What’s going on with the Red Crane Dailies?

I’ve been working on the August Celestials dailies and I can’t figure this place out.  We get a quest to duel training students but they are hostile by default.  In addition, they run around in roving gangs.  When we defeat these students, they bow and leave, but if three or more of them attack you, they beat you to death.  I just don’t get it. /rant off

What’s the new hangout spot for MoP?

It’s been a week since Mists of Pandaria has been released and a good number of people have leveled through the content and hit level 90.  As with every expansion, there is a new hub of activity to set your hearthstone to.  For MoP, this is the Shrine of Seven Stars for the Alliance or Shrine of Two Moons for the Horde.  But…it doesn’t feel like the other hub cities in the past.  It’s not a sanctuary city like Dalaran and Shattrah, and there is good reason for that.  War is coming so that wouldn’t make sense.  But this isn’t new, we hung out in separate cities in Vanilla WoW and during Cataclysm, so why does it feel bad this time round?

As a hub city the VoEB Shrines have the essentials; portals to other capitals, banks, crafting stations and training dummies along with the essential inn.  What it doesn’t have is a reason for players to hang out there.  There isn’t an auction house (unless you are an engineer) and there are few daily quests.  The daily quest hubs are far busier with tons of people in the Cloud Serpent training area and a crowd at Halfhill.  Right now, if you want to show off that expensive Grand Expedition Yak or stride around in your Jeweled Panther, there is no where to do it at the Shrine.  You would have better luck hanging out in Halfhill.

It’s still early in the expansion, so I can be hopeful that things will change but right now, the Shrines are just a place to hearth and log.  There isn’t even a Justice point and Valor vendor in the city.  Blizzard wanted people to be out in the world and if this was their intention, they have succeeded.  But it comes at the cost of the community feel of the cities.

Your leveling gameplan for Mists of Pandaria

As I write this post, its less than 24 hrs before Mists of Pandaria is unleashed.  If you have been distracted playing other great releases from last week like Borderlands 2 or Torchlight 2, you may have forgotten to prepare for release day tomorrow.  This is not a post about going for a realm first achievement, but about simple preparations to ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable launch.

Pre-game plans

Here are some things you can do before the launch:

  1. Log into the game early – There is no need to relog when Mists of Pandaria launches, so its important to log in early to avoid log in troubles right at the launch.
  2. Make sure your addons are updated and working –  There will be no patch for the launch, so make sure you have all your favorite addons ready to go.
  3. Clear out your bank and bags –  You are going to need lots of space while leveling, so now is the time to clear out any junk you won’t need.  Sift through all your gear and put anything you like into the bank or void storage and vendor the rest.  Toss out off-set gear if you don’t plan to level with that spec.  That gear will be obsolete by the time you hit level 90.  Other candidate for the trash are old food, bandages and potions which will be outclassed very quickly.
  4. Respec for leveling – Leveling talents and glyphs are often very different for leveling.  Self heals and speed boosts are little things that will make leveling smoother.  You won’t be doing 6 minute boss fights so short cooldowns will be more useful than a more powerful long CD ability.

Launch plans

As soon as MoP launches, the temptation will be to rush off to the new land, but here are a few things worth doing right before that:

  1. Visit your profession trainers and learn the new Zen level of each profession – You don’t want to waste potential skill points when leveling through Pandaria when skinning a mob or mining a node because you forgot to train.
  2. Use cataclysm materials to gain skill points – For most professions, you can get a few more skill points from cataclysm recipes, which could be cheaper than using the new MoP materials.
  3. Turn in any completed daily quests you may have saved up – Its not going to be a huge XP boost, but every bit helps.
  4. Learn Pet Training – While most of the tameable critters in Pandaria will be lvl 24 or higher, its nice to have the skill for a quick diversion when leveling.

End of the day plans

At the end of the first day, there are a few more things you can do to make your next session more efficient:

  1. Mail off all materials you aren’t going to use immediately – Keeping your bag space free means a quicker start in your next session.  Mail off greens to your enchanter, cloth to your tailor and everything thing else to a alt.
  2. Travel to the Shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms – Its just a quick 10 – 15 min trip to ride to the Shrine in the Vale.  It is the new hub city for the expansion and contains a bank, inn and portals to all major cities, the best place to set your new hearthstone.
  3. Bonus: Start farming at Halfhill – Leveling cooking will take lots of vegetables gained from farming, you can start as early as 85 with just four plots.  Worth the effort if you have time.

I hope you found something useful to add to your MoP launch gameplan.  Above all else remember to have a good time and be ready to adapt to any unforeseen server outages or gameplay quirks.

Working in Harmony – Contributing to the raid effort

Mists of Pandaria is almost upon us.  Perhaps you’ve already noticed more names reappearing in your friends list?  Or smiled at masses gathered around the training dummies in the capital cities.  It’s that wonderful time, right before an expansion.  Guilds are once again recruiting and everyone is reading up on the coming expansion.  When the gates to Pandaria open on the 25th, we’ll be leveling up with guild mates, looking to get new loot and ultimately get ready for a new tier of raiding.  Our guild crafters have the additional responsibility to level their crafting professions and get crafting new enchants, glyphs,  feasts and flasks for upcoming raids.

This expansion, non-crafters finally have an easy way to help contribute to guild supplies, in a time when materials will be scarce and expensive on the auction house.  Spirit of Harmony tokens, are gained from combining 10 Motes of Harmony, which are in turn gained from killing any mob in Pandaria.  You average 1 mote every 10 mobs and so 1 Spirit of Harmony from 100 mobs.  Spirit of Harmony tokens can be exchanged for trade goods likes Golden Lotuses (used for flasks), Ironpaw tokens (used in exchange for vendor only materials for feasts) and many other items.  By the time you have hit 90 and have access to the vendor in the Shrines in Vale of Eternal Blossoms, you will have a least 8 – 12 tokens.  Using these could help your guild get the materials needed to maximize stats for raiding, leading to quicker progression.

Ding! :Spending Valor in MoP

Having stayed a way from the Beta for the last few weeks, I finally patched up and finished leveling Nemain, my fury warrior up to 90.  While I had read about the changes to Justice and Valor point gear in various fansites, I was not prepared for the shock of not finding a Valor vendor in the Alliance shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.  Valor points can be redeemed on reputation vendors for ilvl 489 epics, requiring Revered reputation to purchase.

The pieces that offered by faction are as follows:

Golden Lotus: Shoulder, Chest, Finger
Shado-Pan: Head, Back, Trinket
Klaxxi: Neck, Legs, Waist
The August Celestials: Wrist, Hands, Feet

What this means is that hitting 90 doesn’t mean switching from quests to dungeon grinding immediately.  Instead you will want to balance out dungeon runs with daily quests from the faction of your choice and also work on finishing any quest lines with those factions which give you rep.  For example, Completing the entire Kalaxxi quest line (which is basically the entire Dread Wastes zone) will take you well through honored and just a few days of dailies away from Revered.

The Fine Art of Feasting : Cooking Perks in MoP

Cooking is going to be big in MoP, and not just because of those big panda bellies. At 525 cooking, you can now specialize in different “Ways”, essentially different styles of cooking. Each “Way” specializes in a type of buff food. For example, the “Way of the Grill” teaches recipes that give Strength food.

So why should I level cooking in MoP? At 575 skill, all the different specializations can produce a Feast. This feast will provide +250 to the best primary stat. Once you level cooking (in any Way) to 600 you will get a +275 to your highest primary stat from those same feasts.

If you level all 5 Ways to 600 you will be able to make Pandaren Banquets which give +275 to your highest primary stat. If you master all 5 Ways you will get + 300 from the same feasts.

For comprehensive information about cooking in MoP see this excellent post in the MMO-Champion forums : Rice and Beer: A Guide to Pandaren Cusine.

TL;DR – Leveling Cooking to 600 will give you a +25 stat advantage from feasts.

Quick Shot – Veggie Tales

 

Veggies Galore

Quick Shot – A column sharing pictures, screenshots and photos related to WoW.

As promised the Pandaren starter zone was a wonderful, colorful start to the expansion, filled with beautiful Asian-style details and painted in a colorful palette.  I loved the vegetable patch sub-zone with giant vegetables and marauding bunny-men.  It is a nice change from all the doom and gloom of the starter zones for the Alliance since the Cataclysm.

Datamined : New Server type to be Introduced in MoP

Nude Pandarian Female Model BETA

In a WoW Altoholic exclusive, datamining of the latest Mists of Pandaria beta patch has has revealed a new server type to be introduced with MoP, PVE-ARP (Adult Roleplay).

/chk SERVER_TYPE if(TRUE) PVE-01
/chk SERVER_TYPE if(TRUE) PVE-RP
/chk SERVER_TYPE if(TRUE) PVE-ARP else()
/chk SERVER)TYPE if(TRUE) PVP (break)

With the increasing interest in Moonguard server for its Adult themed role play in the Goldshire Inn, Blizzard has decided to address and expand it user base by adding PVE- Adult Role Play servers.

Mike Morhaime(president and a co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment) was quoted as saying “It’s kind of a crazy idea, but I’m the president of the company, and I get to have some of those sometimes.”  This addresses the negative reaction to the Pet Battle system being introduced and complaints that we were abandoning our Hardcore fans and catering to a younger casual crowd.

This will provide an age verified solution to players that complain that their servers are full of 12-yr olds.  In addition it plays into our goals of MoP to get the players out of the cities to explore the world and each other rather than just inns and the Deeprun Tram.

Insider sources also reviewed that the introduction of this new server type is the reason for the delay in updating the character models.  “We had basically finished all the new character models when the dev team came up with the idea for the Adult Roleplay servers.  I mean there would be no point in introducing the new character models if we didn’t have the animations to support it.  In addition we found that we could integrate a lot of the work we had done for the dance studio if we added a pole.”  The insider confirms that the “naked” pandaren image seen above was from a earlier build, with more “fur” options in the newer models.

As with all new WoW mechanics we want to start small and maybe relax the rules later.  If successful, we could see expanding to include “adult” roleplay transmog sets as rewards for PVE-Adult scenarios, short encounters for 3-5 players without the need for a “tank” or “healer” so players can hop in and out with quicker queues.

Unfortunately we could not get a release date for the new server type, but were assured that they are working hard to have the feature ready for the launch of MoP or Soon™ after.

Troubleshooting the MoP Beta

Pandaren Concept Art

I just got the MoP Beta a day ago and with much joy started to download it.  However I was running into a few problems getting it to download.  So In case you are having problems, here’s a few things you might want to try:

1) Make sure you are running the beta launcher as an administrator and the agent.exe program as well.  If you can’t find it bring up your task manager, right click on the process to bring up properties, set it to run as administrator and then terminate the process and relaunch the beta downloader.

2) If that fails, it might be due to a corrupted download.  So delete the c:\programdata\battlenet folder and the setup files and launcher will be re-downloaded the next time you start the beta download.

3) Another strange error occurs when your agent.exe is tricked by old unused internet connections.  Open your networking properties in your control panel and check to see that there aren’t any up-used dial-up connections or vLan connections listed.

4) If all else fails try downloading the setup file again in case it was corrupted.

5) Blizzard also advised keeping your graphics drivers up to date as the set up will complain about it.

6) Lastly, make sure you don’t have a firewall program blocking the downloader.

Hopefully one of the tips helped if you are having problems getting the beta up and running.  There are also lots of useful posts on the official techinical support forums so don’t give up.