Monday, May 9, 2016

Bridging the Old and the New

Bridging the Old and the New

Sista is getting a history lesson while working her way through the leveling process with Enchanting and Tailoring. Just seeing these old enchants and tailoring items brings back ancient memories. Once again, Tiphaine wishes she'd thought to raid Wild's bank and bags and brought all those mouldering tailoring and enchanting mats that would have greatly helped get those professions up and running.

 Tiphaine still bristles at the restriction that won't allow the Horde and Alliance sides to barter with each other through the Auction House. But no more wishes. It is what it is. There were a great many mats even on the Alliance side, and that has helped. Some of the materials were available on the Auction House, but like many of the older items, they are costly because few farm them.

Sista is leveling both professions at the same time - tailoring items are crafted for leveling and those items are then disenchanted for the items needed to make enchants. It's a rough fit, and not always successful. Both professions have acquired the Draenor recipes, which provides some slight help, but the biggest advantage is that it erases the old method which required multiple levels and simply allows leveling from 1 - 700 using both old and new methods.

Sista went so far as to travel to Feralas and enter the killing fields at New Thalanar. There is a forever war going on there and Sista killed more than a thousand to get the mats she needed.

However, Sista has reached a sore spot in the leveling process. The tailoring items currently being crafted cannot be disenchanted by Sista because her enchanting process isn't far enough along to get that ability. To get that ability she needs vision dust. To get vision dust she needs to disenchant items that give vision dust. But  . . .  you see the problem. The AH is aware, too. The cheap vision dust went fast when Sista started buying, and its now very costly. Sista is still trying to find an alternate solution other than over paying on the AH.

Sista's enchanting is at 246/700. Tailoring is at 356/700. She's also come up with another idea that she's hoping will get her pass this rough spot. The plan was to buy Luminous shards on the cheap, but its too early in the week and the prices were too high. Not an option.

There were a number of recipes for enchanting that had Sista traveling to Darnassus as well as Shattrath City in the Outlands. One day Java is going to go and visit every alliance city and zone. There are so many things to see.

Sista pushed her enchanting up to 330/700, did some disenchants of tailored items, and called it a day. Tailoring will get some love tomorrow.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

"My kingdom for a Runed Copper Rod!"

"My kingdom for a Runed Copper Rod!"

I have to admit that I completely blew it with non-gathering professions when transitioning Tiphaine's family over to the Alliance faction. Specifically, the plan to have Sista pick up the Enchanting and Tailoring professions. Wild should have helped them get as far along as possible before passing them over to the alliance. These two professions are the bedrock of Happy's successful Auction House operation - a steady source of revenue, particularly when the flashier sources start to lose value. Like now, when the Draenor expansion is winding down and most of the world is waiting for the next expansion, Legion, now only four months away.

Tiphaine planned to use the same strategy with her own guild. Sista took on the project. Note that it has been ages since any family member has ever started a non-gathering profession. Sista found the Enchanting Trainer and picked up the profession. There was some confusion about getting the mandatory Runed Copper Rod which officially designates one an enchanter. Sista sorted that out, got the ancient materials to make it (who even remembers strange dust and magic essence?), and she was all set.

Sista is now a budding Enchanter. She has a Level 3 Enchanting building in her garrison. She produces goods every day. She crafts the daily temporal crystal and Dreanor Secret recipe. All seems to be in hand. Sista's leveling strategy is a combination of using old enchanting mats that may be lying around where possible. For the rest, Sista will do her dailies and Chaitee will keep an eye on the Auction House for bargains on temporal crystals, luminous shards, and dreanic dust. She can also disenchant items to get additional dust. It will still take considerable time to reach 700. Sista is also beginning to look at Tailoring, too.

Meanwhile, Rakta got a large boon from Tiphaine, crafting her a full set of steelforged weaponry including shield. Tiphaine can also craft trinket upgrades, which is her next project.

Overall, things are going well. By comparison, the Wild Family was trying to keep up a garrison supporting six level 100 members. Honestly, it was too hard to maintain. Tiphaine's garrison is supporting three level 100s (including herself), but eventually Java will reach level 100 as well, and then there will be four. The trick is to find a way to keep the garrison running at full capacity without sacrificing the needs of the four level 100s for which this whole thing is for.

As for Legion, Tiphaine has a plan. She and Rakta will open Legion and take turns leveling. In that way rested xp can be maintained. Tiphaine and Rakta have different needs in gear and such so there shouldn't be too many issues over who gets what gear. Once those two reach level 110, Sista and Java (who should be level 100 by then - I hope) can do the same thing.

However, if Legion requires an achievement process to unlock flying and other critical things like we have in Draenor, then Tiphaine will most likely take the lead to go after all the achievements required so the rest of the family can take advantage of it.

Dreanor is not quite done with us, yet. Things are slowing down. Important things are going to get costlier. Gold is still flowing out of the guild coffers and very little is coming back in. Why? Because all those folks who spend their time gathering mats have slowed or even stopped gathering since the demand for mats is declining fast, which raises prices. It's a sinkhole. And it will only get worse.

The sort of silver lining to all this depends on understanding why the Alliance team was established in the first place. The Wild Family had/has it good. But they were running out of reasons to get out of bed every day. The dangers and challenges were few.

Tiphaine has made her stake. She has given her girls a chance to make something of themselves. Tiphaine may have said this before, but it bears repeating. She's not going to coddle them. Survive or die. It's up to them.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Northrend Adventures

Northrend Adventures

The continent of Northrend started off great. Java had a lot of quests, plenty of things to kill, and a back story that kept things moving forward. That was the Borean Tundra. Then Java moved on to Crystalsong Forest and everything unraveled. Questing was a mixed bag. There were a few quests, but many of the threads were broken. Java's frustration grew when she knew she was in the right place but what should be there wasn't. I'm not sure when Blizz started using scenarios (basically, independent quest threads that existed only in that scenario). There is a term for it which I can't recall. Basically, you had to have completed certain things before other things would appear or not appear, or something. Frustrating. She's now moved on to Shalazar Basin which entails a lot of critter killing. Java lost some skinning leveling when she realized that pre-Draenor, she still had to go see the skinning profession person every time you reached a new level. Oh, and she reached Level 77.

Sholazar Basin - When Wild and the rest of the horde family were leveling to 80, Sholazar Basin was always our last stop. This is the place where Level 80 always arrived. The Nessingway Base is loaded with quests and a great many of them are kill quests that require nothing more than staying awake and hammering buttons and watching things die. Most of the time it was late at night with only a couple of guildies on vent to talk to. The Basin was never fully explored by the horde family because they were never that far from level 80 that they needed the extra XP.

For Java, though, she has the longer view - she can mine the quests and stories of all of Sholazar Basin - there is no reason to leave while quests and experience can still be had. Java was in awe of all the things that she is encountering that none of the Wild family ever saw. The Lost Lands, Powering the Waygate, and numberless others. Even Java started feeling like hitting level 80 was somehow special, not just the next jump to another expansion grind. So she took her time.

After getting in some work, she had to fly back to a real town, instead of the jungle basin, to clean out a completely full set of bags. She could have hearthed back to the Borean Tundra but took a shortcut to Fordragon Hold at Dragonblight. Yes, this is in Crystalsong Forest. That was a mistake. There is NO INN THERE! In fact, the hold has nothing but a barn. Why is there a flight path? She'd thought to save some time, but was forced to take the hearthstone all the way back to Borean Tundra anyway, and then take the boat to Stormwind.

Java refuses to complain. Sholazar Basin still has prizes to be had. More quests went down but eventually even Sholazar Basin was tapped out. But not before Java reached Level 78.

Now to Icecrown and the Argent Tournament. The tournament was kind of a bust. Java could have entered the tournament and gotten some experience, learning to joust and what not, but Wild's memory of that was drudgery to get it over with so he could do things that were more fun.

Scourgeholme is where Java spent most of her time killing beasts and beings by the hundreds and getting in a lot of quests that the Wild family had never seen. Java biggest conquests were a trio of level 79 elites. The battles were epic for young Java, and she needed all her skill. She persevered, and reached Level 79.

There is too much to show everything, but below are just a smattering of pics taken during this long grind.

View of Dalaran From Mountain Top

The Little white mount is Java's

Ouch! Very Big, Very Nasty, very dead..

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sistaphilia and the Ring of Trials

Sistaphilia and the Ring of Trials

The Trial of the Elements series of quests has always been buggy, but the many quests can deliver a lot of leveling experience. Sista took it on and was able to complete almost all of the quests. At the end, though, something triggered a crash, and when the game came back up the few quests still open before the crash were gone.

Sista wasn't about to stop. She was at 79% toward level 100 and moved on to tackle the five gladiators at the Ring of Trials. Most of the family has done these five one-on-one battles. Sista felt she was ready, and eagerly entered the ring against the first opponent. She won, but it was much harder than expected. There was a moment of doubt, but Sista grew a bit grimmer and waved the next opponent into the ring. That one went down a lot quicker, and as Sista's confidence grew, the longer faces she saw on those who had bet against her in the ring. She killed all five
Sista stood at 99%. There was this lone quest to kill some birds. She killed the required ten. The meter said 100%, but still short. Sista turned in the quest. BOOM! Level 100!

Sista went home to her garrison in a hurry. She now has a level 3 Town Hall, and begins the makeover to expand her garrison.

If things seem too quiet at the Auction House, well, Chaitee is maintaining a low profile. Gold is flowing out of the coffers for the garrison buildups but precious little is going back in. It's hard to point the finger at Chaitee - the market is at a lull, waiting on Legion, and every move is a risk. Even Happy feels it. Shipping half his gold to the other faction has ramifications neither Happy or Chaitee thought of. One can take greater risks if one is already rich. Now the two families are only half as rich between them. Autumn Tea Green has consumed 30k gold from their nest egg so far. And there is still much to be done.

Sista is the cause of much of the costs but that is expected to level off now. With most of her money making materials starting to roll out of the factories, the drain on the budget should start to ease. Sista also unlearned Skinning in order to pick up Enchanting. Wild's best money maker, Sista hopes she can help the family further once that profession is up and running. Tailoring will eventually be added, but there is still vaule in the flower picking business at present.

A late night poker game had me still awake after midnight, which led to Java getting some leveling time in Crystal Song Forest. An hour later Java reached Level 76.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rakta on the Iron Docks . . . and More

Rakta on the Iron Docks . . . and More

It's hard to fathom the difference in perspective from the Horde foothold on the Iron Docks and the similar staging area from the Alliance perspective. As horde, I know exactly where to go and how to get there safely. As Alliance, poor Rakta is completely in the dark. She will be testing herself against multiple level 100 enemies, tracked and attacked by flying beasts, and keeping very aware of stalking, elite giants. Her only combat experience ended at level 20. And she is all alone.

Her first foray was pretty successful. Sort of. If being chased by three elite giants is considered a success. She managed to distract one of them with a spell that she randomly punched in desperation. The other two hung around a bit while Rakta gathered enemy fire and then the elites found something else to harrass. Rakta stumbled back into the not-so safe alliance area and killed at least six combatants before she was left alone.

She had to go back out to finish the second half of the quest she'd started, and that went much better. Quest completed. The run gave her a first look her DPS - 6995. Good or not, she didn't know, but that is the baseline she'll work from. Her other successful goal? She didn't die. She's going to need a lot more healing potions, though. It's hard not having a true healing spell.

Rakta returned from the Iron Docks, established her own shipyard, built her own ship, and joined the Alliance fleet in sailing to the Tanaan jungle. Here, at least, the scenario followed the same theme as the Horde. Rakta had a follower type helper that mitigated a lot of damage. Still she managed 7608 DPS on her own with spikes up to 9552 DPS with help. Rakta is still throwing everything including the kitchen sink at these battles without much thought. She has much yet to learn.

Her biggest fight dropped her and her companion at the main cannon we had to destroy. When Hordie Tiphaine did this one she carefully cleared out the many enemies first before attacking the cannon. Rakta took a different approach. Excited and full of blood lust, she leaped from her flying mount and right into a small army of enemies protecting the cannon. Holy Explosions! I thought Rakta was going to die, but she cast her way through every save me spell she had, one at a time, and still had 25% health when the cannon blew to bits and there were no more bad guys to kill. I think Rakta rather likes being a warrior.

With that success under her belt, she found her own way to the Alliance Lion's Den, her new home away from home in Taanan. For her next trip to Tanaan she'll pick up a Bodyguard, Delvar Ironfist. For once someone has a bodyguard who is shorter than the main character. Let's see if Delvar can stay out of the way a little better than the horde equivalents.

On the domestic front, Rakta decided (with help from Tiphaine) to take Alchemy and Jewelcrafting. And since many alchemy recipes require fish of varying sorts, learning to fish was also added her list. Tiphaine gave up her own fishing pole for Rakta to use.

All seemed well in hand. Until Java's email made it to Tiphaine. How about a little love for your Paladin? Yes, time needs to be carved out somehow for Java to keep moving forward, too.

Rakta Armored Up

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rakta's Big Boost

Rakta's Big Boost

Hold the presses! Rakta has taken the ride of her young life, taking the great Boost! from level 20 to level 100 in one great leap! Goodbye heirloom leveling gear, say Hello! to a suite of gear at ilevel 640. Fascinated by heavy plate armor, she accepted primary specialization as a Protection Warrior.
Accepting such honors got her a fast portal directly to the outskirts of her new garrison. Sista is jealous. She's still laboriously building her garrison, while Rakta's comes almost complete. See the comparison:

Sista's garrison at level 97: Level 2 Town Hall, Level 1 Trading Post, Level 2 Barracks, Level 1 Mine, Level 1 Herb Garden.

Rakta's garrison at 100 without lifting a finger: Level 3 Town Hall, Level 2 Barracks, Level 2 Forge, Level 2 Storehouse, Level 2 Lumber Mill, Level 1 mine, Level 1 Herb Garden. She still has one small, one medium, and one large plot to finish things up. I hadn't expected that Rakta would have a Forge, but for now she'll keep it. Tiphaine likes the idea of Rakta having a Forge (to suppliment Tiphaine's own).

She can still pick her professions as both were left blank for her own choosing.

Rakta starts with eight followers, two with three traits/abilities and the rest with only two. One of her early duties will be to find and collect more followers, which should be fun since she doesn't know the alliance followers at all. Tiphaine should be able to guide her, though.

Two quests awaited her at the garrison. The first is "To Tanaan!" Which is the welcome quest. Then comes "We Need a Shipwright." This one will launch the naval force and all the work that comes with it. I had hoped to bring a bodyguard, but the Barracks, though level 2, was not offering bodyguards. Yet.

Rakta, still feeling very much the level 20, stared about and had to ask, "Is this all mine?"

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Shock to the System

Shock to the System
Note - I added this post after already posting Chaitee Takes Stock

All this time I've been railing at the system that wouldn't let Rakta have a mount and I could have fixed it - or at least had the right information on what I could do - if I'd only taken a longer look at the Heirloom Hoarder achievement. This achievement grants the entire account to use the Chauffered Chopper that comes with the achievement, and can be ridden at level 1. Ground mount only, but still a mount. How hard is it to get the achievement? This is where I screwed up. Had I bothered to look earlier, I would have found out that all that's required is to have at least 35 heirlooms. When I checked, the account showed 32 heirlooms. It took five minutes and 1500 gold to reach the achievement. Of course, by that time Rakta had walked her shoes off and said F it and leveled to 20 so she could have her own ride. Lesson learned.

Just to be thorough, here is the official information from the GM:

Under level 20, the only mount available is the Chauffeured Chopper
Level 20, you can train to ride 60% speed increase mounts, but only on the ground.
Level 40, you can train to ride 100% speed increase mounts, but only on the ground.
Level 60, you can train to ride 150% speed increase mounts that fly in Outland.  You can also get the Flight Master's License to allow you to fly in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.
Level 68 , you can learn Cold Weather Flying to fly in Northrend.
Level 70, you can train to ride 280% speed increase mounts that fly.
Level 80, you can train to ride 310% speed increase mounts that fly.
Level 90, you can learn Wisdom of the Four Winds to fly in Pandaria.

There are 2-seater mounts available, that allow a higher-level player to carry a lower-level player, which may be where you see lower level players flying, but that's not the lower level players flying themselves, they're being carried by another player.  Otherwise, yes, characters that are under the levels listed above that are flying or riding on mounts they shouldn't be able to, are exploiting something in the game, or otherwise hacking.