Friday, December 21, 2012

Ding! Level 90 #6.

I hit level 90 on my druid last night, making him my 6th character at max level.  Despite my flirtations with feral kitty, I ended up basically finishing him as boomkin.  I guess it's just easier for me to continue doing what I know.

The total played time on the druid from 85 to 90 was right around 24 hours, making him one of the slower toons to 90 so far.  This was probably in no small part due to time spent respecing and regearing while I flirted with feral.  No big deal.  An hour here or there doesn't make a huge difference anyway.

I also managed to max both of his professions along the way - skinning and leatherworking - leaving me with one more to go before I have all of them at 600.  That last one is engineering, so I've decided to pick up my rogue for leveling next to get engineering finished up.

I did dungeon finder this time through most of Kun Lai Summit and Townlong Steppes just for a change of pace.  It didn't seem to impact my leveling time significantly.  I went back to questing for all of Dread Wastes just for the Klaxxi rep in case I decide to do some end game with the druid at some point.

So now we'll start working on the rogue, all while continuing to finish dailies and run LFR on the warlock and priest.  I still go back and forth on whether I want to focus on disc or shadow for the priest, so for now I'm doing a little bit of both.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Epic Weapons Do Exist

So since my last post, I managed to get epic weapons to drop in LFR for both my priest and my warlock.  In neither case was it a Sha-Touched weapon, but I'm happy nonetheless.  For my warlock, it was the wand off of Elegon, which I was becoming convinced did not exist.  For the priest, it was the mace off of Will of the Emperor.

I'm working through the new Krasarang quests on both characters and have really been enjoying that a lot.  The story lines on both sides are really fantastic and it's some of the best solo content I've done in a while.

I've also gone back to working on the druid and have managed to get him to level 88.  He's part of the way through Townlong Steppes.  I've been doing a little bit of dungeon finder on the druid and have been pleased to find that the xp per hour from the mid level dungeons seems to have increased a little bit since the first time I did them.  I've been approaching 7 million xp per hour running through dungeons versus around 6 million per hour while questing, so it's obviously very competitive.

The mage will likely be the next toon that I level although I've been debating picking up the rogue next.  Engineering is the last profession that I need to max in order to get the Master of All achievement.

So maybe we'll rogue it instead.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Mythical Weapons of the Terrace

So I've now run the Terrace of Endless Spring 3 total times on my warlock and have yet to see a single weapon drop.  I've also run it once on my shadow priest with the same result.  If it wasn't for the fact that I have seen other people in the raids get them, I would be starting to be concerned that these weapons did not in fact exist but were simply put there in the Dungeon Journal to torture us.

So, my warlock is still using his 463 staff (now upgraded to 471).

I also now have a total of three characters that are geared enough to do the dungeon finder since my paladin is now there as well.  I'm getting close to being finished with the rep grind on my shadow priest as well.  He's about half way to revered with August Celestials, which is the last one up for him.

All these dailies and LFR runs on all these toons are not leaving a whole lot of time for leveling though, so I haven't really made any progress at all on the druid.  I might quit with the gearing at some point and just focus on leveling, but at least for now, the end game gearing is enough to keep me interested.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ding! Level 90 #5

I managed to hit level 90 on my paladin last night making it my 5th toon at max level for this expansion and earning me the Quintessential Quintet achievement.  It also pushed me over the 9,000 achievement point level, earning me that achievement, which was unexpected, since I don't really pay much attention to my achievement points.

I finished leveling as ret through Townlong and Dread Wastes which worked quite well, but then immediately geared him out as holy at max level.

Interestingly enough, the rep bonuses from Grand Commendations also count toward rep earned while leveling, so I'm just 1,000 rep away from Revered with Klaxxi already.

The next character up is going to be the druid.

I'm also working through rep grinds on my shadow priest as well.  I hit revered on Golden Lotus yesterday and so have switched to just doing Shado-Pan, August Celestials and Operation Shieldwall now.  Since my warlock is already exalted with all of the original factions, he's just working through Dominance Offensive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rep Grind Complete

So I finally managed to finish getting all of the current Pandaria faction reps to Exalted on my main this past week as I finished out the August Celestials faction.  Just in time for a brand new faction to drop today with Patch 5.1.  Woo hoo!

Overall, the process took me just a little under two months.  That doesn't include doing dailies every day, but probably on average around 4-5 days per week.

I've now started the process anew on another toon - my shadow priest.  So I'm looking forward to the reputation bonus that I'll get from already being at revered with every faction on another toon.

For the shadow priest, I'm just going to be doing the four factions that are directly relevant to valor point gear - Golden Lotus, Klaxxi, Shado-Pan and August Celestials.  I'm already almost to revered with Klaxxi and just hit Honored with Golden Lotus.

I've also been working on leveling the paladin and he's about half way to 89 working his way through Townlong Steppes.  I gave up on leveling as holy at about level 87 as it just wasn't scaling very well.  Mobs were taking way too long to die, especially compared to how quickly I can mow things down as ret.

As an altoholic, patch 5.1 contains quite a few things of interest.  The main thing for me is going to be the rep bonuses given that I already have all factions at revered or better on my main.  I'm also looking forward to the new faction and new content in Krasarang.  Finally, the new questline for warlocks and three new scenarios are all positives for me.

I still haven't touched pet battles at all, so the changes there aren't going to impact me, at least for now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ding! Level 90 #4

So I managed to get my shadow priest to level 90.  This post is a little bit late as I actually got there last Thursday.  So far, the shadow priest continues the trend from Cata of being my fastest character to level, finishing the 85 - 90 stretch in 20.5 hours.  That also surpassed his speed from 80-85 in Cata by about 1 hour, although unlike Cata, this time I completed both of his professions while leveling as well (although, honestly, with Alchemy, they've made that incredibly easy this time as long as you start with a nice sized supply of crystal vials).

I'm now back to focusing on the holy paladin.  I also did a little bit of work gearing up the shadow priest over the weekend.  I stocked him with epic chest and gloves and managed to get a few drops from heroics, but so far have found him to be pretty unlucky with the heroic drops.  He's still sitting 2 points short of being ready to queue for LFR.

The paladin recently hit 87 and is off to Kun-Lai.  The druid is up next after the paladin and after that will be the mage.  I don't think I'm very likely to hit my original target of having all 10 existing 85's to 90 by Christmas, but I'll be fairly close.

I'm also anxious to try the new LFR raid instance after the servers come up later today.  The one thing that my warlock really still needs is a weapon, and there appear to be options on every boss in the new instance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paladin Leveling as Holy

So I'm doing something this expansion that I've never really done before with characters making that incremental jump between max levels - leveling a couple of different toons simultaneously.  In the past, I've always just knocked them out one at a time, but this time around, I've been putting some down, picking others up and moving a couple forward together. 

It doesn't really matter, it all comes down to what you enjoy, and if you strategically park them in an inn each time, it probably improves your rested xp performance.

So while I've been pushing my shadow priest to max level (he's now sitting about half way to 89), I've also started to level both my druid and my paladin.  To avoid gear confusion as well as having to carry around two sets of gear, I decided to do something really strange, at least for me, and that is level my paladin as holy.

It's always my intention to heal on the paladin once he gets to max level, so with some of the new changes to holy paladins, I thought I'd give leveling as holy a try. 

So far it has worked out extremely well.  I'm primarily questing still - so we're not talking about running dungeons or PvP - just straight up killing mobs and questing.  The combination of Judgment, Holy Shock and Denounce and finishing them off with Hammer of Wrath seems to be killing mobs pretty quickly.  It actually feels slightly faster than my Blood DK was at killing things, and every bit as indestructible.  Huge self heals available essentially all the time.  The only downside at all is that I have effectively no AoE to use, but at least for now, that doesn't seem to be much of an issue.  If I'm pulling too many humanoids, I can always Repentance one and finish them off as my leisure.

He's just recently hit 86 and headed for Valley of the Four Winds, so I'm anxious to see how this model fares against vermin swarms.

In the meantime, my warlock is down to only two factions still to get to exalted - Shado-Pan and August Celestials.  I've got two days left on Shado-Pan and about 11 on August Celestials.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Exalted with Klaaxi

So I managed to hit exalted with Klaaxi on my main yesterday.  After running through the normal set of dailies, I was coming up about 90 rep short, but then remembers I hadn't done the "hidden" quest for the day, so went back and took down the big elite Kuchong to pick up his drop quest.  One turn in later, and I was at exalted.

The final quest for Klaaxi, like Golden Lotus was pretty interesting, involving a battle outside the Heart of Fear.  Then, a quick behind the scenes tour of the hidden parts of Klaaxi'vess with one of the paragons and a nice epic ring to show for it all.  Along with a shiny amber scorpion mount if you're willing to fork over 7,000g for it.

I can't really tell if it's any different than the guild rep scorpion mount in anything other than color, so I'm holding off before deciding if it's something that I want.

So I'm down to only two sets of dailies to run every day - Shado-Pan and August Celestials.  So this means I'll be back to running heroics on a regular basis in order to make sure I get valor capped for the week.

So if I'm doing the math right, I end up with 5 Shado-Pan quests per day, and 4 August Celestials quests, so that's going to give me 45 valor points per day from quests, or 315 per week if I do them every day (which I probably won't).  I'll be getting 270 per week from LFR now with the extra raid coming out, so that leave me needing to do 6-7 heroics per week in order to cap.  Not a big deal.  Toss in a scenario here and there for fun and it's even less.

Plus, that should seriously increase my stock of higher end enchanting mats, which is always a good thing!

I've also started leveling both my druid and my shadow priest, and both are working their way through the Valley of the Four Winds and approaching 87 rapidly.  There is a big part of me that is seriously considering not switching to the Valley upon hitting 86 with the next few characters and just finishing up Jade Forest - one because I haven't done it yet, and two because I'm developing a deep hatred for the giants swarms of annoying vermin near Halfhill and the damn sprites infesting the granary.  That part of that zone is getting really old and I'm not sure it's worth the increase in xp per quest.  So with toon #6, I'll use that approach and we'll see if it makes a difference in my leveling time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Level 90 #3!

So I finally managed to get the hunter to level 90 just a couple of days ago.  His total played time from 85-90 was 22 hours, which was the fastest time yet, and about 2 hours faster than his 80-85 time in Cata.

I also managed to get to Exalted with Anglers on Joar, which now leaves me just doing Klaaxi, Shado-Pan and August Celestials.

I've started working through both the druid and the shadow priest next.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MoP Rep Grind Results

So I managed to hit exalted with both Cloud Serpents and Tillers this week.  There was a point last week though, where I was essentially doing dailies with every single faction - Golden Lotus, Klaaxi, Cloud Serpents, Tillers, Anglers, Shado-Pan and August Celestials.

The entire process took about 3 hours, and generally netted me around 1,100 gold (just from quest rewards and grey items) as well as around 250 valor points per day.  I was also collecting another 800-1,200g from selling all of the vegetables, fish and meat that I accumulated along the way.

Those numbers have dropped off significantly since I stopped running Cloud Serpent and Tillers after getting to exalted, but it's still a lengthy but rewarding process.

With the prices of cooking mats starting to drop on the auction house, I've decided to go ahead and start using my production to finish the other Ways rather than selling all of it.  None of the others are really very close at this point, but I should make decent progress with my full 16 plot garden focused on it every day.

I've also been working on my hunter after dailies and dungeon runs are done, and he's sitting about half way to 87 and working his way through Valley of the Four Winds.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ding! Level 90 #2

So I finally managed to get my second character to max level yesterday, slightly more than 3 weeks following the release of MoP.  Obviously a much slower pace than I was on following the release of Cataclysm, but this clearly has as much to do with the prevalence of dailies at max level in MoP rather than any real difference in leveling speed.

The final played time to 90 for the Death Knight (from 85) was 23 hours, or about 5 hours faster than my first character (typically because of less competition for quest mobs).  Interestingly enough, this was also about 2 hours slower than it took from 80-85 on the Death Knight, but that may very well be because I also leveled both of this professions to max concurrently this time around.

I also managed to hit revered with Golden Lotus on my warlock yesterday which now unlocks two whole new sets of dailies with Shado-Pan and August Celestials.  I haven't yet finished up Tillers or Cloud Serpents, so I expect its going to add a significant chunk of time to my dailies regimen, which currently takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Today will be the first time doing the full set, so I'll try to provide an update here later on the total time investment.

Note that I could theoretically stop doing Golden Lotus at this point, which is the most time consuming of all them, because having reached revered, I've unlocked all of their valor point gear (none of which I actually need anyway) as well as the other two factions.  However, I'll probably keep going in the interest of getting the mounts and achievements and the epic piece that comes as a quest reward at the end.

The hunter is up next.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blood Death Knight Leveling in MoP

I've now gotten to the point on my warlock where I can get his set of dailies done in about 2 hours each day, which now leaves me with a little bit of time for leveling other toons.

I'm also starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on some of the faction dailies.  I'm about 3 days away from Revered with Golden Lotus and probably 4 days away on Klaaxi.  At that point, since I'll have unlocked the Valor Point gear with both of those factions, I could stop with their dailies and focus on the newly unlocked Shado-Pan and August Celestials.  I'll also likely be completely done with Cloud Serpent and maybe Tillers by that point.

If I'm looking at Shado-Pan correctly, it'll take me about 3 weeks to get them to revered.  At this point, it's too hard to tell on August Celestials.

So I'm making additional progress on the Death Knight, who is just a few bars from 88 at this point.  I'm leveling as blood - after having tried a significant amount of time on both frost and unholy, I've finally stopped fighting the inevitable and just given in to leveling blood.  I'm basically an unstoppable unkillable machine.  Sort of like a ret pally with swirly bones.

I'm also loving the new level 87 Death Knight ability, Soul Reaper.  After getting my diseases started along with a Death Strike to get shields up and heals a goin', when I'm down to one blood rune, I'll usually pop Soul Reaper.  And usually by the time it runs it's course, the mob is down below that magic 20%, so it is taking them out with a 60K+ hit, critting for over 120K.  It's really a thing of beauty.

It's a different approach to leveling than the warlock, as I can definitely run in and pull a pretty large set of mobs and watch them all fall dead at my feet.

I also went to Kun-Lai right as I hit 87 rather than finishing out Valley of the Four Winds and Krassarang.  While the final scene from those two areas is fantastic, the higher xp in Kun Lai is definitely worth the switch.  Especially since I've already seen the conclusion there once - if you haven't finished the whole Stoneplow series, I recommend going back and finishing it up.  Think Wrathgate.

I've pretty much decided the hunter is going to go next in an attempt to unlock some of the transmutes, followed by the Paladin.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dailies Dailies Dailies Dailies Dailies...ugh

So many freaking dailies.  I've been doing them for just a matter of a couple of days, and I'm already exceptionally tired of it.  Each day, between Golden Lotus, Klaaxi, Cloud Serpents, Tillers and Anglers, it's a good 2-3 hours just getting the dailies done.

Add in any heroics or scenarios at all, and it's become ridiculously time consuming.  The thing that has me really concerned is that I'm not yet Honored with Golden Lotus or Revered with Cloud Serpents or Klaaxi, which will unlock even more dailies, and then once I hit revered with Golden Lotus, it'll unlock two whole new factions that also have their own dailies that I need to do.

It's created a serious delay in my ability to level other characters.  I'm about two weeks from release and at this point in Cataclysm, I already had my second character to max level.  My third would follow about a week later.  I'm nowhere near that point with this expansion.

I'm hoping once I unlock Honored with Golden Lotus and can craft epic gloves and chest for myself, that'll give me enough iLvl to queue for LFR.  At that point, I might decide that I no longer give a crap about valor point gear and just stop with all the dailies.  I'd really like to get a 463 trinket out of heroics because right now I'm still rocking a 437 item there, so that would help a ton as well.  We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Played Time to 90

So I forgot to include in my post earlier in the week about my first toon hitting 90 - my total played time ended up being 28 hrs to 90.  That compares really favorably to my first character that I leveled to 85 in Cataclysm, which took 35 hours for the first character out on launch day.  That's not exactly a speed leveling time as I was enjoying the scenery, generally reading the quest text and also leveled both of my professions to 600 and got my farm started.

In Cataclysm, I saw approximately a 40% improvement in leveling time from my first character to my most efficient and with all the remaining characters after launch day / read the quest text character being within about 10% of each other in total leveling time.

If that carries through to Cataclysm, then I expect the remaining toons to take somewhere around 18 hours each.  We'll see how that pans out though.

I've started on the Death Knight next, although I'm still spending the bulk of my time on dailies and heroics on my Warlock, trying to get him geared up for LFR when it releases in another week.  The biggest difficulty so far seems to be Trinkets.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Character to 90 and Post-90 Gearing

So I managed to hit level 90 on my warlock yesterday.  Overall, the leveling process in MoP was extremely smooth for me.  It wasn't even remotely about speed leveling as I was enjoying reading the quest text and also managed to get both tailoring and enchanting to 600 pretty easily over the course of leveling.

Interestingly enough, looking at the process going forward, it seems that there is still plenty to do at level 90, so unlike previous expansions, I'm probably not going to jump right in to leveling my next character.

My first task once I hit 90 was sort of a selfish and silly one, but I grabbed Pandaria flying and immediately set about grabbing all the various books and scrolls needed for Lorewalker rep.  The whole process took maybe two hours, but at the end of it, I had a nice styling new flying saucer mount.  Watch out Malygos!

It's then been quite an effort to sort through all of the dailies that are available and which ones I really need for advancement.  From a professions standpoint, August Celestials and Golden Lotus seem to have what I need in terms of profession recipes for this character, and then I'll need to add Shadow Pan and Klaxxi to have access to the full suite of Valor Point gear.  All of these only need to be at revered.  The additional rewards at Exalted are basically just mounts.

Then there are several other factions with dailies available including Tillers (which will allow me to upgrade my farm), Anglers (fishing gear and mounts), and Order of the Cloud Serpent (a must for jewelcrafters, but basically just really cool mounts for me).

The only other interesting factor her is that you have to have your Golden Lotus rep to revered before you unlock the dailies for either Shadow Pan or August Celestials.  It looks like I've probably takes about two days to get to Honored with Golden Lotus.

I also managed to run my first heroic on Joar - got Siege of Niuzao Temple.  No gear dropped for me, but it was a quick and easy run.  So it looks like it will be a lot of dailies and heroics for a while until raid finder comes out.  Will be interesting to see if it's enough to keep me from hopping into leveling on another toon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ding! Level 85 #12

So I managed to hit 85 on my alliance hunter finally today.  My total played time to 85 was 3 days, 19 hours which is without a doubt an all-time record.  Clearly the nerfs to the Cataclysm zone leveling time had a big impact here as I suspect it decreased my time through Uldum and Twilight Highlands by probably 7 hours total.

So I'm going to go back into the rotation and continue working on the other 8 toons for the next 10 days or so until MoP drops.

I'm still also working through what my rotation is going to be for the toons to get to 90 once MoP releases in a little over a week now.

Here's my current thinking:

Shadow Priest
Death Knight (these three are the toons that I currently tend to raid / run dungeons on the most, so I think it makes sense to get these three to max level the most quickly)

The non-gathering professions covered by these 3 include Tailoring, Enchanting, Alchemy and Blacksmithing.

I think the next set is really going to be profession driven, so here's what I'm thinking for the next group:

Paladin (jewelcrafter)
Hunter (alchemist as well)

Shaman (inscriptionist)
Druid (leatherworker)

then the last 3 are just all gathering profession toons, so what I'm thinking will be:


I'll then probably go ahead and do a Horde panda monk before switching to my alliance toons, where I will likely do Hunter and then Death Knight on the Alliance side.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ding! Rift Level 50 #1

So my mage finally hit level 50 on Rift yesterday.  Total played time to 50 was 3 days and 5 hours, which makes it one of the fastest times to max level of any MMO that I've played recently.  Compare that for example to 6 days and 5 hours for SWTOR and times that tend to be around 4 days for now for WoW.

So now I'm tasked with figuring out what to do with this character now that I've leveled them.  I don't have any of my professions maxed, so that seems to be a good first step.  There are also two pretty interesting epic quest lines that I've gotten started on.  I'm not yet geared enough to do expert dungeons, so I'm left waiting for normal dungeon random queues to try to gear up for experts, while I sell off stuff from my gathering professions to try to get enough gear to qualify for experts.

All in all, it's quite a bit to do.  There are also several factions that have daily quests that eventually can reward mounts and nice enchants at various rep levels.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cataclysm XP nerf with 5.0.4

Just wanted to put up a quick post here to confirm that they xp nerfs for the Cataclysm zones are officially in place as of last weeks patch.  I had parked my hunter prior to the patch in Uldum at about 3.1 million xp, which had him a little more than half way there before, but after the patch, I logged in to find him just a quest or two shy of dinging 84.

So I quickly knocked out a few and then he's off to Twilight Highlands, which show around 5 million xp to 85 instead of the normal 10 million.

I've mostly been messing around with my various toons and their new talents and glyphs lately though.

I've been really pleased with my destro spec on my warlock.  Significantly less to manage in terms of buffs and cooldowns and if I time my embers and chaos bolts right on damage vulnerability phases (Black Blood on Zonozz, after lightning or ice on Hagara) I can really put out some ridiculous numbers chaining 4 quick Chaos Bolts together.

I haven't had the chance to try too much on the shadow priest at this point, although I'm anxious to try that as well.

I've also been playing a decent amount of Rift during patch times for WoW and have my mage just a bar or two from 50 at this point.  I still need to go back to do professions for the mage, but I'm anxious to see what expert dungeons are like.  I'm debating finishing up my Outfitter skill.  While it does give you the ability to make some nice gear, it seems to be avaiable pretty cheap on the auction house.  So I'm debating just using gathering skills or maybe Apothecary and just use plat to buy whatever gear I need.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mostly PvP and a little Rift

So for the past week or so, I've mostly been doing more PvP across my existing level 85 toons, trying to get several of them honor capped before the patch dropped yesterday.  I managed to get 5 of them fully honor capped, so should have a nice amount of new gear to purchase.

It's also put me to almost 74,000 honorable kills across all of my toons:

Here is where they all stand:

Warlock - 29,479
Druid - 9,227
Shadow Priest - 7,925
Mage - 6,806
Death Knight - 6,332
Rogue - 5,182
Paladin - 3,969
Hunter - 3,379
Shaman - 1,003
Warrior - 622

Total:  73,924

Of course, I'll be grinding out full sets of Cataclysmic gear on at least 3 of these toons before MoP just for fun, so I expect those numbers will go quite a bit higher over the next month before MoP.

I've also gone back to playing a little Rift lately and have managed to get my mage up to level 47, playing a combination warlock / necromancer spec.  My next highest toon is my cleric that plays primarily as shaman and is sitting at level 25.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cataclysm Zone Leveling XP Nerf

So my alliance hunter managed to make it to Uldum potentially just in time for a nerf of the xp required to level through the Cataclysm zones.  So what's a concurrent leveling altoholic to do.

The rest of the alliance army is sitting in the mid to high 30's, so it doesn't really impact them. It hasn't been verified for sure if these xp requirement changes are going to go into effect with the pre-patch next week or with the ultimate release of MoP a month from now.

However, just in case, here is my plan for my hunter:

The leveling through Uldum (83-84) used to take 5.2 million xp and will now take 3.469 million xp.  The push from 84-85 through Twilight Highlands used to take 9.2 million xp and will now take 4.6 million.

My plan for now is to continue to work my hunter through Uldum for the rest of this week and get him slightly under that 3.469 million xp level that should theoretically be required for level 84 after the nerf.  That way, if it does go into effect with the patch, I can do one or two more quests in Uldum, level and then move on to Twilight Highlands.

I've also continued to do a decent amount of PvP on both my warlock and my shadow priest and have moved my overall total on my main server to 71,578 HK's.

I also managed to make a full pass through the rest of the alliance army and get part of the way into another pass, so here's where all the toons of the alliance army now sit:

Hunter - level 83
Druid - 36
Mage - 35
Paladin - 34
Priest - 33
Rogue -34
Shaman - 34
Warlock - 38
Warrior - 32.

I should be able to get the hunter to 85 pretty quickly after the pre-patch drops, and then I might actually work on driving one more toon to 85 before MoP hits - probably the warlock.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm back

After an entire week away from WoW, I'm back at it as of yesterday.  Given my time away, I really haven't made much progress from what was described in my last post.  I've managed to move my Alliance Hunter from level 78 to level 81, and he's now getting close to being done with Hyjal.

I've also done a decent amount of PvP and have now passed the 70,000 HK level on my Garrosh toons, and am currently sitting at 70,314.

I'll likely do a little bit of Deepholm on the hunter before switching back to the other 8 alliance toons.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Leveling Results

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

So here is where we stand today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PvP and Leveling Update

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

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

Here is where everyone sits at the moment:

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

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

Is Regular Dragon Soul Now Easier Than LFR?

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Continue or Not?

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

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

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

Friday, July 13, 2012

5th Character with 5,000 HK's

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

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

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

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

Here's the exact numbers as of yesterday:

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

Total:  66,498

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Alliance Army Advances

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Leveling Update

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Resuming After Vacation

My alliance army continues to move forward, with a large number of my characters breaking through into the high 20's and heading for that magical land of dual talent spec.  I continue to work on leveling the druid, paladin, shaman and priest through the dungeon finder primarily, which is working quite well at this point.

I'll be switching back to working on the hunter today after maintenance is complete.  My hunter is currently working his way through Howling Fjord, which has been fun since I've never done that zone on alliance before.

With no release date in MoP yet announced, I'm going to continue to work on each of these characters a little bit at a time, and then once a release date is announced, I'll probably switch and power the hunter to 85 so he's available for MoP upon release.

We still have a couple of days to go until the end of the month, but it looks like I'll finish up with around 60 levels for the month, which I'm pretty happy with given that my play time was pretty severely restricted for about half the month due to vacation and other issued.  If I can hit that same number or better in July, I'll be very happy with where these guys stand.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Low Level Dungeon Advice, and Summer Vacation inc

So it's been another solid week for the advancement of my new alliance army.  I've continued to run a lot of random low level dungeons on my shaman, priest, bear and paladin, which of course is always fodder for great stories.

Here are where things stand as of today:

Hunter - 69
Druid - 21
Mage - 22
Paladin - 25
Priest - 22
Rogue - 22
Shaman - 20
Warlock - 25
Warrior - 20

So everyone is now fully mounted and running about much faster.  That's just a touch under 30 levels in about 10 days, so not bad.  Too bad that's going to slow down enormously as these guys get further along.  At some point, once it become more clear when MoP is going to release, I may start focusing on the hunter just to get him to 85 before release, but that's still feeling like September sometime, so I've got plenty of time.

It was an interesting weekend in the ole low level dungeon finder.  Not as many really good groups as I'd experienced previously, but that's always good fodder for more tidbits of wisdom for use in the low level dungeons.  So here are the latest pearls of wisdom:
  • If you're a rogue, and you're not dual wielding, re-roll a paladin or warrior.  Rogues with only one weapon are not the latest thing.
  • Zoned into an instance as a healer.  Three DPS - a druid in bear form, a hunter with his bear out and on auto-growl/thunderstomp and a warlock with his voidwalker out.   This braintrust was then incredibly surprised when the tank finally gave up and left.
  • Apparently, if you keep running in and out of the instance like a moron, it makes you basically impossible to vote kick.  
  • It's not good dungeon etiquette to roll need on everything, including stuff you can't use.  After the group has said something to you once, don't be surprised if you get vote kicked if you continue to do it.
  • If the healer is dead, it's probably not the best time to pull the next group.  Especially if you're a bear tank wearing mostly intellect cloth.  As it turns out, it's not making you smarter.
So that's it for this week's installment.  I'm taking the family on vacation for the next week or so, so it'll be quiet from me for a bit..  But that's the joy of summer, right!

In the meantime, keep alt'ing along!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Low Level Dungeon Lessons

Well - team Alliance marches on.  After ending my brief fling with SWTOR and deciding to refocus on WoW leveling, I've really been able to make excellent progress on my remaining 9 alliance characters.  The end results for May were a total of 60 levels in just about 2 weeks.

Here is where we stand as of today:

Hunter - level 66
Druid - 18
Mage - 19
Paladin - 22
Priest - 19
Rogue - 22
Shaman - 16
Warlock - 23
Warrior - 18

I've also been leveling the druid, shaman, priest, paladin and warrior primarily through dungeon finder, which has been an interesting process so far.  I must say, the addition of quest givers in all of the instances has greatly increased the viability of leveling through the instances and the speed at which that happens.

Fortunately, I started this process on my two healers first.  It's been a long time since I was in a low level dungeon, so I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that mana isn't nearly the issue that it used to be for low level dungeon healers.  In fact, as long as the group had a semi-competent tank and the dps weren't too ridiculously trigger happy, I could pretty comfortably heal through anything.  Power Word: Shield and Renew, Earth Shield and Healing Wave.  All worked fine at keeping the tanks up and topping off any dps that decided to pull someone they shouldn't.

The experience tanking hasn't been quite as positive.  Having healed a fair amount at end game and more heroics than I probably want to think about has probably given me quite a bit of an edge in terms of healing low level dungeons, but I've been pretty surprised by some of the other groups that I've encountered as a tank.  Let me preface the below sarcastic onslaught by saying that the majority of my experiences tanking low level instances have still be pretty positive and I've had some very good groups. 

So, more lessons for low level dungeoneering:

  • Warlocks - if you're running an instance with your voidwalker out, you're doing it wrong.  Please re-roll a mage.
  • If you queued as a healer, strangely enough, your primary responsibility should be to heal.  And the primary focus of your healing should usually be the tank.  If you are wandering around searching for Serpentbloom, you are doing it wrong.  If you are three bosses in, and haven't cast a single healing spell, see above.
  • Even if priests are allowed to need on strength mail, doesn't mean you should be doing it.
  • Hunters - just because you're bows can shoot really far - doesn't mean you should constantly be trying to shoot whatever is farthest away.  Try shooting in the direction of whatever group the tank is currently pulling.  You'll find that mobs don't come and eat your face quite as often.
  • Intellect cloth does not make you a smarter tank.
That's it for now.  I'll be spending a lot more time in low level instances this coming weekend, which I'm sure will generate another wealth of valuable tips and tricks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good progress

This past week, I've continued to make great progress on leveling my various alliance characters.  I've managed to push my hunter all the way to level 66, just questing in Hellfire and Zangarmash.  I'm likely going to delay taking him to Northrend until level 70, not because that's necessarily more efficient, but because I'm extremely tired of questing in Northrend.

My lower level toons are all working their way nicely through their respective starting areas and I've had a few that have hit 20 and gotten their mounts.

I'm debating switching to dungeon leveling for a number of my toons including bear druid, paladin, priest and shaman.  I never really did dedicated dungeon leveling on any of my characters, so I'm curious to see how it goes for long periods of time.  Plus, I'm interested in trying low level tanking and healing on a variety of different characters.  I'm going to wait till level 18 to start on my bear druid so that he has swipe before I try.  The others, I might just jump right in.  Of course, the druid is sitting at 17 right now, so we're not talking about a lengthy wait.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How They Breeze By

Ah the low levels are fun.  They just sort of breeze by.  A total of 18 levels in 6 days.  And I wasn't playing all that much for most of that time.  If only all the levels went so quickly.

I've been making really good progress through the lower levels on most of my alliance characters.  I've also figured out an easy way to keep track of all of their professions and have just lined them up exactly with all of my Horde characters, making it extremely simple to keep track of who has which profession.

I'm going to switch back to some of the slightly more challenging fare though and work on pushing my Hunter further through Outlands.  We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Leveling Alts Before MoP

Having achieved a lot of my goals for Cataclysm much earlier than I thought I would, I've been playing a lot of SWTOR lately.  I managed to get a Republic Trooper to the level cap, and I'm well on my way to having an Imperial Agent there as well.  During that time, my WoW activity has been limited to doing some auction house crafting activities each morning and running LFR on a couple of toons once a week.

However, I'm starting to get a little bored with the questing and leveling experience in SWTOR and I find myself coming back to WoW, like returning to and comfortable old blanket.  It really surprises me that I'm getting bored with running the quests on Dromund Kaas for the third time, but I seem to have no issue at all doing the same quests in Hellfire Peninsula for the 12th or 13th time in some cases.  Perhaps it is the familiarity, perhaps it's because WoW just seems more polished and runs better on my machine.  Some of it is certainly that the extended dialogue scenes at each quest pick up and turn in get to be tiresome and time consuming after a while.

The whole experience has really made me appreciate how polished and refined the questing experience has become in WoW.

I think part of it too is that in SWTOR you are constantly faced with a lot of Light Side / Dark Side ethical decisions impacting what appear to be real people, not fantasy creatures.  I play these games for entertainment and for escape from the difficult decisions of the real world.  I'm not sure I'm looking to be making those in my game too.

So I'm turning back to WoW, and I see that I have a whole stable full of alliance characters just waiting to be leveled!  So I'm going to dive back in and see how far I can get before the MoP drops.

I've already gotten my alliance Death Knight to 85, so I've got 9 characters left to go.  Here's where they currently stand:

Hunter - level 61
Paladin - level 16
Warlock - level 13
Rogue - level 13
Warrior - level 12
Mage - level 12
Druid - level 10
Shaman - level 10
Priest - level 10

At least in theory, at my normal pace, I should be able to gain 123 levels between now and when MoP launches, assuming a mid-September release.  That should allow me to get my hunter to 85 along with one other toon, and make pretty decent progress on yet another, or I could mess with all of them just a little bit.

We'll see how it goes.  I'm also going to take this opportunity to try out a few new addons that might be helpful for leveling and will report back here what I find in that category.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The End of A Bad Series of Rolls

So on the 41st attempt, I finally managed to win the roll for the tier shoulders on my death knight, ending an impressive string of futility.  This boosted my average iLvL by an impressive 3 points, by upgrading from my ZA/ZG shoulders and also by allowing me to switch from the tier head piece to the valor head piece.

So I now only need two more pieces of gear on the death knight, both of which can be obtained from the last half of LFR.

I'm debating which character to work on gearing next, but I think I've settled on working on the rogue, since that playstyle seems to match up better with my connection / lag issues.  Anything with a long cast time tends to be death for my dps.

Right now, SWTOR is holding my attention from a leveling standpoint, but there is at least a chance I might go back to working on Alliance characters prior to MoP release.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Fabulous Streak of Futility

So I completed almost all of LFR last night on my Death Knight.  The Tier Shoulders dropped twice more, and twice more I lost the rolls.  That now brings me to 0-40 rolling on upgrade shoulders in LFR - either Tier or the Backbreaker Spaulders.  This streak is now becoming such an awesome thing that I'm almost going to be sad if and when I ever do when new shoulders.  We'll have to see!

I've also apparently gotten pretty spoiled with decent LFR groups over the last few weeks, because I had one of the most horrible ones that I've seen in a while.  We had two dps in the group that were only auto-attacking the entire time.  Plus the normal stuff on Spine with one or two idiots killing multiple corruptions, and a tank that wouldn't hold the Amalgamation next to the plates.

So, I still have Spine and Madness to finish this week, so that 40 total could conceivably go up a bit before it's all done.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Addons For Leveling

There's just not much to talk about these days while waiting what is probably another 3 or 4 months for the next expansion to drop. Right now, I'm actually a little more focused on leveling a few of my SWTOR toons (gotta love the Legacy system - a game that actively rewards altoholics!).

In the meantime, I'm getting all of my toons prepped for the eventual drop of MoP (hehe..that rhymes). What that means right now is getting their bags cleaned out and making sure they've got the best bags available. Same thing with bank space.

Finally, I'm also going through and checking the addons that I used while leveling. There are not a lot of them, but thought this would be a good time to run through the ones that I use.

Carbonite: This isn't as useful now as it used to be with all of the additions to the Blizzard quest objective system. However, I still prefer it over the default, so it's generally the tool that I use to help with spotting and completing quests.

ArkInventory: This is the bag addon that I use. I find the customization options that it provides along with the ability for search for items across all of your toons and their various banks to be invaluable while leveling. It lets me easily keep track of what materials I have where that I may need to leveling crafting skills later on.

CrapAway: There are a lot of addons that do this, but this is the one that I tend to use. Does the simple task of selling all of your gray items every time you visit a vendor. Still not sure why Blizzard hasn't built this into the basic UI yet.

DotTracker: This is a new one for me, but one that I've grown to love. It's a simple addon that lets you keep track of your dots on a mob and notifies you right in the middle of your screen when they need to be refreshed. More useful in dungeons than while questing, but for those tougher mobs, it always helps to have a reminder.

Bartender: My action bar mod of choice. I've tried some of the others like Dominos, but I always seem to come back to Bartender at the end of the day. I love the customization and the ease of setting things up, particularly key bindings, bar size and location.

Gatherer: If you're going to be leveling any kind of gathering profession while questing, this is a great addon. It tracks and stores the locations of any mining or herbalism that either you or your guildies come across and will display them on your map. Also includes the ability to download existing node maps from places like Wowhead.

MakeRoom: If you do end up running out of space in your bags, this nice little addon will automatically suggest the lowest value gray items to be destroyed and take care of getting rid of them for you.

MikScrollingBattleText: I still just don't like the default Blizzard combat text. Mainly because I like to see which of my abilities are hitting for how much.

Pawn: This is a nice little addon that has a default set of stat weightings for each class (which can be modified / customized) and will use those stat weightings to let you judge whether a particular piece of gear (quest reward or drop) is an upgrade for you.

Tidy Plates: I use the Threat version of Tidy plates. It lets you easily keep track of which mobs are coming after you while questing and fighting.

Titan Panel: I use this primarily to track my xp per hour while questing, which I use to compare my approaches - questing, versus dungeons versus PvP. It also shows me the gold that I have on hand across my various toons if I need to move some cash around.

And that's basically it. Those are the addons that I find to be particularly helpful while questing and leveling.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Unachievable Shoulders

So the only piece of T13 gear that I'm missing on my Death Knight at this point is the shoulders. And I seem to have quite the unlucky streak going with respect to roles on upgrade shoulders of any kind.

At last count, I'm now 0-34 on rolls for either Tier, or other usable raid finder shoulders. So I'm still rocking the good old 353's out of ZG/ZA.

At this point, it's such an amazing streak, that it would almost be a shame to win them. As much as I'd love to switch from the Tier helm to the valor helm, my quest for upgraded shoulders is taking on a futility that is almost Chicago Cub-like at this point.

So I'm going to keep trying until I end up replacing them with a quest green early in MoP. May as well keep the streak alive.

On more positive news, I finally got a second piece of Tier on my warlock, who now has his 2 piece set bonus and as a result will be spending a lot more cuddle time with his Doomguard.

I've also been running stuff now and then on the rogue, because the mechanics of that class seem to work well with my bad internet connection as well. He's only got one piece of Tier at this point though, so he has a way to go from a gearing standpoint.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Strange Reason for Abandoning My Warlock

So Cynwise recently wrote a fantastic post and follow up questioning where all of the warlocks have gone and why.

Where Did All the Warlocks Go In Cataclysm

Leveling Data on Warlocks is Worse Than I Thought

I'd encourage everyone to click through and read these, but the initial conclusion seems to be that warlocks are doing just fine in PvE and actually doing really well in PvP, but that for some reason there is a very significant drop off in people that are leveling their warlocks to 85, or playing them once they get to 85.

The posts made me think of my own situation. My warlock was my very first max level character in WoW, way back in Burning Crusade. I hit level 70 out in Netherstorm. It was also the very first toon that I raided on, running Kara and ZA and it was also my first toon to 80 in Wrath and the first toon that I raided on in Wrath.

There are two things that changed though. Over the course of Wrath, I leveled 8 more toons to max level (every class but warrior) and began to raid more on my druid rather than my warlock. It was just easier to get a raid spot with a healer than it was as dps.

So in the early days of Cata, my original main, my warlock, was actually not the first character that I pushed through to max level - he was actually the third - after my paladin and my druid. Despite that, I found healing in the early days of Cataclysm to be very frustrating and went back to playing on my warlock until something very interesting happened.

As part of leveling my death knight, I started to run more instances on the Death Knight and found that I was getting significantly better results on the Death Knight than I was on the warlock. There were two things causing that. First, the return of crowd control required me to spend a lot of time recasting fear on various mobs. Being the shortest duration crowd control out there (relative to sheep, or ice trap) it requires a lot of time to focus and refresh so the mobs don't run wild in your group. And time spent refreshing fear is time that you're not spending nuking bad guys.

The other thing that I noticed was something very specific to me and my play style. I tend to travel a lot for work, so I'm very often playing on a laptop on somewhat questionable hotel internet. The thing that I immediately found with a class like the Death Knight is that the lack of a cast time for any of my abilities significantly improved my dps.

Particularly playing my warlock as destro, I've got three of my key abilities - Immolate, Chaos Bolt and Incinerate, that have fairly significant cast times. And that's going to be the case no matter what spec you are playing. What I found was that any lag or low framerates that I was experiencing because of my travel situation had a fairly large impact on my dps because of those cast times, but those issues went away almost completely on the Death Knight.

So I set the warlock aside and started running more on the Death Knight and eventually on the rogue as well. Because abilities with no cast time is a lot more forgiving when you're not playing in the perfect environment.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ding! Level 85 #11

So I finally managed to get my first alliance toon to level 85. My little gnome Death Knight just hit level 85 this morning.

Next up is the hunter!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Almost There!

So I am about 10 bars away from having my first alliance toon to level 85! That'll bring me to a grand total of 11, and I think the hunter won't be far behind.

It's been somewhat disappointing that essentially after Grizzly Hills, there's been absolutely no difference in content that I've been able to tell between Horde and Alliance. That is, until Twilight Highlands. It almost feels like Blizzard got to the very last portion of Cataclysm and someone said - Oh Shit. We haven't done a thing to differentiate Horde and Alliance this whole expansion. Or half of the last expansion for that matter.

So far, I'm enjoying Twilight Highlands a lot though. Maybe it's because it's probably the last piece of content in the game that I haven't seen at this point, but I've been enjoying it a lot. I was doing a lot of dungeon finder through Deepholm and Uldum, just because there wasn't much to get my juices flowing for the 11th time through those zones. But I've been enjoying the quest sequence through Twilight Highlands a lot.

Should hit 85 either today or tomorrow and then will start working on the Hunter who is parked at an Inn in Hellfire Peninsula. After that, who knows?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Driving a Few Alliance Toons to 85

So I can only do so much PvP before I start to get tired of it, and with the dungeon / LFR side of the game not really holding my attention either at this point, I've returned to my great love of leveling alts. I'm going to work on pushing a few of my alliance toons to 85 before MoP hits so we'll see how that goes.

The Death Knight is getting pretty close at this point. I've managed to get him to 82 and so he's starting to work his way through Deepholm. I've been doing some PvP while leveling, just because there's really no difference in the content for Alliance once you get past Grizzly Hills in Northrend - at least up until Twilight Highlands. So I'm adding some battleground love just to keep it interesting.

Once the Death Knight is done, I'll likely turn my attention to the hunter next who is sitting at level 60 and just entered Outland. I'm not sure who it will be after that, although I'm leaning towards someone that starts on the Eastern Kingdoms side since I already ran the alliance side of Kalimdor on the hunter.

It was a really strong weekend from a PvP standpoint, managing to rack up 3,000 HK's over the weekend. It's got my total on the Horde side sitting at 64,955.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eew. Alliance. Weird.

So I did a faction change and server change on my Shadow Priest last week to move him over to Alliance to get a look at what PvP is like from the Alliance point of view. I'd been reading on the forums and hearing frustration in trade chat the Horde wasn't winning any Battlegrounds any more. I'd done some very rough calculations myself over about a two week period of time, and my winning percentage did seem to be running below 50% (although it tended to go in streaks at different times of the day).

So I thought switching to Alliance would be a nice change of pace. Besides, if things were really bad over on the Horde side, it must be non-stop joy, terrific communication and coordination and reveling in the dominance on the Alliance side, right?

So I log on to my new Human Shadow Priest and find myself in the middle of the Trade District in Stormwind. Oh Shit! Run! Hide! Oh wait.

So there are a few things that I notice right off the bat. First, that I don't know where anything is. And why are there no guards in the Trade District. Why are there guards everywhere when I'm trying to stealth in on a Horde toon, but there's not a damn guard to be found when I need directions.

So, after spending a few minutes trying to find the Hall of Legends (no, Champions...) and the various portals, and my trainer, and the reforger, I'm ready to go. On a side note, you Alliance guys probably would have been better off if Deathwing had actually leveled the place. Nothing is conveniently located, especially compared to Orgrimmar. Just saying.

I then queue for my first battleground and immediately zone into the Alliance area of Warsong Gulch. Sweet! Grab the flag and run! Oh wait. Nevermind.

So I start to wonder if there's some truth to the rumors as I win my first three battlegrounds in a row - Warsong Gulch, Isle of Conquest (yep - Horde still doesn't kill the glaives if you're playing Alliance) and Arathi Basin (woo hoo! zerg Lumber Mill!)

Then, the tide starts to turn, and my groups get rocked in Gilneas and a nasty 4 cap loss in Eye of the Storm. The another nasty Eye of the Storm loss.

So after several days of playing on the Alliance side and the Horde side, I've come to another surprising and secret conclusion. There is a mysterious third faction at play in these battlegrounds that is actually winning the majority of the battlegrounds out there!

So with that little experiment ended, I got a little tired of the PvP, so went back to leveling my actual Alliance toons. I've now managed to get my Gnome Death Knight to 77 and will be leaving Zul'Drak for Sholazar soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Casual Gold Making

So I've still mostly been focused on PvP for the last week or so, and almost exclusively on my warlock. He's up to 26,217 HK's, which brings my total across all ten of my toons to 61,646.

When I haven't been queueing for battlegrounds, I've mostly been spending a little bit of time focused on gold making. For me, at least so far in Cataclysm, my biggest money makers have been enchanting and jewelcrafting. I'll start my day scanning the Auction House and using TradeSkillMaster to figure out which scrolls are selling profitably. I'll then craft any that I don't already have posted, focusing primarily on those that are used on 300 level gear and better as I find those sell more dependably.

I then hop over to my Jewelcrafter and use the spreadsheet from to do the Ore shuffle for the day, which usually involves buying a bunch of stacks of various ore, prospecting it all, cutting rare gems, making jewelry with the uncommon or transmuting or selling some of them depending on prices. The jewelry then goes back to my warlock for disenchanting, which feeds his scroll making business.

I've also got two transmute spec'd alchemists, so every day on both of them, I'll do a quick living elements transmute. It's usually good for around 150-200g profit per day each for just a couple of minutes of work.

It's not a huge enterprise and it's never going to get me gold capped, but it keeps me at a very comfortable level of gold.

I might do a bit of PvP on the rogue as well as those seem to be wrecking things on the battlegrounds at this point.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Back to PvP

So the downside of accomplishing most of your goals far in advance of a patch is it tends to make you run out of things to do. So I'm back to PvP! I did a few battlegrounds yesterday on my warlock for the first time since 4.3 dropped in September.

I still need to do that one last Dragon Soul run on my warrior, but it's probably a couple weeks away before I really have time to get that done. He's at least geared for it now, so it shouldn't be too much trouble once I actually focus on it.

I'd capped my honor on the warlock before the end of the last season, so he was able to get a couple of pieces of the new season's gear right away.

We'll see how long it takes before I get totally frustrated with battlegrounds again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some SWTOR leveling thoughts

I've finally managed to tweak things to the point that SWTOR is now playable on my laptop, which opens up a lot more time for me to work on leveling while traveling. I've got very mixed feelings about the game after my initial attempts and starting and leveling new toons. Right now, I've leveled an Imperial Agent and a Republic Trooper out of the starting area and have gotten pretty far on a Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor as well.

I still don't have any particular character that I'm feeling very attached to unfortunately. I find myself finishing up the early stages on these characters and feeling more depressed or sad than energized to keep going. Unlike some of the other MMO's that I've played, SWTOR really brings home the feeling that you're just a minor cog and that there are things going on that you're not even aware of that may completely screw with your gameplay sometime down the road.

I haven't gotten any distance on a single character without feeling bad either about something I had done, or feeling like I had somehow been betrayed. While I've enjoyed the game itself, it has really left me not feeling particularly motivated about continuing.

The feeling of being caught up in politics is also one that has turned me off a bit. It's bad enough that I've got to be immersed in political bullshit in real life, I don't need Democrats versus Republicans translated into Republic versus Empire when I'm trying to play a game.

So, I'm going to keep trying and see if I find a character that seems to click. The ones that I haven't tried at all yet are Smuggler, Bounty Hunter and Jedi Knight. I'm thinking Smuggler and Bounty Hunter might at least eliminate the feeling of being caught up in a larger machine, since those folks tend to operate on their own anyway. Jedi Knight has potential too in that I really liked the way my class operated as a Sith Warrior - just wasn't a huge fan of the story line. I started a Jedi Consular but very quickly decided I wasn't that big on a character who attacked by throwing dirt at people. Felt a little bit like playing my 3 year old.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Deathwing Down on Toons #7, 8 and 9!

So this past weekend was an extremely productive one for Raid Finder for me and I managed to get Deathwing Down on my rogue, priest and shaman, making it characters 7, 8 and 9. It'll be about two more weeks before I can really dedicate a lot of time to raid finder again, so I've got two weeks to get the last member of the Joar family - my goblin warrior, Joarmama - geared for LFR.

I've started off by having my blacksmith make him a 365 weapon and also PvP shoulders, belt and boots, because those are the areas where he had the lowest iLvl. Those four items managed to get him geared enough to start running the new Hour of Twilight dungeons, so now's it is really just a matter of running those enough to get him to 372.

After one End Time run, he managed to get the head piece off of Muruzond already (who my poor Death Knight never did get!), and quest gloves and a quest ranged item. Those have already boosted his average iLvL to 366, so I'm hopeful that those last 6 points will be pretty doable over the next 2 weeks.

I also managed to get the last piece of T13 on my Death Knight, so he's now happily sporting a 4 pc set bonus. It's the first time that I've ever had that on any toon on the current tier, so I'm pretty happy about that. It's not the shoulders that I wanted, so I'll still be trying for those so I can go back to the valor headpiece, but it's a nice thing to have.

I've also been working on finishing leveling professions on the goblin warrior and he's into Cata zones on both his mining and skinning. Gives me something to do while I wait for my queue's to pop!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Strategies for LFR Gearing

So now I'm on to the harder toons to gear for LFR. My priest isn't quite there, but he's close enough that just a few drops, or a enough runs to buy some valor or jp gear should push him over the edge. The shaman and the warrior are going to be quite a bit harder though.

For the enhancement shaman, purchasing a set of 378 bracers for him was actually enough to get him to the point that he could run the new Hour of Twilight 5 mans. From there, it's a matter of putting together a list of the drops that I need, and also what my biggest upgrades are from Justice Points.

Interestingly enough, the shaman needs the same two weapons that I can't seem to get to drop on my rogue - either the Trickster's Edge off of Perotharn, or the Clattering Claw off of Benedictus.

Beyond that, the upgrades that I'm working towards from the Hour of Twilight 5 mans are:

Helm - Dawnslayer Helm - Asira Dawnslayer
Shoulders - Betrayer's Pauldrons - Benedictus
Feet - Dead End Boots - can drop off of any of the Echo's in End Time
Waist - Cinch of the World Shaman - actually a quest reward from Hour of Twilight
Ring - Mannoroth's Signet - Mannoroth
Trinket - Arrow of Time - Muruzond

For legs, I went with the justice point variety and grabbed a set of Erupting Volcanic Leggings for 2200 JP's. I think my next justice point upgrade may actually be my relic since I'm still using a 346 Sandshift Relic there. If I don't get Arrow of Time to drop off of Muruzond, I may also use JP's to pick up Fluid Death.

For Valor Points, I'm thinking my first upgrade might actually be the Kiroptyric Sigil, especially given that there are decent drops available in every other slot, and an extra 2200 agility on a 90 second cooldown is just too good to pass up. After that, it will likely be waist, unless I can't get the helm to drop, in which case I might grab the valor helm.

For my shadow priest, his next big upgrade is going to be his chest piece - where I either need the Whisperwind Cloak off of the Echo of Tyrande in End Time, or I'll take the Firelands Tier piece for justice points. Other Hour of Twilight upgrades still to go on the priest include the Horned Band off of Perotharn and the Slippers of Wizardry off of Aszhara.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

I've managed to get two more toons fully geared for the Raid Finder and have gotten Deathwing down on one of them - the paladin. The rogue has done the Siege of Wrymrest portion of the raid, but not that last half. I should be able to knock that out in the next few days.

I've also started working on gearing the priest a little bit, so he's up to a 370 ilvl already, so will quite clearly be the next one to run through - hopefully by next weekend. And that after that, it'll be the final two - shaman and warrior - which will both without a doubt be my most difficult two to get fully geared.

I've also continued to run Raid Finder regularly on the warlock, death knight and druid, but have gotten no interesting drops the last few weeks. At least it's valor points.

Dawntrail Progress

Since last week's update, I finished the MSQ for Dawntrail and have unlocked all of the expert dungeons so I can start running expert ro...