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.

Be Prepared; that’s the Prepfoot Marching Song

Highmountain is full of flight points that are extremely convenient for some world quests, but which are not entirely clear on how to get to them. In many cases, there are no bread crumbs leading you there or anything like this.

And while there are no end of YouTube vids showing you how to get to them, I’m sick of YT/Twitch echo chamber celebs that aren’t really part of our tribe trying to cash in – it’s like clickbait, 2010’s style.

I digress. Sorry. Video/Twitch “celebrities” just bug the hell outta me.

01 Highmountain MapAnyway, to the far east of Highmountain is a lonely enclave that is inhabited by an odd bunch of Taurens called the Prepfoot Tribe.  These guys are preparing for the return of Deathwing – regardless of repeatedly being told that he came, we kicked his ass, and they totally survived it.  By “prepare”, I mean they’re preparing by stockpiling stuff and wearing waterproof helms. They don’t offer any quests or rep, but they do have a flight point that is convenient to a number of world quests on the coast.  But, since there are no quests or any other involvement with the rest of the world, it’s up to you to discover the way to get there.

02 Starting Pointr

First of all, go to the Skyhorn flight point. This is your starting point.  From there, take the path to the south until you see a branch to the left –  this will take you to The Sepulcher of the Sky. Depending on where you are in your Highmountain questing, the Kolbolds there may or may not be hostile to you.

03 sepulchur of the sky

Directly across from where you enter the area, there’s a grassy drop off. Go over to that, that’s the start of the path to the Prepfoots … er, Prefeet?

04 Start of Path

Run down to the path and follow it off to the right …

05 Follow the Path

Looks like you’re going to fall off, but you won’t. Eventually you come to a switchback.

06 Switchback

Make a u-ey back the other way and follow the path. At one point the path looks like it’s blocked, but it isn’t.

07 Rough but navigable

From there on out, it’s a more or less straight shot.  Despite the rain.

08 Easy Peasy from here on out

And  for your cork board, here’s the full path marked out on the map.

09 prepfoot path route

Once you get the flight point, you can go due north from there and find a steep path down to the sea, where a Kirin Tor puzzle World Quest pops occasionally, and if you continue north you will find some Highmountain WQs as well.

Okay, fine. You want a youtube? I’ll give you a youtube.

https://youtu.be/gkrheaWuShU?t=8s

Awkward

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So, apparently when you go to do the Exodar scenario, in the final battle with Rakeesh, two of your class hall peeps show up.  In this case it was an Orc warlock and a demon.

awkward

Sometimes doing the right thing involves very strange bedfellows.

Three Weeks a Fire Mage

Illume Header

Frost was okay, but nowhere near the big hits I was used to on Draenor, so I decided to do something decidedly boring.  That’s right, I swapped to Fire. Like, apparently, every other bloody mage in the entire game.

The problem with Fire for me was that I had gotten Ebonchill pretty far down the ol’ upgrade tree, then swapped out to Felo’melorn; running around with a child’s dinky in an adult’s body, as it were. At 110, you’re expected to be toting a 110-level weapon and gear to match.

So I held on to Ebonchill for those moments when I needed to swap out, but concentrated on Fire whenever I could. After all, practice, practice, practice.

As one might expect, survivability is not a thing with Fire mages. We’re not really designed for that.  But Felo’melorn does have some tools for us, such as a thing that causes Blink or Shimmer to heal you for a little bit. So your rotation often consists of taking a quick blip right after Dragon’s Breath.  And sometimes that brings more to the party.

The next piece of the puzzle was getting Belo’vir’s Final Stand from an Emissary loot box (Highmountain, if you must know, but WoWHead isn’t telling how many times it comes from what).  I’ve often been a critic of people blaming gear for their lack of <your thing here>, but I am here to tell you now that that robe made a world of difference in my damage output and survivability.

So I guess, for great differences, you do see some significant effects. Shut mah mouth.

Of course, changing specs calls for a new transmog. All those blue tones just don’t go with my flaming balls of doom, after all.  So I borrowed from the past.  Long time ago, Jasra made the Robe of Power(1) to wear – that was before she found something more sensible for her line of work – and it was available, so I grabbed it. And then I reached for the Mantle of Three Terrors and … hey, where is it?  It’s not in the box!

Okay, so  you know that there is a thing that any armor appearance you may have had in the past is available to you and your entire account provided they can wear it.  So Jasra’s robe was available to me, but anything class-specific wasn’t. The Mantle of Three Terrors, however, is not class bound, and Flora once had it.  We even have pictures.  Hell, she blogged about it. With pictures.

Let’s be clear – there has never been a more perfect shoulder piece for a fire mage. Two large dragon heads with little flames flickering in their maws and eyes, flanked by two more little dragon heads each. Fierce. And unique, too. There’s only one of these in existence, nothing that looks like them drops from anything else in the worlds.

So when I pinged Blizzard customer support, I was expecting a “wow, not sure how that happened, we’re restored it to your account”. What I got was “our records do not show that you ever had it, have a nice day.”

Thanks a lot, @BlizzardCS.

So what’s a mage to do?  Grind, that’s what.  When possible, I’ve been hitting The Black Morass to try to get Chrono Lord Deja to drop the things.  First note here: the drop rate on WoWHead is deceptive. I suspect it is for the Heroic version of the instance, which you cannot repeat more than once a day. You can reset the instance all you want, but it won’t actually reset. So you have to run it on Normal, and you get only so many tries if you’re efficient at it (nine to ten, generally).  Long story short (too late!), it took forty tries, but I got the damned thing. (that’s 2.5% for those keeping score)

Illume Fire MogStill not happy with the sword mog, but it’ll do for now – most sword models are so elaborate and fussy that they get caught on … well, everything. Brandishing the thing about during casting is an invite to any number of mishaps if you don’t manage it properly, and, let’s be honest here, bladecraft is not normally high up on a mage’s training regimen.

At any rate, let this be a warning to you – not all things you won in BC might have made the trip to the future with you. You might wanna check now and try to get @BlizzardCS to help out if you can figure a way to make that happen. Too late for me, at this point, but if I can help somebody fend off a last minute panic, so much the better.

At this point, fire magely speaking, I’m pretty satisfied with the spec, though I haven’t tested it in an instance or anything.  The DPS is pretty impressive compared to the frost spec with better weapon, though, so I’m hopeful.

An interesting thing about Felo’melorn is that I’ve been getting accosted by NPCs, only Sin’dorei so far, asking to look at the weapon. Once they do, you get +50 artifact power, which is helpful.  I wonder how many other NPCs there are wanting a gander at the blade? And I wonder how many there are out there interested in other class’ weapons? Ebonchill never got this sort of attention. Then again, this is an important part of Sin’dorei lore.  However that plays out, it’s a nice touch.


1 Hipster mode: remember what a gigantic pain in the ass it was to get that pattern and the mats to make it?  WELL I DO.

Things I’ve Learned since Taking Over the Warlocks

flora-portriat

Being the head of our order has taught me many things.

Screenshot 2016-11-21 00.05.27.png

First of all, we like green. A lot.

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But when it comes to flames, we’re not choosy. Orange is fine. Yellow is fine. Red is fine. Basically, if it’s flame, we’re copacetic.

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We’re also very fond of ostentatious displays of power.

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And, for whatever reason, we’re very fond of candles, clustered, in odd random places around the landscape.

Screenshot 2016-11-21 00.07.26.png

Did I mention we liked candles? Oh, yeah, got that covered. Also big ugly books. Always a crowd pleaser in a room full of warlocks.

Screenshot 2016-11-21 00.07.50.png

Did I mention we like green?  We do! A lot!

Screenshot 2016-11-21 00.09.42.png

And we’re also frugal. Never spend money on a training dummy when you can use a spare demon instead. Demons are the ultimate renewable resource. Kill one, and it’ll come back later, only angrier.


I also learned that whoever designed the Warlock Order Hall was not a warlock. Multilevel, burning, smelly, and hard to navigate. Must have been designed by demons and liberated by warlocks.

Well, at least it isn’t that multilevel maze of twisty passages that the Mages have. Guess we got that going for us.

Yes, THAT Menethil

jas-port-110It never ceases to amaze me at how much it bugs me that people lump Disco and Holy together in the same bag. Even “professional” bloggers have that problem.

I can only assume that that’s a viewpoint that originated back in WotLK when Disco was viewed as the poor girl’s healing spec that people rolled so they didn’t die while questing, or something stupid like that.

I mean, look at our spell book and something should jump out at you. Are you looking at it? Did the thing jump out at you? No? Let me help: we have more spells in common with Shadow than Holy. Ain’t that a hoot?  Sure, it’s a close thing, and you have to ignore the talents for it to really jump out, but even Disco talents bias towards Shadow more than Holy, slightly.

I’m not drawing any conclusions from that other than the misguided practice of lumping Holy and Discipline should stop and go home. NOW.  I mean, we don’t even heal things the same way, any more.

Our shared workspace, the Netherlight Temple, is pretty nice, though, and so far it’s proven to be the most efficient of the order halls I’ve seen. One big room, everything’s in easy walking distance, no smegging multi-level mazes to negotiate or hellish terraces to ride around on your hellsteed, just a nice big work area arranged sensibly.

And while Shadow, Holy, and Discipline may be three completely different sorts of people, we can all agree to that and work together harmoniously – even if Disco doesn’t get its special room off to the side like the others do. C’este la vie, as Grimm is known to say – must be Dwarvish for “balls” or something.

Unlike the Hunters that Grimm was talking about, we priests seem to have a pretty good cross section of the leading lights (or shadows) of the priestly ways.

Moira

Being this tall makes it hard to take good pics of people that short. Sorry, Moira.

I was delighted and surprised to see that Moira, queen of the Dark Iron (it says that right on the tin!) was lending a hand in a leadership position. I am somewhat surprised she isn’t keeping a closer eye on her kin back in Ironforge, but maybe her pop inspired her to do more than sit on her stony throne.  I wonder who she got to babysit little Dagran? I see another kid with parent issues if she keeps this up. Why is it so hard to be a mother and a queen and a practitioner of the dark arts, for crying out loud?  Did anyone give Varian crap for that? I think not.

Callia

The missing heir. Also, does this camera make my boobs look big?

But before I met Moira, I met this lady, who was last seen married off to the Lord of the Black Dragonflight, though that was fortunately never consummated or even formalized, since “Daval Prestor” conveniently disappeared shortly after the battle of Grim Batol.  We’re still not sure where she’s been hanging out since then, but fortunately she avoided her father’s fate.

And yes, when you are introduced for the first time, she looks at you and sighs, “Yes, THAT Menethil” before giving you the rundown of the Disco priest amenities of Netherlight Temple. It occurs to me that that sigh might also be because she probably ran the show before this upstart Elf came along and shook things up.  But she turns around pretty quick and gets quite enthusiastic about our work. She’s been a stout ally and I’m glad she’s with us.  Sorry about that kingdom, though.  That’s gotta suck.

Somebody I Used to Know

Really not sure how many famous Hunters there are out there, but I can count the ones I know on  one hand.  There’s Sylvanas, who now works for the opposition party, there’s her sister Alleria, missing in action, there’s Rexxar, who we’ve met recently on Draenor, there’s Flintlocke, who’s more associated with the engineering arm of the world these days.  I’m sure there are others, but when reading the annals of our history, it’s those priests and paladins and mages that hog all the glory, apparently.

You might say the Lodge of the Hidden Path was well-named.

That being said, we’re tasked with filling our ranks with famous members of our chosen profession, which means a Hunter Road Trip or two.

rexxar-selfie

Well, Rexxar wasn’t actually that far away.  Just over the hill from the Lodge, in fact.  I’m not saying that he was being obvious or anything, but if your goal is to go Native and live off the land, camping out in you’re parent’s back yard is hardly “roughing it”.  I’m sure the Lodge just nodded and smiled so as to humor him.

hilaire-selfie

Hilaire, on the other hand, is one of those outright obscure cases that really did get a bit off the beaten path. I guess someone thinks she’s famous, but that someone is probably from The Broken Isles.  Not much about her ever made it down Dun Morough way.

I can’t say I am surprised. You really can’t hold a high standard up to an organization that is putting me in charge of things.  It has the tangy scent of desperation about it.

Wailin’ Velen

velen-selfie

I recently had a few errands to run for Archmage Khadgar (not dropping names or anything) and one of them took me to The Exodar to visit my old friend Velen – well, this Velen isn’t so much my friend as someone that my actual friend Velen resembles a lot (only older). Look, it’s complicated, okay?

Anyway, when I got there, Velen was kinda busy and didn’t have a lot of time to chat or take selfies, but you know that doesn’t stop a Dwarf with determination. Here, he was doing something like preserving the very lives of every living soul in The Exodar while Demons charged the magical shield he was maintaining with his very life’s essence.  Asked him to smile, honestly, guess that’s the best he could do.

Pitched in to help out, kinda grumpy about it since you know, he couldn’t be arsed to even look at the camera, but he did seem kinda put out at all the demons, and, well, no big fan of demons myself. So eventually I cheered up a bit at the sight of all those demons getting blown to bits courtesy of my new best friend Titanstrike and some old friends like Bumbles the Angry Bear. Many demons littering the floor, but the Exodar sanitation crew is pretty reliable to get those fel stains out of even the most obscure crevasses.

Of course, Velen had to be a big wet blanket at the end, something about how this invading demon general reminded him of his dead son or something like that, then he went all emo and told me to go tell Khadgar that “The Light is Dead.”   Really, Vel? Gee, maybe I’ll go stick my head in Nomi’s kitchen while I’m at it. At least I’ll get quality burns out of that.

Seriously, your younger counterpart went with a lot more class than that.

What, too soon?

Eight Weeks a Priest

jas-disco-lookOn the ass end of normals, I was starting to think that Disco wasn’t going to cut it in raiding. Oh, our lovely GM was going to roll with her Holy priest so we’d be able to supplement each other (her with the frisbee, me with the shield), but I still felt massively overwhelmed.  Then, I started running world quests and took a break from instances for a couple of weeks, and something weird happened.

I didn’t suck in my first Heroic.

Gear ain’t all dat

Props where due, and gear be true, but I think I also learned a few things on the way to my first Heroic. First and foremost,

Fuck Shields.

In my experience so far, shields are now about as effective as a fire mage’s ice shield. Meaning: cool story, bro, but when you gonna put food on mah plate?

Shields are, by and large, a dangerous distraction and you should probably not worry about them. You have more important things to cast.

Thing One: Atonement

Atonement is the thing, and there are two quick ways to get it up on one of your homies. The first is to cast Power Word: Shield on your homies, but you get only one of those unless you burn Rapture.

Or, you can cast Plea on each of your posse, as long as your posse be numbered five and no more. More than five, and the mana costs start to soar. Shadow Mend then becomes more efficient in mana alone, but may I point out, if I may, the 1.5-ish second cast time (haste modifiers notwithstanding).  Your call, but beyond the 5, you might stick with Plea or you might not. My respectful suggestion: experiment.

Thing Two: Rotation

The big thing here seems to be to have Atonement up and cooking and then to clobber the bad guys to generate healing for all Atonement-wearers.  There are a couple of approaches I have found effective.

First, if facing multiple baddies, then your job is to [a] get Atonement up on all your toons, and then [b] hit as many of the baddies with Purge the Wicked (you did take that talent, right? Fine. Use Shadow Word: Pain. But you better have a damned good reason for this poor choice in talents) to get the DoTs pushing the HoTs onto your posse.  At some point, switch back to re-applying Atonement (Plea) then repeat the whole sequence.

Alternatively, and I do mean secondly, if facing a single target, then after you lay down your Atonements (Plea), you refresh Purge the Wicked (or the lesser thing), then lay down one to three damage abilities, depending on your cooldowns.

In my personal experience, this is how it works out.

In any of the above sequences, if Mindbender comes online (you did take that talent, I hope?) then you fire it off immediately. Between it and Purge the Wicked, that’s your entire HoT strategy, kapich?

Thing Three: Exceptions

I have found the above to be pretty effective except in the case of squishy tanks. When you have a squishy tank, your best bet is to bail and let a Holy priest take over. But if that is not an option, then lay into the shields (just for looks and buffs, really) and blow Shadow Mend on the tank like it was your own life depending on it. Don’t forget to keep your DoTs up even then, because they will apply additional healing to El SquishAlot even as you pause to take a shot (as the Disco Priest drinking game involves taking a shot any time a squishy tank pulls more than a tank made of bricks would pull).

Shadow Mend looks very, very inviting during crisis points, and I strongly urge its use whenever things go south, but the key to Disco is to avoid those OhShit! moments as much as possible.

Thing Four: Antici-

Old!Disco was all about Mitigation. New!Disco is all about Anticipation. You have to front-load your posse with Atonement, get those DoTs ticking as soon as possible and in as many quantities, as possible, and then keep everything rolling.

Disco of the past was all about prevention. Disco of the day is all about preparation. It isn’t about mitigating the enemy’s blows. It’s about having the healing for those blows in place before they happen.

-pation

I have yet to heal a raid in anger (LFR doesn’t count) but past experience seems to indicate that what I am learning in Heroics will carry forward into Mythic and Real Raiding. Everything I’m working out right now is core to the spec. All those abilities I am weeding out will no doubt have use in corner cases as we go forward, but in a very fundamental way, Disco healing is reduced to around a half dozen abilities applied in the right sequence.

To Recap

  1. Keep Atonement up on the posse using Plea
  2. DPS the enemy during the Atonement cooldown
  3. React to heavy damage with extra direct heals
  4. Use shield if desperate, but don’t count on it being very useful.
  5. Always keep someone with more aggro than you alive.
  6. Refresh Atonement just before it expires (Weak Auras is an excellent aid).

RIP

A moment of silence, but it appears that the Enemy Grid addon encountered an insurmountable compatibility issue, and no longer can be the target of key presses. You might as well uninstall it and learn to use nameplates more effectively.

Going to Blizzcon? See you in Cali!

In the morning, wheels up at 8 AM and me and Missus Grimm are on our way to Anaheim for my first ever (and probably only) Blizzcon. I’m both /excite and /nervous. What if I can’t find my twitter friends? What if I do and they hate me?  All the usual introvertish traits come out to dance.  Fortunately, my sweetie is the perfect wingman.  I’m sure we’ll have a blast.  If you’re going, look for the short round dude with the graying goatee. Even if it’s not me, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the shout-out.

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.”