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80 to 85 – Journey to a new old world


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#1 Smaug

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 11:58 AM

=Introduction=
The goal of this text is to be a powerleveling help for when Cataclysm first is released. This is NOT a guide on quest routes but a guide on everything else to consider when rushing for level 85. The writer of this is an entusiastic and sucessful powerleveler with a realmfirst level 80 Achievement.
I not currently have access to a beta account so if you do have access please don't hesitate to add helpful and relevant information to this thread. I will regularly update the original post.

The first chapter will cover general preparation while the second chapter is about the actual leveling.

A lot of information in this therad is subjective and from my personal experience but there will be some math and statistics in here too; keep that in mind when reading.

=Preparation=
Five golden rules of powerleveling

  • Minimize Downtime
  • Maximize Burst Damage
  • Play alone
  • Always know your next steps
  • Stay awake

Minimize Downtime

Downtime is whenever you are not killing mobs or completing quests. Examples for downtime include regenerating mana or hitpoints, traveling, chatting, attacking other players, reading or dieing.
For obvious reasons downtime directly hinders your goal of leveling as fast as possible. Keeping these activities to a bare minimum is the most important aspect of power leveling.

Maximizing Burst Damage

The second most important thing when powerleveling is how fast you can kill mobs. Both single mobs and groups of mobs. Burst damage is greatly impacted by your spec (think protection versus fury), your gear level and your playstyle. And to a lesser extent by consumables, buffs and reforging/stat choices.

Play alone

To clarify right away: I do not have any math showing how grinding instances with a fleshed out 5 man group compares to leveling by questing. But if 70 – 80 is any judge, leveling by questing will be at least as fast but without the drawbacks of leveling in a group. You set the pace, you decide when to take breaks, you rely on your preparation and expertise instead of the preparation and expertise of other people. The method of power leveling purely in instances is not the focus of this text. Much rather the focus is on leveling by questing and grinding.
Questing in a group of multiple people always has drawbacks that can never outweigh the benefits. While „killing-quests“ are typically (slightly) faster in a group, a lot of drop-specific quests are much slower in groups and you will find yourselves waiting for mob respawns a lot. Not the mention the downtime is increased significantly for a group with multiple players.

Always know your next steps

Use a guide; preferably with an addon that goes hand-in-hand with the guide.
If possible use a second screen to always display the guide so you can read while you travel or grind. Always read at least the next paragraph in the guide so you know what you will be doing after the current task. This is to make sure you don't travel unnecessarily or separate tasks that should be persued together.

Here are some resources to start looking for leveling guides (More resources will be added depending on your feedback):

Stay awake

Only read this paragraph if you consider leveling to 85 hardcore.
My personal, most important advice: Do not drink alcohol when trying to stay awake and focused for a long period of time. Alcohol will get you very, very tired very fast.
Most people (including me) will find listening to music while leveling stimulating and keeping you going.
Caffeine is your friend, but you need to use it the right way:
Caffeine works by changing the chemistry of the brain. It blocks the action of a natural brain chemical (adenosine) that is associated with sleep. Adenosine is produced by your daily activity, especially by physical exercise.
To a nerve cell, caffeine looks like adenosine. Caffeine, therefore, binds to the adenosine receptors. However, it doesn't slow down the cell's activity as adenosine would. The cells cannot sense adenosine anymore because caffeine is taking up all the receptors adenosine binds to. So instead of slowing down because of the adenosine level, the cells speed up. The „problem“ is, that adeonosine keeps building up while caffeine is blocking the adenosine receptors. So as soon as the caffeine loses its effect, you have a lot of adenosine around that will rapidly occupy all the receptors. This happens very fast and you will turn from being totally focused to dead tired in a matter of minutes. Drinking a coffee or an energy drink will flood the brain with caffeine for a short amount of time. It usualy takes 15-30 minutes to feel the effect, which then peaks around 30-60 minutes after consumption.
So once your body decides that you are tired, you would have to drink a coffee around every 2 hours at least to stay focused and you would still feel a lot of „ups“ and „downs“ when the caffeine peaks and declines.
A much better way is to rely on a continuous, controlled flow of caffeine that never peaks or declines but keeps a steady level to prevent you from becoming too tired. You might know the substance that provides just this effect under the name of „Guarana“. Guarana capsules usually work over several hours (typically 5-6), emitting a steady flow of caffeine (the exact same thing that you get when drinking coffee). Designed to keep you awake when feeling tired as opposed to coffee, which is good to „remove“ tiredness when you are rested; which is why coffee is consumed to wake up.
Enough of the medical lessons. You can get guarana capsules prescription free (in most countries?) at your local apothecary. I suggest you learn some more about the effects of guarana or ask your pharmacist about them before trying them out. Just to clarify again: Guarana is NOT a drug. It is identical to the caffeine chemical derived from other sources, such as coffee and it is classifed as GRAS in the United States.

Also, try to reduce physical acitivity to a minimum. When you feel really tired, go for a cold shower.
I also found that sleeping 4 hours twice is way better than sleeping 8 hours at once. This may vary from person to person tho. Ultimately you have to find a combination of methods that work best for you.


Chosing your specs and glyphs

When deciding on what specs to use for leveling, keep the five golden rules in mind.

  • Wheigh talents which minimize downtime (especially travelling) extremely high. E.g. On a pale Horse
  • Pick talents which provide a (low) damage boost over the course of a long fight lower. E.g. Blood in the Water
  • Pick bursty talents high. E.g. Mind Melt
  • Pick utility talents higher to very high. E.g. Unholy Command
  • Pick group bonus talents lower. E.g. Trueshot Aura
  • Avoid talents that slow/delay enemies. E.g. Chillblains
  • Pick a spec with a rotation/priority/playstyle that has room for error/slacking
  • Use a second spec that is specialised in dealing with elite/boss mobs.

Chose your glyphs along the same lines.

Make sure you learn how to play with your spec!

I will try to maintain a list of possible leveling specs for all classes here. So in case you already worked out such a spec for your class, please post feedback to this thread.

[table=head]Class|Primary Spec|Secondary Spec
Deathknight|Frost DW (2/31/3)|Blood (33/0/3)

Your Inventory

You should invest in at least 20 slot bags to have sufficent inventory space.
Here some things you need in your inventory for leveling (Numbers are a good average, dont take them too strictly):
  • 3 stacks of flasks (AP or Spellpower)
  • 8 Stacks of Buff food of whatever stat benefits you most
  • 3 Drums of Forgotten Kings for non druids and paladins
  • 1 Stack of Runescroll of Fortitude/Scroll of Stamina (You can get more if you want)
  • Heavy Frostweave Bandages depending on your class
  • Scrolls of Agility/Strength/Spirit/Intellect; depending on what your class is missing and benefiting from
  • 1 Stack of Healing and/or Mana Potions
  • Around 6-8 Gems of your choice.
  • 1 Weapon (2 for DW), Leg and Head Enchant. You can add other enchant scrolls, but those are the ones who have the most stat budget
  • Your alternate gear in case you have a useful second spec (e.g. Tank gear for elite/boss mobs)
  • Your Heartstone

Put everything else in your bank to have as much inventory space as possible.
Use an addon to automatically repair and sell grey stuff when you click a vendor. You might also want to use a looting addon to ignore low-selling junk cluttering your inventory.

Re-Evaluate your stats

When switching from a Single target, boss fighting, long-fight-duration environment into a Single- and multi target, short duration environment your gear and stat evaluations will change. Carefully reconsider all your attributes and exchange as well as reforge your gear.

Tendencies:

  • Haste will be less good (For example some benefits of haste like focus/rune/energy regeneration are less important while leveling)
  • Crit will be better (burst)
  • Mastery needs to be evaluated seperately (Uber for some specs like Frost DK, even crappier for other specs like Feral)
  • Hit and Expertise are worth a closer look:

While leveling, you should avoid fighting mobs above your level for several reasons (not only hit issues).
The optimal mob to kill is 2 levels below you. But realisticly, most mobs you end up fighting will be between 2 and 0 levels below you.

Physical hit (Softcap)

[TABLE]-2 levels|4% hit required
-1 level|4.5% hit required
same level|5% hit required[/TABLE]

5% hit on level 80 equals 153.8 Rating.
5% hit on level 81 equals 201.9 Rating.
5% hit on level 82 equals 265.2 Rating.
5% hit on level 83 equals 348.3 Rating.
5% hit on level 84 equals 457.4 Rating.

You won't have time to reforge while questing so I suggest you shoot for a value around 260 Hit Rating to be fine until you hit level 83. Alternatively you can go for a lower value and find out where to get quest rewards with a lot of hit on them to replace on the go. Another option is to go for around 200 hit rating and carry the Badge-Reward hit trinket with you to swap in at level 83. But as it looks, by level 83 you will already have a good deal of your gear replaced anyways. Keep those hit ratings in mind when swapping out gear.

When evaluating your optimal hit rating to start with, also factor in static %based hit modifiers such as Nerves of Cold Steel or Precision.
DW Deathknights for example only need 2% hit through items which means that while leveling they will never need more than 184 hit rating.

Also, Warriors might still consider aiming for the hit hardcap which is around 2200 at level 84 :). A.k.a reforge/gem everything to hit and pick up every hit item you find.

Spellhit

[TABLE]-2 levels|2% hit required
-1 level|3% hit required
same level|4% hit required[/TABLE]

4% spellhit on level 80 equals 104.9 Rating.
4% spellhit on level 81 equals 137.8 Rating.
4% spellhit on level 82 equals 180.9 Rating.
4% spellhit on level 83 equals 237.7 Rating.
4% spellhit on level 84 equals 312.1 Rating.

Do notice that for +3 levels you need 17% hit, which at level 80 equals 445.9 Hit Rating. So most casters will be waaaay over the hit cap up until level 85.
If you have a talent that grants a flat hit bonus or converts spirit into hit, you can reforge ALL hit on your items into a more beneficial stat (crit/mastery) and/or replace all items with hit for items without hit. Otherwise you can and should still drastically reduce your hit.

Expertise

Mobs on your level have a 5% chance to dodge AND parry (unlike +3 mobs).
1 Expertise reduces chance to be dodged and parried by 0.25%. Therefore you need 20 expertise to be capped.

20 expertise on level 80 equals 153.8 Rating.
20 expertise on level 81 equals 201.9 Rating.
20 expertise on level 82 equals 265.2 Rating.
20 expertise on level 83 equals 348.3 Rating.
20 expertise on level 84 equals 475.4 Rating.

Expertise is by far the most important stat for melee chars when leveling as both parry and dodge are affected. I therefore suggest to always be expertise capped. A good starting point should be around 200 rating to be fine until you hit level 82 at which point you probably already exchanged some of your gear and should be looking for pieces with expertise on them.

Try to compile a list of relative stats values for your character.
This allows you to quickly evaluate new gear you find and know wether to swap it for your existing pieces.
I suggest using an addon like Pawn for even quicker evaluations. But do keep in mind that Pawn ignores enchants and gems. You therefore have to manually add the value of the enchant and gems on your current item or carry a lot of gems and enchanting scrolls.

Also, I encourage you to post the relative stats values you came up with for your class including an explanation in this thread.

Addons

Disable all addons, which you don't neccesarily need for leveling (like DBM, ora2, auctioneer, recount ...). This will improve loading times, performance and stability.

Here a list of Addons that can prove useful while leveling. The first few are not leveling specific:
  • A map addon. E.g. Mapster
  • Bars/Frames. As usual, E.g. Bartender & Xperl
  • Castbars. E.g. Quartz
  • (Buff Frames. E.g. Satrina's)
  • Bag Addon. Bank „Access“, Auto-Sorting E.g. T-Bag
  • Chat. E.g. Prat
  • Tooltips. E.g. MobInfo2, TipTac
  • Mail. E.g. Postal
  • A guide Addon. E.g. WoW-Pro
  • Xp/hr Tracker. E.g. Titan Panel
  • Mob Finder. You can enter a mob ID (from WoWhead) and the game will alert you as soon as this unit is around, E.g. _NPCScan
  • Gear Switcher. E.g. Outfitter
  • Gear Comparing. As discussed above, E.g. Pawn
  • Messaging. So you can respond later during downtimes, E.g. WIM
  • Auto Vendor. Sell junk, auto repair, E.g. AutoVendor, BagSaver
  • Item Values. Know which quest reward is worth the most gold, E.g. VendorBait (highlights the most expensive reward)
  • Speed up NPC interaction. Auto Quest accept, Auto Turn in, ... E.g. Turn In
  • Looting. E.g. Looter

Most of these addons will either make your life easier or save you time, both of which are fairly important when leveling.


Pre-Questing

It is possible to turn in quests you completed earlier once the level cap is raised. You can therefore prepare 25 completed quests in your quest log and hand them in as soon as cata goes live for a nice headstart.
Daily Quests will award XP when completed.

You should try to pick quests that are both close together and award a decent amount of XP. Here some Ideas:

  • Sons of Hodir dailies: They each award 22k XP and are in one spot to turn in
  • Brunnhildar Village dailies: Same as SoH dailies, 22k XP and close proximity. Also, they are in the same Zone as SoH dailies.
  • All Dalaran dailies: The Fishing, Cooking, JC, etc. Dailies are completed in Dalaran and therefore a good option
  • Icecrown dailies: There are around 20 dailies in Icecrown which you can prepare.

I suggest completing SoH, Brunnhildar and Dalaran dailies and then filling up the remaining slots with Icecrown dailies.
They give the most XP as they are in the highest level Areas and they are all relatively close to eachother allowing for a quick turn-in route.
All in all this will give you around 400-500k XP in the first 15 min.


Misc Preparation

Flypoints: Get every single flypoint in Azeroth.
Mounts: Make sure you have Master Riding (310% speed). Get a mount that can walk at full speed as well as fly. E.g. Headless Horseman's Steed, Celestial Steed, Blazing Hippogryph, (Are there more?).
Get the . It's the only way to swim at a reasonable speed unless you are a druid. Especially important if you play Alliance.
BoA Gear: All current Bind on Account leveling Gear will not Scale above level 80 and the XP Bonus stops working at 80. Leave them in your Bank / On your Twinks. Source & Further explanation.
Read: As much as you can about the questing areas, your new spells, etc.

=Execution=
The start is crucial

The first few hours of leveling are the most important. The faster you are, the quicker you will get ahead of the bulk. Once you are ahead, you have free reign over the quest mobs, escort quests, etc. So be sure to plan out your first hour extensively. Read the first pages of your guide before you start.

The best spot to start is Dalaran where you can get Flight Master's License as well as Archeology which gives nice XP bonuses when digging along the route.
Then turn in your 25 prepared quests and use your HS to head to the first questing spot as indicated in your guide.

It is a possibility to rush the first level or so by doing Dungeons. This reduces the risk of getting stuck in the starting Area for too long and should set you ahead of the bulk.


Keep checking your XP/hr tracker

When using a good guide you shouldn't be doing a lot of low XP quests or activities. But it is still a good idea to keep checking the XP/hr tracker to notice when you are leveling ineffective and maybe need to switch to the next questing area or go for a quick grind.
Trying to stay above a certain XP/hr value can also be a motivation to keep your pace up.

Minimize Downtime while leveling

Here a few tipps:

  • Even if its just 15 yards, mount up and fly.
  • Use Charge/Deathgrip/Leap/etc. As often as possible.
  • Only Loot mobs that either drop quest related items or mobs that you require to respawn. Looting other mobs is a waste of time.
  • Try to find a playstyle/rotation where you have don't have to rest (or keep it to a minimum). E.g. Work in a Death Strike from time to time to keep up your HP as a DK or switch to Blood Presence for stronger Mobs to avoid too much damage taken.
  • Spells now directly scale with your level. Only go back to your trainer when your REALLY need to. Check in advance which spells are crucial to leveling and make sure your HS is ready to port back instantly.
  • Continue reading in your guide while Auto-Walking to your next objective.
  • Usually it is faster to fly by yourself instead of using a flypath. But Travelling between flypaths gives you the opportunity to go AFK at little time-cost.
  • If you can't find a quest related objective, check WoWhead.com instead of trying to figure it out yourself. I recommend having a second screen with your guide and Wowhead open.
  • Depending on your class and situation it can be overall faster to kill multiple mobs at the same time.
  • Never PvP. Don't fight with other players over escort quests, quest mobs, etc. If you do, they will always take revenge and you lose time (even if you manage to get the mob/quest). Skip the quest or grind while you wait. Most players in your area (also fast levelers) will share this mentality.
  • Ignore your Professions. Especially Gathering Professions. Mining, Herbing and epecially Skinning is really bad Downtime. Better level up quickly and then have all the highlevel ore/herb spots for yourself.
  • Send all green and blue BoE as well as other valuable items to one of your alts. Disenchanting / Auctioning them later will net a much larger profit.
  • Don't do Group Quests unless you can do them solo.

Take care of yourself

Don't carry leveling to excess.
Make sure you always feel comfortable or immediately stop playing!

Here a few tipps:

  • Always have water or tea on your desk (or any neutral beverage) and don't forget to drink enough.
  • Eat two or three times a day. You will notice you won't be as hungry as usual simply because your body is burning much less calories. It's only a couple days, so go all out on pizza, lasagna and what else makes you happy (and can be eaten at your computer :P). I would say try to eat some fruits/vegetables too etc, but yeah, fuck that.
  • Again, no alcohol or drugs apart vom caffeine.
  • Care about hygiene. It is much more comfortable to play after a shower.
  • Make sure your Monitor is at least 50cm away from your eyes. If your eyes start to hurt, take a break or stop power leveling.
  • Maybe stick around in your Teamspeak to keep some company and to motivate eachother. But it can be distracting, especially if people keep asking stuipid questions about where to find quest objectives.
  • Turn off your cellphone and lock the door if you have a toilet & fridge in your room. For a second you thought I was serious here, right? :) Powerleveling is nice and fun, but don't do it at the cost of the people around you.

What to do when you are one of the first level 85?

  • Spam the trade chat claiming that the heroic dungeon search tool is broken
  • Go farm a SICK amount of ore/herbs with zero competition. Prices for this stuff will be ridiculously high in the start.
  • Level your professions and be the first with certain enchants, gem-cuts, etc.
  • Farm Resources in high level Areas (E.g. Like the elemental plateau in Nagrand)
  • Get a head start on dailies
  • Start leveling your alt.


#2 Lysithea

Lysithea

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 01:43 PM

There's at least 25dailys in icecrown that you can do, I had that many before I changed my plan.

My current plan is to:

Set my HS wherever it should be for getting to the new zones fastest (orgrimmar?)
Logout at Hodir
Login at launch, turn in the Hodir dailys
Teleport to AT with the tabard, turn those dailys in
Fly to Ogrims Hammer, turn those dailys in
HS and start the breadcrumb quests and start lvling.

This shouldn't take more than a few minutes with minimum flying needed between quests.

You might also want to add that getting the dalaran ring might be a good idea if you plan on visiting your classtrainer during lvling (they did replace the portals with classtrainers in beta right? That's what I've been hearing at least). I'll take a short detour once I hit a lvl where I want a new spell by, instead of HSing back to turn in quests, using the Dalaran ring to teleport, train the spell, then HS back to the questcamp. Shouldn't take more than 30seconds.

#3 Kaubel

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 02:20 PM

This is a forum dedicated to high-end raiding. If one can't level to 85 on his or her own, one doesn't belong here.




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