Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Delay

So my leveling progress has slowed down a bit as I've been a bit distracted by the holidays. We've been out of town visiting family, so my game time has been limited to after bed time and sometimes during naps. My wife has also been using my laptop for her work during some of those times, so I'm experiencing some serious withdrawal.

I have managed to get the warlock to level 84, and just a few bars from 85. Leveling a warlock as affliction has been, without a doubt, the easiest Cataclysm leveling experience so far. I've also had the chance to run a few instances, where the combination of decent dps and a lot of different crowd control options have made them pretty smooth runs.

Not sure what my leveling time on the warlock will be just yet. I have been leveling both tailoring and enchanting as I've been going, so that likely will have taken some extra time. I'm no where close to max on either one, but I've got plenty of time, and seven more toons worth of leveling to provide the mats. I'm guessing it will come out somewhere between the paladin and the druid.

I should hit 85 in the next day or two, and over this weekend, I plan to finish gearing up my druid for heroics and get a few runs in on him. I think I may switch up my leveling plans just a bit and go with the hunter next instead of the shammy. I just need to get him to Uldum so I can start porting there rather than flying to do his alchemy transmutes.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Level 85 #2 - Boomkin!

I managed to get my second character to level 85 yesterday evening. It's an interesting read on how much it slows things down to start leveling on launch day. My total played time to 85 for my first toon, the paladin, was 35 hours. The total played time to 85 for the druid was 25 hours.

Now I think there were several factors at work here:

  • First, the obvious delays caused by competing for mobs and quest objectives around launch day.
  • Second, I leveled mining simultaneously on the paladin and did not move on to Deepholm until I had gotten my mining high enough to mine Elementium. This added probably about an hour to my leveling time, possibly more, as I spent time just searching for nodes which were being heavily camped in the first few days. I leveled skinning on the druid, which is much faster and easier.
  • The first time through, I always tend to read the quest text and just enjoy the lore parts of it more.
  • Sometime mid way through the process of leveling my first toon, my guild received the xp boost perk. That boost was in place for the entirety of leveling my druid.
When I leveled the druid to 80 initially, I leveled him as feral, but this time, I did the trip to 85 as a boomkin, since I was already rocking decent caster gear from my resto set. It was definitely an easier way to level for me, but I think I'm basically a caster at heart. Towards the end, I was getting Starsurge crits of around 40K, which really encourages those Twilight Highlands mobs to die much faster!

The new eclipse mechanic is also extremely easy to use and figure out. Just follow the bar back and forth and switch between Wrath and Starfire depending on which way you're heading on the bar. Mobs died very very quickly for me.

So, next I'm off to level the warlock. My plan is to at least start him off as affliction. Given how hard the mobs hit, I really think the self-healing abilities that come with affliction will boost my leveling speed nicely. While huge Conflagrate and Chaos Bolt crits that go with destruction are fun to watch, they'll tend to pull aggro off my voidwalker and just cause me trouble in the long run. So we'll see how it goes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ding! Level 85 #1

I managed to hit level 85 on my Paladin over the weekend. Total played time to 85 was about 35 hours, but that included time to level my mining. Also, the first time through, I spent a lot of time just reading the quest descriptions and enjoying the lore.

After finishing with my Paladin, I started on the Druid next, and have managed to get him to 82.

I started the Paladin in Mt. Hyjal and have been starting the Druid in Vash'jir. On the Paladin, particularly with Mt. Hyjal and Deepholm, I finished the zone before moving on to the next zone. Given that quest XP increases significantly from zone to zone, I don't think that's the most efficient way to do it. So as soon as you hit 82, you should really move straight to Deepholm, at 83 head to Uldum and at 84 head to Twilight Highlands. There are more than enough quests in each zone to be sure you get to the next level.

The other things that slowed me down on the Paladin is that I was also working on putting together a holy set while leveling, which took a lot of time to evaluate gear drops. I will likely have some of the same issues on the druid.

I've tried healing quite a few of the instances on my Paladin and have had pretty decent success so far. It was pretty hard at first, but figured out a few tricks that have helped a lot.

  1. Beacon the tank so that you're getting the extra holy power from Tower of Radiance.
  2. Use Holy Light - particularly if someone doesn't need a lot of healing. Use holy shock on others in the group to top them off when needed.
  3. Light of Dawn or Word of Glory at 3 stacks depending on how much damage the group has taken.
  4. Don't use Divine Light unless you get an Infusion proc.
  5. Judge whenever you can. The mana return becomes really important.
  6. Use your cooldowns - your guardian, hands, avenging wrath, etc. can make an enormous difference - particularly on boss fights.
I've been thinking about working on the warlock for a little bit just because I'm getting a little bit tired of watching out for two sets of gear. Although I will admit, Starsurge on the Boomkin is crazy fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kudos on Darkshore

So as I mentioned earlier, with my Horde toons pretty much ready for Cataclysm, I've been working on leveling a couple of Alliance toons a bit. This week, I've been mostly focused on my Night Elf Hunter, and have gotten him to level 25. As part of that progression, he quested through Darkshore.

I may have done that once before on various Alliance toons that I've tinkered with in the past, but it hasn't been very recently. The questing experience there is really fantastic though. Without giving anything away, you get very involved in the Lore around the Cataclysm itself including helping Malfurion Stormrage directly with some quests.

You also get a couple of really nice blue quest rewards. Overall, so far, I'm really impressed with what Blizzard has done with the early questing experience. Making travel easier with more flight paths and some "nightsaber shuttle" options has also made the zone a lot easier for a player operating "pre-mount."

I've now moved onto Ashenvale with this toon and don't expect to get much further before Cataclysm. I was somewhat surprised to also discover that you can't use glyphs now until level 25. Not sure I remember seeing that in patch notes anywhere. Of course, glyphs have gotten so expensive on some servers now with the essential unavailability of the ink trader, that they're really not affordable unless you have an existing 80 sugar daddy supporting you. If we're talking first character, I could see you very easily getting into your 60's or 70's before being able to afford glyphs - particularly if you plan to buy flying skill right away at 60.

So, I'll be parking the paladin in Blackrock Mountain on Monday to pick up the entrance to Blackrock Caverns and will then start my leveling right away on Tuesday. Until then - more Alliance fun!