Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Time to Fish or Cut Bait

Time to Fish or Cut Bait

Part One - From Happy's perspective the Auction House has reached crisis. Admittedly, Happy helped it along. As mats got harder and harder to get . . . as the cost of those mats rose and rose . . .  Happy waded in, selling off his huge stash of materials . . .  and selling . . .  and selling . . .  and selling. What was once close to a thousand felblights is now at . . .  zero. Yes, Happy has many bags of gold piled outside the vault. He may need a bigger vault just to house it all. To add another boon, two steelforged items that Happy needed to sell so that Jocy could improve her Holy spec gear finally sold. Two pieces for 37,000 gold.

I know this sounds stupendous, but prices are still rising, mats are hard to come by, and Happy is MISSING OUT on those big payouts! Never could Happy have imagined actually running out of things to sell. The rise in prices for key mats has continued unabated, but Happy is concerned that buying at such high prices could leave him high and dry when prices finally collapse - and they will, it's only a matter of when.

More than half of the mats Happy deals with are enchanting mats, and to a lesser degree, tailoring, both managed by Wild. Happy wants to double down on that market, not only because of the current run, but as a means to increase the amount of mats available. In short, Happy wants another family member to take up the Enchanting profession. Two enchanters would double the amount of mats crafted for sale. That is currently being discussed.

Tiphaine may be part of the answer. She has an open small plot in her garrison that could support the Enchanting profession. Her two current professions are Blacksmithing and Smelting. Tiphaine has yet to do anything with Smelting, and is agreeable to take on Enchanting. Jocy also has Smelting, so the family would still have access to that profession if needed. Yes, Blacksmithing and Enchanting is an odd combination, but in the world of garrisons such things are possible and even needed.

Profession Success! Tiphaine has built a Level 3 Enchanting Hut. Getting it into full production will take a little time because of the ongoing issues with Followers. Tiphaine doesn't have a follower to help her run the Enchanting Hut. Only one follower has that ability - Ahm. Tiphaine didn't have Ahm. Fortunately, Ahm was easy to find. Also fortunately, Tiphaine had one spot available for another follower. The man has been standing out in the snow just outside the garrison. Poor guy was near frozen and is only at level 95. It will take a few days to get him up to full strength and take over the garrison Enchanting job.

Part Two - Jocy tried fishing . . . once. She raised her fishing skill to 100 (max is 700). It's not for her. She was very relieved when Fist got the task of being the second fisherman in the family, behind Wild. Jocy isn't going fishing, she's going to do the proverbial cutting bait and dip her pole in the Proving Grounds.

Part Three - Long ago Jezzibel (aka "JB") was the ultimate Wild family killing machine. She is making her case that she can be that again. She gained two levels in Pandaria (going from level 85 to 87) just to be able to gather herbs and enjoy some of the wonders of Pandaria (without getting killed). Out of the rest of the Wild family, JB is the most likely to plow her way to level 100 well before Legion comes.

The idea surfaced during the moving around of professions and, of course, Jocy's re-imagining herself as a healer. If Jocy can make radical changes, so could she. For JB, it's not so much a re-imagining but more of a rebirth of herself. She has been a healer and a ranged DPS, but her favorite is Enhancement Shaman, comfortable with killing in close quarters. She wears mail armor, lighter than Jocy and Tiphaine's heavy plate but far tougher than Fist's leather. She also has healing skills to keep herself alive. Should the idea take hold, JB would keep her Alchemy profession and likely invest in Inscription as her second profession, although Philly already claims that profession. That could cause trouble, but Philly is only level 85 and would need to catch up. JB has the upper hand.

JB remembers Karazahn. She was in elemental spec at the time, at level 73, just above Kara's Level 70. What, you don't know that JB once raided? Check this post from September 14th, 2009:


Monday, November 23, 2015

Interface Crash and Holy Paladin

Interface Crash and Holy Paladin

There was a moment in the Wild family when it looked like all of the player settings for every character had been wiped out. I was playing around with the Icy Veins recommended addon ElvUI. The addon is a complete replacement of the standard user interface. I didn't experiment on any active character. I tried it on Javajoo. Java is a paladin, like Jocy, and I wanted to experiment with a Holy spec using the new interface. Bottom line - messing with the interface is dangerous, particularly one that takes over completely. I got things set back where they should be without having to do anything drastic. That should have given Jocy the hint that maybe she should let things be.

But she won't. Somehow the bug to attempt the art of healing has lodged in her brain. Why would whe even bother trying a Holy spec? The idea just won't go away. Guilds, Bosses . . . uh, well, Raiding. There, she said it. She's got the itch. Maybe. Maybe not, but she's curious.

Meitha Guild is also thinking about it, planning it out. "You want to raid, get your gear to iLevel 680. Be ready." Jocy decided to, at the least, check things out.

First of all, she couldn't show up at a raid in her mushed together protection spec/DPS mode which she uses for solo work. It won't work in a raid environment. Jocy also has no intention of trying to be a tank, her own raiders would kill her for incompetence. She "might" consider retribution spec, but in all likelihood the guild will have more than enough DPS raiders with far better skills than Jocy.
Where does that leave Jocy? Raids always need healers, so if Jocy is the least bit serious, she'd better check her healing gear. In tank or retribution spec Jocy's gear level is i693. However, in Holy spec that gear falls to i679. Yes, it's close enough, if they are desperate for a healer. IF.

Jocy already has all the best gear that the Auction House can provide. However, there is something else she can do. Her Steelforged Saber of the Deft (i705) is a beautiful blade . . . but she can't use it in Holy spec. She has only a one-hand axe (i645) and an off-hand (i665) for healing. The axe is a Crafted one (1 of 6), so she could upgrade it to i705 as well, but it would be silly to combine that with an i665 off-hand that ought to be coupled with a Crafted off-hand. Jocy thought she had the right answer - get a Crafted two-hand Staff, like the one Fist has. Jocy dismally discovered that Holy paladins can't use staffs. Digging deeper, almost every weapon is outlawed to a holy paladin. No two-handers of any kind are allowed. That leaves just two one handed weapons to pick from. So, making the best of things, Jocy can upgrade her current blade to i675 and do the same with a new, Crafted shield or off-hand. Even that posed some problems, but she was finally able to maneuver her gear around to get to the magic i680.

Next, two things need to happen that don't have anything to do with gear levels. First, she has to get her addons set up for healing spec. No one in the Wild family has ever healed as a Holy Paladin. Second, she must practice. Go to the Proving Grounds and run that raid as many times as necessary to learn all of the spells and abilities and how/when to best use them.

That's as far as Jocy is ready to go so far. The third and fourth steps, if she is up to it, will be doing some LFR's (Looking For Raids) to get some practical experience after such a long lay off. It will be ugly. It wouldn't be a surprise if she were kicked from raids for a while. If she can stomach that, then she might suggest to the Meitha guild that Jocy is available for raids.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Raiding Noise?

Raiding Noise?

Patch 6.2.3 arrived on Tuesday. From the Wild family perspective nothing changed. Some very minor improvements on some spells will help Jocy and Tiphaine. Everyone continues to pursue personal goals.

Jocy has been building up her follower levels and that resulted in a special quest, the first such quest seen by the family. Jocy had to fly out into the middle of the ocean between Frostwall and Nagrand. Jocy didn't have her underwater breathing swim trunks on but figured she could just hold her breath. Swimming straight down, it took an unnervingly long time to get to the bottom, where a bright shiny waited. She was still several feet from the bottom when she was attacked by multiple mobs. Darn, Jocy belatedly wished she'd brought Tormmok. Too late now.

She killed four of the water beasts before getting enough elbow room to grab the shiny. She headed for the surface, still battling the persistent mobs, while worriedly watching her breath slipping away. Jocy breached the surface and gulped air. She got 30g for her trouble, from Black Market racketeers who rather brazenly hinted that more nefarious work might be arranged at her garrison. Sure enough, a Black Market representative was standing outside the Main Hall when Jocy got back. Frankly, this is a ruse to get people to use the black market Auction House, where players can post and bid on stuff. Sigh. And I thought Jocy might get something good out of that quest. Still, Wild caught Happy sneaking a peek at the offerings.


Wild startled the whole family when he woke from a bad dream murmuring something about raiding. Wild immediately disavowed ANY interest in slogging through dank dungeons, cleaning up monster goo, or standing around waiting for raids that never form up.

Jocy was looking kind of strange, though. The other day the raiding guild that Wild is still a member of, Meitha, was chatting on the guild channel and talking about getting a raid started. Hellfire Citadel (HFC), with it's twelve bosses and a thirteenth special nasty, seem to be the focus. The recent patch offers new gear upgrades for raiders who earn valor points. Goover was going to work something out, he said. Even BK (Bloodknuckle) was interested. BK, by the way, is the tank that Wild healed for in almost every raid he ever ran up to Pandaria, when Wild stopped raiding. BK is still around. Wow.

More on that to follow. . . 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

For The Birds

For The Birds

Saturday . . . I'm sick of doing the Tanaan dailies. Not even the enticement of a new mount or even a gear upgrade interests me in another day of mindless slaughter. Multply that by four toons doing the same thing and GAH!

On a small scale the everyday routine of sending followers off on missions and dutifully completing profession responsibilities continues in all four garrisons. There is still some interest in gaining more followers, but it's an "eh" kind of interest.

Jocy recently acquired a Frostwall Tavern. At level one all it offers is dungeon quests. Jocy hoped that the quests didn't require a full dungeon run. Sigh, they do. The second level is a bit better, adding some random followers each week. That's being built right now. The third level offers follower treasure hunts, which sound fun, but Jocy is withholding comment until she does a couple. Jocy also upgraded her War Mill to the second level, and that will open up more follower gear as well. So, Jocy is modestly active, and even has a small chance of gaining gear. At i693, I'm not sure any follower mission is likely to drop something better, but one can hope.

Tiphaine still struggles to get her garrison in order. Her baracks is only level 2. She has no follower to man her level 3 Forge. Her herb garden is a limp level 1. All that takes gold, which she might wrestle from Happy, but it also takes garrison resources, which is still in short supply due to issues covered previously.

Fist wanted to get more interested in Treasure Contracts, which are random dailies. Unfortunately, the quests are completely random (ie, the same quests can show up over and over) and are opened on only a few random garrisons each day. That's a double dose of randomness which seems designed to make it hard even to get them, much less do them. Maybe she'll try one - if one ever shows up in her garrison. On second thought, maybe she'll just go take a nap.

As for Wild, he learned early that napping caps everything else at times like these.

Sunday . . . Fist is restless and bored. She volunteered to take Wild's place as the family fisherman and cook. Fist went heavy into cooking while she was leveling in Pandaria and the family loves the recipes. She's not even halfway to the max 700, but at least it's something she likes to do. The fishing part, though, is going to take some getting used to. Fist also has that empty Scribe's Quarters. She went to talk Philly (who has the inscription profession) about it. There is a lot to learn, but maybe it will keep her busy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fixing Fist's Followers

Fixing Fist's Followers

I had a whole page of explanations about the troubles and solutions concerning the lack of followers in Fist's garrison. Wild has 19 followers. Tiphaine has 19. Jocy has 23. Fist has 13.

However, the more detailed the explanations, the more boring it got. Yes, Fist had some fun rounding up some of the easier followers that were out there. She even came up with some that the other family members don't have, but now know how to get them if they wish.

Her new followers are Goldmane, Leo, Abu'Gar, Blook, and Image of Archmage Vasgoth. That raises her number of followers to 18. Fist had hoped to pick up some upgraded followers, but luck wasn't with her on that score. All of the new followers are of the basic garden variety type. But that's okay. She at least has enough followers now to get her missions underway. Task complete, and she can chase after other followers as she pleases.

That leaves a lot of space to fill in this post. Poor reader, the time has come again to invite Happy to talk money.

Topic: Boring Business Stuff or Cooking the Books?

Never make Happy unhappy. That saying goes way back, but it seems some high level members of the family have recently forgotten it.

The Auction House continues to falter while the family continues to thrust IOUs at Happy in exchange for more gold, hinting that Happy is holding out on them. Happy returned an opinion that the word "ingrate" applied, considering the wealth of gold that has passed through his coffers and into their pockets.

Happy thought it wise to remind the family that significant amounts of gold are currently in family hands. Perhaps a closer accounting of those gold coins should be taken. Nobody wants to give up the gold they already have, but they ignored Happy's veiled threat to take it back.

Nobody messes with the Guild Bank. Accountants with their account books and ledgers descended on the family. No secrets, Happy told them. Every family member will reveal just how much gold they have. In addition, all IOUs are now due, immediately, except for the minimum necessary to maintain garrisons and followers.

The audit revealed the holdings of the following family members:

Fist    12,000g
Jocy    7,000g
Tiphaine    4,000g
Wild    6,000g
JB        8,000g

The gold is being pooled together for distribution based on need. Of course, since Happy holds the purse and handles all finances, he will make the ultimate decisions.

(1) JB and Happy quickly came to an agreement. At level 87, JB has no ambitions to level further and is mostly content handling the minor alchemy needs of the family. She graciously gave up her 8k gold with only one condition - that should she one day decide to become active, she would get Happy's full support.

(2) Wild and Happy have been brokering deals with each other since the day Happy convinced Wild he would make Wild far richer than than he could ever be on his own. Wild has rarely wanted for anything that Happy could provide, and that hasn't changed. Wild was the first in the family to build a garrison, and therefore the first to make mistakes. Wild has two plots of land for stables and barn which he now wishes to knock down and replace. Wild wants to try out a Spirit Lodge, which would be a first for the family. A second structure is yet to be defined. The cost will run 3-4k per structure and Happy agreed to fund it when the time is right.

(3) Jocy has the best gear in the family at i693. She is 6 of 6 in all three Crafted sets of gear with weapon, shield and trinket. The AH remains an option for upgrades but Jocy's needs are high end with gear running over 20-30k gold apiece. Happy is not going to pay for that. Should a good deal pop up, a purchase could be considered, but Jocy is going to have to work the system and find other ways to improve. Jocy's garrison is not particularly well designed, but any changes would not benefit the family as a whole. Decision: Jocy gets no gold from Happy.

(4) Tiphaine is active in Tanaan and needs gear upgrades and some work on her garrison. Currently her gear is at i645. Of her 18 Crafted needs, she has all but the last two, which are of course the most expensive, one for legs and one for trinket estimated to cost about 35k gold. Negotiations are ongoing, but the best Happy can offer is that upgrades will be considered over time.

(5) Fist edged past Tiphaine gear-wise to i649. She is four levels short of having all of her Crafted gear. Her chosen weapon, a two-handed staff, are made with Inscription and the upgrades are particularly expensive. She has the greatest need and is the most active, but the cost will run to about 38,300 gold . . . Happy will take that under advisement, while hoping prices fall.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Vivianne Steps Up

Vivianne Steps Up

Knowing she was competing with Thor for the honor of being Fist's bodyguard, Vivianne upped her skillset to the max of i675 in both weapon and gear. Excited to be selected, she suggested to Fist they try the famous Rumble in the Jungle. They flew to the arena and got lucky. A fight was already in progress and the first boss, Akrilla, was almost dead, but Fist got in a few licks and got credit for the kill, though the other two players did most of the work. Another player arrived, and the four of us took on the second boss, Rendar. Fist raised some stunning DPS on the fight, as high as 31.2k DPS, and Rendar fell. The final boss, Eyepiercer, casts spells which stop DPS, so on this fight Fist managed only 19.2k DPS, though the kill was just as nice. Fist completed her first Rumble!

Flush with victory, Fist went looking for more dangerous challenges. Fist has a quest to take a harness off a Gronn. Not just any Gronn, but an elite Iron Wargronn surrounded by enemy soldiers in the killing zones of the Iron Harbor. They flew slowly over the field, looking for a Gronn in an area that wasn't crowded with other mobs. As soon as Fist spotted one, though, caution went to the winds and Fist dived down and tagged the elite Gronn. There were no friendlies around - Fist would not get any help. Want to know how it went? BOOM! Fist and Vivianne killed the Gronn! Fist has her first elite solo kill.

Fist has learned the brute force method of playing her brewmaster. Now she needs to incorporate the Black Ox Statue into the mix. Even more importantly, she needs to begin learning the subtleties required to get really good at it.

[] Completed all of Darktide Roost and didn't get a single piece of gear. What a rip off. Vivianne is doing a decent job so far and her AOE Blizzard spell is pretty effective. She does everything at range when she can so most of the time Fist doesn't even know where she is until the battle is over.

[] Fist really, really, really, wanted to call out the Night Haunter, but the other two players in the swamp weren't interested. Cowards.

[] And then to top that the b-tards send Fist to Sha'naar for the daily Assault! Fist hates that place. Have I mentioned that before? Oh, several times, I see. Well, it's true. The place sucks, but they got through it.

[] On the way back from Sha'naar Fist veered off and and tackled one of the elite demons along the pathway near Vol'mar. These elites aren't at Haunter level of difficulty, but they are tough. Fist invoked the White Tiger (one of her attacks in the form of a tiger) which engages in battle for 45 seconds but can only be used once every three minutes. The fight went surprisingly well and the elite died. Encouraged, she tackled a second elite demon without the White Tiger. Her health took a beating, but at just under half health she tossed a health tonic down and got back to full strength. The elite went down. Fist wonders if the Night Haunter could be handled that way, but one healing tonic wouldn't be enough, and only one can be used in any single battle. The totem . . .  uh, didn't use it. Fist had better test the totem on an easier elite before testing it on the Haunter.

[] The lack of gear drops is beginning to mess with Fist's mind. She's at i649 and still behind both Jocy and Wild. "Mom" is right on her tail at i645.

[] One worrying aspect of her garrison is that Fist did not follow the planned sets of quests that lead to finding and taking in followers when she was leveling. All Fist could think of was "get to level 100" and that's what she did. Her problem now is that by this point Fist should have close to 20 followers. She has only 13. That restricts the missions she can send out, which slows down the leveling of the followers she does have. Eventually Fist is going to have to backtrack and collect the followers she's missing.

Finally, A Brief Moment - During one of Fists's trips back and forth between her garrison and Vol'mar, an old friend of Wild's, Lady Tala, showed up briefly at Vol'mar.  It's been a long time since I'd seen anyone from our cabal. I thought about whispering her, but of course she doesn't know Fist. But while wondering if it mattered, she took flight and departed. Just before she dissapeared Fist buffed Lady Tala with Legacy of the White Tiger. Wild still thinks about the cabal and the friends that still hang out in the Meitha guild (which JB is a still a member of). The reality, though, is that there isn't much left but fond memories of the past.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Getting Straightened Out

Getting Straightened Out

Note: This entry covers a bunch of stuff I wanted to get out before the weekend goes into full swing.

Fist is tired of being told she's done everything wrong since she was summarily directed to become active again. Most of those errors were more the fault of bad guidance, which she is beginning to learn to ignore, since it generally gets her into trouble.

No one has been mishandled worse than young Thor, however. When Tiphaine pulled her version of Tormmok, Mock, from Gorgrond and brought him to her garrison, the first thing she did was send him out on mission after mission until he reached level 100. That's the way it was done. No one even considered the idea that you could take your bodyguard into the field at less than level 100.

No one told Fist this. When Fist proudly brought home her version of Tormmok, Thor, she, quite accidentally, discovered that Thor was ready and able to go into the field with Fist at the tender age of 93. Off they went, and over the course of several days Thor racked up almost 3,000 points toward earning his way to the second level.

Then came the downside of that approach. Thor stayed at level 93. That was a sobering lesson which no one had ever mentioned to Fist. Followers level in two different ways. First, they must level to 100 through missions. When taken into the field as a bodyguard, they earn points to gain levels, but that is a separate process from missions. The bottom line is that what is best for Thor right now is to spend his time doing missions until he reaches level 100. Only then is he truly ready to be a full time bodyguard. While he's doing that, Fire Mage Vivianne offered to return to bodyguard duty. She's well equipped with i675 weapon and i660 armor.

It is quite remarkable how well Thor did as a level 93 bodyguard. Though new to the job, he did fine. Well, there was that time Thor tangled with two demons out of range of Fist while she was in a bit of desperate business herself. This was in Sha'naar, a zone she immediately destested.

They'd just entered the Temple of Sha'naar tunnel and lit into the first Demon they found. But there were also dogs, and warlock casters and they swarmed over Fist and Thor. Young Thor, unused to such ferocity, got separated from her. Fist fought wildly, killing everything around her while her health dropped below half. Desperate, she slew the last one and charged up to engage the demon Thor still fought. She made a fatal rookie mistake by trying to pull off and kill the demon on Thor instead of healing Thor first. The mountainous Thor groaned and toppled, dead at her feet. Fist slit the demons throat.

Fist learned more than one lesson. Thor should never have left Fist's side, but since it happened, Fist should have closed in so Thor could reconnect. They are much better as a team. Lesson #2 is DON'T FORGET YOUR SAVE ME SPELLS. She had two she could have used on Thor. Lesson #3 drew a crazed grin from Fist. Her DPS rang up close to 16k even against some lethal (though still not elite) enemies. Lesson #4 - Her health bar swung pretty far toward death more than once. The dance Fist has to play as a Brewmaster is a deadly one.

During the period Fist and Thor were working, she did some experimenting with the Brewmaster's primary taunt ability, the Black Ox Statue. It's like a totem. You set it down and it immediately begins taunting everything within a thirty yard circle around the statue.

Fist first tried it on a family of boars just outside the walls of Vol'mar. The effect was amazing. Not only did every boar in range immediately stampede to the statue, birds flying through the zone also zeroed in on it. If left in place the full fifteen minutes, I suspect that worms under the soil would come wriggling out as well.

Of course, unless there are healers supporting you, summoning the statue needs a few rules. First, don't be standing next to it when you set it down, because you then become ground zero for every mob in range. When soloing, Fist learned that the best approach is to set the statue down a good distance away. Then move in and pull mobs in smaller groups, kill them, lure in some more, rinse and repeat. With the statue active, Fist gets additional defensive spells such as Guard and Elusive Brew to help keep Fist alive. It's all still pretty strange, and she needs a lot more practice. Even more strange is that there are cases where the statue itself moves on it's own, depending on what is going on. Fist has not experienced that yet.

Fist picked up a new weapon as additional protection (not to diss Vivianne, but she can't do the things Thor can). Fist dropped her dual blades (i630 and i609) and added a two-hand staff (i675). Overall, her gear is now i643.

Also, here is some early data on the breakdown of spells being used:

Iron Harbor - the two of them (Thor is still with her here, no statue) reached 18k dps and managed to stay alive. However, they did take on one of the big Gronns, and though it was non-elite it probably would have killed them if another player hadn't helped out on the kill.
So far her damage is spread out pretty evenly, though that may be because I'm just going with whatever attack is available to me.

#1 Touch of Death, 23.7% (this is the kill spell when a mob is under 35% health)
#2 Keg Smash, 21.7% (this is the AOE spell)
#3 Melee, 19.2% (she seems to know how to use those dual blades)
#4 Tiger Palm, 11.0% (my usual starting attack after pulling with Crackling Jade Lightning)
I like using Breath of Fire (its a DoT), but it barely made the list with only 1.2%  and it consumers two chi. I need to retire that one.

I'll put out another report next go around.