Friday, March 21, 2008

Leveling addons and other pointers

I have a few pointers on addons that are very helpful for leveling an alt or a character on a new server. The assumption here is that you have already played the game and experienced the content once, so this is just some advice on getting to 70 and the end game as quickly as possible. I’m limiting this discussion on addons to just those that I find most helpful while leveling.

Cartographer - Allows you to resize your map, record notes, set waypoints and display your notes on the minimap. Mostly however, we want this addon for the waypoint integration it provides with LightHeaded and MobMap. An optional download for Cartographer is Quest Objectives which will record quest updates for future alts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a built-in database but the objectives show themselves nicely on your mini-map.

MobMap - Provides an IN-GAME database of mob locations, mob drops, quest nodes, recipes, NPCs, and vendors. This is basically like Wowhead but it doesn’t require alt-tabbing and it hooks to your questlog and quest watcher, so you just need to click the [?] and it will visually show you the location. Click one of the white dots representing the location and it will create it Cartographer waypoint. This is essentially an Arrow that provides a direction heading and distance to that waypoint. Right-clicking the Arrow will open an option for you to cycle through waypoints and choose the one closest to your current location.

LightHeaded - What MobMap doesn’t provide are the comments people make about quests on Wowhead. LightHeaded is simply a database of all these Wowhead comments provided IN-GAME and is also attached to your questlog. The combination of the two addons provides both the locations and the comments with no need to alt-tab to your internet browser. More importantly however, is that if you have Cartographer installed, the location coordinates in the comments are highlighted as links. Clicking the link opens a waypoint!

QuestFu - There are a few addons that provide much of the functionality that QuestFu provides, so if you have one you already (like MonkeyQuest) then no need to change. While QuestFu is technically a plugin for FuBar, it can also act as a stand-alone addon that simply attaches to your mini-map. My favorite feature of this addon is that it tells me in the tooltip how many more of that particular mob or item drop. It serves as not only a reminder as to what I need to do, but it also points out the quest that it is needed. Another option that I like (at times) is the “Announce” feature. By default, this is turned off but you can set it up to announce to your party when an objective is completed or updated. This makes it very easy for two people to party together and know how many of a particular thing are still needed.

GarbageFu - Like QuestsFu, there are plenty of addons that offer similar functionality. All this addon does is sell all your grays (or other items you specify) whenever you visit the vendor. I always visit a vendor to repair and sell the grays, then go to the Auction House to sell off whatever is leftover.

Auctioneer Pack - Auctioneer is not something I would typically advocate as helpful in terms of leveling speed, but there are a couple of very useful features that it provides that do help considerably.

First, the addon Informant is included as part of the Auctioneer pack and provides a nice little database of item values and such. When completing quests that have no obvious beneficial reward, this can be used to simply pick the item that will vendor for the most gold.

Secondly, the main benefit of the addon is Appraiser. For leveling, I do NOT recommend doing large Auction House scans. You aren’t farming items of great value, so this is not super beneficial. However, what Appraiser offers you is a quick way to SELL SELL SELL. All you need to do is visit the AH, click the Appraiser tab – click Refresh then click “match competition” and the start posting auctions. You can empty your inventory in about 3 to 5 minutes at prices that will typically sell. The point here is not to maximize your profits, but to eliminate your excess inventory quickly and more profitably than you do it by simply vendoring. You can sit there and “work the Auction House” but who really cares when the item is just going to sell for 15 silver. This is REALLY true when the toon is a just an Alt. In terms of time for money, do you make more money farming something valuable for 20 minutes with your level 70 or “working the Auction House” to sell your level 50 whites and greens?

Other Tips
One BIG BIG tip I have for you on leveling is to be a Dual Gatherer. Once you reach 70, go ahead and abandon them if there is something else you want. This can be a significant source of income as you level and done correctly doesn’t require much additional effort. In particular, I suggest Skinning and then either Herbing or Mining. Mining will slow down your leveling speed, but is profitable enough to be worth the extra effort. If you take mining, make sure you have 300 mining before entering the Outlands and you will make a small fortune by the time you hit 70. Skinning takes very little extra effort, is easy to level and the Thick and Rugged leathers in particular go for BIG money for the respective level ranges. If you are a gatherer, you can also download optional plugins that records notes for mining and herb nodes for Cartographer.

It’s fairly common knowledge that leveling a quest two to three levels below you is about optimum for quick leveling. I always had trouble following this advice because I always seem to complete all the quests at my level really quickly. I found the trick to getting “ahead” of the game is to (very early on) run over to the other starting zones and complete those quests before they go gray. Keep this up all the way into your 20s and you’ll find that this never really becomes a problem later on. The other advantage of doing this is that you are less likely to “outlevel” your mining, skinning or herbalism profession. It can be a real headache to let your mining fall below the level of the nodes of the zone that you are currently visiting. You will spend a bit more time traveling early on, but you end up doing that quest early anyway.

In regards to traveling: Beg, borrow, buy or plead for a port to Shattrath as early as you possibly can. This is where you want to set your Hearth to reduce your travel time. Old world quests have a tendency to send you all over the place and Shattrath provides quick access to four different zones quickly. And remember that your Hearth is not limited to once every 60 minutes. Enter an instance and leave group and you are ghetto hearthed back to Shattrath where you can then port yourself anywhere you need.


forthus said...

I totally agree with your choice of Add-ons. However i read an archived blog about some sort of KoS list thingie? i couldn't find any that work mind telling me where i can find one? i think i would fine it fairly useful :P

sid67 said...

There are quite a Kill on Sight addons, but the one I use is an Ace addon called VanasKoS. I tried to keep the list focused on leveling addons and overlooked this one. While not a leveling helper on it’s own, it is absolutely an addon that I use while leveling on a PvP server. For one thing, you can put a tracker window up that alerts you to enemy faction is in the area. This simply spys on your combat log and game tooltip and reports whenever they are around. Secondly, since it keeps track of everyone who ganks you – it gives you a nice little payback list for later. It also lets you attach reasons to why that person is on your KoS. I reserve a little place in hell for anyone who ganks me at inconvenient times.

forthus said...

Aye i would leave a length post of the story of a particular warlock ganking me at 20 then of me getting to 60 out-gearing him and camping him in cenarion hold but i don't want to hijack your blog :P

Thanks for the add-on too