Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bangin' 'Em Straight Out!

So, after the clear failure of my little rotational leveling experiment, I've decided to just bang out these three remaining toons. So, I'm hard at work on the shaman at the moment. He's a Lava Bursting machine and is currently at level 79 and about 6 bars in towards 80. So expect a follow up post shortly.

I'll be working on the priest next. He's currently sitting at 77 and doesn't have far to go. I'll then be picking up the rogue, with all of his nice new engineering goodness, and driving him to the finish line.

After that, I've got about 5 or 6 gathering professions that I want to level across my various toons, and then I'll probably focus on gearing a toon or two. Haven't decided which one yet. For some reason, the answer that I get mostly commonly from my guild is to do the hunter. When did hunters become popular again?

So we'll see. I may work on gearing one through the dungeon finder and another one or two through PvP. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Initial Results on Rotation Leveling

So part of the thought on leveling these last four toons on a rotations basis was a bit of an experiment around whether maximizing the rested xp in this fashion would outweigh the inefficiency that's bound to arise from picking up toons and setting them back down every few days.

So with the mage just hitting 80, I've finally got some data to look at that I wanted to share. Interestingly enough, the mage will actually be the "purest" set of data that I've got to work with. Both the shammy and the priest spent some time as Auction House alts prior to me kicking off their leveling plans. The rogue is somewhat pure, but has been leveling engineering along the way which will add a few hours to his time.

So interestingly enough, the initial set of data is not good for the rotational leveling plan. The mage finished at a played time of 6 days, 6 hours and 22 minutes. This compares to the paladin, which I leveled straight through at a time of 6 days, 4 hours and 33 minutes. Interestingly enough, even aside from what I had hoped were the benefits of rotating leveling to maximize rested xp, I expected the mage to do slightly better than the paladin for two primary reasons - never having to wait for a zeppelin because of teleports and being able to make your own food and water on the run.

So, score one for the benefits of leveling straight through!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ding! Level 80 #6

Woo hoo! Hit 80 on the mage just a little while ago! Now off to the shammy!

I will likely work on gearing up the mage for PvE as soon as I hit my goals on the other toons. This toon just continued to be tremendous fun and do really crazy dps, so I'm very anxious to see how it does in heroics. But, for some reason I'm in a big hurry to get the rest of these toons to 80, so she'll have to wait for a while.

I've also managed to get my inscription basically maxed on my shammy, so now it's just engineering that I need to finish up, and it's currently at 395. Just waiting for some reasonably priced Cobalt.

I switched back to Enhancement on the shammy. Was getting tired of the caster thing, so thought it would be fun to go up and smash things in the face for a little while. I might switch back again at 75 once I get Lava Burst. Enhancement takes a lot longer to kill things, but seems to be a lot more survivable with less downtime.

The added length of time that it takes to burn things down I would think would drop the xp per hour, but we'll have to see.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stay on Target

I just realized that this is my 100th blog post. I don't know whether to celebrate or be really afraid. That's a lot of posts about what most would consider a pretty mundane topic of leveling.

This past week has really been about the rogue and the shadow priest. We took a bit of a long weekend this past weekend so that slowed my leveling a bit, although my numbers for the month are still holding up pretty well. I managed to get the rogue to level 71 before switching to the shadow priest.

The rogue continues to be the most challenging of these remaining four toons in terms of overall survivability and leveling speed. I guess part of the issue is that the mage, priest and shammy either take no damage at all or have self healing abilities. The new Recuperate ability being given to rogues in Cataclysm will be a huge boon for leveling rogues.

As I work on finishing him off, I may switch to leveling him in battlegrounds. I have found that particularly in the 70's, if it is a Call to Arms weekend, the xp per hour from doing the Call to Arms battleground is usually slightly higher than what you get from pure questing. And if you're in a battlegroup where your faction dominates so that your win ratio is well over 50/50, it should be as much as 10-20% higher than questing.

After getting the rogue to 71, I then switched to the Shadow Priest and managed to get him to level 77. I've tried doing some battlegrounds on him as well. I've tried as both shadow and discipline. While I've heard great things about Discipline for PvP, I'm not finding it to be as much fun as I thought it would be. It's possible though that it's because I'm geared more for Shadow, so I'm running out of mana way to fast. Something about just bubbling everything in sight that just isn't all that personally satisfying.

I have been really pleasantly surprised by how good the shadow priest's dps has been in instances, though. And that was even before picking up Mind Sear at 75. But it still is substantially less xp per hour, so I'm really just doing one a day to get the Triumph emblems.

So we're still on Target for early September. Current forecast is for September 7th, and I've been knocking out 0.94 levels per day so far in August. I'll be switching back to mage once my realm comes back up from its extended 24 hour maintenance on Wednesday and I likely won't stop until I hit 80 on the mage!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So Close I Can Taste It!

So after my entry last week, I picked up the mage and really powered through a lot of the Northrend content. The mage continues to be an absolute beast with frost spec for leveling. In addition, I also picked up dual spec and added an arcane spec to give that a whirl in instances.

Tremendous fun overall. So far, it's not an enormous increase in my overall dps in instances though. I do a lot more dps on boss fights, but my AoE damage is lower because I lose all of those awesomesauce buffs to blizzard that comes with my frost spec. So overall, it's a tie. But Arcane is just so much fun. Missile Barrage is one of my new favorite things in the world!

I managed to get the mage all the way to level 76. She's basically done with Dragonblight and headed for Grizzly Hills.

After the mage, I went back to the shammy, determined to give my new elemental spec a try. While it's not nearly as much overall fun as enhancement, I have to say that the mobs are dying a lot faster and I actually have less mana issues with elemental than I do with enhancement. Clearcasting rocks! The only downside is I don't have Lava Burst yet, so my lightning bolt finger is getting a little tired. I miss my wolves a little bit, but my fire elemental and earth elementals have agreed to bark at me once in a while to try to make me feel better.

So, I think I'll be sticking with elemental for the duration.

I'll be moving on to the rogue next and see how far I can get him for the rest of this week. So here's where we stand now:

Joara - Frost Mage - level 76
Joarvyk - Shadow Priest - level 74
Joarbek - Whatever Shammy - level 72
Joarstab - Combat Rogue - level 68.

Soooo close....

Monday, August 2, 2010

July Leveling Update

So with July behind me, there will likely only be one more of these updates before I hit my goal of 9 level 80's before Cataclysm.

The release of the beta in early July clearly took its toll on my leveling progress. I managed to gain exactly 27 levels during the month of July, or approximately 0.87 levels per day. This brought my average for the year down to around 1.1 but even at that pace, I'm still predicting to hit my goal in early September!

Last week I switched to the Shadow Priest at one point and managed to get him into Dragonblight at level 74. He continues to be an excellent leveling toon. It was also an Alterac Valley weekend this past weekend on my server, so I took advantage to add a little spice to my leveling mix. From what I have found in the past, particularly if it is the holiday battleground, it is very possible to maintain xp per hour levels in excess of 500K doing Alterac Valley (and that's with a 50/50 win loss mix). The priest is fun in battlegrounds as both shadow and disc so I did a little bit of both.

I'll be picking up the mage starting today, and we'll see if we can drive her a little further past the priest before Thursday or so. Then it will be off to the Shaman starting on Friday or so.

So here is where we stand:

Joarvyk - Shadow Priest - level 74
Joara - Frost Mage - level 71
Joarbek - Elemental Shaman - level 68
Joarstab - Combat Rogue - level 68

I've also gotten some questions in early posts about my professions and suggesting that one task after I hit this goal might be maxing out all my professions. It dawned on me that I actually haven't mentioned it much here, but I've actually been doing that all along. I have two crafting professions left to have all of them maxed out across my various toons. Those two remaining are inscription and engineering and they are currently being leveled by my shaman and rogue respectively. Both are at level 350 and ready to be leveled through Northrend (oh - and I've already got the mats to finish both off).

I've also laid out gathering professions between all my toons so that I've got two gathering slots feeding each crafting slot (or at least I will once the warrior gets leveled).

So here is the profession mix:

Warlock - Enchanting and Tailoring
Death Knight - Mining and Blacksmithing
Druid - Skinning and Leatherworking
Hunter - Herbalism and Alchemy
Paladin - Mining and Jewelcrafting
Mage - Skinning and Herbalism
Shaman - Herbalism and Inscription
Priest - Herbalism and Mining
Rogue - Mining and Engineering