Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thoughts on the $40 pet sale weekend

Alternate Title: I Liked It Better When It Was Called ...  (Props to Maddox) ... Team Fortress 2.

Since we're all in the habit now of not innovating anything and just borrowing from everything else and amplifying it, the title seems fitting.  Hollywood does it.  Hey, we do it in gold making, so why not?

I sat through most of Blizzcon on Saturday, and caught up on the Friday stream, because you know, well, I work for a living.  I've got to be critical of this Blizzcon, even though I don't really want to be because I always like Blizzcon.  This year however was different, and outside of the damned Grommloc pet, I think the price did not deliver the value I was looking for.  So in total, I got about 3-4 hours of entertainment that I was looking for and a pet. 

If I went to the movies, that would be $20 for the four hours, and a souvenir worth $20.  I'm not complaining, but the money I used to buy this stream was earned during a bad day at the office, so now I'm bitter.  This is also an awful comparison because movies tend to cost about $50 million to make and I get to see them for $10.  Blizzcon is not a $50 million feature movie, and this year was a pet sale because Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft were really brushed aside.

Maybe if I read a schedule.  Yeah, that's it.  Wrong answer.  I've always been guaranteed several things out of Blizzcon, so I don't need to read.  For about 6 years you got content on Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft.  This time the content was reduced by a truckload because of Heroes and this new title they're producing - Overwatch.  I know all of you care deeply about these new titles because you have long associations with them and their development, and long hours have been laid awake in bed wondering, nay hoping, that they will be everything you hope them to be.

But in reality, Team Fortress 3 is just that.  Same concept, except with a talking monkey.  In glasses.  Who seems to get really pissed off and break everything in the room.  I take it back, talking monkeys are awesome, where do I insert my $50, $95 for collectors edition which will probably come with a hat because TF2?

Actually, no.  Team Fortress 2 from Valve was a microtransaction beast with dozens/hundreds of items available for amounts that made the D3 RMAH look reasonable.  Here's how this development came to be:  "People love our company, and no matter what we do we have about seven million loyalists who insert quarters faithfully.  People also buy anything we put in our store.  People love transmog, they like to be special unique snowflakes.  We've done RTS, ARPG, MMO, and card games, but the one missing piece to the puzzle is FPS with lots of opportunity for story, transmog, and microtransactions, because we are still part of Activision after all."  Genius.

If you like it, great, go forth and have fun.  I'm saving my money for Diablo 3's next expansion... which is not coming, may be coming, will be handled through patches, is not coming soon....  depending upon which of the two panels you watched and if the guys answering it were pronouncing Arreat correctly and their title.  It's Air-E-Ought.  Not Arreat like in "area rug".  The cinematic settled this business nearly 14 years ago, and they even played it as a reference to the new game zone. 

Warcraft - what can we say?  I liked the itemization panels, and how the new loot system was really going to kill GDKP and loot distribution for guilds when it came to tier pieces.  If there's one thing Diablo 3 proved at release, it's that people like RNG on their gear and never getting the right piece that they want.  It causes them to play over and over and over again forever, with no complaints.  I wonder how this is going to work out when guilds are rolling around in all Mythic pieces and Warforged just never seems to come up?  Who will be the lucky people to get to try each week in every guild?  I predict 6.1 will eliminate this idea and will come with a Warforged Token piece and our long national nightmare will be over.

A 30 minute discussion was held about the movie... which talked at some extent about watching the trailer they had at Blizzcon.  And then the trailer was not offered on the stream.  You know, for a die hard fan, this would have been worth the price of the whole stream and my post would end right there.  For me it would have been worth a few bucks of the price, seeing as how I'm not big on movies about video games.  Resident Evil being the lone exception but hey - Milla Jovovich.  I thought this was cheesy.  I know we're not guaranteed much with the stream, but for crying out loud why do that to the fans?  #blizzcongate  It's about being faithful to your fans.

Then there was a general Warcraft Q&A with J. Allen Brack and his team of yes-men.  Mr. Brack has the distinction of answering questions with the smugness and smarminess that would enrage even your average soup nazi.  And yours truly was no exception.  Anytime this guy even speaks I start yelling at the screen to stfu.  Last year he answered the question regarding legacy servers like people think they want something that they really don't.  I'm too lazy today to look that up on Youtube, but you can find it.

While you're looking for that, a quick google of "Vanilla WoW Private Servers" and you will find thousands of people playing on them.  The real answer on this one is of course overhead and upkeep.  So what if they lose fans to these F2P servers that they cannot touch with a court order, they would lose hundreds of thousands just setting it up, contracting the work to server maintenance companies, and then hearing the lines of bullshit from people asking them to fix problems that were around back then, even if they agreed upon entry to stfu and sit down?  I get where he's coming from.  But answer like a decent human being that wants to be liked, and not regarded as the Old Man in Charge.  These guys answer everything from a budget standpoint, not a fan's wishlist standpoint.  But this is a fan-show, at least act like you like the people that make your paychecks possible.  If I was there, security would have been called.

For some reason a lore panel, PvP panel, Raid Q&A panel, Garrison panel, and general information for those that weren't in the freaking beta panel were not provided.  The live raid gave a half-assed look at the first tier of content, but there was more celebrating Method's achievement than there was Q&A about raid comp and what did you do to prepare for the basic "Heroic" tier of content.  I died a little inside because I felt unloved, unwanted, and my money underappreciated.

"But Zerohour, they have the release this next week, people were busy putting that together so there was no time!"  Hogwash, you plan to win or plan to fail.  Cataclysm and Wrath Blizzcons were both scheduled around the time of their release, with Wrath's being the exact same day of the year as this upcoming expansion.  Of course it takes time to develop a presentation, that's why you hire Production Assistants by the hour and give them the work to put into PowerPoint format.

"But Zerohour, fansites have covered all of this in detail!"  Yes, yes they have.  And the final word on things come from who?  Further, one of the mantras they have had in recent Blizzcons is that they feel that their customers having to go to 3rd party sites is not part of the fun.  Wowhead, MMOC, blogs, forums, all great ideas, but in the end it should fall on this company to produce the information for their fans or stfu about 3rd party sites not being fun.  Truth be told, they used to never publish anything on their games outside of a manual, 3rd party sites handled everything else; be they nefarious or legitimate.  If they're going to tell me the new mantra, then live up to it.  Don't phone things in because that's just not fair.

I always liked sitting through their presentations.  I'm a busy guy, I don't like having to comb through datamined information and having to make heads or tails of it.  I set aside time to watch a stream for $40 everytime it's offered, which gives me what I need to know.  I've been to fansites, and the guides are usually decent, but a layman's guide is what Blizz always produces.  Grade of F this year, gang.

I missed Jay Mohr, although Chris Hardwick is a decent fellow and most people know him because of Talking Dead.  The big difference between them however, Mohr is/was a player, and Hardwick played Warcraft 1, I never did hear him say if he was a WoW player however.  Mohr was also extremely good at making fun of but not offending the fans.

Anyone that knows me and talks with me knows I was looking forward to the cosplay/costume contest.  That thing is just an institution.  My vote went to the non-professional cosplayers, because I like the ones that look like something I would create in my spare time, or on the way to Irvine in the car.  My vote went to John as Jaina, because it got the biggest laugh and was the most unexpected.  It was the first one and I felt the most creative.  You also had people that put a mountain of effort into looking their best for this; I heard one person lost several dozen pounds to fit in the outfit, and I think that's great. 

Props to all the people with the guts to get up there and express themselves.  I know if I was attending, I'd definitely get dressed up.

I don't care if you think it's non-manly, everyone needs to have their silly side and not take themselves so serious.  Sort of like writing a blog about Warcraft and gold making adventures, you gotta be ready to hear no applause and in some cases nasty critiques.  Just put yourself out there and hope for approval!

Followup Edit: One thing that makes me a little perturbed is that everything we just saw this weekend?  Everything relevant is completely available on Youtube, MMOC, Wowhead and other fansites for free.  QED: This was a pet sale.  Oh, Grommloc, you better kick major ass in PvP.

What's up with all the Mythic recruiting going around?

If you're like me, you sometimes peek in on your own server's forums.  We have more 10 man guilds recruiting for Mythic raiding than you can shake a stick at.  How's that going to work?

Geniuses, let me clue you in here.  There WILL NOT BE 10 MAN MYTHIC GUILDS, and you will have to merge with other guilds to become a Mythic guild.  Or at least have a cooperative effort going if you're going to farm 10 man content first, and in that case you should still merge because deciding who's going to be the tanks and healers in Mythic is going to be fun when a merge happens.  Two 10 mans merging means you end up with 4 tanks and 6-8 healers.  Someone's going to have to sit or get gear for the roles.  Further, officers and leadership has to take a seat in some cases.  Non-20+ man guilds can tell you all day long about officers, class leads, guild quartermasters, etc.  The structure is totally different from a 10.

Why recruit with a Mythic content perception or understanding, when eventually the guild is going to implode when you finish the Normal/Heroic content and people want more and you have to find others to do it?  It's setting bogus expectations other than performance requirements.  Just recruit for 20-mans straight away.  The loot's better in large raids and you have far less drama waiting for you in the end.

Alternatively, you may never even see Mythic, because SoO Mythic was reached by so many last patch guilds who had a whole year to get it done, and this is new content.  ICC was out for a year, everyone and his dog farmed the place.  Dragon Soul was the same story.  In all cases, the first tier results were the same.  Remember when Tier 11 blew up world guilds?  Tier 14 caused similar issues.

Get ready for people to get really upset when they can't down bosses with ease anymore because there's gearing requirements and no catchup pieces that will be overpowered.  As my buddy Stede said, "Link me your at content level Lei Shen Heroic achievement".  That will tell you who's in it for the long haul and which guilds are worth joining to become the almighty Mythic guilds.  This happens every expansion, and I always like to locate the drama going on because guilds go nuclear.  This is bad for my business, because guild inventories suddenly appear on my auction house, and that's just one more thing you have to watch out for and why I even bother writing about this.

For me, I'm just going to supply the war effort, and if GDKP does become a possibility I'll be running those.  My Mythic guild of one, just the way I like it.

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour makes more gold in a day than most people make all expansion.  He will be appearing at Blizzcon 2015 with Stede - at a vendor booth selling deodorant, razors, and manuals on the finer points of personal hygiene for the hygiene impaired.  Look for our new book "Being Less Creepy at Cons" on Amazon.  Autographs and sales will begin the night before the event for your smelling-good pleasure.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Zerohour's Last Minute 10-Day Timer to Expac

I figured I'd help my fellow man this holiday season, since we're officially in it now, with a Countdown to Expansion post for the helpless and needy.  I know everyone's up in arms that there's flat out nothing to do until release, so like always, let's see if you have everything really in place before you say that.  So while you read and I write this with Christmas music going in the background, let's get started.

A few groundrules:
* I assume you are actually interested in doing something interesting
* I assume you aren't too busy
* I assume you have several alts

Before the race to 100 happens, and I like others have to raise my 25x90s on Illidan (and the other 90s I have spread all over hell's half acre), I'm busying myself.  I have 5 primary characters I enjoy playing, specifically my Paladin (main), Warrior, Rogue, Monk and Warlock.  I tend to enjoy playing them all so I grind stuff out with them.  I also don't mess with frog farming unless it's for a friend.

1) Before Darkmoon leaves town for the last time before release, go get the WINGS

It's a toy.  You want it.  They're cool.  They're sharp looking and somewhat prove you aren't a keyboard turner.  Just head to the isle and fly through 50 rings of fire.  You start by getting bumped in the air with a 10 second buff that gets reset to 10 everytime you fly through a ring.  If it hits zero, you float to the ground and have to start over.  Just like the Alysrazor fight.  All you have to do is figure out the route that works best for you.

It took me about 4 tries to realize where the rings were spawning, and then create some sort of half-assed route to fly around.  Once you get the wings, you can be the cool kid in LFD who will be whispered every run by the nubs who didn't do it and resubbed 2 hours before, "Where u get those wings?!!1!1"  Totally worth it and you only need to do it one time.

2) Go do Throne of Four Winds across all your 90s

There's a mount in there, and this place takes about 5 minutes per character (including travel time) to do it with an appropriately geared character.  Go counter clockwise for the first bosses, and take out Al'Akir.  About 100g for your trouble in gold and drops if you don't get a mount.

3) Malygos in 25 man is Stupid Easy

He also drops a mount.  Try the Azerothian slot machine by killing him with all your characters.  You can't take him below 1 hitpoint in phase 1, but you certainly can keep yourself healed while DPSing on the old vehicle.  Cool mechanics destroyed by casual players.  Go prove you're one of the best at vehicles and get the mount.  It's not easy to get out there, but still worth it for a few minutes of fun.

4) Get the BOAs from Garrosh Before They Go Away

These are gone forever come release.  For my money, and even though my main and alts are all rolling weapons that won't be replaced until about 95, these are worth it.  Get into a PUG kill, pay a guild to bring you along, go get on Openraid and get into a group before it goes away.  I pity the fool who doesn't have RealID friends who can help!

5) If you don't know what profession to level on that boosted character...

Level skinning.  In fact, level skinning on everyone who has a non-armor profession.  It will be THE most overlooked gathering profession by the masses.  This is easily done on the Timeless Isle since 1) You can skin anything from level 1 proficiency and 2) if your server is populated there will be dead beasts everywhere.  You also get bonus coins for #6 below.  I recommend hanging around the tigers most.

6) Speaking of Timeless Isle, Go Get Rid of ALL Those Extra Timeless Coins

Unless you need the 100,000 coins for the Heavenly Golden mount (more on this later), go gamble the rest of the coins away and get a good version of Bonkers, preferably Destruction or Ninja.  Get a pet addon to see the breeds.  Don't learn him unless he's one of these or he's your first one, he's worth 25g to the vendor unlearned.

If you have the enchanters lined up to DE the gear from the isle, gamble for the different epics.  DE those pieces and sell off Jade or Dancing Steel enchants.  They should be really hot on your server with the amount of people getting Garrosh BOAs.  Either way, don't get stuck holding onto coins which are useless to you in less than 10 days.  And this isn't a bad quick gold score.

7) Do the Lame Opening Event Across All 90s

I did it.  It sucked.  But I also have Iron Starlettes out the ying-yang.  These are no longer retained after November 13th, and there will be a market for them.  Remember the Haunted Memento?  I collected a bunch of those in Wrath, they dropped all the time, everyone had one.  They were so common back then we were actually throwing them into people's bags to annoy them (they had the mechanic like the leather balls at one time if you recall).  I remember using Track Undead when Wrath launched and all of Dalaran lit up because everyone had one in their bags.  Today I see them being sold for thousands and thousands of gold because so many people have left from back then.  Additionally, people are waiting to come back on release day, and many aren't bothering but will want one later.  Tuck a few in some bank for later, people will be looking for them.

8) Make Sure Your Characters Are All Gemmed, Enchanted, etc For Release

Sure you may be in 520 gear today, and quest greens may replace them, but I always like being prepared.  There's nothing wrong with having a bit of power going into a new questing zone, the mobs aren't MoP quality 90s, they're going to probably be a little stronger and you'll thank me later.  Enchanting and gemming older gear makes the gear last a little longer, and often times is better quality than what you pick up in the first few zones.  LFR Dragon Soul gear when enhanced was perfectly viable until you got to Kun Lai Summit, when you actually found gear that was more exceptional.  Same school of thought applies here.

9) Make Some Flasks for Your Characters, and Maybe Some Potions

Leveling is serious business, but doing it with consumables is even more serious business.  I like having a stack of buff food, a stack of flasks, and a stack of burst pots on me.  It also would pay to have some health potions, too.  Invisibility potions are great in a pinch, too, for running out of caves so you don't have to kill your way out again.  It's little things that make it easier.

10) Farm Emperor Shaohao Rep

This grind will probably be easier at 100, but if you need a time killer go do it now while you can find a group.  Mindless grinding and you get the mount at Exalted.  The toughest NPCs to kill have also been rather nerfed in my opinion, although Kilnmasters still one-shot with kilns up.  I finished this thing pre-patch, and I felt it was a bit easier today.  But this thing will keep you busy for a week if you haven't started.

11) Do Those Annoying Minor Achievements or FINISH the Metas

You know the ones I'm talking about...  the ones that you always look at and say "Oh, easy, I can get that in 10 minutes" and then you sit on it for 10 months.  Yeah, those.  Go do it now.  No time like down time.

12) Start a Legendary Item Line

You have choices here.  The content is soloable.  ICC, Ulduar, Firelands, Dragon Soul; all offer a nice weapon that you can start on and maybe finish at 100.  Something for everyone here, except hunters, because screw hunters they have Sunwell.

Never before has it been so easy to kill old content, and you should take advantage of it since you won't have time for about 2 months.  Maybe a lot longer.


So there you go, 12 things to do for the next NINE days.  That's a helluva lot of interesting stuff other than killing frogs, right?  Have a nice release and see you in Molten Core LFR at 100, where I'll be the one raging in the corner ... and at Christmas time.

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour is a top-shelf gold maker who only drinks the finest of aged tears.  He's currently looking forward to the expansion when every noob resubscribes and starts tagging his quest mobs without his express written permission, or at least rejects a party invite.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Serious Daily Business Incoming in WOD

I remember back in The Burning Crusade when they introduced dailies.  10 dailies allowed per day, and you would gain rep and a bunch of gold for your trouble.  It gave people a reason to log in and play everyday, as if raiding at the time wasn't a full time sport and sucked up a ton of your time in TK, BT, MH or Sunwell.  Then you had dailies AND raiding to do everyday.  But casual players needed content as well, otherwise those casuals would become unsubscribed casuals.

This was the gold that everyone who had no idea how to work the Auction House reaped, and they were damned happy.  So happy, they put more of them into Wrath and Cataclysm, and by the time MoP rolled around they really got out of control.  Today, you can do every single daily in the game and not have any cap on how many you can do.  As of the expansion patch, however, the gold rewards were basically cut by 45%.

The big complaint about dailies was always that they felt grindy, and that the content lost it's luster over time.  Usually the first week they were introduced, everyone was doing them.  By about week three you weren't competing for mobs or resources as heavily.  And by month two only the holdouts were still doing them.  Go do MoP dailies today, I'll bet dollars to donuts the only ones doing them are fresh 90s who were probably boosted, or bot assisted.  TL;DR - This is low attention span content for gold.  But many, many players relied on them for their gold income.

Do you know what's waiting for casual players in Warlords?  Give you a hint - Warlords of Garrison-ville.  As if Tillers farming wasn't boring enough, we now have that on steroids and almost complete removal of dailies.  I know I went over the new method of casual gold making via legacy raids in my last post, call this a follow-up.  Dailies are going away, being substituted by point and click Garrison missions that will become as exciting as Tillers ever was, which was never.

Years ago, my mother was convinced to hear an Amway presentation through some former friends.  So one night, the rep shows up to the house and talks with my mom and dad about all the money they could be making.  All they had to do was recruit more people and have them recruit more people for them.  Everyone makes millions!  But my mom, obviously demonstrating the critical thinking power she passed along to me via the genetic lottery, asked the most important question over and over, and the rep brushed it off....

Who sells the soap?

In any pyramid scheme, the name of the game is not to be the sucker holding the bag and selling the soap.  Your mission is to get more people to buy in, and buy the product for their own use that nobody will ever sell.  The ones at the top make all the money.

This is Garrison-ville.  Casuals will earn gold from garrison missions, but someone is going to have to sell the items those things make, and someone is going to have to buy.  Log in, talk to followers, spend money on massive Tier 3 upgrades, and then hope like hell someone out there buys the product that will come with the joy of random mods so you can eventually break even.  Rinse and repeat this across all your toons and you too will be a fucking millionaire!


Who is going to make the soap?  It costs about 16k per Tier 3 upgrade and these are character specific, not account wide.  Blizzard released data not too long ago showing that the average account has 2 max level characters, and thanks to the boost they now have 3.  So let's say you have the standard average 3 characters who will qualify for Garrisons, that's going to be a shitload of gold just to be able to go into massive production.  The average player, per Blizzard's own statements, barely has 50,000 gold.  These people could barely be relied upon to complete dailies because they were so boring but were some of the first to scream that dailies were mandatory content so they ... weren't... worth ... even... attempting.  Basically, the game is made up of 99% poor people who have dreams of being rich, but aren't willing to do what it takes to get rich.  Of that 99%, I would venture to guess 20% of them will try for a little while.  Right now they're looking at Garrisons as the answer, but the answer is they simply won't have enough characters or gold to compete with psychos like myself, so they'll be run off to Grinding-land in between major content patches when Garrisons will be upgraded for "new" content.

Even if these people were to grind legacy raids every single week, which per character offers a few thousand per week across all instances, it would take them about a year to put together about 100,000g assuming about 2k in vendorables and gold drops.  They'll never be rich, unless they themselves sell the soap. In a world where some of us throw down nearly half a million on a GDKP drop, these people don't stand a chance when it comes to market domination.  If they aren't somewhat wealthy going into this expansion, they're going to be really behind, and that's not fun.

The old adage of "it takes money to make money" aptly applies here.

If you're some average broke stiff playing this game, you're going to do your Garrisons, spend the outlay to upgrade them, and then find that the gear being offered is really directed at other casual players.  The raid gear immediately drops better than or equal to the crap you're making in comparison to crafted quality, and people can only equip three pieces of crafted gear.  Remember in MoP that this was also the case.  To add fuel to the fire, the undercutting is going to be fierce because this is nearly forced Auction House play.  Everytime cooldowns hit their peak, you'll see 2 dozen of each item pop up on the Auction House.  The average person is not going to know how to compete, because they never learned how.  And then the sharks in the water like myself will eat them alive.  Remember this:  The gear being offered at release is targeted at casual players, not cutting edge progression minded raiders.

Surely, the other casuals with gold to spend will buy the gear, but they will have a very hard time replacing their gold unless they themselves participate in either Garrison-craft or gold drop grinds.  Gold sellers are going to have a field day with this, because if there's one thing I've learned in all my years of gaming, people are happy to Mastercard their way through it.  People are busy, they can't be asked to log in and do this crap day in and day out.  Even if you can queue things ahead, there are working professionals that play this game who have real responsibilities, and those responsibilities are not playing nanny to a bunch of followers in some fantasy kingdom. 

"But Zerohour, you're fecking nuts, eh.  People will just do old dailies for gold.  Get a grip, yo!"  Will they?  The rewards for doing them isn't as hot as they used to be.  11g40s for a turn-in in Pandaria, down from 19g80s, and this was changed at the patch.  That's an enormous drop.  The amount you make from leveling will be more than a month of dailies at this point, and I guess I should explain myself further.

Someone not only has to sell and make the soap, someone has to buy the soap.  These buyers are people that are NOT in the AH gold game.  These are the people who use the AH to buy your goods and have little desire to do anything to acquire it outside of passive gold farming.  Thanks to inflation from dailies and quest rewards in each expansion, we've seen the gold get spread around to more of these players.  That perk of inflation is now gone.  There is no WoW welfare office that sends a check subsidizing your purchasing power, unless I missed that in the patch notes.  These people, more so than any other, determine the end price of your overpriced epics because their loose change is what goes into your pockets.  They are the buyers, the customers, the deadheads.  Today it takes 173 dailies to give you the same rewards as what 100 used to give you.  And dailies in the Garrison will offer sizable rewards, but they will also cost gold to be able to complete.  I doubt these people will be able to stomach doing Garrisons for their gold for very long.

To top it off, there IS NO MANUAL FOR GARRISONS.  I and my fellow like minded players over in the Stormspire at The Consortium have been wracking our brains about this new game changer, and we're absolutely at a loss for words.  While Wowhead and MMOC have been faithful in trying to explain it and many guides have been produced...


Do you think the average player is going to stick with it very long if some of the best minds at this crap are having trouble making simple heads or tails as to the best routes to go, I'd say the big world is in a bit of trouble.

Of course, many will have trouble seeing the forest for the truck lights headed their way:

"Fuck garrisons, I'm just going to make glyphs and gems and enchants," you say.  "This gold game is easy, there's no reason to bust my ass in Garrisons when I have always made extreme gold through leet ninja skills with TSM's post/cancel and camping."  If you haven't heard, this is going to be a painful expansion for you.

Why I have no faith in the system as it is being issued

Mumper, aka Cory Stockton, designed this system.  Not that he's a bad designer, I just think he's been tweeting too many beer drinking achievements since patch during the week and not enough about why this feature isn't going to feel like a repetitive grind and why his baby is going to be a game changing piece of win.  He's always been the most vague designer on board, generally at Blizzcon he's been the least vocal among them.  We can't get any answers either way of what's hard and fast, and reports from beta have been wanting at best.  How many hotfixes have we seen since patch?  We got a mini-patch?  When was the last time that happened?  Like never?  To clue you in, this has been the most unpolished patch release of all time.  Cataclysm changed the world and it didn't have near the trouble of this thing.

Flash forward to actual release.  Since the game was already patched with dungeons being broken as hell, experience rewards being imbalanced like they threw darts at a board, and classes have been wonky at best, we have yet to really stress test the Garrisons.  What problems are we going to encounter with this thing?  Sure there are people in the beta, but they drew those names out of a hat.  Case in point?  A friend of mine who asks me questions like she's a new player, but she's played for 10 years.  You have people that got into beta who didn't even level 1-90 and try it out, but the errors made their way into live.  Good system there.  I think I liked the pay to play idea last time better.

Everything has felt arbitrary.  We have no freaking idea the problems in store for us, and nobody can tell me otherwise because everything reported in beta was probably shelved for a future release by Blizz.  QA on this game has lacked hardcore, and I'm just hoping they didn't make these suggestions and they didn't bother addressing them, but then again I've worked for big companies before and these communication issues commonly arise.

I think a new class of working poor is on the horizon.  I however, believe I have found an answer to stay rich, and it's there if you look hard enough.

The Question I Would Ask At Blizzcon

If I could be at Blizzcon and be in line for the panels, I'd be the guy who probably gets security called on him.  I have little respect for what Blizz did to Warcraft, which basically drove off all my friends who I played with for years.  I spent 2 hours talking to an old friend who came to see the game after getting 7 days free.  Bugs everywhere, he couldn't believe they issued the sampler pass when the expansion patch was still unfinished.  We reminisced about how we're getting too old for today's games, because in our world rewards weren't given to those who didn't know how to push buttons correctly.  He couldn't understand why I still sub not on one but two accounts.  Zerohour, don't you demand better of things?

He logged out and never logged back in again. 

So my question for the panels which comes in two parts:

* Why the hell do I still play this game?  Is it some form of psychosis?  Am I lost forever?


Have fun at your "con".

Thanks for stopping in!


Zerohour is a leading gold maker, having made and pissed away millions of gold. If you don't like him, don't worry, he doesn't like you either. Everyone is probably smarter than him, anyhow.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The future of casual goldmaking

Before I begin, I can't believe nearly 65,000 people have filled their time reading this blog.  A small percentage have also filled their time writing me hate mail.  Both are appreciated!

With all this talk of garrisons, expansions, easy-bake materials (thanks Stede), cataclysmic changes to professions, and the end of the world as we know it for shuffling, it's been forgotten just how anyone can make gold in the future while actually playing the game!

I'm a big grinder, I love visiting old content, bosses, trash packs, and killing them for old time's sake. When I swapped mains in Wrath to my paladin, I actually went back and redid the 40+ reputations to exalted just because.  Today I'm approaching 80 reps at exalted and look forward to hitting them in WoD.  There's very few things in Warcraft that I really enjoy:

  • Leveling battle pets
  • Grinding reputations
  • Collecting gold
  • Getting achievements without even trying and having people get jelly about my score
  • Collecting mounts
  • Collecting toys - this is now a recent addiction, er addition
  • Quick GDKP runs with awesome raiders
  • Wondering why certain people completely redirect their lives for this game
  • Complaining about changes
  • Complaining about Blizzard's decisions
  • Complaining
  • Doing public BGs so I can join in the melee of bitching about bads in boost gear
  • Pissing people off who are poor and just don't get it
  • ...This list is getting pretty long, looks like I enjoy more than a few things
But what I love to do is find where things drop in the best quantity and build the better mousetrap.  I often visited Naxx for Frostweave, or Scarlet Cathedral for silk.  I'm currently found in Sunwell and BT just messing around looking for my monk and death knight tier.  I used to kill the trolls in The Hinterlands back in Classic for their prizes.  Every now and again I run over to AQ10 even though I don't need anything. 

I think this is sort of my comfort food.  Since I've been around the game and can officially call myself one of the last men standing from Classic, these things bring back great memories and feelings of nostalgia.  Like warlocks not being able to banish when told, when the casual we used to carry on Archimonde would wipe us, and making people cry over gear (literally, I have that feather in my cap).  I really like old content, so it's with great happiness that the majority of old raids are now completely soloable.  Too bad I already have the 200k Mind on your Money.

Since they're essentially removing dailies, there's going to be a limited number of ways people will be able to get any gold to buy our overpriced items in the auction house.  And really, garrisons are a nice idea, but check back with all the players in about a month.  I assure you, just like Tillers, I will be another of the last men standing.  Why?  Because I have a high tolerance for boring and painful bad content (what one of my old Classic/TBC friends used to say about me).

Raid content I've now been able to solo with ease:

Cataclysm - Dragon Solo is soloable up to Spine.  You need 2-3 more to really get Spine to work right, unless you're a DDR champion and can do more than one thing at a time.  Firelands is a joke in Heroic and Normal.  Tier 11 has lots of painful memories, like the elevator boss and people getting lost on the way back to Cho'gall, but offers some really fast coin and trash.  25M Heroic is just not in the cards but for the average person, 10M Normal or Heroic will be the way to go for these.

Wrath of the Lich King - Naxx and Ulduar were already soloable, but now you can easily pound out No Lights.  I liked it so much I saved an alt for future farming of him.  Lich King, too!  I've scored several kills on 25M Heroic LK, which is kinda sad when you recall people worked for months on him.  I spent about 5 pulls trying to remember the mechanics, and no Invincible yet.  It's amazing that you forget a boss or ten after several years when you used to spend entire evenings doing pulls for nothing.

The average run through Heroic Cataclysm content is going to score you about 150-200g per boss kill, and about 25g in Normal and take about 20-30 minutes depending on you and how fast you can click the RP NPCs.  You can expect to see 2-3 pieces drop per boss, with a value that's all over the map.  Tokens go for nothing, so it's worth exchanging them for the piece when they pop for your class.  Everything should be vendored.

ICC 25 man is going to net you about 500g for the run.  Ulduar will be about the same amount.  And this is at 90.  Best to keep moving because these are going to take a while to get through.

So the future of casual goldmaking?  Old raids, mount farming, and vendoring everything.  I sorta think that this is justice.

Thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Patch 6.0.2 - Three Shards and a Sha

This isn't about gold, this is just me being the cynical old guy I've come to be... and be loved for.

When you reach that point in life when you expect things to be phoned in, you know you're reaching mediocrity.

No, I don't hate the game, nor the changes, but I do still hate the players.  I do dislike being robbed again of a lead-in and some immersion.

Anyone that's done the expansion pre-release "event" knows that we're dealing with 2nd tier in the world of build ups and hype.  2nd may just be a little generous, this was a bit half-assed.  And I know I'll get some hate comments and STFU Zero comments for this, but seriously, I've been playing their games now for 15 years and one thing Blizz usually never does is phone things in.  They troll the shit out of their customers (Diablo 3, Lich King event), they charge the shit out of them (Every expansion with bonus subscription, "Free 90", Blizzard Shop button in the damned game), they put us on all the time (Reward for Shen'dralar rep besides achievement, PvP will be put into Diablo 3, we have more people working on WoW than ever before but magically things are still broken/overlooked), but one thing they usually don't do is do something not very exciting.

Enter... Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.2.  If I didn't follow the lore and the game developments, I would have been utterly confused as to why the portal turned red.  Additionally, how did Garrosh escape?  Who's to blame for this?  Which faction was actually holding him prisoner and which Panda's ass do we kick for falling down on the job?  How did he get from Pandaria all the way back to Draenor 35 years ago?  What's with the green shit that one green orc asked the red long haired orc to drink, and who the hell are they?  If you can answer these questions, then you seriously followed it closely, and more closely than me and I actually follow the lore story unlike most people.

And say what you like about Garrosh.  The guy made the slip and we didn't hear squat about it.  If I'm ever locked up, I want to be cell mates with this guy.  No reporters were assigned to the story, no interviews with guards and how they were underpaid and overworked and it was the fault of the unions, no "uh-oh, Garrosh is loose again, round up the posse" story leading up to the cinematic.  Just a "here you go" beautifully done cinematic.  Sort of like watching a movie for the first time and selecting Chapter 6 on the DVD without watching 1-5.  I felt like I usually do on a movie date when I go to get popcorn refilled sometime in the middle and I come back and need a primer on WTF happened the 30 minutes I was gone and a primer on the 5 minutes I wasn't paying attention while hearing about the previous 30 minutes during the primer.  My life is one big jumble.

I write that through the eyes of a casual player, of course I recognized the homage to WC3 and the major players and didn't confuse Manno for Magtheridon, because pit lords.  But what about everyone else who can barely push the right buttons off cooldown?  And us lore nerds who were actually thirsty for more?  Kudos to anyone who gets in line at the lore panel and throws that shit down on Metzen at BC14.  How about the lead-in for that?

What I learned from Three Shards and a Sha (my personal name for the 'event' because that's what my main got from it) was that there's a bunch of Red Orcs running through the portal and they must be bad because the color is now red.  Thrall was out there telling me to kill things.  I looked through a telescope and assumed they were bads because they were on flying mounts bought from the Blizzard store.  There was a mini-boss at the end that Thrall had no problem tanking, and I had to tell our new Warchief that shit was going down, and he was so happy he gave me a purple trinket and a little iron ball.  Sort of reminded me of that movie about The Madness of King George. 

Me:  They're coming, Vol'jin!
Vol'Jin:  Thanks, have a toy and this choice of good trinket or shitty trinket.
Me:  You da man, Vol'jin!


And then he just stands there looking Vol'jin'ish. 

I hated this event so much I've only done it 8 times so far, still have another 14 to go because it's mandatory.

I rather liked the Mists of Pandaria event.  Hold the phone, there wasn't one.  Wait, they had that demonstration of a scenario where Garrosh bombed the shit out of Theramore and pissed off some people to where their hair turned white and passed it off as an event until people called them on it and they admitted there was no event.  But at least that was a full working scenario.  And this brings me to part two.

Upper Blackrock Spire.  My favorite memory of the place was at 60 when I snagged my Tier 0 mage robes from some jackass in the guild that nobody liked after crafting the epic robes.  Of course, he QQ'd his ass off.  And of course, he was a warlock wanting mage tier.  Caused so much drama, he Gquit that night and good times were had by all and I got lots of thank you tells.  Where was I?  Oh yeah.

I queued for this hot mess.  After putting up 75% of the dps through the place and tanking on my ret paladin because apparently AOE threat no longer exists for warrior tanks (it doesn't anymore, right, they removed it I came to understand), dying several times because when you don't know how to AOE tank the best thing you can do is pull half the room leading up to Nef's old spot while standing in slams, we got to what used to be the least liked place in the joint because people would invariably run into the cage way back when and cause the game to turn upside down and bug.  No problem, dead boss.

The back door to Awbee opens and I run in assuming the same map, and it's locked.  After 5-10 minutes of looking around for levers, jumping against walls and trying to get over those new jaws on the floor, we all decided to look it up on Wowhead.  And there it was, buried in one of the last comments about the place, it ends after that event and the rest is available after you hit 100.

I wanted to scream.

And I did!

At my monitor.

And it looked back at me laughing.  Seriously, it did.


And then I realized, this was phoned in and there's nothing else to do for a month.  Except maybe old raids for mounts, because holy crap have you seen your dps against those old bosses!?

Epilogue

I jest a bit here, because really what we need is to set circa-2008 expectations again.  Blizzard always wow'ed us with WoW.  There were always mementos and fond memories from the events, and those of us that were there probably consider the Wrath event the greatest event of all time, probably even better than most of the raids in the expansion except for Ulduar.  In Classic we walked away with a tabard that you can show your grandkids, but it was repeated in TBC dammit.  Cataclysm had 2 different storylines and an assload of new quests with the revision of the zones.  They also gave us a glimpse of Cho and the Twilight Hammer over a period of time.

I know people worked really hard on that quest series in Blasted Lands.  But didn't anyone ask "is that all there is?" in the meetings?  10-15 minutes of questing without a real backstory...  And I know there are those out there that have drank the Kool-Aid and it could be flavored poop and you'd still ask for more, but is this all?  Did this satisfy?

Unless they have some build-up story, I think a lot of people forked over $15 this month just to see less entertainment than you would see in 90 minutes at the movies.  And it probably explains why the lag on Illidan went away inside of a day.

Unfortunately, outside of a pet that I'll treasure (until I sell the other 21 of them) forever, and three shards and a sha, I didn't feel satisfied.  Anyone?  Anyone at all.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Goldmaking types

For some reason I thought of this while in traffic today.  What else would I think about?  (I wrote this a month or so ago, thanks to Stede I'm publishing it because fun posts are fun).

1)  The Grinder - If there's a "best" ore path, or top place to get skins, or a set of dailies rewarding the most gold you'll find this person.  They made their gold the old fashioned way, they mined/herbed/skinned/quested for it.  Friend of the Jeweler and Paper Pusher, you can count on them needing to move a truckload of something quick, but not for too low a price.

2) The Flipper - Dedicating their lives to full scan searches via Auctioneer/TUJ Sniper, these are the people looking for the bargains they can turn for more.  They are the ones screaming for auctionhouse apps for their phones so they can scan and scam in their cars.  Ranging from coppers to tens of thousands of gold to hundreds of thousands for the most exclusive items, they comb the realms looking for deals to pile it up.  Someone forgot to tell them to spend some on themselves, but one never knows when they'll need that 10/20/40 million to make a deal happen.

3) The Arms Dealer - Profession kings.  Who needs 9 Blacksmiths for the next patch?  They do, and extra accounts because 11 slots isn't enough to handle their little pixelated sweatshop.  Apple and Martha have nothing on these people for forced labor camps, with 3, 4, and 10 accounts just so they can make the gear to get you ahead - for the lowest cost and the best price because dammit you aren't paying more and you've forced it to this!

4) The Chemist/Crack Dealers - Somehow between TBC and Wrath these people got lost at a wrong turn at Albuquerque and still make their money slinging potions and flasks.  They're out there, waiting on those procs just so they can brag to their friends about the 5 proc on the strength flasks, so everyone will forget about the string of no-procs they threw down the past week.  Yes friends, it's worth it in the end.  If anyone hasn't made a profit in the game in the past 3 expansions, it's these guys.  They'll tell you they made a profit, they farmed the mats so they were free!

5) The Jeweler - Close relative of the Paper Pusher, these guys are adept at pushing a single button once every 4.26 seconds to bust up those rocks the rest of the server is too lazy to prospect.  They'll typically need guild banks and extra mail slots to hold all their ores and minerals, because one day they'll get around to handling the load.  Their entire focus is Tuesday.  Because on that day friends, they get to hock their wares and then return to the shadowy confines of some whisked away abode in who-knows-where while they prep for the next week.  Commonly complains about the price of ore; any ore, pick one.

6) The Gambler - Ever wonder who falls for those "presents in a box, 1 has a mount" spams in trade?  Or even the highest roll wins spam?  Do you know a guild where certain addons for trash pulls are required so you can roll for gold?  How about the people that religiously farm for MFCs, or those that even buy them?  You've met the gambler, these are the guys who won't work the auctionhouse or do a daily to save their bank account, but throw down 1000 gold for a 10% chance at doubling it?  They're in!   Probably the most close association to people you actually know in real life, we all have these types in the family.

7) The Paper Pusher - These guys are your scribes.  They need a new name, because scribe is going on 6 years old and this is really all they do.  Make glyphs, post, cancel, repost, recraft, repeat.  They push paper better than a government bureaucrat and thanks to addons with more efficiency.  That's all they do, too.  JC?  Nah.  Enchanting?  Too much cost.  Alchemy? Blacksmith? Tailor?  Who has the time!?  Commonly seen preparing for monthly Darkmoon trips.

8)  Prada/Coco - as in Chanel.  Making lots of custom bags and for every occasion, these people are cloth fiends.  They still make Mooncloth bags because they look better than Netherweave.  If you need a 28 slot enchanting bag, they'll hook you up.  Outdated since TBC?  They have it and are probably posting it.

What do you think?  Know any other types?  As we roll into the conclusion of mass goldmaking (WoD) I'm wondering if there's anyone I missed.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Battle Pets: Daily Tamer Experience

For those of you unaware, one of my favorite aspects of the game today aside from gold and GDKP raiding is pet battles.  I got into it last year and like most things I ended up documenting certain things.  Maybe this will be of use to you in case you're trying to figure out how the tamers work and why people do the quests everyday.

The reason is simple:  You get a lot of experience depending on the level of pet you are carrying.  I had a theory when I first started that the experience had some sort of diminishing return, so this led to me actually performing battles with every single variety and documenting the results.

As you can see from the chart below, the yellow highlight shows you the spot where you will earn the most experience, and it's a mirror.  This is why it is bad to use a level 3 against a 25, your best return will be a 10 or 11.

Note that the chart assumes you are wearing the safari hat.  If you aren't, then you net 10% off that amount.  If you are using the pet treats, obviously you'll account for the extra boost of 25%.  More or less I use this as a guide so I don't waste experience on pets that are too high or too low.  The difference between 25N and 25P here:  25P are Pandaria trainers, Ns are Northrend and Cata.


Additionally, I put together something for 1-25 Wild Pet battles, and since 1-19 is mostly boring for folks I'm only showing the returns you see when fighting level 20 to 25s.





Again, yellow shows the sweet spot and assumes the safari hat is worn.  Where I placed the "x" means I never got to those levels, but you get the idea.

I figure that since we're about 2.5 months out, I can share this little nugget with you in case you're looking for something to do.  I'm presently trying to get all the pets I have to 25 (or at least most of them) prior to the release.  I have 550ish pets, 170ish at 25, and the vast, vast majority are between 16 and 24 right now.  Only greens are 11-15.  I figure if I get this out of the way, I won't need to bother with my OCD for about another year.

Hope you have a great day and thanks for stopping in!