Hallow’s End is Coming!

Well another year, another stretch of holiday festivals. Starts with Labor day, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Although in some places they may celebrate holidays sooner or later, and some might be performed differently like Hanukkah, but they all seem to have a similarity of sorts here and there. In the World of Warcraft perspective there is no Labor Day, but they do have Brewfest, and right after that they have what’s called Hallow’s End, which is their version of Halloween.

Now they used to have this thing with the holiday achievements where if you complete all the meta achievements for the holidays, you get the violet proto-drake mount, which is a sort of flying dragon, and it used to award the player with Master Riding for free. Now you can still complete the achievement “What A Long, Strange, Trip It’s Been,” and it will still give you the Violet Proto-drake, but it no-longer will reward you with the top level of flying skill, so now we have to buy that level.

It costs 5000 gold to be able to buy the Artisan Riding, which lets you ride flying mounts at 280% speed, and Master riding costs the same amount of gold and increases your flight speed to 310%. An extra 30% for 5k gold is a bit much in my opinion and I never bought it for that much either. Instead I did all the holiday achievements on every character in the game I had, and once they got the Violet Proto-Drake, they get the extra 30% flight speed for free. Now though, it doesn’t do that anymore. So I don’t know if I’ll be doing all the achievements over again on my alternate characters this year.

SO! Anyway!If you’re thinking to yourself what should I focus on the Hallow’s End this year, let’s see what we can come up with. 

Hallow’s End is based on Halloween, and usually runs for two weeks up until Halloween. Now Halloween itself is a holiday based of of Samhain, which is a wiccan holiday that symbolizes the end of the year when they’d collect their harvest just before the winter season. In World of Warcraft, the slight similarity can be seen at the wickermen festivals. On the alliance side, the Wickerman will be ignited my Genn Greymane, the leader of the Worgen who joined the Alliance during the Cataclysm. The Worgen brought along their traditions of the Wickerman festival. Meanwhile on the Horde side of things, the Forsaken (who were humans once but are now undead) mark Hallow’s End as the time when this group of undead broke free from the Scourge and became known as the Forsaken, and they burn the wickerman as a celebration for regaining their free will and they smear ashes on their faces.

One of the more fun things to do is fighting the shade of the Headless Horseman. Yeah you heard me! The Headless Horsemen (also termed HH in the game) makes an appearance in World of Warcraft. His horse is black with hooves that glow green, similar to the warlock’s summonable horses, and the rider himself is headless, yet he still can be heard yelling as he assaults the villages. Players who complete the Fire Brigade quests, which teaches you how to use the water buckets, can summon the HH to come and try to burn down the village. The HH will fly around, cackling and taunting and yelling the usual speech that I have come to memorize: “Prepare yourselves, the bells have tolled. Shelter your weak. your young and your old. Each of you shall pay the final sum! Cry for mercy, the reckoning has COME HAH-hahahahahahahaha!”

When you hear that, you know he’s coming. Click on the big bucket of water and then run to wherever you can see fire on the buildings and use the bucket to throw it at the buildings. But be careful, and be fast, because the fires tend to spark and spread, and if left unchecked it can cover the entire rooftops of the buildings. Now most players who have a speed buff, like shaman with ghost wolf form, druids with travel form, rogues with sprint and etc., can probably do this without help. But sometimes you might have to for a relay. When you pick up a bucket of water, you don’t have to throw it at the building – you can actually throw it to another player, so one method of doing this is to designate a spot to throw the buckets of water at, and while one player stays by the main bucket to get the pails of water, another player stands as far away as they can. They’ll have to be in reach of the throw distance for the pail of water though, so forming a group and using ground raid markers can help. The player by the bucket and click on it to get a pail of water, and then throw it at the designated spot, and if the player at that targeted location is here and does not have a bucket in their bags, they will catch the water pail and will be able to throw it to yet another player or onto the building. This can create a relay that helps get the water buckets to people standing at strategic points around the village which can help get the fires down faster. If you find yourself in a situation where you fail repeatedly to save the village from the fires, consider forming a party and coordinating a relay to throw water pails. Sometimes it takes more teamwork to get the fires under control. Once you have saved the village, the HH will come down and you can try to kill him. Once that is done, a large pumpkin will appear on the ground in the center of the  village, and every player will have the chance to smash the pumpkin and get loot out of it.

The rewards from putting out the fires (which is a daily quest) is a crudely wrapped gift, which players can open to receive a random prize. Mostly you might get candy or flimsy masks, but you do have the rare chance to get the Sinister Squashling pet or the Hallowed Helm, which is a low level head item that looks as though you have a jack o’ lantern on your head.

There is an item that is not bound on pickup (I must have dozens of these on my bank toon), and is more for vanity and fun than anything. It is used for an achievement called, “Check your head,” in which you target a player and click on the item in your bags (or set it to your action bar.) The Weighted Jack-o-lantern is what you use, and when you throw it to your target, they appear to have a jack-o-lantern on their heads. It’s a buff that can be removed manually from players if they wish, and the achievement requires throwing this item onto each race in the game, like onto one Dwarf, one Tauren, one Gnome, etc. Now Goblins and Worgen were added to the criteria way back when, and I have no word yet if you need to throw one onto a player who is a Pandaren, but you might as well! No reason to exclude them! ^-^ I’d say make them check their heads, just to be safe. So in a sense, you can give everyone the appearance of wearing the Hallowed Helm for a time, but for the achievement, you might wind up traveling to neutral cities or to the enemy capitals and hanging around outside to try and throw these things onto the players of the other faction. Good luck, especially if you are on a pvp realm. Another place to try this achievement is on the battlegrounds. Before you go to grab the flag, throw the pumpkin on the enemy player, and there you go!

Other things to do for this holiday is talking to the inn keepers. Once every hour, you can ask them “trick or treat” and you’ll get either a bag of  treats, or a trick played on you where your character can get turned into a bat or a cat or some other odd thing for hallow’s end. The “trick” debuff only lasts several seconds though, and then you can can wait an hour to trick or treat again. Also scattered in taverns and inns all across Azeroth and Outlands are Candy buckets. You can visit all of these and click on them to get a handful of candy, and also get a chance for the rare items like the pet or helm.

So for all levels of the game, even low level players, you can do the daily quests for smashing the pumpkin after you put out the fires, and that can be done in any of the following villages: Alliance sideGoldshire, Kharanos, Azure Watch. Horde sideRazor Hill, Brill, Falconwing Square. Players can also go trick or treating by talking to the inn keepers, and they can visit every inn that has a candy bucket and get a handful of candy from each of them. Bear in mind when you get a handful of candy, you have to open it to loot the candy/items before you can grab another handful.

As for the max level characters, at level 89-90 you can join the dungeon finder and cue up for a run in the Scarlet Monastery. Considering the fact that they revamped the entire instances, making the 4 dungeons into 2, thus combining some of the wings together for simplicity’s sake, it makes me wonder about the good ol’ HH. Before now, you would go into the Graveyard portion of the instance and click on the grave of the Headless Horseman to start the encounter. In this 5 man fight, the Headless Horseman fight is the usual tank and spank, but at some point he gets off his horse and walks about is if dazed or stunned, and he yells, “GET OVER HERE, YOU IDIOT!” (that phrase is a nice macro I sometimes use on my Death Knight’s Death Grip ability.) When this happens, you need to switch targets to his head, which can be seen somewhere nearby floating about on it’s own. Once the head dies, it goes right back onto the HH’s body and the fight resumes as normal. Usually, the head phase occurs three times. Once he’s dead, you get the achievement, “Bring Me The Head Of… Oh, Wait.”

Now the best thing is, the HH has a chance to drop the flying horse mount, which looks just like the one the HH uses, and shares a model along with the horse that drops in Karazhan, only this horse is all black with glowing green hooves, and acts as a flying mount if you have the skill, and at level 90 you should! ^-^ Nowadays though the mount is account bound, so if you have an alt that got the HH mount in previous years, log onto it even if only just for a moment, and then all your characters who has a riding skill can use this mount.

The only other reason to go for this holiday boss would be because he drops rings, and hopefully this year they’ll have it all completely updated. Not only do they need to update the boss to accommodate the new instance they revamped it into, but they’ll need to make sure the rings can be used by players who are at max level. Other wise there won’t be much reason to go for this holiday boss unless people want the mount.

We shall see soon enough. Hallow’s End starts in a few days, so I’ll be there to see these changes, if any! See ya there! ^-^

Edit: actually just now saw their website come back online. They’re half a step ahead of me, looks like the HH fight will be up to par with the expansion. I didn’t see the loot, but hopefully the rings will be worthwhile! http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/blog/6180725/

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Bag Space in WoW

When you first start playing the game of World of Warcraft, one of first things you discover that you have to manage is your spells, most likely. As you level, you gain experience and learn new spells and then you start to explore the world around you, until you get the message “Inventory is full!” or “I can’t carry anymore!”. When that time comes, we now learn that we have limited bag space.

Silken Fields, where the moths and the silk worms play…

We all start out with a 16 slot backpack, which with all other bags is totally invisible. In Skyrim there’s actually a mod that lets you craft bags and equip them, which not only increases your carry capacity but also give you to appearance of actually carrying pouches on your belt or over your shoulder. A pretty nifty addon that I use and am loathe to give up considering all the riches I plunder in Skyrim’s hidden reaches.

In World of Warcraft you can craft bags too. Mostly, the tailoring profession has this covered. Any player who chooses the tailoring profession can craft new bags that start small (6 slots) and gradually work their way up to the larger ones that a lot of people consider worth paying for.

By the way, the absolute smallest bag in WoW is called the Penny Pouch, and you can get this tiny ONE SLOT BAG during the Hallow’s End event inside the treat bags. Talk to the innkeepers for a trick or treat and good luck, although better things have been known to drop. ^-^

Now most recently, as of Cataclysm actually, you can talk to your faction quartermasters and get a tabard. Like, let’s say you’re a Troll Shaman, and you get a tabard for the Blood Elf faction. When you equip it and do some dungeons, you gain reputation with that faction. Once you hit revered you can visit that quartermaster again and buy a 16 slot bag from them, but you can only have one from each faction as they are unique. So that could be one way a low-level character can get larger bags if they don’t have a tailor.

But at the end game scheme of things, 16 slots won’t cut it. Taliors eventually craft even larger bags, and the most recent ones are as follows. In Cataclysm, the Embersilk bag (22 slots) is craftable from 15 bolts of embersilk cloth and 15 Hypnotic dust. Since it takes 5 cloth to make one bolt, this means you’d need 75 Embersilk Cloths to make.

The next up is a little more tricky. The 26-slot bag, Illusionary bag, takes 8 Dreamcloth to make. Dreamcloth is made from 8 bolts of Embersilk, and other ingredients. The problem is there are 6 recipes to make this cloth, 5 of which have a one week cooldown. The 5 in question require 30 of each of the volatile elements. Volatile air, water, earth, fire, and life. So if you were to make Dream of Hyjal, you’d need 8 bolts of Embersilk cloth and 30 Volatile Life. Once made, it has a 7 day cooldown. The only recipe to make dreamcloth without the cooldown is the one that takes 8 bolts of cloth and 4 chaos orbs, which drop from bosses in cataclysm dungeons. Quite a lot of work for a 26 slot bag.

And now I’m happy to say it’s better (or worse depending on your point of view). In Pandaria, tailors learn how to make Imperial Silk. The good news is all it takes to make this type of cloth is just 8 bolts of Windwool cloth (and as usual, it’s five cloths per bolt, so 40 cloths per Imperial Silk). The bad news (if you can call it that) is that this delicate cloth can only be crafted while standing anywhere in the Silken Fields, and it has a one day cooldown. Although, there are two recipes to make it this time around, which makes it a lot easier for tailors to keep track of cooldowns and not have to farm for so many ingredients. Back during cataclysm, I was transmuting Volatile Life all over Azeroth like crazy. Now it’s a little more personal.

8 bolts of Windwool Cloth makes one Imperial Silk per day, or you can make as many as you like with 5 bolts of Windwool Cloth and 3 Spirits of Harmony each.

The new element, the new Volatile Life and new Motes are called Motes of HarmonyThese nifty little thingies drop off any mob in Pandaria, and are bound on pickup, which means you won’t be finding these on the Auction House anytime soon. And the most interesting thing is they’re supposed to drop for people who have the professions to use them. The downside is we can’t farm them on one toon and send them to another, but if they made it account bound that would be great. The upside is that you won’t find any on the auction house and therefore lose a lot of gold to people who farm the harmony but never use them. Either you use it or your don’t this time around.

For the tailors, there are a few recipes the require the Imperial Silk, and while one recipe to make this cloth can be done once a day, there is another recipe that lets you craft it as many times a day as you wish, provided you have the materials. It takes 10 Motes of Harmony to make one Spirit of Harmony, both of which are soulbound. The no-limit recipe for Imperial Silk is 5 bolts of Windwool Cloth and 3 Spirits of Harmony.

In the past week since I got my tailor to max level, I’ve been able to make 4 of these. It required sending a lot of cloth and green items to my Worgen mage, Nethermind, for crafting and disenchanting. Hopefully I can at least keep up with the making of Imperial Silk every day, and maybe get enough motes to save up for an extra cloth.

And it will take 12 Imperial Silks to make one bag, the Royal Satchel, which is a 28 slot bag. So about 12 days of cloth conversion to make one bag, and a total of 480 cloths if made in the daily grind, less if done with the harmony. Either way, when this bag gets to the auction house, it’s sure to be very expensive, as this is the newest largest bag in the entire game.

All these recipes… all these larger bags…

That is one big moth!

And we still can’t replace that crummy old 16-slot backpack that all players start out with. Thank Blizzard for all the cool trinkets like the turnip paint gun and the puntable marmot, and lets ask them for a new tailor recipe – a pouch patch, which can be used to upgrade that old 16 slot bag into a larger slot bag. “Sew into your Backpack to give it extra pocket space!” How about that idea Blizzard?

What about the bank space too? When will we be able to expand that. My void storage is full, which I only use for gear I don’t with to sell. With the farmers market in Half Hill nowadays I have so many food ingredients that my bags are starting to smell. Since we have so many ingredients, why not come up with a grocery bag that can be equipped like regular bags and can hold cooking ingredients and materials, like the chef hat.

Well I’m done making my Imperial Silk for today. That took only two seconds. I’m off to my farm to harvest berries… and I don’t even play Farmville.

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