Mists of Pandaria: Deciding how to level, and which toon to level firstPosted: May 7, 2012
For the majority of my experience playing WoW, there has been a hierarchy to my assortment of characters.
Once I began to enjoy playing my druid back in Burning Crusade, she became my “main.” When Wrath of the Lich King was released, Anacrusa was my only level 70 toon* – followed by my paladin at around 56, and no other characters that still exist today – and she became my first level 80 character as well. When Cataclysm dropped, I had three level 80 characters: Anacrusa, Mushan, and my paladin, Abenadari. I still considered Ana to be my main, and finished leveling her to 85 less than four days after launch. I then proceeded to level Mushan, and, eventually, Abenadari. I have since leveled five others to max, but they are all either new characters in Cata (warrior, mage, hunter alt, rogue) or were just there from before (druid).
*I used to be horrible at this game, and that included leveling. I started playing a month or so after BC released, and in the early fall of 2008, one of my co-workers bet me that I couldn’t get her to 70 before Wrath dropped. I was pretty happy to meet that challenge with more than a month to spare… but, yeah. A year and a half to level a toon to 70. It was pretty bad!
With the upcoming release of Mists of Pandaria, I’m considering more and more the idea of bucking tradition and changing up the order in which I level my characters – or, at least, in changing which toon gets to play through first.
For some people, this is a non-issue. You play the character that’s the most fun first, or you start with the character you want to get gear for soonest. Or you stick with tradition and start with the toon you’ve always leveled first. Or, you start from scratch and roll a new class or race first, because that’s the new and exciting thing to do.
All of these scenarios are perfectly fine. Depending on your goals and play style, you can level any way you like.
I personally anticipate some changes to my priorities with the release of MoP, and they will likely affect the order in which I level my toons. What follow are some of the things I am taking into consideration as I inch closer to making a decision.
The profession quandary, part one
All of these characters are on the same server, are Alliance, and have maxed professions.
- Anacrusa: Leatherworking/Skinning
- Mushan: Leatherworking/Blacksmithing
- Abenadari: Alchemy/Herbalism
- Droignon: Mining/Blacksmithing
- Ghilleadh: Skinning/Mining
- Theophilos: Jewelcrafting/Tailoring
- Mydnas: Inscription/Herbalism
- Avacrusa: Skinning/Herbalism
Of these toons, I have three skinners, three herbalists, and two miners. I have six with crafting professions, and two who are just gatherers. Now, the gathering professions on most of these toons are not optimal from a min-max standpoint, but that doesn’t matter to me. I have only one character – Mushan – who is anywhere near optimized, with LW for the sweet bracer enchant and BS for the two extra sockets.
Now here’s my issue relating to the question of “who first?”
If I level Anacrusa first, I have a built-in way to gather materials for Leatherworking for either her or Mushan. Now, the experts in gold-making would consider me a complete failure for even considering that train of thought: you should sell your mats at insanely high prices on the Auction House during the first couple of weeks to take advantage of all the suckers who feel the need to level their crafting professions right away. I’m not saying they’re wrong; I’m just saying that leveling my Skinning and Leatherworking while leveling my toon is something I’ve done in the past without spending all kinds of gold on my own mats.
However, the situation I’m considering – leveling Mushan first – would both take me out of the AH frenzy with regard to selling leather AND leave me with a level 90 toon who has no mats for either of his crafting professions.
I know that there are people who spend the first few days of an expansion farming mats and making huge sums of gold on the AH. This is something I considered doing for about a half-second before canning the idea. While people like Euripides get all tingly playing the AH meta game, the idea of spending the first several days of an expansion that we’ve been anticipating for year or so farming mats (in brutal competition with other farmers), in lieu of experiencing the discovery and leveling portions of new content, is anathema to me. Leveling has its own issues with bottlenecking and so on, but not like farming.
Hey, I think I just convinced myself that leveling Anacrusa for Mushan’s leather is not a priority!
The profession quandary, part two
That being said, I do enjoy making money on the Auction House.
While this discussion isn’t very relevant to how I will decide who to level first – the choice is either Anacrusa or Mushan, end of story – it is a factor in my opening-weeks in-game strategy. Currently, I make most of my money selling gems and transmutes, with a few other miscellaneous crafted items (leg enchants, flasks/potions, etc.) coming into play. I’m not one of the gold-capped, but I am sitting in a very good place right now, gold-wise, and I will likely be taking advantage of the initial buying frenzy in ways that won’t require me to farm MoP mats right out of the gate.
Will I sacrifice a lot of gold-earning potential that way? Yes. Is that going to hurt me? I don’t think so.
However, things are different for me than they were when Cata launched. Back then, I had two LW/Skinners (Mushan dropped Skinning for BS later), one Alch/Herbalist, and one Scribe/Herbalist, so it wasn’t too difficult to level my crafting professions along the way and eventually get stuff into the AH. At the time, I was mainly selling glyphs anyway, and old mats worked fine for that.
Now, though, as MoP gets into full swing those first several weeks, I will have** to feed ore to my Jewelcrafter for gems and my hunter for Blacksmithing (if it’s necessary to do so to get the new sockets if there are any), herbs to my Alchemist and Inscriptionist, leather (and other mats) to my hunter for Leatherworking, and so on. These aren’t Day One or Week One priorities, but I will have to figure out how I want to handle leveling those toons and/or professions, how much gold I’ll want to spend, and so on.
**all things being relative
I think it’s a good balance for me.
The tradition quandary
Tradition falls squarely in the Anacrusa camp, as I indicated in the opening paragraphs, and, like I wrote last week, letting go of a main can be difficult, particularly if you’ve been attached to him or her for a long time. However, I have a feeling that tradition and character attachment might not be enough of a draw for me this time. Nothing is permanent, and I shouldn’t stick with something because it’s what I’ve always done if it isn’t what I really feel is the best thing to do.
The raiding priority quandary
Ok, this isn’t really a quandary; it’s more of an acceptance of change. At the end of Wrath, I had not yet changed raiding mains, and didn’t intend to. However, I’m not even sure if I will use my druid competitively in MoP (yes, it’s becoming even less likely than it was in that post), but it’s almost certain that I will be raiding on Mushan. While there may be a ramp up period of a few weeks before my guild starts to raid – I don’t know for sure, because I wasn’t in this guild at the start of Cata – my number one priority in the weeks following launch will be getting him ready for raiding.
The awesomesauce quandary
Also not really a quandary. Leveling as a hunter in MoP will be totally awesome, just like it was in Cata. On the other side of the coin, the idea of leveling as a druid of any stripe in MoP makes me about as excited as watching According to Jim. That is, not very excited. Since I’ll be looking to really enjoy the leveling experience, I’d prefer to play Mushan.
I’m leaning toward opening Mists of Pandaria by leveling Mushan. Writing this post has helped me more clearly define how I feel about any issues that I might have had with that. I think it’s time to cast tradition aside in this case.
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