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Variety is the Spice of Leveling

February 22, 2013

Dear Reader,

I’ve pushed into Lich King on Liberated, my undead Death Knight (that makes him alive, from a double-negative point of view, right?).  The last few levels of dungeon leveling in BC were pretty grueling, but mostly because I seemed to get Escape from Durnholde Keep over and over.  Seriously.  I probably got that one 70% of the time from when it was first available until 69.

At 69, all the “end game” BC dungeons became available.  I had been able to queue for LK dungeons before that, but I didn’t, because I didn’t want them to get completely stale even faster than the BC ones did.  Instead, I noted the amount of “bonus XP” available for random queueing and realized that it was less than half of what I’d get for queueing for specific dungeons I hadn’t done and doing the quests in them.  I started doing that, instead.

It was much, much more pleasant than the random queues.  For some reason, a lot of the people there were more serious players; I’m not sure if there’s something magical about doing BC dungeons at 70 that lures only serious players, but in the 7 or 8 that I did, I only ran into one jerk, a DK (surprise, surprise) that kept pulling ahead of me.  I played it cool and stayed polite, but after the third time, (the first resulting in a wipe, the second resulting in the healer’s death since I had no CDs and he pulled 3 extra groups (in the room in Shattered Halls where the 5 guys are fighting on both sides), so the healer got DEVASTATED before I could adequately react), I suggested the healer let him run back instead of rezzing him, and the DK dropped the group instead.  We easily finished with 4.

It was nice to go back through the old dungeons, doing quests each time, seeing the old sights with fresh eyes.  It also helped spread out my activities and helped put off grinding Utgarde Keep and Azjol Nerub 30 times.  Additionally, the queues weren’t instant any more, as most people at that level do go into LK dungeons, so I had time to fly around and pick herbs to mill while I waited.  The queues were never too long, just long enough that I could hit a few nodes, so it helped diversify my play, as well.  It was a very nice system, and I plan to do the same for each end-of-expansion section.

Other than the triple-extra-pull when I had just double pulled and used my aoe cooldowns, I’ve found my DK to be nigh-indestructible.  I was easily able to survive the first boss in Magister’s Terrace even though I had moved too quickly and accidentally locked the healer out (I didn’t even realize there was a lock-out mechanism on that boss, since you usually fight him up on that platform).  Rune tap, Death Strike, Lichbourne healing, and Death Pact make it almost impossible for me to be killed – and that’s not counting a potion and any off heals I might receive.  I’ve survived in a lot of situations I probably shouldn’t have, which of course goes back to my point about how inadequately leveling prepares one for end-game, but we’ve already heard enough about that.

At any rate, the past few levels have been fun. I only have The Opening of the Dark Portal (Black Morass) remaining before I move on to Lich King, but all the dungeons have pushed me up to 71, and the herb gathering another half level, so I’ll be 72 shortly, which means new dungeons.  Hopefully I’ll get lucky and not get the LK equivalent of Durnholde over and over (Hmm… Anakhet?  I’m not sure what the longest and most boring LK dungeon is; ask me again in 6 levels).

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and getting ready to visit his old boss, Arthas)

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2013 7:03 am

    I’ve recently gone back to DK tanking with two friends, we ‘underman’ dungeons with my DK, a monk healer and a rogue for DPS/CC. I have to say that generally we’ve waltzed through everything. I’m talking knife through butter easy. Worse I’m generally behind the others as they’re keen to level their new alts whereas I’m along just to provide the needed tank. I have no interest in questing or gathering on this character. This means generally creatures are orange (so I start missing with taunts) and even by the end of a dungeon I might be facing red opponents.

    In any case we haven’t wiped yet, I can’t remember us actually even having a casualty! The leveling experience, at least where the dungeons are concerned, is an absolute mess now compared to what they used to be. I’ll admit we’re using some heirlooms for the XP bonus so that does mess up the gear stat bonuses somewhat.

    DKs definitely do seem overpowered tanks now that Blood is the tanking spec. I had the same concern over Wrath dungeons. We as a guild did the heroics so many times on so many alts that I’m rather sick of them even now.

    I’m looking forward to the group getting into Cataclysm so I can swap to my paladin alt for healing, it’ll give our monk player a chance to learn monk-tanking as well.

    • March 5, 2013 9:36 am

      Yes, my wife and I have discussed the possibility of 2 manning dungeons, since she never runs out of mana healing, nor do I need a lot of it if I single pull and use my CDs appropriately. Of course, having a dps would VASTLY speed things up, but I can only work with what I have.

      Funny you should mention the role swap, too; my wife decided at 30 that rather than taking a dps spec with her tanking spec, she’d go healing “so we could switch.” Well, I’d already taking catform, so I couldn’t really make that promise, though of course, I could just go back and respec. Still, it baffles me that she’d rather have no outside-dungeon leveling option. To each their own.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. February 22, 2013 2:06 pm

    “Hopefully I’ll get lucky and not get the LK equivalent of Durnholde over and over…”

    How do you feel about dragon riding? None of the LK instances were long but that one was normally miserable.

    And not to disagree on Blood tanking, but that’s basically the way end game goes unless you tank raids. In heroic dungeons you need a healer on one or two fights and DPS to make things faster. It’s the thing I dislike most about the gear-focus in WoW, they can’t put meaningful content anywhere except raids.

    • March 5, 2013 9:37 am

      You’re dead right: Oculus is the Durnholde of LK. I haven’t gotten anywhere near it yet, but still, I think you’ve spotted the right one. That said, I found that the speed run training I did back when the achievement was tough to get prepared me to move very quickly through the normal dungeon, too, so maybe it won’t be so bad. I’ll let you know in a few levels.
      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Beshara permalink
    February 23, 2013 6:59 am

    I started working on some alts lately, and decided to just go through dungeons with them. I’ve done the quests in the beginning too many times, and some of the healing classes (druid/paladin) i have had no interest in leveling through dps. So far on the paladin it’s been enjoyable leveling through dungeons. It’s been long enough that i’m not burned out on the dungeons like i am on the beginning area questing. I never realized they had redone Ragefire Chasm, that’s how long it’s been since i went through there. I’ve also found that queing for specific instances, even at this low level, has been more enjoyable and productive than the random queing, especially since each dungeon levels me at least once.

    • March 5, 2013 9:41 am

      Yeah, the RFC surprise was nice for me, too, especially the tie-in at the end with Raz from Blackrock Depths. I also agree about the beginner zones, but for me, it’s Cata, too, since there’s really only one leveling path past the entry zones. Since these will be my 11th and 12th characters, I think that I’ve seen quite enough of The Temple of the Earth and Harrison Jones.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. February 24, 2013 6:14 pm

    You’re making me very nostalgic for tanking my way through the Wrath levelling dungeons on my Warrior. Never choose random!

    One of the best feelings was reaching the level in the expansion where you were eligible for the at-the-time endgame 5-man dungeons [the non-Heroics]. Level 78 for Wrath and L84 for Cata. I have very fond memories of Oculus groups that would whinge incessantly about getting some noob L78 tank, and then getting to show them how it’s done.

    Unfortunately Mists doesn’t have non-heroic endgame dungeons. MAN DO YOU LIKE QUESTING? YEAH MAN I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THESE COMPELLING QUESTS.

    • March 5, 2013 9:42 am

      Lol. Yeah, the questing mechanics in WoW have been getting stale. A very few new ideas are introduced with each expansion, but by the end of that expansion, they’ve been reused over and over and replayed (on alts) over and over, so it kind of kills the ideas for the future.
      As for randoms, I only choose random now after I’ve done all the quests in all the dungeons available to me (which doesn’t usually take very long), but the extra experience is what it is, and I’m loathe to pass it up since I have no heirloom gear to help propel me forward.

      Thanks for the comment!

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