Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Leveling Speed Strategies

One of my guildmates is currently in the process of leveling his 6th toon to 80. A rogue. After he's finished with this one, he's planning to work on a warlock - then he's done. So he say. That will give him a Shaman, Druid, Warrior, Paladin, Death Knight, Rogue and Warlock. No Mage, Hunter or Priest.

So we were asking why abandon the other three classes. The answer was pretty interesting. No mage and hunter, because he will already have an other ranged dps option with the warlock. No priest, because he already has three other healers.

I'd personally feel like I had an incomplete set without getting those last three, but in some ways, I also see his point. This guy also spends a lot of time on end-game raiding with his other toons, so leveling even more would obviously distract significantly from that. While I'm not much of a raider, I do enjoy PvP a lot - mostly battlegrounds and world PvP, but some arena as well. So it gets me to wondering if it would be easier to limit myself to a number of toons that I could maximize and not worry about "roles" that I already have covered. Something to think about. It does raise the obvious question - once you get a toon of each class to 80, what then? I think you're still picking one or two "mains" and working on maxing out their gear - whether it's raiding or PvP. You can't possibly give adequate play time to 10 different toons.

Which all has little to do with the topic of leveling strategies. The above mentioned guildmates approach has been to level each toon to 80 - one at a time. It' s a very focused approach and obviously very successful. If you're attempting to level a large number of characters, I wonder if there is a more efficient approach. It's the approach that I've mentioned before of leveling each character a set number of levels (4? 6? 10?) then parking them in an inn to accumulate rested xp, mailing the BoA pieces to the next toon and more of the same. It seems like this would maximize your rested xp bonuses while also providing some comfort to the ADHD issues that many of us alt addicts have. We can only pay attention to one character for so long before we get bored and move on to another. For many, that often means creating a brand new character somewhere and leveling them from scratch. But what if you had a toon, fully rested, with BoA xp bonuses just mailed to them, that you hadn't played in - oh - say 7 or 8 toons. Something new, something fresh, and something that you can park back in an inn after a few levels. I'm sort of liking the idea of going 1-10, then 11-20, then switching every 6 levels after that.

The downside is, my teenage son desperately wants me to power level my druid to 80 to do arena's with him, so my plan at testing this strategy might be on hold for a while. I'd also need to decide what to do with my hunter - wait until all the other toons catch up, or pop him in the 6 level rotation, just realizing that he's going to get to 80 first. Take him to 32 then have him wait for the other toons to catch up, or just let him run from where he is.

See, this is the downside of maintenance days - I have way too much time to sit and think about these things rather than just hopping on my toons and leveling them! Oh well!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fun With Achievements

Well, after a quick Slave Pens run yesterday, I managed to get the Flame Keeper achievement for Joar. Mid-Summer is definitely one of my favorite holidays. The PvP element that it introduces (without the frustration and near-impossibility that goes with the PvP achievement on Children's Week) makes it especially fun and different. Particularly for a squishy character like Joar.

I've got about a day and a half worth of dailies left to get Champion of Undercity with Joar, who will also get the title since he's already exalted with Undercity.

I also ran some friends through Scholo last weekend and managed to grab some of the books there, so I'm thinking about trying to knock out the Well Read achievement on Joar as well over the next few day - and maybe try to grab a few non-combat pets from assorted vendors to try to get the achievement there.

And last but certainly not least, I'm thinking about grinding out some battlegrounds and Wintergrasps on Tormal, my under-loved level 80 Death Knight. My son keeps telling me how much fun PvP is with a Death Knight, but Tormal just needs more gear - the Savage Saronite stuff is good, but just isn't cutting it most of the time.

Of course, all of this distracts from leveling my alts, but it's all about having fun with the game, right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mid-Summer Distraction!

Despite my glorious intentions to level one character of each class to 80, I'm also a bit of an addict when it comes to achievements, and particularly the seasonal events. Let me start by saying that this is not about the Purple-Proto Drake. I'm not a big mount collector and my favorite thing about my tailoring skills is my epic flying carpet. I won't give it up for any dragon!

I just enjoy doing the seasonal events and the achievements and titles that go with them. Maybe because it's unique content or because it introduces something new and interesting to the game that I don't normally get to experience. I only tend to focus in the achievements on my original Horde main - Joar, so at least I'm not grinding it out on two level 80 toons!

I've also been working through the Argent Tournament stuff on Joar. My 13 year-old son was giving me a hard time about not having gotten to Champion on any of my toons - particularly since two of my level 80's were only 2-3 days worth of dailies away from being Champion with their respective factions. So, my plan is to grind out the Argent Tournament with Joar until I get him to Champion with Undercity, then continue to work on other factions with Joar so I can grab the Crusader title, which seems pretty cool, and I'm told will also open up new content post-patch 3.2.

So, the leveling of my Draenei Hunter and my Tauren Druid has been a bit delayed. I have managed to get the Hunter to level 57. I'm debating whether to go to Outland at 58 or wait until 60. It seems like at least for Outland, those starting Hellfire Peninsula quests can be a bit challenging for a level 58. It wasn't bad on my Death Knight, but nothing is bad on a Death Knight. So, I may wait.

I was able to level the Druid to 30. I was excited to get travel form, but then a bit disappointed once I figured out it wasn't as fast as a normal mount. So as soon as I get the Argent Tournament and Mid-Summer stuff done, I'll be back to leveling my alts!

I'm also working on setting up planned professions for each of my alts. I was thinking it might be fun as well as helpful to have at least one toon with each profession. Pairing each crafting profession with the directly related gathering profession should help keep my toons rolling in gold too. And, mapping it out this way, it will still leave me with two toons with purely gathering professions. Not sure that's really the way to go, but hey - I can always change it and try to power level them later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Level 80 From Each Class?

One of my WoW goals that has always been floating randomly out in the ether somewhere was to level a toon of each class to 80. I've seen several people that have done it post out on the WoW Forums and for me, it's an extremely impressive accomplishment. While it doesn't require mastering the mechanics of each class, it does require a certain amount of knowledge and especially flexibility.

I've actually set myself up to be able to do this, with 9 Horde characters and 1 Alliance character giving me the complete class selection. I included an Alliance character on the list primarily because I wanted to be able to see all of the Alliance content and quests as well as those on the Horde side.

The problem is, in order to be able to do this, I think it would require focusing almost exclusively on leveling, and I'm just not willing to give up the other things that I enjoy doing with my toons that are already level 80 - including the occasional battleground, working on achievements, the Argent Tournament, Wintergrasp, etc. not to even mention raiding a few times each month. All of these things take a lot of time. Sometimes I check the played time on my toons and find that I've actually played Joar enough since hitting level 80 on each to have probably leveled 4 or 5 more toons to 80. So why don't I just do that and then go back to focus on the classes that I end up enjoying the most for endgame until the next expansion comes out.

So here's the set up along with the math:

Two toons already at 80:
Joar - undead warlock
Tormal - orc death knight

And here are the other 8 in descending order by level:
Reladaar - 53 draenei hunter
Branwyn - 29 tauren druid
Mograwn - 16 tauren shaman
Zinjar - 14 troll priest
Licious - 14 blood elf mage
Vindoria - 10 blood elf rogue
Joaridan - 7 blood elf paladin
Joara - 5 undead warrior

Now, let's say 8 days of played time is a decent target for getting each toon to 8, and let's say Reladaar probably only has 4 days left. That works out to a total of 60 days played time or 1,440 hours. Now, I probably play WoW around 40 hours per week. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but what that would work out to is about 36 weeks to accomplish getting all 8 remaining toons to 80. Which would put me at 10 level 80's by February 24, 2010. Is this possible? Is it even worth trying?

The biggest question in that equation is will the new expansion come out before then. I guess we'll know more after BlizzCon in a few weeks. It would also mean that any time that I wanted to spend raiding or doing Wintergrasp with my other toons would need to be on top of that 40 hours per week, or would delay my goal. So, we'll see how it goes for the next week or two.

I'd be interested in people's thoughts on whether it would be easy to level them one at a time, or to level each character a little bit then park them in an inn to accumulate rested xp while working on the next.

Also, just saw the news that there will be BoA chest pieces released with a 10% xp bonus that will stack with the current bonus for the BoA shoulders - so that should further reduce the leveling time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What's Your Style?

I'll be the first to admit, I've had a hard time figuring out what type of WoW player I wanted to be. I'm a fairly recent addition to WoW, having started playing in February 2008. I started off leveling a Gnome Mage but got quickly frustrated with how quickly it died. How much fun is it to constantly have to run back to your corpse? I wanted to stay with a caster, and so switched to an Undead Warlock, Joar. Having the extra pet to help out really seemed to help with survivability, and so I ended up sticking with that toon all the way to 70 (then 80 following WOTLK).

After getting Joar to 70, I also started leveling a Draenei Hunter - but the Hunter has been stuck for a while - now currently at 53. When Wrath came out, I was pretty slow to get excited about the new Death Knight thing, but after a few months, I caved to the peer pressure, started one and quickly leveled it to 80.

My problem is, with my Warlock being my ostensible "main", I've never been able to figure out what kind of player I wanted to be. I started Joar as a raider and got through Kara and most of ZA before WOTLK came out. While I enjoyed raiding with Joar, I found that the constant competition around dps meters took a lot of the fun out of the game for me. The other difficult thing about being a raider for me is that it is very difficult for me to consistently play during the evenings which is when most raids seem to take place.

I've always also done a fair amount of PvP with both my level 80 characters - originally just to get gear with Joar, but eventually because it seemed to be an option that worked well with my fairly random play schedule. However, eventually I get kind of tired of constantly grinding out battlegrounds. Wintergrasp has been something that I really enjoy, but the change to daily quests has put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm, even with 2 level 80's to run through the quests.

So, I find myself back to leveling my alts as a way of enjoying the game. I had originally thought of trying for Loremaster with Joar, but completing all of those quests without any leveling rewards just wasn't getting it done for me. So, I've started a druid alt and have him pretty close to level 30, and have gone back to working on my Hunter, which is my only alliance leveling toon at this point, my original mage being consigned to the auction house. I figure, I'll get the alliance toon to 80, then work on leveling a character of each class on the Horde side (except hunter) to 80. That should keep me busy until the next expansion comes - along with the occasional raid of course!

Anyone else struggling to figure out what type of player you are?