Friday, September 18, 2009

Alternate Fridays: Battle Hardened

So for today I want to take a look at another one of my alts on my main server. Towards the end of the Burning Crusade I leveled my Hunter to 70, but because of how short the time frame was I did not spend nearly as much time on his development as I did Ruhtra and Emprius. Now do not go feeling sorry for Lrem as he had a full set of epics at 70. The difference for him was that I used his Dragon Leatherworking abilities to create his gear along with a cloak I made from Emprius. I rounded his old gear with some PVP shoulders and the weapons from battlegrounds. Shortly after Ruhtra and a few others reached level 80, we started running some older content to help out alts in the guild. During one of those runs I acquired a nice set of PVE shoulders and a bow. (I will go back and edit the actual names in; however, at work I cannot access a lot of the resources to get the specific names so I apologize for this.) So you can see that my Hunter was well geared to begin his grind to 80.

So maybe a few weeks after Ruhtra hit 80, I started playing with my alts. I leveled my Priest to 68 before burn out hit. I leveled Whoopy to 70 and have been having a lot of fun with him, but it has been more slow since switching his spec and taking the time to learn the class. Emprius I took to 73 and just dreaded the thought of running instances and questing the same stuff I just had gone through with my Paladin. Alright, I did bypass most of the Wrath content by leveling at the end of the BC content and running nothing but instances, but as a healer I could always get a group so it was easy to level in this manner. I leveled my Warrior, Muel, up to level 46 in order to equip Kang the Decapitator, and messed around with a few other alts.

Then there was Lrem, whom I really loved to play. The main reason why Lrem was the last character I leveled to 70 during BC was that we have always had around three really good hunters within our guild. Well, since Wrath launched we are down to one really good Hunter which means there is a possiblity to be able to utilize Lrem for actual guild raiding and other functions. Another thing that has worked out well is the timing. We have a few extra healers working on their characters, which let's me not have to be the "main" healer. So I decided at the beginning of the week that I would work on my Hunter. He was sitting at 71 and was itching to get out there and shoot some baddies!

Now Lrem is a beast master Hunter and I have no intention to change that. After all I am afraid Smiley would be terribly upset if he was not allowed to come out and play. However, I do not use the standard Hunter pets that most beast master Hunters will use. Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against the cats, dogs, and wolves of the game, but there is just something special that Widowmaker and Lrem share. I do not know if it was the near 30 times of dieing while trying to tame her back in Silverpine or the fact that everyone has always told me to get rid of the "spider" as a pet. Whatever the reason, Widow and Lrem are as tight as Snuggs and Ed.

So, I started messing around with Lrem on Monday. I was trying to work up the desire to go out and quest my little heart out to gain levels. I failed. I sat there staring at the screen. I contemplated logging off and working on the auction house or going and watching a DVD. Then the thought hit me. I was bored, when I use to get bored I would run battlegrounds. So why not run a battleground? I remember Blizzard was now giving experience for running battlegrounds and thought I would check it out. So into the Alterac Valley did Lrem and Widow go. I was greeted by the usual "OMFG!! A lowbie!!" type of comments. A few people whispered me asking about my arena shoulders. The battle began and I ran out of the cave and mounted my Black War Kodo (that was my very first epic mount for Lrem) and charged down the field heading towards Bal. I got to Bal and a bunch of folks were standing there doing absolutely nothing. I hit Beastial Wrath and sent Widow in. The folks followed suit like good mindless droans and we burned down Bal. It flashed on my screen and I sat there stunned in disbelief. I received over 18,000 experience for that one kill. I charged out of Bal and headed to Icewing Bunker where I captured the flag and guarded the tower with a couple other folks. The bunker burns down and there it was again! Another 18,000 experience.

It was at that moment that I found the path for leveling my characters. I charged out and headed back to Stonehearth to retake that bunker and burn it down. Again, 18,000 experience rolled across my screen when it burned. Since Monday I have spent only a couple hours per day in the battlegrounds with Lrem, yet I have gone from 71 to 78 in only four days (8 hours roughly of play). That is rediculous experience for a battleground, yet I think it is fit. At this point trying to find groups is a chore. Not because there are not groups available, but the players in the groups I am finding now are lacking in skill (that is putting it mildly) and for some reason I have a hard time getting a response in guild chat when I ask for help. So for me, the battlegrounds are very viable option.

Some of the positives to leveling Lrem in this manner is that I have met some pretty nice people who I only get to see when in the battlegrounds. It is nice to roll into a group and know half of it. It definitely helps for communication and organization. Another nice aspect of this is that my wife has been working on her Hunter (Lovkinja) as well and we get to watch our pets rip face while we blow their heads off together. The family that BGs together stays together I guess could be our family moto. Another nice aspect is that it is relatively easier to go after battleground achievements in the pre-80 groups than at 80. I have tried for several achievements with Ruhtra (who has full arena gear for PVP) and have not come close; whereas with Lrem, I am burning the achievements up right and left.

Now it would not be fair if I did not list a couple of the negatives for leveling in this manner that I have seen as well. The biggest negative to me is going to be gear. At level 77, the majority of my gear is the arena gear from BC. Deminishing returns is going to slap me like a pimp slaps a ho when I try to run soemthing at 80. The only positive side is that I have earned quite a bit of honor and have been acquiring level 80 PVP gear, which will allow me to hold my own in some key heroics to acquire some PVE gear. The down side there is that it will take me a little longer to gear than it did with Ruhtra I am afraid. The other big downside for Hunters is that our pets do not gain the experience from the towers and bosses that our characters do. This means that when I hit level 80, Widow will only be level 75. This does not bother me so much as Widow is not really the pet I will use in PVE content anyway (that honor will be Smiley's). So I have always realized that I would end up having to work on finishing up the leveling of a pet.

All in all I am extremely happy with this method of leveling. I earn way more experience by running battlegrounds and enjoying the game verses running instances that I dispise and spending countless hours trying to complete quests. Is it perfect for everyone? Probably not, but if you follow my blog then you know that I am way happier fighting Alliance verses beating on some guy that has already been beat down by hundreds of thoursands of other folks. Call me crazy but you rarely end up with the same thing happening in a battleground and that I like. Sure it is aggrevating to get ROFLSTOMPED into the ground by a group of 80s, but it is extremely satisfying to watch an 80 think they will ride right through me only to get webbed by Widow and burned down. In the end, to me, it is about enjoying the game. I have one character who is geared and able to do whatever I want. The rest, for me, is all about having fun, and that fun jut happens to focus on killing other players.

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