Expansion Leveling: Speed vs. Versatility

Which character are you leveling first in Cataclysm? That’s the question I Like Pancakes put to us all earlier this week, and it turns out to be more difficult to answer than I initially thought. My first instinct was simply to say, “Liore! Duh! Next question!” but the more I thought about it the less sure I felt. Cataclysm changes the rules for many things, like raiding and Battlegrounds, and expansion leveling is no exception.

Previously, expansion leveling for many folks — myself included — was big race to the finish. Install the expansion, stock up on energy drinks, and get your main to level cap go go go go go goooooooooooooo. I usually level as a holy smite spec (I’m a healer dammit!) which means that while I never leveled quite as fast as my DPS colleagues, I was usually somewhere in the first pack to hit level cap.

Cataclysm, though, has put new emphasis on having a cadre of leveled alts at a player’s disposal. With the new 10/25 lockout change both mains and alts can easily end up with almost identical gear, experience, and achievements, and in fact having one character for each type of lockout seems practical. Additionally, Blizz has brought in a few changes that encourage profession alts to level up, such as gated trainers and tighter level range requirements for crafting. The cherry on top, of course, is the new Guild Achievement system, which I suspect will reward guilds that have vibrant communities with many active alts.

The overall effect makes me inclined to get a number of alts to 85 around the same time, so instead of the usual main rush I may end up rotating through rested XP on a regular basis. Liore is still my favorite, so she has top priority. But Lunedi is anxious to start bashing in heads on 25s or 10s, and Thursday the mage wants to keep making money with high-level enchanting. And of course there’s the newest member of the bunch, Mercredi the rapidly-leveling future 10s tank, and the sooner the guild has an extra level 85 alt tank kicking around, the better.

Over all it seems versatility will give greater benefits to the player and the guild instead of the speed of yesteryear. My advice would be to enjoy your rested XP, and take the time to smite and shoot and stab the roses along the way.

Love Me, Love My Dwarf
Dec01

Love Me, Love My Dwarf

Dwarf ladies get a lot of flack on the Alliance side. (Do Horde get that kind of talk about Tauren ladies?)

They’re rare enough as it is, but it doesn’t help that trade chat falls over itself to insult the wee lassies at every opportunity. They’re short, they’re fat, they jiggle in weird places when they run. They have silly braids and talk in Scottish accents. They do not flounce like pole-dancing Nelfs, nor do they convincingly pull off the space goat waggle.

And to people who dismissively say all of the above, I would like to introduce you to Lunedi 2.0. She is short, she is round, she is apple-cheeked, and she will knock the head off of anyone who calls her thunder thighs.

dwarflunedi1 Love Me, Love My Dwarf

How could you not love that face?!?

The Remote Auction House Will Get Me Fired
Nov29

The Remote Auction House Will Get Me Fired

So I’ve found myself somewhat adrift in-game until December 7th. I made a pretty concerted effort to tie up any loose ends before last week, as I wasn’t sure exactly what would disappear and what would remain in Azeroth Version 4.03a. My alts are leveled to 80, I’ve finished up most of the Northrend and old Azeroth achievements I wanted, and I am trying to resist playing my future new bear druid until her efforts will count towards guild leveling.

Instead I have gone back to my old friend the Auction House. I am kind of a nut for systems and charts and numbers (before WoW I was a shark on the Hollywood Stock Exchange), plus it’s pretty much the only way to make gold that I find palatable. Dailies are tedious, farming is even worse, and while I would like to become one of those players with an efficient crafting assembly line across characters now is not the time. Instead I am trying to stick with what I enjoy, which is buying low and selling high.

In that spirit I decided to buy a month of the Remote Auction House services. It’s $3 for 30 days, and you can use it though the Armory web interface or as an app on your phone (iPhone or Android).

RemoteAuctionHouse The Remote Auction House Will Get Me Fired

Stop undercutting me, dang it!

I was quite surprised by the array of functionality available to remote players. I expected to be able to check my sales, of course, but there are also very clear and easy ways to relist items, check your mail, bid again when outbid, and conduct price checks. You can even relist items directly from your mailbox, which isn’t even possible in-game. In conjunction with a basic understanding of the markets and some research tools I can make sure some of my enchants are the lowest priced or respond quickly to a weird afternoon pricing bubble on Illusion Dust.

Plus, I’m not going to lie: I feel like a bit of a big shot, sitting at my desk in the middle of the day looking at supply graphs and pounding the “SELL” button on my phone. I just need a stogy in the corner of my mouth and a secretary to demean and I would be set. I mean sure, all this AH stuff is going to get me fired eventually, but I can always pay my rent in gold and Enchanted Brooms right? Right?!

Thank goodness for level 85 next week, is all I’m sayin’.

4.03a Pics and Q&A
Nov24

4.03a Pics and Q&A

So how did 4.03a treat you yesterday? I admit that I hopped online, checked my auctions, and pretty much went straight to Hillsbrad Foothills to play Peacebloom Vs. Ghouls. And man, it was rad. I’m a serious Plants Vs. Zombies fan, so I didn’t have too much trouble completing the four (five?) rounds and getting the Singing Sunflower pet. The Sunflower is adorable — every so often it will stop and sing or hum perkily in a cloud of rainbows and flowers. It’s almost suspiciously happy. In fact, I think it might be plotting to kill me.

Anyway, enough of my paranoid theories. Let’s see some pictures!

worgen1 300x264 4.03a Pics and Q&A
The first female worgen I saw, with a face only a mother could love.

gnomepriest1 300x282 4.03a Pics and Q&A
Gnome priest!?!

stormwind1 4.03a Pics and Q&A
The new Stormwind (with updated textures) is very pretty.

Visitor Logs and Answers

I noticed that I got a number of visits yesterday from folks looking for specific 4.03a information. I can only imagine their disappointment when they came to the site and realized that I basically just write a blog so I won’t get banned from the official forums, not to provide useful details. But what the heck, huh?

Are there new mounts or pets in the patch?
Yes! There’s the Singing Sunflower pet I mentioned above, which is obtained by completing the Peacebloom vs. Ghouls quests by the Dalaran crater in Hillsbrad. There is also apparently a pet grub named Mr. Grubbs (cute!) which is a random drop off mobs in East Plaguelands, a new firefly pet from a questline in the Burning Steppes, and a pet from a new Darkshore questline that looks like a .. dying druid tree.

There were no new mounts added in this patch, although there should be some in the new Cataclysm content.

Is ICC getting nerfed before Cataclysm?
What, again? Over and above the 30% buff? And the incidental class buffs that came in with 4.01? And the improved gear availability with the old Invasion portal bosses, S8 arena gear, and lowered T10 prices? Have I asked enough questions that you’ve gotten my point?

Were DKs nerfed in 4.03a?
I am not a Death Knight, but I consulted my team of DKs experts and they said that DKs received a slight nerf to their self-healing abilities, as did any other DPS class with a self-heal, their DPS should be the same as always. Now in exchange for this answer, dear DK reader, promise to not steal aggro from the tanks in LFD. Thanks!

How do I get to Darnassus now?
I know, right? The portals are gone, Menethil sank into the sea, and I am so lost. According to WoWWiki, the boat that previously ran from The Exodar to Auberdine now runs from Stormwind to Rut’theran Village, and from there you can fly to The Exodar.

The above advice is probably only good if you’re Alliance. If you’re Horde, find your own way into Darnassus and stay the hell away from Tyrande. <3

Is it 5’o’clock yet?

It is now? It is now? It is now?

I don’t even have a plan for tonight except to run around saying, “Oh my god, it’s all gone.” or “What the heck is this?!” Well, that and fuss over my auctions a lot. (If you are planning on selling netherweave bags on Uldum, I will see you on the auction house battleground.)

I felt a little melancholy last night. I remember taking my first in-game flight, from Darnassus to Auberdine, and having my breath taken away by the view. I remember running Zul’Gurub over and over again back in Vanilla, and as we slowly progressed from Jeklik to Hakkar watching the guild grow from 12 people to 15 to an entire raid group. I’ve sat on the bleachers at Shimmering Flats and watched the races go by, stood on the rooftops of Orgrimmar, and danced with the Dwarf King Magni. (Oh Magni. :( )

I have spent a lot of time fighting and laughing in Old Azeroth with a lot of people, many of whom don’t play anymore but who were still around in my head every time I, say, took that flight from Stormwind to Booty Bay. So I’ll miss Old Azeroth. I’ll miss it a lot. And I miss those good times I once had there.

Plus there is the little matter of some giant metal-faced dragon who caused all this death and destruction in the first place. It might take a year or two to prepare ourselves, but we’re coming for you! For Magni and Cairne and Gweneth Bly’Leggonde and all her turtle carcasses and everything else that we’re about to lose today — we will be coming.

Okay, is it time to go home NOW? Let’s gooooooooooooo. I want to make some new memories in the New Azeroth.

___

A follow up on yesterday! Here is what I think happened:

Hackers got a hold of my Battle.net email address (aka user ID), which was pretty publicly available. They probably matched it with my full name, which is also not difficult to find. Somehow, whether it was through the web or through a packet or something, they asked Blizz to reset my password, probably under the “I lost my password” feature. Blizz resets it, and sends me an email asking me to pick a new password.

Here is where it gets fuzzy — I’m pretty sure that they weren’t able to hack into my email. I can’t know for sure, though. What I do know is that the hackers were unable to actually complete the password resetting process and pick a new password, either because they couldn’t get into my email or because Blizz locked down my account within 7 minutes.

Even if they had managed to hack into my email and change the password to my Battle.net account, thanks to the Authenticator they would not have been able to log into the game or log into the important bits of my Battle.net account.

So: Authenticators are good! They protect your account, even if hackers can still make your life difficult. Also I strongly recommend picking a Battle.Net ID/Email addy that you don’t use on any other site.

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