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Stubborn’s Guide to Leveling in a Group

March 7, 2011

Dear Reader,

I made it.  Well, sort of.  My mage reached level 84 last night, and my group decided that was close enough to call it.  We’re going to finish the last level separately.  It’s been a long haul from 1-84 with many trials and tribulations, and this guide is here to provide you with tips on how to make the group leveling experience as friendly and efficient as possible.  So without further ado, here’s a list of tips of how to level in a group.

Tip #1:

Don’t.

That’s right.  Don’t level in a group.  If you’re considering group leveling, then please stop reading this guide, go find a tool box, and hit yourself in the head with a hammer until the desire to group level leaves your body and soul forever.  Just don’t.

People’s schedules constantly interfere.  It seems impossible to get a group of people in the same place at the same time even on a weekly basis.  This one has work, that one has a conference, this other one has a friend drop by, and this one here has a weekly game scheduled.  Out of the (I’m guessing here) five or six weekends it took for the four of us to go from 60 to 84 (two of them joined us late on DKs), zero weekends did we get to play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Even though we’d all planned our time around this, it just didn’t happen.  Pre-scheduled events, unscheduled events, and sudden technology failures interrupted every single weekend so that we had (usually) only 1 day out of 3 to play (though occasionally it was 2 days out of three).

That’s not to say I blame people for having a life outside of WoW.  I don’t; it was my biweekly game that interfered on Saturdays a few times; it was my wife’s conference.  One of the four was basically always available when he said he’d be (until the very last day), but the fourth… the fourth.  Our fourth friend had a lot of things “come up.”  The thing is, they were all pretty legitimate, and I don’t doubt the veracity of his claims; I don’t think he was just bailing.  All the same, the point stands: getting four adults in a virtual space together at the same time is NOT worth the benefit of getting to level together.

Also, there’s the issue of playstyle.  Two of our group were very focused, linear thinkers who can gather a bunch of quests, look at the zone map, and plan a course that will be the most efficient to complete the quest.  Of course, the very next thing that would happen would be that the two of us would go in opposite directions – every time.  The other two, though, either dawdled or were unfocused, not knowing what quest we were on or what the objectives were.  My wife, who I love dearly, plays with headphones on (even though she’s across a desk – about three feet – from me, so when she didn’t know what to do, she’d ask questions at a yelling volume because of her headphones.

So that’s my tip.  Don’t level in a group.  Level independently and then play together in the end-game.  There’ll be plenty of opportunity for victory and animosity then.

What’s that, dear reader?  You feel cheated because I didn’t have any actual tips for you and instead just QQ’d about playing a game with friends?

Well, fair enough. Here’s a few real tips – if you MUST play in a group – that you can use.

#2: Set aside as much time as possible to play, even if it’s only an hour or two at a time, because a lot of those times you won’t get to play anyway because things will come up.  If you only plan to play 3 days a week, then you’re really losing out of one or two of those three days can’t happen.

#3: Choose a group leader.  If it seems hierarchal, fine.  It will help.  Let one person decide which direction to go, which quest to work on, and so on.  Have someone else check people’s quest logs and be responsible for making sure everyone else has all the quests they should (though it should be every member’s responsibility to have all the quests).

#4: Set goals for leveling between meeting times.  If you can only play a few days a week, see if everyone can gain a level or two between those days on their own so you can keep the leveling moving a little during down time.

#5: Move to new zones asap.  There’s no point, if your goal is truly to just level, in finishing every quest in every zone.  Higher level zones give more experience, period.  With a group of four, or even two, you can blow through normally tough content, so you might as well be doing orange and yellow quests.

#6: Limit the party size.  I really had no trouble leveling with one other person.  Four was almost impossible.  Try to limit the size of your group as much as possible.  Each person doesn’t just make it 1 person harder; it’s exponential.  Each person makes it the number of group members more difficult because everyone’s schedule interacts with everyone else’s.

#7: Only do dungeons if you’ve got a good bit of rested bonus, you have quests in them, and you’ve got a tank, healer, or both in the party.  With a group, quests are super-fast, but dungeons take the same time they always do. Also, without a tank or healer, you can never be sure how fast the dungeon will really go; lots of wipes are time wasted.

#8: Celebrate the small victories.  I assure you, even good friends are going to argue about questing.  People will differ on zone PvP (does red equal dead?  Where were you when that guy just jumped me?).  People will miss quests, forget to pick up items, fly off for a node at an inopportune time, etc etc.  Animosity will rise.  However, by celebrating small victories, congratulating each other on upgrades, new talents, abilities, levels, etc, you can work to keep the air clear and pleasant.

Well, that’s about all I can think of today.  There were many benefits to leveling in a group, and it was fun to talk on vent with my friends while grinding out those quests.  However, the benefits in NO way outweighed the drawbacks, so when you’re considering leveling in a group, remember tip #1.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (who wouldn’t stop leveling in a group until 84…)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jac permalink
    March 8, 2011 1:28 am

    Actually, there is a way to level efficiently in a group – run normal dungeons. One run will nicely fill about half your xp bar or more. While I have not personally tried it yet, I believe it is even possible to level entirely from 80-85 just by running normal dungeons.

    Other than that, if you mean group levelling by questing, I agree with your points.

  2. March 11, 2011 2:31 pm

    Heh, I bow to you for doing this. I tried leveling in a group of four or five several times, but the farthest it came was level 15 or so, and then we forgot about it because we just didn’t manage to make out a date…
    What was great fun however was when my guild spontanously created a guild on the other faction, and almost 20 people simultanously started out new characters there. People grouped when the opportunity arose, but generally we just leveled alongside each other while babbling about in Team Speak. Those weeks are definately amongst the best times I had on WoW.

    • March 13, 2011 12:40 pm

      Please, don’t bow to me. Run, instead. Run from the very thought of it and never look back. Even now, once we’re all 85, the various playstyles are clashing in dungeons and the slow, cautious ones and the fast, distractable ones are butting heads.

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