Thursday, November 6, 2008

Night of the Living Recruit-A-Friend

In one week, this blog will become All Lich King All The Time. Things have generally cooled down in-game, but we can expect the real pre-xpac event within the next few days, so I'd better get back to recruit-a-friend before there's so much to talk about all at once that I'd have to quit my job to keep up.

As we've already established, RAF is ludicrous. For 34 levels of effort, I will have 4 new level 60's and a level 44.

It was ridiculous from the first moment. While waiting for my new copy of the game to arrive so I could make my Blood Elves, I created a pair of orcs using the instant trial account, dual-boxing on my single laptop. I had already decided the Blood Elves (dubbed, by my girlfriend, "The Sisters Bulimia") would be a hunter/paladin pair. I already have a 70 rogue and druid, would be using my free gift levels on a mage, and my girlfriend already has a 70 priest and shaman. So I went with a warlock/warrior pair for this one.

Both characters loaded into the Valley of Trials. I made the Warlock's window really big, the warrior's window pretty small, grouped them, and hotkeyed "follow" for the warrior. I set it up so I could see the edge of the warrrior's window so I could switch easily between them and also constantly see that she was following the warlock. I set the group's loot to free for all. That way, the lock could handle the vast majority of the looting, minimizing the necessary switches between windows.

Now that they were grouped and in each other's vicinity, I would get triple xp for both of them on mobs and quests. I pick up the first quest on both characters: Kill 10 boars. Normally, you'll get your first level from completing this quest.

I got a level on both characters just for the killing of the boars themselves. Then I got an entire freaking level just for handing in the quest.

This was going to be fun. Normally, one leaves the Valley at around level 5, having completed the entire little questline there. This time, I again left at level 5, this time having completed a grand total of 4 quests.

Then things started to suck. I would not recommend anyone ever try to level a character without first installing The Burning Crusade. The Blood Elf starting areas are so good that trying to level in Durotar again feels akin to shoving a railroad spike through my neck. Every single quest involved ten minutes of travel, and there were barely any quests available in Mulgore anyway. It was a struggle to get the characters to 10 where they could go to the Barrens.

In my opinion, the Barrens are underrated. If you ignore General chat, the quests are reasonably easy to complete efficiently and the area looks beautiful, despite being a largely flat desert. The Barrens still don't come close to matching the ease of the Ghostlands, but at least they compare more favorably to the misery that was Mulgore.

The only hitch was that I arrived in Crossroads, eager to quest, on day 1 of the Scourge Zombie invasion. Every time I walked into town to hand in or pick up quests, I was instantly mauled by an army of level ?? zombies, many of them raised from the corpses of the very quest-givers I was searching for. Nonetheless, I endured the constant (and often repeated) corpse runs for an evening and managed to get close to level 17. I did this over 2 days, with only a few hours played each day.

The warlock and warrior sat at 17 for quite a while after that, because my BC box arrived and I was able to start leveling the Sisters Bulimia in earnest. Unless the Lich King razes Orgrimmar tonight, expect to hear about them tomorrow.

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