Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Am a Crate-A-Holic

Before the expansion even came out I was making suggestions to people on which buildings to have in their garrison and one of those suggestions was to make sure you got the salvage yard in your garrison as soon as possible.  And then further to get it upgraded to level three.  It was solid advice then and it is solid advice now.  But something happened, something that I am not actually surprised about, I now find myself addicted to opening those big crates of salvage.

When blizzard changed it so level 90 - 94 missions no longer dropped big crates I was upset, as were many others.  We were purposely keeping a few low level followers on our team so we would have lots of low level quests which were short.  Short quests are good for when you are going to be online for any extended period of time because you can do more missions which in turn meant more chances for big crates.

Big crates not only got you follower upgrade items which could be used to gear up your followers so your followers in turn could get better missions and do better at them but those crates could also contain world drops.  665 world drops to be more precise.  Who would not want some 665 bind on equip world drops really?  I bet you would be hard pressed to find anyone that would say, nah, I don't want them.

But that is not all.  Those crates had a lot of grey items that were worth some gold, not the standard few silver type of greys either, 5 and 10 gold greys.  They also had some classic items that you do not see around very often and for people that are into transmog that has been a little slice of heaven.  And if you are lucky enough like me you have also run across a few pieces of gear that have otherwise been removed from the game.  It makes me wonder, how far does this go, what type of removed from the game gear can I find in there.

Even when I open a crate that has complete junk, meaning nothing decent for trasnmog, no follower upgrades, no crafting materials and no 665 items, I am still happy to open it.  Sure I might not be all that happy that I did not get something good but even a crate filled with junk can be a good crate.

One of my characters has made over 3K while sitting in the garrison the last three weeks.  She has not stepped outside of it at all.  I just do missions and pop back from time to time to refresh them.  That means she is making 1000 a week just opening salvage crates and selling the junk I get from it, from 48 gold greens to 7 gold greys.  If it is not something I think I can sell, which it usually isn't, and it is not something I can use, which it usually isn't, it is just vendor trash.  And at the rate of 1000 a week on an alt that does not even leave the garrison, it is pretty good vendor trash.

So while I am not getting nearly as many big crates of salvage as I could if it were not for the change from blizzard I am still doing quite well with it.  It has become more about me getting them than what it is in them.  Opening them is like gambling, getting them when doing 95 - 99 missions is like gambling.  You never know when you will get them and then never know what you will get in them.  It is kind of addictive trying to get more and then to open more hoping for that huge surprise when you get something you needed or wanted.

The first thing I do when I log in is cycle through all my characters to collect my crates and then send all the followers back out on missions to try and get me even more crates.  I then open them all with the excitement of a gambling addict watching a horse race and screaming "go 7, go 7, go 7" as their horse is pulling close after the last turn.  They know having a ticket does not mean winning, but the excitement of watching the race sometimes is enough and then the exuberance of victory or the anguish of defeat makes them just want to try again.

If you win, you want to win again.  If you lose, you want to try again so you can win.  The big crates of salvage really work on that hook and that is what keeps you coming back for more.  You just want to win.

I am not a gambler but I can't help but feeling like one each time I open a crate.  It is like buying a scratch off lottery ticket.  You know you can scratch off hundreds of them and win nothing, but it is knowing that you could win something that keeps you buying them.

The crates are taking over my life.  Bouncing from character to character to get as many missions done as possible so I have as many chances to win as possible is making it hard for me to actually progress in doing anything else because "if I join a pug on my druid that means there will be 2 hours I can not cycle through my characters to send them out on more missions".

I am addicted to getting the crates and opening the crates.  It is an addiction that is keeping me from doing other things I know I should be doing. 

Some might say that is why blizzard limited how often people could get them, they were trying to save us from ourselves, but I feel it is quite the opposite.  Now that I get crates less often it has become even more important I keep those missions running to drive my addiction.  If crates flowed fast and furious and I could get a bunch quick and easy whenever I wanted them to feed my crate addiction and get my fix.  I might not feel so pressed to get every single one I can, like I am now that they are limited, to some extent.

I got hooked in such a simple way and very early on.  The first day I got my salvage yard up to level three and turned in my missions and I heard that, what has become glorious, thunk when the box went into my bags.  I collected a few boxes from a few quests and ran over to my salvage yard with the excitement of a young boy on christmas morning looking to see what santa has got him, and I opened up the boxes like unwrapping presents.

That first day I got myself a 665 bind on equip item.  Sure my hunter could not use it, but I was hooked instantly.  I saw what could come from it and from that point on I was an addict. Nothing could change it now.  Running to the mission table hoping to hear that wonderful thunk of a big box of salvage landing in my bags and then running to the salvage yard is what keeps me logging in.  That has been all this expansion has been about.

I got achievements, factions to exalted, leveled followers, bodyguards, killed raid bosses, world bosses, got loot from them too even, I have done so much, yet the only thing that matters to me when I log in are my missions and if I got some big crates of salvage.

It is no longer about getting something good, it is about getting the box and opening it.  That act alone is a reward in a way, feeding my addiction.  I think I need help.  Is there a crate-a-holics anonymous in game?  Because if there is, I really should join.  I need a crate intervention.  I need crate rehab.  I need it because all I can think about is how many crates my characters have gotten me while I was writing this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Good News Everyone, Hunters Have Three Specs Again

With the recent round of changes from blizzard which saw beast mastery get a significant buff to improved focus fire (5 percent AP per stack up from 2 percent) and survival get a nice buff to serpent sting (60 percent increase to initial damage) those two specs are now closer in line with markman, which had been the only choice hunters had if they wanted to pull the best numbers.

It seems, based on various sims, that at nearly all levels of current gear the three specs are less and 5 percent apart from each either with marksman actually falling behind in fights with many adds or extremely hectic movement.

Many people will use this as an opportunity to get away from marksman with its caster like feel that sees it have cast times longer than even caster classes have to deal with, and they would not be wrong for doing so now.  Just a short time ago anyone not playing marksman was basically doing it wrong.  Yes, I have always been a supporter of play what you want, but when the gap was as large as it was that kind of went out of the window.

My Take on Marksman:

Even with the changes I would still personally suggest marksman for most fights.  While it might be true that marksman does not fit the feel of being a hunter over the last few years with our rapid fire approach to always shooting and lots of instants, it is still the best raiding spec in many cases for reasons beyond looking at the bottom line of some simcraft numbers.

There is a downside to marksman however, two actually. 

The first one is the fact that marksman is very luck dependent.  I have always been against specs that rely on luck to do well, but when you get lucky as marksman it really pays off.  Still, a luck based spec is a downside in my opinion because whenever you leave your performance up to the random number generator you never know what you will get. 

In my current gear if I get lucky with thrill of the hunt procs on the pull I will see myself bust into the 60K range on the pull and I could end a fight upwards of 26K but if I do not get lucky on the pull and have no thrill of the hunt procs I could end that same exact fight at 16K.  As I said, a completely luck based spec.  Over all however it seems to average out.  To say I am currently doing 21K on most fight is fairly accurate.  Doing the LFR yesterday, which I did to test things out and practice rotation on a live action training dummy, I did 21K, give or take 1K, on 5 of the 6 fights.  So those outliner 26K and 16K, while they do happen, do not happen all the time.

The other downside is the fact that as far as hunter specs go marksman has the highest skill cap thanks to sniper training.  Standing still is something hunters have not needed to do for many years so most hunters needed to get used to doing it again, or for the first time if you only started in the last 4 years. 

Monitoring and keeping up sniper training can be no easy task on many fights and that is where the skill cap comes in.  Not always the skill of playing the class, but the skill of being able to know the fights and remember them so you will know when you can move, how you have to move, and then work in keeping that buff up for the most time.  The reason I call this a disadvantage is because sometimes is it just easier to run around and pew pew and there is no denying that.

So with the downsides of being dependent on luck and having a higher skill cap than the other specs and the huge difference in AoE situations where they are low, and it is huge, dragging it down some, why would I still suggest marksman for many fights you might ask.

Raiding should be not so much about high numbers, it should be more about killing bosses and I personally believe marksman can help in ways that other specs can not.  On any fight where there are adds that need to die in a timely manner marksman will always be considered a quality choice while single target numbers are so close otherwise.  The reason for that is careful aim and the 35 percent kill shot which effectively means a marksman hunter is in some sort of increased execute type range 55 percent of the time.  More if you happen to have rapid fire available during the point you are burning down an important add.

Being there are more than a few fights that you will run across adds that need to die this tier that means that marksman has a leg up.  While the other specs can cleave them and maybe even end up with better numbers, over all marksman will get the mob down faster single target focusing it.

Marksman is still lacking in instants and the fact that it has long casts and standing still is integral in its game play make it a very unattractive option for some but it is still a solid choice and the right choice, in my opinion, for many fights.

My Take on Beast Mastery:

For anyone that has not played beast mastery this expansion they might be in for a little bit of a little bit of a learning experience when it comes to focus fire and the frenzy buff it supplies, which is the buff that bought beast mastery in line single target with marksman and helped boost its already decent AoE even more.

Last expansion many hunters did not even bind focus fire, some did not even have it on their bars at all.  The DPS increase for using it correctly was so small that it was easier to just ignore it than use it for a DPS increase that would be roughly equivalent to squeezing in one extra kill shot over the course of the fight.  It just was not worth it unless you were cutting edge and trying to get every tiny little bit you could get and even then it was not always worth it, and hunters much better than I said that, so don't take my word for it.

Now with improved focus fire from the leveling perk and the buff to the improved focus fire not only is it worth binding, it is worth using, and it will be one of the keys to getting the most out of the beast mastery spec.  The boost it gives is significant now.

This might mean a lot of people jumping back on the beast mastery bandwagon could be in for a little surprise because they are not used to using this ability appropriately.  Some might even forget they had it and not even think to look it up.  So if you are going back to beast mastery and not seeing the same numbers you did with marksman, like you believe you should, or at least should be close to, maybe this one ability is why.

For those that do not know how to use this ability, and speaking to many hunters over the years that means most hunters, the simplest way to explain it is this.  You want five stacks on your pet during bestial wrath, and you want five stacks on yourself when bestial wrath is over.  So build stacks, leave them on your pet until bestial wrath ends, then hit focus fire and take the stacks for yourself while you work on building more stacks for your pet and the next bestial wrath.  The key is to never use focus fire before or during bestial wrath.  Only use it right after it ends.

If you can get a hang on the frenzy stacks and focus fire switching than you will do fine single target and have the added bonus of much better AoE than marksman has, giving BM a huge advantage in multi target encounters and most certainly on trash.

I still worry, probably because I have not used a pet in raids this expansion so far, about pet pathing.  Having played a hunter for so many years I have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of pathing errors in the game, some of which actually hurt hunter DPS.  While I have not used a pet this expansion yet, I have tanked, and I have seen a lot of odd pathing while tanking, so I might still question some fights with a pet because of that.  I'll leave it to the people that were playing BM already to let people know if there are any fights which there are issues because I can not currently help there as I have no first hand experience with pets in them.

So outside of pet pathing and possible lost time do to pet travel between adds that might be spaced far apart, thanks to the buff there really is no reason why you can not play BM in a raid now.  It is fine single target and has solid AoE, which is considerably more than the single target leader marksman.

My Take on Survival:

Survival is what I always said I loved about the wrath hunter model, it is predictable.  If you start the fight at 20K you will end the fight at 20K.  It does what it does.  Small peaks and valleys but nothing like marksman with its all over the place based on luck peaks and valleys.  However there is a downside to that which means you have no burst as survival.  No matter what you will be doing 20K.

Consistency is nice when you look at it from the point of knowing what you can do but when it comes to target switching you are not exactly going to be in any position to help burn down that mob fast.  While I like things being a little less luck dependent it would be nice to see a cooldown of some sort added to survival for some burst on demand.

The buff to serpent sting means that not only does survivals single target move up to be much more respectable, even if behind the other two specs, but so does their AoE by a large margin.  As a side effect the cleave ability to survival moves up a great deal.  Being you suffer no losses due to movement, like you might with marksman, and no possible pet problems, like would be much worse with beast mastery if there were any, on fights with two targets and lots of movement, like the twin orges, survival can really shine.  Keeping a sting running on both while moving all over the place to avoid things can actually make what is usually a very boring rotation a little fun.

The fact that there are no cooldowns for survival means that there are few, if any, chances to totally screw up on your rotation.  Each mistake you make would mean less over all DPS loss than it would for say beast mastery timing a focus fire wrongly, or missing some kill commands during bestial wrath or having to deal with the luck of the draw for thrill procs on the pull and throughout the fight for marksman.

With less pressure, fewer chances to make mistakes, complete movement, and still having the ability to play pet less if you choose, survival becomes the perfect beginners spec for any hunter trying to jump into raiding so you can worry more about learning the fight and learning the movement without sacrificing your DPS to do so.  Its ease of play and lower skill cap means that survival can easily be seen as the spec of choice for many as it can compete single target even if lower than the other two and excel on cleave and multi target.

Conclusion:

Beast mastery still feels like the only finished product in the hunter arsenal, marksman needs some love in the form of instants and smoothing out the luck factor and survival needs some love in the form of on demand burst and some sort of execute but when push comes to shove, you can really play any spec you want because in many cases they will all be within 5%, at most, of each other in most cases, and that is not a bad place to be.  Now if only we can boost them all up a little, like 10% across the board, that would be even even better. ;)

Happy hunting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Do You Consider Crafting as Spending?

I find the above question to be an interesting one because it really can be read in different ways.  I think a persons perspective on it would change based on where they are coming from in game and maybe even in real life as well.

Someone in my guild mentioned something about the price of flasks on the auction house and I replied, I never worry about the price because I make my own.  This is completely true. 

Ever since I first started the game, even before I had a max level character, my intention was to be self sufficient.  I wanted to make sure I never needed to buy something that I would be capable of making it on my own.  Sure I would then need to invest time instead of gold but to me that is what playing the game was all about, investing time.

You either invest the time trying to make gold so you can buy the things you need or you invest the time to build up your personal network so you do not need to buy them at market prices and can make it yourself.  No matter how you look at it, making gold or making items, you are still investing time to get the item.

They then asked a follow up question, why don't I make extra flask to sell, and that is what got me thinking.  I really don't make extra to sell because I am not actually in need of gold.  I never, or should I say rarely, ever set out specifically to make gold because I feel I have enough for what I want.  But sometimes when I hear things are going for outrageously stupid prices I will make a few extra to sell because why the hell not.

If I were to think about it as "what if I bought" the stuff I made for myself instead of investing my time, what would it cost me?  Lets just take the other night.  I got a new cloak, which the enchant for it sells at 6K, I made it myself.  I used two flasks that night which cost 200 gold each on the auction house, I made those myself.  I used maybe a stack of healing tonics which go for about 5 gold each meaning 100 gold, which I made for myself and a stack of potions, which go for 30 gold each which means 600 gold, and I made them myself as well.  So if I actually went out and spent money for the night I would have spent over 7,000 gold for one nights raiding and it cost me nothing.  Nothing but time of course.

It made me think about the people that do not have their own enchanter, their own alchemist, and their own first aid leveled.  They would be out of their pocket over 7K for the night whereas I spent nothing.

I have been so self sufficient for so long and I do not mind the time it takes to level the professions and make sure I have the materials because to me that is just part of playing the game.  I actually like leveling professions and knowing that I can make anything I ever need for myself.  I am never going out of my way to get these things, they just come to me during my general playing of the game.  But being I have been so self sufficient for so long I think I lost touch with how expensive this game has become for those that are not.

I never know what the prices for enchants are on the market because if I need one I make it.  I never know what the prices are for gems on the market because if I need one I make it.  Even with the new 30 slot bags when a friend told me they are 12K on the market I said, are you kidding me, I just made one for my hunter today, it only takes a few days to make one, how can they be so expensive.

Then he said, effectively you just spent 12K on that bag.  I said, no I didn't, I made it with materials I had anyway as I leveled tailoring and I was not using them for anything else so if I did not make something with them it would have gone to waste.  And that is where we differed and I wonder which side of the line people think on in regards to things like this.

He said if I sold it I would have made 12K.  So by using it that means it is the same as if I spent 12K on it.  He does have some logic to his thinking.  If I sold it I could have sold it for 12K, then waiting 3 months and when the market is flooded with them buy 4 for the price I sold the one for.  But like I said, if I did that it would thinking of making gold, and I rarely think that way.  I thought more along the lines of, oh my god I need more bag space.

So do you think of it as spending money when you craft something for yourself?

Using the bag as an example, if you used the bag would you consider it as spending 12K?

New topic, or call it a tip if you will.

A couple of weeks ago before the raids opened when a guild mate mentioned he was going to craft some gear for himself I gave him a tip.  Don't craft gear for yourself.  Sell everything instead and wait for the raid to open up.

He had multiple barns running, some crafters, and other support characters running.  He took my advice.  He started selling savage bloods, some crafted pieces, anything he could sell.

Now he has purchased every single 665 BoE, 670 BoE and 676 BoE that he can get his hands on from the market and is still making gold hand over fist selling the savage bloods instead of using them to upgrade the crafted gear he never made, on my advice to ignore it.

He said thank you for the tip and is now much better geared than if he has crafted the gear for himself.

The thing is, this tip still works, but the market is drying up for it.  Do not craft yourself crappy gear and then spend a million and one resources to upgrade it.  Craft the base 640 / 630 stuff, sell it cheap, and sell all those savage bloods and sorcerous elements to the people that want to upgrade a 640 to a 655 and use their gold to buy a 676 instead.  Trust me, you will be the winner in the end.

There is a time to craft for yourself to save money, and a time to sell everything and buy later.  Blizzard, with the excessive amount of materials needed for crafted gear and the much better item level BoEs out there, basically made the decision for you.  Sell low level items, buy high level ones.  Enjoy.

Mythic 20 Answers the Age Old Question of 10 vs 25

Before I start this post I wish to make it abundantly clear this is a post based completely on my opinion and your mileage might vary.  We all read into things what we wish to and of course I am no different from anyone else and will do the same here.

Over the course of the years writing this blog I have had the 10 vs 25 debate multiple times in replies and a few posts that actually addressed the topic.  I have always, and still do believe, that 10 man raiding is harder than 25 man raiding.  Having been both a 10 and 25 raider in my life this has always been what I experienced.

Some people in those debates would concede that when they standardized difficulty so that 10 and 25 man were supposed to be created on the same level in cataclysm that the 10 mans could be taken more seriously, even if still not considered part of the world first race.  However we looked at it differently.  I always said that 10s were made much easier when they standardized difficulty in cataclysm and they believed it was made harder.

From my perspective it has always been that 10 man raids are harder mechanically on groups and 25 mans are harder with assembly and instruction.  Both had their areas of difficulty of course but when it came to the actual fight I have always said 10 man raids were harder being their difficulty came from having less room for error when compared to 25s difficulty of finding and keeping 25 competent raiders and even harder, assigning them all places to stand.  25s difficulty was in logistics, 10 mans difficulty was in accountability. 

When blizzard decided to condense the 10 and 25 man raiding scene into a single size of 20 man raiding I was secretly pulling for a 10 man guild to win the first world first that popped up.  Because lets face it, after this point every group is a 20 man but coming into this point there is a 10 man group increasing to 20 and a 25 man group decreasing to 20.  They are still who they came from, be it a 10 man or a 25 man.  After this raid tier, everyone is back on even footing once again.  Every top guild is a 20 man guild.  They have all had time to work and meld as a team during progression.

Huge congratulations needs to go out to Paragon for not only getting the world first but getting it by a convincing margin.  If you think about it they had the cards stacked against them.  They were coming from being a 10 man team, which if you were to believe what seemed to be what the majority of forum posters, meant they had no chance of getting world first.  What seemed to be the idea was that they would need this tier to learn how to play with a larger team and to step up their game and then next tier they would be back in the mix.

Paragon shows them all wrong.  They took their 10 man team, added 10 more people, and then still wiped the floor with the competition.  You would have to say it was harder for a 10 man to add 10 new people than it was for a 25 man to lose 5, but they not only managed it, they succeeded while doing so, in a way not many of the forum posters even thought was possible.

I was rooting for them not only because they were a 10 man team stepping it up, but because I like to root for the underdogs and it seemed that everyone on the forums counted them out as "second class raiders" because they had moved to doing 10 man raiding.  Personally I think that 10 man raiding makes players into better players because of the high personal responsibility and accountability that is inherent to doing them.  Not like these guys needed to be better, they were already a world first team and had been so for a very long time.  They were the best to begin with.  They once ruled the raiding world and they showed, even with half a new team, they could still be at the top of the pack.

As I said earlier, people can read into it what they will and what I choose to read into this is that a highly skilled group of people will be world first no matter what the group size is, as paragon proved. 

But looking at their track record, they were world first when they were 25, they are now world first when it is 20, but they were not world first when they were 10.  Why exactly is that?  I'll tell you why.  Because 10 man was harder than 25 man.  Always was. 

I guess we now have the answer to the age old question of 10 vs 25. Case closed.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Random Thoughts

- As I figured last week my 99 is now 100.

- So that makes five level 100s now.

- I am not really pushing for any others, but they will come.

- Not saying I am not liking the leveling process.

- I like the quest flow over all.

- Do find talador a bit of a drag however.

- Just that I do not want to make more "work" for myself than I already have set up on a daily basis.

- This expansion, for someone with a lot of alts, will require a ton of time.

- With the big "if" being if you want to do everything with them.

- I need to learn how to not do everything with them.

- Or I will burn myself out on them.

- I already do not mine during the week, to cut down on wasted time.

- Can you imagine if I had 20 100s like I had 20 90s?

- I would log in and start doing my garrison and by the time I cycled through all my characters it would be time to log off.

- And that is if I could even finish all 20.

- So I don't see me wanting to level as many alts as I had in the past.

- It almost seems like a penalty for leveling.

- Congratulations, you have another level 100, now get to level your followers and gear them all up.

- Get to leveling your professions and the year and a day it will take to do that.

- Get to gathering materials and collecting the 60 of each resource it will take to do your daily cooldowns and work orders each and every day.

- Get to grinding for the sake of grinding.

- Don't get me wrong, I love grinding, but there seems to be some stuff missing.

- Like a way to level professions without having to save up weeks worth of materials to make stuff.

- What ever happened to crafted patterns that did not need "special" materials?

- That is the one thing that gets me.

- I would feel as if I have to log into all my characters daily, because I always keep my professions leveled.

- Having max professions matters to me.

- And you need to log in daily to do so if you want to get it done at a reasonable rate.

- Each profession needs some simple stuff to make to level it that just needs basic materials.

- At least in my opinion.

- If I do not want to spend forever making 640 gear it takes forever to get the materials for I should have another way to level professions.

- So it is daily cooldowns and the darkmoon faire for me to level professions on rarely played alts it seems.

- Unless I want to play them more often.

- But than they would not be rarely player alts would they?

- I do still want to level some additional hunters.

- Because I love soloing on hunters and the more hunters I have the more soloing I can do.

- But I can cross one thing off my soloing list.

- No more Onyxia farming needed for me.

- Got it to drop this weekend.

- I looted it and thought, this looks different, I thought I saw everything that dropped here before.

- I hovered over it and saw it was the mount and did not believe it.

- I was not happy or excited or even yelling woohoo like I should have.

- Just that one good YES.

- And then a sigh of relief to have finally got it after so many years.

- It was an "I really earned this" feeling more than anything else.

- Ever since they added shared mounts I was soloing it on multiple characters whenever I remembered to do so.

- Before that I was soloing it on my main as far back as I could remember.

- The last few months of the expansion I was doing it on at least 5 characters a week.

- I had started to solo it years ago, it has almost become habit.

- Looking to take a break?  Solo Onyxia.

- Want to do some mount farming?  Solo Onyxia.

- Feeling like I was having such bad luck lately I was due for a win?  Solo Onyxia.

- A few minutes before raid and nothing to do?  Solo Onyxia.

- It had become such a huge part of my game play life over the years I think I am going to miss doing it.

- Does that sound weird?

- I've done it so often, squeezed it in so many days, on so many characters.

- Not really having a reason to do it any longer is like losing an old friend who used to always be there for you.

- I got the mount, but now I wonder if maybe I would have been better off not getting it.

- Most other mount runs take time, this was quick and easy.

- Need more quick and easy mount runs to fill in the time, to take onyxia's place.

- Throne of the four winds could take its place.

- It is short, simple, and doable by many classes.

- More than onyxia was actually.

- I guess that will be my new onyxia.

- I did throne yesterday and two extremely odd things happened.

- I got the achievement for heroic throne, which I had from years ago.

- So how did I manage to get an achievement I already had the achievement for on that character from three years ago?

- Odd right?  I thought so too.

- And then the bosses dropped 125 gold each.

- Thought they scaled down gold?  Once more odd right?

- Want more odd stuff?

- I looked to see how close I was to 250 mounts.

- Says I have 246.

- But my mount guide says I have 257.

- So I have 11 that are not counting for some reason.

- The paladin mount, lock mount, DK mount, they all will not count on my hunter so that makes sense.

- But I do not have 11 class only mounts.

- I decided to see if I could get 4 more mounts.

- This was before I did onxyia.

- I went to halaa to get the two mounts from there, thanks to follower missions.

- It was under attack, so I needed to defend to get them.

- Had to wait for the vendor to respawn.

- We held the line but were slowly dying off, 12, 10, 8, 6 guards left.

- Respawn, respawn, I was mumbling at the screen, I did not want to make this trip for nothing.

- 4, 2, he respawned.

- I run over, open window, buy both mounts, watch him die a second later as we drop to 0 guards.

- Well, got what I wanted, let them have it now.

- Hell, maybe they were fighting so they could buy it themselves.

- And no way little old me was going to hold off 4 or 5 invaders anyway.

- Just happy I got my mounts and did not need to come back or win it all by myself.

- So I got somewhere safe, away from battle, and learned the two mounts.

- Should be up to 248 now right?

- Nope, those two mounts did not count apparently.

- Why did they not count?

- My total mounts moved to 259, but my character mounts is still 246.

- Even if I learned them on my main, it did not count them.

- Odd, very odd right?

- Onyxia's mount did count however.

- So now I am at 247 but really 260 mounts with the two new mounts that I just purchased not counting.

- I wonder why.

- Lots of achievement bugs.

- I have actually noticed a lot of achievements I already have popping up that I just got them.

- I think there are some serious bugs going on with achievements.

- I made a darkmoon trinket for my tank, my "craft" 50 epic items over item level 600 achievement did not count it as crafting it.

- It counts the pieces from the garrison missions I click on to craft.

- Why not that?

- So back to my new 100, it was my warrior.

- So I hit 100 and switched to protection spec and took gladiator stance.

- Did I ever leave any comment that made you think I would do any different?

- I always said, if I could DPS with my sword and board I would, and you are damn straight I did.

- I hit 100 a little into nagrand.

- I saved nagrand for last so I could get some of the tank type gear from the quests.

- The choosing spec option does not seem to work all the time from the quest rewards so I figured I would just wait until I was in protection, and had my bunker up in level, then quest in nagrand to get some starter tank gear.

- As soon as I hit 100, with all of a 584 item level, I went back to my garrison and upgraded to level 3 and started building my bunker.

- I figured, while waiting because I wanted a level 2 bunker before going back to questing for possible upgrades, I would give the proving grounds a try.

- It goes without saying I never played gladiator right?

- I knew all the abilities from having used them as a tank and there was only one ability that changed.

- I read that one ability, decided how I wanted to use it, and entered the proving grounds as a damage dealer.

- Once again I found the damage dealer proving grounds very underwhelming.

- Playing a spec I never played, so to speak, with way under the minimum 610 it scales down to, I got my silver without even coming close to missing any round.

- Yawn.

- I turned in the quest and my 610 weapon from the quest actually became a 640 epic weapon, and this was before my bunker was finished building, talk about luck.

- Next I figured I would try the tanking one.

- After doing it with my druid and knowing that the mistweaver that is there is possibly the worst healer ever in the history of healers, I was not expecting to finish it.

- Bronze was no problem, silver however was a different story.

- I ran into the same problem that I had with my druid.

- Well, not actually the same problem but same type of problem as in making it to the last round and wiping.

- On my druid the healer seemed to refuse to heal me, so to fix that bad healer issue I had to go full on defensive to get it done.

- I managed to get silver on the third try with my druid, if I remember correctly, after I adapted to her horrible style of healing.

- So this time around I figured I knew what to expect.

- I would play it really defensive on my warrior and should be fine.

- Nope, blizzard switched it up on me.

- She actually was healing me on occasion and honestly I did not need much healing on my warrior even at that low item level.

- If victory rush had worked on the mobs in there she actually would have never needed to heal me.

- My warrior, not sure if by design, just took WAY less damage than my druid did.

- So this should be no problem.

- Last round, fire guy pops up in the second part of the last wave and throws some fire puddles, which I let go, so I could tank stuff in it.

- Bad part was, one of the fire puddles was under the healers feet.

- Did the healer move?

- Of course not.

- Did the healer heal herself?

- Of course not.

- So I immediately said to myself, self, it is me vs her health now.

- I need to kill everything before she dies.

- Needless to say, that did not happen.

- Take two.

- This time I will interrupt the fire guy.

- Must have been too slow on the interrupt however.

- He got off one fire puddle and can you guess where it landed?

- Yeap, right under her feet.

- So me against her health timer again.

- I can do it this time, just two mobs up.

- WTH is she doing, she is healing me, I am at full health woman, stop healing me and kill kill kill.

- Now that you are supposed to be DPSing you are healing me?

- If you are going to heal someone heal yourself because you are standing in fire you buffoon.

- One mob left, execute range, one more shot and this is done, she dies.

- Damn you woman, you are the worst healer in the history of healers.

- Take three.

- Switched some talents around, changed two key binds, now I will get this.

- The druid had to deal with no heals and needed to go full on defensive.

- The warrior seemed to get a different RNG and he has to deal with a healer that stands in bad.

- How I beat the druid was to handle it as if there was no healer and I had to take care of myself.

- How I handled it on my warrior was as if all spells were instant death spells.

- I would not let anything cast anything.

- And I did just that.

- Not even one fire puddle came out and it was a breeze.

- Do you think the warrior and druid challenges are different or just luck of the draw?

- I never was in danger of dying on my warrior where my druid was near death all the time.

- The healer stood in bad for my warrior when on my druid there was never any bad near her.

- RNG or are the challenges tuned different for different classes?

- Honestly, would love to know.

- Still upset it took me until the third try to do it as tank, for the second time.

- Even at 26 item levels lower than the minimum with zero tanking gear, I should have one shot it.

- And would have one shot it, if only she side stepped, or healed herself.

- Once again I have to say it, she is the worst healer in the history of all healers.

- Speaking of healing, I got a healing trinket on my shaman from a dungeon, while in DPS spec of course.

- Add that to a 615 healing trinket from a follower mission, and now I had two pieces with spirit on it.

- Three pieces actually, being that one dungeon was also the one I needed to get the 640 ring, which I took with spirit of course.

- Now I was ready to give the healing proving grounds a try.

- I did not expect much, I figured I would need more spirit.

- A guild mate told me that bronze was actually harder than silver.

- I laughed because, you know, how is that even possible.

- Then I did bronze, finished it was zero mana, as in not even a sliver of mana left when it ended.

- Holy crap he was right, bronze was rough.

- If I can barely do bronze there is no way in hell I am going to do silver.

- But he did say silver was easier.

- What the hell, I am here, let me try.

- They were right, silver is easier on your mana than bronze was.

- I ended the fight with a third of my mana bar left and no one was ever in danger of dying.

- That was a lot easier than I had expected.

- Why is bronze harder than silver?

- Was it because the idea was planted in my mind and subconsciously I reacted thinking that and made it so?

- Or is bronze healing actually harder on your mana than silver is?

- So far it seems the tank challenge is the only one I could not one shot.

- Still have other tanks to level, one of these days I will get it.

- My hunter is now past 650 item level thanks to some exceptional luck.

- Yes, I said I had luck.

- Not only did onyxia bless me with her mount dropping but my rogue managed to loot the lucky double sided coin from a salvage container.

- In case you did not know that is the best in slot non mythic trinket for a hunter.

- So needless to say that I sent it over to my hunter and equipped it instantly.

- I now only have 2 slots with non epic gear in them.

- Legs and one ring slot.

- I must say that I have been doing okay this expansion thus far.

- Hope I did not just jinx myself back to my normal no luck sort of luck by saying that.

- I macroed the double sided coin into rapid fire and I am loving it so far.

- Awesome that they have the same cooldown and it just so happens that the best time to use the trinket is during rapid fire.

- So it works out perfectly for me.

- A new character entered draenor for me.

- And I am currently wondering if I even want to worry about doing their professions.

- It means more material needed to keep it going, and it just does not seem worth it any longer.

- If it were not for the sorcerous elements I could get from it I would not bother with them any more.

- I do want to start leveling another character on one of my solo servers.

- Just to see the garrison from a solo perspective.

- I think garrisons are better from that angle.

- Trying to do everything for a bunch of characters and all professions just seems like too much.

- A few guild mates decided to try the gold bags you can buy with the profession secrets books.

- They have been getting 1 or 2 gold inside each one.

- So lets see, use a few materials to make one secret and trade it for 1 or 2 gold?

- Seems like a loss to me.

- So my advice, once you have all the patterns you need, stop doing the secrets daily.

- Not worth wasting the materials.

- They would be better spent on work orders.

- Or sold on the AH for that matter.

- Even 5 blackiron ore is worth more than 1 gold.

- And that is saying a lot, because ore is basically worthless.

- They need to increase the gold in those baggies to be between 15 and 30 gold to be worthwhile.

- And even at that, it would only be worthwhile if you get the higher end of it.

- But it would be like gambling, and lots of people dig that stuff.

- I am not a gambler but I love the big crates of salvage.

- And that feels like gambling.

- At least I have got two 665 items thus far, and one was awesome for my hunter.

- So over all, I would say I won.

- It was worth pushing 5 level 3 salvage yards and working to get as many crates as I could.

- But all that means is I won this time, a guild mate has opened more crates than I, triple the amount easily, and he has never gotten any.

- Guess I had good luck with them.

- Me, with luck, its the seventh sign.

- Have a great day.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dear Blizzard Garrison Developers

Dear Blizzard Garrison Developers,

Let me take a moment to introduce myself.  I am the commander of the free armies from Azeroth on Draenor.  I have saved the world from destruction, I have fought kings, old gods, and threats of all sizes.  I have all the faction leader's ears and their highest respect.  I am privy to knowledge directly from leadership that no one else could know because I have earned the utmost level of trust.  Whenever there is anything that needs to be done I am the first person that is sought out to solve the problem.

I have outposts in every area of Draenor and lead all the wonderful men and women that defend them and they all trust my choices and follow my commands, without question.  I have hundreds of followers that left their lives behind just to be with me and they would go out on my command on what could possibly be a mission they will never return from, never even once questioning my orders.  I am respected, honorable, and skilled as both a fighter and a leader.

I have fought countless battles, retrieved precious artifacts, collected badges of honor from completing tasks no one else could, and traveled from one end of the world to the next building a legend like none have ever imagined possible all while receiving accolades every step of the way.  I've friends, confidants and informants all over the place and the most powerful beings in the world either fear me, or come to me for assistance.

I am a legend.  I am a leader.  I am the last hope for our world and I have never let the people of our world down.

So I ask, with the greatest respect, please, by the light of Elune, why can you not teach my followers to mine and herb on my garrison for me?  A person of my stature should not be tied down by such petty tasks, I've got an army to lead and a world to save.  I believe I am busy enough.

Thank you for your time,
The Grumpy Elf

Friday, December 12, 2014

One Month Down, Eleven To Go?

We sit at the one month point of the warlords expansion and it is time to play around with a little bit of speculation.  However I do not believe there is any speculation needed.  I am completely willing to go out on a limb here and make a prediction, but I do so without any risk of being wrong because it is an extremely strong limb.  The next expansion will not be out in 11 months.

Blizzard has promised that this expansion will only last one year.  That is not going to happen.  The way the staggered raid releases are set up I can see maybe, just maybe, the next expansion coming as early as one year after the release of the second starting raid.  But no way in hell one year after the release of warlords.  Nope, not going to happen, never.

I personally think I would like to see this expansion gone as soon as possible.  I'm not exactly happy with the feeling I am playing on a live beta, even if I am enjoying the game right now.  I would not object in any way to only having 11 months left to it.  Sure, if it goes by that quick I will never be able to complete mythic as I did with siege as I am a casual raider with friends that are just not up to that level of play, but that does not bother me.  As long as I finish normal (now called heroic) like I have been doing, or coming close to, for the years since I started raiding, I will be more than happy.

That is one reason I do not see them sticking to a faster release schedule.  There are more players like me than there are players above me, in terms of progression.  And there are much more under me.  So they will not, or should not, cater to the ones above me and they most definitely should cater to those below me.  While it does not matter to me if I do mythic, as I consider that bonus content for when I am bored and not actually part of the main game, to some people having the time to get into mythic and finish it is very important and with a sped up release schedule it will basically lock out the vast majority of the player base that wishes to see mythic but just can't do it on a short schedule.

Another one of the reasons I do not see that happening is blizzards track record.  They are dreadful with releasing timely content.  I know they are trying to get better at it.  At the beginning of mists it looked like they finally nailed it.  Mists probably had the best first year in terms of content patches released in the history of the game.  There was nothing not to like about it, unless you disliked having so much content.  There was just a lot to offer and they offered it all.  For a moment it really seemed blizzard would be living by their word and making faster releases.  It did not turn out that way when we sat in the same raid for 14 months.  Hey, I did not mind, it took me 9 months to finish heroic (now mythic) and I am happy to have had that chance.  But I would still say it went on too long.

Add all that to the fact that warlords is effectively still in beta.  Yes, I know it has been released, but blizzard has been releasing a flurry of changes left and right of recent.  All changes that should have been made on beta.  Changes to professions, the same ones I wrote about here being in an unfinished state on beta, changes to achievements, and changes to other things.  All of which should have been adjusted on beta.  As it turns out, it is being adjusted on beta, a live beta.

So adding that all together.  Blizzard not wanting to cut the raid season really short, because it wants people like me to have my 9 months at the end of the expansion to get a mythic kill, their track record of being really dreadful with timely content releases, and the fact that even if warlords has been released it is still not a finish product, we will absolutely, one hundred percent certain, not be seeing a new expansion in 11 months as promised.

So now that we got that out of the way and it is no longer a discussion, the expansion will last longer than one year, it is time for the real question, how long would you like to see this expansion last?

I know that the expansion still has that new car smell for a great deal of people, and everyone knows we all like something more when it is new, so I am expecting some people will over estimate how much they are enjoying the expansion because of that.  My opinion however is going to be more based on the what I believe would be best for the game and not the fact I am enjoying myself at the moment.

After the next raid is released, blackrock foundray, in January, I would like to see the expansion follow the mists design.  Meaning I would like to see a content patch three months later in April followed by the last raid, as there are only supposed to be two this expansion, three months after that in July.

I personally believe that a 6 month cycle to raids is fair enough that it gives the people that want to push the top level of raiding enough time to finish it, the people that do it for something to do the time to dabble in it, and everyone else the time to finish up the top difficulty they are capable of clearing.

I also believe that the last raid of the expansion should last a little longer, nine months in my opinion seems to be fine.  No more of this 14 month stuff please.  But I also believe that just because the last raid came out doesn't mean that it should mark the end of content for the expansion.  So after the last raid is released in July I think it would be nice to see some sort of catch up island, like the timeless island, released three months after that, meaning in October.

That would leave us with 6 months of no content while we prepare for the new expansion which should, in my opinion, come in April of 2016.

If it worked out to be that pattern I would be very happy, but for blizzard, my opinion on what I believe would be a good release schedule still seems like a very ambitious endeavor and I do not believe they would be capable of keeping up with the schedule that I laid out.  So don't expect that to happen.  But I would be very happy to be proved wrong by blizzard and glad to eat my words if they can make it happen.

So what do you think this expansion should play out to be?  If they keep to only 2 raid tiers do you think my design would be nice or maybe you think we will get a third tier, or 14 months in one raid again.  Let me know.