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  • Realm First 85 - Part 2


    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:
    These were mentioned on my 2 copper a while back: [Oracle Talisman of Ablution] and are definitely 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.
    This trinket is clearly bananas. As far as I'm concerned, it will be BiS for leveling as feral, given that I find myself energy starved quite often. If this trinket is not an option for you, stick with the recommendations as outlined in part 1.

    Begone, Queue Times!

    Drockrock writes:

    Queue times might be meaningfully long the night cataclysm goes live. Have you thought about ways people could avoid the queue? It was something I hadn't thought of until just now. It might be worth mentioning in your article. If this goes beyond the scope of your article though I can make a thread about it. I think it's something that would be interesting to hear people's opinion on.

    Thanks as always for your hard work!
    A valid point indeed! If you're playing on a high population server, it might be wise to log in hours ahead of time and run laps in Ironforge or orgrimmar - you don't want to be stuck in a queue at midnight, especially on a high population server where serious competition is probable. Luckily for me, there are never queues on my server, and I'll be sleeping until 11:00 or so. If you can find someone to log in for you, do so. Otherwise, you're burning precious waking time!

    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]
    [Retest Now]
    [Slaves to Saronite]
    [Static Shock Troops: The Bombardment]
    [That's Abominable!]
    [The Solution Solution]

    From Wintergrasp

    [A Rare Herb]
    [Bones and Arrows] / [Fueling the Demolishers]
    [Defend the Siege]
    [No Mercy for the Merciless]
    [Southern Sabotage]
    [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]
    [Deathspeaker Kharos]
    [Drottinn Hrothgar]
    [Get Kraken!]
    [Learning The Reins]
    [Mistcaller Yngvar]
    [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.


    1. Nordrassil - The World Tree
    2. The Verdant Thicket
    3. Shrine of Goldrinn
    4. Shrine of Aviana
    5. Grove of Aessina
    6. Sanctuary of Malorne
    7. The Scorched Plain
    8. Darkwhisper Gorge
    9. 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;
      • Raaahhh!
      • Blood!
      • Kill!
      • Kill them all!
      • Crush!
      • Death!

      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;
      • Meh.
      • Yea... I don't know about this.
      • I'm not quite convinced.
      • *yawn*

      If you get the responses wrong the crowd will yell things at you like;
      • Huh?
      • 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!
      • This gets it!
      • 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!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Realm First 85 - Part 2 started by Sterling View original post
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. Namssob's Avatar
      Namssob -
      Cool! For those not queueing up quests ahead of time, is there a flight master in Darnassus? if not, for those who get it in Stormwind, what's the fastest way to Moonglade?
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      You mean a flight trainer? I never thought of checking Darnassus, to be honest. But I'll check tonight and let you know.

      Your hearth should be set to Moonglade though!

      Edit: I'm told you get ported out to SW once you're done in Hyjal, but I'll have to confirm this one.
    1. Kammler's Avatar
      Kammler -
      Most useful post I have read on any site in months. Thank you so much for doing this!

      Hadn't considered trying for a realm first but I do want to get to 85 as quickly as possible. If I happen to hit a RF on the way, all the better.
    1. calianna's Avatar
      calianna -
      Great stuff, Sterling. I'm definitely not going for a realm first, but I will be loading up a full quest log. One Icecrown daily I didn't see on your list was [King of the Mountain]. I will not be holding it (because I don't want to be PVP flagged for long periods of time) but it only takes 30 seconds to complete.
    1. Namssob's Avatar
      Namssob -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sterling View Post
      You mean a flight trainer? I never thought of checking Darnassus, to be honest. But I'll check tonight and let you know.

      Your hearth should be set to Moonglade though!

      Edit: I'm told you get ported out to SW once you're done in Hyjal, but I'll have to confirm this one.
      Ok , so you're saying to set my Hearth to Moonglade, not SW?
    1. Balazar's Avatar
      Balazar -
      The Spiritual healing column was just asserting that you did have to pick up the bread crumb quest before going to the new zones, and that just going there would not let you start questing. Do they have it wrong?
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by calianna View Post
      Great stuff, Sterling. I'm definitely not going for a realm first, but I will be loading up a full quest log. One Icecrown daily I didn't see on your list was [King of the Mountain]. I will not be holding it (because I don't want to be PVP flagged for long periods of time) but it only takes 30 seconds to complete.
      Will add this.

      Quote Originally Posted by Namssob View Post
      Ok , so you're saying to set my Hearth to Moonglade, not SW?
      You'll have to weigh your options. Hearthing to Moonglade allows you to get from Northrend to Hyjal quickly. Hearthing to SW allows you to return there once you're done in a zone. I didn't notice this, but apparently there is a portal from Hyjal to SW, but I'll have to confirm this (just hearsay for now).

      Also remember, you can quickly fly from Hyjal to Theramore, where you can jump on a boat to SW.
    1. MadKat's Avatar
      MadKat -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sterling View Post
      Edit: This just in - hitting nodes now breaks shapeshift form. Lame!
      Source for this?
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by MadKat View Post
      Source for this?
      I'm the source!

      Unless it was a bug and fixed in the past couple weeks, it looks like blizzard has partially nerfed flight form farming.

      (it wasn't "just in", I added that tidbit after putting up the post!)

      Quote Originally Posted by Plumpy View Post
      The breadcrumb quest that takes you to Mt. Hyjal starts from the Hero's Call Board in the middle of Stormwind (http://cata.wowhead.com/quest=27726). After turning in the quest in the Keep you get teleported to Moonglade.

      Here is a short video of the breadcrumb quest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGR_wXv61_I
      This is great news - it wasn't in game when I went through it.
    1. MadKat's Avatar
      MadKat -
      I really hope that it was a bug. That's going to throw off my timing by a HUGE margin. Thanks for the data, and thanks ahead of time for continued excellent coverage.
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by Balazar View Post
      The Spiritual healing column was just asserting that you did have to pick up the bread crumb quest before going to the new zones, and that just going there would not let you start questing. Do they have it wrong?
      I wasn't sure what you meant by Spiritual Healing, but I just stumbled upon it on the WoW Insider site. So if anyone's wondering, Spiritual Healing is a column published on WoW Insider.

      The first thing I did last month was test this. I made a new character and flew straight to Hyjal. The quests were available. I also noticed that there were no breadcrumb quests between hubs - hence why I wrote about it.

      This may have all changed in the latest beta build. Either way, I'm not worried. Anyone questing in Hyjal will pick up the breadcrumb quests, if they're now in-game.

      Quote Originally Posted by MadKat View Post
      I really hope that it was a bug. That's going to throw off my timing by a HUGE margin. Thanks for the data, and thanks ahead of time for continued excellent coverage.
      I sure hope so too. There seem to be numerous bugs with shapeshifting, the latest being that you can't shift to cat form mid-air... extremely annoying.
    1. fade's Avatar
      fade -
      That's interesting about the Mining/Herb because with rested xp and 20% bonus xp on my 72 priest, he gets 5k xp flat for a Tiger's Lily harvest but ~2200xp for a mob kill.
    1. Namssob's Avatar
      Namssob -
      I'll agree - I just finished leveling my dual gatherer to 80, by farming Icethorn/Lichbloom in Storm Peaks. I went from 78 to 80 just gathering. I would get 5500xp per gather, and about 2500xp per mob kill, also rested XP bonus with 10% boost.
    1. Deater's Avatar
      Deater -
      Great post!
    1. drockrock's Avatar
      drockrock -
      It looks like they've fixed the breaking of flight form for gathering, at least on herbs. I just tried it on beta and it's working just like it does on live. I've never not broken flight form on an ore node though so I assume you were referring to herbs.
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by fade View Post
      That's interesting about the Mining/Herb because with rested xp and 20% bonus xp on my 72 priest, he gets 5k xp flat for a Tiger's Lily harvest but ~2200xp for a mob kill.
      You're farming level 80 herbs, the equivalent of killing a level 80 mob.

      Quote Originally Posted by drockrock View Post
      It looks like they've fixed the breaking of flight form for gathering, at least on herbs. I just tried it on beta and it's working just like it does on live. I've never not broken flight form on an ore node though so I assume you were referring to herbs.
      Good to hear. I had to fly on the ground, and break flight form to pick.
    1. Gnomeozurich's Avatar
      Gnomeozurich -
      Tiger Lily is not a level 80 herb, it's level 72, and found in the northrend starting zones.
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gnomeozurich View Post
      Tiger Lily is not a level 80 herb, it's level 72, and found in the northrend starting zones.
      Hm, right. That just means the xp/herb model does not scale down. All of my observations are from 80+ Cataclysm beta zones.
    1. Dizzle's Avatar
      Dizzle -
      Hey guys, I'm a frequent reader of your guy's website, and also a member of the gold making community. I don't want to advertise my gold blog but I saw this post and thought it was really cool and similar to what we are doing at WoW Marathon. Except we will be going for World First, and streaming live video of us as we try and hit max level. But we are doing it all for charity as we are doing it for Free Wheelchair Mission. All proceeds go to them. Anyways, check it out and read all about it, it may interest some of you, either way it's going to be alot of fun and should be pretty funny. I hate shameless plugs...but this is for charity. http://wowmarathon.com

      Thanks guys!

      Dizzle
      WoW Street: Gold Never Sleeps
    1. Envý's Avatar
      Envý -
      For the goblin engineers out there: set your HS to Org/SW. You can port to Everglade, fly to Hyjal and then port back to Org in an instant when you ding 82.