Archive for January, 2011

My Archeology Grind; Or Destroying Your Soul, 1 Fossil Fragment At A Time

I’m a sucker for fun things in WoW. I’ve bought the sparkle pony, the moonkin, mini KT, the lot. I’ve spent time grinding Netherwing, Kureani, Sporregar for no other reason than mounts and vanity pets. Celin has bought me the path of Cenarius, party grenades, a hippogryph pet and more recently the Etheral Portal (fancy HS!) I thought archeology would be a nice thing to do when I had time, a relaxing way of getting non combat pets and items that I could do casually.

Replaces your hearthstone and looks cool

I don’t really know how I got so addicted to it. To being with I was using it as a way of levelling up when I couldn’t do quests (at 14k per find it wasn’t too bad) and when I hit 525 I had a few rares under my belt so I kept going. I knew that my time was still limited in the evenings, although we hadn’t started raiding, and spending hours in heroics really wasn’t an option, so I sort of became fixated on Tyrande’s Favourite Doll. It’s currently on a par with the first tier of raiding stuff so I figured if I can’t get gear through dungeons why not try for this trinket? How long could it take?, I foolishly thought.

It took me 2 weeks of farming Kalimdor (some time pre 525) in order to clear the 6 other rares (including 2 150 fragment ones) and I think maybe 3 of those were after 525. I finally got the trinket on 2nd January and it was my 110th nelf solve. I reckon I put in anywhere between 2-6 hours per day. As far as I know, I’m the only person in my guild with it, although some are farming it.

I actually screamed when it finally popped up

It really did become an obsession towards the end; I kept thinking “I can’t stop, one more solve and it could be the next” I know that I did get lucky in that it was only 110 solves.

There’s no denying it’s got an incredible amount of Intellect, and the fact it’s BOA makes my casters happy. I do forget to use it to restore the 4200 mana and you have to be careful you don’t break CC. It’s also confusing when you’re on T&V in Bastion as the AOE magic debuff that hurts shares the same animation and makes people panic (especially when standing in the tank group :P)

I’ll admit even I have some problems with the grindy nature. I’ve had many ‘discussions’ with people about how you aren’t forced to do archeology after they complained about the levels of some of the rares (mail head, cloth chest etc) I think Blizz made the right decision about them not scaling with level – we already have heirlooms. As far as I’m concerned those rares weren’t even that hard to get. It’s the ones with the incredibly low chance that are causing the problem. You invest time but there’s no guarantee you will get anything useful. As time goes on and the items become less powerful as we advance in gear, I think some of the bitterness people are displaying will go away. It’s that feeling of doing a secondary profession because you need the gear that makes people angry (and to a degree contradicts my point about how you aren’t forced into doing archeology)

Definitely creepy but good for confusing people

The other secondary professions had rare rewards (chef’s hat, recipes, turtle mount) but they weren’t as needed as the epic items are now. On top of that you were doing cooking/fishing to get something else primarily so they were a bonus, not the end result. I’m thinking that Blizz will have to make more changes, besides capping fragments. Perhaps they will up the rare chance once they aren’t useful in current content?

So what was next for me? I’d got lucky with the caster ring from Tolv’ir but no recipe from the canopic jar (2 opened so far) I decided Tol’vir was the way to go, but with a 10-12% spawn rate of digsites it is incredibly difficult. After a week of straight digging in Kalimdor, I had enough and went to both Northrend and Outland to bump up my rare count.

I love how you lose your name and become Honor Guard

I’m now 16/20, with 4 rares to go until Professor. I’ve seen the realm first guy with the title but no one else so it’s kinda exciting that I’m so close.

Rares I have found:

  • Tyrande’s Favourite Doll (BOA)
  • Ring Of The Boy Emperor (BOA)
  • Bones Of Transformation
  • Wisp Amulet
  • Scarab Storm Pendant
  • Bearded Nifflevar Axe (BOA)
  • Headdress Of The First Shaman (BOA)
  • Queen’s Azshara’s Dressing Gown (BOA)
  • Fossilized Raptor (Mount)
  • Relic Of Argus
  • Arrival Of The Naaru
  • Chalice Of The Mountain Kings
  • Kal’dorei Wind Chimes
  • Druid And Priest Statue
  • Highborne Soul Mirror
  • Fossilized Hatchling

The remaining 2 dwarf rares are a definite which leaves me with 2 more, probably the nerubian rares unless I get lucky with Zin’rokh/dwarf staff/tolv’ir something. I would love the bug mount but I just can’t farm tol’vir for a few days. I think it’s the prospect of more useless fragments – 1100 fossil and almost 1000 nelf ones just from Kalimdor alone.

Recommendations For Grinding Archeology

Get Archy. Apart from the excellent feature marking previous finds of each digsite on the mini map, the boxes that allow you to see how far you are through an item and solve it without going through the arch tab is a godsend. I mainly use it because of the distance counter, which shows me when I’m far enough away to be red, yellow etc

I also recommend Professor if you are going for Diggerest. It shows you how many commons you have left to discover for each race.

Stick to a continent if you are farming specific things:

Nelf  & Tol’vir – Kalimdor

Troll & Dwarf – EK

If you simply cannot take a continent anymore, move to another. I found it good to go solve some commons I didn’t have or try for the Outland and Northrend ones.

Fragments will never, ever be underwater, despite some maps covering a large body of a lake.

Fragments should not (after the hotfix) spawn outside the site area. If your telescope is pointing you outside, it’s actually trying to nudge you along one direction or another like so:

If it’s still pointing you outside, go do another nearby digsite and come back as it resets the digsite you were working on.

Remember that it’s RNG. There’s nothing you can do to make a rare item spawn. If it’s getting you down, take a break. The digsites aren’t going anywhere and you can always come back to it another day with a different mindset.

Good luck and pray the RNG favours you!

Surely must be uncomortable, even for ladies?

Breathing New Life Into Old Alts (Also Some Tips On The Alt Grind)

I’ve been half starting new posts for the last month, then scrapping them due to the sheer volume of stuff that’s been going on. Cata, christmas, sick family, general RL crap; all of it has somehow blocked my blogging time. It’s been really hard to know what to write about again with so many options.

I went into Cataclysm with some vaguely formed plan for levelling the alt army; roughly sorted by profession (gatherers, then important crafters, then the non gatherers). Of course Naora has to come first and needed additional time devoted to gearing through dungeons/rep grinds.

It took just over a week for me to level her on a semi casual basis, and hit 85 through Archaeology. Yep, I picked up a fossil and was 85. Not very epic. Then I begun the journey of relearning to heal in the most unforgiving content I have been through since I was a fresh noob at 70 (but that’s another post entirely)

Least epic ding ever?

So alts. Still got 9 to do : /

My wonderful gathering before anything plan fell apart as the alt I had chosen to level (Lucidique – Paladin miner) became stuck in Hyjal with Celin’s hunter as he became sick and then bored with WoW. Since I had made the decision to take my melee through Hyjal and the casters through Vashj’ir I decided to start playing my mage again.

Going back a few weeks, I actually race changed her from a human to a night elf. Nothing unusual there; done a faction/sex change before. I really did feel a difference in playing her, it was like a totally different character. I actually had fun playing a mage for the first time since I can’t remember when, frostbolting things into oblivion and confusing the crap out of people when they realise you aren’t a priest (similar gear I guess)

Aya after race change. Tier looks pretty nice actually

The strangest thing is I haven’t seen another max level nelf mage on my entire server*.

I’m assuming they will exist, if for nothing else than the achievement Classy Night Elves which you need for the 8th guild bank tab voucher. I wonder if the idea of nelf mages makes people uncomfortable, after all it seems the Burning Legion wouldn’t have noticed Azeroth so soon if the Highborne hadn’t been mucking about with the arcane magics (I’m not on a RP server so maybe mine don’t care about such things) However, I think it’s more likely that people waited for Cata and went worgen instead.

I can’t say I’ve seen many of the new race/class combos at max level that came with the shattering; I met one dwarf mage on the day it happened but not seen another one since. Seen a single undead hunter in Deepholm last week. Human hunters seem more popular (we can blame South Park for this) Troll druids are everywhere. Troll locks, not so much. Lots of Dwarf shamans but that’s probably down to the choice of one race for them before (same for Tauren pallies) Tauren priests don’t seem to be common. Same for belf warriors.  Seen maybe 2 or 3 gnome priests.

I suppose it’s really down to the following:

  • Worgens/goblins way popular
  • Cost of what is mostly a cosmetic change. Most people would probably not spend real money on a race change unless it was a main character or they really, really hated the race.
  • People had space and made alts of the new combos, who are sitting at some low level

Would I race change some of my alts if I could spend the real money without guilt? Probably. I’m not really a gnome person so I’ve toyed with the idea of making her a worgen (but lose the engineering racial bonus) I kind of like my priest and shaman how they are. No alternatives for my paladin. I’m determined to keep at least one of my alts male so no changing my death knight to a lady 😦

So I am in possession of an 85, an 84 with 15% to go, an 82, 4 80s, a 75 and a level 16 worgen. This is still a lot of alts to go, and the same set of zones for all of them.

Don't have any levelling shots so here's my rogue with a parachute

Here’s a few tips for overcoming the boredom of alt levelling through the Cata zones:

  • Decide what your alt is for. Is it for gathering, crafting professions, a second raid toon, a pvp toon? You might be able to skip zones if you’re not interested in the rep rewards (eg Ramkahen) or go to zones you never bothered with before (Tol Barad) If you particularly care about having a good supply of Whiptail you might want to skip Uldum as it phases one of the best spots for that herb out after one of the quest chains. If you are an alchemist or engineer or any gatherer/gatherer prof combo you might be able to leave the Twilight Highlands alone for a bit, as there’s no recipes there (except for cogwheels and they are only for the epic helm)
  • Make a plan on how far you want to get that alt in your alloted time. It can be a percentage of level, to clear a part of a zone or to finish a quest chain (a good example are the separate pillar fragment chains in Deepholm)
  • Gathering proffs as well as archeology can give xp as well so if you are sick of quests you can get a small boost and get some mats/useless junk/epics at the same time.  This is especially easy if you are playing at unsociable hours (such as early morning and the late morning to lunch period as well as weekdays – it’s not so busy then)
  • Try and do the easy fishing and cooking dailies in SW/Org. You don’t need any skill to do them and some take about 2 minutes. For alliance do the pancakes, cookies, crystal bass, catfish and walleye. Avoid the apples, crabs, rock lobster and any that take you out of SW.
  • Do something else at the same time; listen to music, watch some tv. Most quests don’t require any thought the first time around, let alone the third or fourth.
  • It might seem stupid but I’ve been using  old flasks and food to give me a small boost (Guru’s elixir is cheap and provides a straight stat bonus, the wrath flasks are abundant) Also any cheap enchants and profession enchants can help.
  • If you’re lucky enough to be in a good sized guild, you’ve probably hit level 10 and have access to the heirloom cloaks. It’s the only thing that will work up to 85 and you can add enchants (even profession ones, although they don’t work if send it on and the alt doesn’t have the right profession)

Lastly, just 2 points to remember. Think of the gold! Questing alone can get you about 10k if you do all the zones and vendor the un-needed quest rewards. Also, you are helping your guild (if you have one), everything you do counts – from quests to gathering, from crafting to maxing out a class for each race.

*I saw one in Alterac Valley back when I was trying to get the gnome costume kill thing for Merrymaker