Posts Tagged ‘ leveling ’

WTB level 85, PST

Without boring you with my many leveling adventures, I feel I can safely and summarily say that I have screwed around with leveling multitudes of different toons, spare no class (except Warlocks – they never did strike my fancy…). Lately, I’ve been leveling two in particular: a holy/ret paladin named Nehmend and a resto/kitty druid named Ehks. I mention this because when I do level these toons, I find that they level abnormally fast,¬†compared to my other high level toons. So, I did some quick calculating. Currently, you can get:

  • +10% XP for Heirloom Helm (requires Guild level 20)
  • +10% XP for Heirloom Shoulders
  • +10% XP for Heirloom Chest
  • +5% XP for Heirloom Cloak (requires Guild level 10)
  • +5% XP for Heirloom Ring (from wining Kal’uak Fishing Derby)
  • +5% XP for Guild level 2
  • +5% XP for Guild level 6
  • =50% bonus XP

According to Wowhead, there are currently Heirloom legs and more rings in store. Counting those in, you can receive an additional 15% for 65% total bonus XP. Depending on how often you play these alt toons, you could earn up to 150% of a level (that’s 30 of the small bars/bubbles) in rested XP over the course of 10 days, which doubles the experience gained from combat. And on top of all of this, there are other situational bonuses that you can receive, such as holiday buffs (like those obtained from the Fire Festival, Pilgrim’s Bounty, etc) and the Recruit-a-Friend bonus of 200%. Of course, to receive this bonus, you need to be within 3 levels of your friend, but they can also “grant” levels (that’s right, free levels) to any of your toons at a lower level than theirs for every 2 levels they earn.

Long story short, leveling has become easy. With the right amount of effort to obtain heirlooms and balancing of alt play time, you can earn numerous levels every hour. This leads to more higher level toons, but does it subtract from the leveling experience? Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on the now “easysauce” process of leveling.

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Food for thought

While I have been experimenting recently with how effective it is to tank with mitigation oriented gear as apposed to threat oriented gear, I have had the pleasure of assisting my friend, and guildmaster, Zee with gearing up her raiding toon. While doing this, several topics came to mind that I feel should be shared:

“Main as raid toon” v. “Alt as raid toon”

Zee’s main toon is her mage Zerena, but this isn’t her raiding toon, oddly enough. Due to various reasons, Zee leveled a resto shaman named Zeronemo, who serves as her sole raiding toon. I don’t know of many players that follow this school of thought, but after thinking on it, I found some pros and cons to both.

Main as raid toon:

  • Pros: Your main gets good gear; receives more play time; gets all of the achievements; strong sense of connection with one character
  • Cons: Your main wears gear because it’s got good stats, not because it’s cool; risks being overplayed; may need race/profession changes to stay “competitive”; may have limited guild selection, if you’re trying to stay PvE “competitive”

Alt as raid toon:

  • Pros: Your main can whatever gear you feel like wearing, regardless of stats; can be in whatever guild you like to hang out with, regardless of their raiding schedule, setup, etc
  • Cons: Your alt gets all of the dungeon/raid achieves instead of your main; may lead to weaker emotional connection with your main

Conclusion: Do whatever works best for you! If you like being a particular character, no matter what you’re doing, then using your main toon as your raider would probably be a strong choice. Likewise, if you could care less about attachments to any one character, then maybe using an alt (or several) as your raid toon is the way for you.

Knowing your class

It’s harder than it sounds, especially with the shear amount of content that’s been added into the game via Cataclysm and the hotfixes flying around left and right. At the same time, knowing your class’ every ability in and out can really make the difference when it comes to being a strong player. For instance:

  • Protector of the Innocent – Although this talent no longer works with targeting yourself with your heals, this talent briefly made paladin tanks nigh unstoppable, especially in PvP. Because this talent is in the holy tree and involves healing (something that some tanks seem loathe to do, for whatever reason), it could’ve been missed by many players.
  • Presence of Mind + Polymorph – While PoM doesn’t work in combination with teleporting or making portals, it DOES work with polymorph. Is your tank charging headlong into battle, having forgotten that Poly has a cast time? Bam! Insta-sheep.

I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that come to mind, right away.

Persistence with Triage

Is also harder than it sounds! There’s nothing worse than constant wipes on a quest, in a dungeon/raid, etc. Well, except for the cause being something extraordinarily obvious in hindsight. Being stubborn enough to continue trying in the face of hardship is a great virtue, but it means nothing if you can’t look at your mistake and say to yourself, “What went wrong here?” This is where addons like Recount are handy.

If you suddenly get one/two shot and don’t know why, then Recount will happily inform you that <insert attack here> wiped the floor with you. Possibly twice. If nothing out of the ordinary happens, but success still eludes you (oh, you temptress), then consulting Recount can shed light on potential issues with dps, healing, unnecessary damage, etc.

The tricky part is always fixing what’s going wrong, but doing that is impossible if you don’t know the source of the problem!

/failcheck: To guild or not to guild

That is the question! Or, to be more specific, how does being a new player being in a guild from early on affect their growth? I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when I say that being in a guild (or at the very least, having a higher level friend helping you) makes leveling MUCH easier. What concerns me, is that making leveling too easy could lead to stunted growth as a player.

Let’s lay out some scenarios, to get an idea of where I’m coming from:

  • Erin starts playing WoW because her best friend¬†Jamie is an avid player who convinced her to give it a try. After making her first toon, Erin is immediately invited to Jamie’s guild, and Jamie personally sets out to help Erin level. Through the course of leveling 1-80, Erin is helped and/or carried through the struggles of leveling and never really develops a real image of how her class works and becomes dependent on Jamie’s guild. After reaching 80, Erin joins the guild raid team, but because she’s not used to being in a situation where she’s a contributing member of a team, she struggles to find her place amongst the rest of the raid.
  • Sheila starts playing WoW because she saw it in a local store and decided to give it a try. Through the course of leveling from 1-80, Sheila develops a strong sense of how her class works in different situations, where her limitations lie, how to be self-reliant, etc. After reaching 80, she decides she’d like to give raiding a try, makes an honest effort to scrounge up some effective gear, finds a guild with whom she can raid, and ultimately becomes a fine raider, who clearly understands her role and how best to fulfill it.

Now, to be fair, there are countless factors, both seen and unseen, that contribute to a player understanding and becoming good at a game, but for the sake of my hypothesis, I’m assuming that classic “trial-and-error” will lead to a more knowledgeable player. I feel the contrasting argument to my hypothesis would be that it’s easier for a new player to learn by watching skilled players.

Personally, when I leveled Nehmen (Nehmen wasn’t my first toon, but the rogue I had initially created didn’t really click with me, so I deleted her and began anew with Nehmen), I was subjected to both sides. I did regular, hub-based quests almost entirely alone, occasionally grouping up with another similarly leveled player, for group-specific quests. For almost every dungeon I did, however, my friend and guild leader (who convinced me to try WoW) would either lead me through herself or arrange for another guild member to do so.

Since I don’t have a perfect memory, I can’t say I remember every moment of my first couple of months as level 80 (I do remember the last struggle to get to 80, but that’s a story for another time), but I do remember this: I knew almost nothing about Vanilla WoW dungeons and raids. Because I’m an achievement horder, I decided to myself one day “wouldn’t it be easy to get [Classic Dungeonmaster]?” I quickly realized that I knew absolutely nothing about these old instances, and it was only through the careful examination of dungeon maps/guides and good ol’ trial-and-error that I managed to navigate my way through dungeons and pick off the correct bosses for the achievement.

I don’t have the time or materials (two people who don’t play, but are willing to try, WoW) to see an appropriate experiment through on this topic, but at the very least, I find it food for thought. My current method of dealing with new players is thus: don’t. It seems harsh… because it is. And I feel that’s the point; if a new player can make it to 80 by their own force of will, then I suspect they’ll be much better off than if I had carried them there. Muscles get stronger through appropriate workouts, yes?

And for the record, whenever I mention an experiment in a post (which won’t be all of them), I will refer to it as a /failcheck. After all, what is an experiment but a sophisticated /failcheck? Until next time!

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