The Leveling Game

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Buckling Some Swash

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Since the 7.0.3 patch landed in World of Warcraft, I have been more than a little obsessed with relearning classes given the significant changes to the bevy of talent trees.  On my rogue I have more or less always been combat, other than a brief flirtation with subtlety during vanilla thanks to knowing a few insane “sub” rogues.  If one thing should be certain by now is that I am not a huge fan of stealth mechanics, and my ideal “rogue” is that of a pirate or swashbuckler rather than assassin or thief.  As a result it feels like Outlaw the rebranded combat is essentially tailor made for me.  The spec itself is made up largely of huge sword slash moves and pistol shots, making it feel a lot to me like the Witch Hunter from Warhammer Online.  The core of the gameplay focuses around either a melee slash builder or short range pistol shot builder, coupled with a slashing combo dump and a long range combo dump that also happens to stun the target… but is on a rather long cooldown.  Other than these there is an additional combo dump called Roll the Bones which gives your character one or more buffs from a list of available buffs.  For those who raided during Wrath of the Lich King, it reminds me quite a bit of the way Deathbringer’s Will felt.  Completely unpredictable but when the buff is up it always does something interesting.  When the patch landed my rogue was sitting at level 91 and had barely seen anything past the Garrison.  As of yesterday I dinged 100 and have begun gearing him to at least do some basic content like LFR.

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Not to be undone by the new school rogue experience, I opted to start working on my druid again which I generally play as feral.  Feral mostly feels the same as it always has, which now represents the way combat rogue largely previously felt.  In some ways I am grateful that it didn’t change a whole lot, but in other ways I admit I am a little disappointed.  So many classes with Outlaw Rogue and Survival Hunter feel new and different and shiny…  that the ones like Feral Druid and Protection Warrior that stayed largely the same feel a little diminished.  Belgarou had been my character of choice for leveling during the AggroChat podcast for awhile now, and I had made slow and prodding progress.  However last night I made a serious push and went from just shy of 96 to 100 in a single evening.  Traditionally when I level characters I follow a basic pattern which will make completionists cringe.  I tend to say in Shadowmoon Valley until 92, and then immediately drop those quests and swap to Gorgrond until 94.  From Gorgrond I jump to Terrokar, and then again to Spires of Arak at 96.  Finally I reach Nagrand at 98 and continue there until I ding, with the theory that spending the maximum amount of time in that zone will mean I will have the best gear to start angling for the 620 item level that unlocks that first LFR.  The end result is a quick succession of zones each one giving me the maximum experience for my level and getting me to the level cap as soon as possible.

The Stable Fills

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I am by no means the fastest at leveling characters, but I am doing largely okay when I can actually stick with a game for any given period of time.  At this point I have eight level 100s, but that is nothing even vaguely close to the number that Grace has and hers span multiple servers.  In theory the next closest to 100 would be Belglorian my priest, but honestly I am not super enthused about leveling it.  At some point I want to try out the new Shadow with its Old God based lore, but I am in no real rush.  I mean it would be awesome to have my tailor at max level when Legion lands, but I am thinking it might be too “finger wiggly” for me at the moment.  There is of course my monk who is still sitting at level 53, but that means a return to more leather.  I am kinda getting tired of wearing leather, since I just finished off my rogue and druid back to back.  Also there is the problem that for whatever reason I have never been able to get into the flow of a monk.  I really enjoy playing pugilist in Final Fantasy XIV, and I had a Monk in Everquest II… but for whatever reason the World of Warcraft version doesn’t feel as interesting.  For me at least it feels very much like another dual wielding class, since I went the dpsy version.  Brewmaster tanking felt odd, and “Fistweaving” I have heard is no longer a thing… so more than likely that means I will always be a sorta rogue on that class.

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As a result it seems like my next leveling target is going to be the Warlock, because it is just finger wiggly enough for me to be able to enjoy it.  Additionally all that time I spent leveling my Arcanist in Final Fantasy XIV has taught me a greater respect for damage over time classes.  Generally speaking I have always been a demonology player, because I like running around with giant demon pets.  However I might branch out a bit and try something new, it all depends on if I can get the swing of the new changes.  In any case I am not exactly sure why I have been on this marathon leveling session, but I am mostly just going with the flow.  I think part of it is also my attempt to catch them all as far as appearances go.  I have added so many items to my wardrobe that it isn’t even funny.  The hope is that in doing this push I will get at least one leather and one cloth class that I actually enjoy playing, that I can run old world content with for those cloth and leather pieces that I seem to be missing.  I have a huge stash of plate and chain, because those are all classes that I play pretty frequently.  The worst seems to be the finger wigglers, so I am hoping that I can make the Warlock into a soloing beast to farm up awesome transmog sets with.  In any case… this has been my recent obsession and I thought I would share it with you.


Setting Priorities

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Return of the Deathknight

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I’ve already talked at length about how we know without a doubt that Gladiator will be dying with the launch of Legion.  As a result this will greatly hamper my enjoyment as a Warrior since in truth I have never really liked Fury or Arms that much.  Sure I could go back to tanking full time… and that would be pretty awesome…  but my prospects for returning to a main tanking role are not entirely that great.  I mostly shifted to DPS so that if I missed a night… it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Missing a night as one of the primary tanks however…  that is a big deal and causes great hardship on whatever raid you are part of.  That said…  everything I am hearing about Blood Deathknights is telling me that they are returning to the awesome feel they had before Warlords turned them into finger wigglers.  I mean there are lots of people that don’t get my complaints about the class… but having a lot of caster animation abilities in your standard rotation ended up making them feel less of a big sturdy melee class.  I mean I play Blood when I need to survive, especially while questing on Tanaan but I pretty much hate every moment of it.  The class has always been tied to that spec for me.. and even before it became the main tanking tree…  I was a blood Death Knight.

Granted there were times I flirted with Unholy for DPS, and Dual Wield Frost for Tanking…. but in each of those times…  Blood was still my other spec, the one I never got rid of because it just felt awesome.  With it returning to glory, I have to say I am kinda excited about dusting off Belgrave again.  The problem being as you can see above… he is wearing this horrible mishmash of whatever gear I happened to find along the way.  So one of my goals over the coming weeks is to get him as geared out as I can given the meager scraps he has access to through Hellfire LFR, Kazzak, and Tanaan jungle drops.  I figure whatever effort I put into gearing him now… will only serve to make him easier to level in Legion.  I am still not giving up hope completely on getting in Alpha, because there is honestly just a bunch of stuff that I want to test out.  However in the meantime there is a bunch I can do to improve his status in life, and some of that might even mean pugging a normal Hellfire raid at some point.  The thought of that scares the shit out of me, but if nothing else… I want to get to a point where I could survive tanking a Mythic Dungeon.

The Hunter

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The second goal is to find some time and get Lodin my hunter through the Shipyard quest and unlock that part of the garrison.  There is an absolute certainty that when Legion comes out… I will be switching him to Survival hunter and never looking back.  My main character in Everquest was a cleric, but my primary alt… was a Ranger…  a dual wielding melee ranger.  So when World of Warcraft was released, I absolutely tried to make Hunter into a melee ranger class.  I’ve posted plenty of screen shots of me “tanking” early dungeons as a Hunter, and to be honest… when I found out that the class was never going to be viable as melee…  I lost interest in it as my main.  Other circumstances however lead me to raid as it in Vanilla… which by default turned it into my raid main.  However from the moment I had to abandon survival and hitting things with big two handed weapons…  the class just wasn’t for me.  Now I have played it off and on since then, and I really enjoy Beast Mastery and the aspect of taming interesting creatures to fight for me.  But the player fantasy of being a badass ranged character… has never been one that I shared.  In preparation for my eventual spear wielding days as Survival, I want to spend some time gearing up Lodin and getting him ready for the expansion.  Right now he has a pitiful smattering of gear out of gear from Highmaul, augmented with a handful of Baleful shipyard drops.  It is my hope to get him into fighting shape soon, or enough of a shape to be able to survive farming Tanaan.  Right now however…  he is sub 640…  which greatly limits my options.

The Dwarflock

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The other character that has been calling my name lately is my Dwarf Warlock Belganon.  He is currently somewhere in Northrend in the mid 70s, and represents one of only two characters Alliance side that are sub level 90 and that do not already have a Garrison.  It is my hope to push him up, because of all of the finger wigglers… the one I am most likely to play is the Warlock.  I feel like the lessons that I learned playing an Arcanist/Summoner in Final Fantasy XIV will absolutely make me a better warlock player.  I’ve always leaned heavily towards Demonology… because just like Beast Mastery…. they have the really awesome pets.  Especially now that all of the Warlock pets have been updated with higher quality Warlords/Legion era models, I think its time to revisit the class and see if it works for me.  I will never likely main a caster of any sort, but from time to time I have fun playing them.  If I can manage to get this guy up… that just leaves the Monk…  which I have admittedly struggled with.  In both cases I am kinda hoping to be able to dungeon most of my way to maximum level.