Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Pre-Raiding Wrath Plan

I don't intend on raiding straight-out-of-the-Wrath-gate. Racing to 80 doesn't appeal to me, I'm still not certain which character I should focus my efforts on, and my goal is just to kill Arthas, not be the *first* person to do so :P

But this doesn't mean I'm not already thinking about it. As my prior post discussed, my first focus is to ensure the gold flows freely throughout Wrath. I'm going to do this through having access to a wide variety of professions, fortunately I'll have almost 3 70s by the time TBC is over. While some professions are great for making money, others offer wonderful BoP options, and since I'm greedy I need access to both. This means I need to come up with a fourth character to make the logistics work. How will I do this?

The plan hinges around the "free" level 55 Death Knights we're all getting in Wrath. Currently I have 3 characters who I can easily get to 80. My mage (herbalism/tailoring), druid (skinning/LW), and rogue (JC/mining). But with the DK, I see that as 2 free profession slots, so I'm going to use my DK as a profession bot and level it up to the minimum level needed for the profitable crafting recipes. So my plan is to...

1) Purchase epic mounts for my mage and rogue, as they have the main "gathering" professions. The mage already has one, the rogue will at either 70 or 77.
2) I've been researching the mats needed to powerlevel Alchemy and Inscription to 350 (the min. Wrath profession skills start at 350). I already have all the mats for Alchemy and about half of the Inscription ones. My Deathknight (leaning towards the name "Cashbringer") will take Alchemy and Inscription since their BoP offerings don't seem as amazing as some other options. Plus it'd mean re-leveling certain professions I'm just not interested in doing.
3) When Wrath hits, I'm going to level all 4 chars simultaneously, including the DK, taking as much advantage of rest experience as I can.
4) Then get all the professions leveled up to whatever "profitability" level is needed.
5) Once this is done I'll have a tremendous "money train" I can establish:

--> buy/farm ore --> prospect it into gems --> then cut/transmute metas --> AH
--> buy/farm herbs --> mill it for ink/pomace (or make pots and AH) --> then make glyphs/enchanter scrolls --> AH
--> buy/farm leather --> turn into drums --> AH

Last, I might turn my druid into a LW/Enchanter (esp. if I end up healing as a main), in which case I can be mostly self-sufficient for Gems, Glyphs, and Enchants, saving more money. The best part of all this is, once the market decides what's most profitable, I could even buy the raw mats, convert them, and flip them without having to do any farming at all. The next closest thing to free money, and freeing up most of my schedule for what I really care about ... raiding.

Money Management

Serious raiding takes three things: Money, Time and Commitment. In WoW, monitoring these three factors is usually more important than your mana bar. Time and Commitment are the easiest to understand, you need to be able/willing to schedule 3-5 hour blocks multiple times a week, and commitment entails the desire to stick it out through wipes, bad luck, and fellow members disappointing you.

Money however is often at first overlooked as being a significant raiding factor. Casual players spend the majority of their time on low risk/high reward activities (like soloing or short instances), where it's a lot easier to earn money and where you don't usually have to spend much. A hardcore doesn't worry about it as much either since they have such a crazy amount of time they're willing to invest in WoW; while they may suffer high costs from raiding they have the most revenue streams available to them (especially once they put content on "farm"). However, money management is dangerous for the "semi-serious" raider; since we are spending most of our available time in groups (high costs), while not having as much solo-time to replenish our reserves (low profits).

So how should a semi-serious player make money? In WoW, you can earn gold either actively (ex: daily quests) or passively (ex: buying and reselling something on the AH), or some sort of mixture (farming mats then selling the item). In Burning Crusade I was quite adept at making money, but most of it involved working in Outlands, like completing quests at the level cap, grinding faction rep, or daily quest circuits. Very "active" sources of money-making. But I also raided a lot more casually back then, so I had extra time which I won't have in Wrath. Furthermore, one of my goals is to eliminate worrying about costs when it comes to raiding; if my guild requires ___, I want to supply it without any hand-wringing. If I'm going to raid seriously, and I'll be spending most of my free time in raids, I'll need to step up my passive money generation.

It's my theory that the best way to "passively" make money in WoW is to have access to multiple professions, which requires access to multiple high-level characters. My next post will explain how I'm going to manage this.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The First Post

Welcome to my new blog, Arthas or Bust. I guess I should begin by outlining my hopes for this piece of writing. My main ambition in the next expansion is to defeat Arthas at the harder 25-man level. So in one sense this blog will chronicle this goal of mine, the steps taken along the way, the victories and the failures. I also hope this blog will be a useful resource for readers interested in seeing WoW through the eyes of a "semi-serious" or "semi-casual" player. I won't be a bleeding edge player, but I want to raid with a set schedule and with some kind of attendance/performance expectations. Third, like most blogs, I hope to do what I can to comment on the latest changes in WoW and dig into the "theorycraft" side of the game; mostly from an instructional perspective, I don't have the time or math skills to crunch the numbers myself.

Next, some information about myself. I just turned 26 years old, and I've played WoW off-and-on since shortly after release (around Jan/Feb 2005). My play history started with an orc warrior, going to level 60 but stopping around September 2005. After a four-six month break, I picked the game up again and switched to the Alliance side in early 2006. Starting a cute gnome mage, I played as a caster for about two years. During that time I was involved in a casual guild that became a casual-PVP guild, that became a casual-PVE guild, and when I left it was a semi-serious PVE guild. During this time I capped another 70, a resto druid, and I'm working on my third 70, a rogue (I haven't settled on my main for Wrath yet). While an officer in my former guild (Mail Enhancement), the raid leader and its chief architect, I left a few weeks ago for a variety of reasons (a story for another time). I'm currently unguilded, but will look for a guild raiding 25-mans once Wrath gets rolling.

As I alluded to, my play experience is highly varied. I did a lot of PVP in the past (fairly close to Justicar by now), I did some Arenas through about Season 3, and I've done a large amount of raiding, increasingly finding that side of the game more interesting. I've also played increasingly seriously, starting out as a fairly ignorant scrub to earning a ZA bear mount just a few weeks ago. While I probably prefer Horde more, this blog will largely be written from the Alliance perspective, as I've just invested such a large proportion of my game time into that faction.

Anyway, this is about as long as I would like my entries to be, so I'll stop for now. My ambition is to write here regularly, so we'll see how that goes. Patch 3.0 came out yesterday, so I'm going to go back to trying to log into the laggy servers and watch the presidential debate later tonight. Tomorrow I'll outline my long term plan for preparing for Wrath!

Arthas or Bust.