Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Preparing for Mists, Part One: Feasts

Before I get into the meat of this subject, I want to clarify something. You may have noticed that for being a blog which kind of has a gold-making feel and name, I have not written much about the subject. To be honest, part of the reason is because I have felt pretty hesitant to tread on already covered ground, just posting to put words out there and get page views. I want to be as original as I can. In this series that I am starting, Preparing for Mists, I hope to do just that.

How do I intend to be different than the rest(or many of the others) with this? Well, one thing I have noticed is that many of the gold-making bloggers focus on making gold in the game for its own sake, as its own end in a way. To many(not all, of course) of them, gold making is their endgame, their PVP. That's fine, to each their own and all that, but gold making is not my driving force in the World of Warcraft. Mine is raiding. As such, all gold-making that I do is primarily for the purpose of financing my raiding toons, and the guild that I am part of. Now, of course I love to splurge on a nice-looking mount to transmog set, but those are secondary concerns.

Anyway, I thought that I would take this perspective of mine, one of a dedicated raider in a raiding guild, and use that to inform the way that I write about gold-making. Here is my first attempt at that goal, a series on how to prepare yourself(and your guild) for raiding in Mists of Pandaria.

Another disclaimer: this series will not be specifically about making gold exclusively, rather, it will be about preparing for raiding in a way which will save gold. As the saying goes, "a penny saved is a penny earned".

And yes, I am really long-winded :P

If you have done any cooking on the Mists beta, or read about it, you will know that Blizzard is changing the way that buff food is handled. Cooking will have (insert number here) "Ways", or specializations, which focus on making food which benefits a particular stat, with the exception of the Way of the Brew. Each Way will also have its own feast, which gives everyone 250 extra in their primary stat, and a little extra to people who have the primary stat that is associated with that Way. For example, the Banquet of the Pot will benefit Mages more than they will Death Knights, as the Way of the Pot specialization is about intellect.

Additionally, each feast now comes in two sizes, 10 and 25, with a higher material cost to make the 25-person version. Also, feasts are produced in batches of five. As an aside, I originally thought that they were made singly, and when I took a look at what the mats were to make one of them(as I thought) I literally thought that Blizzard was playing some sort of joke. having those same mats produce five makes much more sense, although it is still going to be a higher cost than what we have been used to in Cataclysm. What are the mats, you ask?

Pandaren Banquet (serves 10)
1x 100 Year Soy Sauce
10x Jewel Danio
10x Raw Tiger Steak
50x Pink Turnip

Great Pandaren Banquet (serves 25)
1x 100 Year soy Sauce
20x Jewel Danio
20x Raw Tiger Steak
100x Pink Turnip

As you can see, the 25-person version is simply twice the material cost, save the Soy Sauce, which is purchased with an Ironpaw Token. An interesting thing about the mats here is that they are of four different types. I already mentioned the Soy Sauce. The Jewel Danio is a fish that, from what I can tell so far, is only fished in the level 90 zone(in pools and open water). The Raw Tiger Steaks are looted form tigers you kill, and the Pink Turnips can be looted from Yaungol that you kill, but seems to be much more reliably gained through farming, which I will get into in a bit.

Now, to prepare for your raid's feasting needs, you will have to consider a few variables. First and most obvious, is the raid size. This will set the base cost of mats per feast. Second, you want to determine the amount of feasts that you will need per week, which is a little more involved, but not too much. After these two steps, you will come out with a material requirement that you will have to fill every week. Let me walk you through the process, using my raiding group as an example.

First, my guild raids 10-mans. That part's easy enough.

Second, to determine the amount of feasts we will need per week, I can either spitball it(as in, just guess) and add a little more on top to be safe, or I can attempt at a more educated guess. Let's try the latter. First, I will want to figure out the amount of raiding time spent per week. For our guild, we do four hour sessions, three days a week, which means we raid for 12 hours a week. Now, given that we are not the most hardcore type of guild(although we are pretty good in my opinion), and factoring in that this calculation will be for the first few weeks of content, which means it will be new for us and we will be relatively undergeared for the content, I estimate that we will be wiping a lot. That said, because it will be so new for us, there will probably be some amount of time spent in-between pulls to figure out our strategy. In other words, we probably won't be wiping and running back in to pull in 2 minutes. I would put the in-between fight time at probably an average of 6-10 minutes. The fight time average I would put at about 4-5 minutes, because I am sure we will be wiping a bit on the first couple minutes of a fight, which will balance out the longer times.

Total time for pull+wipe+run back in, buff up and pull again = ~10-15 minutes. As I am a believer in preparing for more than you will need, I will go with the low part of the estimate, 10 minutes.

12 hours/10 minutes=72. As, in, at worst we will need about 72 feasts per week. Now, as I don't trust my estimation skills too much, I like to add a bit more, and so will go with 80 feasts per week needed. If we prepare for that, and end up needing less(or even far less) than it's not like the feasts will go wasted, and we can adjust our estimates accordingly.

Remembering that each feast recipe produced actually makes five, I determine that we will need to make 16 feasts. That comes to a material cost of:

16x 100 Year Soy Sauce
160x Jewel Danio
160x Raw Tiger Steak
800x Pink Turnip

Which, in my opinion, isn't really all that bad, if we make the acquiring of materials a team effort. The fishing and killing part of the equation is easy enough, but the part that I want to get into is the turnips. 800 Pink Turnips a week may seem like a high cost, but it actually shouldn't be too much if people pitch in. My idea is requiring every raid member to take the minimum of time to start their own farm, which takes less than a half hour to do, and require them to grow a certain amount of turnips per week. How many turnips, you ask?

Well, turnip plants, when planted and harvested, provide(from what I have seen in my limited experience, so correct me if I am wrong) 5-8 turnips per plant. If we multiply that number by 10(the number of raiders), we get 50-80, as in, if everyone plants one. This means that to get 800 turnips reliably(as in, only taking the low number, 50, into account), each raider on average will have to produce 16 plants worth of turnips. That means four days of planting for the people who only get 4 plots(the starting amount). Additionally, as you can start farming at level 86, so anyone with a current alt at 85 can take the tiny bit needed to level it to 86 to start farming if they don't want to have to plant turnips on their main. Either way, it is super easy to plant and harvest the turnips, they cost next to nothing for the seeds, and it takes just about the same amount of time as any other daily, so there is no excuse for not taking advantage of it.

Again, the gold that your guild does not have to spend on the hundreds of turnips necessary to produce feasts is gold that you effectively earned. Additionally, it will mean more turnips on the AH, which will mean lower prices for when you do need to buy some. In fact, and here's a trivia section for you, this idea of growing your own crops affecting the larger market has even been the focal point of a famous US Supreme Court decision, Wickard v. Filburn, which helped define the powers that Congress had under the commerce clause. What can I say, I am a politics nerd :P

I hope you actually made it though the long-winded post, and actually gleaned something informative and/or interesting from it(other than my overuse of parenthetical statements, or my irony at doing one now, or my obviousness for pointing out the irony, or the long-windedness of this parenthetical statement). Either way, you can expect another post in the same vein soon, although I haven't quite determined the topic yet. Thanks!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Addon Series, Part One: Why Use Addons?

This post will be the first in an ongoing series on addons in WoW. As such it will serve as an introduction to addons, why they are useful, and general principles in configuring your layout. Later on I will go into the different types of addons, and perhaps compare and contrast different addons of the same type to let you make an informed decision on which you'd prefer to use.

So, what are addons, you ask? Addons are things you can download that will alter or "add on" to the user interface(UI from here on out) of WoW. They can do anything from make your buttons look a little bit prettier, to completely replace the whole actionbar, or frankly any other part of the UI. With addons you can make your UI look almost any way you wish.

Now, why would you wish to alter or add on to the default UI? There are many reasons, and it really depends on what your play style is, but here are some of my reasons:

  • The default UI is ugly:
This is obviously a subjective judgement, but it is one that I know many others share. The default UI, simply, is not very aesthetically pleasing. It has too much ornamentation of the untiframes, on the actionbar. The casting bar is super skinny, the minimap is cluttered with buttons, the bag interface is very large and clunky. I could really go on and on, but I think you get the point.
  • Necessary information is displayed very poorly:
This is the crux of the issue for me. I mean, I could deal with an ugly UI if it displayed all the necessary information in an easy to see manner. Thing is, it doesn't. Tracking DoTs(damage over time) is much more difficult than it should be, as is tracking buffs and debuffs, spell cooldowns, aggro, etc. All of the information, when it is displayed at all, is put all over the screen, and that leads to my next point,
  • the layout is not conducive to a fast-paced type of play:
With all the information you need to see is placed all over the edges of the screen, you have to look all over to see it. If you want to track your DoTs, you have to look at the enemy untiframe, then to track your buffs and procs, you have to look over to the right, then to track your cooldowns, you have to look to the bottom of the screen, then if you want to see your casting bar, you have to look in the center. When you have to frantically dart your eyes all over your screen just to see the necessary info, that is taking away from the time you could be paying attention to where your character is standing, or where the boss/other players are. When reaction time matters(as in, in PVP and Progression Raiding), you cannot afford to be a second late on some things. 

Keeping those criticisms in mind, my personal design philosophy is to keep all the necessary information right near the center of the screen, easy to see and read, and hopefully pleasing to the eyes. That way, when the action is hot, I do not have to divert my eyes from the action for even a second, and so can react faster, play better. Here is an example of my Restoration Shaman UI:

As you can see, most of the information is near the center, with the most important information nearer to it. The big green cross(my 4-pc haste cd, the color drains as the bonus goes away), the sun(my Seal of the seven signs haste proc), the blue ring(healing rain timer), the big three cooldown icons at the top, and the mana bar above the casting bar are all from WeakAuras, which I will go into in a later installment. Let's just say that it is the one addon that I would not do without. The space between the casting bar and the spell cooldown bar is where my VuhDo raid frames go. But as you can tell, the most important things to me are my mana, my casting bar, and the raid frames. Then my procs, and the big 3 cooldowns. This UI makes it super easy to see it all without having to dart all over.

And yes, I do get a .9 sec GHW :P It's magic!

Update 7/29

Sorry about the lack of posting, folks. Things have been pretty hectic around here lately, and I haven't had much time to write, much less play. That said, I have been thinking about where I want to go with this blog, and I have come up with some interesting(at least to me!) ideas. I am also going to start working on putting together a second On-Air Hangout, this time a little more structured.

Anyway, thank you for your patience, and things will be smoother in a tiny bit here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MoP Releases on 9/25!

Yup, you heard it here first guys(and gals), the next expansion to the World of Warcraft, Mists of Pandaria, will be releasing on September 25! Oh, you're saying that you heard it elsewhere first? Damnit, guess I'm a little late on this.

Anyway, what are my plans? Well, I am going to be pre-ordering the digital standard edition, and hitting the servers immediately after they go live, trying to get my shammy up to 90 as fast as possible. Luckily, I have been playing the beta since the Annual Pass subscribers have been able to, and I pretty much have the route I want to take through the zones figured out.

What are your plans? What are you doing to prepare for the release? let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gold Blogger On Air Hangout #1

Last Sunday, I managed to get together some of the top names in gold blogging on a Google+ On Air Hangout. I think it turned out pretty well, given the fact that it was very short notice and I didn't do any real preparation, not to mention my total lack of experience with moderating just about anything.

Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments, and also let me know what you would like to hear about come next episode!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Google+ Hangout Live Show Update

So, the show is going to happen, this Sunday, starting at 4PM Eastern, and going until we get tired of it.

That's 1PM Pacific, for people in my time zone.

Spread the word, and see you there!

5.0.4 PTR is LIVE!

If you have been wanting to check out the various changes coming our way in the MoP pre-patch, and haven't been invited to the beta, now is your chance! Just go to your battle.net account management page, and download the PTR, and have at it!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Update 7/19

So, still getting things figured out on the back end here, so expect a more regular writing schedule some time in the next week. I kind of started this blog without really thinking all of the design and other things out, and given that I am kinda obsessive about those, I find myself constantly tweaking them.

In other news, the show idea is getting off the ground... most likely. The tentative date is this Sunday, some time in the afternoon PST. Details are still getting worked out, and I have yet to get everyone in the loop, but if things go smoothly, expect a firm date and time by Saturday afternoon here most likely. I won't divulge the names of the people who have signed on to the idea, as I don't want to put them on the spot or anything publicly, in case they don't find the idea appealing any more, or want to sit this one out. Suffice it to say, though, that I got some great minds to sign on.

Besides that, you can expect another UI post soon, and possibly a sort of tutorial on configuring your Weak Auras(I much prefer it over Power Auras) for raiding or PVP. Also, will make a post tonight or tomorrow detailing my pre-MoP preparation, mostly dealing with inscription.

Thanks for reading, those who have, and see you soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Little Idea

I have been using Google+ since it was in beta, and ever since the Hangouts feature went live, I was in love. Hangouts, for those who don't know, are webcam chat rooms which hold up to 10 people. They are easy to configure, and there are some pretty nice in-hangout apps to enhance the experience. In addition to the normal hangouts, there are things called, "On Air Hangouts" which are basically the same thing, with the added bonus of being able to be watched by people outside of the hangout(like a live broadcast) and it automatically gets posted to YouTube.

So, what is my little idea? I want to get some of the WoW gold bloggers out there, and moderate a panel-style show which would, if there is enough interest, happen on a regular basis. The advantages of doing a show in this way are:

  • Questions could be fielded beforehand and answered during the show. This will allow some preparation, which will lead to better quality answers. It will also allow us to pick very interesting questions.
  • Additionally, people watching could ask their questions live, and have them answered on the show. Possibly will include a time period for that open Q&A.
  • A panel of known bloggers doing a live show isn't really that common, as in, it's not something we've seen a lot of(at least from what I have seen, please let me know if I am missing anything). In that way, it can be something really interesting and unique.
I hope to get some of the "big names" to sign on to the idea soon, and get a show rolled out in the coming weeks! Wish me luck!

My UI of the Day: Raiding Setup(Resto)

Today I want to go over my current UI setup for raiding on my Restoration Shammy. I won't get too in-depth with all the ways I have tweaked each individual addon, but I hope I will be able to give you an idea of what may work for you if you are raiding. Here is a quick video of me healing a little out of combat, to show off some of the aspects of the UI.

A more detailed description of what is going on will be past the break!

Update for 7/17

Today, I finally got the design of my blog figured out. The main picture took the longest by far, as I had to figure out a good spot to take a pic in-game, edit it through the built in windows app, then use paint(yes, I know!) to design the fake tool tip. All in all, I think it turned out great!

By the way, the pic was taken from the poolside at Gallywix's Pleasure Palace in Azshara. I think it's the perfect spot for the message I am trying to convey: luxury, Goblin style, earned Goblin style.

Later today I plan on writing a post on my Inscription setup through TSM, and possibly another going through my UI and addons.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the site so far, the looks, the content you'd like to see!

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Introduction is in Order

Hey there! My name is Brandon, but in this blog I will be going by my main's name, Goldshield.

I've been playing WoW since the end of TBC, when my fiancee(and soon to be wife) got me into the game. Through the whole of Wrath I wasn't really into making gold, and could barely pay for things like dual-spec, Northrend flying, and other pretty much necessary things. When Cataclysm came out, I decided to change this trend, and make enough gold to buy whatever I wanted and needed. After learning the basics of addons like TSM, Auctioneer, and Auctionator, and reading blogs like Power Word: Gold, I set out on what would become a very profitable venture: glyph selling.

Since then, I have expanded to shuffling, transmog farming and flipping, and just plain ole' flipping with the help of The Undermine Journal. I have made enough gold to easily finance all of my toons, my fiancee's toons, and even pay for things like 310% speed flying for all of my toons. Granted, I am nowhere near the gold cap yet, but I plan on hitting it fast in MoP.

Here I will share my various thoughts on gold-making strategy, and various other interesting things in the game. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you come back!