There is an art in avoiding detection. The classes that are obviously best at slipping under the proverbial radar are Druids and Rogues, using their stealthy ways. However, there are things any player can do to decrease chances of detection. (Pictured right, how not to do it.)
Shorten your Character name
If you turn off your title (and for preference, have a short name to begin with) you will be harder to spot from a distance. There’s only so far that nameplates above heads work, and names tend to pixellate at a distance – for example a short name like Seia could easily be barely visible at a distance, where as something like Abacadabacus, Champion of the Frozen Wastes is the PvP equivalent of a ‘shoot me now’ sign.
Hide behind things
One of the wonders of Warcraft is its camera system. Unlike a whole host of other games I could mention, (although admittedly not many MMOs, but my point still stands) WoW is not limited to first person perspective. Therefore there is no visual impairment if you hide in a bush, or out of line of sight behind a pillar, box or tree stump. You will be untargetable, easy to miss and best of all you can easily rotate your camera to still get a full eyeful of what’s going on. Mastery of this is essential for drinking in Arena Matches, by the way.
Take a non-obvious path
If given the chance, avoid people when carrying something valuable like a Flag. There are routes in a BG that people simply don’t bother guarding, patrolling, or even checking. Of course, they aren’t a guaranteed win, there are always those that buck the trend and camp the unlikely spots, but you can generally find one or two obscure paths in a BG that you can merrily trot up and down in several times before people catch on. This is mostly because A) It’s too far away for the enemy and his group, and they can’t be bothered, B) They didn’t spot you (thanks to the obscure nature of the path) or best of all C) They don’t even know the path exists and won’t be expecting you to take it. People in the C category tend to stand at the tunnel mouth in Warsong Gulch and shout rude words when they realised the flag carrier ‘got past them somehow.’ Here’s a quick guide to the paths a flag carrier could take in WSG, enough to flummox even the brightest of Blood Elves.
I recommend the Blue path. I’m also not liable if this gets you killed; but feel free to write and tell me if it does.
Don’t stick out like a Tauren at a Gnomish Tea Party
There’s a certain kind of moronic behaviour that might not seem moronic from the perspective of the moron. That is to say: Blithely announcing your presence to all and sundry. Here is my list of offending behaviours, in order of how hard your team-mates should hit you if you’re caught doing it.
- /Yelling anything. Outside or inside an enemy city, out in the open, whatever. You’ve just notified most of the zone that you are in the area looking for trouble, and in a city raid, that can be the difference between success and failure.
- AFKing randomly. You may have picked up this anti-AFK whilst PvPing vibe in my previous posts; let me re-instate it. An AFK target with PvP on is a sitting duck. Even decent players are tempted to descend upon an AFK enemy, blades whirling and spells a flying. There’s something about those 3 letters that brings out the worst in most people.*
- Remember my handy box grid on what types of player there are? Don’t be a blue. Anyone half decent will spot you a mile off and head for you like a moth to a candlelight.
- No massive mounts. Nothing is easier to click on than a Tauren riding a Mammoth with Bloodlust, conversely nothing is harder to target than a Gnome on a Mechano-strider with Noggenfogger shrinker on.
That’s about it really. If you’re wondering where the title of this post came from, why it sounded familiar, or simply want to see that famous Monty Python Sketch again, the link is here. Warning: Contains Dark British Humor. Those of a sensitive disposition should return to whining on the forums about Varian Wrynn’s Haircut.
*I’m aware that it’s technically now <Away> rather than <AFK.> However, technically be damned, if you’re AFK you’re AFK.
Hey folks! With the release of Operation: Gnomeregan a few days ago, I thought I’d cover it as a video post! This has to be one of the most fun in-game random events that Blizzard has included so far. I did film all this on the day but the laws of sod mean that I’ve had to battle Youtube for two days to get this uploaded, and eventually had to settle for a video in two parts. I hope you enjoy it!
Remember a few weeks ago I saw the first announcements of a Lion Guild mount for the Alliance? I made a post about what I predicted they would do. And oh boy, did I call it! Here is a paraphrased version of the main points I made in that post.
Blizzard don’t tend to make new internal Skeletons for creatures if they can avoid it… there is already the generic ‘Cat’ skeleton ingame. It’s used for everything from Prowlers in the Barrens to Druid Cat form to the Night Elves racial mount. Different skins, same animated skeleton. We can assume they will do the same for Lions.… I assume they will be keeping some form of armour plating, and of course, the model will be done much higher polygon than my example…… Blizzard designs Lion mount in a Sandy Yellow colour as most Lions are, and gives it armour etc. It also has a blank zone across its back, in the same way a Guild Tabard is blank if you are unguilded, that will autofill with your guild logo when you ride it, like so:
And low and behold, Blizzard’s Version:I was right on nearly every count. They’ve bound it to the old cat animation skeleton, but made a brand new skin. They’ve given it armor plating, like I expected. There’s a blank zone down the side which Wowhead tells us is where a Guild crest will go. For the record, I’m not too keen on this model. It’s growing on me a little, but I would have preferred them to go the extra mile and make the whole thing change colour. Ah well. You can check out the 3D model here at Wowhead.
I called it!
This is a shared topic from Blog Azeroth started by Feraltree. The theme is this: What items or mementos have you kept (in your toon’s pack or bank) and why? Whether it be keepsakes, quest rewards, special items, random drops, whatever! – why did you decide to hang on to it? What’s its significance to you?
Seeing as how I enjoyed writing from an RP perspective last time I did a shared topic, I’ll do it again today!
I had decided enough was enough. Ever since I had befriended an Argent Squire at the grand tournament, I’d been depositing all manner of rubbish in my Dalaran Bank account. I knew they kept the whole thing under wraps with compression spells and so on, but there really was no need for half the detritus that was gathered there. I hadn’t even checked it for months!
I strolled up the steps and into the Merchant’s Bank. Whilst not technically being a Merchant myself, my acts of heroism in the months past were more than enough for Rhonin to have offered myself and my companions total access to the more valuable of Dalaran’s resources. I had arrived here in the early morning, and the Tellers were just putting up the defensive spells round their stalls. There were barely any customers; a lone Dwarf sat on a bench reading notes on compound Gold interest through perched spectacles, and a willowy Human girl was arguing with Teller Gee about how many vials of poison it was legal to hold. I approached young Teller Almeida on the far left, who had always dealt with my business before.
Almeida twirled his pony-tail distractedly.
‘Good morning Sir. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I’m going to have to ask for some ID.’
‘I’ve never been asked for ID before!’
‘Kirin Tor policy now, Sir. There was a spate of robberies a few days ago. Apparently the Alchemists have cooked up a new batch of potions that will make you look like someone else, and of course that went straight to the Black Market…’
I groaned and nodded.
‘Ok, what do you need?’
It turned out to be relatively simple. I signed my name several times across various bits of parchment, the last of which glowed as I took my quill off the page. Almeida waved his hand over them and they bundled into a scroll, a red ribbon materialising and fastening round them. He placed the scroll on a pile of similar looking ones behind him, and opened the door at the side of his stall. He led me through a side door and down the dark steps, where a long passage faded into the darkness. We strolled along it in silence, passing door after door. Finally we reached number 42, my own personal vault. A clever function of the door was it required two keys, one held by the Tellers and one by the customer. We inserted these now, and the doors swung inwards. My jaw dropped.
The detritus of years was cluttered around the room. Paintings, busts, books, magical artifacts, all awash in a sea of gold. I had a vast fortune at my disposal, but it wasn’t really stored neatly. Almeida waited patiently by the door whilst I picked a few things out of the spill. A sheet of skin from a Black Dragon, a box of Holy Dust incase I ever needed to do deals with the Aldor again, a box of smiling grenades with the words ‘Party time!’ on the front, and towards the back, piles and piles of weaponry and gear I no longer wore but kept for sentimental reasons. I had been wearing that helmet when the Betrayer had fallen, or this Axe that I won after a season’s arena. Caught between two tabards was a Piccolo, magically enchanted to force nearby people to dance. It had seemed hilarious then; it seemed rather foolish now. An Argent Crusader’s Banner leaned against the wall, with a few moth bites out of it. And… oh! I hurried forwards, dropping everything else, and clambered over the piles of gold. I had spotted something on a high shelf.
The Happy Fun Rock! I stooped and picked it up. So many memories. Admittedly, most of these involved throwing it back and forth between various friends, but it was a gateway item. Through it, I remembered companions, both current and past, loved and lost. Tears filled my eyes. So many lost. One of the penalties of leading such a long life as a Draenei: you gather things. Memories, items, friendships and losses. I patted the rock, who’s scratched in smiling face was worn and faded now, and placed the it reverentially back on the shelf. I looked around, shaking my head, and backed out of the room.
‘Keep the lot’ I said, heaving a sigh as I strolled away. ‘Memories like that are too precious to throw away.’
It’d be really interesting if we could find out some numbers about Gold intake to individual players. It’d be fascinating, for example, to know just how much of the server posts things on the Auction House to great profit, and just how many folk buy all they need off it. I have a feeling the number of people buying things is more than double the number of posters and profiteers. It’d be fascinating data to see just how many people believe grinding can yield more gold than playing the auction house, and pour all their time into that instead. The list goes on.
If I had to guess an ‘Average Joe 80’s Income’ numbers, I’d put it something like this.
- Cash reward from Daily Quests, vendoring Gray drops/ Greens from Dailies or other sources.
- Profit through the LFG tool – the money for doing a run, the items that drop that can be vendored. It makes up more than you’d think.
- Auctioning, posting things like Dream Shards and other enchanting mats, and a few easy to craft things from their professions.
- Farmed materials such as Ores, Herbs or Enchanting mats, sold onto either a friend, Gbank, or Auction House.
- Zomg an epic dropped! Free Auction House money!
- Tips from things like Mage Portals, Warlock summons, boosts or crafting tips.
This may seem like me being a little harsh on the Average Joe 80, but the majority of my friends do not do sensible auctioning. The majority of my friends are comfortable sitting with a Pie chart like the one above. When at a stretch for money, they will go farm and sell mats cheap and fast. A lot of them claim the Auction house is unfathomable, which in reality it’s not. I shouldn’t, but I find the suggestion mildly irritating. It’s like everything else in the game, if you bothered to check the Internet for five minutes, the answers are all there in large, friendly letters.*1 (Hell, I write a lot of Guides myself for just the kind of intrepid but un-knowledgeable WoWer. That’s my kind of audience.) I’m not going to offer gold making tips. Heaven knows there’s thousands of them around, each with their own charms and so on. I’m more interested in the motivation. Whilst I can’t understand people who believe the Auction House is some unfathomable stock-market matrix and deny it a chance even though they have the time to use it, I can fully understand the people who don’t do it because they don’t have the time, or they simply don’t care about making money.
There’s plenty of people who play this game just for the fun of it, but even fun playing comes with its costs. Most day to day activities ingame run the risk of dying, so you will generate repair bills. Most classes use reagents to buff others; if you intend on doing anything with groups of other people, you need lots of these. You might need to enchant or gem a latest bit of gear to your satisfaction. Whatever the requirement, everyone uses Gold. Therefore Blizzard have implemented ways to make money, completely separately from the Auction House. Here are a few I can think of:
- Quests, once you hit 80. All quests that previously offer experience offer a proportional amount of Gold. This means the best profit is to be found in zones like Icecrown and Storm peakes, working backwards until you get back to Outland quests for a few gold each, and then to old world for pennies.
- Daily Quests. They reset every day and offer about 13g per quest. There are random ones connected to the different factions all over Northrend, but the most popular, easy and profitable are the Argent Tournament quests in Icecrown.
- Vendoring Junk. Why do you think Blizzard puts Gray items on things? Is it to create a sense of gritty realism, when the loot table for the bear you just killed contains a chipped bear claw? Well partially, but the main reason is is these sell for a surprising amount to vendors. Loot all the gray items from one dungeon run, chances are there’s 10g just waiting for you. It all adds up.
- Vendoring unwanted Quest items. Although Enchanting is a popular profession, it’s not everyones cup of Tea. Therefore, unwanted Soulbound items may as well be vendored. Most green items these days fetch anywhere between 2g and 20g.
- Sidestepping the need to actually purchase upgrades by farming the materials and making them yourself. I know this isn’t strictly speaking a money making method, but it is how Blizzard intended things to be done, and it’s always more satisfying to have a bit of gear with your name in the toolip instead of ‘Crafted by Loopyxmage.’
- Helping people. Don’t rely on this as a way of making cash, as the majority of players I’ve come across have been tight-fisted misers who don’t give you anything more than a ‘ty’ for your services. But this isn’t always the case. Making Portals to places, Summoning people, giving people lifts on Multipassenger mounts, Boosting, crafting Items, helping someone on a difficult quest. Whilst all these things could potentially be done from the goodness of one’s heart, they are sometimes rewarded, and generously. Blackmail also works.
Although Dailies are a very popular way of earning money, most players find them onerous and dull after a few days, despite Blizzard’s efforts to spice things up. (They made an effort with the Argent tournament to keep the dailies random, a different selection every day. The only thing this did was make players dread getting certain ones, and the less forgiving types to have less profit that day because they refuse to do that quest.) I think Blizzard is missing some Mini Game potential.
I’m a fan of Mini Games. I play some console games in-between my Warcraft time, and I absolutely love the LEGO series. The charm of those games is undeniable, and the puzzles are fun, interesting and above all rewarding. Warcraft has great potential for this. I expected to see minigames coming in Wrath, after my Hunter spent a few weeks with the charming Ogres over at Ogri’la in Blades Edge mountains. They had a quest where you had to stand near a crystal and follow a memory pattern (it does a blue light, you hit the blue switch. It does yellow blue yellow, then you hit yellow blue yellow.) A nice deviation from the daily grind though this was, memory games are about the worst minigame imaginable (at least, from my perspective. I can’t hold things in my head short term and had to boot up a text-edit document to jot down the longer colour combinations in.) There was some attempt at this in the Northrend dailies, for example there’s a fun quest in Jotunheim in southwestern Icecrown that involves taking a turret and shooting down 10 flying Vrykuls. But there could be so much more.
How about this? Make some Ring of Blood kind of arena. Make the entrance to it a phased area, so you were in your own unique phase. (Alternatively, own unique instance.) Have three gates along one wall, and three obvious paths on the floor to the opposite wall. Warcraft has always been slightly grim, so lets just say at the other end of each of these paths, there’s 3 prisoners of your faction side chained up. The gates will open up on the other side, and Scourge will come out of the gates slowly. They will not attack you at all, just move slowly down the path. There can be different kinds of them with different levels of health or speed, and you have to use all your powers to stop them reaching the prisoners at the other side of the room. After 5 minutes of doing this, one massive abomination comes slowly down, covering all three paths.*2 To make it fair across the classes, all characters are given some items to use, like a targetted bomb that has a frost nova effect and a 30 second cooldown, and so on. Whilst the mobs don’t have loot tables, you could have a fixed reward of say 50g at the end of it, with a 10g penalty if you lose a prisoner. If you’ve done the first level 5 times, then you have the option to put it on heroic mode, with double the health and a longer cooldown on your items, but much greater rewards afterwards. Maybe mob health increases with your gear, as does the reward. I feel this would be a step into something new and interesting.
I’m mainly suggestion things like this because people need ways to make money that don’t put them off the game. The amount of times I read ‘oh god not argent tourney again, ****ing hell,’ or ‘I don’t wanna do dailies but I want the rep with Gnomeragan so I guess I just gotta bite the bullet.’ Technically that second one is straying away from the point as that refers to rep reasons than gold reasons, but it’s along the same lines. (Incidentaly, I’d kill for some dailies for Silverwing Sentinels. 35 Rep a Flag is just traumatic.) These things need to be more fun! Any suggestions?
*1 Just in case you were wondering, people who ask questions in Trade annoy me too. Like you’re going to get a sensible answer out of Trade, and you could have typed out exactly the same question into a search engine.
*2 Yes, this is heavily influenced by Plants VS Zombies. I realised as I was writing it. I blame Riccah.
Gear identifies us. I’ve spoken before about how the many different tier sets look far better when combined. They create the overall intended look, the look that some concept designer came up with a few years before the set was implemented in-game most likely. I can imagine a busy office with a filing cabinet (or most likely these days, computer) with all the concept art stored in different folders pertaining to classes. Or maybe they design them relative to the content (more obvious evidence of this method in ToC and ICC, less so in Ulduar and Naxx). Whatever they do, they always have a complete look in mind.
Trouble is, the complete look is often rather over-done. It’s something we as WoW players get used to over time, often whilst leveling. We start out with dirty rags as Horde or plain coloured clothes as Alliance, and slowly quest our way into Battered Chain Leggings and Worn Robes. Around level 20, you pick up your first shoulder slot items (for a lot of people, this is either the White quality Tailoring shoulders, which are nothing more than a pair of small grey ashtrays, or the Hillman’s Shoulders from Leatherworking, which look better but are still nothing but flat curves.) As we level, we start to pick up a more fantasy look – Helms with Horns, shoulders with spikes and ornamentation, metallic gloves that reach from our shoulders to our fingertips, etc. When the character hits Outland, they undergo a heavy bout of OCS, as I mentioned before. The gear goes wildly flamboyant in terms of colours and curving shapes. But whilst the colours are a bit of a shock to the eye, the overall look is expected by then.
Where it really goes crazy can really be pinned on any of the 3 major endgame raiding waves; 60, 70 and 80. Each time these places had gear sets designed for them, going for an overall look instead of a mish-mash. Since most people will relate to it, I’ll talk about the sets at level 80.
Lets have a look at Paladin T8. Wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I liked it. It has this very definite Robot Forge thing going on, like a cross between Ignis and XT themselves. It barely changed from concept to delivery. If you would kindly ignore the feet on the picture on the left (because the set did have feet to it, for some reason they didn’t render when I took that picture and I can’t be arsed to redo it again. I’ve already redone it once because I realised I’d rendered it on a Goblin by accident) you will notice the only bit of flesh showing is a near letterbox amount of flesh for the eyes to peep through. This makes sense, obviously, a Paladin needs to see what he’s running away from. Ah, but that raises a better question – how the fudge does one run, not just in a skirt, but in a skirt made of overlapping sheets of metal? With glowy lights and runes on it? Any Human would have bruised knees after a few minutes, and even the toughest Draenei would be sporting some serious injuries after one battleground. That’s assuming both races would be able to lift the thing at all…
But hang the physics of it out to dry. This is a game where people throw fire, raise people from the dead, and roll Rogues. It doesn’t have to make sense. It probably has a weightless charm on it. Hell, that probably comes free with half the plate gear out there. They probably have a 2-for-1 deal when you enchant your chest with plus 10 stats that it’ll also become lighter than the shirt you have on underneath it (just be sure to put something heavy on it when you’re not wearing it.)
The overall point it, that is a very, very, very covering set of gear. Putting aside the fact that without magic it would be almost impossible to move in, this gear set is a perfect example of ‘where do you draw the line before trying to consume the player totally by his gear to make him look like something else.’ This gear set is just about as far as you can stretch this idea of ‘This is a man in a lot of heavy armour’ before you stray into the territory of ‘Who let that mob in here.’
Lets face it, the gear may look powerful and interesting, but do we really need it that smothering? Recently in the Cataclysm Beta Files, they have uncovered a new bunch of gear models for the four armour types. I’d bet a reasonable amount of gold that these will be the models used in some way in the 80-85 areas, whether as the standard look for the quest rewards (like Northrend had the Viking look for the plate that was recoloured and used eveywhere) or the models for the dungeon gear of those levels. Whatever it will end up being, here’s a preview of the plate one:
This is by no means as heavy duty as the last thing we looked at. You can see his neck, most of his chest and his forearms. It’s got a bit of a Roman Gladiator look going on, which I kind of like. Some people have said this gear looks way too simple for WoW, I say it’s about time we got a bit of sensible gear.
Most ironically, it looks much less revealing on the female models. You may have come here today to read this post expecting a whine on how the female gear is less than decent. I’ve done that before, and it’s old hat. I’m just talking generally now. If an actual melee class can be wearing gear like the example on the right, then heck, you could probably get away with sleeveless T-shirt and shorts for any of the casters. It would certainly be in line with Blizzard’s general aesthetic of ‘at least make it a little skimpier for the girls?’ Amusingly enough, preview that exact same set on a female model. It’s up on the Wowhead blog. It’s completely covering everything but the face and neck on a female. What people will make of that, I don’t know. Maybe they just wanted to go against the flow for once.
I wouldn’t mind seeing more gear like this, especially for healers and casters. It’d be a nice challenge for Blizzard to come up with a Tier set that looked good without covering the entire model, and that goes for both genders. How about straying away from this ‘All casters MUST BE WEARING ROBES’ idea that you tried for Mage T8? Every set piece comes with Trousers too (something has to go in that slot) and yet half the classes don’t ever see them because they move from one robe to the next. Do gloves really have to go from fingers to shoulder, or wouldn’t fingerless gloves with knuckle-dusters suit a Rogue more? Does a helmet you can barely see out of make sense for a Priest, who outside of PvP would be doing nothing more offensive than standing at the back, healing things and filing their nails? Would the world really fall to pieces if Paladin healers looked a little less like their melee counterparts? Apparently so:
Those are the recently uncovered concept art designs for Warrior and Hunter t11. Cool, indeed, but very very heavy duty. Ah well. Maybe I’ll raid in my Roman levelling gear come Cataclysm.
Welcome to the seventh instalment of my 10 part series on how to best prepare for levelling a new character of a given class. This time we look at the high-level starting, former agents of the scourge, Death-Knights! This guide will cover levelling specs, heirlooms and professions. It also assumes you have access to a level 80 character and a reasonable amount of gold.
Understanding a Death Knight
What I’m going to suggest here isn’t really in line with the rest of the guides. However, Death Knights are not in line with the rest of the classes (in that they have three definitely defined trees that you could clearly cut roles for. Just because the majority does things one way doesn’t make the definite way.) So I’m going to suggest levelling as the self-regenerating Blood spec, whether you wish to Tank or DPS. Death Knights use long-cooldown Runes to deal melee damage; this generates them Runic power which can be used for a few offensive, but mostly utility, moves. You would be well advised to use a spec and glyph set up like this:
You should fill up the Blood tree before moving on to Frost or Unholy. There are many different variations on all Death Knight specs, but that is a very solid Blood spec that will do you for just about anything – damaging, soloing, tanking. Whilst soloing, you should be in Blood Presence, for the extra damage and health regenerated. This spec gives you plenty of cooldowns (Rune tap, Mark of Blood, Vampiric Blood) to save yourself, cooldowns for damage (Dancing Rune weapon) and buffs abilities that will help you solo (Improved Death Strike means you can use that ability in place of Obliterate in your soloing/DPSing rotation and heal yourself for a lot.) Your basic rotations should look something like this:
DPS: Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Heart Strike x2, Obliterate, spam Death Coil
Tanking: Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Heart Strike x2, Death Strike, spam Death Coil
AoE: Death and Decay, Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Pestilence, Blood Boil (Then back to normal rotation)
That’s roughly it. Death and Decay is a targeted area AoE. Pestilence spreads your diseases around, causing them to damage everything nearby and place full duration diseases on them. Blood Boil gives AoE damage for all Diseases up. Death Knights really are quite hard to get wrong! You want to maintain Horn of Winter at all times – it’s a very good buff. Blood Presence is the optimal soloing spec, and DPSing instances spec. Do not use Frost presence for DPS, you will be pulling insane amounts of threat. Visa versa, if you’ve signed up as tank, don’t think the extra damage and healing from Blood Presence will carry you through, mobs will get off you. If all of your other cooldowns have been used and you’re still in danger, pop Raise dead (you should have the glyph to make it free) and sacrifice him using Death Pact, restoring 40% of your health.
Weapon: Bloodied Arcanite Reaper Enchanted with Crusader
Shoulders: Polished Spaulders of Valor
Chest: Polished Breastplate of Valor Enchanted with Enchant Chest – Greater Stats
Trinket: Swift Hand of Justice x2
The enchants are not vital, the main part you need is the Shoulders and the Chest for the experience bonus. The other items are just for optimum speed and levelling. You want to be looking out for preferably plate Gear with the following stats on it: Strength, Crit, Attack power, Stamina or Agility.
Professions for Blood
The main recommended profession for Death Knights is Blacksmithing – you will be able to craft lots of gear for yourself to wear, all the way from 1-80, and in Northrend levels you will be able to add sockets to your gear for extra gemming, giving you more of the stats you desire. Recommended Secondary profession can be Mining to support it, or Enchanting for the extra Attack power in Northrend, but that one is more up to you.
So there you have it! I hope this guide is highly useful to you. Watch this space for the next class to be covered, and happy levelling!