Saturday, May 30, 2009

WTC Darkmoon Deck : Greatness

Last week, I finally leveled Pathak to 80, and I'm a little bit burnt out from it. Thats my 4th toon to 80, and I cant bear the thought if leveling another one, let alone, another six.

So, I decided to look at what I could do to get a bit more performance out of Col. Besides reaching a hit cap for mobs that are relevant to Cols progression (lvl82 elites), I turned my eye to Darkmoon Cards.

By far, the best Darkmoon Deck for Ret Pallies is the Greatness set with the +str flavour.

So I decided to embark on a journey of discovery, gathering and crafting.

Lucky for me, I have quite a few alts and some secondary goals, such as earning 6K per toon that doesnt yet have artisan flying and cold weather flying (and thats 5 toons remaining).

I had a look around at how many cards I'd need to produce to get a full Greatness set. Wowhead had some interesting comments, with one comment listing a simulation program that surmised it would take 87 cards to produce 1 full set. However, there's no guarantee that it would result in a particular set. Another chap went to the hard effort of recording the findings from 100 cards, and managed to generate 2 full sets, and miss out on the other 2 by two cards.

Now, producing 100 cards is no small efforts. Its a rather large elephant to eat, and one must do it the only way there is... one spoonful at a time.

There are "shortcuts" I could take, but the thought if grinding for cash to buy a complete set is as appealing as the furby grind in vanilla WoW (and I've already done that once, and dont wish to do it again).

So, here's how I'm going about doing it.

The cast of my production consists of the follow characters:

  • Nevynoch, lvl70, Hunter, Inscription and Herbing. Nevy is my scribe, and will be producing the cards. He wont be doing any gathering.
  • Hinny, lvl80, Deathknight, Herbing and Mining. Hinny is my gatherer, and will be doing all the ground work. She's spec'ed Unholy with On a Pale Horse, and flies as swift as a Pally with Crusader Aura.
  • Chivers, lvl70, Mage, Tailoring and Elixir Master. Chivers is going to do useful things with the Frost Lotus we find, and make us a bit of extra cash.
  • Colerejuste, lvl80, Pally, Miner and JC. Col is going to do useful things with an Saronite we should happen across. I've got a tertiary goal of collecting from gems to make a Magnificent Flying Carpet for Grizzlyadam, who has the artisan flying skill, but no swift mount.
  • Grizzlyadam, lvl80, Tailoring and Transmute Master. GA is going to do a transmutes to make extra Eternal Life, and collect Crystals that Hinny should find in her travels.
Lets take a look at what is required to make a Darkmoon Card of the North. The key ingredients are the 6 Snowfall Inks and the 3 Eternals Lifes.

To produce the 6 Snowfall Inks, you'll need 12 Icy Pigments, and to get Icy Pigments, you'll need to mill Ice Thorn, Lichbloom, and to some extent, Deadnettle. According to one of the addons I have (it may be Enchantrix), a single mill of Ice Thorn or Lichbloom should yeild 50% Icy Pigment and 300% Azure Pigment. Milling of Deadnettle is only supposed to yeild half the amount. Therefore, you should only need 3 stacks of herbs to hit the required number of pigments. However, it may take up to 6 stacks to get that amount, occasionally.

If you dont have the required number of Eternal Lifes, you'll probably collect a bunch as you herb, and chances are you'll have more than 6 stacks of herbs by the time you gather 3 Eternal Lifes.

So the first job is to grind for herbs. Out goes Hinny, doing her thing across Storm Peaks, arguably the best place to gather Ice Thorn and Lichbloom. To make this a little easier, you'd best run Gatherer or something similar, and have the HUD enabled. I'd also got the minimap overlay enabled, but I'm thinking of disabling that, since looking at herbs and ore nodes can get a little busy. Hinny also have a macro to swap between Find Herbs and Find Minerals (uses /castsequence).

Hinny gathers until she's got the 3 Eternals Lifes, or 6 stacks of herbs, whatever comes last. If Hinny comes across a place where Titanium is known to appear, or where there is more ore than herb nodes, she'll invoke the macro to find ore instead. Leave nothing ungatherer. Then its back to base for mailing.

Hinny will send all the herbs and Frost Lotus to Chivers. All the Saronite ore is sent to Col. All Eternal Lifes are sent to Nevy. All the Cobalt is sent to Dubh. Hinny keeps the Eternal Fire, Earth and Shadow for the Titansteel cooldown. The remaining Eternals are sent to Grizzlyadam for transmutes. Currently, Chivers is still discovering the Eternal transmutes, via Saronite to Titanium, otherwise I'd send some to him as well, since I dont seem to get transmute procs off GA for Eternals.

The next stop is Chivers. He's going to produce Flasks with the Frost Lotus that was gathered, and put them on the AH. You could just sell the Frost Lotus (goes for about 48g on Malygos, where as the Flasks go for 23g), however, if he gets a proc or two, its all profit. Given the abundant availability of Pygmy Suckerfish, I find it more efficient to produce Flask of Pure Mojo, since it only required 7 Icethorn, saving more herbs for milling.

Once the flasks are produce, send them to your bank alt, or put them on the AH. Dubh is currenly my bank alt. And send the remaining herbs to your Scribe.

Nevy collects all the herbs and Eternal Lifes from the mail box, and mills all the herbs. Hopefully, he gets at least 12 Icy Pigments. Now convert all the milled herbs into Inks (Snowfall Ink and Ink of the Sea). You should have more than enough Ink of the Sea to get the job done. So now make your Darkmoon Card of the North. Hopefully, you got a Noble card. They sell also better than they others, but thats not why we're here. We're saving them for the collection.

Now, you'll probably have a whole bunch of Ink of the Sea left, so what to do... Armor and weapon vellums! Cheap to produce, that can help with your enchanting alt, so you dont have to waste them, or sell them on the AH. In fact, you'll probably have enough for both activities.

Send the card and vellums to you bank alt.

If you need to, visit your transmute master and try get an eternal life from whatever else you will have collected. Thats one less eternal life you need for the next run.

The visit your JC to do prospect your Saronite. Keep or send to your bank alt whatever gems you think you'll keep or not need (or that sell well). For example, I'd keep Forest Emeralds until I have a stack, since they dont sell for much, but Scarlet Rubies are a sure thing and can get a high return on the AH.

And now its time to visit your bank alt. You'll be putting Flasks, gems, cobalt, and vellums on the AH. Hopefully, you'll make about 300g from the haul, maybe more if you've put in a double shift. Save your darkmoon cards. Maybe put duplicates on the AH for extra cash. It all depends on how many sets you want to make, and what types you want.

Now go have a break, and do it all over again. And keep doing it.

So far, the method seems to work for me. I've made 1K gold over two days, which I'm fairly happy with.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hit Cap for Col

Col has been running Heroics for a while now, and he's my only toon that I tend to do that with.  Hinny is too fresh off the boat, and Grizzlyadam hasn't even bother specing since the last talent wipe (though I am considering  Discipline/Shadow dual specs for him).

Cols DPS is fair.  Its not fantastic, but he's usually at the 2K DPS mark by the end of the run, if not a little bit higher.  Col has never stepped into a raid, and is likely never to do so in the future.  I just don't have the time for it.  So for the gear he has, and the group he runs with, Col is pulling his weight.

Though I'd like just a little bit more.

So this morning, I took another look at his Hit rating, and what he would need to do to achieve his Hit Cap, without hurting his overall DPS too much.

I've read lots of articles that say the Hit Cap is all, and that it should be reached first, before stacking on whatever the primary stat is after Hit.  Col is a Ret Pally (save the lols for later), so his primary stat is Strength.  I know that dead DPS = no DPS, and a missed hit is also no DPS, but for some reason, sacrificing a whole bunch of Str, just to get Hit has never sat right.

But now Col is at a point where he can fine tune.  

With his current gear, Col has a hit rating of 154.  At lvl80, that's a Hit% of 4.69%.  Col is also a Draenei, so he gets an addition 1% Hit from Heroic Presence.  

Since he's never going to step into a raid, he doesn't need the hit rating required against boss levels, which is 8% (or 262.32 hit rating).  Since he's only stepping into heroics, he only needs to step up for lvl82 elites.  Normally, the Hit required for this would be 6%, but since Col has Heroic Presence, he only needs 5% (or 163.95 hit rating).

So, all Col needs is 10 hit rating points.

Col currently sources his 98 hit rating from gear (Gauntlets of Dragon Wrath, Spiked Titansteel Helm), and the remainder from gems, socket bonuses and the Icewalker enchant.

The easy way would be to replace his +6str/+6hit gem in his shoulders to +16hit. But with the resources I have available to me, I can do better.

With the help of RAWR, and Wowhead, I worked out I could replace my Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver with a Titansteel Destroyer for an extra +54 hit rating.  This would free up the remaining gem slots that have been used for +hit to be filled with +str, sweet +str.

And by my calculations, that would net Col an extra 124 +str, and a slight loss in agi, because of the weapon change.  However, its a theoretical increase in DPS overall.

I guess the next thing I probably want to look at is the benefit of Expertise vs Strength.  Whilst the Hit rating takes care of missing a hit, Expertise takes care of preventing a dodge or parry.  Since I should only be attacking from behind, I'd only need to concern myself with dodge.  The tricky part would be determining if Col would benefit from an increase in Expertise over a decrease in Strength, over a period of time.  But I think that's a musing for another time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Toon Update

Time for another toon update, given a bit of leveling has happened since the last one.

Here is the current state of play:
  • Znakharka, 62
  • Dubh, 63
  • Chivers and Nevynoch, 70
  • Bojsen, 71
  • Fidgette, 74
  • Pathak, 78
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste and Hinny, 80
So, I finally got Hinny up to 80, and have since dropped her skinning and taken up herbing.  This has been great to have a herber and miner on the one character, and have her spec to be moving at the same speed as Col with his Crusader Aura up.

Once I got Pathak up to 77, and then spec'd Hinny into herbing as well, GA has managed to max his Alchemy, and Chivers is well on his way to maxing his.  I also decided to level Boj next, instead of Chivers, so that I can get Ebonweave production started for Glacial Bags (22 slot).  Leveling Boj will also help getting his enchanting up.

The next move is to get Pathak up to 80, to free up some of his bag space (as previously mentioned).  He's completed the intro to the Sons of Hodir quest line to the point of having the dailies available, but I'll finish off the remaining Thorim quest line until Loken does the nasty to him.  After that, Pathak will move to Ice Crown and complete the Shadow Vault quest lines until the Ebon Blade dailes have opened up, and then it will be back to Grizzly Hills and Zul Drak for the Ebon Blade quests there.  That should be enough to get him to lvl 80.  Gotta love those Bind to Account shoulders.

After that, current plans are to level Fidgette, Bojsen and Nevynoch, followed by Chivers, Dubh and Znakharka.

Blogging toon progress

Recently, migrated to a newer site called, and they've introduced some nice features like toon blogging.

Given that I've been doing that for a while, though not regularly, I figured I might step up, and try to make regular weekly updates of what I've been up to, and whatever direction I've decided to take this week.

Also, I have regular WoW Pow-wows with a friend.  On our server, he's known as Teg, and has a general Teg theme to all of his alts names (Tegmark, Teglass, Tegasaur, Tegwraith, etc).  Alot of these emails have alot more info about what I'm actually up to, than my blog posts, so I'll be making an effort to post a few of those up as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Teg Conv: Duel Spec and leveling

I've been thinking about dual specing Col into Holy, and get back into something challenging again, though play time has been a bit stunted after the large number of hours put in last weekend.

I had a relaxing night, last night, doing a bit of herb collection to get GA to 450 alchemy, and getting my Northrend Alchemy Research for Chivers.  I dont think I'll bother doing the full range of discovery flasks for GA, since Chivers is the Elixir master. I'm about 3 days from getting Chivers to 425, which will open up a few Transmutes to get him up to creating Flasks.  Transmute: Titanium is what I have to use to get Chivers there, so its going to be a slow one.

And whatever excess herbs I have left, I'm giving them to Chivers to put into his 32 slot herb bag, and once he has enough, they'll be going on the AH.  I'm not really inspired to do much with Inscription for Nevy.  His bag space is a bit cramped, as it is, without filling it up with Inscription bits.  Maybe I'll progress it to the Weapon and Armor Vellums so Boj has something to do with his chants.

Pathak has finishing his fishing leveling journey to 450, and got his Titanium Seal of Dalaran for collecting all the coins.  Its a pity the top fishing achievement requires Lurker, or I'd try to give it a go.

Will probably try and get Pathak to 80 this weekend, so I can free up the bag space for all of his crafted goodies.