Preferred Methods of Improving Your Gear, Sub-70

Since all of my toons are still sub-70s, none of them are eligible for the best crafted items or the heroic/end-game instance loot yet. That still leaves me with several options for getting better gear than the standard quest rewards. Let’s begin, shall we? Then we’ll discuss what is best.

  • Outlands provides a cornucopia of group quests at the end of long questlines that often reward you with blue, even some socketed, gear that is far superior to the regular AH greens.
  • PvP is an option all the way through the levels, with varying degrees of reward value. You could arguably save up all of your BG marks for level 70 and get some working man’s epics right out of the gate.
  • Rep rewards offer blues for Honored/Revered status throughout Outlands. The Hellfire Peninsula rewards for Honored will hold you over for several levels, so check out what the later rewards will get you and whether they are worth it to you, since those 5-mans only take 2 hours with a PuG or 30-60 minutes with well-geared guildies.
  • Lastly, who can resist socketed blue gear from the 5-man instances that you will need to master in order to do them in Heroic mode anyway? There is some dang fine gear in there that puts the old Tier 0.5 junk to shame.

Personally, I’ve been indulging myself in as many quests as possible and running them all the way to the final Elite group quests. When I have a bucketfull of them, I look for someone in the area or hop on the guild chat or LFG channel to knock a few out for massive XP and shiny rewards. Some faction quests take you to instances for super rewards, starting in Ramparts onward.

On the nights that I have the time and patience, I run the instances for Rep, XP, and loot… all in one. You should be able to get 15-20g, another 20-40g in greens and vendor trashing, and a considerable amount of rep if you haven’t done all of the quests in the zone yet.

My personal favorite when I wasn’t leveling as fast was to play the AH a tad harder than normal and just buy my way into blue and purple gear. I’m making about 150g per day by questing, vendor trashing, herbing, and selling greens on the AH. I haven’t even been playing the AH because I hate Auctioneer Advanced for that, so I’m going back to the regular version to play for my flying mount coming up in 26 bars.

OMG! 132% until 70! /shudder

ZOMG, I just got Ganked…

I’m not an alt kind of guy. I usually just hang out on my level 70. If I’m bored, I sit in Stormwind and chat. Never before have I leveled an alt over level 15… until this week. Awhile ago I started a Blood Elf rogue on Gorefiend, simply because my roommate did too. I got him to level 15 and that’s about it. He sat there, collecting dust on my character list for the next four months.

Then, I got an itch. I don’t know why so don’t ask but I just did. So there I was, and the levels began to fall behind me. As of right now my rogue is level 24 and questing in Hillsbrad Foothills. Now, there’s one other interesting fact before my story goes on: Gorefiend is a PvP server, the first one I’ve ever attempted. Runnik is on Silvermoon, a normal server, so I’m used to going through the whole “/pvp” thing before I get owned…

So Arcyon (my rogue), was in Hillsbrad questing. I believe I had to take out a few Hillsbrad mages or something irrelevant. when out of nowhere from behind me unstealths this red “Level 33 Rogue” demon from the horrid, flaming pits of hell. You can imagine my surprise when it dawned on me about halfway through my life: “ZOMG… I’m getting ganked…”

Vipers ganking me

I try in vain to fight off this rogue but alas, he pwned me. Before I leave for the graveyard he of course emotes me with “Vipers spits on you,” before he trots away laughing at his devilish actions. I immediately search my social tab for someone to tell this to. There’s no one online from my new guild (that only has like 17 members) and there’s just one guy on my friends list who I’ve only talked to once. I know for a fact he has no clue who I am. He’s a level 70 hunter in Shadow Labs that I met through my roommate four months prior. Screw it, I gotta tell someone.

So I send him a tell saying: “Ok, let it be known: I just got ganked for the first time ever since I’ve never played on a PvP server before… just had to tell someone.”

I don’t get a reply from him, instead I get tells from level 70s in his guild that I’ve never spoken too: “Sorry you got ganked :(,”

“Sorry man, getting ganked blows,” “I’ll run you through SM sometimes to cheer you up from getting ganked,” “We’re talking about you on vent, lol.”

I reply to the last one with: “I feel like I just lost my virginity, from behind… with a Backstab…”

This guys starts rolling laughing and talking on vent with his guild about my comments on getting ganked for the first time.

Vipers standing over my lifeless body.

So finally I release and make the trek back to recover my body. I continue my questing and just after downing three mobs at the same time because of crappy adds I turn around and there’s a red “Level ?? Priest” on a mount…. Oh crap…. The Night Elf Priest dismounts, and this douche Mind Controls me and I watch in horror as I say out loud, “Oh! Come On!!!” as Arcyon runs into a group of mobs and then the priest stops her MC and the group tears through my 17HP I had left from my last fight. ZOMG I just got ganked… again… /sigh… dangit….

Well, now I have an idea of what the whole PvP server thing is about. It’s nothing but working and working and working on quests that you may frequently die on if you’re soloing, and just before finishing it getting your butt handed to you by cross-faction characters. And that’s just at Hillsbrad, I can’t imagine what STV is going to be like! So, you can imagine how I feel about PvP servers now and how I feel about even working on leveling Arcyon from now on… You guessed it: I LOVE IT!!!! I can’t wait to level up higher. Those ganks only fueled my desire to level up and gank the heck out of other lowbies on that server. With that said, I still need to finish that quest that I’ve been trying for the last hour… I guess I’ll start there.

The Evolution of a BG Noob: Let the Battles Begin

Paladr at level 48Gitr finally got into some PvP with Paladr this week. Other than about 2 hours of total time in WSG matches for over 40 days played, this was my first entry into hard-hitting PvP. Of course, Deadr grew up to level 66 on a PvP realm and was the victim of hundreds of gankings, world PvP is nothing like fighting in a battleground setting, that is for sure.

This will be an ongoing series of my personal exploits in BGs as a complete and total noob for this kind of playstyle. See it as your one opportunity to openly laugh at me and have a good old time at my expense, because I’ve made some seriously dumb mistakes, but learned a lot already. I’ll be as transparent as possible in an attempt to comfort other noobs who are coming to learn from scratch.

[Read more…]

Saying Goodbye to the Battlegrounds and Leveling a PvP ALT

So – one of my ALT-er-ego’s is a Tauren Shaman. He started life as a 10-19 battlegrounds twink on Thorium Brotherhood (US) way, way back when that server first launched. Back then, his name was “Remember” and he was my first attempt at leveling – or PvPing with a shaman.

Well, a lot of time went by and for much of it, Remember was played little. I managed to get him up to “Grunt” rank in the old PvP ranking system before it was shelved (the equivalent of a Corporal for you Alliance folk) and he had decent gear for a level 19 battleground brat. I enjoyed PvPing with Remember – but was burnt out from getting my main into the officer ranks. As a result, Remember spent more time cooling his heels than tossing out heals.

Ultimately, Remember became one of my support alts – a well geared bank that could gather herbs and brew speed potions for my other characters. In time I finally decided that my other toons had more to benefit from Remember’s alchemy skill growing than I did by having (yet another) semi-twinked level 19 in my stable. So – with a resigned sigh, Remember headed back out to the barrens – hit level 20 in about an hour – and promptly got shelved for several months.

Now – over a year later – enter a new server – and a forced name change.

Remember is now Skychaser on Moon Guard. I rerolled over there a while back and hooked up with a guild full of alting battlegrounds geeks like myself. Having a good time with this new crew, I decided to bring my old potion maker over from Thorium Brotherhood in order to shill pots for my current toons and guildies alike. Eventually – out of a desire to learn more about the Shaman class and to try something new, I leveled Skychaser/Remember to 29 and camped battlegrounds again until I snagged my usual belt, boots and baubles from Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch. I enjoyed pvping with the shaman at 29 – but the road had been hard. Worse, in PvE, I always felt that soloing with the big white Tauren had proven tedious and awkward. Skychaser ended up dead a lot and I spent a lot of time reading forums and trying to understand why this once formidable class was so hard for me to wrap my head around.

Finding few answers other than the angst over on the official Shaman forums about how massively the class had been nerfed – I finally turned to instances and grouping. Now – by nature – I’m a solo player. I love instances and love raiding – but rarely have time or patience to endure the endless waiting for pug groups to form, or the disastrous outcomes that most pugs seem to enable. The new guild had good people in it though and I managed to hook Sky’ up to various low level runs through several instances. What I learned while doing this, was that while I felt like four-thumbed failure in solo-PvE and PvP, I felt like a small gawd in group play.

Running Skychaser through instances was a revelation in rediscovering the strength of hybrid classes in group play. He could tank, he could dps, he could heal and cleanse. Groups that were having problems with an instance immediately seem to find a greater deal of success with the shaman in tow. His totems provided low cost healing and mana – gave supportive buffs or purged negative spell effects. When things went pear-shaped his ability to rez or (better yet) self-rez after a wipe extended his value in groups from “spare war-stomp with h33ls” to “invaluable multi-function tool.”

Intrigued with the class – I broke out of the 20-29 bracket and discovered Windfury. While still suffering from a past nerf, quintessential Shaman melee trait was the fuel I needed to propel Skychaser through the long and still somewhat awkward climb through the 30’s. Sky’ was still having to work for his levels – but the additional melee prowess was noticeable and appreciated. Somewhere after level 35 though – and finally being able to advance his capped alchemy skill – Sky’ stalled and his progress lagged. Quests in the 30’s seemed to be harder to find – the task of leveling easier – but still arduous for the enhancement Shammy. I started to wonder if he was doomed to be a cast-off potion maker forever.

Then 2.3 hit.

With higher experience for kills and quests as well as easier leveling, post 2.3 Azeroth is likely to become the saving grace of stalled alts everywhere. In an afternoon of questing in STV, Skychaser saw level 36 come and go in a blink. Later in the same week, questing in Desolace and a run through Scarlet Monestary’s Library and Armory wings brought 37 and 38 in rapid succession. A few odd clean up quests and a daily battleground quest or two and suddenly 39 was attained. Shocked with how fast the last 4 levels had come I took time at 39 to dive back into Arathi Basin. Again – Skychaser proved a revelation in the battlegrounds. A well geared 39 – the vigor and force of his windfury crits – the speed of his improved ghost wolf – and the versatility of his heals, totems, and purge ability put Sky at the top of charts in game after game. In one long evening of back to back play – he collected over 50 tokens and became the focus fire target of every alliance group that he crossed paths with.

Last night, with my 30-39 battlegrounds aspirations complete, I left Arathi Basin and headed off to Duskwallow Marsh. Starting two bars into 39 – I muddled my way around from quest giver to quest giver in the refreshed zone. I took my time to discover these new adventures and to farm herbs. Before I realized it, I had cleared out the first half of my quests in the zone and rather unexpectedy watched Skychaser disappear in a flourish of golden light as he dinged 40.

Holy cats that was fast.

A quick trip back to Thunderbluff allowed Sky’ to train. Packing stormstrike now – and an amazing chain-heal ability, the one time potions alt is now quickly becoming a favored main. I still have a lot of work to do with this toon, after all, there is a mount to buy, rep to gain and 30 more levels to discover. But I’m excited about leveling him, confident I can get him to outlands, and eager to see the world through his eyes while in the game.

I can safely that the leveling changes of 2.3 are going to provide a new lease on life for stalled alts. For all the raiding guilds trying to replace lost healers and tanks by slowly leveling alts on the side – they now have hope of actually bringing some of these toons into play in reasonable time. It’s going to be easier to move from bracket to bracket in the PvP arena – perhaps creating a bit more life in some of the less played battlegrounds. All in all – I have to rate the leveling change in 2.3 as my mvp – (most valuable patch.) Time for many gamers is sparse and the ability to fill what hours we *do* have with achievable and entertaining goals is by far the best bang for the buck I can hope for.

Are You a Good Player?

Today I was thinking about my playstyle and what classes I play and which ones I avoid. After a bit of time, I realized that my alt-ism has carried me into all three player roles in the game, but not all of the classes. With the exception of shaman, I have played every single class through level 15. Shamr is was still a lovely little Level 1 orc that has not even seen the introduction video for shaman yet. It is this dabbling that has led me to stick with the classes that I enjoy in order to fill my rotating playstyle fixes, because, “dang it!” some days I just don’t want to heal your annoying butt in an instance.

My first toon right out of the box was a dwarven hunter named Grimr. I spent about 30 minutes on the character creation screen picking his name using Norse sites. I played him for hours for a couple of weeks up through level 32 or so. One day I was talking with my seriously addicted co-workers about WoW, and they opened my eyes to the concept of playstyle. They told of this great warrior who stands toe to toe with level 60 Elites in Molten Core and had over 9,000 hit points. Wow! I had something like 1,200 and had to run away when things got after me. I had to try that. I wanted to be up front getting hit and smacking back. I knew what I had to do.

Early damage in 5-mansDuring my short stint raiding with Gitr, I realized that dps was so dependent on gear that I couldn’t compete. I settled for running the 5-man instances and tanking like an M1A1 Abrams. I mastered my role in every pre-MC instance and could rip aggro off just about every dps monkey or stressed out healer. I took pride in getting people through instances with no deaths, healer dependent, of course.

Then along came Deadr on the PvP realm, Burning Legion. I have no idea any more why I wanted to be a priest. They’re the armor opposite of Gitr. I took a lot of pride (I can’t believe a game can do that to me, but it does) in entering an instance and announce that “no one dies on my watch, unless someone does something stupid.” If it was a decent group that was noob-less, it was very rare that I’d let anyone die, although there were some times where sacrifice was necessary when things went very bad. Did I experience wipes? Sure, but not very often.

Getting back to the topic of the post, because that was a heck of a bragging run, do either of those abilities make me a good player? I would argue that the answer is yes and back that up with some solid logic. We have all been in a PuG where someone did not understand their class. Mages that start tossing spells before the tank had aggro, hunters that break crowd control and try to tank with their pets, pallies that don’t buff, and rogues that don’t get out of the way when the boss does an AOE spell or melee hit. Those are not good players, without a doubt.

For the purposes of being quantitative, here is a checklist to determine if someone (or yourself) is a good player:

  • Understands the basic role of the class or the build (tank, dps, healer).
  • Comes to groups prepared with mats and full tummy and empty bladder.
  • Communicates with the party or leader.
  • Improvises and keeps a cool head when things go wrong.
  • Remains mature and calm, not easily given to group drama, such as “I’m on my period!” or “I hate guns! Don’t use guns!
  • Is not on players’ /ignore list for group play; “you are being ignored by Leetcow” is bad.