I’m down to about a post every week and a half. Sorry about that. I’ve been busy lately, and when my time is short and I have to choose between playing WoW or blogging about WoW, I’ve chosen playing.
I mentioned in a previous post that I was leveling my mage using only the LFD tool. I’ve done no quests except the occasional “talk to this guy” or to turn in a “This Item Begins a Quest” drop that I picked up in an instance. I started this project in January with him at level 23. He’s now at level 60.
Pros and Cons -
The best part about this is that I have not had to spend any time running back and forth across zones. Also, since this is my fourth toon, I don’t have to do the same quests that I have already done three times already. Most importantly, I won’t have to level through Outland again.
I”l be honest. There are plenty of downsides to this method. First of all is gold. Without running quests, my income is severly limited. If I didn’t have a main with a lot of gold it would have been a problem. I’ve needed to get gold from my main for training, leveling professions, and my mounts. If you’re leveling your first toon then this is not the way to go.
Its also not as fast as questing. My friends in the guild who started their toons around the same time as me are already at 80.
Another problem is gear. Since my only source of gear are boss drops and greens from trash mobs, upgrades are few and far between. At level 60, I’ll still running around with a couple of pieces I got in my 30’s.
Here’s my rundown of the instances that I’ve done so far:
When I started this project in my mid-20s I got Razorfen Kraul repeatedly. This was pretty easy, so the runs went smoothly. Gnomeregan, though, was terrible. If anyone left the party, the replacement couldn’t get to us from the entrance because of random respawns, so we would give up if a single person dropped. I only finished Gnomer once in about 8 attempts.
In my upper 20s and low 30’s I got Scarlet Monastery Graveyard many, many, many times. That was fast, but it got old. A couple of levels later and I got SM: Library and Cathedral a few times. Cathedral was fun… a good tank could round up about 30 mobs and we would AoE them down. I never got Armory in the random dungeon. All the SM instances were great. We rarely wiped, and when we did the wipe recovery wasn’t too bad.
In my late-30s and early 40’s I got Uldaman a few times. This was a blessing and a curse. It was so big that a single run could give me almost a full level of XP. Unfortunately, it was so hard to nagivate that a single wipe usually meant the group would disband rather than recover and restart.
Early level 40s brought Zul’Farrak – one of my all-time favorite instances. Those runs were good. Again, we rarely wiped. Wipe recovery wasn’t terrible because you could mount inside the instance so the run back was quick. I completed every ZF run that I got in the random LFD, and they gave a load of XP.
The mid-late 40’s brought Maraudon and Sunken Temple. Both of these are HUGE. They are terrible for LFD. Every wipe resulted in the group disbanding. No one wanted to run all the way back. For Maraudon, most people can’t even find the instance entrance because of the maze of caves before it. Sunken Temple is even worse. The multi-level layout makes the minimap useless. Both of these instances were a real chore to finish. Fortunately, I only got assigned to Sunken Temple a few times. Maraudon, though… I’ll have nightmares of that for months.
The 50’s got even worse. Blackrock Depths is a great instance, but not with LFD. The run back from the graveyard is tremendously long. A wipe resulted in a 20 minute recovery, and so people would drop group. There is tons of trash and inexperienced tanks could really get themselves in trouble. Further, if no one has the Shadowforge Key then you are limited in what parts of the instance you can do. I drew BRD in the random dungeon dozens of times, but only completed it once.
The late 50’s brought Dire Maul, which is not too hard but no one really knows where to go. We only did DM East, which was OK. DM West was much harder. I liked DM, especially when compared to the horror of pugging BRD. But then in level 55-57 I got Lower Blackrock Spire a bunch of times. LBRS had the same problems as BRD… really big, hard to navigate, and really far from the graveyard. In all of my LBRS runs I never got to more than one boss. Eww. (funniest was when one tank ran into UBRS by mistake. Oops!)
Other than Dire Maul, level 50-57 was terrible for pugging. Just when I was starting to despair and consider giving up on the LFD leveling method, I hit level 58. It all gets better at level 58. Why? All the Death Knights join the game at level 59. Sure, they are often noobs and sometimes can’t play the game worth a darn. But the shortage of tanks goes away, and the queue time drops from 20 minutes to about 6-10. Also, you get to start the Outland instances, which are better designed and easier to recover from wipes.
So far I’ve done Hellfire Ramparts several times. Its quick, easy, and even a noob DK can tank it. And that’s where I am now.
Edit: Since I wrote this post, I have made it to level 69. The Outland instances were a breeze compared to the late vanilla dungeons. Most runs went well, until I started getting Sethekk Halls and Auchenai Crypts, which are obnoxious. I’m a little sad that I only got to see a handful of the Outland dungeons on this toon. I never drew Shadow Lab using LFD, or any of the Mechanar=Botanica-Arcatraz trio. That’s a shame.