Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Leveling Without Heirlooms

I'm leveling a mini hunter. :) Naanei is her name. She's draenei, she's BM and she's 70. She's on a server where I don't have any other characters; so she has no heirlooms. She's also unguilded and she only accepts quests from fellow draenei, broken, lost ones, naaru and non-living objects. No talking/walking trees! I'm pondering about adding more details about her leveling soonish. But that's another story. :)

Naanei the draenei hunter at Temple of Tel'hamat

It took me four months to level Lae to 70 back in 2007. One year later, by the end of Burning Crusade, I had a total of four level 70's (Lae the BM hunter, ele shaman, prot paladin and shadow priest). I did heroic dungeons with all of them. Which doesn't sound like a big deal, but heroic dungeons really were a big deal. I PVP-ed with Lae, did dailies in Skettis and Isle of Quel'danas with the whole gang, and took three of them to Karazhan for some light "first time raiding"-raids.

At the end of Wrath of the Lich King I found myself having seven level 80's (Lae the MM hunter, enh shaman, prot paladin, shadow priest, prot warrior, affli warlock and SV hunter). Leveling itself went really fast. And when the new chars got to level cap, I continued leveling them in the gearing game. They all got to see and conquer Naxx, VOA, EOE, OS, Ulduar, Onyxia, TOC and ICC, which also means that I got to experience all dungeons and raids doing all four possible roles. All of them has at one point in time been the one char I logged on for; to play, and to level.

Now, three tiers deep into Cataclysm I only have three level 85's! 2 SV hunters and a prot warrior. The priest and the paladin are 83. The shaman was demoted/promoted to bank character, as the longtime banker Laebank (level 1 paladin) left to pursue interests outside of the company. The warlock got lost in the nether. And the warrior I never logged again after she reached 85.

So what changed?

Started a new guild
At the start of Cataclysm, a group of friends started the guild I'm in. I've been the guild master and raid leader, so I've spent quite some voluntarily fun time (not sarcastic) on our forums, studying tactics, setting up rules, deciding stuff, recruiting, planning etc etc.

Lae is "the face of my account". She is everything I've achieved in the game. She is the guild master in our friendly little guild, she has a ton of achievements, mounts, pets, boss kills, honorable kills, gear and titles. I feel that it hurts my "collection" if I play other characters and they get something that she doesn't. For this reason I hope they do big changes with making "things" accountwide. In that way I will feel more free to play whichever char I want. At the same time I can see how adding such a feature can hurt the alts, cause you wouldn't have to grind stuff at all because they already have everything. Even taking this into account I'm still heavily on the "implement accountwide stuff"-side: Let my battle tag be where I collect stuff.

Cataclysm has been more difficult than Wrath
I like a challenge, so I don't mind this really. :) And I didn't have it on my list initially. But when I was going through why i don't have that many alts anymore, this came up. For example, I never had any problems tanking in guild raids, but I've always been a bit very nervous about tanking for strangers in dungeons. In Wrath I knew all dungeons by heart, and there weren't many pulls that were difficult. In Cataclysm dungeons have felt bigger, and there has been a lot of new tactics to both trash and bosses. As I said, I don't mind this. But I have done very few dungeons (probably cause of having good gear from raiding), and I'm just not very familiar with any of them.

Hunter community
The last two years I've become more and more aware of the strong hunter community out there. Which kind of stopped me even more from playing the support classes. Why play anything other than a hunter, when you can actually play (a) hunter(s)? :-)

Quality, not quantity
What is the point of having 10 lvl 85's? Doing 7 heroics, Raid Finder and Baradin Hold each week with all of them? Daily quests? Maxing Conquest Points? In my view, now, it's all just adding more of the same.

Of course there are positive things about having lots of 85's. It can be very valuable both for PVP and PVE to have thorough knowledge about all classes/specs. And if you're playing the AH-game, having access to all professions at max level is worth a lot. It is a way to keep interest in the game, which really is the point of this ramble, it's just not my way of keeping interest anymore.

Naanei the draenei hunter at Telredor

Leveling without heirlooms

Heirlooms have been added to the game from Wrath of the Lich King:
  • 3.0.2: Weapons, shoulders (+ 10 % XP) and trinkets for PVE and PVP. 1-80.
  • 3.2.0: Chests (+ 10 % XP) and more weapons (PVE). 1-80.
  • 3.3.0: Dread Pirate Ring (+ 5 % XP). Award from Kaluak Fishing Derby. 1-80.
  • 4.0.3: Cloaks (+ 5 % XP) and helms (+ 10 % XP). 1-85.
  • 4.1.0: Plate tanking heirlooms were added for all slots above.
In Cataclysm, guild leveling and guild perks were added:
  • Fast Track (rank 1) obtained at guild level 2: + 5 % XP
  • Fast Track (rank 2) obtained at guild level 6: + 10 % XP
All heirlooms combined with being in a guild that is at least level 6 provides 50 % more experience from killing monsters and completing quests.

I've now been playing for 4,5 years. When I decide to make a new character, there's four things I do right away; configure all addons, send them gold, send them bags and send them heirlooms. Then the leveling starts... And I start chasing the next level, and the next one, and the next. It's so addictive. I wanna level more, faster, NOW! But... What is this rush to get to the level cap really giving me?

Let me tell you something about leveling without heirlooms; it makes leveling go a lot slower... Which is nice! Cause, guess what? If you've played for a long long time, the goal with leveling a new character isn't level cap. It's the leveling itself; experiencing fun things; either new ones or nostalgic ones.

Another thing about leveling without heirlooms is that it makes it fun to get gear from quests, dungeons and honor points again! There are upgrades everywhere. Even greens! Naanei got a level 70 cloak yesterday, from Botanica or something, and I realised the one she had equipped was level 47. She didn't even have a helm until she was 40.

People might fear that they will be weak if they don't have heirlooms. I admit, between level 1 and 20, until you get a lot of blues, there is a clear difference. You need to use several abilities (well, the same over and over at that level) to kill a mob, instead of one- and twoshotting. But it's still not hard! And when you get some blue pieces, there's a very small difference in powerfulness from wearing heirlooms. (Except perhaps in battlegrounds, where resilience heirlooms seem to be a bit overpowdered (sorry, it's this joke about rouges being overpowdered that I read in a WoW Insider Breakfast Topic. I can't stop thinking about it... xD))

Naanei the draenei hunter at Telredor

I know there are a lot of people out there that are trying to add more layers to the game, like me. Cause we love playing. And we don't want any of that "game completed". :) Blizzard too is constantly working on broadening the experience for us, for example with the Pet Battles they're adding in MOP. If you find yourself looking for a new "project", here are some suggestions:


Alts: Level a new faction, race, class, role. Do it fast or slow.

Arena: 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5. The ultimate PVP-challenges.

Auctionhousing: Check out Gold Capped and Call to Auction.

Battlegrounds: Achievements, reputation, honor-grinding. Play by the rules, or just have fun. Specialize in knocking people off cliffs.

Blogging: Even this can add more depth to your WoW-experience. Do you feel there's a subject not covered out there? Or do you have a story you wanna tell, that may not be unique, but it's yours? Or do you, like me, write a gazillion posts on your guild forums, to realise most people probably don't even read them? xD

Class pride: Dive into your class! Join a pure class guild. I know there are some all-druid-guilds in Europe. And a 10man raid consisting only of death knights have cleared Firelands. But who cares about druids and death knights. ;) WHU is a pure hunter guild on Icecrown-US, with nothing but the best class ever and fun events. :) I'm patiently awaiting someone with enough "drive" to make this in Europe too. Do you want more hunter in your hunter? Epic hunter is epic. :)

Frapsing: Upload your cool, silly and braggy videos to YouTube.

Mount collecting

Pet collecting

Raiding: If you've never raided, give Raid Finder a go. Try some old raids. Pay attention to the looks, the lore and the cool mechanics. For eruopeans, you can also check this out: The Twinkathon 2012.

Telredor Fountain

Roleplaying: Check out The Hunter's Arsenal for the hunter-specific beginner guide to roleplaying, and All the World's a Stage for general roleplaying advice. Play the hero based on your own morals, the soulless villain or the troubbled Westfall-farmer.

Soloing: Try speccing, gearing and studying difficult challenges to do by yourself. Check out Durendil Hunter soloing.


Trolling: Annoying or not, trolling is an art. There are a couple of the lines in trade (/2) that really crack me up. They're so clever! For example:
6 - 6 x 6 = 0
Why do they call it invincible if you can SEE it?
Girls don't play WoW.

Linking Shadowmourne with spirit-gems and spell power enchant. (Or a more current weapon.)

My partner's favorite troll-line: I love my DK, I've been pwning people since level 1. (With the follow-up to the standard-reply "DK's start at level 55":) If that's true, why do they make the best level 19 twinks?

In real life, I hate when I'm discussing with people and they just make up statements to provoke me. NOT NICE! It's only these handful of trade-lines I tolerate. Trolling on forums is no-no. "This game is dead" and similar are worst, spreading negativity and giving people false impressions.

Level to become a 19, 29, etc battleground ganker.

Vanilla-nostalgic: Level to 60 and stop your XP. Clear content.

Burning Crusade-nostalgic: Level to 70 and stop your XP. Clear content. Hang out in Shattrath.

Wrath of the Lich King-nostalgic: Level to 80 and stop your XP. Clear content. Hang out in Dalaran.

"Weird Leveling": Find fun new ways to level. Level only by doing quests, only by gathering, only by doing dungeons or battlegrounds. Never kill anything. Never die. Or like Naanei; only accept quests from draenei. For the europeans, there's an ongoing challenge you should check out, called the Ironman Challenge.



  1. Hey Lae! been following your blog for a while now, and I think this post of yours was the first 'what to do' sort of post (at the end there) - a great read and a good look at all the things to do within the game during the pre-MoP era :)
    Love the blog :)
    (also love the 1-80 pics you have up- great idea)

  2. Thank you Quel. :) I'm checking out yours right now, looks promising already, only by checking out the headlines. "Legen- wait for it…. – DARY!" I love HIMYM. :) Thanks for posting!


  3. thanks :) It is just something small atm, I enjoyed reading about huntery stuff so I thought I would have a go. But I think it will remain a low key type thing :)
    Look forward to your next post :D

  4. Anonymous15/4/12 19:39

    Heirloom legs were never added to any vendors! They aren't available at this time, despite showing up on Wowhead and the like.

  5. Oh yes, you're right. I was shopping heirlooms last week to try and see if they gave more XP on beta as lvl 85 (they didn't). I could then not find legs, even though I had them written down in my own post! So I checked Wowhead, and they were never added. But I forgot to correct the post.
    Thank you for noticing. :)