I spent some time tooling around on Darkmoon Island this past Sunday, running errands for some carnies and fishing up a storm. the fishing is what netted me the Sea Pony vanity pet you see in the screenshot above. It too fewer than 50 casts off the coast (both in and outside of wreckage pools) to catch this guy. I obtained my second sea pony, on my Forsaken shadow priest, in a scant 12 casts. But in contrast, my gnomey shadow priest fished the coast off and on for several hours (while I baked cookies) and never saw a sea pony land in her bags.
The sea pony fishing wasn’t the only excuse to bust out my mad professional skills on the island however– there are quests you can complete for all flavors of professions, netting you some rep with the Faire, plus prize tickets and cash or XP depending upon your level. Some of the professional quests will require that you bring some supplies with you (or head out the portal to your staging area at the end of the dock to go grab some.) Thus I started bringing my stack of flour with me on all my chefs, and blue dye/red dye/simple thread on my tailors.
One of the more silly but fun aspects were the many new World event achievements the Faire brought with it, including the “I was Promised a Pony” achievement. As seen below, there are some ponies you can abscond with and ride around the island on for a bit. And who doesn’t like ponies?? EVERYBODY likes ponies. But I digress.
The Faire also hands out some quests that involve incenting you to grind mobs complete Battlegrounds and Dugneons back on the continents. Thus, even though there is a little bit of a grind involved if you plan to save up your tickets to purchase some of the fabulous prizes (which include mounts and vanity pets, heirlooms, and replica tier gear) they actively aim to make it feel less grindy than Firelands for instance. Somehow I doubt I will return to the Faire to play the games very often, or complete the in game challenges to rack up the tickets for even one pet, but it was a nice day’s excursion to bring out my favorite toons to go see.
As recently noted, transmogrification was the #1 thing I was looking forward to in Patch 4.3 which dropped this week. Thus it should come as no surprise that when I finally logged in to WoW, post-SWTOR BETA weekend, that the first activity on my agenda (and my only activity thus far) was to get my transmogrifitcations in order.
My first order of business was my druid, Candy. At one point, all of her bank bags, plus two of her personal bags were stuffed full of old gear and vanity pets. Eventually, our pets went into the Companion tab, which meant she was able to hoard even more gear and tabards. I considered her full set of Tier 1, and the T2 recolored set from BC heroics, but settled on her full set of T2. In addition to loving its look, it was a minor miracle to have collected all 8 pieces at level (only 1 other druid on our team also got all 8 pieces, my friend El.). My vanilla WoW raiding days were definitely the high point for my druid, so I love that she is now able to forever memorialize that moment in time.
Next up: my gnome shaodw priest Snake. She was born a Draenei at the dawn of the Burning Crusade. And as soon as she hit max level, she was tapped by her friends and family guild to start coming to the weekly Karazhan raids. Everyone wanted her OP replenishment and healing powers. I still remember the night the Staff of Infinite Mysteries dropped for her. I couldn’t stop grinning for a solid hour. It totally made the outfit. “…the Menagerie is for guests only…”
My beloved shadow priest Anexxia, however, did not have a similar happy transmogrification story to share. Her bank is somehow a mess of mismatched helms and shoulders, one dress, and a few other misc bits. But most importantly, her halo is missing. That’s right– my most favorite piece of her gear, which I have posed with in numerous costumes/dress up screenies– POOF! To say that this deflated my transmogrification high would be accurate. I poked around, and settled on an outfit, but I am not happy with it. I wanted the halo. I’ve put in a ticket asking to have the item restored, but given my recent track record with GM requests, I won’t hold my breath.
How about you — how has your transmogrification been going?
Like many World of Warcraft players, I am ready for something new to do in game. And since I am no longer raiding, I’ve had to look to a number of other small things to keep me engaged, including looking ahead to what patch 4.3 will bring us. Here are the five that I’m most excited about:
Transmogrification. First and foremost I am thrilled I will get to wear my halo and wings always, and be my most angelic shadowy self all the time, not just for Hallow’s End costume contests! Still undecided on felhunter on a stick or bat wing staff…
Northrend/Outlands leveling streamlinging. Yes I do still have a few newish alts I am pushing through the levels. I’m happy to hear that questgivers have been moved into Outland and Northrend dungeons, in addition to many of the group quests now being soloable, and a 33% decrease in XP needed to move through those areas on the way to level 80.
Holiday pets will no longer be soulbound. No more deleting duplicate pets your alt keeps winning while your poor main, the pet collector, never is able to beat the RNG…
New Darkmoon Fair pets. When am I not excited about more pets?
Bag Search. A search field has been added to allow players to search bag, bank, guild bank, and Void Storage inventories for specific items. This is a huge help for those messier than average guild banks that are out there.
What are YOU most looking forward to in Patch 4.3?
In Patch 4.3 the Darkmoon Fair stops being that traveling caravan of carnies and gets its own permanent year-round home. Now that they’re putting their roots down, I have some thoughts for a few Faire additions to give it that immersive good ‘ole Fair time feeling:
A rodeo. Preferably one wherein your entire guild can take part in various vehicle-based challenges in an arena full of your favorite friends and frenemies.
An Old Tyme Photo Studio. With dress-up outfits and the ability to include your BFF, with the resulting screenie mailed to you in game and to your battlenet email address.
Crafter’s Corner. Any good fair has a hall of crafting, showing off the handicraft skills of the local citizens. Seeing as how the Darkmoon Faire is run by goblins, there needs to be some profit in it though. That’s why this crafting hall should have all manner of rare patterns, AND commemorative plaques with the names of your server’s crafters of truly rare items.
Coin Toss. But instead of the traditional mugs and glassware, have vanity pets or vanity gear as what you’re shooting for.
Vanity Pet Parade. What’s a fair without a 4-H show? Since we can’t raise our own cows and bunnies, we could instead have denizens sign up to have a pet show.
If you had your say, what would you add to the Darkmoon Faire?
It takes more than a week for me to settle into a new content patch. And in the case of the past two weeks, I’ve had not nearly enough time to dive in to what the patch has to offer. But I do have a solid five favorites to share with you today:
New Children’s week pets!
In addition to this adorable spindly creature, from the Outlands orphan scavenger hunt quest chain, you can get a snail pet from the Azeroth quest chain. And allegedly, you can finally get the Northrend pet you didn’t choose the first time (I’ve not had the opportunity to actually DO that yet, so we’ll see.)
The triumphant return of mind sear!
Mind sear, no longer the shadow priest’s practical joke for the damage meters. Not quite at its WotLK peak #s, but a damn fine improvement. I actually bust it out again now. And have hit 40k #s on select 5-man trash. This is highly acceptable. And awesome.
New cooking and fishing dailies!
Some of them are pretty creepy, like the one wherein my druid was attacked by crawdads, thanks to some foul-smelling dwarven beauty cream. I like having a variety of new quests to choose from, and that we can do them in places other than the two cities that we’ve been hunkered down in since Deathwing singed the world.
More Vanity pets!
Not one, but TWO kitties, seen here. And many more new pets to come. It’s starting to make that 125 pet goal on Candy and Anexxia not seem *quite* so crazy. Sorta. ;p
New 5-man content!
ZG was one of my favorite all-time raids, and ZA was a place only my mage ever got to raid (“Please?? Please bring your mage? We really need a good cc’er…please bring your mage??”), so it’s cool to see them turned into 5-mans. I’ll be happier once this content is more easily PUGgable on all my servers. Right now, it truly depends on if you have a raid-geared healer and tank who are able to think critically about the encounters. So far, I’ve PUG’d ZG and mostly 1-shot the bosses, and had a ZA that couldn’t get past the Eagle boss. But I know it will get easier for folks eventually.
BONUS Five: Regaining the feeling that I can pick a capitol city other than Orgrimmar or Stormwind to call home.
What have been your favorite 4.1 changes or additions?
Have you been eagerly lapping up the revised 4.0.6 patch notes as they are released by the devs? I know I have. Here are the five that I’m most excited about so far:
WHAT: The guild reward Armadillo Pup now requires revered faction instead of exalted.
WHY I CARE: I have a pet collector with 100+ pets horde-side and Alliance-side. They both want this pet, and having to wait until I slowly and painfully leveled them each to exalted (slowed by the fact that I also have alts to play and level) would have been torture.
WHAT: The night elf racial trait Shadowmeld can now be used while shapeshifted.
WHY I CARE: It’s rare that I am standing around in night elf form when I need to stop drop and roll off some aggro and hide.
WHAT: Mount Up: This guild perk now applies to Flight Form and Swift Flight Form as well.
WHY I CARE: I don’t fly around on mounts on my druids b/c it’s a lot prettier and more efficient for skinning to be in flight form.
WHAT: Mind Sear can now be channeled on friendly targets in addition to enemy targets. In addition, Mind Sear’s damage has been increased by roughly 15%.
WHY I CARE: In its current state I rarely bother to use mind sear, my formerly most beloved spell. Its damage is too wimpy and it doesn’t damage the target I am channeling it on. Thank you Blizz for realizing this spell was over-nerfed, and giving us back an AOE.
WHAT: The number of herbs required to create flasks has been reduced, while the Volatile Life needed has been increased slightly.
WHY I CARE: I like to be prepared when I go to raids. And it sucks to blow a flask that takes @250g worth of mats for 30 minutes of attempts in the final countdown of a raid. this will make it a little less painful.
Ah yes, the Patch she has arrived. And thus I bring you today’s 5:
Least Surprising Post-Patch Nerf: Shadow Word: Death.
Remember how I wasn’t convinced that spamming the heck out of SW:D was really going to be a viable tactic? Blizz agreed that they’d never intended SW:D to be the shadow priest’s highest DPS spell, and quietly beat it down with the nerf bat within about 24 hours.
My Favorite Spell Change: One Telescoping Button for Portals and Teleports.
Whenever my mage sphere mod would break, the loss of 1-button access to my portals and teleports is what I usually missed most. Thank you Blizz for finally giving us 1-touch access to portals and teleports instead of forcing us to eat up another row of buttons/cast bars with them.
My favorite UI Change: The Much Improved Companion Pets Tab.
When you have 100+ pets, it can be hard to remember which little white cage has which pet inside. Or where exactly some of the pets are filed. The magnificent changes to the companion pet UI solve that — they now spell out the names of the pets in each tab and give you an animated preview of them when selected.
Most Fun Class I Play Now: Boomkin.
Pew pew pew! /boomkin happy dance. They’ve already started in on the nerfs (insect swarm was the first spell hit), but having one day wherein my Alliance druid handily out DPS’d my much better geared shadow priest was a giggle.
Most Bizarre Patch Bug: Amazing Appearing Tabards.
Not just on your login screen — but in game as well. Characters that have never donned a tabard and don’t have one equipped in game are still showing up as wearing one. Weird, and apparently fixed by equipping a tabard, but a bug nonetheless. Less annoying than the launcher screen BOOM! Significantly less annoying than enchanting items and seeing “Item not yet modified” on my screen when in fact the item has been enchanted.
Since I’ve been able to do some playing around on the PTR, I have my plans solidified for my talents and glyphs when the patch comes out in the next week or so. These choices are for being raid-ready at 80. I’ll certainly change things up for my off-spec and for leveling when the expansion drops on December 7.
As of the patch, you’ll get three glyphs each for your prime, major and minor glyph slots.
Reduces the cooldown on Dispersion by 45 sec.
Shadow Word: Pain
Increases the periodic damage of your Shadow Word: Pain by 10%.
Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.
I know that Blizz wants us to move SW:Death back into our rotation, but until I actually see in action that I am using it enough to warrant its glyph, I’m choosing SW:P over it. In BC, when it was part of my rotation, I still don’t think it got enough use that I would pick decreasing its cooldown over something else. And if you are spamming it trying to get those juicy big crits at the 25% and under health levels, well you’d better have a healer keeping an eye on you unless you enjoy floor hugging.
When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.
Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.
Despite not thinking I’ll be using SW:D a ton, the Spirit Tap glyph seems like a good buy (especially since there aren’t a ton of other glyphs in this range that I am dying to use.) The psychic Scream glyph rocks for providing PvE priests the ability to use Fear in a raid setting without sending off its targets to go find new friends. Huzzah! And given my love for using my Fade button, that glyph is also a no-brainer.
Reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Fortitude spell by 50%.
Your Levitate spell no longer requires a reagent.
Increases the duration of your Shadow Protection spell by 10 min.
Nothing to see here. Pick your favorite boring old minor glyphs. These are the ones I’ve used since the dawn of inscription.
I’ve used MMO Champion’s talent calculator to show my build. Basically, you go through the Shadow tree, minus the stun for Mind Blast and the psychic horro and sience points, then put your remaining points into Discipline.
(NOTE: Now that you get your talent points every other level, you can’t spend that next point in Discipline until you hit 81.)
I’m not set on my rotation at this point. And from all the nerding back and forth on SP.com, I don’t know that anyone else is yet either. But this is what I am looking at:
SW:P > DP > VT > SW:D > MB> MF
Then wait for the MB and SW:D CDs to be back up, and refreshing DoTs as needed. Toss out your shadowfiend whenever the CD is available, starting when you are down 25% mana or thereabouts. If it’s a short fight, you may want to lead with it for pure DPS boost.
The current talk is that mastery becomes better than crit and haste only at the point that you have 1400 of each of them. Which I, not having any heroic gear, certainly do not have. So at this point, I won’t be worrying about it, other than as a way to manage my hit rating. Basically, 40% of the following stats on a piece of gear may be reforged into any stat not currently present on that piece of gear:
Critical Strike Rating
Overall it’s looking like our 4.0.1 gear stat priority would be: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (at hit cap) or Hit > Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (until hit cap)
Thanks to our easily exciteable kittens, I was up bright and early Sunday morning, and decided to give the PTRs a spin. They just went live this weekend with the 4.0.1 build that introduces the many UI and talent changes they’ve been working on for Cataclysm.
I uploaded a request to copy over a couple of my characters to the PTRs, but since the estimated wait was 4 days, rolled myself this baby druid to check things out.
The first thing I was struck with, other than the proliferation of little white tiger cats running around, was that I came into the world with Wrath on my bar, and had enough mana to use it like crazy. I admit I pinched myself to see if I’d fallen asleep and entered dreamland. But no, Blizz is actually making it possible for those of us who like to level our characters up as casters to be able to do so without a bottomleess bag full of beverages.
I should note that I chose to go in while I was just ad the “available” stage of my PTR download, which means it had a ways to go before being completed. Overall, in the lowbie area, this had little affect on my playing, though I could tell at least once when I was getting a just in time download. The opening cinematic started with a long black screen and stuttered midway through, presumably also due to my choosing to play before the download was complete. Pretty minor issues though, which makes me hopeful they’ve found a good way for breaking up the patch files so the least-likely to encounter data files are the last to download, and thus speeding up the patching process for everyone.
It was moderately annoying, however, that after crashing out on the PTR, and relaunching, I was confronted with needing several additional hours of downloading before being able to play again. That was a bummer and put a crimp in my leveling explorations.
Some of the best UI changes are around the management of spells. The above window shows my druid trainer’s menu clearly showing my next trainable spell and its cost. No more clicking on a spell name in a long list to see when it will be available. Including its icon is a nice touch for those of us who are visual learners.
Similarly, I will never hustle myself back to the trainer to train some spell I couldn’t care less about — when you advance a level, you get both a tell and a big splash across your screen that tells you that a new spell is now available to you:
At level five, I ran myself up to Dolanaar and checked my mail to retrieve my BOA pets (only two of whom showed up– eeep!) Which brings me to the many changes with the talent and spellbook interfaces.
When playing a new class, such as me playing my baby warlock, you can feel clueless as to when some of your signature abilities are trainable. Well no longer — your spellbook can tell you. Your spellbook used to be a rarely visited place, sought out when pulling out a rarely used spell for a boss mechanic. But now, it shows you all the spells you have to look forward to training — and notes at wht level you attain them.
You’ll notice a few more tabs on your spellbook now — companions and pets are no longer a part of the character interface — they are subtabs of your spellbook, and have also gotten an overhaul.
No more peering at page after page of 12 tiny icons and trying to remember which speckled egg summons which companion pet. Now your pet UI clearly states the pet name next to its icon and pops up a picture of it in action if you select it from the menu. Necessary change on Blizzard’s part? Certainly not. But does it make me happy with my 100+ pets on two toons? You bet it does!
Last night, I was able to get on and briefly play around with my shadow priest and my boomkin, and respec them. I think I actually giggled when my eclipse proc made my nature spell buttons sparkly. It felt really weird to be confronted with the new talent UI though. I was not prepared.
I’m a cuddly and adorable Forsaken shadow priest! Who’re you calling a sinister shadow magic user? *cough*
It was weird to start at this screen then be shown only one tree until I’d met my 31-point quota. I spent those points, then moved over to the discipline tree, easily filling in my remaining 5 talents. It didn’t really feel like I made many choices, mind you. Mainly “Silence, y/n/murloc”, and “less dmg to self? y/n” The boomkin tree was more problematic, and made me feel as though I sometimes was forced to choose talents I didn’t really care
to get down the tree to the stuff I wanted.
Overall though, no great dramas with the new talents. I can’t wait to try things out on more than just target dummies.
I leave you with this beautiful scene, of a Darnassus without water, where boats float in mid air. Saefe travels!
The first thing I am doing once our servers are up and stable-ish this evening is going shopping. That’s right. SHOPPING.
First, I plan to go visit Frozo the Renowned in the Dalaran Magus Commerce Exchange. He wants to trade us our hard won Frozen Orbs for crafting materials:
6 orbs buys you 1 Crusader Orb
6 orbs buys Tailors the Pattern: Frosty Flying Carpet
4 orbs buys you 1 Runed Orb
Single orbs may be turned in for 1 each of any of the following:
Next up, I am going to get cracking on some of the crafting I’ve put off for my druid and mage alts. These Ulduar patterns all had their crafting materials reduced:
Belt of Arctic Life – Heavy Borean Leather x 4, Arctic Fur x 3, Runed Orb x 6
Belt of Dragons – Arctic Fur x 3, Icy Dragonscale x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Blue Belt of Chaos – Arctic Fur x 3, Nerubian Chitin x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Boots of Living Scale – Arctic Fur x 3, Jormungar Scale x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Boots of Wintry Endurance – Arctic Fur x 3, Icy Dragonscale x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Death-warmed Belt – Arctic Fur x 3, Eternal Shadow x 4, Runed Orb x 6
Footpads of Silence – Arctic Fur x 3, Eternal Shadow x 2, Runed Orb x 6
Lightning Grounded Boots – Arctic Fur x 3, Icy Dragonscale x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Cord of the White Dawn – Moonshroud x 8, Runed Orb x 6
Sash of Ancient Power – Spellweave x 4, Ebonweave x 4, Runed Orb x 6
Savior’s Slippers – Moonshroud x 8, Runed Orb x 6
Spellslinger’s Slippers – Spellweave x 4, Ebonweave x 4, Runed Orb x 6
Note that you can expect to see the cloth prices drop as well, now that the cooldown for making specialty cloth (Ebonweave, Moonshroud and Spellweave) has been removed. Ditto for Smelt Titansteel no longer having a transmutation cooldown. I now have very little excuse for the next alt (the level 50 baby warlock) not being pretty well turned out when she eventually hits 80.
Culling of Stratholme: Players may now skip the initial introduction dialog to this dungeon once they have completed it at least once. PRAISE BE! Because I don’t always need to AK and make a sandwich when I get this as my random dungeon and have been there far too many times to be captivated by the talky talk talk.
Balance Druid changes:
Nature’s Grasp: Now has 3 charges, up from 1.
Starfall: Te damage done by this spell has been significantly increased.
Typhoon: Mana cost reduced to 25%, down from 32%.
Elemental Shaman changes:
Flame Shock: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.
Elemental Oath: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
The “Monsterbelly Appetite” daily fishing quest has changed so it now takes place outside the Violet Hold in Dalaran. The quest still requires a Severed Arm and has been renamed to “Disarmed!”
Most recipes that required 2 inks now only require 1.
And finally, one item that scares me:
Quests: Many quests which require vehicles have had their vehicle mechanics updated and improved in the interest of fun.
Why does this scare me? because of how buggy so many of the vehicle quests have been. I will cross my fingers we make it through with all the vehicles still working as intended despite being refreshed for more fun.