Gear Deadzone

Never thought I’d be in this place again, but I spent the weekend chain-running dungeons in WoW.

My for-now main is a Demon Hunter, and I had been relatively satisfied with the ilevel ~290ish gear she had. Mobs scale up with ilevel now, and I’m not doing regular raids, so who cares? The thing is… character progression is nice. Also, I found that there must be breakpoints at which World Quests just refuse to grant higher-level gear. My understanding is that if you are at 290, you should see some 295 gear, presumably until you reach 295, at which point you’ll see 300, and so on. After 3-4 days of WQs, that did not appear to be the case.

Plus, the Alliance Warfront was active this past week, and that apparently hands out 340 gear every 20 minutes you chain-run it, with an extra 370 piece once a cycle. The catch is that you need to have 320 to queue for it. Also, you need 320 to queue for Raid Finder. So, how the hell are you supposed to hit 320?

Chain-run dungeons like a chump, apparently.

The experience has not actually been that bad, at the moment. I queued for some normal dungeons at the beginning, so I could hit the 305 breakpoint to queue for heroic dungeons. That took around two dungeons’ worth of drops. Then I ran about four heroics in a row, with about ~15 minutes of queue times inbetween them. Heroic dungeons drop 325 gear, which is nice, if a little weird considering how that’s 20 ilevels above the minimum.

During this process, I was very tempted to solve my situation with gold. First, by buying BoE epics from the AH. The DPS Darkmoon deck is 355, for example, and there were some BoE wrists that drop from Uldir too. Before committing, I decided to do the ilevel math myself to see how much of a bump that might give me. Going from a 295 trinket to 355 should be a big boost right? Well…

5016 (total ilevel) + 60 = 5076 / 16 = 317.25. Or +3.75 average ilevel.

While that ain’t nothin’, it also isn’t 320. Plus, the Fathoms deck is 70,000g at the moment. While I was poking around the AH, there were a couple of advertisements in Trade chat from people doing Mythic dungeon carries. I was very, very tempted to check up on the prices of that, out of curiosity if nothing else. Then I saw one being advertised for… 350k. Even that started to sound a bit reasonable as the Warfront window is rapidly to drawing to a close. Gold it meant to be used, right?

What brought me back to reality was Blizzard’s own intrusion into the real world. Specifically, WoW tokens. Current prices are 107k gold for $15, which meant I was about to pay $49 to get to 320 ilevel. That doesn’t seem all that good. There is often an argument to be made regarding how much time I am going to spend running heroics (etc) instead, and how I could just “work another hour of overtime” instead of spending 3+ hours doing something I don’t expressly enjoy.

First, I don’t have a job where I can just magically get overtime – that shit has to be approved on two different management levels. Second, there is a wide gulf between a distasteful or boring task in a videogame, played at home, in a comfortable chair, with a refreshing beverage, than there is with another hour spent at work. My job is relatively easy and stress-free, but I’d still rather be doing damn near anything else, including nothing, if given the chance.

Anyway, the decision is likely already made for me, as the Warfront window closes soon. I’ll continue to casually run heroic dungeons until I hit 320, so I can unlock LFR, which will give me a steady stream of gear for the rest of the expansion. This initial hump is extremely awkward though, as it’s likely to be pole-vaulted beyond for anyone playing in 8.1 given the next tier of crafted gear coming out.

I’m fine with Blizzard wanting there to be some sort of hazing phase where they want everyone doing 5-man content before “graduating” into raiding. I just think it’s weird to have Warfronts dropping 340 gear like candy for something that, by all accounts, is significantly easier than even 5-man normal dungeons. Finally getting over that 320 gear deadzone will apparently set you up for easy gear the rest of the expansion, and that’s just a strange sort of design decision.

Active Goldmaking in BfA: Gathering

The last two gold-making posts have been about “passive” income in Battle for Azeroth. What follows is what I have specifically been doing since the expansion launch.

Herbalism

End of post.

Not really, but close. While you can sometimes make tens or hundreds of thousands of gold by flipping AH items or getting a BoE epic drop, spotting an Anchor Weed node and looting the equivalent of 1200g on the spot is one of the few means for the everyday player to experience something similar. So, ideally, whatever herbs you are picking, you will want to maximize those Anchor Weed nodes. Usually.

My personal go-to farming route is the Tiragarde Sound/Norwington Estate river area:

WoW_RiverbudRun

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

There’s a short flightpath that drops you off in Hatherford, and just follow the river in a counter-clockwise manner. If you don’t see any Riverbud within about 100 yards, that means someone is already farming the route ahead of you, and you should either wait in place for respawns, or go somewhere else.

I farmed for about 7.5 minutes and received:

  • Siren’s Pollen x24 (1314g)
  • Riverbud x62 (1319g)
  • Star Moss x12 (155g)
  • Sea Stalk x31 (413g)
  • Total = ~3200g per 7.5 min, or 25,608g/hour

Prices current as of this past Saturday on Sargeras-US. Your own prices may vary. Also, I had 3-stars for every herb but Anchor Weed at the time, so your own yields may vary too.

Another option is the extremely well-known Drustvar Winter’s Kiss loop:

WoW_AnchorRun

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

I have never had any particular amount of success on this route, precisely because everyone is doing it. While the sheer number of densely-packed Winter’s Kiss makes this area great for “forcing” Anchor Weed spawns (since Anchor Weed has a chance to spawn after a node is tapped), the problem is that Winter’s Kiss itself is practically useless as an herb. On Sargeras-US (as of this past weekend), Riverbud is 22.83g whereas Winter’s Kiss is 15.58g. That might not seem like much, but it’s a difference of 1450g per stack of herbs farmed. Or put another way, you can expect to receive ~35g more per node of Riverbud than Winter’s Kiss.

The unsung hero herb of this expansion is obvious in retrospect, but bears repeating now: Siren’s Pollen. Current pricing on Sargeras put this at 67g per herb, which is almost as much per node as a single Anchor Weed. It was “obvious” that this herb would hold the most value because A) it’s used for Agility/Intellect potions, health pots, and Strength Flasks, B) it cannot spawn Anchor Weed nodes, and C) it’s annoying to gather (growing on trees). Star Moss is also annoying to gather and doesn’t spawn Anchor Weed nodes, but is only really used for Strength potions (and Stamina potions/flasks).

There is not one particularly good route for Siren’s Pollen in any case. The Riverbud route will give you a few nodes, or you can follow the east side of Drustvar like so:

WoW_SirenRun

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

After farming for 7.5 minutes, I received:

  • Siren’s Pollen x34 (1862g)
  • Winter’s Kiss x19 (225g)
  • Star Moss x7 (91g)
  • Riverbud x11 (234g)
  • Anchor Weed x7 (3315g)
  • Total = ~5727g per 7.5 min, or 45,816g/hour

The yield seems amazing compared to the Riverbud route, but any route will be amazing after hitting two Anchor Weed nodes. If we assume those two nodes would have been Riverbud instead, the actual yield would have been 21,000g/hour. Given the price of Siren’s Pollen, it’s possible that this particular route was already being farmed – there certainly weren’t many nodes until I hit the south – but that’s a risk you take.

Kinnings Lodge route is another option:

WoW_Siren2Run

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

  • Siren’s Pollen x45 (2464g)
  • Riverbud x3 (64g)
  • Winter’s Kiss x14 (166g)
  • Star Moss x35 (453g)
  • Sea Stalk x49 (653g)
  • Total = 3800g per 9.5 min, or 24,000g/hour

Note that the above took longer than 7.5 minutes to complete the loop. I was also less familiar with it, but you can get the general idea.

Leatherworking

Specifically, farming Blood-Stained Bones. Leather prices are up and down, but Blood-Stained Bones are pretty consistently 35-48g apiece. Many of the hyper-farms have been nerfed already – apparently there were a few 3k HP mobs that could be skinned for full rewards somewhere – but the Quillrat farm in Drustvar continues to spawn endless amounts of walking leather:

WoW_Leather

Small pic courtesy of WoW-Professions.

I turned my Boomkin into a Skinner specifically for this farm. Gather up ~10 mobs, lead them ~10 yards away (important!), DoT them all, then use Treants to survive and nuke the rest down. Any Calcified Bones you get are a total waste, and Alliance can’t really get 3-Stars with bone gathering before level 120 (requires a Horde dungeon), but you can still get a couple dozen Blood-Stained Bones relatively quickly.

Herbalism is higher gold/hour generally, but killing mobs does give you a slight chance to hit a BoE epic or some other drop that can sometimes make up for it. Plus, occasionally Coarse Leather prices creep back up.

Mining

Don’t bother.

Seriously though, it’s a waste. On Sargeras-US, ore is around 28-32g apiece no matter what kind. In fact, you often lose money anytime a Platinum Ore node appears, because Blizzard is a small indie company who can’t spare the resources to make reasonable Professions. Prices are better on smaller servers, but so too are herb prices. Plus, you know, you can herb with Sky Golem and hit nodes within 0.5 seconds.

As mentioned before, sometimes you can hit it big if the Warfront Contribution requires something like Monelite Ore, which saw prices increase to 80g per ore. That is definitely more than most other herbs. The problem is that those prices last for maybe a week, and then collapse back down. It’s a better use of time, IMO, to farm slightly lower-priced herbs with a chance at Anchor Weed, and then just buy the ore you need when you need it.

Fishing

Fishing has rapidly fallen on hard times compared to the beginning of the expansion. Midnight Salmon is still worth 206g apiece, but that is down significantly from where it was at. On Sargeras, there are two fish worth around 40g apiece: Slimy Mackerel and Redtail Loach.

Slimy Mackerel can only be caught off the coast of the Horde island. There are pools for it, but you are likely better off just free-casting into the ocean, where you have a 50/50 shot of Slimy Mackerel and Sand Shifter. Slimy Mackerel will likely maintain its price for a while, as it can be cooked into +Haste food.

Redtail Loach is the inland fish also caught on the Horde island. I’m not particularly convinced it will maintain its price, given the fact that it’s only actually used for creating the raid feast.

Beyond that, the remaining fish sell for 20g or less, and thus not worth it, IMO. In fact, Fishing in general is a pretty poor choice of gold-making activity unless you enjoy it specifically. It might seem exciting getting 40g per fish, or even nabbing a Midnight Salmon, but keep in mind you can get 5-7 herbs per node that sell for just as much.

Active Goldmaking in BfA: Warfront Contributions

The last two gold-making posts have been about “passive” income in Battle for Azeroth. What follows is what I have specifically been doing in an active way since the expansion launch.

Warfront Contributions

Holy shit, guys. If you were not online during the first four hours of the Alliance Warfront Contributions on a high-pop server… then I’m sorry. You can still make some coin, but probably not “selling a 2g item for 250g” level of coin.

Overall, I collected 120,000g in AH sales on Sunday, without expressly stockpiling anything.

WoW_BfAContributions

Hand over fist.

Warfront Contributions are a week-long event in which max-level characters of a specific faction can turn in items for +500 Azerite Power and +75 reputation. There are two default turn-ins of 100g and 100 War Resources. The other nine turn-ins are “random” items from various professions.

This week for Alliance NA, we have:

  • Coastal Mana Potion – 20x
  • Meaty Haunch – 60x
  • Monelite Ore – 60x
  • Coarse Leather – 60x
  • Battle Flag: Phalanx Defense – 1x
  • Straddling Viridium – 15x
  • Incendiary Ammunition – 2x
  • Enchant Ring – Seal of Versatility – 3x
  • War-Scroll of Intellect – 3x
  • Donations: Gold – 100
  • Donations: War Resources – 100x

If you’ll recall, Horde had a similar Contributions list two weeks ago:

  • Steelskin Potion – 2
  • Monel-Hardened Stirrups – 2
  • Enchant Ring – Seal of Versatility – 3
  • Crow’s Nest Scope – 6
  • Great Sea Catfish – 60
  • Straddling Viridium – 15
  • Coarse Leather Barding – 2
  • War-Scroll of Fortitude – 3
  • Tidespray Linen – 60

So, the first thing to note is that the same item can appear week-to-week. This will severely complicate the notion of buying up stockpiles of items for the next turn-in. On the other hand, when certain items fall to levels that may as well be vendor priced, well… sometimes that 1000:1 odds may work in your favor. For example, people were selling the Crafting glove enchants for like 1g apiece. I bought 300 of them. Maybe they will become the turn-in in October, and I can make a killing. Maybe it won’t.

This leads to only note that matters:

Raw Materials Are King

I have consistently been purchasing any ore priced under 20g. The idea was to collect some spare mats to level up Blacksmithing and/or Engineering on an alt in the future, but it allowed me to capitalize on the fact that Monelite Ore went from 20g to 80g apiece. For those keeping track at home, this meant I made a profit of 12,000g per stack. I did not sell them in stacks though, of course, I sold them in auctions of 60 to match the Warfront quests.

Incidentally, I did not have a stockpile of Straddling Viridium ready to go when the Warfront Contributions went live; my bet was on Insightful Rubellite. But I do have a JC character, so let’s look at the prices of Storm Silver Ore and Platinum Ore…

WoW_BfAStormSilver

Let’s do this thing.

It was barely above 25g, and that’s because I bought out everything below that amount. So, I prospected all that Storm Silver Ore, then cut all the Viridium and sold them in groups of 15, with each individual gem selling for 250g+. The precise numbers might have been needed to be crunched to see how I fared fishing for Viridium – it costs at least 125g every time I pressed that Prospect button – if not for the fact that every other outcome was pure bonus. Well, most of them. Owlseye is 580g and Kracken’s Eye is nearly 2000g. But then, someone decided to pay an absurd amount for even raw Rubellite and Kyanite for some reason, so my averages kept going up.

Do they know something I don’t? Who cares! I have always been a huge advocate for mild success over complete dominance, assuming the former takes a fraction of the effort as the latter. Besides, in a worst-case scenario, I simply prospect some more ore and compete with them on their secret strategy or whatever.

Some other easy wins on the Contribution list were Coarse Leather and Meaty Haunch. If you have a Skinner, they can drop from the same mobs, and hey, Blood-Stained Bone still sells for 35-50g apiece too. That’s practically a triple-threat all by itself. More farming tips will be in Friday’s post.

Strategy Going Forward

As with real life, the key to making bank via Contributions is owning the means of production. In this case, raw materials. Instead of stockpiling Coarse Leather Barding in anticipation of those items making a return, just bank a bunch of Coarse Leather instead. Profession alts are easy to make this time around, and one Leatherworker will let you take those materials and turn them into whatever you need crafted. Or in this week’s case, just sell the material straight-up.

While I recommend primarily raw materials, do keep an eye out to those selling below mat-cost just to recoup leveling costs. I’m note sure if any of those glove enchants will come up as an item turn-in, for example, but they sure as hell cost WAY less than the 5 Gloom Dust that it takes to craft them.

Beta for Azeroth

The expansion honeymoon phase is over for the WoW playerbase, and the rabble is’a rousing. To which I say, “about goddamn time.” The latest fuel on the fire? Ion Hazzikostas himself went into a Reddit AMA and basically said shit is broken on purpose. Which then led to this amusing exchange:

9p3h26ygrcm11In case something happens to the picture, the specific line from Ion was:

We’re crafting systems with an eye towards the grand scheme of the game as it unfolds over the course of many months […]

While it might not have quite the meme potential of EA’s “sense of pride and accomplishment” disaster, it remains one of those insidious bits of accidental truth that rusts out the suspension of disbelief. And lest you extend any sort of doubting benefits to Ion, just read his response to a question about the sad state of Resto Shaman thus far:

We knew Restoration were coming up on the low end in the initial weeks of BfA, and applied some measured buffs to their AoE healing in particular, but we expected the value of their Mastery to rise significantly once higher-end raiding and M+ became more of a competitive focus, and we wanted to make sure not to overbuff them.

In other words, the design team knew that the spec was weak at launch, but felt like gear would fix the problem later, so they decided to do nothing. Did they end up buffing Shaman? Yes… “measurely,” with trepidation. But why wait for a hotfix if you already knew the interim was going to be bad? And more importantly: why make your players wait for the game to fix itself?

Look, I understand the delicate balance the devs are trying to make here. If Blizzard made Resto Shaman competitive in PvE from the beginning, they would have to nerf them in the future to ensure that the Mastery scaling (or whatever) didn’t make them clearly better than any of the other healers. Nerfing always feels bad. But do you know what else feels bad? Being gimped on purpose because there’s some master plan in which you become adequate later.

This perverse philosophy really explains everything that we have been seeing in Battle for Azeroth thus far. The wonky Warfront timing, for example, will “fix itself” later on when there are 3-4 of them running consecutively. Some Professions not having any use for some dungeon/raid crafting materials, is another exa…

This is something we’ve been discussing a bunch. On the one hand, we’d like to add a way to get at least Hydrocores through doing non-Mythic dungeons, so that the professions that DO have a use for them don’t feel like they hit a brick wall in their crafting if they only do matchmade content.

On the other hand, it’s awkward to be swimming in Sanguicells with no use for them as an Alchemist or Enchanter. I don’t have a specific fix to announce right now, but we’re discussing plans to address that problem. (source)

Just kidding, none of the devs put any thought into Professions at all.

Or maybe they did, and they are just waiting to introduce the Expulsom Trader, ala the Blood of Sargeras Trader, into patch 8.1. That would certainly maintain the consistency of “reuse every aspect of the game’s design” method, which more and more seems like it’s done out fear of fucking up the formula than intentional design. But again, why wait? You know the solution, so just do it. Or be bold and make Expulsom/Sanguicell Bound-on-Account.

This entire fiasco reminds me of the advice I gave new bloggers six years ago: don’t “save” your best stuff. In the most charitable, optimistic scenario Blizzard is planning for the final months of the expansion to be fantastic. By then, everyone will have the appropriate Azerite Levels to use the outer rings of any gear drops right away, and there will be hundreds of new Azerite traits, and so on. It even jives with the way Blizzard has handled PvP gear looks for a long time – the first tier looks pretty generic, but by the end you are a proper badass.

The problem is… why should someone play during the broken part? I already used a WoW Token a few days ago, so I feel kinda stuck already, but if I had read this AMA before renewing, then I wouldn’t have. Everything that people praise about the expansion – the music, the questing, the general environment – is still going to be there after 8.1, or six months later, or whenever. I’m not suggesting that you go full Gevlon and essentially wait for the next expansion – which at this point, may end up having the same exact issues again – but waiting for 8.1 or 8.2 seems pretty ideal.

If you ever wondered what the deal was with people complaining about Destiny versus Destiny 2, this was precisely it. Or the Complete Edition of Civilization 5 versus Civilization 6 without expansions. Designers make mistakes, and that is okay. It means they are trying something new. What is not okay are designers who make mistakes, fix those mistakes, and then come out with a new product with the old mistakes baked in so they can sell you the solution all over again.

Passive Goldmaking in BfA, part 2

If you want to actively make gold in Battle for Azeroth, go farm some herbs.

If instead you want to kinda kick back and get a couple hundred gold a day for doing not much at all (assuming you played in these expansions), then stick around.

Garrison (Warlords of Draenor)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Mostly.

Back in the day, your Garrison was printing gold every day with missions worth thousands of hard currency. All of that has been stripped out, to the point where even opening those salvage bags rewards gear that vendors for 5 copper. But here’s the thing: there’s still gold in them there hills. You just have to dig a little deeper.

Mission Table: Medallion of the Legion

If you have a level 3 garrison with full followers, there’s still the possibility of lucking into one of those missions that rewards a Medallion of the Legion. This is a reputation consumable still in high demand because it allows you to get that much closer to unlocking WoD flying. On Sargeras-US, the current price is 8222g but I sold one a month ago for 15,000g. It’s not consistent money, but it’s something worth checking out on occasion.

Garrison Resources

You will naturally accumulate up to 500 Garrison Resources (GR) every ~ 3 days per character. Additionally, if you have high-level followers and Garrison overall, there is the possibility of landing missions that reward up to 1650 GR by themselves.

Why does this matter? If you build even a level 1 Trading Post, you can turn GR into a few trade goods that still sell for a pretty penny. Those include:

  • True Iron Ore (15.26g)
  • Sumptuous Fur (8.82g)
  • Raw Beast Hide (11.94g)
  • Sometimes fish meat

With the best trader (changes daily), you can get 1 good for every 16 GR traded. If that good is worth 8g on average, then each individual GR is worth 50s. This means that the 500 GR you receive every few days is worth 250g, and those big GR missions can net the equivalent of 825g. This is not as lucrative or consistent as a MoP farm, but considering you likely have Garrisons on all your toons already, it’s decent coin for doing nothing other than logging into characters twice a week.

Hexweave Bags

Guess what? Hexweave Bags are still a thing. Somehow.

If you have a Tailoring alt, have them endure a loading screen or two and pump out a Hexweave Bag every 2-3 days. According to this Reddit thread, at peak efficiency the material cost is 116 Sumptuous Fur (1023g), 16 Gorgrond Flytrap (12g), and 10 Sorcerous Earth (98.5g). That’s 1134g in mats for something that still sells for ~1900g or more.

Incidentally, stop buying Hexweave Bags. Sell them, don’t buy them. Deep Sea Bags are also 30-slot bags, and at Rank 1 the material cost is 30 Deep Sea Satin (910g) and 15 Tidespray Linen (296g) and 9g in thread. Deep Sea Bag prices are crashing down currently, and sell for 1250g  less than 1k gold (!!!) on Sargeras-US. That’s barely above Rank 1 material costs, but the bags are great for leveling up Tailoring, and the Rank 3 material cost is ~210g cheaper.

These prices are high because Tidespray Linen is almost 20g per cloth on Sargeras-US. That’s likely because a lot of the hyper-farms in BfA have been nerfed in the past few days, but I expect prices to lower over time naturally. This will drive down the costs for making Deep Sea Bags. Which appear to have zero bearing on the price of Hexweave Bags, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Primal Spirit Vendor

Have a bunch of Primal Spirits laying around? Convert them to gold, vendor-style!

Primal Spirits are BoP crafting materials that you used to earn in WoD content, much like Blood of Sargeras in Legion. Whether you have an unknown stockpile of them on one of your alts, or if you end up running Garrison Missions that have them as rewards, 25 Primal Spirits can be traded for a Savage Blood, which can be traded back to a Trading Post vendor for a bag which always contains ~50g and some change. So, in other words, each Primal Spirit is worth about 2g minimum.

You can technically trade Primal Spirits for other things, including BoP crafting materials like Hexweave Cloth and the like. However, the conversion rate is fairly abysmal for anything but the Savage Blood route. Technically, converting 500 Primal Spirits into one Hexweave Bag is an improvement – whatever Hexweave Bags are selling for vs 1000g – it it is not usually worth the hassle. And besides, who has 500 Primal Spirits hanging around? It’s much more likely to convert any of those “30+ Primal Spirit” Garrison Mission rewards.

Goblin Glider

No engineer? No problem! You can still craft Goblin Gliders with just the engineering hut active in your Garrison. The material costs are:

  • 8 True Iron Ore (122g)
  • 5 Sumptuous Fur (44g)

Since you receive 5 Goblin Gliders per craft, that comes out to be 33g per Glider. And you can currently sell them on the AH for… 30g. Oops.

Still, Goblin Gliders are worth checking out as a revenue stream once the prices of True Iron Ore and/or Sumptuous Fur come down. If we look at the median prices of these mats instead of their current prices, each Glider costs around 28g to make. That’s… still not even close to being worth it.

In any case, that’s that. Definitely not as good as the MoP farm, IMO, but it’s likely that you have a stable of alts with high-level Garrisons already, including a free hearthstone. As always, you could earn a lot more per hour by farming herbs or whatever in BfA zones. These “passive” income streams don’t require any thought however, and can easily fit into your warm-up or cool-down routines while playing.

Passive Goldmaking in BfA, part 1

If you want to actively make gold in Battle for Azeroth, go farm some herbs.

If instead you want to kinda kick back and get a couple hundred gold a day for doing not much at all (assuming you played in these expansions), then stick around. I might just blow your mind.

Sunsong Ranch (Mists of Pandaria)

Did you unlock all 16 slots in your MoP farm back in the day? Congrats on your free money.

Easiest/Quickest Sale: Spirit of Harmony (avg 480g/day)

Right now on Sargeras-US, one Spirit of Harmony is selling for around 300g apiece. If you plant Songbell Seeds in all the plots, you will generate 1.6 Spirits of Harmony per day, per character. A bag of Songbell Seeds has 10 “charges” and costs 30g, so your outlay is 75s per node (30g / 40) or about 7.5g per Spirit of Harmony.

Overall, you should be earning the equivalent of 480g without much thought or particular effort.

Medium-level Effort: trade in Spirit of Harmony (avg 707g-793g/day)

Keep in mind that Spirit of Harmony can also be exchanged for various other things, which can potentially be sold for more. The vendors will be in your faction hub in Vale of the Eternal Blossoms, and they sell things like this:

WoW_SpiritVendor

Most of these are not worth it, for the record.

For example, it’s possible that 20 Ghost Iron Ore (or 10 Ghost Iron Bars) will be worth more than a Spirit of Harmony by itself. On Sargeras-US, the price of Ghost Iron Ore is 22.1g apiece, so turning the Spirit of Harmony you just farmed (or bought on the AH) into 20 Ghost Iron Ore will net you 442g with six Motes of Harmony left over. Or looked at another way, each Mote of Harmony is worth 2 Ghost Iron Ore, so you should average 707g (32 * 22.1g) a day, assuming these prices.

To kick it up another notch, check the prices of Ghost Iron Bars. Right now, they are at 49.57g apiece on Sargeras-US, so having a Miner who can smelt bars will turn that haul into an average of 793g (32 / 2 *49.57g) a day.

Maximum Profits: Snakeroot Seed (avg 1016g-1428g/day)

Can we go deeper down the rabbit hole? Yes, we can. Specifically, Snakeroot Seed-deep.

Instead of planting Songbell Seeds, you plant Snakeroot Seeds. Now each node you harvest will result in 1 Trillium Ore (black or white) and 0-2 Ghost Iron Ore. The results are highly random: sometimes you will get 8 Trillium of each color, sometimes you will get 16 of one color. The total amount of Ghost Iron will also be random, but I typically net between 7-17 Ghost Iron Ore.

So, again, Sargeras-US figures:

  • Black Trillium Ore: 91.5g
  • White Trillium Ore: 53.96g
  • Trillium Bar: 359.8g
  • Ghost Iron Ore: 22.1g
  • Ghost Iron Bar: 49.57g

Assuming a worst-case scenario, with the least-profitable outcomes: 1,016g (16 * 53.96g + 7 * 22.1g). If you achieve balance in all things, you can see 1428g (8 * 53.96g + 8 * 91.5g + 12 * 22.1g)

You may note that Trillium Bar is currently selling for well below material price (it takes 2 Trillium Ore of each color to smelt one bar). That’s because Alchemists can transmute 10 Ghost Iron Bars into 1 Trillium Bar all day long, with zero cooldown. That method is also below material cost, but it’s augmented by the fact that Transmute specialists can get Trillium Bar procs.

I’m listing Snakeroot Seeds last despite them being the most profitable because it’s inherently more risky. Spirits of Harmony is something that can be turned into all sorts of other things, as needed. The demand for them is constant, and high. Golden Lotus is selling for 188g apiece, for example, so you can technically turn that 300g Spirit of Harmony into 376g of Golden Lotus pretty quick. Meanwhile, it’s hard to tell who is buying Trillium Ore at these prices.

Bonus Round: Sky Golem (avg 2613g/day)

If you’re curious as to why people still need any of these materials, it’s probably because of Sky Golems. One of the required mats is an Engineering daily (x30) “transmute” which requires 10 Ghost Iron Bars. The other required material is Living Steel x30, which is a daily Alchemy transmute of 6 Trillium Bars (or 3 Trillium Bars and 3 Spirit of Harmony, with no cooldown).

If you bought everything off the AH, that would mean:

  • 300 Ghost Iron Bars (14,871g)
  • 30 Living Steel (55,730.1g)
    • or 180 Trillium Bar (64,764g)

Considering the current price of Sky Golems are hovering around 149k, that is a tasty profit margin. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed up the Engineering transmute cooldown, so the Sky Golem can only be crafted after 30 full days. However, if you want to be a do-it-yourselfer, then a Snakeroot Farm will actually give you all the materials you would need to craft the Sky Golem from scratch. Eventually. I wouldn’t recommend it though, unless you don’t have the starting capital laying around.

…which you can certainly start accumulating by working your farm. Or actively farming BfA mats.

Battlefield V is Awful

Holy shit is Battlefield V some hot garbage.

The open beta just came out, so you can go play it for yourself. It’s roughly a 12GB download, and I regretted it almost immediately.

You will note that I am not saying that the one specific map is hot garbage, even though it is. No, I am talking about the entire Battlefield experience. We have known from previews and the like that DICE was radically changing the mechanics, but it wasn’t until I actually sat down and played it that I realized how terrible they all were.

Ammo is severely limited. You have two, maybe three clips of ammo. See some figures running around in the distance? Shoot at them for a few seconds, reload, and… oh, hey, you have 30 bullets left. This change was supposed to make the Support class more useful, I think, but the reality is that no one is Support because you die instantly and can’t shoot anyone as Support.

Oh, and by the way, as Support you have infinite respawning ammo pouches to give other people, but you cannot resupply yourself. I ran around for five solid minutes with 15 bullets left in my mag, throwing ammo pouches left and right. I could only toss them when aiming directly at teammates – no throwing them at your feet and getting ammo yourself. I suppose they assume there will be two Support classes resupplying each other? This may or may not be alleviated once you unlock the actual Ammo Crate, but I have no idea.

Health is severely limited. While you start with 100 HP, there are breakpoints at which you cannot auto-heal past. In other words, if you get shot down to 10 HP, you will automatically regain HP up to like 65 HP or whatever. To heal yourself further than that, you need a Medic. In isolation, this is a change I’m kinda in favor of. It’s frustrating getting a few good shots into a target, only to have them hide and come back out at full health. But it’s a problem when…

Time-to-Kill is 0.00000001. Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated, but for the most part you will be dead before you realize that you are getting shot. In the case that you aren’t immediately killed from random gunfire, hiding will cause you to only heal up to 1/3 or half health, beyond which you will be instantly killed by any sniper tagging you in the foot.

All of the above combines into a bitter, shit stew of disappointment.

Spawn in somewhere. Run around, get shot a few times, now you’re at 10 HP. You heal up as best you can, but now you’ll be one-shot by any sniper in the area. Or maybe you kill a dude before getting shot yourself. You’re in a good position on the field, but… you only have 20 bullets left. Well, you may as well charge into the building and hope for the best, right? Kill a dude, go down yourself, then miraculously get revived by a medic. Except now you just have your pistol, and you get killed by the enemy as they retake the site.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected. Probably not a worse Battlefield 1, that’s for sure. But it’s hard to fully grasp how terrible this series has become, and for what possible reason. In Battlefield 2, Battlefield 3, and Battlefield 4, the game was about 64-player matches in which you did crazy-cool things with tanks and planes flying everywhere, dropping out of helicopters, and so on and so forth. Then DICE put out Hardline and it flopped. Then came Battlefield 1, which didn’t flop, but was oppressive as shit, and not at all fun to play. Now we have an even-worse set of gameplay systems, and less vehicles to boot.

It’s not hard, people. Just let us have fun shooting things. If I wanted an oppressive battlefield environment in which I had no individual agency, had to rely on teammates that failed to deliver, and was barred from doing any cool things, then… I would just go back to work. Like I do every day.

Luckily, DICE can fix these things. There’s still time to just give everyone two additional magazines, let Supports and Medics supply themselves, and bring up the TTK numbers. Now, whether DICE actually does so before launch or only after BFV sales flop, that’s up to them.

Until said changes are made though, I’m sitting this Battlefield out.

Warfronts Sinkhole

Very clever, Blizzard. Very clever.

I had a post all queued up to go on a rant about how terrible professions have been designed this expansion. I still feel that way, actually, so let me just say it: professions in Battle for Azeroth are a lazy copy & paste job from Legion, including all of the mistakes. Well, most of them: at least alts aren’t as punished by needing mythic dungeons or whatever for Rank 2.

One of the principle sources of my ire however, were all the useless crafts and crafting materials.

Remember Unbroken Tooth in Legion? Well, the functional equivalent of that is Calcified Bone in BfA, which is selling for an average of 6 copper on my server. It’s supposed to be a higher-tier material, but all it does is displace the actually-useful Blood-Stained Bone material in Skinning – which will be relevant all expansion due to people crafting and scrapping leather wrists for Expulsom. So why have Calcified Bone at all? Why not split Blood-Stained Bone off and make Calcified Bone the crafting material needed for mail gear or whatever?

There’s not a good reason other than the lazy interns tasked with designing professions. But they’re going to get away with it because of Warfronts.

Basically, Warfronts are going to be item sinks for the entire expansion. The Horde have the turn-ins this week, and they include things like Great Sea Catfish and Straddling Viridium. Before this week, Great Sea Catfish was absolute garbage. Not only did you catch it in fresh water (huh?), you could only cook it into non-buff food. It’s greatest claim to fame was setting the floor price for Aromatic Fish Oil. Now you need 60 of them to get 500 Azerite Power and some reputation.

Meanwhile, while the 3% movement speed gems were nice in the first three days of the new expansion, I had bought several for below vendor price in the past few weeks. Now? There was about ~6 hours in which they were selling for 400g apiece. It says a lot about the game that people were willing to pay nearly 6000g to get 500 AP, but whatever, I just supply the things.

Guild Wars 2 has a similar “solution” for its own terrible loot system, in that the Mystic Forge lets you throw 4 (stacks of) items into a hole, and sometimes get a goodie out the other side. It kinda makes up for the fact that you accumulate an astronomical amount of debris in your inventory, and Warfronts provide a similar sink.

It’s all a bandaid, of course. The fundamental issue is that Blizzard regrets the existence of professions, and doesn’t know what to do with them. Should they be the source of the best gear in the game? “No, that should be raids.” Should they give better gear than WQs? “Also no, we need people out in the world.” Should they give gear that invalidates dungeon gear? “No, unless it requires dungeon drop materials, in which case we’ll allow it.” Should crafted gear be a catch-up mechanism? “Sure, that sounds fine.” You do realize that as soon as you put on crafted gear, then WQs will start immediately offering upgrades, right? “Working as intended.”

But, whatever. Warfronts are a thing now, and I just made 60,000g in a single day because of them. Mostly from Coarse Leather Barding and Prospecting Platinum Ore for gems. Next week should be much the same, up until people stop caring about maxing out AP. Which, given how the anti-alts philosophy Blizzard had in Legion has dropped, might not be for a while.

Waycrest Manor

I completed my first dungeon in Battle for Azeroth, which was Waycrest Manor.

The first boss was the Queue. The average time to get in was 8 minutes as DPS, and I waited 45 minutes. While I waited, I fished out in the Horde area, as a level 112 Demon Hunter. The only reason I was doing a dungeon at all is because Anchor Weed Rank 2 required running said dungeon. With Anchor Weed currently selling for 550g apiece, it felt worth doing. The fish being 50g-100g apiece was bonus.

Forty-five minutes is a long time though.

Once inside, I was immediately reminded of that one dungeon in GW2, which was also inside a mansion. I was going to look it up just now, but does anyone care what it’s actually called, even if they play GW2? The bottom line is that Waycrest Manor reminded me of that other one because they are both terribly designed. You can’t have an MMO with a floating camera and then do a bunch of interior houses. It’s dumb, players can’t see shit, and you fight the camera more than the mobs.

The dungeon run was successful, but that was either because our healer was god-like or the tuning was low, even by LFD standards. More than once, I accidentally pulled extra groups of mobs trying to utilize Fel Rush, especially since my Azerite Powers boosted it. This included accidentally pulling one of the bosses (Raal). Somehow we muddled through it all – probably because the healer was a Monk – and I got my Anchor Weed book and we defeated the final boss.

My druid is another herbalist, and I’m debating whether or not to try and knock out the quest sooner or later. Respeccing as a tank would certainly help with queue times, but I’m a bit leery of the dungeon in general. And, you know, getting back on the saddle in terms of tanking.

Or I could just farm leather/herb for another 45 minutes while sitting in the queue and not worry about respeccing at all, trying to change Azerite Powers, etc etc. Hmm. Tough choice.

Leveling Punishment

C.T. Murphy recently wrote:

Leveling, as in playing the game, is still a lot of fun in World of Warcraft. Leveling, as in playing a roleplaying game where you expect your character to advance and evolve, has never been worse.

When you level up in Battle for Azeroth, you get nothing. No talents, abilities, or anything of any kind of merit whatsoever. Everything scales now too so there isn’t even a sense of “being able to go places I previously couldn’t”. Outside of padding, I don’t understand why they added more levels in the first place.

This is 100% accurate with my own WoW experience currently.

We are approaching three weeks since the expansion launched. I was on vacation for a week in the middle there, but the fact remains that my first toon hit level 113 on Thursday. It’s not that the leveling is slower, it’s that there isn’t any point to it. WoW fully embraced the TES: Oblivion conceit of punishing players for leveling up. At least, that’s how I feel about it right now.

Seriously though, think about it. Everyone talks about how the stories and quest-lines in BfA are excellent. Okay… are any of them gated by level? I don’t think so. Maybe the War Campaign? In which case it might actually be better to turn off XP at level 111 and just complete all your questing with your uber Legion gear (including Legendaries) and breeze through the mobs. You get nothing but weaker during the leveling process. That’s literally insane game design.

Of course, once you finish all the story bits, the actual endgame is still gated at level 120. And it would certainly suck if you ever changed your mind and had to gain 9 levels with zero questing opportunities. But the mere fact that this almost sounds plausible is blowing my mind.

As it stands, my primary purpose in logging in is checking the AH, and doing some light farming based on the prices of the day. The questing is fine, but it’s literally worse than doing quests at max level, considering how your character gets weaker each time they level up. So, I would rather run around hitting resource nodes and fill up my gold bar than my XP bar.

At least the former will make my gaming experience feel better.