Tobold's Blog
Monday, December 28, 2009
Twinking through Burning Crusade

I am not a big fan of the Burning Crusade expansion of World of Warcraft. Especially Hellfire Peninsula is a bottleneck which is probably my least favorite zone in WoW. As a result I have a bunch of alts stuck at around level 60, stopped by a lack of desire to level through Outland. But now I'm leveling my paladin, who reached level 62 this weekend, and I found that because of various changes Outland is not so bad any more.

The one change I found is accelerating my leveling speed the most is the Dungeon Finder of patch 3.3. Starting from level 60 the random dungeon is a Burning Crusade one, which means I did miss some level 60 classic dungeons, but of course the Burning Crusade dungeons are far more PuG-friendly. Being short, even a PuG nearly always completes them. The loot is about 25 iLevels better than the loot of equally hard classic dungeons. And each completion ends you up with a Satchel of Helpful Goods, containing a blue item for your class on top of the loot you got from the bosses. For alts, who tend to accumulate rest xp, running dungeons is also a faster way to use that rest xp than doing quests, because quest xp aren't doubled by rest bonus.

The second big boost is that in the Burning Crusade you can get the first gear with gem slots. And gems aren't level-limited. Thus, given enough cash, you can put epic Wrath of the Lich King gems into your Burning Crusade gear. My paladin found a blue chest plate in Hellfire Ramparts with 3 gem slots, and putting in epic gems I basically doubled the stat bonuses on it.

Finally questing in Outlands has become a lot easier because you can now buy a flying mount cheap at level 60. Even Hellfire Peninsula gets a lot more pleasant and passes quicker if you can fly over it.

So all in all leveling through the Burning Crusade content is a lot less bad than I feared it would be. And of course Outlands also has its highlights, I always loved Nagrand for example. So I think that at least the paladin won't get stuck around level 60, and I'm looking forward to get him up all the way to the level cap. At level 61 he is already the highest level Alliance character I have, giving me the opportunity to do Alliance quests in zones where I have only done the Horde quests up to now. Fun!
Tobold, are you using Heirloom items at all?
No. My Alliance characters are on a different server than my Horde characters, and as I said my level 62 paladin is the highest level Alliance I have. So I can't use Heirloom items unless I load up a Horde character with them, and then pay for both a faction change and a server change.

I think Heirloom items were actually more valuable *before* patch 3.3, when everybody was solo leveling, and didn't visit dungeons. If you do lots of dungeons while leveling, you automatically get lots of loot which is at least as good as the Heirlooms, although of course you are missing out on the 10% xp bonus.
Apparently I'm not the only person with the inexplicable urge to level my "outdated" Alliance toon =D

And frankly, most of Outland's quest rewards, boss loots and craftable have better stat distribution than Heirlooms. I'm thinking that Heirlooms are good on level 1-60+ toons, then you'll graduate into Outland gear for a few level and hen to Northrend gear when you're 70-80.
With the leveling curve being nerfed, I've found that I can skip one or two zones in Outland that I don't like.

You might be able to skip Hellfire with a level 60, and go straight to Zangermarsh, at least after you've upgraded your gear to Outland-level.

On my DK alt, I did most of Hellfire (was around 62 or 63 when I left), and skipped Zangermarsh. Finished a level in Terokkar and then headed to Nagrand, which is my favourite zone. Zanger and Terokkar are too gloomy!

It might not be the optimal leveling strategy, but at least I'm enjoying the quests, and challenging myself with a slightly harder zone.
You'd only need to do a server change. You can now send heirloom gear cross-faction on the same account.

I've found that with the latest changes to BC coupled with heirloom and rested XP you simply fly though the BC content.
Well, I really had no problem leveling in Outland. I had figured out what levels I needed to go to the next zone and it was a pretty easy step from 58 to 68 so we could move right on to Northrend.

My newest DK has started to use the dungeon finder however, and it has done quite well in getting me some seriously cool gear.

I picked up the feet and the hands which both have 2 gems, and I even picked up the Hellreaver, which is just a really good looking sword. I even emblazoned with Razorice for that heaven and hell look.

Problem with the rewards. The first problem I ran into was that they gave me a necklace with a whole bunch of spirit... Confused, I sold it, but then the rest of the day they kept giving me these gloves that were like 112 armor less then the ones with the gems that I picked up in the dungeon.

I have similar issues with other toons getting nothing but the same stuff over and over. Rings, oh my goodness, I have at least 2 of each kind of ring and paulderons that I can't even shake a stick at.

I am however building 4 new ones at a time, so it will be a while before I can talk about the level 60 rewards with the Mage, Druid, Shammy and Pally. I just got all 4 of them to 40. I'll be talking more about that this week.

Good luck with your Pally, Tobold.
They ought to consider taking The Burning Crusade right out of the progression ladder. Both Mrs Bhagpuss and I loved levelling from 1 to mid 50s in Azeroth, but we both came to a grinding halt in Hellfire Peninsula.

In fact it's not too much to say that hitting Burning Crusade content put us on notice to unsubscribe from WoW. Mrs Bhagpuss has made it to Northrend and my Hunter will be going there for the first time today, if I decide to log in. But prior to Burning Crusade we were both playing WoW as our main MMO, and on hiting Hellfire Peninsula both of us have been looking around for other things to do.

I am not at all sure that, had we been able to step around the Burning Crusade content, I would have bought Fallen Earth or joined the Allods beta. Both of these have now replaced WoW, which has become that game we occasionally log into just to check our mail or do a couple of Holiday quests.

We will almost certainly be unsubscribing in a month or so. That's largely because no matter how much better the WotLK content may be, the momentum that was lost when we ran into the Burning Crusade buffers cannot be recovered.
Since patch 3.3 a server change will do the trick, herilooms can be sent to the other faction now.

Major improvement for same server faction switch.
You know that you can send Heirloom items cross faction now, right?
If you haven't leveled in outlands in a while you're probably going to notice a lot of changes besides the things you already mentioned. Blizzard toned down just about every single group quest to the point where all of them are able to be done solo. They also softened up some of the more annoying quests by making changes to the mobs, drop rates, etc.

Also you should really look into getting both the heirloom chest and shoulders. The exp gain is way too valuable to replace no matter what random dungeon blue you manage to pick up. Thos dungeon blues will quickly be replaced in Northrend and once you lvl up your heirloom will most likely be better then it anyways. With the exp bonus from both pieces you can hit 68 in Terokkar's Bone Wastes.
I always like Nagrand as well. But I thought Zangarmarsh was so pretty that I ended up spending a good amount of time there.
How bout them DKs? (See Bio Break yall are in a similar mode)
I wasn't in a hurry so I bg'd through most of the 60s on my new rogue alt. It was slower, but I didn't really care (especially after about lvl 65). Heirloom items did help you should zoom through the zones without them.

A flying mount does help a lot. In hellfire specifically, having a flier made some quests so simple that you'd say "hrm... I bet they never expected a lvl 60 to be able to fly around here" :)

Something else I'd recommend in the ALT category to everyone: pick a random server (or choose a battlegroup that wins a lot for your target faction), create a DK in the opposite faction than you usually play, clear the DK starter zone, and then hop into battlegrounds. You are playing an OP toon in awesome gear. If you've never tried pvp, this is a good opportunity.
What is it that people hate about HFP? I absolutely love the place! It's got a great atmosphere, it actually fells like a zone rather than a little pocket of surrounded by mountains and just the general feel of the place is fun. I hate the rest of Outland, but HFP...I love it.
Outland is in a strange position really, reach 58 and go to a completely different world, do ten levels there, and then you go back to the old world... It makes Outland feel really tacked on, which it kind of was.

It was put on top of current content back in 2007, and now Northrend is tacked on top of that again. Every time I get to 60 on one of my characters it feels as if I'm crossing a threshold, I'm no longer in WoW, but in TBC. I feel the same thing when hitting Northrend. I guess it must be all the time spent at level cap.

I didn't like Outland the first time through, but the experience nerf made it bearable. Because of this I always try a level my characters as much as I can in the "old" world, my current record is 62 before going to Outland.
i have full heirlooms (chest, shoulder, two daggers, two trinket, AND the MH sword) on a rogue, and absolutely DREADED outlands. I hate it hate it hate it.

only through sheer willpower did I force myself through it.

horrible set of zones. even thinking about it makes me want to steak-knife my eyes. The instant I was able to leave, I did so.
Out of curiosity I took my paladin to Dalaran to have a look how the heirlooms compare to what he was wearing. The shoulders he already has are comparable in stats to what the heirloom shoulders give at that level, but of course are missing the +10% xp. The chest he is wearing is the one I already wrote about, with 3 gem sockets, now filled with epic level 80 gems. That makes the heirloom chest piece much, much worse than what he has. I'll rather run around with better stats and less xp bonus.
I think you're missing the point of the heirloom items. The main reason people (at least all the people I know who have them) go for the heirloom items is not for the stats which might be slightly better or worse than quest green/blue gear. It's for the 20% bonus to xp. Although it's not quite mathematically equivalent, imagine you started off each level already 4 bars in. Think about how much questing that saves you in Northrend. It was OK the first time, not so much the second.
Additionally, do you think the better stats on two pieces of gear increase your leveling speed 20%? Doubtful.

Maybe you're enjoying the quest grind. I could barely tolerate it the first time. I can only do so many kill xx get yy quests before my mind goes numb.
20% bonus exp from heirlooms saves (4 * 80) 320 experience "bubbles" which is the equivalent of (320 / 20) 16 free levels; to go off what blachawk was saying. Of course, there's lot of wolf-killing lore lost in all that...
If you stay in classic WoW until you have the loremaster acheivements (and maybe grind a faction rep or two) you will only need a couple levels in BC until you can go to northrend. I think my main did 20-30 quests in hellfire and then was able to go to northrend. I've never tried it but I think you could go straight to northrend from classic WoW if you were smart about it. Its not that I hate the BC content, I just enjoy it much better as a level 80. hehe
Outlands was a major PIA before the nerf. I quested through pretty much every zone before I hit 70 on my first toon. On my most recent, I hit Hellfire, Zangarmarsh, Nagrand, and then headed to Northrend.
I'm with Drilski, Hellfire Peninsula is one of the few zones anywhere in WoW that really feels alive. I've typically done Hellfire -> Nagrand -> Shadowmoon for the 3 alts I've levelled through to Outland.

Unlike Darraxus I despise Zangermarsh.
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