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Category: General

Last night I joined an Elite Club…

Always believe in your soul
You’ve got the power to know
You’re indestructible
Always believe in, because you are
Gold


This has been something on my WoW wish-list for nigh on 10 years since I began playing in vanilla, quit, then finally picked up again in Wrath. I’ve played continuously since March 2009, without a break, even all through the long tiers of ICC, DS, Siege and HFC thus far, and until Warlords, it never looked as though it would ever be an attainable goal.

I hit the gold cap 

gold_cap

 

I came into Warlords with a then-massive (to me at least) 50,000 gold. Little did I, or anyone else playing at the time, realise just how integral our garrisons would become in increasing that total over time…

The elephant in the room.

Did I buy tokens?

Sure, I bought 4 when they first came out, and that got me 240,000g, but I spent that and more before I bought any further tokens. In fact I bought another 2, one of which bought my Hunter her stage 6 crafted gun with her perfect stats (plus a little extra was needed – 60k token vs 84k gun cost), and the final one was mainly swallowed by buying crafted gear for my Priest. Both characters still use all that crafted gear to this day, and in the case of the Hunter’s Rifle, bought nearly a year ago, I’d say I got value for money 😀

So, whilst I did buy 6 tokens over the past year, in actual fact they had very little to do with me hitting the gold cap.

In fact all they actually did was allow me to splurge on gear & pets somewhat without hurting my ongoing total gold level. I have an Ethereal Soul Trader, a Crawling Claw and a Spectral Tiger Cub I wouldn’t otherwise have had 😀

So what did get me gold capped?

Well, in December, I bought 3 cheap Minions of Grumpus, for less than 60k each, and that brought me down to about 500,000g. I’ve held onto them for the past 5 months, and over the past 10 days I’ve sold them all for a healthy 20-25k profit per mount.

I’ve also flipped some other mounts, such as the Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger, for another 20k or so profit, spare Coalfist Gronnlings for 1k a piece etc. But the majority of what’s got me to the gold cap came from my Garrisons.

This came mainly through passive income, boosted by having 25 followers, most of which have the Treasure Hunter trait. This means my 3 garrisons at this stage are generating somewhere around 20k per week passively for me overall.

giphy (4)

Throw in on top of that the ability to sell the things you get from Garrison missions, such as:

  • Champion’s Honor (1,000 Honor & Conquest Points when you use it) for 12k gold a throw
  • 1k rep-boosting Medallions of the Legion for 4k gold a pop
  • Huge Ogre Caches of garrison resources for 1.5k gold

Not to forget of course having 3 level 3 salvage yards, generating BoEs and resources like herbs & ore, most of which just gets straight vendored.

I’d much rather sell them on the AH, but Kilrogg isn’t much of a server for sales of green items for transmog unfortunately.


Tips to get gold-capped

So what tips would I give to anyone getting close to the gold cap, or those starting out to try to maximise their gold income before Legion raises the gold cap to 10 million gold?

  • Level 3 Garrisons – The most important part of all!
  • Level 3 Salvage Yard for the Large Salvage Crates*
  • Level 3 Shipyard for gold missions
  • Level 3 Inn for more Treasure Missions
  • Level 3 Barracks for 25 followers
  • Make most of them if not all, Treasure Hunters
  • Run Kazzak every lockout on any char you can for the Felblight. Then AH it.
  • Run 25m Heroic Cataclysm raids for a 2,000-2,500 gold bump per raid per char. Got 3 chars like me? 22.5k easy gold per week right there.
  • Keep an eagle eye out for cheaply sold mounts & pets, then flip them for free gold.
  • Crafted gear, but only stages 5 or 6 sell for decent gold atm
  • Sell all the Medallions of the Legion and Champion’s Honor you can get through the garrison missions. Or pick em up cheap and flip em – I made a 5k profit in 1 hour doing exactly this when someone AH’d one for 5k under the average price.

*By all means test out your server AH for reception to auctioning the BoEs, but be prepared to be disappointed to find a lot of expired sales. And depending on how much the AH cost is, it may not be economical to put it up there more than once.

And the last sale I made that put me over the gold cap? My final Minion of Grumpus, which put me 58k over the gold cap account wide. I couldn’t accept the gold on my priest until I mailed some to my Hunter, because the game wouldn’t let me pick it up from my mailbox 

So I celebrated by making myself the Depleted Kyparium Rocket in the article header, a mount I’ve wanted for ages. Even had to switch from Gnome to Goblin Engineering in order to do so. It cost me 66k to make, which brought me 8k gold back down below the gold cap account wide, but I’ll make that back before tomorrow’s out

Bring on that new 10m gold cap Legion!

Watch the price of a heroic raid clear in Legion suddenly sky-rocket above 1 million gold…


I’m really happy to count myself among the small percentage in WoW who are able to call themselves a WoW Millionaire. I never thought I’d get here, but if Warlords has been good for only one thing?

99616-smaug-gold-gif-Hobbit-Dragon-I-BXqH

Gold.

Nostalrius: The Inevitable Post (Updated)

Or, what happens when people get confused about what they actually want…


So Nostalrius, the “fan” managed “vanilla” server was forced to be closed down by Blizzard.

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: Blizzard were absolutely in the right here. This was essentially an illegal mis-use of Blizzard’s IP, and if they hadn’t closed it down then they would have been damaging their own rights and ability to defend their IP in the future.

Now, there have been figures bandied about all month regarding Nostalrius:

  • 800,000 registered users
  • 150,000 active users
  • 12,000 concurrent users

These are the figures being quoted by those demanding that Blizzard set up official vanilla servers, and using the above figures as evidence of “demand”.

However there are several potentially fatal flaws in this line of reasoning.

First and foremost?


Nostalrius had no subscription fee.

Players signed up, created an account, and played for free, never once having to pay a subscription cost. Nostalrius’ management did ask for and accept “donations” towards the server’s running costs, but no payment was demanded either up front or on an ongoing basis. Which is probably why it, and other “fan”-run servers like it have gotten away with existing thus far.

In fact, when polled by PC Gamer about how many Nostalrius players would be willing to pay a regular subscription for its continued existence?

Barely any Nostalrius players were prepared to pay for it.

They wanted a specific version of the game set up to their liking, and never ever wanted to pay for it. And therein lies the reason why Nostalrius was so popular. It was merely a haven for the vanilla-crowd who no longer wanted to pay for a subscription based MMO.

I mean, who hates free stuff?

However the popularity of this server, it’s greatest strength, was ultimately its downfall. When you have tens of thousands of players playing something you’ve created, and you’re not being compensated for it in an official capacity? You have to defend your IP.

That’s the way the US Copyright laws are setup. If Blizzard hadn’t shut it down, then Nostalrius could’ve been used as a precedent against them being able to shut down other servers like this in future. Including ones that may have demanded a subscription fee. And obviously Blizzard wouldn’t want that either.


Content and updates.

People are complaining vociferously and have been for months about the lack of content in Warlords of Draenor, and rightly so. But if you have a server that’s locked and capped on a single expansion? What exactly are you hoping for in terms of content?

The best you’ll get are “events” run by the GMs of the server, where they spawn NPCs in locations and have players take them on.

Don’t expect new dungeons, raids, systems, pet or mount models etc etc, because they won’t be coming. All I’ve ever seen on any of the forums or websites for private servers like these are this type of event, because they obviously lack the tools, developers and artists to create fresh, actually new content. They merely re-mix, rehash and fiddle with what’s already in the vanilla box.

Just imagine if you could never have another album by your favourite (living) artist or group ever again. Imagine the best you would ever have ever again are endless remixes of their début album for the rest of eternity.

Not so appealing now, is it? Wouldn’t you rather have new albums? New potentially great tracks?


Conflating Experience with Content.

Nearly all of those who played on Nostalrius and those who have been demanding official Vanilla servers began playing in Vanilla.

Ask most people what their favourite expansion is, and 99% will give you the exact same answer: Whatever expansion was current when they began playing.

But why is that?

When you began playing WoW (or any other older MMO for that matter), everything was new. EVERYTHING. Including all the stuff that was old hat to longer-term players.

I began in Vanilla. I did. But Vanilla was so bad I quit after 6 months and swore off the game for over 3 years, and missed out TBC altogether, coming back at the start of Wrath. So is Wrath my favourite expansion?

Nope, that would be Mists. But Wrath is a very close 2nd.

It’s all about nostalgia. Rose-tinted spectacles, and thinking back to how you felt playing during that time period, when everything was new, the world was your oyster and there seemed like no end to the fun you could potentially have.

Very often people’s fondness for their favourite expansion will be tied directly to how they felt while they were playing at that time. Rarely will it be about the actual content of that time, and that’s where most people’s demands for vanilla servers hits a sticky patch.

I seriously doubt very many people will prefer the basic, simplistic raids of vanilla in Onyxia, Molten Core etc, to more modern raids like ICC, Siege of Orgrimmar, Blackrock Foundry or even Hellfire Citadel. The game has evolved, in terms of both complexity and the actual engine itself. And the playerbase has evolved right along with it.

Some of them have moved on to other games, like Black Desert, Eve Online, Wildstar etc, whilst those that remain have increased in skill level in order to cope with the demands of newer, more complex content.

Sure, Blizzard have been accused of dumbing down the game to a certain degree in order to bring in more casual players. Hell my last article included an element of that.

But wouldn’t going back to Vanilla, a version of the game that was at it’s base the most dumbed down the game has ever been, just be volunteering to play what these self-same elitists are debasing Blizzard for doing to the current game?


So, wrapping this up, there are many reasons why Blizzard are right to not only shut Nostalrius down, but also be reticent to open official vanilla servers.

They would have to support multiple versions of the game (if you think players would stop at demanding Vanilla only servers, think again), and it would also fracture and splinter the already dwindling player-base ever further.

If you think your server’s empty now…


Update:

After publishing earlier today, this tweet appeared:

Interesting times, given Blizzard’s response about pristine realms…

Why Arathi Basin is like Kim Kardashian…

Or why the sudden rush for E-Sports…

And no, it’s not because both have been used more often than is probably healthy…


Reality TV.

The bane of discerning television viewers everywhere.

It’s cheap, frequently tawdry, and requires little to absolutely no effort on behalf of the programme makers to film and put together.

Think of Doctor Who vs Big Brother. Which do you think is the easier programme to make?

Without a doubt it’s BB. In fact they can churn out hour long programmes on a daily basis whenever it comes around each year. Ditto telly like I’m a Celebrity etc.

Cheap, quick to make, and low quality content utterly dependent on Joe Public to make it really worthwhile engaging with for anyone, never mind fans.

So what the hell does a vehicle for vapid, inane “celebrities” like Kim Kardashian (eurgh, I feel dirty for just typing that name), or absolutely unknown, exploited members of the public have to do with e-sports?

Well, think of the story content of any expansion in WoW. It requires a lot of writing, similar to an average episode of Dr Who. It needs thought, effort, content and work put into it. And lots of it.

Then take a look at Heroes of the Storm, or Overwatch. Where does the majority of the workload go in there? Environments, models, classes. Story? Nope, it gets mere lip-service in comparison to the amount of lore poured into a WoW Expansion.

Once you get past the initial sheen of a new map, all of the entertainment value in Heroes, Overwatch or WoW PvP comes entirely from the players. The “content” creation is entirely up to you, as a player, to provide everything for the other players. Being good or bad at the game is largely irrelevant. You just have to show up. Blizzard merely provide the vehicle for you to do that in.

Do you think Blizzard would prefer to keep doing lore heavy expansions, or just adding PvP arenas? Which would be quicker and easier?

No doubt that’s the reason why they much prefer PvP style content over PvE. PvP content is for all intents and purposes evergreen. It’ll last forever. Maps never age, and they can be played indefinitely. New content? A new map or two once every few months should be more than enough. Generous even.

And these players will pay for new maps, skins, models, hell anything you can throw at them! They’ll fork out hand over fist.

Written lore and story however?

One and it’s done, both in purchase and consumption. Takes ages to produce and gets consumed all too quickly.

So if it hadn’t hit you yet why Blizzard are heading more towards PvP/E-Sports content and games like Heroes and Overwatch?

Well, think of the bigger picture: Effort vs Reward.

Just don’t be too surprised to see Kim Kardashian’s butt as a new “sponsored” mount in Heroes of the Storm one day…

Linux: A torrid love affair

https://twitter.com/Sarcrux/status/699979059955179520


I have an on and off (mainly off) love affair with Linux. I’ve been using it on a sparse basis for years, whilst using the most recent version of Windows for my day-to-day stuff.

Now, some of you may or may not know, that in my day job I’m an IT Analyst/Engineer. I do a variety of tasks within this role:

  • User support via phone/email-based service desk
  • Training (I’m a qualified IT Tutor)
  • Server Support
  • Software deployment & maintenance
  • Hardware deployment & maintenance/repair
  • Windows OS mobile phone & Surface support
  • And basically anything else that comes up…

So needless to say I’m a bit of a geek, both personally and professionally…

However Linux is something that has been a consistent pain to get working over the years. That said, it’s definitely a situation that has been improving, albeit slowly, over the years.

At least nowadays installing nvidia drivers in linux doesn’t involve having to dig into the guts of the OS and edit xorg.conf files and bollocks like that.

Linux Mint has been my distro of choice over the past couple of years, as it works better than most other distros I’ve used.

Mint in particular works pretty much out of the box. There is very little that needs to be done once it’s installed, other than run updates and make sure the programs you want are installed properly.


For those that don’t know, or are unfamiliar with Linux and how it works, there are many different “flavours” of Linux available.

Some, like Ubuntu and Mint are specifically targeted at Windows users who want something different, right through to the other end of the spectrum, where you have distros like Arch, which are highly technical and should only be used by seasoned Linux users & pros.

Mint is a “fork” of Ubuntu, or rather it uses Ubuntu “under the hood” while presenting  a very different desktop experience to the user. A few years ago, Ubuntu’s makers decided to take the user interface in a direction similar to that taken by Microsoft with Windows 8.0 – a desktop seemingly designed for touch devices, even on a bog standard PC with a keyboard and mouse.

The creators of Mint decided that they liked the Ubuntu OS/Distro, but felt, like many others, that the direction Ubuntu were taking the desktop experience in was wrong, and decided to create a version, or a fork, of the Ubuntu OS with a more traditional, start menu/button like environment.


Rosy? Not quite…

However, there are still some egregious issues with Linux, and it’s still far too easy to completely break your entire PC and your ability to even boot it into either Linux or Windows, if like me you’ve decided to play it safe (hah!) and dual-boot.

For example, I tried to install a new desktop environment called Gnome into Mint, and even though I did everything perfectly fine, and did exactly what I was meant to, it somehow managed to break the entire machine so badly that it managed to lose the boot settings. This meant it couldn’t find the configuration file (a thing Linux uses called GRUB) it needed to boot up, and as a result I was left with a machine that wouldn’t load either Windows or Linux.

So after an hour or so trying to fix it by hand, manually typing commands into the only thing I was able to get, a command prompt named Grub Rescue, I decided to boot up a live copy of Mint via a USB stick and use the above named utility to repair the damage that had been wrought.


Apocalypse averted!

And lo, everything was fixed once more and off we went again, this time a bit more cautiously and staying well the fuck away from Gnome!

So once it was back up and running, it was time to set about customising and trying out some games…

So using a windows emulation program named Wine, I’ve managed to get the Battle.net client installed, and got WoW downloaded and installed too.

WoW’s performance is nowhere near as good as it is on Windows, obviously, but it’s good enough that if I’m in Linux I can log on and check my garrison missions, or maybe jump on the AH, pick up mail and so on.

It’s certainly not anywhere near good enough to raid or even do any sort of group content like 5 mans.

Perhaps it just needs a bit more tweaking done, we’ll see.

Steam on the other hand doesn’t seem too bad. I’ve something silly like 680 games in my Steam account, and just over 200 of those have native Linux binaries, and are directly usable in Linux without having to go through Wine.

This includes even modern games, like Pillars of Eternity, Divinity: Original Sin (Enhanced edition), and even the likes of X-Com 2!

Of course big strides have been made in this area in recent years, particularly by Valve, as they’ve created their own distro of Linux, named SteamOS. This stemmed from Gabe Newell’s dislike of where Microsoft were trying to take the PC desktop environment with Windows 8.

This all stemmed back to when rumours were still flying round about the intention of MS to lock the OS to only be able to install programs from the Windows store, and trying to lock the entire PC hardware to only be able to boot into Windows via TPM and Secure Boot.

Of course none of those things ever came to pass, but Valve have carried on developing SteamOS, building it into their branded PC hardware OEM lines, called Steam Machines, which are essentially linux powered PC based games machines for the living room.


I’ve yet to try installing any Steam games, as last night was all about battling with Battle.net via Wine (spoiler: it’s not a flawless experience!) and getting various other programs installed, like Chrome and Spotify.

Steam games will be tonight’s experiment, so I’ll make a post over the next few days letting you know how I got on with those, and how well they perform in comparison to Windows.

I’m hoping the native Linux games in Steam are a damn sight better performing than WoW is, given the lack of Wine emulation to suck performance out of it.

I’m glad though Steam & Valve are pushing to get more games compatible with Linux, as otherwise, this would be the sort of “quality” gaming experience you’d be subject to…

tux-racer-deluxe
Gran Tourismo 5 it is not.

(A Dozen) Things to do in Azeroth when you’re dead (bored)…

We’re now in the middle of the long night of no content, with an undefined dawn awaiting at some nebulous future point.

With potentially so long to go before Legion launches, possibly as long as another 8 months, for those that still want to play WoW, what is there to occupy your time?

What can you possibly do in a game where there’s been no visible content in over 6 months already, with a seemingly bigger barren desert stretching out in front of you as well?

What to do when, like me, your guild is all but dead, awaiting resurrection in Legion?

Well, this is where we start digging into different kinds of content, improving our gear to solo newer content, and grinding out the stuff we didn’t get time to do when the content that was there was fresh.


The List

  1. Mount Runs
  2. Pet Collecting
  3. Toy Collecting
  4. Title Collecting
  5. Achievement Hunting
  6. Valor & Legendary Ring Upgrades
  7. Rep Grinding
  8. Transmog Collecting
  9. Gold Capping
  10. PvP
  11. Levelling Alts & gearing them (including opposite faction)
  12. Professions

So let’s take a quick scoot through some examples of the above list, shall we?


Mount Collecting

I’m a collector. I love collecting things in game, regardless of what it is. If there’s a checklist of things to pick up in game, I love ticking off all the boxes in order to fulfil achievements, pick up bonus rewards or whatever.

The first and primary thing I love to collect are Mounts.

Mounts are a statement of what you’ve achieved in WoW, more than anything else. Some require patience, such as Ashes of A’lar, where the drop rate is so abominably low that you could feasibly go the remainder of the game’s lifetime and never see it drop, even running Tempest Keep on 11 different characters every week.

Some mounts require skill (PvP mounts, looking at you here!), some require friends, some need pure luck, others just cold hard cash, and yet others just need you to complete content or grind reputation.

But most will remark upon some kind of activity that you’ve carried out in order to acquire it.

Of course some you get just for collecting other mounts. I’m currently sitting at somewhere just shy of 210 mounts on my Paladin, and so I need about another 41 or so to pick up the newest added reward for the 250 mount mark, the Felfire Hawk.

So I generally will run older raids for the most prized mounts I still don’t have yet, such as Invincible from 25m Heroic Lick King, the aforementioned Ashes of A’lar from Tempest Keep, Mimiron’s Head from 25m Ulduar, the 2 dropped mounts from Firelands (I got the meta mount when it was still current content), 2 of the 3 dropped mounts from Dragon Soul etc etc.

I do have some prized mounts from older raids and instances that I’ve managed to pick up over the years, such as the Headless Horseman’s mount, the mount from Midnight in Karazhan, the Onyxia mount, all the useless (outside of the instance) mounts from AQ bar the black one, both Malygos mounts, both Sartharion mounts among many others.

But there are more yet to acquire…

Pet Collecting

These are easy enough, for the most part. This is one that requires patience, as collecting the pets that are available in the wild just requires you to nip around the various continents of WoW battling and capturing the pets you don’t yet have.

Easy.

Some will require you to fulfil meta achievements, such as drops of other pets from raid bosses, or be lucky with garrison missions, some just need you to get really lucky with spawns (hello Unborn Val’kyr), and again, some will require simple cold hard cash (either IRL or ingame).

As for me, I’ve collected all of the wild pets you can get, bar 2 rare spawns in Draenor. I’m still working on some of the raid boss drops, either by doing old raids, or buying them on the BM/AH.

Once collected, there’s always the option of levelling them as well, or maybe doing the Celestial Tournament in Pandaria if you haven’t done that. I have, and got all 4 pets, and they’re so worth the effort.

There are the new Legendary pets to battle in Tanaan Jungle, all of which can reward other pets to boot…

Toy Collecting

This is one that I’m not really actively working on, but I do know some people that are as fervent about collecting toys as I am about Mounts & Pets.

Always bear in mind that there are some items that aren’t toys right now, but will become such in Legion.

Title Collecting

Again, not another high on my list of priorities, mainly because I stick with a handful of titles I already have (my paladin is forever either Judge the Proven Defender or Crusader Judge).

However there are a couple of Titles I have that I’m quite proud of, that are actually quite hard to obtain.

Predator is one. This is obtained from killing a very rare challenge boss in Tanaan Jungle, Xemirkol, and is currently one of the titles I use on my Hunter.

Sar the Undying is another one I’m very fond of. Unobtainable now, sadly, but it was garnered by running a full 10 man raid team through Naxxramas without dying to any bosses, prior to 4.0.3 when it was removed from the game. Even then, it was quite the achievement to do. We never did get round to completing the 25 man version, the Immortal

Achievement Hunting

This one’s fairly self explanatory, and doesn’t need much going over. Simply have a look at the achievements you don’t have and set about clearing some of the easier ones to begin with.

I’m about 270 points short of 17,000 achievement points on my Hunter, so I’ve still a fair few to pick up, particularly PvP achievements, which I’ve got very few of.

Valor and Legendary Ring upgrades

Yep, the busy work at the end of the expansion for the 2nd time in a row. Gear obtained from the latest raid instance can be boosted by 5 item levels for 250 Valor Points. This can be done a maximum of twice per piece of gear, giving each piece a maximum of an extra 10 item levels. Overall this would/should boost your overall item level by about 10, giving you that little bit of extra oomph for other activities, regardless of whether you’re a raider or not.

Similarly Crystallised Fel can be obtained to upgrade your Legendary Ring (if you have it) by 3 item levels per time. This can be done until your ring’s iLevel maxes out at 795. Currently I’m at 753 with an Archimonde run still to be done this week.

Of course if you don’t want to run Archimonde each week, once you’re done with the Valor upgrades for your other gear, you can purchase the same Fel item from a vendor in Tanaan for a whopping 1250 Valor.

If you ask me, upgrading your other gear is a far better use of your Valor in the meantime, as 1250 Valor will fully upgrade 2½ pieces of gear. I’ll carry on with the Archi kills until they’re no longer viable methinks, and buy one now and then with any extra Valor I have, as I’m nearly fully upgraded with it anyway.

Rep Grinding

The rep grinds in Warlords were, as has been admitted by Blizzard, godawful. Simple, mindless, drawn-out rep grinds are lazy and uninspired, and the initial reps in WoD were exactly that. Mind you if grinding out reputation in this manner appeals, then you’re already likely to have gotten to exalted with the likes of the Frostwolf Orcs/Council of Exarchs or Arrakoa etc.

The reputations in 6.2 that were added to pad out the meta achievement for flying in Draenor were more palatable, but were gated behind dailies, so couldn’t be done in less than a few weeks.

Of course there are plenty of older reputations that you can grind out. This is one of the drawbacks about changing main characters like I did 6 months ago. I have nearly 50 exalted reps acquired on my Paladin, having played her as my main for nearly 7 years, but now I’m on my Hunter?

18

This makes acquiring related titles, such as The Beloved from the 60 reputation achievement that much harder to do.

Ideally the meta would count all the reps you have at exalted across your account, whilst obviously not counting any of the same reps twice. Easily solved by giving a Feat of Strength achievement for each and every exalted reputation on your account, and have the metas work off of those counts.

Transmog Collecting

This is a massive one for me. As you’re probably aware I’m a huge lover of the transmog system not only in WoW, but also of similar systems in other games such as Wildstar, Elder Scrolls online etc.

Legion will of course bring a massive and very welcome overhaul of the transmog system, giving us a collection/wardrobe system similar to that seen in Wildstar. This will happily include Tabards and weapon enchants!

Of course you’re also going to have a starter wardrobe added at the very start of Legion/pre-patch, as you’ll be given access to all the quest rewards you’ve had the opportunity to gather over the years, even including the choices you didn’t take at the time!

If you haven’t already, I thoroughly recommend getting yourself setup with a full set of Hexweave bags to maximise your bag space ahead of Legion to allow for maximum transmog collecting potential. I did this a couple of days ago and got an extra 70 or so bag slots across my personal bags & bank slots. It cost about 12,000 gold, but it was most definitely worth it.

Even at that, 12,000 gold isn’t a massive outlay these days, especially if, like me, you’re looking to set about…

Gold Capping

This is another target for me in Warlords, and one of the main things keeping me ticking over in the meantime – hitting the gold cap at least once.

Hitting the mythical cap is something I’ve wanted to do forever in WoW. As someone who entered Warlords with a grand total of 50,000g and thinking at the time that I was rich (bless), I’ve seen my gold total hit nearly 700k in the time between launch and now.

Currently I’m sitting at just over 500k, having made some investment in mounts to keep a hold of until later in the year in order to re-sell for hopefully a decent bit of profit. I’ve also spent quite a chunk of change over the past few days acquiring the remaining Heirloom items from vendors, and getting some stuff fully upgraded to 2/2 or up to 100. So I now have every Heirloom available for purchase in game, and only lacking the ones available from the Darkmoon Faire, or the Dread Pirate ring from the Fishing Contest.

1 million gold, you will be mine eventually…

PvP

This is one for me, as PvP is something I’ve not done a huge amount of in the past. Mainly this was down to me playing a Prot Paladin, and as such killing players wasn’t exactly something I was going to excel at, given my damage output potential in Prot Spec.

Sure I could have switched to Ret, and did from time to time, but that’s like writing with the wrong hand. Sure you can do it, and maybe it’ll even be legible, but it’s sure as hell not going to considered calligraphy now, is it?

That changed recently, as you’ll have read in my previous post, so no need to expound upon that further as you can go read that if you haven’t already.

Mind you that was carried out with a focus on acquiring a long-desired transmog set, so PvP for other reasons (gear, achievements, mounts etc) is something I’ve yet to do a lot of.

Levelling Alts

This is something I only tend to do if I’m extremely bored in WoW. However it is a great time waster and fills out the feckless days with aplomb.

Mind you there are shortcuts to levelling characters available on the Blizzard Store, now up to 100, but that’s £40 to level a character I’ll likely not play a lot of.

In fact my free 100 boost I got from pre-purchasing Legion is still sitting unused, awaiting the arrival of Gnome Hunters. I’m levelling a human hunter on and off. Actually my 2nd human hunter, my first is sitting at 92 and unplayed. Why not use the boost on that one instead?

Meh, it gives me something to do I suppose, and levelling another Hunter is never a bad thing 🙂

It’s especially nice to play through the opposite faction 1-60 experience a few times to pick up the background story on multiple paths. Of course once you get to Outland and beyond, the story tends to then mirror the experience of the other faction more significantly, and so becomes less worthwhile. Plus that, and waiting to use a boost at 60+ will also give you instantly maxed level…

Professions

Engineering on the Hunter was a very fast and easy experience to level to the Draenor maximum of 700.

It was so easy in fact, I actually wrote up a full 1-700 in less than 6½ minutes Engineering levelling guide!

I’ve struggled over the past few months since to decide which secondary profession I want to pick up. Should I pick up a gathering profession like Mining again, or go for a second production profession?

Given that Engineering isn’t really about producing stuff for profit more than it is about giving yourself small perks and abilities, such as a free Goblin Glider built into your cloak, I decided that another production profession was the order of the day.

I mulled over Leatherworking and Blacksmithing, but ultimately decided on Tailoring. Cloaks are always useful to sell at the start of any raid tier, and there’s always the evergreen sales of various capacity bags to keep the gold income ticking over.

Well that, and Magic Carpet mounts…

Plenty of things to do in Azeroth when you’re dead (bored)

That’s a dozen things I’ve listed that you can while away the time on during the content lull until Legion eventually hits.

Even if you’re not a fan of some of the things listed, have maybe completed others, there should be something there that you can do ingame until Legion.

There’s always fun and content to be had for those willing to seek it out…

Enjoy!

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

So it’s Xmas time again, Winterveil is currently in effect on Azeroth, and we’re all looking forward to seeing a fat man emptying his sack all over our living rooms late at night…


Christmas came early for me and a lot of other geeks this year, with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Dec 17th. Long gone now are memories of George Lucas’s attempts to destroy the franchise with his horrific prequels, which were packed full of risible acting, complete lack of acting or direction, and the terrible decision to eschew practical effects completely in favour of CGI, which hasn’t aged well, even only 10 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

JJ Abrams took the helm for this first film of another trilogy, and it quite bluntly shits on the prequels from orbit. It is a far, FAR superior film to all three prequels on several fronts:

Acting: Newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as Rey & Finn respectively absolutely school Natalie Portman and the godawful Hayden Christensen in terms of raw acting ability.

See Anakin? THIS IS HOW YOU EMOTE!

Ridley is absolutely delightful, and Rey is now firmly one of my favourite SW characters. Boyega as Finn completely owned his role and finally showed what a black male lead character (itself practically a SW curiousity) in the SW universe can be.

Sorry Lando & Mace Windu, but you were hardly lead characters!

😉

Practical Effects: Frankly, screw overuse of CGI. If you can build a set practically, then for god’s sakes do it! It gives the actors so much more to work with and allows both them and the audience to inhabit the scene so much more, and the situation becomes so much better realised and believable as a result.

Practical creature effects also helped enormously to give this new film the same feel as the original trilogy, especially the new “cantina” scene at Maz Kanata’s castle.

Friends Reunited: The original trilogy cast & characters make a very welcome return, and when Han & Chewie appeared on screen for the first time, you couldn’t have wiped the stupid fanboy grin off my face for a million quid. Not that the story concentrates on them in any way. No, this is firmly a film centred around the new triumvirate of characters (Rey, Finn & Kylo Ren, the new villain), but the appearances of them spattered throughout the film’s 136 minute running time help make the universe feel just like the one we left 32 years ago.

Story: No trade federation, no trade routes, no silly senate dealings. Nope, this was back to the roots of story telling in Star Wars: A story firmly about family. Or in this case, families…

There was one major criticism of the plot for this film:

[su_spoiler title=”Click for slight spoiler details…”]The film’s plot, beat for beat, perhaps too closely mirrors that of A New Hope. Didn’t bother me at all though, as it was perhaps better to help root the characters and setting once again back into a galaxy far far away…[/su_spoiler]

Overall though? Absolutely loved it. I was completely wrapt for the 2 hours, which is not something I could say for more than any individual 10 minute period of any of the prequels.

Is it better than the OT films? Perhaps Jedi, which as always been the weakest of the OT, but New Hope and Empire for me are still stronger films, especially Empire.

I’ll be going to see it a 2nd time over the Xmas & New Year period, which is something I rarely do with films/movies in the cinema. Last time I did that was the Matrix!

If you haven’t seen it yet, WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS!? GO!


Crux: Universities – 21st Century Day Care for the Overgrown Baby.

Crux Articles: Articles that aren’t gaming related, and will touch on other more real world subjects, such as politics, religion, or in this case, rights of free speech. Be aware that these articles are more ranty in nature, and may contain more NSFW language than normal!


Traditionally, University has been somewhere where we send our young people who are intellectually capable and have intellectual promise in order to enhance their knowledge. To expand their minds and broaden their horizons.

To increase their literacy, strengthen their skills of reasoning and application of logic, and to prepare them for a life spent in a more professional capacity.

Free speech is something that most modern democracies not only encourage, but actually enshrine in law. The right to say whatever you want, even if it’s offensive or obnoxious to some, is a human right that should be protected at all costs.

Before I go any further, watch the below video.

It’s a slightly sarcastic take on what I’ll be talking about afterwords.

Done? Good.

Ridiculous right?

Nothing that insane could happen in reality, right?

Right?


Disclaimer: I never went to University. I quit school to begin working when I was about to enter my final year of secondary education, so I was about 17 at the time I left to take up a job that I thought would be of more benefit to me than completing my A-Levels. It was at the time, but longer term it proved to be of no benefit. As a result I have since began studying with the Open University, completing an Honours Degree in Computing & IT with Applied Psychology. This is an action borne of both work reasons and personal satisfaction, and so far I’m really enjoying it, but I will forever have missed out on the full University experience that I would’ve had, had I stuck with school and gone onto University when I was the appropriate age.

However, it seems that even today, University students the world over are missing out on a full University experience because of hysteria and political correctness gone mad.


Unfortunately it seems that this is not ridiculous, but is also reality in more than one University campus across the Westernised world at this moment in time.

Political correctness began as a movement intended to reduce the chance that minorities would take offence at certain terminology, language etc.

Noble intent? Perhaps. But it has now reached such levels of self-parody, that students like those satirised in the above video are not only real, but they are so earnest in their attempt to be seen as standing up for a cause that they’ve begun to become a satire of themselves.


Disclaimer #2: I am a proponent of equality and freedom. Very much so, and I believe that everyone has the right to live their lives the way they see fit. When it comes to gender, I believe men and women are equal in all things, and firmly believe a woman doing a specific job should be paid 100% in equality with a man doing the same job. Yes some men are physically stronger than some women, but likewise some women are physically stronger than some men.

Put it like this, I would not be picking a fight with Ronda Rousey any time soon… 😉

Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey – A fellow WoW player!

I’m also a huge advocate of gay rights and the rights of the non-hetero peoples of the world to live their lives in a manner they see fit as well. IMO the state has no right to dictate who should be able to marry or for people to love whoever they want.
I live in Northern Ireland, the last part of the UK that still legally discriminates against gay people and their right to marry, much to my ever-living disdain and embarrassment. Blame religion, I do, as it’s the conservative ultra-religious nutbags in the DUP blocking it every time.

Fucking religious bigoted assholes…


As mentioned at the beginning of this article, traditionally we send young people to University in order to strengthen their reasoning and argument skills, in addition to their critical faculties.

To prepare the next generation of great thinkers, philosophers, doctors, psychologists, scientists, authors etc.

However it now appears that in far too many cases, modern Uni students are seemingly less concerned with intellectual rigour, and seem all too eager to find a “cause” to champion.

Even if that “cause” is something that logically otherwise would be abhorrent or antithetical to their existence…


Case Study 1: Maryam Namazie (Video 1 or shorter 2)

Maryam was invited to give a talk at the Warwick University a few months back, and more recently to talk at Goldsmith’s University. On both occasions her invite was initially retracted after an outcry from Student’s Union in the Warwick University case, and in the second was objected to by the Goldsmith’s Islamic Society.

Maryam’s crime? Speaking out on women’s rights, gay rights and calling for an end to death threats against apostates. For which, during the Goldsmith’s lecture, she received death threats herself.

The thing that got me was that Goldsmith’s Islamic Society had a staunch ally in the “fight” against Maryam speaking out on women’s rights: The Goldsmith’s LGBTQ society.

Now, that’s odd enough, given how well we know that Islamic extremists treat gay people: See how ISIS treat gay people in Syria: They either behead them or throw them to their deaths from clock towers and cliff edges. But it’s even more puzzling given that the (now former) chair person, Muhammed Patel (@Mopey96 – now deleted!) of the Islamic Society at GS hates gay people:

image12

The LGBTQ society standing with ISOC over Maryam’s talk stinks of nothing more than painfully, desperately needing a “cause” to champion, of not having principles and thinking independently for themselves about who it is they’re throwing their support behind.

It shows a distinct lack of appreciation for the work someone like Maryam Namazie does, who it is she speaks for and shows a shocking lack of forethought and research.


Case Study 2: Germaine Greer

Similarly to Maryam, Germaine was invited to speak at yet another University, this time in Cardiff Uni. Prior to the lecture’s date, she made some rather unfortunate and offensive comments on transgender people, stating that “Transgender women aren’t really women”.

Regardless, rather than debate the issue with Germaine at the lecture, and try to convince her that she was wrong, some of the students at Cardiff decided to try and shut her down, by launching a petition on Change.org to try and put a stop to her lecture, entitled ‘Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century’.

So rather than try to engage in a structured debate with Germaine, they tried to outright prevent her from speaking at all. Hardly indicative of young people mentally prepared to test their mettle against one of the 20th Centuries foremost feminist figures!


Case Study 3: Erika Christakis

Erika penned an email in response to a directive from the Intercultural Affairs Committee at Yale University in the US, that decided that students should not wear halloween costumes that “might offend” or “culturally appropriate” minorities.

Erika’s email basically stated that students should be able to wear whatever the hell they like, even if it’s a little bit “offensive or obnoxious”. She asked “whether blond toddlers should be barred from being dressed as African-American or Asian characters from Disney films”.

For any right-minded person dressing your 4 year old caucasian daughter as Mulan or Pocahontas wouldn’t even raise an eye-brow, but not here.

After that, hundreds of students signed an open letter criticising her viewpoint. Following the furore she resigned her post as a lecturer at Yale, and her husband, a fellow lecturer at Yale has taken a semester-long sabbatical, after he had to endure the shrieking of butt-hurt cry babies screaming in his face:


Case Study 4: Tim Hunt

Sir Tim Hunt was asked at short notice to give a talk at the 2015 World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul. The words in question that caused this particular shit-storm?

“It’s strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists. Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls? Now, seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt an important role in it. Science needs women, and you should do science, despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”

Now, clearly Tim was being self-effacing and somewhat taking the piss, calling himself a chauvinist and going on to jokingly justify that statement by making clearly ridiculous assertions that were taking the mickey out of the people that actually think that way.

Now the talk was given during a lunch for female journalists and scientists, and clearly those in attendance thought that Tim was not being misogynistic as his words were greeted by warm laughter and applause.

But of course that wasn’t the end of it. Someone recorded a short snippet of the talk, cut it to make it look like he was being a sexist pig, and uploaded it online. Then the social media butt-hurt police took over, there was a Twitter-storm, and he eventually had to resign his post as honorary professor with the University College London’s Faculty of Life Sciences.


Case Study 5: Katie Hopkins

Now, Katie is a woman that I, along with a large percentage of the UK population have come to despise deeply over the years. The woman is a shit-stain on the public arena, because all she has ever done is make statements designed purely to revolt, disgust and shock in order to keep herself in the public eye and further her own worthless career.

There’s a famous quote, one all too often mis-attributed to Voltaire, but actually penned by Evelyn Beatrice Hall writing about Voltaire’s attitude on the subject, that goes like this:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

And with this statement I agree whole-heartedly. So even though I despise Katie Hopkins with every fibre of my being, I defend her right to say the crap she spouts, because that’s her right to do so.

However, it seems like the students of Brunel University don’t have quite as mature an attitude to her right to speak.

She was yet another example of someone invited to give a talk at a University that was then treated somewhat childishly by the students.

She was part of a panel debating whether the welfare state had a place in 2015 as part of Brunel’s 50th anniversary celebrations, but as soon as she started to speak a large section of the students in attendance simply stood up, turned their backs on her as she spoke, then a minute or so later started filing out of the auditorium.

So again, rather than debate Katie Hopkin’s reprehensible views, they simply refused to engage and instead behaved like a bunch of spoilt whining babies throwing a tantrum and walked out. I wonder if any of them had their fingers in the ears going “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU. I’M TELLING MY MUMMY ON YOU”


Sadly it seems that in today’s world of overly-sensitive cry-baby students and the ease with which social media armchair warriors and philosophers can shriek the loudest and force the hands of otherwise rational people and bodies to crumble under the pressure and go against common sense.

Instead of strengthening their intellectual capacity, rigour and critical thinking faculties, it seems students and by extension the social-media cry babies would prefer to become intellectually lazy by refusing to engage in debate.


I’M GOING TO USE TWITTER TO BERATE YOUR LIFESTYLE CHOICES AND ALLY MYSELF WITH A RANDOM CAUSE THAT WANTS TO KILL ME! WAAAAAAAA!
I HATE THAT YOU’RE ABLE TO SPEAK TO ME AND I’M TOO LAZY TO EVEN TRY TO OUT-THINK YOU! WAAAAAAAAA

And just before submitting this article to the ether of the web, I came across this little pearl. The president of a small college in the US basically told his students to “grow up” and stop being so “self-absorbed and narcissistic”.

That whenever their feelings are hurt or they take the slightest bit of offence that they play the victim, and that so-called “safe space” policies where dissenting opinions are shut down for fear of causing offence are stunting free speech.

And this is in a CHRISTIAN COLLEGE. And if the Christians are getting pissed off, well boy, you know something’s fucking rotten in the state of Denmark.

Right?

And if anyone’s offended after reading all this?

Then that’s entirely your right.

As it is mine to not particularly care 😉

And if you’ve made it to the end of this monster and are still reading, well done, a Twitter cookie for you!