Friday, October 26, 2012

Attention Jewelcrafters: Don't miss out!

I've heard a lot of people in Trade, my guild, and a few people elsewhere complaining that Jewelcrafting isn't profitable right now. I ask them what they're selling and more often than not they aren't selling 450 jewelry; in fact they don't even know how to make the 450 jewelry! That's a pretty big problem for the gold-making jewelcrafter and it's a problem we need to fix right now!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Enchanting Conversions - It's like printing money.

The status quo for enchanting has been pretty constant for many years. There's dust. There's essence, usually three lessers equating to one greater. There are rare shards which may or may not have a lesser version and there is an epic crystal. That's what we've had for a very long time. Dust is dust, essence are essence, shards are shards, right?

Not anymore.  Mists of Pandaria brought a fundamental change to the way enchanting materials work. Dust is no longer just dust, that dust can be traded up the chain all the way to a Sha Crystal if you have the desire. Likewise a Sha Crystal can be traded down the line all the way into dust.

This change hasn't sunk in with many enchanters, though, and my server's rife with gold-making opportunities because of it.

If I buy Spirit Dust right now it will cost me 5g90s to craft one Mysterious Essence which I can turn around and sell for 21g, essentially quadrupling my gold with a single craft.

When trading up:
   5 Spirit Dust = 1 Mysterious Essence
   5 Mysterious Essence = 1 Ethereal Shard
   5 Ethereal Shard = 1 Sha Crystal (1 Day CD)

When trading down:
   1 Sha Crystal = 2 Ethereal Shards
   1 Ethereal Shard = 3 Mysterious Essence
   1 Mysterious Essence = 3 Spirit Dust

Keep this in mind for selling mats at their most valuable stage and to be sure you pay the least for your crafting materials!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Building the Perfect Farmer

I don't often farm but when I do the name of the game is always efficiency. The more efficiently you can farm the more gold you will make from your play session or the more mats you can get for crafting. Arguably the most important thing to think about when looking at efficient farming is your farming location: lots of nodes, easily accessible, not too many mobs, etc.

However there are other things to consider. With that in mind I set out this expansion to build my ideal farming character.  Here's what I think makes up the ideal farmer; the more of these factors you have going for you the better off you will be but just having as many as you can should help you get the most out of your farming.

Step 1: Selecting your class.
There are conflicting opinions here. Generally people will opt for either a druid gatherer or a paladin or DK for faster mounted movement speed. I side with the druids; the ability to drop down, pick an herbalism node, and fly away without having to kill that mob standing on top of the node is invaluable and will often lead to a greater gain than moving a bit faster.

Nodes are so plentiful in Mists of Pandaria that it will rarely come down to "time spent finding a node" and more often come down to effort and time put in to actually gather the nodes littering the countryside.  While the druids don't get the perk for mining their herbalism perk is top-notch and beats out faster-flyers in my book.

Step 2: Selecting your race.
Horde players might instantly say "Tauren druid!" for gathering and that's certainly not a bad idea.  However Tauren is no longer as necessary (see Step 5) and so race choices for Horde are now opened up a bit more. However, War Stomp will still be quite handy to stun an enemy and snag a node if it comes down to it so I would still recommend Tauren over Troll.

Alliance players have a choice between Night Elf or Worgen. For this list I'm assuming we're talking about a mining/herbalism gatherer and so Worgen's racial bonuses to skinning aren't factored in. I love Night Elf because if you grab aggro from a mob while mining, which you inevitably will, you can Shadowmeld and pop Flight Form instantly meaning you can cut down significantly on fighting you'll have to do over nodes.

Step 3: Building your farming druid.
There are a few things to consider when building the character.

  • Speed: Faster mounted speed will mean less travel between nodes. Faster movement speed (when not mounted) will allow you to gather faster in areas like Snow Lily Cave.
  • Stuns: Inevitably you will pull aggro every once and a while. Being able to stun a mob and gather before killing it or shadow melding will secure that Golden Lotus before someone can come in and take it from you.
  • Dazing: Non-tanks can be randomly dazed when struck by an attack. This usually doesn't matter too much if you're flying around from node to node but if you're running through Snow Lily Cave or can't fly yet you may want to consider going Guardian spec to make yourself daze-proof.
With this in mind I'm using a Feral druid (faster cat movement speed) with Feline Swiftness (even faster kitty!) and Mighty Bash for an added stun. Disorienting Roar is another option to distract mobs while you snag a node; it's a shorter duration and will be broken by damage but it's an AoE so it ensures you'll get that node no matter what's beating on you.  Glyph of Dash will also allow a more frequent use of Dash, allowing you to move through caves or run out of aggro range more often.

Step 4: Inventory space.
If you don't farm for hours at a time you should be fine with regular bags. However, for dedicated farming sessions or if you're not going to return to a mailbox after each session you should look into profession bags.

Miners will want Triple-Reinforced Mining Bags and herbalists will want Hyjal Expedition Bags.  For mining/herbalism druids I recommend one of each profession bag and two "normal" bags of your choice; Embersilk, Netherweave, whatever your pleasure is. This gives you a good amount of space specifically for mats but leaves several spots for catch-all if you gather a disproportionate amount of one resource compared to the other, or if you just happen to loot anything else while you're out.

Step 5: Equipping your farmer.
Here's where things might get a little new for farmers. The more of these items you can get the better, but any of them will help.
  • A Gnomish Army Knife held in your bags will give you +10 to all gathering professions. This does not stack with the Gatherer enchant to gloves (+5) so you will choose one or the other, essentially you're looking at +5 more gathering at the cost of one inventory slot.

  • An Ancient Pandaren Mining Pick will allow miners to proc Mists of Pandaria gems off of Pandaria nodes. In previous expansions it was a given that miners would sometimes find gems in the nodes but that's no longer the case; now you must have this pick if you expect to see that. 

    Be aware the proc rate is very low; I've had this pick for a week and have seen two gems. If you want the absolute best out of mining you should have one of these but some people may not find it worth the bag slot it will take. It does not need to be equipped and thus non-axe-using druids can still use it. It's also Bind on Account so you can send it to your other characters to use for it's rather nice 1H Strength weapon stats.

    To get a mining pick head to Greenstone Quarry in northern Jade Forest. This item is a rare spawn in the quarry and has a fairly long spawn timer so you may have to camp a fair bit for it.

  • A set of Forager's Gloves is without a doubt my favorite new item added for gathering.  These gloves drop from the rare spawn Korda Torros in Kun-Lai Summit and reduce gathering speed for herbs and mining by 1.5 seconds. (A reduction of 1 second for skinning.)  This essentially let's anyone gather herbs as fast as a Tauren and allows you to mine faster than anyone who hasn't farmed these gloves.  With these gloves it's usually possible to gather a node between the swing-timer of an attacking mob, making these an invaluable part of your farming arsenal.

    The mob which drops these has roughly a one hour spawn time so, barring terrible luck, they shouldn't be too difficult to farm up even on an 85-86 with decent gear.

    Note: These will only reduce gathering to .5 seconds; this will not allow a character who could already gather faster (Worgen skinners or Tauren herbalists) to gather instantly. Unfortunately!

  • A pair of Mist-Piercing Goggles will allow you to see nodes that you otherwise would not be able to see. You needn't equip them; like the mining pick they can sit in your bags. This is great since you can keep them un-bound and send them around if you use more than one farming character. This is a simple situation: Reserve a bag slot (or your helmet slot) and you get to gather more nodes. Easy choice!

    Engineers make these and they require two Spirits of Harmony, so you may end up paying a bit for these but if you're going to be gathering they will pay for themselves in no time.

These are the steps I've taken to building Thrasymachus, my new farming character. It has seriously kickstarted my farming in Mists of Pandaria and feeling so well-equipped has helped make farming fun for me.  I'm not a professional farmer so if you have any tips and tricks to maximizing your farming character's efficiency please share them!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

TradeSkillMaster Guides - Updated for MoP

It's been a busy few days for me but it's done! A lot of people were requesting an updated TradeSkillMaster guide series using the new interface. Between that, the new features (Quick Posting <3 ) and the fact it would give me a chance to make them easier on the ears I decided it was time to update the guides.

So here they are!  You'll notice the "Advanced Tactics" video is just the first, implying there may be more. If you have something you want to learn more in-depth in TSM feel free to ask; it may be in a future Advanced Tactics guide.

Auctioning and Group Creation

Crafting, Shopping, and Dealfinding

Mailing and Destroying

Advanced Tactics #1

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spirits of Harmony - Determining Value

The most common question I've been asked on my server is what the value of a Spirit of Harmony is. Some people want to know how much to offer, the others want to know how much to sell theirs for. It's a question many people are starting to ask now that eyes have turned on professions and gearing up.

The short answer that I give them:  "I don't know."  But let's get into the long answer too.

Right now Spirit of Harmony is a Bind on Pickup crafting item.  When looking at the value of a Spirit of Harmony you have to think about the way the seller values the Spirit.  This is affected by a few different factors:

  1. What professions does the seller have to use it with?
    Faid is a Blacksmith/Engineer while, for example, my friend Altrien is a Miner/Engineer.  This means that he can only spend his SoH on Engineering while I have a choice to instead spend them on Blacksmithing.

    Blacksmithing has many recipes to buy with Spirits of Harmony while Engineering doesn't require any for the purchase of recipes. This means that Altrien can immediately start funneling his Spirits of Harmony into crafted items to sell while, despite having Engineering as well, my next twenty six Spirits are earmarked for buying Blacksmithing patterns.  Because of this you'll have much better luck asking someone like Altrien to make that scope instead of someone like me.

    Beyond buying patterns it also comes down to usefulness. Not all Spirit of Harmony uses are created equal. Let's look at the Long Range Trillium Sniper which, due to its scope requirement, essentially costs two Spirits of Harmony.  If I do not spend these two Spirits then this gun does not come into existence, I cannot make and sell this gun without these Spirits.

    Compare that to an Alchemist/Herbalist with Spirits of Harmony. They have only one use at this point, using three Spirits to create an extra Living Steel that's not on the daily cooldown.  In the Engineering example it's a question of "Do you want a gun or not?" while in the Alchemist situation it's "Do you want that today or do you want it tomorrow?" Because Alchemists and Tailors don't actually make anything new with their Spirits, only create something they can already make, sans cooldown, professions like Alchemy and Tailoring will likely see less value in their Spirits of Harmony.

  2. How hard is it for the seller to farm Spirits?
    A level 86 Disc/Holy priest will find it much more difficult to farm Spirits of Harmony than a level 90 Fury Warrior. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest a better drop rate of Spirits from higher level mobs (because of this I'm working on a new SoH farming video for level 90 players, stay tuned!) and the faster a player can kill mobs the more Spirits they get.

    That priest may look at ever Spirit as a sacred crafting ingredient as they might see only one a week while the Warrior can farm several in a single play session and so the priest will probably value their Spirits much more.

  3. What is the going rate of Golden Lotus on your server?
    I've seen a lot of players on my server falling for this one. (Also, it's a gold tip I suppose!) For one Spirit of Harmony you can buy three Golden Lotus by visiting Danky for Horde or Krystel for Alliance.

    This means that the floor price for Spirits of Harmony should be three times the value of a Golden Lotus. I've seen people in Trade offering 300g per Spirit of Harmony. They bring you to the vendor, tell you to buy the Lotus and then they pay you 300g for the 3 Lotus which, on my server, they then put on the AH for 300g a piece, tripling their gold off of your Spirit.  

At the end of the day some people will be selling theirs for dirt cheap (because there's always that guy who thinks he farmed it so it's free) and there are people who won't be convinced to part with their Spirits at any price but until Blizzard shows mercy and makes these Spirits non-soulbound these are some important things to consider when trying to place a value on Spirits of Harmony.