Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Reflections...

For those of you in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope that everyone has a chance to meet up with old friends and family and take some time to give thanks for the good things and even the bad that help shape who you are.

Needless to say, I have been reflecting a bit about my WoW time recently.  I still play as much as possible, but I feel that the time has been partly empty.  I log in to do the things I like doing, but just feel like there is something missing.  I raided Firelands last night with my guild on the progression team, and I think I know what my problem is... I have lost the focus I once had.  I still love WoW and am going to play it for as long as I can.  I think what I noticed last night, was that I did not feel a part of the raid team, only a substitute, since someone could not make it.  It was not the raid team, several of them are my friends and were very open to having me be there.  I just felt like a "third wheel" for the team.  We did down Ragnaros and when it came time to roll for the tier helm, I did something that is uncharacteristic for me.  I rolled and won the tier helm!  Not that it is a bad thing, but it was the first time I ever rolled on something and did not want to pass on it for the sake of progression gearing of the group.  I think in part it was the feeling of not being in the raid team normally, so I figured I may not get another shot at the helm.  I realized that I may be feeling a bit out of place in the game and just not having the care for other players that I once had.  For a lot of players, being selfish comes easy to them, but for me it feels out of place.  I prefer to help my team, but without a team at this time I just feel empty. 

Boo Hoo!!!!  Poor me, get over it!

So to get over this awkward feeling for me, I would like to take a few moments to say five things about WoW  that I am thankful for:

1.  The opportunity to engage in a fantasy world rich with story and game play.
2.  Being the most handsome Troll in the game.
3.  Being able to shoot rogues with a Turkey Shooter.
4.  Making friends with some incredibly interesting and fun people.
5.  Being part of a community of gamers who have a passion for something that we all love to do.

What are you thankful for?  What keeps you coming back to play?

Time to go enjoy some turkey and family time...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Finally reached a Personal Goal

First of all, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the Veterans for their selfless service and sacrifice that they and their families have made to serve their country.  I have several friends in the military and family members who have served in the military.  I understand the personal sacrifices they make in order to follow duty and honor while serving their country.  For these and many other reasons, I salute them all and thank them for all that they do.

I know that I have been quiet lately on my own blog.  It has been for a number of reasons, including guest appearances on podcasts, such as Group Quest and All Things Azeroth.  I have also been working on a project with a few WoW friends of mine to discuss our love of the Diablo franchise with the Shattered Soulstone podcast.  I have also been working on the Legendary Staff quest and trying to figure how to get it, since my raid team fell apart while I was working nights for a few months.  As you can tell with my activities, I have been divided in my interests and time.  I have not been logging in with any regularity or focus on reaching any specific milestones.  Last night, I decided to collect my mail and found this after I collected it:

Yes, I did it!!!  I reached that goal of collecting 1 million gold before patch 4.3!

I hit 900,000 gold, several weeks back, but felt that I lost some motivation to get to 1 million.  Perhaps it was because once I hit the 900,000 mark, I figured 1 million was just something that was going to happen.  When 4.2 dropped on 6/28/2011, I was sitting at about 600,000 gold.  I also had a stash of gems and enchanting materials to use for selling in 4.2 and the Firelands raid.  In August, I decided that my goal would be to reach 1 million gold by the time patch 4.3 was released.  It appears that 11/11/11 would be that day that I finally reached my goal.

I am the type of person that likes to have goals to reach.  It gives me drive and focus to help me stay on target and to enjoy the process of what I am doing.  I hate the feeling of doing something, just to do it.  It feels to me, empty and hollow.  I know people find different things to enjoy when playing a game, but for me, it is having something to accomplish, whether that means raiding, doing pvp, or making gold.

I am thinking of doing a retrospective of how I reached the million gold mark.  What format would you like to see this?  Should I do blog posts, a short podcast, or a combination?  Let me know, and I will work on what media people are most interested in hearing.

Thanks for stopping by...

Time for some more hockey games... that is what Saturday with boys is made for, right?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blizzcon 2011 Predictions...

It is that time of year again!  Blizzcon 2011 is in less than a week and all Blizzard fans are eagerly anticipating any new information about their favorite Blizzard games.  Every year for the last few years I have made my personal predictions about what topics will be covered, but never really shared them with anyone.  Sometimes I was right, and other times I was wrong.  This is all meant to be fun and speculative.  I thought this post would be a fun opportunity to share what I expect to see at Blizzcon 2011 and how close I might be to it.

I will be watching much of Blizzcon through the Virtual ticket this year.  I will be splitting my time watching between the Diablo 3 coverage and WoW coverage.  Thankfully the streaming is saved and can be viewed during downtime after the panels are over. 

Anyways, here are my predictions for what news we will be at this year's Blizzcon, including some "wild card" predictions of new content.

Diablo 3:  Most of Diablo 3's features are already known by the Diablo community, so I do not believe that we will see any earth-shattering revelations at Blizzcon.  That being said, I think that we will be privy to a host of new art, lore, and game play aspects that we have not seen; not even from the Beta videos that have been release by various people.  For those of you who are not in the Beta, the game play only involves the first part of Act I and up to level 14, I believe.  That leaves an enormous amount of game play not even seen by the Beta testers.
     1.  More information on the followers and what abilities they have during game play.
     2.  Examination of the Crafting done by Artisans.  (incomplete on official D3 site)
     3.  Skill trees and explanation of the resources for each class.
     4.  New monsters and bosses not currently available in Act I on the Beta.  (story or art display)
     5.  Information on Deckard Cain's Bestiary book to be published and a new novel to be released next year for Diablo 3 to add to the lore.

 World of Warcraft:  Like a lot of people, I believe this will be a huge news cycle for WoW during this Blizzcon.  Everyone is anticipating the release of information regarding the next expansion.  I tend to agree with some of the "tin foil hat" ideas from WoW Insider and various podcasts that think the WoW expansion will involve some sort of undiscovered series of islands that have been forgotten from game play, but not Warcraft lore.  I think we will see news of Kul Tiras; of islands hidden from the Maelstrom storms, such as lost civilizations (yeah maybe Pandaren, or not); of the undiscovered home of the Goblins, Undermine; and of a hidden staging ground for the reemergence of Sargeras (or at least his avatar).  Much can be left up to the imagination of WoW fans, but I think many more questions will come after the announcement next week.
     1.  Whatever the next expansion is, I believe that it will be very heavy on the end game content.  Cataclysm was a reboot on the early game, but its biggest criticism is the lack of sustainable end game content.
     2.  More information on the Dark Moon Faire, such as hints to its lore, some of the carnival game features, like Pit Fighting, Shooting Gallery, and other carnival games.
     3.  The Dark Moon Faire will also introduce the return of items taken out of the game for use in Transmogrification and will lead to future features of new art assets (uncommon gear without useful stats) to use for Mogging.
     4.  Introduction of new BoA items for item slots not already in use.  Also, they will discuss a new implementation of the BoA gear, much like the items from the Blizzard store that are available to any toon on any realm on a single account.  BoA will be unlocked in game with gold, Justice Points or DMF tickets and the "unlocking" makes it auto available for any toon created after you unlock it on any realm.
     5.  Next expansion will be levels 85-90 leveling only.  Pacing will be adjusted for the new content so that there is not such an outpacing of the new zones with each level gained.
     6.  Next expansion will include more exploration and end game content.  Some new type of game play mechanic at end game that will engage the max level toons.  Possible the return of a redone "Path of the Titans" or some unknown end game content.
     7.  Maybe some sort of new pvp battleground or 3 new ones.  New type of games specifically designed around the 10v10 rated battlegrounds.  Maybe some sort of item capture and control for resource points.  If there is an island theme, maybe a boarding and ship capture pvp battle ground, as in a "pirate style" naval battle.  Another possibility is that there is some sort of sporting event, much like SWTOR's "Huttball," only WoW style (whatever that might be).
     8.  LFR will enable them to release the content they want for the "casuals" and the "hardcore" raiders.  LFR will be great for those looking to get end game content and see the story and raids designed by the raid development team.  Normal and Heroic will continue to be available for higher levels of difficulty.  This is to broaden the end game content for "casual" players, while satisfying the more "hardcore" elements of the player base.
     9.  The raiding end game content will involve Lady VashjirSargeras, including the return of the Burning Legion.  We might have an earlier raid patch including retaking of Undermine from non-goblin forces, or even Island nation empire, like MOAR TROLLS!!!!
     10.  New profession?  Trying to think of what they might do to spice up the profession market, the introduction of a new profession might be good.  Not sure what the resource would be or what they might want to do.  Before the recent announcement of 4.3 changes to WoW, I would have ruled out adding a new resource, like herbs, skins, or ores.  Now I believe that they could add a new gathering resource, especially with the addition of new lands.
     11.  Changes coming for the talent trees again.  Not a major overhaul, like we saw in Cataclysm, but something along the lines of eliminating damage modifiers, but increasing more proc-based or situational talents to give us more choices within our specs.  Remember, the current version was thrown into the Cataclysm beta rather late and now that they have had more time to evaluate it, they may have found some better ways to achieve their design goals.
     12.  Possibly see the 4.3 Dragon Soul cinematic along with a preview of the Deathwing encounters.
     13.  Discussing new ventures in publishing, possible new manga series, and Cristie Golden to discuss her new book on Jaina Proudmoore (leading into the expansion's release). 
     14.  Maybe the interesting non news will be a lack of a "hero" class and no new playable races.  Blizzard knows they lost a lot of subscribers due to lack of end game content.  I think that will be their focus, not having to chase around re-balancing of classes around a new hero class.

WoW Wild Card bonuses (for fun):
     1.  Introduction of 2 or 3 man dungeons that are short encounters and can be done without tanks, dps, or healer specific roles.  They will drop lower level items than 5 mans on the same tier.
     2.  Discussion of a 3-4 movie deal for the Warcraft series.  One for the start of the orc invasion, 2 about the varying stories of the Horde and Alliance, with a final movie coinciding with the final WoW expansion release.

Well, there you have it.  My crazy predictions for things to watch during this year's Blizzcon.

What do you think we will see during Blizzcon?

Time to go to bed....night all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hey you Handsome Troll, what'cha been up to?

One simple thing to sum up my lack of posting: Real Life.  It happens to us all, family and work commitments overwhelm most of your time and that limits your free time for other things you like to do.  Basically, the very limited free time I had was just spent playing alts and working on my goal of making 1 million gold on my server.  So, the other aspects of my hobby, including raiding and blogging, had to sit for awhile.  Finally, now that the school year has settled and schedules are more consistent again for everyone in my family, I can begin to show you all a bit of what I have been doing.

First of all, I have been condensing my WoW playtime to manage auctions and professions more efficiently.  This has helped me to continue to maintain a steady stream of gold income throughout this busy period of my life without hogging up too much of my limited free time.  I am happy to say that as of this morning, I am less than 50,000 gold from my million gold goal.  At some point in the future, I would like to share with you some screenshots of my weekly totals from this year.  Patch 4.2 was a great boon to my gold making totals.  I estimate that patch 4.2 alone netted me over 500,000 gold.  I know if I had stocked more items, I could have made even more.

Secondly, with my work schedule, I had to quit raiding for a while.  I return 2 months later to find that my raid team is no more, but such is a part of life.  I guess they all missed my handsome face...  Anyways, went on an alt run and received a few more Eternal Embers to come to a total of 19 of 25 for the Legendary quest.  I was surprised at how nerfed this content really was since I left.  Two months ago we were in the middle of progression in Firelands with being 4/7 and working on Alysrazor.  Now on this alt run, aside from me, we cleared up to Ragnaros in under 2 hours and with lack of gear, continued to wipe on Ragnaros.  It was fun to see that fight finally.  I do have to say that after fighting the other 5 bosses, fighting Majordomo Staghelm was quite a let down.  We one shot him with a group of alts and me never seeing it or it being explained other than "move here and here."  The nerfs really did hit the Firelands hard.  So, until things get reworked in our guild for 4.3, I guess I will be watching the progression group and going on alt runs.  I don't mind too much because my boys are both in the middle of hockey season already and it does leave my schedule open for other ventures.

Speaking of other ventures, I want to introduce you all to a new Diablo podcast that I have recently become a co-host of along with Nevikjames and Jen.  Nevik is a co-host of The Overlores podcast for some time now at the Twisted Nether network.  Jen is a co-host of the music podcast, Half Way Around the World, from the Dawnforge Productions family.  We have been speaking quite a bit about our love of the Diablo franchise and the fact that we all share the same passion for the latest version, Diablo 3.  So, we decided to record a beta episode of our Diablo background and some of what we know of the upcoming Diablo 3 release.  We all felt that this beta episode was so good, with our chemistry and ease of discussing Diablo topics, that we needed to release this for everyone to enjoy.  We really want this to become a fan driven podcast and would love to hear from all of you about what you enjoy most about Diablo and what you are looking forward to.  You can find our show's website at

Thanks for stopping by, its been good to talk to you all again.

Now it's time to work on my predictions for Blizzcon 2011, I have a blog to record it on this year...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Hiatus continues....

Yes, I know, I have been a terrible blogger.   No updates for months on end.  Just wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive and have been doing several other things both in RL and in gaming that has taken up a bit of time.  So, my blogging activities have been set towards that bottom of my to do list these past few months.  I do intend to come back for more blogging time, but that may not be regular until the kids are all back in school.

I do have several projects that I am working on which I intend to share with all of you in the coming months ahead.  Yes, I still play wow and have been keeping up to speed with the community on what has been occurring at Blizzard.

Just a note for now to let you know I am still here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Time to hang with the boys and play some board games...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I accepted the Treasure Finding Challenge... I had fun losing!

Over on the Power Word Gold website, Flux issued a challenge to his readers for the "Treasure Potion Trash Dash."  To sum this challenge up, you drink a Potion of Treasure Finding and go kill as many Cataclysm level mobs as you can in 1 hour to loot them.  You can only count the vendor value of items looted in your totals for this challenge.  Gold looted from the mobs does not count, but the Tiny Treasure Chests that you loot as a result of drinking the potions do count.

So here are my results and compared to others who have weighed in on this challenge with upwards of 200 gold or more, I have lost this round.  I was able to gain 117 g 54 s and 11 c in this first hour.  I did this on Breja, my main as a shadow priest.  I decided to go to the Twighlight Highlands and fight Ogres and Ettins outside of the "Twighlight Gate" near the horde outpost of Crushblow.  As I was leveling, I had done a series of quests that phased these mobs into packs of 5-8 fighting with horde and alliance npcs.  I died once at the beginning due to my not realizing that multiple Ettins hit like trucks against a clothie :-).  So I basically went to the groups DOT'ed them up and burned them down individually.  This did not result in the most kills in the hour I may have been able to get, but against lvl 84-85 Ettins it helped me stay alive and reduced downtime through not stopping to drink water at all.

Below are the results of this run:

[Item] Quantity Vendor value each Total vendor value
[Roast Beef] 11 9 s 99 s
[Sparkling Oasis Water] 2 6 s 18c  12 s 36 c
[Scavenged Animal Parts] 17 17 s 44 c 2 g 96 s 48 c
[Ruined Embersilk Scraps] 26 15 s 30 c 3 g 97 s 80c
[Singed Shoulderpads] 1 1 g 79 s 44 c 1 g 79 s 44 c
[Melted Cleaver] 1 5 g 57 s 97 c 5 g 57 s 97 c
[Robble's Wobbly Staff] 1 5 g 17s 77c 5 g 17s 77c
[Clammy Mail Circlet] 1 1g 17s 42 c 1g 17s 42 c
[Dirt-Caked Gloves] 1 96s 96c  96s 96c 
[Bleached Plate Pants] 1 3 g 27 s 42 c 3 g 27 s 42 c
[Bluefen Cowl of the Eagle] 1 5 g 86 s 43 c 5 g 86 s 43 c
[Crystalvein Breastplate of the Earthfall] 1 12 g 51 s 57 c 12 g 51 s 57 c
[Highperch Helm of the Monkey] 1 7 g 86 s 84 c 7 g 86 s 84 c
[Mysral Shoulderpads of the Seer] 1 5 g 69 s 37 c 5 g 69 s 37 c
[Highperch Legguards of the Zephyr] 1 10 g 84 s 85 c 10 g 84 s 85 c
[Ravenholdt Waistband of the Monkey] 1 4 g 67s 79 c 4 g 67s 79 c
[Embersilk Cloth] - looted 270 75 c  2 g 2s 50 c
Tiny Treasure Chests 12 43 g 81 s 77 c 43 g 81 s 77 c
[Volatile Fire] 4 8 s 75 c 35 s 
[Volatile Air] 5 8 s 75 c 43 s 75 c
[Volatile Life] 4 8 s 75 c 35 s 
[Volatile Water] 1 8 s 75 c 8 s 75 c
[Volatile Earth] 8 8 s 75 c 70 s
[Pyrite Ore] 9 10 s  90 s
[Embersilk Cloth] - tiny treasure chest only 73 75 c  54 s 75 c
[Elementium Ore] 3 50 c  1 s 50 c

Total for 5/20/2011 Pot TF run 445
117 g 54 s 11 c

Here are a couple of things I have learned:

  1. Make sure you have empty bags before you do this run; I lost about 4 minutes due to having to empty my bags.  ( I was not expecting to get so much Embersilk Cloth.)
  2. Spend a few minutes researching the mobs you are about to face;  I would not have been taken by surprise with the Ettins had I thought about how hard they hit (at least the Potion of Treasure Finding persists through death, hehe)
  3. Find ways to keep up your mana, energy, rage, etc; this was easy for me to time disperse while looting and rotate Dark Archangel and shadowfiend, thus never stopped to drink.
  4. Find a place that will respawn mobs quickly; this spot I had included several groups of 5-8 mobs that constantly respawned as I moved across the area.
  5. HAVE FUN!  I put on some music and whipped through the area for that hour.  It was focused time and enjoyable to just take out some bad guys for a while.

Where do you think you might go to do this challenge by Flux?  What toon is your favorite for farming mobs?

Thanks for stopping by and go have fun challenging yourself today!

Time to get everyone together for my son's game, its almost playoff time for him!  We are excited around here...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Hello friends!  I am still around, but sometimes life just does not give you enough time.  My boys are in the middle of spring sports and that takes several hours away from free time for me.  Also, several unexpected RL issues have taken more of my time and energy away.  So any free time I have had has been playing rather than talking about it.  I plan to get everyone caught up with a few things I have been doing since my last post, eeeek, about a month ago.

First of all, I have eclipsed the 500K gold level weeks ago, but have slowed as I have not had the time to commit to it.  Another factor slowing my gold making down is that I have been spending at the AH like a drunken sailor.  All of this, I will go over in the next few days.  I want to thank Flux and Jokinee over at the Power Word Gold podcast for providing great information and entertainment that has kept me going in WoW these past few weeks.  If you have not heard from them before, you should check them out.  Its like listening to good friends chat about some of my favorite topics.

Anyways, onto the reason for this post today!  I want to congratulate my 10 man raid team for clearing our latest hurdle in defeating Cho'gall.  It has been a rough past few weeks getting the group back together and pushing on in progression, but we finally did it last night.  For the last few weeks, my oldest son has been taunting us as he watches us try to down this boss.  He morphed an old cheese joke, "What do you call cheese that isn't yours?  NACHO CHEESE!"  When I mention the next day that we still did not down him, he would ask me, "Dad, what do you call the boss that you can't down?   NACHO'GALL!"  Followed by a roar of laughter from both of my boys.  At least, their sense of humor kept things in perspective.  The best part... I told them that we downed Cho'gall last night, I got a big hug and grats from the boys.  :)

So, keep plugging away at whatever is keeping you down, because believe me, its all worth it in the end when you overcome that obstacle.

What obstacle is in your way currently?  What do you think you can do to get over it?  Who might be able to help?

Thanks for stopping by and seeing our latest conquest...

No its time to return some hugs and get my boys to bed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Speculation on the Epic Gem Market...what market?

For some time now, there has been a buzz about where the Epic Gems for Cataclysm will come from and how we will be able to obtain them.   I have been following several gold blogs, looking for ideas on what can be done to prepare for the arrival of Epic Gems in Cata.  Some people in the gold making community think that Epic Gems will only come from existing professions, such as transmutation in alchemy, while others think it will come only from prospecting pyrite ore.  There are some good discussions on the JMTC Forums regarding whether we should be stockpiling them or not. 

I am not a betting man, but I believe that we can realistically see some combination of ways to obtain epic gems.  Let us take a look at what Blizzard has done to see why I believe this to be the case.  First, Blizzard is looking to maintain a sense of accessibility for players in WoW.  To introduce Epic Gems in a truly rare manner, whether it be a vendor or new rare ore, would be to go back to limited accessibility, similar to the vendor only gems from the Burning Crusade expansion.  Also, if Epic Gems were only obtained through defeating raid bosses, then it would limit the availability to raid groups.  Blizzard is already making cross-over accessibility with 4.1 in the form of honor-to-justice point (and vice versa) conversions.  I tend to believe that if they are expanding end-game accesibility in pve and pvp, they would not reverse that trend to make gemming that gear more difficult with limited supply.

Secondly, just take a look at the growth of Epic Gem accessibility from BC though the end of Wrath.  It is again about growing accessibility for players to maximize their gear.  The original Epic Gems in Burning Crusade were obtained only through drops in Mount Hyjal and Black Temple raid instances.  Slowly this expanded in future patches of BC to inlcude drops from all raid instances, from the unlocked JC vendor on Isle of Quel'danas, and through the Brilliant Glass recipe that was available to jewelcrafters only.  At the end of BC, Epic Gems were available to more people, but still gathered in a limited amount of ways.  The Wrath of the Lich King expansion saw a greater supply of Epic Gems available than previously, through professions and gathering.  The release of patch 3.2 introduced Epic Gems to the Wrath audience.  Even at the beginning of this patch , people were able to collect Epic Gems through prospecting Titanium Ore, transmuting a rare gem and an eternal element (on cooldown), found in an Icy Prism created by jewelcrafters, bought with emblems of Heroism, or purchased with Honor Points.  Blizzard opened the Epic Gem market with more ways to obtain these gems, and later removed the transmutation cooldown near the end of Wrath to allow for more supply.

Third, an idea that came up from my listening in on the JMTC Weekly Q&A Meeting this past Friday.  It was mainly that Blizzard has not made any major changes in the working of the professions.  As someone pon the podcast said, "What made you gold in Wrath will continue to make you gold in Cata."  The only possible change coming to professions is the addition of newly crafted pvp gear at the beginning of each arena/rate battleground season.  The leveling process was similar to the past, with the exception of tweaking recipe materials and the addition of multiple skill-ups on a limited number of items.  Blizzard is not known for making sweeping changes to professions in the middle of an expansion.  Profession changes have come with the introduction of new professions at the start of expansions (ie., jewelcrafting for Burning Crusade release and Archeology for Cataclysm release) or changing the existing usage of them at the end of expansions (ie., inscription market at the end of Wrath).

Finally, after reviewing the developer Q&A sessions that Blizzard has released recently, I believe that it is not in their plans to tinker with Epic Gems in any major way with this expansion.  In all of the Q&A sessions, the answers boiled down to 2 responses by them: 

  1. If it is a yes, "we are looking into it or this feature will be available in patch..."
  2. If it is a no, "it is something we are interested in, but it is not on our list..."
I picture a large whiteboard in the Blizzard offices of features that they would like to work on.  I do not think that the idea of "uniquely offering a way to get Epic Gems" is one of the things on that list.  Instead I envision the idea of "make Epic Gems available in patch 4.?" with a note saying "deliver to as many players as possible while not flooding the market." 

This leads me to believe that Blizzard will implement the Epic Gems in a very similar way to what they did in the Wrath expansion.  They already have a "rare" mining node in place, making it easy to adjust the numbers on prospecting and node spawn rates.  I do not think they are willing to spend the time on creating a new ore and place them in unique locations, while creating an entirely new set of prospecting rates.  I also do not think Blizzard has plans to release new zones just to have new node spawns for the Epic Gem market.  It is possible that they will release a new zone, but I think they would ensure that people have access to that zone and the materials gathered there can be gathered in similar zones throughout the world, even if it is at a reduced spawn rate elsewhere.  If Blizzard utilizes alchemy again for creating Epic Gems, I believe that they will gate it as they did when released in Wrath.  This gating will be done through a daily cooldown of some sort.

In conclusion, I believe that making investments in Pyrite Ore is a good investment to make, although a still risky investment without clarification by Blizzard.  I do not suggest buying all the ore on the market, but I do suggest finding a threshold you are willing to pay for stacks of ore and buy them.  I am also planning on keeping an eye out for alternate ways to gather Epic Gems in the future.

What are your thoughts on Epic Gems?  What are you looking to invest in for future returns?

Thank for stopping by the Epic Gem edition of the Long, Strange blog.

Time to head out for skating lessons and a hockey game for my son...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gold Making Week 2: I told my Accountant so...

I apologize for the lack of posts, but RL has been kicking me in the arse.  I have yet to begin my research into Troll lore.  I have also had very limited playtime in game.  All of my playtime was spent raiding or performing gold making activities.  It's time to ask my accountant how I am doing:

 As you can see from the above screenshot, I certainly made my money back on the 30 K worth or investments over the past 2 weeks.  You might look and see that I spent alot of gold to make only 6,273 gold in those 2 weeks.  That is the profit I turned with items I was able to sell so far.  I still have a bank's worth of materials that I have not sold from my AH purchases you see above.  Everything else I make from here on out is pure profit.  I am looking forward to see what I can make over the next week or two.

 So how did I actually do for the week?  Let's take a look at how I did this week with only about 1 hr at most to spend on making gold:

I turned a profit of 14,069 gold this past week.  I was able to do this through working the Obsidium shuffle and vendoring cut gems, selling cut rare gems, transmutations, enchants, and selling bags.  I did not sell any big ticket items this week.  I was able to move a lot of smaller items that people could use to upgrade items they may have been looking to gem and enchant.  I am not seeing many familiar names on the items purchased, which tells me either people are gearing alts or purchasing through their own bank toons for use on their mains.

I may spend some time the next few weeks spending gold in anticipation of the 4.1 release.  Take a look at the official Blizzard patch notes and see what you might be able to profit from.  What are you planning?

Thanks for stopping by to see what I have been doing this past week.

Time to log on and catch up with those strangers in my guild...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gold Making Week One: My Accountant says I spend too much...

I spent some time today consulting with my Accountant in WoW.  He tells me I spend too much money.  But, I found deals all week I could not pass up...  I will explain after I share the numbers with you:

As you can see above,  I did indeed spend much more than I made this past week.  In fact, I operated at a net loss of 13, 051 gold.  Most people would panic at seeing that amount of loss in one week.  I do not for several reasons.  First of all, I admit that I did spend a lot of gold on items from the auction house.  There are several reasons for this, including replenishing stock to resell or craft for resale.  I am also stocking some items for future speculation at prices that I feel are a good level to invest in.  I spent gold mostly on trade goods that I can turn around to make a profit from through my professions.  Also, the Darkmoon Faire is this week and I wanted to make a few more decks to sell during this week.  

Secondly, I did speak in an earlier post that when starting out I did not have money to invest, but utilized my time.  Now I can utilize my money to invest by saving me time and generating profits for some time to come.  Imagine the amount of time it would have taken me to farm all the materials that I purchased through the auction house.  This could have easily taken me weeks to farm by myself.  In short, I traded my gold for time that would have been spent gathering materials to supply my gold making professions.

Although I spent gold the entire week gathering materials, I also started to produce items to sell.  As you can see above, I did make 8,008 gold in the last 2 days of the week.  I did this trough tailoring, enchanting, and jewelcrafting.

I will continue to spend gold on items that meet my threshold for purchasing, as long as the market makes it profitable to do so.  I do expect the next few weeks to produce more profit for me.  My goal is to turn this past week's spending of 21,000 gold into a long term profit of 2 to 3 times that amount.  Normal weekly cycles should help with some of this and the potential release of patch 4.1 soon should also produce some nice profits for me.

What have you been doing this past week to make gold?  More importantly do you know why you made gold or did not?

Thank you for stopping by to check in on me.

Time to hang out with the real Breja before his bedtime...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breja, what have you been doing?

I know, this blog has been quiet for the past 2 weeks.  Not to fear, I have not gone anywhere.  This time of year, as well as the fall, tend to be very busy with my boys playing sports.  Practices and games 5 days a week, but I would not change anything.  It is a lot of fun to watch them.  During this time off, I have been keeping in the loop by reading and listening to several WoW podcasts. 

I have been enjoying my WoW playtime more the past few weeks as I have spread my in game activities.  Instead of feeling like a grind with one toon to get prepared for raiding, I find myself enjoying the exploration of Azeroth again and the many nuggets hiding around the world. 

One thing that I am doing is leveling a hunter on a new realm without any heirloom items.  This experience is fun in that I can take my time leveling through zones without out-leveling the content quickly.  Also, I have no established footing in the economy of this server.  This is allowing me to return to the basics of gold making.  As of this morning at level 23, I have 150 gold just by gathering and selling raw materials.  At some point soon, I will begin to play the auction house to accumulate some gold for making my toon independent on the server.

As far as the blog goes, I have 2 projects that I am working on to share with you.  First, I am growing interested in the history of the Trolls on Azeroth.  Breja is a Troll Priest and I have always been interested in the lore behind his existence.  I think with the return of Zul'Gurub and Zulaman in patch 4.1, it would be fun to trace the history of the Troll race up to this point. 

My second project will be ongoing for the next few months.  Last year at this time, I made a push to be active in the market on my server to accumulate wealth for my needs in the Cataclysm expansion.  I plan to restart my businesses and see how much gold I can make.  Each Sunday I plan on giving an update on how much I have made and what worked or did not work that week. 

Thank you for stopping by.

Time to go check some auctions and level a hunter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why do I farm for materials?

So the other day I was listening to Episode 5 of the Auction House Junkies podcast with Wes of Capped by Cata and Cold of Cold's Gold Factory.  In this episode, the hosts answered a listener mail about why they would farm materials or purchase the materials from the auction house.  They had some great points about why farming is still a good strategy for making gold, but for them farming is more of a supplement or leisure game time activity than it is a viable long term gold making activity.  I decided to look at why I farm in this game...

Like any aspiring goblin, I too believe that Time equals Money.  When I have a low level toon on another server, I do not have a lot of money, but I do have the time to gather as I level.  I invest a few extra seconds to gather that mining node or skin that animal to have materials I can sell on the auction house.  This provides the starter cash to help me begin to make investments in the server's economy.  The extra experience gained from mining and gathering herbs is just a bonus now for me.  In essence, once I develop enough money from my time, I can then begin to use my money to make more money and utilize less of my time on gold making.

There can be times in which I return to farming, even after having plenty of money to invest in the market.  For example, at the beginning of the Cataclysm expansion I used my gathering toon to gather both mines and herbs.  The gold people would pay early in an expansion to help level their professions was borderline ridiculous.  So, I set a plan to spend 1 to 2 hours per day gathering Cataclysm materials if I was not leveling my main toon.  I listed everything that I gathered from those few hours of gathering the first two weeks after launch.  Looking back, I wish that I had spent more time farming and less time leveling my main toon.  My main toon did not need to be ready to raid as soon as possible and the money made in the first 2 weeks was incredible.  I made over 100,000 gold just from the raw materials I gathered in probably about 10-12 hours of total time spent on farming.  After 2 weeks, there was an abundance of gathering materials on the auction house and the prices were beginning to come down. 

At this time, I buy many of the materials I need form the auction house rather than farm them directly.  There are times that the prices of trade goods go higher than I am willing to pay for.  If I also have the time, I will put on some good music or a podcast and fly around picking up the materials that I need at the time.  Also, I tend to fish occasionally to help our guild towards catching 10,000 fish for the achievement, That's A Lot of Bait.  For the most part, I enjoy doing something which would be more fun to me, such as raiding or pvp or leveling another toon.

Thank you for checking in today.

Time to go help my guild get more purples...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Woah the Darkmoon Faire came and took me away...

Did not realize that it has been a week since I last posted on the Long, Strange blog.  Thinking about everything that has happened in the past week, I can see why I have not gotten back to a post until today.

In some ways, the Darkmoon Faire really did take me away from my usual routine in WoW.  I have to admit that I am still learning about this game, even after 5 years of playing it.  The Darkmoon Faire has been in the game since its introduction in Patch 1.6 back on July 2005.  Although I had paid a visit to the Faire several times over the past few years, I never properly researched what the Faire was about.

I have to say, I am truly glad I took some time to research the Darkmoon Faire.  I decided to look into the Darkmoon Faire because of the large number of trade chat barkers looking to trade cards.  After doing some research, I decided to scrounge through my current inventory to make various Darkmoon Cards.  I was able to create the Darkmoon Card: Hurricane, a couple of level 70 and 80 decks, plus several left over cards.  I listed many of these on the auction house throughout the week that the Darkmoon Faire was visiting Goldshire.  At the end of this week, I came away with 34,211 gold just from what I had in my inventories.  This was gold in addition to the other gold making activities that I have each week.  Overall, this was the boost I needed to energize my gold income that seemed to have stalled the previous 2 weeks.

This endeavor shows me that I should continually be open to new market opportunites.  As an aside, I really need to look in my inventory more often to see what treasures I have collected.

Thank you for rescuing me from the Darkmoon Faire.

Time to go do some much needed exercise...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tools I Use for Making Gold

Today I thought that I would share some of the tools, more specifically add-ons, that I use to help me make gold in World of Warcraft.  Although the add-ons that I use maintain a lot of historic information based on scans, I do not solely rely on those scans.  The information gathered is a guide from which I can extract personal knowledge of game trends to make decisions from which I can make gold.  Listed below are the add-ons that I use

  • Altoholic - as described by the author, "Altoholic is an Ace 3 addon written for people who dedicate most of their time to leveling alts, and who want to have as much information as possible in one addon. The main feature of the addon is the search functionality which allows users to search their alts' bags or loot tables in an Auction-House-like frame (see screenshots). All this with multiple-realms/accounts support."  This add-on is great in quickly searching other toons for crafting materials and general information without having to log in an out between toons.  This is a time saver.
  • Auctioneer Suite - "From purchasing to posting, the Auctioneer Suite provides time-tested tools to allow you more time to actually play your characters or play the market. As you will soon discover, it is much more than a simple "Auctioning AddOn", the Auctioneer Suite also shows in-depth information for all game items, such as those used in quests or recipes, enchanting, milling, prospecting and more."  The scanning option saves a ton of time for you by looking at the values of everything posted on the Auction House.  This add-on has many additional features that allow you to look at an item away from the Auction House and that information can help you formulate decisions on what to do with that item.
  •  Auctionator - is designed for the casual everyday auction house user.  What I like most about Auctionator is the quick scanning capability and ease of posting auctions.
  • LilSparky's Workshop - "LilSparky's Workshop adds auction-derived pricing information for trade skills right into the trade skill recipe frame. Each skill is evaluated for material costs and potential value of the item created. These two numbers are listed next to each skill in an easy-to-read format."  I love this add-on because it takes scanned information to help me quickly decide what crafted items are worth my time to create and list on the auction house.
  • Skillet - this is a trade skill UI replacement add-on.  I like using this because it provides a larger move-able trade skill window.  This allows me to do other things, like searching bags/auction house while having it open.  Skillet allows me to see more recipes and has a great search function within trade skills than the standard UI.
  • Postal - is a mail box add-on that allows great flexibility in sending and receiving mail.  It also helps to gather mail faster than manual clicking on each item in the mail box.  This is for convenience and ease of collecting the many auctions that I post each week.
All of the add-ons help me do one thing: be more EFFICIENT with my time.  Like most people, I enjoy making gold in game to use as I would like.  I just do not want to spend too much time trying to make money, when there are more efficient ways to utilize my time.  This then allows me to more quickly move onto the more fun aspects of what I like to do in the game.

I recently heard the latest Call to Auction podcast, episode 26, in which Euripides and BigJimm discuss the TradeSkillMaster add-on.   Based on their recommendations, I may have to give this a try as it incorporates several features of the above list of current add-ons I use and additional features I may want to use.

Thanks for stopping by to peek in on my tools for gold making.

Time to cook some Chicken Cordon Blue for the family, yum...

Monday, March 7, 2011

PvP changes for 4.1 on the PTR

In the recent 4.1 Patch PTR Notes released by Blizzard on March 3, 2011, several changes we can expect to the game have been noted, including some PvP changes.  Below are the current battleground changes being implemented on the PTR:

        *         The Focused Assault and Brutal Assault buffs have changed.
                     o     After 3 minutes of both teams having the flag, both flag carriers will get Focused Assault, which increases damage taken by 10%.
                     o     Every minute afterward, an additional stack will be applied to increase damage taken by an additional 10%.
                     o     After 7 minutes, Brutal Assault will be applied in place of Focused Assault. In additional to the damage debuff, this debuff also caps the player's movement speed at 100%. The damage taken debuff works the same and will add 10% to the debuff up to a maximum of 100% damage taken.

        *         The Battle for Gilneas
                      o     Graveyard Changes
                               +       Players who die at a control point that they own will now be teleported to the next closest graveyard, instead of the one at which they died.
                               +       If a player's team owns the Mine and Waterworks, and dies at Waterworks, they will be teleported to the Mine.
                               +       If an Alliance player's team only owns Lighthouse, and dies at Lighthouse, they will respawn at their base.
                               +       If a Horde player's team owns Waterworks and Mine, and dies at Lighthouse, they will respawn at Waterworks.

          *         Twin Peaks
                      o     Graveyard Changes
                               +       Players will now only spawn at their base graveyard when they die in the enemy base.
                               +       Defending players will respawn at the middle graveyard.
                               +       Midfield players will respawn at the middle graveyard.
                               +       Attacking players will respawn at their base graveyard.

It appears to me that these changes are forcing more dynamic play within the pvp zone.  Flag carriers will not be able to sit on a flag for long stretches of time and with a good group of healers/cc never be touched by the enemy.  It makes it necessary for the teams to kill the opposing flag carriers and cap the flag faster now.  You could sit on the flag but that would require more people to help cc and heal, taking more from the attacking side.  We will have to wait and see how this plays out.

Also, a much needed tweaking of the respawn at graveyards was applied to the newest battlegrounds, Battle for Gilneas and Twin Peaks.  Before, you would respawn closest to where you died on the battlefield.  This gave an advantage to the defending or attacking players, depending on where you located.  There was no penalty in essence for dying, since you could respawn an reenter the fray seconds later to recapture the node.  Now with you being placed further from the spot you were attacking or defending, there is a slight penalty to your team in that you will need to travel further to recapture a lost objective.  This spreads out the battlefield a bit more.  I like this idea, but will have to see how this changes the dynamics of the 2 pvp battlefields.

Thank you for stopping by today, see you all soon.

Now to play an intense game of UNO with the boys...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

4.1 and What does the Troll think...

Since the 4.1 patch has been announced over a week ago, many people have made their opinions known about what Blizzard has decided to do with this patch and future patches.  I understand people feeling a bit disappointed in the lack of raid content with 4.1.  My initial reaction to the announcement on 4.1 was in line with the "tin foil hat" theory on Blizzard releases.  I found it interesting that Blizzard announced the 4.1 release on the PTR the same day the pre-launch of Trion's new MMO, RIFT.  Blizzard has a history of making announcements to take attention away from competing titles. 

Since the announcement of 4.1, we have come to find out that it will not have a new raid tier, as Blizzard had originally announced at Blizzcon.  Bashiok has posted what Blizzard decided to do with their patching going forward.  Basically, Blizzard plans to release content on a more regular basis, rather than jamming a large amount of content into monolithic patches.  Now that I have heard several people's analysis of the shifting Blizzard philosophy of patch content, it begins to make more sense to me.  Lissana of Restokin has posted a great listing of all patches in WoW since its release on 2004.  Along with the dates of the releases and its content, I was particularly drawn to the "average time between patches" noted at the bottom of each game release.  Starting in Burning Crusade, the patches grew larger in content at the same time as they grew further apart in release time. 

Blizzard had set a precedent over the last 2 expansions that every patch must include some form of major raid tier.  This limits Blizzard's creativity in content since they are expected to design raid content first and additional content as an afterthought.  This Troll admits that he was disappointed in the lack of a new raid being released, but I now think that this is a good thing for Blizzard to do.  I am not too surprised that Blizzard has decided to go in this direction of more patches with smaller content updates.  Cataclysm has seen Blizzard shift its philosophy on Heroic and raid design to make them more challenging with Cata's release.  It seems to me that Blizzard has been taking Cataclysm as an opportunity to clean the World of Warcraft and begin anew.  The change in patching philosophy is another step towards changing how Blizzard approaches WoW.

It is up to Blizzard to decide how it will handle its products, but I think they are well aware of what direction they need to take this game.  I picture a huge white board full of ideas on what Blizzard developers want to accomplish with the game.  I am sure on that board was something about changing patch content to allow them to release varying content, not just raids.  The community is torn on what this change in patching philosophy means, but I think this is a good change for WoW.  Once the community gets over the association of patches with raid content, it will come to grips with a more evolving MMO experience that is delivered on a more consistent basis.  In the end, it is up to Blizzard to fulfill its promise of more regular content updates.  We shall see what will happen thoughout this year.

Thank you for following this long 4.1 patch opinion.

Time to enjoy another live show of Group Quest at Dawnforge Productions...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Raiding and your team...

I got to thinking about my current raiding team and the teams that I have had in the past.  I do have to say that I have had my share of good luck because I have always been a part of a very good raid team.  Most of my raiding experience has been within the 10 man raiding environment.  Generally the guilds I joined were small and stuck to progressing in 10 man raid teams.  Even the larger guilds I joined eventually decided to run several 10 man teams instead of coordinating 25 man raids.

I agree with some others in the community that putting together a 25 man raid team can be more difficult logistically, thus leading to a more epic feel when harder content is overcome.  I enjoyed that feeling of accomplishment as well through late BC and into early Wrath.  As the 10 man raiding environment grew in Wrath content, I too gained a great affinity towards this style of raiding.  One of the aspects of WoW that I enjoy the most is doing things with your friends.  I have made many friends and the smaller 10 man setting allows for a more intimate adventure with those friends.

There are pros and cons for both raiding environments in WoW; 10 man versus 25 man.  I am not going to enter the debate here, but rather mention something about the 10 man that I also enjoy.  In a 25 man raid, I feel like a small part of the team that can succeed with or without my efforts.  If I die early on a fight for some reason, it is still possible for the raid to successfully defeat the boss.  On a 10 man raid, I feel like a teammate that is going to be relied upon to perform well in order for us to defeat a boss.  I enjoy the challenge of being put to the test and feeling that I need to perform at my best for the team to win.

What do you like about your raiding team?  Do you prefer the 10 man or 25 man raiding environment?  Why?

Thanks for stopping by tonight.

Time to finish my chili that's been chilling at my desk, yum.....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Professions making you gold...

As I mentioned last week, I started learning to earn gold in World of Warcraft from a word mentioned by a friend who had lots of gold: Professions.  Over the past few years, I have crafted thousands of items, but it is only the past year have I discovered the value of the items.  Every item you craft has a certain value in the marketplace, even the one that you cannot sell on the Auction House.  There are several factors for determining the relative value of an item that is crafted (using Ebonsteel Belt Buckle as an example has an average AH value of 249 g on my server):

1.  The first factor includes the materials utilized in the cost of the item...  Ebonsteel Belt Buckles require 4 Volatile Earth (17 gold each), 4 Elementium Bars (7 gold each), and 4 Pyrium Bars (28 gold each) in order to craft.  The total cost of buying the materials directly from the auction house would total 208 gold.  This leaves you with an average of 41 gold profit.  The cost of the materials on the auction house may set the price for the Ebonsteel Belt Buckle, but you may find ways to increase the profit margin on your crafted material.

2.  Second factor is the demand and supply of the item you are trying to sell.  This can change daily for the item and can even drastically change with the introduction of new patches.  The Ebonsteel Belt Buckle is used to enhance belt statistics for every class by adding an additional free socket to the belt for a gem.  The materials are in good supply and the current demand for the buckle is relatively good on raid nights and the weekend when people gain new belts through raiding and pvp.  The supply may be greater on the weekends with more crafters on, which will drive the price of the buckle down and eat into your profits from crafting them.  The Ebonsteel Belt Buckle is in high demand mainly because its predecessor, the Eternal Belt Buckle, will not work on the item level 300 or greater, ie raid and pvp gear for end game content.

3.  The final concept that alot of people seem to not grasp is the price versus the value of the item for sale.  Just because the average price of an item is what YOU think it is, that price is not necessarily what people are willing to pay for it.  Lets say that you had to pay more to craft the Ebonsteel Belt Buckle, whether it cost you 250 gold for materials on the auction house or your time to gather materials for crafting it.  As a result, you decide that you want to price it at 300 gold to make similar profit for the cost of the material.  People may look at that price and decide it is too much to buy it for 300 gold.  When people go shopping for items, it is not the price of the item, but rather the value of the item they seek.  One person who does not value the buckle at 300 gold, might value getting the materials to craft one because they have the time to shop/gather the materials themselves.  Another person may have value their time more and see the price of the buckle at 300 gold a value to them simply because they need it now and can save time from having to go shopping for it.

Next time you go to craft an item for sale, take a few moments to study the prices of the item and its materials.  Then take a quick evaluation of the time it might save someone.  Doing this might give you some insight on why the item is selling alot or not at all.

What items do you like to sell for great profit to you and good value to others?

Thank you for checking in today.

Time to go check on animal pictures for a science project....

Monday, February 28, 2011

Little of this and little of that, very little pvp...

Well, last week I was going to do a bit of Arathi Basin pvp this weeekend, but life got in the way.  Not to fear my friends, I was able to do about 4 battles on Sunday with my level 31 hunter alt.  I enjoyed it very much, probably because it was an alt and I am not too attached to him. 

One glaring item that I noticed about Arathi Basin was the speed of the game.  At level cap, Arathi Basin battles tend to go very quickly with players who know about the battlefield and the speed of the mounts.  At level 31, I still have a 60% speed mount and racing across the map to help defend a node is not as easy.  On one occasion, I left the blacksmith to ride over to the stables to help attack it.  By the time I got there, all 4 of my teammates had already been killed and I was left alone to get slaughtered by the defending team.  Playing at this level is like playing junior varsity sports for a school.  There never tends to be standouts at this level and the game play is much slower.

Although there is no resilience on the gear at level 31 from the Arathi Basin vendors located in the Arathi Highlands, there are a few pieces that may help you in the pvp experience and in questing.  I like the boots, such as the Defiler's Chain Grieves.  What I like most about these boots is the increase speed bonus ability to these boots.  It leaves you room for adding another enchant to the boots that you would like to boost stats, rather than adding a speed increase enchant.  The bonus speed is also helpful if you play a class without a speed boosting ability.  You may purchase these boots and others more appropriate for your class from either Rutherford Twing in Hammerfall for the Horde or from Samuel Hawke in Refuge Point.  Most of the goods can be obtained with only doing a few battlegrounds.  The xp is nice and bonus honor for winning it on a Call to Arms weekend make doing the occasional pvp battle worth your time.

Thank you for stopping by.

Time for me to listen to on of my favorite podcasts live, All Things Azeroth...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sometimes you just need a break...

I did not intend to go more than a day without a blog post, but it happens.  This week the kids are all home for February break and we had a lot of things that needed to get done.  We had a great time together and got this house looking great again for our friends to come over.  Sometimes you just run out of minutes in a day to get things done.

I had trouble sleeping 2 nights ago.  When this happens, generally I have too much on my mind and spend energy thinking about a variety of topics.  One thing that crossed my mind was about playing World of Warcraft.  February is basically my anniversary of playing WoW.  It has been 5 years since I began playing.  So much has changed in the game over these pass five years.  We have seen the release of 3 expansions.  I have played in several guilds and met many people who share the same passion for playing this game that I do.

Since January, I had been feeling a little fatigued with playing World of Warcraft.  Part of the issue was my frustration with my connection to the game, ie. disconnecting in the middle of boss fights and random dc's for several hours after that.  Another part was the feeling that I was doing this all over again; getting to level cap, run heroics for gear and start raiding.  Since I was too busy the last few days to really play WoW, I did not feel like I was caught in a routine of gaming.  Just like most anything in life, too much of it will make you like it less.  I love cheesecakes, but eating too much of it will make me feel sick and definitely add a few extra pounds I am not looking to gain.  I do understand now why people enjoy playing other games and then come back to WoW.  I looked at the time playing another game as taking away from my playing WoW.  It is not that at all.  In fact, doing something else with your free time, like riding a bike or playing UNO with the kids, allows me to come back to WoW feeling refreshed.

All I am saying is essentially... sometimes you just need a break in order to rekindle the passion that you have for doing what you love doing.

Funny things happen when you take a break too.  Blizzard released information regarding the 4.1 patch that should be released sometime soon.  Not only am I reinvigorated to play WoW, but now have more to look forward too.  Over the next few weeks, as information about patch 4.1 is released, I will provide some of my opinions on the changes will will be experiencing in game.

Have you ever taken a break from your gaming?  If so, how did it help you?

Thank you for stopping by to check out my long, strange pondering.

Time to gather up some kids and get them to bed...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WoW Raiding and getting ready for it...

When raiding, you are a part of a team seeking to accomplish a specific goal.  The goal in raiding is to generally work as a team to down as many bosses as possible in a raiding session.  As a member of that team, it is your responsibility to be ready for that raiding time period.  If you are new to raiding, you might be asking, what should I do to be ready for raid night?

First of all, you need to know how many nights per week you will be raiding and for how long each night.  My current raid team raids 2 to 3 nights per week for about 2 1/2 hours each night.  Generally this means I need to have enough raid supplies to last me for at most 8 hours per week.  If we raid less than that, well then I have supplies left over for the next week.  This amount of time is important to allow you to know what consumables you will need and their duration in order to properly be prepared for the evening.  You will want to make sure that you have the proper flasks, potions, and food for your raids to get the most out of  your toon.  I suggest that you look over the items yourself to determine what the best raid consumables would be for you in your situation.

Having the proper supplies is important, but preparing for the raid itself is more important.  I suggest using the experience of raiders from Tankspot to help guide you through encounters.  If you do not want to see the fight beforehand for personal reasons, the posts in the Tankspot forums can help you to understand the mechanics of the fight.  Even with watching the videos, it is not until you are engaging the bosses for yourself that you begin to learn the intricacies of your role in that fight.  For example, the videos show that Magmatron on the Omnitron Defense System fight will target a person for dealing a flame torch attack, but it takes me understand my character to know that I can help the healers out alot by casting Dispersion during this attack and negating 90% of the incoming damage.

Finally, as a team member, it is up to you to locate the best possible gear for your class and specialization.  I suggest using the GuildOx loot rankings.  It allows to to put in values for specific statistics found on gear to generate a list that you might find most useful to gearing up your character.  Once you generate a listing, then you can using the links on those items to find out where they are found in-game. 

What other things do you do to prepare yourself for a raid?

Thank you for stopping by today.

Time to chase down a board game for the little guy....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesdays, Gold, and How I play WoW....

Life can be pretty hectic with family, work and life in general.  World of Warcraft is a living game in which there is no stop and save point.  Sure, the server will save you at where you last exited and all your gear plus statistics will still be there when you log back on, but the rest of the gaming community on you toon's server will continue to play when you are away. 

My approach to playing WoW is that I need to have a purpose in order to play, or I will be wasting my time.  Sure there are days where I have the time to waste doing random things, but most of the time I am limited in what I can do in game.  There are three main reasons that I log in to play: to raid, to make gold, or to do some sort of social activity with my guildmates and friends.Three nights a week are set aside to raid with my guild.  This allows me plenty of other free game time to do as I please.

I usually use free time after the children are in bed to do things with guildies, such as running random heroics or doing battlegrounds right now.  If I have a few minutes in the morning, I tend to spend this time making gold.  Early morning is good for buying materials at a lower rate in order to craft something for sale later in the day. 

When purchasing items from the AH, I tend to look at it through a time/cost analysis.  If I feel that the items that I am purchasing are cheaper than the time it would take to gather the items, I would tend to purchase it.  For example, this weekend I purchased over 120 stacks of Whiptail for 45 gold per stack.  This was a deal because I can turn this 5 min purchase of 7,000 gold in herbs into 15,000 gold plus through Alchemy and Inscription.  If I were to gather herbs with my gatherer, it would easily take me several hours to gather the same amount of Whiptail.  The time saved by purchasing cheaply valued herbs we immense, since now I had the time available to focus on other aspects I enjoy more from the game.

Thank you for checking in...

Time for me to get back to the raid before my raid leader has a fit....

Monday, February 21, 2011

PvP and me...

Our guild has been steadily participating in pvp battlegrounds the past few weeks.  We are focusing on gathering gear before attempting to do more rated battlegrounds.  We have been having alot of fun doing these together in a group of 5.  We usually spend a few hours on the weekend taking on the alliance in the weekly Call to Arms.  Doing the weekly Call to Arms battleground will yield more honor points for your character.  It is a good way to gain experience in those battleground whlie gaining important honor point for pvp items.

This past weekend was the Call to Arms: Twin Peaks.  This is another 10 vs. 10 battleground where the objective is to capture the opponent's flag.  We affectionately call this one the "Hobbits" battleground with the Wildhammer Dwarf architecture being similar to the Shire from Lord of the Rings.  Both flags are held with a fort with 3 possible entrances and exits.  There is a main gate and 2 side entrances to the fort.  There is also a river that separates the two forts winding through the middle of the map.  One bridge is located at the middle of the battlefield over the river.

The objective is simple; capture the enemy flag and return it to your base's flag room.  You only score when you have the flag and the opposing team does not have the flag at the flag respawn location in your fort.  We had several matches yesterday that went in our favor.  The ones in which we dominated quickly were the result of the opponents attacking in small groups or as single targets.  Although one person is necessary for capturing the flag, a small group of players to support him are just as important.  Generally we had one of our healers follow the flag carrier with crowd controlling dps helping.  The healer's job was obviously to keep the flag carrier alive.  The dps was responsible for splitting up the attackers through various crowd control tactics.  For example, as a shadow priest, I would us Psychic Scream to scatter the attackers away from the flag carrier to allow him to move closer to our fort and away from their damage.  I would also target the strongest dps caster or healer and Silence them.  Followed by a Psychic Horror after that wears off.  This will help give us time to burn down attackers and thin their numbers.

Once we have secured our flag carrier, a few of us would join our attacking squad to kill their flag carrier.  Again, crowd control of the healers and strong dps were our first targets.  If the battlefield message that the "flag carriers have become vulnerable to attack" appears, we would switch to burning down the flag carrier while crowd controlling his support.  As soon as the flag is returned, we would capture it.

Overall, this is not a new battleground concept for World of Warcraft, but the map makes it a newer feel to the experience.  It is one we have been enjoying this weekend and look for to next week, which is Call to Arms: Arathi Basin.

Thank you for following this long, strange pvp post.

Time to go check on my auctions...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I love Sundaes...

Really, I do!  My favorite is a hot fudge sundae with almost any kind of ice cream.

I think Sunday posts are going to be reserved for random topics related to World of Warcraft.  This week I want to discuss WoW and children.  I have 2 boys who both know about WoW.  The eldest child has been playing World of Warcraft for over a year now.  The younger is not old enough to read and write just yet, but he enjoys watching the cartoonish characters running around the computer.

I do not have a problem with children playing WoW, I just believe that it is up to the parents to set up the guidelines for playing.  Outside of the game, the child needs to be given a set of expectations in order to play any game.  For example, the child's priority is to do well in school.  If his grades are not where they should be, then no games until he can get those grades back up.  Some basic life skills are also necessary in order to play, like the ability to read and write.  I did not let my son play until he demonstrated to me that he could read consistently higher elementary reading materials.

Before allowing your child to play any game, the parents should also know the relative maturity level of the child.  I do not mean that the child needs to be ready for adulthood, but rather the child should be able to handle varying situations.  Some children are frightened easily by certain images or creatures you might find in the game.  My son discusses with me about the fantasy aspect of WoW and movies all the time, so I knew he would not have a problem seeing the Forsaken characters, for example. 

Mainly because WoW is such a rich fantasy world, my boys often ask questions about events in the game and can more readily relate them to the real world.  One question that came up was about why there were two factions.  The discussion moved along to some lore discussion about the Horde vs. the Alliance and why each side thought the way they did.  My son drew his own conclusion that it was similar to governments of different countries which unite for a common purpose.  (Bright kid.... and I am proud to say he gets it all from his Mom!)

In game, parents have as much control over what their children see as they want.  Blizzard provides an entire support section devoted to setting up parental controls.  Parents can set up limits on play time, chat in game, and even reports sent to the parent's email on play time.  As much as we would like to have the game keep our kids safe, it is the responsibility of the parent to make sure the child has a safe environment to play in.  We have talked many times about what is appropriate to talk about with other people in the game.  We also talked about the importance of not sharing important information that could get the account stolen, or worse.

Currently, my son is not playing much WoW.  He occasionally does low level pvp battles, but has focused his available playtime on Starcraft 2.  He saw several live stream games during Blizzcon last year and wanted to get the game.  We asked him how he planned on getting it.  On his own, he figured out how to save enough money and purchase the game by himself over the course of a few months.  I think this tells me enough that I need to know about his maturity and ability to play games at his age.

Thank you for checking out my Sundae with my kids edition of the long,strange blog...

Now its time for me to clean before the in-laws come for a visit...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturdays are for hanging out with my guildies...

The only structured activity that my guild currently does is raiding during the week.  This leaves my weekends free.  I like this since it allows me to spend time with the family and get some things done that I do not have time for during the week.

When I do play WoW on the weekends, it generally becomes a time to hang out with fellow guildmates and do other things in game.  A few weeks ago we decided to throw a team together for 10v10 rated battelgrounds.  This feature of doing battlegrounds is new for WoW with the release of Cataclysm.  I have never been a huge fan of doing arena and regular battlegrounds.  I do enjoy watching them done as some places stream them or show videos of them.  I agree with several people in the community that a view match feature, such as they have in Starcraft 2 would be fun.  I do not know the limitations on the engine or the bandwidth this might eat up while viewing, but it would be a good addition to the game.

My fellow guildies and I spent a few hours doing rated battlegrounds.  Although we lacked the proper pvp gear and knowledge of working together in a pvp environment, we had an absolute blast playing.  The chatting and laughter heard on vent was about the most fun in WoW that I have heard us have in quite some time.  We only won one match on the evening, but it was a fun bonding experience.  I am sure we will be doing this again soon.

I suggest that if you begin doing pvp in any capacity, you should begin by looking at crafted pvp blue gear that has several pieces of resilience items for you to use.  Also, you will need to exercise a bit of patience while gaining honor points for better gear from the pvp vendors.  Currently, resilience as a stat is quite powerful in keeping you alive longer during pvp encounters.  Once you pick up a few pieces of pvp vendor gear, you will find your survivability increase dramatically in battlegrounds. 

Thank you for stopping by, see you soon.

Time for me to go reset my hearthstone...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The WoW Community Spotlight

One of the things that I appreciate the most is the large and vibrant community that has developed around playing World of Warcraft.  Each Thursday I plan on sharing some aspect of that community that I have enjoyed being a part of over the past few years.

I think I should start by pointing out some great informational websites that can help players of all levels learn about WoW and what is happening in game...

  • The official World of Warcraft community site has been updated with the launch of Cataclysm to provide a variety of media from Blizzard and its community members about the game itself. 
  • If you are looking for a good collection of information from in game and beyond, I suggest looking at WoWpedia.  In their own words, "Wowpedia is a wiki dedicated to cataloging Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft universe (with a focus on World of Warcraft), covering the entire Warcraft series of games, RPG reference books, strategy guides, novels and other sources."  (source; Wowpedia's main page description) 
  •  MMO-Champion has become one of the premiere news and information sources for in game changes and posts from Blizzard regarding their games.
  • I enjoy reading WoW Insider for the daily articles about varying interests regarding World of Warcraft.  The staff at WoW Insider shares their passion and the news about this game.  In their own words, "WoW Insider is Azeroth’s largest blog and information site, covering the latest news, analysis and opinion from all around the World of Warcraft."  (source, WoW Insider's about page)
  • Finally, I wanted to mention Wowhead which serves as a virtual library for all information regarding items, quests, npc's, maps, and more.  This is a valuable resource that can help any player find more information about anything they come across in the game.
If you have not checked out any of the sites above for information regarding World of Warcraft, I suggest that you give them a try.  I hope that these help you out.

If you have any other suggestions about any general information related WoW websites that you know of, let us know in the comments below.

Thank you again for taking another look at this not so long, nor strange post.

Time for me to go gather a few herbs for my raid flasks before the raid this time...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday is Raid Night...

For years now, it seems that Wednesdays have become raid night in my guild.  Other days have always shifted, but Wednesdays seem to be a sure fire bet for raiding.  Currently my guild has 2 dedicated 10 man raiding teams.  We are currently trying to fill out a 3rd 10 man raid team.  If interested in looking at the 3rd team, check out the Forged in Blood website and drop the officers an application.  I am not an officer and I do not know what the needs are on the team, but it never hurts to promote it.

Guilds have varying opinions on how to tackle the current raid content, whether as a 25 man raid or several 10 man groups.  In my opinion, it depends on the size of the guild, the longevity of its existence, and the prevalent culture within the guild.  Overall, Forged in Blood is a casual raiding guild, which fits my life just fine.  Forged in Blood allows the raid leaders to develop their own raiding times and direction for progressing through content.  We have only started raiding within the last few weeks to allow everyone sufficient time to enjoy the expansion and the holiday season.

We definitely have the numbers to put together a 25 man raiding team, but with the nature of a casual raiding guild we do not have all 25 online at any given night for raiding.  The officers and the guildmaster met several times prior to the release of Cataclysm to decide on what we should do about raiding.  I am not privy to the details of the decision other than the fact that we decided to focus progression in 10 man teams.  I personally like 10 man teams mainly because of the feeling that its like having a small party to accomplish a common goal.  Its fun and personal.  Having 2 teams also opens up a healthy competition for boss kills between them.  We are fortunate in that we have a lot of friendships that developed in the guild which transcends the raiding teams.  I have raided with several people on all 3 teams and cheer for them to down bosses... after my team does of course, wink wink.

I am proud of our raid teams and the progress we have made in such a short amount of time.  In the first 2 weeks of raiding the guild only downed 2 bosses.  Last week became a breakout week for us as both teams combined to take down 6 bosses.  I look forward to what we can do this week because we have already taken down 4 bosses in 2 hours of raiding last night.  It seems we are starting to hit our stride in raiding again after taking months off from doing progression.

Thanks for checking out my blog.

Time for me to chase some kids into pajamas, so I can make my raid on time....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday is for Gold Making...

When I began my journey through WoW several years ago, I had no idea about how to make gold in World of Warcraft.  Like a majority of people beginning in this MMO, I would just grind quests and kill mobs for coin and the occasional valuable rare drop.  My first few years would find me always having just enough gold to purchase the things that I needed in order to raid, but not much else. 

I found out about the Auction House late in the BC expansion (yeah, admitted noob there).  See, playing WoW is my first experience in an MMO and I spent the better part of the first 2 years playing it like a console video game, only now on my computer.  My experience in playing console games overall were that they are predictable and not much social interaction is needed to play those.  Of course, much has changed in the console market over the past 4 years allowing for more interactive game play between people.  I grew up playing Sega Genesis, Atari, Colecovison, and other game systems that did not require other people to have a gaming experience.  (Thinking about this makes me realize how long I have been playing games...) 

Anyways, tangents aside, I treated the Auction House for the next 18 months or so as a vendor for the items I farmed in game.  So I always had the gold I needed, but after every time I would purchase another epic flight for another toon, I would be out of gold and need to go back farming again.  A little over a year ago, I saw a friend of mine on a Traveler's Tundra Mammoth .  I thought it was the neatest thing ever, a multiperson mount that had vendors attached to it.  I was thinking of how awesome it would be to have when I go farming instances (still thinking small at this point...).   So I asked my friend how he got the 18,000 gold for this mount.  He said one word, "Professions." 

Needless to say I was confused.  I always had my enchanting and tailoring, but never thought about using any of it to make money.  (I can see the faces of people reading this now -- LOL it is so obvious noob console gamer guy)  I knew I never had that much gold in game ever, so something needed to change in how I played this game.  It was obvious to me that other people could make gold in game legally, but I needed to find out how.  I began to search tirelessly on the internet for blogs, sites, and forums on how to make gold. 

One of the first places I found with regular updates and a common sense approach to gold making, was from Markco over at Just My Two Copper.  Markco provided daily blog post updates that appealed to someone like me who was looking for ideas.  Soon after I started following JMTC, Markco expanded his ideas for developing something more than just a blog about gold, he began setting in motion the development of a gold making community on the JMTC Forums.  Now the forums have well over 5,000 topics compiled over the past few years on everything from farming to Auction House to speculation.  Many of the forum contributors are active on their own servers in doing the things that they speak about on these forums.

Markco's blog and the forums were not the only places he wanted to reach an audience.  He has been a part of several podcasts, such as Call to Auction and Castaclysm.  Although these podcasts may not be currently active, there is wisdom and plenty of entertainment in them.  The socialization of the gold making community is leading us into more avenues for learning about making gold in WoW.  I would like to leave you today with a list of links to blogs and podcasts about gold making that I follow regularly to get information:

 Again, these are not the only wow gold making blogs and sites out there, but these are the ones that I follow.  I am always looking for more great places to find information on the web.  Tell me in the comments below about what your favorite gold making blog/site is.

Thank you for checking out this Long, Strange Post today....

Time for me to go deal with some Zombies on my Lawn....