Leveling Guide: Legion Invasions

I died taking this screenshot, TALENT!

Taking a step away from Blizzcon news for a bit here to talk about something that I’m sure is not far from all of our minds right now: Leveling! With the news of a different questing experiences for Horde and Alliance, now’s as good a time as ever to dust off that forgotten Horde alt or abandoned Alliance toon.

(Or, if you want, you could wait until 7.3.5 for the changes to leveling zones, but now’s a good time too!)

I don’t know about you guys, but after about four times through, Legion questing zones got pretty stale. There’s only so many times you can save Azuna or watch Y’sera fall before the impact just isn’t the same. Luckily, Blizzard introduced a handy new mechanic to get your toons to 110. Invasions!
No… not those invasions, these invasions!

Thanks to these occasional Legion incursions, I’ve leveled up five characters to max with a sixth and seventh well on their way! Since I’ve gotten this style of leveling pretty much down to a science, I figured I could throw together a little guide to potentially help out others!

Legion Invasion Leveling

You will need:

  • A toon 100 or above
    • (If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can actually start doing Invasions as early as level 98, but since the mobs do not scale lower than 100, this can prove difficult for some classes.)
  • The ability to log on at the sometimes oddly timed Invasions

How does it work?

Legion Invasions pop up in one of the leveling zones of Legion roughly every 12 hours. That can mean they’re up at peak playtime on a Friday night or up at three in the morning on a Tuesday – it’s all up to how the clock ticks down. I use https://wow.gameinfo.io/invasions to track when the next invasions are coming up.

Just like an invasion at max level, leveling invasions have a variety of world quests with a variety of rewards. The world quests themselves are actually the same ones that come up for max leveled toons, it’s just the reward that has been changed. Some reward Order Hall Resources, others AP, and the most attractive ones give extra XP (every invasion rewards a base amount of XP). This, like all things, is up to RNG. Sometimes you’ll get an invasion with a bunch of XP world quests and other times, there will be just one lonely XP mission, but in either case, the invasion is still more time efficient than all other forms of leveling.

Depending on how good your RNG luck is, each invasion can give you between two thirds to well over one level each. I’ll say that again: each invasion gives you between two thirds to well over one level each. That is a metric ton of experience points! Effectively, you’re going to go up a level every invasion (with the way XP typically ends up working out).

If you do an invasion all by yourself, taking out every world quest solo, the whole process will probably take between half an hour to forty five minutes. (I made the mistake early in my leveling process of doing this.) However, you do not have to go alone! A quick search of the Group Finder menu will yield dozens up on dozens of groups for each invasion world quest. Simply fly over to the world quest area, join one of those, and you’re golden! Depending on how solid your groups are, you could be done with the entire invasion in as little as twenty minutes!

One word of warning though, before you go plunging off to level all your alts – you will be squishy. Leveling via invasions doesn’t really give much in the way of gear, so odds are, you will hit 110 in the same 100 gear you stepped onto the Broken Isles with. It is totally doable, especially with the added protection that Group Finder groups offer, but definitely be aware! (EDIT: If you’re not cheap like me, you can buy the heirloom upgrade tokens and completely circumvent this issue.  Thank you Vall for reminding me of this! <3)

And voila! I don’t know if Legion invasions will remain after the expansion is over, but for the time being, they are the most time effective way to get from 100-110. Hopefully this post has provided you with some previously unknown tips. And if you happen to know a trick that I didn’t mention, definitely put it in the comments.

Happy leveling!

Legion First Look

stormheimThe long awaited Legion expansion has finally dropped! Here’s Fussypants and Yotaan’s first impressions of the new expansion.

Fussypants: First things first, I want to give kudos where kudos are due, that pre-expansion event was AWESOME!  The quests, the invasions, the whispers, all were perfect for building up the excitement and anticipation for the final drop.  The Legion invasions in particular got me two new level 100s (a druid from 80 and a rogue from 64) as well as a bunch of shiny new gear to outfit out all my alts.  Two thumbs up from me!

Secondly, I’ve got another person to thank.  I would have had to wait several days for my copy of Legion to finally arrive had it not been for the super generous actions of one of my guildies.  Thank you so much Frandall for giving me the key that allowed me to enter Legion the day of launch!  You’re the real MVP!

Finally, onto the expansion itself!  I, of course, started leveling with my Holy Paladin right off the bat.  The whole Class Hall and artifact introduction was very, very well done (but I do have to say, it’s a little weird to be the big man in charge of all the paladins in Azeroth; I’m much more used to being underling number three).  I totally adored that aquiring the healing artifact took, you guessed it, healing! My lifelong dream has finally come true, healing quests are a thing!

the-silver-handSpeaking of healing quests being a thing, you know what else is a thing? Leveling in healing spec!  That’s right, I’ve been shockadining my way across the Broken Isles since the first moment I stepped foot and for the first time, it hasn’t been horribly inconvenient.  In fact, it’s much more akin to tank leveling now- I can pull anywhere from 3 to 5 mobs, pop a few AoEs, toss a couple heals on myself, and widdle down each and every mob.  The process has probably been slower than if I were leveling in a dps spec but at the same time, I cannot die.  And really, compared to previous expansions (looking at you Warlords), the only drawback is that it’s a just a bit slower instead of taking twice the amount of time.  Healers rejoice!

Right now I am level 105 and have quested through the entirety of Azuna and a majority of Stormheim.  If I were to write about each zone in specifics, we’d be looking at several thousand words so instead I’ll just brief over a few things that really stood out to me overall.  The biggest and best thing so far is that I haven’t been hit over the head with demons.  Sure, the Legion is invading and all that, but there’s a plethora of other lore having nothing to do with the demons.  Vykrul lore and Night elf lore and heck, even current Alliance v Horde lore, it’s been everywhere and it’s been awesome!

The other thing that has really stood out to me is the development of little side quests and characters.  I feel like everywhere I go, there is some fun little tidbit to watch out for.  Some of it has been highly comedic but others side stories have been incredibly sad.  If I had to recommend side quests to look for, my top three would definitely be Runas in Azuna, Tehd’s demon in Azuna as well, and the Moonkin up in Northern Stormheim.  (The goblins in Stormheim might also join that list but I have not yet completed that particular quest chain.)

Legion has just been… wow.  The story is fantastic, the zones are gorgeous, the voice acting is superb, man it’s almost perfect!  Now my only wish is that Blizzard maintains this level of perfection into the endgame; if this happens we might be looking at Pants’ new favorite expansion!

This part of the zone was so beautiful, I have over 50 screenshots of it!

This part of the zone was so beautiful, I have over 50 screenshots of it!

Yotaan: I have to agree with Fussypants, I really, really enjoyed the pre-expansion event.  The quests were an enjoyable as lore building.  I actually began to like Khadgar!  I do wish the whispers that lead to transforming into a demon were a little different.  The RNG gods smiled on my toons twice for this, but I was not able to complete the chores to transform.  It was not entirely easy or clear what to do.  I was hoping to achieve this (ala the Scourge transformation in the Lich King pre-expansion event) as I wanted to rampage as a vile Legion demon!  Speaking of rampages, the Legion invasions were very fun.  Initially, I was thought they were too simple – I had quickly grinded out Nethershards on Yotaan and did not need any gear.  But then I learned that they scaled for alt leveling.  I jumped on Poopertunity (for some reason Fussypants does not like this toon???) who was a lowly level 13 Brewmaster monk.  He had rested experience, full heirlooms, and access to the monk only daily experience gain quest.   So he joined the fight against the Legion and leveled like a mad dog!  It was so fun watching him ding repeatedly during just one invasion.  The other interesting effect of the invasion scaling was Poopertunity’s threat generation.  He was tanking the elites!  I had not really tanked on a monk (outside of a little with Fussypant’s help) and this new challenge was fun and rewarding.  It got even better the few times a healer targeted me and I never thought tanking would be so engaging.  Ultimately Poopertunity made it all the way to 71 from 13.  Very impressive for just a few hours of play.

Demon hunters are fantastic.  Fussypants and I intend to write a whole post on this so I won’t say any more.

Yotaan has not traveled in the Broken Isle as much as Fussypants has.  He is level 102 and has gone thorough most, but not all of Azuna.  The scenery has been beautiful to say the least.  When I came across unicorns and rainbow winged hippogriffs, I immediately ran off to get my youngest daughter to show her.  She loved it and demanded that Yotaan stay there forever.  I can really appreciate the new draw distance and attention to detail even on my Mac.  So far the questing has been inventive and the narrative has been reasonably complex.  I did not always know where the story was taking me.  I am a little bit concerned about leveling too fast as I want to take this slowly, but then again, the scaling tech is allowing me to go anywhere.

I am not particularly thrilled about the profession leveling however.  While the quests are cool and unique to the prof, I’m not actually making anything I could use.  Perhaps when I get farther along it will improve.

In an earlier post I complained about the shaman elemental artifact, a fist weapon.  The quests for Yotaan to obtain The Fist of Ra-Den were unusual and I liked the traveling beyond the Broken Isles.  The artifact tree totally reminds me of spec trees back in Burning Crusade.  All that is good.  Still don’t like the pointy claw thing and the teeny tiny shield.  I’m actually motivated to transmog….

Despite the very few missteps I overall really really like Legion so far.  I haven’t had a chance to play as much as Fussypants, for that I am jealous.  And, patch 7.1 is looking very exciting.   See you in Azeroth!

Save the Date: LEGION

Legion DropWith little fanfare or hype building, Blizzard announced the release date for the highly anticipated Warcraft expansion Legion.  The 6th expansion is set to come out August 30th, 2016, giving players a few more months to wait.  Here’s what Fussypants and Yotaan thought about the announcement!

Fussypants: I will admit, I was really surprised by the lack of build up.  Just last expansion, Blizzard had a huge announcement at a fancy venue (which Yotaan and I had the infinite luck to be able to attend). The hype levels were off the chart! And then we get this drop announcement which feels almost like an after thought.  It’s just this strange disconnect.

As for the actual drop date, I’m a bit bummed but not entirely surprised by how late into the year it is.  Legion drops right around the beginning of school for me which means I’m going to be spending all summer languishing in WoD.  Bleh.
But this also means I have 4 months to plan and get ready! Here’s what I want to accomplish in that break.

  • Finish upgrading Fussypants’ legendary ring.  I’m 3 weeks away from ilvl 795 so I doubt this will take very long
  • Finish the ring quest on both my mage and my priest.  Both characters are at the tomes and shipyard part and I’ve been getting those tomes to drop like crazy.  However, due to my intense aversion to it, the shipyard part always takes me significantly longer.
  • Get my druid to level 100.  There will likely be a slight delay in this as I plan on stopping her at 80 for a bit to do some Herald of the Titans runs but my end goal is to have her at max, ready to venture into Legion for those spiffy druid artifacts.

All in all, I don’t have a ton of things I want to accomplish in those 4 months which worries me a little bit.  Hopefully I’ll find more things to do or else I might be spending a lot less time in game come summertime.

Yotaan:  I was expecting release date closer to the film premiere, so I suppose I was hoping for a July date.  For my schedule is somewhat the opposite of Fussypants’ so the August 30th is actually quite convenient for me. I did really enjoy our fortuitous cinematic premiere for the last release and its too bad there is no similar event this time around.

As for future plans, I have played WoW sporadically at best.  I’m not quite the raider the Pants is. But I have been steadily leveling a few toons.  I have a death knight at 81 and a shadow priest at 67 – my goal is to get them both at 100.  I might even transfer some 90’s toons from other servers to our current home server.

Additionally, I’ll be maxing out blacksmithing for the first time.  As it happens, this is the one profession we have never maxed out on any toon ever.  I’m probably doing it wrong as I’m leveling it while I level the death knight.

My only other goal is get more mounts.  Yotaan traveled back to his old farm back at Halfhill and bought up a bunch of goats.  He then went way back to the Argent Tournament and used up some ole’ Champion Seals.  Since Yotaan was Yotin the troll back in Wrath he never got the Alliance mounts.  We are edging closer and closer to 200 mounts and it would be great to hit that by Legion!

My biggest challenge may very well be to play Wow as Hearthstone has grabbed my attention.  Standard play comes out in 2 days!  New cards!

Leveling Guide: Detention Block Rush

(Continuing with the theme of leveling dungeons)
Today I learned a new trick.  You would think, that as an 8 year veteran of the game, I would have learned all there is to learn about this game, know it inside and out, and have discovered all it’s secrets.  You would be thinking incorrectly.  In fact, I only discovered the true use of alt-tab a few months ago (true story, the raid thought it was hilarious).

And today, I’ve learned yet another new trick.

Setting the scene
So you’ve reached the dreaded level 47.  You know Blackrock Depths will soon be looming in your dungeon queues.  Over and over, you’ll be forced to run that long and tedious instance.  But what if I told you… there was another option?

I call it the “Detention Block Rush”.

You will need
A toon in the level range between 47 and 57
A group that will listen to your advice (or a pre-made one)

Detention Block Rush: How does it work?

Guide all together
In order to use this trick, you must queue up only for the instance Blackrock Depths: Detention Block.  It should become available to queue at level 47 and phases out at level 57.  I guess you can queue for random and only use this trick when the dungeon happens to pop, but trust me, it’s  a lot more XP a lot quicker if you solely queue up for this dungeon.

Once inside the instance, you and your group need to take the Dark Iron Mole Machine directly to your right.  Select the option “Just past the Grim Guzzler”.  Then, jump down over the railing to the walkway leading to the fire elemental boss, Lord Incendius.

Go ahead and take down the elemental, do a complete 180, and start working your way back through that door way and the adds that lie beyond.  Take down a couple of packs of mobs and you will find yourself fighting Fineous Darkvire.  If you notice, Darkvire is the last boss in this wing of the dungeon. Once you kill him, you get a nice chunk of XP and the instance is over.  And this took you, what, 5 minutes?

That’s right.  You’ve just skipped 20+ minutes of trash and unnecessary bosses.

 

You’re welcome.

 

 

Tips and Tricks for the Bold and Brave
If you get into a particularly strong group, your tank can chain pull everything from Lord Incendius all the way up to Fineous.  It’ll take a good amount of tank and healer cooldowns and some coordination but it’s perfectly doable.  If your tank pulls quickly, this method can reduce the run to only 2 minutes.

If you get an even stronger group, there is a third option that you can take.  Once you take the mole machine down near the Grim Guzzler, have the tank target one of the adds in the pack that is across the divide.  Throw any sort of ability at them (Taunt, Faerie Fire, some other ranged pull) as you jump over the edge.  And then brace for impact!

Guide 4The mobs you have targeted will run all the way down, dragging Fineous and a large pack of mobs with them.  Grab Lord Incendius real fast, get to the doorway, and start AoEing! Once the dust has settled, the two bosses will both be down and the entire instance will be complete.

This option requires a very strong tank and heals because the damage from all those mobs can be very intense.  But again, if your healer and tank coordinate you will have no problems handling all the mobs.  This method further reduces the run to a whopping 1 minute.  One minute for two boss kills and a large chunk of XP for completing the wing? I’d take it!

So there you have it! Pants’ super fast leveling trick!  With good groups and fast queues, you can speed from level 47 to level 57 in under an hour.  Happy rushing!

(Note: Special thanks to Zanima for protecting my low leveling bear butt!)

Leveling Professions – Or at least I’m trying to

Bonus points for anyone who gets the references

Bonus points for anyone who gets the reference

Warlords is in the end of expansion doldrums. Unless you raid like Fussypants, there is not much new to do. So I usually level some new characters. In MOP I leveled up a dwarf windwalker monk. Now that was fast, with heirlooms and the monk leveling bonus that little dude skyrocketed to max level!

So, this expansion, I was looking at the Legion changes for the difference classes. They are planning to really emphasize the fantasy of the class. Some are pretty much the same and some are a lot different. I then read about Shadow priests and their resource change to Insanity. That sounds cool! I’m gonna level a shadow priest! What’s even better is that it will be Horde and Forsaken – clearly the most obvious choice.

Now in the past 8 years of WoW, I have leveled plenty of toons. There are scattered ones over several servers at many levels. However, this is the first time I leveled during this expansion.

I wanted to make this a quick endeavor, I don’t need to spend a lot of time at lower levels. Thus, I fully outfitted my new baby priest with heirlooms. I had a plan of attack – go through Tirisfal Glades and then on to Hillsbrad. Gotta do the Welcome to the Machine quest!

Ahhh, relaxing leveling. Oneshotting the mobs. This is easy! Then I made a mistake.
I decided to level professions at the same time.

Oh boy.

Well, it turns out the real challenge is the professions leveling!   I chose Enchanting and Tailoring. These typically go well together as you can disenchant your tailoring greens as you move up in the profession. No biggie, I thought. My leveling priest even had the advantage of a guild bank (albeit on a very quiet sister guild of the main Alliance guild.) The GB even had a lot of leveling mats. No problem then, right?

Nope, it was a big problem. Even with the extra GB mats, I still needed a lot more cloth. I wiped out the bank’s supply of different cloths pretty quickly. Linen? Gone. Wool? Gone. Silk? Gone. Now, it was rough but manageable.   And yet, getting to the 50’s profession level was terrible. The different cloths rarely dropped. Very little was in the bank. I had to rely on the Auction House – very, very ,very expensive. My toon soon ran out of gold (twice).

So leveling my character took a backseat to leveling my professions. She had to run Stratholme over and over again to get certain mats (at least 10 times overall.) She entered the dungeon queue of Vanilla dungeons only to get more cloth drops. My toon also scoured the AH for underpriced items she could disenchant. The wall I was being hit with was Enchanting; I could not get it to 300.

Eventually, Fussypants lent a hand. By AH machinations we were able to push my professions well into Outland territory. Thank you, Fuss! We will probably have to do that again once or twice. I also have become savvier in the AH and bought underpriced enchanting mats that I will eventually need.

Clearly this is a big problem, leveling professions. While methods have been available to speed up a character’s level, nothing has been done about the professions. Some may argue that the Warlords catch-up mechanic is the solution. At Warlords level of 91 to 100 you can catch up on any profession. But that’s not the solution for my now 64 Shadow Priest. It would mean that she would not level her professions at all until she reached Draenor. Where’s the fun in that?

Hopefully, this will be addressed in the future expansion in some manner. It is more interesting to make my character improve all of her aspects together rather than just her level. I would even be okay with some cheap chintzy solution such has tailoring grey items and making dummy enchants if it only increased the skill level. At least, that way I can make a cool pair of pants and put +8 intellect on it when it really matters.

So, what do you think? Is it worth Blizzard’s time to rectify leveling professions? Or is this a waste of time, since most will use their boost to bypass the earlier expansions?