The Dorrie Report

Well short of a miracle I suspect my little Warlock won’t be completing the Green Fire quest before the patch. The blame for this is entirely my own as I’ve been a bit magpie-ish in recent weeks. I went through a bubble of “must read every Agatha Christie/Ngaio Marsh and similar crime novel I can lay my hands on” then there was my temporary insanity regarding Dragon Age Fan Fiction and even a spot of soup making. In short, anything apart from playing WoW.

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Even when I have been playing, I’ve been more interested in farming those toys I’m missing from the soon to be implemented Toybox than I have been leveling poor little Dorrie. The sad thing is, it was all going so swimmingly until around level 50 but I just can’t get my head around the gutted Un’goro Crater or the changes to Winterspring even though Cataclysm was years ago. So the current state of play is level 53 with approximately two weeks to go. Given that I’m currently “resting” I do have enough time on my hands to get her to 90 or at least exceedingly close but whether or not I have the real desire to do so, I’m not so sure.

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.

 

 

All Grown Up – Wildberri

Wildberri is my third level 90 and certainly the alt who has benefited the most from Lae’s Alt Appreciation. Leveling especially through Pandaria has been an interesting mix of doing stuff we either hadn’t done before or hadn’t paid enough attention to.

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Who let the Sha out? …. oh wait, that might have been us.

I’ve also (and this came as a huge surprise to myself) got sucked into pet battling in a big way. Not only have I acquired a lot more level 25 pets but I’ve finally managed to beat all the tamers up to and including Grand Master Aki. In fact quite a bit of my leveling has been done through pet battles as I’ve meandered across Azeroth. I even managed to tame one of these:

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Which definitely has to be a contender for the best looking battle pet in-game.

Now that Wildberri is 90 however it’s time to focus on transmogrification. I happened to pick up these pants from the auction house for 2g and thought they would be the perfect starting block. Blue is a great colour for Shamans and given that Elemental Shamans tend to be a target (after all, no one likes the thunderstorms and other freak weather occurrences which tend to happen when they’re in the vicinity), I thought I’d go for dressing as brightly as possible. If you’re going to be a target you might as well be A TARGET!

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Ultimately I think I’m aiming for something like this:

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I love the blues and bronze tones working together and the purple in the pants matches her skin tone. I just need to find the time and the luck to farm up the RNG pieces.

Next I think I’ll focus on sorting out her gear and generally getting used to playing dps again. I tried the proving grounds the day she dinged but had already consumed several large glasses of wine and my concentration was not the best. Bronze healing and bronze dps was easy enough but I got distracted by bronze tanking and hit a wall of frustration when my healer refused point blank to heal herself. By the time I decided I needed to rethink my tanking tactics it was too late to try again however I’m going to do it one way or another, after all I have a sort of taunt and a shield… what else do tanks need?

I’m also hoping she can take over from Dulca when I hit the wall in the Brawler’s guild but at the moment my Mistweaver monk still does more damage than her so that might be a while off (not sure if it’s purely gear or lack of practice playing the Shaman on my part or just the fact that Mistweavers do silly damage atm) but with gear she’s bound to over take the healer.

The Leisurely Stroll to 90

This week WoW insider asks if leveling in WoW is too easy? The quick answer would definitely be a resounding yes. However the part of Robin’s post that I found the most interesting was this:

Is the speed and ease of leveling in the eye of the beholder?

Personally I think speed and difficulty or rather the lack of it are two separate issues.

There are a plethora of ways in which we can boost our experience gain per hour, from seasonal buffs to the Darkmoon Faire Carousel ride and the Monk daily. That’s before we even factor in the bonuses questers get from being guilded or from wearing heirlooms. Not that only, the options for the discerning leveler have never been more varied. You can pick herbs, mine, pet battle, quest, dungeon, battleground, dig artifacts out of the ground or mix and match your way to 90.

Yes, things are exceedingly fast these days. I think my recent Monk managed about 45 quests to go from 80 to 85 with a few flower picking sessions plus a bunch of battlegrounds thrown in. That’s about 10 per zone. However I don’t see this an issue because even ignoring the fact that I could have stripped off my heirlooms and not bothered buffing up with experience buffs, if I really wanted, there is nothing to stop me doing the same content I would have done whilst leveling at 90. In fact I will still pvp, quest and pick herbs on my Monk when she levels. It’s just that former should get a bit harder, the middle bit easier and the latter remain the same.

Dps might be a tad too high, especially when kitted out in decent gear. As a Mistweaver I probably shouldn’t be kicking monkeys in the face for 70k (half their health). Which brings me onto the bigger issue in my opinion. Difficulty or the lack thereof. The hardest part of AoE grinding is finding enough mobs to pull at once. Dungeons can be two manned and can often be completed without a tank, especially at low levels like Wailing Caverns. Most of the complex dungeons have been neutered, not to mention shortened. My first Blackrock Depths run took five hours and by that point we still hadn’t found the bar. Now whilst I admit this might not have been awesome game decision but it did help you get ready for raiding, even if it was just getting used to the idea of spending five hours in the same place whilst the people around you argued about tactics.

Even with my predisposition for wandering around taking screenshots and not paying attention, there aren’t any real nasties lurking in the undergrowth, no more Stitches patrolling the road or the Crimson Courier riding about looking to make mincemeat out of non-believers. Perhaps I’m looking at the game wrong but I’ve always believed that as you level not only do you learn to play your class correctly but you also figure out new aspects of the game as and when you encounter them. For example I’m far more understanding of a tank who can’t tank in the Deadmines than I would be in a LFR situation. Equally I’m fine explaining how a particular battleground works and that I can’t hand in their flag until our team wakes up and returns ours in a level 20 to 25 WSG than I would be at end-game.

Making things too easy has a dangerous flip side, especially when it comes to certain toxic elements in the community. Convenience is a wonderful thing but so much was learnt through necessity previously (including the whole avoid the roads in certain zones on pain of death and don’t touch the Blood of Heroes).  I learnt to kite on my Hunter between levels 1 and 10 when I was pet-less and you either had to slowly melee things to death or figure out how to jump kite.

I can’t help thinking that a few simple changes would help. For example we now have mobs whose health pool increases depending on how many people are in combat with them. How about taking that and increasing quest mobs in relation to the item level/health of the person engaging them as well as party size. The AI especially for named mobs should be more exotic too. We have kicks, slows and cc for a reason. Things would be far more fun and challenging if just like the Monk quests, we actually had to use them whilst leveling. Or alternatively if all classes had access to dailies like the Monk ones which require you to use certain abilities because no one should get to end-game without understanding all their spells. Dungeons really shouldn’t be doable with two, especially if neither of those are tanks and “elite” mobs should make you think twice about charging in at half health.

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Of course making the game harder would also have the knock on effect of making leveling take longer too so it could be a bit of a win win situation for some people.

In short the game should make you think and should present challenges all the way through. In many ways Cavafy said it best:

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Although whilst many people see leveling as a means to end rather than a game within itself, I suspect that we’re going to see the levels before end-game get easier and easier and quicker and quicker.