Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Horde Side Reps Are Done, and a Change in Leveling Plans

So I'm fairly close to finishing toon #8.  Courtesy of the anniversary token, the mage has been going extremely quicly.  He's sitting at level 118 and should be done today or tomorrow, depending on how much time I spend on the world boss and on the post-Warfront quests and rares today.

Now that we're 14 years in, that anniversary token is a huge boon to leveling and rep grinding.

I also managed to get all of the reputations to exalted on Horde side earlier this week.

I'm getting pretty close on the alliance side as well, so hoping to knock that out before the next patch hits in a couple of weeks.

I've been thinking about switching up my leveling approach.  With only 3 zones to work through, things are already getting a bit old on the Horde side, and I'm only 7 toons in.  So I may start alternating leveling my Horde toons and alliance toons.

I only saw a small part of the storyline in Tirisgarde and Stormsong on the alliance side when I did the one toon there, so was thinking it would be fun to do more thorough play throughs in those zones.

I also saw that Warsong Battalion had returned to Emerald Dream, but on the alliance side, so it might be fun to turn on War Mode and do some World PvP for a bit as well.

That's it for now!



Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Level 120 #7 Complete

I finished leveling my demon hunter earlier today.  This one was the fastest one yet.  I think part of what drove that was the use of the anniversary xp bonus through a large part of the leveling process.  I was also basically just questing straight through zones rather than bouncing around.

Total time was just slightly over 13 hours, so that still seems to be the consistent standard for a straight leveling approach.

I'm now at the point where I'm not really trying to gear these guys after I get them to 120.  The world quest slog is just too frustrating, and I'm not really looking to have that many characters to run through the Warfront anyway. 

So I'll just wait for the eventual BOA catch up mechanism to hit to gear the rest of these guys up.

I'm either doing the monk or the mage next - haven't quite decided.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Level 120 #5 Complete and #6 Underway

I hit level 120 on the paladin last week.  As seems to be the case with my last few max level toons, there is no way he's going to get to the required item level in time to be able to do the Warfront this time around.  Oh well.

The gearing process is slow, at least the way I'm doing it (which is just looking for WQ upgrades every day), but not particularly time consuming, since it's usually just a matter of doing a WQ or two every day - or maybe the emissary if it looks like it will be an upgrade.  It's definitely not the fastest way to rise your ilvl, but it works for me.

I've now started working in earnest on the druid.  I'm leveling as balance, which I've enjoyed for the last few expansions (I was not a fan of leveling Boomkin in Cataclysm or MOP, but that seems to have changed starting with Warlords)

I was originally planning to do the monk after the druid, but I might change that up a bit.  Haven't decided yet.

Still not particularly close to being Exalted with all the factions.  I'm really not doing anything beside the daily emissary and there doesn't seem to be any great rush.  Should probably get there within the next couple of weeks either way.  I'm mainly interested in whether unlocking the Allied Race at Exalted on Horde side will also unlock it Alliance side. 

I keep hearing yes, but I'm doing the same daily emissary alliance side just in case that turns out not to be true.

That's about it for the updates.  I have a feeling, once I hit exalted on both Horde side and Alliance side, that  my leveling efforts will get a lot more focus.  This is different from Legion where there was all the Class Order Hall stuff and Class Mount stuff to be done across every toon.  There doesn't seem to be a similar issue with BfA.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Gearing Up Alts - Patiently Avoiding the Grind...Or Not

Battle for Azeroth has introduced an interesting dynamic with Warfronts,  With the new 320 item level cutoff for entering the warfront, there is some time pressure to get fresh 120's geared in time to be able to participate in the Warfront.  I hit 120 on my death knight in the early days of the warfront. 

For most of my 120's, my plan has been to do the weekly world boss, do the Arathi gear quest and otherwise look for world quest upgrades, and the item level seems to steadily creep up.  With the death knight having a limited amount of time and neither the Arathi world boss or gear quests available, I was trying to do it a little bit faster than normal.

I almost got there too.  But not quite.  Grabbing the cloak from the first faction to hit honored helps, but beyond that and the regular check for world quests, I ended up running a few dungeons to try to get myself over the hump.  Those were all generally good experiences, but the loot RNG gods were not kind, so I came up just short, finding myself at 317 when the Warfront ended.

Today, I'll be running all three max level Horde toons through the Arathi world boss and also doing the gear quest there hoping for some nice juicy upgrades.

The paladin finished up his first zone, and has moved on to Zulduzar.  So far the leveling process has been pretty smooth.  Some of the harder "you may need help" elite quests have required help, but that's probably why they say that (although they didn't on the warlock, hunter and death knight)

I also managed to get Pathfinder on Joar, so that piece is done until the next major patch.  I'm also close to having the War Campaign done on my alliance toon as well.



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Level 120 #4 Complete

I managed to hit 120 on the death knight yesterday.  I leveled mostly as frost, although found myself switching to blood for many of the harder elites.  That's probably my biggest frustration with death knight leveling the last few expansions, is that frost doesn't really tend to have as much survivability as I'd like until higher gear levels, but blood just tends to be a lot slower at killing things.

The leveling time for this guy was about an hour and a half longer than it was for the hunter, which is not unexpected.  The death knight came in at right at 15 hours played time, versus 13 hours and 50 minutes for the hunter.

The warfront also unlocked Horde-side yesterday, but I probably won't be able to get the death knight to 320 in time to take any meaningful advantage of it, so it'll mostly be an activity for the hunter.

Next up on the leveling front will be the paladin, which may very well have the same issues as the death knight (ret vs prot).  I tend to be a little more comfortable with ret while leveling though.

I only have Champions left to get to revered before finishing up all of the requirements for this initial stage of pathfinder, and I'm working through a similar path on the alliance side in order to finish up the war campaign there and be in a position to unlock both of the allied races there.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Level 120 #3 Done and the Warfront Shuffle

I managed to hit 120 on my third toon last Friday morning.  During Legion, it was mid-October before I had my third toon to max level, so this is pretty on pace with that.  This one came in more than 6 1/2 hours faster than the previous Horde toon, so that's probably a good approximation for the time savings if you don't putter around and read all the quest text, etc.

So now I'm working on running all three toons through the daily emissaries.  I want to see the full War Campaign on the alliance toon, and my plan is always to run the emissaries on somewhere around 5 Horde toons.

So far, gearing up via world quests has been working out just fine.  I managed to get world quests weapon rewards on both hunters, and I've had pretty decent lucks with World Bosses.

I probably shouldn't have used the phrase Warfront Shuffle in the title of this post, because it probably gives the impression I'm talking about some kind of gold-making plan.  I'm just referring to the weird weekly back and forth cycle of the Warfront and the different types of awards available at each stage.

I've found the world bosses to be pretty rewarding and a few of the quests to be definitely worth running.  By the time my main got around to doing Warfronts, the gear upgrades from every run weren't necessarily worth doing it too many times.  I think that math may work differently for my alliance hunter once the cycle comes back around.

The regular quest to kill 20X mobs that rewards an equipment cache has also been really worthwhile.

I haven't gotten anything interesting off any of the rares at this point, but I haven't really done any aggressive farming of them either.

Up next in the leveling cycle is my death knight.  I'm going to at least start trying to level him as frost, but I usually end up switching to blood at some point.  We'll see if I can hold out as frost the whole way this time.



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Level 120 #2 done - First Alliance Toon to Max Level

I managed to finish getting my alliance hunter to max level yesterday.  His total played time was 18 hours, which was about 2 1/2 hours faster than my warlock.  Because the alliance zones were all new to me, I was still basically reading all the quest text, so I was surprised it was that much faster.

I played Beast Mastery the entire way.  Interestingly enough, even though it appears to be one of the strongest specs at end game right now, it didn't feel as strong to me while leveling as Marksmanship does. 

The other thing that I realized as I've been working Joar through the various end game content is that I'm really going to want to see the War Campaign alliance side as well, which means I'll be doing the WQ rep grind on this alliance toon as well.  Not really what I planned, but I suppose that's fine.  I'm guessing I'll be mostly through it before I get to that point with the fifth Horde toon anyway.

My Horde hunter is sitting at level 118 and working his way through Nazmir.  That's an interesting zone for me this expansion because it combines some of my favorite questlines with some of my least favorite of the expansion.

One thing that has also become clear is that once the eventual leveling nerfs hit later on, it will very likely be possible to go completely from 110-120 entirely in a single zone.  For me, that will be AWESOME!  because it means I'll be able to rotate the crew among 6 different leveling plans.

Also tried the Warfront on Joar.  It's a fun and interesting thing.  I'm looking forward trying it on the alliance side as soon as the Horde loses it again.  It's at least a good way to get a few decent gear upgrades for new 120's which will be a nice way to get them started and make world quests a little bit easier.

So the plan till this time next week is keep working through emissaries and stuff on the two max level toons, give the first wing of LFR a try and continue to leverage Warfronts as they're live for gear upgrades on new max level toons.  We'll try to get the Horde hunter to 120 and get him in the WQ groove and then start on leveling the death knight.

Still not sure if the plan is going to be Frost or Blood for the DK, but we'll have to see what Frost's survivability feels like.



Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Leveling Alliance

I'm now most of the way through two zones as Alliance, having finished Drustvar and being through all but one main storyline segment of Tirisgarde.  Like the Horde-side, I find the alliance zones to be really well done from a content and story-line standpoint.  The entire zone seems to hold together very well in a single coherent narrative that works really well.   I feel like there are a LOT more side quests on the alliance side than there are Horde side, but that is probably just a matter of perception and not actual reality.

My alliance hunter is sitting at 117 and my Horde hunter is at 113.  It'll probably be next week before I finish them both up.

Gearing up and running world quests and emissaries continues to go well for Joar.  I'm not Revered with anyone yet, but there's not really a hurry.  I unlocked another section of the War Campaign that I really enjoyed the story on.  For this particular section, it actually really helped if you had read Christie Golden's book, Before the Storm.  I really don't want to put the work in, but I feel like I should probably run the War Campaign on at least one character alliance side as well.  

I've been doing Island Expeditions to try to unlock the next piece of War Campaign research.  I'm looking forward to all of the Arathi Highland stuff unlocking for Horde next week.  Made a bit more progress on the profession front as well.

Beyond all of that, it's been mostly hanging out at the cash register at the Krusty Krab.

Yes, I'm wearing a Loremaster tabard.  Don't judge me.  I worked a long time for that.

That's a pre-Cataclysm Loremaster tabard...



Tuesday, August 28, 2018

First Level 120 Done. Alliance Character Underway

I managed to get my main to 120 a week ago today.  In general, I've found the leveling process in Battle for Azeroth so far to be totally enjoyable.  The stories are engaging and the zones are well thought out.  There are plenty of side quests to add flavor and keep things interesting and also provide the opportunity to mix up the leveling paths a bit.

My total time to 120 for Joar, who is almost always my first toon out of the gate, was 20 hours and 27 minutes.  Note that for my first toon, I'm always reading all the quest text, and exploring and so it is never an attempt at a fast pace to max level.  That being said, this was my fastest time for the first toon leveling since I've been tracking it, which started with Cataclysm.  My previous shortest had actually been Warlords of Draenor which clocked in at 24 hours and 30 minutes.  The longest was actually Cataclysm which I started with my paladin on and took a whopping 35 hours (which may explain why I've never started with the paladin again!)

I've managed to unlock world quests, finish up the Quest and Explorer achievement for both zones and am grinding out daily emissaries to keep unlocking portions of the War Campaign and the remaining Pathfinder achievements.  Gearing up has been relatively slow, just like it always is at the start of an expansion.  I'm geared enough for heroics now, so that should help, although I'm only doing one or two a day.

I wish there were more...or any, really...weapons available from world quests because that would definitely help my gearing process.

For my second toon, I decided to break with tradition and go with one of my alliance toons, so my Night Elf Hunter has started the journey through Drustvar.  I want to maintain some momentum on the Horde side so I think what I'm going to do is finish one zone on the Alliance hunter, then do one on the Horde hunter...etc etc until all three are done.

My plan will continue to be to focus on gearing and world quests on the main 5 Horde toons - warlock hunter, death knight, paladin and druid.

I've also started working on professions on Joar, although not making much progress there.  I've gotten a few points out of the way in both enchanting and tailoring, although I have a long ways to go on both.  It looks like there are a decent number of recipes locked behind reputation, so that'll hold those up a bit.



Friday, August 10, 2018

Preparing for Battle for Azeroth - Altoholic Edition

So the Joar army is preparing to embark on the Battle for Azeroth next week (didn't we just battle for Azeroth?)  and preparations are under way.  It looks like I will finish up one short on the paragon mount grind, having gotten only 2 of the 3 Army of the Light mounts, but all the rest.  I consider that a raving success!

So here are the steps that I've taken as part of my preparation:

  • Re-sort character screens into planned leveling order (see previous blog post for planned order)
  • Clear quest logs (it feels odd deleting all the Legion profession quests, but I really don't need them)
  • Clean out bags - legendaries to void storage, artifacts to bank, everything else either sell or bank - basically all my Legion cloth I'm selling now but ore and herbs I'm banking for sale later on.  Enchanting mats are getting sold now.
  • Bandages are a thing of the past, so we won't be stocking up on those.  I also usually wait to buy food until the new zones because you can usually get better food in the new areas.
  • Record current /played time for each character to use for tracking time to level 110-120 (this is kind of interesting in that I have some that are as little as 10 hours for new demon hunters that were leveling only, to some that are over 100 days.
  • Record starting current gold level on each server / faction (okay, this is a weird thing that I do where I like to track how much gold I make on each expansion - totally not something that normal people would need to bother with). 
  • The first five toons that I will level are already fully gemmed and enchanted as a matter of normal course.  Everyone else will wait for new enchants and gems.
  • Get everyone to Dalaran.
Once the expansion launches, I'll actually log in to every single toon to get their rested xp building as well so they've got full bars once I start, for everyone but toon #1!

So that's it for preparation.

Legion seems to have been a decent leveling success.  I managed to get 5 more toons all the way from start to max level bringing me to a grand total of 33.  I've continued the practice of the last few expansions of having a core set of 5 toons that ran most of the current content.  And from there, we'll see what Battle for Azeroth brings! 



Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thoughts on 8.0 and the War of the Thorns

Even though it's already been out for almost a week, I really haven't had much play time on 8.0 and War of the Thorns so far.  I've redone the talents on the 5 characters that I play the most and have done some general world questing on them.  I also have done the War of the Thorns quest line so far on both a Horde toon and an Alliance toons.

So first the overall structure and class thoughts.  For me, my three primary classes are warlock, hunter, death knight, paladin and druid.  All of those still feel fine from a play style to me.  Affliction feels a little wonky, but not as bad as it seemed on the Alpha and Beta.  That being said, I'm still debating switching Joar to Destruction for the start of BfA.  On the alliance side, I've been playing Demonology lock, and that's been a lot of fun.  No clue how it would play in a raid setting, but it's fine for my normal questing stuff.

Death Knight and Paladin don't seem to have changed at all.  My balance druid feels a little different without the ability to drop a giant moon on someone and I seem to be much slower at generating Astral Power, but overall, he still functions fine.

On the story so far, a lot of good stuff has been written about some folks' level of discomfort with what Sylvanas is doing and the new direction of the Horde.  I'll caveat this that I have not read the current Christie Golden intro book, so I don't necessarily know all of the background for the story.  In some ways, it doesn't feel wildly different from the Horde under Garrosh.  Sylvanas has always demonstrated a willingness to take things just a little bit too far and clearly operates with the interests of the Forsaken ahead of those of the Horde as a whole.

One of the pieces that I do like is being back to feeling more like a foot soldier doing my part rather than the Epic Grandmaster Savior of the Universe.   That is a welcome change.

I'm anxious to see the rest of the quest line play out. 

In the meantime, I'm trying to decide if there's any real value in gearing up some of my "further down the list" max level alts - take level 110 #24 for example.  I'm guessing by the time I start leveling them in BfA, that heirlooms for leveling will likely be unlocked, so gearing them up now could turn out to be pointless.  But, it's also something to do that isn't leveling toon #34 or grinding out paragon chests.  So maybe it should just still be a thing.



Horde Side Reps Are Done, and a Change in Leveling Plans

So I'm fairly close to finishing toon #8.  Courtesy of the anniversary token, the mage has been going extremely quicly.  He's sittin...