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Posts with tag leveling

Breakfast Topic: What's the best quest zone in the game?

Questing is a vital part of WoW, it really is -- at least until level 15! Those who have rolled healers or tanks can pretty well abandon it from that point forward, which is a shame, really. Blizzard has created an amazing world for us in Azeroth, and yet we're not really seeing it a lot of the time.

The screenshot is a fine example of this. Sure, it looks like Gilneas, but it's actually a little pocket of Blasted Lands southwest of the Dark Portal. Unfortunately, I was on my Horde warlock when I happened upon this little coastal settlement, so its inhabitants were less than friendly to me!

What are your favorite zones to quest in, and what makes a great questing zone? For me, the vital components are atmosphere, looks, convenience of travel and geographical layout, and quality of quests. A zone has to look good -- my preference is for dark, mysterious zones like Duskwood -- and have a great feel to it. I think the feel is some combination of continuity in the looks and the quest content, plus a sense of what's going on in the zone, a bit of a story that I'm part of. Travel has to be convenient -- in long, thin zones, there has to be a way to get around. Obviously, this is tantamount where you can't fly!

And the layout of the quests has to be convenient, too. I hate doing a whole bunch of quests in one area and then moving to another area, only to have to go back to where I started. And having to go back to the same place again and again. That's just me, though. And lastly, the fewer "bring me nine basilisk gizzard" quests, the better. I don't care if they're to make your soup or for a satanic ritual -- it's still dull!

Badlands, since its Cataclysm rework, has some amazing quest lines -- it's now on the list of vital places I'll always level through -- but visually, it doesn't do it for me. My favorite? Duskwood, by a long shot! How about you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Take the WoW Ironman Challenge

Forum user Jahjin, a troll priest from the Moonglade (EU) guild Twisted Tusks, has posted the rules of the World of Warcraft Ironman Challenge, a grueling, self-imposed challenge designed to take the leveling experience of WoW to a new level of difficulty. Blizzard has even thrown its support into the ring, wishing players embarking on the Ironman Challenge the best of luck.

Blizzard is no stranger to Ironman-type challenges. Both Diablo and Diablo II featured rough hard modes that would cripple those who were not the best. Frankly, the fact that there are players out there putting together these difficulty challenges probably makes a lot of folks over at Blizzard very happy.

Some of these Ironman Challenge rules are pretty brutal. Death is death -- if you die, delete. End of story. Better make it a PvE realm choice, if you want to curb a lot of nonsense-deaths. You aren't even allowed to use talent points, including the one to pick your specialization. No specialization is a rough road to take. If this is your kind of thing, brutal self-hatred, you're going to have a ton of fun.

Head over to the official WoW forums to check out all of the rules and FAQ. If you do decide to try the Ironman Challenge, share your progress in the thread.

Filed under: News items

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Leveling from 61 to 80

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.

Leveling in Northrend was made easier with patch 4.3's reducing the experience necessary by 33%. In addition, many quests in Outland and Northrend were retuned from group quests to soloable, and the major quest givers for instance quests were moved inside the instances in most cases so that players using Dungeon Finder to level through them could turn them in more easily.

These changes make leveling through the oldest content in the game (with the Cataclysm revamps, Outland and Northrend are in fact older content than the 1-to-60 game) easier than it has ever been. That makes now the perfect time to talk about how to level through these 19 levels and get ready for the 80-to-85 content. Since we talked about 1 to 60 two weeks ago, we'll follow much the same format.

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

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Leveling from 1 to 60 after Cataclysm

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.

I am often a little surprised at how often leveling guides and leveling advice is requested by readers. It's easy for those of us working on raids to forget what it's like for the new player, just starting out of Silvermoon or Mulgore for the first time. With the changes to the 1-to-60 game made with Cataclysm, it's never been easier to level. While Mists of Pandaria is bringing a whole new talent system, the 1-to-60 game is most likely not going to see another revamp, so we'll go forward assuming that getting to max level will take the same path. In order to discuss it, I went and rolled yet another warrior. It's for science, people.

For people rolling a new warrior, be it an alt or a new main, there is one thing I like to keep in mind: Know how you intend to level. Whether you're a new player or an old hand trying a warrior out, it's really helpful to know what you intend to do to get to max level. Each talent specialization is viable for questing and PvP (player vs. player), for instance, but if you're intending on tanking instances or flag running in WSG, protection is the clear winner. Arms may be the easiest to level, however, without the stress of tanking and fairly easy to gear up for.

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

Breakfast Topic: How and where do you prefer to level your alts?

Low-level priest
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

With all the improvements to the leveling process, you'd be hard pressed to find a player immune to the ill effects of altoholism. Everybody (and with the new free-until-level 20 system, probably their grandmothers too) is rolling that one class they've really, really wanted to try but were too put off by the leveling process to actually do so. In many cases, they are rolling several new alts. All those alts adds up to a lot of leveling -- far more leveling than the current content can support, even. Even after three alts, many find themselves having exhausted the zones currently available in the game. It can get stale very, very quickly.

To prevent the dread condition known as burnout, alt-heavy players have to mix things up as they level -- different zones, different continents, dungeons, Battlegrounds ... Anything to break up the monotony. Personally, while there are several zones I never skip -- Zangarmarsh, Netherstorm, Howling Fjord and Grizzly Hills, for instance -- I make an effort to play through the zones in a new order, hopping continents as often as possible, and never running dungeons or Battlegrounds. Sure, the story may be massively fragmented this way, but I've played through it before. I know the story; I'm there for the gaming aspects the second time through. Sure, dungeons and Battlegrounds may be fun and provide quick experience, but questing lets me go at my own speed.

When you level alts, how do you navigate the zones? Do you have a select few favorites that you always level through, or do you try to forge new adventures in new zones as you make your way to 85? Or do you bypass the zones entirely and opt for dungeon or Battleground farming?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Would you play WoW if it had no levels?

Recruit-A-Friend
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

A recent discussion in The Queue brought up the idea that perhaps WoW's Recruit-A-Friend could have been done differently. The point of RAF's bonus XP is to help you friend get to the max level as fast as possible to play with you. This is essentially so that they can experience endgame content, as opposed to leveling content. Unfortunately, WoW as an RPG relies on story for raids to be meaningful as anything other than a loot grind. Players who level too quickly may miss out on lore. In addition, quick leveling also means less time learning character skills needed to raid, and we've all seen the guy who bought a level 85 warrior but still didn't know how to taunt.

But what if leveling speed isn't RAF's problem? What if the problem is the concept of levels themselves? If you want to play Mario Kart with a friend, you just jump in. Skill becomes the only barrier, and fun gameplay mechanics take over the grind. It also makes it a lot easier to close the gap between you and your friend in a fun way. The same goes for most FPS, RTS and fighter games ... Only RPGs put this artificial barrier in place.

However, removing level would affect other areas of gameplay. Quests could be lore- and appearance-centric, rather than grind- and gear-centric. Since all players are at the same level, queues for instanced content would go down and it would be easier to get bodies for raids. The rest of the game world would also be easier to expand and utilize, since developers wouldn't need to worry about sheltering level 15s against level 80s. It would, though, make alts more common, which may be problematic in gear acquisition for people's mains for those who raid.

Would you play a WoW without levels, or is there something about levels that is still needed?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you enjoy leveling?

Low-level priest
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Do you like leveling? Do you get excited when you pick a name, go through the opening cut sequence, and your new level 1 toon is born into world of Azeroth? For most of us, leveling is just something we do to get to the endgame. But for others, the act of leveling itself is the game.

Who are these leveling lovers? To what extremes will they go just to feed their leveling addiction? Well, I am in a guild with a guy -- let's call him J -- who is the epitome of such a person. J has two accounts, and he has used all of his available slots to level characters up to level 85. Yet his craving to level continues. So what is a man to do once he runs out of room to create more characters? He deletes his level 85 toons and starts over. You heard correctly.

My guild members and I have watched J delete numerous level 85 characters just so he can create a new character of the same class and with the same name and level up all over again. It can be slightly disconcerting to say goodnight to a level 85 rogue and the next morning say hello to a rogue with the same name who is a mere level 5. But for the most part, we guild members have gotten used to J's particular form of gameplay. Although we tease him about it relentlessly, I think we secretly all admire J; he is having fun through the simple act of leveling.

Are you a leveling lover, too?

Is leveling your favorite part of the game?
Sure is. Leveling is the best part!1474 (20.1%)
I like to mix leveling characters with endgame-level characters.4355 (59.3%)
No way -- leveling is my least favorite part.1514 (20.6%)


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Totem Talk: Choosing to play an elemental shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post on why new shaman should choose enhancement. Enhancement was my first love in this game and the reason I was finally able to break my streak of level 20 to 40 alts and level to 70 in The Burning Crusade. First loves aren't everything, though. (There's a reason the American divorce rate is something around 40%). This post is for my second love and the other option for leveling shaman. This is why you should choose an elemental shaman.

Elemental shaman are ranged casters. Lightning Bolt will be your primary damage spell, particularly at low levels. Earth Shock is a very good burst damage ability when you're very low-level but doesn't scale as well as Lightning Bolt. You'll want to use it for the first 15 to 20 levels, and then forego using it in lieu of another Lightning Bolt until you reach the Fulmination talent. Thunderstorm is also incredible damage at low levels and possibly more useful as a damage spell than a knockback spell until you level up and mobs start to be an actual threat. Lava Burst becomes available at level 34. Lava Burst is the lynchpin of the elemental rotation, and you should get used to keeping Flame Shock up on a target, Lava Bursting whenever it is available and Lightning Bolting in between.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Spiritual Guidance: A shadow priest leveling guide in 1,500 words or less

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen's takes a brief respite from writing articles about how he refuses to date Magic: The Gathering players -- long enough, at least to write this entertaining nonsense.

So, you've no doubt been seeing all these commercials on TV and these all-star athletes talking about how exciting and fun shadow priesting is. And it's true, all true -- shadow priesting is a high-end, VIP-exclusive lifestyle with a dope aftertaste. You should level a shadow priest.

And lucky you -- leveling one has never been easier. In the olden days, talking leveling used to take pages after pages of information. Why, my old Wrath leveling guide was, like, four or five weeks long until I got distracted, started talking about something else, and never actually finished that guide.

But for Cataclysm? Nah, nothing that intense. In fact, I'll bet I can give you a leveling guide in 1,500 words or less. (Give or take 157 or so.)

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Totem Talk: How to level your elemental shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

With the introduction of Blizzard's new free trial system, the number of low-level characters playing World of Warcraft has drastically risen. Whether it is established players creating alternate characters on new accounts, past players trying to decide if they want to return to the game, or persons who have never played WoW (or any video game!) before, Blizzard has made it both easy and appealing to start a new character.

At WoW Insider, we're aware of how scary it can be to start a character in the World of Warcraft. With tons of abilities, four equipment types, 12 races, and 10 classes with three talent trees each, WoW can be a confusing and intimidating game to start out. Fortunately, I'm going to help by alleviating some of the weight on your shoulders and help make your decision for you: roll a tauren elemental shaman. You'll look awesome, and then you can follow this handy elemental shaman leveling guide! It's a win/win situation.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Recruit-a-friend now grants bonus experience, levels to 80

Big news coming for those of you getting friends into the game -- Recruit-a-friend bonus experience and "granted" levels now goes all the way up to 80. Players have been asking for this feature and have been wondering when Blizzard would raise the Recruit-a-friend cap from level 60. Now, Outlands and Northrend content should be quicker than ever for players to complete with their friends and leveling partners.

The Recruit-a-friend change was noted in the newest version of the patch 4.2 Rage of the Firelands patch notes found on Blizzard's community site.

Patch 4.2 Patch Notes
Recruit-A-Friend now awards bonus experience and free level grants to level 80, up from level 60.

Check out the Recruit-a-friend FAQ for more information on the program and how to level characters together and the benefits received.


The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!

Filed under: Cataclysm

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: How to level in Cataclysm

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.

One of the things I get asked to do is explain not how talents and abilities work, but rather how best to level a warrior. I'm always taken aback by these kinds of questions, because I feel that leveling (whether it be a warrior or another class) in WoW has never been easier than it is in Cataclysm. But, since the question comes up a lot between emails and Twitter, I feel like I should spend some time discussing it. I expect to be doing a lot of discussion of patch 4.2 in the weeks ahead, so now is probably as good timing as it gets to cover the leveling game.

First off, I'm going to point you to some posts I think will be useful for you, the beginning warrior.
Now that we've given you some reasonably useful overview information, let's discuss leveling. For purposes of the discussion I went and rolled a tauren warrior on Sisters of Elune. Yes, I have a problem. Still, I managed to level out of the tauren starting area without any heirlooms in one night, so it should serve as a useful tool for discussion.

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Filed under: Warrior, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm

Blizzard comments on Outland and Northrend leveling in Cataclysm

Community manager Nethaera commented recently on players' concerns that the new Cataclysm leveling experience from levels 1-60 now severely overshadows the relatively old Outlands and even Northrend content. The gist? Questing and leveling in Outlands and Northrend is leaps and bounds better than the original World of Warcraft, and updating the 60-80 leveling experience is not high on Blizzard's priority list.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Are Cataclysm gear ilevels too big a jump from Wrath?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Throughout Wrath, I spent the vast majority of my time in game on my max-level main character, with just a few hours /played on alts at various stages along the road to being forgotten. With the onset of Cataclysm, however, I found myself motivated to level an alt to the level cap for the first time. After a few days questing, I succeeded in bringing my up-and-coming alt from Un'Goro Crater to the quest leading into Hyjal.

Thanks to the time spent on my main, my fresh lvl 80 alt was well-resourced. In addition to carrying pots and foods, I stormed into Hyjal wearing heirloom chest, shoulders, weapon, trinkets, and even a spiffy new heirloom cloak. I was ready to rock, and having come straight from Icecrown, I expected to be able to pull two to three mobs at a time without exerting much effort.

As it turns out, Hyjal is not Icecrown. I soon found out through a process of trial and error -- well, mostly error -- that I could barely survive one mob without popping cooldowns and potions. My response? "But Cataclysm content wasn't this hard on my main!"

Once I completed a few quests and received my first upgrade as a reward, I realized what the problem was: My gear was 100 item levels too low. Aside from my heirlooms, my alt was wearing blues and greens from questing in Icecrown -- ilvl 174 gear, at best. The mobs were much more difficult on my alt because he wasn't wearing anything remotely close to the ilvl 264 gear my main had brought!

What gear were you wearing when you took the plunge into the new Cataclysm content, and how did you fare? Do you feel the new zones are well-tuned for characters coming straight from leveling in Northrend? Is the ilvl jump from 174 to 272 too drastic or a necessity?

Is the gear jump from Wrath to Cataclysm too large?
Yes2274 (23.5%)
No4385 (45.4%)
Only for non-raiding characters3008 (31.1%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you use heirlooms when leveling?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

If you ask the guy or girl with the army of alts what they think of heirlooms, he or she will most likely tell you how great heirlooms are. When heirlooms were announced in Wrath, the players suffering from altitis all screamed out in joy. Something that would save them gold while leveling and make life just a little easier on the way to 80? Now 85? Yes, please!

At first, we had shoulder and weapon heirlooms that were only purchasable in Dalaran or Wintergrasp. The shoulder heirlooms sold in Wintergrasp were identical to the ones in Dalaran, save that you sacrificed a sometimes useful stat for resilience. In patch 3.2, the Argent Tournament was introduced and with it, chest heirlooms and another way to buy heirlooms. Once you obtained the title you could buy shoulder, chest and weapon heirlooms with Champion's Seals. This was a much more viable and cheaper option to those who didn't want to dungeon crawl to gather the badges needed or who were spending your badges on gear for raiding.

To some, the downside to these heirlooms is that they don't scale past 80. Cataclysm did introduce two new heirlooms that scale from 1 to 85: cloak and helm heirlooms purchasable once your guild hits the required level and you are honored.

I myself have a number of different heirlooms for my alts, everything from cloth to plate, with different weapons for each class and their specific role. I stopped using them on my priest because I was flying through the revamped zones and couldn't finish all the quest chains before they turned gray.

Do you have heirlooms for your alts? Do you prefer to use them while leveling, or do you keep it old-fashioned while leveling?


Do your alts use heirlooms?
Always6535 (67.3%)
Never752 (7.7%)
Only if I'm pushing to level as quickly as possible2427 (25.0%)


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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