'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over.

'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over.

It’s clear that most of the people who drove those revenues in the past have grown up – either out of games, or into more fertile spaces, where small and diverse titles can flourish, where communities can quickly spring up around creativity, self-expression and mutual support, rather than consumerism. There are new audiences and new creators alike there. Traditional “gaming” is sloughing off, culturally and economically, like the carapace of a bug.

This is hard for people who’ve drank the kool aid about how their identity depends on the aging cultural signposts of a rapidly-evolving, increasingly broad and complex medium. It’s hard for them to hear they don’t own anything, anymore, that they aren’t the world’s most special-est consumer demographic, that they have to share.

The F is For Family

So I realized recently that when 5.4 comes out, this will be the first time that:

  1. I've been playing WoW for the entirety of an expansion with no breaks
  2. I've been in the same guild for an entire expansion

Those two things are related.

My guild history has been a little rocky, to say the least; after leaving my very first guild for a guild that offered me a raid spot, I ended up going from guild to guild, watching things explode. In one, we absorbed another raiding guild only for them to poach 90% of our members and leave to form a 25s guild; in another, the guild leader had some kind of conniption fit and I got the joy of logging in each day to watch friends get kicked and badmouthed behind their back. I tried running my own guild for a while but I am so not cut out for that shit. I think the only two guilds that didn't blow up were my very first guild (still going strong) and Jed's guild (which is on the emptiest server ever, not a faction I enjoy playing, and did I mention it's on the emptiest server ever). Each time I lost my guild, I lost interest in WoW; this is why I missed all of tier 9, the end of tier 10, pre-nerf tier 11 and most of tier 12, and so on.


In late Cataclysm, I reached out to a pretty popular blogger because I found myself interacting with several of his guild members on Twitter, and wondered about joining their guild. I even filled out the application - it's still sitting on the forums, totally unresponded to, amusingly. TTGF is pretty laid back about formality, and I think Rades was slightly concerned the guild's laid back nature and, um, let's say brash chat at times might offend me in some fashion, but unbeknownst to him I'd actually already migrated all my (max-level) alts to Drenden. SURPRISE, I'M ON YOUR SERVER, PUT ME IN YOUR GUILD. So one thing led to another and I subbed into some late Dragon Soul runs, and I went from pretty shitty (I was horribly out of practice) to only kinda shitty, and then Mists of Pandaria came out and hey, what role did I want to play in the upcoming raid team?


TTGF isn't the biggest guild, or the most active guild, and sometimes we're pretty bad at this game. The laid back, almost structureless nature of the guild could be pretty offputting to people who need that kind of officer-raider-member structure to make it through the day. But it's almost exactly what I would've done if I'd had my head on straight when I made a guild, and somehow it still works. Occasionally we have to fight the attendance boss, but we've beaten each raid tier this expansion in time to nail the Ahead of the Curve achievements (usually with plenty of weeks to spare), and even tackled a heroic boss (the fickle nature of our roster unfortunately foiled attempts at more, as well as the fact that apparently EVERYONE had things going on at the end of August/beginning of September, including me).

So I guess I just wrote a bunch of words to say thanks to my guild for giving me a bunch of good reasons to stick around the game, a bunch of inside jokes that no one understands (BWALO), and a bunch of dead bosses. Here's to many more.


The leatherworker's lament

and while we're at it, why can't we make backpacks?
Source: Wikipedia

In 5.2, every one of the Big Three armor-making professions - leatherworking, tailoring, and blacksmithing - got a daily cooldown. (Well, to be fair, tailoring didn't get a new cooldown; this was just added to the pre-existing Imperial Cloth cooldown.) This daily cooldown would also teach you one of two things - an i458 PvP pattern, or an i522 crafting pattern. What you learn is random.

Seems fine - maybe a month or so of effort and you'll know everything, right?

Profession Materials required for daily Specs/types serviced Potential pool of recipes
Blacksmithing 10 Ghost Iron Bars 7 (prot paladin, holy paladin, prot warrior, blood DK, frost/unholy DK, arms/fury warrior, ret paladin) 38 (the link displays slightly more, but the 12 weapons are not part of the random learning pool)
Tailoring 8 Bolts of Windwool Cloth (40 cloth) 4 (holy/disc priest, shadow priest, mage, warlock) 40
Leatherworking 20 Exotic Leather OR 20 Prismatic Scales (shared cooldown) 9 (feral/guardian druid, balance druid, resto druid, brewmaster/windwalker monk, mistweaver monk, hunter, resto shaman, enhancement shaman, elemental shaman) 82

_Eighty. Fucking. Two._

I try to keep my profanity for things that are important, dear reader, and this is one of them. See, I had a brief glimmer of hope in 5.2 when they introduced two separate cooldowns for 5.2's recipe list - Magnificence of Scales uses the far rarer Prismatic Scales, as opposed to Magnificence of Leather, which it shares a cooldown with. I hoped that perhaps Magnificence of Scales would teach you mail patterns, and Magnificence of Leather a leather pattern, cutting that pool of potential recipes -- well, not quite in half, but for those of us digging for mail patterns it would make it a heck of a lot more convenient. But... no. Hopes dashed.

Patch 5.4 is bringing a bunch of new recipes for most professions (including a bunch of cool minor glyphs - I really need four minor glyphs slots at this rate - and the long-delayed engineering patterns, finally). When I saw the boatload of PvP patterns (blue i476 pieces), I wasn't too initially worried, because I assumed they would replace the ones we knew, much like what happened to the craftable PvP gear in Cataclysm. And then...

If anyone would know, it's Kalliope.

So what's the situation look like for 5.4's new crafting items?

Profession Materials required for daily Potential pool of recipes
Blacksmithing 1 Trillium Bar OR 1 Trillium Bar + 1 Spirit of War (bypasses cooldown) 41 (the increase appears to come from 3 craftable shields)
Tailoring 10 Windwool Bolts (50 cloth) OR 10 Windwool Bolts (50 cloth) + 1 Spirit of War (bypasses cooldown) 40
Leatherworking 2 Magnificent Hide (100 leather OR 40 leather + 2 days) OR 2 Magnificent Hide (100 leather OR 40 leather + 2 days) + 1 Spirit of War (bypasses cooldown) 82

Blacksmithing's pool of potential recipes increased slightly, but the materials are a measly trillium bar. That's basically Sunsong Ranch's output if you plant Snakeroot. Hell, sometimes you can get multiple bars per day.

Tailoring has the same pool of random recipes, but their material costs increased slightly (10 bolts vs. 8). The upside is it appears you don't have to be anywhere in particular to create Celestial Cloth.

Leatherworking, on the other hand, has the same pool of recipes (*eighty-fucking-two*), and our cooldown requires either 2 days of materials to do a single daily (if you want to save on materials) or 100 leather. This just gets more and more unreasonable. Frankly, I consider it lucky that Blizzard only has one set of PvP gear for brewmasters and windwalkers, as well as a single set for ferals and guardians, or that'd be another 10 pieces right there.

This is just getting silly, though. Leatherworking needs some serious addressing if this is the road they plan to go down in the future.

Possible solutions

Splitting leatherworking into two professions. This is the messiest of all possible solutions, but I know I, for one, would gladly take mailworking and leave the leatherworking to people who really need it, like our recipe-collecting guardian tank. Or, heck, I could level it on my rogue, who has no professions at the moment. But this would force people to choose, and I can see where that wouldn't be fun.

Bring back specializations. Leather Specialist vs. Mail Specialist. This doesn't void people's work up to this point, and has the advantage that down the road you could switch if necessary without, again, invalidating your work to this point. The problem is that the idea of recipes you can't get at all makes a completionist's eye start twitching, and while I'm certainly not a leatherworking completionist, I know one and I can imagine how he'd feel.

Separate dailies. When the Magnificence recipes first appeared on the PTR, immediate speculation was that MoScales would teach mail recipes, while MoLeather would teach leather recipes. This turned out not to be the case, but there's no reason it couldn't be the case in the future. This is probably the best option overall - let me learn all my mail recipes first, then I'll get to leather afterwards. There is literally no downside to this other than the perceived rarity of Mists' scales vs. leather - and really, I just need to farm more turtles instead of mushan and goats. Not a huge deal.

An ugly hat aficionado

I build more transmogs around helmets than almost anything else. I rarely, if ever, hide my helmet, so I like to have something that's visually interesting, even if it's maybe a little bit ugly. Therefore it was absolutely perfect when I came into possession of a Faceguard of the All-Consuming Maw recently. From the moment I saw the hat that looks like a cross between a zergling's face and a dead dinosaur, I knew one thing: I was going to have to mog around this hat.

and so I did

Item List

View the entire item list on Wowhead, including weapon suggestions.


Changes for other classes

Nothing here is faction-specific (the two quest reward pieces are both from neutral quests), but if you wanted to wear this as a warrior or a paladin, the pieces you'd have to swap out are the head, chest, hands, and waist.

  • Head: Crown of the Golden Golem (Throne of Thunder LFR, from Dark Animus) is identical! This is the only really easy replacement, unfortunately.
  • Chest: There are several lookalikes in terms of model - all from ICC heroic bosses - but ironically all of them are the wrong color. You can honestly wear whatever you want as long as it's a dark color - 90% of your chestpiece is covered by the tabard. In an earlier iteration I was using Goblin Treat Tin, and no one could tell how badly mismatched it is. If you really want to match, you can get the awesomely-named Chestplate of Violent Detonation (Throne of Thunder LFR, from Jin'rokh the Breaker) or the Rot-Proof Greatplate (Throne of Thunder LFR, from Megaera), but I really don't think it's necessary. As I said - thanks to the tabard, you can just get "close enough" with the chestplate.
  • Hands: There is unfortunately no lookalike for these that isn't death knight specific. You might try other Throne of Thunder LFR pieces that visually match the Helm of the Golden Golem - those would be Pathogenic Gauntlets from Primordius and Rein-Binder's Fists from Iron Qon.
  • Waist: The neat thing about Acherus Knight's Girdle is that it is unique: it is an invisible, transmog-able belt. I don't even know what mogging belts is like anymore. ;) For those of you who aren't that lucky, your best bet is to either try to match the helmet (although that belt is a little freaky looking), or go with a "micro-belt" - pencil thin belts, conveniently available in purple and green.
  • BONUS: Back: If you can't get anyone to do Heroic Rhyolith with you, the Mantle of Doubt from Elemental Bonds: The Vow has all the same colors, but in a different shape, as does the Sleek Flamewrath Cloak sold by Naresir Stormfury at Friendly with Avengers of Hyjal (the Firelands raid rep).


We're a bunch of idiots

What would you say if I told you, on the last boss of a raid tier, during a progression fight, we:

  1. Had a healer die almost immediately due to talking in /g instead of moving out of the bad
  2. Had people run to the wrong place and thus nearly kill three other raid members
  3. Accidentally messed up a fairly important mechanic and spent the last phase of the fight in one quarter of the room
  4. Spent the entire fight chattering on Vent about songs to use for the kill video for the boss we hadn't downed yet

... and then finished the fight for the first time on that pull?

TTGF: We're a bunch of idiots sometimes, but damn it, we have fun.

(Video and editing by Rades. Grats to our raid team: Protoq, Corvster, Fabulor, Normanitee, Lyon, Krizhek, Nharzul, Sithari, Orkchops, and the unfortunately-absent Tartshapdbox. Onward to heroics!)

Iron Qon: a cautionary tale

This post is dedicated to Murloc the Goldfish.1

So the other day, I decided I was going to do Throne of Thunder's last wing on LFR to try and get my final two Secrets of the Empire. For whatever reason, when I queued, I was in the elemental offspec I had set up for Brawler's Guild due to the way some of the fights are just utterly unforgiving for melee. When the queue popped, I shrugged. So I was still in elemental - maybe not standing right up the boss's hind end would be a novel experience.

yay lightning bolts

Amazingly, I got a 0/3 queue, so I figured, hey, maybe I can get some tier tokens for my main spec! No time to think about that, though - it's time to fight Iron Qon. In case you haven't fought Iron Qon, he rides a series of three Quilen, and each time his spear - which he throws - does something new. On the first boss, it puts lines of fire on the ground. Dodge them, easy-peasy.

raaar Iron Qon

Once you beat his first pet, he mounts a second one up and throws out a bunch of tornadoes! He stuns you a little bit at the beginning, and then most of the tornadoes kinda stick around for the entire fight and seem to chase you around. They'll pick you up and stun you a little bit while they carry you around, then deposit you somewhere at the other end of their path.

I do not fear your spears

His third spear, go figure, sticks with the elemental theme and causes lines of ice to appear on the ground. These cause you to move slower and, as I soon discovered, cast slower as well. If they stack? You get frozen in place.

ugh, slow patches

Well, it turns out that the tornadoes don't care at all if you're frozen - they'll pick you up anyway. What's aggravating is when they pick you up crossing an ice line and carry you to the other end. You still get ice debuffs.


And then if it carries you back again, you still get debuffs.


And it keeps going.





Although, eventually, I found out you will, in fact, stop.

a sad end

Postscript: This story does have a happy ending; while I didn't get any tier tokens, I did get a ring for my elemental spec, 1 secret from Lei Shen, and 1 secret when we downed Durumu on normal that night. Victory!

1. Right after we cleared all the trash before Iron Qon, the warrior tank goes "brb, fish died, kid crying." And we all kind of shuffle our feet and make some jokes about stuff and have a /dance party and, you know, all the stuff a good-natured LFR does when waiting on a tank to return.

So the tank comes back and he's like "Well, the kid's pretty upset." And we all make some sympathetic noises, and then he goes "So, let's kill this guy in the name of Murloc the Goldfish (seriously)."

Lots of /y FOR MURLOC! and then we killed Iron Qon.

Well, I say "we" but, well, you saw what happened to me.

Patch 5.3, Reader's Digest Edition

Sometimes you just don't have time to keep up with the ever-evolving world of the PTR, especially in this brave new era of superfast Blizzard content patches. So here's a rundown of some good stuff in 5.3, just in case you haven't been consuming the news like a voracious whale shark.

Let's get this out of the way first

This is not the Raid on Orgrimmar patch. This does build up to it in terms of story, though. Org raid is planned for 5.4. Also, if you're looking for specific class notes, you should check the official patch notes. This is more of a high-level, non-specific overview.

Also, if you're looking for a summary of the PvP changes, I'll try my best but I make no promises. I don't PvP unless I have to.

Battlefield: Barrens

The big centerpiece of 5.3 is an experiment in new content that isn't dailies (finally). Battlefield: Barrens is a wide-open set of quests where you work with your faction and Vol'jin to either undermine Garrosh or help the Horde tear itself apart. Working with them yields new titles, "Darkspear Revolutionary" for the Horde and the fairly badass "the Hordebreaker" for Alliance.

To get started, you'll want to talk to Lorewalker Cho at the Seat of Knowledge in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms; in case you've never managed to find it, it's directly above the entrance of Mogu'shan Palace, which is between the two shrines. This will lead you back to the old world to do some questing - the Horde will survive a Kor'kron assault and retake Razor Hill for the trolls, while the Alliance will hook up with SI:7 to do some scouting and sabotage, before both sides convene again just outside Razor Hill.

Eventually, you'll circle back around to Pandaria again, to meet up with Seer Hao Pham Roo, culminating in some i502 boots.

NOTE: I have seen one source say that the Barrens are perma-flagged while you're in that zone at 85+; however, I have not seen this anywhere else, including in the patch notes, and I'm willing to chalk it up to the fact that on the PTR, the PvE and PvP realms are cross-realm zoned together until I see it live.

Heroic Scenarios

Heroic Scenarios are a new option for better loot and a lot of valor. Six scenarios (right now; more could be added later) are in the heroic scenario set, which you must group for with a group of three - no random people on this one - because it's more suited for a coordinated group. It also has a minimum item level of 480.

In exchange for more stringent requirements and higher difficulty - you won't be able to just run in guns a-blazin' for the most part - this new difficulty level offers additional valor for completing bonus objectives, as well as an item chest that has a chance to drop item level 516 loot - better than Raid Finder.

The six scenarios, if you were wondering, are all of the new ones in 5.3 - Battle of the High Seas, Blood in the Snow, Dark Heart of Pandaria, and The Secrets of Ragefire - as well as two older ones, Crypt of Forgotten Kings and A Brewing Storm. If you want to think of it another way: queueing for Heroic Scenarios means, at least for now, you won't get Theramore. For some of us, this is the most important point of all.

The slightly more alt-friendly pieces

  • Leveling from 85 to 90 now requires approximately 33% less XP.
  • There's a one-time quest at the shrine related to heroic scenarios; completing it gives you a loot chest with a guaranteed i516 item in it. You've also got a chance at an i516 piece per day from the loot chest from heroic scenarios before it reverts to the regular chest containing i450-i476 loot.
  • Battlefield: Barrens, mentioned above, gives you i502 boots just for completing its full questline. On top of that, you also have the ability to pick up an i489 piece of gear per week, which have the appearance of old dungeon sets - for death knights, it's a recolor of the set they have when leaving the starting zone; for monks, it's a recolor of a leveling set.
  • Challenge modes also have a chance at i516 loot now once per day (it comes from the challenge mode daily).
  • Shado-pan Assault gear is shuffling slightly - belts are now available at Friendly, chest pieces at Honored.
  • The "A Test of Valor" quest from Wrathion now requires only 3000 VP instead of 6000. Who am I kidding - this is probably a boon for some mains, much less alts.
  • The upgraded heirloom items now cost 60% less JP, HP, and/or Darkmoon Faire tickets.
  • Level 80 gear vendors were added to Hyjal (Iris Moonweaver) and Vashj'ir (Erunak Stonespeaker) NPCs to allow characters to more easily quality for the item levels for Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides.
  • You can now choose a spec to receive gear for in LFR, bonus rolls, and Pandaria quest rewards. Doing so will allow you to play in one spec and gear for another one.
  • Herbalists and miners can now pick herbs and mine nodes in Pandaria from skill level 1. Doing so will yield bits of herbs and ore that you can combine into the real thing, somewhat like how skinners have always had scraps that can be combined into leather.
  • You can do dailies for the Shado-pan and August Celestials immediately - you don't have to deal with the Golden Lotus ever again. Finally.

Voidbinders return

The voidbinders, better known as the item upgrade guys, are back in the capital cities and shrines where their holographic projections have been. There have been some changes to their services, most notably the prices.

  • Upgrading an item upgradeable by Valor now costs 250 VP for 4 item levels, upgradeable twice - for a total cost of 500 VP to gain 8 item levels.
  • Upgrading an item upgradeable by Justice now costs 750 JP for 8 item levels, upgradeable once, and is probably still a big waste of points compared to just converting to Honor and buying 476 pieces.
  • Malevolent Gladiator's Conquest (season 12) and Dreadful Gladiator's Honor (season 12) items can be upgraded at their original prices.
  • No gear from season 13 can be upgraded.

More things to do for Wrathion

For once you don't have to collect little orange bits; instead, Wrathion is going to send you to do a quest, which involves overcoming one of the Celestials' challenges - there's one for tanks, one for healers, one for ranged DPS (possibly just caster DPS - unconfirmed), and one for melee (and possibly hunters) - which will net you an item level 600 cloak.

A vague attempt at PvP notes

New battleground: Deepwind Gorge. Fight over mines, get the Gorgeous title for achievements.

Everyone now has a base resilience of 65%. There was already a fairly extensive Blizzard post on gear in PvP.

Battle pets!

Finally, I get around to the most important system in the game.

  • New pets have been added to the Throne of Thunder and the Isle of Thunder, as a reward for PvP pet battling, and to BC raids.
  • The base chance to miss at the same level was basically removed. Congrats, your pets are hit-capped. In return, a bunch of the very basic abilities do bonus damage but have slightly reduced accuracy. Hit chance is, accordingly, displayed for all abilities.
  • Those carp from fishing are now tradeable.
  • The Etheral Soul-Trade is his regular size again, thank goodness. Now I can continue to bring him out in leveling dungeons and confuse people. Y CANT I SELL TO THIS GUY?????????
  • All pet battle quests reward experience. This includes the dailies. The dailies on Pandaria also offer lesser charms and valor now. There's also a weekly quest for PvP pet battles.
  • Bad luck streak protection has been added for battle-stones from pet supply bags and wild battles; each time you don't get a stone, you have a progressively better chance of doing so next time.

The two most important changes in the patch

  1. Bad luck streak protection was added to bonus rolls. Each time a bonus roll gives you a fail bag, you have a progressively larger chance of getting loot next time around.
  2. You can transmog gear from your bank and void storage now without pulling those items out of the bank (and without using addons for this functionality).

Day 7: Pet battle mods

(This is part of a post series called 10 Days of Pet Battles, inspired by Navimie. I never said it'd be consecutive days.)

Day 7: Do you use mods? If you could only have one pet mod, what would it be and why?

The most crucial one I use is definitely PetBattle Teams, as I mentioned in the previous post. I have a ton of teams - one for leveling in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, a different one for the Valley of the Four Winds (which I usually spend some time battling in on leveling alts), one for each trainer I bother to beat repeatedly (Aki, Nishi, the two Pandaren Spirit tamers I haven't gotten a pet from yet), a couple PvP teams, and a dedicated low-level capture team headed by my Terrible Turnip. If I could only have one, this is it.

Of course, it's not like I use a whole bunch of them; I tried ones like WoWkemon and found them to mostly be gimmicky - the kind of thing that's cute once but not worth keeping around. So the only other one I still use is BattlePetCount. I like the way it displays the quantity and quality of pets I already own, especially via mousing over the minimap icon.