Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Posts tagged ‘leveling’

Draenei: A complete set

If you’ve read my blog pretty much at all, then you know how I feel about draenei. I have many reasons, though I feel that it was articulated best by my coworker Matthew Rossi. I just love them. I was joking with Rades the other day that I have a definite draenei bias. I feel a kinship with other people who identify with these strange, unique travelers. The past few months I’ve been on a leveling kick as I wanted to get the “five different classes at level 90″ achievement. As more of my characters got to 90, I realized something.

I want a complete set of draenei. One of every available class at level 90. I’m already halfway there (and close on a few). This wasn’t necessarily by design, it’s just that every character I have that can be a draenei is one. Let me introduce you to my ladies.

Millya

Millya – 90 Mage

Pretty well-known around these parts. My tea drinking, fireball slinging scholar, Millya. She is my main-main. She’s also the best dressed. Because I’ve spent so much time gathering clothes for her. Heck, I made her a paperdoll. She’s been playing “World of Dresscraft” since I first created her. She is a conjurer of cakes and destroyer of bad guys. She’s already level 90, obviously.

Vidyala

Vidyala – 90 Paladin

If Millya is my primary main, Vid is a strong second. I don’t know what it is about people who like mages, but we also seem to like holy paladins. I don’t have any statistical proof here, except that many people I know who play either holy paladins or mages as their main characters often enjoy the opposite class as an alt. Vid of course is the character in From Draenor With Love. She’s a military brat with a strong interest in engineering, particularly things that fly. I’m currently working my way (slowly) through the legendary quest chain to get her a fancy cloak for no real reason since all she does is LFR. Okay, I admit it – I like the way the cloak proc looks for healers.

Jun – 90 Monk

My newest 90, a young upstart that stole my heart. I started leveling a monk for Business Time’s Stay Classy achievement and made her a Brewmaster on a friend’s suggestion. I didn’t know how much I was going to love Brewmaster. I have a rough idea in my head that Jun was an initiate of the Auchenai but was one of many young draenei that left when things started to get weird. She despaired of ever completing her training and led a quiet life thereafter, abandoning notions of being a monk. She was working on the Exodar when she heard of this new continent and the Pandaren monastic traditions. While being a brewmaster as such struck her as a bit unorthodox, she was determined to learn whatever the monks had to teach her and made it her mission to get to Pandaria. I tanked with her all the way along – even for pugs – and had a blast. Unfortunately she has stalled a bit at 90. I’m not sure what the future holds for her, as I don’t want to tank LFR or anything like that. I might go solo old content for transmog gear – leather wearing draenei! Just putting together a transmog for her as she leveled was a blast.

Sofira

Sofira – 90 Priest

Sofira is the first of my draenei characters that doesn’t really have a story. The character itself used to be a night elf and it was the night elf who had all the background. When we moved to Moonrunner I “killed” my night elf and she was reborn as a draenei. She hasn’t really done much, though. She wears the best gear from her heyday – when I raided as a priest in Naxxramas. She’s my bank alt. The least I know about her is she’s a quiet personality, soft-spoken and more comfortable with inventories and numbers than she is with other people. Probably something bad happened in her past (sounds like a draenei story, right?)

Sarika

Sarika – 85 Warrior

Sarika, much like the rest of my draenei at this point, doesn’t have much of a story to her. She’s level 85 and I’m dreading leveling her to 90 because I haven’t played a warrior in ages and really don’t know what I’m doing. I think she has a rough and tumble demeanor, though. She’s kind of a mercenary or sword-for-hire, without strong allegiance to any person or faction. I’ve got her on hold for a bit until I feel ready to quest through Pandaria again.

Corycia

Corycia – 82 Shaman

Corycia was a character I did roleplay a little bit at one time with a friend. Her name was different then but it was the same character. She’s not very fleshed out, though. She was my Herald of the Titans character! She also has art of her. It’s funny, when I did the art it was because I thought it was the only way she’d ever get to “wear” the shaman set you see her wearing above (I think it’s T6?). Little did I know that after Wrath it would be easy to go back and farm it up for her, and transmog lets her wear it! I love that set. She is currently leveling through Cataclysm content.

Ziana

Ziana – 59 Death Knight

Taking on this project meant that I had to actually bite the bullet and make a death knight for real. I have already documented here how terrible I was at being a death knight the first go around. The worst. I’m afraid to report that I haven’t gotten much better. I had to ask Voss to sit down and help me with what was going on with this. Like I told a guildie, I specced Blood and was pretty much just hitting “the red abilities.” (They’re blood-related, right?) He pointed out that I should hit the blue ones too because of draenei blood, which is a valid point…

Mairix

Mairix – 23 Hunter

My little hunter and her moth, Grimnebulin. She doesn’t have any other pets yet. Playing a hunter is surprisingly fun, I benched her ages ago (before focus was a thing, that’s how long ago) and haven’t played her since until recently. She’s obviously got the longest way to go before she’s 90, but I’m told that hunters practically level themselves. She does seem to kill things pretty quickly.

So that’s all of my draenei – I have 4 level 90s, an 85, an 82, a 59, and a 23. My deadline for myself is I’d like to have them all at 90 before Warlords drops. I think that’s pretty doable, considering that two of the four that need leveling are already 80+. Death Knights thankfully start at 55 and hunters are pretty quick, so I think I can get it done! Maybe along the way I will try to think of more story for the characters that don’t really have one, or maybe not, I’m not sure.

It’s a fun little side-project, anyhow. I’ve known people who wanted all of the races of a particular class, or one of each class, etc. This seems like a fitting way to pay tribute to my favourite behooved race. Incidentally, Warlords fever has hit Azeroth. Ever since WoD was announced, when I’m leveling alts nine times out of ten the other characters I see are draenei. Everybody wants a draenei for heading back to Draenor!

A Furry and Feathery Look at Lowbie LFD

Thisalee (my latest druid!) has been leveling madly, and flinging herself into LFD with gleeful abandon at every opportunity. She’s level 50 now, only ten levels from being able to fly, and I am excited! She’s the first character I’ve leveled since The Shattering, and the difference has been profound and enjoyable.

Familiar, Yet Different

I have loved every new zone I’ve been to so far. I mentioned how I liked the changes to Darkshore and Teldrassil. I’ve also been through parts of Ashenvale and Desolace, and most of Eastern Plaguelands and Badlands. The quests are engaging and interesting, with just enough variety to keep them from getting monotonous. Having not done much research into the changes, I keep running into new zones and going, “Wow! Look at THIS thing that has changed!” It also leads to things like me plummeting into a ravine between the Badlands and Loch Modan, but we’re not talking about that. No, we’re not.

All of the zones have many more resources, which for a dual gathering character is frankly ridiculous. You want to talk about someone being “led down the garden path,” that’s basically this character’s life.

“Ooh, yellow dot! Ooh, another one there! And another! What was I doing again? Oh, I have to kill Lord Whosits. But he’s all the way on the other side of the zone… Wait, I’m all the way on the other side of the zone.”

I think of this as the “Mildred Phenomenon,” in honour of the Forsaken I was leveling with Voss. She was just an herbalist, but she’d follow a path of herbs into a pack of mobs and then I’d yelp and try to run away and Voss would yell (in this awesome Archie Bunker voice) “MILLLLDREEEEEDDDD!”

But Thisalee is a lone reed, and so there’s nobody to be annoyed by my constant forays into gathering. The gathering XP really adds up, too! Paired with my heirlooms and guild XP bonus, I expect she’ll be leveled in no time flat. LFD is actually less lucrative XP-wise, but I’ve been doing it to see how the instances are, and just to break things up a bit.

Hey, hauling around all these feathers is thirsty work. You'd drink, too.

What Big Teeth You Have

Someone said the tool should be called “Looking for Worgen,” and that’s pretty much true Alliance-side. There are many, many worgen – but actually, I’ve noticed a strong majority of dwarven shaman as well. Almost every healer I’ve had is a dwarf shaman! The ones that aren’t dwarf shaman are often gnome priests. Still, apparently Gilneas was just flooded with unfortunate souls and they want to rip up dungeons in retribution.

I am a big fan of the changes to the dungeons in general. Some of them have had their level ranges changed, and the dry spell that was Scarlet Monastery – Graveyard hell in the thirties has been greatly alleviated. Thisalee has run the following instances:

Scarlet Monastery

I only ended up running Graveyard and Cathedral during the course of my pugging. They are the same as they always were, except that many of the troublesome trash packs are now fighting each other and so can be skipped! I’ve noticed this happening in other zones and quests as well, and I think it’s a great design move. You achieve a feeling of an epic battle occurring, without having to fight an hour’s worth of trash. You also get to skip the private hell of pulling wayyy more than you intended to pull and dying a horrible death.

One of the tanks I had in a Cathedral run was having a rough time, mostly because the hunter insisted on pulling for him. This hunter was my polar opposite; My DPS tends to be pretty low in this instance because I’m overcautious. I don’t want to be the one wiping the group or causing a Scarlet mess everywhere. I’ll always remember a Cathedral run where someone ticked off pretty much all of the Scarlets in the Cathedral and then ran out…and shut the door.

This seems very Scooby Doo-esque to me. “Maybe they won’t know we’re here, guys! Look, there’s an exit behind the bookcase.”

I might be thinking of Culling of Stratholme here, though, to be fair.

Scholomance

This instance is still very Hogwarts in flavour. My group for this was pretty fun. I’m finding that the dungeon quests tend to lend themselves to greater group cohesion. People all have the quests and so they want to finish them – and they’ll stick it through ’till the end to do it. Moving this instance to the early forties was a good choice – it’s one that I really enjoy and it was a shame for it to get passed over in the late sixties in favour of Outland instances.

We did have a bit of an incident at the end where the tank let a stray mob eat the healer’s face – and then ass-pulled Darkmaster Gandling. I dropped moonkin form to heal him and DPS throughout both of these fights, even though my mana was running on fumes, we managed to pull through. It’s some kind of paladin phenomenon that (sorry, paladin friends) the pally tanks I meet think they really ARE all that and a shield too.

“No worries, I’ll just self-heal, lol,” the paladin said, preening and strutting when we managed to kill the last boss without the healer.

What, those heals I was casting on you? The ones that kept you from eating dirt? Those ones don’t count because I have a sword symbol next to my portrait. It was all you, paladin. No, really!

Dire Maul

My experiences blundering around here proved useful when nobody in the group started the silly imp running at the beginning. (My bad, too, I completely forgot he was on the left hand side). I tried my hardest to make them wait at the spot where he runs while I teleported out to cat-run along with him.

I’ll give my pug group some credit – they managed to stand still a whole forty-five seconds before pug diffusion claimed them and they started heading towards the next boss.

“Just hang tight, guys,” I urged them. “The imp will be there in two minutes.”

I had the last laugh, though, as the imp ran PAST them on their way to the next boss and they had to double back to reach him. We finished all the quests in the instance. I actually like Dire Maul, although I only ended up queuing for the first part of it. It seems to have been broken up into manageable chunks. You are meant to head down into the gardens at the end, though – something that wasn’t immediately apparent to anyone in the group. Not exactly intuitive, but we managed!

Zul’Farrak

I enjoyed this instance as much as I ever did (which is to say actually quite a bit, because I’m one of Zul’Farrak’s biggest fans!) There are many quests, as usual. I swear they’ve made these bugs bigger, don’t you think? They’re bigger than my moonkin.

I think it’s Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane that makes me like the instance the best. I always want it just as a flavour item, so that I can hit people with it and just be generally vexing.

And you think that regular-sized bugs cause the heebie jeebies.

Stratholme

This was the first time I’d ever run this instance at level, and my pug was hilarious. It started out with the tank saying that the healer was just grabbing coffee.

Me: “Sure, no problem.”
Tank: “Now he’s going to pee.”
Me: “TMI, TMI!”
Tank: “Well, I told him to grab a bottle, if he had we¬† wouldn’t be having this convo…”

I had no words.

Now that the quests are all grouped nicely at the beginning, I was able to grab those as we went along. About halfway through, I started to get annoyed that I didn’t have any Stratholme holy water. So I did what anyone doing this quest would do – started opening crates.

There was an outpouring of rats, bugs, you name it. No one had really noticed what I was doing (we moonkin are so stealthy) and so periodically they’d just get a bunch of bugs biting their ankles. Eventually, our ret paladin said, “WTF?”

Tank: “It’s because I have this [Fine Aged Cheddar], the rats want it.”
Paladin: “Really?”
Tank: “No.”
Paladin: “Oh.”

I ‘fessed up. “The rats may or may not have been coming from the crates I’ve been opening… But they have holy water!”

The tank said, “Haha! Only the sparkly ones have holy water. The other crates are evil crates.”

I told him (and I still maintain) that what’s the point of having evil and good crates if you can tell which are which just by looking at them? I swear that’s new, but I could be wrong. In any case, I kept my moonkin hands off crates after that, until I found a sparkly one. We joked around about my baby moonkin – he tries to fly, something I can never aspire to as a moonkin. We discussed whether Ragnaros can be used as a cooking fire or not (outcome not clear). I pulled an entire pack of mobs with my moonkin ass (I warned them it has a large aggro radius).

We finished Stratholme to much acclaim and decided to move on to another instance, which ended up being Blackrock Depths.

Blackrock Depths

Even with a map, this place still confuses me utterly. It didn’t help that I was lower level than most of our folks, so they had quests that I didn’t have. I never did end up completing one of the quests I had at the very beginning of the instance. We spent more time going around attacking bosses that were red to me. I did manage to squeak out level fifty in this instance though, so it’s not that I’m complaining exactly. I still had fun, I was just thinking of all the herbs there are out there waiting to be picked, and ore to be mined.

A mole machine and a repair goblin at the beginning of the instance are a nice addition and make the place more manageable overall. I freely admit that with this character I am DPSing because I want to avoid responsibility. When I’m healing, I have a particular soundtrack. It goes something like, “Oh my– what the heck was — you’ve got to be kidding me,” and occasionally, in tones of great disbelief, “SERIOUSLY?”

When I’m being a crit chicken, sometimes I literally sprawl in my chair and just spam two for awhile (assist macro is a great boon here). I may have also been starting a hurricane cast and then reading Twitter or other blogs. It’s a luxury I enjoy. I also have a theory that you get better groups if you are not pugging as a tank or a healer. Feel free to tell me I am full of it, but here’s why I think this.

Most people that want to level characters together opt for a tank and healer team. Nine times out of ten, when two people are from the same guild, one is tanking and one is healing. I’ve done it myself! It’s a solid strategy. You don’t hear a buddy saying, “OK, we want to make sure this run goes smoothly, so you DPS and I’ll DPS.” No. They say, “Okay, I’m going to tank, you heal me, and it doesn’t really matter who the three DPS are.” Consequently, I have pugged into some very stable and friendly groups. Tonight’s was especially fun – talkative and jokey (I have no idea how a tank can talk like this tank did while tanking, but whatever works for him). So cheers to <Free Beer and Chicken> from Mannoroth, you guys were a blast. Like I said, next time I expect the beer. I’ll bring the chicken again, with a side of moonfire.

Queues have also been very reasonable – all of the worgen and new classes being leveled are populating LFD quite heavily. I haven’t had to wait more than twenty minutes at the most, and often the wait is between five and ten minutes. For the opportunity to relax and really enjoy the instances, I think it’s a fair trade – all that herbing and mining takes time, anyhow. Lowbie LFD is currently very fun and efficient, something that really isn’t the case for end-game LFD, so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!

From Vid's "Ill-Fated Pug Files," I left this run before it began because our 'tank' wouldn't stop bouncing around in cat form.

Worgen Frustration (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love My Night Elf)

After leveling to 85 and spending some time on instances and reps to gear my main, I thought I’d set some time aside for a little lowbie alt. I’ve come to accept this about myself – I like leveling. Whether it’s through instancing, questing, exploring – or lately, herbing – it’s a relaxing process for me. Some people are one character people, and I respect that. But I wanted to see the new zones.

I’ve even come to accept that I’ll never have “one 85 of each class,” because there are honestly some classes I don’t want. So instead I have multiples. That means two warriors (81 and 28), two mages (85 and 80) and most recently, two druids (80 and 27). But this druid has assumed two different incarnations.

What Big Teeth You Have, Grandmother

I was excited to make a worgen druid. Originally the plan had been to make a warlock, but as I mentioned, I accepted that I don’t necessarily want one of each class. I had cloth/caster heirlooms that would serve as well for a druid, and I’d love to have a power-gathering character. (She mines! She herbs! She is the incredible flying druid!) I was a bit torn on the gender; the odd, foxy features of the females didn’t immediately appeal, but I figured they’d grow on me.

Looking despondent - probably because when they put her in the stocks they wedged her staff into the wood. I'd be bummed too.

So here’s Francisca, worgen druid. I played her to level thirteen. My impressions of the starting zone were mostly positive. I liked how quickly the action moved and the quests were organized in a logical manner. The flow was very nice, and the point at which the quests shout back to previous Kaldorei lore were great. I enjoyed the eerie feeling of the zone, the little things (like mastiffs and foxes!) and the accents of the NPCs. They’re a bit over the top but they still give strong flavour. You know you’re definitely not in Stormwind any more.

What I wasn’t feeling as attached to was my worgen herself. She lumbered everywhere, wrathing and moonfaring, but I just wasn’t feeling it. No matter, I thought – she can always remain human most of the time. The only problem with this is using the worgen racial, Darkflight – means that you are, naturally, transformed back into a worgen. And I use things like that on cooldown – it makes you faster! But despite that, I liked her as a human and ultimately intended for her to spend most of her time in flight form – so it didn’t really matter. I probably would have kept playing her, until I reached a pivotal point in the quest progression.

I’m trying not to give spoilers here for folks who want to do this, but essentially it’s a series of quests that make heavy use of phasing. You take one quest, proceed to accomplish it, and pick up the next quest afterwards. The next part has you following an NPC with an aggravating habit of dashing off in an unseen direction. I happened to get this quest just as it was time for us to head out for the evening (and I’d failed it). So, no problem (I thought) I’ll just drop the quest and park myself in front of the NPC that gives it, so that I can pick it up the next time I play.

The next day, I logged in to continue with my druid – the NPC didn’t have a quest for me. I was sure it was the correct NPC; but she had nothing. I tried moving around the phased zone by myself to see if I’d missed something. I went back to the beginning of the chain, thinking perhaps it had bugged out and I needed to start all over again. Nothing. I checked the Wowhead comments – I wasn’t the only one who’d had this happen.

I thought about my willingness to open a ticket and wait a very long time to have this one quest fixed. I thought about how this is a pretty major bug to have made it into a game, especially since it’s happened to other people, and I was frustrated by it. I thought about my lumbering druid with the interesting, albeit bugged zone.

Then I logged out, deleted her and made another night elf druid instead.

No Place Like Home

The world's stealthiest night elf. No, really!

I quite like the changes to the night elf starting area. They’ve streamlined things like silly gathering quests. When you go to kill spiders you bring the NPC with you so that you don’t have to run back and tell her, “I found this big, evil boss spider!” only to have her tell you, “Please go and kill the head honcho spider!” and then get lost in the cave again…although maybe that’s just me.

It is still a slower experience than the worgen starting area, possibly simply because of zone size. Shadowglen is a large zone – and I think the sole building needs an entrance at either end, because every night elf character I’ve ever leveled has circled that building at some time or another to find the front.

Other positive improvements include: putting the tree with the strange fruit along the shore of Lake Al’Ameth instead of wayyy on the other side of the zone, and also the escort NPC that accompanies you into the barrow dens is stupendous. She comes with a “we’ll point the way” green mist orb thing, incidentally my new favourite thing in the game. If I had a mist like that for running instances I’d never hesitate to tank them!

The Darkshore experience is definitely improved. My only regret (note, regret, not complaint) is that the combination of guild experience gains along with my heirlooms means I am outleveling my quests ridiculously fast. I haven’t done a single instance (although I am herbing and mining like a fiend) but all of my quests turn green and even grey before I have had a chance to hand them in. I’ve had to skip entire quest hubs for this reason. I’m a bit torn about it because I like to do every single quest possible, but my primary goal is to get this character high level so that she can start herbing and mining for me simultaneously. So I realize I could take off the heirlooms and slow the process down, but I’m unwilling to do that.

I had a tear in my eye as I ran through Ashenvale. I imagine I can hear all the Kaldorei characters I’ve ever known crying their outrage. Unfortunately, again I’ve out-leveled it and I may have to hop over to Stonetalon. I do really appreciate the new “Hero’s Board!” quests in the major cities. I know that I’ve often heard people ask, “Where am I supposed to go at level x?” These conveniently answer this question at any level, and they mean that you can pick up the quest there instead of having to find a breadcrumb in a lower zone before you can move on.

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying leveling my new druid – apparently, since she’s now double the level my worgen was when I dropped her. My other unspoken goal for her is that I’d like her to cover her own expenses – epic flying, possibly even the faster-than-epic-flying if that seems possible. I often level characters that end up draining my main character’s resources. If this one can be self-sufficient I’ll consider her quite a success.

 

…I’m on a seahorse.

Voss and I were in line last night at 11:30 along with other hapless Canadians, shuffling in place and freezing our feet to the ground. It was actually not ridiculously cold – about 17 degrees Fahrenheit, for you US folks – which was cold enough by the time midnight hit! Fortunately this year (unlike the Wrath release) the game store folks let us wait in line inside. This was greatly appreciated by all.

I retrieved my Collector’s Edition (the only real reason to be standing in line instead of downloading it digitally) and then came home to get ready to play!

One of the things I love about a new expansion is that there are so many different possible approaches. For me, primary goal is to get Millya to 85. That is top priority. Other folks were rolling a worgen or a goblin or trying for a realm first with professions or other things. I know some folks had trouble logging in, for us it wasn’t bad and we were online at about 1:20 AM.

We started leveling through Vashj’ir initially and it was a mess. There were creatures and people everywhere – and the quests unfortunately (while interesting and fun) have a heavy focus on gathering or finding specific mobs or items. It was not a recipe for success. I stopped playing at 4:30, only a single bar away from level 81 but unable to push on.

Today we quested for a very short time before deciding to give Hyjal a try instead. As a leveling experience it’s much easier; it’s more linear and there are fewer gathering quests so far. I recommend it. Especially if you’re leveling with a partner or friend, the gathering quests in Vashj’ir are a killer and it’s easy to lose track of your buddy once you get this fellow:

Now look at your mount. Now back to me. I have a copy of that game you love! This is the mount your mount COULD be if you were questing in Vashj'ir. I'm on a seahorse.

Just for that, Vashj’ir was worth it. I have this reaction with some things in WoW – perhaps because others are difficult to attain or require a long grind… It’s like, “You’re going to give this to me? You’re just… you’ll just give it to me. Right here? …What’s the catch?”

I felt that way about Withers when I first got him. “They give you a pet!? Just for doing the quests? …But why?”

Not that I’m complaining.

My impressions of the expansion so far are immensely positive. I have professions to level, zones and quests to see, and I’m loving the new instances. I’ll try to keep posts fairly free of spoilers, but I can’t make any guarantees. I am loving the content and I want to talk about it!

What have you loved about Cataclysm so far (or not loved, if you prefer!). What was the first thing you did?

 

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