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Tag Archives: Farming

Affection Farming: Black Talon & The Esseles

In a previous post on Legacy and Companions I mentioned the two entry level flash points as methods of farming affection with the starting companions for each class. Even though there are only eight different companions you can do this with, it was just a bit too much for an already lengthy post.

Unfortunately for us, this type of farming only helps with one of the Picky Companions, but any help you can get with them is welcome. Of the eight companions that you can do this with, three of them also share the same type of companion gift for their favorite, which makes this a much cheaper method of farming that affection on multiple characters than trying to buy every Weapon gift that hits the GTN.

Turn the page to find out more…

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Companions, Guide, SWTOR

 

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Heirloom Farming: Darkmoon Faire

[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.

Minimum Requirements
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.]

Heirloom Prices
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.

Monthly Quests:
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.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in World of Warcraft

 

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AoE Grinding: Frost Death Knight Edition

I have covered the greatness of Paladin AoE Guides. I have revealed unto you the incredible power of Frost Mage AoE Grinding. And now I must bring forth, Frost Knight AoE Grinding!

You can't see my sparklies very well in that picture, but that's 12 mobs piled up there.



You can use the general information from this post in conjunction with the Death Knight Tanking Guides for AoE rotations I use for questing. I use pretty well the same exact concepts and rotations when doing AoE Tanking on my Death Knight when the situation calls for me to focus on AoE to grab and maintain agro in an instant so that I can then settle into a tanking rotation.

For the purposes of this article when you see any form of “(BFU)” it is an expression of the ability’s Rune Cost, where “(##)” will show the amount of Runic Power that is required for abilities with RP costs rather than Rune costs. When using our Death Runes they will be noted as “(DD)”.

This guide also contains only information up to level 70, so spells obtained only at higher levels will not appear in this guide.

Death Knight Specs: Quick Overview
Any Death Knight spec can do AoE grinding to at least some degree. Frost and Unholy are much better off than Blood is in the AoE category (though perhaps not so much in the survivability area), but any spec can technically do it. Some just need to branch out a little bit more than others.

All DK’s have access to Death and Decay which is a solid AoE ability though it does come with a heavy Rune cost.

Spending 11 points in the Unholy tree grants you access to Corpse Explosion which serves as a Runic Power version of AoE damage to be used when you are in a Rune Blackout (all runes used and on cooldown). Corpse Explosion does require a non-elemental, non-mechanical corpse in order to be used, but it is another option for AoE damage once you’ve laid down the hate and started piling up the corpses. But any corpse will do, including a fallen comrade.

With 8 points in the Blood tree you can have Scent of Blood 3/3 which gives you a 15% chance after a dodge or parry to have each of your next three auto-attacks generate 10 Runic Power which could be taken in addition to Corpse Explosion to help fuel its repeated use. I don’t know that it’s a great option, but there it is if you happen to be a CE freak (like me).

You can spend 14 points in the Blood tree to get both Rune Tap (B) which will restore 10% of your health when used, as well as Death Rune Mastery which will cause the runes used for Obliterate and Death Strike to regenerate as Death Runes. Having both Death Rune Mastery and Blood of the North maxed will give you four different attacks that will grant Death Runes to help fuel whatever ability you might want to use.

Since I’m focusing on Frost here, I will point out that I suggest you get all the way through the Frost tree (level 60 minimum) before you branch off into the other trees. As for the rest of the spec, I suggest you follow the guide I offer in my DK Tanking: Frost Edition guides.

Frost AoE: General Information
You can use either a single disease or a double disease method for this, though my personal suggestion is that you go with a double disease, dual wielding Frost build.

Howling Blast (FU) is your largest source of AoE damage, and using things like your Killing Machine procs and your Deathchill ability to maximize your damage by providing auto-crits go a long way towards burning down the largest group of mobs in the shortest amount of time. Rime procs will give you free uses of Howling Blast as well as resetting its cooldown, so keep a keen eye out for those as well. You may want to consider using an addon such as PowerAuras Classic to help you keep track of your procs if you have trouble with them.

With Frost you are going to make frequent use of Howling Blast for AoE damage and applying the Frost Fever disease, Obliterate (FU) to generate Rime procs for free Howling Blasts, Blood Boil (B) for DK-centered AoE damage, Pestilence (B) for disease spreading, and potentially Death & Decay (BFU) as well. If you branched out into Unholy for Corpse Explosion (40) then you have a Runic Power AoE as well, which is centered on the corpse that it’s used on.

Pulling



As a Death Knight you have several tools to use for pulling mobs. The most obvious of these is Scorpion’s famous move, Death Grip, which will pull the targeted mob to you and “force” them to attack you for three seconds. Some mobs are immune to the physical pull, but they will still agro you and chase you down after you use it. Death Grip has a pretty big cooldown all things considered, but it does not require any runes or runic power to use.

You also have two sources of ranged AoE pulling, in the form of Howling Blast (FU) and Death and Decay (BFU), which can both be used to pull a group of mobs instead of just one. Howling Blast is a bit better if you are pulling the group and moving on to pull others as well, where Death and Decay is probably better off cast as you near the end of your pull so that you can make use of its DoT (Damage of Time) AoE effect.

You also have two forms of single-target ranged pulls in Icy Touch (F) and Death Coil (40). Death Coil requires RP to cast, so it’s not the greatest spell for pulling, but when you find yourself high on RP and nothing else to spend it on just yet you might as well get some use out of it.

If you don’t have much, or any, Runic Power built up during a pull, feel free to use your melee abilities rather than simply body pulling. Primarily you want to use Plague Strike (B) for this in order to establish a disease, or Blood Strike (B) to get your Blood Runes converted to Death Runes for use in the next round.

There is one other spell I want to mention here for pulling, but it will actually be more useful after the next step happens to help get stray casters to come to your centralized area. The spell is called Strangulate (B) which is a single target, 30 yard ranged Silence spell that lasts for 5 seconds. When you use that on a caster they will rush towards melee range as long as they are silenced, and 5 seconds should be more than enough for you to get them within range of your AoE spells.

And of course you do still have the old fashioned, tried and true body pull which can be done either mounted or on foot, which simply requires that you get within agro range of the mobs. Some locations allow for or maybe even require that you use Line of Sight (LoS) techniques to agro the mobs and then move to a location that they cannot attack you from so that they must run around it to engage you; running to the other side of a wall is a perfect example of this as they will run around the wall as well and then stand there clustered together to help with your AoE.

Centralize
In my other AoE Grinding guides I mentioned a step here that I called “Corral”, which is basically just gathering all the mobs up into a central area so that you can AoE them down from there. You want to do that with a Frost DK as well, but it’s not quite so big a deal as it is with a Mage; instead it’s more like grinding with a Paladin where as long as they are within your AoE range you really don’t care how close they are to one another.

To be technical on the subject, you do want the mobs to be within 10 yard of each other so that you are able to hit them all, but with the exception of casters they should all be ganged up around you to begin with. Again, using the various spells mentioned in the Pulling section above and things like LoS are key to getting the mobs centralized and ready to burn them down.

Reposition
Where a mage wants to put some distance between himself and the mobs, a Death Knight just wants everyone to look straight into his scourgefire eye sockets and see their own deaths rushing forth to meet them. As a DK you need to embrace your tanking habits and be sure to get as many mobs as you possibly can to be in front of you so that you can make use of all of your avoidance on them. You do this by repositioning yourself which usually consists of just backing up while facing them so that they get in front of you.

Some mobs just move in odd patterns and constantly seem to move behind you no matter what you do. In those cases you can either plant your back against a wall, or just ignore that one mob until you’ve taken out the others. Another option that is open to you is to use your Hungering Cold (F) ability to freeze everything in place, reposition yourself where you want to be (with all the mobs in front of you), and then either wait for the spell to wear off or hit them with a ranged AoE like Howling Blast to break them all out again.

Strategic use of Hungering Cold can make the difference between a successful AoE grinder and an exceptional AoE grinder. Use it to freeze the mobs in place, use Pestilence to spread your diseases (which does not break the ice), and then use a bandage on yourself if needed to restore your health and also allow your other runes the time they need to cooldown. Once you’re ready (or the 10 second timer is up) spread your diseases again with Pestilence and then go back into your rotation. If you do not have the Glyph of Disease to refresh your diseases for you then you will need to reapply them via Icy Touch > Plague Strike > Pestilence. If you do have the glyph then as long as the diseases are still on your current target it will refresh them and spread them around once again.

Important Note: Because our survival talent from the Blood tree, Blade Barrier, doesn’t come into effect until our Blood Runes are on cooldown, I suggest you go ahead and use up any remaining Blood Runes during this step. If you haven’t spread your diseases yet or you did spread them but they’re wearing off, then use Pestilence, otherwise go for Blood Boil if there are two or mobs near you or Blood Strike if there is only one.

Death to the Living!
Once you’ve gathered up the mobs and got them in place it’s time to burn those suckers down. Each DK has their own personal play style, so if you have another way you prefer to do this then by all means go with your own if you prefer, and of course feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or criticisms you might have.

Rotation
1st Rune Set: Icy Touch (F), Plague Strike (U), Pestilence (B), Blood Boil (B), Howling Blast (FU), RP Dump
2nd Rune Set: Obliterate (FU), [Howling Blast (Free)], Howling Blast (DD), Obliterate (FU), [Howling Blast (Free)], RP Dump

Technically our first rune set will actually be a sporadic mishmash of whatever you happened to use to pull all of the mobs to you, but we’re talking about the rotation here.

The first rune set establishes your diseases, spreads them around, and then hits with two AoE spells. Your Runic Power Dump for the first set is probably going to be Frost Strike (40). If you have enough points in Unholy then it can be used for Corpse Explosion (40) instead if you want more AoE.

Frost Strike hits hard and it’s great for chopping down your groups faster which will lead to better survivability overall, but CE will help bring down the group as a whole so use whichever serves best in your situation. If you’re taking quite a bit of damage then it’s better to increase your single target DPS with FS to kill some of them off, unless the mobs are already low enough on health that CE might finish one or more of them off for you. If you’re doing fine on your health then stick to AoE spells as much as you can so that you get the most damage on the most targets for the resources you spend.

In the second rune set we focus more on AoE damage to bring down the mobs as one. With the initial Obliterate we are hoping for a Rime proc to use Howling Blast, but if we don’t get one then we’re moving right along to a regular Howling Blast and getting those Blood Runes (Death Runes in this case) back on cooldown to proc our Parry buff again. Whenever Rime procs go ahead and use your Howling Blast; if that screws up your rotation because HB is on cooldown then simply replace the HB with Obliterate instead and try for another Rime proc.

Remember though that we aren’t trying to tank an instance with this, so we aren’t so much worried about maintaining threat as we are simply killing everything around us. If Howling Blast is available and you still have multiple mobs on you it’s perfectly acceptable to use HB instead of Obliterate for the AoE damage. Rime is more likely to proc when using two weapons instead of one, so it’s especially acceptable for a 2H build to use HB over Obliterate since the chance to proc Rime is lower.

I’M GONNA DIIIIEEEEE!!!
Settle down now, you’re a DK…you’re already dead. Before we get on into the next section, let us take a break and talk about what to do when things go wrong and suddenly you’re in trouble.

The first choice you have is something I already mentioned up above, which is using Hungering Cold to freeze everything within 10 yards of you for 10 seconds. This gives you time to either use a bandage or put your running shoes on and get the heck out of there (only a coward runs from combat, but only a “moron” throws his gold away on unnecessary repair bills).

Another option that we have open to us is Death Pact (40 RP, requires level 66) which requires you to sacrifice your ghoul in exchange for 40% of your health to instantly be healed. It’s a big heal and it comes in very handy. For this reason I save my ghoul for when I need heals rather than using him for extra dps, pulling, or whatever. The one thing you need to watch out for is the runic cost of Death Pact. If you are taking a beating, be sure to build up your RP but try not to use it unless you have more than 30-40% so that you can DP when needed.

You also have the use of Icebound Fortitude (20) after level 62 which will give you 12 seconds of damage reduction to lessen those blows.

You can also make an adjustment to your attack rotations, replacing Obliterates and/or Howling Blasts with Death Strike (FU) instead, to heal yourself for 5% of your maximum health for each disease you have on the target.

If things are really getting hot, you’ve already used everything available to you that we’ve talked about here, then the only other option you have left to you (besides potions and such which you should already be well aware of) is to make an emergency switch over to Blood Presence (B) which increases your damage by 15% and heals you for 4% of the damage you deal. By default you should be grinding in Frost Presence (F) which increases your Stamina by 6%, your armor from gear by 60% and reduces damage you take by 8%. Losing Frost Presence can be a very dangerous thing when you’re already getting beat on hard enough to be worried, but if you can dish out enough damage in a short enough amount of time then Blood Presence can potentially save your life by switching to it, landing a big attack for the heal (Death Strike is optimal for this), and then switching back to Frost Presence for your damage reduction.

All Your Sparklies Are Belong To Me
And now that they’re all dead it’s just a matter of collecting loot and moving right along to the next group. A lot of your damage is going to be dealt over time rather than in bursts. So when you do get procs like Rime and Killing Machine, it’s a good idea to move right into your next pull to take advantage of those if you aren’t in need of healing. Timing your Rime/KM procs so that they’re used together is an excellent way to bring down a lot of mobs in a short amount of time.

What Spells Do I Use Again?

Howling Blast Blood Boil
Corpse Explosion Death and Decay
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Death Knight, Guide, Leveling

 

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Reputation Farming: Darnassus – Exalted At Level 31

I will have more details about leveling my new Mage, Belsynis, in a future post. For right now I want to focus on a specific aspect of what I have been doing with that character, which is farming reputation with Darnassus for the sake of getting their mount as opposed to the boring (in my opinion) Human horses.

Fueling My Fire
After rolling my Mage I made an announcement in Twitter, “Playing around with a Human mage on #Durotan with @Fynralyl, trying to get Exalted with NElfs asap for cat mount. Honored at level 14 so far”.

I got a few responses to that, including the following:

  • @WoWDawgs, “@psynister won’t happen by level 20.” and “@psynister not possible. Not enough rep quests to do it by 20.”
  • @LordKaladar, “@psynister GL with that.. its like Darkspear.. once you leave the starting area.. there are no more Elf quest hubs :(“
  • @Faulsey, “@psynister It’s hard to get exalted with a faction by -40- nevermind 20. (Did Darny when my Drae Hunter got his first mount, at 40.)”

All those responses really managed to do was get me even more focused and determined to get it done. While I was pretty sure level 20 wasn’t going to happen, I was hoping for some time shortly after so that I wouldn’t have to stick with the boring horses that the Humans get by default.

I got to work on grinding the reputation after I hit level 10, and though I was flying through quests and building up rep pretty fast, it didn’t take me long to see that it was not going to happen nearly as fast as I had hoped. So, I put that out there on Twitter as well, “#WoW My mage is level 16 and is about 1k Rep over half-way through Honored. No way I’m hitting Exalted by level 20 unless I turn of exp.”

I only got one reply to that one though, @WoWDawgs, “@psynister heh heh heh.”

As I’ve said before, telling me that I can’t do something, or that it’s not possible, is the best kind of motivation you can give me. It’s not a matter of trying to prove people wrong, it’s about overcoming the limits around me.

Fueling My Frost
So, after the guys on Twitter told me how hard it was going to be, I decided it was time to put all the knowledge that I had built up from leveling my previous Mage to 80 to good use and started hitting the grinding wheel pretty hard.

When it comes to building reputation with the Faction Races you don’t have a whole lot of options. Basically, you quest and you turn in cloth, and that’s about where it ends. But cloth can only be turned in once per cloth type until you get up to Runecloth, and you can’t do that until around level 50. You can turn in Wool Cloth once at level 10 for some rep, and Silk Cloth at level 30 for some more rep, but otherwise your only option is questing.

I looked up quests on wowhead.com to try to find where to get reputation with Darnassus, but what I found was that almost every quest mentioning Darnassus rep was wrong either in that it gave a different amount of rep than the website claimed, or that it gave the rep with another faction all together. After about the eighth time I was burned on that deal I gave up on referencing quests and instead focused on the NPC’s that gave the quests.

Advice: The most reliable method I found in finding quests in other zones was to accept quests that either came from, or were turned in to, a Night Elf NPC.

So I knew that I had to focus solely on questing, and that’s what I did. While a Fire build hits harder, and an Arcane build is apparently viable now for leveling, I stuck with what I know works and what I’m most familiar with: Frost

You can take a look at Belsynis on the Armory with the following link if you’d like:
Belsynis (Alliance Main)

Reputation: Honored
Somewhere in my mid-teens, I forgot to note exactly when it happened (/fail), I managed to hit Honored with Darnassus.

When Belsynis hit level 10 I left the Human starting zones and went straight to the starting zone for the Night Elves and quested there as though I were a level 1 Night Elf. I did every quest in the starting area of Shadowglen and then moved on to the town of Dolonaar and did every quest there as well. After finishing those I moved on over to Darnassus and did every quest they had to offer me as well.

When you want to build reputation with a faction, hit their starting areas first and then progress through the entire zone. I don’t mention specific quests here because I literally did every single quest that I was able to find in the entire zone. I ran a path around the entire map after I thought I had done them all just to see if I could find any quests in some random, out of the way location that I had missed before. My thoughts proved to be true as I found no other quests that I had left undone.

My wife is currently leveling a Draenei character, and as she heard me mention that I had finished with the quests in the Night Elf zones she mentioned that there were several quests in the Draenei starting area that offered the reputation as well. This is where I did the search for quests on wowhead.com (mentioned above) that came back with disappointing results. Luckily, I did find quite a few quests that gave the reputation, but a lot of them were very small amounts. In the end, it was certainly worth the time and effort to do them. As with the Night Elf zone I went through every area on the map for the Draenei and accepted every quest I could find that came from or was turned in to a Night Elf NPC.

Doing this did slow down my progression in leveling because I was already higher level than most of the mobs that I faced. I did gain experience from all of the quests that I turned in, but that experience was enough to continue pushing me over the level of the mobs that I faced in most of the areas.

So I left the Human starting zone of Elwyn Forest at level 10, the Night Elf zone of Teldrassil at level 14, and the Draenei zones (Azuremyst and Bloodmyst Isles) at level 16.

Reputation: Revered
From there it was time to head to the next stop in the Night Elf quest lines and head over to Auberdine. Most of the quests in this zone reward Darnassus reputation, but not all of them. Following the same guideline here as I had in previous areas I took every quest that came from a Night Elf NPC or was turned in to one and did every one I could find.

It didn’t take me long to get up to level 20, but since I knew I still had a long way to go before I got my Darnassus mounts that I went ahead and bought all of the human horses (including the black one from Wetlands) so that I could quest faster.

In the end I did every quest, or quest chain, in the entire zone except for the ones given by the Gnome upstairs in the Auberdine Inn. I did his first quest, found that it gave Gnomer rep, and then left it at that for him.

The good thing about Auberdine is that it’s a fairly small zone with a whole lot of quests. The bad thing is, a lot of these quests require you to do a lot of running around back and forth. There also happens to be a couple of quests that send you into areas that are also part of even higher level quests from other zones that send you back to Auberdine. So you can be running around in an area full of level 16 mobs and then find yourself facing a level 29 mob out of the blue. So a word of advice if you are doing this with a low level toon, be careful around towers.

I manged to reach Revered in Auberdine, but I did not get very far into it before I ran out of quests. As with Teldrassil, I ran a full circuit around the map after finishing all of the quests to make sure I did not miss any. This time around I actually found 2 that I had missed, so it certainly paid off this time.

Next stop, Ashenvale.

Reputation: Exalted…Almost
Most of the quests offered in Ashenvale provide you with Darnassus reputation; not all of them, but most. A couple of those quests include running through the BFD instance in Northwest Ashenvale, and since my wife had a freshly transferred level 80 Paladin on the realm I just had her run me through it, though I did find a group for it the following day as well.

Ashenvale has a lot of quests that span the entire map, and the locations of their quests are overall pretty good though not great. I generally liked doing the quests here, but there were a few of them that just really bugged me. Quests that require an item to drop that has a horribly low drop rate, kill quests that require certain numbers of several different mobs that are all spawned randomly so that you have to do a full clear of the area five times to get the ones you need, etc.

Ashenvale is where the level of the mobs finally started meshing well with my own level and where experience really started picking up.

I only had a few accidental run-ins with Horde NPCs, but none of them were fatal. I did stumble onto a couple of rare spawns that gave me lessons on how to die quickly though, and chief among them was Prince Raze, a rare spawn demon that hits extremely hard and is well known for agroing my characters while I’m in the middle of fighting other mobs or just as I sit down to eat/drink. That rare spawn alone is responsible for over 20 deaths across my various characters, and because of that I now make a special effort to go and kill him any time I take a high level character into Ashenvale, even if my destination is nowhere near his spawn point. He killed Belsynis once because I didn’t see him when I attacked a mob near him, and a second time when I came back specifically to claim my revenge. The third time he went down.

But, I’m getting off topic here. Back to questing.

I kept a very close eye on my reputation throughout this entire process, but especially during the anxious grinding from Revered to Exalted, and the closer I got the closer I kept my eye on it.

After finishing every quest I could find in Ashenvale, and having already turned in both Wool and Silk cloth for rep, I still had not reached Exalted, though I was close. I hit the internet again searching for quests in other zones and managed to find a few spread out in various places, but they just didn’t weren’t enough. I found a few quests that would give me what I needed, but they all high minimum level requirements of 38 or higher and I was only level 31.

Reputation: 121 Reputation short
I looked everywhere I could think of and just couldn’t find anything at all. I was so close, and yet I was stuck. There I was sitting just 121 reputation away from being Exalted with Darnassus, and I had no other resources that I could tap for it without gaining several more levels. I spent a couple more hours in the game running around in other zones trying to find another quest and still found nothing. It was about 4 a.m. then and I had said four hours earlier that I was going to stay awake until I reached my goal. But while my mind loves the game, my body couldn’t care less and it was done. So, I called it a night with 121 Reputation left to go.

The next “morning”, I got on and it hit me. I had run full around the entire map looking for quests in all of the previous zones but I hadn’t bothered doing so with Ashenvale. I knew though that I had completed every quests around there so I wasn’t very hopeful. I ran and I ran. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I let out a big, heavy sign of frustration and disappointment as I pulled up my map for a vain search for hope.

As a long time Horde player the first thing that always draws my eye when I look at the Ashenvale map is the flight path there on the coast at Zoram Strand. My eyes found it this time too, and suddenly memories came back to me. Memories of killing a stupid PvP flagged NPC Night Elf that sits beside a fire near the Horde flight path. A dinky little level 14 nobody that I killed every time I saw him simply because he was Alliance. I had avoided the area on Belsynis because I knew that the Horde camp was there, but I had always wondered what his purpose was as my Horde characters killed him.

So, I jumped on my black horse and went straight for him down the quickest path I knew. Sure enough, just as he came within range on my map I saw that he held a quest. I accepted, ran a little ways north to get the statue he wanted and then rushed right back to him. I handed him the statue that was just lying there on the beach with a single naga watching over it and my computer froze…

Bel_Exalt_Darn

But it only froze for the half second that it takes for my MultiShot addon to take a screenshot when I get an achievement, Somebody Likes Me. The quest gave me 9 silver coins, 120 experience and 165 Reputation with Darnassus. I reached Exalted: Darnassus at level 31 and I went ahead and finished off that little Night Elf’s quest line just to return the favor.

The only thing left to do was to /cast Teleport: Darnassus and purchase all four of the mounts that were available to me. I keep the black horse on one of my action bars simply because he performed his duty well in helping me get all of those quests done, but the White Striped and Black Striped Frostsaber mounts are the only ones that I ride now.

The white one is my favorite:
Bel_Cat_Mount

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2009 in Guide, Reputation

 

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Balance Druid Gear: Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery

This weekend our Twitter-inspired guild, My Other Tweet is Epic, is going to do a low level instance run through Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery. Since we are a new guild and consisting mostly of people who rolled new characters to come join us, we are going to stick with low level instances for now.

In preparation for this, I did a quick check on the loot tables for Gnomer and SM for gear on my Balance Druid, Belgawrath. The items I am going list here are strictly going to be drops that come from bosses, and for the most part only “blues” and “purples” as the vast majority of green items can be found all over the world.

The items I discuss down below are specific to me, meaning to say that these are items that I am going to be looking for myself. You might want the same items, or you might want different items. Some items that are not upgrades for me (and as such were left off of the lists) may be upgrades for you. If you want to run these instances yourself, then it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the loot that can drop. Always keep in mind that gear does not make your character, and you can certainly play the game with poor gear. I like to upgrade my gear on a near-constant basis because that’s something that I just like to do. I don’t mind spending time or resources on items that I know full well will be replaced in two levels. But that’s just me.

I leveled Belgawrath through his 20′s as Feral and had an excellent time doing it. When I got to 29 though I went ahead and twinked him to some degree for battlegrounds and found that I actually enjoyed healing and balance dps more than I did feral face clawing (hard to imagine, even for me). So when I hit 29 I went ahead and respecced back into Balance because I, personally, found it more enjoyable. Feral has less downtime and is overall perhaps a bit stronger or faster. But, Balance has more survivability, is a bit less gear dependent, and just fits me a bit better overall.

So, enough rambling from me, let’s look at some loot!

Gnomeregan (Levels 24-33, Min. Entry Level 15)
In looking through the loot tables in Gnomer, there really was not a whole lot of caster gear that drops. Some of it that does really doesn’t compare with some lower level tailoring or leatherworking items and so forth, so I left a few items off.

When I finished checking all of the bosses, as well as giving a quick look at the overall loot drops, I came down to a sad little list of only three particular items that I want.

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Charged Gear Ring 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 33%
Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator Helm 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 9%
Schematic: Craftsman’s Monocle Eng Schematic Eng 185 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 0.5%




Sadly, all of the items that I want drop from the very same boss. And two of the three items are Bind on Pick Up (BoP) so I have no chance to farm them with my higher level characters.

The Charged Gear has potential to be a good ring for me, but the enchantment that goes on it is chosen randomly, so while it has the highest drop rate at 33%, it is entirely likely that the ring will do me little good. For myself, I am looking for “of the Eagle” (+6-7 Int and Stam), “of the Falcon” (+6-7 Int and Agi), or “of Intellect” (+10 Int).

The reason for including “of the Falcon” in that list is because the bonus to Agility would allow me to use the ring effectively in both my caster and my feral cat gear sets. Even though I am too low for dual spec, I do carry two full sets of gear to change in and out of as needed for the situation. If I ever run out of mana, I switch my gear and go into Cat Form instead and use my mana only for healing until it is safe for me to drink.

The Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator is a very interesting item that could be useful for several different classes. My first thought was that it would be excellent for a Protection Paladin with it’s extra AoE damage that it can deal. But with +15 Intelligence, +12 Spirit, and the fact that it’s made out of Cloth suggest that it is geared more towards a caster. Its “Use” ability deals 147-167 damage in a large cone to the mobs standing in front of you, and it puts up an effect similar to the Shaman’s Lightning Shield spell for 10 minutes.

The Craftsman’s Monocle is a cloth head piece that provides 40 Armor, and +15 Intellect. I want this one first off because it looks cool. I’m not afraid to admit that I am willing to wear slightly worse gear simply because it looks cool, though +15 Int is certainly not bad. At the same time, I also don’t mind wearing powerful gear that looks stupid (like the EGR head piece up above). Luckily, if this does not drop, which is likely considering its low drop rate, then at least I can come back and farm it with a higher level character if I really want to get it. Don’t forget though, that you do have to be an Engineer with at least 185 skill in the profession to even wear it.

Scarlet Monastery (Levels 34-45, Min. Entry Level 20)

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Bloodmage Mantle Shoulders 30 Bloodmage Thalnos (Boss) 49%
Deadman’s Hand Ring 29 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 2%
Illusionary Rod Staff 34 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 44%
Mantle of Doan Shoulders 33 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 46%
Triune Amulet Neck 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 37%
Whitemane’s Chapeau Head 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 39%
Embalmed Shroud Head 30 Fallen Champion (Rare) 37%
Blighted Leggings Legs 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 32%
Ghostshard Talisman Neck 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 30%




With bonuses to Intellect, Spirit, and Crit chance Bloodmage Mantle is a solid choice for shoulders. These shoulders are not a huge upgrade over my current shoulders, but the extra boost to crit appeals to me.

Deadman’s Hand is an excellent “purple” item from SM:Library. With +10 Stamina you get a strong boost to hit points, which is twice what my Heart Ring gives me right now. It also has an excellent proc that gives you a chance to freeze any enemy that hits you. Since I am playing a Balance spec right now this means that I can occasionally root the mob in place long enough to get my spells off without having to cast Entangling Roots myself.

The Illusionary Rod is a huge upgrade to my current staff, and is one of the best staves for its level that can also last for quite a long time. It offers 15 Int, 7 Stam, and 10 Crit instead of the 7 Int and 7 Spirit that my current staff gives.

Mantle of Doan is about equal to what I am wearing right now, with slightly more spirit and 9 Hit in place of the +2 Spell Power I have right now. Not a huge difference, but if you don’t hit then it doesn’t matter how much damage you might have done with the spell in the first place.

Triune Amulet is one of the most solid neck pieces you can get around this level. With +7 to Int, Stam, and Spirit, it can be used by pretty well every class in the game. It leans more towards casters, or at least classes that use mana than to ones that do not, but anyone could use it. My current neck piece gives 3 Int, 5 Crit, and 9 Spell Power.

Whitemane’s Chapeau is a definite upgrade to what I am currently wearing. 9 Stam, 10 Int, and 14 Spirit kicks my 10 Int, 6 Spirit to the curb. This is one of the biggest upgrades I am looking forward to, even if I can’t wear it for another 7 levels.

The other items drop off of rare spawns that truly are rare. I have literally ran through SM well over 1,000 times across my different characters, and in all of those times I could count the number of times that I have seen these rare spawns one hand. Embalmed Shroud is a good backup head piece in case the Chapeau doesn’t drop. 7 Stam, 11 Int, and 14 Spell Power is quite a bit better than my current setup.

The Blighted Leggings also drop from a rare spawn, and are a fair upgrade. Sadly, I would trade 8 Int for 7 Stam which while it would help me live longer in combat, it would slow me down a bit from the mana loss. But, it does provide more than double the amount of spell power that I get from my current legs.

About These Items
You will notice from looking at those lists that many of the items that I am interested in fit in the same slot. So I do not need to find all of the items on the list, but all of them would be helpful to me in some way.

When I looked at the list for what items I needed, I looked for specific stats. Since the druid has such good survivability I focus more on Intellect with my druid than I do Stamina. It certainly does not hurt to have more hit points, which is why many of the items you see there also include stamina buffs.

After Intellect, I looked for either Spell Power or Spirit as both of these help as well. Spell power increases the damage I deal so that I don’t have to cast as many spells, thus conserving my mana. Spirit helps to regenerate my mana while I am between fights or while I have a mob stuck in Entangling Roots, which also helps with my mana. At level 34 I had over twice the amount of mana as the best “water” I could buy was able to restore. Now at level 36 I have 160% more mana than the new “water” that opened up at 35.

After Int, Stam, SP, and Spirit, I look for the other two stats that can really help me: Critical Hit and Hit. The more you crit, the fewer spells you have to cast, and the same can be said for the more often you hit rather than miss. With Starfall currently scoring crits for over 800 damage, which is about 75-80% of the total health of most mobs my level, a solid crit can go a long way towards reducing downtime.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Druid

 

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