Friday, January 23, 2015

Final Data on Druid Leveling

So a highly delayed DING here on the blogging front.  I hit level 100 on my 4th toon on January 18th.  As it turns out, the leveling time on this one surprised me a bit.  This is one that I had parked in his garrison in advance, accumulating leveling potions so that I could keep that xp buff up the entire time.

Now I will caveat this buy saying that my druid is almost always one of my slower classes to level.  Out of the classes that didn't start on launch day (which I always exclude, because it's always an outlier), in Cataclysm my druid was the absolute slowest of all the classes.  In MoP he was third slowest, exceeded only by the paladin (who in an unbelievably doltish move, I started to try to level as holy) and by my mage who were both about an hour slower in leveling time

Now in Draenor, I decided to try two things with the Druid.  Given the changes in the gear system, I switched to leveling as feral, which I thought would be faster than boomkin, and I made serious use of said xp potions, which I had not used on any toons before. 

The results were about 50 minutes faster than my hunter, which isn't bad, because my hunter is a beast, but about 20 minutes slower than my DK.  Unlike the previous 3 toons, I've decided I'm not going to spend any time running this guy through the legendary quest chain.  Instead, I'm going to try to gear him up through follower missions with the goal of eventually spending time in LFR.  But at least at the moment, running 3 characters through all of LFR every week seems a bit overwhelming, so I'm going to try to limit it to that.

Next up is the Shaman, my Inscriptionist, who I want to get higher level so he can produce more War Paints more effortlessly.  Because everyone else in the Joar empire is clamoring for free trinkets.  And they can be a rowdy bunch if they don't get what they want.  After that, it will likely be either the mage or my priest.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Leveling as Feral

So I've been leveling my druid as feral and really enjoying it so far.  It does have me a bit concerned about how things are going to work at end game though.  I've almost always played the druid as purely a healer, and leveled him as boomkin.  From what I've seen, I'm not sure that I'm going to be as interested in playing as a healer this time around, but I also don't have an interest in another melee toon.  Especially since that's almost definitely what I'll end up having to do with my paladin.

So we'll see how this works once I hit 100 on him.  I might try going the healing route for the proving grounds and the first stage of the legendary just to see how that works.  Or maybe just do the legendary chain as boomkin dps and then heal once I'm in to raiding.

Leveling the druid as feral has been extremely easy though.  Lots of easily available heals along with abilities that seem to hit pretty hard makes for a nice combination.  The cat form seems to have enough survivability that even pulling multiple mobs accidentally, I never seem to need to switch into bear form for the extra.  It may be slowing me down a bit at times as I tend to just stay in cat form or travel form and dash between objectives rather than mounting up.

My strategy of replacing the Barracks with a War Mill / Dwarven Bunker while leveling also works extremely well to ease the process as the extra upgrades really seem to make a difference to the process.

So the druid is sitting at level 96 and heading for the Spires of Arak.  I've been using the garrison xp potions on this one, so we'll see if that makes much of a difference.

I've also been leveling an alliance hunter with a friend, and he's currently sitting at level 95.  I really continue to enjoy marksman hunters this expansion.  Even though I just leveled one Horde side, it really isn't getting boring for me.

Beyond that, I've now got 3 toons that have completed the first stage of the legendary questline and are working their way towards 125 Abrogator Stones.  I expect to discover any day now that Khadgar has really just been Wrathion in disguise this entire time.  The obsession with collecting stones / drop items I believe is my first clue.

After the druid, I think either the mage or shadow priest will be next up in the leveling circus.  I'll probably squeeze the monk and paladin in between casters, as I still have the shaman to get through as well.

It'll be interesting to see how many toons I can get started on the legendary questline before the next stage of it drops, presumably some time in February or March.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year-In-Review (and Ding, Level 100 #3)

I look back over my blog and what I accomplished in 2014, and as you would expect for a year with no new content released by Blizzard over the course of the entire year, it's a bit underwhelming.

I did have a goal coming out of 2013 of completing all four wings of LFR and defeating Garrosh on all 11 of my max level Horde toons.  As I look back, I managed to finish off that goal on January 10th of 2014.  After that, I took a brief spin through pet collecting and battling until I managed to complete the Celestial Tournament.

After that came some flirtation with the new Diablo 3 expansion, followed by some flirtation with Wildstar. What can I say, I'm a flirt.

Needless to say, neither held my attention for very long, so it was back to leveling the alliance army, and I managed to finish off the pre-expansion period getting my 16th max level character.  I also managed to finally get the Headless Horseman mount after literally years and years of trying on what was, by my calculations, my 551st attempt.

I now finish up 2014 getting ready to run my fourth toon to 100 in the new expansion.  I've got 3 characters at max level now, all of whom have completed the current available LFR content and are on the current stage of the legendary quest.  The third toon will be caught up shortly (although not today).

I'm looking forward to Azeroth in 2015 and the opportunities that all this new content will provide.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Unlucky Death Knight

My poor death knight is the unluckiest soul in the Joar empire this expansion so far.  The poor guy is stuck at an ilvl of 609 and continues to have awful luck in normal dungeons, getting absolutely nothing in terms of useful drops.  So he's going to be watching all his pals go off to try the new wing of LFR this week, while he sits in in his stable and commiserates with his mounts.

He's a blacksmith, so is getting close to being able to make himself his first piece of crafted gear, but even that isn't going to be enough to get him there.

My warlock had pretty good luck last week in both the normal and LFR version of Highmaul and got 3 or 4 upgrades out of the run.  So he's looking forward to the new wing opening this week and seeing those bosses for the first time.

He's got enough Hexweave to craft his last piece of crafted gear, but we're going to wait to see if anything drops in LFR first.

I've also been leveling both the Alliance and Horde hunters and am really enjoying Marksmanship on both.  I'm hoping my Horde hunter has better luck with gearing once he gets to 100 than the Death Knight has, because I think that may be my second raiding toon.

Finally, I've also been working on my stables on my death knight.  He's now caught all the mounts, so it's just a matter of working through the quest lines.  So that's about it for the update for this week.  I'm hoping to get my hunter to 100 by the end of the week as well as getting in some more LFR runs, and we'll have to see if my poor death knight's luck improves.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ding, Level 100 #2

So I managed to get my 2nd character to level 100.  While there was considerably less time spent dicking around with my Garrison on this particular toon, there was still a relatively fair amount of Garrison time involved, so my total time to 100 was still not quite as fast as I think I should be able to achieve.  I ended up with a total leveling time to 100 on this character of 17 hours and 51 minutes, so about 7 hours faster than the first time through.

I'm not really planning to work on gearing this toon for endgame just yet.  I want to get the hunter leveled first, and will also be doing some LFR on my warlock once it releases this week.

I also did a Molten Core run with my guild this past weekend and managed to get a new head piece and the new core hound mount.  It naturally goes a little more smoothly with a full guild group, but we managed to clear it in just a little over two hours with only one wipe in the process, so not too bad all considered.

I've been also getting started on follower missions on my warlock as well.  He's maxed out on his number of followers, at least until he gets his barracks to level 3, so we're just leveling for now.  I need to go finish the quest line in Arak because there is one particular follower in Arak that I want to grab to round out my collection. But I'm only at something like 30 patrol missions, so I've got a ways to go before I need to worry about expanding my follower collection much more.

Not really getting much of value out of my salvage yard at this point, but closing in on the achievement that I need to upgrade that to level 3, so hopefully that'll help.

I did go out and grab a stable on my death knight and am working on the daily quests for the various mounts.  We'll see if the DK is the best character to be doing that on.  Certainly in terms of taming the mounts, the speed boost from Unholy Aura helps a lot.  Not sure how he's going to fare on the individual fights though.

The hunter is up next for leveling, and I'd like to get him done as quickly as possible too as I'm a little bit more interested in starting to play him through on the end game.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Initial Pre-LFR Gearing Strategies

So I managed to finish up the legendary quest chain on my main at this point and I'm happily sitting at a 623 ilvl, so well in excess of the minimum needed to queue for both Molten Core and the new LFR wings when they come out in another week.

Having gotten Joar to this point, and as a fairly casual consumer of raid content, I wanted to share the gearing strategies that I used for Joar to get him to the point where he could access the content I wanted with a minimum of work.

Note, that if you're looking to do cutting edge raiding, this almost certainly isn't the best approach as this is focused on getting to a minimum acceptable ilvl and not maximizing your ilvl.  One other point is that this didn't involve the purchase of a single BoE or crafted piece.

So here are the handful of recommendations.

  • If you quested through most of the zones, you should have more than enough rep to purchase two ilvl 615 trinkets in Ashran.  They cost about 600g each at Honored rep.
  • This is a very short term garrison recommendation, but as soon as you get your Garrison to level 2, get yourself a War Mill up and running.  This will increase the chances of getting upgrades from quest rewards and the level of those upgrades.  
  • After you've done this, be sure to move on to Nagrand as soon as you can and quest all the way through Nagrand.  You can pretty easily accumulate a handful of ilvl 630 gear this way.
  • Start the legendary questline as soon as you hit 98.  Get that Skyreach quest out of the way before you hit 100 and while you're still earning xp from it.
For the rest of my gear, everything else came from other drops that I got while doing the four heroics that you need to do to complete the legendary questline.  

In other developments, I'm also making pretty good progress on my death knight, who is now sitting at level 94 and is working his way through Gorgrond.  I'm suppressing my urge to tinker with my Garrison as much as possible, focusing instead on leveling speed this time.  Although with a new mine up and running, that's making it somewhat difficult for my miner / blacksmith death knight.

He's been extremely easy to level as frost so far.  My hunter will be up next, followed after by my paladin, who is my jewelcrafter.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Leveling Speed with Garrisons

So I can now confirm with some data in hand, that if spending a lot of time in your garrison messing around with all the fun stuff on offer there, it will significantly slow your leveling time.  My warlock finally managed to hit 100 on Friday, about a week after the expansion release, with a total leveling time of 24 hours and 30 minutes.

I will note that that is still significantly better than my first character leveling times in both Mists and Cataclysm, but it is more than double some of the better leveling times that I've been hearing about from others where a 10-12 hours speed run seems to be about average.  Some of that time was the result of server issues in the first week, but a lot of that is just a result of the distraction provided by my Garrison.

I've now started the process on my death knight, and the plan is to run him straight through as quickly as possible, so I'll report back on what the next few toons look like.

In the meantime, on my main, I went off and grabbed the Silver Proving Grounds achievement and started on the legendary quest line.  So I'm working on the daily quest for Apexis Shards and running normals to try to get the ilvl to queue for heroics.  Once I turn in the Apexis shard portion of the legendary questline, I'll start saving those up for gear next.

I've also managed to upgrade my Garrison to level 3 and am just working on some of the other buildings at this point.  It's mostly just a matter of saving up enough Garrison resources at this point to get the other buildings in place.  Once that is done, I'll probably start follower missions in earnest.

The current plan for Joar's garrison is

Small buildings:

Tailoring - matches a profession
Enchanting - matches a profession
Salvage Yard

Medium Buildings

Lumber Mill - extra Garrison resources
Trading Post - extra resources

Large Buildings

Workshop - access to extra bonus roll token

I'm also working through Hexweave Cloth as much as possible and am getting pretty close to having enough to craft an epic, so that should help with my ilvl.  Enchants are selling well, as are glyphs, so that's keeping my cash flow up pretty well.

My guild has a Molten Core run scheduled for early December, so I'm probably going to wait and do that as a guild run rather than just trying it at random.