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Insider Trader: Crafting speculation in the Flower Kingdom

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

To celebrate the kick-off of HKO-Insider, Insider Trader will be doing a bonus column this week! As the closed beta has only just been put in the works, there are understandably few details floating around.

Currently, we have confirmed at least the following professions:
  • Mining.
  • Gathering fruit from the wild.
  • Tailoring.
  • Furniture-crafting.
  • Farming.
  • Cooking.
  • House-building.
This week we will speculate on what we might see, and compose a wishlist for what we would like to see. Join us on Friday as we resume our normal schedule and delve deeper into the concept of mining as a profession, building on today's overview as well as player feedback.

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Filed under: Herbalism, Mining, Alchemy, Cooking, Tailoring, Enchanting, First Aid, Jewelcrafting, Insider Trader (Professions)

Getting what you paid for: Should the endgame be accessible to casuals?

Hardcore players are frustrated with game changes that benefit more casual players. Casuals are overwhelmed by the amount of play time required to be competitive in the endgame. This brings up the question of who deserves to see the complete story unfold.

Seraphina of Baelgun brought up the issue of accessibility to endgame content on the WoW official forums. Like all of the other Warcraft games, WoW has an interesting and compelling story line, with several sub-stories along the way. While all players pay for the same content, not all of them can experience it. In many role playing games, once you've played through certain story line elements you can access the endgame content. Relatively few players will be able to complete the Sunwell Plateau prior to the release of Wrath of the Lich King, just as relatively few players were able to down Naxxramas before Burning Crusade was launched.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Raiding, Forums

Theoretical Engineering: postulations and prognostications pertaining to prostheses


"I'd give my right arm for that schematic."

Periodically, Hoof and Horn Research and Development will offer a lecture on theoretical engineering. These lectures will deal with concepts, rather than existing designs. None of the schemata presented in Theoretical Engineering lectures exist, nor are they slated to exist.

Engineers are innovators of ideas, testers of limits, and blower-uppers of objects. All three of these traits combine in the Engineer in various percentages, but all three can be found in some quantity within each Engineer. As such, many an Engineer has lost an eye, or a horn, or even a yard or more of their total height. And many have lost limbs. Many an Engineer has observed, over the years, that few professionals are better equipped to replace (not to mention cause) the loss of one's own limb. A precedent exists. Gerenzo Wrenchwhistle, a gnome in Stonetalon Mountains, is known to have developed and implemented a functioning mechanical limb, which serves him quite successfully. Many a demon has been observed using mechanical limbs as well. Unfortunately, the design of both Gerenzo's and more fel-sourced limbs have eluded even the longest beards and sharpest horns of Engineering specialists.

For years Hoof and Horn R&D has developed and designed plans for a variety of mechanical limbs. Herein, we will discuss the potential for this technology to improve our lives, our technical abilities, and perhaps even our arena rankings.

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Filed under: Engineering, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, RP, (Engineering) Hoof and Horn R & D

AFK punishment is still just a band-aid

The AFK problem has been with us for a long time now, and ever so suddenly Blizzard has decided to step up and enforce a new form of punishment on their side, to take away honor and PvP rewards from people who have been reported AFK a lot. Definitely this is an improvement, and it should help to discourage this unfair practice, yet at the same time it's not a true solution.

As Drysc said, the problem isn't just a matter of punishing people who break the rules, it's finding out why they are doing this, and change their incentives, so that they don't want to break the rules in the first place. Our reader Aviel has some insights as to why people AFK and how to fix it, and she (or he) has posted her excellent analysis on the official WoW forums.

In short her argument is that, while Blizzard is trying to develop PvP content that is "fun, competitive, and compelling," players are generally making "game theory" decisions, about how to maximize their honor gain in the time they have to play. Fun is definitely an element, but overall, if people can't earn enough honor to make their time worthwhile in a particular battleground, they will quit or seek alternatives. She points out that as long as honor is a kind of currency to be spent, people will choose the method with the easiest honor gain over the one they enjoy most (which can lead to get-rich-quick schemes such as AFKing). She leaves her solutions to this problem for the Suggestions forum (though I could not find her actual post there), but posters in that thread share some ideas, and there are many other player suggestions out there as well. Of course Blizzard is tight-lipped about their own solutions so far, but we can rest assured that they care about the issue and plan to do something about it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Definitive answers to UI suggestions

Over the past few days, Slouken (Blizzard's UI Guy) has been going through Cogwheel's compilation of UI suggestions and giving definitive answers on some of them. Here are the items which aren't going to happen and some that are:


  • Generic /sequence command
  • Spell Queuing
  • Vendor value without being at a vendor
  • API to retrieve DND or AFK status message from another player
  • Finer-grained action button enable/disable events with some logic moved C-side
  • /stopcasting <optional spell name>
  • /swapgroup <playerName> <playerName | subGroup>
  • Some way to iterate over the pet spell lists of pets you're not currently using (client doesn't have this information)
More on what is coming in the next two patches after the jump.

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Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, Add-Ons

What else is around BlizzCon?

If you're coming along to BlizzCon, you might want to do more than simply come to the con. There is plenty to do in and around the area, and I thought that I might, as a former Southern Californian, point to some of the alternatives around town. Yes, we know there's a mouse who lives in Anaheim, but if you're not in the mood to visit the Temple of Disney across the street from the Anaheim Convention Center, there are other options.

Food at the convention center will be basic, so if you get the chance to slip away for a meal elsewhere, I recommend it. My favorite place to eat, for instance, during the last BlizzCon was actually a little Red Robin just down the street, where I sipped my chocolate shake and listened to Warcraft-related conversations at the tables around me. If you don't mind a little walk, there is Storyteller's Cafe, one of my favorite restaurants at Downtown Disney, located at the Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. The prices are fairly reasonable, and the food is of good quality, with high class service. The one place I have been meaning to go ti but never have is Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, where they have a Renaissance-esque meal served during a jousting show.

If you are in town for a couple of days and like theme parks, you are definitely in luck. I am not a huge fan of Knott's Berry Farm, but I did spend my formative years at the Six Flags Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles and can highly recommend the Riddler. South of Anaheim along the Interstate is Legoland in Carlsbad, and further south in San Diego are three attractions perfect for the animal lover in the group: The San Diego Zoo, The Wild Animal Park, and Sea World. The weather should be nice next weekend, so why not take a drive down to Dana Point and enjoy some sea air? It's just down the Interstate 5 from Anaheim, and the area is dotted with shops and restaurants surrounding a lovely marina.

These are just a couple of suggestions, and there's an excellent thread on the forums that details plenty of other options for dining and entertainment around BlizzCon. For those who are going, what are you planning on doing besides going to the con?

Filed under: BlizzCon

A compilation of suggestions

Until today, it had been a very long time since I visited the suggestions forum. I remember the last time well... long long ago, with a character far far too ugly, I posted this awesome new idea: "Why not make some kind of beauty parlor that lets us change our characters' appearance! Wouldn't that be neat?" Little did I know that it had already been suggested lots of times before. It's one of the suggestions they get most often, in fact, but it's still anybody's guess as to whether they'll actually implement it or not.

I might have offered up more brilliant ideas, but the fact that I could never get an official Blizzard response there discouraged me. Besides, realizing that my first great idea wasn't all that new made me think "well someone's probably suggested all that before."

So today I just poked my head in at the suggestions forum on a whim. I discovered that the only stickied suggestion there, other than the "welcome" post, is a compilation of suggestions designed to help us realize what's been suggested before, and start thinking of something new. It has everything from UI improvements to oft-suggested expansion ideas. It's updated to a certain extent (patch 2.0) and after skipping over the 4 or 5 paragraphs beseeching people not to post their suggestions in that thread, I noticed a lot of the ideas I had were there, as well as some that I'd never thought of before. Below are a few of the ideas which struck me as most interesting:

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Filed under: Odds and ends

Wanted: Dead or Alive

Haven't you ever just hated someone so much in WOW you wanted to kill them over and over, even though you couldn't? Maybe it's the 70 who ganked you for hours when you're only 34. Maybe it's the guild leader you found out was modifying DKP to suit him and his friends. Maybe it's the guy spewing racial insults in Org general chat.

Well, Gamemaniak on the EU realms has a proposal for you. See, on his server, there's a guild that offers bounties on the heads of other players. Provide a screenshot of your kill of that player, and you collect gold from the guild. So, he wondered, why not implement this into the game? Set up a "WANTED" board in the major cities, so players could put bounties on other players of their own or the opposite faction. It would cost a nominal amount of money to put up a bounty, and you could offer whatever you wanted as the reward (of course, it would be automatically deducted from your inventory if someone with the bounty quest killed your mark.) Heck, you could even have the game send a letter to the mark informing them that they're being hunted.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of things that would increase gankings, but I sort of like this idea. It would add a refreshing new dimension to world PVP and help the WoW community become more self-policing on annoying behaviors like stealing mats, begging for gold, or generally being a jerk.

What do you think of this idea? If there was a bounty hunting system in the game, would you use it, or do you prefer to settle your scores the old-fashioned way?

Filed under: PvP, Quests

Forum post of the day: Hunters! Make your own mount!

Blizzard MVP Palehoof has come up with a pretty awesome idea in the Suggestions Forum: she suggests that hunters be able to tame their own mounts. Unlike paladins and warlocks, hunters would have to pay for their riding skill -- but after that, they'd be able to get unusual mounts. They could use Beast Lore to locate a creature that would be appropriate in size, shape and temperament (and not every member of every species would work!) and then use "Tame Mount" to turn it into a normal, inventory-based mount. She suggests that quests could unlock later levels of Tame Mount, so hunters could get epic mounts, flying mounts, etc. Also, rare reputation mounts like Wintersabers and Nether Rays could simply be untamable.

I'm not a hunter, but I love this idea. Anything that allows players to make their characters individuals is fine by me. Just looking at Petopia, I can think of more than a few trainable hunter pets that would make great mounts. I'd love to see a troll go riding by on an albino crocodile, a tauren wandering past on a giant gorilla, or a night elf mounted atop a garish pink flamingo. In fact, I would like to see it mandatory that female night elf hunters be mounted atop garish pink flamingoes, but that's more of a personal prejudice. And no, Hordelings, you can't use gnomes as mounts. Stop asking.

If I could pick my own mount, I'd probably try to tame the big dude pictured above. His name's Zarakh, and he's a spider boss found in one of the lowbie Draenei zones. Can you get any more menacing than that? What would you use as a mount if you could?

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Mounts

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