Friday, November 21, 2008

It's been widely said, including by myself, that players in T5-T6 will not find upgrades before the late 80's and even Naxx.

Well, I was wrong.

I found my first good upgrade in Gundrak (level 75 instance in Zul'Drak) and then another one in the Halls of Stone (level 76 in the Storm Peaks). And these are not minor upgrades: the cloak dropped by the Maiden in HoS, which can be reached -- and therefore, farmed -- in 20mn, is better than Teron Gorefiend's cloak, which is one of the best melee cloaks in TBC.

I completely missed these upgrades because I didn't run many instances in the beta, so if you are 75 or above, you should start running instances more aggressively (the two Halls instances are absolutely gorgeous).

Monday, November 17, 2008

WOTLK early impressions

A few random thoughts:
  • Good job on Blizzard's part for the scaling and respawn rate. I haven't encountered any big bottleneck while questing (except for the server queues, of course, which have sometimes reached 40mn).

  • My guild is a raiding guild so everybody is crazy busy power leveling, even though we have no firm schedule to get back into raiding. Some of our players have been repeatedly flipping various instances for quick XP. We have a few 75-78 and most are lower. Quite a few of them took some time off and were probably playing close to non-stop over the weekend.

  • Instance flipping *seems* to work well but I'm not 100% sure it's that much faster than questing. For example, I calculated that Drak Tharon Keep will net you about 100k XP in a half hour, which is the equivalent of four quests (80k XP + the killing involved). I think I can definitely knock down four quests in that amount of time, depending on the traveling involved. Anyway, I accept every single run I get invited to since this is precisely what I didn't get to experience during the beta. Oh and big hug to Blizzard for short instances.

  • I am guilty of trying to level fast as well. First of all because I have played most of this already in the beta, so the novelty is no longer there, but also because I want to be sure I'm not left behind, even though reason tells me that none of this will be a factor in 2-3 weeks once all our raiders are 80.

  • For this purpose, QuestHelper is nothing short of amazing. Not only has it worked flawlessly for 95% of the quests I've been doing, but it also calculates the best paths for questing and even shows them on your map. It doesn't account for quest follow-ups, though, which means that sometimes it will tell you to do A and then turn in B, while turning in B first might be faster because the follow-up to B will create a shorter graph. Really not a big deal, I'm absolutely baffled at how well this add-on works and I admit to feeling a mix of fascination and repulsion at the idea of implementing graph traversal algorithms in LUA.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Leveling a Rogue in Northrend

This article on WoWInsider gives some good starter information on how to get ready for the 70-80 grind, but I think the author is overthinking the problem.

Anyone with T5+ gear will be shredding mobs until 80, so you might as well pick an exotic spec and have some fun with it until the harsh reality of endgame raiding forces you back into a more sobering DPS dishing configuration.

I leveled Shadowstep+Cold Blood in the beta and I was chuckling with glee all the way to Icecrown. The sheer amount of burst is absolutely wonderful and two crits are all it takes to kill any mob with just three hits. I didn't even bother re-equipping my sword once out of stealth...