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Posts with tag leveling

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

The good and bad of GOGOGO

This week on Drama Mamas, we discussed a couple that disagreed on how to handle GOGOGO PUGs, the sort that attempt to rush through everything as fast as possible. The tank felt that the DPS who pulled should not be healed, while the healer believed that everyone should be healed indiscriminately. In my opinion, the tank should pull and the healer should stay with the tank, healing others as needed as long as they are in range. But many in the comments disagreed.

Leveling dungeons are, for the most part, easy places to run -- over and over -- for experience and loot. The question is, are they only that or are they also places to practice your role for the endgame? Many commenters believe that endgame playing should be left for max level and that leveling dungeons should be raced through. Others believe that keeping to a standard pace is boring and chain pulling, even by DPS, is the only way to go.

In practice, a tank has little to no queue time, so the pace ends up being whatever the tank wants, else he or she will just accept the votekick and get into another group immediately. Though I don't believe in strongarm tactics, I do think the pace should be set by the tank, even if it ends up being a little slow. Learning on the way up is good. On the other hand, there is a challenge of the GOGOGO team that can be appealing.

What about you? Do you prefer GOGOGO dungeons while leveling? Why or why not?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: How do you level?

Breakfast Topic How do you level
Leveling in World of Warcraft is a rite of passage that we all must go through in order to reach max level where we can play with our friends. Though for alt-a-holics -- and I'm starting to think I may be one of them -- leveling is the whole point of the game. But whether you're leveling for the first time or the hundredth, whether you're speeding through or taking time to enjoy the scenery, chances are you have your own way of going about things.

So when you're on the leveling treadmill, what's your choice? For my part, I tend to quest through zones -- especially if they're zones I haven't been through before. But if I'm stuck in zones that I've been through before, perhaps many times before, things get awfully tedious, thus ending my life potential alt-a-holism. But do you quest, dungeon, subsist on dailies and rested XP, or something else entirely? Let us know, so we may commiserate about the leveling treadmill together!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

The fine art of PvE twinking from level 1-35

TDQ Call To Arms
I'm sure most of you are familiar with the concept of "twinking" in WoW for PvP. It generally entails decking a low-level character out with all the best possible gear available to them and then tearing up the battlefields. In these post-experience locking days twinking is more straightforward than ever, and our own Olivia Grace has already covered a lot of the gearing aspects of twinking, for both PvE and PvP.

PvE twinking is a bit of an unusual idea. Mostly it refers to locking experience at one of the former level caps - 60, 70, 80, or 85 - in order to enjoy the challenges of old raids or to accomplish something limited to players of a certain level, such as the Herald of the Titans title. These are fun and interesting ways to spend time in the game, but what about PvE twinking at even lower levels? Say, level 20? Or 40? Why on earth would anyone want to do that?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Cataclysm

Patch 5.2: Leveling XP via pet battles

Patch 52 Leveling via pet battles
It is no longer a waste of leveling time to battle pets with lower level characters. With the advent of patch 5.2, players can now earn XP from pet battles. (If you're max level, you have a chance of getting Lesser Charms of Good Fortune instead.) All you have to do is participate in any pet battle -- other than dueling -- with your highest pet being no more than five levels above the pets you are fighting. This includes pet battle PvP, where you queue up from your pet journal, just not the pet battle duels you can do with friends ... or strangers, for that matter.

The experience is comparable to completing the capital city cooking and fishing quests. For example, my level 77 mage gets 27K XP from the Orgrimmar cooking dailies and gets 26K for fighting a battle with three level 1s vs. a level 2. The XP varies according to how much higher your highest pet that your battling with is above the pets you are fighting. A four level difference nets my mage about 21K XP. Whether you are battling other players, wild pets or tamers, the XP gained is consistent.

Is it worth it to try to level via pet battling? I would recommend questing, gathering, archaeology digging and battling pets in the same zone to maximize your leveling potential. But if you're in a gotta-catch-'em-all frenzy, as I sometimes am, you can battle pets with your leveling alts while still progressing more than just your pets.

I wouldn't be surprised if players tried to level while just pet battling. Will you be taking advantage of pet battle player XP?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Leveling warriors in Mists of Pandaria, 61 to 90

Leveling warriors in Mists of Pandaria, 61 to 90
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Before we get started, let's cover the previous posts in this series:
What levels 61 through 90 cover is a staggering array of content, if you think about it, going from Burning Crusade (in many ways the oldest content still available in WoW) to Wrath, then Cataclysm and finally Mists of Pandaria itself. Even without raiding or running heroic dungeons, you're still looking at over 30 zones (I'm being conservative and not counting the DK start zone, the Worgen/Goblin start zones, Wintergrasp or Tol Barad) of content. And that content varies greatly, since it ranges from first being introduced in 2007 to 2012. That's over five years of game design iteration, and you can really feel it - in many ways, going from the Cataclysm revamped old world to TBC era Outland to start this patch of leveling off is like stepping into a time machine. Hellfire is a scattered zone, with multiple quest hubs only loosely connected and even with the quests having been adjusted to be much easier to solo it feels like the artifact of its time that it is.

Still, since both Outland and Northrend have had their experience requirements relaxed from their debut periods, it's not hard to get through them. Ironically enough, it's when you hit level 80 and start in on Cataclysm content that the game starts to feel bogged down. Several heirlooms currently stop working at level 80 (the hat, cloak and legs currently available last until 85, and new heirlooms are coming in 5.2) and the experience requirements, while reduced, are still more significant than the previous two expansions.

Still, let's talk about what you, as a warrior, will find when you hit these levels.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Leveling warriors in Mists of Pandaria, 31 to 60

Leveling warriors in Mists of Pandaria, 31 to 60
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Last week, we covered starting out and going from 1 to 30 as a warrior. This week, we'll finish off the Cataclysm-revamped content before heading to Outland. Some points to make before we get started:
  • It's my opinion that the warrior class starts to open up in these levels, with several important class abilities like Deep Wounds, Titan's Grip and Single-Minded Fury, Shield Wall and other favorites. We also gain the last warrior stance, Berserker Stance, although with the revamp to stances with Mists of Pandaria it's not as important for leveling.
  • Both tanking and DPSing become a lot more 'real' with these levels. Being the proper spec for your role is a lot more important, and by level 60 each spec feels like it will for the rest of your leveling. You'll still gain new abilities, but they'll supplement rather than define you compared to 31 to 60, which is where that definition comes in.
  • PvP is, to my mind, more fun here than at lower levels. You just feel more like a warrior with certain abilities, after all.
  • In past years, I would have advised a leveling warrior to get to Outland as soon as possible. Now, however, I advise that you wait until 60. There are some excellent quest chains in the revamped Winterspring, Burning Steppes and Blasted Lands that will get you to 60 painlessly, and once you head to Hellfire Peninsula you're heading into some of the oldest leveling content the game has. Delay that system shock if you can, I would argue.
All the initial points I made last week are still viable. So now, let's break open what you'll be getting as you level through the zones, hit the dungeons, or run some PvP.

Read more →

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Leveling a new warrior, Part 1

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Leveling a new warrior Part 1
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Congratulations! You've decided to level a warrior. I applaud your choice in leveling satisfaction. This article is designed for the use of a new warrior, whether it be an experienced WoW player who hasn't picked up the class yet or an entirely new player.

Warriors are a melee DPS/tanking hybrid class that use a variety of combat stances tailored towards their specific role in combat as well as the situation to hand. They're uniquely mobile due to several abilities and talents designed for quick movement on the battlefield, and can use every single kind of melee weapon, although weapons with strength should definitely be the priority over ones with agility, and no warrior should use a weapon with intellect, spellpower or spirit on it.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

Night elf priest iron-mans to level 90 with no greens, no talents, and no deaths

Night elf priest ironmans to level 90 with no greens, no talents, and no deaths
It's a world first for night elf priest Lyssan of Vek'linash (US), who has bypassed death, gearing, talents -- all the conveniences of modern-day Azeroth -- to hit level 90 in the player-created WoW Ironman Challenge. A report like this would normally include the winner's class specialization and gearing, but not for this player, yet the Ironman's brutal ruleset prohibits not only those basics but also death itself.

That's right: If you die during the WoW Ironman Challenge, you re-roll. Period.

Here's a look at the grim core rules of the challenge:
  • No items equipped other than white or gray items.
  • No heirlooms.
  • No talent points -- no specialization. You may train class abilities.
  • No professions, primary or secondary, other than First Aid.
  • No food or water above vendor-quality white items.
  • No groups -- no BGs, no instances, no raids, no quest groups. No guilds.
  • No enchants, scrolls, potions, elixirs, or glyphs.
  • No outside financial or equipment assistance (including gold or bags from other characters).
  • The Big One: If you die, ever, you delete that character and start over at level 1.
The next closest participant in the Mists leg of this event is currently level 87. Kripparrian, the player-run hard-mode competition's former title-holder in Cataclysm at level 85, does not appear to have leveled in Mists of Pandaria.

We'll have a full interview with the triumphant Lyssan next week, after she takes a well-earned holiday rest! (And if it were me, I think I'd go out and die a few times, just for sheer relief ...)

Filed under: News items

Are low-level dungeons too easy?

Are lowlevel dungeons too easy
Taepsilum went on today a little bit about an assertion that low level dungeons are too easy. This position is one that many experienced players can likely sympathize with, particularly those who have alts climbing through the levels with full heirlooms and considerable player knowledge behind them.

For players in that position, yes, low-level dungeons are too easy. But, as Taepsilum points out, players with years of WoW under their belts ought to turn back the clock, to let the Ghost of Azeroth Past take them on a journey through time to their first ever dungeon. Hopefully they weren't as foolish as your writer, and didn't select tank without really realizing what it meant. The low-level dungeons have, at least to some extent, to cater to players who have never been in a dungeon before.

And, of course, for the lower levels, dungeon leveling has to contribute an equivalent amount of XP per hour to questing, or nobody would ever go into dungeons at all. But, as another poster in the same thread commented, perhaps it would be possible to open up heroic difficulties of dungeons at lower level to players who wanted a challenge?

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Alternative leveling in the Isle of Quel'Danas

Alternative leveling in the Isle of Quel'Danas
I'm bored of Northrend. It is beautiful and has lovely music and is full of lore and I'm bored. It's the new Outland for me and my alts. Other ways to level abound, of course, but they all have their drawbacks and are various levels of "Been there; done that." as well. So I took Tizzi, the bored goblin mage, to a place where my aged druid spent many grindful days: the Isle of Quel'Danas.

We complain about dailies now, but Quel'Danas (also known as the Sunwell Isle) was the land of too many dailies for our quest log. Grind, grind, grind we ancient Burning Crusade players did, so we could be of the Shattered Sun and get some lovely loot besides. When Quel'Danas was the in-thing, everyone was max-level, so there was no XP -- just the cash, gear, and camping. Oh, so very much camping.

The Isle of Quel'Danas is vacant of players now, but is otherwise unchanged. It resides in a bubble in time, much like Outland, and the NPCs are still there to give quests or be slaughtered.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade

Breakfast Topic: Calling all slowbies -- progress check!

Breakfast Topic Calling all slowbies  progress check!
Not level 90 yet? Slowbies and altaholics, this is your check-in call! How are your characters faring in Mists? Seems like the pressure to cap -- your level, your professions, your gear, your reps, and even your stable of alts -- is much less pronounced in this expansion than in times past. There seem to be an awful lot of unabashed slowbies running around Azeroth lately.

So let's see whatcha got! Who's not up 90 yet? If not, where are you spending your time? (My bet's on pet battles.) I'm hearing from a lot of players who have completely given up on the usual strategy of promptly and methodically leveling an entire stable of alts. They're simply too engrossed in the level 90 gameplay. Have you gotten around to your alts yet? I confess that the greedy fingers of farming have coiled themselves around my logins. I always check my crops first, and once I'm in -- well, the to-do list seems endless, and let's just say I've had zero luck switching characters before it's time to end my play session. Poor little neglected pandaren monk. Some day.

Before I go, I've got a question for you non-slowbies out there, too. If you've kept your nose to the grindstone and managed to lift your entire group of regulars up to the level cap (or have that goal within your sights), what's next? If you've been running 85 to 90 over and over, you've still got a whole world of activities to explore once you start poking around in everything there is to do at level 90. What's on your agenda?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Would Blizzard's efforts in Pandaria be negated by early flight?

Tome of Pandaria Flying
In response to a forum thread started this weekend, Blizzard Community Manager and pug aficionado Crithto clarified Blizzard's thoughts on a Tome of Pandaria Flying. The Tome of Cold Weather Flight was an item introduced in Wrath of the Lich King, which permitted players to avoid buying Cold Weather Flight -- the flight training required to fly in Northrend -- for their alts. Rather than re-purchasing the skill on every character at max level, you could use the tome and begin flying in Northrend a couple of levels earlier than it could ordinarily be acquired. The Tome of Cold Weather Flight was removed from the game in patch 4.0.1.

Crithto's comment is as follows:

Crithto
We're not sure if we'll be doing this. The tome worked out well enough for Wrath of the Lich King as an experiment, but so much of the experience we spent a lot of time and effort shaping in Pandaria is negated by flying. In addition to the upcoming reputation changes for alts (when a character on the account hits Revered), we'll consider other methods of potentially speeding up the leveling process for alts, but we don't think "allow flying" is necessarily the best answer.


While it is clear to see why players feel differently, given how much easier flying makes questing, WoW Insider largely agrees with Crithtos's opinion. Certain achievements, for example, Legend of the Brewfathers, are hugely enhanced by riding rather than flying. Exploration of the world Blizzard has created in Mists of Pandaria is essentially two new experiences when undertaken first from the ground, and later from the air.

Crithto's assertion that Blizzard's developers are looking into methods of speeding up alt leveling may bring considerable comfort to players for whom the leveling experience has been enjoyable but overwhelming. The adventure through Pandaria, while thrilling, may start to lose its shine with subsequent playthroughs, so changes may be needed. Would you welcome methods to level alts at greater speed? Or, like the pandaren, do you believe that players should slow down, that Pandaria is to be savored?

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

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