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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.