No such thing as a free epic

Totalbiscuit recently pondered the effects of the attunement chain in the Burning Crusade. One side-effect of such an extensive attunement chain is that raiding is limited to your main character only.

Let's assume that you belong to a raid guild that's halfway through Tempest Keep and you get tired of the fireball spam / healthbar whack-a-mole / buffbotting and want to try out other roles as well. In classic WoW, you could always roll an alt, powerlevel to 60 and jump back into raiding. Thanks to the attunements, jumping back to the raiding is easier said than done. You just can't jump into MC or BWL in greens, stay out of the way and pick up some epics. To even zone in to Tempest Keep you need to do Heroic Steamvaults, Heroic Shadow Labyrinth, Heroic Shattered Halls, Heroic Arcatraz and Magtheridon. To get to the Heroics, you need Revered reputation with four factions, which you get from running the level 70 nonheroic instances. To get to three of those, you need keys from the previous instances. Suffice to say, that is a lot of work. Too much work for just an alt. By the time you have completed the attunements, you should already be in full blue gear and spent dozens of hours of game time.

So what does this mean for raiding guilds? Replacing burned-out raiders is going to be expensive. You just cannot "retrain" one of your existing raiders when a critical member quits, takes a vacation or generates enough guild drama to get kicked. It's more worthwhile to recruit (even cross-realm, like TotalBiscuit did by offering to pay for a transfer) a character that already has the attunements and gear.

What does this mean for the so-called casuals (read: anyone who doesn't raid)? One effect that I'm hoping to see is that the envious and confrontrational attitude against raiders will gradually dissolve. Belonging to a raiding guild is no longer a fast-track to epics. If you see someone in T4/T5/T6, they have worked for their gear. Getting epics via raiding is not easier than crafting or PvP, it's just different. And until Hyjal is on farm, the gear you get from raiding is probably more or less equivalent as well.



I had this interesting conversation today:

She got "hacked" a week ago[10:37:31] [Rachiel] whispers: Greetings Brave soul i was thnking of how rich you looked and then i was wondering if you could give a poor little girl some money for some weapons after a visit from hackers it will be very please??
[10:40:04] To [Rachiel]: Unequipping your gear does not make you a victim of a hacker.
[10:40:57] [Rachiel] whispers: i know thats why i havent taken of my gear off
[10:41:19] To [Rachiel]: When did this "hacking" take place?
[10:41:28] [Rachiel] whispers: a week ago
[10:41:46] To [Rachiel]: Is that so? According to the Armory, you still had your gear yesterday.
Of course, she didn't give up that easily..
[10:42:20] [Rachiel] whispers: cant be me another maybe what armory did i have?
[10:42:35] To [Rachiel]: Well, there is just one Rachiel on Defias Brotherhood.
[10:43:21] [Rachiel] whispers: well it could be another blood elf with near the same name
[10:43:46] To [Rachiel]: An another blood elf with the exact same name and in the same guild?
[10:44:11] [Rachiel] whispers: i didnt say so with nearly the same name
[10:45:20] [Rachiel] whispers: but if you say i had my armory yesterday then what armory did i have?
[10:47:12] To [Rachiel]: For example, your weapons were [Dazzling Longsword] and [Sword of Omen]
[10:47:50] [Rachiel] whispers: really because i used dagger
[10:48:59] To [Rachiel]: Oh really?
[10:49:08] [Rachiel] whispers: yes really
[10:51:49] To [Rachiel]: Let's assume for a moment that I'm looking at the wrong Armory profile.. How supposedly this hacker with a similar name also belongs to the same guild as you?
[10:53:13] [Rachiel] whispers: nope but listen if you dont wanna give anything just say no what is the problem?
[10:53:35] To [Rachiel]: I'm saying that you are the scammer and no hacking took place.
[10:54:36] [Rachiel] whispers: well why does i then walk around with 6 copper and a dress worth 1 copper and dont have any weapons?
[10:57:51] To [Rachiel]: First of all, that dress is crafted and costs more than 1 copper. Secondly, you know I can't confirm how much money do you have, nor I can confirm what you have in your bags or bank. But I can confirm that you still had gear yesterday, a week after
[10:57:56] To [Rachiel]: the supposed hacking.
[10:58:48] [Rachiel] whispers: okay okay i dont have got a visit from hackers but i maybe soon get because i have a payoff to someone i know and if i dont pay him unless friday he will hack my acount (this dress comes from the valentine event last month. =(
[11:00:17] To [Rachiel]: ..or you could just report him to Blizzard and they'll probably be more than happy to return your gear if this supposed hacker does succeed.
[11:00:25] To [Rachiel]: At least they would be able to bust him for harassment.
[11:01:09] [Rachiel] whispers: i know but i have a problem i dont know his character name
[11:01:28] To [Rachiel]: If you don't know his character's name, how can you pay him?
[11:02:24] [Rachiel] whispers: he will find me in school and then tell me that was the deal he dont wanna get his name out before i can pay him
[11:03:11] To [Rachiel]: Then why don't you report him to the school authorities for harassment?
Of course, there could be a real bully cleaning out their classmates' accounts, but it would be easier to just intimidate them to give out their virtual possessions than to make them co-conspirators.

Frankly, I'm doubtful that she'll learn. So just in case she tries this same angle again, I'm posting this as a warning.


Stealing from a thief..

..is okay according to Blizzard.

I have to agree.


Engineering and the Bling Bling

Since Tobold is covering most of the other tradeskills in the Burning Crusade, I'll cover Engineering, my tradeskill. Short version: Engineering is the Bling-Bling of WoW: It's expensive and mostly useless.

Before the Burning Crusade, Engineering was commonly seen as the PvP profession. It argueably still holds that title, but it's nowhere as good as before. Engineering did get new bombs and grenades, and these are still the bread and butter of engineers. A well-placed stun is always useful in PvP, and can give you the advantage in many fights. However, that's about the only really useful thing in Engineering now.

Aside from the grenades, Engineering was mostly known as the trinket profession. Deathrays, jumper cables, reflectors, combat pets, net-o-matics.. An engineer had a trinket for every occassion. With the introduction of Jewelcrafting, Engineering mostly lost that mantle. We did get some new trinkets, but we lost most of our previous trinkets due to diminishing returns. A Hyper-Radiant Flame Reflector is not going to stop a pyroblast from a level 70 mage. In addition, the new trinkets are less impressive than their stats would suggest. For example, the Goblin Rocket Launcher is completely useless against flying targets. It won't dismount them, it won't stun them, it won't even damage them.

The third category of items craftable with Engineering is various helmets, goggles and boots. While pre-Burning Crusade had a selection of cloth, leather and mail helms, the arrival of Jewelcrafting changed the focus a bit. Useful goggles are now for gnomes only, and new items are mostly leather.

The fourth and final category is guns and bullets. We got those as well, but the prices are.. well.. prohibitive. For example, my primary way of skilling up Engineering past 360 is the Felsteel Boomstick. To craft one, you need 20 Adamantite Ore, 56 Fel Iron Ore and 32 Eternium Ore. Getting the Adamantite and the Fel Iron isn't really a problem, but the Eternium is. It is an Uncommon drop from various veins. All in all, a Rare-quality gun is more expensive than many craftable Epic-quality melee weapons. Would you spend all that effort to obtain the materials or would you rather make a quick instance run and get a better one?

So for the four main uses for engineering, a mage like me can use.. one. Suffice to say, I'm looking forward for that Engineering revamp.


Borrowing raid IDs for fun and..

..well, mostly malicious fun. Accepting an invite to a PuG can be hazardous to your raiding.


The Armory

Apparently Blizzard is going to put all those profile and census sites out of business with the Armory. While the official stats site is always going to be up-to-date and thus more accurate than third-party sites, it can also be too accurate. For example, I occassionally log off wearing my roleplaying gear, which is nowhere near the power of my normal grinding/instancing gear.