Content Patch, Ahoy!

So, according to a blue post, we’ll be getting a content patch “soon“.

It will contain the following…

  • New class spells and talents
  • Stormwind Harbor Barbershops in capital cities
  • Zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and Tirisfal Glades
  • Two brand-new Arenas featuring challenging new layouts, terrain hazards, and moving obstacles
  • Guild calendar
  • Hunter pet skill revamp
  • New profession: Inscription

And we’ll be able to level inscription to 375 without having to purchase WotLK.

What does this mean for us altoholics?

LOTS of change coming.

If Blizzard stays true to pattern, we’ll get a free talent respec when they release the new talents. Not only is that interesting in and of itself, it also lays the ground work for the new talents coming in WotLK – i.e. mages respec’ing for a Living Bomb build (which personally, holds little to no attraction for me as a Deep Pyro mage). I can definitely say that my Beast Mastery Hunter will respec back into Beast Mastery, but I am really looking forward to seeing how the new Pet skill revamp is going to work in conjuction with a capped Hunter at 70 vs. a capped Hunter at 80.

The big news for me right now is being able to level Inscription before WotLK. With BC, players could purchase or find Jewelcrafting designs before BC came out (after the content patch), but there was nothing to work with as far as mats or trainers went. And as Jewelcrafting was part of the BC expansion, vanilla WoW players couldn’t take it as a profession, which locked a portion of the player base out. If I read Eyonix’s post correctly, vanilla WoW players are still locked out of Inscription, but any BC validated account can take Inscription as one of their professions as trainers will be available in ‘major cities’.

As soon as full patch notes are available, I will post them. I am still hoping for a beta key, in order to level Inscription and be able to provide more information about the coming changes and what they mean for altoholics.

Next Post will be one that I’ve been working on for a while – “Altoholics and a Death Knight”.

Wrath of the Lich King and Altoholics

There’s quite a bit of news out of the beta and only some of it is good for altoholics like myself.  I cannot cover all of the news, but I will cover the bits and pieces that interest me particularly.  This is full of spoilers for Wrath of the Lich King, so please be aware.

The good?

  • Enchanters will now be able to enchant their own alts via inscription.  In short, inscription allows the making of a special paper that can be imbued with the armor or weapon enchant by the enchanter which will then be consumed in the process of applying that enchantment to weapon or armor.  Of course, making the weapon enchant paper is quite a higher skill level in Inscription.
  • Enchanters will also be able to sell their enchants using the same process.  No more of the ‘let’s meet up, do you have mats….’, it will be COD.  It also means that enchanters will be able to charge a stable price for enchants and possibly stabilize the price of mats – people can make money farming them, but rather than the end consumer (the enchantee) purchasing them, the enchanter will purchase them and charge a final price, which is usually more friendly to the end consumer (at least on my server).
  • Blacksmiths will be able to add sockets to items using things like belt buckles (and the current report is that these sockets stack with enchantments).  Can I just say “AWESOME” to this?
  • Death Knights are reportedly incredibly fun to play – I am reserving judgement until I can actually play one.
  • Tailors are getting some love with a profession-specific mount – A FLYING CARPET.
  • Glyphs!  Glyphs are a new system to allow players to customize spells, abilities/talents.  The Glyph of the Penguin allows a Mage’s Polymorph to polymorph into a baby penguin as opposed to a sheep/turtle/pig.  There are six Glyphs (with a potential seventh), two each Major, Minor and Lesser.  Some glyphs increase damage, some glyphs increase buff affects, some glyphs increase range.

The Bad?

  • Experience tables have been extended, taking more to level.  At last night’s report, it was almost 80% more per level to make that level.
  • The spell-power/+healing and spell-power/+spell-damage ratios are NOT equal.  At current, it seems that the spell-power/+healing is 1:2 and the spell-power/+spell-damage is almost 1:1.  This is going to make using armory to judge healers a little difficult for a while and making a party VERY difficult.
  • They’ve apparently removed Potion Sickness but not Tinnitus from the beta, making a great many raiders who took leatherworking solely to be able to produce Drums (and keep an overlapping set of buffs on the raid) VERY sorry.
  • As a consequence of the above, a goodly number of leatherworkers will be re-skilling a different profession.  Meaning a sharp rise in AH prices for lower level goods for almost all professions.
  • WIth the little information about inscription out there, people are beginning to speculate on herbs. *raises hand*  Myself included.

Why are these good and bad?

Well, the good ones stand a heavy chance of lowering or stabilizing AH prices and indicate a growing knowledge by Blizzard of where some areas needed improvement – like the enchanter having no way to enchant their alts gear.  They also allow further character customization after the initial character creation, which hasn’t been possible before now – not to mention the proposed-but-not-completely-implemented dance studios and barbershops.  I’m quite excited by the ability to customize my characters and the only thing that I could wish for would be dyeable armor so no more clown look while leveling.

And the bad ones are the ones that will make AH prices rise and will cause mass confusion when the expansion is released.  The conversion to spellpower alone will cause major issues – “LFG: Priest w/1k+heal” now means almost any buffed priest at end game will fit the bill.  “LFG: Priest w/1k+heal” after Wrath (if the conversion remains the same) will be looking for T4+ Priests.  This kind of confusion will settle after a bit, of course, it always does.

What are you excited about or worried about with Wrath of the Lich King?

Money, Money, Money…

“… it’s a rich man’s world!” – ABBA

It’s a very true statement in WoW. Without Gold, as more people progress to end-game content and stop rolling alts, the economy on a WoW server can become unbalanced. The introduction of Dailies and the easy Gold they brought to characters made an large impact by allowing a minor economical reset as more characters were able to purchase more of the previously out of reach gear/items.

However, that can lead to another problem. With the introduction of Inscription (the new profession being introduced with Wrath of the Lich King), the price of herbs and mid level items such as level 45-60 green armor/weapons (to disenchant) have already begun to skyrocket as people begin to collect and store herbs (used in making ink for Inscription) and enchanting mats in anticipation. This echoes a similar situation before Burning Crusade came out and people were collecting ore and gems in anticipation of Jewelcrafting.

So how do you as a player deal with the economical upset? The short answer is that I don’t know, I can only offer my own experience. I’ve rolled and leveled alts to avoid it – I have an herbalist, an alchemist, a tailor and so on. I’ve created a Guild solely populated by my alts and family to store mats for Inscription in the Guild Bank. I do dailies for the cash and buy from both the faction and neutral Auction Houses.

What’s it like on your server and how are you dealing with it?

Friends and Family

One thing that I hear alot is “I’m on this server because so-and-so that I know/am related to plays here” when asking why someone rolled on a particular server. I know that personally, I have a bias to servers with people that I know.

*grin*

Unless I’m trying to escape!

Currently, both my father, my brother, my brother in law (to be), my husband (to be), my daughter (at FOUR!), my sorta sister in law and her husband, my sorta brother in law and most of my friends play WoW and are all scattered on different realms. What this means is that I have alot of alts on different realms and have to find ways to make sure that no one feels neglected – for example, if I play on a Friday, you’ll most often find me playing Darini on Kel’Thuzad with my friend Sara. On days that I get the chance to raid, you’ll find me playing Tenaya on Azuremyst with my Guild there, The Prophecy. Otherwise, I tend to play alts on assorted servers. Sammanra (on Zangarmarsh) is a completely new character on a server where I know no one – she’s an escape character. *grins*

How do family and friends impact YOUR playing style?

One type of server that I’ve never played on are RP servers – I don’t know anyone who plays consistently on RP servers. I’ve given it thought though and might reroll on one just to see what it’s like. Any suggestions for servers/factions?

Little Known Quests

After leveling a few characters, most players begin to be able to streamline the leveling process either by grouping quests or going after the higher reward ones. But one of the joys of the game, for me at least, is doing the lesser known or ‘hidden’ quests.

As I was freeing Princess Poohbah today with Chemi, it started me thinking about all the little quests that I do on a regular basis on my alts – either because they are fun (Cluck!), they add something personal to the game (The Black Shield – which is heart-breaking on either faction) or because of the nifty reward that you might not see otherwise (Captain Sanders Hidden Treasure).

For a complete list of these kinds of quests, visit this thread on the WoW Forums. I was lucky enough to be pointed to it by a friend a while back and I’ve taken the opportunity on my main to go back and do almost all the available ones and am now attempting to complete the Horde side ones.

What kinds of quests do you consider little-known or complete for these reasons?

Add-On: Altoholic

Altoholic is is an Add-on which allows you to see information on your alts, such as bag space, known recipes, bank space, even their gear, most over multiple realms and cross-faction.

The main feature of the addon is the search functionality which allows users to search their alts’ bags or loot tables in an Auction-House-like frame (see screenshots). All this with multiple-realms support

Here are the authors list of features as listed on its entry page on <a href=”http://www.curse.com/downloads/details/12325/”>Curse</a&gt;.

- Account-wide data summary:

  • Characters’ talents: only a summary, not a full build, I may implement this later on if there’s demand.
  • Money, /played, rest xp for each character, subtotals by realm, and grand totals for the account.
  • Bag usage: see at a glance which characters should get bigger bags (bag size, free slots and types included)
  • Characters’ skills: skill summary on one screen, namely the 2 main professions + the 3 secondary skills as well as riding. I may add more if there’s demand.
  • Reputations: a list of all the reputations of the current realm’s characters. You can see at a glance if all your alts are at least honored with Honor Hold if you want to get the new 2.4 blue PVP set. Suggestions on how to gring reputations will be available soon.

- View containers (bags, bank, keyring) of all alts, on all realms.

- Guild banks : You have 10 alts in 10 different guilds on the same server, all of them with access to a guild bank ? Not a problem, you can see them all here. Multiple realms supported.

- E-mail: allows you to see which alts have mail without having to reconnect them. The addon will tell you when mail is about to expire on a character. Threshold configurable (up to 15 days). Multiple realm support as well. Mails sent to a known alt (one you’ve logged on at least once) will be visible in the addon.

- Equipment: See the equipment of the current realm’s alts in one screen. Very useful when purchasing stuff for your alts at the AH. Multiple realms supported. Right-clicking any equipment piece will allow you to find an upgrade, this feature is similar to the official wow armory feature, and is quite performant, even though it doesn’t match the accuracy of the official one.

- Options: the option screen is still a bit minimal, I’ll add more options along the way depending on user requests.

- Search: the most important feature of the addon, it uses an AH-like frame to display search results. You can either search bags on the current realm, on all realms, or a loot table. The loot table is a table based on AtlasLoot 4.04 which contains only item id’s, and therefore keeps memory usage minimal. As an indicator, with 10 alts (+bank) + guild bank + loot table, the addon only takes 2.3 mb of memory. The addon has gained weight since the integration of some libraries, but this will ensure support for multiple languages in the future. I expect to support deDE soon.

The Search menu allows you to find items based on their name (even partial), level, type or rarity, almost like at the AH.

As of 2.4.010, it is also possible to search known recipes.

- Quest Log: See the quest logs of all your alts, as well as an indication of which alts are on a specific quest.

- Suggestions: Currently, only profession leveling suggestions are available when mousing over your current level in a specific profession. Suggestions are based on the leveling guides posted on the official US forums (credit goes to their respective authors). The addon also suggests you where to quest/grind xp depending on your character level.

Suggestions were also added for the most recent factions. More to come later.

- Auction house: You can see which auctions/bids you’ve placed with an alt without being logged in or being at the AH.

- Professions: You can browse all known recipes in a Thottbot like frame (see screenshot).

So now that you’ve skimmed the list of features, let me tell you how I use Altoholic.

Altoholic Summary Screen

Altoholic Summary Screen

With as many alts as I have and as much chaos as there is in life, I’m always forgetting which alt needs mats for what profession or I want to see if something sold in the Auction House.  I also use the account summary screen (see the above image) to tell me when a particular alt might need some play time – if they’re substantially undergeared or have an extraordinary amount of rested Exp that they could burn.  On another account (with a raiding endgame Holy Priest, an endgame Enhancement Shaman and an endgame Combat Rogue), I use Altoholic to help me manage crafting upgrades or see what mat I need to farm.

Altoholic, Altitis, Altism…

To me, having too many alts indicates a passion for the game, just as having multiple level seventy characters does.  But it does beg an answer to the question of why people make alts.

For me, the answer is pretty simple – I make alts when I’m frustrated with something on one of my main characters or when I need something relatively mindless and easy that ISN’T farming.  *laughs*  Most of the time, I even hop to a new server just to check it out.  Since I’ve leveled at least one of each of the class/race combinations to at least Level 10, I know the starting zones and quests very well.

And I do have rules for Alt creation – I don’t send Gold to an alt until that alt has dinged Level 20, I don’t send mats or do enchants until Level 35 and finally, I delete the alt if it’s been more than four months since I’ve played him/her unless the alt was created for a specific purpose (to play with a specific friend or serves as a name holder for a future character).

But.

I also find that when I hit the late teens or early twenties of leveling, I get bored and go back to whichever main I was originally frustrated with.    Currently, I’ve been unable to raid on my raiding main, a Level 70 Gnome Mage due to having multiple raiding players in the same house and a lack of care for both the elderly and the young during the nightly raids.  So creating alts that I can leave at anytime for any reason (if my daughter wakes up with a nightmare or my grandmother is wandering about), is a way for me to deal with that frustration.

Now, as far as server hopping goes, I enjoy checking out each server, their economies and the general progression on the server.  For example – Kilrogg-A is fairly end-game oriented with few to no pieces of low-level gear on the auction house and what little is there is insanely expensive.  Kilrogg-H isn’t quite as bad – more low-level gear but the prices fluctuate more.  All this while Azuremyst-A is nicely progressed, not quite as end-game oriented and is fairly inundated with low-level gear but when you reach the mid-late forties and above, the price of gear jumps almost exponentially.

What are your experiences with alts or new servers?

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