Gearing down for Warlords

The new Mushan?

The new Mushan?

Yes, I wrote that correctly…

In the wake of the Warlords of Draenor announcement at Blizzcon 2013, I wrote a few posts about my desire to approach the leveling process differently. One of them described my desire to self-nerf: to gear down, as opposed to “gearing up” for the expansion.

There was some discussion about the subject here at the time, and then I put it on the back burner. My preparation for Warlords over the past year – gear-wise –  has basically consisted of keeping a reserve of Timeless Isle tokens on an alt so that, at the least, I could slap that gear on and be done with it.

At the time, Quelys suggested going in with T14 gear, but I got rid of those pieces as I replaced them, for the most part (basically, I kept Fang Kung, Tao’ren, and the DMC). I was thinking I would probably just go with Timeless Isle gear, as I didn’t see myself putting too much effort into it. However, with Patch 6.0 drawing near, over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself soloing MoP heroics, painstakingly assembling a dungeon set. Of course, being the behavior-driven nerd that I am, I found myself upgrading that gear once I discovered that I was Justice-capped. This, in turn, set up a nice cycle for me, where I drove myself to get both the gear that I wanted and the JP to upgrade it.

Mushan's end of MoP dungeon set

Mushan’s end of MoP dungeon set (almost)..

^^Possibly my last screenshot of the old Mushan?

As you can see, as of today, my mission is almost complete. I’m having no luck to-date with respect to pants and helm, but I do have some time before leveling begins. And if worse comes to worse, I’m going with the Golden Lotus JP pants and the 476 PvP crafted helm. The goal is to get down to an overall ilevel of 471 (463 plus upgrades, on average), and I think I can get there with that combination if I can’t come up with those last two pieces.

Some thoughts:

  1. In this set, I’m doing roughly 60k DPS single-target (casually, un-buffed) on a raid dummy. It’s interesting how many times-over the damage multiplies from the beginning heroic dungeons to the end of the expansion. Additionally, I’m sitting at about 55% of my SoO health level.
  2. I’m unclear about how my health level will translate with the stat squish, particularly with respect to mobs on Draenor. However, I’m still confident in my ability to handle them, even though…
  3. I’m planning on leveling as Survival. While part of me wants to try leveling as Marksmanship (and that was my plan previously, because I’d love to try “one-shotting” stuff), it seems to be the new (and only) hotness as far as hunter specs go (thanks Obama Blizz). On the positive side: as gutted as it is, leveling as SV could present me with some challenges, which is something I am definitely interested in. I’m looking for an epic experience, and playing hunter with no Kill Shot and no Multi-Strike… will most likely make killing mobs more challenging, if not epic.
  4. I’m planning on carrying my raid gear with me for dungeon purposes, particularly at the lower levels. I don’t necessarily know that I will run dungeons along the way, but the possibility is definitely there. And if I do run dungeons on occasion while I level, I will not be causing my group any extra anguish brought on by my self-nerfing activities.
  5. I’m still going to level like I have in the past in new expansions with respect to buffs, enchants, gems, etc. I’ll be appropriately specced out, have consumables with me, use drums, etc. I just won’t be starting out grossly overpowered like I used to.

* * *

I mean no offense by this, but I get a chuckle whenever I read about people specifically “gearing up for WoD”… and doing so by raiding. Needing that cloak, needing that heirloom, needing that 4-piece. I fully understand the players who are looking for those items because they’re great to have, but I’ve seen many, many people who are frantically chasing after those pieces for their alts… “for Warlords.” On Twitter. Blogs. WoW Insider.

More power to them, but to me it seems unnecessary.

Think about it this way: I am very, very far from being among the best players in the world… But when I level a new toon, I don’t stop at level 80, get a bunch of raid gear, and then proceed to 85, get some more raid gear, and then proceed to the next endgame; I simply go to the new zone and start tearing it apart. All of my level-90 alts that are between ilvl 510 and 550 are very prepared, gear-wise, to romp through the opening levels of WoD before they start to get some gear… and none of them have either heirloom weapons or legendary cloaks.

It just seems like when we do that, we’re actually “over-preparing to overpower”… like we’re trying to get the biggest hammer possible in order to smash a sandwich with it.

* * *

I’m looking to stretch myself a bit as a player – perhaps for the last time in this game.

I may have mentioned this on Twitter briefly a few weeks back, but I got another promotion in September – my second in the last five months – and, where my free time was limited over the summer, it’s downright precious now. I’ll be very surprised if I raid at all in Warlords, and once I get done playing through Draenor, I don’t know that I will keep going. However, that’s a decision to be made sometime down the road.

As such, I’m looking to have an experience on Draenor. Discovery, story, taking my time and enjoying the scenery. Testing my skills as a hunter. Talking with my friends about it all, here and on Twitter, as time and energy permit. I’m looking forward to it!

* * *

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Follow me on Twitter at @MushanEtc. Comments are welcome!

6 Comments on “Gearing down for Warlords”

  1. I’m putting my gear together as I go with my multiple alts and I know that I will be backtracking a bit to MoP with some of them since they are still seriously “fresh” 90s. I’m planning on taking my time this expansion and not get into the rush to level game plan that some are using. Good luck to you and I am sure that we’ll both have a great time.

    • Mushan says:

      Thanks! I’m sure we will. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes, and what I can get out of it that’s different from my past blitzkriegs through new content.

  2. Jemmy says:

    i don’t understand why people need to gear up for levelling. My raiding toon is very well geared by I’ve never found any of my alts struggle going into the next expansion, and they never get well geared. It’s a little slower, but that has never bothered me.

    The opening stuff has to be designed to suit toons that are fresh from the previous expansion without any raid gear, because that’s who will be consuming the content later.

    Enjoy Draenor :)

    • Mushan says:

      “The opening stuff has to be designed to suit toons that are fresh from the previous expansion without any raid gear, because that’s who will be consuming the content later.”

      Exactly. I think the majority of us will be fine for that reason. I hope you enjoy Draenor as well – I’m sure you will! :)

  3. battlechicken says:

    I admit that I’m one of the ones who enjoys OP-ing through leveling content, but I haven’t exactly been on a quest to get gear–the better gear I have, the better raids go, and the fact that I’ll be starfalling entire zones of mobs in WoD is kinda just icing.

    As for my alts…well, I’m kind of awful at sticking with any of them long enough to gear up, so they’ll be pushing their way through in their Timeless Isle and LFR gear, and I am A-OK with that–gearing up to level is waaaay beyond what I’m willing to do. :-P

    I think what you’re doing is pretty cool. If you’re not in the race to raid, why not experience the content in the gear that matches the zones you’re in? You’ll really get a feel for the questing and lore more than a lot of us will, honestly, and I think it’s worth it!

    • Mushan says:

      In past expansions, I’ve blown through them the first time. It’s terribly fun! But then I get to the end, and I’m grinding, just like I did while I leveled. So while the urge is there, I think I’m going to take time to enjoy the sunshine – or whatever it is on Draenor. I’m looking forward to the new, old experience. :)

      Thanks for your comment and for reading, Ambermist. I appreciate your thoughts!

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