Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I'll Get Back to Dungeons Later, I'll Level Now

I did not do any dungeons this week.  Even if I have two characters that need gear and they do seem to be pretty easy even for pug people for the most part because there are fewer instant wipe mechanics I just do not have the desire to do them.

Perhaps it is not so much the desire to do them that is keeping me from doing them, it is the feel that I need to do them that is keeping me from doing them.

My main is still working up his reputations and is capping valor easily in three or four days without ever even stepping into a dungeon, raid, scenario or challenge mode.  When I am done with my reputations I might decide to do some dungeons.  But as of now, it seems like a waste to run them.  Sure I can get gear but if I am valor capped I am not getting valor, so I feel as if I am losing out.  They need to remove the valor cap, weekly and total.  There is no need to restrict people from playing the game.

Because of my lack of desire to do dungeons, for whatever reason, it has given me the option to level up now.  While the first few days of the week I go daily crazy on my main once I cap I only do shadow-pan and august celestials because they are the only two factions I am not yet revered on.

Once capped,  I start to do play the other characters.  I only have one other 90 right now but that one I go on and do my farm and fishing dailies.  That is it.  I have absolutely zero intention of working on reputation with that character until they fix it.  There is no reason I should need to do a grind for gear on that character when I have already done it.  If I opened valor gear on my main it should be open for all my characters.  So it sits around doing nothing but farming and fishing and occasionally tanking when someone needs a tank for a quick queue.

So basically my refusal to run dungeons because I am already capped on my main and refusal to run dailies on my other 90 because I refuse to do that reputation grind again to open stuff I already opened means I have one thing to do.  Level.

This is not a bad thing at all.  Do not think I am complaining.  It has actually started to work out well.  I have many characters I wish to level and this actually makes me have the time to do that without feeling I need to sacrifice from my 90s to do so.

In the time it takes me to level all those other characters perhaps they will notice they need to make a few changes and they will have time to implement those changes.  They need to remove the valor cap, they need to add more items you can get with valor, and they need to make reputations either easier to get up on alts or account bound.  Simple as that, until then I keep as I have been and when I cap my main I level my alts.

I've even already mastered my leveling process.  Usually only takes one run through and then a second one to fine tune it before I have it all set up and that is exactly how it worked this time as well.

When leveling I start off on the starting quest of course.  I work the quests as they lead me which gets me to exalted with my new sister faction in the new world and usually leads me to my training basically.  At that point I hit 86.

Once I hit 86 I waste no time. I might finish off any quests I have that are super easy and fast and go turn in any of the quests that send me to speak to someone and then I abandon everything else and head over to the valley.

Once at the valley I do the quest line as it comes to me.  Every quest along the way, even if there are a few you can skip.  I open my farm, which is important for all my characters and it is the only thing I make sure to log in every single day to tend to on all my characters.  I follow the storyline to stoneplow and up to take my training further by breaking some boards.

By the time I am done with that quest I am now 87.  When I return to stoneplow from my training there will be someone there that gives me a quest to head up the stairs and speak to two people.  Well isn't that special?  Even if it were not for that quest being given to me that was exactly where I was heading once I hit 87.  If he did not give me that quest there is a guy at the bottom of the pass that would have given it to me anyway.

I grab the fight point to the stairs, which I made sure to pick up as I passed it while questing there, and run up the stairs.  I do those two side quests there, because it will be required most likely if I want to keep my timing up unless I have a gathering profession that will get me a little extra experience as I go.  Trust me, take them.

I then continue up and when I take the boat across I grab the fight point first and foremost.  Then I grab all the quests right there and turn in the two ones that had lead me there.  I finish up those quests and then head to open up our little camp there.  Once I open the camp after a little quick quest and all the people appear there I make sure to grab the flight point.  This is important as I will be coming back here to continue questing after I go off on a side quest right now.

After I get the flight point I head to the white tiger and do the quest there.  I open the gates, turn in the quest at the golden pagoda, and head to the main city to get the flight point there and set my hearth there.

Now I have my new home and I fly back to the camp I helped open.  I do those quests there, up to and including helping with the yak wash, doesn't everyone love the yak wash?  I know I do.

After doing those sets of quests there I had over to the wall in the nook to start on shado-pan stuff.  Once in the wall I head to the top and grab the flight path, don't you always do that first or is that just an old school thing?  I do all those quests and basically play follow the bouncing panda from that point on going northward and doing all the panda related quests as many of them will give you shado-pan reputation.

Notice that I did not go to the wilds ever.  Even if at three points in the valley I was given quests to head in that direction.  There is no need to ever go to the wilds while leveling.  It offers nothing worthwhile.  There is no reputation to be gained there, the quests just end up sending you back to the valley anyway and quite honestly if I followed it all the way through I would be in the steeps before I would be returning to the valley and basically wasted all of the summit yet would have still be forced to do it and thus increased wasting my time.  I am not a big fan of wasting time.  No reputation and lower quest rewards in the wilds means you are better off ignoring it and moving on to the summit from stoneplow.  If by chance you are not 87 yet when you return to stoneplow do the messingwary quest line and that should get you to 87.  Do not go to the wilds and waste your time.

Back to questing for the shado-pan.  If all goes well you will follow them up the mountain doing quests, getting reputation, and better quest rewards than wilds as well as more experience per quest than wilds and by the time you are done with that big battle at the wall you will hit 88 and continue your quest through the opening in the wall into the steeps.

Once in the steeps stay with our rotund friends and keep getting what little shado-pan reputation you can.  You will finish up their quest line and some other side stuff and hit 89 in seemingly short time.  The pandas will then send you to the bugs and you will enter the wastes and meet the klaxxi.

While I have heard horror stories about the 89-90 from some people I am left to wonder what drug in the world they are on.  Yes, that first time there without knowing where to go it was hard because you got lost and it seems there are fights to be had everywhere and in huge packs.  Second time through should be a breeze and the second time through you should have rested unless you made the stupid mistake of running dungeons and wasting all your rested there.

I open up as many of the bugs as I can, doing all the quests and I make sure to let myself get side tracked to do some searching for chen which will net me with a couple of 450 items, so while they do not offer reputation they do offer something of real value.

Before you even open all of your klaxxi's you will see some dailies and if they are close you can do them, if not you can leave them, either way you are now 90, or pretty damn close to it, shortly after hitting 89 and basically just one long quest line in the wastes and one side track quest line to do it.  Like I said, if you were on rested it should be super fast, nice and easy.

So I only get to level for a few hours on weekends, instead of grinding dungeons or something, even if I should be, but at this rate, with a pattern now set out fully, getting all 10 classes, and soon 11 when I start a monk, to level 90 should be nice and easy and mostly painless.

The biggest stress to leveling are those first two levels.  85-87 seems to take forever even with rested and seems like you get nothing worthwhile from it, not gear wise and not reputation wise.  Once you hit 87 and go to the summit they should just let you press a button that says instant 90, because if you really worked on it 87-90 goes really fast and smooth and thanks to some streamlined questing that seems worth it based on rewards and reputation gained, 87-90 is mostly easy.

For me, what makes questing so enjoyable this expansion compared to last is that I have options, like skipping quests and choosing my own path as I laid out.  It is like back in wrath where I used to always joke that once you hit 76 they should just award you 80 because it was so perfect while others always said it took forever.  They just never knew how to maximized your time and effort to reward like I did then and I do now.  Cataclysm never gave us that option, their on rails questing was do this or do nothing and that was horrible design.

I could stay in the forest longer, I could go down to the wilds, I could complete all the valley quests or even anything in the center of the summit but I choose not to.  The only zone I will get the zone achievement on when leveling is the steppes.  As much as I like it, that area does not seem to have enough quests.  Even with rested I barely make 89 before finishing it.  But you know what, I do make 89, and that is all that counts.  It works out perfectly.  Just like good quest design should.  It gives me the option to do it the way I do it or to spend a little extra time in other places.

Thank god for the return to intelligent quest design instead of the lead you by the hand on rails questing of cataclysm that never let you feel as if you were deciding to do things but that you were required to do things.

Just like I am capping valor doing quests now which is keeping me from running dungeons for now, I have options now to everything I do, even leveling, and I like that.  I still worry how the characters I am not very good on will do going through them, but at least if I have problems I have options, I can always go back and do easier quests and take my sweet time with it.  If the steppes or wastes is too hard on my warlock for example I will still have the forest mostly undone, wilds completely undone and lots left to do in the valley and summit which would be easy enough to get me to 90 without doing the zones that might appear harder for people that are not very good, like me on my lock.  Options, we have them, and I love it.

I'll get back to dungeons later, I'll level now.  It is just too much fun to ignore.

People keep talking about the choices in the game we have now at max level but they seem to forget a huge part of the game is getting to that max level and we now have choices to get there too.  That rocks.


  1. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    Cool, you just described how I love to play. Honestly, I think MoP has saved you as a long term player, rather than a shooting star style--burning hot bright and then dieing out. This gives me long term hope for you to continue to play and I am glad as I will soon be in position to start playing with you again.

    I also would like to thank you for the generalized guide to how you like to efficiently and effectively level 85 to 90. That will be of immense use to me as I am finally approaching the kickoff of my monk reaching Pandaria.

    LOL, man can I shamelessly ask for help or what... *Grins* Hehe, well unlike a lot of the folks who read this, I actually get to play with you and I know I like being in the same party/raid with you. I know you will be of immense aid in helping me go the final distance to 90.

    The monk is my main for sure and certain, starting with her ascent to 85 (currently 83, with 84 my goal for tonight and a good start on 85 as a minimum). Wednesday night the monk should reach Pandaria, Thursday by the latest. On that date, I will formally switch mains. For the time being, I will be keeping my current character as the official guild leader toon, but I may switch that later too. I really haven’t made up my mind on that yet. The monk is my main for sure and certain, starting with her ascent to 85 (currently 83, with 84 my goal for tonight and a good start on 85 as a minimum). Wednesday night the monk should reach Pandaria, Thursday by the latest. On that date, I will formally switch mains.

    After I finish off 90 the first time with my new monk (and start the ilevel climb), then I get to start the leveling process all over again with the added advantage of knowledge. That is fun to me, and every bit as valid way to play as any dungeon crawls, raids or PvP. In fact to me that is a part of the game that folks who say they hate to level can’t seem to accept--that it too is a repeatable, long term, accomplished once per character, Epic Quest. Expansions grant an extension to that Epic Quest for all my characters and that is something to be savored rather than rushed thru as a necessity. After all, it is just a game…

    1. This expansion is right up your alley as you are a quester and never liked group content outside of the guild. It will allow you to earn valor and not have to wait for people to be on to run which in the long run will mean you do not get left behind which seemed to happen all the time in cataclysm.

      Too often you would be 10 item levels lower than everyone else because you did not do the dungeon crawl and it left you out. Now you can get valor gear, while not a lot or not great always, it will be a start and will really help.

      I see a better expansion in your future and perhaps one day my monk will get out of the starting area so it can join the guild. At the moment it is sitting at level 5 doing only one or two quests a week. I'm taking it really slow as you can tell. lol

      Going to be a tank of course. Most likely heals too. I can live without melee really. My rogue is my only melee and that is because I have no choice.

    2. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

      Yea, I was consistently playing catch-up with my main, and my chief alt of the time. Still I generally managed to do so for at least the main. Towards the end of Cata, when I was really only acting as a fill-in, my ilevel had reached 399 heals and 398 DPS, which was frequently reflected in the improved numbers I was putting up.

      I was just about burnt out on raiding, and still don't know if I really want to jump back on the bandwagon of intensive raiding (lol, intensive as we get anyway).

      I suspect that the newness of the monk will carry over to me wanting to try raiding however.

      I want to try the combination of offensive heals, melee punches and kicks, short term buffs, and ranged attacks that a monk offers in more difficult surroundings, so I likely will be pushing the new monk harder than I will be leveling other toons to at least some extent for the foreseeable future. Which means I will probably be signing up for runs.

  2. I'm not lvling alts but I pretty much done with dungeons.

    I managed to get my ilvl up to 463 killing Sha of Anger twice and getting super lucky with a 496 tier piece, plus some PvP gear, one valor item, a couple of justice items, and a few 463s from heroics and a scenario.

    So I did LFR for the first time tonight. LFR is hard! It was a guild group (15 or so from guild with us covering the tanks and most heals); without vent we would have been screwed. Luckily, a couple people had studied the bosses and were explaining things. We wiped a couple of times on each boss in the 2nd part before we figured it out. It was fun to raid again even if it was LFR.

    Oh, and I got some loot. I used a ton of those Elder charms to get it though; double rolls on every boss...

    There are a few upgrades I could get from dungeons still but I just don't see the point anymore. Dailies and LFR and maybe some Normal raids for me. I might queue for H:SPM once though just for the achiev since I never did that one.

    Glad you guys are having fun questing. I enjoyed in on my hunter but it'll be a while before I lvl alts since there's so much else for me to do on my hunter.

    1. I can't get anything from sha, even with the extra roll, but that is just my luck. I've never had any in game when it comes to gear.

      LFR the second week was not as good as the first. First week seemed to be a lot smoother. Shows you that there are a lot more people in there now that should not really be in there.

      Admittedly I did not "know" the last three fights but at least I had watched a video and had a clue what they would do. Seems 75% of the player base didn't and you could tell that by piles of dead bodies whenever there was an ability that should have been avoided.

      The best was the wall of guys, seemed to catch 3 people, at least, every time. Even if you never watched a video something like that should be obvious enough that it needs to be avoided.

      It is something like that, as simple as it is, that separates the people that should be there from the people that shouldn't. People that should be there might still get caught the first time they see it but they never would again. People that shouldn't get caught in it again and again.

      The only heroic I never randomed into was scholo, might do a direct for that one time. I've tanked it but never DPSed it yet.

      There is a lot to do, but slowly that is being removed, by the end of the week I will have at least 5 of the daily hubs exalted so that is 5 I will not fell compelled to do. It will remain to be seen if I still feel the same about dailies when I don't feel I need to do them. Perhaps then I will do a few dungeons just to cap.

  3. "They need to remove the valor cap, weekly and total. There is no need to restrict people from playing the game."

    I'd take a week off. Grind to death. Buy every piece of vp gear I need. Never step into a dungeon nor do a daily ever again.

    This also forces raiders into this death grind at the start of every raiding content patch.
    This also means people with more time get a consistent advantage over people who don't have as much.

    Personally I don't have time to do dailies during the week. That means I couldn't do the vp cap last week. I find it brutal as it is. I managed this week, grinding full weekend. But looking back, it doesn't seem healthy.

    Moderation. It's needed.

    1. And what is wrong with that?

      If you choose to grind to death in one day and I choose to get 200 a day in the end we are both in the same place.

      I do agree that it feels like you are left behind if that would happen, I know what it is like. My time is limited but someone in my guild already had 4 90s all in BiS pre raid and all with their reps up. I would have to quit my job if I wanted to do that. But he has the time so let him play that way.

      Removing the cap would mean I could do more on the days I have free like saturdays and sundays. Now, when the weekend comes I am already capped. So that is why I level alts. While I like it I would like to have the choice to work on my main some more but the game does not give me that option.

      All I ask for is the option. If I choose to use it and get everything and then have nothing to do that is no ones problem but my own. I should still have that option.

    2. Maybe if we had weeklies instead of dailies. If you can only play on Saturday, do all your weeklies on Saturday. If you can play every day, spread you weeklies out. I think that would be more flexible for people with limited schedules. Raids are already on a weekly lockout anyway.

      For VP/JP, I don't see why there is a maximum cap. Why do I have to spend it to earn more? Maybe I'm saving it up to purchase several upgrades at once that I didn't get from dungeons/raids or something. Not that I'd do that really but anyway.

      I don't mind the weekly valor cap but I've never understood why the cap is 1000 but gear is 1250, 1750, 2250... Why not 1000, 1500, 2000... I haven't hit the weekly cap since launch. I used to be able to hit the cap easily in cata (100 per raid boss x 8 DS bosses, 250 for lfr x 2, 150 per heroic). The valor gains this time are really low. Everything indicates they don't want us to buy gear: lower item level, requires rep, lower valor gains, but we've discussed that already..

    3. I was actually thinking of weekly quests as well. That would be a great idea. Make them more involved of course, instead of just killing 6 of these and 8 of those, but offer more valor for them and make them weekly.

      I hit the weekly cap without even stepping into a dungeon usually in 4 days just from dailies. If I do a dungeon or two or something else I can cap in 3 days maybe.