Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where to level your Recruit-A-Friend Pair

The above is a screenshot of my /played time on the Sisters Bulimia upon dinging 59.

That's 1 day, 13 hours, and 33 minutes of time spent logged into those characters. Keep in mind that I spent a bit of time logged in but afk doing other stuff. I leveled them over the course of 9 days, starting Friday Oct. 24 and ending Sunday, Nov. 1. That averages out to about 4 hours a day. Usually, I played 2-3 hours a weeknight and 4-5 on weekends. That's a lot of playing, but not much more time than the average person spends watching TV.

So in 37 hours of time spent logged in, I got two characters to level 59. Compare that with this guy: a player who prides himself on speed leveling [warning: guide seller site. I do not endorse the guide, just needed an example of what used to be record-breaking leveling]. His record for 1-60 was 4 days and 20 hours /played before RAF. With triple xp, I just cut that into almost exactly a third. Makes sense.

So, in case you didn't get the message, RAF is LUDICROUS. And that's BEFORE I "gift" a free 29 levels to another one of my characters! I anticipate that in less than 3 days /played total, I will have 4 new level 59s and a 44. It used to take longer than that to get a single 60.


Last night, I brought my warlock/warrior pair to level 44, making all of my leveling plans complete. Tonight, I'll be giving all of my gift levels, and I'll bring some screenshots tomorrow to wrap up the ludicrousness of RAF.

Because you level so much faster using RAF, you're not going to follow a normal leveling progression. Your going to outlevel zones before you can clear them. You'll never need to stop questing to grind, and in most cases you won't even have to go to some of the zones you'd normally visit to level. Having a friend run you through instances can still be good xp, but remember you don't get the triple bonus when grouped with a 70, so in general it's a wash.

Keeping in mind this newfound freedom of choice, I'd recommend favoring any quest that has you kill x foozles. Both characters will get credit for each kill. Any quest that requires you to gather an item is less desirable, because you have to loot the items twice. The worst quests are those that have you loot a number of low drop rate items from a type of mob. Sometimes it makes sense to do these, but feel free to skip them if you have other quests available.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you have the Recruit a Friend summon available every hour. The summon for each account is on a separate cooldown. This means that your leveling characters should never have to travel to a new town to get a flight path. Simply log into your main character, fly to the location in question, then summon the leveling character from the other account to you. Then log off your main character, log back in the other leveling character, and then summon them. Poof, you never have to travel without a flight path again. I used this strategy to great effect, especially to get my lowbies to Gadgetzan, Dustwallow Marsh, Searing Gorge, and the portal to Outlands.

I also found it easier to organize and plan my trip by using the addons TourGuide, TomTom, and Lightheaded (along with Doublewide). Highly recommended.

Here's how I leveled. I did it from the horde perspective, but most of this is easily translatable for alliance, and where they differ I'll make a note. Don't bother returning to cities to train new spells and stash things in the bank until you have a natural break to switch zones (obviously, this isn't the case from 1-20, where you should be buying new skills constantly).

Levels 1-22: TBC starting area. No matter what your race/class, do the first 22 levels in the Blood Elf or Draenei starting area. They are just so much more well-designed and efficient. If you aren't making a BE or Draenei, then you can still get there quickly by exploiting the once-an-hour RAF summon as I described above by making a throwaway Blood Elf to initiate the summon sequence.

22-30: Horde can best do 22 through 30 in Hilsbrad. Go to Tarren Mill, and do all of the Elixir quests and the Battle of Hilsbrad questline, as well as the final step with the dwarves down south. This will easily get you through that entire level span. For Alliance, you can do the same in Darkshire, one of my favorite zones.

30-32: Don't forget to pick up your mounts! I got a summon to Shimmering Flats for these levels. However, this is optional, as all of the quests here are the inefficient "collect" quests. Skippable if you want to go straight to:

32(30)-38: Stranglethorn Vale. Yes, I know. You don't want to go there. Go there anyway. The questing is good, and you aren't going to be here more than a few hours this time. Horde will get extra quests as Grom'gol, while Alliance has a base camp to the far north. I did all of the quests in the north half, up to step 3 of the masteries, the goblin lumber area, the basilisks, the underwater murlocks, and the collection quests from the trolls (ears, etc.). Easy level 38.

38: After clearing north STV, it's worth it to make detours back to Booty Bay, Ratchet, and Shimmering Flats if necessary to hand in completed quests.

Dustwallow Marsh. For Horde, stacking the Brackenwall quests with the Muddsprocket quests is ideal (and don't forget Jarl's hut!) Alliance can replace Brackenwall with Theramore, there is some cool new stuff there.

44: Again, you may need to make some quick detours, but the mass quest xp bonus is worth it. Don't forget to keep both characters together for the bonus!

44-46/47: Tanaris. Gadgetzan and the eastern docks have lots of good quests. Please do yourself a favor and skip the one where you have to pick up like 30 artifacts out of the sand. Now worth it with 2 characters.

46-48: Clean up the end of the 40's in Feralas. This is a lot better for Horde than Alliance. I'd actually recommend Hinterlands for Alliance instead. Just do the easy stuff here, to give you a buffer.

48-50: There's some quick and easy questing to be done in Searing Gorge. Just do what's easy and don't get too anal. If you find yourself fighting enemies who are grey to you, don't bother with that quest.

50-52: You're in the home stretch, but these levels are the longest. Pass the time in Felwood, where the mass "Kill x furlbogs" type of quests will serve you well.

52-56: One of my favorite zones, Un'Goro Crater. Tons of meat here for both factions.

56-58: You can pretty much mop this up by doing the Cauldron quest line in Western Plaguelands.

An there you are, you've made it to Outlands! The path should be pretty obvious from here.

Though you do end up visiting some places you might not like, please remember: you never have to set foot in Desolace. That alone is worth the price of the second account.


Rich said...

after having my main account banned for shall-we-say "shenanigans" i actually just dropped the click on play-asia.com and am having a battlechest, wrath, and 2x 60 day cards shipped to me here in japan.

I have another account that was given to me by a friend that has a horrendously botted warlock in trash gear on it. I was hesitant to activate wrath on it, since i figured right after i did it would be banned or some crap, so i bought a clean account to start anew. I imagine i'll RAF the new account, and level two toons side by side, then xfer everyone over to the clean one, along with any gold or whatever, then just let the tainted account die.

if i'm understanding this right, you just had one toon on follow, and grabbed as many 'kill ten rats' quests as possible, right? I could concievably level a druid and warrior together (my main account had a warrior, druid and rogue, and I'm in the process of manually leveling the rogue up again or the bad account... at 33 now : /).

this may be exactly what I've been looking for. at any rate, it's all already in the mail, so I'm sure you'll see a similar splurge of these posts over at mine in the next week or so ;)

Hatch said...

Sweet! Looking forward to your posts on the subject. This:

"if i'm understanding this right, you just had one toon on follow, and grabbed as many 'kill ten rats' quests as possible, right?"

Is pretty much correct. For the Sisters Bulimia, I bound the pally's F key to "follow", and kept her on perpetual follow while grouped with the hunter. The hunter killed and looted pretty much everything, while the pally just kept Might up and provided that nice aura.

I did do a lot of "collect x foozle" quests because there just aren't enough kill quests to go around. In those cases, I'd sic the pet on the mob, start autoshooting, then switch to the pally and run up and hit the mob, then loot it on the pally for the quest items. It was a little annoying, but not so bad considering the rewards. Still, very fast.

With druid/warrior, you can either have the warrior fight and use the druid's heals in place of bandages and food, or you could grind as a kitty and just use the warrior every 2 minutes to buff battle shout. Though druids tend to be better soloers, the reasons I'd favor fighting with the warrior with this pair:

1) warrior benefits more from weapons. Replace all his gear every 4 levels or so and he'll smoke things
2) fury warrior's +5 crit aura requires that they be actively attacking. Feral druid's +5 crit aura simply requires that they be in a bear or cat form.

The gearing can be a bitch though. I bought nothing but bows/guns on the AH for the sisters, and they wore the Ghostlands gear until 35-40, where I suddenly got a lot of new green quest rewards in the revamped Dustwallow Marsh. Then they wore those straight into Outlands.

Rich said...

yeah, i used to run AV with a friend of mine who asked me to tag him along anytime I'd play and he wasn't on to soak honor. I got an interesting setup going with the laptop as his druid,a nd me on my rogue... i used an extrernal numpad, and bound all it's keys to macros...

1 was target me heal
2 target self heal
3 target me rejuv
4 target self rejuv
567 were like moonfire, wrath, starfire
0 was /assist me
and . was /follow me

if anyone jumped me, i'd pop out of stealth just to chuck hots and it actually worked out pretty keen. i reckon i'd do the same with the warrior druid pair, but it'll suck us both not having stealth. meh

Rich said...

druid was laptop, rogue main rig... yeah