Monday, December 31, 2007


I have no idea what that title means, but I think it means I couldn’t come up with a title, hence “untitled” and its vaguely about my guild, thus “gld”. Stupid, I know, but I’m a bit frothy over here and trying to hold the temper in check, lest I put in print something I wish I hadn’t.

I don’t need to say it, you’ve already figured out that this post is a tad rant-ish. Read on at your own peril.

All hyped up with my plan to constructively and positively approach my guild leader with my concerns about getting organized about a Karazhan run, I log in Thursday night.

Very few people from the guild were on, including the guild leader and the #2 guy (that is, those two individuals are included in the not-logged-in list at the time), so no kara conversation at this point.

I did notice that our guild message ‘o the day is a barely readable listing of “kara minimums” with some stats like tanks defense numbers, melee DPS attack power numbers, etc. Strange place to stuff it, and barely readable, but, I like the general idea, as it shows somebody at the top is actually thinking of this stuff, and not just me.

Moments after logging in, my healer friend asked if I wanted to run anything, so I said Mechanar, as that would complete my quest for the Arcatraz key, and also possibly drop me a piece of Beastlord luvin (4 seconds off my trap cooldown would be A++).

Quick like a bunny, I found the rest of a team, including dangling some nice meat out there to entice a bear friend of mine to tank even though she’s been liking kitty form of late (and doing a damn fine job rivaling me in DPS, if I do say so).

Two pulls into the run, healer friend says “got to go guys, just got PUG invite for kara”.

Ok. I understand. Green with envy. But I understand. Good luck. Yadda yadda yadda. Now get outta here, kid, ya bother me.

Found another healer in quick order, as I try to treat my healers nice nice, and they seem to remember me and like playing, tyvm.

In the scarce few minutes I was looking, I noticed on channel 4, there was a guy from my guild, relatively new but seems to be respected by the guildies, shouting in all caps, “LFM NEED 1 HEALER FOR KARA RUN”.

/scratch [target=head]

Ok, I suppose he’s PUG’ing or still running with friends as he’s new to the guild. Same as before, a bit jealous, but hey, I’ve got a good group together over here and can enjoy my evening. Strange that I didn’t see any buzz about it from him on guild chat, or any asking for healers (2 guild lvl 70 healers were on at the time). But ok, back to my dungeon run.

We pwn Mechanar, with me as party leader, which I still get queasy marking targets, and none of the other party members had ever run Mech so I was the “expert” lol. Lots of fun, 1 or 2 wipes, good positive attitudes. Got my 2nd Arc key frag which is nice. My trap cool downs remain maximized L My bear friend got a nice cloak J

Get out of the run and look to see who’s on from the guild. And I see the guy who was barking on channel 4 is in Kara. And wait, what’s this? My eyes are a bit blurry, and my head a bit cloudy, but a quick little “sort by location” on the social window….there’s 5 other guildies in there too.

What gives?

For months now, guild chat has been dominated by tons of talk about hitting 70 so we can run kara, and getting keyed so we can run kara, and when are we running kara. Nearly nonstop anytime there’s more than 5 guildies on simultaneously (which is always, thanks to an unrestricted recruiting policy for any toon over 50).

So then magically 1 day, there’s ZERO buzz about the f-ing place at all in guild chat. And there’s 6 people in there.

Strange flood of emotions hits me. On the one hand, the initial jealousy. You know, you’ve been working towards that goal for some time now, and now its within inches away, and you see others doing it and it’s a tad frustrating. Ok, I can live with jealousy, that wears off pretty quick on me, and I can return to normal.

Then there’s the feelings of secrecy. What a GIANT contrast guild chat was this day. Not a peep about kara all evening, while a normal evening is chock full of all types of kara-chatter. What’s the deal?

And then there’s the feeling of “why today?” On the day that I’m all prepared and composed and calm and planning on talking with the guild master to find out his plan or encourage him to have one.

Needless to say, I was pissed. It wore off pretty quick, as jealousy is stupid and goes away without too much fuss. After some reflection, I think “good job by this guy.” He wanted in, and so he found the players he needed, and he went in. I admire the drive, and the results. I’d prefer it be something that’s openly discussed, rather than done via whispers, but I do appreciate someone who can get the job done.

A little strange that none of the guild leaders knew anything of it (more air of secrecy), and nobody at all was saying anything at all about it, whether it was the people in there or the other kara keyed guildies who where not in there.

Later on, after the wave of “kill everything and everyone in sight” passed, the guild GM and #2 guy came on. The 3 of us talked, and the two of them want to have the 3 of us put together a list of who Kara Team 1 is and hold a guild meeting on Saturday to announce it and then get the team together and discuss schedule.

So where do you go from here?

F this guild, you can kiss my purple-wearin’ Night Elf ass? Work with the GM on seeing if we can get some organization and form up Kara Team 1? Talk to the guy and see if we can’t turn the 6 from the guild on his run into 10 on the next one (including a hunter who I feel pretty strongly towards)?

In the end, I’m not really angry….well….not too much. I still have my goal, and this guy and Thursday night don’t really change that. Sure, they might change the steps I need to take to achieve my goal, but in the end, I still need to look inside and figure out how the F I’m going to get in that rediculous stink hole in the Deadwind Pass.

Anybody have tales to share (or links to send me towards) of how your guild (or somebody else’s guild) made this transition into their first Kara team and organized raiding?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Talk to the Toon

When you're talking to people IRL, how do you refer to your toons?

I got caught saying to my girlfriend "...since none of Amava's friends were on, I switched to an alt and..." She got a chuckle out of it and brought it to my attention that I'm discussing my toon in the third person, as if Amava were an entity unto herself.

Seems that I refer to Amava and her antics that way. At least sometimes. I think it mainly comes out when discussing the social aspect of the game.

When Amava leads in the Damage Meter, without unnecessarily pulling aggro or doing other naughty things, those exploits get spoken of in the first person, as Amava's daddy takes great pride in that and wants the credit :-)

Also fashion. While I am somewhat indifferent with regards to colors and appearances, Amava simply adores purples and dark reds.

Then you've got other schools of thought, such as BRK's royal "we" used to refer to his toon and pet Hobbes combined/unified opinions, performances, and experiences.

Funny how we all develop our own strange warped sense of identity with our toons. That's a big part of what keeps this game interesting. And keeps the people close to us IRL wondering just how thin our thread of sanity is.

It FHeals Great to be Me

Imagine yourself a Night Elf Hunter. Now imagine yourself wanting to get into a dungeon party. Unless some people who you've run with and proven yourself with are on, and NOT in Kara at the moment (grrrrrr), you're pretty much the single most hated potential party mate of anybody on the server.

Now, imagine this beautiful fertile valley of paradise on the otherside of the mountain. Imagine yourself a priest. Imagine yourself a priest who wants to heal, and wants all kinds of 5-man runs. You're a wonderful thing, and everybody wants a piece of you, right?

Pretty much, but do you want a piece of everybody else?

Such is the reality in WoW.

One can draw an analogy to a singles bar.

The Night Elf Hunter is the ugly guy who walks with a limp, drools, and doesn't have a dollar to his name. To stand a chance at finding someone to party with, he's going to overcompensate with as much charisma, charm, and inner spiritual goodness as he can possible cram into the 2 seconds he gets to actually talk to prospective party members. When he does actually get a party, he's going to just pour it on and be the most attentive, generous, skilled person he can be, with the hopes that he'll be remembered and selected again in the future.

Then, in walks the Holy Priest. Who wants to party, and wants to heal. Here's your hot chick, all gussied up and in heat, ready to rock. She can pretty much behave any way she wants, and she's more or less going to find people to group with. While our friend Quasimodo the Hunter has limited options, Paris Healerton's got everybody shoving their 2-handed mace (well, its really an off-hand item, but they want you to think its a 2H-er) in your face. Her challenge is in how to choose the good from the bad, as the ones that look good at first are usually the worst, and the Quasimodos that you really want for their inner creaminess are just tough to see through that gruesome exterior. And even some of the Quasi's haven't figured it out yet, and are just as rough on the inside.

Such as it was for my priest. Healed my first instance the other day. The Stockades.

And let me tell you, if LFG/LFM at level 70 is sometimes rough, at level 20, what a mess. All day long, I was just playing tailor and alchemist, lurking in the LFG channel. When a call for a healer in Stockades came up, I said sure.

For the next hour, we went through endless shenanigans like people wanting to swap out and get their high level alt to run us through. No thanks, I'm here to play, not run through on easy mode. Then you get the people joining in when asked to be a DPS and then saying "i'll heal and the priest can DPS". Nope, I'm healing this run, you're invited to kill stuff. /kick. On and on it went. I was ok with the whole thing, as I was just running between the tailoring and alchemy trainers (thankfully located near eachother in Stormwind), AH, and mailbox.

Finally get a crew and head in.

Ended up being fantastic. 3 of the players were experienced in the game, playing on their low level alts, including a father/son team. The 4th had a great attitude and was fun to play with.

Healing the run was really cool. Such a different experience than providing mass quantities of sustained ranged DPS.

I'm sure I did a million things wrong (like writing blog entries that're too long and boring). I overhealed. I was nervous and used tons of mana-inefficient quick casting heals rather than waiting for health to drop a bit and then casting longer ones. At first, I didnt cure any diseases, as I couldn't find it on my action bar.

I totally had tunnel vision and was staring at green bars. So much so that I got lost, didn't see which side room the party went in, and then ran in the wrong one and died :-(

But had a ton of fun, and I kept everybody alive.

And levelled up. I think I'm going to stop any solo action with this guy, and see how rough it is trying to level up only doing dungeon runs and quests inside dungeons.

Two tanks walk into a cave...

Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. A horse walks into a bar. Bartender says "why the long face?" Scotty Pippen walks into a bar, bartender says...

While struggling with some antics that have sprung up in Amava's guild, I went to play some alts.

To start off with, there's my Paladin who's desperately clawing his way to 35 so he can continue his enchanting, or rather his disenchanting which needs to be 275 to keep up with Amava's equipment collection. Also, a new found joy of engineering. Some fun stuff there, and I like burning gold now that Amava's 300 riding skill's been paid for and she's got some primal mooncloth bags equipped. Expensive purses, indeed.

Questing in Redridge, I was getting killed too much in this one cave. Fast spawn and multi mob pulls. There's a warrior doing the same thing. We join up. Both of us have shields, both are prot spec'd. Woot. Took us 45 minutes to kill each mob, but damn if we weren't a survivable pair. We jumped off this one ledge in the cave and had 8 mobs on us. The fight took forever but we lived (barely). Fun times. Ended up doing a bunch of group stuff, and got my guy up to 28.

Noticed a funny thing with Engineering. I don't have the exact levels in front of me right now, but one thing you can make is Goblin Jumper Cables, which allow you to try to do a non-combat rez on a dead party member, with no guarantee of success. Sounds like fun. My pally's big sister wants some in her bag, so hop to it.

Only thing is that one of the required ingredients is Fused Wiring. The formula for that is available from 2 vendors, one of whom is in Shattrath City. Quick switch to Amava (ok, wasn't quick, ended up doing all the Arcatraz key solo quests, and also a run through Botanica for both the daily normal-mode quest and one half of the Arc key), buy the recipe, and mail it over.

Try to learn it, only to discover that this recipe needs skill level 260 or 275 or some such. Strange that an ingredient would be harder to make than the final product. I guess there's examples of that in real life, it takes more research and development for Intel to make Pentium chips, than it is for Gateway to assemble PC's. Ok, I can accept that explanation.

So I bought a fused wiring on AH.

Then I get all the other ingredients, except the Iron Bars. All those were listed at hugely marked up prices. In general, I'm spending freely on my alt professions (enchanting, engineering, alchemy, and tailoring. so far my blacksmith and jewelcrafter is too low to mention). I got stubborn, and refused to shell out the dough for the bars. So Amava's mission when I get home from work is to go collect and smelt 6 iron bars.

Also made a bunch of fireworks, which Amava's going to bring to guild meetings and instances where she can celebrate at the summoning stone while everybody else is farting around instead of geting ready for the run.

Bought a bunch of new gear to celebrate ding'ing 28, so he looks much cooler now. Lots of rusty chain mail, goes nicely with his beard.

Excuses, Excuses

Long time, no post. My last post was a week ago or more.

I could go the easy way and blame the holidays. But that's like the PUG mate who blames the hunter for not controlling his pet and aggroing extra mobs, when in fact the pet's been nicely attacking the main DPS mob the whole time thanks to a handy assist macro that's got some hunter's mark and pet attack commands built in there, and a pet who's been put on passive and as such isn't doing any AI thinking on his own, other than to scoot behind mobs before attacking.

No. The truth is, I've actually got 6 unpublished articles that I wrote but never posted since then.

Two reasons. One easy to fix, the other, who knows.

First reason. I'm trying to write shorter posts. Hopefully I'll cut out what feels to me like boring details or frivolty. Ended up feelin unnatural and not my overly verbose self. Bah. I'm off that horse. If the topic fits in a short article in my style, cool. If not, I'll leave it to the readers to filter out for themselves. I think this excuse can be considered eliminated as of this writing.

Second reason. Negativity. The posts were all hugely negative. And when re-reading before publishing, I can see why.

I've got the pre-Kara blues. That's not a kind of gear, but an emotional state. There's your real reason.

I want to get my little Night Elf butt into Karazhan, and I've been internally blaming everybody else for my lack of entry.

The unpublished posts were all centered on how this situation sux or that server is stupid or this guild is disorganized or any of a million obstacles I feel are in the way.

Pish posh on that. Positive tone, and any obstacle needs to have a plan and not just a babbling vent session or blaming others.

The goal is to get some Karazhan action. While I don't want to artifically constrain myself, having a time limit is often motivational, so I'd like to be in there by end of January. Not just for a sight seeing tour, but as part of a group that plans on returning on a repeating basis.

There's the goal. Now for the plan, very constructive.

Step 1: hit 70. Check

Step 2: get Master's Key. Check

Step 3: achieve some basic minimums of gearing and stats. I'm nearly there, just would like a bit more stamina. Action plan: run instances that drop gear that enhances my stamina without sacrificing unacceptably in other categories (most notably: hit and attack power). Specifically target instances that'll drop another piece of the Beastlord set, as a 4 second reduction in trap cooldown will be sweet. I'll also spend a bit of time researching gem choices to see if I can drop a little attack power to improve my stamina without obtaining any new gear items.

Step 4: find 9 other players to raid with. Plus a few extras so you can have subs. Quite frankly, in all my unpublished posts, here's where the negativity peeps its head in.

The solution to step 4 will be a two pronged approach. Well, more like a single pronged approach, with a contingency plan in the works.

The current guild has a growing quantity and class mix of 70's who either have the Master's Key or are very close. This is a nice thing to have, but there is a fine line between quantity and quality. The unrestricted recruiting policy leads to the guild being less like a family with each passing day. Keeping this post in line with my desired postitive, action oriented tone, I'm going to try to start with the guild, and find what is needed to get a Kara run together. I'll discuss with the guild #1 and #2 guys, the specific party roles we need, and actual player names that we need. Then we can discuss schedule, as we currently do all our activities as ad-hoc groupings in response to a player sending LFG messages to guild chat.

There have been a variety of guild dramas occurring lately, quite likely as a result of the unrestricted recruiting that's been going on. If these aren't fixed in the next few days, or if my attempts at organizing a team and schedule are not received well, then the contingency plan will be in effect.

Not being one to sit on my laurels (i actually have no idea what that means, but i think it applies here), I'm starting work on the contingency now (which will probably become a self-fulfiling prophecy and cause the first prong of the attack to fail).

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I need to be more resourceful on finding another guild to run with. So far, I only see the top-most hardcore guilds that get listed on WoWJitsu, and the top few that are listed on the official realm forum for raid progression. On the surface, these seem to be much more hardcore than I'm interested in. I'm going to try to talk to some members and see how I'll fit. I need to spend a bit more time than I have in the past reading over any guild forums I can find for my realm, specifically looking for scheduled raid times and class needs.

I've read in blogs that some people frown upon applying to multiple guilds at the same time. I'm not sure I agree with this. Sure, from the perspective of a guild master, you don't want to think that you might review a candidate and run a trial with them, then extend an invite only to have them pick someone else. But just the same, as an applicant, you always know that they might run a trial with you and someone else and then pick them for the invite. I like the analogy of viewing a guild as an employer and applying is like applying for a job. If you're currently in a job you hate or working for a company that you suspect might go bankrupt soon or lay you off, do you only apply to one other job at a time? No. You flood the market with your applications, and interview with as many places as you can. Because you're looking for a good fit, not just the first place that will take you. Just as they have multiple options, you need to have multiple options. Everyone wins if you all have multiple options, and yet still you choose to select that guild, and they choose to select you.

So there you have it. I think this is more of a letter written to myself, to convince myself that the steps to Kara are under my control, and its damn time I did something about it.

Wake up, Amava!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kill Boss, Leave Party

After my resto druid buddy got done with a run in kara (/jealous), we formed up a team and headed over to Mechanar for some normal mode action with our other friend, the elemental shammy. PUG'd the tank and other dps.

Wiped on maybe the second pull. In normal mode :-(

I'm still adjusting to all the new equipment that dropped for me this weekend, most notably the increased shot speed of the Skyfire Hawk-Bow, and the giant attack power increase of more than 400 points, up to 1522.

Tank couldn't hold aggro against my white damage. He had no threat meter installed, so I had to judge for myself through trial and error. Mostly error.

After that wipe, we got into an OK rythem and I figured out more or less how much Steady Shot I could weave in there and let him keep the mobs.

I occasionally check the Damage Meter report during a run. Once close to the beginning, just to see if anything's really strange right off the bat. And usually hide it and glance back at a boss, or here and there, just to see if the pattern on the first few pulls was a fluke, or if its consistent through the run.

After the first room was clear, I check the meter. I was doing 56% of party damage while chain trapping, and we were definitely struggling. At this point, I know that my data is a bit skewed, as I don't think DM incorporates damage from the warlock's pet, but it does give a general feel for how things are going.

We limp along, doing reasonably well through the trash. Hammer the first named elite without too much fuss. Proactive Feign Deaths, FTW!!!

Get to the first boss. His big thing is some pretty nasty bombs he drops, more or less right at his feet, so melee players are toast. The strat is to have the tank slowly kite him around so the bombs are always going off a bit behind the boss and hopefully anybody in melee range is safe.

Silly PUG tank doesn't want to move, and just stands there. My pet dies, I think from the very first bomb, if not, nearly instant. It happened so fast, I didn't even notice, and when I try to fire off Bestial Wrath, I'm there in wonderment at why it won't go. Glance up at my unit frame and see poor dead Cringer. I don't think I even got a shot off yet. Wipe followed pretty quickly so the pain was minimal.

Couple more tries, no movement from the tank. Grumblings of "party over" and he says ok, he'll try to move.

Before the pull, he actually goes on party chat:

Tank: we need more DPS, put your immo trap overe here [jump] [jump] [jump]
Me: what's my trap gonna do?
Tank: damage
Me: what? give him athletes foot? we havent gotten this guy down past 60% yet, get in position, i'm misdirecting
Tank: lol [fires pull shot]

Tank moved around, the boss ate dirt. Cringer died again, a little later this time (had enough time for BW). Probably due to the pet AI attacking from behind putting him right in the path of the bombs. Gimped my DPS, but we got the job done.

I ran a WWS of the run. Of particular note, on the named elite, with Cringer at full glory, 820 DPS. My name is Titan in the report.

Full Report:
Elite Fight:

I went to bed after that boss kill, with my head killing from a bad case of tanky frustration.

EDIT: after writing this, I ran Mechanar again, this time with a successful group. Must be that the named elites allow for a bit more damage than normal bosses. This time I hit 1112 DPS for that same mob. For bosses like Pathaleon the Calculator, I had a more reasonable 718 DPS.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What do I want to be when I grow up?

If you've read this blog, you're probably aware that I'm a huge fan of being a double gatherer. Sure I miss out on any BoP epic items I could craft via another profession, and finding the enchants I need, while not impossible, has been a challenge at times. But in the end, having a stable income, that more or less just comes from making quick stops while travelling around, makes so many parts of the game come easier, as I can buy just about anything I need.

That said, a friend of mine who also levelled up as a dual gatherer, recently switched. And I think I'm having a drop of an itch as well, if for nothing else other than a change in scenery.

The thing that started the itch was thinking about potions and elixirs. I've really never used them, pretty much ever. When I get a health or mana potion drop off of a mob, I just dump it on the AH. The fancy potions go for between 3 and 4 gold on my AH, so its been nice to just dump them.

Then the other day, in Heroic Ramparts, a friend stopped by the AH before the run and got us some fire resist potions or elixirs or something, as that last dragon boss is just too much for us at this gear level, and fire damage is a big part of his game. I had no idea such things existed. And as I eye Karazhan more and more, I see the value of having a dependable supply of various potions, flasks and elixirs.

I'll either have to ask around the guild for any alchemists, or just go ahead and do it myself. I have no experience or evidence, but I've heard some success stories of making gold from Alchemy. I'd hate to drop mining, as its so lucrative, and helps supply engineering, blacksmithing, and jewel crafting on my alts. Then again, I don't play them all that much other than in binges, to the point that if Amava finds a way to stay rich, then the alts can buy anything they need for their crafting profs.

Then I also think of enchanting as a way to stop whining about not being able to find my Savagery. After all...if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. In the end, this one loses out in my mind, as I'd rather help a friend farm for the formulas that I need, and just grow my extended network of enchanters over time.

And the final extreme option....drop both and take up leatherworking and skinning. This has the allure of some nice BoP crafted items at the highest level. Plus some nice leg armor packs, which I believe are also BoP at the high end. Maybe some more research will be needed before going this route.

So far the options that bubble to the top are keeping mining/herbalism or dropping mining in favor of alchemy. The leatherworking/skinning radical option is reserved for incase I log in during a New Year's Eve celebration having enjoyed a few too many beverages. The recent economic situation made me see the value of being a diversified gatherer, so that's on top for now.

Friends don't let friends visit profession trainers drunk.

So nice to see you, Herb

In a beautiful change in momentum, it would seem that the herb market on my server is returning to normal. And not a moment too soon because I was dipping closer and closer to broke, relying only on daily quests and mining income. With my new focus on ensuring my equipment is nicely enchanted/gemmed/inscribed/glyphed/scoped/armor-packed, and a sweet influx of 6 new pieces of equipment this weekend, my expenses have been much higher than I am accustomed to.

Prices haven't returned quite to where I'd like them, but at least things are moving. Even better that now my Auctioneer recommended market value is good enough for sales. I hate when commodities like herbs need a "fixed price" specified, which means that I have to inspect the situation carefully for each auction posting. All the better when I can just blindly accept Auctioneer's market price, and just make sure I refresh the data before each posting. Sure, I'm not maximizing profit, but in terms of not wasting thought cycles on a game that's already occupied too much of my mental capacity, its a good thing.

It really makes me wonder what happened. Just a dramatic plunge in prices for about 3 weeks or so, hitting all high level herbs, with some truely hitting rock bottom, while others dropped but not as much.

There's still two possible conclusions that stay at the top of the list of reasons:

1) Holiday Schedule - on a low population server, if the few raiding guilds put a freeze or slow down on their activities, the demand for herbs for raid consumables will be much lower. On a larger population, there's probably enough diversity in the raiding community to help weather slowdowns, so the prices might drop a little, but not devastating like this.

2) Post-2.3 Impact - I am still unaware of any changes, real or perceived, that came with patch 2.3 that would alter the supply of or demand for herbs; however, it is a bit suspicious that the price drop began right around the date of the 2.3 patch. If there was a change, I'm assuming it was only perceived and not real, because prices are returning to normal.

It'll be interesting to take a look at the patterns on my server over time, and from year to year, to see if these things repeat, or if its just a one time blip.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Heroic at Honored

I had a bunch of other stuff to write about from the weekend, and actually did write up blog entries, but proably won't post because its just a boring recap of how I grinded through a bunch of normal and heroic instances in Hellfire Peninsula to get to Revered with HH and get the Hellforged Halberd. And some drama along the way.

Then I read over at World of Matticus, a guest post on the impact of lowering the entry to Heroics from Revered to Honored. The article goes on about how people show up in Quest blues/greens, and since Honored is easy to reach by the normal questing and just a few normal mode instance runs, people then get access to Heroic mode.

I like to read World of Matticus, and I like the guest bloggers that he's got filling in for the short term, but there's one concept on a recent entry that I have a perspective on. My rant here is not really aimed at disagreeing with Matticus or his Guest, but rather at the general atmosphere among the bloggers regarding Honored Heroics. Reading Matticus simply triggered my response.

The author (a guest writer, not the normal Matticus, not that it matters) goes on to explain how rough a time you have with Heroics now that the entry level is Honored, specifically when PUG'ing, largely due to inexperienced and undergeared players.

I'll totally agree with PUG's being like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Normal or heroic, you really just roll the dice when you accept unknown players into your group. And with the margin for error being much smaller in Heroic mode, the impact of getting a fool or a good-but-undergeared player in your group is much more painful.

I suppose that when the entry barrier was Revered, you at least knew the person had run enough instances to grind that rep. Sure, they could have ridden on the coat tails of other players who carried them in normal mode dungeons, but it did weed out some of the painful folks. Plus, during all that instancing, there's a better chance that they did get some nicer gear, so even the good players were probably on average, better geared than those at Honored.

Ok, I can buy that concept, and see some of the logic there.

But here's my view as a player who very recently levelled up to 70 right around the time when they lowered the requirement to Honored. For me, this is an outstanding opportunity. Here I am, me and a small group of friends. Freshly minted 70's. Some of the friends have a piece or two of PVP epic gear. Most of us are in nicely enchanted quest or AH blues/greens. I just got my first piece of the Beastlord set this weekend. In general, poorly geared.

We are running heroics. Granted, we're wiping up a storm in there. But we're doing it.

And you know what? I think the exact thing that the author of Matticus' article dislikes, is actually the benefit we're going to acheive from this.

The difference between entry at Revered and entry at Honored is one of where the learning curve occurs.

Most people who've ranted about this entry to Heroic mode say that people learn to play as a team and get gear from Kara and other 10- and 25-man raids. And that prepares them for Heroics. People shouldn't show up to run a heroic dungeon unless they meet some arbitrary stats that are impossible to achieve without the gear from the nice raids.

The new age is here and us n00b 70's are going to do it exactly the opposite. We're going to learn real teamwork in Heroics and gear up in Heroics. That is where we're going to prepare for Kara.

If you think about it, this makes more sense. Levelling up, you can run instances. There's some focus on ensuring the well-armored team members take most of the damage, but in the end, if you fail to master tank/healer/dps, just come back in a level or two and pwn the dungeon anyways.

Even the end game normal mode instances can let some of this slide, and leave lots of room for slop.

Then you get a group of 10 people together and enter Karazhan. And learn the hard way that plate is a lot stronger than cloth, and all the fun ways to ensure that plate takes the hits while cloth (and leather and mail) deliver the damage. In this rather complicated environment, with all the logicstical challenges of organizing 10 keyed players of appropriate class distribution, you waste a lot of time as those 10 folks (or more, to allow for subs or absence) learn that holy trinity of tank/healer/dps.

Patch 2.3 came and went. The new 70's are learning this concept by "wasting" only 5 people's time. In Heroics. Sometimes PUG'ing to fill slots.

As we start to hit Karazhan, we're going to be better for it, even if the olde time "Heroics at Revered" crowd thinks we did it backwards and painfully.

Aint She Purdy?

Amidst my push for Honor Hold reputation this weekend, there was some downtime between runs. If I had a set time that I had friends coming back on, I had some spare time. If I had no real plans for the next few hours, I'd lurk in LFG/LFM to see if anybody else wanted to run in Hellfire Citadel.

What better way to fill downtime than to grind away in Netherwing Ledge.

And what better way to get exalted than to turn in some eggs. I had a few quests completed, and ready for submission, plus some eggs in my bag. I thought it fitting that I use an egg to push me over the edge.

In my excitement, I headed straight over to Shattrath City to get my drake. None of them would talk to me. Oops, you gotta finish out some quests over Shadowmoon. They give you a nice little presentation of a scripted event that was a pretty cool ending to the roughly 3 week grind. Then an automated delivery to Shatt on the back of a giant dragon. It felt like in Survivor when the final few contestants remember all those who got voted off before them, just some fun time to reflect and look back at what got you here.

Now, anytime I land at a mailbox, I get at least 1 random person ask "how much that mount cost?".

I even had a PUG party member quit before the run started, shortly after I landed at the summoning stone, saying "i hate people who get their epic mount while in all greens and blues". The rest of the party put him in ignore also.

And quite frankly, I find the big guy a bit tough to handle in close quarters, so I still carry my Swift Purple Gryphon for things like the Skettis egg bombing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Heroic Virgins

In wrestling you've got Triple H. In WoW, we've got HH. Honor Hold.

It's recently come to my attention that Terokk's Quill is bunk, and I there's a better alternative out there that is attainable for a character at my stage, and also not dependent upon random boss droppings.

I've taken several stabs at Murmur with the hopes he'll throw me a Sonic Spear, with no luck. I do like the instance, and the Murmur fight, and the key frag I help guildies and friends get, but I don't like being slave to his pseudo-random number generator.

My new in-game focus is to get my hands on a Hellforged Halberd. Requires Revered with Honor Hold. Starting last night, that meant about 10K rep for me. Looks like Shattered Halls or Heroic Ramparts/Blood Furnace are the only options remaining for me. Well, also some quests that get me the key to Shattered Halls.

I've never run in Heroic anything before. Wednesday night was the night.

Heroic Ramparts.

The rogue with us has been to Kara and has some epics. Our healer has run 1 other Heroic dungeon before. 3 of us were Heroic Virgins.

So I know what you're thinking..."I bet they one-shot the place". Yeah, I'm sure you're saying that.

Can we say "wipe-fest".

We wiped on the first pull. We wiped from the pat. We wiped on the next pull. We wiped on the bridge. We wiped on the terrace after the bridge. But, we one-shot the boss.

We wiped some more. And again. And one for you. And one for me. And one for your friend. And her friend. We wiped at the top of the stairs. Twice. And then we one-shot the next boss.

Between those wipes, we were having a blast. Totally cool group of people. Positive attitudes, no finger pointing. Good constructive feedback and advice, with people correcting eachother or calling eachother out on problems, but everybody stayed positive and it never became personal.

I couldn't have had more fun with a 3.5 hour, 3 repair bill (yep, we repaired 3 times), wipefest.

On the last boss, you fight a dragon rider, and then his dragon. The beauty is, if you kill the rider, you get 250 rep points. If you wipe on the dragon, you reset the encounter. If you kill the dragon rider again, you get another 250 rep points.

5 nice wipes like that netted an additional 1250 rep points from the run. Since I was there for fun (check), heroic experience (check), and rep (check), I had a great night. We never did take that dragon down, so only 2 badges, but who's counting.

A few more runs like that, and I'll be looking for my Savagery enchanter once more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Driving Force

So the other day, I did my big write up about BRK's search and the sense of urgency and feeling kicked in the nuts.

Then, an exhausting day or two of trying to get to the minimum requirements, and...I did it. I think.

The semi-short version...

Monday, I posted my armory profile, and BRK poo-poo'd me for missing the following requirements:

  1. Aldor Honored shoulder inscription

  2. 2H Weapon +35agi or Savagery

  3. Boots - Dexterity

  4. Cenarion Expedition Glyph of Ferocity for the helmet

Ok, so I had my work cut out for me.

First one was easy, as I had Fel Armaments in my bank, so a quick trip to Shattrath took care of that guy.

Next on my list is the enchants. I've been describing, ad nauseam, about my challenges in finding enchanters who have Savagery/+35agi/Dexterity. The official WoW realm forum for my server lists a few names, but I couldn't convince anybody on the list to do it. I was going to compromise and get the closest enchants I could. I know people who can do the +25agi 2H weapon enchant and +7agi boots. But before accepting a compromise, I spent some time combing over the armory. Found a few raiding guild leaders and whispered them to see if they knew enchanters.

Got a hit, she was online and very willing to enchant, and had 15 minutes before a raid. Quick trip back to Shatt to get my mats, and then fly out to Shadowmoon Valley for the enchants. Tipped the beejeezus out of her. Very excited at this point to see my Terokk's Quil dripping in blood.

Then the biggie. I needed close to 5K Cenarion Reputation points to hit Revered. Read up on WoWWiki for some ideas on how to accomplish that. There's some quests up in Blade's Edge Mts, runs through Steamvaults, and Coilfang Armaments (which drop in Steamvaults). On top of that, I had 2 quests in Steamvaults, and the daily 5-man dungeon quest for Tuesday was Steamvaults as well.

So I get my butt into LFG quick like a bunny and try to get a Steamvaults run going. Took some time, but luckily, I was keeping myself busy with enchants and inscriptions.

Got a group together. Ran Steamvaults. Lots of wipes, but lots of fun. Ran with my favorite bear tank and a cool healer I met this weekend. DPS was me and 2 warriors, so I was the only CC. We had a great time, and got some good rep. I sub'd out at the end so a guildie could come in and get his key frag. So nice guild rep there too :-)

Immediately after dropping group, got back in LFG for another run. Got 2 guildies to join, and found 2 others. Now we had a mage and a warlock, so CC was a bit smoother. I was group lead, so had fun marking targets. Lots more rep, and we all completed the dungeon daily quest. w00t.

All this CE action left me still with about 1.5 bars of rep until Revered, but the sun was threatening to come up soon, so I had to go to bed.

Woke up a few hours later, and jumped on questing in Blade's Edge. When I was 318 rep points away from Revered, I had to leave for work.

But, I figured I'd check AH real quick for Coilfang Armaments. They give you 75 rep for a turn-in. Quick theorycrafting (ok, so its just simple division) shows I needed 5. Check AH. There's 5!!!!!!!!!!!!


Head over to Zangarmarsh for the turn in, the glyph, and the win.

Its probably too late for the BRK search, but I'm so stoked to have come this far in this short time.

Oh yeah, and I broke my own trap, twice, during the second Stamvaults run.
/slap [target=player]


Is there anybody out there on the Terokkar server who wants to set up a fixed time, one or two nights a week, to run level 70 5-man dungeons?

Could be a guild that has set times.

Could be just a group of friends who set up a time, call it 8:00pm server time on Tuesdays.

Nothing hardcore. Perhaps not even heroics, yet. But I do want to try heroics.

Maybe some aspirations towards Kara, but no huge rush. Let's gear up first, and grind faction rep by running dungeons, which will then let us gear up further through faction rewards.

This has proven to be the hardest thing for me to find, and honestly, other than my silly boots dexterity enchant that I can't find (I think I'm gonna get a t-shirt printed up with the tooltip for that), reliable 5-man groupings with a little bit of schedule regularity, is the main WoW concept giving me beef (ignore my previous post about BRK's search. My feelings on that one are fleeting, and will go away soon. My desire for casual scheduled 5-man stuff will not).

I'd love nothing more than to look forward to running a dungeon at a specified time, allowing me to prepare for it, research the bosses, gather consumables, alter my pet's talent spec, and so on. Knowing that a group was waiting for that magical time when we start the fun.

Are you guys out there on Terokkar? If so, pst Amava.

p.s. If you can apply Boots - Dexterity or +35 2H Weapon or Savagery, I'll be your best friend. But I'll love you just the same if you want to have a casual fixed schedule for 5-man content.

The Great Divide

In a recent comment on my post about Netherwing Eggs, Valdesta shared some experience of grinding Netherwing rep and the impact it has on friends around you. Most notably the jealous reaction you get from some folks.

No doubt!

First off, just getting the epic gryphon definitely caused a bit of a stir. People immediately began looking at me as (A) selfish, and (B) someone who should be supplying gold for whoever needs it.

Selfish? Maybe. Sometimes. But not for getting the epic flight. That's just a down right sweet functional upgrade, as the speed helps me with things such as getting to instances on time faster, and also gathering more herbs and minerals in a shorter amount of time. Sure the purple gryphon armor looks cool, especially as I try for a purple theme for Amava whenever possible, but the speed is what its all about.

Personal lending bank? Not no way, not no how. I help people grind mats they need for whatever crafting stuff they want to do. I run instances with enchanters and pass on just about any boss drops and all DE shards so they can have the mats. I share my ideas about making gold to help guildies and friends become self-sufficient. I donate reasonable amounts of gold to the guild to help with things like bank vault tabs or tank repair bills. I tip my guild enchanters. Hansomly. I buy all my crafted items off of guildies whenever possible, so they can get the skill points. And I tip them. But handouts? or loans? Nope.

Some people genuinely showed happiness for me when I got the epic flyer, but lots of the (A) and (B) reactions.

Then there's the folks who know what I'm doing when they see me listed as being in Netherwing Ledge. Namely, grinding the daily quests to get me to Exalted. There's two guildies that anytime they log in and see me out there, they immediately chime in on guild chat "ok 70's, time to get together and help clear eachother's group quests" as a passive aggressive shot at me. They never used to say stuff like that before my Netherwing grind, and I never see comments like that if I'm not in Shadowmoon Valley.

And then you get to the one who may or may not have shown the biggest reaction. He used to be on his main toon every day. We used to run lots of dungeons together, and even started a healthy rivalry on seeing who can top the damage meters while respecting tank aggro. We worked nicely together. The first instance we ran together was a bit rough with some personality clash, but after that, we sorted things out, and he was a great friend to run dungeons with, and a great member of the guild. Since the day after he learned I got the epic mount, about 2 weeks ago, I've seen him online one time.

I'm not sure what happened. It probably isn't related to the mount, but based on his reaction when he saw me out in Netherwing Ledge and asked about the epic flight, there's a small part of me that thinks he switched to a different toon with gathering professions and is grinding the money for his flight. Perhaps I'm just too much of a conspiracy queen.

But if you're reading this, M, please, come back. I miss you. The guild misses you. I hope your absence is due to something awesome like an extended trip to Hawaii.

The real "fun" will be once I get my Nether Drake, which is coming up really quickly, as I'm at about 15K out of 21K through revered, which will most likely ding this weekend (unless I completely abandon my Netherwing grind and focus on Cenarion Expedition grind to get the helmet glyph to satisfy the last of BRK's requirements). Then I'll get to see some real reactions as I soar around Outlands on my dragon.

Leave it to B(RK)eaver

Monday was just one of those days. Sit down at the computer, take a gander at my google reader.

And BRK has put the feelers out that he's looking for someone (and not the Someone of blogging fame), but rather, he's looking for a player that meets 15 specific requirements. What for? We don't know, other than some cryptic references to a research project.

There's oodles and oodles of comments posted with links to armory profiles, with most people fulfilling many but not all of the requirements.

Strange emotional reaction for me.

Without getting too deep in the personal muck, let me provide you with a drop of background to the insanity that is my thought process. I have a hugely out of balance internal sense of urgency. Just about anything I'm doing, I have this insane sense of needing to do it faster faster faster. It goes in cycles, but at its worst, any obstacle in my path becomes the focus of all my wrath and must be conquered. NOW!!! It really is strange how I can rationally sit there and observe it happening, but have no control of the burning drive that is pushing me to accomplish whatever it is I'm trying to do.

When its focused towards a project at work or school or helping friends with something, this can be a very constructive behavior. When its focused at making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch or driving somewhere that's only 2 minutes from my house and there's not even any traffic, it makes me feel a bit insane. The problem is that when its at the bad part of the cycle, that overwhelming sense of urgency can become crippling and I can't choose what to focus it towards. It just sort of comes at anything I'm trying to accomplish.

The solution for me (probably should be medication, but I prefer insanity for the time being) is to create milestones. Accomplishing milestones gives me a sense of satisfaction that I'm progressing towards whatever end goal I'm headed for (perhaps a software engineering project at work, or perhaps a sandwich for lunch). I can then try to focus my sense of urgency at an attainable milestone, unleash my full wrath at any obstacles in the way of that milestone, and get there with good success and provide the voodoo god that's in my head with a sacrifice to keep her satisfied for a little while.

Scared yet? I am, but then again, I have to live inside this head. You just have to read my blathering, and even that you can choose to unsubscribe from.

Developing my WoW character is a perfect example of this. I have some long-term goals for Amava. If you look at the end result, its pretty overwhelming in terms of the breadth and depth of activities necessary to get there. When that feels overwhelming, I create very small goals and go after them. The tangible ones, such as things that have progress bars (xp, rep, profession skills) are perfect because you get immediate concrete feedback.

Then you have gear. Some gear is tied to quests, some tied to professions, some tied to gold/AH, some tied to faction rep, and some tied to random boss drops.

Based on excellent wealth of information on the topic of pre-Kara hunter gear, I've got some nice goals on gear improvements and character development. There's a ton of things to do, but small milestones that I progress a bit each day have kept this feeling of urgency in check. When it gets out of balance, its a bit rough, but in general, I've got a nice comfy feeling about where I want to get Amava, how to get there, and my progress so far.


As of when I read the post, I met 10 of the requirements exactly, have immediate access (sufficient rep and mats/gold already in hand) to meet an additional one. Of the remaining 4 requirements, one will require me to grind Honor Hold through 10K rep points to hit revered -OR- get a totally random drop from Murmur. Another will require me to grind Cenarion Expedition through about 5K rep points to hit revered. And the last two are enchants that, despite some excellent advice in comments on this blog, I still cannot find enchanters who (A) have the enchant available, and (B) are willing to do the enchant, even when offered large quantites of gold. For the boots, I can get a +7agi, and for the 2H weapon I have access to +25agi, both of which are close but no cigar.

Yesterday was one of those moments where you feel like someone you respect and have learned a great deal from just walked up to you, put on a golf shoe, and kicked you in the 'nads.

BRK, and a handfull of others, put out some great "Gearing up for Kara" guides. As a still-wet-behind-the-ears lvl 70 hunter, I've based my gear goals around these guides. I've been making steady progress in some areas, and much slower progress on others (damn boots dexterity enchant). In general though, happy to see my progress towards meeting the minimum Kara entry standards.

Then the end-all-be-all of BM hunter sites goes and tells you you're not going fast enough.

Maybe I do need medication after all.

Edit: I went and checked, and BRK posted a reply to the post with his comments about the people he's got on the list. I'm actually pretty close, but it might be too late. He has 2 people who already fit exactly, so I'm probably s-t out of luck, but he quoted 4 requirements I dont meet. 3 of them are pretty close to attainable. If +25agi on the 2H wep, and +7agi on the boots is OK, then tuesday night, I'll be missing only 1 of the requirements, the helmet glyph. So I guess I'll be running Coilfang Reservoir dungeons as much as I can.

Edit, part 2: BRK put up another posting, saying he's really looking for strict adherance to the guidelines, so I doubt the downgraded +25agi 2H weapon, and downgraded +7agi boots enchants will fly. Plus, although he didn't mention it in the first critique of my profile, I'm betting Terokk's Quil is a no-go. Poop.

Am I reading this thing right?

Damage Meters!

Lots of bloggers go on and on about the double edge sword that damage meters present.

On the one hand, you've got the view that damage meters are a valuable tool that can provide DPS'ers (or lots of other stats for healers and other classes, but I'm talking DPS here) good feedback on damage output.

On the other hand, you've got people who value the #1 spot on the damage meter, and are willing to pull aggro and mess up the team in their personal effort to be #1.

A bit of a love/hate situation with damage meter addons.

I'm at the point in my WoW career where I'm really just starting to look at my damage output a little more closely. Sure, I've got some goals for gear improvements and enchants and inscriptions and such, but that takes time and luck of random drops. I like the Damage Meter because it allows me to experiment with variables that're under my immediate control, and get some feedback on the results.

The thing is, I'm starting to doubt my own numbers.

I use the standard DamageMeters addon for my analysis.

The first thing that comes up is that I run with me and my pet combined. I usually peek at the raw damage output from time to time during a 5-man run to see how everybody's doing. My number is pretty much always the higest, often by a large margin. So large, in fact, that I'm now doubting how correct it is.

One thing that I think is playing here is the inclusion of other hunter pets. I don't think my DM does that, so if I have a huge lead over another hunter, I pretty much just write the data off as incorrect and assume he's up there close to me. I mentally try to add 40% to his number if he's a beast master, and see where that comes out. If he's not BM, I have no idea. Same for warlock minions, but I'm not sure what multiplier is good to apply for those guys.

For classes who do not have combat pets, such as rogues, I assume that the number is pretty much correct, with my data only missing damage the rogue does when we're too far away for me to record.

I think I might need to install WoWWebStats just to cross reference the correctness of my DM data. But writeups from BRK and others seem to indicate that parsing a combat log with WWS is a bit of a chore. Meh, got enough chores I neglect already, why add another one. But maybe I need to do it at least once just to get a baseline.

Then I also look at the DPS chart on the damage meter. I'm not sure if this is valuable for trash parts of an instance, so I only check from time to time. I do like to look at it for boss events, as that is my real time to provide massive quantities of sustained ranged DPS.

Monday night in Black Morass, I posted 727 DPS for the whole instance. I forgot to reset before the last boss, as I had really wanted to check DPS just for that dragon, but such as it it.

My meter also showed the other hunter at 243 DPS and the Shammy in the upper 100's.

So I'm assuming that their data is totally skewed due to range and pet data. I was fighting the adds, and they were concentrating on the portals, so we were far away from eachother lots of the time. I'm willing to discard their numbers as totally wrong, since we pwned the instance, and no way we could do that with a DPS'er under 200.

So, Z, if you read this, know that I trust you did way more damage than that, you were rockin' last night.

Looking only at my own numbers, that's a huge boost over the other day when I was in the upper 500's. Changes that were present during the Black Morass run:

  1. Kibler's Bits - fed my pet one of those puppies before starting the portals (aside: black morass portal battle sequence is so much fun with a good group).

  2. I ate some sort of quest reward buff food that gave me +20agi. The other day, I ate grilled squid which only gives me +10agi.

  3. Druid buffed me with Mark of the Wild for a bonus to all stats

  4. Whatever totems the Shammy was dropping. We were spread out, so these probably only buffed me during the last boss when we were all concentrated on the same target, but in any event, I love me some shammy totem buffs.

  5. Other hunter was BM also, so lots of time with both of our Ferocious Inspirations proc'ing. Love to see those 2 buff icons up there.

So in the end, I was pretty stoked at an awesome instance run through one of my favorite dungeons with some of my favorite players, and then to see my 727 DPS at the end, icing on the cake.

Horrible Event Promoter

In my usual style, I'm a horrible event promoter, as end up getting too involved in the actual event to really build hype or guide my audience through my experience with all its ups and downs.

The next couple of posts were written over the course of a few days, but not posted until now because I spent all my time on working towards some WoW goals, and neglected you, my readers.

Sorry, and if you read BRK regularly, I hope this will still be interesting to follow along with over here.

Enjoy. I know I have...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pally Ho!

Got my pally alt up to level 26. It really is nice levelling an alt with the new XP changes. Feels like 3 or 4 quests per level, between the XP from the quest itself, and also from grinding the mobs to accomplish the quest goals. I'm not sure how I feel about what that would mean to me if I were levelling my first toon, but for alts, it is definitely cool. Especially for my pally who is being levelled more for the desire to hit 35 for Artesian enchanting, rather than for the joys of playing a pally. His inability to disenchant my non-selling green items has reached the point that I bought another guild vault tab exclusively to hold these items while he climbs to 35, and then gets 50 more enchanting skill points.

On that note of joys of playing pally, I actually am enjoying playing him a ton more since I re-spec'd to full Protection. It really doesn't take THAT long to kill a mob, and being able to survive just about anything is pretty cool. I was grinding on some raptors that were 2 and 3 levels above me, and also took on a level 29 "boss" raptor (non-elite) at level 25 without too much fuss. Granted, while he's not a fully equiped twink, he does have the best equipment the AH has to offer for his level, and also the best enchants his 225 allows. Plus, he's got a cute mechanical squirrel companion pet, so you can't go wrong. I'm looking forward to seeing how the survivablity increases when I get him in plate at 40.

Plus I did get into a group situation for a quest. Priest, warrior, and me the pally. I was 25 and they were both 31. And they couldnt pull aggro off me, which was pretty cool, because I was deliberatly trying to see if I could do it. Of course, not so cool because the priest was shadow and kept slamming these nuclear strikes that would pull aggro, which I can live with, but she never threw down a single heal even though we agreed that she'd be healing at the beginning. Kinda bothered me during our wipe when I looked at the combat log and didnt see any heals, but I guess it didn't bother me all that much in the end.

While talking about alts, also took up Alchemy on my lvl 20 priest. For now, just getting supplies off the AH, I have the long-term goal of having Amava farm high-level herbs for him some day, but the low level herbs are so cheap, its not worth my time farming them. Funny how times change, because when I was the lowbie selling those silverleaf stacks for a few silvers, I loved the income.

Alchemy is pretty cool. Made a bunch of armor increasing elixirs and also mana potions, so my pally was able to be a bit more aggressive, knowing that mana was easy to recover. I'm definitely excited about getting Alchemy to a high level where I can produce the high level mana potions for Amava so she will be able to sustain the fire power as long as necessary. Even though, in the end, the cost is the same whether it be the opportunity cost of using herbs I farmed rather than selling them, or directly spending gold on potions, for some reason I just can't get myself to buy potions. Some strange stubborn reaction inside me, but I just can't do it.

Especially since the herb market gets worse and worse every day. Makes the opportunity cost a bit more easy to stomach. But it'll be a long time before I get my priest up to a sufficient level to make cool potions like that.

Strike One, Strike Two

I'm not sure what the deal is, but had two failed runs at Shadow Labryinth this weekend. Helping out some guildies to get a kara key frag. Both groups had me and the guild leader/tank in common. I don't know what the deal was, but just couldn't get'r done.

First group was perhaps doomed from the get-go. Two prot warriors, both wanting to tank. The first is our guild leader and party leader, and normally serves as our main tank. The other was another guildie who just respec'd to prot that day. The run was supposed to serve as a bit of tanking training in addition to getting 3 of the guys their key frag.

We did somewhat ok on the trash, pretty much having each tank take one mob, me trap another, and when possible, have our rogue sap a fourth. This worked reasonably, until we get to some 5-pulls. Nobody would tank the fifth and the healer would get spanked. He died on almost every other pull. It was embarassing, especially because he was a priest from a different guild. Wish we had protected him better. I tried off-tanking a mob with my pet, but that became a bit too much for me to handle, between trapping, pet off-tanking, and providing basically all of our DPS since we only had 2 DPS'ers and the rogue was outputting less than 200 DPS according to my meter.

Group morale stayed high which was really nice. Even the priest had no problems dying over and over. He said he actually likes the 10 seconds of free heals he gets during death, so its actually fun for him. Ok, probably not fun for me, but to each his own. We skipped Ambassador Hellmaw (sp? first boss), and wiped 4 times on Blackheart the Inciter before calling it quits. Just not enough DPS. Fun group of people so not too bad an overall experience.

Then the real fun.

Second shot through slabs. This time all 5 from the guild. Better class distribution with a prot warrior, holy priest, me (BM hunter), another hunter (random spec, mostly MM), and a mage. This one had some loaded dice in that (A) the warrior said he wanted to experiment with dual sword tanking and put his shield away (B) the priest was formerly shadow and had just re-spec'd immediately before the run and (C) the group was in total chaos.

The main tank was again our guild lead. He normally serves as party lead too, but we wanted the priest to give it a shot. So you start off with the two of them having a bit more discussion about pulls than we'd normally have. Ok, I'm a big fan of communication, so that's good. Then you've got the other hunter chiming in loudly and aggressively on voice chat about what's wrong with their plans and any time it went sour, he'd be all "i told you..." It really ended up being a run from hell that ended up with a variety of whole and partial wipes leading up to the first boss, and then 3 wipes on that guy before the group disbanded in an angry huff.

On a lighter note, I did help another guildie with runs through scenic Old Hillsbrad and Black Morass. The run through OH was awesome, we had only a single death the run. Nice group of people, good knowledge of their role in the team, fun time. I was lead and marking. I don't really do that very often, so it felt like a lot of pressure at first, but ended up being no problem. Only a little issue during the Thrall escort when I was trying to focus the team on the Mages that really cause problem, but that whole sequence is supposed to be chaotic, and the team did well.

Black Morass, not quite as successful. Same group, just not enough DPS. I reset my damage meter for the fight at the end of hillsbrad. We did fine and one-shot it, but the Mage did less than 150 DPS, the other hunter did around 300, and I had 583. In Black Morass, we made it to portal 12 before the lack of DPS was just too much to overcome so we disbanded. Everybody was cool about it though, which is always nice to see.

Fun too, because this was the first time I've been running BigWigs addon AND remembered to enable it for a boss event. Nice to see the portal counter and how much of Medivh's shield is remaining.

What did you do to my herbs?

Herbalism and the AH.

My joy, my pain.

The AH and Herbalism have been my best friend ever since I hit my mid 20's and a RL friend of a RL friend (hi, I know you're stressing about your move to a new/old city, but stop lurking and throw me a comment ;-) told me about gathering (I didn't even have any professions yet at that point) and Auctioneer Addon.

Anything and everything went to AH and with not a whole lot of fuss I just used Auc's recommended prices and everything was dandy. Sure there was the occasional stack of herbs that needed re-listing, and sure there was a bit of playing around to see whether ores or smelted bars sell better, but in general, no brainer, just major cash influx.

Then all of a sudden, something strange happened. About 2 weeks ago, my high level herbs started expiring pretty frequently. Like I said, I pretty much don't even look at the price and just use Auctioneer's valuation, and its always worked for me.

Well, now I took a look. Seems that over the past couple weeks, prices of my favorite high-level herbs are plumetting. Fel Lotus was a sweet little bonus from random herb nodes, and used to go for about 19g for a single herb without ever expiring. 2 weeks later and they're selling for 12g. And even when I match the competition at near 12, they're still expiring. Where will it end?

Similar patterns (although not quite as extreme) for Felweed, Terocone, Mana Thistle, Dreaming Glory, and Nightmare Vine. All my top shelf herbs are bombing. Prices are falling fast, and even at competitive prices, they're not selling.

The past 2 weeks have shown that this is not just the normal weekend/weekday sales pattern, and the general trend persists through the entire week.

Thinking with my business hat on, that says to me that either supply is up, or demand is down.

Since the herbs are barely selling, even as I lower my price, I'm going to go with the assumption that the issue is on the demand side. I mean, if it were just that supply went up a lot, at least some of my competitvely priced herbs would sell, just not as often as in the past.

If my assumption is correct, then demand has dropped.

Who uses herbs? Alchemists primarily.

So where did all my alchemists go?

The rest of this post is purely theoretical and made up in my mind, so work with me. My version of economic theorycrafting...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the high level alchemists make their potions for raiding. If nobody is making these potions, then I'll make the leap to the conclusion that there's been a change in the raiding scene on my server in the past few weeks.

Three things pop into mind:

1) Thanksgiving was here and now we're full-steam-ahead into the holilday season. This is my first year playing, so perhaps this is a normal pattern.

2) Patch 2.3 came out recently. From what I read, and my limited ability to really understand what patch notes mean to me, there was nothing that dramatically should cause a change to high level Alchemy. The only thing that I noticed from a Herbalism stand point is that Fel Blossom is no longer soulbound, and can now be sold on AH, but I noticed that from experience, and not from the patch notes.

3) This one is my favorite...there's going to be a collapse/depression on my server soon. Maybe a hardcore raiding guild had a big falling out and split up or had a bunch of players transfer off. Or maybe some random threshold in the economy has been crossed and cats and dogs will soon be living together, mass hysteria. Glad I got my epic before that happens :-P

Its probably just a random blip in the scheme of the economy, or seasonal and very normal. But I like to believe its chaos and hysteria, just because that's more fun.

Luckily I diversify and my minerals are still selling nicely.

Scramble this!!

The eggs were so nice to me thursday night. While casually doing my Netherwing dailies, there was pretty much nobody else around. I suppose that's a by product of the low pop server?

So in the mine, 6 eggs were to be had. 4 of them just laying there on the ground, and 1 from looting a mob, and 1 from mining some Nethercite.


That's an extra 1500 rep on top of all the normal daily stuff, making a nice dent in my schedule that conservatively estimates 1000 rep total for a day. At this rate, I'll be half way to Exalted if I complete the daily quests on friday.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy.

Friday, December 7, 2007


So what's the deal with using the mouse for movement?

I read lots and lots of stuff that seems to indicate that freeing up your left hand for spell casting by using your mouse for movement is the way to go.

Ok, makes sense. No problem moving forwards or turning one direction or the other. Actually nice for excecuting snap turns substantially faster than via the keyboard, although I'm pretty clumsy with it now, I can see getting more accurate with practice.

Some things I can't figure out that leave me unable to actually make the switch:

1) Selecting new targets. Currently I can keep moving with the keyboard and select new targets with my mouse. How does a mouse mover overcome this?

2) Strafing. I press q or e to move directly sideways. Can you do this with the mouse?

3) Jumping. How you jump up and down? I know PvP'ers are big on mouse movement, and they're also the jumpiest bunch I've ever seen, so there must be a way. Or do you need to revert to keyboard for jumping even if you're a mouse mover?

4) Backing up. Do you ever have to take a few steps backwards when you're a mouse mover, or do the snap turns become so natural that you just turn around and walk forwards and then turn back around to simulate reverse?

What's the deal?


Shot rotation seems to be a big source of contention for hunters. You've got one school of thought that says you should build a complex macro that eeks out the most mana efficient and DPS maximizing rotation of shots for your specific weapon speed, and you've got another school of thought (BRK's an advocate of this one) that says you should understand your shots and manually fire them and adjust your rotation to the circumstances.

And I suppose there's a third school of thought, but I hesitate to call it "thought". Those of us who more or less randomly manually fire our special shots, with no real attention to mana efficiency, or DPS, or much of anything at all besides pressing buttons.

I've more or less grown up in that third school of thought, with just a drop of attention paid to not clipping my auto shots, but not a whole lot more than that. Hell, I've even fired shots sometimes because I wanted to see a different color fly by (ohh, purple arcane shot, oooooh, green serpent sting. its like the 4th of July).

To improve my DPS, especially in longer sustained fights, I've got to learn a bit more about what this shot rotation stuff means to me.

In a comment to my post about Kill Command, Kestrel offered a simple macro that just does Steady Shot/Auto Shot, with a call to Kill Command whenever its available. Papewaio offered an alternative, with a bit more sophistication surrounding the error messages that'll pop up while spamming this guy.

I tried a hybrid of this puppy out wednesday night.

#showtooltip Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Hide()
/castsequence reset=3 Steady Shot, Auto Shot
/castrandom [target=pettarget,exists] Kill Command
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear(); UIErrorsFrame:Show()

I put this guy in place, headed over to Netherwing Fields to do the daily quests, and sat down on one of the floating islands to do the Not So Friendly Skies.

Having no idea what to do with the macro, I just tried hitting it like I would to weave my steady's in with my auto's manually. Didn't really work, with steady shot not really firing other than the first time I hit it. But it was proc'ing my Kill Commands, so happy me.

Then I figured I'd try spamming the key, litterally hitting it again and again, knowing full well that it wasn't ready while steady shot was casting, but with the nice error message suppression, no real problem other than my Cooldown Timer addon animation bar for Kill Command would sort of enlarge to indicate to me that KC was still on cool down. Ok, I can live with that.

Initial thoughts on spamming the key...(1) sort of silly, but ok, lots of life is silly if you think about it, and (2) holy DPS batman.

I didn't do anything quantitative to measure my output, but intuitively, the transporters were dropping like flies. I was just amazed at how fast they'd go down, and how long my mana lasted with Aspect of the Viper turned on.

Just simply from Steady/Auto shots in a 1:1 ratio, spaced as close together as I could get them. I was only slowing down at times to allow my pet to keep aggro.

Thinking of next steps. Firstly, spamming the key is going to become boring in a hurry, so I'm gonna have to think about that part and see if there's any options that allow a bit less spamming and a bit more variety. Secondly, I've got to figure out where people go to for ideas on what they consider to be more optimal rotations. I guess I'll have to dig around, and maybe find out how to do Dr. Boom so I can measure this stuff.

How the hell do you tank?

Warning, this post isn't about hunters, but it does lean on my experience as ranged DPS in contrast to in-your-face world of tanking.

Part of my family of toons includes my AH pally mule who does enchanting, specifically to DE those green items that won't sell after a few rounds of listing and lowering the price.

Amava's been collecting items that require 275 enchanting skill to DE, and my enchanter was lvl 20, thus maxed out at 225 skill, and needing to level up to 35 to allow Artesian training to raise the skill max to 300.

So my Pally has been getting some play time. And the 2.3 patch changes to XP make a level in the 20's go by in about 2 hours at my pace of play on my pally, so its flying by.

On the trek from 10-20, he was all retribution since a really quick read of the talents showed that this allows for the most DPS. I have dreams of playing this guy as a tank some day (I was inspired by Amava working with a 70 pally tank and his Avenger's Shield. Just looks really cool, and seems very effective).

This weekend I quested with a guy who's main is a pally and he said I should check out protection tree.

Ok, so I looked it over and went with it. Got a nice shield and a 1H sword, applied the best enchants my 225 level would allow to all my gear.

Very nice stuff. Sure, it takes a while to kill stuff, but I feel indestructable. 3 same level enemy mobs, and my health only gets down to about half, without me healing at all during the fight. Kinda neat, plus consecrate makes the ground look nice.

Found myself in a cave with some random guy (named PizzaTheHut, which cracked me up..."You're Delicious, Boss!"), a warlock. We quested together for a bit.

Ok, so I really quick tried to think of what my job is? Hmmm, you mean I'm not supposed to stand far away and let my teammate get up close to the mob? Oh, and I'm supposed to MAKE all these guys hit me?

How the hell do you do that?

Granted, it wasn't super important because the two of us were crushing the mobs pretty quick, and we're only in our low 20's so this isn't like brain surgery.

But I was definitely in a quandry as to how to make this happen. If any of you are Paladins out there, please chime in with how I can be a better (or even passable) tank at this level (dinged 24 this morning).

Seems there's a spell that increases my threat from holy damage. Cool, I can do that with a seal or some judgement that does holy damage. Later on in the talent tree, there's a bunch of talents that increase threat output, so when I get there, I'll invest in those if they make sense.

What item stats should I be trying to stack at this point? I'm sure stamina's a good one, but what else? Strength like a warrior? Or intellect like a caster? What about +health?

What else? How do you guys do it? Its really counter-intuitive to me to be MAKING these guys hit me, when I've spent my whole WoW life avoiding hits.

So now I want to run a dungeon and try it out. I think BFD is appropriate for my level, and maybe DM. See if I really can be a tank. If for no other reason than to understand the challenges you guys face better.

Ok, sorry for the digression for all you hunters.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sleeping Aggro

Strange random thoughts sometimes creep into my head. Ususally a sign that I'm overly addicted to a video game. First happened when I was an early teenager playing Tetris on the NES. Got to the point that anytime I'd see a square grid pattern (such as ceramic tiles in the shower, or cinder block walls in my school) there would be moving pieces that needed to be aligned into solid rows. Probably a sign that you need to unplug for a while.

Last night, I'm laying in bed in a half dreaming / half conscious state. To set the stage a bit more, imagine a bed with me and my dog (black lab, border collie mix, cute as hell), and 6 pillows. I like to go overboard with the pillows, just so many uses for those silly things. Primary purpose of too many pillows is to allow for a continuous supply of a cold side on any given pillow, because that's what I like.

So I'm laying there half asleep, wiggling to find a cold side of a pillow to reposition under my head and a whole scene paints itself in my imagination.

I'm the dungeon boss.

The pillows are the raid group trying to take me down and get phat loot.

Among the 6 pillows, one is my favorite, its got the perfect ratio of head support to squishiness. He's the main tank. When ever possible, you want that one tanking the boss.

But the boss has different phases of fire attacks, so sometimes the main tank has to take a breather and an off tank has to step in. That's the number two pillow, with acceptable, but not quite maximum comfort.
And sometimes the fire attacks get so bad that one of the squishies gains aggro. Those are the couple of pillows that are pretty late in their life cycle and are severly lacking in the comfort, even if they do have a cold side available.

Those squishies usually get one-shotted, and end up on the floor seconds after pulling aggro. But sometimes they get a battle rez and I pick them up while half sleeping. Other times they get do a corpse run and get picked up when I wake up in the morning.

So this whole scene of the pillows actively trying to manage aggro and get the main tank back under my head is playing out in my imagination.

Where does the dog come in, you ask?

He's the huntard. He's supposed to attack from range (ie, sleep at the foot of the bed), but he's always closing in and switching to melee (ie, creeping up and trying to steal the main tank from me). Poor little pup, I actually caught him with a beast slaying enchant on his nylabone. If I could only find someone who can do Savagery, I'd show him the way.

Rescued Lab/Border Collie Mutts, FTW!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

They like me, they really like me

I wish that Blizz had implemented reputation like a Jr. High School social atmosphere, and you could differentiate the levels with questions such as "do they like me like me, or just like me?"

Well, Netherwing now really likes me, but they're no longer in their Wonder Years, so they call me Revered.

The eggs were nice to me yesterday, and helped push me over the edge into my last reputation progress bar before they'll let me ride one of their nice purple dragons.

That new progress bar was a bit of a punch in the stomach. Exalted seems further away now than it did when I was battling Zuluhead the Wacked to hit Neutral. And where as quest turn-ins at all the earlier reputation tiers made nice visible dents in the progress bar, at Revered, it barely budges from a 250 or 350 contribution.

But I guess that's the point, isn't it?

There's a bit more than 20,000 rep remaining. I've been hitting more than 1,000 per day, but that's still my benchmark I'll use for estimation. So at that pace, and knowing the couple of travel days I'll be doing in December with no WoW, I think that Exalted in '07 is still a reasonable goal.

And if the eggs continue to be my friend, I might even be riding a dragon before Christmas.

Frosty Windshield

Not the first time I've been part of a team taking Murmur down, but it was a fun one. Log in with the intention of doing the cooking daily, and then grinding netherwing rep, but a few seconds after log in, get a whisper to run Shadow Labyrinth. Ok, why not? Run with friends, have some fun, take a stab at a Sonic Spear.

Get in there and discover that the place is cleared and the former group that was trying had wiped on Murmur 5 times so they're calling in for some subs. Eh, could have used that information a few minutes earlier, but still, a chance to play with some friends, even if just for a boss encounter.

I was a tad reluctant, because just for giggles (ok, not for giggles, but rather for a focus frame because I was fiddling with my macros to use my focus target), I installed Perl Classic Unit Frames addon just prior to logging on, so at this point, my screen is filled with these giant unit frames and the frames of everyone's target, and across the top is my target, his target, and his target's target. And to make my life really fun, I've also got a focus frame and the target of my focus in the lower right.

This all happened so quickly, that I didn't have time to figure out how to configure Perl. I have since figured that part out (type "/perl" and play with the gui config widget) and have a much more managable screen to deal with, but at this point in time it was like I was getting into my car that was parked in a snow storm and only took the time to scrape a little tiny hole in the ice to look through before speeding away (not that I would ever advocate driving under these dangerous conditions. Especially not in a high speed dash to the volunteer fire department to respond to an alarm. Nope, not ever. And really especially not in Buffalo where it just NEVER snows. Nope, not ever).

For the Murmur fight, honestly, my vision isn't that important, basically just stand there and DPS pew-pew, only really moving to step forward onto the lip of Murmur's circle and get line of sight to my pet so I could cast Bestial Wrath. The hardest 2 things for me were:

1) My cast bar used to be bottom center of the screen. Now its up in the top left. I'll get used to it with some repetition, but at this point, I had a rough time monitoring my Steady Shot and Aimed Shot progress.

2) I couldn't easily find Murmur's cast bar to know when to recall my pet from the sonic booms. But I figured that I had fed Cringer some Sporeling Snacks, maybe the extra +sta would help him out.

Bam Bam Bam. Murmur goes down with not too much fuss. Drops a nice plate armor and a nice shield, both of which are upgrades for the tank, so there was much rejoicing.

After the w00t's were over, I pop up the damage meter to see how I did. This is the first time I ever ran DM just for a single boss event, and other than a couple of times Murmur silenced me, it was basically a straight forward blast-o-rama with little interruption.

Plus its the first time I'm looking at my numbers since getting my Valanos Longbow.

Plus-plus its the first time I was trying out a pretty much Steady Shot/Auto Shot shot rotation. Up until this point, I've pretty randomly rotated my shots, giving a priority to Arcane Shot whenever it was cooled down, and Multi Shot if there was no CC I might break. Thinking that that might be silly and not very mana-efficient, I figured I'd try out just plain old steady/auto in a pretty much 1:1 ratio, doing my best to not clip shots, even with the new location of my cast bar from Perl's restructuring my screen.

And to add to the changes to my routine (plus-plus-plus), its also the first time I'm running with both claw and bite on autocast. In the past I've only had bite turned on, but was reading yesterday about the benefits of activating both.

DM showed my DPS to be 579. Not sure if this is good or not, specifically whether its good enough for heroics or kara. But the next closest DPS'er was in the high 300's, so I'm thinking that either my numbers are OK, or my party members are NOT-OK. I'm suspecting a little of both.

I think its time for a trip to Dr. Boom and try out some controlled DPS experiments to see how some small changes can impact my overall numbers, without quite getting too deep in theorycrafting.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Master's Key

I now hold in my hand, a shiny, brandspanking new, hot off the presses, copy of the Master's Key which will give me access to Karazhan.

I'm not sure how long it'll be before I set foot in there, but the key is mine.

I definitely enjoyed the attunment process. Other than one glitch which was my own fault, the process was a big enough challenge without being tedious or overwhelming. Plus, the #2 guy in my guild is an awesome helper who already has the key, but has been taking the new 70's through the necessary dungeons. Although nobody's seen him since thursday, so I ran Old Hillsbrad and Black Morass with some non-guild friends.

I mention a glitch in the attunment process. That was when I fought to help Thrall fulfill his destiny, but after I killed the boss dragon (last surviving party member, and after firing the killing blow, a DoT killed me) aparently you're supposed to stay as a corpse and watch a little animation sequence. If you release your spirit before the sequence completes, you don't get credit for the quest. First time through, guess what I did? Yep. So second time through, same exact thing happened, only 2 differences. First was that there was another party member alive with me when the dragon died, and we both died from DoT after the kill. Second difference was that I didn't release, so I got credit.

Old Hillsbrad is just plain fun. And my second run through it, my group was awesome. When we started out, the other hunter went AFK and so 4 of us figured we'd try to get as far as we could without him. Well, 4-man'd it up until the Thrall escort started when we got a 5th to join. Just incredible synergy on the 4-man, bear tank who tanked like I've never seen done before. She was just outstanding, held aggro on everything in sight, except for my turkey who stayed nice and frozen. Healer on top of his game, and a Rogue who delivered huge damage, blowing me off the damage meter.

Then Thrall. I just love this escort. He moves fast, and you've got to be ready. The party leader had been through this a bunch of times on different alts, so he marked the targets really well and we were typically burning down the most important mobs fast.

We went pretty much straight to Black Morass afterwards.

It was my first time in there. Just amazing fight. Definitely the most drawn out fight I've been part of. Good to have a vet with us, because he knew exactly when to instruct each of us to use our beacon companion dragon pet thingie. I was on boss DPS duty, with the other hunter handling the adds. Hardest part for me was knowing when it was OK for me to drink to regain mana. I don't have any potions, so my only resort is to get out of combat and drink. I only did that between the bosses sometimes. The times when I did, it made a HUGE difference with how fast we'd down the mini-boss.

Great teamwork, and outstanding party leader. One wipe (luckily pretty early in the process, so not too bad to repeat), and then main boss goes down, and we get our quests done.

Off to Shattrath for a quick chat with Khadgar, and the key is mine.

Now for the hard part of gearing up and developing my play skills to actually be a solid contributor in kara. I guess its off to BRK and Kestrel and others for some minimum gear requirements and the path(s) to obtaining them.


I don't really use the focus target option at all. I see three possible uses for it...

1) Set the turkey to focus. That's the guy I'll be freezing. Then set up a few macros that allow me to send an arcane shot or distracting shot at the focus, while maintaining my target on the DPS mob that we're burning to the ground.

2) Set the Main Tank to focus. This will let me easily Misdirect to my focus. I currently have a Misdirection macro with a hard-coded name in it that I alter at the beginning of each party.

3) Set the Main Assist to focus. This will let me choose my DPS targets easier. My assist macro also has a hardcoded name that I fill in at the beginning of a party for this purpose.

I'm on the fence as to which would be best to go with.

I've never run with a party that uses a different Main Assist than the Main Tank, so for all intents and purposes, both my Misdirection macro and my Assist macro get the same name every time...the main tank's name.

What I really need is an addon that gives me little check boxes next to player unit frames, one for MT and the other for MA. At the start of a party, I'll just click to select the tank and assist, and it'll update my macros for me. That would really help, especially as I run into players that have goofy characters in their names and I can't type them into my macro. If I could do this, then I'll use focus for the turkey. I wonder how hard that would be to write. Perhaps something to consider once I'm Netherwing Exalted and I have a bit more free time.

Strange Server

I'm not sure if my server is strange or not. Its the only server I've ever lived played on so to me, its all there is.

But it feels strange.

There's three areas that feel strange to me. One of which might actually be strange, the other of which might be normal for any server, and the third, I'm not sure.

The one that's probably normal, but feels strange, is how hard it is to find a group for...well...anything. LFG/LFM almost never turns anything up. The LFG chat channel is mostly filled with low level characters asking for a high level to run them through a low level instance. Any guild I've been in has been pretty disorganized in terms of getting events going, or encouraging any grouping. But I read lots of complaints about LFG/LFM on a variety of servers so this one might be normal.

The next one is the economy and professions and such. I think my server is a bit strange. The AH seems to have no rhyme or reason as to when stuff will sell or not. Take felweed. Sometimes its an awesome staple product, consistently selling at any stack size, using Auctioneer's suggested market price. Then it'll go for a week or so with almost no sales other than single-herb stacks. There's a bunch of herbs that behave like this. I'm assuming that means that there's only a couple of high-level alchemists that do any buying, and when they log in, sales galore, and when they go on vacation, my herbs expire. I'd think that metals would be a bit more stable because they're used by a wider variety of professions, but its only a little.

While on professions, how about enchanters? How do you find enchanters with the formulas you want? I spent the majority of the weekend asking on the trade channel, or by asking guildies and party mates if they knew anybody, for Boots - Dexterity, 2H Weapon - Savagery, Chest - Exceptional Stats, and Cloak - Greater Agility. I found the cloak one in my guild, so that's awesome for future needs. I eventually found a guy who knows the chest one, so I kept his name for future reference.

Does anybody on my server even know Savagery? How do you find these people? I'd work on levelling this stuff up myself, but (A) on an alt, it won't do Amava much good, and at least for the time being, (B) I have no plans to drop either of Amava's professions to replace it with Enchanting. Maybe once I grow a new farmer up to a nice level, but I'd have to think that one over a bunch.

And lastly, the strangeness of guilds. Where does one turn to find guilds that raid? If for no other reason than to view their websites to look for organizational tips that help them. When I look at wowjitsu or some random google searches, I find mabye 5 or 6 guilds with active websites on my server. Does that mean I'm doomed to a low population and therefore low numbers of well-organized guilds? Or is there something I'm missing?

Strange indeed.

Spending money

This weekend was the first weekend since I bought my epic flight training. As such, I don't have any specific savings goal, and all my income is what I consider "organic". That is, I didn't do anything special to save up for my epic. Many people I know go on gold earning benders to save up for flight training or epic flight training, and once they get it, they go back to whatever their normal patterns are. Keep in mind, although I still feel pretty strongly about the basic land mount at 40, the other mounts, I'm a bit more open to people enjoying the game as they will after that, whether that leaves them rich or poor. For me, making gold has been the pattern all along, so now that the big expense is done, I figured its time to spend.

I already wrote a bit about the crafting that I did. Spent maybe 20 gold on mats for that so far. They're pretty cheep at the entry level, but are going to be big gold sinks in short order. It is really funny spending money on copper bars. Those puppies were my life blood when I first got started mining, and now I'm funding some newbie miners. The circle of life.

My AH mule's bags and bank slots are all filled up, mostly with a growing pile of greenies that won't sell and are too high for me to DE. For fun, I figured I'd form a guild so I could get the vault with its giant number of slots.

I got my charter, and then had no clue what to do to get signatures. So I became one of those pestering fools who bother everybody near the bank/mailbox in Stormwind City, begging for signatures. Because I didn't want to waste too much time, and I got gold out the ying-yang, I offered 2g for a signature. Took about a half hour, mostly just through /say'ing to the people around me, and a few whispers focused at people nearby that were without guild. Only one joker took the 2g and logged off without signing, so a handfull of gold and a little time and I've got my signatures and my new guild is formed.

Then they all quit, or I booted them, and went to buy my bank vault slots. 100g. Meh, that one annoyed me, but oh well, as I said, I was on a spending binge, so the sting wore off pretty quickly. Kind of nice, now the personal bank slots are used for the Pally's own stuff as he levels and does engineering and enchanting. And the guild vault is more used for Amava's junk that's not soulbound.

Then it was time to get rid of those lockboxes. While looking for signatures, I found a guy who was advertising for lockpicking work. I had about 20 lockboxes built up that I had been waiting for skilling up my own rogue to open. Yeah, I still haven't gotten her any lockpicking skill, I don't even know where to train in that or what level is needed to get that started, so I gave this guy my business. Tipped him 15g just for fun, he went crazy with the thanks and such, so I'm assuming that was a big tip. Cool, spread the love.

Then it was time for enchanting. Or at least trying to enchant. I started the weekend out with the plan to get 4 enchants that I needed...2H Weapon - Savagery, Boots - Dexterity, Chest - Exceptional Stats, and Cloak - Greater Agility. I had some of the mats, but needed to buy a bunch, especially the expensive shards. Spent about 400g on the remaining mats. I'll devote another post to writing about my success with finding enchanters.

Then, in a partial friends/partial PUG group for Old Hillsbrad, I saw another hunter with Valanos' Longbow. That's a bunch more DPS than the random greenie gun that I normally use, and I recently got my bow skills up to 350, so why not blow some gold on that. 80g for the bow and 15 or so on a scope and I've made a decent upgrade in my dps and some accessory stats too.

Oh yeah, and moments before I impulsively decided to buy the bow, I bought 30g in Adamantite Shells. The plan was to save them for boss fights. Use the normal vendor ammo for clearing trash and solo farming, but then pop a few stacks of the fancy stuff in the quiver for added DPS on boss fights. Yeah, so now I have about 30g in shells that I don't plan to use until I get a gun better than my new bow.

Then only big expense that I want to make that I didn't make this weekend was Primal Mooncloth Bags or a 24-slot ammo pouch/quiver. I want to get 3 of the bags (and save the fourth for if I ever get to ZA, where supposedly there's a free 20-slot bag). There was 1 bag on AH this weekend, and I was about to buy it, but there's a tailor in my guild who I'd rather give the business to, although it'll take a little bit for him to make the bags.