Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ti

This little tidbit caught my eye on MMO-Champion yesterday:

Alchemy
Transmute: Titanium no longer has a cooldown!

I thought it was interesting because it should drop the price of titanium ore, titanium bars, titansteel and possibly crafted gear that uses titanium bars. Another thing I think it will do is increase the price of saronite ore and bars. It may also make Transmutation specialization a bit more profitable. On Bleeding Hollow, the price of a stack of saronite ore usually bounces between 15 and 20 gold. Find a reliable miner to smelt your stack of ore that you purchased for 15 gold and your cost per transmuted titanium bar is (1.5g/bar * 8 bars) a whopping 12 gold. I'd say there's room for some profit by selling individual bars to the masses.

I have a feeling Blizzard is doing this because they are going to introduce a few new high end alloys that will be used to craft Icecrown level gear, similar to Felsteel or Hardened Adamantite back in the Burning Crusade. If they do, I'd bet that these alloys will require titanium bars. I've already read that there will be something called Primordial Saronite, but haven't seen any details of how to make or buy it.

For those who have a stockpile of titanium bars, it may be a good idea to start liquidating your stock before 3.3 hits and you end up taking a big loss. I'm not quite sure what will happen to titanium ore. It will most likely take a slight drop in price as miners won't need to buy as much (or any) of it to make titansteel, leaving it to the jewelcrafters, which will most likely keep buying as much as they can to prospect for epic gems and powder to buy jewelcrafting tokens with.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mountain o' Mounts


When my wife wants a big blue dragon/butterfly crossbreed, well I help her get it. It's been a long and difficult process, but it's finally hers. As of October 11th, 2009, Tamaril of Bleeding Hollow is one of the very few with 101 mounts. It was a combination of time, luck and money to get to 100 mounts.


For those of you who want to try for 100 mounts, here are a few tips. First, make yourself a spreadsheet of every mount available and group them by their source, e.g. purchased with PvP tokens, gold, random drop, etc. Do the Argent Tournament dailies every day. This will get you to exalted with all 5 city factions so you can buy all the faction land mounts and also get you Champion's Seals to buy the Argent mounts. That alone, with the "no rep required" purchasable mounts will get you to 58 mounts.


When you are getting close to 100, be sure to farm the first 4 Anubisath Sentinels in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj for the four Battle Tank mounts. Once my wife got to 96 mounts, she dropped Skinning to power level Tailoring and then Engineering so she could craft the 2 mounts from each profession. You can level one up, craft the mounts, add them to your mount inventory and then drop the profession to level another one. They will still count as mounts in your inventory for the achievement even if you can't actually ride them because you lack the skill in the appropriate profession.


I'm glad it's over so my wife can focus her energies (and mine) on gearing her death knight tank for Icecrown Citadel.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Skipping Content

The guild that I'm in, Aculeus Upon Ordeum, is NOT a "hardcore" progression raiding guild but we do raid on occasion and last spring even managed to do Naxx 25 twice a week on a regular basis. Since then, those who enjoy raiding in the guild (which excludes me for the most part) have suffered from a lack of key members (tanks and healers) and lack of desire to formally organize raids on a weekly basis.

A few days ago, I was part of a heated debate with some members of our guild about raiding and someone mentioned that we can’t skip content and that we should start trying to clear Ulduar. Well, that got me thinking, why the hell not? We’ve already done it by downing Onyxia 10 and many of the better raiders have pugged Trial of the Crusader with no issues. So, why is it important to do all the raids in order? It’s not. I personally would like to skip every raid up to Icecrown Citadel. I’ve never been into WoW lore until Lich King and since the main focus of the expansion is the constant battle against the forces of Arthas, I really could care less about seeing anything except Icecrown. Well, I liked defeating Onyxia, but that’s more because it was a redone Classic WoW raid that drops awesome loot.

So, since the new Icecrown 5 man heroic will drop iLvL 232 loot and badge loot from other heroic 5 mans is ilvl 226, why would anyone even bother with doing Ulduar 10 after patch 3.3? Even now for a new 80, the gear you can get from normal Trial of the Champion, heroic badge gear and heroic Trial of the Champion is easily good enough to get started on 10 man Trial of the Crusader and Onyxia. If Gevlon and his old guild could do Ulduar 10 in BLUES, then it should be easily possible to do both of those raids in iLvL 219 and 226 gear. Isn’t that how the progression should be anyway if you were to only do 10 man raids? At this point, the only real reason anyone should have for doing Ulduar 10 is because they want to, not because they have to.

To me, Ulduar and to a certain extent Trial of the Crusader are just side stories to the main conflict in Lich King. Since Blizzard is making it possible to “skip to the good part” of the story, why bother with the side plot if you don’t care to see it?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Small business loans

A few posts back, I mentioned a broke guildie who had plenty of crafting professions but no cash. Since then, I’ve only really managed to do one mining trip of 1 hour to see how much I could gather and I forgot to write down what I did gather. So much for good note taking. I’ll be continuing that experiment this weekend, but I do have an update on the broke guildie. Since I have more than enough money to buy gems/enchants/repairs, I decided to take a risk and send all the materials to craft 10 eternal belt buckles to our financially challenged guild mate. I normally wouldn’t do something like that, but I had a lot of confidence in his ability to take the small loan of materials and turn it into something productive. This small business loan seemed to have worked, because he not only paid me back for my materials, he managed to turn it into 1600 gold in his pocket in the span of ONE WEEK. That’s right, in one week he was able to take his crafting profession and make enough gold for him to pay for repairs and gem/enchant his gear upgrades. This was done without farming for materials or grinding dailies. He would post a few items on the auction house, go do a battleground or heroic and come back and post a few more if he had a few sales. Now that he has some cash in his pockets, he can start branching out into his other crafting professions and grow his business.

To all you out there who are scratching your heads as to how to make money without spending hours and hours grinding for materials or doing dailies, try this:

Find a Goblin and present him or her with a business plan on how you can take a small starter loan of materials and turn it into a crafting business.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The benefits of farming




So, it's been tough lately to get some quality mining time in so I can get accurate numbers for my mining experiment. Between leveling my hunter alt (the most fun I've ever had leveling a character), raiding and helping the guild with brewfest stuff, I haven't had an uninterrupted hour of farming time. A side note, I was part of the first successful AUO 10 man Onyxia raid on Saturday and it felt gooood. We got her on the 7th attempt. She truely is a loot pinata, dropping about 5 or 6 items (I can't remember exactly) which is awesome for a 10 man raid. I won the spellpower sword because I was the only one that could use it. I love winning loot by default! I don't need no stinking /roll.

On to the heart of the subject here. Mining does have it's benefits. I was doing a few laps around Icecrown and decided to head into Sholozar Basin. I had hit 3 titanium nodes in less than 10 minutes and was feeling lucky. I normally head into the Basin and turn left, flying clockwise mining as I go. I decided this time to turn right and go counter clockwise. Good thing I did. As I land to mine a saronite node, I notice the star on my mini map marking one of the spawn points of Loque'nahak, the spirit beast. My wife's hunter has all 3 spirit beasts, so I normally don't pay much attention to these spots any more, but this time I decided to take a look behind me after I mined the ore. Sure enough Loque was there! I quickly did a /gchat shout out for all hunters interested to head to my location asap. Darallun (of afkautoshot) quickly replied and hauled ass out to Sholozar. Luckily, no one else showed up and he had an easy time taming the beast. So now, Darallun has his second spirit beast! It was like the stars had all aligned that night. Darallun usually raids as Survival, but I think he needs to start going Beast Master and bringing out his new kitteh.

So, as we can see, sometimes farming has benefits that transcend the accumulation of gold.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gone farming

It's been a sad few weeks for me. The wild price variations on crafted ammo has all but wrecked my income generation for a while now and sales of everything else I do have also been sporadic at best, so I'm going to run a short experiment over the next week or two. I'm going to start farming again. I'll be fishing and mining in 1 hour increments to see how much I can gather and convert into gold.

Farming is an important activity because in order to fund just about any tradeskill that you want to use for profit, you need a bankroll to buy materials. Yes, it is true, you need to have money to make money. Well, I'd like to amend that old cliche. You need to have money in order for your money to make money for you.

This experiment was really spurred on by a guildmate who is just about broke (in game). He has all these fancy professions on his two level 80's, but no cash to buy materials. So, I want to try to put a number on how much time it should take someone with a few basic gathering professions to get enough capital to start a crafting business.

Let the experiment begin!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More on inscription

I had a lot of comments on my last post regarding Inscription, so I figured I'd follow up with a new post instead of posting a reply that would get lost or not seen.

For the power leveling question, I'd say it's up to you if you want to wait and do it all at once. I know it's how power leveling professions has been done for years, but it does miss the point of my last article.

The main point of my article was that Inscription is a great profession to level while you level your character because it is useful. If you wanted Engineering as a profession, I'd say wait until you hit level 70 at the very least and power level like crazy. It would give you more time to bargain hunt on the auction house for materials as a side benefit. Engineering has very little benefit to a leveling character, so why bother taking time away from questing?

Inscription is a great profession and it was designed well. The money making part of it is great, but if I wanted to play a game to just make money, I'd be a day trader in real life and not waste my time on making fake money in a game. I play games to have fun and Inscription helps in that regard a lot. I use it while I'm leveling. It helps enhance my character's performance, if you know what I mean ;)

So, in my opinion, if you have a low level alt and want to take up Inscription, start to level it now. I think you'll really enjoy it.

If you did chose to power level Inscription, I'd say just buy the herbs from the auction house, unless they are grossly overpriced or in short supply. You can also buy Ink of the Sea (if it's cheaper than the herbs) and trade it to Jessica Sellers for the inks you need for leveling. For advice on what addons to use, I'd say check out the Greedy Goblin's articles on inscription or Just My Two Copper's forums.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inscription, the perfect profession.

Since I’ve been burned out on all the level 80 stuff out there, I decided to spend all my saved up shards and badges to get the hunter heirloom chest and shoulders and create an alt hunter named Grimsprocket. Grimsprocket was a name I came up with for a Warhammer dwarf Engineer. Engineers in Warhammer are a race/class combo and about as close to a dwarf hunter as you can get, except they don’t have animals as pets, they have gun turrets. So, the WoW version of Grimsprocket would obviously have to have Engineering as one profession and when deciding on his second profession, I decided to give Inscription a try since all the cool kids are doing it and making tens of thousands with a little effort. Now I know what all the fuss is about.

The first thing I noticed about Inscription is that it’s fairly cheap to level. Just buy cheap herbs or get someone to farm some for you (thank you Millie!) and start milling away. The second thing I noticed is that the stuff you make to level Inscription is actually useful as you level your character. I could imagine that an freshly created level 1 alt could pick up Inscription/Herbalism when it became available and actually have fun creating and discovering new glyphs, decks and buff scrolls because they are (as shocking as it may seem) useful! So much of the crap we have to make when leveling a profession has no value and just gets sold to a vendor.

It reminds me of when I was watching development blog videos from Mythic Studios when they were still in the Beta for Warhammer. Mark Jacobs talked about how in many MMO’s, professions are very grindy and pretty much useless until you got near the skill cap and even then, there are only a few things worth creating. His vision for Warhammer’s crafting system was basically what Inscription is - easy to level, complex but not overly so and useful from low levels to max level. He didn’t really get it right in his own game, but we’ll ignore that little oversight for now.

Another thing I’m finding out with Inscription is that once you get a few profitable glyphs, you can pretty much level Inscription to 400+ with the profits from glyph sales. I was shocked when for my first Minor Inscription Research at skill level 75, I got a glyph that sells on average for 15 gold. Now at skill level 133, I have several glyphs that sell for 15+ gold each. With a little work and time, Inscription is the ONLY profession that I know of that won’t cost you a dime, er…I mean silver.

It would be awesome if Blizzard redid the older professions and made them as useful and fun to level and PROFITABELE as Inscription. We’ll see what happens with Cataclysm.

If you know of any other professions that are fun, useful and make money as you level them, please post a comment and let us know.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cataclysmic thoughts

Blizzcon is over and there’s a mountain of new information out on the newly announced expansion. Here are some of the highlights of the announced changes that will come along with Cataclysm.

- New races: goblin and worgen
- New class mechanics: no more hunter mana, healer mana regen reworked
- New gear itemization: getting rid of attack power, MP5, defense, spellpower, block, haste and armor penetration.
- Redone continents of Azeroth
- Guilds will be able to gain levels.

I’m fairly “meh” about the new races. The class mechanic changes seem interesting and coupled with new gear itemization, it should make it easier for players to pick the proper gear upgrade.

The redo of Azeroth is very appealing to me. I’ve been incredibly bored with WoW lately and I decided to start leveling a dwarf hunter. Going through all the old content give me mixed feelings. One the one hand, I feel nostalgia as I remember doing the quests on my Paladin for the first time. On the other hand, I did all this stuff already and sometimes I have done it multiple times when I helped my wife and other guildmates level their alts. Having the old world go through a cataclysm and change the terrain and quests would be awesome for leveling a new character and it’s tempting for me to stop leveling the hunter and wait until the new stuff.

Then there’s guild levels. I don’t know if Mythic was the first to do it, but Warhammer had guild levels from launch last year. The idea is a great one and I’m glad Blizzard is taking the idea and putting it into WoW. I know from experience that guild leveling is a great way to get guild members to do more stuff together. I have fond memories of organizing guild Public Quest nights in Warhammer where we’d watch the guild experience meter to see how close we were coming to the next guild level. I’m eagerly awaiting the day when we’re told what the guild level rewards are.

On an economic note, new expansions also bring new money making opportunities. One of these will be from selling materials to all the players that will level new Goblins and Worgen. All those new characters will be leveling professions so when we get close to launch, start stocking up on low level ore, herbs, leather, etc.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Alchemy - Gevlon agrees with me

Back in May, I wrote this post about Alchemy and how to try to make it profitable. It seems that Gevlon has come to the same general conclusion. Alchemy won't make you rich like other professions can for the same amount of time and research put into it. It's good to see that the heavy hitter of WoW economics came to the same conclusion.

To sum thing up neatly for those who don't care to read those two posts linked above:

- The cost of materials is nearly identical to the price of flasks created by said materials.
- Alchemy can make you some money if you aren't a herbalist, but be prepared to do your homework.
- If you want to sell flasks, be sure to have Elixir specialization and be prepared to camp the auction house on raid nights.
- If you're not taking advantage of the perks of being an Alchemist like longer flask duration and you want to make money, then you'd probably be better off dropping the profession for something else.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Epic gems post 3.2

All this talk of PvP and Arena leads me back to something more on topic for this blog, which is a big money making opportunity. In a few weeks, Arena Season 6 will come to an end. A week will pass to calculate who the big title winners are and then Season 7 will begin. New Arena seasons mean new gear and new gear needs to be enchanted and gemmed. When 3.2 hit, Jewelcrafters were prospecting for the new epic gems and the rest of us were using Emblems of Heroism, transmutes and honor to buy our epic gems. When Season 7 begins, the Emblems will have already been spent, transmutes are on a 20 hour cooldown and Honor will be saved to buy gear. This means that there should be a major shortage of epic gems to buy. Players with less money will likely resort to the old rare/blue quality gems for their new gear.

So, how should we enterprising players prepare? Spend all your honor on epic gems immediately and start grinding battlegrounds. Don't forget to queue for Wintergrasp when you can for the huge chunk of honor for 20 minutes of "work". Lastly, look for good deals on Saronite and either prospect it or have someone else prospect it. Basically, do everything you can to stock up on epic and rare quality gems. If you happen to be a Jewelcrafter/Enchanter, use the junk gems that are left over and start making rings to disenchant.

Or should you? At 10,000 honor per gem, it would take about 3 hours to grind battlegrounds for one gem, not counting the badge trade in for honor. In 3 hours of grinding with any gathering profession, you may end up with more gold than you would from the sale of one cut epic gem, even if the gem prices go up from their average of 200-250 gold. On top of that, you won't have any honor left to buy your own PvP gear, if that kind of thing is your bag, baby. I suppose it all comes down to what you consider fun while playing the game. My wife loves farming while some detest it. If you love battlegrounds more than picking flowers, then this may be a golden opportunity for you to make money and have fun playing at the same time, especially if the price of gems goes up due to the increased demand.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Paladin nerfs, part deux!

The patch notes for 3.2.2 are up and Prot/Holy definitely got nerfed.

Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.
Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin’s strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin’s stamina.

How does this all play out? It means the stun (Hammer of Justice) now has a 30 second cooldown (up from 20 seconds) and spell power went down by about 450-500 depending on gear. A deep Holy paladin should now be able to out Flash of Light a Prot paladin. The question now is: do the benefits of being deep holy (instant heal, bigger heals, haste buff) outweigh the benefits of a 30 second stun cooldown, long lasting/undispellable Divine Plea and a 3 second silence? I suspect for 2v2, Prot/Holy will still be the preferred talent spec. In 3v3, the reduced healing and lack of an instant heal may not cut it. Since 2v2 ratings won’t count for the new top tier of PvP gear, I suspect the vast majority of top level Arena paladins will go back to a deep holy build.

Paladins weren’t the only ones getting a nerf next patch. Rogues got some too, which should make a lot of people happy. And by a lot of people, I mean everyone but rogues.

Fan of Knives: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 30%.
Combat
Throwing Specialization: This talent no longer causes Fan of Knives to interrupt spellcasting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blizzard hates Paladins...again


Ghostcrawler recently announced that they will be doing something to "fix" the problem with deep Protection spec'ed paladins in healing gear. This one hits close to home because I found that the prot/holy spec was much better than any other Holy spec for 2v2 and possibly 3v3 arena. The main problem for Blizzard is the deep Protection talent Touched by the Light which when used with full PvP healing gear, can put a paladin's spellpower well over 2200 and I've had Flash of Light crits for 8000+. It's such a major problem for Blizzard that apparently they won't start the next season of Arena until they fix it.


I haven't done any serious Arena games in a while, but I was planning on getting back into it once things settled down post 3.2. Since I'm pretty much forced to heal in Arena because of the many problems I have with Retribution, I found the Prot/Holy spec to be incredibly fun. Lots of stuns and throwing shields meant I was doing more other than standing there casting Flash of Light over and over and over again, with Holy Shock thrown in every now and then. It was the perfect Arena healing spec for me and MANY others and now they're going to gut it. This, right after they gutted Retribution by giving it a completely lame Seal of Command. Some dedicated Ret players have figured out that a specialized Seal of Righteousness build gives better burst than the lame Seal of Command that Blizz force fed to us as the PvP seal. If the Righteousness build becomes popular, expect to see the nerf bat smash it "to the ground" just like everything else that was good for paladins.


I'm really getting sick of the constant nerfs to paladins. I don't know why they are in the cross hairs so often. I have a feeling that the top 100 teams next season will be nearly paladin free just like they have been for so long now (excluding this season). These kinds of changes aren't really doing much to motivate me to play the game and given my recent lack of motivation I'm not sure I'll be doing much in game other than trying to sell yetis and ammo. Oh yea, they nerfed ammo sales too....




For those who care to read, here's the source Blue posts:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quick impressions on 3.2 and the economy

3.2 hit faster than I thought it would. Had I known, I would have dumped my 4 boxes of arrows very quickly. Luckily I had just bought about 30 stacks of saronite ore for 16 per stack and not done much with it, so I was ready to change my strategy if things got tough in the ammo business.

It only took a few days for the price of 1000 stacks of Saronite Razorheads to take a huge nosedive due to the new reduced materials cost. It used to take about 15 gold to make 1000 Razorheads. Now it takes 2 bars or about 4 gold. So, the cost of arrows is now 1/4 of what they used to be and the demand is probably about the same. I don't know if the lowered cost will cause more hunters to buy Razorheads over the vendor Terrorshaft arrows but my gut tells me they won't. So, I fully expect to make less than 50 gold per week on Razorheads now, which is pathetic. Sure, I could play the deep undercut game, but without a larger customer base, I don't think it would be worth it. Maybe I will just as an experiment.

Mammoth Cutters haven't dropped in price much at all. I attribute this to the fact that they are a little more complex to make since they require Volatile Blast Triggers. Since most people are lazy and don't want to bother with the extra materials, they aren't flooding the auction house with thousands of super cheap bullets.

This coming week will give me a better idea of how ammo sales will go. There's a lot of new stuff to do so I'm hoping that hunters will be using lots of ammo this week.

On other fronts, I'm taking it easy with epic gems for now. There seems to be a lot of undercutting at the moment and I really don't want to spend all day camping the auction house. Once the majority of jewelcrafters have exhausted their supply of epic gems from honor and badge purchases, I'll start selling my epics slowly and steadily. It will also give players more time to get deeper into the new Argent raids so they can get new gear to gem.

I was also able to get the plans and create Jeeves the mechanical butler. He is one of the coolest things I've ever seen in the game. Having a permanent repair bot that I can also use to access my bank is full of awesome. Along with Jeeves I created the Wormhole generator. The first time I used it, it teleported me about 500 feet above the big lake in Borean Tundra. Take the warning on the device seriously and make sure you have your parachute cloak tinker! The other times I've used it, it put me right on the doorstep of Ulduar and Utgarde Keep. It seems the Gnomes know that wormholes should open right in front of instances, which is very convenient. Who needs to fly between points A and B when we can just fold space-time so that point A IS point B!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Warhammer - the game that could have been



Please forgive me as I indulge myself a little more than usual today. In my last post, I wrote about how another game has (temporarily?) broke the stranglehold that WoW has had on me off and on since January of 2007. It was nearly one year ago that another game almost kept me away from WoW for good. That game was Warhammer Online.

I had been following Warhammer for a little while back then and was anxiously awaiting another MMO that would have the stuff to take me away from WoW. Last spring/early summer, I was getting frustrated with WoW PvP and really wanted something different. I remember vividly having nothing to do one day other than to level my fishing in Stormwind while I read Tradechat for hours. Yea, I was that bored. I had applied to the Warhammer closed beta and had hope that they would pick me soon. Months went by after that initial application and nothing happened. Then, in late July/early August of 2008, I decided to upgrade my PC to prepare for the open beta. Soon after upgrading my motherboard/processor/memory and video, I decided to upload my new DXDiag file to the Warhammer beta site, since my system components had drastically changed. Sure enough, I got a beta invite days after. I figure it was my new beefy computer that got me in since Warhammer is much more graphics intense than WoW is or was.

One of the things I wanted to do in Warhammer was start a guild. I had been a member of AUO since the early spring and since I loved the guild so much, I asked our GM if it was OK to use the Aculeus Upon Ordeum name and start a “Warhammer” chapter of AUO. She was cool with it and even gave me a sub forum on the main AUO guild forum site. My wife and I put a lot of time into getting things in place for when the game went live. We had a killer application and the forums were fairly well organized. We were set to recruit as soon as we could.

Playing in the beta was a really cool experience for me. I didn’t play too much because I didn’t want the thrill of starting off fresh in a game to not be there when things went live. Soon, the semi-closed beta turned into a full open beta for anyone who wanted to download the beta files and then, things went live. One of the coolest things about the game is that the game studio, Mythic Entertainment, is in Fairfax, Virginia and about a 15 minute drive from my house and from work. I read on one of the forums that the head guys from Mythic were going to do a game signing at a local GameStop. I took a long lunch that day and got my game box and my wife’s game box signed by the top 4 game producers (Paul Barnett, Mark Jacobs, Jeff Hickman and Josh Drescher) and got a few extra goodies signed as well. I think that was the highlight of my Warhammer experience.

Once the game went live, things started going well. The guild was growing and at one point I think we had about 25 dedicated members. They were a great crowd and I miss playing with them, no matter what the game is. As the weeks went on and we got past the first 20 levels, things started to really stagnate. The game launched smoothly enough but Mythic made a few key errors that lead to a huge drop off in subscribers after about mid November of 2008. That’s about the time that my wife made the transition back to Warcraft as she was called back by the temptation of the Lich King. Shortly after she stopped playing Warhammer, I hung up my mantle and hammer and wrote the guild that I was calling it quits. The game really lacked a few key fun elements and it became painful to log on and play.

So, what did Mythic do wrong? There have been many articles written by other much more popular bloggers like Keen and Grave and Syp at BioBreak. I think they all missed the point though. Most of those writers were out of Warcraft for a while and as much as they claim to love MMO’s, I don’t think they are die hard dedicated junkies like the ones who play Warcraft. In fact, I think they were part of a vocal minority that helped to guide Mythic to making Warhammer a game that was destined to fail. So, what did Mythic do wrong? Here’s my list.

Too many servers
. Mythic’s launch went well because the servers were relatively stable. The only problem was that they did a special pre launch for those of us who had a collector’s edition key. I happened to have one, though I didn’t have an actual collector’s edition. I forget how I got it. It wasn’t anything nefarious, I was just given the wrong kind of key from GameStop I think. That special key let me play the game a few days before all of my friends so whatever server I picked was going to be the server they picked and that server came from a small list of servers that would be up for the pre launch. This is what happened for a lot of players and a lot of the preformed guilds. This lead to all of the pre launch servers to get packed very quickly and then the log on queues started and thus the forum whining started. Mythic overreacted by opening up a LOT of servers. Too many actually. So, what they ended up with was a chaotic situation where whole guilds who wanted to play on one particular server would have to up and leave that server for a less populated one. I know Chaos is one of the playable factions, but having chaos in your server infrastructure is a bad thing. Once things settled down, the player base was spread way too thin and once players got out of Tier 1 and left the casuals behind, it started to become hard to find opponents to fight. I think this is one of the main reasons that players started to abandon the game. It’s hard to fight a war if the enemy doesn’t show up. Well, it’s not hard, it’s just really really boring.

Lag. So, if you managed to put up with a low population server and managed to find a fight with a decent number of opponents, than the ugly Lag monster came out. As we have seen in Wintergrasp, you simply can’t have large scale PvP in an MMO without having a lot of lag. So, once you managed to find a battle, it was pretty much unplayable if there were more than 20 or so players in the same area. I think this pushed a lot of the die hard players that were able to put up with low populations out of the game.

Not enough to do. My guild was on one of those low population servers (Grimnir I believe) and we’d have to come up with stuff to do when the PvP areas were empty. This is where WAR was really weak compared to WoW. Now, it’s a bit unfair for me to compare the two at this stage because I started getting seriously bored way before I hit the level cap and it’s at the level cap that half of WoW opens up. But, I know that even at the level cap there isn’t much to do in WAR other than grind their version of battlegrounds or scour the countryside for some world PvP in the form of a keep siege or the like. WoW has a TON of things to do at the level cap, like work on reputation, non combat pets, mounts, crafting, making money, achievements, etc. WAR didn’t have 1/3 of those things. It kind of had a reputation system called Influence which could get you gear, but since the crafting system was so bad and they had no special mounts, etc, Influence wasn’t that important. WAR does have something called the Tome of Knowledge which is jammed full of achievements and other fun unlocks, like titles, special abilities and trinket type stuff, but it was a closed system. You never really knew where to go to unlock something unless someone else told you about it. If WAR had an open Tome of Knowledge like WoW has an open achievement system, I think things could have been a lot more fun.

Graphics/models. One main gripe I have about the overall look and feel of the game is that the character models can be very goofy and the armor models can be just downright silly. The bad guys get all the cool looking armor and character models and the good guys end up looking like anemic frail aristocrats dressed more for a cold November day than for war. The two best examples of this are high elves and warrior priests. There was only one armor set for the warrior priest that looked cool. All the rest either make you look like a penniless monk on his way to the brewery or an English grandmother dressed in her house coat. The elves are just downright odd looking and not in any way attractive or intimidating. It’s hard to log on when you character looks like he’s ready to make a pot of tea and mend his socks.

Horrible questing. It extends also to the dungeon/raid environment too. The quests are boring, repetitive and unimaginative. I used to think the same of WoW’s quests until I played Warhammer. Lich King absolutely crushes WAR in this department. It’s a good thing you can level by doing nothing but PvP.

It’s a shame that Mythic made so many mistakes and bad calls in Warhammer. The background world created by Games Workshop so many years ago is full of life and inspiration. I really wanted the game to be good and succeed. I think Blizzard definitely picked up on a few of the more interesting and cool game mechanics that Mythic used, like battleground queuing from anywhere. Maybe one day if they fix the things I mentioned above, the game will be good enough to hold my attention and I’ll once again pick up my mantle and continue to play as Rorik the Warrior Priest of Sigmar.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nicotine patch for WoW

It's been a while since I've posted something. I usually try for 2 posts per week. My last was 12 days ago. WoW has become extremely boring lately. I would post raids on the calendar and get plenty of sign ups but half wouldn't show. Luckily for me, a coworker wanted to sell his XBox 360 racing wheel. To test it out, I borrowed another coworker's copy of Forza Motorsport 2, took the wheel home for a few days and found something very interesting happened. Forza 2 held my attention for longer than an hour. That hasn't happened in a really long time for me. I've played a few PC games off and on since I started playing WoW, but nothing really has thrilled me since Lich King. I think part of that has been the "WoW Addict" mentality of always having something to do.

Now Forza 2 seems to be my nicotine patch for WoW. I've always been a lover of sports cars of all kinds and Forza really has struck a chord deep inside me. The fact that I have 5 coworkers who have the game also helps, as we can race multiplayer for hours and talk about it the next day at work. Being able to tune and paint cars in game is the icing on the cake. I've also already pre ordered Forza 3, due out late October.

It'll be interesting once patch 3.2 come out for WoW to see which game really holds my attention. I have a feeling it won't take long for me to accomplish all my 3.2 goals fairly quickly and then I won't be able to resist the call of the racing wheel.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The casual/hardcore paradigm

I was reading Gevlon’s post about “the tank problem” and there were a lot of comments regarding his definition of hardcore vs. casual. I really liked his post and agree with it. I think when people talk about hardcore vs. casual, they tend to categorize players like a lot of people categorize Democrats vs. Republicans. To a lot of people, Democrats are all bleeding heart liberals and Republicans are evil cold hearted conservatives. What they all DON’T realize is that those generalizations are very unfair and often completely wrong. I won’t get into the many facets of political ideology, but I will make the comparison between the Democrat/Republican and the hardcore/casual spectrum. Just as there are more than two dimensions to someone’s political beliefs, there are more than two dimensions to WoW players. In the case of WoW, the dimensions are Play Style and Time. One can be hardcore in both, one or none of those dimensions. Imagine Play Style as the X axis on a graph and Time Spent Playing as the Y axis. Hardcore is on the right side of X and the top of Y. Casual is left of X and bottom of Y. Is it making more sense now? Here are some examples:

Me (Rorik) – I’d classify myself as hardcore both in Time and in Play Style. I usually play more than 14 hours a week which I’d say is hardcore in time playing the game. I do exhaustive research on my class (paladin), both talent specs that I have (healing and dps) and I research the same for all 3 of my wife’s level 80 characters and their class roles. I’m pretty good with navigating the ElitistJerks.com forums ;) I think that makes me a Hardcore Play Style player. That makes me Hardcore/Hardcore or if plotted on the X Y graph, I’d be in the upper right quadrant.

Real Life Friend – I have several high school friends who play WoW. I’ll pick on the one who was the best man at my wedding/I was best man at his wedding. He is definitely Casual in Time as he played less than 5 hours a week and definitely Casual in Play Style as he didn’t have a clue when it came to how to play his character. He’s in the bottom left quadrant, way, way in the corner.

Alt-o-holics and farmers – There’s at least one alt-o-holic in every guild. The guy/girl who is always playing and always leveling a new alt. This player would be Hardcore in Time as he/she plays more than 14 hours/week but casual in Play Style as he/she has never focused enough on one character to figure out what all those spells really did. The farmer is similar in that they play all the time but usually on the same character but they just don’t really know how to play their character very well, so they are casual in Play Style. This would put them in the top left quadrant.

I think expanding the definition of hardcore and casual like this can lead to a better play experience all around. I’ve seen too many guild recruitment threads say things like “hardcore raiding guild” or “casual guild with relaxed atmosphere”. What does that mean? Does it mean you spend 20 hours a week in a raid? Does it mean you do nothing but farm while talking in gchat? Describing your guild as casual in time spent but hardcore in play style could really help potential recruits to figure out if they would be a good fit with your guild and vice versa. I know if I saw a guild recruitment post that read “casual play time/hardcore play style guild looking for raiders for Wednesday nights” I’d know that these guys don’t have the time to spend raiding 3 nights a week, but when they do raid, they know what they are doing and get it done.

Where do you fall on the hardcore/casual graph?

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Little Advice for a Penniless Noob

A fellow guild member who has been absent until very recently has a dilemma. We found out about this dilemma when doing a Naxx 10 run on Tuesday night where he was playing his shaman alt. We wiped on the Dance and I noticed that he hadn’t released and was waiting to be resurrected when we got back into Heigan’s room. When we asked why he didn’t release and fly back (as Krys would say “Don’t be that guy”) he said he can’t fly back because he couldn’t afford a flying mount. That’s right, he quested to level 80 and somehow didn’t manage to have enough money for regular flying training. How this is possible, I don’t know. I know I must have made several thousand gold just questing between level 70 and 80. I’m sure if I think about it for too long, it will make me angry, so I’ll move on to the more important thing, which is giving this guy a little advice on how to make enough money to buy basic flying skill + a cheap gryphon.

First things first. To protect the identity of the guilty, I’ll call him Noob. Fitting, huh?

OK. So, Noob is this player’s alt. His main has…wait for it…450 herbalism and 450 alchemy. That’s right, maxxed out in 2 major money making professions. Clearly Noob is poor because he is clueless.

Now that we have that out of the way, here’s what Noob should do:

1) Farm herbs on your main! Our GM, Krys, has offered to buy every stack of Northrend herbs that Noob can muster. That’s one hell of a deal, having a guaranteed buyer.
2) Save all the Frost Lotus that you get while farming for regular herbs. These are a primary component to all of the flasks used by core raiders. You can either use them to craft flasks to sell, or sell them in stack of 5 or 10.
3) Change your alchemy specialization to Elixir Mastery. This way, if you choose to make flasks with Frost Lotus you have a chance to create additional flasks which means free money.
4) Do not try for achievements, do not play any battlegrounds, no world pvp, no heroics, no standing around Dalaran looking pretty. Just get out there and farm.
5) Look up the recipes for Flask of Endless Rage and Flask of the Frost Wyrm. Save enough materials to make these flasks using the Frost Lotus you have saved from your farming. Don’t worry, it won’t be too much to have to save. Craft the flasks and sell them on major raid nights, which are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Those are some pretty basic guidelines for Noob to follow. He could probably get enough money for his basic flying skill and mount in less than 2 weeks. It’s up to him to put in the effort. There is no magic formula for making money. It just takes a little brain power and some time. Once he gets the basics down, then he can start working on more advanced techniques and branching out beyond selling flasks and herbs.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What does a butler do?

Wadsworth: I'm merely a humble butler.
Col. Mustard: What exactly do you do?
Wadsworth: I buttle, sir.
Col. Mustard: Which means what?
Wadsworth: The butler is in charge of the kitchen and dining room. I keep everything tidy.

- from the movie Clue


Apparently butlers are expensive. At least, the ones in WoW will be. I guess it’s because they will do more than run the kitchen and dining room. Our butlers will buy our junk, fetch our clothes, mend our armor and sell us reagents. Here’s the list of materials, if you happen to be lucky enough to find the plans by salvaging a mechanical in Northrend.

Field Repair Bot 74A x 2, Field Repair Bot 110G x 10, Scrapbot Construction Kit x 20, Titansteel Bar x 8, King's Amber x 2, Handful of Cobalt Bolts x 30.

Phew! That’s a lotta cash for a butler! First, to my knowledge the Field Repair Bot 74A plans drop in Blackrock Depths and I don’t have them. So, the guild will have to forgive me for pilfering one of the bots from the bank. Hopefully I’ll find another one for a reasonable amount on the auction house. The rest of the materials I can craft myself, though the farming time for khorium ore alone could take a while and Jeeves will require 30 bars. The sad part is that I had a lot of khorium and primal fire left over from the Burning Crusade days that I sold last spring. If I had only been a pack rat and saved all that junk! A rough estimate of the cost for parts will be about 2000 to 2500 gold.

From a money making prospective, if you don’t care about Jeeves and you are an engineer…well, if that’s the case than you don’t deserve to be an engineer! But anyway, for those who are unworthy or those who make their Jeeves and want to provide parts, you can make a lot of money off your brethren in patch 3.2 just by crafting repair bots and selling them at ridiculous prices.

So, when 3.2 is released, you’ll find me in the Storm Peaks farming mechanicals for my butler.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Solicitation

There have been a few comments lately that have to do with trying to get me to add advertising to this site or trying to advertise someone else's site. Please don't do that. If I think a comment is soliciting a for-profit site then I will delete it. If you leave an appropriate comment and your profile links to your own blog or you link to another site with revelant information, great. Otherwise, "I love my vacuum, I've found God and I gave at the office" so please leave.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Engineering: All the cool kids are doing it

Trinket that fires a lightning bolt for upwards of 3k damage? Check.
Gauntlets that fire a rocket like Boba Fett? Check.
Gizmo that lets me see and extract elemental essences from little steam clouds? Check.
Auction house in Dalaran useable only by Grand Master Engineers? CHECK
Personal robotic butler that will buy my junk, sell me reagents, act as a bank and fetch my dry-cleaning? Double Check!
Gadget that rips apart space-time creating a worm hole that will transport me all over Northerend??? Giggity check check!

Sorry for the nerd-gasm, but the last 3 on the list are a few of the many engineering profession changes slated for patch 3.2. Rorik was my first character and my only lvl 80. I started with Engineering, went to blacksmithing and then went back to engineering shortly after hitting 70 because blacksmithing is boring. Engineering suits me to a perfectly and I’ll never drop the profession even though it’s been moderately useless in raiding situations.

Engineering isn’t for the min-maxer who wants to do 7k DPS. Engineering is for the cool people. The people who want to paint sharks teeth on a turbo charged flying machine. The people who know what a turbo charger even is! We gadget freaks have been shunned by both Blizzard and the general WoW player base for quite a while. Not any longer. Say I’m in the middle of a raid and one of our healers drops out and we need someone to switch specs quickly. Not a problem, I’ll just call on Jeeves to bring me my healing gear! He’ll even press the dings out of your chestplate and offer you Earl Grey to go with your stack of reagents. The addition of the auction house is just beyond awesome. I can scan away while listening to the sweet sounds of the chopper idling outside the entrance of “Like Clockwork”. With all the new engineering gadgets and the old stuff I currently have, I’ll be able to check my mail, sell my junk, buy reagents, access my bank and teleport myself to various places around Northrend without being in a major city. The only way it could get any better would be if they added machine guns and a saronite bomb dropper to the roflcopter.

There are plenty of other more minor changes too, like potion injectors doing more to engineers, cobalt frag bombs incapacitating characters and lowered cooldowns for a bunch of devices. There’s even a mind control dish that can be integrated with your helmet. I’ll be very curious to see how that device works and also to see how it alters the look of my goggles.

Maybe Blizzard doesn’t hate engineers quite as much as I had previously thought…

Monday, June 29, 2009

Engineering ammo changes

A Blizzard developer mentioned recently that he thought that hunter ammo expenses were too high and they wanted to change that. After some reader responses and a few calculations, I found that hunters do indeed spend a lot of gold on crafted ammunition. The costs are so high that one of our guild hunters (read his blog here) recently said that he has stopped using crafted ammo all together and that he’s still doing exceptional DPS. Well now we know that Blizzard is going to go forward with their ammo changes. Here’s the breakdown:

Currently, engineers create ammo crates which hold 10 charges of 200 pieces of ammo. Each crate = 2000 shots and at 20 gold per stack of saronite and cobalt ore, cost roughly 30 gold per crate for saronite razorheads and about 21 gold per crate for mammoth cutters.

The change for patch 3.2 is that engineers will no longer create crates but stacks of 1000 arrows/bullets. The materials cost for 2000 razorheads is now 4 saronite bars. For 2000 mammoth cutters it’s 2 saronite bars and 3 cobalt bars + 1 crystallized water. The materials cost for 2000 razorheads @20 gold/stack of ore should be ~ 8 gold. The materials cost for 2000 mammoth cutters should be ~ 7 gold. That works out to be a materials cost of about 25% of the previous cost.

I don’t know what to think of the change. I don’t sell a lot of ammo crates because there is more competition and it seems fewer buyers. Lately with school being out, it seems there are a lot more buyers for my ammo stacks. I guess more casual players are picking up the game again for the summer. What does this have to do with anything? Well, ammo crates are going to go away for good. All crafted ammo will now be sold as stacks of ammo. This is good and bad for me. It’s good because it means more customers, it’s bad because it means more competition. Since the price of materials is going down by 75% it also means more room to undercut. It’ll be interesting to see how much ammo goes for after the patch. On Bleeding Hollow, the price of a stack of 1000 has stabilized to about 35-37 gold. Will we see prices drop by half? What will the competition be like? Ammo sales are my primary source of income, so I am a bit concerned.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Other major changes in 3.2


Spare some...change?
There’s a lot going on in 3.2 beyond the titanium/epic gem addition. No, they won't turn us into homeless zombies (though the addictiveness of the game might), but there are tons of class and profession changes. I think the vast majority of class changes will not be ground breaking or game altering. Retribution Paladins are getting a pretty big overhaul with how they do damage but in the end, they will work pretty much the same as they had before, they’re just using a different seal and will be hitting Crusader Strike more often. They’ll also still NOT be able to kill a healer by themselves since their damage won’t be as “bursty” as it is now. Hunters are getting a few minor buffs but in general, they’ll still be stink on toast in 2v2 Arena due to them having issues getting melee DPS off their back. I’m not familiar enough with the other classes to really say if they will see huge changes, but from what I’ve read I’ll go out on a limb and say no, they won’t.

These are the big changes:

New change: Emblems of Conquest from every form of dungeon/raid. New emblem from the new 25 man Argent Tournament instances.


Effect: Since most Emblem of Conquest gear is ilvl 226, it’ll be harder than ever to gear check a potential PuG, so be sure you have some decent raid achievements to prove you aren’t a slacktard. It should also mean masses of new gear to gem and enchant, so there should be a steady demand for gems and scrolls of enchants on the AH. I’m not predicting massive inflation, just steady prices for a few months.



New change: Wintergrasp is now something of an open world instance where there can only be 100 players per side in combat.


Effect: Much less lag in Wintergrasp and the potential for massively lopsided matches. I know that players are randomly selected from the queue but it will be interesting to see if the system can be exploited. All in all a good change and with the weekly quests for Wintergrasp, it should really help to spread out the numbers over the week instead of the entire server being in Wintergrasp every Tuesday evening.



New change: The addition of Normal and Heroic raids.


Effect: Raiders who want to attempt bosses on Hard Mode will now be able to run the regular raid and not worry about getting saved to their hard mode group.

New change: The Argent Crusader’s Coliseum


Effect: New 5, 10 and 25 man instances much like the Ring of Blood except now an instanced dungeon/raid. Sounds like a cool concept and a good change to the standard “clear trash, boss fight, clear trash, boss fight” dungeons. I’m very curious to see what the rewards are.


New change: Resilience will mitigate both crit and non-crit damage.


Effect: Longer matches and not as many insta-gibs. Talent specs with no Mortal Strike type debuff and limited crowd control/interrupts will probably disappear from 2v2 matches *cough* ret *cough*. Warrior and rogue teams will dominate even more in 2v2 but Blizzard won’t care because…

New change: Season 7 Arena gear required a 3v3 or 5v5 rating.


Effect: 2v2? No soup for you! This is why Blizzard won’t care about 2v2, because they won’t be able to get Season 7 gear unless they play on a 3v3 or 5v5 team. For 3’s, heavy CC teams with Mortal Strike effects will dominate more than usual. Expect to see Rogue-Mage-Priest teams dominating…again.


There’s another change that I’ll be writing about more after I do the proper research and that is the change in materials to Engineer crafted ammo. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This just in: Epic Gem prices, transmutation and prospecting rates

After some searching on the mmo-champion forums, I found the prices of epic gems and a small titanium ore prospecting data sample. Here's the thread: http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=67563.0

and the prospect rate thread: http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=67480.0

Prices will be 10,000 honor or 15 emblems of heroism. The prospect rate seems to be about 25%, or 1 per stack of 20 ore. It is also possible to get Uncommon and Rare quality gems from the prospect. 10 titanium dust can be turned in for 1 Jewelcrafter's token.

For transmuting, see this thread: http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=67505.0

The more interesting transmute is for the Cardinal Ruby, which takes 9 Forest Emeralds. Sounds like a good way to get rid of those rare gems that don't sell well or sell cheap.

With all these methods of obtaining epic gems, I'm beginning to wonder if holding on to Titanium Ore will be worth it. I'll have to give it more thought before I hazard a wild ass guess.

Badges and Elitism

Sometimes I raid. As I may have mentioned in a previous post, raiding for me isn’t about clearing content, seeing new dungeons or watching my DPS meter. I could really care less and think that raiding isn’t nearly as difficult as PvP is. It takes a lot of practice and preparation to be successful, but it’s nowhere near as instinctual as a good 2v2 match. When I do raid, it’s to help my friends and my guild. That’s why I don’t mind switching between healer and DPS. It’s one of the benefits of being a hybrid class (paladin) and having dual spec. I can change to fit the needs of the group. Sometimes, it’s pretty fun too, like last night when we decided to try Sarth 10 with one drake up. It was fun not because we got great loot or we felt “l33t” because we downed a boss. It was fun because we used teamwork to overcome an obstacle and everyone was on the same page. We did Vault 10 earlier with the same group and again, great teamwork all around and didn’t wipe on Emalon.

In that 10 man traveling raid we had several freshly minted 80’s. Was their DPS great? Not really. Did they do anything that endangered the group? Nope. It’s a testament to their competence that we were able to do Sarth 10 +1. If we had been a group of elitist raiding asshats, I’m sure we would have kicked both of them for substandard DPS after finishing Vault 10. We didn’t, because we aren’t like that, sometimes to a fault. Would we have invited them to do an Ulduar run? Probably not because they just aren’t geared for it yet.

So what does this have to do with badges? Well, there’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the proposed changes to the badge system in 3.2. Anything that dropped an Emblem of Heroism or Emblem of Valor will now drop an Emblem of Conquest. Why did Blizzard do this? Well, it’s not because they want to reward “noobs” with great gear. It’s to keep players interested in the PvE game. We did Vault and OS 10 to get these two new level 80 characters geared up. There is absolutely nothing that is dropped in OS 10 or from Archavon 10 that I need. I’d be willing to bet that getting an OS 10 run is fairly difficult because most players are in the same boat. When these bosses start dropping Emblems of Conquest, it will benefit the entire raid in addition to getting the new 80’s geared up. It will motivate more guilds to do the starter raids and heroics to help gear up their alts and new members and make it much easier for everyone to get the prerequisite gear to do Ulduar and beyond. We’ve all done Naxx WAY too many times already, why should we keep going just to gear up a new alt or new off spec? The players who don’t care enough to figure out when and where to stand will still show their true colors and they will continue to not be invited to raids where as those of us who don’t have the time or desire to run Ulduar 25 ad nauseam will slowly accumulate badges to supplement their gear to the point where they can do Ulduar when the opportunity presents itself. As an added bonus to us PvPers, Emblems of Conquest can be used to gear up with Deadly Gladiator set items, which will greatly reduce the amount of time spent grinding in battlegrounds.

The Emblem of Conquest change is a good one for everyone. If you don’t agree, then maybe you need to turn off Recount and stop taking the game so seriously.

(this post partially inspired by a post on Holy Sh---ock )

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Interesting Prospect



Oh sweet, sweet Titanium, how do I love thee...

One of the most substantial changes to the WoW economy in 3.2 will be the addition of epic quality gems that can be prospected from titanium ore. There will be other sources for these gems which are PvP (purchased with Honor), emblem of heroism and transmutations.

So, what does it all mean? Well, just like gas prices rise just before Memorial Day due to speculators buying up gasoline, the price of titanium ore is absurdly high right now. I’m seeing stacks of 20 going for between 150 and 250 gold. Plus, the amount of titanium ore on the auction house is very low on Bleeding Hollow. Just like higher gas prices mean higher prices for consumer goods due to higher transportation costs, the titanium ore situation will affect a lot of other areas of the WoW economy.

Mining is one of my professions and before the patch notes for 3.2 came out, Titansteel Bars sold for about 90 gold each. I suspect the quantity of Titansteel will drop dramatically and the price will shoot up quite a bit. It takes 6 titanium ore to smelt into enough bars to make 1 bar of Titansteel. At 250 gold per stack, that’s 75 gold per bar of Titansteel in titanium materials alone. Miners who would normally smelt Titansteel aren’t going to buy titanium because their costs have skyrocketed and they’ll likely save any titanium that they mine for themselves, either to sell at greatly inflated prices or to have prospected when 3.2 hits. A lack of Titansteel on the AH and in personal stocks will also affect the prices of crafted BoE items like the Titansteel Destroyer, Shield wall, etc.

How will this affect rare gem prices? It’s hard to really say. On the one hand, it could kill them because rare gems will become the new “perfect” cut uncommon gems. On the other hand, these new rare gems will likely be going for over 400 gold each, probably higher for the +strength and + spellpower gems. Add to that the fact that all dungeons and raids (save for the Argent Crusade stuff) will drop emblems of conquest, which can be converted into lesser badges if needed. This means that we will be able to run heroics until we’re blue in the face and buy ilvl 226 gear. That means multiple upgrades for the vast majority of players and those players aren’t going to want to drop 1000+ gold just to gem their new chest armor. If anything, we may see a modest increase in rare gem prices for at least a month. Rare gem prices will likely deflate over the long term once players stop using badges and honor to buy new armor and start using them to buy epic quality gems.

Should we be speculating? How should we plan for 3.2? Without details on prospecting rates for titanium ore, transmutation materials and honor/badge costs, I think the best bet is to hold on to your ore and only buy new ore if you see it listed for close to the old market prices. If you aren’t a jewelcrafter, don’t want epic gems for yourself and see ridiculous prices for titanium ore on your server, feel free to sell. My guess on the prices and prospecting rates for epic quality gems is about a 25% chance for an epic per prospect (1 per stack of 20) and cut gems will list for 500 gold and up. Just look at the prices of Stormjewels, which have the same stats as the new epic gems, and use that as a comparison. To prepare for 3.2, the only thing I’m doing differently is saving the titanium ore that I mine and as a result, not making any more Titansteel. My behavior may change once we find out how much the new epic gems will cost and what the prospect rate will be.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Come PWN with us!

Aculeus Upon Ordeum, is recruiting! Over the past three or four months, attrition for various reasons has thinned our ranks. Here’s a little bit about us.

Aculeus Upon Ordeum (AUO) is an Alliance guild on the US PvP server Bleeding Hollow. I would classify us as a casual raiding guild. We’re full of friends and family and that are helpful, kind and respectful to each other. I found the guild back in the spring of 2008 after searching for a while for a guild with a casual and friendly atmosphere. I consider myself very lucky to have found exactly what I was looking for and wouldn’t dream of ever leaving. Most of us are working professionals and live in the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada.

What do we do? Pretty much everything. We raid, run heroics, battlegrounds and many of us are on arena teams. We’ve done some Ulduar 10 raids but with no great frequency mainly due to lack of key roles that we don’t want to pug. We also like to run organized battleground nights.

What are we looking for? First, no one is obligated to do anything. If you don’t want to raid, no sweat. Hate PvP? We have plenty of PvE stuff that we need help with. We’re looking for all classes and levels. Gear and levels we can change, but attitudes and personalities we can’t. If you want to transfer an existing character to Bleeding Hollow or start a new one, that’s ok with us. We’re running a little low on tanks so if you happen to be a level 80 tank, that would be a great bonus to me personally.

What are we NOT looking for? Our one main rule is: No douchebags. Also, we aren’t a progression raiding guild, so if you’re looking for Ulduar 25 twice a week working up to hard modes, this isn’t the guild for you.

So, if you are looking for a new guild, meet the criteria above and want to come check us out, please fill out an application here and the GM and officers will get back in touch with you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More on hunter ammo

I was a little shocked to hear how much ammo hunters use in raids. I had always assumed it was maybe 1000 arrows/bullets for a full clear on Naxx. Once I read the comments on how much hunters are spending on ammo, I decided to do a little math to support their assertion.

Assuming that 1 shot of ammo is used every time a player clicks an ability that causes something to fly out of the end of their bow/gun and (for the sake of simplicity) an auto shot speed of 3 seconds, we can calculate the burn rate of ammo as (t/1.5) + (t/3), where the first number is ammo used by hunter spells and the second is ammo used by auto shots. That also conveniently works out to be 1 round of ammo per second as we can reduce the formula to Burn Rate = (.66t + .33t). Math is fun! And you thought algebra was dumb and you’d never have to use it after high school.

Let’s assume also that it takes 5 minutes to down a boss in Naxx and since some bosses have an enrage timer of 5 or 6 minutes, your hunter won’t be using ammo face down in the dirt after an enrage wipe anyway. Sure, a well geared raid can burn a boss down in less than 4 minutes, but we’ll just use 5 minutes as a hypothetical median. There are 18 bosses in Naxx and sometimes there are wipes and always trash to clear, so we’ll go with 20 bosses worth of ammo consumed.

Here are the numbers:

300 seconds per boss = 300 units of ammo used * 20 bosses = 6000 units of ammo used in a full clear of Naxx.

That’s 3 crates of ammo for one raid.

I was shocked that my original assumption of how much ammo a hunter uses was so low. Some of the commenter’s numbers are probably a little conservative too. Even if the hunter were to buy stacks of ore to give to a miner/engineer to make ammo, he’d still be spending about 90 gold on saronite ore to make 3 crates of ammo. Add on top of that the costs of repairs, flasks and buff food and it can be very expensive to be a dedicated raiding hunter.

It almost makes me feel bad about making money from ammo sales. Almost, because I’m sure Blizzard will nerf engineering/change hunter ammo soon and I’ll lose a major source of income. Because Blizzard hates Paladins AND Engineers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interesting blue post on ammo

Ghostcrawler responded to a post from a hunter on a range of subjects. You can find it here. There are a few interesting comments made.

But we did design the hunter around having potent CC, and we don't think their CC feels scary any longer. Traps are probably in most need of some attention here. We'll try and go into more detail in the class Q&A if it isn't too far away.

First, it seems the developers are really getting the point that hunters in PvP aren't anywhere near what they used to be or should be. I can only hope they made some changes soon so my arena partner Krys and I can get our 2's back to a more respectable rating.

The more interesting comment is this one:
We agree with the comments that ammo costs have gotten too high. It was acceptable when hunters realistically did not die as often, and thus didn't have high repair bills. But it has gotten too high now.

I certainly hope Ghostcrawler is talking about vendor ammo and not crafted ammo. I know they have plans on redoing how hunter ammo works. This plus the comment above doesn't bode well for us Engineers who make a living from ammo sales. I really have no idea how much ammo a hunter goes through in a week but I'd guess that a raiding hunter that does some light questing/skinning on the side doesn't spend as much on repairs and ammo as a tank that does the same. I'll have to gather some data from the guild hunters to see how expensive things have become.

More Pet Peeves

Some of these are just minor annoyances. I know a lot of times people are rushed to type and mistakes get made a lot. That’s fine. When I see these mistakes being made on forums or even worse in business emails, it makes me a bit mental. I’m not the best at grammar and punctuation, but here goes.

1) Advise and advice – I see this one over and over again on forums where people write “my advise is”. Seriously, stop playing WoW and do your English homework. I’ll give examples of the correct usage: I’m going to give you some advice. Please advise him of the problems with his gear. One ends in “ice” and is pronounced like “ice”. See? Is that so hard?

2) Their, there and they’re –You should know this before you make it to college. If you don’t know the difference, look them up.

3) Rude PuGs in vent – Name calling when someone makes a mistake in a group or raid, making funny sounds too often and chatter at inappropriate times. These are all the characteristics of rude PuGs. As Penny Arcade summed up so well, Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Dickwad. That’s right Mr. I Make Chewbacca Noises, it was funny the first time, but now you’re just annoying. The name calling thing came up just a few days ago when I was healing a Naxx 25 with a group of ½ guildies and ½ PuGs. One of the PuGs wasn’t following directions well in a stressed situation and someone else started running his mouth and name calling. That kind of behavior should not be tolerated.

4) Guildies who pug vault on Tuesday afternoon – A significant number of my guildmates and people on my friends list PuG Vault before I even get home from work on Tuesday. WTF? Maybe if they waited for the rest of us they wouldn’t get loot ninja’ed from them and we’d have more stuff to do as a guild. That’s right, I’m looking at YOU AUO! Get a grip on your completion anxiety and wait for the rest of us to at least get home from work!

5) Fish feast – Wouldn’t you rather have the spell power or attack power buff and stamina? You’re hurting my sales! Now go buy some firecracker salmon and dragonfin fillet. You’ll find them on the auction house in convenient stacks of 5.

6) Wannabe raid leaders – What’s that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen? Just because we wiped doesn’t mean the strategy isn’t sound or tanks/healers need to be replaced. Sometimes, $#!^ happens. Suck it up and try what works a few more times before you confuse the whole raid with Plan B, C and D.

7) Using SO as an intensifier – This is used most frequently as “Thank you so much!” with an emphasis on the “so”. What’s odd is that I usually hear it from women more than men. Other examples are “The sky was so blue” “That movie was so bad” and “That guy is so tall!” The word “so” isn’t an intensifier like the word “very” is. Need more details?

OK, I feel SO much better now. ;-)

Monday, June 15, 2009

We're ready to believe you!



Tomorrow, Ghostbusters The Video Game comes out for just about every platform I can think of. I've preordered the XBox 360 version. I'm usually a PC snob but this time, I think playing on the big screen will be better, even if I have to use the clunky console controller. I'm really hoping it will hold my attention. I've been a HUGE Ghostbusters fan since I saw the first movie in 1984. A few years ago, me and four other guys here in the IT department dressed up as Ghostbusters for Halloween and played the movies all day on a projector in the office. That's how much I love the franchise. I wouldn't be nearly as hopeful for the game if it weren't for the fact that it was written and voiced by the original cast. The real test will be to see how much the game pulls me away from playing WoW.

Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Inside the mind of a customer

My wife fished up a few stacks of Dragonfin Angelfish for me over the past few days, which I turned into Dragonfin Filet and sold using my AH broker. Last night, before I log off for the evening, I check my broker’s mailbox.

Click…click… Click…click… Click…click…

“Did any of my fish sell”

“Yep, 3 or 4 stacks of 5”

“How much did you post them for?”

“20 gold each stack”

Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…

“Are those unsold auctions, or are you picking up money?!!?”

“This is gold from my ammo sales”

Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…Click…click…

“OMFG!!”

My ammo sales are interesting. First, I love being able to make money with engineering. Sure, it’s not an Inscription Empire, but it keeps me from farming when I don’t want to and I make enough gold to more than pay for my weekly upkeep and my wife’s never ending quest for 100 mounts (she’s up to 80 now). Sales can be spikey, usually every 2 days or so I sell a ton, but in between only a few stacks.

I often wonder why people would by ammo in stacks of 200, or why they would buy anything in lower stacks at a higher cost per unit. I think trying to get inside the mind of your customer is a good idea. It could really expand how you sell on the auction house and open up new selling opportunities.

First, let’s look at some of the items I sell on a regular basis – Mammoth Cutters, Saronite Razorheads, Saronite Bars. For the ammo, I was surprised that people would buy it and not just the ammo maker. When I started selling ammo by the stack, I could only sell it stacks of 200. Then, there was a change to ammo and it stacked up to 1000 per stack as a way to help hunters. I decided to continue to sell in stacks of 200. Why? Because most people aren’t good at doing even simple math. They probably don’t even have a calculator in the house and don’t know that you can minimize WoW and use the Windows calculator (it even has a Scientific mode!). I also know that most players don’t use Auctioneer, so the % of market value isn’t displayed for them. Lastly, most players sort by lowest price. So, I put these three things together and I have a formula for ammo success. Sell ammo in stacks of 200 for over 2x the cost of materials. Buyers will sort by lowest price and see pages and pages of my ammo at a cheaper price than the stacks of 1000, even though their cost per unit is lower than mine. Of course, since they lack simple math skills and calculators, most won’t even notice that my ammo is more expensive. I sometimes feel guilty about this. I’m not as cold hearted as Gevlon seems to be. Whenever I do feel guilt, I tell myself these very real facts: I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head forcing them to buy my ammo and there are other, cheaper options on the auction house. Plus, I really do hate blatant laziness so if someone can’t figure out how to find a better deal, it’s not my problem. In many cases, these are the same people who come to raids unprepared, do substandard DPS and “stand in the fire.”

For saronite bars, there are a few different reasons for buying a stack of 2 bars for a higher price per unit than a stack of 20. A buyer most likely only needs between 3 and 6 bars so they can have something crafted for them, be it a ring, weapon or armor. If they bought a stack of 20 saronite bars, then ¾ of them would “go to waste” after they had their gear crafted. So, in this case, selling bars in small stacks is kind of like selling boneless, skinless chicken breast. Sure, I could buy a whole chicken and butcher it myself, but my wife doesn’t like legs/thighs and it’s a time saver to not have to dismantle a whole chicken. So, I pay a little more for convenience.

Sometimes I sell crystallized fire/earth/whatever in stacks of 1. They don’t sell fast, but I can sell 10 crystallized fire for more than the cost of an eternal fire, which can be broken down into 10 crystallized. Why? Well, given that they don’t sell very quickly, they are probably being purchased by players who are farming their own eternals and after spending 2 hours don’t want to farm any longer for that one or two more crystallized to convert to an eternal. Again, it’s a time saver or in this case, they don’t want to waste any more time waiting for elementals to spawn.

Get to know your customers and tailor your sales to meet their needs…or to take advantage of their shortcomings.

Oh and thank you Jederus for the kind words and inspiration!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Writers Block

There doesn’t seem to be a lot to write about in WoW lately. The game seems to be on cruise control for the most part, with few major changes to class mechanics or professions. This doesn’t really bode well for me as a new WoW blogger as I'm struggling for stuff to write about. I’m beginning to realize why so many old and popular blogs have closed down in the past few months. There just isn’t a lot of excitement going on in the game to keep long time players interested and thus, long time bloggers have less to write about too. Wowenomics has a nice discussion about the Death of WoW that ties into this idea quite nicely.

So here’s my take on the Death of WoW. For people like me who had a level 70 well before Lich King was released, we’ve probably done most of what we’ve wanted to do in Lich King. We’ve leveled to 80, sometimes on several characters, and got a lot of great epic level gear from the treadmill that WoW haters loathe so much – reputation, heroics, Naxx and PvP. We’ve leveled our tradeskills and have a ton of achievements/mounts/pets/titles to show off. So now what? Ulduar is out, but that really is only enticing to the more hard core raiders. PvP is as frustrating as it always has been. The next major content patch is months away. Yea, I can see why the hard core players (those that play at least 15 hours a week) are starting to lose interest.

I guess it’s not really a bad thing that we hard core players have less to do in game. I used to have hobbies outside WoW. I have over $1000 of telescope and astronomy equipment that hasn’t been touched in a really long time. I used to enjoy cooking dinner for my wife and me. The list of hobbies and activities that were superseded by WoW goes on and on and now I have more time to get back into them.

What say you? Are you playing more or less than 15 hours a week and how much has that changed in the past 2 months? Are you running out of stuff to do in game?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bloke in a dress

This past weekend, I did something I had not done before. I finally downed 10 man Emalon the Storm Watcher. I had been in about 4 or 5 fail raids in the past, before I just gave up on it. On Saturday, I got a group together and we got close to taking him down, but couldn’t do it due to a few players who had sub standard DPS. By sub standard I mean awful, e.g. less DPS than the bear tank. So, Sunday afternoon, I see we have plenty of good DPS and enough tanks and healers, so I get the raid together and we down him. I got a very nice upgrade to my PvE healing set, the 10 man tier 8 leg armor.

Once I put the new leg armor on, I realized something. I became a bloke in a dress. I suddenly remembered that some of the tier 8 leg armor looks like a long floor length skirt. Horror washed over me as I realized that now, not only do I have to deal with spiky power ranger shoulder armor for my DPS set, but I have to wear a skirt if I’m healing.

This is further evidence that Blizzard hates paladins.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 6th, 1944


To all those of the Greatest Generation, thank you.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's On!

That’s right, it’s on! I can only speculate that it’s because of this post on Just My 2 Copper.

What’s happening? Well I used to be the sole provider of ammo in stacks of 200 on Bleeding Hollow. There were others selling ammo, but in stacks of 1000. I’m assuming they sold their 1000 stack ammo when it was listed, but it was listed at about half of what I listed my 200 stack per arrow/bullet so I was making huge profits compared to the others who sold ammo. So, I log on yesterday afternoon and what do I find? Someone listed 10 stacks of 200 arrows undercutting me by 1 copper. So, I posted a bunch more ammo and undercut him.

It was nice being the sole provider of ammo in the small stack category on my server. Every few days I’d sell a ton of it and it’s been my main source of income since the decline of buff food sales. If this keeps up, I’m gonna have to get ugly and pull a Gevlon, which is to say, undercut my competitors by so much that they go away.

So, not only will I Bring It, it’s already been “Broughten”!

Monday, June 1, 2009

WoW Pet Peeves

Justamom over at Magerly Different had a list of her WoW Pet Peeves back in May and I wanted to do my own list. My list focuses more on the "WoWspeak" that players have invented due to lack of typing skills, lazyness, etc.

1) Using the word "roll" to mean "create a new character". I'm pretty sure I know how this one got started. As a former Dungeons & Dragons player, I've rolled quite a few characters in my lifetime. It always involved several dice, thus the "roll" part. In WoW, there is no rolling during character creation, so you aren't "rolling" anything! So, all of you "roll" users, please return the word to its rightful place in the pen and paper role playing arena. That reminds me, please learn the difference between the words "roll" and "role". English is fun!

2) Chieves and Chanters. These two pop up in guild chat all the time and it drives me nuts! They are short for achievement and enchanter. Chanters are monks who recite words in a monotonous and repetitive tone, so sorry, that word is already taken. Chieves just looks like someone misspelled chives, which go on baked potatos.

3) Using odd abbreviations for dungeons or raids. The one that comes to mind most is "VC" for the Deadmines. It took a while before I found out that VC was Edwin VanCleef. Is it too hard to type out Deadmines?

4) Toons. I can kind of see why people started using the word toon, since WoW has a cartoonish art style and the word character is 5 letters longer to type. As we who play dirty auction house tricks have found, people are lazy, so now we have people using the word toon and paying 200% prices for a stack of 4 saronite bars. Which brings me to my last pet peeve for this list.

5) Lazyness. Players will spend 10 hours a weekend farming for herbs/ore/leather and when they get yelled at for doing less DPS than the main tank, they get offended. How about spending 1 of those hours reading a helpful blog or two, or maybe a site like Elitist Jerks and figure out a proper attack rotation and talent build? Those of us who do good DPS in PvE got there by doing a little research. Try asking us and we'll be more than helpful. Besides, top DPS players love to have their ego stroked ;-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bargain Hunting

Attention WoWMart shoppers. There’s a special on Lich Bloom in isle 3.

So, I have been keeping track of the herbs needed to craft the flask of endless rage. This flask seems to be a very popular item on raid nights so I’m using it as the basis for my test. An interesting thing happens on Bleeding Hollow for alchemists. The price of materials for a flask is usually equal to the price of the flask itself, +/- 3 gold. So, if you are a dual crafter, like say a Alchemist/Tailor or something like that, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to making flasks for enough profit to be meaningful, unless you do your homework. The word "meaningful" in that sentence is very subjective, but let’s assume “meaningful” is at least enough gold to cover weekly maintenance costs.

So, who’s making money off of Alchemy on Bleeding Hollow? Alchemist/Herbalists are. I suppose there just aren’t enough pure farmers on this server to bring the price of herbs down low enough for an Alchemist to buy all his/her materials from the auction house. One side effect of this “self employed” style of gatherer/crafter market is that there are very few, if any, deep under cutters. Producers are limited to selling what they have farmed for. You can’t sell 500 flasks if you didn’t farm 500 Frost Lotus so the cheap flasks get scooped up fast. Furthermore, since the cost of the materials is so close to the cost of the flask, no one is going to undercut the market rate by 40% like the Greedy Goblin does with his glyphs. This also makes flasks a bit more attractive to buy low and relist later.

What happens if you don’t want to gather your own herbs? You have to become a bargain shopper. This is where a tool like Market Watcher could come in very handy. Add the materials for a flask AND the flask you want to make to your Market Watcher addon and scan the auction house twice a day for a few weeks and take a look at the trend. Each herb should start to show a pattern of low and high prices over the WoW week of Tuesday through Monday. Gathered resources are almost always cheaper on Sunday and Monday nights as players unload their stocks after a long weekend of farming. Start buying herbs at their low point and save them for when the flask sells at its high point then craft the flasks and start selling. The high point for flasks is usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night as those are the nights most guilds are scheduled to raid. Remember not to flood the market with them, just post 2 or 3 at a time and repost as they are purchased. It really is an easy thing to do and it seems silly writing about it, but I suspect a lot of people don’t bother with this kind of planning and preparation. You may not get rich by selling flasks for a lower profit than someone with alchemy/herbalism, but you won’t have to spend time farming and ultimately that is the goal for a lot of us.

Of course if you enjoy farming like my wife does, then that’s more coin in your pocket for something that is relaxing and care free. Sometimes though, farming doesn’t produce enough materials to supply your crafting or real life gets in the way of us flying circles around Northrend so stocking up on materials from the auction house when they are dirt cheap is always a good idea, especially when it’s a rare drop material like Frost Lotus.

What's the materials cost vs. market price for consumables on your server?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lazy

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head but I just haven’t gotten to writing down something coherent. My wife and I haven't spent much time in the World lately due to us buying some DVD's. Now that we've burned through the entire first season of True Blood (I've even switched our premium cable subscription from Showtime to HBO in preparation for season 2), I should have something up on Thursday with a little meat behind it. For now, the WoW economy seems to be on a slow spiral back to low activity. I asked a former guildmate Dagr about his guild’s food buffs because it seems that my buff food isn’t selling well and prices are deflating. He says his guild always uses a fish feast before every boss. I’m going to see if raiders buy the fish feast, just the raw materials neither and just farm it. I have a feeling they just farm it. I guess it’s good for regular raiders that they don’t have to spend money on individual buff food, but bad for those of us that used to make a decent amount of money from it. We’ll see how the Fish Feast research goes. I think I need to head to Wintergrasp and do some fishing first.

I read a few days ago that Gevlon of the Greedy Goblin is going to give some tips or show how Engineers can make money. I’m curious to see what he comes up with. As an “Engineer for life”, I’ve found that we can make money, just not nearly as much as some other professions, especially Inscription. Since the decline of buff food, I’m making most of my steady income from ammo sales. I’ve tried selling scopes before and they don’t move in any significant quantity to really bother with most of the time and the profit margin is maybe 10 gold each. Maybe I’m missing something, so if anyone has any tips on Engineer money making ideas, please share them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

How To Fix It Part 2: PvP

I’m not sure if a game company can make a compelling world PvP MMO. I think one main reason Blizzard decided to add the Wintergrasp zone was because Mythic was working on Warhammer and they were going to have world PvP zones everywhere with cool keeps that you could attack with siege engines. So, we get Wintergrasp. I think the gameplay design of Wintergrasp is fine. Destructible walls everywhere, ways to upgrade which siege engine you get, fast and furious action. That is until the lag monster shows up and eats the entire zone. This brings me back to the statement that I don’t think any game company can make a compelling MMO based on World PvP. Once you reach a certain threshold of players per square unit of territory, the lag makes whatever you are doing unplayable. It’s exactly the same thing that happened when I was playing Warhammer and there was a 50+ on 50+ keep siege.

How do we make it work? Well, Blizzard has just implemented their “hotfix” for the lag by making the daily quests weekly quests to drive down demand. It seems to have worked so far. My wife and I did Wintergrasp on Wednesday night afer 8pm and there was little to no lag because there wasn’t a ton of players in the zone. It’s not an elegant solution, but I suppose it works in the short term. The only way to really make it work long term is to have the zone instanced. Alterac Valley works very well and it’s 40 on 40. Since it’s instanced and the objectives are spread all over the map, you rarely have more than 40 players in the same area on the map. That keeps network traffic lower and thus less lag. Plus, you can have all the dailies you want. So, Wintergrasp should be instanced and have quest objectives spread all over the map to keep people from all clumping on the keep’s front door.

The other major issue I have with PvP is that in order to get a great weapon, shield or offhand item, you pretty much have to raid. Forcing players (aka customers) to play the game a way they don’t want to isn’t a good idea. Sure, you can get to 1850 and get the first tier of Furious weapon, but by the very nature of the rating system , that is out of reach for the vast majority of players. There should be a middle grade of epic weapon somewhere between the crafted epics and the weapons that drop in 25 man Naxx that a pure PvP player can buy. It should be very expensive in whatever currency is used to buy it, but it should be attainable by non-raiders.

I’m generally happy with the battleground system. Sure, most of the games I play are completely dominated by the Horde, but Alliance on Bleeding Hollow have long accepted that fact. Strand of the Ancients is a pretty cool concept and one of it’s best features is that it will NEVER run longer than 20 minutes. Just thinking of hour long Warsong matches makes me want to cry. It would be a nice added bonus if there was an updated reputation system with battleground factions as another source of gear. It doesn’t have to be great stuff, maybe a supplemental way to get new 80’s in some blues that will keep them alive for longer than 3 seconds. Some new mounts, pets and fluff items would be cool too.

Lastly, the Vault of Archavon needs to be addressed. The Vault now has a second boss, Emalon, who is significantly harder to beat than Archavon. He is not the loot piƱata that Archavon is. The two bosses need to be separated out into two separate instances. Getting a group together for the old Vault was hard enough and a lot of players are in their PvP spec, so healing and dps is lower than normal. That makes getting a successful group together for both bosses much harder. Separating the two would make the raids run more smoothly and recruitment for raids much easier and more targeted.

So, while all these issues may not be contributing directly to the “meh” I think it would help to excite players and keep them engaged in the game. What say you?