Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking for Alternate Gear Sources

As I get SLOWLY ready for raiding, I am constantly on the look out for cheap upgrade options. Sure, eventually, I'll have enough valor points to get my nice shiny T11 warlock gear, but that's a ways away.

2200 valor points / 70 points per heroic dungeon = 31 days / 4 dungeons a week = 7 weeks

Long story, short, by March, assuming no raiding, I should be replacing my lowest grade item.

First off, what's an upgrade? While I was searching for PAWN scales and Simcraft results, I found this forum post on EJ. About half way down the page, Peanut posts his simcraft stat prioritization levels for destro locks.

# gear_stamina=4846
# gear_intellect=4355
# gear_spirit=20
# gear_spell_power=1729
# gear_hit_rating=1756
# gear_crit_rating=858
# gear_haste_rating=1298
# gear_mastery_rating=438

Using these values, I figured I had a fairly good Heroic Destruction Pawn scale. To simplify my numbers, I divided everything by 100 and used that (stam=4.846, etc.).

( Pawn: v1: "EJ Destro": Intellect=4.355, IsFist=-1000000, Is2HMace=-1000000, IsMace=-1000000, CritRating=0.8, IsOffHand=-1000000, Stamina=4.846, HasteRating=1.298, MasteryRating=0.438, IsCrossbow=-1000000, MetaSocketEffect=7200, IsPolearm=-1000000, IsGun=-1000000, Is2HAxe=-1000000, IsThrown=-1000000, SpellPower=1.729, IsBow=-1000000, IsMail=-1000000, IsPlate=-1000000, IsLeather=-1000000, HitRating=1.756, Is2HSword=-1000000, IsRelic=-1000000, IsAxe=-1000000, IsShield=-1000000, GemQualityLevel=86 )

When I have Outfitter build my gear set, now I am running my haste trinkets instead of full mastery. ATM, my hit is down to only 10% instead of 16% using the default Destruction scale. Not too concerned about this as I am not raiding and Heroic bosses are only level 87.

So, what is a poor warlock to do?  I can see 3 potential options.
  1. Drops (or BOE)
  2. PVP
  3. Tailored items
Drops while the cheapest to the pocket book are not always the easiest to obtain. With some items being as low as .1 % drop rate, you may never see an item as an upgrade. Now don't discount them completely, as there are the rare chances.  Now remember, like VOA in Wrath, Baradin Hold drops Warlock Tier 11 (gloves and legs). Drops can also come at the expense of the Auction House, or via Guildies. Let everyone know what stats you could use and maybe you'll grab an epic drop without having to fight for it. A little gold and you're done. Considering all the gold picked by simply questing (and getting rep), I can easily have over a 1000g in a short time.

PVP options are a little bit more work. They require that you participate in PVP. Personally, I like to fight in a regular battleground. One the queue time is usually a lot shorter (5-10 minutes vs 20-30 minutes). Second, the fights are typically shorter. I ran a random dungeon the other night, well, I started a pugged heroic Stonecore. After 2hrs, we still hadn't downed the last boss and never did.. It really stinks when in this day, I can out aggro a tank, regularly. Gear scores the same and all...UGH! 200g in repairs later and no new valor points. Personally, battlegrounds are my testing grounds. I'll test out new gear builds, new talent builds and  new spell rotations. Beauty being that I'll likely NEVER see the same people twice. OK, maybe the same night, but theres no kicking PVP players simply for showing up.. :D

Thing to remember about PVP items. The stats are weighted towards survival, not DPS. You will find resilience, and not hit on gear. On the otherhand, if you are upgrading i315 item, the PVP items are typically i339 (tailored PVP) to i360 (pvp points).You should see an improvement, even with Resilience. Just look at enchanting with the cheap hit or haste enchants until you can pick up a PVE item.

Tailored Items are becoming my least favorite item. Sure the materials can be picked up by questing, farming, grinding mobs or purchasing them on the AH, but if you are not a tailor, you're relying on someone else and their cooldowns (up to a week per piece of cloth). I suggest keeping all your mats on the bank, then finding a guildie who wants to level their tailoring. Breeches of Mended Nightmares cost 6 dreamcloth, which are made from 1 of 6 different recipes (8 bolt of embersilk + 30 volatiles (air, earth, fire, water or life), or 5 chaos orbs). The recipe cost another dreamcloth. WowHeads lists them at 8000g. I have yet to seem them for sale.

Without regularly runing dungeons, your upgrades are going to be harder to come by. Items that might be easily accessible to those already in raid gear, will require a bit more effort to the casual player. I don't necessarily want to wait 7 weeks between tier pieces, but that might be my only option. You don't need to limit your options to only those accessible via the point vendors or BOE items on the AH; consider everything. Those PVP honor point pants, might be better than anything reasonably priced for sale.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Slow Week - No updates

Work has literally been eating my brain this week, ending in a project finally completing this Friday. Besides work, here's what I have learned.
  • I am still looking for a pawn scale for destro. Both "Affliction", but Nibuca has one and their's one on EJ. Maybe it's time to fire up Simcraft and build one for myself??
  • Got a shock that maybe Destro does want haste?? 
  • Mortigan is making a come back. If you missed it last time, he has a great post on raiding. Still relevant.
  • Great post on the Blizzard forums about Casual players.
    A casual player is not someone to lazy to jump on the forums/wowhead/wowpedia/youtube for boss strats.

    A casual player is not someone who has to much of a "Life" to gem/gear properly.

    A casual player is not someone who lives their life around ruining your WoW experience.
  • You can filter your Google Search results  to only posts made in the last # days. Which doesn't go to help you find anything new on the Blizz forums, EJ or WOWMB, especially when it's not there.
As with all, I learned something new, now it's time to go home. Until later.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

They finally left me!!

With each dismount, they chided me for leaving them in a strange location. They complained about what a "good friend" I was.. Now they're gone and I miss them..

Where'd you go Drix and Mojodishu?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Enchanting Evening

By this weekend, I am planning to have almost all my equipment upgraded. I am running through Twilight Highlands and picking up a good portion of i333 gear replacing my Uldum greens.With that, I'd like to run through with guildies and enchant all my blues and purples.

Here's what I am thinking for Destruction:

(Vendor) Purchasable enchants:
  1. Boots - Lavawalker - Movement speed, stam and mastery. Personally good for both PVE and PVP situations. How better to "not stand in fire" than to be able to jump out before it hurts (too bad).
  2. Gloves - Mastery or Greater Mastery - Destro loves mastery. Mastery = increased damage from fire spells.
  3. Bracers - Precision (+50 hit) - at least until I max out my raiding hit. The other option is Haste and all the news I keep reading says Haste doesn't stack well for Destro. (darn if the haste buff doesn't make those incinerates fly during the dragon boss in Vortex Pinnacle) We're all about flash and bang, not the long DOT.
  4. Legs - Spellthread (Powerful Enchanted or Enchanted) Also a good portion of Int.
  5. Offhand - Superior Int - What's not to like for any DPS caster.
  6. Weapon - ?? Power Torrent maybe. Any enchant that procs, just sounds odd IMHO. But it DOES have a cool visual.. At the moment, I'm going old school and put that SP Wrath enchant.

Reputation based enchants:
  1. Head - Arcanum of Hyjal +int and +crit are both flash bang, just more flash and more banging.
  2. Shoulders - Charged Lodestone (Therazane) Int and Haste, but a little more haste isn't going to hurt. Now I just need to finish questing in Deepholm to get my rep up.
Grabbing a bunch of mats and enchanting velums and mailing them off to my guild enchanters might not be a bad idea. They can level up with someone else's mats and you get all their hard work back. double-win

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    I have legs!

    Playing a warlock, you get used to seeing your toon in robes. Long dramatic clothing that goes down to the ground. Today in a pugged a Heroic Deadmines. From the second to last boss (Cookie still has a fairly good wand too! ), I picked up a chest piece that show my pants. I had to double check to see that I had my chest piece on...

     i346 with stam, int, mastery and crit! sweet!

    I haz legs

    I came into this dungeon when they lost one of their DPS. Looked like a guild run as they were all from, well the same server and guild. The next series of fights to follow Cookie, evolved around Vanessa VanCleef (only in Heroic). She is a rogue, who poison's you. You then experience a series of nightmares and have to fight that nightmare's meta-boss. I died standing in the fire. Then I died standing in the fire again on the boat. Note the rope is a vehicle, grab it at the bottom.

    Edit: Not long before this was posted, I ran a heroic Blackrock and picked up the most excellent BOP chest. Now I am back into a man-skirt again.  

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Set Oven to Cataclysmic Achievement

    I was looking for a way to get the achievement for my guild called "Set the Oven to Cataclysmic". See, after your guild makes 5000 Cataclysm branded recipes, your can get the Broiled Dragon Feast recipe. This feast feads the raid/party and provides 60 stam and 60 points in highest stat.

    Sounds easy enough. 5,000 recipies by the entire guild. ATM, my guild has 950 of those done. The last 60 were all me. I bought the Kungaloosh (alchololic mana food) replacement recipe off the cooking daily vendor in Orgrimmar. From there, I grabbed the portal to Twilight Highlands and in the Inn at the Dragonmaw Port, is Lizzy Lemons. She sells both materials for the South Island Ice Tea; ~5s for the water and ~8s for the fruit (or vice versa)

    5000 x 14s = 700g.

    Assuming I do it myself (and I won't), we'll have the recipe by the time I finish leveling in TH.

    Soon to raids and 5-man parties near you...

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Escape Artists

    This is not about WoW. This is about WoW intersecting my commute to work. See, I don't listen to broadcast radio on my short 10 mile commute to work, I listen to audio books. (Commercials??) More to the point, I listed to podcast-books, free books often read by the author, or another party who enjoys that genre. Over the last month, I listened to two different podiobooks that made me think, hmm, that sounds like Warcraft.

    The Warlock and the Good Man (by MK Hobson) - Think Red Dead Redemption meets WoW. Cowboys and goblins living together in a small town at the bottom of a mountain inhabited by an other-worldly goblin king. The visual of a priest/sheriff working together with a warlock was interesting. I liked the back story about how the warlock got his start, similar to the WoW lore (IMHO). This story was read back in September 2010, but is still on the site. (Yeah, I am a little behind these stories.) They've rated it "R" for content, gore and language.
    (snippet) Mrs. Jorgensen ran the whores out of a big square building that had once been butter-yellow but had weathered to the color of chicken fat left out on a plate. The place was built sturdy, of white pine and fir, and had fine scrollwork supporting the eaves. The windows were covered with stretched oilpaper, ripped in places. At night, behind the oilpaper, shadows moved in the light of kerosene lamps. Some of the shadows had horns, some did not.

    Planetfall (by Michael C Lea) - Think Starcraft and WoW. Here you have a home planet destroyed by a superior alien race, the civilation is looking for a new home and making friends (or is it enemies?) with the indigenous race. No direct WoW reference like Good Man, but a lot of magical references, including imp powered weaponry and use of runes to create barriers. I kept seeing orcs, warlocks and DKs in my mind's eye as this was being read.
    Urjik’s greenish skin and jutting lower canines marked him as a charuk, his bloodline tainted by nether influences. Despite this stigma, and despite his temper, he had risen quickly in Rampart Battalion. Even the most burdensome battlesuit did not slow him, and no one was a truer shot with an inferno cannon or a hex-impelled railgun.
    Urjik hefted his high-powered Vindocladian inferno cannon to his shoulder and aimed its sigil-carved barrel into the clearing. Inside the bulky rifle’s main housing, a nether imp was caged, writhing in immortal fury but jacketed securely in heavy-duty curse-proofed lead.
    These are just two of the free stories put out by 2 of the 3 different Escape Artists websites. Each site puts out stories in a different genre (sci-fi, fantasy or horror). All excellent quality and listener supported. So, yes, you will get the PBS, style, please donate with each story, but that's for you and your pocketbook to decide. If you're tired of commercial/broadcast radio, I highly suggest checking out their content. Your MP3 player will appreciate it.

    As the Mr Ely (EA founder) was fond of saying, "Have Fun".

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Idle Thoughts: Guild Build

    I have an idea. I think it's a good idea. I know, it's a long shot, but that's why I created this Idle Thoughts category. So, I was reading in the upcoming PTR notes about the changes coming to the Guild tab:

    Guild Interface

    • A View All button has been added to the profession display regardless of whether Show Offline Members is checked.
    • Online members can now be sorted to the top of the View Crafters list.
    • The guild reputation cap is now displayed in the tooltip.
    So, I can see all the various recipes that my guild can make, now I want a disenchant button. You know that function you get while in a group, to disenchant items when you have an enchanter on hand.

    See, I have a tailor in my guild who has a recipe for those cool, i346 pants. I have all the mats, but this guildie is in a different time zone, so she's never on, at least not when I am. I could mail her the mats, hope she makes the right ones, and wait until tomorrow. But I got a disenchant button, so.. I pull up the recipe in the guild interface, and since no cool down impact, no problem. Select the pants recipe, put in 2g for a tip and click "Make my pants!". Now scroll over to the guild enchanter, select some affordable spell thread, go.

    Happy Palindrome Day  "11011".
    (at least here in the States, where the date is mm dd yy).

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Idle Thoughts: WoW Macro Library

    gotta love those moths
    With all the talk of macros in the blogosphere yesterday, I got to doing some of my own research. The night before, I ran through the Lost City dungeon and someone did the /love Oasis Moth emote for the Cata Squirrels achievement. In wrath, I had an emote macro (like this).

    My research into WoW macros was to determine a max size. I had roughly remembered that macros had a 255 character limit (very visible in game, but not from the office). Hmm, in database terms, macros fields are strings; strings can be a maximum of 255 characters. <geek out>This leads me to believe, attached to your character table, is a macro table. The macro table has probably 5 fields (account id, character id, macro name, macro icon, macro code). Now, why would they want to setup a new table for each and every toon out there. No way, management overhead nightmare. They likely have a single table on each realm, that hosts all of the world of macros.</geek out>

    WoW Armory Extension? 
    How about this? A web interface to that table, a veritable WoW Armory Code Repository. Using the player info, they could break down macros by toon types (Warlock: Destro, Aff, Demo). Macros could be weighted by popularity, or commented on (add categories). You like one, have it assigned to your account (take up a free macro slot). Macro get's updated, you can have the option of accepting changes, or not. From a technical perspective, unfortunately, this wouldn't be that easy to implement. Allowing you to assign a global macro to your account would require another layer of abstraction, i.e. another table. Another table per user would likely mean your account would increase in size, loading and performance on the backend servers increased.

    OK, never mind. Global repository aside, I still would love to have a way to see everyone's macros. Yeah, I know about all those websites (wowmdb, wowwikiapedia, mmo-champion, etc.) have macro forum posts. I am thinking Codeplex (checkout RAWR on codeplex) for WoW macros, i.e. searchable, categorized, and commented on. 

    Is that out there already?

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Faking Gear Score

    Click to go to WowArmory
    Last night, I finished the quests in Uldum and saw that I still had a 328 average iLevel. Out of curiousity, I picked up the honored i333 cape that the Uldum Quartermaster had on sale. This cape is totally inappropriate for a warlock. Sure, it has the bonus stats of mastery and crit strike, but it's primary stat is strength. On the other hand, just purchasing this item brought my character's iLevel up 2 points (328 to 330).

    This doesn't seem right. Here I could roll greed on an agility trinket, or pick up a melee cape and fake my way into a (heroic) dungeon. Stack this up on all the non-cloth mandatory items (neck, back, both trinkets and potentially 3 weapon slots) and you have a well geared player that does 0 dps. Hmm, that explains my Lost City of Tol'vir run last night. We had a hunter doing between 300 and 1100 dps!.  It wasn't even Heroic. Unfortunately this group was rather feisty, so while he wasn't kicked, we wiped then dropped group on the end boss. Some reason, the tank and myself were the last 2 people alive.

    Looking forward, I am about half way to Revered with the Earthen Ring (currently championing).They have a revered cape that looks ideal. Couple more dungeon runs and I should be there... One note, the WowHead Stat weighting appears to be all wrong. The #1 "Destruction warlock" rep cloak has a healthy dose of Agility. While the last place cloak is stam and int (compare).

    Taming MOAR Pets

    WFH means Work Warcraft From Home Monday was a work from home kind of day, so I worked on a little project of my own. I saw this on Twit...