Category Archives: Lewt

What’s in Your Wallet? – Amulet of Spirits

If you’ve been playing this game a while – and I have – you tend to accumulate some stuff in your bank that people just don’t see any more. Some of it is for quests that don’t exist anymore, some of it for endgame content that nobody bothers even doing any more.  For my own amusement, I’ve decided to torture you with an occasional foray into my junk bin. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane!

Amulet of SpiritsEvery now and then, you receive an item required to complete a quest, then complete the quest, but then, when the quest is done, the item is still in your possession. The Amulet of Spirits is one of those items.

This item was part of a quest in MaraudonThe Pariah’s Instructions.  In this quest, you had to find five Centaur Khans and kill them for a specific jewel they were carrying. The Amulet was used to make them corporeal enough for you to actually attack them, because they were ghosts.

Once you had all five of the jewels, you combined them with the Amulet to create the Amulet of Union, which you then turned in for a tasty trinket, Mark of the Chosen.  This was a big deal at the time, because trinkets in Vanilla were pretty rare, and you rarely had one before level 40 or so. In fact, I think this was my first ever trinket, and had it equipped well into Outland.

Maraudon at the time was a lot more complex and dangerous than it is now. Back then, the areas outside of instances were generally inhabited by wandering elites. Maraudon was in a class of its own, though. There was an entire complex leading up to the entrances to the instance – yes, two entrances – and pretty much all of the mobs roving around were elites. And this is pretty much where the Khans you needed to kill were found.  Two of them were just inside the instance itself, which was a little dicey.

Yes, there were challenges aplenty in Vanilla. Don’t get me started.

The final challenge was turning in the quest. The Centaur Pariah was a wandering mob located in southern Desolace. While stumbling across him to get the quest seemed simple enough, the turn in was kind of interesting because all databases and other help sites kept sending you to the wrong location. He was, in fact, roving the same path as when you original found him. I usually found him hiding behind an old sandstone column (1). But the first time around – and the last time around (because it had been a while) I was going nuts trying to find him.

Long, elaborate, difficult, and rewarding. Excellent Vanilla quest line.

Nowadays … well, the Pariah still wanders southern Desolace, but he hands out neither quest nor reward. The Khans are still wandering around, but they’re no longer elites, and, in fact, Outer Maraudon is just the area outside the real instance now, not dangerous at all. And Desolace is greening, no longer the desolate desert it used to be. And trinkets? It’s raining trinks, my friends, between jewelcrafters, alchemists, and scribes, it’s hard not to find trinkets in your breakfast cereal.

If you have the amulet, you have in your possession a relic of the past which no longer has any purpose, other than nostalgia trips like this.

(1) – Well, I liked to tell myself it was sandstone. Sue me.


Ground Hog Day

Been several weeks on the fire mage spec, and so far I am liking it. The new mitigation tools built into the spec make it a lot less likely that I’ll die just for being the center of attention, and the new flame shield is, well hawt.

I have not been pleased with the transmog, though. The Robe of Power is pretty sharp, but better worn in a disco than tramping around in the muck. And while the Mantle of Three Terrors is, in fact, super-appropriate to the spec, it also makes me look like a hunchback.  I have a problem with shoulders, all the way back to the second Scourge invasion – those shoulders and that head piece that dropped off the scourge bosses make me look like a bullet, or a torpedo, not a human mage with feelings. Feelings and wants and needs. A mage who …

… er, where was I? Oh, yes! Transmog! Fire mage transmog!

So, I got out my blue jeans from the frost outfit, some black-ish boots (nothing as good as mail wearers can get, but hey), and searched around for some more appropriate upper attire. First off was a nice shirt, the Corsair’s Overshirt, which drops off of of “Captain” Cookie in Deadmines (boy, was he surprised!).  And while I absolutely love my Junior Technician 3rd Grade Goggles, the new spec had me looking for something a little more interesting. Fortunately, there’s the Circle of Flame, and it drops from Ambassador Flamelash. This guy, in Blackrock Depths.

Flamelash Selfie

He’s not exactly super cooperative.

Panel 1

It’s a low drop rate. We had several engagements. Flamelash went through the five stages of grief.





And finally …


At which point he just chucked all his stuff into the foyer, packed his bags, and went off to The Firelands for a vacation.  Which is what he should have done to begin with, right?

That was the last of the shopping trip, however, so now I feel a lot better about myself and my chances of not getting annoying swamp stains all over that white robe’s hem.

Screenshot 2017-02-18 14.29.20.png

It Kinda Grows on Ya

I’m not usually into the later expansions’ gear models, but, like Jasra, I’ve found something in the modern mix that has tickled my fancy a little bit. Namely, the Coif of Unstable Discharge.

Grimm's Helm

Doesn’t show in this image, of course, but the arcing lightning kinda fits in with the whole Beastmaster motif, with Titanstrike and Hati in tow.

Note that the rest of my current transmog is a mess. It’s a cross between my classic blue and the new hotness. I’ll figure something out eventually.  It really doesn’t deserve the name “transmog” at the moment.

It’s hard to beat Engineering goggles for style and functionality, but we may have found a winner, though.

The New Hotness

As countless happy people log into the beta, I’m sitting  here looking at a bog standard login in But there are compensations.

Once again, our internet angel Vidyala has reached out and provided me with a reason to be of good cheer, in this case a most excellent commission of myself and my favorite pet, Bumbles, in our favorite hunting grounds. She hadn’t been taking commissions, but for some odd reason accepted my moniez in exchange for this awesome artwork. As you can tell, no matter the price, I came out on top in this exchange.

I am not here to brag on my good fortune, but merely to a) explain why this image may appear in the headers from now on (it will), and b) to sing the praises of all things Vidyala.

And now, prepare to bask in the magnificence of my turbulence.


Thanks, Vid! As always, it is a genuine pleasure!

Madness … takes its toll (exact change only, please)

[…] our credo: Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. ‘We gladly feast on those who would subdue us.” Not just pretty words.

— Morticia Addams

At this time, the upcoming (in Legion) resource for Shadow priests is labelled “Insanity”, which has made role-playing and mogging for my Shadow spec a lot easier.

For the longest time, I’ve had issues locking on to “the fantasy of” my class. Since they, too, seemingly wielded Shadow magic, I often looked to Warlocks as a handle to hold on to, however unrelated in origin they might be (Shadow Priests, for example, predate Warlocks on Azeroth. But they’re a lot easier to get a handle on from an RP perspective.).

But the new resource flipped some switches and caused the class to sprout all sorts of handles. So now, at least mog-wise, I have a bit of a role model.

Basically, I’m going for this.

One of the highlights of Morticia’s outfit is the low-cut slinky dress. To that end, the Warlock Arena Season 11 piece, (by way of Cynwise), would have been perfect. Unfortunately, it can only be purchased by Warlocks, much less worn by or used as mog fodder by. So back to square one.

The good news is that I did find the Thistlefur Robe via MogIt, and it is pretty much everything I want it to be.  For the head piece, I’ve elected Circlet of Transcendence, and for my stat stick, Terestian’s Stranglestaff (There’s a similar looking quest reward in Vash’jir, but who has time for that nonsense?).  That leaves the shoulder piece.

I was dearly hoping for some sort of raven-feather pauldrons, but to date all I’ve found are Druid (leather) pieces. There are a few spikey variants but I really don’t feel this addresses the Shadow idiom properly. Raven feathers would be ideal, given the one or two raven-oriented spells we have, but something tentacle-y would work as well. Until I find something more appropriate, though, I guess I’ll go with the Pauldrons of Transcendence piece, if for no other reason than it goes with the head piece and we all know Onyxia was a little wobbly in the attic. Her dad certainly was affiliated with the Old Gods, so it’s fitting.

Anyway, her’s the projected trajectory for the two selves of Jasra at the moment.

The RP-breaking part of WoW in this situation is dual-spec. Jasra the Disco priest inhabits the same body as Jasra the Mad. While many will agree that anyone that volunteers for healer duties is absolutely insane, that doesn’t really work well in this particular RP dichotomy. Well, that’s on me, I suppose, especially when you realize that even being able to swap specs at all is kind of RP-breaking.

So I should probably shut up and go back to grinding Apexis dailies.

So this happened

Well, we thought we had a handle on healers, but our guild ended up being so hard up for one that I got dragged back into the sunlight again. So I’ve been Atone-ing my little elvish ass off and sweating like a software engineer at a mixer party, but not having much time to hit the Island of Mucho Loot (The Elvish name is untranslatable).

So I replaced my iLevel 450 shoulders tonight. And this happened.

Better late than never

Cataclysm. Or, as I like to call it, The Long Hangover.

Return of the Dawn of the Revenge of the Cash Shop

So, as posted on the EU community website, Cosmetic helms are now for sale in the cash shop Blizzard Store. And if you’re into gaudy, they’re not bad.

First of all: 15 US dollars ((That’s 12 Euro on this date.)) is not a microtransaction. I don’t care what your favorite omnibus WoW website says, I don’t care what your favorite MMO forum site says.  The cost of a month’s game time is not a microtransaction. So don’t call it that, and we’ll get along fine. ((We are straying dangerously into pet peeve territory, yes?))

Next item: will it affect the game at all?  I can’t really see how, other than consuming precious frame rate.  Seriously, what would a 25-man raid look like with these on everyone?  Will a new Alliance battleground strat involve wearing these and lagging the Horde out?  Considering that it’s gotten zero beta time, these are actually kinda relevant questions. But I’m SURE they’ve gotten EXTENSIVE testing in-house ((Kaff kaff /points at Theramore)).

Item the third: when will this hit the US?  Days? Hours? Before this post goes up ((Looks like: "no".))?  Update:  I found out at 2 PM (two hours after publish) that they’re now available in the US.

Item the fourth: what next?  Will we see matching robes, shoulders, cloaks? And sidebar: will the WoW punditry also insist on calling those other items "microtransactions" if they cost 15 bucks ((My money is on "yes".))?

The big one: how long until we see pay-to-win items?  And does this indeed signal the final death rattle of WoW ((I’m out of sarcasm tags, so use your "imagination".))?

that escalated quickly

Oops, sorry, accidentally plugged in to a forum.

The personal one: I’d almost buy the Firelord helm for Flora if she was into gaudy baubles. But in general none of this stuff speaks to my nature.  I seriously doubt that they’ll ever introduce a mog set that says "I work for a living" rather than "I’d like to think that I raid stuff you can’t even imagine."

The thoughtful one: It’s not just this stuff.  So much WoW raiding tier and its predecessor gear looks so hideous to me.  It’s covered with horns, and glitter, and flanges, and glitter, and orbs, and glitter, and ropey things, and glitter, and then they add glitter. SOME of the old vanilla tier stuff is okay ((Though that Rogue helm that looks like a respirator mask is just stupid.)) but for the most part, Blizz is in love with its art department, and its art department all apparently majored in "Ming the Merciless’ Court Trappings".

You thought I was joking

But the thing is, they wouldn’t keep getting more ridiculous with every tier if it weren’t for the users wanting, or at least encouraging it. Those of us that want a more functional approach to awesomeness are not as vocal or as profitable.

I am very much of the opinion that awesomeness is not a function of frills and special effects.  The most iconic weapons are often very much, shall we say, to the point.

Anduril, Flame of the West

Rather than …

I blame Cloud

Maybe Ming wasn’t at fault after all. 🙂

If you can’t please everyone, the best you can do is give them choices, and that’s where mogging came in in the first place. You may recall my own mogging preferences are somewhat more functional than what my armor actually looks like ((I mean, if I was wearing my tier gear, you wouldn’t be able to see my head, even with the helm hidden!)). And there are others that go the other way – well, I can certainly see the attraction of some Ulduar and Icecrown gear.

The Cheap One: What I would love to see with this sort of throwaway mog fodder is for it to (also) be sold for in-game currency of some sort, especially near the end of an expansion when people have piles of tokens and nothing to blow them on.  It would be a great JP dump, or Greater Tokens, or Halfhill Tokens, or what have you.

An even better approach would be to (a) make the items purchasable for a new special token type, (b) make it so you could buy that token in the cash shop (e.g.Neverwinter Zen), and (3) then also make that token purchasable for varying amounts of other in-game tokens, such as JP, Darkmoon tokens, etc.  That way, if one particular faction grind was "your thang", then you could, oh, I dunno, enjoy yourself while playing a game.

Because here’s the bottom line for me: they could make the perfect Hunter garb of all time available, and I’d not buy it for cash, not ever. I’m paying that much a month already.  I’m not even sure I’d pay for it if it was F2P.   Virtual items are pretty much gone as soon as you stop playing the game.  Game time, for all its ephemeral nature, gives you a month’s worth of enjoyment, whereas a hat isn’t even usable unless you pay more money.

But I might grind for it.

The Final One: The Godmother over at Alt:ernative had an interesting thought (or a dozen) about the cash shop ((She’s on a roll, folks.)), one which was the sale of armor dyes.  I do want armor dyes.  I especially want one like the one in Diablo III that makes your shoulder pieces go away. But I categorically do not want them to be part of the cash shop.  Special colors? Possible.  In general?  Not.  It might be close to a deal-breaker for me, a last sign of cynical money-grubbing from a company that swore up and down that Activision wouldn’t do that to it.  I can only swallow so much hypocrisy, and that would probably mark the high water ((Well, it looks like water from a distance.)) line.

Doing so would also eliminate one of the potential fun elements in-game: making of dyes.  I personally think this would be a great product for Scribes to make ((I know, I know, just throw more money at them.)) since they already have all sorts of dyes in the bank.  I think it would be great if they managed to exploit ALL of the herbs from Peacebloom to Golden Lotus to make different armor dyes.  They could just keep adding different shades of dye as new herbs came into being.  Heck, Ghost Mushrooms would be perfect for making armor invisible! ((If they do this, seriously, I want a quarter for every game they sell.))

I kind of doubt that will happen, though. I could be wrong, but they seem to be pushing down hard on the crafting game, and it’s starting to look like there is either a paradigm shift about to happen, or they’re starting to dismantle crafting as an mainstream part of the game. Certainly, it has problems.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.  At least the potential cash mounts will give us more people to admire as they preen on the bank steps and RP walk around Stormwind.


Or something.

Rock out with your Lock out

Grimmtooth Actual’s first best love is Grimmtooth the hunter, no doubt about it, but one could argue that the Hunter is so second-nature at this point that it’s more like a Stay-cation than a true diversion. Grimmtooth’s existence at the moment is all about getting things done, from the scrupulous attention to gardening to the grueling slog of dailies.

Warlock’s what comes out when we want to play.  I’m not a raiding main, Jasra is, so I’m free to indulge myself as I see fit.  I’m not even level 90 yet.  And with Grimm and Jas sucking up all the CPU they can, I rarely get to come out and play, so I make the most of it.

I’ve got myself a good adventuring outfit, for example. Black velvet robes are good for shaking down the locals in Stormwind, displaying a decadant sense of evil that the rubes truly appreciate. But they tend to snag on everything. Denim and forest leathers are a lot more appropriate for stomping around in the wild.

Flora's Mog

Also, I have horns from time to time.  While I like the look, it was hell on hats until I figured out to punch a couple of holes in the right place.


But that does bring me to the part of this expansion that I dislike the most about the Demonology spec.  Demonform has gone from a hefty buff to DPS to being a whole second spell rotation to learn. It plays hell with my rhythm, let me tell you.

But outside of that, Big D is a blast.  I cut through mobs like a hot knife through butter. I use Hefty Voidwalker to gather them up and just beat them to the ground. Even Grimm can’t AoE that well. I don’t even use most of my rotation because the mobs die too fast.

There’s this green fire thing coming up, I’ve heard, once I hit 90.  I have some nice prezzys from Jas to wear when I hit that level, too, so it looks like I’ll end this turn at the wheel on a high note for sure, since I’m 89.25 now.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Damn, it’s good to be a Warlock.


Been out front of Stormwind lately?

Stormwind gates are fixed

Yep, been patched right up!

Well almost

Well, almost.  The minimap still shows the glowing embers for the gate towers, though, as you can see, they’re just fine now.

Glad to see my tax money going into something other than blowing panda bears up.

Feeling crabby?

If you’re working on Tillers rep, then there will be a time you need Raw Crab Meat.  Now, the conventional wisdom of WoWhead is that it drops best from Rockshell Snapclaw, hermit-crab-like humanoids found underwater on a shelf southwest of Soggy’s Bottom.


It’s underwater. If you don’t have a potion you have to surface to breathe from time to time. If you’ve already done a certain quest in the zone, you get your Sea Legs buff, but if you haven’t, you don’t.  A bit of a pain, really.

Just northwest of there is another spot, The Briny Muck, in which turtles, crabs, some Sauroks, and some big elementals hang out.  The crabs are of interest, as they have almost as high a drop rate as the previously mentioned Snapclaws, plus there’s a spot you can go to that has a nearly constant supply of them.

The Spot for Crabs

In one direction is a crab that spawns pretty much as fast as you kill it.  Turn around 180 degrees, and there’s another one that does the same thing. So it’s kill, turn, kill, turn, loot, kill, turn etc.

One of the Sauroks will occasionally aggro on you, and there’s one group that will avoid you as long as you don’t pull them, but aside from that, it’s all gravy.

Here’s a couple of screen grabs to help you situate yourself, complete with piles of bodies to illustrate the incredible spawn rate.

Look at those crabs

Just look at them

Happy hunting!

On the Planning of Gear, and What Grimmtooth Saw

As Eff the Ineffable completes its second Feng clear and contemplates the mystery that is Gara’jal and the Spirit World, I am also engaged in that lovely activity known, to be nice, as the Gear Plan.

Now, there is a bit of loosey-goosey-ness to what, exactly, is meant by those two words, but I choose to give it this general meaning (with lots of wiggle room): generally speaking, figuring what gear I need, and where to find it, for purposes of raiding.  If you’re ambitious, part II of that is: what gear, and where to get it, to be fully decked in BiS, preparatory to being ready for Heroics or the next tier.

There are many tools for this. Ask Mr. Robot, for example, will produce lists of gear for you, suggest gems and enchants, and even take all that into account for the next piece. It’s also sometimes not entirely realistic, models and sims being what they are.  WoWHead, for another, has a tool that will help you find upgrades.

What neither does very well is give you a big-picture way of understanding, which is where the Gear Plan comes in.  As you research each piece, map out where you can find upgrades for it, and so forth, you can organize those findings in some coherent way.

My methods aren’t as accountable as those big sites are ((Though one might suggest that neither is all that open, either.)), but the numbers I have found were derived from them, as well as others.  When all is said and done, some things pop right out at you.

I see a trend

The above image is a chart derived from the stat weights of the gear that provides an improvement to my current gear ((To be fair, I got a couple of pieces from LFR last night and haven’t factored them in yet. Still, this serves as a good example.)), as equipped. Basically it’s a map of how much improvement I can get from various sources. Everything from Golden Lotus and below can be considered solo content, things that can be done without much assist from anyone else.

Obviously, LFR has a LOT going for it. But you have to get to iLevel 460 first, so the two tiers below it are of interest.

The interesting thing is, Scenarios play a big part in the gearing progression, far bigger than you might think.  There is generally one, maybe two, sets that come out of the little bag you get from running scenarios (and some faction quests). These sets generally have at least one variation that is best-in-slot for blue gear, and, in some cases, better than some epic gear (and 3-4 lesser variations).

Now, for myself, Scenarios play a bigger part than Heroics in the gearing equation. Jasra’s almost-finished gear plan ((A bit of controversy here: the weight of Crit over Mastery affects the final numbers. Depending on how you weight them, either Mastery rules over Crit (for shields), or Crit rules over Mastery (for strong heals). AMR leans towards the latter, but I think eventually they’re going to have to split the two into two sub-specializations, if that makes any sense.)) shows a different picture:

Jasra's Gear Stats

In her case, Heroics have more upgrades than they do for me, so they are a bigger immediate payoff than Scenarios. 

What you’re seeing here is a profile of two characters at different points on the gearing curve. In Jas’ case, she’s geared poorly enough that there are many upgrades in Heroics.  As she gets more upgrades, I expect Heroics and Scenarios to change in weight, as she outlevels Heroics. In the same vein, Klaxxi rep will become less influential as I acquire more pieces from them.

I have yet to look into the 5.1 rewards and see if they bring anything new to the party.

I have yet to do gear plans for anyone else, but I would be very surprised if they strayed far from the profile I’m seeing on Jasra’s gear plan, so pretty much the best advice anyone can get here is: do Scenarios as soon as you can, as many times as you’re allowed to get gear, until you can do LFR.  This is your best bet for the best gear.