And Now For Something Totally Different

I’ve been waiting with breath held for this one. Unfortunately it isn’t World of Warcraft related. Instead, I’m going to use this time on my own blog to promote my own venture. Along with several friends, we’ve decided to run our new Dungeons & Dragons campaign (with yours truly as the Dungeon Master) as a podcast! If you have the time, please give a listen and let me know what you think. Admittedly there were a few audio hiccups in the first episode but hopefully that doesn’t deter you. If you have a podcast service, just look up Echoes of Ages!

A Rare Post Of Many Things

Too Sickly…Even For Me

Both Mrs. Amateur and myself feel like we’re lying in a pool of plague.  For me it started Friday, while I think she picked it up from me and woke up to it today.  The good news is, the wee one has still gone to a festive family function so things are a bit quiet around here.  That actually gave me a bit of time to WoW it up all relaxed (as relaxed as one can be in such a fatigued state of blech).

Amidst my puttering, I was pleasantly surprised when Navimie showed up on her Runetotem Dwarf.  I thought she would have deleted it, to be honest, but it occurs to me you never know when she’ll need to see me in person.  Seems this was one of those occasions…

Naviworm

Yet another lovely Winter Veil gift!  I didn’t even know what it was to be honest, other than a pet of sorts.  I shall pet battle it post haste!  It’s a bit low for Outland, which is where I’m plying my trade at the moment.  My focus for pets is to get the Zone achievements for battle locations and taming locations.  If I can pick up a few rare pets along the way, then bonus for me.  Now, while Navi and I had met up I decided to do a flyover past Gnomeregan to see if the Fluxfire Feline was spawned.  No such luck, and I should’ve realized she would have long ago had it anyway.  We got to talking about it and Navi mentioned getting hers by starting a lowbie Gnome and it was right there in the start zone.  Well, I was later camping the location and decided I would return to Ironforge and hop on a Gnome I have sitting in said start zone to see if my luck was any better.  However, just as I was leaving the area I caught something on my map.  I doubled back and landed immediately.

FFFeline

Hot diggity damn!  Oh, and let me just say…completely random location.  The battle screenshot should illustrate that:

Toruqe

Yeah, see that dude hanging out behind my Spirit of Competition?  That’s Mekkatorque himself.  Oh, and bet your ass I would shiv him in a heartbeat if he had stepped towards that cat.  Also, note the health on the cat at this point, when I nearly screwed up and killed it…which I’m getting notoriously good at.  Fortunately, I came out of it cat intact.  Poor quality?  Don’t care.

Speaking of poor, I’m once again back on the subject of CRZ’s.  Once again, what could be great is nothing but a pain in the rear end.  My buddy Syrynx messaged me today.  He wanted a party invite, not to be run through something, but because he was tired of his PvE panda ending up in flagged zones over and over. I keep hearing how “oh this shouldn’t be happening.”  The bottom line is that it is and it needs to be fixed, or give the players the option to turn them off.

On the flipside, I tried to actually take advantage of CRZ’s and help Magik get the Let It Snow achievement.  Repgrind offered to bring her Orc DK so he could snowflake her.  I used my Horde toon on the same server as Magik to group up with Rep.  No problem.  Magik flies into the area and we’re nowhere to be seen.  They both go to Dalaran, nowhere to be seen.  Basically it lead me to giving up on even trying to figure out how the zones work anymore.

To cheer myself up, I added a couple more weeks to the LBR schedule after another fun run on Saturday night.  We were actually full for Karazhan!  No mount drop there or in Tempest Keep -but let’s be honest, to expect it two weeks in a row would be silly.  What?  Yes, I would be that kind of silly.

Getting back to the LBR schedule, though, I’ve put up an Alliance Molten Core run on the 30th.  To have a little festive hilarity, the Winter Veil Sweater must be worn for the run!  If you don’t have one from last year, I suspect we may see it under the tree on the 25th again this year.  Can’t wait to see the gaudy looks.  Feel free to transmog accordingly!

Also, there has been a tonne of praise for Mrs. Amateur and how awesome she is.  This?  I completely agree with.  However, it stems from the 12 Days of Winter Veil I’m running here on the blog.  Well, as awesome as Mrs. is…I have to claim credit on this one.  While I’m writing it from the recipient perspective (a la the classic song), I’m the one giving the gifts to her…and might I add, thoroughly enjoying this little creative nugget I put together.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to calm my throat with some cranberry tea and see about pet hunting some more.

Preparing For Mists of Pandaria

A year and a half ago I wrote a two post guide to get ready for Cataclysm, one from a point of what to do for existing characters and another for new characters.  Catacylsm was a much different expansion than what Mists of Pandaria will be.  As such, this time around I’m keeping my suggestions to a single post.

1. Clean Up Your Bank
Prior to an expansion is the best time to clean up your bank and bags.  If you’re like me, you have at least one toon that has items in their bank that may you go “why is that there???”  Using myself as an example, Saintvache had half a dozen mail pieces from Northrend in his main bank storage.  I had hung on to it in order to disenchant when my skill was high enough, and then got so busy I forgot.  Better to do it now than when Mists launched, and Void Storage is a godsend we didn’t have heading into the current expansion.

2. Don’t Respec
You can respec now, but as the expansion comes…don’t waste your time or gold on it. The talent *ahem* tree is vastly overhauled come Mists. Your talents are going to be reset because half of them are going to be gone.

3. Server Transfers
Some people like Feats of Strength and more importantly “server firsts.” If that matters to you, I’d suggest transferring to a low-population one to increase your chances. From a different approach, if you happen to be on a server where queue times exist just think how much worse they’re going to be when the expansion hits. Amidst all of the chaos you can be assured character transfers won’t be as high of a priority for Blizzard at that time.

4. Achievements
Much like Catalcysm, you can expect dungeons and achievements to change and even be removed. If there is something you really, really want…you might be best served to do it now (Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery come to mind)

5. Cha-chinga
Gold. I’ll talk about the Black Market Auction House at a later time, but the fact is there’s a bonafide money sink coming. And technically there could be lots of them. Hard to say. Plus, you never know what you’re going to want to buy, so taking the time to get the money now isn’t a bad idea.

6. What Do You Plan To Do At Launch?
This is a no-brainer to some people, but not everyone. Are you going full tilt into the questing? Perhaps a new Panda or even just a new Monk is what you’ll be signing on for. Or, you recognize the awesome return you get on raw materials when a new expansion arrives and you want to just farm farm farm for profit. Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to think it through now.

7. Bookmark Your Name(s)
Whether you plan to make a Monk from the existing races, or you’ve got plans for a fuzzy new Panda, if you have a name in mind then roll a character now and bookmark said name. I always use my Worgen Warrior as an example. The day Cataclysm was announced, I rolled a Draenei named Horrux and hung on to it with all my life.

8. Server Space
We’re getting a whole extra character slot with Mists of Pandaria, which could be enough for some and not even close to helpful for others. Determine where you fit in all that and whether you need to delete that level 3 Forsaken Rogue that you’ve not logged into since Wrath so that you can have a Panda Warrior and a new Monk on your main server.

9. How Will Your Character React?
This is for the roleplayers, for the most part. New lands and a new race means new opportunity. It doesn’t hurt to ponder the possibilities now.

10. Stop And Smell The Roses
As with every expansion, take the time to experience all the new things you do in Mists of Pandaria. Far too often we burn through the race to get to the finish line that we turn around after and go “I missed all that?” Perhaps not the whole time, but here and there just take in everything rather than having it as just a backdrop to 90.

Not exactly ten things I hate about you, but a convenient list of ten things to keep in mind as the expansion approaches.  As I said heading into Cataclysm, a new expansion is like being the kid in a candy store and thinking about what might be the sweetest to try first isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

The Plague Cometh

I think the time has almost come,
To see this sorry world undone,
Not bathed in flame or ash and smoke
Breathe in deep, try not to choke.

White they say will cleanse the soul
That it will clean off blackened coal
And polish thoughts to diamond shine
If you can survive my will this time

Strength of will is fine and nice
But it’s time you all did roll the dice
My will is done, it’s time to end
And rethink who is foe or friend.

-The Broken Doll

Whatever could be happening?  Find more questions than answers here.

Cataclysm Preparation Part II: New Characters

This is my BOOMSTICK!

Yesterday we looked at things to do with your existing characters prior to the expansion’s arrival.  Today, it’s the characters you’ve yet to make.

1. Bookmark Your Name(s)!
For some people, this isn’t really that important. For others, the name of your toon is very important. So, roll a placemark toon with that name so that no one else takes it on you. Then, you can delete the toon and immediate roll the new one you originally wanted to have that name. For example, the day Cataclysm was announced, I took Horrux for my Worgen. He’s currently a level one Draenie Priest. I considered Weethrall for a Goblin Shaman, but ultimately passed (even though it was available). Bottom line is if name is important to you, you should already have it.

2. Netherweave Bags
Whether you have a tailor that can make them, or you have to buy the mats yourself, start stockpiling now. To begin with, bag space is brutal when you’re starting out so having bags readily available is a huge boon. You might be thinking Frostweave Bags hold more and that is quite true. However, for an extra four slots you’re paying five times the gold. Speaking of gold, another reason to stockpile these is because people will be buying them off the proverbial shelf if they don’t have a tailor. Consider it an investment if you will.

3. Avoid New Hotness
If you were around for the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, you know the new leveling zones drew out the worst in people. It was shiv your ally when they weren’t looking…just to get that much further in leveling. In short, it was chaotic. I decided when it was late at night on my server to go roll a Death Knight. It was a wise move then. This time around, Worgen and Goblin zones are going to be insane with people. The new leveling areas won’t be any better for the first couple weeks. If you don’t want any insanity, I’d suggest taking one of the new race/class combos and trying that out.

4. Roll One Of Every Race
Even if you don’t end up playing them, roll every race once. The start zones have been completely overhauled and are said to be amazing. Even the narrations have changed. You owe it to yourself to experience each one once.

5. To Heirloom Or Not To Heirloom
I talked briefly about heirlooms yesterday, but applies more to future toons. Should you get them or not? Personally, I am going to have at least one character that won’t use them because I want to take my time through the new content. Each of us is different in this regard, and the choice is ultimately yours. But if you want to level somewhat faster, then you need to be considering heirlooms now.

6. Money
Another repeat idea, but it applies for new characters as well as existing ones. It could be Azeroth flying when they’re ready, a regular mount, or even professions. Simply put, it wouldn’t hurt to have a little gold set aside for your new characters to have to play with.

7. Server Space
I mentioned server transfers yesterday in terms of your current characters, but also consider whether you have room on your current server to roll that new character you want so badly. For some it might not matter, but others might want their new Goblin playing with their main’s guild. Whether you need to make a transfer or delete a toon you should still be thinking about it. If you do delete one, be sure to sell off and transfer the money to one that’s sticking around.

8. Purpose Planning
It sounds odd, but think about what this new toon is going to be for. Are you planning to raid with it endgame? PvP? Some professions you don’t have? What spec might you be leaning towards? Answering these can allow you to do some things prior to the expansion to make it easier. If your Worgen is going to be a Scribe, then getting some cheap herbs (or farming them) will help you on that road faster. Or perhaps some crafted twink gear for that Undead Hunter.

9. How Will You RP?
Much like yesterday’s column, a suggestion for the RP folk. New characters to play means new characters to become. Again, how did they get to where they are and where are they headed? This is the biggest in game event to date for World of Warcraft and the roleplaying opportunity of a lifetime.

10. Stop And Smell The Roses
This applies not only to your new toons, but anything you do in the new expansion. Take your time with it, if you can. Blizzard has gone to great lengths to overhaul the game and world as we know it. From quests to new character options to blowing up the landscape. There’s just so much, and slowing down to “experience” it rather than just having it in the background is something everyone should do at some point.

The new expansion is officially less than two months away now.  These are just some little things you can do to get that new toon (or toons) off and running on December 7th.  Like kids in a candy store, we want to try it all and thinking about what to try first can make it taste that much sweeter.

Cataclysm Preparation Part I: Existing Characters

Some of this has got to go!

Today is the first half of things to consider as Cataclysm approaches.  Tomorrow we’ll look at planning for new toons, but for now it’s the ones you already have.

1. Clean up your bank(s).
Take it from me, at least one of your toons has items in their bank that make you wonder why they’re even there.  In the case of my 66 Hunter, it was a level one cooking recipe.  He doesn’t even cook.  Sure, that’s a drastic example, but you are bound to find things that have gathered too much dust or simply shouldn’t be there in the first place.  Now is a good time to sell those items, either on the Auction House or simply a vendor.  You’re going to want to check out the new goods come the expansion so a little housekeeping now means less or none later.

2. Don’t respec.
It’s only a matter of time before the next big patch before Cataclysm hits.  With it will be all the new talents and talent tree systems.  It could come next week for all we know.  Even if it doesn’t, it is an eventuality and that also means your talents are going to be reset when that time does come.  So why pay for it now?  This is especially true for Hunters who are really seeing changes coming down the pipe.

3. Stop checking your gearscore.
Unless you really, really, really, really, really, really want to down Arthas before Catacylsm hits, the gear your toon has is a moot point. Just as in its predecessors, this expansion’s greens are going to outweigh some purples. If you’re going to do anything with Emblems, I’d actually suggest heirlooms or waiting to see how many Justice Points you get when they’re converted.

4. Heirlooms
This is a tough one. Depending who you talk to, you should get them now. Others say wait. Me? I say get them now if you’ve got the emblems. Again, you may end up with less value in doing it now…but isn’t that better than ending up with less after?

5.  Server Transfers
Some people like Feats of Strength and more importantly “server firsts.” If that matters to you, I’d suggest transferring to a low-population one to increase your chances. From a different approach, if you happen to be on a server where queue times exist just think how much worse they’re going to be when the expansion hits. Amidst all of the chaos you can be assured character transfers won’t be as high of a priority for Blizzard at that time.

6. Achievements
I mentioned a couple yesterday, but there are plenty more that will no longer be viable come Cataclysm. Scholomance, for example, is going to become a level 35-40 instance. Unarmed skill points are being removed so the Knuckle Sandwich achievement will be gone too. If this is an aspect of the game that’s important to you, get cracking.

7. That Money, Money…Yeah, Yeah.
If there’s one thing you really should do before December hits, it’s build a little gold coffer for yourself. Sure most people have some set aside, but how much? Personally, I’d recommend 500g for each character you want to be able to fly in Azeroth.  It’s being hyped through the roof, but you can bet it won’t be free.  Do I think it will be that much?  Not likely.  But I’d rather have more than enough, than be short.

8. Evaluate Your Professions.
This one’s pretty simple. If you’re over 400 in a skill, I would suggest maxing it out. For one, people will be dumping supplies (which you should not be doing when you’re cleaning your bank up) and that means the cost will be lower. Add in the mats won’t be farmed as much come Cataclysm and it’s just more cost and time efficient to do now. If you’re below 400, I would simply wait. Profession leveling is going to be made easier in Cataclysm because you can get multiple points from making the harder recipes. Thus less mats and time needed.

9. What Do You Plan To Do When Cataclysm Hits?
A little planning for your character is important, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place. But really think about it. Are you going to quest? Fly around? Personally my miner is going to farm the new mats like crazy and profit off the people who have to have the new recipes and gear immediately. I might even keep some for my Jewelcrafting, but that’s the secondary plan. Sure, it sounds trivial, but everyone tries to get the most out of things that they can and in the early days that’s what you’ll want to do. So thinking about that now helps.

10. How Will Your Character React?
This is one for the RP players. The world, and the people you know in it, are all about to change. Where will you be when it happens? How will you react. This doesn’t even begin to discuss changes that are coming in the factions and races. A good RP person will have some ideas but it’s easier to play out when you’ve rehearsed the part a bit.

There you have it.  Ten things to think about for your existing characters as Cataclysm sits on the morning horizon.  None of these are must do ideas.  They are merely things to consider between now and then.  You might like them all, or you might only think one is worth your time, but remember hindsight is 20/20.