Thursday, August 21, 2008

Leveling Made Easy

Yesterday, I came home after a busy day of work and grocery shopping and settled down to play with the baby. I watched an episode of NewsRadio on Hulu, and ate a nice dinner. Then I hopped on WoW. I did Arenas with my wife. Second week of doing so, and we went 4-6, not too bad. I helped a friend with a group quest. Then I hopped on my Pally and leveled from 56 to 60.

Wait, what?

No, you aren't misreading that. I had a busy day and still managed to squeeze in four levels. I even managed to get to bed at a decent time. And I will explain how.

You may have heard of a fellow called Athene. Athene is most notable in this discussion as the guy who pushed leveling to a refined art. He had originally posted a 1-70 of 1 day and 19 hours. Then, when an enterprising Druid with a whole guild to support him took 15 hours off the record, Athene went and best that record, very shortly afterward, with only his two friends to help him. Athene has a whole host of videos, but not one says how he did it. He does mention mobtagging, where you attack a mob that is green to a 70, and they kill it for you. And you get the full experience. This requires a mob of level 62 or higher. Bonus points for elites.

If you look around Athene's forums, you may eventually come across this post which details a plan for leveling from 1 to 70 in under 24 hours. Most of it requires a Paladin and a mage, but once you can get to Slave Pens (or a little later for classes without Avenger's Shield) you should head there and level to 70. Here's what I did:

First, I created a macro as follows:

/script LeaveParty()
/cast Avenger's Shield

I would use this macro to pull mobs. I had another Paladin Taunt the mobs off me, and use a macro probably like the following:

/i Eia
/cast Judgement

(/i is the short command for /invite.) I would wait until all the mobs were killed before accepting the invite. Additionally, I would wait for the "teleport box" to disappear before doing another pull. Four pulls were handled with Consecration or Judgement of Righteousness. All in all it was very smooth. We pulled everything up to the bridge and then went out and reset. To watch the idea in action this video shows the process, though not quite how we did it (I think we went a little faster.) It has a couple of superfluous elements that don't matter if you're leveling a Protection Paladin, like Frost Trap. Our setup was me, other Pally, Enhancement Shaman, Feral Druid, and Holy Priest. You gotta have a healer, and you have to have enough DPS to take down a pull in under 40 seconds. That's the only real requirement. The results?

When I started this endeavor last night, I had already spent about half an hour in level 56 doing nothing. I had about 1000 experience in, so I couldn't get a good time for level 56, but I did keep track of the times I dinged 57-60. I don't have the exact figures, but this table illustrates the amount of time taken per level to the minute:

5720 minutes
5816 minutes
5930 minutes

What happened on level 59? We took a break as our Pally was putting his wife to bed. All told, I spent about an hour and a half leveling. Additionally, I got three Spellfire Longswords, one of which will come in handy should I decide to level legitimately at any point past level 62.

The good thing about this method is that it's very efficient. I don't think anyone like finishing in Azeroth, knowing that Outland is right there, and the gear is so much better. And 4 levels in an hour and a half is nothing to sneeze at.

The bad thing about this is that you don't get much other than experience points. If you don't look into your class and research it, you will be at the same disadvantage as an eBayer when you get to 70. Additionally, your friends may resent you for dragging them through the boring task of doing the same thing over and over for hours. Which does bring me to another point.

Leveling like this is pretty damn selfish, as you are asking four other people to basically carry you through 55-70 (or however long you choose to milk it,) without a single tangible benefit to themselves, so you either better be calling in favors owed to you, or you owe your group some heavy favors in return. If you don't have four people who really like to spend time with you, you probably won't be able to pull this off.

If you can, though, I would recommend it on the sole condition that you already have a 70 or two. Additionally, it will probably help if you are leveling a class for which you already know how to perform the role. As for me, I'll probably spend a few levels getting used to BC Pally tanking, and then at least one friend has offered to blitz me to 70 over the weekend. I'll let you know how that goes.

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