The Best Race/Class for Mining & Herbalism

Posted by Daeity On Sunday, November 28, 2010

If you're looking at creating a new character for the purpose of Mining and Herbalism (especially since you can track all types of nodes now), here's the absolute best class benefiting from both speed and utility:

Tauren Frost Deathknight (with Unholy Presence)

What's also nice about DKs is that you start at 55 and you can practically level yourself to 80 from just gathering. By the time you hit 80, you'll have enough to purchase all flying upgrades including [Master Flying] (4000G with Exalted Rep) to get your 310% mounted flying speed.


+20% Mounted Speed
+15% Foot Speed (Stay in Unholy Presence)
Cultivation allows you to herb very quickly
Path of Frost
100% Underwater Movement (*with [Hook of the Master Angler])

Frost abilities are also awesome for crowd control and survivability:
- Hungering Cold!
- Freeze, silence, or slow down players and NPCs alike.
- Frost Fever disease on enemies causes a 50% reduction in speed for 10 seconds. Howling Blast hits multiple enemies too.
- Immunity to knock-back or pull mechanics (other DKs).
- Fast escape skills (if you just want to keep gathering and avoid combat).
- Summon ghouls to keep NPCs busy while gathering.

* All of the benefits listed above make this class ideal for Fishing (Path of Frost FTW) as well, and the class is perfect for beating the Stranglethorn Fishing competition. Just make sure you do your research before competing!

Other Notes:

Mining and Herbalism used to benefit from Haste Rating, but I'm not sure if this is still the case. Herbalism might, but I couldn't tell with Mining - if you know for sure, please let me know.

With Haste Gear and Lifeblood (Herbalism ability), you could pop it every 3 minutes for super-speed mining if you're in a rush. =]

If you're interested in Herbalism only, I would recommend the Tauren Druid race/class instead. You don't get the extra +20% mount speed, but when you're in Flight Form, you don't have to "dismount" to farm herbs which is very nice (for avoiding combat as well). Skinning also goes well with this build, since you can remain in Flight Form the entire time (easy to skin/herb then escape.)

Unfortunately, if you want mining and herbalism - you have to sacrifice the mount/dismount time. It's worth it though for all of those precious herb and mining nodes out there. =]

On a side note, with Death Gate and your hearth set to Orgrimmar, it gives you very easy access to UC, ORG, Blasted Lands (then Shattrath), and the portals to Cataclysm locales. During downtime, I would also recommend doing the Argent Tournament daily quests to get the [Argent Pony] for remote access to your banks.

[Note: I don't want to make a habit of these types of posts, but I see a lot of people still looking for information on this. I'd prefer to be a more obscure blog containing non-mainstream information (unless it's something I find really interesting), so I won't be doing this too often since this can be found through a little research already on other sites.]

With the recent changes to Dire Maul (Ogre Suit reputation reward + Free Knot gone) you pretty much have to sacrifice your Bloodsail rep (ie, go back to being hated with the pirates) in order to get reputation with the Cartel. Although it would be nice to stay Honored with them, there's really no way to build up Cartel rep without losing it.

There's supposed to be something introduced in Cataclysm where you can keep your Bloodsail rep but also increase Cartel rep without damaging it. So, if you're patient - wait until after Dec 7th and avoid Cartel cities for now. Level 85 Bruisers hit hard. =]

I would recommend waiting if you can.

If you don't want to wait, keep in mind that you only need to obtain the Bloodsail Honored reputation ONCE. Meaning once you're hit Honored, you can decrease the reputation without losing the achievement.

You can track your [Insane in the Membrane] achievement by typing:
/script AddTrackedAchievement(2336)

To remove tracking, type:
/script RemoveTrackedAchievement(2336)

Basically, even if you're hated with the pirates again, you still get to keep your Bloodsail Admiral title and the Insane in the Membrane achievement prerequisite.

So here are the current methods to grind Cartel rep after obtaining Bloodsail Admiral:

- You can still kill pirates around Ratchet, Gadgetzan, and Booty Bay. They reward 5 per kill for the closest cartel member, and 2-3 points for the other cartel members. Named NPCs can give 25 rep per kill. Spawn rates are very fast.

- Venture Co. Evacuees in Grizzly Hills grant +5 to Booty Bay and +2-3 for the other Cartel members. What's nice about Northrend mobs is that they drop Frostweave cloth, you can use them to level (you or your pet), and they drop other Northrend items.

- Killing all of the pirates (except for STV pirates) will not hurt your Bloodsail reputation, so you could farm these guys to build up Cartel Rep and still keep your Bloodsail.

- There are new groups of Gadgetzan pirate mobs (Lost Rigger Cove) that spawn fast, it's a nice place to grind Magecloth cloth (for turn-ins) without losing Bloodsail rep too.

- Note: Other than Dire Maul, all of the Feralas + Burning Steppes Quests (e.g. Zapped Giants, Fuel of the Zapping, Egg Freezing, and Egg Collection) have all been removed as of 4.0.3 as well.

- By far, the fastest method to regain rep are the Cartel Rep Cloth Turn-in repeatables. These cause -500 to Bloodsail by the way. Cloth prices have dropped significantly on the AH due to all of the new toons, so this is a very cheap and fast method now.

[Mending Old Wounds]
Requirements: 40 Linen Cloth + 4 Empty Vials
Location: On the road out of Ratchet towards Crossroads
+500 Ratchet, +250 For Other Cartel Members

[Traitor to the Bloodsail]
Requirements: 40 Silk Cloth + 4 Red Dye
Location: On the small hill of east of the road outside of Booty Bay
+500 Booty Bay, +250 For Other Cartel Members

[War at Sea]
Requirements: 40 Mageweave Cloth + 4 Strong Flux
Location: Just outside of Gadgetzan, near the road coming from old Shimmering Flats
+500 Gadgetzan, +250 For Other Cartel Members

[Making Amends]
Requirements: 40 Runecloth + 4 Coal
Location: Near the fork in the road towards Winterspring, he's easy to spot
+500 Everlook, +250 For Other Cartel Members

Note: You can only interact with these NPCs if you are lower than Neutral. Once you hit Neutral with the Cartel member, you can't turn in cloth to that NPC anymore. (Once you hit Neutral with Everlook for example, start turning in cloth with Gagetzan instead for example.)

Other ways to improve reputation gain:

During Christmas, [A Smokywood Pastures' Thank You!], [Treats for the Greatfather Winter], and [Metzen the Reindeer] give you +500 Steamwheedle Cartel each.

Although it's too late now, the Thanksgiving [Spirit of Sharing] and Halloween [Invocation of the Wickerman] grant 10% reputation gain for 2 hours.

If I learn more (ie, new quests before Cataclysm), I'll update this blog post.

Nothing is happening to Northrend!

Posted by Daeity On Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So, this "Farewell Northrend" video is making rounds on the internet. Not only that, but there are many other commemorative photos, webpages, and videos being created for "remembering" Outlands and Northrend.

To be clear: Nothing is happening to Outlands or Northrend.

There are just some minor aesthetic changes. The Shattering/Cataclysm changes only affect the 1-60 Old World areas. The 60-70 (Outlands) and 70-80 (WOTLK) leveling zones are unchanged.

But, this just goes to show you the power of hype and how it shapes your perception. =]

Unfortunately, this hype can lead to false expectations and resulting disappointment. The new changes are pretty cool, especially starting in some of the Capital Cities. But, once you get over the initial novelty of the new cities and do some exploring - you'll realize that not a lot has changed in the 1-60 zones.

If you've ever played "god games" before, you'll know what I mean. Everything looks pretty much the same, but it's like the developers just dropped in some trees and grass here-and-there, shoveled out some trenches, threw in some water, and reshaped some of the mountains. Once the geography was changed, it was just a matter of dropping in some new quest givers and NPCs.

For the new 80-85 leveling experience, don't set your expectations too high. I think the new zones are awesome, but please just ignore the hype as it will give you a false impression of what to expect. You might not remember this, but a lot of people complained about the new WOTLK leveling zones (ie, it was "too small"), but keep in mind that the new Cataclysm 80-85 zones are even smaller.

The original WoW had 2,600 quests (1-60), BC had 2,700 quests (60-70), WOTLK had 2,350 quests (70-80), and Cataclysm has just under 1,000 quests (80-85). (Note: 80-85 is supposed to take the same amount of time as 70-80 leveling.)

Although the number of quests isn't really a fair comparison of size, it does give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. =]

Cataclysm was more designed for the newbies and for veteran players who wanted to create new characters. It's a way to keep people playing longer, and encourages players to invite friends to play with them. Previously, many people didn't want to start playing WoW because of the sheer number of high-level characters and how far ahead everyone was - Cataclysm is a way to start players on an even ground and to bring in more new customers.

In regards to any New Realms, we won't know for sure until around Dec. 3-6. Currently, subscriptions counts don't warrant the creation of new realms and even with 1-2 million new players, it still wouldn't warrant new realms.

However, if Blizzard makes an announcement that "new realms are required to meet the demands of new players" - it sure would make their investors happy. =]

They might even wait until 1-2 months after launch to make it look like new realms were never actually planned and that they had to "suddenly" purchase and build out new servers and realms to meet the explosive growth. Realistically though, the new realms are probably ready right now and the servers were prepared months ago.

Average wait time: 59 Mins (Last 10 players)

Posted by Daeity On Thursday, November 18, 2010

One of the biggest complaints that WoW users have are the extremely long queue times for Battlegrounds and Dungeons, and the always present shortage of sufficient Tanks and Healers.

With those most recent changes to Wintergrasp too, things are even worse now (there are heated arguments on the forums at the moment) and Blizzard may just have to revert back to the tenacity method until they can find a more suitable solution.

Note: Speaking of WoW Forums, I've still been monitoring them for Account Hack issues over the past several months and there has been a significant drop. It's absolutely nothing like back in June/July during that explosion of hacked and re-enabled/locked accounts.

Additional Note: Tenacity was pretty awesome actually.. sure the Horde were able to complete all 5 WG quests for a total of ~80 honor points - but I was able to complete 4 of the 5 quests and also one-shot Horde with my Arcane Mage. (Hell, even my Hunter dealt 20k white damage with melee swings.) Horde would get maybe 0.1 to 0.25 honor per kill, but I would get the full 3 honor points every 3 seconds or so. At the end of every match, I would get a minimum of 300 honor points from kills alone plus ~64 honor for the weeklies. Not bad for 15-20 minutes of work!

So yeah.. tenacity was great. In all of my experience over the past couple years, it's clear that WG losses were more attributed to failed organization and strategy then anything else. Much like AV premades, if you have good communication and players listening to you (even with bad gear), a win is very easily obtainable.

There is a SOLUTION however to all of these problems (e.g. tank/healer shortage, long queue times, and BG imbalances):

1. Cross-Faction Dungeons (Horde and Alliance together)
2. Cross-Faction Battlegrounds (Horde and Alliance on the same PVP team)
3. New Dungeon Mechanics

This solution will of course stir up some anger from the hardcore role players, but consider this:

- there are ways of doing this so that it fits in with the "lore" and updates to "historical facts" are made up all of the time
- you can already fight side-by-side with opposite faction players and NPCs
- NPCs from opposing factions also fight side-by-side against common enemies
- Horde & Alliance have worked together many times (hell, their leaders have even met with each other and sipped tea together at peace summits and various events)
- both Horde & Alliance have MANY common enemies and fight them in the same dungeons already
- they have also worked together in major wars and battles
- both Horde & Alliance are both members of the same "neutral" factions so they work together constantly for the same common goal
- both Horde & Alliance worked together (or cannot even attack each other) within the same specific zones/areas even when they're members of different factions
- there are a whole TON of factions that you can belong to where both Horde & Alliance work together
- there are PVE realms where you can't even attack them anyways (even though you should be able to and you're "supposed to")
- and there's so much lore out of whack already.. so who really cares?

Anything can work, you just need a proper justification.

Cross-Faction Dungeons

This one is easy. Allow the Dungeon Finder to group both Horde and Alliance together, and/or create a neutral meeting ground where PUGs can be grouped together for non-Dungeon Finder available instances.

In virtually all dungeons, both Horde & Alliance are already fighting the exact same common enemy anyways - and both factions have worked together many times to fight common enemies or for different goals. So this shouldn't be much of a stretch.

If you want a role-playing excuse to group them together, a series of quests can be created where a player is "magically transformed" visually into a member of of the opposing faction for the purpose of gathering information or completing a side-quest that requires Horde's help without their knowledge. CoT already does this where Horde players are visually changed into Alliance and fight side-by-side with the Alliance.

Also, players wouldn't even be able to tell that they were previously Horde/Alliance unless they actually tell them. (It's that good of a disguise!) =]

Justification: Fighting a common enemy under the banner of a neutral faction's orders.

Cross-Faction Battlegrounds

This one is a little more tricky.

So.. why would opposing factions help each other out in PVP? Why, for Secret Intelligence Gathering Missions of course!

Repeatable Quests or Quest Chains can be created where players are disguised and therefore fight with opposing factions (to blend in and avoid "blowing their cover") during various battles. At the end of a battle (and if certain requirements are met), they can get certain rewards. This would definitely put SI:7 Stormwind Intelligence to some good use! This has also happened (and still does happen) in real life, so it's a very reasonable excuse.

Now if "cheating" is a concern, Blizzard already has several methods in place already to prevent this. AFK Reporting (for those who aren't fighting - but the purpose of joining BGs is for the accumulation of honor points anyways), random cross-realm queuing, chances of joining friends within the same BG is low, and inability to communicate with "opposing factions" in the same BG.

For those that really want to get away with cheating (ie, sending troop movement information), they can already do it anyways under the current approach. That sort of information is pretty useless anyways, especially in the smaller BGs.

As it stands, it would be very difficult and even non-productive for you (ie, no honor) to try and sabotage your own temporary faction. It's almost impossible too, since your real friends won't recognize you and they will attack you on sight! Although, sabotage does open up some interesting possibilities for BG gameplay.. and maybe it could be highly useful for new "Spy Vs Spy" Battleground designs. =]

One other option is just to make Battlegrounds less about Horde vs Alliance and more about Team A vs Team B.. but it's not as fun. =]

This approach is definitely a very smooth way of balancing teams so that you won't have the "10 Alliance versus 6 Horde" problem in WSG preceded by 30-50 minute wait times anymore. Plus, since players would be "in disguise", it allows VOA to be open to both factions after WG ends regardless of the winner. (This was actually one of the original reasons for the WG changes.. one faction would always be losing, and they could hardly ever get into VOA. Big complaints.)

Justification: You're a spy gathering secret intelligence information, so you need to fit in under orders from your King or Warchief. All of their deaths will be a necessary evil so that you can gather information of the utmost importance.

New Dungeon Mechanics for Tank/Healer Shortages

This is a pretty fun approach, but a little more challenging to implement. I'm going to focus on 5-man dungeons (and the Dungeon Finder), but these new methods could certainly be used for raids with some tweaks.

Option 1 is to create new dungeons (or modify existing) that break out of the 6-year old mold (ie, the fixed ratio of DPS/Heals/Tanking) that has obviously been creating a lot of issues related to player availability and time, but has never been solved.

If there were dungeons for example that attract 100% DPS class groups, it would significantly cut down on queue times for other DPS playeres who are queued for normal dungeons. Such examples would include dungeons that require no healing and instead involve puzzles and/or DPS combat alone, or dungeons with very little healing required, no tanking, but a completely timed instance that requires 5 DPS players to complete successfully.

There are many clever ways to build dungeons with these designs in mind, boss AND mob mechanic changes, there could even be NPC Tanks, NPC Healers, dungeons that require no DPS but rather all crowd control in a timed environment to win, or healing "games" where DPS players constantly need to run back and forth to a certain item or area.

This course of action no longer follows the classic Tank & Spank approach and unfortunately Blizzard might be discouraged from doing this since the more time a player waits in queue, the longer they play, and the more money they ultimately make. If they are more concerned about the players themselves however, you should see innovative approaches like this in the future.

Option 2 is pretty cool. Have a fun (and possibly long) quest chain where any class can summon a NPC that "magically transforms" them into a temporary class for (specific?) 5-man dungeons. Or maybe it can be available within the dungeons themselves, where the player temporarily inhabits a body or vehicle with the abilities that are missing from the group.

For example, a DPS class can be converted into a Healing/Tanking class by way of conjured weapons and gear that either meet minimum requirements for the dungeon difficulty OR they match in similarity to the player's existing iLvl gear. It would just be a temporary conversion for that instance only. Another example is to have more "vehicles" in dungeons what have certain purposes (much like the starting Ulduar fight), like support, healing or tanking.

I hate using this term, but Blizzard really needs to start thinking outside the box. There's too little innovation in dungeons and Cataclysm is no different (other than that they're bringing back crowd control.) There are many reasonable ways to combat priest/tank shortages and long wait times, and these are some good examples of changes that can make the game more enjoyable, more optional, more fun, and very different to combat boredom.