My alt and profession mindset for Warlords

Many alts

On Wednesday, I wrote a ton of words about nerfing myself for the launch of Warlords of Draenor. Today, I’d like to elaborate more on some of the more structural changes I’d like to make, with respect to some other aspects of how I play the game.

I’ve reached a point in my life where the rat race like the one I embarked upon in Mists of Pandaria isn’t appealing, practical, or enjoyable. At the time, I did it, but I was looking forward to better times – and they have certainly come, to some extent. But the way I played in Cataclysm and MoP – many level-capped alts, all ten professions capped (sometimes more than once), seven full farms, plenty of Auction House action, and so on – is something that I just don’t have the energy or interest in anymore. So, while I still farm those farms, post those auctions, use those profs, etc., I am winding down as the expansion does, with an eye toward a more streamlined experience in WoD.

Originally, I had intended to write this post in point-by-point sections, but with the nature of alts and how I play/use them, everything is connected. So, one section it is.

. . .

Like many players who have several alts and most/all professions, I use my professions to support both my raiding toon(s) and each other. Miners provide ore for Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting. Skinners provide leather for Leatherworkers. Herbalism provides herbs for Alchemy and Inscription. Tailors, um, tail stuff, or something. And all of those profs benefit each of my toons, directly or indirectly. Additionally, they support my gold-making activities. And while I am no AH expert, and do not use addons for that activity, I’ve done well for myself casually auctioning my wares.

In fact, I’ve done so well this xpac that I could probably not sell anything on the Auction House for the entirety of WoD, spend gold like I usually do (which includes paying for all of my own repairs, by the way), and still have more than I need left.

In the absence of an active interest in the gold-making meta-game, there are diminishing returns the longer someone like me continues to fight the AH fight. Unlike some of my peers, I don’t do much wholesale raw material buying, flipping, min-maxing my profit margins, and so on. I’ve done a little bit of that in isolated circumstances, but for the most part I’ve sold what I had/farmed/made, and left it at that. Going further – toward anything remotely approaching the gold cap – just doesn’t interest me much. So with a tidy savings in the bank, I think it could be time for a rest.

With that in mind, I’m planning to chop the number of professions that I max out in WoD to less than half. I currently have 15 primary profs maxed over eight toons, so I’m thinking six-to-eight total would be good…

Before I go further, I’ll also say that that number will correspond approximately with the number of toons that I take to 100, or even into Draenor. Of my current seven 90s and one 85, only three or four of them will likely be heading to 100. Certain profs will hit the chopping block as a result of this.

My 85 druid scribe is the first to come to mind. I’ve never really enjoyed Inscription, other than the concept itself and the convenience of making my own glyphs. I don’t really need a second druid any more, since I made her for the express purpose of leveling as a healer back in the day, and now that I heal on Ana, the other druid has no purpose other than those conveniences and the fact that she has a guild bank. I haven’t decided if I will delete her – for now, she stays, but that could change on a whim. But I’m done putting any effort into Inscription – that much is certain.

Anyway, one of the themes of the next expansion for me will be, as I wrote in my notes for this post, “Less alts. Period.” I should have written “Less alts at max level with maxed profs. Period.” but… I knew what I meant when I wrote it. When something is as much of a time/energy drain as alts have been this xpac, you don’t forget.

Aside from Inscription, I don’t necessarily dislike the other professions, since I finally got an Engineer (DK) to max-level. That was a rough one to level, but now that it’s up there, I don’t hate it. But it won’t be a priority in WoD, in part because my DK will itself probably not be a priority.

. . .

My priorities, in fact, will look something like this:

Mushan – hunter, main raider; LW/BS.

Anacrusa – druid (healer), potential raider; LW/SK.

Droignon – warrior (tank), potential raider; BS/MI.

Those toons will be my three level 100 toons in all likelihood. And, because I probably won’t be able to resist, I’ll probably level my mage (TA/JC) at some point, because I like playing him. But he’s not a priority. His profs will also not be a priority.

Additional profs that have potential to be leveled at some point include Enchanting (2nd hunter), Alchemy (paladin), and Engineering (DK). However, unless I decide to level the DK instead of the warrior for tanking purposes, all three of those toons will be sitting in SW collecting dust for the foreseeable future, and their professions will be leveled incidentally (particularly Enchanting, because of, you know, Disenchanting…) if at all.

So, with those things in mind, if I level the three main toons, I’ll have five different professions maxed. Six if I’m able to level Enchanting while my worgen hunter sits on his butt in a tavern. Eight if I level the mage’s professions. Eight is enough… right? Right?

. . .

It’s my hope that by not letting gold/prof concerns drive my playing activities, I will cut down on wasted time and enjoy a higher percentage of my playing time. I pretty much hate playing the paladin, the 2nd hunter will be unnecessary, and the DK will be dormant until some unknown point until I get very bored. Cutting out a lot of that “toon-bloat” should make me something more of a lean, mean playing machine, or something.

And anything I need that I can’t make myself or have made by a friend, I’ll buy. I sold all that stuff for a reason. This will be the time to use the proceeds.

. . .

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


Alt appreciation: Dungeon Week

Droignon has Haze of Hate! Eh, I went with it. :D

Droignon has Haze of Hate! Eh, I went with it. :D

Preface: Laeleiweyn suggested recently that we altoholics could collectively celebrate alts, either on blogs, Twitter, or by starting/playing them in-game, over the course of eleven weeks starting on August 19th, and ending November 3rd. Each week will be themed by class – week one for DKs, week two for druids, week three for hunters, etc. 

It’s a fantastic idea, although I do not have an alt for every class. Furthermore, while I love the idea, I don’t have the interest in playing or doing things in-game with certain alts just because it’s a focus during a certain week. It’s just not how I operate.

Nonetheless, I’m an altoholic, and I have several alts that I play on something of a regular basis. I have 7 90s, for goodness’ sake. So while this week is #HunterWeek – and there are sure to be a ton of great hunter-related things going on in-game and around the interwebs (check out the hashtag all week for the latest news!) – I’m putting my own spin on it this week, because my hunter is my main, and the love of my WoW-life, and he gets appreciated here at Mushan, Etc. so much that he’s developed a bit of a complex at this point!

Therefore, without further ado…

…this week is Dungeon Week in my world.

With Patch 5.4 now just a week away, I’ve been prepping the troops. With goals in mind for some of them – some of which are long-held ideas, while others are newer (*cough* @ the mage) – I’ve been getting ready for 5.4 in several ways.

Goal #1 is to get the toons I’m interested in playing in 5.4 Valor-capped. While Mushan has been capped for weeks, I’ve been working the DK pretty hard, buying him the Shado-pan trinket last week and then capping, with 800 to go to hit 3000 this week. I have three other toons that are close to the cap, and I think I should have no trouble VP-capping them all before the 10th.

Goal #2 is to get as many Justice Points on these toons as possible pre-patch. This includes Mushan, for reasons I will describe below. Disregarding him for the moment, the reason for this is that pre 5.2 Valor gear will be purchasable with JP in 5.4. And while this means less than nothing to Mushan, my alts are each in a position to use some of this gear in some way or another; even my druid and warrior, who won’t sacrifice set bonuses for “Justice” gear, have off-specs that can use that level of gear to fill in OS slots.

With these things in mind, I offer a completely self-interested look at my main/fave toons and their states of preparation, and my plans for them for this week.

Mushan (SV hunter – duh? :P ); ilvl 535; 3000 VP; 543 JP; 3908 HP

Mushan has been a pretty bored archer lately. Not much raidin’ goin’ on, no new gear when he has raided, and so on. However, I recently took him to Stormwind in order to swap as much JP as possible for Honor, because one of the changes coming in 5.4 will be that it takes 500 JP to buy 250 Honor, which is a nerf to JP, I suppose. I haven’t PvP’d much at all since 5.2 dropped, but I don’t want to completely discount the idea that I may actually want to do so in 5.4. So I’ve put myself in the best position possible regarding Honor: I’m almost capped, should be able to pick up 2-3 496 pieces right off the bat after the patch, and then continue to fill out the PvP set from that point on.

Since he’s already Valor-capped, it’s highly likely that he will not work to snag any more JP through dungeons or any other means this week, but I’ve maxed out my conversions at this point anyway, so the rest can come once I actually need more JP for more post-nerf conversions…

Droignon (Prot warrior); ilvl 507 (prot) 477 (fury); 2765 VP; 1808 JP

Droignon hasn’t gotten much love lately. Since playing him is somewhat arthritis-inducing (/nods at Hass for the reference), and I’ve been working on the DK lately, Droig has mainly done his Halfhill stuff and not much else. However, he’s still someone I take seriously – he is a frickin’ huge night elf warrior, after all… I kid, I kid – and so I’ll be making sure he’s VP-capped. Seriously, it’s not going to take much effort. I’ll probably get there solely from Halfhill Ironpaw dailies and tripping over rares on the Isle of Thunder. And the fury spec is a joke, the way I play it, and not of much importance. So he may sit out of dungeons this week, but you never know – I may take him into a couple on the short path to the cap, in order to get a few more JP.

Anacrusa (Resto druid); ilvl 506 (resto) 480 (guardian); 2588 VP; 1186 JP

Like Droig, Ana has been keeping a low profile lately (/glares at Saldrahn…). And my biggest problem with her in 5.4 will not be gear, but rather learning to use Swiftmend as the insta-heal that it will solely be at that point. Nevertheless, I’ve been debating how I will go about actually reaching the cap with this one; this may be hard to believe, but she has healed exactly zero dungeons in MoP. I’ve healed scenarios and Champions of the Thunder King groups with her, but the vast majority of my healing experience has come in Raid Finder this expansion, which is why my JP-fund is so anemic. The Guardian spec, which is my questing spec, is in need of some hole-filling, so JP will still be important to some extent. So I may try to take her into a few dungeons this week, in order to grab some extra JP for that gear set. Because seriously, folks, questing as a guardian sucks extra-hard, and the better the DPS I can pull / the more mobs I can handle at once, the better.

Modhriel (Frost mage); ilvl 486; 2192 VP; 2077 JP

This is where the dungeon-running is going to get extra-serious. This is where Mushan’s Dungeon Week comes into its own.

Modhriel has, with very few exceptions, been sitting at the furthest, loneliest end of the bench since 5.2 happened. For proof, checking his armory shows that he has killed each of the first six bosses in ToT-LFR exactly one time. And that’s it. While I did open up Isle of Thunder with him, I set him down before I had enough VP and rep to buy anything. He has exactly zero pieces of 522 gear on. Poor guy…

With all of the time I spent on my hunters, warrior, druid, and DK during this tier, Modhriel took the back seat, limiting the sum total of his activity beyond April to Halfhill and cloth cooldowns. However, I jumped on him this weekend and ran a few dungeons, and MAN was it fun! He hasn’t gotten any gear in months, but he still absolutely ripped face. And I remember him doing well the couple of times I took him into ToT as well. I realized that I missed him this past weekend, so I think that, with my raiding picture a bit clearer now (since Ghilleadh the Worgen Hunter is done raiding), Modhriel is going to be back in play in 5.4. I’d like to cap his Valor and Justice this week, so that he can be on the road to being eligible for LFR as soon as it launches.

Good times…

Saldrahn (Blood death knight): ilvl 480; 2200 VP; 390 JP

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had a lot of fun with this toon. I’m a death knight fan now. However, this toon is a fun, casual toon, and I’m looking forward to playing him in dungeons in 5.4.

My personality, though, is one which compels me to gear him as fast as possible, even though there is no pressing purpose for doing so. I’m fighting this compulsion with everything I have. The last thing I need is to hit a complete roadblock with yet another toon, held back by LFR and LFR alone. He’s not a raider, and he’s not a sub, and he’s always been for fun, so I’m going to take it easy with him post-patch. However, since there is almost nothing going on right now otherwise, I’ve been working hard recently to get him some gear and get him Valor-capped for 5.4 (I can’t help that!). The JP can come now or later, though. I don’t really care which. So I may do some dungeons if I get bored toward the end of the week. Or I might save him for later. Either way, I win, because it’ll be fun to continue to progress him casually.

Level 90 toons “not pictured:” other hunter (going somewhat dormant); paladin (is always dormant).

Ghilleadh is done with normal-/heroic-mode raiding. I’m back to only raiding on weekends with Mushan and my normal team, and that’s it. So in a 100% anti-#HunterWeek fashion, I’m relegating him – my “other 90 hunter” – back to “make enchants for me, farm turtle meat, and do Fatty Goatsteak dailies”-status. And I’m fine with that. For several reasons – some of which are completely unrelated to him, but others of which are definitely all about him – I haven’t enjoyed him anywhere close to as much as I enjoy Mushan.

And the pally is, as I mentioned above, always dormant. Always there to make flasks and potions and do transmutes for me, but otherwise, yeah… dormant.

I have no qualms about either of those situations.

So the plan for this week is to get three toons VP-capped, picking up some JP along the way. I like heroic dungeons, and queues don’t seem to be long right now even for DPS, so it should be a fun week.

I’ll shut up now. This turned into quite a long post!

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


Letting go of the grind(s)

Hahaha... achievements.

Ha ha ha… achievements.

Early last week, I got a call from my mom, letting me know that my grandma was not doing well, and that she and my dad were driving across the state to see her later that day.

I hadn’t seen my grandma in so long, I’d be embarrassed to admit it here. So I won’t. The tough part was that it was Tuesday, the first of five scheduled work days in a row, because my boss was on vacation (so I was taking up some of that payroll). It really stressed me out, because when my grandfather died in 2008, I had never made it up to visit him in his last years.

Fortunately, I was able to find some schedule flexibility at the end of the week, and after a short shift on Friday morning I made the 315-mile trip to see her. She was, by that time, doing better, and we had a very nice time visiting and talking, watching a baseball game together, and so on. I left mid-afternoon on Saturday, blessed by the experience, and was home in time to raid at 9:30 pm.

It was a hectic week, all told.

This, of course, affected my weekly race to the Valor cap. Or, more than one Valor cap. See, not only have I maintaining a capped-pace on my hunter every week since I hit 90, but I’ve also been trying to cap on my warrior, who tanks for our new alt run on Friday nights.

With patch 5.2 having dropped, here is a short list of the stuff I “have” to do:

  1. Isle of Thunder dailies (etc.) on the hunter, warrior, and maybe another toon each day.
  2. Run Throne of Thunder (Raid Finder) on the hunter, at least.
  3. Run heroics / RF / scenarios and/or do dailies to cap on the hunter and warrior.
  4. Saturday and Sunday night raids with the main team (hunter).
  5. Friday night alt raid with the warrior.
  6. Tillers: 5 level 90s at 16 plots per, plus a level 88 toon with four plots, that I try to hit each day.
  7. Living Steel, cloth, Sha Crystal, and Magnificence of (—) daily cooldowns.
  8. Somewhat consistent AH activity, although that doesn’t take much time.

This does not include having fun with alts – and right now, that mostly means playing my DK in Outland from time to time.

At any rate, the above list represents a lot of grind. And grind equals time spent, and grind doesn’t always mean fun. And time spent neither making real money nor having fun can become time wasted.

So last Friday, for the first time since I took a trip to visit with family last October, I completely ignored all of those grinds. I didn’t log in at all, because I had to go to work and then drive for more than five hours afterward. Part of me felt a smidgen of “but I need to make time for that before work!” while the rational side of me dismissed that notion as completely ridiculous.

Because it was completely ridiculous.

This may be a relatively alt-unfriendly expansion, but I have six toons in Pandaria in spite of that. I farm 84 plots per day. The Isle of Thunder can be a time sink when you get quests that are negatively affected by long re-spawn timers – or are just dumb quests, like “squash 150 roaches for 5 VP and the chance to kill the final quest boss if you actually do it.” Plus, the rares are fun, but I can’t always afford to let time get away from me while waiting for them to spawn.

I’ve been religiously farming those plots. Religiously doing those dailies. Religiously hitting up Raid Finder. Religiously capping on the hunter, and sometimes the warrior. It has felt like a duty that I was always going to be glad that I completed when I did, each week and with each positive raid result.

However, as I began my drive north last Friday, I had to chuckle to myself. I was free! No dailies today! No raid tonight! It’s sad to say, but it was actually nice to have that time off from raiding, even though it was just one day and I’d only raided twice before on the warrior.

Since Saturday night, when I came back, I’ve slacked off on some of that grind, and I think I will be better for it.

Despite new content with the recent patch, I have been starting to grow… I don’t know… bored? tired? of the game. This is probably a sign that I’ve been playing it too much, for too long. While the content is new, the game is basically the same, the way that I have been playing it: lots of grinds.

However, whereas I’ve usually spent days off playing WoW all day when there was nothing else pressing to do, lately I’ve been finding something else to do with some of that time. This is definitely a good thing.

But the best thing is that I am letting go of some of the grinds. I am not going to bust my butt – and test my own patience in the process – by putting my warrior through the same paces that I put my hunter through each week, just to ensure that I can get that next piece of gear as soon as possible. I’m not going to concern myself with getting that sixth toon to 90 unless I feel like it, even if it will help me gather herbs more easily with flying, and will get me the Quintessential Quintet achievement (yes, yes… I have two level 90 hunters). I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure that I have enough mats to use each cooldown, every day, without exception. I’ll still use my cooldowns when I can, but I won’t fret if they go un-used for a day or two, or three. I won’t let myself be bothered if I list auctions each and every day, because I have plenty of gold.

I’ll still play my hunter like I do, getting those dailies done and running RF and raiding and so on. And I’ll still farm my plots most days. But I need to take a break from the job that keeping a well-rounded stable of max level alts has become. I want to spend more time enjoying other aspects of the game – like leveling my DK or other toons, and working on my low-level hunter soloing project some more (sadly, he’s still 19). I also have other games I want to play, and books to read, and guitars to play, and good weather to enjoy, and spring cleaning to do, and… so on.

I’m super glad that I made the time to see my beloved grandma last week. I’m also relieved to have been forced to abandon the game and the grind for a couple of days. I think that letting go of some of the job-like aspects of MoP will allow me to enjoy the game more when I do play, and will make me happier overall.

- – -

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Custom-Fit Professions

 Aka “I’m doing it wrong!” At least, by this topic’s premise. :)

This week’s Shared Topic at Blog Azeroth is from Effraeti, who asks:

Professions are fun for some and a necessary evil for others.

Some of us have farming professions. Some of us have crafting professions. Some of us have a little bit of everything! Professions are leveled because they fit our style of play, help us in raiding, allow us to outfit our alts, and make us money.

What professions do you have on your main? Do his/her professions fit their personality? Why did you choose them? If you chose professions based on your character and not on gaming needs, would that change some of their professions they use?

(This can include the secondary professions of archaeology, fishing, cooking, and first aid too!)

I have eight toons that are level 85. I won’t be talking about all of them, but several will come into the discussion, even though this BAST specifically asks for mains. Since I like to run my mouth (so to speak), I’ll take that liberty here – I just can’t help myself.

Mushan – hunter (main) – Leatherworking, Blacksmithing

Mushan is a max level LW/BS, and each secondary profession is also maxed with the exception of Archaeology, which I’ve only ever touched on my druid (who is max level in all of her profs).

The Blacksmithing portion of that line was something that came along later – in other words, he didn’t start off as a LW/BS. Rather, he was what I believe a hunter will generally be, and that is a Skinner and Leatherworker who is also skilled in Fishing (and should also be skilled in outdoor Cooking, although that distinction is not necessarily available to us in WoW).

After I had been 85 for a while, I leveled my mage, paladin, and then my warrior to 85. The warrior is a Blacksmith and Miner, and was my first toon to reach 525 with those professions. I tend to be someone who knows the merits of each profession for the most part, but I hadn’t necessarily made the jump to ‘min-maxing’ with professions on any one character before Cataclysm. While I certainly made sure the professions themselves were maxed on my most-played toons, and I applied their benefits properly (extra +Agi to wrists for LWs, for instance), every single character had a gathering profession, which made them all fairly self-reliant.

I made Mushan a LW, even though my druid is a LW as well, for a few reasons: 1) I’m one of the three people total who actually enjoy Leatherworking (which many people view as the worst prof); 2) I feel hunters naturally gravitate toward leatherworking as a skill that complements their main job (hunting and killing prey, and then putting every part of the animal to good use); and 3) I already understood the aforementioned benefits of being a LW from a +Agi perspective.

However, after I leveled Blacksmithing on Droignon, something happened that is completely typical of me: I fell in love with the extra sockets.

SAAAAAH-KEHTS!!

I’ve always loved sockets. So much fun to be able to add whatever you want to your gear! Of course, I’ve seen people do stupid stuff with their sockets (like the max-level hunter on my server who has had a Misty Chrysoprase (+5 Crit, +4 Spirit) in one of his/her yellow sockets since 4.1, at least). And of course, for min-max purposes, there are restrictions on what you should prioritize (like Agility for hunters). Still, there’s something about socketing a gem that pleases me a little too much.

Anyway, after re-awakening to the joy of even more sockets on my warrior, I decided that I needed those sockets on my hunter.

SAAAAAH-KEHTS!!

So my hunter is a Blacksmith now instead of a Skinner. And he has +100 Agility from that now, instead of the +80 Crit or whatever you get from Skinning. And I’m very, very happy with the way all those sockets look on his armory.

I know, crazy, right?

Silly, at least.

But it also means more DPS, and I love that. Even if the fact that my hunter is a Blacksmith doesn’t make as much sense as being a Skinner – although, to be fair, a smithing-hunter is not necessarily outside the realm of possibility, when one thinks about it.

Being a BS on my hunter is one of the few things that I don’t necessarily love about my hunter from a fantasy standpoint. But I do love those extra sockets, so I’m generally glad I changed it. I don’t know how I’ll feel about that when I have to level both crafting professions up to 600, without the benefits of self-gathering, but I suppose I’ll live – and I’ll like all the extra Agility in MoP!

Anacrusa – druid (main alt) – Leatherworking, Skinning

Anacrusa was my first 70, my first 80, my first 85. But she wasn’t my first 60. That was a hunter by the name of Bloodheim, which I abandoned before Wrath came out and deleted in 2009 at the tender age of 63. At this point, I generally sucked at everything in the game, and the hunter was no exception. I hated mana as a hunter resource, hated managing it, and just didn’t enjoy the toon after a while. I eventually got used to mana when I made Mushan, but I really enjoyed the switch to focus, and have never looked back.

Anyway, Bloodheim was a LW/SK. And when I gave him up for the druid back in mid-07, I chose to make Anacrusa a LW/SK also, since I could make some of my own gear, and since I enjoy LW, as I said before. But I don’t really feel that it fits best with my character from a fantasy or story standpoint.

If my druid fit my idea of what a druid is, she would be an Herbalist first. She would plant, nurse, and harvest herbs as part of the nature concept that is a large part of druidism. I wasn’t thinking about that when I made her, though, so now she’s a bloodthirsty killer who wields skinning knife with her bloody paw.

She would also be a healer (if I were actually good at that), and she would likely be…

I don’t know that I feel that Alchemy is necessarily a great fit for any class that isn’t a warlock, priest, mage or, maybe, death knight, but I can’t think of another profession that is really better. Maybe Inscription, which is tame – you write magical glyphs and tomes and so on. Eh. But yeah, while I think that Alchemy is a great fit story-wise for mages and warlocks in particular, it can be argued that it can be an acceptable fit for classes that can heal, so from that perspective, my druid – were I to make her again – might be an Alchemist/Herbalist. However, like I said, she is a bloodthirsty killer who uses her kills to make stuff out of.

Ah well. I enjoy it, and it’s made me a lot of gold. I enjoy skinning, too. It’s nice to be able to feel like I’m using everything I take off the beasts (and yetis) that I kill.

Droignon – warrior (alt) – Blacksmithing, Mining

Yeah. This one is – while not perfect – very nice both from the standpoint that he’s a tank (extra Stam, etc.) and because he can make his own gear and weapons and harvest his own materials. Additionally, he’s a big strong warrior, so he can carry all of those rocks around with him, no problem. Love it.

Theophilos – mage (alt) – Tailoring, Jewelcrafting

If I go with what I said earlier, I would say that Theophilos should be two of the following: Enchanter, Alchemist, Scribe, Jewelcrafter, Tailor, and maybe Herbalist – in order from most fitting to least.

In reality, he’s a JC because I wanted to have a JC among my stable of toons. He’s a Tailor because that’s an easy connection to make. But if I had to choose again, and didn’t need any professions for practical purposes, for story purposes I’d make him an Enchanter/Tailor, weaving spells into cloth and vellum to make magical items for himself and others.

But it’s not a toon I’m as dedicated to, in general, as I am to the first three on this list. So practical wins out.

Abenadari – paladin (alt) – Alchemy, Herbalism

So here we are, with my paladin, who I actually created before my druid, doing the jobs that I currently envision would be most appropriate for my druid. I wouldn’t think that a paladin, beacon of light that one is, would be getting all down with nature and chemicals. If I were to choose again, I would probably make her some kind of combination of Scribe, Blacksmith, Enchanter.

But she’s my max level Alchemist, and because of that she still exists. I don’t feel like leveling Alchemy again. If I do level another Alchemist, she may go, because I don’t love playing paladins, but I don’t anticipate that happening in the foreseeable future. Besides, I would have a tough time deleting her anyway, for Transmute cooldown reasons.

Closing

At any rate, that’s probably too much info about some of the characters I play the most, their professions, why I chose them, and how well I think their professions fit with the characters themselves.

Above all, I have professions because I use them, and sometimes they fit better with the toons than others. Between my eight 85s, I have every profession covered except for Engineering and Enchanting (and my girlfriend is an Enchanter, so that’s effectively covered, too). I’ll likely get to those eventually. I have some toons – like my other hunter Ghilleadh – who are simply gatherers, because that is easy and profitable, and I have less problems with resources than I used to simply because I play those toons and gather as I go.

The only toon where I have redundant crafting professions is Mushan – since I already have a LW and a BS, seperately – and that’s because he’s also the only toon that I’ve chosen professions for based primarily on min-maxing and DPS.

But yes, if I went into the game fresh, with the knowledge I have now, I might choose my profession-toon alignment differently, because I become immersed in my characters to varying levels, and professions are certainly a part of that.

Thanks for the great Shared Topic, Effraeti!

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


Mists of Pandaria: Deciding how to level, and which toon to level first

For the majority of my experience playing WoW, there has been a hierarchy to my assortment of characters.

Decisions, decisions…

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

Because I do want to continue to make a modest amount of gold on the AH.  I also enjoy professions to some extent, to the point where I like using my mats to level my crafting, and use crafted items for myself, because I find the experience a little more immersive that way.

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.

The decision

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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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.  Comments are welcome!


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