Category Archives: Leveling

Gone Hunting

Anyone remember waaaay back when this used to be a blog about Druids and Hunters? For a long time my hunter (whose name was also Jasyla because I’m creative like that) was my second main. I spent a number of years raiding with two guilds and my Hunter was my Horde main for tiers 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 (spent a couple tiers as a resto shaman before getting mad at class changes and going back to the hunter). Then, at the end of Wrath they took my mana bar away and poor Jasyla2.0 was abandoned and pretty much forgotten about.

A couple months ago I decided I wanted to get to max level with all professions so I could get the Master of All achievement. Since my hunter was my only LW/Skinner, I began playing her every once in a while. Mostly just killing and skinning dragons whenever I had nothing better to do. Then came the character services sale. Since hunter!Jas was just sitting in some random guild I didn’t know anyone in, and most of my other characters are Alliance on Eldre’thalas, I decided to transfer her over.  Then came the hard part. I stared at the character screen for so long. What race do I want to be? Female or male? And what will my name be? I hummed and hawed, I asked Twitter for their opinions. Finally, after way too long, Jasyla the Blood Elf became Jasy the Draenei (just can’t resist those booberific space goats).

As I leveled my way through Pandaria, I remembered how much I love my hunter. I love my old pets – Kitty the wolf, Toby the tiger, Guybrush the monkey and Trouser the snake. I love traps and kiting. I love Deterrence and Disengage. Finding new pets to tame was fun, though almost everything I wanted for a pet was couldn’t be tamed – no elder pythons, beavers or giraffes for me. But I did find some new pets I liked. I got a glowbutt bug and a t-rex (Don’t move! They can’t see you if you don’t move!).

I think I’ve spent more time playing WoW in the last week and a half than I usually do in a month. I quickly leveled to 90. The day I hit 90 I did something like 12 random dungeons, in which I had the worst loot luck possible. That first day only 2 usable pieces of loot dropped for me. So I bought Justice gear. I did some random BGs and bought PVP gear. My friends made me crafted gear (or loaned it to me so I could carry it around and cheat my ilvl), I bought gear from the AH. Finally I made my way up to 470 so I could queue for MSV. I did all 6 bosses, used coin rolls on every one of them and got… absolutely nothing. Clearly the gearing process was not going to be easy. My hunter has always had a bit of a curse when it comes to getting loot and it looked like that was going to continue.

This weekend I did LFR for HoF and Terrace (with an awesome guildy who  queues on his tank or healer – whichever makes it faster, whenever I need someone for LFR or dungeons). Finally my luck started turning around, to a ridiculous degree. I got 3 pieces of tier and some OS pieces. When it came time to fight Lei Shi, she gave me a trinket and a gun. I was getting gear from drops and coins (a few times I got the same piece twice). After all these drops I must be able to queue for ToT now, right? ilvl 478. /sigh. So it was back to PVP and dungeons. Purchased more honor gear, upgraded my gun (even though I really wanted to save my Valor so I could buy the 522 neck asap). Finally I was there – 480! I did the first part of ToT and got another new helmet (because I like having to buy 3 meta gems in 3 days), then I got distracted by other things and have yet to do the rest of the instance.

So that’s what I’ve been up to this week. For the first time in a long time I have a somewhat up-to-date alt that I enjoy playing. I may even go to my guild’s alt run sometimes. Now I just need to re-familiarize myself with SV so I’m comfortably bi-spectual and get all my gems and reforging done right, now that my gear is somewhat less likely to be so easily replaced.

I’m really liking how hunters play right now. I remember how I used to loathe BM in BC (steady shot, steady shot, steady shot) and went Marks or SV for raids out of spite (and because I could still beat the other hunters even in a sub-optimal  spec). Now BM is a lot of fun. All the cooldowns! I need to tweak my UI to make it more dps-friendly and find some good hunter addons (suggestions anyone?)

Happy… hunting?

Gaming Marathons: The Healthy Way

This week, my guildmate and future raid leader, Serrath, was nice enough to write a guest post for me. You can follow Serrath on Twitter @Serrath_.

Well howdy, Cannot Be Tamed readers! I’m Serrath and I’m the incoming raid leader for Apotheosis! While Jasyla is out on a fantastic vacation (color me jealous) I’m going to talk a bit about the upcoming release of Mists of Pandaria on September 25th, and how you can prepare yourself for the gaming marathon that is sure to follow.

To give you a little information about me: I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since Vanilla. My very first character hit level 60 killing a banshee in the Eastern Plaguelands just as the Ahn’Qiraj event was coming into full swing. During my tenure with the game I’ve enjoyed multiple release date grinds and gaming marathons. The most successful of which was the Wrath release, where I managed to snag the Server First Level 80 achievement on the Detheroc server!

In order to complete what was a 48 hour gaming marathon that led to this success I had to prepare myself for nearly a week prior to the release. I considered methods to affect my sleep pattern, how to eat and stay healthy, exercises to perform while playing, and ways to keep myself socially engaged. Please allow me to share a few of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up during my time in the game in hopes that you find a few of them helpful for your release grinding.

In order to tackle the issue of sleep patterns we need to understand what they are and how they work. Your sleep pattern is directed by an internal clock known as your circadian rhythm. This clock is affected by external stimuli and internal hormones. We want to adjust both to best suit our needs for our upcoming gaming marathon!

The portion of your brain that “houses” your internal clock is located just above your optic nerves which allows for a quick relay of incoming light. When there is less light (sunset, dark interior) your brain will produce more melatonin, which will make you sleepy. In order to combat this you will want to be playing in a well-lit environment. I recommend having multiple lamps positioned around the room. If you have a window nearby, leave your curtains drawn so the darkness isn’t noticeable. If you will be traveling through your house leave these areas well-lit (hallway, kitchen, etc) since we will be traveling during our marathon.

After addressing the external stimuli you will want to consider how to affect your internal “settings.” Starting a few days before your proposed event (let’s say Friday!) you will want to start staying up a single hour later than your standard bed time. Allow yourself to sleep in one hour later the following morning. Repeat this process for a few days. If you start on Friday and you traditionally go to bed around midnight you’ll be at 4am for your standard bedtime on Tuesday morning. On Monday evening, to help adjust further, take a nap – keeping in mind that a nap’s effectiveness is not in how long you sleep, but how many complete sleep cycles you finish. Since I take a little extra time to fall asleep I usually allow myself two hours for a complete and effective nap.

With our sleep cycle taken care of let’s address what is, in my opinion, the most important factor for our gaming marathon: nutrition. In order to gain the most mileage out of your marathon you will want to eat very healthy – focusing on fruits, vegetables, and foods high in protein. Steer clear of caffeine and sugar! While these items will allow you to feel a quick surge of energy and focus, you will crash and be much worse for wear after the effects wear off. I recommend you make a few pre-planned meals that are easily warmed up in the microwave or eaten right from the fridge.

When I completed my 70 to 80 grind in Wrath I had prepared six separate meals the Monday before the release. I had made three peanut butter sandwiches, three lunch meat sandwiches (ham or turkey, tuna would be great as well), six bags of a variety of vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli, squash, zucchini, whatever you like), and six bags of a variety of fruit (grapes, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, etc.). For each “meal” I grabbed a sandwich, a bag of veggies, a bag of fruit, and a bottle of cold water. Having a diet like this prepared will allow you to save time by being able to grab a quick meal, it will allow you to continue a healthy intake of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function, and it will allow you to have a peak alert time.

To give you a few other options of recipes I’m considering for this year: consider making dinners that you can microwave and eat! I’ll be preparing a couple servings of stir fry, a bowl or two of soup that I can store in the freezer, or maybe a pre-made salad (cucumber + tomato + chicken tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette is easy and *amazing*).

The third great factor for ensuring a successful and healthy gaming marathon is to remember to exercise! A very real danger that many people dismiss is the threat of blood clots caused by extended periods of sitting. When you read the stories of people passing due to long gaming sessions it is usually caused by a mix of bad diet, lack of sleep, and lack of movement. In addition to combating things such as clots, exercise will assist with your blood circulation which will allow you to maintain a more alert status while playing.

Now, you don’t need a home gym or anything fancy to keep yourself “in shape” while playing. There are a few simple exercises you can do at or next to your desk and will take you no time at all! This website details 33 different exercises to perform at or near your desk. My favorites are 6, 8, 13, 20, and 31. (Number 7 is just gross – I still have bad memories of grade school gym class “phantom chair” contests … oi.) Find a few exercises that will work for you and remember to perform them a few times and hour to keep your blood flowing.

With all of our physical health concerns addressed we have one last thing to consider: mental health! World of Warcraft is a social game by design. Unfortunately, the leveling grind tends to become a solo activity with players pushing through quests at their quickest pace. During this grind many people seclude themselves in an effort to stay focused. I say just the opposite. Engaging in conversation with friends and guild mates will help keep your mentally involved in your activities. I believe it works best in a voice chat settings (Mumble, Ventrilo, Skype, etc.) where you’re able to actively discuss what you are each doing. When you start to nod off at around the 18 hour mark your friends will be the ones able to keep you awake, alert, and focused on the task at hand: getting to 90 before them!

I hope some of the information provided here helps you in your early Mists of Pandaria goals. I know I’m very excited to check out the new content and get to beating down some Mogu in the new raids. What are some of your personal tips and tricks? Best of luck to you on September 25th!

Guest Post: Does Leveling Faster Make Leveling Better?

This week, the lovely Oestrus was nice enough to write a guest post for me. Be sure to go check out her blog, The Stories of O, where she shares her stories and thoughts on being a raiding holy priest and about World of Warcraft in general.

The other day, some blue posts were released that attempted to address the concerns that many players have voiced over how the leveling experience seems to drag past level 60 and going into Northrend.

Here’s what Nethaera had to say:

“We know that for many who have gone through Outland and Northrend before, it may not be as fun as the first or second or even third time you’ve gone through it. We understand but also believe that in general, the quest flow is much better than what was available in original World of Warcraft. Between that and the increased rate of experience gain, you should be able to go through these areas relatively quickly. Would we like to update Outland at some point in time? Sure. It’s a possibility. But it’s not on our immediate radar. There’s still a lot more to be done in World of Warcraft.

We do appreciate those who have given constructive feedback on their feelings on leveling from 60-80 and as I mentioned earlier, we do have accelerated experience gains for these levels. As someone else mentioned earlier in the thread, getting flight early on also helps with getting around these areas and completing quests in a more efficient way if that’s what you’re looking for.”

Here’s how I interpreted it:

“We are too busy to do all of that, but not busy enough to create more heirlooms to throw at you.  That way you can breeze through these zones so fast you won’t even know there is anything wrong with or missing from them!”

In my experience, people who like to level alts like the experience of leveling them.  People like doing new quests they haven’t done before and may even roll a character with a different faction or of a different race  to begin in a new starting area, to do just that.  They like seeing how a certain class handles different situations and may purposely put themselves in sticky situations to see if they can make it out in one piece.  We like knowing that we’re making a difference and impacting the storyline, with each instance that we clear or quest that we complete.

I don’t feel that making the experience go by faster is necessarily the answer.  I remember recently purchasing the heirloom helm and purposely not wearing it, because I was already going through the Blood Elf starting zone so quickly that quests were turning green and gray before I could even get around to finishing them.  I felt like I was being rushed into the next zone and I didn’t enjoy that.  Right now, I’m just using the heirloom cloak and I may put the helm back on once I get into the later parts of Northrend and the new Cataclysm zones.

Giving us more heirlooms to get through the zones that clearly need work is not going to help people ignore what’s wrong with these areas.  Granted, Northrend is in much better shape than Hellfire Peninsula and the zones from Burning Crusade.  I would have to say that areas from the latter would be in more need of work or touching up than the ones from the former.  But you can’t deny that it’s mighty awkward to be completing quests which are there solely to help you prepare for bringing down Illidan Stormrage and his allies and the Lich King.  You can only suspend disbelief for so long before you ask yourself “Why am I doing this again?”

Even if they decide not to change the quests objectives or rewards, they can at least change the reasons why we do them.  They can at least allow the NPCs to be aware of what is happening on the other side of the Dark Portal.  The Blood Elves would have some opinion on the fall of Kael’thas and the NPCs in Dalaran might have a clue as to why their city doesn’t have any portals to major cities anymore.  You could still keep most of the same quests, but have a different motivation behind them.  Instead of needing to kill 20 Bonelashers just because they make people sick, you could change the quest to say that they’re preventing efforts to clean up the Bone Wastes and people are scared to travel through there.

I also think it’s strange that Blizzard seems surprised that people are voicing concerns with post Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms leveling, especially since they really went out of their way to promote leveling in most of the previews for Cataclysm.  This was done by promoting the creation of new race/class combinations and with the introduction of the Goblin and Worgen races.  While we certainly can pay to take our existing characters and make them any race that we want, others were excited about the idea of exploring Gilneas and Kezan or starting a character of a previously unavailable race or class combination from scratch.

They sold us on the idea that leveling would again be fun and interesting and now they don’t understand why we don’t feel that may be the case.  What did they think was going to happen?  Did they think we were just going to take our characters to 60 and then stop?  Pick up another alt and then do the same thing all over again?

Currently, I do not have any plans to take my warlock past level 60.  I don’t have it in me to put myself through another round of quests I have done far too many times just to get past that point.  I have other starting zones I would like to see and other areas that were radically changed by the Cataclysm that I would like to experience.  I really don’t know what I’ll do with my alts, once I have explored all of the new areas that I had wanted to see.  I’ll probably work on their professions or find a buddy or two to farm instances with.

Or maybe, just maybe Blizzard will clue into the things lacking with the later stages of the leveling process and take the time to realize how important and how taken for granted the leveling process is and take some time out of their schedules to make such a thing fun and worth doing again.

Go check out The Stories of O. Thanks again Oestrus!