World of Warcraft: The Pros and Cons of Alt-A-Holicism

As someone who has played RPGs for a long time, I’m someone who enjoys trying out different classes to see the difference in game play. In World of Warcraft, they call my style of play Alt-A-Holicism. Maybe some people stigmatize the idea of playing numerous alts, but it has its share of benefits as well as problems. Having fully leveled and geared 10 different alts, I wanted to delve into this topic of Alt-A-Holicism in the context of World of Warcraft and split up the advantages and disadvantages.

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World of Warcraft: Random Thoughts, Stuff I’m Working On, etc.

This blog on World of Warcraft will be a hodge podge of random thoughts and things I’ve been working on recently. I’ll actually reverse the order and start with stuff I’ve been doing lately in the game. Although I started a small project for calculating the yield of farming enchants, I ended up being side tracked since I’ve been utterly focused on what I’m calling the “500 Club” or rather “getting my toons to a minimum of ilvl 500.” The thing I’ve discovered is that to really maximize each toon for a given week in terms of valor points and gear, you really require quite a bit of time. In my case, it takes roughly a day of dedicating myself to each toon. I’m not talking about a full 24 hours devoted to every little activity, but roughly a day of focus.

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World of Warcraft: New Farm Experiment with Enchanting Materials and Making Gold from It

I managed to finally raise 10 farms with maxed out plots. As a result, I decided to start a new experiment where I will be planting certain materials for a whole week, then calculating on a daily and weekly basis what the average yield is for that material. I’m certain there are other people who probably have done this, but I think having 10 maxed out farms done over a week period will provide a nice sample data size.

For this week, I will plant all enchanting materials. I already started from last night and did my first calculation for today. My numbers are going to be slightly skewed because I unfortunately had excess materials on one toon. So the overall numbers will be a little off for Spirit Dust. That said, my current tallies for dust and essence are 38.2 and 5.6 respectively.

Along with that I have decided to additionally convert all the materials into Ethereal Shards as these tend to be hard to come by and slowly convert all of this into Sha Crystals. Currently, from today’s yield, I managed to create 26 Ethereal Shards from all the materials. Considering that it takes 5 Ethereal Shards for a single Sha Crystal, that means that you probably can have 5 days worth of Sha Crystals. This number might turn out smaller in the long run because of the problem I explained earlier. In my case, I have two enchanters, who are maxed out, thus allowing me to produce 2 Sha Crystals every day. Either way, it might be that you just need to use 2 full days dedicated to enchanting materials for a single enchanter to have enough materials for your Sha Crystals every week. In my case, it looks as though I might need 4 full days to receive enough Sha Crystals, all based on pure farming.

Where is this leading? There are two elements that are very important to me in all of this. First, because of the rarity of Sha Crystals as well as top bracer and weapon enchants, I want to determine the level of effort to produce either of these. I believe that weapon enchants on my auction house go for roughly 4k gold and are pretty hard to come by. If that’s the case, then you can estimate on making 4k gold/week (given two enchanters) or 4k gold/10 days. I believe this entire process for getting all my farms prepared took about an hour. So in my case with 4 hours of dedicated farming time, I can ultimately produce 4k worth of gold just with enchanting.

Of course, that’s not the only aspect to making gold. But I want to focus on the numbers here to empirically determine how much gold you can make through enchanting in a near sure-fire manner using just your farm and possibly 10 maxed out farms with two enchanters.

World of Warcraft: The Beauty of Ten Farms

Over the past few days, I’ve been working intensely on maximizing my toons’ farms and utilizing them on a daily basis. At the moment, I have 8 maxed out farms with two more having 12 plots of land opened (as a result of having revered reputation). It’s a pain but in the long term well worth the effort as the yield of materials and potential for gold are where the real gains are.

Part of my master plan is focusing on my three tailors. Since I spent so much gold investing into each of my toons in trying to get them reasonably geared up and quickly doing LFR, I wanted to start making that money back. So quite often I’ve been using my farms to plant Windwool as the yield on Windwool is quite good and it gives me a usage for both Spirits of Harmony and the accumulation of Imperial Silk from the daily tailoring ability. In turn, since two of my toons have at least honored reputation with the Golden Lotus, I am able to craft the epic robes, which sell for a good 2k a piece. In short, every 6 days potentially I’m able to get 6k of gold almost guaranteed at the moment.

Also, on my Jewelrycrafter, I’m started to put effort into farming Motes of Harmony. Since I have four miners, I can grab ore pretty quickly and have off most of it to my Jewelrycrafter. In turn, my green gems can be converted into Primal Diamonds. These sell pretty nicely still at around 300 gold per. I’m certain I could take it a step further and just craft the more popular PVE helmet versions but the raw versions sell quite nicely.

For my blacksmith and leatherworker, again I’m working on Motes of Harmony. The one constant that I’ve noticed is that epics sell. So once your toons reach a reasonable level of gear where you can just focus on LFR, you probably are better off crafting epics for gold. A friend of mine is in the process of making the 502 epic weapon, which will sell for 30k. I’m going to try something similar on my blacksmith and that will certainly make up for all the gold I’ve dunked into the Auction House in the past few months. Likewise, my leatherworker has managed to accumulate a ton of hide but lacks the Spirits of Harmony to craft epics. So similarly, I’m going to put the farm to use just for Motes of Harmony.

Overall, the main goal at this stage is making back the gold I’ve spent as well as generate materials for things that I cannot grab easily through gathering professions. Some professions like enchanting are the best targets for farms simply because the high end enchants require way too many materials. As a result, only by pulling together the resources of your farms can you scrap up enough materials to do things like bracer and weapon enchants. I’ve found those enchants to be far more expensive and rare on the Auction House. So if you manage to get enough materials for your own toons and provide them with enchants, then the next target should be making money back on the Auction House in this manner. It’s a long term process but I think it’s worth it.

World of Warcraft: Easy Gold with Embersilk Bags

If you have a tailor who is level 90 and can do reasonable AoE farming, then this quick guide is for you. In Deepholm, there’s a section where you have numerous troggs engaged in a perpetual battle on the south western corner of the map. You can find anywhere between 4-10+ mobs gathered around. These mobs drop a fair amount of Embersilk cloth, which you can also use for improving your tailoring or selling straight out on the AH.

So the idea here is to nuke down these groups of mobs. I use a Mage and blast them with Arcane Explosion. They hardly do any damage to you and go down in a few well centered hits. With a reasonably sized group, you can find up to 10+ Embersilk pieces. Along with some greens.

If you have a tailor (and enchanter), you can farm this area for some time, disenchanting the greens then using the dust to create your Embersilk bags. I think these can go for around 200-400+ gold on the Auction House. Even without using the Auction House, these mobs still will drop a few pieces of gold and gray items that will net you some decent gold. I haven’t tested exactly how much gold you can make an hour just on the drops alone but it is a very nice source of money overall. Also, I haven’t really seen too many people farming in this region and the cluster of groups along with their low level make it far more efficient than slaying the ghosts in Tol Barad.

World of Warcraft: Some Cheap Tricks to Get Easy Stuff at Level 90

I consider myself a casual and lazy player. But not lazy as in “I just want to sit on my ass and be handed stuff while sleeping and eating pizza simultaneously.” Lazy as in “I want to play smart with doing minimal effort but maximizing what I can do with my time.” Sometimes, I feel that just banging your head needlessly against a boss or situation is not good use of your time. The whole idea of this post is how to play “smart lazy.”

Easy Key to the Palace of Lei Shen

The treasure room is one of my favorite areas since patch 5.2. Free gold and items. But how can you get a quick key? By far the easiest way to obtain a key is to find a rare mob on the Isle of Thunder. And the two easiest rares to locate are Goda and Lu-Ban. Goda is a turtle sitting in its shell inside a tree hollow close to the entrance of the palace of Lei Shen while Lu-Ban is a mogu type of humanoid forging items near one of the daily quest mini bosses. Because of their spawn points, you pretty much can check one or the other with relative ease. If one isn’t up, you can hop on over to check if the other one is up. There might be a few other rares that are simple to find, but these are pretty accessible.

Usually, once I find a rare, I’ll announce it in chat to try to get others to lend me a hand. Since these mobs can be looted by both alliance and horde, both can participate without worry of faction tagging. If you run multiple alts like myself, you can even just camp them. In my case, for my alts that haven’t completed the scenarios that unlock the entrance to the island (because my alts might be a little weak), I’ll have them camp right on the rocks near Goda. Then throughout the day, I’ll check up on them. Sometimes a chest spawns inside of the little tree hollow, which can also contain a Key to the Palace of Lei Shen.

Pet Battles for Lesser Charms of Good Fortune

Do you hate dailies but can’t figure out an easy method for Lesser Charms of Good Fortune? Do you want to pass time quickly and yet accomplish something? Are you sitting in an 20+ minute queue just reading trade chat in the Shrines? Well, you’re the primary target for Pet Battles!

Pet Battles have a chance to grant your level 90 Lesser Charms of Good Fortune, which these days can be pretty tedious to come by. If you’ve pretty much become sick of dailies and want a stress free method for getting these Charms, then Pet Battles are one of the easiest and fun ways to obtain them. The great thing about Pet Battles is that you can level up tons of pets, find new pets, especially rares and do it all over again. It might sound grindy, but it’s pretty easy.

For myself, I like building up a variety of pets so that I can plan to eventually handle most pet encounters. One of the better resources, I’ve found on the subject is from warcraftpets. Probably, the most handy resource from the site is their cheat sheet when it comes to the advantages/disadvantages of pets.

By having a variety of pets handy, you can ensure that you will have a constant stream of lesser tokens available as well as some other activity outside of grinding dailies. Also, try aiming for collecting rares while you’re at this. The idea again is a low stress activity to get a few low hanging fruit type of items while you’re waiting for something else.

Dailies for Easy Gold, Valor and Lesser Charms of Good Fortune

If you aren’t too burnt out from dailies, then they are probably the best method for earning gold in the game. Even if you have maximized your reputation, you can look at dailies as ways to earn gold, valor points and lesser charms. In the case of the Sunreavers, Golden Lotus and Tillers, you can get a few more rewards from completing your dailies. The trick is determining which dailies to do and which ones to avoid.

For instance, there’s a Tillers daily that requires you to speak with four people in town which takes approximately a minute. At most, you’ll have to burn 2 gold in return for roughly 18 gold (after the transaction). How much easier can that get? Imagine if you have 10-11 level 90 alts all parked at the farm. That’s a little over 180 gold just for talking to people for roughly 10 minutes!

The main thing for me is focusing on easy daily hubs that take little time but give a decent amount of rewards for your effort. The ones that fit this criteria are the Tillers (most of them), August Celestials (especially the ones at the Jade Temple and the Temple of the White Tiger), the Anglers and the Order of the Cloud Serpent. I find that you can do each of these hubs in roughly 10-20 minutes max. The others like the Golden Lotus, Klaxxi, Shado-Pan, Isle of Thunder and Dominance Offensive really depend on what the quest of the day is. Isle of Thunder, in my opinion, is mostly a waste of time because the work-to-reward ratio is horrible. Half of the Golden Lotus dailies are pretty much garbage and wastes of time. The first part is worth doing but the follow ups can either be frustratingly bad (like the little village) or pretty easy (such as the lake). Dominance Offensive are 75% decent and only the cave is practically useless. Finally, the Shado Pan is at most worthless except maybe 1 or 2. But most are pretty bad and a horrible waste of time.

That said, you still can earn around 800-1000+ gold/day for maximizing all of this. But if you have a good route that eliminates the time wasting ones, you probably can still get anywhere between 400-500 gold/day for an hour or two worth’s of work (with the most time consuming issue being the flight travel). That’s not that bad, especially if you’re having gold issues. And this is all guaranteed gold beyond the Charms and Valor rewards.

Maximizing Your Farm

I’m on my 8th alt with a maxed out farm. If I manage to gear up my guys and have more time, I would probably spend most of my time focused on the farm and maybe some dailies for gold. But once you have maxed out your farm on several level 90 toons, you can easily become an industrial powerhouse. Some things you can do are:

  • Planting all herb farms and focusing on obtaining golden lotus. I haven’t really checked golden lotus cost on the AH, but I found that even with one toon dedicating their farm to herbs, I’ll get around 5-6 golden lotus. So imagine having 8-10 toons just with all herbs. You can then do things like focusing on transmutation for all your green gems then selling that on the AH. Or even just selling the Golden Lotus on your AH straight out. But I wouldn’t use the herbs for inscription. If you have a druid, you’re far better off just running around the Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds finding herbs.
  • Planting all enchanting materials. This would probably be my #1 focus down the road. If you have an enchanter with the weapons and bracer enchants, you will realize just how much money you can make selling those on the AH. The problem is that coming up with enough materials (most notably Sha Crystals) can be a very difficult task. So the only way to compensate is through dedicating as much materials to hand off to your enchanter so that they can upgrade the materials back into Sha Crystals. If you have a lot of toons, you should be able to get enough materials for this purpose.
  • Planting all leather crafting materials. I really wouldn’t go this far. You really just need one dedicated resource if you have a leatherworker and you no longer are killing mobs and skinning them. Generally, I find that one farm provides enough materials to allow my leatherworker to do his daily. My suggestion as a strategy for a leatherworker is to focus on Spirits of Harmony and having a separate toon be dedicated for a leather crafting materials farm. That way, you can craft epics then sell them on the AH.
  • Planting ore crafting materials. This is something I wouldn’t do and I think it’s a complete waste of a farm. Valley of the Four Winds and Townlong Steppes provide a lot of mining spots. If you do have a blacksmith, you’re better off setting him up with Spirits of Harmony and mining.
  • Planting Windwool. I think just one farm is more than enough. You won’t need Spirits of Harmony for the most part since Imperial Silk is sufficient. You mostly just want to have enough materials to craft your daily. So this isn’t a good one to mass produce.
  • Banquet materials. This would be great for leveling up your cooking but beyond that, your only bet is to sell off excess materials on the AH. But I feel you’re far better off using your farm once your cooking is maxed out for other crafting materials.

My overall ideas here are to maximize on your toons proficiencies and future profits by getting enough materials to craft and produce anything you want. From there you can try selling the materials and/or crafted goods for a nice chunk of change.

Easy(ier) Sha Crystals

If you do not have the luxury of numerous alts who have maxed out farms and can help dedicate enchanting materials to your enchanter, then you can still obtain Sha Crystals through running older LFRs. Let’s say you have a fairly geared up toon with enchanting and you’re trying to get more gear from Throne of Thunder. Doing older LFRs will allow you to get more Valor Points, some gold and potentially help garner you epics. Now, although I do think that the drop rates get reduced for people who have decent gear, you still have the possibility of using Elder Charms of Good Fortune. So that makes getting the Key to the Palace of Lei Shen still relevant. From there, you can just reroll on each boss and use the epic you find for Sha Crystals.

At any rate, you might be asking yourself, “Hey none of this sounds particularly easy!” Yes, it does involve some degree of labor and time. But you can’t just sit around Orgrimmar waiting for things to drop in your lap. The vast majority of things that I’m proposing here is how to streamline your game play a little easier and hopefully drop some hints on ways to get items in a guaranteed manner once you hit 90 and possibly have numerous alts. BTW the pay off ultimately is pretty big so give it a shot.

World of Warcraft: Are Fishing and Cooking Worth Taking?

Up until Mist of Pandaria, the fishing and cooking professions were some of the most heinous professions to level. Fishing was simply boring as you took ages just grinding through zones until eventually you couldn’t push any farther. Cooking really only saw benefits for raiding but the rest of cooking practically was useless, unless you enjoyed achievements. Worse yet, cooking was painful in that if you didn’t bother leveling up cooking as you leveled, you pretty much was forced to return to older zones to grind out the ingredients just to get a few more skill points. Otherwise, more than likely you would have to spend a ridiculous amount of gold on materials as people just had little patience trying to get the materials themselves.

Mist of Pandaria though made cooking actually useful, injecting all types of buffs with the food you create. Leveling cooking up until 525 is extremely easy as you can get all the materials from the trainer. All you require is gold (around 340) and 42 Golden Carp. As you level, you probably will acquire many of the ingredients from slaying beasts around the land. The hardest thing initially will be having the vegetables for the Pandaren recipes once you hit 525 in cooking and then the fishing ingredients.

To me leveling cooking and fishing pretty much go hand in hand these days. One of the nice things they added a few patches ago was a quest giver near the Halfhill Village who provides fishing training. You just have to get a few Golden Carp from the neighboring river and you’ll be on your way. But rather than forcing you to level all the way to 525 before seeing Golden Carp, you now will start seeing Golden Carp as a kind of “trash fish”. This is far better than just discovering worthless grays as in the past and Golden Carp still can fetch some easy gold on the Auction House.

So I feel that with the ease of leveling both skills, it’s pretty much worth investing the time as you quest and level up to also delve into both. I feel that you probably should grab fishing (if you don’t have it) prior to entering Pandaria. That way as you level through the Jade Forest and other zones, you can take the time to grab the occasional fish you might spot from the random ponds. Also, because there are three dailies at 90 which gives 3 skill points for turning them in (along with some gold and valor points), you have even more ways of leveling fishing than before.

Pretty much what I do is seek ponds as I level and save any excess fish, even if the core stat from a cooking type isn’t really relevant for my class. That way, if I’m a bit low on fish ingredients while I level on a single toon, I might have extra materials on my other toons. Also, I try to save meats I find from beasts just in case someone might need an excess. A lot of meats that you gather might seem useless and a waste of bag space, but they’ll come in handy once you hit higher levels of cooking.

Also with regards to fishing, I enjoy leveling it while I’m waiting for a queue. If you get burned out on dailies, fishing offers a relaxing and lucrative opportunity to be productive. Pop on some tunes, check out online videos or other sites and you’ll find fishing to be worth it in the end.

World of Warcraft: To Disenchant or Not While Leveling in Mist of Pandaria

Enchanting traditionally has been one of the hardest and most costly professions to level. One of the most popular things to do is combine tailoring with enchanting, thus allowing you to disenchant the items you create through tailoring with your enchanting skills. This works well while you level. However, you can also use your questing items to create materials for enchanting, but you’ll find yourself short on gold in the long run.

When you get to Mist of Pandaria, your questing items will give you quite a bit of gold on top of the regular gold rewards. Yet unlike previous expansions, there’s a guaranteed method for getting enchanting materials in Mist of Pandaria: your farm. So while it’s tempting to use your questing rewards for helping your enchanting, you really are far better off just waiting a little bit and making gold from any gear you acquire along the way. That isn’t to say this is 100% necessary but I would try to make as much gold so you can afford Pandaria flying.

Obviously, this is all discretionary. You can try just using gear you craft (if you go the tailoring/enchanting route) for your base materials until you get your farm. And naturally the amount of materials required for leveling up enchanting at a reasonable rate will still take a fair amount of time, something that just using the farm alone may prove unsatisfactory. However, it is a distinct possibility to give you a bit of a hand, especially if you’ve been struggling with making gold with these two professions.

Another thing you could do if you have multiple 90 alts is just collectively use all your farms to create those materials for your enchanter. Right now as I level my mage, I’m thinking at the possibilities of having 8 90s in the near future with full farms being able to mass produce any type of material for whatever profession I choose to work on. It’s a great idea that I’m looking forward to once I finish this alt off.

World of Warcraft: Easy Gold Making For Levels 80-85

Unless you quests heavily and/or do a fair amount of gathering as you level, you might find yourself lacking gold at lower levels. Once you hit 80, you probably want to get Artisan Flying and start thinking about Master Riding. But unless you have gold lying around from alts, you’ll probably be far off from the 4-5k gold for making the purchase. So how can you build up some gold early on?

One of the best ways I’ve discovered is to do some Outland instances. Places like the Blood Furnace, Hellfire Ramparts, Mana Tombs and even Shadow Labyrinth can be decent places for making around 100g/run. As an 80, you should be able to handle most of these (although Shadow Labyrinth might pose a slight risk depending on your gear). I tend to do Hellfire Ramparts and Mana Tombs as they aren’t too difficult. Hellfire Ramparts are great because it still drops Runecloth, which can fetch a decent price on the Auction House. Most of the money is made through the drops in these instances and selling them directly.  In that sense, the gold is fairly reliable.

Once you hit 85, you can run Halls of Lightning which nets around 100g/run. But the great thing is the decent drop rate of Glyph of Mastery. Also, these places drop Frostweave, which still can fetch a decent price on the Auction House. Lastly, you could farm the area in Icecrown where the groups of mobs drop Frostweave.

Overall, I tend to prefer questing to make gold as I level up. If you instance grind while leveling, you can still make gold but not nearly as much as questing at least in my experience. Both the quest rewards and drops from mobs tend to provide better gold. Yet if you want some quick gold at this point, running those instances mentioned here will go fairly quickly.