towards] Solar at 5, [towards] Lunar at 3, with both dancing around 4 as it fades.

5 is, duh, Starfire. I hate having three keys spent where I used to have two for the same purposes, but I'm getting used to it. It has pushed me to reconfigure more keys, however (see below).

I'm debating permanently swapping 8 from travel form to moonbeam (?), and have tried it out a few times, as silencing folk looks cool and has its practical side. I just use travel form so often -- running from the bank to AH, eg -- that it's hard to take off of the main bar.

Before now I, admittedly, moused everything else. I had a few more bars set up, like Shift-4 for when I needed to go healz for an extended period of time (see? Healing touch was 4 on my main bar, originally, and Shift-4 is a bar full o' healing), but I've broken down and set up my Num Pad for the left action bar above the main. It's mostly in order of the picture, above. Heals are 4-6 to keep with the 4 theme. 1-3 are aggressive. 0 is to pop Tranquility in a 5-man emergency, which happens more than I'd like. (Anyone notice that they were doing more off-healing right before Cat? I'm thinking lots of Priests were alts.) + is to take a healing pot.

I'm eying the Razer Naga to make this all even easier, moving those num pad selections to the right hand, keeping the movement, esp strafing, easier to reach with the left. I might eventually end up swapping the main action bar to the mouse instead. Can't tell what would be best.

So my only "heady" point here is to say to people who think real-world cash doesn't influence virtual world performance, even beyond the ability to buy the game and expansions, beyond buying net access, and beyond the computer's hardware so that you can see more than 14 fps, we can drill all the way down to a $70 mouse allowing you to access more spells quickly and efficiently. It's a one-dollar one-vote system for everything past Angband, I think.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ding! 81

Welp, even a part-timer levels up pretty quickly in Cat. I'm on 81, though I saw worgen druids at 81 before I dinged, which is just painful to think about. I've been running with Jal off and on since, what, March 2005? Sheesh. And somebody else had caught up with all I've done in about 32 hours. It's painful seeing how quickly your virtual work is made obsolete.

So far, the game is fine, but painfully more of the same as before. Kill X of Y then report back to (x,y). Read backstory if you really want, wash, rinse, repeat. Five years in, Blizzard could be figuring out better ways to tell stories. The full motion video (though rendered in-game) continues to be used a bit (see below), but overall the game mechanics simply haven't changed enough.

Now just as BC wowed me with its scenery, both Hyjal and Vashj'ir are visually impressive. I was planning on upgrading my PC's hardware to get a decent GTA IV experience already and look forward to seeing the improvement for WoW. I'm saving Vashj'ir until I have better gear before playing much more. That said, all the crabs sitting around have gotten me about 50 points of skinning in no time flat.

The new level feedback is both neat and n00bish.

Yes, I realize I have a new talent point. Yes, I know I should check a trainer for new skills. Got it. Still, it's an extra layer of professionalism that makes the game feel a little more polished, even if Cindermaul requires a logout, cache deletion, and restart to clear and going back to grab Finkle's Skinner causes a hard lock.

Sheesh, okay! I've still got 400 in front of me in Proudmoore. Sign off already! Good thing half the server lives in Aussieland -- or is it morning there already?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gear inflation. Goodbye purple, hello green.

It surprised me in BC, but by LK I'd gotten used to it. And it's happening again. All the virtual rewards from those hours you played are gone in just a few minutes playing Cat. My Blood Boil Lancet that I'd used as a near end-game weapon is gone. The Wrathful Gladiator's Cloak I picked up with honor points I didn't realize I had right before Cat went live is doomed. It's just a matter of time.

Spinks beat me to it a bit, but the green drops aren't always bad either:

One thing I have noticed though is that random green drops in Vash’jir look to be better quality than similar green quest rewards. (For example, I picked up a level 79 dagger with 963 spellpower on it – that’s a similar item level (283) to the caster drops from heroic 25 man Lich King. Level 79.)

I'm mostly running Hyjal, but it's true. I mentioned in April 2009 that I rarely find drops that instantly replace something I'm using (they usually go to the AH for me; Spinks say she automatically DEs), and have a green drop already in there from Cat.

I can't decide if Blizzard is virtually bribing us to buy or if this is actually a way LK-only players could be kept separate from Catters. I used to be sure it was the former, and now I'm not as sure. I'm confident more are interested in the first, though.

Anyhow, here are some pix of the greens with comparisons with my current gear that I either took or considered as quest rewards (or got as a drop) that have likely already hit the gear rotation. Admittedly, some of my gear is crud (this is when I remind you that I'm a "part-time" player), but it's interesting to see. You'll probably have to click them to read some, as Blogger will miniaturize the shots to fit. I mean, seriously, +260 spellpower out of the gate? Sheesh. I ran Heroic Azjol-Nerub while playing just for fun and, boy, I'm already nearly an end gamer for LK.

(Note: I didn't get them all. For whatever reason, taking a screenshot (there's no screenshot key on my MacBook's keyboard, and I haven't remapped for when I'm playing away from my KVM) only comes out about 40-50% of the time.)

Btw, don't forget to pay for Illustrious skinning (any skinning trainer, afaict), first aid, etc.

Has anyone else noticed the reroute landing page for the Armory is pretty facebooky now?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cataclysm Starts

Welp, I didn't make it out like I'd planned at midnight, but did log in quickly at 7am EST to see what's still a steady stream of folk taking off from Moonglade over to Mount Hyjal (I believe). And Blizzard wasn't lying. I can't fly in the old world, though it's neat seeing everybody who is.

People start riding Arorus around 0:40.

I wonder if anybody's level 85 yet. ;^)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cat -- Where do I start?

In the interest of serving part-timers like myself, who haven't beta'd or know where they're going on Tuesday...

First off, most say to buy Old World Flying from Bralla Cloudwing in Stormwind first. The comments there on WowHead suggest 250g is the gold sink.

You've then got two choices of where to start, apparently. First, it sounded like Vashj'ir would be an interesting place to start, as I ultimately enjoyed the Indian-themed demons from BC. But then it turns out the entire zone is under water and that you end up riding seahorses or something, nearly or more wack than the Draenai spaceship storyline I'm still essentially ignoring.

The other choice is Mount Hyjal, which is even better because you're apparently helping save Nordrassil, the other world tree.

The Mount Hyjal quest line is also easy to access. You click on one of the help wanted boards in SW or IF or Darn and are told to go all the way to Moonglade. That's tough for druids to pull off, right?

Mount Hyjal is one of the two 80-82 level-up zones in Cataclysm. Breadcrumbs come from Stormwind and Orgrimmar from the Hero's Call and Warchief's Command billboards, which send players to Moonglade. There, the breadcrumb As Hyjal Burns directs players to the zone, where the chain proper starts underneath Nordrassil, the world tree, with Inciting the Elements and The Earth Rises.

That should last us a while.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Restokin talks raid gear

Gosh, I hate betas. I wish there was some way to test expansion betas kinda like they test new cars, with lots of stuff so that nobody can really tell what the testers are driving. As I've lamented before, by virtue of not beta testing, I'm weeks behind on learning what to do once Cat hits. Someone was asking an honest question about Cat via Proudmoore's capital Trade channel a week or so ago and one of the unhelpful answers was, "That's what playing the beta is for." /sigh

cloaked car

Anyway, it looks like Lissanna at Restokin is helping make up for my lack o' beta:

So, my guild officers asked everyone to look into what their pre-raid gear options are. So, I spent several hours one day looking at all the instance drops, reputation items, and badge rewards. I thought that I would post it here on my blog for other people to benefit from, rather than only posting it on my guild forums. Since moonkin & resto share caster leather gear, I’m including both in this gear list.

Below she lists the gear that makes the GS cut and the sources for each, as well as another page on faction rewards. Honestly, though, in RP-land, nobody should know this stuff yet. Like Spinks said recently, iirc, it's not like I want to RP, but I would prefer a little consistency in the game, whether that's timeline (the post I'm talking about concentrated on how new starting zones act like LK events, etc, hadn't yet happened, even if you were running back to do low level quests with your main) or other players' knowledge.

So these guides are still not as good as having already scoped everything out, but a great benefit over starting from scratch. Seems like I just did this for LK, but there you go.

At times, it feels like theorycrafting gets in the way of playing the game. Oh well. Thanks for the info and work, Lissanna!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jal the Pilgrim

Well, for you clones, Now I'm done.

The best pilgrim's bounty guide I found was
The OverAchiever's at WoW Insider. Here's the bit for finding Horde tables for the Pilgrim's Peril achievement.

Southeast of the main gates (just south of the path to the Undercity/Grom'Gol zeppelin tower). Alliance players will not flagged here on PvE servers.

In the Ruins of Lordaeron courtyard immediately inside the main entrance to the city. Despite not being located far into the complex, this is the nastiest area for Alliance to reach, as there's steady Horde traffic from both the zeppelins and Silvermoon teleport, and the entrance to the Ruins is an unfortunate choke point. Don't go at server high time.

Thunder Bluff
Directly below the western elevators [note that that isn't the western mesa, but the elevator on the western side of the city -- Jal]. Despite appearing to be outside of the city, the feast area is still within it and will get Alliance players flagged.

City South of the city's main gates. Alliance players will not get flagged here on PvE servers.

Silvermoon was easy to aggro if you came in the back to the table and not from the path. Stay on the path.

Remember that you only have to sit down at the tables for Pilgrim's peril!! I ate five of each item in Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff. Luckily the only curious Horde in Thunder Bluff, where you do, sure enough, get flagged for PvP when you approach the table, were all well below 70. Kinda wanted the three obviously watching to give me their best shot, but no luck.

For Turkey Lurkey, I got everyone but the Dwarf, Orc, and Troll rogue turke-i-fied without trouble, but had to get the dwarf from a level one near the flight master in IF and the orc from someone who was politely dancing outside of Stormwind. Several people are putting n00b rolled PCs for easy featherings within shot of the Alliance city tables.

For the troll, I finally gave up waiting for a hand-out and went to the troll starting area, remembering Malone's advice about not going to the barrel (though I did waste some time hovering over Dalaran) and heading to the tree. Remember that the troll rogue starting area isn't on the mainland but on the small island to the east. Picture of me feathering a n00b troll rogue in the starting area below (check minimap).

And then, to find Talon King Ikiss. Reports seem to suggest you can gank him whenever you want, not just during the Pilgrim's Bounty event (which ends tomorrow), so I saved this until last.

Might be useful to recall that you can port to the Outlands now: How to get to the Outlands portal from any Major city in World of Warcraft |

1. In Stormwind coming from main gates turn left out of trade district cross bridge go through tunnel to mage corner. Climb the ramp going into the mage tower and its right inside the door.
2. Darnassus go to the middle bridge and straight ahead in the Temple of the Moon
3. Iron Forge[sic] from the front gate turn left its in the Mystic ward in the hall of mysteries
4. Exodar the center of the city take the middle ramp it is in the Vault of Lights

Then you'll want the Sethekk Halls Map from WoWpedia. And don't forget to put on your pilgrim gear (hat and outfit) before waxing Ilkiss. Yes, I forgot too the first time. If you do forget, exit (a tedious process) and right-click your portrait to reset all instances. That'll bring him back to life. I was able to stealth in without incident and all but walk on top of the patrolling mobs. I did accidentally aggro once, and lots of Avian Rippers had heck to pay.

For Turkey Lurky, I had some trouble getting 40 turkeys 30 seconds apart until I went to Tirisfal Glades. And note that the Turkey Caller does not give a legit wild turkey. The turkey it summons is, however, killable (and lootable) for other quests.

And man, does travel form made hunting turkeys a heck of a lot easier. Run, smack once, loot, run some more.

Worth it? I don't know. Probably not. The pet is cute. I didn't have any title to date, so I figured I'd go for this one. It was fun-ish, and without any clear direction for WotLK until Cata really busts out, it was something to help get me used to playing again.

And here's some requisite video of the pet reward getting a little too close to the cooking fire. Start about 30 seconds in.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pilgrim's Peril: Getting to Thunder Bluff

I'm giving the Pilgrim title a run this year, and Pilgrim's Peril is a bit of a pain. Getting to Orgrimmar was straightforward, but I was scared that Nijel's Point might not get me to Thunder Bluff directly; too many mountains and I couldn't remember if there was a good pass through them.

This page at World of Warcraft Pro has maps for getting to Thunder Bluff. It's explaining how to get to Thrall (isn't he in Nagrand now?), but the map would likely work for us too.

Getting to Him: Have your raid assemble in Astrannar, Ashenvale and then ride the road east and then south into the Barrens. From there ride east along the northern Barrens until you reach Orgrimmar's side entrance. The goal is to take the significantly less guarded side entrance that leads directly to Thrall's room.

There seem to be many more flight points closer to The Gate now, like Fort Triumph, below, but I guess I'll hoof it from Theramore, since I don't have any of those flight points active/discovered.

This will be much easier in a week, when we can get to level 85, throw gold down a gold sink, and fly around the Old World.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Screenshot Bugs

Well, I can say 4.0.3 ain't real stable. I had two hard lock/crashes while compressing movies, and the screenshots are still wacky. When I took this shot (and the blank shots I mentioned yesterday), there were folks on the screen. Honestly, it's bizarre. That's my Blood Boil Lancet pulling a Fantasia in the middle of the shot.

I think I brought down the Crown Princess four or five times today as folks mined a shield. These elemental bosses are much too easy. I haven't played for gear in months, yet we're downing these things with 79s, poorly equipped 80s, and even, during yesterday's screw-up, a boomkin holding a fishing pole. It's a joke, really. At least add some strategy. These are all, so far, eclipse spam events. Flamelash at least had a more impressive background.

And finally, as I mentioned in the last post, the below is A Bad Idea.

Um, how do I get back in?

And thank you:

Does the question 'where the hell is entrance' sounds ridiculous? Actually it is not. Everybody should know where Icecrown Citadel is - if not, it's easy to see on the map. But entrance to new 5man instance set is cleverly placed on ridiculous place and hard to find. Well, here is easy� help - see the picture.

I was dumb enough to try and watch the scenes around Sword's Rest and, well, didn't get out of there quickly enough. In case you're wondering, Barkskin doesn't prevent your hearthstone from being interrupted. /sigh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

... and we're back

Dropped back into WoW. As a guildie said, there's something about it that calls to you, even if I resisted 10 months.

Finally got The Right Stuff after running a few quests. I only have about 100g now, but wow, can I fly fast. Why didn't I do this earlier, again? It did help that running some elemental quests got me to Revered with Stormwind, which cut the price to 4250.

I also cleaned out the bank, selling stuff I'd been holding onto just in case I wanted to panzer/up haste/max gearscore, etc. Now I'm down to one set of gear, boomkin. If BC was any indication, the quest rewards for 81-85 will quickly outstrip the stats of the stuff I've got now.

Also lucked into a Prince Sarsarun run. Strangely, the screengrabs I took of the battle didn't come out. They're black. No kidding. I did need roll a Cloak of Mocking Winds. I always feel badly when I need, but this thing was such an upgrade on what I was wearing, it immediately hit my back. I figured everyone had 2 hours to complain if they needed it, and was happy I won.

Was embarrassed to see I'd used a graphite fishing pole during the fight. I'm rusty. In related news, that photo of my Cloak and fishing pole also has someone in SW milking a tiger. Must be tough to get supplies during the invasions. The kids are still running around the town like clockwork, however.

Show me your papers was another one of those painful ethics-on-rails quest. I think it's possible that the cultists are "venting" elements, and stopping them might speed up the Cataclysm. Arresting everyone at the gates is also painful, both in that I don't know that I'd do it, myself, and that it's a pretty transparent attempt at commentary on the TSA.

But ain't those the happiest cultists you've ever seen? I'm also impressed that they can find and mount horses even when handcuffed. (start around 1:12)

Anyhow, I'm playing now for the world events. I suppose I'll expansion up when it comes out. Right now, there's not much to do that's too exciting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blizzard tells me I'm in virtual poverty

I'm on the phone, waiting for Blizzard to let me back in (to see if I can't bag the Gnomeregan Drape before Cat) after having lost my iPod touch this summer. Thanks, authenticator! The on-hold warnings make things sound dire. If you don't have your authenticator serial num or [something I didn't hear about another serial number], they might ask for a picture id. Blizzard is Blizzare. Thanks Blizzard qua police.

Looks like I might be on a while and will hear what I might need lots of times. Here's the list.
* serial from the back of your [stand-alone] authenticator or
* serial code to your mobile authenticator
* blizzard key from your classic World of Warcraft

Digging up the last of which scored me a 60 day game card I forgot I'd grabbed. Score! Hope they don't expire.

In any event, I stumbled over this snippet about character transfers while waiting.

- Characters carrying too much gold are not eligible for transfer, as follows:
- Level 10-30: 300 gold limit
- Level 31-50: 1000 gold limit
- Level 51-69: 5000 gold limit
- Level 70 - 80: 20000 gold limit

Makes sense, of course. You don't want to enable gold farmers any more than you have to. And $25 to move 20000 gold is a little steep.

But on the other hand, the alternate, implied message is that you need about 20,000 gold to support a good 70-80. I'm not taking this as the most a character should have, as it's easy to dump your holdings before moving to a new server. Hello Mr. Alt; it's your lucky day! Instead, what they're saying is that they understand that a level 80 character could need at least 20,000 just to get around. This is sorta like when folks were smuggling fuel out of Iraq in giant tanks ostensibly for the tractor-trailers' tractors. "Oh, um, this gold is just for my favorite character, XygGHETdss!"

How much gold does Jal have? Sheesh. I don't know. I haven't played since January, and I don't see anything in my fairly recent posts. I do know I haven't looked much north of 1000g since I paid to dual spec -- which I've paid but haven't actually spec'd out, and which I see now costs 100g. THANKS, Blizzard! Nor did I have enough for artisan flying or what have you. I tend to live pretty hand-to-mouth and haven't found a good, dependable, and fun means of making money. Leatherworking takes forever to farm up the mats and grab the pattern of the week. I guess I'm just not a patient farmer, though I put in a fair bit of time farming motes of air in BC... Usually I just hack up something for myself and keep running. Pots, repairs, and the occasional gear splurge (Graylo had plenty of goldsinks) seem to keep me close enough to zero most of the time.

But the bottom line is that Blizzard suggests a good 80 will have 20,000 gold, and Jal's lucky to have over 1000. As Keith sings, sad sad sad.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Note to Self: Relevart's Moonkin Class Guide

Well, I'm looking forward to 12/7, and hoping someone will tell me a world event worth watching will occur a week or two earlier so that I can go ahead and reactivate.

I'm a little miffed by how much half the serious players already know about Cataclysm's content -- folks like me will be n00bs in what's ostensibly brand-new content -- but I'm still looking forward to a few more levels of soloing, and a good excuse to take a stroll throw the [now changed] Old World (ie, pre-BC lands).

Anyhow, once I do, Relevart's Moonkin Class Guide looks like a good place to start:

Welcome to Relevart’s Moonkin Class Guide! This class guide has been updated for 4.0.1/Cataclysm and is designed for the beginning to expert PvE Moonkin, although much of the information contained within transcends those boundaries. I hope you find the information that follows to be useful and if you find any errors, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks for browsing and may Nature guide your Path!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who really are the Gear Score Fools, us or Blizzard?

I rushed over to this morning, as I've always enjoyed the April Fools jokes, and I imagine most have seen this year's joke from Blizzard on the Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number. The funny thing is that it's not really a joke, is it?

As your number grows, the game world will tailor itself to you in other subtle ways: as the pool of players you interact with becomes more and more exclusive, you’ll no longer need to stand still in prominent locations quite so often to allow others to inspect your gear; you’ll have fewer time-wasting calendar invitations to sift through; and your friends list will become increasingly more manageable, reducing needless scrolling time. Any negative repercussions of these changes will be offset by the satisfaction you’ll receive knowing your equipment is significantly more impressive than average.

Sure, the EPEEN is Gear Score. Here's the problem: I really don't feel that Blizzard is being self-deprecating here, past possibly Binky the Rooster, which kills the joke. The joke isn't on us; the game is overly much about numbers and gear. Gear does work like leveling. People don't interact with others based on a Gear Score number because that number does have a direct correlation with successful gaming.

I loved the in-game /panda joke a year or two back. This year's joke, however, is too close to the truth to do more than make me melancholy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spinks on "Gearing, Gating, Attuning. And sometimes I miss the resistance fights …"

I thought this post was well-written enough to share... Gearing, Gating, Attuning. And sometimes I miss the resistance fights:

We had tanks in fire resist gear to tank the drake bosses. Everyone needed their own Onyxia scale cloak for the last boss also. And in that way, BWL was tied both mechanically as well as thematically to Onyxia (another black dragon boss). You HAD to kill Onyxia enough times to provide materials for cloaks for your whole raid before you could attempt Nefarian. The raid needed good crafters who had collected the right recipes – which also either dropped in raids or were bought with reputation that was collected in raids.

I realize I harp too much on the value of having the game force preparation and learning [from within the game], but Spinks is pointing out exactly the sorts of relatively simple design decisions that make the Old World a fun place to play.

Honestly, I wonder sometimes why my HUD even bothers with resistance scores anymore (though I realize Naxx benefits some from Frost resist). Good thing we simplified the game. SO much more complicated than it needed to be [he said dripping with sarcasm].

Ewwww. Drippy sarcasm.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hey, Dad, step away from the keyboard

FML - Today, I had to...:

Today, I had to explain to my son that his dad was too busy in a raid on World of Warcraft to be at his award ceremony. FML

Saturday, January 23, 2010

$4 Day Passes, please?!

As a part-timer, I've let my subscription lapse again. The productivity drops I see when I'm playing WoW are insane. Insane. Sometimes, I've been working hard enough during even my discretionary time that WoW for a week or two is the perfect break. It's certainly like a drug in that respect -- once I start playing, I can't help but relax. But I relax too much, and have to come back up for air by putting the game away.

Part of the issue is needing to be more disciplined about how I play. If I only raided two nights a week or, more realistically, capped play at two or three hours twice or thrice a week, things wouldn't be so bad. But I can't do it. I go in to run a few rep runs, and before I know it I've run Dalaran Dailies, two factions of rep, and normal and heroic random PUGs for emblems.

In any event, both to help me keep playing to manageable and to put a few bucks into Blizzard's pocket, I'd suggest day passes. I don't even play every other month now, so they're already getting less than $10/mth from me. Why not let me supplement the months where I break down completely with a $4 day pass every week or two? I don't think I'd play fewer full months, and I know that having a strict 24-hr window when I don't have the time to veg for weeks would help me out IRL as well. And seriously, $4x4 Saturdays is nearly a month's worth of income for Blizzard anyhow. What's the worst that could happen from their perspective? I play 24 hours and buy another? I break down and buy a full month?

Cash on the table, G. They're leaving cash on the table.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Ding": GS 3500+

Saturday I managed to run a normal & a Heroic LK instance, which put me over 50 EoT. I bagged the Malfurion's Cover of Conquest to get rid of my last green. The chestpiece at the same cost, iirc, was tempting, but I settled on the headpiece. My meta gem isn't proc'ing because right now it's the only gemmed piece I've got, but I filled it in with something awfully cheap anyway to get the +9 spellpower bonus. Coincidental that I bagged the Coil of Missing Gems shortly before. Also coincidental that Chromie would score me another green (from a quest, no less) that quickly made it into the rotation, pushing out a blue.

Other instance drop upgrades include the Sash of Blood Removal and Papa's New Bag, which, though only a 20 slotter, was an upgrade for one of my bag slots. I'd just planned to hit up the AH for a bag earlier in the day, and this saved me a gold or two.

My only complaint? Why does the Cover look so, um, dorky?

Most fun thing to happen over the weekend was a PUG to the Trial of Champions, which I usually dislike because of the unimaginative routine. Joust joust joust, DPS DPS, look away from light of radiance or whatever it is, DPS.

In this case, our healer DC'd after the jousting, and we started waiting for LFG to kick in. Healers, natch, are in some demand, and just as I sent in a, "It's been a while since I healed, but I'd be happy to give it a go," another group member said, "Jal, want to try and heal?" The tank was suspicious ("There's lots of healing in here," or some such), but we went through. I can't heal for spit -- mostly kept up lifebloom, rejuv, and the occasional regrowth when things got ugly (and HT when things got really ugly) -- but I wasn't even mana challenged four-manning into the black knight. We almost had him down when our LFG priest appeared. A few Wraths later, we were done. I'm not sure the priest knew what happened, but he did start healing the right folk as soon as he appeared, which was professional and impressive, and allowed me to shift into 'kin and cut loose.

I'm pretty sure I should've learned Nourish or whatever it is at some point, but the lesson remains that a good DPS can easily heal through normal Trial of Champions. And I mean easily.

I debated running heroics until I had enough EoT to buy another piece, but instead started going after Kirin Tor rep for the head enchant, after searching and finding out player enchanters can't make head enchants like they can't make ones shoulders (or at least not spellpower ones; no reason to waste good borean leather for 18 STA when the Kirin Tor have much better stuff). Was upset to see that daily dungeons are a thing of the past, eliminating one easy route to Kirin Tor rep. Now we have weekly raids. I'm not sure that at 3500 GS I'm ready for 10 man raids; I simply have no idea. I seem to be consistently bringing in the highest DPS on PUGs now, however, when I'm not boneheadedly throwing Wraths at guys who are immune (nexus? /sigh). I may have to add recount to the addon list now, though I try to keep addons out as a rule. I did buy a tabard from the Kirin Tor to "champion" them in a run through Hall of Lightening for rep, which I'll probably do with some regularity for a while, since I know that instance fairly well. Also kept running the cooking quests (which I'd been doing with some regularity just for fun) and did my first Dalaran fishing quest to make my way to revered with the Kirin Tor. Great whale statue.

Also got major (?) spellpower on the Blood Boil Lancet, expecting it to last longer than the last time I enchanted a weapon. Also caught a Phaelia's Vestments of the Sprouting Seed on the AH for just under 2k, which was just enough for me not to buy, even with the context. Resto4life was a very good blog (he said uncontroversially).

Which brings me to my last quandary: Do I spend my 4200g on fast flying finally, or put that into mats to leatherwork my way to more cash, or spend on gear to make runs a little easier and the GS a little higher? I believe the artisan flying will be the most good for the longest, but I'm hardly flying much now. I'd go with gear, but the chance of accidentally scoring a replacement in a run is so high, I could make myself go mad. The right answer might be that it takes money to make money, but I really don't want to have to waste the time finding out the most efficient way to score dough through LW. Decisions, decisions.

In other news, the new armory additions are interesting. I should see if I can get Jal's RSS feed to show up on the blog.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gray Matter to the rescue

I've been overwhelmed with emblems, obviously. Today's Googling popped up a post over at Gray Matter from about a week and a half ago, however, that nearly ends the trouble. It's a list of 'kin raiding gear, ranked by what Graylo thinks is the appropriate DPS for each piece.

Now I realize he says...

This list is a tool, not a blue print for how to gear. I’ve never intended these lists to be the definitive guide on how to gear a raiding moonkin.

... and I get it. But I just don't have the time to do this right. Let's cherry pick from the excellent research and posting Graylo and Cowtarus have done to see what direction a part-timer should go with their emblems.

So though he says not to, I'm going to pretend that Graylo's lists are hierarchical BiS lists (BiS, I've learned, meaning "Best in Slot") so that I can save some time.  I really don't have the energy to figure out how close to accurate he is.  He's done better than I could by miles and miles, and I'm happy enough as is.

I'm taking Graylo's list and only including items that fit one of these "part-timer accessible" categories.
  1. Bought with emblems that you can grab from 5-man dungeons.
  2. Craftables that aren't BoC (ie, items you could find in the AH)
  3. Fall from a 5-man instance, heroic or normal.
  4. Rep rewards (though I think the ICC (Icecrown Citadel) rep is beyond us).
  5. The Kirin Tor will sell it to you for enough gold to buy most of Shattrath.
EoT items are in bold.  I'll try to clean up the html at some point.


Leggings of Woven Death Crafting 399.2 399.2
Legwraps of Unleashed Nature Crafting 381.5 381.5
Lightweave Leggings Crafting 378.1 378.1
Sanctified Lasherweave Trousers 95 EoF + Conq Mark 533.7 351.6
Lasherweave Trousers 95 EoF 473.2 314.9

Malfurion's Trousers of Triumph 75 EoT + 1 ToC 429.6 251.5

Malfurion's Trousers of Conquest 50 EoT 384 225.7


Helm of Clouded Sight 75 EoT 430.8 430.8
Helm of Abundant Growth 75 EoT 417.5 417.5
Fallen Sentry's Hood Falric 5man 398.4 398.4
Hood of Fiery Aftermath 75 EoT 536.4 390
Malfurion's Cover of Conquest 50 EoT 519.1 376.6
Sightless Crown of Ulmaas Marwyn - H 5man 490.9 368.3
Tattered Glacial-Woven Hood Halls Chest 5man 363.6 363.6


Lasherweave Mantle 60 EoF 263.7 263.7
Shoulders of the Fateful Accord 45 EoT 231.6 231.6
Malfurion's Mantle of Conquest 30 EoT 207.4 207.4
Mantle of Tattered Feathers Trash 5man 173.6 173.6
Grim Lasher Shoulderguards Halls Chest 5man 167.2 167.2
Very Fashionable Shoulders Bronjahm - H 5man 284.2 161.5


Meteor Chaser's Raiment 95 EoF 399.2 399.2
Ermine Coronation Robes 95 EoF 388.2 388.2
Vestments of Spruce and Fir 95 EoF 363.9 363.9
Lasherweave Vestment 95 EoF 337 337
Malfurion's Vestments of Conquest 50 EoT 295.2 295.2
Mord'rethar Robes Devourer - H 259.8 259.8
Palebone Robes Tyrannus 247.2 247.2
Chestguard of Broken Branches Halls Chest - H 234.2 234.2
Ancient Polar Bear Hide Ick - H 347.5 226.8
Robes of the Cheating Heart Bronjahm 216 216


Gloves of False Gestures 60 EoF 299.6 299.6
Gloves of the Great Horned Owl 60 EoF 288.1 288.1
Gloves of Ambivalence 60 EoF 280.3 280.3
Malfurion's Gloves of Conquest 30 EoT 200.6 200.6
Suspiciously Soft Gloves Marwyn - H 5man 197.6 197.6
Marwyn's Macabre Fingertips Falric 5man 181.9 181.9
Essence of Desire Devourer - H 5man 181.5 181.5
Cold Sweat Grips Bronjahm 5man 250.2 157.2


Bejeweled Wizard's Bracers Pattern from 25man [mats includes 60 EoT; 3339g at AH today - Panzer]
182 182
Ghostly Wristwraps Trash - H 5man 148.2 148.2
Bracer of Worn Molars Falric - H 5man 217.6 132.5
Wristguards of Subterranean Moss Ick 5man 121.1 121.1

This is an interesting slot, as Graylo explains that if you can get this to drop, from the top of the list, that you, as a boomkin, shouldn't have too much competition for the piece.  Bad in that there's nothing on this list that's from EoT or EoF.  The Bejeweled Bracers look like about it, as I think you could swipe a crafted pair from the AH.
Bracers of Eternal Dreaming Valithria - 25 204.5 204.5

There's also limited evidence that you can bag the Bracers for playing Bejeweled, or at could at one point (man, that'd be nice, but I don't see it corroborated anywhere).  Note also that the mats for those gloves require 60 EoT themselves!  (15 EoT times four Crusader Orbs).


Belt of Petrified Ivy 60 EoF 303 303

Cord of the White Dawn [4586g on AH today - Panzer] Crafted H 207.9 207.9
Strip of Remorse Halls Chest - H 5man 206.9 206.9
Braid of Salt and Fire Ick - H 5man 182.7 182.7
Sash of Ancient Power Crafted H 263.1 178.1
Essence of Anger Devourer 5man 230.1 141


Sandals of Consecration [15k on AH today -Panzer] Crafting 280.3 280.3
Blessed Cenarion Boots Crafting 267.5 267.5
Deathfrost Boots [18k on AH today] Crafting 391.4 264.8
Boots of Wintery Endurance Crafted H 204.8 204.8
Savior's Slippers Crafted H 199.8 199.8
Spellslinger's Slippers Crafted H 195.6 195.6
Prelate's Snowshoes Tyrannus - H 5man 183.1 183.1
Barkhide Treads Eadric's Cache - H 231.4 164.1
Ice-Steeped Sandals Garfrost 5man 161.1 161.1


Volde's Cloak of the Night Sky 50 EoF 208.8 208.8


Arcane Loops of Anger Devourer - H 5man 155.2 155.2
Coil of Missing Gems Devourer 5man 193.1 117.9


Sundial of the Exiled 40 EoH 171 171

Nevermelting Ice Crystal Tyrannus - H 5man 156.4 156.4

Talisman of Resurgence 50 EoT 151.3 151.3
Maghia's Misguided Quill 60 EoF 420.7 120
Shard of the Crystal Heart 50 EoT 297.4 44.1

From Graylo:
Disclaimer: I urge you to view the trinkets with some level of skepticism. A lot of the trinkets have proc with unknown rates and cooldowns. Additionally, the trinkets that proc mobs to fight for you are hard to evaluate.


Ashen Band of Endless Destruction Ashen Verdict Exalted 319.8 218.9
Ashen Band of Unmatched Destruction Ashen Verdict Revered 294.3 195.4
Runed Signet of the Kirin Tor 10,750 Gold 184.5 184.5
Polished Dragonslayer's Signet Onyxia Head 163.7 163.7
Ashen Band of Greater Destruction Ashen Verdict Honored 259.3 160.4
Band of the Invoker 35 EoT 155.6 155.6
Ashen Band of Destruction Ashen Verdict Friendly 241.7 148.8


Shriveled Heart Halls Chest - H 5man 156.8 156.8
Ward of the Violet Citadel 25 EoH 166.7 91.6

Main hand

Hammer of Purified Flame 5man Quests 752.9 752.9
Chilled Heart of the Glacier Halls Chest 5man 608.5 553.1
Dagger of Lunar purity 25 Champion's Seals 451.9 451.9


Unspeakable Secret Garfrost 5man 673.2 673.2
Engraved Gargoyle Femur Tyrannus - H 5man 885.8 662.2
Blood Boil Lancet Devourer 5man 644.8 644.8

Fun to see that I've already got the Blood Boil Lancet.  I'm on the list!


From Graylo:
At this point you should only be thinking about two idols. The [Idol of Lunar Eclipse] is the best and it is purchasable with Emblems of Frost. However, you may be saving your Emblems for your Tier Set or another item. In such a case you should at least have the [Idol of Lunar Fury]. It is purchase able with Emblems of Triumph. Since it is incredibly easy to farm EoTs at the moment, using anything less then the Idol of Lunar Fury is pretty stupid.

Wow.  Graylo's list is wonderful.  And I'm also able to quit irrationally leaving out slots that I usually ignore, like rings and trinkets.  So now I'm not so interested in shoulders and gloves anymore -- those are the only things I could even get enough EoF to grab at the rate I'm going.  They're tabled.  Although the following back item:
Volde's Cloak of the Night Sky 50 EoF 208.8 208.8

... is probably the first thing to grab with Frost.  It's the only cloak on Graylo's list that fits part-timer accessible gear.

After some thinking, I'm down to a ring or a helm.  Here's the comparison.  The order shouldn't matter too much; it's the same number of emblems (duh) no matter what I buy first.  Since I already have 43, the question is if I'd rather have neither for three days, max, or the ring for those three extra days and the helm later.

Ring gives me 58 Int, 39 Sta, 50 Spi, 50 Haste (1.52%), and 56 Spell Power over what I have now for 35 emblems.
The helm gives me 92 Int, 56 Sta, 313 Armor, 13 Crit (0.28%), 72 Hit (2.2%), 31 Spell Power, and 1 Socket over what I have now for 50 EoTs.

I'm tempted to go helm.  92x15 mana is nice, and that's 34x15 more mana than the ring.  Extra hit, a little crit, and armor is also nice.  Downside is minus 15 spell power and a little haste.  Yeah, I think I go helm (though I should've given idols more thought).

What a waste of time. Sheesh. How can this possibly be fun?! ;^)