Shieldwall VP rewards

The Shieldwall rewards are live, and are as follows (5.1 patch notes):

  • 458 trinket for approx 100 gold as a starter reward,
  • a 496 ring at Honored, costing 1250 VP,
  • a 496 Belt, Boots, and Trinket at Revered, costing 1750 each,
  • Exalted gets you a new flying mount.

The starter reward is likely to go to an offset, as most raiders have better in main at the very least. Despite the undertone of my last post, this gear is welcome, and will make the dailies for the other factions a secondary consideration.

Getting to Revered will be very rewarding for raiders as 496 gear is far better than MV gear, and good for HoF. The honored Ring also means that you should skip the other Valor rings now if you have not purchased them, by comparison this is better – because it can be upgraded with more VPs to 504 gear level.

There are five dailies to do each day, each granting +250 reputation, 5 VPs, and 2 Lesser Charms of Good Fortune.

You will need 6500 Valor points to buy all the gear for one spec, and will also need to have unlocked the various Reps. That is 1300 daily quests performed if this is done by dailies, so I hope everyone has a realistic impression of how long these will take to get, and also how important a 496 ilevel is compared to some raiders still using 476 gear. I think a raider who is missing key items such as Boots, Belt, Rings, or a Trinket should be doing these dailies before they raid – the upgrade is guaranteed and a powerful change.

Or 13,000 VPs if you wish to have gear for both specs which might be used in raiding.

Yet the VP rewards for activities are apparently as desired and working as intended? Bullshit. Only working as intended by people who don’t play the game. I’m nudging closer to giving this Valor treadmill away for good.

ps. Wasn’t operation shieldwall something in Mass Effect, or by Bioware? Have we run out of names for armies fighting?

pps. If the end boss of the Tier is the Sha of Fear, does that mean this is the War on Fear? How did the war on Terror go?

Gearing Quick Tip – Ghost Iron Dragonling

The trinket Ghost Iron Dragonling is one of the best ways to get a character’s gear improved quickly. It is generally cheap and available, and offers a highly customisable a item for your Trinket slot; which is a gear slot where it can be hard to get upgrades.

All toons can use these for each gear-set spec, as they are BoE and unique equipped.

Ghost-Iron-Dragonling tooltip

If you’re not using a item level 450 trinket yet, go grab one of these. I’ll cost anywhere from 100g to 280g-ish to grab, plus some change for the Engineering sockets. If you know an Engineer it is almost insultingly cheap to craft.

Each of the three sockets adds +600 in a secondary of your choice, adjustable just like a gem slot. So all you need to do is look up the stat weighting for your current spec choice and add a socket for each of the top three.

A nice side affect is the mini-pet that frequently gets summoned to help you fight. The dragonling does not inflict much damage (a frontal cone instantly inflicting 3750 to 6250 nature damage), but a good animation. It is great for multi-mob packs when farming drops as a Tank.

Where do you stand within the Gearing community?

Today I ponder my item level. Non-gear junkies might look away?

There is a way (well many ways from different websites and many methods) to know how you are gearing for PvE by comparison to others, in guild, on server, and in general. Fundamentally this is a score based from the item level of the gear your character is wearing. I like using Wow-Heroes ranks to check gear and enchantments. It is a bit less math-y than some tools, and covers good recommendations to improvements.

Aside – ranking of position, and gear scores are essentially epeen malarkey, and only worth something to the owner, or if used “properly”. Wrath’s short romance and break-up with GearScore was a very interesting time in WoW, and one that could be a set of blog-posts unto themselves. As a tool for drawing quasi-intelligent conclusions the websites like wow heroes give us that opportunity. It considers

  • real value of all items (not just their item level)
  • all gems (their value and quality)
  • all enchants (their value and quality)
  • also gives a small penalty for using a resilience (PvP) items according to benefits from the useful stats from that item

What that tells me is that the GS is a useful measure of how advanced a character’s gear is, giving a plausible ceiling value and range for the character’s performance. The game also uses something similar when considering if a character is ready for Heroic dungeons and raids, although the algorithm in game appears to be less fussy and far more forgiving of offspec gear and bad choices.

Use any of the sites you like, understanding none are better than the other in the long run, unless you’ve a particular need.

So: I know that Mortigen’s dps gear is scored as 6663 from Wow Heroes, which ranks around 6-7ish in guild, and ~264th on the Nagrand server. That is also approx 10th on the server for Dps Death Knights.

While I’m proud I’m also a bit surprised and put off.

I play 3 nights a week and should be far lower in the rankings. It seems that something is not 100% in the ranks as presented. Perhaps this is the players who are ranked because it is what the servers can find on the players, or those players have had their data refreshed recently, and others have not. I imagine that all the high geared players would be ranked to a close approximate as they’d care and want to know, but then that itself is a huge assumption.

Then I checked Wow Progress (another tool, focused more on what the charterer has done, as well as what gear) and saw more humbling figures. They have my Death Knight’s Gear-Score (not the same math rules for the numbers) as 10550, which sits as 1024th on the realm and 83rd for Death Knights. That sounded more in line with what I expected.

But then I updated the Wow Progress tool, fetching the latest data. It altered to 10618, making Realm overall 712, and DK 49th. Fark, for a casual scrub that’s ok. It’s not even close to mid 200s on the server, but then that always sounded like a bunked number.

Finally for the sake of being particular I checked what Mr Robot had, and my very old score was 80602 from around 18 October (again the ranking on each site mean totally different things, they do not correlate). Then when updated today it rose to 84569.

I see also that almost all the higher geared DKs are using Frost, which matches what I’ve seen around and means I’ll likely switch soon to test it out too. The actual position is variable because of things like the rating given to different enchants or gear; and what gear a character is logged out wearing. eg. Sometimes I log-out in my Tanking set and fall down 25+ positions as it is poorly setup and not configured correctly.

Overall – odd. Something is not quite right…

A few more Blue comments, Bag Space, and random linkage

Those Blue posters really do put up with a heck of a lot of splatter and vitriol from the community. Thankfully the mess is easy to find and enjoy. This time Bag Space is something I’ve got some thoughts on at the end, which the Blues seem to think cannot be solved by adding space.

  • Apparently post trolling for “survey feedback” on Dailies is not productive. Fair.
  • No AHs in the Pandaria zones. Consistent with other expansions. Fair, and the OP phrased it well enough to sound like a request too. +1.
  • WoW custom Monopoly has been released. I don’t get it, but can accept it. Fair.
  • A DPS comparison with Blue, via Noxic. Hmm. Not what I’m seeing.
  • I am not the only one (surprise!) that dislikes the Loot-Need rolls in 5 mans, but it is working as intended. That makes it just more evidence that the folks I hate who proceed to take everything are doing nothing “wrong” and everything selfishly. They have great gear though. Again here.
  • Blue confirmed that bigger bags won’t help the issue of no space in the long term. Ahem. That does not mean that larger bags, or better stacking of items in stacks larger than 20 (for most buff food for example) won’t significantly help. I think there is a bit of snarkin the Blue’s response where they offer that bigger bags is such a good suggestion. How about:
    • Make all things that stack to 20 now go up to 100 instead (or maybe 99 if you must). Food, ingredients, crystals, herbs, ore, mats for enchants, cloth, etc. All of it. We’ll have heaps more bag space, with no change in the size of the variable in the DB which stored the stack count.
    • Give me an item (yes it will use a bag slot) that allows me to DE. Sell it as a special Rep item from the Consortium as an Exalted special. That way we can DE as we go too.
    • Make lesser charms stack to 900+.
    • The the quest items for Dailies that I do not have auto-disappear when the Daily is dropped or complete (Duh).

New Heirloom Weapons – Claws!

The new one player battle area called the Brawlers Guild will offer at the very least some rep, a ranking, and allow purchase of a new heirloom – Brawler’s Razor Claws!

Standard heirloom stuff – level 1-80, with Hit and Haste as the two stats offered; costing 2175 Justice Points. Very nice little addition to the heirloom toolset.

Rawr!

Related articles

Angry about outdated loot rules

Angry. More Hallows Eve runs than I can shake a stick at, and I have more to do. I want that bloody rare helm. I want a Strength Ring. And I want to defenestrate the greedy bastards in Warcraft.

It is hardly 2005 when the behaviour of the community might have not been totally predictable.

Change the bloody rolls in Randoms, so that they mean what (I think) they should mean:

  • Main Role: valid for the role you joined in.
  • Alt Role: valid if you can use it.
  • Transmog: because you like pretty things.
  • Gold: because you are going to vendor it anyway, just give the character the cash.
  • Disenchant: because you’d like the mats.

Main gets priority, then Alt Role, then the other three are all at the same level. The use of the word Role will be a direct lever for teaching the idiots that they should not try to queue as one role and roll for loot for others.

OK, I understand that it might be too much to have 5 options in some runs, and that might confuse some of the soft brained screen-lickers, but to hell with them. Then take out transmog, that’s a shitty reason to roll against somebody and Alt would do in a push. It will likely only be 3-4 options, and if the game designers cannot find a way to impart that design graphically to communicate the level of consideration then they should not be designing interfaces for a living.

Note to self – Stretch goal for gear is ilevel 470

Aside

My new long term stretch goal for gear is ilevel 470 as that is what is needed for the new LFRs soon. Well I did say stretch goal, meaning well beyond expectation.

I’m currently 462. Bugger. With a 437 trinket and 3x 450s on Head Shoulder, and Legs there is 4 items to be replaced.So if I make the trinket a 450 using the Dragonling, and then get 463s in the other three spots … then I’m still miles short, as each item boost is adding at best 1 point. This means that epic gear is really required in many slots to get to that item level.

Double bugger. Hopefully the Hallows End event will ramp with the Band of Petrified Pumpkin 463 ring up to 470. Oh, and the ring from the Final Klaxxi quest when you get Exalted, which is a 489 reward!

Ps. the required LFR item levels are:

  • Both Mogushan Vaults: 460
  • Heart of Fear: 470
  • Terrace of Endless Spring: 470

LFR Gearing Hyperboost in Mogu’shun Vaults

After getting to the right ilevel I joined an LFR run of Mogu’shun Vaults. It was interesting. I saw a few bosses, but due to the reset I was unable to see a complete run. That said, I gained 2x epic items (raid finder 476s) in that run through a combination of loot drops and using the extra special roll tokens. My gear is still poor though, being that I have a terrible trinket and three  ilevel 450 items. I’ll dance a jog when I can get all slots to 463, and probably scream like a pansy when I’m epic’ed out.

Three fat Mogu staring at a dinner plate?

The gearing plan is to continue to get Valor until I can afford to buy a new Trinket (must buy or craft a Dragonling asap), and craft either the Chest or Gloves. Also continue the dailies for rep and the minor tokens, and perhaps the gear that is unlocked. Bloody motes. That is a long road. Perhaps I’ll get another shot at the Sha of Anger too.

Fight styles in LFR and mechanics are self-evident most of the time. eg. the burning chain that joins two players is obviously bad, so stay next to each other. Or bad stuff in the floor, or announcements before AoE effects, or don’t stand in front of the boss as your dps drops and it breathes, cleaves and makes mince meat of characters.

The overall performance of a player in LFR is as per previous, and strat wise LFR is not teaching much about the fight mechanics properly. The Doggies were tanked and nuked, which is not how I think its supposed to be.

With 460 ilevel, now for LFR…

Aside

I finally got to average 460 ilevel last night just after midnight, and I’m now drooling for an LFR run. On the same night I was able to turn in the quest to make 3 magic tokens, to increase the loot chance. Getting to that gear level was totally random luck, with a Gloves from from SC heroic. I’m up to the bit where I enchant and gem the gear, which is expensive but really worth it.

Next challenge is explaining to my wife why I want to login on a non-wow night to do an LFR run, just because it resets today. That’s a tougher boss than Alganon when you’re wearing nothing except Northrend blues (ok, bad wife joke. sorry).

Gearing can take a while for some

After a night of solid instance grinding I’ve added new Neck and Chest to my DK’s Dps set, and new Boots and Neck to his Tank set, all 463 ilevel. Frustratingly its added almost nothing in terms of getting to the ilevel for Raid Finder. I’m thinking of doing SM and SH specifically soon instead of doing randoms and just seeing what drops. There was a huge amount of gear that went to Greed in the past few runs.

I am very pleased to say that I didn’t have to Need roll over others, as the group of 5 I randomly found was excellent, and we repeat ran quite a few instances. It is alarming how much of a difference a good team will make.

Even though my luck was not there in terms of drops, I’d say the gearing is not slow. It took me a while, but that is not to say a player cannot gear quickly. In fact I’d say it is easy given gold and huge amounts of time to be well geared very quickly. If I had the time I’d just farm Motes of harmony and craft my way to some nice gear. Alas.

I submit, I submit. No more. I’ll do as you do. Need it is.

I’m very sick of players rolling need on gear in randoms when they should not. It happens all the time in random runs, but especially on the last boss’s loot. A player rolls need then quits group. Too long we’ve seen suggested options to rank up a /roll by a huge number based upon spec, to curb the greedy selfish players.

I’m sick of missing on loot due to rolling “properly”. The game does not enforce a system that makes sense to the roles we use to enter a random, so I feel like a man trying to hold back the tide.

You win you greedy bastards. I submit. I’ll do as you do and roll Need on everything from now on. Why should I be the only player following some sense of decorum and sanity?

Need it is. Always.

To hell with you all.

What a few nights a week can do? A lot actually.

Recently…

I’ve been happily playing through the Mists content with my Death Knight, and so far the questing has been excellent. I am now level 88 and getting close to the end of the second zone. By the level of the other players around me I get the impression that others are moving faster through the zones, and having rested XP might be a good cause for that – I am getting more xp per quest because I am generating more rested due to time not playing. Hey, not bad.

If given the choice I would be playing 16 hours a day and not in rested XP at all, but you can’t have everything. If I get to 90 without completing all the zones then I am sure I will get the opportunity over the next year or so to see them fully. Or I’ll complete them at max level and horde all the gold and drops.

The gear from questing is darn good – far better and specialised for the roles of a DK than any other expansion and this is by design. For some classes it might seem odd that they get given two dps options, but each of the plate melee classes/specs has slightly different needs for stats and this gives flexibility.

The Voice of the Deeps heroic two handed sword is ilevel 410 and still far better than any quest drop (at the moment). I guess that eventually I’ll see a weapon that is better, but so far the ilevel 415 greens and blues are not as good. VotD has a damage buff per mastery and the buff in mastery at for the gear above ilevel 400 is huge. I get the impression that it is not meant to be this good. I love it.

…and then last night…

I had the pleasure of playing for a prolonged period and was able to get through level 88 and I am now level 89. This was my stretch goal as I really wanted to get the dps and tanking trinkets from the Brewfest encounter before is ended.

After din’ing 89 I was fortunate enough to have a few guildies online who joined me in killing Direbrew a few times, and grabbed the dps trinket and one of the tanking trinkets.

Stoked!

Brewfest 2012 Cheatnotes and Gear

Update: As a new level 89 with quest gear this encounter is tough. Expect to work for the kill rather than just fooling around like it has been in some years past.

 

I had the opportunity to roll need against a Tank for one the the tank trinkets, the really nice one for dodge – I didn’t. I’ll regret that later, but it would have been against all the loot-rants I’ve made.

Brewfest is on for players level 89 or 90 to complete, and the big appeal is the ilevel 470 gear that Direbrew will be dropping once he is killed. Admittedly I might struggle to get to 89 by then, but many players are 90 and bringing through their second characters to maximum at the moment. Raiders will want to be ready for this.

The fight mechanics have not changed from previous years, meaning that well geared level 90 characters can probably just tank and nuke, where level 89 under-geared players will need to worry about adds and the odd special stuns and barrels and effects in the fight. I expect most groups this year will not be over-geared, so be careful.

Keep reading after the jump for a fight cheat-sheet and gear dropped this year. Continue reading

In a friendly guild, who should get the Legendary?

Update: Apparently the tokens/widgets for the legendary quest will drop randomly and all members of the raid will get them (heard it from a guildie who is a voracious reader). This makes the drama and selection totally moot. Legendary for all. Mains, Alts, everyone gets a shiny orange item.

The Legendary item in Mists will be something that every class can get, and every player will want it on at least one character. It appears that the quest / story line will be at least worthy of significant effort, and that guilds will need to prioritize which characters are up for the rare drops first.

Once again a choice must be made. The degree of severity and scale of that choice unknown at the moment, and I’m assuming that the drops will be rare enough that selection to receive them will be something worth considering, much like the random Fragments in Ulduar. I doubt the tokens will be as rare as the Eye from Rag or the Bindings from Molten Core. If so we have a really rare adventure ahead. Instead I suspect that these will drop with a low-ish percentage, so that guilds will get enough of them to progress as they kill through a raid.

The following has a very large amount of my personal opinion and bias build in. After writing it I came around to one question which is perhaps the best question to ask:

If it cannot be yourself, who else would you wish it to go to first?

Continue reading

Finally heard the Voice of the Deep

I had the absolute please to raid a Heroic Dragon Soul run with the guild, where they were up to the Madness of Deathwing. Initially I’d said to the Lootmaster that I’d not take any loot from a regular raider, as they’re present every week, and we only have a handful of days before MoP anyway – so gear is somewhat of a moot issue.

I was very pleased when not one but two of the two-handed greatsword named Gurthalak, Voice of the Deep dropped. A Best in Slot weapon is very welcome, especially when nobody else in the raid had to miss out on anything.

a darn fine looking weapon fro a death knight

These Heirlooms smell Monky

I love heirloom gear and Psynister has noted that we have some heirloom legs on the way for characters. Booya!

These new leg items are effective right up to level 85, which is no benefit for my plate wearers, but a huge deal for the alts and Monks that will be scraping XP from every mob, rock, and flower. The legs have a guild achievement to be unlocked (each profession at 600 in the guild) before they can be purchased, and that achievement is not possible to complete until MoP is released.

As an extra note he’s also got some details on the new Monk staff heirloom too – the Burnished Warden Staff. It’s a staff built for Agility dps and tanks, which smells like Monk to me. It is also available from the vendors as of patch 5.0.4 – its in game folks. It appears to only be useful up to level 80 though, and imho its darn ugly. An Obsidium Bladespear might be nicer looking for levels 80+.

All I need now is a sufficiently clever Panda Monk name… Great work Psy!

(edited to fix some errors in the information, thank you to Gen and Bristal for the comments)

Tears over Tier Tokens

Wintergrasp Offensive

Death Knights waiting for a token not shared with bloody Mages or Druids.

Because of a Guild Officer’s meeting I was pondering the loot tables, gear distribution systems, and the associated mods that raiders use. Of course the loot reward system was discussed, and we once again chatted about all sorts of options. Silly ones, great ones, in an ideal world, and also very much in the world we have to play in. That might make it sound like I didn’t want to chatter about it; not so. In fact we’re pondering all sorts of useful stuff for the teams, and considering carefully what the game will feel like in WoW version 5.1+. The question that came to my mind outside of those discussion was:

What if the tier tokens were made universal for all classes?

I suggest removing them, and making them just “shoulder token” or “helm token” with no class restriction. And here is why:

  • Essentially most raiding guilds have loot policies and systems to handle gear distribution. Therefore the token is adding a layer of restriction which is actually inhibiting the guild’s progression, because it limits options.
  • Some groups have actually implemented separate bid lists or systems specifically fro tier gear, due to the importance it has on the character and raid. Well no change there one way or the other, only that the skew of classes in your raid group will be affected by the random token that drops. i.e. Good luck being a geared Shaman if you rarely see that token drop.
  • Random LFR runs now have no loot need/greed anymore. You either get look or you do not. The token is moot now in LFR.
  • The tokens have the positive change of allowing a character rewarded with one a choice on what particular item they choose from the vendor. This is a huge positive as it means that classes can pick the best gear. Druids for example can pick any of their types of gear fro one token. No change as either an advantage or disadvantage here.
  • The tokens helped when you didn’t want to compete against everyone in the raid for loot, which gave an illusory feeling of hope. But once again that is a mechanic which raiders can handle. It still comes down to which Token dropped, and then who you roll against. So essentially is a two step random process (which token, then roll against other classes) better than a one step random process (what was your loot roll)?
  • The tokens at times were useless due to not having enough of a class range, or they could not benefit the raid the most. Huge problem, just ask anyone doing Wintergrasp, et al.
  • The only situation where these have some limited value as implemented now is for pug runs which are not in the LFR system, and that is only because they keep the illusion of two random events alive. That is a thin line.

So there it is. I can’t see a reason to keep them anymore.

LFR Loot System

The new loot system gives an approx 15% chance to each participant to get loot. The “community” is happy, delighted, excited, angry, whingy, upset, and everything else.

Zarhym – The new system won’t have a record of your loot history or check your inventory. In your example, Bob might win the same item off of the boss every week (assuming he’s running as the same spec each time).

The only thing the system looks at is 1) if you are eligible for loot (have you killed this guy already this week?), and 2) what your current spec is.

It does not favour your current gear. It looks at the roll to see if you win something, and then gives a random item based upon your spec. This means that folks might have a slightly higher chance to get anything because you are not competing against the need/greed rolls of others; and the system cannot be gamed. Previously the system could be spun to try to get a specific item to a toon, or share an item between characters in the LFR.

It is as positive as it is negative, and it is designed to get rid of the selfish drama of need/greed. It introduces a new set of drama, as people get items they already have, or do not want.

Overall I think this is better because the asshats can’t spike my rolls.

Spectral Tiger loot cardThat one perfect item was a snowball’s chance in hell anyway – so what really changed except dumb luck not being influenced by other players? Nothing. LFR remains a once a week random small chance to get a better item, and a source of Valor/Justice points, and I’m fine with that.

My suggestion would be to alter the drop so that I am less likely to get an item I already have in bags, equipped, or banked. This favours removing unneeded gear, and means that each run will be more rewarding. I guess too that too many people have such a wide variety of wishlists when it comes to loot (for main, offspec, transmog, vendor) that anything except a basic approach will crate a whinge fest. Checking this at time of award is potentially a hassle which is perhaps why such an obvious tweak was not done.It will however be an irritation to people looking for two of the same weapon for dual wield or for dual specs.

The new system looks to be a quick and dirty solution to loot distribution in random groups, and I am confident that over time a better set of tweaks will be added; later rather than sooner.

(Ps. I’ve written heaps on gear, and a fair amount on new rules that would be handy).

Thunderfury acquired at last

With a very generous donation of x10 Enchanted Elementium Bars from an old mate (thanks Rakk), I was able to skip the farming of mats – and run straight over to Highlord Demitrian in Silithus to complete the Thunderfury quest line. Darn excited.

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Whine about Bindings of the Windseeker

As part of the ongoing addiction to repetition – I’ve been farming for the Bindings of the Windseeker, which are the rare drop parts of Thunderfury. Actually I’ve been farming it ever since a mate was, and I went along to make the fight go easier. After seeing that I could smash the bosses solo, I decided that it was time, and since then it has been a very long time in farming. This post is a dummy spit to share the frustration of a small drop rate item. /spit.

Baron Geddon seems to know when my DK enters Molten Core and he throws away anything useful, especially the Binding. I even checked recently that I was killing the correct boss, as it seemed impossible to still be missing the drop. Not impossible, just unlucky. One day I’ll have Thunderfury, one day.

It would be great to experience the lore of the Thunderfury creation. I still have a sense of satisfaction from having the original Hand of Rag legendary, and while greedy – Thunderfury is another of the iconic in-game weapons. Continue reading