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Cata druid leveling: 1 to 20 is more fun

So, I wanted to take a break from my regularly scheduled crying about how frustrating high level healing is on Beta (especially with the 84 & 85 quests not itemized) to talk about something much more exciting – druid leveling from 1 to 20!

So, now we have 4 different races to choose from when leveling a new druid, which gives us 4 starter zones: Night Elf & Worgen for the Alliance, and Tauren & Troll for the Horde. Trolls even have a new level 1 to 5 starter experience that I tried out a couple times and have had a lot of fun with.

The new talent trees are actually better for people who are new to the game and starting out leveling, since it will be harder to make the wrong decision (like going and putting 10 points in each talent tree at the start), as there should be fewer bad talent traps for people to fall in.

The biggest improvement for druids, however, is the level at which we get early abilities in the 1 to 20 level range.

Leveling 1 to 20 as feral in Cataclysm:

  • You still have to caster level from 1 to 8, which shouldn’t be that bad, given the staring area questing improvements and having pretty much unlimited mana.
  • At level 8, you get: Cat form, claw, Rake, & Ferocious Bite.
  • At level 10, you get mangle
  • At level 15, you get: bear form, maul, growl, & demo roar (engough tanking abilities to start tanking).

Leveling 1 t0 20 as balance:

  • From 1 to 8, you pick up: wrath, moonfire, thorns, roots & starfire.
  • At level 10, you get Starsurge from the talent tree.
  • At level 20, you get insect swarm.

So, both feral & balance druids have enough spells & abilities to level fairly quickly up to 20 and beyond!

For feral, getting cat form at level 8 is a HUGE quality of life improvement, and you still get bear form at the level where the random dungeon system opens up and you can start tanking. I have had a lot of fun leveling a lowbie troll kitty druid up to the mid/late 30’s just because cat form has been so much fun for leveling through all the new & improved quest zones.

Balance druid leveling hasn’t been changed that much, with the biggest improvement for leveling coming from having starsurge as our level 10 balance spell. The knockdown effect helps with survivability, since it reduces the damage you take. As a cooldown ability, starsurge has higher burst damage and will help to break up rotations so that they feel less spammy. They also gave us starfire earlier. In addition, insect swarm is trainable now, rather than a talent, which means you actually get Insect Swarm earlier now than you used to, as well.

They seem to be front-loading a lot of our damage abilities so that we have access to more buttons sooner for feral & balance. An earlier cat form means that feral druids can now actually be feral druids sooner, and overall the changes to leveling design will make druids actually fun to level from 1 to 20, rather than the first 20 levels being what you wanted to get past so that the fun could start.

So, at the very least, I’m excited to start my new worgen druid when Cataclysm comes out in a few months. I’ve even avoided doing alliance leveling quests from level 15 to 60, so that I could have some fun surprises in store for me when I started on my leveling adventure. This is the one thing I am really excited about.

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, Feral Bear tanking, Feral DPS Cat, Leveling, Moonkin Balance DPS

Update on my guides – not forgotten!

So, I’ve been somewhat neglectful of my leveling & healing guides lately – mostly because there haven’t been many changes worth noting. However, I did finally cross-post the leveling tank & healing guide pages onto the forum sticky version. They have been on the blog version of my leveling guide for a while, but due to the popularity of the newer dungeon leveling system, I thought it was time to move them over. As of now, they are still only level 40 thru 80. I figure before level 40, the talents don’t actually matter that much, so it isn’t worth my time as of now to go back and fill in the rest of the talents before then.

In addition, there is a really great new guide by Wildpaw on the forums covering more info about leveling through the dungeon system for tanks & healers. That guide is a great little gem on the forums that hasn’t been stickied yet, so I wanted to bring attention to it for people who are currently leveling druid alts.

Also, for my healing guide – I haven’t updated it much lately, either. At this point, it probably won’t get attention until the new Cataclysm version that I’ll write for when the new Cata talents come out. Until then, there’s not much of a point in making major changes to it. However, if you find obvious problems or things that are out of date, please let me know.

When Cataclysm is closer to release, I plan to re-write my guides (again) from scratch (likely a very time consuming process). However, that process won’t start until much closer to the expansion’s release. So, until then, I plan to relax a little bit and not spend a lot of time on going back over my guides for content that is soon going to be outdated. However, I’m really looking forward to getting to revamp my guides again, and I already know some things I plan to do differently next time (ie. remove the low level pvp advice from my leveling guide, since I don’t do low level pvp to maintain good advice), and things I’d like to add (more about the abilities & rotations at low levels). I know there are always things I can do to make them better, and I have big plans for the future (including planning on leveling a third druid – a worgen- when Cataclysm is on the live servers, so I can have the experience of leveling a druid again to improve the quality of my leveling guide).

Posted in Druid - General, Feral Bear tanking, Leveling, Restoration Healing Trees

Leveling is more fun with friends

So, a couple days ago, 2 of the people from my guild & I picked up some heirloom items and started up new characters. After we did that, one more person that I knew joined us. So, we started out as four low level characters: 2 paladins, and 2 shaman.

Since I already had a shaman, I started out as a paladin. The two paladins ran from our human starting zone to the Draenei starting area, where the 2 shaman were starting. We got through a lot of quests together, and got 10 levels in about 4 hours /played (including the travel time). It was probably the most fun I’ve had leveling in a long time, since leveling is more fun with friends. It’s also funny because there are always multiples of everything as we do the quests together, with really funny results:

So, here we have: The quest that turned us all into shadow-kitties. One where we disguised as a forest on the beach (and the NPCs still couldn’t figure out that this group of huge trees didn’t spring up over night?). We also had some fun with the quest that gives you the temporary elephant mount.

We’re still below level 15 now. If we continue on together, I may post progress reports. We’ll see how it goes.

Also, this adventure has shown me how boring paladin level is at those lower levels. My heirloom axe is really makes a huge difference, along with having other people around to make the process more fun.

Posted in Leveling, Paladin

So, you want to play on an RP server?

Back when I first started playing WoW, I started a character on a server that a group of my friends told me to: Cenarion Circle. They had already been playing the game for a week or two before I got my account, and they wanted me to come play with them (or, rather, I was getting totally ignored because all of them were too busy to play the game).

So, I started playing my druid, and I really liked it. However, there was one drawback, because Cenarion Circle is a Roleplay Server. That means it has different rules than either a PvE or PvP server, and understanding those rules can be an important part of joining the larger server community. Being part of the server community mattered an awful lot back before the days of server transfers. I’ve since transferred off that server and ended up on a PvE server (Elune), however I had a lot of positive (and not so positive) experiences playing on an RP server. So, with a handful of bloggers starting to re-roll characters on Argent Dawn (an RP server), I wanted to pass along some advice and stories about what playing on an RP server was like for me. Also, for new players who are thinking of starting up on an RP server, you should think about whether or not it is the right kind of “fit” for you.

The fun of RP servers:

  • Not everyone on an RP server enjoys roleplaying. However, while I was there, I did participate in some RP events. I have see people in groups & raids that tried to do it all in-character (some with great success that made the run more fun). It was fun to be part of a world that (sometimes) felt more engaging in some ways.
  • Most RP tends to happen outside of instances & raids. We had an event where we were going to rescue a horde player who was trapped inside Gnomer (who was also in love with a gnome). A group of alliance players escorted some horde players (on foot, without communication tools other than emotes) as we went on a long journey to rescue him. While it sounds cheesy, it was really one of the favorite things that I did on the server in the entire time I was there. I didn’t role play on a daily basis, but I liked doing these kinds of events and interacting with people who were really good at role playing.
  • If someone had come and interrupted one of the server’s RP events, it would have made everyone who planned it really sad, and you need to keep in mind that your happiness shouldn’t come at the expense of other people’s happiness.
  • If you want to learn more about how to be good at RP, you should check out the Too Many Anna’s blog. She is usually pretty good at helping people get better at making RP servers a fun place to be part of.

So, below are Blizzard’s rules & guidelines that you should be aware of when playing on an RP server. Not all of them are well enforced, but you should still be aware that these rules CAN be enforced. The naming guideline tends to be the most often enforced RP-server rule. I actually did get mad at people who broke the naming guidelines on my RP server, and I miss not being able to report silly-sounding names on a PvE server.

  • The full list of RP server guidelines can be found in Blizzard’s support page.
  • The biggest difference on RP servers is the naming policy. You should read the RP naming policy before creating a character on an RP server. In addition to the normal naming rules, you also can’t create: “Any Non-Medieval or Non-Fantasy names (i.e. Slipnslide, Robotman, Technotron).” If you need help finding appropriate names for an RP server, you can try a Medieval Naming Guide that is available online.
  • The rules actually outline policies for how you aren’t supposed to say out of character things in /general, /say, /yell (ie. public channels). Now, general chat still tends to be like any PvE server. However, you can get reported based on what you say in public channels, so you should be aware of this rule, even if it isn’t commonly enforced. They don’t police your guild chat at all.
  • ((Out of character speech would be typed inside parentheses when talking to other people who are role playing)) – while not a rule, this is a handy convention to know.
  • They also take harassment of Role players very seriously (regardless of what kind of role play they are doing). So, harassing people who are partaking in RP sessions is against the rules.
  • If someone is partaking in a type of RP that you think breaks the other game rules, the correct solution is to report them using an in-game ticket (or the “report spam” feature if they are spamming a public channel). For example, any type of chat in /say or other general channels that is even a mildly inappropriate reference to “human anatomy or bodily functions” can be reported to a GM. The rest of the normal chat rules can be found here.
  • It’s better to ignore someone who is doing something you don’t like, rather than starting drama with them.
  • One misconception is that everyone there RP’s all the time. This isn’t true. Most of the people on RP servers don’t actually follow the RP rules of the server, and tend to make it difficult for people who DO enjoy the RP aspects of that server. SO, you can surround yourself with non-RP people and be perfectly fine on the server. However, you need to be respectful of the people who are there to be part of the RP environment. There are people who are GOOD at RP, who make those servers more magical, and who made my experiences on Cenarion Circle so much more fun.

Like any server, it’s better to treat all the fellow players with respect, and to /ignore people who you don’t like, and to report inappropriate behavior to a GM if you believe what they are doing is breaking the rules (whether they’re doing it in or out of character).

If you don’t like the RP server rule set, then your best option is to just not play on an RP server. However, it can be fun if you give it a chance. I personally miss playing on an RP server some days, though Elune is a better fit for my current play style, schedule, and group of  real life friends that I met after my move to grad school.

Also, don’t forget to have fun! This is a really great game, and you have lots of opportunities to enjoy playing on an RP server if that is something that feels right to you.

Posted in Leveling, Uncategorized

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