What to Farm

Everybody knows that the auction house is the key to making quick cash. But what items do you put up, and where do you get them? I'll be covering Northrend exclusively in this post, but if you know of an Outland or old Azeroth item that goes for a lot on the 'house, leave a comment.

Skilling up cooking is fun for many players. Not only do I advise taking it, but gather more meats than you actually need. Many people are too impatient to go out and get their own meat, so they'll happily buy it off the auction house. That's where you come in.

These four meats make up the Great Feast, which serves a whole party.
Rhino - Some in Storm Peaks and others in Borean. For you non-AoE grinders, there are some spread out around Sholozar.
Chilled - I wouldn't eat this raw, but it drops off of every single beast type mob. You'll get quite a few while farming the other types of meat. It's also the most common meat, so it doesn't sell for a whole lot on the auction house.
Shoveltusk - On the other side of the world as mammoths and rhinos are the shoveltusks. Their flanks sell nicely, even though they're really easy to take down. They travel in herds, but are neutral (similar to rhino and mammoth), with a few aggressive types spread out here and there.
Mammoth - Big, mean, and scrumptiously delicious. Grab a chunk o' this beast from Borean for you AoEers, and for single-targeting try the higher level ones in Storm Peaks.

The Fish Feast is higher level than its 'great' counterpart, but you have to have a high fishing skill to make farming these more profitable. Wowhead has excellent info for each fish on their page, so take a click if you find yourself desiring to cast a pole.
Musselback Sculpin
Glacial Salmon

Other high-demand meats to keep an eye on include Worm Meat.

...is a fairly straight-forward profession. One that I can't really touch upon because it's so direct. It combines well with cooking, as just about all the beasts you kill can be skinned. If you know any skinning friends and you're going AoE farming on mammoths, invite them! Not only will they be greatful to you, they may even but you a portion of their skins if you kill things fast enough. Hope for those Arctic Furs!

Three types of minerals exist in Northrend soil, each one more rare than the last.
Cobalt Ore - Okay, I lied. Cobalt sometimes goes for more than Saronite because there are fewer nodes, as well that everyone needs Cobalt ore to skill up their blacksmithing and jewelcrafting to Saronite levels. Cobalt is best mined while leveling up, but if you have a flying mount, apparently Zul'Drak and Howling Fjord have the most deposits.
Saronite Ore - The most common end-game ore. Icecrown and Sholozar are the way to go.
Titanium Ore - Un-prospectable, but used for many recipes. Very, very hard to find, but plenty will show up while on your Saronite route because it only spawns in saronite/cobalt nodes.

For the most parts, herbs are easier to find than ore. Farming for these is less competitive, but there are still a few things you should know.
  • Borean and the Fjord have mostly Goldclover.
  • Avoid Dragonblight, as it's all frozen herbs, which can be 1-3 of just about any low level herb - even ones you're not after.
  • Frost Lotus (a hot seller) can be found equally from all Northrend herbs, so if you're seeking those, pick a zone with a lot of nodes. Icecrown, lower Zul'Drak, and Sholozar come to mind.
  • Talandra's Rose is just about only found in Zul'Drak. If you dislike that zone, then stock up a lot at once.
If you are an alchemist, I suggest seeing what potions and elixers you can make after a long flower-picking session. You might be able to sell the potions for more than you could the combined flowers. But sometimes, it'll just be more profitable to sell the raw flowers.

What do you sell?

Useful macro habits

There's already an excellent guide for making macros and a catalog of the options at WoWWiki's Making A Macro page.

If you're an absolute beginner and want to get in on the helpful world of macros, go ahead and click that link, read that page (or at least make sure you understand how to do most basic functions) then come back here.

I'll be discussing habits that I personally use and have seen friends use to make life easier using macros. If you've ever said to yourself, "Wow, macros seem amazing! But where do I start?" then you've reached the right blog post.

Use #showtooltip
Adding #showtooltip as the first line in a macro will let you read the spell tooltip by hovering over it. In a macro like the following:

/cast [mod:shift] Frostbolt; Fireball

...you will get to read the Fireball tooltip naturally, and the Frostbolt tooltip when you hold down shift. You won't have to open up the spellbook and find them to see how much damage they do or what their mana cost is.

Also, if you choose the giant question mark icon, it will show the spell icon naturally... and the icon will change! In the above example, it would show the fireball icon normally, and then the frostbolt one if you hold down shift!

Choose icons that stand out
If you have an ability that you MUST be watching the cooldown on, macro it, give it the #showtooltip line, and choose an icon that's bright and you can't miss. For an arcane or frost mage, a bright red or green icon will stand out wonderfully.

Keep in mind that if all your macros use bright icons, your bars will be overwhelming to look at, and nothing will stand out at all! I would only suggest three bright/noticeable icons at most. Two or even just one is further recommended.

Group spells that don't trigger the global cooldown

Trinkets, Potions, Arcane Power, Heroic Strike... These can be grouped together and used in one macro. My example is as follows:

/cast Arcane Power
/use Potion of Wild Magic
/use Mark of the War Prisoner
/use Mana Sapphire
/cast Icy Veins
/cast Arcane Blast

Only the final spell in this macro triggers the global cooldown.

Using this will activate my AP and IV, use my trinket and an offensive potion, restore some mana using a mana gem, then start casting an Arcane Blast. I named this macro "Combust" and gave it a bright red icon. You might guess why! Be sure your tank has adequate threat lead before using...

Use left and right mouse buttons for out-of-combat buffs
The abilities you don't have keybound (the very select few!) can be grouped by using [mouse:1] for left click and [mouse:2] for right click. Using those pesky paladin buffs as our example:

/cast [mouse:1] Greater Blessing of Might; [mouse:2] Blessing of Might

to take it one step further, we could remove [mouse:2]. That way, if you keybind it, or click it with a third mouse button, it will still cast something.

Melee and hunters should change all of their primary offensive abilities to have /startattack as the last line - or first line if the ability has a cast time. (I'm looking at you, Steady Shot!)

/cast Icy Touch

It's that simple!

That's it for now. Put em to use, find some more, and comment if you have any good ones I haven't posted!

Setting up keybindings

Many players underuse their keyboards while playing WoW. Using keybindings is a vital way to speed up your responsiveness and awareness to the game. It can be the difference between a 1900 and a 2100 arena rating, or the difference between 2000 and 2300 dps in a raid.

Clicking your action bars with your mouse is only okay in a very limited number of scenarios. Spells you would never use in combat or in a panic situation are spells that you don't have to keybind. Silly macros for things like /target Xaxziminrax /kiss are okay to click. Long-term buffs, rogue poisons, mage portals... these are things you would not use in an emergency, so it's okay to leave them as mouse-clicked.

Resurrection spells, food and water, and short-term buffs (Warrior shouts, shaman elemental shields, mage and warlock fire/frost/shadow wards, hunter aspects) are all things that you should keybind. All these spells are cast either while in combat, right before you enter combat, or right after you leave combat.

An entire well-written, with-pictures article has already been posted, and I won't reinvent the wheel. Take a look at TankSpot's General Keybinds for some detail on how and why to bind.

After you've read that over, there are a few more things to mention.

The numpad is a fabulous way to have all your buffs and non-combat spells in order. I use the big "zero" button to use my Mana Strudels because its easy to find and I can just start spamming it the moment I think I'm about to leave combat. I use 1-9 on the numpad for my buffs. With 3 different mage armors, 30 and a 60 minute intellect buffs, dampen/amplify magic, and two conjure food spells, I'm really glad to have such an out of the way yet easy to remember section of keys. You can even put your hearthstone over there! It's not that hard to remember, "Seven means Dalaran." And then you still have plus and minus, asterik and slash left over for whatever you desire.

I also use backslash. On all my keyboards, it's below Backspace and above Enter and it's really big so its easy to find. I have a non-emergency but vital spell bound there. Shattering Throw, Evocation, or Fire Elemental Totem are good choices because they will be used fairly infrequently, but are still important enough that you'll want to have quick access to them.

Remember: Take it slow at first. Don't overwhelm yourself! Frustration is not the way to go, and even if it takes you a whole month just to remember two spells on your keyboard... that's better than nothing, and will give you a definite edge against people who haven't any bound!

Using the calendar to plan instances and group quests

The in-game calendar has a lot of quirks and is missing a couple of features, but that doesn't mean it's entirely useless. The calendar is a wonderful tool for alerting your friends that you'll be online at a certain time and that there's a quest or instance you would like to do. You can create events, invite anyone, and then check to see how many have signed up.

Using the calendar, you can rid your quest log of all those built-up group quests that no one ever seems to want to do with you. By giving plenty of time advance notice, your friends will have time to gather the same quests you have, and you'll all be able to reap the rewards together.

Creating an event is easy. All you do is right click on the day you want the event to be on. I suggest at least a week in advance, but no more than three weeks notice. A week gives them time to catch up to you, two weeks gives them time to do it themselves, and in three weeks they'll forget you even planned a day.

The layout is simple and the options are practical.

For a name, you should choose something that could be understood at a quick glance. "Icecrown group quests" would be perfect. "Blackrock instance clearing" would also work.
is server time.

Remember when choosing a time that it's the time that will show up to all other players who are invited, so enter it as server time so no one gets confused.

For group quests, you should enter the name of the quests in the Description field. If it's an instance and you have quests for it, put them there also. This way players can look them up on thottbot or wowhead and get them for themselves.

Let me bring up that you can right click on an invited player's name and promote them to moderator. This allows them to recruit their own friends to join you. It's very worthwhile to promote your trusted friends to moderators for any of your events that you don't think you'll have enough people for.

Try to only have one or two events waiting on the calendar at any time. Players can be overwhelmed when the calendar is used for raiding, instancing, world events, and heroic resets. Too many future plans, and they could become confused and miss out.

The calendar and event planner are simple but effective tools. Play around with them to become more familiar before setting up regular events.