The leveling so far has been quite easy. Obviously this depends on your class, I think level 60 is the hardest transition if you aren't already uber (epics, etc). My tank and rogue both had 5-man blues or lesser and both experienced more down time fighting mobs as a result. My hunter and druid were both able to handle the mobs fairly easily. Hunters, just because they are hunters :) The druid I respecced 31/21 feral, and she had a reasonable selection of 5-man blue gear for tanking already so she's been able to do almost as well as my hunter (sometimes better if she can sneak to the boss, lol).
Today I've been working on a Jewelcrafting shopping list that I'm going to post on Crafter's Tome. Mikros (hubbie) is going to put it up for me and as soon as it's available I'll put the link up here for you guys. I think you're going to really like the chart I put together. Assuming there are no other major changes to the recipes, it should be very handy for you folks who want to stock up for BC.
I also found a ton of new quests at the Cenarion Refuge tonite, apparently if you don't do all of the first wave it locks you out of a number of additional quests. So I sent both my girls out to work on them for xp and rep. The more quests you do for a given outpost, the easier it is to gain faction with that group. Most of the quests reward 250 rep each, so it can rack up quickly. Tonite I also got Kaliope to Neutral with Sporeggar, so she was able to access the Quartermaster there and view his recipes. Right now he only sells two Cooking recipes and two Alchemy. The cute part is, you can buy items from him for mushrooms instead of gold. You simply collect mushrooms that are scattered around the western portion of Zangarmarsh and purchase goods with them. Apparently the Sporeggar-ites really like their shrooms!
But I'm back now and I'm going to try and catch up!
The starting zone in BC, Hellfire Peninsula, has no water that I've found. The next zone, Zangarmarsh, has lots of lakes and new places to fish. There are ‘wreckage’ spawns which drop boxes of Elemental Blasting Powder and Fel Iron Ore (nice!). There are also pools of “Pure Water” in Nagrand which drop Motes of Water. I’m really pleased with these discoveries, because once again it validates Fishing as a viable way to get valuable crafting components. Previous loot spawns contained mostly potions and bolts of cloth, so the addition of new materials relevant to other crafters is a real bonus for fishing.
I will continue updating the list, but there are some recipes with missing icons. These will be corrected later today, no worries. Be patient and we should have it all fixed in a day or so. We are still trying to decide whether to add beta recipes for other professions, considering the major changes that went down today. Submit a comment and tell us what you think :)
If you are looking for Jewelcrafting, you can click the "Jewelcrafting" link in the right side menu to read my posts or go straight to the recipe list on Crafter's Tome.
On a completely different note, my blog was #1 yesterday on Wordpress's Growing Blogs list, for blogs that have the greatest traffic gains in a 24-hour period. Woot!!
I also realized for the first time tonight that there are faction recipes from Honor Hold. Apparently Korlyn doesn't qualify for any of them yet since she is only Friendly atm. There are other professions that can purchase at Friendly, but apparently Blacksmithing isn't one of them. Booo Blizz!! I'll try to get these recipes added to my site in the next week if I can.
Another neat discovery I made is that the feedback submission system in Beta tracks your completed quests. I've always wanted something like this, so I was having a blast calculating how many quests I'd done so far. I think I counted over 30 quests in my log for the week, and that was before I'd finished for the night. I think we can safely say that you can expect to do 30-35 quests to complete your first level in TBC, depending on how much grinding you do (I personally hate grinding XP). The bad part is that I don't think this feature is going to be in the release version, but I sent them a feedback BEGGING them to add it.
Just one more note for those of you that I know are madly calculating XP rates in your heads. I did all my leveling with rested XP, I switched to another toon when Korlyn ran out. I also did 30 or so quests, which grant an average of 9000 xp. So this took about 9-10 hours of actual playtime, plus 250-300k of quest XP and 100% rested bonus. The total XP required for 60-61 is 581700. Don't forget that this may or may not be representative of the XP progression after release.
Since Krys (rogue) was so busy working on Jewelcrafting, she was the last of the three to go through the early quests. Tonight I managed to collect 4 new pieces of gear, plus the one I got her on her first visit to the Outlands. I wanted to give everyone some hard comparison data to demonstrate how the new quest rewards stack up against the current 'casual' loot drops.
(Barman Shanker, Scarlet Kris, Mixologist's Tunic, 'Monkey' Helm, Abyssal Legs of Striking)
DPS: 78.6 Main-hand, 62.6 Offhand
Attack Power: 678
Crit %: 16.28
Post Beta (Quest rewards including 2 new daggers, helm, chest, legs)
DPS: 95.2 Main-hand, 71.1 Offhand
Attack Power: 694
Crit %: 20.35
As you can see, most of my stats went up by 20-30%. This is just in the 4-5 hours I've spent doing half a dozen or so quests. Now granted, if you are already wearing epic gear, you probably will see little or no difference at this stage. Krys was wearing half blue/half green due to her baby sister status behind my other three toons, so the new gear is having a larger impact on her. Even so, I've read other beta testers' commentary on the new gear and there seems to be a general agreement that Tier 1 and Tier 2 will be obsolete pretty quickly.
On a different note, I discovered the most fun quest today. The great thing about having 3 toons on the Beta server (still need to copy my tank) is that I can have triple the fun!! Ok, we don't need to mention that the sucky part is having to do the annoying quests 3 times :P
Anyway... back to the fun quest. Wow, I'm actually torn about giving this away. Let's just say you get to blow things up and there's no risk of dying involved. There is a certain element of target practice required though. It's really fun and I had a blast doing it over and over with each girl. Plus you get two new pieces of armor to boot, does it get any better than that?? No, I don't think it does =)
I also powered my Jewelcrafting to 275, I'll be posting more about that later...
Ok, now that I've spent a full evening questing in the Outlands, I thought I'd give a better run-down of what to expect. The first three kill quests you'll get will give you, depending on your class:
A new weapon (Dagger/Shield/Bow/Wand)
A new weapon (Dagger/Sword/Axe/Staff)
A new piece of armor (Helm/Tunic/Leggings)
I believe these quests are designed to give every class two new weapons right off the bat. There are two different daggers for rogues, a wand and caster staff for cloth folks, a one-handed sword and choice of shield for tank types, a bow and a 2-handed axe for hunters, and a druid-oriented staff for feral druids. The armor quest doesn't do quite as good a job of covering everyone, there's a resto-druid helm, a hunter helm, a rogue tunic and warrior leggings.
But never fear, there are many other quests after these first three. I took my hunter out there and did at least half a dozen quests. I still have 12 more in my quest book and that's not counting any dungeon quests or orange quests I managed to grab. So you will truly stay busy in the Outland, there's plenty to do. You should also walk away with a good amount of new gear. I did a quick tally of just the 58-61 quests, which should be easy to complete before you hit 61. In addition to the three quests mentioned above there are 3 more armor quests, 3 jewelry quests and 1 trinket quest. I think every player will walk away with at least half a dozen useful new items by the time they ding, unless they were epic'd out to start with.
Just a quick example of the goodies to be had, my hunter completed four 'gear' quests over the last two nights. She received a 58.1 dps, 2-handed axe with +19 Agi, +30 Sta, and +38 attack power to replace her Ice Barbed Spear from AV. She also upgraded her Ancient Bone Bow with a 44.3 DPS crossbow with +6 Agi, +9 Sta and +12 attack power. A quest which involved killing 12 mobs in a cave rewarded me with a new belt that had 257 AC, +16 Agi, +22 Sta and +32 attack power, a nice improvement over the Stormpike Girdle I had been sporting. Another quest that simply had me collecting junk from the ground near some 58-62 mobs netted me a nifty helm with 347 AC, +19 Agi, +30 Sta and +38 attack power. Coming into the Outlands I had 108.6 ranged DPS without any buffs. After equipping these four items my ranged DPS went up to 114.4, a pretty nice improvement for just two nights' work. All of these quests were soloable and very easy to complete.
Unfortunately the news isn't quite as exciting on the gathering front. I found only two nodes of Fel Iron during my 5-6 hours in the Hellfire Peninsula. I also saw only a few lonely herbs here and there. This zone is very similar to the Blasted Lands, so maybe the gathering situation will improve in other locations. I sure hope so because I need to work on my smithing!
I also took my druid out tonight and made a point of tracking the XP and faction gain before I killed anything. Just for the chatting and fedex quests you get sent on when you first hit the Outlands, you'll get 11717 experience and 1000 faction with Honor Hold. Unfortunately this is pretty puny compared to the huge XP bar you'll have. Each quest I completed with my hunter seemed to give around 9000 XP, so I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to level up. Right now my hunter is about 6 bubs in with the handful of quests she's completed.