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Archive for January, 2010

Profiting off the hardcore

I’m usually a terminally broke WoW player, and it’s solely my own fault for not thinking out of the box for such a long, long time. See, I always thought you had to go out and farm for hours to make any kind of real money. Such as grinding dailies, or flying around harvesting nodes. I was mystified how some people could make so much gold they were swimming in it, not knowing what to do with it. I was always the deadbeat unable to afford gems and looking at that epic BoE on the AH wistfully.

Yesterday I was relatively flush with cash simply from selling 2 Primordial Saronite on the auction house, and it struck me just how much spare cash can be made, not by grinding like an automaton, but by analysing supply and demand.

Right now, there are a ton of ret pallies, dps dk’s, and fury/arms warriors itching for their own legendary. Common sense be damned (Bryntroll, 2nd BiS, drops from Marrowgar 25 normal and Ramaldni’s Blade of Culling drops from 10man Saurfang, both are only slightly worse than Shadow’s Edge/Frostmourne), they’re willing to spend tens of thousands of gold to buy the Primordial Saronite to have it crafted. There are two ways to get it, from 25main raiding drops or from buying it with Emblems of Frost. I’m not advocating gimping your main’s gearing by blowing your frost emblems otherwise used for upgrades, but if you have alts – and who doesn’t – why waste emblems gearing them up in T10 when T9 level gear will serve just fine for doing the daily heroic and the weekly raid? A quick bit of napkin math shows that if you do the daily and weekly each week without fail, that’s 19 Frost Emblems per character. Primordial Saronite costs 23 Emblems, and sells for around 2 thousand gold for 1 on my server.

That’s a fair chunk of change. I have only 1 80 alt, a mage, and I’d been doing the dailies and weekly often enough with him to have enough emblems saved up for 3x Primordial Saronite. Now, he’s DPS so the queue time is a bit of a bother, but doing the daily cooking and perhaps one or two other quests while I wait works out. Even better, though, would be if I had a healer alt, or another tank. So my plan now is to get my shaman transferred over to my new realm, gear him up as resto and get a second source of Frost Emblems churning out the free moneys.

See, ideally what you’d have to really cash in with this scheme, would be to have a healer alt AND a tank alt over and above your, say, DPS main, which would bring in about 1.5 Primordial Saronite per week on average. That’s a guaranteed weekly income of 3 thousand gold, for about 15 minutes ‘work’ per toon, per day. Also, you’d want to gear up to be good enough for the easy heroics but not good enough for the harder ones – quicker runs are more profitable. And the best part is, you’re not ‘grinding’ something unpleasant solo, but perhaps gearing your alts too and doing it in a group (albeit random). As an added bonus you’re getting some cash for doing the daily, and you’re getting a steady influx of Emblems of Triumph, which can be used to buy Crusader Orbs – these are still quite in demand for crafting ilvl245 epics – or epic gems which will always be in demand. And there’s DE’d mats, again a perpetual source of cash.

So you can make quite a profitable living simply by doing 5mans. Granted, 1 toon isn’t enough – the more tank and/or healer alts you have, the more your income skyrockets. As an added bonus, you’re learning the intricacies of tanking and healing and thus becoming a better raider and player in general, to boot.

Farming mining/herb nodes for spare change to fund repair and consumables costs? That’s so last year.

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Living in the past

We all know that things change in MMO’s all the time, right? The landscape can alter radically from month to month, some classes nerfed, some buffed, mechanics changing, new features added, others removed. So why do some folk ragequit and then emote about issue X for months, perhaps years, as if what caused them to quit in the first place is still an issue or always will be? That’s… naive. Or possibly purposefully ignorant. I’m loath to call Warhammer a bad game right now because I don’t really know. I do know that it was bad when I left. Is it still bad? I can’t really say. I’ll need to try it again for myself, and I intend to.

This thought was spurred by some forum poster complaining that raiding in WoW is too easy. When he probably should have clarified that it was too easy at the point he left. The current top-end is anything but easy.

Anyone raiding Icecrown Citadel now will tell you that, no, it’s no walk in the park. Probably it will be in a few months time when everyone’s geared and the place has been nerfed. But right now? No, it’s not easy. The earlier, easier content is, of course, still there,  to act as a gearing and learning area and to ease you into the content, and in fact now that Icecrown’s been around for a while I can see just how Blizzard’s been planning this from the start. It’s not like Burning Crusade where the first raid you stepped into – Karazhan – was like hitting a brick wall. Wrath eases you in. Naxxramas was meant to be easy from the get go, and the content that followed was meant to be only slightly harder, iterating in challenge one content patch at a time until we hit Icecrown and realise we’ve been progressing up a difficulty curve and that, now we’re at the apex.

Now that all of Wrath’s content is pretty much available, it’s clear to see there’s a logical difficulty curve, and this is the way it should be.

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Even Tobold Hates Us

I think this sums everything that’s wrong with the Death Knight as a tank up in one sentence.

Curiously (and I know I will get complaints about this comment), all pickup groups which ended due to wipes had a Deathknight tank.

While you can work to try and mitigate some of the damage as a DK with clever use of staggered cooldowns, the point remains… popular consensus is that we just aren’t very good at the role.

And while I’ve tanked Anub’Arak ToC25 and the occasional Icrecrown Citadel 10 boss, I remain a horrible heroics tank according to some of the pugs I’ve run with.

Either Death Knights really ARE bad tanks, or Paladins are simply waaaaay too good at the AE tanking role. I suspect it’s a combination of the two.

It would be nice if DK’s truly had a niche tanking role to compensate but the fact remains, there just isn’t much need for an anti-caster tank.

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I’m really happy that someone shares my sentiment. Some internet blogger jerkwad coined the term a while ago, it caught on thanks to all the ‘lolz WoW sux’ haters for a while, and has since pretty much been proven to be a load of bollocks.

The people jumping from MMO to MMO? They don’t actually play WoW. People who still play WoW, still play WoW. They’re happy where they are. Most of us don’t care about whatever new MMO just came out. Most of us couldn’t give two hoots. Because we know, by now, that odds are 10 to 1 that this new MMO is going to be crap, and that it’s not worth even logging out of WoW for a day or two to try.

The term is as laughable as, oh, EvE Tourist. Or LotrO Tourist. Or whatever.

Did these so-called mythical ‘WoW Tourists’ ruin Warhammer? I think the twit who coined the term, himself, would probably agree today that Mythic ruined Warhammer. Not ‘tourists’.

It’s probably time this term got dropped. There’s no such thing as a ‘WoW Tourist’.

Only ‘MMO gamers’.

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No doubt this might cause some outcry, but hear me out.

Let’s look at the 4 tank classes. Warrior, Paladin, Druid and Death Knight.

Now let’s remove the healing spec capable classes. Which leaves us with… Warrior and Death Knight.

Now, some would argue that there are no true tanking or healing classes any more since each class that’s capable of these roles are also capable of raid-standard DPS, making them hybrid. But I’d argue that we are now approaching a state where classes can be split into 4 broad categories rather than the traditional 2. They are

-True DPS – Rogues, Warlocks, Hunters, Mages.
-Tank & DPS – Death Knight, Warrior.
-Healing & DPS – Priest, Shaman.
-True Hybrid: Tanking, Healing & DPS – Druid, Paladin.

Now, theoretically, this means that true DPS can do more DPS than partial and true hybrids. This is true. I agree with this, and Blizzard has made this work, for the most part. But it starts to fall apart when we cross into the divisions within hybrid territory.

So how ironic is it that the 2 classes who appear to be the true tanks – since they can only spec for DPS or tanking – are currently bottom of the tanking rung? And that True Hybrids – the two classes who have the most versatility and choice bar none – are also the current tanking specialists?

This doesn’t make much sense to me at all. Something’s a bit out of whack here, Blizzard. And you know it. At the very least, Tank+DPS hybrids need to be on par with the True Hybrids, rather than living in their shadow.

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This post by Tobold is absolutely poignant. Read it for it is the truth, distilled. The uncomfortable, absolute truth.

WoW Without Addons

Can I imagine trying to down Rotface without Bigwigs telling me I have Mutated Infection? Not really. Would my DPS be anywhere nearly as good as it is without Power Auras warning me my DoT’s are about to expire on my target? Not even maybe. Would my rotations be always perfect without castsequence macros? Unlikely. Would I be able to proactively drop threat without Omen, or when tanking be able to see whose pulling threat and adjust mine accordingly? Nope. There are about a million other instances where addons and macros simplify my life in WoW and hold my hand through tougher encounters. And the reality is, I’m actually not that good at this game, and it’s not actually that easy. But mods have made me play better – I’m still crap – and have made content increasingly simple.

I honestly doubt a raid of 25 regular raiders could clear Naxxramas without using any addons.

We are ruining this game. We are all cheating and hacking our way through it. And the fact is, Blizzard isn’t making it much easier, besides making gearing somewhat less of a hassle. We are. By cheesing our way through it all. We don’t have to ever step out of a fire. A mod tells us to.

This is wrong.

Perhaps Blizzard needs to drop the hammer and simply start blocking these addons. In fact, I’m hoping that they do just that for Cataclysm.

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This is probably the most exciting MMO news I’ve heard since The Old Republic was announced.

During the Interplay versus BEthesda scuffle over the Fallout MMO rights, documents leaked indicating that Betheda is already working on an MMO and that by all accounts, it’s an Elder Scrolls MMO.

Massively has the scoop. And boy is it a big one!

If this is true, this is the biggest news to hit the MMO industry in years! Bethesda are absolute masters of building the finest open-ended nonlinear single player RPG’s known to man. Much how Bioware excel at linear, traintracked story-driven RPG’s, Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls games have set the bar for immersive first-person perspective massive explorathons. I loved Oblivion, and Fallout 3 was superlative! If Bethesda is making an MMO – and it sounds like they have been since 2006 – this is going to knock the socks off of all the Cryptics and NCSofts and Mythics of the MMO industry. Even Blizzard and Bioware must be quaking in their boots at this revelation!

Also, isn’t it strange how all the finest Western CRPG developers have names starting with B? Coincidence?

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