JC to 100: A trip to Azuremyst + copper prospecting

Hallelujah, it has arrived!

Yes, my beta key finally showed up in my email at the end of the day yesterday - woot! I didn't even realize it until after dinner because we went out for supper. I spent about an hour patching all the content updates to my software and then I was ready to traverse the Dark Portal. I copied my rogue, Krystella over to the US-PVE Beta Server. Unfortunately we are forced to rename any character we move, so I called her 'Krystara'.

I logged Krys in and she was in Ironforge where I left her. Now what? I thought. Everything is the same, except for the distinct lack of crowds by the bank. There were only a handful of people milling about at 9pm pst. Glaringly missing was any way for me to figure out where to go. I wanted to check out the new content, but was unsure how to find it. I pulled up the map and could see the new continent, but not how it connected into the travel system. I knew that the current game had a Dark Portal in Blasted Lands, but I wasn't convinced that this was the same Dark Portal referred to in the expansion. I poked around on the beta forums, but no one had posted a "Newbs Guide to BC". So I went to the Wiki and looked it up, thank goodness it had an article that mentioned entering through the Dark Portal in BL. So off to Nethergarde I went...

Bad girl

I know, I've been slacking. No new posts for almost a week, but I have a really great excuse!! No email from Blizzard, no beta key for me. There's a huge thread on the WoW forums from other beta key winners who are extremely PO'd about their missing keys. As of today it's at 26 pages and counting, even though it was only started 8 days ago.

Check it out: Fansite Beta Key Thread

The upside is that we finally got a blue post yesterday indicating that our keys were being processed and likely to go out this week <yay!>. So I downloaded the beta client last night -- that puppy is a whopping 2 gig!! I installed it this morning and I'm ready to roll as soon as the key arrives. I'm really hoping it's today during the patch, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much. Reading 26 pages of people ranting about how Blizz is giving them the shaft tends to temper your excitement a bit. Granted, some of these folks have been waiting almost three weeks for their key (which is inexcusable, imo), so I can't blame them for their frustration. But it has also dampened my spirits a bit, I stopped checking my email every 1-2 hours and just checked in the morning/at lunch/end of workday.

So, apologies for no new posts, but I had no news to share. Let's all cross our fingers that this key shows up and my next post is from the Burning Crusade :)

Meet the Girls...

Another Day, another disappointment. I obsessively checked my email every hour or so, hoping for that magical message from Blizzard, but alas it was not to be. Clearly they delight in torturing me, I can just see them wringing their gnomish hands and cackling with glee at my frustration. Well, in the face of this lack of respect for my nerves, I thought I'd go ahead and give everyone an introduction to my crafting "lineup", as it were.

Kaliope is my main toon, the first character I started when I began playing WoW back in March '05. She's my willowy nymph-like Night Elf, my classy goddess persona. We've been through the most together, from the early days when I leveled her caster-style because I didn't know any better. Kali at Rut’theran VillageI still remember being completely enthralled by Teldrassil, in my opinion the most beautiful newbie zone in Azeroth. I like to think of it as my own personal fantasyland a la the Xanth books by Piers Anthony.

But back to Kaliope… she's a resto/feral spec druid with Tribal Leatherworking and Skinning (both at 300). She's basically a raid healer, I don't play her Feral all that much. I suspect it's due to the fact that they beefed up the Feral tree after I'd already hit 60, so I never really got to experience it as a valid playing style. At this point I spend 90% of my time with her on raids, so I haven't bothered trying to retrain myself into the feral mindset. I know, I'm gimping her -- get over it! On the plus side, I have a warrior and a rogue, so I know how feral forms are supposed to function. I just have a hard time with that shapeshifting bit since I'm not what I like to call a "twitch freak". I've seen my son play and quite frankly, just watching gives me a headache. Either way, I'm comfortable with the healer role so I just stick with what I know.

Kali's Profile

Kayree is my second level 60 toon, a protection spec warrior. I have always played her as a tank, never really tried the fury route. I guess I'm just a traditionalist that way; I play the class as it's meant to be played, not as a wannabe of another class. Kayree is my little pixie persona, a sweet, green-haired, pig-tailed gnome. KayreeI call her a Hershey Kiss tank -- little gnome, big pain. I always get comments about how tiny and cute she is in relation to the job she has. Right now I've got her just about geared up nicely in decent blues. My last piece was the Ornate Adamantium BP from the Strat quest, so really all I need now are some tanking shoulders and maybe a second good trinket.

Kayree's Profile

Kayree is also a 300 Enchanter, I started her to be the chanting toon for my wee guild of four whole people. She just got the +15 AGI chant from Timbermaw Hold and is currently working on Thorium Brotherhood rep to get the +22 INT chant. I originally had her second profession as Mining, which was quite an effective way to pay for the Enchanting progression. But a few months ago I dropped it for Engineering, primarily to facilitate the guide I wrote on my site. Now she's a 315 Goblin Engineer, which has actually worked out quite well for her. She has always had trouble soloing efficiently and her new gadgets have greatly aided that process. So Kayree's job in TBC is to find the new Engineering and Enchanting recipes.

Korlyn is my third level 60 character, a beast spec hunter. I know, I'm a total weirdo. My theory is that hunters wouldn't have pets if the pets weren't meant to take the beating. Therefore I play mine with the pet as the tank and me as the ranged damage. It's really a very nice arrangement. All of my pets have candy names; I have a snow leopard named Kitkat, a Winterspring bear named Marshmallow, and a Winterspring owl named Divinity. KorlynI began my hunter so I'd have a toon to learn blacksmithing, little did I realize that I'd need to get her all the way to 60 in order to hit Master Swordsmith. Those dastardly Blizzard designers and their high-end crafting quests <grrr>. It was fun leveling her up though; hunters are by far the most powerful class in the game, IMO. So she's a 300 Swordsmith with 300 mining and I'm going to use her to farm the new ores and check out the new Smithing recipes in the expansion.

Korlyn's Profile

Krystella is my fourth and final level 60 toon, although I actually created her right after Kaliope. She was supposed to partner with my RL hubbie's hunter, but he quit the game after only a month, so she sat collecting dust for a while. I resurrected her more recently because she had both Mining and Herbalism. As a stealth character, she is able to access more locations than any other class, so this seemed like the perfect combination to me. KrystellaPlus, I really have fun with her. She's not quite as powerful as Korlyn but she's still a tough little cookie. Her job in the expansion will be to stealth mine new ores, in the hopes that I can avoid grinding her to 70 and just sneak around for the mats I need. She will also be dropping Herbalism in order to take up Jewelcrafting. Since I won't have the space move my level 36 Alchemist gnome to the Beta Server, there's no reason for her to keep the flower picking anyway.

Krystella's Profile

So there you go, that's the dream team that I'll be taking to the big game. Stay tuned to find out when we actually get called to the field!

... c'mon Blizz!

All Monday morning emails checked - no beta key yet <sigh>

TBC Beta, here I come!

I submitted a guide to the Stratics Beta Key contest and I won a Beta Key! I got the email yesterday, so I decided to start a blog and chronicle my adventures in the WoW expansion. My reason for entering the contest was to explore the new crafting content and document it for my web site: Crafter's Tome. I encourage my blog readers to submit questions that I can investigate and post the answers to in my blog. I want to be the 'sneak peek' resource for all WoW crafters who are burning to know what the Burning Crusade has in store for them!

In preparation for my Beta adventure, I've spent the weekend clearing my bank slots of everything except what I'll need for crafting. Everything else has been shipped off to bank toons until I copy my four main toons to the Beta server. I am also gathering tons of ore, gems and other mats for Jewelcrafting. I think I'll have enough to get to at least 200 skill as soon as I arrive. After that I'll have to collect more, including the new ores and gems that are only in the expansion.

The crafts that I'll be able to explore are Leatherworking, Blacksmithing (Weapon/Sword specialty), Enchanting, Engineering (Goblin) and Jewelcrafting. I will also need to check out the new materials for Skinning and Mining, in order to hit the increased tradeskills level cap in TBC. In addition, all of my toons have 300 Cooking and First Aid which I plan to look into when I get there. I have one 300 Fishing toon as well (my main), so I'll see what I can find out about fishing in the new zones. I apologize to any Alchemists and Tailors out there, I don't know if I'll be able to hook you up with info. I have a 300 Alchemist, but he's only 36 so I don't know how much use he would be in TBC. As for Tailoring I only have a lvl 20/200 skill toon, so again I don't know how much I'd be able to use her for research. If I can figure out a way to make it happen I will, but I can't promise anything.

Going into this, there are definitely a few concerns weighing on me. One being, how will I gather the new ores and skins with a level 60 toon? Will I need to level all the way to 70 in order to do it? How long will it take me to get 1 or more toons to 70 - is this even feasible in the 2 months before release? What kind of economy will there be on a Beta server, is it reasonable for me to purchase the materials I'll need from the Auction House? Does anyone bother selling gear or components on a server where their character will likely be wiped in a couple of months? Is my plan for leveling 8 different crafting skills from 300 to 375 in the Beta even practical? Tune in next time to find out...