Archive for the “Lewt” Category

Well, we thought we had a handle on healers, but our guild ended up being so hard up for one that I got dragged back into the sunlight again. So I’ve been Atone-ing my little elvish ass off and sweating like a software engineer at a mixer party, but not having much time to hit the Island of Mucho Loot (The Elvish name is untranslatable).

So I replaced my iLevel 450 shoulders tonight. And this happened.

Better late than never

Cataclysm. Or, as I like to call it, The Long Hangover.

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So, as posted on the EU community website, Cosmetic helms are now for sale in the cash shop Blizzard Store. And if you’re into gaudy, they’re not bad.

First of all: 15 US dollars1 is not a microtransaction. I don’t care what your favorite omnibus WoW website says, I don’t care what your favorite MMO forum site says.  The cost of a month’s game time is not a microtransaction. So don’t call it that, and we’ll get along fine.2

Next item: will it affect the game at all?  I can’t really see how, other than consuming precious frame rate.  Seriously, what would a 25-man raid look like with these on everyone?  Will a new Alliance battleground strat involve wearing these and lagging the Horde out?  Considering that it’s gotten zero beta time, these are actually kinda relevant questions. But I’m SURE they’ve gotten EXTENSIVE testing in-house3.

Item the third: when will this hit the US?  Days? Hours? Before this post goes up4Update:  I found out at 2 PM (two hours after publish) that they’re now available in the US.

Item the fourth: what next?  Will we see matching robes, shoulders, cloaks? And sidebar: will the WoW punditry also insist on calling those other items "microtransactions" if they cost 15 bucks5?

The big one: how long until we see pay-to-win items?  And does this indeed signal the final death rattle of WoW6?

that escalated quickly

Oops, sorry, accidentally plugged in to a forum.

The personal one: I’d almost buy the Firelord helm for Flora if she was into gaudy baubles. But in general none of this stuff speaks to my nature.  I seriously doubt that they’ll ever introduce a mog set that says "I work for a living" rather than "I’d like to think that I raid stuff you can’t even imagine."

The thoughtful one: It’s not just this stuff.  So much WoW raiding tier and its predecessor gear looks so hideous to me.  It’s covered with horns, and glitter, and flanges, and glitter, and orbs, and glitter, and ropey things, and glitter, and then they add glitter. SOME of the old vanilla tier stuff is okay7 but for the most part, Blizz is in love with its art department, and its art department all apparently majored in "Ming the Merciless’ Court Trappings".

You thought I was joking

But the thing is, they wouldn’t keep getting more ridiculous with every tier if it weren’t for the users wanting, or at least encouraging it. Those of us that want a more functional approach to awesomeness are not as vocal or as profitable.

I am very much of the opinion that awesomeness is not a function of frills and special effects.  The most iconic weapons are often very much, shall we say, to the point.

Anduril, Flame of the West

Rather than …

I blame Cloud

Maybe Ming wasn’t at fault after all. :)

If you can’t please everyone, the best you can do is give them choices, and that’s where mogging came in in the first place. You may recall my own mogging preferences are somewhat more functional than what my armor actually looks like8. And there are others that go the other way – well, I can certainly see the attraction of some Ulduar and Icecrown gear.

The Cheap One: What I would love to see with this sort of throwaway mog fodder is for it to (also) be sold for in-game currency of some sort, especially near the end of an expansion when people have piles of tokens and nothing to blow them on.  It would be a great JP dump, or Greater Tokens, or Halfhill Tokens, or what have you.

An even better approach would be to (a) make the items purchasable for a new special token type, (b) make it so you could buy that token in the cash shop (e.g.Neverwinter Zen), and (3) then also make that token purchasable for varying amounts of other in-game tokens, such as JP, Darkmoon tokens, etc.  That way, if one particular faction grind was "your thang", then you could, oh, I dunno, enjoy yourself while playing a game.

Because here’s the bottom line for me: they could make the perfect Hunter garb of all time available, and I’d not buy it for cash, not ever. I’m paying that much a month already.  I’m not even sure I’d pay for it if it was F2P.   Virtual items are pretty much gone as soon as you stop playing the game.  Game time, for all its ephemeral nature, gives you a month’s worth of enjoyment, whereas a hat isn’t even usable unless you pay more money.

But I might grind for it.

The Final One: The Godmother over at Alt:ernative had an interesting thought (or a dozen) about the cash shop9, one which was the sale of armor dyes.  I do want armor dyes.  I especially want one like the one in Diablo III that makes your shoulder pieces go away. But I categorically do not want them to be part of the cash shop.  Special colors? Possible.  In general?  Not.  It might be close to a deal-breaker for me, a last sign of cynical money-grubbing from a company that swore up and down that Activision wouldn’t do that to it.  I can only swallow so much hypocrisy, and that would probably mark the high water10 line.

Doing so would also eliminate one of the potential fun elements in-game: making of dyes.  I personally think this would be a great product for Scribes to make11 since they already have all sorts of dyes in the bank.  I think it would be great if they managed to exploit ALL of the herbs from Peacebloom to Golden Lotus to make different armor dyes.  They could just keep adding different shades of dye as new herbs came into being.  Heck, Ghost Mushrooms would be perfect for making armor invisible!12

I kind of doubt that will happen, though. I could be wrong, but they seem to be pushing down hard on the crafting game, and it’s starting to look like there is either a paradigm shift about to happen, or they’re starting to dismantle crafting as an mainstream part of the game. Certainly, it has problems.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.  At least the potential cash mounts will give us more people to admire as they preen on the bank steps and RP walk around Stormwind.

swaggah


Or something.


  1. That’s 12 Euro on this date. []
  2. We are straying dangerously into pet peeve territory, yes? []
  3. Kaff kaff /points at Theramore []
  4. Looks like: "no". []
  5. My money is on "yes". []
  6. I’m out of sarcasm tags, so use your "imagination". []
  7. Though that Rogue helm that looks like a respirator mask is just stupid. []
  8. I mean, if I was wearing my tier gear, you wouldn’t be able to see my head, even with the helm hidden! []
  9. She’s on a roll, folks. []
  10. Well, it looks like water from a distance. []
  11. I know, I know, just throw more money at them. []
  12. If they do this, seriously, I want a quarter for every game they sell. []

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Grimmtooth Actual’s first best love is Grimmtooth the hunter, no doubt about it, but one could argue that the Hunter is so second-nature at this point that it’s more like a Stay-cation than a true diversion. Grimmtooth’s existence at the moment is all about getting things done, from the scrupulous attention to gardening to the grueling slog of dailies.

Warlock’s what comes out when we want to play.  I’m not a raiding main, Jasra is, so I’m free to indulge myself as I see fit.  I’m not even level 90 yet.  And with Grimm and Jas sucking up all the CPU they can, I rarely get to come out and play, so I make the most of it.

I’ve got myself a good adventuring outfit, for example. Black velvet robes are good for shaking down the locals in Stormwind, displaying a decadant sense of evil that the rubes truly appreciate. But they tend to snag on everything. Denim and forest leathers are a lot more appropriate for stomping around in the wild.

Flora's Mog

Also, I have horns from time to time.  While I like the look, it was hell on hats until I figured out to punch a couple of holes in the right place.

Horns

But that does bring me to the part of this expansion that I dislike the most about the Demonology spec.  Demonform has gone from a hefty buff to DPS to being a whole second spell rotation to learn. It plays hell with my rhythm, let me tell you.

But outside of that, Big D is a blast.  I cut through mobs like a hot knife through butter. I use Hefty Voidwalker to gather them up and just beat them to the ground. Even Grimm can’t AoE that well. I don’t even use most of my rotation because the mobs die too fast.

There’s this green fire thing coming up, I’ve heard, once I hit 90.  I have some nice prezzys from Jas to wear when I hit that level, too, so it looks like I’ll end this turn at the wheel on a high note for sure, since I’m 89.25 now.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Damn, it’s good to be a Warlock.

Addenum:

Been out front of Stormwind lately?

Stormwind gates are fixed

Yep, been patched right up!

Well almost

Well, almost.  The minimap still shows the glowing embers for the gate towers, though, as you can see, they’re just fine now.

Glad to see my tax money going into something other than blowing panda bears up.

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If you’re working on Tillers rep, then there will be a time you need Raw Crab Meat.  Now, the conventional wisdom of WoWhead is that it drops best from Rockshell Snapclaw, hermit-crab-like humanoids found underwater on a shelf southwest of Soggy’s Bottom.

Snapclaw

It’s underwater. If you don’t have a potion you have to surface to breathe from time to time. If you’ve already done a certain quest in the zone, you get your Sea Legs buff, but if you haven’t, you don’t.  A bit of a pain, really.

Just northwest of there is another spot, The Briny Muck, in which turtles, crabs, some Sauroks, and some big elementals hang out.  The crabs are of interest, as they have almost as high a drop rate as the previously mentioned Snapclaws, plus there’s a spot you can go to that has a nearly constant supply of them.

The Spot for Crabs

In one direction is a crab that spawns pretty much as fast as you kill it.  Turn around 180 degrees, and there’s another one that does the same thing. So it’s kill, turn, kill, turn, loot, kill, turn etc.

One of the Sauroks will occasionally aggro on you, and there’s one group that will avoid you as long as you don’t pull them, but aside from that, it’s all gravy.

Here’s a couple of screen grabs to help you situate yourself, complete with piles of bodies to illustrate the incredible spawn rate.

Look at those crabs

Just look at them

Happy hunting!

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As Eff the Ineffable completes its second Feng clear and contemplates the mystery that is Gara’jal and the Spirit World, I am also engaged in that lovely activity known, to be nice, as the Gear Plan.

Now, there is a bit of loosey-goosey-ness to what, exactly, is meant by those two words, but I choose to give it this general meaning (with lots of wiggle room): generally speaking, figuring what gear I need, and where to find it, for purposes of raiding.  If you’re ambitious, part II of that is: what gear, and where to get it, to be fully decked in BiS, preparatory to being ready for Heroics or the next tier.

There are many tools for this. Ask Mr. Robot, for example, will produce lists of gear for you, suggest gems and enchants, and even take all that into account for the next piece. It’s also sometimes not entirely realistic, models and sims being what they are.  WoWHead, for another, has a tool that will help you find upgrades.

What neither does very well is give you a big-picture way of understanding, which is where the Gear Plan comes in.  As you research each piece, map out where you can find upgrades for it, and so forth, you can organize those findings in some coherent way.

My methods aren’t as accountable as those big sites are1, but the numbers I have found were derived from them, as well as others.  When all is said and done, some things pop right out at you.

I see a trend

The above image is a chart derived from the stat weights of the gear that provides an improvement to my current gear2, as equipped. Basically it’s a map of how much improvement I can get from various sources. Everything from Golden Lotus and below can be considered solo content, things that can be done without much assist from anyone else.

Obviously, LFR has a LOT going for it. But you have to get to iLevel 460 first, so the two tiers below it are of interest.

The interesting thing is, Scenarios play a big part in the gearing progression, far bigger than you might think.  There is generally one, maybe two, sets that come out of the little bag you get from running scenarios (and some faction quests). These sets generally have at least one variation that is best-in-slot for blue gear, and, in some cases, better than some epic gear (and 3-4 lesser variations).

Now, for myself, Scenarios play a bigger part than Heroics in the gearing equation. Jasra’s almost-finished gear plan3 shows a different picture:

Jasra's Gear Stats

In her case, Heroics have more upgrades than they do for me, so they are a bigger immediate payoff than Scenarios. 

What you’re seeing here is a profile of two characters at different points on the gearing curve. In Jas’ case, she’s geared poorly enough that there are many upgrades in Heroics.  As she gets more upgrades, I expect Heroics and Scenarios to change in weight, as she outlevels Heroics. In the same vein, Klaxxi rep will become less influential as I acquire more pieces from them.

I have yet to look into the 5.1 rewards and see if they bring anything new to the party.

I have yet to do gear plans for anyone else, but I would be very surprised if they strayed far from the profile I’m seeing on Jasra’s gear plan, so pretty much the best advice anyone can get here is: do Scenarios as soon as you can, as many times as you’re allowed to get gear, until you can do LFR.  This is your best bet for the best gear.


  1. Though one might suggest that neither is all that open, either. []
  2. To be fair, I got a couple of pieces from LFR last night and haven’t factored them in yet. Still, this serves as a good example. []
  3. A bit of controversy here: the weight of Crit over Mastery affects the final numbers. Depending on how you weight them, either Mastery rules over Crit (for shields), or Crit rules over Mastery (for strong heals). AMR leans towards the latter, but I think eventually they’re going to have to split the two into two sub-specializations, if that makes any sense. []

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When Navi came over to say hi, I was working on my transmog "set", if "set" it be. I had replaced the shoulder pieces, but the rest of my outfit was all Tier-thirteeny. It wasn’t pretty, but I did appreciate having the ability to look to the right and left once again. Those T13 shoulders should really come with mirrors or something.

My snark on the T13 shoulders is indicative of what I think about Hunter armor appearance in general.   I don’t even GET the concept of mail-wearing Hunters. Forest leathers are a much more appropriate outfit for us outdoorsy types, but game mechanics (i.e. Mail Specialization) require mail, and you can’t mog mail to look like leather. It might confuse the PvPers1.

Well, a couple of weeks after Navi’s visit, after much Lore-mastering, I’ve assembled what is almost the final product2.

Mog-front

Deadly Bio-optic Killshades are crafted3. Tablet-Bearer’s Pauldrons, Far-a-day Mesh, Fastfuse Gloves, and Bael’dun Chain Leggings all seem to come from a coherent set. I would have loved for this "set" to come in a jade-green theme4, as that would seem more natural for Hunters. But the overall theme here is simplicity of design. No fiddly bits, curly-cues, flying buttresses, flashing lights, glaring eyeballs, or other ridiculous crap5.

Paxton’s Belt and the Talonrend Stompers contrast the blue-silver theme for a couple of reasons. First of all, belts and boots are generally made of leather. Second of all, even though they’re mail, they look like nice, sensible leather accessories.  Third of all, although there are boots that match the armor, I’d run the risk of looking like this:

Blue Power Ranger

Um, no thanks.

The final piece is the gun.

Mog-side

The Tribute Gun was my second choice. My first choice was the Flawless Arcanite Rifle, which has a scope as part of the model6.  The Arcanite rifle is also an engineering crafted item, but the schematic only drops from one particular mob, and apparently nobody’s seen that drop since they were downgraded about ten levels in Cata.

I asked a kind GM about this – Trelladon, who also offered conciliatory waffles – if it had been dropped from the game, and s/he indicated that there is a bug report in about this very thing, so at the moment there just isn’t any clear idea in Customer Support if the schematic is supposed to drop or not. 

Well, once the black market is live, maybe one or the other will drop.  But for now, this will have to do.

The main thing that drew me was the feathers.  I know it’s silly, but that’s such a Wildhammer-ish thing.

So there you go. My look, going into MoP, unless they come out with something new in MoP that I like the looks of better7.


  1. Onoz! []
  2. Ignore the staff. I forgot to unholster the thing before snapping. And staves are irrelevant to Hunters after Tuesday. []
  3. Engineering pride, yo! []
  4. WTB armor dyes. []
  5. Sorry, Blizz, I know your artists have feelings. But a certain segment of your players can’t get past the complete and utter impracticality, garishness, busy-ness, and plain old ugly that some of the sets out there represent, and Hunter gear especially. We’ll talk when they start making armor they’d be willing to wear on a bus on the way to work. Meanwhile I submit that a recolor of old armor sets is not art, it is what we should be doing with armor dyes, and a potential for payroll reductions, if you ask me. []
  6. How odd that they’d have two different models otherwise. []
  7. Figure the odds. Oh, look, moar fiddley bits! []

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