Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alts, and playing the Auction House

In addition to the tanking I was doing a couple of days ago, I'm currently in the process of migrating back to Jubei'Thos, my first server, in order to play with my two brothers.

Jubei'Thos has a much more active (albeit overinflated) auction house economy than Saurfang, as well, which gives me a lot more opportunities for making good money.

Saurfang's AH was so deflated that I had to undercut to the point of barely above vendor price, in order to sell anything, whereas Jubei'Thos overinflation is much better for me. It means that I have room to undercut substantially, while still making good money.

A long held dream of mine within WoW, has been a scenario where, of the ten allowable toons on a single server, I have one or two which I actively play, with the rest being alts that are permanently posted in zones with valuable gathering materials.

My daily WoW routine would then consist of gathering a set quota of each of these materials, and then mailing them back to a single bank alt for sale on the auction house, as well as possibly having each of them do the six relatively simple (Shadow Vault/Death's Rise) Icecrown dailies.

If I was able to somehow achieve the goal of 10 80 characters, this would result in a daily income of 600-800 gold, purely from these dailies, and parallel farming could potentially triple that.

My focus at the moment, then, is attempting to discover the most rapid possible means of levelling characters. I am traditionally one of the slowest levellers around, and so I've been attempting to find information which will help me change that.

The first thing which has helped, is that I remembered yesterday that I had an old copy of Joana's Horde Levelling Guide on the hard drive of my other machine. In addition to following that, I picked up a very interesting tip at another website, as well.

This tip was the suggestion to not only do the earliest starting quests in Durotar, but also to then go to Deathknell in Tirisfal, and the Eversong Woods, and do both of those sets of starting quests as well.

With the alt that I'm currently levelling, I'd already started the character, so I couldn't follow this advice completely, but I was able to follow it partially.

I levelled to 12 in Kalimdor, and then went back and did several Tirisfal Glades quests. Since I was substantially above the usual level range for these quests, I went through them easily, while still amassing a large amount of experience for them. I then returned to the Barrens and continued there at around level 14.

Joana's guide is going to be a particular Godsend for me once I get out of the Barrens as well, because truthfully I've never been entirely sure on what the most rapid path is from there. With Mirsh, I primarily went through Thousand Needles/Mirage Raceway, then Desolace, then Tanaris, then Un'Goro, and then going up through Felwood/Winterspring.

I've been trying to decide which character class, if any, to standardise on for a farming alt, as well. I'm actually levelling a Rogue at the moment, and levelling with it seems to be marginally faster than what I've experienced with a Hunter.

Stealth and backstab makes killing some large mobs easier as well, but I'm finding I need to plan pulls very carefully, because I tend to die if anything goes wrong. I know I should be using a sword, but dual daggers are so much fun that it's difficult to want to change. ;)

I've also had the idea of creating an army of Mages. That would be glorious as well, due to the teleportation capability, but in my own experience, the Mage is among the slowest levelling classes in the game, and is also comparitively poor at soloing instances.

I'd love having a Paladin for AoE farming, as well, but levelling one of those, again seems slow to the point of being painful. So I think I'm probably going to stick with the Rogue for the time being.

If anyone else has advice on any of the topics I've mentioned here, please add it in my comments. You might end up helping someone other than just me. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

On the RMT pet store

As Gundersson pointed out in the comments here, two posts ago, Blizzard earlier this month opened an RMT store selling minipets.

Gundersson mentioned having finally cancelled his account in response to this; that it was the last straw. So how do I feel about it?

I've never cared about minipets in this game; I view them as being almost entirely pointless. One or two of them (the Booty Bay parrots, primarily) might add what I would consider aesthetic flavour, perhaps, but very few of them.

More generally, it is also no particular secret that the bean counters are firmly in charge of the direction of World of Warcraft, these days. That probably became true at the time of the release of TBC, which is when the merger with Vivendi happened from memory, and is also when the original live team left the game.

That was also, I suspect, the point when Tom Chilton really took over, and we had the Arena as a consequence. There are a few people left who are possibly naive enough to believe that Ghostcrawler has some genuine control of things, but as Brigwyn has pointed out, in reality, GC isn't much more than a mouthpiece for Chilton, who became sufficiently hated by players that it was no longer really prudent for him to visit the forums directly. During TBC, I can actually remember Chilton having been issued with death threats on his answering machine, according to a forum post.

To be honest though, I'm at the point where I'm past caring about the suits running the game into the ground, myself. Yes, I know they're doing it, and yes, I know eventually they will probably succeed at finishing the job entirely; but for the time being, it is still possible for me to viably find things within the game that I enjoy doing, so I'm proceeding on that basis. The RMT pet store, then, is not going to cause me to quit.

Truth be told, though, it's felt as though the ground has been shrinking beneath my feet for a while now; 2.3 was when the rot truly started to set in.

I've very largely abandoned the Hunter as a class, at this point, but am, as I've written, in the process of discovering tanking and healing, and I suspect those two activities will keep me busy for some time yet.

I will likely only truly consider leaving when a) tanking is sufficiently damaged as to become inviable, and/or b) a substantially better alternative to WoW comes along, although I probably wouldn't move to that unless I knew a few of my readers at least (Rilgon, Pike, possibly Gundersson, Efri) were moving to it as well. There has always been a very vague, remote outside possibility of me moving to EverQuest, but that grows increasingly less likely as time goes by.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

On the service roles

Last night I noticed Pike's most recent post, about how she has branched out into raid healing.

Possibly feeling inspired by it, (although I've been planning on taking up tanking, as I've already written) today after tanking another 5 man Uldaman run, I logged on with a level 28 blood elf Paladin in Hillsbrad who I haven't played with in probably close to a year now, specced Holy, and asked if anyone wanted a healer while questing.

What followed was a fairly enjoyable (if at times a little slow) 2-2.5 hours where I acted as buffer/healer for a feral Druid, during probably three or so quests.

After having done this, it made me realise why I gave the game up for nearly a year, as well as the reason why I never really got into raiding.

I need to purge my ego. Egotism was what really stopped me raiding. A certain amount of individualism is vital, yes; but in my own case, I've allowed that to go too far, for far too long. It's as much the reason why I've been socially isolated offline, as it is the reason why things never really took off for me within World of Warcraft.

I also realise that this is the true reason why there has always been a tank and healer shortage in this game, as well.

Tanking and healing (moreso healing) are largely selfless roles. Healing can be reasonably stimulating if you're having to move quickly, and so is a challenge in that sense, but for the most part, it's a scenario where you're doing something that enables someone else to have fun.

Most people prefer a scenario where they can be in the spotlight; where they can do something which, in an immediate and visible way, their ego is going to be gratified. There are, if we're honest, two overt measures of a person's fundamental worth in this game, in most people's eyes; either their gear, or their place on the DPS meter.

I wanted that myself, and I went further, in refusing, even as a Hunter, to be even temporarily flexible in the name of what might have been more genuinely supportive of other people.

I need to start learning, if I can, to put the welfare of a team first, and my own desires second. Other people will respond to this and urge caution, no doubt, and I appreciate that.

The truth is, however, that I've gone about as far as I can at this point, following the, "me first!" route. I've hit a brick wall.

I can keep doing nothing but solitary farming, and clinging to (for me) a dying spec, and never experience anything other than loneliness, boredom to the point where I normally simply log out of the game within half an hour, and a lack of fulfillment due to not moving on to new forms of activity; things which I haven't tried before.

Or, I can realise and acknowledge, that it's now time for something to change. I can become a tank, and experience the subsequent additional maturity which the level of responsibility involved with that will bring.

I don't have any illusions; it's not going to be easy. Even doing Uldaman earlier today was hard; we wiped a number of times at first. I had to zoom right out, in order to have a full 360 degree view, and I had to start pulling carefully, and paying serious attention. Once I did that though, we did not wipe again.

The task I set for myself, first with Ultima Online, and secondly with this game, was to use them as venues where I could learn to relate to other human beings in an effective and beneficial way. So far, my success on that score has only been very partial. I have this blog, and I'm proud of that, yes; but the reason why I haven't ended up doing much raiding in the past, if I'm truly honest, is because I always put my own desires ahead of those of anyone else.

If I'm going to continue to grow, and if I'm going to learn to truly reach out to other human beings, I'm going to need to learn to do something different on that score.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blowing the dust off

You probably thought this blog was dead.

I'd forgive you if you did. Truthfully, I think I've thought the same at times, over the last couple of months. I'm also aware, from what I've been reading at least, that although I've essentially been on hiatus since January, there are very few people who've been playing since pre-TBC, now left.

There's a major reason why I've been out of the game for so long though, which doesn't have anything to do with WoW itself. The video card in my primary computer has bad memory. I can't play WoW with it (or any 3d game/application, for that matter) for more than probably 90 minutes at the most, and sometimes no more than half an hour, without it causing the entire computer to freeze up.

However, a couple of months ago I was able to get a second computer, which I'm dedicating purely to WoW. It took a while to get it set up, but over the last few days, I've started playing again. The video card isn't great, either; but most importantly, it works. I can get around 35 fps at 1024x768 most of the time, and for me, that's good enough.

I'm creating an alt Draenei Warrior to do some tanking with my younger brother on Barthilas, and also have an Orc Warrior for grouping on my main server, Saurfang.

Mirsh probably isn't going to get played much from here on out; for farming, yes, and maybe some battleground pvp, but the character's days as a main are probably over. My focus now is going to be on tanking, more than anything else.

My Orc Warrior on Saurfang, Braag, is using a Fury/Protection spec. He's still mainly Prot, but I love the 16 or so points in Fury, for all the extra Rage it gives me. I tanked Uldaman with him yesterday while levelling him, and it really helped. We had one wipe, but it happened due to me getting overwhelmed and burst to death very quickly; largely unavoidable.

Also, I know I haven't mentioned this before, but for anyone who doesn't already know this, the links under the Basic Training section of this blog, are almost completely obsolete. Truthfully I've got no idea who to recommend you go to, in order to learn to play a Hunter now; maybe try the forums.

EDIT: As Brigwyn has reminded me in the comments, his site ( is still up, and apparently he is still playing, and thus can still offer guidance. :)

For now's long past the time,
Of last adventures.
Twilight long since darkened,
Into night.

Most of Azeroth's few greats
Have left us.
In the forum, no known name,
Is left in sight.

Yet though reason compels me,
To go likewise,
A greater force demands,
I stay and fight.