Friday, 30 January 2009

Moving Out, AKA Almost Completely Useless Post

For the second time in my life I am moving house.
The first time occured when I was 5, and involved crossing 11 time zones and both tropics.
This time it's a move of about 20km into town, but leaving the parental supervision unit behind.

So there's been lots of things to get organised; and since I haven't spent a lot of time in-game there hasn't been much material for wow-related posts.

There has, however, been lots of stuff to organise. E.g. last night I spent about four hours working on a forecasting budget, having entered one of my pedantic, nit-picky and perfectionist (i.e. German) moods. Therefore I found out that the New Zealand tax rates have changed, I have no idea how long ago.
Previously I was working on the basis of 19.5% tax in the lowest bracket, but this was clearly at odds with my payslips.
The new brackets are:
$0-$14000: taxed at 13.9%
$14001-$40000: taxed at 22.4%
Which actually leaves me with a bit of extra money. I still end up $1200 short at the end of the year (assuming predictions, prices, and job stability are accurate, which is assuming a bit much), but there's a pay review next week, so there's hope of not ending up horribly in debt by the end of the year. Except for the roughly $40,000NZD that I owe to the government for my tertiary education.

And there are lists to be written, projections to be made. Must organise content insurance etc. All of which is pretty mundane crap that doesn't interest anyone except me (I want to get my stuff insured) and the insurance agents (who will be able to make some nice profit out of me).

Actually, this post really IS a waste of space. So let me share with you a short story from my recent endeavours into the World of Warcraft.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is a story that clearly demonstrates the sheer quantity of stupidity that can be found in the game sometimes. What makes this story different from my other rants about in-game idiocy? Well, the difference is minor. Let's just get to the story, it's a short one.

The Characters:
: some random Aman'Thul Hordie
Ephylia: the paladin main of some little-known run-of-the-mill blogger. That would be me.

The Setting:
Doesn't really matter because this story is about a conversation.

Background Detail:
My mage alt had just reached 50 a few minutes ago, and was preparing to grind Enchanting and Tailoring en masse to 350 or so.

Scene One of Two:
[Trade] D~: WTS lots of Netherweave Cloth
*Thinking: Netherweave Cloth would be great for leveling tailoring, and I could then DE stuff to level enchanting*
Ephy to D~: Sure. I'll buy them. How much? And how many have you got?
D~ to Ephy: I have 21 stacks, looking at 3g each.
*Honest quote of my thought process: 21 stacks. Hmmm, so that's like 20 cloth per stack or something. How much gold do I have? 321. Hmmm. If I offer 300 gold I can get a free stack*
Ephy to D~: I'll take em for 300g.
D~ to Ephy: 300g?
*Trying to think again: hmmm. Have I offended him? Let's redo that calculation. Oh gods, I only offered half of what he wants. Well, let's pretend I'm not an idiot and say this as if it's what I meant all along*
Ephy to D~: I meant, I'll buy 300g worth.
D~ to Ephy: huh? There's 21 stacks.
Ephy to D~: Oh
Ephy to D~: Sh!t
Ephy to D~: I'm stupid. 63 gold it is.
D~ to Ephy: lol.
D~ to Ephy: I'll COD it.
Ephy to D~: Ok. Sorry about that. It's late.
*Exit Ephylia for bed*

Scene Two of Two: By a Mailbox in Dalaran. The next day.
*Yay. Mail. Must be that Netherweave Cloth. Ohgodsthatwasembarassingquickthinkofsomethingelse.*
*Opens mail item one: 11 stacks of Netherweave Cloth for a 33 gold CoD*
*Opens mail item two: 10 stacks of Netherweave Cloth with 30 gold attached*
*Sends D~ 60 gold*

Three things I'd like to add:
Hopefully I'm going to be starting a BSc (hons) in Applied Mathematics later this year. Wish me luck, because I'm really going to need it.
Scene One above took place at 3 o'clock in the morning. Closer to 4 o'clock in fact. I stop thinking after 2 (yes, I know, the fact that I stopped thinking is really obvious). I have no f*cking idea how I ended up with those numbers.
I'd have done this as a me-vs-brain type post or something, except that would have been really unoriginal, stupidly so and since it's not yet 2am I realise this. Also, quite evidently, no brains were involved on my end of the dialogue.

So there you have it.

WoW is contains a lot of stupid people, or at least a lot of really dumb-foundingly stupid behaviour.

PS: if it hadn't been so god-damn late, I'd have taken a screenshot. See above for note on not-thinking.

Friday, 23 January 2009

3.0.8 and me

Well, after cleaning work earlier this week (carpet was still a touch moist) I finally got in a quick WoW-fix last night, downloaded the patch and did some groupy stuff.

So what did 3.0.8 mean for me?

Ephylia is now under 1600 spellpower thanks to the Titansteel Guardian adjustment (i.e. nerf).
And I'm disappointed that Flow of Knowledge give 84 Resilience (was originally spoiled as having 84 crit rating, which made it stupidly good for 25 Wintergrasp marks). But otherwise my Paladin is loving the patch simply for the improvement to Glyph of Holy Light (which is so OP it's getting nerfed, fast). Now I just wish Holy-oriented Plate would start dropping.

My hunter is now a 6/52/5 Marksman (for leveling), which is a really cool spec. Brief testing on Target Dummies showed that I went from a 650-450 Hunter-pet split dps-wise, to 1050-150, which is a decent jump, but does mean I have serious issues with aggro now, maybe get a better pet than the Gorilla? But if both components of Chimera Shot crit, that's a nice 5.5k damage.
Also, apparently Survival post-patch is better than BM pre-patch. Wtf?

My druid is back to Feral, enjoying a nice increase to armor thanks to the changes to Survival of the Fittest. And he can finally use the Sonic Spear I picked up last year sometime (mentioned in this post). Which warranted a respec to a 0/52/9 build. Just because. Seriously, druid with Sonic Spear, my hunter is still silently weeping over that.

Oh yeah, evidence (thanks to Arianwyn, whose computer I hi-jacked, Mew =^..^= ):

It's got a spear! It must be a Hunter.



Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Ok, Where's the furniture?

So I came home today after wringing out my brains at work (my role within the project keeps expanding) hoping that after shopping for dinner, cooking dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up after dinner (etc) I could go beat up some target dummies in Org, respec for Chimera Shot, then beat up said target dummies some more, and maybe gain another level (or at least part thereof).
Fat chance.
Come home, wonder why furniture has all been moved. Oh right, you're steam-cleaning the carpet. Come to think of it, this was mentioned about twice a day for the last week, but y'know, I've been stressed. Fine, clean the carpet, clean the furniture too, it does need it, but. Wait. Oh no. You cleaned in the office didn't you? Now the room smells of nasty chemicals (*cough*, *splutter*), the carpet is soaked and there isn't actually room to use the computer. Sigh.
Oh well, maybe tomorrow, since it looks like I'm not moving out this week after all.

Two days without WoW... I'm going to start getting withdrawal symptoms.

Monday, 19 January 2009

My Professions: A Conundrum

I've been thinking a bit about the professions I've chosen, for my various toons, and come to the conclusion that somewhere along the way I may have made some bad calls.

My totally awesome level 80 paladin is a Jewelcrafter, which is my favourite profession (decent to stupendous profit margins, and really great for customising gear). This I am happy with. Awesome BOP gems and trinkets, and I can collect and customise spec/purpose-specific stuff for all my different roles, so that's nifty too. Damn but I love JC, it's been maxed for a month or so now and will stay that way. That being said, Paladin JCs seem to be pretty ubiquitous: out of the 4 level 80 paladins in my guild/on my friends list, 3 are JCs.

My almost-neglected first-to-70 hunter, whom I dusted off last week and got up to 72 is a Leatherworker. Which is fine and dandy, except I'm not overly excited about Bracer enchants and cheap BOP leg enchants, and can easily get everything I want by sending the mats to Toresh, my personal LWing bi-atch (well if you're not going to blog then you've got to have something to do, might as well make me some pretty stuff). So I'm not entirely sure if it's worth leveling LWing. Initially, while leveling as my first toon, being able to make my gear as I leveled was totally awesome (although admittedly I did kind of stockpile my skinning mats and then burst-leveled LW, making a whole bunch of gear 20 levels too low in the process), but since my current gear won't be replaced frequently (probably not until the PvP blues at 78, and then again with crafted epics at 80)

My druid is Engineering. I have very little idea of how this happened, but he's got 2 sets of BC goggles, which cost me quite a bit to get. Unlike some people I'm not really a big fan of engineering, I tend to always forget about the little gadgets. Of course the portable mailbox, repair bot and vendor will be nice, but one big thing that Engineers can make that is pretty much wasted on druids is ammunition, which would make the profession much better suited to say, a hunter. I could just send the ammo over, but this could lead to certain conflicts of times when mailboxes (for the LWing hunter) aren't handy, and there's the fact that the hunter will probably be well ahead on the leveling curve. And it lacks a certain... elegance ("I'm a nature-loving druid who turns into a bear, my raison d'etre is to provide ammo for my hunter to pew-pew stuff, mostly animals").
Additionally, giving my love of different roles and specs, my druid would benefit a lot more from the ease-of-customisation offered by the bracer and leg enchants available to a LW. And there don't appear to be any Feral engineering goggles in WotLK (or so I hear). Hmmm...

My Death Knight has picked up Inscription, which is a neat profession, even if most of the glyphs are just filling up my bank. Will probably be very useful to support Ephylia's frequent respecs (atm I'm just sticking with my Holy PvP glyphs) and the shoulder enchants will save me grinding Sons of Hodir on yet another toon (I'm currently too lazy to grind it on my main, using PvP Inscriptions instead, since Ephy is too young to have access to the BC stuff).
But one thing I didn't realise that Scribes had access to is the enchantment-specific off-hand. Now a DK isn't really the type to walk around with a puny off-hand, not when she could be wielding a bad-ass zweihander or another axe. And out of all my high-level characters the one who would actually benefit from these offhands would be my (mostly) Restoration/Balance druid. And a DK engineer would look pretty spiffy with some goggles.

And then there's options of just going all out gathering. Since most of the good crafted stuff is now BOE, and equipping fresh 80s, while supporting their enchants, gems and respecs can be quite expensive, this might be a good option. But who would be the best double-gatherer? The Hunter has a pet to fend off random mobs near nodes, as does the DK (if Unholy). The druid has flightform, which is great for quickly jumping between nodes that are close together and getting the edge on other farmers. The paladin has Crusader Aura, but I've already said that she's staying as JC.

So ideally I guess my hunter would be an engineer, my druid would have inscription and the DK be a double gatherer (farming leather to support the crafted gear for hunter/druid). But would I be willing to go through the time, effort and expenditure of leveling these a second time? And would I be willing to also drop and level up the relevant gathering professions (an extremely tedious process, except for skinning). Probably not. If Blizzard gave me the opportunity to swap around professions for dollars I'd actually take them up on it (within reason).
I guess that I'll just keep gathering and stockpiling mats until I level my current professions out of boredom and for the sake of completeness.

Have you guys got any advice to give me? How are your own professions going, are you happy with the choices you made?

I know my readers are an extremely quiet lot, even my guildies, but c'mon, break down those communication blocks and comment or something.

(Yes, it's a long, quiet, boring day at work, but then most of this was written at home ;)).

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

From DKs to Zones, with Nostalgia

I finished the starting questchain on my second DK yesterday, at around 1am (my first DK got transfered to Gun'Drak (US) during the Massive Queues Of Doom phase, and is now busy hitting target dummies - of the 200 gold she was transfered with, she has 3 gold left, the rest was spent on respecs).

So after I'd witnessed the magical cleansing of the Ashbringer and wondered some more about what exactly is buried under Light's Hope Chapel, I was ready to head out into the wide world of damnation.

And so I decided to level Herbalism and Inscription. I know a lot of DKs can't be bothered leveling professions up before proceeding along the road to 80, but Inscription has intrigued me, I love having professions and it's more efficient gathering herbs while leveling through Outlands and Northrend, than doing it after reaching 80.

So far I've spent about 6 hours just messing around and getting Herbalism to 205, so I can fully understand why there's so many profession-less Death Knights wandering around. And while I'd much rather be melting (well bashing-in) face in HFP, I've noticed one thing: I absolutely love being in the old zones with something to do.

Essentially it boils down to one of my fondest WoW memories ever: me playing a Troll Hunter, questing in the Barrens with my faithful Boar, at around 3am after all the other trolls have gone home (and taken Chuck Norris with them). Ah that haunting music of The Barrens, bringing solace to the empty void of my soul. In all seriousness, there is an amazing sense of peace and contentment while quietly slaughtering wildlife in a sleep-deprived state across the rugged and desolate-but-beautiful landscape. Ah good times.

The same nostalgic recollections of tranquility and quiet purpose (DIE BRISTLEBACK! DIE!) followed me through Stonetalon Mountains (my hunter was the only character to level here) and would also have come in Thousand Needles, except that I chose to go to Arathi Highlands instead to pick more flowers.

I'm not sure why I love some zones more than other, in particular the vast expanses almost completely populated by beasts, I guess it's the inner hunter (would be interesting to see what others have to say about this).

On that vein, my top-5 personal favourite zones in WoW (based entirely just on how much I like them):

5: Netherstorm
4: Thousand Needles
3: Winterspring
2: Nagrand
1: The Barrens

That's right, it's all Vanilla or BC. While the Northrend zones look stunning (too stunning for my computer to handle), I still prefer the older ones. One honourary mention must be made: Hellfire Peninsula, for being graphically stunning (especially that sky), and making it really f*cking obvious that we ain't in Kansas no more (double negative, I know).

Anyway, that was the sort of soppy, maudlin', meaningless post I have a tendency to write when I don't get enough sleep and have had a hard day, hope you enjoyed it :P.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Servers back up early, no patch in sight

I logged into WoW some 20 minutes ago (which would have made it 0945 PST) and didn't need to do any patching.
So, no new items, hunters still do way too much damage and Avenging Wrath still causes Forbearance, and we get to wait in anticipation for another week.

Also, just so this post isn't a complete waste of space, I shall inform you that I had ice cream for breakfast, mmk?

Season 5 Honor and Arena Rewards

Ok, it's downtime. Patch 3.0.8 may or may not be in the process of currently being installed and all our mail may be missing and hunters are most definitely being nerfed. Anyway, you need something to do. While sleep and the spouse beckon, you nevertheless find yourself... here? Reading this post? o.O
Well, I'd better get on with it then.

This is a list of PvP-oriented items available for purchase through honor and/or arena points (where applicable, PvE sources will also be mentioned).

It's meant to be a comprehensive list of both the set gear (three tiers of 5-piece sets) and miscellaneous items, listing both costs and rating requirements. If, like me, you were overwhelmed by the multitude of items (three different tiers of gear at once) or the variety of different ways of obtaining gear (there are three ways of just getting the blue set), then I hope this post will help you.

I won't cover the level 187 crafted blues (equipable at 78) since I already did that briefly and they're not very interesting.

Savage Gladiator: 200-level blues. NB: The Honor/Arena Point vendor is in the Dalaran Sewers
This gear includes a 5-piece armor set (with the same set bonuses as the epic gear).
It requires no arena rating to purchase.
It can be bought through three ways:
- Honor, and lots of it
- Emblems of Heroism
- A combination of Honor and Arena Points (small amounts of each)
E.g. the Hunter pants can be bought for: 60k Honor OR 45 Emblems of Heroism OR 12k Honour and 350 Arena Points

Head: 60k Honor OR 12k Honor and 350 Arena Points OR 45 Emblems of Heroism
Shoulder: 50k Honor OR 9.6l Honor and 275 Arena Points OR 30 Emblems of Heroism
Chest: 60k Honor OR 12k Honor and 350 Arena Points OR 45 Emblems of Heroism
Hands: 50k Honor OR 7.2k Honor and 200 Arena Points OR 30 Emblems of Heroism
Legs: 60k Honor OR 12k Honor and 350 Arena Points OR 45 Emblems of Heroism

Oh and don't let Wowhead fool you: there are no Savage Gladiator weapons, relics or offhands on the live servers (only the 5-piece set items made it past beta).

Hateful Gladiator: 200-level epics
To me this is the most interesting set. It can be obtained through different ways:
- Pure Honor for the non-set items
- Honor and Arena Points for the set items (require 1600-1800 rating)
- Emblems of Valor for the set items (no rating needed)
- Chest/Hands/Legs drop from normal (10) Vault of Archavon (no rating needed)
Again, don't let Wowhead fool you: there are no Hateful Gladiator weapons, relics or offhands on the live servers
E.g. the Hunter pants can be bought for 45 Emblems of Valor, 12k Honor and 700 Arena Points (requires 1645 rating) or received as a 10-man VOA drop; and the Hunter belt can be purchased for 49.6k Honor

Head: 12k Honor and 700 Arena Points (requires 1735 rating) OR 45 Emblems of Valor
Neck: 38k Honor
Shoulder: 9.6k Honor and 550 Arena Points (requires 1775 rating) OR 30 Emblems of Valor
Back: 38k Honor
Chest: 12k Honor and 700 Arena Points (requires 1675 rating) OR 45 Emblems of Valor OR Drops from Normal Archavon
Wrist: 31.6k Honor
Hands: 7.2k Honor and 400 Arena Points (requires 1615 rating) OR 30 Emblems of Valor OR Drops from Normal Archavon
Waist: 49.6k Honor
Legs: 12k Honor and 700 Arena Points (requires 1645 rating) OR 45 Emblems of Valor OR Drops from Normal Archavon
Feet: 49.6k Honor
Ring: 38k Honor
Trinket: 49.6k Honor

Deadly Gladiator: 213-level Epic
Head: 2250 Arena Points (requires 2090 rating)
Neck: 47.4k Honor (requires 1600 rating)
Shoulder: 1800 Arena Points (requires 2150 rating)
Back: 47.4k Honor (requires 1750 rating)
Chest: 2250 Arena Points (requires 1970 rating) OR Drops from Heroic Archavon
Wrist: 39.4k Honor (requires 1660 rating)
Hands: 1800 Arena Points (requires 1850 rating) OR Drops from Heroic Archavon
Waist: 60.2k Honor (requires 1630 rating)
Legs: 2250 Arena Points (requires 1910 rating) OR Drops from Heroic Archavon
Feet: 60.2k Honor (requires 1720 rating)
Ring: 47.4k Honor (requires 1690 rating)
Trinket (Battlemaster's): 60.2k Honor (requires 1800 rating)
Main-Hand/Slow One-Hand/Caster: 3150 Arena Points (requires 2030 rating)
Two-Hand/Ranged: 4500 Arena Points (requires 2030 rating)
Off-Hand/Fast One-Hand: 1350 Arena Points (requires 2030 rating)
Shield: 2250 Arena Points (requires 2030 rating)
Relic: 1200 Arena Points (requires 2030 rating)

Also Wintergrasp epics have recently been announced for patch 3.0.8 on MMO champion. These are the Titan-Forged pieces: 200-level epics:
Head: 40 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor
Feet: 15 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor
Trinket: 25 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor

The trinkets in particular look pretty awesome. Like really, totally awesome (caster one gives 86 crit with a proc for 590 spellpower, or something like that, which is stupidly good).

NB: with any list this long, errors are sure to creep in. Please report them either through email, or by leaving a comment. Also if you have any further suggestions/requests/criticisms/feedback the same holds true.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Resolutions

And believe me I am still alive.
I'm doing science and I'm still alive.
I feel fantastic and I'm still alive.

Oh, hi. Miss me? Bet you didn't even realise I was gone.
Yeah I was gone. For quite a while in fact, lurking in the shadows, hiding from forum trolls (not really: two new part-time jobs, christmas, and skipping sleep to get to 80 sort of limited enthusiasm and resources for blogging).

TLDR: because I think some people won't read past the second paragraph, if that, here's the TLDR: this post is not aimed at you.

I was kinda of intending to get one more post out last year, but that kind of didn't eventuate, which isn't really a good way to start a post on resolutions.
But THIS IS SPARTA! Actually, no, it isn't. But it IS 2009, a year that will hopefully herald a few changes in my life regarding those aspects that I'm not particularly happy with. And after completely forgetting about them last night, I spent a chunk of today coming up with a list of resolutions while yawning and sweeping around the house.

My Resolutions for 2009:
1: Make realistic resolutions. To this extent I'll try to avoid absolutes, but rather go for relative improvements (better, more, etc...). Also I'll write this list up on my blog (oh, hey, DONE) and maybe set it as one of starting tabs on Firefox. Maybe. This way I'll have a harder time denying the existence of these resolutions to myself or others.

2: Improve personal fitness. Intentionally vague but something to aim for. Ever since senior year my fitness has gone downhill, not too far, but more than I'd like. The goal is to make it back up that hill (without running out of breath), but even a few steps in the right direction will be an improvement. I went for a jog today, so this is being worked on.

3: Write regular blog posts. Especially considering that three week gap in December. The idea is at least one post a week, unless I die, in which case once every two weeks may be considered sufficient providing consent is received
from the applicable parties.

4: Be nicer to people and have a more positive attitude. Having jerkish-tendencies and being a flagrant lover (and user) of sarcasm, and sometimes being rather impatient, I think I should be nicer to people. Simply because there are a lot of people with disruptive/destructive attitudes on the internet, and the world would probably be a nicer place if I didn't add to all the bad vibes. Besides, it's hard being evil all the time.
Disclaimer: this does not apply to the level 19 'twink' hunter I saw in Orgrimmar, the one who claimed that Strength gave ranged attack power to hunters because when he took off his Legionnaire's Band he lost 4 RAP. For the record: Hunters do not gain Ranged Attack Power from Strength, Huntards do. Thank you.

5: Spend less money on random stuff. Straightforward mostly. I'm not actually that bad in terms of impulse buys, except where food is concerned. Going further would mean I'd be adding up bills and the amount of money lost would depress me, giving me difficulties with number 4 above.

6: Cut back on procrastination. And on that note let's move straight to 7.

7: Cut back on gaming. This does include World of Warcraft (awww), but also addresses all the time lost just playing Flash games, replaying WC3 or Starcraft or mindless days of Tower Defense. I need to find the time to work on the items on this list.

8: Plan my life better, or try to find a more concrete direction that involves around more than "do dailies every day, and at least ten arena matches a week". While true direction can't really be forced (or, imo, shouldn't be), hopefully this will come during the course of the year.

9: Work on my posture, which is gradually resembling that of a geriatric Oran-Utan. Definitely not a good look, and the problems later in life aren't worth it either. The physiotherapist gave me exercises to do years ago, I should do them.

10: Less reading. I have this tendency to leave work carrying chunky novels and not going to sleep (or doing chores, assignments etc) until I've finished them. Taking a break probably isn't a bad idea, and will help with number 11 below. If that means leaving Neal Stephenson's The Confusion partly read, so be it. I can spend the dull moments pondering what happened to Jack Shaftoe. Oh wait, see 6.

11: Better sleeping patterns. Basically, a combination of 7 and 10. No more "lights out when book is finished" and a lot less of the "log into WoW at midnight, play until somewhere between 3 and 5, get up for work/uni at 7 and wonder why I feel like sh!t and end up failing".

12: Refrain from the impulsive "just to piss Person X off" behaviour. An extension of number 4 above, I realise that I have a minor tendency to do (mostly say) stuff designed to either annoy or injure someone, often someone who doesn't like me anyway, but not always.

13: Tidy my room, and darn that big plastic bag of socks-with-holes (and the odd holes-with-sock). Mostly because neither of these was actually done in 2008.

14: Finish things. I have this tendency to leave things unfinished, no matter how interesting/engaging they were quite recently, and move onto things that are perceived as more interesting, and will foreseeably not be finished either. Like all those story ideas in that folder over there, and all the notes to yet more stories that should at least be in that folder or typed up and saved, but are instead integrated into various piles that contribute to the mess in my room (see 13). However, this list is now finished, so that's something at least.

If you've read this far, thanks for showing faith that something interesting is still coming, but since that isn't on the list I'm going to have to disappoint you. If you just skipped to the last paragraph then you deserve as much after my TLDR warning. Anyway, this post was mostly for my own benefit, although it could potentially help others make some belated resolutions (just remember Rule 19: "never forget Rule One"). On the plus side, this is a post and therefore counts towards number 3.

EDIT: you know what idiots do? They set a post about 2009 New Year's resolutions to publish at 23:00 on 01/01/08. That's pretty epic fail right there. I hope your blog readers could cope. And the only reason this paragraph is small is so that it doesn't detract from the impact of the last paragraph. Honest.