Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ding! Level 90 Hunter

The opening bell rang and we were off on a new adventure.  The adventure to waste our time leveling to get back to max level where the real game begins.  But wait, whats this?  Leveling felt like an adventure?  There was a real sense of peril?  There was a real sense of exploration?  This is not something I am use to folks.  Leveling that first time through was fun and for someone like myself that loves to level it was a very welcome addition to the game.

I am not exactly sure how fun it will be on my characters that follow the lead but I can tell you one thing for sure, having to travel by ground was a fantastic idea to make people feel like they are actually part of the environment again.

From the not-so rare rares out in the world, solo killed 19 of the 21 I came across while leveling, two others I tried for a few times and decided to come back later, to the hovering packs of mobs everywhere to the return of the runners, leveling seemed more like it was meant to be part of the game and not just a means to an end.  Kudos to blizzard for bringing back the joy of questing.  Having a connected continent again really helped a lot as well for the feel of a whole new world and there is nothing anyone could say bad about that.

There is one thing I do worry about however.  There were many points it was not easy.  Mobs took a while to die, it was not three shots and dead and even if I loved it I can see a fair deal of players having issues with it.  There were more times than I can count where I was working on a pack of three and another pack of three joined and then one more snuck up from behind.  Hey, I am a hunter, MD the three and trap the one with an over the shoulder trap before he can smack me in the back of the head and lay the smack down on those baddies.  Thing is, not everyone is a hunter and many of the hunters aren't even good at it.  I can see a fair deal of players having issues with it.

I worry about some of my characters.  My lock for instance, without a suitable pet like my hunter that can tank like a champ I can not go around mowing down packs with that sort of efficiency.  Or my mage, I doubt there is any way I would be able to deal with fights that lasted that long in such a condensed area where I can't kite or I would have even more mobs on me.  Or my poor priest that has never seen the outside of the light, how can she level as disc?  Will it even be possible?

Good questions but also goes to show you that leveling is not some joke this expansion like it was in the last.  I never worried about anything last expansion.  I even landed on a rare mob with my shaman in healing spec and healing gear and beat it in cataclysm.  I do not see me even thinking of doing something like that with the 21 rares I have encountered so far.  Even the few super easy ones I ran across would destroy my shaman in that case.

The launch was smooth, the launch was fun, and it took me twice as long as I expected it would to level to 90 and four times longer than it would have on beta.  Good call on making it take longer blizzard.  It will give people more chances to see the beauty of the world and it is beautiful.

Mists has just started and it is already well up on cataclysm.  Even venturing through the dread wastes I felt it was more menacing than anything deathwing ever threw at us.  Could the game finally be giving us a story again?  A feeling of immersion again?  A feeling of fullness?  Only time can tell but I just hit 90 yesterday and I have a lot of exploring to do.  Not to mention two rares to seek out revenge on when I get better gear or work up an effective strat for them.  Word to the wise, if you are not a hunter, get a friend to help on many of these.  If you are a hunter and have any issues you need to practice your hunter stuff, you will need tanq often, and spec slienceing shot for sure, all your tools that make you a great class will be used.  Also, hunter note, DO NOT use stampede as a DPS boost, use it defensively.  They taunt and if your pet tank goes down calling them and casting  FD will give you more than ample time to get your tank back up.  See, just because I killed 19 while leveling, most in the high levels, doesn't mean it was a push over, you needed to use your toolbox and hunters have the biggest one in the game.  Too bad all they drop is the occasional bag of goodies and BoP items that 17 of the 19 were useless and the two that were for me were the same thing.  I did get two cool toys from them however.  So give them a shot if you want, but I would caution against it for most classes and most people, at least not until you are 90.  I spent nearly as much time rare hunting as I did leveling it felt like, and I loved every minute of it.  It made me feel like a... hunter.

Welcome to mists, this isn't cataclysm any more, thank god.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- This is the last monday of cataclysm

- Are there any other wow thoughts that would come before that one?

- What do I hope to be thinking about next monday is more what I am thinking about this monday.

- I am hoping I have my main all geared and ready for raiding.

- I am hoping I have at least started out with a few others.

- Alternating rested of course.

- I am hoping I have my jewelcrafter and enchanter maxed so I can take care of myself.

- Want to get my druid and priest up so I have one damage dealer, one healer and one tank.

- The druid is the tank and the jewelcrafter and the priest is the healer and the enchanter.

- Makes sense now right?

- Everything I do always has a plan behind it.

- My hunter is the alchemist.

- So I will have my flasks, potions, gems and enchants ready for raiding nice and early on.

- But oddly enough I currently have no desire to raid.

- But I always have the desire to be ready for it.

- For now there are other things that need to get done.

- Lots of characters to level.

- Lots of professions to level.

- Lots of reputations to level.

- Lots of things to do that raiding is actually the last thing on my mind.

- Raiding is always fun but for me it is something to fill the time.

- Hence the reason I hate when raids go on to long.

- Raids for me, are filler, while I am waiting for more of the game to come out.

- Good filler that I enjoy doing, but filler none the less.

- Not sure when raids become boring, but I would guess after a dozen or so clears.

- I don't care about getting all BiS because I know that I will just be replacing it as soon as the next raid comes out.

- But in the same breath I would never turn down an upgrade.

- I can never understand the people that obsess over getting BiS.

- I can see obsessing over BiS for your locked 80 herald toon.

- It has a cap, it can not get better gear, ever.

- So there is a real best in slot.

- Now, to me, that is fun to do.

- I've really lost my taste for gearing up over and over again.

- Running on the never ending mouse wheel of gearing up has started to annoy me and I want off.

- Give me content to do, stop giving me gear to grind.

- I wouldn't care if I wore the same gear for an entire expansion, or two even.

- As long as there is a steady flow of things to do I can have fun playing the game.

- But I am the extreme minority there.

- I raid for fun, for something to do.

- So if they released a new raid with no gear drops, I would still raid it.

- Or gear drops, but the same exact stats, just different looks.

- To throw some people a bone that feel they need something to justify raiding.

- Can't the fun of downing a boss in a team effort and overcoming a challenge be enough reward for raiding?

- It is for me.

- And I would guess me alone, that is how much in the minority I am.

- I hope we get more content patches this expansion because last expansion was about as boring as they come.

- What content did they really give us?

- Molten Front, Thrall quest line, Zul quest line.

- That is all I got, how about you?

- One hub that did not feel worth doing after the first time and two quest lines that were done in 15 minutes.

- Not exactly what I call compelling content.

- I think I am going to start getting into PvP.

- Seems to be so much more rewarding from a content stand point.

- Too bad I suck at it.

- But then again, if I do it enough I might get better at it.

- Do you know how hard it is to map out all the binds and macros a hunter needs for PvP?

- I would rather take calculus again.

- It is easier to understand.

- Easiest class to play, hardest class to master.

- No kidding.

- I am wondering if with the push blizzard is giving to try to get everyone into raiding if the days of actual content are gone for instanced encounters only.

- Again, not saying anything bad about instanced encounters, but with their track record they do not release enough of them to be a good flow of content.

- All too quick, too boring, and easy to burn out on.

- I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time doing pet battles.

- I am one of those people that like to complete everything.

- So not only will I want to get all the pets I can I will want to max them all out in skill too.

- As long as it does not get boring too quickly I can see that taking me some time.

- Who would have thought something so simple in concept could end up being more compelling content than a raid.

- I would rather level 10 more pets than raid 10 more weeks of DS.

- Sometimes enough is enough.

- And DS reached enough about three months ago.

- If the raids are better I might go back to wanting to raid all the time.

- I used to do it every chance I got.

- Now I can't be bothered.

- I say that is the fault of the raid design however.

- It just wasn't very good on any level.

- I will have to go back at 90 and do it again so my main can get the achievements.

- Yes, I know they are shared, but if my main did not get it my main needs it.

- Just because it shares things doesn't mean my main go it.

- I did heroic on my tank and healer, my main only had three bosses down.

- The three easy ones from early on.

- Which brings me to something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

- Kind of forced into it really.

- I need to find another guild to raid with.

- I have enough hunters to go around, I want to have one of them in a weekend progression guild.

- One where I do not have to be the raid leader and can just sit back and play and have fun.

- One where I get to be on my hunter every week.

- One where I can just do what a hunter is supposed to do, kill whatever gets in my way.

- There will be some shake ups in my guild thanks to someone leaving and then coming back.

- While I can not be sure what was said I believe some sort of side deal was made to get them to come back.

- Wasn't me, I have learned to never bend over backwards for anyone.

- Was the guild leader that did it.

- If the rumors are true, and I have not seen him on to talk to him about it, I might be looking for a new guild on my main as well as looking for a weekend progression guild.

- When I wrote a post a while ago I said one thing I learned this expansion is that everyone is replaceable.

- Whenever we lost someone really good, we ended up getting better without them.

- So I leaned not to cater to anyone.

- If there is any catering going on, I too can be easily replaced.

- No one is irreplaceable.

- Goes to show you that success gets to everyones head.

- We finished tied for 9th on our server and for an extremely casual guild that is not so bad at all.

- So now some want to try for more.

- I am against any effort that might take place that tries to turn a casual guild into a hard core one.

- If I want hard core I will do that elsewhere.

- I am proud of what we accomplished but it seems some people looked at what we did and saw stars in their eyes.

- If only we had this person instead of that person we might have been 8th or this person we might have been 7th.

- Sorry, we are casual and for who we are and what we do where we ended up is pretty darn impressive.

- If we are going to make a move to do more hard core raiding, I would take my main to another guild for it instead of one of my hunter alts.

- I like the relaxed nature of our team and the good people on it.

- I raid with them because I enjoy raiding with them.

- If we have to start pushing out some of them for progression reasons, then it is not the group I want to raid with any more.

- It would not be the team I am extremely proud of.

- I would rather 9th fall to 40th than see 9th go to 3rd if it means breaking up good people just because someone can do 2K more DPS or 2K more HPS.

- Turning a casual guild into a hard core guild ends up one way only.

- Badly for the players that got them to 9th and made a few want to push further.

- It would be like punishing the people that did so well because there is someone better out there.

- Can't people just be happy having fun and doing decently with good people?

- If anything, this might finally be the way I can leave my raid leader post and not feel bad about it.

- Let the person that wants to be hard core lead.

- Good thing I really don't seem to care about raiding all that much right now.

- Imagine how much this would bug me if I did if it bugs me this much when I don't?

- Happy mists day everyone, just a few more hours to go.

- Hope you enjoy it.

- Have a great day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mists Prediction Time

As the release date for mists draws near I'm going to share my predictions for some of the features and changes we can expect in the coming expansion.


I expect this to be a huge hit for guilds that run together as a way to grind out some quick and easy valor.  They will not have to wait for a tank or healer and can get right in so a lot of guilds will surely take advantage of getting some valor during the hours where those roles are not around.  For social guilds this feature will end up being a huge boon as, from my experience, they are usually full on damage dealers and this will work for them.

However, for the masses that choose to do randoms I have a feeling this will backfire on blizzard.  I expect to see many groups of lesser skilled players that do not know how to use their personal abilities to their fullest have a hard time with them.

Three bad damage dealers with no idea how to use crowd control, defensive capabilities and personal healing or avoidance will encounter a format harder than they are used to.  With a five man random there is always a tank to take damage and a healer to heal them and now they will be forced to take responsibility for their own actions and I can see this only ending one way, badly.  I suspect that these will end up being harder than five man dungeons for those bad damage dealers with little or no skill due to the lack of support they have become accustom to.

Easier 5-Mans:

I expect this to be a huge plus to the game for every type of player across the whole spectrum.  Lesser demands on the group means that it will become easier for a few players, or even one, to carry players with less ability.  For the top end player down to the at least good enough to clear a dungeon player this will mean faster runs and less frustration while doing their grind to cap valor.  For the lesser skilled players, returning players, new players and dare we say it bad players, this will mean less frustration coming from the people that end up feeling like they are doing all the work.

In many cases, if there are no problems, no one will care about the bad player or two because they never needed them to do it anyway.  It was only when you needed everyone to do their job right that people got frustrated and started being rude in groups to the lesser players.

Remember, for those that want harder heroics, they are only hard when you do them in self made groups and those first few times through.  Once you have beaten the challenge they are just a boring grind that you do each week to cap on valor.  So if you end up running a dungeon 100 times what would you rather?  One time with a great and fun challenge, 49 times with a decent run just to get it done, and 50 times with some people that frustrate you because they can't play their class well enough to help with the run.  Is that one true day of challenge worth the 99 of frustration.  I say not, it should be easy from the get go and I think if they are easy enough this could be a huge plus to the game.

Pet Battles:

Love them or hate them it makes no difference.  This is a completely optional part of the game.  Just like transmog was for me, while I still think it is a solid addition to the game I couldn't care one way or another if it were there or not, pet battles will be the same.  It will not be required of anyone.  There will be nothing more than some achievement points to get from it and lets face it, achievement hunters are probably the type of people this will be a hit with to begin with.  A way to do some stuff solo to pass the time and have some fun.

I expect this to be a huge hit and they put some love into it.  If you have been around the world since the release of 5.0.4 you will see there are pet trainers everywhere.  There is even one dead in the middle of the path of glory in hellfire which makes you wonder, what the hell are they doing there.  Being they updated even BC and WotLK content for this I can believe 100% that this is here to stay and will get the attention it should in the years to come.

But in the end, it is the fact that it is completely optional that will make this one a winner all around.  People that think it is stupid will not feel obligated to do it and people that are just looking for something to do, even if the concept does not originally interest them, have something to waste some time on.


This will turn out badly.  No doubt in my mind.  Just look at pet battles and see the commitment they made to it and turn back to the tillers to see the commitment they didn't and you will see what I mean.  They will not be a life long addition to the game.  Unless they do some serious updating it is a one expansion and done thing.  Recent additions like archeology, transmog, reforging, and pet battles where made to stay.  They are useful always to those that wish to do them.  Tillers, not so much.

First off, if you plan on crafting your own items, or even if you don't, this seems as if it is mandatory.  It is not optional content.  Secondly it is not tied to anything other than mists.  Once we leave that part of the world in the next expansion our farm gets left behind.

Instead of integrating it with the game and making it build up they made it a one shot thing.  They could have done something like you get lower level dailies to get five plots for our farm in vanilla content then add another 5 plots of land and some dailies in BC content and then another 5 in wrath and cataclysm each and finally 5 more in mists and it would have been something to gradually build up in time across the entire game and something you would continue to work on forever but they decided not to give it the love they gave pet battles and it will instead turn into something like the argent tournament.

Something that is good for the expansion it is in, something you might even go back and do some day for some easy daily gold, but once its time has passed it is only a memory of what was.  Important at the time and nothing now.

I think blizzard really missed big time on this one and could have made it better if they gave it the same love they did with pet battles and added it throughout the entire game.  It could have been the start of player housing.  This expansion we would built up to 25 farm plots throughout the entire game and next expansion we start to build our house.  Nothing this expansion will ever scream missed opportunity as loudly as the tillers does.


Why is something added last expansion part of this one?  Because mists gives new life to a one expansion old profession that seems a lot older and stale way too soon.  By making some small changes like increasing the number of fragments while digging to increasing the dig spots per site to making the dig sites smaller, it all bodes well.  It will let people that wanted to level it have a faster and considerably more enjoyable time doing it.

That is not the reason why it is listed here however, it is the fact that once you do reach mists level you do not need to go back in the old world and fly what seems like forever to get the fragments you need for the item you wanted to get.  Anything you dig in pandaland you can trade in for other fragments.  So no more clearing for hours trying to get a dig site in uldum only to find you got another piece of junk instead of the mount or pet you wanted.  Just dig on that one new continent and trade in for those fragments.

It makes it so that you level faster and can play catch up easier for those that never tried it.  It is like a whole new profession, or at least an old one envisioned to be better.  A way to trade fragments should have been included in the original design in my opinion as anyone that has built over 700 of each night elf, troll and fossil items but still does not have items they want will tell you.

Challenge Modes:

I can the nerd rage from a mile away and they have not even come out yet.  The cries that they are too hard, that the timer is too strict, that only certain group make ups can do it, that blizzard is catering to the hard core players, that it needs to be made easier so others can have some fun, to it needs to be part of the random system, to a million other things.

While each and every addition or change to the game is guaranteed to elicit some sort of response in favor and against from the community I see this one being the hot bed of arguments this expansion.

While I know already it is going to be hard, frustrating even, to beat those timers when you are a player like me, average, I know with some effort, some time and some practice I will be able to do it if I go with the same group of 5 for a while.  Not like the hard core players that will almost instantly get gold of course, but perhaps after a few dozen runs and I might have a chance at it.

The difference is, I see it as it is, I will try it, I will want to do it, but if I can't I can't.  I can accept that.  The community will not.  For the people that understand what it is meant for like myself and the people that can do it this will be a huge success, perhaps the biggest in the entire expansion, but for the people that are not willing to accept that there are some things that are just not meant for them, read as the majority of the player base, they are going to hate it to a level of hate that has never been seen before.  The only question I have is how long until blizzard rolls back those timers a minute or two?  I'd guess 6 weeks.  Mark my words.


There is a lot of panda hate out there and people will not let it go, ever.  I am sure of that.  For most however, the pandas will just become part of the game and even the people that had a mild dislike to even a slight hatred for the idea will adapt to it and begin to not even notice they are there.  The pandas will just become a running joke like blood elves having no male race and the space goats being, well, space goats, but they will become an accepted part of the game in short time by the majority of players.

I suspect that in time we will see their radical food benefit changed as it seems for a fair deal of classes and specs the race to be if you want to maximize what you do will be pandas and it will sooner or later be considered over powering.  I am guessing later, after all the hard core guilds spend the money to race change, then they will adjust it to be more in line with the other races.  Hey, blizzard is a business after all what do you expect?

In the end I see pandas as being a take it or leave it thing.  They will not have any lasting impact or make and changes to how people feel about the game and when the expansion is over they will just be another race, as they should be.


While I personally believe the game did not need another paladin class, one that can tank, heal and melee, they seem like a solid addition from the get go.  I can see a fair deal of players rolling one to try out the new class but I only see the healing spec has having a long life in popularity.

While there will be melee and tank monks running around I just do not get the feeling like they will take off as well as the healing spec.  I think, for a while at least, what an eleventh class will bring to the game is a chance to change how things work, like raid make up and raid size.  Even blizzard has hinted at that a few times in recent interviews.

As it is a new class I see it being a huge success but I do not see them becoming like death knights where everyone and their mother seemed to be playing them in wrath.  Because they are starting at level one and they, seemingly, will not be as over powered they will not have as huge an impact on the game as death knights did.


I see the return of quest based reputations as a boon personally and I think when the expansion starts most others will as well.  When they move to their second and third characters is when we will really see how well the changes work and how people will accept them.

I can see all the gear being made BoA just like the enchants were, or some changes, if there is enough complaining on the forums about not wanting to get another character all the way up again in rep again and I do expect those complaints to start around week two when many of the more serious players will have at least a few characters at end game level.

Over all I expect that their attempt to make people do dailies and gain reputations will back fire on them and the community will not like it for the most part.  It will force a change somewhere around the middle of the expansion.  They might not go as far as making the items BoA as they want people to gear through valor on the character that uses the items, but they might lower the valor purchases to friendly only with friendly being extremely easy to get to.  And in truth, honored is already easy to get to.

But like I said, I see this new reputation based gear being a huge failure and even more so if they plan to put new valor gear later on with the same requirements of reputation.  The community will reject this.


I think that the new concept of offering valor points for dailies will be a huge success.  Casual players, solo players and just plan old anti social players will have the ability to get valor gear without having to do group content.  It will take a lot longer and they will never cap or get much per week but it gives an option to those players that are adverse to random groups or can not get into a guild group for whatever the reasons might be.

It will keep people playing longer as they will have something to work toward.  Valor for dailies will be a huge success for the players that it is aimed at and might even be considered a huge success from the people it isn't aimed at when those people are doing dailies instead of dungeons.

Removing the daily cap will as well be a huge success for those players that want to do solo content.  It will give them more ability to play without playing with others which is good for blizzards bottom line and whatever is good for blizzards bottom line is good for all of us as the more they make the more likely we are to continue to get new content.

It will however be a double edged sword, one I am expecting to experience myself based on the type of player I am.  No daily cap will make some feel as if they need to do everything every day.  At least with 25 you had a hard line on where to stop.  Now, there would be no such thing.  If there are 55 dailies up that you feel you need to do because you have not maxed reputation for those factions yet you will try to do them all and this could push some people into burn out faster.  I'm calling it now, I will be one of those people, 100% certain.  Even at that, I will say the no cap on dailies is still going to be considered a success for this expansion.


I think that the looking for raid will take a huge step forward this expansion.  What we experienced with the version we had been doing was a dry run and now they have some feedback and we can see if they can adjust things a little better.

The new loot rules will stop some of the issues with the looking for raid and the experiences of the last one will teach them something if they learn from it as they have with the loot rules.  While I personally believe there are better options for the loot system there is proof  that there is a growing evolution of the LFR and we will see it throughout this expansion.

Staggered and delayed releases for the LFR  will also assist with what many considered burn out that was caused by the LFR.  By letting raiders get into the raid first and releasing the LFR shortly after it will create more content over a time period.  While I think this is good for the game I do see this being an issue for a fair deal of players who only use the LFR and rarely if ever raid feeling like they are getting left out or held back by a delayed release.  They will make complaints and we will see a lot of forum posts complaining that is it should be released sooner but I do not see blizzard bending on this one, like I said, it seems they have learned a lot from their dry run.

I think the new way of releasing it will be a huge success, even if some will be critical of it, because it will become the content for who it was originally intended for, the non raiders and people with less time on their hands to raid instead of being something actual raiders feel they have to do.


I think raiding will take a huge step forward this expansion now that they will have a more reliable three difficulty system and a preplanned design for reducing difficulty ahead of time.  While a great deal of the hard core players are against any nerfs to content those nerfs are required if blizzard truly ever wants to push end game to more players.  It will need to be more accessible.

With those efforts, they are adding hard core only achievements, which I believe is about time they did.  For those that defeat the content with no buffs while it is current content they will get an achievement saying so.  This will allow blizzard to nerf the content more without having to deal with the extremely vocal raiding community that seems to think it diminishes their kill because someone did it 3 months after them with a nerf on it.   No longer will those types of raiders have to feel that their accomplishments are tainted or being given to others through nerfs and now the front door to raiding has been opened to a much larger community.

Adding to all that we have the benefit, to even the most hard core of the hard core, that allowing more people into raids brings.  The more people that are doing the content and enjoying the content and paying to play the content gives blizzard more reason to make that type of content.

So if that means 2M extra people are doing the raid with a 30% buff gets me more raids, I say let them have at it, make the buff 80% for all I care.  While they are doing the one that has the 80% buff I will be doing the new raid with no buff that was made possible because more people are raiding and that pushed them to make more raid content and release it faster.  I am all for more raid content released more often, who wouldn't be?

I think the world is only looking up when it comes to raiding and this could be the expansion we finally see an epic raid again.  One that will be worth going back and doing for years to come.  I am calling it right now, the next kara or uldar is coming, the next great memory, all thanks to easier raiding for the masses and constant nerfs.

There are other aspects I can go into but, as usually, I have gone on too long as it is, so those are my predictions for some of the things we will be seeing in mists.  While I tend to hope for the worst so I can't be let down after the feeling cataclysm left me with I have to admit, mists looks like it has the potential to be a second wind for an old franchise.  The pluses clearly outnumber the minuses.

What are your predictions?

Friday, September 21, 2012

3 Reasons PvP is the Best Part of the Game

Full Disclosure:  I am not a PvPer.  I do it sometimes for fun but I prefer scripted content.  Leveling, quests, raids, dungeons, and general busy work.  I play to pass the time not to compete for the most part.  With that said I do like to PvP I just don't do it often and I have always loved world PvP. 

With the addition of cross realm zones world PvP, at least for now while everyone is bored, is back.  So to those that have never really got into it now might be the time to take a look at it and see why PvP really is the best part of the game.  Even on PvE servers PvP is huge at the moment, so take advantage of it, find some friendlies and some hostiles and get down and dirty.

PvP Is Real MMO Content:

Sure, you need 5 people for a dungeon, you need 10 or 25 for a raid and you might even be in a guild and occasionally do things with people in your guild or pug.  With all that said, PvE content is not very MMO.  It might be group content but it does not inspire people to reach out and meet people or work with people that they do not know at all on the spur of the moment like PvP does.  It is something you do in a preset group, usually of people you get to know but it is never spontaneous.  PvE is planned, PvP happens.

Player vs player however is the exact opposite.  It encourages the MMO aspect of the game.  You see a group of people being attacked, you join in.  You are getting attacked, people you never met come to help you. 

You are taking a ride on the tram just relaxing and enjoying your day and see flashes of light coming from the side and you jump off instinctively to see what the heck that was and notice a small group of eight or nine horde and four or five alliance trying to stop them from summoning more.  The choice is now to let others know or to join the fray and help your fellow alliance mates.  You put a quick call out to guild letting them know where the battle is and jump into the battle. 

In a matter of time there are 30 horde and 40 alliance there and it is a blood bath that no one really wants to give up on.  You just experienced the beauty of PvP and the MMO aspect.  A group of 70 people are there and perhaps you knew 5 of them before that day and even after will only know 5 of them but you enjoyed an experience with all of them.

That is what an MMO is all about.  Have you ever had people you did not know come in during the middle of a raid fight to come assist you?  Nope, not possible.  Have you ever spontaneously, while not even grouped, taken down a raid boss with random people?  Nope, not possible.

In PvP you do not need to have a group, you do not even need to have a plan or an agenda, it is us vs them whoever the us is and whoever the them are.  There are good guys and bad guys, the hatfields and the mccoys, you know who your friends are and who your enemies are and you work together even having never spoken a word with one another.

This is the number one reason I enjoy world PvP.  While I prefer the scripted content that I can move at my own pace with I do really love the spontaneity of PvP when it comes from nowhere and just happens.  It actually makes the many people of the game work together for a common goal of kill the other guy.  It puts the MMO into an MMO.

PvP is Player Driven:

When I have no characters to level, no quests to do, no dungeons to run or no raids on the calender I am bored.  No such thing with PvP.  As long as there is someone somewhere in the world that is a member of the opposing faction there is something for me to do.  Kill him.

When I PvP, you are my content.  They do not need to make new quests for PvP, you just need players.  They do not need to make new raids, you just need players.  As long as there are players playing there is a war on 24/7.

You do not even need new zones.  One zone is as good as the next.  While where you fight changes how you fight it is not as important.  The most important factor of player vs player is that there are players.  PvP is player driven content.  A raid boss has a strategy and while you can continue to get better and do it cleaner and sooner or later master it there is no such thing in player vs player.  You could end up running into the same person 10 times in the field of battle and the fight be completely different all 10 times.  As player driven content there is no script.  Just because that paladin popped his bubble early last time doesn't mean he will this time.  Just because you were able to LoS that mage this time doesn't mean he will fall for it next time.  Just because he had help this time doesn't mean you won't catch him one on one some day soon.

Player driven content means that there is always something new even when it is doing the same thing over and over.  It is easiest to design for because there is no need to design anything.  Just put people on different sides in the same area and they will create their own content.

PvP is More Inclusive:

Don't down a boss?  You get jack.  Don't win the battleground?  You still racked up the honor.  Player vs players makes it much easier for anyone to get into it.   Sure, from the start with lesser skills and lesser gear you will find yourself taking more dirt naps than you would like to admit but when all is said and done you will have earned valuable honor points to help yourself gear up and get better. 

There is no second place prizes in PvE.  If you do not win you lose.  You get nothing.  PvE is not very user friendly content for someone that sucks at it or someone that is just trying to get their foot in the door and learn.  That makes PvP so much more inclusive.

Player vs player allows you to suck and still win. As long as you can deal with dying, and that is the hardest thing to learn for someone new to PvP, you will do just fine in time.  New player and old, good player or bad, you will still have to deal with people that are idiots in random content just like in PvE but ignore them and worry about yourself and getting better and having fun and remember that even if you lose you win in PvP.  It is not like PvE where if you are bad you can make it impossible to do it, PvP is much more inclusive content and you being bad has a much smaller impact when looking on the larger scale of things.

There are others ways it is more inclusive as well.  Not just that you still can gather up a fair deal of honor when losing so you can still get gear but you can over power content.   While in PvE you are limited by gear and a maximum number of members you can bring into the content you are not limited in PvP.  If there are a group of people wiping out crossroads with 10 you are not limited to just 10, if you wanted to you could go there with 20 or 40 or even 100 people. 

You might not be able to overpower PvE content, but you can overpower PvP content.  The only limit to PvP is how many people you can get that are interested in joining in on the fun.  That is another way it is more inclusive.  Someone will not bring that 8K DPS to a heroic DS run because they would be useless, but they would bring them to PvP because enough of those 8K people can make up for the fact they are only 8K people. See, much more inclusive.

So looking at the three things that make PvP, world PvP that is, so great it makes me wonder, is it possible to somehow make PvE have some of the aspects of what makes PvP so great?

Either way, get out there and enjoy some of that new world PvP while it lasts.  Come September 25th you won't likely be seeing it again as vibrant as it is at this very moment.  You don't need to be good either because it doesn't matter.  World PvP in large groups is about fun, not about who is best.  PvP saves the who is best for the arena, but that is another story all together.

Happy hunting.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

CRZ: A Lazy Solution

Of all my complains about the cross realm zones, that are not technical of course, my biggest one is that it is a lazy solution to a much bigger problem that blizzard created for themselves.

The main intent that they say the cross realm zone is for is to make the world seem a little more alive while leveling.  Lets forget for a moment that it creates all types of problems elsewhere like people trying to do the achievement yesterday with people from five or more different realms all on mammoths standing on the NPC while flagged for PvP on a PvE realm looking to grief people that just want to get an achievement and have some fun.  This alone is reason enough to say the CRZ idea sucks, but that is really just a side effect to what they are, or say they are, trying to do.  Bring life back to the leveling areas.

Well, the solution is actually a lot simpler than wasting man hours developing a cross realm system.  Slow down leveling.  The reason the lower levels do not see anyone while leveling any more is because people level way to quickly.  That means they speed through leveling and usually have all the max level characters they would want.  So that means they reroll less often than they did before, which means less people out there leveling.  Adding to that super fast leveling is the dungeon finder where you can level from 15-85 without ever leaving a city if you were so inclined to do so.

That is a self made problem.  They made leveling so fast it is blink and you miss it.  They allow low level dungeon finders to level people without leaving their home city.  They created this problem and now they are using a lazy solution to attempt to fix the error they made.

The world is empty because that is what they designed it to be, empty.  They made it so people will not be out there.  If they wanted to fill the questing zones they could do that if they put a little more effort into it instead of taking the easy way out and condensing everyone onto the same server.

Slow down leveling to the point where it would take considerable time again.  The areas would be full of people if people weren't speeding through them.  It works on many levels too.  Not just the speed of leveling through a zone but if you wanted to reroll it slows down the reroll process.  So instead of you leveling 5 new classes in one month, it would take a year or so to level them all, thus making the world look fuller from your participation alone for one year instead of one month.  That is part one of a better solution.

Part two would be, give people a reason to get out in the world again.  There are many ways to make low level zones something everyone would want to visit but instead of building a new design to professions, which would require more materials from all over the world at all levels, they went the easy route of cross realm.  Instead of adding more world events that would make people get out, think the rifts in rift and their rewards regardless of level so all would want to do it, they went the easy route with cross realm.  Instead of adding achievements in those zones for achievement hunters, even if they were as simple as fish 1000 fish in X zone, they went the easy route of cross realm.  There are hundreds of ideas that would get people out in the world if they just took the effort to add them, but they went the easy route with cross realm as a fix all for everything.

Another part is the random dungeon finder.  Lower the experience so low that it would not even be worth doing it unless you have a quest there.  While dungeon leveling is considerably slower than leveling it is not so much so that it turns people off from doing it.  As long as many of the players think of it as a viable leveling option, even if they are wrong, they will not go out in the world if they feel they can level efficiently while standing in their home city.

I can see why they do not lower the dungeon experience and make the leveling take a lot longer, they fear backlash from the players.  The reason for this cross realm zone is to cover up for the fact the world is dead in part to them losing players left and right.  So they do not want to take the chance of scaring more off. 

The fact they are missing is a fair deal of players that left the game probably left because of the speed of leveling.  When they reached end game at the beginning of cataclysm and it was too hard for them, they went to level an alt and they were maxed on that too fast and were in the same position they were before.  End game with nothing they could do.  Slow or fast, they would lose people, but at least slow leveling would make the world look more alive and keep people playing longer.

Even if it is the fear of scaring more people away that does not change the fact that cross realm zones are a lazy solution to making the world look full again while leveling.  The real solution would be to make the world full again while leveling by adding content, making people spend more time in that content, and making it worthwhile to be in those areas.

If they really wanted to make the world look full again they would slow down the leveling experience a fair deal, create a lot more content that is worth doing in those areas, and give people a reason to be there instead of staying in a city.  But instead of creating quality content to get us out in the world they decided to use the cross realm zones to try and make it look like more people were out in the world, and it still doesn't.  If you have leveled a new character recently you will know that for the most part the world is still completely empty most of the time.  Starting zones are the only things that seem more alive. 

So the world does not really seem more alive because of the cross realm zone except for those moments like yesterday at pirates day when 5 servers worth of people all decided to grief people just trying to have fun during a holiday event by being on top of the NPC with their mammoths while flagged for PvP.

This is proof that not only is the cross realm zone a lazy solution but it is also the wrong solution.

In the end, if blizzard really wants to make the leveling world look full they should have created content to make the players want to get out in the world and not tried to cover it up with a lazy solution.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MoP Hunter Rep Shopping List

This is a shopping list for the adventurous hunter looking to get his or her gear as quick as possible from reputation.  It does not include drops from dungeons, that post will come later.  This list is for purchasable items with valor and justice only so you can try to figure out who you want to get your reputation up with first.

I could not find all the valor costs for everything so instead of listing some and not others I left them all blank, they range from 1250 to 2250.  I also included things that might be of interest to hunters, or collectors, such as patterns, mounts, tabards, etc, those are all gold cost items.

You might take note that all items have one thing available that is a 450 item level and another that is a 489 item level.  The 450 things seem to be justice point items and the 489 ones valor.  The 450 things will likely be easily replaced with 463 dungeon items, so they become very much a fill in things if you have bad luck in dungeons.

Faction: Golden Lotus
Location: Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Gear of Interest:
Amulet of Swirling Mists | Neck |  Item Level 450 |  Honored
Leggings of the Twisted Vines | Legs |  Item Level 450 | Honored
Windwalker Spaulders | Shoulders | Item Level 489 | Revered
Anji's Keepsake | Finger | Item Level 489 | Revered
Mogu Rune of Paralysis | Trinket | Item Level 450 | Honored
Items of Interest:
Leatherworking Patterns | Honored | 11 Items
Tailor Patterns | Honored | 6 Items
Mounts | Exalted | 3 Items
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item

Faction: Shado-Pan
Location: Kun-Lai Summit / Townlong Steeps
Gear of Interest:
Blackguard Cape | Back | Item Level 489 | Revered
Brushcutter's Gloves | Hands | Item Level 450 | Honored
Hawkmaster's Headguard | Head | Item Level 489 | Revered
Mark of the Dancing Crane | Finger | Item Level 450 | Honored
Hawkmaster's Talon | Trinket | Item Level 489 | Revered
Items of Interest:
Enchanting Patterns | Revered | 3 Items
Mounts | Exalted | 3 Items
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item

Faction: August Celestials
Location: All Over / Kun-Lai Summit
Gear of Interest:
Bladesong Cloak | Back | Item Level 450 | Honored
Undergrowth Stalker Chestpiece | Chest | Item Level 450 | Honored
Tiger-Striped Wristguards | Wrists | Item Level 489 | Revered
Sentinel Commander's Gauntlets | Hands | Item Level 489 | Revered
Steps of the War Serpent | Feet | Item Level 489 | Revered
Items of Interest:
Enchanting Patterns | Revered | 3 Items
Tailoring Pattern | Exalted | 1 Item
Mounts | Exalted | 2 Items
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item

Faction: Klaxxi
Location: Dread Wastes
Gear of Interest:
Choker of the Klaxxi'va | Neck | Item Level 489 | Revered
Amber Sprayer of Klaxxi'vess | Gun | Item Level 463 | Exalted
Entombed Traitor's Wristguards | Wrists | Item Level 450 | Honored
Klaxxi Lash of the Winnower | Waist | Item Level 489 | Revered
Locust Swarm Legguards | Legs | Item Level 489 | Revered
Items of Interest:
Blacksmith Patterns | Honored | 14 Items
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item
Mount | Exalted | 1 Item

Faction: The Anglers
Location: Krasarang Wilds / Jade Forest
Gear of Interest:
Items of Interest:
Cooking Recipe | Friendly | 2 Items
Pet | Honored | 1 Item
Fishing Pole | Honored-Revered | 2 Items
Mounts | Exalted | 5 Items
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item

Faction: The Tillers
Location: Valley of the Four Winds
Gear of Interest:
Items of Interest:
Cooking Recipe | Exalted | 2 Items
Mounts | Exalted | 3 Items
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item

Faction: Order of the Cloud Serpent
Location: Jade Forest
Gear of Interest:
Items of Interest:
Jewelcrafting Patterns | Honored - Exalted | 5 Items
Mounts | Exalted | 3 Items
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item

Faction: Lorewalkers
Location: All Over
Gear of Interest:
Items of Interest:
Mount | Exalted | 1 Item
Tabard | Exalted | 1 Item

Theramore's Fall: Opinions and Review

I've read many reviews of the first scenario to be released, Theramore's Fall.  Most of the reviews are bad and a few here and there are good.  I did it on alliance side the second it was released but wanted to wait until I did it horde side as well before I made my decisions on how I felt about it.  There are a few different aspects of the new scenario I have opinions on and I will touch on them all.  I will also keep this as spoiler free as possible for those that have not done it yet but wish to do so.

Even if I did the horde one second that will be the one I address first because for anyone that has done both of them will know the horde one comes first anyway.

Scenario's, for anyone that does not know, are like group quests.  They are not meant to be challenging but just a little adventure that is better handled with a few adventures than on your own.


Horde Side: The horde version seemed rather short and did not really feel as if you were living out some part of a story as I believe it should have.  Simple stuff like do this a few times, kill a few of those, and rescue someone that leaves you wondering how they got caught to begin with as the people guarding them could not even fight their way out of a paper bag.

It did not seem overly difficult at all even with me on my horde hunter that I had not updated my bars yet and twice got caught wondering where the hell my spells where.  I was left looking around and clicking when I did find things because for some reason my keybinds were wiped out.  I moved a few abilities to the number binds and went with it that way sort of on the fly.

With my amazing ineptitude in being ready for it I did not do very well but was still way ahead of a blood elf paladin that was more interested in how good their armor looked on them than they were in killing the theramore guards.  Even with my ineptitude for the first third of it and the paladin doing less DPS than you would see in a wrath dungeon we finished it with very few issues.

I had to bandage a few times here and there as those guys still hit hard enough to let you know they are there but not so hard that you can not take a few shots here and there.  It was made better when I realized that my aspect was not on and put it on, the ironhawk's reduction of 15% damage did help.  Like I said, I had not been on this character since the changes.  So over all, even with bad damage dealers there, me only doing 15K, the paladin only doing 6K and a death knight that was doing 20K, we had few issues.

The horde side, as I said, seemed rather short and it ended with the horde rescuing their people and taking control of theramore and dropping the bomb.

Alliance Side: The alliance side starts exactly were the horde side left off, as the bomb drops.  Its your job to retake Theramore and chase out the horde left behind to destroy what the bomb did not and pillage whatever they could.  Simple enough and at least the first time I did this one it was with a guild group as opposed to with randoms.

After the first full pulls I noticed that this really is like a group quest.  As a hunter, with everything set up correctly on this one, I could have easily soloed this without even coming close to worrying about anything.  The elites could take a short time to down solo but they did not seem to really give me any issue.  Even more so when you consider that it was me with my main guild tank and the top DPS in the guild.

We blew through is as if we were killing mobs in northrend and not level 85s mixed with elites.  As well we should, being we are all over geared for the content.  The one main difference was, even if we were speed running it, the alliance side still took considerably longer than the horde side version.  So much so that I did not like it, I will explain more on that later.

We went around killing the horde left behind and finally chase them out and that is that.  Our little group quest known as a scenario is over.  I was left thinking, well, what now?

So now that I give my review of the two versions, hopefully without spoiling anything for anyone I will give my opinions.

Horde Side:  Seemed shorter in comparison, even with randoms.  Actually seemed closer to what I would expect of a group quest even if there was a lot of running around doing nothing involved and still too long.
Alliance Side:  Even speeding through it with over geared people it seemed to drag on way to long for what it was designed to be, a group quest.

Horde Side: Why are we attacking?  Not really clear.  At least we figure out we are here to rescue people, but why were they there?  Not really clear.
Alliance Side: At least alliance have a clear reason to be there, to force the enemy out.  Still did not know why they did what they did.
Overall:  Without actual quests, just objectives, it did not tell much of a story from either side and is just another step in the nameless faceless grind fest for valor that it will be.

Scenario Objective:
They are supposed to be quick, easy and accessible, let examine that.

As for accessible: Part of the reason for scenarios is to ease the wait time for DPS by offering something that three damage dealers could do on their own.  With 35 minute wait times (personally waited so I know it is actually 35 minutes) and others reporting over 1 hour in waiting time, accessible is not really a word I would use for them.  I've heard rumors that there is an error with the finder and I have to believe that is true, there is no way it takes that long to find three of anything and if for some reason it does than this is the biggest failure on the part of blizzard ever.  An hour to find three of anything = failure.  Heck, more than 3 minutes to find 3 of anything = failure.

As for easy: Lets forget for the moment that I said I could easily solo this as a hunter.  I am raid geared and the type of player that was soloing cataclysm heroics, or at least attempting to, from the moment I hit 85.  So what I say doesn't really mean anything when I say I could solo it.

Look at it from the standpoint of three random players, or better yet, three bad random players.  This is still way too hard for them.  I did one on my lock, which is by far the class I am worst on, with two others that were of the same ability, meaning bad, and we took forever to get it done and had to watch each and every pull.  I even died once.

While they are without a doubt easy in concept they are not as easy as they should be.  Kill 6 of these and one of those.  Destroy three of these and kill 20 of those.  They are still a handful for a lesser skilled group and they still need a tank.

Sorry, don't care what anyone says, they still need a tank.  In ran it, on both sides, in groups and in randoms, and the hardest time I ever had with it was in a group that I went into with three ranged classes.  We got it done, but it was not easy without a melee, preferably a tank, to keep them all in one nice little bundle to AoE them down.  So are they easy?  Nope, they will not be easy for the average player.  Not even in the slightest.

As for quick: I guess it all depends on your definition of quick.  Compared to a dungeon it is quick.  But when I think of quick this is not exactly what I had in mind.  I was thinking 5 minutes when I was thinking quick.  You will spend more than 5 minutes running around to cover all the ground you have to cover.  If you get a group that is lower in the DPS department it could actually start to take as long as a dungeon would.  These are anything but quick.  Using the word quick and scenario in the same sentence should not be allowed and should be a banable offense if you ever say them on the forums.  Again, your definition of quick might be different from mine but by my definition, quick is 5 minutes, and these are not quick at all.

Prelaunch Event:
This is not a prelaunch event.  Many of the complaints I see about the scenario is that it is the worst prelaunch event ever.  There is a reason for that and that is because it is not a prelaunch event.  It is a preview of what the scenarios will be like.

With that said, I think blizzard did a horrible disservice to the game by not having a prelaunch event.  They could have given us this preview and added a quest line leading up to this preview that told more of the story, the stuff that is in the book, and made a prelaunch event out of that which would lead up to this preview of scenarios.

If anything I think that a perfect prelaunch event would be that the newly phased destroyed Theramore would be an open world battleground that both horde and alliance could fight it out in.  All honor gained within the boundaries of the ruins of Theramore would also award a second type of credit that could then be used to buy memorabilia suitable for both sides.

That would have been a great way to introduce the concept that mists is all about war and it would tie into the preview of scenarios.  To keep it from being for max level only and people that want to PvP, as the open world battle ground would be, there would be war effort quests for lower levels and non PvPers that would earn those players the tokens that could be used to buy things as well.  Now that would have been a prelaunch even.   As it is, we had no prelaunch event and that feels kind of lacking in my opinion, from what we have come to expect.


Alliance Side: You get a tabard and are told to remember Theramore, it is a touching moment and a fitting tribute to remembrance even if the tabard itself is not the greatest idea.

Since the introduction of transmog people wear tabards that fit their clothing or don't wear one at all.  So having to wear a tabard to use the special ability and not having a way to hide the tabard like we do with helm and back is a bad decision, at least in my opinion.  They would have been much better served if the on use could be used without equiping the tabard.  But at least you can put it on, use it and take it off, so it is not all that bad, but could have been better.

Horde Side:  You get a mini mana bomb and a note that says the guy laughs every time he thinks about it. Now we are really touching a point here were I can see people having problems with this whole thing and blizzard in general.

If the note said something along the lines of the mini mana bomb was in remembrance of their swift and sure victory over the military forces of threamore it would have been fine.  Saying you laugh each time thinking about the wholesale slaughter of thousands of innocent people is another thing all together.

As someone that lives and works in new york and was at work watching the towers get hit and come down from outside of my job, just a little bit away, close enough that I could taste the dust, thinking that someone would say they should laugh at remembering the slaughter of thousands of innocents just hits me as completely wrong.

Even if these are pixels in a game, NPCs as it would be, and the thousands were never seen, just known to live there in lore, it is still wrong on every single level of wrong to laugh at that and I think blizzard was wrong for including that line there.  Should have said it like I suggested and left out the laughing over the slaughter of thousands of innocents.  Whoever wrote that flavor text for the mail should be fired and whoever approved it for release should be fired.

Mind you, I am an insensitive jerk for the most part.  I don't care about anything, and it even bugged me.  Not much, but enough to think that the people who wrote that are dicks, but I can surely see how this can really be a huge turn off to many people that play the game and if they ever wanted to make a stink over it and demand those people get fired, I would gladly sign on the dotted line and support them in getting those people removed from the writing staff and fired.

Both Sides: You get fireworks. Okay for the horde but what the hell were they thinking about giving fireworks to the alliance.  What are they celebrating, the death and destruction of their own people, many of them innocent?  Woohoo, all our friends and family just died, let us celebrate with fireworks.  Blizzard needs to get a clue sometimes.  That was a stupid thing to give the losing team.

End Note:

If this is what scenarios are really like color me unimpressed.  To long, to boring, and still to hard for the masses.

Tips and Tricks:

If you are like me and can solo these and also have two extra accounts laying around have I got a trick for you on earning valor a little faster.

Have yourself group with your two other accounts and queue up for one and solo it.  Earn three times the valor at one time.  Unlike dungeons, which need 5 and are harder to solo, you can easily solo cap your valor on these for three characters at once.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Leveling in Mists: What Will You Do?

Okay folks, the countdown is on.  Less than a week until we are playing in pandaland and any obsessive compulsive about leveling like me has to get their things in order and check them over at least three or four times.

Getting together the personal is easy for me.  I do not eat at the computer, never have and never will.  I have a rule, if you want to eat than get your ass up and go to a table and eat like a human being.  No food at the computer, ever.  So no need for me to stock up on goodies because I wouldn't eat them.  There is however one weakness I have and will have to make sure I have at the ready.  Coffee.

I drink a fair deal of coffee.  Black, no sugar.  When people ask me how I like my coffee I reply, in a cup.  Nice and simple and as such extremely easy to make being you do not need anything for it.  A good gaming drink of you ask me.  I'll make sure I have my coffee nice and hot and ready to go.   Then again, this is not something different for me.  Coffee is all I ever drink, that or water.  I'm easy to please that way.  Give me a coffee and you have a happy elf.

So the real life readiness is easy to get ready for.  The in game readiness takes a little more thought being it is not as simple.  I actually started my in game preparations a few weeks ago.  Even if I am leveling my hunter first I made sure to have all characters cleaned up and ready to roll so when it is their turn they can just jump out in the world and go.

NOTE:  Not sure if it will be as it was in the past but your character would not start building rested again until you logged into it once.  So if you have two characters you plan to level, log into the other one first so it can start getting rested while you level.  Just in case.

The actual getting ready in game I started early on.  I cleared out my bags, both the ones on my characters and the ones in my banks.  I  got rid of anything that was not worth keeping.  I sent all types of things to their specific character that handles them and anything that didn't fit someone in particular to my bank character.  In the end space and how you use it is the most important thing with leveling.  I will go into all of that with my explanation of prepping for leveling and leveling advice to those new to expansion leveling in the following.

NOTE:  For those new to expansion leveling it is a completely different experience from anything you have leveled before.  You have set gear, you have things you have collected, you will have more competition for quests than you have ever seen before.  It is best to be ready for it because it can become overwhelming quickly.

Bag Space:

Before it starts:
Before the expansion comes out you need to get your stuff in order.  What you are going to carry with you is almost as important to your over all bag space as how many spaces you have.  Lets face it, you will not need your thing that turns you into an amber block, or a furbolg, or the drinking horn, or your silly trinkets for fun.  You are going out to level, they are time wasters.  It is time to play not time to waste now.  Put them in the bank and let them rest.  You will surely have enough time to play later when we are bored with nothing to do and having that extra space might be a good thing.

Sell off that offspec stuff.  No need for your healing set, unless you plan to do dungeons, which I must warn you, is a horrible way to level.  Not to mention that you can no longer pick quest rewards so if you are questing as your DPS spec you will get DPS gear and your healing set will be outdated in no time.  Sell it. 

Sell everything that has no purpose any more.  Extra bandages, save one stack if you must, you will be making better ones while leveling and they really have no auction house value.  Potions, elixirs, flasks, food.  Sell them or use them while leveling if you want.  Again, they will be useless later.  Think full stacks at most.  It should not take anyone more than 20 hours to level so unless you plan to die a lot or take your time one stack of food is more than ample and one stack of flasks is enough.  Anything more is wasted space.  Waste not want not.

Again, I will note, sell off all that extra gear.  The 410 offhand you were holding on to in case you got a good 410 one hand?  Ditch it.  Your two handed weapon will be just fine.  That one great one hander you have on your fury warrior.  Use the two twohanders, no need to hang on to it.   The set piece hands you are holding in case you get the shoulder offset that was BiS so you could put the hands on instead, ditch it.  It is the time where no one should give a crap about gear any more.  Get rid if it, it is wasting bag space.

NOTE: If you really want to heal or tank dungeons but level as DPS and are not getting healing or tanking gear, no worries, many villages you stop at will have vendors that sell gear equivalent to that areas quest rewards.  So with some gold you can buy yourself any healing or tanking gear you really want.  All the stuff is very reasonably priced as well, so go for it.  Also good if your character was not well geared to begin with or for later when you are leveling a fresh character through here that did not have the benefit of being in all 397/410 gear to start.

The more the better:
Bag space is the number one most important thing when leveling.  Even with the advent now of shared mounts and if you have the tundra mount all characters have it and can sell whenever they want, bags still make a difference.  The more space you have the fewer times you have to stop to sell. 

Not to mention, even if you have the mammoth, mounting all the time to sell is time wasted.  Just sell when turning in quests, there are vendors in every quest hub, you are stopping there anyway to turn in quests so selling while you are there is actually faster than mounting up and selling a little here and there.

For those that want to level first aid, make bandages often, once you have a few, sell off the old ones.  If you are in serious need of space it is better to sell off those bandages than other things you might want or need later.  If you converted them to bandages already you got your skill ups and the cloth served a purpose, so when choosing what can go, bandages should always be the first thing to go.  Cloth is easy to come by, you can make more later.

Use every advantage you have to make sure you have the maximum bag space every time you head out from a quest hub.  Turn on track mailboxes and for those with multiple characters, mail off things you do not want to sell just now to someone, anyone.  You can always send it back to yourself later.  Use the mailbox whenever you get the chance.

Speaking of mailboxes:
If you are like me you have a few characters and each character has their niche.  I have one of each alchemy type, and every profession there is.  I also have characters set up to be a catch all for certain things.  A character with all max sized enchanting bags, one with max sized mining bags, one with max sized herb bags, you get the idea.  Send goods that are for those people to those people.  Empty out your bags as often as possible.

I send all greens to one character.  I send all herbs to another, being the first character I am leveling is an herbalist there should be a lot of these.  When maxed on first aid there is my cloth catch all as well.  Everything I get that I do not want to vendor I send off to someone else to keep track of.  I keep the stuff organized in my bag as well so when I hit the mailbox it is easy to send those 12 green items to the enchanter instead of having to search my bags looking for them.


Getting around:
Never keybound your mount?  Now might be a good time.  The number one way to make questing during a release easier is to get ahead of the pack.  Doing so means you need to mount faster and smarter than other people.  10 second here and 10 seconds there can add up and soon you are 20 minutes ahead of the pack and competing with 10 people for a mob instead of 50.  Keep it up and it is you and 3 others as the only people in an entire zone.  If you really want to enjoy leveling, this is the only way to manage it.  Get ahead of the pack.

How you move around will help you nearly as much as how quickly you manage to do the quests.  Mounting up when you know you have to move a fair bit will give you a nice boost.  So bind that mount, even if only for this leveling time, it could help.

Another smart move is to know when not to mount.  If you can see the mob you are going for and have a ranged attack, you are often better off not mounting and just running and attacking on the run with an instant.  Mounting can save time but sometimes it can waste as much as it saved.  The only way you can know which is better is practice but smart movement is the one thing that will get you ahead of the pack.

Map it out:
Some people do not use their map as often as they should.  Pop it open often (M) to see where you need to go, this can save a lot of time and  in finding a quest objective.  You can shrink the map so it is not full screen and you can even move it to where you want.  If you really want to play it right, leave it open most of the time so you always can see where you need to go.

NOTE: Not sure where to go for the next quest?  Look at that map, there is a new feature that will show you each area where there is a quest you have not done yet.

Skip if you can:
That little new map feature can really put you ahead of the pack, big time.  If an area is crowded and you notice there is another hub you can get quests at that is not so far away, screw the area you are in and head there.  Lets 50 people battle it out there while you and five others will be the only ones at the other quest hub that were smart enough to use the map.  Movement is not just about moving on a mount or moving to the quest objective faster, it is about moving to the right place for the next quest hub as soon as you can.  If you can get there early you can get ahead of the pack that much faster.

Same goes for when you level.  If you have not finished an area, who cares, you can come back and finish it.  As soon as you can move to the next zone, do it.  Skipping the end of one zone is a great way to get ahead of the pack and leveling means that there is a new area open to you.  So use that and move to the new area and come back to complete the other quests later.


While mists did have an extremely long beta it is possible that there will be many bugs on quests.  Even if cataclysm was an amazingly smooth launch for the most part it doesn't mean they can match or exceed that success.  You might run into quest issues and it is best to avoid them when you can.

Pay attention to general chat.  As much as listening to the crying and whining can be annoying it can help you get ahead of the pack.  If you see people talking about a quest that is being a problem and someone mentioned how to get around it, remember that, so you can get around it ASAP and not waste time.  If others are mentioning a quest is bugged and no one seem to have any advice, skip that quest when you get to it.  Let them complain about it, you keep moving and silently thank them for wasting their time and letting you pass them by not wasting your time trying to do a quest that is obviously bugged.

Some people just like to watch the world burn.  No type of person is more evident than the PvPer on a PvE server.  They live to ruin the fun of other people and thanks to blizzard a problem they fixed in BC made its triumphant return in cataclysm.  AoE can hit an enemy and flag you.  Nothing can slow you down faster than being killed by someone that just wants to ruin your fun. 

Don't let the fact that they are butt hurt in real life so they like to pick on PvEers just trying to quest to make themselves feel better.  You have two options here.  Destroy them, which is always a great way to stop them, but it slows you down, or move along.  I suggest moving along.  Unless you are a PvPer at heart there is no reason to get into a dust up while leveling.  This is leveling time, not fighting time.

Just be careful when you see flagged people running around.  Make sure you do not do any AoE and you should be fine.  In a strange sort of way the people trying to mess with you can also help you.  They love to attack the mob you are attacking and as long as you have it tagged, who cares, just be careful not to spam an auto attack so you do not target them the second the mob dies and flag.  That is why they are helping you, they are hoping you do that.  Pay attention and use their help to your advantage.  Once they notice they can not trick you into flagging they will move along to try to find someone else to grief.

NOTE: There are many mobs, quest givers and quest objectives you need to click on to interact with them and PvP griefers love to stand on them and get someone to accidentally click them and flag themselves.  There is an option to make it so left clicking activates people you talk to or objects to interact with, I suggest you make sure you have that active.

Disconnects or server restarts:
While it should not happen, it might and in the case it does, do not get upset about it.  Use it to your advantage.  Get up and walk around a bit when it happens.  No reason to sit on your butt for hours.  Go to the bathroom, get some coffee or whatever you drink, and eat if that is your thing.  Do not rush your way back on to the server.  While it will get you back into the game 3 minute faster that 3 minute break means a lot more than being back 3 minutes faster would.  Sometimes a break speeds things up, even if it is a small one and even if it is thanks to an unfortunate disconnect.

Be prepared for them not to work.  But fear not, I have the solution for you in case they don't.  Many will be updated right away but many will not work.  The solution is simple.   Turn them off, all of them.  You are questing here, you do not need to be putting out max DPS, you do not need your recount, your DBMs, your omen threat meter.  If you are not healing any dungeons what use is a healing addon.  Even your auction house tools or alt-a-holics mean nothing now.  You are leveling, disable them.  You can turn them back on later.

The only one addon that could serve to mess with most people in your button one.  I use bartender which seems to be really resilient and I expect it to work, but if it doesn't, I can and will use the basic blizzard UI if I need to.  Sure, there is no way that I can fit all the things I need into that tiny little selection they offer us but I can fix more than enough to do the basics I need to do to level and that is all that matters.  Even if you do not bind all of them, no biggie.  You are just leveling and using this UI will only be a temporary thing.

Don't waste time getting everything perfect addon wise when you start leveling because you won't be able to.  Ignore them and just get out there and level.  If all goes well as soon as you ding 90 you can update them and turn them on and figure what works and what doesn't and queue up for your first level 90 dungeon.  If you get an elf hunter in it, it might be me, you never know, because I can assure you one thing, I will be in full dungeon gear ASAP.  Even if I have no addons.  Remember the purpose of addons, to make things easier.  That are not required to play.  So don't worry about them.

Have fun:

Rest if you need it:
Okay, I am sure I am not the only person out there that does not give a crap about realm first but I want to get to max level ASAP so I can start working on my reputations and playing the dungeons and such.  The design of the game now is all about the max level and that is where I want to be but you have to remember that sometimes you need to take a break.

If you start feeling stressed with packed areas.  Move somewhere else or take a break.  If you are tired because you have played a long time, do not play through it, take a break.  If you start getting annoyed with little things, take a break.  If you find yourself dying a lot when you had not before, take a break.

Just because we all want to get to max level fast doesn't mean we should stress out over it.  If a break is needed, take it.  You are not going to have fun if you are stressed doing it.  It will even ruin the leveling experience for you if you play though problems like being tired.  Enjoy the game and do not put yourself out just to get to max level.  Remember that in no time at all we will all be saying we are bored again.  So there is no reason to rush it.  Take a break if you need one.

Read the quests:
If you are into lore, read the quests.  It will slow you down some but not so much that you should ignore the lore of the game completely.  I know I usually don't read them all the first time through, I do the second time usually, but if you want to, do not let getting there fast make you not do it.  Just because you want to level doesn't mean you have to change who you are.  If you are the type that has fun that way, have fun that way.  Nothing wrong with getting to max in 24 hours instead of 20.

Look around:
Nope, not just talking about all the new amazing artwork.  Yes, stop to take a look at that once in a while, you will be surprised that a game that people laugh about and one that has cartoonish graphics can do such a great job with them.  I am talking about the other things in the game.  There are things all around the world you can click on that tell a story.  You will find pieces everywhere.

Anyone can go back and find them later after looking at a guide when we have flying and collect them all in one day but it will never match the fun of finding them on your own while leveling.  Not to mention there is experience to be had finding them, if they have not changed it, so take some time to look around.

Unless you have already looked up where to find all of them this could very well be the rare chance you have to discover something in the game and get that new feeling again that you had the first time you ever played and got your first green, your first world drop blue, or an item you never saw before.  That great feeling of, what is this?  Look around and have some fun while leveling, you will not regret it.

NOTE: If you see one do not stress over getting to it right away in fear someone else will grab it before you.  From what I've been lead to believe it is a per person thing.  It is always there and anyone can grab it once per character.  So it should never be a mad rush to get one if you see one.  Someone can not get it before you do, it will still be there for you.

The other things:

Pet Battles:
You can start these any time you want.  Start them on launch or a few days later.  No rush.  They are not big experience gainers so if you are all about leveling first let it go for now.  I know I plan to get to 90 before I even think of training it.  It is a pass time for later in my opinion. 

If you want to play around with it for a little while and let the pack get ahead of you, there is nothing wrong with that either.  It can be pretty fun even if people like to call it pokeman.  I never played pokeman and I think it can be a rather fun way to pass the time.

Unlike pet battles where I suggest putting it off, I suggest getting this running ASAP.  Nope, not kidding, this is not just another joke in the game to pass the time, serious players will want their maxed out farm as soon as they can get it.   Once you have maxed out your farm you can get the spirits of harmony from doing it every day.  From my experience leveling on beta it seems you will get more of them in 1 day of farming than in my entire leveling process on two characters combined managed to net me.

So it is worth doing as they are needed for every profession.  Any quests you see for the tillers, do them.  When dailies pop up, do them.  When you run into people with friendships, level them.  Use your farm in that process as well.  For anyone serious in building their characters this is NOT optional content.  If you want to do the best you can, this should be done.

You can stop and dig if you would like but unless they changed something since I was last on beta the experience they give is not worth the time if you want to get to 90 faster.  You also have to look at the bright side as well, mists is one continent and is pretty tightly packed so you can always go level it later easy enough.  Also the dig site give more items per dig and more digs per dig site now.  So leveling this later while waiting in queue for something seems to be ideal, in my opinion at least.  Add to that and we can trade down pieces now, so you can get that battle tank you never had any luck getting because there were so few dig sites in uldum.  Just collect parna parts and trade them in for tol'vir ones later on and you too can run around on a giant bug mount that you did not have to deal with the hell of farming a huge continent for.

So for me, my bags are in order.  My catch all characters have empty mailboxes.  I have a few materials for some instant and easy skill ups on the characters that can do them.  I have as much space as I need and I am ready to roll already.


Low geared characters:
Fear not, as I mentioned earlier in the post, there are vendors all over the world that sell gear appropriate to the level of quest rewards for that area.  If you have a few gold laying around I suggest taking it.  If you can only afford a few pieces I would suggest the chest piece first.  Routinely a chest piece has the best stat boost.  Out side of that, other main pieces are always good.  I would say avoid things like rings and trinkets, not sure if they changed anything but it seemed like a lot of quests gave both as rewards.

If you do not have the extra gold or just do not want to spend it, just take it slow and you will have something for every single spot in a short time.  They made sure there was something for everyone in this expansion instead of giving you 7 quests in a row that offered you a wrist, like it seems they did last expansion, so even if you enter it not geared well, you will have full mists gear in no time at all.

Medium geared characters:
You will likely upgrade your weapons as soon as you get one.  Mists weapons are just so much better than cataclysm ones but gear wise you can probably take your sweet time.  Do not assume that just because something has a higher item level that it is better.  Remember a purple has more stats per item level.  So a higher level green might still have fewer stats than a lower level purple.  Add to that set bonuses, gems, enchants, reforging, and the older gear will, or can, usually last you until at least 86 or 87 before you should really even consider replacing them.

High geared players:
Weapons again, they will usually trump anything you have but if you are even in a slight mix of heroic gear don't be surprised if you are still wearing most of it when you hit level 89.  Gear seems to travel better this expansion, better than last for sure where you were replacing heroic 25 man gear with the first green you saw, with heroic DS gear you can slide for quite a while, at the very least to 88 and like I said, possibly 89 and 90 on some items.  This expansion offers a much better questing gear progression than the last.

So I am ready to level, are you?

The only question for me now is who should I level second?  Last expansion it was my rogue.  I hate being a rogue.  How the hell my rogue was my second 85 I still can not explain.  But he was.  So being I have a habit of not really planning who is the second to max I will say I want my druid and my priest to be second and third.   Same as the start of cataclysm, maybe this time it will actually happen.

Monday, September 17, 2012

5 Reasons the CRZ is Awesome For Leveling

Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why the new cross realm zones are an awesome addition to warcraft for leveling.

1) Help With Those Elite Mobs.
- Remember that bear that you had the quest for in darkshore that you tried to kill alone and died, near instantly on.  And the second time even when planning you could not get him down to even 80% life before he ripped your face off.  Now with cross realm zones you can easily find someone else questing that you can join with the give that bear the beating he deserves.

2) LF 2 More Maraudon
- There are a lot of good quests reward from the quests in maraudon and it is impossible to find a group to do them on a low population server but now your problem is solved.  With the cross realm zones the area will be filled with young adventures that will join you on your mission in maraudon to complete those quests and get those great items.

3) Leveling Take So Long, So Make Friends
- Being leveling takes so long and it could be weeks, months or even years before you get to max level why wait until you have gotten there before you start to build the types of friendships that can last forever.  With the cross realm zones you can now find many people that are questing in the same areas as you and you can group up to do those quests that would take forever together otherwise and get to know each other over the course of those weeks or months or years.  Leveling with a friend is always better when it is a long grind.

4) Give Life To The Zones You Spend The Most Time In.
- When you reach a new zone you will see a whole new part of the world that you have never seen before and you have to consider stetting your hearthstone to your questing areas because you spend so much time there right? Instead of spending the next three weeks finishing those quests in an empty expanse you will now see people all over the place making the zones you will spend the most time in while leveling feel more alive.

5) Leveling Should Be Fun
- You will spend more time leveling than anything else you do in the game so why not live in a vibrant world with people all around you.  With cross realm zones even places like everlook will be growing hubs of constant activity.  For the weeks and months you spend in that area it will be as busy as any capital city ever was thanks to the cross realm zones which make it feel like it is an important part of the game again.

Note:  For the sarcasm impaired I will explain.

6, 7 or 8 years ago what I said was completely true.  Back then a cross realm zone would have been fantastic.  Now, none of those things matter even in the slightest.
1) There are no elite mobs that people can not solo any more and the few ones that there are the game always gives you help for them.
2) The looking for dungeon removed the need to assemble groups while in a zone or in a capital and travel there.
3) Leveling is so fast now, even when you take your time and building friendships while leveling is harder because everything flies by so quickly.  If you play 2 hours more than your new friend you will now be many levels above him and in a different zone.
4) There is no zone you will spend more than a short time in, no one really cares if there is life in the zone being they will be in another zone before they even realize the last zone had life.
5) Leveling took a longer time before and that grind could have used some fun added to it with more people around but the new leveling which is sneeze and you missed a level is so fast that it is more of an inconvenience to getting to the end game, where the game actually begins, and adding more people that can take your quest mobs, thus slowing you down in your speed run to end game is an annoyance, not a plus.

Stay tuned for...

5 Reasons the CRZ is awesome for PvP
5 Reasons the CRZ is awesome for gathering
5 Reasons the CRZ is awesome for the economy
5 Reasons the CRZ is awesome for role play
5 Reasons the CRZ is awesome for the community