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A Lust for Living Steel January 22, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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9 comments

As I noted back in December, coming back to Azeroth after a long stretch away has left me with an embarrassment of options when it comes to what to do.

One of those was trade skills.  Once I got Vikund to level 90 I went about getting his chosen professions, Engineering, up to 600.

Engineering is a strange profession, one of those aspects of WoW that probably seemed like an interesting idea at some point, but which took quite a while to really come into its own.  In the end, engineering gives you some benefits… you get an engineers-only auction house broker in Panderia… and some interesting little gadgets… the wormhole generator, and the required parachute to accompany it, was fun… but I am not sure that it is a “must have” profession for anybody.

Getting to 600 went well enough… there is so much ghost iron in Pandaria that Potshot was wondering why they bother to build things out of bamboo… and I even got the drop for the final batch of engineering recipes, Chief Engineer Jard’s Journal, as I was finishing off the some quests in the Kun-Lai Summit.

Those recipes gave me yet another goal to pursue, another mount.  In this case, it was the Sky Golem.  I will go quite a ways out of my way for another mount, and this one seemed especially silly.  And the recipe seemed simple enough.  I just needed 30 units each of two items.

Sky Golem parts...

Sky Golem parts…

That screen shot shows me having 41 of Jard’s Peculiar Energy Source and 30 Living Steel.  But when I started I had none of each, so it was time to figure out how to get there.

The energy sources were simple enough.  Engineers can make them.  They only require 10 ghost iron bars to make, and as noted above, ghost iron is pretty common in Pandaria.  The only hitch was that it was a “once per day” recipe that generated a soulbound item.  I would be at least 30 days getting there.

And then there was the Living Steel.

Engineers cannot make Living Steel.  That is the domain of alchemists.  But alchemists can’t really use it once they make it, so it is like any other raw material in that it can be bought and sold at the auction house.  So my first option was to just buy 30 bars of Living Steel on the market.

On our server, Eldre’Thalas, Living Steel tends to hover at around 400 gold per bar, so that would require at least 12,000 gold, maybe more if the price wandered up, as it tends to at times.

That was not an insurmountable price.  In the age of Panderia, where there is a plethora of daily quests that will give you 20 gold in reward, you can rack up some gold pretty quickly.  Add in the auction house and gold is there if you want to put in the effort.

The problem is that I have trouble dedicating myself to accruing gold, and the gold I was earning was earmarked for other items.  All of those Pandaria factions have mounts for sale when you hit exalted, and I wanted them.

So it was time to look for an alchemist.

Potshot turned out to have an alchemist in the form of his instance group character Skronk.  He managed to level up alchemy to 600 pretty quickly and soon I started feeding him resources to produce Living Steel.  An alchemist needs six bars of Trillium, which comes from a rare harvest node in Pandaria (if I see two in one day, I feel blessed), but which you can also grow on your farm, if you have chosen to indulge in farming.

A farmer's life is full of toil...

A farmer’s life is full of toil…

Of course I have a farm.  And every day I plant my 16 snakeroot seeds, which in theory should yield me 4 Trillium bars.  Trillium is difficult in that it comes in black and white and you need two of each to make a single bar, and the farm (or nodes) toss the two types out at random.  So to make up the difference I had to buy some of the correct ore to cover imbalance and shortfalls.  Trillium bars can also be created from 10 ghost iron bars, so I sent a bunch of those to Skronk early on to cover daily shorts.

So we started off.  But then Earl got his level 90 alt up to 600 in blacksmithing, and guess who what other profession needs Living Steel.  Earl deferred his Living Steel requests until I finished the Sky Golem… like many of us, he is a sucker for mounts and will no doubt be working on one when his engineer gets to 600… but I could see a serious Living Steel bottleneck approaching for our little guild.

So I cast my eye upon my alts to see who might take up alchemy as well.

As I mentioned before, I have parallel druids on our server, Alioto and Selirus.  Don’t ask why.  I am not sure I could explain it.  They are both night elves who went with restoration for much of their careers (Alioto swapped to feral when he became my entry for the instance group) and who picked up herbalism and inscription for professions.

Alioto was further along with inscription, so I decided to drop inscription on Selirus and pick up alchemy.  Fortunately, herbalism is a must for both, and he was far enough along there to be set.  I just had to get him from 1 to 600 in the profession.  And I started off doing it the hard way.  I went to WoW Professions, looked at their 1-600 alchemy guide, and started harvesting.

Potentially I could have just bought the supplies on the market, but low to mid-level herbs can be surprisingly expensive and I had still wanted to spend gold on mounts and not raw materials.  So I set myself a goal of boosting alchemy between 25 and 50 skill points a night to keep the whole thing from becoming a soul sucking grind, and stuck to it. (Actually exceeded it most nights, but just didn’t do it in one giant grind.)

I also worked a bit on leveling Selirus as well, since he was level 78 and you need to be at least level 80 to train into the Zen Master (525 to 600) range of alchemy.

That went well enough and after a week Selirus had passed into the Cataclysm recipe range and harvesting was becoming a bit more challenging as was just getting exactly the right herbs.  But it was a Saturday night, when the market is usually stuffed and prices tend to dip to their lowest, so I decided to splurge.  I spent approximately 1,000 gold and bought all the herbs needed to get Selirus to 600.  That was about how much he had made from the auction house by selling his creations and excess herbage, so it was something of a wash.  And along the way he learned the recipe for Living Steel.  The guild now has two level 600 alchemists, doubling our potential Living Steel production.

So I was able to stuff Selirus with yet more ghost iron to hurry along my Sky Golem project by a few days.  Another mount obtained.

The Sky Golem

The Sky Golem

The mount itself is another in the line of silly engineering mounts.  It looks crazy, makes the usual array of odd noises, and swerves all over the sky as you fly along, doing the occasional barrel roll.  The prime benefit it bestows is that it does not require you to dismount to harvest herbs, allowing non-duids to enjoy the benefit that druids have long had in that regard with their flight form.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me much.   All of my herbalists are druids already.  But I am happy enough to have yet another mount.

Quote of the Day – For Specific Definitions of “Next” January 22, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest Next, Sony Online Entertainment.
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5 comments

EverQuest Next — which is a totally different beast — has no current timetable. It could release in 2015 or 2025 for all we know right now.

Massively, Leaderboard: EQN vs. EQN Landmark

Therein lies the rub.

Last August, when SOE Live was done, I was quite excited about EverQuest Next.  It was the big announcement out of the event.  I wrote ~2,500 words about EQN, less than 100 of which were about Landmark, which was a Minecraft-esque tool set pseudo-game that I did not quite understand.

Firiona Vie makes it to 2013

The EverQuest Next Vision

I did not really care about Landmark.  I wanted the core game that was described at SOE Live.  The one that was… well… a freakin’ EverQuest MMORPG, with emergent AI and a new class system and all the things they presented.

I worried that, after the huge splash the EQN announcement made at SOE Live, that SOE would follow past patterns and let the excitement die off through neglect.

And, I guess if I am speaking strictly of of EQN, my worries were well founded.  EQN has been relegated to a series of banal survey questions that the same few people debate on their forums.  Such is the Round Table.  It apparently only seats about a dozen.

However, if we just follow from SOE Live, then excitement has been maintained to a certain extent… only occasionally interrupted by the usual SOE foibles… if we include Landmark in the picture.  Since SOE Live, Landmark has grown to take up almost the whole of the SOE marketing and community interaction effort.  At this point somebody stumbling onto the scene might justifiably conclude that EQN is just shorthand for EverQuest Next Landmark.

So I am… well… “frustrated” or “annoyed” are too strong… bemused, I guess, that SOE led with EQN at SOE Live, talking that up a great deal, only to let it fall by the wayside while all focus was devoted to Landmark, which looked like an adjunct product at the time of the announcement.

Yes, I understand that SOE ought to focus their marketing on the project shipping soonest… these days we ship at alpha and charge people for the privileged… and that there is an audience for Landmark… but dammit, they talked about this other thing I wanted and now barely acknowledge its existence.  Validate my selfish needs, damn you!

I guess I just fear another outcome like The Agency.