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Leveling From 85 to 90 Without Questing

Hello Patch 5.3.0, it could be nice to meet you.

Now me being me, I haven’t really looked too deeply into what Patch 5.3 is giving us.  That would take time, and what little I have for World of Warcraft is best spent in game, not reading about it.  You could probably swing by MMO Champion and find a breakdown on all the patch highlights.

There’s two things that did grab my interest in the patch notes.  Thing the first is the Patch 5.3 Changes being made to Death Knights.  Let’s go over them, shall we?

HAHAHA seriously what the Hell!  That’s it?! I make more of an effort when I’m changing my underwear than Blizzard does making changes to Death Knights.  Either the class is really that awesome, or Blizzard doesn’t care because most people aren’t playing Death Knights enough to notice the need for change.

Now let’s get to the more important 5.3 change that many people are sporting cyber-wood over:

The amount of XP needed to level from 85 to 90 has been reduced by 33%. 

 Can you hear that?  That sobbing sound you hear is the tears of joy from the people who have been waiting forever to level their alts.  That other nasty sound you might be hearing is angry people who have already leveled their alts to 90 and are showering their keyboards with rage pee.

I, for one, don’t blame either group.  As pretty as Pandaria might be, it’s just like any other leveling zone.  Once you’ve quested through it a couple of times, you’re pretty much happy to never see it again.  Some people muscle through the content a couple more times and then wash their hands in it.  Some insane people level ten of their alts to 90 without somehow losing their minds.

Because I clearly have issues that the medical community still can’t explain, I started leveling my third Death Knight from 85 to 90.  I’d be at the character selection screen, see that 85 DK and think to myself that yes, today would be the day I would take him to level 86. But as soon as I saw the inside of that inn in Jade Forest, my brain would send anxiety waves to my hands and render them useless.  It was like suffering agoraphobia, only in this case my fear was going outside in a digital world and facing humanoid Pandas with exclamation points hovering over their heads.

There had to be a better way to level.  No, check that.  It didn’t have to be better, it just had to be something that didn’t make me feel like I was being made to drink a bucket of warm donkey piss at gunpoint.

My alternatives were limited.  I didn’t have a gathering profession, so I wouldn’t be reaching 90 by way of picking flowers or smashing rocks.  Dungeons was definitely an alternative, but that had the double downside of first looking at queues of 15-30 minutes as a DPS class, then dealing with four other strangers and hoping they knew what the Hell they were doing so we could get through the run without wiping.

The solution came to me when I noticed this guy hammering on a side of beef like it owed him money.

Yo Adrian!

Yo Adrian!

Pet Battles.  My favorite bad habit in WoW. It was staring me in the face the whole time.

I’ll discuss the beating I took over this battle pet in a future post (OMG SPOILERS).  Right now, I was still nursing fresh bruises and full body aches in the aftermath of these conflicts.  Why not let these battle pets earn XP for me?  I didn’t see a downside to the idea – the pets would get experience, I’d get experience, and I wouldn’t have to spend hours getting abused by spirits, monkeys, and giant bugs.

Was it effective?

Before Patch 5.3 hit, I’d already gotten myself midway through 88 once I had a team I was comfortable with.  I had three pets at level 25, and trust me I didn’t need three.  My Celestial Dragon was taking care of all sorts of business by itself, soloing packs of level 24 and 25 pets in the Vale of Eternal Blossom.  I was able to powerlevel two other low level pets while raking in XP of my own.  In Northrend I was earning 96-104k XP per fight, and in Pandaria I was looking at 130-136k XP per fight.  At roughly three minutes a fight, I was looking at about TWO POINT SIX MILLION XP PER HOUR in Pandaria.  After the XP nerf, it only took about 12.5 million XP to get through level 88.  More importantly, the XP per fight appears to go up to 161k!

What?  How?

The secret to rapid fire battles is to pick fights near a stable master.  After the battle is over, quickly fly to the stable master to heal or revive your pets, then get back out and start another battle.  Northrend has a perfect spot – quick respawns for non-stop battles, and a stable master very close by.

Once you’re ready for the level 25 battle pets, make your way to the Vale of Eternal Blossom.  The lakes and nearby moths provide plenty of battles, and the stable master is just up by the flight master.  You’ll gain 134,000 XP back to back, faster than you’d get per quest.  In the time it would take you to accept the quest, do the quest, and hand in the quest, you could have done two or three Pet Battles.

So if you’re ready to slit your wrists at the thought of another quest grind, whip out some vanity pets and throw down.  You’ll be glad you did.  So will this guy.

Don't make me hurt you, punk.

Don’t make me hurt you, punk.

Patch 5.0.4 Frost Death Knight

Cool it with the puns!

Patch 5.0.4 brings changes to one and all.  Since I’m also playing a Frost DK, potentially as my new main, it’s important to know what the Hell I’m doing as far as the class reset goes.  So, much like the Fury Warrior, here’s some links to help clarify things on the new 5.0 Frost Death Knight.


Icy Veins – still in the process of updating.  Will edit this once they go live, or not if it takes too long and I forget.

Painless to you, so bring the pain to everyone else.

Frost Death Knight In Patch 5.0

Time for you to chill!

This post is going to be short and sweet.  I had been concerned about the earlier state of Frost DK‘s in the beta.  However, after checking out this recent video I’m much less tense.  Frost Death Knights in 5.0 is going to be, well, at the very least playable and at the very most awesome.  Check out the latest video from the MoP Beta for talents, glyphs, and so on.

There is another reason that I was excited about the 5.0 changes to the Death Knight, and I’m glad to see it go live.

I find your lack of faith… disturbing.


That is all.

The Frost DK and the MasterFrost Spec

Ice to meet you!

A few days ago, I was contemplating moving a character to a new server.  I decided that one of my Frost Death Knights (I have three 85’s) would probably be the most likely candidate.  So I picked one that had the most to offer – max professions, decent gear, and enough bells and whistles to make him both unique and interesting to use.

There was just one problem – his main weapon was a 2-handed sword.

If you have a Frost DK, you’re shaking your head in a knowing and understanding fashion.  If you don’t, you’re wondering why the Hell I would mention something as stupid as what weapon he was using.  Is it an ugly sword?  Did it clash with his outfit?

It’s hard to be a good Fashionista.

Okay, let me try and spell it out for you.  Much like a Fury Warrior using two one-handed weapons, a Frost DK with a two-hander is generally seen as sub-par.  You can do it, there are talents in the talent tree that make the option available, but it’s just flat-out less DPS.  In fact, one of the reasons many DK’s have had to switch to an Unholy spec is due to the lack of Heroic one-handed weapons available for DPS.  Two-Handers do not deliver adequate DPS for a Frost DK, end of story.

What was I to do?  He didn’t have the gold or mats to have a reasonable one-hander made for him, and there was nothing to be found on the Auction House.  That put me in a bit of a Catch-22 situation.  I would have to run dungeons (Normal or Heroic) and either hope for an adequate drop or earn the badges to buy a weapon.  But to run them and not get booted I needed to do decent DPS, which meant I needed an adequate weapon, which put me right back to square one.

Or did it?  I remembered experimenting with a somewhat controversial spec back in the day (and isn’t that what College is for – experimenting?).  The spec – the MasterFrost Spec – put out some very decent numbers.  This was a spec that involved reforging gear to Mastery, which was a flat-out buff to Frost damage.  Your Howling Blast would hit like a nuclear bomb, and Frost Strike would hit like a sizeable truck.  Obliterate would barely show up as part of the rotation (gasp!).  Could this be the workaround I was looking for?

After a bit of researching, I found some information to get myself set up.  I logged in, reforged as much as I dared, and queued up for my first dungeon.

I never looked back.  That’s where everyone else was on the Recount DPS meter – behind me.

I don’t know how effective this will be once 5.0 rolls over the Death Knight talent tree, so I’m hoping to have my DK geared somewhat properly by the time that happens.  But it just goes to show, ONCE AGAIN, that there are different ways to play World of Warcraft.  Try everything!  You never know when you’ll stumble across something that really works for you.

Or stagger into something that really doesn’t.

Taking it to the Extremis

After finishing off the Tol Barad grind and, more importantly, landing the Spectral Wolf mount that is just the coolest, it was time for a bit of a break.  Vacation time, new faction and new server.  Time for the DK named Extremis to stretch his legs.  With some coin in his pocket, and mining that needed leveling, it was time to try and get some professions taken care of.  At level 75, I could 525 both his Mining and Blacksmithing.  The blue PVP gear always seemed to sell well, so being able to smith those pieces was the goal.

Unfortunately he was only level 73 when we started our grind.  But yesterday was a great day, especially for Achievements!

With a little more flying, and xp for Mining, Extremis will max out both professions before heading back to Northrend.  I haven’t decided if the Argent Tournament would be the way to go for leveling (and rep, and titles, and pets, and mounts), or if straight-up questing (quicker xp of course) will be the path to take. Any suggestions?