James’ Alliance Leveling Guide: Exp, Xtra fast?

Current level: 45

Feralas Forest of Feralas

I’ve been following the instructions of James’ Alliance Leveling Guide: Chapter 2. I actually really like it, but not for the reason you’d expect. It claims to get you experience very quickly. It hasn’t for me; at least not noticeably more so than normal grinding or questing does. What it does do is point me to quests I might never have come across, and helps me complete them quickly with a little less frustration. It keeps me focused, and I ‘m having more fun with quests. But in my opinion, running an instance nets experience much faster. Like running an instance, following the guide keeps you focused on adventuring, fighting, and gaining rewards, as opposed to chatting away with your guildmates or worrying about whether you should update your offhand. So, in a sense, it will get you more experience in the long run, because it makes you more efficient. But what it is not is some secret formula to gain 5 times faster experience.

Last night, I ended my adventures in the lust forests of Feralas (see picture above). It’s my first time there. I find it a very soothing zone. Can’t wait to get back to it.

Published in: on April 6, 2007 at 2:08 pm  Comments (17)  

Gold Rush

Current level: 45
Just a few levels ago, I was complaining about how hard it was to afford my mount. Now, it just seems like the gold gold coin is flowing in. My advice to those who think they have to buy from gold farming businesses: just get out there and adventure. Making money gets easier. Besides, the game is a lot more satisfying working for an item like your mount than doing nothing for it.

Published in: on April 5, 2007 at 2:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Razorfen Downs: A Brief Instance Review

Current level: 43

This past weekend, I ran two instances, Razorfen Downs and Uldaman. Here’s my review of RFD. I’ll post Uldaman’s shortly.

Razorfen Downs

This is a cool zone, with some nice little memorable touches. The zone, both inside and outside the instance, is a labyrinth. Newcomers to the zone will find it hard to get to the instance.  Inside, there are a few nice animations on the way to completing the zone, like the “gong room.” The gong room is a large room with a gong you right click on. The first gong brings a wave of small spiders, which are easy to take care. The second gong brings two bigger spiders. Again, pretty easy. The third gong brings the boss spider (from whom, I looted my Arachnid Gloves of the Tiger). It’s the first boss of the zone, and a good tone setter. Well designed.

I also love the headbanging skeletons. They stand in a room in front of a huge pile of bones, on top of which stands the second boss of the zone, a skeleton who is pumping up the skeletons below. WoW’s version of heavy metal plays in the background–I kid you not. The crowd of skeletons are making the double viking hand symbol and are headbanging. It’s hilarious.

I only have minor complaints about the zone. The first is, I think the winding path that leads up to the final boss is a heartbeat too long. The need to shave off a couple groups of trash mobs. The second is, they need to fix a bug in the skeleton room. I ran to the back of the pile of skeletons, jumped up onto a ledge, and fell through the zone into some weird blue blue space beneath the instance. I ran around in limbo for 15 minutes until, luckily, my group’s warlock summoned me.

Here are some pictures I ganked off the web. First is the spider boss Tuten’kash, who is summoned with the third and final gong. The second is of some horde players standing on the bone pile.Tutenkash Two Bone Pile

Published in: on April 2, 2007 at 11:41 pm  Comments (1)  

Razorfen Downs: Arachnid Gloves

Current level: 42.

Arachnid Gloves of the Tiger

I was running Razorfen Downs, hoping to get a chance at the Coldrage Dagger. The group fell apart early on. We booted one guy for ninjaing a chest. And then another player had to leave, and that was the end of the run. But, not before we killed Tuten’kash. I had an interesting choice of whether to need or greed the Arachnid Gloves of the Tiger, with their +9 agi, +10 str, and +10 to nature resistance. I was using Huntman’s Gloves of the Monkey, which have +8 to agi and +8 to stam. I’ve been following the guidance that stamina is more important to rogues than strength. But, in the end, I decided the Arachnid gloves were better, so I “needed” and won.

Tuten’kash Rootin’ Tootin’ Tuten’kash

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 31, 2007 at 10:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Scarlet Monastery: The Armory

My boy, Scoots, ran the entire Scarlet Monastery Armory recently. My group was led by a level 51, so it went quickly and smoothly. Something happened at the end that made me want to smack one of my guildmates. She is a level 35 hunter who uses two-handed axes. When we killed the boss, Herod the Scarlet Champion, he dropped the Ravager, a two-handed axe. Now, I selected greed, fully expecting the hunter to select need so she could have this sweet axe in a couple levels. She selected greed! Then went on to complain, “You didn’t tell me to need it.” Needless to say, I won the roll and practically cried when I sold it to a vendor for 1.8 gold. This think looks really sweet too.

The Ravager

Published in: on March 29, 2007 at 2:13 pm  Comments (2)  

At Level 40, I can’t afford a mount!

Mechanstrider

Current level: 40.

Looks like I should have started a 401k to save up for my mount. It costs 100 gold in total to purchase and have the ability to ride a basic mount at level 40. I haven’t purchased any decent equipment since level 30, yet I still can’t afford my mount. I’ve sold leather like crazy on auction house. I loot and sell everything. I pickpocket. Yet, I only have 65 gold right now.

I think Blizzard has made it too hard to get the mount. I think of myself as the average WoW gamer. I’m not superintense about the game; I have a job and life outside of the game. I try to play smart. Am I the “smartest” player? No. I’ve messed up by being oblivious about “specs” (I had no idea about dagger rogues, or sword rogues, or pop and lock, etc). Up to a few levels ago, I used my talent points almost randomly (and this, even after I respecced early on). But still, I’ve been cost conscious about equipment. I’ve worked hard to earn gold. So, how come I can’t afford my mount Blizzard?

Sometimes, I think WoW goes too far to counteract gold farmers or people who spend their lives on the game and doesn’t look out for the casual player. I’m not even trying to get an epic mount! I just want my mount that I’ve worked hard for.

*Update*

I finally purchased my mount.  In retrospect, my whine above about it being too hard to collect the gold for a mount is somewhat out of line. Gold collecting starts to accelerate the higher your level. Once I hit level 40, I collected my final 40 gold in a few days time, just from normal playing and focusing on looting and selling everything. Btw, my mount cost me a little over 90 gold, not 100 gold, as I stated above.

Published in: on March 25, 2007 at 6:51 pm  Comments (42)  

PvP server regrets?

PvP

I started out with a character on a PvE server. It was when WoW just came out, and I purchased the game only to discover my computer was too slow to play it. I purchased a new computer (a MacBook) and created Scoots on a PvP server. Why? I thought the “never safe” feeling of PvP would be more exciting. When you’re out grinding in contested territory, you’re always in danger of being ganked.

Sometimes, PvP is fun, like when you spot an enemy, but he doesn’t see you, and you stealth on over for an easy kill. Or, when you are ambushed and somehow survive and slay your enemy. But today, the PvP experience was a detraction to the game. All I wanted to do was turn in some quests at Nesingwary’s Expedition in Stranglethorn Vale and log out, but some level 70 Horde was camping out ganking low-level characters. The Expedition camp is a great area for ganking Alliance, since there are three quest-giving NPCs there. So, it took me 5 minutes to log out instead of 10 seconds.

I don’t regret having my main character on a PvP server. But sometime, I do wish I could turn it off. Such is life.

Published in: on March 25, 2007 at 6:32 pm  Comments (1)  

Pickpocketing: The Rogue’s Oldest Profession.

Pickpocket

As long as there has been pockets, there have been thieves to pick them. The pick pocket skill in WoW is just plain fun. It can be dangerous, but that’s what makes it fun. If you get caught, your stealth fades and the mob attacks; so the richer the mob (the higher the level), the more dangerous it gets. But that’s what rogues live for.

Why pick pocket? Because you can get some good stuff, like:

  1. Locked junkboxes, which can have copper or silver or any of the items listed below.
  2. Healing potions (potency depending on kind of junkbox)
  3. Blinding powder. If you’re not an herbalist (and thus can’t gather fadeleaf), this is your best way for getting blinding powder for your blind skill. A single fadeleaf can cost 1 gold on auction.
  4. Other ingredients for more rogue’s skills like vanish and poisons.
  5. Jewels
  6. Recipes (enchanting) and schematics (engineering).
  7. The rare green item and even rarer blue item. *Update* Green and blue items do not appear in junkboxes. They do appear in lockboxes. What’s the difference? Junkboxes are pickpocketed, lockboxes are looted.
  8. Vendor trash.

Junkbox A Worn Junkbox.

Also, rogues increase their pick lock skill when unlocking the boxes, so you can train up your skills for locked boxes dropped in instances, or for helping out other players who are begging for rogues to unlock their boxes in cities (and maybe get a tip for your good deed).

Where are the best areas or zones to pickpocket? Basically, any area where there are clusters of mobs. For example, in Gnomeregan, the gnomes stand around in big groups. You can walk up and pick pocket 5 gnomes very quickly. Lost Rigger Cove is probably the place to pickpockect in your low to mid 40s.

The best technique is to pickpocket from behind, but you can also pick pocket from the front or side. However, using pick pocket from the front gives mobs a chance to detect you (along with the chance to detect your pick pocket attempt). Use your distract ability when you can. If you’re high-enough level, you might not even worry about getting caught and instead go for quickness. For instance, I don’t hesitate to pick pocket the low level gnomes from the front. A macro can turn multiple clicks for pickpocketing into one quick keystroke. A macro also makes the actions happen very quickly in the game. My macro is:

/cast pick pocket

/stopcasting

/cast garrote

Using a macro is especially useful if you want to pickpocket while with a group in an instance. Sometimes, the longer you take to assist with a mob, the less helpful you are to your group. So the quickness of a macro helps toward that end.

The amount of money you pickpocket from mobs increases along with the mob’s level. A level 30 mob might get you between 50 coppers to 1.5 silver per pickpocket, but a level 50 can get you between 1-5 silver (Note: those are estimates, I don’t have any collected data or anything). So at higher levels, it becomes less useful to pickpocket mobs that are much lower level than you. At level 50, it might be easy and less dangerous to pickpocket the gnomes in Gnomeregan, but the money you make from it added to the time it takes to do it is not relative to the cost of things at your level. But, pickpocketing mobs around your own level can net decent gold. A level 50 player killing a level 50 mob will pickpocket for 3 silver, then kill and loot another 5 silver. 5+3 = 8 silver. Over 100 mobs, that’s a difference of 3 gold coins. That’s 3 gold coins you won’t have to figure out how to get later. Taking those same 100 pickpocket mobs, you will also add in several gold from selling pickpocketed items. Not a bad deal.

Bottom line about pick pocketing is that you won’t get as rich from it as, say, strategically buying and reselling items at the auction house–I’ve heard all sorts or ridiculous claims about making hundreds of gold an hour at the auction house doing this. If that’s your thing, go for it. That seems boring to me. I’d rather make my gold by stealing it from an ogre’s pocket. If you combine pickpocket along with the other money-making skills (eg, skinning), it will help you compete with evil gold farmers and the players who purchase their gold, and you’ll have a lot more fun. So get out there and pick someone’s pocket.

Published in: on March 24, 2007 at 1:14 am  Comments (20)  

Nesingwary’s Expedition: A Skinner’s Paradise

Nesingwary’s Expedition

I had one of those “Aha!” moments recently concerning a series of quests I’ve been neglecting. They are quests you get from Nesingwary’s Expedition. If you are a skinner, do these quests! Basically the quests are kill so many tigers, or, kill so many panthers, and report back to the quest giver. No big challenge, but the extra bonuses a skinner gets from doing these quests are nice. You get exp from both killing the beasts and finishing the quests, and you get hella gold from selling the skins on auction.

This “Aha!” moment was inspired by reading some advice online about leveling in WoW. Doing quests supposedly gets you experience faster than just grinding. The idea is, though, you have to combine it with pseudo-grinding by killing all creatures on your way to completing the quest, whether they are part of the quest or not.

I might try this strategy a little more. I mean, I still like to grind. I can put on some music or a podcast, and it’s kind of relaxing. A quest can be mostly you running form point A to point B, then back to A again, with a little story added in.

Published in: on March 23, 2007 at 3:26 am  Comments (2)  

Arathi Basin Strategy Guide

Many players mentally approach Arathi Basin like it’s a battle, running from flag to flag killing everything in site. But in reality, it’s not a battle where victory comes when you kill off the other side. Victory in Arathi Basin comes when you capture and hold more flags than your opponent. The number of enemies killed has little to do with who wins. Once you realize that simple fact, that it’s holding on to flags that wins, and incorporate that fact into your strategic thinking, your halfway to becoming an expert at Arathi Basin

To win at Arathi Basin, there is one strategy that works. And it’s pretty basic: Defend.

It seems simple, but a lot of players get bored just standing there waiting for the other side to arrive. Or, they get greedy with having 3 nodes and decide they have go for 4 or 5. Some are clueless (like I once was) and just run around looking to attack. Also, sometimes your side is just not powerful enough, no matter how well you play at strategy.

The Road Less Fought On

Never fight on a road while on the way to a node unless your team owns 3 or more nodes. Remember that graveyards are an advantage for whoever owns the graveyard’s corresponding node.

Let’s say you’re on the way to the Smith in an attempt to capture it and you come upon an opponent on the road. If you kill that opponent, you’re essentially delaying yourself and sending the enemy back to a node to defend it. By killing the enemy on the road, you’re actually doing the other team a favor! Not only have you cost yourself time away from capturing a node, you’ll have to kill enemies twice—once in the road, and again at the node!

Outmatched? Delay, Delay, Delay

If you are defending a node and are overmatched by the incoming opponent, the best thing you can do is delay the opponent until help can arrive. Remember that capturing a flag can take several seconds. All it takes is one interrupt to make the enemy start over. Instead of focusing on killing the enemy, focus on the bigger picture of preventing the other team from capturing the node.

If you notice that you will be overmatched, call out for help (ie, “4 inc BS”), then do not engage the enemy right away. Wait until they are in the process of capturing the node, then disrupt them and run away until they start to capture it again. Keep calling out for help, telling exactly how many enemies are at the base. Use every survival tactic you have to stay alive, including stuns, healing, etc. It’s ok if you eventually die, just stay alive and disrupt as long as you can. The cavalry is coming, and you’ll respawn at the graveyard to help them. It takes several seconds to capture a node. Disrupt them several times and it starts to become quite frustrating.

Remember that there are graveyards attached to each node. The longer you hold that node, the more likely others on your team will respawn there and provide you with help and disruption. Delay long enough and eventually enough of your team will respawn at the graveyard to give you the advantage.

Healers Win Fights

If attacking, look for healers first. You can usually recognize healers visually by the cloth they are wearing and by the animations of their spells. Get to know their appearance well. If healers go down quickly (and yours stay alive), it can change the tide of the battle instantly.

Look for Enemy Movement, and Anticipate

While defending, always keep an eye out for what the other team is doing on the horizon. If you see 5 enemies heading for the poorly defended lumber mill, immediately report the situation to your team (call out 5 horde inc LH), then check the map to see how many defenders are at that node. If they need help, head there. While on the way, keep checking the map to make sure that you aren’t over-defending and leaving other places undefended. If while successfully defending a node and you notice that there are 6 or 7 people killing one enemy, don’t stick around for clean up. Immediately head to another node for defense.

Published in: on March 18, 2007 at 11:25 pm  Comments (2)