Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Profession Progression

One of my long term goals in World of Warcraft is to level every profession to 80. As I don't raid I have lots of time to level alts and work on this. The idea is to be self-reliant which will help me reach my other long term goal: getting gold capped. Having access to all the professions will save me thousands of gold along the way, helping with the latter goal.

Here's my progress.

Level 80 hunter: 450 Engineering / 350 Enchanting

Originally my hunter was 450 herbalism / 450 alchemy. Switched to mining and engineering. Once engineering 450 was reached I dropped mining and picked up enchanting. Leveled it up mostly with soloing instances and disenchanting all the drops. Extremely painful profession to level up by yourself. I only turned to the auction house when desperate, and probably only spent a couple hundred gold there. FINALLY got through the Outland portion of the profession, which was a long grind. She has lots of Northrend enchanting mats stockpiled from running heroics and disenchanting drops from all my various level 80s. My blacksmith is finally crafting Northrend blacksmithing stuff so I can DE these as well, if needed. Enchanting will eventually play a big role in my goal of getting gold capped.

Level 80 Death Knight: 450 Herbalism / 448 Incription

I'm currently farming Sholazar Basin for herbs and making a couple Darkmoon Card of the North every day. I'll reach 450 tonight. So far I have two nobles cards! I plan on making the Darkmoon cards beyond 450 and eventually equipping my DK with a Darkmoon Card: Greatness trinket. Just because I've always wanted one. I'm doing the daily Northrend research and keeping an eye out for low priced Books of Glyph Mastery on the auction house. I can sometimes find them for 13-15 gold. I don't have much luck having them drop off random mobs on any of my level 80s so I just watch the AH.

Level 80 Paladin: 450 Mining / 382 Blacksmithing

I have so much cobalt, saronite and titanium ore stockpiled that I don't anticipate getting blacksmithing capped will be a huge issue. I'm was pleasantly surprised to see some of the cobalt green quality armor sets actually sell in the auction house for decent amounts of gold. In a few cases they were worth far more than their disenchanted value as well. Look before you vendor/DE!

Level 80 Warrior: 450 Jewelcrafting / 450 Mining

Doing the Dalaran daily jewelcrafting quest every day and working on my collection of designs. As soon as I get my alchemist leveled I can start transmuting all the gems I have stockpiled into epics and auctioning them off slowly. Other than crafting and vendoring Sun Rock Rings and Bloodstone Bands, and auctioning the occasional blue quality gem, I'm not making much money. Yet. The blue quality gem market on my realm is camped by someone who literally watches the AH day and night, and cancels/reposts any auctions that underbid him within 30 minutes. In fact based on the brief snooping I did, it seems like this person might have two separate WoW accounts, which is not uncommon for hardcore AH players. I eventually want to drive this person out of business. But I'll worry about that later. ;)

Level 61 Priest: 320 Alchemy / 326 Herbalism

Nothing too exciting going on here. Just leveling both professions as I level the toon. This will be my next level 80.

Level 40 Mage: 300 Tailoring / 253 Skinning

I was aggressive with tailoring as I had so much cloth stockpiled from all the characters I've leveled. I can't progress any further in tailoring until I level my mage beyond 40. Any cloth I gather between now and then will be auctioned off. I'm saving all my skinning mats for...

Leatherworking. Which I don't currently have on any toon. When Cataclysm hits I will be rolling a Worgen rogue and power-leveling him (or her?) along with leatherworking.

So the goal for now is to cap inscription, blacksmithing and enchanting, as well as get my Priest and his professions capped. After that I'll put all my focus on the mage. By the time he's level 80, Cataclysm will probably be knocking on my door.

As for my goal of getting gold capped, I'm slowly but surely learing about the economy on my realm and getting involved in the AH game, though I'm not dedicating nearly enough time to it. As soon as I meet my other goals I hope to really dive into AH strategies and hopefully post more about that. Until then I can recommend some great gold making blogs that I read regularly:

Just My Two Copper
Cold's Gold Factory

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buying Uncut Epic Gems with Emblems of Triumph

Buying epic gems with Emblems of Triumph

If you're like me and you have a character who can no longer benefit from Emblem of Triumph (or lesser emblem) gear, but you have a ton stockpiled from doing heroic dailies and weekly raids, you're probably down-converting them to Emblems of Heroism to purchase uncut epic gems.

While it may be a no brainer for some, I recently had to help a guildie with this process so I figured I'd put up a post about it. It took me a few minutes to figure out the conversion process the first time I had to do this, as it's not just a matter of converting one to another. It's a three part conversion process.

First you need to go to the Emblem of Triumph vendor in Dalaran and scroll to the very last page of items, where you can convert Emblems of Triumph to Emblems of Conquest. Depending on the cut you want, you'll need to convert either 10 or 20 emblems. Next, talk to the Emblem of Conquest vendor and scroll to the last page of goods, converting the Emblems of Conquest into Emblems of Valor. See where this is going?

After you have your Emblems of Valor, talk to the Emblem of Valor vendor and down-convert, once again, to Emblems of Heroism. Finally, talk to the Emblem of Heroism vendor and purchase your uncut epic gem(s) of choice.

And remember, you don't have to do this one emblem at a time. If you shift+click during the conversion process you can define a custom number of emblems to convert all at once. Don't be like me and do this entire process 20 times to get that cardinal ruby.

If anybody knows a way to instantly convert Emblems of Triumph to Emblems of Heroism, and skip all the middle conversions, I'd love to know!

Monday, May 17, 2010


That's right. My Death Knight, which I rolled shortly after WotLK came out, finally dinged 80 on Saturday. I know, I know. It took long enough. Over the last couple weeks I got tired of seeing him on my character select screen, level 68 and abandoned in Borean Tundra. So I've been working hard and putting in the time. This is my fourth level 80 toon.

Shortly after the ding I trained for my Army of the Dead spell, though I have yet to really put it to use. Seems like an overkill for soloing, and it definitely seems like a sketchy move to pull off in a dungeon. One of these days I'll ask the tank at the start of a pug if it's cool if I unleash them during boss fights.

I wanted to jump into heroics and start farming emblems of triumph right away, but my gear prevented me from using the LFG tool. I was in mostly blues with a gear score just shy of 2100. I didn't have a high enough reputation with any of the Northrend factions to buy any decent upgrades, and I'm too cheap to buy crafted epics. I couldn't even get into the epic gear slinging five man Icecrown Citadel instances.

What's a poorly geared fresh level 80 to do?

I had 28 Emblems of Triumph from doing dungeons Northrend dunegons while I leveled, so I hit up the vendor and picked up the Sigil of Virulence, which is proving to be an an awesome purchase as it procs all the time. That pushed my gear score up a bit but still did not open any gates. Then it dawned on me that I hadn't done the Amphitheater of Anguish event in Zul'Drak yet, and it rewards a nice two hander that would be a nice gear upgrade from the blue two hander I'd been using since level 72. So I went and got it done, thanks to a level 75 rogue and her uber geared level 80 druid guildie that healed me as I "tanked" the amphiteather baddies. After that I got on my warrior jewelcrafter and crafted a nice epic ring for my DK. Not the best stats for a DPS DK, but it'll do for now.

Viola. ICC 5 mans and even a few heroics were now available.

A day later, after completing the normal mode 5 man ICC dungeons (got a couple ilevel 219 epics in Pit of Saron) and a few random heroics, I'm already rocking my tier 9 shoulders and have a few other epics equipped. After being a level 80 for only a day my gearscore is already 3400. Not too shabby.

Time for the DK to take a breather. I'm all DK'd out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Farming Scholomance

Last night I logged onto my level 80 hunter and set off to conquer Scholomance. I'm trying add one of the rarer enchants in the game to my collection, Formula: Enchant Weapon - Lifestealing, and I'm too cheap to look on the Auction House. I prefer to farm such things myself. I figured I would also do a full clear of the place and get the achievement in the process. I cleared out my bags as much as I could and flew out to Chillwind Point. elixirs of water walking are always handy and I try to keep a stack of these readily available at all times. I have a ton stockpiled from doing the Shattrath daily fishing quest countless times in the BC days. Since Scholomance is isolated on an island and I absolutely hate the slow process that is swimming, I popped a water walking potion and quickly made my way onto the island. A ghost NPC outside the entrance had a low level quest so I picked it up, hoping it would reward Argent Dawn rep (it didn't). I also equipped my Argent Dawn Commission trinket since I'm revered with said faction, and wanted to earn AD reputation and pick up scourgestones from the mobs and bosses.

Luckily I already had the key required to enter the dungeon so I swapped out my trusty wolf for my tanking bear pet and got to work. The aforementioned enchanting formula drops off spectral researchers, of which there are a few right inside the dungeon, past the first set of mobs. The drop rate isn't very low, but it didn't drop during my first sweep. I could've quickly ran out and reset it and tried again, but I wanted to do a full clear first.

A lot of greens and even a couple BoE blues dropped off the trash mobs, which I disenchanted for some valuable enchanting mats. Most of the bosses dropped two blues as well, so this is a great place to farm some of the harder to get enchanting mats such as large brilliant shards and greater eternal essences. Also, if you are leveling a tailor or need runecloth for whatever reason, this is the place. I got about 20 stacks while in Scholomance. The drop rates are ridiculous. Even if you don't have a tailor you can get some decent money selling stacks of it in the Auction House. On my realm they go for about 6g a stack.

The mobs in Scholomance also drop a decent amount of silver as well as grey quality weapons/armor that vendor for around a gold each, if not more. When all was said and done, and I finally got my enchanting formula to drop (after I initially cleared the dungeon, I had to reset it three times before it dropped), I was 110 gold richer than when I started. I will get even more gold selling the enchanting mats I accumulated, or converting them into weapon/armor enchanting scrolls and selling them in that form. Not to mention the money I will eventually get when I sell the stacks of rune cloth after cataclysm is out, and everybody is leveling up new toons and power-leveling professions. My bank alt is stashing them for now. As the goblins say, "time is money", and eventually the time I invested in Scholomance farming them will earn me money.

After redeeming all my scourgestones at Chillwind Camp and redeeming crypt fiend parts and bone fragments at Light's Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands, I had earned close to 9000 Argent Dawn rep. Not bad for an hour's worth of work. All in all, if you need Argent Dawn rep, enchanting mats or a lot of runecloth, Scholomance is a great place to farm that will also reward your efforts with some decent gold.

It should be noted that quite a few of the undead mobs in Scholomance are immunte to arcane damage, so be prepared for that. I couldn't use volley to AoE down mobs in certain areas of the instance.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Project Tauren Shaman Part 2: Levels 1-13

Just like with any other class, the first dozen or so levels are a repetitive grind of spamming the same couple spells. Mine consisted of placing an earth totem (later earth and fire) and spamming lightning bolt with the occasional earth shock, making sure to have a weapon enhancer applied to my weapon as well as constantly having lightning shield up. I went on a whole bunch of quests, killed a lot of stuff, picked a lot of flowers and mined a lot of copper ore.

Bag space has been a constant thorn in my side. I vowed to vendor all the trash and auction off any white or higher quality items that dropped, so I spent a lot of time running to and from Thunder Bluff to visit the auctioneer and stash stuff in my bank. Luckily, the very second monster I encountered after rolling my shaman dropped a six slot bag, which gave me some much needed bag space right off the bat.

Mailing items to a bank alt for the first few levels became a non-option when I realized that the postage fees were 1+ silver in cost, which is too much money to spend when you're leveling a new toon without any funding from wealthy high level alts. The money is better spent leveling up abilities and training professions.

After finishing up the starting zone and moving into the more open terrain of Mulgore, I actually had enough spare cash to pick up mining and herbalism, along with a mining pick axe. Cooking and first aid were funded a bit later, after I had received some money from successful auctions.

Picking up two gathering professions created a new problem: my already tight bag space was even tighter now that I had rough stones, copper ore, earthroot, peacebloom and silver leaf taking up five more precious slots, as well as the occasional tigerseye and malachite. It didn't help that most of the quests in Mulgore seem to require the toting about of quest related items. I was having no luck with mobs dropping more random bags either, so eventually I coughed up some silver for a vendor purchased eight slot bag. Other than professions and abilites, this was the only thing I purchased from levels 1 to 13. Of course, shortly after I did this I got another six slot drop off a random mob. Typical. I now have a decent amount of bag space until I can get enough gold generated to buy a few netherweave bags.

Side note: If you're a tailor and interested in making money, always having a stockpile of netherweave bags to dump on the AH is very profitable. People like me who level multiple alts consider the netherweave bag the goto bag for expanding carrying capacity and bank space. Better yet make dozens of these and save them for Cataclysm, when EVERYONE will be going crazy leveling alts.

At around level 10 I did a quest for Cairn Bloodhoof in which the reward was a green quality pair of leather pants with +4 agility on them. I was pretty excited about this as they would be my first green quality piece of gear! But as I went to turn in the quest I met an army of high level alliance toons exiting Thunder Bluff, leaving the corpse of poor old Cairn in their wake. I waited and waited for him to respawn but he never did. I logged off and took a break and came back 30 minutes later. Still no luck. So I googled it and learned that faction leaders are on a four hour respawn. You learn something new every day.

While I waited, I decided to undertake the fire totem quest and explore Durotar. Along the way a nice two-handed green quality mace with +2 strength dropped for me, allowing me to ditch my one-hander and shield combo. Once I got Spirithorn's skill in two handed maces up, it was packing quite a wallop in melee combat. The strength of earth totem enhances my melee dps nicely.

My journey through Durotar allowed me to mine a few stacks of copper, which would, in addition to lots of stacks of random herbs, soon allow me to accumulate some pretty respectable low level wealth (nearly 93 gold at level 13!). I also signed a guild charter in Orgrimmar for 2 gold, and will definitely watch trade chat for more opportunities. This is a pathetically easy way to make gold. Along the way, I also picked up a couple quests for Ragefire chasm, but the LFG tool isn't available for me yet. As soon as the LFG tool becomes available I'll head into a dungeon or two and hopefully get some gear to replace my grey quality crap gear.

So far I'm having fun with the shaman class. Having leveled ranged, melee, and healing classes before, I'm finding the shaman to be a unique mix of ranged and melee dps with the added convenience of healing spells. My healing wave ability is up to level three, but I have ranks one and three on my cast bar for big heals as well as a more mana friendly version for small healing bursts between fights. This will come in handy healing pugs too, which you will hear about in part three.

Part Two Summary:

Starting level: 0
Finishing level: 13
Talent spread: 0/4/0

Starting money: 0
Ending money:92g 93s

Mining skill: 38
herbalism skill: 88
cooking skill: 60
first aid skill: 61

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hunter Pet Ideas for Cataclysm

There has been a lot of talk and speculation this week on the possibility of new hunter pets and the utilization of their unique abilities in Cataclysm. With a couple new possible tamable creature models being revealed from recent Cataclysm alpha data-mining (Mastiff and Fox), it seems like hunters are going to be facing some new pet decisions come the next expansion.

There have been discussions on what kinds of pets and abilities players would like to see on a few popular World of Warcraft related sites, so I would just like to share some of my hunter pet ideas.

Pet Idea 1: Murlocs

The infamous murloc. I would personally love to have a fiesty murloc at my side, helping to fell my various foes. Their special ability would be a thrown fishing net that roots your target in place for a few seconds and isn't broken by damage. And of course they would make their trademark murloc gurgling sound as you send them after your enemies. Murlocs eat a strict diet of fish only.

Pet Idea 2: Giant Squirrels

I'm not talking about being able to tame the small squirrel critters that already inhabit Azeroth and beyond. Blizzard would have to create a new monster type for this. I'm thinking BIG squirrels, the size of a small dog, frolicking about you with tail swishing crazily just like real squirrels. Giant squirrels would only eat bread, fruit, and cheese, although I have witnessed real life squirrels eat meat before, which was frightening. Possible ideas for a giant squirrel's unique ability are Acorn Barrage and Intimidating Tail Swish.

Acorn Barrage would be a channeled multi-target attack that hits your targeted opponent and the next two closest foes with a barrage of acorns, hitting each target three times over a three or four second channel. This would be an awesome ability to use simultaneously with multi-shot or volley, and would be useful in PvP as well. Of course since it's channeled it could be interrupted by any attack.

Intimidating Tail Swish would basically be a fear spell that sends any opponent in a 10 yard radius of your giant pet squirrel running for their life for a few seconds. Obviously this would mainly be useful in PvP battlegrounds or non-dungeon PvE. Let's face it, hunters with a fear ability would be awesome. It's just fun to watch things scatter. The little icon over the heads of your feared opponents would be of a squirrel face with red glowing eyes or something.

Pet Idea 3: Skunk

Skunks may look adorable with their spunky hair and cute white stripe, but when they face away from you and lift their tails, you had better be in another zip code. The obvious unique ability would be this very defensive tactic, called Repulsive Stench. It would be a conical area of attack, applying a nature DoT or slightly decreasing movement, as well as attack and casting speeds to affected targets. Skunks would eat a diet of bread and fruit.

Pet Collars

I realize a lot of people have this idea. For me personally, I thought it would be a neat hunter pet mechanic in WoW after playing Dragon Age: Origins, a game in which you can acquire a canine-like pet and equip different collars on him for different effects. Pet collars in WoW would be like rings or neck pieces - you wouldn't actually see them on your pet, but they would have different pet attribute enhancing stats. Or instead of the collar itself having stats, it would have a single gem slot that could be fitted with certain pet exclusive gems. This would give jewelcrafters new gems to cut in Cataclysm and would be a neat way for hunters to customize their pets.

Pet gems wouldn't be crazy powerful. Think more along the lines of the usefulness of minor glyphs. One gem might heal a pet for 2% of received damage, slightly increase its chance to dodge melee attacks or slightly increase focus regeneration speed. Hell, they could be completely utilitarian. Maybe a certain gem allows the pet to automatically undo a movement impairing effect on a nearby friendly target with a three minute cooldown, or it provides a small health (or other attribute) boost to all members in the pet's master's raid group. Or how about a gem that increases the party's movement speed to rival that of Aspect of the Pack, speeding up movement speed between trash pulls without having to worry about being dazed from being hit while in AotP? Fun things of that nature.

One of the things I love most about being a hunter, other than the pure DPS, is group utilization. I like using traps. I like misdirecting my threat. I like pushing a button and instantly allowing everybody in the group to run much faster. Hunter pet collars could be a way to enhance a hunter's group usefulness without even touching the talent trees.

Cataclysm is still months away but half the fun in waiting is speculating and coming up with things you hope will make it into the expansion. What ideas do you have?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Project Tauren Shaman Part One - Overview and Intro

The Primary Goal: Level to 80 with a horde toon before cataclysm comes out. The world is going to change and I've only experienced Azeroth, Outland and Northrend from the eyes of Alliance toons. Now is the time to experience Horde content before the world changes permanently.

The Secondary Goal: To accumulate as much gold as possible on my journey to 80. I will be selling everything profitable in the Auction House, while trying to rely only on quest rewards and random drops for gear. If at all possible I would like to avoid spending money on anything but repairs and training.

The Race Selection: Tauren. What else can I say other than I have always wanted a tauren toon?

The Class Selection: Shaman. Right now (as in pre-cataclysm) taurens can only be hunters, warriors, death knights, druids and shaman. Why did I pick shaman?

The death knight defeats the whole purpose of this experiment so it's obviously eliminated from my choice of class.

While I love my level 80 human fury warrior, and few things in the game would be cooler than having a hulking, geared up and plated out tauren warrior barreling towards my opponents in PvP, I have to pass on leveling another warrior. With no crowd control or self healing abilities until much higher levels it can be a very frustrating grind. I don't want to be bogged down with time consuming corpse runs, nor do I want to waste money and bag space on healing pots. Not to mention repairs get pretty pricey later on, which could sabotage my money-making goals.

Hunter was a very appealing choice as it's my favorite class in the game and I have a lot of experience playing as one, so leveling would be fast and easy. But I want to try something new. Enough said.

Druid is also out. I've tried leveling druids before and I just can't seem to get into it. Though I do have a level 40ish druid somewhere, I rarely play him. Maybe one day I'll get him leveled to 80, but I definitely don't want to do it twice.

So shaman it is, and here's why:

1) Shaman is the only class I've never experienced beyond level 10. I want to experience something refreshing and new.

2) I want the ability to queue for random dungeons as a healer to minimize wait times. Healing myself and others while leveling will be nice as well.

3) It will give me a chance to get some shaman experience under my belt as I plan to roll a goblin shaman come cataclysm. Having some knowledge on how to play the shaman class properly will allow me to focus more on the new quests and content cataclysm will bring.

The professions: As my secondary goal is to make as much money as possible I will be picking two gathering professions, mining and herbalism. Not only will I be able to offload everything I mine and pick to the AH for pure profit, but the mining profession stamina bonus will be nice, and the extra free herbalism self-heal lifeblood comes in handy for conserving mana in dungeons (by not wasting mana healing myself) and keeping my health topped off during soloing. Also, taurens have the racial ability of +15 to herbalism so that could minimize instances where I'm in a new zone and can't pick the herbs there because I'm 15 points below the skill level needed to pick them.

Having one or more crafting professions would be nice, sure, but I don't want to spend the time and money required to level them. I will be leveling first aid and cooking however.

The Leveling Process: I will be leveling with a balanced combination of quests, dungeons and PvP battlegrounds. While dungeons are great for speed leveling, I don't want to rely on them too heavily: low level random dungeon reward money is LOUSY compared to questing and I will miss out on a lot of mining and herbalism nodes (aka money). However, I still plan on doing the occasional dungeons to keep myself decently geared in blue quality gear. I will do the odd PvP battleground when quests and dungeons get old and when I'm in the higher end of my current level bracket.

The Realm: My three criteria for picking a realm to play on were simple: it had ad to be PvE realm I have no existing toons on in the MST timezone, with a nearly balanced Horde/Alliance ratio. A quick look on showed that the Doomhammer realm was a good candidate.

The Bank Alt: I'll be rolling a to be announced bank alt to handle the overflowing bags of my tauren, at least until he gets more bag space, as well as managing auction house transactions. Vendoring and auctioning EVERTHING that drops is important for accumulating wealth throughout the leveling process.

The Guild: I'm perfectly fine with leveling to 80 solo. That said, if I end up in a dungeon run with a group of nice people and a guild invite is extended to me, I will consider joining it. Nothing wrong with having a group to do dungeons and group quests with without having to rely on pugs.

The Talent Spec: Enhancement. Based on the little research I've done, leveling as elemental is extremely boring. I'm generally and not a fan of leveling in a healing spec so enhancement it is.

And so, without further ado, I would like to introduce Spirithorn, the level 1 Tauren Shaman!

Stay tuned for Part 2 in which I will progress through the first few levels and chronicle my adventures, experiences and finances!