Monopolism: Little Changes - Great Effect

Sometimes little changes in WoW go unnoticed until they hit the crowds. There is no uproar or even bad comments about this small little change: disenchanting items of a certain level now need a certain skill level to do so. So you need skill 225 to disenchant epics.

Whats the deal? First many players had disenchant twinks. They sent all their greens and blues they don't need and aren't soulbound to him to be disenchanted, selling the essences. You only need skill one to do so, in fact you can skill all the way up to 75 by simply disenchanting stuff.

Many power gamers with tons of epic armor sets in their bank are sometimes reskilling an easy to learn skill like herbalism or mining for disenchanting. They clean up their bank, sell the nexus or essences, and reskill to the original. Expensive? Worth it.

Now thats history with the new patch coming in.

What does it mean for gameplay: you need a good enchanter with you on raids, otherwise you loose considerable money for BOP items you don't need. For big raids never a problem, but for random raids? You trust ONE enchanter to keep all the essences and distribute them afterwards? Not me. I can see some bad stories coming up here.

The major point however is this one: the enchanter now controls a monopole. Let me explain: Blacksmiths need ore. So they skill mining and supply themselves, or can buy the supplies from another miner or the auction house, easy.

An Alchemist need herbalism to find the herbs he needs for potions, or someone else does it.

What about Enchanters. They have both in ONE skill. They are the ONLY ones who can make their raw material with the same skill they do the echantments.

This means basically that essences will get VERY expensive as they are the only ones to create them, and control who gets them.

The price will skyrocket. Most essences in the auction house are from disenchant twinks or random raids who sell their essences from their runs. This will be reduced considerably as not all random runs have Enchanters with them. In fact not very many do enchantment anymore as the skill doesn't earn enough money as herbalism or alchemy does. So essences will get rare, prices will skyrocket.

The current price drop in nexus crystals for example is temporary. Its fueled by the Burning Crusade expansion as new enchants are intoduced who no longer need nexus crystals. But see this: when those are being used and supply are short level 60's will need nexus again, and prices will stablize, but at a much higher price than before.

All this could be prevented or made "fair". Let the Enchanter disenchant in the trade window. Of course BLizard never implemented this as it will be abused to its extreme. Thats the primary reason Blizard doesn't allow it. Let me give Blizard a suggestion, free, I won't charge for it :)

Let enchanters create power orbs which have x charges. They can sell those to other players. Orbs have the power to disenchant one item per charge. Orbs can be made with various levels for the item levels in question.

Simple. Effectice, prevents the abuse Blizard fears. But destroys the market value of enchanters.

I made my choice. I am skilling my enchanter now. I want to be part of the monopole. Lets make money with the system ^^


My T1 Item XYZ doesn't drop!

(replace XYZ with any item you are waiting for)

Sereral MC or BWL runs moan about drop rates of certain items. Many classes wait for their T2 legs to drop at Ragnaros or the Priests for their epic quests, or the hunters for theirs. It depends on raid and is totally different for each which items or set items they are waiting for.

Common in these raids are the fixed raidleaders and loot masters, ie. they are usually the same person.

I will leave theory behind this on the side because it would be too technical and boring, but fact is that changing the raidleader and lootmaster BEFORE ANYONE enters the instance will change the loot composition. It has been tested and proven by some guilds. You can't predict loot this way, thats not possible, but you can increase the random factor.

So if you are in one of those raids where certain items never drop simply do this:
Load the person you want to be the loot list initiator (lets call him LLi) first, give him lead and he should give himself the loot master. Give the raidleader an (a) to allow him loading the rest of the raid.

Stay with the loot master until the first boss kill. After that he can give back the lead and loot master to the real raidleader.

Change this person as often as possible. Remember which person seems to drop the best loots and retest. Let him be that LLi for three runs and see if thats consistent.

You don't believe this? Let me give you some examples.

We only have seen the hunter epic quest item (the leaf) in Major Domus chest for a long time. Priests were pretty demoralized by this. So we changed the LLi and the priest epic quest got back to its normal 50/50 chance and all our priests now got their nice epic staff now.

The hunters never ever saw their T1 helmet drop, only ONCE in over 20 MC runs. We changed to another LLi and we got lucky: he pulled out the hunter T1 helmet from Garr. Everytime this one person is the LLi we get a high chance for hunter items (and some other classes, but the rareness of the hunter items was obvious).

We have one mage as LLi. Everytime he is raidlead and loot master we get a much higher percentage on random T1 drops than any run before. We usually found none, one or two. When he is the LLi we find 5-8 on every run. Our guild bank is pretty rich now because it allows us to sell those excess items as most classes now got their non bound T1 items full.

Before you dish this article as "can't be true" please try it yourself. As I said its IMPORTANT that the LLi is loaded first and enters, if possible, the instance first. If you are interested in details why this is happening let me know and I can post an article about the theory behind this.


Burning Crusade - Bad Design?

As mentioned earlier I play Burning Crusade (BC), the expansion of World of Warcraft, since alpha. I play it with mixed feelings, not only because I have to do it all over again when it launches (all my data will be erased), but because I feel it has design flaws.

An expansion should expand the universe it needs to tie into the existing world. It needs to expand on concepts which where successful in the first one. Currently when I play BC I have the feeling of playing 2 games in one, separated, not even joined.

It starts with the fact that you have to enter BC through a Dark Portal. You are being teleported to it. It continues on the world map: while the two contents where visible on the map and a click apart the new one appears as a separate entitiy outside of the old continents.

And my feeling of separation continues with the details. Let me give one example. If you need resources for your skill (enchanting as an example) you need resources found by disenchanting stuff of the level of the enchantment. No biggy here. In BC you do the same, but if you skill over 300 the "old" reagents you needed are forgotten. You expect you might use the high reagents like nexus crystals for at least some enchantments, but you don't. Its like a cut. Over the skill of 300 you need new ones ONLY found in BC.

What about the guilds who saved their valuable nexus for their enchantments they desparately need to beat the instances? They are now placed like in the middle of nowhere. The effects are already being felt in the old world: nexus prices dropped from like 25g+ down to 15g in the past 2 weeks. They won't be needed anymore as the new enchants are of course better.

Lets take a look at mining. You mine ore and smelt them to metal bars. Many skills need those rare metals to build fantastic weapons and armor. So I expected that the most sought after bars "Elementium bar" will be used for some high end items in BC.

But no. You don't need them at all. You only need rare metals found - you guessed it - in BC exclusively. In case you don't know: to smelt elementium bars you have to gather 10 arkane crystals (another item whic BC doesn't need at all) and smelt the elementium ore -which you can only find as an epic drop inside the Black Wing Lair. On top of that you only learn to smelt elementium by mind controlling a gnome inside BWL. My raid guild collected a lot of these to prepare to build the super powerful weapons.

The whole design of the dependencies was awesome in WoW. If you wear such a sword of power you are a hero. You worked for it, a raid guild worked very hard for it.

When BC comes the awesome weapon becomes a worthless toothpick. Your elementium ore becomes worthless, already dropping in price form 500g down to 120g, and no one wants it.

Why did Blizzard do this? Why at least could some rare materials not being used for BC items? Elementium Ore/Bars, nexus and arcane crystals, all worthless soon? The wealth we worked for so hard is now beaten to death by BC. Is that fair? No it isn't.

Of course there are exceptions, and VERY bad ones too. Dreamfoil is the most expensive herb you can find. It is needed by raid guilds for all sorts of potions they need to beat MC, BWL, AQ40 and Naxx. Replacing it by a new one would make sense right?

No, they did break their rule. Some of the high end potions need dreamfoil still, like the Super Healing Potion. Why did they do this just to dreamfoil and not to the other materials I mentioned?

Ask the designers. I don't know, but somehow they want to create a two class community: the ones with BC and the ones without. The separation will be so intense that people might be forced to buy BC just because otherwise WoW wouldn't be a complete game.

From experience of other expansions of MMOG's (like the original Everquest) Blizzard doesn't need to worry about selling the expansion to their customer base: over 80% will buy it anyway, thats the number each MMOG showed when launching expansions. Hell, there is Guildwars, a game only based around making money with expansions as they don't even charge a monthly fee.

What does this mean for us? Throw out your valuable stuff, sell now. Empty your raid guild bank and sell that crap, it will be worthless 3 month after BC shipped. Who needs a +15 resist enchant (needing 2-3 nexus crystals) anyways if there is a better one someone from BC can do to your item?

Of course there might be another behaviour coming in: as the high end material becomes cheap more players can actually afford those enchants or weapons, armor whatever. We will see.

I personally don't like the separation they put into those new skills. In case you want to check your skill and what material it needs check http://www.thottbot.com, click beta and look up your trade skill on the left. Not all recipes has been found yet, but the glimpse you get will tell you what items will loose value, and which don't.

I wished Blizzard would have tied in everything we worked for so hard into BC in a much better way. Why not leaving Elementium (as an example) in there? For a level 70 guild its easy to beat BWL, so farming it there would be easy and fun. My bet is that BWL will be an empty haunted place soon. Bliz can turn off the BWL servers and no one would notice.

Now they simply cut the world in half. Forget what you needed in WoW, you need all new stuff and we will live in the new Outlands for a long time, as only there you will find what you need to enchant, tailor, cook or whatever you do while waiting for the PvP to tick in.

I can't Wii

I can't wait to hold my Wii in my hands. Yes I admit it, I am a Nintendo fanboy. I own all Nintendo consoles since they exist and love each of them. Some people in the world are luckier than us europeans though. I even drool over the images other people post unpacking the beauty.