Archive for the Professions Category

Guild level and classic content

Posted in Guides, Professions, Reputation with tags , , on June 7, 2011 by Natarumah

Everyone can see that your Guild Level helps in conquering the current content – additional XP for your alts, reputation bonuses for Cataclysm reps and guild cauldrons/lobster feasts. But just because it’s a useful gains for your raiding/battleground experience doesn’t mind it cannot help you on your off-time, and get some of the older content done which you might have skipped.

It’s not the first time I speak of Classic content, having made posts before on the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, for instance. I also fully intent to get a few guides going in this style if people find them useful enough. I’ve also shared my thoughts on leveling a new character in the revamped Old World, and a wrap-up of things that were available up to Cataclysm but are now gone. Epic class quests, oh how I miss thee.

Water under the bridge, I say – time to look at how Guild Level (GL) and its perks can help in completing some old-time grinds quicker. First off that old-time favorite: The Darkmoon Faire.

Darkmoon Faire

If you are going for the Insane title, or just would like to get Exalted with these guys because you always loved the circus, your GL can help you in many ways. First off, the perk Mister Popularity will increase all reputation gained by 5%/10%. One of the easiest ways to grind rep with them is by using Dense Grinding Stones and Thorium Widgets. This is because of the Bountiful Bags perk gained at GL 23. If you have a miner, have it run circles in Un’goro Crater or Silithus for Thorium Veins. Because of the perk, you will farm more goods than normal.

Have an engineer (or an engineering alt) fabricate the Thorium Widgets, and a blacksmith make Dense Grinding Stones. Turn both in at Rynlyn and Kerri Hicks, respectively. Each turn-in requires 8 Dense Grinding Stones or 6 Thorium Widgets.

You cannot gain any reputation from turn-ins once you hit 2250 into Friendly. This is 5250 rep, or 21 turnins (20 with 5% rep bonus, 19 with 10% rep bonus). After this, you can turn in more items for Prize Tickets, but won’t gain more rep for it, and it now requires 40 of each item per turn-in. This means you will need to find another way – in this case, Darkmoon Cards. 36,750 rep is required to progress to Exalted.

Darkmoon Cards -> Decks

A deck of cards provides a quest to turn it in. The lower-level decks (pre-level 60, which summon a Darkmoon Faire representative to you) give 25 rep per turn-in. Decks of a higher level award 350 rep each (375 with 10% experience bonus).

This means that to get to Exalted from 2250 into Friendly, you will need 36,750/25 (=1470) or 36,750/350 (=105) decks of one of these types to make it, which is quite expensive. Reduce these numbers by 5% or 10% depending on GL.

Fortunately, if you are a Scribe, there’s a shortcut for all of this. You see, when you mill herbs and make inks to make the lucrative glyphs, you will be stuck with quite some inks that have no use besides making out-dated items or scrolls. They can also, however, be used to fabricate the many sets of Darkmoon Cards.

My advice would be to make the Greater Darkmoon Cards made using TBC herbs and Primal Life, as the mats for these are quick to farm. While the Cataclysm ones will yield trinkets with actual sale value, getting 10 Inferno Ink takes quite a lot more time and can also be used to make other profitable items. In addition, you will find more people competing on Cata herb nodes than TBC ones.

If you hadn’t leveled a Scribe yet (and you should have, really, since it’s good money) this might be a good reason to do it. One advice I give for leveling characters is to take Herbalism/Mining as professions to gain more XP. The secondary benefit of this is that each alt you level will give a metric bork-ton of herbs to grind away in your glyph machine. Keep sending the Darkmoon Cards which are the side-product to a bank alt (since the cards stack but the decks do not) until you have enough of them and the Darkmoon Faire is near.

The drop-off

Make sure to have an Argent Squire near or a friend with a portable mailbox. Depending on your faction, the nearest mailbox might be very far away, and you will need many inventory spaces. Keep them stacked as cards, that way you can fill the most of your inventory. Assemble the decks in groups (since decks of the same kind are mutually excusive) and turn them in. Mail the proceeds away to your bank alt (some of these fetch good money, and else the disenchanting mats will).

Edit: Some people might actually have a level 11+ banking guild, or a guild supporting this endeavour specifically. In this case, keeping a bank tab open just for turn-in items is very handy. At the Darkmoon Faire, simply whip out the Guild Chest obtained from the Mobile Banking Perk, and you will be able to clear the bank in minutes (in a good way). Just be sure the permissions on that tab are set to allow you to withdraw everything…

TL:DR

Requirements: Guild Level 12 (for 10% rep bonus), Herbalist, Miner, Scribe and Engineer as characters or friends.

Benefits: Exalted with Darkmoon Faire, glyphs to sell, low-level items to disenchant, higher-level trinkets for sale and Darkmoon Faire prize tickets to exchange for fun (but useless above level 60) rewards.

Estimated Time: I believe that if you spend about an hour a day farming herbs in Outland, you’d be able to complete this in about a month. Not just because of the sheer amount of required herbs, but also because the Darkmoon Faire only comes about once a month.

Next on Twisted Faith

I intend to do a series of posts revolving around Guild Level and Classic Content. Next time we’ll see Ahn’Qiraj revisited, mechano-hogs and engineers braving ancient dungeons for their secrets.

Darkmoon card day-trading

Posted in Guides, Professions, Reputation with tags , on January 19, 2011 by Natarumah

One of the more interesting hobbies I’ve developed the past month is the making and selling of Darkmoon Cards. Besides offering very nice trinkets for my alts, they also provide a steady income as others seek to purchase the cards that I personally don’t want. In turn, the trinkets and the unturned decks also make quite some AH-appearances.

The cards

Making the cards themselves is a very straightforward matter. Once a Scribe reaches skill level 525, they are able to turn a Resilient Parchment, 10 Inferno Ink and 30 Volatile Life into a single Darkmoon Card of Destruction. The exact card created is random between Ace and 2-8. The four suits are Winds, Stones, Waves and Embers.

Eight cards of a single suit can be combined into a deck.

The decks

Once you have combined eight cards, you will have one of the four decks: Tsunami, Hurricane, Volcano and Earthquake. Once a deck is made, it can no longer be separated into separate cards.These are items which start a quest – to turn them in at the Darkmoon Faire once it comes into town.

Turning it in awards you with 350 Darkmoon Faire reputation and a trinket, based on which deck you turned in.

The Darkmoon Card trinkets

The Hurricane deck provides you with Darkmoon Card: Hurricane (Str) or Darkmoon Card: Hurricane (Agi), which depending on your choice can be an Agility or Strength trinket with a proc for Nature damage on your target with Melee or Ranged attacks.

The Tsunami deck provides you with Darkmoon Card: Tsunami.This healer trinket offers Intellect, and a proc for Spirit when healing targets, which can stack up. Before you say anything, this is not much good for Shadowpriests even with the Intellect. Spirit functions as Hit for us, and you don’t want your Hit Cap to depend on a proc.

The Volcano deck awards you with Darkmoon Card: Volcano, a Mastery trinket which can proc Fire damage on opponents and an Intellect boost on casting hostile spells. This deck is designed with DPS casters in mind (preferably those who also have use for Mastery as a stat).

The Earthquake deck awards you with Darkmoon Card: Earthquake, a Dodge trinket which can be used to grant over 11K health (sharing a cooldown with the Battlemaster trinkets). This is obviously designed for tanks of any kind.

The economic lifecycles

The entire price fluctuation of the Darkmoon Cards, Decks and Trinkets used to depend on availability. There simply weren’t many scribes at that skill level to provide the goods. However, now that a sizeable scribing population is on the market, you see that there (as always) are incredibly interesting patterns in their pricing patterns.

From what I have seen, the following rules govern cards:

  • When the Darkmoon Faire is near, their prices are highest
  • When the Darkmoon Faire is just gone, their prices are lowest
  • At all other times, prices are stable

I have observed the following on decks:

  • When the Darkmoon Faire is active, their prices are highest
  • When the Darkmoon Faire is two weeks away (about) their prices are lowest

And the following for the Trinkets:

  • When the Darkmoon Faire is near or has just passed, their prices are mid-range
  • When the Darkmoon Fair is active, their prices are lowest
  • Stable price at most other times, dropping as the Fair comes closer and closer

My theory on the pricing

Obviously, the cards become expensive near the Faire, as people hope to snatch up some last card or two to complete their decks. The price is slightly mitigated by hopeful Scribes who produce many cards to complete their own decks and put their leftovers on the AH. However, most Scribes are smart enough to get the most out of the deal.

When the Darkmoon Faire comes, people turn the Decks into Trinkets. Most of these will now vanish from the market, as they are equipped by players. Some speculants and most Scribes will put these Trinkets on the AH, and their prices are fairly high. However, their prices are somewhat kept down by sheer supply.

As time goes on, these Trinkets will devaluate comparitively, because people start weighing off collecting cards (which are then going cheaper) rather than buying the trinket. Just before the Darkmoon Faire prices drop quite a bit, as sellers don’t want their Trinket drowned out by the new Trinkets from the coming Faire.

The prices of the Decks themselves are a balancing factor between Cards and Trinkets. They are a complete set, so functionally the same investment as the Trinket. You just have to wait for the Faire to arrive, so the price advantage is held by players who buy a deck during mid-season. This is because the impatient people rather buy the Trinket, and the patient collect cards on the cheap and at a slow pace.

Buying the Deck itself is also an investment in one other way: reputation.

Some people still go for the Insane achievement, which requires the Darkmoon Faire at Exalted. Since 350 Rep is quite a big deal in such an expensive grind, they sometimes hand in Decks for Trinkets and then sell it on the AH. While not as numerous as speculants, I think these rep-grinders provide quite some of the Trinkets on the AH, recouping their investment in the Cards or Decks.

What should I buy?

In my personal opinion, if you are not in a hurry, buy the cards when they are cheap. Whether it’s in off-season or beause someone is massively undercutting the competition. You will get all of the advantages, but not the uncertainty of RNG when making the cards yourself.

Best of both worlds is buying the Deck, but only if you have a week or two to spare so you can buy them at a good price and turn them in at the Faire yourself. This also presents you with the option of buying the Agi or Str version of the Hurricane Trinket – once the Trinket is made, there’s no choice.

The Trinkets themselves are expensive, and you gain no Reputation because you didn’t turn in the Deck yourself. So you are simply paying for the value of the Trinket itself. If you have money to burn and cannot afford to wait, this is your option – but there’s no way of knowing if your Trinket’s on the AH at any time.

Rolling in the gold

In theory, to make a sizeable chunk of money on this, one would be buying cards just after the Faire, picking up the leftovers. Complete Decks during the mid-range and sell them a day before or during the Darkmoon Faire. Leftover cards are best sold in the week before the Faire, when people try to complete their Decks. If your Decks go unsold, turn them into Trinkets at the last day of the Faire and then sell them a week later once the hubbub has died down.

So, now it’s just a matter of putting this theory to the test, and seeing how close these “rules” and “theories” align with reality.

Mind you, I’m no AH expert, so my knowledge is limited in this field – but it sure is exciting to speculate during off-hours for some fun and profit.

How to start over again

Posted in Guides, Professions, Reputation, Shadowpriest, Theory with tags , , on January 3, 2011 by Natarumah

With the coming of Cataclysm and the upheavals in the old world, many people have now started to roll new priests for themselves. Some always wanted a priest for an alternative character, others had it gather dust until an excuse came along to level it. And finally, the lure of the Worgen and Goblin races brough some to roll priests of those races (and sometimes even a second priest).

For those people, I’d like to start the new year with a post dedicated to leveling a priest, whether to watch the scenery or to plow through levels as quickly as humanly possible.

The importance of guilds

The new guild system, with its levels and perks, has a large impact on the leveling experience. Not only does the perk Fast Track give a 5% or 10% bonus to experience gained, the perk Mr. Popularity does a similar thing for reputations.  And finally Hasty Hearth, the perk gained at guild level 7 reduces the cooldown on your hearthstone to 15 minutes, down from 30.

This means that in a large and active guild (at the time of writing, Stormwind Academy is on the verge of reaching level 9) you can easily have yourself a 10% boost to experience and a much faster return to base camp.

Guild reputation

Guild reputation involves all the achievements you gain and quests you complete. As a new character, you will start racking up guild reputation from the moment you log in, up to a maximum per week. I am not sure what the real cap is, but so far it seems to be about 5-6K per week.

There are several rewards unlocked that require the guild to have gained a certain achievement, and you to have a certain reputation with your guild. For leveling purposes, there are a few that can be quickly gained by most guilds, and help you while advancing your new priest:

Shroud of Cooperation - A cloak with the guild logo and colors, which allows you to teleport to Stormwind/Orgrimmar with an 8 hour cooldown. This requires the guild to have the Class Act achievement (one member of every class) and you to be Honored with the guild. Not only will this help you in returning to Azeroth from Outland or Northrend now that the portals are gone, it will also allow you to get to Eastern Kingdoms if you started a character in Kalimdor (Night Elf, Draenei, Goblin) or vice versa (everyone else).

There are several cloaks with lower cooldowns, but these require more involved achievements, higher guild levels or more than Honored reputation.

Guild Page – A noncombat pet which has an 8 hour cooldown. He comes bearing a standard with your guild banner, but more importantly will buy your grey vendor trash, unwanted quest rewards and similar stuff, keeping your bags clean. He will remain for 5 minutes, but sadly can’t repair your gear. As an aside, he also offers to sell you any other guild rewards you have access to.

Heirlooms

As always, if you want to level fast, you want some heirlooms. While they are currently rather pricy when bought for Justice Points (and you might have uses for them on your main) they still sell for the same cost at the Argent Tournament. Two or three runs doing all the Tournament dailies on your main will allow you to buy one heirloom, as well as some minor pocket change.

The most important heirlooms for leveling fast are the Chest and Shoulder items, since these boost your XP with 10% each. After that, a good set of trinkets and weapons will make you practically unkillable to anything in the old world.

There is an heirloom ring, Dread Pirate Ring, which boosts XP gained by 5%. However, to get this ring you will need to win the Kal’uak Fishing Derby in Northrend, always a gamble. Fortunately, most people will be more involved with the new content, meaning your chances improve.

Finally, new heirloom cloaks will become available from the Guild Vendor once your guild reaches level 10 (possible this week if you made the cap every day since Cataclysm launch) and you are Honored with the Guild. These cloaks offer Crit and Haste, as well as a nice portion of Stamina and Intellect. More importantly, they will level with you until 85, meaning their value stays for much longer.

Power-plowing Professions

For speedy leveling, nothing beats being a Miner/Herbalist. While not the most glorious professions to have (certainly once you hit max level) they will offer you a lot of experience on the way. And best of all, this experience scales with your profession level, meaning that it will be beneficial all the way.

The Herbalist benefit of Lifeblood (small heal and a Haste bonus) fits well with a Shadowpriest, and allows you to burst down tough quest mobs or hold your own against Elites in Azeroth and Outland. Mining offers increased Stamina which, while not all that required until Northrend finishes, will serve you well in Cataclysm. Quest mobs from level 83 on start hitting really hard, and if you pull too many mobs, this Stamina might just save your day.

Questing or instancing?

When playing a Shadowpriest, you will find that queuing for a dungeon can be hard. Even with all these people starting new characters, you are going to wait a long time for a dungeon unless you queue as Healer. For this, I’d suggest getting a healing spec on the side once you can, because the lower-level dungeons have been slightly retuned with better loot and (slightly) increased challenge.

Questing, on the other hand, has become much simpler. You can say goodbye to your old questing addons, since every capital city has billboards with “Call to Arms” quests sending you to level-appropriate zones. And within these zones, quests are arranged in hubs with frequent flight paths in between. Every quest (as usual) is also displayed prominently on your map, so you will have no trouble finding anything.

On the whole, questing and gathering while waiting for your queue to pop as DPS seems to be the most efficient route. Quests for a dungeon are all located at the entrance, so no need to go around and gather those up anymore either. Questing and leveling have never been as easy as today.

The slow road

In fact, a more frequent complaint these days is that leveling is too fast, and that you outlevel the quests in an area before you even finish it. Sadly, there’s not much to be done here. Without heirloom boosts and mining/herbalism you will slow down a bit, but you can’t shut off the guild perk for the 10% boost unless you leave the guild, negating your hard-won reputation with it.

But people who love the questing and sight-seeing experience won’t be deterred by being too high level for them, and the new world has been enriched with very fun new quests, a plotline that evolved since classic (no more searching for Mankrik’s wife) and incorporating many of the madcap antics found in Northrend quest (cutscenes, bumping goats off cliffs, races, and much more) making questing fun rather than a chore or a race.

Talents

When leveling up, you will get to pick being a Shadowpriest from level 10 (yay!) granting you the awesome Mind Flay ability. If you’ve visited Twisted Faith before, you probably know the drill, so what I present below will be control-based specs (survival and control > DPS) while leveling rather than the raid specs.

Level 21: http://wowtal.com/#k=f-zr.a8t.priest.
Level 31: http://wowtal.com/#k=f-u0g.a8t.priest.
Level 41: http://wowtal.com/#k=f-uBkG.a8t.priest.
Level 51: http://wowtal.com/#k=f-uBpa.a8t.priest.
Level 61: http://wowtal.com/#k=f-CIQI.a8t.priest.
Level 71: http://wowtal.com/#k=f-AhuP3.a8t.priest.
Level 81: http://wowtal.com/#k=8-AL_n-.a8t.priest.
Level 85: http://wowtal.com/#k=a5FN4KMg.a8t.priest. (requires a respec)

The level 85 talent choices are what I use for a Dungeon spec. I chose Improved Psychic Scream (Panic Button), Silence (Interrupt) and Psychic Horror (Disarm/Stun) as I have seen how much damage can be prevented on the party or the tank, and how much level 85 heroics require control.

In the next post I will give attention to Shadowpriests in Heroics, elaborate on the Control spec, and give tips regarding specific bosses.

Gear

When it comes to gear, things have become really simple. While leveling, you want gear with as much Intellect as possible, augmented by Spirit (for the Hit and lower downtime between combat). Haste is still a primary stat across all levels, balanced out with a bit of Crit.

You don’t want to get any talent related to Mastery until level 80 (when you learn the ability) and gear at level 80 or below does not have Mastery on it.

Once your character reaches level 79,  get your hands on a set of Deathsilk, crafted by tailors. This is one of the starter tailoring sets which also is used to level tailoring on, making it cheap and affordable. The robe and helm are blue quality items and require volatile fire, the others only cloth and thread. It’s not uncommon to see an entire set on the Auction House for less than 800 gold, even at the height of the expansion’s leveling streak.

This set will be good enough to fearlessly challenge level 81-84 content, and you will find that replacements come only in Uldum and perhaps the last quests of Deepholme. Therefore, it’s a great investment. As mobs will be hitting much harder, the additional Stamina on the pieces will make things much easier, even if you were draped in ICC epics before.

Why I look forward to Archaeology

Posted in Professions, Shadowpriest with tags , , on September 22, 2010 by Natarumah

The newest secondary profession to be added in Cataclysm, Archaeology, will allow people to use Gnomish/Goblin technology to search for artifacts of the pre-cataclysmic world and attempt to piece them together. Throughout the world, digsites will be crawling with prospective…well…prospectors, attempting to find the latest and greatest in fluff.

This is all done using an interface which will remind a lot of people of Zoo Tycoon. One of the expansion packs for this game involves prehistoric animal life, and allows you to dig around in your zoo for bones. You can then piece the skeleton together in the lab, and attempt to bring these beasts and plants back to life to display them to the public.

But there’s more to this profession than being an Epic Timewaster ™ like Fishing is. These projects can lead to exciting discoveries like animated dinosaur pets, mounts, Bind on Account items and who know what. So if you are digging this profession (wut!) you are also likely to be interested in the rewards it gives, even if it does not give you game benefits.

Mitarn has made quite an extensive guide from experience in the Beta, and Totalbiscuit also has made a video on the subject. Whether for hilarity or information, these links will put some meat on the bones of the profession, so to speak.

Why does this excite me?

The entire world has changed, whole zones have been cut in half, re-forested, turned to molten lava or are being overrun by the minions of the Old Gods. But being level 80, there’s little excitement in doing the level 1-60 quests throughout the new world, is there? I also am already a Loremaster and Explorer, so re-doing those titles on merit alone would not make me very happy.

But with Archaeology, which features digsites in the lower-level zones, I will have something to do in between doing the low-level quests. There’s also the matter that it may or may not provide the base materials for Scribes to make the “Cataclysmic Patterns”. I am not sure about that, could be that Scribes can do it on their own. But won’t it be exciting to find recipe fragments, pass them to your scribe and have him discover a lost recipe?

It makes me tingle alright.

Conclusion

Yes, as a secondary profession Archaeology will give you zero benefits that are game related. Nada, zilch, nan de mo nai. However, it will spark your interest in the old world, give you nifty toys and is more exciting than Cooking and Fishing even if it has less functional use. If you want to complete the old quests again (which are now new quests) this will give you something to do when you need a breather.

Guides: Feedback and Requests!

Posted in Guides, Professions, PvP, Raids and Instances, Reputation, Roleplaying, Shadowpriest with tags , , on August 2, 2010 by Natarumah

As we are slowly marching on to the release of Cataclysm, I have come to the realization that there are many things I still want to do; my hunter’s epic level 60 quest, completing the Scepter of the Sands questline, completing a few of the old questlines and reputations. So, with a light heart I started completing the Scepter questlines (about halfway now) and started gathering materials for a lot of old world factions like the Thorium Brotherhood.

This prompted me with an idea, for which I will need your assistance. What I want to do is to create a series of guides on some of the old world and Burning Crusade material from the perspective of a Shadowpriest.

Guides I am sure to do at this time are:

  • The Insane title
  • The Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline
  • RP outfits from the old world with RP commentary
  • Loremaster’s Compendium (this will take a while!)

What I will do in those guides is make a clear and step-by-step documentation on how to do it, from a Shadowpriest perspective. I don’t care if it can be solo’d by a Hunter or Paladin, but if a Shade can do it – and if not, what you will need to get it done. The usual niceties apply; maps for quests and locations, questlines in order, requirements listed beforehand and if any useful addons currently exist to help you.

I also want to include a “cheat sheet” with each guide, basically a one-page checklist of all the materials you will need to fulfill the requirements of the guide, including some optional stuff if applicable. To me it should feel like this one page when printed out and put next to your keyboard should answer all your needs when checking the AH or grinding.

I know there are many other guides out there, most of them paid, but what I am going for is to make it specific for our needs and to put some brains in it. That is to say, if there is a smarter way of getting it done than the usual, I go for it. I will try to get a sample guide done this week to show you what I mean.

What I need from you guys is to tell if you feel a guide should have more “meat” in it than I described. I need these guides to be usable and complete, not quick rundowns. Consider this your chance to get your wishes across – I am writing these guides for you, after all!

Second, I want to know if there are any reputations, questlines or other guide-worthy subjects you want to see published; I am open for requests and there’s plenty time for me to go and get firsthand experience as well as research these subject matters. Just keep in mind I am looking for things that are Shadowpriest-specific; I don’t think I will make a guide on completing the hunter epic quest or a showcase of Paladin armor. It also doesn’t need to be Classic-only. The Burning Crusade has a lot of fun things to do that would be helped by a clear how-to.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

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