February 26, 2010

WoW Guide to making BoE engineering pets

As we mentioned in a recent patch 3.3.3 update, the Pet Bombling and Lil' Smokey engineering manufactured pets are going to be changed to bind on equip. Pets from almost any source are a lucrative market to be in, and this will provide another way engineers can make a bit of cash from their horrible gold sink of a profession. Hunter ammo was a step in the right direction, and this is too.

First up, you need the schematics

Unless you happened to have them already, you will probably need to go farm the schematics. These were formerly unfarmable and tied to one of the two branches of engineering, but now both goblin and gnomish engineers can get them as a random drop.

  • Schematic: Lil' Smokey is dropped by the Arcane Nullifier X-21, among other mobs. The drop rate in Wowhead says 2%, however that includes all the non-engineers who kill these and don't see the schematic. In reality, it should be much much higher.

  • Schematic: Pet Bombling is dropped by Mekgineer Thermaplugg, and again, while it shows a low drop rate, that includes all the non-engineers who kill him and can't see the drop. I read comments saying that it's a very high drop rate for engineers. If you kill him, are eligible to get the schematic, and don't see this, let me know in the comments.

In general, the stuff you will need will be in short supply, so you should be prepared to farm or hire a lower level character to farm it for you. Whenever you are farming for something, there's a trick you can use to determine the most effective strategy. Sort the "dropped by" tab on Wowhead.com by "Count" instead of the percent chance. This will indicate where most of the item you're looking at are coming into the market from, and you can either farm them yourself, or identify the people killing the mobs you want, and try to arrange a direct purchase off them.

Making Lil' Smokey

You will require the following mats:

Making the Pet Bombling

You will require the following mats:

There are two barriers to making these. Some of the mats are really low supply and not easily farmable. Truesilver, for example. The other barrier is that even the "farmable" mats are often not typically farmed on many servers. You might have to either farm them yourself, or hire a lower level character to farm it for you. Either way, this barrier to entry provides you the opportunity to make sure your margins support your time costs. If making these takes a lot of time and generates a thin margin, you're better off doing whatever you currently do for money, and so are your competitors.

When you price these on the auction house, calculate your materials cost, and then calculate your time cost by figuring out how much you could have made doing something else. If you have few competitors, try listing this pet for the same markup you see opposite faction pets going for.

If your competitors undercut you, you have a choice. You can undercut them back, you can ignore them, or you can buy them out.

  • Undercutting them back means you will potentially run out of stock faster. If you managed to find a lot of the rare mats for this on the AH, remember that should you increase your production too much, you risk having to farm the mats yourself or hire someone. This will increase your cost.

  • Ignoring your competitors means you will keep your margins, but lose out on some potential sales. Generally, since these things are such a pain in the bum to make, I'd suggest this alternative.

  • Buying out a competitor is risky-- if they charge you more than you made yours for, you're essentially giving them money. In most markets, this is just inviting them to mass-produce at a profit and undercut you with a buttload of product. Due to the fact that each of these pets depletes a rarely farmed material, however, you might just drive their cost up past the point where you can be profitably undercut. This will be a temporary situation, however, so you'd better hope you sell all your inventory before they find a way to increase the farming of the "choke point" mats.

Raid Rx: Frustrations of 2-healing a 10-player raid

This week, I'll be addressing the whole 2 healer thing in 10 mans. There are many things that just happen to annoy the living heck out of me and I wanted to get it out here to see if anyone else shared those frustrations with me. Who knows? Maybe I'm the only one. Maybe as a non-healer, you'll key in on several bad habits to make life easier for your healers. But two healing raids isn't quite the easiest thing to do in the world. Have to give a hat tip to Domni on Plus Heal since I know I'm not the only one who just wants to randomly rage out from time to time.

So what greatly annoys me here?

3 Healing
When a new tier of content is produced, the norm is to bring in 3 healers. You're heading into unknown territory. You don't know what kind of threats you're facing. Better to go at a slower and safer pace lest you run into something surprising or unexpected that causes a wipe. Or maybe two healers just isn't enough to get through it at all.

Overtime, as players become more and more familiar with the instance and acquire more gear, the 3rd healer is eventually replaced with a DPS.

The jet engine analogy
Whenever I get asked to 2 heal heroic level stuff with an undergeared or underskilled raid, I get really nervous. Allow me to introduce the jet engine analogy. I feel safer traveling in a 747 then I do in a 777. Why? The 747 has four engines. The 777 has two engines. You can see where I'm getting at here. If a bird flies into an engine, at least the 747 still has three engines left. If the 777 sucks in a bird, that's 50% of the power gone.

I'm sure there are redundancies and stuff in the event those things actually happen (and planes are still safe to fly in).

In any case, I think my point is clear. If one healer drops in a 3-player healing raid, you still have 2 left instead of just 1.

Now don't get me wrong, 2 healing is okay if some of the conditions are met:

#Players are smart and don't take any extra damage then they need to (as in get out of whatever void zones and fires quick enough).

#Tanks don't die in 2 shots.

#If there happens to a player who can switch out to a healing role should the need arise.

#Content has a high DPS output needed where 2 healing becomes a necessity (such as heroic Anub'arak or Hodir hard mode).

However, that isn't always the case. I'll join various pugs on my various healing characters and I'll get asked if I think I can 2 heal something. I'm not as confident healing on my paladin as I am on my priest (and no joke, I've fallen asleep on my paladin before).

The reasons listed above are all common. Having an extra DPS instead of an extra healer means they can theoretically blow through the encounter at a faster rate. That is, assuming they don't wipe, or a player doesn't die. General flawlessness is to be expected.

There is also an additional factor that raid leaders think about when assembling their group. When you're running a pickup or an alt run, you may not have a 3rd healer handy to jump in. Sometimes, for the sake of getting the group going, they'll call in another DPS anyway just to have a full crew. So yes, in the interest of just getting started, I can see why that can be an attractive option. Understandable since there are often more DPS players available then there are healers.

The alt run
Don't get me started on healing the alt run. I don't like having 2 healers on the alt run. Usually, alts are not as geared as mains. Not all of them. Players have different levels of alt maintenance. Some have to make sure their alts are in the best possible condition with high end gems, enchants, and gear. Others just don't really put that much time or care into their alts. Then they believe that just because they have successfully raided something on their mains, they can pull it off again on their alts.

What ends up happening is you have ranged DPS players who turn into tanks, tanks who turn into healers, healers who become melee DPS, and all sorts of crazy role switches. The roles and the classes get shuffled more than a Russian national hockey team desperate to generate goals.

It doesn't always work out! Sure you may know the mechanics and some of the details, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with having that extra safety net. Since most players are playing on a different character, there are certain things that are done differently compared to their mains.

Everyone starts all over again. Do the group a favor, start back from square 1. Bring in the option of a 3rd healer until everyone becomes familiar with the encounter on their alts.

No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot god mode players out of their own stupidity.

I don't know, maybe it is just me. Maybe it's just heroic Anub that did it. After wiping to him so many times, it has completely destroyed my own confidence and faith in my own healing abilities. I hate that oversized beetle with a passion.

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: Minor Jewelcrafting changes

Yesterday an updated list of changes for PTR patch 3.3.3 was released. Ranging from new pets and mounts to the LFD dungeon stats being tracked, there have been a lot of tweaks. Jewelcrafting is no exception to the rules of change and like other professions is seeing some small changes.
  • Icy Prism now requires Frozen Orb, Chalcedony x 1 (Down from 3), Shadow Crystal x 1 (Down from 3), Dark Jade x 1 (Down from 3)

  • Intricate Bone Figurine (Daily Quest) - Craft an Intricate Bone Figurine by combining the Proto Dragon Bone with a Sun Crystal and a Dark Jade. (Old - Chalcedony + Dark Jade)

These are small changes, but for many Jewelcrafters they are welcome ones. On many servers due to the rising number of tanks, Chalcedony can be very difficult to come by on the auction house and relying on the random number generator can sometimes leave you high and dry when you are prospecting for specific gems. Lowering the amount of gems required for the Icy Prism makes it a tad bit easier for aspiring jewelers to obtain the various gems they may need to level their profession to the skill cap, as well as making it slightly more profitable when you manage to gain a good gem like a Cardinal Ruby or Dragon's Eye.

Just like Inscription having the material components reduced for many of it's recipes and the Titansteel cooldown being removed, I think we will continue to see this trend as Cataclysm approaches. Making it easier for players to hit their profession skill caps before the expansion drops is a very good way to get people ready for when the skill cap is raised again.