Tag Archives: leveling

My Favorite WoW Leveling Experience Isn’t Even All That Retro

Greetings, reader!  You’ve probably noticed by now that I love to wax nostalgic about the World of Warcraft of 5+ years ago.  And, I mean, I do.  I can’t really deny that.  But I was thinking about leveling experiences by expansion, and realized that I think the one that is the most fun to level through isn’t even all that retro.

World_of_Warcraft_-_Mists_of_Pandaria_Box_ArtMists of Pandaria, friends, has, for my money, the best leveling experience.  It’s just an absolute joy to level from 85 to 90.  I don’t know if it’s the quests themselves or just how relaxed everything is.  But it’s so nice to sit back with some pandas and have a little fun.  It’s a shame that the experience needed to do it these days was nerfed so hard that I feel like I just zip through a zone and a half and then rush away.  I mean, I’m 100% fine with a leveling nerf in regards to old content, but when I mess around on other alts in Outland or Northrend and then compare it to Pandaria, it just feels like Pandaria was tuned too sharply.  When you can dash right through a level in an hour, without flight, that’s just weird.

But yeah.  Thinking back on it it’s funny that MoP had a lot of stuff I liked in it (the 85-90 leveling experience, the music, the 5.1 storyline, etc.) and yet I played it the least out of all the expansions thus far.  Honestly, I think what kicked me out was the lack of normal dungeons at max level and the resulting huge congregations of jerkoffs in Heroic pugs who didn’t want to deal with a freshly-dinged 90.  But that, my friends, is all a story for another day and another post!

Outlands Leveling Is Weird, AKA Loremaster Is A Pain

I’ve recently been working on and off on the Loremaster achievement.  I’ve kind of been opting to do it by way of my alts: as they level, I’ve been having them max out the quests in whatever zone they’re currently in.  Between the three baby alts I’m currently leveling, I should be able to hit every zone in Outlands.

Granted, I’d forgotten that Outlands, as much as I love it, is a pain to level in.  Flight paths are few and far between– the flight master’s map looks positively barren compared to what we get now– but even worse, each zone has like 90 quests in it and many of those quests are really hidden, because they’re either started by rare drops or they start in a completely different zone or something like that.

BladesEdgeMountainsMy current nemesis is Blade’s Edge.  My poor druid has racked up something like 70 quests in the area but there’s, like, 17 more to go for the achievement.  But they are nowhere to be found!  All the quest hubs are cleaned out.  All the quest lines have been finished.  I don’t see any loose story threads anywhere.

So where are all these other quests?  I’ve got to get my druid to 70 and then hit up Ogri’la, maybe?  Who knows!

I’m considering downloading an addon to help me keep track of this stuff.  It’s all just proving to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  And Outland sure has a lot more quests than I remember it having.  Sheesh!

What’s Your Leveling Strategy?

Recently I’ve been rotating between playing three alts: a feral druid, a fire mage, and a ret pally.  They’re all pretty close in level, and two of the three are in Outland.  I’m kind of excited to be able to see all this content again that I haven’t seen since… uh… probably since I leveled my resto druid back in Wrath of the Lich King.

My leveling tactic with them is to alternate days, so that I play one of them every three days.  This lets them build up lots of rested time inbetween playtime, and that plus heirlooms is keeping things pretty quick.  Still, Hellfire Peninsula is just as much of a slog as I remember.  I’m looking forward to being able to split my three little lowbies across the various Outland zones (and Northrend zones) with as little overlap as possible, but unfortunately you gotta do the Hellfire slog on pretty much everyone.

How do you guys level?  Do you just burst through LFG or do you actually quest?  Or is it a mix?

Oh Pike, How Dost Thou Level?

Veeeeerrrry slowly.

Ahem. Sorry. That wasn’t the point of the post. >.> Although it is quite true.

Any-whotsit, I get a frequent amount of e-mail or comments asking about how one should go about leveling a hunter, and with my latest TreePost I’m also getting some questions on how one levels a Tree. So I figured I’d give it a quick rundown!

Hunter is something I’ve leveled a bajillion times by now and I can toss up a leveling talent spec in my sleep. It typically goes something like this: dump 5 points in Lethal Shots (because I’m a Crit Monster), and then head down a “modified” version of “Beast Master Raid”. By modified, I mean 5/5 Endurance Training (instead of 5/5 Improved Aspect of the Hawk), and 3/3 Thick Hide. I used to also do 2/2 Spirit Bond but at this point I think Animal Handler is the stronger talent, even when leveling, and with Endurance Training and Thick Hide, most things would be hard-pressed to kill your pet anyway, especially if you choose to go all out and nab a Glyph of Mending.

My current casual hunter project is a level 55 hunter named Althalor; here is his talent spec thus far. (Gosh it’s nostalgic to see 41 points in Beast Mastery.)

Now remember, you really can’t go too wrong with a leveling spec. It’s not like Elitist Jerks is sitting around theorycrafting the most efficient ways to kill ten kobolds. Although that would amuse me.

Beast Mastery is obviously not your only option here. Tawyn leveled to 58ish as Marksmanship. Leveling Survival seems to be super in vogue now from inspecting the lowbies I see running around; I worry about potential pet-threat issues once you get Explosive, but hey, it’d make a great challenge I’m sure!

“I’m a level one hunter and have no idea where to start! Help me Pikey-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” is another similar question/plea I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot. My answer here would be to direct you to my 12-part “So You Want to Play a Hunter” series, which will walk you step by step through playing a hunter from levels 1 – 70.

Caveats About Said Guide: This was written pre-WotLK, so a.) it only takes you up to 70, and b.) Some of the stuff regarding things like Auto/Steady shot weaving, certain levels at which you learn things, and a few abilities are not present or are significantly different. Still, most of the lowbie stuff is relatively accurate, and it’s the best I can offer until someone ties me to my desk and kicks me into rewriting the thing for WotLK.

Resto Druid
Most people will tell you to either level Feral and tote around a healing set for instances, or level Balance. Pike will tell you that there is nothing that will teach you to heal the way leveling full blown Resto and living in LFG and healing instances will. This is why if I plan on being a healer at end game, I level as a healer. The experience is invaluable.


I do make a few tweaks here, although it depends rather on your style of how-you-will-(slowly)-kill-things-between-healing-dungeons.

If your style is to nuke things to death as a mini-moonkin, then you may want to stick to your standard resto spec, albeit maybe getting your Balance points out of the way first, or tweaking Balance a bit so you have the shortened cast time on Wrath/Starfire. Completely acceptable.

If you tend to do as I do and play as a RestoKitty, I’ll fill out 5/5 Naturalist and sometimes Furor as well. Neither of these talents are ones you will have at as a level 80 tree, however, they make leveling go considerably smoother. Some RestoKitties have even gone one or two tiers into Feral as well, though I’ve yet to try this myself.

As a RestoKitty, it may be to your benefit to keep some of the Rogue-ish gear you will no doubt acquire in your questing and travels and toss it on when you have to do a quest. When you combine that with a RestoKitty-ish spec, your solo’ing and questing– while it won’t be blazing fast– also won’t be as gimpy as people tend to assume it is, at least in my experience.

A word of warning, however: RestoKitty does become more difficult to pull off as you get higher in levels, so it may be worth your while to switch to the spellcasting method of solo’ing once you hit 60 or 70, or look into dual-specs.

Other options: RestoKin/Dreamstate typically involves going deep enough into Balance for Moonkin Form and then dumping the rest of your talent points into Restoration; something akin to this. This makes you a versatile, Red Mage-styled, jack of all trades who can heal pretty dang well and still kill things relatively quickly. I couldn’t do this myself, partially because I’m too in love with Tree Form and partially because I’m also in love with Wild Growth, however, I’ve heard that it’s very effective and might be something you want to look into.

RestoFeral is considerably rarer, and from what I can tell involves things like Nurturing Instinct and going about half deep in each tree. The lack of overlap between gear and talents would, I think, make this more unwieldy than RestoKin, but some people have done it, and it might be worth a shot if you really like RestoKitty.

Hokays! I hope that helped a bit and/or was able to clear some things up. Lemme know if I made some dire mistake (like saying Naxx boots dropped from Karazhan, not like I’ve uh, ever done that before of course >_>;;), in the meantime, I’m off to go read more Jules Verne <3

Memory… all alone in the moonlight…

…I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Alright, I’ve got a couple secrets to announce here today.

The first secret is that my memory is horrid. I’m not exaggerating this. I often can’t remember things I said five minutes earlier. Just ask Mr. Pike if you want to hear all the gritty details on my lack of anything resembling a decent memory, other than my odd penchant to remember random and often useless facts.

The second secret is that I have two level eighty characters and one level seventyfive character and I haven’t been playing them. No, I’ve been playing a level 44 hunter and a level 31 resto druid and a level 21 hunter (Yes, my two 80s are a hunter and a resto druid. THE FIRST STEP IS ADMITTING YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. /admits it), running merrily around in the old world and in general having a grand ol’ time.

The first real reason for this is simply that it feels more productive somehow. I can log onto my level 80 hunter and sit around in LFG for a super long time and wind up not running anything… or I can log into my level 80 druid who is in this awkward position between heroics and raids and try to talk myself into trying a ten-man, and then inevitably chickening out… or I can log into my level 75 hunter and spend two hours doing quests and then look down at my experience bar and notice that it rather suspiciously looks like it’s hardly moved…

…or, I can log onto one of my lowbies and gain a level or two and make little fangirly squees everytime I unlock a new talent point that is going to make a tangible difference. See? Feels more productive.

The second reason, though, is simply that while I’ve done most of these quests before, I honestly can’t remember them, thanks to aforementioned crappy memory. Like, I can sorta remember the general idea of some of them… but they don’t feel old. They don’t feel like redo-ing territory I’ve already done a million times, even if I have. Every time I go through a zone, even one I’ve done fiftybazillion times before like Feralas, or Thousand Needles, or Tanaris… I feel like I’m discovering something entirely new.

And when you’re level 44, it doesn’t matter what spec you are or how much DPS you’re doing (though the number of people demanding Recount charts in Scarlet Monastery or ZF never fails to amuse me), or if you have the gold for raid consumables. What matters is… where in this crazy ol’ zone is this water well I’m supposed to find, and why did these random bugs I’ve never seen before spawn on top of me? What an unusual questline!

…and how far can I make the quest robot walk before he despawns? (I almost got him to the Dire Maul instance portal once, and my latest attempt got him to Razorfen Kraul.)

…and where should I put my next talent point, there’s so many good choices and I want them all!

…and maybe I can snag myself an Icy enchant because I want a super glowy weapon and I don’t have to worry about functional enchants yet!

…and ohmahgawsh! Rarespawns I’ve never seen before or even knew existed!

…and ooooh what rep should I grind on this character so I can continue with my tradition of mixing and matching mounts?

So yeah. Takes a special person to like the questing and the leveling best. Guess I’m one of those special people.



“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Go Forth, Young Beast Master, And Level

I get a lot of Google hits from people looking for a good Beast Master leveling spec. Probably because it’s a topic I’ve written about a lot. The reason I’ve written about it so much? Because for the past six months or so, every time a new patch has come out, I’ve had to come up with a new leveling spec. Yeah. (Oh, and let’s not forget the part where I’m leveling a million hunters. /cough)

I’m relatively certain things are at least… decently set in place now though, and it’s not like leveling specs are a super big deal anyways, so here‘s what I currently recommend:


Now remember, the best leveling spec is the one that works best for you. This isn’t really something that you min/max. Also, this spec isn’t designed to make your pet a supercrazy tank. If you’re looking for that, then I heartily recommend checking out Big Red Rhino!

However, when I level my hunters, I like to take a basic Beast Master DPS spec and tweak it a bit to add some extra pet survivability and talents that decrease downtime, while still maintaining enough DPS talents to allow me to perform reasonably well in an instance situation. When I level a hunter, I usually do a lot of solo quests and then sprinkle some instances into the mix… so my leveling spec is designed for that. We focus on pet survivability: Endurance Training, Thick Hide, 2/2 Improved Mend Pet– I have recently discovered that my pet can survive on Heigan with 1/2 Imp Mend Pet, but I’d still go 2/2 for leveling– and Spirit Bond at the cost of some DPS-oriented talents that we can do without while solo’ing. I have also opted for Invigoration over Cobra Strikes: I figure you won’t be critting all that much when you’re still leveling, but your pet will because his crit is based off of talents instead of gear, so Invigoration will help to decrease your overall downtime. (Not like we have a whole lot of downtime with Aspect of the Viper, but hey. Low-level hunters are the biggest mana hogs I’ve ever seen. x_x) Oh, and 2/2 Go for the Throat rather than 1/2. While 1/2 may be more than enough in an end-game situation (especially combined with Bestial Discipline), but as previously mentioned your crit probably isn’t all that hot while leveling, so go for 2/2.

Remember: You can level pretty much however you want to. I say this as someone who has leveled a druid to 70 as pure-resto. >.> Hunters obviously have it a little easier than that. When I leveled Tawyn from 70 to 80, I stayed with a purely DPS-oriented spec because I was in instances a lot (and because I’m a stubborn huntard) and I did just fine when I was out solo’ing. But I almost always give my lowbie hunters some variation of the above “leveling spec” and it’s worked out well.

So go ye forth and level!

Back On The Treadmill

After much hem’ing and haw’ing…


Lunapike starts to work her way up the leveling ladder!

Now, I’m one of those psychos that actually really enjoys leveling. I love the quests and the lore and the world and seeing it all through the eyes of a character with a different personality than last time. Why do you think I have so many alts that are hunters and druids? Because my strain of altism is unique in that I enjoy the questing more than the “learning to play a completely new class” thing. For the most part I stick to what I know I’m already comfortable with and enjoy, and do more leveling. (And tame more pets, my other favorite part of the game).

Lunapike’s spec is a little interesting, so I’ll preemptively explain before anyone asks (cause I have been asked about spec discrepancies between my characters before)… her spec is meant firstly for making her pet more of a tank for more efficient leveling, and secondly for the fact that she’s on an RP-PvP server and may have to scuffle every once and a while. Those two types of specs seem to coincide quite well if you are a Beast Master hunter, just nab all the talents like Endurance Training, Thick Hide, and Spirit Bond. I’ll probably respec her at 80 but for now, this is what she is, and it works well.

I have no idea how fast or slow Lunapike’s journey to 80 is gonna be or whether she’ll even be my second 80 (Tamaryn is closing in fast in a surprise run from the outside! And down the stretch they come! Now taking bets!) but I’m gonna enjoy it. I was always disappointed that I got her to 70 a little too late last time and never even got her into Karazhan because WotLK came out before I could finish getting her geared up for it. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen this time; my taureness is at least gonna see Naxx, and hopefully a lot more too. Because I maintain my stance that tauren females* are the best playable models in the game and deserve to be seen in all that epic armor. *nods*

* Female tauren hunter is probably my favorite gender/race/class combination in all of WoW. I just love it. And it makes me really happy that there are a pretty decent number of us in the blog world!

Don't Stop It Now

Seeing as I spent most of Thursday goofing around on my Death Knight, and the first half of Friday joining billions of Ramparts groups on my treedruid, and didn’t even really get around to starting Tawyn’s leveling journey until the second half of yesterday… I’d say this isn’t too bad. I’ve got the leveling fever now though, and I want really badly to get to 71 today. Will it happen without all that rested XP that I had yesterday? Only time will tell!

I’ve been experimenting with using different pets while questing, and thus far I seem to be having the best luck with my good ol’ kitty Locke, the Ferocity Pet. The bear isn’t bad but in all honesty both he– er, she— and Locke seem to be pumping out the same amount of threat, so in the end you’re basically choosing if you’d rather have the bear’s armor and general tankyness, or the cat’s DPS for quicker questing. I prefer the DPS myself for general leveling, and saving the bear for solo’ing harder quests.

I have also experimented with both my Cunning pets, Tux the Owl and Eltanin the Windserpent, and they don’t seem to be quite as effective but they do work well enough. Tux’s Snatch can be handy sometimes.

I will most certainly be continuing to rotate through my pets as I level, and reviewing them as I go– do keep in mind that at this point I do not have the exotic pet talent and the four extra points (I’ve slated myself to get it in five more levels)– so your mileage may vary!

Well, off to do my morning routine and then head over to– probably the Borean Tundra (I’ve been alternating between both the Tundra and the Fjord but I actually find the Tundra to be a tad more interesting. And the baby mammoths must be saved.)

In closing, here is Tawyn surrounded by fanboys!