Thursday, August 29, 2013

Current Collection Goals: Grinding Levels

I haven't quite collected all the 5.3 pets yet (still missing Viscous Horror and Stunted Direhorn). The horror refuses to drop in normal ToT and is going for more than I'm willing to spend on the AH, and I'm still not into the pet PVP thing (even if it's for a pet). Even though there are still pets to collect, I've shifted my priorities elsewhere for the time being.

These days I've been focusing on leveling all my pets to 25. It's no easy task, and it's definitely grindy. I'm inching closer and closer, and I only have 99 more pets to level to max. I doubt I'll be able to reach my goal of all level 25 pets before 5.4 is released, but I'm going to do my damned best to get as many up as possible.

This last batch of pets has been the most challenging. Not because they're difficult pets to battle with, but because they're not very interesting. Many share similar attacks/abilities and they're somewhat boring overall. I adore them to bits, but after the 5th snake, 7th rat, or 3rd cockroach, it starts to get old.

Even the pet leveling support group that I occasionally take part in isn't enough to make it extraordinarily exciting. Sure, adding other players into the mix adds a level of freshness to the leveling process, but it's still quite tedious.

So after some thinking, I've decided to approach it differently. Rather than just trying to level random pets or every pet to 25 all at once, I've set mini-milestones.

Tiggindy from WarcraftPets had some good advice regarding pet leveling (in Pandaria):
"Assuming you always wear your safari hat, there's certain points for efficient use of the Pandaria tamer XP. Level 10, level 15, level 19, level 21 and level 23.5. Each tamer fight will get you to the next point, and of course, a 23.5 pet will jump to 25 after a single fight. Aim to get your low level pets to one of those targets using the wild fights. You can level a 1 to 10 in 5 or 6 wild fights in Pandaria."
With this in mind, I've made it a goal to get each pet to a "breakpoint" level. 15, 19, 21, or 23.5. This way when I do the Tamer dailies each day, I can maximize the gain without wasting any experience earned. So rather than attempting to level one pet to 25 in one sitting, I've been spreading out my time getting each group of certain leveled pets to the next critical level.

I don't know if this is more or less efficient/effective than simply power leveling, but it shakes things up and makes the process a little less same-old-same-old. It also provides more incentive to do dailies each day since I know I'm guaranteed the correct amount of experience gain each time. It's like pre-planning to make things easier and go more smoothly.

With 30+ pets coming in the next patch, I'd be happy if I could get 40-50 pets of my current 99 to max level. If I can mange at least that, once 5.4 is released and I've collected all the new ones, I'll only have less than 100 pets to level still.

Guess I should get back to it!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Unlocking a Guild Achievement: Thundering Serpent Hatchling

Late last night my guildmates completed the Gold Challenge mode achievement, which unlocked the Thundering Serpent Hatchling for my guild. :D Yay and congrats on full gold to them.

I've already acquired the pet from another guild, but it's still exciting that my fellow guildies can also purchase the pet now too. More pets for everyone!

Although we've unlocked the pet, we won't be opening up for collectors to join. In the end, we're still primarily a raiding guild, and even if I adore pets, it's not the main focus.

For those seeking the Thundering Serpent Hatchling, I still recommend taking a look at the guilds listed on the WarcraftPets forum thread. :)

Many thanks to my guildmates who were very dedicated in earning gold in all challenge modes (even if the goal wasn't to unlock the pet :P). Congrats to everyone in my guild, and happy collecting!

Friday, August 23, 2013

WoW TCG Coming to An End

Blizzard recently announced that Reign of Fire will be the last TCG expansion set. With all of the loot from previous sets included in this latest release, it seems fitting that it is the finale to the epic-ly long running WoW TCG. 21 sets-long to be exact!

If you're still on the fence about purchasing any Reign of Fire packs or box sets, don't panic and go out to buy as many as possible before it all comes to a close. You'll still be able to redeem loot cards as usual, even now that there won't be any future TCG expansion sets.

If you're looking to collect for novelty, though, I wouldn't wait too long on buying since it's unclear how long Cryptozoic will keep Reign of Fire in print, and Blizzard currently doesn't have any plans to renew a license for WoW TCG.

My second TCG pet ♥, the first being the Hippogryph Hatchling

I was never heavily into the card game, but I always thought the artwork was beautifully done. Not to mention the pet loot was definitely enticing. As a matter of fact, I just recently completed my TCG collecting goals, and finally acquired all the TCG pets. Talk about timing lol.

With all of this coming to an end, I tip my hat to Blizzard for releasing so many sets, providing so much loot, and entertaining card game lovers all these years. We'll have to wait and see where the next redeemable loot will come from, but part of me thinks that it won't be nearly as epic as their TCG was.

Update to World PVP Exclusive Pet In 5.4

As a follow-up to my initial post on the World PVP exclusive pet coming in 5.4, Blizzard has made it clear that PVP mechanics on PVE servers will not be changed. You will still need to flag yourself for PVP in order to participate in PVP. Those that use the Censer of Eternal Agony will not be able to attack those that are not flagged for PVP. So if you don't want to fight, don't mark yourself available for PVP.

On PVP servers, it will be a free-for-all, as usual.

Another thing to add is that there is a new debuff that is applied to those that you kill, Sacrificed to Ordos. When you're under the effects of the Censer of Eternal Agony, any person you kill will receive a 10 minute debuff which prevents you from earning another Bloody Coin from killing them for 10 minutes.

It's not 100% clear if this debuff applies to EVERYONE seeking Bloody Coins, or just the person that made the initial kill.

If it's the former, then guild hosted events for coin "farming" would be out of the question, as each person would only need to be killed once before the entire affair comes to a standstill for 10 minutes. This would effectively put a cap on how quickly anyone can earn coins. At minimum, players would need to spend 17 hours (1 coin per 10 minutes, 5-6 per hour) before earning enough Bloody Coins to purchase the Vengeful Porcupette.

If it's the latter, and only the player that made the kill is unable to earn another coin from their previous target for 10 minutes, then it's not as restrictive. Guild/group farming sessions would still be viable, if at a reduced rate.

I suppose I understand why Blizzard would implement this new mechanic to Bloody Coin farming, as win trading is probably frowned upon. But it just seems like it's going to make things even more frustrating, especially for those uninterested in PVP. Not only will participation in world PVP be mandatory, now there is basically one viable route that players must take to earn coins. Rather than giving us multiple paths to earning coins, such as killing randomly, killing only friends, killing alts, etc., we're now restricted to just killing randomly in order to avoid the debuff and to earn as many coins as possible.

It should be noted, though, that it's technically still possible to kill just one other to farm for coins. It would be exceedingly tedious as you'd have to wait 10 minutes between each kill, with an absolute minimum of 17 hours to earn all 100. Because of how ineffective and unlikely this method is, although the option is still there, it's probably not worth it.

And before anyone adds in that the debuff is to prevent any griefing/over-ganking, PVE servers will not have that issue since players must choose to involve themselves in PVP. There's no way to gank and camp someone if they choose not to flag themselves. For PVP servers, it will already be 'anything goes', and debuff or not, there will be massive ganking, griefing and all around chaos.

So the only reason this 10 minute debuff seems to exist for, is to curb kill-trading to farm for Bloody Coins.

Which I understand for the most part. Doesn't mean I'm exactly happy about the situation, though. Until I experience it for myself, and see how this debuff affects situations such as guild hosted events to help others collect coins, the debuff just seems like a bloated obstacle that's not entirely necessary. Maybe if it were cut in half or reduced to 7 minutes instead of 10? I don't know.

I'm already dreading farming for the Vengeful Porcupette and this just adds to that gloomy outlook. Even if I participate in a guild PVP event, it's possible that the debuff will bring everything to a halt within the first 10-15 minutes. What then? I guess stand around and wait for the debuff to fall off of everyone. I don't know about everyone else, but that doesn't sound very engaging to me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Collectors Motivating Collectors

Need some motivation or inspiration to level pets? I know I do. I'm at that somewhat dreaded portion of the grind where the only pets that are left are the least interesting ones to me.

What's helped me these past couple of days, though, is this thread on WarcraftPets. Users have essentially made a game out of the mini-game, and are giving each other pet leveling goals.

It's simple:
- Check the collection of the last person that posted.
- Pick a pet for them to level and leave a response to the thread.
- The next person who posts will then choose a pet for you to level.
- And the process continues until we run out of pets to level or we stop posting.
It may seem like a trivial concept, but you'd be surprised how much impact something like a group game can have. :)

In any case, I just thought I'd mention it. It's made the grind to 25 for some of my pets less painful since leveling pets that someone else has assigned me is a separate goal from my own. The monotony is broken and it just feels good to be able to respond and receive responses in turn.

Give it a try if you feel so inclined. :) The more the merrier!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thundering Serpent Hatchling Open For Collectors

The Thundering Serpent Hatchling isn't the easiest pet to find. In fact, you don't really find IT specifically. Instead, you need to find a guild who's unlocked it on their guild vendor. Even then, guilds that have put the time and effort into the achievement that unlocks it, may not be open to inviting anyone and everyone seeking the pet.

That being said, there's good news for all collectors still seeking the Thundering Serpent Hatchling! Doobjanka (Community Leader and fellow admin of WarcraftPets) now has a Horde guild on the US server Madoran called Magical Menagerie. His guild has the serpent companion unlocked, and all are welcome to join and earn it. :) Simply message any member of Magical Menagerie for an invite.

You'll need to reach revered status with the guild and have 270 gold to purchase it, but it's not that difficult (trust me, I've done it before :P).

Other than that, it's great that collectors now have a guaranteed guild to go to for this pet (and other companions). Just keep in mind that although the guild is open for all seeking the pet(s), general social etiquette should still be practiced. Follow the guild rules and keep things friendly. :)

For those that aren't on US servers, WarcraftPets has a forum thread that lists potential guilds that are open to allowing players to join for the Thundering Serpent Hatchling.

Many thanks to Doobjanka for acquiring the guild and opening it up to collectors. :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Collecting the Skywisp Moth and Ruby Droplet In 5.4

The Timeless Isle is a neat place for adventuring, and there are loads of secrets to uncover and puzzles to solve. One of them includes how to find the wild Skywisp Moths and/or find the rare spawn that drops the Ruby Droplet.

After testing and playing on the PTR, I consider this puzzle solved! It's fun, but can be a little tedious and frustrating. I imagine it will be a headache on PVP servers.

Climbing Skill Not High Enough
Once on the Timeless Isle, you'll notice the other two moths, Ashwing Moth and Flamering Moth, are in (easily) accessible locations on the island. So where is the Skywisp Moth?

I wondered this and took a long tour around the perimeter of the island. By spamming a target macro, I managed to locate a moth, high up on a cliff. Ok, no big deal, right? Climb up the hill and engage in battle with the moth.

Except that the cliff has a sheer wall face and is not accessible through normal means. Believe me, I ran all around the island trying to find a way to climb up. Climbing is not an option.

I'm sure players will discover unique ways of scaling the mountains, such as engineering and class abilities. But it appears the main way to access these lonely towers is through flight.

Oh, but you can't fly on the Timeless Isle. Then again, I never said YOU would be the one doing the flying. ;P

It's a Bird, It's a Plane... No wait, It's a Bird

There are elite seagulls, Highwind Albatrosses, that patrol a specific path around the island, and these birds are the key to reaching the Skywisp Moths and rare spawn (that drops the Ruby Droplet).

If you attack a seagull once, it will pluck you from the ground and fly with you in its mouth. It will only stop if you attack it again, and at that point you'll need to kill it. If you have an agro dumping ability, you can use that and the bird will stop attacking you and then continue to fly onward.

By timing it just right, you can position the seagull over the spot that you want to land before killing it. From what I've observed, the bird drops down low before focusing on attacking you, so fall damage shouldn't be fatal. The birds have 1181k health and don't hit hard at all. Most DPS should have no problem with them.

Looking Down From Above

As you're soaring above the island, you'll notice that the Skywisp Moths spawn on the very top of the tall rock pillars. You're free to drop down at any time to land on one of these land formations - just attack your chauffeur.

Using the albatrosses is also the method of reaching Ruby Lake which sits atop a high mountain. In the red-tinted waters of the lake is where you'll find the rare spawn Garnia, who drops the Ruby Droplet.

There's no easy way down from Ruby Lake, though, and you'll have to position yourself so that you're in range of the seagulls that fly above it. Attack one once and you'll be escorted down without any hassle. To stop at any point during the flight, simply attack and kill it.

Finding a Ride and Keeping It
Being able to find a Highwind Albatross that was in range of any of my spells was the toughest part of this adventure. That and being able to complete the journey to the spot that I wanted to go to, because, yenno, interruptions suck.

There are a few spots on the cliffs of the Blazing Way area where they fly lower than normal, but the seagulls are flying in the wrong direction if you decide to hitch a ride from that point. Depending on where you want to get to, you might have to sit through the full flightpath as it does its entire round again.

Another thing to note is that other players can attack your bird as well. Once they do, the seagull will fly to the ground towards them and begin attacking. They will not stop until they're dead or the other player decides to drop agro somehow. Unfortunately, this means your journey can be rudely interrupted mid-flight. Ideally, you want to be picked up by the albatross in a location that will not give players easy access to grief you.

So far the best spot that I've found is on the entrance path of the Celestial Court, between the two stone tigers. The seagulls fly close enough to the ground along that walkway so that you can agro them without too much hassle.

Likewise, it's a popular position for other players to attack incoming gulls, regardless if those birds have a passenger. They are not as likely to notice outgoing seagulls, although it's entirely likely. It's best to find a bird at the very end of its pathing (when it's still close to the ground). I've found that they fly out of spell casting range just as they pass the main archway that leads to the coastline.

Anyway, there you have it! The secret to collecting the Skywisp Moth and Ruby Droplet on the Timeless Isle. Enjoy the scenery while you're up in the sky with the albatross; the view is spectacular. :)

The Look-a-Like Challenge - Part 2

After my first post on look-a-likes, I've found a few more to turn into. So with the help of a friend, I managed to "collect" these temporary costumes as well.

It wasn't all that easy, as one is exclusive to a certain pet and the other is based on a rare spawn. The outcome was marvelous, though, and I enjoyed being larger counterparts to my pets for 10 minutes or so. :)

In the same fashion as my first go around, I needed the following
1.) The help of a rogue friend
2.) Potion of Illusion and/or Ai-Li's Skymirror
3.) Misc items that transformed my character into fun things

Pet: Twilight Fiendling
Item: Ethereal Liqueur
Notes: Friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror required

The liqueur can only be purchased from an Ethereal Soul-Trader (must own the pet). Using the item consumes it, but doesn't always cause the transformation. When it does, your character will be feared and unable to make any actions. In order to gain the image of the fleshbeast, you'll need someone with Ai-Li's Skymirror to target you at the moment of transformation and then use the skymirror. The liqueur is tradeable, so you could also give it to a friend and use the same method on them.

Last thing to note is that if you want to match perfectly with your pet (color and all) you can also purchase Ethereal Mutagen from the soul-trader. This will turn any of your pets into a white fleshbeast.

Pet: Direhorn Runt, Pygmy Direhorn, Stunted Direhorn
Item: Intact Direhorn Hide
Notes: The item can only be used on the Isle of Giants, but using a skymirror on a person transformed (or yourself) will preserve the costume even if you leave the zone.

Pet: Lil' Bad Wolf
Look-a-like: Lost Son of Arugal
Notes: Rogue friend required, must have the minor glyph, Glyph of Disguise

Pet: Dark Whelpling
Item: Orb of the Blackwhelp

Pet: Ethereal Soul-Trader
Look-a-like: Razaani Nexus Stalker
Notes: Rogue friend required, must have the minor glyph, Glyph of Disguise

That's it for now, but I plan on finding more look-a-likes in the near future. :) I'm already planning for a couple of pets coming in 5.4!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Get Your Gahz'rooki

As mentioned a while back, the Darkspear Rebellion event will be ending with the release of 5.4.

What does that mean for pet collectors? Gahz'rooki will no longer be purchasable and will turn into a rare drop. There will be a small chance of finding one "by killing the Kor’kron, and other associated mobs in Northern Barrens." You can read an official announcement here.

It's hard to say how "rare" this rare drop will be, and we'll have to wait to find out the approximate droprate. So if it seems like too much trouble or a hassle waiting for a drop, be sure to head over, do the small quest chain and start collecting the mats to purchase your own baby hydra. Or you can always check the AH, as this pet is also cageable. With that in mind, you could also purchase a few and save them to give to friends/family or to AH once 5.4 hits.

Either way, don't forget to collect Gahz'rooki. Although he already has 3 heads, I'm sure he'd enjoy your company. ;)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Collect More In 5.4!

Good news for all pet collectors! Mumper Tweeted an image that shows an increase to the cap for total number of pets allowed. How big of an increase is it? Well it went from 650 (current) to 1000 (coming soon)! That's 350 more slots for new pets and duplicates (the number of duplicates you can have will remain the same). Now we can have SO MANY pets and pets and pets and pets. XD

On top of this amazing news, Mumper clarified that this change is set to happen in the upcoming 5.4 patch. Just in time to make room for 34 new pets!

When I first started pet collecting, I never even considered having one THOUSAND pets. Then again, collecting back then meant you needed to have bag space to hold all the pets. 1000 bag slots was out of the question lol. But even once the Pet Journal was released, I never imagined I'd aim for 1k pets at some point. It was beyond my scope of thinking, because... well that's just SO MANY!

Hopefully this increase to the cap will give players the opportunity to collect all sorts of things. Different breeds, colors, duplicates, etc. In addition, it may make the new Celestial Tournament a little easier. The option to use the same pet for two different fights will be available, since you could just collect two or three of that pet (unless the journal limits only one). We'll have to see about that, though.

I'm excited and can't wait! Maybe I should start stocking up on my favorite/most used pets so I can add more than one to my collection in the future. Ahh, I may have to pay more attention to breed for all my pets now. XD

Friday, August 2, 2013

2013 Arena Pass Rated Phase Delayed

The 2013 Arena Pass rated phase has been postponed due to a bug that didn't reset player teams. Its start date has been pushed back to August 6th but will still end August 27 (for both US and EU).
"We have become aware of an issue that has prevented Arena Pass teams from being reset. To allow for time to resolve the issue and allow teams to plan accordingly, we currently intend to extend the practice phase and instead begin the rated phase of the Arena Pass on August 6. Currently, the conclusion of the rated phase is still planned for August 27.

We appreciate your understanding in the meantime, and look forward to fierce competition when the rated phase begins."
So if you haven't played your 50 matches for Murkimus yet, hold off until next week. If you have played some matches already, remember to not include them in your qualifying matches count.

And as always, remember to just do your best in the arena. Purposely throwing matches could get your team disqualified or reset your game count. Keep in the spirit of the event, even if you don't PVP. Do it for Murkimus!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

When Pet Collecting Gets Overwhelming

I've been popping on and off the PTR sporadically the past couple of weeks, mainly to check out the Timeless Isle and the Celestial Tournie. There's just SO MUCH to do! I'm excited yet freaked out at the same time. It's a little overwhelming, but I just have to remind myself that hey, this is probably the last major "pet content" that Blizzard is releasing until the next expansion. When I think of it that way, my anxiety is lessened slightly.

But only slightly. There's still a large part of me that is less patient and willing to accept that 5.4 needs to be taken in stride. That part of me is fairly adamant that time is short and if there's so much pet content to complete, there won't be any time for anything else.

And I mean, I guess that's true to an extent. I already spend at least an hour plus doing as many Pet Battle dailies as I can each day, leveling misc pets also eats up some of my time, and then there's raiding, farming, leveling other characters, etc. In 5.4, I could use up all that time, doing everything mentioned, wandering around the Timeless Isle and trying to complete the Celestial Tournament. If that's the case, worst case scenario - I can kiss all other activities goodbye until I "finish" my pet goals.

However, if I think about 5.4 in that light and ONLY in that way, I start to feel really discouraged. So many things could go wrong, there are a ton of obstacles in my way (including but not limited to: being a healer main spec and being on a PVP server yet with no desire to PVP), and a general sense of dread. It takes me to a very dark place that often promotes the idea of "just give up pet collecting altogether".

I have yet to listen to that negative whispering, though. Don't get me wrong, I've come very close to giving in before, and that small nagging voice can grow very loud at times. But I haven't completely crumbled yet.

Why though? Wouldn't it be easier? Wouldn't putting the brakes on pet collecting free up loads of time each day? There would be less things to worry about each patch. I could take my time to do other things either in-game or IRL. The anxiety to "catch them all" wouldn't weigh so heavily on my shoulders. A logical person would choose the path of least resistance, right? Especially in matters of the heart and mind, yea?

Thing is.. I just really love these little friends that follow me around in-game. They may not all be super interesting or have unique models and animations. Sometimes they are a PAIN to obtain. And I've had many restless nights worrying about collecting them; it makes you wonder if the stress is even worth it. Are pixels that form into something adorable, in an online fantasy game, worth it?

The answer is obvious to me: Yes.

It's my escape, my reprieve from the ups and downs of RL, and I really do feel a large sense of accomplishment when I look at my collection. That's my labor of love, I did that. Despite all the hair pulling, nail biting, and pessimism, collecting these pets still makes me feel satisfied. These companions are cute, they've made me laugh and squee, and I'd like to imagine they make my in-game character feel less alone. I wouldn't, couldn't, trade any of the experiences I've had with my collection for anything.

Perhaps I'm just obnoxiously stubborn and unwilling to see reason that maybe all the heartache I put myself through is emotional energy better spent elsewhere. Should emotion be restricted to certain things, though? If something makes you happy (but not to the point where it's unhealthy or hurts others), how can that something not be worth it?

Life is so full of good news, bad news, routine, and stumbling around trying to find happiness. Sometimes good feelings are hard to come by. So to me, if something as simple as a few pixelated pets can bring me joy, then it's worth the relatively small amount of headache I put myself through each time there are new pets to collect.

In the end that quiet part of me just needs to constantly remind myself that if it really means that much to me, I will accomplish it (and everything) in time. Do what you can, don't overdo it, enjoy the adventure, and even if you run out of time, at least you'll still be enjoying it all to the very last.
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Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.