This is actually more of an addendum to "Part 2".
In Part 2, I had discussed how there are many items, pets, and recipes that are Faction Exclusive (can only be obtained by one faction), and how they can sell very well on the other side. I forgot to list one interesting item that you can transfer through the Neutral AH from the Horde side to Alliance that's highly valuable.
To Horde players, it's trash. But to the Alliance, it's pure gold. =]
I'm referring to the [Sleeveless T-Shirt]
What most players don't know is that the [Sleeveless T-Shirt] only drops from Alliance bodies in Alterac Valley, so it's impossible for Alliance players to obtain this item unless it's through the Neutral Auction House.
They're cool looking outfits and their description is priceless. You can actually sell them for 50-100G on the Alliance auction house. Or just throw them up onto the Neutral AH for a reduced price. =]
Right now, the gold markets seem to be favoring Glyphs and Recipes/Pets (cross-faction trading works very well), but disenchants aren't selling for very much anymore. But then again, it's server dependent.
Here are some other interesting items that can be sold Cross-Faction.
1. The [Black Tabby] pet can only be obtained by the Horde, killing the Dalaran Spellscribe in the Alliance-friendly village Ambermill. The silver elite spawns quite a bit at 3 different locations (Humanoid Tracking is recommended so that you can login/logout and just quickly scan the area for the Spellscribe) throughout the day, but the Pet drop rate is around 20%. It'll easily sell for 700-1000G on the Alliance AH.
What's nice about the other NPCs in Ambermill is that they drop other rate items that can only be obtained by Horde. Such as "Channeler's Staff", "Dalaran Wizard's Robe", and "Jewel-Encrusted Sash". Alliance don't really know how rare they are (and that the Robe is required to look like a Dalaran Wizard) so your best bet is to advertise in Alliance trade chat. I sell the Robes for 75G each, and the Sash/Staff for 20-30G a piece. Their drop rates are very high, which is nice.
2. [Ripped Ogre Loincloth]
This item can only be obtained by Horde when looting the Gordunni Dirt Mounds (Gordunni Cobalt quest in Feralas). They look awesome, very rare on Alliance side, and I sell for 75G each.
Old World items are also selling very well right now, but they won't be as soon as Cataclysm hits. On my server for example, here's how much they sell for:
Adamantite - 60G/stack
Fel Iron Bars - 70G/stack
Goldthorn - 80G/stack
Purple Lotus - 80G/stack
Gromsblood - 80G/stack
Rugged Leather - 50G/stack
Wool Cloth - 30G/stack
Botters are still foolishly collecting WOTLK ores (ie, Saronite) and have no idea how well Fel Iron and other Old World items are selling. I report bots all of the time in WOTLK zones, but never see any in Outlands surprisingly.
Anyhow, in preparation I had stockpiled all of these items during the WOTLK launch (and prior to) when everyone was running new DKs. I filled up several Guild Bank Tabs with these items, and just waited for 4-6 months to sell them. I had paid about 5-10G per stack for most of these items and resold them at significantly higher prices.
With Cataclysm approaching, though, I would recommend that you sell all Old World items that you have right now and then buy them out again when everyone is leveling their fresh toons (only to resell them again 4 months down the road.) If you have the guild/bank space that is. =]
Speaking of Old World items, don't worry too much about farming the [Swift Zulian Tiger] either if you just want the cool looking mount. Everyone is saying "The Swift Zulian Tiger is gone forever! Farm them now while you still can!". However, according to my trusted sources it will actually be back in Cataclysm but much easier to obtain (the "Insane" title will also be available in Cataclysm but easier to get as well) with the Zul'Gurub zone rebuild and new quests. (The mount will still be a drop, reward, or an exalted reputation purchase - it's not exactly clear yet.) The achievement won't be the same though, only those who got the "original" will have that special mount and achievement, but there will be a new mount with the same look and texture.
In an earlier post, I had predicted that Blizzard would be adding in-game chat features via mobile phone. (e.g. "A lot more mobile services definitely! The Remote/Mobile AH is just a start. Checking in-game mailboxes. Inventory, bank, character, and talent management through mobile. In-game chat with Guild, General Chat, Trade Chat, etc through mobile/remote.")
Looks like it was just revealed a couple days ago. Premium monthly subscribers (those who are paying an extra $3 per month) will have access to a new feature that allows them to communicate with Guild members while mobile.
How utterly.. predictable.
Take Two has just filed for a new trademark officially called R*. It's going to be an online music store featuring "music and digital music downloadable from the Internet and wireless devices." It will also be offering ringtones for cellphones, MP3 downloads, other audiovisual and entertainment content.
Rockstar Games currently has a partnership with Amazon.com and iTunes, and right now you can only order their music through those other stores. But it looks like they want to cut out the middle-man and start selling the music directly to the consumers themselves. (I wonder if Apple and Amazon know about this yet? Their partnerships only started a couple years ago actually.) =]
Soon, you'll be able to purchase music CDs, such as "The Music of Grand Theft Auto IV", Red Dead Redemption, and other greatest hits from most (if not all) of their games directly from Rockstar's new online music store.
Here's a link to the Trademark registration if you're interested.
And here's a photo of an "example" Music CD used in the registration:
Yeah, I know.. it's kind of boring news, but hey I'm the first to announce it. =]
I'm actually shocked that they didn't already HAVE an online music store.. I didn't even know they didn't have one until I saw the new trademark registration.
With the upcoming release of Cataclysm, I was reminiscing about how overpowered the "original" Death Knight was when WOTLK was first released.
Here's a link to the Original Death Knight Talent Tree. You can also see old talent trees by version number on wowprovider.com. For example, 126.96.36.19903 Alpha talents and 3.0.2 Beta talents.
My First DK PVP
I was level 58 at the time (wearing the DK starter gear) in Outlands. I had a Unholy AOE build and was grinding the Shattered Hand Grunts just outside Hellfire Citadel. I was typically soloing 4-5 Grunts at a time with no issues (it's important to note that I was 58 and they were level 62-63). It was amazing to say the least. =]
So, I had just killed Force Commander Gorax while soloing two other mobs, and then I repositioned myself to aggro 3 other mobs to keep the AOE grinding going.
While I was AOE grinding the 5 grunts, a level 77 NE Druid Boomkin (wearing the highest tiered 70 PVE gear at the time and some Northrend epics) flew over top of me, stopped, and then assumed a very safe distance from me. He starting blasting me with Starfire, Wrath, and Moonfire. I was able to keep my HP up with Death Strikes on the 5 mobs until a couple of them were dead, then I re-focused my attention on the pesky annoyance.
It was my first PVP experience with the DK and it's clear that we were both very surprised. =] While 3 other mobs were beating on me, I Death Gripped him and laid a beating that he would never forget. At the time, diseases removed HOTS so he couldn't heal himself very well, and the amount of damage I was doing to him must have been a huge surprise considering the 19 level difference. It was pretty much a faceroll on my part, and he ended up blowing through all of his cooldowns (and using pots) trying to escape.
I managed to get him down to about 5% health by the time the other mobs I aggro'd eventually took their toll (about 5-6 beating on me by then and because of his high level, he didn't aggro any mobs like I had).
He thought he was safe, but didn't anticipate (or knew about) the talent "Shadow of Death" however. =]
I transformed into a Ghoul and quickly ripped him to shreds.
Ahh.. good old "Shadow of Death". Here are a couple old videos of SoD in action: Link 1, Link 2. I apologize about the video quality (switch to 720p if available), but there are very few SoD videos out there.
When he returned to his body, he flew away never to return. So I quickly fired up my second account and whispered him:
Me: Dude! That 58 just kicked your ass!
Boomkin: what r u talking about?
Me: I was flying overhead and saw that fight.
Me: He totally owned you.
Boomkin: no.. i killed him..
Me: Barely. But he was 20 levels below you, and you died too.
Boomkin: i was on the phone
It was pretty funny. =]
History Will Repeat Itself With Cataclysm
WOTLK was released just before Christmas (Nov 13/2008) and a friend of mine kept saying how right after Christmas, Blizzard would nerf the Death Knights explaining how it was all part of their "business plan". Being a "Hero Class" I had hoped they wouldn't undergo too many changes - but it made sense and I knew that it was going to happen as well. Releasing a completely overpowered class during the best sales period of the year is an excellent way to boost sales, and then you can simply nerf the class after the busy sales period ends. And that's exactly what happened. The "Hero Class" really became nothing more than just another class that happens to start at Level 55.
With the new Cataclysm changes, I'm certain that history will be repeating itself.
Some of the new spells, abilities and masteries are completely overpowered. And you'll see a major nerf a few months after Christmas, yet again.
Every class has a turn at being OP'd for a certain amount of time, and this time it appears to be the Hunter's turn again.
(Note: These abilities are currently in beta testing, but keep in mind that the OP DK was also tested for months and months in beta but was still released in retail.)
Hunter Camouflage: Not only makes you look very cool, it also makes you completely immune to all forms of damage! You're invisible when standing still, you can't be targeted, you can change aspects while running, enemy traps will not trigger, AOE spells don't affect you, you don't aggro mobs even when right on top of them, and you can remove DOTs if they were cast on you prior to camouflage. It can be activated as long as you're not in combat - if you are, just hit Feign Death or Shadowmeld if you're a NE. And you can practically have it turned on all the time. =]
Here's a video that explains better:
The new Trap Launcher for Hunters is also a pretty overpowered ability, depending on how you use it. (Note: If you liked the ending "I'm A Hunter" song, you can listen to the full song here.)
For the DK, overpowered abilities include Dark Simulacrum and Necrotic Strike.
Necrotic Strike is interesting, it was "meant to bring back some of the old flavor from when death knights could dispel heal-over-time (HoT) effects." I'm happy about that.
And then other OP'd PVP spells include the Prot Paladin's "Blinding Shield" (AOE "Blind" with added damage) and the Mage's "Firestarter" talent (run while casting Scorch). "Curtain of Frost" still needs some work, but it could be OP'd for PVP if it does what the developers intend.
If you want to see all of the new Cataclysm spells, follow this link.
Of course, many of these new spells (if they make it to retail, which they probably will..) will allow a select number of classes to be massively overpowered for about 3-6 months and then they'll be dramatically nerfed after sales decline (the Paladin has been OP for awhile now, I think it's time). It's a good thing that I have 80's in every single class. =]
Just a quick entry here, I've been pretty busy with some RL stuff. I also have a new CWOW account, so I'll be collecting some more information to include in the "WoW China Interesting Facts" series. Also, someone's been tweeting details from my blog too that's making some other online news sources (Hey V.S.!) =]
Anyhow, I noticed that some of the readers were interested in knowing Blizzard wages.
Below is what they are now roughly. These are based on the submissions of Blizzard employees, so some of these approx. results may include a few years of annual pay raises (1-6% per year) but for the most part they're pretty close to starting wages. Going back 5-10 years though, these jobs paid A LOT more. They've come down quite a bit since 2000-2003 (over 30% on most jobs), so if you start at Blizzard now you'll be paid much less than if you started 10 years ago. =]
Hourly Staff (Approx. $USD):
Quality Assurance: $10.50 / hr
Game Master: $11-12.50 / hr
Tier 1 In-Game Support Rep: $11.00 / hr
Tier 2 In-Game Support Rep: $12.00 / hr
Intern: $11.50 / hr
Account and Technical Services: $12.50 / hr
Web Designer: $10.50 / hr
Salary Staff (Approx. $USD):
Sr. Web Designer: $61,500 / yr
Cinematic Producer: $39,500 / yr
Animator: $43,000 / yr
3D Artist: $74,000 / yr
Technical Artist: $75,000 / yr
Cinematic Artist: $70,000 / yr
Environmental Artist: $59,000 / yr
Graphic Artist: $57,000 / yr
Modeler: $50,000 / yr
Associate Cinematic Artist: $52,000 / yr
Senior Cinematic Artist: $110,000 / yr
Software Engineer: $80,000 / yr
Senior Software Engineer: $109,500 / yr
Game Designer: $85,000 / yr
Systems Analyst: $85,000 / yr
Associate Project Mgr: $85,500 / yr
Senior Animator: $90,000 / yr
Global Manager, Localization: $120,000 / yr
There are a bunch of other jobs listed (Activision too). You can see them for yourself at Salarylist.com, Payscale.com, and Glassdoor.com. There's also Jobvent.com if you're interested in seeing more feedback from Blizzard employees. You can see that (internally) Blizzard is just like every other corporation - everyone think's their boss is an idiot and the only way to get to the top is if you're friends or family.
However, be aware that when people are pleased, they walk away happy and say nothing. When people are unhappy, they fill out surveys and complain loudly. So, you'll mostly find complaints on these types of webpages and very few compliments. =]