Category Archives: The future is scary

So about that thing

If you’re not up with the latest happenings of the past hours (i.e. the commencement of War of the Thorns Pt. 2 and the animated Sylvanas Warbringers story) and care deeply about spoilers, close this tab now and come back when you’re caught up.  There will be no further coddling.

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I want to say first of all a few words about some peoples’ reactions.

One rotten development of this is that a lot of people have been harassing Christie Golden and others associated with the writing of this game, the shorts, and related media. I don’t care if you don’t like the direction a character is taking, harassment is out of line.   It’s one thing to analyze the story without mercy, to call shit out, and express even disgust with the proceedings. Fine. Be as dramatic as you want about a video game.

(I don’t care how many years of your life you’ve “invested” in it. That just makes you look bad when you couch it in those terms. Stop making a fool of yourself).

But personal abuse of any sort is way beyond the pale. Take it down or get the Bitch Slap of the Apocalypse for your troubles.  That’s my personal promise.


Back to the story.

We’ve known for a year that Teldrassil would burn. We’ve known that likely Sylvanas would be the burner, and that Azerite might in some way figure into all of this.

Blizzard assured us that Sylvanas wasn’t going full on evil, saying the world was “gray, not black and white”, or words to that effect.

Aaaand Sylvanas then turned full on evil.  She burned that tree down for spite’s sake.

I don’t want to hear how she was better off not fighting a Resistance so it was a good tactical move. She had full on planned to capture until Delaryn Summermoon sassed her, telling her she would never defeat hope. And Sylvanas, morally grey Warchief of the Horde, who until then had other plans, ordered the tree burned. AND forced Delaryn to watch it. Deliberately, sadistically.

This is not me RPing angry Alliance, this is me saying that the character they depicted shows all the signs of a sadistic, evil creature not too far removed from Garrosh Hellscream himself. Cruel, capricious, and, from what I can see, just plain greedy. She’s missing a moustache to twirl, but so is Elon Musk.

And that’s a problem for Horde players that have been “we’re not evil” for all these years.  Granted, this is the same Horde that Pearl Harbor’d Theramore and Scourged Gilneas, but otherwise a peaceful, pastoral group of people that were just trying to get by, farm grain, murder elves, same as everyone else.

The Horde now have a maniac in charge again, and I think this time it’s breaking them.  I have seen a LOT of people revolting. (I’ve seen some revolting people too, which we’ll speak of in a moment). They are not happy and they are making themselves known.

In a way it’s kinda comforting to know that some people, when confronted with what their nation has become, will not, in actuality, go along with it.  It feels like maybe we’ve learned something from the Nazis after all. Refrains of “Not our Warchief” reflect the real-world cries of “Not our President”. In a way, I wonder if Blizz isn’t making some sort of statement here.


jas and teldrassil

Sliding back into the story … it’s hard to take it all in.  I have two Kaldorei toons, both noob’d on Teldrassil back when getting to Stormwind was a harrowing journey through high-level dangers. I have a lot of memories associated with Darkshore, Teldrassil, Auberdine, and points beyond. A big chunk of my WoW history is literally up in flames now. Others are taking it even harder. Some people are tremendously attached to their gentle elvenfolk and feel as betrayed as the Hordies that can’t cope with their murderer-in-chief.

Right now the Kaldorei and Gilneans are camped out in Stormwind Harbor (seriously, Anduin, can we get some housing here?) and presumably they will be in search of new digs after all of this settles. Though, personally, I think, after they fill in that nasty basement, Lorderon would make a fine new home for our displaced friends.  And maybe they’ll team up and take back Gilneas as well – that’s a huge waste of a beautiful city otherwise.

Maybe once the Sindorei disavow the Horde and join the Alliance, they will reunite with their sylvan relatives, we can fire up the jets, and Kaz Modan can fly off to Mars like a rocket ship.

Hey, you never know. Haven’t you read ElfQuest?

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How to Disco: BfA Prepatch Edition

anduin-poseToday, WoWHead released a guide to changes that will take place in each class in the BfA pre-path on July 17. Not all guides are created equal, and by that I mean that the rest of the guide owners are probably PISSED at Bendak, who pretty much overachieved on all levels for the BM Hunter guide.

The Disco Priest guide is a little less thorough.  I’m not hating – Bendak sets a high bar to clear on any occasion. That aside, I feel like a little bit of fleshing out is in order.

Say Goodbye

Light’s Wrath is gone, of course (I actually approve of this as it means we’ll get more choices on weapons and stuff), and with it are its abilities.  That means that our massive healing nuke is gone.

The other biggest change you will notice is that the Global Cooldown now applies to a number of spells. What this means is that you won’t be able to cast a spell on Global Cooldown until the Global Cooldown cools down. This is not true for all spells, so pay attention to the spell descriptions.

Spell Changes

Another significant change is that only three spells will lay down Atonement now.  We also lost one spell (Plea) that applied it instantly.

Before this expansion, my favorite rotation was more or less this:

  • PW: Shield on myself; then PW: Radiance to spread out Atonement; then again, to get another 5 people covered, then Evangelism to extend Atonement for all 11.
  • Keep DoTs up on the boss (SW: Pain and Shadow Squid), hammer the boss with Penance and Smite until it was time to lay down PW: Radiance again
  • PW: Shield where it was needed, mindful of its cooldown.

It was a pretty simple rotation, but it got me through LFR fairly well.

The new rotation will be changed due to changes in the various spells used.

  • PW: Radiance is relatively unchanged.  It is one of our Atonement spreaders.
  • Evangelism is relatively unchanged.
  • PW: Shield doesn’t have the limitations we had before; it is now our defacto spam. It applies Atonement to whatever it shields. In effect, Rapture got baked right in.
  • Shadow Mend is relatively unchanged.  It also applies Atonement.
  • Penance is relatively unchanged, however, is now generally better spent as a direct heal than Atonement healing. Unfortunately, it does not spread Atonement when used directly.
  • SW: Pain (or Purge the Wicked) is relatively unchanged, and I think that Penance still spreads it when used for damage. This of course will also increase your Atonement healing.
  • Smite is still Smite, with its damage component and its shield component.
  • Halo is unchanged, and is still an optional damage / heal AE spell.
  • Holy Nova is now also a Disco spell, giving us a ‘native’ AE spell that relieves us of having to choose Halo over something more interesting. It also applies to Atonement healing, but only the FIRST target struck does so – additional targets struck by Holy Nova do not provide Atonement healing.  I think this is rather shabby.
  • Rapture now increases the duration of all bubbles by around 7 or so seconds. In my opinion, this improves it massively.

So basically it boils down to:

  • PW: Shield on myself; then PW: Radiance to spread out Atonement; then again,
    to get another 5 people covered, then Evangelism to extend Atonement for all
    11.
  • Keep DoTs up on the boss (SW: Pain and Shadow Squid), hammer the boss with Smite until it was time to lay down PW: Radiance again
  • PW: Shield where it is needed. Cooldown isn’t so relevant now, so anywhere you see a need, drop it.  Use Rapture on CD to extend that.
  • Save Penance for big heals unless fairly certain that it won’t be needed for that, in which case share the love via Atonement.

You may notice that Shadow Mend isn’t top of the list.  I tend to only use it in emergencies.  The long cast time and odd pain/pleasure dynamic makes it far less than a winner to me.

Stats

As before, Spell Power is the primary component of all of our spells.  Only PW: Shield varies on that, in that it also improves on Versatility. I’m pretty sure Crit will feature in a lot of the calculations, but those are your two main stats of interest.

Conclusionish

As has been the case for ever, my main concern is in how clumsy healing can be.  It requires a lot of direct or mouseover targeting, which means one hand mousing while the other is keying the commands required. During high-movement fights, healers are at a huge disadvantage when compared to others. PW: Radiance was a good step in the right direction in this regard, giving us a way to propagate Atonement without making it about as clumsy as an elephant on a high wire.

However, it appears that Blizz did not expand on that theme, and instead moved us away from that mode of operation. I mean, I’m kinda glad that we’re moving more towards bubblePriest mode, but it does require a lot of mousing around to get the shields distributed around, which is dependent on a lot of things, not the least the clumsiness of the wielder Smile

I am also bitterly disappointed that yet again, Disco priests don’t have the Frisbee.   I mean, what is Disco without the Disc? In my mind, I see the Frisbee as method #4 for spreading around our Atonement Goodness.

But overall, this looks like a very viable spec going into  the new expansion. As always, it will require a bit of play time to learn for sure where we stand.

Oh, and also? New expansion, new mog. While I loved the look of the silver haltertop and skirt I affected in Legion, it had a couple of real issues.

  1. It was a skirt, making running problematic. Remember, sometimes it isn’t whether you’re faster than the monster. But it matters if you’re faster than at least one other person in your party.  As Flora and Illume have proven before, nothing beats a good pair of jeans for adventuring.
  2. No pocketses, precious. What is this, anyway?

Tidying up Ye Olde Glyph Shop

Screenshot 2018-07-07 10.55.21.png

Five weeks from now, the new expansion will drop, and that means that somewhere in between now and then, we will be getting the “pre-patch”, which will introduce the new expansion and stuff. More importantly, it will introduce the new game systems to all and sundry, whether you buy the expansion or not.

During Legion, I’ve been keeping afloat partially on sales of glyphs, but also some other stuff.  This expansion hasn’t been great for Scribes, so I’ve supplemented with enchantments as well, but the upshot is that on the strength of glyphs alone I can play the game entirely on in-game currency.  With additions, I can buy other things in the Blizz shop such as time for my sweetie if she’s in the mood to play. But it hasn’t been raining cash.  You gotta hustle.

  • Legion glyphs are the main money makers, to a limited extent.
  • Older glyphs sell fine, but don’t bring in much cash compared to the cost to make them.
  • Vantus runes and other sops that Blizz tossed to Scribes were worthless.  I fire-sale’d all but Antorus a while back and it looks like I’m going to eat them anyway.
  • One herb was by far the best for this business model – Dreamleaf, which also generated Nightmare Pods, which yielded great quantities of Sallow pigment.  The Argus herb, on the other hand, was worthless for Scribes.

Overall, fairly lackluster.  I think that applies to most professions, though.

On to new things.

New expansion, new inks

  • Crimson Pigment –> Crimson Ink
  • Ultramarine Pigment –> Ultramarine Ink
  • Viridescent Pigment –> Viridescent Ink – returning once again to a “rare” ink for certain items, such as Darkmoon cards, codices, Vantus runes, off-hands, etc.
  • All inks now require the use of Distilled Water.  All BfA inks thus have an additional 2s 50c tax.
  • Viridescent Ink also requires Acacia powder, an additional 2s 50c tax on that ink.

Yields, what herb gives what, and in what quantities, is not yet known.

New expansion, new herbs

  • Akunda’s Bite (Vol’dun)
  • Anchor Weed – appears to pop in all zones
  • Riverbud (Drustvar, Zuldazar, Tiragarde Sound) – found along rivers
  • Sea Stalk (Tiragarde Sound) – found along coastlines
  • Siren’s Pollen – found in trees in swampy areas.  In a way similar to Foxflower, picking one can create a swarm of them to pick up.
  • Star Blossom – found on the sides of buildings in Kul’Tiras and Zandalar.
  • Winter’s Kiss – found in snowy areas (Drustvar)

It should be noted that the locational information is far from accurate at this time.  Also, there are three levels for each herb for gathering, so similar to Legion in how it works this time.

There will also be three tiers to milling, and mass milling will become available for all herbs.

New Glyphs

Very few new glyphs have been added. In many ways this seems a lot like Cataclysm where we got one whole new glyph to use the pigments on – essentially, any pigments you grind will probably be exchanged for older inks or pigments at the ink trader, so find out who that is and go there.

The exceptions are, of course, the ones listed here.  These are all Druid glyphs.

  • The Dolphin – requires Revered with Tortollan Seekers
  • The Humble Flyer  – appears to be a discovery from Grumpy Grimble in Tiragarde Sound.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s what I got.
  • The Tideskipper – drop from Corrupted Tideskipper in Stormsong Valley

There don’t appear to be any research-oriented tasks associated with this expansion.

Removed Glyphs

A few glyphs have also been dropped, no doubt due to class changes.  In total, we end up with fewer glyphs than we had in Legion.

  • The Blood Wraith (DK)
  • The Bullseye (Hunter)
  • The Skullseye (Hunter)
  • The Unholy Wraith (DK)
  • The Wraith Walker (DK)

My advice on these is to hang on to them until after the pre-patch.

In my experience, dead glyphs are transformed into something like Charred Glyphs which are usually worth 50s.  Dump them now, and get 1s. It’s worth waiting to see.  Of course, if you can dump them for more than 50s now, go for it.

Vantus Runes

I’ve seen one – Uldir – and that’s it.  I’m not sure if we’re going to see more or not, but right now it looks like they’re attuned per-raid, not per-boss.  If the latter, I don’t think it’s worth the bother. If the former, it MIGHT be.  Start slow.

Other Wealth-Enhancing Features

Inscription has picked up a plethora of things that may or may not be of value in the days to come.  Test each carefully.

  • Codices – As before, we can make a Codex of the Clear Mind kind of thing that will allow you to change your talents outside of rest areas. This does require the rare ink.
  • Contracts – A contract is with a specific faction, and while it is in effect you gain reputation with that faction, similar to how tabards worked in Burning Crusade.  I do like this mechanic, and also suspect this will be a small but steady income stream. I assume only one can be in effect at a time.
  • Scrolls – Scrolls are back as “War Scrolls” that can buff an individual or group. The odd thing is the wording of the description indicates that, say, an Intellect scroll affects all team members, not just the int-using ones. I suspect only one can be in effect. So this is very confusing.   They’re not too costly to make, but they may have a limiting factor that makes them unpopular.
  • Ink Wells – This allows your champions to bring back ink from missions.  This isn’t really a money maker unless you sell it on the AH to other Scribes – which might be the case because the darned thing requires some mats that drop from mythic bosses only.  The mats are BoP, but the Ink Well is not.

Conclusions, such as they are

We may see 8.0.x this Tuesday, or three weeks from now (I can’t believe they’d cut it any closer). Now is the time to prepare, because once the patch drops, in my experience, you run out of options to keep things operating.  For example, the ink trader usually stops accepting the previous expansion’s inks or pigments (i.e. Roseate and Sallow) and instead requires the new expansion’s stuff (Crimson and Ultramarine Inks or Pigments). At which point you will have to go flower picking all over the place to keep making glyphs.

The good news is that glyphs that sell now will probably continue to sell.  The bad news is that the ones that aren’t selling will still probably not sell.

Hope you did well this time around, it looks like more of the same, alas.

New Associate Races!

Allied_races

Oh hai! The good news is that I’m still around. That is also the bad news. I just haven’t had a lot to talk about since the BfA announcement – that goes a while back, I know, but there ya have it. What was that, BlizzCon?

I’ve started a number of posts, but ran out of gas before I got them up to our usual low standards of publishability. I haz opinions, but really haven’t felt like any of them were worth your time.

I’ve even gotten in on the Alpha – hard to say who hasn’t – though I haven’t actually done anything with it.  Matters of theorycrafting and so forth seem to be beyond my grasp – I’ve barely figured out how to properly use the Best in Bags tool at AMR.   That’s assuming I am, of course. AMR agrees with my own calculations enough to earn extra side-eye.

So anyway, watching all the news about BfA and our new Associated Allied races has me wondering about future installments on this already popular feature.  We all know about the Zandalari Trolls, some sort of Orcs from Outland (?), Dark Iron Dwards, and Big Chin Humans from Jaina’s Home Island.  What else might they be cooking up? Here are some ideas!

Leper Gnomes

I think that we’ve all seen this one coming from a mile away. The only thing holding them back has been the rather insensitive-to-lepers name, but now that we’re in the second year of the Trump administration, sensitivity is for the birds!  Bring on the possibly radioactive Gnomes!

Probably still won’t end up in the next cinematic, though.

Vrykool

Similar to the Big Chin Humans, but these folk trace their roots back to when the Curse of Flesh was first weakening the races of Northrend.  Smart folks, these relatives of the Vrykul got out of there before it got too bad, and also stayed hidden for thousands of years before revealing themselves. They’re cool like that.

Racial Bonus: they use regular sized humans for shoulder gear.  Cool.

Crimbo Elves

Somewhat related to the Really High Elves, these folks only appear in Winter, spending the rest of the year in communes in Northern Kalimdor.

Obviously if seasonal Associated Races don’t work out, this will be the only ones we ever see.

Nasty Orcses

Nocturnal by nature, Nasty Orcses have a racial bonus when fighting stupid hobbitses. Precious.

Limited to Warriors and Paladins. Obviously.

Mostly Dead

A somewhat embarrassing chapter in The Lich King’s campaign in Lorderon; these are the people who’s relatives gave up on them before they were actually dead.  Arthas took them into the Scourge and never heard the end of it.

Made for some awkward war councils, too.

“I remember you. You told them I was dead!”

“Didn’t turn out so well, for me, either.”

“If you think that makes it okay, let me tell you …”

“People, can we focus on the counterattack from Alterac?”

Gitauren

An offshoot of the Highmountain Tauren, these folks really rock.

Probably hinting at the eventual introduction of the Bard class. You know how Blizz is.

Panteran

I’m guessing this offshoot of the Pandaran race will line up directly opposed to the Gitauren.  This might even be the basis for the conflict in the expansion that introduces the Bard class. I’m calling it now – “World of Warcraft: Battle of the Bands”.

Furbolgs

There’s no sound reason, lore-wise, for this to ever happen. Therefore it will happen.

You get a Furbolg, and you get a Furbolg …

Gobwins

The perfect cross-over from Erfworld, these highly avaricious and clever subterranean creatures will replace the mobile auction house.  Their native resource, Juice, will replace Mana / Energy / Rage / etc for all supported classes.

Battle for Azeroth

Jaina (TCG)

(Image from the WoW Trading Card Game, whose body is buried in Hearthstone’s back yard)

It’s a bit more than a week since the big reveal at Blizzcon – Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will be a thing.  The theme to this expansion will be that of faction warfare between the Horde and Alliance.  I, on the other hand, just call it The Jaina Expansion.

Jaina (BlizzCon 2017 Key Art).png

(Image from Blizzcon 2017 key art. Cosplay by Taylor Swift)

The theme of this one is that for some reason, the Horde has decided, after working with us for some time to save Azeroth from countless nasty things, that the time has come to wipe  us out.  Word has it that Sylvanas has a thing for Stormwind, which is why she turns around and burns down Teldrassil.  You’d expect Silvermoon’s finest Ranger to have better aim than that, but there ya go.

(By the way, it’s been officially confirmed that Sylvanas shot first.)

As a result, the Alliance strikes back at Lorderon.  I won’t spoil it for you, but who won this one has also been officially confirmed.

(I’m not a member of the undead night elf fetish club, but the way, but the vice actor for Sylvanas has one of the most interesting voices in the genre.  I could listen to her read the phone book.)

Aw, hell, I can’t get away from giving it away a little … the upshot is that Alliance ends up with exactly one base in Kalimdor – the Exodar – and Horde with one in the Eastern Kingdoms – Silvermoon. Sorry, haters, but it’s kinda fundamental to discussing what we know, ya know?

Jaina (WotLK Ulduar)

(Image from Ulduar announcement cinematic. I always liked big-nose Jaina the best.)

First things first. We don’t know yet how much this affects contended areas like Gadgetstan or Booty Bay, but I seriously doubt it will affect them at all. They were contested before, they still are now. Fine.  That also means that I suspect that little outposts, such as what’s left of Theramore and Revantusk Village, will remain largely unchanged, though security might get beefed up.  I doubt there’s a good lore-related reason for this, but in terms of game mechanics, I imagine it would be a lot more work than they have time for, unless release date is sometime in 2020.

They already have enough to do.  The losses of two major capital cities is going to likely re-arrange the political geography of much of the two continents.

Teldrassil’s loss will likely lead to the loss of Darkshore and Ashenvale.   Which is a shame since it seems that all that Horde does with woods  is cut them down. Don’t get me started.

Lorderon’s loss will likely lead to re-integration of the two Plaguelands (already partially integrated, but maybe they’ll remain contested), Hillsbrad, Alterac, Silverpine, and Tirisfal. It is also likely that Gilneas will be fully restored, and I suspect that this will become the new capital city of the Worgen and Night Elves, since the Night Elves hosted the Worgen up to now. I have no idea where the Forsaken will end up hosting, but I suspect they might be pushed into the Ghostlands (somewhat appropriate), thought that might involve Blizz having to rework a BC zone, which they seem very reluctant to do (which is probably also why the Exodar and Silvermoon are left alone in this expansion).

Jaina (BfA Reveal Vid)

(Image from BfA announcement cinematic. Is it just me or has she been working out?)

As always with these expansions, there must be land to … expand into. This time around, it’s Kul Tiras – Jaina’s homeland – and Zandilar – home to nasty trollses. As you can imagine, the former has me more interested than the latter, but there are a few things that the announcement cinematic revealed about both.

We know a few things with regards to Kul Tiras. (1) It’s Jaina’s homeland. (2) It’s nautical. (3) Jaina’s dad is dead (Jaina sorta let that happen). (4) Jaina’s mom is still alive, and they have probably had “one of those talks”.  (“Jaina, have we learned not to let ravening Orcs have their way with our parents now?” “:: sigh :: Yes, mother.”)  I really hope they don’t go for the all too predictable trope of “Jaina’s mom is mad with loss and will be a raid boss” or something like that.

Speaking of expanding, Stromgarde Keep is coming back, being rebuild, just in time to be repeatedly attacked by the Horde. This seems odd since I could swear we were kicking the bums outta our turf, but maybe Hillsbrad turns into a pocket of resistance or something?  Hard to say, but the fact remains that without a foothold, it makes zero sense to see Horde attacking someplace that is so far within the heartland. I mean, sure, there’s a pirate cove nearby (not gonna be touched, I can pretty much guarantee), so Southshore is the next closest point of entry.  (I wonder if there is a corresponding Alliance stronghold in the middle of Kalimdor?)

And this brings up the main gist of this expansion – the two factions fighting.  There will be a lot of focus on PvP-like activities, but there’s good news for us care bears.   All the PvP-like activity is against (apparently) NPCs. So they might be flying the flag of the enemy, but they’re really just innocent bots that take pleasure in being slaughtered by the thousands by us god-like players.

Jaina (Blizz Website)

(Image from Blizz’s old fan art site, no attribution provide by them, sadly.)

And that brings me to what I don’t like about all this.  We’ve spent a couple of expansions now being told that we are the greatest thing since sliced bread by every friendly NPC that we meet. In Draenor we were elevated to military commanders, up to Admiral / General in the end.  In Legion we were given command of our entire order.  Set aside for the moment the massive danger there is in granting one supreme authority in both the military and religious spheres (that’s as close as I can come to describe what we are to our orders). The real issue here is that we keep getting more and more preposterously powerful amongst our peers.

And now – we’re foot soldiers in a number of PvP skirmishes?  What a downer.

The whole theme of this thing, really, comes across as some seriously weak tea. Even the reason is weak. Why would Sylvanas suddenly want to go after Stormwind? And why would she then go after Teldrassil instead? Seems kind of random. The Alliance’s motivations seem more obvious – looks like they’re retaliating for this random violence on their shores. But Sylvanas has never, even once, come across as being a randomly violent entity?  Did we get it wrong all along?  Is Sylvanas the Dreadlord instead of Jaina?

The more I look at the set up – and I concede that “set up” may be entirely too accurate – the less engaged I feel.  Many on the interwebz have called this a “filler” expansion done by “the B team”, and there are times when I have no ammunition with which to refute that. This seems to be rather drab and uninspired (even the logo is washed out).

I dunno, what do you think?

Jaina (nap time)

(Image from naptime (sometime in 2012))

Yeah, I’ll probably play, and hopefully rejoice in the restoration of our lands after all this time.  On the other hand, visiting Kalimdor is likely to be heartbreaking.

Xe’ra should learn the meaning of "consent"

Screenshot 2017-08-29 19.51.56.png

Why so Handsy?

You may have seen the  cinematic that deals with “The Fate of Xe’ra”.  Here’s a link if you want to watch. Note it contains spoilers for the Argus campaign, which you may wish to experience in pristine purity of the pure. In which case, close this article now and come back when you have been pristinely enlightened purely.

We’ll wait until you leave …

Okay, here we go.

 

Read the rest of this entry

Six Weeks a Scribe

Illume400After six weeks, I’ve got a bit of a handle on Inscription as it stands.  It’s definitely not the old profession we used to have. But is it better, worse, or indeterminate?

 

In Summary

Here are the bullet points.

  • Glyphs are no longer permanent. If someone wants to re-use a glyph after purging it out, they’ll have to buy it again.
  • Glyphs no longer provide necessary improvements to your skills or talents – all they do is change appearances. That’s it. They have no real purpose, and anyone eschewing them will perform exactly the same as they would if they were fully loaded.
  • Older glyphs cost all of three Roseate Pigments, the “common” pigment of Legion.
  • New glyphs, or NuGlyphs as I like to call them, cost varying amount of Roseate and Sallow Pigments – Sallow being the “uncommon” pigment of Legion.
  • Pigment drops vary vastly between different herbs.
  • Roseate Pigment is the Palmetto Bug of Legion herbalism. You can’t get rid of it, and it’s everywhere.

Yield

So first I’ll address the yield rate of the different herbs. Observe:

herb-yields

Fig. 1: Pigment Yields by Herb

  • The first thing I will point out is that Roseate and Sallow yields vary widely between different herbs, and an herb that yields a lot of Roseate may be crappy for Sallow.
  • Sallow Pigment is the real limiting factor for NuGlyphs.
  • Secondly, from a strictly Herbalist perspective, and with the previous in mind, Dreamleaf is the way to go for glyphing. At a .23 yield, it’s a couple of hundredths ahead of even Starlight Rose.
  • Roseate pigment yield isn’t really much of a factor.
  • Dreamleaf yield rates do not reflect the addition of Nightmare Pods. These pods can yield a lot of Sallow pigments, and are the after effects of Dreamleaf milling. So Dreamleaf may have a higher effective yield of Sallow than the chart reflects. I will be working on gathering more info on this statistic at some point, but off the cuff it seems like it’s almost a 50% boost.
  • I have more data on some herbs than other. Which brings me to …
  • I have zero data on Felwort. Do I look like I’m gonna spend that kind of money on something so expensive to get data that nobody in their right mind would use? No matter how good the yields you get from this bonny jewel, it’ll always be better to sell it on the AH.  Oh, all right, some day when I’m fat and buttery I’ll prolly blow a few Gs on a stack. But today is not that day.

Regardless, strictly for herbalists, Dreamleaf appears to be the clear winner.

Profession Switch

But for Scribes, maybe not.

Let’s be clear: most Scribes are going to burn a lot more herbage daily than they can gather in a day. So that means they’re going to have to buy herbs from someone – either the AH or private channels, it matters not at all. Coin is coin.  And that takes us to the more complex level of this equation.

herbage-profit-matrix

Profit Matrix by Class and Herb

Here you see three data tables. On the upper right is a breakdown of the prices for all but one of the herbs.  To the left of the prices is a breakdown of the general price for each pigment as based on the yield rates of each herb.

The data are clear. Regardless of their inferior yield rate, Aethril’s much lower cost produces a much lower cost per pigment. Looking at the table to the left, you can see a calculation of price per glyph by class. As I said, mat requirements for each class varies. For example, Paladin and Priest only require 2 Sallow pigments, while Warlock requires 15.

The final table in this image is a little selector that changes the “Sallow” and “Roseate” values for the table on the left based on what herb you choose. Easy enough … right now, at this point in the game, on my connected realm, Aethril is the clear choice for purchasing off the AH.

Vantus Very Little

A word on Vantus Runes … I have no data.  These runes require you to have defeated a boss before you can get the recipe, and I have not raided even a bit. Given that Jas is hogging all the glory, I imagine I probably never will without running LFR – which I look forward to as much as my next tax audit.

For the Profit

So, what is happening in terms of profitability?  Before this expansion, Inscription was my cash cow. Slower at times than other, but still a steady source of income.

Now, it’s hard to say. I’ve suffered a massive loss of cash getting ramped up – at least 300,000 – but the treasury is starting to grow once again.  Having said that, the sell rate is starting to fall off. So I’m not sure I can draw any solid conclusions yet.

Finders Keepers

There are around 20-30 glyph techniques – recipes, basically – that are drops out there in the world, making your ability to perform somewhat random. If you get some good luck in drops, you’ll be able to produce product that few others can.  If you get bad luck, your stock will be limited.

Not saying we have a trend here, but from level 100 to 109, I’ve gotten exactly two – two – technique drops.

Side eye

Gonna throw a little shade, here.  Most other professions, you have “ranks” for items that you can produce.  The higher the rank, the fewer mats required to create the item. These ranks come from various sources, such as drops in the world, world quests, experience, and so forth.

Guess which profession doesn’t have this mechanic?

If you guessed Inscription, you get a no-prize. Our recipes cost the same no matter what. There is no potential for improvement no matter how many of the darned things you make. I am not exactly pleased about this.

In Closing

As I watch this profession for further trends, I have to wonder where we’re going with it. I see exactly zero motivation for people to buy my wares, and have to wonder which profession will be next to be hit by this sort of nerf. Enchanting? Alchemy? Hard to say.

I hope it swings the other way. That the person that thought that this was a great idea gets transferred to Diablo and never comes back. That we see a return of Inscription as a profession of great interest in the next expansion.

But I have a hard time thinking that Blizz is going to go back now that they’ve taken the first step on the voyage of “making professions fun again.” Which seems to be a euphemism for “make stuff for yourself, but not so much any one else.”

You know, “Fun.”

Legion’d

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The Invasion event is almost over, and I’m glad for it.

Not to say that it wasn’t fun and productive, in a limited way, but it wasn’t three weeks worth of fun and productive in a limited way.

Sure, I only have all six pieces of warforged gear on one toon, but all of my 100s have at least four.  More than that is just a grind.

Invasion Gear Ain’t All That

If you get all of your invasion gear up to iLevel 710, you’re on par with some of the less well-developed WoD raiders, but I have to ask how long it’ll be good for. Traditionally, my epics are chucked just as fast as I can find superior questing greens when the expansion starts.

Broken Isles Event was Cheap

I won’t spoil the “surprise” but …

I don’t mean in the form of no expenses spared.  I instead mean, Blizz generated some tension between Horde and Alliance in a cheesy way. Instead of laying down a solid story that explains to you why you should be pissed (Alliance) or feeling REAL misunderstood (Horde), they chose to hide bits of the story behind the Iron Curtain, as it were.  And the joke of it all is that all you have to do is go up to YouTube to see the other side of the scenario, and that tension is instantly negated.  Hordesplainers be like “well actually” and this time it’s actually a valid defense.

Had the story been more expertly laid out, I would have given this event full marks. Having said that, it was still pretty damned good.

Getting Tired of Jaina’s Shit

In fact, the whole “Kirin Tor Takes Dalaran on a Field Trip” series of events is pretty thinly plotted, but the bitterest pill of all to swallow is how they have reduced Jaina to a whiney little jerk that spends a lot of time doing the Kylo Ren Stomp all over the place. So much so that I think most people were glad when she /ragequit the Kirin Tor – and not just on the Horde side.

Let’s go for extra points and point out how sleazily that Khadgar basically manspreaded right into her old spot in the council. I gotta say, people upset that Khadgar has basically preempted Jaina’s rightful place as the Mage of Mages in the past two or three expansions MIGHT be onto something.  And as a guy that named his cat after her, I’d like to see better.

I hope they redeem the character with some solid storytelling in this expansion, but I’m worried we’ll get the ragey version of “*sniffle* just proud of my king …”  (gag). I’d love to say that I know Blizz can do better … but I can’t.  The major character arcs seem to be in the hands of someone that really can’t tell a story that well (cough cough Metzen). They need to hand that over to Kozak.

Invasions were good for one thing, anyway

Getting out there and learning your new rotations is a good thing. For those of us not raiding, the only way to really test your mettle was against the major demons in at the Throne of Kil’jaden.

The invasions provided new and useful targets. They also taught me that melee in that sort of environment is no fun.  Let’s just say I’m glad for the opportunity to learn defensive cooldowns on an Unholy DK, but I would have preferred not to.

You’re gonna say “But Grimm, the Invasion Event was also good for leveling toons!”  Gonna say it again: I’m not getting why you’d bother playing a toon you don’t want to level in the first place. Let’s agree that that argument will never, ever carry water with me.

But this is from a guy that hasn’t used either of his boosts yet. So whatever.

Speaking of Raiding

Our GM has been getting more active in game and has actually canvassed us to see if we’d be interested in raiding this expansion.  Might have to bring Jasra for this, as we look to be replete with DPS, but that’s fine, I like to be useful.

I’m also seeing some old friends I thought I’d never be playing with again, and that makes me very excite.

I don’t know if we will actually get there, but I think we’ll at least be able to cobble together some consistent 5-mans. Jas made an attempt at that last night and brought the house down with her screwed up keybinds.  So we’re working on that. Smile

Cautiously Optimistic

At the start of WoD, everyone was like OMG Cutscenes and proclaiming the storytelling to be the star of the expansion.  At the end of this content drought called 6.2, nobody’s wondering where the five million people went to – the answer is: away. They got bored and let down by the rest of the expansion not living up to the start of the expansion – or its price.

So, while I am hearing good things about the expansion so far, I’m also mindful that Blizz has a lot to make up for once again. Maybe they’ll deliver on the promise of a more content-ful expansion with a lot more to look forward to. You have to play to find out.

Tomorrow in the US, they roll out the demons in force. As always, I’m here first to have fun. Here’s hoping the rollout goes smoothly and it lives up to the hype.

I’ll see you on the Isles, fellow WoWheads.

Everything Old is New Again

Though I am loathe to link them, wowdb has a pretty decent Artifact Calculator up. This is our first glimpse at the progression of our new main weapons in Legion, as well as some spells and abilities associated with specific specs.

Without chewing too long on any particular weapon, I do notice one big thing, which is this.

Old-school WoW players that enjoyed the pre-Cata talent trees (such as, me!) will probably like the look and feel of this new feature.

To wit:

If you go over there and click around a little bit, you’ll see what I mean. All talents Artifact traits are constructed in a very familiar way: start out here, which enables you go go here or here, possibly after you select this many of this talent artifact trait. They usually (as far as I can tell) offer two specific paths to follow, so you can emphasize in what area you like, or homogenize as pleases you.

Let’s look at the Frost Mage artifact, Ebonchill, as an example. You’ll see that two fairly distinct paths are offered – one heavier on defensive, one heavier on offensive, with some common traits and crossover paths between them. This is a very familiar mechanism to us old-schoolers.

And I kinda like it.

Given, these are all very early beta / late alpha stuff, i.e. datamined stuff and some speculation, which the underwriters of WoWDB excel at (the speculation that is). So take with a grain of salt. But the overarching way that the Artifact traits will be implemented and/or controlled.

It implies that there are realistic choices to be made, and that those choices will be dictated by your toon’s chosen lifestyle. For example, I can see a Questing toon go for the higher defensive path and later emphasizing offensive / DPS. \

I’m also assuming that there will be a respec / reset feature at some point available.

What’s interesting is that we’re losing a lot of “choices” in our glyphs – Major glyphs are going away, for example – while gaining many choices here.  It’s apparent to me that character modification is moving into an area that is more blatantly relevant to the player, without providing the endless mini-game that was the WotLK talent trees.

I personally liked that mini-game, in that it gave me a lot of flexibility. But Blizz’s contention was that for most specs, there was one, and only one, true build for maximum raiding performance, so they normalized those non-choices out and left behind only “real” choices in the three-lane talent … trees we have today.  Mind  you, I’m not sure I agree with the terminology they use, as I continue to see cookie-cutter specs take over raiding and PvP as applies to the user, with the only real “choices” being between talents that nobody cares about anyway.

Normalizing to irrelevancy is not, IMO, a good thing, which is why I’m both excited to see the new Artifact designs, and apprehensive about the ultimate outcome.

It will be interesting to see where this is going, but for the time being it looks like it will take a predictable path, different from Vanilla in only the form which it takes. By the first week of beta, there will be just a few optimized configurations that render the maximum effect for each spec.

One last thing.

Datamining has revealed a Fishing Pole Artifact. Ain’t that a hoot.

 

Legionary Priests

jasra-port-2.jpg

Blizzard released a preview of what Priests will look like on 2015-11-09, which you can find here.

Some Background

Jasra, my Priest, is not my main main, but has been my raiding main from time to time. Originally rolled as a Disco priest back when smiting and whacking things with a mace while keeping the shield up was the way to level. When dual spec came up, I embraced Shadow as the second spec.  I’ve had a hard time reconciling the Disco healy spec with the Shadowy DPS spec from a bad RP point of view, but recently I’ve started to warm up to the concept. The Insanity aspect of Shadow merges well with the Pain-oriented motif of Discipline when I look to Morticia Addams for inspiration. It’s working marvelously in my head if not elsewhere.

At any rate, my main gig with Jas has been the healy (and later healy-smitey) aspect of Disco, though I haven’t healed in anger for two expansions now. Even as DPS, Jas rarely gets called into action, though she has seen a little more action in that respect than as a healer.

An Overview

So, looking at the general concepts for the three specs — and good news, everyone, there are still three specs!, we get this.

  • Holy is the spec you think of when you think Healer. There is no hybridization here at all. Holy priests come to the party to heal, and you better be ready to be healed.
  • Discipline – Or, Disco, as we often call it. This is another healing spec, but one that addresses the task in an odd way. For example, it has a damage component that, while you damage your enemies, also heals your friends. In addition, there are things like damage mitigation and ways to help your party endure its trials without necessarily providing succor. While the article linked above does not specifically call out Pain Suppression, it’s pretty much part and parcel to the entire Disco idiom.
  • Shadow – A DPS spec that has strong links to The Void and the Old Gods, balance on the knife’s edge of insanity at all times, with greater insanity giving greater ability.

While the concept of “hybrid” healing is so four expansions ago, Disco kind of falls into that slot.

Disco the Hybrid

A long time ago, we had the concept of the Holy Hybrid, a kind of healing spec with damage components, as played by Holy priests.  Disco priests actually didn’t have a seat at that table even though today they kinda “own” the whole concept of damage-linked healing.

Which is to say, we have elements of both Holy and Shadow in our rotation now, in some cases the abilities are even named the same (looking at you, Shadow Mend).

My biggest objections at this point are twofold.

  • Smite-healing never seemed to have much of a natural flow, yet this new spec refresh really seems to be revisiting the Cata mode of healing that so many of us hated. I have to say it: there are those that like to heal, and those that like to DPS, but there are few that like to do both at the same time, or do one to do the other. I won’t say it isn’t going to work until I see it, but it really feels like it’s as charming as a road accident and twice as ugly.
  • What the HELL? Why is Prayer of Mending a Holy only spell now?  Is it just me, or is Disco kinda synonymous with the Healy Frisby?

Shadow the Dual Spec

We knew that the motif of Shadow was going to be insanity, which I dig. And most of the way through reading about Shadow, I was pretty happy. And then we got to this.

Reaching maximum Insanity will transform Shadowform into Voidform, giving the Shadow Priest access to stronger Void magic […]

[…]

When you reach 100 Insanity, you enter Voidform, transforming your Mind spells into Void spells, and increasing your Shadow damage by 30%.

[…]

Voidform causes your Insanity to constantly drain, faster and faster, until completely drained, and Voidform ends

Seen enough?

Looking this over, I was reminded very strongly that someone at Blizz stated that they wanted very much for Shadow to no longer appear as a poor cousin to Afflocks. And then they turned right around and turned Shadow into a poor cousin to Demonology Warlocks. I mean, the different forms is there (Voidform versus Demonform). The different abilities for each form is there (Mind Flay vs Void Flay, etc).

This, in my opinion, is not a great idea. In an era where they are trying to simplify things a bit, to reduce the button bloat, this is an extraordinarily bad idea. I mean, I’ve been campaigning vigorously for Demon Warlock to get rid of those alternate abilities completely, so in what universe am I going to be cool with doing the same thing to Shadow priests?

(Spoiler alert: NONE).

If asked, I would suggest that instead of adding new alternate abilities, they simply empower the base abilities during maximum insanity. And call it something other than Voidform. Call it, I dunno … “Maximum fun”.

Howls of Despair

While I am 80% happy with Shadow and 60% happy with Disco, there is a huge contingent of unhappy Shadow priests out there, and that’s surprising to me since until these changes were related, I didn’t know there were a lot of dedicated Shadow priests out there. But they’re out there, and they’re pissed. I’ve seen two or three of them announce that they’ll be using their boost to roll a fresh new Afflock and abandon their Shadow priests altogether.

A new look

The last change that surprised me wasn’t mentioned in that article, but instead at the panel that discussed the Artifact weapons. Turns out, Shadow priests will no longer be using a staff. Instead, they’ll be using a dagger (and offhand, presumably) as their main stat stick.

And of course, this is the weekend that Terestrian’s Stranglestaff dropped for Jas in Kara, completing her Insanity/Old God themed transmog.  The irony is inches thick and made of marzipan, it appears.