Monday, November 24, 2014

Leveling Speed with Garrisons

So I can now confirm with some data in hand, that if spending a lot of time in your garrison messing around with all the fun stuff on offer there, it will significantly slow your leveling time.  My warlock finally managed to hit 100 on Friday, about a week after the expansion release, with a total leveling time of 24 hours and 30 minutes.

I will note that that is still significantly better than my first character leveling times in both Mists and Cataclysm, but it is more than double some of the better leveling times that I've been hearing about from others where a 10-12 hours speed run seems to be about average.  Some of that time was the result of server issues in the first week, but a lot of that is just a result of the distraction provided by my Garrison.

I've now started the process on my death knight, and the plan is to run him straight through as quickly as possible, so I'll report back on what the next few toons look like.

In the meantime, on my main, I went off and grabbed the Silver Proving Grounds achievement and started on the legendary quest line.  So I'm working on the daily quest for Apexis Shards and running normals to try to get the ilvl to queue for heroics.  Once I turn in the Apexis shard portion of the legendary questline, I'll start saving those up for gear next.

I've also managed to upgrade my Garrison to level 3 and am just working on some of the other buildings at this point.  It's mostly just a matter of saving up enough Garrison resources at this point to get the other buildings in place.  Once that is done, I'll probably start follower missions in earnest.

The current plan for Joar's garrison is

Small buildings:

Tailoring - matches a profession
Enchanting - matches a profession
Salvage Yard

Medium Buildings

Lumber Mill - extra Garrison resources
Trading Post - extra resources

Large Buildings

Workshop - access to extra bonus roll token

I'm also working through Hexweave Cloth as much as possible and am getting pretty close to having enough to craft an epic, so that should help with my ilvl.  Enchants are selling well, as are glyphs, so that's keeping my cash flow up pretty well.

My guild has a Molten Core run scheduled for early December, so I'm probably going to wait and do that as a guild run rather than just trying it at random.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Distracted by Garrisons

So my earnestly laid plans of getting my Garrison set up and then leaving it behind, to quickly level to 100 were quickly waylaid by a nasty habit of messing with my Garrison.  So I'm sitting at level 96 instead of 100, but I've got upgraded Tailoring and Enchanting buildings and an upgraded mine.  And I'm amassing tons of ore to send to my blacksmith and jewelcrafter and engineer.  I've got almost a dozen followers, 3 of them epic.  I've done a bunch of different Garrison missions with my followers and gotten some cool stuff out of that as well.  I'm cutting down trees for my lumber mill and hunting down seeds so I can get my herb garden up and running.  (Note to self, need to find an addon that shows my herbalism notes even if I'm not an herbalist).

I'm running across various zones search for just the right follower.  So I've now got the appropriate followers to assign to my tailoring and enchanting buildings, so I now I need more followers to go on missions, since those guys now have other tasks.

I'm not as close to 100 as I thought I would be, but I'm having fun with it.

I've not gone the goblin route of trying to make as much money as possible in the early days of the expansion.  In part because I'm already sitting on a comfortable cash pile, and also because, with my Garrison pumping out a steady supply of resources for all my various professions, I really don't think I need it.  Stuff is getting churned out for later use.

I do want to run my inscriptionist through pretty quick so that he can start cranking out new glyphs because that is typically a pretty lucrative market for me, and I'm probably going to want the Darkmoon Card trinket at least on my main.

So we'll see how it goes as I continue to level alts.  I think the next one will be a bit easier to go all out with, so I may have a little bit better data on leveling speed.  My one after that was supposed to be of the official "faffing with Garrisons" variety, so I may just swap that with the plan for my main.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bagged, Tagged, Planned and Ready to Roll

So the launch of Warlords is rapidly approaching.  I've been scurrying around this week acquiring Grummlepacks, Onyxia Hide Bags, Dragon Hide Bags and a few Royal Satchels so that all of my toons have plenty of bag space for leveling in Warlords.  Of course, I've never had an issue with running out of bag space while leveling in the past, so not sure why I think I'm going to have issues this time, but best to be prepared.  I don't know if we'll be seeing the same volume of random toys and cooking related items that seemed to drop all over the place in Pandaria, but I've always got bank alts set up to accept transfers of any needed excess goods at the first opportunity.

I've also had the time to plan out what I think my Garrison layouts are going to be for each toon, as well as my initial thoughts on leveling order and the leveling approach to be used by each toon.

So here is what that little plan looks like:

Small plot Medium plot Large plot Leveling approach
Joar Tailoring Emporium Barn Barracks Questing skip ahead
Enchanter's Study Lumber Mill Mage Tower
Joardk The Forge Barn Barracks Questing - complete zones
Enchanter's Study Trading Post Stables
Joarshot Enchanter's Study Inn Barracks Garrison Focused
Alchemy Lab Lumber Mill Armoury
Joarbek Scribes Quarters Trading Post Armoury Questing - skip ahead
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Joaridan Gem's Boutique Barn Barracks Dungeons / healing
Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower
Joarfu Enchanter's Study Inn Armoury Garrison focused
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Joarvyk Alchemy Lab Trading Post Mage Tower Dungeons / healing
Storehouse Lumber Mill Workshop
Salvage Yard
Joarnak Enchanter's Study Barn Mage Tower Questing - complete zones
Storehouse Trading Post Workshop
Salvage Yard
Joarwyn Tannery Barn Barrcks Dungeons / healing
Enchanter's Study Lumber Mill Stables
Joarmama Enchanter's Study Inn Armoury Garrison focused
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Joarstab Engineering Works Inn Stables Questing - skip ahead
Enchanter's Study Lumber Mill Workshop
Melric Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower Questing - skip ahead
Storehouse Inn Stables
Salvage Yard
Melpar Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower Questing - complete zones
Storehouse Barn Stables
Salvage Yard
Meloar Enchanter's Study Inn Armoury Garrison Focused
Storehouse Lumber Mill Barracks
Salvage Yard
Melwon Scribes Quarters Trading Post Barracks Dungeons / healing
Storehouse Lumber Mill Workshop
Salvage Yard
Melardin Enchanter's Study Trading Post Mage Tower Questing - complete zones
Storehouse Barn Stables

Salvage Yard

So I think that gives me a reasonable start to the plan.   Everyone is cleaned out and freshly stocked with supplies and more than adequate bag space. Everyone with crafting professions has the corresponding plots.  The toons that are my big money makers generally have access to a trading post in their Garrison (although may have to bulldoze at least one Lumber Mill at some point).  I've got a plan for my Garrisons that gives me a look at basically all the buildings available (except for the PvP building, which I'm still debating about adding to a toon or two later on).  And I've also spaced out the toons that I plan to level via dungeons to make sure that I don't drive myself completely insane.

Once I start getting a few toons to max level, I'll then need to decide if I want to start jumping into LFR or focus on playing around with my garrisons etc.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Historical Data on Leveling Times

I will once again be tracking my leveling times for the variety of Joar alts and, consistent with prior expansions, using a variety of different approaches:

  • Straight zone play throughs
  • Dungeon leveling
  • Zone skip aheads
  • Garrison centric leveling
I will admit that because of personal issues going on, I did not manage to participate in the beta at all this time unfortunately, so I don't know much beyond what I've read about what I'll be facing.  However, I gather that there will be leveling options that are a little bit more garrison centric than straight questing options, so to the extent that I can design different leveling paths under those scenarios, I will do that and report out the data.

I thought I'd also recap the data that I have from the last two expansions.  For MoP, my average leveling time (from the prior max level) was around 23.1 hours played and there was no significant difference between any of the above approaches.

In Catalclysm, my average time to max level was 24.7 hours played.  In that case, the characters that used a dungeon based leveling approach were slightly longer.  While that average is higher, there are two unrelated factors that may have been specific to me in both those cases - one is going into Cataclysm, the full set of toons was not as well geared as they were going into MoP, so that may have impacted the leveling time, at least initially.  I also chose to have my first toon leveled for that expansion be my paladin instead of my warlock, because I wanted to try to have a healer first.  Playing through a toon that wasn't my main and trying to get gear that was healing focused, undoubtedly affected my leveling time, and as a result (combined with launch date general slowness), my time on the paladin was significantly higher than anyone else (35 hours in total).  If you back that out as an outlier, the average time on Cata drops to 23.4 hours, or not wildly different than MoP.

I've gathered from what I've read in various places that the time from 90 to 100 is going to be significantly shorter this time around, but I've not actually done it myself yet.  We'll know for sure next week.

In the meantime, with 16 toons to level, I'll be assigning four to each of the groups above, which should give me a somewhat reasonable indicator under each approach.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ding! Level 90 #16 and more Pre-Warlords Preparation

So I finally managed to hit level 90 on my alliance paladin on Sunday, giving me 16 in total.  Not many compared to some, but I'm pretty happy with the total all told.  It's interesting that is really only 3 more max level characters than I had at the end of Cataclysm and one of those is my boosted character from the pre-order.

That leaves me with 6 more alliance characters that are still in the leveling process, and all of those are sitting in the mid-50's (except for the monk, who is in the mid-20's.).  Despite the lack of focus on leveling new toons in MoP, most of those same alliance toons were in the mid-30's at the end of Cataclysm, so I did make a little bit of progress on them.

I'll probably continue to work through them all a little bit between now and when Warlords drops next week, in addition to my gold making efforts.

I'm still finding that most of the old standby professions from MoP are still producing decent profits.  For some reason, people on my server are still continuing to buy crafted PvP gear, which I don't understand at all, but as long as people keep buying it, I'll keep selling it.  Glyphs aren't selling as well as they did before the patch given all the changes, but it is still a dependable source of income.  Enchants continue to sell extremely well.  Gems have tapered off a bit after the immediate post-patch gold rush - they're back to around the same general level of profitability that they were.

So my banks are all cleaned out, my reagent tabs organized and filled, my toy boxes stocked.  I have a few odds and ends pieces of gear that either need to be sold or put into void storage, but by and large, I think I'm ready.

I was debating running around collecting additional bags for my variety of toons for leveling, but for some reason, bag space has never really been a big issue for me while leveling.  I tend to ship things that need tending to off to alts at the first available mailbox, vendor things regularly and keep a ready stream of disenchanting going.  Assuming a lot of the random crap that you tended to get in MoP will now be toy box eligible and that there won't be zillions of random food items for your farm dropping like they tended to in MoP, I anticipate it will be far less crowded than it used to be anyway.

Most of the times that I had bag space issues tended to be if I was trying to assemble multiple gear sets, but I don't anticipate that being as much of an issue this time around as it used to be given the changes to stats brought by the patch.

That being said, I may go grab a quick Onyxia bag and Grummlepack on most of my alts as those are pretty easy to get.

Necromancer Done. Only Warden Remains

 I managed to get the Necromancer to level 50, so now only the Warden remains.  He's currently sitting at level 39, so it's not too ...