Leveling after 8.0

This weekend I tried to level up a void elf mage post 8.0. Most of the mods were broken during this experience. My setup is full heirlooms minus the pirate ring from the fishing tourney, 60% xp boost.

Since it was an allied race, you start at 20, and get dumped into the real world quickly. This has its upside and downside. The only real downside is you do not get full xp from the starting zones. I like to go back and do the starting zones because the rep gain from them helps on vendors across the world. Were I to start from 1, I would do all the starting zones for full xp.

I tried out war mode. What I was expecting was on level fights by people in the zone. What I got was 110s on flying mounts dismounting from flight and one-shotting me. Mostly they would kill you 1-2x and move on. But in Duskwood there was a full party of 110 idiots with a wallock porting buddies in and killing all the quest givers. Overall it seems like an OK trade off as long as they do not camp the quest hub. If they camp the hub, go to stormwind, toggle off, and come back and wrap up. The other problem seems to be the cheap shot, where you are tabbed out looking at a quest description, or you are in dialog from turn in and they chump you. Mostly rogues and stealthed druids seem to do ths. Because I was sitting at +60% xp, the extra 10% from war mode is likely not worth it, and I did not notice much increased rewards. But if you are bored with the usual quest grind, and you are doing off the beaten path questing, it is worth it. Works better with Mage since you can port to SW, and bind to the quest hub. Still can pull it off with the guild cape that gives you a SW port on 8hr CD.

I enchanted my heirlooms. I logged over to my enchanter, looked down the list of stuff I could do by piece, and applied to scroll the enchants and mailed them. There was no level usage on the 110 enchants, and was having the mark of the satyr? proc off of the necklace functioning at low level. Definitely worth doing for all the heirlooms you use.

I started as fire, then switched to arcane mage. Even with all of that stuff on, I was taking about 4 casts to down stuff, or 3 if I was using arcane with a full stack of arcane blast. I know how to play fire and double cast with instas in the last 5% of a cast bar to fish for hot streaks, but simply arcane is stronger and you can turret and cast faster. You have less CC and worse AOE, but mostly for questing you are doing single target.

Dungeons are not worth it now for 4 reasons: (1) the queue is really long as the player base seems to agree they are not worth it now, (2) war mode toggles off and that is the new thing, so there is no benefit to the toggle, (3) tank threat is lower so tanks are having to work harder to hold agro, and (4) looks like they put crowd control back in the mix, and there is a huge learning curve there that most have forgotten. I got more xp faster by chaining quests, and the dungeon grind has been the thing for so long it is worth dumping it. The only reason why I ran anything was to cap Stormwind rep with a tabard to reduce the cost of flying training.

I made my void elf mage on Fri, and by Sunday I was 66. Classic WoW zones felt slower, mainly because weapon power is less than it used to be. Lich King from 60-66 also felt slow. I got 6 levels just fully completing Borean Tundra. So there is that. I did not try out Burning Crusade to see if it was faster there. Before 8.0 Northrend was better than Outland.

Because of the caps for zones were elevated, I think a good strategy is to get a guildie to port you to Dalaran, bind there at the portal hub, then do the starting zones. Those zones are meant for unmounted questing, and mostly the PK types stay out of them, and I think you can maybe get a huge chunk of rep and xp doing them.

Then do the 1 off zones with War Mode off if you are in a high PVP zone like Goldshire. Again all of these zones give plenty of xp, and the layout and completion is fast, with still more rep. Then cycle through the 2 off (2 zones progressed from starting area, where you still get rep gains). I bet if you do all of that, you will be pretty far along towards 60, and you will have resolved a lot of the classic rep grind without having to do the dungeon queues.

I would keep war mode off from 40ish to 60 or so, and stay in classic til 60. Outland/Northrend is much easier with a flying mount, and you can likely go war mode on with a flying mount. I did Borean with War Mode off, so the next zone I will try it on. Again Howling Fjord/Borean Tundra are good picks because the layout was designed for ground mounts and you can fly and rapidly complete otherwise difficult quests. I think most of the predatory ganking is heavy in 1-off zones like Goldshire, and the usual rep train people follow for Stormwind makes Westfall/Goldshire/Redridge/Duskwood a gank heavy zone. There was a lot less traffic in the Night Elf areas, or the Draenai areas.

I took enchanting. There are changes to it. You can now disenchant any level item regardless of your enchanting skill. This means that you can take it as a quasi gathering profession now, grinding up quest rewards for mats. I would otherwise take gathering professions, as raw mats are going for crazy prices now for old world areas. For instance a bolt of silk was going for 6g or so. You can either gather and sell for coin, or support other characters with your gathering on the way up.

Void elf with the no spell pushback from interrupt is a powerful thing, and works well with Arcane where they can not stop your arcane blast. However, it looks like they stripped out fire/frost from arcane, so if you get arcane locked, you are screwed, and so you likely need to do the usual run away stuff that you needed to do prior to 8.0. The rift teleport thing they have is basically a juke move for pvp. There is little pve value to it. That plus blink + displacement are an arsenal of juke moves to screw up melee from staying on target. Basically send VE rift the opposite direction you are running. If they follow you, rift that way and create space. Works well with the arcane ability slow too.

So on the list is war mode in Northrend. I might try an Outland zone and compare xp gain there v. Northrend.

Thought I would toss in some feedback of arcane v. fire post 8.0 here as well.

Fire works like this


You start a cast and at 95% or so of the cast you hammer the insta. So from a cold open, if you pyro and insta fire blast, you get a crit from fire blast, and if the pyro crits, you now are on a hot streak. Then you fireball again and burn that hot streak at the end of that cast. First crit gives warming up, 2nd crit in a row gives you hot streak, and on hot streak your next pyro or flame strike is insta cast.

So knowing where you are in the warming up/hot streak chain matters. I use weak auras with sound indicators. Warming up sounds like a shot gun cocking, and hot streak sounds like a shotgun blast. If I am spamming fireballs and hear warming up, I will then weave in a fire blast to guarantee a hot streak.

The other thing about fire is the last 30% of life you can spam scorch for guaranteed crits and do decent damage (if you took the talent). What this lets you do is finish off one, and carry over to another with a hot streak, and open with fireball-(insta pyro). If you get good at carrying over hot streaks, you can really chain kill stuff quickly.

Now if you look at your whole array of insta cast spells, you can start injecting them into your cast sequence. So fireball-frost nova-fireball-blink-fireball-hotsreak-fireball-dragon breath…just start thinking about that. You want to get that insta off, and you can almost pull it off for free in the lest 5% of the cast. Fireball is your base cast, do not scorch as a base unless you are in the last 30% or if you are moving. Sure is nice having scorch cast while moving.

Fire has big damage, and is pretty heady in terms of gameplay. You have lots of branches in decisions. One is the talent that does extra damage for a slow cast pyro. I think this sort of screws with your rhythm of things, and it is harder to pull this spec off, but if done right you can see big numbers. AOE is probably your greatest strength. You fish for usual for hot streaks and put those into flame blasts. Upping Dragon Breath damage helps as well, and living bomb is a huge way to do nice AOE. You have to work much harder to get good ST damage.

Now I switched to Arcane to give it a run. I would suggest taking a quick look at Icy Veins easy mode to get a feel for it. You basically spam arcane blast, clear cast arcane missiles, and dump charges into arcane barrage in conserve mode. Burst mode is when you have 4 arcane charges and arcane power is up. You basically spam arcane blast during it, and cast clearcast missiles. AOE is spam Arcane Explosion, and Arcane Barrage at 4 charges. You can use clearcast arcane missiles to finish off singles. Pick the worst offender in a group and dump your missiles into it.

I would suggest getting both heirloom trinkets which return mana on kill. This helps. I would conjure food, and hot key its use. Evoke prior to upgrade is held in reserve. Post upgrade to the 1.5min CD, you can just go blast happy with a full stack and burn down to zilch, evoke, then go into conserve/burn mode until evoke comes back.

Full stack arcane blast hits hard and casts fast, and you can chain about 3 mobs before you food up or evoke.

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Keep in mind that until the next patch, there’s a serious issue with damage taken vs damage output due to the stat squashing. Blizzard acknowledged this as a bug, and that it would be solved.

Other than that, nice writeup Sny! I won’t ever be trying out the war mode, since I think open world PvP in WoW is the most retarded thing since chopstick sharpeners.

Yeah I am sure all of my present take will be obsolete in a few weeks. Wanted to get some of it out there, and was hoping others would share what they found on the trip up post 8.0.

I played on 2 PvP servers long ago and got pretty good. That was then. I was much younger. Mostly people on those servers would only engage if there was a chance of getting honor. Mostly the PvP you got was one on one, with someone getting the drop on someone else. Some of those fights were fun and even, and it took some of the boredom out of running the same quests over on an alt.

I am hoping they add some kind of detriment to overlevel griefing. I heard they were going to transform whoever attacked lowbies into a chicken, but that did not happen this patch. For now you have people who largely have not played on PvP servers ganking lowbies as it is a shiny new toy for them.

Typically when someone would start it up at a newbie quest hub, the aim was to get higher levels out to fight. So they would create a mess and hope people would squawk for a rescue. For me if it is even, I will look for payback on that toon. If they have a level edge on me, I will move on and not reward that griefing tactic with the high level encounter they are seeking.

Thanks for the write up of your leveling experience. I am leveling up a few new alts myself and have found questing to be the best and fastest way to level up. Gonna play a few alts but leave the war mode off :slight_smile:

I think turning War Mode on for at least the first days of leveling will be advantageous. It is unlikely that you will see any opposing faction and the xp boost is nice. I would turn it off once you get quests in the opposing faction’s zones unless you really are looking for pvp hehe.

I am leveling up my Void Elf mage as well but have been playing frost this whole time. I queue for the dungeons for the quest xp and its a nice break from quest grind. It also gives me a chance to do the whole group play experience on a new character. Most of time I don’t have any issue being on top on the meters or with survivability. Is Arcane or Fire the way to go later on or is any spec a good one these days?

Noxxic sims are putting Arcane mage at the top of the DPS heap right now. That is good. I can say my arcane mage just blows stuff away, and void elf makes it that much easier with no pushback. With full talents, I can pretty much quest with a full stack of 5 and one or two shot stuff. Burst is insane, and that is the way to take down bosses. I do the full burndown of mana, then evoke and repeat.

I have a 60 DK that I will likely skip questing with and just battle pet to 80. Lots of new pets to ding 25, and I think that exp is pretty decent. Effectively if you run the masters it is like running X dailies