Okay, okay. I told myself I’d start writing this stuff up this weekend (and should be 85 tonight to finish it off) and I’d like to start getting these posts out so I can work on EVERYTHINGELSE™ I said I would (which include another stats posts, racials posts, and finally going through all the available heroics gear and compiling a BiS pre-raid list.)
Turn on the name option that shows you NPCs and Mob names based on quest status. This is on by default (Interface Options > Names > Dropdown Menu > Select “Quest NPCs”) and it makes it super awesome for questing because you are able to see the mobs you need to kill from far away without needing to mouseover or wait for a health bar.
If you’re directionally challenged like me, or just plain don’t want to read the quests, Blizzard’s quest interface is actually fairly good. Clicking on a number on your map will bring up the general area of where quests happen.
If you’re interested in leveling as fast as possible, do not be nice. You are a druid. That item on the ground that some guy is fighting a mob to get to? Flight form and take it from him. It’s an asshole thing to do, and that’s exactly what I will be doing(and it’s exactly what other people will be doing), but to get ahead it’s what needs to happen. :P If some guy is clearing his way to a mob that you need to kill, sprint and get there first, or stealth and get there first. You could probably group up if you don’t want to be THAT big of an ass. There are a few mobs that are a pain waiting for a respawn for. Assholery will pay off.
As a feral druid, you have several gap closers and ways to pull quickly. Growl, FFF (glyphed), Feral Charge (cat and bear – though they share a CD – glyphed), and do not forget that Skull Bash also acts as a charge. Additionally, you could probably moonfire spam pull. Try to pull a bunch if you have Berserk up and go bear form. Bear Berserk + large group of mobs = dead really, really, really fast.
Things to do before servers go down:
Clear your bags. If you can, get at least 20-slot bags.
If you like to get an experience lead, fill your quest logs with dailies (argent tourney and hodir) and turn them in before going to Hyjal or BRC. If you can, get quests like Algalon’s Reply Code Alpha, the Malygos Key quests (from Sapph – I think 10 and 25 are separate?) and the last part of the Battered Hilt chain(need to confirm that one), do so as those net a large chunk of XP. The faster you can get out of the starter zones, the better.
Set your Hearth to Stormwind. If you’re turning in Northrend quests, log out where those quests are. You can hearth to SW and pick up Hero’s Call: Hyjal (or, I think – need to check – you can just straight Teleport: Moonglade and skip SW all together)
Set up a Leveling spec. I set up my cat bars last night in Deepholm and I was getting crit left and right in cat spec. After about 4 mobs, I was below half health with LotP and with NI. Cat technically should be able to kill faster, but bear is sturdier and allows you to pull large groups and AoE them down with or without Berserk. Having a hybrid spec that caters to that is best.
What I’m considering: 0/31/5 I may go 2/3 furor and 1/2 Pred Strikes; That’s preference. (Note on my glyph choices: Thorns can be substituted out for Ferocious Bite, depending on your play preference. I personally forget thorns even exists, so I will likely change that to Bite or Maul.)
Level 81 – Master Shapeshifter
Level 82-83 – Survival Instincts and Nurturing Instinct – either or depending on preference
Level 84-85 – Endless Carnage
Plan of Attack:
Levels 80-82 – Hyjal (Completed)
Levels 82-83 – Deepholm (Completed)
Levels 83-84 – Uldum (Incomplete)
Levels 84-85 – Twilight Highlands (Incomplete)
Optional: Vash’jir (Completed)
Optional: Blackrock Caverns Grinding – still need to test this (Incomplete)
As a note: Leveling times were estimated and done with little-to-no competition for mobs.
Hyjal (80-82) About 3 hours to complete
Hyjal will get you to 82. We should have experience bars available with 4.0.3a, so there will be rested involved as well. All of the quest zones have been greatly streamlined. Each hub gives you breadcrumbs to a new one. If you run out of quests, you missed a trail somewhere. Occasionally Ysera will appear before you to give you more options. One of the easier missed trails is just after you complete the quest The Bears Up There. You get a follow-up, but there is also a breadcrumb that appears from a mounted NPC standing just outside the Grove of Aessina that allows you to progress into the Shrine of Aviana quest hub.
The above is the first quest hub split of Hyjal. You can either go south into the Flamewake or east to the Shrine of Aviana. I recommend going to the Shrine first. One of the quest lines of the shrine sends you very near to the quest hub in the Flamewake, so once you get the quest Fact-Finding Mission, you can finally go start Smashing Through Ashes and work your way through Flamewake. Or you can go do the quests at Sethria’s Roost and then Flamewake. Either or. :)
The very last quest line for Aviana can either be really fun for you or monstrously frustrating. I’ve leaned more towards monstrously frustrating. The quests are a tribute to the old arcade game Joust. The controls for the hippogryph are, in my opinion, very awkward. Turning and gaining altitude are a chore if you’re not used to it. At the end of all the frustration, you receive a non-combat mini jouster. Either blue or gold. I chose blue:
If you can manage to hit 82 without doing that chain… don’t do that chain until 85 if you want the pet.
There is also a quest, very early on, that allows you to take a Mole Machine to the Blackrock Caverns instance portal. The NPC is right near Baron Geddon. You can take the machine there, discover it, take the machine back and continue questing. If you zone in and turn the quest in, you cannot use the mole machine to return to Hyjal. It disappears. That’s probably the best way to discover BRC to be able to queue for it.
One last thing that I found amusing… When you’re doing the Shrine of Goldrinn quests, you’ll come across this fellow in a cave:
If you’re not in a hurry, click on the dialog bubbles. He gets hilariously angry at you when you stall.
Deepholm (82-83) About 4-4 1/2 hours to complete
Hearth to SW, train (Druid trainer is in a house by the lake north of the dwarven district. And a Worgen), and get the quests to lead into Deepholm. There are two. One to go to the Vortex, the other to scry and view what’s going on at the Vortex. Scry first. Trust me. You won’t be able to go to the Vortex otherwise. The entrance to Deepholm is nothing short of epic.
The quest lines are very straight forward and I only have a few things worth mentioning. Mobs started to hit a lot harder around here and you will either spend more time in bear or more time healing yourself.
There are at least 2 quests that have NPCs you can’t seem to find to kill. This is because they are on floating rocks above you. So if you’re flying around where the skull is on your minimap and you can’t find the stupid thing… Look up. :)
The quest On Second Thought, Take One Prisoner has the potential to be annoying and time consuming. When you’re on an alliance gunship (there’s only one), be ready for this one. You have to subdue the Ogre Mor’norokk the Hateful. Once he’s down to about 10%, he’ll become friendly. At this point, people can poach the quest complete (and so can you) and you’ll have to wait for the respawn to try again. It doesn’t matter who brings him down, it matters who talks to him first after he’s friendly. If you want this done fast… right-click fast.
Lastly, the quest Wrath of the Fungalmancer is a bit confusing on where to start. If you enter the cave and there is no NPC there, chance are someone else is doing it. Wait just inside the entrance of it for Earthmender Norsala to appear to start the quest event. Again, this quest can be poached if you aren’t quick.
Vash’jir (Optional) About 5-6 hours to complete
The reason Vash’jir is optional is because of the time it takes to complete the zone compared to the others. I only gained about a level and a half, which I would do in deepholm for an hour or so less time. The zone itself is huge(and beautiful), and being underwater makes it a bit more difficult to move around. However, you will have to complete Vash’jir at some point. Vash’jir houses the Earthen Ring quartermaster who appears about 1/3 of the way through.
Once you’re past the first quest hub, you are able to obtain a seahorse mount through a short series of quests. Once you learn the mount, you can then use Aquatic Form for the same speed. I have no idea if this was intentional, but it rocked.
There are a few quests in the beginning two quest hubs that are hidden. You’ll forgive me if I don’t list the names right away. Kill any eel to unlock a quest to kill more eels. Kill a red crab (you kill yellow-skinned crabs for a quest) and loot to unlock a treasure chest quest. Kill a muckcrawler (the man-like crab things) and loot to get a quest. Kill a goblin treasure horder and loot to get a quest.
Vash’jir basically just keeps on going and going and going… The lore is quite good, but like I said if you want to level quickly, avoid this zone.
I should be finishing up Twilight Highlands and Uldum this weekend. The BRC test will happen later, probably right before beta closes, as that’s going to be more accurate information on the experience gain.