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Posts with tag leveling-guide

Shifting Perspectives: State of the class, part 1 - Balance


Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer votes on Tuesday and spends Wednesday screaming and beating her laptop over formatting errors, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert steals John Patricelli's column once again, secure in the knowledge that she will never be forced to atone for her crime as long as she writes something nice about ferals and keeps a respectful distance from Dan O'Halloran's whip.

I hate Tauren cat form.

Good. I got that out of my system and can write something productive. Although, believe me, if I could get away with it, an entire Shifting Perspectives would be devoted to just how much I hate Tauren cat form. I mean, just look at it! Look at the angle on the horns! The cat can't bite anything! Christ, I just -- hi, Dan. Yes, I'm totally writing the column! Look at me go!

This week, mindful as always of American election-year politicking, I'm going to borrow a page from presidential duties and write a little something I like to call "State of the Class." Druids have undergone a number of changes in the transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and will acquire even more as they level to 80. We are one of Blizzard's primary targets for both gear and role consolidation, which raises a few questions over how comfortably we're going to scale in relation to pure classes and what we can realistically expect on the march to a new level cap.

The TL:DR version of this article -- I believe our future is generally bright, the Druid community continues to have a few concerns over certain aspects of the class, our focus in PvP seems to be changing the most, and I hate Tauren cat form. This is a three-part post, so let's get started with balance. However, if you want to jump ahead to feral, you'll find that here; and the third part, restoration, is here.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Buffs, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

Addon Spotlight: TourGuide (UPDATED)

Amid the madness of yesterday's patch, there has been some desperate drama happening in the official UI & Macros Forums. It seems the massively popular leveling addon QuestHelper has encountered some troubles, with many users not able to use their beloved quest... helper.

As with many crossroads in life, this presents an opportunity to consider a change, or at least a reason to try something else out while the developer of QuestHelper figures out the disconnect. Some time ago, I stopped using the memory-hogging giant in favor of one of Tekkub's creations. TourGuide may very well be Tekkub's greatest mod to date. It serves much the same function as QuestHelper, but it takes a different approach, one that doesn't eat up nearly as much memory. To me, it was sort of like selling my huge truck for a fast, agile Subaru. (Which I did in RL, yay!)

I've been promising to profile this bad boy for a couple of months now, as I've yet to finish my own work on it, but I felt like you all needed an alternative. Besides, you may end up swearing by TourGuide like I do, it was more my style. (I've been working on a guide for TourGuide, but my day job has been bogging me down.)

TourGuide is more akin to a traditional leveling guide than the so-called smart system of QuestHelper. With the "helper", I felt like I wasn't doing quests in the right order, at the right level and that I was missing out on some great quest chains.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Add-Ons, Features, AddOn Spotlight, Leveling

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 60-70



Mages sometimes get a bad rap. Some say we whine too much, while others claim we stink at PvP, or pull aggro too often from the tank. Here at Arcane Brilliance, we ignore these people, because we know the truth. You see, it's a well-known fact that while people tend to like awesome, they simply can't handle too much of it. When people see Mages in the back row, flinging giant balls of flame and ice from their fingertips, landing ridiculously large crits on everything, or plucking delicious magical food out of the air before them, their sense of what is and what isn't awesome gets skewed, and this makes them feel weird. They don't like it. They fear it. The awesome that Mages bring to the table is just too much for most folks to handle. Remember this the next time you get yelled at over voice chat, or someone posts a nasty thread on the forums. We Mages are just too awesome. It's our curse. Luckily, we can remove curses.

Last week, we hit level 60. A long time ago, this was the end of the line, the top of the heap. Once you hit level 60, your experience bar disappeared, and only by improving your gear could you continue to advance your character. That all changed about 18 months ago, when Blizzard introduced us to the world beyond the Dark Portal, 10 more levels of experience, and level 57 greens that were better than level 60 purples. Last week, we brought ourselves to the brink of level 60, to the doorstep of Outland, and this week we'll explore that vast and dangerous new frontier and see where it takes us. Join us after the break for a look at what to expect from the last ten levels of the current game.

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Filed under: Mage, Items, How-tos, Instances, Quests, Features, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Making money, Mounts, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 61-70


Hooray. Outland. Now this is the real home stretch. This, at least for now, is where most of your adventures will happen. After slogging through the first 20 levels, grinding up to the landmark 40, surviving the boring trek to 50, and eventually making it to The Burning Crusade content, the time has finally come to make that final push. You should probably celebrate a little, because from here on forth you will get new trainable abilities at every level so don't forget to pay your trainers a visit. Although odd-numbered levels usually have higher ranks of old, little-used spells, so it's not a huge deal to skip training between levels. Besides, the first few levels in Outland are such a breeze that you can hit a few levels without getting a chance to visit the old world.

By this time, you really should be riding around on your pimpin' new mount. For Horde players, it's extra special because the Blood Knights get a tabard that's second in coolness only to the Tabard of the Shattered Sun, so there's every reason to complete the quest chain. If you entered Outland at level 58, questing in Hellfire Peninsula should get you past 60 in a very short time. The experience gains from quests are vastly superior to the quests in the old world, as well as gives heftier Gold rewards. This is important because you should be saving your money as early as now (if not sooner) in order to afford flight training.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Leveling, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 40-60



Each week, Arcane Brilliance endeavors to distill the vast and complex world of Mages into a thousand words or so. How does Arcane Brilliance do it?
Magic. Yep, it's an 81 point talent, learnable at level 100 and only available in the upcoming 5th expansion, tentatively titled, "World of Warcraft: The Burning Scarlet Crusade of the Lich King." This is leaked straight from the very early Alpha Beta Alpha Gamma of that expansion, and Arcane Brilliance is the sole invitee. In fact, It's so early that the game doesn't technically exist yet, which may explain why most of these columns end up being closer to three thousand words than one. Blizzard's working on a patch.

Level 40. You've burned and frozen your way through 39 levels of experience and two whole columns worth of leveling guides to get here, and now you're level 40. Have a party, invite your friends. It'll be fun. If it isn't, turn somebody into a sheep. Just trust me. Works every time. Well, unless your friends aren't humanoids, beasts, or critters, in which case I can't help you, and perhaps no-one can.

Level 40 is a milestone of such epic proportions that it's probably only rivaled by dinging 70 as far as stages in WoW progression go. When you're done celebrating, it's time to get going. You've got a lot to do. After the break, we'll talk about level 40 and all the wonderful new toys it makes available to you, and do our level best ( pun totally intended) to cover the 19 levels that follow, stopping only when we hit 60.

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Filed under: Mage, Tips, Walkthroughs, Instances, Quests, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, Making money, Mounts, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 20-40



Each week at some point on Saturday, Arcane Brilliance brings Mages together from every corner of Azeroth to discus how awesome we are. Five seconds later, the discussion degenerates into a whole lot of whining about Warlocks. Someone ninjas all the manna biscuits, a scuffle breaks out, a million Frost Novas erupt at once, and the very fabric of the universe is sundered when everyone tries to Blink away simultaneously. Then the next Saturday arrives and we get together to do it all again. Secretly, you see, we enjoy sundering the universe. We're Mages. That's just how we roll.

Level 20! Grats! Last week we talked ourselves through the first twenty levels of Magehood, from our humble beginnings slaying kobolds in Elwynn Forest or boars in Durotar to sheeping adds in The Deadmines or Wailing Caverns. This week we'll take our maturing Mages through the next twenty levels, all the way to level 40, halfway to Arthas. Numerically, anyway.

When you ding 20, you've reached what could reasonably be defined as your first major milestone within World of Warcraft. You have 11 talent points under your belt, which means you likely have a clearly defined specialty for you Mage, whether it be Frost, Fire, or Arcane. You've now got access to many of the spells that set you apart from other classes, and are learning how to use them. You've hopefully been into an instanced dungeon or two, and have some grasp on your role within a group dynamic. And now, at level 20, you get to do a whole mess of new junk, and all of it is awesome.

Join me after the jump for a more specific quantification of how awesome.

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Filed under: Mage, Tips, Quests, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Mounts, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 51-60


This used to be the home stretch. In the old days, hitting level 51 was when players got their second wind after tiring out from the usually dreary 41 to 50. Now, however, it's just another bump in the road, with the endgame barely in sight. With Wrath of the Lich King looming over the horizon, the idea is to get through these levels as quickly as possible. Move along now, there's nothing to see here. Well, maybe a little, so we've cooked up this handy guide to see you through this not-quite-home-stretch.

If you've gotten your Paladin to this point, congratulations. Give yourself a pat on the back for sticking through with what is generally considered to be a boring challenging class. I got through my Paladin on a love-hate relationship. I love the class but I hate how slow everything can be. If you've gotten this far, you likely know what I mean. Seal, judge, seal, auto-attack, and alt-tab to read WoW Insider. If you're still deciding on whether to play the class, Elizabeth's guide from 1 to 20 is a good place to look. There's also the stretch from 21-40 for those of you who've decided to see if the free mount is worth it (I like mine a lot, thank you very much).

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Scattered Shots: Levels 10-20 and the art of staying smart

Scatered Shots is for da inteligent peepul who knows what hunters is good at.

We started off this column talking about the very first levels you go through as a hunter, from one to ten, and from there we got off onto other topics, such as getting your first pet, controlling it well, managing your threat, using crowd control, and other things all hunters must learn as we level up. But we talked about all these things in the abstract, not in the context of actually leveling up, the specific abilities you'll get, and how that'll change the way you play.

So today I'll start up the leveling train again, from levels 10 to 20, and we'll have a closer look at how these general ideas fit in to that period of your hunting career. Except for the sheer time investment involved, the hardest part of hunter leveling is already over once you reach level 10 and get your pet, and that makes this the most dangerous time for a hunter, when we are most likely to fall into lazy hunting habits and neglect the opportunity for complexity that shows up later on. Whereas before you had to work hard to stay out of your enemy's melee range, now it's a simple three-step process:
  1. Send in your pet for the attack.
  2. Shoot.
  3. Profit.
It is so incredibly simple that idiots can do it. In fact, idiots do do it, and therein lies the problem. We have to do something while leveling to keep our complex hunter brain synapses firing fast don't we? Just what can you do with all the abilities you get at this stage?

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Filed under: Hunter, Add-Ons, Leveling, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 1-20



Every Saturday, Arcane Brilliance freezes you in place, then Blinks behind a pillar and turns Invisible. You can look for Arcane Brilliance if you want to, but I can tell you that's a bad idea. You see, while you're looking, Arcane Brilliance is positioning itself behind you, cooking up a giant Pyroblast and aiming it up your tailpipe. You really only have a few options here. You can a.) cry, b.) curl into the fetal position and wait for the sweet embrace of death, or c.) distract Arcane Brilliance by quickly yelling "Spell damage is more important that spell hit rating, discuss!" and then log out while Arcane Brilliance is busy posting on the forums about what you just said. I'd go with c.), personally. Works every time.


Recently, I discovered that there seem to be leveling guides on this site for just about every class but Mages, so it's time I stepped up to the plate. The problem is, Mage was my very first class, on my very first character, on my very first foray into the World of Warcraft, which took place approximately forever ago. Ok, so it's only been about two-and-a-half years, but in WoW years, that's the rough equivalent of a million kajillion years ago. My memories of those first few levels are fuzzy at best, and I can condense what I remember learning into two statements: "Murlocs are evil," and "The only way out of Undercity is to use my Hearthstone." One of those statements eventually stopped being true for me, and the other one is "Murlocs are evil." Needless to say, I didn't feel entirely qualified to write a leveling guide for the first few levels of Magecraft.

To rectify the situation, I decided to roll a brand new Mage, so that I could experience those first few levels all over again. To ensure that the experience was as pure as I could make it, I created my Mage on a new server--the newest actually--Cairne. I knew nobody on that server, and had no alts there, so this Mage, a Human female I named Niwt, would be an entirely virgin Mage. I had never played an Alliance Mage before, and never leveled any character in the Human starting area, so the quests would be new to me, and the landscape foreign. I disabled all of my mods and dove in.

It was horrible.

I learned a lot though, or remembered learning a lot, depending on how you look at it. After the break, more text!

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Filed under: Human, Gnomes, Undead, Trolls, Mage, Mining, Tips, How-tos, Draenei, Blood Elves, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Making money, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Insider Trader: Alchemy, the final stretch

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

While alchemy is certainly not the most flashy or popular profession out there, alchemists are an integral part of the game, and any guild worth its salt has at least one, preferably several, working to supply guildmates and fill the guild bank with stacks of consumables and transmuted items.

This week's leveling guide will feature the usual cheapest route, and the most useful, to 375 for solos and casuals.

For those of you who will be working for your guild (and hopefully are also being financed, or supported by herbalists), we'll show you how to reach 375 by making the most useful items. They might cost more, but your guild will be requiring them anyway, so you might as well get your skill points that way, rather than making stacks of items you won't be using.

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Filed under: Alchemy, Patches, Items, How-tos, Guilds, Walkthroughs, Economy, Features, Leveling, Guides, Making money, Buffs, Insider Trader (Professions)

The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 41-50


This week I'm going to continue the class guide by talking about levels 41-50. This is the level range I dislike the most when playing most of my characters (more specifically, 45-50), but I'm going to include suggestions to help you get through it as fast as possible. Since you got your mount at 40, you'll notice a distinct drop in travel time, but please be careful when mounted -- enemy mobs can still hit you, potentially knocking you off your mount to make your escape on foot. You may have chosen to respec at 40 to Protection or Holy, but I'm continuing as Retribution for leveling purposes (though Prot grinding is also quite fun). As such, certain quests / areas may be harder for some specs than others, so I've tried to offer alternative zones when possible just in case you start having trouble.

If you missed the last two installments of the leveling guide, you can find 1-20 here, and 21-40 here. Before we get started on level 41, I have a couple of recommendations: First, make sure your First Aid skill is leveled up and you have a nice stock of bandages, as sometimes you'll be low on mana and a bubble/bandage can save your life. Second, always carry around a stack or two of the best water (and maybe food) you can get, and if you've leveled cooking, try to keep yourself food buffed as much as possible. Third, take a deep breath -- some of the zones you have to quest in at this level range are notorious ganking grounds on PvP servers, and many have tough mobs that may give you trouble (especially if they have a level or two on you). You will likely find yourself running back from the graveyard a lot, and that's always frustrating. Just keep on at it, and you'll get through it.

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Filed under: Paladin, Leveling, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Spiritual Guidance: Level 1 to 5 on your new Priest


So you're rolling your first character... or perhaps rolling the latest in a series of alts. And for some crazy reason you've picked a Priest. Maybe you just like being blamed for every instance wipe in every group you'll be in. Maybe you enjoy being yelled at for not healing in a battleground when you're at the top of the DPS chart. Maybe you enjoy leveling at an insanely slow pace (at least until you get in the level 40 range). (Okay, it's really not all that bad -- at least not all the time. After all, I've leveled two priests to level 60 and beyond and I'm a perfectly rational, sane individual. Right?) I couldn't say why you rolled a priest -- I'm only here to help you along the way. So read on as we discuss the journey from level 1 to level 15.

If this sounds like fun to you but you haven't yet rolled your priest, check out the last episode of Spiritual Guidance, where we talk more realistically about whether Priest is the class for you and cover picking the right race for your newbie-to-be.

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Filed under: Priest, How-tos, Leveling, Guides, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Encrypted Text: Levels 21-40


Welcome to another edition of Encrypted Text! This week I'm continuing the class leveling guide started by Elizabeth, covering levels 21 to 40. I've only leveled characters on a PvP server, so I know when I hit 20 or so it's time to abandon the safe land of Care Bears for the contested areas where the opposing faction is just waiting to kill you. Luckily, you're a Rogue and thus have an advantage: since you generally keep a low profile, killing quickly and stealthing from target to target, you are hard to spot unless someone much higher level gets right on top of you.

When leveling, especially on a PvP server, use this to your advantage. Unless there's a good reason (like traveling long distances or killing a mob), you should stay in stealth. Even if you're spotted, you still stand a decent chance of getting away -- try throwing something in their face to Blind them, then Sprint away until you can restealth. Well, let's get started. I'm going to assume you've read about levels 1-20, have a good idea of how your Energy and Combo Point mechanics work, and have at least a few points in the Combat tree. If so, read on -- if not, go back and read about your first 20 levels!

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Filed under: Rogue, Leveling, Guides, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Shifting Perspectives: Hit Rating, Expertise and Defense skill for PvE

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, sometimes known as the Big Bear Butt Blogger, offers guidance on three of the Feral Druids' key combat mechanics; Hit Rating, Expertise and Defense skill.

There are three combat mechanics that have a direct bearing on the Feral Druid in PvE at level 70, and each have a functional upper limit on how much you need, before adding more becomes a waste of points.

The three combat mechanics I'm talking about are Hit Rating, Expertise and Defense skill.

When discussing these combat mechanics, there are three numbers I want you to remember; 142, 91 and 415.

If you remember nothing else from the rest of this article, I hope that you carry these three numbers away with you.

142 is the total amount of Hit Rating needed to reduce your chance to miss against raid bosses to zero. Above 142, adding more Hit Rating does nothing for you whatsoever.

91 is the amount of Expertise Rating you would need to reduce the chance of an attack being Parried or Dodged by 5.75%. Currently, it is believed that level 73 raid bosses have a base 5.6% Dodge.

415 is the total amount of Defense skill you need to be immune from critical strikes by level 73 raid bosses, assuming you have 3 points spent in the talent Survival of the Fittest. And if you're tanking at level 70, you should have 3/3 in SotF.

Why are these three combat mechanics so important?

Well, for that we need to go behind the scenes and under the hood to find out a little more on how combat in World of Warcraft actually works.

Read on past the break for more!

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 21-40


Over here at The Light and How to Swing It, we've gotten behind on our class guide. If you missed the first installment and have just rolled a Paladin, check out Elizabeth's guide on levels 1-20. As Elizabeth said in her article, until you hit 40 or so, Retribution is probably the best talent tree for solo leveling unless you're doing a lot of instances where you are healing or tanking. Even so, Prot and Holy specs get far more effective at 40, so my advice is also to stay Ret until then, as it really will speed things up.

Be prepared -- going from 20 to 40 will take you a lot longer than going from 1-20. If you're on a PvP server you'll have to level in a contested area (this means you are automatically flagged for PvP), and that means you are likely to be ganked by opposing players who will often be a much higher level than you. If you're on a PvE server there is no threat of ganking unless you flag for PvP or wander into an area held by the opposing faction, but the difficulty level also ramps up here as well. Mobs have more health and do more damage, and you will probably find quests are harder to complete. Generally, you won't need to group up for quests (your bubble and your ability to heal yourself is invaluable), but in many zones it's not a bad idea. Since Blizzard increased the amount of experience gained from quests in this level range, it may be advantageous to group up and finish a quest quickly, rather than do it solo.

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Filed under: Paladin, Leveling, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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