As promised, this is the follow up to Realm First 85 - Part 1.
There have been a number of developments since part 1, and I'd like to quickly touch on these before we dive into the gravy.
First, forget about buying a CD keys from foreign shops. Blizzard is now offering a digital prepaid version of Cataclysm - complete with online installation and activation. Let's just hope the poor foreign retailers hadn't already ordered hundreds of copies prior to this announcement (they probably have, Blizzard's clever like that). Installation is simple, just log into your battlenet account and click the flashing, seizure-inducing ad that comes up.
Also, the cost of [Flight Master's License] has been increased from 100g to 250g. Big deal, right. Just don't get caught short-changed!
We had some awesome comments from readers in part 1, and I feel that I need to share this one in particular, courtesy of Sacristar:
- 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.
Begone, Queue Times!
Thanks as always for your hard work!
25 Quest Head Start
Moving forward, we had discussed the idea of completing 25 quests prior to Cataclysm launch. I’ve looked into this, and the big problem is finding quest hubs that offer several clustered quests. You could randomly fill your quest log with Northrend’s highest XP rewarding quests, but you’d find yourself traveling too much upon launch and you’d burn your head start. I found that daily quest hubs are the way to go – they offer good XP and a good number of clustered quests.
You should be able to fill your quest log with a combination of the following quests:
From The Skybreaker
[Neutralizing the Plague]
[No Rest For The Wicked]
[Putting The Hertz: The Valley Of Lost Hope]
[Assault by Air]
[Assault by Ground]
[Blood of the Chosen]
[Capture More Dispatches]
[Drag and Drop]
[Not a Bug]
[Slaves to Saronite]
[Static Shock Troops: The Bombardment]
[The Solution Solution]
[A Rare Herb]
[Bones and Arrows] / [Fueling the Demolishers]
[Defend the Siege]
[No Mercy for the Merciless]
[Stop the Siege]
[Victory in Wintergrasp]
From The Argent Tournament Grounds
[A Blade Fit For A Champion]
[A Valiant's Field Training]
[A Worthy Weapon]
[Among the Champions]
[At The Enemy's Gates]
[Battle Before The Citadel]
[Contributin' To The Cause]
[Learning The Reins]
[Ornolf The Scarred]
[Stop The Aggressors]
[Taking Battle To The Enemy]
[The Edge Of Winter]
[The Fate Of The Fallen]
[The Light's Mercy]
[Threat from Above]
[Training In The Field]
[What Do You Feed a Yeti, Anyway?]
[You've Really Done It This Time, Kul]
Note that some of these quests are exclusive to each other – you can’t pick them all up. Depending on how far you had progressed at each quest hub, you may end up short. There are several dailies offered near the Shadow Vault, these should make good fillers. If you decide to go off the beaten path here, just remember:
- Cooking dailies do not reward XP.
- Fishing dailies do not reward XP.
- Weekly quests do not reward XP.
My plan goes as follows:
- Log out at the Argent Tournament Grounds.
- Log in at midnight and turn in all quests.
- Fly to the Skybreaker, turn in all quests.
- Fly to Dalaran, pick up Flight Master’s License (allowing me to bypass Stormwind).
- Fly to Wintergrasp, turn in all quests.
- Teleport to Moonglade and head to Hyjal.
All 25 quests grant about 600k XP, or 33% to level 81. Your plan may vary, but whatever you do, keep travel times short.
Onward to Mount Hyjal!
I should probably touch on why I think Hyjal is a better starting zone than Vashj’ir. First, Vashj’ir is simply a cooler zone; the underwater mount, dramatic quest lines and cut-scenes, who could resist? I imagine most players will go straight into Vashj’ir based on ease of access and fun. But the fact remains: Hyjal offers very linear and simple quests; a much more streamlined leveling experience. I found Vashj’ir quests to be more scattered and annoying to complete – depending how much swimming is required for said quest. As Kaliope pointed out, the zone is entirely 3-dimensional, which is a little disorienting if you’re used to WoW’s usual 2D environments.
That being said, Hyjal should be enough to get you to 82, especially if you have a 25 quest head start. Deepholm is gated at 82, so you need to hit this level before moving on. Keep in mind, Deepholm quests reward much more XP, so you should head there immediately after hitting 82.
First things first, you need to get to Hyjal. There are lead-in quests in Stormwind, but you don’t need to pick them up. You need to head to Moonglade, and fly a drake out to Hyjal. The quickest way to Hyjal is to fly from Darnassus – unless you’re a druid, in which case you can teleport directly to Moonglade (you lucky horde are teleported straight from Orgrimmar to Hyjal).
I could write a Joana-style guide for each zone, but in all honesty, these will just slow you down. There is no reason you should be diverting your attention from WoW for such linear, simple quests as found in Hyjal. WoW’s built-in quest helper is all you need – just follow the arrow mindlessly. If you’re adamant on someone holding your hand, check out Arixan’s guide.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to get beta access during WotLK, and found myself running in circles and stalling very often at certain quests (Polishing Hodir’s helm, anyone?). So what I will provide is a breakdown of the Hyjal's few confusing or annoying quests. Hyjal has multiple quest hubs, and some are yet unlinked. This means you can often find yourself without a “lead up” quest to guide you to the next hub. This may be fixed on release, but I’ll provide you with a map of quest hub are general question regions just in case.
- Nordrassil - The World Tree
- The Verdant Thicket
- Shrine of Goldrinn
- Shrine of Aviana
- Grove of Aessina
- Sanctuary of Malorne
- The Scorched Plain
- Darkwhisper Gorge
- The Throne of Flame
The following quests can be confusing to complete, especially if you’re not reading any of the quest dialogues (if you want to level fast, you shouldn’t anyway);
- [The Return Of Baron Geddon]: The objective is to weaken Baron Geddon 20 times. Don’t bother trying to kill him – he’s got 20 trillion HP (+/- a few digits). You need to step in close enough to channel your Flameseer’s Staff (quest item provided) and pull back when he does his AoE.
- [Oh, Deer!]: The deers you must rescue are TINY and somewhat camouflaged. They’re critter-sized, don’t look around for a full-size deer.
- [The Bears Up There]: Unusual quest. Make sure you have vehicle controls enabled for this in case you’re using action bar addons. To complete this quest, run up to a tree, and right click the ladder at the bottom. The vehicle UI will become active, and you’ll have 3 abilities: climb up, climb down, and throw. Pick up a cub, climb up to the top of the tree, and use your throw ability to launch cubs at the trampoline down below (make sure you target the trampoline). You must keep doing this until you have rescued enough cubs.
- [Through The Dream]: You’ll have to rescue a druid in an underground cave. The entrance is hard to find. See map below.
- [Graduation Speech]: Another “vehicle” quest, though this time you must deliver a speech. Lance from WoWhead describes this quest well:
Use Incite! when the crowd yells;
- Kill them all!
Use Pander! when the crowd yells;
- It's like... it's like the void just touched my mind.
- The end is nigh! The end is a new beginning!
- Immalanath, yasoth nalarub!
- I hear the voices!
And use Inspire! when the crowd yells;
- Yea... I don't know about this.
- I'm not quite convinced.
If you get the responses wrong the crowd will yell things at you like;
- You lie!
- Sit down!
- What are you talking about?
- Who is this guy?
If you get the responses right the crowd will yell things at you like;
- It's like I'm hearing the Old Gods themselves!
- Tell it like it is,
! damus, you're a born leader!
- That's how it's done! Yeah!
- History in the making!
- Truer words were never spoken!
I may add a few by request, but I don’t recall any other quest giving me trouble. This short list should pretty much get you through Hyjal without a hitch.
What About Mining and Herbing?
This question was brought up previously and several people (including myself) were curious whether farming would further optimize the leveling process. I’ve done my homework, and the answer is a resounding no. Herbs and mineral nodes grant the same XP as a mob of the herb’s level. For example, you could kill a level 82 ogre for 7k XP, or pick a level 82 herb for 7k XP. Once you hit 83, the herbs and mineral nodes become proportionately less valuable and decay in value – that level 82 herb would now give ~6k XP.
Given that quests grant 27k XP or more, the actual XP value of killing mobs is higher than that of hitting herb or mineral nodes. For example, if you’re on a quest to kill 10 ogres, each kill is actually worth 7k PLUS 10% of the quest’s rewarded XP. This is not the case for herbs and ores. Not to mention, the more quests you complete in a zone, the faster you can access higher level quests that reward more XP. Nodes are also hotspots for ganking - and we have no time to spare for corpse walks in the race to 85.
So, to re-iterate, herb and mineral nodes will not increase leveling efficiency in Cataclysm.
And that concludes Realm First 85 – Part 2! Check back often for part 3 - I will release it before launch so you’ll have plenty of time to get a leg up on the competition! Have more tips on optimizing the leveling process? I’d like to hear them!
Edit: This just in - hitting nodes now breaks shapeshift form. Lame!