Thursday, December 31, 2009
Final 2009 Status
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
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
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 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
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
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
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??
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.
Monday, November 30, 2009
My initial reaction to that was that one level per day was ridiculously low - particularly at early levels, they can be knocked out in an hour or two. Even in the 70's, it rarely takes more than 4 hours or so. But then I realized that doesn't factor in vacations and other times you just can't play.
So, being a numbers guy, I went and pulled the data for my toons and looked at what my levels per day have been since I first started posting this blog back in June. 0.8. All of a sudden, that one level per day isn't looking so ridiculously low!
Now I have to caveat that by saying that I've been doing a lot more than just leveling alts during that time period - I've been doing some achievement whoring on my main, gearing up two new level 80's for both heroics and PvP (including a def cap heroic set for my DK). Maxing out professions on those new 80's and doing a lot of instance runs and a few raids on my main. Oh, and I also had about four weeks in there where I couldn't play at all either because of vacation or work related travel.
So now I'm wondering if I really focus on leveling, how high can I get that level per day number? We'll see. Based on my calculations for the 5 toons that I still have to get to 80 to reach my magic goal of 8, I've got a total of 223 levels remaining. So at a rate of one level per day, I'll have hit 80 on all of them in July of next year. There's a ton of prognosticating going on out there about when Cataclysm will be release, but mid-Summer seems as good a guess as any. And if it ends up being later, that'll give me time to max out professions on a few more of those toons and I can go ahead and power level that rogue if I've still go time. Or work on Loremaster on Joar.
I've done a little bit of leveling over the last few days, mainly on the priest, but also got a level or so on the mage, shaman and hunter. So here's where we sit with the non-level 80 toons right now (excluding my level 80 warlock, druid and death knight):
Tuvalu - Troll Hunter - level 69
Cador - Blood Elf Paladin - level 38
Mograwn - Tauren Shaman - level 27
Vindoria - Bloood Elf Mage - level 24
Zinjar - Troll Priest - level 19.
The Value of BoA pieces
Of the toons that I have remaining to level, the same BoA chest piece can only be optimally used on a maximum of two toons. Assuming an average leveling time now is around 8 days, or 192 hours, an additional 10% xp bonus should save me around 19 hours on each toon, or 38 hours total for each of the toons.
Doing the Argent Tournament dailies takes at most an hour and a half each day to finish and with 8 days worth left, that works out to 12 hours invested. The only remaining question is how long it would take to get the remaining three factions to Exalted. If I could do it in less than 26 hours, it seems like it would be worthwhile.
If I only had one toon that would be using the chest piece, the value becomes less clear.
After patch 3.3 drops, I think badges will actually be the preferred route for acquiring these items rather than Champion seals. If the average heroic conservatively takes an hour and drops an average of 4 badges, it should only take 10 hours to accumulate 40 badges, which should be less than the questing time it takes to accumulate 60 Champion Seals.
So my conclusion is that it's worthwhile to continue to work toward Crusader on Joar until patch 3.3 comes out because the time saved in leveling my mage and priest should more than offset the time invested on Joar. After that, I should be able to get by with just acquiring the plate BoA chest piece for my paladin and warrior and just have the the shaman use the leather piece that my druid used.
Monday, November 23, 2009
A Pilgrim's Progress
The stuff that I did get done was a lot of fun though!
Not much to report on the leveling front since I spent most of my playtime today working on the Pilgrim achievements and also using the holiday event to welfare level cooking on a few of my alts.
I actually don't feel too bad about the ease of leveling cooking using this event - because I did it the hard way from the very beginning on my main - and because as someone that is very involved in preparing my RL family's Thanksgiving meals, it is essentially a huge part of how I've "leveled" my personal cooking skill - so somehow it all makes sense to me.
The only thing missing from the holiday is some of the leftover booze from Brewfest to make spending time with those family members you haven't seen since last year a little bit more tolerable.
Oh, and for those of you with some Northern Spices stashed away, Tracker Snacks (helpful for the Turkinator achievement) have been going for an obscene amount on my servers Auction House (10g each). So farm up some quick Shoveltusk Flank in Howling Fjord, cook up some tracker snacks and watch the money roll.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Hunter to Northrend!
Also managed to get the Paladin to level 38.
Last, I decided to go ahead and start leveling a Rogue. While the plan was originally to wait for Cataclysm and level a Goblin Rogue, I've already got all the BoA gear from my Druid, so I figured, what the heck. So enter, Rukai, Undead Rogue. Currently level 8.
A quick side note - the name Rukai is from the guildmaster of the first guild I ever joined on my first toon. He's since transferred to a different server, so the name was available.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
If the toon that you're leveling is not a healer, you should definitely be leveling first aid skill while you're questing, so using cloth for first aid skills up should be your first priority.
For your first toon, any excess cloth other than linen (after first aid needs, if any), should be sent to a bank alt and stored. The reason that I suggest doing this is to use for reputation for your first level 80. One of the easiest way to speed leveling for later alts is to get the two BoA armor pieces for each subsequent alt - shoulders and chest. The shoulders are easily obtained by doing the Wintergrasp quests once a week (it will usually let you do them twice a week, actually, if you do them early enough on Tuesday or Wednesday). In order to get the BoA chest pieces, you're going to need the Crusader title, which means running about a month and a half worth of Argent Tournament dailies, but also being exalted with all of your factions home cities. And the easiest way to get to exalted, other than questing through each of the starter zones, is by doing the cloth turn in quests for each city. And that means wool, silk, mageweave and runecloth. So save it up, so that you're first level 80 can get to Crusader that much faster and equip all your later alts with BoA chest pieces for a nice 10% boost to xp.
After you've got one level 80 at Crusader, you could either work on getting a second level 80 there as well to make it that much easier to accumulate chest pieces for your alts, or barring that, I would just sell all excess cloth on the auction house.
Netherweave cloth and frostweave cloth can't be used for faction rep turn ins. If you've got a tailor and enchanter, I'd make Netherweave bags with all your excess Netherweave. Keep enough to stock out all your alts and bank slots and sell the rest. Frostweave can be used to craft gear which can be disenchanted, or can also be made into Frostweave bags, although these are significantly more expensive to make than the Netherweave variety.
Monday, November 16, 2009
The Only Professions to Get While Leveling
Skinning is a great gathering profession to pick up simply because it is so quick and easy to level. Simply hit the mouse one extra time to skin the beast that you just had to kill for some random quest anyway. The mail all that leather to your alt to sell. It does also give you a bonus to your critical strike rating, but that's not going to make a huge difference to you while leveling.
This one requires you to go a little more out of your way than skinning, but it's still easy enough to keep the tracker up and stop by and grab the herbs that you see. Plus, as you level it, it will give you a healing ability than can help immensely while leveling.
So why not mining, you ask. I think mining is a great gathering profession to have, but I wouldn't bother with it until you've got at least one or two characters to 80, and here's why - Thorium.
With the massive increases to leveling speed today, chances are pretty good that you'll never see any of the zones that contain a decent amount of Thorium. Winterspring, Silithius, the Plaguelands - most toons hit 58 and head for Outland before visiting any of those places - so it'll require you to go signfiicantly out of your way and spend a lot of time traveling around in places in order to get it leveled to 300. So, I'd skip it and come back later.
Once you start getting toons to 80, you can then start to pick up crafting professions on those toons, which will be much easier to quickly level with all that gold you made from your gathering professions while leveling.
Some of the professions that are particularly helpful to pick up on your first 80 for your leveling lowbies:
Enchanting - not so much for creating enchants for your leveling toons, but to disenchant all of those BoE greens which you pick up while questing. The mats tend to sell more easily on the auction house than the greens themselves.
Tailoring - bags baby. All your alts should be kept stocked with at least a full set of Netherweave bags. Plus, these become a great source of income with Netherweave cloth after your other toons start questing in Outland.
Alchemy - keep your lowbies stocked with pots and also for transmutes later on.
Jewelcrafting (thanks to Fish for pointing out that I initially forgot this) - Jewelcrafting can be a huge benefit while leveling alts. Keeping your alts well gemmed vastly increases the benefit from their gear and makes it serve much longer before you'll need an upgrade. Plus, the crafted rings and necklaces from jewelcrafting are far superior to what you typically find from drops along the way. And lastly, particularly when paired with a transmute spec'd alchemist, this can be an enormous money maker. Prospect blue gems from Saronite, transmute to epic gems, cut and sell. Rinse and repeat.
Also, I always recommend picking up both cooking and first aid (unless you're a healer - can still come in handy then, but not as needed). Cooking is fabulous for creating various buff food that will make leveling faster for you (more on this in a later post). First aid obviously helps with up time.
In terms of a leveling update, I wasn't playing much last week because I had the family in Disney for the week. Had a pretty productive weekend though. I was able to get my hunter to 66 and my paladin to 36. I also did a series of pug chain heroics on my resto druid that was an absolute blast and tanked my first successful heroic on my death knight - and Gundrak no less.
I did end up having an extremely productive WoW weekend though. I ended up chain running about 10 heroics with my resto druid without any problems at all. I'm still geared mostly in PvP stuff, but did manage to get enough badges for a new Emblem of Conquest neck piece and a new idol. Also got the
I also tanked my first heroic on my Death Knight. After looking for two weeks, I was finally able to find a Titanium Earthguard Chain on the Auction House, which was enough to get me defense capped for heroics. I ended up doing the daily, which was Gundrak. It ended up going fine. We had a few deaths, but mostly from some of the standard mistakes - standing too close to the Poison Nova - that type of stuff.
All the heroics that I ran on my tank and healer over the weekend were PUG's. Can you believe that? And they were great. I had one group that we did around 4 with that was a particularly good group. Their dps was frankly not particularly good and so the runs weren't as fast as they could have been - but it was still a lot of fun. It of course helped that I was healing and my son was tanking sitting right next to me, which made the communication easy - and pugging dps is pretty easy. It gives me hope for the new LFG tool in patch 3.3.
I also did a little bit of leveling on my alts. My hunter is now sitting at level 66 - only two more levels until Northrend! I played a little bit on almost all of the other alts, but didn't really seem to make any significant leveling progress on any of them - just tinkering around mostly.
I'm really struggling with what I want in a guild. The guild that my three level 80's are in is a top level raiding guild on our server. It's really very interesting being part of a guild like that, seeing how they work and how they think. I'm not a raider - but it's still interesting seeing how that whole part of the endgame works. Those folks are just so focused on maxing out every possible stat on their toons, they spend a lot of time and gold to do it and I feel like a learn a lot just watching them. Plus, it's just nice to sport that guild tag.
But I don't really end up doing much with the guild. They raid three nights a week at times that I can't ever make - and even if I could, they're down to doing just 25 man ToC hard modes, which I'm not even remotely geared for on any of my toons. They don't really do much in the way of heroics either because no one in the guild needs any badge gear anymore.
Also, the raiding guild that I'm in doesn't really have much in the way of altoholics in the guild. It's almost all level 80's, so I'd feel pretty out of place asking to have a bunch of lower level toons invited. I really feel like it would be good if I could find a guild that did some casual raiding, but also had a lot of lower level alts and leveling toons, but not sure if such a thing exists on my server. My old guild was like that before it disbanded and merged with another guild, but after deciding to not go with the merger, it would feel strange to go back there. It would just be really nice to have all of my toons in the same guild, so that I could do my alt leveling thing, but then when people were looking for folks to run heroics, I could do a quick toon hop.
Of course the other thing that I ask myself is why I don't focus exclusively on leveling. I enjoy running heroics, but I'm not sure why I'm doing it. I like getting new gear, just like anyone, but it's not like I need it. I'm not going to be raiding, so it's really not all the important for me to have those fancy pieces of T9 gear. And I can generally find groups to run instances while leveling just as easily as I can for heroics - and it continues my leveling progress while doing it. Plus, I think it would be really satisfying to have all 8 of my alts nicely planted at 80 before Cataclysm drops so I can run all of them to 85 and then level my shiny new Goblin warrior and Worgen rogue through all the new low level content.
Finally, I also decided to finish going for Crusader on my main. I just really want to get those BoA chest pieces for leveling my alts, and I'm really very close to having it - should just take about two more weeks.
I promise to stop whining about my "what game to I want to play" angst any day now.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
5 Man Love
In any case, running all those heroics did end up putting the alt leveling on the back burner for a little while. I also ran my son through two old classic instances - Uldaman and Maraudon, which was big fun. I love both of those instances.
My heroic spasm did manage to get me my first piece of T9 gear on my warlock as well as the second piece of T8 gear. Everyone keeps telling me that if I'd get off my ass and run some VoA every now and then I could have a lot more T9 gear, so I may spend some time on that over the next few weeks. Of course, I could also just wait for the next patch and go nuts on the new looking for dungeon feature. I figure, if you're completely insane about, you could accumulate as much as 140 or so badges in a single 12-14 hour day, which means you could outfit yourself in complete T9 in like...two days. So why bother with those annoying VoA pugs - no, no, no - you want to stop dps'ing the boss and kill the one he's charging or we're all going to die ...AGAIN...Oh, and I know this rule doesn't occur anywhere else in all of WoW, but if you're standing in fire...MOVE....yeah, I think I may wait for the patch.
Oh, and I also managed to help my son level up his hunter to max in Alchemy. So I provided all the mats to max it out in exchange for all the epic gems I want going forward. Hooray.
Even with all of that, I did manage to get my hunter up to level 63 - he's now having fun questing in Zangarmash and glad to be the hell out of Hellfire Peninsula. I also managed to get the paladin to level 33, but haven't really done much with any of my other toons. So, we'll see what the rest of this week brings! I really should push my priest those last 4 levels to 20 so at least all of my alts will have mounts!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Maybe I'm just meant to be a paladin.
I managed to get the Paladin from 28 to 32 yesterday. I also was able to get my hunter from 60 to 62. Will probably continue to work on the paladin this week. If I focus on the paladin, I'll probably switch his professions to herbalism and alchemy. My son finally maxed jewelcrafting on his death knight, so we desparately need a maxed alchemist in order to do some epic gem transmutes! He was working on it on his level 70 hunter, but if I wait for him, I might be doing Cataclysm gems before he gets around to it.
Probably easiest to drive the hunter those last 3 levels to 65 then just bang it out on him, but I'm having so much fun with the pally.
As near as I can tell, an elite mob for a pally is one that gets two-shotted instead of one-shotted. It probably helps that my max BS death knight is keeping my pally nicely equipped in gear, although I appear to be reaching a point where that's not going to work as well for the next few levels. So we'll see.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The Joy of Hardcore Leveling
If I can play in evenings, it's usually because I'm traveling for work, so I'm hooked up on my laptop, on hotel wireless somewhere - not really the best set up for raiding. And even when I try it, just subbing in at the end of a raid or something, the fact that I have trouble cracking 2K dps in ilvl 213+ gear just raises more eyebrows than it's worth. Can't really say - hey guys, I'm on Hampton Inn wireless and a laptop with no graphics card, so I'm driving 1000+ latency and about 3fps.
I really can't do arena's either for pretty much the same reason. What rogue? You have died..release spirit? I do love PvP, but even battlegrounds and Wintergrasp can be pretty frustrating.
So that brings me to the one thing that I can do, and something that I really enjoy, which is leveling different classes of toons. There is a certain satisfaction from dinging a new level, getting new spells and talents, or getting a nice quest reward. And I can seem to do pretty well in 5 mans, so that's all on the table while leveling. Again - not topping the chart, but I can pull my weight. So that's what I do. But boy, wouldn't I love to be hitting Anub or Twins on Hard Mode.
Interestingly enough, I belong to a fairly hard core raiding guild, the understands my situation and is just grateful that I'm more than happy to provide enchants, mats, etc. pretty much whenever and am more than happy to provide help to folks leveling different classes. And exchange, every now and then, I get brought into a raid so that I can see some of the newer content.
So tonight I'm working on my paladin. Was spending a bit of time late last week on the hunter, but skipped right from the Shaman to the Hunter, which I hadn't planned to do, so thoughts I'd go back and give the pally a little leveling love. He's sitting at 28 right now. The hunter I got to 61 before I switched back over.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Leveling as Frost and Other Updates
When I switched to my mage, after trying a fire spec for my last push of leveling to 20, I decided to switch back to frost. While I enjoyed killing the mobs a little faster as fire, if I pulled more than one, I was basically dead, so I made the switch back to frost. Definitely a huge improvement on leveling. And the addition of Evocation at level 20 has seriously reduced the need to drink repeatedly, which also helps. It's basically a frost bolt spam approach with the occasional Fire Blast build in for when they get close enough. Frostbite seems to proc often enough to keep the mobs from getting anywhere near me most of the time, and even if I do pull two or three mobs, it is easy enough to Frost Nova, sheep one, kill the other, bandage and then kill the sheep.
One thing I did discover - always a good idea to check to make sure there isn't some giant kodo standing right behind you before hitting Frost Nova - really seems to piss them off!
I was able to run my mage up to level 22 before again running out of rested xp and so I'll be switching to my shaman for a while, who is currently sitting at level 24. I do enjoy leveling with the Shaman. I'm leveling as enhancement, which seems to be the generally recommended approach. It's pretty easy and mana efficient - make sure you've got a shield up, pull with lightning, shock them when it's available and other than that, just pound 'em into the ground with your big two hander. The best shock spell to use seems to vary depending on what youv'e gotten most recently from the trainer - I like both Earth and Frost shock.
So, I'll see how far I can get the Shammy before running out of rested xp and switching to the Paladind, who is currently camped at level 28.
I have been debating this approach of doing a little bit on each toon. I think it is overall faster because it maximizes the use of rested xp, but it is a little less personally fulfilling because you don't see those huge increases in levels from week to week on any given toon. So the other possible approach would be to just start with my highest level non-80 and level them individually, in reverse order, starting with my level 60 hunter. I'm pretty sure I'd actually get more of my toons to 80 before the expansion that way, so I may yet change my approach. But in the meantime, I'm going to continue with this approach for the next week or so, just to see how it goes.
Oh, and I failed to mention on Tuesday that I did managed to get "the Hallowed" on my warlock main in about two days. No purple proto-drake for Joar though, as I don't have the Winter holiday, Elder or Children's week (because of my lack of PvP achievement for Children's week).
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
When Did Priests Become Fun?
So, I was messing around with him a little bit yesterday and was surprised by how much fun I was having. I managed to get him to 15 and half way to 16 in just an hour or two and really had a great time doing it. Had no problems at all on the Barrens quests - some of which have given me a great deal of trouble on other toons - particularly the one where you have to pick up the crossroads crates that are stuffed in an area with zillions of patrolling mobs.
I was very pleasantly surprised that even if I managed to pull 2 or 3 mobs, all it really meant is that I needed to reapply my shield once or twice, but as long as I kept everyone DoT'd up, they seemed to go down without me taking much if any damage at all. Never did actually have to pop a heal on myself. My spirit tap talents seemed to keep my mana replenished without me having to drink as much as I'd remembered from originally leveling this toon.
I was also thinking about going back and doing the Onyxia attunement quest line on my death knight. Ever since they dropped the attunement requirement to get into Onyxia's Lair, I can't imagine that too many people are still doing these quests, and I really enjoyed it lorewise. Plus, I can't imagine there are too many death knights that have actually done the thing, so thought that might be fun.
I went ahead and abandoned my experiment with leveling my mage as fire and re-re-respec'd her as frost again. So we'll see if she stays off the shelf with that new spec.
In other fun, I ran a 25 man Ulduar with a former guild of mine on Saturday. It reminded me why I don't really enjoy raiding all that much. All bosses that I had killed before that seemed much harder with this group for some reason and several wipes on Ignis and Kologarn - probably a combination of people not understanding the fights and people having had too much to drink by the time we got that far. So, three hours of effort and 70g or so in repair bills for less emblems of conquest than I could have gotten from a single heroic Nexus run. Oh yeah..that's why I don't raid much. I really enjoy coming in occasionally as a late sub with my guild, because they tend to plow through everything. I'm not really looking for loot (and they know that) unless absolutely no one else wants something or can't use it on their 14th off spec - I'm just happy to see the content, and they don't mind as much that I'm not top of the charts on dps because they understand that it's just not my thing.
Don't get me wrong, my dps is usually pretty respectable - at least 3K - but half the time if I can raid, I'm playing on a laptop on hotel wireless somewhere, so I'm somewhat hampered by my RL gear. I can usually do about 25-50% better from a dps standpoint on my desktop on a dedicated line at home - but that's an extremely rare occurence when I can raid that way.
I also spent a decent part of the weekend putting together a tanking set for my death knight. There seems to be a general lack of tanks to run heroics for my guild during the day, so I thought I'd gear up and spec out my death knight for the sole purpose of helping guildies do badge runs. I'm a Titanium Earthguard Ring and Necklace short of my optimal set, but hopefully someone will put one of each of those on the auction house soon!
That's about it for this week. Will likely continue messing with the priest for a few days until picking the mage back up. And I've been tinkering with the idea of knocking out all the Azeroth and Outland dungeons on my death knight just for fun.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I also managed to get my Shaman to 24. Still a really fun toon for me to play, although not sure if I'll ever end up leveling it all the way. I will at least make the push to 30 at some point in order to get the Air Totem quests and Windfury weapons and all that.
Also, after reading an article by Christian Belt over on WoW.com about leveling a mage, I dusted off my mage and made the push from 18 to 20. Basically, I wanted to get Blink, Blizzard and the Teleport abilities as well as a mount. A mage was actually the first toon I ever started on WoW and ended up quickly abandoning it because of how often and easily I seemed to die. I pick it up every now and then, and then it doesn't take long to remember why I abandoned it in the first place. So here's my leveling process - blast, drink, blast, drink, blast, drink....oops...pulled two mobs...corpse run. I've tried both fire and frost - I think frost is a little better in terms of survivability, at least at low levels, but not enough to keep this guy off the shelf. Oh, and I transferred this mage over to my normal server so she'd have company with all my other Horde toons, so Licious the mage is now Vindoria the mage. Can you believe the name Licious was already taken? Bummer.
I also got my warlock to Champion of Orgrimmar and started going back and working on starting area quests in order to get my rep to Exalted. These Argent Tournament dailies don't thrill me - but it'll be nice to be able to buy the BoA chest pieces for Champion Seals - I just have no interest in wasting regular badges on them.
And last but not least, I've also decided to pick my pally back up and start aggressively leveling him. I really enjoyed leveling the druid, but for some reason, he's just not doing it for me in the endgame. I really need to run a few more 5-mans on him and see how I like that. For PvP he's OK but switching into tree form is a lot like painting a big glowing target on yourself that says - hi - I'm squishy and I'm healing - please kill me now! I seem to be able to keep myself alive for a pretty long period of time if there's only one or two folks focused on me, but then I'm not really doing much to heal the rest of the battleground raid, so I end up feeling ineffective. But I'm guessing the druid will be a lot more fulfilling than a paladin for 5 man instance healing - although with the changes to Beacon of Light, I'm guessing that's a little bit more manageable on a paladin than it used to be. I also don't really have any professions that I'm looking to level on the paladin, so I'm somewhat interested in how quickly I could do it without worrying about professions. My final /played time on the druid ended up being right around 8 days, which I thought was pretty decent. I'm betting I can beat that on the paladin though.
So, if I finish the paladin, and then pick up the hunter (who, while doing a short stint in rehab following a faction change, is safely ensconced in Outland at level 60). That will leave me with a decision about whether to do rogue or warrior with a goblin once expansion hits. I'm leaning toward rogue. I think the mage and priest will likely remain on the shelf due to excessive squishiness and the shaman will be something I pick up every now and then to toy with.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Ding! 80 #3!
I also went ahead and moved my alliance hunter over to horde and over to the same server with all of my other Horde characters. I was quickly finding out that there wasn't enough of a difference in the quest lines between the two factions to make it worthwhile for me and the synergies to be obtained from having all my toons on the same faction / same server vastly outweighed the miniscule differences in lore.
I think rather than pushing to get the hunter to 80, I'm just going to put him into the leveling rotation with the rest of my toons. I may work on getting him to 65 fairly quickly simply because I want to be able to max him out on alchemy somewhat quickly in order to have the transmutes available. My son has managed to max out his Death Knight on Jewelcrafting - and did it all by farming / prospecting..didn't buy a single thing! I thought that was particularly impressive.
In other leveling news, I'm also working on getting Crusader for Joar. I've decided I want to save my badges for gear, so I'm going to use Champion seals to get the BoA chest pieces to help with my various toons leveling.
Finally, my paladin recently hit 27, my mage hit level 18 (what a disappointing list of new spells at 18... :-( ) and I'm planning to spend a little bit of time on the Shaman next.
Oh, and I've been working on accumulating a nice set of PvP gear for each of my level 80's, mostly by doing the Wintergrasp quests which are always a blast!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Still Not 80...
I'm also toying with the idea of picking up my Death Knight after I ding 80 on Branwyn and being a little bit more active with him. I was messing around with spec's and test dummies yesterday and was really surprised with the consistent level of dps I was able to maintain with fairly crappy gear. It would be a decent amount of work to go back and get the Sons of Hodir rep, but it might be worth doing. I've also been wanting to just go through and do a ton of the Classic and Outland dungeons on one of my 80's, and it just seems like that might be easier on the Death Knight than on the Warlock - who tends to be a bit on the squishy side for instance soloing.
My other choices were to finish leveling my alliance hunter - currently sitting at level 60, which would probably take at least 24 hours of play time to get to 80. Or to level a paladin, which would probably be slightly better than the Death Knight for what I'm looking to do, but my pally is only at level 26, so I'd be looking at a ton of time to get him to 80.
Either way, I will definitely be leveling both the hunter and paladin all the way to 80 eventually, but I may spend some time doing 5 mans on the Death Knight and grinding Sons of Hodir and Argent Tournament stuff in the mean time. I might try to get Oracle Rep on the Death Knight too. Never bothered with that on my warlock, and might be fun to try. Oh - and will still almost definitely spend time leveling my other toons as well!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Now it used to be the general consensus that AV was the way to go, but with yesterday's nerf, the experience gains have gotten to be a lot less and the waits to get in have gotten much longer.
So, I think I'm back to questing on Branwyn for those last two levels. After that, we'll see what the battlegrounds look like in the 80 bracket on my server. The lines seem longer than normal for my level 80 toons as well, so might be time for a server switch.
After getting Branwyn those last two levels, it will definitely be time to pick things up with my Alliance hunter and get him the rest of the way. I will likely try to work on the alliance hunter simultaneously with a few horde toons, just for fun.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Woo hoo blacksmithing!
I am definitely just going to level Branwyn another 5 levels through questing to 78 and then will outfit him in the crafted PvP gear and go from 78 to 80 through battlegrounds, just for fun. Unless I get further distracted, I think this weekend will be focused on getting Branwyn the rest of the way to 78 and hopefully get some battleground runs in.
So my big distraction has been blacksmithing. I finally managed to get Tormal essentially maxed. What do you mean by "essentially" - basically I'm at 440/450, which means I can make all the high level stuff that I want. As near as I can tell, there are no new recipes to pick up at 450. I've got everything...so I'm maxed, right? So I can finally make myself a Titansteel Destroyer and get rid of that rather pathetic De-Raged Waraxe I've been rolling with. And Branwyn will have his Titansteel Guardian all ready for him when he hits 80!
I also finally managed to get Joar those last couple of points in enchanting, so now he is legimately maxed at 450 - which does make a difference in enchanting since you can only do the stamina bracer enchant at 450...
Oh - and I continue to sneak over to my alliance hunter who recently hit level 60. There are enough differences between the Alliance and the Horde quests in Outland to keep me at least mildly interested.
Once Branwyn hits 80, I've got some decisions to make. I would like to finish leveling my hunter, although I'm increasing thinking of leaving him on the alliance side so I can continue to see all of that content. I would like to level a toon with herbalism and alchemy - which will come in very handy with my other profs for the transmutes - but can't decide between picking up the pally or the shaman. Seems like both would be fun. We'll see.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
There's Something You Don't See Every Day
Wow. Can't say I've ever seen anything quite like this. The guy was geared mostly in cloth and leather with a fairly random assortment of stats, including quite a few pieces of spellpower and mp5 gear - obviously essential stats for a death knight tank. ;-)
Needless to say, the run did not progress well from there, and we ended up calling it after a half dozen wipes on trash. A couple of us in the group tried to whisper the guy to ask if he wanted some suggestions on gearing a death knight tank, but apparently he was gearing based on how the pieces looked on his toon. To each his own!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Tormal has also made really good progress on his mining (which is now at 400) although not as good on Blacksmithing - because I refuse to pay 20g for a stack of mageweave cloth, which is what it is going for on my server these days. Yes - there's not much there, so folks can dramatically overcharge.
I know - this would be a huge opportunity to go farm mageweave and make some serious coin, but I'm just not that motivated! lol
The paladin spent the entire week on the shelf, so nothing to report there.
Joar now sits only needing 4 more badges for his new Wintergrasp pants, and also got into a pretty decent Ulduar 25 run with the guild, where we got Kologarn, Auriya and Hodir down before wiping a few times on Thorim and calling it quits (we only had 18 people still in the raid by the time we got to Thorim).
We also tried CC25 / Anub'arak on Sunday night with about 19 people as well before discovering we definitely needed a full raid for that beast!
All in all, a good WoW week. I'm debating putting Branwyn in pure Overcast gear once he hits 78 and just leveling the rest of the way to 80 in battlegrounds just to see what it is like. I also tried briefly leveling my priest (who is at level 14) in WSG, before deciding that the XP there is probably too low to make that very viable - better to switch at 20 when I can start doing AB's. I still like the idea of leveling the priest through BG's rather than questing, particularly since I can use Joar's tailoring skills to keep him geared.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Hey, It's September?
A couple of interesting developments this week on the character front. My druid has now finished up Hellfire Peninsula and is now questing comfortably through Zangarmash, which he finds much more appealing because of all the Cenarion influences around! He's level 64 now. The only new development at that level was Lifebloom, which he'll be using pretty extensively once I switch him to resto at 80. But for now, my dungeon requests seem to center around tanking, not healing.
I've also decided to go ahead and finish leveling the professions for my Death Knight, Tormal. Mining and Blacksmithing. Part of this is a desire to have great gear available for when I finish up the druid and start leveling my paladin again. Part of it is I hate not being able to mine every time I have this toon in Wintergrasp and there's a Titanium node RIGHT THERE..and I can't do anything about it.
My son is also in the process of leveling up Jewelcrafting, so those will work well together. Anyway, those professions may get the bulk of my attention this week (or at least for the next couple of days) and then I'll return to the Druid.
I'm in much less of a rush to level now. Once the paladin is done, I may level the Shaman, or I may just wait and continue leveling other classes once the expansion comes out in the hopes that they will make the Azeroth portion as good as the Outland and Northrend portions are now. Oh, and my Alliance hunter is still waiting at 58 to be leveled the rest of the way. I may wait for faction changes on that one. I did a few of the early quests in Outland and was somewhat disappointed to realize they're basically exactly the same has the Horde quests, just a different quest giver. I'm assuming there will be some differences eventually - not likely to do the Mag'har chain for example - but my initial disappointment was enough to put that toon back on the shelf. He'll likely sit there until the paladin is done. Poor Reladaar.
I think I've also settled on my profession mixes at least for now. I currently have Tailoring, Enchanting, Mining, Blacksmithing, Skinning and Leatherworking covered between the toons I now have close to 80. The hunter is also skinning and leatherworking, but I will likely change that. I'm thinking the paladin will go herbalism and alchemy (although I might save that for a goblin) and then I'm just wondering if I even want to bother with either inscription or engineering. I'm thinking no, but we'll see.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The other huge excitement factor for me is rated battlegrounds. I love PvP on almost all of my toons. And it annoys me to death that I can't get the weapons, off-hands and ranged / other pieces because I don't particularly enjoy arenas. So rated battlegrounds will solve that for me. Plus, having my performance in rated battlegrounds somehow contribute to my guild leveling is just another huge plus. And, I'll be able to completely gear out my toons in PvP epics! woo hoo!
Now, for a leveling update. With the addition of "Mangle" at level 51, leveling my druid has become much more fun. Granted, my rotation has become a lot less complicated (Pounce, or Faerie Fire, then mangle, mangle, mangle, ferocious bite..dead). But it works.
I've also found that unlike leveling my warlock or even my DK (which I did relatively early in the expansion), I'm extremely popular as a druid - wanna tank this, wanna heal that? Sure! I'm not really spec'd for it, but what the heck! So the druid now sits at a very happy 61 having done lots of Ramps runs in Outland. I do hate those starting quests in Hellfire. I headed for Outland at level 58 and I think that might be just a touch too early for a feral druid. A couple of the early quests were a bit frustrating. But we should be on cruise control now, and flight form at level 60 should make it a breeze from here.
I've also been playing the paladin a touch and she's currently sitting at level 26. Also, reading Darth Solo's blog and all his adventures soloing the instances of Outland may inspire me to shake the dust off my hunter, who is currently sitting at 58 in Outland (and who I am confident can handle those early quests courtesy of his thunderstomping bear buddy).
Monday, August 17, 2009
The Return of the Heroic
I've also really enjoyed the new 5 man instance, Trial of the Champions. I've had the chance to run it a couple of times now on my warlock, Joar, and find it to be pretty interesting. I feel like it rewards me in another way for the time spent on some of the Argent Tournament stuff (and no, I haven't bothered to get all the way to Crusader), by making the skills that I developed in mounted combat relevant in another setting. The gear seems to be pretty good for a 5 man instance as well.
But for someone that had been spending most of their time in battlegrounds during the day because it was almost impossible to find groups for heroics, this new patch brings a very welcome renewal of interest in running heroics and (dare I say), it's almost easy to find a group at any time of day.
Now, for a leveling update. Because of vacations and such, it's been a while since I posted anything. I've been focused primarily on the druid and paladin lately. Branwyn the druid finally hit level 50 last night. One more level till I can start mangling everything in site. Now that I've finally figured out the mechanic of switchinig to bear form on multiple mob pulls (and gotten some of the talents to back that up) leveling with the druid has gotten easier than it was in the early 40's. I haven't been to my trainer yet to see what juicy goodness he has for me at 50, so that'll be something to look forward to this afternoon.
Joaridan the paladin now has her shiny new mount, but since most of the focus has been on the druid (or running heroics on Joar), not much progress to report here. She's a couple of bars from 24. Not sure why I set this one up as a female toon, so I may do a character recustom here at some point before Joaridan gets to be too high a level. It's not a dirty old man kind of thing - for some reason I just find the male blood elfs to be incredibly annoying looking. Can't put my finger on exactly why though. Would love to be able to do one either totally bald or with a full beard!
I'd read a post on another blog a week or so ago about chain running every Northrend heroic in a single day. It awards something like 54 badges. (You could get it up to 58 if you topped it off with a quick OS to close out the day...) I've currently got a good group on the calendar to try it this Saturday, so I'll let everyone know how it goes.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Isle of Conquest
There seem to be a lot of disagreements over strategy on this one at the moment. The zerg the middle and capture the workshop, then pound away at the gates strategy seems to work pretty well some of the time. Others swear that capturing the hangar and then parachuting folks into the keep and taking down the gates from the inside with Seaforium bombs is the best way to go.
I haven't heard anyone yet argue that capturing the docks is especially crucial, but could definitely see the catapults being used in combination with the parachute from the airship strategy being particularly effective. Also, the glaive throwers are a ton of fun. I haven't figured out their value strategically yet, but holy crow are they a blast. Let's throw giant spinning knives as people that do personnel and siege damage! Sign me up!
The one main thing at the moment is there seems to be some confusion about what it takes to actually win this one, and on that point, this one is exactly like AV - you kill the other team's general, you win. So you don't have to get down the main gate to the enemy keep, just the interior gate, and there are seaforium bombs inside their keep that can be used for that purpose. Then, inside the interior and up the stairs and it becomes a typical tank and spank, just like AV. So a combination airship / parachute / catapult strategy could definitely work without ever capturing the workshop.
I could also see this battleground becoming a great one for farming honorable kills as folks tend to clump in the middle. Finally, if you're one of those squishy types (like my warlock) that feel like you never get to capture anything, the quarry and the oil refinery on this one are isolated enough that it's not unusual at all for those to be completely unguarded so can quite often be an easy cap - even for a squishy!
After hearing some of Ghostcrawler's recent comments about focusing more on battlegrounds and trying to produce more new battlegrounds, if Isle of Conquest is what we have to look forward to - I'll be looking forward to the next installments.
One thing on this one though is that it doesn't seem to generate quite as much honor as a good Alterac Valley or Strand of the Ancients can generate. I'm not sure if Blizzard isn't giving as much credit for various objectives or for final victories, but most of my battles, even victories, have finished with under 1,000 honor. I've heard others claim as much as 2-3,000 honor from a single Isle of Conquest battle, but I haven't seen anything close to that yet.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Also, my level 22 paladin is safely parked in Orgrimmar waiting for her ability to get her mount before continuing with leveling.
Oh, and Branwyn, my level 44 druid, is going to need to head to the barber for a flea bath and to fine tune the new kitty form.
A couple of things that I noticed while perusing the patch notes:
New dungeon loot system - holy crap - why didn't this get more press! The ability to trade soulbound items among raid members for 2 hours! No more issues with the loot master accidentally giving the loot to the wrong raid member and there being nothing you could do about it. Or something you wanted more dropped later on? Arrange a trade perhaps? What a great thing!
Anyway - gotta respec the Death Knight too! Can't wait for the realms to go live.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
It's actually made leveling the druid a little frustrating. Stealth? Why stealth when I can just storm in, attract the attention of everything in the neighborhood and then annihilate them all! That seems like faster leveling to me! I've actually contemplated putting the druid on the shelf for a little while and focus on leveling the paladin. The realize that the paladin is more than 20 levels behind, but it seems to progress so much faster that I almost irrationally feel like I could make that up. My real goal for both of these toons is to use them primarily for PvP / battlegrounds along with the occasional 5 man heroic and guild / pug raid. My mind is telling me that the druid is better suited for that plan, but the paladin is just so much fun! And the paladin is certainly great for farming HK's in battlegrounds, being almost impossible to kill.
In any case, my shaman, Mograwn, hasn't been getting any attention lately as a result! Oh well... I still plan to finish the trek to 80 on my alliance hunter as well, but at the moment, he's safely parked in Honor Hold waiting to start Outland at level 58.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I did make a little bit of progress this past week, although being out of town for three of the days, plus a maintenance day slowed me down quite a bit. I did manage to get my alliance hunter, Reladaar to 58 and safely ensconced in Outland. Woo hoo!
I also got the Paladin to 16 and in the process decided to abandon my experiment with Team iDemise's QuestUp product. I can only take so many quests where I'm being told to kill mobs 2-3 levels higher than me. Too many corpse runs for me to think it's going to be all the efficient or speedy for leveling.
Finally, I've been working hard on my Shaman, Mograwn and have him up to level 22. I plan to get him to level 24 before I switch to working on another toon.
I think I'm going to go with a rotation of four toons for leveling, rather than the full 8. So it will be the hunter, paladin, druid and shaman until one gets to 80 (will obviously be the hunter first) and will then throw another toon into the mix. I'm thinking about leaving the priest for last and trying to level him strictly through PvP post-patch just to see how that goes!
Anyway - off to a relaxing week in the mountains!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Recent Warlock Q&A
While most people seem to be pretty down on warlocks at the moment, as my original main class, it remains the class that I love the most. So I was pretty excited to read about some of the developers longer term plans for the class.
Sounds like they've got some interesting plans in store for the use of soul shards that will change them from being something that needs to be farmed to something that is a lot more fun and impressive when the warlock decides to burn a shard. They're looking to "make shards fun and remove the hassle" having them "provide a combat boost when needed without becoming a resource that needs to be farmed". From the sounds of it, it seems like the need to use soul shards for summoning or for creating soulstones or healthstones might go away, but they'd becoming more a part of the warlocks combat rotations ala Soulfire. As long as warlocks maintain those utility features, it should be a great change.
There were a few questions in the Q&A about the level of threat that warlocks generate in PvE and how vulnerable warlocks are to stuns and to melee classes (rogues in particular) in PvP. Both of these questions got a dodge that would have made a politician proud. At the end of the day, I'm guessing that the current view of the development team is that both of these things are just part of the trade off for playing the class.
There's also a discussion about increasing pet survivability, particularly for PvP, including a mention of giving pets resilience!
Finally, the last piece of the Q&A that had me particularly excited was the mention of the possibility of warlock class specific flying mounts. Flying demon riders anyone? They did mention that we'd have to go back to Dire Maul to get it, but then said they were just kidding - but honestly, from a lore perspective, that's actually not a half bad idea, especially now that most warlocks haven't had to do the Dire Maul runs in the first place in order to get their epic mounts.
There's a few other things out there that are also pretty interesting including a discussion around giving warlocks green fire (they're thinking about it), the ability to customize the way your pet looks (maybe my felguard would be in a better mood and stop insulting me so much if he had a better hairdo), and providing a little more burst for afflicition (via Haunt).
All very interesting stuff and worth a read! http://www.wow.com/2009/07/02/warlock-qanda-with-ghostcrawler-and-pals/
The changes to soul shard mechanics could have an interesting impact on leveling if things like soulstones and healthstones no longer need shards. Also, improving pet scaling and increasing their survivability will only further increase the ease with which warlocks can level.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Beyond that, I also ran him through Scarlet Monastery a couple of times to help him level his pally, all the while complaining to him that he'd never learn to play his class if he didn't do the leveling himself.
Besides that, I did manage to get my Shaman, Mograwn to level 20. That doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, except when you factor in that I did complete the level 20 Shaman quest for the Water Totem. All that running around literally took several hours!
I also got the Paladin, Joaridan, to level 15. This is the first toon that I'm trying to level using TeamiDemise's leveling guide, QuestUp. My initial reactions to the guide through level 13 were pretty positive - seemed very fast - but then upon initially heading to the Barrens and completing the first few plainstrider / quillboar quests there, it then had me head over to kill harpies for Witchwing Talons. Even for a ret pally, killing mobs 2-3 levels higher than me is a little tough and doesn't seem to be the most efficient way of leveling given the time spent dead. We'll see. I'm not ready to stop using it yet, but that one little quirk in their questing path has me pretty turned off.
Branwyn the druid is also now a happy level 38!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
To Raid or Not To Raid
And the best way to get involved in actively raiding end-game content is to join a raiding guild. And I enjoy being part of a fun, active guild. Chatting with members of the guild while questing and helping out where I can.
But here are the parts of the game that can frustrate me a bit. Guild politics. You invest the time getting to know a group of people, learning to work with their play styles and then people get upset and leave over loot or some perceived slight or just move on to what they believe are greener pastures. And it feels like you have to start all over again. Like you just lost 10 levels somehow.
Waiting around drives me crazy. That's why I very rarely pug anything. If I'm all your looking for and the group is ready to go, sign me up - but the last thing I want to do is spend an hour waiting around for people to buy consumables, repair, or just find other roles to fill in the raid. I could have done something a lot more productive with that hour.
So is PvP the answer? That little queue button is always there, guaranteeing a group whenever you want and giving you access to high iLevel gear, if you're just willing to invest the time. Or is WoW solo / WoW alone the answer - just doing your own thing, leveling your toons, working on achievements or collections and generally focusing on your own goals in the game.
I think it's a balance. I enjoy the social aspects of the game and the interaction with other real people. It's part of the reason I'm playing WoW and not a console game. And I still do enjoy raiding and want the opportunity to do raids when I can make it work with my schedule (which is not often!) - and that generally means belonging to a guild. But I'm generally very happy with the challenges that go with leveling and learning a new class. It does raise the question of what to do once you've got a player of each class to 80, but I think I'll happily cross that bridge when I come to it.
I often hear from other in-game friends with multiple toons that they're done with leveling alts. That they just couldn't stand doing the quests in Azeroth again. For me, they're always a little different attempting them with a different class. The different mechanics and the different way to approach each quest with a new class still makes it engaging, even if it's a quest that I've done 10 times before.
That does also argue in favor of splitting my 10 toons between Alliance and Horde, because at least that way there are certain quests you'll only be repeating 5 times rather than 10. The downside of that approach is that you lose the ability to stay in touch with a single group of people throughout the process of leveling all 10 toons. If you're truly flying solo, I'd recommend splitting them up. If the connectivity is important to you, go with all one faction (or maybe only one toon from the other faction so you get to see at least one time through of the other faction's content).
I've been a little short on play time this week for various reasons, so no real progress on any of my leveling toons to report. The next several weeks are going to be a little light on play time with vacation schedules and various other travel obligations.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Maximizing rested xp when leveling alts
First, I'm starting with the fact, per Blizz, that rested xp accumulates at 5% of a level per 8 hours and is capped at 150% of a level, which takes 10 days.
Then assuming an 8 day played time to 80, it should take about 2.5 hours per level, so if I'm playing 6 hours per day on average, that also works out to 2.5 levels per day. So, between working on each toon, I want to advance a total of 25 levels. If I'm leveling 8 toons, then for the 7 characters that I work on in between, I need to do 25/7 or about 3 1/2 levels per toon. So let's call it 4. Note, that I'm using even numbers because that let's you go get training and park your toon in a major city for the rested xp.
Now, if you're starting from scratch, and the early levels tend to fly by, you may want to adjust this a bit. The total 10 days, works out to about 60 hours of playing time, divided between 7 toons is 8 1/2 hours per toon. Interestingly enough, that should work out to taking each toon to approximatley level 18 at first, and then starting the pattern from there. It may even make sense to increase it to 6 for the first pass after level 18 since the levels still go pretty quickly at that low level.
If you're starting from scratch and doing 10 toons, I don't think the math really changes all that much because of the Death Knight factor, and because I've rounded pretty significantly here.
So, to sum it all up, you'd take you're first toon to 18, park him, then move onto the next one until you get them all to 18, then go back to the first one and level him to 24, park him, and move throught the others, then go back to the first toon, level to 28 and then continue in 4 leve increments. At some point, it will probably make sense to switch to every two levels - either in Outland or Northend. Just keep tracking of your leveling time. If it starts getting closer to 5 hours per level, then switch to every two levels instead of every four.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Branwyn - Tauren Druid - is now at level 35! woo hoo!
Joaridan - Blood Elf Paladin - to level 13
Mograwn - Tauren Shaman - level 17
At the moment, I'm basically alternating leveling the druid and the paladin to maximize the rested xp and leaving my alliance hunter on the shelf for a little while. I want to get to healers leveled up since it's one of those things I don't have at the moment and haven't done - and think it would be fun to try.
The druid has been pretty easy to level so far, although at least at the lower levels, the paladin seems to carve through everything, even without any particularly meaningful talents at this point. I think the druid gives me more options for healing in the long run, so I think I'm still going to stick that one out. I'm leveling as feral of course, but will switch to resto once I get to 80 (or maybe before...).
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Leveling Guide Reviews
The second thing that I have found to be very helpful is a leveling guide. I've now used three different guides. For my original character, Joar, I leveled him all the way to 80 using Joana's guide. I found Joana's to be easy to use and seemed to generate an efficient leveling process. Some of the quests were difficult for me as a warlock and seemed to be more geared to a hunter. Also, at the time, there was not an in-game leveling guide available for 1-70, and the constant alt-tabbing did make that difficult. Joana now has an in-game mod available for the full 1-80 run.
On Tormal, granted it was only from 55-80, but I used Zygor's. I found Zygor's to be much easier to use than Joana's with the in-game mod being less obtrusive and the arrow always helpfully pointing the way. The inclusion of class quests was also a huge plus. The leveling path, though, particularly at early levels, can be a bit frustrating as it seems to involve a lot of running back and forth between Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, all the name of avoiding grinding. Joana's didn't involve that back and forth and still seemed to successfully avoid the grinding.
I've now started to use Team iDemise's new guide, QuestUp Horde, to level my new paladin. This guide works similar to Zygors in that it is a fairly unobtrusive addon with nice arrows pointing the way. It doesn't appear to include class quests, which is a definite negative. It's leveling path is apparently based on data gathered from thousands of players who have leveled to 80 the fastest. I've only used it to level 8 at this point, but so far it works pretty well. Some of the initial routing in the blood elf starting area didn't seem quite as efficient as Zygor's, but I'm willing to forgive that if it doesn't have me running back and forth between Undercity and Orgrimmar later on. I'll keep you informed.
For now, if you're not rolling a hunter, I'd recommend Zygor's. If you're rollign a hunter, no one knows hunters like Joana, and I'd do it her way! I know iDemise is working on a new version and I'm hoping it'll include class quests. If you're rolling a class were there just aren't that many class quests, the iDemise product may be a good way to go. All seem very good and all will help improve your leveling time.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Leveling Speed Strategies
So we were asking why abandon the other three classes. The answer was pretty interesting. No mage and hunter, because he will already have an other ranged dps option with the warlock. No priest, because he already has three other healers.
I'd personally feel like I had an incomplete set without getting those last three, but in some ways, I also see his point. This guy also spends a lot of time on end-game raiding with his other toons, so leveling even more would obviously distract significantly from that. While I'm not much of a raider, I do enjoy PvP a lot - mostly battlegrounds and world PvP, but some arena as well. So it gets me to wondering if it would be easier to limit myself to a number of toons that I could maximize and not worry about "roles" that I already have covered. Something to think about. It does raise the obvious question - once you get a toon of each class to 80, what then? I think you're still picking one or two "mains" and working on maxing out their gear - whether it's raiding or PvP. You can't possibly give adequate play time to 10 different toons.
Which all has little to do with the topic of leveling strategies. The above mentioned guildmates approach has been to level each toon to 80 - one at a time. It' s a very focused approach and obviously very successful. If you're attempting to level a large number of characters, I wonder if there is a more efficient approach. It's the approach that I've mentioned before of leveling each character a set number of levels (4? 6? 10?) then parking them in an inn to accumulate rested xp, mailing the BoA pieces to the next toon and more of the same. It seems like this would maximize your rested xp bonuses while also providing some comfort to the ADHD issues that many of us alt addicts have. We can only pay attention to one character for so long before we get bored and move on to another. For many, that often means creating a brand new character somewhere and leveling them from scratch. But what if you had a toon, fully rested, with BoA xp bonuses just mailed to them, that you hadn't played in - oh - say 7 or 8 toons. Something new, something fresh, and something that you can park back in an inn after a few levels. I'm sort of liking the idea of going 1-10, then 11-20, then switching every 6 levels after that.
The downside is, my teenage son desperately wants me to power level my druid to 80 to do arena's with him, so my plan at testing this strategy might be on hold for a while. I'd also need to decide what to do with my hunter - wait until all the other toons catch up, or pop him in the 6 level rotation, just realizing that he's going to get to 80 first. Take him to 32 then have him wait for the other toons to catch up, or just let him run from where he is.
See, this is the downside of maintenance days - I have way too much time to sit and think about these things rather than just hopping on my toons and leveling them! Oh well!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Fun With Achievements
I've got about a day and a half worth of dailies left to get Champion of Undercity with Joar, who will also get the title since he's already exalted with Undercity.
I also ran some friends through Scholo last weekend and managed to grab some of the books there, so I'm thinking about trying to knock out the Well Read achievement on Joar as well over the next few day - and maybe try to grab a few non-combat pets from assorted vendors to try to get the achievement there.
And last but certainly not least, I'm thinking about grinding out some battlegrounds and Wintergrasps on Tormal, my under-loved level 80 Death Knight. My son keeps telling me how much fun PvP is with a Death Knight, but Tormal just needs more gear - the Savage Saronite stuff is good, but just isn't cutting it most of the time.
Of course, all of this distracts from leveling my alts, but it's all about having fun with the game, right?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I just enjoy doing the seasonal events and the achievements and titles that go with them. Maybe because it's unique content or because it introduces something new and interesting to the game that I don't normally get to experience. I only tend to focus in the achievements on my original Horde main - Joar, so at least I'm not grinding it out on two level 80 toons!
I've also been working through the Argent Tournament stuff on Joar. My 13 year-old son was giving me a hard time about not having gotten to Champion on any of my toons - particularly since two of my level 80's were only 2-3 days worth of dailies away from being Champion with their respective factions. So, my plan is to grind out the Argent Tournament with Joar until I get him to Champion with Undercity, then continue to work on other factions with Joar so I can grab the Crusader title, which seems pretty cool, and I'm told will also open up new content post-patch 3.2.
So, the leveling of my Draenei Hunter and my Tauren Druid has been a bit delayed. I have managed to get the Hunter to level 57. I'm debating whether to go to Outland at 58 or wait until 60. It seems like at least for Outland, those starting Hellfire Peninsula quests can be a bit challenging for a level 58. It wasn't bad on my Death Knight, but nothing is bad on a Death Knight. So, I may wait.
I was able to level the Druid to 30. I was excited to get travel form, but then a bit disappointed once I figured out it wasn't as fast as a normal mount. So as soon as I get the Argent Tournament and Mid-Summer stuff done, I'll be back to leveling my alts!
I'm also working on setting up planned professions for each of my alts. I was thinking it might be fun as well as helpful to have at least one toon with each profession. Pairing each crafting profession with the directly related gathering profession should help keep my toons rolling in gold too. And, mapping it out this way, it will still leave me with two toons with purely gathering professions. Not sure that's really the way to go, but hey - I can always change it and try to power level them later.
Caldwell's Gold and More FFXIV Leveling
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So I've made quite a bit of progress on my various toons so far in April. I managed to get Joarbek the Shammy all the way up to level 4...