Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Are You Ready to Kill Some Orcs?

There is less than a day left before we storm through the dark portal and come face to face with a new orc threat.  Like it or not, it seems like one again we will be pounding down the pig faced beasts.  A few posts have popped up asking the question if we really see the orcs as a threat and it got me to thinking about it.

At face value a bunch of orcs are really of no real consequence.  Been there, done that, been pretty much bored of it for ages now.  The orcs have tried, and had limited success, taking over azeroth before and were beaten back by what was mostly an unprepared group of forces that were not even working as a team.  These orcs were infused with fel magic, they were stronger, more brutal, and definitely more determined.  So if we can, as an unorganized, unprepared group of people, beat back a stronger, more brutal orc threat, what exactly makes these orcs think they are anything more than a general annoyance.

The entire orc threat seems to be nothing more than a glorified quest line.  One that should be finished in a small zone where most of the leaders are end of the quest line non elites, just kind of harder than the average orc, and then maybe we sum up the entire zone with a deadmines dungeon sort of thing where all the orcs we heard about while questing are in a 5 man dungeon and we kill them all along the way.

Seriously, this is exactly how I see the expansion.  As something that would have been better served as a 5 man dungeon in the caverns of time or maybe even a three dungeon block at most.  For good measure they could have also given us a small patch of land that involves them where we use a portal to get to and from it, like with the island of thunder.

I do not see the orcs as a threat, never have, never will.  If the much more deadly fel orcs served as no threat, why should the weaker version do so?  Remember, these are a group of people that were capable of being turned into slaves by the orges.  The orges people, just think about how weak of a race you would have to be for that to happen.

Some people like to point out that the orcs have future technology from the blackfuse that garrosh bought back in time with him to use in this endeavor to become a stronger more aggressive force of conquerors. But lets face it, giving technology to orcs is like giving a typewriter to some monkeys. Given enough time they might manage to do something that resembles intelligence but mostly they will just spew out gibberish.  Orcs do not have the intelligence of the goblins or gnomes, they do not have the tactical knowledge of the trolls, and they do not have the power of higher reasoning like the draenei.  They are just, well, orcs.  All they do is smash things with an axe, nothing more.

But then something popped into my mind.  Something that would in fact make the orcs a threat, something I would have to use my imagination to build up because blizzard has done nothing to make us actually fear these orcs of lesser power than our own tame orcs.  So here it is, my completely made up fantasy of why the orcs are something to be considered a threat.  While you might not agree with my reasoning, at least give it a try, because unlike blizzard, I am actually going to try to give us a reason to fear them.

Remember I am taking many liberties here and making some stuff up as I am going along.  I am just trying to create an orc threat that I can really accept as a threat, because lets face it, the threat blizzard presented to us is really nonexistent.  Let me know what you think of my imagination in creating a real, true, orc threat.

There are 5 reasons to fear these orcs:

1) Numbers:
2) Brutality:
3) Desperation:
4) Faith:
5) Fear:

1) Numbers:

These orcs are large in numbers.  While it might be true that we do not know exactly how many orcs there are we can safely assume there are a lot of them.  It is quite possible that their could be more draenor orcs than there are combined forces of both factions that came over from azeroth.  And being the orcs are basically animals and as I said are just the type that smash people with the axes, their numbers could very well be something to fear.

Even if the combined forces of both alliance and horde are in the range of 1000 trained, battle hardened, motivated individuals that are willing to work as a team against this threat, what chance to do they have if an army of 100,000 orcs come charging at them.  Even if they can thin the pack and pick off a few orcs here and there even the vastly more prepared azeroth heroes would be quickly overwhelmed and be annihilated by the superior, even if only in numbers, orc forces.

There is a great strength in numbers, and these orcs have the numbers.  Every orc is raised to be a fighter and all they ever do from birth to death is fight.  While they might not be the smartest of fighters or the most tactical of fighters they do now how to swing an axe better than most.  So with a number advantage as huge as the one they have, even if they all just come blindly swinging axes with no real military planning, the orcs will win based on numbers alone.

2) Brutality:

They might not be as strong as the orcs we know that were infused with the fel energy.  They might never be able to match them in brute force.  But what they can do is be brutal.  They have no code of honor, they have no peaceful shamanistic ties.  They have to part of their mind that can be reasoned with.  They are not the orc we were lead to believe came from this time.  Maybe that is because these orcs are not the ones that came from this time, in our past that is. These orcs are pure animals, no threads of humanity at all, just bloodlust.

These orcs, from what little we know of them, were always brutal.  They were never peaceful.  They did not need to drink blood as an excuse to kill, they killed because they wanted to kill.  There is no right and wrong, just strength and steel.

Think of the story Maraad told us, where the orcs of our timeline murdered women and children and then look at our past and the past of the orcs we are going to visit and you will see the parallel.  Sure our past have the blood drinking orcs, but this world has already shown us that these orcs are more brutal than our orcs were even after drinking the blood.  So if our orcs could do it, these orcs would probably think of killing women and children as a fun family get together game like pin the tail on the donkey.

If these orcs had drank the blood it might be a really bad threat because they are more  brutal, more without honor, more without morals than our orcs ever were.  These orcs would rape and kill your wife in front of you then use dark magics to revive her just so they could do it all over again in front of you.  And then when they were tried of torturing you like that, they would revive her once more and let her demon body rip you apart just for the fun of watching you scream in pain knowing the hell they put you through.  They would laugh more at this then a stoned college student watching cheech and chong movies.

And these orcs that did that would be these orcs on one of their better days when they are trying to be nice.  If there were a word that further stressed pure brutality, it would be used for these orcs and these orcs only.

3) Desperation:

These orcs are at a fork in the road, they have come from being slaves and they know that someone was trying to manipulate them into drinking the blood to turn them into slaves once again.  So they stand at a point where they can either become slaves, fight for themselves, or become conquerors themselves, perhaps in an effort to get slaves of their own to fight the incoming threat they know will be coming.

They are desperate to be top dogs because they are tired of being beat on.  They have always been the strongest, but not exactly the smartest, so they are using their strength and the motivation of their desperation, to try and become leaders instead of slaves once again.  There is an old saying that the most dangerous people are the people that have nothing to lose, and right now the orcs see themselves in this very situation.

They have nothing to lose.  If they choose to stand still, they could be over run, if they go back they could become slaves again, and if they move forward they could lose.  But of all the options the only risk worth taking is the risk of moving forward.  Going back or standing pat are not options, so in desperation they need to move forward and they have nothing to lose.

Always fear the person that is not afraid to die because there is no way you can ever win against them unless you kill them.  They will keep coming at you.  And knowing what is in the past and what could come to pass again if they do not move forward as conquerors, they really are in a no win situation and that makes them dangerous beyond dangerous.

4) Faith:

I am not sure how garrosh managed to do it but be has become a prophet for the orcs of draenor.  He was able to convince grom that drinking the blood would be wrong, he was able to convince the other orcs to follow groms lead.  He was able to get them to drop their individual clans and join as one large clan for the greater good.  He positioned himself as a prophet for what could make the orcs a great race and his people believe him to be so and be capable of delivering on that promise.

In the real world more people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other reason.  Why should the game world be any different?  It shouldn't.  Orcs are now following the lead that garrosh set.  He offered them all this big vision of what could be, how great the orc empire would be, if only they would invade azeroth.

While we know he is doing it as much for revenge as he might be doing it because of some daddy issues they only see him as a gift from the heavens that has shown them the true path to a greater society and they are following the path he laid down for them with blind faith.

As long as you have people that believe in something so very strongly that they will do bad things, horrible things, dreadful things, incomprehensible things, all in an effort to move forward to what the master plan is, you have a force you can never win again.  You can kill a person but you can never kill an idea.  Ideas are eternal and faith, when placed wrongly, in those ideas can be deadly.

The prophet garrosh has come and laid down the path to the golden land and the orcs believe it, with complete faith, and they will do whatever they can to fulfill that prophecy.  As we all know, fanatics that are following their prophet and have been radicalized, will do whatever it takes to get to the promise land.

Garrosh promised them glory, they believe him, and they will not stop, ever, until they push forth and kill every last person on azeroth like their prophet told them to do.  If that is not scary enough for you, I don't know what could be.  You would need to wipe out the entire race to cleanse any remnant of that sort of thinking.  And that is the threat we face.  Even if we kill all the adults now, their children will grow and and continue along the path the prophet garrosh set out for them with even greater zeal than their parents had fought for it because now they are also fighting for the honor of their fallen that died for this belief in the promise land.  It will never end until the entire orcish race is eliminated from the face of draenor.  There are no other options.

5) Fear:

What could these brutal, faith filled, desperate orcs in large numbers fear?  Surely it is not the forces of azeroth because they are marching directly for us.  Perhaps we need to go to the teachings of the prophet garrosh to find out what would make even these animals, these beasts, these killing machines, have their hearts filled with fear.

The prophet garrosh told them about the legion.  How he saw with his own eyes as a world, much like this one, was sundered, torn apart piece by piece.  He told them of the stories of how they enslaved the races high in strength and large in numbers and eliminated the races that could not serve them to the point of extinction, or near extinction.  He mentioned that the visitors on this world, even if they had been living in a somewhat fragile peace with them, were being hunted by the legion and that one day a pit lord would come to enlist the assistance of the orcs to kill them all.

An offer of blood would be given and if they drank it they would gain amazing power, more than enough to kill each and every last draenei on the planet but that they too would become slaves to the legion, minions of their destruction.  And if they did not accept this gift from the legion they too would be put on the list for elimination.

He told them that there was this land, a land he had been to, lush with land and trees, and filled with great power.  A land where the legion attacked and lost, the only land were the legion ever attacked and lost.  After bringing thousands maybe even hundreds of thousands of races to extinction, destroying, sundering, reducing to dust thousands of planets within a blink of an eye and yet this one place remained safe.  He told them of the promise land, one where they would be safe from the legion forever.

After the prophet laid down all they needed to know and the day came where this pit lord he mentioned arrived and offered them a gift that if they accepted they would need to exchange everything in return for that power, they were sure, the words of the prophet garrosh were true.

In their effort to not become slaves again and knowing there was a safe place to go to, they not only turned down the offer but they killed the messenger.  They killed the pit lord that came to offer them power.

The prophet garrosh let them know, just like they would never stop hunting the draenei that got away, the legion would now never stop hunting them down.  So there was only one thing they could do and that was to become conquerors themselves.  They needed to conqueror the world that the prophet described as the promise land, the one land where the legion could not win.

So under the guise of being the strong ones and becoming conquerors when in fact they were running, out of fear, for their very lives from the burning legion that they knew would come down on them hard for rejecting the gift that was being bestowed upon them and killing the lord that offered it.

The orcs are like a cornered dog, scared and with nothing to lose.  And a trapped animal is a dangerous one.  Their fear that the burning legion would come for them coupled with the knowledge from their prophet that they could not beat them unless they were at the promise land gave them more than enough motivation to want to get there.

The orcs we are fighting are fighting for their very lives.  They are fighting like a cornered dog, tooth and nail, just trying to get away from draenor, to save their own very lives and make it to the promise land.  Their fear of the burning legion coming to exact revenge is greater than their desire to conquer, and that makes for a very dangerous combination with their strength and numbers.

Now, as I said, blizzard did not really do anything to make me believe the orcs where a threat, but I have tried my best, in my own mind, to create a world where I could see the orcs as a threat.

The question is, do you think of them as a threat now too?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Seeing Things in Context

Since the previous blizzcon when warlords of draenor was announced up until this one which happened on the door step of warlords of draenors release we have ran through a number of hot button topics.  I, like everyone else, had an opinion. 

Being I was able to experience a fair deal of the issues on beta my opinion on some of those hot button topics changed.  I am not one of those people that are set in stone and I can't or won't change my mind.  If I am shown that I am wrong I will freely admit it and change my opinion.  That is the beauty of opinions, they can be changed if there is reason to do so.

So as we knock on the dark portal and wait for someone to answer the door and let us through in less than 2 short days I want to revisit some of those hot button topics and see if my opinion changed, or has been reinforced even stronger.

Karabor / Bladespire Capitals:

When these were announced as our main cities on draenor I was very excited for it.  Admittedly as a player who mostly has alliance characters it was nice to be on the winning side for once.  We see horde favoritism in nearly every step of the game and anyone who denies that is willfully blind, so having the fabled black temple as our home city before it was known as the black temple was a bit of a reason for the alliance to shout out with joy.  We finally won one and get a little bit of the feeling of favoritism for once.

When they later announced they were, in fact, not going to be our capital cities it became a hot button topic.  I was firmly on the side that believed they should be.  Not only because I wanted that feeling like alliance got something special for once, but because two major cities sounded really freaking awesome.  To have those two major cities replaced by some outposts somewhere else seemed like such a let down.  We were prepared for this huge city and got tents and shacks and nothing much more instead.

My time on the beta allowed me to reevaluate my opinion and as it turns out, change my opinion.  I am now glad these cities are not our capitals.  Even if I most definitely would have liked them to be, they really seem mostly unnecessary now.  I found myself spending the vast majority of my free time in my garrison and not in the new main city at all.  If it were these huge buildings they would have went to waste.  So they might as well be some outposts in the middle of nowhere that are basically, if not exactly, a carbon copy of each other alliance or horde side.

I might miss having had the chance to call the black temple home for an expansion, but it is better they did not waste all the resources it would have taken to make it fully functional and vibrant because I really would not be spending any substantial time there anyway.  It would have been a complete waste.

Ashran Capitals:

Another hot button topic that came on the heels of the previous one was when we were told our new city hubs would be in the PvP zone, or the out skirts of it as it may be.  It felt, to most, as a way for blizzard to try to force PvP on the players by making their capital be, basically, part of a PvP battleground.  There was a lot of back and forth on this, mostly from PvE focused players and players on PvE realms that do not want to PvP.  I too was against it.

In practice they fixed a lot of the things I had issues with right away. They expanded the bases so it wasn't just a few tents, it was now a lot of tents and even a solid structure or two here and there.  They gave it some real space and filled it.  This made it feel more like a staging area and less like a rest stop.

They also changed another things I personally had an issue with at the get go which was the fact it was part of the PvP island.  While in the city you would not be flagged for PvP.  So no worries about going AFK for a toilet break or to heat up a coffee and coming back to a dead body.  It has happened to me before and it is no fun.  I don't mind dying in battle, but I hate being ganked while I am getting my coffee.  Only a coward kills a man getting his coffee fix.  This issue was solved.

Then on the beta I got to test it out.  There was no way to accidentally flag yourself, which helps because you won't just stumble into instant death, and the guards were a little beefier than you might expect so they can help keep the battlefield war from entering the outpost.

So while I was against the capitals being in a PvP zone it works out that I actually like them where they are.  Because of a few reasons, first of which is, like mentioned previously, I will be spending most of my time in my garrison anyway, so it is not like a really need a capital city, my garrison is my capital city.  The second reason I ended up liking it goes back to the previous post where I say that blizzard wants to get us PvE players into PvP and this helps ease us into it.  Being there is no waiting, you just step in and you are in world PvP, and you can step out at any time by retreating to your ashran capital city makes it just a little more welcoming, even if not perfect.  All part of blizzard effort to allow us to get into PvP if we were not previously into it.

This goes as the second thing I have changed my mind on once I saw it in context.  It is really true that your gut check response can sometimes be wrong when you do not have all the facts at hand and have yet to see the finished product.  This is one of those cases where I am glad I was wrong with my first opinion on this hot button topic.  The ashran bases are not exactly something I would say I like, but they most definitely something I do not dislike.  And I do like their placement even if I were against it at first.

No Flying:

This is still a huge hot button topic and it will not be going away anytime soon either if trade chat is any indication.  It seems like the vast majority of players still do not know that there is no flying on draenor.  Even some of the ones that do realize it don't fully understand it and seem to think that they will get flying when they reach max level or shortly after.  Yes, we might, just might, get it in 6.1, but it has never been said we will.  So working on that assumption is wrong.  It is best to believe we will not be having it at all, and then if they add it and you wanted it, congratulations.

I was against no flying from the get go.  I said I will live with it and that remains the same, I will live with it.  I've always been one of those people that would rather spend my time playing the game than traveling somewhere to play it.  Given the option of running to a flight path, taking the flight path, then running to the area I want to go to or just mounting up and flying directly there, it is a no brainer.  I would rather mount and fly directly there.  It allows me to spend more time playing the game and waste less time traveling.

After playing on the beta my opinion remains unchanged.  If anything is it even more so reinforced.  I seriously dislike the absence of flight and I beleive it will really hurt the game over all.  There is already so little reason to go out in the world of draenor that flying is the only thing that can salvage that.  At least if we could fly we might go out and explore or just fly around wasting time instead of sitting in our garrison wasting time.

I still believe that after I leveled up, then leveled up another character or two as well, I have done all the sight seeing I could ever want.  From that point on it becomes more about getting from point A to point B and flying just makes that easier.  Forgive me for wanting the easy way out but like I said, I would rather spend my time playing instead of traveling, and after playing on the beta with no flying for months, my opinion remains unchanged.  Flying should have never been removed.   I will live with it, no big deal, but I would be a much happier paying customer if it were still in game and they didn't completely disregard my, and many others, opinion on the matter.

Customizable Garrisons:

Well, customizable to some degree.  They never said garrisons would be customizable, they never even hinted they might be.  But they did say you could have one in multiple areas, which you can't, and they did say you can rename your followers, which you can't.  This was a major hot button topic for many and still remains so in some small circles.

Personally, I never really cared about placement of my garrison.  I would always put it wherever was closest to where I would want to be often.  Again it would be about time.  If the raid is in nagrand, then putting it in nagrand would make it easier to get to the raid.  It is about time playing vs time traveling and I would rather spend my time playing.  However, not being able to place it where I wanted did not matter to me.  Draenor is so damn small away, so I will leave 2 minutes earlier to get to the raid, not such a big deal, I can live with that I guess.

The other part was naming followers.  I was always against that.  If someone has a name, that is their name.  You can not change it.  These people are followers, not pets.  Heck, even as a hunter if I tame something that is a named mob I keep his name.  Like when I tamed Buru, he is Buru.  When I tamed Beast, he is Beast.  You get the idea.  It is not my place to change someones name and if I would not change the name of a pet, why would I even consider changing the name of a follower.

Nothing changed here from my original assessment.  Blizzard went back on their word, sure, but I did not care when they first went back on their word here and I still do not care.  I think garrisons being in one place is good and I sure as hell think you should not be able to rename a person.  How would you like if I renamed you Bob?  And if your name is bob I am now going to call you Walt, what do you think about them apples?

Some opinions change and some opinions stay the same.  I am sure some will disagree with me.  But I changed my opinion on some things after seeing them in context.  Maybe others might as well.  As time has gone by, have your changed any of your opinions on these or other hot button topics?  Maybe when the game comes out, you might.  Something to consider.

Blizzard Wants You To PvP

With just less than two days before the launch of warlords of draenor I can't help but think that blizzard is really trying to push PvP this expansion, more than they did last expansion which was supposed to be the PvP faction conflict expansion.  They are doing it well too, for the most part, unlike how they did it in mists.

The fact of the matter is that more people PvP on a regular basis than raid.  While I am not personally a PvPer I can understand and accept that fact.  PvP by nature is more open and welcoming than PvE even if the venom in a random battleground is often worse that an LFR, which says a lot.

Blizzard tried to actively push PvP last expansion in the wrong way.  By adding the PvP part of the legendary cloak quest line they did more harm than good in trying to entice people to PvP.  The number of "never again" posts about PvP after being forced into it was astounding.

If you were a horde player, while you were almost all but guaranteed a win in each battleground, you had to wait to get into it, sometimes up to 30 minutes.  If you got unlucky and lost, which is extremely rare for those playing horde side, it was frustrating because you knew there was another long wait before you could to try again for a win.  If the unthinkable happened and you lost two in a row, it might push you to the point of giving up.  A hour wasted and two lost battlegrounds.  Admittedly that never happened to me, horde for me were instant wins.  I think I lost a total of 1 battleground the entire expansion as horde.

On the other hand if you were the alliance you would be blessed with instant queue times but that usually resulted in a lot of losing and frustration mounting up.  In the same hour it would take a horde character to win one battleground an alliance character could very well be in 5 or 6 or even more battleground and they would lose every single one of them.  While it is true that on a couple of my characters, one hunter and one priest, I one shot both battlegrounds as alliance, the over all result for me was a nightmare.  My warlock took the worst of it, losing 17 battlegrounds in a row at one point.  It was enough for me to quit even trying to get the legendary cloak on it.

So you can see that adding the mandatory PvP part of the quest line worked for no one.  If you were the alliance you had to deal with what felt like a 90% loss rate and if you were the horde you had to deal with the long wait times.  Either way, no matter who won the battleground, everyone lost in terms of fun.  It was nothing but frustrating and was no way to try to get people into PvP.

This expansion blizzard is going with the more subtle approach in trying to get PvEers like myself into PvP and it is already working for me, even if the expansion is not out yet.

There is one small mistake I think blizzard made and that is not making the gladiators sanctum a standard building in your garrison.  If blizzard had done that I would have stood up and cheered for intelligent design and the perfect way to attract new people into PvP.  But sadly, they didn't.

But even with that said, the gladiators sanctum is a fantastic way to try and get people into PvP, at least people like me.  It offers some interesting titles to be won, an ongoing collection of broken bones that can then be used to possibly get you some free gear through work orders, and dailies of a sort.  It also gives people something to do in what is an otherwise lackluster expansion in terms of content.

By adding the building and all the things that go with it, it worked as bait, bait that will or could get me to bite and want to try to PvP a little more often.  More importantly, it would be making me do it because I wanted to do it and not because I felt like I had to do it, like with the legendary quest line.

As I mentioned, the one fault here is that the building is not a standard building.  You need to spend one of your limited medium plots on your garrison to get it.  But even with that, it is still near the top of my list of building my main will be getting.  Yes, me as a PvEer is planning on getting a PvP only building on my garrison.  Good work blizzard.  Your bait caught one fish.

The other way they are baiting people is with gear.  Anyone that plays both ends of the spectrum knows that PvP has a MUCH better gearing system than PvE does.  It has for a very long time.  PvP gear is based on working for it whereas PvE gear is based on luck.  Given the option I would rather earn my gear (PvP) than be handed it (PvE) any day.  PvE seriously needs to adopt the PvP gearing system, but that is for another post all together.

Looking at the item levels of gear and seeing that conquest gear is better than anything you could ever get out of LFR really makes me interested in PvP even more.  Anything that can keep me from going to LFR is a good thing in my opinion and offering me better gear to NOT do LFR is a total winner if you ask me.  I have never PvPed on my paladin, or warrior, or DK, outside of the occasionally open world dust up, which are the only three classes I never got a legendary on because I refuse to tank LFR and all three of those classes I only tank with, but now I can skip the LFR completely if I decide to PvP.  I really like having this option.

I am not sure if it is a good idea for PvP gear to be better for PvE, that is an argument for another day and will always be based on opinion but it is something blizzard did on purpose.  And I believe, just guessing here, that it was done on purpose.  To give those people that do not like LFR another option and maybe bait them into trying something new.  Well, once again, it is working.  At least for me.

Blizzard is not forcing PvP on the players this time around, but they are making PvP seems like a viable option for both fun and gearing and letting us, the player, decide if we want to do it.  Blizzard wants us to PvP and they are going about getting us to do it right this expansion.

When all is said and done I might end this expansion the same way I did the three before it, with only a little bit of PvP done and being more of a PvE player.  But this expansion offers me something additional that appeals to me, and that is good.  It is a lot better than forcing PvP on me to get the legendary cloak.

Do you believe that blizzard planned this out, enticing PvEers to PvP, or is just happened to work out that way?  Either way, blizzard wants you to PvP in warlords of draenor and I think I might take them up on the offer.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Preraid Gearing Up In Warlords of Draenor

As always when a new expansion comes out we know the best gear is to be found from raiding.  It is just the way things are, but there are many other ways to gear up in warlords.  Perhaps not what most would call decent gear, but it surely is a way to get your foot in the door.

Whether your goal is to be ready for raiding as soon as normal and heroic are released a few weeks after launch or just to gear up your characters so you can kill creatures out in the world easier, having gear matters to each and every player.  It is how you gauge your personal progression.  So here is your warlords release gearing guide.  Use it to gear up for raids or to gear up so you can kill elites and rares faster, whatever floats your boat, here is how you can get it.

Crafted Gear:

There is gear for every slot that can be crafted in warlords.  From trinkets and rings, to chests and legs, to weapons and shields.  If you can wear it, you can craft it.  But there is one problem with that.  While allowing us to craft gear blizzard decided to limit the number of slots you will be allowed to wear crafted gear in.  Which completely ruined a perfect idea in my personal opinion, but that is another story.  Crafted items are limited to 3 equip.  It doesn't matter if the pieces come from different professions, they all share the 3 equip rule, which means if I have the engineer gun, the leather back and the darkmoon trinket I can not equip anything else that is crafted, even if it is a ring from jewel crafting, which I am wearing nothing from.  Only 3 crafted items total can be equipped.

Crafted Armor: 640, 655 and 665

Tailors can make cloth gear, leather workers can make leather and mail gear, blacksmiths can make plate gear and engineers can make special engineer only goggles.  Each of these professions can also make items that upgrade the gear they made from 640 to 655 and then from 655 to 665.

Crafted Weapons:  630, 645 and 655

Blacksmiths can make melee weapons and shields, scribes can make staves, an offhand, and a wand,  and engineers can make a gun.  Each of the associated professions can also make upgrade items that can upgrade a 630 weapon to 645 and a 645 weapon to 655.

Crafted Rings and Necks: 640, 655, and 665

Jewel crafters can make necks and rings for all classes and specs and can also make the items that can upgrade them from 640 to 655 and then from 655 to 665.

Trinkets: 640, 655 and 665 (620)

Scribes can make the darkmoon cards than when assembled can be turned in for a 640 trinket.  They will also make the item needed to upgrade the trinket from 640 to 655 and later from 655 to 665.  Alchemists also offer a trinket but it is only an item level of 620 and can not be upgraded, however it is also the only piece of over 600 crafted gear that does not count toward the limit of only 3 crafted pieces of gear.

Crafting These Items:

Anyone can craft these items, with the exception of the engineer goggle and alchemist stone as they require the profession to use, with the appropriate garrison building.  Which means even without the profession you can make 630 or 640 items.  Only the people that actually have the professions can make the items to upgrade them however.  But do not worry, the upgrade items can be traded, which means you can buy or sell them on the auction house the same way you would with gear itself.

Questing:

Questing gear will start around item level 500 in the first zone and continue to get better as you move from zone to zone up until the final zone, nagrand, which is where even the most geared player currently, will start seeing upgrades.  This zone ends around a 600 item level.  But there are more quests you can do to get some better gear.

Proving Grounds:

When you complete the quest that sends you there and asks you to do the bronze challenge you will get a 610 item level weapon appropriate for your class / spec.  Unless you got lucky with a boosted quest reward this will be the best weapon you can get your hands on when you first hit 100 before you step in a dungeon.  This weapon could end up upgraded as well if you have the building for it.

I would suggest that everyone hit this quest up as soon as they hit 100.  The bronze medal is really easy and should be attainable by anyone, even those with slower reaction times and lesser ability with their characters.  It makes for a great pre dungeon start.

Legendary Quest Line:

The legendary quest line sends you to a dungeon that can be completed on normal mode and awards a 640 ring.  It should be easy enough to do and you can even pick up the quest at level 98 and do the dungeon while leveling.  You will then be tasked with completing 3 dungeons on heroic and collecting an item for each.  Remember if you wish to queue for them with a random group you will need a proving grounds silver medal to do so.

The next stage will require you to complete yet another dungeon on heroic and collect 4986 apexis crystals. You will then be sent on a series of quests which require you to find people, look for clues, face a bronze dragon in battle, you know, the standard things all us adventurers do on a near daily basis.

After you finish that part of the quest line, which has a solo scenario like the solo ones in the mists legendary line, you will turn in the quest and be rewarded with a 680 item level ring, which is heroic raid level.  The next part requires you to enter the raid, and being this post is about pre raid gearing, I will leave that for another day.  Enjoy your very easy to get 680 ring with only the need to run a few dungeons and complete one solo scenario really.  Oh, and collecting a boat load of apexis crystals.

Apexis Crystals:

There is one daily quest that will award you with 800 apexis crystals (or 1000 for the group and PvP versions) should you do it.  Mobs in the level 100 area also drop small amounts on rare occasion.  Some rares, even more so the harder ones, award a fair bit when you kill them as well.  Either way grinding these should take some time and outside of being used for the legendary quest line as mentioned above they can be used to purchase some gear.

630 Bracers and Capes: 3000 apexis crystals
645 Bracers and Capes: 9000 apexis crystals + previous item
655 Bracers and Capes: 14500 apexis crystals + previous item

630 Belts and Gloves: 4000 apexis crystals
645 Belts and Gloves: 10500 apexis crystals + previous item
655 Belts and Gloves: 17000 apexis crystals + previous item 

630 Legs and Helms: 5000 apexis crystals
645 Legs and Helms: 11500 apexis crystals + previous item
655 Legs and Helms: 20000 apexis crystals + previous item

Yes, you read that right.  For the best item there it will cost 36500 apexis crystals, which if you only do the daily will take you roughly as long as 45 days to get it.  Being the gear is a crap item level, even when maxed out, this is not a very reasonable gearing option.  At least not for mains or semi mains.  Actually, it is not a decent gearing option for part time players either as it would take them much longer than 45 days as they might not log in and do the daily every day.

Don't get me wrong, I like options for gear, but blizzard really missed the mark on this one in my opinion.  If it is going to take 45 days to grind out one single piece of gear, that piece of gear better be mythic item level, not LFR level.

PvP Gear:

Honor gear will be at a 620 item level when doing PvE content and conquest gear will be of 660 item level while doing PvE content. As (I believe) conquest becomes attainable as soon as the raids open the 660 gear is not really an option for pre raid gearing, but for alts that come up later it could be a very viable gearing option, even the option of choice if you ask me, and I am not even a PvPer.  Once again it is easier to gear for PvE through PvP, at least later on when catching up.  The 620 item level honor gear could work nicely to fill in some spots while you are hoping for drops from dungeons, and it works at a 675 item level value in PvP content at the same time which is not too shabby to start I guess.

Garrisons:

Outside of the profession building, already mentioned, garrisons offer you more opportunities to get gear.  And it could be semi decent gear as well.

Invasions:

You can start a garrison invasion alone or with friends.  Completing these invasions will net you some apexis crystals.  If you manage to snag a gold you win a bag that could contain a 645 item level helm, shoulder, boot or weapon.  It could also contain one of four different mounts as a little bonus. 

Sadly this is a weekly and is not a daily, as it should be really.  This means it will not really be an exceptional means to gear up pre raid, but will most definitely be a welcome way should you manage to win a 645 piece you actually need. 

Not sure if it was smart loot but the three times I got loot I did not get the same item twice.  I hope it cycles through all 4 because if it does that means you can get the four pieces on all your characters at a predictable rate which is kind of nice.  Sadly I do not see this marked as smart loot, so do not expect that to be the normal result.

Missions:

Gearing up your followers is important as I have mentioned several times in the garrison posts and this right here is one of the reasons why that is important.  The higher your followers item level the better success they will have at mission and the higher their item level is the more missions that will get opened up for them to attempt.

Follower Level and the rewards they can get you:

Under 100:  You will get 530, 540, 550, etc. missions for gear.
At 100, item level 600: missions could appear for 615 gear.
At 100, item level 615: missions could appear for 630 gear.
At 100, item level 630: missions could appear for 645 gear.
At 100, item level 645: missions could appear for 655 or higher gear.

All gear is based on the timeless island model.  It will come in a piece that when clicked on will create an item for the loot specialization you have selected.  As for the top missions, the gear you get will align with highest difficulty level raid you have finished and move it up one higher. 

Example, you only finished LFR, it can be LFR item level or normal item level to as high as if you have finished heroic it could be anywhere from LFR item level to mythic item level.  I will not go deeper into it, as this is pre raid gearing and those rewards require post raid.  So at best, expect no higher than 645 item level from follower missions before the raids are released.

BoE World Drops:

There are world drops for helm, shoulder, belt, neck, cloak, ring, trinket, offhand and shield.  All these items are 665 item level.  While they can be world drops the highest chance to get them will come from the big crate of salvage which you can only get if you have a salvage yard at level 3 on your garrison.

As a side note, even if this relates to raids.  When the raids do come out there will be BoE raid drops and unlike in previous expansions, if you get a heroic BoE and a mythic BoE it will be a heroic item level or mythic item level.  The BoEs that drop in raids are now of the item level of the raid you are in.  There have never been heroic (now mythic) BoEs before.  Pretty awesome right?  I can see some of my alts saving up for some mythic BoE items already which will include belt, wrists, gloves, boots, cloak and neck.

World Bosses:

There are three world bosses, two of which rotate in one place, yet count as one boss like the four celestial bosses did, so don't think you will be rolling on both like I was thinking, because we would both be wrong then.

The rotating bosses which will be open from the start of the expansion drop 650 item belts and gloves, both, but one, Drov, also drops a neck and the other, Tarlna, also drops a chest.  Make sure to use your coin accordingly if you are seeking the neck or chest.

The other world boss will not open until after the raid comes out but for sake of completion it will drop 665 gear for the feet, legs and finger slots.

Dungeons:

Last but not least, the only truly grindable gearing up method.  (my favorite type of gearing method to be honest, this is why I loved valor gear, decent gear that you could grind for) If you want to spam dungeons, and we know you will do a few for the legendary quest line, this will be a solid way to build some starter gear.

Normal Mode:

Bloodmaul Slag Mines (530), Iron Docks (550), Auchindoun (570) and Skyreach (600) all drop what I would consider sub par gear on normal, even sub par during the gearing up process.  If you quested up until, and through, nagrand, most of your gear will be better than the first three there and the few pieces that aren't better than skyreach's gear should not really hold you back from moving into the better normal dungeons where you can actually start finding better gear.

Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, Grimrail Depot, The Everbloom and Upper Blackrock Spire all drop 615 item level gear that will be a nice starting place to begin your gearing quest.  If you plan to go into LFR when it first comes out and not really into normal or higher, you can probably gear up right here, and with a few added items from other things mentioned above like crafting or garrison invasions, be perfectly ready for LFR.

Heroic Mode:

All heroic mode dungeons drop 630 item level gear and unless they went back on what they said they will also have a chance to come with gem slots and warforged, but I never saw one like that. 

Remember that you need to have a silver medal in the role that you wish to queue as to get into a random heroic dungeon using the group finder.  However, if you have a self made group you can just walk right in.  Heroic dungeons however still follow the previous rules as you can only walk into them once per day.  If you want to do a dungeon on heroic a second time you will need to queue into it.

If you want to go straight to normal mode raiding this is the type of gear that should be sufficient to do so along with some invasion gear and maybe a few crafted or crafted and upgraded pieces.  Really skilled groups might be able to even pull off entering heroic raids with this type of gear, but I would say that would really be reaching for most of us.

Challenge Mode:

Unlike the previous expansion this time around challenge modes do offer gear.  It is not exceptional by any means of course at a 640 item level but it is better than heroic mode gear.  To get the gear you would need to pick up the challenge mode dungeon daily in your ashran city and then walk into that dungeon with your dungeon difficulty set to challenge mode.  No medal is required to get the reward, the only requirement is that you finish it meaning even if you do not get bronze and it turns into a wipe fest, if you finish it, you get a 640 piece when you turn in the quest.

For most people that wish to step right into heroic raids, this should be the absolute minimum gear you have.  Completing challenge modes daily and getting lucky as to not get duplicate drops with some additional invasion gear and crafted gear and with a little bit of skill and dedication you can be raiding heroic on release.  Even if you have to snag a few normal pieces on release to help you along the way, for the person that wants to be the best geared they can be before raids open, this is where you will be getting those last pieces, and lowest pieces.  Good luck on getting the one slot you need.  I hate RNG personally.

Happy gearing all, see you on the other side.

Monday Random Thoughts

- It is weird thinking my next random thought will be about leveling again.

- It took so long to get here and while it is well over due it always feels like you are not ready when it happens.

- Or is that just me?

- I watched blizzcon with the virtual ticket.

- As a warcraft fan I basically feel as if I really over paid for a battle pet.

- Because as a warcraft fan that really is all blizzcon had to offer for me, warcraft information, and there was none.

- I know the expansion is in a few days, but they could have talked about something.

- And no, talking about the stat changes and stuff does not count.

- You can't have a panel talking about the same exact thing you have been talking about for over a year and consider it exciting.

- At least I didn't.

- They could have talked about the upcoming 10 year anniversary.

- They could have hyped up the MC and SS vs TM battleground.

- They could have teased what "might" be coming for 6.1.

- They could have told us what their intention is moving forward in terms of patch speed.

- They could have mentioned if they were still on target for a yearly release or if they changed their mind.

- They could have addressed the extremely high over priced cost of the expansion and what they believe their justification for it is if they really do plan to go yearly.

- There was so much warcraft stuff they could have talked about.

- But they talked about hit and expertise being removed.

- Really?

- The tenth anniversary is around the corner, the expansion is around the corner, and all you can think to talk about was old new from over a year ago.

- So basically I paid for a virtual ticket to get a battle pet.

- The only thing that really had a good warcraft vibe was the Looking for Group video.

- But that was something you would not watch on the live stream anyway.

- It really bought back the feeling of why so many of us love the game.

- It is worth watching.

- It made me miss the old stuff.

- Funny thing I noticed was that they sort of gave themselves away as not having much faith in the game in the video.

- I can only blame that on bad cutting, but you can not put words in peoples mouths.

- When they start talking about the game there is such a light in their eyes, you could see they loved what they were talking about, there is a feeling of they are doing something great.

- From release to BC to Wrath every time you hear someone talking about this they talk with excitement.

- They say thing like this is great, this felt epic, this was fantastic, both blizzard and non blizzard employees.

- But as soon as it moves on to cataclysm, mists and warlords the tone of the people being interviewed changed, they did not feel as excited about what they were talking about.

- This might be fun, this could work out, this should give people the feeling of, things like that.

- They went from when they knew the game was great with is, to when they know the game lost a step or two with should.

- I wonder if it is me just reading too much into the body language and the words the people decided to use, but when you are trying to tell the truth from the hype it is that body language and the words they choose that let you know the truth.

- If you watched it, maybe you caught what I did.

- If you haven't, check it out.

- Not to see that, just to see it.

- It was a great video.

- Reading into it or not.

- Well worth an hour of your time in my opinion.

- It sure did give me a gentle reminder of why I love the game.

- The way they talk about the start up, BC and Wrath, reminds me why I love the game.

- The way they talk about cataclysm, mists and warlords, reminds me why I complain.

- But I complain because I care, so that works out well.

- If I didn't care, I wouldn't complain.

- On to the major announcement of the blizzcon, overwatch.

- Could they have announced anything that could interest me less?

- Does the world really need a first person shooter that looks like a children's movie?

- Don't get me wrong, I loved the incredibles and if you do not see the direct comparison between the video and the incredibles you are either willfully blind or never saw the incredibles.

- I just do not think that a game with a cross between a children's movie art work and anime art work, and more so a first person shooter, is really something I would ever want to play.

- Sure I will try it, if it is free or has a free trial, who am I to say no to free, but I've never liked first person shooters to begin with.

- They have an uphill battle if they want to win me over.

- Do people really like that stuff?

- If so I am so very out of touch with today's generation of gamers.

- I'll stick to my RPG type games that require a brain and leave the mindless first person shooters to people who prefer to just play, not think.

- When I want to just play, not think, I prefer hack and slash like diablo, not first person shooters.

- To each their own, we can't all like the same things right?

- When they were running around in overwatch, and you were not in first person view, it looked like something I might be interested in.

- But they said that only happens out of combat, in combat it goes to first person.

- Oh well, lost me completely there.

- If it stayed further out, like it was when they were running around, I would have been on that like white on rice to try it out, because even if the artwork is insanely childish it still looks good.

- Now I really do not care.

- First person shooters and I do not mix well.

- One thing is one against proved.

- Blizzard really does know how to make videos well.

- Would love to see their art team just make a cartoon series.

- I would love that.

- They do simply amazing work, no question.

- Being I doubt that I will be leveling any more characters in the next two days it looks like my tally for level 90s will end at 21.

- I could have done more, would have done more, but with no end game gearing method outside of raiding I did not feel like adding more characters I would be forced to LFR wtih to the mix.

- If valor gear was still in game and I could gear up with valor gear I probably would have ended the expansion with 30-35 or even 40 90s.

- But with no way to gear characters outside of raiding I had no desire to level more characters.

- This is what I worry most about with warlords.

- There is no way to gear up without raiding.

- Before someone jumps down my throat I will explain that statement.

- To me getting raid ready means normal mode gear, which is what valor gear always was.

- So my bar to what I call "gearing up" to be raid ready means 670 gear, as my mode of raiding drops 680 gear.

- If I am 670, or as close I can can reasonably get to it, on my alts, than I am raid ready.

- So yes, you can get gear in warlords and lots of it.

- Don't get me wrong, just because they removed some stuff does not mean there is nothing.

-  It is just all crap, but it is something.

- There is dungeon gear, challenge mode gear, garrison invasions gear, garrison mission gear, apexis crystal gear, crafted gear, upgraded crafted gear and that is all without even mentioning PvP gear and lesser level raid gear.

- So there are a lot of gearing option.

- If you want to have your alts waking around in garbage gear that is.

- I want a way for my characters to get raid ready without having to raid.

- Looks like if I want 670 gear, I have to raid to get it.

- Which means I can not get alts to the "raid ready" level so if we need it I can switch unless I raid with those alts.

- Just like this expansion was at the end.

- And it stopped me from leveling characters this expansion, and they only removed valor gear at the end.

- What do you think it is going to be like when there is no valor gear at all from the start?

- Yeah, no thank you.

- I do not see this expansion being very alt friendly.

- Or very "average player" friendly either.

- With the cost to garrisons well out of the range of the majority of players, what do you think it will do to people that have alts when they can not even afford it on one character?

- Yeah, a very alt unfriendly expansion is coming people.

- Choose which characters you will level smart, because unless you plan to play and raid 24/7 you will not be gearing up alts in a fun and meaningful way.

- Sure you might be able to get them a couple of 665 pieces and 645 pieces, but that is not exactly raid ready, at least not in my opinion.

- Maybe, just maybe, if they removed the crafted 3 limit on crafted gear and you could get all 665 pieces if you worked hard enough for them, then I would say it was okay.

- I have no issue working for my gear.

- I just do not want to do LFR to get it.

- There is a difference between working for something and banging your head against the wall for something.

- I actually like working for my gear.

- Would love a system were I could craft all 665 gear for my alts even it if took a really long time.

- It would give people a reason to log in every day.

- A subscription MMO needs something like that to work.

- I, of course, plan to level my hunter first, then druid and priest immediately after.

- I will level all my classes of course, at some point.

- At least one of each class and at least one horde side.

- Any horde guilds want an alt hunter that is a fair raider but would only play fill in once in a while?

- Let me know and I will consider it.

- My horde hunter needs a new home, my old guild has died and I do not see it making a comeback. :(

- I want to try out gladiator stance and I want to see both sides of the stories.

- Those are some key things I am looking forward too as far as alts go.

- So I will still have alts, but I do not want a repeat of this expansion.

- Lets take my warrior and give a quick history of his life this expansion.

- I love tanking on my warrior, figure that should be mentioned first.

- But my druid made it to 90 first, as usual, and it was tanking MV and I think into HoF by the time my warrior reached 90.

- I flat out refuse to tank LFR, no thank you, I would rather gargle with a mouth full of broken glass.

- But thanks to valor gear my warrior was not left in the cold.

- I worked reputations, opened the valor gear, worked my ass off to get some pieces, and with some world boss drops, my warrior caught up somewhat.

- If and when I needed a second tank my warrior could fill in.

- But by that time my druid was so well geared so I never really got much play time on my warrior.

- However, my warrior was close to raid ready thanks to valor gear and I did not need to step into LFR to do so, which is as it should be.

- When ToT came out, and you needed raid reputation to buy gear, my warrior started to fall behind in gear.

- My druid and monk were both better geared, so if a tank was needed during ToT I used my druid or monk.

- My warrior fell further behind.

- I did everything in my power to get it gear, but options were limited because valor gear was locked behind a raid reputation and I was not raiding on it.

- So a couple of crafted pieces here and there and some weekly kills on world bosses, and it slowly, oh so slowly, geared up.

- But it never stepped foot into ToT because its gear was so far behind.

- When SoO came out, with no valor gear at all, not even locked behind some reputation, my warrior was put on the "see you next expansion" list.

- I do not want another expansion of that.

- We need valor gear, and it needs to be decent gear that makes you raid ready.

- So valor gear should be 670 gear and it should be added back into the game before release.

- So, now you see why I say there is no way to get raid ready in WoD, and I think that will hurt my desire to play alts.

- And I think it will hurt a lot of other people.

- But there will always be fun to be had, I just need to learn that having fun does not mean gearing all my characters and having them all raid ready.

- Even if that is what is normally fun for me, gearing up all my characters.

- Or I need to get over my problem with tanking for randoms and do the LFR.

- But until blizzard starts making rules and enforcing them in LFR, you will not see me in there, outside of the rare occasion where I have reached near terminal boredom.

- But in terms of my warrior, at least now my warrior tank will have a DPS spec.

- Which is how my druid and my monk were able to gear up and my warrior was not.

- I could DPS in my tank gear as a druid or monk, I couldn't as a warrior.

- Thank you gladiator stance.

- Woot, DPSing in tank gear.

- I am so looking forward to that.

- Now all they need to do is bring back blood DPS and make ret capable of being done with a sword and board and I can play all my characters again.

- Or better yet, just fix the F'N community and start banning the people that make LFR experience unenjoyable for everyone.

- I think I would like that better, a nice community, absolutely would like that option better.

- I did a class run this weekend.

- No, not hunters, druids.

- A SoO run with all druids, nothing but druids.

- The only class run that could have tanks, healers, ranged DPS and melee DPS.

- It was fun.

- Do you know how many people applied to the group even though it said, clear as day, SoO druids only clear.

- One person in the group had an awesome idea.

- Invite someone like a mage that asked to join and wait for him to get there and then we all switch to bear form, circle him, and say... we think you are in the wrong place buddy.

- It would have been so funny.

- We did not manage to full clear it sadly, but we had a hell of a lot of fun.

- At least 3 times someone that got invited asked for a summon.

- Excuse me?

- Class run.

- Since when do druids have a summon?

- Sometimes people just talk out of habit instead of thinking.

- I think that is what it is, out of habit they always ask for a summon.

- I usually do not get into things like that but I was in the mood for some fun.

- I am glad I did it.

- I spent so much time this weekend working on my characters that some fun was needed.

- I need to learn to loosen up and have some more silly fun like that.

- I've just become so jaded of random people it is like I am scared of them.

- I'd rather do nothing than join a pug sometimes.

- But there is some fun to be had on occasion if you are willing to take the risk.

- Even when we started wiping in that all druid group, people kept their spirits up and had fun.

- Not once did anyone say to another person, you suck, your bad, you wiped us, how do you not know these fights, blah blah blah standard pug mentality stuff.

- It restored my faith in the people that play this game, even if just a little.

- I would like to give a shout out to all the druids in that group, you guys rock and made my day.

- Speaking of druids, I decided to go balance on the last druid I leveled.

- It had zero gear so I sent it the BoA staff, a set of timeless gear, did the blasted lands quests, blew a couple of coins on both a celestial kill and an ordos kill, even joined in for a nalak kill, and needless to say won nothing from any of them, but I did manage to get to 519.

- Not bad, from fresh 90 gear to 519.

- Did a couple more ordos, just to practice the rotation to get used to it.

- I must say one thing...

- How the hell can anyone play a class like this?

- Nearly 3 second cast time?

- When can you ever stand still for 3 seconds?

- Even on ordos, which is about as tank and spank as you can get, even having to be moved from the fire now, I could not stand still for more than a few seconds.

- Tanks moving him out of range, need to move.

- Ranged not moving from me and me not noticing it means I get popped up.

- Ranged not moving from me so I move from them.

- Ranged trying to get away from the back but run right into me means I get popped up.

- Me getting the thing on myself means I get popped up.

- All casters should be able to cast on the move, it is annoying playing like that with insane cast times.

- But boy oh boy when I was able to stand still I was blowing things up.

- One fight I only got knocked up once and needed to move, it was on me, and I managed to do 8.7K with no island buffs.

- Most runs, with having to move a little here and there and getting popped p a few times I was ranging between 5.8K and 7.2K.

- So at a 519 item level, having never even once played a max level druid boomkin, and not spending more than 2 minutes on icy veins, I was able to do more DPS than nearly every single person I've seen in an LFR.

- And more than everyone except for two of the druids and the tanks that were in the all druid run.

- The tanks were both super geared, so they were always top 4 with the other 2 good damage dealers.

- Speaking of druid tanking, everything I read and watch has people saying all they feel like is a giant fur ball of health.

- Like that is a bad thing.

- I actually like that idea... some.

- Warrior does seem to way to go next expansion.

- Everyone seems to be saying it.

- But I did not need people to say it to convince me to want to tank on my warrior.

- I just needed gladiator stance.

- I always said, if the game wants me to DPS as a warrior, then make it so I can DPS with a shield.

- So I have to DPS as one now, or else I would be going back on my word.

- So being I can gear for tank and DPS with the same exact gear I can not think of anything else to say outside of every single class needs something like that.

- No need to even have different neck, cloak, trinkets, rings or weapons.

- Just choose the gladiator stance talent and go to town.

- Yeah baby.

- Damn, now I want to level my warrior second.

- I just confused myself.

- Healed a bunch of garrosh kills again this week and the nerf to holy nova sucked.

- But holy nova is still extremely over powered at 90.

- Sure my HPS dropped to about 17K but that is way more than needed for heroic garrosh.

- I imagine someone being more involved than myself and a better player would be getting over 25K in my gear with it.

- I am just having too much fun bouncing around spamming holy nova to care about maximum output right now.

- As long as the boss goes down and I can continue bouncing all over the place with my holy ball of illuminated healing I am happy.

- Too bad holy nova sucks major league at 100.

- I remember doing dungeons on beta and hearing disc priest begging us to slow down and CC and pull one at a time because they had no AoE healing.

- Normals I am talking here, not even heroics.

- One priest sounded as if he was going to break down crying.

- They went on how they healed heroic (now mythic) garrosh on this character but they could not heal a normal mode dungeon on it.

- They were stressed out and you could tell it by their typing.

- And they sure sounded like they knew what they were talking about.

- Of course we worked as a team, our idea was to learn the fights and give feedback at the same time.

- We all left feedback at the end that our poor healer was in tears because a disc priest could not keep up with the AoE damage even when we were single pulling mobs.

- How is holy nova so insanely OP at 90 and so pitifully useless at 100.

- You would think one of these years blizzard would get better at balancing things so they work differently at different levels.

- That would be smarter than using one formula that is supposed to work for every level forever.

- Ten years and they still have not figured this out yet?

- Makes me wonder what the hell they are smoking over there.

- And more so, why are they not sharing.

- Have a great day.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cleaning Up for Release Day

With just a few short days left before the launch of warlords of draenor it is time I finish off the clean up on my characters to get ready for leveling.  It is not something I am just starting now.  I have been doing it a little here and there as the weeks have past, but with only a few days left I need to get my butt in high gear and maybe spend some time this weekend preparing and not soloing every instance ever made on all my characters for mounts.

Cleaning Out the Goods:

Since 6.0 was released I have been clearing out my timeless island items.  Sending cloth stuff to cloth enchanters, leather stuff to leather enchanters, mail stuff to mail enchanters and plate stuff to plate enchanters.  Usually I send some of the items to a server that is not my main, if I have the suitable enchanter there, and use the timeless pieces as a way to make some gold for those lesser played alts on servers where I do not have a lot of gold. It is like sending gold between servers.

Over the last few weeks I have made over 100,000 gold selling just sha crystals.  No, I am not exaggerating at all.  It is probably well over 100,000.  If I were approaching 150 it would not surprise me.  One character on a server where he was alone I sent over many mails filled with timeless island gear and converted it to items and then disenchanted it and sold the sha crystals and he went from having 13K gold to having 48K gold in the past 2 weeks.  Yes ladies and gentleman, 35K gold made just selling sha crystals from stuff I collected on timeless island.  And that is just one character of about 6 I have been selling sha crystals on like mad in the last few weeks.  By the time I get home he could be sitting at 55K if everything I listed last night sells.  He and 3 other enchanters on 3 other servers all listed 60 before I logged off. As high as 110 on some servers and low as 74 on others.

I am listing trillium bars, enchanting materials, anything that has a short life span that I know will go away when the expansion comes out.  Usually things like this go down in value at the end of an expansion but since 6.0 came out these things have only been going up.  I am not ashamed to admit I am milking this great turn of events for every bit that I can.  But I do not believe that this weird turn of events will continue when the new expansion comes out.  I do expect it to be the same as all others and when the new expansion comes out old stuff will be worthless, mostly.

I still have hundreds of timeless island pieces left and I do not think I will have time, or the demand, to sell all those sha crystals, but I could still make a fair deal of gold off them.  Just thinking about it, I still have more than 10 characters that never even opened their chests on the timeless island.  So if by some chance the crystals do sell, I always have a lot of characters to go back and restock.  Have to love having hundreds of thousands of gold just sitting there for the taking.  I think that is the only thing I will miss about timeless island.  The free gold for a tiny bit of effort.

I have to be careful however because as soon as warlords comes out sha crystals are basically vendor trash with no sell value.  So I do not want to over convert the timeless gear into materials.  I need to stay active and do them in small amount of 20 to 40 at a time or I will be left with a bunch of worthless crystals I would have been better off just vendoring the gear instead.  Heck, even at 15 gold or so each, it is still fair deal of gold I have sitting around in timeless gear and I am going to need it for my garrisons.

I am almost completely sold out on herbs and ore of all types, so this is just about crystals now in the last days.  I do have a few thousand leather however, but that doesn't seem to be selling for me.

Cleaning Out the Bags:

I did a lot of clean up when 6.0 first came out but there is still some room to make space.  I am going to sell off any food, potions, flasks, you name it, that are left in my bags.  Old stuff will be worthless shortly so might as well see if I can get something for it now, or I will just use it while leveling or vendor it.

There are also bits of junk I have sitting around to sell, like more than a few characters probably have an overgrown lilypad that I can vendor for a hundred gold.  I will also start selling off the off spec gear, or things I was holding on to "just in case" I needed it.  Also it is time to ditch all that PvP gear, the next time I will need it the gear would be so out of date I would be better off being in my PvE gear.

There are also a bunch of characters I need to head to the island of thunder on.  Still have keys that need using and will free up a bag space when I do so.  Not to mention I have dozens of the incantations of xxx items that need to be used.  Yes I can just throw them away, but it only takes a few seconds to kill the things and sometimes they drop stuff that sells for 20 or 30 gold and I am not the type that just throws away 20 or 30 gold.  So I need to clear them all out of my bags as well on my trip to the island of thunder and if I am going to be there anyway... why not.

Now that bones from the dinos are no longer soulbound I should make one character a catch all for them and send them all to that person.  Even if I have had the mount of ages, I could go back and get another pet.

Speaking of pets, I need to start cleaning up those.  Between imperial moths, sunreaver micro sentry, and the new iron starlet among other things I have pets on all my characters.  I have a bank alt on another server who has a guild bank filled with pets.  So I need to box them on that server, put them in the guild bank, go back to the character that has them, learn them, and then repeat the process until I get all the pets out of all those bags.  I'd say most of my characters have at least 2 pets on them, some have more, much more.

Cleaning Out the Quests:

I had a pattern I established after I leveled my first few characters that seemed to make every character have the same quest left sitting in their logs when they hit 90.  It was the one in townlong steeps where you talk to that plant guy and pull the thing out of his side.  It is the last thing I needed for the zone for loremaster, yes I always did all the townlong quests except that quest, so I might as well quickly run off and finish that quest line on all my characters that have it sitting there.  It won't take long now-a-days and quests are still nice money makers and more important, it will get the quest out of my quest log.  Most likely I will do this on my way to the island of thunder being I pass right by it on my way there.

There are also other quests sitting in my logs, some done and just need to turn them in, some quick to be done, some I will just abandon.  Either way, clearing up my quest log is usually a big part of the pre expansion ritual.

I have a few characters that are at various stages on timeless island quest like 35/50 epoch stones or 4/20 elites and I am not the type to just abandon them so I am going to head over there and finish them off.  Not to mention going to buy the trinket that returns me there for a few characters so I can pop by occasionally and kill some things trying to get the last of the 7 pieces I need for the need a bigger bag achievement.

I also want to make sure I get the blasted lands quests finished on all my characters and there are only a few days left for that.  I am putting the extra pets in my bank for sale later on being they will be gone from the game after this is done (or at least that is my understanding).  I think I have done 15 of my 20 90s and should have another character hit 90 this weekend, so that means I have 6 more to do.  The question is, which ones have I not done it on yet.  I have no clue.

I like to enter the new expansion with a clean quest book.  Not sure if others are that way, but knowing me and my desire for everything to be in order, can you blame me for putting this on my list of things that need cleaning up?

Cleaning Up the Crafting Materials:

I mentioned selling them off, but not cleaning them up.  There is a difference.  I am still a hoarder and I still like to have a nice supply of items on me if I want to make something old or level an alts professions.  This means I want to keep a few stacks of junk around.  But now a few stacks is a lot more material than it used to be with the increased stacking size to 200.

I have so many characters with so many bits and pieces of stuff on them and while I did do some work on condensing them onto one character when 6.0 came out there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

I want my reagents tab empty on all my characters when warlords comes out.  Yes, you heard that right.  That is how I am going to break things down for my characters.  The reagents tab is going to be for current expansion materials only.  As such, I need to make sure I sort everything out.

My main jewel crafter so far is the only one I would say is done.  Any character that had any gems on them has mailed them to her.  She has three gem bags on her which neatly fit all the original gems, bc gems, wrath gems, cataclysm gems and mists gems.  Thanks to stacks being 200 now, she even has a lot of room left over and her reagents tab is 100% empty and ready to roll for next expansion.

Every single one of my characters I would like to do this on.  Make catch all characters for everything, but not using their reagent tabs for the catching, using profession bags for the catching and leaving the reagent bags for the new content materials.

I will run into one road bump however with cloth as there is no cloth bag.  I always wondered why that is.  So I have to decide which of my tailors will end up using their reagent tab for cloth, or should I just use some royal satchels in the bank for that.  Decisions decisions.  I'll probably go the normal bag route.

Condensing all the materials and stacking them all nice and neat and sorted by expansion makes me happy.  It also makes it easy to find something when you need it, and who would not like that?

Cleaning Up the Skills:

I always say I march to the beat of a different drummer and this is the perfect case of that.  I do things differently when questing than I do when raiding or soloing or PvPing.  As such, if I know that questing is going to be my main focus for a bit of time, like it will be when the expansion comes out, I will change around my key binds to be better suited for what I am doing.

Being I have no intention of doing dungeons, raiding, soloing or PvP while I am leveling and I am going to go straight to 100 and then moving on to complete loremaster, that means I am going to need to change some things around.

I will switch some talents out.  I will change my key binds to be more "quest friendly".  For example (not like it matters any longer) things like hunters mark or serpent sting I would not even have anywhere near my normal binds because I would never really use them while questing.  I keep it short and sweet when leveling as far as abilities go.

This expansion also bring another aspect to it with all the changes there have been.  Looking at the classes and deciding what I want to level as.  I will most likely go shadow on my priests to level and being I have not changed to shadow even for a second since 6.0 I will need to do so and get my bars ready.  Same with my shaman and elemental but at least with my shaman the questing and raiding binds are mostly the same because elemental doesn't have many buttons to begin with.  I'll also need to see if leveling as a tank will be viable because I usually do on my tanks.  If it isn't I will need to set myself up with a nice and easy leveling skill set for them.  One of my druids would be the only problem for me as it has no DPS spec, only tanking and healing.

Some people never put much thought into these things or will use their normal set up.  But as I said, I am different.  And as such, I have different binds for different things I do.  I move them around depending on what I am doing to be more comfortable for me.  Whatever floats my boat right?

Also.  Have to make sure all my characters have 3 mounts bound.  Normal land mount, vendor land mount and water walking mount.  Not like we will need the latter often if at all (I'll talk more about that in my leveling post), but I like to have it.

Then there is the issue of skills and for many classes the skills you might use while leveling would be different from those that you use for anything else and I would rather decide on them before hand then be thinking about it at the last minute.

This weekend for me will be about closing out mists.  Sometimes, for me at least, getting ready for the next expansion is just as much about saying goodbye to the last one as it is getting ready for the new one.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ideas for Planning My Hunters Garrisons + The Perfect Build for Everyone.

Please join me while I explore what I intend to do with my garrison, at least on a few of my hunters. I will go over my main hunter of course as well as hunters with two crafting professions and hunters with two gathering professions.  Horde and alliance side and on servers with other characters and solo.  Each garrison will of course have a different impact on the character based on the supporting staff they have on that server.  And make sure to check the last one, what I believe to be the perfect raiders build for a hunter, even if that character is the only character you have.

Welcome to my Garrison:

This is my intended garrisons first incarnation
The main hunter:

Theses are the buildings one of my hunters (main with support) will be moving into warlords with.  This, of course, will not be the final incarnation of my hunters garrison, this is just my starting one.  I intend to change some buildings over time.  As this is my main hunter I will likely bounce some buildings for achievements here because this is the hunter I will likely spend the most time on.  For the record the professions this hunter has are herbalism and alchemy.

I will explain my entire process of thinking with all these buildings and my intentions on when I will be changing them, perhaps so you can read into the method of my madness and get some ideas of your own.

The buildings that I will have from the start are as follows:

Base Buildings:  Town Hall, Garden, Mine, Fishing Shack, and Pet Menagerie.
Small Buildings: Alchemy Lab, Enchanters Study, and Salvage Yard.
Medium Buildings: Trading Post and Lunarfall Inn.
Large Buildings: Barracks and Stables.

The reasoning behind my small buildings:

The salvage yard will help me gear up my followers so I can do better missions.  It seems almost like a no brainer to have something in your garrison from the start that can help your followers because your followers will end up helping you in return.

The alchemy lab makes sense because I am an alchemist of course.  It will allow me to make additional items that are required for the larger flasks and those flasks, even more so in the first tier of raiding, will be a pretty large boost to what we are capable of doing.

The third small building was a bit of a decision for me to make because as it seems if you do not have the profession to go along with a small building the professions small buildings are pretty much useless.  If you could trade the special crafting materials I would most definitely have taken a tannery, but being you can't, and the storehouse feels like a complete waste of space, the next best thing is the enchanters study.

Lets not forget that the enchanters study is, without a doubt, the best hunter fill in building.  Why is that you might ask?  Because the only things you can not make with the enchanters study that an actual enchanter can make are weapon enchants and guess what, hunters do not need weapon enchants.  So we can effectively get all of our enchanting done 100% with the enchanters study.  For a hunter, the enchanters study is like a complete and full profession without having the profession.  No other class can claim that of any profession building, cool, huh?

Add to the fact I solo a lot on my hunters and you can disenchant items in the enchanters study.  So it would be a good idea to have one to get extra materials.  Even more so when you think that a main, or a character you play often, will end up with a lot of gear won from coins that you do not need, so having a way to disenchant that gear you can not send to your enchanter seems like a solid idea to me.  Well, that, and there are really no other decent small buildings.

The reasoning behind my medium buildings:

The trading post is a must have, and so is getting that auction house going ASAP.  It will save me a lot of time running back to the city to put stuff up for auction and from previous experiences of expansions past there is a lot of money to be made from really impatient people that will willing pay 800 gold for something today that will be listing for 20 gold in a few weeks time.

Also the trading post will help me make sure I can keep up with the flow of garrison resources I will need being I expect to level quickly meaning I will probably run out of garrison supplies pretty fast.

The second medium building, the Inn, is one of those buildings I know is a part time building the second I build it.  I am adding it for one reason and one reason only.   To get everything I can out of it and get rid of it.  I will keep the building long enough to get any achievements tied to it, do all the dungeon quests to get all the goodies tied to them, and recruit a bunch of followers for the weeks that I do have it.  Once I have everything, and enough followers recruited to ensure I can get the 40 follower achievement and once I finish the other things, I will ditch the Inn and move along to another medium building.

The reason I decided on the Inn first of all the medium buildings I plan to rotate my way through was two fold.  One being that my first character will most likely be doing more dungeons than any other because it will need the gear.  So doing the dungeon quests on it makes more sense being it will be doing dungeons to begin with.  The second is that I want to get a full group of followers ASAP and get them leveled and geared as fast as I can.  While I could have used one of the other building as my first medium that I will rotate through, this one just made the most sense to be the first one to do because it has no lasting effects once you have gotten everything from it that it offers.

Depending on how things are looking, I will either end up with the barn for the savage blood creation so I can either sell it or craft some gear for my non raiding alts being savage blood is not bound or the gladiator's sanctum for some skull bashing fun.  Even if I am not into PvP generally, this option does seem to really appeal to me for some reason and will most likely be the building I end up with when all is said and done in a medium spot.

The reasoning behind my large buildings:

You start with the barracks anyway and it is not a bad building at all, so might as well keep it.  It will give me more missions for my followers and that will help them level faster.  Then once it is level 2 I can start working on my bodyguards and leveling them up.

As a hunter I am considering using a healer as my bodyguard I level first because it could offer me some heals while still at that low geared just hit 100 phase and that might be needed.  But also because the healer follower, once level 3, will have the portable mission table, which at the beginning will be the most useful additional ability any of the bodyguards can offer me.  While I am out achievement hunting, treasure hunting, fishing to get nat pagle as a follower, I will be able to call the mission table with my healer and send followers out on new missions instead of having to return to the garrison to do so and if you are looking to level them as quick as possible starting a new mission as soon as the old one ended is the best way to do that.

After that one is leveled, and most of my followers are leveled and it is not so pressing to start new missions ASAP I will level the bodyguard with the summon ability because lets face it, having the ability to summon a friend to you is pretty darn awesome, wouldn't you say?

For the second building I decided on the stables because capturing and training wild beasts is what I do.  I am a hunter after all.  At first I did not consider the stables a good option but as I did more research it seems to be the best option for a character that is a main or is played a lot and more so one that you will be on a lot before flying is added to the game, if it ever is.

The 20% mounted bonus of course is a huge plus but that does not come until you have a level 3 stables.  First you have to hunt down and capture and tame a bunch of mounts and who better to do that than a hunter, more so a hunter that is a main character which means they will be better geared, thus better suited for the task at hand.

Once flying is added I will ditch this building, as I am sure I will be done with all the quests, achievements and such associated with it, and pick up the gnomish gearworks doing all those achievements and then finishing it off with the mage tower most likely.  Even with flying, getting around fast is not a bad idea to have just sitting there waiting for you.

A double gathering setup


The double gathering hunter:

As a skinner / herbalist on a server with no support system being a solo character there this character will be left in the wind not really being able to craft much of anything for itself.  Being my main hunter and a few other alts will be taking care of all the achievements, this hunters set up will most likely be what he ends up with.

Base Buildings:  Town Hall, Garden, Mine, Fishing Shack, and Pet Menagerie.
Small Buildings: The Tannery, Enchanters Study, and Salvage Yard.
Medium Buildings: Trading Post and Barn.
Large Buildings: Barracks and Dwarven Bunker.

The reasoning behind my small buildings:

Once again the enchanters study for the above mentioned reasons.  Even more so being this character has no support system on the server so making their own enchants can save a bit of gold.  The tannery works because one of the gathering professions is skinning.  While I will only be able to make 640 pieces because I do not have leather working I can sell additional 640 pieces and save that gold to purchase the upgrade items, if need be.

The reasoning behind my medium buildings:

The trading post is for the same reasons mentioned above.  The barn is because I will need some way to generate a fair bit of cash flow so I can buy upgrades to the gear I craft should I need it, or just gold in general is always good if I don't, and savage blood will be the golden goose for the beginning of the game so we might as well squeeze as much gold out of it as we can.

The reasoning behind my large buildings:

The barracks for the same reasons as mentioned above.  The dwarven bunker because I can get more follower upgrade pieces and for any character that might not be entering raids right away having followers well geared up is a great way to help gear your character, slowly sure, but still a plus.

A double crafter setup

The double crafting hunter:

This is an engineering and leather working hunter that has some support.

Base Buildings:  Town Hall, Garden, Mine, Fishing Shack, and Pet Menagerie.
Small Buildings: The Tannery, Engineering Works, and Salvage Yard.
Medium Buildings: Trading Post and Barn.
Large Buildings: Barracks and Dwarven Bunker.

The only difference:

This will end up being my default set up for alts.  It has both the salvage yard and dwarven bunker to help gear them up and the barracks to allow for more followers to be active.  The main difference for the double crafting hunter is that he will have both buildings that match his crafting profession and the salvage yard as his third small building.  If the hunter happens to be on a server without an enchanter to support it with enchants than I could remove the salvage yard and add the enchanters study and not lose too much being I still have the dwarven bunker to get some follower gear.



The perfect set up:

If you are a raider and a hunter and you are looking for the perfect set up this is what I would suggest.  This set up would work if you are with a support staff on the server or on a server all by yourself.  This build is designed for the hunter that will be downing raid bosses the second the raids are released and clearing content rather quickly, at least at normal mode and even better if you do heroic and mythic.  This means it is missing any way to make the crafted gear as you would have no need for it being normal and higher all drop better gear than anything you could make.  You would need to have jewelcrafting and engineering as your professions to take complete advantage for the perfect set up.

Base Buildings:  Town Hall, Garden, Mine, Fishing Shack, and Pet Menagerie.
Small Buildings: Gem Boutique, Engineering Works, and Enchanters Study.
Medium Buildings: Trading Post and Barn.
Large Buildings: Stables or Barracks and Dwarven Bunker.

The reasoning behind this build:

Being you will be downing raid bosses crafting your own gear is of little use.  Even at the best level crafted gear is only 665, which is below even normal mode raiding, so there is no need to even care about crafting your own gear.  The same goes for followers.  You will, or should, not be counting on them to help gear your character so having  buildings specifically meant to help your followers gear up are not really required but you will still be able to do so with the dwarven bunker around, if you wish.  I would say it is worth it anyway, even if not required. 

The small buildings would match your professions which should be jewel crafting and engineering to make this work.  The third building is the enchanting study.  The reasoning for these two professions and the third building should be pretty clear.

These three small buildings will make your character completely self sufficient.  You will be able to make your own scopes, your own gems and your own enchants.  Being the only enchants you can not make with the study are weapon ones and we do not need them, that means we can get everything covered with this make up.  It is also why it works so well for even a solo hunter on a server all by themselves.  Because they do not ever need to seek out anything to buy, they will be able to make everything themselves.

The reason for the stables is because a speed increase is nice, but you really could replace it with something else if you wish, the barracks is the next solid option, almost tied and maybe better.  Stables or barracks will come down more to the individual, neither is a bad choice. The reason for the barn is to make some gold.  People will need savage blood, they will need it in large amounts, might as well take some advantage of it and with your trading post, and by process auction house, you can list it as soon as you get it.
With the dwarven bunker giving you one coin a week, the trading post easily making the garrison resources for another one each week, and the savage blood surely being capable of buying you the third coin each week after they sell, you effectively get all three extra rolls for free each week.  Nice work hunter, and all done without any need to be on for more than raid night alone.

I have 2 of my 3 solo hunters that are all alone on their servers which will be switching professions to this set up, and being you only need to be level 1 of a profession to do everything I mentioned, anyone can change if they want to.  Remember, all you need to do is raid normal to make this a good set up where you can keep yourself perfectly gemmed, enchanted, and ready to rock and roll without any support what so ever.  Some might say, this building really can turn warcraft into a single player game.

The perfect build for non hunters

This build works for you as well.  You would need to have jewel crafting and enchanting as your professions to cover everything you need.  Your two small buildings would be the gem boutique and enchanters study to go along with your professions of course.  Your third small building could be a choice for you.  Salvage yard would be what I suggest but making a storehouse, if you wish, or even an alchemy lab, might not be too horrible of an idea.  While you will not be able to make the big flasks you can make the small flasks needed to make big ones and then pay an alchemist to complete it for you.  Either way, this is the perfect solo play raider build for non hunters.

So, what are you building?