Game Time for Gold? Yes Please!

Have you seen the news about game time for gold? It broke earlier today in a forum post from Bash. Aside from the standard looking ahead to patch 6.1 content stuff like flight master paths, garrison stuff, and that Pepe (which is a separate blog post altogether because frankly, I just don’t understand the appeal), they dropped this bomb:

We’re exploring the possibility of giving players a way to buy tradable game-time tokens for the purpose of exchanging them in-game with other players for gold. Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system. A few other online games offer a similar option, and players have suggested that they’d be interested in seeing something along those lines in WoW. We agree it could be a good fit for the game, and we look forward to any feedback you have as we continue to look into this feature.

You’ll recall that this was one of the main hyped features for Wildstar around the use of CREDD. EVE uses a similar currency called PLEX.

I’m in favor of it. I think it’s a great idea. It gives players like me with limited time (or limited energy) another way to pick up gold. And it gives players who don’t has much access to funds another avenue to keep their game time going.

But isn’t this kind of thing going to mess with the server economy? I want to say this is a method that will certainly put a dent into the illicit gold selling community. What’s going to do a better job than Blizzard legalizing that itself? I just don’t want to see this feature backfire upon itself the way they introduced real money trading into Diablo. I’d go out and suggest that this would ruin the game, but the examples with PLEX and CREDD have me wondering. It’d for sure upset the balance and prices of BOEs now. I could buy a BoE trinket for $20 and not bat an eye but 45000 gold would make me pause.

Are you a fan of the currency trading idea? It’s not set in stone yet but they did say they were exploring the possibility.

Now the question remains, what would you call this new currency? Needs to be short and catchy.

Highmaul Day!

What an exhausting week. Running heroics, challenge modes, recruitment, and preparing for Highmaul took quite a toll. Given the option between raid launching after a week into the expansion or after two weeks, I think I would’ve preferred the former. The issue with taking the time to gear up is that everyone plays and levels at different rates. Inevitably, no matter what I do or how many runs I attempt to do, there’ll always be players who feel left out.

Anyway, I won’t have to worry about dealing with five mans anymore. I’m looking forward to raid. We’re opening with a large raid size of 34 players. Once we feel ready for Mythic, that number is going to drop by almost half.

World bosses

How are we going to handle world bosses? I’m sure this is another question GMs are struggling with. We have no definitive time frames on respawn timers or their frequency. Is it once a week? Several times a week? Fifteen minutes? We don’t know. My current approach right now is to take world bosses off the schedule and encourage players to get into groups and run it on their own until we get a firm idea of when they appear. I’m not going to sacrifice a raid night waiting for a spawn when it could better off spent diving into Highmaul.

Returning guilds

Have you noticed this? I’ve seen characters coming online and recruiting for guild names I had thought since retired since the days of Burning Crusade. I never expected to see them again. This expansion has been a real jolt to the community, it seems. We’ll see how many of them end up sticking around, however. I suspect the opening month will really dictate how many guilds are pretenders and how many are contenders. I think the reality of raiding and the logistics will hit home for many leaders again and they realize why it was they ended up quitting in the first place. But with all the difficulty changes and the flexible raiding options, maybe it might not be so bad for them.

To all the guilds entering Highmaul this week, best of luck!

Talents and Glyphs for Your Level 100 Disc Priest

Talents and Glyphs for Your Level 100 Disc Priest

When I levelled to 100 and started queueing into heroics, my mana regen was absolutely abysmal. I actually opted to pick up Words of Mending because of the extra passive Prayer of Mending that it would fire out. Heroics at 610 ilevel with non-existent Spirit with similarly geared tanks and DPS is truly a challenge.
No one has health pools high enough to soak that kind of periodic and unnecessary damage.
The damage out from the group is competing against my ability to keep the group alive long enough resulting in strategically healing the tank and the highest DPS.
My mana regeneration isn’t enough to keep everyone topped off which results in a different mindset of making sure players are above an arbitrary threshold (like 30% across the board).
Don’t mistake my observations as complaints as most of us veterans have been here before from the start of Burning Crusade, through the heroics of Wrath, the mana and healing crunch during early Cataclysm, and the slightly more relaxed Mists of Pandaria. I’ve done the dance before. I’m still trying to get over the fact that spirit’s only available on a few items. I mean, I get it. I know why. But it’s the first expansion where I’m not scrambling for as many spirit items as possible and where I’m legitimately competing against Warlocks and Mages for that cloth gear.

Normal mode dungeons and early heroics (ilvl 600 – 615)

Now, let’s talk about talents for a second. I mentioned Words of Mending because the outgoing Prayer of Mending was free. I love free (even though it’s like buying McDonalds coffee, with every 7th coffee granting you a free one after). It means my mana can be saved for other crucial spells like a well timed Power Word: Shield. At this stage of the gearing process, you probably don’t have any trinkets but you’re slowly working on your way to obtaining that legendary ring from Khadgar. Maybe you have it, maybe you don’t. You might still be using an heirloom weapon or something. The name of the game here is efficiency and low costs (or free costs). Like it or not, you’re going to be dying for mana if you intend to solo queue into heroics. The pool of players will range from skilled players who won’t take any damage to players who are attracted into standing in every fire or void zone or ignoring mechanics.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Surge of Light tends to proc after one or two taps of Holy Nova. Great if you need to bank a few instant heals in reserve for upcoming damage. Your Psychic Scream talent and glyph offers you an out in case CC breaks early or if you attract company. Power Infusion provides much needed mana relief during high pressure phases. Your Power Word: Shield will both absorb and heal with one action.

Heroic mode and Challenge Mode (ilvl 615 – 630+)

Now you’re in a slightly better position. Your spells and heals are hitting for a little more. People aren’t dying as much. You can afford to be a little inefficient here and there if you need to in order to save players. Your trinkets and neck have spirit on them now. You’ve said goodbye to Hellscream’s BoAs. You’re ready for the next step and want to gear yourself up for raids that’ll be opening in December. You want to be an asset to your guild and indispensable to your raid.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Psychic Scream stays. It’s a clutch spell that can make or break your Challenge Mode attempts. Surge of Light continues to be useful but Mindbender is another choice if you want that slight extra damage (very slight). You don’t need the Power Infusion as much since it only kicks in once every two minutes. Instead, pick up Spirit Shell because you’ll guaranteed to use it twice throughout most boss fights to help the group absorb incoming bombs or damage pulses or anything that could potentially flatten your group.
Clarity of Will becomes the winner here for the level 100 talent. You can pre-shield your tank a few times with it before they engage the boss and it gives you something to do if everyone is at full health. I managed to coat the tank with a potent 163k shield before a pull. I’m sure some of you can do much higher. Try to load up on as much mastery to help increase the power of Clarity of Will and your other absorb effects.

Raiding (ilvl 630+)

Welcome to raid finder (or normal mode or heroic mode or mythic mode, whatever your fancy). You’re now working with a team of healers and you’re in a position where you can bust out your Disc specialties and shine.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Level 30: Body and Soul
Level 45: Power Word: Solace
Level 60: Void Tendrils
Level 75: Spirit Shell
Level 90: Divine Star or Halo (encounter dependant)
Level 100: Clarity of Will
You’re going to be building up and banking Holy Fire stacks for Archangel anyway. May as well convert that into Power Word: Solace and use ‘em as you go. Your level 60 talents for crowd control aren’t going to be relevant as much so it’s a preference. Level 90 talents will center around the raid encounters. Returning priests may be shocked (and partially annoyed) to find that Halo and Cascade now have a slight cast time. Clarity of Will continues to be my pick for the 100 talent because you can pair up with another healer who can supply heals to the tank while you drop large absorb shields simultaneously.
I consider Penance to be mandatory but Fade and Purification is up to you. Some of the upcoming encounters will involve plenty of dispelling so I like having the Purification glyph. Fade adds a slight damage reduction. It might not seem like much but it’s something especially at the start of a tier.
Anyway, don’t take my word as gospel. Start of with whichever talents and glyphs you like and feel free to try out new builds as you adventure throughout Draenor. If you’ve been having success with a different build, post it! I’d be happy to hear and try it out myself. I have not had an opportunity to give Saving Grace a try. Any of you budding Priests out there use it in current dungeons?
Checklist of Things to do at Level 100 for Raiders

Checklist of Things to do at Level 100 for Raiders

I could not stop myself. After levelling up my main Priest to 100, I had to level another one to provide additional resources and support. Ended up reaching level 100 on my Paladin on Saturday so I could tank on our alt raids on the weekends. Plus I’ll be maxing out it’s support buildings like the herb garden and the excavation mine.

Apexis Shard Farming

Once you reach level 100, your garrison will offer two sets of dailies for Apexis crystals. These things are currency for gear. Plus you can use them to upgrade the same items that you’ve purchased for later. Right now, it seems like the 630 level blues are available and the raid level ones will be available later on when the actual raids open. Try to knock out the the ones that give 1000 Apexis crystals. I’ve noticed there was a display bug. For example, today’s daily offered the Ring of Blood set of dailies and that one said it would reward 800 crystals but upon turning them in, it awarded 1000.

apexis

Legendary Ring Questline

Khadgar provides this quest at level 98 but you can realistically start it at level 100. His pet an be found at your garrison and will direct you to see his tower out in Talador. The quest is called Call of the Archmage. WoWHead has a great guide on it here to help you get started.

Treasure and Rare farming for garrison resources

I’m addicted to garrison development. After playing years of Heroes of Might and Magic (with the third one being my favourite), I just have a love for base building type games and controlling armies. Treasures are the most lucrative for garrison resources although many rare mobs will drop them as well. When you take them down once, they become ordinary mobs after that and won’t drop any more additional resources. The treasures that are the biggest pain in the rear are the ones in Nagrand as they often involve using those Goblin gliders to get to really hard to reach places.

Heroic dungeon farming

You need to have a 610 ilevel minimum to queue into them. Not only that, you also need to have finished out your Silver level Proving Grounds. However, it’s still possible to stroll into the instance portal and get in that way if you’re running with your guild or with your friends.

Challenge mode dailies

If you complete the challenge mode daily, they offer a random item that’s 640 ilevel which is the level of gear from normal mode raids. For me, today’s was Shadowmoon Burial Grounds which took us a solid 2 hours and 30 minutes. I’ll have a writeup on that later on in the week but boy was it rough. As people get a little more geared up and more familiar, those times should lessen significantly. Not to mention, we walked in there without really knowing much about what to do and there were plenty of trial and errors.

Ashran and PvP

During the opening few days of the expansion, there was virtually no Horde in Ashran. A few of us managed to queue into it repeatedly and take advantage of the situation by farming up as much honor as possible unchallenged. I used the extra honor to buy some 620 pieces to help put myself into position to queue into heroics.

ashran-pvp

Garrison Followers

Now this is the fun part. Everyone loves having more followers! Don’t forget that if you want to upgrade your followers to epic quality, the experience they earn after hitting level 100 goes towards that. So you can turn superior followers into epic followers just by repeatedly sending them out on missions. Here’s a few easy ones you can pick up:

  • Image of Archmage Vargoth: Requires a bit of a trek to Frostfire Ridge
  • Defender Illona: Really easy to snag as well. Complete the single quest in Talador (and yes, Horde players have their equivilent).
  • Pleasure-Bot 8000: Tailors will want this robot.
  • Abu’ghar: Look for 3 items around Nagrand (His fishing lure, his line, and his pole) then look for him within Stonecrag Gorge in the southern most pool of water.
  • Leo’rajh: Just have to find him and free him within Spires of Arak.

Check out this link on WoWhead for a full list of followers that can be earned via quests!

 

Alliance First Level 100!

Alliance First Level 100!

Elapsed time, 10 hours and 5 minutes. The servers opened up at 11:45 PM Pacific a few minutes early. Turned in all my dailies and started my pre-planned route on the way to level 100. At around 9:50 AM the next day (Thursday morning), I turned in my final quest and hit level 100. All in all, my run took me around 10 hours and 5 minutes. My personal best on beta was 9 hours and 33 minutes but you factor in the periodic disconnects and you can see it adds up. Being on a PvP server and being ahead of the curve means almost no one tries to gank you. All the higher level players know and we have a gentleman’s agreement that if you go after an opposing player, it actually slows everyone down for levelling so we don’t tend to go against each other. After that, I tried to stay up for a few hours longer by running a dungeon and completing my Apexis Crystal dailies. Holy heck, it feels as if my body just started weaving in and out of consciousness. There were times I snapped back to reality while healing and noticed my group was a little further ahead in the dungeon. Took a herculean amount of effort just to try to stay focused. After that, I queued up more work orders and garrison missions and went to bed for a few hours.

I was up for about 30 consecutive hours. I’m naturally an early riser so I was awake at 6 AM on the Wednesday. That’s when I did my shopping and cleared out as many other errands as I could. Met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while for dinner and just made an effort to try to relax myself before the game launched. Later that night, I tried taking a nap but I was at that weird sleeping state where you’re partially asleep but still slightly awake and aware of everything. At about 10 PM, I gave up.

Why didn’t you take your time to level to 100 and enjoy the sights and scenes?

I did that during the beta. The final builds of the game were at a point where I could just quest at my own leisurely place and really immerse myself in the lore. I knew when game day rolled around though, it would be a mad rush to 100 and I didn’t want to get myself caught with the flood of players. You just have to beat the curve.

How’d you do it?

Many players out there relied on energy drinks or caffeine to get them through it. I bought myself a fruit platter and had two jugs of water beside me plus a few snacks to munch on. Things got a little dicey around 6:30 AM because I was starting to get hungry and I was running out of hard food to eat. I knew that I would receive breadcrumb quests that sent me over to the next zones so I timed my bathroom breaks with that. During RP sessions in game, I’d pull nearby random mobs for bits of extra experience or start disenchanting items to keep my bag space clear. Most of my experience came with practice on beta servers where I had my routes all figured out.

Why not server first?

When I was the only level 94 in Gorgrond, I ran into a Horde level 95 Shadow Priest. I remember early on in the day a few rollbacks were issued out to players on EU servers for abusing and exploiting the turtle quest turn in on Timeless Isle. Or maybe I was beat out with a player who had a Darkmoon Faire buff. I’m not sure, but I certainly gave in my best effort and loaded up with experience potions on the way up. I’ll certainly settle for Alliance first though.

I am so excited for this expansion. No real dailies to do, for one! No quests to grind out or anything. Lots more exploration! More world PvP action (one of the benefits of being 100 is I get to dish out payback on players who annoyed me over the years).

Post BlizzCon Highlights and Warlords Levelling Tips

Back from BlizzCon! What a crazy weekend. Biggest weekend ever with the announcement of Overwatch and several new game features coming to Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone. Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft were silent this year for obvious reasons since Reaper of Souls had already debuted and we have the Warlords expansion launch tonight at midnight.

BlizzCon Highlights

I held it! The strategy guide that I mentioned I was working on the other day? Brady Games had a booth set up and they happened to have a few copies to give away during a random draw. I went up to them and asked if I could take a picture with it in front of their giant sign and pointed out that I was one of the contributors. At 400 pages, it’s fairly hefty but I think it’s roughly the same size and length of previous strategy guides. Just remember, expect this information to be out of date within a few months due to patches and such.

Overwatch was insanely fun! My original gaming background started with shooters, actually. I’ve since strayed from that genre but it’s great to see Blizzard try their hand it especially since Starcraft Ghost was cancelled ages ago. I wrote up my initial impressions on a few of the heroes I played like Tracer, Pharah, and Widowmaker on BlizzPro. Give it a read!

The rest of my guild was being anti-social for most of BlizzCon but we did manage to meet up a few times for a few drinks here and there. While I was out on the Hilton lobby most days catching up with other internet friends, they were upstairs playing Cards Against Humanity and WoW Trivial Pursuit.

Actually, some of those questions were pretty tough. Can you list all the factions associated with the PvP battlegrounds? I had to think real hard about that one.

At the airport, I was at my terminal waiting to board. I went up to the ticket agent to see if they had a pin or a paper clip I could use to swap out my SIM card. She eyed my poster tube and asked if I attended BlizzCon this year and I said yeah! I go every year! She was so envious because every year she wants to go but she can’t make it out because her airline always schedules her to work BlizzCon weekend. She jokingly offered to trade me a pin for one of my posters in my poster tube. Of course I said yes! I managed to get a few extra copies of the mini Overwatch posters to give away to a few of my friends back home here and offered her one.

She didn’t feel that was a fair trade so she offered me a seat upgrade as well! Damn! Look at that! Just goes to show that you never know who plays games out there. We ended up chatting a little more about World of Warcraft and some of the new features coming before I started boarding. Go figure!

Warlords Levelling Tips

  • Stock up on drinks like water. If you need the extra caffeine, go for tea. If you absolutely must burn energy drinks, go for the 5 hour energy.
  • Try to time your bathroom breaks at every even level. LEvels 92, 94, 96, and 98 feature breadcrumbs that involve you going on a gryphon.
  • Starting to feel a little weary? Splash some cold water on your face or dunk your head under the shower briefly to wake yourself up.
  • Switch your talents and glyphs and load up for instant casts or lowered cooldowns.
  • Check your binds if you’re just returning to the game now.
  • Load up on whatever consumables you need like your potions, flasks, food, and guild banners.

Anyway, good luck out there! See you at 100!

BlizzCon: Day 0

Left cloudy and slightly rainy Vancouver, arrived in sunny and blistering heated Anaheim 20 minutes ahead of schedule on the Wednesday. Picked up by a guildie and we headed back to the convention centre and began planning our activities for the rest of the week. The guild’s advance team was slated to come in a little later in the afternoon.

We picked up our consumables. Shopping here for alcohol never ceases to amaze me in terms of affordability.

Once we settled in, we set up shop at the Anabella and just hung out there for the rest of the night while the rest of the team and friends streamed in to say hi. It was great to catch up with people again especially after a year.

BlizzCon Predictions

You’ll see similar predictions around the web, and I’m going to join the chorus.

World of Warcraft: Eye of Azshara will be a future expansion or content drop of sorts. Or it’s a new fashion accessory from Blizzard gear.

Hearthstone: Spectator mode announced and a firm Android release date will be provided. Hunters nerfed again. New expansion with a goblin or mech theme. Separate booster packs.

Heroes of the Storm: More new heroes, new maps, and a closed beta date. Announcement of spectator mode, with approximate date.

Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void firm date and new features, characters, general storyline announcement.

Diablo 3: Content patch drop.

But for now, bed. Big day tomorrow!

Announcing the Warlords of Draenor Strategy Guide

Before I get to BlizzCon, I wanted to make a quick note of a special project that I and a few of my friends and colleagues around the community have been working on. A few months ago, I was approached to help work on the Priest section of the Warlords of Draenor Strategy Guide from Brady Games.

Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) put together an all-star team to help get you started in Warlords of Draenor when it goes live next week.

I borrowed the full list from Alaron himself, Druid extraordinaire. He’s also giving away a complimentary copy of the guide.

Death Knight: Magdalena (@MagdalenaDK), of the self-titled Death Knight blog Magdalena’s Musings.
Druid: Master Archdruid Alaron of the Fluid Druid.
Hunter: Eyes of the Beast’s Bendak (@BendakWoW), who blogs at and keeps trying to tame me, despite repeated growls.
Mage: Manalicious’s Vidyala (@_Vidyala). Also the artist behind the webcomic From Draenor with Love.
Monk: Video Cast Monk Meditation‘s Chaithi (@WoWMonk).
Paladin: Righteous Defense‘s Rhidach (@Rhidach).
Priest: Just me.
Rogue: Ravenholdt.net‘s Rfeann (@Sveltekumquat). Also check out his blog: Red-Hatted Rogue.
Warlock: Poneria (@_poneria) of Fel Concentration.
Shaman: Totemspot‘s Binkenstein (@Binkenstein). Quite possibly one of the smartest folks in the game. Or at least, the most spreadsheet-est.
Warrior: Matt Rossi. Together, we made up WoW Insider‘s team Matt. (@MatthewWRossi)
Editor: Finally, Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey). No words can describe the hard work and effort that she invested. Truly an inspiration.

It just occurred to me that I can now say I literally wrote the book on Priests. Anyway, I suspect it’ll be fully outdated by the next patch!

Anyway, more on pre-BlizzCon thoughts when I get back. People are already lining up to obtain their tickets and passes.

Things to Get Used to in Patch 6.0 – Raid Leader Edition

We had enough people to raid with last night! Didn’t have to resort to outsourcing raiders on Open Raid, whoo hoo!

Despite being aware of all the different changes that were coming in, there were a few things that still took some serious getting used to.

Enter Immerseus.

Wiped to this fellow three times in the first hour. Wasn’t sure what was going on at first but I suspect it was largely due to players just getting used to their class changes and the loss of a number of spells and abilities.

I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I started calling for cooldowns.

In fact, here’s how a typical conversation in the evening went:

"Give me a Skull banner!"
"WE DONT HAVE IT!"
"Screw it, Rallying Cry!"
"WE DONT HAVE IT!"
"Healing Tide Totem?”
”Nope!”
”Battle Res?”
"BURNED IT ALREADY, 2 Minutes!"
"GODDAMNIT HIT EVERYTHING!"

Accountability just became more important in raids. Can’t have three players dying right away at the start of an encounter anymore. Raid leaders are just going to get frustrated and annoyed before calling for a snap wipe and reset.

The whole Battle Res charge is something I understood on paper but it’s going to take an adjustment period. My raid is going to be sick of me calling for a Battle Res and not having one handy. Is there an addon out there yet that’ll track charges available during raid or is there an interface option somewhere that I’m missing?

If you plan to raid Mythic but have a habit of face planting early or often, then either change your plans or stop eating the dirt.

How does the slowed down healing feel for the rest of you?

I like it a little and I’ll eventually get used to it. But I also know that I’m going to miss the more fast-paced, reflexive healing. I’m hating the Prayer of Mending cast time though along with the new Spirit Shell as-a-talent thing.

But yeah, these are just changes that we’ll have to get used to. 

Haven’t healed or queued into any of the dungeons yet, but so far the reaction sounds mixed. You’ve got some veteran players who are praising the return to slower, tactical pulls and the other type who are pissed that they can’t chain pull the crap out of everything again and blaming it on healers.

I am so looking forward to this expansion. Back to the recruiting grind!

Introducing the Guild Masters!

Introducing the Guild Masters!

Say hello to the Guild Masters.

Today I wanted to take a moment to announce the start of a new blog project. The idea came about after browsing through the Warcraft Guild and Leadership forums. Ran into questions and problems that guild leaders and officers were struggling with.

And you know what I realized?

There is no single place for guild leaders and officers to ask questions or gain support for common issues.

How should a guild leader handle drama?

How does an officer say no?

How do you “raid lead”?

What elements constitute a solid guild website?

Thus, the Guild Masters formed.

I’m hoping to expand a bit beyond that though. I’ve played League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, and Counterstrike: Global Offensive. All of those games involve elements of leadership but it’s not quite the same as leading in WoW. Eventually, I’d like to expand and incorporate those elements but for now, I’m going to focus on the MMO side of things.

If you’re interested, shoot me an email or hit me up on Twitter (@matticus) or add me to your battletag (Matticus#1773).

Conquest turns 7 years old this month. When I started, I didn’t really have that many resources available. I don’t remember the leadership forum having been created yet. I relied on mistakes observed in other guilds. I asked for advice and pointers from the few friends I had who were officers and leaders of their own guilds. I made my own share of screw ups along the way.

As a result, I laid down the ground work for the site back in April and started sketching out what I wanted it to be. It’s a site that’s targeted for newly promoted and minted leaders who might know what they’ve gotten themselves into. I’ve asked a few trusted and driven individuals to provide their own insight. But I’m determined to provide some help and assistance with the Ask A GM section. It’s been up for a month now so do check it out and let me know what you think (or want to see more of).

The small community back then gave me the confidence and skills into what I am today and I want to give back.

Here’s a small sample of posts that are up that’ll benefit you:

If you’re stuck with problems or want some advice, contact us and check out the forums! Guaranteed we’ve had similar experiences in the past.