Thursday, December 31, 2009

Final 2009 Status

Well - Happy New Year everyone! I'm finishing the year approximately 32 bars short of hitting 80 on my hunter. So here's the current status of everyone as of the end of the day today. To add to my already level 80 warlock, death knight and druid, I've now got the following:

Tuvalu - level 78 hunter
Cador - level 41 paladin
Mograwn - level 28 shaman
Zinjar - level 27 priest
Vindoria - level 24 mage
Rukai - level 8 rogue


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Escape from LFD

There are so many good things being written about the childish anarchy that the new Dungeon Finder tool has devolved into, that there's not a whole lot of point to me repeating much of it here. While I am still encountering decent groups using the tool, the frequency of those decent groups has been decreasing noticeably over the last few days and the level of uncivility and rudeness has shown a remarkable uptick.

So what's an altoholic to do? What they do best - focus on leveling.

The holidays provided a break without much play time. However, I did continue to do some co-leveling of our priests with my son and we managed to get them from level 24 to level 27. I continue to be amazed by what a formidable combination two priests leveling together is.

I've now continued to work on my hunter and have managed to advance him to level 74 and am going to try to get him as close to 80 as I can by the time the New Year rolls around. We'll see how that goes. I have continued to use the Dungeon Finder tool to level my hunter at once per day to get the emblems and continue to have pretty good groups. It might just be at level 80 that things are starting to get nasty. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just Blast Through It

I've spent the last few days focused on leveling my hunter, and have managed to get him from level 69 to level 72. While I know it makes rational sense to stick to a rotational leveling system between all of my alts in order to maximize their rested xp and minimize their total /played time, there's something inherently satisfying about watching those levels tick by on a single character.

So I may throw logic and reason to the wind and just focus on getting my hunter those last few levels to 80. He's almost done with Borean Tundra at this point and getting ready to move on to Howling Fjord. I did try using the Dungeon Finder tool while leveling, but found that the xp per hour while instancing was significantly lower than what I was running while questing. It may have been a function of the group that I was with, which was somewhat slow (including two wipes), but the difference was around 40%.

In any case, I'll probably try it again once or twice just to see, but right now, the numbers don't look too good. Even if it is slower, if you're planning to use the character that you're leveling for endgame raiding, I'd probably still advocate leveling using the Dungeon Finder system, simply because of the skill you'll develop in grouping and in playing your chosen endgame spec.

Finally, while I expect it will be more difficult to quantify that my rested xp calculations, I expect that there is something more efficient about focusing your leveling on a single character. Switching back and forth between classes must result in some period early on where you are not as effective as you could be at leveling as you are "relearning" to play the class - even if it has just been a week or so since the last time you played that class - it's still not fresh in your mind and your reactions and skills aren't as sharp.

One way to compare might be to level one set of characters using the rotational system and then level another set one at a time and compare the /played times of the two. That would be quite an undertaking though. So we'll see.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wow Do I Suck As a Tank, and Other 3.3 Thoughts

So I've been having a blast running my warlock and my resto druid through the new 3.3 Dungeon Finder system. The wait is a lot longer on the warlock, so I tend to play the druid more - so he's been rapidly catching up to my warlock in terms of his gearing.

So I thought I'd try tanking on my Death Knight. I've got a proper frost spec tanking talent build, I'm defense capped (at least for heroics) and have decent amount of dodge and parry. But boy do I suck as a tank. I figured I'd start slow and try out heroic UK. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

Granted, the downside of running heroics through the dungeon finder system is that you can expect to get grouped with people that significantly outgear you. So unfortunately, even with what I thought was a decent rotation, I wasn't able to hold aggro against the dps that they were doing, so they were constantly peeling off mobs from me in the trash pulls in the beginning of UK. So I got vote-kicked before even getting to the first boss.

I think it is going to get much more difficult to gear tanks because of the way the new dungeon finder system works. People just don't have the patience to wait for someone that is learning the role, and if you're significantly outgeared, it would take a lot more skill than someone new to tanking has to maintain threat against that kind of pressure.

So, I'll give it up for a while and stick with my healer - maybe try it again every few days to see if I can get a successful run in. I have managed to tank heroic Gundrak with my DK, but it was with a group of similarly geared folks. So we'll see.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dungeon Finder Leveling = Better Endgame Players

So my son has been actively out there leveling his toons using the new Dungeon Finder feature. For those of you that have been playing it almost exclusively with your level 80's, it may come as a surprise to discover that it does actually work just fine with both Classic and Burning Crusade level dunegons. The tool automatically figures out which dungeons are appropriate for your level toon and even color codes them similar to quests to designate which ones will be easy, medium or hard.

In any case, my son has had fantastic luck leveling some of his lower level toons almost strictly using the new dungeon finder tool. He hasn't had particularly decent groups - typically only getting one or two bosses down in any given instance before the group falls apart, but it's still enough to generate a very impressive amount of xp for him.

As more people pick up on this as a way to level their alts, I think this could have a very positive impact on the level of end game play. The reason being that it is now much more possible to level your toon using the spec and talent build that you'd like to use for end-game.

For example, if you want to play a holy priest, most people would have leveled as Shadow, using a talent build and rotation really focused on up time and survivability. They then would have made the switch to holy once they hit level 80 - and worked on running heroics essentially with an almost brand new type of character that they know very little about playing.

Now, using the new Dungeon Finder tool, you can really level using the character that you want to play - whether that's a holy priest, a holy paladin, a resto druid, or elemental shaman, which will make you much more skilled with that player once you finally do get to 80. Also, leveling primarily through the Dungeon Finder, you should also end up geared better than you would strictly by questing, which will also make the transition and gearing up process for end game easier.

So, for those of you with low level alts, I'd encourage you to get out there and try the new Dungeon Finder. Respec to what you really want to be when you grow up and go out and have fun!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Power Priests

In addition to continuing to work on the Argent Tournament dailies on my main as part of my quest for Crusader, the bulk of the rest of my time this weekend was spent leveling my priest. Now, leveling a priest solo, while more fun that I remember, is certainly not the facerolling fun-fest that some classes can be.

However, I was surprised that leveling a priest in tandem with another priest is a truly formidable combination. So I spent a sizeable chunk of the weekend with my son working on leveling both of our priests, and so we were very easily able to get both of our priests from level 19 to level 24, absolutely destroying anything in our path. I'm leveling as shadow and my son is leveling as discipline and we are a truly formidable leveling combination.

In addition, I also managed to get my Shaman to level 28. So it was a good weekend overall for leveling. After sitting at level 14 as my bank alt for over a year, by priest has now gained 10 levels. I'm probably going to go back and give my paladin and hunter a little leveling love now that my other toons have been getting the bulk of the focus for a while.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Northrend Loremaster

So I was working on my Argent Tournament dailies yesterday and saw someone advertising in General for a few of the Icecrown group quests that I needed to finish for Northrend Loremaster. A half hour or so later, this absolutely fantastic boomkin and I (later joined by a warrior) had finished about 7 of the end of the line group quests in Icecrown and I was happily in possession of Northrend Loremaster and a shiny new Deathchill Cloak pattern!

I also gave in to my occasional spastic urges to raid and joined a guild group for Ulduar 25 last night. It start out OK with us quickly downing Flame Leviathan and Ignis, but then quickly became a wipe-fest on Razorscale and Ignis. It did help remind me, as it usually does, that I generally prefer working on other things on my toons to raiding - four hours for two emblems of conquest. I figure if I wanted those (which I don't at this point) I probably could have gotten at least 20 in the same time period just pugging heroics. Or gotten at least 2-3 levels on any of my alts.

But, it was fun to get to know some people in the guild since this is a relatively new guild for me, so probably time well spent overall.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Why Is He In Our Clubhouse??

So I've got one more faction to go to get the Crusader title on Joar, my main. I've been working on Crusader for two reasons - one because I want the BoA chestpieces for leveling my alts, and I prefer to use heroic badges for gearing up my level 80's. My second reason for wanting the Crusader title is because I just think it's funny on an undead warlock.

I just have visions of all these pretty paladins sitting around sipping their Cabernets when Joar walks into the Crusader Club. People stop and stare. The whispering starts. A few people look uncomfortably in any direction but at me.

"What is he doing in here?"

"Should someone call security?"

"Please god I hope he doesn't touch any of the peanut dishes...I mean..he's rotting for the Light's sake!"

"Does someone have a wipe? I think he just brushed against my tabard."

I'm just going to sit in the club, drink my beer and stare until I make people uncomfortable. Maybe summon my succubus just because she likes to crack her whip and talk a little dirty to people.

I also spent a little bit of time this week working on Loremaster on Joar. Now don't get me wrong, I'm so far from actually getting Loremaster on Joar that no one is even remotely worried about running out of tabards before I get one.

In Outland, I've got 78 quests till to do in Shadowmoon, and 9 still to do in Blade's Edge. Then in Azeroth, I've got 285 still to do in Eastern Kingdoms and 341 to do in Kalimdor. Yes, you read that right. 341. And I'm not even a Death Knight. Add those to the 3 I still need to do in Icecrown and you get a total of 716 to go. If my calculations are correct, that should take me 83 years to complete.

But I knocked out the remaining quests that I needed in Netherstorm and got that achievement. I'll probably knock out a few of the Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms quests in order to finally get Crusader, so we'll see how close I am after that.

Will probably be mostly focused on leveling alts this weekend, but might do a raid or two that my guild has scheduled.