Monday, 27 September 2010

Ouch! 600 Triumph for some blue gloves?

MMO Champion have the Justice and Valor points cost of some new items, and although we can indeed farm Triumph now to get a nice Justice point stockpile come 4.0.1, the cost of the dungeon blues you will be able to buy for Justice come Cataclysm is sobering.

From the MMOC screen shot, item level 346 gloves seem to cost 1650 Justice and the chest items cost 2200. Given the 2.75 exchange rate for Triumph and Frost, that is 600 Triumph/Frost for gloves, or 800 for a chest.

Your 4000 capped Justice points will then get you one chest piece and some gloves, maybe some other item instead of the gloves. Or if you converted the 1454 Triumph to Conquest before patch 4.0.1, 8000 gold.

I'll be taking the gold in any case. This does raise the question of how much Justice is awarded for a heroic boss kill. If the current 50 Triumph for something like Nobundo's Chestguard of Triumph is a reasonable number, then if bosses dropped 2200/50 = 44 Justice points we would have a similar grind in Cataclysm heroics as we do now. Apart from them being much harder.

Update: Consider This has posted you get 75 Justice per heroic boss at the moment, so that's an improvement over the current rates.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

How to get into the WoW Beta

Having failed to get myself into the Cataclysm beta, despite some half-hearted attempts, I thought it would be fun to make a list of how you might want to go about it for the next beta. None of these are warrantied and indeed may fail.

Go to Blizzcon or the Worldwide Invitational
For the last 2 Blizzcons and in the last Paris WWI, attendees have been given a beta code card which gets them into a Blizzard beta of their choice. Some of my friends attended the Paris WWI and one used their code for the Wrath beta. The other friend kept their code and could have used it to get into Cataclysm or Starcraft 2.

Will this trend continue? There is no reason to suspect Blizzard will stop handing out these code cards, so attending Blizzcon/WWI seems like a safe bet to get some beta action.

Be on a fansite
Now we have all seen how WoW Insider becomes flooded with beta news the second the Alpha ends, many of the staffers seem to get beta invites. Now quite how they get these remains to be seen, certainly Blizzard will hand them out to "press" to ensure they generate a fair amount of hype, although personal contacts from Blizzcon and the like may also play a part here.

I know of some WoW Insider writers who do not have Beta access, so this tactic may not always work. Still, I would hope those on an "official" WoW fansite (the ones in the Blizzard program) would get Beta access.

Write a blog / EJ posts / Blizzard forum posts
So if Blizzard are selecting people to participate, they will in theory want some well informed players. Several of those in the WoW community who are renounded for being knowledgeable are in the Beta, it only stands to reason Blizz will want the likes of Rouncer and BigRedKitty to feedback on how their classes are playing. These people are well known because they might post on EJ and be an authority, or the official forums, or run well known blogs.

For us less well known people who might not have particular expertise but just post things, I am not so sure. It isn't like the vast number of blogs I read have suddenly all got into the beta, I suspect most invites are a result of the random selection process Blizzard do.

So if you are well known in the community I reckon you increase your chances. If not, they are probably the same as anyone else who checks the Cataclysm opt-in.

Know someone in Blizzard
Now the way to get into the Friends and Family Alpha, apart from being BigRedKitty, is to actually be a friend or family member of someone at Blizzard. From the GMs to Ghostcrawler, knowing any of these people will likely get you access to the F&F Alpha, because Blizzard staff can add their friends and family to a list of battle net accounts to be admitted into the Alpha.

From what I know of it, anyone in the Alpha gets access to the Beta. So get chummy with those Blizzard employees at Blizzcon!

Apply via battle net
The second least likely way to get in (apart from not applying of course), you can just check the opt-in on battle net. No further discussion needed really.

Write a (non-trivial) mod and post it on
Finally the route I might try for the next beta. If you have a WoW mod hosted on, and it is non-trivial in such that it is not "hello world" or something like that, you can now apply to get beta access for the purposes of testing and recoding your mod to work. You can also upload the mod to a special Cataclysm section where other beta people can try it.

Wowinterface also did this offer for the Wrath beta, although you didn't get in right at the start of the beta, and Blizz didn't enable 3rd party mods until fairly late in the Cataclysm beta. Still this is pretty much a guaranteed way to get in for some beta action.

My own guide for Tourguide was not sufficiently "complex" enough to qualify me for entry to the beta, so I think you need to code a stand alone mod for something or another, most likely not a mod which relies on another one to do its work and not a plug-in for another mod. Still there is plenty of time until the next expansion, and I have a few ideas about mods I could write to make my WoW life a little easier.

But I didn't get in!
So you didn't get into the Cataclysm beta, despite coding 4 mods, being a writer for and knowing Greg Street's cat personally. Well, that's ok. While others have been playing around in the beta, I've taken the time to level and gear some alts, continue to raid and instance and try my hand at some gold making using my professions. I am now in a good position to start the expansion, a far better position than if I had been using all my play time in the Cataclysm beta. I suggest anyone who didn't get in also takes the opportunity to get their Wrath house in order before the world is sundered. As it were.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Badgers to Gold and Justice conversion

So it seems our old currency is for the chop when 4.0.1 goes live, no longer will I be able to look at my Badge of Justice count to fondly recollect those glory days of Karazhan. Details are:
The following items are immediately converted to gold:

* Emblem of Heroism = 5.5 gold each
* Emblem of Valor = 5.5 gold each
* Emblem of Conquest = 5.5 gold each
* Badge of Justice = 1.833 gold each

Your New Honor Points total will be the sum of the following amounts:

* Old Honor * 0.024
* Old Arena Points * 0.85
* Battleground Mark of Honor * 2.976
* Wintergrasp Mark of Honor * 19.08
* Stone Keeper Shard * 1.6
* Venture Coin * 3
* Spirit Shard * 1

Your Justice Points total will be equal to (Emblems of Triumph + Emblems of Frost ) * 2.75

Again, the softcap for both Honor and Justice conversions is 4000 points. This means that if a character converts to above 4,000 points, it will not be possible for them to earn more until they fall below the 4,000 cap.

A hardcap will be implemented in a following patch before Cataclysm's release. At that time, any excess points above 4,000 will be converted as follows:

* Honor points above 4,000 are converted to gold at a rate of 35 silver per point of Honor.
* Justice points above 4,000 are converted to gold at a rate of 2 gold per point of Justice

Some interesting facts about these numbers:

The cap of 4000 Justice points is 1454 Emblems of Triumph + Frost, which is quite high and I am not likely to be falling foul of said cap. Now you could convert any excess into Valor and get 5.5 gold per Valoe, however you can also buy various BoE bracers for Valor and if you can flog them for 1k, make 16 gold per Valor.

What is interesting is people are currently buying Cardinal Rubies and the like for 20 and 10 Emblems of Heroism and selling them on the AH. Given the emblems are now worth 5.5 gold each, that means a Cardinal Ruby or King's Amber has to sell for a minimum of 110 gold before you are making a profit (over just waiting for 4.0.1), and Ametrine, Dreadstone and Eye of Zul need to sell for 55 gold. I am not sure Cardinal Rubies do sell for 110 gold on Aszune, so it may be worth just converting Triumph and holding onto the Conquest.

What Blizzard haven't said is what is available when Cataclysm launches for Justice points. These are the lower tier points and it may be that there are no level 85 epics available for them, so they only become useful when the second level of Cataclysm raiding is launched. In the original announcement it did not say you lose your lower tier points, so keeping Justice points could be a good way of preparing for the second tier of Cataclysm raiding now. Having said that, the first tier of raids were easy enough in Wrath that we were all geared out by the time the second tier appeared, so it is tempting to cash in come 4.0.1.

The old PvP honor cap of 75k works out to be 1800 Honor points, given the new cap is 4000, Blizzard are effectively increasing the honor cap by more than twice.

One WG mark of honor will get you 19.08 Honor points. At the moment on live 9 marks will get you a Commendation which then gets 2000 PvP honor, 222 honor per mark. In the new system 222 PvP honor is only 5.6 Honor points, so best hold on to those WG marks.

One Stone Keeper Shard is worth 1.6 honor points. Again 30 will buy a WG commendation and 2000 PvP honor, 66 honor per shard, which in the new currency is suspiciously 1.6 Honor points.

Finally once the hard cap is added, Justice points above the cap will get you 2 gold per point, which works out at 5.5 gold per Triumph or Frost, the same rate you will get in 4.0.1 for lower Emblems. So there is no harm in waiting if you somehow have over 1454 Emblems of Triumph, but if you have less and want some quick (but not very much gold), trade those useless Triumph down to Conquest and wait.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Glyphage have a full list of the "final" glyphs for Shamans in this Cataclysm beta I keep on hearing about. Seems we will have 3 per type, and they can be swapped but with a cool down which may be one hour, not sure if that is per type of glyph, for all glyphs, or just for that particular glyph. I would hope it's for that particular glyph.

Here is the list for Shamans:


  • Earth Shield - Increases amount healed by 20%
  • Earthliving Weapon - Increases periodic heal effect by 20%
  • Feral Spirit - Gains an additional 30% of attack power
  • Fire Elemental - Reduces cooldown by 5m
  • Flame Shock - Increases duration by 50%
  • Flametongue Weapon - Increases spell crit chance by 2%
  • Lava Burst - 10% more damage
  • Lava Lash - 20% more damage
  • Lightning Bolt - 4% more damage
  • Riptide - Increases duration by 40%
  • Stormstrike - Increases bonus Nature damage by 8%
  • Water Shield - Increases passive mana regen by 50%
  • Windfury Weapon - Increases proc chance per swing by 2%

Some of these seem like solid choices and others will depend on the relative damage of certain spells, like moar Lava Lash, or moar Lightning Bolt? Glyph of WF, SS look like good bets for Enhancement and then its between Feral Spirit, LL and LB. Maybe even LvB if Maelstrom Weapon is affecting LvB.

Are these Prime glyphs necessary? Maybe on some fights you would want 5 mins less on Fire Elemental and maybe on others you would want more Wolves damage, I'm not sure I will bother swapping them around especially given the frequency we attempt one boss then fall back to another, entirely different boss when we fail, and thus require new "optimal" glyphs.


  • Chain Heal - Increases healing on secondary targets by 15%, reduces healing on main target by 10%
  • Chain Lightning - Strikes 2 additional targets, deals 10% less initial damage
  • Elemental Mastery - While active, take 20% less damage
  • Fire Nova - Increases radius by 5 yards
  • Frost Shock - Increases duration by 2s
  • Ghost Wolf - Additional 10% movement speed
  • Grounding Totem - Reflects instead of absorbs spells, but cooldown increased by 45s
  • Healing Stream Totem - Increases Fire, Frost, Nature resistance
  • Healing Wave - When healing someone else, you also receive 20% of the healing done
  • Hex - Reduces cooldown by 15s
  • Lightning Shield - Can no longer lose charges to attackers when at 3 or less
  • Shamanistic Rage - Activating cleanses you of all Magic debuffs
  • Shocking - GCD of Shock spells reduced to 1s
  • Stoneclaw Totem - Grants an absorb shield equal to 4x the totem shield
  • Thunder - Reduces Thunderstorm cooldown by 10s
  • Totemic Recall - Refunds an additional 50% of the mana cost of recalled totems (Totemic Recall baseline refunds 25% of the cost)

Major Fire Nova looks worthwhile, especially given how bad I am at positioning Magma Totem, I mean at predicting that the tank will move the bloody mob away from my carefully positioned Magma Totem.
Lightning Shield I will be getting, no more wasting GCDs recasting the shield during combat.
Then erm... glyph of Hex I guess will be useful so we can actually crowd control humanoids in instances and frog them if they break early. Don't forget Shamans get a sort of Banish spell called Bind Elemental in Cataclysm and they don't appear to be exclusive, so we may be quite busy CCing stuff.
Totemic Recall might be handy for general mana conservation, I am careful to always recall my totems.


  • Arctic Wolf - Your Ghost Wolf form looks like an arctic wolf
  • Black Wolf - Your Ghost Wolf form looks like a black wolf
  • Astral Recall - Reduces cooldown by 7.5m
  • Renewed Life - Reincarnation no longer needs a reagent
  • Thunderstorm - Additional 2% mana gained, no knockback
  • Water Breathing - No longer requires a reagent
  • Water Walking - No longer requires a reagent

I can't believe this is the final minor list, where is the glyph of Ghost Wolf form restores health? Anyway a new wolf colour sounds interesting although the image on MMO Champion are underwhelming. Also these glyphs are the same as the Wrath ones, with the exception of the wolf colour ones.

All in all, the list looks ok but hardly exciting. I wonder where these Prime glyphs are going to come from, and whether our existing major ones will convert auto-magically.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Cataclysm Collector's Edition

It's finally available for pre-order in the UK, from among others and Game, but not Amazon. The cheapest I have found it is £54.99 at Game (or to mention another).

Now given the basic Cataclysm is currently cheapest from Amazon at £17.91, why would anyone pay an extra £37.08 for the Collector's Edition?

You get a behind-the-scenes DVD which sounds fairly interesting, with let's hope a Ghostcrawler interview and an answer to why they didn't damn well make instant ghost wolf baseline.

A game soundtrack CD? I don't have the music turned on anyway, so meh. An awesome art book? If I had a coffee table I could make good use of it, but sadly cups of hot liquid must be kept away from the floor due to house creatures.

Some sweet TCG cards and rule book? There is a slim chance of some phat epic loot which can be used to pose in Dalaran (or ebayed), but the actual cards are likely to stay mint-in-sealed-bag.

Cataclysm mouse pad? This looks pretty cool and might give an ageing mouse mat the heave-ho.

Lil' Deathwing in-game pet... now we are talking. This guy looks pretty cute and although I have a lot of pets already, I'll be happy to take him along for the ride. Especially if I can have him out when we kill Deathwing himself. We are going to kill Deathwing, right?

Chance of game code mess-up, resulting in a free Murloc in-game pet? I never got The Burning Crusade CE, so when Blizzard screwed up the in-game pet and offered a free Lurky as a reward, I didn't get one. And I want one. So apart from attending a virtual Blizzcon just for the pet, which is inconveniently on a Friday evening and the weekend when I do family things (also all on YouTube for free), this is my best bet. That, or praying for a Murloc in the Diablo 3 CE.

Ultimately I play WoW a silly amount, so I figure I'll get the big shiny box. I'm still not totally convinced tho, especially given the massive premium it carries over the regular Cataclysm.

So to CE or not to CE, that is the question I pose for you reading this. Yes, you<-- :)
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