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Archive for the ‘Alts’ Category

tick, tock

Ironically, all my nattering on about how much I dislike the Timeless Isle caused me to go spend some more time there yesterday evening. Writing about it reminded me that I had not yet done either the Timeless Isle or the Path of the Last Emperor with my most recently-dinged 90, Kaelinda — who reached that magic level three months ago. Furthermore, with Kaprikka closing in on level 85 and well on her way to 90, I needed to restock on cloth Timeless armor tokens.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was in the process of applying for full-time academic jobs. Later this week, I have an interview for one of them! It’s just the first-round phone/Skype interview, and, from the number of timeslot options I was offered, it sounds like they’re considering eight, maybe ten, candidates — so no guarantees that I will actually get the job. Still, this small career progress is making the clock tick a little louder on getting my Warlock, Rogue, and Alliance (Draenei) character leveled to 90 not just before Warlords but also before my Real Life potentially becomes much busier. Time to buckle down and not let myself get distracted by things like brand new alts…

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but… my *wings*…!

Apparently, the thing which most stood out to me from the 6.0 patch notes was “Avenging Wrath will now be Retribution-only”.

Despite the fact that I already have a Retribution Paladin, and that she is still nine levels short of getting Avenging Wrath herself because I haven’t played her in ages because the Ret playstyle didn’t really click with me, here I have rolled a second Tauren Paladin to be Ret and have wings…

And because that gave me two of every Tauren class except Priest, here is a second Tauren Priest.

And despite my long-held distaste of the notion of a Tauren Shadow Priest, and the shudder I continue to experience whenever I see a Tauren Priest in shadowform, I seem to have an even greater distaste for having two characters of the same race, class, and specializations — though mini-Kam started out as a Resto/Elemental clone of Kamalia, she has since changed her DPS spec to Enhancement in part to not be a clone anymore — and thus this new Priest is, indeed, Shadow. I have rationalized it with myself in the same way that I initially rationalized creating a Tauren Death Knight: she is Grimtotem, one of the fraction of the tribe who chose to forsake Magatha and swear allegiance to Baine at the end of The Shattering. If Blizz ever introduces Grimtotem warpaint as a customization option for Tauren characters, my DK will probably not take it — but this Shadow Priest will.

And then, before I even got this post to press, the WoW Insider interview with Celestalon and Zharym went up, and they said:

…feedback to [changing Avenging Wrath to Ret-only] was “I want my wings.” The [Guardian of Ancient Kings] angel is more recent, but the wings are more iconic and have been there forever. Not an announcement, but we’re currently strongly considering merging Divine Favor into Avenging Wrath, so Holy get wings, and when Prot pulls out the Guardian of Ancient Kings they might get their wings while it’s out.

So maybe I won’t have to be a Ret Paladin to have wings, after all. I think these two new characters will be sticking around anyway.

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So, Warlords is in alpha and has some real patch 6.0 notes (not to be confused with the highly entertaining April Fool’s Day fake patch 6.0 notes). Not quite as exciting as being in beta, as far as the general public is concerned, but it is some welcome, good news. I wonder if getting the worst of the bugs worked out of the spiffy new file format is what’s delayed things for so long?

Alts still needing to reach 90
Warlock (currently 62)
Rogue (currently 46)
Pet Battling Monk (currently 82 87)
Draenei Mage (currently 73 80)
Male Tauren Warrior (currently 22) to 60+, will then be boosted to 90

Like mini-Kam, the Pet Battling Monk will not actually go to Pandaria until after she dings 90. Upon reaching level 86, Koralyra decided she needed an off-spec. Just to be different from my other Monk, she decided that she wanted to try out Brewmaster for soloing old content. I don’t have any more intention of ever doing group content with her Brewmaster spec than I do of tanking with my DK’s Blood spec.

Kaprikka just dinged 80 today!

The Male Tauren Warrior has been delayed by my dithering over which zone I want him to quest in next — I’m having a hard time deciding between Stonetalon Mountains, which I still have not done since the Shattering, and Stranglethorn Vale, which has a few quest reward weapons that I know I want for him.

Other Objectives
Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR for Paladin, Priest, Pet Battling Monk
Complete Kamalia’s Pandaren, Mogu (9/20), and Mantid (1/8) archaeology museums
Fish for Flying Tiger Gourami, Alpha Spinefish, Mimic Octopus with Kamalia until she becomes Best Friends with Nat Pagle (currently Pal)
Farm Skyshards and capture Alani (7/10)
Queue for Scenarios I have not yet seen (A Little Patience, Battle on the High Seas)
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

Realistically speaking, most of these goals will probably have to wait until my leveling and LFRing objectives are mostly complete.

The Paladin got Qon’s Flaming Scimitar this week, so she’s finally done with Throne of Thunder. She still needs her T16 shoulders and the Ancient Mogu Tower Shield from Siege of Orgrimmar. The Priest is getting itchy to start LFRing for the things she wants.

The Pet Battling Monk didn’t do much pet battling between levels 80 and 86, but now she’s started running the Kalimdor & Outland trainer circuit again and will ride it all the way to 90. Several pets have gained several levels, but I’m still not quite ready to take on the Northrend trainers yet. Most of the Outland trainers continue to give me plenty of trouble; I only feel like I can confidently carry a pet in my Nicki Tinytech and Morulu teams. The Pet Battling Monk has delegated the Northrend trainers to the Underpowered Death Knight, who will have the task of beating up Dragonbone Hatchlings (a tip from Nightwill — thanks!) to grind out those last levels from 18ish to 25 for the pets I’ve flagged for Northrend trainer teams. Even looking just at the pets I’d starred as Favorites, I was feeling overwhelmed by the number of pets in my journal. I pruned my Favorites list ruthlessly, selecting exactly ten pets from each family to level. If I want to pick up some of the culled pets again later, I’ll know which pets were previously on the Favorites list by looking for the ones that have names.

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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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Fourth!

So, it’s my blogiversary. If I were twenty-ish years younger and had started this blog during my freshman year of high school, I would now be in my freshman year of college. Yowzah.

My second blogiversary post was also my 300th post, and this, my fourth blogiversary post, is also my 600th post. I did do some deliberate extra posting to make both of those things happen, though, so I’m not sure if I can truly say that these data suggest a trend of making approximately 150 posts per year.

Other than all the Transmogrification stuff, what else have I done in the past year?

I posted a lot of new art, a trend which I hope to continue. In particular, I experimented more with my tablet and digital coloring. I was pleased with the results and would like to do and learn more.

The long stories that have been in my draft folder for over two years now are still there. This year, I should really just publish them, fragmentary and unfinished though they may be. I did write several shorter bits of story, though, most of which were prompted by the Legendary quest chain or other events taking place in Pandaria.

I enjoyed participating in Lae’s Alt Appreciation and am thinking that I ought to revisit the idea this summer and autumn.

Last year at this time, I had one level 90 character — Kamalia — and four other characters who were level 86 or higher. At the time, I thought that the Monk, Katewatha, would be my second 90, but that turned out to be the secondary Tauren Shaman, mini-Kam, instead. The Warrior was at the Argent Tournament and the Paladin had just reached Outland. Today, I have ten level 90 characters. I accomplished my goal of getting the primary Tauren characters of each class the race can be up to level 90. That’s eight classes, and I also have the Blood Elf Mage and the secondary Tauren Shaman at 90. Other characters who’ve made significant leveling progress in the past year include the secondary Warrior, who went from level 30-something to level 60; the Warlock, who went from 40-something to 60-something; the Draenei Mage, who went from 62 to 73; the Underpowered Death Knight, who reached level 70 and then level 80; and the Pet Battling Monk, who rocketed from level 1 to level 80. For awhile, it looked like the Pet Battling Monk would be my eleventh 90. She’s kind of gotten stuck in the low 80s, though, because after I finally picked some primary professions for her, I wanted to get them skilled up to at least Cataclysm competency before she did much Cataclysm quest or LFD content, and I would rather gather the requisite heaps of cloth and leather myself than buy them from the AH.

In the next year, ideally before Warlords of Draenor launches, I’d like to get the Warlock, the Rogue, and the Dwarf Shaman all to 90. The Pet Battling Monk will probably get to 90, too; she might even still be my eleventh 90. For the rest of my characters, well, while I do have leveling goals I’d like to reach with them — mostly revolving around Transmogrification kits I’d like to make for them — whether I have time for them will depend on just how much longer it ends up being before the new expansion arrives.

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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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Thanks in large part to the sample-giving and crown-crushing Love is in the Air dailies, the Pet Battling Monk and the Underpowered Death Knight both dinged 80 this week.

I thought the Pet Battling Monk would bypass questing in Northrend by doing Archaeology in Eastern Kingdoms. As it happened, she didn’t do any more Archaeology — she ran LFD instead. I feel like I’m getting a much better understanding of the “spend mana, spend chi, drink tea” Mistweaver routine with this character than I did with my first Monk.

The Pet Battling Monk also finally chose some primary professions. She took Tailoring because making one Imperial Silk per day just isn’t going to get all my characters’ inventories upgraded to Royal Satchels fast enough. Having two Tailors on my main server will keep poor Kaohana from being chained to Sunsong Ranch and the Silken Fields until Warlords is almost over. She took Leatherworking because I want to have a character who can wear the leather version of the Black Temple BoP crafted shoulders. Though she has trained those two professions, I haven’t put any time into collecting mats and actually skilling them up yet.

The Underpowered Death Knight did some Argent Tournament dailies and quite a bit of Northrend Archaeology to get to her ding. Though it may look, in that picture above, like she dinged from killing those two Gjalerbron vrykul, she actually dinged from picking up the Archaeology find that she was just about to survey for when the big dudes attacked her.

The Underpowered Death Knight celebrated reaching level 80 by doing a tour of all the Unborn Val’kyr spawn sites and digging up all the digsites along the way. Although she didn’t see an Unborn Val’kyr anywhere, she captured a few other nice pets, and she collected enough Vrykul relic fragments to piece together the Vrykul Drinking Horn. I’ve macroed the Vrykul Drinking Horn together with her Horn of Winter, so it should always be up when she’s in combat, at least. It makes her as tall as a Camp Winterhoof taunka, though not quite as tall as a Skorn vrykul.


This is better than the Crown of Eternal Winter!
Although obtaining the Vrykul Drinking Horn has satisfied her original reason for wanting to take up Archaeology, the Underpowered Death Knight will most likely continue to do Northrend and Eastern Kingdoms Archaeology all the way from level 80 to level 90 — I don’t have any great desire to take her through either the Cataclysm zones or Pandaria. And as long as she’s in Northrend, she might as well keep looking for an Unborn Val’kyr.

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Kaprikka was actually almost all the way from level 62 to level 63 when I started playing with her on Monday, having done some Hellfire Peninsula quests a few months ago to get some items for a new outfit. The Lunar Festival didn’t end until one o’clock in the afternoon, realm-time, so she spent the morning flying around paying her respects to the Elders. Then she did some pet battling.

It seems to me that the Eastern Kingdoms/Alliance pet trainers make a less logical, convenient circuit than the Kalimdor/Horde pet trainers (and that’s a topic for another post). By the time she had succeeded in narrowly defeating Blood Knight Antari, Kaprikka was about level 65, and she had decided that she didn’t need to do all the pet trainers ever again — just the Outland ones.

Now it was time to do some quests. I love that Outland (and Northrend, too) still has the old-style questing model where every hub has a good half-dozen quests available and one can choose to do as many or as few of those chains as one pleases. With heirlooms and other forms of XP bonuses making leveling super-quick, each character can pick and choose exactly and only the questlines that provide the quest rewards she wants to use or the story she wants to experience. I rather enjoy the Outland portion of a character’s leveling journey for this reason, and I would be sad if Outland questing was re-worked to the more “streamlined”, linear Cataclysm style. With Kaprikka, I specifically wanted to explore the Draenei storyline in Outland through the Alliance-specific Draenei quest hubs: Temple of Telhamat, Telredor, Orebor Harborage, Telaar. I’ve played through the neutral (Sha’tar or Aldor) Draenei quest hubs with other characters, so Kaprikka will probably not spend much time with them. Another Alliance character — the Dwarf Shaman, perhaps — can play through the Alliance-specific quest hubs in Outland that were built and populated by the other Alliance races. The quest objectives are, of course, largely identical to the quests at the corresponding Horde hubs, but the motivations are very different!

While she was doing quests for the Temple of Telhamat, Kaprikka also cleared the four digsites she had in Hellfire Peninsula. Moving on to Telredor, she began queueing up for LFD. I decided to run each Outland dungeon once, for the quest rewards, so I queued for them specifically, a few at a time, de-selecting each dungeon from the list after it had come up. When I logged off on Monday night after having finished the quests at Telredor and picked up the first set of quests at Orebor Harborage, Kaprikka was almost to level 69.

On Tuesday, my level 90 characters were grumpy about their farms and profession CDs having been neglected on Monday. Then, the Paladin wanted to go to Isle of Thunder before LFR. Surviving wasn’t a problem, in her Prot spec, but killing all the things took for-evar. So Kaprikka got to rest.

Between questing and dungeon running, Kaprikka dinged 70 on Wednesday night before even making it to Telaar. She’s going to stay in Outland, for the time being. She still has all of the Telaar quests to do, plus a few quest chains in other zones for specific quest reward items. I also want her to keep digging in Outland until she has found all ten of the Draenei archaeology relics. She will, however, move on to regular random-queue LFD — and therefore Northrend dungeons — after she has completed one run of each Outland dungeon.

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a determined draenei

Kaprikka the Draenei Mage has been sitting in Shattrath at level 60-ish ever since her campaign to be able to participate in Outland Childrens’ Week in 2012 (two years already? where does the time go?). Seeing the Sunwell on the OLRG’s destination list for next Saturday, she persuaded the Pet Battling Monk to take a rest and let her do the pet battling, LFD, archaeology, and miscellaneous questing this week, instead. I may even push her through to (and probably past) level 80, running LFD until she’s collected 1000 justice points to trade for 500 honor points to buy these pants and make an outfit that’s at least partially based on a set that Effy designed for her nearly two years ago.

I’m definitely considering purchasing an additional boost to 90 for Kaprikka so that she can go to Draenor without having to slog through Northrend, Cataclysm, and Pandaria.

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