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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Distracted by Garrisons

So my earnestly laid plans of getting my Garrison set up and then leaving it behind, to quickly level to 100 were quickly waylaid by a nasty habit of messing with my Garrison.  So I'm sitting at level 96 instead of 100, but I've got upgraded Tailoring and Enchanting buildings and an upgraded mine.  And I'm amassing tons of ore to send to my blacksmith and jewelcrafter and engineer.  I've got almost a dozen followers, 3 of them epic.  I've done a bunch of different Garrison missions with my followers and gotten some cool stuff out of that as well.  I'm cutting down trees for my lumber mill and hunting down seeds so I can get my herb garden up and running.  (Note to self, need to find an addon that shows my herbalism notes even if I'm not an herbalist).

I'm running across various zones search for just the right follower.  So I've now got the appropriate followers to assign to my tailoring and enchanting buildings, so I now I need more followers to go on missions, since those guys now have other tasks.

I'm not as close to 100 as I thought I would be, but I'm having fun with it.

I've not gone the goblin route of trying to make as much money as possible in the early days of the expansion.  In part because I'm already sitting on a comfortable cash pile, and also because, with my Garrison pumping out a steady supply of resources for all my various professions, I really don't think I need it.  Stuff is getting churned out for later use.

I do want to run my inscriptionist through pretty quick so that he can start cranking out new glyphs because that is typically a pretty lucrative market for me, and I'm probably going to want the Darkmoon Card trinket at least on my main.

So we'll see how it goes as I continue to level alts.  I think the next one will be a bit easier to go all out with, so I may have a little bit better data on leveling speed.  My one after that was supposed to be of the official "faffing with Garrisons" variety, so I may just swap that with the plan for my main.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bagged, Tagged, Planned and Ready to Roll

So the launch of Warlords is rapidly approaching.  I've been scurrying around this week acquiring Grummlepacks, Onyxia Hide Bags, Dragon Hide Bags and a few Royal Satchels so that all of my toons have plenty of bag space for leveling in Warlords.  Of course, I've never had an issue with running out of bag space while leveling in the past, so not sure why I think I'm going to have issues this time, but best to be prepared.  I don't know if we'll be seeing the same volume of random toys and cooking related items that seemed to drop all over the place in Pandaria, but I've always got bank alts set up to accept transfers of any needed excess goods at the first opportunity.

I've also had the time to plan out what I think my Garrison layouts are going to be for each toon, as well as my initial thoughts on leveling order and the leveling approach to be used by each toon.

So here is what that little plan looks like:

Small plot Medium plot Large plot Leveling approach
Joar Tailoring Emporium Barn Barracks Questing skip ahead
Enchanter's Study Lumber Mill Mage Tower
Joardk The Forge Barn Barracks Questing - complete zones
Enchanter's Study Trading Post Stables
Joarshot Enchanter's Study Inn Barracks Garrison Focused
Alchemy Lab Lumber Mill Armoury
Joarbek Scribes Quarters Trading Post Armoury Questing - skip ahead
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Joaridan Gem's Boutique Barn Barracks Dungeons / healing
Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower
Joarfu Enchanter's Study Inn Armoury Garrison focused
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Joarvyk Alchemy Lab Trading Post Mage Tower Dungeons / healing
Storehouse Lumber Mill Workshop
Salvage Yard
Joarnak Enchanter's Study Barn Mage Tower Questing - complete zones
Storehouse Trading Post Workshop
Salvage Yard
Joarwyn Tannery Barn Barrcks Dungeons / healing
Enchanter's Study Lumber Mill Stables
Joarmama Enchanter's Study Inn Armoury Garrison focused
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Joarstab Engineering Works Inn Stables Questing - skip ahead
Enchanter's Study Lumber Mill Workshop
Melric Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower Questing - skip ahead
Storehouse Inn Stables
Salvage Yard
Melpar Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower Questing - complete zones
Storehouse Barn Stables
Salvage Yard
Meloar Enchanter's Study Inn Armoury Garrison Focused
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Melwon Scribes Quarters Trading Post Barracks Dungeons / healing
Storehouse Lumber Mill Workshop
Salvage Yard
Melardin Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower Questing - complete zones
Storehouse Barn Stables

Salvage Yard

So I think that gives me a reasonable start to the plan.   Everyone is cleaned out and freshly stocked with supplies and more than adequate bag space. Everyone with crafting professions has the corresponding plots.  The toons that are my big money makers generally have access to a trading post in their Garrison (although may have to bulldoze at least one Lumber Mill at some point).  I've got a plan for my Garrisons that gives me a look at basically all the buildings available (except for the PvP building, which I'm still debating about adding to a toon or two later on).  And I've also spaced out the toons that I plan to level via dungeons to make sure that I don't drive myself completely insane.

Once I start getting a few toons to max level, I'll then need to decide if I want to start jumping into LFR or focus on playing around with my garrisons etc.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Historical Data on Leveling Times

I will once again be tracking my leveling times for the variety of Joar alts and, consistent with prior expansions, using a variety of different approaches:

  • Straight zone play throughs
  • Dungeon leveling
  • Zone skip aheads
  • Garrison centric leveling
I will admit that because of personal issues going on, I did not manage to participate in the beta at all this time unfortunately, so I don't know much beyond what I've read about what I'll be facing.  However, I gather that there will be leveling options that are a little bit more garrison centric than straight questing options, so to the extent that I can design different leveling paths under those scenarios, I will do that and report out the data.

I thought I'd also recap the data that I have from the last two expansions.  For MoP, my average leveling time (from the prior max level) was around 23.1 hours played and there was no significant difference between any of the above approaches.

In Catalclysm, my average time to max level was 24.7 hours played.  In that case, the characters that used a dungeon based leveling approach were slightly longer.  While that average is higher, there are two unrelated factors that may have been specific to me in both those cases - one is going into Cataclysm, the full set of toons was not as well geared as they were going into MoP, so that may have impacted the leveling time, at least initially.  I also chose to have my first toon leveled for that expansion be my paladin instead of my warlock, because I wanted to try to have a healer first.  Playing through a toon that wasn't my main and trying to get gear that was healing focused, undoubtedly affected my leveling time, and as a result (combined with launch date general slowness), my time on the paladin was significantly higher than anyone else (35 hours in total).  If you back that out as an outlier, the average time on Cata drops to 23.4 hours, or not wildly different than MoP.

I've gathered from what I've read in various places that the time from 90 to 100 is going to be significantly shorter this time around, but I've not actually done it myself yet.  We'll know for sure next week.

In the meantime, with 16 toons to level, I'll be assigning four to each of the groups above, which should give me a somewhat reasonable indicator under each approach.