Wholesome Levelling

Levelling continues to go well for our little worgen duo and they are almost ready to go to Outland. In a way I'm almost surprised by how well we are doing. We started out with nothing, on a server where we'd never played before... and while I had quite a blast levelling alts back in Cata, the old world revamp hasn't been without its issues. I had alts that outlevelled whatever content I was doing way too quickly, and where seeing everything go grey just sapped my motivation to continue. Trying to level professions as you go turned into a veritable nightmare - I'll never forget the human hunter I had who spent more time farming grey mobs for leather than actually doing quests, until I eventually abandoned her in frustration. More than one attempt at levelling as a duo died in the early levels when one character was a miner or herbalist while the other one wasn't, as the experience gains from gathering made it bloody impossible to comfortably stay around the same level.

We managed to avoid the latter this time around by having me go herbalist and my pet warrior going miner, but even that hasn't been completely without its issues, as I keep shooting ahead ever so slightly and had to train myself to ignore a vast majority of nodes to avoid making things even worse. If there's any rhyme or reason to how much experience you get from gathering from any given node, it's certainly not apparent to me. Within the same zone I would run into one "green" (slight chance to skill up) herb that gave me fifty XP per pick, and another one that gave me five hundred. Why? Who knows, it's not as if the latter were particularly rare or anything. Meanwhile the ores seemed to almost always be of the (roughly) fifty XP variety, which is why we got out of sync quite frequently.

On the plus side, we never really outlevelled our regular quests too badly, despite of the gathering experience, running every dungeon except the Deadmines at least once and doing the cooking and fishing dailies every day. We were always ahead of the levelling curve, coming into each new zone about five levels late, but by that point experience gains had generally dropped off to such a low level (without stopping completely) that we could comfortably continue completing quests without having them turn grey on us (with the possible exception of the first couple of zones we did - it's very hard to make it through all of Darkshore's over ninety quests without outlevelling any of them for example).

Due to us almost always working on green difficulty content, our levelling speed has been relatively sedate and keeping our professions up to scratch hasn't been too bad either. There are massive amounts of mining and herbalism nodes in the revamped old world, so our alchemy and blacksmithing haven't really been starved for materials (though Goldthorn is still hard to come by for how much of it you need to level up).

The secondary professions have been a bit trickier. For example you move through the "cloth tiers" quite quickly at first, and then end up getting nothing but Mageweave for twenty levels or so (or at least that's what it felt like), which makes keeping up with first aid a bit awkward. I expect that we'll be okay though, assuming that they haven't removed the Runecloth drops from early Outland or anything. Cooking is mostly fine as long as you make sure to save any and all meat drops you come across for later, as you'll often come across a particular kind of meat at the wrong level in respect to your cooking. Keeping up with your fishing also helps immensely of course.

Speaking of fishing, I was very surprised to see that you don't actually need a fishing pole to fish anymore now... and my first gut reaction was to be annoyed at yet another instance of unnecessary simplification of the game, but I soon found that I actually quite like this change. The "stick with a piece of string attached" graphical effect is quite cute, and it's nice not to have to worry about changing your equipment if you're only just stopping at a pool in passing. The fishing hat, pole and lures can still come out if I actually sit down at a dock to fish "properly" for ten minutes or longer.

Archaeology is the one profession I haven't been able to keep up with, as much as I would have liked to. My pet battling has also fallen behind, despite of my initial enthusiasm for it. I believe that neither would be impossible to keep levelled as you go along, but you'd have to focus heavily on travelling around to dig/challenge random pets and neglect other parts of the game in the process. I suppose Blizzard designed these features more as something to do at endgame than as an alternate way of levelling, but I suppose it's good that the option is there for those who want to be really hardcore about it.

We've only really been focused on completing all the quests in each zone we decided to tackle (we went for the Darkshore -> Ashenvale -> Stonetalon -> Desolace -> Feralas -> Thousand Needles -> Tanaris -> Un'Goro path) and doing all the dungeons. After my last post we only did Uldaman, Scholomance and Stratholme via the dungeon finder and had no more issues with unpleasant people in those runs. I had forgotten that Scholomance was also redone for Mists of Pandaria and was therefore a bit confused while trying to keep up with the new story in the usual dungeon finder rush, but it was just about bearable. Dire Maul, Razorfen Downs and Zul'Farrak we decided to tackle with just the two of us and had no issues with any of them, except for dying a few times to the guard captain in Dire Maul North, as his combination of fear and summoning of hard-hitting adds was still pretty painful at the level we went in.

Currently we're planning on finishing up our business in the old world with a quick dungeon finder run of Sunken Temple and an extended tour of Blackrock Mountain between just the two of us. Then it's off to the Dark Portal to see how the Outlands will treat us. As much as I loved the Burning Crusade, I remember the transition from Cata questing to Outland being pretty jarring the last few times I tried to level an alt.


  1. Are you using any heirloom gear? Even one piece will throw your leveling off, I've discovered, due to the 10% XP boost.

    1. Nope, like I said we started on a new server where we had nothing. I'm pretty sure I haven't used any heirlooms since Wrath...

  2. We're going to face the profession issue trying to keep our character's XP in sync - my monk is a skinner/LW and his warrior is a miner/Bsmith so he's gaining mining XP and I'm not getting anything besides the mob kill for skinning which he shares anyway...

    He did mention that I get some transcendence Monk-quest thingies after level 20 that can help give me an XP boost so careful use of that may help.

    1. Ah, I didn't know about that monk bonus. Going by R's comments about it below, you should be able to stay reasonably in sync that way.

  3. @Shintar

    Reminder (or FYI) that as of 5.4.2 you can send heirlooms cross-server via mail, which also includes cross-faction... if you have heirlooms anywhere you can now send them to any new toons created regardless of the server as long as it isn't a NA<>EU situation, I believe. Just send them to toonname-servername, no spaces if the server has any in the name.

    As Gamingsf mentions above, skinning is an interesting gathering profession since it doesn't have any innate XP, the XP you get is from the kill, not the skin, which is shared. So, the trick I've found to keeping LW current while leveling with a partner is to head to a new zone a level or two before you'll be able to quest in it (so, if it's a L25 zone, move over at L22 or L23, usually you'll get access to the breadcrumb quest at L24) and farm mobs until you hit the level needed to open up the quests... this will require an hour or so of just mindless mob farming so it won't be to everyone's taste but it's a relatively painless way to keep current and pick up a level or two in the process. Even low level leather is pretty expensive these days so buying it out is a rough alternative, especially on a new server without resources. I'd also rather get XP while farming than going back at max level and not getting any, the farming itself is surprisingly similar time-wise for skinning so you may as well do it at-level when you'll get the extra XP benefit. Different with mining/herbing when flight can make it significantly faster/easier but skinning doesn't work that way, just find a bunch of skinnable mobs and keep farming the respawns... no travel really required.


    The Monk bonus, depending on how often you play and how often you'll do the quest, can be really unbalanced toward the monk... it's either +50% or +100% XP for an hour per quest turn-in and it can be done once a day and stacks up to (I think) 24 hours of buff... so yep, careful use can help, have that up 20% of the time and you should be able to offset the mining XP gains from your partner. If you stack it up, though, you'll destroy his level rate, at least temporarily.

    The balancing factor is that the way WoW is designed, you can't really get too far out of whack level-wise if you're leveling with a partner... the combination of orange mobs/quests giving more than green or grey ones and each level requiring more XP means that the lower-level toon will always get more from anything you do than the higher-level toon... and since you can't switch zones until the lower-level toon gets to the appropriate level the higher-level toon will just be killing a lot of grey stuff before that happens. Realistically I doubt you'd be able to get separated by more than about 5 or 6 levels if you're actually questing together regardless of heirlooms / gathering XP / monk bonus status so unless you have a compulsive need to keep within a level or something, I wouldn't worry about it.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up about the cross-realm mail. I remember reading about it at some point but I wasn't sure whether that was in yet.

      As I said to Redbeard above though, I haven't really had any interest in using heirlooms since Cata, since levelling goes a bit too fast for my liking as it is, and it's no fun when none of the quest rewards and dungeon drops are ever an upgrade.