Sunday, 23 November 2008

Still going strong

I've done well in Winterspring, so I've nothing much to do there now. I have to decide where next I should go - I could head for Silithus or to Burning Steppes, though I'll probably head to the latter for easier XP (and I heavily dislike the silithid :)

The yeti were as satisfying as I'd remembered and went down without too much trouble.
I was very lucky with the quest drops this time around, only having to kill twice as many mobs as items to collect (for the yeti quests anyway).

Somehow, in Winterspring I think I've found my rhythm and it's becoming hard to see how talents would make any difference. I'm still taking down mobs 5 levels above me without any real trouble - I did the Guardians of the Altar escort quest and never once had problems keeping up or protecting Ranshalla. My hope is that this means I'm getting very good at basic tactics, defensive trapping, keeping an eye on the scope to avoid adds, crowd control, pulling and the rest.

Hunter tip:

Unless I have a specific use for a trap (e.g. multi pull crowd control) I'll generally keep my traps in reserve to get out of trouble. Freeze trap if a random add joins, frost trap if things get out of hand and I just need to run the hell away (out of hand means FD has failed as well - I hate it when they don't believe me :)

Level: 55
Location: Darnassus
/played: 5 days, 6 hours, 51 minutes
Theme: Get a Life - Soul 2 Soul

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Look at the loverly snow

I'm getting Steady Shot worked into my routine - my dps is now around 50% higher.
For those of you looking for hunter tips, the rotation with AotH is something like:
Serpent Sting, Arcane, Steady, Steady, Arcane, Steady, Steady, Arcane etc.
though obviously it depends a lot on aggro, any adds that come in, mana usage and the like.
If mana gets too low I'll switch to AotV and basically spam Steady Shot. It's slow to take them down and the extra mana used reduces the rate you regain it but it keeps up a steady pace and I mostly use it as an alternative to downtime - I hardly ever do downtime, I'd rather spend a few extra arrows in an extended fight than sit and drink for 30 seconds.
Bear in mind I'm 0/0/0 spec, my rotation may not suit your clearly totally OP spec :)

Winterspring has been really good fun. At the beginning of the level I spent an hour or two levelling up mining and engineering again (mostly in Arathi), which went well but still isn't up to the zones I'm in so I'll be doing some more soon.

"Are We There, Yeti?" is one of my favourite quests, even without skinning (though the skinning really does add to it :). For some reason yeti slaying is just much more satisfying than a lot of other mobs. Don't ask me why, it just is :)

I spent the last hour of the level flying around both continents handing in remote quests as parts of chains started elsewhere. Not highly entertaining, but it gives me time to work on other things while I wait for the flights. Apparently I should be playing bejewelled :)

Then I logged out and in to get my free Baby Blizzard Bear.
It's very cute, has an oversize head and everything!

Level: 54
Location: Everlook, Winterspring
/played: 5 days, 3 hours, 56 minutes
Theme: MC Hammer - Can't Touch This

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Plaguelands and beyond

Perhaps I went to plaguelands too early, but I found it plain horrible - 10% of a level in three quarters of an hour. I like having a stack of quests I can go and do, combining several and handing in said stack. The Plaguelands have quests all over that chain but don't really overlap - though it is the first time I've quested there and my level may mean I'm not picking up as many quests as I would otherwise. I'll probably try again later.

Either way, I made 52 in a little over 3 hours.

I moved on to Felwood, which was a good move and I enjoyed that a lot more.
I really like the Jadefire demons, they're interesting to fight, requiring slightly different tactics for each type, and of course taking care sneaking about in case there's a shadow stalker around! (which there usually is, if not 3 or 4). I wasn't impressed when, having fought my way to Xavathras, some random person waltzes past me as I'm taking out the last one between myself and him and takes him down. I logged out on the spot rather than sit and wait for the respawn. Had to fight my way back out again but it saved me getting back in.
One thing I hate about Felwood - make that two things - is the lack of an Inn and the lack of ammo. Wait, make that three. Three things - Lack of an Inn, lack of ammo and how long it takes to get from one end to the other, and how long it takes to get there either on foot or by FP from anywhere else. Hold on, that's four things. Yes, this is the spanish inquisition and we do have shiny red uniforms.

I finished the Timbermaw Hold Honour quest to get access to Winterspring with 28 arrows remaining. That's enough for around 1.5 mobs, so I'm feeling very lucky on that one :)

I made decent progress but the time I wasted in plaguelands really didn't help, over an hour in total. I never did get that boost but I'm hoping to later today, this time in Sunken Temple.

I'm now 53 and have just entered Winterspring. Even though I don't have leatherworking I'm still looking forward to Yeti slaying :)

In case you can't place it, the pic is the IF->SW tram. It's not especially relevant to where I've been but I really like the way it looks and I happened to use it today :)

Level: 53
Location: Stormwind
/played: 4 days, 22 hours, 7 minutes
Theme: Kaiser Chiefs - Time Honoured Tradition

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Un'goro for the w

I've just handed in the best part of a level-worth of quests in Un'goro and made level 51 - including lar'kowri's head. I have to admit I'm very happy with both the levelling time of a little over 3 hours and in particular taking out lar'kowri as he's 6 levels above me and pretty tough anyway. More than anything it's because it shows me I can make up for the lack of TPs.

I left Un'goro with only the harder gorilla-cave quests remaining (ame-01 and U'cha) because one thing I've really been struggling with is the vast numbers of mobs the gorillas bring down just as they're about to die! :)

I also have the Morrowgrain quest but I'm not counting that as it's just damned annoying if the only thing you're doing is finding soil.

After visiting a trainer for the first time in a couple of levels I've got Steady Shot! Yay! It'll be interesting to see how it changes my attack sequence. I imagine I'll drop multi-shot - mainly to conserve mana.

So I'm feeling pretty chuffed with how things are going again, it's not like I've suddenly hit a wall, just a bad patch. I now have to choose my next destination carefully, allegedly winterspring is from 53 so I'm not sure whether to follow the link quest - I'll decide tomorrow.

Like my new spider mount? :) More Noggenfogger fun in un'goro.
mmmm. A spider mount. That'd be awesome. Ride a black widow into town.

That reminds me, I demand mechanical hunter pets from engineering :)
That too would be most excellent.

Ooh, new poll idea. Tomorrow.

Level: 51
Location: Darnassus
Theme: The Man Who Sold the World - David Bowie
/played: 4 days, 13 hours, 33 minutes

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

We're going to Un'goro...

I decided to get my mining skill up so I'd be able to mine the nodes in the levels I'm working, so spent an hour wandering around duskwood hitting bits of tin.
I'm now over 130 but totally failing to find any nodes at all in my range :)
I may have to do some more deliberate mining levelling :(

I spent some time in Blasted lands, which was incredibly dull as the only quests were the "kill any beast in sight and make random combinations of bits of them to make slightly okay guardian elixirs". I got fed up trying to get more than 1 vulture gizzard when I'd already got more than enough of everything else and still needed loads.

So now I've gone to Un'goro and I'm doing much better, and I've finally hit 50! yay!
however the level took 6 hours, including an hour or so for the mining.
I think most of the rest was Blasted Lands and travelling.

Tomorrow I hope to knock down a load of quests quickly, we'll see!

Oh, and mysql, pic especially for you :)

I'm starting to wonder how my performance compares with someone that isn't talent-pointily-disadvantaged. I think the main difference is kill rates - I don't clearly remember levelling my 70 but I vaguely recall it not taking as long per fight. That said, everything's changed since then, no auto-shot rotation issues any more, differences in how a lot of things work, getting Aspect of the Viper earlier etc., not to mention the new pet talent trees.
The key to defeating mobs for me has been taking it slow and easy, keeping pet heal going, avoiding aggro, plenty of swapping between AotV and AotH. That's assuming I'm trying to keep a steady pace up with no downtime between fights.
If it goes pear-shaped and I've got more than I can handle with those tactics I have to burn through mana as fast as I can to pump out all the DPS at my disposal and hope I can take it down first.
That or FD and run :)

Level: 50!
Location: Un'goro retreat
/played: 4 days, 9 hours, 58 minutes
Theme: Jamie and the magic torch

Monday, 17 November 2008

Uldaman < 48

I really need to not do content that's so far below my level I get _nothing_ for doing it!
I got invited to a random pug and said yes. It was a good group ("hi" if you were in it :) but it took the best part of a couple of hours and I gained a couple of hundred XP in that time.
As a result that was a whopping 5 hour level which is a bit of a set-back as I should have been nearly 50 in that time. That aside, I am now 49!
And on the bright side I got to shrink giants, which is always fun, and then shrink myself with Noggenfogger, which is at least amusing and anecdotally increases DPS as well :)
Also, to make up for the Uldaman experience I'm being boosted through Maraudon (thanks Vik :)

I did some more questing in Feralas, the outhouse quests in Searing Gorge (oh I like them, they're funny) and a few other pieces.

The pic is from part of the Maraudon boost, we didn't finish so we're doing it again tomorrow.
I really need to get Noggenfogger-related pics just for mysql, I think she may have a fixation ;)

Level: 49
Location: Searing Gorge
/played: 4 days, 4 hours, 3 minutes
Theme: Chatting on vent

My other main is an alt...

I've made it to 48, I've got 50 in sight now!

So I've finally been to Searing Gorge, and it's alright - I was expecting more content like the Badlands.
After much messing about I found getting the key for Searing Gorge was a waste of time. You get a decent amount of XP for doing it but it takes so long travelling around and then you can use the FP to get in and out anyway!

I've been managing to keep to around 3 hours per level for most of the last 10, though that'll get longer as I go along, I'm sure :)
There's not much to say about the gorge, other than I had trouble finding some stuff (mostly the underground stuff) and wasted quite a bit of time because of it. I didn't have any trouble with any of the quests - other than through trying to be clever and sneak out of the quarry rather than fight. I couldn't find the Incendosaurs though, I have no idea where I'm supposed to be looking for those.

In reply to mysql - actually I reckon Lith's become my main already. I'm enjoying doing this far more than I've enjoyed the new Northrend content on my (still) 70 hunter.

Anyway, I have an early start and it's early already :)

If you look closely at the pic, you might see *dramatic dan dan daaaaaaa* another player in the same zone!

Level: 48
Location: Iron Forge
/played: 3 days, 22 hours, 15 minutes
Theme: Garbage - The World is Not Enough

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Where'd everyone go? Oh, Northrend.


I spent the last 45 minutes of the level handing in quests from hinterlands in booty bay, tanaris, darnassus and also a couple in feathermoon and thalanaar - so I covered the length of each continent just to hand in 5 quests. Unfortunately those were all I had left to do until I hit 46 and a few more quests became available.

I tried some of the group quests in Hinterlands (e.g. Altar of Zul) but failed as I couldn't find a way to take down two level 50 and one level 47 caster on my own at level 45 by myself. Wrath has totally emptied the rest of the world - there was literally one other person in the whole of Hinterlands and they'd already done the quest so weren't interested in doing it again.
In Tanaris, I got quite a bit of XP just getting Scrimshank's gear up out of the nest, but I hate the Swarmers!
I've worked out a reasonable way to deal with them that works almost every time - explosive trap at my own feet to take out any stray swarm bug thingies, then a combination of multi-shot, arcane shot and volley on the Swarmer, the last one generally taking out quite a few bugs before they can even head my way.
As I was back in Tanaris, I'm sure some of you will be pleased to hear I finished the noggenfogger chain :)

With all this flying about - I love it when there's a slight delay before your character appears to mount a flying beast and for a moment you look like you're swimming in the air :)

Also, today I managed another James Bond style leap - I'll be a grand master at it in no time! If they'd only make it an achievement at any rate :)

So now I've flown all of the way up to Darnassus and handed in the silithid quest and she's got a gray exclamation mark over her head for (I think) the link quest for silithus or un'goro? Argh! That means I'll probably have to come back for it again. Time to work out for myself where to go next! Azshara sounds good for a level or so, even if Lith isn't a skinner :)

Level: 46
Location: Darnassus
/played: 3 days, 17 hours, 16 minutes
Theme: Silence

Friday, 14 November 2008

Leap Poll

Just a quick note to say I've put the poll up with everyone's suggestions for achievement names.
Obviously - like everyone else - I've been wrathing so haven't levelled Lith, however to be honest I found that with it being so overcrowded I enjoy levelling Lith way more than I enjoyed Northrend last night.
I'll hold off any more Northrend until after the weekend - hopefully the rush will die down :)

and of course I'll still be putting time into this project :)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

James Bond anyone?

Whoo! 45. I even managed the level in just under 3 hours again, even taking into account over half an hour of travelling. Today I've done some Hinterlands and some more Feralas (I like Yeti hunting by the way - perhaps it's because they're entirely melee).

One of the things I'm beginning to find most frustrating about this endeavor is the amount of time I spend just travelling. Tonight I could have levelled in a little over 2 hours if it weren't for having to get from Astranaar to Tanaris to Theramore to Menethil to Southshore to walk to Hinterlands and get the FP there. Then when I'd finished, a similar route back to Feralas to finish the quests I'd been unable to a couple of levels ago.
In Hinterlands there's a quest to find some Gryphon eggs near the temples using the vague instructions you're given to locate them (because most are quite well hidden).
It says there are some "near the shed". What shed? I can't even find the shed, how am I supposed to find the eggs! As it was it took me so long to find more that the first batch had reappeared and I could get those and complete, but anyway...

As a hunter I have to say, why are there no arrows in the whole of the hinterlands?
I had to fly to another zone to get them, though luckily by this point I'd already done all of the appropriate level quests in hinterlands and it was time to leave anyway.

One thing in particular I usually find annoying with travel is the boats. I can never remember which pier goes where, or indeed if the pier might not have a boat that serves it, and then there's the agonising glimpse of the boat at the pier followed by a mad rush to not have to wait another 5 minutes. Today I managed that oh-so-rare achievement of seeing the ship, making a dash for it and actually making it! Now as if that wasn't enough, the ship had set off seconds before and already moved entirely away from the protruding pier, so in a James Bond-esque fashion I managed to arc over the several meter gap on my Ellek to land squarely on the deck, to - as you might imagine - the sound of massive applause from those on board and also more quietly from the increasingly distant pier.
Hm. Blizzard should add that one. A minimum 100 meter dash (mounted or otherwise) followed by a leap onto the already moving boat. That'd make for some entertaining viewing - lines of people on the pier waiting before surging forwards at what they believe is just the right moment.
Now all we have to do is think of a name for the achievement and we're done! I'm sure Blizzard will implement it tomorrow if we can just give it a good enough name. heh.
Make some suggestions and I'll put the best in a poll :)

Level: 45
/played: 3 days, 12 hours, 15 minutes
Location: Ruth'eran Village
Theme: Ting Tings - Great DJ

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Feralas no more!

I need to sort out my zone choices!

I keep going to zones, doing the lower level quests - still several levels above me - and then finding the remaining quests are too high to spend the time on, so I have to move elsewhere, wasting more time and taking even longer to level. I always had it in my head that the idea was you would level along with the quests, so completing all of the lower-level quests would carry you up the levels at around the same rate you burnt through them. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong :)

Or perhaps the bonus XP you get for finishing orange or red quests doesn't make enough difference to make it worth only doing those.

After making 43 (yay!) in _just_ under 3 hours I headed back to Booty Bay and finished some of the quests I'd left behind. Whilst the XP rate wasn't massive I reckon it would have been much greater if I'd done those quests at this level and at the same time as the other quests; and not spent unnecessary time travelling back and forth. So. The moral of the story is, find a zone that's around my level to level in :)
I know, that should be obvious. More usefully - don't pick off the ones I can and leave the rest for later. In general this will mean I don't combine quests I could have and will slow my levelling.

I'm currently praying that a 10 minute flight is going to pay off with some decent XP from some handins, but I can't remember if these quests do. I do remember that at least one sends me somewhere I've not been yet on another quest chain, so longer term it'll help.

I'm trying to keep this level under 3 hours, but I think I'll be travelling a lot to get to a new spot now so it seems unlikely, and I already spent a lot of time travelling back to Booty Bay.

I'm not doing badly though, so we'll see :)

Hm. You know, it's been 4 levels. I really must visit a trainer again soon...

The flight is over. I'm being sent to the Hinterlands. I must check the level suitability before I go :)

Level: 43
/played: 3 days, 8 hours, 24 minutes
Location: Astranaar (en route to Tanaris as part of the quest chain to Hinterlands!)
Theme: Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher man

Monday, 10 November 2008

Tanaris no more

I've had a few day's break for various reasons external to warcraft, which has earned me half a level of rested. Very helpful. If I was going to seriously go for a /played record of some kind, that would be the way to go, for sure. But I have no intention of playing only when rested, only making sure I'm in an inn at the end of play :)

Today has gone a lot better, levelling-wise. In Tanaris I've now done all of the quests up to level 46. I think level 47 and above as a 41 with no talent is probably asking for trouble and a really long levelling time. So I've quit Tanaris for now and followed a quest to Feralas.

I had help with the last two pirate quests (firebeard's head and stoley's stash or whatever it is).
The first I asked for from 2 friendly souls hanging around at the time - I could take two of the pirates on solo, no problem, possibly even 3 if I had to, but I wasn't going to even try 4 alone, not with the graveyard so far away :)
The second - a group had just wiped out everyone in the building so I walked right in and grabbed the stash. It doesn't get much easier than that!

On my way over to Feralas, I of course had plenty of time to think about Thousand Needles - not that I had a choice.
Thousand Needles feels like - for alliance - it should be more than just a slightly dodgy through-road, but I think it makes a nice change somehow that it is what it is. I know you could say the same about the Barrens but it's not the same at all. Needles has a different feel to it and tries to _make_ you walk past the PvP guards, and you surely will the first time you go that way :)

So I got to Feralas, went to Feathermoon for the FP and picked up the Yeti-hide quest, did that and the vale-screecher quest that brought me there, then did a few of the quests on the island. ding! Yay! I made 42 and in much less time than 41, even including the travel time to Feathermoon.

I'm having pet issues and at the moment I'm almost tempted to break my own rules to give Archie the "dash" ability. Watching as he idly ambles up to the target before a fight is so frustrating. On the plus side I guess it hones your timing and awareness of everything around you, because between telling it to attack and it actually getting there a scout could have wandered over (had a chat with the target mob, a cigarette, shave, shower, night out, sea cruise around the andes (think about it)).

Someone asked today if - for purposes of this challenge - glyphs were okay to use. The answer is, I'm putting them off - I'm figuring the entire game is currently set up for fully specced characters with glyphs, enchantments and reasonable gear. If I can do it without glyphs that's a bonus so I'll go as long as I can without them. It may be that I'll find it necessary at some point just to make it possible to go any further - that said, glyphs seem to be more about playing style than extra damage and the like so I'm not convinced they'll make enough difference anyway.

Level: 42
/played: 3 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes.
Location: Feathermoon
Theme: The ill person on the sofa probably would have been woken by it, so nothing...

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Even slower!

It felt like I was doing okay, decent kill rate and everything, but I don't know where the hours went. I'm now 41 but it took over 4 hours to do it. Maybe I should have taken mysql's advice to head for Arathi :)

I think my big problem was that on the level 41-43 wastewander mobs I kept getting random respawns and rogues appearing during fights. The pirate quest is 43-45 and you need a lot of mobs to complete, so that's a real grind too (still not finished, ran back to town to hand in a quest while it was still red for max XP :)

I remember liking Taranis, but now I have no idea why :)
Maybe it'll be better in a level or two when I don't have to be as defensive!

Oh, and thanks to a random passer-by for helping when I pulled Calliph without paying attention to who it was!

I'd really like to make 50 by wotlk, but that's not seeming very likely right now. I'll try anyway :)

Also, I'm about to hit the 3 days mark, not a milestone I'm looking forward to. Serves me right for leaving myself logged in while I blogged!

Edit: I remember why I liked Taranis now, my 70 has leatherworking, and Taranis has scorpids!

Level: 41
Location: Taranis
/played: 2 days, 23 hours, 49 minutes
Theme: Camille Saint Saens - Danse Macabre

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Stranglethorn, argh...

Okay, so I got my level range for northern Stranglethorn mixed up and should have been there more like 10 levels ago. I persevered anyway and only made half a level in around 2 hours - way down on the last four!

I moved to the Booty Bay area - now that's what I'm talkin' about, 2nd half of the level took less than half the time.

So. Level 40! I can finally wear mail, that'll help a lot when I find some :)

I've been finding Aspect of the Viper soooo useful since Blizzard have dropped it to a level 20 skill - a quick boost between or during fights means hardly any drinking and I can use mana-heavy rotations without too much trouble. It's effectively increased my dps by around 30% while grinding and also gets me out of, "Argh! No mana" situations during battle, so I'm feelin' it.

I've done most of the 'easy' quests around Booty Bay (the ones I don't have to travel far for, that is). Allegedly most of these were 3-6 levels above me, which just can't be so, as - other than a glitch getting hoof whatshisname out from under the stairs when I was already taking on two mobs on top of them - I didn't have any real trouble. I guess that's partly me learning how to use my hunter 'bag of tricks' to get out of trouble and partly learning how not to get into it in the first place :)
Although, the high level ones gave around double the XP I was expecting, so I guess the game thinks they are. Either way they were good fun and got me to 40, so I'm not complaining :)

So now I've been to the trainer in Stormwind, can wear mail, volley, freeze-trap for 5 seconds more and a few other bits and pieces. A quick stop off at Mudsprocket to hand in a letter to Tabetha and a long walk to Tanaris later and I'm ready for the next leg...

Level: 40!
Location: Tanaris
/played: 2 days, 20 hours, 20 minutes
Theme: Fugees - Ready or not

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Slow progress...

but it's still progress :)

I've just hit 39, though the pace has been poor tonight.
Theramore and the Marsh yesterday went quickly with a few decent drops to upgrade my gear, but today I was being sent off to Loch Modan to then be sent to the Badlands for a few scratty quests that weren't worth much. I ended up back at Southshore doing some of the quests that weren't quite green to me and got some decent XP without too much effort.

Now I've got to work out where I'm going to head for the next few levels. Hm. Stranglethorn probably - I like it there.

I'm now going to the hunter trainer for the first time in 10 levels and go on a spending spree!

I've added a link to my toon Lithiumflowr's armoury entry, lagging behind as it is.
heh. Check the specialisation: "Untalented 0/0/0". That's what I'm talkin' about.

The black widow, by the way, that's Archie.

Level: 39
Location: Stormwind
/played: 2 days, 15 hours, 40 minutes
tonight's theme: Len - Steal my sunshine

What's it all about?

This is about levelling without talent points.
Not a single point used from 1 to level-cap.

The rules are simple:

1. No talent points to be used - for hunters this includes pet talent points.
2. No gear funded by alts - except for mounts.

and why do this?
I've levelled a hunter to 70 and it was such good fun I decided to do it again!

This time around I'm making it more challenging, and so far it's going way better than I expected.

When I started I thought I'd maybe get to 20 or 30 before it became a struggle - I wanted to see how far I could get before I had to use those points that were stacking up.
Now I've hit 37 after only two and a half days /played without really pushing it, so now I'm thinking I've actually got a chance of going all the way.

So now there's a new plan - to see how quickly I can get there.

Have you ever wondered how much difference your talent points really make?
I'm going to find out the hard way, but you get to find out without lifting a finger.

It's 33 levels to 70, we got a black widow pet, haven't been to the trainer for 8 levels, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.
Hit it!

Location: Theramore
Level: 37
/played: 2 days, 12 hours, 37 minutes