Low-level dungeon soloing: an Unconventional Leveling projectPosted: January 29, 2013
For over a year now, I’ve had the desire to level a toon unconventionally.
I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some iteration of this, whether it be perma-death, Ironman, or something else along those lines. However, doing a perma-death toon has never seemed to keep my interest for long. I’m not sure why, but there was a lack of focus for some reason, and so my unconventional leveling itch has remained unscratched.
However, recently I got the itch again – call it pre-5.2 doldrums, or something – and one day at work, I was inspired to start another hunter. Yes, I know… but hey, another hunter: that’s good, right?
From that moment of inspiration came the idea of low-level dungeon soloing.
I’ve got to be honest: the rules aren’t set in stone. However, I did come up with some standards that I’m following at the moment.
- No BoA/heirlooms used during solo dungeons. Any other gear is acceptable, including dungeon sets, BoEs, quest rewards, crafted gear, Auction House items, etc.
- No pre-buffing by other players.
- Professions are in full effect!
- As are consumables!
- Any other buffs are allowed, including scrolls/elixirs, potions, profession buffs, foods, enchants, bandages, buffs from pets, racials, etc.
- Addons are allowed. I’m mainly using NeedToKnow to keep Mend Pet rolling on my tank.
- As this isn’t perma-death, there is no death penalty other than that which is already in the game.
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Leveling is insanely easy at lower levels of the game. I donned the heirloom shoulders, chest and cape early on this time, because I wanted to get to the level 15 dungeons ASAP, and the levels flew by. I was in Deadmines before I knew it, and I capped XP after that run, because I was already 17. I’ve run several dungeons since then; at 17, Deadmines, Ragefire Chasm, Shadowfang Keep, and Wailing Caverns – which the Dungeon Finder seems to love to put me in – are available, and I’ve been able to put together a nice set of mostly blue pieces. On Sunday, I uncapped XP until I hit 19, and that’s where I plan to stay for a short time. I’ve also done a little questing to supplement a piece here and there, and will likely continue to do so as I progress.
Hadlun (armory link) – click to enlarge:
This past Sunday, with a few lesser pieces equipped than what you see above – some of them unenchanted – I decided to tackle Deadmines by myself. I’m specced into Beast Mastery since I want the pet to have a DPS/threat ability.
It was scary, at first!
At level 19, hunters don’t have many key abilities and features that make extreme soloing so great for them. Here are some pertinent ones that are unavailable:
- Pet: Thunderstomp
- Glyphs, including Glyph(s) of Marked for Death, Mending, Mend Pet, Animal Bond, Revive Pet, etc.
- Any talents other than Tier 1
- Any real AoE
- Feign Death
- Any traps, other than Narrow Escape
- Any DPS cooldowns
- Any stuns or silences, other than Scatter Shot
- Kill Shot, Tranq Shot, Distracting Shot, Master’s Call, Camo, Stampede
So, without all of that (and more), why even do this? Well, because it’s fun, and it’s a challenge.
As I said, I stepped into Deadmines on Sunday, at level 19, to see what I could do. I took my pet bear – the same one I had when I made the toon – as my tank.
The worst thing is definitely the trash. I made the decision early on, knowing that I didn’t have all of the power from gear that I wanted, that I would go until things just got too rough. And I did die a few times along the way, but I managed to make it to the pirate ship.
Glubtok, Helix, and Foe Reaper, the first few bosses, were actually pretty easy. Stay out of bad stuff, keep heals on the pet, shoot/KC until dead. The trash before Foe Reaper was pretty tough, as was the trash after. The trash before Admiral Ripsnarl wasn’t bad at all, because you can use the cannons to kill most of the pirates. However, Ripsnarl was where it all came apart.
I made three attempts. At my level and with my gear, I didn’t quite have the firepower… or the Stamina. Ripsnarl hits hard, meaning that it’s imperative that Mend Pet stays up. Additionally, the Vapors can become overwhelming. So I didn’t complete the dungeon, but I got quite a bit further than I thought I could.
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The plan is coming together. I plan to gear up my character at certain levels and see what I can solo. It makes a nice change from what I’ve been soloing recently on Mushan, which, since I’m not that good of a player, has been Naxx-25, Onyxia-25, Sarth-10 3d, and the like.
I also have a small list of dungeons that I haven’t ever completed, like Dire Maul. I’m hoping that this will give me some incentive to finally run places like that.
I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this project. It’s a pure-fun challenge to take on, and I’ve always enjoyed the gear game, so the ‘no heirlooms’ rule gives me the opportunity to do that.
It’s difficult to look at the things that become available soon and not salivate. Intimidation and Go for the Throat at 20, along with Thunderstomp! The gear I can get out of Stockades and Blackfathom Deeps! Plus, I’ve rolled Engineering, so I can level that higher at 20 for better bombs and so on… but no, I’ll wait. This is why I’m doing this, after all. Starting a new toon certainly lends to an appreciation of certain abilities a bit more, particularly in a situation like this. But I’ll take my time doing it, since time is not of the essence.
I’ll check back in periodically to let you know how it’s going!
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!