Posts Tagged ‘Alts’

The House of Zuminov

A few weeks back I set up buy orders for all the skill books I was going to need for my “Traders” account. Most of these, with a couple of exceptions, and significantly below market cost might I add. Off the back of this, I took the plunge and created my third EVE account.

I toyed around with a couple of ideas for names, but ultimately decided that I wanted to have a common family name for all my traders to provide a little consistency. My wife suggested the name “Zuminov” (which she’s used variations of in other games) and we agreed that it had a good ring to it. I’m not sure exactly how the lore works regarding the Zuminovs being spread across the various factions of New Eden but they are, so deal with it.

And so, without further ado, I present to you The House of Zuminov:

 

Dimitri Zuminov

Dimitri Zuminov

Amarr – Ni-Kunni – Free Merchants

Dimitri was the first character to be created on the account. I’ve worked through the new player tutorial and the career agent missions in all three rookie systems.

I took things at a pretty leisurely pace for the first system as I reminded myself what was needed and got faster as I went. I admit I totally cheated for the most part… I flew Jhiqui up to Amarr space in a Corax fitted with missiles and just blew up all the rats while Dimitri looted.

Progress wise; I’ve finished training all the ship skills I wanted and have remapped to a Charisma build to train trade skills. So far he’s up to 53 market orders with support skills to three or four across the board.

Dimitri is going to base out of Amarr. I gave him an initial 50m ISK cash injection which I’ve doubled already mainly by buying skillbooks & implants and shipping these back to Amarr to resell. He has a fitted & rigged Executioner to facilitate rapid movement around the local area and will also be issued with a Bestower when he has the need for it. I’m also thinking I’ll pick up a Magnate and run some level 2 distribution missions to get his Emperor Family faction up a little as I can do this “afk”.

 

Anastasia Zuminov

Anastasia Zuminov

Gallente – Jin-Mei – Sang Do Caste

Anastasia is going to be based out of Dodixie and will have an Atron, Iteron III and probably an Imicus for the same reasons as Dimitri.

So far I’ve completed the tutorial and done the first couple of Exploration missions in the first career agent system. I know that I don’t really need to do these but they have the benefit that they give a decent initial standing boost for fairly minimal effort.

Her training queue is currently on hold until Dimitri reaches the end of phase one. This is where the limitation of only one character per account being able to train at a time is somewhat unfortunate as it would be really good to get two characters up to speed faster. Still, these are the rules within which one must work.

 

??? Zuminov

Alexei Zuminov

Minmatar – Sebiestor – Rebels

I have literally zero experience with Minmatar, their ships or their space beyond a few hauling runs I did from Jita to Rens back when I first started out.

Despite this, I’m aware that Hek is one of the fastest growing trading hubs in New Eden and that I should be able to make a reasonable return on investment by setting up shop here. Given that Hek isn’t as close to the Minmatar starter systems as Amarr & Dodixie are to theirs I’m expecting that I’ll either need to haul stuff in to sell or focus on station trading. For this reason, Alexei will be the last character on the account to be trained as I have the least experience in these areas. I’m considering starting him out in Rens and moving to Hek once I get a little more established but I have a while to decide exactly what I want to do on this front.

 

So, the grand experiment has begun. Given that I’m 10 days in and have made around 80m ISK on a single low skilled character I’m hopeful that I should be able to fund at least this account from PLEX by the time the initial 90 days ends. Stay tuned!

Experimenting

Last night, almost entirely by accident, I stumbled upon a potentially very lucrative business opportunity.

It’s early days yet so I don’t want to give too much away for risk that it either doesn’t work out or someone else jumps in on a good thing. What I will say though is that it doesn’t involve scams, piracy or anything “illegal”. It’s simply taking advantage of people with less… market awareness. Based on my initial testing it has the potential to net anything upto 200% ROI (possibly more) with minimal effort (mainly just running around in a shuttle), though I’m not sure yet how scalable or sustainable that is.

 

Trade Alt(s)

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been thinking of starting a third account. My two main accounts income is currently sufficient that, if I wanted, I could finance a third account with PLEX which would mean that it would not cost me anything beyond the initial setup fee, for which I’d use the “Power of Two” offer that CCP are currently running. (90 days for £19.99)

What would I do with such an account you ask? Basically; pure trade.

My intention would be to create 3 alts basing them in (most likely) Dodixie, Amarr and then either Jita or Hek.  From these locations I’d initially start out with regional (5-10 jump range) buy orders for lower value items (skill books, implants, the usual sort of stuff). As wallets, skills and my own experience grow I’ll begin to fine-tune the items I trade and wind the range in to maximise my ISK/Hour. Ideally I’d like to spend no more than an hour a day managing everything on this account (preferably less) so it’s important to get everything running as smoothly as possible.

Each alt would follow the same training plan with the goal being to get some basic ship skills (to enable me pick up regional buy orders and transport them back to the hub for resale) and then focus purely on trade skills. I’ve built myself a plan in EVEMon with a 28 day “Phase 1” which will enable me to rotate training around the 3 alts fairly rapidly so that they’re all up to speed by the end of the initial 90 days. If, after this time, the account is not self-sustaining I can simply cancel the subscription.

Here’s my initial plan:

Cybernetics I

Install +3 implants for Int, Mem, Charisma & Willpower (I can purchase these with LP on one of my mains or off the market)

Amarr Frigate III
Amarr Industrial III
Hull Upgrades III
Shield Upgrades III
Afterburner III
Warp Drive Operation III
Evasive Maneuvering III
High Speed Maneuvering III
Mechanics III
Jury Rigging III
Astronautics Rigging I

Training Time: ~5 days – Ability to fly Frigates & Industrials with a tech 2 tank.

Remap to Charisma/Memory and continue training…

Social I
Trade IV
Contracting I
Retail IV
Accounting IV
Broker Relations IV
Margin Trading IV
Retail V
Marketing IV
Wholesale IV
Daytrading IV

Training Time: ~23 days (28 days total) – All core trade skills trained. Worst case cost 100mil ISK (including skill books & implants).

Training would now shift to the next character on the account and repeat the same process. Once all three have completed phase one the plan then moves on to training the supporting skills (Accounting, Broker Relations & Margin Trading) to V and then training for Tycoon IV. This will take a further 47 days per character at which point their training will be “complete”.

Middle term; I’d most likely train one character to be able to fly a Freighter (around 30 days with a Perception/Willpower remap). Possibly train all 3 into Interceptors & Covert Ops (another 30 days) and maybe train for Transport ships (yet another 30 days). Again, working in cycles around the three characters.

Long term; I’d look to get into R&D, possibly establish a POS (I’ll have enough Gallente faction on Jez by that stage to anchor in 0.6, possibly 0.7 space) and begin researching and producing T2 BPCs, but that’s as much as a year or more away and who knows what I’ll be doing by then.

It’s Been a While!

Wow, has it really been a month since my last blog post? It doesn’t seem like that long, but I guess it has. So, what’s been happening? Well, as it happens, quite a bit…

 

Level 90(s)

I got my Priest to level 90 on 13th October. I did this completely solo so it took longer than I’d originally hoped, but I wasn’t going to rush things. I’ve really enjoyed questing in Pandaria and still have two zones left to finish on her. About a week later I got my second level 90; my Hunter. This time around I levelled with my wife (duo Hunters) which was pretty good fun. It helped a little having been through most of the quests before and I tried my hardest not to spoil the surprises or rush her too much.

Mists has so many daily quests on offer that one could literally send the entire day working on them. Instead we’ve decided to focus our efforts on 2-3 factions at a time (my Priest, her Hunter) and will move on once these are done. So far, we’ve hit Exalted with Tillers & Order of the Cloud Serpent and just hit Revered with The Anglers. I think we’ll probably move on to Golden Lotus and Klaxxi next and then Shado-Pan & August Celestials in another few weeks. My Hunter is also about 1/2 of the way through revered with Tillers but this is currently the only faction I’m working on with her.

Since hitting 90, I’ve stuck with a fairly relaxed play-style. My Priest has run a few of the heroics and (I think) all of the scenarios. I found that combat regen was a significant issue to begin with (especially when running the first couple of heroics) but things have gotten markedly easier as item level has increased. I finally hit the minimum requirement for LFR on Sunday so I dove right on it. Being my first time there I didn’t get much opportunity to look around but the zone (Mogu’shan Vaults) looked suitably grand. I went in blind having not done any homework or read up on the fights, I figured that I’ve been playing this game long enough that I should be able to pick things up fairly quickly and I’m happy to report I wasn’t wrong. From my perspective, the most interesting fight was probably Elegon, due to the movement and visuals, followed by Will of the Emperor, mostly because for the second (successful) attempt I decided to focus purely on the tanks (both tanks had died on the first attempt so I took this as a sign that someone should dedicate themselves to keeping them alive!) While I didn’t top the meters for heals, I wasn’t last either (4th overall for the first 3 bosses, 3rd overall for the second 3) so that’s something positive to take away, along with 6 upgrades!

 

Molten Core

I’m still doing my weekly Molten Core runs with my Paladin. On the 9th I got the Eye from Ragnaros so I wasfinally  able to complete my Sulfuras. I’ve still not got my second binging from Baron Geddon, but having Sulfuras complete helps a lot as I can now just run in, kill Baron Geddon and leave. Maybe in another 5 years I’ll get that second binding and be done with Molten Core for good!

 

Darkmoon Faire

The first Darkmoon Faire was disappointing. I’ve been doing my research every day on both scribes since the expansion began and was able to complete two decks before the end of the first faire. This took a combination of trading and buying a few cards for gold. I spent, in total, around 30k gold (herbs & cards) and ended up  selling only one of the trinkets for 70k. I’m sure I could have been more aggressive and sold the other, but I’ve not really been focused on it. The second faire is this week and I can only see prices going down. The trinkets really aren’t as amazing this expansion as they were in Cata, especially with LFR giving people access to the same or higher iLevel gear earlier.

 

Professions

Across all my alts I’ve maxed out the following professions: Alchemy (x4), Archaeology  Blacksmith, Cooking, Enchanting, Engineering, Jewelcrafting, Herbalism, Inscription (x2), Leatherworking, Mining (x2), Skinning & Tailoring. All that remains is First Aid and Fishing, both of which are getting there.

I ended up maxing out several professions on green patterns since the majority of my alts didn’t have any Spirits of Harmony as a result of this, the prize for worst/hardest profession to level is a dead-heat between Engineering and Blacksmith. Prices of ore have only just starting to come down so I ended up mining vast amounts of ore myself. In fact, I mined so much ore that both my Warrior & Rogue are close to 86 purely from mining Ghost Iron in Jade Forest. Leatherworking was considerably easier as my Hunter had plenty of Spirits to buy one of the high-level patterns.

It’s easily possible to max out Mining without ever leaving Jade Forest, Skinning you need to move on to Valley of Four Winds but I found I was unable to max Herbalism until I hit Kun-Lai Summit. The distribution of herbs also makes it harder to max Alchemy (unless you’re buying herbs) until you hit the higher zones as you need those herbs to progress.

Archaeology is super easy to level now and didn’t really take me overly long to do (in the grand-scheme of things). My Priest was only around 150 coming in to the expansion and I probably spent a couple of evenings working on it between taming pets. Cooking is a little more time consuming and while all the different “ways” are a little frustrating they do add a bit more flavour to the profession (pun fully intended).

I can’t mention cooking  without talking about farms, of which I have 7. (Currently 1x 16 plot, 1x 12 plot & 5x 4 plot). This gives me a total of 48 plots and a potential daily yield of 240 vegies (336 if I plant based on Jogu’s advice). I’ve made around 10-15k gold with absolute minimum effort selling these but prices are falling. Even so, I expect the farms to continue to be profitable for a while yet as a lot of people are still levelling their cooking and/or don’t want to play Farmville.

 

 

Hopefully, I won’t leave it so long before my next post!

Pandaren Starting Zone

My wife was working away last week helping out with a store refit so I once I’d created my Monk, I just parked her and didn’t log her in. On Saturday we, along with a friend, decided to check out the Pandaren starting zone; The Wandering Isle.

The first thing I noticed when logging in was that I couldn’t see anyone else. There were NPCs around, but no other players despite my wife being logged in on the same realm right next to me. I invited her and our friend to a party and they both appeared. A quick Google search turns up this blue post and specifically this quote:

The Wandering Isle, the pandaren starting area, will also not have CRZ enabled at launch, though we’ll have multiple instances of this zone running as needed for each realm, in an attempt to prevent overcrowding.

Hats off Blizzard, this is an excellent idea and very well implemented. The whole time we were questing through the starting zone we never really had more than one or two people competing for spawns which is a vast improvement over previous expansions (the DK starting area, for example, was very crowded).

 

As with the Goblin starting zone, we knew we wouldn’t be returning here so we took our time (embracing the Pandaren ideal of “slow down”) and let everything sink in. Like the rest of this expansion, the artwork in the Pandaren starting zone is beautiful and while I understand that anthropomorphic pandas aren’t everyone’s cup of tea you do have to give Blizzard credit for a job well done. The area is fresh, the stories engaging and the quests (while reusing tried and trusted mechanics) don’t feel too tedious.

The quests involving recovering the elemental spirits were fun and gave you lots of little glimpses in to Panderan culture. The fun quests are nicely balanced by more somber quests such as Passing Wisdom, where you bid farewell to Master Shang Xi. There’s even a budding romance between the two central characters Aysa Cloudsinger and Ji Firepaw which we know from the start is doomed.

The final series of quests, starting with The Suffering of Shen-zin Su introduce the Horde and Alliance. The contrast between the two factions has never been clearer; The Horde characters seem intent on revenge for being having prisoners on the crashed ship, while The Alliance characters seem more concerned with rescuing everyone from the wreckage before thinking about anything else. It’s at this point that the relation ship between Aysa and Ji is torn apart and it becomes clear to the player where eachs loyalties will ultimately end up.

 

All in all I quite enjoyed the zone. It’s a nice set up for the expansion and a great introduction to the Pandaren.

Pandaria Profession Plans

while back I posted about my long term plans for what I want to achieve in WoW this time around. Now that Mists is literally knocking at the door I’ve been slightly reconsidering what I want to do with my alts, specifically their professions. Firstly, let’s get a quick update on where I am with everyone today…
  • Jezebelle – Paladin – 85 – Jewelcrafting (525) / Enchanting (525)
  • Wizzadora – Priest – 85 – Alchemy (525) / Herbalism (525)
  • Wizzbit – Warrior – 85 – Blacksmith (525) / Mining (525)
  • Satu – Hunter –  85 – Leatherworking (525) / Skinning (525)
  • Vixetta – Deathknight – 85 – Mining (525) / Herbalism (525)
  • Gomjabbar – Rogue – 84 – Engineering (525) / Mining (511)
  • Torall – Mage – 80 – Tailoring (525) / Alchemy (525)
  • Kinetick – Warlock – 80 – Inscription (525) / Herbalism (497)
  • Mirax – Shaman – 80 – Alchemy (525) / Herbalism (416)
  • Un-named – Monk – 1 – ??? / ???

Generally speaking, I’m fairly happy with most of my profession choices, but I’m pretty certain that I can make some optimisations for both character performance and gold making.

Currently, my least optimal character is Vixetta. Two gathering professions are great for making money while levelling (I completely recommend this path to everyone) but I’m not really a gatherer at heart. I’ve got nothing against gathering and if I’m crafting something for myself I’ll often gather the mats rather than buy them, I’d just rather run instances or play the Auction House with my time. So, something’s got to budge but what gets dropped and what do I learn instead?

Let’s cut the list another way…

  • Alchemy – 3 (Wizzadora, Torall, Mirax – All transmute)
  • Blacksmith – 1 (Wizzbit)
  • Enchanting – 1 (Jezebelle)
  • Engineering – 1 (Gomjabbar)
  • Herbalism – 4 (Wizzadora, Vixetta, Mirax, Kineitck)
  • Inscription – 1 (Kinetick)
  • Jewelcrafting – 1 (Jezebelle)
  • Leatherworking – 1 (Satu)
  • Mining – 3 (Wizzbit, Vixetta, Gomjabbar)
  • Skinning – 1 (Satu)
  • Tailoring – 1 (Torall)

Personally, I’d be happy with 2 Miners and 2 Herbalists so I could easily drop both professions on Vix. In terms or perks (character enhancement), most professions give about the same benefit so that doesn’t really factor into my choices.

Blacksmithing, Leatherworking and Tailoring are all fairly weak professions for making gold given that you can usually get better gear by simply running instances, so they’re out.

Skinning is by far the weakest gathering profession for making gold as it only feeds into one crafting profession so, given that I’m already dropping Herbalism & Mining, that’s got to be out too.

Enchanting does have the potential to make decent gold. It’s extremely handy when farming lower-level instances, which DKs excel at, but I’ve already got Jez who can do this just as efficiently. It’s also costly and time-consuming to level so is less appealing.

Engineering is, in my experience, more of a fun/gimmicky profession. It does have a couple of ways to make gold but I don’t really see any need to have multiple engineers.

This leaves me with three choices; Alchemy, Inscription and Jewelcrafting. All three professions have certain limitations/bottlenecks imposed on them which make them good gold makers…

Alchemy

Blacksmiths, Engineers and even Jewelcrafters all need Living Steel. Crafting a bar triggers a 24 hour cooldown that resets at midnight. Transmute-master alchemists have a chance to receive bonus items when performing transmutes. Given that Living Steel will very likely be in high demand throughout the expansion (this was historically the case for both Truegold and Titansteel) Alchemy is a very appealing option.

Inscription

Everyone needs a set of glyphs, it’s kind of essential to playing “properly”. Unfortunately, learning all glyphs is bottlenecked by research which can only be performed once a day. Fortunately, this isn’t the sole money maker for Inscription… The Darkmoon card trinkets have the potential to generate just as much gold and possibly more, especially in the early stages of the expansion. This gold making potential is getting kicked up a gear with Mists as you won’t be able to mass-craft cards right off the bat. Unless you have a huge pile of Spirit of Harmony going spare, each card requires a Scroll of Wisdom. Creating a scroll triggers a 24 hour cooldown (resets at midnight) which will push the price of the cards up significantly. Add to this the fact that scribes now make shoulder enchants and you can see that inscription has the potential to be on the of the most lucrative professions available.

Jewelcrafting

Like Inscription, Jewelcrafting has an artificial limit placed on how fast you can learn all the available recipes. As with the last two expansions, it’s a daily quest rewarding Zen Jewelcrafter’s Tokens. While (at the time of writing ) it’s not yet made clear on Wowhead, these will be required to purchase the majority of blue quality gem cuts. Clearly, the person who learns a given cut first has the potential to make the most gold from it. This said, Jewelcrafting is a steady income that will last throughout the expansion as everyone will replace their gear each time a new tier of content is added.

 

Decisions, decisions…

So, all three are very much viable for making gold. Of the three, Jewelcrafting is probably the trickiest to level up, while Alchemy is the easiest. For pure, ongoing, gold making I’d guess that Jewelcrafting has the highest potential since, as mentioned above, every tier people will need new gems. However, given that there will probably be less than 10 really valuable cuts, once you have these the benefit of having multiple JCs is significantly reduced. Based on this, I think I’m going to go for Alchemy (transmute again) and Inscription. This will give me 4 transmute cooldowns and 2 scrolls per day. I’ll be able to spread my glyph sales over 2 characters (which will ease storage) and set myself up to springboard into Darkmoon card sales likely in time for the second faire (*) after the expansion ships.

This means I need to head out tonight and start gathering some herbs to power-level both professions before Saturday (since I can do the Darkmoon quests for five free levels). Fortunately, I can use the very handy guides over at WoW Professions to work out exactly what I’ll need.

There is also a certain temptation to make a 3rd Scribe (probably Mirax) to get the maximum potential possible. I think I’ll sort out Vixetta first though!

 

* Each deck requires 8 cards to make. On average, you will need 52 cards to get your first deck and 70 cards for your second (source – the post is for Cataclysm but the theory remains true for Mists). Given that there’s less than two weeks between the expansion’s release and the first faire it’s very unlikely that anyone will be able to create one of the new decks from this faire unless they have 4+ scribes or trade cards. However, if you can somehow get a couple of decks you’ll be able to make an absolute killing selling the resultant trinkets!

A Week of 5.0

I refer, of course, to a week of Patch 5.0.4 and not a week in Hawaii.

 

The patch dropped last Tuesday and I’ve now had a chance to play a bit. So, what do I think of the changes? I’ve got a few impressions and thoughts based on the classes/specs I’ve played so far…

 

Hunter

Satu was the first toon I talented and tried out this week. My wife spent quite a bit of time reading about Hunters on Wednesday (she had the afternoon off work). It seems a lot of folks on beta have been touting Beast Mastery as the highest DPS spec currently. I’ve mostly been Marksman recently, but figured I’d try out BM. The rumours seem to be true and while I haven’t actually tested MM myself yet, BM feels like it’s in a pretty good place.

 

Paladin

While I have setup Jez’s Protection talents, I’ve not actually tanked anything on her since the patch. I have however played around with Ret and my initial impressions are positive. The rotation doesn’t feel too bad and her damage has increased fairly significantly (I swear she was doing a solid 5k dps more than before the patch). One thing I really can’t get over is the removal of auras. Having had an aura as long as I’ve had a Paladin, I feel dirty not having one. This would probably be eased some if your currently active seal showed up as a buff, which it doesn’t.

 

Priest

Nothing really to report here yet. I’ve set up Wizzadora’s Discipline talents, but not even touched her Holy spec. I’ve not run anything with her this week but from what I’ve seen testing on dummies things feel fairly consistent with how they were before the patch.

 

Death Knight

Vixetta hit 85 10 days before the patch so I made the decision to grind her up to 4,000 JPs and park her until it dropped. Most of my time this week has been spent playing her and I’ve gone from just scraping through the gear requirement for heroics to tanking Dragon Soul LFR. The DK changes don’t seem to be too massive, the rotation is still fairly consistent with pre-patch but with a few tweaks. I’m rather enjoying playing her and feel there’s even the potential for her to become my preferred tanking toon!

 

Warrior

Of all the my characters I’ve played this week, Wizzbit feels the most akward. I’ve read a couple of guides (Noxxic, Icy Veins) and I’ve got the setup right, but when I’ve run dungeons with her, I just can’t seem to get the rotation to work for me; it feels clunky and awkward, she’s constantly rage-starved and I seem to always be waiting for something (other than rage-dumps) to come off cooldown. This is really a shame because, while I haven’t played Wizz much this expansion, I did really enjoy Fury. I suspect part of the problem is that she’s severely undergeared (due to lack of play) and that if I fixed this things would start to click into place. However, right now, I’m not enjoying playing her enough to spend the time to gear her up.

 

Rogue

Lastly my Rogue, Gomjabbar. I’ve been levelling her with my wife’s Paladin and she’s currently up to 84. While there have been quite a few changes to Rogues (poisons are a spell now!) the core gameplay is still the same and the levelling has been smooth. I quite like the Rogue and am kinda interested to see how well she plays when properly geared since she’s already doing quite silly damage in levelling gear.

 

 

General Thoughts

I really like what Blizzard have tried to do. While I thought I’d miss the old talent trees, I’ve pretty much already forgotten about them. The new talent system might be a little simplistic for some but the goal of removing “mandatory” talents is a noble one and while there are still some options that are clearly more powerful than others, I can see Blizzard is trying to smooth these out so that you really can pick the ability that sounds cool rather than the one you need to have. This is a great change for the game and should, hopefully, make it that much more enjoyable.

With the exception of the Warrior (which may just be me) the class changes feel fairly natural. Most DPS specs seem to have 2 discrete rotations; one for single-target and one for multi-target. This is a great change and I’ve setup my action bars accordingly.

In most cases, you seem to need far less buttons on your bars now which is great as, let’s face it, it was getting pretty cluttered. In most cases, you seem to have 4/5 main damage abilities, one of which is generally a proc. You’ve then got a selection of cooldown personal damage boosters (usually 3-4 of these), a couple of crowd control abilities and some group utilities. This, to me, feels like really good design… Each class (and to a lesser extent, spec) retains its individuality through the name and look of its abilities. However there’s enough similarity in the setups that you can fairly easily slip from one class/spec to another without having to learn everything over.

 

My wife seems fairly happy with the changes too. She was trying out her Mage over the weekend and was shocked by just how much her damage has increased. She was seeing 20k sustainable with spikes of around 50k. She’s also seen that Hunters get Stampede at 87 and has gone from only ever having 1 pet to taming everything in sight (as long as they look cool!)

All in all, I’m looking forward to what other new stuff the expansion is going to bring.

Dragon Soul – Differing Prespectives

I’ve run Dragon Soul a number of times with Wizzadora now and figured that I had a fairly good handle on what was going on. So, on Friday, I decided to make a concerted effort to get Jezebelle geared enough to queue as a tank and give this a try.

 

Getting In

My average item level was 370 (you need 372 to queue in LFR) so I started off running the 5 mans as this seemed to be the best source of gear for those slots that were pulling my iLevel down. I made a point of letting my groups know that this was my first time tanking those instances and actually had some decent runs…

Arrora (Resto/Balance Druid, Guild Master & Real Life Friend) joined me for End Time and, aside from a Rogue who ran off and got himself dead (*), the run went really smoothly. The last boss died in record time and everyone parted company with thanks all round. Nothing useful dropped for me, but it was good experience.

Arrora had to leave before Well of Eternity so I queued solo (tanks were on Call to Arms so I got a Satchel of Exotic Mysteries out of the deal.) The run went really fast, and I picked up a tank ring which I realised after was only a side-grade.

Lastly I ran Hour of Twilight which was probably the most interesting group. I stated it was my first time tanking the instance and was reassured that it wouldn’t be a problem (it wasn’t). As we progressed to the first boss I quipped that when I healed it a couple of days before the tank and been a Pally in DPS gear with a 1h sword, no shield and Ret talents. The Shaman in the group replied with “Hey! I was in that group too!!” and we all had a good laugh. The run was quick & clean and I picked up a new cloak & sword which bumped my iLevel a whole 1 point leaving me at 371.

Saturday morning I hit the instances again and after a couple of runs through LFD finally managed to snag a trinket for my Ret spec that let me cheese over the iLevel requirement for Dragon Soul.

 

(*) Side Note: The Rogue’s death was totally avoidable… We got Jaina as the first boss and while the group started clearing trash the Rogue decided to stealth off to the far side of the room and try to collect the staff fragments. As soon as he dropped stealth a pack of trash mobs saw him and he was dead. Here’s the bit that pisses me off though: He refused to release and run back because, you know, why bother when the healer can res him, right? He was the complete other side of the room with 4 trash packs between us. So he just laid there while the rest of us cleared wasting everyone else’s time.

 

We’re In!

The iLevel requirement well and truly cheesed I queued for The Siege of Wyrmrest Temple and almost instantly got a fresh group. Here’s my impressions…

  • Morchok: Pretty straight forward fight; My first time healing I worked out most of the mechanics, so wasn’t expecting too much that was new. The only thing I hadn’t noticed previously was the stacking sunder armor debuff he applies to the current tank. Pretty standard mechanic so without discussion, I let the other tank get four stacks then I taunted off him. He returned the favour at four stacks and we kept flipping back and forth from there. The boss died on the first attempt and I snagged my tier helm token, happy days.
  • Warlord Zon’ozz: I managed to pull agro off the main tank within the first 10 seconds of the fight and he never made any attempt to taunt back off me so I figure this is one-tank able, which was fine by me. I knew most of what was happening from healing so I just sucked it up and let the DPS do their thing. I threw out Divine Guardian during the AoE phase, since I know that’s the only hard part to heal through. The boss died and I collected some new bracers. Two bosses down, two upgrades!
  • Yor’sahj the Unsleeping: This time I communicated with the other tank, he suggested trading agro at 3 stacks which I agreed despite not really being aware of what the debuff was. No worries though, I quickly figured out he was referring to Void Bolt and after that it was all gravy. Boss fell over, on to the next.
  • Hagara the Stormbinder: I’ve seen this entire encounter single-tanked so I just let the other tank get on with it. During the first phase, I dutifully rounded up adds and brought them to the middle of the room to be AoE’d but aside from that I could probably have gone Ret. (I didn’t since I figure in LFR the other tank is an unknown and might die to the first Focused Assault the boss casts.)

Achievement gained, on to The Fall of Deathwing…

  • Ultraxion: I joined a group that had clearly already wiped to Ultraxion at least once given that there was no pre-boss trash to clear. We buffed, pulled and wiped. People started cussing each other out and the other tank kindly explained the mechanics to me in whispers. Turns out I was doing it wrong! I was treating it the same as when I heal and hitting Heroic Will during Hour of Twilight. Second attempt started with only 3 healers in the raid so you knew it was going to be bad. Still, I watched for Fading Light and hit Heroic Will with about 3 seconds left on the debuff. I died and got a b-res from a kindly Warlock. The other tank died twice and it was all over. Some very vocal DPS started spouting off about tank fail (the other tank started the fight) so I figured if I’m gonna get VK’d I’ll give them some feedback and pointed out that there were only 3 healers in the instance and that I was <10% health before the boss even cast Fading Light on me. A couple of people acknowledged this and then turned on the Druid tank, someone pointed out he was wearing all PVP gear and he promptly got the boot. Another Paladin tank replaced him (boo) and we got the boss to 5% before wiping again. More insults were thrown and anyone doing under 15k DPS got kicked. Last attempt went smooth as silk and the boss coughed up his epics.
    I have to say that I think Ultraxion is the hardest boss in Dragon Soul, the level of raid coordination far exceeds anything else in there and the slightest fuck up can quickly result in a wipe. That said, it’s also probably my favourite fight for those exact same reasons.
  • Warmaster Blackhorn: Another fight with a sunder that requires taunting. I taunted on the third stack this time as it was applying a 20% debuff each stack rather than the usual 10%, this seemed to work well enough. Unfortunately, the first attempt resulted in a wipe, mostly because too many people were taking avoidable damage. No one really complained this time and we rebuffed and pulled again. One other difference I spotted was the stacking Brutal Strike that gets applied in phase one. I found I could let this reach about 20 stacks (60k damage per tick) before the healers started to have trouble keeping my up at which point I hit my Divine Shield to wipe the stacks. The boss died on the second attempt and I picked up a new shield.
  • Spine of Deathwing: Spine feels as easy as a tank as it does as a healer. I mostly concentrated on rounding up bloods while the other tank took care of the amalgamations. We one-shotted the fight and moved on to Madness.
  • Madness of Deathwing: I think Madness is more of a healer fight than a tank fight. As long as you can get here, all it really tests is how long your healers can last. There wasn’t any aspect of the fight that I couldn’t handle tanking without much thought, I let the other tank handle Deathwing while I hung back to pick up the Mutated Corruption as soon as it spawned. He’d then taunt off me as soon as I got impaled and I’d fall back ready to pick up the Regenerative Bloods during Hemorrhage. We wiped on the first attempt as people were taking too much AoE damage on the fourth platform. Second attempt was flawless and we downed the boss with the whole raid alive.

All told, I’d say that Dragon Soul is more interesting as a tank. As I pointed out in guild after, you have much more awareness of what’s going on when you’re tanking vs when you healing. I think that this experience will be useful the next time I heal the raid as it gives me a better idea of *why* people are taking damage spikes at certain points in fights. Rather having to pop a cooldown and react to something that has happened, I should be able to have a big heal ready to roll on-queue.

I like both aspects of the raid as they each have their own challenges and I’m looking forward to having a DPS toon geared enough to run it from that perspective soon.

Making Plans

Since I’m playing WoW again, I figured I should make myself a plan of things I want to accomplish this time around.

I’m going to assume that Mists of Pandaria is likely to ship mid to late October. (This date is based on nothing other than a complete guess on my part.) Based on this, I figure I have around 3 months to achieve the following:

  • Alts:
    All alts levelled to 85 with their professions maxed.  Here’s my current progress of alts in the order I’m likely to level them:

    • Jezebelle – Paladin – 85 – Jewelcrafting (525) / Enchanting (525)
    • Wizzadora – Priest – 85 – Alchemy (525) / Herbalism (525)
    • Wizzbit – Warrior – 85 – Blacksmith (525) / Mining (525)
    • Satu – Hunter –  85 – Leatherworking (525) / Skinning (525)
    • Vixetta – Deathknight – 85 – Mining (525) / Herbalism (525)
    • Gomjabbar – Rogue – 84 – Engineering (525) / Mining (511)
    • Torall – Mage – 80 – Tailoring (525) / Alchemy (525)
    • Kinetick – Warlock – 80 – Inscription (525) / Herbalism (497)
    • Mirax – Shaman – 80 – Alchemy (525) / Herbalism (416)

    I’m fairly happy with which professions I have on my alts, the only real exception is Vixetta who has two gathering professions. My current thinking there is that I’ll drop Herbalism in favour of Engineering or Blacksmithing. All three of my Alchemists are Transmute spec’d and I intend to keep this, especially given the way alchemy cooldowns look to be shaping up in MoP right now.

  • Questing:
    I want to fully quest through each of the Cataclysm zones at least once. Starting with Twilight Highlands (which I’m half way through) then Uldum, which I don’t think I’ve done any quests in yet. I’ve also never finished Icecrown on any of my alts, so should head back to Northrend and do that. At some point, I’d like to go back and do all the new old-world quests, but this is lower on the priority list as it could take a while.
  • Gearing:
    There’s really no great point to spending massive amounts of time or gold getting my characters geared as gear resets have become a standard part of expansions. The first zone in Pandaria is likely to offer green quest rewards on par with current tier epics so why bother? This said, I would like to finish gearing my priest via LFR and maybe do the same for Jez and a couple of DPS toons. A large part of this is to be able to say I’ve experienced the content from all 4 positions (Heals, Tank, Ranged & Melee DPS) however I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a certain amount of ego involved in doing this.
  • Transmogfigication:
    I buy it, Transmogrification is cool. I was a little unsure when it was announced, but now it’s in I like it. My priest wants the tier 6 set and there’s probably other items that would be cool to have as well (for example the sword from 4 horsemen for my DK) so I’ll need to sit down sometime and make a shopping list. Again, as with questing, this is probably going to end up being kind of a long-term goal.
  • Mists of Pandaria Preperation:
    I’m intending to hit professions hard in MoP. It would be cool to think I could get the Realm First for max Jewelcrafting. Given the prices of ore in early Cataclysm (and previous expansions) this could be a costly endeavour, but then again it would repay for its self several times over by having access to gems cuts no one else does. I need to get a better handle on how professions are going to play out and start stocking up supplies to help with this.
  • Other Random Goals:
    Thunderfury will be mine! I run Molten Core weekly on Jez and have one binding so far but, week after week, Baron Geddon refuses to give up the second. By the same token I want the eye from Rag to make my Sulfuras. Once I get these suckers I’ll probably never want to set foot in Molten Core again as long as I live!

It Happened

We reactivated our WoW accounts!

We had last week off work as holiday and decided to take advantage of the Scroll or Resurrection promotion. The free 7 days you get with that finished on Sunday morning and we paid for a month. It’s probably not the best decision we’ve made (we both have fairly addictive personalities) but I have to say that I am enjoying playing again.

 

As I’ve previously mentioned, my wife is all about levelling alts and some things haven’t changed. A day or two in to our free time, she said she wanted to create another Hunter (she already has 2). I suggested that she try another class and she agreed to give a Warrior a go. She’s tried Warriors in the past and always deleted them because she didn’t get on with the class mechanics, this time she’s really enjoying it and has already got to 51.

I’m really glad she’s liking her Warrior better this time around, I love playing Wizzbit so it’s good to see her enjoying the class. She’s gone with a Fury build and, while I’ve given her a few pointers, I’m letting her level and discover the class at her own pace running her through dungeons when needed. (Next up, I need to get her to embrace the dungeon finder!)

 

As for me…

I’ve been busy gearing my Priest through LFR. I did a full run on Sunday afternoon where I didn’t win anything, then went again on Wednesday which was much more fruitful. I won the tier leg token and a set of bracers in The Siege of Wrymrest Temple and then got the tier shoulder token and off-hand from Fall of Deathwing. Three really solid upgrades and one (the bracers) that was kinda meh. Mr Robot rates the bracers as 5th on the BiS list, just above my existing 378 set, so I’ve not bothered equipping them as I really want the get the crafted ones only I’m too tight to spend 10k gold on them. If I see a pattern going cheap I’ll snag that for my Mage and make them myself (the pattern’s been as low as 500g on Horde side so I might have to work something out if it comes up for that price again.)

I’m 200 VP short of a new helm, which I’ll get today or tomorrow and then it’ll take me another 4 weeks to get the belt, ring & neck (probably in that order, though I’m not totally sure yet as they’re all about equal upgrades).

I realised that I’d never taken my Priest to Deepholm, so I spent a few hours and quested through the zone to get access to the Therazane dailies. I should hit exalted here in a couple more days and then have access to the epic shoulder enchants.

I used the Scroll of Resurrection level boost perk to skip my Shaman over Northrend, which was handy as (to be honest) I wasn’t really that excited about levelling her. She also got free epic flight and a full set of gear, frostweave bags and some other stuff out of the deal, so that was nice.

Lastly, I dusted off my Hunter and levelled her to from 77 to 80. In doing so, I discovered that I actually rather enjoy playing her so I’ve carried on levelling and hit 84 last night. I’ve run around 6 LFD groups with her in the last couple of days and have been able to top the meters in every group so I don’t know if that says I’ve had crap groups or that I’m playing her well (I’m spec’d Marksman currently). I’m going to go with the latter as it’s better for my ego!

 

Oh also, I’ve made around 20k gold in the week since we’ve been back, so that’s good. The gem market is still moderately buoyant, even this late in the expansion, though there’s a lot more competition about with a few new names on the scene. This said, I’m still turning good profit with Jewelcrafting accounting for half my income. The rest has come from a combination of Enchanting scrolls (~2k), the questing I’ve been doing (~2.5k in quest rewards) and selling random crap I’ve been lucky enough to pick up.

Progress Report: May 2012

I’m still playing Internet Spaceships (EVE) so I figured that I’d post a little updated on how I’m progressing.

EVE is one of those games where setting yourself goals is pretty much essential. You can certainly play from one day to the next, but you’ll never be anything close to competitive/optimal.

I have a loose master plan that I’m working towards for both my toons. This is constantly being tweaked and, while I do occasionally deviate from it, for the most part I’m sticking to it. Both Jez & Jhiqui are still in their default attribute maps with +4 implants. I’ve decided to train Core Competency – Standard (plus a few extra skills I require/desire) before both get remaps to Preception/Willpower and start training those skills in earnest.

JezebelleJezebelle
Role: Combat Pilot
Ships: Battlecruisers/Battleships

Jez is currently piloting a Megathron Navy Issue running level 4 security missions with a Myrmidon on standby for level 3s (when I have less time available.) She also has a Thorax, Atron and an Iteron III in her hangar. For the most part, I’ve not deviated significantly from my original plan, however I spent the last week working on my Social skills (to get the most from mission rewards and to improve my standings) and will be spending the next week sorting out my mediocre drone skills.

Originally I’d only planned to train my core skills bare the minimums needed to progress with the intention of remapping to Memory/Intellect once I’d trained my ship piloting skills. The downside of this was, while I’d be able to use Tech 2 guns, I’d still be sporting a Tech 1 tank. Having started running level 4s I can see that the added resistances of Tech 2 hardeners will really help, so I’ve reorganised my plan to spend a little longer now with the result that I shouldn’t need the Mem/Int remap at all. This does mean it will take longer to get in to a Marauder with the benefit that when I do, I’ll be less likely to loose it!

Long term, once I’m flying my Kronos, I’m intending to diversify my ship portfolio a little; first I’ll train in to a Heavy Assault Cruiser (probably an Ishtar) followed by a Command Ship (Astarte) and eventually get in to Strategic Cruisers (Tengu seems to be the boat of choice here so I’ll need to train missile skills somewhere along the way.)

 

JhiquiJhiqui
Role: Support Pilot/Industrialist
Ships: Industrials/To Be Decided

Jhiqui mostly she flies a Noctis, following Jez through missions clearing up the wrecks. She also has a Bestower to transport the loot/salvage to market and an Executioner that I use for hopping between my current mission hub and Jita (to update my buy/sell orders). Additionally, she has a Crucifier (fitted with a remote sensor boosters for missions with heavy jamming), a cargo-fit Magnate (for running low level distribution missions) and lastly an Omen.

The Omen was a bit of an experiment and required a minor deviation from my plan to pilot. One of the blogs I read posted about exploration recently so I figured I’d give it a try. Jhiqui’s drone skills suck (Amarr ships don’t generally favour drones) so I went with a slightly different setup. Unfortunately, having trained and fitted the ship, I’ve so far only taken it out once. I headed to a 0.4 system and immediately started getting harassed by someone in a Vexor Navy Issue. Having no experience with PVP (and a largely inappropriate fit), I have to confess I bailed and returned to High Sec.

Jhiqui has so far trained all the trade skills (except Tycoon, Wholesale & Corporation Contracting) to level 4. Wholesale 4 is on the cards but not currently planned until I’ve completed Core Competency – Standard, however this may change… I usually make a hauling run to Jita on a Sunday/Monday with all my booty from the previous week. Last week, I found I ran out of market (sell) orders before I’d listed half my stuff! I prefer not to sell to buy orders for most items (weapons especially) as the gap between buy & sell can be huge. I should probably start station trading on some of these items as, for instance, I can sell certain Meta 3/4 guns for easily 3-4 times the highest buy order. Not big bucks (~1 mil each) on single units, but volume sales would certainly make up for that.

I’m less certain about taking Jhiqui down the route of full-blown Logistics than I was. I don’t really have that many situations, currently, that Jez can’t handle solo. For multi “room” missions I generally have Jez clearing one room and Jhiqui hoovering the previous one. My current thinking is that I’ll still train Logistics to 4 (possibly 5) but then side-step in to a Damnation, rather than a Guardian. This should give me the flexibility that I can pilot a Guardian if I really need to, but more often can provide the massive buffs that the Damnation brings to the table (not to mention fire-support with it’s heavy assault missile batteries)

After this, I want to get Jhiqui in to R&D. I’ve started acquiring BPOs through stupidly low buy orders (paying ~5k ISK for a BPO that NPCs sell for ~1m ISK is full of win) and I’m watching a number of Contracts for multiple researched BPOs that are currently cheap (I realise I’m probably not the only person watching them).

 

Corporate Goal

My primary goal for my little corporation is to bring up one of my empire factions to 5.01 and drop a POS in high-sec to start researching my BPOs. I have a ways to go, but I think this is a reasonable goal to aim for. By the time I have the required standing I should have the financial base to afford it (I can easily afford the setup cost for a tower plus labs, I just need to stabilise my income stream to ensure I can cover fuel costs.) I also need to work up Jhiqui’s research related skills (depending on how things go, I may level Jez’s as well)

 

That’s all for now. Fly safe!

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