Your leveling gameplan for Mists of Pandaria

As I write this post, its less than 24 hrs before Mists of Pandaria is unleashed.  If you have been distracted playing other great releases from last week like Borderlands 2 or Torchlight 2, you may have forgotten to prepare for release day tomorrow.  This is not a post about going for a realm first achievement, but about simple preparations to ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable launch.

Pre-game plans

Here are some things you can do before the launch:

  1. Log into the game early – There is no need to relog when Mists of Pandaria launches, so its important to log in early to avoid log in troubles right at the launch.
  2. Make sure your addons are updated and working –  There will be no patch for the launch, so make sure you have all your favorite addons ready to go.
  3. Clear out your bank and bags –  You are going to need lots of space while leveling, so now is the time to clear out any junk you won’t need.  Sift through all your gear and put anything you like into the bank or void storage and vendor the rest.  Toss out off-set gear if you don’t plan to level with that spec.  That gear will be obsolete by the time you hit level 90.  Other candidate for the trash are old food, bandages and potions which will be outclassed very quickly.
  4. Respec for leveling – Leveling talents and glyphs are often very different for leveling.  Self heals and speed boosts are little things that will make leveling smoother.  You won’t be doing 6 minute boss fights so short cooldowns will be more useful than a more powerful long CD ability.

Launch plans

As soon as MoP launches, the temptation will be to rush off to the new land, but here are a few things worth doing right before that:

  1. Visit your profession trainers and learn the new Zen level of each profession – You don’t want to waste potential skill points when leveling through Pandaria when skinning a mob or mining a node because you forgot to train.
  2. Use cataclysm materials to gain skill points – For most professions, you can get a few more skill points from cataclysm recipes, which could be cheaper than using the new MoP materials.
  3. Turn in any completed daily quests you may have saved up – Its not going to be a huge XP boost, but every bit helps.
  4. Learn Pet Training – While most of the tameable critters in Pandaria will be lvl 24 or higher, its nice to have the skill for a quick diversion when leveling.

End of the day plans

At the end of the first day, there are a few more things you can do to make your next session more efficient:

  1. Mail off all materials you aren’t going to use immediately – Keeping your bag space free means a quicker start in your next session.  Mail off greens to your enchanter, cloth to your tailor and everything thing else to a alt.
  2. Travel to the Shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms – Its just a quick 10 – 15 min trip to ride to the Shrine in the Vale.  It is the new hub city for the expansion and contains a bank, inn and portals to all major cities, the best place to set your new hearthstone.
  3. Bonus: Start farming at Halfhill – Leveling cooking will take lots of vegetables gained from farming, you can start as early as 85 with just four plots.  Worth the effort if you have time.

I hope you found something useful to add to your MoP launch gameplan.  Above all else remember to have a good time and be ready to adapt to any unforeseen server outages or gameplay quirks.

Working in Harmony – Contributing to the raid effort

Mists of Pandaria is almost upon us.  Perhaps you’ve already noticed more names reappearing in your friends list?  Or smiled at masses gathered around the training dummies in the capital cities.  It’s that wonderful time, right before an expansion.  Guilds are once again recruiting and everyone is reading up on the coming expansion.  When the gates to Pandaria open on the 25th, we’ll be leveling up with guild mates, looking to get new loot and ultimately get ready for a new tier of raiding.  Our guild crafters have the additional responsibility to level their crafting professions and get crafting new enchants, glyphs,  feasts and flasks for upcoming raids.

This expansion, non-crafters finally have an easy way to help contribute to guild supplies, in a time when materials will be scarce and expensive on the auction house.  Spirit of Harmony tokens, are gained from combining 10 Motes of Harmony, which are in turn gained from killing any mob in Pandaria.  You average 1 mote every 10 mobs and so 1 Spirit of Harmony from 100 mobs.  Spirit of Harmony tokens can be exchanged for trade goods likes Golden Lotuses (used for flasks), Ironpaw tokens (used in exchange for vendor only materials for feasts) and many other items.  By the time you have hit 90 and have access to the vendor in the Shrines in Vale of Eternal Blossoms, you will have a least 8 – 12 tokens.  Using these could help your guild get the materials needed to maximize stats for raiding, leading to quicker progression.

Ding! :Spending Valor in MoP

Having stayed a way from the Beta for the last few weeks, I finally patched up and finished leveling Nemain, my fury warrior up to 90.  While I had read about the changes to Justice and Valor point gear in various fansites, I was not prepared for the shock of not finding a Valor vendor in the Alliance shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.  Valor points can be redeemed on reputation vendors for ilvl 489 epics, requiring Revered reputation to purchase.

The pieces that offered by faction are as follows:

Golden Lotus: Shoulder, Chest, Finger
Shado-Pan: Head, Back, Trinket
Klaxxi: Neck, Legs, Waist
The August Celestials: Wrist, Hands, Feet

What this means is that hitting 90 doesn’t mean switching from quests to dungeon grinding immediately.  Instead you will want to balance out dungeon runs with daily quests from the faction of your choice and also work on finishing any quest lines with those factions which give you rep.  For example, Completing the entire Kalaxxi quest line (which is basically the entire Dread Wastes zone) will take you well through honored and just a few days of dailies away from Revered.

Datamined : New Server type to be Introduced in MoP

Nude Pandarian Female Model BETA

In a WoW Altoholic exclusive, datamining of the latest Mists of Pandaria beta patch has has revealed a new server type to be introduced with MoP, PVE-ARP (Adult Roleplay).

/chk SERVER_TYPE if(TRUE) PVE-01
/chk SERVER_TYPE if(TRUE) PVE-RP
/chk SERVER_TYPE if(TRUE) PVE-ARP else()
/chk SERVER)TYPE if(TRUE) PVP (break)

With the increasing interest in Moonguard server for its Adult themed role play in the Goldshire Inn, Blizzard has decided to address and expand it user base by adding PVE- Adult Role Play servers.

Mike Morhaime(president and a co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment) was quoted as saying “It’s kind of a crazy idea, but I’m the president of the company, and I get to have some of those sometimes.”  This addresses the negative reaction to the Pet Battle system being introduced and complaints that we were abandoning our Hardcore fans and catering to a younger casual crowd.

This will provide an age verified solution to players that complain that their servers are full of 12-yr olds.  In addition it plays into our goals of MoP to get the players out of the cities to explore the world and each other rather than just inns and the Deeprun Tram.

Insider sources also reviewed that the introduction of this new server type is the reason for the delay in updating the character models.  “We had basically finished all the new character models when the dev team came up with the idea for the Adult Roleplay servers.  I mean there would be no point in introducing the new character models if we didn’t have the animations to support it.  In addition we found that we could integrate a lot of the work we had done for the dance studio if we added a pole.”  The insider confirms that the “naked” pandaren image seen above was from a earlier build, with more “fur” options in the newer models.

As with all new WoW mechanics we want to start small and maybe relax the rules later.  If successful, we could see expanding to include “adult” roleplay transmog sets as rewards for PVE-Adult scenarios, short encounters for 3-5 players without the need for a “tank” or “healer” so players can hop in and out with quicker queues.

Unfortunately we could not get a release date for the new server type, but were assured that they are working hard to have the feature ready for the launch of MoP or Soon™ after.

Catch-22 : The unanswered problems with the proposed LFR Loot System

Ghostcrawler just posted a Dev Watercooler Blog addressing the proposed LFR Loot system for Mists of Pandaria.  A system that was not clearly articulated in the press interviews when it was revealed during the MoP Press event and a subject that has caused much heated discussion in the official forums and other fansites.  While the article does clear up a few questions, in my opinon, the bigger and more troubling questions remain unanswered.

Perhaps Blizzard is not prepared to answer these questions as its still in the design stage and cannot be fulled answered but at the same time, they are answers that need to be answered before the end of beta.  Let’s look at the Loot system more closely after the break.

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To Beta or Not to Beta

MoP Beta Launcher

Unfortunately I have not been invited to the Mists of Pandaria (MoP) Beta; but having signed up for the Annual Pass deal, it’s just a matter of time.  That said, I know several people that have been invited; and if you read your server’s trade chat, it is easy to find plenty of people who have gotten in.  So the question remains: would you, should you, will you participate in the MoP beta?

Some personal thoughts on the subject, after the break…

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Checking in

Image

Its been a long time since I last wrote anything for this blog, and for that, I am sorry.  It has been a large combination of things, real life, slight burn-out from the game and other factors.  So what have I been up to since I last wrote?

One of the major things was trying out the Star Wars : The Old Republic MMO that came out in December last year. I was feeling burnt out from Cataclysm in post LFR rut where I was just logging in to do the LFR on 10 characters a week.  With the LFR the desire to do 5-mans was diminished, and LFR was a mixed bag with loot frustration and nerdrage from baddies in PVP gear ruining some of the fun.  So I tried one of the SWTOR beta weekends and was pretty hooked with the familiar yet different gaming experience.  I did that for about 3 months and then quit.  My sub doesn’t run out till late April but I felt it was time to go.  It was a worthwhile diversion and I leveled 3 characters in my typically altoholic fashion before I said goodbye.  I think the best part of SWTOR was making me appreciate the little things from WoW.  Something I want to address in a separate post.

I’ve still been active in WoW, working through the current content of Dragon Soul, with 2 characters raiding regularly and the other 8 just tooling around in LFR and doing some 5-mans.  In a lot of ways, the best part of LFR has been the broadening the accessibility of end game content for casual players.  For altoholics like myself this has been a particular boon.

So as we look ahead to the next expansion coming in 3-4 months, I am sure we’ll have lots to talk about.  I want to be more active in this blog so look forward to more posts coming up.  If you missed me or even like the content a little, leave me a comment good or bad.  It’s hard to get motivated when you don’t have any feedback.

Preparing for Cataclysm

With less than a week to the Cataclysm launch, what steps are you taking to prepare yourself for the expansion?  I’ve taken the time to prepare both in-game and out of the game for the expansion.  How does your checklist compare to mine?  Find out after the break.

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The Blues – Moonkin Hatchling and Lil’ Ragnaros Now Available

The Blues highlights important “blue” posts from the World of Warcraft official forums.

We’re pleased to announce that the two recently revealed in-game pets, Lil’ Ragnaros and the Moonkin Hatchling, have now made their way to the Pet Store section of the online Blizzard Store.
Customers in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Spain can purchase digital items from the Blizzard Online Store using direct debit for their region. This new payment method will allow customers from those countries to purchase digital pets without the need for credit cards.

Lil’ Ragnaros, the Tiniest Firelord
Ragnaros, the dread master of all fire elementals, will return in Cataclysm to avenge his defeat in Molten Core. And what better way to head into battle than with a miniature version of the firelord himself following at your beck and call? Lil’ Ragnaros, just like his full-scale namesake, burns with constant fury (not to mention flames that serve as a handy cooking fire) and comes equipped with the legendary hammer Sulfuras. And as a being of pure elemental fire, he has no need to walk from place to place — he just submerges into the magma below the world’s surface when you start walking and reemerges when you stop.

Moonkin Hatchling Charity Pet — For the Children!
The googly-eyed Moonkin Hatchling, which comes in unique Horde and Alliance versions, will occasionally plant flowers at your feet, and happily /dances with any willing partners. Like last year’s Pandaren Monk, the Moonkin Hatchling has a soft spot for helping children. For every Moonkin Hatchling adopted from now through December 31, 2010, Blizzard Entertainment will donate 50% of the €10 purchase price to the Make-A-Wish Foundation®.

 

Thanks to the support of all the World of Warcraft players out there who purchased the Pandaren Monk last year, we were able to donate more than $1.1 million to the Make-A-Wish Foundation this past February. We’re looking forward to making another big contribution to this great cause on behalf of the World of Warcraft community following the close of this year’s promotion.

To learn more about the Pet Store, please visit the Pet Store FAQ, and for more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the U.S. visit www.wish.org and outside the U.S. visit www.worldwish.org.