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Archive for the ‘Questing’ Category

Friday night got us to level 92. Saturday, we finished up the Frostfire Ridge storylines (<3 Draka so much!) and headed into Gorgrond. There, we found such a bounty of bonus objectives that we were 94 in no time flat. Abandoning Gorgrond, we headed into Talador. In much the same way that the Dread Wastes feels like an amped-up version of the Ghostlands, Talador feels like an amped-up version of Eversong Woods. It’s got a very similar color palette and general terrain landscape, only with shiny crystal-studded art noveau blue and purple Draenei architecture instead of shiny crystal-studded art noveau red and gold Sin’dorei architecture. We cleaned out Talador pretty thoroughly, even getting all the bonus objectives, then headed into the Spires of Arak. We established our outpost there before calling it a day, having reached level 96 and already well on our way to 97.

It wasn’t until we established the outpost in Spires of Arak that I noticed that the main building of the outpost contained a Garrison Command Table. Huh. I went back to the other two outposts and found that their main buildings also contained Garrison Command Tables. So we could have just gone back to our outposts instead of hearthing back to our Garrisons themselves all day!

I am finding the missions and followers aspect of Garrisons quite compelling. My poor followers don’t get much chance to rest; as soon as one set of missions completes, I send them back out on another. I soon found myself wishing that Blizzard would make a Garrison Command Table app for smart phones, so that I can deploy my minions even when I’m not directly logged into the game!

The Garrison is already a much more appealing addition to the game for my personality type than Pet Battles were. I dabbled with Pet Battles as a mid-expansion umpteenth alt alternative leveling method, and they did work out quite well for that purpose. Once the Pet Battling Monk reached level 90, however, I stopped doing Pet Battles. I couldn’t even convince the Underpowered Death Knight to pick up the Pet Battling baton as a way for her to level. It didn’t help that my saved teams in the Pet Battle Teams addon seemed to get wiped every single time there was a patch/hotfixes. I’d decide to Pet Battle one day and have to re-organize my teams, then not think to Pet Battle again for another two or three weeks and come back to all my teams having been wiped again. That was really frustrating and discouraging. But still, if there were also an offline-mode Pet Battles app for smart phones, I might Pet Battle more often, too.

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BTH and I sat down to play together yesterday evening and only got a few quests into the Tanaan Jungle sequence before he lagged out and could neither properly log out nor do anything. My screen soon showed him as disconnected, whereas on his screen, he could still run all around — he just couldn’t interact with anything. While we were waiting for this situation to resolve, I looked around and noticed that a nearby NPC had the sort of funny name that I would normally associate with a player character. When I looked at the NPC, he had funny armor, too — it was a male Tauren Warrior named “Etubrute” decked out in the full Amani kit. So I had a look all around the steps of the Dark Portal, and everywhere I found pseudo-player character NPCs.

When I saw this guy, I just had to chuckle!

BTH did eventually get back into the game, and we were able to finish Tanaan, establish our Garrisons, take Bladespire Hold for the Frostwolves, and ding 91 before we logged off at about half-past midnight.

Here are all the pseudo-player NPCs I found in the battle at the Dark Portal: (more…)

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Kinevra has always had a mind of her own. A few months ago, I sent her to the Argent Tournament to complete my collection of Tournament mounts. While she was working on that task, her own end-of-the-OLRG-evening portal roulette sent her to Tol Barad a couple of times… and she started thinking that maybe she wanted the Spectral Steed, too. So when she finished up at the Tournament, off she went to Tol Barad.

I was still on a PvP server during most of Cataclysm, and with Tol Barad being a designated PvP zone, I just said NO to doing the dailies there. I never even set foot on Tol Barad except for a few times when my guild was raiding Baradin Hold and I was summoned to the meeting stone.

But Kinevra thought, hey, it’s an expansion later, and I’m on a PvE server, so I want to at least check it out.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that doing the dailies didn’t auto-flag me for PvP. I’d kind of expected that it would. After a few days of doing the dailies at the base camp, I decided to go to the battleground side during a time when the Alliance controlled it and check out the dailies there. I’d thought I might be auto-flagged for PvP just by going over there, or by doing the quests there, but again, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t.

An expansion later, on a PvE server, Tol Barad ain’t so bad.

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For the past several weeks, I’ve felt like Kaprikka, Koralyra, and Kinevra have been racing each other to get to 90, and that any one of them could potentially get there first.

Though I’ve drawn them all sprinting, Kaprikka is really the only one who’s sprinting, as she started the furthest behind. The other two have really just been jogging.

Koralyra tends to move in fits and starts; unless there’s a holiday going on, when I feel like doing the Pet Battle circuit, she gets XP, and when I don’t, she doesn’t. She’s currently about three-quarters of the way from 87 to 88.

Kinevra began the expansion at 85, of course, and has been slowly and steadily plugging away at various past-expansion daily hubs. She’s gotten a trickle of XP from running Firelands with the Old Ladies, too. This week, she finally reached level 87 and made a trip to Pandaria to get her Grummlepack. Because she was fully well-rested, that expedition got her about three-quarters of the way to 88.

Kaprikka dinged 80 on April 3rd and got to 85 about a week ago, on the 19th:

She then made a quick trip to Pandaria. After getting to the point where the portal from Paw’don Glade to Stormwind was open, she rode up to Dawn’s Blossom to buy some gear to let her queue for Pandaria dungeons. She’s been diligently fishing in the Dalaran fountain while waiting out her LFD queues. Friday night this week turned out to be a fine night for fishing indeed!

Now she’ll be able to use Bipsi’s Bobbing Berg just as soon as she can buy it! Yesterday, she went back to Pandaria and dinged 87 helping Ken-Ken save Zhu’s Watch. She then went up to Kun-Lai to get her Grummlepack; unlike Kinevra, she was already out of well-rested and only got forty-some-odd percent of the way to 88. Next, she rode down to the Incursion — I was pretty creeped out by suddenly having Lorekeeper Vaeldrin using Mind Vision on my character, versus a Horde character’s encounter with Chezin Dawnchaser at the side of the road — and by the time she reached the Sentinel Basecamp, she’d also dinged 88. Now that she’s pulled into the lead, Kaprikka will most likely be the winner.

Having played through the Dawnchaser storyline first, and multiple times, Sentinel Lyalia’s opinions of the Sunwalkers pain me. Not trusting the Horde is a Sentinel’s business, but the Sunwalkers — and especially the Dawnchasers! — sure don’t seem to me like they’re “the most militant branch of the tauren armies within the horde”! Not when Kor Bloodtusk vehemently complains about their pacifism! Either Lyalia is dreadfully misinformed, or I am — is there something that Sunwalkers, specifically, do somewhere in Kalimdor that I don’t know about yet because I haven’t played through most of those zones as Alliance?

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A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic, courtesy of Dragonray, who wonders:

What sort of method do you use for levelling multiple alts? Do you follow the same quest chains each time, do you avoid a certain quest section, do you only dungeon, etc?

I typically level with a mixture of questing, gathering, and LFD.

Since Heirlooms debuted, most of my characters have used them. I’ve gotten used to the pace of leveling using Heirlooms, to the extent that leveling without them now feels agonizingly slow. Kaumalea the Underpowered Death Knight doesn’t use Heirlooms, of course, and I’ve decided that Kehontah the Male Tauren Warrior will not use Heirlooms to help him reach level 60, prior to being boosted to 90, either. He’s also not going to do LFD, not even SFK at level 20 for the weapon (a rite of passage for all my other alts). He’ll be finding joy in the journey and perhaps even contributing to the Godmother’s “Those We Leave Behind” project.

To keep myself from getting bored with the leveling process, I try to do something a little different with each alt — or at least, between one alt that I spend a lot of time with and the next alt that I spend a lot of time with. I try to choose zones and questlines that feature the race of my character or a faction that relates to the class of my character. I use LFD to skip over levels that don’t have any zones or quests I want to do.

When I get to Outland, I cherry-pick the questlines that give good-looking clothes or weapons for Transmogrification. This means I end up doing a different set of zones and quests depending upon the armor class of the character.

Going through Northrend as Horde, I usually do some of the Taunka village questlines, then burn through the rest of those levels in LFD. Ever since Kamalia experienced the Wrathgate, I’ve avoided the Forsaken outposts and their quests like, well, the plague (pun intended). I tried to do some of the Alliance side quests in Northrend with Kinevra, but she was in such a hurry to get to 85 that what she did went by in a blur. Now, Kaprikka is in a hurry-hurry to get to 90, so I probably won’t see much of non-LFD Northrend with her, either. One of my other Alliance alts will have to be the one to take it slow through the Alliance story in Northrend — and I would like to play all the way through Storm Peaks again sometime.

I do have a fairly set path for the Cataclysm levels. I play through Mount Hyjal until I’ve completed Aessina’s Miracle, so that if the character ever wants to get something from the Molten Front, they can jump right in. Then I go to Vashj’ir and follow the quest chain until I get to Silver Tide Hollow and open up the Earthen Ring quartermaster. I go to Deepholm just long enough to get to level 83, and I usually follow the Stonehearth questline rather than the skyship questline. Then I go to Uldum and play through the Ramkahen questline. Sometimes I finish it, other times I go to Twilight Highlands as soon as I reach level 84. I’ll do enough of Twilight Highlands to get the portal open. After that, I may continue questing in Twilight Highlands, go back to Uldum, or just gather and LFD my way to 85.

The only things a character must do in Pandaria are get the Grummlepack and open the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Mages don’t even have to do the latter; they can just wait until they get to level 90 and learn the teleport. I usually do the Tian Monastery in Jade Forest, getting started at Sunsong Ranch, and the Lorewalker Cho/Zouchin Province questline in Kun-Lai Summit (at least until the trolls have been defeated). I’ve only done the Dread Wastes with a few characters; the others have all tried to avoid it.

I’m fond of Archaeology as a speed-leveling tool when I’m really in a hurry to level and don’t have any zones or questlines that I’m particularly interested in playing through. Archaeology provides consistently good XP, plus a little gold on the side, and it’s a good way to occupy myself while I’m sitting in an LFD queue (especially as DPS). Archaeology gets much easier after level 60, when one can fly. Many digsites have very uneven terrain or large obstacles created by ruined structures, and it’s faster and simpler to hop on one’s flying mount and go over an obstacle than to go around on the ground. The digsites at Auchindoun are particularly terrible; the relics can spawn both inside and outside the ring, and trying to navigate around that place on the ground while searching for relics would be a nightmare! I am not excited about trying to do Archaeology on Draenor if it remains a no-fly environment for the whole expansion!

I’m also fond of dailies as a leveling tool, though they are definitely not a speed-leveling method! I’ll often do the Thunder Bluff fishing and cooking dailies with whichever alt is currently at the top of my leveling queue. I particularly like to do dailies from past expansions with a character who is not yet at the level cap of the current expansion, so that they can get XP as well as whatever reward I’m interested in. I’ve put many characters through their paces at the Argent Tournament. The latest, Kinevra, eventually said enough is enough and refused to do any more jousting — I haven’t done the jousting in the Court of Bones for ages, only the arena jousting on the Tournament grounds, but it seems that I’ve finally gotten thoroughly sick of that. Kaelinda got a couple of levels between 85 and 90 from the Molten Front — good enough XP that Kinevra is contemplating going to Tol Barad after she’s finished at the Argent Tournament (still a long way off). After Warlords launches, I will probably get post-90 levels for at least some of my characters from the various Pandaria dailies.

The Kalimdor Pet Battle Trainer circuit sped the Pet Battling Monk quite handily through her first 70 levels. I’ve liked Pet Battling enough to occasionally vist Pet Trainers with other alts, if they’ve been convenient to wherever the character was questing, or to do a wild pet battle here and there. In the future, I might do Pet Battling as an alternative to gathering and LFD to skip over levels that don’t have any zones/quests a given character wants to do.

So that’s how I level, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, never exactly the same way for any two characters.

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I’ve been saying that I didn’t want to post a written “to do” list until Warlords was at least in beta. Now, even though there’s still no sign of a beta, we have that “on or before 20 December but hopefully by sometime in the fall” pseudo-release date. Furthermore, I’m currently applying for full-time academic jobs. Should I actually get one of them, the job itself would probably begin in late August, and I’d be busy with the associated moving during late July or early August. So I suppose I might as well make a small list of the things I most want to accomplish in WoW before the end of summer.

Alts still needing to reach 90
Warlock (currently 62)
Rogue (currently 46)
Pet Battling Monk (currently 82)
Any Alliance character — doesn’t have to be the Dwarf Shaman (currently 27), anymore, because I want to play her all the way through several zones for the stories, and either the Human Mage (currently 86) or the Draenei Mage (currently 73) could more easily rush to 90 in LFD
Male Tauren Warrior (currently 22) to 60+, will then be boosted to 90

Things to do at 90
Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR for Paladin, Priest, Pet Battling Monk
Complete Kamalia’s Pandaren, Mogu, and Mantid archaeology museums
Systematically queue for Scenarios until I have run each Scenario at least once — I don’t run Scenarios very often, and there are a few that I have not yet seen
Start Warlock on Green Fire quest chain
Level enough pets of each family to be able to obtain the Tamer title and the safari hat and do the Celestial Tournament.
Level Male Tauren Warrior’s Engineering at least high enough to specialize as Gnomish and acquire necessary recipes & mats for specialization quest before using free boost to 90

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Heirlooms (and other forms of +XP bonuses), the LFD random-queue goody bags, and Transmogrification have really changed my leveling process. I used to level through the zones that had storylines I enjoyed and/or provided quest rewards with good stats for my character. Now, I typically level via a combination of questing and LFD: I quest through areas that have either quest rewards I know I’ll want for Transmogrification or storylines that I want to experience, and I LFD through all the rest. Inevitably — usually sometime in Outland — I find myself wondering if I should do a given set of quests now, while I can get good XP for them, or if I should just zoom through those levels in LFD and come back to do the quests later, when I am actually wanting to make a Transmogrification kit that uses those specific quest rewards, so as to save my inventory from becoming glutted.

If I know for sure that I will want to use the quest rewards for Transmogrification later, even if I don’t already have any specific kits in mind, then I’ll usually decide to do the quests now, while I can get good XP out of them, too.

If the quest rewards are things that I kinda-sorta like, but I’m not sure whether I’ll actually ever use them in a Transmogrification kit, then I’ll usually decide to do the quests later, to save inventory space.

How has Transmogrification affected your leveling process?

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