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Posts with tag Leveling

Warlords of Draenor: Understanding Draenor Perks

What's the point of a Draenor Perk? It's a question that seems to be fairly common among players, ever since the bonuses were mentioned in the patch notes for patch 6.0. As players level from 90 to 100, each level will bring with it a perk. Each class and spec has nine perks, and by the time you hit level 100, you'll have them all. However, the order that you receive these perks is completely random. You can't choose the perk, the perk chooses you.

Wowhead dug up the full list of Draenor Perks for each spec and class, and the perks themselves seem to be pretty much the same -- bonus damage or a boost to specific player abilities. In many cases, it's just a flat percent damage boost. This seems all well and good, but players seem to be confused about the point of the perk system, since it looks a lot like something that was deliberately culled from the game a few years ago.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

No new class, no new race, no problem

This is one of those title says it all posts, but I'll elaborate: the fact that there is neither a new class nor a new race in Warlords of Draenor isn't a problem. First up, there's the obvious fact that we're getting redesigns for the eight original races plus draenei and blood elves. In terms of art design, that's an incredible amount of work, far more than designing one or even two new races. Racial abilities for each race are also being redesigned, meaning each will play differently. Moreover, by not introducing a new race or class, we don't need to have a starter zone designed for them, meaning that content design can focus on content for the 90 to 100 player, especially since thanks to the level 90 boost, it can be assumed that anyone who picks up Warlords and wants to play it can.

As has been said elsewhere, new races and classes are not content in and of themselves. They consume time and development resources to create them, and often they have content associated with them, and that content is usually only playable when you create one of them (although the monk did not actually get that treatment - save for one location in Pandaria that offered monk only quests, as a kind of home base, monks didn't see the death knight starter zone style experience) but by themselves a new race or class is just a different way to experience content. This is not to say they are not important. New classes offer new gameplay options, new abilities and spells, and sometimes new roles for players who did not enjoy, say, tanking or healing on previous classes.

But I think it's fair to say that World of Warcraft doesn't need the added complexity of three new specializations to balance right now. There's going to be a lot of work needed to balance out new spells and abilities, adjust item levels, change the way healing works while ensuring it does still work, implement entirely new gameplay like garrisons without also figuring out how to keep another class in the mix with the other 34 specializations we already have. Similarly, while I mourn for my alliance ogre paladin and horde arakkoa druid, do we need two more groups of racials to balance out?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

8 quests you might have skipped, but shouldn't

Northshire quest giver
Right now in WoW is a time many of us know all too well: the pre-expansion lull. The last major content patch of Mists of Pandaria is out, and we're not going to see much new stuff until whenever 6.0 shows up on the horizon. Many of us are casting about looking for things to keep us occupied in the game until then--things such as finishing up old rep grinds, working on achievements, collecting mounts, and putting together the perfect transmog set.

Something else you might consider doing is going back and finishing up some old, low-level quests, even if you're not working on your Loremaster title. And why might you want to do this? Because some low-level quests are pretty dang fun, good for a laugh, and offer some interesting perspectives in terms of fleshing-out Azeroth's world. I've picked out eight low-level quests (or quest chains) that are a particular delight. I've tried to focus on those in some of the world's more overlooked areas, so as to highlight a few fun adventures you might have missed. Unless otherwise marked, all listed quests are available to both factions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

How to keep leveling when you're just tired of the same old quests

By now, most of us have leveled alts, and probably a lot of them. And while the leveling game was probably fun the first time and even the second, by the third, fourth, fifth and beyond, you're probably painfully bored of doing the same quests again. And again. And again.

Sure, there are all sorts of tricks you can use to speed up your leveling, but what do you do when you just can't stand to quest through the same zone again? That's when you turn to alternative leveling methods. These aren't the fastest or the most efficient ways to get to max level, but they do all have the advantage of not being the same old quest grind.

So whether you're leveling a character up for the first time or the hundredth, here are our 6 favorite alternative ways to get the XP you need.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

The case against heirlooms

So I've been leveling my lowbie hunter through the fifties, in part because I'm such a fan of Happy Days (note - that's not at all true) and mostly because I got the bow off of Garrosh so it's time to get my hunter to max level. Ironically, it was the fact that I got this heirloom that has me realizing that I hate heirlooms. Why? Why do I hate these bringers of bonus XP, these delightfully powerful pieces that free you from the tyranny of gear upgrades for up to 85 levels? How could I have anything but praise for them? Well, here's how.
  1. The first, and most often cited reason, is that they make dungeon loot unimportant. You end up chaining dungeons, and almost any and all gear that you get is sharded or vendored. When boots or gloves drop it's a party, but helms, shoulders, chests, legs, cloaks and weapons are at best saved for future transmog. (Being a mog addict, that's what I'm doing anyway.)
  2. You can't even reasonably forgo heirlooms - I've actually tried to do so, and switching to the various quest greens and blue drops over my heirlooms means doing markedly less DPS (I'm a hunter, DPS is all I do) and getting crap in my dungeon runs from the heirloom clad tank and even, in some cases, the heirloom clad healer over it. Heirlooms are the expected norm nowadays - if you don't have them it's noticeable.
  3. Doing PvP on an heirloom clad hunter? Trivial. No one can stop me. I've actually stopped going. I tried going heirloomless for a while - all the people I'd annoyed seemed to come out of the woodwork for revenge.
Ultimately, for myself at least, there's two issues with heirlooms - I like and want to preserve the bonus XP they grant, while disliking and wanting to remove the way they grant power and remove the fun of gear acquisition. So what am I suggesting?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Do you chit-chat in random groups?

Good morning! Are you just sneaking in the Breakfast Topic daily, or are you lucky enough to be able to run the whole front page before lunchtime? Yeah, I don't normally play in the morning, either. It stinks. Sometimes the boss will catch me online during work hours, yeah -- but it's just to grab a quick screenshot for a new Breakfast Topic, know what I mean? It's not like I'm trying to slip through all my dailies or anything ...

Chit-chat. We love it in the WoW Insider comments, we love in game, and we especially love and recommend it among groupmates, where it helps foster a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie. A friendly greeting at the outset of random groups or raids sets the stage for a more relaxed, personal experience and paves the way for questions, suggestions and comments about the content ahead.

Once you've greeted your groupmates, though, do you keep up the friendly chatter? As a healer, I'm frequently too absorbed by the breakneck pace of most experienced tanks to type much once we've begun. I don't mind others who do, though, especially if they weave in a workmanlike mix of suggestions and gentle joking about our performance. I'll admit to tuning out when the talk turns to sports scores, though. That's when you'll notice players randomly making a Confession or Levitating gently through the instance on puffy little clouds. Oh yeah, sports talk. I'm bored.

So do you chit-chat during random groups? Do you feel awkward when you get matched with an SBD (Silent But Deadly) group? Do you have a patented icebreaker for new groups?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Your favorite leveling spot(s)

Chances are, you've spent a lot of time in World of Warcraft leveling, because for most of us having just a single main character isn't enough. Once you've leveled your main, maybe you want to see what it's like to play a different class or race. Maybe you want to see what the horde experience is like after playing alliance, or maybe you want to check out Kalimdor after leveling in the Eastern Kingdoms. Whatever the reason, most of us have alts for a change of pace -- and some die-hard alt-a-holics even aim to hit max level with every class or faction. All this adds up to an awful lot of leveling... and it probably leaves you with a really good grasp of the game's leveling zones.

So today we're asking: what's your favorite leveling spot? Is there a zone or quest hub you just can't miss? A dungeon run you just can't get enough of? Tell us all about it!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Where did you hit level 90?

Getting to level 90 may seem like old hat this late in the expansion cycle, but I bet you all remember just when and where you first (or last) hit the level cap. For my part, after skipping out of WoW for all of Cataclysm, I decided to play all the way through each Cataclysm zone with my monk before moving on to Pandaria. The result? I hit level 90 pretty early in Valley of the Four Winds, before even getting around to doing any of Hemet Nessingwary's grind-tastic -- and experience-tastic -- quests. Though after that, I wound up jumping over the wall into the Vale in order to train flying because I'd not yet done the gate opening quests... so it's probably not a leveling experience I'll repeat.

Now that I've shared my level 90 story, how about yours? When and where did you hit level 90?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Speed up level and reputation gains today by stacking holiday buffs

If you're working on picking up levels or reputations on any characters, today there's a confluence of holidays that will help you along the way. But you'll have to act fast, since Pilgrim's Bounty and the 9th Anniversary event end today. Here's what you need to do to get the most out of your grinding:
  • The Pilgrim's Bounty Spirit of Sharing buff grants +10% reputation for an hour. Get it by going to any Pilgrim's Bounty table and chowing down on each type of food 5 times.
  • The Darkmoon Faire WHEE! buff grants +10% experience and reputation for up to an hour. Just visit the Faire and ride the carousel until the buff stacks up to an hour. Alternatively, you could use the Darkmoon Top Hat to get the same buff -- but bear in mind the two buffs won't stack.
  • Use your 9th Anniversary Celebration Package for +9% experience and reputation for an hour.
The downside, as you may have already guessed, is that these buffs are limited duration, and the Pilgrim's Bounty buff and Darkmoon buff (unless you use the top hat) both require you to visit places to get them. Still, an hour of bonuses isn't bad. Plus, these can stack with other excellent leveling buffs like the monk's Enlightenment daily buff, heirloom buffs, and the Guild Battle Standard buff. So hurry up and get leveling!

Filed under: News items

Ghostcrawler on crafting professions and leveling

Ghostcrawler on crafting professions and leveling
Sometimes I actually love Twitter for how it can bring the players and the developers together in a more immediate way. Case in point, this tweet from Ghostcrawler. When asked about crafting professions falling behind as the expansion progressed, the answer was clear and unambiguous that Blizzard agrees it's a problem.

While it's light on specifics I'm glad to see they get the problem. At this point I'm only keeping blacksmithing for the extra sockets, and I know a lot of JC's who were mighty disappointed when they found out there would be no epic gems this time around. Maybe a return to BC style scaling items is in order? Maybe not. Making my original Lionheart Blade was a pain.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

Leveling a time capsule

Leveling a time capsule
I still remember the first day I played this game on live servers, even though it's been nearly nine years since I looked at the login screen and tried to muddle out what to pick. Friends of mine had already made an Alliance guild and encouraged me to join them. When I mentioned I wanted to play a rogue, I was told that they really needed healers, not rogues. However, my friend suggested I roll a druid, as they could not only heal, but they could turn into a cat and stealth around like a rogue does. That seemed suitable to me, so I rolled a night elf druid, logged in and began to play.

Several months and sixty levels later, that experience remains full of fond memories of endless frustration with the class and how it played. It absolutely did not help that giant improvements for that class were rolled out in a patch shortly after I hit 60. I rolled Horde, and the rest is history ... or it was, anyway. The druid remained at level 60, years after I hit 70, 80, 85 and 90, frozen in a distinct period of time. Several months ago, while idly looking at the login screen and pondering what to play, I decided to actually level the druid and get it caught up. Furthermore, I decided to make the trip without heirloom gear -- after all, it didn't exist when I originally played the character.

This is the story of a peculiar alt that used to be a main, and what happens when you crack open a time capsule from 2005.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion

Community Blog Topic Results: Do we need more levels?

Last week's Community Blog Topic was "Do we need more levels?" There were more yes's than no's in the comments and blogs this topic sparked, but there were also some innovative solutions for how leveling or progression could be handled in the future.

JeffLaBowski started this discussion off over at Sportsbard, with his answer firmly in the No column. He gives several reasons for not having more levels, starting with questing:
They would still have quests, but these quests would be more meaningful. They would tell rich tales full of lore and character development. New races would be completely and meaningfully fleshed out. No loose ends. No abrupt stops. They could even add max level class quests. There could still be dailies and reputation but you would work on these from the moment you set foot in the new zones.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: The leveling games we play

We've leveled a lot of characters in our day -- and I do mean a lot. So many, in fact, that leveling new ones can be such a snooze that we have to invent new challenges to make it interesting. So we create things like the Ironman Challenge, where death means you have to reroll. Perhaps to spice things up you're considering leveling your next alt purely through PvP, healing, or even daily quests.

Tell us, readers, are you playing any leveling games? I am personally considering leveling a new priest purely through healing dungeons for a change of pace... though we'll see how long it lasts before it just starts driving me nuts.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Should Blizzard brake base XP while preserving boosts for experienced players?

Breakfast Topic Should Blizzard brake base XP while preserving boosts for experienced players
We recently explored how you felt about alternate characters, whether you believe they should represent true alternatives to your first character or whether they should remain secondary to a more fully developed main. Either way, there's no stuffing rapid leveling back into the bag. WoW's current leveling design pushes players forward relentlessly, whether they're experienced gamers or not. The problem is that today's leveling pace already outstrips zone content, quest lines, gearing -- you name it. Should Blizzard apply the brakes to base XP while still permitting seasoned WoW players to choose to move more rapidly?

Consider this: What if the leveling experience weren't tuned to catapult players so quickly through and past leveling zones and dungeons? What if the pace were a little looser, giving new players more time to soak up the leveling game itself -– and then at the same time, the current XP boosts were spread across tools designed for experienced players who choose to hop, skip, and jump their way to 90?

The precedents are there -- just look at the heirloom armor system. Today, you can buy Grand Commendations to boost various reputations for your characters once you've played through them once. And remember when everyone was buying the Tome of Cold Weather Flight for their alts? The tools are already in place. From leveling XP to reputation gains to player convenience, the helping hand of a level-capped main character is key.

Do you think WoW's leveling experience should remain something to be played through quickly and efficiently, even for brand new players, or do you think there's merit to allowing that part of the game to move at a more deliberate pace? Would you support more mechanics that give experienced players a way to speed up leveling for their alts, preserving a slower pace for new players and players who enjoy slower leveling? If you like a strong emphasis on mechanics like heirlooms and commendations, should those tools be simple, affordable purchases for any level 90 player, or should they take some time, effort, or money to earn?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Things that were harder before

Things that were harder before
I did a post this week about raiding in previous expansions and in vanilla WoW, and how people often say those raids were harder and my opinion that it is easily demonstrable that current raids are if anything more complicated than they have ever been. I frankly believe there is almost no room for comparison between the game at 60 and today in terms of raid complexity and difficulty. Part of this stems from the many different variations on what the word hard means in this context. Something can be harder because it is conceptually or executionally more complex (the difficulty can stem from how much is required to successfully complete its mechanics) or it can be hard because it is laborious and/or time consuming. Was raiding with 40 people in classic WoW more laborious? Absolutely it was. It wasn't mechanically harder, but it was more time consuming and took a great deal of effort to organize and plan. It's the difference between working out a complex multi-stage math problem and carrying five thousand pounds of rocks from point A to point B.

But there were some points worth addressing. It absolutely has never been easier to level, even without heirlooms, than it is right now. Vanilla leveling to 60 took more time and effort than leveling to 90 does today. Even without heirlooms, one can easily and without much stress reach level 20 in a few hours, level 40 in less than two days, and be level 60 within a day of that, and this isn't spending all day staring at the screen either. This is a fairly casual leveling pace. I leveled a blood elf warrior to 35 in two days of rather casual play, an hour on followed by a half hour reading websites or having a snack or even going for a long walk.

It's also far easier to do the following things:
  1. Get a dungeon group. You can queue for dungeons at level 15, and from that point on, all you ever have to do to run a dungeon is hit that queue. If you're playing in the tank or healing role you can effectively chain dungeons all day, and even leveling as DPS there are stretches where you don't even need to quest or do anything but dungeon.
  2. Run a battleground. While you could argue that doing well at BG running as you level up and at max level takes some time and effort, if you want to risk queueing in whatever gear you have, it's simplicity itself.
  3. Getting ready to raid at max level. The game now has catchup mechanisms in place for players who start later. If you just got your alt to 90 and are switching to it for raiding, deciding to give raiding a try for the first time, or what have you it's not the case that your raid group is compelled to run you through previous raids for attunements and keys, much less gearing you through older raids to get ready for the current content.
  4. Find something to do. You could even argue that there's too much to do, or that it feels too mandatory. But you can't argue you don't have options - if you don't want to run dungeons, raid, or PvP there are pet battles, daily quests and scenarios you can do.
So the question then becomes this: is it better or worse for the game that these things are easier? For that matter, are they easy enough?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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