Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Leveling Results

So my flirtation with more PvP on my existing Horde level 85's has slowed down my leveling quite a bit, but I still had a pretty good month of July.  I managed to gain 59 levels, or just slightly under 2 levels per day, which is still well in excess of my long-term average.  If I can keep that pace up, we'll say that'll give me approximately 100 more levels before MoP drops and these poor guys get put on hold behind the existing (by then 12) 85's and likely a Panda Monk.  At that rate, though, all of my remaining 8 toons should be somewhere in the 40's, which seems like a pretty good place to leave them.

So here is where we stand today:

Hunter - 78
Druid - 31
Mage - 31
Paladin - 32
Priest - 30
Rogue - 32
Shaman - 30
Warlock - 35
Warrior - 30

I've also been doing a fair amount of PvP on my existing level 80's.  I'm amazed how the trends seem to ebb and flow over the course of the weeks.  There will be days where the Horde seems to go on a huge run, and then a period of days where the alliance seems to be downright invincible.

I'm sitting just a little under 70,000 honorable kills across all of my characters and finally managed to get that 9th character over the 1,000 HK mark, so now it's just my warrior sitting underneath that level, and he's at 622. 

I've also started to debate my leveling order for MoP.  Unlike Cata, where I had my Paladin and Druid go first, I think I'm going to give the honor of going first to the original Joar.  While he's not always the toon that I play the most, or raid the most consistently with, he is the one that I think of as my main.

Here's the order I'm debating at the moment:

Joar - Warlock
Joardk - Death Knight
Joarvyk - Shadow Priest
Joarshot - Hunter
Joaridan - Paladin
Joarwyn - Druid
Joarbek - Shaman
Joarnak - Mage
Joarstab - Rogue
Joarmama - Warrior
Joartobenamed - Panda Monk
Melric - DK
Melpar - Hunter

The downside of this approach is that it puts my jewelcrafter (paladin) and inscriptionist (shaman) pretty late in the process, so I may move them up a bit.

I'll also be very interested in what the leveling times are to 90.  For the 9 characters that I leveled immediately after Cata launched, the total time ranged from a high of 35 hours for my paladin - who was the first toon out of the gate at launch (and thus competing for quest mobs, etc.) to the fastest time of 21 hours, 28 minutes, which went to the shadow priest.  The average seemed to be around 23-24 hours for each toon.  I'll be tracking it closely for all 12 to see where it comes out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PvP and Leveling Update

I ended up doing a fair amount of PvP over the weekend, and have now finished equipping my shadow priest in full Ruthless - my second character to hit that mark after my warlock.  I've also made decent progress on my rogue and have been toying with quite a few of my other characters including my boomkin, my hunter, my shaman and my mage.  The group as a whole is closing in on the 70,000 Honorable Kills mark, sitting at 68,508 at the moment.  My rogue also passed the 5,000 HK's mark, my sixth toon to do so.  The paladin would be the next closest at 3,875, so I may actually change focus and work on him a bit next.

From a leveling standpoint, I've almost completed a full pass through the alliance army again.  My hunter is almost done with Northrend and ready to move on to the Cataclysm zones and most of the rest of the characters have passed that magic level 30. 

Here is where everyone sits at the moment:

Hunter - level 78
Druid - level 31
Mage - level 31
Paladin - level 32
Priest - level 30
Rogue - level 30
Shaman - level 30
Warlock - level 33
Warrior - level 30

It is really looking like July is going to finish up as a big month in terms of total levels gained, as I'm sitting at 55 total at the moment with about a week to go.

Is Regular Dragon Soul Now Easier Than LFR?

So of all the strange developments, I managed to get the Destroyer's End title this weekend on my shadow priest - not either of the characters that I typically raid with (my warlock or my death knight).  I went along with my son's guild, filling in for a missing dps.  And we facerolled the entire thing.

His guild has cleared Dragon Soul in it's entirety several times, but has not yet gotten any hard mode bosses down, so this is not a cutting edge, progression guild that was carrying me through.  I was really amazed by how easily everything went down.  We wiped once on gunship and that was it for wipes for the evening.  And we really only wiped on gunship because the dps took the drakes down too fast.

Having run a lot of LFR over the last few weeks to get those last few pieces of tier gear on various toons (so I can have the pleasure of replacing them with quest rewards within the first zone of MoP), I know that LFR is not getting any easier.  There is more general griefing and folks intentionally causing problems in LFR than I've ever seen, so getting all the way through LFR can take several hours usually through a number of wipes.

This full clear took less than two hours, and with a group that was not particularly well geared.  We only had two healers for the entire thing, and were using two death knight tanks, neither of which even had their four piece LFR sets.  And yet, we had one of those undergeared death knights successfully one tank Madness and several of the other bosses, with a 381 equipped average item level and a Pit Lord's Destroyer for weapon.  And it was easy.

Now I'm not saying this was a bad thing.  I had more fun doing that raid than I have in weeks in LFR, but it did raise the question in my mind of was that the right thing for Blizzard to do?  Other than the auto-queue, it now seems like it is easier to get 397 level gear than it is to get 384 level gear.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Continue or Not?

So the more I mess around on the beta, the more I think it might be more fun to put the Alliance army on hold until after 5.0 drops.  It seems like leveling, particularly for a class like warlock, could be a lot more enjoyable once the changes to basic talents and mechanics are in place for MoP.  So I may switch my one toon at a time approach for now and just focus on getting the hunter through those last nine levels.

At this point, the alliance army has managed to gain at total of 38 levels so far at this point in July, so things are moving along really nicely.  Switching from dungeon finder to questing has made a big difference as well as I seem to be able to get three levels out of a full set of rested xp instead of just the two that I was getting from dungeon finder - the difference being the xp from the quest turn ins.

I'm still not sure that the quested approach is actually faster, although it seems to still be moving at a decent pace for the levels gains.  Unfortunately, xp per hour tends to fluctuate way too much at lower levels to be able to get a decent read on what the true differences are.

Friday, July 13, 2012

5th Character with 5,000 HK's

So I hit an interesting milestone yesterday.  My shadow priest got the achievement for 5,000 honorable kills.  Looking back, that's actually my 5th level 85 character to hit that amount.  While that's not a ton compared to a lot of the folks out there that rack up enormous numbers of honorable kills, I'm still pretty proud of what that represents.

My warlock is of course, pretty far out in front of the rest of the pack, sitting at over 28,000 honorable kills, which is still not a particularly enormous number.  Across all 10 of my level 85's, I'm currently sitting at a total of 66,498, which is a little bit more impressive.

I may work a little bit on my rogue next who is the next closes to the 5K mark, at 4,216.  Interestingly enough, both my warrior and my shaman are both under 1,000, and I wouldn't mind getting them both into 4 digit territory before MoP drops.

My shadow priest has two pieces of gear left to go before he's in full Ruthless (accompanying my warlock in that regard), so will likely finish that out before I focus on any other toons.

Here's the exact numbers as of yesterday:

Warlock - 28,005
Druid - 8,247
Mage - 6,624
Death Knight - 6,332
Priest - 5,021
Rogue - 4,216
Paladin - 3,818
Hunter - 2,855
Shaman - 799
Warrior - 581

Total:  66,498

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Alliance Army Advances

So I have continued to steady advance of my army of 9 alliance toons that I'm attempting to level simultaneously.  I've also been messing around with making gold on my existing Horde contingent with pretty good success, and I've also been dabbling a bit in PvP on my priest, running a few LFR's on various toons, and working on finishing up Loremaster of Cataclysm on Joar.  I've only got about 20 quests to go in Uldum before that is done.

From a gold making standpoint, I've mostly been doing the Elementium Shuffle and  using that to keep a nice stock of gems and scrolls up on the auction house.  I've also gotten back into dabbling in glyphs a little bit, but have only a fairly small stock posted at any one point, because it tends to be a pretty active and competitive market on my server, so I'm not really interested in investing in a huge stock that I might not make a return on.

I've managed to get Joar about half way to 88 on the beta and am continuing to really enjoy the new dynamics of the demonology spec.  I've tried destro a little bit, but at least for leveling, it hasn't been quite as fun.  I've also completed both the Stormsnout Brewery and Jade Serpent instances and enjoyed both a great deal.  Interesting mechanics, but nothing that was too troubling for any of my groups.

On my army of alliance toons, I'm continuing to make really good progress.  I've found the low level dungeons to be a significant drain on leveling speed though, so I'm going to return to a primarily quested approach with a few dungeons thrown in for variety.  For the most part, the characters that I was leveling via dungeon finder are now 3-4 levels behind the toons that were mostly questing.  The exception to this would be the two classes that I was leveling as tanks that have significantly benefited from instant queue times and are keeping pace pretty nicely with the questing characters.

So here is the update:
Hunter - 76
Druid - 29
Shaman - 26
Priest - 26
Paladin - 29
Warrior - 25
Mage - 26
Warlock - 30
Rogue - 28

The other aspect to leveling via dungeon finder that wasn't working particularly well is it is almost impossible to simultaneously level professions that way as there just aren't enough nodes in any of the instances.  So I'll keep at it.  At the point that patch 5.0 drops, I'll likely switch to just focusing on one at a time, but in the meantime, the slow and steady advance of the large group has been pretty interesting.

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Leveling Update

So despite a week out of the country for vacation and several days with no game access for other reasons, June ended up being a pretty strong leveling update for the alliance army.

I managed to gain a total of 53 levels during the month of June and have made very strong progress in Northrend with my hunter.  I've also continued to level the druid, paladin, priest and shaman primarily through the dungeon finder.  I'm still not convinced that that is resulting in faster leveling, especially given the problems that are often encountered with dungeon finder groups.

I've also been getting back into PvP.  My alliance priest has been the main beneficiary of that resurgent interested.  I've found that the alliance dominance in PvP seems to have fallen off a bit of late, especially in my battlegroup.  I've had a much better win-loss ratio on my Horde characters over the last couple of weeks than on my alliance characters by a signfiicant margin, even though those characters aren't even close to as well geared as my shadow priest.

On the upside, it's added about 1,000 honorable kills to my total, bringing me up to almost 66,000 across all of my various Garrosh toons.