Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Personal Guide to My Shipyard Plans

I am not really a fan of shipyards after the first week.  Losing an epic ship or two on missions of 88% and 92% chance of success can really put a kink in my enjoyment and I would not be surprised if others have felt the same.  A guild mate failed a 98% mission yesterday and lost two epic ships on the same mission while failing it.  To say he cursed a blue steak would be generous.

I have developed a tentative plan of attack on how I will manage my shipyard and perhaps some people might benefit from following the same pattern, or perhaps can offer some tips of their own.

Race Matters:

Race played such a minor part with garrison missions that most people ignored it.  The people that did recruit followers based on race were doing so more for their looks than their functionality even if with the right traits there was some functionality to it.  With ships it seems to be the exact opposite.  The race of your crew is insanely important.

Each faction basically has only one race that can counter something and one race that can help with mission success, all the others are useless in my opinion.

Alliance have a Draenic crew that can counter dense fog and the horde have an Orc crew that can counter Icy waters.  If you can snag a non faction related race you could also pick up a counter with the murloc crew countering land objective and the Arakkoa crew countering a battleship.

These are the big four crews, the ones I want most.  The other two crews I might consider keeping are the Human and Undead crews as they both increase mission success chance.

While the Draenic and Orc crew have direct counters they are specific and targeted, so useless if the counter is not being used whereas the Human and Undead give a bonus to all missions.  There is a plus and a minus to both but having a selection of the four might serve you well.

All other crews can go on dangerous missions.  Why not?  Risk them.  If they succeed, congratulations, if they don't and get destroyed, who cares, it will allow you to build a new ship that could have a better crew.

The Arakkoa crew comes on one ship and one ship only, The Awakener, which is a unique ship you can purchase from the Order of the Awakened at exalted.  The Murloc Crew is a rare proc, one of a submarine called the Brgrggrgl Mark II and one of a destroyer called the Mrgrggrgl Mark III.  Good luck getting them.

My plan of attack?

I want one Awakener (destroyer), one each of the Murloc crew (submarine and destroyer) and the rest an assortment of Draenei / Orc or Human / Undead, adding in some transports battleships and carriers of course.

I believe having these crews will greatly benefit me in the success of missions thanks to the extra counters they provide and I will keep building ships until I get the crews I want.

Sink Happens:

One of the first things I advise people of when they mention they want to try PvP is to stop thinking of death as a bad thing.  Once you learn to handle that everyone dies in PvP it becomes a lot easier of a pill to swallow.  I think the same advice should be given here and people need to understand that ships will sink, it is how this part of the game was designed.

Embrace to sink.  If you have a fresh green ship, risk it.  If you have one with an unfavorable crew, risk it.  Heck, even if it is an epic, if it does not have a favorable crew, risk it.

The worst that could ever happen is a ship sinks.  Oil is easy enough to come by, so that is not really a limiting factor on how many ships you can build and the garrison resource cost of building ships is low enough that is should not hurt anyone too badly.

Each time you build a ship you have a chance for it to come out as epic and / or for it to come out with a crew you like.  So maybe losing a ship with a Gnome crew could be a good thing when it ends up replaced with a Human one.

Learn not to take the loss of a ship to hard because sink happens.

My plan of attack?

I lost some epics and I have learned much like PvP loss happens.  I also think I will take a page from PvP and sometimes realize that loss is a good thing.  It could replenish your mana, move you across the map, or in the case of ships it can get you a better crew and maybe even a higher quality ship.

I am going to play it fast and loose with my ships, at least the ones that will not be part of my end core.  Being murloc ships are rare I will keep them safe and I will try to play it safe with the quality races that I mentioned but any other race, as long as the mission is over 50% they are going on it.  Who cares if I lose them.  You can't win if you do not try and in this case, even if you lose, it could end up being a win when you replace your useless Gnomish crew with an infinitely more useful Draenic crew.

Scavengers are the new Treasure Hunters:

Remember the days before treasure hunters when scavengers were the shit?  Everyone was trying to get them and when one of your followers rolled with this stat it felt like a huge win.  With treasures being nerfed some people are not as interested in treasure hunters as much any more (not sure why because they are still great).  The thing is if you want to succeed in shipyards you will need a lot of garrison resources.

Equipment costs resources, resources are limited and not unlimited like gold, so you can only get so many per day.  So to maximize the ability to get the equipment you need when you need it you will need to have a steady flow of garrison resources coming in.

So the day of the scavenger is back.  Nothing better than turning that 300 resource mission into 600, or 900 or 1200.  Even more so when replacing the equipment completely on one ship is going to run you 1000.  Trust me, you will need resources.  Anyone that has gone into this for a full week and replaced some equipment to get missions done can tell you that their previous stash of 10,000 is fast approaching 0.

You might even want to consider going back to a trading post or lumber mill if you ditched them.  Just think of it this way, it is entirely possible that if you want to get close to 100% on a three person mission you might need to replace all your equipment and that could run 3,000 garrison resources.  So if you plan on doing this right, you will need a good flow of resources. (yes I know that is unlikely but it is just and example)

My plan of attack?

All those deactivated scavengers are making their return to the active roster one at a time.  No, I am not benching my treasure hunters but I am no longer as concerned about having the perfect crew for gear missions as I no longer need any gear for them.  Garrison followers will be filled with resource collectors only, gold, garrison resources, oil, apexis, you name it.  But scavengers are at the top of my list.


Getting all of the available equipment is a top priority in my opinion.  Most of them you can get from killing rares in Tanann (also known as T2) and I would suggest it is even worth camping those rares or at the very least when doing additional bonus objectives, do the ones in the areas near were those rares spawn so even if you do not wish to camp them you can still kill them if they happen to pop up while doing your objective.

You will need a group to kill the savage whale shark that has one of them but I am sure you can find a group on group finder for that but the sooner the better.  This has been out a week already and the longer it is out the fewer groups you will see for killing massive creatures like this.  It is a get it done while it is easier to do so situations.  At least this is not a rare so it is basically up all the time somewhere, it is just an elite.

One comes from the second boss in hellfire citadel which if you are not a raider or do not have the item level to get into a pug you might need to wait until LFR comes out to get this one.  If you are a raider or even a part timer or past raider with the appropriate item level to pug go for it.  The first two bosses on normal are rather easy in the grand scheme of things and even a loosely assembled pug with somewhat competent people should be able to kill the first two bosses without incident and the second one is the one you need.  Everyone in the group get the pattern, so don't worry about having to win a roll for it.

Any other ones are really not worth getting.  The ones requiring reputation do not counter anything so they are not really anything to worry about unless you are have completion addiction like me.

I purchased the fishing net and used it for a while to get a feel for it and it really is not worth a lot.  The best I ever got was a total of 34 enormous fish but the worst I ever got was 14 regular fish. It is not worth losing a counter for such a tiny amount of fish, so do not even consider this one, ever.  Just don't.  In the vernacular of watcher, if you are using the fishing net you are doing it wrong.

The unsinkable equipment that you can get with our faction related reputation at revered might seem like an awesome thing being your ships can never be lost with it, does not counter anything.  Do you know what is better than having an item that makes it so your ship won't sink?  Getting 100% on the missions so there is no chance of sinking.  Use counters, not unsinkable. 

One thing of note with unsinkable is that you will also need to replace it after any missions that failed where your ship would have been destroyed.  What it does basically is destroys the equipment instead of the ship.  So if you do decide to use it make sure that if you fail you check to see if it is still there or was taken off.  Maybe after you are done with the legendary quest line and the mount and pet missions and just want to do it for fun, unsinkable will work so you never need to worry about losing a ship, but early on, just work on getting the missions done and having an actual counter is better for getting them done.

My plan of attack?

None really.  I have all the equipment already except unsinkable which I will be getting in a day or two most likely.

Switching Equipment:

Now for the end of this post.  You should have the right crews, understand the risks of losing a ship, have been stocking up on garrison resources, and have a full selection of all the possible counters through your equipment.

Don't be afraid to spend your garrison resources.  You are better off spending it and making sure you can complete those important missions than you would be by being stingy with your garrison resources.

I know many people, myself included, are hoarders and do not want to part with things, we would want to save them for later should we need them.  Well, right now is later enough in this case.  Spend those resources, do not hoard them.  Just spend them smart, think about which ships you are sending and which counters you need to add before just changing things all willy nilly and you will do just fine.  Just don't fall into the "I don't want to spend them, what if I need them later" mentality that so many of us have sometimes.

My plan of attack?

Once I have all my key ships to epic with two equipment slots each I am going to switch around their gear whenever I have to so I can make sure to maximize my chance of success at any given mission.  I will freely spend my garrison resources to change each and every counter as needed for each mission.  Perhaps in time even figure out a few ships that I can basically lock in as done and never change.

Once I have built it all up, having my ships with my crew and my equipment, I will finish all the best quests, knock out the achievements I might not have by the time that happens, and then never step foot into the shipyard again.  Except for perhaps a gear mission here and there whenever they pop up, meaning I will only need to check the shipyard every two weeks or so after I am done, and that is what I am looking forward to, being done with the shipyard because it is not fun, not at all.

Fair winds and a following sea.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Random Thoughts

- Lots of new stuff to have random thoughts about and I played a lot this weekend and have lots of thoughts.

- First there is a wolf pet hunters can tame in the iron front that looks like cruelfang, I tamed him when I saw him.

- He uses the exact same model as cruelfang from the beast lord fight.

- I only noticed one of him in all of T2.

- There are two others that spawn with a rare but they die fast.

- Not sure if it is intentional that one can be tamed being it is a singular one out there, but since when did that ever stop me from taming a cool looking new pet.

- I have a couple of pets that can no longer be tamed and this might end up being one of them for all I know.

- Have not done the hunter challenge one yet, but I will get around to it.

- Funny story about that wolf.

- I was doing my dailies with it, and every day since I got it, I have been getting a lot of whispers about it.

- So I told people where to get it.

- A few hours after I told someone I see them talking in general that there is this cool looking new wolf he just tamed and he is the first person on the server to have it.

- Makes me wonder how pitiful his life much be that he has to try to seek attention and make himself feel cool like that.

- Someone in guild, as I have been bringing all the guild hunters there to get it the last few days, asked why don't I speak up in general and call the guy out as a liar.

- I said, because I don't care.

- I don't seek attention, I actually shy away from it and I have no need to mention I was the person that told him about it.

- If he really needs this to make himself feel better, call it my good deed for the day letting him feel better.

- I just wonder about some people.

- I did a bunch of time walker dungeons this weekend.

- Lots and lots of bugs I should share here in case you missed them and blizzard does nothing about them.

- First time walker dungeon I did was on my paladin, because I have not played it this expansion and it could actually use that gear.

- First trash pack in I am losing aggro left and right.

- Yes, I am the tank.

- Second pull I lose the mobs again and I ask on voice chat, as it is a full guild group, if maybe they went back to the old days of aggro in these old dungeons.

- I say, let me get a few hits on them first and then attack.

- Third pack it does it again, even with the DPS waiting for a few seconds and a hunter misdirecting on to me, what the hell is wrong here.

- I look at my buffs to see if righteous fury is on and it isn't.

- Excuse me?

- It is always on, I never need to recast it, haven't since cataclysm if I remember correctly, even if I die when I come back it is already on me.

- I do not even have it on my action bars any longer, it never comes off.

- Damn dungeon stripped it off me when I entered.

- Oops, talk about going it old school, was fun for a bit there and interesting but never had another aggro issue the whole run once I put it on.

- Next run I go in and pull the first pack and they go all over the place.

- Son of a...

- I put righteous fury back on my hot bar because it seems like I might be needing it more often again.

- The other three, of five, runs it did not peal it off of me when I entered but the first two runs it did.

- Maybe it was a bug they fixed over the weekend.

- The first two runs were on friday, the last three sunday.

- So maybe it is fixed or maybe it was luck, but either way I am going to look at my buffs before pulling from now on when I enter a dungeon.

- Now a time walker hunter warning.

- When you zone out of a time walker dungeon you are back to full health, your pet is not so lucky.

- So if you joined the dungeon while you were in a busy area of the world, when you come out, hit mend pet ASAP.

- Your pet will have like 5% life and will be one shot by almost anything.

- Probably even a critter.

- Happened to me once.

- Well, not the critter part, but the one shot part.

- If you are a tracker of any sort, herbs, ore, pets, fishing pools, etc, beware that entering a time walker dungeon clears that.

- I got out of one and was running around wondering why I have not seen an herb in an hour, there are usually lots of them around.

- Went to check my tracking and it was turned off.

- Turned it on, picked some herbs, go in another timer walker, came out, it was off again.

- If you want to track stuff, make sure to turn it back on after you leave a time walker dungeon.

- I must say I love love love time walker dungeons.

- They are great for inflating my epeen meter.

- I don't have any special gear for it like lower gear with lots of gem slots that you can enchant.

- I go in just wearing what I wear which has the few WoD enchants and one gem slot.

- And I never fell lower than 42% damage done on anything.

- Single target boss fights, AoE situation, you name it.

- I am sometimes around the 70% damage done mark.

- As someone pointed out to a warrior that was doing dreadful and blamed it on his gear, "we are all the same gear level in here, if you are doing poorly it is because you are not doing your rotation right."

- And being there is no such thing as "someone has better gear" being we are all item level 95, it makes me feel good that I am playing my class well.

- Or should it make me feel sad that it seems everyone else is playing their class so poorly.

- It really is a nice way to see if your are actually any good at a character.

- Without gear being a deciding factor (unless someone geared specifically for it or has a lot of gem slots thanks to luck)  how you do compared to the others there really becomes something you can read more into when learning how to do better.

- I did randoms with both hunters so I have no guild mates to compare to, but random people really seem to not have a very solid grasp of their class.

- Both hunters, 630 and 680 were doing roughly the same sort of numbers in the time walkers proving it is more skill based and less gear based.

- My main did a slight bit better but my main has better trinkets, one gem slot and enchants.

- Otherwise all the gear is the same, and they both were putting on a clinic.

- Maybe I did so well because hunters are so damn awesome and it has nothing to do with skill.

- Rocking the charts and being the only one to survive after wipes because the tank pulls entire rooms he can not handle and giving people a mass resurrection so they do not need to run back does make you feel like the hero of the dungeon.

- Being a hunter rules.

- One run there was me and this lock that basically two manned the entire dungeon.

- Or at least all the trash in the entire dungeon.

- Each pull would go something like this.

- Tank pulls, healer desperately tried to keep him up, tank dies, rogue dies, healer dies, lock and I kite the mobs back and kill them.

- Nearly every single trash pull went this way.

- Needless to say it was a very fun dungeon.

- Some people would say a run like that was a nightmare but I never died once, we finished it, and it was a challenge, so I loved it.

- Of all the pug runs of timer walkers I did I only had 2 that I would say were not smooth runs.

- The one I just mentioned and one where it seemed we had a bugged instance.

- Not sure what else you would call it.

- Slave pens, took me forever on the load screen, come in and the first pack is done meaning it seems only I had a problem getting in.

- Second pack of lobsters is killed, one DPS leaves group.

- Next pack is pulled, we down it, tank leaves group.

- Next pack is pulled, second tank leaves group.

- Next pack is pulled, we kill it, healer leaves group.

- Next pack is pulled, we kill it, tank leaves group.

- Next pack is pulled, we kill it, DPS leaves group.

- Next pack is pulled, we kill it, tank leaves group.

- No, I am not kidding, after each and every single pack up to the first boss we lost one player after each pull.

- I can't see people leaving like that so the only thing I could think of is that the instance must have been bugged.

- It took me forever to enter and we lost people a lot, had to be a bug.

- Speaking of bugs, my poor horde hunter got lost.

- I was on a flight path when my computer crashed and when I came back and went to log in I kept getting "world server is down" as a message.

- The world server was not down.

- I put in a ticket, from another character of course, explaining what happened.

- I get what can only be called the best GM response in the history of the game.

- Paraphrasing of course, the GM says they are sorry to hear about the situation and that if I put in a ticket they should be able to fix it for me.

- So... let me get this right... you are telling me to put in a ticket about a stuck characters as your response to my ticket about a stuck character?

- Thanks, I'll do that.

- Excellent customer service there.

- I could not even get angry at a response like that, it was so freaking awesome.

- I was floored, it was the funniest response I ever heard, I now have the best ticket story in the history of all ticket stories.

- The response to my ticket was to tell me to file a ticket, how can that not be seen as an awesome answer.

- Hey, I put in a ticket as the response to my ticket told me to do and they fixed it, so it worked, even if it took a strange route to do that.

- In the alliance camp there is a helicopter that takes you directly to the throne of kil'jaeden but I could not find the equivalent at the horde base.

- I looked all over and clicked on lots of things hoping to run into it.

- Anyone know where it is?  Or if there even is one?

- Maybe alliance got the better end of the deal this time.

- While the alliance ship yard is far way away from the garrison they still got it better than the horde.

- For horde you have to decide you want to go there three minutes before you actually do.

- It is so darn far away you can tell for sure that ship yards are something that they came up with recently.

- No way it was part of the original plan or the garrisons would have been closer to the water.

- I am thinking of retiring my horde hunter from huntering and starting a new company with it that gives charter rides from the garrison to the ship yard.

- I can make millions.

- People could sleep in the bus on the long ride down there.

- My poor druid, who was my first character with an epic ship it now also my first character to lose an epic ship.

- She had a 88% chance of success mission.

- She failed the mission and lost her epic ship and another ship that was just 8K away from being epic as well.

- Failing an 88% mission and losing two ships, how much more unlucky can you be?

- I have actually come up with a plan, being you can build an epic ship.

- I am going to keep sending ships with bad crews on missions of risk.

- If I lose them I have a chance to get a better crew and maybe even an epic ship.

- Ones with bad crew are disposable, unless I can figure out a way to change crew.

- I really wish I could change my crew.

- I do not want a crew with 100% bonus gold, I want a crew with a counter to something.

- Bonus gold is useless, counters are mandatory.

- Did someone not mention this lack of balance with ships, that any non counter crew could possible be viewed as useless?

- How did something go live this unbalanced?

- If my crew does not have a counter to something, they are disposable.

- When I get a crew with a counter, and it is an epic ship, than from that point on it no longer goes on dangerous missions.

- That is my plan of attack for micro managing the ship yard.

- Get the right crew, upgrade the ship to epic, pimp the ship out to do all the important missions.

- I really hate these long missions.

- I had a three day one and many two day ones.

- I would not mind waiting two or three days at all if I knew it was 100% but if it is less, I hate waiting knowing I could lose my ships.

- I think the long trip idea is okay and the losing ships idea is okay.

- However I do not like the two of them together.

- If there is a risk I want to trip to be short.

- I do not want to wait three days to see if I lost my ships or not.

- I don't mind losing a ship so much but I do not want to wait forever to see if I did.

- As soon as I get to the point I can set up teams to do the gear missions with ships, I think I will ditch the whole thing and only do gear missions.

- After I am done with all the achievement as well of course.

- But I really do not like this feature.

- It is one of those things I am doing because I want to get the achievements and the gear but if those carrots were not there I would not touch it with a ten foot pole.

- They need a flight path at the docks.

- They also need to make the docks a rested area so you can log right out.

- Does not even need to be the entire dock, just near my command table.

- I hate having to wait 20 seconds to log out when switching character.

- Yes my characters are now logging out sitting in front of the naval command desk.

- You are doing that too, it is okay to admit it.

- I only need one more addon for my ships, not counting the one I need exalted reputation for.

- Killed the guy that drops it multiple times and he has not dropped it for me yet.

- So in case you were wonder, no, blueprints are not a 100% drop.

- I have killed that guy at least three times as I can recall and do not have it yet.

- I want the ironbread toy but he will not cough that one up either.

- Speaking of rares, they need to give these things more life, as in a lot more life.

- As a joke we timed me killing a few of them solo to see how long they last.

- The quickest one was 9 seconds and most were in the 20-30 second range max.

- I was not using stampede for burst, no food, no flasks, and they were going down this fast solo.

- And I am not even well geared at 683 item level, just decently geared.

- Can you imagine how fast they would die if people blew cooldowns on them and get close to a 700 item level?

- These mobs need to get an insane boost to their health pools.

- Ten times what the current are might be a start.

- Sucks when one appears within vision and you can still not get there in time for a hit.

- I collected all the bodies to get night stalker out of the way, don't think that is a rare I will ever bother with killing again.

- Gimmicks are one thing, making me run all over collecting stuff and having to fight every step of the way even if raptors are easy kills is another.

- No thank you.

- Still need a few rares for the achievement.

- Can't believe I have not killed them all yet without trying, have to see how many I am missing.

- Got one of the three mounts from the special rares so far.

- Which one?  No clue, I collect them, I don't pay attention to them.

- In all honesty if any of the three caught my eye I would have been more on the look out for which one I got but none of them did.

- Got yelled at for not calling out a rare and waiting for people.

- It was one of those rares that dies in 20 seconds solo, so really, why should I call it out?

- So I can waste peoples time trying to get there when I know they never will?

- Calling those rares out is a jerk thing to do.

- What is worse than calling out rares like that?

- Not following it up and telling people when they died.

- There should be a rule, if you call a rare is alive you need to call when it is dead or you are banned from using general chat for a month.

- It is common courtesy if you ask me.

- My druid, who was well behind my hunter in gear might actually be passing my hunter in item level soon.

- Up to 682 and I plan to upgrade a couple of baleful pieces, should I get base ones with decent stats on them.

- Not to mention I am wearing no crafted gear at the moment, so I could craft some gear for my druid as well.

- Maybe I should switch mains?

- It is easier to get a group as a tank than as a damage dealer anyway.

- And my offspec is healing so I am a tank and a healer.

- Getting groups would not even take effort that way.

- Was up at the throne with a friend doing the objective and pulled 7 mobs, my health was falling fast.

- He said "are you going to be okay or should I start running?"

- I said I will be fine, just waiting on something.

- My mage tower bonus popped, I dragged the 7 back to it, boom, full health again.

- I am so cheesy.  I love that thing.

- No one thinks of it as a survival thing, but to me if that mage circle is on the ground I feel unkillable.

- It is almost as if something psychological happens in my mind and I become super bear, with a cape and everything.

- The power of the mind is an amazing thing.

- If you think you can do something, you can do it.

- I did all the legendary pet battles yesterday.

- Took me almost four hours to find all the pets and to make teams to beat all the pets.

- But I was often side tracked by rares and two time walker dungeons in that time, so that is not a completely fair assessment  of how long it took.

- But even discounting those things, it still took a long time to find them and work out the teams for them.

- I looked online for assistance finding them but I made the teams myself.

- I only look for team advice when I am having issues.

- I think part of the fun is figuring it out on your own.

- I only needed to look up 3 fights I had some issues with.

- One of the three fights, oddly enough, suggested using the exact same team I was using.

- Wonder why it was not working for me, but after I read it, it worked.

- Huh?  Power of the mind again maybe.

- Failed six times with the team, read someone else say it worked, used the same team, then it worked.

- How exactly does that work?

- That is RNG for you sometimes.

- I started each battle with the basic howl bomb strategy and worked from there.

- Amazing how well that worked, ended up using it for all but one of the legendary battles.

- I am surprised blizzard has not nerfed it yet but I am extremely glad they did not.

- It makes the battles less annoying.

- And lets fact it, every one of us pet battlers love to see those massive hits land one after another.

- And if any of the hits is strong against that type of mob let the fun begin.

- ~wicked evil laugh~

- I thought they were supposed to drop stones you could use to grant a pet 5 levels.

- Did not get a single one of those.

- Got two nightmare bells however.

- No other pets.

- T2 makes me want flying more than I wanted it before.

- It is annoying getting piled on by 30 mobs.

- Even as a hunter, who can handle it in most cases it is not a fun thing.

- Sometimes one little mob can dismount you and other times you could have 5 beating directly on you and it not dismount you.

- There is no rhyme or reason to it.

- And it seems some of these mobs have really long leashes.

- While others seem to have a super short one.

- I love bonus objective areas where you can pull bunch at once and mow them down.

- Sadly some of the areas it never seems like that is an option.

- Don't you hate when you are looking all over the place for something to kill and actually have to wait on spawns.

- And did you ever notice that when you do not need anything any longer as you finished, when you are running out it seems like every mob and their mothers spawned?

- Fighting mobs you do not want to fight is nothing more than a general annoyance.

- I really want flying back and I want it back now, not in 6.2.x

- I've already experienced the ground content on multiple characters and I can tell you one thing, I am already sick of it.

- It is amazing how quickly we can get sick of something if we are not having fun with it.

- And I am usually having fun with it, until I get dismounted.

- No, I have not switched my bunker to a stables yet.
- Waiting until I get my fleet done.

- The bunker has a chance of upgrading things remember, so that means upgraded ships as well.

- But maybe I am wrong.

- I've only had one ship proc to epic on creation and it was on my druid.

- My druid does not have a bunker.

- Well there goes a perfectly good idea right out the window.

- Oh, back to pet battles, do you know you can capture the secondary pets?

- I caught a few I needed.

- Heck, one of the fights I needed to catch one to win it.

- I could not take the last guy out in time, so I just caught him.

- Cheesy I know, but hey, it worked and I won.

- In the end that is all that matters right?

- So many more thoughts, I could go on, but I wasted enough of your monday already.

- Have a great day.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Breakfast Topic: What Makes a Good Raid?

The breakfast topic today over at blizzard watch asks the question what makes a good raid.  If the question was what makes a great raid I would just say Ulduar and link an old post explaining why I think it was the best raid ever. 

I can't believe that almost three years have past since I wrote that and I still believe it is the best raid ever.  Actually, as the years past and I think about it I could probably add a few more things to that old post explaining why I think it was the best raid ever.  Things that sometimes pop up in my mind thinking, I miss this or that from Ulduar.  But that is not the question they asked, they asked what makes a good raid which is definitely different from what makes a great raid and there are many more raids I would put into the good raid category.

To start my own personal adventure into figuring what makes a good raid I have to start at the bottom and think what makes a bad raid.  It is actually a lot easier to pick out things you dislike than it is to put your finger on what you like sometimes.  So lets start with some raids I really did not like and figure out why I disliked them.

Trial of the Crusader (Wrath)

What made this raid so horrible is that it is basically in one room for the most part.  That said room is bland and boring and was also used as the same room that an entire five man dungeon takes place meaning we already spent time in that room.  I did not mind the fights so much, they were not bad at all.  With the exception of the PvP fight I actually enjoyed all the fights in there but the surroundings that the fights took place in makes the raid a complete loser in my eyes.

What this taught me about what makes a good raid?

You need to have some variance in the surroundings.  Sure it really should not make a difference, but in my mind a good raid has to feel like you are raiding something and not standing there letting mobs come to you.  Trial of the crusader should have been a brawlers guild event for groups, not a raid.  As a raid it was bad.

Ruby Sanctum (Wrath)

In my second worst raid in memory comes RS and not because we only missed realm first on it because our raid night ended and we were not a progression oriented group willing to put another hour in, which by the way was about what it took us to clear fully the second time we went in.  Nope, it is not those sour grapes that upset me and made me dislike it, it is the fact that the bosses, or mini bosses before the boss dropped no loot.

Fighting mobs that drop no loot feels like a waste of time.  Fighting bosses that drop no loot feels like you just got kicked in the nuggets and then spit on while you were kneeling over in pain.  So in a word it sucks.

What this taught me about what makes a good raid?

The reward needs to equal the effort.  If you are going to put some time into something there has to be some sort of reward at the end, a carrot on the stick.  Even if it is a piece of gear no one needed that just gets sharded, at least you feel like you did it for something.  Killing bosses for nothing worthwhile is horrible and bad raid design.

So here we have my least two favorite raids of all time and they both give me two things to start building my what makes a good raid personal guide lines.

What makes a good raid:

1) Location Design:

One of the reasons I loved ulduar so much is that it was beautiful, so well done.  It was also something we did not see often.  There are many raid that I think were like that, that offered us a look into something new and nice and appealing to the eye.

While throne of the four winds would never make it into my "good raid" list for other reasons it does get some good raid points for at least being a new and interesting environment.  A pleasing setting can really make a raid seem and feel better than it really is.

2) Rewarding:

Everyone likes to feel like they are doing something for a reason and loot is the prefect reason.  It is the main motivator for most people that play the game actually.  If you put loot behind any activity people would do it as much as they hate it even if they complain about it every single step of the way.  Why is that?  Because they feel rewarded for going through the effort.  Raid should be no different.

The dwarf packs before before Atramedes in Blackwing Decent are a perfect example of  doing it wrong.  I would place those packs of four as at least twice as hard as the boss itself yet they dropped normal trash loot.  I don't even think we saw one BoE ever drop from them in all our time killing them.  They might not be a boss but they were harder than a boss and we should have been rewarded for killing them accordingly.

The other end of the spectrum are raids like Firelands and Blackrock Foundry which offer loot being dropped from even the easy packs of trash sometimes.  It makes it fun to go for trash runs and see if you can get some BoE as an upgrade or even doing it to try to get some alts gear.  It made the raids feel better knowing that even if you could not down a boss going in there it might not be a complete waste of time because the trash can drop some reward for you.

Note:  Blizzard has completely ruined trash runs now however being BoEs are now personal loot and can't be master looted and rolled on which means one of the fun thing in game, trash runs, are not something worth doing any more, at least not with pugs.  Gee, thanks blizzard.

3) No Experimental Mechanics:

Some are better than others, kicking shells into a turtle was annoying, flying through rings required someone that was not a mouse turner and in some casual groups that was impossible to find, and any battle that involved flight as part of the battle was horrible, like eye of eternity or throne of the four winds.  Never again, please.

I like new things and I like new mechanics but some of them deserve to be put on the scrap heap to never return.  I dislike any fight where you need to have one or two people in the position of doing a good job or the whole group wipes.  It is bad design.

Sure I can do all those things like belts or flying through rings, but why should I always have to do it.  Sometimes I just want to play like everyone else and I hate mechanics like that.

Can a raid still be a good raid even with things like that in it?  Absolutely.  But I'd rather not see experimental mechanics that require only one person to be able to do the job.  I loved kiting on Gluth in Naxx, I hated kicking turtles.  Some work, some don't, and it all comes down to the individual opinion of the person doing them.  So maybe they could keep the individual things in there on a really limited basis but something like the everyone flying things I mentioned, yeah, they need to go never to be seen again. 

For and example of a good new mechanic, look at the trains, everyone needed to do them as a group and not just one person, they did not have anything that changed your camera angle for you, and they did not have a new action bar replacing your own.  Not to mention, there was no flight involved.  Well, as long as you didn't get hit.

4) Compelling Story:

I think that is one of the reasons I loved Ulduar so much.  When I went in there I knew who Freya was from questing, I knew who Hodir was from questing, I knew who Thorim was from questing, you get the idea.  So when I ran into one and he said, "I remember you, from the mountains" I said and I remember you too, this is do cool.

You do not need a lot of cut scenes, you do not need a lot of story, but feeling some sort of connection even with a few of the bosses in there makes a raid feel better over all for me.  Whether it be saving them, catching up to them, getting revenge from a previous loss, what have you, running into people you have history with is what immersion is really about and we know how blizzard loves to throw that word around so much lately.

Some raids just don't feel like there is any reason to be there, or any reason for the bosses we fight to be together in a raid format in the same place.  Seriously I completely miss the whole concept of high maul, so much so I really must be missing something, but it just seemed so out of place.  Sure there might have been some loose connection that sent us there and there could even be some connections that explain the mobs we fight there being tied to basically working together to stop us, but it was not well implemented if it were and that makes the place feel like a lifeless shell we walk into to beat on things for loot and a good raid needs to have more than just that.

5) Options:

I love optional bosses, I really do.  I love being able to advance in the direction you choose.  Using the Naxx, ICC, BRF wing method, or using the Ulduar or High Maul, you can just completely skip the optional bosses are both winners if you ask me.  Putting wings and skipable bosses together is the best of the best and I would love to see more raids that do such.

A linear boss progression is okay I guess but after farming things it kind of gets boring doing the same bosses in the same order week in and week out and having some options to mix things up really does make it more enjoyable in my opinion.

6) Fight Length:

Find me one person in the entire world that has ever played warcraft that said they loved doing a 15 minute fights 50 times and wiping in the 14th minute each time and I will show you someone that has some serious mental issues.  Any fight that goes longer than 6 minutes loses my interest fast. 

I have no issue really with long fights when I am learning them, it feels kind of epic in a way but once you have things on farm doing those long fights is nothing more than annoying at best.  Based on the fact you will spend more time killing bosses over and over than you do killing them the first time the fact that it is okay to be a long fight the first time around loses any water it could hold when you are doing a 15 minute fight for the 30th time.

No fight should ever go over 6 minutes, at max, when learning it, except maybe the end boss of an expansion which could go 10 if need be.  This allows for more pulls which means quicker learning which means more kills and kills are fun, 15 minute fights are not.  It also makes it so that when stuff becomes farm you can farm more of it quicker which also happens to be fun.

7) Difficulty Progression:

I have one word for you, Horridon.

There is no reason on heaven or earth this boss should have been the second boss in Throne of Thunder.  Not when every single boss after him, including the last boss, seemed easier.  Admittedly for many groups that operate at a higher skill level than a casual guild like mine might have had less trouble with it but for mine, and if you look at the number of guilds that disbanded because of Horridon, and many many many others, this boss was a raid nightmare as scary as they get.

A good raid needs to get progressively harder as it goes on and Throne of Thunder did not do that.  My casual guild one shot 5 bosses, including the second to last boss, on their first time ever seeing them, after Horridon but it took us IIRC 6 weeks to down Horridon.  Thanks to a combination of being too hard to be the second boss of the raid and being one of those long bosses (see 6) many guilds fell apart during this raid tier.  My guild alone absorbed three other guilds during that time, two that had been around since vanilla.  So yes, bad difficulty progression makes what could have been a good raid into one I will always remember as a bad one.

TL;DR Version:

A good raid would be visually appealing, rewarding, with no strange mechanics.  It would also offer a compelling story tying it to the world and offer options within the raid on where to move.  The fights would be shorter and the difficulty would ramp up in a linear order so each boss is harder than the previous one, but it would start off easy.  That is what makes a good raid.

A good raid does not need to have all of these things, but it will have most of them.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Are Mythic Dungeons Worth It?

I've been reading around on peoples take of the new mythic difficulty dungeons and the comments seem to range from the foaming at the mouth raging that they are too hard all the way to the with a quality group of players they are still too easy opinion.  I try as best I can to give things an honest assessment and not base it off just how I did it or who I did it with.

If I entered a mythic dungeon on my 650 something rogue with my limited skill playing one, or melee in general, and was with a group of like skilled players I too might end up in a foaming at the mount rage over how difficulty it was.  Same goes for how it felt when I went in with a guild group and we had no real problems at all and moved right through it I could rightfully say it was not nearly as hard as I expected it to be because it was leaps and bounds easier than launch day cataclysm heroics.

I am not a great player, never have been by any standard, but I am better at some classes than others.  I had no problem tanking one on my druid but I think I might have some issues tanking one on my warrior who is only a mere 3 item levels lower.  It all comes down to a skill factor.  I tank more on my druid than I do on my warrior.  Same goes for playing a damage dealer.  On my 683 hunter I have zero issue meeting the requirements for the dungeon but even if my rogue was in equal gear I am sure it would be hell. 

So while I am not a great player I do believe I understand, perhaps better than some of these people posting their assessments, that everything is not so black and white.  You need to consider the content in reference to who it was created for and what it was designed around.

I think the issue some people have, the ones that are having a lot of issues with it, is that they thought it would be a quick and easy way to gear up alts and that is just not true unless you are fairly good at playing said alt.  So they go in there with a skill level roughly equal to me on my rogue and have troubles and say it is over tuned.

Hopefully not sounding elitist here but no, it is not over tuned.  You are either under geared on your character, not skilled enough on your character, or have a group that has people that fit into one or the other of those categories.  Perhaps even both and if you are in a group of both under geared and under skilled players and have trouble it is not because it is over tuned, it is because those people should not even be in there.

Bottom line is if you are lacking the skill needed to pull the numbers, can't follow the mechanics and / or do not have have the gear capable of doing such, you are going to have a really bad time in mythic dungeons.

The same goes for the other way around for the people that say it is too easy.  When I tanked one on Tuesday night I was on a 672 tank with two DPS at 690, one at 675 and a healer rocking 694 gear.  The four people I went with I have been playing with all expansion, two of those four I have been raiding with for at least four years.  We all know what we are doing, we know how to work as a team, and on top of all of that we over geared it.

Saying something is "too easy" when it is supposed to be "too easy" for you is not exactly honest feedback.  Honest feedback would be it was easy for us because it was supposed to be easy for a group like that.

One thing to remember is that later in the expansion when everyone is rocking item levels in the 710s and 720s mythic dungeons will be just as faceroll as heroic are now with people in 660 gear.  It is just the way of dungeons.  Five man group content quickly becomes trivial with gear to some extent.

The issue I see with all these people complaining one way or the other is that they do not seem to understand who these dungeons are aimed at.  The people saying it is too hard for them just need to get better playing their class and the people saying it is too easy already our gear it so not one is really impressed that something they over gear is easy to them.  I'd like to believe they seemed sort of well tuned for who they are intended for.

Now the question is, who exactly are the mythic dungeons intended for and what is their expected difficulty for the people it is intended for.

I think the design would give a group of all 670 players an appropriate challenge.  If you are less than that it is just going to make it harder than it needs to be, or impossible if you are not skilled, and each bit over that is just going to make it that much easier as long as you follow mechanics.

I was tanking it at what I believe to be an appropriate item level but being backed by a very geared and skilled healer and three damage dealers all capable of pulling 60K or more on short burst type fights like you see in dungeons made it easy.  That does not mean it was easy just because it seemed like it was.

I think, my opinion only remember, that these mythic dungeons were designed with the idea of people around a 670 item level looking for upgrades.  It should work to be a suitable challenge, but not overly challenging, for people at that item level with good skills and it should be rough, really rough, for people around that item level with lesser skills.

So basically what I am saying is that I think mythic dungeons are just perfect how they are for who they are intended for.  The only real issue I see is that it was not marketed correctly to explain who they were intended for.  That is why some people think it is too hard, because they think it is meant for them, when it is not, and others think it is too easy, because they think it was meant for them, when it was not.

But that is all fine and dandy and not the real reason I decided to write this post.  As I said I was reading a lot and seeing the people complain that it was too hard or too easy but it was one comment that had nothing to do with difficulty what so ever that really grabbed my attention, as it made a lot of sense to me.  It was about the reward.

The person pointed out that a person, solo, could manage to get themselves 695 gear on T2 with much less difficulty than a mythic dungeon has to offer and much less hassle as there is no need to assemble a group.

He also pointed out that mythic dungeons are harder than normal mode HFC and after stepping foot into it for the first time last night I would have to say I wholeheartedly agree with him there.  Normal HFC drops 690-705 gear, which is better, and seemed to be easier than a mythic dungeon.

His point had nothing to do with the difficulty, no argument that it was too hard to too easy.  His point was that no matter you view mythic dungeons as or for who you think their intended audience is, the reward for doing them is out of line with other modes of gear collection and I have to say I agree with him.

What do I believe would be correct for them?  Hard to say but based on the examples he gave I think all bosses should drop 700 loot and the last boss should have a chance to drop a 715 piece.  That, in my opinion, would put it more on par with the current gearing options otherwise.

So the problem with mythic dungeons is not the difficulty or lack thereof.  It has nothing to do with blizzard not correctly identifying who the content was intended for.  It is all about the reward for doing it.  That is the main problem with mythic dungeons.  The carrot at the end of the stick looks kind of old and moldy when you compare it to other, much easier, options out there for gearing.

Do you think blizzard should rethink the rewards from doing mythic dungeons?  After seeing his comparison, I sure think so.  It should at the very least be a higher item level than the apexis crystal 695 gear in my opinion, easy or hard does not matter, only the carrot does.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6.2 First Impressions

6.2 is now live and I spent a couple of hours there running around so it is time to share my first impressions of the zone because that is the type of stuff I do here.

The Zone...

The zone is dull and dreary and they really need to turn on a nightlight or something.  It is way to dark for my liking and being someone that happens to be color blind it makes finding things rather hard.  It reminds me of my first impressions of rift when talking about the first zone I was in.  It looks really nice but it is too dark to see anything, it all blends together for me.


I kept running right past paths that I did not notice were paths which made navigating the place a bit harder.  Not sure if it is was just me not noticing the minor color difference of the path because of the color blindness or if others would have the same problem, but it most definitely was not an enjoyable experience trying to navigate my way around there.

This is something that of course time will fix.  As I spend more time there I will get to know where all the paths are as I find them and it will be easier on my alts.  Just wish I had not wasted so much time running around trying to find my way somewhere only to notice, "oh, there is a path right here", that I had passed six or seven times already without having noticed it.


Speaking of issues with color, for me being an herbalist was a good thing as it gave me a chance to grab a few felblight on my first day there but it was bad because the herb nodes are the same exact color as the ground on which it grows.  Even with the little dot appearing on my mini map I had a huge problem finding the herbs and in a few cases I just gave up trying to find it and moved along.

It is nice that they now have that little outline, which does help some, but you have to hover over it to have it become outlined, which kind of defeats the purpose if you can not find it to begin with.  But with the outline and the dot on the mini map I was able to find most of them.  Either way, I would most definitely not complain if they changed the color of the herbs and honestly I wish they would.

Being A Hunter...

For disclosure, I play the best class for stuff like this, a hunter, so your mileage might vary based on my experiences in battle as I mention them.  Battle on T2 and getting around on a decently geared hunter was not bad.  I will admit it was a hell of a lot easier on me than it might be for most classes and will be for classes with less gear.


I do not currently have one but I do plan to fix that.  There are so many mobs that getting knocked off or stunned, or trapped, or what have you so just nothing more than an annoyance and it is worth losing a building to take the stables so that does not happen.  Beware of the chains you can pull on T2.  Many a time I ran through stuff and they finally knocked me off my mount and I was surrounded by a dozen or so mobs.  For most classes this means instant death, for a hunter it means lots of loot or feigning death, either way, a non issue for me, but still annoying as sin.

I wish blizzard would get over the idea of trying to force us to fight stuff we do not want to fight and ditch this dismounting idea.  If I wanted to stop and fight every mob I passed, I would stop and fight every mob I passed.  So until I get flying when they add it, a stables seems required if you plan to spend any extended time on T2.

Fast Spawns...

I did not spend an excessive amount of time on T2 the first day, there were still other things that needed to be done so I did them as well, but from the time I spent there I did all the daily and weekly quests that were offered.

They seem to have their spawn timers in the zone off a bit, or at least it seemed that way on my server, a medium sized server that actually looked a little on the low side of medium based on what I was expecting from a patch release day.

Some zones it was easy to get overwhelmed in because the respawn timer seemed to be clocked to over spawning mobs.  There were times I pulled three mobs and they respawned before they had ever even died meaning I had six, the three I pulled and the respawn of those same three before the first three died.

Admittedly as a hunter it was no big deal but I can see some classes, even with these non-elite mobs, being in deep trouble really fast.  I do not mind fast spawn timers, even more so on release day when more people are going to be there but if things were spawning too fast on release day, I really hope they tone this down a bit, or make that a lot, before it starts to slow down, which we will probably see by next week.

Slow Spawns...

Other areas suffered from the exact opposite.  There were a dozen people looking for mobs and nothing there to fight.  There is nothing fun about twelve people spamming AoE trying to tag anything that spawns as they fight over mobs.

It makes me wonder if blizzard notices this stuff and plans to adjust it.  Some players just over spawn mobs and others don't seem to spawn them at all.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to any of it.

One quest, to kill the demons, will take forever and a day to finish unless you go up to the throne of Kil'Jaeden and fight the elite demons.  All the other areas that the quest marks as having demons were always completely empty of demons, as in not a single one to find.  Each area had a dozen people, at least, camping waiting for them to spawn.  The throne was the only place I found demons with no problem but that might have a little to do with those mobs all being elites and perhaps not many could handle them yet.  At least not solo like a hunter can.

Elite Mobs...

As a hunter I had no issue with the elite mobs however.  Even with my pet in a damage dealing spec I was able to take an elite without ever worrying about healing it.  Two elites at the same time were not much of an issue either.  Perhaps a mend pet here and there was needed.  At three elites I needed to be a little more active with the heals but it was manageable as well.  Four elites was when it started to be a little bit of a challenge but I think a pet in tank spec it could easily be a none issue.

So it is not like the throne was not a viable area to farm demons, but it is that I do not see other classes being able to handle them solo and absolutely not anyone without at least heroic gear and / or an excellent understand of their class and its abilities.

Gathering for Felblight...

My hunter happens to be an herbalist so of course I was gathering some herbs while out there.  For the sake of writing about it today I kept track of how many herbs I picked and how many felblight I received.

I picked a total of 57 herbs and ended up with 5 felblight from them.  This seems to fit within line of the 10% it was suggested would be the rough drop rate of the blight.  But I will warn you that this was filled with a lot of random number generator madness.

I received just one felblight in my first 31 herbs, I actually had thought I might never see one as my first one did not come until herb 22.  Then I got lucky and manged to snag 3 felblight in my next 4 herbs.  Then I only ended up with 1 in the rest of them.  So it is really feast or famine, which does fit blizzards standard design practice with everything.  You either gets lots, or almost none.  It seemed like that for me.  Got a tiny bunch at once and not much otherwise.  But it did average out to around 10%, so the average is really what matters when talking numbers.

One good thing to note is that even on release day there seemed to always be a lot of herbs to pick.  So it is not like you will not be able to find anything to gather.  Perhaps this was because people were more worried about objective that first day, but I hope it stays as is.  With a fair amount of nodes for everyone.

Hunter Gathering...

Being a hunter while gathering once again reminded me why I say hunters are the best gatherers in the game.  With so many mobs, some respawning too fast in some areas, and lots of competition for herb spawns, having a pet fight while you pick herbs is priceless, once again proving that hunters do indeed rock.

Felblight Pricing...

I did notice the bots are out.  I only saw one, a human paladin, which I reported and suggest you do the same if you run across them.  I stopped to pick an herb and this paladin just appeared out of nowhere on top of a ore near me then disappeared once it was mined.  Suddenly he reappeared on top of another ore in my view, mined it, and disappeared again.  Being I do not recall paladins having stealth, being able to move faster than even a mount can move, or having what can only be called teleportation, I am sure it was a bot.

Prices on my server were 750 gold per felblight when I logged in after work and were down to only 500 already when I logged off a couple of hours later.  A pretty huge drop if you ask me.  I would have expected felblight to be a hell of a lot more on the first day.  There were people selling 50 and 100 of them at a time.  So it seems either a lot of people are running bots or some people found an awesome place to farm them that I hope I can figure out where that spot is before blizzard nerfs fixes it.
World Boss...

For now killing the new world boss would be the best way to farm felblight if you have a lot of alts.  I only did the world boss on my hunter thus far  as it is the only character to have opened T2 so far and he received 6 felblight from the kill.  A friend got 12, so I can guess that the range is at least 6-12 from the world boss.

I did manage to win a 705 cloak that does not have as good of stats as the one I am wearing now, which happens to be a crafted one I can upgrade to better than that.  But for the time being, I will use it and just upgrade the cloak last if I do not get one to drop from the raid, so I can say I actually started this patch with something I have not seen in months, a kill that rewarded me something I could actually use.  Please say this is a sign of things to come for me.

As far as the world boss fight it seemed rather simple but it did supply me with what I will cruelly admit I laughed about in amusement as half the raid died just a few seconds after the pull.  We still downed it without incident.  Well, without incident for half the raid that is.

Fishing for Felblight...

One more thing on the felblight front.  I did a little fishing, as in really little, and in five casts I caught one felblight.  Woot, I guess.  With such an extremely small sampling, do not read anything into it other than, yes, you can get felblight from fishing.


Word of warning to all hunters out there with barrage on their hot bars.  Be careful where you are because it really hits everything.  On T2 there are some areas where mobs rain down from the trees, and I mean that literally.  There are mobs in the trees and if you hit barrage it will go straight up over you and hit them.


This barrage issue is mostly an issue in the elite saberon area.  I pulled three elite saberon, which is about the most my pet could take in a DPS spec and even that was a little rough at times.  These saberon are harder than anything you could find at the throne with those elites.  Even the named elite mobs in the throne do not hit as hard as one single normal everyday elite saboron.  So imagine my surprise when I hit barrage and suddenly my hard pull of three elite saberon had three more rain down on me.

Admittedly as a hunter I always have feign death which makes this entire thing a non issue but it was kind of funny in an oh crap sort of way.  I did everything I could and did manage to beat them all, but it was a bit of a work out for my poor pet because some of those guys hit like a ton of bricks.

Blackfang Claws...

Not sure if it is just me but it does not seem like the saberon drop a lot of claws.  If you want to get all the goodies, meaning a follower, a pet and two mounts you will need 7600 claws, if I added correctly.  At a rate of 2-3, it seemed, this could take a fair bit of time.  Being all the saberon, at least all the ones I ran across, are elites, this makes for something that might be better done in a group.  Sadly the claws are not like apexis crystals were everyone gets them off each mob.  The claws are for the person whos loot is is only.

I did find the perfect farming spot for reputation and claws however.  Please forgive me for not sharing it just yet as I want to get to exalted and get my 7600 claws first before I share.  It is a tiny space with an instant respawn and not enough for multiple people to hang out there and farm.  I will gladly share this farming spot later however.

I am just hoping that grinding up to 7600 claws also is enough to get me to exalted.  Or vice versa even, that once I hit exalted I have the claws I need.

Bag Space...

And blizzard is at it again.  Giving up more junk to clutter our bags, like the previously mentioned claws.  There seems to be some things that could, or should, be currency that are going in your bag along with other junk taking up space at the moment.  In time I hope there are not to many things I will choose to keep a hold of but at the moment until I figure out what I need to keep or want to keep, my bags just seem a lot fuller than I like them to be.

Baleful Gear...

I killed a lot of stuff while exploring and doing all the quests for the day as well as a few rares here and there as I stumbled across them.  I received a total of 4 baleful items, so it seems they are not raining them down on us on T2 like they did on T1.

I clicked on all four of them and three of the four turned into 650 items and one was an epic upgrade to a 675 item.  For alts this will be a pretty nifty thing, even more so if with that small sample rate can be true of 25% of them upgrading.  I wonder if my bunker factors into that, but my bunker will be getting replaced with a stables.  Only makes sense, the bunker replaced the stables to begin with.


Now to the reputation grind.  I did not do anything special toward it, just quests.  I was not lucky enough to get any of the drops for the reputation items and did not check the price on the AH.  Actually forgot to look.  But a guild mate got a mission for one of them when he logged in.  So it does not seem like they will be easy to get but at the same time it does not seem like they are just giving them away either.

I did not log into all my characters, only three, and none of them had the mission for the reputation piece.  Maybe I will be lucky and some of the others will get it sooner than later, it will make the trip to revered, and then exalted of course as I like to finish them, much easier.

Apexis Crystals...

I killed a few rares, which a hunter can easily solo all of them (the ones I ran into at least), thank you very much and did all the quests, but not all the bonus zones, and managed to snag just over 16,000 apexis crystals yesterday, so it seems like they will not be all that hard to grind out.  A guild mate taht did all the bonus objectives of the day and was on few a few hours more than me said he had collected 28,000 already, so if you choose to really grind them out, it sure seems like you can.

He was running a heroic geared warrior so that might be why he had decent success, but I do worry about if my alts that are not so geared would be able to see that sort of success.  They do not have the gear he or I did and I do not have the skill in them I do with my hunter, so I wonder if they can manage well enough to grind effectively.  Sure my alts can not kill stuff with the same reckless abandon that my hunter can, but it seems like with a group it could be an effective way to gear them in 695 gear if you are willing to invest the time.

Jewel Crafting...

The only other character I started work on yesterday as far as entering T2 was my druid, which happens to be my tank and my jewel crafter.  So in an effort to play catch up with it and knowing I need to get to T2 to start collecting the jewel crafting patterns I started it off.

I did not get so far as to finish the entry questing but I did tank a mythic skyreach.  I was not sure if I could get the item I need for the haste gem from skyreach before I actually opened up T2 but I really wanted to test out a mythic dungeon and figured I might as well do it on my tank.  My tank might find a piece of gear they could use in there and my tank needed the jewel crafting item.  So while my hunter I would do better at, it did not exactly need anything from there, so my druid went as a priority.

For the record, in case you were wondering, even if you did not start the quest line to learn the new gems yet the item needed to learn the gem that drops from the last boss in mythic skyreach does still drop for you if you are a jewel crafter.  I just can not learn it yet, but at least I have it when my druid reaches that point in the quest line.

Mythic Dungeons...

For a mythic dungeon skyreach did not feel very mythic.  I was expecting some wiping on trash maybe and a few pulls on each boss to get used to it.  It went much much better than I expected, to say the least.

I went in a full guild group which might be why we did not really experience any issues.  We did wipe twice, one on the second boss do to someone screwing up and once on the third boss do to mistake in tactic.  Second time we just ignored the adds and killed the boss and it was easy.  The first boss was a joke, as it normally is, even got my dancing buff as a tank and everyone loves a dancing bear.  Last boss, same as in normal and heroic, was the easiest boss in there.

While the bosses seem to hit harder and have a boat load more health they are, as bosses normally are, telegraphed with everything they do.  So there is no actual challenge there other than handling the mechanics correctly and doing the required healing and damage.  The real difficulty of the mythic dungeons was the trash.  We did not wipe on trash at any point but a few pulls did get a little hairy.

Our group had 2 CCs in it and we used them.  Two CCs seem to be more than ample to make it an easier run.  Some trash fights were really annoying, like the ravens (woohoo flying bear) and some took a long time, like the one we mistakenly had 2 healers up at one time and it took us something like 10 minutes to kill the damn things.  But the trash was the only time we were ever in real danger.

Now, as a warning, don't just go jumping into a mythic and think all will be fine and dandy because I said so.  Remember, I was in a guild group and that is a huge difference.  Based on the experience of a few guild mates that told me of their adventures from using the group finder for a mythic dungeon, the place was an absolute nightmare.  One person said they wiped on every single trash pack, some times multiple times.  In over an hour they only managed to get to the first boss.  That is why he was glad to drop group and come with me.  Others said they never even made it past the trash pulls to even get to a boss.

You can find a group with the group finder but you still need to make your way there yourselves.  There is no queue system and instant zone in like we have with heroic and normal, so if you plan to do one, make sure you are willing to travel some.

It seems the number 1 reason for mythic failures based on what I have heard so far are tanks thinking that they can pull everything and it is no big deal and the number 2 is a healer or damage dealer thinking they are better than they really are.  You might be able to handle it with one lesser DPS, but a healer without the numbers will mean an instant wipe.  Heck, who am I kidding, the main reason for mythic failures is the tank reason.  Every person that said they had an issue was because the tank went in and pulls 20 mobs or broke the CC people tried to use and caused a wipe.  Get a decent tank or you are not getting these done.

One good thing of note is that we will all be really over gearing these soon most likely and maybe I can get a carry for someone like my rogue into them which will be cool.  At the moment however carrying a poor player like me on my rogue could make the fights hard and maybe undoable in some cases unless the others are extremely over geared.


My shipyard looks beautiful, there is no doubt about that but it is missing something I really would like to see blizzard add sooner than later and that is a flight point.  But not sure how good of an idea that would be to add really.  With blizzards track record if they added a flight point it would probably still not be direct and take longer than running.  But seriously, that was my only real complaint about the shipyard, it was annoying running back and forth.

I did find the fact that the guy who makes the ships is out in the middle of nowhere and I can see a lot of people having a problem finding him.  Even had at least a dozen people in guild ask where to find him because he isn't exactly in the shipyard like people might expect him to be.  Heck, I even asked where the hell he was on voice chat when I was first doing the quest.  It might seem to be a weird space he is in, but lets be honest, it is actually a very good space.  He needs room to build the boats and it needs to be in the water where it can sail from, so it might seem like he is out in the middle of nowhere land, but actually he is exactly where he should be when you think about it.

I just thought of another thing I would love do, to change it a little.  I want to hire some construction workers to move my mission table to where my other mission table is, so in a few weeks when I am back to just logging in for missions I do not have to run all the way down to my docks on all my characters.  Just seems like a timer waster.  If anyone finds construction workers capable of moving it tell them you know an elf that is a great tipper that will hire them in a heartbeat.

Otherwise the docks look really nice, blizzard did a find job with the art work for them even if you can tell, by placement of our garrisons and the path needed to get to the docks, that this was not part of their original plan.  With that knowledge, they did a fantastic job.

The one thing I am not looking forward to, on alts at least, is that to upgrade your shipyard you need to reach honored with one of the factions and for alts, whom of course are played much much less, gating the progression of my shipyard behind a reputation is a rater unwelcome addition to the game.


They need to give the rares more life or a shorter respawn timer.  On more than one occasion a rare spawned were I could see it and it was dead before I could get to it.  This is with people in current gear, imagine how it will be in a month, two months, six months.

A hour spawn timer works when a mob takes 10 minutes to down, people might have a chance to get to it if it lasts a while, but when I can down a rare in less than 10 seconds in some cases and I am not really all that geared, they need to have a much shorter respawn timer.  I am thinking 15-20 minutes max.

In one case I saw a rare spawn, took one step toward it and it was dead.  I am not kidding when I say it lasted less than 2 seconds.  It just so happened that it spawned right on top of some people that were there questing, they all turned and attacked and it was dead.  I was in range of it, right clicked on the mob and took a shot with my hunter the second it spawned, and it was dead before my arrow hit it.  It died in the length of one shots travel time. There is no denying that rares have too low of a heath pool now and it is only going to get worse as the expansion goes on.

Hunter Tip of the Day...

There are pools of fel all around T2 that give you a debuff that if it stacks to 10 you die.  But each stack increases the damage you do by 5% while increasing the damage you take by 5%.  As long as you are not playing a petless spec you should never be taking any damage.  So walking around with a 9 stack on you, while dangerous should you misstep, can be huge is downing this super fast. 

I'd suggest to be on the safe side until you know where all the fel pools are is to walk around with a 5 or 6 stack, you should be really safe with that and it gives you a nice 25-30% damage boost.  We, as hunters, don't care about taking additional damage because if we are doing it right, we are not taking any damage to begin with.


There is more to talk about, but I will leave it at that for now.  Need something to write complain about tomorrow too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Are You Ready for Grindfest 2015?

I must first say that I am not adverse to grinding and actually like it.  So there is a fair deal for me to look forward too with the patch but from the people I have spoken too they don't seem to be as welcoming as I am to having to grind things out.  To most it seems work is a four letter word.  Well, it is, but you know what I mean.

There are a lot of things to do if you choose to participate in it when the patch gets released, as currently is happening on US servers as I write this and will on UK servers tomorrow, but the question will be are these the things people actually want to do.  I personally see a few issues with some of the things they are adding, some of which are not actually my issues but issues none the less.

So what do we have to look forward to and will you do the grind to get it?

Apexis Crystals:

The main part of grindfest 2015 is going to be the collection of apexis crystals as the catch up mechanic for gear.  On T2 (Tanaan or Timeless Island 2, if you will) the mobs can drop pieces that you click on to create a piece of 650 item level gear and there is an upgrade item that can make that 650 piece of gear a 695 piece of gear.

For many raiders this might be good for one or two or maybe even three slots at most but even at that the number of people that will find no real use for this are an extremely slim few. I'd hazard a guess that less than 1% of the player base could not find at least one piece that a 695 that would be an upgrade for them.

So I see many people taking advantage of gearing up a bit this way.  I know I will be doing so on my alts.  Heck I have a few alts that hit 100 and never left their garrison that even a 650 piece alone would be an upgrade.

But this is really where we step into grindfest 2015 and why this post has the title it does.  If anything I call it a grindfest because of this very reason.  You can grind yourself to full 695 gear and if you are not a raider or want to gear alts that does not raid, this is exactly how you can do it.  Not quite as good as valor, but a much better substitute than the original apexis gear that came with the expansions release.

This gear, when upgraded, is a higher item level than LFR gear which will be attractive to most and is the entry level of of normal mode hellfire which makes for a suitable stepping stone should you not be a raider and want to consider jumping into raiding.

The thing is that unless you want to sacrifice your mental health, your physical hygiene and the relationships with your family and friends, it is going to take a hell of a long time should you wish to gear up completely this way in one sitting.  I would not suggest it, really, but it is entirely possible, if you are willing to grind grind grind.

The base baneful pieces that turn into 650 items can drop from mobs all across T2 but the upgrade to 695 pieces will need to be purchased for 20,000 apexis crystals each.  Sure you will snag one along the way from a quest but outside of that you will be grinding for a long time to get every single slot 695 if that is what you want.

If you do not get lucky enough to get the base baneful pieces to drop you can also buy those base pieces for 5,000 apexis crystals each and 10K for a weapon version.  So you can get everything even if you are unlucky with drops, which I actually love the see.  It might require a bit more work on your part to grind the crystals needed but to have a net under you to protect you from the random number generator demon is a pretty nice addition if you ask me.

For me my alts that I do not raid with will be dabbling in T2 after I am done with my main getting all the achievements and reputations I desire.  I can see them spending a fair deal of time there just killing stuff over and over for apexis crystals.  Yeap, grinding in the grindfest.

My main will skip this part of the grind of course because I will be actually raiding with it and raid gear from late normal and higher is better than 695 so there is no need to do this grind with him but I am really interested in this for alts.  Finally a way to get raid ready without needing to raid to get raid ready, which never made sense to me to begin with.

I will of course do the grind for the mount and other goodies on my main as that would be the character that will most effectively be able to grind apexis crystals.   Just a matter of logic there, using my most powerful character to do the heavy lifting.  In the process I am sure I will get a fair deal of baneful pieces which I can turn over to any fresh 100s that might come along later effectively meaning that any character I hit 100 with from that point on will start at a 650 item level.  Interesting enough this is exactly the item level required to queue for the new raid.

Fair warning once again however, if you plan on gearing up this way it will be a very long and drawn out grind.  But at least there are many more ways to gain apexis crystals now on T2 and the older stuff with the daily and the missives is still there should you wish to speed it along even more.

Hint for people looking to collect apexis crystals for the purpose of gearing up or any other reason they might want them.  When taking the daily from your garrison, buy a missive for the same exact quest.  Start it and then go do the daily.  You will do the daily once yet get credit for finishing it twice effectively doubling your apexis crystal intake.  Can't beat that with a stick.

So are you ready to grind?  Sure hope so.

Might as well call this one flying because most people will be grinding out these reputations with the sole purpose of getting them to revered so they can activate flying when it is released.  Flying or not this is something I would start to tackle the second the patch comes out because, as I mentioned, I dig that sort of stuff.

While there are some mobs to kill that give reputation for one of the factions, daily quests available for all of the factions, the continuation of the garrison campaign that will offer up some reputation along the way, a weekly quest and an item drop that is not soulbound and can be farmed for or purchased off the auction house if you wish, I still see a major issue with the reputations.

The problem is I see them suffering from the same issue that people had with the reputations in mists.  They are something people will consider them mandatory.  And if you want flying at some point, guess what, they are indeed mandatory. 

People never had an issue with the dailies in mists even if blizzard misread the situation and that is why we had not dailies this expansion, they had a problem with them feeling mandatory.  If people wanted to buy valor gear, they had to do the dailies, if people wanted to get crafting profession patterns, they had to do dailies, if they wanted something from shado pan or august celestials, they had to do golden lotus dailies first before they could do those dailies so you had to do dailies to open the ability to do more dailies, and this is what people disliked.  See the problem here.  It is not like it is a bad thing to make people work for something but if there is something they want put behind a wall of something they do not like they will feel it is mandatory.  Once something feels like they have to do it the fun level of doing it greatly decreases for most.  So needless to say I do not see this going over well.

For a bit of good news, if you log in daily and even if you get absolutely zero drops for the bonus reputation pieces, it will take only three weeks to get to the revered reputation you need for flying.  The better news is that if you are doing all Tanaan has to offer, you will get some drops for the reputation pieces which will make it a shorter grind.

My personal goal is exalted with all factions by this weekend.  With as many alts as I have that I will run through this and open up the shipyard and start there I am hoping I will get enough of the reputation items to drop.  I'll send them all to my main and be exalted and done with it relatively quickly.  If the drop rate is like it was on the PTR, I don't see this being a problem at all thanks to me having ten level 100s on my mains server currently.


A long long time ago on a blog not so far way I suggested that people not drop their gathering professions.  I said, you will still need them in the near future.  Do not think this garrison flow of resources will last forever because it won't and you do not want to get stuck having to level up a gathering profession again.

I do hope most people listened to me because, as I said would happen, your gathering professions are needed again.  And they are needed a lot.  If you are just making gear for yourself, making gems and such, or looking to make some gold selling things you will need a lot of felblight this patch and felblight comes from one place and one place only.  Gathering while on T2.

Picking herbs, mining nodes, skinning beasts, and even fishing can all get you felblight at what seems to be near a 10% chance (based on what I read, I can not confirm or deny that number).  Which means that you will be gathering a hell of a lot if you want to upgrade some items.  And felblight is tradable which means even if you do not need it, it can be a massive gold maker as soon as you start collecting it.  Even more so seeing the numbers of felblight needed.

Lets take my gun for example, the crafted one.  If I want to upgrade it to 690 from 675 I will need 30 felblight among other things and if I want to level it up to 705 from 690 I will need another 60 felblight bringing my total required felblight to 90 to upgrade one single item.

At a 10% drop rate that would mean my herbalist would need to pick 900 herbs to see 90 felblight.  Hope you have your grinding gloves on because your fingers are going to be raw from picking flowers.

I did mention this was grindfest 2015 didn't I?  Well, it sure is and you can see why I say this stuff is going to sell for a fortune on the auction house as soon as the patch comes out if you choose to not collect them for your own uses.  People will want to upgrade things and being the only way to gather any felblight is to have a gathering profession and do that gathering in T2, it might be a bit slow to start collecting decent amounts.

No, you can not get this stuff gathering in your garrison.  No, you can not get this stuff filling barn orders.  No, you can not get this stuff out in the world other wise.  No, you can not trade in primal spirits for them.  The only way to do this is to grind your little heart out with your gathering profession on T2 and only on T2.

As for the new patterns for the professions, no need to worry unless you are a jewel crafter, you just have to wait for your profession vendor to spawn in your, or someone elses, garrison and buy the patterns.

Sorry jewel crafters but no such luck for you.  You will have to get out there and earn your new patterns.  No easy path to the new gems.

You will get a quest that sends you to get the first pattern, which will cost you 1000 apexis crystals, which at this stage should not be an issue for most.  After you finish that quest and get the versatility gem it is time to go collect the others which will require you getting a drop off a raid boss, a drop of the last boss of a mythic dungeon, getting to rank 6 in the brawlers guild, killing Rukhmar and getting revered with a faction so you can buy it.

Yes, you read that right.  Blizzard has tied in optional content to now be required content.  You will need to do the brawlers guild up to rank 6 if you want to make the mastery gem.  Sadly for me my two current jewel craters are both tanks and tanks only.  Not sure if I will be able to get rank 6 on them.  I do have a hunter that is a jewel crafter but that account has been inactive since cataclysm and I have no intention of reactivating it just so I can easily get to rank 6.

I am not sure I like this part of the whole process.  You should not need to do optional content to get an important pattern like this.  I have not even done brawlers guild on my main this expansion.  I got to max rank last expansion when it first came out.  All they did was mix up the same bosses so I have no desire to do it again, never the less do it on a tank.  I guess I'll take the challenge and see if I can do it, but honestly I should not have to.  Did blizzard forget that the brawlers guild is supposed to be optional content?

For those that really do not want to try there is a bit of good news however.  You have a small chance of learning a pattern you do not know when crafting one of the others.  So if you do manage to snag some of the others when you make them you might discover one you did not get.  So I guess there is that as a fall back, just sadly it is a fall back based on the random number generator which, by default, makes it bad design.

Now you might end up grind materials to make critical strike gems so that way you can learn the mastery gem.  I am sure that is making some people so very happy.


The new version of followers is more time intensive and needs more resources required.  This, to many, might end up seeming like another grind but at least with the shipyard you will not be feeling the need to log in every 30 minutes to optimize it.

But that does not mean that there will be no work required.  Yes, shipyards will need some grinding too.  Killing rares can net you some oil which are needed to build ships but some of the better ships which will greatly increase your chances of success will require achievements, reputations or upgrading your shipyard.  So it will not be as simple as do quest, get follower, send on mission.  Nope, you will need to grind out those ships and then when you can make those ships they cost resources and take an hour to build.

Missions are fewer and longer, much longer, and have a much higher rate of failure, so no 100% on everything like with followers this time around.  And unlike garrison missions were failure is not such a big deal failure in a shipyard missions results in a destroyed ship and the need to rebuild one costing more resources and more time.

Longer missions, less chance of success, real penalties for failure and this is lining up to be a hell of a lot more involved than follower missions were.

Thinking maybe you will skip this?  Not if you want to finish the legendary quest line you won't.  The only way to complete the legendary quest line is to finish the shipyard missions that get you the required items for it.  So much for garrisons being optional content.

There are four rare elites that spawn every hour on T2 and I suggest you make it stop number 1 to kill those to get a head start on your shipyard as they all have a 100 percent drop chance to give you oil to get things rolling.  So yeah, rare hunting is now required too.  At least if you want to get a leg up.  And do not forget your regular follower missions as some of them now award oil as well.  Shipyards will be a bit more work than followers were, at least that is how it is looking.

Ships will also have two equipment slots which you will need to buy items to equip in those slots that can be used to counter specific things.  You will not be succeeding at any missions if you can not counter things, it is just that simple.  One problem however.  The thing is not all equipment will be available to you even if you have the garrison resources that would be needed to buy them.  You would first need to get the blueprints for them and you know what that means right?  Grinding rare mobs to get the blueprints for counters to drop.  Having fun grinding yet?

Is it worth doing?  As I said you need to it complete the legendary quest line, so that makes it a yes, but if that did not sell you the shipyard missions can get you raid level loot, a pet and heirloom rings.  Got me sold, I will be building mine on all my characters ASAP, grind or not.  Not to mention Captain Grumpy does have a nice ring to it doesn't it.

Other Stuff:

There is a lot more to 6.2, but the heart and soul of 6.2 is grindfest 2015 on T2.  Not to be remiss I'll give a short run down of some of the other things being added that could or could not be considered grinds by some.

Legendary quest line finishes:
- The quest line comes to a head thanks to our shipyards and gets us all a ring that was a suspect design choice, to say the least.

A new raid: Hellfire Citadel. 
- Could be considered grinding new gear and many of us will partake in that.

New battle pets:
- You will need well over 1000 of the pet battle tokens, hope you have been saving up, or that will be another grind for you, as well as having more new drops and world catches out there.

New world boss:
- At least this one drops gear better than LFR level, even better than early normal bosses, but still not in the style of mists world bosses that were such a huge success.

Retuned dungeons:
- Mythic versions being scaled up to be harder and timerwalker dungeons tuning your level down.  Just reskins basically but should be fun for at least a short time.

Lots of little stuff like pepe costumes, darker nights, bonus weekends, etc, surely not a grind but hey, it is something even if it does not fit the grindfest 2015 motif of this patch.

My plan of attack for today:

Open up things on my main and start on the reputations.  Then cycle through alts to at least open up T2.  Then tank mythic skyreach on both my druid and my warrior, for the jewel crafting pattern.  After that, depends on what I am in the mood for.  I would like to gather my 90 felblight for my gun upgrade first but it all depends on what the gathering competition looks like.  No rush however as yesterday was the ore trader which means the ore trader, and the pattern for my gun, will not be back for 5 days anyway, so I have some time.  What are your plans?