diablo 3

Diablo 3: (Not A) Cow Anniversary Event and Ideas

Diablo 3’s 3rd anniversary has been marked this year with a special (not a) Cow Event which pays homage to Diablo 2’s Secret Cow Level. The event made me realize that Diablo 3 ought to have more events like this one on a very frequent basis, which will be the basis of discussion for this blog.

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World of Warcraft: Reputation/Valor Point Changes to Gear in Patch 5.4 and Ruminations

Some notes on the upcoming reputation/valor point change to gear is that pre-Throne of Thunder gear will cost Justice Points and cost between 1250-2250 points while having their reputation requirement removed. Shado-Pan Assault gear will have the reputation requirement for honored level gear reduced to friendly while the overall Valor Point cost will be reduced by roughly 34%. Justice Point (i.e. blue gear) will have their overall cost reduced by 75%. Lastly, Justice Point to Honor Point conversion will be increased from 500 Justice Points to 250 Honor Points.

So in looking over these changes, what does this all imply? The most obvious aspect is that moving older gear to a pure Justice Point system should motivate players to do more Heroics if they’re gearing up and struggling to hit the 460 mark for Mogu’shan Vaults/LFR as well as allow players who have bad luck streaks in pre-Throne of Thunder LFR to avoid wasting Valor Points and provide a farming mechanism to catch up. I think reverting the Justice Point cost to the original values for the gear feels a little high in that the Justice Points that do drop from Heroics are still pretty low overall. So I think it probably would be a massive waste trying to gear using that system compared to obtaining Valor for Throne of Thunder gear.

The removal of reputation feels irrelevant at this stage considering that rather than doing dailies, you’re farming boring heroics. I think they should just make older gear purchasable with gold at this stage since the time you’ll invest into trying to gear a single pre-Throne of Thunder epic just isn’t worth it.

Also, why even bother reducing the cost of current Justice Point gear when the crafted PVP items are at the same item level and can either be crafted or purchased for gold? There’s only a few exceptions like the trinket, necklace and rings. But if you’re going to farm Justice Points, you probably won’t even want to waste a single point on blue gear at this point. Again, Blizzard should really look more in depth at that whole system works because it’s painfully obvious that there hasn’t been much pontifications on this aspect.

Next, I find it funny that they reduced the reputation requirements for honored level gear with the Shado-Pan Assault but not friendly level gear. So you’re pretty much going to be locked down in terms of using spare valor until you have enough of an ilvl to do Throne of Thunder part 1. So what will happen with your current valor points? I certainly hope Blizzard doesn’t try to pull another downgrading of Valor Points. They tried in Patch 5.2 with resounding negative response. Even with the downgrade of cost for pre-Throne of Thunder epics to use Justice Points, I think a lot of people will end up resenting once again having all their hard work from dailies and LFR grinds away.

In my book, Blizzard has a lot of things backwards. There’s a few better ways for all of this to work. One is that you leave the reputation for older gear in place, but make it all gold based. At this stage in the game, I think Justice Points really are just an irrelevant currency except for Heirlooms. The currency conversion to Honor can stay the way it is in PTR but the thing here is that the goal ultimately is to get people geared up faster. Here’s the thing: sure Blizzard wants to keep Heroics relevant but you either have to increase the Justice Points dropped per boss or reduce the cost of older epics. The point is to avoid lengthy grinds so that people can get into the Siege of Orgrimmar faster.

You could also change older LFRs to be a Justice Point based system. However, that sounds stupid and you might as well do the same for Scenarios and Heroics as well in terms of the daily reward. Besides, if pre-Throne of Thunder LFRs just dropped Justice Points, then it’ll remove any incentive for people who are geared to continue running them. The nice thing about the current LFR system is that even if you don’t need gear anymore from them, you can run them to help cap Valor Points quicker. So I really hope that they don’t move in that direction.

Another idea is not to make the pre-Throne of Thunder gear Justice Point based and reduce the cost of Valor Points even further. I believe that the Golden Lotus dailies are going away completely, so newer players will miss out on 50 Valor Points per day just from a single faction. That still leaves a few factions but I think a lot of newer players/90s will have a very difficult time trying to access the Isle of Thunder since it’s been stated that the encounters are designed for ilvl 480 people. This is my preference overall and keeps everything pretty simple. I would just reduce the cost of the original factions’ gear down by 75% (right now they’re at 50%) and Dominance Offensive/Shieldwall to 50% (don’t get me started on the Sunreaver Onslaught; that faction and gear are absolutely pointless).

The other option if all Blizzard’s real intent is to try keeping Heroics relevant (which I think is stupid) is to keep the cost of Justice Points at the current Valor Point level. Meaning, the original factions will be at 50% cost (e.g. a ring would be 625 Justice Points) and Dominance Offensive/Shieldwall at 25% cost. Realistically, this probably is the best compromise between the two. By then I think most people won’t even give a shit about Justice Points nor Heroics except for Valor and more importantly I doubt that people who are well geared won’t even bother looking at older epics. The whole thing is for newer players/90s to move faster since they’ll be forced to play catch up no matter what.

Beyond that, if the changes go through as stated, what does that imply for players? First, I think you should use patch 5.3 as a leveling patch. If you’re an alt-a-holic like myself, really push whatever you have left to 90 asap. If you enjoy the gearing grind (or are a partial sado-masochist like myself) then you need to get on this asap. Gearing right now isn’t too bad but I think you want to start making sure that your toons who aim to enter Siege of Orgrimmar to hit their ilvl 480s right now. The new system to me looks horribly thought out and the math behind it is based off an accountant who snorted crack on a lunch break with the developers (that was partial sarcasm if you couldn’t tell). Honestly, the way the new system looks is a massive step backwards. I mean, why should you go backwards to Heroics just to obtain epics using Justice Points? The whole split currency system is an obnoxiously retarded idea and probably has complicated things for no good reason.

Yet you as the casual player probably don’t want to go through another pointless grind. You probably have done the Heroic route and found the drop rates or loot ninjas and possibly even the rude player just not worth dealing with. So you need to ensure you’re protected before you’re forced into the stupid funneling experience that Blizzard wants you to be in.

And I know that there’s players out there who complain, “Well, I have nothing to spend my Justice Points on!” Maybe the issue isn’t that there’s a lack of items to spend Justice Points on. Maybe the issue is that the split currency system simply is not well thought out and that they need to kill it with something far easier to manage.

Honestly, I miss the old Wrath of the Lich King days. Back then the vender gear cost gold and did require some reputation grind. But it wasn’t all that difficult. Just throw on a tabard, do some nice Heroics, then if you really needed the gear, you could buy it with gold. It was a nice, easy system, not some convoluted mess with all these currency conversion issues.

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World of Warcraft: Continuing to Progress on My Paladin and Hanging Out with Yoni

I spent an overabundant amount of time playing my paladin the last two days, especially yesterday. He had been neglected for some time as I’ve spread my love of my toons all over the place. But my paladin sorta is my favorite and I really enjoy pushing him the most. So I finally had the opportunity to complete all of Throne of Thunder LFR on him, winning a few items in the process. Last night, I spent far too much time getting valor capped for the week so I could both pick up a new 522 belt and allowing my other toons to get a much needed 50% Valor Point boost for the rest of the week.

But the best thing was being able to play with Yoni the past two days. Usually, I play by myself. I have a few friends that I occasionally play with but I tend to do all my LFRs on my own since everyone has their own schedules. I thought it was really cool being able to hang out with one of my Twitch TV heroes, even if it was for something like LFR. But that to me is the point of livestreaming where people can interact with their favorite streamers. Also, getting to help others via livestreaming is another big thing to me. I really like providing advice and getting advice from people to improve my game play and their’s.

For me personally, I thought it was interesting going into LFR with Yoni because she also plays a Retribution Paladin. So I thought it would be good to compare someone well versed in PVP with myself who has reasonable PVE gear. I kept my eyeball on Recount and was pretty amazed to see how she kept up or pretty much would beat me in the DPS meters at times in various encounters, even though she’s geared in pure PVP gear. On boss encounters, I tended to fare better just because I’m a little over the expertise and hit cap as well as not having stats like PVP Power on my gear. My only other advantage in LFR outside of gear is having a reasonable idea of most of the encounters. I’m certain if she had the same gear, she probably would beat me consistently because she probably knows the class better than me. Either way, it’s good to see how I can improve my game play by watching someone else and gives me some motivation to do better in the future.

Going back to my paladin, one project I had been working on is gearing up his protection side. Right now, the only thing I’m missing is a shield. But I managed to obtain all the other pieces such that he probably could tank most of the older LFRs reasonably well from a gear point of view. Not sure if I would fare all that well since I’m only familiar as a DPS with the encounters. But at least I have an option to play as a protection paladin in the future.

After all this I’m hoping to get back to leveling my mage. After reading the patch notes, it seems like the Golden Lotus dailies are disappearing. So I think to take advantage of things before patch 5.4 I’ll have to really push the rest of my toons to 90 (except my monk). I feel like I’m so behind on everything and lack focus. But it’s one of the consequences of managing so many toons.

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World of Warcraft: Raid Boss and Quest Design Theories

I’m a pretty big critic when it comes to game design since I’ve dabbled a bit in writing my own home grown modules for games like Shadowrun, Dungeons and Dragons and even games with a customized aspect. So when it comes to playing games I do enjoy such as Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft, I have specific opinions on what I like and dislike. Today, I want to delve into some idea for how I think raid bosses and quests should be designed.

When I look at this expansion and think about how raid encounters have evolved, the first thing that comes to mind is that it feels like stuff just ends up getting tossed together without a real flow at times and having an uneven sense of difficulty. Take for instance, Durumu vs Primordius. Many people argue that Durumu would’ve made far more sense as the end boss for part 3. Similarly, others have mentioned that Horridon, while presenting a very dynamic and fun encounter for some, also presented a huge wall for normal mode raiders.

People want to compare Throne of Thunder to Ulduar, which many people claim as the best raid ever created. But I think the defining aspect for Ulduar is that the difficulty level ramped upwards and really presented a sense of progression as bosses. To me that’s probably the best design since you want to feel like you’re going up a slope rather than finding yourself in an uneven situation where you’re hitting a wall too early on, which might end up discouraging people. Although I never did Ulduar when it first came out, I can see how the fights would present more and more mechanics that made people enjoy the lead up.

I think that’s how long raids should be built. In the case of Throne of Thunder, it’s what I call a “long raid” since all the progression happens in a linear experience. Compare that to Cataclysm where you had some flexibility in the first tier. Throne of Thunder, at least the LFR version, is a real mixed bag in terms of the rhythm. I mean, it starts off well with Jin-Rok being a pretty simple tank-and-spank encounter. Then suddenly, you get to Horridon for the first time and it’s a wild mess. Afterwards, you fight Council which turns out to just be four mini bosses that you down in a certain order. But because of the way Horridon is designed, it’s one of the few encounters that feels really dynamic and can be more difficult than other encounters. Whereas when you get to Twin Consorts, the encounter feels more like a cock tease until you hit Lei Shen, where the difficulty level can spike back up.

Something I read a while back is that some encounters had certain purposes like DPS checks, heal checks, gear checks, etc. Part of idea is to ensure that people not only could handle the mechanics but didn’t just blaze through the content without having enough equipment and enforced more farming. The thing though when you have elements like DPS checks, etc. you also have to take into consideration how all that blends with mechanics. The way I look at this aspect is like the old saying about college: you can have good grades, a life, a job, belong to a club/fraternity/sorority, get sleep and have fun. However, you can only choose two of the above.

Similarly, with raid mechanics, I see the situation in terms of layering with the same theory applied. You can provide for so many mechanics and checks but you’re allowed only so many per encounter. I mean, they do it already in terms of difficulty, but it does feel somewhat off balanced at times. Also, timing when a mechanic occurs is imperative. A lot of the tuning that seems to go on outside of damage and life are the frequency/timing, especially if the mechanic involves some sort of one shot death blow. But the way I see a fight is that things gradually open up, leading to a nice climax. If you watch pro-wrestling, you can see how this works. Good pro-wrestling matches have slow builds, starting with minor moves that lead up towards bigger moves since the idea is to dominate an opponent through gradually wearing them down, then applying the killing blow.

Along the lines of mechanics, it’s important to talk about the visual components of an encounter. I tend to discount audio since many people end up turning their sound down. When it comes to the visual design of encounters and interface, World of Warcraft is structured is to partly distract you at times intentionally. Although that isn’t a bad thing necessarily, I do think that somethings end up becoming indiscernible. For instance, in the trash pull to the first part of Heart of Fear, you can barely see what’s going on, hence why a lot of people end up inadvertently dying. And of course, we have the horrible Durumu encounter, which up until the maze pretty much isn’t a bad encounter. However, once you get to that point, there’s just too much going on both with the encounter and other special effects. Even Elegon has been reported to cause FPS loss because it’s simply too intense. I think the thing that bugged me the most was when someone who mentioned that he had a color blindness issue had an impossible time handling the Durumu encounter. To me, that’s a game breaker.

Another thing to consider is the idea of making things so complex that they require an entire video for an explanation. I think part of the problem with World of Warcraft is that you have high end groups putting out videos that are still more or less in the Beta stages. Although the how-to market for content is huge, I’m a little bit disappointed that the game almost warrants the need to watch or read the equivalent of the Cliffs Notes for encounters. I feel as though you really don’t get a chance to enjoy an encounter. It’s more like rush through to get through to the finish line as fast as possible because everything occurs so suddenly requiring you to respond with some automated system. I might be guilty of doing this myself but it’s the experience that you’re once again funneled into that makes me angry and it’s not really pleasant.

I remember doing Amber-Shaper the first time and getting transformed into a big yellow glowing thing. Although I do remember hearing about this ability, I wasn’t prepared and certainly didn’t like it. The worst part was just being put into this vehicle with four buttons that have incredibly detailed pieces of text. There’s no time to pause and really read which button does what. Of course, you could just go to a video or some site like WoWHead to figure out what to do beforehand, but what’s the point? To me it’s just a really poor gaming experience.

Compare that to Ji-Kun where you have the nest encounter. In that situation, people can volunteer to handle the mechanics. At least, people are given the option to do things they feel comfortable with as opposed to a clunky UI that can make/break an encounter easily. I don’t mind getting a clunky UI as long as I have some time to train for it. And in this situation there isn’t anything that helps prepare you outside of watching a video or reading up on an encounter. And you can’t rely on people doing either.

Let me move on now to quest design. Questing is obviously more integrated than ever into the game design for World of Warcraft. It seems that from Wrath of the Lich King, questing has really taken a precedence, especially in the leveling experience. However, I think that the questing experience has really evolved from the old kill/collect/talk to XXX model to give it more flavor. Now, you have quests that can involve things like using vehicles, stealth quests (aka Call of Duty/Black Ops), even racing and puzzle quests.

That said, one of my complaints is that the designers tend to box you into a certain linear progression when it comes to quests. Take for instance, the four storytellers in the Jade Forest. Obviously, the three storyteller quest givers from Badlands, which proved to be popular since they were unique and had a sense of comedy to them, more than likely influenced this style of quests. However, after the first time or two doing them, I found them to be not so enjoyable. In fact, I tend to take a break just as this quest hub starts since I don’t find it amusing. Part of the reason is that a few of them are clunky and one has a severe bug. Yet you can’t really avoid them.

Uldum had a few quest disappointments. There was the stupid stealth quest or the completely broken crocodile quest. Those sucked big time because pretty much you had to skip the rest of the area once you got to them. That’s a pretty shoddy experience in my book.

So how can you rectify scenarios like that? My thing is that you can create quest hubs but make them independent of each other in terms of telling a story. I feel that Cataclysm attempted to make each zone tell too much of a story and forced a far too linear experience. While you could go from one zone to another, the zones themselves tried to have epic endings. But I felt that mood didn’t really capture it in every case, nor did it have to. I think you should be given the option to split off between sections of a zone.

Isle of Thunder tries something like this by providing the option for PVE or PVP questing. I think that this idea needs to be further expanded upon. For instance, split the quest hubs up based on the type of quests people enjoy. If people prefer problem solving, create more complex quests. If people enjoy killing monsters, focus more on that. You can mix and match but you don’t want to make the pivotal quest be the thing that prevents people from progressing.

In Pandaria, the problem that I think people had was just the overwhelming number of quests with a horribly linear progression. People liked Lich King because you had two major zones to choose from. Even Cataclysm allowed you to pick between two starting areas once you hit 80. You have nothing to look forward to except for the same boring path.

Right now with the level reduction, you get some choice in which zones to do your leveling whereas the experience necessary to level pretty much forced you to do all the zones except Townlonge Steppes and Dread Wastes, where you could switch off. Again though my complaint is that you had to go straight through, unless you grinded mobs. If anything it was a poor experience because mentally it felt really taxing. Most of the quests really had no rhyme nor reason; it’s just busy work. Couldn’t a lot of those quests just be cut down? Why have so many stupid gathering quests? What’s the point?

I would prefer if you had leads to do a group of quests that lead to gaining sufficient experience, rather than just enforcing you to be a completionist. I liked the older Vanilla system because leveling was spaced out better. Got tired of questing? Just hit an instance or try a slightly more challenging area. That would allow for more variety of rhythm something that really doesn’t exist right now.

Another aspect I want to discuss is the whole Daily Quest fiasco. It was a fiasco and I think a lot of people ended up burning out and even quitting over them. There were so many problems in the design of these, from the varying difficulty, to the actual zone they were created in as well as the various gates. Before they came out, the creators seemed really proud in improving the experience from the Molten Front. Molten Front had it share of issues too but most of the problem specifically was over the time investment aspect.

The creators said that they realized that the one month grind was something that probably needed adjustment. They adjusted it alright….in the wrong direction. Maybe they thought that people obtained rewards and the result too easily because the new dailies had such horrible rewards. I’m not talking about the quartermaster valor gear; I’m talking about the miniscule reputation and valor that were awarded. And pretty much if you wanted to get anywhere (especially at the beginning of the expansion), you needed to do them every day. Forget what all the defenders and PR people say about them being optional. The truth is that you had to grind them out if you wanted to keep up. On top of that, the time requirement to really maximize these were horrendous.

When the Isle of Thunder came out it was the Golden Lotus all over again, except worse. Now, you couldn’t even fly and had to experience tons of mobs. It’s like they saw players hating the little cave for the Dominance Offensive and realized, “Hey, let’s create an even crappier experience to piss them off even worse!” But these dailies pretty much lack any point. The rewards aren’t even useful from the reputation. On top of that, add some near raid-like boss encounters for certain quests and it’s just non-stop frustration.

The whole thing should’ve been weeklies. With that many hubs, it would’ve been a far better experience just to allow players to choose which hub to do, get their rewards then pick another one. If the dailies didn’t consume so much time (like the ones in Uldum or even Twilight Highlands), then the daily aspect wouldn’t have been so terrible. But these dailies are just far too time consuming and there’s just way too many for them to be worth doing on a daily basis. I mean, why kill the same damn boss every day? It’s not really fun after a while.

At any rate, I hope the designers consider some of these points. They probably already do have some of these standards in place. But it feels like they aren’t really enforced.

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World of Warcraft: More Progress in Patch 5.3 for Me

The past week or so I’ve been really hitting LFR and certain daily hubs hard to boost my toons as much as possible. I started to farm Throne of Thunder parts 1 and 2 now that I’ve become quite comfortable with the fights. Part 3 I’ve only done twice and still find it a little awkward but slowly am getting comfortable. Unfortunately, for Part 4, I entered at Lei Shen and we wiped pretty quickly. Because it was late, I decided to leave and just try another day. Admittedly, I didn’t understand the fight in its entirety because the explanation on WoWHead was incomplete (at least one of the main explanations) as well as another video that did a pretty bad job showcasing the mechanics. So I ended up checking out another video (actually a healing guide) which did a great job of showing the full fight. Thus, the next time I give it a try, I should be in a far better position.

Ironically, it’s been my hunter who is now my top geared toon. He’s at ilvl 492 and suffers mostly due to still using the Ghost Iron Dragonling trinket. However, he still has two 2-tier bonuses from the tier 14 and 15 sets. So that part is pretty nice. Also, it’s nice that he has a Sha-Touched weapon (finally!) with the Crystallized Dread gem. My plan is to continue to perhaps find the 483 trinket off of Lei Shi (good luck!) or farm valor to get the trinket. It’ll be nice to see him doing better damage though and become epic eventually.

Also, my Death Knight has come quite a bit. I’m having a lot of fun learning the melee aspects on him. He’s still sitting at ilvl 488 but the good thing is that he’s completely epic in terms of gear. I did upgrade his axe, which is the Shin’ka, Execution of Dominion to a full 491. I expect that he might not find a 2-handed weapon for a while so I just went ahead and put some points into his weapon. I’ll continue running older LFRs just to continue to collect loot for his blood spec as well as attempt to get the last few sigils for the legendary gem. Besides his weapon though, the thing I really think is awesome about my death knight is that he has the full tier set. I think he’s the only one at this point in time who has the full set but it looks great!

Next, I’m also working on my shaman. I did something incredibly stupid and left his elemental loot specialization on during a Heart of Fear Part 2 run and ended up winning the weapon for his elemental side. I felt incredibly stupid since he really needs a better 2-hander. And it would be awesome to get a hold of the Sha-Touched weapons as he now has completed the quest and just needs to kill the Sha of Fear for the last part. I will say though that it was pretty painful all day today doing LFR since everyone just wasn’t on top of their game. Probably the holidays can be blamed for that.

Lastly, I’ve been pretty hard at work on my warlock. He’s really had a lot of ups and downs. For instance, he won his tier robe piece on Heart of Fear part 2 twice…but that, of course, was after I dropped 7k on a 496 robe piece. Talk about throwing lemon on an open wound! But he did manage to pick up his Sha-Touched sword and the off-hand on top of that and even got a necklace from Oondasta. After all the frustration of running Heart of Fear part 1, it was nice getting something. He still has a few crafted PVP pieces but I hope in finishing up the part 1 run (and maybe some Mogu’shan Vaults), he’ll get a few upgrades so I can take him into Throne of Thunder.

Going back to the Throne of Thunder, I will ask myself, “What are my impressions?” I wrote a piece the other day about raiding/LFR in general, but with regards to the specific Throne of Thunder raid in LFR, it’s a real mixed bag. Part 1 has gotten significantly easier since I started. Horridon is still a clusterfuck of a fight but at the LFR level it’s certainly not boring. Council also is so much easier than before but Horridon might be my favorite fight just because it keeps you on your toes at all times.

Part 2 isn’t that bad either. Magera is easier than what I imagined and Tortos is like Horridon in that it’s a big clusterfuck of a fight. But it’s pretty dynamic so it can be fun. Ji-Kun is more annoying than anything. If you have a movement boost then you’re good. But I found my paladin having some difficulty at times even using his Judgments to give him a boost. I can certainly see other classes having a rough time on that fight.

Part 3 had its moments. I kept hearing Durumu all the time as being the most frustrating fight. I think because I heard so much about it and the fact that they nerfed it into the ground, it ended up being not as bad as I originally had thought. The maze still is the worst part but it’s not as bad as I had thought. It’s still a terrible mechanic but you can get through it within reason. I actually thought Dark Animous was far more confusing than Durumu. I think the problem is just having all these adds running around and understanding the priority along with people dropping large puddles in the middle of the room and killing people without really knowing it. In that sense, Durumu is a better designed fight since you can designate someone who is familiar with the maze mechanic to lead everyone. Same with the eggs in the Ji-Kun fight.

Now, I haven’t completed all of part 4 and I really would like to sometime tomorrow. But from what I’ve seen about the Lei Shen fight, the one thing that I don’t care for is the group aspect in terms of the pillars. That part does require a bit of coordination and communication. Because of the low standards of people who do LFR, that aspect can become somewhat of a pain. Add all the other clusterfuck mechanics and it does appear to be a messy fight. But people do say it’s fun once you get the mechanics down so hopefully over time this fight will become less painful (hence why I’ve waited for so long)

The one bad thing I’ve noticed is that with all the waiting and working on alts, I haven’t had enough time to really pursue collecting lesser charms and capping on valor. Even having all this time off really doesn’t permit doing all the necessary activities to really maximize what your toons can do. That kinda blows since there’s just so much going on right now. Pretty much most of my time is spent waiting for LFRs, looking for world bosses, the occasional rare, maybe the treasure scenario and a few dailies here and there with professions and farming sprinkled about.

Lastly, I’ve been leveling my warrior. I decided to go slow with her mostly because I’m hoping to get my paladin, who is also my blacksmith, to get as many recipes as possible before my warrior hits 90. That way, I’ll be ready with a variety of crafted gear to boost her asap.

I will try doing LFR part 4 tomorrow. With the Tuesday reset (mine already did), I feel that the quality of people doing LFR will be higher so getting into a good group sometime tomorrow I think will help out tremendously in preparing me to starting farming Throne of Thunder on my remaining toons.

Beyond that I’m looking to getting my warrior to level 90 and then leveling my remaining 85s. I still have my monk but she’s such a low priority at this point that I’m not really that motivated in doing anything with her. I might actually end up deleting her and just re-rolling her on the horde side.

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World of Warcraft: Isle of Thunder Experiences

When Isle of Thunder first came out, I did a few dailies. But the sheer number of mobs ended up frustrating me pretty badly along with all the chaos of people swarming the area. It’s calmed down quite a bit but still has more people than older daily zones. While other guides do exist, I wanted to share my experience with this area.

At first, I really hated the zone. The lack of flying, high mob density, gloomy atmosphere and high respawn rate turned me off initially. Also, in looking at the Sunreaver Onslaught rewards, I questioned whether or not to do these at all. This just seemed like an upgraded quest hub for those that have grown tired with the other daily quest hubs. Another thing is that the mobs are still fairly dangerous. I read a comment where a fairly decent geared guy had some issues with the mobs. They do have quite a bit of health and some do nasty damage. If you combine all these factors, it makes the area a real turn off.

However, the area does have it’s positive points. The Sunreaver Onslaught rewards, while for the most part useless for those who are focused on doing the new LFRs, still help fill in some missing slots that the Dominance Offensive (or Operation: Shieldwall) factions may lack. Also, I thought the ilvl 476 belt that you can purchase for gold at Honored reputation is good for certain classes that might be struggling to upgrade their ilvl (this is especially true for plate wearing DPS classes since you either have to purchase one from VP or wait until Heart of Fear).

Also, you can get approximately 60 VP for clearing the dailies with the end quest giving you a Sunreaver Bounty chest. The important thing about these chest is the chance it drops a Key to the Palace of Lei Shen. The key leads to a scenario where you essentially get to loot a treasure zone. In this treasure zone, you can find the Elder Charms of Good Fortune. Since the weekly quest giver no longer hands these out, it’s pretty essentially to make an attempt to grab these for lower geared toons so you can try for re-rolls.

For myself, I got really lucky in finding a non-elite mob that dropped the key. Afterwards, in doing the scenario, I managed to pick up quite a few of these Elder Charms. By the time I finished the dailies and scenario, I had roughly 10 Elder Charms of Good Fortune on my Death Knight.

That said, the 10 extra charms for my death knight motivated me to run my shaman through the island. In direct contrast, I didn’t find any keys nor picked up any Elder Charms of Good Fortune. I might attempt this on my druid and perhaps my hunter since they still need gear from LFR (despite qualifying for the new LFR).

Another major thing people are doing is looking for rare mobs. Rares also have a higher chance of dropping the keys and other goodies. The main three items to receive are Tombs of Valor (which grant 15 valor once per hour), keys and Shan’ze Ritual Stones. One tactic that I’m seeing is small groups being formed that spread across the island in search of rare mobs to tag. I haven’t done much in this regards, but WoWhead has a nice write up on all these mobs.

The thing with the Shan’ze Ritual Stones is that they allow you to complete a quest upon finding three of them. Afterwards, you are able to summon an elite that has a good chance of dropping a key (and a nice dagger). So far I only received one stone through luckily discovering a chest.

At any rate, even after completing your dailies, you definitely can stay for other activities. My personal recommendation depends on if you’re alt heavy or not. In my case, I have enough toons where sticking around felt like a waste of time. If there was a group to be invited to for slaying a rare, I wouldn’t mind but there’s too much to do already.

I think the area is great as a supplement for the rest of your dailies, especially if you’re starting your daily route. It’s great for quickly picking up the Lesser Charms for getting the weekly quest complete. However, I do think that if you’re starting to gear up, you’re better off waiting a bit or finding a group because of the difficulty for the mobs. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself eating a lot or dying here and there.

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World of Warcraft: Managing and Leveling Multiple Alts in Mist of Pandaria

Quite often when you read the forums you’ll hear how many people have felt that Mist of Pandaria has not been alt friendly. The grind in this expansion at the start has been quite harsh with the reputation, low valor points and ungenerous loot system in place. Not to mention the extremely tedious questing required to max level your toons. Once you complete your first toon, you feel as though your soul was plucked from you and you may very well never want to go through that experience again.

With patch 5.2 out, some of these issues have been corrected such as selecting a faction for doing reputation grinds through heroics, the increased drop rates from LFR, increased ilvl from crafted PVP gear, the work orders from the farm or bonus experience gained through pet battles (although this aspect has reportedly been seriously nerfed). That all said, the idea of handling alts still can be intimidating as the game can be overwhelming with all the different options available to you.

Of course, if you’re an alt-a-holic like myself, you might get that itch to work on other classes as your main either starts to feel stale or other reasons (like professions). But how can you manage handling so many possible alts and dealing with the reputation grind? Like everything in life this all boils down to time management and organization skills.

The biggest issue in the game that many people have is the idea of leveling. Many people hate the process because it’s a giant chore and they simply want to get to the end where supposedly all the fun exist. The issue here is not leveling but the types of people who hate leveling. Leveling is very task oriented and can be extremely tedious. Going from 1-90 mentally can be exhausting and overwhelming. So it really boils down to a psychological game of discipline.

The problem I see is that most people lack the focus to level. But it’s really funny to me because some of these people end up doing task repeatedly (and it seems that a lot of PVPers especially are like this). I think for these people they never try to set goals/milestones for themselves as they level. For instance, take 85-90 at the moment. Each level/area can be quite arduous due to the unbelievable number of quests available. Some areas like The Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds feel as though they take forever and certain quests end up being annoying, making one feel as though the game takes decades to complete.

While the number of quests are indeed huge, the secret for me is to set certain milestones as I play through them. With 4 more 85s waiting around and a level 87 that I’m working on, the method I’ve developed is attempting to complete one level or zone per day.  Once I hit one goal or the other, I stop and switch off for a while. But by giving myself those milestones, I pretty much push myself then ease up to keep myself from mentally burning out.

During Cataclysm, the way I would level was very similar. Usually, I would focus on an area or two at a time as opposed to a fix number of levels. Pre-BC areas provides enough experience for around 5 levels a zone, give or take. Generally, you still would face the same number of quests, some with similar levels of difficulty (or annoyance). I think the primary difference has been the health of mobs and the time it takes to down them. Combining that with instance grinding, you easily could zoom up several levels at a time. Once you hit 58, you can just instance grind with some questing and get anywhere between 2-3 levels a day. Even Wrath content combined with instance grinding can provide 2-3 levels a day without being a completionist.

Also, I don’t do everyone simultaneously. I go in tracks where I’ll work on one toon for a bit then switch after a certain point and work on another toon. For instance, my paladin is barely being used at the moment since I’m focused more on improving my shaman. Because my paladin’s gear is reasonable, I think it’s more efficient expanding on my shaman’s gear and professions for a while rather than squeezing every little point from my paladin. In that sense, I’ll do more dailies so I can push my shaman’s reputation up, especially with important factions like the Golden Lotus.

While I do that, I’m also leveling my warlock. Leveling takes the most time because the quests for leveling tend to be lengthier than dailies and that there’s just a lot more for every zone compared to the number of dailies.  I can’t do all of the above every day though because it’ll overwhelm me. So I end up sacrificing a few toons while I work on lower priority toons.

What I’ve come to realize is that you can’t expect to do everything with everyone in a single day. It’s very taxing mentally and physically. I find myself having eye strains, occasional headaches and become sleepy. When that happens, I’ll take extended breaks to keep myself fresh. It may seem like common sense but again it’s realizing how gaming like this can affect you. It’s easy to stop once you lose momentum and move to something different. But you need to eventually return to this task if you ever want to move forward.

The thing that keeps me going again are my goals. I look forward to hitting 90 (or whatever the level cap is) because the process of doing things faster initially feels fresh. Of course, I might leave a few stones unturned but the thing is that you can still go back. But the fun thing for me is watching the progress of my characters grow and getting into things like Galleon and Sha of Anger runs and seeing how things change from one style of play to another.

Also, seeing how my toons can work together is a big motivator. I ended up becoming an alt-a-holic when I realized that the auction house on Saurfang was overpriced. Being someone that hates depending on others, I set a goal to minimize my spending and dependence on the auction house. As I mentioned before, it’s going to be close to impossible but at a certain point it’ll hurt really hard in the pocket. But having alts with maxed out professions for the most part frees me from spending unnecessary gold and focus on using that gold for things that I cannot obtain or would normally spend months obtaining. At the same time, having all these professions available allows me to become very useful to my guild where I can provide others who are not as privileged enchants, gems, glyphs or gear that they may need.

With these motivators and goals in place, I have no problems re-doing content. Yes, it gets boring and tedious after a while, but once you’re on your 3rd alt, things seem to move a lot faster. I like having numerous options and playing this many alts provide me the options to continue leveling and gearing them.

Lastly, managing and leveling multiple alts can be a positive thing for yourself in some ways. I see it as a way to help focus your thinking and it acts as a reflection device for seeing what kind of person you are. I feel that the people who have problems hitting 90 are those that lack any kind of focus in their life. Without basic discipline and the ability to set goals for oneself, you will find it impossible to handle simple tasks on a day-to-day basis.

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World of Warcraft: My Current Progress and Experiences in Patch 5.2

We’re now about to get into the 4th day of Patch 5.2 for Mist of Pandaria. Much of what I’ve been doing (outside of helping a friend level up a bit) is focusing on gearing my guys up further and doing dailies on my newer 90 level toons. I’m attempting to avoid Heroics and seeing if I can use alternative methods of hitting the magic ilvl 460 mark. And thus far, I’ve been successful on my Shaman.

I picked up some of the new ilvl 458 crafted shoulders that sold for 1k on the Auction House. Because of the new discoverable patterns daily for crafters, it’s really hard depending on your own toons to provide the exact gear you’ll need. And with the patch just coming out, there’s very limited options on the Auction House, which are fairly costly. So at this stage, I’m willing to put up some gold just to push faster as the return would be very high down the road.

Another thing I managed was getting lucky off of a Galleon raid. While the Galleon raids at the start of the week were still highly competitive with the alliance faction on my server, I’ve noticed that, like the Sha of Fear, the raids have progressively become slower and less competitive as the week goes by. Thus, I managed to get in a few Galleon groups, one of which dropped my shaman a nice 496 helmet (and my DK friend also received a nice 496 plate helmet). Those two items managed to push me just at the ilvl 460 mark and immediately queued for Mogu’shan Vaults part 1.

For my shaman, each boss dropped something in part 1. At the end, along with a nice cape purchase, my shaman ended up at 466 ilvl. That’s not bad at all, despite Mogu’shan Vaults Part 2 giving me a terrible group. I think with some extra valor points and a lucky Sha or Galleon drop or two, I can set my eyes on Heart of Fear for next week.

My death knight by comparison has not been as lucky thus far. However, I’ve mostly been focusing on my shaman because he’s my tailor/enchanter and I dearly need him to unlock the better enchants through reputation bonuses. My plan for him is to gear him enough to have less issues as he tackles the various daily quests, which here and there have given him some issues. I think once he gets a little further up on the DPS/gear chart, he should have no issues whatsoever. That said, my death knight still needs to complete Dread Wastes, but I’m not in as big of a rush. One thing I’m hoping to do is get some of the craftable PVP plate plans for my paladin. Thus far, I’ve not seen anything on our Auction House. So perhaps, a lucky drop or purchase can boost my Death Knight next as well.

My next big project that I started today was playing my warlock once again. After hearing a great deal about the updated demonology warlock spec, I decided to switch him from Affliction to demonology. I have to admit that at first, I found playing the demonology spec a bit awkward. But as I got used to the rotation, I slowly began to become accustomed to the playstyle. It is weird and I’m certain that I’m far from perfect. But I have to say, it’s actually quite fun.

Previously, I found demonology frustrating. The rotation was unbelievably complicated and the pet barely could hold aggro, if not aggroing everything around him. Now, it feels a lot smoother, the AoE is insane and easier while some of the instant spell casts are pretty sick with some nice burst thrown in. I think the switching between demonic and normal form can get confusing. At first, I thought that the playstyle would be like a boomkin, but now it really feels more like a feral druid. Pretty much you’re building up combo-like points then switching in and out of your demon form as you use your fury resource up.

That said, I haven’t had many problems so far. The survivability aspect is better than I expected and the play seems reasonable. I suppose we’ll have to see how it compares as I get into the more difficult zones. One thing I discovered that I enjoy is the leap ability. It reminds me somewhat of the warrior’s Heroic Leap capability. Definitely a great little movement booster.  I think once he hits 90, I might switch back to affliction. But like Beast Master for the hunter, I find that it might be better just to stick with one spec and master it, even if the numbers indicate that DPS can be higher.

Something I haven’t done a lot of though is the new island. As expected, my island was extremely crowded. Now, that can be both good and bad. I think if you’re with a group, it’s perfectly fine. But soloing these quests with the ridiculous spawn rate as a result of all the people clustered together is terrible. I could not help but aggro all the different mobs in the area. It made the area almost impossible if I wasn’t playing with my friend.

Another little thing I discovered was the work order aspect for the farm. After looking at the quests, I realized that the reputation gains from those quests are quite low compared to the sacrifice you make in not producing crafting materials. That said, with all the new recipes available through crafting, I realize that it’s more important than ever to continue leveling my toons up and maxing out their farms.

Truthfully, it’s quite hard to manage every single toon in this regard. Everything can get overwhelming, especially when you’re focused on performing different tasks like dailies, LFR, leveling, etc. It feels that the best way to do things is concentrate on a toon or two until they’re close to maxing out at something then switching. I go in rotations but at the same time I think that there’s some fundamental things you need to do every week like LFR, Galleon, Sha, etc. But for every week that you miss out on an encounter, it’s more loot that you’re missing out to better prepare your toons.

Something I am concerned with as more patches get released is older content from Mist of Pandaria. Since the new LFRs aren’t released in whole yet, I’m hoping that the current group of LFRs keep their queue times low. So my plan is to continue leveling my toons as much as possible in case people start to taper off. I’m hoping that things like Sha of Anger or Galleon eventually do not slow down. I figure people will always need more gear, mounts, etc. for themselves or alts. So there should be room for more in the future. Despite that, I don’t put my full trust in this notion and want to ensure myself that I can have enough people properly geared down the road.

That all said, I am enjoying the faster gear progression at this stage. It’s a LOT better overall and has renewed my motivation (with the exception of the bad pug). I feel the overall environment is a little better. The grinding aspect still exist but there are more options like the farming orders and reputation selection for Heroics.

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World of Warcraft: What to REALLY Do in Patch 5.2

There are a ton of cutting edge guides talking about all the new things for Patch 5.2. With all the information available, it can be overwhelming. But what these guides do not reveal is what you, the casual PVE player, should or can be doing in Patch 5.2.

First, the raid schedule shows that like raids in the past, will be gradually released. LFR for the first wing won’t be released until March 12th. That means for people who are not properly geared you can still use the time to make some major pushes in preparation for the upcoming LFRs.

Beyond the new items and dailies, the “old” content from patch 5 – 5.1 are still valuable for gearing. Don’t forget that the minimal level for the new LFRs is 480. Even if you have that level, it does not mean be lazy. That means, the very least you require to get into the LFR. Once LFR is released, you can be certain that it’s not going to be a cake walk. Just look back to Garalon. So you’ll need as much help as you can get. Also, this will be the first major raid/content patch that will attempt to enforce a progression style raiding mechanism in LFR. So for alts or new 90s, you still will have to go through the motions of farming gear to obtain the minimal ilvl for entering the newer LFRs.

In that sense, this week will provide extra time for preparing with a few nice bonuses. First, the LFR drop rates for pre-5.2 patch raids will increase (people are saying roughly 30%). Second, Galleon will now spawn more frequently. Third, there will be new crafted PVP gear at ilvl 458. And lastly, the cost for Valor Point gear will significantly decrease. With these elements in mind, we can create a plan for hitting the new LFRs.

The first thing to do is examine where your toon is in ilvl. Did you just hit 90? Are you at the bizarro 450 point? Are you at the 460 or mid 470 stage? Or are you at the end of the 470 stage and possibly 480 stage?

These levels are important because we can set the tone of gearing in terms of a plan for each one. If you just hit 90, the first thing you should do is buy the new crafted pvp gear where you can. It will take some time for the new PVP gear to trickle in as people slowly start getting recipes and craft items for the AH. Not to mention the initial items will be fairly pricey. Fill in as many slots as possible and examine your ilvl. More than likely, you’ll still be under the mark, requiring items like trinkets, neck, rings and a weapon to fill in. Hunters and enhancement shamans will suffer the most as they do not have a 463 weapon immediately in their grasp (enhancement shamans can cheese it slightly through purchasing a craftable dagger, but it’s the ideal since they prefer slow weapons). After that, get into a Sha of Anger raid (hopefully those will continue) and possibly Galleon (assuming that Galleon spawns at near the frequency of the Sha of Anger). If you’re still below the 460 minimal mark for Mogu’shan Vaults Part 1, see if you can buy an item or two off the auction house.

If you were hovering around the mid 450 mark, apply the same strategy. I would attempt to spend the minimal and slowly fill in the gaps with the PVP crafting gear. Since Galleon spawns more frequently (people are reporting between 30-120 minutes), I would try to get into that group as soon as possible and perhaps even locating an epic or two off of the auction house.

In both cases, try to get some dailies in. Get your reputation up as soon as possible and get all the valor you can. You’ll probably want around 613 valor minimum to make your first major purchase (quite possibly a cloak from the Klaxxi if you have honored or above). You could try saving up for the 522 necklace, but the new area will be fairly chaotic. Without others to help you out, it might be tough initially. So some preparation is in order.

If you are in the 460-470 zone, plow through the new LFRs as much as you can. Today, I took my druid who just made the minimal amount to enter Heart of Fear (actually 468 boosted by some PVP gloves I received off of Sha of Anger) and sliced through Part 1, 2, Terrace of Endless Spring and came back to do Mogu’shan Vaults Part 2. The 30% droprate seems to really apply for lowly geared toons. In my case, I only had one spare charm that I used for a re-roll and got nothing from that. Disappointed, I still went through each area and ended up collecting 5 drops total. Now, my druid is sitting at 476 ilvl. Fairly impressive indeed.

If you’re sitting just below the 480 mark, things can get a little tricky and it all depends on your current valor points, charms and gaps you need to fill in gear. If you have spare charms, hit Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring first and use charms to fill in whatever remaining slots you need. Hopefully, the high droprate will give you the items you want. If you’re still a little off, then just buy valor gear. You could start by getting the 522 necklace if you have enough points. That should provide that boost just to get you to next level. Otherwise, take advantage of the valor point cost reduced items.

If you’re at the 480 mark and above, then you might just save your valor until you can get the reputation for better vendor gear from the new faction. The necklace looks to be a great starter item and I’ll assume that it’ll take several runs to get enough reputation to buy the higher end gear with valor.

What about the new areas? I have mixed feelings on this. Right now, on my server, I’m finding that the respawn rate can be quite insane. I would heavily suggest grouping to handle the adds. There’s lot of them too and it might get frustrating to do everything by yourself. Since the island will be unlocked by factions, you can contribute right away. I definitely suggest trying it out as this period will be the most exciting. If you don’t have guildies to run with, ask people around you. This might be the best time to make friends on your server.

One thing I’ve discovered as I started the new Island of Thunder is that there’s a lot of rare spawns that people camp. Because of the faction tagging aspect, this is a great opportunity to meet other people and do activities with others. There are some good rewards from this too so definitely try to get into a group and go after these rares.

Something I’ve discovered on my own is finding the new crafting recipes. Each crafter has a slight variant on the way they discover new stuff. Tailors have it the easiest since crafting Imperial Silk will allow you to discover new recipes. Leatherworkers can find recipes on mobs. In my case, I was able to discover both recipes. The tough thing for leatherworkers though is getting more materials to create the items in order to make those discoveries. Lastly, there’s blacksmithing. I think this part is going to be time dependent since it relies on a certain segment of the island to open up before you can get into the area which will provide the quest. Right now, on day, I’m not seeing a single plate item yet on the Auction House.

I still have to progress a little further to see how this patch goes. I’m hoping that the combination of increased droprates in LFR combined with other elements will really expedite the other aspects of the game which have been slow and painful thus far. My druid’s experience with LFR today was highly positive and gave me some hope and desire to push harder.

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World of Warcraft: Thoughts on Making Gold in Mist of Pandaria

There’s numerous guides on making gold in World of Warcraft, most of them involve heavy amounts of farming. While having gold in the game is critical to performance, I view it as a residual of what you do in the game as opposed to a focus. As a result, I tend to not be bothered by intentionally farming to make gold. That said, I’ve found gold to be something plentiful but I believe it’s the after effect of how I play.

My theory on making gold is simple: work on numerous alts. On my realm Saurfang, the Auction House tends to be overpriced compared to my old realm Ner’Zhul. When I discovered this aspect, I decided to work on numerous alts for professions. Eventually, I found myself with 10 85s, having every profession covered and then some which were redundant (like tailoring or gathering professions). By having numerous alts, I never found myself towards the end having to spend as much on the Auction House compared to when I started. For instance, bags were a huge issue to me when it came to starting out. Having accumulated a ton of cloth, I ended up hording it all and reserving it until my tailor was of sufficient level to hand off all that cloth to him.

By doing this, I managed to save a ton of money and utilize all the materials I would gather over time. Of course, I occasionally would hit the Auction House for the rare times when I lacked some materials. But  this was not a frequent case. Most times, I ended up having an excess of materials like cloth or greens. So I simply gave them all to my alts.

With regards to Mist of Pandaria though, the daily quest system has provided a mechanism for easy gold. Pretty much you’ll be doing dailies whether you want to or not (unless you’re a strict PVP type). The gold you receive from dailies will net you anywhere between 600-800 per day on a single toon. Eventually, you’ll find yourself with a fair amount of gold quite quickly just in grinding out faction reputation, charms and supplemental Valor Points.

Now, here’s where having tons of alts start to come into play. As you level your toons through Mist of Pandaria, the quests chains will provide a fair amount of gold. I think you can possibly receive up to 4-5k worth of gold by completing all the primary quests while leveling. If you had already maxed out your flying through the previous expansions on your alts, then the only thing you probably will buy is the 2500 gold Pandaria flying skill. That still will leave you with a reasonable amount of starting gold. Collectively then, if you level multiple toons, you will have a large pool of gold to share among your toons.

Next, as each toon breaks through the 90 level barrier, you’ll probably put them on the reputation and gearing track. It might seem boring initially, but having numerous alts doing dailies will increase that pool of gold quickly. You won’t be able to complete all dailies if you have 11 alts maxed out, but you should be able to do between 2-3/day to a reasonable degree.

My theory behind alts is pretty simple. The goal is to gear them enough to do things like LFRs. So I put them on “tracks”. That means, I’ll focus on a few toons for a bit. Once one toon is maxed out gear-wise, I’ll slow them down and eventually phase them out of my rotation. Eventually, they end up acting in a support role such as my paladin who has blacksmithing and mining. For him, I mostly am picking up ore to hand off to my alchemist for transmuting into Living Steel. Eventually, my alchemist returns the Living Steel to my paladin while he acquires Motes of Harmony. Eventually, he’ll use those components for creating epic armor for my warrior, death knight and potentially put back on the Auction House. Setting goals like this is critical since it’ll give you a road map for your toons and how far you’ll want to take them.

The other thing I do is attempt to have them employ the farm. Since cooking is quite easy to level these days, I feel that every toon should try to max out their primary attribute side of cooking. When you hit 86 or 87 and get your farm, you definitely should utilize that as much as possible. Even if you stop leveling a toon, I would suggest parking that toon at the farm so that you can easily plant crops every day. This is especially helpful once you start to hit the upper limits of cooking and need to push that extra few points out. Don’t bother spending money on the Auction House since it’s a waste of money. If you have a profession that isn’t dependent on things like Motes of Harmony, consider utilizing the farm for cooking components for your alts. Don’t forget that making gold sometimes is about not spending gold.

As you gather up materials from farming, especially in doing the dailies, consider setting up a pool for your farming residuals. Dedicate a bank alt (or toon with tons of bank space) to hosting your farming materials. Since the Auction House tends to overprice materials, use those excess materials for the purpose of selling them back. I’m not a big advocate of buying from the Auction House, but I’m certain that the Auction House will always be full of over priced materials. So take advantage on occasion when you see that you have excessive materials to make some easy coin.

Fishing also can be a great source of income within Mist of Pandaria. By having alts, you can level up your fishing skill as you discover ponds. I heavily suggest this. For instance, the Jade Lungfish are a pretty critical component and there’s a lot in the starting zone. Taking the opportunity to do some fishing while leveling can net you some good gold. On my server, the Jade Lungish are quite expensive and probably way overpriced. So I ended up selling mine for an easy 50 gold, which undercut my competition by a huge margin.

If you do this and manage to hit a reasonable amount of fishing skill, you can do the dailies for the Anglers. Two in particular are quite difficult for people with low fishing skills, but the effect of this is acquiring a lot of Golden Carp. With the new path of cooking, Golden Carp become a huge necessity. Don’t throw this away if you find yourself with an excessive amount. Either horde it for your alts or put it on the Auction House. Either way, you’ll save a ton of gold or make an extra buck or two using this method.

Lastly, do all the LFRs as much as you can. It might be disappointing to receive just gold especially when you’re searching for that critical piece of gear, but don’t give up on it. More importantly, do LFRs if you’re not a die hard raider but have managed to acquire all the gear for a toon. The Valor Points and gold still can add up for an activity you can pull off in a night’s worth of work. I think without rerolls, you can possibly earn 600-650 gold doing full clears of the current LFRs. That’s not too bad if you’re trying to save up Valor Points.

One thing I will admit is that gold is an investment in itself. Meaning that in order to make gold, you’ll have to spend gold. Certainly, you can find gold sinks like mounts or other vanity items, but gearing up quickly can be tough if you shy away from instances. But don’t be afraid to plunk down 10k for some high end gear if it helps you along the way. Gold in itself is useless without an output. Don’t just horde gold for the sake of having a lot. Use it to improve your toons when you have the opportunity. It’ll come back easily.