5 or 10 levels in the next expansion?

It is seriously weird that it might be a contentious discussion about
how many levels are in the next expansion.

  • If its 5 levels then apparently that feels slower. More of a grind.
  • If its 10 levels then that feels like you’re getting more reward or making better progress.

Dah, what? Logically it’s about the time spent not the numerical
values. 20 hours of game-play split 10 or 5 ways should not really make
a huge deal.

The talents, rewards, items, quest difficulty should not be so
lopsided that it could be breaking if either choice was made.

If you’re in the 5s camp then perhaps we need a mod that fakes the
Ding and Grats animation to allow the trained reward response to feel
more like the 10s.

Perhaps even a mini-Ding per 10 quests completed, each which
reiterates a power you’ve recently learnt just in case you’re ignoring
that recent new talent or power up.

Ding. Whoosh. Ding. Grats. Wheeee.

But perhaps there is a point or two to be made…

Scaling between different level characters had tended to rely on
levels are a lever for advantage. So if there are more breakpoint a
between current and future max level then the impact of that gap can
be spread across more points.

Your level 91 in a 100 max has less of the gap built in to it than a
91 in a 95 max.

It also may affect the gear scaling as the levels build up. 10 levels
allows for a more granular range of item levels. I’m not sure if that
is desired or not. Might be that another item level crunch helps
smooth the curve of itemisation.

Lastly it might affect the quest Gray effect. A normal challenge at
level 99 is probably yellow, where a level 90 or 91 is gray or green
at best.

I’ve seen the new heirlooms used as the basis for the expansion having 10 levels. That ignores the fact that the heirlooms are on PTR and that they might not last two expansions. I have a huge number of heirlooms which cover base game plus many expansions already, why not more.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew

Dinged 90 and the race is just beginning

Mortigen dings 90 - huzzah

Well I dinged 90 a few days ago and even as the warm yellow glow of achievement left my character I began recalling the plan for the next stage.

  • Ring of Blood v.Panda for the weapon upgrade
  • Then BLacksmith skill to Max level to unlock the nice gear upgrades
  • Rep grind with the Klaxxi bugs, farmers, and all the others.

As far as activities at 90 the Mists expansion has gobsmacking amounts of activity. You can even get Valor points (yummy) from daily quests. Given the time I think I could do at least 50 productive advancing quests in a day. Shucks that’s got to be over 10 hours of dailies just there – and they all count an are productive!

Happy farming, grinding, and wow’ing it up.

pre-Cata Leveing Boost

Saw a post by everyone’s favourite Greedy Goblin, which had an excellent tip as Cata Prep. TLDR is complete but do not hand in as many quests as you can; and when Cata launches you’ll be able to do a quick hand-in and jump start leveling.

He also suggested saving your hearth to a city on the main continents, rather than Dalaran as the portals will be removed. I am not sure where the new 80-81 quest hubs will be, but a major city is a good idea till we do.

Sometimes that goblin is darn clever. Go read for his other prep thoughts.

Rise of the Paladin, ding 80!

After a weekend of burning through all the rested xp, a stack of instances, and more kills that I can poke a stick at; my Paladin is now level 80!

/happydance /rawr

Diamon (armory link)* was my first Warcraft character, rolled as I like the Paladin class from DnD, and has always been a character that resonates with me. I leveled primarily as a tank, with a bad dps set for solo questing, and honestly I think the tanking is far more fun.

Upon hitting 80 I spent a stack of gold on the skill-ups, equipped a few upgrades that I had in the bank waiting, was gifted a set of ilevel 200 Shoulders (thanks Rakk), bought a few upgrades from the AH too.

Now wearing a mix of blues and purples, and looks ready to strike into the basic Heroics. Bring it on.

In the coming weeks I’ll probably add to my list of daily pugs, all the stories of being an under geared dps and tank, and no doubt will have some utterly stunning stories of ineptitude (like x2 DKs in a CoS run who could not do more that 500-700 dps).  I suppose I should dps a run and see if I can do any better. :)

Grats also to Rakk who’s shammy levels with me and also ding’ed last night.

*Armory was down when I posted, but honestly – he is 80.

Gear level for ICC Raids

Icecrown citadelWhat gear level is needed for raiding ICC?

Its a question that has been raised on chat, in our guild catch-ups, and all over the various community forums. And while I’ve seen a lot of wrong or misguided answers, there is really no short perfect answer either.

So instead here are my thoughts as guidelines for how to measure yourself against ICC’s requirements.

Firstly Gearscore is mostly ok, but flawed. It should be used as a guide only.

Short version: A good guideline for ICC is to aim for ilevel 232 in every gear location possible. This should be ok for entry into ICC. The reason for that is that ilevel 232 is what drops in the new 5 man ICC heroics and also in ToC, which are the places to gear up for ICC.

The other easy answer is to get the best gear you can from Triumph and Frost badges, and everything else on your character of the same level. Simple really, however… Continue reading

Prepare your toon for Cataclysm

wow-cataclysmAlthough the hype and glorious content of Patch 3.3 is still to arrive, I’ve started pondering Cataclysm.

What will the leveling process will be like, and what will we need to be successful on release?

Well geared toons will be killing machines

For starters I’ll assume that like me, most folks here have a Death Knight as your main toon, or a toon that you play a lot. This means that even if you’re only in middle range gear you’ll massively over-gear the monsters in the level 80-81 areas in the new game. The starting areas (if history repeats once again) will have mobs around 79-81 and as a well geared DK you’ll find them quick work. This is because those monsters will be tuned for players who are questing though 79 to 81 without the time spent at level 80 getting epic gear, and all the advantages that offers. And unlike last time the Death Knights will be first on the ground next to all the other classes to play thorugh the content.

What I also expect though is the creatures in the “new” zones to be far tougher than the creatures in Northrend. This is for two reasons. Firstly Blizzard wants us to feel like we are stepping up to a changed world. I expect that the mobs will hit harder, have more resistance, and possibly even have smarter AI hanndling them. I hope that we need to engage our brains and kill tactically, rather than just zerg through the content like we could in Hellfire Pen.

Secondly there will only be 5 new levels for characters to advance. That means that each level will be longer, and the jumps in difficulty will be broader across those levels. I’d expect a level 82 mob to be a tough challenge for a well geared 80; and to basically to be borderline impossible for a 78-79. Just like fighting a level 7 when you were level 4, you ‘ll need luck and skill to pul it off. Again ponder the challenge of being a level 79 wearing green ilevel 174-200 gear, vs being a epic geared Champion of Wrath wearing ilevel 260+. It will be a totally difference experience. Some players will not be replacin gear till late in the new leveling process, which is kind of to be expected.

A possible flaw in this theory is if Blizzard include a radical “re-adjustment” when the change the stat balance and itemisation on the gear. It could be that all the gear levels get hashed to far more granular numbers, and that an old ilevel 213 epic is similar in power to a Rare 200, and a better 219. We really don’t know what will happen when all the peripheral stats are squeezed  from the items in place of base stats. This could see the difference between the 200s and the 232 items being far less.

Overall I expect anyone in gear of ilevel 213-219 or better to be fine and have no real issues. Like having a set of nice entry level epics when Wrath was released, it made for nice gear to have until your quest rewards let you sell it to a vendor.

So what can you do now?

Prepare now, and plan ahead

Grab plenty of pots, have bandages, and all the other useful leveling items ready. I aim for zero downtime when leveling, and that can mean HP regen food, entry level potions, and even simple bandages can accelerate the time between kills.

It is far too early to be putting together a leveling team, but think about who plays regularly at you time. Come early 2010 when the expac is released (total guess) you’ll want a set of guildies and mates to streamline the leveling. Nothing makes leveling more fun that chatting about how awesome it is on Vent while you all experience it together.

Start building your warchest now

gold_thumbStockpile the items you think folks will want. Ore, herbs, cloth, everything will be valuable again when all the alts hit the servers. I think most players will roll a Goblin and Worgen at some stage just to see the areas, and that means more that a few will be hitting the AH to grab mats for profession grinding. Remember all the Draeni and Blood Elf toons, and what that did to the price of Tin and Mithril ore? Well expect that to happen again.

Bonus XP will Dissappear

I’d guess that when Cataclysm is patched into our game all the +10% experience gear will have a 1-79 limitation placed on them, as I can’t see Blizzard delberately putting in only 5 levels and then letting us accelerate our way through. I can however see the logic of allowing the existing leveling process before 80 to be sped up. All the new classes that roll a Goblin or Worgen should get full advantage. On that note, perhaps the current items will be a token that is used to purchase the upgrades ones at level 85 a few months after release?

But you’re a scrub, alt DK huh?

odd-dk-picIf however your Death Knight is not your major character, and is played casually then you’ll have different needs when the expansion hits. Expect the mobs to crush and hurt you if you get even slightly out of your depth.

Quick aside: please keep your DK as your Alt, there are a heck of a lot of DKs already and rolling against 5 others in every bloody 25m raid is a pain.

What will change from last expansion?

Last expansion the Death Knights were slightly behind the curve of leveling. We hit the game at 58 and had some repeat work to do before we saw Northrend at 68. This time we can teleport back to the old world straight away with everyone else, and see what Deathwing has done first hand. I could not help but see some content with an old 70 when Wrath was released, as it was just too darn exciting, and this time the Death Knights will be on the front line straight away.

That said however the Death Knight starting exerience was pure unholy cream. The “starting” gear was very nice, and this made leveling easy. If you are leveling thorugh from a low level toon please expect to die.

Some predictions?

Roleplaying will get a minor revival

As an aside I look forward to the huge RP opportunities for my Death Knight – as seeing a world torn apart by flame and destruction is nothing new for a Death Knight, but will be new for the host of old world races. The opportunities abound to listen to them cry, bitch, and moan about what an awful creature Deathwing is. Frankly, it will be nice to see some suffering…

I still contemplate if the Death Knights will be used by as many folks in the next expansion, or if the new class race options will see a revival of options.

Gear might get totally insane

It is possible that through the use of creative drop rates, phasing, and level requirements that monsters and encounters for level 80+ characters might be very hard, and therefore offer upgrades in the order of ilevel 270+. This is because it is possible that the gear reset will be so radical, that granting a green quest reward with stats akin to a lower epic are ok. It gives the less to mid geared toons a slight upgrade, and also would vendor for a small fortune for those who don’t need the item. I would not be surprised to see the vendor price being easily 12-15g.

This will being a raft of bitching from some players, but nothing that we have not turned off trade chat to avoid before.