Tag Archives: leveling

Haves and Have-Nots

The first vestiges of Gearscore

I remember my very first instance with my very first character. It was my night elf priest, and it was a big deal! Voss and I had been leveling and leveled along with a druid for awhile. He said, “I’ve been thinking of getting some people together to go to Blackfathom Deeps.”

Long before the days of LFD, I had only read of this mythical place, Blackfathom Deeps. (Confession time: When we bought WoW, we also bought the printed WoW Guide. And the DUNGEON COMPANION. Because I wanted to prepare myself for the dungeons!)

We told him cautiously that it sounded like fun. I started gathering quests to go, but this guy disappeared for a few days, we ended up organizing our own run. Voss and I were both nervous. We didn’t really have much clue what we were doing. We were terrible newbies, but we successfully conquered BFD with our group of adventurers. One thing that I remember very vividly was a remark someone else in the group made at the beginning.

“Lol, you need to get better gear,” he said to me.

As it happens, I don’t remember what my gear was but I’m pretty sure he was right. I shamed him thoroughly though, by replying, “This is my first character.” I knew about the auction house, but I didn’t have much of value to sell. I didn’t have a “big brother” character to send my newbie gold, bags, or items. Most greens my level on the auction house were selling for way beyond my means, and all the herbs I picked went towards leveling my alchemy.

Still, that was a long time ago. Now when I level an alt, they level in style. They start out with bags quickly filled with animal parts and herbs, sometimes appropriate-leveled greens and definitely heirlooms, where applicable. I own pretty much every armour type of heirloom there is. It’s no secret that I like alts. But what happens when you start a character on a different server? It can feel like starting all over again from the beginning.

"I have just one question. What's in the crate?"

Depending on the kindness of strangers

I’m actually pretty fortunate in the fact that my latest alt obsession does have some heirlooms. When I faction-transferred my shaman, I sent her Hordeside on another server loaded down with cloth, herbs, and anything else I thought my Horde alts could make use of – including some heirlooms I bought with Stonekeeper’s shards and what spare emblems I had at the time. (My shaman has since become a draenei again, incidentally, but that’s a whole other story). So my mage has heirloom shoulders, an heirloom weapon, and one of the heirloom trinkets. She’s really not THAT poorly off. I didn’t leave her with any gold when I took the shaman away – I didn’t really think I’d play her that much.

Except now, I have the leveling bug, and she’s getting pretty close. Level 77! I try to log in each day to do a random and earn a few Triumph emblems, because she’s going to need them. There are things that you just need for leveling professions, and if you don’t have a means of providing them for yourself, you have to either buy them or hope someone will help you out.

It doesn’t help that her professions are enchanting and tailoring – pretty self-sufficient, I thought – she crafts gear that she wears, enchants it herself, and disenchants it when she is done with it. But it’s not great for moneymaking because I need all of my own enchanting mats. It isn’t until I need something that I realize how much I take my home network for granted. I have most of the professions covered among my plethora of alts. The ones I don’t have, someone in the guild definitely does. I am fortunate that Rades and his friends have been really helpful to me. One sent me a bunch of Frostweave he didn’t need, as well as some enchanting mats and DEables. Rades gave me some Armor Vellum to enchant so as to not waste my mats (also a means to make funds!)

A crazy (but nice) group of people on that server also took me to the Forge of Souls… at level 75. It was fun being in a place I had no right being, but at the same time I knew I was being carried. I don’t really like being carried, I like to hold my own – but I know that in this situation I often do need a hand. I can’t be too proud.

Secretly, in times of duress, Jikali hides behind her hapless water elemental.

You are more than the sum of your gear

So all of this to say, what? Feel sorry for me? Not even remotely! I’m having a lot of fun leveling a character who can’t lean on my others, or as Rades might say, she doesn’t have silver spoon syndrome. Somehow I find it fitting along with the lore of the Horde and other feelings I’m getting from the experience. Very little is handed to this troll, she has to scrape and save and eke by to earn her existence, but by gosh when she gets to 80 she’s going to have earned it!

She just learned to fly in Northrend the other day – and even though it’s slow flying, it’s flying! If I can get the mats together to make her a flying carpet she’ll be sailing on a rug in no time. I have no idea what she’ll look like when she hits 80, it sure won’t be anything like Vid did. Perhaps the RNG will favour her with drops. Otherwise I think I’ll be doing a lot of farming for crafted gear.

Meantime, if you encounter someone who:

  • doesn’t have heirloom gear
  • is leveling their first character (there are some tell-tale signs, things like asking questions that ‘everyone knows the answer to,’ etcetera
  • is playing on a server other than their own, that you know of
  • or even just doesn’t have awesome gear for heroics

Remember, sometime that person could be you! Help them out however you can, even if it’s just a few bags you’re able to make. Something that is a relatively small investment for you might be proportionately huge for them. Bags alone make a huge difference, and even twenty gold could be a fortune to a lowbie. I suspect my own friends of being too proud and accomplished to take gifts of gold, but have managed to foist a few other small things off on them. Perhaps not as much as I should, though.

Don’t assume that someone is a terrible player just because they don’t ding eighty with ilevel 245 and 264 crafted gear. So the tank has 23K hp…that used to be plenty for heroics. With a good healer, Vid tanked heroic Halls of Reflection with less than 30. Sure, the healer and I both had to work for it, and I’m sure it was more due to her expertise than mine, but it was okay. Give people a chance; you need to go to instances to get the gear in the first place, or the emblems to obtain the gear.

Playing on another server has been an eye-opening experience for me. I intend to be more generous on my server where I have an embarrassment of riches – I can’t forget my homely troll mage scrimping and saving to earn her ugly windrider. I think I actually sort of love the thing now, if only because I know I earned it!

A warm welcome! Actually, it was sort of cold. Because she's a frost mage, get...nevermind.

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I Am Not Afraid of You And I Will Beat Your A*s

It’s a great time for alting. The ICC buff keeps going up, helping our merry band of Sunday raiders (alt nights, baby!) roll through ICC. Granted, familiarity with the fights doesn’t hurt. It also doesn’t keep us from going through there with a definite air of “herp derp derp,” but that’s a story for another time.

It’s always good to have alts. As I was telling Redbeard yesterday, a draenei hunter is just what I need to help complete my set. I have one at level thirty, but he’s male, and doesn’t really feel like mine – I also have no idea what to do or where to go with him to quest. So when Rades and I realized that Lara had a small warrior tank we could pug with – well naturally a new hunter alt was just the thing.

But I love them so, my precious.

Incidentally, it’s probably sad when you have so many draenei that you need to make a little diagram so that you can choose a hairstyle and colour that won’t duplicate any of your others. The diagram helped! Clearly what was missing was buns. It makes practical sense, they’re out-of-the-way, you can shoot your bow/gun/whatever without any of that annoying flyaway hair in your face thing. So my young hunter and her hair buns have been questing through the Draenei starting area happily. As you can well imagine, I know the quests here pretty well so it doesn’t take too long to speed through the zone. I dispersed some powder, inoculated some owlkin, and was soon merrily murdering the entire population of pretty white deer.

(I’m sure my younger Bambi-loving self had no idea what I’d enjoy later in life. The DEHTA folks would have a bird.) There’s something about hunters. I’m trying to get into the psychology of them. They’re very solitary people, and with good reason. They don’t need anyone else. The mobs see me coming and they just die. They don’t even try, it’s just, “Oh, game over, here comes that hunter and her fearsome pet.” Needless to say, leveling was going well, right up until the moment I hit a snag.

I was at Azure Watch to turn in a quest, when the sound of combat reached my ears. I’m a bit slow on the up-take sometimes, so I looked around in confusion. Why were things fighting? A golden shield flew by my head to strike the NPC behind me. My first instinct was BOLT FOR YOUR TRAINER and train the level you came here to train before the jocular hunter bites it. I just managed to train. The Blood Elf paladin, name of “Gleeka,” was decimating Azure Watch. (This is an aside; I’ve heard people who really like the show “Glee” calling themselves “Gleeks” but in MY day, “gleek” was a verb and it means something rather different. My older brother was particularly pro at this and it was especially disgusting.) So I don’t know which this paladin was thinking of, if any, but that was his name. And he targeted and then laughed at me. But I’d manage to conclude my business and so (I mentioned I have an older brother, right?) I knew that the best way to deal with him was to ignore him. Not receiving a reaction, he’d likely grow bored and wander off. I headed down to hang out with Admiral Odyseus and finish my next series of quests.

Something about me must have said “entertainment” to this blood elf though, because he followed me a little ways. He stopped, got on his big mammoth – and then began to speed ahead. Oh. Hell. No. He reached the mini quest hub far faster than I could on foot, of course, and was killing the last NPC just as I arrived. He waved at me. I did not wave back, but plopped my character down to wait out the twenty seconds before I could log out. He waved good-bye to me. I’m pretty sure he didn’t know what was coming next.

Moonrunner is not a PvP server. I don’t want to be on a PvP server. Not because I don’t enjoy PvP from time to time, but because I want to be able to choose the time and place that I will engage in it. This was the time. Millya, my mage, is my character with the best PvP gear and the most PvP experience. (Extreme top left in my diagram, if you’re curious.) Voss was online and he came along to have fun poking the Blood Elf. As far as I was concerned, this Belf had wasted his chance to stop being a jerk and move onto some other form of entertainment. The funny thing was that Voss got there before I did, and the Belf ran when he saw him coming. He just mounted up and headed for the hills. Voss kept following him at a safe distance. He did a “sorry” emote. (Too little, too late, buddy). So it was easy for me to track him down. Again, I didn’t feel too bad about tag-teaming him. Perhaps it’s not sporting, but he’s a paladin – your average paladin I’ve met can handle a prot warrior and a mage. I mean, really.

We chased him through the countryside – he headed for Ammen Vale, and this was the funny part. He dismounted and tried to hide in the bushes along the path. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, really. To say that we annihilated him would be an understatement. I stood a moment over his cooling corpse, thinking about whether or not I would kill him again. I thought for a moment before deciding, “Nah, he must have gotten the message.” The message being: Go away, or I will continue to kill you with my main character. I was so confident in this, I even teleported back to Dalaran before logging back over to my hunter.

The NPCs were alive once more, so I was able to turn in my quests. By this time Rades had logged in, and I told him about the guy who’d been killing NPCs, secure in the belief that he would have moved on. It was nearly supper time for me and I was about to log off – when a familiar golden animation sped by my head. The Belf was back in Azure Watch, killing all of the quest givers again. It didn’t take long for my mage-y self to speed back to Azure Watch, and this time I took on and killed him solo. (In the interests of posterity, I’ll confess that after I’d killed him once he came back and killed me while I was eating. Who knew the graveyard at Azure Watch is so very close? But I don’t think ganking someone who is still injured counts.) In any case, this back and forth went on for awhile – we killed him again and assumed he’d give up. Even if he didn’t, supper was ready and we had to go.

When I logged in again after supper (a good half-hour later at the least) I was heading merrily down the path, pet in tow, when, imagine my surprise – Mr. Gleeka on his mammoth. He followed me for a little ways and had me targeted; naturally I wasn’t flagged… and then he left. I’d like to think that he made the connection between my tiny, baby hunter and the frost mage who made him eat his own shield repeatedly. I find myself wondering – what do people who do this get out of it? I suppose it’s some kind of power trip. “I can kill your NPCs and stop you from questing, I am so powerful.” I’ve PvPed against paladins before; I am not the world’s greatest at PvP by any means, and they’re usually more than a match for me, so I know that this guy was not especially good, or especially geared. Heck, in the heyday of retribution paladin PvP, I had to check my combat log to see what killed me in a BG. It was like “ALL I SAW WAS GOLDEN LIGHT WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN.” I don’t think I’m better than I was then, so it was satisfying to kill this guy (again, and again). The story has a happy ending because he eventually did give up and go away – but what if he’d been there all night?

My next step would have been to make a lowbie Horde character and just ask him to leave or stop. I don’t know if that’s a wussy sort of thing to do or if it would have worked, but I suppose it can’t hurt to ask. After that, I’m pretty sure that murdering an entire low-level zone could constitute “griefing” and I would have opened a GM ticket for harassment. But on our server, tickets take hours, sometimes even days to be answered, so I don’t really consider that a viable solution. All of this is my roundabout way of saying: I liked having a PvP-geared 80 main to murder this guy, but what if you don’t have that recourse? Have you ever killed low-level NPCs this way (and if so, why?) you can comment anonymously if you think I’m looking to vilify someone. Otherwise, I’m sure most of us have encountered this kind of thing while trying to quest or level – how did you handle it?

p.s. Extra credit for anyone who recognizes where the title is from. Credit towards what, I don’t know. If someone would invent the transporter I would give you a cookie.