Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: The Levelling Game

The shared topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is:

I am sure this has been done years ago perhaps, but I felt I should ask again as it is particularly relevant to me now that I am back :)

What sort of method do you use for levelling the multiple alts? Do you follow the same quest chains each time, do you avoid a certain quest section, do you only dungeon etc?? I am levelling my 5th to 90 now – from 85 and I just wondered how you guys do it??

I am not talking about the oddball levelling like just herbing to push yourself to the limit of insanity, but the more run of the mill levelling.

Suggested by Dragonray.

As it turns out I’m a creature of habit. For me leveling on the Alliance side goes much like this:

Mostly questing through favourite zones, for example I think every Alliance character I’ve ever rolled has done at least a part of Duskwood. Looking back, what is interesting is how my questing path has changed pre and post Cataclysm. For example up until the world was ripped asunder, I always went to the Thousand Needles and Tanaris and now I rarely do. Duskwood though is a constant and I’m still fond of Ashenvale.

A smidgen of Dungeons but again I err towards certain level brackets, for example Scholomance, Stratholme and Dire Maul East are rarely missed but if Gnomeregon is an option… count me out.

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PvP also plays apart especially from level 45 upwards where AV is available. If Alterac Valley is the Call to Arms whilst I’m leveling a character, I’ll usually stop doing everything else and just PvP.

Finally when I get tired of the above, I meander across Azeroth pet battling using the flight time to chat to people on Real ID, twitter or to browse the internet.

 

 

Afraid of the Dark

To celebrate the fact that it’s almost All Halllows Eve, I thought I’d write about the things which chill my blood and raise my heartbeat in-game. This list is by no means exclusive and perhaps my choices are a little strange at points but then think how boring life would be if we were all scared by the same things.

The Battle for Darrowshire.

I fully admit that this quest chain has always made me cry but at points it also has me looking over my shoulder. Turning on those you love, forced to slaughter those you swore to protect must be one of the cruelest fates ever devised and whilst the quest chain has changed since it’s epic vanilla proportions, it’s still a must do for all my leveling characters. The Cataclysm revamp also added an even creepier touch by allowing you to pick up a doll from the caravan once you’ve completed the Darrowshire quest chain. This gives you a buff whilst you’re in the Eastern Plaguelands which asks “Is somebody following you?”. The answer to that always sinister question is a yes, as every so often a small figure with plaits will slide into being beside you, follow for a while and then vanish into thin air.

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Old Gods

The first time C’thun whispered me, I stopped healing (almost killing our GM in the process) and generally panicked. I knew it happened, I just wasn’t expecting it to happen to me. Madness runs through my family like contour lines across a map and thus any form of insanity, even when in a video game sends chills down my spine. Too many of my relatives have heard voices (with mixed results) for me to be comfortable receiving the WoW equivalent.

Impaled Orcs

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After I terrified myself reading “The Vampire of Croglin Grange” whilst around seven years old, my Grandmamma told me all about Vlad the Impaler and his hobbies. Now whilst she managed to stop me waking screaming about long talons tapping on my bedroom window in the middle of the night, ever since then, I’ve looked at sharpened sticks in a whole new light.

The Whole of Hillsbrad Foothills

From the fauna

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to the flora

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Hillsbrad has scares aplenty. Whenever I’ve quested through there since Cataclysm, I can’t properly look at those bears whilst killing them. The whole idea of something using another living creature as a nursery has me fighting the urge to stand on a chair screaming my head off.

One touch I think is particularly nice (or nasty) is this crate of scourge grain left to rot in the middle of a little lake, it’s work already done.

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The Jade Witch

There is something about living flesh being turned into unfeeling stone which leaves chills down my spine. That coupled with the fact that I love the darkness behind fairy stories draws me to this particular quest chain whenever I level through the Jade Forest.

Chased

Who doesn’t love the chase, being chased on the other hand.. well that’s a different story. There are two stand out moments for me where I am the hunted, not the hunter.

The first is perhaps one of my favourite quests in the entire game. One which when I encountered it the first time, I panicked, not expecting to be pursued across country by a pack of what are essentially werewolves. With hindsight it’s charm increases as you see the breadcrumbs leading up to this point for what they really are, proper signposts yelling “run away now!”. Every time I complete it though, my heart is in my mouth, expected that once.. just once, those worgen might be faster than the horse.

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The other is the Halls of Reflection, where I find myself secretly half wishing that Arthas would catch us. My dark imagination playing all sorts of tricks in the half light.

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Maybe it’s just me but doesn’t this read like a bad romance? I can just see the cover now, a half naked Arthas, wielding his sword (of course), clutching Jaina to his “manly” chest. I suspect all the ice she’s been throwing about would have melted, leaving her dress clinging to her and possibly some artistic beads of water would be dripping down her cleavage. That said, despite this “cheese” factor, it’s still one of my favourite scary dungeons.

Stitches (and the rest of Duskwood)

Duskwood has it all, betrayal, murdered families and things no longer whole brought back from the dead. From the eyes gleaming in the darkness to the sheer number of tombstones, everything in the zone is geared up to make you glance over your shoulder.

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Rona Greenteeth

The shadow which lies behind the Faire. Another creature of fairy tale, like her name sake “Jenny Greenteeth” she pitches her camp not too far from open water and her goods… well, further proof that we should all be careful what we eat.

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Queen Aszhara’s puppetry
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Puppets like dolls are inherently creepy and being turned into one, even if it’s by  the “Light of a thousand Moons”, is not a pleasant prospect. Killing your group can be fun though.

The shadows of Gilneas

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I love wandering around Gilneas which is why I tolerate making Worgen characters but every so often you’ll catch a flicker of movement out of the corner of your eye. These two screenshots are of the same house taken mere seconds apart so what with casement windows opening and closing, curtains fluttering in an invisible breeze and the ghosts of Gilneas watching from the window, how can you not feel a chill in the air.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the game though, is the fact that it highlights the darkness inside ourselves. We slaughter with impunity, we turn a blind eye to torture and mass murder. Genocide is embraced and we fight to the death for sport. Perhaps this is Sprout’s real face.

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How Sprout got her Squash

The Wyvern’s Tail is hosting a lovely little Hallows End competition and it being my favourite time of the year and all, I couldn’t resist joining in. I know it’s meant to be all about the screenshots but Sprout is one of those gnomes incapable of using one word when 37 would do roughly the same job.

Duskwood always has dangers lurking in the restless dark but this is never more true than at Hallows End when the veil between worlds is at it’s weakest. So without further ado, I present Hallows End Sprout:

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The old covered bridge, cobwebs hanging from it’s timbers lay directly in front of her. Parking her mechostrider, Sprout closed her eyes for a moment letting the warnings flood her mind. “Don’t ride through Duskwood after dark”, “Fly to Redridge… the path is shorter and safer”, “Stay another night and leave in the morning, don’t be foolish little Gnome” and then once they realised that her mind was made up, the raft of more practical suggestions. “Don’t leave the road whatever you do”, “Don’t stay on the path, who knows what monsters walk”, “Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the way ahead, never look back”. It had seemed as if every one in the Sentinel Hill hostelry had some opinion, from the Innkeeper herself to the workers fixing the roof. Whilst the details differed, everyone agreed on one particular point .. entering Duskwood in the twilight was suicide.

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Dismounting, she swiftly checked the machine over, breaking down could be a dangerous disaster. Once Sprout felt secure in her ride, she double checked her bags. Melon juice, check; flask of hot bean soup, check; Dwarven Mild, check and finally a loaf of freshly baked bread. Whatever happened in those dark woods, she wasn’t going to starve. Starting her engine, she eyed the forests of Duskwood unhappily.

As the mechostrider leapt forward onto the bridge, for a moment Sprout feared that the planks couldn’t take the strain. That any second, she and her precious machine would be plunged into the cold dark water below. Despite their warped condition, perhaps a sign of lack of use, the bridge held and now she set foot in accursed Duskwood itself.

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Sprout had heard many stories from passing drunks in the Inns about Necromancers, ghouls and other such monsters who lurked off the beaten path in the many boneyards and resting places of the forest but being a Gnome of reason and sense, she knew these were nothing but idle superstition and an blatant attempt to impress or at least she had known this whilst safe abed in Stormwind. However curiosity and pride got the better of her, how could she return to the University without at least having explored a corner of the map. Turning her headlamps on full, she steered away from the road and up a steep incline, coming to an abrupt stop overlooking a graveyard. A graveyard crawling with things which her rational brain couldn’t quite interpret.

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The mad dash towards the path seemed to take forever and never had a Gnome seen a more welcome sight than cobbles, fences and lamps lighting the way. Promising herself to stay on the straight and narrow, Sprout set off once again for Darkshire.
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The only way forward seemed to be to keep her eyes fixed firmly on the horizon, that way blinking eyes in the undergrowth, giant spiders and big black wolves could all be edited out of the picture before her brain fully processed it and indeed Sprout proceeded some way in this fashion.

It was at this point disaster struck, heralded by a noise which chilled the blood just around a bend in the road. A scream and then a rough munching sound as if something large with many teeth was gnawing on bone could be heard up ahead. Tightening her grip on the mechanostrider, Sprout considered her options. By the sound of it, there was nothing left to rescue and so riding towards that noise would be the equivalent of desert serving itself to whatever was snacking in the dark. That left the forest flanking either side of the path, both sides were dense with trees and no light  penetrated those black branches. Resorting to what might be called logic in a less dangerous situation, Sprout decided that going north hadn’t worked out previously so this time she would try south.

Pushing her way through the trees she found herself in a field full of what she quickly recognized as corpse weed although she had not seen such lively specimens before. Quickly picking her way through the open ground, out of the corner of her eye she spotted something glowing. Something which on closer inspection turned out to be a Jack o’lantern abandoned but yet still lit. Looking around she could see no movement in the clearing and taking a deep breath she turned away from the gruesome pumpkin and rode towards the road.

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As she resumed riding along the road, a distinct silence lay blanketed over the wood. No longer could she hear the wolves howling or the shrill shrieks of the owls, instead it was just her own blood pumping and the rattle of her engine. Then from behind she though she heard a slither, a slippery sound of something unnatural sliding along the cobbles and with her heart in her mouth, Sprout looked behind her.

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That accursed Jack o’lantern was following her on long legs of twisted roots, it’s unholy grin fixed on her. Closing her eyes, Sprout gunned her engine and rode as if the Devil himself in vegetable form pursued her.

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It was only on reaching the outskirts of the town itself that Sprout dared to glance behind her and thankfully the road was clear. No glowing eyes, no long and twisted roots, no animated orange flesh, just an empty highway stretching out behind her. In her gratefulness to be safe and secure within the town, it never occurred to her to check the pumpkin patch which lay alongside the road but then who in similar circumstances can say they would have done different?

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Parking her mechanostrider, Sprout made straight for the Scarlet Raven, trying hard to not look at the jack o’lanterns carved everywhere for Hallows End.

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Once inside and parked on a stool by the fire with a hot toddy, she discovered that the locals were entertaining themselves by telling ghost stories. As the warmth seeped through her numb body, she found herself listening with interest to the tale of the Carved one. “Once upon a time”, the barmaid said, “there was a little boy who loved Hallows End more than any other time of the year. Every year he and his father would carve a Jack O’lantern for their field but then came the year of the Dark Riders and something horrible happened out at their farmstead. In the morning, a search party found only blood and that cursed pumpkin still lit even with the candle inside burnt down to dust. Ever since that night, on Hallows End a bewitched lantern appears in that field searching for souls to lure to their doom and every year it claims at least one victim”.

It was at this point, Sprout decided that she had heard enough and retreated to the safety of her room, upstairs and only accessibly by passing through the busy bar. As she readied herself for bed, she muttered about stupid superstition and ghost stories being just that, something parents told their children to frighten them onto the straight and narrow. Nothing something a Gnome would waste time partaking in.

After all… ghostly Jack O’lanterns… whoever has heard of such a thing.

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It’s a beautiful life

In the slackest fashion ever, we’re currently leveling mostly from pet battles. This has meant a fair amount of riding between zones and I’ve been taking a lot of screenshots. Not sure how I failed to notice the Darkshire written in the wrought iron gates before or just how beautiful Westfall on fire is, but that’s what I love about WoW, there is always something new to spot.

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Afraid of the Dark

Like Webster, I’m rather obsessed with death. I love the dark and all that crawls in it, am drawn to Halloween and overly fond of skeletons. Thus is probably comes as no surprise that all my Alliance characters level through Duskwood, the closest the Alliance comes to a properly creepy zone.

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Not only does Duskwood have some of the best rare spawns, it also has some of the most engaging and interesting quest chains.

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Whenever I’m passing through, I pop up to Beggar’s Haunt to see if the Unknown Soldier is meditating on his own tomb. Despite the eyes gleaming from the undergrowth, I can find peace in amongst the trees and shadowy nooks.

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Over all though, it’s the flow of the quests and the little details which draw me back time and time again. From everyone’s favourite sneaky Undead pausing by his own tombstone to the way in which the quest chains play out, Duskwood has it all. Sadness, spookiness, Worgen quest givers in a setting which makes sense, revenge and murder… who could ask for more.

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If I had to live anywhere in WoW, taking rooms at the Scarlet Raven would be a distinct possibility. After all, I doubt it would ever be boring.