[Update 12/6/11: Two artifacts require level 85.]
[Update 12/6/11: A blue post by Blizzard has just junked most of my assumptions and changed some numbers.]
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the new Darkmoon Faire is in town for the week.
The Darkmoon Faire offers all kinds of fun little games to play, achievements to…achieve, and quests to complete. And of course, it brings along the focus of this entire expansion – yet another grind.
This grind doesn’t get you any end game gear though. Instead it provides a nice collection of pets (6), mounts (2), toys, PvE heirlooms, and gear from the past for all your transmogrification needs. Basically, this is Cataclysm’s version of the Argent Tournament. The major difference is that the DMF is only around on the first week of every month, starting on the first Sunday of the month.
The purpose of this particular post is farming for those heirlooms. Why? Because heirlooms are kinda “my thang”. You feel me? You know what I’m sayin’? You smell what I’m stepping in? Alright, let’s get to it then.
At the end of the article I have a summary of how many tickets it’s possible for you to farm so that you know what kind of schedule you’re looking at regardless of what items you’re farming for.
I wanted to include this in the guide with the F2P community and the Gnome Clones in mind, though I’m sure some of you other players might like the heads up as well.
The regular daily quests are reportedly able to be done by a character of any level. I’ve heard people say you have to be level 10, other say there’s no level requirement.
I don’t know the actual answer just yet, but I will have it as soon as servers come back up today and I can test it (or rather, have it tested by my brother in law since I’m stuck at work). We have confirmed that you can start the DMF daily quests at level 1.
In order to do the professions quests, which can be done only once per Faire, you have to be the minimum level to have the profession (which is 1 for non-crafting professions, 5 for crafting). You also have to have a skill rank of 75 in order to open the quests.
For the Darkmoon Artifacts to drop for you in dungeons and battlegrounds you have to be at least level 15. Which bosses drop a particular artifact are tied to the bosses themselves and which artifact you’re looking for. I’m sure that sentence made almost no sense, so let me clarify. For example, bosses that are “monsters” like the Hydra in Zul’Farak can drop the Monstrous Egg artifact because that boss is a monster thus tying him to that artifact. Other artifacts are similarly tied to bosses that are related somehow to the concept of the artifact. Some you’ll see tied to noble or military leaders so when you see a boss whose name is General, Lord, Commander and so forth, they are the bosses that drop that type of artifact.
Battleground artifacts come from the corpses of your opponents, so make sure you’re looting those insignia. It doesn’t matter who killed them, you can run around just looting dead bodies and not participating at all in the PvP and you’ll get artifacts. No, I absolutely do not suggest you do that, I’m just letting you know there’s nothing required to get them other than looting enemy bodies.
Also, dungeon artifacts come up in the Need/Greed rolls while for battlegrounds to the looter go the spoils.
Archeology is the exception to the professions rule since it has a level requirement of 20. It also requires to you have a skill level of 75 and the quest itself requires you to have 15 Fossil Fragments to complete the quest. So not only do you have to have this profession, you also have to have spent the time leveling it and collecting specific fragments in order to do the quest.
So the absolute minimum level to do everything is 20. So the minimum level I would suggest for seriously farming the Prize Tickets is level 15 since you have access to almost everything. Level 20 opens up one more monthly professions quest (Archeology) and then you’ve got access to all but the two artifacts that require you to be level 85. However, you can start this farming at level 1, so there’s no reason to wait if you have a fresh toon and the faire is in progress.
[UPDATE: Two artifacts require level 85.
Through further research I have found that the A Treatise on Strategy artifact requires level 85 and so far all reports show that it drops only from level 85 Heroics, and typically from bosses whose names reveal them to be somehow related to a military calling such as Commander Ulthok, General Umbriss, and Admiral Ripsnarl.
Also, the artifact called Soothsayer's Runes requires level 85 as well and is confirmed to drop in Tier 11+ raids. This one is unique then in two ways. First, that it's the only one dropped in a raid rather than a dungeon. Second, that this one does not require a loot roll; instead, everyone in the raid who has a copy of the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide in their inventory will receive it when it drops and is looted.]
Before we get into how you go about farming these things, it’s important to know how much farming you’ll have to do.
Of the 25 PvE heirlooms that you can get from the Darkmoon Faire, 19 of them (chests, shoulders, one-handed weapons) require 110 Prize Tickets, the two trinkets both require 130 Tickets, and the two-handed weapons require 160 Tickets.
You cannot get heirloom cloaks or helms from the Faire, and no new item slots were opened in this patch so legs and rings are still unavailable all together (save the ring from the Kalu’ak tournament).
The good news is, these prize tickets aren’t that hard to get your hands on. The bad news is, the event is only around for the first week of every month which means you have a set window in which to do all of your grinding and your grinding potential is limited by the small number of available quests.
Questing for Tickets
Daily Quests: 40 Tickets per Faire
Questing is your steady source of tickets. There are five daily quests that you can do, and each of those rewards a single ticket. You can do those daily quests eight times throughout the week, for a total weekly farm of 40 Prize Tickets. How do you do daily quests for eight days in a seven day week? You log on at 12 A.M. server time on Saturday night and do the dailies before 3 A.M. server time on Sunday morning when daily quests are reset. There’s your weekly exploit report, now back to our regularly scheduled farming guide. So 1 ticket per quest, 5 quests per day, 7(+1) days per week.
Blizzard quotes this as being available only seven times per week, but unless they put something in place to stop it, you can still farm an extra day’s worth of dailies during that three hour stretch each time it opens. This functionality has been around for years and I don’t see them fixing it now. They’re well aware of it and Bashiok even quoted someone who mentioned it on the boards and corrected his own total count to include it.
Each month, once per Faire, you can do a quest related to each of your professions and secondary skills as long as you have at least skill rank 75 in that profession. Each character can have a total of six of these (two professions, four secondary skills) at one time. Professions reward 4 Tickets each while Secondary Skills reward 3 Tickets each.
For most players that’s going to be the final count on this type of farming. However, if you’re all kinds of serious about farming these heirlooms you can actually (ab)use the system here by leveling your primary professions to 75, doing their quests, dropping the professions, picking up 2 new professions, leveling to 75, doing the quests, drop the professions, rinse and repeat for all eleven professions. So crazy people can get a total of 3 tickets per quest, for all 11 professions and all 4 secondary skills, for a total of 45 prize tickets per month.
Other monthly quests include the Test Your Strength quest which has you collect 250 Grisly Trophies from targets you kill, and quests that start from all of the Darkmoon Artifacts that you get from dungeon bosses and looting insignia from opposing forces in battlegrounds.
[Update: Blizzard has confirmed that all of these are repeatable each month.]
There are a total of nine Darkmoon Artifacts: five from dungeons (one of those 85 heroic-only), three from battlegrounds, and 1 from T11+ raids. Each of these artifacts starts a quest which is simply turning the item in at the Faire.
4 Dungeon Artifacts – 10 Tickets each (40)
1 Heroic Artifact – 15 Tickets
1 Raid Artifact – 10 Tickets
3 BG Artifacts – 5 Tickets each (15)
2 Primary Professions – 4 Tickets each (8*)
4 Secondary Professions – 3 Tickets each (12)
1 Test Your Strength – 10 Tickets
So the grand total for Monthly Quests (not counting the dailies) is: 110*
I’m awaiting confirmation on whether or not Blizzard has put a stop to the dropping/repicking professions thing I mentioned above. If it’s gone, then 110 Monthly is the limit, while if it’s not you can add another 36 to the total.
Total Farming Per Month
This is the part of the guide that’s applicable to everyone who wants to farm the prize tickets, even if you have no interest in heirlooms. These are your total farming caps per month for you to determine how long you’ll have to farm to get all the items you want.
Total Weekly Farming: 40 Tickets
Total Monthly Farming: 18-45 Tickets
Total Artifact Farming: 100 Tickets
So, you’re able to farm a maximum of 158 Tickets if you’re sane, or 185 Tickets if you’re no longer restricted to the realm of sanity.
That’s a lot of tickets. You can basically get a new heirloom every month, or two heirlooms every two months depending on how seriously you farm and which ones you’re going for since there is some variation in price.