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August 2009

At Long Last...Candy Gets a Croc!


After years of trying (Yes, YEARS) my druid finally obtained her first crocolisk pet! A big TY! goes out to Elvenia for dropping me a note to let me know it was today's quest.

El and I were master fisherwomen by the time we hit 70 and we both did the fishing dailies every day, lamenting our inability to catch one of these elusive mini pets. But today, El got her first croc, and told me to get my butt out to Shatt and to pick up the quest.

One down, three more to go...

Friday Five: Five Easy Ways to Give Back to Your Guild


At the end of a busy week, it's easy to veg out at the computer playing baby alts or farming for pets. All worthwhile pursuits, mind you. But you could also just as easily take that chill out time and use it for the common good. Here are some ideas for ways to give back to your guild that can keep on giving:

  1. Make a list of all the rare patterns you have, including links out to the materials required for crafting them, and post it on your guild forums. 
  2. Clean out the excess fish/meat from your bank and use up some of the Dalaran Spices you've been hoarding and donate the resulting feasts and specialty foods to the guild bank.
  3. Drop your raid leader or GM a note to let them know you appreciate their time and efforts. You would be surprised how infrequently they receive a thank you rather than a wall of whining in their mailbox.
  4. Put your crafting professions to use and add some items to the guild bank: craft netherweave bags, gems, less expensive but still viable enchants, glyphs, or whatever common item you can make that folks need on an ongoing basis.
  5. Take some alts on a run through a lowbie instance. Leveling sucks! Be an alt's hero for the day by taking 15 minutes to run them through SFK/VC (or going on a regular Northrend dungeon run for that matter). This good karma may even come back to you some day.
What are some other ways you've given back to your guild?

It's not Vile Sorcery...It's the Badge Gear!

Since 3.2 dropped, I've noticed something afoot in my raids and 5-mans. And on WoW-Heroes for that matter. Our tanks are staying alive easier. Our healers yawn into their palms in heroic ToC. Suddenly our gear level is on par with being ready to step into 25-man ToC...but it's not vile sorcery -- it's the badge gear!

Don't get me wrong -- our guild has a number of skilled players who have been making serious efforts in raids all year long. But this past week was the first night that we ever cleared every boss up to Vezax in 3 hours and 15 minutes. We didn't all suddenly have more skill, or more experience. But we did have significant gear upgrades all around.

I personally upgraded my Naxx 10 OH in Ulduar, then used badges to upgrade my Naxx  25 chest to T8.5 and my T8 helm to 8.5. That may not sound like much upgrade-wise, but I can tell you my WoW Heroes suggested instances jumped to the highest available tier (as did a solid 30 of my guildies.) Previously, we had closer to 10 at that level, and I was not one of them.

Yes, I saw Gevlon's experiment with his raid of blue-clad (tho as he admitted class/buff optimized group). And they did great DPS. But I have also been raiding for well over 3 years now, through AQ in vanilla, to BT in BC, and now through Yogg Saron in Ulduar, and I can tell you for sure that a big dose of gear upgrades does make a visible impact on your raid. No, it can't take a mediocre group of layabouts and hand them success. But it can give you the extra bit of avoidance and dps and healing you need to push you into success.

As my raid leader Garkas said to me last week: "The line between success and failure can be a thin one." I'm glad Blizzard gave us all that extra edge -- and the lockout period extensions -- to help casual guilds like ours achieve our dreams.

Once I have time to catch my breath, I'll be posting a guide to upgrades to shoot for with your Conquest and Triumph badges.

Happy  Adventuring!

Good Reading: Sawyer's Guides to Pally Life

As a shadow priest, having a pally tank in a run makes me happy -- it gives me free license to mind sear away! Ah, the joys of a good AOE tank...

One of my favorite tanks to run with has just updated her guides over on her LJ for 3.2. They merit a read whether you are starting out on your pally, or looking to be raid ready:

I hope to find some guides like this for my baby mage soon.

Leveling my Mage 58-68 in the Post-patch 3.2 World


In two weeks of moderate playing, that also included a significant amount of raiding and Conquest badge farming on my main, my baby mage sped from 58 through the Dark Portal to Outlands, and up to 68 and into Northrend this weekend. This is thanks primarily to the many alt leveling changes that dropped in Patch 3.2.

Despite my long-standing dislike of Hellfire Peninsula, I forced the mage to start there, knowing it would quickly provide her with significant staff, hat, and boot upgrades. I did not need the chestpiece since she is rocking the new badge heirloom chest in addition to the shoulders. Together, these pieces provide a 20% XP increase from both questing and killing monsters. This is on top of any rested increases she had from time-to-time.

As soon as she dinged 60, she purchased her flying mount, now available at Thrallmar. This was the final key component to her zooming through the next 8 levels.

I cherry-picked my way through my favorite quests in Hellfire, Zangermarsh, Terrokar Forest, and Nagrand, hitting all the key quests with gear upgrades. I made sure to stop over in Mok'Nathal for the cooking recipe quests, and in Netherstorm for the cool pink goggles. I fully explored the map in each zone, grabbing the flight paths too. Each uncovered zone netted 1200 or so XP on average; in my final day in Outland as I finished up and got the Outland exploration achievement, I earned a solid 6 bars from exploring alone.

Some reminders for mages in this leveling phase:

  • Be sure to go back to Ashzara any time after 60 to quest for your polymorph pig spell
  • You can learn your Shattrath teleport at 60, then the portal at 65 
  • Especially if you have the boost from badge gear, keep up your mage armor at most times; the extra mana regen can keep you going from evocation cooldown to evocation cooldown, instead of having to drink every few pulls

I have not yet started any Northrend questing, but I did go through a few essential ready steps:

  • My 80 sent her the heirloom tome of cold weather flight(costs $1,000 g from the cold weather flying trainer in Dalaran) so she could immediately start flying at 68
  • I flew from Vengeance landing to Moa'ki Harbor, then up to Dalaran, grabbing flight paths as I went
  • Once in Dalaran, I set my hearth there (can train for the teleport at 71)
  • Got started on the cooking dailies
It will be interesting to see if her leveling velocity stays the course now that she is in Northrend, or if it is slowed down by virtue of having more folks out there jockeying for quest mobs, etc.

Follow Friday Five

I read WoW blogs here and there when things catch my eye on the aggregator feeds, and have a core couple dozen I read regularly. In the spirit of Follow Friday, I bring you five blogs I love reading, in no particular order.

  1. Too Many Annas. I'm not an RPer, which is a key focus point of the blog, but I love reading her thoughtful, well-written blog regardless. Great archive articles on shaman healing too. Whenever I see a twitter link to a new post, I happily click through.
  2. Pink Pigtail Inn. As a former journalist, I can relate to her occasional curmudgeonly annoyance with what passes for "journalism" on news sites sometimes, and enjoy her musings on things like how often Yogg Saron dies daily or the return on investment from your $15 per month versus all the other  entertainment out there, this site almost always gives me something to think about.
  3. Pugnacious Priest. One of the more prolific priesty bloggers I read. I wonder what she was drinking when she wrote the Crazy Cat Lady's personal ad. And I mean that in a good way. And her Ulduar cheat sheet for Shadow Priests means I don't have to write one myself. Huzzah!
  4. The Greedy Goblin. The first thing I learned from this site, back in the day, was to *always* got to Halaa and check the crappy weapon vendor so I could buy and DE his green weapons and make a tidy profit. After that I was hooked on coming here regularly to see if there were any fine tunings I could do to help finance my pricey professions or my big splurges (mechano hog, mini pets.) I don't always agree, but I always leave with food for thought/profit.
  5. I Like Bubbles. At this point, I can not count how often this lady has made me laugh out loud while reading my twitter feed. the blog is like that too, with many a rant thrown in for good fun. And the Flow Chart Fridays are not to be missed.
And after typing this all out, I see we are estrogen-heavy on this list, which was not by design. Just means the ladies are ruling this Follow Friday. have a good one!

Mark Your Calendar: September 19 is Pirate Day!

Pirates hold a special place in my heart for many reasons (i.e.Captain Jack Sparrow, my guild name, etc.) And apparently the same is true of Blizzard as well: September 19 is Pirate Day. Go check your in game calendar if you don't believe me.

Coinciding with the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day, it's unclear what the day's festivities will entail exactly, tho there is a new achievement for carousing with pirates: The Captain's Booty. So save up your rum...and get your pirate costume ready....ARRRRRR Mateys.

P.S. Landlubbers should brush up on their pirate lingo over the next month.

9/19 UPDATE: Talk to a pirate in any capital city (sadly, none in Dalaran) for a 60 minute pirate costume to get youself in the mood.

Rolling With the Punches vs. Taking Your Toys and Going Home

Yesterday morning, I was chatting with a friend who is still in the same raiding guild I started my raiding career with over three years ago. When I asked her how their progress was going, and how she liked the new raid, I was surprised to hear things were up in the air: their two primary raid leaders had pretty much stopped playing.

Me: "Why has [MT] stopped playing? Was he mad that pally tanks kick warrior tanks butts now?"

Her: "Well...he was getting mad that [PallyTank] pulled off him and tanuted his mobs a few too many times and refuses to raid with him. And since [PallyTank] has pretty much been our MT...he's almost never on."

Me: "Right. So this is just like right before BC came out when he said his shaman will be his new main until Blizzard 'fixes it so warriors are the best tanks again.'"

Her: "I forgot about that..."

Me: "Yeah well since his crazy is why I left the's been funny to see this specific issue crop up repeatedly. The funny part is, if he looked past his wounded ego and read MMO champion on any blue trackers, he'd see that [PallyTank] isn't intentionally doing any of that, as I am sure he has told [MT]. It's a known issue Blizzard actually *is* going to fix."

The moral to this story? World of Warcraft is a game. It's supposed to be fun. So when you find yourself on the verge of flipping out over something you think someone else is doing to you intentionally, calm down and zip your mouth. Log off for a while if you need to. You are not always right. Also, just as in real life, change is a constant. Today's hot DPS class is tomorrow's wallflowers. Yesterday's tank glut is tomorrow's tank famine. But the bridges you burn today, freaking out without knowing all the facts, often stay burnt.

Friday Five: Five Nice Changes for Your Alts

In the past week+ since 3.2 dropped I've seen that many folks were not aware of the many awesome changes in the patch that positively affect alts and leveling. And thus, I bring you today's five great changes for your alts:

  • Inventory your badges and buy your favorite alt their BOA chest with 10% experience boost. If you have more than 1 alt that is a spellcaster, buy the cloth version so you can share them back-and-forth when the mood to play strikes. YES you really can share them with multiple alts-- that's totally the point! And the 10% bonus XP from the shoulders stacks with the chest making leveling a lot less of a chore.
  • Get thee to the stables! Chances are your alt is now eligible for a mount: Apprentice Riding (Skill 75) can now be learned at level 20 for 4 gold; Journeyman Riding (Skill 150) can now be learned at level 40 for 50 gold.That's right -- epic land mounts to help you zip around as you quest!
  • Get ready to fly your way through Outlands and Northrend. Your level 60 may purchase Expert Riding (Skill 225) for 600 gold from trainers in Honor Hold or Thrallmar. Then, your 80 can purchase the Tome of Cold Weather Flight which will allow you level 68 alt to start flying through Northrend a sollid 9 levels before you were able to do so. Unfortunately, it is consumed upon use unike the other Heirloom BoA items.
  • If you have a baby druid at level 16, run them over to the druid trainer to buy Travel Form. If not, enjoy knowing that you too will save some travel time for your alts thanks to the Azeroth postal system finally adding some more mailboxes to the major ities that previously had one gridlocked box.
  • The days of running to the Blasted Lands to get to the Dark Portal and doing the death ride to Shattrath are over. The portal areas in all major cities now provide a portal to the Blasted Lands that pops you out in view of the Dark Portal. And after crossing through the Dark Portal, players can access a flight path directly from the Stair of Destiny to Shattrath.
Overall, a nice selection of time-saving changes that will make leveling your next alt a lot less painful. Thank you Blizz!

Another Coliseum Boss Bites the Dust


We took down Lord Jaraxxus tonight on our second attempt. And two-shotted the Northrend Beasts (we had a tank and a dps who had not seen the fight before who needed a warm-up round.) Very proud of the guildies!

So far, there haven't been any special shadow priesty twists to these fights. Not that I miss MCing bosses because I assure you I do not.

I did have a nub moment where the paralytic poison killed me b/c I misheard our RL and thought he was telling us *not* to run to the tank unless he called for us to do so. So yeah. Cough. No harm, no foul. And ty to the kind Druid for the BR.

Ding! My First Post-patch 60 Takes the Plunge...

This past Sunday, my baby mage hit 58 and you know what that means...she heeded the call to trek to Outlands. Only, it's not quite the same epic journey you might remember it to have been. Rather than flying to Swamp of Sorrows then making the long trek by slow mount to the Dark Portal, she hopped into the convenient Dark Portal portal in Org, and hopped on her epic bony pony and ran through the portal. Once on the other side, she hopped on a gryph, went all the way to Shattrath, and set her hearth there.

It was not your old timer's first day in Outlands. And to be honest it was sort of a letdown to have that epicness diminished by convenience. However, given that this is the sixth character I've taken to Outlands...the epicness, for me, at this point, is somewhat less important than getting it done already.

Thanks to her BoA chest and shoulders with their 10% XP boost a piece, and to my SO for running me through Stratholme so I could complete all my quests, Monday night I dinged 60. 

Dinging 60 had been a meh experience on my last alt, an Alliance priest, during BC. It just meant I had another 10 levels to slog through to get to level cap and start raiding with her. This time was different.

The absolute first thing I did was learn my Tome of Plymorph: Rabbit, which had languished in the bank since the Easter Noblegarden week festivities. Then I ported and trained, and had the bank alt send me 700g so I could train flying and buy a wyvern. At which point I spent a solid 30 minutes flying around Hellfire Peninsula, laughing at the Fel Reavers that would not be allowed to sneak up on poor squishy me.

I've now also trained her skinning, herbing, and first aid, with only her cooking stalled in place thanks to a complete lack of desire on my part to farm bear meat. I can save that for another day. It matters more that I got my darn Staff of the Twin Worlds so I can stop feeling bad about the staff that shall not be named I was carrying around (hey-- all those scarlets in Strat had one too so nyah!.)

It will be interesting to see how the flying (yes, I will be buying the Northrend flying BoA book) and the XP boost items affect my ability to quest my way through the next 20 levels. On the one hand I will miss the incidental trash I used to have to kill through to get to quest objectives, but on the other hand, there shouldn't be any dying either.

Stay tuned.

Friday Five: The First Five Things I Did After Patch 3.2 Dropped

  1. Braved the Dalaran lag and followed the Children's Week quest chain given out by Orphan Maton Aria and got myself a baby Wolvar for each of my three 80s.
  2. Trained the new shaman toolbars on my two shamans.
  3. Bought mounts for my lowbies (regular speed kodo for the level 20, and epic pony for the level 54)
  4. Changed in an out of my new druid forms a few times.
  5. Exchange a lot of mail between my Jewelcrafter/Miner and my Alchemist, in support of getting the Alchy ready for the 5 transmutes she must do to learn her cardinal ruby transmute and to provide my JC with her first epic gem to cut.
What did you do first?

Forums Food for Thought

Sometimes, it not that others missed your point. Often, it's that they don't agree. And that's OK.

Just because you feel strongly one way about something doesn't mean that's the truth; it's just how you feel about it. And that needs to be enough for folks.

You can talk until you are blue in the face, but you can't necessarily change anyone else's opinion.

o·pin·ion  (-pnyn)n.

1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.
2. A judgment based on special knowledge and given by an expert: a medical opinion.
3. A judgment or estimation of the merit of a person or thing: has a low opinion of braggarts.

You can, however, be quarrelsome and annoying to the point that your guildies don't especially like you.

Heroics on Patch Night

Well I can't throw a zeppelin to my Wolvar orphan -- either due to lag or b/c he's not recognized as a friend -- but I was able to do the new 5-man. And got a shiny abyss crystal out of it.

Nice to have done it before the lagbomb killed our server.

P.S. I realized while doing this on my other toon, they made a new Small Paper Zeppelin you have to use with your orphan.

Profession Grind: Books of Glyph Mastery

Two weeks ago, I decided my level 70 Alliance scribe really should learn all the Book of Glyph Mastery glyphs. Unfortunately, I was already broke Alliance-side from my druid’s quest for the fawn pet. And I don’t play my alliance characters at all. So it's not like I needed to do this -- I am just completionist about my professions.

But I came up with a sensible solution: I had her sell glyphs every day until she could afford to buy her books. And last night she learned her final glyph. I spent on average 30 minutes per day making glyphs and listing/relisting them. Invaluable in this effort was trading in ink of the seas for all the other inks, and using LilSparky's Workshop and Auctionator to help me see at-a-glance which glyphs were profitable  so I did not waste time making glyphs that sold for less than their materials cost. I spent in the 70-90g range per glyph book, and ended with a 3k G profit, after accounting for cost of supplies and purchasing the books. Not too shabby.

And on a related note, it really does seem rogues are not raiding any longer—their glyphs almost never seemed to sell.

No profession grind like this is complete until you make yourself a chart, so here’s mine after the jump.

Continue reading "Profession Grind: Books of Glyph Mastery" »