Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dailys can be Dangerous

I have always been somewhat of a Daily Quest fanatic since their induction to the game in Burning Crusade. Being a fairly active person I liked the idea of questing even at level cap and I found playing the auction house, while profitable, rather boring. The only problem was that with the old system, the daily quests never changed. You would do the same ones over and over again until it got to the point of going into auto pilot, knocking off the limit in less than 30 minutes and remembering little to nothing of the experience. Cata's daily system has changed that to a certain degree. While some quests never change, they did add a little variety to certain zones, with some daily quests only appearing randomly, or having them generally change each day like the cooking and fishing daily did in Wrath.

There are also a plethora of zones which contain daily quests so you can easily reach the limit of 25 without doing the same daily quest hubs every day. Only the Twilight Highland's quests are annoyingly repetitive but since you can also gain reputation with those necessary factions via use of the tabards they can be skipped. The "Wack a Pygmy" quest in Uldum is one that I will do just for the chuckles and I can't imagine ever getting old.

Tol Barad has become my new favorite daily quest zone. Why? Because doing the dailys there are a challenge every time. Unlike the Wintergrasp daily quests they don't have to be done while pvp or during the Battle Ground situation. However the mobs that litter these two islands are no joke, some of them hit quite hard and respawn rapidly. For a new 85 (as you can't enter the zone until then) they can even become overwhelming. With 34 different quests to cycle through are is always variety and the items they have available are useful for more than just pvping, including but not limited to a pet and two mounts, a flying and a land. One of the most frequent complaints I hear about Tol Barad is that you CAN NOT fly there. Personally this is one of the things I LOVE about the Islands, it brings us back to the basics of remembering how to move around without the advantages flying gives us. Everything is hostile and attacks come from all directions, threat in a questing zone is not something we have had to deal with for a LONG time. I find it refreshing.

There is one other random thing that has added an element of spice to the daily quest grind. Deathwing and his sporadic visits.  Now I made the mistake of complaining that the first of my toons to get the "Stood in the fire" achievement was an alt. Then when Daraia got hit I was afk and missed it completely. Apparently Deathwing heard me mouthing off, because since then I have been hit FOUR TIMES while trying to do my daily quests, if he keeps this up I am going to be VERY grateful for my guild perk which reduces durability damage.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A case for Pickpocketing

 For years I have been advocating for rogues to pick pocket as a way to level their lock picking with out having to wander all over Azeroth looking for boxes, however with the recent changes to lock picking effort is no longer required. So why bother taking the time to riffle through those humanoid pockets? It is only a few silver after all right? Wrong. If you are not one of the sticky fingered set who can't seem to stop the compulsion to see what that mob or boss just may be hiding you may be missing out on some really nice goodies added this expansion.

Flame-Scarred Junkbox is our newest pick pocked locked box, it is what you can sometimes find in these boxes that may be of the most interest to us. I will try to cover the vast majority of them but Blizzard has granted us an unexpected treasure trove you shouldn't miss.

Three epic weapons, all of which are good for us. They have about a 1% drop rate, so it isn't going to be every day you will find one, but they are all BoE. The Spinerender is a throwing weapon, The Twilight Blade is a nice slow dagger, and the Krol Decapitatior is the upgraded version of the Knol Cleaver we saw back in Wrath.

As before you will occasionally find trade supplies such as uncut rare quality gems. You will also find some Inscription supplies which otherwise can only be obtained via limited supply off select vendors. Deathwing Scale Fragments, Bleached Jawbones, Silver Charm Bracelets, and Perserved Ogre Eyes are all used by Scribes to create blue level items at the higher end of Inscription and will fetch you a nice price on the Auction house. These aren't the best trade items however. Located ONLY through pick pocketing are the Polished Bronze Rivets. ANYONE wishing to have a Tailor craft him a High Society Top Hat is going to need 8 of these babies. While the location of the actually recipe is still unknown start stock piling these if you get them because they will be worth their weight in gold shortly.

I can hear you now, well ok Dar, I can see the money making opportunities your presenting but those are still few and far between. What about all the other pockets I have to go through trying to GET those? Fear not. Today's high level rogues will find more than just empty wallets. There will always be the prerequisite few silver but they have also added another item which is just for us. Rogue's Draught is a BoP Health pot. This means not having to fork out cash to your local Alchemist for Mythical Healing Potions. Now we have always had the chance of getting healing pots from pick pocketing. These however are the only ones that have been designed specifically for us and with the recent changes in Cata where mobs are no longer dropping them VERY useful to have.

There is one other thing to consider in regards to pickpocketing. At present gear levels Crowd Control has returned and a great many rogues are out of practice in placing saps. Some have never done it before period. Pickpocketing is a great way to practice outside of a raid or instance situation. Personally I found my saps to be one of the more consistent forms of CC in my guild runs as while glyphed they can last almost 3 minutes usually allowing us time to kill a full pull before getting to the sapped one. Practice placing saps without all the advantages of Subtlety spec. Those who farm places like Grim Batol or the Fractured Front in Deepholm specifically for boxes will highly advocate for using Subtlety, and it does make box farming easier, but all specs should know how to sap with out relying on Subtlety's extra advantages.

There are lots of macros out there you can use to assist you in pick pocketing, for those who are concerned about mobs noticing you with your hand in their pockets there is the following:

/cast Sap
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Ambush

A popular one I have seen credited to Lilyn  for those who just want to farm but not kill anything is:

#showtooltip Pick Pocket
/console targetNearestDistance 5
/targetenemy [noharm][dead]
/cast Pick Pocket

So is it really worth losing a minor slot just to pick up the Pick Pocket glyph? That is a totally personal choice but I try to have a least one spec with it. Then again I have always had sticky fingers and the ability to pick a pocket from the same distance I can place a sap appeals to me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Sadly it wasn't on Dar but on one of my alts. I did manage to pull myself together enough to get a screen shot. It happens so fast that you really don't get a chance to do much more than realize that your screen is going red, Deathwing is coming, he is unbelievably huge and BOOM your dead. So far I know only two others that have gotten hit. One, my mount farming partner, logged onto his Hunter in the Plaguelands to get one of the new pets and got it, not even realizing what happened, it was only the achievement popping up in Guild Chat that told the rest of us. Then later he missed out on getting it AGAIN on another alt by walking into a building, our healing lead who he was questing with got it because SHE was standing out side the building.

I will admit, the aftermath is pretty amazing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Know Your Rogue Lore: Lilian Voss

As a newly arisen Forsaken you encounter a young woman by the name of Lilian Voss. Like you she has recently been resurrected into the life of the walking undead, however she is not adjusting well. The Forsaken have a fairly simple philosophy about the recently awakened, you either serve Sylvanas or you die permanently. They give you the illusion of choice but that is the sum of your options. They will grant you some time to come to grips with this if they feel there is potential for you to come around to their way of thinking. It is this "give her time" path that is left open for Lilian and leads to all sorts of interesting encounters.

Lilian Voss is no ordinary corpse. To be perfectly honest she doesn't really have a classification other than "undead" but there are a few things that lead me to place her in the "rogue" family, not the least of which being that when she first runs off you find her hiding out behind the rogue trainer or displaying our trade mark skill "stealth".  A Scarlet Crusader in life, her father is an area ranking priest who groomed her to be a weapon against the undead. Unfortunately with her recent transformation her usefulness to him has reached its end. Lilian finds herself torn between the life she once lead and one she now finds herself presented with.

The Scarlet Crusade is very aware of what Lilian is capable of. When Lilian attempts to contact her father, thinking he will protect her, she instead discovers that despite who she was in life,  the Scarlet Crusade holds true to its ideals. Her Father orders her execution at the hands of her one time friend. Declared a "witch" along with all the usual foul names they bestow upon the Forsaken, she escapes, bewildered and enraged.

It is when faced with second death that Lilian's true nature emerges. Lilian's education while living was very well rounded. Not only was she trained in the traditional assassin arts of stealth, weaponry, and martial arts but also sorcery.  When you first stumble across some of Lilian's handy work it is the evidence of this added element that grabs your attention. All of Lilian's kills glow with purple fire. The Forsaken generally prefer that corpses remain in one piece, (spare body parts or future Forsaken you understand) so this could be a problem. However Lilian demonstrates that while this is her preferred method of disposing of people, she can show profound creativity, as displayed with Captain Sanders, who she suspends by one foot at the outskirts of his camp.

When you encounter Lilian for the final time at Captain Sander's corpse she lets you know that she could easily dispose of you just as she has all the others but instead she is going to allow you to help her obtain her revenge. Her father High Priest Voss, is hiding surrounded by flunkies in his tower to the west of Scarlet Monastery. For creating a killer, rejecting her in her hour of need, then ordering her death, Voss must now reap the rewards. You need only to escort Lilian there. As a rogue this is of course incredibly easy, you can both stealth by every thing, however as any other class you will also find it rather simple as Lilian will quickly dispatch the Scarlet Guards in the area. (It reminded me a bit of the scene in Blind where the Rogue was entering Stormwind Keep, not quite that quick but impressive for a level 10.) Once you get to the tower don't let Lilian out of your sight because she quickly gets to the matter at hand, confronting her Father, if you blink, you will miss it.

After delivering her final embrace Lilian disappears, but her mark remains on those who have encountered her. As High Executor Derrington remarks "With power like hers, we could do incredible things." Lets explore that for a moment. The Deathstalkers are in shambles after Varimathras' betrayal of Sylvanas, many question their loyalty, constantly looking over their shoulders. Now lets say they manged to bring into their ranks a recruit like Lilian and adopted her methods? Sylvanas right now is fighting a war on two fronts not just literally with the Alliance but also within the Horde and their perceptions of  the Forsaken. At the moment she is winning the physical war as she bolsters her troop numbers from the deceased, making the Horde despite themselves dependent on her.  If Sylvanas can also rebuild her feared Assassins into something even MORE than they were before...the Hour of the Forsaken could indeed be at hand.