When I think about content in World of Warcraft, I always put 5-man 'group play' on a higher tier than solo play. 'Higher' meaning 'harder', more difficult to initiate, coordinate, and execute. There are people for whom this is not necessarily the case, and I am honestly happy for you who can pop online and into an instance in five minutes. For me, getting a group - whether PuG or guild! - has always been an overall frustrating, time-consuming, and difficult process, the reasons for which are fodder for another day's discussion.
Suffice to say, when I think of the second half of the list that we began on Monday, it sticks in my mind as the hard half because the process of even getting to the mobs we need to kill (or the reputation we need to garner) is longer and less-straightforward. They are hidden behind swirling instance portals and an elusive smoke-screen of coordination that is commonly known as 'group balance.' PuG and guild channels can sometimes banish the smoke... and can sometimes fail to make a dent. It's the patience-requiring reality of 5-man game content.
Bah. Where's that gnomish contraption that spawns Tier5 warriors, again??
Thus, we're about to foray into a want-list that we all still share. I haven't gotten any of these recipes, myself. In fact, I haven't managed even one farming run since I first noted this list, last week. (Granted, at least part of that is because of the massive distraction that is the Shattered Sun Offensive and patch 2.4. It takes nothing less than brand-new environs, tasty lore-bits, blue-haired dragon-men, and beautiful cooperation between two previously-opposing factions* to temporarily drag me away from my devotion to all things alchemical. Even were that insufficient to distract me, every 70 I know spends all their non-raid time in Quel'Danas.) That isn't to say that I don't know the instances; just that I don't have direct experience with how little or much is required to get the drops we need, want, and simply demand for our alchemy screens. We're going to have to discover that particular sweet pain, together.
Personally, I can't wait!
Part 2 - Group Alchemy:I've already alluded to the instancing requirement for these five recipes, but I should probably be more clear about what I mean. You will be running various dungeons for one of two reasons: either you need to kill instance mob X until you get your recipe to drop or you need to earn Y more faction reputation to hit rep level Z, where you will be able to purchase your recipe from the appropriate Quartermaster. Let's look at where you're going and why:
- The Recipe: Recipe: Major Frost Protection Potion - farmed from Nexus-Prince Shaffar in the Mana-Tombs (Normal or Heroic).The Mobs: Mana-Tombs is the northmost of the Auchindoun instances, a place infested by the remnants of the catastrophic magic that destroyed the ancient Draenic city. It's also infested by ethereals seeking to harvest this rampant energy for fun and profit. In Normal mode, it is a level 64-66 instance that culminates in an encounter with our alchemy-friend, Nexus-Prince Shaffar, a rather arrogant fellow who doesn't seem to want to let you and your group clear the place out so the Consortium can steal his profit margin. Imagine that.
You can run this instance on either Normal or Heroic mode for a chance to get your recipe drop, however it is worth noting that a Heroic run nets you a much higher drop rate. Heroic Nexus-Prince Shaffar weighs in at a 15-25% chance to drop our recipe while Normal Nexus-Prince Shaffar offers only 3-14%. You don't need an ethereal's keen nose for business to sniff out the surer deal, but you will definitely need a more powerful group.
Fringe Benefits: Forgetting, for the moment, that instance runs in general offer all kinds of opportunities for gear upgrades, Mana-Tombs has a few benefits that will help you get your party together. First, drag your Enchanting and Blacksmithing friends along for their chances to get Formula: Enchant Boots - Fortitude from the Ethereal Priests and Plans: Swiftsteel Gloves from the Nexus Stalkers. Their recipes drop in both Normal and Heroic modes, so they have no excuse not to contribute to the farming effort. Second, kills in the Mana-Tombs are great ways to get Consortium reputation. Normal Mana-Tombs kills give rep up to Honored, and Heroic Mana-Tombs kills give rep up to Exalted. Their Quartermaster has all kinds of great goodies for your guild's tradeskillers - especially the Jewelcrafters, and each month they give out free gems, the quality of which increases with rep level. Even though they don't have any alchemy recipes to offer, you can always find uses for that monthly Bulging Sack of Gems.
- The Recipe: Recipe: Major Fire Protection Potion - farmed from Nethermancer Sepethrea and Sunseeker Astromages (Normal or Heroic) in The Mechanar.The Mobs: The Mechanar is the southernmost and first wing of the Tempest Keep, an old Draenic temple that has been pre-empted by the most scientifically-inclined of Kael'thas' Sindorei followers. There are precisely 10 Sunseeker Astromages in The Mechanaar and precisely 1 Nethermancer Sepethrea, so with a drop rate that is 3-14% on both of them in Normal Mode and 25-50% on Nethermance Sepethrea in Heroic mode, it looks like a bit of a challenging recipe to grab. Whether Normal or Heroic, it is a level 70 dungeon.
Fringe Benefits: Your friendly neighborhood Tailors are great people to convince to come on this particular set of farming runs, as the Mechanar is also known to drop Pattern: Arcanoweave Boots and Pattern: Arcanoweave Robe for their sewing pleasure. Kills here are also very valuable for their Sha'tar reputation, which is one of the 'big 3' factions with which every toon should make nice, no matter race, creed, color, tradeskill or sexual orientation. Mechanar kills will garner your reputation with them all the way through Exalted, so don't be shy about bribing your friends to come along. It's for their own good as well as yours.
- The Recipe: Recipe: Ironshield Potion - farmed from Captain Skarloc (Normal and Heroic) in Old Hillsbrad Foothills.The Mobs: The timing on this particular instance is great, as it was a tough little cookie to crack on Heroic mode before patch 2.4 gave it a smack with the good old nerf bat. Now, you have two feasible options: look for a 3-14% drop rate in the level 66-68 Normal version of the instance or upgrade to the 25-50% drop rate in the level 70 Heroic version. In fact, it was also a tough little cookie to reach before 2.4, but with the introduction of a new teleport** to get you from the wilds of Outlands to the well-hidden Caverns of Time in Tanaris, the path to alchemical glory is a lot more friendly than it was last week. Either way, you're going to want to go say kind things to the Keepers of Time to get yourself started on this particular timeline-saving farming endeavor.
Fringe Benefits: Durnholde is the instance to which you should be dragging your Leatherworking and Jewelcrafting friends, as they both stand to gain a nice craftable piece out of it. Because all Leatherworkers are pimps at heart, they will definitely want to get their Pattern: Stylin' Adventure Hat from the Durnholde Riflemen, which will complement their velvet suit and bling-bling quite nicely. Oh, and speaking of bling, the Design: Circle of Arcane Might is no cubic zirconia, itself. The Epoch Hunter drops it, so we can only assume he's a closet blinger, himself.
Beyond those, we've got our usual phat lewtz and friendly faces - this time of the draconic variety. Durnholde (and all the Caverns of Time instances) gives reputation with the Keepers of Time all the way from Neutral to Exalted. Those confusing, non-linear time dragons have something for everyone, though the Engineers, Tailors, and Blacksmiths may feel left out of the recipe fun. Sorry, guys. Grab some great gear, instead, okay?
- The Recipe: Recipe: Major Nature Protection Potion - purchased from Fedryen Swiftspear, Cenarion Expedition Quartermaster in Zangarmarsh. Exalted rep level.The Reputation: Cenarion Expedition rep comes primarily from instance runs and quests, bolstered here and there by some rep turn-in items ... that you get from the instances, anyway. Any of the Coilfang Reservoir dungeons will get you CE rep, however Normal mode on Slavepens and the Underbog will only get you as far as Honored. To reach Revered or Exalted, you will need to run the Steamvault or any of the three on Heroic mode.
Fringe Benefits: The CE has no less than five Alchemy recipes to give to the people who work hard to become their bestest best new buds in the whole wide world. They also offer six Blacksmithing plans, an Engineering schematic, two Jewelcrafting designs, five Leatherworking patterns, two Enchanting patterns, a Tailoring recipe, and the best darn Bear-tanking weapon a babybear could ever want***. Look, if they aren't already Exalted with CE, they have no excuse not to come. Drag their butts along and get them some great phat lewtz, to go with your shiny, new potion.
- The Recipe: Recipe: Elixir of Major Shadow Power - purchased from Nakodu, Lower City Quartermaster in Shattrath City. Revered rep level.The Reputation: Lower City reputation comes from a lower-level item turnin, quests, and - sensing a theme, here? - instance runs. Specifically, you will need kills from the other Auchindoun instances, Auchenai Crypts, Sethekk Halls, and the Shadow Labyrinth. Heroic runs will give you reputation up to Exalted, however if Normal instancing is more your speed, you will be limited to the Shadow Labs after you hit Honored. Learn2Heroic?
Fringe Benefits: Like their CE cousins, the Lower City loot-handlers seem to love just about everyone. By the time one reaches Exalted, they are offering two Alchemy potions, four Jewelcrafting designs, a great Leatherworking pattern, two Enchanting formulae, a Tailoring pattern and a lot of great gear. That's not even mentioning the gear and rewards that can drop from the required instances on the way to Exalted.
Eleven great recipes and five new potential cauldrons, all yours for the taking. Now you know where to look, so even if you don't want to farm repeatedly for these recipes, you'll be aware of which opportunities might benefit your tradeskill. Shadow Labs for the 29th time might be just a bit more palatable if you know you stand to gain something very useful from it.
So, who has gotten the lucky drops? What other great recipes / rewards have you found out there? Does anyone else squee like an imploding cheerleader every time that pretty little scroll icon shows up in their loot window?? ^_^
* I always found it very sad that I couldn't be friends with both the Aldor and the Scryer, so their mutual effort as the Shattered Sun Offensive makes my carebear-fangirl-meter swing way over to Happy. :)
** Available at Revered with the Keepers of Time and accomplished by talking to an NPC in Shattrath City...
*** And, oh boy, does he want it! GIMMEGIMMEGIMME!