Picking all the Pockets

Levelling my Rogue alt – and first ever toon – I’ve rediscovered the joy of pick pocketing. Stealthing through Ogre camps and picking the pocket of each and every mob is enormous fun, especially now you loot fun flavour items like Magma-Infused War Beads as well as a few loose silver coins. And discovering that in the entire camp, only the loincloth sporting Ogre Chef didn’t have pockets made me laugh out loud.

For the Rogues out there, just create a simple macro that adds a pick-pocket to all your stealth attacks and you’ll be looting your way to glory in no time. For example, here’s an Ambush macro:

#showtooltip Ambush
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Ambush

I have no idea if you can ever pick things like pets and actual loot, but it’s entirely fun and a great class perk for the lonely & misunderstood Rogue.

Alt Skies

Whoa so levelling in Draenor with flight is entirely different.

I hopped on my Rogue, built my Garrison, and headed out into Frostfire Ridge. And realised I could just fly straight to each treasure on the map. XP-a-rama. And fly to the rare spawns. And skip the trash mobs before the quest objective.

It’s a different game altogether, far less immersive, and I’m super glad we were forced to do everything on foot first. On the ground I learnt the world, and felt part of it. Having done that makes flying above it rewarding too, but if we had have flown from day one, the detachment flight grants would have really detracted from the sense of place.

But it’s brilliant for alts. Pick and choose how and where you want to level, and avoid the grindy parts. Thanks Blizzard!

Fel Skies

The mysteries of flight have been revealed – I can fly in Draenor.

In the end it wasn’t too bad – once enough Baleful gear dropped, the Tanaan quests passed relatively fast, especially if you knew which to favourite. The quickest zones I found were The Iron Front & Zeth’gol. The respawn rates are high and there are plenty of bonus items to speed the completion of the bonus quests – especially the warlocky blood bubble things in Zeth’gol.

The rep quests were roughly in sync so they all dinged with in a day of each other. Which was nice. Doing the weekly Rumble in the Jungle made the Saberstalkers super quick, not to mention the bonus Apexis gain as a result.

Unseen Influence was probably the trickiest, as once you run out of Treasures it’s only rares that drop Fel-corrupted fragments. But there are also chests and the like that drop them, so it was ok in the end. For the treasures, HandyNotes and HandyNotesDraenorTreasures are indispensable.

Naturally it was the Securing Draenor quests that were left outstanding, but buying the missives from Sergeant Grimshaw put an end to them quick smart.

In the midst of all this, I finished off Tailoring, Cooking, much of Archaeology (just from the Garrison mine fragments), and First Aid. And now I can fly, Archaeology will be a sinch.

Rising into the skies again is lovely, and it’s a nice reward for effort.

Emulation: everything old is new again

Following in the footsteps of MAME, there’s a pleasing resurgence in fan-crafted MMO emulation projects.

From Star Wars Galaxies to vanilla Warcraft to Warhammer Online, it’s great to see these worlds being preserved. Even better to see people like John Smedley giving them the thumbs up.

Even if they can never be the same as they were – the lightning-in-a-bottle communities are impossible to recreate – it’s important that the history and joy those worlds represented aren’t lost.

I briefly tried a Vanilla Warcraft server, and it was amazing to remember just how far things have changed. Hunting with ammo, pet happiness, minimum range, weapon skills – and the possibility of dying in starter areas1. And despite the small numbers, there’s every chance the emulated games will generate unique communities of their own.

  1. What I really wanted to try was Plainsrunning, though I’m not sure it ever made it into a production build. 

Dungeon Fear

Apparently there’s truckloads of gold to be made from Garrisons, and I figure I want in on that before the Legion nerf. The common theme for easy mode gold seems to be running plenty of Treasure Hunter missions – Alternative Chat says her partner has made half a million that way, and Disciplinary Action makes 20k every 2-3 days. Sounds good to me.

Only one hitch – to get the fabled Treasure missions, you need to have a level 3 Tavern. And to get a level 3 Tavern, you have to complete 10 Draenor Dungeon quests. Simple, right?

Well yes, trouble is I hadn’t run any Dungeons levelling up. I clean forgot about them. Which means I have no idea of the mechanics and strategy.

I find Dungeons far more stressful than Raid Finder, even as DPS, as your lack of knowledge of the fights is far more obvious. So I tend to over study and worry about not just being baggage.

So I’ve been arduously studying each Dungeon, learning the bosses and tactics, and trying to keep it all straight in my head before queueing. “Obtain a Lunar Purity buff by standing on a Lunar Rune during Dark Eclipse”. Got it. “When Gor’ashan gains Power Conduit, jump down from the platform, avoid Electric Pulses, and click on the Rune Conduit”. Uhh, ok. “Once you are carrying a Mortar Shell, click on a Blackrock Turret and use the Homing Shell ability on the Assault Cannon to damage it. Players must hit the Cannon with 3 Mortar Shells to destroy it.”. Argh!

So far it’s been fine, thankfully. I’ve retained just enough knowledge for each boss to get through it without embarrassing myself, and of course this late in the piece then tanks and DPS seem to be so well geared that a learner tagging along hardly matters. Watching a well geared Hunter destroy everything in sight is certainly inspiring – I remember the same inspiration happening in Cataclysm watching a Hunter dominate Deathwing, which led me to eventually challenging the Raid Finder DPS charts.

Thus: Growl off, aspect off, dungeon-on!

Repped off

Part of the pursuit of flight in Draenor is gathering reputation with various factions. The rep grind is one of the long established pillars of Warcraft, and many people seem to love (or at least tolerate) the repetitive path to being Exalted.

I find it kind of soul crushing after about Honoured. Which is kind of pathetic given most factions want to at least Revere you before it’s worth your while. It does depend a lot on the carrot at the end of the grind stick. For a Netherwing Drake I’ll throw a lot of boots, and flying is a big carrot too.

The Tanaan work though I’m finding a little too far to the glazed eye side of the equation. The chores are quite long and you can’t one-shot most of the bad guys. It’s more fun than Garrison stasis, but still not something I’d want to do more than once.

Which makes me surprised to see the many people who have obviously already got the required rep – as they triumphantly swoop down from the skies onto the mob I was about to tag – doing it again on alts.

I guess that’s the beauty of MMOs – you can play it anyway you want. As long as you’re Revered with Tanaan that is.


2016 eh.

I decided early December to jump back into Warcraft for a while – the itch had been growing and December, summer, and holidays always seems to make me pine for Azeroth1.

My main, Knive the Tauren Hunter, had reached 100 during mid 2015 but done little more before I unsubbed. She was of course stationed in her Garrison, the great dwaal of Draenor. And for the first few weeks back I basically didn’t leave the place. The compulsion was just too great: send followers out, place work orders, collect ore and herbs, check missions, send the followers out again.

But it is so boring – you’re basically not doing anything on your character, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of just wash, rinse, repeat. Poor Knive was just a button pusher for her followers and the garrison as a whole. This wasn’t gaming.


A project is always the best way to get me going, so I turned to Wowhead’s amazing character planner tool. It’s a great motivator and brilliant way to get your head back into the game after a break – giving a list of nearly complete achievements, collections, quests chains of interest, etc. The standout suggestion was of course the flying in Draenor achievement. Flight! Netherwing Drakes! Let’s do this.

I had completed the treasure finding (fun!), 90% of the exploration tasks, needed to wrap up the Arak and Nagrand quest chains, and then there was the new Tanaan rep grinds. And I finally realised I needed to pay attention to that annoying guy in the Garrison who kept pestering me about quests.

And so it begun.

  1. And I’m not the only one (though it’s Winter in Syp’s world!)