Thursday, July 26, 2012

Preparing for Mists of Pandaria

Well, it's official. We have a release date. For some of us that means you can safely sit back on cruise control for the next 2 months and do whatever suits your fancy. For others (like me), the clock is now ticking to get all that crap done that you've been putting off for the last two years. It may be a Heroic: Madness kill, a meta-achievement, or finally finishing your Legendary. However, as September 25th nears it will stop being time to finish your bucket list and start being time to get your affairs in order. I'm going to take a look at some things you may want to take care of before stepping onto the ship to Pandaria.

Professions – Quite simply, there is a TON of money to be made at the start of an expansion. A lot of bored players spend the last few months of an expansion doing nothing but working the auction house or crafting to store up as much money as possible and these are the people that will be willing to spend 50,000G on that new Darkmoon Card or crafted weapon. For the first time in nine months, everyone will be replacing gear, leveling alts and trying to get their hands on the newest fall fashions. Whatever your market is, you'll want to be sure that you're there to rake in some of the profits which means you're getting those last 5 or 6 skill points taken care of. Make sure your alchemists have picked a specialization for procs, especially if you're planning to make regular use of your Living Steel cooldown, the new version of the Truegold transmutation. New monks will need glyphs. Raiders will need gems, enchants, potions and flasks. PvPers will be buying up crafted sets and enchanting them. You can be there to provide all of these things if you're prepared.

Bags/Bank Cleaned Out – There is a surprising amount of toys that you'll come across while questing. Flippable tables, masks, kickable kegs, general nonsense that can be thrown, put on or otherwise used for some degree of silliness. If you're in to these things then you're going to need to find a place to put them all, which means cleaning out your bank and getting rid of maybe some old rep items that you don't need anymore or can farm up later. Make a pruning pass through all your transmog gear and decide if you really are ever going to use that agility staff or dagger.
Secondly, you're going to come across a lot of useful items while questing, be it cooking ingredients, cloth, crafting mats or BoE greens. You're not going to want to be out in the middle of nowhere trying to decide which stack of old world enchanting mats you need to throw away in order to make room for that quest reward or blue world drop you found. If you won't have an immediate need for it while leveling, take it out of your bags.

Tundra Traveler's Mammoth – Believe me, as someone who has already made the trek to 90, I was very glad I'd spent the money on this thing for several reasons:
  • Never underestimate the power of on-the-go repairs and vendoring. Coupled with an auto-sell or auto-repair addon, every single time you mount up will be an opportunity to dump your trash and fix your gear with a simple click.
  • Unlike Cataclysm, flying is disabled until max level so jaunts back to town to sell or repair are going to be much less quick and convenient. Keeping your momentum up by minimizing your time spent in back and forth travel will be a huge boost to your leveling speed and enjoyment.
  • It's account wide. Seriously. The more alts you have, the easier it is to justify. As someone with 8 85's, an 82 and a 72, it comes down to 1,400G per character after guild perks and rep discounts. For a permanant vendor/repair bot I can take with me everywhere without a cooldown, that's a smoking deal.
I realize that not everyone has 14K sitting around collecting dust, but if you don't have one then I would highly recommend getting one.

AddOns: Prune and Update - From what I've heard, this expansion in particular is breaking a lot of old systems and changing the way others work. For the average player, this means that old outdated addons that managed to still work for the last few patches probably won't anymore. Other addons may simply become unnecessary due to the removal or reworking of spells or abilities.
There are also situations where a particular addon may not be updated for a couple months and you'll need to find a way to make do until it's fixed. Take a look at alternatives to your standard Addons in case, for example, you're in desperate need of your raid frames but find out that the author of your favorite mod left the game for SWTOR six months ago.

Take this opportunity to go through your addon list and analyze what you do or don't need anymore. Make a backup plan for any "can't live without it" addons. In fact, you may even consider completely overhauling your UI. Warlocks in particular are going to have quite a bit of empty bar space come 5.0 and if there's a good time to get used to timers, icons or buttons being in a different spot, it would be while you're getting used to . . . everything else.

Cap Points and Spend Excess – As a progression raider, I will want to gear up as quickly as possible as soon as I hit 90. That means that I will want to be at or near the 4,000 point Justice Point cap. If you're REALLY interested in maximizing your points, having both your JP AND Honor capped will mean being able to convert one to the other and give you an extra 2600 points to play with. With 6600 points, you can buy your Legs, Chest and Helm the minute you hit 90. That's nothing to scoff at.
At the same time, any Valor or Conquest points that put you over the cap after conversion will simply be turned into a piddly amount of gold. If you'll be over the cap, I would recommend dumping some points on BoE's and selling them now. Enchanters, you can also buy the 378 wands or Relics and D/E them if that is a better option for your sever's market.

Monk Supplies – The preferred heirloom staff for leveling Brewmaster and Wind Walker Monks will not be available until the 5.0 prepatch, but there's no reason why you can't gather the mats for an enchant now while they're cheap. The same goes for bags, leveling gear and profession mats. The alt/lowbie market is HUGE and the spike in prices as soon as Monks and Pandaren become available for play will be staggering. Grab items now while the price is low or stockpile them for resale later.

Consumables - If you're planning to make a hard push to 90 and get a headstart on the gearing and raiding scene, then you'll want to give yourself every advantage while out and about. A stack of flasks and buff food will give you a significant increase in power, increase your XP per hour and (very often at high levels) keep you from dying as often. However, if you're a notoriously slow leveler with the attention span of an A.D.D. chihuahua (like yours truly), then you probably won't get as much use out of them.

Start Gaining Rested Experience on Alts - Just after Blizzard throws the switch and allows access to the new zones, before heading out into the Jade Forest for the first time on your main, you will want to log on to each of your alts (if only for a second) to reset their Rested XP gain. They will NOT start accruing Rested XP simply by being in a city unless you tell the server that they can by logging them in.


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