I decided to start off on the zero damage challenge myself, but I am starting it a little different. I am going hard mode zero damage to start. Not using the rules as is, using the harder rules.
The rules allow for heirlooms, guild and sugar daddy characters to help you out with gear, bags, gold, etc. I am not using any heirlooms, will not join a guild and will support myself with anything the entire way. This will make it much harder for sure.
I wanted to start this way to test my limits as well as to see if it could be done. I started a character on another server I do not have any character on. Well, one, but that one is only a level 15 hunter. Yes, another hunter. This way I would not be tempted to join a guild, send myself gold or get heirlooms. The temptation of those things is just to great. While it is allowed in the rules, I did want to try it harder to start out with. It would force me to be more careful knowing I did not have the over powered gear.
First up was choosing a race to be.
Looking over the bonuses that come with different races I immediately threw out anything that healed, lowered damage, or had any sort of bonus like that. I should never need a heal and never need to lower damage because I should never take any damage if I do this correctly.
I looked at the damage increasing abilities of some races and considered them. They would help me get things down faster right? But in the end will a few extra points of damage really make that much of a difference on a regular basis? It might make the journey a small bit faster over time but it will not make it any safer.
I needed to find abilities that could save me from taking damage. A silence might be okay, but I would need to be close and as I am a hunter and never want to be close, even more so for this challenge, and I will be avoiding most caster mobs, a silence is not practical. Same for a stun. If anything gets close enough to me to stun it then it it very possible my run at zero damage will be over anyway.
Looking at all the abilities the only two that made sense to me when it comes to things that can save me butt are shadowmeld and dark flight. That would allow me a speed boost to get the hell away or a mini sort of feign death.
For anyone that has never played a night elf before you probably do not realize the true power of shadowmeld in PvE. You can shadowmeld in a wipe to a raid boss and live. It is an amazing aggro dump even if only temporary and with the condition that you can't move.
If I stay at maximum range all the time and grab aggro I can shadowmeld and let my pet build aggro again or just flat out kill the mob. Also, if it is something I think will kill my pet I can shadowmeld, let my pet build some aggro, and then start running with some free time to get away until my pet dies.
So while dark flight also sounded good, shadowmeld won. It won hands down. It ended up not even being a decision that should have required thinking. If you are trying for zero damage shadowmeld will be your most powerful tool in your efforts to get there. So it is a night elf I shall be, once again.
I started my character and set up my UI, which takes longer than leveling I think.
I only made it to level 5 before calling it a day but that was a slow level 5, unlike the way I normally level, because I was trying to take no damage. Always getting at max range before I took my first shot. Starting to kite while the mob was still a mile away, just in case. It was taking longer, but I knew it would.
I did a few of the starting quests and then got one that lead me right to an area I stood there watching before I went in. A cave. More importantly a cave with spiders. My journey could end right now, before it has really ever started. Who would have thought that a level 3 spider could be the most dangerous mob in the game?
See, this is what the zero damage challenge is about, and knowing the abilities of the mobs. Spiders spit poison. I do not control my pet yet so I can not send it in before I attack. I must attack first and as such I will either be webbed or have poison spit at me because I would be on top of the arrgo list. So the decision needed to be made. Take the chance or pass it up?
Level 4, I could start again easily enough, but I want to do this as well as I can. After standing there for a few minutes I decided that spiders were being put on my "run like hell" list where I will avoid them at any costs. So if I wanted to get to level 5 to finish the starter area and get to the quest to go to the next area it was grind time. Just kill everything else. And that is exactly what I did.
While doing those starting quests it occurred to me that this challenge will be more about how well you know the game and the mobs than it will be about how good of a hunter you are. You could be the best hunter in the world but if you do not know spiders will spit and boars will charge and cats will jump, your journey is over before it began.
I knew the cats in the starting area did not jump, so I just killed them all to get to level 5 but I assure you I will not be attacking the cats in darkshore even if I have control of my pet by then. Those cats jump and more importantly they jump at anyone. It is not a "whoever has aggro" thing.
So the more I think about this zero damage challenge it is not as much a proof of how good of a hunter you are, it is proof of how good of a geek you are to know all this stupid crap.
Heck, for all I know those level 3 spiders might not have spit. I was just not taking the chance. I see a lot of grinding in my future which will make it so much harder. If I have to keep skipping quests because the task they send me too will not be something I can do without getting hit I will have to grind to level and not get the gear from the quests.
Being I am trying this hard mode, which means no bonus experience and things like heirlooms, I will need that gear really badly. I will also need to get the gear somewhere and I will not have the sugar daddy to give it to me.
This attempt at the zero damage challenge might not last long with those disadvantages, but I can tell you one thing for sure. If you ever want to experience hard, try the zero damage challenge. To everyone that says that the game is so easy now this is the challenge for you. Even the starting zone felt dangerous when doing it without the super powered boost of heirlooms.
I am only level 5 and I still did those 5 levels really fast even without heirlooms but it was probably the hardest 5 levels I have done starting a character since the changes to the old world. Not probably, it was. Consider one hit to mean you are dead and it changes the entire concept of the game and those spiders, those simple level 3 spiders, could mean game over. Even for a level 80.
Looking at the future I can see me spending more time trying to remember what each mobs does than actually killing the mobs because beating them will not be the problem, even without heirlooms, knowing what they do will be the problem and the real challenge.
Is this challenge a little to much or can it be done? Only time will tell. Perhaps we will need someone with more free time than I have to actually do it before mists because I can tell you now, there is no way I am finishing before then. Not when you need to research every mob you ever attack. Now that is hard mode.