13/01/2014

Levelling Through Southern Pandaria

Sorry, I couldn't think of a nice alliterative title including "Valley of the Four Winds" and/or "Krasarang Wilds", so I gave up on that particular little game.

While I had received some recommendations about which zones to prioritise in terms of story, my pet tank and I had decided long ago that we were going to do ALL THE QUESTS anyway, so we might as well just follow the natural zone progression as it happened.

This meant that our next stop after the Jade Forest was the Valley of the Four Winds. It's quite a beautiful and serene zone, though the wildlife messed with my head a little. Previously the game conditioned me to expect certain mobs to be hostile and others to be neutral, but in Pandaria those expectations all seem to get turned on their heads, as I keep running into things like peaceful crocolisks while getting mauled by swarms of aggressive moths and hostile birds.

Anyway, the quests were reasonably entertaining but honestly a bit dull at the start. Help this farmer. Now help that farmer. Now help another farmer. Didn't I already do some variation of all of this in Elwynn Forest back in 2006? Chen Stormstout and his niece Li Li made for amusing company though, and things picked up as we progressed through the zone.

Then we got to Halfhill and learned about Pandaren cooking. Yikes! I like cooking, but this whole system with the different ways seems unnecessarily complicated to me. Then again, maybe I'm just jaded, knowing full well that this is another convoluted system whose only purpose seems to be to provide busywork for one expansion and which will be swept under the rug and circumvented completely once Warlords of Draenor comes out.

Also, we got a farm! I thought that I had read somewhere that you couldn't unlock your personal farm until level ninety, but either Blizzard has changed that since then or I misread and what I was reading was only referring to some features being unavailable until max level. We just kind of stumbled across the whole thing by accident as we were doing the regular quests around Halfhill, and it turned out to be pretty fun. The farm is one of those features that I'd heard nothing but good things about, and I can already tell that it really is a fun little mini-game.

Once we hit level eighty-eight, we also decided to try and duo the first two Pandaria dungeons, Temple of the Jade Serpent and Stormstout Brewery. The former didn't give us any major trouble, but where duoing instances had started to feel kind of slow in Cata, doing so in Pandaria was like wading through molasses. Just killing the Sha of Doubt must have taken us something like fifteen minutes. Stormstout Brewery was even worse, and some of the trash leading up to the last boss in that one gave us serious trouble as well. We eventually managed to down it with a mixture of kiting and quick corpse-running, but when the last boss wiped us within a minute with some bubble ability, we were too dejected to keep trying. We just did it again through the dungeon finder, and with some proper dps it was a piece of cake - though funnily enough, the boss didn't blow any bubbles at all that time around.

After the Valley of the Four Winds we continued to Karasang Karasarang Krasarang Wilds, which ended up being kind of the opposite of the previous zone for me in so far as I thought that the first hub was really fun, but after that it quickly devolved into a series of boring kill-and-gather quests. The saving grace came in the form of a quest that sent us back to the Valley at the end and which I thought was just a breadcrumb to direct you there in case you had gone to Krasarang first, but actually it turned out to be a full-blown little chain that tied up the stories of both zones in one epic finale. That was some seriously good stuff.

After the Stormstout Brewery we gave up on trying to duo any more dungeons while levelling and just queued for some randoms, which got us into both Shadow-Pan Monastery and Gate of the Setting Sun so far. Fortunately they were easy enough to understand even without having done the lead-up quests to them. We also found them reasonably challenging in our gear and actually wiped once in each.

We hit ninety after having completed three zones worth of quests as well as five Pandaria dungeons, just as we were entering Kun-Lai Summit. In a way 85-90 took us longer than I had expected, but looking at our pre-Panaria levelling for comparison, our levelling speed didn't actually slow down that much. I guess I just expected the last five levels to have been nerfed even more than they have, knowing how Blizzard does these things...

3 comments:

  1. You can unlock the first 4 patches on your farm early but you cannot gain reputation with the tillers before you reach level 90. At level 90 you gain reputation for harvesting stuff and for daily quests. And on certain reputation points you'll get a quest to unlock more patches up to a total of 16.

    The endboss in the Stormstout Brewery has abilities which he randomly picks from. Sometimes you get the bubble stuff, sometimes you get something else.

    Now that your 90 you should immediately queue for the "The Arena of Annihilation" scenario. In this short scenario you'll get a quest that will reward you with an item level 450 weapon, it's the MoP equivalent of the arena group quests like the one from Nagrand.

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  2. Yeah, you can only open up 4 of a possible 16 plots on the farm before 90 and you can only plant veggies, once you hit 90 you can open up additional plots and perks and have some more advanced (and valuable) items you can plant instead of veggies.

    The MoP leveling has only been nerfed by, I think, 33% at this point... significant but not game-breaking. You'd have had to do another zone to hit 90 otherwise, basically.

    Now you (if you choose to) get to duo elites out on Timeless Wipeland while hunting down armour tokens... :)

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, we've been to the Timeless Isle already, and we've done some dailies as well. That'll be something for the next post though. :)

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