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  • Realm First 85 - Part 1

    There has been much talk in the forums about dedicating the early days of Cataclysm to farming. The reasoning is simple: thanks to all the profession leveling going on, herbs and ores reach astronomical prices. During the first couple days of WotLK, stacks of Saronite were selling for 600g (I even sold one for 1000g). I was fortunate enough to farm Icecrown without any competition for 2 full days on a Merciless Netherdrake (310%). Let me tell you; this was worth my time. On my first night farming, I was earning 5000GPH, and ~3000GPH on subsequent nights. All told, I earned over 100,000g in less than 3 days. The competition eventually caught up, but this demonstrates the value of rushing to realm first.

    My plan for Cataclysm is no different. As I did for WotLK, I will race to realm first, follow strict guidelines I’ve set for myself. Several realm first attempts end up in a crash & burn. This is the result of a careless and reckless approach to leveling, one that is both unhealthy and sub-optimal. Players often omit mental, physical and nutritional preparations in their plan. I happen to know a little bit about health and nutrition, and today I’ll share with you what brainwork I’ve done on the subject.

    Realm firsts require serious dedication and preparation. It is very likely that several players will gun for realm first – but expect most of your competition to drop out of the race early due to fatigue. My goal is to help my readers overcome the challenges involved and (hopefully) earn that coveted realm first.

    In-Game Preparation

    Cataclysm will probably become accessible at midnight of launch day, as did WotLK. You must have Cataclysm installed and activated by midnight to have any chance at realm first. In the case of WotLK, a digital download was available through battle.net days before launch. Cataclysm should be no different. Activating Cataclysm on your account is a different story, though. CD Keys were not immediately available off battle.net last year, and suppliers like Shattered Crystal www.shatteredcrystal.com were instantly out of stock. The solution? Foreign CD key suppliers. I won’t be doing any promoting here, but you can PM me for more info. It’s important to place your order ahead of time, as these CD key websites get hammered on release night.

    Where actual in-game strategy is concerned, here are several tips and tricks:
    • Park your character in Stormwind near the flight master. Here, you can purchase Azerothian Pilot’s License (100g) from a trainer. This is the skill required to fly in the old world and Cataclysm zones. 310% flight costs 5000g and can be purchased here too.
    • Set your hearth to Stormwind – Dalaran portals are gone. Stormwind acts as a portal to all Cataclysm zones.
    • Druids can teleport to Moonglade and go straight to Hyjal from there.
    • Clear your bags of anything you don’t need for leveling.
    • Loot nothing (besides quest mobs).
    • Use bare-minimum addons.
    • Gearing:
      • Avoid stacking proc trinkets like or trinkets with long-lasting buffs. Trinkets with short buff times are best. , for example, lasts 30 seconds – far too much - and odds are you’ll end up wasting 15-20 seconds of the proc after your target dies.
      • Gear and spec for burst damage.
    • Consumables:
      • x 100.
      • x 3.
      • x 3 or equivalent enchant for casters.
      • x 40 or x 40
      • x 200
      • Engineers: materials for Rocket Boost.
    • Glyph properly, and know which glyphs will be optimal in Cataclysm. See El’s inscription.
    • You may need to relog at midnight to enable Cataclysm zoning. This was the case in WotLK.


    Preparing the Player

    Allocating Time

    According to Blizzard, the grind to 85 will take “about as long” as leveling from 70 to 80. I hit 81 and 82 within 6 hours each. The grind to 83 took longer; about 8 hours. For a skilled and dedicated player, I think 38 hours to 85 is a safe estimate. Now, staying awake for 38 straight hours is clearly inadvisable. First, it’s not healthy. Second, even if you do stay awake for this long, you won’t at full mental capacity for the last 18 hours (or so). Indeed, doctors report that “sleep deprivation can have some of the same hazardous effects as being drunk” (link). Have you ever played WoW drunk? I have, and I guarantee you that playing like that is not optimal.

    This means we’re splitting the grind into two sessions. I advise a 22 and 16 hour block. The average player will begin to feel tired after 14 hours of waking time. This can be remedied with caffeine – stick with coffee (no added sugar) or tea. Avoid energy drinks, as they are loaded with extrinsic sugars. Don’t go overboard on the caffeine either – a single cup will do. On average, the half-life of caffeine is 2 hours, so you should be ready for sleep at the 22 hour mark. Lighter individuals should be aware of their caffeine consumption; a 120lb woman would require nearly 10 hours for caffeine to dissipate enough to allow quality sleep. Where sleep is concerned, 7 hours is the magic number. This should allow you to get 2-3 hours of REM sleep toward the end of your sleep cycle (REM is the portion of your sleep that rejuvenates the mind). Anything over 7 hours is “wasted” sleep, for our purpose.
    *Tip: Cut out coffee for 10 days prior to Cataclysm release. This diminishes your system’s tolerance to caffeine – effectively allowing you to get the full benefit of it on Cataclysm release.

    A Proper Diet

    To put it simply, don’t eat junk. Gamers are notorious for devouring greasy foods by the bucketload and crushing sodas all day long. Besides contributing to your death, excessive sugar intake will result in a crash and concentration lapses down the road.

    Stick with natural sugars: berries, fruit, honey and nuts. A small pasta salad won’t hurt either, as it will assist with long-term mental awareness. Drink water too, lots of it.

    -----

    And that’s it for Realm First 85 – Part 1. If you have your own leveling tips and tricks, feel free to join the discussion!

    In Part 2, we discuss specific leveling paths and zone selection. We’ll examine quest hubs by zone and pick out optimal leveling routes. Some have asked me whether gathering is worthwhile for leveling. I will analyze the experience bonus of mining/herbing and hopefully reach a final verdict where this is concerned.

    I look forward to hearing the tips and tricks others may have to offer. Do you plan on rushing to 85?
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Realm First 85 - Part 1 started by Sterling View original post
    Comments 41 Comments
    1. Moravec's Avatar
      Moravec -
      Hope that picture isn't of your desk Sterling... top advice though - you're obviously taking the attempt to realm first seriously and I wish you the best of luck. I'll be taking the trip to 85 over the course of a fortnight or so, no rush - we've got the next two years
    1. Zerohour's Avatar
      Zerohour -
      I noticed you included Swiftness Potions. One of my old guildies got into the Beta and didn't tell us anything earthshattering when he finished. He's going for Realm First and was on a hunt for Swiftness, Invis Potions, Swim Speed pots, and Underwater breathing potions. Does any of this shopping list make sense to you? If so, are there areas where this would be advantageous? A quest turn-in like Overcharged Capacitor?! I know with Wrath I made sure to stock Water Walking and Underwater Breathing because I knew the first three zones required some water duty.
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zerohour View Post
      I noticed you included Swiftness Potions. One of my old guildies got into the Beta and didn't tell us anything earthshattering when he finished. He's going for Realm First and was on a hunt for Swiftness, Invis Potions, Swim Speed pots, and Underwater breathing potions. Does any of this shopping list make sense to you? If so, are there areas where this would be advantageous? A quest turn-in like Overcharged Capacitor?! I know with Wrath I made sure to stock Water Walking and Underwater Breathing because I knew the first three zones required some water duty.
      Swiftness Potions are brilliant for dashing out of caves etc. Invis pots are handy for running to quest objectives without pulling agro. These were of better use in WotLK, as you couldn't fly directly to quest objectives. Not sure I'd recommend swim speed/underwater breathing pots though. Vash'ir is 99% underwater, but you're provided with buffs that make you move much much faster. I guess I'd still bring along a stack or two.

      There is no quest item equivalent to Overcharged Capacitor, as far as I'm concerned.

      Quote Originally Posted by Moravec View Post
      Hope that picture isn't of your desk Sterling... top advice though - you're obviously taking the attempt to realm first seriously and I wish you the best of luck. I'll be taking the trip to 85 over the course of a fortnight or so, no rush - we've got the next two years
      Although this is not my desk, but I've done my share of malnutrition dieting in the past. Those times I regret.

      Thanks for the good wishes!
    1. drockrock's Avatar
      drockrock -
      To potentially take it to another level, would it be beneficial to try some light physical training for about a month before the release of Cataclysm? Your increased metabolism might give you more energy for longer without having to rely on caffeine. I'm not 100% sure if that's the case though so I'm asking someone who would know better.

      Also when you have 30s-1min of travel time, definitely get up and do a few jumping jacks or stretches to keep the blood flowing. I do know that helps keep me awake and alert during long sessions.

      My other question is from a gold standpoint, is it greater EV to forego leveling for the first few days of the expansion and farm the hell out of hyjal or Vashj'ir's herbs and ore, or is it better to race to 85 and try to capitalize on the monopoly and beat the rush? As I write this I think my answer seems pretty obvious (that monopoly word really jumps out at me). Great post though, thanks for taking the time to write it. I look forward to part 2!
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      WoW aside, I'd absolutely recommend light exercise to anyone who is inactive. My work pays me half-time to do any physical activity, so there's no lack of motivation on my part to head to the gym. You're right about exercise increasing metabolism - I felt it within a week or two and it's a great feeling. It becomes easier to get up, easier to fall asleep, and you feel more energetic during the day.

      But don't confuse these effects with those of caffeine. During waking time, the body produces adenosine, governed by the Circadian clock (biological clock). Adenosine is a chemical that tells your mind it's getting tired. Caffeine imitates this chemical and blocks your body's adenosine receptors. This is why it creates a sense of wakefulness - your body can't tell when it's tired. Now you can impress your friends with all your new knowledge.

      And welcome to the site, drockrock.
    1. Pennyworth's Avatar
      Pennyworth -
      "Crushing sodas all day long." The post is chock full of good stuff, but that line was great. Good luck man!
    1. calianna's Avatar
      calianna -
      Here's a great article I read recently about the effects of caffeine. It definitely backs up what Sterling is saying.
      http://lifehacker.com/5585217/what-c...-to-your-brain
    1. Sacristar's Avatar
      Sacristar -
      These were mentioned on my 2 copper a while back: and are definately worth considering for some classes/specs if you ask me.

      Grants 5% of total mana
      Grants 10 rage
      Grants 30 energy
      Grants 40 runic power

      and it's not unique so you get double that if you wear two of these.

      20 rage still isn't worth it but 10% of your max mana is huge for any caster dps, and 80 runic power for a frost dk or 60 energy for rogues/ferals is pretty damn nice too.
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sacristar View Post
      These were mentioned on my 2 copper a while back: and are definately worth considering for some classes/specs if you ask me.

      Grants 5% of total mana
      Grants 10 rage
      Grants 30 energy
      Grants 40 runic power

      and it's not unique so you get double that if you wear two of these.

      20 rage still isn't worth it but 10% of your max mana is huge for any caster dps, and 80 runic power for a frost dk or 60 energy for rogues/ferals is pretty damn nice too.
      Great tip. I might actually use those...
    1. Dudemontana's Avatar
      Dudemontana -
      What do u think of finding the 25 quests that gives the most experience in order to turn them in while you wait for the new zones to open? Obviously I'm talking about northend quests. Or do u think that would cost more time ? especially cuz u will be longer in the crowded zones, if the new zones have actually opened and ur still busy with completing the quests at the questgivers in northend... not sure if I should do that.
    1. drockrock's Avatar
      drockrock -
      My immediate thought would be that it'd be more worth it to get into the new zones as fast as possible to sort of stay ahead of the wave of new people. From what I've seen of Vashj'ir (I have not quested in Hyjal yet), the quest progression is very linear so it could be easy to get stuck if there's too many people around competing for spawns or PvPing or whatever.

      Depending on how Sterling's guide goes, I think I might try a few beta leveling runs in Vashj'ir and Hyjal respectively to see whether they're comparable for xp/hour. My gut says that most people will be heading to Hyjal first since the underwater mechanic might be intimidating or just weird to most people. It certainly took a lot of getting used to for me to realize that there were agroable mobs above and below me.

      Does anyone know if the xp numbers for beta are what we'll see when Cata goes live?
    1. Dudemontana's Avatar
      Dudemontana -
      You are probably right about that but I'd like to hear some more opinions about my quest idea cuz it could be a huge advantage if we actually can't enter the world immediately.
      To your question I guess the xp numbers are gonna be equal, even though they might change something especially the XP for archaeology. But we'll talk about that in Sterling's part 2 I guess. Most people were telling me that the vashj'ir quests are more fun and it wont be as crowded there, but imo its still the better decision to start in hyjal cuz the quests there are easy and fast to do, but we will talk about that in part 2, sry.
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dudemontana View Post
      You are probably right about that but I'd like to hear some more opinions about my quest idea cuz it could be a huge advantage if we actually can't enter the world immediately.
      To your question I guess the xp numbers are gonna be equal, even though they might change something especially the XP for archaeology. But we'll talk about that in Sterling's part 2 I guess. Most people were telling me that the vashj'ir quests are more fun and it wont be as crowded there, but imo its still the better decision to start in hyjal cuz the quests there are easy and fast to do, but we will talk about that in part 2, sry.
      Nothing wrong with a bit of warm-up conversations. I'd absolutely go ahead and complete 25 quests ahead of time... do raid quests award more XP? I'll look into this.
    1. calianna's Avatar
      calianna -
      I was going to have the Argent Tourney dailies complete and ready to turn in. I think the raid weekly would also probably be worthwhile (it's not like anyone is going to be doing that after Cataclysm comes out). Fishing, cooking and JC dailies. That's about half the quest log in just two locations. I think it would be better to get a bunch of quests in a couple locations, rather than the highest experience quests in 25 different locations.
    1. Dudemontana's Avatar
      Dudemontana -
      I guess the lvl 80 group quests and the raid quests will give u... lets say 25k xp each quest. I'm probably gonna do most quests in icecrown which I'll return there and some in dalaran.
      Well, I just hope that we can login earlier than midnight so I can actually return all the quests without losing any time on the new content. Because I think for the realm first achievment it's gonna be important to get out of the crowded areas. That's just what Im thinking of. And yer I'll try to do quests which I can return at the same location, or lets say 2 locations. I wont do that much dailys though, cuz there are some dailys in cataclysm aswell which Im going to finish (the one's in deepholm) and you can obviously only do 25 daily quests a day.
    1. KaliopeLlane's Avatar
      KaliopeLlane -
      Quote Originally Posted by calianna View Post
      I was going to have the Argent Tourney dailies complete and ready to turn in. I think the raid weekly would also probably be worthwhile (it's not like anyone is going to be doing that after Cataclysm comes out). Fishing, cooking and JC dailies. That's about half the quest log in just two locations. I think it would be better to get a bunch of quests in a couple locations, rather than the highest experience quests in 25 different locations.
      If you plan to do this, be careful that you set your hearth correctly in advance. This could actually slow you down if you're still hearthed in Dalaran after turning in your quests, with no fast way to get to Stormwind. The most efficient way to get to Stormwind quickly would be to set your hearth at the Inn by the SW bank. Then trek out to the Tourney grounds and camp. After launch, turn in the Tourney quests, fly to Dalaran and turn those in, then hearth out to Stormwind.

      For those who happen to have a Dalaran ring, use it for easy way to keep Dalaran access in Cataclysm. The teleport location doesn't change, so you can set your hearth in Stormwind and still use the ring to visit Dalaran if needed. Just don't forget to stash the ring in your bags if you're not wearing it.
    1. calianna's Avatar
      calianna -
      I'm not actually planning to race to 85, but I will be getting a free XP boost this way. I will be setting my hearth for SW. I've also got my Argent tabard hearth, my Kirin Tor ring hearth and my mole machine BRD hearth.
    1. Elen's Avatar
      Elen -
      El gained realm first 80 gnome and special mage (erm, Warlock) on her realm for WotLK. That was about 24 hours behind the realm first 80, by which time Ensidia had already cleared Naxx. So I don't claim any incredible ability - it was just luck that all the Gnomes and Warlocks were slacking. I'd put aside 4 or 5 days after release, on the assumption that something new would turn up to write about, servers woul explode, or similar - but nothing much did. So I simply ploughed on leveling. At around level 74 people started pointing out that I was ahead of the other Warlocks, so I decided to have a try for the achievement.

      That said, I wasn't at all casual about the process:

      1. Know the quests backwards: In (WotLK) beta I had completed every quest in the expansion. That meant I spent no time running around clueless, trying to consult Wowhead, or whatever. It also meant that I knew which quests to avoid when there was a lot of competition. Knowing your options instinctively can help a lot.

      2. Balance sleep, food and play: I spent about 6 hours sleeping, 1 hour cooking and 17 hours playing. The sleeping was done during the evening peak, to avoid busy/potentially-laggy periods. I cooked 1 large meal - a fry-up "English breakfast". The aim's to stop yourself snacking throughout the rest of the day, by filling up your stomach. Beyond that, regular breaks for water and generally just not looking at the screen for 17 hours continually. This probably requires a somewhat healthy body at the outset.

      3. Know when to stop: It's only a Feat of Strength - it's not worth hospitalising yourself for. Being first to the level cap is actually pretty pointless, since you'll have to wait for a few other people to raid or PvP. And after a few days of staring at WoW, you'll probably just want to go outside for a bit.
    1. Zerohour's Avatar
      Zerohour -
      I'll be first to 85 that has to work because their vacation request wasn't submitted 90 days prior to the time needed! I get the last week of the year off though. But this should be an achievement, too!
    1. calianna's Avatar
      calianna -
      You have earned the achievement [Server-first to 85 (full-time employed)]!