Interface improvements in 2.3

Patch 2.3 is bringing with it a few other neat little tweaks to the user interface. Here are a couple of note:

First up, there’s a feature that I couldn’t successfully screencap, thanks to WoW’s refusal to screencap the cursor. When you mouse over an NPC, if the NPC has a menu option, the cursor reflects this. We’ve already seen this in-game with bankers and vendors (the moneybag cursor) and the mailbox (the envelope cursor). 2.3 expands this to include questgivers (a ! cursor), guards with the ability to give you directions (a kind of parchmenty scrolly thing cursor… I think that’s what it’s meant to be), and repairers (an anvil cursor). Like the existing contextual cursors, the new cursors grey out if you’re too far away from the NPC to interact with it, and turn gold once you’re in range.

Next up, here’s a view of the new minimap feature: marks for questgivers and the like. Regular quest givers show up with a gold !, daily quest givers show up with a blue ! (as shown here), and flight masters with a flight path you haven’t learned show up with a green !. Quest givers who have a completed quest for you to hand in show up with a gold ?; I’m not sure if the equivalent daily quest givers show up with a blue equivalent or not.

The tracking button is a new feature on the minimap; you click it and it pops down a selectable tracking menu with everything you can track. This includes old favourites (profession- and class-based tracking), as well as the new ability to keep track of a particular type of NPC. On the hunt for a repairer, or reagent vendor? Worry no more!

(Which makes you wonder how long a list you can get. By my reckoning, a miner/herbalist hunter with the new fish school tracking ability would have a 22-line menu…)

The new “send mail” window. You can now send multiple items in an automated fashion (ie you only have to address a mail once for every seven items you want to send, instead of mailing all seven separately), somewhat replacing the need for addons like CT_Mailmod, Postal or Bulkmail2. However, it’s far from a full-featured implementation:

  • Unlike most similar third-party addons, you can’t alt-click an item in your bags to automatically add it to the sending slot(s); you have to click-and-drag, which is unergonomic and slow
  • You can only send seven items in a batch, unlike the 20-something allowed by CT_Mailmod or the unlimited numbers of Bulkmail2
  • There’s no feature for automatically pulling items out of received mail, unlike all the third-party addons.

So, it’s a nice start from Blizzard, but it’s in no way a replacement for the existing addons. If you currently use and love one of the third-party mods, it’s unlikely that this will meet your needs. If you don’t already use one, this is a handy feature.

Guild banks: cheaper, but not cheap enough.

Word just in from the test realm: tabs 5 and 6 of the guild bank have now been discounted, down to 2,500g for tab 5 and 5,000g for tab 6. Still fiendishly expensive, but marginally more attractive now.

Still not attractive enough to make it worth spending 7 – 8,000 gold for the last two or three bank tabs, when you consider:

  • a bank alt with 14-slot bags in their inventory and no bank bags has 96 slots (at the cost of about 10-15g in bags)
  • a bank alt with all bank bag slots purchased and full 18-slot bags in the bank and inventory has 238 slots (at the cost of 111.1 gold in bank bag slots and about 400-500 gold in bags)

So, you can replicate tabs 4-6 of your guild (cost: 8,500 gold) with two alts (cost: about 550-620g). When you consider that my last post on the issue shows that the guild bank interface is an awful way of accessing some kinds of stored items anyway, I really doubt that many guilds will be forking out the cash for those last three tabs.

Edit: it seems this iteration of the patch increases the costs for the first three tabs, while making the later tabs cheaper. It’s now 100g, 250g, 500g, 1000g, 2500g, 5000g.

A Guide to Daily Quests IV: Netherwing

4. Netherwing Quests
These give Netherwing reputation.

4.1 Precursors:
The Netherwing dailies require you to have Neutral rep (one starts at Hated) with the Netherwing faction before you begin, which is gained by doing a quest chain given by Mordenai, an NPC wandering in the Netherwing Fields in Shadowmoon Valley. This quest chain will reward you with a huge rep boost at the end, to make sure you are Neutral.

The series is described at WoWhead; you need a flying mount to do this quest series (can’t be gotten around with warlock summons, as you need to speak with a dragon flying in the air at several points in the chain).

4.2 Other Requirements:
Unlike the other dailies, you need 300 riding skill – ie 5k gold – to begin the Netherwing daily quests. You don’t need an epic mount, but you do need the riding skill for one.

Note that you only need normal flying skill/mount for the prequests described in 4.1; you need the epic flying skill to go on to the post-Neutral dailies.

Continue reading A Guide to Daily Quests IV: Netherwing

Mana and Healing Potions

As any regular level 70 player would know – especially a raider – the costs of mana and/or healing potions can become a bit punitive after a while, and no-one enjoys having to take a night off raiding/instancing to farm for consumables. Thankfully, Blizzard have recognised this, and while some of the steps they’ve taken were met with dismay from players (such as nerfing elixir-stacking and many flasks), they’re making it much easier to get your hands on consumables, no matter what your playstyle. So here’s a bit of a summary of sources to get endgame-level healing and mana potions.

Top-Rank Potions (Healing pots restore 1500-2500 health; mana pots restore 1800-3000 mana.)

“Cheapass” Potions (Healing pots restore 1050-1750 health; mana pots restore 1350-2250 mana.)

As you can see, some of the potions can be only be used in specific locations, while others can be used anywhere; however, it’s worth knowing the range of potions available to you. If your guild is concentrating on a specific zone, you can save yourself a lot of money on consumables by picking up the area-specific potion equivalents.

Meet Your Hostess

An introduction seems to be in order at this point, so: Hi! My name’s Eleanor, and I play WoW. I’ve been playing since January or February of 2005; I migrated to WoW from EQ2 (and from Star Wars Galaxies before that). I play a human paladin, Sailan, whose focus has always been healing – although of late I’ve expanded my focus to cover off-tanking as well, since a pally offtank is invaluable for AoE pulls in places like Karazhan. I find tanking challenging and interesting, but I wouldn’t want to do it full-time, that’s for sure. On the other hand, I’ve played main healers in every MMO since Ultima Online; a bit of variety would probably do me good.

I play with an Aussie guild, Southern Wardens, on the US Proudmoore server – we’ve been together for nearly four years now, from Star Wars Galaxies through Everquest 2 and now into WoW (with occasional side jaunts into diversions like Lord of the Rings Online to boot). We’re a casual raiding guild; we’ve just finished Gruul’s Lair and will probably go hit up Magtheridon or Void Reaver next – lagging behind the raiding community, certainly, but we got off to a slow start after TBC’s release thanks to major burnout on the part of most of the officers, and we’re picking up speed pretty well now.

Oh, and just to make life more interesting – and more complex! – I’ve been the Southern Wardens guildleader for the last six or eight months, the … *counts on fingers* … fourth, I think, since the guild migrated to WoW (although I was the guildleader in EQ2, as well). As if I didn’t already have enough to do… ;-)