That Water Strider business; it’s all about control.

Imma not gonna lie, I never got the Water Strider mount  until BfA, and even then it was the Welfare Water Strider.  I was in no hurry, but until I got it I didn’t realize why so many people wanted it.

Take yourself back to Burning Crusade and the massive effect that flying mounts had on day to day questing. Now, there was a big difference between then and now. Then: you had to gain the flying ability per toon. Today: one toon gets it, all toons get is.

But there was a gate, and flying was that gate.

Before flying, you had to slog your way through any number of BC quests (flying didn’t apply to, well, anything on Azeroth), and that taught certain values about the value of flying in landlocked environments. Most importantly: quests that were difficult for landlocked toons were cake for those with flying mounts.

For some time now I have been ruminating on how water striding mounts fulfil the same role that flying mounts did, only instead of flying they offer the means to move freely in areas that water constrained the area of free movement.

And in the course of those ruminations, I have come to realize that water striding mounts fulfil the same role that flying mounts did on areas that relied on the behavior of ground mounts to restrict and control movement in a zone.

You see, this is all about control.

Control, and the complete lack of foresight on the part of software developers that are paid well to foresee such things.

The whole point of controlling flying in zones is to control the flow of the activities in that zone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is bullshit. The design of a zone that has flying as a factor must take flying into account, or the zone design itself is a failure.   So far, every zone that Blizzard has presented is a failure when it comes to flying. Flying overcomes all constraints designed into the zone. No zone designers thus far have designed with flying in mind. And as a result, we end up with artificial constraints on where you can and cannot fly. Shame.

shame

Water Striders are the next generation of this shit-show of design. When they were introduced in Pandaria, they were a cute little end-game perk for players that endured an endless shit show of a rep grind. The short-sighted designers of these mounts failed to foresee how useful they would become in future expansions, for the design didn’t have any level constraints.

And then all of the zone designers after Pandaria worked water into the constraints of the zones that they designed, because somebody had already removed flying from the constraints until endgame, and, surprisingly, nobody had notified them that someone on the MoP team had designed a mount that would blow right by any water-based constraints. I mean, they can’t be expected to play the game and, well, read WoWHead, right?

And, unpredicted by anyone except us filthy casuals, water striding mounts became the most popular mounts in the game. Why? Because they broke the constraints imposed by the Master of the Universe Top Men programmers of all zones after  Pandaria. The Top Men said “you can’t go here unless you fight through zillions of aquatic assholes” and we were like “lol I water stride the fuck over your heads motherfucker.”

I mean, this was the deal no matter your level. If you were able to earn enough rep to buy an Azure Water Strider (about a month’s work) then you had the ability to bypass a large part of any zone’s constraints that were based on water. You could just “fly” over the aquatic mobs’ heads and call yourself a mf’ing hero.

Listen, I’ve been doing. So don’t trot out any holier than thought bullshit. No time, no patience. It’s a thing that happened, and any player that employs maximum efficiency will do the thing. it’s natural.

What I’m getting at is that the changes to water striding in the 8.2 patch are kinda predictable. WoW isn’t about making game mechanics more fun, it’s about maximizing the amount of time the can keep you playing and Water Strider mounts don’t really help with that.

Now. Changes to the Water Strider mount are kinda weird in that light. What we’re getting right now is that the mount won’t be able to do the thing it was bought to do  – walk on water – until the character that uses it is level 100.

Okay, I get that, if the max level for the current expansion is 100, that makes perfect sense.

But it’s not. Current max level for BfA is 120.  So if you are level 100 and playing BfA, you are not in any way constrained when it comes to water walking mounts.

So I am in many ways questioning the changes to water walking mounts in 8.2.

Listen, I’ve been of the opinion that water walking mounts blew the level design of all zones since Draenor. But I’ve always envisioned a solution that … addressed the problem. As in only applying to max-level zones, not zones of the past.

The current solution is bullshit. Wrong. Punishing people other than the intended audience.

Though I have to say, if your mechanics design hinges on punishing people, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work.

Or I’m playing the wrong game.

Getting close to option B, friends.

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Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 5)

Note

This is a multipart post.


spreadsheet

Of course there is a spreadsheet

So, after a couple weeks’ evaluation, where are we now?

The addons fall into three categories – Worthy Successors, Livable Substitutes, and Serviceable But Not Desirable.

Overall, I think GupPet is still the best of the bunch, despite its age, but I also think you can do well with BeStride.  LiteMount is very good as well but requires more technical knowledge to be used effectively.  If it were for me, I’d probably pick LiteMount over BeStride, but for most people I’d go the other way.

Each of the mid tier has special features that intrigue, but the top tier truly sets the mark that others must beat.

Tier 1: Any one of which I would enjoy using

  • GupPet
  • BeStride
  • LiteMount

Tier 2: Any one of which would be a decent substute for the Tier 1s, but which have shortcomings.

  • GoGoMount – might be a Tier 1 depending on your personal feelings
  • IntelliMount
  • KuiMount – would fare better if not for the broken config options
  • MountsJournal – key missing feature is class-based abilities.

Tier 3: May be better than a macro, but don’t count on it.

  • Choose Mount
  • Easy Rider
  • gmMounts
  • Mandrill Mount – would have fared better if it lived up to the author’s claims of working with non-shaman classes. Even so, its features are limited in comparison to others.
  • MountMe – key missing feature: profiles.

My biggest takeaway here was the sheer number of addons of this type that were out there.  And out of 12 addons, 7 were excellent.

My weapon of choice remains GupPet (with my mods), but I feel a sense of comfort knowing that I have several potential replacements should it cease to work completely.

 

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 4)

Note

This is a multipart post.


Mandrill Mount

This addon is very Shaman oriented, but claims to be usable by other classes.

I was unable to get this addon to work on my priest by following the instructions, so I can’t really provide a good evaluation of it.

There is no support for action buttons or hot keys, nor is there a configuration interface of any kind, nor is there a mount favorites selection interface of any kind, nor is there any profiling of any kind that I could detect using the largest tricorder I could find.

If it worked, it looks like you can either create a macro that calls it with a specific set of mounts, or ‘random’, which didn’t work.

Overall grade is F, because if you don’t work, you don’t get a grade.  Don’t claim you work for other classes if all you work with are Shaman.

Mount Journal Enhanced

mount journal

Mount Journal Enhanced mods to the Mount Journal

This is heavily focused on enhancing the existing mount journal, so pretty much does what it says on the tin.  And while it does a lot of things right, it also does a lot of things awkwardly or not at all.

blizz options interface

Here’s what you can configure

The mount journal itself is used to designate your favorites, and the core game’s “random mount button” is used to trigger selection. Other than that, there is scarce little way to modify the behavior of the addon.

Fortunately, it does offer the ability to save preferences per-character, so it fulfills one of my basic requirements for such an addon. If the only native random mount feature were per-character, this is pretty much what we’d have, and I’d be pretty content with that.

Overall, a solid C.

MountMe

keybinds

MountMe uses the Dismount keybind

This addon is very rudimentary.  It uses what you have configured in the pet journal to determine what can be summoned. Rather than define its own keybind, it uses the native “dismount” keybind  to drive it.

There are no preferences, profiles, or other niceties.

This one’s not a lot more useful than the default “random mount” action button.

C- – does the job, but a macro would almost do as well.

MountsJournal

mount journal

MountsJournal mods to the Mount Journal

Journal integration is excellent. Each mount in the journal has three buttons available – ground, fly, and aquatic – which you can mix and match as needed. For example, the Hearthsteed is both a flying and ground mount for my Pali, and can be configured that way.  The inherent search and filtering features of the mount journal come into play to help you quickly narrow down what you can see, so if you’re just interested in night elf saber mounts or flying mounts, easily done.

Mount lists can be character specific, or not, giving your flexibility where you want it.

options

MountsJournal Options

There are several special abilities in the general configuration options.

  • Extensive configuration around water striders – can prioritize over land mounts, can prioritize in specific dungeons and expeditions
  • If you have Herbalism, can be configured to call the Sky Golem if it is available
  • If you have the magic broom, can be configured to call that during Hallow’s Eve

There are a few down sides.

  • No support for levitate / feather fall when mounting while falling
  • No support for ghost wolf
  • No support for Druid travel forms

This is one of the few addons that avoids the Blizzard native interface for keybinds, and that’s probably not a good thing.

Overall, this is a solid addon with a few peccadillos that can be overlooked. B- at worst.

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 3)

Note

This is a multipart post.


GoGoMount

addon config

GoGoMount Configuration

This one avoids integrating with the mount journal in favor of its own favorite configuration integrated into its Blizz configuration interface. It’s a decent, serviceable random mount manager and can be extended with additional addons (I didn’t test them).  Its interface is a bit confusing at times but once you get used to it it works just fine.

global favorites

GoGoMount Global Favorites

You can specify a global mount favorites list that kicks in for any zone that you haven’t specified favorites for.  And that’s right, boys and girls, GoGoMount lets you specify a list of favorite mounts for every zone.  The only caveat is that you can only configure for the zone you’re in.  So take good notes for Future You.

exclusions

GoGoMount Zone Exclusions

The Exclusions list works in a similar fashion, giving you the means to specify a list of mounts to never use globally, as well as in the current zone.

While it doesn’t split flying / ground mounts up, it does let you specify to not use flying mounts in non-fly zones, so you’re not waddling around on a grounded dragon.

Some class-specific abilities are supported, but some implementations may be incomplete.

An extension – GoGoMount-Manager – offers improvements to managing your mount collection, and may address some of the issues observed above.

One feature it does claim to address is profile support, which is sadly missing in the core addon; thus, you can’t have a different set of favorites per alt without an additional addon.

keybinds

GoGoMount Keybinds

Keybinds are supported via the standard Blizz keybind interface, but note that it shows up under ‘other’ which is where addons goes that don’t have the right metadata to suit the Blizz keybind interface thingy.

Overall, this is a solid addon that is  soured by the lack of proper profile support.  A C- by itself, but if GoGoMount-Manager addresses that, then it’s a solid B+ or A-.

IntelliMount

configuration

IntelliMount Options

This addon takes the core game random mount implementation and slaps a veneer of usefulness on it. You get SOME control over how it works, but it’s far from the benchmark target. For  example, most addons will figure out if you have Draenor and Broken Isles flying. It does have some unique features, but they hardly make up for the basics.

This addon also does not support profiles, so all of your alts use the same mount list.

keybinds

IntelliMount Keybinds

Keybinds use the core Blizz interface, and you can designate bindings for a variety of special calls. “Normal” mount in this case is an auto-mount selector, which will attempt to find a good mount for the environment you’re in.

Overall, it’s functional and would do in a pinch – a strong C+. It would be at least a B- if it supported profiles.

KuiMount

mount journal

KuiMount Mount Journal mods

This addon modifies the Mount Journal to manage your mounts. Each entry in the list will have one or more checkboxes, such as “fly” and “ground”, so you get to make the call about whether a flying mount will be called in ‘flying’ zones.  While the addon doesn’t support profiles directly, you CAN define “sets”, and the set choice is per user. So you can define a set for each of your alts and it will ‘remember’ that for you.

but the config ui is kinda facked

The “Lists” configuration interface is broken with regards to profiles / sets

The list configuration window, however, has a few issues. For example, you can’t select a set to edit because the list of sets is *behind* the configuration window. That’s probably a simple fix.  Fortunately, it doesn’t affect the ability to choose your set from the mount journal.

keybinds

KuiMount Keybinds

Keybinding is via the Blizz interface, and offers a familiar set of options.

Overall, this is a decent addon, making great use of native controls, with some of the more advanced features blocked by a broken UI. Give it a solid B-.

LiteMount

options and profile

LiteMount interface + profiles

This one is one of the more interesting ones for those that don’t mind putting some effort into it. It has the basic features one would expect in such an addon, plus a lot of interesting and esoteric features found no where else.

Mount selection matrix

LiteMount Mount Selection

Mount selection is available via a matrix that lets you select from several premade categories, as well as any custom categories you wish to create. This is in addition to a basic on/off checkbox.  The configuration for this is efficient and supports filtering to help you narrow things down quickly.

Profiles are supported, though not all settings are 100% supported per character. Some are per character, some are global, and some are per-character-only. The author provides a very clear description of what is supported.

options - unavailable macro

Unavailable Macro is used if you’re unable to mount.

Non mount-related functions such as “Levitate” for priests while falling are handled via the “unavailable” macro. This is a macro that you define, and which is executed when you try to mount and mounting is not possible – such as when you are falling,, or moving.  This is very flexible, meaning that even as Blizz adds new classes, races, and abilities, you will be able to keep up with the state of the game.

The same sort of thing is provided for in-combat conditions.  If your character is in combat, then an appropriate macro can be created for the situation (which may not be movement-related).

keybinds

LiteMount Keybinds

Keybinds are done properly via the Blizz keybind interface. One thing of note here, the keybinds supported are simply designated “key binding” 1 through 4.

options - advanced

LiteMount Advanced Configuration

What those four keybinds do is defined in the Advanced options. The defaults are reasonable and can be used as is, but you’ll want to review them so you know how to designate the keybinds. And, of course, if you don’t like specifically how each of the keybind groups is configured, you can change it. Of course you can. 🙂

Finally, I simply must laud the author for two things.

  1. Clear and concise instructions to follow if it ever appears that he has abandoned the addon. Guys, this is really something all addon authors should do.
  2. Very clear instructions on how to use the addon.  Seriously, it’s the best documentation of any sort I’ve seen in quite some time. See for yourself.

Overall, this addon is well done and well made. A solid “A” for users of a certain level of sophistication.  A solid “C” for everybody else. This addon rewards effort applied, and lets those content to just get by … get by.

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 2)

Note

This is a multipart post.


BeStride

BeStride is one of the better offerings, and it brings a lot of unique options.

mount selection

BeStride Mount Selection

Selection of favorite mounts is comprehensive and well ordered. The only thing missing here is a 3D model preview, which becomes far more of an issue than I had first thought it.  Seeing what the mount looks like, it turns out, is very important to me personally. Others without my special … quirks … may not have issues with this omission.

One thing of note: BeStride does figure out if you’re in a non-patrol Warfront and deals with it correctly.

class options

BeStride Class Options

This addon offers the best class-based options of all the addons I’ve reviewed.

  • Death Knights get Wraith Walk when moving.
  • Demon Hunters gain Fel Rush when moving and Gliding when falling.
  • Druids have several options for travel and flight form.
  • Mages gain slow fall when falling, blink when moving.
  • Monks gain Roll when moving, and Zen Flight when falling.
  • Paladins gain Divine Steed when moving.
  • Priests gain Levitate when falling.

The only thing missing is Rogues’ Sprint when moving.

mount options

BeStride Mount Options

This addon offers some of the most esoteric and unique options of all of ’em.

  • Auto enable new mounts when learning them
  • Remount immediately after dismount
  • Random usable mount if no mounts in your favorites are usable
  • Protect from flying dismount inadvertantly
  • Force flying mount availability in non-flying zones – in other words, the default is to not do this.
  • Force flying broom
  • Prioritize passenger mounts in group
  • Prioritize Nagrand mounts when applicable
  • Occulus mounts
  • Force Sky Golem if you’re a flower picker
  • Force a repair mount if below certain durability, which you can adjust in three different dimensions

Keybinds are carried out via the addon’s interface, as well as the Blizz keybind interface.

The addon does not support the native blizz addon interface. Or, rather, it offers an entry in the interface options dialog, but it only offers a “click this button to open my own interface” button. And it tosses out an exception. Fortunately, /bestride brings up the configuration interface for the addon with no issues.

Overall, this addon is excellent and will do quite nicely in place of GupPet as long as the companion features are not a big deal for you. It’s well ahead of others in terms of class support, and otherwise provides an excellent experience. The lack of a 3D mount preview takes away from that a bit, but other than that it’s excellent.

Choose Mount

button bar is stuck

That button bar is stuck and in the way.

So this one is just a BoBB (Big ol Button Bar) supporting several categories of mounts – racial, class, faction (ground and flying), professions, aquatic, and Qirajii – the last being fairly unique. A big problem with the button bar is that it was not relocatable. And overall, it was impossible to select which mounts were applciable to which button, making it impossible to personalize per alt.

While it claims it supports Masque for skinning, it did not appear in the Masque prefs and thus was unskinnable. (You had one job)

I was unable to find a way to bind mounts via slash commands or keybinds.

As best I can tell, it’s not very customizable and fairly generic. There is no way to customize per alt or bind to keys, rendering use very clumsy. If I were out of options, I’d use this in place of a macro. Which garnishes it a grade of D, no minus or plus.

Easy Rider

mount bar and tooltip

The button bar, and tooltip thereof.

This is another BoBB (Big ol’ button bar) addon that offers little beyond that. There is no way to control what mount is summoned per button other than setting a “preferred mount” per type. There is no way to change the keybinds. And there is no way to configure anything else beyond where the bar appears and its visibility.

Another version of “I’d use this over a macro but little else”.

gmMounts

configuration

They call it configuring. I call it a hack.

This one barely makes it in, and it almost didn’t. This addon has no UI elements other than slash commands. There is no way to configure which mounts you want other than hacking its code directly (which is what you are instructed to do by the author). And there’s no way to support profiles for each alt. You can work around it since the configuration supports ‘categories’ – as many as you want – and you could therefore, in theory, designate a category per alt or class.

This fact alone opens this addon up to massive instability.  Since WoW uses the LUA language for its addons, and LUA is such a fragile language, it is very easy to blow up your ui if you make even the most miniscule mistake. Say, left out a comma.

Overall, this one ranks slightly below “I’ll just use a macro”.

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 1)

Note

This is a multipart post.


When Blizzard introduced the mount journal, they also added the ability to summon a mount randomly from your favorites. The downside is that it was very rudimentary, with no intelligence, and it was global to all of your alts, so you couldn’t personalize per-alt.

Ergo, near and dear to my heart is the addon GupPet. This addon provides robust per-character summoning options, far superior to the unenhanced experience.

Still, GupPet has started to get long in the tooth and support has been sporadic at best. With increasing anxiety, I started looking around for alternatives.

I am happy to report that there are many alternatives out there.  I thought you might appreciate the fruits of my labor. So, over several posts, I’ll report the results of this investigation for your edification. At the end, I’ll sum up and provide any recommendations I may have.

Criteria

To be considered in this review, the addon had to be self-contained and updated no later than July 2018 (which is when GupPet was last updated, and roughly when BfA went live on the PTR). It had to have support for random mount summoning – battlepet features are not the primary consideration.

Factors

Here are the factors that I am grading on. Scale of 0 to 5, with 0 indicating no support for the feature at all, and -1 indicating that the feature is there but broken.

  • Mount Features
    • Journal Integration – does the addon use or modify the native pet journal, or roll its own?
    • Random Mount – does the addon support summoning random mounts, and how well? This is basically the party piece of these addons. If they don’t serve this up well, the rest is irrelevant.
    • Favorites – can you specify lists for which mounts to consider, and how well?
    • Zone-based favorites – does the addon let you set up favorites for specific zones?
    • 3D Model Preview – do you get a 3D preview of a mount when considering it?
    • Auto-add new mounts – when you collect a new mount, is it automatically enabled?
    • Zone Types – If you’re in an area where aquatic mounts are supported, does the addon figure it out? How about flying or ground? How well does it pick up the odd zones such as warfronts or expeditions?

     

  • General Features
    • Uses Blizzard configuration interface – considered more desirable than rolling your own by some.
    • Minimap – does it support a minimap icon of some sort?
    • Data Broker – does it support the Data Broker standard for plugins such as FuBar or ChocolateBar?
    • UI Errors – does it cause UI errors?
    • Slash Command – can you invoke the addon with a slash command?
    • Action buttons – does the addon supply its own action buttons?
    • Keybinds – can you bind addon features to keystrokes?
    • Profiles – Does it support per character profiles?

I’ll start with GupPet as it is more or less the standard that the others are being measured against, and once you see all of them, you’ll understand why.

GUPPet

I’ve been using GUPPet since Cataclysm, at least. On occasion it has stopped working, but for the most part the author(s) have kept it up to date.  It’s clear at this point, however, that the support is minimal at best, and I haven’t seen interaction from the author(s) since July 2018.

mount filter

GupPet Mount Selection Interface

This addon eschews the Mount Journal for its own interface, which is for the most part pretty good. Hovering over a mount in the list brings up a 3D model that is okay but sometimes a little janky. During Legion, class mounts would cause UI errors if they were from the wrong class. This was corrected with the current version.

The addon does not use the Blizzard “Interface” configuration.  Well, it’s PRESENT, but it’s just a button that opens the real UI, so I don’t feel that that counts.

Selecting a mount in the mount list is a checkbox – there’s no way to designate that the mount is only for use in specific environments, but rather the addon tries to figure that out for you.

The addon offers the ability to specify specific favorites for specific zones, but it’s broken. Trying to configure favorites for a specific zone causes a UI error. Fortunately this doesn’t cause any fatal crashes, but it does render that feature useless.

Favorites are per-character; this is invisible to the user. Unfortunately that also means you can’t copy favorite lists from one alt to the other.

The addon offers its own action buttons (which are skinnable using the Masque addon), slash commands, and keybinds via the Blizzard keybind interface.  You cannot add the action buttons to your button bars, but you can add macro buttons that call the slash commands.

options window

GupPet Options

The addon offers a minimap icon which you can disable, but no Data Broker interface.

Class / race -specific support is provided in most cases – but some are missing, such as Sprint for Rogues and Roll for Monks.  Each supported ability can be disabled in the options window.

  • Priest – Levitate while falling or moving
  • Mage – Feather Fall while falling
  • Hunter – Aspect of the Cheetah when moving.
  • Shaman – Ghost Wolf if moving
  • Druid – Travel Form.  It’s complicated, but basically you get the form that is appropriate for where you are, or Cheetah if you’re indoors.  Druid travel form can replace other mounts in most circumstances.
  • Worgen – Running Wild

Random mount support is very good. The addon figures out what mount to summon based on where you are and your favorites for the environment. The list of favorites is subcategorized into three environments as a list of aquatic, land, and flying mounts (with a sub-category for vendor / special mounts). One button controls the whole process – just hit the auto-mount button, and the addon figures it out for you. In a no-fly zone? You get a designated ground mount. Underwater? Aquatic mount. If you have the ‘specials’ enabled for ground mounts, they can appear as well.

The problem of course is that flying mounts appear in the ground mount list, so you have to be careful not to enable them on the ‘ground’ tab or you’ll be waddling around on a grounded dragon. It’s sad looking.

The only caveat here is that the addon doesn’t ‘get’ warfronts (not talking about the patrol mode ones, which allow flying, but the 20-man scenarios, which don’t). I created a patch to fix this (see: https://bitbucket.org/grimmlabs/guppet/src/master/) but neither author has responded to my submissions so go get it if you use this addon 🙂

companion filter

GupPet Companion Selection

One feature that this addon offers over the others is that it also offers support for companion (aka battle pet) randomized summoning as well. You can exclude whole location categories (city, outside, arena, party, raid, and battleground), allow only in cities, and instigate a “pet of the day” mode in which one randomly selected pet is used for the entire day, regardless. The companion tab shows all battle pets you have “learned” and you can select all, none, or specific pets for summoning on a random-ish schedule, based on your configuration options. It’s pretty inclusive.

Conclusion

Overall, this is still my favorite random mount addon, despite some shortcomings. It’s the standard that other mount addons will be rated against.

 

Inscription is Facked.

FACK

I’ve been long delayed in my report on BfA inscription.  A large part of that delay has been Blizzard’s delay in implementation of a reasonable system for Scribes to create Glyphs.

Lemme essplain.  No. Is too much. Lemme summarize.

Starting in the expansion following (3.0) the introduction of Glyphs (2.0), Blizz offered a mechanism for Scribes to create glyphs that were introduced in every expansion. In short, the Ink Trader.  The Ink Trader allowed you to exchange whatever the current expansion’s primary ink for inks from previous expansions.  So, for example, if you were in the Cataclysm expansion, you could exchange Blackfallow Ink for any ink required to create glyphs in Vanilla, BC, or WotLK. In MoP, then you could exchange inks from that expansion for older inks. And so forth. I hope you’re keeping up.

Which brings us to the most notable absence from the current expansion.  Normally, at the introduction of the x.0 patch for an expansion, the Ink Traders in all faction hubs (Stormwind, Shattrath, etc as an example) would provide an exchange of whatever that expansion’s most common ink was for any other ink in the game. For example, in Legion, we could exchange Roseate Pigment for inks from previous expansions.

But now we’re in weird territory.

When BfA rolled, we expected an Ink Trader in the faction cities to accept one of the inks from the current expansion (we figured it would be Ultramarine Ink) for inks from previous expansions. But we found nothing. At that point, the previous expansion (Legion) still held sway. So the only way to create inks for all expansions was: farm Legion inks (Roseate Pigment) or go gather herbs on the continents from the previous expansions, and mill them. This was less than optimal. In a world where we expected to exchange Ultramarine Ink  for other inks, we were met with disappointment, at a massive scale. And now we are in 8.1.0, and there is still no sign of an ink Trader in Boralas, much less Stormwind.

So what we are doing, here in the first content patch of BfA, is farming Legion herbs.  BfA herbs are almost useless – there are three Druid glyphs in this expansion, and that is it – so we are currently either selling them off – a poor financial investment – or banking them against an expected future where they are actually useful.   At this point, I am becoming cynical.

So what is actually going on?  Those that are willing to attribute an  actual plan to all of this are welcome to comfort themselves in the actual market, but those of us that are embedded in the current market are doubtful. Currently, Dreamleaf (https://www.wowhead.com/item=124102/dreamleaf#comments) is the king of the Inscription market due to its secondary conception of Roseate and Sallow (especially Sallow) pigments. BfA Inscription is pretty much dead. And the WoW customer service accounts are pretty much silent on the topic after multiple pokes.

That is: currently. Aside from Cards of *, it is currently impossible to turn BfA herbs into a profit. And Blizzard doesn’t seem to care even so much as to stroke your ego. Sorry.

BtW: in case you were thinking of switching to Alchemy:

image

Herb-related crafting in BfA is, to be quite brutally honest, a cluster-fuck.  You’re best served in just selling the herbs (especially Legion herbs) than trying to make a profit at Inscription or Alchemy.

It’s the Seventh Annual Finding Jaina Day

jaina 2016-12-17

It is the time of year that we celebrate the Finding of the Cat That Lived, our glorious little Birman mix, Jaina.

For those that missed out on the first six installments, we found baby Jaina wondering around in the parking lot and scooped her up. Later, when we took her to the vet, we were told she had FIP, which is fatal, and that she had weeks to live.  Well, here we are seven years later, and she’s entering middle age without showing any sign of keeling over.   And so today we celebrate.

jaina 2018-03-20She has continued to be Mommy’s girl when it comes to laps. She’ll play with me, and adores the kid, but when it comes time for laps, Mommy is her go-to.

Sparta and Butterscotch 2018-12-19We also have some new-ish denizens of the local scene, namely Ghost, a stray cat that we’re watching after, Goblin (same), and their child, Sparta, seen here with Butterscotch.  We’re trying to lure at least the mom and Sparty here inside so we can get them fixed.  The jury’s out as to whether they become permanent fixtures.  Jaina, of course, does not approve.

There’s another stray, who the kid named Plisskin, that is a black Maine Coon and very, very hungry and very, very friendly.  We’re trying to get her used to coming inside too, but she’s so afraid of other cats.

Jaina

Jaina and her string in 2012 (Year One)

Jaina’s antics with her favorite toy in the whole world continue to be adorable as hell. As you may know, her favorite toy is a shoestring that she’s had all her life.  When she wants attention, she will pick it up, drag it around, and sing while she does so.

I have finally captured this and I share it here with you. You can also see clearly why we call her a bearcat, or Little Bear – the bear shape is pretty clear in this vid.

She’s also developed a knack for taking it with her when she climbs on top of things. This is the best pic I have, but there you have it.  She is wicked smart, and I have found her with it on top of even the high top table in the dining room. “Clever Girl.”

Jaina 2018-05-19

The string, by the way, is reaching End of Life – it’s really starting to fray after several years of being dragged around and washed.  We’re working on smuggling in a new one, but you parents know how it is when replacing a cherished teddy bear, so we’ll see.

Jaina 2018-10-23

Her favorite spot to sleep at night continues to be on the corner of the bed closest to the door, which in this pic happens to be at the end of my pillow (me and Mrs Grimm have swapped since then, and the Bear continues to favor the corner, not the person).

Overall, it’s been another great year with the little bearcat.  She continues to flourish, continues to be the boss of everything, and we intend to continue to keep our promise of chin skritches and laps whenever she wants them.

So, if fortune is kind, we’ll see you this time next year for her Eighth.

Jaina 2018-11-06

Mrs Grimm can’t put anything in this cubby on her desk, for floofy reasons.

Burn, baby burn!

port 2018-12My mage has been, but for a brief time in Vanilla, Frost through and through.  But when Legion came around, Frost took a big hit in effectiveness. Reluctantly, I gave fire a try … and over the course of the expansion, got to like it – a lot.

When BfA came out the sims were showing Fire had declined and Frost was once again ascendant. Not entirely happy with the rotation, but I took it up and got into the swing of it again, and it was reasonably serviceable, and my numbers were not hideous.

But looking at the charts, I found that the sims seemed to be not entirely accurate – fire was, in the raid charts, far higher up on average than Frost. 

So here I am again.  The old rotation is  gone (that rather required that famous sword and its attendant abilities) but the current one doesn’t feel as broken now as it did at the start of the expansion.

And when those crits pop … so satisfying, I can’t really put into words how amazing it is when they string out one after another.

The downside is that this is a short-lived crit train … once the party’s over, I have to build up some procs again, and that’s usually boring old fireball after fireball.

The charts also show that Arcane is king of the Mage specs right now.  I tried Arcane once.

ONCE

Never could get the hang of it.

But setting things on fire … that never gets old.

I have doubts, mate

jasra-logoThe past couple of weeks, I’ve been tap-dancing around a subject that seriously pains me.

To wit: do I suck as a healer?

Let me lay the background on you. On my first three LFD Heroics, everything seemed to be okay. Keeping people alive wasn’t a big deal, and the 2nd one was especially awesome.  The tank was so good, I could have stuck to DPS.

And then I got a string of bad ones. All of them sucked. Everybody died. In some case the baddies were easy to spot – the assholes that stood in the bad and then yelled at me for not dispelling them, that sort of thing. 

But as a whole, it was a trend, and I started to have real doubts.  Maybe … it was me. Maybe I was just that bad in this expansion. I mean, I didn’t feel any different, but maybe the rest of the game picked up and moved on, and I didn’t Get The Memo.

I was sad.

I had been avoiding running more, to be honest. Any excuse not to, I was taking it. I thought, maybe I’ll skip over Heroics and go right into LFR.  Safety in numbers, that sort of thing. Nobody will notice a really sucky Disco priest in among a crowd of 25 or so, right?  I mean, I was low.

So tonight’s run was a real conundrum. See, I had that quest that requires you to go into Tol Dagor and get that fourth key, in the Jaina Is Trapped quest line.

I could have wimped, and run it in Normal difficulty, but I felt dirty in that scenario.  So in I went.

The first bit was pretty good.  The tank was a Brewmaster Monk, very aggressive yet rarely below 50% even when he ran off into the boonies. But then we got to the last boss and toons started dropping like flies.

I don’t know if they were just standing in bad and expecting me to protect them, but both hunters and the ret Palli went down.  Now it was just me, the tank, and the Boss.  And for the next few minutes I shielded, healed, ducked, covered, and dodged like never before.

And we prevailed.

Everybody in the team was like, “Wow, that was awesome” and stuff like that.  I was humbled and stoked all at the same time. We rezzed our fallen, no harm no foul, and all was good.

It reminded me of that time when the Bunnies were raiding Naxx and it was me and the Palli we called Spartacus doing the Safety Dance with Heigen. We took it almost all the way to the enrage timer as we danced our way to fame and fortune. It was an epic win, and this one felt the same.

So after tonight’s adventures, I’m willing to try a few more to see if maybe I just had some bad luck.

Amazing what one good night will do for one’s attitude.