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Posts with tag alts

Breakfast Topic: Are you a one toon kind of player?

Writin'
I struggle with alts more than anyone I know. I have my main--my beloved druid--and she has been my One True WoW Toon since I created her in 2007. Over the years I have tried and tried again to get a second toon to max, but it just hasn't happened. This time around I'm pretty close; I have a paladin at 86 and a mage at 83, so the race is on. Will I make another one to 90 before WoD drops? With the rate it's going, if I don't, I should probably be ashamed of myself. And before you ask--no, I haven't pre-ordered, so the boost isn't an option (yet).

Here's the thing, though. As much as I've always wistfully dreamed of an army of crafters to make obtaining raid items just that much less expensive, part of me always feels like I'm kind of missing out when I'm not on my main. There's still plenty of things I have yet to achieve with her, don't you know! But alas, I can't get that Double Agent or Dynamic Duo achievement with just one!

How about you? Do you have an army of alts at your fingertips, or are you a one toon devotee, like myself?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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

Breakfast Topic: How many characters do you have?

Some players are focused on advancing and perfecting a single character. But others can't resist the lure of trying out other classes, races, and even factions for a change of pace. Some players could be certified professional alt-a-holics, with level 90s of each class. Today's question is simple: how many WoW characters do you have?

Of course, a true alt-a-holic knows the real answer goes further than that. How many characters do you actively play? How many characters do you have at max level? And just how do you make time for them all?

So, tell us readers -- in as much or as little detail as you'd like -- just how many characters do you have?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How do you relax in WoW?

WoW Tillers Farm
Many, if not most, of us have certainly at one point or another taken breaks from playing WoW, in which we stop playing for a few weeks, or months, or even years, before coming back. But what do we do when we need a break, but don't want to stop playing the game? Maybe you just can't stomach going back to that one raid yet again, or the thought of setting foot in one more battleground makes you want to put your face on your keyboard and moan. Yet the call of the login screen still remains, just not for whatever you had been doing.

The great thing about WoW is the variety of play options, so there's nearly always something enjoyable to pick up. You could farm for those rare mounts you never got, go back for a questing or archaeology achievement. There's pets to collect and battle, recipe lists to complete, achievements to finish up, proving grounds to master, and even your Tiller's farm to manage. In Warlords of Draenor, we're going to get a whole garrison to ourselves to deck out, as well. Personally, I find mountains of giant vegetables to be my zen in World of Warcraft. What about you? What relaxes you in this game?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Will Warlords of Draenor be alt-friendly?


Here's a bit of truth - while I have a lot of alt warriors, I don't play them much once I get them to max level. I have my main, who raids, whose gear I keep up to date and who I play often, who I indulge my transmog jones on - and everyone else, once I get them to max level and maybe get them some Timeless Isle gear, I stop. My most recent 90 warrior, a draenei woman, I kept up for a month before I finally just stopped wanting to run dungeons on her. My tauren has seen even less play.

Why? Is it just that I already have the one warrior, so why play others? No. Because even if that were the case, it doesn't explain why my shaman and my DK are both sitting there, doing nothing. My shaman makes potions and flasks for me, and that's about it. My DK is literally gathering dust. So, why then? Why am I not playing my alts? I thought about it this week while considering what to do with yet another Timeless Isle piece I could send to my tauren, and then I realized that he's off on another server, with no gold to speak of, and in order to get that piece gemmed and enchanted properly I'd have to play him for an hour or two to make the gold to do it - and it hit me. I already maintain my main's gear - doing the same work on my alts just doesn't appeal to me.

Having to get all their gear gemmed, all the enchants (I always forget boot enchants until I realize I'm slower than everyone else) - even when you can afford it (which I can for my alts on my main's server) it's just tedious, especially when you find yourself improving gear frequently. What enchants do I put on my shaman's blue weapons? Do I go for the good enchants and then replace them in two days when I get an LFR drop?

Ultimately this is what has me thinking about Warlords of Draenor. Gear has been and always will be an impediment to playing an alt - you have to be willing to put in the work to acquire new gear and get them up to the same level as your main if you intend to use them in that fashion. But the removal of the variety of enchants and gems we have now will mean there's less impediment to alt-playing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

The toon juggle

many gnomes
I have a confession to make. I have played WoW since late 2006, and I have yet to get a second toon to max level, in any expansion. I'm not entirely sure what's made this nearly impossible for me -- I've certainly had multiple toons since the very beginning, but never took another one to max after I hit 70 on my night elf druid. Then I never took one to 80. Then 85. And now 90.

I have a few that are getting close, a paladin around level 83 or 84 right now, and a mage that has been steadily climbing over the last couple months and is now level 53. I would love to have a small army of alts. I dream wistfully of a self-sustaining pack of toons, who can farm and craft each other what they need without me ever having to drop 500 gold on a stupid gem ever again. Of course, even if I play madly until the next expansion comes out, I probably won't quite have that setup, but I feel like it's a reasonable long-term goal. Hopefully I'll achieve it within my next seven years of playing WoW, though.

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Filed under: Humor

How easy should it be to gear an alt?

That's been the question this expansion, ranging from "The daily quest rep faction grinds lock gear away, I can't get it fast enough" to "The Timeless Isle makes it too easy to gear up my alt" and I'm not sure where I fall, but the EU forums had an interesting discussion on the issue this week. CM Takralus weighed in with an opinion as well, and it's one I figured we could chat about.
Takralus - Way too easy to gear up alts now
I dinged a fresh 90 on Monday, and yes I went straight to the Timeless Isle. However, in questing greens & blues, I had a very hard time. Also, I still have to go through all the old raids in LFR to unlock the latest content, not to mention get my item level high enough to enter.

I've picked up a few purples on the Timeless Isle, but I'm still nowhere near high enough yet to enter SoO LFR. Sure, if you go for it really hard and prepare with crafted goods, Valor gear etc. I'm sure it can be done. But that's why the system's good IMO, if you put in the effort you can be caught up quickly, if you're more of a casual player like me it's going to take a while, and I'm fine with that personally.

I much prefer this to the alternative-getting my alt to level 90 then having to go through the exact same content I spent months on with my other characters.

This is hardly new to Mists of Pandaria - we've been walking a balance on gearing up alts forever, with some expansions (Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King) having a see saw between difficulties similar to the one Mists is now showing. It was much easier to level an alt in Wrath than it was at the beginning of the expansion, as the improved Dungeon Finder debuted and multiple tiers of heroic dungeons were released with better gear in each. Without new five mans in Mists, we've seen LFR and Heroic Scenarios trying to do the work that dungeons did in Wrath and Cata to an extent, and now the Timeless Isle has made that process much easier.

For myself, I'm actually running the Timeless Isle on my main, whose rotation I have down cold and who I know backwards and forwards, for gear to send to my shaman alt, who has been neglected this expansion. Since I can send any mail drops and any cloaks and rings his way, boosting his iLevel while not even playing him has become possible, and I'm not sure how I feel about that - I was very fond of it at first, until I realized I'm not getting any practice in on how to make his rotation work, and that's a big counter-intuitive to me considering it's always been Blizzard's stance that you should have to play a character to get it geared.

So how about you? Are you gearing up your alts via the Timeless Isle? Do you have to catch yourself from calling it the Timless Isle, as if its major characteristic was its lack of Tims? Where are all the Tims? Sorry, digression. What are your feelings about the ease of gearing this patch?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: What inspired you to level your alt?

Breakfast Topic What inspired you to level your alt
As I've mentioned once or twice in past articles, my main WoW project over the past months has been my brewmaster monk alt. He's turned out to be a lot of fun to play and a good reminder of how much fun tanking can be, but that's not the point of this article. The point is his heirlooms. I was pretty excited when I heard that patch 5.4 would bring with it the ability to put high level enchants on low level items, including heirlooms, even if said enchants would be scaled to level. I figured it would make those last few levels pretty fun if my swords had Windsong on them, if nothing else.

But my monk's coming along quicker than I anticipated. He's already in the low 80s, so chances are by the time patch 5.4 comes out, those heirlooms will be gathering dust in his bank while he's grinding scenarios and heroic dungeons. But I really want to try out high level enchanted heirlooms, so I may just do the unthinkable and level a rogue.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Player packs entire WoW account with level 85+ characters

Still Ticking Player works through a full account of level 85s
Ever wondered what it must be like to level every last character slot on your character select screen to the level cap? It's not unthinkable for players who enjoy devoting a lot of time and energy to the game, but it's not exactly a project most players have the mental stamina to grind through. Shiver in fear, then, as we bring you the story of a man who's leveled characters to 85+ not only for an entire realm or even two but in every possible slot of his WoW account. That's five realms: two with 11 characters, two with 10 characters, and one with eight, hitting the hard cap of 50 characters on a single account, all told.

And that's just the Cataclysm-era installment of this altaholic's leveling efforts. Bluemain of Darkspear (EU-Alliance) is still ticking along. That's right: This herd of 85s is still leveling. Since we began our interview process, Blue's replaced and scooted a couple of characters here and there, but they're all 85 again as of this week, and he's working on his 19th level 90 character.

Could this guy be the prototype for Insane in the Membrane?

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Breakfast Topic: Gearing up your alts

Gearing up new alts -- or even just alt specs -- can be a huge nuisance requiring countless dungeon runs that you've already done plenty of times to gear up your main. Blizzard is, perhaps, working to make this a bit easier with the Timeless Isle, which offers a number of bind on account epics that could be just the thing for making gearing a lot less of a headache. But can our alts wait for 5.4?

In my case, yes, they can, because I'm too easily distracted to have gotten any of them to max level lately. But your alts could be a different story -- and certainly plenty of people (even me!) have had max level alts in the past. So tell us, readers: how have you gone about gearing up your alts? (Or do you even bother with the hassle?) Is the Timeless loot on Timeless Isle going to help get your alts or alt specs into gear?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Your favorite alt(s)


Sure, we all have our main character on whom we lavish both time and attention. We take the utmost care to gear them up: reforging, enchanting, gemming, and transmogrifing every piece of equipment to perfection. We read forums and class blogs and make sure we're up to date on the latest gameplay techniques and boss strategies to make the most of our beloved main when we're playing.

But sometimes? Sometimes you just want a break from all of that. Sometimes you want to play an alt, running through uncharted territory with an unfamiliar class. This, of course, is the draw of the alt. And for some of us, one isn't even enough. So tell us, readers: what's your favorite alt getaway? A specific character, faction, or class? Or is it just anything different, for a change of pace?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Your alt woes

While some prefer focusing on one character at a time, others thrive on the variety of alts, which can make for a nice change of pace to grinding away for experience or gear on a main character. But some players have raised the playing of an alt to something of an art: altaholics who play for both the alliance and the horde and have characters of all races across all level ranges. But even if you love them, alts are not without their problems. My biggest hurdle is my strange inability to remember which character I've logged on to, and automatically using the hotkeys for my monk when I'm playing my hunter. (I try to arrange my hotkeys so they're not foreign to me whatever I'm playing, but I always stumble nevertheless.)

But what about you, readers? Do you have any alt problems you're always running into? Or, better yet, alt solutions? Share!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, 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

Breakfast Topic: Should alts remain secondary to a more developed main?

Breakfast Topic Should alts be secondary to a more developed main
Ready to move all those alts through Mists of Pandaria? The XP reduction for levels 85 to 90 in patch 5.3 isn't something I'm particularly excited about. Leveling goes more than quickly enough for my taste. It's the part of the game I'm enjoying most these days, so why would I want less of it?

At its most basic, pushing players through the levels is a matter of character focus. In Mists of Pandaria, WoW turned away from spreading its affections amongst the so-called stable of alts in favor of encouraging a single main character. That's a compelling approach for players like me who enjoy running down the side streets and back alleyways of gameplay in search of every last way to improve a character. Players who leveled up during Blizzard's later era of streamlined leveling, however, are used to cutting a direct line to the finish with an expectation that they'll be able to maintain multiple characters all the way through the endgame.

What do you think about swinging the focus back to a single main character? Do you think bringing alts up to the same level of development as a main character should be easy, making them true alternatives to your primary character? Or should alts remain easy to level but harder to fully round out at 90?

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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