Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Confronting Agent Smith

"So, Mr Cainam. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one of them you are a pigtailed gnome mage. You sign up for raids, bring full consumables and rain arcane death down upon the denizens of such places as Naxxaramas and the Obsidian Sanctuary. The other life is lived in heroic instances where you go about as a paladin tank and have defeated every instance inside of Northrend. One of these lives has a future, Mr. Cainam, and one of them does not."

I'm not sure when it happened, but at one point I stopped thinking of my Paladin, Girarde, as an alt. In the grand sense, I suppose he still is but in many ways I think of myself as really having two mains, and not a main and an alt. And having two mains does tend to complicate things, both in good and bad ways.

The Good: Sofea and Girarde are as different as night and day. Truly at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of play style. Sofea is about killing you quickly, kiting away and buying time. Girarde is about engaging at point blank range, drawing strength from his opponents attacks and outlasting his enemy. With WoW no longer possessing the level of challenge that it once did, having to master two play styles has kept the game much fresher for me than it other wise would.

Having a Tank has also made it much easier to find "work." I see many more calls ut there for a Tank than DPS. I've enjoyed being the tank for my small group of friends (and letting our regular Tank relax a bit) and I've also enjoyed tanking for various groups of guildies. It's meant a lot more group play for me and a lot less soling, which I'm not as big a fan of.

The Not as Good: If you were to put Sofea and Girarde together, man they'd really have a nice set of achievements. Together, they are a champion of the frozen wastes... but separately Sofea doesn't have the heroics and Girarde doesn't have the Raids. When world events and holidays come up, I have to choose who gets the achievement, as it's unlikely I'll be able (or have the desire) to grind two toons through it. So in that sense, they both kind of feel incomplete.

The biggest pain is having to grind out the same things. First it was for both of them to get to level 80 and do all that content twice. Then it was running the same dailies over and over on different toons so that they could get the same rep. So there has been some redundancy to deal with.

I also wonder if I'm being fair to my Guild. I mean there are not many upgrades available outside of raids for Sofea, but I really haven't pursued them at all. Most of my gear has come from raiding. Is that fair to my fellow raiders? I consider myself to be "low man" on the loot council totem pole, and rightfully so. I contribute to Raids, I'm not our Top DPSer (what mage is?) but I tend to perform in the middle of the meters. Could I be higher? Could I be bringing more? Maybe.

Girarde's issue is that he is starting to outgrow the role. The upgrades in heroics are becoming fewer and farther between. The heroic instances themselves are getting easiser. Yes there are still achievements to go after. (Curse you Less-Rabi) But Girarde is ready to start tanking raids himself. I've done some Naxx 10 with him, and most recently some VoA. I'm ready for more with him, but I don't think there are many more opportunities for him. The alt-runs we've been doing have been great, but as our little group totals out at 7 people, it's hard to count on it for a reliable source of raiding. And QSS, while a great guild, does not seem to be in the market for another Tankadin. Even if it was, then what would be come of Sofea.

All in all I'm happy with how things are working out. It's a balancing act and at times, I have to stop and remind myself that you can't have everything. Girarde will never be a Loremaster, Sofea is not going to have an excess of shards for her enchanting. It's all part of the trade off.
But when all is said and done I know that I must be enjoying myself because I've not gone out and leveled another toon...


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


When I posted the screenshot of Stofnar hitting level 80, I got told by a LOTRO-playing friend that I was "pathetic."

I think I've trumped that.

My comment to QSS guild chat is appropriate. I have no proven that I have no life.

Theorycrafting Paladin

I'm generally not a big number cruncher when it comes to figuring out how to optimize my toons. That may be part of the reason I tend to play second-fiddle a lot to players like Typhia. But Ordo has recently broken into Naxx. We've begun 10-man raiding (with a bit of help from QSS alts.) And with that, I feel a need to evaluate how my main, Stofnar, is doing.

Sometimes, I think I show too much of my arms warrior origins in that I tend to prioritize gear/gems/enchants by stacking crit and strength over all others. Time to rethink that in large part because a ret pally has two primary options for DPS seals: Seal of Command & Seal of the Martyr. What I read says SoC is the better choice UNLESS you have a haste value of 13% or greater.

Well, Stof's been lugging around a shiny Meteorite whetstone, which when it procs amps his haste value by (coincidentally) 13%. Now, scuttlebutt has the internal cooldown on the whetstone at around 35-40 seconds. Unless we're speed pulling, that's means probably about one proc per fight. Stof's normal haste is about 1.25%, but I've got gem slots currently dedicated to crit that I could swap. I can also do the +haste cloak enchant easily enough. Persuading my friendly shaman to drop windfury totem (+16% haste) is another option. (I *heart* Ionya.)

Here's the counterpoint. The glyph for SoC is really good (+20% proc) and the glyph for SoM (increased mana via spiritual attunement) is not. So I'm not sure exactly how much DPS I might gain by a switch. I'm also relying on an item proc here to spike my haste rating to the right level. RNG is going to be a big factor.

Stuff to think about. I'll probably experiment a bit and see what's what. Comments are welcome.

Monday, March 9, 2009

House Steiner of Lorderon?

Ordo hit old Stratholme last night and while we were heading to Mal'Ganis, I noticed this emblem on the banners lining the streets.

That looked awfully familiar to this old BattleTech fan. Looks a lot like the emblem for House Steiner.

So, is one of Blizzard's artists a BTech fan? Who knows?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Will Patch 3.1 Totally Rock Out Mirror of Truth?

I've been actively scanning the Druid blogs - made easier by the Daily Druid - for a comment about this, but haven't seen one. So, I'm posting about it myself in hopes that one of the titans will see it and pontificate more.

So, I finally grabbing a Mirror of Truth. It's an awesome trinket, but will patch 3.1 make it even better?

When 3.1 hits, Druids are going to get Savage Defense. Suddenly, Critical Strikes & Attack Power are going to be just as useful to Bears as Cats. Mirror's huge crit boost alone makes it an attractive trinket for ferals. If the chance boost to AP works in conjunction with SD's damage shield it's even better. I'm wondering if anyone has tested this. Will it work? How often will it proc? Is this boost enough to replace a straight mitigating trinket?

The real winners in this patch could be feral off-tanks. An off-tank is even more likely to want 1 set of gear for as many encounters as possible. This trinket could become a must-have.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Girarde's Inscription Emporium

So last week I discovered a new Blog “The Greedy Goblin.” It’s well written and while I do not tend to agree with the author on a number of points, (specifically surrounding guilds and PUGs.) I have been very interested in his approach to making money on the Auction House. As such he inspired me to go into “Business” for myself and open up my own little Inscription shop.

Gevlon’s philosophy basically revolves around the idea of thinking of the Auction House like a business. When you think of it in that light it becomes easier to create a business plan and start making profits. (Can you hear the Ferengi in me?) You can begin to analyze things like raw materials, labor (will you craft this for me?) and then personal time investment. Thinking like this, (and well from the advice in his blog) I have begun my own little Inscription business for myself.

Why Inscription? Well a couple of reasons.

1.) Low start up cost: The inventory itself is relatively low cost, meaning low risk. I didn’t have to sink hundreds of gold to make one piece that if it doesn’t sell ruins my business. I instead get to produce a number of smaller items. If any individual item does not sell, I’m not out a terribly large amount of money.

2.) Reasonable Demand. Everybody needs glyphs. All classes, all races. While you don’t necessarily need a lot of glyphs everyone needs one from time to time. With Blizzard constantly changing the mechanics that demand increases.

3.) Flexible Raw materials: First off, inscription is very flexible in the types of herbs it can use. All Northrend herbs mill into the same pigments (Although higher level herbs may give more pigments or more rare pigments, I’ve not researched this yet) So I can load up on materials on the cheapest herbs I can find in the AH. Goldclover is expensive? Buy a stack of tiger lily. Also for inscription herbs become pigments which become inks, which become glyphs. If the herbs are especially expensive, I can perhaps still find a deal on the pigments or the inks. In this way it becomes easier to keep my costs down.

4.) Profit Margin: Most my glyphs sell for at least double the cost of my raw materials. Many sell for four or five times my initial cost.

So last Tuesday I took my 20 best glyphs, made 3 of each and put them on the AH. I’ve been keeping track my costs, my profits and what sells in a small excel spreadsheet. Every 2 days when my auctions end I “restock” and produce additional glyphs for the ones that sold out the previous auction.

The initial results are promising. I’ve been able to sell about 20 glyphs every auction period (2 days) or so. After my second set of auctions I had already recouped my initial investment. As of last night I was over 400 gold in the black with over 50 glyphs still up for sale. The additional perk is that I have been able to use my left over supplies to make scrolls and glyphs for friends. I’ve also been getting enough Icy pigment from my millings that I’ve been able to keep up my Inscription research. So while I’m not the goblin businessman that Gevlon proliferates. I am turning a nice little profit for myself and should keep myself from ever having to grind gold again. After all as Rule of Acquisition # 41 States: Profit is its own reward.